A Pink Birthday Party

Our biggest girl turned three! 

For weeks leading up to her birthday, the only thing she asked us for a pink birthday party – so we delivered 😉 We started the morning with a pink breakfast – strawberry banana smoothies, cinnamon rolls (with pink icing for the birthday girl), fruit, bacon and eggs. Her presents were wrapped in pink paper – one of which was a pink bathing suit to wear to her party at the beach. 

We met friends at the beach and enjoyed each other’s company, pizza and birthday cake. (and the unexpectedly cool weather was very much enjoyed by this heavily pregnant mama)

Simple was the name of the game this year. No Pinterest-worthy crafts were made. I used artificial flowers on our breakfast table. The cinnamon rolls came from a can. We had pizza delivered to the beach. We ordered her cake from Safeway. I brought Lyla with me to Party City to buy her party favors and I let her choose the cheesiest pink & purple leis and plastic birthday crown.

She was happy, we were happy, it was a great day all around. 


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Cake and Ice Cream Party

It’s hard to believe that Lyla is turning two this week. Time is moving way too fast – but you know that. What you might not know is that we celebrated over the weekend.

We kept things simple and invited a bunch of Lyla’s little friends over for some cake and ice cream and then sent them all into a bounce house in the backyard. Basically, we loaded them up with sugar and let them burn it off. It was perfect!

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I picked up the tablecloth, cake stand and Lyla’s cute little leggings from Target. I ordered her balloons from Etsy and my super talented friend, Charron, made the cake topper. I would have liked to make all of the decorations but, really, aintnobodygottimeforthat. I did, however, make some fun ice cream cone garland. #DIYerforlife

It’s so fun to see Lyla building relationships with other children. She has such a sweet group of friends (and their parents rock too). We had a ton of fun and are so thankful for everyone who came to celebrate our two year old with us. 

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Christmas PJ Tradition

Happy Wednesday, folks. The topic of the home for the holidays bloghop today is traditions and I can’t wait to read all about yours, so make sure to add your link below! 

A few years ago, my cousin, Addie, Alex and I decided to start the Christmas PJ tradition for our family. Each year, we all get a new pair of comfy jammies to wear while opening our Christmas presents all day. After presents and breakfast, we head outside to grab a quick shot of the people we are spending our Christmas morning with. 

Christmas 2012 Christmas 2013 Christmas 2014

I love looking back at these photos and seeing how much our family has changed/grown. It’s hard to believe that this year we have another little baby to add to the photo. Who’s going to hold Rocco?! 

I’m currently on the hunt for our PJs for this year and am having a hard time deciding if I want to go with classic matchy-matchy family jammies or something ridiculous. I also really want to find a good deal since we are now shopping for four. Any suggestions?! 


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DIY Thanksgiving Wreath

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HappyThanksGathering #CollectiveBias


I love Thanksgiving. The food, the traditions, the nostalgia – all of it. It’s the perfect kick-off to the busy holiday season and something that I look forward to every year.

Since getting married four years ago, I have been telling my husband that I can’t wait to host Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, between not having a big enough space and our traveling to see other family, I haven’t had my chance yet.

This year, I will be much too pregnant to travel off-island and we have a home large enough to host family and friends so it looks like I’m finally getting my chance!

To say that I am excited is an understatement but I’m trying hard not to go overboard with the planning and preparation.

My main goal when doing any kind of hosting is comfort. No matter how great your kitchen and decorating skills are, your guests will eventually forget what you served them to eat, but they will always remember how you made them feel. That’s why creating an authentically warm, relaxing, and comfortable environment is key.

I feel most at peace in my own home when things are tidied up. I know that my guests will feed off of my energy, so I will be spending some time sprucing up the main living areas of our home before the big day to make sure that I am able to relax.  The last time I was at Walmart, I picked up a few of my clean-house essentials: Scrubbing Bubbles® Toilet Cleaning Gel, Scrubbing Bubbles® Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner and Windex® Original Glass Wipes. (Bonus: there is an awesome rebate going on right now which saves you $5 on your holiday photos)



Cleaning up the house, especially when you have a meal to plan/cook is a big job but with the right cleaning products and some holiday tunes turned up nice and loud it’s a big, fun job.


^My brother kindly demonstrating how easy and fun cleaning the bathroom with the Windex® Original Glass Wipes is. Isn’t he the best?

