In honor of Earth month, we’ve got an awesome eco-givewawy today. We’re so thrilled to be featured in the #WCW “Eco Edition” by our friends at Gugu Guru! In celebration of Earth Month, L. Avenue along with Shop Buru, The Chic Series, and Be Pretty are all naming our top eco-friendly products for your baby registry. See what products we picked and enter here to win them all!
Costa Rica, the “pura vida,” pure life, and that it is. Bret and I had the chance to sneak away to Four Seasons Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo for some much needed R&R. I didn’t realize how easy it would be to get from Houston to Costa Rica, a 3 hour flight and a quick cab ride from the airport to the property. This trip is the perfect spot for a long weekend (US direct flights locations listed below), but if I had my kids in tow we would have stayed for a lot longer.
The resort sits atop the Papagayo Peninsula, one of the prettiest pieces of property I’ve seen, with a beach on both sides of the resort. The view from our canopy suite was an awesome mix of terrain, monkeys were actually hanging out in the trees just outside our window, and the ocean. Four Seasons Papagayo is the place to be for eco-adventure–kayaking, repelling, hiking, paddle boarding, surfing, snorkeling, the list goes on. The excursions available through the resort kept the adventure seeker in Bret happy and the incredible spa and chill beach ambiance was perfection for me.
There’s truly something for everyone at Four Seasons Costa Rica, including our kids. The resort operates with kids in mind, from wagons full of beach toys, to stools in each of the restrooms (if you have a toddler you feel me on this perk!) to castle tents in the guest bedrooms, this place is kid heaven. I can’t wait to come back with my entire family later this year.
Costa Rica Travel Guide | Four Seasons Costa Rica at Papagayo
When to go | The best time to visit Costa Rica is from mid-December to April (the dry season)
Direct flights from | Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington D.C., Boston, New York, Newark, Atlanta and Miami
What to do | Right on the Four Seasons property you can golf, spa, paddle board, kayak and more. There so many activities right at your fingertips, you could stay for weeks and no day would look the same. Water sports, fishing, hiking, golf, day trips for surfing in Tamarindo, Costa Rica’s #1 surf camp, or the active volcano at Arenal, ATV rides, repelling, the list goes on.
Where to eat | The restaurants on the resort property were all so fabulous. We had a special chef’s table dinner at Cena Sociale with 7 course tasting including wine pairing. The food and wine were amazing, one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Even cooler, was the experience. Our table was in the actual kitchen directly in front of the serving line, so we got to see the chef’s in action, very exciting!
Stroller friendly | The resort is very hilly, but there are concrete paths that are stroller friendly. The Four Seasons also provides a shuttle service to all guests, so it was easy to get around the resort via golf cart, as well.
There’s a scene in the movie Christmas Vacation where Ellen complains to Clark about his ridiculously high expectations on big events like holidays. Boy can I relate to old Clark Griswold. My family will shake their heads in agreement while reading this post. And I’m pretty sure they’ll remind me for years to come about how I frantically went to great lengths to dismantle our dead Christmas tree in order to put up a new, fresh tree just 5 days before Christmas. Stringing lights with a newborn strapped into the baby bjorn…do not try this at home, folks. I digress here, but have to ask, do any of y’all obsess over this type of stuff too? If not the tree, stressing over getting the right gifts for people, writing thank you’s in time, making sure you sent a Christmas card to your OBGYN because well, she was responsible for a safe birth of your newest family member on the front of the card. Ha!
Seriously, there is so much chaos during the holidays, how do we not all go cray cray? I spent the best part of December worrying about things that are mostly out of my control, like what if a kid is sick for the holidays? There isn’t enough hand sanitizer out there to prevent this fear from coming to fruition sometimes. And the sickness train rolled into town and stopped at our house multiple times this Christmas.
My biggest anxiety was realized when a perfect storm of illness swept through my family a few days before Christmas. As a result our social calendar of festivities with family and friends was shut down. And we were on lock down. But in the end it was still a great Christmas. Maybe the best one yet. How can this be??? Well for starters we were forced to be at home with just us. Our new family of 5. At times I longed for my sisters or a babysitter or someone (anyone!) to just give us a hand while in the trenches. But while we were down there some really magical moments happened.
I guess that’s what you might call the spirit of Christmas. The good stuff. While I was too sick to even text my friends Merry Christmas (sorry guys, can this blog post shout out count?), I was laser focused on my kids on Christmas day. I spent zero time cleaning up anything (the house can wait) even though towards the end of the day the kitchen was starting to remind me of a frat house. I spent zero time trying to get my family dressed to the nines to go to Christmas dinner at our friends house. And as much as I look forward to going to that fun festive party, I honestly didn’t mind frozen pizza and pigs in a blanket with my party of 5. Gathered around the table eating the freezer’s finest, holding Jack while he slept so angel-like, the sweet voices of my little girls, and catching my husband’s eyes and knowing that he got it too. I’ll store this scene in my mind as the best Christmas memory to date. No frills, just us. And then next December when I get all crazy about Christmas being perfect I’ll remember what perfect really is.
