05/17/2016

Coping with Change

Change is exciting and scary all at once, and moving has been no different.  I go through all sorts of emotions on a daily basis about it.  Mostly questioning myself for uprooting my kids from their home, school and friends.  I go back and forth that it will be so good for them.  They will learn and grow and experience things they wouldn’t have in our other area.  Change teaches them to be strong, to find themselves and figure out who they want to be.  But then that little part of me comes back into my head and I think what if they don’t find good friends, what if their grades suffer, what if they are struggling and they don’t talk to me about it?

The last few weeks have been a little difficult with our son.  I think the change has been the hardest for him.  He is a freshman and was currently at a junior high.  When we moved him to the new school it put him into a big high school.  He was able to join in on open gym after school and even play for the team on a spring league.  I thought things were going good.  He has made some friends at school who he eats lunch with and sees in classes, but hasn’t done anything with them socially.  I’ve tried to encourage him to do this, but he only wants to hang out with his old friends. basketball He has always played basketball and loved it and a few weeks ago he came to us and said he didn’t want to play anymore.  I was sad, a little disapointed and in disbelief that something he loved so much was no longer fun for him.  I think this is the first time as parent I have struggled with wanting to make him play.  I always said it was up to my kids to choose what they want to participate in or be a part of, but when the reality hit that he may give this up, it was a punch in the gut.  He’s worked so hard, has always wanted to play high school ball and even dreamed of playing in college.  The first thing we did was sit him down and had a heart to heart.  We told him we know it’s so difficult to move during this time of his life and that change was always hard, but for the most part always turned into something better.  We talked about the opportunities he would have with this new team if he would give them a chance.  We also asked him if there were other things in his life that were weighing him down.  Drugs, girls, pornography? The hard questions you don’t want to ask, but that every parent should be asking, in my opinion on a regular basis.  He was honest and said it wasn’t any of those things but that he was a little depressed and missed his old friends and school.  I told him we get it! It’s totally normal to feel this way! We encouraged him to make a choice to be happy.  To give these new friends and this new school a chance.  To finish out the spring season with this team and to really do some soul searching about quitting ball.  We explained that decisions like this should not be made over night and especially when you are down in the dumps.  Things have been a little better with him, not perfect, but better.

I think as my children get older I am realizing how important it is to have open communication.  It’s easy when they are younger to ask if they’ve had a good day and always hear a “yes”. But when you know they are struggling and you ask this simple question, you don’t know what you will get.  I’ve decided asking them if they had a good day isn’t enough anymore.  Some times I feel like I’m probing and maybe even being annoying, but in the end I feel like I can get them to talk to me if I show real concern and love for them.  I let them know that they are loved, truly, unconditionally loved no matter what.  I make them feel like an equal, that they are being heard and their frustrations and trials are real and important to me.  We’ve been driving about a half hour each way to and from school everyday.  I have devoted these moments to just my kids.  I try to make it a point to stay off my phone and listen to what they have to say.  I think you can tell instantly when your kids get in the car if they’ve had a good or bad day.  They are usually talkative and joking around if it’s been a good day, much more quiet and reserved or aggitated if it’s been a hard day.  I think we can learn to be sensitive to these little signals and play upon them.  Forming the right questions depending on how are kids are acting.  I’ve also realized that sometimes right after school is not the best time to talk or even find out about their day.  There little brains are tired. They’ve been dealing and reacting to situations for the last 6 hours and I think sometimes they just want a break.  I will give them that and then later I will try to find a quiet moment and ask about a certain friend or assignment they are working on, or talk to them about recess or lunch that day.  It usually will open up the conversation a little bit and make them feel comfortable to talk to me.

One of my frustrations as they get older is feeling like I can’t solve everything for them.  I can’t take away the feelings of loneliness or sadness that may come from leaving friends behind or trying to be the new kid fitting in.  The only thing I can do is make them feel secure in the fact that we are always there for them.  I do this by the way I react to situations, by hugging them when there is nothing left to say, by not casting judgements and I think letting them know that I can’t fix it for them, but the love and support is always here.  Some of those things I have to work on, and thankfully I have a husband who is very level-headed and helps when I tend to over-react, which might be often.

