Monday, November 10, 2014

Yellowstone in August

Road trip to Yellowstone

Our last summer trip of the year was a family trip with the Sabins and Andrew's parents to Yellowstone National Park, but you'd never know it was an August trip from the pictures. We were prepared for cold weather, but it definitely dipped lower than we expected which prompted all of us to purchase extra gear to keep us warm on our all day outings. We were also extremely happy that we opted for cabins rather than tents. Andrew's dad warned us that camping there most of the year was pretty miserable so we booked our cabins well ahead of time in the Old Faithful area. It was a cozy cabin with room for two single beds, a nightstand, a desk and chair, a sink, and that's about it. Even though it was pretty tiny for our family of four, we were grateful for the heating at night.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Visiting Huntington Beach

Waiting for more waves to come

One of the more memorable and best days of our crazy California vacation was our day at Huntington Beach. After checking into our hotel, we decided to go do some sightseeing since this was one of our only free days with no prior plans already made. Andrew was pretty set on going to the beach, so he basically set himself to drive west until we hit the ocean. It would have worked well enough if California's roads were on a grid system like we're used to. Since it isn't, we ultimately turned to Google to search for a beach and found Huntington Beach not too far from where we had driven to.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rockport State Park: Sun, Water, and Sand

The beach and reservoir only minutes away from our campsite

This year hasn't been as jam packed with camping trips as last year, but we still managed to squeeze in one more tent camping trip with the Rowleys and Sabins in between everything else we had going on during the summer. This time, we went to Rockport State Park which is about 30 minutes northeast of Park City, Utah. Our campsites were at Cedar Point which gave us direct access to a semi-private beach which was perfect for the kids to dig in the sand and play in the water all day long.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Easy Decor: A Fabric Garland For Any Occasion

An easy project suitable for any space

I originally made this fabric garland to use with my IsaJay display, but I will definitely be making more for different spaces and occasions. I'm already envisioning a Halloween one and one for Isabelle's room. This is a great DIY because there really is no wrong way of doing it and you can easily customize it to fit the look you want. This is also an excellent fabric stash buster because you can use any leftover fabric you have laying around. Coincidentally, the knot used here is the exact same knot I use to make tutus which means this tutorial could easily translate to making tulle tutus or fabric rag tutus. Both of which are extremely easy to make and the only real difference is that you would use elastic or ribbon instead of string for the waistband.

Monday, September 29, 2014

DIY Hand Lettered Chalkboard Pegboard Display

My latest IsaJay display

To satisfy my need to make things, I have a craft business on the side, called IsaJay, where I make and sell headbands, bows, etc. I started it in the summer of 2010 and I initially sold online before I tried my hand at the local craft shows. From the beginning, I've always stressed out about my displays. Everyone here seems to have the cutest displays so I'm always on the lookout for the best ways to display my products. For my last show, I decided to go for a complete revamp with a hand lettered chalkboard pegboard and a fabric garland. Both were easy to complete and I loved the end result. Here you can find how I made my pegboard. The fabric garland tutorial is HERE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Disneyland 2014: Our Family Vacation

Storybook Land Canal

We've been really into road trips lately because they're so much more economical than flying for a family of four. Andrew and I usually don't mind driving the long distances, but this trip may have exceeded our driving limits. Racking up roughly 1500 miles from Utah to California, making several stops along the way, and staying in a total of 4 different hotels, we were pretty much done with all the driving by the time we were on our way home.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Minnie Mouse Inspired Dress Tutorial

If you didn't already know, I love, love, LOVE planning for trips. My mind is never too far from planning our next getaway which may account for all the trips we go on. Not only do I enjoy the process of pinning down logistics, I also love planning outfits accordingly. For this year's Disneyland trip, I decided to make a dress for Isabelle. With Minnie Mouse in mind, my goal was to make something with lots of ruffle in the back and this is what I came up with. Keep in mind that this tutorial is going to be more about eyeballing things rather than a detailed tutorial. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Disneyland 2014: Preparations and Must-Haves

it's a small world is a family favorite

Andrew and I took the kids to Disneyland for the first time in 2010. Isabelle was only a baby at the time and Jadon was scared of most rides, so we spent a lot of time just wandering around and taking in the atmosphere. We were there for a few days, stayed in a Disneyland hotel, and only left Disney property once for dinner. The next year, we headed to Disney World for a full week. We've been dreaming of another Disney vacation ever since. Since we were already making plans to take the kids to San Diego Comic-Con, we decided to throw Disneyland in as well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Disney Pin Trading Lanyard Tutorial

