Spooktacular Halloween Mini Guide

The month I have been anticipating all year is finally here! Happy October Friends ! I have so many plans for this month, it's really kind of nuts. I'll probably do more blogging this month than I have done in the few years I've been blogging -- I don't know if I should be boasting that, but hey, better now than never, right? Usually I attempt to participate in "Blogtober", but this year I'm going to be doing October my way. 

I thought I'd start off by taking a look back at last year's Halloween, mostly because Halloween is our preferred holiday and Lyla's costume was spooktacular. ( yea, you're going to have to get used to my cheesy puns this month) Last year, we didn't get to spend Halloween with Alan, due to a deployment literally two days before Halloween, so that was pretty sucky for all of us, but we were grateful we had the beginning of the month to do things like pick pumpkins, decorate, watch Halloween movies etc. Alan was pretty crushed that he wasn't going to be able to take Lyla trick or treating, but luckily, Lyla's costume arrived just before he had to leave so he was able to have sneak peek of her in it.

I was so happy (and maybe a tiny bit proud) when Lyla told me she wanted to be a vampire for Halloween. I mean, princesses are cute and all, but com'on, it's Halloween. -- and she plays princess every other day. I was determined to find her something that fit and that was cute, everything I saw in store isles was neither of those haha. I had to turn to my trusted H&M for the perfect attire and long and behold, I found her the perfect little outfit. It had this spiderweb detailed cloak attached that we draped over her head for more of a moody look, and the dress was embroidered with rhinestones -- It was just the most perfect Halloween look. You can find a similar dress, here, and pair with some black booties. 
For her makeup, I stayed far far away from the creams. That stuff is messy and unnecessary. If I'm going to be walking around with a toddler all night, the last thing I'm going to want to do is wake up the next morning and clean face makeup from her carseat. (Let's be honest) I think I ended up using a palette from too faced for her eye makeup similar to this. To complete her look, I added some red lipstick and fake blood around her mouth by drops and let it drip to create a more natural look (as natural as blood around the mouth can be haha). In case you mamas run into the same problem, she really wanted the fake blood, but letting it dry I think was a little too agonizing for her, so to help I gave her a piece of candy to suck on and she forgot all about the weird dripping sensation.

Her costume was a hit, everyone asked where we got her outfit and how we did her makeup, which is what inspired this post. These picture definitely have to be some of my all time favorites, stick around for what we have planned this year! 

All The Things I love About Autumn

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Yep, you thought it, fall (Autumn) has officially arrived. I am not even the slightest bit ashamed to admit that I have been waiting for this moment since, Easter -- but if I'm being honest, since last Halloween. So, why do I love fall so much more than all the other seasons? Candy Corn. (I'm being honest, remember?)

It's the smell of sweet cinnamon pumpkin in every room. It's the coziness you feel listening to fire crackle while snuggled in blankets. It's the various shades of reds and yellows that take me back to my childhood years, when my siblings and I would jump and play in a pile of freshly raked leaves. It's the way the gloomy skies and crisp air assert an overwhelming feeling of tranquility into my life -- which I have been yearning for, 2017 has been on hell of a year for me. It could be all the things listed above and many more, but for some reason I am happiest, I am most calm and I am most content during fall. 

What are your favorite things about fall?

Things you can look forward to this season on the blog 

Warm & cozy home decor
Pumpkin, Pumpkins, and more pumpkin. 
Apple Picking
Scary Movies
Fall Date Ideas 
Halloween Favorites
Our favorite recipes 
Fall Guides
Holiday Prep 

... and so much more. 

I hope you join us this Fall !

