England

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to travel to England to visit Isaac in Bristol, where he has been living and working since Thanksgiving. I’ve also been itching to attend a Chelsea FC game in person and figured this was a great opportunity to do so! Pin and I found a great flight deal via Secret Flying and we’ve spent the last few months researching AirBnBs, hostels, trains, etc. When Dave and I lived in Edinburgh, we went down to London for a long weekend and were able to do some of the main tourist attractions. I loved going back to a place I enjoyed the first time and this second time around was really nice to have a more open schedule and flexibility to see the less popular items. My trip was exactly 7 days and needless to say was a lot of fun!

england

Our flight landed in Gatwick which is south of London. We took a train up to our hostel which was in the Kensington area. As I mentioned, we were trying to keep within our budget so we opted to stay in a 12 person room hostel — my first time staying in a non-private hostel room. I’m glad I packed a box on ear plugs because it’s definitely different sleeping in a room with 12 people (6 bunk beds all crammed in)! Isaac works every other week in a hospital in London so we met up with him to walk around, eat in the city and check out the Museum of Britain. We were also able to visit the National Portrait Gallery, Kings Cross and Platform 9 and 3/4, Baker Street (from Sherlock), Little Venice and Abbey Road.

We took the train out to Bristol, which is a port city about 2 hours west of London. It was a bigger city than I expected and fun to see his flat and where he works. We also saw a Banksy original street art, Bristol is one of his early locations. The next day we headed out to Bath to see the Roman Baths and abbey. Bath is about 10-15 minutes from Bristol. I had seen pictures of the Roman Baths but didn’t realize it was actually a huge complex that was unearthed. We returned to London that afternoon and stayed in an Airbnb and met up with Pin’s roommate, Brittany, who flew in from Utah.

bath england

The next day, I went by myself to take a stadium tour of Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s stadium and see their museum. It was so incredible and an amazing experience to see the dressing rooms, press box and press conference room and the stadium from field level. I loved seeing all the jerseys ready for the upcoming match and they had jerseys from other famous players in the Away dressing room — including my idol, Messi, Beckham, and Cruyff! The whole time I was trying not to freak out but I was so excited to see a place in person that I’ve seen just on TV for years.

england london chelsea fc stamford bridge

england london chelsea fc stamford bridge

england london chelsea fc stamford bridge

england chelsea fc stamford bridge

england london chelsea fc stamford bridge

The following day, the 4 of us went to the Chelsea match vs West Brom. It was pretty cold but I didn’t want it to end! The atmosphere was unlike anything we’ve experienced at any sporting game in the US. I loved how intimate the stadium felt and how involved the fans were. People didn’t come late, leave to get food or talk about things unrelated to the game. This was one of my favorite experiences of my life! The only way it could’ve been better was if Dave was able to be there with me because he gets my obsession with soccer. One of my favorite players, Eden Hazard, scored twice and Chelsea won!

england london chelsea fc stamford bridge

I returned from my trip refreshed and energized. I love how travel in general opens your eyes to the world and helps remind you how good the world is!

Some of my travel essentials for this trip:

Trtl travel pillow – this ‘pillow’ wraps around your neck and holds it so it doesn’t flop. It’s made of fleece and secures with velcro. It’s not your traditional travel pillow, folds up small and almost completely flat. I felt like it worked pretty well and I got a few good hours of decent sleep on the plane.

trtl travel pillow

G4Free foldable travel backpack – we didn’t check any luggage and I really liked this backpack. It was more efficient that a suitcase especially since we needed the mobility of using them on buses, trains, and foot. It was especially nice because a lot of the roads were cobblestone which would have been more difficult with a suitcase. This backpack folds up into a small pouch too! It had a good amount of pockets and straps and held everything I needed. travelbackpack england Ear plugs and sleep aid – Not only did I use these items at night but I used them especially to sleep on the plane and avoided jet lag. I calculated how long I should stay awake on each flight, took the sleep aid and planned to fall asleep within the hour. On each flight I was able to sleep more than most people and didn’t feel overly tired or jetlagged upon arrival. The sleep aid I brought was just a generic, over the counter one from the drug store.

