Popsugar Must Have Unboxing: August 2017

If you know me, you know I love my subscription boxes. From workout clothes to beauty products, receiving a pretty little box of curated goods makes it feel like Christmas morning. One of my favorite subscription boxes is the PopSugar Must Have Box. Heck, my first Must Have Box review was in 2014! This month they are turning 5 and are celebrating by giving subscribers the chance to win some major prizes. Sign up here and use code: PARTY (expires 8/31) for $10 off your FIRST Must Have Box. Don’t worry, all current Must Have subscribers are eligible for a chance to win too! Here’s a peek at the contents of the August box:

A dogeared friendship bracelet and a First Aid Beauty 5-in-1 Bouncy Mask. I’ve already used the mask and it is legit. I looked like I had no pores after using it.

The cookies above are gluten-free (and delicious!) and you better believe I used the candles in Harlowe’s cupcakes when we celebrated her 6th birthday this past weekend. They are so pretty!

A metallic-pink journal is always a good idea. Especially since you become 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a regular basis (according to Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California). I’m off to get my goals written down now. Have a good day!

Wearing: shoes / shorts

Garden Concert

getty kids concerts

One of the biggest benefits of living in LA is being in a climate that allows you to be outside all year long. Our family loves to be outdoors so much that we moved to a smaller house (900 sq ft) earlier this year because it meant we got a yard! If there’s one thing we love to do together as much as we enjoy the outdoors, it’s a dance party. When I saw the Getty had garden concerts lined up all Summer for the little ones, I knew my clan would be all over them. We went to see Dan Zanes for our our 2nd kid’s concert of the Summer. It happened to be the day after Harlowe’s 6th birthday — a great opportunity to keep the party going. We met with some friends, shared a picnic and of course, danced to the Sea Shanty, John Kanaka-naka too-rye-ay! Do you remember that one? Maybe it’s just me, but that song makes me giddy like I am still 6 years old.

Huge thanks to the Getty for having us out and for suprising Harlowe with this sweet gift. She LOVES it.

All the families watching the concert and enjoying their picnic.

Dan Zanes

Shop the post:

FWIW, this jumpsuit comes in 3 colors and is the most comfortable and flattering jumpsuit I’ve ever tried on. I can actually say the same for these shoes. Perfect for those days when your pedicure could use some attention, but it’s too hot for sneakers. I love them so much I picked up a pair for H too!

Happy 6th Birthday!

kid birthday party ideas

Over the weekend, we celebrated Harlowe’s 6th birthday! I shared some of my feels on Instagram, but Kaare and I just can not get over how quickly these past 6 years have gone. I remember laying in the hospital bed full of fear and joy after her birth and just praying that she would get out of the NICU quickly. 6 years later, here she is… healthy, happy and full of love. She is the best daughter that I could have ever asked for and is more joy than I dreamed she could be. Being her mama is the highlight of my life (along with being married to her dad and having her brother, of course). To celebrate her 6th year, we asked her what she wanted to do and shared a clear vision: a movie, unicorn, sleepover party. Here’s how we pulled that together…

kid birthday party ideas
Movie and unicorn themed cookies baked and hand decorated by one of my old sorority sisters, Folkvangr Cookies. I asked her to make whatever she was inspired to make after hearing Harlowe’s theme and I think she crushed it! They’re almost too pretty to eat!
kid birthday party ideaskid birthday party ideas
I made these little poms for the cupcakes. I just took tissue paper and folded it length wise in to fourths and then used herb scissors to cut fringe leaving 1/4 inch un-cut. I used a glue stick to glue the un-cut part and then wrapped the paper around a small skewer that I broke in half until it was all rolled up. Once the skewer is wrapped with the tissue paper just use your hands to fluff it out.
Gunnar loved the poms, but not as much as he loved the cupcakes.
kid birthday party ideas
We used Joymode to rent the back yard theater, cotton candy machine and vintage popcorn machine. The cotton candy was the highlight for most of the kids and for me because I got to make it. I also made these cute ‘ice-cream’ cones for the kids (I had to get them to eat some fruit somehow) I just scooped up melon with a melon baller and tossed it in some cones. I think Gunnar was disappointed that it was not ice-cream, but the older kids thought it was fun to eat.

kid birthday party ideas  kid birthday party ideas
I have a photo with Harlowe and this bear for every month until she was one and one picture every year since.