Universal studios

Wow, you guys, parenting is so hard. Like the hardest thing I’ll ever do!!  I know the next 10 years of raising teenagers and watching them grow into adulthood will be so much harder than the last 10 years. What I do love right now is how fun my kids are! We love to travel with them.  No more strollers, diapers, crying melt downs (for the most part).  They are fun to hang out with and have conversations about life and the things we love.  They are funny and make me laugh on a daily basis.  They make me proud and honored to be their mother.  I know hard times are inevitable when raising kids, but I think it’s how we approach it and tackle those situations is what continues to make us better parents and form stronger relationships with them.DO the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better do better.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings today. I’d love to hear what are some of the struggles you have with parenting? Please comment below.

Have a great day!

04/19/2016

Feelin’ the Love

Well Hello! Happy Tuesday to you! Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I really appreciate all my loyal friends and followers and the support you give me. So, Thank you!

Speaking of friends and support, I think I may have the best new neighbors in the whole wide world.  We haven’t even “moved” into the neighborhood on Normandie Circle yet and I already feel so loved and special. We were told when we went to look at the house what a great neighborhood it was, and I already know that is true. From the minute I met Angela, next door,  I knew we would be fast friends.  She loves to throw parties like me, they have 4 kids like us and the whole family is so easy to talk to.  They hosted a super great “Welcome to the Neighborhood” party last night for us.  They invited neighbors from the area that had kids close to our kids ages.  It was so nice to meet so many different families.  Everyone was so genuine and friendly.  It was a great night of new beginnings and another great start to our new adventure.

I thought I’d share all the cute details of the party and show off the talents of my new friend, Angela.

 

new friends

 

IMG_9910

Yummy treats were had by all.  The presentation was so sweet.  She has such a talent for mixing patterns, layering all different textures and colors.

IMG_9915

Gorgeous flowers that I got to take home.  How cute is the Home Sweet Home tags in the flowers and on the dessert table.

IMG_9911

She hangs these adorable banners all throughout her home and I love them. She added one for the party that matched the tags and  said home Sweet home!

IMG_9912

Here are just a few of the cute kids that came to meet my crew.  When we got to the party I heard Brooklyn say to Avery “that she was just going to stay by Avery all night”.  Well that lasted about a half hour and by the end of the night they were all in the living room laughing and joking around.  Music to my Ears!!

IMG_9913

These cute little “get to know your neighbor cards” were on the front table when people walked in.  They filled them out with their info and some of their favorite restaurants, places to shop and things to do in the area.  I thought this was such a fun and useful idea.  These will definitely come in handy and was a great way for me to put faces with names after we had met everyone.

IMG_9896

 

As you can see we were completely spoiled at our Welcome Home party! I was a little speechless that someone could go out of their way this much to make us feel so loved and welcomed.  I am so grateful for good, kind people in this world.  I know the next chapter of our journey is going to be a great one and has definitely started off on the right foot.

Angela, I know you will probably read this, and I do want you to know how amazing you and your family are! We couldn’t have picked better neighbors! Thank you!

And to my readers, thanks for taking the time to stop by! Have a great day!

Honestly, 

Harmony

 

 

03/29/2016

Changes

As you can see my blog posts have been …well non existent.  Life has had some major changes for our family the last little while.

We moved into our home about 4 years ago.  I have to say this home was the home of my dreams. Cyprus House  While Mike was in dental school I couldn’t wait to be done and start “living life”.  Six years after being back in Utah we bought our home in Highland.  It was a short sale and took us 7 months to get into, but it was worth the wait.  It was gorgeous and everything I had ever wanted.  A huge theater room, walk out basement, rooms for each of the kids,  A workout room with a sauna, and the kitchen was a chefs dream.  I was beyond thrilled to be living in this house.  After a few years of being there Mike and I realized how much work goes into living in a big home.  7500 sq. feet is a lot to take care! With 4 kids, a dog, a huge backyard, laundry, carpooling…. you get the picture, right? I decided something had to change.  This “dream home” was taking so much of our time we didn’t have the energy to enjoy life like we had hoped.  Don’t get me wrong, we had so many great parties at this house.  The entertaining options were endless.  I loved having guests over, being able to host friends and family to come stay, but when it was just our family there I felt like we were working and trying to maintain everything.  We could go a whole day and not see each other.  Kids would be downstairs, I’d be upstairs in the kitchen and Mike would be outside working.  If I didn’t make it a point to gather together we wouldn’t have to converse with each other at all.  This wasn’t what I wanted for my family.  I felt like this big house was separating us and causing distance between us.  

