Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fight Aging Hair: MONAT

The Headlines:


Need better hair?

I did too...

Try this.



I first wrote about my serious bummer hair last week.  You can read the most horrible hair story of ALL time HERE and BEWARE it's a doozy.  Basically, my hair was so bad the stylist I saw wasn't sure she wanted me to represent her "brand!"  Yea, for reals.

Thank goodness.  Turns out I didn't want to represent hers either.   But I do want to represent this:


Let me first say, I have never made ANY money off the content on my blog.  I do my blog simply because I like to write.  As a former television news reporter... I'm of the mind-set that's it's incredibly unethical to tell people about something just because someone is paying you to do so.  In case you didn't know, many, many blogs do that.   Therefore, I've only written about things I really like and stand behind.  That hasn't changed.  I am continuing to do that here today and if you happen to buy the hair products I'm talking about... you'll have better hair and I'll make a small commission.  I'm not really sure what it is because my main goal is to help your hair.   It sure helped mine!

Here's the deal: due to the normal process of aging... my hair started to get thinner, break and all around look crappy.  I've been devastated for a long time.  A braid was my normal go-to hair style.  My hair was dry, brittle, just plain bad.  It gets worse.  This Summer I actually started not washing the chlorine out of my hair because it made it fuller.  You absolutely heard me right.  I was using POOL WATER as a styling tool.

So, when my friend first inroduced me to MONAT (pronounced Moe-NATE - stands for Modern Nature) about a 3 months ago I was open to try something, anything that would give me results.  Nothing else had... trust me.  She showed me this picture (this is her actual husband folks)


and I was sold... on trying it.  After I used it, I was in even more.  It made my hair fabulous.  It was smoother, softer, healthier.  My entire family couldn't believe the change.

How does it work?  What's the difference between it and any other product?  Let's start with what's NOT in it.
  • NO ParabĂ©ns - could be linked to chronic disorders
  • NO Sulfates - can irritate scalp & skin
  • NO DEA/MEA - can irritate & be linked to skin conditions
  • NO Phthalates - can be toxic
  • NO PEG - can be linked to chronic disorders
  • NO Phenoxyethanol - can irritate eyes & skin
  • NO Ethanol - can dry & damage hair
  • NO Petrochemicals - can cause moisture loss & suffocation of hair
  • NO Glutens - linked to intolerance or allergic reactions 
  • NO Sodium Chloride
  • NO harsh Salts - linked to dehydration
  • NO harmful colors 
  • NO harmful fragrances
Instead, they've come up with patented, scientific blends that are naturally based.  Note, MONAT products are not "all-natural" because that would then mean they are free of any preservatives.  Free of preservatives mean they'd need to be cold packed and rushed to its destination.  Impossible for hair care.

What IS in Monat?  It's a proprietary blend of 11 unique molecular ingredients which include vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants among other things.  These ingredients mimic the bodies own natural oils, which as we age, we can lose leading to thinning, breakage and reduction of volume.

There are 3 key, clinically studied and proven ingredients in MONAT.
  • Capixyl - Powered with the Red Clover Extract.  It's a gentle, natural emollient which reduces scalp inflammation and increase hydration, leading to noticeable and proven hair growth.  
  • Procataline - Features Pea Extract.   A rich source of secondary metabolites that reduces the production of DHT.  A hormone that contributes to hair loss.
  • Cordasorb - a formula that protects hair from the intense environment.  Cordasorb helps preserve hair's pigmentation by protecting from UVA/UVB, while smoothing and hydrating the cuticle.     

That's not all... they also use a series of oils in their products.  Including...

  • Abyssinian - (a key ingredient of Rejuvenique Oil Intensive), which is from the Crambe Abyssinica plant, native to Central Africa.  The oil mimics the effect of silicon which lubricates and coats each strand to produce a rare type of shine.   
  • Camelia - known as tea-seed oil.  It's harvested from China, with it's extra vitamin E, it cleans and pampers dry strands next to the scalp.
  • Carrot Seed - sourced from Switzerland, it's rich in Vitamin A and Alpha Linolenic Aicd for anti-inflammatory protection. 
  • along with Baobab, Buriti, Monoi, Meadowform and Moringa

It's important to note that most of the ingredients above are found in MONAT's premier, "Crown Jewel" product called Rejuveniqe.  Rejuveniqe mimics our bodies own oils and therefore helps to nourish the hair and scalp without causing greasiness.  It is added to many of the MONAT products and helps battle psoriasis and eczema.

Now let me say I do still have bad hair days.  There will be ups and downs for everyone.  However, once you start MONAT there will be less downs and more ups.  You do need to know, for most, there is a 3 month ADJUSTMENT PERIOD.

The 1st month is a "Transition" Stage.  Many, including myself & BP (the husband), can experience a little flaking, scalp itching and even shedding.  This is happening because your hair is waking up!  It's circulation is going, the PH balance is equalizing and the buildup is sloughing off.  THIS IS GOOD.  

The 2nd month is  the "Recovering" Stage.   Everything you experience in the first month is starting to calm down.  Your hair has less tangling, it's healthier, baby hairs are growing if they haven't already and your losing a lot less hair.

The 3rd month is the "Stabilizing"  Stage.  Major results are starting to happen now.  Hair is noticeably thicker, more manageable and hydrated.  The hair you used to have, when you were younger, is back.

It's also important to note, that


So what do you do?  Decide what you need.  They have systems for all.  Hydration?  Hair restoration?  Volume?  Smoothing?  All of the products have the "anti-aging" elements in them.  They  even have fun products like Eye Lash & Brow serum.  Rejuvenique is one of their most highly coveted products.  It's an oil intensive that can help people who have psoriasis and excema on their scalp.  Rejuvabeads helps mend split ends.  I listed my 5 FAV products on my last post.  Click HERE for those.  To see the full product list click HERE or head to https://nicole.mymonat.com

To order there are 3 ways:  retail (the most expensive and you pay shipping), the VIP program (which gives you access to special deals, 15% off and free shipping as long as you buy over $84 worth of product on Flexship, which can be monitored & changed by the buyer... not to mention free exclusive products with purchases) and finally as a MONAT Market Partner, which gives you access to all of the fore mentioned plus 30% discounts.

Ask myself or your MONAT expert for products that are right for you.  Because better hair... is waiting... so go GET IT!  


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hair Shaming. My Bad Hair Story.

The Headlines:


Some people have bad hair.

