DIY Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour

Last month, hubby and I went on a 5-day trip to explore the Greater Palm Springs area without the kiddos. Both of us love to take in art and architecture wherever we visit, and since Palm Springs is to well-known for its iconic Mid-Century Modern buildings and aesthetic, we had to see some of the landmarks for ourselves.

We spent the majority of one day doing our own self-guided driving tour to see a number of the Mid-Century Modern homes and businesses in Palm Springs.

Here are some highlights from our tour!

* Note: some of these properties are people’s homes. Please respect their property. Do not trespass.*

Tramway Gas Station / Palm Springs Visitors Center

Originally designed by Albert Frey in 1963 as the Tramway Gas Station, this building now serves as the Palm Springs Visitors Center. It sits at the base of the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and is a prime example of modernist architecture.  

Tramway Gas Station
Tramway Gas Station

Location: 2901 North Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Edris House

William and Marjorie Edris commissioned E. Stewart Williams to design their home in the Little Tuscany Estates in Palm Springs. The home was built in 1954 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Edris House
Edris House

The home’s exterior features rocky landscaping and a stone wall.

Location: 1030 West Cielo Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Kaufman Desert House

Designed by Richard Neutra in 1946, the Kaufman House served as the desert retreat of Edgar J. Kaufman, Sr., a Pennsylvania department store owner. Kaufman also commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater.

Kaufman House
Kaufman House

Like Fallingwater, the Kaufman House is one of the most important 20th century American modernist pieces of architecture.

Kaufman Desert House
Kaufman House

Location: 470 West Vista Chino, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway

Elvis and Priscilla Presley spent their honeymoon here in 1967 after their Las Vegas weddings and also spent time at this home between 1966 and 1967. The iconic house is also known as the Alexander House and the “House of Tomorrow.” The Mid-Century Modern home was built in 1960 by Palm Springs developer Robert Alexander.

Elvis's Honeymoon Hideaway
Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway

Although we only saw the exterior of the home, Elvis’s Honeymoon Hideaway is open for public tours and special events. The interior features four perfect circles on three separate levels of the home and indoor-outdoor living spaces.

Location: 1350 Ladera Circle, Palm Springs, CA 92262

Swiss Miss Houses

The Vista Las Palmas neighborhood in Palm Springs is known for Charles Dubois’ Swiss Miss Houses. These homes are the perfect combination of chalet-style plus Tiki flare. They were my favorite homes from our self-guided tour of Palm Springs modernist architecture. I just love the A-fram roof lines.

Swiss Miss House at 755 West Crescent Drive
Swiss Miss House at 755 West Crescent Drive
Another A-frame Palm Springs House

Location: Vista Las Palmas neighborhood

Coachella Valley Savings and Loan No. 2

In addition to homes like the Edris House, E. Stewart Williams was also responsible for commercial buildings such as the Coachella Valley Savings No. 2, which at other times has also served as a Washington Mutual and is currently a Chase Bank. With its flat roof line and inverted arches, this building is an eye-catcher.

Coachella Valley Savings and Loan Chase Bank
Coachella Valley Savings and Loan Building

Location: Chase Bank, 499 South Palm Canyon Drive , Palm Springs, CA 92262

Bank of America (City National Bank)

Built in 1959, the former City National Bank building was inspired by Le Corbusier’s chapel in Ronchamp, France. The buildings rounded-corners and blue tiled facade are a must-see on any mid-century modern tour.

Bank of America Palm Springs

Location: Bank of America, 588 South Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

That does it for our DIY Palm Springs Architecture Tour. While we only got to see a handful of buildings on this trip, I hope we can add some more notable buildings to my list on our next visit.

Do you have any favorite homes or buildings for us to check out next time?

DIY Mid-Century Modern Architecture Tour of Palm springs
Pin Me – DIY Mid-Century Modern Architecture
Tour of Palm springs

Working from Home with a Sit-Stand Desk: AnthroDesk Review

I RECEIVED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE FROM ANTHRODESK TO USE AND POST MY HONEST OPINIONS. 