We both decided we wanted more out of life.  We needed diversity, adventures, something that felt more like “us”.  Some other changes came about and we decided it was time to sell the house and move on to a new chapter.  So last week we left that beautiful home for the last time. saying goodbye It was a hard day for all of us.  Mike and I asked ourselves many times if we were crazy for doing it.  But we both kept going back to our gut feeling of needing a change.  But change can be so hard while you are going through it.  I know our decision is a good one, but when your kids are sobbing because they are leaving a home they love and stepping into a world of unknown it’s easy to second guess yourself.

Back in January we started looking for homes closer to Salt Lake.  I knew that we wanted something a bit smaller, but we didn’t really have a specific area or style we were going for.  Mike stumbled across a listing in Salt Lake in the Harvard Yale area.  If you aren’t familiar with this area it is a beautiful neighborhood with tree lined streets, beautiful 1920’s brick homes,and so much character and charm.  I’ve always loved it up there.  Actually a year ago I was at a volleyball tournament for Brooklyn at East high school and was driving through this area and I came home and told Mike that this is the area I’d like to be in.  But I knew the homes were pricey and it kind of felt like I’d be dreaming to ever think I’d live there.  So fast forward a year and Mike finds this home on the market.  I fall in love with it instantly! Yes, it needs a lot, I mean A LOT of work and yes, it will take some time, but will it be worth it? Most definitely! Mike was much more skeptical of taking on this big of a project, so there was some convincing involved.

I’m happy to say that we closed on the home last week!Normandie house We will start demo soon and construction in May.  I am so excited to share with you guys all the before and afters, because they will be incredible transformations.  So check back often and also follow me on instagram at honest_harm for lots of fun images.

We always hear that life brings many changes,  some good , some bad. Many times unexpected or not what we thought we had in our plan.  I thought we would be in Highland for many years, but I believe there are bigger and better things in store.  I truly feel that it’s not about the “house” that makes it feel like home.  It’s about the people inside the house that create a “Home” with love, acceptance, kindness, laughter, making memories and feeling at peace every time we walk through the door.  This is my wish for this new house that we will create and that my children will always feel at home whenever they think of Normandie Circle.

06/09/2015

Life Happens

sunsetIt’s summer!! I’m so excited for school to be out and to get to spend time with my kiddos. With that being said, this blogging thing kind of went out the window for the last few weeks of school.  They were a bit crazy and I found myself overwhelmed by even thinking about what to write.  I finally decided I need to write something, even if it was just a bit.

Do you ever feel so passionate about something and then a week or two goes by and you realize your focus has totally shifted?  That’s been me lately. I kind of beat myself up in my head over it too, but the last few days I have decided that LIFE HAPPENS!! We don’t always have time to workout, write a blog post, clean out the dogs cage, make dinner, pull all the weeds outside.  Life gets busy and there are so many days I get done and wonder what I did today because there is nothing tangible to SHOW for that day. I let this get to me, wear me down a little bit.  But I’m realizing when I do this it pretty much consumes me and then I don’t do anything but focus on what hasn’t been done.

Summer is a time for me when this really happens.  There may be days I don’t DO anything but hang with my kids at a pool or sit out on my patio with my hubby and have great conversation.  Maybe it’s hiking with a friend that turns out to take my time that I was going to go grocery shopping.  Do you have days like this? These to me are the days that MATTER! This is what life is about.  Don’t get me wrong, those things, that TO DO list does have to get done. I actually feel good when it does, but I have had to learn to not feel bad when it doesn’t.

