Life

Hotel Bel-Air Staycation

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It’s a rare occasion for us to have a little staycation here in LA but after our stay at the Hotel Bel-Air, I think we’re going to change that! It’s so nice to get to experience your city from a whole new perspective. Even though we live 15 minutes from Bel-Air, we felt like we were in an entirely new place & the boys loved the opportunity to “get away” without having to travel far.

hotel bel-air los angeles staycation

We chose the Hotel Bel-Air through Ebates & it was the most genius thing we’ve ever done! Not only was the hotel choice perfect for us (if you’ve never been, add it to your list!) but we were able to get 10% Cash Back for Travel Thursday! This was my first time using Ebates for booking travel but I’m already looking for another hotel to book today because who can resist 10% Cash Back? I’ll find any excuse for an adventure. 🙂

ebates travel thursday hotel bel-air review hotel bel-air kids

As you can probably tell from the photos (& if you saw my Instagram Stories), we had the most incredible stay at the Hotel Bel-Air! This was my first time staying there & I can’t get over how incredible the hotel, staff & environment was. From the second we pulled in, every member of the staff was beyond helpful & so kind to us AND the boys (which isn’t always the case with hotels & kids). The entire property is beautiful & we loved that it felt like we were staying at a large estate. With multiple grass areas, fountains & even swans, the boys were in heaven!

hotel bel-air restaurant hotel bel-air food

Another favorite was the food (you didn’t think you would read about one of our adventures & not hear about the food, did you?!). You guys know I’m all about the food when we travel & I’m still dreaming about the blueberry pancakes with a side of potatoes I ate. Yes, they were that good!

ebates cash back hotel bel-air family friendly ebates travel thursday cash back

I also wanted to add a few little tips for staying in hotels with kids because we get asked this quite often. The goal when staying in a hotel with kids is to make them as comfortable as possible. It’s not always easy for little ones to be out of their home environment & so making them feel as “at home” as possible is a necessity. Over the past 5 years, we’ve figured out that bringing all their special nighttime things & keeping their nighttime routine the same makes the stay so much easier. For us, that includes a sound machine, the boys’ loveys (stuffed animals they sleep with every night) as well as their small soft blankets. Your kid’s favorite things might be a bit different but bringing a little piece of home with you to the hotel can make an incredible difference in your stay & is the perfect way to get kids used to travel!

ebates travel cash back los angeles family hotels

Now to sum up our stay in a few words… It was perfect. If you’re looking to book travel anytime soon, don’t miss out on 10% Cash Back at Ebates hotels and more, today only for Travel Thursday!

*Special thanks to Ebates & ShopStyle for sponsoring this post!

traveling overseas with young kids

Traveling Overseas with Young Kids

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We made it to Rome all in one piece & with 2 babes in tow! Seriously though, I was so nervous to take the boys to Europe for the first time & I pictured all of the things that could possibly go wrong in my head for over a month. Dramatic? Maybe! But if you’re a parent, you know that the idea of traveling with young kids can cause all sorts of stress. I’m here to tell you that we survived though & that I’m so happy we decided to take our boys along on this adventure 🙂
Traveling Young Kids travel babies
I know that at 17 months old, Hendrix is far too young to remember this trip BUT I do feel like this trip was a great starter trip to get him more used to traveling in the future. Kannon, on the other hand, was beyond excited for our trip to Rome & couldn’t stop talking about it for weeks leading up to our actual trip.
overseas flight baby traveling europe baby
Now for how we survived the flight with the boys! I’m not going to lie, Kannon was a breeze. He’s almost 5 so he’s at an easier age where he can walk through the airport on his own, carry his own backpack & curl up in a ball & sleep 10 hours on the plane. We gave him a little gummy melatonin to help him sleep well & everything was as smooth as can be with him! We did buy him a toddler pillow & this amazing invention to make it easier for him to sleep on the plane though!

