Family Fun and Go Wild Vegas 2019

Family Fun and Go Wild

The past few months have been packed with all kinds of incredible adventures and since I’ve started focusing on the word “savor”, I’ve been intentional about my work and family time fusing in the best ways. I wanted to share some highlights from my time in Vegas last month. It was a trip full of firsts. It was my first time at the Go Wild conference, my first time at the Grand Canyon and my first time riding in a helicopter. All in all, it was an incredible time. I wanted to share three highlights from the trip:

Family Fun and Go Wild

1. Helicopter Tour There was nothing better than seeing the sights from great heights! Jack, JC, and I experienced the Grand Canyon from inside a helicopter and it was amazing. I loved this experience and recorded the whole thing on video.

Family Fun and Go Wild

2. Go Wild. What is Go Wild? It’s an incredible event that brings planners (from all over the world) together. People who attend can join others who share the same passion for planning for amazing sessions, goal-setting, inspiration and more. It was the 4th annual conference and as a first timer, I plan on being there every year from now on. Also, the swag bags are beyond incredible. The enthusiasm of everyone in attendance (lining up before 6 AM just to get in the door)

Family Fun and Go Wild

3. Sharing the HARMONY principle and sitting on the panel. Even though I had to turn right around and fly to a wedding in Pittsburgh, I really enjoyed getting to share the principle with a room full of 1400 enthusiastic, positive people. The community at Go Wild was so infectious and fun. The next time I go, I’ll definitely try to be there the whole conference.

Family Fun and Go Wild

Here’s the video:

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

Chances are, you need more sunshine in your life. I know I do! The possibilities for getting in that Vitamin D are endless (just don’t forget to lather on the sunscreen. This one is my favorite). But before you start checking flights to the nearest tropical destination, pause and look no further than your own porch or backyard.

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

Today, I want to get your creative juices flowing right here at home. Okay, maybe at this exact moment your space doesn’t necessarily look like your ideal paradise. In fact, it might need a little sweeping, dusting and, well, spring cleaning. For now, though, look past the cobwebs. This is where the creativity comes into play. Maybe you need some outdoor journaling time or the perfect space to have girlfriends over for lemonade or perhaps you’re thinking ahead to hosting the neighborhood’s most fantastic 4th of July BBQ. Whatever your dream for the space is, now is the best time to start thinking about how to style your backyard to suit all your summer needs.

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover
  1. Set the Scene. No matter what you’re doing – whether it’s a solo activity or family time– it’s important to have the right types of spaces. Look for chairs, sofas and loveseats and try to come up with a nice combination of the different types. Create intimate spaces by adding accent rugs (we love this one and this one) and tapestries. The tapestries cover up any cracks or marks in your walls that your’d rather not look at and they can really tie a look together. I felt especially excited about this one because it reminded me a little bit of the mural I did at SCCM. And because I can never get enough sunshine, I picked up this tapestry, too. We really just purchased items that made us feel happy and fit in with the colors we love to surround ourselves with.

  2. Pair with coffee tables, planters, and colorful accent pillows. Our house is in Southern California, so we have a lot of cacti and succulents in our yard. The kind of plants you use will vary depending on weather/climate where you live. I’ve talked about our interior design before (minimal with bright pops of color) and the same is true for our yard. We like clean designs and bold accents. The Yardbird Luna Set fits in with the vibe perfectly. It’s clean, minimal, and neutral. The pops of color come in the form of our accent pillows. Having pillows can make the space feel more bright, comfortable, and colorful. Just make sure to pick up ones that are designed to be outside like this one or this one.

  3. Invest in Quality Products and the right tools to protect them. There’s nothing worse than dusty old outdoor furniture when you want a relaxing space. Sun, wind, and weather have worn them down and now they’re rickety and more than a little dusty. It’s not a good look. Take the time to find beautiful pieces that will hold up over time. But you don’t have to spend a ton of money, either. Yardbird works directly with manufacturers. You don’t pay for the middlemen– just the perfect furniture sets. The Luna set was attractive to us because it’s modern and resistant to all the things the great outdoors might throw at it including: mold, stains, fading, etc. Yardbird also makes furniture covers to protect them – just in case!

  4. Keep it stress-free. The whole point of having a friendly, enjoyable space is to sit back and relax. Enjoy it! You won’t have as much fun with it, if you associate the process with stress. Getting our Luna set was easy and simple. It was delivered to the house and if we’d needed it, Yardbird provides in-house design consultations. The furniture itself is quite durable but it’s also very light and easy to move around. That made styling it a breeze. One way to build that stress-free atmosphere is to encourage certain kinds of wildlife. For example, we have a hummingbird feeder right next to the main seating area. You could also bring in certain plants, like milkweed, if you’d like to attract monarch butterflies.

  5. Be kind to the Earth. Mother nature is a beautiful thing, so as you take a look at what would work best for your yard, keep in mind that it’s important to buy things that are recycled and made responsibly. Not sure where to start? Yardbird’s products are created using some materials (including plastics) that have been taken out of the ocean and off our beaches. They also offset 100% of their carbon footprint.

5 Tips for Giving Your Backyard the Perfect Summer Makeover

One of the best things about having my backyard set up is that I can spend time outdoors and experience a connection with the natural world from the comfort of my own home. Even though the studio is an amazing place to be, it’s always good to be able to get outside, especially when I have to work with certain projects. When working with alcohol inks (which is my latest obsession), it’s advised that the area is well ventilated. Well, what’s better than sitting outside and getting creative? Having a space that’s ready-to-go is wonderful. I’ve even filmed outside, using my favorite desktop tripod. I know Jack loves being able to sit with me and work on his own projects. Right now, he’s really excited about watching and catching bugs and my favorite thing is journaling while the hummingbirds drink from the feeder. (To each their own, right?)

