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. 

Materials
Plants






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. 

Brunch in Coronado

Happy Monday! We had such beautiful weather this weekend and it would've been a shame not to take advantage of it, especially since Alan is finally off of bed rest. Yep, it's true. He is now limping around with a cane. Our life has been so consumed with doctors appointments and battling obstacles, that we haven't had much time for romance. Luckily for us, my mother-in-law offered to take Lyla on a trip to Lego Land so, we finally had a day to ourselves to do whatever we wanted to. With Alan still recovering we decided to stay local and opted for a quick ride into Coronado for a bite to eat.

One of my favorite places to dine at in Coronado is Leroy's Kitchen + Lounge. They provide provide a seasonal menu, ensuring that the freshest ingredients make up your meal. I am a big fan of their kale salad, but this time I went with an Ahi Poke Salad and it was... ah-maze-ing. Alan decided on the Salmon Toast, (sorry, no pic.) which was equally delicious. We shared a bowl of Truffled Fries that came with a side of pomegranate ketchup and herb aioli sauce (my favorite). For his drink, Alan had an old fashion which he described had "the perfect amount of everything; zest, bitter, and sweet". My favorite drink (like ever) is their house made red sangria, I literally crave it. If sangria is your thing, their's is a must-try. Everything was tasty and satisfying -- zero complaints. Leroy's Kitchen + Lounge also offers pet friendly dining on their patio, which was perfect for us since Arlo is still a tad too young to be left alone. The staff was loving towards her ( I mean , who wouldn't be) and provided her with a bowl of fresh water. This restaurant was perfect for our first date (post accident).

If you're ever in the Coronado area, I highly recommend you take a chance on this place you wont be disappointed, especially if you're a lover of fresh local ingredients, eclectic cuisine, and enjoy a drink or two (maybe a pitcher, no one is judging). After brunch we headed for a little walk along Coronado beach, it couldn't have been a more perfect day.

I hope you all have a lovely and productive week! 



MEET ARLO

Hey everyone! It's been a while since I sat down and talked about life with ya, and well, surprise! Meet the newest addition to our family, Arlo. Miss Arlo is the cutest, wrinkliest, most lovable Shar Pei pup ever -- and I'm not just being biased. It took a decent amount of begging, a pretty penny, and an eight hour road trip to bring her home. I knew the second I was sent her picture that she was what we were missing. Call me crazy, but somehow adding a puppy to our currently chaotic life, was exactly what we needed. She brings so much joy and lots of puppy kisses and who doesn't love puppy kisses? Lyla has been asking or rather, demanding that we provide her with sibling and while we are not quite ready to head down that route, we figured it would be a great time to introduce a furry friend. 

Luna was Arlo's original name given to her by the breeders, but that didn't work out for us since it happens to be my the name of my in-laws doggy. We had a few names picked out for the pup: Bleu, Peaches, Pumpkin, Hunny, Sauci, Arlo, and Mya. After talking it over a few days we just could not choose and the more we talked the more we thought about why we couldn't name her with any of the names we liked. Bleu, was too posh. Every Shar Pei is called Peaches. Absolutely could not name her Mya when it's our friends' daughter's name. Sauci sounded too much like Stassi, which was the name of Alan's motorcycle (Weird, I know ). Hunny would get confused if I were to call my hunnies, hunny. Do you see what I mean? So, to solve our problem, we let Lyla choose and she chose...Arlo, "like the dinosaur" -from The Good Dinosaur. Arlo was our first and most liked choice, our only issue with it was that it could cause confusion, being that Arlo is primarily a male name and our pup is a female. But hey, it's 2017 and who's going to tell a little girl what she can and can't name her doggy? So everyone, this is Arlo. 
She is the biggest sweetheart, more so than what we could have ever wished for. 
She's currently 10 weeks in these photos. Isn't she the most snuggly little thing you've ever laid eyes on? 



