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My favorite swimwear under $25

My favorite swimwear under $25

For reference I'm 5-2 and 118 lbs Walmart suits- small Amazon -medium Rue21 -small If you are like me and struggle with finding family appropriate suits that are still cute and affordable then this post is for you!!

It's no secret that most of us don't have bikini bodies this year!-thanks corona-
So I was on a hunt for one piece swimsuits that are slimming and flattering but not totally grandma like either! Amazon is always a winner for pretty much anything because it's fast shipping and i don't have to leave my house, Walmart is the only store we have here in my small town so i go there often and Rue21 is my favorite store for really cute affordable clothes. Black is always my go to every year , I love a good solid black swimsuit! This year I'm also looking for a cute white swimsuit for my honeymoon which i will probably do another post for soon once i round up those so check back for that.

Fairy-tale Proposal!

Fairy-tale Proposal!

Sarah and Skyler How He Asked
First off – I don’t know if you follow me on Instagram – but I was given a giant poster board that had all these post-it notes on it, saying things my boyfriend loved about me. What I didn’t know is underneath the 45 post-it notes, there were pictures of beautiful places. I didn’t know what all of them were, but I did recognize a couple of them. One of the pictures was a print of airline tickets to Europe! The other pictures were places we were going to visit, including the Neuschwanstein Castle in Fussen Germany that I had mentioned to him one time about how much I’d love to see it. Castle are my absolute favorite! I have more Disney in me than the average 6-year-old and even started a Princess and Character company. Neuschwanstein Castle is said to have been Walt Disney’s inspiration for his Disney castle, and I’d had it on my bucket list forever! We left a few short weeks later and arrived in Switzerland. During the last 3 days of the trip, we made it to Germany. We stuck to a pretty tight itinerary and intentionally booked hotels next to the castles in Fussen. In addition to the picture-perfect scenery, they offer a full castle tour. After waking up to thick fog as far as the eye could see – which in this case ended up being about 100 feet, we arranged our schedule a little bit and decided to head indoors to take the tour. I was so disappointed that we had come all that way and I couldn’t even see the beautiful castle. Just before we left, I told Sky that I had this picture saved on my phone that I would like to re-create with the castle in the background. I wanted to dress up like a princess, looking at the castle from afar and have the shot taken with my back to the camera. Little did I know, he was way ahead of me. We hiked over some trails and found the spot to take the photo. The fog had lifted, but just enough to barely make out the outline of the castle. After all that walking uphill, my heart sunk a little. My boyfriend, ever the optimist, said it was no big deal and that we would come back the next day. He assured me the fog would clear and everything would be okay. Somehow I believed him. With the morning sunrise, I could tell he was right and this was going to make for a great photo shoot. I got dressed up (again) in my little Cinderella dress, princess crown, and glass slippers and started our trek back to the spot we’d found. Being an Instagram Influencer, he’s kind of assumed the role of the “boyfriends of Instagram” and regularly takes my photos in various locations. This time he decided he wanted to buy a tripod with a little remote so we could take them together and not need to bother other visiting tourists. Once we arrived, I was busy scouting out the exact position I wanted while he readied the tripod. I explained what I wanted once again and stood facing the castle with my back to the camera for the shot I wanted. He took a couple of pictures and then came over next to me to join me for some photos. I had no idea what was about to happen, since this had been a semi-regular thing he’d do with me. I love when we get pictures together and so I assumed he was just joining me because he was also dressed up quite nicely. That’s when he got down on his knee. I assumed he was adjusting something for the picture and didn’t realize what was happening. When I finally turned towards him, I was in shock! We had been together for almost 4 years and never really talked about a wedding or tried on rings like most couples do, so it came as a huge surprise. He opened the ring box and inside was the most perfect ring I could have imagined. It was shaped like a tiara and so beautiful! On top of that, he had designed the ring himself! And he pretends not to have any artistic ability. Pssh. Apart from its perfect symbolism for my personality, it carried additional significant meaning, which I didn’t learn for several weeks. He was seeing if I would figure it out. It has a diamond in the center with 2 sapphires surrounding it. This happens to be my favorite stone. There are a couple medium diamonds underneath and then 14 small diamonds below. They are symbolizing the date we met – 2/14. I would have told this guy yes if he had proposed in the drive-thru line of McDonald’s so of course I said, “Yes!” We finished the afternoon by taking a horse-drawn carriage down the mountain to the lake where he rented a paddleboat and we paddled the boat across one of the most beautiful and crystal clear lakes in Germany – Lake Alpsee. Just before we left, we met an old man who had been coming to the castle for years and sketching it with pencils. He drew one of the most incredible pictures I’ve ever seen (by memory no less!) and gave it to me as a keepsake for me to remember the day. It was absolutely a dream come true and I still can’t believe it happened! Now I am planning a Cinderella themed wedding because that’s the only way to follow that proposal. I designed my own dress and found an incredible seamstress making it for me. We will be getting married at Castle Manor in September and I’m so excited! And of course we’ll be renting a carriage!

Fairytale Proposal Video

The search for the Perfect Bed!

The search for the Perfect Bed!

