Category: Angel’s Life

Happy Wednesday, everyone!  How has your week been?  I have had a great one so far (including a sweet family Valentine’s Day celebration yesterday).  Today I’m back with part 2 of our Disney World vacation recap!

Part 1 can be found HERE.

Day 5: Since we were at WDW for 8 days, we chose to take one day “off” and spend it exploring other resorts (for future visits).  After a luxuriously slow morning, we headed to the Polynesian Resort for lunch at Kona Cafe.  The food was great and the property is stunning; we would love to stay there in the future!  Olive jumped into some impromptu hula lessons in the lobby and it was too cute for words.  We took the monorail to the Grand Floridian next door, and it was as beautiful as you’d expect.  I’d compare it to any Ritz Carlton-type property.  It’s more the type of place my parents would stay 😉 but lovely nonetheless.  I wouldn’t choose it for a family vacation.  Our last two hotel visits were Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts.  They are punchy, quirky and brightly colored — the most “Disney-esque” of their resorts.  I personally wouldn’t choose to stay at either resort, but they are very popular with families due to the cartoon-y themes and larger than life décor.

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Disney Springs, which is the revamped area formerly known as Downtown Disney.  It’s like a huge outdoor shopping mall, with the world’s largest Disney store as its anchor.  There are tons of great restaurants there and we left wishing we had a bit more time to explore.  We took a boat from Disney Springs to the Wilderness Lodge, which is the gorgeous property we stayed at in 2005.  It is modeled after the lodges of the great national parks (it was inspired by the Awahnee Lodge in Yosemite) and is definitely worth a visit.  We had dinner at the Whispering Canyon Café, a bustling BBQ-style restaurant with spunky waitstaff and horse races for the kiddos, among other amusements.  It was good but actually not as good as we had remembered from our last visit.  We went back to our hotel exhausted after a very long day.

Day 6: We kicked off day 6 at Hollywood Studios and some character visits, including Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and Mickey, of course.  For lunch we popped over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge (the stunning resort adjacent to the Animal Kingdom Park) and dined at Sanaa.  I highly recommend it for the Indian and African inspired cuisine.  The bread service with various chutneys was amazing!  We wrapped our day at the Animal Kingdom park, but a storm rolled in quickly that afternoon.  By the time we left, the park seemed deserted!  We had ordered ponchos to wear for the random downpours.  Though we considered going to the Magic Kingdom, most of the rides had been closed due to lightning strikes nearby.  So, we headed back to the hotel to hop in the jacuzzi.  People probably thought we were crazy getting into the jacuzzi in the rain, but it was one of the most memorable nights of our trip.  🙂

soggy sleepy bus ride at the end of the night 🙂

Day 7: Monday was Erik’s birthday!  We kicked off the  morning at Epcot with some “school bread” at the Kringla bakery in Epcot Norway.  Our goal was to finish visiting all of the countries in the world showcase, and we did!  We also visited with Mickey and Minnie, and I thought Noah might faint with excitement.  😉  Olive developed a hilarious habit of posing with souvenirs we wouldn’t buy for her (telling me that maybe I could see the picture later and get it for her birthday, ha! Smart girl!).  We spent the afternoon and evening at the Magic Kingdom, wrapping up the day with our favorite WDW fireworks show: Wishes.

Day 8: Our final day in WDW was short and sweet.  We had a flight to catch at dinner time, so we knew we’d be leaving the resort around 4 p.m.-ish.  We made the most of our last day and stayed at the Magic Kingdom.  We tried to eat all the yummy last minute food (Dole Whip and maple popcorn!), visit some final characters (including Rapunzel and Princess Tiana), and do the things you usually skip when you’re in a hurry (e.g. Tom Sawyer’s Island, The Tiki Room and Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse).  We also got to squeeze in Olive’s favorite rides: Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain and the Tomorrowland Speedway.

this says it all, doesn’t it??  🙂

It was an incredible trip and I loved re-living it in preparing these posts.  My next entry will be a little guide to visiting WDW, especially with children.  Let me know if you have any specific questions or topics you’d like me to address and I’ll do my best.  🙂

As always, thanks for dropping by!

