My Bucket List

Finger Crossed. Do you have a Bucket List? You may remember that I’ve been working with ZICO Coconut water on my Life List (they are not sponsoring this post BTW but the campaign did inspire me to create this list too). When I first started that campaign, I thought they were one in the same. After sitting down to write my Life List, it got me thinking about living life, in general. I love that the Life List prompts you to make changes to live a more fulfilling life, and perhaps, bettering yourself in some way. But as I started to really think about those types of changes, I realized that I had never made a bucket list either. For a while, bucket lists were all the rage with a TV show and movie geared at crossing things off said list. And I’ve never really stopped to think about things I want to do before I leave this earth.

I also never felt like I needed to make a bucket list. I have been really blessed in my life and have gotten to do some amazing things!  I’ve gotten to photograph some of my favorite bands at the time (No Doubt, Beck, The Specials) in concert which were then published in a free music magazine.  A photo that I took of a local band is featured on their cd case. I’ve taken a trapeze class on the Santa Monica Pier. I’ve taken a helicopter tour of a city I love (Los Angeles). I’ve gotten to travel a little bit. I mentioned a few more of the fun things I’ve done in this birthday post a few years ago. Because of what my husband does and who he knows, I’ve gotten to do some rad things with and because of him. And thanks to this blog, I’ve gotten some of the most amazing experiences ever, that I didn’t even know I wanted to have. But I decided that I should really put some thought in to what I REALLY want to do still. Like, REALLY do. And then why not try to cross some of those off too.

So here is my Bucket List, in no particular order:

  • I am dying to take the boys on an airplane! O had been on one twice but he was too little to remember. And M asks pretty consistently.
  • Professional Football is the only pro sport I haven’t seen in person so I would love to go to a game in a big stadium with lots of beer, painted beer bellies and crazy fans.
  • I would die if I could hand out gifts on one of Ellen‘s huge giveaway shows! I adore her and her generosity. If I could afford to, I would give people gifts all the time. But I can’t so to be able to bring joy to those people (via Ellen’s wallet…;) would be amazing.
  • I would love to get annual passes to Disneyland for the family.
  • I want to eat at Club 33 and the Blue Bayou at Disneyland.
  • I want to see the room inside the castle!
  • I want to take my oldest son to his first concert. I know the joy live music brings me and I can’t wait to share that with him! We just missed One Direction in our area. And although they are not my favorite, I know that would have been the most memorable night for him!
  • I’d love to go wine tasting. I’ve done tastings on a small-scale, but never at a winery. I want to do legit tastings and actually see grapes on vines.
  • I NEED to go to Melbourne, Australia. For my soul. I am obsessed with the design and culture that come out of that area and to be there in person would be life changing.
  • I need to get my bff, Kayla, to move home to California…This is probably not a reasonable thing to have on my Bucket List but it stays. You’ve gotta put it out there in the universe, right?
  • I want to take a knife skills class.
  • I want to experience Coachella. Due to my level of high maintenanceness (yup, a word) it would be best if I could go with a band and be some sort of VIP, with access to water, shade, bathrooms, easy ingress and egress from the venue and a stay in a hotel or private home…
  • And I need to explore New York and Paris with my husband. We travel more apart than we do together and these are places that we just need to spend time together.

And since I was completing items off my Life List, I decided to complete an item off my Bucket List too! Can you guess which one it is? I’ll be sharing next week! Do you have a Bucket List?

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Keratin Treatments are the Best

@zicococonut Water allowed me to complete a life list item! What a cool experience! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis post was brought to you by the makers of ZICO Coconut Water.  I received compensation to write this post through the #CrackLifeOpen program. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Most campaigns that bloggers participate in are geared towards promoting a product or service. Very few actually encourage you to make positive life changes.  I have greatly enjoyed working with ZICO Coconut Water on their #CrackLifeOpen campaign. Through the campaign, they encourage not only myself, but also my readers, to create a Life List. Life List items are small changes you can make to live a better life. You can read my Life List here. But they took it a step further. Once my Life List was written, they made it possible for me to complete one of these items! So cool! Yes, of course you should run out and buy ZICO Coconut Water – especially the chocolate (yum!). It is great for hydration and is high in potassium. But you should also look at your list and actually make some changes! It feels amazing.