I am so excited to share a review with you today of AnthroDesk’s ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Extra Wide. Earlier this year, I rejoined the workforce as a part-time worker. Now that I am working and continuing to blog, I find myself in front of the computer for more hours a day than I would like to admit. I am one of the lucky ones in that my jobs allow me to work-from-home, but I have needed to create a new work environment that addresses my work-style and health concerns. The most important aspects for me are having a workspace that allows me to concentrate and helps keep my back pain-free.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter - Stand Position
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Stand Position

When I am not working, I spend a lot of time chasing after my twin toddlers, driving and exercising. Over the years, I have developed considerable lower back pain, tight shoulders and neck pain from the combination of constantly sitting, overuse and bad posture.

I had the opportunity to work with AnthroDesk again and try out their ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Extra Wide. We worked together earlier this year on a review of their ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat for Sit Stand Desks, which you can read about here.

Benefits of Sit-Stand Desks

For years now, I have been wanting to try using a sit-stand desk to work at. From reducing back pain and the chances of weight gain, the ability to alternate between sitting and standing while working has numerous benefits for desk workers.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

Set-Up

The beautiful thing about the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter is that it works with your existing desk and is such an easy way to make the switch to a sit-stand desk. The product arrived in a box weighing approximately 30 pounds, which I was easily able to carry upstairs and set up by myself. Assembly is very minimal. After opening the box, I basically had to cut some zipties and screw the keyboard tray into place before placing the converter onto my desktop. I was good to go in less than 10 minutes!

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

Features

I love the many features of the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter as my first adjustable standing desk. I was initially worried that it would be too bulky, but it fit perfectly in my small desk nook.

The desktop dimensions are approximately 37.4″ wide by 15.75″ deep and holds up to 33 pounds. For me, I am able to fit my 24 inch monitor, laptop and miscellaneous work items on the monitor stand. The keyboard tray holds plenty as well. I use the tablet slot to hold pens so that they are easily accessible when I need them.

The ErgoSpring retails for only $199.99 and is a great way to make the switch to a sit-stand desk.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter - Sit Position
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Sit Position

Ease of Use

Alternating between the sit position and stand position with the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter is so easy and requires no preparation. All you have to do is press a lever on the right side of the desk converter either up or down. AnthroDesk’s new gas-spring technology can convert from desk level to 19.75″ high. It takes me no effort and I can switch back and forth between sitting and standing on the fly.

AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter
AnthroDesk ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

This sit-stand adjustable desk converter has been exactly what I have been looking for. When my back starts to hurt from sitting too long, I know that I can move to the standing position in a matter of seconds without messing up my work flow.

Thank you again, AnthroDesk for working with me on this project and letting me review the ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter – Extra Wide.

Pin me – Review of AnthroDesk’s ErgoSpring Standing Desk Converter

I RECEIVED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE FROM ANTHRODESK TO USE AND POST MY HONEST OPINIONS. 

Making the Gut Health Connection

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Gut Connection from Country Life. All content and opinions are my own.

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Over 2,000 years ago, Hippocrates made this bold statement. While science and medicine are still figuring out the validity of this statement, for me, my gut has a huge impact on how I am feeling overall.

I was recently introduced to a new line of products called Gut Connection from Country Life. Country Life’s Gut Connection connects the gut to individual health issues that matter using a range of scientifically formulated supplements. An unbalanced gut can lead to bloating, digestive discomfort and irregular bowel movements.

Gut Connection from Country Life
Gut Connection from Country Life

Gut Connection by Country Life is not a probiotic. Instead in contains prebiotics that feed the existing probiotics in your gut. Gut Connection formulas connect gut health to such health issues as energy balance, immunity balance, digestive balance, sleep balance, and more.

About Country Life

Established 1971, Country Life has been producing vitamins, minerals and supplements for over 40 years. Country Life displays their Pledge of Integrity on every bottle to fulfill their five core integrity standards:

  1. Authenticity of ingredients
  2. Cleanliness of ingredients
  3. Freshness of ingredients
  4. Consistency of the formula
  5. Accuracy of labeling

Additionally, all Country Life products are:

  • Non-GMO
  • USDA certified Organic
  • Certified Gluten Free
  • Certified Vegetarian/Vegan
  • Kosher / Halal

My Experience With Gut Connection

I have been trying out three of the different Gut Connection by Country Life products over the past month: Digestive Balance, Energy Balance and Immune Balance. For most of my adult life, I have experienced issues with my digestion. The most frequent issue I have is constipation.Digestive Balance contains ingredients that help stimulate the growth of Bifidobacteria in the colon, improve weekly bowel movements and reduce discomfort and bloating. After using Gut Connection Digestive Balance, I have noticed an improvement in my regularity as well as a reduction in the amount of effort needed to have a bowel movement.