Disney pin trading is something we learned about after our first family trips to Disneyland and Disney World and I really wanted to try it out with our most recent trip to Disneyland. For pin trading, you can buy individual pins or you can buy the starter sets from Disney that include a lanyard and several pins. Since we were on a budget and we had a lot of time to plan, we ended up buying authentic pins off of Ebay (there are a lot of fake pins out there which I wouldn't recommend buying) and making our own lanyards which ended up being really easy and a whole lot cheaper. Each lanyard was roughly $1 each.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

LA for a Day: Visiting the Getty Center

The entrance to the Getty Center

In addition to going to San Diego for Comic-Con, we planned extra days in California so that we could really take advantage of our time there. We had one full free day while staying in Anaheim so we decided to venture to Los Angeles and visit the Getty Center. My uncle highly recommended it, telling us it was a museum on a hill. It sounded like a pretty place and we didn't have anything else we really wanted to do so we decided to go there.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Day in La Jolla, California

We stumbled upon this highly rated restaurant, Cody's La Jolla, on the cutest street on our way to La Jolla Cove

We had originally planned on only taking the kids to San Diego Comic-Con on Sunday and that I would go on Saturday while Andrew took the kids to the zoo. Plans completely changed though and we ended up at Comic-Con on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. (When the kids overheard plans for the zoo, they were both adamantly against going.) On Friday, however, we had a completely lazy morning before meeting up with one of my oldest and best friend, Fareine, for lunch and hanging out at La Jolla Cove.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Plenty to See, Do, and Buy

Hanging out around the convention center and the Gaslamp District

One of my favorite parts of SDCC is the atmosphere. Not only is the weather nearly perfect all day long, there are tons of things you can do to occupy your time. Even without a badge, you'll find that there are free activities galore if you don't mind waiting in line. People watching and just soaking in the craziness in the Gaslamp District is also fun. We didn't hang out outside the panels as much as we have in the past, but we were still able to fit in a lot of great activities and come home with lots of goodies.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

San Diego Comic-Con 2014: An Evening with DC Television

A view of Hall H from the back of the room with Stephen Amell hosting the night's festivities

Something new to this year's scheduling took place on Saturday night in Hall H, which competed with Ballroom 20's annual Masquerade Ball. Since we aren't fans of the Masquerade Ball (one year was more than enough for us), this was an easy choice for us. With Warner Bros. Television and DC Entertainment putting together a full night of pilots from Gotham and The Flash, I was sold. These two shows are among my list of shows to check out so I couldn't wait to screen the pilots before they premier in the fall.

Monday, August 4, 2014

San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Thursday in Hall H

Craig Ferguson welcomes us to Hall H where he moderated the Dreamworks panel "spontaneously" with cue cards

For us, the best day of panels was probably Thursday. We weren't planning on being there the whole day and only purchased that day so we could pick up our badges before the weekend, but the panel schedule changed our minds. More specifically, finding out that Craig Ferguson was moderating the first panel changed my mind and Andrew accommodated that by getting us all in line by 8 am. (I have always been a fan of Craig Ferguson, but I became more infatuated with him after reading his autobiography American On Purpose. If you're a fan of his, I would recommend reading it. I found it pretty inspiring.)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

San Diego Comic-Con 2014: Surviving It With Kids

If you didn't notice already, I'm kind of obsessed with Comic-Con and practically live for SDCC each year. This was our third year attending and our first year taking the kids. I'll be posting more about what we did this year at SDCC, but this post is about how it was with kids. Keep in mind that everything I post about SDCC this year was with kids in tow because we never used their onsite child care.

