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“Since I started working with Tee, my weight is down, my energy is up, and I’m on my way to being my best self when I marry my partner next year! “

5 TIPS FOR TAKING GREAT PICTURES OF BABIES & TODDLERS

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Bella’s Dress: Tulle Dress

Bella’s tights: Red Holiday Tights

Jordan’s pants: Suspender pants

Jordan’s Top: Button-Front Plaid Flannel Bodysuit

I get asked this question a LOT: how do you take such great pictures of your kids!?  Well, sometimes “luck” has a lot to do with it. Photo sessions with kids can be so unpredictable. Some days they’re perfect angels and other days little devils. I’m no expert photographer but I’ve mastered few tricks since I started blogging three years ago. By the way, this past weekend we’d our first family photo session with baby Jordan so these tips work on babies too! 

Jordan’s top: Turtleneck Bodysuit

Jordan’s pants: Straight Jeans 

Bribing Works! 

I hate to admit it but this is my go-to trick 🙂 As a rule, I never use food or shopping as a bribe. Instead I promise my toddler an experience as a reward for her cooperation during a shoot. In the past I’ve rewarded her with a sleepover at grandma’s (she gets to stay up), a trip to the city on the train (which she loves) and a trip tot the waterpark. And at our last photo shoot last week I promised to take her to see the zoo lights and santa at his workshop. The trick to this working is to reveal the bribe right when the photo shoot starts so they’re excited enough to cooperate. 

Bella’s shoes: OshKosh Velvet Mouse Flats

Play Dress Up!

My daughter is a little fashionista and she likes to express herself through her style. So dressing her up in fun outfits that fits her personality gets her excited about taking photos. I noticed that when I let my daughter wear that pink tutu or that unicorn headband she loves so much, the smiles come freely and naturally. Luckily, I can count on OshKosh to help me take care of the dressing up part because we both LOVE this brand! From winter layering to summer splashing to active playing, they’ve kids fashion covered. What I love most about OshKosh is that they launch fun new styles each season, allowing me to update their wardrobes at prices I can afford. 

And now that baby Jordan has joined his sister in the photo shoots, I’m sure the fun (and stress) will double. When I was planning this photoshoot, I was a little nervous shopping for a boy because I’ve been a girl mom for so long. I worried that I won’t find outfits that are stylish yet comfortable for him, but once again OshKosh came through. For a formal look, I found the cutest dress pants with suspenders and classic Button-Front plaid flannel bodysuit. And for the casual look, I got this stylish skinny jeans and festive Turtleneck bodysuit. And how cute is this pom pom snowman hat!? I mean, who knew boys’ fashion can be so much fun? Thanks to OshKosh, our first, family-of-four holiday photoshoot was a success! 

Timing is everything!

Timing is probably the most important factor of a successful shoot with kids. Needless to say, don’t attempt to photographer your kids when they’re tired, grumpy or hungry! It’s not fun for them or you. Best time to schedule it is when they’re rest, well-fed, and in playful mood. This time is usually after a nap and/or after a snack. You’ll be so much happier with the outcome if you schedule the session around THEIR schedule.

Capture them in their element 

My daughter hates it when I keep saying “Say cheese!” She’ll usually give me a few forced smiles before checking out completely. So I’m constantly looking for creative ways of keeping her upbeat and engaged. The thing that works is asking her questions that she enjoys responding to: questions about her grandparents, her favorite cousin, or the superhero she saw in the movies. This usually gets her chatting and I’m able to get enough genuine shots. Getting her singing and dancing works wonders too! For babies,  playing “Peek-A-Boo!” and hiding your face behind the camera usually will get the smiling for a little while. Older siblings are also perfect for entertaining babies while shooting. Last week I got few smiley shots of baby Jordan while Bella was singing and tickling him 🙂

Snap, Snap, Snap!

Ahhh, gotta love the digital age! This is one of the biggest “secrets” to getting great images. Because there’s really no limit to how many pictures you can take because you can always delete what you don’t like later. So don’t be afraid to take as many shots during a session and pick your favorites when you’re done. Even if you take 50 shots and end up with 5 great shots, it’s still worth it!

