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

Southern Utah Road Trip Destinations

One of my favorite things about Utah is the gorgeous national parks in the south. When we lived in Utah while we were still undergrads, we were able to road trip down with Angelica and the LeSueurs to Moab and Arches. The red rock is absolutely amazing. Thanks Aurora for this awesome and informational guest post.

[‘vintage’ photo from 2006]

Ultimate Utah Road Trip Planner

Late spring and early summer is the absolute perfect time to take a road trip in Utah, before the weather is too hot, and while all of the good attractions and parks aren’t overly crowded yet. Utah is a really unique state, and we have some of the most beautiful national parks that the country has to offer. Being a resident of the state of Utah means that we often take the beauty in our own backyards for granted, especially if you’ve lived in the state your entire life. There are some truly beautiful places in Utah, and if you haven’t been there yet, you really need to make time for a visit this year. Make a road trip out of it, and visit all of the national parks you haven’t yet. Whether you decide to hit every single park and attraction on this list, or just pick a few for a shorter road trip, this list is sure to be a hit with the whole family.

Arches National Park

This is a perfect first attraction, especially if you start in Salt Lake City, as it’s only about 4 hours outside of the city. If you get started in the morning, you’ll be able to spend the majority of your day at the park. This national park is over 40 miles of delicate arches and scenic views. One of the best ways to see this park is to take the 40-mile scenic road through the entire park, and stopping at the many trail heads and overlooks along the way. You can pick and choose which parts of the park are most important for you to stop at, and you can just slowly drive through the rest of it.

Canyonlands National Park

This park is only about 40 miles from the Arches National Park, making it a perfect second stop on your trip. This park is great for hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding. At Canyonlands, you’ll have incredible views all the way to the Colorado River. The Mesa Arch is a great short hike to take while you’re here, taking only about 30 minutes, but boasting some incredible views.

Colorado River

Despite the name, it’s still a part of Utah, in Moab. This is a great stop if you want to try some white water rafting. You could start the day with river rafting or maybe taking a visit to the Sand Flats Recreation Area, and then spend the rest of the day exploring the city of Moab and enjoying the local cuisine and scenery.

Capitol Reef

This stop will take your breath away with the petroglyph art and the colorful sandstone formations. It gets its name from the colorful rainbow-hued sandstone formed in reef-like designs. This is a really great stop for a family, as there are plenty of places for short walks, picnics, and even ranger guided walks and astrology sessions.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The pink cliffs and delicate red rocks in Bryce Canyon will take your breath away, making you want to spend more than a mere day here. Try to make the drive into the canyon during the sunrise, so you get the full effect of the colors and unique formations. Aside from just exploring the gorgeous backcountry, there are dozens of fun activities to enjoy here, including mule rides.

Zion National Park

A road trip through Utah wouldn’t be complete without a stop in Zion National Park. With some of the best hiking available in Utah, you could spend a few days here and still not feel satisfied. Some of the most memorable hikes include Emerald Pools, The Narrows, and of course, Angel’s Landing. There’s a great variation in level of difficulty within the hikes at Zion, and so there will be something for every member of your party.

Before you go:

Road trips are a great vacation option, especially if you have a large group that can all carpool together. But before you head out, do some preparation to make it all go smoothly.

  • Get your car tuned up. This article has a really handy checklist, especially as you transition from winter to summer weather.
  • Pack a lot of sandwiches and snacks so you don’t spend a fortune on pit stop food.
  • Make sure your hiking boots (and anything else that you wear) are broken in and comfortable!

Having a group road trip can cut down on gas costs, and also help split the costs of lodging and food. Utah is full of beautiful national parks, and you could easily spend weeks visiting each of the parks, and still have some of the beauty of Utah unseen, which you can save for your next road trip.

Take me out to the ballgame

Some of my favorite childhood memories came at the ballpark. Growing up a Padres fan wasn’t anything glorious since they’re not a super wealthy or winning team ha, ha but it was always very fun to go as a family, eat a hot dog, learn about the game, and watch talented players come (and go).

Since then, Dave and I have loved going to baseball games together. We made a goal to see a game at every MLB ballpark. So far we’ve been to 19 out of 30 ballparks! Luckily we were able to see a lot when we drove to the east coast in 2009 and again in 2010. When we lived in DC in 2009, we adopted the Washington Nationals as our team together. They were a fairly new team to the area (having moved and re-branded from Montreal in 2005). This was before they had many big name players so tickets were pretty cheap and we were able to see a lot of games.

We haven’t been to a new ballpark basically since that time but we have plans to go to Seattle and see a Mariners’ game this summer for our 11th anniversary!

