01.02.2017

Adventures in Puerto Rico (Part II)

The second half of our vacation we checked out a few different beaches (keep reading to find out why some were a bust!) We also went to TPC Dorado Beach, Old San Juan, and checked out Plamas Del Mar.

Anyone who knows my husband and Dad knows we weren’t going to Puerto Rico without them trying out a new golf course.  They picked out TPC Dorado Beach and claimed they picked it for us ladies too.  We laughed at first knowing they really only cared about the golf, but after our day there we were in heaven too!  The guys went golfing and we received days passes to the property, including the Ritz-Carlton Reserve which had the most gorgeous beach and pool area!

Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Vivian’s Hat
Vivian’s Swimsuit
Auntie Nini’s swimsuit 
Henry’s Swimsuit 

Everything on the property was beautifully groomed. The paths, beaches, pools, and parks.  Gorgeous! There was also a waterpark on the “golf course” side of the property. It had a huge lazy river, water slides, splash pads, waterfalls, a number of pools, and sandy play area  .  It had something for every age which was great for us!  We also learned that Ricky Martin (we heard is super friendly to everyone) and a few other celebrities live on the property too!

TPC Dorado Beach Watermill Adventure Park

Henry’s Swimsuit

Mid-week we all woke up early and drove down the coast to check out beaches. I hate to say it, but it was a fail.  Not so much on our part, but we came to the conclusion that you get what you pay for in Puerto Rico.  There’s a reason resort beaches were the best, because they are clean and kept up.  We stopped at at least ten beaches during our vacation and every one of them was run down, with trash scattered including broken bottles, stray dogs and cats wandering, (it was heartbreaking) and abandoned restaurants.  It was depressing to see these could-be beautiful places turned into dives and dumpsters.  Has anyone else traveled to Puerto Rico and found this?  We also looked the beaches up online before we headed there and they all had decent reviews and immaculate pictures!  I’m not saying we were looking for a fancy beach either, just one that we weren’t all going to get Tetanus from.

On Friday we drove into Old San Juan, I think this was one of my favorite things we did.  It was so beautiful, full of character, and had a lot to see.  We first went and saw the El Morro Fort.  I highly recommend it if you’re ever there, it was only $5 a person and the kids were free.  The Fort’s construction started back in 1539 and I still cannot fathom that!

El Morro Fort Old San Juan

Henry & Vivian’s outfits
Grandma’s outfit

After Walking through El Morro Fort, we wandered through the city and explored the old buildings and went into some of the shops and restaurants.  My favorites were a small Gelato shop and a fancy waffle and coffee restaurant.

Downtown Old San Juan

Molly’s romper
Molly’s Sunglasses
Vivian’s Headband

On our last full day we took a drive to a different part of the island, Palmas Del Mar.  My sister and parents stayed there a few years ago and loved it.  We stayed at Plamas Del Mar Beach Club for the day and enjoyed the pool and the views of the ocean (the tide was too high to swim there.)

Palmas Del Mar Beach Club

Henry & Vivian’s Swimwear 
Molly’s Swimsuit
Auntie NiNi’s Swimsuit
Auntie NiNi’s Sunglasses
Derek’s Swimwear

We had a blast on our vacation and I’m so proud of how the babies handled traveling!  I’m feeling grateful for the experience, but now I have the “travel bug.” Our next stop is Myrtle Beach, SC this spring, and we are already counting down to time until we can head out there! Any tips for South Carolina? For more future travel plans,  the husband and I are obsessed with Sweden and hope to someday visit there! Where have you traveled to and recommend?

12.29.2016

Adventures in Puerto Rico (Part I)

 

We are staying in Dorado, Puerto Rico on the northern coast last of the island.  It is our first big trip with all of my family.  My parents, my sisters Maddy and Mallory, Mallory’s Fiancé, and of course my husband and our littles.

For our first couple of days we decided to hang out by the ocean and pool and just soak up the beautiful weather and scenery! Vivian is like a little fish and is fearless. (Unlike her brother!)  Henry met friends by the pool- including a little Indian boy who refused to wear his swimming trunks, it was hilarious!