We just received our New Year’s cards in the mail from Minted and I love how they turned out! In case you missed my earlier post, you can read more about the design process here. And in case you didn’t get around to sending out a Christmas card this year, there’s still time to put together a festive card celebrating the new year on Minted.com. The process is super easy and the card design options are pretty legit. There are cards with real gold foil, glitter (my fave!) and the letterpress options are gorgeous. Once you upload your photo/photos, there’s this slick feature that let’s you preview a sample card in each design template with that photo. This saved me so much trial and error and I put our New Year’s cards together in less than 20 minutes. I included the feature to print addresses on the envelopes which is also a major time saver. And Minted had my cards to me in less than 3 business days. It doesn’t get much better than an efficient, seamless process for beautiful cards for a mama with not a minute of free time to spare these days.
I’ve never been one to storm the department stores on Black Friday; however, I am a huge advocate for small business Saturday. My bias may come from working for one, Biscuit Home, but I’ve always weighed my shopping experience heavily, thus I tend to prefer beautiful displays, curated products and getting the inside scoop on the people and passion behind small brands. So, here’s my favorite around Houston…
Baanou – The most recent addition to our small business circle of this list, Baanou is located in the new River Oaks District. And I fell for this blue tweed knee-lengh vest as I’ve found Houston winter to by idyllic for vests.
Indulge – Tucked behind beloved Tiny Boxwoods, this small home goods and linen shop has expanded into the cutest French clothing shop. I just got these there and may have to gift these Les Toiles du Soleil bags for all the trips to parties with bottles of wine and to and from the supermarket during the holiday season.
Brooke Feather -This clothing store draws its inspires from the West Coast, but we’re so glad it’s right here in Houston at the River Oaks Shopping Center. Carrying Jerome Dreyfuss bags, Koch clothing, and elegant jewels by Anne Sisteron, you’ll find something for every girl on your list.
Paris Texas – As for the guys, head to the new brick and mortar store for the Paris Texas Apparel. Made popular from their famous Southern tie prints, they’ve expanded into barware and leather goods, ideal for gifting to all the guys in your life.
Cuteheads– One of Lyndsey’s favorite clothing brands for her girls, is making clothing right here in Houston. We’ve collaborated with Cuteheads over the years here and here.
And last but certainly not least, a few of our small business favorites from around the web….
BURU– We are so lucky to call BURU’s founder, Morgan Hutcheson, a dear friend. She started a shopping destination focused on chic clothing for mamas during pregnancy, breastfeeding and well beyond from the carpool to cocktails. And with 3 kiddos under age 5, Lyndsey’s utilized BURU’s latest and greatest on the reg. Not to mention, Morgan just launched her own clothing line which has been wildly popular since it’s washable, inexpensive and always on trend, I might add. Check out these amazing holiday outfits, all under $200!
Mignonne Gavigan– Mignonne Gavigan, has been an accessories favorite of ours consistently on L. Avenue over the years. We love Mignonne’s signature scarf necklace (on sale!) and wish we could have one in every color. Statement earrings are also Mignonne’s jam and we’ve rocked this pair a lot lately. Stay tuned because we’re giving a lucky reader this pair during our “7 days if gift-aways” in a few weeks.
Freshly Picked-I’ve loved watching Susan Peterson build the Freshly Picked business into the cult favorite brand it is today. Check out the FP Marketplace on her website which highlights/sells goods from her favorite small businesses too which we love love love— Koko’s Nest, Hazel Village, Sproutling + C0, Madeline’s Box, The Posh Society, Bannor Toys and Covered Goods.
Speaking of shopper experience, there’s nothing quite as seamless as surfing online for all the sales that come on Cyber Monday. The only thing that can get in your way is that big, bad SOLD OUT sign, which is preventable if you prepare in advance on Sunday. Stay tuned for that then. Thanks!
The clock is winding down before this baby will be here. From the get go I was certain this baby would be early. I was deemed “high risk” because my fluid has been low with both prior pregnancies and I had to go on hospital bed rest when I was pregnant with Charlotte. Of course, the second you proclaim your confidence in any future outcome that truly isn’t in your control it goes the opposite of the way you planned. Especially when it comes to life events as unpredictable as pregnancy can be. The only certainty with this pregnancy is that my C-section is scheduled for early November if I don’t run out of fluid (can’t help but laugh when I talk about fluid, makes me feel like a car or something!) or go into labor between now and then.
