A Wonderful Weekend in Carmel

A Wonderful Weekend in Carmel

Normally, when visiting Carmel, I stay with family or friends. However, when presented with the opportunity to travel home for a girls-only weekend… I felt like a hotel stay was exactly what I needed! It just so happened, that I was traveling home to Carmel, the very same weekend that the beautiful Hotel Carmichael had it’s grand opening! They invited me to stay at the hotel and I jumped at the opportunity!

As I stepped through the doors of the hotel, I felt like I had stepped through a time portal that took me to a fabulous New York City hotel in the 1920’s. The lobby was classic, yet chic, lit with elegant chandeliers lining the halls and a grand piano filling the space with beautiful music. I knew I was in for a treat. As I entered the room to the hotel, I was met with the sound of Sinatra filling the room from the bluetooth speaker. It completely set the tone for a wonderful stay at this classically gorgeous hotel.

I was so excited to see a gift compiled with things from the surrounding shops. Hotel Charmichael is located right in the middle of downtown Carmel. In the center of incredible restaurants, surrounded by the cutest boutiques, and right across the street from the Palladium. It’s right off the Monon trail. On Saturday morning, Carmel has a farmer’s market right out front of the hotel.

One of my favoriote parts of the weekend was getting to stroll through the market drinking the most delicious coffee. Truly the perfect location to be able to experience Carmel at it’s finest.

My first night at the hotel, I was invited to bring my girlfriends along for the grand opening of their restaurant, Vivante. The food was absolutely incredible. After living in France, I am quite the francophile.. and have a slight obsession with french food. The talented chef nailed all of the wonderful flavors of France with the delightful menu. My friends and I had the best evening complete with delicious wine, and LOTS of laughs. Isn’t that the point of a girls weekend?? A permasmile!

My stay was relaxing, comfortable (for real the most comfy hotel pillows I have ever experienced), and I was treated with kindness everywhere I went. I highly recommend you check out Hotel Carmichael, even if you aren’t staying there, pop over for a delicious cocktail in their beautiful lobby bar and enjoy the sounds from the grand piano!

xoxo,

Stephi

How to pack, for an over-packer…

Recently, I had the chance to go to Vegas for a 3-day getaway (kid-free). For some reason, nothing excites my fashion-loving soul like a trip to pack for! I feel like a getaway is the perfect opportunity to dress a little more over-the-top than usual! That being said,ย  it makes it hard for me to narrow down exactly what I want to wear…. hence… the OVERPACKING!

Here is everything I wanted to stuff into my carry-on bags for my 3 day trip (not pictured.. 2 workout outfits, bluetooth speaker, purses and toiletries):

 

Here is how I did it:

  1. I pack my Away carry-on bag with shoes, toiletries, purses, jewelry, my speaker, and computer. Then I fill the mesh insert with my undergarments,ย  workout clothes and swimsuits, and strap it in. To save space I always tuck my socks into my sneakers.

     

  2. I use a Herschel Supply co. duffel for my “personal bag”. That is wear I put all of my clothes. The duffel fits a ton and can fit under the seat in front of you (however, doesn’t give you much leg room.. but I’m willing to stick it out in order to pack all of my clothes). There is a small side compartment, meant for shoes, but I keep a little bag with things that I may want to access on the plane, such as headphones, lipgloss, ibuprofen, etc.

     

  3. ย Then I wore a fanny pack, yes… a fanny pack, with my cellphone, credit card and ID, and cash. That way I can easily access it ๐Ÿ™‚ IMG_8158.jpg

 

Here is what I actually wore ;):

 

Now for the best part…. here are direct links to shop!

 

Can’t find something?? DM me on instagram and I’ll help you find the exact product or something similar!!

xoxo,

Stephi

ROAD TRIP!!!!!

ROAD TRIP!!!!!

Once you have made the decision to do a 12 hour drive with 3 monsters, I mean children, there some things you must take into consideration:

  1. Convenience
  2. Comfort
  3. How to keep the monsters happy … happy monsters = happy mommy

CONVENIENCE:

I kept snacks, and a small cooler full of drinks, in the passenger seat for easy grabbing and passing purposes. Also, I have learned from previous road trips to always keep plastic bags in seat back pockets in case of motion sickness.

COMFORT:

I let the kids stay in jammies and also had them bring pillows into the car. My mom was horrified that I paraded my littles through gas stations and restaurants all day in their pj’s, but hey… if they are comfy and happy, who cares what strangers think about my kids being in pajamas in a gas station at 3 PM?!