Maddy & Molly’s Swimwear: LEAH (lace up side) & KARA in Onyx 

Henry’s rash guard & trunksMinnow

Vivian Sun Hat: Flap Happy

Swimsuit: Minnow

On Monday, we took a catamaran ride for the day.  Our first stop was an island for swimming, walking the beach, and lunch.  The second stop was a reef where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean Sea for snorkeling!  I don’t have many pictures because I forgot my SD card for my camera in my computer… (oops!)  But, I did have our GoPro, so we got a lot of cool videos!

This weather has us never wanting to return home! It’s the little things that make vacation so special (I know that sounds so cheesy, but its true!)  Seeing Henry and Vivian play in the sand, swim in the ocean and explore things they’ve never seen makes my heart swell! On top of it all, they aren’t just doing these things with their mom and dad; their Grandma and Grandpa and Aunts and Uncle too!

I couldn’t help but take a million and one pictures of Stinky Pete on the beach, she was just too funny!  She loves the sand and water, but she takes big handfuls and tries to stuff it in her mouth (gross!)

Vivian Sun Hat: Flap Happy

Swimsuit: Minnow

At night, we’ve been playing board games as a whole group, which may sound lame- but its been a blast!  I highly recommend the game ‘Wits & Wagers’!  We’ve also been playing ‘Cards Against Humanity’ which can be quite interesting with your parents.  Later this week we plan on going to TPC Country Club Dorado and also checking out Old San Juan.  Stay tuned for Part II of our Puerto Rico Adventures!

12.28.2016

Puerto Rico or Bust!

We’ve had our holiday vacation to Puerto Rico planned for months and I have been nervous about the flight with our littles for just as long. We’ve heard horror stories of babies crying the entirety of the flight. Henry is a ball of energy 24/7 (he seriously never sits still…)  I didn’t know how he was going to last being contained to one seat on an airplane!  Armed with some advice from a few mom groups I belong to we prepared the best we could.  Side note, I know good parents that try anything and everything and their kiddos still aren’t happy to be flying.  But, I am sharing what worked (and didn’t work) for us to have a successful and easy flight.

The flight from Minnesota to Puerto Rico is roughly 4 1/2 hours long (give or take) plus the time you sit on the runway before take off and after landing. We took off around 7am and landed around 2:30pm (2 hour time zone difference.)

  1. Comfy Clothes-  We left our house at 4am so we had the kids sleep in their outfits that they were wearing to the airport.  Because we were traveling on Christmas Eve I wanted to be festive. So, naturally, they both wore their new Christmas Gap pajamas to the airport!
  2. Know the Rules-  I read through the TSA rules on breastmilk, baby food, liquids, snacks… yada yada yada before I packed our carry ons so I knew exactly what I could bring.  To my surprise you CAN bring baby food that is over 3oz (within moderation) in your carry on as long as its in a separate zip lock bag that can be looked at security check.  I also needed to bring Vivian’s medication for her ear infection that was well over 3oz and the same rules applied, zip lock bag that TSA could easily see.  I had zero issues getting through security-it was a breeze.
  3. No Carseat- Yes, you read that correctly, NO carseat.  We decided not to bring Henry’s carseat with after a few moms shared their flying experiences with me.  I am so happy we didn’t bring it!  TSA recommends carseats that are 16″ wide and Henry’s seat is 20″ wide so it would have been taking up a huge portion of our row.  Also,  we kept him busy by rotating seats with him and he slept on my lap and I could stretch out my legs while he laid on me.
  4. Take Advantage- Strollers and carseats are free at baggage check and you can bring your stroller all the way to boarding the plane before having to leave it.  Take advantage of this, it makes navigating the airport 100 times easier!  Also,  people with babies and toddler get to board the airplane along with first class, I recommend this because getting situated and getting carry ons stowed away takes much longer with little(s).
  5. Snacks, Books, iPad, Oh My!-  To keep both kids occupied we packed snacks, a few books, and loaded the iPad with (pre-downloaded episodes) ‘Paw Patrol’, ‘Special Agent Oso’, ‘Octonauts’, and the new movie ‘Secret Life of Pets’.  Henry didn’t watch all of these, but it gave him options to pick from which was nice.  We also packed play dough, a puzzle, coloring book, and a couple small Transformer trucks.  Rotating playing with each toy kept him busy for most of the flight.
  6. DockATot-  I almost didn’t bring it.  I had so much already packed and my carry on was full and even my husband thought it was going to be “just another item.”  But, let me tell you I am thanking my lucky stars that I decided to bring it!  I set it at our feet on the airplane and during takeoff I nursed Vivian, she fell asleep and I set her in the DockATot.  She slept in it for 3 hours!  It was amazing and I will be bringing it along on our flight to Myrtle Beach in the spring! #lifesaver

