Santa Babies : Meeting Santa for the first time

One tiny human meets Santa

Woah, guys… Do you know who this guy is???? I hear he’s kind of a big deal.

We’ve all seen the semi-hilarious first photos with Santa that have taken turn for the worse. As with any first, no one can reallllly gauge what’s going to happen. I mean, this is legitimately the first time your child has seen someone dressed this way. If we’re being honest, that much red and fur combined is a BOLD choice for even the most magical of us. Bottom line, you just never really know how it’s going to go the first time your baby sees Santa.

This year my sister Baileigh, and brother-in-law Aaron had the BRILLIANT idea of inviting Santa over for the babies first visit. Bella, our “One Tiny Human” and our nephew, Harrison had a very special first visit with the man in the red suit and his lady this weekend.

Santa Babies : Meeting Santa for the first time

One Tiny Human with Santa

These guys have snacks, smell like peppermints, and are super cuddly. I think I like them.

They were so sweet with the babies and spent plenty of time getting know them, not being rushed through the moment. It allowed us to capture a few special pictures like when they were reading to them. We were able to enjoy coffee,  warm cocoa and Christmas cookies while the kids chatted with the Claus couple. It was a huge difference from the traditional mall Santa experiences that we’ve done before.

One Tiny Human and Harrison read with Santa

“Twas the night before Christmas…” read by Santa and Mrs Claus. So precious!

And because no one can resist a picture with Santa we jumped in front of the camera for a quick snapshot too. I think I will always love the magic of Christmas. (I am also kind of in love with Randy’s Christmas pug sweater.)

Family Santa Pic

Time for a family picture. The magic of Christmas is real no matter how old you get.

Family Santa pic with one tiny human

I highly recommend this for a first Santa experience or a 100th Santa experience for that matter. as you can tell, meeting Santa in this way completely put the babies at ease and we all had a lovely time together. We were able to capture some of the sweetest pics that I’m sure we’ll treasure forever.

Have you ever had a Santa come to your house? What was it like when you took your child to meet Santa for the first time ?

Holiday Magic is Everywhere in Arlington Texas

Enchant Christmas Arlington Texas

Last Friday, I was invited to spend the day touring some of the things the city of Arlington, Texas has in store for us this holiday season. You already know Arlington offers so much to take part in all year-long but this season is especially fun! If you are looking for an entire day of Christmas fun you are going to want to read all the way through this post. I even found a few spots I’ll be back to visit all year-long! I’ll let you guess which ones.

Decorator’s Warehouse & Rose Garden Tea Room 3708 W Pioneer Pkwy, Arlington, TX 76013

Decorators Warehouse Arlington Texas

First stop on our tour was Decorator’s Warehouse. It has been recognized for years as the premiere Christmas store throughout Texas. Owners David and Kathy Hanson, who started the business in 1989, have pursued with great passion the design and creation of a Christmas store that would be unparalleled anywhere.

Reindeer Christmas decor Decorators Warehouse Arlington Texas

There are 20 different theme areas from snowmen, Santas and elves to rustic and woodland as well as beautiful elegant and classic themes, and so many more. Each theme area is an adventure in itself where you will see displays such as a full-size Santa’s workshop, a classic truck and life-size bears and Santas. They also feature the largest selection of Christmas trees in Texas as well as ornaments, wreaths, garlands, florals and everything else known to the imagination.

Bear photo op Decorators Warehouse

Vintage Truck Decorators Warehouse

Located in the back of Decorator’s Warehouse is the Rose Garden Tea Room. We enjoyed lunch here after shopping a bit. They have a signature Rose iced tea. I recommend making a reservation because it is a very popular destination but so perfect to enjoy a day of Christmas shopping and lunching with your lady friends.

Downtown Arlington

After shopping to our hearts content we headed downtown to visit some more local shops. You know I am a huge supporter of shopping our local small business.

Downtown Arlington Texas

Legal Draft 500 E Division St Arlington, TX 76011

Legal Draft is possibly one of my favorite new finds. It has a welcoming vibe and great selection. They have seasonal varieties that will keep you coming back and the location lends to additional shopping and eating locally too. This is a place I can see my husband really enjoying for date night or a night out with the guys.

