Aug 26

Weekend Recap: Hamptons Escape


Our summer is winding down, but our family travel adventures are still very much in full swing. At this point we are kind of in auto-pilot. We leave again tomorrow evening for LA and will be there until Sunday. Harlan starts school next Thursday and then we have some small weekend trips coming up. The kids are taking advantage of all of these little trips that we have and really do love exploring just as much as MacKay and I do.

Last weekend MacKay and I had an event in East Hampton, so we made a weekend out of it with the kids. We’ve visited the Hamptons for the past three summers and have loved it and while we didn’t think we would have a chance to visit this summer, we were excited when the opportunity presented itself.


Although our event was in East Hampton, we stayed at The Quogue Club at Hallock House, a gorgeous boutique hotel with only 14 rooms. It’s quaint, private, and often felt like we had this spectacular place all of ourselves.

We stayed in the cottages behind the main house and had two adjoining rooms so they kids had their room and MacKay and I had a room all to ourselves. The kids were ecstatic to have a room and a big bed all to themselves. Harlan even noticed the flat screen television on the wall and said she’s never had a TV of her own before, so she was feeling very special.

Both rooms had the most gorgeous decor and even had complimentary snacks and water that the kids dug right into as soon as we got into the room. Macks has his travel crib set up for him to sleep in and even a nice chair he made himself quite comfortable in.





The Quogue Club is has a stunning front porch that extends the entire length of the house. It is the perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee, or as the kids used it, to check out the beautiful surroundings.



The house is located within walking distance of downtown Quogue, which boasts a market, restaurant, stores, and even this cute little pond that is so relaxing and quaint. We walked over on Sunday morning before heading back and the kids were in awe of all of the lily pads and frogs hanging out.


Avery got some dirt on her finger and showed us how she really felt about it.


And then she found a flower to give to me.



I have to tell this story because it made my day. As we were taking photos around the pond a man in his car saw MacKay taking a photo of me and the kids and he parked his car, got out, and came over to take a photo of all of us. It was one of the sweetest things anyone has done. We hardly ever get a photo of all five of us and this one is a bonus because everyone is looking at the camera.



The Hallock House was recogonized as one of the first hotels in Quogue back in 1824. It recently was bought by local residents in 2012 and completely renovated to become The Quogue Club at Hallock House, a membership dining house and hotel.



The inside of the house has many rooms to lounge, including a game room, fitness center, massage room, library, and restaurant where they serve complimentary breakfast for all hotel guests.



The Quogue Club also gives its guests access to the local beach which is for residents only. We took advantage on Sunday and although it was overcast, we still managed to have a good time.





Avery went to check out the water and managed to fall face forward. Although she was soaked, she shook it off and laughed. Love her easy-going personality.


And of course Har made any excuse to go in the water and get wet. It’s so hard to keep her away from the water, because she loves it so much.


Macks and I stayed back while we watched all of the others check out the waves in the Atlantic. It was the perfect ending to a weekend that was full of lasting family memories.

{Disclosure: Thank you to The Quogue Club at Hallock House for inviting us to stay for the night. I was not compensated for this post, but did receive a complimentary night at The Quogue Club. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.}





Aug 25

East Coast Vacation: Part 1

We’re finally back and settled in (for a little while anyway) from our big adventure up and down the East Coast. Our days of spending all of our time at the beach or lounging by the pool have come to an end, but we had the absolute best time.

Our first stop was at Hilton Head, SC. My family has been vacationing in Hilton Head every summer since I was born. But in the last 10 years, life has gotten in the way and we haven’t had a trip there with all of my family. This summer we managed to not only get all of us out there, but also my kids and our husbands!



This was our first summer vacation as a family of five and the kids are at such fun ages now that the week was full of fun and so many smiles.


My brothers and sister took time out of school and work to get the four of us back together.


My youngest brother is off to college this fall, so this was the last vacation before my parents become empty nesters!



Our first stop in Hilton Head was the Salty Dog Cafe. It’s worth the wait and has great views. Avery was so tired from staying up late the night before, that she slept for a little bit before dinner.







Most of our days were either spent in the pool or on the beach.




Macks couldn’t get enough of the warm ocean water. Such a big difference than the water we are used to here in Connecticut.






Avery just wanted to dig herself a “pool” the entire time. It was a little bit less intimidating than the ocean.






Harlan stayed in the water nearly the entire day and was determined to get the boogie boarding thing down before she left. This girl loves the water.






Our nights were spent hanging outside as a family and enjoying dinner and music. One of my favorite memories of Hilton Head is visiting Shannon Tanner and then watching the fireworks. It’s crazy that I can now bring my kids to what I experienced as a child.





Our last night in Hilton Head was spent on a boat to look for dolphins. Unfortunately we didn’t spot any dolphins, but the kids did get a chance to drive the boat, which made for the perfect ending to a perfect family vacation.