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Top 3 favorite beauty products under $10

I love a good beauty product but also love a good deal. I’m not and never will be the type of person that drops a lot of money on a thing, I’d much rather save it for travel! To each their own for sure and I’m excited to have found these beauty products I’ve tried and love that also happen to be pretty good deals.

top 3 beauty products under $10

  1. Avocado Cuticle Oil ($7)- This oil (mixture of avocado, almond and vitamin E) is an awesome conditioner for cuticles, nails and fingers. While it is an oil, I feel like it absorbs pretty well — I usually use it at night right before I go to bed and my cuticles and nails feel great and refreshed the next morning. I especially like this oil after painting my nails a lot of using nail polish remover. I find my nails can become more dry, thin and brittle and this oil helps replenish them.
  2. Witch Hazel ($8) – I’ve tried SO many skin toners for my face! Witch Hazel has been my favorite so far as far as keeping my skin in good condition, refining pores and maintaining relatively acne free 😉 I like that it’s a natural product, feels clean and isn’t too harsh on my skin. I use it morning and night.
  3. Rimmel Lash Accelerator($8)- I’ve written about this product before and am still pleased with how it works. It’s affordable, easy to brush on your lashes and has great results! Like most lash growth products, your lashes will go back to their regular length when you stop using the product. I use this product at night after removing all my makeup.

Exercise apparel – Senita

There are a few brands of athletic apparel I usually stick to because I’ve found they fit me well and are of high quality. Every now and then I’ll try a new or not super popular brand. I recently bought a pair of leggings from Senita. The style is called “Ellie” and they were $36, so a great price compared to other brands. For the quality, they are actually a steal! The material is super soft and stretchy. The rise on this style is a medium high and doesn’t slip or fold at all. The pants hold their shape without being too tight. The material seems durable and this style comes in a few different colors (gray, plum, black and the navy that I bought). I also like that this particular style is a 7/8 pant which is perfect for a short female such as myself 😉

One of their selling points is there are two large pockets on the sides. I didn’t think this feature would be a tipping point or anything for me, but I really like the pocket! I don’t exercise with my phone on me but it’s still super convenient for my phone when we go on walks or if I’m running errands after the gym. I am extremely pleased with my purchase and will definitely be using this brand again.senita athletics ellie leggingssenita athletics ellie leggings

senita athletics ellie leggings

Twins

Tessa is at a really fun and funny age right now. She’s always making us laugh and always let us know what she’s thinking, aka she’s kind of the little boss around our house 😉 People always say we look a like so when I got this crushed velvet dress we decided to match for a Sunday.  I love the age she’s at now and the last FOUR years have flown by way too fast, I know that sounds cliche but I  wish she could stay little forever. I love having her around the home being my little shadow.

velvet party dress

velvet party dress

velvet party dress velvet party dress Women’s velvet party dress from ToSave, an e-commerce site. I also had my eye on some of their other random products like baskets (for the never ending flow of toys), a bike phone bag and a camera bag (for my hobbies I don’t do enough of;)

Oxfords

I’m not sure how well I could pull off this style but lately I’m low key loving oxfords! I’ve had my eye on this platform style, because what 5 ft 3 inch girl wouldn’t want to be just a bit taller? 😉 I like how these are styled with cuffed or cropped jeans, I could also picture them with cropped jeans or trousers, or more dressed up with a dress or skirt. gray vintage oxfords fsjI love how Blair styled her oxfords – so classy with the blazer and midi skirt!

oxfords

First and third images are from FSJ,  I probably spent a good hour browsing their site including more oxfords and sandals (like wedding, beach, flat, etc). Middle image from good ol Nordstrom 🙂

