{Me Time} Viceroy Santa Monica

Wow.

It has taken me forever to write this post. That silly thing, you know, LIFE, just keeps throwing me little curve balls. But every time I’m about ready to jump out of my one story office window…..I think back to these wonderful 2 days.

They were Blissful.

Carefree.

No stress.

Simply said….PERFECT.

To start at the beginning. Hubs and I had decided that although we’ve done our fair share of traveling with the Little Punks, been on countless planes, & loads of time zones. And even though they all have airline frequent flier numbers and passports, that this summer was going to be all about local love. If we couldn’t drive there within 2 hours, then it was not  going to happen. We wanted chill, calm, stress free. STAYCATIONS here we come!

Then I thought there might be a lot of other families out there that could be thinking the same thing. So I put on my “Sharing Hat” and decided I would blog about all the fun spots we went to, to show you how easy and fun it could be not to get on an airplane this summer.

See, this is my “Sharing Hat”! I love ya so much, I straddle toilets for better photos (of course this picture was only taken to prove my point, nothing actually good to share here…)

Then that thing, LIFE, yeah that, happened.

We took our first trip away to Palm Desert with my husbands WHOLE family (trust me, it’s a lot of people ~ kind of too much for me to have kid duty and camera duty and blog duty, and there was very spotty Internet).

The day after we returned, we dropped the punks with my parents and headed out for a couple days by ourselves at the Viceroy, Santa Monica. HEAVEN.

The week after we returned from that, I took Hayden for a little trip up north (more to come on this later…). Um, a little trip that required 6 hours of driving. Each way. 2 days after the Mother’s Day from Hades.

THEN Hubs and I  decided it would be a good year to take our kids to my family’s lake house. In Canada. For 3o days, at the end of the summer.

Huh?!?!  How did that just happen?? Did we really just do all of this to ourselves?

So as I approach the time when I need to have a bazillion suitcases packed, punks ready for lots of flying and driving, and my sanity in check….I think back to this perfect 2 day trip to the Viceroy, Santa Monica....

Why was it perfect, you ask?

Because it was 2 days and 1 night of no stress and peaceful adult “just us time”.

Because it only required 2 very small overnight bags.

Because it was only an hour drive, and no one asked for a DVD, screamed, or dropped a sippy cup 1 million times along the way.

Because the hotel staff was amazing & couldn’t have been nicer and more attentive.

Because the decor is as refreshing and amazing as their Palm Springs Resort. (And an update is coming to Santa Monica soon too…)

Because we were welcomed with a glass of champagne as we checked in.

Because I learned that they like to think outside of the box and will use ANY AREA of the hotel for your event or function. You are not limited to just the restaurant or special event space. But they certainly are not shabby!

Because we were able to take a leisurely walk along the boardwalk enjoying the amazing beach and pier and all that it had to offer.

Because we ate lunch in comfy wing back chairs that you would think belonged in a formal dining room, but were in fact on an outdoor patio around the pool. And because they served their fries in a lopped of brown paper bag and it was the best idea ever (or at least for serving fries!)

Because they have a fab happy hour “7 Before 7” with the tastiest little treats! The meatballs??….I die!

Because the dinner at Whist was so out.of.this.world we didn’t want it to EVER end.

Because the Chef  uses locally grown organic produce, and shops the local farmers market before planning the menu each week.

Because the bed was soft and firm and smelled so wonderful (crazy I know, but I love the smell of uber clean sheets!) and no one woke us up with teething, nightmares or potty breaks during the night.

Because I woke up at 6:30am and was able to lazily stay in bed reading magazines until 9:30am.

Because the hotel is so wonderfully luxurious, but intimate and comfortable that a food network star and host called it home for a month while he filmed local episodes, and had left the day before we arrived.

Because there was a beach and shops and the new Santa Monica outdoor mall all within easy walking distance so we never had to drive (or fasten a bazillion car seats, 80 bazillion times).

Because I was able to Tweet the restaurant staff for a recommendation for a cocktail and lunch idea, and THEY TWEETED BACK THE PERFECT SUGGESTION!! How fun to be a guest at a hotel and have DIRECT ACCESS to the CHEF and his staff!?!? And I can’t even share a great photo of it, because it was so good WE INHALED it! (In case you are wondering, it WAS the Picnic Chicken Sandwich and Cadillac Margarita).

Because the last time I was there I was 4 months pregnant with Addie, my sister was with me and 5 months pregnant, we had her toddler too and we arrived at 10p straight from LAX. The hotel was in full night time party mode, and yet we were quickly set up in our room with a pack & play, ordered delicious room service and never heard a thing.

Why was it perfect? Because it was EXACTLY what we needed!

