Oh, Make me over!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our Beauty Counter giveaway (previous post). I got so many great entries and comments on what your favorite beauty products are. I wanted to share some them here so others could see. Now I know what I’m buying the next time I go to Sephora. Thanks to our sponsor Natasha at Beauty Counter for hosting a great giveaway and congratulations to Mahdi for being the lucky winner!

PRODUCTS YOU LOVE

Batist Divine Dark Dry shampoo
Beauty Counter Charcoal Mask
Beauty Counter Rejuvenating Night Cream
Beauty Counter Balancing Face Oil
Becca First Light Priming Filter
Benefit Erase Paste
Better than Sex Mascara
Black Tie Market Lip Balm
Butter London Sheer Wisdom Lush Lip Oil
Clarisonic Mia
Dr. Bronners Soap
Makeup Forever Lipsticks
EOS Lip Balm
Eyebrow Powder
Eyelash Curler
MAC Lipsticks
Marc Jacobs Color Correcting Stick
NARS Bronzing Powder
Pixi Glowtonic
Retinol
Rosewater Mist
St. Tropez Sunless Tanner
Stila Liquid Foundation
Tarte Shape Tape
Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Palette

Also, while we are on the topic of beauty, I went to visit one of my clients, Cake Skincare, in Seattle recently for their second salon grand opening. They are a skin care company that knows so much about choosing the right products for your skin. If you live in the Seattle area, stop in for a consultation or visit their online shop where you’ll find amazing products that have pure ingredients, are sustainably sourced, and provide effective results.

Here are some photos from my recent visit!

cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger
Cake Skincare

cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger

cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger

cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger
cake skincare Seattle - phoenix blogger

cake skincare Seattle blogger

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Mother’s Day Morning

“WHY CAN’T IT BE KIDS DAY?” was the first thing Kelsey asked me this morning, in her most whiny voice. And then I responded in the EXACT same way my mom did years before. I said, “Every day is kids day.” And there it was. I am my mother.

Which isn’t really a bad thing. My mom is probably the most patient, loving, hilarious and beautiful woman there is. When my dad met her for the first time he said there was “a spotlight on her.” It’s true. There’s just something so special about my mom. Kelsey has that quality too. Everywhere she goes, the room lights up.

Together with my favorite boys, we celebrated Mother’s Day at church this morning. That’s my favorite place to spend a Sunday. I feel God’s presence in my heart and in the room and I am transformed.

scottsdale mom blogger

While Kelsey & Colton were in Sunday school, Nolan slept on my lap. The Pastor asked all the moms to stand up so we could give thanks and acknowledge the role a mom plays in our lives. I was the only person standing with a baby in her arms. When we were asked what we were thankful for all I had to do was tilt my head down at the little baby laying across my chest to see the amazing work God does in this world. It was a blessed morning.

After church we went to my in-laws house for Swedish pancakes, momosas, and some Bouchon Bakery muffins & scones. You see, my mother in law is one of the best cooks around so when we gifted her the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, she decided to spoil us by making some pastries. One bite of these and I was instantly transformed back to Napa Valley. 

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog - Bouchon Bakery Muffins

many hats of a mom blog - Bouchon Bakery Muffins

many hats of a mom blog

We never get clouds in Phoenix so seeing these white fluffy things in front of a clear, blue sky made for a great backdrop to our day. I was trying to teach the kids to look at the clouds and see the shapes, but they were more interested in climbing backwards out of the playhouse and tackling each other to the ground.

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog
many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

Anyone else thing we should get a monthly Mother’s Day? Me too.

7 Tips for Teaching Young Girls about Beauty

The girls at Stellar Day Magazine asked if I would write an article on ways I’m teaching my young daughter about beauty. This is an ongoing process and my approach will change with each passing year, but I had a lot of fun writing this article and reflecting on ways I’m encouraging Kelsey to feel her best.