I hope these tips help you capture photos of your kids. Ultimately though, if you’re enjoying the photoshoot, your kids will too. So don’t be afraid to have a little fun and experiment with different tricks. By the way, same tips apply to adults too 🙂 

Anyway! I’m grateful for brands like OshKosh for keeping  in mind not only quality and comfort but style and affordability too in kids fashion. There’s a huge storewide and online sale going on right now so be sure to check out the website. You can also locate your nearest store here. Even better, you can use these coupon codes to save an extra 20% off your order of $40+.  In store: 037264 | Online: OKBG3418

How are you spending the holidays this year? What are you looking forward to in 2018? Please leave your comments below!

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33 WEEKS: BUMP UPDATE WITH OLD NAVY

The last bump update was during my second trimester at 24 weeks so it’s been a while! Thank you to everyone who’s been checking on me and I apologize for being MIA these past few weeks. I honestly thought I’d feel so much better, maybe even start glowing once I entered third trimester. But that hasn’t been the case at all. Believe it or not, I’ve continued to have severe insomnia, heartburn and nausea into my 3rd trimester. Needless to say, this pregnancy has been much tougher than the first 🙁 

One thing that has managed to cheer me up is dressing up the bump whenever I felt a little better. Few days before the July 4th weekend, I went on a semi shopping spree on the Old Navy online store and found so many summer deals for me and Bella. And I bought this non-maternity Fitted Crew-Neck Tee Dress to wear to a 4th of July picnic but I ended up getting sick and staying in all that weekend. I’ll be honest, I was so bummed I couldn’t show off my growing bump in this cute and oh sooo comfy number. But I was determined to find a reason to wear it out and about the minute I felt myself again. And this past weekend I finally got that chance. The hubby was off work all weekend (that almost never happens) so we took advantage of the lovely weather by hosting a picnic with a few of our friends at my favorite summer spot in San Francisco, Baker Beach! 

Hard to believe that I’ve only got eight more weeks of this pregnancy, but I’m honestly beyond ready. Of course ready to meet our bundle of joy but also ready to be done with the never ending variety of illnesses that has plagued me during this pregnancy. I realize I’m not gonna be sleeping much even when the baby comes but I’m convinced that waking up every two hours to breastfeed is preferable to my current nightly insomnia. Anyway, we’ve now been in our new home for couple months so getting settled and prepping the baby room has kept me busy. Stay tuned for the baby room reveal really soon! I’ve also managed to walk 3-4 miles most evenings, which always helps with alleviating my pregnancy symptoms.

Other than that, we’re just counting down the days and beyond excited about what we’re having. Sometimes I just want to find out if it’s a boy or girl, but I think the surprise will be worth the wait. Even more excited is Bella, who’s going to make the best big sister. Every single day she kisses my belly and asks to go to the hospital to bring the baby home and it’s the most adorable thing.

Xo, Tigisti

This post is sponsored by Old Navy. Thank you for supporting the brands that enable Bella Diva Lifestyle to stay in business. 

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Summer Playdates & Sleepovers in Style

Teepee & Sleeping bag from Olive Kids

I’ve been wanting to get my  baby girl one of those trendy teepees for the longest time. I looked around a while back and didn’t find anything I liked then just forgot about it. But as Bella’s 4th birthday started approaching, she started to talk about camping and sleepovers, basically all the cool things her friends were planning to do over the summer. The only thing is, I’m too pregnant and too sleep deprived get into the camping mood. But I also wanted to do something fun and exciting to welcome her birthday.

That’s when I came across Olive Kids, a company that makes fun and colorful gears for kids of all ages – items like teepees, sleeping bags, bedding and more. Even cooler, their teepees and sleeping bags are versatile and perfect for indoor use. And immediately it gave me an idea. Since Bella and I were gonna spend a lot of time together this summer, I’d plan things that we could enjoy from the comfort of our home and backyard. So  two weeks before her birthday, I ordered the Butterfly Garden Teepee and Fairy Princess sleeping bag and couldn’t wait to surprise her! 

