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Weekend recap: Basketball Ballet

Tuesday, January 31, 2017
With Winter attending preschool twice a week, I've been trying to fill her off-days with activities. Much to our luck, it seems all the activities I would love to put her in all fall on her school days! ARGH! Since it's winter though, our weekends won't be spent picnicking or traveling so I'm taking our weekends to try out some classes.  So Winter's doing  basketball at 8:30 in the mornings (WHY... i don't even start work at this time...bye bye saturday sleep-ins) and ballet in the afternoons.  So far so good - I'm going to give both programs 2-3 weeks to settle in before I review them but here's some fun snaps and a video recap from the weekend!

Insomnia cookies, Artichoke Pizza, and a Piece of Velvet all within a 1-block radius of ballet class = WINNING for dinner!

Twinning at Sunday service

2017 goals: trying out new recipes - French style mussels with bacon and chorizo

Mom Monday: Jumping for Old Navy Active (video)

Monday, January 30, 2017
yep, me jumping
If you have followed my fitness journey back from my running days starting from 5 years ago, you'll know Old Navy has always been one of my go-tos for everyday fitness wear.  Awesome price point (and I don't mind a sweep of the clearance racks for great deals) fun prints and much better than you would expect quality is all about Old navy. I've seen how they've expanded their activewear collection and now, whenever I can bypass the kids section (which is never) and peruse active wear, I'm always wishing I had deeper pockets to scoop up just about everything. I'm especially a fan of the printed compression pants because they're a bit thicker than my nike/new balance tights which is great for the super cold outdoor runs but can also double as base under a solid or graphic sweatshirt and cool kicks for a downtown casual look.So when Old Navy invited me to check out the spring collection for their active wear line, I literally jumped at the chance.

hair and makeup - no thanks!
It was a fun event—perfect for a fitnessnista: a beauty bar, breakfast juice, instagrammable backdrops, and of course, the trampoline photo "booth."  Front and center was the active collection for the season. I am digging the athleisure pieces such as the  Go-Warm Front-Wrap Fleece Hoodie for Women  (I could wear this ALL DAY ERRY DAY)  as well as the fun florals that are so on point for spring. 
The gifting suite got me this wrap fleece hoodie (yaaasss) and this Fitted Go-Dry Cool Crossback Keyhole Tank for Women and  Go-Dry High-Rise Printed Compression Leggings for Women all in a super cute gym bag (sorry, not pictured!).  It was a fun event - check out the recap video:
Go check out Old Navy Active to inject a little color and fun into your fitness wardrobe.
Thank you to Old Navy for inviting me to the preview!

Happy Chinese New Year

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Why it takes me 5 hours to do Winter's hair + Win a family vacation!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hair Day.

Growing up, i remember my mom used to just put my hair in pigtails or  french braids and call it day. I think part of that was due to her inexperience of dealing with textured hair (filipino mom= long stick-straight asian hair) and she mostly just followed my dad's (african american/native american) lead. Wash, grease with ultra sheen, ponytail, done.

These days I have a boat load of products to choose from, coupled with varying degrees of hair textures and curliness. and somehow I feel like now I've become MY mom in dealing with my daughters' hair.  Good thing I have my go-to friends who all have hair knowledge and google and social media to help me out.

In a nutshell, I know in my 3+ years of dealing with toddler hair: moisture is #1 and protection is #2.
OH and you know what else is important? our morning get-ready time. It's stressful enough to get 2 toddlers fed, changed, and ready for the day in 30 min - why tack on an extra 30-45 min of getting a  fidgety (and possibly energized-ready-to-play) kid to sit still while I try to not make them look like a new addition to the cast of Trolls?

The solution: Sunday Hair Wash Day. Nyla and Winter get a good scrub down, and then I sit them each down to get their hair/scalp moisturized up and either let their head/hair breathe or do a protective style (this is the 3+ hours of braids, twists, etc) that will set them (well Winter) up for the rest of the week.