Odds on the gender…
I’ve also been pretty confident about my gut feeling on this baby’s gender. I’ve been thinking boy from day 1, so it will be pretty hilarious if this baby ends up being a girl. It’s so hard NOT to be confident this baby is a boy. Case in point–everyone I know (except Bret) thinks I’m having a boy. If you hear something enough you can’t help but start to believe it’s true. Further evidence shows that there are girls being born all around our circle of friends and family and zero boys. When gender odds are 50-50 and everyone you know is rolling pink, the dice has to roll blue at some point. So I’m going all in on blue this time around. Which means this baby is for sure going to be a girl now, right?! Either way, I’m super excited, anxious, nervous, happy to be on the verge of bringing a new baby into this world.
When I was 27, single and traveling 24/7 working on a Presidential campaign I didn’t foresee a husband and 3 kids at 35. A LOT has happened in the past 8 years that’s for sure. My Mom always told me my 30’s would be my best years. They have certainly been the most major of years in my life, a husband and almost three kids later. I look back over my 30’s so far and if I can take one thing away for the next 5 it’s to slow the F down and enjoy it all a little bit more. It’s not naturally in my DNA to do this. I didn’t realize it until I was talking to Leighton’s teacher about her personality and her feedback was exactly what I’d seen written on my report cards year over year. In so many words, lighten up! People see a fun, outgoing exterior but at the end of the day, I’m pretty intense and overly focused; Serious about being a good mom and wife to a fault that I dwell on my own shortcomings way too much. And serious about doing things in this word productivity wise—being successful in business, making money, contributing to my church and community. It’s exhausting and it’s time to slow my roll. Say yes to less. Take the time to waste a moment. And while I’m at it, enjoy the moment. Put the phone down. Nothing is that important that it can’t wait a few more minutes. This new mantra might not help my punctuality though. Oh well.
Wow, I really got off on a tangent there guys. I’m sure most of you have already clicked to the next thing on the internet by now so I’m probably just talking to me (and maybe my Grandma who reads this blog religiously). Anyhoo…..here’s to the next 5 years that make up what I will probably look back on as the best years ever.
All coffee talk aside, it wouldn’t be a birthday on L. Avenue without a wish list. Since it’s Friday, I’ll give y’all my Friday 5 ultimate birthday wish list.
I swear I don’t usually intend to match with the girls, but when I realize that we are in fact twinning it makes me smile pretty big. They love it and I realize my days of a. picking out their clothes/shoes and b. the girls thinking it’s cool to match with their Mommy are numbered.
I’ve been on the hunt for silver metallic shoes for a while. I almost bought these pumps last year but passed thinking I wouldn’t wear this metallic enough. Well metallics are hot again this fall and the loafer is king. I’ve been drooling over the Gucci loafers but recently came across this Rebecca Minkoff pair for less. They sold out on Shopbop quickly but are still available here.
This week has been turned upside down. Flooding in Houston has caused schools to be shut down so we’ve been unexpectedly housebound for the past two days. And maybe more given the fact that more rain is en route. Rain days are so strange to me. Being from Ohio where snow days were like Christmas coming early, snow in my experience is way more fun than thunderstorms, right?! I’m really a jerk to even complain about the rain because we are safe and our home is dry. So many Houstonians have lost so much the past few years because of flood damage. I promise I’ve got this whole thing in perspective, but just couldn’t get out of my grumpy mood given the schedule crashing that comes with “school’s closed” emails. After pouting around for most of Monday I knew I had to right the ship so I took the girls out for a bike ride. Acting like I was of age (2 and 4 years old), we raced through puddle after puddle, the two girls squealing at the top of their lungs with excitement. And it felt so good. I mean, it’s the most fun I’ve had in a while and all it took was some high energy puddle jumping. I may have even squealed a little bit too. They’re saying school will likely be closed for the third day in a row. There better be some good puddles out there….
It’s been a while since we’ve done a Mom Love Monday on L. Avenue. I’ve missed blogging about everything Mom-centric! I’ve got a lot of really fun collaborations coming up, so you’ll be seeing this series more often in the near future. Mom Love Monday was one of the very first series I ran on my blog and it’s special to me because being a Mom is such a special, integral part of my life.
I’m really excited to collaborate with another Mom entrepreneur today. Atlanta based designer, English Norman, has been silver-smithing and hand-crafting for over 17 years and her name collection caught my attention. You can personalize her gorgeous bangles with important, names, birthdates, anniversaries, etc. I chose to have a bangle made for each of my girls with a custom inscription of their name and birthdate. The bangles are simple enough for everyday and also look great stacked with my other bangles and bracelets. Jewelry is the one thing I rarely buy for myself. It’s personal and I think means more when it comes as a gift. Most of the staple pieces I wear have been gifts from parents, the hubs, friends and family because they mean that much more to me coming from the ones I love. That’s why this collection is such a great gift idea for your favorite people to commemorate the important events in their lives.