11.16.2017

An Airshow

Popping in real quick to let the masses (hi, Mom!) know we're still alive and kicking, and do a round of "What We Did One Weekend."

Two weeks ago we had a single Saturday afternoon where our calendar was blank. There had been promos floating around social media for an airshow not far from us. I suggested we pile in the car and give it a go. Full disclosure: I had no idea what to expect of this thing, and typically these type of events don't exactly peg our family's excitement meter.

That said...

We were all blown away by how cool this event actually turned out to be. Scott was perhaps the most excited of us all.

There were aircrafts of all sorts and sizes. The most impressive of all was this C-17, which we were able to tour. If you've never been inside one, spoiler alert, it's massive, and gray, and used to transport big military things. Don't ask me specifics, because #civilian. What I do know is it was a beast, and I'm pretty sure complimentary snacks aren't served inflight.
Naturally, there were smaller military aircraft we were able to check out, as well.
Let's take a moment to breakdown Marcus' outfit.
The farm hat paired with rain boots. Where I'm from those boots are oh-so reminiscent of what we lovingly refer to as sh!t kickers.
Marcus looks like I plucked him right out of a corn field and plopped him on an airstrip.  #midwestisbest #iowanforlife
A few planes allowed cockpit entry, which Marcus found to be pretty awesome.
There were a few not-so-traditional forms of flight to view as well.
Hang-glider? Thanks, but no thanks. I need something with proper landing gear. And heat. And engines. And a licensed pilot.

All throughout the day fly overs happened with frequency, which constantly had us looking to the sky to see what formation or craft was above.

Food trucks were out in full force. The fat kid in me was sooooo tempted to just plant roots at the truck selling baked goods. I fought the forces and went with a seaweed sushi wrap (it's basically a sushi burrito).

And then there was this cute little truck that had nothing to do with planes, but made for a nice seat and an obvious photo op.

But, the highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity to PAINT an airplane.
A small donation allowed kids an opportunity to paint a portion of a plane.
There is an entire mission behind painting this Cessna called SafeLaunch. I'm not at all versed on SafeLaunch, so I won't go into specifics, but it was a really cool experience for everyone (to read more about the mission, as well as see if the plane will be at an event near you, click on the link above), and if there's ever an airshow near us with a plane to paint, we'll most certainly be there.

Even though Julia isn't pictured much, that little hellion had a grand old time, too. With each and every plane we passed she would exclaim, "WOAH! That's a HUGE one!" And, desperately tried to keep up with Marcus as he ran from plane to plane.

Till next year's airshow. Maybe by then we can convince Marcus that the helicopter rides being offered is something we must do.

11.14.2017

Family Photos + Holiday Cards With Minted

I received product free in exchange for my review. This post contains affiliate links. However, all opinions are honest and my own.

For the first time, possibly ever, I feel like I am genuinely ahead of the Holiday Season game. Do not, for one second, get me wrong. I have not purchased a single gift. Not a single pine needle or fleck of glitter has surfaced from the depths of storage. And, I am still trying to map out a solid game plan to convince Scott that we do, indeed, need a real, live Christmas tree to spruce up our living room this year (see what I did there?). He is hung up on an incident that happened to him 25ish (???) years ago that involved a real tree containing thousands of bugs... I have reminded Scott only a million times that it's 2017 and surely there are new preventative measures made by the tree farms to make sure our house is not infested with bugs.

But, I digress...

All of that aside, by mid-September I *had* managed to stuff my loved ones into clothes that they maybe, probably, very likely did not love. I was able to convince my photographer that a stop in Los Angeles in *September* (typically the hottest time of the year) was a good idea. And, we got our family photos d.o.n.e.

Might I also toot my own horn in the fact that during our hour session both the kids had fun. There was not a single complaint from either adult in our party. And, aside from that one unfavorable encounter with a "trail steward," who clearly did not appreciate family photos being taken on her trail (that is a whole other story for another day), it was one of the smoothest sessions we have ever had. I did not even break out into the usual stress-sweat that, without fail, happens during these things.