Don't Shame them. 

Help them.




I am a Leo.  Know what that means?  Well, it means many things.  It means I like to talk, entertain, meet people, have friends... a Leo can occasionally be a little self centered.  To some extent, I am all of that.  But it also means that I care deeply, passionately about my hair.  Think the lions mane.

I used to have really super good hair.  Lots and lots of it... at it's best in my late 20's to mid 30's.  In my opinion, it was pretty fabulous.  Until it wasn't.


My hair had been deteriorating for a while until the beginning of this year.  That's when it took a nose dive (the pic on the left was taken then).  I decided to switch hair stylists.  I was driving too far.  But not only that,  I didn't have good products and I wasn't visiting the salon often enough.  Maybe once every 2 1/2 to 3 months.  I thought I could continue to maintain my hair the way I used to... when I was younger.  But I was getting older.  So, I contacted a friend, who had great hair and asked her for her recommendation.  She gave it to me and I looked at the stylists website.  The price list throughly confused me.  I didn't know what I needed so I emailed the gal.  She, by the way, will remain anonymous for the duration of this story.  In the email, I asked, basically, if I could get a guess-timate as to what her hair service would cost.  I live in Scottsdale, AZ and things can get expensive here fast!  I, personally, had a budget of $200 to trim and color/highlight my hair.  Part of what I said is below:

"I have fairly long brown hair that needs a trim and highlights/color.  I looked at your pricing.  I'm hoping to keep it under $200 as I really hate spending so much on my stinking hair.  Do u think that's possible?" 

Apparently it wasn't.  Because she said this:

"It never hurts to ask but at this time I'm not making concessions for my prices.  If it helps we could do a haircut and base color one visit and weeks apart do highlights and toner.  Let me know if this could work for you and I'd be happy to get you scheduled."

Whaaaaaaaa?  I was so confused.  I literally replied, "no silly!  I don't want concessions I just want to understand my cost according to your price structure." She suggested a consult.  I saw her a week later and it was the worst meeting I've ever had with someone who was to perform a "service" for me.

The woman, by the way, owns her own "salon"  which happens to be just a 1 person space where there are lots of other tiny, individually owned salons.  From the start, she was incredibly condescending and rude.  Because of that, (kill them with kindness) I was extra friendly, as usual, and told her I was really looking for some hair help.   After some small talk she basically said my hair was in such terrible condition that she would never let me represent her brand.  She asked me what products I used, which I said I have no idea, "Paul-Su-Perk"!?  Meaning, I wasn't brand loyal since I'd never come across anything worth something.  She told me I really needed to invest in better and more expensive products.  She just couldn't believe I was so cute, with such an adorable figure and, essentially, horrible hair!  In order for her to rehab me it would cost $265... IF I would color my hair first on my own.

Did you catch that?  IF I COLORED MY OWN HAIR FIRST.

I was flabbergasted.  I felt 2 inches tall.  I left, called my friend and told her how I had never been treated so poorly.  So while I wouldn't be going to her, I would just ignore her and not say a thing.

Like I can do that...

I decided to write the stylist a meaningful and constructive email.  I felt compelled to let her know the way she behaved was NOT okay.  If she thought that was acceptable behavior, she surely must be told, it is not.  The following is the exact email I wrote:




I just want to let you know I won't be making an appointment with you.

Heres why: I've been in the news business for almost 20 years of my life.  During that time, I've had many people criticize me.  It comes with the job.  Because of that, I've developed thick skin.  Even when a viewer told me she wouldn't be sorry when I was raped because my skirts were too short.  I learned in -almost- every case, there was some validity to the criticism they gave me.  I shouldn't wear red lipstick, I had to speak slower, one consultant even came to my closet and told me to buy more color.  They were all correct.  

So I'm used to harsh messages.  Your message went beyond harsh - you were just mean.  I am aware my hair needs some extra care.  But your delivery needs some extra work.  You were condescending when I was playful.  You could have taken this as an opportunity to help someone in a bit a a hair slump not made me feel like committing hair suicide.

In short, maybe you are having a bad day but everyday you should not only work on your hair skills you should work on your people skills.  Being kind and uplifting matters way more than split ends.  

Please don't take this the wrong way... I truly mean for it to be constructive!

Best,
Nicole


She wrote me back.  See below.  I agree... I always appreciate "honesty" - but there's also something to be said for common courtesy and respect.  She didn't get it.  She probably never will.  At least I got it off my chest.


Plus, turns out I got a whole lot more.  I now go to a stylist whom I'm VERY happy with...  and in just over 6 months I've had a hair transformation!  Due to not only her but also these new products I'm using. In fact, I like them so much... I'm selling them.

The line is called MONAT (Moe-NATE).  It stands for Modern Nature.  In a nutshell, they aim to fight AGING HAIR.  What a concept?  We have all these products to fight aging skin... but what about aging hair?

In my next post, I'll write in more detail about the "science" behind the brand.  But in a nutshell they're naturally based products, there's no sulphates, no parabens, no harsh salts, no gluten, no harmful colors or fragrances, no ethanol.  They're more expensive than the drugstore but in the ball park of salon product prices.  For me, the bottom line is, they really work.   Here are my fav/must have products.  Ask me about their discount program... they have one (VIP) that gives you %15 off your products plus free shipping.  Not to mention they have "bonus buys" all the time!


They are several shampoos but my personal favorite is the one that helps support re-growth and hair strength (the most - they all kinda do).  That's the Intense Repair Shampoo.  The masque, one of their Best Selling products is out of this world.  After one try, you'll see a difference, I almost guarantee it.  Then the Blow Out Cream helps you get close to the blow out you pay for in high end salons.  Really, use those 3 and you'll be happy.

Almost. 

Everyone needs a conditioner.  My favorite is the "Revitalize" Conditioner which pairs with the IR Shampoo above.  And my husband happens to love the Black Shampoo, which is the Men's line.  Yep, even his hair looks better.  His claim, not mine.  The Black line, is also aimed at promoting hair growth.  Plus, it has a little something extra to help blondes become a brighter, prettier "blonde"... so I know lots of women are using it too!  I'm a brunette therefore I don't have actual first hand proof of that one.

Finally tonight,
I feel like this whole experience was somewhat poetic! In (less than) one year I went from one of the worst (hair) experiences in my life... to one of the best.  Perhaps I wouldn't have been looking that hard for a hair "solution"  without that stylist from hell.  Then, I never would have come across Monat.  A product line this LEO truly believes can put hair shaming to bed for good!

