Category Archives: travel

24 Hours in LA Without Kids

 

24 Hours in LA

 

I’m still on a high from last weekend. I spent 24 hours with my girlfriend. Without any kids! It was exactly what I needed to restore my patience. Me time is good for the soul. I will admit to crying a few tears when I left them on Saturday morning. It was my first night away from Sybil and one of only a handful of nights I’ve spent away from Lawson (including 3 nights after Sybil was born).

 

We only had a little over 24 hours and made the most of it. We started off with brunch at Joan’s on Third. I was too excited to take any photos, but the bran muffin was a definite highlight. After brunch we wandered a couple of blocks to Credo. They have a fantastic selection of clean beauty products, including my go to skincare line.

 

24 Hours in LA

 

After trying an embarrassing number of times, I finally managed to parallel park. Why is that a skill I have not retained??? Next we stopped at Moon Juice. I’ll be honest, I’m not sold on the benefits of their products but it was fun to look around.

 

Last year we visited LA and I had the absolute best iced tea I’d ever had. It was a special of the day, but luckily they still made it! I had been dreaming about it for a year. I’m telling you, the peppermint honey milk iced tea is where it’s at!

 

24 Hours in LA

 

There are a few fun walls to take photos along Melrose and we took advantage of all of them (although we skipped the famous pink wall since we’d done that last year). It was nice to take our time and wander in and out of stores. Usually I’m sweating pushing a double stroller and trying to calm crazy kids!

 

24 Hours in LA

 

After our feet were sore, we hopped in the car and headed to Venice. After a quick stop at Cuyana (one of my favorite brands) where I almost picked up this cashmere scarf, we both saw The Butcher’s Daughter at the same time and immediately put our name on the waiting list. It didn’t disappoint.

 

24 Hours in LA

 

With our bellies full, we headed to Santa Monica to check out The Detox Market, another clean beauty store. I got a gift card for my birthday and had fun checking out all the possible ways to use it. This Vintner’s Daughter serumVintner’s Daughter serum is high on my list of potential purchases.

 

24 Hours in LA

 

We stayed at the Le Meridien Delfina and I’d highly recommend it. It’s a good location a few blocks from the beach. The rooms are spacious and modern. A glass of red wine in their front lounge area was the perfect spot to relax after our day and before dinner at Tar & Roses. I wish I would have gotten a photo of the fried cauliflower and strawberry ricotta dessert. Sooo good!

 

24 Hours in LA

 

Sunday morning we wandered 4 blocks to the beach to cross off an item on my LA bucket list. While the beach wasn’t empty, I did get a few photos that I really love. Afterwards we headed to Urth Caffe for brunch before heading home to hug on my little luvs!

 

24 Hours in LA

24 Hours in LA

 

I cannot stress how important it was for me to get away. With two little ones, life is crazy and I don’t often put myself first. Time away is good for all of us. A huge thank you to my girlfriend for recognizing I was desperate for a break and my luv for taking on solo parenting duties while we were away.

 

OUTFIT DETAILS:

top: free people; jeans: ag jeans (similar); shoes: m gemi; bag: cuyana and chloe; bracelets: david yurman (here, here and here); ring: david yurman; sunglasses: warby parker

 

P.S. If you’re reading this via email, it may look a little different. I migrated my newsletter over the weekend. Now you can stay up to date on new posts, weekly roundups and more!

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10 Tips for Flying with a Baby and Toddler

Flying with a baby and toddler

 

Traveling with one child is stressful enough. Traveling with a baby and a toddler can feel downright crazy. Even though it seems like a lot of work at the time, exploring together and creating new memories is always worth it.

 

After 5 flights with Lawson and Sybil, I’d like to think we’ve learned a thing or two about traveling with a baby and toddler. These are my 10 tips for flying with a baby and toddler.