 

All of these things helped us get through our flights with minimal problems.  I’m not saying it was perfect, Henry and Vivian both had a couple small rough patches, but overall they were rockstars and I am so proud of them. You know it’s good when a couple families of 4 (now teenagers) mentioned how well our kids handled the flight, they were so kind, and very impressed!

12.16.2016

Winc

I’ve partnered up with Winc, a monthly wine club membership to share my experience and tell you how fabulous it was getting wine delivered right to my doorstep! But seriously- wine to my doorstep, how did I not know about this earlier?

Below is everything that came in my ‘December’ monthly box.  When you sign up, you take a quiz on your likes and dislikes (not just wine related either…) to see what will make your palate sing! You don’t like red? No problem! You will also get to choose if you would rather have more, less or none of reds or whites.  Hit order and your wine is on the

way! It’s really that easy and all of you last minute holiday shoppers (Yes, I’m talking to you!) this is seriously the perfect gift that almost everyone, actually wants!

To spruce up (pun intended) I used a sprig of spruce and a handful of pomegranate seeds to add some festive color and flavor to my drinks!

If you like wine, use the code ‘RAISINGBUDDIES’ at checkout and get $20 off when you sign up today!

12.14.2016

7 Best Boutiques

I’m always searching on Instagram and Pinterest for online boutiques that have great style.  Shopping online at these boutiques who have a great Pinterest and Instagram gives fabulous ideas on how to style their clothing and shoes in different ways, which is always helpful!

Shopping online gives me time to “peruse” with no rush, no cramped stores, no pressure, and best of all- I get to be home!  Anyways, I’ll get to the good stuff; (in no particular order) here are some of my favorite online boutiques and bonus, I’ve added their Instagram and Pinterest links too:

1.  Shop Stevie

A husband and wife duo started this company two years ago and now have an adorable little girl! A mom with great style, YES!

Shop Stevie Instagram

Shop Stevie Pinterest

 

2.   Ruby Claire Boutique

Another husband and wife duo here. Ruby Claire Boutique gets assistance from their adult children and they make the perfect team.

 Ruby Claire Boutique Instagram

Ruby Claire Boutique Pinterest

3.  ROOLEE

 Not only do they have some of the most stylish clothing, but they also have baby and home decor too! One of my favorite “Instagram moms” wears a lot of ROOLEE, so I’ve also added her Instagram account for style inspiration!

Roolee Boutique Instagram

Ginger Parrish Instagram– Cute kids. Great Style. Can you ask for anything more?

Roolee Boutique Pinterest

4.  Raising Wild

Sisters and best friends (they are moms too) that have created swimwear for fit, fashion, and functionality.  Seriously, it’s the best swimwear around. I’ll be rocking my Raising Wild in Puerto Rico and I can’t wait! Oh, did I mention they were on Shark Tank?! AND got a deal!

Raising Wild Instagram

Raising Wild Pinterest

 

5.  Soel Boutique

 Here’s a Wife and mother of three who made her dreams come true by opening this boutique.  11 years later her boutique is flourishing and so are the relationships she has made throughout.  Her mission statement is:

“We believe in curating a life that represents you. Whether it’s on trend or classy and timeless, we offer you pieces that can help you create a beautiful life, piece by piece. We know that comfort is huge. We find pieces that you’ll not only look great in, but feel great in as well. Life can be full of goodness. We don’t want you to fill your home, closet, and life with “stuff”, we want you to love everything surrounding you and your families. Hopefully we can help play a role in that for you.”

