travel

Tiny Travels : Where to Stay in Joshua Tree

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A few weeks ago, my friend, Chrissy Powers, and I took our boys on an adventure out to the desert. Two mamas, four boys, and nothing but dirt, cacti, and Joshua Trees. It was our first time visiting the town of Joshua Tree and it was such a magical trip.

We stayed at The Joshua Tree House, an amazing house that we found through Airbnb. When booking a place to stay on family-friendly vacations, I try to find places that they are not only kid-friendly, but are also impeccably designed, where the decor blends seamlessly into the surrounding environment of the location and you feel as though you have been transported into a completely different space. I not only want an adventure for the kids, but to feel as though we have escaped into a whole new world for a day or two. The Joshua Tree House was all of the above!

The house is located within walking distance of downtown Joshua Tree, but set back on enough land that you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. The decor is just amazing and you can tell that the owners, Sara & Rich, have put thought into every single detail of this home. We basically didn't want to leave the house and didn't venture out as much as we could have because we enjoyed hanging around the house so much. It has a hot tub in the back that we all used after a long day of exploring and a huge front porch where we sat and drank coffee in the mornings while the boys ran up and down the driveway with the dump trucks that we brought collecting rocks and stones and other treasures.

If you have any plans to head to Joshua Tree, make sure to check this out: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/32694

5 Tips to A Successful and Happy Trip to the Beach with Kids

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Photos: Reality & Retrospect (site//instagram)

Bag // Buckets // Shovels

I have been taking the boys to the beach on my own since Gray was one week old. We live right at the beach and spend so much time in the sand and the ocean that I've had a lot of time to figure out what works at the beach with little ones and what doesn't. Dustin works during the week so he isn't able to join us, but the weekdays are our favorite days to go because it's less crowded, there's more parking, and sometimes we even have the entire beach to ourselves. And when I'm on my own, I want our trips to run smoothly so that we can all enjoy the experience without any frustration or stress.

Below are a few things I've learned that help make beach days with kids happy and fun without unnecessary stress...

Pack one bag that can fit everything

When you have kids, you need a lot of things at the beach. But that doesn't mean you have to carry in ten bags - because that's not only impossible, but it automatically starts your beach trip off with unnecessary stress. Lugging ten bags over your shoulder while you walk through the sand and try to keep track of your kids is just not fun. And there's nothing worse than making ten trips back and forth to the car with your little ones in tow who just want to get into the sand and start playing.

We use just one bag, The Beachmate, to carry everything! The Beachmate system is a genius invention for anyone that takes kids to the beach. It is an all-in-one stackable storage system that organizes the whole family's beach essentials in one bag that you can simply carry over your shoulder. Complete with durable buckets, shovels, soft cooler for snacks and water, and plenty of pockets for sunscreen, extra sand toys, wallets, and other essentials. The Beachmate system comes with a collection of stackable buckets that make for pretty epic sandcastles and can even be flipped over and used as lunch or snack trays. The Beachmate system will pretty much change the way you go to the beach with your family - trust me!

Put sunscreen on before you leave the house

There is nothing worse than putting sunscreen on in the sand. Sand inevitably makes it way into the sunscreen as I rub it in on my boy's legs which is not a pleasant feeling and makes them want to avoid sunscreen altogether. Applying sunscreen before we leave the house, or even before we hop out of the car once we have arrived at the beach, saves the trouble of chasing down kids in the sand or accidentally exfoliating their skin.

Wear protective clothing

Holden has particularly fair skin and I really have to be on top of reapplying sunscreen when we are spending the entire afternoon in the sun. However, there are times that we are having so much fun or we've walked down the beach in search of sea treasures that I'm late reapplying. Therefore, to make my (and his) life easier, I always make sure to cover every inch of skin that I can in UV-protective clothing to prevent any sunburns. The boys now wear their wetsuits and sun hats when we go to the beach so that I really only have to worry about reapplying sunscreen on their faces, hands, and feet. Plus little kids in wetsuits are just adorable. And don't forget to clothe yourself in UV-protective clothing as well.