Bedding: Dash Boy's Room
Photography: Grace Rose Photography


My son sat in the corner giving me sad puppy dog eyes as we disassembled his bed. Carson, who was 4 at the time, had slept in his Car toddler bed a total of maybe 5 times in the previous 2 years. Yet, somehow, the day I decided it needed to go was the day that it was, "his favorite bed ever" and that I was "so mean to get rid of it." I told him once we got to Utah we would get him a big boy bed that would be way better than his old Cars bed. So that became my daily mission; everyday I would browse online searching for the perfect bed and everyday my efforts would fall flat. I just couldn't find anything as cool as his Lightning McQueen bed. But, I wasn't giving up. I decided to take to the Internets and browse Pinterest to try to find some ideas for a cute, unique, boy bed. I really liked the idea of a loft bed because you didn't lose any floor space but it wasn't exactly what I had in mind. Finally I ended up finding a wooden loft bed on KSL for under $150. We planned on just painting it his favorite colors, black and white. I love my child more than anything in the world, but if I'm being honest, he's definitely gone through a period of having serious separation issues. Carson was pretty upset about having to get rid of was his cardboard playhouse we got from him from Michael's. If you've ever owned one, you know once its built you can't realistically un-build it without ripping it somewhere and having it fall apart. It quickly goes from a playhouse to a pile of trash once the first little fastener is pulled out. Still Carson said he didn't care, he just wanted his little cardboard house to sleep in after he finished playing. Suddenly a light bulb went off! What if we turned his loft bed into a playhouse on the bottom? I brought the idea to Sky and he thought it was great. Carson loved the idea too. We channeled our inner "Chip" and "Joanna" and went to work. We bought mini curtain rods from Walmart and Sky's mom turned panda print fabric into valances. We hung up a bulletin board where he could put up pictures, moved his kitchen play-set inside, and set up a place for his stuffed animals to hang out. Pretty soon that boring loft bed was a looking like a little house modeled after Carson's personality. He loved his little space! When Christmas came he decided to ask Santa for a door and couch. (yeah, you should have seen the look on Santa's face when he asked for that!) I'm pretty sure, based on the glares I was getting from the elves, that they thought we lived in a home missing all the basic necessities...ya know, like doors and basic furniture. After setting the record straight that he was talking about a door for his playhouse, back to the shop we went. Sky decided a door and couch weren't enough and though Carson would like to have a little table to draw at, so he built a Murphy style desk that pulls down from the inside of the wall and then closes up, flush with the sides when he's all finished. When Christmas came we installed everything and he was so surprised and happy when he saw his now finished playhouse! I'll be honest, I was pretty happy too. It turned out so cute! He spends all his time in there. It's definitely his favorite place to be, especially when the weather is too cold to spend time outside. He loves that it's all his. The big drawback to having a playhouse under his bed, is the space that exists between the top of his mattress and his ceiling. For a grown adult (or even a 5 year old for that matter) the likelihood of hitting your head while you're trying to make it was about 100%. I was getting frustrated. About that time, my luck changed and I found Beddy's or rather, Beddy's found me. I was up one night, scrolling Facebook and I saw an ad for Beddy's. From what I could tell, this was a bedding with zippers and not only sounded like a great idea, but a real solution to my problem. Usually when Facebook suggests things I might need or want (or something I just had a recent conversation about with Sky) I get pretty creeped out. This time, I didn't really mind, but cause it was nothing short of perfect. I clicked on the website, read about the company, and scrolled through the options. I found pictures, prices then picked a black and white polka dot option. Beddy's is actually a company started by a local Utah mom who was sick of trying to make bunk beds so she came up with Beddy's which solved her problem. Ours arrived only a few days after I ordered it - perks of being local. Lol. As soon as we unboxed it I put it up on Carson's bed. He liked it because it was black and white and on the inside it's lined with minky which was "cozy" as he said. That night he unzipped the side and climbed into it, much like a sleeping bag. The next morning Carson came running down stairs shouting, "Mom, I made my bed and it doesn't look all ugly either!" I came into the room to a perfectly made bed and such a proud little boy. I didn't expect to love our Beddy's much as I do. But I am so glad we found them! Now I want a Beddy's on all the beds in our house. It seriously was such a great find. I don't hit my head anymore trying to make a bed and Carson feels independent and proud he can make his bed all on his own! Thanks Beddy's

Rental Remodel- The task that really tested our relationship.

Rental Remodel- The task that really tested our relationship.

(If you ever want to test the strength of your relationship remodel a kitchen. lol)
Sky and I decided to take on the task of renovating an old rental property that Sky’s dad owned. We had this vision and plan to make it modern. We had a small budget but we were confident we could do it ourselves without a team. Just us two. Like Chip and Joanna but without the crew and contractors. It ended up taking us a whole summer and if i’m being honest we never finished everything we set out to do but it’s definitely quite an improvement. We started with pulling up all the old carpet in the house. In what is now Carson’s room after we got the carpet up we discovered a very old laminate flooring and about 1000 staples . For the better part of a week we spent it removing staples. After that we went to Home Depot and picked out carpet, we wanted something cool toned and dark enough that it wouldn’t show stains. After lots of looking we chose a Deep Slate grey carpet with white specks called “Foggy Night”. Home depot offers installation so we went that route scheduled an install and moved on to tackling the biggest task painting and the cabinets. The cabinets in this house were a lovely orange oak shade and covered with a lacquer. We had originally planned on buying one of those cabinet kits but after tons of research and reading countless reviews we decided that wasn’t our best option. We went to Lowes and Decided on a Cabinet Enamel by Valspar . What was really cool with this product is they can tint it to any color you want. We chose the color “Metropolis”to stay with our grey theme we had going for this house. For our walls we wanted a brighter but still soft white. Much to our surprise there are 100s of shades of white. We chose Valspar Ultra Satin Paint and had it tinted to “DuJour”.
Once we got back we painted all the walls just over the paint that was already there. We had to hurry because we wanted all painting to be done before they came to install the carpet. The next day we removed all cabinets and drawers we started washing them all down with TSP which is a great de-glosser and did a pretty decent job at removing the lacquer. Some people say that tsp works well enough and you don’t need to sand or prime. I don’t know if i believe that. We tested not sanding and just priming one and it didn’t adhear as well as we would have liked so we opted to just sand them all. After sanding we wiped them down and got a primer. After lots of research Sky chose Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer. We used this spray gun to apply the primer, cabinet enamel and paint the walls and it saved so much time. I highly recommend getting one and using it vs. painting it on with a brush or roller. We put plastic down and taped everything off and got to priming everything… this house has so many cabinets and drawers in every room including the hallway so there was a lot! Primer had to dry for a day or two before we could paint the cabinets. So we headed back to the store to pick out the Formica for the counters and things for the bathroom. For the counters we chose White Ice Granite which was totally affordable because it was just Formica but still had that granite look to it. For light fixtures we chose a simple vanity lighting bar in a brushed nickel it was under $20 and perfect for what we needed. We looked at mirrors and after weighing in prices decided to actually just get a used decorative one from facebook marketplace. We wanted Back splash the kitchen but after looking at pricing for that decided if we were going to stay under a budget we couldn’t get tile back splash. I hoped online i found these peel and stick vinyl sheets that totally look real they were less $30 a box and we only needed 3 boxes for our whole kitchen! The next time we went back to the house was to paint all the cabinet doors and drawers. Sky sprayed them all and then went to spray the cabinets. We ended up spraying the doors in the house as well with the same color paint to try and save money we didn’t use the cabinet enamel on the bedroom and bathroom doors and if i’m being honest we definitely should have because the paint itself didn’t adhere as well as the enamel did. We also used a cheaper primer on a few of the doors and same thing you can tell which doors in the house used which primer. It’s Ok to try and save money and not use name brand products typically, but not when it comes to painting is what we discovered. For hinges and handles we considered ordering all new but with there being so many we decided to just spray paint it all Oil rubbed bronze. We scrubbed everything down with TSP and then painted it all in sections. I think i ended up doing two coats on most and then sealed it all with this clear matte coat. For the counters we ripped all the old laminate off then sanded the wood underneath. Our counter had this drop down bar that we didn’t like so Sky got a piece of wood and cut a new hole for the sink and we extended the counter outwards making a level bar we added decorative legs for support and screwed them on. We cut the new Formica to size and then glued all the edges on first with contact cement. Then glued the rest the following day. We cut the hole for the new sink and the stove top. We cut thin boards to go where the back-splash would attach then sprayed the boards with spray adhesive and stuck the tile sheets in a puzzle like fashion to cover the boards. Back splash was done. When we first saw the living room of this house we noticed a lovely 1970s wood panel wall that we thought just had to go. We first had the idea to remove it completely but then i decided it would be easier to just paint it and make it an accent wall. We chose a dark grey paint and panted the whole wall. It looked perfect. After that carpet guys came and installed our carpet. We did our kitchen and bathroom floors ourselves with a grey marble style LVT which is a click and snap in. Once that was done we got baseboards and nailed them in, painted over the nails, attached cabinets, drawers and installed sinks. We were finally finished with the kitchen, dining room and bathrooms. What we learned-
It was a fun project to take on but honestly we probably will never do it ourselves again. It came with a lot of challenges and it took a long time because we worked on it in-between life and work. 1. Don’t get the kit- it doesn’t work good for long time use.
2. Do sand everything even if you use a de-glosser -it will take longer but it is necessary.
3. Spray gun- worth every penny
4. Primer and paint- Don’t penny pinch with either We got frustrated a lot when things didn’t go as planned and it was important to remember to not take it out on each other and if we did then to keep in mind it wasn’t the other person’s fault and be able to come back from that and work together.