Read HOW & WHY Monat works HERE!

To order: www./nicole.mymonat.com

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Are you Raising an Entitled Child?

The Headlines:


Life is hard. 

And that's good. 




Picture this:  it's pitch black, middle of the night, out of no where, you wake up.  Walking towards you is your child.  Something is wrong.  It's a weird phenomenon at my house which happens almost every time my child is in "distress" at night.  I may be in a dead sleep but, out of no where, I wake up.  Last night, it happened again.  My son had a bad dream.  As he was walking down the hall, I woke up to see him entering my room.  Ever happen you you?

I think it's this ability for a Mom to know something's wrong before it happens.  It may be a connection between Mother and child... or just a sense a Mom has when their baby needs them.

I think that's where I'm at right now.  I need to wake up and handle stuff before something bad happens to my kids. What in the world am I talking about?  Our blessed life.  I feel very lucky.  I have a husband who's my ROCK, a faith that is strong, a son who I worked hard to get, a daughter who is growing up and parents who supported me the entire way.

In fact, life is so good - it might be bad.



My kids have so much - they need way less.  Our bubble is big - we should break out.  My daughter needs to learn empathy and my son has to know going to the store doesn't automatically mean you shop (for toys).  Therefore, I've been searching for ways to combat these challenges, while keeping their childhood intact.  I don't want them to live on the street but I do want them to understand what it means to be there.

So when I heard about a book study at my church, I jumped at the idea.  It was just what we all needed.  The book, called "Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World," by Kristen Welch, is so simple.  I mean, really.  It's not tough stuff here.  The concepts not foreign.  The ideas not huge.  Kind of common sense.  She's a Mom with a non-profit ministry and a blog.  She's not a doctor or a psychologist.  She's like you or I... with a good head on her shoulders.  Therefore, the read is what many of us Moms have talked about at play dates, coffees, at soccer games and dance recitals.   So I wanted to share the books concepts with you.  Here are my 5 biggest take-aways.


"Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World":
First, it's important to note that this book is Christian based.  It talks a lot about faith in God and is a central theme.  If you're not into that, like I am, parents will still get a lot out of it.  Plus, if you're searching spiritually... you may also find this can point you in a direction you'd be interested in traveling.

1 - We're Living in a Selfie Society (and that's not good)
I hate selfies.  I truly do.  NO one looks good in them, they're incredibly vain, and honestly, they're just plain weird.   The fact that the term/word is now apart of our dictionary, is highly alarming.  Spending time, taking a picture of yourself to get the perfect pouty face is just beyond.  It seems we're teaching kids to go backwards.  Here's why.

When we're born, we are selfish - it's innate (as well it should be, we are unable to do ANYTHING and survival is predominantly dependent upon others).  But at a certain point in life, selfishness should wane, slowly but assuredly year by year it starts to trickle away.  By the time you have your own children, well, it practically needs to be thrown out the window to your little parasites.  Never entirely of course, but almost.  And the cycle continues on.

But, it seems to me, selfies perpetuate the madness.  If we can't see that past those selfie sticks... well, then we can't see.  We'll never have grateful and always keep entitled children.  I truly believe, one day, we'll all laugh at the selfie.  I think just like big bangs, blue eyshadow and Slim Fast were seriously going to say - "what were we thinking?"

2 - Sometimes the Best way to help our kids... is NOT to help them 
These are Welch's words actually.  It's so true too.  Yet, this is a hard one for many Moms.  Especially when our kids are small.  When I took my kids to pre-school I would drop them off.  I didn't hang around.  I never waved though the window (maybe just once)... mostly, I stayed away.  Not that I didn't love and miss them after I dropped off.  I just wanted to quickly teach them that they were (if only for 2/3 hours) on their own.  At the same time, I would be back to get them NO MATTER WHAT.

I want my kids to fall down occasionally.  Not sustain bad burns... but get scraped and stand back up.  Because they will surely rise to stand taller.

The other day, my 11 year old was at school, minding her own business, when a boy came out of no where running down the hallway only to hit and push her into a pole.  She gushed blood.  I came to the school nurse.  Stood by her side, but she didn't want too many hugs.  She didn't want tears.  She wanted to see, through my reaction, how she would be.


Honestly, I didn't know.  There was a huge gash on her forehead which not only hurt but looked really scary.  I maintained composure the entire time.  Therefore, so did she.  I knew the look on my face would reflect in her own.  So, when I took her to Urgent Care, got her cleaned and "stitched" up  - we hoped and prayed for the best.  Guess what?  She's fine.  There's barely even a scar.  She got through it.  She stayed strong from beginning 'til end.  Stronger than even I thought possible.  I hope that continues as she grows.  I will be there when she falls but she has showed me she can also stand on her own.


3 - Money talk
I'm cheating on Welch and reading another book right now too.  It's by money guru Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze, called "Smart Money, Smart Kids."  We got the idea from my husband's brother and it too is a good read, nothing too fancy, just good ol' back to basics.

I mean that.  It's exactly how I was raised.  You earn money.  Then, you save lots, give some and spend the rest.  More on that in a second.  Credit card debt, unless totally unavoidable, is not an option.

Turns out, our society loves debt.  According to the Washington Examiner,

"The U.S. national debt grew by just a bit more than $600 billion in fiscal year 2017, almost half the average annual growth seen in the Obama years. The national debt ended at $20.244 trillion on the last business day of September, an increase of $671 billion from the start of the fiscal year in October 2016."

Yea, it's less under Trump than Obama, but really?  I'm always flabbergasted by the national debt... how can we expect our kids to do differently than the rest of the entire world?  Okay,  rant over but the bottom line, the age old adage is true: money doesn't buy happiness.  In fact, often times, it actually has the opposite effect.  The more you get, the more you want, the more troubles it can cause.  I, right after Christmas, get super into "stuff."  It's because I shopped so much before, return after the holiday, not to mention have gift cards and all those sales!  So, for a couple weeks I'm on the Nordstrom website, going to the Rack, shopping Old Navy, I just can't get enough.  I MUST GET THOSE BOOTS.  Then all of the sudden I have those boots, they sit in my closet and nothing has changed.  I'm over it.  I'm not happier.  Not one bit.  I'm actually annoyed.  Why am I NOT wearing those boots?