Naturally, I had to share a few photos. Translation: I am going to share all the photos I wanted to put on the Christmas card (our entire session), but just could not fit on to the Christmas card.
I had a really tough time deciding which photo would make the final cut. This one was certainly at the top of the contender list.
The best way to get your kids into a photo session? Take them some place that totally captivates them. So much of our session was candid, which I loved.

Along with a stream and a hiking trail, we did what any sane people do in their Sunday clothes. We climbed trees. Who doesn't do that?
It's all in the name of the holiday card game. AmIright??
I made a special request to have a few shots of just this guy and me. I'm kind of glad I asked.
Another shot list request: just the kids and me. It's not too often I'm on the flip side of the camera lens, so I'm pretty thankful to have this one of the babes and me.
Oh look, Julia lost her shoes. Zero shock there.
A massive shout-out to our photographer Sarah Sloboda for capturing all these amazing moments, and helping to make our holiday cards as beautiful as I had hoped.

So, photos are in the books. And that can only mean one thing. Our holiday cards are done, too!! (This is where I claim to be ahead of the Holiday Season game.)

For Christmas cards this year I could not stop swooning over all the gorgeous card options Minted has to offer. I naturally gravitated towards the foil stamped cards, I just could not help myself. The selection seemed limitless. The options did not just end at foil stamped. Letterpress, ornament cards, holiday booklette cards, and even an option to completely customize cards, are all there. There is also the option to have Minted do all the tedious work of addressing your envelopes, AND, customized stamps can be included, too. Talk about fan-cy.

I was forever thankful for the ability to save my favorite cards. It was so nice to have all my favorites in one spot and refer to them often, rather than try to continuously scroll each time I wanted to revert back to a card style.  And, uploading several photos at a time, and then plugging said favorite photos into each card to see the final product was beyond helpful. That feature quickly allowed me to narrow down my options and select "the one" for this year.

Just for fun, I wanted to share a few options Minted has available this year. These caught my eye and made their way into my "favorites" category. Our Christmas card may or may not be in the mix. (It is totally there, but I am waiting for those puppies to hit the mailboxes before I give the full reveal.)
Golden Christmas Card
Shimmer Holiday Card

Merry Christmas Swirls
Naturally, I couldn't go on about all the great options without giving a tiny little sneak peek of our cards.
This year's cards might just be my favorite. I cannot wait for the full reveal once cards have hit the mailboxes. Which, leads to an important question... When is the right time to send out holiday cards? Is the week before Thanksgiving too soon??

I am curious, thoughts on our family photos? And, which Minted card do you love? Drop me a comment and let me know!

10.25.2017

The Kids Are Still Here

After a little gander through the old blog, it's been a hot, hot minute since I've done a proper post on the kids, on life, on anything other than walls and clothes.

Looking back on Marcus' first five years of life I documented pretty much everything for that kid, right down to the meals he ate. But, Julia? Welp, she just kind of gets what ever I can scrape up, slap together, and call a post. #secondchildproblems
So, today will be one big purge of all the little bits of life, particularly stuff involving the kids (sorry, Julia, this is the best I can do right now).

Marcus.
This kid is loving kindergarten and simply thriving at school. To Scott's and my amazement, about a month prior to school beginning, we noticed Marcus was truly reading. Since school has begun he's just taken off. He's reading books on his own, creating stories in his notebooks, and just blooming as a student. The only downfall, Scott and I can no longer spell-speak when we want to talk about things in front of Marcus that we don't necessarily want him to know. We found this out the other day when I said to Scott, "I think the b- u- b- b- l- e- s  are all gone." Marcus immediately looked up at me and said, "Bubbles." Like, no big deal. No how are we going to talk about stuff around him?!
Right now, if you ask Marcus what he's most excited about, it's the fact that his bottom front teeth are loose. There is a long way to go before they actually fall out, but we get a wiggly update daily.
This Fall Marcus is back at it with baseball, and he's thoroughly been enjoying that as well. It's been so fun to watch his progress with throwing, catching, and batting. Though, the running part we need to work on... he's just so awkward and lanky-like when he runs.
Being outside is one of Marcus' favorite places. Throwing rocks into the ocean, riding bikes, playing baseball, throwing a football, honing the skill of skateboarding... Marcus loves it all.
I keep trying to convince Marcus to love Disney. Pretty sure we're not there yet, but so long as we can ride Midway Mania, toss in a meal of mac and cheese, and promise a Mouse Ears ice cream bar or cotton candy, and he generally enjoys his time at the Mouse House.
As far as big brother'ing goes, Marcus is truly the best. Julia gets away with so much with this kid. Marcus has yet to figure out that he's bigger and stronger than her.
With each day that passes, we're discovering so much about this genuine, loving, little man. He continues to be cautious and serious, analytical and observant. His emotions are big. He cares for everyone. He tries everything in his ability to make sure people are happy. His compassion is astounding for a 5-year old.
I hope some day he looks back on his very first school picture and laughs so hard.


