a weekend at monarch beach!

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we spent the weekend before last at the st. regis monarch beach after they kindly extended the invitation for us to come visit! since it was our 8th wedding anniversary weekend as well as father’s day, it felt like the perfect place to celebrate it all, and celebrate we did! my sister hannah flew in for the weekend as well! it was so nice having her there and also having¬†her help with the little ones while josh and i snuck away to dinner just the two of us on our anniversary and did a few other things. thanks, hannah!

the st. regis property at monarch beach is just breathtaking!¬†from the rooms to the pools to the menu to the beach, it’s evident that¬†every last detail is looked after. ¬†we enjoyed s’mores on the beach at sunset, a day of whale and dolphin watching from a boat, a private lesson and game of croquet, a scavenger hunt all around the grounds for eleanor and samson, afternoons at the pool and some of the most delicious meals.

we always have so much fun putting together little videos so here’s one with some footage from our weekend, and then lots of photos below! (music in the video is “oceans” by kim edwards.)

and now, get ready for a bajillion photos because editing them down to just a few was impossible. editing in general is not my strength.

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pretty sure the highlight of walking into our hotel room for eleanor was discovering her mini robe and slippers! it is just so sweet how much this little lady loves her pj’s and comfy clothes each day. she’s even asked to wear her robe a couple of times around the apartment since we’ve gotten back. she loves it.

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conrad’s face here is epic. he’s like, “MOM. SERIOUSLY. HELP.” can you believe how big he looks here though?! where is my baby?

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if your kids are going to wake up at the crack of dawn on vacation, room service certainly does make the crazy hour wake up call worth it.

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our family likes to “ching-ching” with our glasses! it’s so cute that the kids do this all on their own and we’ll say “to eleanor!” or “to samson!”

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so lucky to have my sister hannah with us! she is getting married next month and we couldn’t be more excited for her. ¬†we had fun together after everyone went to sleep a few nights in there going over her wedding planning and details. she’s got such a good¬†one in the works!

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okay, so most definitely the best part of the weekend for me was our croquet lesson. mainly, because we really got into it and wore all white for the experience. :) and secondly, because josh played most of the game with a baby in his arms, and that to me, was just perfect.

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the kids did so well playing until they discovered that the croquet mallets could be turned upside down and used as pretend crutches!

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a family photo memorializing this epic adventure! what a fun afternoon! if you go, i can’t recommend this activity enough! we need a croquet set in our lives. but i guess we need a yard first. ha!

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we spent a few hours each day down at the pool! i have three water babies who live for time in the water and it just makes me so happy to see them splash and play and make such fun memories together in the water!

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can we talk about that sunset for a minute?! because REALLY. could it be any more beautiful?

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a downfall to city living is being behind on our swimming skills (we don’t have too many pools near us for practice). ¬†we worked hard a couple of afternoons in there to take the “floaties” off and practice floating and doggy paddles and putting our head under the water! so proud of both eleanor and samson for being so brave and going for it!

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the crab cake eggs benedict from st. regis’ motif restaurant was delicious! we ordered it a second time our last day it was so good.

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conrad didn’t get any of the eggs benedict, but he did enjoy a mashed up banana that morning! i love this stage where they are so eager and interested in food!

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a boy and his balloon!

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so i have to take a second and tell you about one of the coolest things we experienced at st. regis. their butler service! have you ever tried something like that before? we hadn’t,¬†but i found it incredibly helpful! they can unpack everything for you, steam and iron your clothing, shine your shoes, bring a juice or coffee and croissants to your room every morning and pretty much anything to be helpful to you and make your stay better. it was such a cool experience to try out!

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sneaking away for a little romantic anniversary dinner!

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josh had chocolate covered strawberries (with the fanciest gold on top) delivered to our room the morning of. samson might have eaten the majority, but he’ll tell you they were delicious! ;) ¬†also, the lobster pot pie at their¬†stonehill tavern¬†restaurant (you can see the full creation in the video) was so good! the presentation (they bring it out to the table as a full pie and cut and dish it for you right there) was exciting and unique and we scraped the dish clean.

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the happiest water baby you ever did see! he loves to stick his tongue out when he’s extra happy!

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the kids had a lot of fun on a scavenger hunt one morning around the st. regis grounds! we called it a “treasure hunt” since they understand that a bit better, and they had a great time following their map and looking for clues hidden in tiny boxes around the halls and lobby and gardens.

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beach day!