So, we're doing what Ramsey suggests.  Giving our kids money they earn for the weekly work that they do.  Each time, they need to separate their earnings into 3 places.  Spending.  They can use for anything.  Giving.  They need to use for others.  Saving.  Whatever the present goal is... college, car, nest egg?  All of the above.  

Now, when my 6 year old wants a pack of gum he can buy it.  When my daughter wants her phone she can buy it.  Or... at least earn money to potentially buy it, if we say so.

It teaches kids the value of a dollar unlike anything else.  Plus, they're rolling up their sleeves, working and being a part of the family.  Welch's book lays out her money plan for family and it happens to be very similiar to Ramsey's.

4 - Technology 
This is a subject that really gets me.  The Chapter (5) in "Grateful Kids" is good.  I paid close attention to this because we are just starting to enter into this world with my daughter.  As you just heard, she doesn't have a phone.  Yet.  It's true.  Almost everyone she knows, all of her friends, they all have phones.  She's in 6th grade.  I'm not mad at other Moms.  I see the value in it.  But I also she the danger.

There are many reasons I hesitate to give my daughter a phone.
Here are some of those reasons:
a) There's a Whole Scary World Out There.  She has an iPad and computer... (I know, you may be thinking whaaaaaa)?  but they're not at her fingertips the way a phone is... the information, while still available, is harder to get.  Once it's in the palm of her hands, that tiny thing can really pack a powerful punch.  Knowledge is power but sometimes too much power can lead to a severe explosion.  I need to keep the power dim a little longer.  At least in our house.
b) Social Media.  It's all about the likes.  Rejection is everywhere.  Kids are too young to understand that world is so not real.  The person who has 222 likes on 1 picture may not have any real friends to talk with over ice cream.  I don't post much on Social Media.  I want to... I always think about it... but then I get busy.  I tend to live my life instead of post about it!  Our kids will absolutely get caught up in what doesn't matter if they start on social media too young.  I believe it can be irreversibly devastating for someone who is not mature enough to handle it.
c) Face to Face Communication.  If we're stuck in our phones all the time, how are we expecting our children to learn this real skill?  This is a genuine fear of mine.  Our kids need to speak to each other with their voices, especially in these formative years.  My daughter already has trouble communicating with people.  I just want her to say hi to someone in the eye as she walks by them.  Give her a phone and she'll never look up.
d) Predators.   We all know this is a real thing.  But not all of us take it as seriously as we should.  Predators are looking for our children on-line.  Period.  If kids unknowingly let people in on locations, activities, chats, games... who knows, they could be in danger.  That's a mistake that could change their lives in one click.
e)  First and Last(ing) Impressions.  Final thought.  When I started TV News back in the day, one reason young journalists went to small markets to get their feet wet was so that they could crash and burn in "private".  When you're young, dumb and in front of a camera you are bound to make mistakes.  I did it in Kennewick, WA.  Now, any kid with a smart phone will do it.  But now, instead of just in front of the great people of Kennewick... your son or daughter may crash & burn in front of the entire internet.  And those pictures/posts/tweets could be out there forever.   A girl may make a poor decision when she's in 9th grade... but may not see the repercussions until she's out of college and looking for a job.

I say all if this, but just wait, she'll probably get one sooner than later.  God help us all.

5 - Just say NO
Kids long for structure.  They want to know what to do.  Rules/No's help them stay out of a situation they shouldn't be in.  It gives them clear guidelines.  If we don't set the standards for our kids then who will?  Welch says, "there is a fine line between healthy parental love and child worship,"  I couldn't agree more.  Kids want to be loved.  Parents want to love their children.  But parents need to be in charge, they can not let their children run the show.  They will test and try but you must stand tall.  Then one day, they will use those rules to get them out of a sticky situation.  They will be thankful.  So, will you.

We say NO a lot in our house.  It might be redundant.  But I don't care.  No, you can't watch that show.  No, you can't have that phone.  No treat tonight.  No, I'm not getting you that designer jean (unless they're on sale at Nordstrom Rack and it's your Birthday).  We do say yes... but my goal is to say NO more than YES.  Partly because, as Welch touches on, denying oneself now, makes life sweeter in the end.

When I was younger and working I tried to not eat many exciting, fun foods during the week.  The main reason for that was because on the weekend, my boyfriend, soon to be husband, and I would go out to eat at yummy restaurants and I wanted to get really excited about that dinner.  It worked.  I would salivate looking at the menu back then.  It made me even more grateful to be there.

I want my children to salivate over the "stuff" they get.  NOT expect it.

It's like the birthday party.  My Mom got ONE birthday party her entire childhood.  That one is forever etched in her brain.  She remembers it fondly.  It made her excited beyond belief.  Most kids these days get parties every single year.  The question is, will they remember ANY of them?


Finally tonight...

Now what?  Good question. I have woken up, been alerted to potential "danger," read some books and now it's time to walk the talk.  We're off to find some uncomfortable situations.  We're painting places, adopting families, changing cars, giving more than (always) receiving, heck we may even move into one of our own rental houses.  But we'll see about that last one.

I need my kids to understand that while they may be the center of my world.  They're aren't the center of the universe.  It's a big place out there.  A wonderfully, messed up, bloody, beautiful world.  They can either sit back and watch it go by while on their iPads or they can get involved.  It's not gonna be easy, it won't happen overnight but I'm trying to find avenues, some bumpy roads, that will point them to the place of happiness.  Where they can build relationships that matter more than a re-tweet.  All the while, having an impact on not only oneself but other people who matter just as much along the way.


And maybe that will help us ALL sleep better at night.



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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Vintage Vinyl Floors Cloths

The Headlines:



This "rug" is incredible.

Is it Tile?

Or does it just look like it?  




I can not get over this rug.  Technically not a rug, a vinyl floor "cloth," is so ridiculously cool.  It looks like tile on your floor, yet it's not.  Yet it really really looks like it is, so it's crazy!


Are you dying?  I died when I first saw this crazy piece in a downtown store in my hometown of San Clemente, California.  I walked on it and backed up.  Was that tile?  But it was soft.  It was so stinking cool looking.  After closer inspection, tile it was not.  It was basically a rug that looks like tile.  I was sold immediately.

I bought a few.  One for the patio door.

It basically looks like there's just a little patch of tile before you go outside.

One for the bathroom...  seemingly there because I wanted to protect the wood with tile near the shower entrance.


And one for the laundry room.  Cause... there's water in there too y' know!?!