Soel Boutique Instagram

Soel Boutique Pinterest

 

6.  Primp Boutique

Let me start off by saying there is a Primp about ten minutes from my house and it’s dangerous.  Not dangerous in a scary way (unless you’re my bank account) scary in a “I go there too much” way.  But, no worries if you’re not in Minnesota, you can shop online too!

Primp Boutique Instagram

Primp Pinterest

 

7.  Pink Blush

They aren’t just Maternity.  Their clothing is made to be worn during all stages of life, pregnant or not! I have so many pieces from Pink Blush that I wore pregnant and still wear, all their clothing is so versatile.

Pink Blush Instagram

Pink Blush Pinterest

12.10.2016

10 Minute (or less) Beauty Routine

 

If you’re like me; you’re a mom, you like to sleep in, and you seem to always be running late! And if you’re like me you may be lacking time to get ready in the morning.  So, I’m sharing my favorite products and tips that help me get out the door in ten minutes looking like a million bucks (or at least like I didn’t just roll out of bed after a night of baby feedings every other hour.)

I used to always shower to start my day. I’ve since realized it was taking a lot of my time that I didn’t have. It wasn’t the actual shower, it was actually my hair. I was taking an extra 15-20 minutes to blow-dry my hair (I have a lot of hair!) Plus, this was causing a lot of unneeded damage.  I’ve been hearing from my hair stylist for years now that I shouldn’t be washing my hair everyday and I’ve finally listened to her! (Thanks Chelsea!)

I’m sure your thinking, lady, you must smell like a swamp if your not showering daily. No worries dear reader, I still shower and wash my body, I just cover my hair with a shower cap! If you’re in a pinch you can take a plastic bag from your local grocery or Target (I know you have a million of them stockpiled in your pantry…) put your hair in a top knot, place the bag over your hair up to your hairline, tie the handles of the bag tightly ensuring its secure to your head. It works like a charm, and is quite flattering, as you can see above.

To keep my hair looking fresh and to give it texture for full hair and braids I love using Aveda’s Shampure Dry Shampoo.  It smells fresh and does a great job of absorbing any excess oils I have in my hair (especially my bangs and around where I part it.)

For quick styles I stick to easy braided styles, pony tails, or a “half up” do (half top knots are great if your hair was curled the day before.)  All of these are easy to hide imperfections in your hair like a crazy kink or colic that you didn’t have time to straighten or curl.  Bobby pins and little clear hair binders (that I call “braces binders” because we still have little bags of binders from when I had braces that I used more for hair styles then my braces… oops) are your best friend.

For braids, I like to keep it fast and simple- down the back or to the side. A french braid in the front that continues down into a braid holds nicely throughout the day and looks polished.  To switch it up, I’ll do a high ponytail or a top knot.

With little time for make up, I’m sticking to my basics.  I want my skin to look bright and healthy and my eyes not to look like I haven’t slept in 2 years #mombie.

I start with my face primer and then completion perfector (If I have blemishes I use a bit of concealer too.)  Since I’m on a time limit, I skip over contouring and go right to a little blush.  Blush will help your face still have a nice shape and definition. I’m always switching up my blush, but for this I used Bare Minerals Blush ‘Beauty’.  It’s a perfect quick blush that has a little sparkle to it, so no highlighter needed, (Time saver!)

I put on a quick layer of a brown Mascara, I like using brown when I’m doing a light make-up application, so my eyes don’t look too overpowering. For the finishing touch I brush through my brows so they are shaped. Lastly, finish with a nice light lip gloss or lip stain.  Again, nothing too bold (you can even do a chapstick if your lips just need a day off!)  Wam, Bam, Done! You’re ready for your day and looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed!

 

 

 

08.01.2016

Where did the Weekend Go?