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we enjoyed lunch down at the beach at the monarch bay club’s restaurant¬†one day where my sister ordered some of the prettiest fish tacos i ever did see!

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ah, take me back!!!!!

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see! there’s the tongue thing again! we all have noticed that everyone in our family has been sticking their tongues out more when conrad does it. ha!

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we wanted to surprise our papa with a fun breakfast in bed on father’s day! since he’s eating super clean and doesn’t eat delicious stuff like sugar, we had to resort to a bowl of oatmeal and juice. but with the help of samson, he ate the entire bowl, so i think he liked it. and how cute is eleanor’s little whale under the water drawing on her card for him?

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we went to church on sunday morning, and came back to the hotel to a special father’s day buffet brunch the hotel was serving. they seriously were serving everything, from oysters and sushi to pancakes and waffles and everything in between. ¬†we stuffed ourselves silly. i don’t think any other buffet with ever compare. i mean, they probably had 25 different desserts alone!

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the st. regis set up a fun day of whale watching for us with captain dave¬†and we had a great time out on the water on a boat where we saw 4 different kinds of whales and so many dolphins up close (you can see them in the video!). it’s an experience none of us will forget! you could even crawl down under the boat¬†and sit in these glass pod things to watch the dolphins and whales under water while we were in the ocean!

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on our first night, we had fun roasting marshmallows at the beach together! we also had a mini family talent show around the fire where we took turns introducing one another as special entertainers and performers and sang or danced or acted something out for each other! without question, the best part of the show was when samson pretended to be a “toy soldier.” i don’t think describing it will do it justice, but all of us adults were definitely crying from laughing so hard. it’s going down as one of my top 5 best memories of that kiddo so far. ¬†it was just classic samson and executed in the sweetest and silliest way possible. ¬†such a fun night!
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and riding in this adorable teeny tiny tram was another big highlight for not just the kids, but us too! it’s how you get to the golf course and ¬†private beach, and the drivers were always so nice letting samson and eleanor sit up front with them and push the gate buttons and things. ¬†i don’t know what i’m going to do when those kids are old enough to DRIVE!

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it was most definitely a weekend we will not forget, one where we felt so special and well taken care of.  it was impressive just how helpful and diligent the staff at the st. regis was to make sure our stay was nothing short of the absolute best.  we truly felt spoiled and will forever hold onto these special family memories made.

a special thank you to st. regis monarch beach, with whom this post is in partnership, for having us. and for making our stay such a wonderful one.

4th of july favorites!

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one of my favorite things about summer is celebrating our country’s birthday, which is this coming saturday! ¬†i always get¬†emotional singing the national anthem and seeing everyone out waving their american flags or crowding together to watch fireworks or light their own sparklers in the evening because it makes me feel nostalgic for the traditions my family had each year around the 4th growing up. i’m grateful ¬†for these kinds of traditions that differ for everyone around this time of year, but still bring us all together in some way as we all feel gratitude for being in a country where¬†we have the privilege to be free.

so every year on the 4th, dressing¬†my¬†family all match-matchy in red, white and blue appropriately just seems like a fun and necessary part of all the celebrations! (see here, here and here.) you know, it’s the important stuff like what we’ll wear that¬†keeps me up far past my bedtime at night. (kidding! i’m totally kidding.) ;)

a few festive favorites for this year below:

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1. striped tote, 2. heat wave lipstick, 3. round tortoiseshell sunglasses, 4. striped shift dress, 5. salt water sandals, 6. sorella dress, 7. superga canvas sneakers, 8. skipstich sun hat, 9. arizona platform slide, 10. river island sunglasses and 11. v-neck kaftan dress

balboa island!

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we just got back to new york¬†from our california trip about an hour ago! it’s 2-something in the morning and all three kiddos are sound asleep in their own little beds (well, conrad is asleep in our bed, but ya know.) ¬†josh is sitting close by doing some work at the table as i’m writing this from¬†the sofa. our apartment is semi- clean (i¬†tend to¬†stay up the entire night before we travel scrubbing my apartment so i can come home to a clean place and be like, “ahhhh” when i walk in the door) and there is this butterfly-y feeling in my stomach right now that i can’t shake.

i think i’m just happy to be home and also, going through these photos from our¬†afternoon¬†on balboa peninsula and balboa island made my heart so happy. our little family¬†always tends to have a lot of fun together, but this particular afternoon was just gold. ¬†all three kids were having the best time, we ate our fill of frozen bananas from dad’s and taking our rental car across the water on a ferry was such an adventure for eleanor and samson, that it felt like the biggest adventure i’ve ever encountered, too!

