Part of Me Blog

seriously AWESOME back to school kids' looks

MOMLIFE, STYLElissa-anglinComment
When you can make your 8 year old a superhero, you absolutely do it. :)

When you can make your 8 year old a superhero, you absolutely do it. :)

Back-to-school shopping. It always sounds fun in theory, but in reality, I usually just end up ignoring it until we realize that someone literally has no more pants that fit. 😂My son, Knox, is super easy to please- as long as what he’s wearing is comfortable. But I also want him to look cool, too- and depending on where we’re shopping, that can be tough.

When I saw these rainbow sequin skirts, I knew the girls would LOVE THEM. And they do! My favorite thing is that they are lined with a soft jersey fabric so they stay comfy.

When I saw these rainbow sequin skirts, I knew the girls would LOVE THEM. And they do! My favorite thing is that they are lined with a soft jersey fabric so they stay comfy.

I’ve also never been a huge girly-girl- and so it’s quite ironic that I have two glitter-rainbow-sparkle-loving girls. A lot of little girl clothing is just too much tulle/rhinestone/crazy for me (thanks a lot, JoJo Siwa)- so anytime I can find something fun for the girls we ALL like, I am ON IT.

When Mom says you can have some hot chocolate after we take a photo!

When Mom says you can have some hot chocolate after we take a photo!

So, I was so excited when I got in my order from Rockets of Awesome. From the first look at their website, I knew I would love everything they had to offer! I love finding versatile and fun clothing that is also comfortable for my kids. The girls are not a huge fan of jeans, so we wear a LOT of leggings/dresses and comfy tops.

These rainbow crew shirts are SO incredibly soft. The girls love them and there are so many ways to style them.

These rainbow crew shirts are SO incredibly soft. The girls love them and there are so many ways to style them.

Gosh I love this ever-growing boy. This AWESOME sweatshirt for perfectly with a bit of growing room.

Gosh I love this ever-growing boy. This AWESOME sweatshirt for perfectly with a bit of growing room.

The price point was a bit higher than I would normally spend, but if you order 4+ items from their site, you will automatically get 20% off which made all the difference.

When we got our box in the mail, I was SO impressed with the quality of the items. The shirts were so cozy and soft, and I know we will get a ton of wear out of them. The kids were also excited about them, which means I won’t have to struggle to get them dressed in the mornings!

Rockets of Awesome also has a great subscription box, which you get to customize to fit your child- and not just size-wise- they ask you about your individual child’s preferences, so if you have a kid who’s picky about their clothing, this is incredibly helpful. They’ll send you clothing every 3 months (perfect for each new season) and you just keep what you’d like (at a special 25% off subscriber price!), and send back what you don’t.

No dragging your kid to the mall? Comfy, cute clothing that will last? DONE and DONE.

They’ve got a TON of cute pieces on their site- here are a few of my faves! Click on the image to be taken to the website and shop!

Rainbow Stripe Sweatshirt Dress
Metallic Stripe Ruffle Sleeve Dress
Rainbow Comfy Crew
Print Raglan Tee
Rainbow Romper
Chambray Dress
Flip Sequin Skirt
Tie Dye Active Capri
Essential Tank Dress
Rockets Of Awesome X State Backpack In Pastel Rainbow
Cheetah Capri Legging
Tres Mermaid Comfy Crew
Awesome Sweatshirt
ROA #Goals Active Tee
Fuzzy Tiger Tee
Pinata Llama 3-D Tee
Birdseye Jogger
Reflective Stripe Active Short
Quilted Bomber
Rockets Of Awesome X State Backpack In Camo Neon

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you decide to shop and find something you love, I’ll earn a little to go do the same. Thanks for your support!

our stay in seaside, florida

TRAVEL, LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment

It’s been many, many years since I’ve visited the Florida Panhandle- in fact, we were staying in Destin when I first watched the movie Jaws! Not the best choice for a beach vacation, haha! But this summer we made it back and absolutely loved it. Our family drove (yes, 15 hours one way!) to Seaside, Florida a few weeks ago and could not believe how family-friendly it was.

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About 30 minutes east of Destin, the entire town of Seaside is idyllic and literally picture perfect- they filmed The Truman Show there! The perfectly-planned streets are lined with palm trees and beautiful beach “cottages” (some are much too large to be called a cottage!). People are biking or walking everywhere, and there are plenty of opportunities for a shopping, a snack, or a delicious meal.

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One of the biggest pros to Seaside for us was the ability of nearly every restaurant to accommodate our large group quickly. In all, our group totaled 13 people- my side of the family came with us and we had 5 kids in that group. So, we are used to long wait times at restaurants and difficult table configurations- but had zero issues in Seaside!

Our kids LOVED the bunk beds! They were large enough that the girls actually shared one.

Our kids LOVED the bunk beds! They were large enough that the girls actually shared one.

There are many, many places to stay in Seaside, and condos or homes outnumber hotels by far - which is our preference, anyway. After doing some research, we decided we could save quite a bit by staying just on the other side of 30A (the main thoroughfare that the area is named after- it follows the shoreline). So, while we didn’t have an oceanview, we were able to walk there quite easily and felt it was a really good decision!