Just for fun, here’s a shot from Harlowe’s 1st birthday! She looks like she knows cake is coming…

Outfits for those interested:
My dress & shoes/Harlowe’s tunic c/o, unicorn headband & red boots/ Gunnar’s tee

How To Meal Plan For Picky Eaters

how to get your kids to eat healthy
Before becoming a mother, I was never much of a meal planner. Heck, I didn’t even know what meal planning was. We had plenty of meals out because why live in San Francisco (where we lived pre-kids) if you weren’t going to enjoy the world-class food scene? I supplemented eating out with eating whatever was on hand at work (sugary snack bars galore) and I had the bloat to show for it. After Harlowe was born, we got more diligent about cooking in (mostly because eating out with a baby was not the same), but she did enjoy her trips to Tacolicious., our favorite Bay Area haunt. She’s almost 6 now and we’ve tried just about everything under the sun to make meal planning easier and bring healthy meals to the table without much fuss as neither of us are of above average skill in the kitchen. Our kids are just as picky as the next, but it’s really important to me that I teach them to make healthy choices and not eat a quesadilla 3x/day which is what she would do if she had her way. Here are a few ways I save time and even money planning and prepping healthy meals for the family. For the first time in 5 (almost 6!) years Harlowe actually likes…even loves what we eat most days. The best part is, I don’t have to put forth a huge effort to plan our meals, it’s basically done for me and all the meals are easy to prepare and require no more than 30 minutes in most cases. Watch the video for more details!

What I use:

Super Healthy Kids
Sunbasket Get $35 off your 1st delivery!

Atomic Blonde

I’ve wanted to rock the off-the-shoulder silhouette for some time now, but have been too nervous that one of my kids would pull my top right off. What is it with kids and exposing their mom? They’ve already ruined my boobs (thanks, breastfeeding) and they’ll still show them to the world given the opportunity. Not very practical for a mom, but a great outfit for sushi and a movie with The Banker. We saw Atomic Blonde and it was SO good. Charlize Theron is #goals and #workoutmotivation. I can not believe she does her own stunts — she beats the crap out of these strong looking men in the movie and looks like she’s not even trying. The soundtrack is rad too. I mean it, rad. It’s all the best 80’s throwback songs set to well choreographed fight scenes. I love it. I’ve added most of the songs to my workout playlist. They keep me so motivated! Here’s the full list of songs if you want to check it out.

Mom Shorts

Happy Friday, Friends! After recent events, I have a new-found respect for anyone who lives in a humid climate. You are my hero. It’s been muggy in LA (I am sweating as I write this in doors at 8:55pm) and I’m about to lose my mind and all hope of having a frizz-free mane this weekend. We are going to a friend’s pool later today (insert prayer emoji) to cool off, get wet and ring in the weekend. Whatever else we end up doing will involve denim shorts, tank tops and sandals. This outfit is my go-to as of late. The top is so soft and looks great untucked with jeans. It’s billowy, but not too baggy. I like it tucked into these ripped mom shorts that I just can’t seem to take off. Oh and these sandals have a lightly padded sole which is the key to happiness. Honestly, this is one of my favorite looks I’ve ever done an outfit post on because it is so easy to throw on and be comfortable in and look like you made some effort. That’s what this mama is all about!


What are you up to this weekend?

Shop the look below!

Fit Mom Chat: Motivation and Making Time

You’ve probably heard people boast that cute new workout clothes can be fantastic motivation. If you’re like me, you use that an excuse to supplement the workout wardrobe all to often. One must dress for success, right? That’s just as true at the gym/yoga studio/fave running path. Enter Wantable, my new favorite subscription box for fitness apparel. Their stylists do everything for you so all you have to do try the pieces they select for you on, send back what you don’t love in a pre-paid mailer and then get your sweat on looking extra.

I’ve gotten a few questions about making time for fitness when you spend your days taking care of other people. There is no right answer that would work for everyone since we all have different demands and journeys each day, but I made a video about how I manage to squeeze in a little workout time 5+ days a week. I hope you like it. If you want more videos like this, let me know!

