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Chicago travel tips 2018 copy1

A QUICK VISIT TO CHICAGO : CHICAGO TRAVEL TIPS

Happy Monday! (or is there such a thing 😉 lol!) . This past several weeks has been a whirlwind, and this weekend was no exception.  I hopped on a flight Friday morning to Chicago to meet up with some talented bloggers for a pow-wow.  While it was a super quick trip, it was also packed … Read more

Chicago travel tips 2018 copy1
Dublin travel guide

Dublin Ireland Travel Guide

Exploring Dublin, Ireland is a true delight!  Dublin is a wonderful urban destination that is quickly growing in popularity among tourists visiting Europe.  We had the pleasure of visiting Dublin, and I must say, it has to be one of the happiest, friendliest places on the planet!  The people were so warm and welcoming.  We … Read more

Dublin travel guide
Monarch beach resort

The Monarch Beach Resort – Kid Friendly Resorts in Orange County

Perched atop a beautiful bluff in Dana Point, CA, overlooking the glistening Pacific Ocean, the Monarch Beach Resort offers families looking for the perfect Southern California getaway a wonderful experience. I may be partial to Orange County, considering it is home, but let me tell you, after traveling the world, it really doesn’t get much … Read more

Monarch beach resort
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Best Brunch in Los Angeles and a Weekend Recap

What a week!  So much has happened at the Utah house, I’m actually headed back up there today because there are so many decisions to be made. All of this back and forth, leaving my kiddos and hubby behind are starting to wear on all of us I think.  This weekend my sweet husband surprised … Read more

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Nyc winter 4

HomeGoods & New York City, Two of My Favorite Things

I feel so fortunate to work with some of the best companies on the planet, and HomeGoods is definitely one of them.  Back in 2012, HomeGoods ran a contest on Facebook for fans of their page.  I, of course, being a huge HomeGoods fan couldn’t help but enter…the prize was a $250 gift card!  Visions … Read more

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Things to do in los angeles with kids

11 Amazing Things to Do In Los Angeles with Kids

Known as one of America’s premier vacation destinations, Los Angeles is the Entertainment Capital of the World.  It’s hard to visit California, without a stop in this vibrant, energetic city full of history, culture, shopping and dining…not to mention the miles and miles of some of the most beautiful coastline you will ever see! There … Read more

Things to do in los angeles with kids
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Holiday Family Fun at Knott’s Merry Farm

Nothing gets me into the Christmas spirit more than heading to a fun place that is decked out for the holidays. We were very excited to be invited to visit Knott’s Merry Farm this last week to check out the fun and festive things happening at the park. Knott’s Berry Farm celebrates the merriest of … Read more

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Knotts 4

Family Fun for Halloween at Knott’s Spooky Farm

This weekend was such a welcome few days of fun and relaxation.  I was out of town last weekend for work, and John has been working like crazy lately, so we definitely needed some fun family time.  We were very excited to be invited to visit Knott’s Spooky Farm this weekend to check out the … Read more

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Neon graveyard las vegas

The Neon Graveyard : Things to do in Las Vegas

“Bright light city gonna set your soul on fire.”  You can’t think of Las Vegas and not think of neon signs lighting up the vivid skyline.  But what happens to those iconic signs when hotels change names or are imploded to make way for the latest and greatest?  Thank goodness for the Neon Museum and … Read more

Neon graveyard las vegas
Mt st jean 12

Mont-Saint-Jean, France: A Medieval French Hilltop Village

When we were planning our Europe adventure, we were going to be gone long enough that we felt fairly comfortable leaving some plans open ended and kind of letting life take us where it wanted when we were on the road.  One of those happy little unplanned surprises was a quick one night stay in … Read more

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Bayeux, France: Our visit to Normandy and Historic WWII Sites

John and I both happen to be history majors who share a particular interest in 20th century American history, in particular WWII for John…so needless to say, visiting Bayeux was high on our list while spending a few weeks in France.  Bayeux is a charming little French town located on the Aure river in the … Read more

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Arles 18

Travel: Exploring the South of France: Arles

When it came time to plan our summer across Europe, the South of France was high on my list.  I envisioned planting myself in some Provencial home out in a beautiful field and letting the children roam with the goats and spend long days picking lavender and wildflowers.  I didn’t realize that along with beautiful, … Read more

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Hotel carmel breakfast nook

Destination Design: The Hotel Carmel, Carmel CA

A trip up the California coast is always a good idea, and when there is a cute boutique hotel like The Hotel Carmel to stop and relax at, it’s an even better idea.  A mix of modern and cottage architecture, 27 guest rooms some with fireplaces, others with views of the hotel’s intimate courtyard.  Relax … Read more