Carson's Villain Birthday

Carson's Villain Birthday

For Carson’s 6th birthday we wanted it to be special. Since moving to Utah he hadn’t had any kid parties and really wanted a fun party this year. If anybody knows Carson then they know he loves three things; Pandas, Spider-man and Disney villains. Now, we couldn’t have a party with all 3 – though he would have like that – so when it came time to pick a theme he chose Villains. So, to the Pinterest board I went and let me tell you, there isn’t much for a Disney villain birthday party. It was now in my hands…I had to get creative. Luckily, Sky’s mom is like a party queen so together we planned a really fun villain birthday! I will try and leave links and pdfs to everything I used.

First thing we needed was games. Games

We found an awesome Disney Villain Bingo Game
It was so easy to download and go and print off the cards. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705549798814/ – Villain Bingo Next, I made a Captain Hook Ring Toss.
I used pirate hooks from the toy section at the dollar tree, glued them to a piece of board, Cricut cut vinyl for the letters and then used the plastic diving rings to toss. The kids loved it and it was very inexpensive. Carson came up with Pin the Iago on Jafar. A Disney Villain twist on pin the tail on the donkey. The kids had the best time playing that. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705549798973/ – Jafar pdf we used

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705549798995/ – Iago pdf we used The kids had a lot of fun with Bobbing for Poisonous Apples.
Another super easy game! We got a party tub from Walmart, a bag of apples, and filled the tub with water. The kids loved it and it was hilarious to watch! On to Musical Villains! I decided to make something similar to musical chairs but with these awesome villain face circles. I thought it would be really fun but we ended up not having enough time.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705549799131/

Decorations
I decided for plates and napkins to go really simple with solid purple and lime green that I picked up at Walmart. I used confetti champagne flutes – also from Walmart – and used my Cricut to add the crow silhouettes. I finished them off with purple and green curly ribbons. We built a photo backdrop using 3 plastic table cloths, paper flowers and boas I found at Dollar Tree.
Characters- I run a character company in Utah and can provide pretty much any character. So when Carson requested Ursula i had to make it happen! The website is https://www.charactersandcrowns.com/gallery I grabbed some striped black and white paper straws at Michaels and made toppers out of card stock. I will link the file below for the toppers. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705549800536/ – Straw Toppers Food (the best part!)

Food ideas took a while to come up with. I needed everything to be themed but still appropriate for picky (read: 6 year old) children. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705549800571 – Food Labels For drinks we did “Poor Unfortunate Souls Punch“
It was the Green Hawaiian punch with a splash of sprite. Adding gummy Sour Octopus candies made it more fun and of course we had to throw in dry ice to give it the potion illusion. We decided to serve lunch and did Cruella’s Mini Dogs
which were Lil smokey’s wrapped in Pillsbury crescent rolls. To go with the Mini dogs we had “Jafar Mini Staffs”
Which were just Cheetos. Dessert was probably my favorite part. Sky’s mom made “Evil Queen Poisonous Apples” purple candy apples.
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/310607705549586505/ We also made “Ursula tentacles” chocolate dipped pretzel sticks with chocolate chips. We made “Mischief Munch” – just popcorn sprayed purple with food coloring spray, alongside some sprinkles and green chocolate pearls. We finished it off by drizzling black candy melts over the top. Cassidy Cookies made us the cutest cookies I have ever seen! They were a big hit at the party and we got so many compliments on them. She is so talented! I will link her page below.
https://www.facebook.com/cassidycookiecreations https://www.facebook.com/cassidycookiecreations All and all I would say a very successful, budget friendly birthday party!

Current favorite jean shorts all under $40!

Current favorite jean shorts all under $40!