Motivating your workout

New year, new goals – which often include physical or fitness milestones, I know mine certainly do! I made progress in a few areas last year and this year (knock on wood I stay healthy) would love to finally knock off the last few pounds of pregnancy weight. It generally isn’t hard for me to stay motivated to exercise once I’m in the habit. Currently, I go to the gym right after dropping Brent off at school. They (24 Hour Fitness) has child care that Tessa goes to and enjoys. Repetition until something becomes a habit has been key for me. My other motivation is finding something I really love (playing soccer) and focusing on how exercise makes me feel, t’s not always about the numbers. Here are a few more tips for getting and staying motivated:

Motivating Your Workout

By Christine H.

Motivation is a question for the ages. Businesses and marketing agencies spend millions of dollars and hours seeking the secret to motivating behaviors. And each of us is engaged in a constant battle with ourselves to overcome laziness and accomplish our own goals. This battle is never more evident than when we’re trying to set fitness goals.

Every person is different, and a trick that works for me may not have the same power for your workout. However, it’s always worth a try, right? So, in order to better motivate your workout, here are some ideas.

Rock the Playlist

We all know that a workout is better with a good playlist going, but you might be surprised at just how powerful it can be. In fact, it can affect performance so much that professional races often restrict the use of music players during competitions in order to eliminate the edge that it might give. Music can help you to coordinate your body’s rhythms and have a more efficient use of energy. Various studies have also shown that it motivates us to work out more often and for longer periods of time.

So, if your workout has hit a wall, consider purchasing some good new tunes. In fact, if you want to get really in depth, check out this article for a guide to the optimal rhythm for certain workouts. Find songs that will encourage you to hit a goal heart rate at each point in your workout.

Get a Buddy

Most of us have immediate negative associations with the term “peer pressure,” but the truth is that it can also be power that we use to our advantage. For some reason, when the battle begins and ends with us alone, it’s a lot easier to shirk our proactive goals. After all, no one will really care if you skip spending this morning at the gym, right? Well, maybe you should change that. If you have the added pressure of disappointing a friend who will bring you to task, you’re a lot more likely to follow through with your health goals. As an added bonus, working out is often more fun, too.

Temptation Bundling

This might be a new term to you, but once you put it into practice, it will be your new favorite thing. Do you have a television show that you really like to watch? Or perhaps you like to listen to books on tape. Do you really love spending time in the steam room during the winter when your fingers feel consistently chilled? Well, what if you started telling yourself that you could only enjoy those treats when you’re working out? Of course, it will require a certain amount of discipline to get yourself to keep your own promises to yourself, but can you imagine how much more fit you’d be if you ONLY allowed yourself to watch television when you were exercising? This can be a big helper in getting you out the door because instead of focusing on the negative challenges of a workout, you’ll be eagerly anticipating the treat that you give yourself. It’s a basic case of Pavlov behavioral conditioning, but it works! Just remember that this is most effective when you simultaneously enjoy the temptation and the workout, rather than treating yourself afterwards or beforehand.

Try Some Cool New Apps

Technology has gotten in on the motivation game in a big way, and you’ll probably be delighted when you learn what kind of possibilities are out there. For example, one app helps power up your jogging by convincing you that zombies are chasing you. Others give you ninja workouts and reward you with leveling up as you accomplish more and more workouts. If you want to bundle peer pressure and technology, look into places like declare-it.com, where you’re held accountable for your goals by a community.

What are the best motivational tools that you use to power your health goals? Share below!