Legal Draft Arlington Texas

Urban Alchmey Coffee

Welcome to your new living room. Urban Alchemy will be your cozy chair, your favorite meeting space and go-to place to celebrate. Arlington’s very first, locally-owned coffee and wine bar is coming to downtown in 2017. Give them a follow on Instagram to be in the know for announcements and local events.

Sleepy Cottage www.thesleepycottage.com 500 E. Front Street #150 Arlington, TX 76011

Sleepy Cottage has curated some of the most adorable merchandise I’ve seen in one place recently. I’m not really even going to elaborate. Check them out in person and online. TRUST ME.

The Sleepy Cottage Arlington Texas

Gift from the sleepy cottage Arlington Texas

Travel gift from The Sleepy Cottage Arlington Texas

Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery   

On top of being one of the best wedding cake bakery the metroplex offers, you can also stop in for an espresso, cupcake or sweet treat anytime you like.  I highly recommend the s’mores cupcake.

Sugar Bee sweets Arlington Texas

Six​ ​Flags Over Texas 201 E Road to Six Flags St, Arlington, TX 76010

Six Flags Over Texas truly outdid themselves with a special surprise for us. They day of our tour they opened the park early just for us! Have you ever had an entire theme park just for yourself? I certainly never have. It was magical. all of the grounds are decorated for the holidays and the music playing made me feel like a kids again. But it just kept getting better!

We were first in line to experience Frosty Snow Hill where you can bring your family to go sledding down a hill made of real snow. Our group had the best time. Afterwards, we stopped in to enjoy a custom-made hot chocolate. If you haven’t been out to Six Flags Over Texas now is the time!! You want to make this part of your holiday festivities!

Six Flags over Texas Arlington Texas

Bloggers Six Flags over Texas Arlington Texas

Sledding at Six Flags over Texas Arlington Texas

Enchant Christmas Globe Life Park Corner of AT&T Way and Copeland Road, Arlington TX

Enchant Christmas Arlington Texas

The annual Arlington Texas Christkindl Market, is now even grander as part of Enchant: The World’s Largest Christmas Light Maze & Market. Visit Texas Christkindl Market Lane in Enchant, November 24 thru December 31, 2017.

Ice Skating at Enchant Christmas Arlington Texas

Surrounded by millions of dazzling lights, the memories you make at Enchant will last well beyond the holiday season. Come enjoy the world’s largest light maze, gliding around the magical ice-skating pond, visiting Santa or sharing hot cocoa with your loved ones while listening to live entertainment, you’ll find enchantment around every corner. Enchant has over 100 food and market vendors, including the Texas Christkindl Market Lane. Unwrap new holiday traditions at the most scenic wonderland in Texas!

Enchant Christmas

I’m not sure I realized just how much there was to do in Arlington Texas for the holiday season but since my visit I’ve been telling everyone what a great time we had. I hope I was ably to share some new places and events that you can add to your holiday plans.

Have you visited Arlington, TX recently? Any of these you plan to go to? Leave me a comment below or on IG/FB!

 

 

4 Perfect Gifts for the Girl on the Go

Gifts for the Girl on the Go

Finding the perfect gift for the girl you can hardly pin down is a tough feat. She’s someone who likes nice things but doesn’t have time to be weighed down. The things in her life have to be multi-functional, chic and bring joy. This can be complicated to sort out but with just a few shopping days left I’ve teamed up with Verizon to test out a few of these and offer you some of the best suggestions of the season!

Perfect Gifts for the Girl on the Go

Google Pixel

google Pixel

With this new phone by Google, she can be sure to document precious moments everywhere life takes her with the highest rated smartphone camera, a battery that lasts all day (through countless selfies and emails) and a charger that gets seven hours of battery life in 15 minutes. Couple that with UNLIMITED cloud photo storage and Verizon’s fastest LTE Advanced network. The girl on the go needs a network that works just as fast as she does.