Julia.
This little lady is just so full of life. There's no better way to describe it. She is a spit fire, and lives for garnering a reaction from those around her - typically looking for a laugh or a smile.
The one-on-one time we have while Marcus is in school has been lots of fun for both of us. We frequent the aquarium, parks, and of course, Disney - which Julia seems to enjoy ten-fold. There are also a few structured activities so Julia isn't totally feral when she enters preschool. There are swim lessons - which have been slow, but steady in progress. As well as Gymboree, to which she pays no attention to the little structure suggested for each class, and she merrily goes about doing her own thing.
Energy just bursts from her whole being; she is non-stop motion. Music and dancing are her jam. When a song comes on that she fancies, she'll say refined things like, "Shake your booty." (No idea where she's learned that....)
Playing with Megformers and Lego Duplos is a favorite, right along side playing in her play house and with her dolls. Like her big brother, Julia loves the outdoors. If given the choice, she'd rather be shoeless, clothes-less, dirty, and running wild outside.
Julia's vocabulary is booming. It's as if it just kind of exploded overnight, and she's a chatty little Kathy. I never want to forget how she says "wittle" and "pwease," and how she has the slightest of lisp with her s's. When we sing Jesus Loves Me she pronounces it Mesus Muh-ves Me, and Twinkle Twinkle is Pinkle Pinkle.
Books are also a big part of Julia. She'll bring a stack of books to me and demand, "Sit down, mommy!" as she points to the floor or seat, and we'll flip through her favorites. Her current favorites are Barnyard Dance (by Sandra Boynton) and The Itsy Bitsy Pumpkin (by Sonali Fry), both of which she knows and will recite - to the best of her ability - with me. It's by far my favorite part of each day with her.
Julia is pretty stubborn, and has to do things her way, and on her terms. We're currently working on the slow process of potty training, to which Julia has exactly zero interest. Maybe one of these days we'll be clear and free of diapers.
This one keeps us on our toes. Julia provides such comic relief, and silly, crazy moments for us. She is exhausting in the most beautiful of ways, and each days is always an adventure with her.

If I had to sum the kids up, I'd say their hair personifies them. Marcus has straight, neat, tidy hair, and that's exactly how he wants it. We've asked on numerous occasions if he'd like mo-hawks or faux-hawks, and we always get a very resolute, "NO!"
Then theres Julia's mane. It is a mess of untamable, wild curls. And trying to calm that mess is next to impossible, as getting bows, hair clips, and pony tail holders in is an aerobic chore, as she basically hates them all.

And that's where I'll leave off for now. Let's hope it's not another few months before the next round of Desirée Gets Her Act Together to Blog About Life.

10.23.2017

Fix #17

To my delight, Fix 17 arrived last week.

As much as I adore bright, bold, beautiful colors, on my actual person I'm drawn towards neutral and muted tones, especially this time of year. I asked Raquel to see if she could track down a pair of moto pants as well as some seasonally appropriate (albeit on the lightweight side) tops. In case California ever decides to get its act together and deliver an actual Fall season, I'd like to be wardrobe ready.

Upon first glance of the style card I was a little underwhelmed with the goods, and more than bummed moto pants weren't in the lot. However, I know Raquel and Stitch Fix have the unique ability to provide some pretty unexpected and adored finds for me.

To the threads...