Every year summer comes around and for whatever reason it seems like all of my shorts from last year have disappeared.
It also seems harder and harder to find shorts that actually cover my butt, but aren't totally out of style because of this i have rounded up my favorite distressed shorts that cover the cheeks, still look cute and of course are affordable! KanCans are my favorite brand of jeans and shorts and it's because they have the perfect fit. Most KanCans are sold at boutiques and start at about $50 for one pair. Now i have paid that before but nobody wants to pay that much for a pair of shorts. I (being the bargain hunter i was raised to be) found a few cute pair of KanCan shorts for under $20! Can you say SCORE! I'll post their size chart below but for reference -I'm 5-2
118 lbs and i wear a S. If you are looking to spend a little more on some shorts American Eagle has the cutest 90s style Mom fit shorts!
I've linked a few others that i love above and all are under $40!
Such a steal!

My favorite Make up finds for under $10!

My favorite Make up finds for under $10!

When i lived in California I had so many shops and stores within minutes from my house. Now that i live in a small town in Utah the only store we have is Walmart. It's where everybody goes for everything!
So Walmart is now where i buy my make up! I get so many questions about my everyday make up and my favorite products so i have rounded up all my favorites and linked them above. They are all under $10.
You don't need to spend your whole paycheck on make up to look flawless! I will post a few of my everyday go-tos below. First product is the Elf Nude palette it's similar to the Urban decay Naked palette and only $10! Next NYX butter gloss is so pretty and so moisturizing! If you prefer a more matte look NYX has Lip Lingerie and Soft matte lip cream. All their Liquid lip sticks are under $6 which is amazing!

I love the color Baby doll in Lip Lingerie because that is what sky calls me and it's the perfect nude.

I pair baby doll with the NYX lip suede liner in Stockholm which i
believe is like $4. Another one of my favorite make up brands from Walmart is Milani.
Their Conceal + Perfect foundation is my go to for long lasting full coverage foundation that isn't cake-y or drying. It's comparable to Tarte face tape foundation which i also love but Milani's is only $8 a total steal! AirSpun- I swear this the powder everybody's grandma and mom used. The smell is quite nostalgic. But i have yet to find a translucent powder I love more! The fact that this is only $5 is just an added bonus! This is what i use on my brows it's Milani Brow Fix- it's compact and has a few options for colors. I couldn't find a link for it on Walmart's website but it is sold in stores. I have linked all my other favorite products from Walmart beauty above. Feel free to check them out and get ready to love budget beauty products just as much as you love the ones from Ulta!

Dresses for last minute events

Dresses for last minute events

Have you ever had an event- wedding , party , dinner etc come up that you didn't have an outfit planned for?!? This has happened to many times !! Luckily for you i found a bunch of options that are available for pick up same day or 2-3 day shipping!!

                              Exclusive Sale day!!

Exclusive Sale day!!

Today Like to know it extended their sale!!
So many brands have sales going on in the app you just have to join to get the sales and it's totally free!

Abercrombie has always been my favorite in high school it was exactly the style I was going for and now that i'm older they have changed their style to grow with my tastes and i love it all over again!!
I'm going to link my favorite fall and my favorite summer items I bought from their sale!!

Fall Abercrombie Favorites! Summer Abercrombie Favorites!! Tarte favorites from the sale!! Forever 21 favorite sale items!! There are a bunch of other brands on there as well but i personally don't shop from them so i don't have any experience with them or favorite items! But feel free to check out the full sale in the app!

My first time…. out of the country!

My first time…. out of the country!