I hope some of the tips shared in the magazine, inspire other parents with young daughters as they navigate this challenge.  Click here to read the April issue of Stellar Day Magazine. A huge thank you to Jessica Williams for putting this magazine together and for always inspiring women. If I know anything, it is that women lifting other women up is a beautiful thing. No matter how old you are.

tips for teaching little girls about beauty

tips for teaching little girls about beauty

The Real Life of Bloggers

I wanted to share a ‘real life’ blogger moment with you. About 2 months ago, I was styling products for Stowaway Cosmetics. I was hosting a giveaway on my mom blog and I wanted to take the perfect photo that would illustrate the size of the cosmetics (because that’s their thing, their cosmetics are just the ‘right size’ and not too large).

I decided my son was the perfect model to showcase the size of the product. So, I set up a little area in his nursery (it’s where I do most of my photo shoots because it has the best natural light) to photograph their products. I got the perfect shot (after about 50 tries) when suddenly, he puked!

Puked!

Baby puked all over the product and my backdrop. Ugh! I had to start all over. It was a real behind-the-scenes moment that I just had to share. Because, to this day, this photo still makes me laugh. Just know … nothing is what is seems on the internet with bloggers. There, I said it.

awkward blogger moments - many hats of a mom family blogger

awkward blogger moments - many hats of a mom family blogger

Merry Everything

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

many hats of a mom blog

When I started this blog in 2010, I had one goal in mind: Keep track of (most) everything we did. Take pictures. Write stories. Capture memories so that one day our daughter can grow up and read about her childhood. Since then our family (and my heart) has exploded with love. We have two more children and couldn’t be more thankful for the blessings we have been given.

Through this blog, I have found a love for photography and storytelling. Sometimes I look back at old photos and think, ‘Yikes!’ – did I really edit a photo like that? But that’s the whole point of this blog … to see how far we’ve come through the years. To grow. To explore. And yes, to edit photos in horrible Sepia tones until you finally get it right.

Another goal of mine was to document my children’s milestones so I could reference it later. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked myself, “When do kids get their teeth? At what age did we potty train Kelsey? What did we do for Easter last year?” When that happens, I can go into my blog archives and find the answer. How cool is that.

This little corner of cyber space as been an online journal of sorts. Albeit, I have vowed to be real but never allow this blog to be a place for venting. I have my husband, girlfriends and a good glass of wine to cure my need to vent. Besides, isn’t the world negative enough without me complaining and sweating the small stuff?

I also don’t use profanity on this blog. The worst word you’ll find on here is “shoot” because – like I said – little miss grown up Kelsey will be reading this one day. That’s something that means a lot to me.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ll be continuing to blog in 2016. I’m excited to see where my love for blogging takes me next year, and I’m excited to document the things we do, the places we go and the way in which these kids grow up. 2015 was incredibly good to us – we welcomed Nolan into our family and lived our lives in a way that would make God proud. I can’t wait to see what 2016 has in store.

It’s been a treasure and a treat to talk to you through this computer screen. And for that future big girl who is reading this, momma loves you more than you know. Even when you’re throwing sass my way.

See you guys in 2016.

Children’s Travel Book

Chidrens travel book1
Childrens Travel Books
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Since I work for a hotel company, it was perfectly fitting that my co-workers surprised me with this children’s travel book for Nolan. It’s a book on New York City, one of my favorite places.

All of my co-workers wrote a note to Nolan on the inside cover. The sweetest messages such as, “without travel, we would have never met your mom …” along with words like, “someday when you are older, I bet your mom will take you here with your brother and sister so you can see the city for yourself” and “hopefully this book inspires you to travel and explore new places.”

I can’t wait to read this book (and these sweet notes) to Nolan. I know his sister and brother are going to love pointing to all of the pictures and helping him read it too. This book gets me so excited for all of the places we’ll go as a family of five.

Thank you to my Starwood family for being so thoughtful!

Happy Easter!

Easter Flowers

easter many hats of a mom

Easter Bundt Cake

Easter family

Easter eggs

Easter

Easter kids

Easter Sunday is so special to our faith, it’s the moment when Christianity really takes flight. We are getting more and more immersed in story of the resurrection around here. We are a faithful family – one who understands (and believes!) in the miraculous holiday that makes up Easter. He is risen. He is risen, indeed! Happy Easter to you and yours.

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