41 Hawthorn || Barbos Contrast Detail Shirt
Lola Rae || Dana Skinny Cargo Pant
Let's start with the 41 Hawthorn Barbos Contrast Detail Shirt. I love a good plaid shirt. Black and white is always a solid choice. And the tabs on the arms are a nice touch. All that said, it's currently about a million degrees here, with no sight of cooling off, and I just can't imagine a flannel shirt right now. Not to mention, I have two flannels hanging in my closet right now that rarely see the light of day. As much as I liked this top, there was no justification in keeping this one.

To the Lola Rae Dana Skinny Cargo Pants. I am IN LOVE with the color. The pants were buttery soft, and had a nice amount of stretch/give to them, making them insanely comfortable. Easily the most delicious pair of pants I've ever slipped on. All that said, I was a little taken back by the price tag ($88). I know a good, sturdy pair of jeans aren't cheap, and worth every penny paid. But. I feel this color and style is something I'd only reach for during the fall and winter months. 

Verdict
41 Hawthorn || Barbos Contrast Detail Shirt - Returned
Lola Rae || Dana Skinny Cargo Pant - Returned (as much as it pained me to send those back)

Noe Hieghts || Kennie Woven Poplin Knit Top
I had this very top pinned, and was tickled to see Raquel included it in my fix. It really is adorable. The tie details and flare in the sleeves are sweet, and the fit was great. There were no complaints once it I had it on. But. Once on, I knew the top just wasn't "me." 

Verdict - Returned

Z Supply || Zax V-Neck Pocket Knit Top
Confession. I've never really gotten into the camo trend. And when I pulled this top out of the box I didn't think I'd like it, never mind keep it. But once on, I immediately fell in love. The black and gray camo are just the muted colors I've been gravitating towards. I truly loved the camo print as well as the breast pocket. Let's also talk about the v-neck. It is fairly deep, but gives this tee a little more character. I loved this top so much I wore it the day I pulled it out of the box.

Verdict - Kept

41 Hawthorn || Jaycee Ribbed Hem Knit Top
Straight out of the box I knew this would end up in my closet. I'm smitten with this color; love, love, love it. The top isn't too heavy, but it has just enough weight to keep warm during the chilly SoCal nights. The sleeves are long, which I appreciate (and could probably even use thumb holes to really take it up a notch). Though I couldn't properly photograph this (I tried a good half dozen times to photograph this), and never actually, did, I cannot sing enough praises about this perfectly Fall appropriate top. Toss on my distressed Pistola jeans, add my Market & Spruce Jahana Cargo Vest, and the cutest outfit is assembled.

Tell me... did I make the right decision sending the cargo pants back? Did I keep the right tops? Drop me your thoughts in the comments!

Have you tried Stitch Fix? If not, give it a shot! Feel free to use my link to get started (I will receive a small credit if you use my link, and will be forever grateful if you do)!

10.03.2017

Wall Crawl {{Kauai}}

I'm pretty much behind on life these days. I have two wall crawl posts just sitting in my drafts from our Midwest tour... THIS SUMMER. For whatever reason, I can't get it together to get those posted. Maybe it's because I know I can always go back and visit them? Or that I know pretty well the location of each?

At any rate, I felt compelled to get the walls of Kauai, or at least the ones I found, published sooner than later. Why this one takes precedence? Probably because I'm unsure when we'll ever get back, and nailing down the locations is still relatively fresh in my memory...