Do you ever wake up thinking it’s just going to be another typical Sunday? Wake up, get ready, attend Church, family games, lunch, etc. That’s how our Sundays typically go but this particular Sunday was different. We had just had breakfast and I was sitting on the couch scrolling my Insta-feed. Carson was playing in the playroom and I hadn’t seen Sky for about an hour but I just assumed he was just playing a game with his brothers. Little did I know he was busy doing something quite different. About an hour went by then he came downstairs and decided to blindfold me. Apparently Carson was in on it, because he was overly giggly, like he always is when he’s trying to keep a secret, so I knew something was going on, but I had no idea what I was about to walk in to. I was led into the piano room blindfolded. Step by step, nearly tripping over myself at every turn, Sky led me by the hand and helped me down the step. He took off the blindfold and I saw a few candles nestling a giant poster board covered in pink Post-its. On each post-it note he had written something he loved about me. It was a sweet gesture, but when I saw it all I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was just a random Sunday after all. It’s not like it was a holiday or anything special so I just kept wondering to myself, “Why did he make me this?” Carson couldn’t contain his excitement anymore and erupted with glee telling me to look under the post-it notes! So I started taking them off. One by one. As you might suspect, my mind started racing and wondering if he was proposing. We had never discussed marriage in detail though, so I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It wasn’t until I was halfway through removing the notes that I realized I was wrong. As I peeled them off, the board revealed pictures of some random places, I had never been to or seen. Except one. I immediately recognized the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany! What was happening!? I had wanted to go to this castle ever since I had discovered it was the castle Walt Disney modeled Cinderella’s Castle after. Before I could finish my thoughts, I pulled the last two Post-it notes from the bottom corner and saw a picture of our tickets to Europe!! I had never left the country ever and we were leaving in a few weeks! I was excited! He said he decided to surprise me with a trip because I had been so patient with the whole remodeling of the house we had been doing. It practically took up our whole summer so he thought this trip would be something fun for us. We left two weeks later. The morning of our flight we were frantically running around and double checking everything to make sure we didn’t forget anything. We seemed to have everything we were going to need so we left to the airport. I had so many emotions. I’m not a veteran flyer (technically, I wasn’t even an amateur flyer at that point) so I was pretty anxious, super excited, and kinda scared. We were going to have to sleep on the plane? The flight was going to be so long I was thinking what if I get hungry? What if I can’t sleep? What if I over sleep and miss our stop? I had so many worries standing there in line for TSA but the one worry I wasn’t thinking about was “What if we lose our credit cards.” No sooner had we gotten in line for security when Sky reached into his pocket only to realize the only thing he had was his Passport and tickets. His credit card had fallen out somewhere between home and the airport. There was no time to go back given that we live over an hour from the Airport and this was a non-changeable flight. Luckily we had cash and I had my credit cards – even though I was told not to bring them because I wouldn’t need them. Fast forward to our arrival in Switzerland. The flight ended up being no big deal, food was pretty good, I watched a ton of movies and eventually fell asleep. We got off the plane and went to the rental car place where we had reserved a car. Apparently you need the card you reserved the car with to rent it. He only had his driver license and I had my credit cards, but no drivers license. It was a mess. After a bunch of calls back and forth to banks and rental car companies and something like 5 hours later we worked it out and got a car with a different rental car company but at least we got a car. Our first hotel was H+ Hotel Zurich. They were so welcoming and even had a nice little gift waiting for us in the room. We went to dinner at the restaurant inside the hotel called Gaumenfreund that evening and the food was beautiful and tasted amazing. Sky said it was the best lamb he had ever tasted. Personally I’m more of a forget the food and head straight for the good stuff, and as I predicted the dessert was to die for! After the day we had it was so nice to just spend the evening relaxing in the hotel, drinking Swiss Cocoa and eating the infamous Swiss Chocolate. The hotel staff was so friendly and accommodating I definitely recommend them! The next day we woke up and headed down to breakfast. Let me tell you the complimentary breakfast in Switzerland is nothing like the ones in America. There was so much food! Breads, meat, fruit, cereal and cheese! There was soooo much good cheese! Also it was much more formal than I was expecting for a hotel breakfast. I came down in pajamas (like I would for any hotel breakfast) and quickly realized how out of place I was. I immediately went back to the room and changed after seeing several other guests dressed like they were going to a business conference. Today our adventure begins! After that mouthwatering breakfast we checked out and headed to Lucerne to see the Glacier Gardens…. in the rain. Yes, it was windy and rainy when we got there and after a long walk we discovered the gardens were actually closed for remodeling until next year. This was high on my list, so I was a little bummed. Fortunately the 200 year old Lion of Lucerne monument was visible from outside the gardens. It was one of Sky’s favorite parts of the trip. The weather worsened just slightly, but we made the best of it and got our umbrellas out so we could walk around the cute little town. We toured beautiful churches, museums and supermarkets. I was astonished by the price of everything. It’s so expensive compared to what we’re used to in the states. We made our way over to a super unique 14th century bridge known as the Chapel Bridge. The adjacent water tower was used as a dungeon, archive and treasury throughout the years. There is so much history in this little town. My favorite was the Zytturm and City Walls. It was a giant clock tower with a pendulum. You could go up stairs in each tower to the top and go out on the bridge and see the whole city. It was amazing! After spending hours in Lucerne and exploring we headed back to the car. On the way back I spotted this colorful wall – it was their grocery store and had to take a picture! (Yes, even their grocery store was photo-worthy!) Our next hotel was in a quaint little town called Solothurn – H4 Hotel Solothurn. We were greeted by the friendliest and most accommodating staff. Our room had another note welcoming us complete with chocolate and fruit unique to the area. This hotel had the most amazing view. Our room overlooked the water and Aare – another very historic little town. We unpacked and toured the spa in the hotel even though the hot tub looked amazing we decided to go and explore Aare. We walked around taking pictures and enjoying all the old architecture. Then headed back to the hotel for dinner. The H hotels really get it right with their Gastronomy everything on their menu we tried was cooked to perfection. Something that was interesting was their water is always served as sparkling water and if you ask for flat water its brought out in a glass bottle. It doesn’t ever come with ice and there isn’t any refills offered. After dinner was finished we decided to go up to the penthouse bar. That view at night was absolutely breath taking and they had some pretty yummy drinks too. We went back to our room and called it a night since we had to be up early the next morning. When we woke up and I discovered our converter that we brought wouldn’t work for my curling iron or straightener. Pfft. So much for that. Oh and nobody in Switzerland uses conditioner. I asked a couple markets if they had any and mostly got blank stares. I don’t imagine it was the language barrier because a large percentage of the people we met spoke fairly good English. I had to rely on braids to give my hair any kind of style. We had another amazing hotel breakfast, I’m a salami snob and couldn’t help but stuff some salami in my purse. If that sounds weird, then you haven’t tried Swiss salami. It was absolutely amazing! We wanted to