HAPPY MONSTERS HAPPY MOM:

I packed each kiddo a backpack with a drawing pad, and coloring utensils, but I’m also a realist.. so I charged up the iPad and kindles for desperate measures. My car doesn’t have built-in tv’s so I bought these little screens that clip onto the back of your car headrests and have a portable dvd player attached so the kids could watch movies. I had them all set up with headphones and everything, so I wouldn’t have to hear “Alvin and the Chipmunks” all day while driving.

Y’all… I was really feeling on top of my mom game with the pre-road trip prep…

… I mean… I had everything to ensure a smooth ride, right?

TIME FOR THE TRIP:

Fantasy—> We’ll get going, Kids will watch movies and color, Kace will probably sleep for a few hours. While they are all completely content, I will listen to the audio book I downloaded (“Crushing it”), and then when Kace is up, we will listen to some amazing road trip music. We can stop at fun landmarks, or funny signs, and take pictures to add to some amazing scrapbook. Everyone will be totally content and we’ll have the best time ever…

Reality—->

I got the kids out of bed at 6:30 AM and put them straight into the car. Now, that is super early for them compared to our usual “9:30-ish rolling out of bed lazy summer routine”, so naturally there was some whining.

Livi: “I don’t feel good…”

Me: “It’s early honey, once you eat you’ll be fine”.

Violet: “I’m huuuuuungry” …

Me: “There are pop-tarts in the backpack next to your seat” -I said with a smug grin because I was feeling so prepared.

Livi: “I can’t eat anything.. I don’t feel good”.

I immediately had a bad feeling… she gets car sick frequently on road trips, but refuses to take dramamine because she hates the flavor. Trying to give that child dramamine is a sincere form of torture for everyone involved. You would think demons were being exorcised from her body with the amount of screaming and thrashing, and gagging that’s involved. I tried to say…. “Livia, how about you just chew up this dramamine really quickly and I’ll give you a juice to immediately drink!” Before I even finished my sentence, she was moaning and crying ” I would rather barf all day than chew that DISGUSTING pill!!!!!!!!!!!”.

We were about 8 minutes into the drive, and the real moaning started.

Livi: “uggggh, urrrrrggggghhh, ahhhhhh, oh no…. MOMMY!!!!!!”

Me: “grab a bag!!! It’s right in front of you!”

Livi: “There’s a hole in it!!!! I’m not gonna make it!!!”

I reached behind my seat, snatched another bag out of the pocket, and handed it to her just in the knick of time. Here I thought I would be passing cookies back, instead Livia tossed her cookies up.

We pulled off, threw out the barf bag, and got back on the road. About 15 minutes later.. the same exact thing happened. Another hole in the bag, another frantic reach for a new bag. Only this time, my map was jumping around on this huge connection of highways and I exited the wrong highway. The little mistake added an hour to my ETA …all 3 kids were screaming… I was trying to figure out how to exit, and with all the chaos I couldn’t help but yell out my favorite choice word. Unfortunately, my little 21month old mimic decided to yell out the same choice word. Not my finest moment…

When everything started to calm down, I decided to get a movie going for everyone. To my loving surprise, only one dvd screen would work. However, the working screen wouldn’t play sound. The screen that was totally black was the only screen making sound. The headphone jacks wouldn’t work for either screen (of course). After the hysterical crying stopped over only one person’s screen working, both girls watched one screen and I enjoyed the lovely, soothing sounds of Alvin and the Chipmunks for an hour and a half.

Basically, the road trip that I thought would be a fun little adventure, rapidly turned into a total circus. Whether it was the car sickness, malfunctioning dvd players, gas stations with no changing tables, no naps for 12.5 straight hours; it was very clear to me that no amount of preparation could have mentally prepared me for the pure chaotic cluster express that was our road trip!

When we finally got to my parents house I wanted to kiss the ground. We made it!!!!! One of us lost the contents of their stomach, one of us lost their sanity… but we made it! Goal for the trip home: embrace the crazy ๐Ÿ˜‰

xx

Stephi

IMG_4838

Summer Break!

Summer Break!

The kids are officially out of school, which means summer break is in full swing! I absolutely loooove summer. Summer (to me) means sleeping in, easy mornings with no agenda… days filled up with neighborhood pool fun, popsicles at all times of the day, chalk art, bubbles, 7/11 slurpees… etc. For weeks I have been dreaming about all the summer fun the kids and I will have.