 

10 TIPS FOR FLYING WITH A BABY & TODDLER

 

  1. Figure out what time works best for your kids and their schedule. For us, it’s the morning. A 10am flight is the sweet spot. We don’t have to get them up earlier than normal and get the majority of flying time done before they get really cranky in the afternoon.
  2. Bring new or forgotten toys. Every 2 year old seems to go through a sticker phase. They are perfect for flights since they easily fit in your bag and can be put on trays, windows, seats, etc. Just remember to remove them before you get off the plane! If we have a flight coming up, we hide Lawson’s iPad a few days beforehand. I always try to add a new show to keep him occupied.
  3. Request bulk head seats whenever possible. You have to store your carryon luggage in the overhead bin, but not having to worry about the kids kicking the seats in front of us is worth it. They have a little more room to roam, which we’ve found beneficial.
  4. Food is the ultimate distraction. The best kind is anything that comes in multiples. Think fruit cups, pretzels. If it takes them longer to eat it, the better.
  5. Take yourself out of the equation. Eat before you board the flight or better yet before you get to the airport. You’ll have your hands full taking care of little ones.
  6. Wear the baby in a carrier or sling and put the toddler in a stroller. We take an umbrella stroller since it is lighter than our double or jogging stroller. It folds up easily and is checked at the gate.
  7. Rent car seats through the rental car agency. If we’re going on a longer trip, we’ll bring our car seats. For shorter trips, it’s easier to rent them at our destination. Rental car agencies typically have a maximum for renting car seats. It varies from agency to agency and it can pay to shop around.
  8. Every so often I bring a book or magazine. I think maybe this is the trip they nap at the same time. I’ve never read them. Do yourself a favor and leave them at home.
  9. Stay calm. You will have tense moments. Your baby will cry and your toddler may kick and scream. They will miss naps. Try to stay calm. If you’re anxious and frustrated, your little ones will be too. We once took a 6 hour red-eye from Hawaii when Lawson was 14 months old. We thought he’d sleep the entire flight. Instead we were the ones with a crying baby while everyone else was trying to sleep. We didn’t make any friends on that flight, but we did survive.
  10. Invest in TSA Pre-Check. The security lines are generally shorter and you don’t have to go through extra steps like taking off your shoes. These can make a huge difference when you’re trying to wrangle two kids through security too.

 

Tomorrow I’m tackling my first solo flight with Lawson and Sybil. I’m slightly terrified by the thought. I take comfort in knowing many parents have done it before me and somehow everyone survives.

 

Do you have any tips for flying with a baby and toddler? I have a feeling I’m going to need all the help I can get!

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Home Sweet Home

road trip

 

 

We arrived home late Saturday night after our 4 week road trip. It was an adventure! I plan to share more on traveling with a toddler and a baby soon. It wasn’t easy and three of us shed a few tears, but it was absolutely worth it.

 

Lawson woke up yesterday morning excited to be home. He couldn’t decide which toys to play with first! Sybil is crawling all over the place and loves to follow her big brother around. He hasn’t had to share his toys with anyone else. It’s going to take a little getting used to.

 

I brought 5 books on our trip and read one. Oops. At least it was a good one. I highly recommend A Man Called Ove.

 

We ate out more than normal over the past 4 weeks. I’m ready for a detox. Yesterday I planned our meals for the week and stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies at the grocery store. Speaking of grocery shopping, did you hear Amazon bought Whole Foods? As a loyal Whole Foods shopper, I’m interested to see how it plays out.

 

We’re back in the swing of things today with a pediatrician appointment, swim and girl’s night. It’s shaping up to be a busy Monday. Hope your start to the week is great!

 

 

 

36 Hours in LA

36 Hours in LA to Eat & Shop

 

Two weeks ago my girlfriend, Heather, and I spent a quick 36 hours in LA eating and shopping our way through the city. It was my first time leaving Lawson since he was born 15 months ago and it was fantastic. Of course I missed my boys, but I had such a fun time with Heather. I forgot how easy and stress-free it is to travel solo, sleep through the night without listening to a baby monitor and pop in and out of stores on a whim. Jim and Lawson had just as much fun at home together. The weekend was a win all around!

 

Heather and I are both planners. We researched the places we wanted to go, mostly concentrating on eating and shopping. A week before we left, we met to map them out and decide on our must visits. Our trip focused on a few areas, which worked out perfectly for us. I can’t wait to return!