 

Hendrix on the other hand.. Well, he’s never been the greatest sleeper. We decided that because of this, we would purchase him his own seat instead of having him fly as a lap infant. He’s nearly 18 months old & after flying to New York a couple of months ago with him on our lap, we knew it would save us the headache of trying to wrestle him the whole flight. We brought along our favorite travel car seat (it’s seriously SO light & we carry it in this travel backpack with Kannon’s travel booster seat, which makes it so much easier to carry around!) & it definitely made a difference. He watched a movie (don’t judge us for letting him watch tv before 2 ;)) & fell asleep for a couple of hours in his seat. Then the person in front of him reclined their seat & his toes hit the touchscreen on the seat back & woke him up. Not the greatest luck with that because for the next 7 hours he refused to sleep & only wanted me to hold him haha. I came prepared with lots of snacks, his favorite movies on the iPad, his carrier to bounce him in the back of the plane & a couple new hot wheels cars to hold onto. I may have also brought half of a caffeine pill for myself so that I could stay awake & keep him from crying so that he didn’t disturb everyone else trying to sleep on the plane haha. Sometimes you gotta do what you’ve gotta do, right?! I’m not going to lie & say that it was a piece of cake traveling with a 17-month-old on a 12-hour flight BUT I will say that it was completely manageable & so worth the experience & memories made. If I can do it, I know you can too!
europe young kids long flight with baby
 Traveling isn’t always easy with young kids BUT in my honest opinion, it is worth the one million things you have to tote across the world & the lack of sleep because there is nothing like teaching your kids about the world & actually letting them experience those cultures on their own.
If you’ve traveled overseas with your babes, what are your tips for traveling overseas with young kids??

 

family christmas pajamas

Family Holiday Pajamas

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Macy's Cyber Monday Macy's Family Pajamas Adam Gregory Holiday Family Pajamas Matching Family Pajamas Macys Pajamas Macy's Pajama Sale Holiday PajamasIt’s the holiday season & I am so unbelievably excited, I feel like a kid on Christmas morning! This truly is my favorite time of the year for so many reasons. This time of year we get to spend so much time with our loved ones & honestly, there is nothing better than that! Although Christmas pajamas take a very close second 🙂

Christmas pajamas have been a tradition in my family my entire life & it’s one of my favorite traditions that I’ve continued with our little family! Every Christmas Eve we sleep in our Christmas pajamas & it’s so much fun waking up Christmas morning with them on. Plus, matching pajamas makes for THE cutest photos! When we all tried these pajamas on, my heart melted seeing my two boys matching. This is Hendrix’s first Christmas & my heart nearly burst picturing my boys together for their first big holiday as brothers!

Back to these perfect matching family pajamas though! You all know Macy’s is my go-to shopping destination for every occasion if you read this post. But Macy’s has THE best pajama selection for the whole family (dogs included!) & they make finding family pajamas so easy. They have a great selection and best of all, they’re having an incredible Cyberweek promotion for 65% off when your purchase 2 or more sets & 50% off if you purchase 1 set. That is seriously such a great deal & family pajamas make the perfect gift as well. So if you’re in the market for family pajamas, head on over to Macy’s because I’m obsessed with all of the different prints & styles (hello, footie pajamas!!) & you can find these family pajamas only at Macy’s!

I would love to know, do you have a family pajama tradition!? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you to Macy’s and ShopStyle for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are my own 🙂

Removing Negativity Life

Removing Negativity From Your Life

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ASOS TurtleneckFall Womens Style Removing negativityAs I recently shared in this post, I’ve been aspiring to remove bad or negative things from our home and lives. I want to not only raise my boys in a safe home, but also show them how to focus on the positive. There’s of course a lot of negativity that simply comes with life, but removing some of it is luckily up to us. Here are ways I’ve been trying to get rid of toxicity in my life:

Relationships

Leaving friendships or relationships can be hard — feelings are usually involved and it can even be awkward, but as I get older, I’ve realized the importance of positive relationships. I want to be surrounded by good people and ones that make me feel better about myself, not worse. I also want to show my boys what healthy, respectful friendships or relationships looks like. Dedicating my efforts to strong, happy relationships is important to me — and I’m so thankful for all the ones that I have!

Products

I have a lot of learning to do here, but I do appreciate the awareness that companies like Honest and goop are bringing out. There’s a lot of scary stuff in the products we clean our houses with, our makeup, and even what we put on our kids’ skin. Like I said, I’m still figuring out where to draw the line of safety vs. convenience as a mom (it’s hard right?!), but this is definitely more on my radar lately.