Restoring Balance


Our lives have been a bit out of the norm lately. Following Alan's accident we have been as far away from our daily routine as we could ever be. Who am I kidding? There is no way to sugarcoat our life, it's been chaotic. I've been feeling emotionally exhausted lately, with all we've been having to deal with in the military, one second they know what they're doing the next they don't and it's all at the expense of my husband's health.  Don't let anyone fool you, free things aren't always quality things --If you're a military family you'll understand what I mean. It's been a fight, but I think our assertive efforts have finally payed off. All of the stress has lead to late nights (usually spent reading handbooks, and discussing our next step) followed by early mornings appointment(s). It goes without saying our household has had quite the cranks living under its' roof. We aren't the perfect family, there are times we are at each other's throats, but we always find our way back to eating popcorn on the couch laughing at things like, Tom Sandoval crying on Vanderpump Rules-- is that insensitive? 

We are a family that functions on a routine, so once our routine went out the window, everything pretty much collapsed. My dish-less sink now has dishes stacked in it, Lyla is now waking up throughout the night (she never had a problem sleeping through the night before), Alan hasn't been able to take a shower since January, I haven't attended to my eyebrows in over two months--need I go on? Naturally, I have been trying to find a way to get us back to some sort of routine during this circus show. I started to make a mental list of things I knew we weren't getting: adequate sleep, consistent meals (home cooked, like we're used to), personal time, quality time, work-time, physical exercise. It wasn't until I checked my mailbox that something clicked. The most important thing my family has been missing is balance. A great start to restoring balance is to set goals, assess your personal needs, and make time. We sat down and discussed what each persons' personal needs were, and made family goals that will help us get back to a routine, for instance, putting Lyla down between 7-8 and getting ourselves in bed by 10.


Something I need is to set aside personal time for myself, even if it is 15 mins alone to shower, the door is shut and locked, so not even the cutest of munchkins can get in. During my 15-20 minutes of alone time, I'm focusing on myself. Lately, I have been failing to remove all of my makeup before bed, and my skin is reaping the consequences. For the most part I have normal skin, it doesn't need much attention other than cleansing, but for some reason when I am stressed or when I am about to start my period, my skin tends to change from normal to combination. 

A brand I love and trust, is Ole Henriksen, they happen to be the makers of one of my favorite Eye Gels --which I need after a long day. Lately though, I have been loving products from their collection, Balance. When being massaged into the skin the cleanser will provide a minty-cool sensation-- I love that feeling, I get the same satisfaction from Paul Mitchell's Tea Tree Shampoo and conditioner.  The light eucalyptus scent that all of the products from this collection have, help me to feel refreshed and relaxed after a long day. The Balance Force Toner  happens to be my favorite product from their collection for a simple reason, most toners I have tried have a strong rubbing alcohol scent to them and this one does not. The lightweight Counter Balance Hydrator is going to be the product that lasts the longest, a little goes a ways with this, I use one pump, once a day. Another of my favorite go-to products when I'm absolutely exhausted is the 93,000 Miles by the obvious, Lush Cosmetics. There's just something about a quiet, hot, peppermint/eucalyptus scented shower at the end of the day that helps me balance.

 What helps you restore balance in your life?


This is a complimentary post provided by Ole Henriksen and Influenster.

St. Patrick's Day Snack


The last time I was at an Irish pub, I ended up puking on the beach in Key West during what would've been the most romantic night in my life...so, it's safe to say that I am staying in tonight. And for the record, it was still totally romantic, just in a, I'll hold your hair back while you vomit, type of way. *insert shrug emoji . I have an early morning tomorrow, so I will just be cuddling on my couch watching a movie and munching on Lucky Charm popcorn. I'm a sucker for a salty-sweet snack, during Halloween I usually mix candy corn, pretzels, and popcorn together to snack on during a movie, so why not Lucky Charms, right?--and super easy.  I had other plans for a night time snack, but I had a busy morning running errands, fitting gym time in-between,  and by the time I was finished doing what I needed to, I was pooped. I figured tossing some Lucky Charms into a bowl of popcorn would be easy and just enough to say I at least attempted to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at home. Oh, and I just remembered that I intentionally wore green workout gear, I suppose that counts as well.

Before I sit down with my little to enjoy our popcorn, I wanted to leave you with a few St. Patricks Day snack ideas I had pinned for today. My family would go nuts for these.

Irish Potato Bites // Everything we love!

Lucky Panacakes // Gives "Top of the morning" a whole new meaning 

Donuts For St. Patrick's Day //  You had me at charmed glazed donuts. 

