Simple Summer Dress Tutorials

How to Turn Any T Shirt Into a SundressIt’s time to start sewing up some spring and summer dresses for your littles. Here are some of the most popular summer dress tutorials that we’ve shared over the years.

My favorite is the How to Turn Any T Shirt Into a Sundress tutorial pictured above, as it is super fast and upcycles any cool tee you own. I’m also still a huge fan of the ever-popular Snappy Toddler dress (with pattern)>. Snappy Toddler Dress

Our Easy Summer Muu Muu will be your daughter’s favorite comfy and cute dress. Easy Muu Muu Pattern

I adore our One Shoulder Dressy Dress, it’s extra cute in a bold pattern. One Shoulder Dressy Dress DIY

This pretty DIY Pinafore is great for spring in a bright color. DIY-Pinafore

This Peekaboo Toddler Tank has the cutest back! Check it out. Peekaboo Toddler Tank

This loose fitting summer frock is extra cute with the gathered neckline: Summer Frock with Gathered Neckline. Summer Frock with Gathered Neckline

We’ve made so many version of our Pillowcase Dress, I like this one with bias tape trim. Pillowcase Dress

And this dress is just so fun to make in gauze, the Snap Wrap Dress. Snap Wrap Dress

Find more of our kid clothing sewing tutorials here. Happy sewing!


A Treatise On Beach Cover Ups

A Treatise on Beach Cover UpsHere is what makes a good beach/pool cover-up IMHO:
1. It covers my belly so I can eat fried conch fritters without actually visually observing my stomach expanding.
2. It packs up small, so it’s easy to lug around. This is why I am not interested in terry cloth cover ups. I don’t want to carry ten pounds of wet towel with me ever. I’m supposed to be relaxing, not feeling like I’m doing laundry.
3. It dries quickly. That sexy wet boob and booty-zone where your cover up sticks to your bathing suit and it looks like you peed in your pants? Pass.
4. It is relatively cute. I don’t need to look like I’m at coachella or anything, but I don’t want to stray too far into Mrs. Roper territory either.

Also, I worked in a bathing suit store, many moons ago (many pounds ago?) so I have some experience with these things. Check out my picks for the best beach cover ups after the jump…

My absolute most fave is this kaftan from Rose & Rose. I wore it all over Tulum a few months ago, and am wearing it currently as I write this on the beach in Mahe, Seychelles. It’s super lightweight, packs up tiny, feels amazing in the humid weather, and is just the right length. I love this thing. It’s by Rose and Rose.

I love gauze. It feels great in humid climates and it’s so pretty. This one will show the back of your swimsuit, and I feel like showing my back is something I’m okay with. This is the Daydreamer Playdress from Vitamin A, it also comes in black which can be more forgiving.

I also love rompers, all the time. I’m all about one-piece dressing. This Solana Romper from Vitamin A is crazy comfortable, but its quite short in the booty area, like shorter then it looks here. But so comfy.

My husband suprised me with a gift of this dress and I love it! It’s not a beach cover up, however, when I wore it my daughter said it looked like I was wearing a robe. She actually said: “Mom, are we going to a pool?” I said, “No, why?” and she replied that I looked like I was dressed in a pool robe. So, I packed this dress along with me to the island, and it really is great for throwing on over your suit and sitting down for a nice meal. I still wear it out though, cause I love it. Wrap midi dress in Linn stripe from Madewell. Madewell Linn Stripe Midi Dress

Melissa Obadash makes some luxurious stuff for the beach, it’s all quite gorgeous but some of it feels like a lot to have on, lots of details and lace, a bit fussy for me. But some of it is just right, like this Amber Bandeau dress. Great for if you are staying somewhere luxurious and want to look super put together while drinking cocktails by the infinity pool.

I totally love tie die, and where better to wear it then by the pool? Like seriously, you can’t wear tie dye to work. This romper is lightweight and comfy and perfect if you are curvy in the chestal-region, for showing off your assets. Surf Gypsy tie dye romper from ASOS.

This one may seem a little boring, but I wear it constantly. IT HAS POCKETS. Also, it’s made of some strange material that feels almost like swimsuit material – it dries so fast. I love it. Jordan TaylorBlack Quintessential Surplice Tunic from Canyon Beachwear.