This one needs to be bigger.  It will look killer when I get a runner in this long, lean space.  

You can also use them outside.  It would look awesome on the right patio.  They also have color ones, which I have yet to see in person.  

Bottom line is, need a new bath floor?  Maybe you don't.  What about a kitchen update?  Perhaps not. Try this instead!   If you like this look, you can turn a laundry room, patio, heck anything... into a whole different space by just flopping down a mat.   

How do you get your hands on one?  You can contact me to help you, they're on-line in a bunch of places or just go to this Rugs Direct link: HERE there are so many options.

NOW, we're on to something! 

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Finding Your Rock

Headlines:


What is a Rock? 

Everyone should have one.

I feel blessed to have mine.

Where is yours?



Life is hard.  It's full of crap.  Bills.  There's bad grades.  Fires.  Game losses.  Extra weight.  Evictions.  Divorce.  Teasing.  Pimples.  Feelings get hurt all the time.  Sickness.  Death.  We all get embarrassed.

But if you have your Rock... it's okay.



I met mine a long time ago.  Didn't know it at the time of course.  From the first minute... just a quiet strength from the man.  Soft, kind, good.  Not perfect.  Far from perfect, he was an occasional barker.  But who is perfect?  Rocks aren't.  For some reason, however, when life was (seemingly) falling apart... this person somehow had this effortless way to put it back together.  It was his demeanor during "crisis," his knowledge, his ability to handle things, his way to calm me, maybe it was even the fact that he could deal and lead me in exactly the right way.

Example.  Just this very morning I had a bad work deal go completely south.  AKA:  I got screwed.  He was upset too.  Yet he found the words, to calm me down, to explain, to assure me everything will be alright and by doing that... he makes it great again.

Where do Rocks come from?  I have no idea.  I think some people are just born that way.  Something inside of them makes them strong, sturdy, assured.  Then, at least according to BP (that's the husband, aka: my Rock), I stepped into his life and made him even stronger.  He says, that me being by his side gave him the ability to do things better.  Again, his words not mine, he could BE better.

So maybe, even though he is MY Rock, I'm HIS Rock right back.

Wouldn't that just be ideal? You may feel weak, but they see you as strong.  Where you fall, they catch.  Your cracks are filled with their crevices.

Sigh.

Turns out, as I learned today, sometimes people don't want to find their Rocks.  Or at least that's what they portray to the world.  It never really occurred to me that some would just prefer to wander aimlessly from lame relationship to the next broken one.  I was talking to a friend of mine, who happens to be on Match and Vine and Swipe Right.com... or whatever it's called.  Sorry, I know not the websites.  Anyhow, she has bumped into many a men who are far from looking for something that makes them better.  Instead, they're looking for Mr./Ms. Tonight.  Stunning to live like that.  Simply because I guess they don't know, when you find your Rock, it's no longer what you're capable of doing today... it's more about what you can do forever.

Your Rock makes anything possible.

But maybe some people are just invested more in the now than the always.  Or they're afraid of losing their Rock once they find it.  That, is a real fear.  It can be devastatingly tragic of course.  But having it and losing it, is certainly better than never having it at all.  Nothing is forever in this life.  No matter how tight you close your eyes and wish it.  But you are now both better off for having it during that time.

If you're wondering, no one knows when, where or how you'll meet your Rock.  Of course, it's not on your schedule, that's for sure.  Maybe you're ready but your Rock isn't.  Or vice versa.  Of course, it's typically when you least expect it.  The day you're sick at the doctor.  On a golf course.  The time you trip in front of twenty people.  In the middle of a yoga class.  For me, it happened during Cheerleading practice.  I met my Rock about 20 years ago.  He asked me to a dance (pictured below).


This week, decades later, is our Wedding Anniversary.   No big, significant one.  Just another year.  What am I getting him?  Nothing.  Everything.  Does it matter?  No.  Yes.  Of course!  Not.  What does matter is what he gives me, what we hopefully give each other, everyday.  Of every year.  And every moment in between.  There are fights.  Here and there.  I don't always like him but I do always love him.  I admire him.  Yep, he's way too good at too many things.   That's kind of annoying by the way.

With my Rock, I feel stronger than the first woman who climbed Mt. Everest.  I am happier than the person who invented Spanx.  I am more proud than the First Lady.  I'm luckier than a Lotto Winner.  Because I have my very own Rock.

My hope... is that you do too.





  

Friday, October 13, 2017

Your UnCOOL Mom

The Headlines:


When I was young(er)

I was cool(ish).

Wish my daughter knew that.




Once upon a time, I was cool.  I think.   It just occurred to me that by using the word COOL, maybe I'm not.  What should we be saying these days?  Sick?  Or Sic?  When I was young(er)... I was sic!  That doesn't sound right.  Not from old, unCOOL me.

Hopefully, if you're reading this, you get my drift.

So, let's face the facts ladies, no matter how cool you were back in your day, if you have a little girl (at one point) you will be cool no longer.


When that point comes, a little part inside of you withers away.  You are not the Wonder Woman you once were... you're just kinda lame.  You know the lame look, right?  It's the thing she does with her eyes from time to time.  It's something like this:


I've seen that look, plenty.

It's weird, this cycle of life, isn't it?  I remember some things like it was yesterday.  For instance, when I was in middle school... I would lay down in the car as my Mom drove.  I was embarrassed.  Of her car.  Of her.  Of myself.  But, I thought, she just wasn't cool.  Never did I know I would be stuck in that same position with MY little girl.  But, alas, it has arrived.

To be fair and understanding of that above look... I know I can be embarrassing.  I kind of grew up embarrassing myself.  On purpose.  I used to sing in front of people whenever I got the chance.  I occasionally tripped in the mall, because it was funny.  I would stand in front of a crowd and yell really loud.  I've always danced like an idiot.  And now, not much has changed.  I jump up and down and wave to my kids across the school yard.  I sing crazy songs.  I talk a lot.  Sometimes I laugh goofy.  I  stumble over my words.  I use the wrong words.  I don't know what outfit to wear with my uber hip white Adidas shoes.  I could go on and on.

Sound familiar?

Hopefully it does.  Why?  If you know you're being embarrassing then you might not really be embarrassing at all.  You're just being yourself.  Enjoying life.  Having fun.

Yes, hard for pre-teens to understand.