Frizzy hair! This is why I put a Keratin treatment on my @zicococonut Life List. #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comI looked at my Life List and tried to figure out what would make the most positive impact on my life right now. To some it may seem frivolous, but I decided on the Keratin hair treatment. Up until a few years ago, I did my hair every morning. That meant that I showered, blow dried and flat ironed my hair. Every morning. I know that most women do this but my hair is really thick and blow drying takes forever. Getting ready meant that I spent about an hour and a half.  And somewhere along the line (I truly think it was my oldest starting school) I stopped doing my hair.  But I never felt good about it. My hair has lots of natural wave, which I actually like.  But my hair also has TONS of frizz.  Leaving my hair to air dry saved me lots of time, but I never felt polished. And by mid-afternoon, my hair just went up in to a bun to hide it. Lately, even my bun was looking frizzy and I was feeling really down about my hair.  I felt like the blow drying and styling just contributed to the demise of my hair so I reserved those things only for days when I had events where I had to look my best of might end up in a photo.  A little vain, I suppose.

Before my "life list" item: Wavy, frizzy hair that I need to hide under a hat. #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThe frizz surrounds the entire crown of my head.  On sunny days, I can hide it with a hat but most days it’s just there for all to see. It really bothers me. I know that our flaws stand out way more to us than other people but we all want to look our best. So when I met my good friend, Carole, for dinner a few weeks ago I finally knew that the Keratin treatment had to be done. Her hair was glorious. It looked so healthy and she had done nothing to it to get it to look that way.  Other than a Keratin treatment. So I called her gal and booked my appointment. 

I participated in a campaign by @zicococonut where I got to complete one of my "life list" items. I'm so grateful! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comI was giddy with excitement in the week leading up to my treatment. I literally couldn’t sleep thinking about how awesome it was going to be.  And then I would get all anxious.  What if my hair rejected it?!  What if I pay the money and it doesn’t really work?!  But I had to try it out and see if it would be as life changing as I thought it would be. 

The things you do for beauty...#ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThe things you do for beauty, am I right?  The Keratin process is really simple. They clean your hair really well to remove any residue. Then they comb through the special sauce. These glasses were for during the blow dry portion and meant to keep your eyes from stinging if they are sensitive to the solution.  I felt ridiculous but I just knew it would be worth it for the final results. 

Getting a Keratin hair treatment was truly life changing! @zicococonut #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThere was no down time with the solution at all.  Once it is applied, they blow dry your hair and then flat ironed. The flat ironing activates the solution and it works its magic. It took about an hour and a half for the whole process from start to finish. 

After my Keratin Hair Treatment!! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comThis was me immediately following the treatment. There are still some flyaways, but my hair felt like silk! Your hair always looks amazing after leaving the salon so the real test would be the following day after my first shower.

After the Keratin hair treatment! No frizz! No product! No blowdrying! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comDay 2! Sorry for all the car selfies but these were taken while out running errands. Holy, life changing! That morning, I rinsed out the treatment, conditioned and then did NOTHING else! No product, no blow dry, nothing! I felt amazing! I felt so much more polished than I usually do. This was the wash and wear look that I had been wanting forever! I am so glad that ZICO Coconut Water inspired me to complete this item from my Life List. While this is a somewhat temporary fix (it should last about 3 months) and the frizz will slowly start to come back, I know that this is something that I will be budgeting for in the future.  If that means I have to give up clothes shopping or a house cleaner, I’ll do it. The confidence that having my hair look good brought me that didn’t take me forever to do, was amazing. I didn’t realize I felt so bad until I felt so good. Where I used to be super bummed out about getting ready in the morning I’m now excited to. It has even prompted me to put in a little extra effort in getting dressed. Toni at Proper Hair (let me know if you need her contact info! she’s awesome!) will always hold a special place in my heart for giving me my first Keratin Treatment. 

My first pilates class at Reformer Fit in Dana Point. Crossing this off my @zicococonut life list! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comAND THEN! Since I was so inspired to start really trying to #CrackLifeOpen, I decided to complete another item off my list. I tried out my first Pilates Reformer at Reformer Fit in Dana Point! I have always wanted to try out these machines and thought that this might be an exercise that I really enjoy. I was right. I think I’m in love and I’m dying to take classes consistently. You engage a ton of muscles in each move but it is really fluid. It is more fast paced than yoga, which I need. And less high impact than running. Which I also need. My instructor, Dottie, was awesome. 