Would wear this 24 hours a day. Akasa Ombre low back beach dress from ASOS.

I like to have a beach maxi. It’s great for when your legs are feeling like they are getting burned and something about a long dress makes you look more “done” when it’s time to mosey on over to the restaurant. This one is fab. Monki Lace Beach Dress from ASOS.

Well now that I have shared my deep thoughts on beach cover ups, I think I will walk from my current seat out to this here beach. XO Avani Resort Seychelles


Backyard Updates


Now that we’ve had a taste of warmer days here in Texas, I’ve ventured out to give our new backyard a bit of TLC. Last year it was all about just enjoying the new pool and pinching myself that this was all right outside my back door. Now it’s time to add some finishing touches like things to sit on (ha) and also some pretty plants and rugs and such to make it more homey. Here’s a sneak peek at what I’ve been working on!

IMG_3416IMG_3418 copyIMG_3413IMG_3408 IMG_3409IMG_3410      IMG_3414


The Prettiest Balloon Decor

Prettiest Balloon Decorations 1 Balloons say “spring” to me. I got lost in a Pinterest hole looking at the prettiest balloon decor for parties, like this above from Petite and Sweet.

Learn how to make a balloon arch yourself at The House That Lars Built! Prettiest Balloon Decor 4

This rainbow aisle spotted at Rock My Wedding made me so happy! And perfect for a rainbow-loving kid party. Prettiest Balloon Decor 2

Adore this hot-air balloon centerpiece spotted on Bridal Guide. Prettiest Balloon Decor 3

Everything about this picture spotted on Spearmint Baby makes me so happy. Prettiest Balloon Decor 5

Pretty Geeky shared the great idea of using golf tees to secure balloons to the ground. Magical wonderland! Prettiest Balloon Decor 6

Love attaching the balloons right to the wall as seen on Honey & Fitz. Prettiest Balloon Decor 7

A balloon cloud! So cute! From Em-el-ie.Prettiest Balloon Decor 8

More amazing hot-air balloons, from Kara’s Party Ideas. Prettiest Balloon Decor 9

And I love the idea of writing on a black balloon with a gold pen from Hello May.Prettiest Balloon Decor 10


How to Make a Monkey Cupcake

How to make a monkey cupcakecurious georgeThis is George. He was a good little monkey and always very curious.

If you love this little guy as much as we do at our house, you will be excited to learn that you can watch all 9 seasons of Curious George, now streaming only on Hulu. Our friends at Hulu asked us to help them celebrate by decorating these easy Monkey Cupcakes. We did it with just a few ingredients from the grocery store. Curious? (ha) Here’s how to make some at home.How to make a monkey cupcake

How to make a monkey cupcake (more…)


The Best Las Vegas Itinerary for Kids

Las Vegas Itinerary for Kids
All the travel plans we had for spring break fell through at the last minute, so I decided to hop in the car and take Scarlet on a road trip to Vegas. Las Vegas is amazing for kids, and we had a total blast. And I didn’t have to bother with drinking or gambling, it was all shows, food, and games for us. We packed a lot into about three days, here is my recommended itinerary for families. Prepare for exhaustion, but also extreme fun.

Day 1
-Arrive in Vegas and check into your hotel. We stayed at the Signature by MGM Grand, which was great because it was a suite with a kitchen, a great view, close to everything, and no gambling so no smoky smell. Ask to be in Tower 1 to save yourself some walking distance. The Mirage, the New York New York, and the Mandalay Bay are all great for kids.
-Go for a swim in the awesome hotel pool (the MGM and Mandalay Bay have the best pools with lazy rivers and wave pools, etc.).
-See a show. We saw Love by Cirque De Soleil at the Mirage (the Beatles themed show) and ADORED IT.