Both items arrived the day before her birthday (June 23rd) and that night I set up the teepee and sleeping bag in the living room after she went to sleep. I furnished the teepee with a plush white rug and decorated it with few of her toys and books. Early the next day, I made her favorite breakfast and set it up inside the teepee and that’s where she found me when she woke up. Needless to say, she was sooo excited that she barely ate her breakfast 🙂 She loved her new, colorful teepee that she ended up playing and reading there for several hours after breakfast. 

In the afternoon, we laid out the sleeping bag inside the teepee and we had a ‘mother-daughter” tea party, which she enjoyed a little too much. Then we took a long nap inside the sleeping bag! And of course, that night she insisted that we have a sleepover in her teepee so that’s what we did. Honestly, this year’s birthday celebration was the simplest but it’s the most excited I’d ever seen her, which goes to show that kids don’t need much to have a good time. 

Since her birthday, she’s had so many tea parties and sleepovers in her teepee and she still gets excited every time. Currently, the teepee and sleeping bag are in her bedroom and she uses them to take a nap every afternoon and to read to her toys at bed time. And this weekend, she has invited two of her friends over for overnight camping in the backyard so you can imagine how excited she is. I have a feeling we’re going to get a lot out of her teepee and sleeping bag this summer, which is exactly what mama was hoping for 🙂

Xo,

Tigisti

This post is sponsored by Wildkin. Thank you for supporting the brands that enable Bella Diva Lifestyle to stay in business. 

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SUMMER VIBES WITH OLD NAVY

My Dress: V-Neck Cutout-Back Shift Dress

Bella’s Dress: Drop-Waist Cami Dress

My shoes: Lace-Up Sandals

Bella’s shoes: Sueded Fringe T-Strap Sandals

Happy summer everyone! Summer is my daughter’s favorite season, and her birthday is only few days after the first day of summer so we always mark the beginning of summer in a special way. Last year, we bought matching swim suits and spent all day at the beach – picnicking and swimming till the sun went down. And this year, we continued the tradition of matching our outfits and kicking off the first day of summer in a memorable way.

To find our matching summer outfits, I turned to Old Navy as I’ve done for few summers now. Why? Because they honestly have the biggest, brightest and most affordable summer styles of any brand I know. Each month they come up with a new, themed collection for everyone in the family, including maternity line I might add! For instance, their May collection was Havana inspired and I ended up getting a beautiful orange maternity dress for myself. And June is Ivory Coast inspired as you can see in these pictures. I can’t wait to find out what the inspiration is for July and August. 

The fun part was that our dresses arrived on the very first day of summer! So put them on and immediately took a stroll to our neighborhood fruit stand. We bought cherries and strawberries and had us a little impromptu picnic at the park near our house. After we had our fill of fresh berries, we wanted to keep the summer vibes going so drove to our local outdoor swimming pool and enrolled Bella for summer swimming classes. And of course she was beyond excited because swimming is her favorite activity. She’s already taking swim lessons once week but now she’ll be swimming four more extra days per week until summer is over 🙂 

To end the first day of summer on a yummy note, we went to our city’s water front and bought ourselves the biggest coned ice cream. We strolled around the marina enjoying our delicious treats until our dinner appetite was thoroughly ruined. And everywhere we went, we kept getting so many compliments on our matching dresses. Now, that’s how you welcome summer! 🙂

What’s your favorite summer tradition? We would love for you to share!

Xo,

Tigisti

This post is sponsored by Old Navy. Thank you for supporting the brands that enable Bella Diva Lifestyle to stay in business. 

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24 weeks: Bump Update with Old Navy

Old Navy, Maternity Twist-Front Bodycon 

I can’t believe I made it to 24 weeks without any bump updates! But you guys, it’s honestly been rough few months. The first trimester was extra rough with nonstop nausea, insomnia, and basically throwing up day and night. I tried couple different “safe” nausea meds but none helped 🙁 During those days I was barely functional so I ended up cutting back on work and just tried to getting thorough my days. I barely left the house, and never mind putting myself together and worrying about how looked.