Autumn At Sea: Central Coast Mini Guide

This is the time of the year when I am most content, because there is nothing better than crisp salty air, and deserted beaches. ( I know on the calendar it isn't fall just yet, but in my heart and apparently in Mother Nature's heart, it is. )We spent the week visiting my brother in San Luis Obispo we are so lucky to have family members to visit who live in such awesome places. We had a blast hanging around, or rather eating our way around the central coastline. Avila Beach has to be one of my favorite beaches of all time, it was the first beach I ever went to as a child and I have fond memories of my sister and mother there. Tucked away in Avila is a nude beach and one of my favorite farms to go to during the fall -- like how I snuck that in? Haha. Unfortunately for us they didn't have their maze or anything set up just yet, but I'm hoping to plan at least one more trip that way specifically to go to their fall festivities with Lyla. 

Lyla told me her favorite things we did were " Swinging really really high with uncle Dilly, eating the The 'Naky' Naked Fish (thanks Rihanna), playing with my best friend at the beach, eating spaghetti with gigantic meatballs  (a whole adult plate that is --girl loves her sketti) and coloring."

On top of the restaurants mentioned by Lyla ( I wasn't kidding when I said we ate our way through) We had lunch by the water twice, once at Custom House in Avila Beach, and the next at Blue Sky Bistro in Morro Bay -- both delicious and desirable places to eat. Also if you love clam chowder you have to go to Splash Cafe over in Pismo Beach, don't be discouraged by the line, it really is that good

We love California for reasons like, playgrounds on the beach. Despite SLO and the surrounding areas being "college oriented", everywhere we went was family friendly and we did a lot.  For instance, we visited the Central Coast Aquarium and gave some sharks and other sea life some lovin'.  Lyla also loved going to one of the many candy shops SLO had to offer.  We went to the SLO farmers market, which had jump houses, mini donuts, music, food, food, and more food and obviously a ton of mini shops there as well. 

This picture pretty much sums up how we all felt at the end of each just a lot less adorable. 

Hiking In Mammoth Mountain

If you follow along on Instagram, you probably know the mountains called and so we went. It was so much fun bringing my family on a trip that I took so many times during my childhood. We went and explored places we've never been before, but that I have always wanted to encounter and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Of course knowing us, we took the trails less traveled and ventured through the rugged mountain terrain...with our four year old. Call us crazy.
This was Lyla's very first hike and she did outstanding. We only had to stop briefly for a breakdown -- we understood. She was tired, hot and just needed a little motivation to keep pushing forward, so we let her carry Daddy's Go-Pro for a bit. There were definitely times during the hike that I thought we ought to turn around because of the terrain, but together we managed to cross tricky waters, fallen trees, and steep inclines. By the time we reached the top our hair was tangled, our feet wet and muddy, and our faces also covered in dirt--it was amazing.

I can't explain how rewarding it felt to do something as a family, especially when we haven't had the opportunity to experience something like this together in such a long time. The hike was totally spontaneous, our plan was to just picnic and fish around the lakes but once we saw this waterfall, we knew we had to get up there. The look in Lyla's eyes was absolutely priceless when she saw the waterfall. We ended up hanging out at the top to rest for about an hour, until we realized Lyla was falling asleep in Alan's arms--there was definitely no way we would've made it back down the mountain carrying her.  To wake her up I had to tell her that we needed to hurry before it got dark and the lions and bears came out-- otherwise the girl was totally okay with sleeping next to a waterfall in her Daddy's arms. Needless to say, once we got back to the car it only took her about twenty seconds to knock out.

The World Is Ours

" Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become. " - Brooke Hampton

Time and time again I've heard people talk about how difficult it is to do anything with their kids, and while I don't necessarily agree with that, I totally get it, kids are challenging. As a Mom, it's been a top priority of mine to do as many things as possible with Lyla-- being married to someone in the military didn't leave me with much of an option. If there is one thing I've learned about going out anywhere with your kid(s) or kids in general, is that you too have to become a kid, or at the very least lighten up. Spilled drinks, happen. Tantrums, happen. And guess what? It's not the end of the world. I have yet to see a mess that wasn't able to be tidied, fixed, or forgotten. Those split moments of embarrassment and frustration are not worth ruining your child's self-esteem or a good time. Take a deep breath and remember that children are not perfect and neither are you. 