Our condo was perfect for our family and had two bunk beds, a pullout couch and 1 king bed with 2 bathrooms, a small kitchen, living area and enclosed balcony. One major perk of the place (besides the location) was the huge crate full of beach toys, chairs and even a beach cart. It was also above an ice cream shop, urgent care clinic, and surf shop which we utilized at different times throughout the trip. The condo we stayed at is called Cassine Station, so look for that when searching vrbo or AirBnb.

Our property also had access to a pool which was handy when there were 2 red flags up at the beach and we were unable to get in the water. This happened 2 days we were there, but it wasn’t a huge issue- the kids still played in the sand and then we swam in the pool.

This is what they call Ocean View, not Oceanfront. 😂 Still, we loved our little spot by the ocean!

This is what they call Ocean View, not Oceanfront. 😂 Still, we loved our little spot by the ocean!


FOOD…because it’s our favorite souvenir

There were so many great spots to eat around Seaside, and we didn’t scratch the surface- but here are some we’d definitely visit again and enjoyed-

Pizza By the Sea

Pizza By the Sea

Pizza By The Sea- my favorite meal! Wine and pizza and the beach…welcome to my dreamland. The pizza was amazing and went beyond basic ingredients. They also had a shelf of children’s books to entertain while waiting on food. We ate here the first night, and it worked out really well because Publix is next door and we were able to buy groceries after dinner.

Fantastic frosé found here!

Fantastic frosé found here!

Great Southern Cafe- This was a delicious meal! Of course, we all ordered seafood and it did not disappoint. I would say this is more adult-friendly, but it was no problem to have the kids there. We also hit up the little stand right next to the restaurant for some frosé before our meal which was totally overpriced but delicious and hey….vacay!

Cafe Thirty-A- My parents volunteered to babysit one evening, so we got to go out with my sisters and brothers-in-law for dinner. This is the most upscale place we ate, and it was so delicious. Great service and menu variety- everyone loved their food and the drink list was extensive. Great for a date night.

Seagrove Village Market Cafe- We ate on the patio for this dinner and it had a great atmosphere. This place knows how to fry food, for sure- most of what is on their menu is fried (but good!).

Seagrove Village Market Cafe

Seagrove Village Market Cafe



Frostbites- We had to stop by this Seaside staple for a snow cone one day! It was a great break from the heat and the entire area beside this food truck is adorable. There are several more food trucks in this area and space to play for the kids.

It’s Heavenly Shortcakes & Ice Cream- We ordered wayyyy to much here (read: lots of sticky ice cream mess) BUT everything was so yummy. Centrally located in Seaside Circle.

Bud and Alley’s- This restaurant has a casual bar with an ocean view, or a more formal restaurant. The night we dined at the restaurant, it was getting late and we had cranky kiddos, so the formal setting was a bit much for us. We should have just gone to a burger joint! But, the food was great. However, this was one of the more expensive meals we had.

Walking to The Perfect Pig

Walking to The Perfect Pig

The Perfect Pig- This was a great breakfast/brunch place just a short walk from our condo, and was so delicious! Great coffee and GRITS!

The amphitheater at Seaside Circle. This was a fun spot to people watch and let the kids run around. So many great shops and food nearby- and a short walk to the beach!

The amphitheater at Seaside Circle. This was a fun spot to people watch and let the kids run around. So many great shops and food nearby- and a short walk to the beach!

Now for our Tips for Seaside:

  • Buy groceries (but don’t overdo it!)- We planned to eat breakfast and lunch at the condo, and that worked really well for our family. I made sure to buy things that were super portable, and didn’t require any real cooking, haha. Pop tarts, sausage biscuits, Lunchables (our kids don’t get these first three at home very often so this felt special to them, haha!), snack cheese, turkey pepperoni, crackers, etc. We also grabbed paper towels, extra wipes, sunscreen, and a couple of inner-tubes. The Publix in Seaside has plenty of beach toys if you need any!

  • Consider skipping the ocean view- Let’s be honest, if you’re traveling with kids, there won’t be a lot of time for porch-sitting and basking in the view from your condo- unless you wake up super early, and on vacation, we don’t. :) It was such a huge savings for us to be just off the ocean, and we’d do it again.

  • Set a timer for sunscreen- I mean, this isn’t that revolutionary, but we needed to! After we forgot to reapply the first day and had several bad burns, we were pretty hard core about it. We aren’t used to that extra sun at the beach, and so we literally needed a reminder.

  • Take a break in the afternoon. Most days, we had an intentional slow start to the day and wandered out to the beach by 10-ish, and stayed until 1 or 2 when we’d come back to the condo, eat lunch and make the girls take a nap. This worked really well for us and that rest time was my only “peaceful” moment to read, nap, etc.

  • Don’t bring it to the beach unless you want sand on it. Again, obvious, but worth remembering when packing! We designated a waterproof cosmetic bag I had for our phones, wallets, etc. and that worked really well.