When second trimester rolled around, I could finally take doctor approved, over the counter sleeping meds so at least I could sleep for few hours each night. But surprisingly, the nausea didn’t go away like everyone told me it would. Which is a bummer because nausea is seriously the worst thing ever. The only thing that helped a little was my daily long walks around the lake, so at least I’d that to look forward to. That, and getting bi-weekly prenatal messages made the nausea somewhat bearable.

But about a month ago, I started to feel a little more better. I still sleep no more than 4 hours each night, but I’ve had a bit more energy to get work done and take care of myself again. And the first thing I did was shop for maternity clothing! For a while I could still fit into my regular cloths, but one week everything changed. Suddenly, the tummy was out and everything I own felt three sizes smaller. I’d kept couple dresses from my first pregnancy, but I wanted new things too, so this Old Navy, Maternity Twist-Front Bodycon dress was my first investment. Isn’t so bright and cheery!? It’s it so soft, stylish and I’ve been wearing it everywhere lately. And it honestly doesn’t take much to dress it up so it’s been easy way for me to look put together.

Beyond shopping for cute cloths for myself, I haven’t done much else. Putting the nursery together is still on my to-do list, but I least I’ve picked the baby’s room in our new house! Since we’re not gonna find out the baby’s gender, I’ve also donated most of the girlie baby items I received from Bella’s baby shower and only kept the gender neutral colors for the 2nd baby. Old Navy has amazing selection of baby clothes, so hopefully I’lll have some to share with you on the next bump update! 

Other than that, we’re just beyond excited and anxious about what we’re having. Sometimes I just want to find out if it’s a boy or girl, but I think the surprise will be worth the wait 🙂  Even more excited is Bella, who’s going to make the best big sister. Every single day she kisses my belly and asks to go to the hospital to bring the baby home and it’s the most adorable thing.

Xo,

Tigisti

This post is sponsored by Old Navy. Thank you for supporting the brands that enable Bella Diva Lifestyle to stay in business. 

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HOW I GOT STARTED AS AN INFLUENCER & BLOGGER

The Accidental Blogger 

I actually never set out to become a blogger or influencer. I’m first and foremost a Confidence & Wellness Coach and Speaker. I started Bella Diva Lifestyle in the fall of 2014 with the intention of supporting busy working women build their confidence, pursue their life dreams and take care of their health. As my coaching business started expanding and growing however, I didn’t have the capacity to coach everyone or respond to everyone’s request for advice. So I decided to launch a blog to address the various topics my audience were interested in. For two years I incorporated occasional blogging into my coaching. Although I was busy and didn’t always have time to write blogs, I enjoyed writing and the feedback I received from my followers.

My Intro to Collectively 

This past fall, a blogger friend asked why I wasn’t monetizing my blogposts. It was an eye opening question because honestly, I hadn’t thought about it and I didn’t know I could. She explained that there are agencies dedicated to helping bloggers and influencers earn income from their content. And since I was already a great and engaging blogger, I might as well work with some of my favorite brands and make some money from time to time. She told me that a great agency that helps you connect with top notch brands was Collectively, and that I should reach out to them. With that single conversation, a new world was opened up to me. 

In November 2016 I contacted  Collectively, which is a San Francisco based influencer marketing agency that connects brands with the most creative voices on social media. And two weeks later, I had my first sponsored collaboration with a fitness apparel brand whose products I loved. Although I consider myself an accidental blogger and relatively new to the game, I’ve learned so much about building a quality brand and what it takes to attract and work with quality influencer agencies like Collectively.

My Collectively Journey 

Since starting with Collectively six months ago, I’ve had incredible opportunities to collaborate with some amazing brands, including Mint, AmazeFit and soon Old Navy. To be quite honest, it’s been a huge learning curve for me given that I didn’t even know this space existed until I stumbled on it. But it’s also been rewarding both financially and professionally. And Collectively has made it so much more easier than it would’ve been, offering amazing human support through their dedicated reps, straightforward guidelines and amazing ability to match influencers with the right brands. 