IMG_0607

IMG_0054

We all hear the saying that life is too short.  As I get older and my relationships with my family and friends mean more than anything to me, that saying hits close to home.  This past week we had a death of a young girl in our neighborhood.  She was killed in a tragic car accident right down the street.  It made me evaluate how quickly life can change.  It put a whole new spin on the way I’ve talked to my kids and husband this week.  I haven’t hesitated to tell them I love them twenty times a day.  Even if I was annoying them.  My time with these precious souls is what life is all about.IMG_7224

So at the start of this summer I have decided to tell myself that LIFE HAPPENS.  When there is dishes in my sink, or laundry that needs folded I’ll let it go if it means embracing what life gives me.  Time with my children to laugh, have fun, be creative, listen.  If it’s patio talks with Mike, summer concerts under the stars, late night TV watching. A phone call with one of my sisters, a letter to my grandmother, a visit from my parents.  All these things may not be on my TO DO list, but they are the things that make this life wonderful!

Happy Summer, my friends!

Honestly,

Harmony

05/06/2015

Spa in a Jar Gifts

I thought I would just quickly share my girl’s gifts for their teachers this year.  Our school does lots of fun things for the teachers during Teacher Appreciation week, like catered lunches and little tokens of appreciation brought in every day by the students.  I also like to give them a nicer gift at the end of the week to let them know how grateful we are for them.IMG_1344

This year I came up with Spa in Jar to give to them.  It includes:

*hand lotion

*nail polish

*nail file

*cotton balls

*lip gloss

*candy

 *$10.00 gift cardIMG_1353

I found these darling glass jars in the Dollar section at Target.  I added a cute tag that says:

You “Nailed” it! Thanks for being so wonderful!you nailed it

It was easy and cost less than $20.00 to do.  I think they will love them!

 

 

 

IMG_1354

IMG_1370

Spa in a jar

What do you usually do for your child’s teacher? Leave a comment and let me know!

These would also be fun for Mother’s Day or for a Birthday present.

Thanks for stopping by, Have a great day!

Honestly,

Harmony

04/22/2015

Honest Harm – It’s not just a name

Hello Friends,

I’m overwhelmed at the response I have gotten from the Mother’s Day Giveaway. I’m excited to pick a winner in a few days.  I love all the comments on what you love to give and get for Mother’s Day! Thank you!

Todays post might be a little bit of rambling and journaling for me, but it’s something I wanted to share.

Have you ever wondered where the name, Honest Harm came from? I know it’s a little different and I probably could have used something more “home decor” related, but this name actually means something to me.  I am a very open, honest, raw person.

On the greatest gift you can give yourself:

Source:Buzzfeed

I grew up in a family where we shared openly our feelings and thoughts and I think I grew up thinking everyone was this way.  Then I got married and my husbands family was complete opposite.  We have learned over time to be open with each other and share our feelings, and we have met somewhere in the middle when it comes to sharing and being open with other people.  You see, I have learned that people don’t need to know everything about you all the time.  Now, does this mean I pretend to be someone I’m not or sugar-coat my life?  I don’t think I do that at all.  But I have realized that some things are meant to keep private, or to stay between me and my husband or our little family.  I decided I could be too honest to a fault.  My naive mind felt like I was lying to people if I didn’t share my experiences or feelings.  I have also learned over the years that you can’t trust too many people.  This has been a hard concept for me to grasp.  I am a loyal, trusting person and as I have matured I’ve realized that is not the case for all people.

That being said, I think because I am so open people have worried at times that I couldn’t be trusted with their feelings or experiences they  have been through. I think that has to come over time with friendships and I’ve had to show people that just because I am an open book doesn’t mean I will be about their lives.

We have a group of really amazing friends.  In friends, I mean husband and wife friends.  I think this is such a rare thing to find.  Usually I will meet someone but Mike won’t click with their husband or vice versus.  But about 4 years ago I met a great friend and she introduced to me all of her friends.  We all clicked and had a lot of fun together.  As time went by I got the nickname Honest Harm.  This wasn’t always a positive character trait for me and at first I took a little offense to it.  I guess I say what I am thinking, while others hold back.  I am curious, by nature and I love learning about people.  I am such a people person.  I may ask questions about someone that others maybe wouldn’t ask or tell someone how I feel when others would hold back.  I guess I didn’t realize I did this until I met these friends.  The first few times I was called Honest Harm I came home feeling bad about this character trait I had.  For many months I would try to change this about myself.  I would hold back on conversations or worry what I should or shouldn’t say.  I finally addressed it with my good friend and we had a great conversation about it.  She told me it’s what people love about me.  I’ve always been told that I am so easy to talk to. I am very non-judgemental and I try really hard to be a good listener.  People say they can open up to me and talk to me like they’ve known me forever.  I have come to realize that when you are open and raw with people, they will tend to be the same with you, even if they are generally not that way.  I’ve often been told I should be a therapist because I give great advice.  I don’t know if that is true, but I think because of this “Honest Harm” quality I make people feel that they can open up.