Patience, persistence and perspiration

“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success”

(Napolean Hill)

I’ve been thinking a lot about this quote, especially starting off a new year. 2017 was a pretty great year for our family. We felt settled in a good routine with Brent’s school stuff, sports, church, work, etc. We had a lot of fun here locally in LA area (lots beach, baseball, new restaurants, Disneyland, etc) and road-tripped a few times up to Vegas and Utah. 2017 was also the first year I’ve been completely healthy since Tessa was born! That pregnancy was particularly hard and it’s been nice to finally see progress and the ability to regain muscle. Since her birth, I’ve had numerous injuries – hamstring, achilles, knee, back – and persistence has been key for me. During the weeks I wasn’t able to fully exercise, I was still at the gym rehabbing, stretching and strengthening and it’s finally starting to have good results. I’m not nearly where I’d like to be but I’m happy with the journey so far. Last year I also started playing soccer again with two different teams (a women’s team and a coed team) which is my main motivation for working out. I wouldn’t consider myself a natural at anything. I was never a natural soccer player or had any particular talent at the piano. These are two things I worked at all growing up and continue to practice and love today. (Thanks, Mom, for forcing me to practice the piano all those years!)

Looking forward, I am grateful to be done with 2017 as all years come with the positive and some negatives. I’m counting down the days to a week long trip to England next month and to enjoying more days at home with the kids. It’s bittersweet that they have to grow up. I know the days are numbered when I’ll have so much time with them, to watch them discover things for the first time and just to genuinely enjoy their company.

Loving where you live

11 moves in 11 years of marriage. Now that Brent has started school we hope to stay here for a long time. We’ve loved getting to move around and see all parts of the country. One of the best parts of moving so much is being able to be a tourist in your own city, we’ve always been really excited to check out the best views, attractions, hidden gems and food in all the cities we’ve lived in. There really has been amazing things about each place we’ve called ‘home’ even if only for a short while – from the historical sites in DC, the BBQ in TX, the canyons in UT and the castles in Scotland. I feel like we feel settled here in Chino Hills and one of my favorite things about this suburban gem is all the parks and hiking trails. While we haven’t taken advantage of the hiking trails and state park (that supposedly have redwoods!) that are just minutes from us, we have because of the kids checked out a ton of parks. Chino Hills has a lot of open space preserved which is one of the most beautiful things about it. We are close to LA but far enough away to feel definitely suburban. One of my favorite places to walk around with the kids is the Chino Wetlands. It’s actually near a prison and an industrial area but inside the park is very peaceful!

chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands parkchino ca wetlands park  chino ca wetlands park

chino ca wetlands park

Museum of Ice Cream

We finally were able to go to the Museum of Ice Cream here in LA after purchasing tickets back in April! They’ve sold out in every city they’ve been in so I feel lucky we were able to get tickets. It was very visually appealing and had tons of cool art. I kind of thought it would be more like a museum, as in educational, it was more like an exhibition which was still very interesting. We did get to sample some pretty good ice cream and thought the museum was well run.

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA    museum of ice cream LA museum of ice cream LA museum of ice cream LA  museum of ice cream LA

museum of ice cream LA

Fall y’all

Growing up in Southern CA, I never was really aware of seasons until obviously moving to Utah for school. Since then, we’ve lived in cold climates, snow, extreme cold and extreme hot. I enjoy fall when the temperatures drop a little, the breeze picks up and evenings are so cool and pleasant. My favorite falls were when we lived in Virginia and the trees and changing colors were unreal! Today was the first day in LA area that it felt a little like fall, and only in the morning. This weekend brings another heat wave, ha, ha!

CA fall  fall outfit Tobi fall outfit Tobi sunrise necklace

fall outfit Tobi

CA fall

CA fallCA fall pumpkin patch

We’re looking forward to the fun things that fall brings besides maybe a small drop in temperature – dressing the kids up for Halloween and the upcoming holidays. This is the first time in our 11 years of marriage that we’ve lived in CA and it’ll be so nice not to have to travel far or in poor weather to be with family!

Wearing: grey cardigan / sun necklace / black top / birkenstocks / denim / Dr. Scholls leopard flats / lularoe leggings / thank you to Tobi for partnering on this post and for having affordable clothes that fit my style 🙂