Television

This is tough because sometimes you need mindless reality TV, but I do try to limit it. A lot of the shows that I love (hello, Housewives & Kardashians) are full of negative vibes and hostile behavior, and I can’t help but notice that it’s not adding anything positive to my life. Of course I need it here and there, but I do take breaks from that type of TV if I’m feeling down or overwhelmed. I’ve been loving This Is Us though! Anyone else?

I’m excited to keep exploring toxic, negative things in my life and how to get rid of them. Do you ever feel weighed down by negativity? How are you removing negativity from your life?

Comment below with how you’re removing negativity!

revamp living room

3 Ways To Revamp Your Living Room Without Breaking The Bank

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Colorful Living Room Coffee Table Decor Decorating Apartment Framebridge Custom Frames Living Room Decor Living Room Inspo Colorful Living Room DecorOkay, I’m going to start this post off by saying that I am in no way, a home decor guru. In fact, home decor is something that I seriously struggle with because it just doesn’t come easily for me. I scroll through Pinterest & see all of these beautiful spaces & think, “I want our home to look like that!” But unfortunately, whenever I try to actually execute a redesign, it never turns out exactly how I would like it too OR I never actually finish the process.

When we moved back from NYC, I knew I wanted to revamp our space. I wanted more color & I wanted to make our home feel more comfortable & “homey” since we were having another baby. Also, Kannon had a hard time moving to NYC & he really missed our home here in LA, so I wanted our living space to feel even more “ours”.

While I didn’t want to repurchase everything new, I knew that I wanted to change the look/feel of our living room. While going through the process, I found some really easy ways to completely revamp your living room without spending a fortune & without the help of an interior decorator. SO per usual, I thought I would share the little things I did to completely revamp our living room 🙂

1.) Change up your decorative pillows

While my husband absolutely hates decorative pillows, they can change the whole look of your space. Our pillows are a mix from Target & Society6. Both places have a very reasonably priced selection & Society6 has SO many options. For me, the pillows complete our living room. The bright colors make me feel happy every time I walk into the room & I personally love having a lot of pillows around 🙂

2.) Purchase a rug

We have two dogs & for some reason, our male dog loves to pee on rugs.. He must think it’s grass or something! With that gross story aside, we got rid of our ruined rug ages ago & never purchased a new one with the fear that it would be ruined once again. (FYI, we have carpet in the rest of our apartment so the kids had a comfy place to play still :)) Well, when we moved to NYC, the one thing Kannon requested was a large rug for our wood floors. The second we rolled the rug out, our place felt like home! A large rug can add so much to a room, it’s almost unbelievable! So as soon as we got home, we ordered a massive rug to fill our living room & we all love it. The dogs are no longer allowed on the rug (which is more sanitary anyways, right?!) & we love to lay on the floor playing games or cars on the daily. Plus, both the rug we purchased in NYC & this rug were SO inexpensive from Amazon. If you’re in the market, check Amazon first!

3.) Add custom photo frames

There is nothing that makes a space feel more like “home” than photos of you & your loved ones. We had some of our favorite photos custom framed from Framebridge & when we received them in the mail, I might have shed a tear (& by might, I mean I 100% did, don’t judge me :)). These gold frames are the perfect accent for our room & the photo quality is incredible. I love nothing more than to look up at these shelves & see these beautiful photos of the people I love the most. Also, a custom frame would make THE perfect holiday gift for literally anyone! The process of making these was SO easy & Framebridge has a great feature where you can print cute square frames with Instagram photos as well! We bought a couple square frames for the boys room & we love them!

So, if you’re having trouble coming up with a great gift, have a photo custom framed. A beautiful framed photo is such a lovely gift! Plus, I have a special promo code where you all can save 15% off your first Framebridge purchase!! Just use code: BLUEEYEDFINCH15 — Make sure you don’t miss the holiday deadlines though! The deadline for mail in physical items is 12/4 & the deadline for print and frame orders is 12/18. Just in case you guys want to order for Christmas 🙂

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While there are definitely a few things that I would like to change (new accent chairs eventually), we are loving our new living room. It feels so bright & comfortable for all of us! I would like to quickly add that we are well aware that our shelves are a bit too high haha. With two young kids, we were afraid to put them too low where they could possibly pull things off the shelves or climb & injure themselves. Sometimes you have to sacrifice some things for the kids, right?! 😉

Pieces Featured:

Custom Gold Frames – Gold Coffee TableTufted Sofa – Braided Hemp PoufWool Wrap PoufFaux Fur Rug (used over chair) – Turquoise Rug – Black & Cream Tassel PillowOther Pillows

Staying Organized

How To Stay Organized As A Blogger

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Blogging Tips Free People Floral DressSomething I’m always interested in learning from other bloggers or small business owners is how they stay organized. Running your own business comes with a handful of responsibilities that make organization a must, and I rely on certain techniques to make it easier on myself. I definitely notice that when I have things together, life just runs more smoothly in general. My mood is better, I have more time for the boys, and I’m definitely less stressed. Since some of these techniques have been so helpful for me, I wanted to share them with you. I hope they work for you!