see a large portion of the country so we only spent a single night in each location. We check out of the hotel and headed to Schilthorn summit. I was excited this was going to be the first day we could see the beautiful snowy alps. As luck would have it, we arrived to Schilthorn in terrible weather. On the ground it was slightly rainy, but on top of the mountain there was thick fog and dense clouds shown on the summit cam. It was an expensive excursion, and the bulk of what you’d pay for is the view from the top. The guy at the ticket booth warned us that this day would likely not be a good day to head up to the Piz Gloria restaurant (super cool 360 degree rotating restaurant) because of the clouds, we likely wouldn’t see the incredible views. We had about 45 minutes to decide what we wanted to do given our itinerary and come up with a back up plan if we elected to not take the cable car up. If we didn’t do it that day we wouldn’t have a chance to do it again on the trip. After some discussion, we decided to do it anyway. We bought our tickets for the lift and then since we had another 30 minutes to spare we walked over to the Cow Market. It was exactly as it sounds. All these farmers out with their cows for sale – If you know anything about me, you know I was truly in my happy place. After I visited all the cows and learned their names we headed to the lift. I can’t recommend this tour enough. Our first stop was the cutest tiny town called Gimmelwald. Acres of rolling bright green hills and mountains everywhere. This town is completely isolated and you have to take a cable car 5000 feet up a mountain to even access it. The town of 130 people all know each other and they are extraordinarily honest. They have shops, but no workers. They advertise their goods, such as fresh cheese, milk, and eggs and have them situated inside a small room with a single refrigerator. Next to the fridge is a small little box for you to put the money in for what you take. It’s all fresh (as of that morning) and made from the animals in the yards. If you download the app there is an audio tour that tells you the history about the town and its really interesting as you walk along the roads. We finished our tour of that town and got back on the lift the weather had finally cleared up so we took the lift to the Piz Gloria restaurant which was made famous in the 1969 James Bond movie – In Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The lift tickets we purchased included an all you can eat brunch atop the summit. Upon arrival, the staff takes you upstairs and finds a seat for you next to large, seamless windows. The experience and views were incredible, the food however, not so much. We got full, but compared the table fare we’d experienced up to that point, we were both a bit disappointed. The restaurant rotates a full 360 degrees and given that you are 9,000 feet in the air above everything, makes for a breathtaking panoramic view of the snow covered Alps. The view of the alps is breathtaking. Just below the dining area, there is a James Bond museum which catalogs every James Bond film to date and provides some interactive simulators to enjoy. Once you step outside and walk around the restaurant, the photo opportunities this place offers is amazing. We took lots of photos and then headed to the elevator to go back to the lift and do The Thrill Walk. This was an adventure all on its own. Have you ever been stuck in an elevator? I hadn’t. We got inside and pressed the button to take us to the lower floor. The elevator somehow got stuck between floors and we were inside pressing buttons. It didn’t help that they were all in German, we had no idea what they did. It just kept buzzing at us every time Sky would press one. We finally just decided to sit down and wait it out. It took almost 8 minutes, but they finally opened and nobody seemed the wiser. We headed to Thrill and Sky walk which is an outdoor walk around a mountain with a glass floor. A portion of it requires you to crawl through tube made of chain like fence suspended 200 meters in the air. Sky seemed to be having the time of his life, but I was certainly identifying with the “thrilling” aspect of the name. It lives up to the hype and Schilthorn is definitely a must do if you’re ever in Switzerland. To finish off the night, we headed to our Airbnb in Broc. It was a bit of a sleepless night unfortunately. The mosquitoes were bad and I kept getting bit. I have no idea why they don’t seem to like Sky, but it’s not fair. We woke up the next morning, had breakfast which consisted of bread and cheese – a typical Swiss breakfast – then headed to Maison Cailler Museum which was one of the original Swiss chocolate factories! They provide you with a handheld audio tour guide that lets you explore the factory at your own pace. It talked about the history of the company and throughout the tour you’re able to sample the fresh chocolate as it’s being made. I was tasting every piece I could up until the 3rd or 4th room and my stomach began protesting a little bit. It was too much! It was all incredibly delicious though! The factory was so amazing to see the whole chocolate process from the refining of the raw ingredients all the way down to the packaging. We decided to do the “Make your own Chocolate bar” in the shop but it was basically just chocolate decorating. I was a little disappointed. It was fun but not the kind of hands-on experience we were hoping for. They do sell chocolate workshop tickets and that would have been worth it but we were on a strict itinerary and unfortunately couldn’t do that. We left shortly after lunch time and drove for a little over an hour to what turned out to be my favorite part of the trip. The majestic Château de Chillon. I was really excited because rumor has it that this castle was the inspiration behind Prince Eric’s castle in The Little Mermaid, which is incidentally my favorite Disney movie. Once you arrive, you give the front desk something to use as collateral for the iPhones they give you with he audio tracks (in your preferred language). This tour was unbelievable! Sky was enthralled by the history of it all. I’m not a huge history buff, but I was completely captivated as well. We walked through the dungeons of the castle (where Lord Byron was once chained to a pillar), saw the keep, armory, and very elaborate meeting rooms and dining halls. I was beyond impressed! This is an absolute MUST DO! The entire tour lasted about 4 hours and about the time we got our ID’s back, we were starving. We hadn’t had Swiss Fondue yet and so we drove into town to find something delicious. We googled on the way there and read review after review for each place until we decided on one. We drove to this town Chatel-Saint-Denis and walked into a restaurant. They were having some big festival in the town and everybody was dressed in traditional Swiss clothes so the restaurant wasn’t serving fondue. They were serving very “authentic” Swiss cuisine – which, as it turns out ISN’T fondue. We had kind of decided fondue was on the menu for the evening and took a walk down the street. After 5 or 6 minutes, we ended up at another restaurant called Cercle d’Agriculture. We ordered a mix of two types of cheeses, Vacherin and Raclette. They brought out a basket of baby potatoes and soft bread to dip in the cheese. It was pretty good but it had quite a strong wine aftertaste to me. It was definitely filling and we just shared one order. The table next to me had guys dressed up in Swiss battle clothes and some shiny suit for the festival they were having, so I of course had to get a picture with them! The next day was a very packed day. We had 3 things left to see in Switzerland and then needed to head to Germany to our next hotel. That morning we woke up and went to La Maison du Gruyère which was a cheese factory! We got to watch the whole process of the cheese making then afterwards taste a few different kinds. Ever wonder why the Swiss cheese is so good? Head over here and they’ll tell you all about it! (hint, it has to do with the grazing of the cows on the very luscious and floral landscape of the Alps). After the tour, we ventured to Château de Gruyères for our final Switzerland castle tour. We parked in the visitors lot and Sky wasn’t sure where to pay for the parking (or if we even had to). I pointed out a potential deposit spot but we were in a hurry and he just said, “It’ll be fine. We’re not even going to be there very long.” So, in we went. This castle in my opinion wasn’t worth it. It was basically like a Old Victorian mansion inside. Nothing was original and there wasn’t much history to it. When we finished that tour we headed to Chalet de Gruyères for some delicious berries and creme. Then we came