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I love all things Disney.  I grew up in Anaheim, California, home of the original Disneyland.  I’ve visited our California parks more times than I could count.  My parents took me to Disney World as an infant, but my first ‘real’ trip to Disney mecca was in 2005.  I traveled there with Erik and two of our other couple friends as a college graduation trip.  None of us were married at the time (!) so we stayed with the girls in one room and boys in another.  Over the course of a week, I fell even deeper down the Disney rabbit hole and knew it wouldn’t be long before I had to return.

Erik and I went back to Disney World in 2008 and you can see a little recap on the blog here.  This is one of my favorite things about blogging: that you can look back on memories with a click!

This time around, Erik and I had our two kiddos in tow and it was a whole different ball game.  😉  We knew that going to Disney World with kids would change the dynamic of our vacation style.  We are both very active travelers and like to be up and out all day long, going at 100% and squeezing out every bit of our vacation.  So, we tempered our expectations and planned for a memorable time for our family, albeit at a slower pace.  We were thrilled to find out that our kids seem to have inherited our crazy traveler genes, so we ultimately were able to do everything we had hoped.

We spent 8 days and 7 nights at Disney World and I’ll try my best to recap our trip over two posts.  I’ll likely add a third post to recap some general travel tips and notes for those hoping to plan a trip to “the world” with kiddos.  For now, let’s jump into the whirlwind review with lots of photos.  😉

Day 1: We landed in Orlando at sunrise, gathered our luggage and boarded Disney’s Magical Express (their resort bus system) to our hotel.  We opted to stay at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort this time around and we LOVED it.  More on the resort in a future post.  😉  We left our luggage with the concierge and headed straight to our first park: Hollywood Studios.  Highlights there on Day 1 included meeting Moana (Olive’s very favorite right now), having lunch at the Sci Fi Drive-In, and going on Toy Story Mania.  Erik and I are super competitive at this game and we’re both really good at it, if I say so myself.  😉  We crashed early that night to get set for another jam-packed day!

Day 2: We were up bright and early to head to Epcot: my favorite park!  Our highlights in the first half of day 2 were lunch at the San Angel Inn in Epcot Mexico (where you dine under a faux-starry sky inside a Mayan temple) and going on Living with the Land.  This slow-moving boat ride discusses various farming practices and sustainable living, and is oddly my favorite ride at Epcot.  I guess I love an educational ride!  We moved to the Magic Kingdom (which is like the original Disneyland park) in the afternoon, where we were able to try a citrus swirl: frozen yogurt swirled with an orange flavored soft-ice.  It’s a WDW-exclusive treat akin to a Dole Whip but don’t worry… we still made sure to get some fabled pineapple Dole Whip later.  😉  We hopped on Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight and the Jungle Cruise, among other rides that evening.

Day 3: On this day we headed to the Animal Kingdom park: an incredible park that is half amusement park, half zoo.  It feels a lot like the San Diego Wild Animal Park, if you’re from California.  The entire park is lushly landscaped and there are no cages — just carefully constructed natural barriers.  I love wandering around this park and especially enjoy the educational aspects they’ve built in for children.  Kiddos can grab a Wilderness Explorer guide (a la “Up”) and earn badges (stickers) for stopping to chat with a docent at each exhibit.  Ollie loved this part of the park and I loved watching her run after all the guides!  😉  In the evening, we returned to Epcot and had an incredible dinner at the Biergarten in Epcot Germany.  I highly, highly recommend for wonderful food and AMAZING live entertainment (oompah band).  The restaurant looks like you’re dining outside in the heart of a German village and it was magical from start to finish.  I maaaaybe teared up when they played “These Are a Few of My Favorite Things” on the handbells.  😉

Day 4: We began the day at the Magic Kingdom and had major luck (or shall we say, a stroke of fairy dust??) scoring a last minute table for lunch at Be Our Guest (aka Beast’s Castle).  The reservations for this restaurant are usually gone 6 months out from your trip, but we got the very last walk-in table by RUNNING there when they opened.  Olive was entranced.  We also met Ariel (who was hilarious and so great in character) and went on tons of rides.  For the sake of brevity, I’m not listing our “touring plans” in these posts.  Rest assured that we are pretty intense Disney people (ha!) and do not waste any time with our running around the parks.  Noah also got his inaugural pair of “ears” on this day, and I tried to make him wear them as much as possible.  🙂  We ended the day at Hollywood Studios.  One of my fav pictures from this day is the selfie of us on the bus.  Noah is sucking his thumb (signaling he’s ready for bed) and we all look wilted, but it’s such a real portrait of what a WDW vacation with kids is like!