Gut Connection Digestive Balance from Country Life
Gut Connection Immune Balance from Country Life

Gut Connection’s Energy Balance contains B-Vitamins to support energy production and coffeeberry to support alertness. Maintaining energy is something that I have struggled with since becoming a mother and using Gut Connection Energy Balance helps me to maintain my gut health while also giving me a boost of energy.

Gut Connection Energy Balance from Country Life
Gut Connection Energy Balance from Country Life

Finally, Gut Connection’s Immune Balance balances the health and gut connection by helping your body stay healthy in times of stress. Let’s face it, the last thing I want in my life is to get sick. A sick mommy makes for a huge inconvenience in the day-to-day life of my family, so doing what I can to make sure I am healthy as much as possible is crucial. 

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Gut Connection Immune Balance from Country Life

Where to Buy Gut Connection by Country Life

  • 60-count bottle typically retails for $44.95
  • Purchase at Sprouts, The Vitamin Shoppe, Natural Grocers Vitamin Cottage, and Amazon, and other natural health food stores
  • To find Gut Connection by Country Life near you, visit countrylifevitamins.com/where-to-buy

Despite my busy life as a working mom, I make every effort possible to take care of myself because at the end of the day, I know that ensuring that I live a healthy lifestyle impacts every member of my family. When I discover products and services that make maintaining my health easy and give me peace of mind that I am doing the best I can for my body, I love to pass on this information to my readers.

Gut Connection Digestive Balance from Country Life
Gut Connection Digestive Balance from Country Life

To learn more about Gut Connection from Country Life, visit:

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Gut Connection from Country Life. All content and opinions are my own.

How to Start Toddlers on their Mindfulness Practice

Life with toddlers can be hectic and overwhelming. Oftentimes, there is so much to do that it is hard for me to be present and grounded. For toddlers, understanding the value in quieting ourselves and finding awareness in where we are and what we are doing is a foreign concept, but it is never too early to introduce the little ones to the importance of a mindfulness practice.

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Zafooz. All content and opinions are my own.

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What is Mindfulness?

According to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, mindfulness is “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.”

Being mindful helps us to be fully present and allows us to be more aware of ourselves instead of what is going on around us.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

Research shows that mindfulness can help children improve their ability to pay attention, better regulate their emotions and to make better decisions.

For us, mindfulness and deep breathing has been beneficial in calming my boys down when they are upset, which in turn helps them to better express their feelings.

Zafooz meditation cushion

Starting a Mindfulness Practice with Your Toddlers

When introducing mindfulness to very young children, it is important to keep it fun and simple. My twins love their meditation cushions from Zafooz.

Zafooz were created as a relatable way to introduce simple mindfulness practices to children by combining a meditation cushion called a “zafu” with a plush animal. The Zafooz are cushions and breathing buddies in one. All of the designs feature a peaceful animal face to remind children to slow down and focus within themselves.

We have two Zafooz, one for each of my twins. Each Zafoo has its own mantra. Lotus Ladybug‘s mantra is “I am loved.” Mindful Monkey‘s mantra is “I breathe in and smile.” Zafooz are available in four other designs: Bodhi Bear, Tranquil Turtle, Peaceful Panda and Dharma Dog.

Since my boys are still very young and are always busy, I try to incorporate small doses of mindfulness into their daily routines. We like to sit together on the floor of our playroom with their Zafooz. They like to hug their Zafooz or will sit quietly on the cushion for a brief moment. These are simple and quick ways for them to slow down and bring awareness to what they are doing.

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Zafooz – Mindful Monkey and Lotus Ladybug

 

As my boys get older, I hope to expand on their mindfulness practice by introducing them to meditation and breathing exercises. zafooz’s website has great resources for teaching mindfulness to children, including guided meditation scripts and lessons on mindful breathing and body scans. They also have a list of recommended books on teaching mindfulness to young children.

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I hope that mindfulness continues to be a big part of my children’s lives, and we all learn to slow down and be present.

Special Offer

From now until July 22, 2019, save 15% on your own Zafooz cushion by using the discount code breatheBhappy at zafooz.com/shop.

This post was written in partnership with Moms Meet and Zafooz. All content and opinions are my own.

Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

Nothing says the start of summer like grilling! Although summer still has not officially started yet, hubby and I have already entered grilling season. We recently moved into a new house and have not purchased an outdoor grill yet, but we do have a grilling pan that we have been using in the interim.

Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil
Summer Grilling with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

About a year ago, I was introduced to Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil and have been using it ever since! To read about some of my previous experiences with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil check out this post, which details what makes palm oil special, what makes Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil special as well as two of the recipes I made with palm oil:

Cooking with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil 

Grilling at home with Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil

For dinner, I got out my grill pan and used Malaysian Red Palm Oil to marinate veggies and meat, as well as grease my grilling pan. On the menu were tuna steaks, oyster mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash.

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I sliced the vegetables into long segments and then let them marinate in palm oil, salt and fresh herbs from my garden. I used basil, sage and parsley that I grew from seeds starting this spring. I love having fresh herbs on hand!

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After letting the veggies and tuna marinate and getting the grilling pan hot and nice and coated, I put the veggies on the grill for a few minutes on each side.

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Once all of the veggies were done, I lightly seared our tuna steaks, which were marinated with palm oil and soy sauce. I love those grill marks! Dinner was served and it was delicious!

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I am so happy that I tried grilling with palm oil! To learn more about Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil, visit http://palmoilhealth.org.

Strawberry Picking at Kenny’s Strawberry Farm

I am the type of person who loves to try new things and have new experiences. A sense of curiosity is definitely a trait that I want to encourage in my children, so just about every week, we are going on a new mini-adventure together.

Last week, we headed up to Fallbrook, California to visit Kenny’s Strawberry Farm. Kenny’s is a U-pick farm that operates during strawberry season (normally February through July). This was also my very first time going strawberry picking, so it made the trip extra fun and memorable!

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Kenny’s Strawberry Farm

We arrived at the farm just as they were opening, so cars were backed up for a couple of minutes. Once we got onto the property, we pulled our car into the dirt parking lot, where there was free parking.

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Then we headed up to the farm. There is no admission charge and you just pay for whatever strawberries you pick. The boys were each handed a red bucket, which they used to hold their freshly picked strawberries.

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Helpful farm rules signage

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Only a certain rows of strawberry bushes were accessible and open for you to pick from. The rest of the rows were roped off. We were able to stick to just one row to pick from since there were so many ripe berries right there.

If you have never had fresh strawberries straight from the bush, you are in for a treat! They are so sweet, juicy and just plain delicious.

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The boys needed my help for a lot of the picking and we wound up getting about one full bucket load of strawberries. After we finished picking, we went back to the front entrance to pay for our strawberries. The line was especially long and we had to wait about 15 minutes to finish paying. The boys were really difficult to handle during this time because getting two year old twins to wait in line is nearly impossible!

Once it was our turn to pay, we handed over our buckets and they are placed into a plastic container and weighed. Be careful that there are only strawberries in your bucket! I found out that the boys were putting rocks into their buckets while we were waiting in line and I missed one of them before we paid. Let’s just say that rock cost us extra!

Once we paid, we headed to the picnic area, where we were able to wash some of the strawberries and eat them right there! They were so good, and the boys loved them.

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What we loved about Kenny’s Strawberry Farm:

  • Perfect activity for preschool and elementary aged children. The whole process took less than an hour, so it is not a whole day excursion for those who schedule activities around meals and naptimes.
  • No admission fee. You just pay for what you pick. On the day we went, it was $4 per pound of strawberries
  • Free parking and not a lot of distance to get from the parking lot to the entrance to the strawberry fields and back, which was great because this is not a stroller-friendly activity.
  • Picnic area with faucets to wash strawberries.

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Tips Before Visiting:

  • Leave your stroller at home. The rows of strawberries are spaced closely together, so a stroller will not fit in between them.
  • Bring hat, sunglasses and sunblock. There is no shade covering the strawberry fields.
  • Cash and credit card are accepted.
  • Kenny’s Farm Kitchen mobile food truck is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 AM to 4 PM. Menu includes short cake, milk shakes, lemonade and kabobs.
  • Check their website or social media accounts before going. The farm has been closed several days this season due to weather and lack of supply.

Strawberry Treats At Home

If you find yourself needing to use up your strawberries as the super ripe ones don’t last very long, make something at home with them. I made a delicious strawberry crisp with some strawberries I purchased a few days before going to Kenny’s Strawberry Farm, using this recipe. I even had all of the ingredients needed for this crisp already in my pantry.