Hotel carmel breakfast nook
Republique

Destination Design: Republique Los Angeles

This week’s Destination Design takes us to one of my favorite spots in Los Angeles.   Located on La Brea in an historic building dating back to 1928, that in true Hollywood style, it boasts it’s own famous past.  According to Eater LA, Charlie Chaplin built the Spanish style brick building, complete with gothic arches, … Read more

Republique
Things to do in savannah georgia

Things to do in Savannah, Georgia : A city Guide

When John and I were looking for a getaway, we knew that the south was one place we could go that would feel like a real vacation where we got to experience life that felt a little different than ours here on the west coast.  We settled on Charleston, SC, but we also knew that … Read more

Things to do in savannah georgia
Sacre coeur

Visit the Sacre Coeur

I had been to Paris before, but I had never visited the Sacre Coeur.  This time, we made it a point to visit the Basilica located in the Montamarte, on the summit of the butte Montmartre, the highest point in the city.  The Montmarte is a bit of a gritty neighborhood and it was interesting to … Read more

Sacre coeur
Kimpton 2

Destination Design: The Goodland Kimpton Hotel, Goleta CA

Welcome to Destination Design, a new feature here on the blog.  This is something I’ve been wanting to start for awhile, and I’ve finally decided to just jump in with both feet.  I have a question for you… When you are browsing the internet, what makes you stop in your tracks and say WOW!?  What … Read more

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Shopping In Paris: Tips for Finding Hidden Treasures

Paris is known for for great shopping, and it did not disappoint.  There are lots of great articles all over the internet about shopping in Paris and which neighborhoods offer the best shopping whether you are looking for high end fashion or home decor in the City of Lights, but I wanted to share a … Read more

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Magnolia market and the silos fixer upper

Visit Magnolia Market and the Silos: 6 Things to Know Before You Go

Alright Fixer Upper fans… this edition of travel Tuesday is especially for you.  In October my husband and I had the chance to visit Dallas on business.  Of course when I heard “Dallas” all I was really thinking about was Waco.  As a huge fan of the Fixer Upper show and especially the cute Fixer … Read more

Magnolia market and the silos fixer upper
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What to Pack for a Trip to Bruges, Belgium in the Summer

The weather in Bruges, Belgium is chilly.  The warmest month is August, and even then, temperatures rarely get out of the 60’s.  Days are sunny, so be sure to pack sunscreen, sunglasses and hat, but layer, layer, layer.  Long sleeve shirts, a sweater and a coat with comfortable denim and some cute flats will have … Read more

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Fitness, Health and Wellness while traveling with Swissotel

I love to travel and explore the world with my family.  Nothing makes me happier than planning and preparing for a new adventure.  When we headed to Europe for the summer I wanted to make sure that we all stayed as healthy as possible so we could enjoy our time together.  I was happy to … Read more

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Things to do in amsterdam with kids

Things to do in Amsterdam, Netherlands : Family Vacation Ideas

After a wonderful 10 days spent in London, we were excited to head off to the next destination of our family vacation, Amsterdam, Netherlands.  This was our first travel experience within Europe and boarding a plane in London to head from the safety of a country where everyone spoke English to head to a place … Read more

Things to do in amsterdam with kids
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Visit Haarlem Netherlands : Day Trips from Amsterdam

Amsterdam is such a charming city.  When we visited I wanted to get a chance to visit a bit outside of the city too.  Haarlem Netherlands was recommended by several friends, including Rick Steves, 😉 and after reading The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom I knew it was the perfect day trip from Amsterdam … Read more

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Amsterdam canal house

Where to Stay in Amsterdam with a Family : Our Canal House

Visions of Amsterdam canal houses and bicycles were running through my head when we set out planning to visit Amsterdam. I knew that I wanted to stay on a canal, close to the city center, but couldn’t decide between a boutique hotel with family rooms or a traditional canal house. Beyond that, I didn’t know … Read more

Amsterdam canal house
the best restaurants orange county

Cute Oc Restaurants

You may have heard me mention it here before a time or two ;), but I am a Southern California girl through and through. I was born and raised in San Diego and then transplanted to south Orange County 25 years ago when I got married and started my own family. I remember the day … Read more

the best restaurants orange county
Fresh pasta to go venice italy with text

Pasta To Go Venedig

I like nice restaurants as much as the next guy, but sometimes when you are traveling…especially with kids and a family, you just want some good cheap street food or a hearty meal that is delicious and doesn’t break the bank.  Eating in Venice on a budget can be a bit of a challenge since … Read more

Fresh pasta to go venice italy with text
The best home decor stores in orange county

Home Decor Stores Orange County

I get asked all the time where to eat, shop and play in Orange County when people come to town, so I thought it was about time that I do some posts about the place I love so much.  Now that I am splitting time between SLC and OC, when I’m gone I REALLY miss … Read more