Mine made it clear she doesn't like me to speak in funny accents.  NO dancing.  Laughing is allowed, just not too much.  But she doesn't like me asking questions.  She doesn't like it when I look at something in a certain way.  She doesn't like my hair styling ability.  She does like me, if you're wondering.  Cause I've already asked.  I was worried for a while.


I wonder, is it just the time in her life?  Is it her hormones?  Or is it just being a MOM.  Does it simply come with the territory?  If I think back to the height of my Mom-embarrassment... I know it came when I was at my lowest "self confidence" point.   You know, the pre-teen time.  Once I got through that,  my confidence started to soar and so did the tolerance with my Mother.  If I was cool... then she was too.

So maybe it will just take time.  I have a feeling she must grow into her own skin a little longer.  Then someday, maybe she'll look at me as if I'm her Super Mom again.  Until that point, I think I'll team up with another Mom (who's cool of course), tell her the things I want my daughter to know, have that Mom repeat them to her, then the idea most likely will be heard AND received.  Gold.  Plus, I'm handing her my own, "I used to be cool" Resume:


Now that is sic.
Wait, no it's not.
She was right.
Maybe I'm just her unCOOL Mom after all.
Fortunately, I'm oddly okay with that.






Thursday, September 28, 2017

5 Things You MUST do for A Quick House Update

The Headlines:


You have a home.  

That needs a little updating.

Here are 5 things you MUST do.

And 2 things you should.




By now you may know me.  Or maybe you don't.  But if you do... you're pretty aware I like to make over things.  Take something mediocre and make it (close to) miraculous.

That can be done easily with tons of money.  But it can also be done with a little money, plus some resources and a knack for design.  That's what I did with this house:


This was a rental property which had been used, and somewhat abused, for years.  It really hadn't been touched much since it was built in the early 90's.  This is what the kitchen looked like.


Pretty bad.  But I knew I could take this place and turn it into something a little more special!
Here's the 5 things I did to do that:


1 - Counters
In many cases these days, if a house is in desperate need of new counters it's because there's an old Corian, laminate or in bathrooms, often times there is "cultured marble."   That, by the way, cracks me up... it's such a nice sounding name for TOTAL CRAP!  These days people are doing a lot of quartz (a man made product) and marble.  There's some concrete.  They're also still doing some granite, especially quartzite which is a more exclusive/expensive type of granite.

For the kitchen in this house I wanted to do a pretty Marble-looking white space.  But I did not want the upkeep of marble so I decided Quartz was my best option.  I like how clean it came out.  As for the edges, I'm always about classic so straight edge works best.


In the bathrooms, there are two, I decided to keep them consistent and do a White Ice Granite on both.  Granite has been on the way "out" for a few years but I'm not sure it will ever be totally gone.  At the time I needed it, it was the best option for my project.



2 - New Sinks/Faucets 
When you get those new countertops in, you most certainly, will have to put in new sinks.  Everyone is doing rectangle vs. oval now.  Also, it's all under-mounted sinks.  I like a bright white ceramic.  I know big surprise.  Just can't go wrong.  For the kitchen... stainless is still not a bad option.  I also like the big huge tubs versus the partitioned ones.  That is a matter of preference but it also seems to be more "in" right now.

Then, the faucets continue to set the tone for your area.  For instance, I wanted to go a little more "mainstream/classic" in one bath but for the master, I wanted it a little more special.  Hence, different faucet choices.   For the kitchen faucet, I wanted a simple goose neck.  That's what I got.  



3 - Painted Cabinets 
Once you get new counters in... you almost positively will want to do your cabinets.  And the fastest, most economical way to do that is paint them.  Period.  It just is... they can completely transform your house.  See for yourself.


I went with white but obviously the sky is the limit.  You can do light or dark gray, black or I've seen lots of blues lately too.  Just find someone who can do the job right.  They have to be sanded and sprayed.  Not just any painter can do this...

4 -  New Hardware
This is a no brainer.  Once you get those cabinets painted just add new hardware.  This is usually not that expensive to do.  Especially if you keep the pulls on the smaller side.  3 inches will cost less than getting a 5-6 inch pull.  Even though the larger sizes are really what people are doing today.  I also like changing up the pulls per space, like I did here in the Master Bath (pictures above in the cabinet picture) but that's not necessary if you want to keep it simple.

5 - Paint Walls/baseboards
Painting is always quick and easy.  It can dramatically change the look of your house.
This especially needs to be done if you have 10 different colors and 3 different accent walls in your house right now.  First of all, and I can't say this enough.  Choose neutral colors.  The days of purple, deep reds and hunter greens are over.  Those left when "Trading Spaces" was cancelled.  Remember that show?  I could not get over all those crazy paint colors.  If you stick with a gray, caramel or dare I say white... you will never regret it.  You may regret painting your dining room a bright orange.  Commit to colors with decor or maybe some furniture.  That way you can change things up when you feel like it.

Now, with that said, I will say crazy color can be super great in some cases.  I even saw a room painted black recently which was really intriguing.  But those cases are rare.  So tread lightly.

All in all, this was a quick house remodel update that worked.  Just check out the Before/After pictures:

Bath 1

Kitchen

Bath 2 (Master)

After those 5 things... you almost have a full remodel.  But not quite.  The next 2 things seal the deal entirely.  I did not do the following 2 in the home above.

6 - New flooring
This will make your remodel.  Choose the right stuff and bam - you're in business.  Wood is super hot right now.  Yet it's classic and will never go out of style.  It's not possible.  Concrete is always cool.  Tile is another great option.  So many amazing choices.  Here's my friends house.  She chose to go with a polished tile.  It ups the fancy factor a bit and looks almost like marble.  But it's not.


** Program note - if putting in new floors, don't do carpet.  For 3 reasons: 1, it's hard to clean.  You can never really get all the "germs" out.  2, your allergies will go away instantly.  No joke.  3, carpet chops up a room.  One floor throughout a house or continuous in large spaces makes the house look bigger.  I know, some people like the comfort of carpet between their toes in their bedroom.  But all in all, it's not worth it.

Finally tonight,
7 - New light fixtures   
This is the jewelry after the dress.  It's the icing on the cake.  The cherry on the sundae.  I did a blog about it HERE.  New light fixtures will take your remodel from fabulous to gorgeous.  Promise.

Now... you're done.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Boy Bathroom Remodel

The Headlines:


A boy deserves a good bathroom. 

And so does his mom! 

Here's how to get one.




