Thursday, March 29, 2012

Traveling with kids - Packing for 4 (5 day trip)

Going to visit family after almost 3 years. I've gone back a few times, but let's face it, once you have kids family doesn't want to see you without them. We have had a few visitors ourselves, but there is nothing like having the whole family together.

The challenge here is that I am no longer packing for just me, nor am I packing teeny-tiny little clothes. I am also not the one dressing them anymore, so we need to organize in such a way that we can compactly fit everything in as few bags as possible so it reduces chaos in a traveling environment.

Enter grey hair reducer NUMERO UNO!!! - Everything has a place, and everyone has their own color.

Image from
Image from

Image from
Image from

I have had these wonderful bags for almost 4 years, and only until lately (with older kids) have they proven their usefulness. Mom has red bags, Dad has orange (I promisse, they are not yellow, but yellow is available), Daughter has pink (could not be any other way), and Son has green.

There are 3 bags for each, in different shapes, and they help the packing process. The Big bag fits most tops and bottoms, the Medium bag fits a couple of pairs of kids shoes and pjs, and the Small one fits undies. Mom and Dad's clothes and shoes are bigger, so shoes go in separately. I have yet to buy shoe bags, but they are on my wish list.

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I also have something similar to this toiletry bag. It actually goes in my luggage relatively empty since most of my toiletries need to go into a plastic zip bag to go through security, but once at my final destination it is pretty handy to keep everything organized inside the bathroom. It comes in handy much more so on road trips when I can skip the plastic bag.

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These bags aid in using one piece of luggage to fit more than one person's belongings without much fuss. No more "Mooooommmmmm, where are my sooooocckkkkkssss!!!!!", because they know they should be in their small bag. OK, who am I kidding? I'll still get some of those, but at least this way I can tell them exactly where to look.

Enter grey hair reducer NUMERO DOS!!! - How to get around the 1 carry-on limit!!! - 1 carry on and 1 purse/backpack

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I have each one off us carry a compact backpack. Mine is a Nike backpack that can fit my laptop, my wallet (I don't travel with a purse), a few travel necessities, like a hair brush, a mirror, and tissues/napkins, and easy access to that uncomfortable toiletry bag you have to scan. I also can fit here my makeup, those shoes I mentioned didn't fit, and maybe a pair of hot styling tools. My husband and kids carry other things, like their on-flight toys (iPad, iTouches, wireless headphones, wired headphones for in-flight movies, some crayons and coloring paper, etc.).

We are master nomads, but if we ever happen to forget anything we don't fret. You can buy anything you forgot at a local store. So now, to relax and enjoy some time with family.

What traveling tips do you have?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tooth fairy and the like

Who among us has not heard of the childhood tradition of placing your fallen baby teeth under your pillow to wake up and find money the tooth fairy left behind in exchange for your tooth? Where I am from, it wasn't a fairy but a tiny mouse, but the steps where the same.

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As I was telling some colleagues about the eminent visit as the tooth had been hanging for weeks now, one of them told me a story of how his family also has traditions of leprechauns visiting on St. Patrik's Day. This led to an even funnier story of his kid loosing a tooth that day and how she woke up the next morning to a note saying "I took the money the tooth fairy left you and hid it elsewhere in the house", because leprechauns like money, right?! Leprechauns leave behind green milk, green juice, and all sorts of mischief, or so I've been told. Kids are encouraged to set up all sorts of traps for them.

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In any case, I had no idea some people expect visits from leprechauns, which led me to think, what other childhood visitors do families out there celebrate? I know the Easter Bunny, Santa, and as I already mentioned, the Tooth Fairy.

For Santa

Some have the Three Wise Men/Three Kings visit on January 6th. Some people have a visit from Cupid on February 14th. What else is out there, and what fun ways do they let you know they have come by?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Birthday Party for an 8 year old girl - Rocker theme

Throwing a party for an 8 year old tween is no small feat. Tweens can have pretty high expectations and they definitely want some say in the planning. My girls is not the exception. She changed her mind so much about what she wanted, from ballerina to princess to fairies, that I decided to pause the planning until we were closer to the date. Good thing, because she ended up picking rocker girl. Thus the invites we made at home.

So we went on with the theme and picked cupcakes that would look like microphones to hand out at school (we always take a treat to her class at school). it was supposed to look more polished, like the picture in a recipe book we have at home, but they didn't end up looking as nice and yet they were a big hit with her class mates and some school mates from other classes came running to try and get one (some did since I made a few extra).

Picture from What's New Cupcake?

Not so bad, but not so polished.

Then we went on to buying more rock themed goodies, like getting a piñata in the shape of a rock guitar and some inflatable guitars for the party favors.

Then we moved on to more important stuff, like what to wear!!! Yes, a tween already wants to plan what to wear to her 8th year birthday shindig. This included a hot pink tutu and some colorful hair extensions for the Rock STAR.


For goodie bags I figured I'd forgo the plastic bags and I would use the brown paper bags I use for my kid's lunches when they go on field trips (a generic brand from our local grocery store).

I printed the same images I used for our party invitations, and glued them to the brown bags, added some colorful "Rock On" etc, and we had our finished product.

For the cake, I was fortunate enough to have my daughter's godmother offer to make it for us.

Rock Star Cake

We did have to change the venue because we planned for a park and it was forecast to rain (which rain it DID). I stressed out over the prospect, but in the end a local restaurant we frequent was kind enough to make room for us, and we used their kids' meal menu. Because of that we had kids' activity mats and crayons provided by the restaurant. We also could not break the piñata but it made for a cool prop. 

One of many pictures taken at the party.

Birthday Girl with her little brother.

She and her friends had a blast.  

Would your little girl like a rock-star themed party?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm seeing STRIPES

I'm seeing STRIPES

I'm seeing STRIPES by soperf featuring stripes

Yigal Azrouël striped dress
$995 -

Kate Spade shirt dress
$222 -

Dolce Vita striped maxi dress
$319 -

Dolce Vita striped maxi dress
$110 -

$40 -

Kate Spade striped dress shirt
$147 -

Milly striped cardigan
$295 -

Enza Costa long sweater
$176 -

Kate Spade silk top
$248 -

J Crew turtleneck sweater
$245 -

Marc by Marc Jacobs long top
$128 -

J Crew long sleeve top
$118 -

J Crew cotton blazer
$94 -

Marc by Marc jacob
$142 -

Off Shoulder Stripe Dress
$98 -

Short mini skirt
$76 -

Cotton pencil skirt
$56 -

Bodycon mini skirt
$50 -

Splendid swimwear
$47 -

Wedge high heels
$156 -

J.Crew ballet shoes
$138 -

Soludos flat shoes
$28 -

Rebecca minkoff handbag
$495 -

Kate Spade shoulder handbag
$162 -

Kate Spade wool shawl
$148 -

Kate Spade belt
$98 -

Kate Spade floppy hat
$78 -

Girls' stripe flip-flops
$15 -

Juicy Couture Striped Straw Fedora
$58 -

I started noticing the stripes trend more so when I did my laundry and saw how many new items I had recently purchased that had stripes. Not that because I have striped clothing does it mean that it's a trend, but it is indicative of how much variety there is out there. So I took a closer look. Definitely an increase from past seasons, and I'm loving it.

Very casual Friday, with a striped button shirt from Banana Republic (from a few seasons ago), Black
Ultrasoft Cocoon Cardigan Sweater from Target/Mossimo (no longer on-line, only at stores), and Perfect Trouser Pants in Grey Stucco from Gap.

Have you tried using stripes lately?

Rossana G-A

FTC Disclaimer: I am not compensated to write this post.