The best home decor stores in orange county
The Seabird Resort | Beachfront Hotel in Oceanside, CA

The Seabird Resort | Beachfront Hotel in Oceanside, CA

I grew up in San Diego and admittedly never spent much time in Oceanside. We were a little bit inland and further south in San Diego..so our beach trips took us to La Jolla Shores, Del Mar and points south. Living in Orange County these last many years Oceanside has been a bit closer, but … Read more

The Seabird Resort | Beachfront Hotel in Oceanside, CA
prettiest afternoon teas London

Best Afternoon Tea London

Ashley and I are headed on a little UK adventure in a few weeks so I’ve been researching (one of my favorite things to do when planning a trip!) for all the best of everything that London has to offer. I have been fortunate to spend a fair amount of time in London, but I … Read more

prettiest afternoon teas London
1 hotel brooklyn bridge review

1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge : A Beautiful Place to Stay in NYC

One Hotel Brooklyn Bridge is a sanctuary in the city. John and I had the chance to stay on a trip to the Better Homes & GardensStyleMaker conference and it did not disappoint! Located waterfront on Brooklyn Bridge Park, 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge sits right beside the East River and five blocks west of the … Read more

1 hotel brooklyn bridge review
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1 Hotel West Hollywood Review : A Weekend Getaway

Dare I say…travel is back? Could it be? I decided it was about time to dust off the travel archives and write a travel post. This has been the strangest 15+ months. I have never been so grounded. While there are parts of being a home body I have definitely enjoyed, the wanderlust has been … Read more

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the silos fixer upper

Visiting Magnolia Silos

When Ash and I heard that John was headed to a conference in Dallas a couple of weeks ago, we immediately saw our chance to go visit The Silos from Fixer Upper and the shops at Magnolia Market so we grabbed a couple of plane tickets and tagged along. John and I had visited the … Read more

the silos fixer upper
Things to do in jackson hole in the summer

Jackson Hole In September

Over Labor Day weekend we decided to make a last minute family trip to the town of Jackson, WY.  I had been to Jackson Hole, Wyoming many, many years ago as a kid when my family passed through on their way to Yellowstone National Park, but I didn’t remember much, and the rest of my … Read more

Things to do in jackson hole in the summer
Biltmore hotel arizona

Biltmore Hotel Arizona : Phoenix Family Vacation

We have been traveling to Phoenix for years for a fun desert getaway.  A quick drive from our home in Orange County and home to many of our extended family, we usually find ourselves there several times a year. Over spring break this year John was fortunate to have a conference at the Arizona Biltmore … Read more

Biltmore hotel arizona
Omni la costa resort and spa

Family Friendly Resorts in San Diego : Omni La Costa Golf Resort & Spa

If you are heading to Southern California and looking for beautiful, family friendly resorts in San Diego, look no further.  The Omni La Costa Golf Resort and Spa offers something for everyone in the family.  Golf, a beautiful spa, Kid’s Club, water slides…the list goes on.  Both John and I grew up in San Diego, … Read more

Omni la costa resort and spa
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Funpix Knott’s Berry Farm

It’s no secret that I am a picture fanatic!  I usually have at least two cameras with me at all times and try to capture as many of our family’s adventures and as much of every day life as I possibly can.  I am a memory maker! Last week we were invited to visit Knott’s … Read more

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the benjamin hotel

Best Places to Stay in NYC : The Benjamin Hotel

These past 2 years (I can’t even believe I’m saying that!) have felt a bit stifling, feeling stuck in one place and generally unable to travel. Things feel a little like they are starting to normalize in that department, we just got back from our first big trip in a few years and while it … Read more

the benjamin hotel
Eiffel tower tips and tricks 1

Eiffel Tower Tickets to the Top : Summit Access

Here’s an interesting fact for you: The Eiffel Tower attracts more visitors than any other paid tourist attraction in the world.  So, needless to say, when you plan to visit Paris, it is incredibly important to be well aware of different Eiffel Tower tips and tricks for visiting the Eiffel Tower and getting Eiffel Tower … Read more

Eiffel tower tips and tricks 1
Luxury family resort venice italy

Isola Delle Rose Beach

If you are looking for family friendly hotels in Venice, Italy, look no further. The JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa located on Isola delle Rose Venezia is the most incredible luxury hotel. Venice can be a hot and crowded place to visit during the summer, and I’ve heard many people say that it wasn’t … Read more

Luxury family resort venice italy
Visitor oyster cards

Visitor Oyster Cards : Tips for Getting Around London

If you are traveling to London you will, with out a doubt, need to familiarize yourself with public transportation while visiting.  Using the tube is the easiest and most cost effective way to get around the city. The endless system of trains, the Underground and buses make it simple to get all over Central London … Read more