Whew!  Much more to come in Part 2!

Any other fellow Disney-lovers out there?  Have you ever been to Disneyland or Disney World?

Have a wonderful Thursday; see you again soon!

Happy Monday, everyone!!  It feels SO good to be back on the blog.  It has been months since my last post, but it has been even longer since I blogged regularly.  Truly, I have missed it.  I’ve blogged in some form since college (2001-ish), back when I used Xanga (who remembers that??).  My content evolved over the years, but one thing remained: my love of writing.  I really enjoy having a place to share my memories and thoughts (like a virtual scrapbook of sorts, since I’m 7+ years behind on my physical scrapbook! ha!), as well as another venue to connect more deeply with all of you.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know I use this blog to chronicle my life as a whole.  You’ll find posts on family, lifestyle, food and weddings (work).  I enjoy sharing a little bit of everything, but please let me know if there’s anything in particular that you love seeing here!

me and my two year old!

Things may be random as I play a little catch-up here and get back into the groove.  Coming soon to the blog:

  • a recap of our Disneyworld vacation last month
  • family updates
  • a backlog of beautiful weddings
  • essential oil 101 (current obsession)

Thank you SO much for stopping by and checking in with me.  I hope you’ll come on back for more very, very soon.  To keep up with me, follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and subscribe to the blog here!

What are you up to this week?  I am prepping for Noah’s 2nd birthday party this weekend.  We actually were supposed to have it on Saturday but postponed it at the last minute.  Looking forward to (finally!) celebrating my baby boy!

Happy First Day of Summer!  School is out for Olive and I am looking forward to all the uninterrupted family time that comes with this time of year.  Bring on the BBQs, the watermelon, and the beach days.  I love a spontaneous adventure as much as the next gal, but let’s face it: a planner has gotta plan sometimes.  😉  Today I was inspired to write up a little summer bucket list to get some fun activities on the calendar for my family.

Summer Bucket List 2016

  1. Host a Korean BBQ dinner at our house
  2. Make homemade ice cream (this isn’t difficult, since I’ve made multiple batches already in the last month…)
  3. Go berry or cherry picking
  4. Beach bonfire, complete with s’mores
  5. Make popsicles
  6. Backyard campout
  7. Go bowling
  8. Sidewalk chalk afternoon
  9. Watch a movie at the drive-in
  10. Tie-dye with Olive
  11. Watch a baseball game
  12. Picnic at the beach
  13. Day at the Midstate Fair
  14. Make lemonade
  15. Family hike
  16. Santa Barbara Zoo
  17. Family bike ride
  18. Go stargazing at a local dark sky location
  19. Watch the sunrise and the sunset on the same day
  20. Read the World Summer Book Club

Other givens: lots of apple tasting at Gopher Glen, eating tons of homegrown tomatoes and sugar snap peas from our garden, park days, play dates and road trips.

What am I missing?  I’d love to hear something on your own summer bucket list!  Hope you’re having a great start to the week; see you again soon!

When I was 19-years old, I met a boy.  I was wrapping up my sophomore year at UC Berkeley (so was he) and though we never had a single class together, we attended the same church.  I will never forget the first time I saw him (from a distance, and I swear it was in slow-mo like in the movies) and gushed to my girlfriends that he was absolutely dreamy. We moved from admirers to friends, until one day Erik skated up to me on Sproul Plaza (yeah, he literally rolled up to me on his skateboard) and asked me to join him at a concert the following week.  I said yes, he skated away, and the rest is history.  🙂  If you’re wondering about the concert: we saw The Juliana Theory & the Ataris at the Fillmore in San Francisco.  Major points if you know either of those bands.  🙂

From then on, we were nearly inseperable.  We dated for the rest of our undergrad years, getting engaged during Christmas break our senior year.  I’ll share the amazing proposal story one of these days…  We got married just months after graduation, surprising most of our friends and family.  Why would we want to get married so soon, so young??

Oh how thankful I am to have spent such sweet, formative years with my one and only.  How grateful I am that we knew back then that this was IT — that love is a covenant and you choose to love every day.  Love is what you do.  We set our love upon one another, and that love has only deepened, matured and strengthened over the years.