Day 2
-Eat a buffet at your hotel. The kids will love it.
-Head over to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage.
-Cross the street to have lunch and a gondola ride at the Venetian.
-Walk a little further south and stop at Serendipity for crazy ice Cream treats in front of Caesar’s Palace.
-Head back to your hotel for swimming/chillin’.
-In the afternoon, head over to the Bellagio to see the art exhibit and coservatory (amazing flowers) then catch the fountains.
-Spend an hour at the arcade at the New York New York, and ride the coaster if your kids are into thrills.
-Dinner at Rainforest Cafe (my kid loves Rainforest Cafe).

jaime and scarlet in vegas
Day 3
-Have breakfast at Le Village Buffet in the Paris hotel. It’s adorable. Make a reservation so you don’t have to wait on line.
-After filling up on crepes, head up the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas.
-From there, grab a taxi or uber to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. It’s awesome!
-Take the free tram from the Mandalay Bay to check out the Luxor (maybe see the Bodies exhibit, we passed on that) and/or the Excalibur (maybe see the Tournament of Kings, we had just been to Medieval Times so we skipped it).
-If you dare, take the Las Vegas monorail out to the Circus Circus. You can go to the Adventuredome for rides, or if they just like games then head into the hotel and play at the midway.
-To get your bearings back after all that, drag the kids across the street to the SLS for sushi at Katsu-ya.
-Head back to your hotel on the monorail

Day 4
-Pack up and head to the Las Vegas Natural History Museum
-You may want to stop for the Ethel M Chocolate Factory tour
-Head home!

Bonus, if you are driving to/from the West Coast, stop in Calico Ghost Town. We spent about 4 hours there, it may have been Scarlet’s favorite part of the trip!
Calico Ghost Town


The Unassuming Pot Roast

The Unassuming Pot Roast

This basic bi-atch Pot Roast might not be pin-worthy but since I care more about knocking my sweet little meat and potato lovin’ family back 10 feet with the most amazing smell of garlic, onion, and beef roasting in red wine, broth and fresh herbs than some pretty online food porn (well, sometimes) the Pot Roast is culinary perfection.

I didn’t grow up on the classic recipes of my Irish-American ancestors, my parents were hippies, but the idea of combining fresh and healthy (but affordable) ingredients to create something totally satisfying, comforting, and delicious is totally what I was raised on and I’m happy to pass this way of cooking on to my kiddos.

The Unassuming Pot Roast
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck/pot roast, trimmed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 onions cut in 1″ pieces
1 cup red wine
3 thyme sprigs
3 chopped garlic cloves
1 (14-ounce) can beef broth
2 bay leaves
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 pounds gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
Preheat oven to 350º.

Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat chuck roast with salt and pepper. Add roast to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side and brown all edges.Remove roast from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.

Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaves to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.

Add carrots and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leafs from pan; discard. Shred meat. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid.

Serve with fresh bread, and follow with a Sunday nap.


An Afternoon at The Broad

Broad_JeffKoons_TulipsScarlet, Carleton and I headed down to LA’s new contemporary art museum, The Broad, Sunday afternoon. We were thoroughly impressed, and had a wonderful time seeing some of the greatest artists and artworks of the past century.

Kids always enjoy Jeff Koons. Tulips (above) and the balloon dog were favorites of Scarlet’s.Broad_JeffKoons_BalloonDog

Carleton and I were ecstatic to see Michael Jackson and Bubbles. Broad_JeffKoons_Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Scarlet was fascinated by Julian Schnabel and asked if we could try to create an artwork inspired by ‘The Walk Home’ (detail below). I said sure. I will report back once we do that. Broad_JulianSchanbel_TheWalkHome_detail

I’ve always been a huge Charles Ray fan, so I was excited to be able to snap Scarlet next to this oversize sculpture. I was also relieved that his more, shall we say… adult… work was not on display today. I wasn’t in the mood to explain all that. Broad_CharlesRay

Scarlet was fascinated by this painting. She could tell the women were pregnant, but was disturbed by the exaggeration in their shape, which is a perceptive reaction. We enjoyed discussing the entire room of John Currin paintings. Broad_JohnCurrin_PatchandPearl

Definitely book your space at The Broad if you are in Los Angeles, and while you are downtown you can hit up some of the other spots on our Downtown LA Guide for Families. We ended up having dinner at the recently re-opened Clifton’s Cafeteria which is weird and wonderful and only about five minutes from the Broad.

Do you take your kids to contemporary art museums? I highly recommend it, though I can’t promise they will love it. At one point Scarlet said she was bored. Which is when I lovingly explained to her that being bored in an art museum is not a sign that the museum is boring, its a sign that the person is boring. She laughed at me, spun around with a determined look on her face, and found ten more things to talk about. I firmly believe that even if they are too young for the art to really get in their heads, it still finds its way into their hearts.