Dave found the website where I got this shirt (below) and I love it because it’s soft cotton, has Bryce Harper on it, and isn’t super girly. I kind of hate sports team apparel that is pink or glittery just because it’s marketed towards women. Many times I’d much rather have the same design as a men’s store just in a women’s size and fit!

take me out to the ballgame outfit

take me out to the ballgame outfit

shirt from Level500 / Old Navy flannel / Converse a million years old 😉

 

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

We’re nearing the end of California’s Super Bloom – a beautiful result of the heavy rainfall this winter. It has been beyond gorgeous!

Have you ever heard of Colmar, France?! Looks straight out of a fairy tale.

And as if I didn’t already want to travel everywhere all the time, here’s a great list of the Top 10 Cheapest Travel Destinations – where would you go? All of them sound awesome, especially Spain, Serbia and and Greece.

Current thoughts on being a mother

Every phase of Brent and Tessa’s lives have been so fun. When they were newborns, they were cuddly, adorable, growing and just so cute even if we were all sleep deprived the first few months. I loved the newborn baby stage. I loved seeing them learn to communicate, crawl, walk, laugh, explore the world, show interest in certain things, etc.

I love their closeness in age (a few days short of 2 years), when they talk and play together and that they get to do new things together. I know I’ll miss these days when they’re not in school full time and we get to spend most all day together.

Brent started preschool when we lived in Texas and it was fun watching him make friends, learn his letters etc. His current preschool is more of a Pre-K and his learning has really skyrocketed in this last few months. He’s doing so great with letters, sounds, numbers, writing, spelling, sounding out words, and basic addition.

Both the kids are at the age when they’re starting sports. As sports lovers, this has been so awesome for me and Dave to watch them learn the basics of various sports and play! They are currently participating in pee wee sports ‘camps’ through the city of Chino Hills. Brent did soccer last session and just started basketball and Tessa just started soccer. The camp is just 6 Saturdays but it’s one of the highlights of my week to watch them learn new skills.

^ gorgeous backdrop for basketball ^ one thing I really love about Chino Hills are, the hills! There are lots of hiking trails and open areas left undeveloped. The park (also the same park I play soccer at) is at the top of a hill and it’s hard to beat the view!

What’s in my bag?

What I carry outside the house has change significantly since having kids. When the kids were newborns, I felt like I carried a ton of stuff (so many diapers, bottles, blankets, snacks, toys, etc). Now that the kids are more kids/toddlers versus babies, I carry less items but still love a backpack style bag to have 2 available hands. I used to use a Petunia Pickle Bottom bag I got from their outlet and currently use this Freebird Collection backpack.

What's in my bag toddlers

Here’s what I currently carry:

  • First aid kit (similar to this)
  • Snacks!
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Hand Sanitizer (travel size)
  • Advil (travel size)
  • Lip product (usually a Clinique chubby lip crayon)
  • Tissues
  • Wallet (with coins for parking meters!)
  • Hair ties
  • Flashlight (mini size)
  • Feminine products
  • Hydro Flask water bottle

With toddlers I’ve learned never to be without snacks! With newborns and babies, we always needed diapers, formula, burp cloths and extra onesies. Now, if the kids are tired or getting impatient, a snack is what they need! They like fruit snacks, mostly because they don’t get to eat them at home so it’s more of a special ‘treat’. I received this applesauce pouch sample and Tessa loved it. It’s a great on the go snack that isn’t messy and is easy to eat.

motts applesauce pouch review

motts applesauce pouch review

Making a house a home: air freshener reviews

One thing that makes a house feel like a home is its smell. A few weeks ago I bought two room sprays at Bath and Body Works to try out. It seems like there’s always a sale or deal going on there ha, ha and these were 2 for $12. There were at least a dozen scents and I got pineapple and fresh linen. They both smell great and are super easy to use.bath and body works room spray review

Our front area (entry way, stairs, piano area, family room, TV area) is fairly large with vaulted ceilings so it needs a few sprays throughout the area. I also use this spray in our powder room (downstairs bathroom). It has a Scentsy but for some reason never smells very fragrant even though I’ve scrubbed it clean!

We have two Scentsys (fragrant wax warmer) that we like and I wish we could have one for every room and space because they make your house smell so good. We keep the larger one usually in the kitchen and the small one in the powder room. I love our Scentsy warmers and also that you can buy scented wax at lots of stores: grocery stores, Dollar Tree, drug stores, Michaels, etc. I also like that it’s not an open flame. It has a small lightbulb that warms the wax so it’s just like having a light on.

The scent of the room spray obviously isn’t as long lasting as a Scentsy or candle but it did have fast results and the scent lasts for a few hours even in the large areas. Would I buy it again? Maybe if there’s a sale ha! I liked the scents I chose and the large variety of choices.The sprays are great for short term and to freshen up a room.

bath and body works room spray review fresh linen pineapple

My favorite scent that I wish I could smell all day is Volcano from Anthropologie. I love the candle but wish it was available as wax for a Scentsy – anyone found one?! I haven’t tried the room spray version either since I wasn’t sure about the results for the price.

anthropologie volcano candle