Today we celebrate ten beautiful years of marriage (and over 12 years together).  I am in disbelief that the time has passed so quickly, and yet I can think back and see how full these ten years have been.  We have walked through so much together.  We’ve been blessed to travel to six countries together, along with many US destinations.  We both abandoned our “stable futures” and everything we had studied in college to pursue what we felt was truly our calling.  We’ve lived in four homes together.  We clung to each other in years of infertility and recurrent miscarriage.  We welcomed our miracle daughter in 2012.  We bought our first home together in 2013.  We took the leap of faith into the world of adoption in 2014 and embarked on a roller coaster ride through the domestic adoption process.  We welcomed our miracle son in 2015, via adoption.  We’ve laughed to the point of tears, we’ve cried in valleys of sorrow, we’ve fought and we’ve forgiven.  We have both GROWN, by the grace of God, and so has our love.  TEN years always seemed like the first “big” anniversary to me.  An entire decade.  Now that we have made it, I wonder if the next ten will fly by even faster?

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am currently out of town celebrating with a mini-getaway.  I’m sure I’ll share more about that on the blog eventually.  Today I just wanted to share my top ten things I love about my college (and forever) sweetheart, Erik.

favorite pic of us on our wedding day — so much joy!

singing “be thou my vision” with our guests // it’s one of my favorite pics of the day
and was snapped by a friend in one of the front rows!

  1. His unwavering faith and devotion to the Lord — he exemplifies what it means to practice what you preach
  2. His ability to be silly & playful — we have so much fun together, and I can be my goofy self around him without any hesitation
  3. His sharp wit and humor — he makes me laugh every single day
  4. His brilliant mind — Erik has always challenged me and conversations with him elevate my own way of thinking.  God has given him such an ability to study, understand, retain and teach.
  5. His patience — he has so much grace for me and others
  6. His beautiful amber hazel eyes — they are the color of golden honey and they are captivating!
  7. His tenderness in parenting — Erik is the best father to Olive and Noah and there is nothing more attractive to me than seeing how he cares for our little ones.
  8. His uncanny ability to dominate at everything he does, whether it’s a long-time hobby or a brand new endeavor.  Erik is just good at everything, and it is kinda crazy.
  9. His romantic heart — Erik has always written me the most beautiful, sincere love letters and never misses an opportunity to wow me on anniversaries and special occasions.
  10. Your loyalty and devotion to me — I feel so secure in your love and you love me so well.

to my Erik — you are my greatest blessing on this earth.  I can’t adequately express how thankful I am for you, every single day.  10 years ago, I married the very best man I knew.  You still embody to me everything that a great man is: devoted to the Lord, full of integrity and honor, respectful, well-spoken and kind, tender-hearted, wildly intelligent yet strikingly humble, utterly hilarious! and personable, and let’s face it… you’re pretty easy on the eyes, too. 😉

I know I am better for knowing you, and for having the honor of living as your companion. you teach me so much just by the way you live.  You are a constant source of encouragement and edification to me, and there is such comfort that comes from the support you give.  I know how special our relationship is.  I truly believe it to be an (unfortunate) rarity: two people committed to love each other, and also wildly in love with each other.  I treasure what we share, and I am proud to be your wife.

It is a joy to love you… for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death separates us.

happy anniversary baby <3 I love you.

spring 2008 — the image is found

december 2008 – amelia lyon

fall 2009 – jessica claire

january 2012 – jose villa

july 2014 – ryan ray

june 2015 – the image is found

I hope you’re all having a great day; see you soon!


Last month I took a few days to escape to the woods with my family.  We are so fortunate to live just a short 1.5-2 hours from Big Sur: California’s most famous stretch of coast.  If you have never driven Big Sur, I urge you to put it on your list.  It is such a breathtaking, magical, soul-stirring part of the country.  On the left, it’s nothing but cerulean waters, sparkling in the sun and crashing against the rocky shoreline.  On the right, you will pass numerous state parks and endless miles of redwood forest.  The drive is notoriously perilous (read: lots of twists and turns, narrow roads, few guard rails between you and sheer cliffs) but rewards you with spectacular views.  There are countless turnouts along the drive for you to snap some photos and soak in the views a bit longer.