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So yummy and a perfect spring dessert!

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Kenny’s Strawberry Farm
953 Rainbow Valley Blvd.
Fallbrook, CA, 92028
Wednesday-Sunday: 10 AM to 6 PM

Custom College Graduation Invitations and Thank You Cards from Basic Invite

Thank you to Basic Invite for sponsoring this blog post.

Can you believe that we will be in April next week? Time flies! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that we recently celebrated the twins’ second birthday. In just a few months, they will be entering preschool, and that makes my heart a little bit sad. And although the days are long, the years seem to be going by so fast! Pretty soon, they will be graduating from preschool, then high school and then college.

Although college seems like many years away, we have already started planning and saving for their tuition fees! Crazy, right? If you know me, I am a planner when it comes to my life and my family, sometimes to my husband’s dismay.

I love to plan and create special moments for my whole family and I am sure once college graduation comes around, I will take the opportunity to mark the amazing achievement in a special, personal way.

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Basic Invite is an online company that creates custom stationary for all of your business, holiday and special occasion needs. If you have a loved one graduating in the Class of 2019, Basic Invite has both modern and classic graduation invitations. One of my favorite graduation templates is the “then and now” template! It is so adorable. I would absolutely use my twins’ preschool pictures and senior portraits for these invitations. They also have options for text only, one or more images, foil cards and camo graduation invitations.

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Over 180 Color Options – Basic Invite allows you to change the color of each of the card elements with over 180 color options. You can also instantly preview how your card will look. I love that, with so many color options, you can give your cards the exact look and feel you desire.

Custom Samples – Basic Invite gives customers the ability to order a printed sample of your actual invitation so you can see exactly what it will look like and hold it in your hand before you place your final order. To me, ink and paper quality are so important when creating custom stationary, and Basic Invite is one of the few online stationary shops that gives customers this option.

Over 40 Different Envelope Colors – Basic Invite allows customers to make their invitations stand out even before they are opened. Customers can choose from over 40 different colors for their envelopes, which is another way to really stick to your personal theme and look-and-feel. Another thing I love is that all envelopes are peel-and-seal!

Address Capturing Service – Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends’ and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite offers recipient address printing at no additional cost on all card orders.

Foil – Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

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My Experience with Basic Invite

I got to try out the design and printing process with Basic Invite for myself, and I can tell you that it is user-friendly and the final product is high-quality and beautifully made. For the boys’ second birthday, we picked a dinosaur theme since they are obsessed with all things dinosaur. Basic Invite had the perfect dinosaur-themed thank you cards that we were able to personalize and customize to send our guests their thank yous!

Basic Invite has so many college graduation invitations templates. Check them out to see all of their designs. Right now, Basic Invite is offering 15% off orders with the coupon code: 15FF51

Check them out online and on social media at:

BasicInvite.com
Facebook/BasicInvite
Pinterest/BasicInvite
Instagram/BasicInvite
Twitter/BasicInvite

This blog post has been sponsored by Basic Invite.

Upgrading Our Workspace with the AnthroDesk ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

I received this product for free from AnthroDesk to use and post my honest opinions. 

Before becoming a stay-at-home mom, I spent my days sitting in an office while staring at a computer screen. Those hours, coupled with daily work commutes have left me with constant shoulder and back pain, along with poor posture. If I ever return to a desk job, the first thing I am going to request is a convertible sit-stand desk.

Luckily, our home office is equipped with an adjustable convertible sit-stand desk. I am sure you know that many office workers have found alternating between sitting and standing to have numerous physical benefits. In our home, this is true, especially when it comes to dealing with chronic back and shoulder pain.

AnthroDesk - ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

While transitioning from sitting to standing can improve posture and reduce back pain, it can also result in unintended side effects, such as leg or foot fatigue. Adding a mat underneath your desk for standing on can help to make the transition easier.

AnthroDesk - ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat
AnthroDesk ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

Use a Standing Mat

AnthroDesk: Standing Desk in the US recently gave me the opportunity to review its ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat for Sit Stand Desks. The ErgoSlant Mat’s ergonomic design helps to improve posture, reduce back pain and counteract the negative effects of wearing high-heeled shoes. What sets the ErgoSlant Mat apart from other mats is that it offers multiple degrees of cushioning depending on how the mat is positioned.

For me, the incline really helped me keep my back in alignment, which is something I am actively working on to improve my posture and keep my back and core healthy and strong.