Working with Collectively has enabled me to establish myself as a credible content creator and influencer, not merely another “blogger”. Through Collectively, I’ve partnered with established and highly respected brands, been sought for my ability to authentically tell a brand’s story and influence my audience to take a particular action. And most importantly, Collectively has empowered me to run my blog like a business  and generate income from it, which in turn has provided me the means to incorporate other professionals in my content creation, from photographers to web designers. Even though I’m only six month onto my influencer gig, I already feel like i’ve come a long way in my growth. And I can’t wait to see what the next six months has in store for Bella Diva Lifestyle!

Connect with Collectively

If you’re a blogger or influencer looking to take your game to the next level, getting plugged with Collectively is a must! And it doesn’t hurt you’ll elevate your brand and earn income along the way 🙂 

One of the many reasons I love the Collectively community is that the agency is driven by creativity and authenticity of it’s influencers. Their unique approach to branded partnerships empowers you to really stay true to yourself and partner you with brands that reflect your unique style and taste. Personally, I’m grateful for the many doors they’ve opened for me and I’m honored to be part of such an incredible team. Partnering with Collectively has not only challenged me to establish myself as an influencer but I’ve also had lots of fun working on some fun projects. 

This post was sponsored by Collectively  Thank you for supporting the brands that enable Bella Diva Lifestyle to stay in business!

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5 Pledges I’m Making to Build My Daughter’s Self-esteem

I read a recent survey of mom and daughters in which over 50% of girls worry about their weight and 55% of moms complain about the way they look, often in front of their daughters. This made me realize how powerful the media and social environment is to our girls’ development. But it also made me realize how much more influence I’ve over my daughter as her mother, especially during her formative years. 

For right now, I’m still the most influential woman in her life. And I hope to continue being that for as long as possible. I’m also the one she imitates the most – from the words I use to the makeup I wear to the way I react to things. But I know she’ll one day be exposed to many other influencers in her life, so I’m making conscious effort to build her self-confidence as much I as I can now. Because if I don’t, I know someone else always will. My daughter is only three years old but I honestly believe that you can never start early enough. 

So here we go, I’ve come up with five things I’m focusing on in building my baby girl’s self-esteem early. Things I hope will help her develop a healthy and strong sense of self for the rest of her life.

1. I Will Maintain Strong Boundaries

One thing realize about people (regardless of who they are or how old), they cross our boundaries because we allow me them. While I try to pick my battles and I’m careful my response isn’t “NO” to everything, I think that affirming a healthy boundary is my job. I’ve no intention of being the “good guy” because I recognize that loving her doesn’t mean that I have to let her have her way all the time. Watching me set strong boundaries will teach her to do the same with others and stand up for herself as she gets older.

2. I’ll Treat Myself with Kindness & Respect 

What does this have to do with my daughter? EVERYTHING. As her primary caretaker and role model, my daughter gets her idea of self-love and self-respect from me. Scary but true. So how can I aspire to build her up if i’m not building myself up as well? It’s impossible to love and care for another human being when your own well is dry. When I take care of myself and get my needs need met, I’m more likely to feel worthy and confident. I’m also more likely to feel less mom-guilt, exhausted, and short-tempered.

 I’m also making conscious effort to treat myself as I would my daughter. This means paying attention to that critical voice inside, acknowledging and validating my own feelings, and asking for what I want and deserve. I try to make time for for self-care through daily exercise, eating right, and taking pride in my appearance without being vain.

3. I’ll Focus On Her Capabilities Rather than her Appearance

Of course I plan to remind my daughter that she’s beautiful. But as a girl, she already gets way too much “she’s so cute!” comments from society. I think it’s more important for her self-esteem that I frequently compliment her on her talent, strength and intelligence because these are qualities that will take her far in life. Building my daughter’s self-confidence is deeper than her physical appearance. 