out to our car to find a parking ticket on our car. I’m not the type to say, “I told you so…” but this occasion called for it. We promptly got into the car and it was the first thing I said to Sky. The next stop on our journey took us to the most gorgeous and crystal clear lake I’ve ever seen – Lake Blausee. It is as beautiful as the pictures on Instagram showed. Bright blue water, beautiful orange fall leaves floating on the water and was so clear you could see all the fish! If you’ve got a desire to visit one of the most picturesque places on Earth, this is where you need to go! It is a must visit in your lifetime. We took a boat across the lake that had a glass bottom so you could see all the fish swimming underneath you. It was so cool! We got back on the road and stopped in Austria for dinner at this place called La Scarpetta. The service was lightning fast! And I was starving, so I was paying attention to how quickly we got our food. Besides that, it was about 1/2 the price of the Swiss food we’d been buying and was so scrumptious! With full tummies we drove the rest of the way to Fussen Germany. We arrived at our Hotel in this cute little town which looked like it was straight out of a fairy tale, called Hotel Weinbauer. They didn’t have a huge staff but agreed to wait for us to check in that evening, even though we were several hours later than we planned on arriving. They were the sweetest. The next morning breakfast was great (something I was getting used to) and included lots of sausages. My absolute favorite breakfast food! We left the hotel shortly after 8 AM in order to get tickets for the tours for the immaculate Neuschwanstein Castle. The ticket line was very long and by the time we got tickets our tour didn’t start until 12:45. I definitely recommend getting there at or before 8 AM if you want to make sure you get tickets. I was fine with a later time that day because the weather was super foggy and I couldn’t see the castles through all the thick fog! They have a viewing bridge that usually gives you an unobstructed view of the castle. I had waited my whole life to see this place so I wanted to make the most of my “princess moda” and fashioned up with my Cinderella princess dress, tiara and glass slippers. If that sounds a little ridiculous, I’m sure (based on the looks we got) that you aren’t the only one. I didn’t care and Sky encouraged me. Given the cloud cover, we decided to visit the first castle of the tour – Hohenschwangau – before heading up the mountain. This was the castle that King Ludwig the one who built Neuschwanstein grew up in. It was beautiful and the tour guide was super informative. We came outside to take some photos and I looked up the clouds were still covering the castle… It was about lunch time, so we moseyed in to a little hotel/restaurant called Hotel Muller where the ticket office was to give the clouds sometime to disappear. It’s safe to say I’d never had a bratwurst quite so tasty! Shortly after leaving the restaurant, we came the realization that the clouds were there to stay. The tour guide mentioned something about them always being there in the morning, but if they’re still there early afternoon, they’re likely to stay for the rest of the day. We went back to the car so I could change into regular clothes at this point. We got our bus tickets and then headed up to the castle we’d come so far to see. I was so excited but also super disappointed as we walked on the bridge to the viewing point and you couldn’t see anything. We arranged our schedule a little bit and decided to head indoors to take the tour of the castle. I was in awe of everything we saw during the tour, but couldn’t shake the overwhelming feeling of disappointment not being able to see it from outside. The picture below is fog enveloping the castle from the bridge. Just before we left, I was lamenting to Sky about the picture I had on my phone that I had so hoped to re-create with the castle in the background and no tourists. Trying to lift my spirits, he suggested we hike up the hill, off the path beaten path a bit and found this spot at the top of the mountain where nobody was. During our hike up, the clouds decided to blow out and from our vantage point we could actually see the castle pretty good. I didn’t have my dress on though at this point and so my heart sunk a little knowing I wouldn’t be able to re-create my picture. My boyfriend, ever the optimist, said it was no big deal and that we would come back the next day. He assured me the fog would clear and everything would be okay. Somehow I believed him. We ended that trip with the Museum of the Bavarian Kings – which is basically a genealogy lesson of the kings that occupied the castles. It was interesting, but a bit anti-climatic. To finish the evening off, we went to our Hotel and took a late night stroll through town. All the cobble stone roads and little shops were my favorite. We struggled finding a restaurant that would take credit card and ended up at a another pizza place. It was delicious and once again service was sooo fast! The waiter was hitting on me right in front of Sky, but he staying in good humor about it. With the morning sunrise the next day, I could tell Sky was right and this was going to make for a great photo shoot. I got dressed up (again) in my little Cinderella dress, princess crown, and glass slippers and headed to breakfast. I was in such a hurry to get back to the castle I don’t quite remember breakfast but i’m sure it was great. We got on the bus to the castle, then started our hike back to the spot we’d found. It was beautiful and sunny and the castle was in full view! I got my picture and he even proposed! I was shocked! The Knot (howtheyasked.com) picked up our story and can read the whole thing if you’re interested. We finished the afternoon by taking a horse-drawn carriage down the mountain to the incredible Lake Alpsee where we rented a paddle boat. they didn’t take card and we were short on Francs but the guy was so sweet and let us take the boat anyways. Sky said it’s because I looked like a Princess, but I’m convinced Germans are just nice people. We spent 45 minutes paddling around one of the most beautiful and crystal clear lakes in Germany. It was amazing. Just before we left, we met an old man who had been coming to the castle for years and sketching it with pencils. He drew one of the most incredible pictures I’ve ever seen (by memory no less!) and gave it to me as a keepsake for me to remember the day. It was absolutely a dream come true and I still can’t believe it happened! We headed back to our car and started the journey back to Switzerland. We originally had one more hotel collaboration with the wonderful H hotels but after Sky showed me an Airbnb option, I knew we had to stay there. It was this tiny little studio apartment on a Cow Farm! There were so many cows even baby cows! When we arrived, the host greeted us graciously and led me to meet one of his baby cows named Steven. This was the perfect way to end a perfect day! Just before calling it a night, we went to dinner at Laufen Castle. It was dark so we couldn’t see much, but the restaurant is above Rhine Falls. The food was delicious, albeit pricey, but we left a bit disappointed because it was advertised that the restaurant overlooked the falls, but that wasn’t the case unfortunately. We’d come all this way to see the falls and since we were leaving back home in the morning, we went outside to explore. We took the elevator down to the falls in the dark and they were lit up and glowing. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before. They looked absolutely magical. Because it was late no tourists were out and no fees were required. It was just us and the Falls and it was perfect. We went back to our home for the night and then got up and went to The falls again on our way to the airport just to experience them in the day. I personally like them more at night but both times they were incredible. The flight back to America was wonderful the Swiss Airlines even gave us more chocolate. It was truly a trip of a lifetime and I can’t wait to go back. The only change I think I would make if I could go back and do it over again, is spending more time in Germany. I really loved it. But that just means another trip in the future! I will post a link to our itinerary that we had made for us by Taylor Made Itineraries. I highly recommend them. They asked for our (very) rough schedule and outlined it all out for us and made some incredible suggestions. Without their help, we would have missed out on some gems of Europe. It was catered to our likes, timelines, and preferences perfectly. Feel free to see what ours looked like below! Sky and Sarah’s Europe Intinerary