Both the Viceroy Palm Springs and Viceroy Santa Monica are true Favorites. I can’t recommend them enough! Be sure to check out the special offers for both resorts! HERE/Santa Monica and HERE/Palm Springs.

{Disclosure: We were very grateful to be guests of the Viceroy.  This post is completely 120% my own opinion, and we would have treated ourselves to this staycation regardless. I encourage you to treat yourselves too!)

viceroy palm springs ~ mom’s day getaway!

So I may have posted this “teaser photo” on Wednesday, promising a Thursday post….which became impossible to do.  Sow now it is Thursday and by some miracle, I managed to get myself to San Francisco and am tapped into the building next to me for a wireless connection because my hotel room does not have one (what???).  And then I found out my poor mother in law is so very, very sick and instead sent my sister in law to help hubs with the kids while I’m away….did I mention that my sister in law has a 3 month old??  Let’s picture this = 3 months, 7 months, 18 months, 2 1/2 years…….I was a little afraid for her life and and her sanity.  Thankfully an AMAZING friend heard my panicked call and is taking Piper, so now I’m just crossing fingers for my sister in law’s survival with only 3!!

But I promised to get this post out, so it’s 10:25pm on Thursday night and it WILL BE WRITTEN! Here ya go…

Where to even begin??  The Viceroy Palm Springs is wonderful!!  I was invited to join a few other ladies for the new “Mom’s Stay and Play Getaway Package” that the Viceroy is offering. Let me just say now, Heaven!  You will definitely want to take advantage of this!  I was intrigued from the get-go since I love Kelly Wearstler, such a talented designer!  That photo on the cover of the book below? That’s the entry foyer of the Viceroy Palm Springs. Such a great, bright tile pattern!  You see the awesome black, yellow and white pattern repeated throughout the hotel.  It had such a understated glamour feeling to it all, as though you were staying in your best friends beautiful guest house, but you never felt awkward about wearing your shoes inside….

We arrived a little early (I say we, because I was lucky enough to be able to bring another mom friend, my super Latte Fairy friend.  I figured since she is always helping me get through the day showing up with surprise lattes, that this would be a fun way to say thanks!)  A mom’s getaway should always be taken with a friend! We headed off to the pool and I ordered a “Chill Out Limade”.  Seemed fitting to get me in the mood for relaxing after trying to get out of the house that morning (it’s just never easy, no matter how much you try to make it so…)

Then we went for a YUM lunch!  Some delicious hummus, along with a chicken wrap to die for!!  And the fries were pretty darn good…dipped those babies in what tasted like a homemade ranch and enjoyed each little morsel!  (I will also add that you will not see dinner photos as the lighting didn’t cooperate, but dinner was DIVINE! One of the little sides we enjoyed was truffle fries…seriously folks, those are a must, order em up and enjoy!)

Then we were shown to our room.  Couldn’t you just stay awhile? Cool, calm, serene….and no kids in sight (not that I don’t love em, but for 1 night, I’m not gonna lie, it was nice!)  Love that ceiling stripe detail! (Stay tuned for more design photos in future posts.)

Can you tell we like our Halsea bags!?!?

Part of the Mom’s Stay and Play Getaway Package includes a welcome goodie basket – brownies, champagne, magazine??? PERFECT!

Personally, I loved that the Pellegrino bottle had a Missoni designed label…it just seemed fitting…And I think this is the first time I’ve read 3 magazine in sucssesion in about 3 years…

After settling in and feeling quite at home in our room we headed to Citron to enjoy a “Gin & Sin”…oh hello, can I take you home with me??

And we were off to see the property (though it felt more like heading off to see the “grounds” of an old “estate”).  This is one of the one bedroom villa suites.  I just love the decor theme that runs through everywhere!

Every door is painted “Persimmon”.  This leads to a two bedroom villa.  Love a colored door, especially when you’re doing a dark and light theme.

The happy dog!  He greets you on each guests patio and throughout the hotel, love him.

Then it was time to enjoy dinner.  Doesn’t this just take your breath away even in my totally amature photo?? It was the perfect place to unwind at the end of a day.

This is our group.  From the front left, Hollywood Housewife, Don with the Viceroy, Savvy Sassy Moms, Romy Raves, LaJolla Mom, Diego ~ GM of the Viceroy, Tiny Oranges, Me ~ My Favorite Everything, Harrison ~ our fabulous Viceroy server (or servHER!  He made our night!), and  What Would Gwyneth Do.  Seriously, such a fun group of women!!

Dinner set up – but alas, no dinner photos as the lighting wasn’t working with me…but it was a DREAMY dinner!!

Super cool mirror over the outdoor tables.

Can you say, “happy toes”?

Cuz they were.

Happy.

I just love this little spot.  Perfect for enjoying a morning coffee and catching up on your mags before heading to the pool.