The drive alone is reason to visit, but we were excited to trek to Limekiln State Park for some tent camping.  Many people are surprised when I tell them I love to camp (and hike, kayak, etc.); I guess I don’t really give off the adventurous vibe (hah!).  Appearances are deceiving, however, because I absolutely love being outdoors.  Erik and I hope to pass on this love of the outdoors with our kiddos so we bravely (?) took our 3 year old daughter and 4 month old son along for the experience.  I’m happy to report it was an incredible trip!  Olive loved the novelty of sleeping in a tent and Noah is such a happy camper (pun intended) that he adapted beautifully.  We spent 3 nights out there and it was the perfect length of time for our family.

Limekiln State Park is the perfect campsite for anyone with kids, or anyone who prefers a more low key environment.  There are only 27 campsites there (so quite small): some are at the beach (literally a private little beach only accessible through the campsite — not great for swimming but perfect for relaxing) where you can fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves; others are along the rushing creek; the last group of sites are in the redwood forest.  We went with the redwood sites and were fortunate enough to nab the BEST site in the camp: #29.  I cannot tell you how many times we were asked during our stay (by passerby, other campers, random hikers) what our campsite # was.  Site 29 is elevated (above the main road) and is therefore separate from all the other sites.  You don’t border anyone, you can’t hear anyone else, and it really feels like you are in the VIP section.  😉

this is campsite 29!

We loved that Limekiln had enough nearby to keep us happy at camp (e.g. a beautiful bubbling creek and some mellow trails for hiking with kiddos, along with that aforementioned private beach).  But, we did venture out a few times to explore other parts of Big Sur.  We made stops at Big Sur Bakery & Café (a MUST — the yummiest sandwiches!), Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (more great trails and hundreds of campsites), Henry Miller library, and Pfeiffer Beach (which was incredibly windy and cold, which makes for a less than desirable beach experience… but undeniably gorgeous).

Limekiln was so great that it’s hard to imagine staying anywhere else next time we head to Big Sur.  But, there are many beautiful state parks in the area that I hope to try very soon.  It’s always a tough decision when it comes to sticking with the vetted, beloved old favorite vs. trying out something new.

During the day we explored, hiked, read, and relaxed.  We ate like kings thanks to lots of pre-trip preparations (and let’s face it — everything tastes somehow better when cooked over a campfire), and slept soundly in a large 10-person tent.  We are so glad we went with the bigger tent; we had tons of room to stretch out, get dressed, stow luggage, etc. instead of going to the car everytime we needed something.  In the evenings we had a tradition of making cocoa, coffee and s’mores and then tucking in for a classic Disney movie (played on my laptop).  I know it sounds anti-outdoorsy to enjoy technology on a camping trip, but it made our early evenings so special for Olive.  She had never seen any of these movies (Aladdin, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast) so we loved snuggling together and sharing them with her.

Although we enjoyed our movie nights, we were “unplugged” for the rest of the trip.  I only had service for a few brief moments one day, when I could post a photo on IG.  Being unable to check email or social media for a few days was so good for me.  I was more engaged in my surroundings, soaking up precious time with my family and more attentively marveling in the creation around me.  I also especially loved reading my Bible outside while Olive and Noah napped each afternoon.  It was such a blessing to have that time to myself with the Word, just listening to the creek rush by, taking quiet moments to ponder and meditate.  I felt refreshed (except the part where we only had one ice cold shower, haha!) and rejuvenated and filled to the brim with gratitude.

We’re already planning our next trip this fall!  If you have any favorite spots in and around Big Sur, let me know.  We will likely venture further north on our next visit, taking the kids to nearby Monterey and Carmel.

Enjoy the week and see you again soon!


Thank you to everyone for your sweet comments here & on Instagram regarding our Target commercial!  We are so grateful for the opportunity we had to be featured as a voice for adoption.  Many people have asked how we got the gig, so I thought I’d share a little behind-the-scenes post on how it all happened.

The process started in early March, when my sweet friend Joy (of Oh Joy!) emailed me about the casting.  She knew that Target was working on putting together a series of nursery commercials and they were looking for different families to feature.  She thought we might be a fit (since we were in the adoption process) and asked if we might want to audition.  Of course my interest was piqued, but I didn’t expect Erik to want to drive down to LA for an audition.  Surprisingly, he said we might as well fill out a questionnaire and see what happened.  We were called for an audition shortly thereafter, with less than a day’s notice.  (That is typical for the industry, but atypical for us since we live hours away from LA now…)  I asked the casting director if we could bring our kids (they were just casting parents) and they said we could.  So, two kiddos in tow, we made our way to the audition.

first audition // see noah sleeping by the monitor?