a few more photos from this day in california…

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^^^so we also did this jumping thing in santa monica the week before. eleanor and samson talked about it nonstop¬†afterwards so when we saw they had one on balboa peninsula, they were over the moon. infact, samson kept declaring as he jumped, “i almost touch the moon!” how they have not inherited my fear of heights is beyond me.^^^

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^^^the views from the top of this ferris wheel were something else. and also, the seats rocked back and forth like crazy with any sudden movements and i tried so hard to mask¬†my fear so my kids wouldn’t feed off it, but i was truly panicking inside.^^^

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^^^broke his first tooth the other day and killing it with that grin! we cannot get enough of this tiny little dude.^^^

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^^^riding the bucking shark at the fun zone and looking sharp while doing so. this papa is the funnest.^^^

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^^^the sunburst is hiding it, but i was trying to show off the fact that i got my hair into a freaking TOP KNOT the other day! i might have had to use twenty million bobby pins to do so, but a top knot nonetheless!^^^

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^^^embarking¬†on a trip across the water with our car! the kids didn’t understand what was going on until we were half way across the water. it’s a super short ride, but we pulled them out of their carseats and out of the car so they could get a better idea of what was happening. once it clicked, the “wow’s!” and “oh my’s!” were very sweet.^^^

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^^^the frozen banana’s from dad’s were really great. so was the balboa bar! i had to try both. ;) ^^^

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^^^i’m not sure if this day will be one the kids and josh will remember forever, but it most definitely will be for me. i have a lot of fun with these guys.^^^


ps. i took these pictures with my canon 6D and used my portrait lens the entire time (it’s still my fave.) my shirt is from anthropologie and sunglasses by karen walker. ¬†josh’s striped shirt is from jcrew. eleanor’s shirt and shorts from zara and her headband from shop ban.do (she’s so obsessed with wearing those headbands it’s pretty cute.) both of their shoes are teva’s. samson’s dinosaur tank is an oldie from bit’z kids and conrad’s sun protective shirt and pants are from patagonia. :)

a few new favorite apps for kids, round III

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over the past several months, i’ve had a lot of fun sharing which children’s books and apps for kids we’ve been loving and using in our home. ¬†we’ve added a few new apps to our list, and while we try to limit iPad time for¬†eleanor and samson, i think there are so many helpful and educational apps out there that maybe they can be of interest to you as well! whenever we gear up for a big trip, we usually try to find a few new ones. the list below are a couple new apps our family has liked the most this last month or two:

toca nature
as you might be able to tell from our past round ups, we are kind of loving everything toca! josh actually found this one around earth day back in april and i really love the emphasis on taking care of our earth, by planting trees or feeding the animals.  eleanor especially loves this one.

shape builder
this sort of app is pretty much the next best thing to an actual puzzle for a toddler. and since traveling with toys or games that have several pieces like puzzles is a nightmare for me, this app makes everything easier. it’s really simple and basic, but the kids love it!

crazy heliumbooth
ok, so maybe our entire family loves this one! it takes video of you and can distort your face, change your voice and also speed up or slow down the video to make it funnier. we love the helium voice the best, and my phone is filled with the kids doing impressions of anything on this app!

touch and learn
i like how this app encourages the kids to learn new emotions and expressions. there is so much more out there than just happy or sad, and since i am a visual learner myself, i think it’s nice that this app shows pictures of expressed emotions, like angry, hurt, proud, frustrated… the list goes on and on.

PS. our first list of children’s apps HERE and round II HERE.¬† ¬†any new apps for the little ones you are loving these days?

mats! mats! and a video, too!

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exciting news for anyone who was hoping to purchase a mat from our collaboration with let’s playground and didn’t snag one in time, all four mats we designed from our love taza collection have¬†been restocked today! (incase you missed it, see our first post all about the collaboration HERE!)

josh and i¬†had a lot of fun working¬†hard¬†on designing these four different mats¬†to¬†represent¬†love taza¬†and our love for new york city and¬†i hope you are loving and enjoying them now that they are ready! it has been so much fun the past few weeks seeing a few images pop up of you guys and your families using the mats from our collection! ¬†thank you again for your support and also to let’s playground for such a fun collaboration.

also, here’s a fun video by jenner brown from our launch party a few weeks back in new york city if you’d like to check it out. what a fun night! you can find more photos from that party and all the other details from the event¬†HERE.

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images of our love taza mats in this post by jessica petersen, and styled by brittany jepsen!