I also want to encourage her to start playing team sport as early as possible. When she turned three years old I enrolled her in soccer but she didn’t like it. And when she turns four this summer we’ll try rhythmic gymnastics or ballet. Because research shows that girls who play team sport develop higher self-esteem since they’re too focused on developing their skills to seek validation from boys.

4. I’ll Encourage her to Love and Honor her Body

If and when I get tempted to criticize my body, I’ll imagine my daughter doing the same about her own body. And that’s all the motivation I need to watch what I say. Not only in front of her, but in the privacy of my own thoughts too. Because what I let dwell in my thoughts about my body will eventually find words. Instead I’ll continuously build myself and love the body I’m in. And when I don’t like something about my body, I’ll find healthy ways to make changes – like exercising, making healthy food choices and stepping up my self-care rituals. 

I’ll not utter words like “dieting” and “fat” in front or behind my daughter. I’ll refrain from complaining about my weight and or how I look. And I’ll not let her complain about hers either. And I’ll try to keep her away from magazines and media outlets that focuses only on women’s looks and bodies. Although my daughter is beautifully made, she’s still more than her looks.

5. I’ll Spend Quality Time with Her 

Girls, and children in general often act out because they need and want attention. One way I’m committing to give my daughter healthy attention is to spend quality one-on-time time with her. When she turn four years old this summer, I want to start a weekly mother-daughter ritual – going on weekly dates without daddy or her new baby brother/sister. Just the two of us. It might be dinner, tea time or simply going on long walks. I haven’t figured it out yet, and it honestly doesn’t matter, as long as she knows it’s a special time focused just on her. 

These are by no means the only ways to build my daughter’s self-esteem. In fact I can think of 10 more ways right now. But these are my starting point. What else would you add to this list? I would love to hear yours!!

Xo, Tigisti

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Guest Blog – Renew Your Body’s Vitality with a Spring Detox

Spring cleaning is simply the best – you pack away clothing items that you no longer need and you clean your apartment top to bottom to welcome this shiny new season properly. With the transition from winter to spring, it is time to do a little spring cleaning and detox your body, and get it in spick and span condition for the upcoming season of sun and fun. So, let jump in and get your health and vitality in order, shall we?

Superfoods for a Super Body

The top foods that should be on your menu this spring are greens, berries and matcha. When it comes to greens, anything from spinach to algae will do. These foods are filled with antioxidants, whose job is to fight free-radicals and detoxify the body, and they have amazing effects on our skin as well. While on the subject of greens, no detox can go without the latest health craze – matcha. Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea, that in terms of its antioxidant and nutritional content holds the equivalent of ten cups of regular green tea, and we all know how well green tea treats our body.

Next on the list are seeds, particularly chia and flax seeds that do wonders for your digestive system; apart from improving your metabolism, these little things are loaded with omega-3 – healthy fatty acids that guarantee full hydration and incredible silkiness of your skin. So, in case you were wondering, no, they are not just a great part of your nutrition, but are also amazing for skincare. With a few helpful tips and recipes, you can start discovering all the superfoods, get in super-shape and feel great in your own body starting today. 

Relax and Unwind 

When it comes to body rejuvenation, it is highly important to make time – steal the time if you must – and pamper yourself. Turn your home into a spa center for one day, surround yourself with scented candles, put on some soothing music and draw a bath. Once you are done relaxing with a great book or just listening to music in your bubbly tub, groom some more. In the spirit of returning to nature, turn to organic cosmetics, natural face masks, natural hand care and body lotions that will do wonders for rejuvenating your tired skin, but without the potentially harmful chemicals.

Matters of the Mind

No detox and revitalization is complete and effective without soothing your mind first. In today’s fast-paced world of deadlines and meetings, stress is something we have become accustomed to and we forget that this is not the natural state of things. Turn to meditation and yoga; if you are a yoga neophyte, Adriene is here with her 30 day yoga challenge. This program is amazing because it teaches you the basics of yoga, positions, the proper way of breathing, and bringing harmony into your body and mind. 