Would love to hear from you - Have you ever gotten creative outside?

Thank you to Yardbird for allowing me to share all these tips and tricks with you.

4 Highlights from Pop Up Disney!

Pop Up Disney!

We all know Disney is a magical place. Dreams come true. Animals can talk and wonder is around every corner. And of course, who could forget the mouse who started it all? That’s why it was so exciting to have the magic come a little closer to us. Recently, Jack and I got to preview Pop-Up Disney! in Downtown Disney with one of his friends, Heidi, and her mom. It opened today and you gotta see it for yourself. It’s the perfect place to capture fun shots to post on Instagram, or just to take in all the Mickey and friends magic. You can watch our whole adventure here and book your own tickets here.

  1. We got to stop at the LEGO Store!  LEGOs are a huge thing at our house. Jack loves taking the time to assemble new creations and most of the time, he can follow the directions without any help. While we were there, we had the chance to see all kinds of amazing LEGO Creations– including a beautiful Disney Castle and a full-sized Hulk LEGO sculpture of truly epic proportions. That guy was almost as tall as me!

  2. Rainbow Room. Sometimes, you bring the rainbow vibes with you. Sometimes, it’s already there and in this case, it was a little bit of both. The rainbow room matched Jack’s shirt (a happy coincidence we didn’t plan) and it was really fun to see.

  3. Interactive Displays. The one that stood out to Jack the most was probably the entire wall made of tiny Mickey Mouse figurines. I enjoyed the wall of hearts. If you stood close to it, it looked like you were blowing kisses!

  4. Hidden Minnies. It was a big day for us and it was nice for Jack to have something to focus on as we explored the pop-up. The hidden Minnies were so fun for him– especially when he spied two in a row before I even found one.

Pop Up Disney

It was a wonderful way to spend the morning. I wish I had brought a better camera for taking photos (although my iPhone and Canon G7X did just fine), but I will on the next visit. Do you plan on going to Pop-Up Disney?

Happy Chinese New Year!

Lunar New Year CA Adventure Pluto

Happy Chinese New Year from our crew and Pluto too ✨❤️  

Macaron

We were invited to check out the Lunar New Year celebrations at California Adventure and we had a wonderful time! Wrote a recap of the fun for Disney Family. Check out the size of that macaron that Jack had! I think it’s so cool to have him experience these things because when I was younger, I didn’t see many opportunities to celebrate my heritage. Even though I was born and raised in a diverse suburb of Chicago and we got red envelopes every year, it’s amazing to see how the traditions are being shared in so many creative ways for everyone to enjoy. 

Our visit to the Pumpkin Patch!

Growing up, I always loved Halloween. Most of the excitement was built around getting dressed up in costume, going trick-or-treating, and most importantly, eating ALL the candy. Though our family didn’t have traditions like going to the pumpkin patch or carving pumpkins (can you believe I carved my first pumpkin in my thirties?!), now as a mom, after my birthday on the 5th, it’s full on Halloween mode. JC’s birthday falls on the 26th and he is really into Halloween. Since we moved into our house and had Jack, JC has made it a priority to make the holiday really special for us all.

We just got a few more pumpkins and plan on carving them a few days before Halloween - the hot weather in LA doesn’t bode well for the survival of the carved creations. In years past, I have taken plenty of pictures, but I really wanted to document Jack going to the pumpkin patch in his adorable PAW Patrol Marshall costume this year.

PAW Patrol Marshall + dog costumes

As you may have seen in this blog post, we got a head start on celebrating Halloween this year with the PAW Patrol Pumpkin Push-In Kits. This time, Jack decided to dress up as Marshall from one of his favorite shows, PAW Patrol.  He was all too excited about the fact that his costume (only at Target) talks and says some of Marshall’s favorite phrases like, “I’m fired up!” I also couldn’t resist ordering some costumes for our pups too. Bamboo was content dressing up as Skye while Buster decided to go as Chase. As we got ready, Jack played with his set of PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush toys, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Action Pack Gift Set figurines, and his PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicles and set them up to bring them along to the pumpkin patch. Our house has become Adventure Bay!  

He was a little sad that Buster and Bamboo couldn’t join our little outing to our favorite pumpkin patch, Mr. Bones. However, he was excited to bring the PAW Patrol Pirate Pups Plush along. We met up with our friend Harper, who was dressed as Shine from another Nickelodeon favorite, Shimmer and Shine!

Jack smiled when he saw her and said, “Mama, I seen that show before. I like it.” It was so cute watching him make the Marshall costume talk numerous times for Harper. She also gave the Skye PAW Patrol Pirate Pup Plush a super cute hug and kiss as soon as she saw it. Harper is a huge PAW Patrol fan too! There were so many adorable moments at the pumpkin patch. Here are some highlights from our awesome adventure. You can also see it all unfold in the video below and catch the exclusive talking feature in Jack’s new favorite costume!

They had so much fun at the petting zoo and running around in their costumes. Between the excitement the kids enjoyed snacking on PAW Patrol Fruit Snacks - lots of them. You can check out the way Jack and I documented the pre-Halloween fun in under 30 minutes in my traveler’s notebook.

Would love to hear if you have fun Halloween or pumpkin patch traditions in the comments!

You can snag your very own PAW Patrol Halloween costumes with sound, along with PAW Patrol Pirate Pups plush, PAW Patrol Pirate Pups - Pirate Vehicle Set and more only at Target!

PAW Patrol Marshall costume

Some photography by Kate Haus | This post is in collaboration with Nickelodeon, all ideas and opinions are my own. As always, my creative partners and I appreciate the support.