Anywho. While on the island, between our days filled with hiking, relaxing, and shave ice eating, I kept my eyes peeled and my head on a swivel for any street art. Lucky for me, there was more than I imagined or expected.
Ahukini Road and Kuhio Highway intersection, Lihue, Kauai
After driving by this colorful mural, of what I can only assume is Kauai's coast, a few times, and just the slightest amount of me begging Scott to stop, we finally did. He was clearly THRILLED.
The building this is painted on is a souvenir store, but nothing inside was worthy of writing home about. Their exterior was 100 times better than what was on the interior.
And, did I move an entire rack of clothes for this shot? Maaaaaaaybe....
Kuhio Highway, between Pouli Road and Hoi Road, Kapaa, Kauai 
These two marine animals are part of one massive mural.
This was one of the first murals to find, and it was impossible to miss. I'm pretty sure Scott was mortified to be taking these pics, as this wall is right on the highway, which is b.u.s.y.
Kuhio Highway, between Pouli Road and Hoi Road, Kapaa, Kauai 
This one was tucked in a little strip mall, and I could only see the side of it from the highway. After a few missed attempts we finally figured out how to get to it. The scale of the thing blew me away.
Java Kai: 4-1384 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai
This was the most pleasant, unexpected find.
Scott suggested grabbing coffee one morning before the adventures we had planned. I'm never one to turn down coffee, so off we went.
When we pulled up - to the back - of the establishment, I was practically jumping out of the car before we were even parked to get up close to these pineapple beauties. The full mural has three pineapples, and they're all vibrant and gorgeous. Had we entered through the front door we'd never have seen this. Bonus points for the most delicious Macadamia Nut Latte of all time.


Literally no idea what I'm doing. All that keeps going through my head is that scene from Talladega Nights where Ricky Bobby is being interviewed and says, "I don't know what to do with my hands." Except that's me, with my entire body...
Ching Young Village Shopping Center: 5-5190 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei, Kauai
One of our excursions, a coastal tour and snorkel session, sent us to the North Shore. We had some time to kill before jumping on the boat, so we putzed around the Ching Young Village Shopping center to kill time. To my absolute delight, several of the walls within the center were murals. Cue me not know what to do with myself, and an obviously elated Scott. I was able to convince Scott to get a few of the murals, but there were a couple of others we passed up.
Wishing Well Save Ice: 5-5080 Kuhio Highway, Hanalei, Kauai
After a morning and afternoon out on the water it only seemed right to get (yet another) shave ice. It's what dreams are made of, really. And, when the truck you order the shave ice out of also happens to have this amazing, colorful wall... well, all of my Hawaiian dreams came true.
Java Kai - again - 4-1384 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, Kauai
Our last night on the island we put on something other than hiking clothes or swim suits and went out to celebrate our birthdays. We happened to be on the island right between Scott's birthday (September 10) and mine (September 16). This was also one of the only times I put on make-up and took my hair out of its ponytail/braid. We had some time to blow before our dinner reservation, so off to grab more delicious Mac Nut Lattes.
The back of Java Kai had the pineapples, but the side/alley had this colorful geometric mural. May it also be noted, I felt a LOT less awkward standing (posing?) when I had something in my hand.
Denim Patch: 4516 Lehua Street, Kapaa, Kauai
We passed this gorgeous fence no less than a half a dozen times. And each time I wanted so badly to stop and take a snap of it. But, it was a business, and one I had no intention of actually stepping foot in to. However, between our coffee stop (above) and waiting for our dinner reservation, I said "screw it" and thought I'd try to sneak a quick photo in.
Newsflash. I'm zero percent sneaky, and the person working the shop saw me, and then waved. After an awkward wave - as I'm sitting here, nonchalantly posing with my coffee - I felt obligated to go in the shop.
Lesson learned. I walked into a swim suit boutique, and walked out with a swim suit I had no idea I needed.
4274 Rice Street, Lihue, Kauai
The last wall to be found was actually the first.
When we first got to Kauai we had quite a bit of time before we could check into our VBRO, and decided to grab lunch. As we were driving around, I mentioned in passing that I was curious if the island had much street art. I knew Oahu had some pretty epic art, but I wasn't aware of any on Kauai. AND THEN WE PULLED UP TO A MURAL IN PROGRESS. Our first minutes on the island and we come to a mural as it was being created. That first day we saw it, it was simply outlines of palm tress. On our way back to the airport to head home we made a stop to see the progress. This was how far it had come. I think this can only mean one thing. We NEED to go back to see the finished product.
Last but not least... The mural seen the first steps off the airplane, as well as the last mural to be seen before boarding to head home. This massive mural is right in the Lihue airport. The lighting isn't great, but the mural sure was.
Props to Scott for entertaining my crazy the entire week, and stopping for random wall pics. I know it's not his idea of awesome, but he's the best for going along with it all. Now, to convince him for another epic trip...