Easy Does It

To reach a full circle of your spring detox, use simple and effective tools like lemon, cucumber, mint and ginger. Make a daily batch of this beverage using a simple recipe, and not only will your body feel refreshed, but you might also lose those pesky extra winter pounds that have been bothering you. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Angela Berry is editor at https://ripped.me/ and  final-year student at the department of Nutrition and dietetics at School of life and Environmental Science in Sydney. Cooking and creating recipes, yoga and traveling are among her passions. In her spare time, she writes blogs and share her knowledge and experience with others.

 

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OUR SPRING BREAK STAYCATION AT CLAREMONT HOTEL & SPA!

41 Tunnel Rd, Berkeley, CA 94705

I’m so excited that I can finally give you a recap of our epic spring break staycation at Claremont Club & Spa! We were initially really bummed that we couldn’t go to a destination resort like Hawaii or Florida for Bella’s spring break because I’ve been struggling with severe morning sickness (Yup, I’m 16 weeks pregnant!). But last minute I came up with the idea of doing a staycation and playing tourists in our own city. And what a fun fun decision it turned out! 

Our staycation was honestly one of the most memorable experiences and it was all because of beautiful Claremont and the amazing hospitality throughout our stay. I called up the hotel and told them what I’d in mind and sure enough, they had a staycation package for families looking for a fun and relaxing way to spend spring break. More about it here, you’ll have to check it out because I know you’ll LOVE it. And below is details of how we spent our four days in paradise!

DAY 1: We arrived in the evening and were greeted with chilled champagne for hubby and I and a tray full of fruits, deserts and assortment of cheeses for the family. Our suite was huge and beautiful, with a breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay. That night, we wined and dined at Claremont’s famed Limewood Bar & Restaurant. We started off with the perfectly grilled and cane sugar-glazed skewered Gulf shrimp, cornmeal churros with jalapeno sauce and lamb tartare with mint and toasted shallots. For entrees, hubby had the roasted red snapper with sweet potato puree, braised leeks, oyster mushrooms and apple-balsamic, which he loved! And I had the warm asparagus salad, with toasted sesame seeds, house cured wild salmon and tahini vinaigrette. And they even had a separate kids menu for Bella!

At this point, we were stuffed but we still made room for dessert. The winner was the Lemon mousse Bombe with winter citrus and grapefruit-Camparisorbet. Oooh la la! Overall, we loved the approachable, seasonal, casual dishes they offered so we would definitely return here for a date night. After dinner, we descended to our suite because we’d a long day planned for the next day. 

DAY 2: we kicked off day two with a huge and yummy breakfast on site at Meritage then went on a beautiful hike with a splendid views across Berkeley and Oakland, and beyond to San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. Stonewall Panoramic Trail began right behind our hotel and was only about a mile an half long so we took Bella with us! After our hike, we spent our entire afternoon lounging by the pool. We didn’t even have to leave the pool area for lunch because Bayview Café was right there to serve us light bites and refreshing drinks all day. I spent my time unwinding and reading my magazines then fell asleep for a while. However, hubby and Bella spent the entire afternoon in and out of the three outdoor swimming pools. Bella especially enjoyed running through the sprinklers and making friends with the other kids in the kids’ pools.

Day 3: we decided to sleep in and have a relaxing breakfast in bed! And you guys! Can I just say that Claremont has the art of in-room dinning 110% down!? The service was world class and we were able to choose from a full menu of California-inspired cuisine, all prepared freshly for us. After breakfast, we spent few hours lounging at the pool again because Bella couldn’t wait to get back and play at the sprinklers with her new friends. Then we came back to our room to watch a movie and take a long nap.