In line for Hall H

Because kids 12 and under are free with paying adults, you really don't need to decide if you're taking the kids until you pick up your badge. In the past, we have gone back and forth on whether or not to bring them, but this year we decided to turn it into a family vacation. With Sunday being a kids day, Comic-Con isn't that bad of a place for kids especially if your kids are into superheroes, video games, or cartoons. Even if you don't have a badge and just want to take your kids to San Diego during Comic-Con, there are tons of fun things to see and lots to do off-site that is free. Our original plan was to take the kids to Comic-Con on Sunday and then I would go alone on Saturday while Andrew took the kids around San Diego. Instead, we ended up taking the kids to Comic-Con for 3 days and doing almost nothing else outside the Con, which didn't bother the kids very much.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2014: Andrew's POV

Comic Con has always been a mixed bag for me. I enjoy the company and seeing the fanboys and fangirls I know shed any sense of proprietary as a favorite star walks onto the stage. I do not enjoy the crowded hallways and the difficulty of satisfying mandatory bodily requirements -- bladder fullness = 1/time to next panel.

With Simone not going on Saturday, I almost decided not to go. Once FanX announced Patrick Stewart, I felt a strange giddiness that could only mean that I too was a fanboy. With the fanboy tractor beam on, I put on the cleanest nerdy t-shirt I could find and put the 10th doctor's sonic in my pocket in case of car troubles and headed out.

I had only two goals: see Patrick Stewart and get an autograph from Karen Gillan for Simone. Unfortunately, Comic Con is a cruel mistress, and I would only get to do one of these things. Before that epic reveal, let's take a brief detour to the Evermore booth. Evermore is the world's first adventure park built in our very own Utah and as the name implies it is designed to have ever-more things to do.

Evermore has a Victorian England theme

There are no rides at this park, instead visitors are plunged into an English village fully stocked with actors that are pretending to go about their daily affairs and are quite surprised to find such oddly dressed visitors in their mist. Depending on the season, the park carries an additional theme -- in the fall the village has a cursed item that is causing appropriately ghoulish on-goings. I applaud the vision of the park, and I only hope the execution delivers on the immersive experience that is being promised.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Camping and Caching

Wasatch Mountain State Park

We escaped to Midway again this summer for a weekend camping trip. This time we went to Wasatch Mountain State Park for the first time. We've been up to Midway many times before, but we had idea there was a state park up there. This trip was actually one of the more memorable camping trips we've been on because it was surprisingly full of great family activities. The visitor center had some educational exhibits inside and outside featured a playground and children's fishing pond. We didn't research this place before heading out so we weren't prepared to fish, but they did have rods to rent and the kids loved playing at the playground after having a picnic lunch.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Easy Petticoat Tutorial

I have don't know about you, but I have a thing for anything poofy. The era of voluminous circle skirts may be over, but my longing for a petticoat was finally justified with one of my recent costumes. I needed to come up with a petticoat (or pettiskirt for another term) to wear under a costume to give the skirt more oomph. I looked on Ebay for some options, but the cheapskate in me really didn't want to spend more than $10 and I really didn't want to wait weeks for it. So I turned to Google and found some inspiration (and courage) to finally make my own. I used the knowledge I learned from HERE, HERE, and HERE to come up with my own version with the materials I had on hand. Mine is in no way as polished as any of the above, but it was my first go and I really just wanted something to poof up my skirt. Since it wasn't going to be visible anyway, I just decided to do the bare minimum and I'm happy with how it turned out. This would be perfect for anyone who wants a quick and easy way to add a bit of volume to their outfit without spending a fortune.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2014

Because the first Salt Lake Comic Con was such a success in the fall of last year, they decided to put on another event this spring called FanXperience on April 17-19. The lineup was pretty spectacular when they first announced it and it just kept getting better and better. I was blown away by all the big names that came to Salt Lake for this event. Among the many celebs, I was most excited for Karen Gillan (I literally screamed when I saw the announcement), Nathan Fillion, Adam Baldwin, and James Marsters. Andrew grew up watching Star Trek, so he was pretty excited for all the Star Trek: TNG cast members as well as Sir Patrick Stewart himself.

The TARDIS is a huge draw and a must with my costume.