Our initial audition took less than 15 minutes.  We checked in, waited in a large room with dozens of other couples, and were eventually called into an audition room.  It was just us and a sweet cameraman who filmed us answering a handful of questions.  The process was pretty simple and we felt honored to share our adoption story, even if it was just with the cameraman!  The initial auditions were conducted over a few days, and they likely saw countless couples.

Imagine our excitement when we found out we made callbacks (aka round two of auditions), which meant another trip to LA.  I saw nearly 50 families listed on the callback sheet!  On this occasion, we were called in to meet the director and a team of creatives working on the film.  Noah slept through the audition (of course!) but Olive enjoyed hamming it up for everyone, making friends with the production team and crawling up on the casting couch with them.  It was hilarious!  Once again we enjoyed the experience of sharing about ourselves, why we chose adoption, and how we had already been so blessed in the process.  We also chatted about how our fast-paced adoption made it difficult to prepare for Noah in the way most expectant couples might prepare for their little ones.

Post callback, we learned we had been selected for the commercial.  The casting director then let me know that Target loved Olive and wanted her to be in the commercial as well.  We were delighted!  We had some paperwork to handle (since Olive is a minor, she required a work permit as well as a special bank account for children in the entertainment industry) before things were made official.  As a sidenote — at the time we filmed the commercial, we were not allowed to show Noah’s face on camera.  This is one reason why he is not featured in the commercial.

in the studio

From there we scheduled recording sessions (since the commercial is a voice-over, Erik and I spent time in a recording studio), fittings, and call times.  The recording session took a couple of hours in Santa Monica, where we sat in a sound booth with the director.  He asked us tons of questions about our relationship, our family, our homelife, our fertility struggles and the adoption process.  A lot of the questions were likely warm ups to get us comfortable speaking into microphones (with a handful of people sitting in the adjacent room, listening and taking notes on sound bites they might want to put into the final commercial).  I really loved that the process was conversational, since it meant our own words were used in the commercial, not a script.  It also helped us get very comfortable with the director (the brilliant creative, Mac Premo) before shoot day.  We had a great time telling our story to him in full detail, even though only a few snippets made it into the 1 minute commercial.  A little note: I was a little sick on the day of our studio session, so my voice sounds deeper than usual in the commercial.  Of course no one could really notice but it still makes me chuckle when I hear it played back.

olive with director mac premo

The day we shot the commercial was an exciting and packed day.  We arrived early to grab coffee and breakfast (catering + craft services = one of the best parts of the entertainment business! haha) and then were rushed into hair/makeup and wardrobe.  I love that they observed what we wore to the audition (our own clothes) and just tried to mimic that.  So, while the clothes we wore were selected by stylists (the hilarious Keith Wager), they were almost identical to what we had worn to the audition.  Keith joked that it was actually hard to find quirky clothes for me.  😉  Everything we wore was head-to-toe Target, of course.  Olive was put into overalls which looked darling on her, but there was a tiny bit of drama since she prefers to wear dresses everyday of the week.  We all convinced her she looked perfect and distracted her long enough for her to forget what she was wearing.  I then had the pleasure of having my makeup done by the talented Terri Apanasewicz.  She is an industry star who styles some of the most famous faces in Hollywood (including Cindy Crawford and Gisele, nbd), yet she treated me with the utmost kindness and care.  I told her I hope our paths cross again so she can really doll me up, instead of just giving me the everyday look we were going for with this commercial.  😉  We didn’t do anything to my hair (or Olive’s!) to keep it natural.  From makeup I was literally whisked to set, and right into the first shots.  Everyone on set was super friendly and accommodating, from the producers to the cameramen to the editors.

Also fun — they hired a teacher/handler for Olive, since she is a minor.  She was so lovely and also had worked with some of the biggest child stars in Hollywood, including Abigail Breslin.  I was really blown away by the talented crew that Target had brought on for the project!

Overall I was  taken aback by the amount of people who were on-set to oversee the project.  There was someone there from Target HQ, along with the creative team who had been at the audition, sitting in a “video village” to observe the playback.  They would occasionally radio up minor comments and notes to help capture exactly what they envisioned for the project.  There was a props team, a seamstress, and countless others.  The energy in the air was palpable, and the pace frenetic yet upbeat.