After our nap, it was all about mommy and daddy, haha! We dropped off Bella at the Kids Club and we were off Claremont’s world class Spa for couples’ massage. At the desk, were were greeted with deliciously cool refreshments and keys to our lock rooms, where plush robes and slippers awaited. For the next 90 minutes, we let the pressures of life melt away while we drifted off, enjoying a custom massage side by side. I had the Therapeutic Relaxation massage and hubby had the Muscle Recovery Deep Tissue. After our massage, we went our separate ways to enjoy the Hydrotherapy Wellness Experiences, including eucalyptus steam rooms, saline whirlpools, saline deluge waterfall showers and and Swiss Therapy showers. After about another 90 minutes we reconnected at the Relaxation lounge where we enjoyed complimentary teas and juices. This was by far my favorite part of the trip because it gave us the perfect gift of time together. 

Meanwhile at the Kids Club, the kids got their face painted and baked delicious vegan cookies they could take back to their room. When we went to pick Bella up three hours later,  she was having so much fun that she didn’t want to leave! Finally, we got all dressed up and off we went to dinner at nearby Soi Four, one of the best Thai restaurants in Oakland.

Day 4: we slept in again then strolled downstairs around 10am to Meritage, where an epic brunch was waiting for us. And boy was it epic!! I’ve never seen that much choice of food and deserts in one place ever. We were seated by the window where we enjoyed beautiful view of San Francisco Bay, so we took our time and brunched like kings and queens. Bella is normally a picky eater but even she ate until she popped. Around 12pm we checked and headed home!

I would honestly recommend this place to everyone and anyone! Whether you’re mama needing a solo getaway, a family with your littles, or couples romantic trip, this resort accommodates it all. And you don’t need to go far to enjoy a fun-filled spring break! At least not when you’ve a place like Claremont that has everything you need in one place, from heated pools, spa, world class dining to entertaining kids club of all ages. 

Xo, Tigisti

 

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Spring Break in Style

          OshKosh Lace Trim Top & Stripe Sun Shorts 

This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of OshKosh B’gosh; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own

One of my favorite seasonal tradition is spring cleaning. And this year I was especially looking forward to the annual purging because we’ve had a long and dreary winter, which meant lots of layering and bundling. So two weeks before spring break, my baby girl and I went through her closet and literally got rid 90% of her winter wardrobe – either donating them to charity or packing them up for her younger cousins. The spring break weather outlook said lots of sunshine so I admit we went a little crazy purging everything that wasn’t light and bright (and maybe a little excuse to go shopping 🙂

Next step was to stock up on spring and summer outfits, which meant lots of stylish and colorful dresses, shorts and tees! And since we we’d planned lots of door activities for spring break, I want her outfits to be light and comfortable too. So once again I turned to one of my favorite kids brands, OshKosh B’gosh because I can always count on OshKosh for stylish and affordable seasonal options. 

                         Tiered Ruffle Strawberry Print Dress 

Since Easter is around the corner, I figured we’d get few dresses and sandals too. The resort where we were going for our spring break staycation had an outdoor Easter egg hunt planned for the kids, so I wanted her to have a cute dress she could wear for the activity. I went on OshKosh’s website and sure enough the first thing I found was the pretties strawberry print ruffle dress. I showed it to Bella and she said “I want that one!”. 

Next, I looked through the activities we’d planned for spring break – mini hikes, lots of time at the pool and fun activities at the resort Kids Club. That meant light shorts and t-shirts, and one or two swimsuits. Swimming is Bella’s favorite activity so I let her pick her swimsuit and she chose the brightest tropical print tankini. Forty five minutes later we’d a complete mini spring wardrobe assembled and we were ready to kick off spring break in style! And might I add that we did it without breaking the bank!? (There’s a coupon code you can use in-store or online at the bottom of this post!).

Once Bella’s stylish wardrobe arrived and we’d her spring break activities lined up, we anxiously waited few days then it was time for our staycation! (look out for a recap of our spring break staycation later this week). 

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If you’re looking for some stylish and fun spring outfits, I highly recommend that you head over to your local OshKosh store or checkout their online store. And be sure to use the code OKBG3270 online or 036602 in-store for 25% off a $40+ purchase.

Happy Spring Break everyone!

Xo, Tigisti

 

 

 

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