I've always had a bit of a wandering spirit, but now that I have the world's greatest sidekick to roam about with, the world has become much more fascinating. I love seeing the glow in her eyes when she finds beauty in the world, I love seeing the cheek to cheek smile on her face when she learns something new, I love to feel her tight grip on my finger when she's excited to go. All the "hassle" is worth it. The world is ours

Little Wonders + July Updates

Since I last posted, Lyla turned four, Fourth of July passed (obviously), my parents celebrated 33 years of marriage (holy cow) and we ourselves are about to celebrate five. We didn't do anything extravagant for The Fourth this year, but we did get to have Alan around, which is something we haven't had the last couple of years.We've been incredibly busy with life lately, so a quiet holiday was exactly what we needed. We managed to venture out to my hometown where they hosted a little shindig in the park. While browsing the booths of local creatives, we were drawn to a colorful stand of children books and purchased this cute activity set  for our little bookworm to have alongside her during all of our near travels this summer.

I love the fact that Lyla gets so excited about books, especially when tablets seem to be all the rage these days. We recently purchased ABC Mouse for Lyla, so I am not totally against the technology curve, I just personally believe that being hands-on with littles is the best way to approach learning -- we're all about moderation here. Upon buying Lyla's activity set, I also signed up for a raffle prize that Usborne Books was offering. I never really sign up for those things, because let's face it, I have terrible luck, but I figured we thought the books were super cute and even if we didn't win at least I'd know where to purchase more. Long and behold, I won! --or rather Lyla won.
The prize was this book ^above , the illustration as you can tell is absolutely gorgeous. Another really cool thing about this book is you can use a flash light to reveal hidden illustration--Lyla thought that part was "Super really awesome!" We had no idea which book we were going to receive, but it just so happened we were coincidentally gifted the perfect book. I love so much that Lyla's favorite page is the Florida one, seeing as that is where she was born and where her first memories were made. It's funny, she still talks about Florida and our old place, friends, things we did, places we went -- makes me miss it just a tad. 

As most of you know, I am a stay-at-home Mommy, which also means I have been doing pre-school activities at home with Lyla since an early age. Now we only have a year left before sending Lyla off to kindergarten (insert ugly crying face) and I've been on the hunt for more educational/activity books, I definitely feel that I've found what I have been looking for with Usborne Books & More, their products are beautifully made and yet, still affordable. Their site is definitely worth checking out, especially if you have littles or you know someone who has littles. 

On another note, I wanted to talk a little about why I haven't been posting as frequently or as often as I'd like to, and the reason... life. Life is full of curve balls and without going into too much detail, I've just been trying to figure out how to handle everything. Stress is a huge factor as to why I haven't put much of my energy where it should be, but since refocusing, I am ready to go full force. I have a lot panned for the rest of the summer and I look forward to sharing my crazy life with all of you. Thanks for sticking with me through my scattered posts. Happy Weekend friends! 