Trying out a pilates reformer machine at Reformer Fit in Dana Point. Inspired by my @zicococonut life list. #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd look at my hair! So this workout was about a week after my Keratin treatment and still NO FRIZZ!  Usually during and after exercise my hair would be fuzzy and unruly all around my face. But not anymore! And once we were done, I took it out of the bun and kind of shook it out. Done. Still the best thing I have ever done!

@zicococonut Premium Coconut Water encourages you to create a "life list" of small changes you can make to live a more purposeful life! #ad #cracklifeopen // cupcakesandcutlery.comI don’t think I was fully prepared for making one pretty small change having a big impact on my life. It really made me realize how important having and revising a Life List really is. As things are crossed off, I plan on adding new things. And I am going to continue to make the time to complete items.  I am trying really hard to leave my cell phone at home when I walk the boys to and from school, but I’ll be honest, I’ve slipped up on that one a few times. But mostly I am thankful to ZICO Coconut Water for a campaign that encourages living better lives. I’m proud to be a part of their campaign!

So what changes have you completed from your Life List?

Share a few items on your Life List with @ZICOCoconut on InstagramTwitterFacebook, use the hashtag #CrackLifeOpen and you may even be in for a special surprise!  

Family Vacation to Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Palm Springs

The gorgeous property at Rancho las Palmas in Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs.How gorgeous is this property? My family got the opportunity to stay at Omni Rancho Las Palmas, in Rancho Mirage, this summer. Disclosure: they let us stay one night for free and one night at a discounted rate. All opinions and memories are my family’s.

You already know of my love for Palm Springs. Well my family loves it too.  We try to get one family trip in to the desert each summer. But this time we wanted to stay somewhere that we have never stayed before. I’d been hearing about Omni Rancho Las Palmas for years and decided we should check it out. Especially because they are very family friendly and have their own water park! And seriously, how gorgeous are those grounds in the photo above? Yeah, that was the view from our room.  Not bad at all.

The lobby of Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs. We pulled up to the front of the hotel to check in. Immediately walking in to the lobby I was impressed. How had I never been there before?! The furnishings were very nice and the atmosphere was really welcoming. It felt much higher end than I had expected. [Read more...]

Pancake Mountain Dance Party with The Bots

Headed to a Pancake Mountain Dance Party in Los Angeles. A few weeks ago my family did something super awesome. We headed to Los Angeles to be part of a super fun Pancake Mountain Dance Party featuring The Bots. You probably aren’t familiar with Pancake Mountain but you totally should be. Now being created in conjunction with PBS Digital Studios, Pancake Mountain is the coolest music and variety show for kids.  The show is lovingly hosted by a puppet goat, named Rufus Leaking. He’s quite a character. We’ve been fans of the show for years and have several of the DVDs they used to produce.  What drew me to the show in the first place was the fact that they don’t dumb down music for the kids but introduce them to some rad bands and musicians. And they encourage creativity and individuality and fun. And the dance parties! They throw dance parties, with fantastic bands (past dance parties have included Tegan and Sara, and King’s of Leon) and get the kids up on stage right in on the action. Once they moved their studio to Los Angeles, I knew that at some point, we would need to check out one of these dance parties. 

Pancake Mountain Dance PartyIf you are local, sign up on their mailing list to find out about their upcoming events or dance parties. We had a blast and my husband and I ended up dancing along with the band too! It was such an awesome afternoon. I will be adding a link to the video as soon as it is ready! 

Behind the scenes of a Pancake Mountain dance party with The Bots. We hung out in the studio while the production crew set up and The Bots warmed up and did a sound check. I loved that my kids got to see this. It was an awesome experience for them. And The Bots are awesome. These LA based brothers are young and they rock. I was super impressed with their playing, lyrics and professionalism. I loved that my boys got to see these kids (I can call them that because I am almost 40) living out a dream, playing music and putting out albums at such a young age. 

Trying on costumes for the Pancake Mountain Dance Party. And then the boys got to try on some costumes from the prop room. Pancake Mountain features a cast of characters that are talented and funny. My oldest got to try on the glittery top hat of “Captain Perfect.” He was excited. 

The Bots band with the boys at the Pancake Mountain Dance Party. It was a pleasure to get to spend the afternoon with The Bots. Now go check out their music. And follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Check out the Pancake Mountain trailer here:

And then subscribe to their You Tube Channel so you don’t miss a segment!  And sign up for their mailing list so you can attend the next dance party! We had a blast!