Don't worry about sand

Don't worry about sand because if you do, it will make you crazy! I never understand the people that freak out over sand getting on their towels or blankets when they are at the beach with children. Little ones don't meant to, but they are going to step on your blanket or inside your tent and get sand everywhere. It's pretty much impossible to not get sand into every single nook and cranny when you are at the beach and guess what...that's ok!  It is just part of going to the beach. Let go of that and you'll have an amazing time. Even when Gray was just a week or two old, it wasn't fair to ask Holden to not get sand anywhere near the baby. I mean it really is impossible, especially for little ones. So I accepted that Gray would get sand in his car seat, there might be sand on the blanket where he was lying, or Gray might even sand in his eyes! But you know what, by acknowledging beforehand that was a possibility, I didn't over react when it did happen. And guess what, we all survived a little sand here and there. The Beachmate towels are super lightweight and quick-drying which also means you can't shake out the sand at the beach and leave it there, without dragging it all to the car with you.

Bring lots of snacks and water

All of the running, digging, swimming, and splashing makes for some pretty hungry kids. Pack more than you think you will need because there is nothing worse than getting to the beach to have one of your kids say the words "I'm hungry" and you realize that you don't have any food with you. Also, make sure to keep plenty of water on hand because running around in the sun and sand can make everyone dehydrated.

***And because I want you ALL to have an amazing time with your family at the beach or lake or while you're on vacation, you can now get 10% off your order at Beachmate by using the code MEMORIALDAY. Offer ends after memorial day weekend (Monday at midnight)!!! Don't miss out...trust me...this bag will change everything :)***

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Cuvier Park

LaJollaChrissy_Isobel-PalomaLisaPhotography-277 After Juice Crafters and the tide pools, the boys were ready for a snack when we stumbled upon Cuvier Park. This spot is a hidden gem and if you aren't looking for it, it's quite possible that you would pass right by it. Set down from the road and walkway, this tiny grass area is a private, enclosed grassy spot overlooking the ocean. It is often the site of wedding ceremonies, but we thought it would be the perfect place to set a picnic. Just make sure to watch for the seagulls...they aren't afraid of humans and once they spot food out in the open, they are pretty determined to get a bite. Holden and Waylon did a good job of chasing them away, but I think they did make off with half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before anyone could stop them.

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See the rest of the Tiny Travels : La Jolla series below:

Tiny Travels : La Jolla video

Tiny Travels : La Jolla Itinerary

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Juice Crafters

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Tide Pools

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Cuvier Park

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - The Children's Pool

Tiny Travels : La Jolla - Sunny Jim Cave

NYC in Pictures

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We went to New York at the beginning of this year and we had the best time just wandering and exploring the city together. It was the longest flight we had taken with Holden and he did amazingly.  He slept the entire way on the red eye to NYC and then for half of the flight on the way back home, and when he was awake he was perfectly content to color and read in his seat. We had been slightly nervous about the five hour flight and how he would feel being in a foreign place for a longer period of time, but we all had so much fun that we started planning our next trip as soon as we returned home.

We didn't make any real plans for our stay beforehand and I loved our ability to go somewhere on a whim or last minute recommendation.  There was so much to see in New York and I felt like we were barely able to scratch the surface regardless of nonstop exploring for several days on end and I foresee many more trips to this magical city in the future.

AQUATIC PARK.

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there are so many places to explore in san francisco that you could spend two weeks in the city and still not discover all there that it has to offer.  with holden's cast, it's easiest to spend our hours in places that have a lot to see and so we have been spending our afternoons in various parts of the city to keep him entertained.  on this day last week we decided to spend the late afternoon and evening hours (right after our ice cream adventure) at aquatic park.  we happened to pick a particularly warm day in the city to picnic and draw by the water, the highlight being holden getting to watch a crab climb up and down the wall before jumping with a big splash into the water (it's the little things, right?).  we perused the street vendors, saw some (crazy) swimmers swim back and forth across the bay, watched the trolleys roll up and down the hill (holden refused to actually jump aboard one preferring to watch from a distance instead), and didn't do anything particularly exciting, but it was a completely free and fun evening as a family.  sometimes the best thing about city life is the fact that you can do nothing in particular and yet it can still result in hours of free entertainment.

GOTTA GETAWAY: INTO THE TROPICS.

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for mama:  bathing suit // panama hat // dress // sunnies // bag // sandals

for holden: shirt // visor // trunks // shovel and bucket // shoes

we still have yet to take holden on a proper vacation which seems a little crazy to me since i had already traveled across the globe a handful of times by the time i was his age.  my parents loved to travel and i was a globe trotter starting at the age of 6 months.  with the weather warming up, we have started thinking about a tropical getaway and i'm thinking that dustin's birthday that is coming up in the next couple of weeks would be the perfect opportunity for a little family vacation. now we just have to decide where.