Friday, September 20, 2013

Summer Bucket List

With the last few days of summer and fall officially here this Sunday I wanted to check-in with the status of our family's Summer Bucket List.

At the beginning of the summer we set out for some mini yet achievable goals to do as a family. The list was pretty basic but the goal in mind was to have FUN as a family.

Here's the top five items on our list.

#1: Family road trip to you guessed it... Las Vegas, Baby! (Check ✔)
We had so much fun. In fact, we expanded the trip to include my husband's family too (the more the merrier). In all we had seven adults and ELEVEN kids in total. We rented a fabulous house in Las Vegas for the Fourth of July weekend. 

Here are some pics of our stay.

Beckham hot tubbin' it with the cuties (i.e. cousins)

Here he is soaking in some rays! He's about that life (Right?).

The backyard pool was AMAZING! (Cannon Ball!)

Here's Beck with his Auntie.

And another Auntie (Can you feel the love?) Lol.

My two sis stylin' and profiling 

And the BOYS!

#2 Summer Popsicles for the Kiddos (Check ✔)

Here are our delicious fruit pops made with real fruit juice.

#3 Homemade Cookies with the Littles (Check✔-)

We cheated a little on this one and had some help from our good 'ole friend Pillsbury and made chocolate chip cookies *shrugs oh well*

#4 Family Beach Day (Check ✔)

This year we went to Santa Barbara. They have the best beach by far. Perfect clear waters.

We loved the Pier.

Look at this Beauty.

And we even stopped by a skate park (Yes, I got Boys!)

#5 Visit to the Aquarium (Check ✔)

While in Santa Barbara we visited the local aquarium on the Pier. They had lots of different sea creatures on exhibit. Here are a few that captured our eyes.

The sting rays.

The great big grey whale.

And these cute little starfishes.

All-in-all I'd say our summer was quite fun. We spent some quality time together with the kids. The Mr. and I even got to break away for some quality time too!

Date Night with Wine & Canvas.

And a trip around the New Port Harbor.

The Final score: 5-0 Not bad!! 

I hope you all had a fun and safe summer!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Pinterest Strikes Again!

If you know me you know I love Pinterest. I get so many creative designs ideas from this site. So when I saw a couple of these pictures I figured I could do that!

I love to try new design ideas in our home. I get bored very easily. So I decided to redo one of our most used rooms in our home-our family room

Here are some of my design inspiration pinned.

I love this look.

I wanted to recreate this Gallery Wall. 

Another twist on the Gallery Wall.
So here's my take. I love the end result!

For more design ideas visit Pinterest: The design possibilities are endless. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

No Spend Challenge

30 Days Without Spending: Are You Up to the Challenge?

With the holidays coming near I want to challenge myself by getting my financial house in order. I have decided to challege myself by cutting all unnecessary expenses for ONE month. This may be harder than it seems with my little one's birthday and Halloween next month. So I've set the challenge to begin October 1st. 

First, start the spending detox by setting a tangible goal -- anything from paying off credit purchases you charged, expanding your emergency fund to saving enough money to take an all-cash, paid-in-full vacation.

The rules of the exercise are relatively simple: Commit to spending only what is ABSOLUTELY necessary. That means no movies, no theater tickets, no coffee shop runs, no restaurant meals, and no shoe-buying splurges.

Or online shopping for that matter...

Researchers have found that it takes about 30 days to break a habit, so the idea of the challenge is not simply to generate some extra dollars for that one month, but also to wake you up to the reality of unnecessary spending.

What is "necessary" spending?
Most people have three big spending categories: necessary monthly outlays for things like mortgage and utilities; work-related spending, such as commuting, takeout lunches, clothing and dry cleaning; and purely recreational spending for social activities and entertainment.

Clearly, it's impossible to cut all spending for an entire month. You still must pay your mortgage or rent, car payments, insurance premiums utility bills and other essentials. But there are big expenses in each of the three spending categories where keeping costs down -- even to zero dollars -- can pay off in spades. Food is a good example. Of course you need to eat. But for one month, can you avoid relying on carry-out or restaurant meals? Start by using up your existing groceries and then being a mindful shopper when you do go to the grocery store.

Get creative with your cost-cutting. For example:
  • Shop your closet for "new" outfits created out of items you haven't worn in a while.
  • Organize a potluck recipe-sharing evening instead of going out with your friends.
  • Give a homemade gift or offer your services instead of buying a present.
  • Check for free activities in your community.
One easy way to track your spending is to sign up with a free service such as You can also use financial software programs, mobile phone apps, or pencil and paper -- whatever works for you.