we-need-to-be-as-open-as-possible

Source: Pinterest

I feel like we need more authenticity in this world.  So much of society goes around pretending to be someone they are not.   We may act as if we have more money than we do.  Hang out with friends who don’t quite have the same interest or morals as us, but they’re the “cool” ones.  We may be in a relationship we’re miserable in, but then gush to our friends how amazing it is.  How many times do we see a friend and say life is great, when in actuality our world feels like it is crashing down.  Why do we do this? Why can’t we be real? And raw? Believe me, even Honest Harm, does some of this! As a society we want to be strong and successful and happy.  But the reality is, we can’t be all those things, all the time. I think our biggest strength can be vulnerability.

Ask anyone that knows me and you will know I do not like to say I am getting older.  But I do like to use the term maturing.  Too me, maturing is not about a number or how many gray hairs I have.  Too me, maturing is about wisdom, finding out who we are, discovering our strengths and learning to change our weaknesses.  Maturity to mean shows taking control of our lives and becoming the person we want to be.  We’re strong in our convictions and our beliefs, but we are also willing and open to listen to others and accept them.

The name Honest Harm may have started out a little hard for me to swallow, but as the years have gone by and I have matured, and become stronger in my beliefs about who I am.  I am proud of this name.  I am gratified to know that I can say I have gotten to a place in my life where I can be who I am with no apologies.  And I love to surround myself with people who do the same.  Too me, this shows strength and success.  In fact, Honest Harm is what gave me the power to start this blog and put myself out there.  It’s helped me to not be shy about sharing my talents and to finally say, ya, I am good at interior design, party planning, DIY, all those creative things in my life that I love.

So I challenge you to be a little more real, raw, unapologetic about who are.  It’s your life, live it well.

Found on Huffington Post

Found on Huffington Post

 

Thanks for stopping by today! It really does mean a lot.

Honestly,

Harmony

 

04/20/2015

Mother’s Day GiveAway

Good Morning Friends,

I’m so excited to be doing my first GIVEAWAY!! I’m glad you stopped by today and hope you will leave a comment at the bottom to be entered for this great Mother’s Day basket.  Target has to be one of my favorite stops and so I thought I would pick a few things from there that I would like to receive on Mother’s Day!

Before I get to the basket, I just wanted to share my thoughts on Motherhood.  I have been a mother now for almost 15 years.  I have kids ranging from ages 14 down to 6.  These kids, along with my husband are my everything.  I find so much fulfillment in being a mother.  I really lucked out with some special children.  We just got home from a week long vacay in California.  We had such a great time.  Mike and I were talking one night and I was saying what fun kids we have! When they are not fighting ;), we have really funny kids.  They are getting to the ages that we can relate with them.  Tell jokes that they understand and talk about things maturely.  It’s nice when you can call your kids, your friends.  I felt like that on this trip.  It was fun to just hang out with them for 7 days with no interruptions and for a time I could have them all to myself. I cherish these moments with them.  I know they won’t last forever and I am grateful to be able to make memories with them now. 

I also wanted to give a little tribute to my own mother.  I look back on my childhood and I wonder how she did it.  She really did it all! Raising 5 kids, sparkling clean house, 7 course meals every night, and still found time to take us to do fun things as a family.  She is a strong women, who loves God, her husband, her children and her 22 grandchildren. When I was 17 my mom went back to college to get her degree.  She worked so hard and even made the Dean’s list.  She kept our family running and still found time to cook 7 course meals! She taught music in the elementary schools for almost 20 years after that.  She always does things to the highest degree and with full effort.  She is very smart and an exceptionally talented musician.  I’m grateful a few of her many talents rubbed off on me and she has helped me become the mother I am today by her example.  I love her with all my heart.

Ok, now that I’ve shared my thoughts, its now time to share the goodies!