Check out my haul on the June edit too! While you’re there, be sure to hit subscribe. 🙂

TankBra / Leggings / Sneakers

Mommy Daughter Date Night

This summer, Harlowe and I started a new tradition that I’m a  huge fan of: monthly mommy/daughter date nights! I’m not sure who loves them more me or …well, probably me. She gets to choose what we do which has ranged from going to the movies to getting patriotic mani/pedis. Regardless of what’s on deck, she likes to get all dressed up. I think she sees KW and I get ready for date night and she wants to do that too. I’m looking forward to the next one and have so many ideas in my back pocket in case she needs some inspiration. Here’s what I’ve been thinking about:

  1. Trip to any museum. The Getty and The Ice Cream Museum in LA are at the top of my list right now.
  2. High tea
  3. Beach picnic or park picnic if it’s too crowded at the beach
  4. Easy hike
  5. Mermaid school

Do you have any ideas on what we can do next? For our last date, I wore this dress (on sale now!) from Lauren Ralph Lauren. It is out of my comfort zone in that it is more modern and sophisticated than the casual pieces I’ve gravitated towards after leaving my job at Google earlier this year. As soon as I saw it, I couldn’t resist the bell sleeves; they make quite a statement with the laser cut detail. So beautiful! It was super comfortable with a pair of flat espadrilles (also on sale!) and will become a summer staple for date nights with the husband too.

KW shoots all of my photos so the kids are usually with us and Gunnar really wanted to sneak in for a picture too.

What to do in San Diego with Kids

things to do in San Diego with kids
If you follow me on Instagram, you may be sick of hearing this, but last weekend the four of us went to San Diego! We made it a family road trip despite the train running conveniently from LA to SD because with an almost 2-year-old and almost 6-year-old, there is no shortage of stuff we need to pack & any road trip savvy parent knows, a snooze in the car is crucial to a good trip. Sometimes the kids and the grownups need a good siesta so I drove us down there Friday and let KW sleep. I’ve been going to San Diego on short Summer vacations since I was a kid. After my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer (when I was 17) we stopped going as a family, but I was lucky enough to hop in on trips with friends’ families and after college, I’d go with girlfriends and get wild before I settled down. Once KW and I started dating, we went together every year for NYE for like 4-5 years straight so it’s now a bit of a special place for us and we love going as a family. I’ve been there through every phase of life so far and had just about every different type of experience from Sea World to dinner cruises and we’ve settled in to a San Diego itinerary that fits our family and lifestyle now. With that, here comes my first post in a new ‘What to do in X with kids’ series! I figured since we do so many little road trips around CA with the little ones I would document our activities and kid-friendly restaurants we enjoyed in case you and your family need any ideas or recommendations with your next adventure.

What we did
We had a lot of beach time. I mean, 10 hours of beachin’ it. The primary purpose of this trip was to catch up with AZ friends who were there visiting family, so what better activity than a beach day? We are a officially beach family thanks to living in LA for 2.5 years now, but we all love being active so toys like balance boards (which luckily friends had one on hand!) are key. This one is a Goof Board, but I’ve also spent a fair amount of time indo boards which I prefer because I think they require more core stabilization and help prepare you for several board activities like SUP, snowboarding and long boarding. I found the Goof Board to be super fun and a great workout, but really ideal to practice surfing and I am so not a surfer (yet)! I am definitely not a balance board expert, but I think it is a blast to have one on hand no matter what your board sport of choice is. It was seriously a blast for the whole family — everyone was on it, even Gunnar.

1989 throwback swim suitLA family lifestyle blog

kid friendly restaurants in san diego

What we ate

For breakfast, I can ‘t recommend Isabel’s Cantina enough fro breakfast/brunch.   They have a kid-friendly menu (I mean, look at that pancake!) plus lots of creatively flavored mimosas for whichever parent is not DD. 🙂 The wait staff was amazingly accommodating and there is even a somewhat enclosed outdoor area out front that the kids can roam around in while you’re finishing your watermelon, cucumber mimosa. Maybe that’s just me? We did Gabbiano’s for lunch. KW picked it up and we ate it on the beach. I like it for it’s convenience, — it’s right by the beach. I get their salads which are not what they are known for. The pizza is apparently great, but I am gluten-free and they don’t have a GF option. I’ve eaten there since college and they are still thriving so it’s obvious lots of people like it plus, it’s uber convenient if you are staying near Mission Beach. If you’re GF try this pizza! It’s delicious. We had it for dinner before roasting s’mores with friends! On that note — did you know they now make rectangular marshmallows just for s’mores? Crazy.