The mat measures 22” x 34″, which makes it easy to store when your convertible desk is in the sitting position.

AnthroDesk - ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat

If you are currently looking to add a standing mat to your office, consider the AnthroDesk ErgoSlant Anti-Fatigue Mat. The mat is currently on sale for $69.99 on the AnthroDesk website.

I received this product for free from AnthroDesk to use and post my honest opinions. 

 

Denver Travel Diary – 2018

Over the summer, my family and I took our first ever vacation! Now, we have done our fair share of traveling since the twins were born, but this was the first time ever for us to go on a trip that didn’t include visiting family. What a different experience it was! No obligatory visits and no one else’s time table, which for our families usually means waiting and waiting for other people.

We spent a long weekend in Breckenridge and Denver, Colorado, and I wanted to share with you some of the family-friendly things we did with our toddler twins. I hope you enjoy reading about our trip to Denver. Stay tuned next week for a look at what we did in Breckenridge.

Things to Do

We visited Denver over the last weekend of July, so the weather was warm and sunny the whole time we were there.

Downtown Aquarium

The Downtown Aquarium is a great place to spend a day with the whole family. The boys absolutely love animals, so they were very interested in seeing everything this aquarium has to offer.

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Downtown Aquarium – Denver

The aquarium boasts over a million gallons of underwater exhibits, containing over 500 species of animals.  In addition to the aquarium, the complex has a Stingray touch pool, restaurant, and activities including face painting, a carousel and theatre.

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Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities

Hubby and I visited the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities on our first visit to Denver, back when we were still dating. We absolutely loved it, and when we were planning out this trip, it was one of the first things that came to mind when we were thinking of things to do with the children.

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Inside the Main Gallery

The Arvada Center is located in the city of Arvada, which is about 20 minutes northwest of Downtown Denver. The Center’s facilities include art galleries, classrooms, theatres,  an outdoor amphitheatre, and sculpture gardens.

After checking out the galleries, we spent the rest of our visit in the outdoor sculpture gardens. They were so fun for the boys to run around it, and for older kids, there are tons of opportunities for them to climb!

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Squiggles, Interactive Sculpture Garden – Bill Gian

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Arvada Center Outdoor Sculpture Garden

16th Street Mall

Our hotel was located a few blocks from the 16th Street Mall, so we wound up spending quite a bit of time walking around the area. The Mall is mile long pedestrian and transit promenade in the middle of Downtown. Free shuttle buses go up and down the mall. We didn’t take advantage of it since we liked to walk.

The mall has tons of restaurants and shops, as well as movie theaters.

One of the landmarks on the 16th Street Mall is the D&F Tower. The tower is a two-thirds replica of the Campanile of St. Mark’s in Venice, Italy and was the highest building west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1909.

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D&F Tower

One of my favorite things about the 16th Street Mall was the public art in the alleyways.

 

Meow Wolf at Next Stage Gallery

Meow Wolf was basically one of the best things happening in New Mexico when I was living there. I found out that Meow Wolf was collaborating on a temporary exhibit, called Special Guest at the Next Stage Gallery, which was within walking distance of our hotel! I immediately added this to our itinerary.

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I loved that the kids got to interact with the exhibits and explore in a safe, fun and creative environment.

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Meow Wolf is currently preparing to open a permanent space in Denver sometime in 2020. For more information, visit them online.  Until then, Special Guest will be running until the end of this year.

City Park

After arriving in Denver, getting our luggage, getting our rental car and eating, the boys really needed to have a chance to run around since we were immediately continuing on to Breckenridge. We stopped by City Park in Downtown and played in some of there beautiful open fields.

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City Park

They had a run of the place and had a lot of fun. The park was surprisingly clean for an urban park.

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City Park – Denver

Sleeps

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View from our room at the Hyatt Place Denver Downtown

For this trip, we made our home at the Hyatt Place Denver Downtown. This is a great option for families because of the central location, amenities and moderate price.

We loved how convenient the location was. This hotel has great freeway access and is within walking distance of the 16th Street Mall. We were playing it pretty easy this trip so we did not mind that the majority of eateries along the 16th Street Mall are national chains. We just wanted convenience since we were traveling with the twins and another family as well.

Pros: indoor pool, fitness center, high quality hot breakfast buffet included with your stay, free wifi, location, clean. Our room also had a nice view of Downtown Denver, which the boys loved.