Follow Pancake Mountain on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

David Stark on Entertaining with Intention

David Stark's new book, The Art of the Party. Are you a David Stark fan? I absolutely am. He’s a New York based Celebrity Event Designer but that title doesn’t convey how remarkable his events are. There are plenty of event designers out there who can put on a lovely event. But what sets David Stark apart from the rest is his creative vision and approach to the design of the event as a whole. His events have something extra. Something special.  It is the intention with which he puts on his events, that give them life.  I’m dying to check out his new book, David Stark: The Art of the Party It has 25 of his events (including private parties and charitable galas) and shares how he developed the overall theme for each party, as well as the coordinated details and expertly crafted decor he created for each party.

I’ve always been drawn to his work. His creativity reaches far past the realm of entertaining and is next level. He is an inspiration to me so when I got an email from “his people” I was so excited to a get the chance to ask him a few quick questions.

What unexpected places do you draw inspiration from when brainstorming for a new event?

Hardware store event inspo. Hanging ladders spell out "make" -  event by David Stark.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. David Stark shares some of his biggest inspiration triggers.

Think differently, what is the meaning behind the event, draw it out through the decor.

David Stark shares where he draws his inspiration from.“I am really open to the world of options and influences when coming up with ideas.  Of course, the flower market and farmers markets often provide natural inspirations, but I look to a bevy of other options both live and digital (Pinterest and Instagram are a never ending pathway for ideas!) to bring us to unique, new concepts for our projects.  Here are just a handful of places we hunt low and high for materials, ideas and concepts:

Hardware stores, the fashion runway, films, theater, music, antique fairs and stores, museums, art galleries, supermarkets, books, art supply stores, travel, magazines, history, architecture.”

What event, that you created, really let your creative juices flow?

“As we are right in the midst of planning and designing the upcoming Whitney Museum Gala (the last event that will be held in the Marcel Breuer building before the institution moves into its new home downtown), I can’t help but think a lot about last year’s event – we’re REALLY proud of that evening which was not just a party, but an art happening

Interactive displays added to the Whitney Gala designed by David Stark.The centerpiece of the event was a life drawing “class” replete with nude models posing on stacks of vintage Louis Vuitton trunks (the ever chic retailer was the evening’s sponsor).  Throughout the evening, hundreds of guests at easels surrounded the model platform, making scores of drawings of the varying poses.  This was living décor — so interactive, but it also brought attention to the beginning of the Whitney Museum and it’s archives of life drawings which we projected throughout the space in an ever changing landscape of drawn décor.

David Stark creatively approaches each event by finding the meaning of the organization behind it.

David Stark on inspiration and planning large scale events.Above the long, rectangular dining tables dressed in artists’ canvas, an optical illusion of painting stretchers floated overhead while an array of paint cans and brushes marched down the dining tables as if an artist was on break from his or her painting.

Quote from David Stark about how he approaches designing and creating events. This evening perfectly illustrated one of our entertaining philosophies:  Create a conceptual moment in time in which the essence of an organization is put into three dimensions.  This is not about decorating.  Rather, it’s really about integrating what an institution is about, what an evening is about, impregnating meaning into the décor.”

I started out these questions thinking I was going to get a little bit in to the mind of creative genius. But really I got in to the heart. Entertaining is about so much more than the decor and the food.  It’s about entertaining with intention. While most of us won’t have an opportunity to work with Target or the Whitney on a large-scale event, we do celebrate our friends and family on a smaller scale. The truth is, what makes an event special is thinking beyond the decorating and really understanding why we are having the event in the first place. What is the “essence” of your guest of honor? Start from there and then intentionally plan your event with those traits, likes, passions in mind.

Sometimes I see a well designed, coordinated party being shared online, and while every detail is in place and it is quite lovely, there is something missing. It’s the heart and intention. I am absolutely going to make that a priority when planning my own events.

I feel grateful to have gotten to ask these questions of David. Follow his Instagram and Pinterest to see the cool things that are inspiring him. And go buy David Stark: The Art of the Party! Man, now I’m all fired up! I’ve got lots of entertaining focused posts coming up…looking forward to going a little deeper on these and letting my creativity out.

All photos courtesy of Susie Montagna for David Stark Design.

*This is not a sponsored post. I just really think David Stark is the bees knees. The book link is an affiliate link. You can see my affiliate link policy here.