Lyla's Fourth Birthday

This weekend our little Lyla Beans turned FOUR YEARS OLD. Time out! I cannot believe I have a four year old, where did the time go? I know that's so cliche to say, but seriously, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was holding a tiny human against my chest for the first time and now, I'm chasing after a super fast, outgoing, beautiful little girl-- and by chase, I mean trying to keep up, girl goes non-stop and she's fast too. This year was an extra special birthday for a few reasons: her daddy was able to be here (no deployment), it's her last year before starting kindergarten, and could possibly be one of the last times she celebrates her birthday with close family (our big move). Mix celebrating milestones with flipping through baby pictures and you get a recipe for tears, it never fails. Oh man, I am already dreading her first day of kindergarten. I cannot believe how much she has grown this last year, her personality is shining and brightening every space she enters. I am so grateful to be this little girl's Mommy. 
Lyla has been obsessing over all things magical, as well as any and everything to do with princesses, so when we asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she told us she wanted a magical princess party. Since she didn't have a party for the last two years in a row, I felt the  absolute need to fulfill her wish--to the best of my ability during 100+ weather at least.
These Princess wands were berry-licious and a hit at the party, they were gone just as fast as I brought them out. Most of our part supplies came from Target but since stock varies from store to store, I was curious if I could find the party supplies elsewhere for you guys and I did-- All hail Amazon!
The gift bags were a last minute DIY project, took maybe 20 minutes for me to do twelve bags, I didn't spend much time on calligraphy this time around because...I'm gunna be real here, I was pooped from back to back store/out of town trips. If I were to have planned this DIY I probably would've gone with aesthetically appealing craft taped opposed to the typical Scotch tape.
The original plan was for Lyla and her guests to be dressed up in Princess dresses, but I quickly realized what a horrible idea that would've been, especially in this heat, plus all the kids were going swimming and it would've just been a hassle. However, if you don't have a pool and the weather isn't as hot at as it is here, having all the girls run around in their dresses would be darling. I was happy we  went with summer clothing instead-- how cute is this dress? 
Ever since we watched Beauty And The Beast with Lyla she has been asking for a dress just like Belle's yellow one. I decided against a plastic tiara for her Belle dress, simply because they always end up getting stepped on the same week. You can see the one I opted for, here.
Here we have a family favorite, homemade triple chocolate cake. Store bought cakes aren't something we fancy around here. Lyla doesn't care for them and if she's anything like me, its because store bought cakes always seem to come with a headache-- anyone know why? Apart from cake, watching Lyla play with her Daddy on her birthday had to be my favorite part. 

Father's Day Gift Ideas

This time last year, we were getting ready to send Alan off on deployment, so most of his gifts revolved around what he was going to need on the ship (sleeping bag and other stuff he would need on the ship)-- so glad that's not happening this year! For a fun spin on these gifts, you can throw in something like a fishing license, tickets to a concert, or  a hotel reservation. If none of these tickle your fancy, you can stick to pancakes, peppered bacon, and coffee -- a much appreciated morning in our home. Have fun celebrating the guys in your lives! 

What are your plans for Father's Day, any gift ideas? I would love to know how you celebrate! 

5 Recipes To Try This Summer

Hey friends! Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend. While most of you were out BBQing and what not, our family was busy packing. I feel like every summer we move or have some sort of drastic life change --probably because that's been the case since '12. Any who, this summer is no different, we're on the move again. I'm hoping this will be our last move for a few years at least. I caught myself daydreaming of backyard parties, ice cream on the deck, road trips, tan lines ( the whole summer shebang), but if we're being honest, food was the number one thing I was thinking about. I figured since I often get asked for recipes, I would make a list of recipes I plan on trying this summer, like this Lemon Baked Chicken, which was mouthwatering. Although, if I had to change one thing about it, I would skip broiling and lightly brown the chicken first. Here's a handful of recipes I plan on trying

Breakfast sundaes for the little one and I. 

Grilled peaches ft vanilla ice cream could be a new family favorite.  

I'm a sucker for this Cilantro Lime Chicken topped with avocado salsa (guac?)

I can see myself ending my days with a Malibu Sunset. I also love that you can easily make this a virgin drink by using coconut water instead of rum. 

Mother's Day 2017

How lucky am to have such caring people in my life? A few days have passed and I am still feeling so loved and appreciated. I am so happy that I was finally able to spend a Mother's Day as a mother with my Mom. And how cute is that basket Alan put together? Everything is from Target, which couldn't have been more perfect, being that I love Target and often spend hours of my day there. This was a Mother's Day for the books, for sure. I hope all of you beautiful Mama's felt loved and appreciated, and if by chance you didn't --just know there are so many people who admire your strength as a Mother. I love scrolling through Instagram and seeing all the special moments you share with your littles, you are all an inspiration, and that's something I want you to know everyday, not just on Mother's Day. 