Beautiful Moab

Beautiful Moab

Are you planning a trip to Utah and wondering what are the best things to do in Moab? Or maybe you are looking for suggestions for your Moab trip? If so this article is for you! With a huge variety of things to do in Moab, there is no wonder that it’s such a popular spot in Utah in the United States. If you have lots of time in Moab, you can go horse riding, mountain biking, rock climbing, walk dinosaur trails, and even visit a winery… Our very favorite was camping off the beaten path! If your visit is rather short, you probably just want to see the very best Moab attractions and places near Moab that are most worth your time. So, if you are wondering what are the must-see places or must-do activities in Moab, read on! Visiting for the first time or only have limited time to spend venturing around this beautiful landscape? This post should help you! This is in no way a complete list of things to do in Moab, as there are plenty more things that we didn’t get a chance to experience but these were some of my favorites! 1. Explore Arches National Park One of the main reasons people come to Moab is to visit one of the most (if not THE most) beautiful National Parks of the United States – Arches National Park. So if you only have one day in Moab, the best thing to do is to explore Arches National Park. The fee is $30 per car, but IT IS WORTH IT! Then if you are short on time and want to see the best that Arches National Park has to offer, here are the main highlights: the scenic drive through the park with short stops at the Balanced Rock, Double Arch, The Windows, and Park Avenue viewpoint. The best hike in the park is the Delicate Arch Trail where you can also find some rock art. We had a lot of fun hiking the Sand dunes trail with the boys. Perfect for kids because its not a long hike and the rocks make the trail shaded so its quite an enjoyable stroll. Carson really enjoyed all the caves and tunnels throughout the trail. 2. The view from Dead Horse Point State Park There are few places as beautiful as Dead Horse Point State Park. It’s just a short drive from Moab on the way to Canyonlands National Park. Because these are different parks (State Park vs National Park) you will have to pay separate fees. Dead Horse Point is $20 – unless you have a State Park Annual Pass. Seeing the view at Dead Horse Point State Park is a memory I’ll never forget! It’s definitely one of the best things you can do near Moab. I saw this place on Pinterest and pinned the photo years ago so I knew when we made our trip to Moab I had to have a photo there. I even brought a special dress for the pic! It turned out better than I could have imagined – although it’s somewhere the old idiom rings true, “You have to see it to believe it!” Don’t miss this! As a bonus, there’s a cool view of the “Potash Evaporation Ponds” (a dazzling technicolor surprise). Take a look on google maps to see what they look like from a birds eye view! 3. Camping Camping is a must-do activity if you visit Moab in summer. Camping in Moab is unlike camping anywhere else. I’ve never seen SO many stars! They were majestic! Between the breathtaking views, the illuminated night sky, and the overwhelmingly peaceful scenery, to me there is no better way to spend an extended weekend. Plus, camping snuggles are my very favorite! 4. Scorpion Hunting Scorpion Hunting was so much fun! The boys had the best time looking for scorpions. This was the perfect activity for right before bed – unless you have a severe case of arachnophobia. We got black light flashlights and let the kids turn over rocks and look in crevices for the scorpions. They were really easy to find because the glowed so brightly. I actually enjoyed it too and I’m not a insect or anything creepy-crawly type of person. We found one itty-bitty guy that was about the size of a sunflower seed! He was actually kinda cute! 5. Dinosaur Museum Moab Giants is a very fun dinosaur museum for all ages. We unfortunately couldn’t fit it in our trip this time but this is definitely something to look into if you’ve got kiddos while exploring the red rocks of southern Utah. Whatever you do while you are in Moab, it’s an impressive place with so much to offer. The whole city is beautiful and full of many different things and places to go and see. These were just a few of my favorite things we enjoyed doing!

C'mon it's a castle made of ice!

C'mon it's a castle made of ice!

Being a Disney girl growing up in California I always identified with Ariel and longed to visit a castle, so when I found out Utah had Ice castles I was so excited!
We we’re contacted and invited to the Ice Castles at Midway VIP night!
From the moment we walked through the ice tunnel I was in awe! The intricate detail is absolutely amazing on every icicle. The ice castles cover two acres and include ice slides, glacier caves, ice arches and even a fountain! The ice walls are illuminated by LED lights that change color with the overhead music. Once we got inside Carson immediately ran to get in line for the ice slide. While in line they had a Fire entertainer. He twirled fire batons, threw them up in the air and caught them! When he was done with the batons he lit a whip on fire and did all sorts of tricks with the flaming whip. He was quite talented and made the time in the line go by relatively fast. Above us they lit off fireworks mortars! The sky was lit up and sparkling with so many lights and colors, Carson was in awe and I was loving every minute! The only trouble I had was deciding what amazing thing I was going to take pictures of next. Once the show was over Carson got to the top of the slide, grabbed a mat, and began his ride down the ice slide. Carson had the best time, he felt quite big and brave going down the slide on his own. Next we moved onto the light display they had which was surrounded by enclosed fire pits – these were a n ice touch. Even though you’re “inside” a castle, when it’s made of ice, it can still be pretty cold. I tried to dress warm, but being a California girl, it didn’t seem to matter. Once we had warmed up a bit we went to the ice tunnels. Carson crouched and crawled through the Narnia-like tunnels and found his own little ice cave. From there we headed to the fountain. The color changing fountain is probably one of my favorite things to see here! I could watch it for hours! It feels magical! The pictures honestly can’t do this place justice. I highly recommend checking out the ice castles if there is one near by you. I will link their website at the end of this so you can see all the locations. Like most 5 year olds, after about 45 minutes in the cold, he was pretty much done. My love wore Nike’s and ankle socks (even though he knows better…he’s been several times) so he was ready to go too. I probably could have stayed longer, but my little legs were frozen. In my opinion, snow pants make me look too “puffy” for pictures, but in hindsight, I should have worn them – regardless of how often I try to convince myself that, “The cold never bothered me anyway!” My tips for ice castles are definitely wear snow clothes and boots. Bring gloves and if your little one gets tired, you can always bring a small sled to pull them around. It’s easier to buy your tickets online ahead of time (and they do sell out!) so get them in advance! If possible, I would recommend scheduling your trip in the day time, for two reasons – it’s just as pretty and a little bit warmer for the littles, plus the photos turn out a whole lot better because of the natural lighting. Either way, it will be an experience you (and your kiddos) will never forget! The longer we are here in Utah, the more I am realizing how beautiful this state is and how much it has to offer. Get your tickets here: Ice Castles