See?  Perfect!

One of the 3 pools.  The yellow and stripe on the chaises – brilliantly fun!  See what I mean, feels like a friend’s pool and not a HUGE resort pool, intimate and comfortable.

Spa time anyone??  I could have stayed at Estrella all day.

The morning yoga class is included in the mom’s package.

Then you could head inside for a little mani & pedi…

But this, this was where my head rested on a pillow for an hour.

And it did not want to get up.

Neither did the rest of me.

And I LOVE.LOVE.LOVE the painted dark walls! (for the record…)

(The package includes a $200 spa credit, so you and a girlfriend can both get a treat!)

But if it was November, you might want to partake in a little outdoor massage lounging….I’m ready!

No, really I am….it’s now 11:25 on Thursday night after a long travel and work day….I’m ready, for real….

After a little morning yoga, we headed back to Citron for breakfast….

Great menu…

Scrumptious french toast (with hidden Nutella)

But this was the winner!  Quite possibly the best breakfast burrito I’ve ever had….those are short ribs folks, DIVINE is all I can say!!

You think this is rain on the pool, but really it’s my tears as we were leaving. Crying I tell you, CRYING!

Mom’s Stay and Play Getaway Package is perfect to share with a friend…..champagne, brownies, 2 cocktails at Citron Bar, $50 breakfast credit, $200 spa credit, valet for 2 cars….they have thought of everything!!  I honestly can’t wait to go back!

(Disclosure: The Viceroy hosted and spoiled us for a night and I am so thankful! This spot is definitely a new favorite and I can’t wait to go back with hubs.  Be sure to check out their specials as they run loads of of different ones.  There’s something for everyone and GREAT deals if you can go out midweek! Enjoy!)

road trips ~ a favorite thing

So I took a road trip this past Saturday to see family and friends in the Bay Area.  The drive took me about 7 hours, which is what I had guessed it would with the kids.  I pretty much thought I had lost my mind to even think doing a drive like that with a 2 year old, 1 year old and 4 month old was a good idea.  My husband thought so too, but he didn’t do a very good job of convincing me NOT to do it.

(He WAS about to have 4 nights and 5 days without kids, can you blame him!?!?)

But the drive ended up giving me a few things I didn’t expect.

  1. It proved to me that I COULD do something that seemed impossible, by having a plan A and a plan B (maybe a C and D just in case…). Tips from what I learned will be posted soon.
  2. And it took me on a nostalgic memory trip that brought me to tears while I drove.  It brought back so many memories of the road trips our family used to take.  Thank you Mom and Dad for the experiences, and for your patience.

To back up for a minute, my parents have a lake house in Canada.  It’s in the middle of NO WHERE (which I say with fondness).  It definitely takes a little time to get there.  If you drive, it’s about 24 hours.  If you fly and then drive, it’s about 8 or 9 hours (unless you get lost trying to find a Walmart to buy a pack n play and it ends up taking 15 hours.  Which is not so fun when you have a 14 mos old and a 3 mos old. in the car..but that’s a story for another day.)

Back to the house.  This place is super special to us.  We grew up there in the summer.  There were some years we begged to go to summer camp with our friends, but my mom said “we were already going to the best camp”, we just didn’t always realize it until we got there.  A month later, we were all begging to stay.  We have family on this lake.  We have dear friends that have become our family. This place IS family.

I have not done the 24 hour drive in a LONG time.  As we’ve all gotten older and had limited time to take off, we’ve had to take the shorter traveling routes, to accommodate our shorter stays.

But as I drove away from our house this past Saturday morning, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was 10 years old again, in the second row captain seat of our pimped out tan striped Dodge van (with our matching tan monogrammed duffle bags.)  So excited about which VHS movie we would put into the little square TV in the back (kind of the size of an old Mac square computer).  For music, we would all take turns picking which cassette was going to be played next, mostly loving the mixed tapes my mom had had made for my dad with all their favorites songs from their album collection.  (Yes, I said ALBUM and CASSETTE).

My sisters and I know the route up the “I-5” like nobody’s business.  We learned to drive on that route.  We exhausted our learners permits on that drive.  We  can totally hang with the truckers in their semis.  We’re all best buds. We have sung “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” about a zillion times (it was on one of those mixed tapes) because we were allowed to say a “swear word” (it was in the song).  And that made us feel SOOOOOOO grown up!