Every Sunday evening I think to myself, “Where did the weekend go?!”  Ugh.  So, here we are on another Monday morning. Large cup in hand and watching ‘Blaze and the Monster Machines‘ (not by choice-if I want to finish my coffee in peace…)  We had an awesome weekend and it just goes by too fast (I’m sure everyone would agree!)

coffee

We didn’t do anything crazy special this weekend, but sometimes those make for the best weekends. We are soaking up this great weather and getting ready to move into our new home!  On Friday, we went to Lake Elmo Park Reserve, had dinner, played at the park, and walked around (pictures below.)  Saturday, my husband was gone all day as he was invited to play golf at a private country club in Stillwater. While he was gone, we lounged around and worked on our train track architecture! On Sunday, we took a drive down to our old stomping grounds (Highland Park in St. Paul) and walked around the neighborhood.  If you don’t know this area, there are some of the cutest old homes, so we always like to scope out all our “house crushes.”  A lot of them have been tastefully renovated, restored, or added onto.  Our favorite is when there is one for sale and we guess the price and then look it up.  We only spotted one for sale on Sunday, a tiny little charmer, newly renovated with an underwhelming 1000sqft, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom.  Any Guesses? 350k… It’s a highly sought after neighborhood.

Vivian & Henry’s Romper’s: Henry + Claire Blazer: Gap Tank: TJ Maxx

Shorts: J.Crew  Necklace: Brooklyn Bloom Boutique

Anyone that lives in Minnesota thats looking for inexpensive activities for littles ones I highly recommend Lake Elmo Park Reserve.  It’s $25 for a full year pass (or $5 one time entry) and they have miles of trails, a huge playground, lake access, and a man-made swimming hole (pretty much a small, clean, lake.)  The swimming area was just all renovated and opens back up today (August 1st!)  It’s a beautiful area and you would never know you’re just a few miles from the cities.  I prefer the annual pass because then I don’t have to feel like we have to spend a full day when we go.  Sometimes we just stop by the playground after a Target trip and then head home for lunch and nap time.

moving boxes

In two weeks we officially become Woodbury residents and we are so ready!  I love my parents and living at their house for these 8 weeks has been just fine, but there is nothing like having your own space. (Especially with two little kids!) We have really missed all the convinces of living closer to the cities.  I am dreading packing up here, even though its an 1/8 of what we have in storage! But, any type of moving is a drag! Any tips?

On a random note, I’ve been waiting for my propagated succulents to grow and recently (since my post Succulent Love) I thought it just wasn’t going to happen! But, this weekend I noticed my little loves have taken off! Seriously,I’m so excited, my green thumb works wonders! At least this time.

Propagated Succulents

Well friends, cheers to short Mondays, lots of coffee and getting through this week in one piece!

XO Mol

For more pictures, videos, & updates:

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07.26.2016

An Open Letter to my Friends Without Kids




I admit it- I am a shitty friend.  Sometimes I don’t text back for hours or I forget altogether.  You ask about dinner or coffee, but the truth is my kids can be real assholes.  Being in public and expecting them to sit still and behave is asking for a miracle.  My toddler is fast approaching his terrible twos and I can’t even get in and out of Target (not even looking at handbags and home decor, I’m talking essentials,  the milk/toilet paper kind of trip…) without a meltdown (or five.) Thinking about going to dinner gives me anxiety.  We just avoid it like the plague. The last time we were out to eat my husband chased our toddler around who insisted on “flying” around like Buzz Lightyear.  I stood, bounced, and breastfed our daughter who cried every time I went to sit down.  Oh, did I mention we ended up taking our food home in to-go boxes and eating dinner after the kids went to bed.  Yes, we are the family everyone hates at the restaurant.  And hey! Coffee sounds fantastic, I practically swim in that shit.  But, coffee in a quiet, cute, calm place sounds like a disaster.  Pretty much the same story as the restaurant, but add the toddler trying to run behind the counter too, its a ton of fun. Typically, trendy baristas aren’t known for being understanding of little ones.

Babies sleeping

Too bad they aren’t always this sweet!  Bow: Eleanor & Co  Blanket: Stella & Lu

Yes, I have a husband who could watch the kids, but our five month old still won’t take a bottle so, I’m lucky if I have two hours away.  Just when I think I could sneak away, my husband gets a call from work for an emergency deployment or the toddler has an ear infection and isn’t feeling well.

Now, you might be thinking I’m antisocial.  I promise I’m not, I used to be a social butterfly!  I was the first one to get dolled up and be ready to rally for night two.  I used to laugh at people when they said they were hungover, even if I drank 4 beers, 3 shots, and 2 mixed drinks the night before.  Today, I drink a glass of wine and I’m ready for bed.  This doesn’t mean I’m not happy, because I’m happier then I’ve ever been,  I just don’t find joy in the same things I used to.