FitBit Charge 2

Do you even walk bro? If you didn’t track your steps how do we know?! The Fit Bit Charge 2 tracks everything. Maximize workouts, automatically track all-day activity, exercise and sleep. Plus, make the most of your routine with smartphone notifications, Reminders to Move and personalized guided breathing sessions. Add interchangeable bands and it’s the motivation you need to push yourself further.

Cork Globe

Gift guide cork globe

Help your loved ones track previous and future adventures with this contemporary globe. Colored pins keep track of bucket-list destinations and favorite vacations, while the stainless-steel and cork design gives it a fresh, grown-up look.

Travel Blanket Scarf

gift guide blanket scarf

This is one item she can’t afford to be without. Whether it’s a trek across the country or across town, this is a MUST HAVE item in her bag. Planes are always cold and nothing is cozier on a long roadtrip in the car than the blanket scarf. Wrap it, drape it, twist it or belt it, with so many versatile styling options it is a gift any girl will love!

I hope these ideas spurred you on for one more gift under the tree or even a little something to surprise her with New Year’s day. Any of these gifts are sure to surprise and delight! Thanks again to Verizon for providing the lifestyle tech items to review for this gift guide.

For shopping and price info:

Google Pixel :Price $649.99 (retail); $27 per month (two-year contract)
Fitbit Charge 2 Heart Rate and Fitness Wristband:  Price $149.00 (retail)
Cork Globe:  uncommongoods.com Price: $48.00-$105.00 depending on size
Travel Blanket Scarf : check out several great options here

 

 

Chase Family Rock N Roll Christmas

Rock n Roll Christmas 2015

We decided to do Christmas a little differently this year. Instead of presents cascading around the tree (gift receipts aplenty), we decided to give the gift of making memories together. Soon after last Christmas our family determined we would set out on an annual holiday trip together instead of exchanging big gifts. We tried to center around something we all enjoyed in one way or another and music was the answer. Thus, Chase Family Rock n Roll Christmas was born. It’s turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

Chase Family Rock n Roll Christmas

The truth is, how many of us can remember what we got last year for Christmas? Do you remember what you gave? I don’t. We wanted to give something that our family would always have. My hesitation was calmed with the assurance that we were giving gifts that would last a lifetime. (Insert idyllic visions of sugar plums and Rockwell moments here) We were gifting memories and future conversations of “Remember when? ” followed by lots of head nodding and laughter. Well, that was the idea. All fingers crossed.

We took the budget of what we would have traditionally spent on holiday traveling, wrapping, gifts added it up and discovered we had a sizable budget for a family trip. It wasn’t a fortune but it was enough that I wouldn’t constantly be totaling the amount in my head as we went along. I found an amazing deal on airfare for the 6 of us direct from Austin TX to Memphis, TN ($333.36 for all of us!!), a holiday special at the Peabody Hotel, and a vehicle upgrade on our rental car so that we would have enough room not to be squished in. I also looked around to see what attractions had discounted days or coupons.

Off to Memphis

We had a lot we wanted to do on our trip! I’ll detail all the great places we visited in separate posts soon but to name a few places we stopped while in Memphis: Graceland ( a total MUST if you are in Memphis), Sun Studio (probably the favorite place for all 6 of us, Arcade restaurant, a couple of vintage thrift shops, Beale Street, crossed the Mississippi River, and ate delicious BBQ.  We even took a day trip to visit Nashville. Music abounds in these places and coming from Austin made the perfect transition to show our children and teens a music rich history. It was a wonderful experience.

elvis sun studio memphis

I can’t say I didn’t have my doubts from time to time, before and after the trip. I mean we were TOTALLY breaking tradition.  How would everyone feel  Christmas morning without a physical a stack of presents to open? Would we miss all the shopping and wrapping? What do we do on Christmas morning?!?

Full disclosure: We did have a few surprises Christmas morning. We all purchased smaller, thoughtful stocking stuffers for one another. The only rule was that all gifts were to be thoughtful, and no one was required to give. I gave each of the children a copy of our family picture that we took at Graceland together and am finishing up a family photo album of our time together this season.