I love that I get to spend time with my daughter, I love seeing her grow more each day I am so thankful that I have that opportunity to spend every day with her. I had Lyla when I was 19 years old, but it never felt like I was a teenager having a kid, I guess I always knew that motherhood was something I would enjoy. Don't get me wrong, motherhood is challenging, and there are definitely times I feel like a complete failure, but that's also the beauty of Motherhood; you are just as much of a learner as your children. Lyla has taught me a lot about myself, being her mom has forced me to acknowledge the parts of myself that I don't necessarily like, and in doing that I have become someone I like more and more each day--that is the greatest gift I could ever receive.

Mother's Day Painted Pots

Happy Friday folks! What are your plans this weekend? We have a full weekend ahead of us. Midweek, we traveled north to go surprise my mom for Mother's Day. I haven't spent Mother's day with my mom since I became a mom, so this Mother's Day is extra special. I'll also be surprising my Nonna, who currently thinks we were unable to visit, because we are tied-up with moving--which is partially true, we are very busy. So far, it's been a great visit. I am feeling less stressed and more comfortable than I've felt since the year started. We're basically on our own mountain top over here,  no one can bug us *sigh of relief.

Before we left, I set up for Lyla's big Mother's Day project. I've been wanting to do a big art project with Lyla and Mother's Day seemed like the best opportunity to do just that. We have a handful of amazing women in our lives and we wanted to make sure we were able to gift them all this year, especially since we might be moving out of state soon. I figured since Lyla has been totally into painting and gardening then why not do both? We set out to our local gardening center to pick out flowers and succulents and then headed to our local Michael's for the needed supplies. 

Motherhood has been a beautiful journey thus far, but I think I am finally at my favorite stage. Lyla has developed enough that she can be involved in most if not all of the things we do now. Before she used to get really upset if she was physically unable to do things, but now she is able to participate every step of the way. Now instead of trying a thousand different ways to tend to her needs before finally realizing she wants something completely different , she just tells us -- it was fun while it lasted. Don't get me wrong, I am so sad she is growing up, but I am also having loads of fun with this energetic, creative, and outgoing little girl. We were not afraid to get messy with this project (peep the baggy pants and t-shirts), the messier the better, really. I think it was shortly after this photo was taken, Lyla had splattered paint across my face. Initially, this project was so we could gift others, but we ended up gifting ourselves with laughter (haha I am so cheesy). We truly are a dynamic duo, so watch out World! 

Obviously, I am not going to reveal the finished pots in this post (you'll have to wait 'til Sunday) but if you're looking for a fun, meaningful way to gift the Mommies in your life, this turned out super cute! A craft level of 3+ and it only took a few hours. 


Fiesta In San Diego

 Hola Amigos! I hope you all took the time to embrace some culture this weekend, whatever it is you did this weekend to celebrate Cinco De Mayo, I hope you had a great time doing it -- even if it includes the Americanized version of tacos (ya know, hamburger meat in a hardshell)...at least you tried. I say that with all seriousness, at least you tried. Lately, there has been increased tension when it comes to acknowledging all of the different cultures in America, so if you put in effort this Friday to celebrate a different culture ( or took the time to embrace your own culture) give yourself a pat on the back. 

This Cinco De Mayo we headed out to Old Town San Diego to participate in the all the festivities. This is the first time we've been out as a family since Alan started walking again (he is using a cane) and it was nothing short of perfect. It feels like it's been forever since we've done something like this, way too long if you ask me. Obviously we didn't venture far, but we still managed to embrace our culture and have a good time. It felt like every five feet we were stopped for people wanting to pet Arlo, which was mostly okay since we're trying to socialize her as much as possible. She just so happens to love all of the humans, especially children, which is all I ever wanted. 

((peep those gorgeous succulents)) After May comes June, which means I only have 50 days left of this free-spirited beauty being three years old. I have no idea where time has went, but I wish I could get it back. We've always done learning around the house, but recently we made our way over to Barnes & Noble and picked up a preschool workbook (3-5yrs) for her to start working with. We're moving through the booklet at a rapid pace (she's so smart), more so than I anticipated and it's making me have pre-anxiety about sending her off to kindergarten, I only have year left. *insert ugly crying face 
I don't like tacos...said no Juan ever.