Girl With Drink

Saint Patty’s Day Pre- Kids

I don’t want you to take this as an ‘I don’t care about you’ scenario, because I do. I miss you and I miss our good times together.  You are a great friend and it means a lot to me that you care enough to reach out.  There are just things in my life that have changed and have to come first.  But, I want you to know I think of you often, I wish you the best, and I hope your still staying up late enjoying one too many tequila shots.

Cheers,

XO Mol

 

tequila shots

 

 

07.25.2016

Blog Revamp




Hey friends! If you’re checking out my blog- you probably noticed the new look. I hope you like it!  I’m really trying to make things easy to read, mobile-friendly, and aesthetically appealing.  So, I’m looking for feedback. What do you think? How does it look on your phone? Tablet? Computer? What works well? What doesn’t?  Anything is appreciated. 

I would also love to hear what you like to read about most from me, and what you want to see here.  Having my own blog can be scary. I often write pieces and never post them because I’m not sure if you will relate, enjoy them, or just think I’m weird.  This is a two way street, I want to be sharing pieces that you can laugh about, relate to, or even learn from!

So what is it you’re looking for? Daily in-and-outs of motherhood, marriage, hair tutorials, makeup tips, life with two under two, product reviews, fashion, staying healthy, funny, serious, saving, budgeting, blogging & Instagram tips, shopping tips, vlogs… The list goes on. But, I want to hear from you to help me make my blog something you want to read.

PLANNER SAMPLE
I also owe a huge thank you to Kate, at Designer Blogs for helping me out and bringing my blog ideas to life! Any bloggers looking for a site revamp, blogging tips, or trying to figure out SEO (I’m still doing this myself) should take a look!

Thank you in advance for leaving our feedback below, it’s much appreciated!

XO,

Mol

07.13.2016

No More Babies… For Now

I decided to take the plunge and talk to my doctor about a semi-permanent birth control option.  Now, before you put on your judging pants and you’re against birth control.  Take them off… I have two babies under two years old and my hands are full and my sanity can only handle two kids right now.  I don’t love the idea of pumping my body with something that it doesn’t create on its own, or furthermore placing a foreign object inside of it, but what hurts my brain more is thinking about adding a third child to our family (again, right now.)  Others that are on board with birth control are thinking, “Why are you sharing this?”  After I had Henry I looked into birth control options, but all of them sounded scary.  I’m a professional “Googler” and there were terrifying reviews about how birth control ruined someones life or they were never able to have another baby.  This scared the living S#$% out of me, the thought of never having another little squish scared me out of the form of birth control that was easiest for me (in the long run, it was meant to be because I have my little Stinky Pete!)

med_advice_online_cropped

Back to those reviews I read about.  Yes, I think that modern medicine is a blessing, but it can be a curse too.  There is good and bad to all of it, but in my opinion a lot less bad then good.  But, who writes a review for something online? It’s typically someone who has a ho-hum experience or someone that has something tragic happen. Bad, tragic, and scary experiences are why a lot of people turn to reviews.  I’m not saying these bad things don’t happen, but when thats the only thing you read about its hard to look past them.  It happened to me when I was pregnant with Henry too (read On Stress, Scans & WebMD if you don’t know what I’m talking about.)  It was the scariest time of my life and the internet was anything but encouraging.

This morning I had an IUD placed.  It was a little bit uncomfortable during the procedure, but it only took five minutes (and I was nervous so I’m sure that didn’t help!) I’m feeling a tiny bit crampy (nothing more than period cramps.)  I know this all sounds uneventful, but thats what I want to share.  A ho-hum, non-eventful birth control that works for me.  I will keep updates coming even if they are that I’m feeling great, not pregnant, and forget that the IUD is even there!  Let’s change always posting negative warnings or bad reviews (if you have one share it too) but, share the good and let people know your “fine” experience too!

I look forward to the day when my husband and I decide its time to add another little, heck maybe 5 more littles to our tribe.  But, for now two is plenty and thats why I chose Mierna.

MegCooperPhotography-3