It was a very full day of filming but I have to say I enjoyed every minute.  I loved just getting a glimpse of the fascinating world of film/TV.  SO much work went into putting together this spot; it made me pause to consider how much more time goes into shooting every scene of a TV show or movie.  I certainly came away with a greater respect for the art and thought and effort that goes into creating the commercials we see everyday.

I hope one day Noah can watch this film and see how excited we were to welcome him into our family.  He has truly been loved and anticipated from the very beginning.  I can’t believe he has now been with us for five months!

Enjoy your day and see you again soon!  Thank you for stopping by!


I can’t believe it but my little family is featured in a Target commercial about adoption!  I’ve already watched it a handful of times and Olive is positively obsessed.  (Oh brother!)  Don’t worry — we aren’t quitting our day jobs.  But, we had a blast working on this project and are excited to have it as a little keepsake for our family.

Today I wanted to share the commercial (currently on their YouTube channel, but keep your eyes open: our contract allows to national TV spots as well!) but later this week I’ll share about the audition & casting process, as well as what goes into shooting a commercial like this.  It was a really unique and wonderful experience.

We’re not quitting our day jobs but hey, Olive is Coogan-account ready in case anyone out there wants to snap her up for their next ad campaign.  😉

I hope you all have a wonderful day; see you soon!

I LOVE the stage Olive is in right now.  I am constantly telling people how much fun it is to have a three-year old, and just when I think it can’t get any better, it does!  I’ve felt this way about every stage, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised any longer…  It really does continue to get better.  🙂  Today I wanted to share some snippets & favorite memories from winter 2014 & spring 2015…

wearing little minis

Does everyone think their kid is the funniest kid on the planet (both on purpose and unintentionally)??  Because seriously, Erik and I cannot stop laughing at Olive  This girl has the craziest imagination and says the most adorable things.  Recently she found some false eyelashes in my drawer and asked what they were.  I told her they were special eyelashes for when I get all dressed up.  She instantly started pulling at her eyelashes and said, “Mama!  I want to take mine off and put these on!!”  When I finished laughing I told her that they’re only for grown ups.  She reminds me everytime we pass that drawer: “When I’m a big girl I’m gonna wear those eyelashes and your special sandals (some Marc Jacobs platforms that she also has her eye on; ha!).”  Oh brother!

Olive loves to dance and sing, often spontaneously.  We can be in a store or even the market and if the music (or muzak) moves her, she says, “Mama I need to practice my dancing!”  From ballet to interpretive dancing to all out crazy shakes, she definitely gives it her all.  🙂  I love listening to her making up songs throughout the day (she is great with independent play) about the most random topics.  She’ll sing to her toys, sing while reading a book, sing to Noah while he’s crying.  She definitely loves music.  She also loves pretending to be in school (reading books, practicing her numbers and letters) and art projects of all kinds (painting, “sculpting” with Play-doh, drawing, coloring).


  • Being an adorable flowergirl in Erik’s sister’s wedding (I was a bridesmaid and Erik was a groomsman) in November 2014
  • Lots of playdates with favorite pals including church gals (Jetta, Eden, Chloe), local friends (Zakary, Luke, Piper, Ellis, Leo, Alicia) and LA/OC friends, too!
  • Helped pick out our Christmas tree, put up lights + decorations, and enjoyed a traditional night of festivities in downtown Cambria
  • Continued to attend and love our local storytime one day a week!
  • Disneyland trip in December 2015 with halmunee (my mom) and our good friend Jackie + baby X
  • Multiple trips to the SB Zoo (where Michael the giraffe remains her favorite)
  • Christmas season dinner at the iconic Madonna Inn
  • Our first Christmas morning in our own house (just the three of us), before heading to LA for family celebrations
  • She welcomed a baby brother (through God’s grace of adoption) in January 2015 and has proven to be an amazing big sister — she loves Noah SO much and seeing them together makes my heart burst!
  • Attended a Valentine’s Day party with her friends (and loved every second of it)
  • She loves picking flowers everywhere we go (but always asks permission, first).  If I tell her no, she says, “Just let it grow, right?”  <3
  • She turned THREE and celebrated with donuts (of course) and a pirate-themed birthday (her pick!).
  • Held a bunny and rode a tractor at Ellis’ birthday party (not sure which was her favorite!)
  • Cried over a puppy for the first time (named “Tank,” affectionately called “Tanky” — a beagle/doxie mix at the local rescue)
  • Moved into a “big girl room” with a twin-sized bed!  She chose her own bedding at Target: Paris/ballerina themed
  • She helped Erik plant the spring garden
  • We toured a preschool (!) she will start at in the fall
  • She attended the Giant Playdate with me and had a blast
  • She had her first real job 🙂 // more coming soon!!!