On our way out of town the next day, we stopped at The Menu for breakfast. I had the acai bowl as I was craving one all weekend. I associate SD with acai bowls and theirs did not disappoint. Harlowe and Gunnar got down on oatmeal and yogurt (their favorite breakfast foods) and even shared some with the one-year-old seated in a high-chair next to us. It’s definitely kid-friendly, but parking can be tough so bring a stroller if you don’t want to carry your wee ones.

target ruffle swim suit

Where we stayed

I have no tips for you here other than to book your stay months in advance especially if you are going in July-August. This trip was planned with short notice and there weren’t many options near the friends we were visiting and we luckily got to stay on Mission beach at one of KW’s colleagues homes. Huge thank you to that family for hooking it up so we could go!

family lifestyle blog la

Did you really go to the beach with your kids if you didn’t take this picture?

la family lifestyle blog

Or this one? (I’m making that one happen!)

Wearing: pink suitwhite suit / olive maxi dress

KW and Gunnar’s matching swim shorts: 1st pair and 2nd pair. 

Mamas Making It Summit

A few weeks ago I got lucky and was given a free ticket to attend the 1st ever Mama’s Making it Summit. Thank you, My Domain! Here’s a recap of what went down, lessons learned and why I’m taking a break from colour pop lipsticks.
This is irrelevant, but I stood inches away from Jamie King and her skin was flawless. She was seriously glowing from the inside the way only the nicest, sweetest of humans can. Swoon.
There were several booths there sharing their products. Spiritual Gangster was dolling out custom embroidered millennial pink hats. (pssttt… if you like millennial pink as much as I do check this out!) I got a hat that that says ‘bethanimal’, but my favorite thing about the booth is that sign on the right. All the mama’s I met at the summit + the speakers are the most gangster women in LA.
Above is Natalie, moderator and founder of Fashion Mama’s speaking to Simone LeBlanc CEO of Simone LeBlanc, Ashleigh Dempster co-founder of Akid and Tylynn Nguyen designer at TyLynn Nguyen. All three women started their own companies because they saw a gap in the marketplace that needed to be filled. Ashleigh resonated with me the most because she started a kid’s shoe line after having a son a deciding that kid’s shoes were not that cute. Her husband is a sneaker head and luckily has some experience with factories so he set her up 3 years ago and she launched the business that sells kids shoes that look like they could be in Vogue.
Lunch is served. Can i be honest? This was my favorite part. I was so hungry after running out of the house without breakfast!
Okay, so even though I have never watched the Bachelorette, Ali Fedotowski was seriously cool. Like, I was attracted to her. She had such a good attitude and was really honest about monetizing her blog. Key lessons learned during this panel were primarily from her (probably because she is also a blogger) and they were:

  • Spend money on photos. She says she spends loads of money on her photos and she had recently shot 14 looks in one day changing in her car between shots.
  • Save money on clothes. She told us all that she returns most of what she buys and Nordstrom is her favorite place to shop.
  • Use rewardstyle for everything. She’s a top 25 publisher, so a bit of an outlier, but she only works with brands that are on reward style. This was if they don’t pay her a lot for the sponsored post she still makes commission.
  • Don’t devalue yourself. She calls it blogger devaluation when you accept an unpaid or in-kind job and it’s bad for you and the whole blogger ecosystem.
  • On that note, never give your rate first. Always ask the brand’s budget. This is a sales tactic I think many of us use, but when it comes to selling yourself, it can be difficult especially when it’s a brand we adore. I used to have creators taking product from luxury brands for exposure when they could have asked for thousands of dollars and got it.

Note, Ali mentioned that she asks other bloggers what they make to get a feel for the landscape. I’m not sure how accurate that will be or how much it will help of bloggers you know are devaluing themselves, but I had my partners use social blue book when I was a Partner Manager for fashion and beauty creators at YouTube. I also just heard about Dash Hudson which will tell brands which influencers will make them the most money. Could be a great resource to know your theoretical value to a brand.
My Domain was there taking headshots so I hopped on over to their not-suprisingly stylish set to have a professional photog capture my mug. When I showed up the photographer kindly let me know I had lipstick on my teeth. Yikes, I had JUST checked my teeth in the bathroom mirror because well, I often have lipstick / leafy greens all up on my grill. I was embarrassed so I gave them my smile of shame. Of course, I don’t like the picture, but there you have it internet.

Wearing color pop chandelier on my lips. I actually lost my tube that day and it was new. Luckily they’re only $6 and there’s one in my cart right now! Any other colors I should get?

All photos by @howlandrose courtesy of @fashionmamas