After the house is clean, and before I get to cooking, I’ll make sure that our house is decorated festively for the occasion with some traditional items and a special Thanksgiving wreath.


We all know to expect the “what are you thankful for” activity at the Thanksgiving dinner table but none of us likes to be put on the spot, right? I know I don’t. I think this is especially true when sitting around the table with strangers or a new group of people. (think your first Thanksgiving with your significant other’s family or maybe a group of your parent’s colleagues) but also applies to those dining with family and loved ones that they see all of the time.

Even though I have SO much to be thankful for, and love spending time reflecting on them, my naturally introverted self sometimes cringes at situations like these. To combat that awkwardness, and to make sure that all of my guests feel comfortable this Thanksgiving, I created this wreath that we will incorporate during dinner time.


The wreath is already hanging above our piano. Underneath, I have a box with pre-cut “thanks” circles and some pieces of leather cord. The idea is that from now until Thanksgiving, anyone who comes into my house can write down what they are thankful for and tie it onto the wreath. Guests who are here only for the day will have their opportunity to write down what they are thankful for while they are mingling and waiting for our meal.


During dinner, I will remove all of the circles from the wreath, divide them equally amongst our guests and we will take turns reading off what we are all thankful for. Of course, anybody can share more if they are so inclined but I believe that by having this anonymous way of sharing what we are thankful for will ensure that all of my guests feel comfortable, welcomed and pressure-free.

Sounds great, right? If you want to make a Thanksgiving wreath of your own, please feel free to download this free printable which gives you twelve “thanks” circles per page. Once you have the circles printed and cut out, punch a single hole into the top of the circle, cut some string and lay those items out with some pens.

I have so much to be thankful for this year – our wreath is going to be pretty full by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. I’m looking forward to it! That and, of course, the food. You can find more #HappyThanksgathering inspiration here. 


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Our Eighteen Month Old

Eighteen months. A full year and a half.

Where has the time gone?


I know we’ve said it at every stage that you have gone through, but this stage is definitely our favorite.

You are learning and growing so much every day. It truly is amazing to watch. 

You love shoes. Definitely not a trait you picked up from me or daddy. You climb into my lap with a different pair at least 5 times a day and have me switch them for you. You always end up losing one which has earned you the nickname “one shoe zalinsky”. 

You love to eat. Nobody can sneak a bite of anything in the house without you finding out and asking for some (in the sweetest voice ever I might add). I’m not sure if you really have a favorite right now, you are pretty good at trying everything.


Your vocabulary is growing everyday and I love listening to what you have to say. You can say “uh oh” “please” “dada” “mama” “bocko” “all done” “bocha” “hi” “bye” “uncle” and count down from 3. You know the noises for cats, dogs, monkeys, owls and sheep. I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting – I’ll have to start writing them down. 

Ninety-eight percent of the time you are totally fearless. You are a climber and a problem solver. No playground slide is too big for our bean. You don’t just sit and scoot yourself down the slide either. You make a literal run for it and plop down with a giant smile and a happy laugh. I’m equal parts terrified and proud on a daily basis at the things you are doing. 

You love dogs. Bocko (aka Rocco) is your favorite playmate. He is so patient with you. One of your favorite things to do is chase him around (and around…and around…and around) the house with your toy lawn mower. Poor guy. You are in little Lyla heaven every time we go to the dog park. Even if most of the dogs are bigger than you. 


You also love to go to the beach. Just like your daddy, the waves call to you and you are so anxious to answer them. We have no doubt that you will be out on a board in no time at all. Just as soon as we get you in some swimming lessons. 

You love to play in the dirt and sand, color all over yourself and don’t mind having food ALL over your face, but, the second that you have a piece of hair or fuzz stuck to your hand you run to the nearest person to get it off immediately. 

You are a dancer. No matter where we are, when you hear the music you can’t help but shake your groove thang. You already have better rhythm than mama, but that doesn’t stop me from having dance parties with you. One day, I’m sure this will be the most embarrassing thing ever but right now you love it (and so do I). 


I am already so proud of the person you are becoming. You are strong-willed, sweet, and musical. You have a soft heart and a joyous soul. I constantly find myself just stepping back to watch you. I am so blessed to be your mama. 


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