A dog’s life

If you know me, it’s no secret I love our corgi, Bruce. I’ve written about when we got Bruce in Virginia, our favorite dog products and ways to keep your living space clean with a dog. Since we got Bruce when he was just 6 weeks old, it was a lot of work house training, crate training, training not to chew, not to go in certain areas, etc but it’s definitely worth it and great preparation for kids, ha, ha! corgi bruce WISP broomcorgi bruce WISP broom

Bruce’s life consists of eating, sleeping a ton, hoping for us to throw his toys or give him bones, going on an evening walk and his favorite thing, ‘guarding’ the house – ha, ha! Corgi’s are small with a big bark and like to protect their home and family.

My favorite thing is how loyal dogs are and always want to cheer their owners up. Whenever we come home, it always makes us happy to be greeted by Bruce who is beyond excited to see us! Who wouldn’t want to come home and 100% of the time there is a cute dog eagerly waiting for them!?

Having a dog is also a great way to get in some exercise and move more! Dogs love to play and go on walks and we’ve loved our evening walks and occasional hikes with Bruce. They are great for our health and his health! I also love at night after the kids go to bed, Bruce will jump up on my lap while we relax for the night, usually by reading or catching up on our DVR or Netflix. He’s not only a great lap warmer in the winter but also very snuggly which I love! corgi bruce WISP broom

corgi bruce WISP broom

As I’ve mentioned before, corgis shed quite a bit, basically all year around! We love the FURminator deShedding Brush and now we have another awesome product that helps immensely with keeping our floors clean.. Like everyone, we’ve had a basic broom that does a mediocre job collecting crumbs, dirt, dust, pet hair, etc. Now enter the WISP broom. The broom head is angled and designed to collect and gather instead of sweep. It is great for cleaning under tables, cabinets, edges, etc. The bristles act more like a squeegee to trap the dust and debris. They are still soft and don’t scratch wood or tile floors.

Another thing I love is that the dustpan is designed to be used with your foot, which makes it much easier to put the debris into the dustpan. The dustpan also has ridges where you can scrape the bristles to remove any particles stuck in the bristles. It doesn’t take out 100% of the debris but definitely pulls out a lot and makes it easier to clean the broom bristles. Traditional broom bristles are much harder to clean unless you manually pull out the debris and hairs. With a dog and 2 little kids, the WISP broom is an awesome tool that doesn’t cost a hand and a leg (like the robotic vacuums I’ve previously posted about!) The classic WISP broom cost $29.95.

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom pet hair

wisp broom brush pet hair

This post brought to you by WISP – thanks for helping us maintain a clean home! All opinions on this product review are obviously my own 🙂

Road Trip

This last week we took a long, long road trip up the 15 to Idaho Falls to visit my sister, Emily, for her daughter’s baptism. While I’ve driven the stretch between Utah and San Diego countless times, there was something new to see: the Seven Magic Mountains! It’s a temporary (free!) public art exhibit between Jean, Nevada and Las Vegas. I love rocks and these brightly colored rock stacks in the middle of nowhere were gorgeous!

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

We spent two days in Salt Lake City catching up with friends, Dave’s family, seeing Melinda’s adorable baby for the first time, and eating a ton of food at places we loved when we lived in Utah (like Royal India, Moochies, Originial House of Pancakes, Park Cafe). We stayed in an AirBnB in Holladay that was a good experience. I sometimes prefer an AirBnB over a hotel because you have more kitchen amenities and often more space. This trip we stayed in a fully furnished basement apartment and when we moved to Texas we ‘rented’ out a townhouse for 2 weeks while waiting to close on our house.

It was fun to be with my entire family for the weekend! Now that we’re kind of all spread out, it’s rare that we’re all together. I loved seeing Brent and Tessa play with their little cousins and the opportunity we had to tour the Idaho Falls temple which was recently renovated.