Will you take the no-spend challenge?   
Whether you choose to register with Mint or are motivated by the need to revamp your budget, let me know how you do on the 30-day financial detox diet. And I'll be sure to check-in with you along the way! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Favorite Online Shopping Sites

A House is not a Home... 
Until you add your own personal stamp!

My Favorite Online Shopping Sites for the Home

My Top Five Online Stores:

1. Pottery Barn- is built on the idea that home furnishings should be exceptional in comfort, quality, style and value. From the bedroom, to the kitchen, the entryway to the backyard. They have everything you need to create your dream home-and to entertain.

2. Williams-Sonoma- Founded in 1956, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is the premier specialty retailer of home furnishings and gourmet cookware in the United States. Their brands are among the best known and most-respected in the industry. They offer high-quality, stylish products for every room in the house: from the kitchen to the living room, bedroom, home office and even the hall closet.

3. One Kings Lane- When One Kings Lane launched in 2009, it was the result of the dedication, drive and vision of two female entrepreneurs. Susan Feldman and Alison Pincus recognized a void that they wanted to fill: There was no exciting, curated destination where consumers could shop, get inspired, find their favorite home and lifestyle brands, and discover new ones. Thus, One Kings Lane was born. They are dedicated to bringing stylish decor and speciality items.

4. Joss & Main- Providing access to great brands at fantastic discounts is a key part of the Joss & Main recipe. "Our goal is for Joss & Main to be a place where members come to discover and be moved by new products, talents, and styles," says founder Mitra Morgan. "We want to inspire members every day and make that inspiration accessible," continues John Mulliken. "It's not just beautiful images, but items and looks that members can easily and affordably make their own - buy the chair, wallpaper the room, shop the look - right then and there from the comfort of their home or office."

5. Zulily- is a membership-based daily deals site featuring up to 90% off apparel, shoes, toys, décor and more for moms, babies and kids. Each visit to zulily offers the chance to discover unique brands, products and reasons to smile. New sales launch every day and typically last 72 hours. But act soon, because these deals don't last and they have super cute daily finds!

Well these are my top faves! What are your favorite online stores for your home?

P.S. A few of these sites are available for download in the Apple Store.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Santa Barbara Gettaway

This weekend the Mr. and I celebrated seven years of marital bliss (or sweet torture if you ask him) {smile inserted here}. We decided to go to Santa Barbara for the weekend to celebrate. 

We thought it would be nice to take the train to Santa Barbara. So this year we took the kids so they could experience the train ride. 

Here are some of the moments captured through pics from our trip.

The Amtrack Station.
We left out of the famous Union Station.

Waiting at Union Station.

On the train ride. Keeping entertained.

We stayed at Hotel Indigo in Santa Barbara. It was über chic and very modern. Visit their website:

I loved our room. The Hotel Indigo offers hip and trendy accommodations. Their  Euro-style hotel has combined the historic beauty of the area with the architectural sophistication of contemporary design, offering hip, affordable accommodations for style-minded guests. 

I loved the exposed brick.

The guestrooms are cleverly designed to make the most of limited space and include European style wet bathrooms. 

Enjoy an array of first-class amenities like free WIFI throughout the hotel, stylish rooftop lounges, a fitness facility and fully equipped business center. Experience Riviera, city or palm views from the comfort of your room with private gardens. Then, immerse yourself in our on site Art Library.

They're pet-friendly too!

Our first day we had breakfast at a great corner restaurant with charm named Eladios.

Of course I had to get a lovely mimosa!

My breakfast. I ordered Belgian Waffles.

After breakfast we went for a walk on the pier. We visited the sea aquarium. 

We saw lots of sea creatures including these sting rays.

The Great Grey Whale.

And these star fishes.

Later our whole family went for a bike ride on the pier. Here's Chase and Beckham before our ride.

For lunch we ate at a nice restaurant Bay Roadhouse Bar & Grill on State Street and had some nice wine pairings.

Here's my lunch. I had carbona tacos!

Sunday morning I woke up to this beautiful smile. Beckham is a renowned traveler, you know? 

For lunch we ate at the Santa Barbara Harbor Restaurant on the pier. I had delicious Maine Lobster tacos. Yum!!

Later on we went on a land and sea tour of Santa Barbara on the "Land Shark". This is a me and the hubs waiting in line. 

Here we are all aboard the "Land Shark"

We had a fabulous tour visiting the main attractions. 

The Santa Barbara Courthouse. It was beautiful inside and out.

This famous fig tree is 136 years old.

The Santa Barbara Harbor.

We ran into these cute sea lions on the tour.
With all the excitement someone was pooped out and fell asleep. 

I think we had a great time on our weekend gettaway to Santa Barbara celebrating our Anniversary with the kids!
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