The 2-minute rule

I can’t remember where I learned this, but basically the rule suggests taking 2 minutes at the end of each work day/session to clean up. Pick up your desk, take the coffee mugs back to the kitchen, put your computer away, whatever. Then, when I start working the next day, I can get right into work rather than clean.

Editorial calendar

When I’m really prioritizing organization with work, I’m sticking to an editorial calendar. I hate the feeling of not knowing what I’m posting the following week and just throwing together a post, so instead I’ll take the time to plan out the next couple weeks. Also, if I get to a day where I either don’t feel like writing about that planned subject, I have a list of others to choose from. Having a short- and long-term idea of what’s coming next is incredibly beneficial for my brand.

Daily to-do list

On top of an editorial cal, I’ll make a list of what I need to do—for work and life in general—each morning. I put a star by the 3 most important things that I have to get done, and if the boys’ schedule works out, I do those first. If not, I plan out the day to make sure those 3 things will be done for sure. Having an idea of what I need to do each day helps significantly, plus it feels good to get it all out of my brain. Whatever I don’t get done, I move to a list for the next day.

Pre-schedule posts

Planning posts—for Twitter, Facebook, etc.—in advance is great. This way I don’t have to post randomly throughout the day while I’m taking care of other things, and I can assure that I have social posts to match a blog post when one goes live. Spending an extra 5 minutes or so after I write up a blog post seems to be the best way to do this.

All of these are pretty simple, but they are definitely effective! Do you have any organization tips?

Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016 Recap

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Max Where the Wild Things Are Baby Costume Toddler Ninja Costume Where the wild things are costume Kids Halloween Costumes Sheridan GregoryWe spent the past week in Utah for Halloween & to spend time with family. Every time we are up there, we never want to leave! There really isn’t anything better than spending time with family & friends! Hope you enjoy our Halloween photos (even though they are so late :)).

Internet Protection for kids

Protecting Your Virtual Life // Sophos Home

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Sophos Home Free Internet Protection SophosAnyone else a little bit freaked out by the Internet and computers these days? I know I can’t be the only one! Especially now that I’m a momma & Kannon is old enough to play around on the computer (ABC Mouse & PBS Kids), what’s lurking behind that screen kind of scares me. Maybe it’s also because running my business requires me to be on the computer quite often. Between emails, social media, & actual website content, I’m opening up our home to the possibility of malware or viruses. I’m not even fully aware of the damage hackers can do either, so that’s freaky enough!

Let’s be real, while we are all Internet obsessed, there are some pretty scary things (& people) out there that we don’t want coming into our home, even if it’s just virtually. As I’ve started becoming more aware and focused on ways to keep my little family safe from things like toxins in the home, radiation, and viruses, I’ve been browsing services to help.

When it comes to computers, Sophos Home is an incredible company making it really easy to protect your family through secure internet. Some other virus protectors can be a bit confusing and time-consuming, which I was not into, but Sophos breaks it down in a way that’s simple and quick. Plus, I honestly feel really safe with it & it’s FREE! Another bonus? They’re doing an incredible sweepstakes where you can win some awesome products! One grand prize winner will win a Macbook & two additional winners will receive Apple Watches!

It’s funny as a mom what stuff you start to worry about (everything, right?!), but it feels good to have peace of mind when it comes to the Internet since it’s such a part of our culture now. If you’re worried or unsure about what’s behind that screen, you can download Sophos right here.Now I’m not as stressed about Kannon being on the computer or spending so much time browsing the web for work. I hope it makes you feel safer too!

If you haven’t already, please watch the video above because it had both me & my husband laughing SO hard! One of the most genius things we’ve seen in a long time!