 

Mother's Day Giveaway

 

up close Giveaway

 

The gift basket (valued at $50.00) includes:

2 darling dish towels – since I feel like throwing mine out after a couple of months because I’m kind of anal like that, I figured everyone likes new dish towels.

A notebook – I couldn’t resist the color and it’s perfect for writing notes or making lists

Pens – got to have pretty pens to make those lists!

Yummy candle – you can pretend to be at the beach

Thank you notes – I loved these with the bike on them.  I love anything with a bike on it.  Makes me feel like it’s summer!

Gift Card – Because who doesn’t love a $20.00 gift card to Target?!?

I have collaborated with 10 other bloggers who are also giving away some of their Favorite things for Mother’s Day.  Go check them out and enter to win! There are hundreds of dollars in prizes!!!

Giveaway-Group

1- My Daylights 2- Eat It & Say Yum 3- Tastefully Frugal 4- The Things I Love Most 5- Bite of Delight and Western Gardens 6- Home Crafts by Ali 7- Gypsy Road School 8- Mom’s Bag of Tricks 9- Honest Harm 10- Happy 2BA Homemaker

Enter to win below: Leave a comment, follow me on Instagram and Facebook in order to win. Winner will be picked at random on April 27th.  You will have 48 hours to respond.  Good Luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

04/02/2015

Easter Home Tour

Happy Spring! Friends,

I’m so glad you stopped by today to see my Easter Home Tour.  I love the colors of spring.  The pale blues, yellows and pinks along side the bright greens of the outdoors makes for a beautiful color palette to decorate with. We are in full bloom here in Utah.  I find myself wanting to be outside taking in the wonderful colors and sounds of Spring. I actually just finished decorating my house yesterday because I have been so busy, but what’s great about Easter decor is you can leave it up all of spring and not just for the holiday.

Easter Wreath
Easter Wreath detailI made this wreath a few years ago at Thanksgiving Point here in Utah. They hold monthly classes with different crafts that are super cute.  I love the whimsy of this wreath and all the fun layers.

Entry TableThis is my entry way table.  I purchased this cute moss bunny from TJMAXX this year.  I love the pop of color it adds to the pale hues in the collection.  

sofa tableThe sofa table is a main focal point in my living room and something you see right when you walk through the front door.  I left a few pieces that I typically decorate with and then incorporated the Easter decor into it.  bell domeThis bell dome is something I bought a few months ago.  It is a great piece because you can do so much with it.  I added some fake grass and speckled eggs to give it a touch of spring.

Jelly Bean Topiaries

up close topiariesI made these topiaries quite a few years ago and surprisingly they have held up really well.  When I did the project I thought they might last a year or two, but every year when I pull them out I am shocked they still look good.  They were quite time intensive so I am glad I have been able to enjoy them for so long.

eggsHonest tip: This is an easy decorating idea for Easter. I take any leftover eggs I have and fill up a glass vase.  I love how it looks and takes no time at all.

 

IMG_1223

 

 

I bought this little bunny from TJMAXX a few years ago.  I think he is just too cute and I love his roughed edges.

 

IMG_1234These were a new purchase this year from Hobby Lobby.  Again I love the pop of green and I think they just add a fresh feel to the kitchen.  They are simple, but make a statement.

 

IMG_1236

 

This kitchen shelf is always fun to decorate.  Again I added a few pieces to the existing items I always decorate with.  The little egg wreaths around the candles add a bit of spring and I love the fabric bunny.

kitchen shelfWell, there you have it! It feels so good to have the sunshine beaming through my windows.  I’ve been opening up my french doors out to my patio and the light breeze and sounds of my fountain in the backyard put me right into my Happy Place! There is no time like spring.  When the earth grows green again.  I love to update my house, do some spring cleaning and enjoy the outdoors this time of year! Take some time to stop and capture the beauty that is all around us.  Life can get pretty busy and there are days I don’t “stop to smell the roses,” but when I do, I am in awe of the blessings I have been given and the many beautiful things that surround me.

Thanks for stopping by! Please comment and let me know what your favorite part of spring is.