Well, we have had two full weeks of summer, and reality has set in… I have a 20 month old boy! Easy summer days are non-existent! Summer fun has to be scheduled around carefully curated nap-times. When we actually do make it to the pool, I am in a constant state of panic trying to watch Violet as she jumps off the high dive, Livia going down the water slide, and Kace grabbing random strangers drinks, ready to chug! If I don’t intervene,ย  with ninja-like motions, he will inevitably end up chugging some (other) mom’s rosรฉ!

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
actual photo of Kace with a complete strangers drinking cup ๐Ÿ™‚

I have tried getting him in the baby pool… not happening! Baby pools are for suckers! Kace would much rather ravage through somebody’s pool bag… throw an unsuspecting stranger’s shoes in the deep end… get a hold of somebody else’s sunscreen and launch it into the pool. Actually, now that I am thinking about it, he pretty much only wants to torment every single person at the neighborhood pool, by rummaging through their things, and launching them into the water. If I pull him away from his set intention.. all hell breaks loose. He makes noises only prehistoric birds can make.

Any tips on how to tame the pool monster, that is Kace, are MUCH appreciated….

Before summer actually started, I gathered essentials that I felt I would need for a summer full of pool fun! There is no reason I shouldn’t share with y’all, in case your 20-month olds (or lack there of) cooperate ;-).

  1. You must have a great pool bag! I have a few options… I have some cute totes that are fun for a day with just girlfriends at the pool, and then I have some bags that are “catch-alls” for all the towels, dive-toys, goggles, mermaid-fins, snacks, water bottles etc.!!! (#momlife). Of course, you can always take those cute totes and shove all of the real-life mom-stuff in it (I do it often)…

    17F1FF5B-E695-4F90-8020-6C98A6F41761
    Top to bottom: Tassel bag, Straw tote, Southwestern printed carry-all, Black and white carry-all, Fringe tote, Straw tote with pom poms, Southwestern tote
  2. HAVE to have a great pair of sunnies! Here are a few fun affordable pairs that I love ( all under $15.00)!

    677C4B93-77E2-4D8A-AC53-19A7DF41DE74
    Tan and chic, Round sunnies, pineapple fun, pink/white classic shape
  3. If you are trying to preserve that baby-face of yours, you need a great hat! Hats can also function as a disguise when your child is behaving like a monster ๐Ÿ™‚

    B4CB2DED-2328-482A-8074-D8B653D51941
    Iridescent visor, Bandana fedora, panama hat, straw visor
  4. Cute cover-ups, that you can NOT live without ๐Ÿ™‚

    B0CAFC70-EE34-47CF-BFC5-08CA7860AD74
    Tie-die maxi, red and white cold-shouldered dress, black and white off the shoulder, pink with pom poms and tassels (best combo ever).
  5. If you have kids, you need pool toys! I suggest checking out Target (pronounced, the fancy way… “Tar-jayyyy”), or Walmart’s water toy isles. You can always find great dive toys, water-friendly balls, buckets, mermaid barbies, etc.

    327313D6-F737-4920-8ECC-58AC03718A8B
    mermaid fin, mermaid barbie, puddle jumper, splash bat and balls, torpedo dive sticks
  6. Last, but not least, my random favs! I love this Sunbum leave-in conditioner spray for hair. My neighbor told me about it last summer, and I’m obsessed. I feel like it helps fight against the nasty things chlorine does to hair! Also, loving the Target suncreen, Sunbum suncreen, baby organic face-stick, and water bottles ๐Ÿ™‚ 

    FBF6EA0D-0AEF-476E-A98C-E99B244629FD
    Babyganics SPF face sticks, “I was told there’d be wine” water bottle, SunBum sunscreen, SunBum leave-in conditioner, Swell bottle, Target kids sunscreen, Corksicle drink cupย 

    ** Important things that are not listed: A fun girlfriend to go to the pool with you for moral support. They must be able to wrestle alligators! Lots of caffeine, to keep your energy levels up and ready to chase a monster for at least a few hours (or however long your sanity can hold up). Also, don’t forget SNACKS! The only thing that might give you a moment of stillness… and if the baby doesn’t want them.. you can stress eat 0:-).

Happy Summer!!!!

xx,

Stephi