As some of of you may know... I like to remodel.  The home in which you live not only matters to your eyes... it can matter to your heart.  People who have a space in which they are proud are more productive, organized and happy.  I'm sure there's a study some where that says that however I know not where it is...

When remodeling I have 3 steps:

Step 1 -  Make A Design Plan 
Think long term, classic (do what you like, not what Pinterest tells you).  Always.
I call it "Defining Your Style..." read about it HERE

Step 2 - Pick Materials
What or whom will the space be used for?  Then consider that when planning/buying.

Step 3 - Get to Work
How can it be done in the most cost effective manner?

Here is one of my latest projects:


Below was we started with.  No bueno.  See?



If you look around a bit on this blog you'll see some serious white in my house.  I know white is HOT right now but I love it for different reasons.  I wrote a blog about it HERE but one of the main reasons I use it so much is because it's just doesn't go out of style.   It can certainly be not "on-trend" but white is forever.  Ahhhhhhhh that's why BRIDES use it!

Step 1 - Make a Design Plan
However, with all of that said, unlike in all my other bathrooms, I did not want to use white in this room.  For a Boy Bath I took the stained cabinet approach.  My husband sanded furiously and stained for days.  It does take a lot of sweat and tears if you do it yourself - the right way.  There are kits out there where you don't have to sand but BP (the husband) is perhaps pickier than I am, in some cases, and wanted to do it this way.

With the dark cabinets, and dark brick floor (which was put in a couple years ago - knowing the long term plan in my head) I knew I needed to lighten it up a bit so I wanted a light countertop to balance the dark.  I also knew I wanted an overall rustic/rugged look.

Step 2 - Pick Materials (go shopping)
I used this stain from Home Depot.  The color is espresso.  It's a dark color.  It's dark here but can go darker depending on the application process.

I also picked out the industrial lights pretty early.  I happen to love the industrial look.  I'm hoping it's not a fad because I'm kind of using it a lot.

I got square, white, ceramic sinks to go with the white/grey Carrera looking Quartz.  It clearly looks so different in different light.  These are pictures of the same counter.


Sidenote, for those not familiar, Quartz is a man made material which people have been using for a while now since it's pretty durable and consistent.  There are MANY brands of Quartz out there.  Some really expensive... some more well priced.

As you can see above... I use CHROME FAUCETS.  Here's why:  they're classic.  I know I sound like a broken record.  But they just won't go out of style.  Oil rubbed bronze was all the rage and today it's passe'.   Now everyone is using the Antique Brass for hardware.  It is gorge.  It could stay current for a while.  Heck, anything with the word Antique in it will stick around I suppose.  But I believe it will never be as classic as chrome.   So, the faucets I picked were a small goose neck chrome.

One more thought on faucets.  Pick wide spread.  They are a much more "upgraded" look and don't typically cost a lot.

Next, I went with a small Subway tile back splash.  Which (skips the mirror but) extends all the way to the ceiling.  You can never go wrong with Subway tile people.  I also did it because of  the shower/bath which is across from the vanity.  I have not re-done that yet.  But if and when I do... it will be done in a subway tile which ties everything together!

Next up... fishing touches like the cabinet "jewelry".  That's what I call drawer pulls/handles/knobs.


I got Francisco pulls for most of the cabinets but in the middle I used the Cup pulls.  I thought the difference made it look more like furniture.  And yes, you CAN MIX METALS!  I get that question all the time.  Mix... for the most part.  But it may also depend on the entire design of the room so do so carefully.  I often times go with a Satin Nickel drawer pull and a chrome faucet.  Like in this case.

Step 3 - Get to Work. 
After you've designed and shopped you need to put it altogether and get crap done!  There are a few way to accomplish this.

A) If you're super handy you can do this all by yourself.  But you need skills, time and patience.
B) The other option is to be you own general.  That means you find your materials and workers, then organize it.  Don't worry there's still 2 more options.
C) You can also get a designer from a top notch, fancy firm.  They're out there.  But it will cost ya... plenty.
D) The final option is to hire a local blogger/designer where you live to help you pick out, organize, schedule and find your trade people.  Someone like me.  But who lives by you.  There are plenty of talented, smart, go get it done people where you live who can help you, you just have to find them.

When you do... they can help you with just Step number 3... or start you back on Step number 1.  Depending upon your needs.


Finally tonight,
We were basically done with the bathroom but I needed to frame the mirror.  I wanted something super simple to make it feel kind of hardy.  I went to a reclaimed wood place to see what they had.  They had great stuff... just a little too rustic for what I wanted.  So we did it on our own.


We went to Home Depot again and grabbed some (not warped) Red Oak.  Turns out they had wood with some character which is what I wanted.  Then we stained it with the same brand as above but got a much lighter color... I didn't want it to be too matchy with the cabinets.  We pulled out the saw, grabbed some wood glue and bada-bing, bada bang.  Done.

I absolutely love it.  I hope you do too!



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Monday, August 7, 2017

What I Will Tell My Child About Junior High

The Headlines:


We all remember Junior High sucks.

Can it ever be good?

It can.



I sit here quietly in my home for the first time in months.  Summer is over and the kids are back in school.  But this year is different.  This year my daughter starts Junior High.

She's a 6th grader.  Back in my time, when I went to JUNIOR HIGH it didn't start until 7th grade.  I'm not sure what's better but that's not the point.  Here's the point: we're at the point of no return.  It's big time from here on out.  Life is no longer as simple as it once was... and she knows it.


The other day she said, I kid you not:

"I think when I was "little-er" things were more fun.  Now everyone's on their phone."  

WOW.  As I listened to her make that slightly profound statement I may have been texting someone.  That's a whole other subject we should delve into but for now... she's right.  And it's not changing anytime soon.  Because with a locker, no recess, algebra and lunch time tutoring comes a whole lot more.  Stuff they can't really teach you at the best school... like hormones, relationships, "mean" girls, make-up and yes everything that comes with that darn phone.

So what do you tell your child?  I say this:  Junior High is tough.  Ask anyone.  You will not get out unscathed.  Because everyone has something.  The prettiest girl gets a pimple.  The smartest boy blows a major test.  The mean one gets bullied.  Make-up runs.  Pick 6's happen.  People say awful things.  It is complicated, it's difficult and it can be down right devestating at times.  But you will get through it.  Right alongside the rest of your friends.  You all will be going through the same kind of crappy stuff together.  You can trust that.

But while there will be many bad things that happen... there will also be bright spots.  