All fears dissipate when I look back at these photos though.

Memphis Rock n Roll Christmas

These special moments can’t be purchased or planned for.

Peabody Rock n Roll Christmas

They can’t be wrapped up with bows or carefully tucked away under the tree but they were the very best we could have given this season and I am so happy we did.

It really has been one of the most relaxing Christmas seasons ever. We have spent our time talking with one another and doing all the “little things” that really make holiday time special. We’ve watched movies together, cooked holiday meals, baked cookies and made hot chocolate. Most of all we haven’t felt rushed or mentally ( or financially) exhausted wondering if everything on the list was checked off.

What has been the best part of your holiday season ? Have you ever done something that broke tradition during the holidays?

4 Fun Photo Ideas for the BEST Holiday Cards #HolidayCardPhotos

 This is a sponsored post through Global Influence. All opinions are mine.
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I love the idea of sending Christmas cards. While it’s true that I love the idea of sending Christmas cards, in reality they usually end up being New Year’s cards by the time I’ve actually sent them to my intended loved ones. Keepin’it real y’all, keepin.it.real.   This is why my favorite cards to send and receive are photo cards. Laughter and merriment are not holiday specific which seems to best fit my mailing timeline. I also keep every photo card we’ve gotten through the years because I love seeing my friends faces as we unpack out our holiday decor. If you have happened to send a particularly fun photo it may get to stay out all year- feel free to take this as a challenge.

Christmas 2006 smile

The photo above is an old one of ours ( circa 2006) and not perfect in any way. That’s what made it my favorite that year. It was the real us. The “real” that comes through when you spend time with us. Through all of the perfectly posed frames during our photo session, this one was my favorite because it showed who we really were at that season of our lives. I encourage you to send cards that reflect who you are or something that is important to you. Maybe its quirky or off beat but your loved ones will get it and it will warm their hearts across the miles or even just across the street.

Now that I’ve got you all “pep talked” into creating the BEST holiday cards ever, here to help are some great ways to help you capture the photo and make it fun.

4 Fun Photo Ideas for the BEST Holiday Cards

#1 Baby It’s Cold Outside ( or maybe it’s not…)

Believe it or not there is a majority of the country that never sees snow in the winter. Your snowless friends love seeing pics of all that fluffy white stuff! Take your holiday pic outside. Have a snowball fight, build a snowman, or just enjoy the snow falling around you.

Ski, snow, sun and winter fun - happy family ski team

If you do live in the parts of the county that never see a flake,  you aren’t left out. Pair your bikinis with some Santa hats and head to the beach. No matter where you live get outside and include your surroundings in your photos.

Family in santa hats on beach, new year and christmas holiday

#2 Laughing all the way

There is something about seeing others laugh that lifts our spirits too. Let your family get a little silly and just start snapping pictures. There is bound to be at least one that makes you erupt into laughter when you are looking at them after. Chances are that’s your prized shot.

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#3 Happy Howl-idays & Meow-y Christmas 

If you have furry family members ( no, I’m not talking about your Great Aunt Harriet), make them the holiday star this year. Cats, Dogs, Bunny,  maybe even your  hamster! Pets are a big part of your life so, let them take center stage on your holiday card. C’mon, just this once???

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#4 Oh, what Fun! -Add  Props!

Use fun holiday props to add interest to your photos! Think items you already have. Ornaments, bows, strings of lights, candy canes, mistletoe, Considering using that Frosty the snowman you build in the front yard or mugs of hot coco in your jammies around the fireplace. If you happen to have a Santa hat, reindeer nose, scarves and mittens work well for holiday props too!

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I can’t wait to see all the fun you guys have creating your holiday cards this year. In fact, I hope to see some of them in my mailbox! Whatever you do make it memorable and know that you really are sending a little bit of cheer with each Christmas card you write.

Happy Holidays Y’all!

This post was inspired by Paper Culture who offer eco-friendly personalized holiday cards and personalized gifts.