Honestly,

Harmony

 

03/25/2015

Traveling to Puerto Vallarta

Hello Friends,

DSCN8872

Playas Gemelas Sunset

I am back from my trip to Mexico! We had such an amazing time and I thought I would share with you some of our favorites from the trip.  We have been to Puerto Vallarta quite a few times before.  Up until a few years ago my in-laws owned a condo on the South end of the city. We were lucky enough to get to go and stay there almost any time we wanted and we loved it here.  The condo was beautiful and the beach was spectacular.  When they decided to sell it a few years ago we didn’t know how long it would be before we made it back to PV.  Fortunately it came up on our time share that we have, and we decided to book it.  We stayed at the Mayan Palace.  It was a nice resort with a beautiful pool and a fun, lively beach.  One nice perk is that it is only about 10 minutes from the airport.  This area we stayed  in is called the Marina District because it is very close to where the boats and cruise ships dock.  There are lots of restaurants and activities close by.

One of my favorite things to do is head into town.  The cobblestone streets and old Mexico structures give Puerto that traditional Mexican feel.  Puerto Vallarta has one of the prettiest ocean walks I’ve ever seen.  The Malecon, is what they call it.  It’s a boardwalk that boarders the beach for miles.  There are all sorts of restaurants, live music and shows, food vendors, and lots of fun people watching.  We love to go down at night and get some of the local food vendors creations, like the roasted corn with cheese or the strawberries and cream, but I think our favorite is the street vendor crepes.  They are made to order and you can put anything in them.  They have all sorts of fruit and syrups, even some dessert liquors.  They are out of this world!

Puerto Vallarta Sunsets

Puerto Vallarta Sunset

So if you are ever in Puerto Vallarta I’m going to fill you in on our most beloved places! They are a must-try in my book.

Restaurants:

1. Fajita Republic – This is in the Romantica District.  It has a new modern ambiance with great service. They always bring out chips and salsa and also hicama and cucumbers to start.  The food is fabulous.  You must try the Fajita Presidente and the tortilla soup.  Their tortilla soup is hands down my favorite!!

2. El Carboncitos – This is a little street taco shop.  Now you may be a little worried when you see it, but trust me, you will not be disappointed.  They cut the meat off the bone and top it with fresh sliced pineapple.  They’ve got great sauces to drizzle on the top.  You will see how inexpensive they are and decide to have like 10!! They are THAT good!

2. Vista Grill – This is rated in the top 10 for restaurants in PV and after visiting you will know why.  The restaurant is set in the hills and the view is spectacular! The night we went there were fireworks out in the water and the city lights were so beautiful.  It is definitely a romantic atmosphere.  The food is amazing and service is top notch.  A must-try at this restaurant is their “Sexy Coffee”.  It does have liquor in it, so if you don’t drink try to spot it at another table because the presentation is so beautiful.  Sexy Coffee1

Vista Grill

Dining with friends at Vista Grill

3. Cafe des Artistes – I believe this restaurant is rated #2 on the foodie lists for PV.  It is set above downtown in this beautiful Mexican style building.  The white walls and dark wood are a perfect backdrop to the incredible food you will enjoy. We went here for our friends birthday with a large group.  The dinner was perfect and to top it off they did a huge birthday celebration at the end for the birthday boys!

4. Xocodiva – This isn’t a restaurant, but is a place to go for a sweet treat.  The chocolates are beautifully hand done and they taste amazing! You have to try the salted caramels.  They are my absolute favorite!

Places to visit:

1. I already mentioned the Malecon.  There are hours of entertainment to be had, or even if you want to enjoy a quiet night with the one you love.  The sound of the waves and the smell of the street food can put you in a Mexican Coma.