Since I basically plan my life around Comic Con events, I was pretty sad when I had previous commitments that hindered my plans to attend the 3 day weekend of FanX. In the end, I had to prioritize and I was only able to attend Thursday. Even though I missed out on seeing most of my must-see actors, I was able to catch a couple of panels including the Boondock Saints reunion panel with Sean Patrick Flanery and the James Marsters panel. As with last year's Comic Con, the panels were very low-key comprising mostly of Q&A from the audience.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gaming in Bear Lake

The panoramic view from the condo

We recently had another gaming weekend up at Bear Lake with the Rowleys and Bresees. Even though we were having bouts of warm weather, the weather didn't cooperate as much as we would have liked when we went there. We even had to drive through a blizzard part of the way which was not what we expected.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Snowshoeing Adventure

Andrew and I went to Eden, UT again this year with our friends for a couple nights of relaxation and gaming. Last year, we went snowboarding at Powder Mountain which I absolutely loved, but this year we decided to take it easy instead. We didn't originally plan on any snowshoeing but we felt up to it that day so we decided to give it a try. With all the winter activities around here, neither of us had been before so it was going to be a nice adventure. 

Ogden Nordic center and the views.

We rented snowshoes at a local store where they pointed us to the Ogden Nordic center. There was a small fee to go here versus free trails by the ski resorts. We opted to go here because we were sold when we learned that they serve hot cocoa afterward. We also found out they also rent snowshoes here for a decent price too so next time we could just rent here to save us some trouble. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Regency Romance Ball 2014

We returned to the Regency Romance Ball this year for the second time. Last year, we heard about it through our friend Rowley while I was going through a huge Jane Austen kick which was extremely convenient. It's put on each year around Valentine's day so it's also easy to convince Andrew to go as part of our Valentine's day activity. It also helps that Andrew loves history and it was a great excuse for him to dress the part.

We should dress like this everyday

Last year, I made my dress and Andrew rented a costume. This year, I decided to make him his costume and Andrew took full advantage of that by being incredibly picky with everything. It was a big endeavor for me since his tailcoat was the most complicated piece of clothing I've ever attempted, but we were both happy with how it turned out. In the end, I was able to complete his tailcoat, waistcoat, undershirt, and cravat. Because his outfit was mostly regency era appropriate, his modern day khaki pants didn't quite fit the bill in terms of its waist level, but Andrew didn't mind luckily.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gone (Ice) Fishin'

Our ice fishing group.

We went ice fishing for the first time ever with Andrew's family this month. It was an idea that was floating around and Andrew's dad put it into motion. I didn't know much about ice fishing except that you fish through a hole in the ice on top of a frozen lake, but after going this one time, I feel like it is a lot easier of a hobby that I originally thought. Andrew's dad rented the ice fishing shelter which no one seemed to use much. The shelter is only really big enough for you to step inside to warm up a bit before going back to your fishing hole. Next time around, we could easily skip this if we were only going for a couple hours.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Weekend in Great Basin Nat'l Park

An old building we found along the way

Last year, another of our road trip excursions included a trip to Great Basin National Park in Nevada. It was a few hours away and we had the opportunity to take some roads that we don't normally travel on which provided an interesting drive even though we discovered that there was absolutely no food options for hours. (We ended up backtracking to civilization to grab one last fast food meal before heading off into the unknown.) Because we've never visited before, we were unsure how secluded it would be, but we did discover that the visitor center at Great Basin has a great cafĂ© with great food and ice cream options which we took advantage of.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

DIY Minecraft Birthday Party

Jadon has been obsessed with Minecraft ever since he discovered it so it wasn't surprising when he decided that he wanted to have a Minecraft-themed party. With a couple weeks to plan everything, this was the first time I found Pinterest to be really useful. I spent a day browsing online and pinned a ton of different great Minecraft ideas on THIS BOARD. Since this was going to be hosted at home, we were able to really "splurge" and go all out in with the theme while keeping it pretty inexpensive compared to past birthday parties.

First things first, we sent out invitations using these FREE TEMPLATES I found online. I downloaded free fonts (Minecraftia and Minecrafter) to use on all the paper goods for the party so I was able to print and send these invites with the recognizable pixelated fonts. I also had some lime green envelopes on hand for the invites which looked great. I also ended up using the free printable tented food cards to print my own food items.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sundance 2014: The Double and The Signal

The Double

For the past few years, Andrew and I have attended the Sundance Film Festival through the kindness of the the Sabins (who go through the ticket buying process which can be very tricky) and this year was no different. Every year, we look through all the selections and we make up our own lists before comparing lists and narrowing down the options. After all that, we rank them and give our list to the Sabins with fingers crossed. When we heard what films we got, we were completely surprised to get our first choice: The Double.