it’s 10 benny: alcazar hotel and moorten botanical garden

  We were so indecisive when it came to what hotel we wanted to stay at. It was between splurging and staying at the Parker the whole weekend, or staying at the Alcazar. I had just come across Alcazar and their all-white rooms is my idea of the perfect hotel. Since it was just the two of us, and we could easily pack up and go, we decided to stay at both! We stayed our first night at the Alcazar and another at the Parker.

So here are my thoughts on the Alcazar… I immediately loved their little lobby because it is all-white. The white floors, white walls, and white furniture sort of reminds me of home. I was really feeling the vibe there. We went to our room, and sure enough, we were greeted with a calming canvas of white. I loved it. It had pops of color with the pillows on the bed and the art on the walls, and it was enough to give the plain room enough personality. The place I think they went wrong with all the white is in the bathroom. It was all the glorious white I love, but there was no art, and that made it feel too sterile. It gave off some weird futuristic vibes and the tub really needed some updating, and with all the white, the age of the tub really stood out. It didn’t feel relaxing. Other than that, the room was comfy and the grounds of the hotel were beautiful. It’s a small hotel and so the pool isn’t very large, but it is definitely a relaxing place to stay. If you love the all-white thing, you’ll love this hotel.

After we checked out of the Alcaraz, and before heading to the Parker, we made our way to Moorten Botanical Garden. It’s this beautiful garden full of various cacti that has been kept my the same family since 1938. We got to chat with Mr. Moorten and he told us all about how his parents started it and how he would help them. We saw tons of lizards, a roadrunner, and we were careful as we walked around because we didn’t want to chola cactus to jump up and get stuck on us (there was a sign and it made me nervous). Of course, we ventured into their enchanting cacterium (shared some photos here) and we did a lot of just relaxing and sitting on the benches. We happened to be there when it was unusually cooler for July, but it was still hot, just not over the 100′s. Ben wanted to see if there were any fruit trees, but to his disappointment, there were none. There were some fruiting cacti though.

We definitely needed some cooling off after, so we headed to Great Shakes for some ice cream. For this first visit, I ordered salted caramel, and we went back the next day to try pistachio (salted caramel wins). It’s actually a milkshake, but since it’s quite thick, I think it’s more ice cream-like. Ben thought he was going to just have a few bites, but he liked it so much, he had half of it. HA! Though he didn’t really like the pistachio one, so I finished that all on my own. Works out better for me!

Thankfully, we were able to check into the Parker early and we just relaxed once we got there. We walked around all the gardens, then found ourself a hammock, and parked our bodies there. I will share more about our stay there in a coming post!



a peek into another classroom

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a classroom, so when the The Learning Care Group invited me to see what their Tutor Time Learning Center was all about, I was glad to check it out and bring my junior kinder (Glow) and kindergartener (Soul) with me. Glow technically starts kinder next year, but she’s showing interest, so I think she may be ready to start some things alongside Soul. Thus, this will be the first year where I will be intentionally teaching all four girls in their four different grades (though True and Brave are pretty much on the same level and use the same curriculum). Obviously, I will cater to their different needs and levels, but I wanted to see if I could get any ideas from my trip to Tutor Time to aid in teaching the youngest two. I’ve gotten used to teaching the older girls, but starting again back at the basics makes me a little nervous. The early elementary grades freak me out, where as I’m most comfortable with third grade and higher.

We walked through most of the classrooms, except infant and toddler, and I loved seeing the teachers and students at work. It was a great tour and I was able to ask lots of questions about goals and how they measure progress. They value the uniqueness of each child, so they have a Learning Care System rubric to track each child’s growth. Assessments are done every 6 weeks, and based on that, they cater to their specific needs and strengths. While I’ve kept a mental note of where my girls are at, I think it would be great if we worked on setting up a goal sheet together, that way they could clearly see their progress and things they need to work on. I think this will give them more ownership of their learning.

Other great things I want to implement at home are to label objects in our homeschool room for the younger girls, get an easel for art projects (this will help keep them occupied while I work with the older two), and post our goals (not just keep them in my planning book or in my head). At Tutor Time, the goals were clearly outlined at various stations in the classroom and the kids know what to do, why, and their goals; we will definitely be posting our own version at home.