Visitor oyster cards
Brunch at the beach

Best Ocean View Brunch In Orange County

We already know it’s the most important meal of the day, but Breakfast served with a side of an ocean view isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your soul. Here are what we consider to be the 4 best brunch spots at the beach in Orange County where you can grab some … Read more

Brunch at the beach
best places to stay in riva del garda

Best Places to Stay in Lake Garda & Things to do in Riva del Garda

The lakes region in Italy has become one of our favorite travel destinations.  Sparkling turquoise water, dramatic mountains jutting out of the lake, quaint villages and lots of activities for families and couples alike, it’s no wonder we love to visit!  Of all the lakes in Italy, Lake Garda is Italy’s largest. A quick 2 … Read more

best places to stay in riva del garda
Chuck wagon dinner show jackson wy

Chuck Wagon Dinner Jackson Hole

If you are considering a trip to Jackson, Wyoming, hopefully you’ve read all about our favorite things to do in Jackson Hole,  and Chuckwagon dinner show is on your list of things to do.  After researching the options for the best chuckwagon dinner in Jackson, Wyoming before our recent trip, I settled on reservations for … Read more

Chuck wagon dinner show jackson wy
Places to stay near zion national park

Inn at Entrada : Places to Stay Near Zion National Park

If you have never had the opportunity to visit one or more of the National Parks, here is my formal invitation to make Zion National Park a vacation destination in the near future.  Living in Southern California my whole life and traveling back and forth between CA and Utah for school, St. George was always … Read more

Places to stay near zion national park
visit sleeping beauty's castle neuschwanstein castle

Where Is Sleeping Beauty’s Castle

It’s what fairytale dreams are made of…a princess castle nestled in the forest of Germany. Take one look at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany and you can see how it inspired Walt Disney to create Sleeping Beauty’s castle. When we added Germany to our travel itinerary, driving out to see this gorgeous cliffside castle was a … Read more

visit sleeping beauty's castle neuschwanstein castle
Hotel elefant salzburg austria

Best Family Hotels in Salzburg: Hotel Elefant Salzburg

When we decided to visit Salzburg, Austria during our summer in Europe, (a Sound of Music Tour was a must for us!) we knew we wanted to stay right in the heart of the old city center.  (affiliate links are included in this post) We spent some time researching the best family hotels in Salzburg. … Read more

Hotel elefant salzburg austria
Bruges belgium

Things To Do In Bruges With Family

Our time in Europe has taken us to lots of big cities.  I love big cities, but I also wanted to explore the small towns of Europe and really get a feel for what it was like to live in a smaller town. A while ago I mentioned a bit about skipping Brussels if you are … Read more

Bruges belgium
Dijon France Travel

Best Area To Stay In Dijon

For Christmas last year we had the pleasure of traveling to France for the holiday break. As you know, if you’ve been following along with our travels for the last many years, we love to rent a car when we travel and drive all over creation. On this trip we started in Paris, where we … Read more

Dijon France Travel
11 cadogan gardens london

20 Cadogan Gardens

A trip to London always leaves me feeling inspired and like my cup is full. It’s always an absolute dream to be wandering down the bustling streets in this beautiful city lined with gorgeous townhouses and quaint shops and restaurants.  This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my full disclosure policy. On our last couple … Read more

11 cadogan gardens london
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New York City at Christmas : Things to Do

It’s no secret that I love New York City.  Every chance I get I am sneaking away to the city that never sleeps.  I have always wanted to be in New York City at Christmas and last Christmas we had the chance to travel to New York City with kids and spend 10 days in … Read more

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The Best View in Paris: The Arc De Triomphe

Ah, the City of Lights.  There are so many great places to visit in Paris that you can visit there multiple times and still not see everything.    Climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower for breathtaking views of this magical city is undoubtedly one of life’s greatest thrills, a must do for anyone visiting … Read more

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Ariel 4

Disneyland: Character Dining at Ariel’s Grotto

As the mom of a little girl who practically lives in a princess dress, and a boy who has grown up with Lightening McQueen and Mater as his best buddies, we have spent more than our fair share of time visiting all of our favorite Disney friends up the street at The Happiest Place on … Read more

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3 Months In Europe Itinerary

I can’t believe it’s been a year since we started planning and six months since we returned.  I’ve started this blog post probably 25 times, and just haven’t been able to adequately put into words the experiences of this past summer.  But now I’m feeling pressure to get it written down before the memories start … Read more

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Seattle troll 5

Fremont Sunday Market

Fairy tales are real!  Those pesky little trolls we read about as kids…well one of them is alive and well in Seattle living under the Aurora Bridge. The Fremont Troll is sure to delight your kids when you visit the Fremont District in Seattle.  When we were planning our trip for the family and looking … Read more

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