We spent our summers completely carefree and blissful. Water skiing, riding horses, rounding up cattle, playing crib, picking berries, baking pies, eating pies, dancing, laughing, listening to the loons in the morning, waiting for Dad to make us all hot cocoa and bring it to us in our bunk beds, shooting cans, fishing, searching for moose, being lazy in the hammock, chopping wood (OK, watching Dad chop wood), singing songs by the campfire. It was an amazing place to spend our growing up summers “keeping it real”.   It may not sound it from the list of all that we did, but there was not a lot of luxury (for my mom’s 40th birthday, she got a dishwasher, and washer & dryer, and a bathtub – we were thrilled to say the least!!! Prior to we used a solar shower bag, out house and pot belly stove.) Those summers will remain the most special times of my life (right next to marrying the amazing man that I did, and giving birth to 3 of the most beautiful girls!)

So to the point, as I left our driveway Saturday morning and started to see all the familiar sitings, Six Flags, the Grapevine, the Harris Ranch.…it all came rushing back to me.  I drove with tears trickling down my cheeks as I thought how lucky I was that I get to relive those summers through my girls.  That WE will most likely do those same drives. Technology will have been updated, but the drive will still be the same.

We will pack up our sleepy kids in their PJs at “o-dark-hundred-hours” as my Mom used to say.

We will stare at a trucker’s backside for 23 of the 24 hours.  Know the code to “flash our brights” telling a passing semi it’s safe to move back in front of us, and we will wave our hands asking him to honk his horn!

We will see tomato trucks and be in awe that the bottom tomatoes aren’t crushed when they get where they are going.

We will see loads and loads of crops and try to guess what each one is, and almost always fail.  But we will have fun trying.

We will see the sign for the Harris Ranch. and start salavating….

Oh my goodness, almost there…

Oh Lordy, bring on a cheeseburger, or maybe steak fajitas….doesn’t really matter as long as beef is involved.  And on the way out, grab a box of Pecan cookies from the bakery.

Seriously, I am really not joking on this one.

These cookies taste like a Pecan Pie in a cookie.  And not any ole Pecan Pie, but one your Southern grandmother makes for Thanksgiving with loads of brown sugar chewy goodness.

You will thank me for telling you about these cookies.

Then we will get back on the road and wonder if we see a cop car ahead (because on this trip I counted 17 cops in total), and then breathe a sigh of relief when we see it’s just a split personality Honda.  Just not sure who it wants to be when it grows up.

And when we get where we are going, we will share a box of Harris Ranch. Cookies.  They wont quite be the dozen plus 1 that we started with, but there still might be 1 or 2 left.  HEEEYYYY, it’s a long drive!  We’ll need the sugar rush!!

Thank you Mom and Dad for our amazing childhood summers.  Thank you for the lake.  And thank you for the Harris Ranch and Pecan Cookies, can I have another please??

(As you read this, I will be back in the car headed home and will be sure to share lots of tips on how it all worked, assuming of course that I survive the next 7 hour drive!)

and the halsea winner is…

Halsea Totes

I know you’re all anxiously waiting….I was tapping my foot impatiently myself Saturday morning waiting for Addie to wake up and be the “official Halsea contest drawer”.   And then of course life took us in a million directions, but the bowl of names patiently waited for us…and just before nap time Addie got to work….

Ummm, what’s THIS bowl of goodies?

Halsea Draw 1

WEEEEEEEE, this drawing stuff is fun!!


Halsea Draw 2

Let me see how big of a mess I can make…
(btw mom – your laser measuring gun tastes good….isn’t this listed in your Favorites Gallery for Him??)


Halsea Draw 3

Better make sure I really get in there…did you hide chocolate in there too Mom??
(Side note – Mom just got the table and chairs at IKEA.
Chairs were $14 each and table was $8…we LOVE it!)

Halsea Draw 4

OK, I think I’m getting close….
(Oops. Mom meant to clean off that counter…)

Halsea Draw 5

GOT ONE!
(WOW – hope you’re ignoring Mom’s dirty kitchen counter…
either that, or realize she’s just a regular mom, no wonder woman here.
But we love still love her.)

Halsea Draw 6

And the winner is….

Halsea Draw 8

Congrats Andrea Fellman!  Please email me at shanna@myfavoriteeverything.com

Halsea is letting you pick any pattern clutch you would like, whoo-hoo!

Thank you to EVERYONE that entered! Halsea products are awesome!  I personally own 2 totes (one for each girl), a roller duffle, a weekender, a makeup bag, sunglasses case, and my FAVORITE, the clutch (these were all purchases or given to me to as gifts from friends over the years.  I was not compensated for this post in anyway).  I think I can speak from experience pretty frankly about the bags, feel free to email me ask me any questions and I’ll give you my honest opinion.  They are wonderful to travel with and a great gift for the holidays.

Now I’m off to clean up this mess…fun :-)

Halsea Draw 7

Have a great Sunday!

Quick tip…if you’re looking for a cheap way to tag all those holiday gifts,
pick up a box of Avery Shipping Tags at Staples.
Cheap and multi-useful (not a word, but they really are!)
I have them in all sizes.

Shipping tags