The thing Soul and Glow would love to implement at home is the Village Room, which was this room with facades of different buildings, and in each space were toys that corresponded to those buildings (e.g., workshop, grocery store, post office, apparel shop). That room was playroom heaven for them! They also wished for their own playground and all the toy sets they saw. Those things probably made them wish they didn’t homeschool. HA!

It was great to learn about a different schooling option and how Tutor Time caters to the specific needs of their students. Our neighbor brought their kids here (they’re older now), and she used to tell me all the things her children did, so it was great to check it out in person. Now, I’m on a hunt to find a good art easel. Anyone have a particular one they love?

This post is sponsored by Tutor Time. Visit to schedule your tour today. Thank you for the support you give me, my space, and the brands I partner with! 



renewed membership

Well, hello again dark hair.

Love having my hair back dark and more natural. My hair looks so much healthier (I also chopped off 5 inches) and the color makes it easier to leave my natural curls (you see it here). For some reason, in this season of life that I’m in, it feels nice to be back to something closer to my natural color. Plus, it’s fun to change things up once in awhile, a change was very much needed. I’m definitely happy about renewing membership back into the dark-haired club. *high-five dark-haired friends!*

on me: levi’s 701, thrifted (vintage here, new there). top, thrifted (vintage here, new there). bag, vintage. (vintage here, new there). jitney sandal, c/o marais usa.




the last hurrah for summer

This outing was the start of our summer and now here we are at the end. We wanted to make sure to get one last hurrah in, so we went on a picnic at Farmer’s Park with my BFF and her foster daughter (and of course, we cooled off with PopBar afterwards). I packed us some sandwiches, sunflower butter and jam for the kids, and grilled cheese for the adults. We also had some cheese puffs, plenty of cookies, and lemonade. It was such a beautiful day with yummy food and good company; a picnic was totally the perfect way to end our summer!

I’ll gladly take Soul and Brave’s dress in my size. True is my girl that gravitates towards anything pink and leopard print (actually, same could be said for Soul too). Glow looks like she should be working at Hot Dog on a Stick. In fact, I think that would be an adorable Halloween costume with this dress, and you would just need to figure out how to make a hat! My girls already have their costume requests, but if they didn’t I would definitely try to convince one of them to be a Hot Dog on a Stick employee for Halloween. Someone… please do it!

School starts tomorrow and it’s back to all our routines. I’m going to miss the freedom and rest of summer, but I think having our schedules back will be good too. I’m eager to start tackling all the new and wonderful things we will learn this year. I know there will be many hard days ahead, but of course, lots of good ones too. It’s a blessing to be able to teach and mold my children! Now, will you all please remind me of that when I forget?! I have short term memory, and I know I’ll forget that.

What did you do to bid summer farewell?

on me: dress, thrifted. on true: pocket tee, leopard skirt, slip-on sneakers c/o old navy. on brave: swing dress and shoes (similar here), c/o old navy. on soul: plaid dress, c/o old navy. shoes, salt-water sandals. on glow: striped dress and sandals, c/o old navy.

This post is sponsored by Old Navy. Thank you friends for your support of this space and the brands I partner with! I’m so thankful for this space and all of you who take the time to visit here.





Our loot from the thrift store. #thrifted #vintage

This week’s learned, links, and thankfulness…

Always struggling with dying to self and speak lovingly towards my girls. It’s so easy to be quick to angry, and so hard to be slow to speak. Super thankful for grace and forgiveness. #storyofmylife

Peanut butter cup pretzel cheesecake bars look like something I should never eat because if I start, I probably won’t stop.

The BFF brought some of these home baked cookies on our picnic. She used 1 cup less sugar than the recipe and it still came out so sweet!

We thought we had found a bed frame, this one from Restoration Hardware, but we went to check it out in person, and we didn’t like it. The West Elm one is still an option, but I’m afraid the headboard might look too bulky in king size.

I love Maryam Nassir Zadeh shoes (though I don’t own a pair), but this white shirt with holes (for $180!) is kind of insane (not in a good way). I just don’t get it. I’m definitely not a high fashion girl.

Love this vintage little girl dress from Ms. Tips.

Erin from Calivintage has one of the best instagram shops. I always love the vintage things she finds.

Glow’s birthday is coming and I just ordered these rainbow blocks for her.

I’ve been finding some nice goods at the thrift store lately. If I bring something in, I move something out (to friends or donate).

School starts this week… eek!!! Goodbye summer!!!



300X150_melijoe-mycakies ms. tips citykid lotta sqapothecary entrance10


FM Badge