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

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 😉