Before we left for vacation, I made a goal for myself to take more photos and to really try to improve my skills so that we could have pieces of this vactation that would last forever. Canon was nice enough to lend a Canon EOS 6D Camera to me and I immediately fell in love with it (so much so that I purchased one of my own as soon as I returned.) I set up a phone call with a Canon expert that gave me a quick tutorial and some great photo tips to have for my vacation. The tips were so good that I wanted to share them with you. Especially since I used them on my trip and was so happy with the outcome of my photos!

From crawling to walking to full-on sprinting. Use these tips to get great photos of your budding explorer.

Tip 1: Use Continuous Shooting Mode to keep your baby in focus no matter how fast they’re moving.

Tip 2: Shoot in Shutter Priority (Tv) mode and make sure you use a high shutter speed to avoid any unwanted blurring.

Tip 3: Get low at ground level and simply touch the LCD screen to keep your on-the-move baby in focus.

Here are tips for taking great outdoor portraits while the fam is on the move.

Tip 1: Set your camera to Aperture Priority (Av) mode to allow more light.

Tip 2: Select the lowest F-stop (example f/2.8) to blur any unwanted backgrounds.

Tip 3: Shooting later in the afternoon on a warm sunny day can give a wonderful warm glow to images.

Before they blow out the candles, prepare to blow them away. Check out these tips for great candid photos and videos for any birthday party.

Tip 1: Capture a close up video of your child with an f/2.8 or faster portrait lens for better low light images.

Tip 2: Get up close to your child so you can capture the fun of the moment.

Tip 3: Increasethe ISO in low light situations to avoid dark images.

Pick a costume, any costume. And then bring it. Here are real-life tips to capture the kids in all their make-believe glory.

Tip 1: Use continuous shooting to capture all the excitement of playtime.

Tip 2: Get in close to capture the essence of innocence and have the cutest holiday card next season.

{Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post. As mentioned, Canon let me borrow the camera for my vacation to capture wonderful memories! As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.}

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Aug 19

The Dirty Truth About Taking a Road Trip with Kids

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I got our car detailed a couple of days before we began our road trip up and down the East Coast. I thought that if we had a clean car, it would be much easier for us to maintain an organized and clean trip.

I laugh at myself now because, while it was nice to have the car clean those first few days, it didn’t last. While I tried to maintain the cleanliness, there’s a lot that goes on during road trips, especially long ones. And even more when you’re doing it by yourself.

We had the car filled with luggage, activities for the kids, and lots and lots of snacks. Macks isn’t entertained by much in the car (not even an iPad,) so we quickly found that as long as he had a snack, he was happy. With mutiple 10+  hour car trips, you can imagine how many snacks that little boy goes through. And with all of those snacks, it leaves the car a mess, his carseat even messier, and his clothes the messiest they’ve probably ever been.


He’s spilled his milk all over him, has managed to bring his cookies into a liquid form so that he can smear them everywhere. It’s a disaster. But he’s happy, so it’s a cheerful and smiley diaster. As long as he’s content and lets me drive with peace, he can make as much of a mess in the car and himself as he wants. I’ll try to get him as clean as possible during our stops with the Tide To Go Instant Stain Remover, but it’s almost a lost cause because as soon as I put him back in his car seat, he’s got more stuff spilled on his outfit.

As soon as I get to our destination, I usually bring all of our stuff inside and get to cleaning. I’ll grab a vacuum and grab all of the crumbs and stuff that the kids have left behind in the car. I am a bit crazy when it comes to things being clean, so having a clean car as soon as I can makes me very happy.




The next stop is starting the laundry. With all of the stains and gunk of Macks’ clothes (and sometimes the girls) I know that they need to get washed as soon as possible. I’m usually exhausted by the end of the trip, so I want to get the clothes washed and dried as soon as possible so that I can get some much needed rest.



It’s become a tradition since we’ve moved into our house that the girls help me with the laundry, so even when we are traveling, they still organize the colors and then put them in the washing machine for me. They think it’s fun, so I am going to ride that train as long as I can.


Macks still struggles from eczema, so I always bring our Tide Pods Free and Gentle with us while we are traveling. They are easy to pack and even easier to put in the wash. Before I switched over to the Tide Pods, I’d always have a puddle of dried laundry detergent on the top of my washer that had run down the bottle. It was a mess to clean up. Plus the Tide Pods have detergent, stain remover, and brightner, so I can easily throw one in the washer and I am ready to go. The Free and Gentle Pods have no dyes or perfumes and they won’t irritate Macks’ skin.


And even with our dirtiest clothes, those little Tide Pods do a lot of work and got all of the clothes clean from our very messy road trip.

I know my kids aren’t the only ones that are messy. Tide is challenging you to take the Tide Pod challenge. We did it and it got even the dirtiest clothes from Macks clean! Check out this Tides Pods Challenge video and watch as The Slow Mo Guys (love them!) put their clothes to the Tide Pods test!

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Aug 18

The Comfort of Home

But while there is a comfort of being in our physical home, this summer has taught all of us that as long as we’ve got each other, we’re always home.