St. Patrick's Day Bento // I am in love with how adorably delicious this looks. 

Green Velvet Cheesecake // Might as well give up being fit now. 

P.S Lyla was stoked about having the "job" of sorting marshmallows from the cereal, and she didn't even sneak one. She is such a good little helper.

Twenty Three


Last Monday I turned Twenty Three, eep! Though I wasn't able to celebrate the way I had anticipated, it was definitely one for the books. Given the status of Alan's health, our family hasn't been able to do much of anything, other than bless the military with our entire family's presence and ride back-and-forth to doctor's appointments--super fun! Ugh, and I feel so horrible dragging Lyla around, she really is such a trooper and a lot more patient than I was as a toddler. There has only been a few times where I've had to take her aside and let her regroup--that's how we handle tantrums in this family. Really, it's the adults in this situation that have been the biggest pain in the ass. 

I did manage to make some time to go get a mani-pedi done, with Lyla of course, because Daddy had to go attend to more military needs, I'm just thankful my assistance wasn't needed and I had at least little bit of time to get pampered. Honestly, there is so much going on with our family and the military at this time, more so than I feel comfortable sharing at this point, but to put it out there, it was really hard to enjoy my birthday with the amount of stress our family has been under. It will all be over soon--I hope. Back to getting pampered, I went to try a new salon which just so happened to be sort of extravagantly decorated. Well, it only took about two minutes before Lyla picked out a beautiful bright red nail polish...which she then dropped and broke all over their marble floor. Kids are great, aren't they? Lyla's reaction was priceless, she immediately felt bad and the look she wore on her face just broke my heart, she was so embarrassed and I couldn't help but to laugh and hug her. No good would've came from shaming Lyla, it was an accident. These types of situations are embarrassing, but as a parent I think it is important to remember that these things happen and the way we respond can either make a child feel loved or like an inconvenience. We ended up having a great time, Lyla was such a little princess in the chair and didn't need any re-polish (I've never seen her be so still). The highlight of my birthday was when Lyla was getting her toes painted, looked up at me with her big soft eyes and said "Mommy you're my best friend." 

The rest of the night I spent getting my back tickled and catching up on some of my favorite TV shows: Vanderpump Rules, The Walking Dead, and Bates Motel. For nothing, it was pretty awesome. 

Forever Nineteen



Today is the anniversary of my sisters passing, making it a day that is always hard to swallow. So much time has passed since my sister's accident, but today,  (that whole part of my life) will always feel like yesterday.  On my sister's first birthday after her passing, I remember my Mother bringing home a ton of balloons for us to let go of in my sister's remembrance. Since then, on her birthday and anniversary of her passing, my family and some of my sister's close friends have let go of pink (her favorite color) balloons as a way to continue celebrating her life. 

This morning I breathed in the fresh, earthy smell that filled the air while it was still raining and watched as the clouds quickly dispersed and the rain stopped--something about today, the day I hate most, was beautiful. Not saying a word about how internally sad I was, I went about my day as I normally would, except today, I payed closer attention to what was in front of me, I loved deeper, and I spoke sweeter (omg did I just quote Tim McGraw? Now I'm worried haha) .  I didn't mention which day it was to Alan until later in the afternoon, because this day is something that I struggle with, it's my tragedy, it's not weight that I want to my daughter, or husband to carry. At this point in my life I don't want to be coddled and I don't need sympathy, all I need is comfort--preferably silent comfort. Those two comforted me today without even knowing they were doing so and I couldn't be more grateful. However, I did need some time to myself to reflect, and sort of ride out the wave of emotions I was harboring inside -- I opted for the gym and a little retail therapy. 



I can't get over how beautiful today felt. The way I looked at people, the way the sun shined on my surroundings, how I could laugh at the simplest things. There used to be a time when I was not able to find beauty or happiness laying anywhere, especially not on this day, and if I did by chance come upon something that brought me joy, I would shut it out, because I felt guilty. I've since realized that finding the beauty in today doesn't mean I miss my sister any less than I do every other day. 

When I returned home, I wrote a quick message on the balloons and we hopped (Alan literally) in the car to go let them go--they had the perfect ocean view. Today was beautiful, just like my sister.


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