 

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

 

Brentwood Country Mart

After an early morning flight, we grabbed our rental car and headed to Brentwood Country Mart in Santa Monica for brunch at Farmshop. With our bellies full, we hit up a few shops: Sugar Paper for the best paper products and Intermix for window shopping fashion above our budget. On other trips, I’ve also loved looking through the Toy Crazy and the DIESEL bookstore.

highlight: crown maple sticky bun from Farmshop

 

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Melrose

After reading about the Instagram-worthy Alfred’s Tea Room, we knew we needed to head to Melrose and see it for ourselves. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. Not only was it incredibly Instagram-worthy, the peppermint honey boba tea special of the day is the best non-alcoholic, caffeine-free drink I’ve ever had. I eliminate or limit caffeine when I’m pregnant, but often crave an iced tea. It was my first experience trying boba tea. I’d get one from Alfred’s every day if I could.

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

We wandered in and out of Violet Grey and Chloe and stopped for a few photos at the famous pink wall outside Paul Smith. Violet Grey is an upscale skincare, makeup and fragrance boutique that curates the best products as recommended by makeup artists and those “in the know.” While they don’t carry all natural products exclusively, they do have several of my favorite brands.

My 40th birthday is coming up next month. I’ve made it a tradition to gift myself something special for big birthdays and am considering a Chloe Marcie handbag. While I didn’t make a decision (small or medium, tan or grey or blush), seeing all my options in person definitely put it at the top of my wish list!

highlight: peppermint and honey boba tea from Alfred’s Tea Room

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Silver Lake

At this point, we were in almost desperate need of a restroom (downside of traveling with a 8 month pregnant woman). Fortunately, our next stop, MILK, was located next door to a 7-Eleven. Surely one of them would have a restroom. Or not…We forged ahead with our red velvet and grasshopper macaron ice cream sandwiches from MILK and headed to our next stop, Clare V, one of my favorite handbag designers. With a coffee shop next door, we thought we’d hit the restroom jackpot. Nope…now we could barely walk. After asking for the nearest restroom, we I waddled to a restaurant at the end of the block. Finally!

Highlight: macaroon ice cream sandwiches from MILK

Tip: don’t assume you’ll easily find a restroom, take every opportunity to use one

Downtown LA

By late afternoon we were hot and dragging a bit. We headed downtown to our hotel for a much-needed rest before walking to Grand Central Market for dinner. With lots of yummy options, we somehow both decided on the spaghetti and meatballs at Knead & Co Pasta Bar.

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Santa Monica

Sunday morning we started off the day by picking up donuts from Sidecar Doughnuts. They were dense and delicious. After reading rave reviews of Olive & June, we had scheduled pedicures to make the most of our time before stores opened for the day. I fully admit I’m a bit of a pedicure snob. From the check in questionnaire to the polish options to the bright and simple decor to the actual pedicure, we loved every minute of our Olive & June experience.

Highlight: tie between the cinnamon crumb doughnut from Sidecar Doughnuts and pedicures at Olive & June

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Venice

The #1 place I wanted to visit on our trip was the Cuyana store in Venice on Abbott Kinney. To say I’m obsessed with their quality products and #fewerbetter mantra isn’t an understatement. The store didn’t disappoint. We both found ourselves making purchases. A monogrammed wallet for Heather and a set of travel cases and the softest cotton tee for me. I could have bought more, but stopped myself!

From there we meandered in and out of stores: Marine Layer, Aesop, Steven Alan and Burro. This stretch of Venice was probably my favorite of the entire trip. I had been looking for a gift to give Lawson from his little sister when he visits us in the hospital. Burro had so many cute options that it was hard for me to choose just one.

We were lucky enough to snag a seat at the community table at Gjelina for lunch and shared the roasted cauliflower appetizer and a pizza. Gjelina is on most of the travel guides as one of the best places to eat. We liked it, but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Blue Star Donuts on the other hand…we grabbed a few to take back home with us. Lighter than Sidecar Doughnuts, they were absolutely delicious and worth carrying the box through the airport.

highlight: shopping at Cuyana

 

36 Hours in LA of Eating and Shopping

Other

We made a couple of other quick stops during our 36 hours in LA: Sugarfina in Beverly Hills and The Detox Market on Beverly Blvd. It was so hard to narrow our candy choices at Sugarfina- we could have bought out the entire shop! The Detox Market carries a ton of pure beauty products, including some of our favorite brands and others that were new to us.

highlight: all the natural beauty brands at The Detox Market

I’m already scheming a way to make it an annual trip. What should we add to our list for next year?!

photo of brentwood country mart by heather, all others by me