loving my solly baby wrap

photo by Callaway Gable

wearing Paush

This has been a big season of transition for our family, with the wonderful blessing of Noah’s arrival.  Olive has been so great with all of the huge changes and even more than that, I feel like she has grown into an even lovelier, kinder child since her brother was born.  I stand in awe at the way she has embraced him, loved on him, attached to him.  On one of our drives to LA, we made a brief stop at Target to go to the restroom.  I took Olive into the store and Erik stayed in the car with Noah.  As soon as we walked into the sliding glass doors, Olive started to panic and cry (real tears!).  “Mama! Mama you forgot baby Noah! We need my baby Noah!!”  It’s always “my baby Noah” and “my baby brutha” — never just Noah.  I love the way God has made her so tender, sensitive, and affectionate.

I can’t wait to see what the next season holds!!  And, coming very soon, I’ll be able to share some beautiful photos of both of my kiddos together!  Thanks for stopping by; have a fantastic week!

I had such a sweet Mother’s Day weekend this year, so I thought I’d share a few snippets of how we celebrated.  I know so many people are vehemently against “greeting card holidays” like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.  I can never truly understand why.  Of course we should honor our parents and tell our loved ones how precious they are to us more than one day a year.  BUT, I see nothing wrong with a special, dedicated day to really remind us to go that extra mile in pouring out our appreciation.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate or cost a lot of money (or any at all, frankly!).  I am always happy to have a reason to celebrate the blessings in my life.  Mother’s Day is not about getting spoiled by my family (obviously not opposed to that, though! ha!), but about reveling in the joy of motherhood itself.  I want to spend special time with my family, slow down a little (read: not do dishes for a day), and just reflect on the wonderful privilege of mothering my two children.

TWO!  This year I have two beautiful children, making this Mother’s Day extra special.  We are so close to the finish line with finalizing our adoption with Noah so it won’t be long before you see his sweet face.  🙂  Everyday with him is a joy and I can’t wait to share more about our journey and experience.  I thank God for these two precious blessings.

On Saturday I kicked off the weekend in the best way possible: working at the Giant Playdate by the Alliance of Moms.  This special event is a fundraiser for the Alliance for Children’s Rights — a non profit organization that advocates for LA’s foster kids.  I was honored to plan + design this year’s playdate.  It was a ton of fun (and a great change of pace from weddings) and I had the double joy of bringing my kiddos along for the last hour!  I will be sharing many more photos from this event in a full blog post down the line but here are a few sneak peeks for now.

romper by sweet threads / cupcake by sweet and saucy shop / frill from geronimo balloons

endless entertainment from best bubble parties

The following photos are by the incredible Abby and Lauren

she LOVED this camp craft station where she made me an adorable wooden bead necklace

On Sunday morning, I woke up to an excited Olive and Erik at my bedside.  They had a card and a few hilarious gifts that Olive chose for me (one was a Barbie doll which she has now taken back for herself and the other was a light-changing bouncy ball).  We went to church and then had our usual post-church lunch of In-N-Out.  We then hit the road to Cambria, where we have gone to celebrate every Mother’s Day since 2012.  I grab an olallieberry iced team at Linn’s and we strolled around the antique and garden shops together.  The weather was perfect and we had such a lovely afternoon.  We returned home for Olive’s nap and then went for Thai food for dinner (my fav) before doing a Target run before bedtime.  Nothing super fancy but a joyful day spent with my three favorite people.  I couldn’t ask for more.

Olive’s dress by little minis / my dress by anthropologie

This week we’ve been working hard at purging and organizing (perhaps for an upcoming garage sale?) and putting finishing touches on Noah’s nursery.  I’ll share soon!  I also am working on final preparations for next weekend’s weekend in southern California.

I hope you are having a great week so far; see you again soon!