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

We felt like we were on the road driving most of the time and the kids were pretty good considering the 4 days of travel and Tessa missed her nap almost everyday. We drove to Salt Lake, stayed for 2 days, then drove to Idaho. On the way back, we drove from Idaho Falls to St. George and spend the night before finishing the last stretch of the drive back to Chino Hills. This was Tessa on the drive, ha, ha:

We tried to pack new snacks for the kids, like treats they usually don’t get. We also planned a few ‘surprises’ to give them during the trip, new small toys and boogie boards (LCD e-writers) that were a hit with them!

road trip with kids

road trip with kids

St. George temple grounds ^

 

Shop Spotlight: Soel Boutique

I’ve been following Soel Boutique for a while on Instagram and I love their selection of timeless and trendy pieces. I love finding boutiques and shops that feel like my exact style, like a place where you feel like you wish you could buy every single item they sell! In addition to women’s apparel, they sell shoes, bags, jewelry, gifts, children and home items. They have a brick and mortar shop in Provo and I’m bummed I didn’t have a chance to go when we lived in Utah. Here are some of my favorite items:

Orchard Street Dress ^ (this looks SO perfect for the summer!)

Marketa Blouse ^

Tanya Top ^

Kalyn Top ^ (I especially love the tie on the sleeves!)

Lianna top ^

Health Tip

health tips avoid comparing yourself to others

When most people think about health, they think about physical health – like eating well and exercising. Total health and wellness not only involves physical health but also emotional, social, spiritual and mental health. This health tip deals with emotional and social health. How people portray themselves (especially online and social media!) isn’t how they really are. Most people don’t post pictures of their messy house, when they’re having a bad day, when they haven’t showered, etc. but everyone has those moments! Comparing ourselves to someone else is never healthy or beneficial. It’s fun to catch up with people or make friends on social media but just remember that no one is perfect, despite their online or initial appearance.

Vintage American Fashion

This dress is a true vintage piece, it was my mom’s dress when she was younger! I loved that she saved it so I could wear it. It’s polyester and a unique color for my wardrobe. I tend to gravitate towards black, white and grays. I like the fit and rust color of this dress.

Tessa’s dress is also second hand and I loved the navy and rust color combination we happened to be wearing this past Sunday, It reminded me on an old American flag 😉

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

vintage american fashion rust dress jen holtkamp

Amazing and Affordable Deep Conditioner

I’ve used quite a few daily and deep conditioners throughout the years – various brands, high end, low end, etc. I first tried the Eva NYC Hair Mask a few weeks ago and absolutely love the results. I apply a dime size amount to the ends  after shampooing my hair and leave it in for about 3-5 minutes. It washes out really well and smells great! My hair is so soft, manageable and feels full and healthy.

Eva NYC hair mask deep conditioner

Eva NYC hair mask deep conditioner

Even though I received this product (travel size) as a sample, I will definitely be buying it when mine runs out. In addition to the results, I also like that it’s not super expensive and that it’s easy to find/purchase.

Eva NYC hair mask deep conditioner

Also wearing this limited Great Lash Royal Blue Mascara being re-released this month and eyeliner sample (although with my dark lashes, you can’t really see the blue), Anthropologie poncho top (sold out), Loft petite jeans, and earrings I made 🙂

maybelline royal blue mascara

What to pack: favorite beach products

Since Brent isn’t in kindergarten yet and most kids are still in school, Wednesdays have become our beach days. We’re lucky to be able to take advantage of this time before the beaches get more crowded. Newport Beach is the easiest beach to get to from our house and the kids and I have been loving playing in the sand, wading and running in the waves and finding seashells.

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

We usually try to get there a little before 11 to beat most of the crowd and find close parking. We pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, snacks and water bottles in this insulated lunch tote and bring our towels and sand toys in mesh beach bags which are perfect for collecting all the sandy toys and quickly dunking the entire bag in the water to rinse off. Mesh bags are also nice since they don’t hold sand and are easy to clean.

One of my most favorite items is our over-sized beach blanket that comes with stakes and fold up into a pocket sized pouch. This blanket is awesome because it’s easy to clean, folds up super small, lightweight, is huge so we can all sit on it and is also soft so you still feel like you’re laying on the sand. It comes with 6 plastic stakes to hold it down from the wind. It’s quite perfect!  best beach blanket compact with stakes lightweight zomakebest beach blanket compact with stakes lightweight zomake

I also always carry a cell phone waterproof pouch. This is the same pouch I took on our river tubing trip in Texas and found out it’s really waterproof!

We usually only stay about 2-3 hours and feel very lucky to live within an hour of the beach.

My swimsuits and coverups are from DownEast Outfitters and Target, my flip flops are super old rainbows (my long time favorite brand), the kids’ suits and flip flops from Ross and Old Navy. Sand toys from Target or the dollar store. And of course, we always wear and pack sunscreen (lotion and spray)!

what to pack to the beachwhat to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach

what to pack to the beach for families and kids