You will ace a test you studied for.  The girl or boy you smile at will smile back (even if it's just on the inside).  Your team will win.  You will walk into a room one day and everyone will turn.  Your birthday will be big.  You will meet a best friend.  Someone will vote for you.  You will be a part of a group/club/sport that matters.  People will laugh at your joke.  You will get a compliment.  All these things will happen... just not at once.  Everyday you will not hit the jackpot - but that will make the winning days even sweeter.

I tell my daughter she has to be strong.  And on the days she's not, her father and I will be strong for her.  I remind her that she can lean on good friends but that she needs to let them lean right back.  I want her to know if she's helping others more she may care about herself a little less.  I assure her tears will come and she can grab a tissue or even better yet.. someone may hand her one.

Because even though Junior High may feel like the end of the world... it's just the beginning.

No, I'm not a psychologist or a counselor, I'm not a doctor or teacher of any kind.  But I am a mother who remembers being in Junior High, like all of us were at one point.  It was exactly all of the things I mentioned above and more.  It doesn't make me an expert but it does qualify me to remind my pre-teen, we've all been there.  While it feels super big - it's just a moment in time - and everyone's standing in that moment with her.

Junior High will not define her... but it will begin to refine her.  She just needs to remember to toss the phone aside.  Here and there.



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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How to Plan a Trip to the Redwood National Forest (and Mendocino)!

The Headlines:


The time has come.

Vacation Creation.

Here's why (and how) we did it.  



During the Summer, when I was a little girl... myself, my mom and my Dad would all pile in our Volkswagen (Pop Top) Bus and drive for miles.  We would drive, stop, camp and then drive, stop, camp some more.  Four weeks total.  Every year from the time I could remember... until I was in high school.  For it was at that time, we no longer had the time to pile, drive, stop and camp.

Because, like all kids, I grew up.  More on that later.

Since we've had our own babies we've definitely gone on vacations.  But mostly to relaxing resorts, beach destinations or family visits.  Traveling with "toddlers" is never easy.  I remember once we got on a plane, my son was maybe 2 years old, shortly after take off he stands in the aisle, points to the door and says: OFF PLANE NOW.   At this point, we've certainly turned the corner so it's time to do something different.

BP (the husband) and I made a pact last Summer to take a break once a year and do (at least) one real family vacation.  Preferably not the resort kind.  I just think more unique memories can be made when you hit the open road.  So, we decided our first go-round would be The Redwood National Forest.  For those of you wondering... that's at the very tip top of California near the coast.


It did not disappoint.  In this post, I'll tell you what we did, how it was so special, where you can do it and why the time is now.  I'll highlight the 5 Most Important Tips.

I have no known trip planning skills but turns out I didn't need any after I found this place:


TIP #1:
Redwood Coast Cabins & RV Resort (click the phrase to their website).  I basically wanted to go "glamping" without paying like 5 hundo a night!  At RCC, you can get a camp site for under $20 or you can stay in their "Deluxe" Log Cabin (with basic bath and kitchen) for under $150.  That was exactly what I wanted.  They also have really rustic log cabins (without the bath or kitchen) for under $100.  It gave us the feeling of camping, complete with pool, play area, giant chess and mini golf (all with the cost of the site).  Perfect.  I recommend highly.

But then what RCC also did, was give us a list of things to do while there.
TIP #2 Check it out here: Redwood To Do List

We started by going to the old, historic Samoa Cookhouse, which I did as a kid...


and it hasn't changed a bit.  Family style cooking.  Great for breakfast.  It was tasty as well as historic.  Don't miss it.  Read about it here: Samoa Cookhouse.  Then we headed up to the Trees of Mystery (click the phrase for more info).  There, we saw spectacular trees, Paul Bunyan and took a gondola ride.  It's just interesting.  You can spend hours reading and looking at all the stuff.  It didn't disappoint.  It was a little under $50 for the 4 of us... but worth it.


We also checked out the Avenue of giants, the Grandfather Tree and the Visitor Center (which obviously has tons of ideas too).


TIP #3
The National Park has a cool "Quest" series for kids.  The quests, essentially require the child to go searching for something, via clues given to them, at a certain hiking spot.  At the end, they discover the code which they turn into the visitor center and get a "prize".  My kids LOVED IT!  And it was FREE.


After 2 nights, we drove down to Mendocino.  ***Warning*** this drive is not for faint of heart.  I got incredibly car sick, there are very windy roads here.  At one point, I had to get out of the car and lie on the side of the road.  Memories were definitely being made.   But once we made it... there was this... bliss.



TIP #4
We stayed at the Little River Inn... which had a view of the water and it was breathtaking.  This property is just really precious.  See for yourself here:  Little River Inn

We were so close to the beach, Medocino and Fort Bragg.  Plus my kids could play some football on their lawn overlooking the ocean.  It was heavenly.  While here, we went on a "Skunk Train" ride... (in my opinion kind of expensive and a little over-rated for a family of four) and we hunted for
TIP #5 Seaglass at "Seaglass Beach"... it's a real thing.


After a recycling plant was located in the area, it left behind legit Seaglass.  But Beware: The city does NOT want you take the little treasures.


We also hiked the beach, dined overlooking the ocean and browsed their many roadside stores.  Two nights and we moved on.

From forests to cliffside beaches to the farm lands of the wine country.  On our way back to the airport we decided take a quick, final jaunt through Napa.  We stopped at a park, ate at a favorite,
BONUS TIP: Gott's Roadside (formerly Taylor's Refresher) Grill and took some pictures.  Nope, no wine tasting on this trip but it was just what we needed before hopping on a plane.


The odd thing, we were only gone for 4 nights and 5 days.  But it was just enough.  We packed a lot into our little trip.  And we'll do it again.  Not the same thing.  Something totally different.  I'm up for suggestions.

Because the fact is, time doesn't stand still.  I wish it did.  I wish we could pick a moment in our lives and just live there forever.  But sooner than later, as I often write in this blog... my kids will no longer WANT to be on vacation with us.  Let alone be able to...

When I started going to high school... "responsibilities" kicked in.  Sure, they were Cheer and Student Government responsibilities but they were mine and they were important to me.  The family vacations, like the old days, stopped.

So friends, we have a window.  A small window to enjoy the moments that become so very fleeting to us all.  Use it up.  DO things.  Not just resort things.  Go places that don't require a ton of money... camp.  Or glamp.  Pack your own food... but get out there.  Before the window is closed for good.

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