Cons: Parking fee. Pack n Plays provided, instead of cribs.

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Enjoying the view!

I hope you enjoyed reading about our trip to Denver. Let me know if you have any favorite things to do in Denver with kids! Our stay was so short that we weren’t able to even scratch the surface!

Tips for Visiting Disneyland with Twin Toddlers

We recently had the chance to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California as invited audience members for the 2018 Disney Parks Holiday Special tapings. I wanted to share my thoughts on things we did to make our visit to Disneyland with twin toddlers enjoyable. While we spent the majority of our time waiting for and attending the taping, I still think many of our experiences could be helpful for a variety of situations.

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Visiting with Mickey Mouse

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Cameraman set up for filming on Main Street

Tip 1: Stay overnight

Since we live an hour-plus away from Anaheim and we were visiting on a weekday, we decided to stay overnight in Anaheim the night before our visit to Disneyland. The great thing about Disneyland, compared to Walt Disney World, is that there are a ton of hotels that you can stay at that are within walking distance to the park entrance. This time we stayed at the Fairfield Inn Anaheim Resort, which is a 6-minute walk from Disneyland (no joke)! Another great thing about staying off property was that we were able to leave our car there even after check-out time, we just had to pay the parking fee for an additional day, which was less expensive than Disney parking.

Tip 2: Get to the park early

Disneyland has added additional security measures in recent years, which makes getting into the park a little more time consuming. My recommendation is to get there early. If your toddlers are like mine, they are up and ready to go around 7 AM! You never know how long getting through security and the gate will take, so get there early and start your day of magic!

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Checking in for Disneyland

Tip 3: Take advantage of the Baby Care Center

The Baby Care Center is located on Main Street and has so many amenities for parents with infants to toddlers, including high chairs, toddler potties, changing tables and nursing rooms.

Tip 4: Get Fastpasses

Unfortunately, Disney does not offer Fastpasses for the majority of the little kid-friendly rides in Fantasyland. Making our kiddos wait in lines for at least 45-minutes sounded like torture for all of us, so we took advantage of one of the rides that did offer Fastpasses. We got Fastpasses for “it’s a small world” Holiday, and it was so worth it!

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“it’s a small world” Holiday

I love “it’s a small world,” but it is honestly one of my favorites during the holidays.

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For a current list of rides offering Fastpasses, check here.

Tip 5: Pack you own food

We didn’t have the chance to plan or meal prep for this visit to Disneyland, but hopefully, we can next time. While there are some good food options at Disneyland, when you are desperate to find food for your hangry toddlers, you might find yourself in long lines for mediocre and extremly pricey food!

Tip 6: Keep the kiddos occupied

Mickey’s Toontown is a no-brainer for letting your high-energy toddlers run around and have fun! There are lots of places where they can explore hands-on.

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Mickey’s ToonTown

My sons loved Goofy’s Playhouse. Goofy’s backyard has a toddler play area with a slide and play structures, including a giant watermelon and pumpkin! Goofy even came by to visit with guests while we were there!

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Goofy’s House

Tip 7: Make memories

I discovered that the memories you make are not necessarily the ones that you expect. My husband was very adamant about having our sons participate in character greetings, while I was thinking, they will never remember this! Little did I know, that meeting Mickey and Goofy were their favorite events of the day! Plus, we will forever have these photos of them!

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Hanging out with Goofy

Waiting for the parade was rough because we had over an hour before the thing actually started. There was a lot of juggling kids, getting up and walking around, and generally trying to get through it! Once the parade finally started, they loved it for the first 30 minutes or so, but little brother wound up falling asleep in my arms!

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Waiting for the parade

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Disneyland Christmas Parade

The parade was probably a little bit of sensory overload for them, but it is certainly something hubby and I will remember!

Tip 8: Keep your expectations reasonable and be flexible

We kept our expectations low for our trip to Disneyland. We just wanted to see the parade and go on maybe one or two rides, and make it home at a reasonable time. This was very doable for us and we did not feel the need to “do everything.”

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Main Street Christmas Tree

I hope these tips help you if you plan on making a trip to Disneyland! The Disney Parks Magical Christmas Day Parade will be airing on Christmas Day: Tuesday, December 25, 2018 (10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. EST, 9:00-11:00 a.m. CST/MST/PST). We will be watching to see if we see ourselves!