A Weekend With These Two

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog
Labor Day Weekend

Ryan and I just got back from a weekend with our family. We retreated to Pinetop – Lakeside, Arizona and relaxed at our family cabin. Kelsey (and I) were both counting down the days until Labor Day weekend. We truly love our little hideaway in the mountains.

We hiked, played games, enjoyed the cooler weather, ate like royalty (thanks, Mary Ann) and got to spend the weekend together. Do you see what Colton is holding in the photo above? Lately, Colton sleep with his “Bickey Mouse” and takes the stuffed animal with him everywhere he goes. It’s truly the cutest thing. We hope your weekend was just as wonderful.

Strike a pose, girlfriend


This is her new pose. She literally tilts her head the side, sticks out her leg, points one toe and then puts her hand on her hip. I have no idea where she gets this stuff, but it sure beats her pose last month – which was to stick out her tongue every time the camera was on her. This little diva child has so much personality, I hope she never loses that or tries to hide it. She is my beautiful ball of energy and I love her so.


From the Kitchen of Kelsey Cross

baking a cake

baking a cake
Princess Hamburger Five-Layer Cake

Let’s just say Kelsey and I haven’t perfected the art of making a layered cake yet. The other day, we decided to bake a cake. We didn’t read any directions, we just decided to wing it. That made for half of the fun! We wanted it five layers (Kelsey’s choice) and all kids of colors (again, her call). We didn’t get rid of the ‘bubble’ on the layer that result in a fast bake time, instead we just stacked and let the cake lay where it may.

It was hilarious! No, seriously, this was the best part of baking. Allowing your four-year-old dictate the colors of the cake, not worrying about a mess and frosting with your fingers, and forgetting to tighten the lid on the sprinkles before pouring them on top of your cake. We really did have a great time baking together. After it was all done, Ryan walked in and said, “Is it supposed to look like a hamburger?” Well, no. It’s not. But since it does, we called this our Princess Hamburger Cake. And if you’re wondering, it tasted amazing.

baking a cake - mom blog

baking a cake - mom blogabaking a cake 5

baking a cake

Curious Colton and his Elsa doll

family blog

family blog

Real Men like Frozen

Whenever I get back from a work trip, I like to just stare at my kids in the morning. I just admire their curiosity so much. I also love the way they look, touch and feel. They are the cuddliest little kids I ever did see. And they are all mine! I don’t get much time to admire them because as soon as we’re up Ryan makes us all breakfast and then we’re out the door to swim class, gym class and a day full of errands.

This weekend my aunt and Nana are in town so we’re having fun spending every evening with them. Plus, they bring toys when they come into town so these kids are getting more than their fair share of books, train stations, cars, and clothes. Colton’s favorite toy so far is still Kelsey’s Elsa doll. He walks around the house saying, “Elsa. Elsa.” when he can’t find her. I think he has a crush on her.

A Photo Tour of The St. Regis New York

st regis new york hotel

st regis new york

st regis new york king cole bar

In all her splendor stands The St. Regis New York. She’s proud, established, luxurious, perfectly polished, modern, seductive, exquisite, charming, and can be found on the prestigious 55th and 5th Avenue. She is the original. She is St. Regis. I was fortunate enough to stay at this hotel on Monday night and enjoyed every moment.

st regis new york lobby

st regis new york design

I had breakfast in their restaurant and was able to sneak in a few photos before anyone came down. The design of the hotel is something to be admired. Sometimes there is art on the walls, and sometimes the art is the wall. In this case, the ceiling was a work of art.

st regis new york hotel design
st regis dinner

The King Cole Bar is notorious in the City as being one of the best bars for cocktails. It’s small, intimate, dark and attracts a great crowd. The first Bloody Mary was poured here n 1934. It was then called The Red Snapper, so if you ask the bartenders, they will most likely recommend this drink. The Old King Cole mural alone is reason to come.

king cole mural

king cole mural

st regis king cole bar

My room was oversized, impeccably designed and it illuminated when I walked into the room. You could feel the rich history from the moment you stepped through the black doors. The sitting area was spacious and had such inspiring design and the bed felt like you were sleeping on a cloud. The St. Regis New York has a Bentley Suite, Dior Suite and a Tiffany’s Suite. Mine was a Deluxe Room, so you can just imagine what the suites look like.

st regis hallways

st regis new york hotels

st regis new york

st regis new york guest room

st regis new york guest rooms

st regis new york hotel
Thank you for such a memorable stay, St. Regis. You sure know how to make a girl feel welcome, spoiled and extremely grateful.

Sightseeing in the Big Apple

apple store

new york city

window shopping

new york city window shopping
In a New York Minute

I had 3 hours in between meetings to explore New York City. So, I did what any girl would do with limited time … I shopped 5th Avenue! I started at 55th and 5th and made my way up to Tiffany & Co., Apple, FAO and then over to Central Park, The Plaza Hotel, down to Bergdorf Goodman, then over to Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center. Then, I crossed the street to Saks Fifth Avenue before making my way to Louis Vuitton, Versace, and then back to The St. Regis New York.

