Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

things to celebrate happy weekend links

The 50 states as food! I  loved these two in particular:

The anatomy of a self care routine – I loved that solitude was one of the items! While I generally enjoy being in the company of others, I do relish alone time when everything is quiet. It’s nice every once and a while to have quiet moments to hear yourself think.

 

 

 

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7 Tips for Summer Sun Safety

We’ve been enjoying our first summer in Southern California, and especially the days the kids and I spend at the beach! Newport is the closest beach to us and we usually go about once a week for a few hours. I’m excited to share this guest post about sun safety. My favorite tip is the first one, which may seem obvious, but I’m always sure to slather sunscreen on myself and the kids with a combination of both lotion and spray sunscreen.

By Christine H.

It’s summer! And that means it’s time to get outside and enjoy the wonderful weather. However, as you spend time splashing in the public pool, picnicking at the beach, and hiking through the mountains, take precautions to protect yourself and your family from the sun.

Here are 7 suggestions that will keep you sun-smart this summer:

  1. Wear sunscreen… daily! If you simply slather on some sunscreen when you go to the beach, you’re not doing enough to protect yourself from the sun. Sun has a major effect on your skin. In the short term, it can lead to heat rash and sunburn. But it has more severe effects over time, and it’s cumulative, as this article warns. Sun exposure leads to prematurely aging skin – wrinkles, and sunspots, and loss of elasticity. Even more dangerous, sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Some melanoma will be minor and simply require removal. Others can spread to the rest of your body and become life-threatening. Wear sunscreen every day, not just when you’re planning a big event outside and you’re worried about sunburn. You should have a daily face cream that protects against UV rays.
  2. Cover up. Sunscreen can’t do everything. Sometimes the best technique for protecting yourself from the sun is the old-fashioned one. Wear a hat to protect your eyes and face from direct light and glare. Wear longer sleeves to limit your sun exposure. Also remember to seek out shade and bring umbrellas with you for outdoor events. It might seem counterproductive to cover up more when you’re hot, but it can actually protect you from heat stroke and exhaustion.
  3. Guard your eyes. Wearing a hat helps protect your eyes from UV rays, but you’re better off wearing sunglasses to keep your eyes healthy. Much like your skin, your eyes can age prematurely with exposure to sun. UV rays can lead to a higher chance of cataracts and AMD. Not all sunglasses are created equal, so take a close look at your purchases. Do they say that they protect from UVA and UVB rays? If not, they might be even more harmful than not wearing glasses at all, since they encourage your eyes to keep the pupils dilated, which lets in more harmful UV light.
  4. Take precautions when you go camping and hiking too. If you’re in the woods or up in the mountains, you might not feel as hot and so you won’t think as much about how much sun you’re being exposed to. However, you’ll probably get more sun through the day than you usually do during just an hour or two at the pool. So bring sunscreen with you, and be realistic about the effects that the sun is having on you. Seek shade when possible, and drink lots of water. Sun exposure can also create fatigue in your body, which you’ve probably noticed if you’ve ever slept really well the night after a day spent sunbathing. This might be caused by dehydration, and your body working overtime to regulate chemicals and temperature.
  5. Think outdoor events through. Often, fairs, music festivals, and things like amusement parks can cause a lot of health problems because people aren’t thinking about how much sun and heat they’re getting. The crowds can make things even worse, especially if you’re at a music festival or other event where people are in close quarters. So, as you walk into an event, look around and see where the medical tent is. Plan your time under shade. This link has some great suggestions for being safe at an outdoor event.
  6. Be aware of signs of overexposure. Sometimes, exposure to sun isn’t just about your skin and your eyes. Sun exposure can lead to fainting, or heat stroke. So recognize the symptoms and take care of yourself if you start exhibiting some of these problems:
    1. Dizziness
    2. Faintness
    3. Blackout
    4. Headache
    5. Trouble focusing
    6. Spots in your vision
  7. Hydrate more than you think you have to. You may not feel dehydrated while you’re out and about and being busy. But if you’re spending time in direct sunlight, you will get dehydrated. Make a conscious effort to drink water before, during, and after your time outside.

 

Sun safety is important, but so is making the most of your summer. It’s a great season to meet new people, try new things, and have some fun! This article has some great suggestions for things to do to get the most out of your time, whether it’s in the sun or not. So don’t let the warnings scare you away from doing what you want to this summer. Just be smart!7 summer sun safety tips

My favorite beach products here

My favorite way to stay hydrated here

Staycation: Newport Beach

We went on our first staycation a few weeks ago! We really enjoyed it because it was nice to have time away, relax while not having to travel far. We are blessed to live in an area where there is so much to do relatively close to us. Even though the kids are I go to Newport Beach every week, it was great to have Dave with us on our trip.

Dave’s parents let us stay in their Marriott timeshare which is an amazing location and gorgeous property. There are 3 pools, kid play areas with toys and crafts, a movie theater and game area. newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

We also went to Balboa Island which is so gorgeous! We had frozen bananas at the banana stand and walked around to admire all the cute homes and boats in the harbor.

balboa island staycation banana stand

balboa island staycation banana stand

balboa island CA staycation

balboa island CA staycationThe next day we went to Crystal Cove beach. The beach sand area is small, down a flight of wooden stairs on the cliff and it’s so gorgeous! We had a section of the beach almost all to ourselves and had fun with the kids playing in the waves.

newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

newport beach staycation

Our last day before heading back to Chino Hills, we stopped by the Santa Monica Pier for a churro and to ride the carousel.

newport beach staycation santa monica pier

newport beach staycation santa monica pier

I would definitely go on another staycation especially when there are so many cool places close to LA area – Santa Barbara, San Diego, Mexico, Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, La Vegas and Phoenix are all places we’ve thought about for our next staycation!

Father’s Day gift ideas

Father’s Day is this Sunday and here are a few ideas for affordable gifts:

Father's Day affordable gift ideas

If your dad, grandfather, husband, significant other, etc already has a lot of stuff, give them an experience! I’ve used groupon a few times (for things like house cleaning and hair cuts) but they also have travel deals and ‘things to do’ like skydiving, harbor cruises, etc. Lots of ideas that are local to your area and a fun way to try new things right where you live!

I’ve recently discovered Vimbly which has tons of activities, events, dining, tours, etc. based on your city. They have deals available in most every large city in the US. A few that interested me in LA were a zip line tour, paddle boarding lessons and a Latin eating tour of LA. There were so many activities that would make awesome gifts for Father’s Day!

I also love this waterproof dopp kit, beard oil and Stance socks. Stance has a ton of high quality patterned socks including professional sports teams.  I’ve already spoken my love of the Hydro Flask water bottle and I feel it’s a great gift for anyone since hydration is important and it’s super convenient to take anywhere since it doesn’t leak or collect condensation on the outside.

Hydro Flask // dopp kit// groupon // vimbly // beard oil // Stance socks

Fiesta Friday: links I love and things to celebrate

We’re currently on a staycation in Newport Beach! I’ll write more about it when we come back (from an hour away, ha!) but we’ve been looking forward to relaxing and seeing a new-ish place without traveling far.

Here are some other places I’d love to see one day:

Canada – I’ve never crossed the border north and was inspired by these pictures of Banff and Lake Moraine

10 things to do in Barcelona (my top choice would definitely be Camp Nou!)

6 reasons to visit Bolivia

My top 10 travel wish list

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 ^

 

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 😉