The video pretty much goes through the process. We were trying out SoCozy's hair line of products. I've been on the hunt for a leave-in conditioner and gel that will hold a style so was anxious to see how it would work out. SoCozy's products are safe and effective – and completely non-toxic – it’s great hair minus the harsh chemicals. Made without parabens, formaldehyde, sulfates, phthalates, synthetic color, propylene glycol. Free of alcohol, gluten, wheat, peanuts and tree nuts. I was digging the leave-in and cream on Nyla who has a thinner hair texture than winter. 2 days later and her curly fro is still cute and poppin.

Winter's curls are THIRSTY.  for a wash and go fro, soCozy totally works. I mean look how cute these two are!

I'll definitely use leave-in conditioner and the gel for a protective style.  Speaking of which, any suggestions for a protective style? please comment with links below (i'd love to test them out!). I'm so bad at braiding that I look for cheat braids like twists or bubble braids:

Thank you to SoCozy for sponsoring this post. You can find SoCozy at Target, CVS, and Walgreens. And if you purchase a product between now and Feb 13th you can enter for a chance to win an all-expense Paid family vacation in soCozy's SplashHappy Sweepstakes.  Details are below - good luck!

How do you enter? SoEasy:
  1. Head to your favorite store.
  2. Purchase SoCozy
  3. Upload your receipt and contact info here.
    Make sure you share on social for extra chances to win!
    What do you win? SoSmart! Here’s What’s Included:
  • Roundtrip Airfare & transportation to & from airport
  • 5 nights in an Oceanfront Superior Room 
  • A complimentary Poolside Cabana for a day
  • 2 complimentary Diplomat Signature Massages 
  • 2 complimentary full-day Kid’s Club passes
  • Daily Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner for the whole family
  • $100 – your daily resort “allowance” to spend how you’d like. 

A very merry cruise on the Disney Fantasy (video!) part 1

Thursday, January 12, 2017
If you have kids, you'll soon find out about the magic of Disney cruises.  We first experienced this magic when Winter was 9 months when we went on a 3 night getaway on the Disney Dream.  It was wonderful but maybe a hint too soon as the true benefits of a disney cruise are best enjoyed by anyone over the  age of 3.  So when we were trying to find a last minute vacation destination around the time of Winter's third birthday, I thought this might be a great time to make a return trip.

We booked super last minute (like 2 weeks out) so all the usual trappings of vacation planning that I usually like to indulge in such as excursion planning and fish extender groups were quickly thrown aside and we just had to wing it. We got a deluxe family stateroom with a balcony which was between mid-ship to aft (back of ship) and was able to make a few connections on the facebook roll-call.  If you are ever cruising find a message board with your ship and sail date - you can have an infinite amount of questions answered by veteran cruisers who happily lend their advice and recommendations.  For disney cruises, this is also how you sign up for fish extender groups.  Weird name but google it, it's super cool.  We missed out on signing up but was "pixie-dusted" by a few families who were so generous in wishing Winter a happy birthday. We also were able to make a brand new friend that Winter could hang out with at the kids club (hi K!),

All in all, this was our first time on a 7-day disney cruise and though we had a blast, it still may have been a bit premature with Nyla still not 3 yrs old and not able to enjoy the benefits of the oceaneer's club.  Part 2 of this post will have my tips for cruising with 2 toddlers but for now enjoy the video! and don't forget to subscribe to Winter's youtube channel.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2016
Wishing everyone a happy holiday! Here's the obligatory santa photo that suprisingly has both of them happy (or at least faking it) together.

How to have a Stress-free Gingerbread house party

Monday, December 19, 2016
I've actually never made/attempted to decorate a gingerbread house for the holidays but for some reason i thought it would be a great idea to have family friends over (who we haven't seen in a while) to come hang out and let the kids go to town with some gingerbread house decorating.  and thanks to Pinterest, it seemed like it would be so easy and so fun and so instagrammable and guess was!

Excited is an understatement to describe the kids. it was THE talk of the house all weekend. It was a good thing i decided last minute to set up the table until the morning of the party because I seriously had some toddler ninjas sneaking mischievous glances at the boxes (and candy!) as soon as i set them up on our dining room table.
I tested all the kits! ALL OF THEM!

and what boxes? these boxes?  here's a tip:  STRESS-FREE = PRE-MADE.  yup. look for preassembled houses! I was a little skeptical of this but thanks to Michael's for having a RIDICULOUS sale on these gingerbread kits, i ended up going bananas in the store buying 2 of every type of kit.  Premade, assembly-required, Trolls-branded, frozen-branded,  train kit. I was like why not and at $3-$5 a box (yes, $3!)  time is money and labor is labor - make it easy, folks! and the good thing is that in the future (so easy i already know we'll do it again), I know what to get.
Let's get this party started!