Let’s just say I loved every single minute.

horse carriage rides in central park, NYC
central park
Horses, Central Park and a lot of Tourists

I’m not going to lie to you, there was a part of me that was willing to take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park alone. But then I thought about it a bit harder and decided against it. What? It looked so inviting and intriguing. And then there was this person dressed as the Statue of Liberty, standing on phone books and this moment happened. God Bless them.

new york tourists

In and around Rockefeller Plaza

There is something so nostalgic about Rockefeller Plaza, even though I’ve never been here before. Ha! I think it’s because every year I invite this Plaza into my home with the Christmas Tree Lighting and holiday specials on television.

I went to the Top of the Rock to take some pictures, but there was an entire school (literally, 75 students) in line waiting their turn so I figured it would be a while before I got up there. The next morning, as I was blowdrying my hair and watching Jennifer Hudson perform on the Today Show, I thought … I could totally run down there right now and see her. I love being close to the action and New York City puts you right into the heart of it.

radio city music hall new york city

rockefeller center

rockefeller center
The Shops (and hotels) along 5th Avenue

My boss would be so proud. I hit up every luxury retailer and stopped at some of the most influential hotels in the business. I don’t know what it is about The Plaza Hotel but I love this place (hello, Home Alone 2!). It reminds me of Christmas. The Plaza is much smaller inside than I thought it would be, but super charming all the same.

As a Retail major, I have a soft spot in my heart for good visual merchandising and retail displays. I stopped at every window and just admired the creativity in the windows. The stories people are able to tell through artistic expression and merchandising is amazing. But, let’s talk about the fact that there was a line wrapped around the building of Abercrombie & Fitch. A line! At Abercrombie? Not sure I understand that one.

the plaza hotel

bergdorf goodman

new york city window shopping

window shopping  in nYC

window shopping | NEW YORK CITY

window shopping | NEW YORK CITY

window shopping new york city

michael kors in new york city

the st regis new york hotel

Where it all Began

I ended my self-walking tour at St. Regis New York, where it all started. This was the very first St. Regis hotel built in 1904 and since it just went through a multi-million dollar restoration and redesign, I was so anxious to experience it first-hand. I am still pinching myself for the opportunity to have stayed here. Let’s just say there is an entire blog post dedicated to my pictures of this beautiful hotel. Here’s a little sneak peek.

st regis new york

And then … (you still with me?)

Looking back this, I had no idea that I took this many photos. I am such a casual photographer. Meaning, I literally snap a photo of something I see without taking too much time to set the shot. I like to capture exactly what I saw, and how I saw it versus taking time to do staging. Here are some photos from my morning commute from The St. Regis New York to The Chatwal hotel (near Times Square). I was on my way to a day full of inspiring meetings around St. Regis and Luxury Collection 2015 brand planning.

new york buildings

new york buildings

new york city broadway

new york city subway

new york times square
What I Learned

I had no idea how much inspiration and freedom I would feel while walking through the city. I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with all of the sights, sounds and people. When I first stepped out of the cab, I felt like a suburbia dork with my camera in tow, but I quickly adapted once I realized that anything goes here. You just have to stay strong, find your place and dive in head first.

I already miss it and I only got to see a small fraction of the entire place. There is so much more I want to do. Times Square, Meat Packing District, The Brooklyn Bridge, breakfast at Le Meridien Parker, shopping in SoHo, Upper West Side exploring, a Broadway Play. Next time I’m bringing Ryan because there is a sandwich at Carnegie Deli and a patch of grass at Central Park with our names on it.

Until we meet again, New York …

View my photo tour of The St. Regis New York

New York. Where have I been?

I’ve clearly been living under a rock. I am 31 years old and just experiencing New York for the first time. I only have a few hours in the city before a day full of meetings tomorrow, but I’m already planning a return trip back. I didn’t even make it two feet out of my cab before calling Ryan and declaring that we plan a return trip (just us) to experience all of the great things New York City has to offer.

More photos to come. But first, I loved this moment today. I was walking to The Plaza hotel when I saw this tourist taking in the moment, it was just too perfect to pass up. And don’t think for a second that I didn’t think of joining her. Oh, New York … I’m in love.

new york tourist

We took over the mall for a few hours



Family night out

It was an indulge-in-a-vanilla-shake-from-IN-and-Out-Burger, mixed with shopping at the Disney store kind of night. We took the mall by storm. No really, we kind of did. Have you seen how fast Colton can run? And for whatever reason, if there is a lot of people nearby and many breakable things around, he runs even faster.



Taking a spin

Before we left for the store, Kelsey emptied her piggy bank and picked out all of the quarters. She stuffed them into her purse so she could pay for things at the mall. It was the sweetest thing. We rode this merry-go-round with her quarters. She even paid for her little brother to ride it twice. I don’t know who was more proud in that moment …me, or her.




We found relief in Pottery Barn

Well, mostly I did. I love Pottery Barn so much and the fact that it’s all decked out in fall colors makes this mama one happy lady. While Ryan was trying to wrangle Colton from running into every shelf, corner and taking out every aisle, I was busy drooling over their new stuff. We made it through the entire store without any child knocking over anything and then I go and run right into a sign and nearly knock it over to the floor. Seriously, sometimes we worry so much about our kids and we are actually the clumsy ones.

many hats of a mom | Family night out

coltonMy people

There is nothing (nothing!) I love more than being around these people. It’s the silly things Kelsey will say, the crazy things Colton will do and the most special moments Ryan gives me just by allowing me into his heart every day. I don’t have enough lucky stars to thank for the blessings that I’ve been given. To know these three people has given me more fulfillment and joy than I could have ever asked for (I have God to thank for that).