Thanks to Sophos for sponsoring this post. Because of you, this anxious momma gets through the day a little bit easier 😉

Making Yourself A Priority

Making Yourself A Priority

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making mom priority ASOS Tan Cardigan Clad + Cloth DressTan SweaterLace Up Flats – Gold Watch – Sunglasses – Necklace

With the outpour of support from my post (thank you all!) about life’s changes and what I want to incorporate into this blog, I’d love to talk about making yourself a priority. As women, and especially moms, the to-do list that comes with life gets long, right? It’s in our DNA to take a lot on, sometimes too much. There’s not only society pressure, but the pressure we put on ourselves to keep our relationships going, look good, feel good, be a quality mom, sister, friend, partner, keep the house together, maintain a career, whatever. It’s a lot!

It can be easy to put others first and ourselves last, but at some point, it’s our duty to put the focus back on ourselves. It can seem like an oxymoron, but I think putting time into yourself ultimately makes us better for those we love. I also want to teach my boys that while women can handle a lot, we also deserve time for ourselves—just like everyone does!

You’ll probably have other things that refresh you and make you uniquely feel good, but here are some of my favorite ways to focus on myself.

Bath time

When my husband is kind enough to take the boys and let me have some mama time, I’ll take a bath, turn on “spa” music, put a face mask on, throw some epsom salt into the water, and either read or close my eyes. Something about sitting in warm water is so relaxing, and I come out 30 minutes later feeling like a new person. After the boys go to bed is a perfect time if my husband is busy.

Solo grocery shopping

It makes me laugh to think how happy this task makes me when I’m by myself since it’s so mundane, but browsing the farmer’s market or store alone is so blissful. I have time to look around and check labels, and I’m not moving as quickly as possible like I am when the boys are joining. Instacart (during nap time) is almost as nice for the days I don’t have time to get to the store.

Magazines and manicures

Ahhh, there’s not much better than going to the salon for a manicure and solid reading time. Not only am I getting pampered, but I’m catching up on mindless reading and just zoning out. Feels amazing!

Mom or not, I think it’s important for women to get their alone time and bring focus internally. Do you have a favorite way to pamper or prioritize yourself? I’d love to hear!

How To Simplify Life

4 Ways To Simplify Life

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Forever 21 Green CardiganEmbroidered Clutch Ways to simplify lifeGreen SweaterBlack Ribbed TeeLoafers – Black & Gold WatchEmbroidered BagSunglasses

It seems like whenever I talk to friends or family, everyone answers the question of “How are you?” with “busy!” I definitely do it, too, but it’s kinda scary that life seems to get crazier and crazier, right? And with my boys growing up, I want to prevent them – at least as much as I can – from needing to be constantly over-stimulated. I think it’s important to practice simplicity whenever possible, so I’ve been creating ways to keep things uncomplicated.

I hope some of these ideas work for you, too!

1. Phone breaks

Half the time I’m on my phone, I’m trying to multitask 5 other things which gets overwhelming quickly. Plus, a lot of time, I’m just trying to get through my Instagram feed or something silly. So, I’ve been leaving my phone alone for an hour a couple times a day. Taking a break from it lets me focus on the boys, my husband, or myself in a stress-free, calm way!

2. Organize closets

I’m definitely guilty of having messy closets, but when I’m feeling overwhelmed with life, cleaning out our closets helps. It not only makes getting the boys ready easier because I know everything in their room actually fits, but it helps me pick out clothes for myself, too! I’ll forget about an outfit I want to shoot if it’s hidden in a crazy closet. It’s also one less mess to stare at and get frustrated by daily. Plus, it feels great to donate old items and detoxify a bit.

3. Find go-to recipes

This is important if you have a family or not because figuring out meals can be time-consuming. Every couple months, I like to go through my recipes and update them with some new easy, simple meals for the season. I’ll make a list of ingredients for all the meals, then will go to the store and get a couple meal’s worth of each. That way I know what options I have and the ingredients are ready to go.

4. Keep cards and wrapping paper on hand

I used to wait until the last minute to get cards or wrapping paper for gifts, but then I started buying them in bulk. You can get the stock cards that are blank inside and use them for any occasion which is really simple. Then, having wrapping paper, a few sized bags, and tissue paper stored away is a huge help as well. One less thing to do before a party, yay!

Do you guys have any tips or ways to simplify life?