2. Hidden Beach.  This was a first for us and it did not disappoint.  I have to say we did not pick the best day, but it was still worth it.  We chartered a boat from the beach and then took about a 1 1/2 hour boat ride out to the Marieta Islands.  On the way out we saw  huge whales, dolphins and jelly fish. These are islands west of PV and resulted from volcanic eruption.  Playa Del Amor, or more commonly named Hidden Beach.  The island is uninhabited and were known to be used by Mexican government.  They believe that test bombing was the cause of this beautiful place.  The beach is invisible from the outside and can only be seen by swimming through a long water tunnel to get there.  Now like I said, the day we went was overcast and started to rain, so I have to admit the boat ride was cold, the water was cold and dark, and I was a little nervous, but once we swam through the cave and came out on the other side to this beautiful beach it made things a lot better.  I did not get a picture on the beach because none of us had a water proof camera, but I found this beauty on Google Images.

image/sheida iranmanesh.

one of the small beaches at Marieta Islands

one of the small beaches at Marieta Islands

3. Another family favorite is El Eden Canopy adventure.  It is up in the mountains of PV and a little bit of a drive by taxi, but it is a full day of fun.  This is where Predator was filmed.  There are 2 miles of zip lines, a waterfall pool and restaurant.  The kids love doing the rope swing into the natural water pool and sliding down the rock slide.

Sliding Rock

Sliding Rock

 

4. The Zoo in PV is not like the Zoos we’re used to in America.  There are monkeys, giraffes, turtles and one of the funnest things to see are the baby tigers.  Many of the exhibits are not covered in bars and so you almost feel as if you are up close and personal.  You can even hold the baby tigers!

Well, after filling you in on all my favorite things about Puerto Vallarta, I think I am ready to go back!! It truly is a place you can visit time and time again and experience new places, new food and new experiences.

Sunset at Mayan Palace

Thanks for stopping by, I’d love to know if you’ve been to Mexico and what your favorite place to visit is.  Leave me a comment and let me know!

Honestly,

Harmony

03/12/2015

My Top 7 Beach Essentials

Hello Friends,

I am a just a little excited today because tomorrow starts my week long Vaca in Mexico!! As you can imagine I am frantically trying to get everything done before we leave.  I have to tell you that I love to travel, like love, love, love it!! But I really hate to pack and I am not a good packer at all.  I usually bring way too much stuff and I have promised myself every time I go to Mexico that I am only going to pack swimsuits and dresses because thats all I end up in the whole time.  But I have already broken my promise because my suitcase is jam packed! 

There are a few things that I will not go without when heading to the beach and I thought I would let you in on my must haves for a beach getaway!!Beach Essentials

Top 7 Essentials:

1. A Hat! I have to admit that up until a few years ago I really didn’t wear a hat for sun protection, but as I am starting to see brown spots on my face that won’t go away I have become more religious about this.  It’s also great for that wet messy hair after you’ve been in the pool! I found this hat at Buckle last summer and it instantly became my new fave! I love the bright colors and of course the saying on the front!!hat

2. Speaking of sun, You’ve got to have a good sunscreen.  I will use about any sunscreen for my body, but when it comes to my face I will only use something especially for my face! I love this SkinCeuticals Face lotion that I got from my esthetician.  It goes on smooth and light and does not have much of an odor.sunscreen

3. Lip gloss, of course!! I love my MAC lipgloss.  It stays on, even when I get in the water! I love this nude pink color, it’s called paper lantern. It’s natural shade gives just a shear shimmer and makes that tan look even better!

4. A pair of sunglasses! I unfortunately like a little more expensive sunglass, but I have found that at times they can get scratched and even lost while at the beach.  I think I have decided on this trip to go buy some nice, but inexpensive shades so I don’t need to worry about it.sunglasses

5. Have you tried ICE drinks? I am a lover of sparkling water and my niece introduced me to these a few weeks ago.  They are so delicious and refreshing.  Zero calories and they even have a little green tea and a bit a caffeine for a pick me up! This is the Target off brand pink grapefruit and it is so good.  They are great mixed for a low cal cocktail too! I will definitely be packing a few of these!sparkling water

6. Hair ties, you never can have too many! That’s it!hair ties

7. A beach bag.  Why, yes, you will need something to carry all these goodies in? And why not find something fun and colorful? I saw this bag at Target and it screamed beach and Mexico to me.  It is large enough to fit all my essentials and then some.  There is nothing worse than a small beach bag, so if in doubt always go bigger.  I am sure you will think of things to fill it!beach bag

IMG_1087Well there you have it, my top 7 Beach Essentials! Make sure and follow me on Instagram as I will be taking lots of great pictures of Mexico! I will also be sure to write a great post about all the wonderful places in Puerto Vallarta!

Thanks for stopping by today! Adios!

Honestly,

Harmony

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...