  • Keep it simple. I went to target but i may have been better off at the dollar store. i already had extra-large burlap looking paint drop-cloths that i used as our table cover. I then bought a red plastic table cover to add some color as well as paper plates and napkins and treat wrapping bags.
  • Buy bulk candy: M&Ms, dots, jr mints, sprinkles, etc. The closer you get to christmas the more your chances are that these go on sale. Michael's has a cake decorating dept so a lot of the cake/cookie decorating icing toppers (like north pole signs, doors, windows, etc) were like 50% off  and holiday decor was a whopping 70%off whereas at target they were still full price.
  • Premake the gingerbread houses if you're not going the pre-assembled route. I fortunately caught this tip by reading some pinterest posts and then reading the back of the boxes. Fail to do this and you'll spend most of your party time playing property brothers trying to assemble and hold the houses to stay up and letting the icing set. this also lets kids get ot the fun part of decorating right away. 
  • Premake royal icing (your "glue") the night before or at least 3 hours before
  • make a few extra houses for the grown-ups who may want to get into the action!

Party flow
  • Before the sugar high set in, we did a pizza party (no MAKING FOOD! - just order!)
  • We were celebrating P's bday so the grown-ups had champagne 
  • After pizza, it was decorating time.
  • After decorating time, it was onto play-time for the kids. And for the adults, we broke out the holiday cocktails and started making cranberry margaritas (delicious!)
  • Then it was on to wrapping up of the houses and goodbyes.
Viv loves Frozen so she had Elsa's palace.
Jule's North Pole home

  • The Wilton brand of pre-assembled gingerbread houses are my pick for stess-free. literally unwrap and get to decorating!
  • The wilton brand of royal icing that comes with those kits is also top-notch for setting quickly! though i made royal icing it didn't have the cement-like consistency which makes assembly easy. we ended up using my icing not for house assembly but for decorating
  • the Cookie International brand of gingerbread houses (usually the licensed versions - so the Frozen, Shopkins, Trolls, etc versions were all from the same company) comes with these plastic trays to help assemble/set the homes- so easy. these were great and  I would buy this brand if i opted to assemble.
  • beware of the candy overload - watch the kids! they will be sneaking in bites! ALOT!
  • I'd give this a good 45 min so unless you have a short party time, plan for an activity afterwards. We let the kids play in the girls room but then sugar chaos set-in and we eventually calmed them down for another 45 min with half of a minions movie.
  • If you're having a large group of kids and buying premade breaks the bank, graham crackers were the next alternative everyone online seemed to suggest vs baking your own gingerbread.
  • Have fun and participate! 

Sprinkle some fun playdate with FabGab blog

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
when Stella of reached out to me to see if we were down for a sprinkle playdate, I said "of course!" I was as excited as the girls to take part in her thematic events that are equal parts fun and stylish.

We walked in and the girls made a bee-line to Juliet's room to play with all her cool toys and accessories for dress-up. Then we coaxed them to the dining room to start coloring as we got their pizza slices warm and ready. 

After a quick pizza dinner, the girls decorated Sprinkles cupcakes (or moreso ate sprinkles and m&ms lol) and then they jumped to playing with the Sweet stop ice cream truck. THey rounded out the night taking a few fun pics in their Beach town Baby tees before taking turns jumping into Juliet's Beamer for trips to the "mall" (obviously!).

And we didn't leave empty handed! Thanks to stella  and to the playdate sponsors, the girls were gifted with a Real Cooking set, and a Beach Town Baby tee, and also got to take home a gift from Charm It! and Watchitude!  So cute and fun!

Happy Birthday Winter!

Saturday, November 26, 2016
Can't believe this little mouseketeer is now 3.  To celebrate her birthday and the holidays and to squeeze in one last family vacation before work at the office gets crazy, we jumped on the Disney Fantasy for a 7 night western caribbean cruise.  Trip report to come but first things first: happy birthday, baby!

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