  • Hit up the beach in the evening. We did this one night and loved it so much. At 5 pm, condos that set our beach chairs for their guests pick them back up for the night, and many people leave for the day. It was cooler and much less crowded in the evenings, and in the future we’ll visit more often during this time.

  • Don’t reserve rentals ahead of time- I wondered if we needed to reserve rentals in advance (there are a TON of rental places that rent everything from beach chairs, to bikes, to baby cribs), but I’m glad we didn’t, because our condo had everything we needed.

  • Double check amenity deals before you go. Our condo offered some special deals on fun things like parasailing, jet skis, mini golf, etc.- but there was a catch- one free adult per day (and you can’t stack your days) AND most of the activities were at least a 30 minute drive. We considered doing one or two of them, but decided that this trip, we’d rather just have more beach time. I think we will probably be into this stuff once our kids get older and can participate.

  • Get a condo with washer/dryer and do your laundry the day before you leave. I would assume that most condos have one, but it was SO handy. The condo provided one extra pack of laundry detergent, which wasn’t enough for us, but I brought some travel detergent. So, you may need to buy that or bring some extra.


Whew, lots of info and that’s not even half of what I could tell you about! All in all, we will definitely be back. Seaside was charming, laid-back, and that sugary white sand was the best we’ve ever experienced.

I hope this post was helpful, and if you have more Seaside tips, please let me know! Also, if you haven’t checked out my Road Trip Travel Hacks & Must-Haves, you’ll need to! That was a whole other portion of this vacation I didn’t get into this post. :)

Our Travel Hacks and Must-Haves

After 40+ hours in the car, here’s what we know…

my year in books - book review

LIFESTYLE, MOMLIFElissa-anglin1 Comment

“You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.”

Charlie Tremendous Jones

One of my favorite quotes, and a great excuse to read, read, read! It’s been a long while since I’ve shared an update on what I’m reading- and I’ve never really reviewed any of these books, so I thought it would be a good habit to start!

In this post, I’m reviewing all the books I’ve read since last July. You guys, there are some DUDS and SO MANY GOOD ONES! Hopefully you’ll enjoy my regular-girl quick reviews on these.


In no particular order- let’s go!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

EVERYONE was telling me I needed to read this one- and they were all exactly right! Odds are you’ve been told this as well- and if not, hear me say it! The book is described as a coming-of-age story meets murder mystery, and it is- woven with such beautiful descriptions of the North Carolina swamp it made me actually want to go visit. This one is culturally interesting (the South in the 1950’s-70’s) and had a great ending. I read it in 3 days- it’s that good.

Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel

I bought this one at an airport bookstore because I liked the cover, haha- and I’m so glad I did! As I was reading this one, I couldn’t figure out why I liked it so much- but I just HAD to know what was going to happen next. This book is about a girl going through a bad breakup, who also needs a job and ends up as the admissions director of a private school in New York City. It is understated but entertaining. In the end, I really think the beauty in this one is the depth that Poeppel gives her characters- insight into their thought lives and what makes them act the way they do. I ended up loving this one- one of my favorites of the year.

The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin

Oh, you guys- this one is understated yet so significant. I still don’t believe I really have processed all that God spoke to me while reading the beautiful, imperfect stories Shannan has so thoughtfully documented in this book. This book forces you to really think about the everyday in new ways- our “inconveniences”, our “needs” and being thankful in everything.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks

This is a really easy and fun read- and if you love Tom Hanks, you’ll probably enjoy this book of semi-random short stories he wrote. Reading it I kept hearing his distinctive voice in the text, and about 3 or 4 stories in I realized the common theme- there is a typewriter woven into every story. My favorite story was the one about time travel. I gifted this book to my Dad for Christmas and he loved it too.

Everybody Always by Bob Goff

This is a great book with a great concept- and many quoteables. I love Bob Goff and the way he thinks. The stories inside this book are proof of how God truly does love everybody, always, which is also our calling as believers. I didn’t love this book as much as Bob’s previous book, Love Does, but it is a good read.

Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Ugh, I wanted to love this one- and in some ways I did- but it was missing something major to me. Let me explain- I have all the respect for Rachel Hollis- she is full of gusto, honesty, and I loved reading her boots-on-the-ground, learning-as-I-go stories, but I wish this book had Jesus in it. Yes, Rachel is a Christian, and did intentionally choose to make this book not geared toward one religion, but I feel like because of that the message is much more “save yourself” than “Jesus died to save you”. However, lots of great content and encouragement, especially for women business owners.

My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

So after seeing Hamilton the musical, I really wanted to read this one- which is a historical fiction book about Eliza Hamilton, Alexander Hamilton’s wife, who accomplished a LOT in the 50 years she lived after his death. I enjoyed the first 1/3 of the book, but after that it just felt really slow and political which wasn’t my jam. But hey, I know a lot more about the founding fathers now! So, if you love American history/colonial era, go for it- if not, might want to move on.

Hotels of North America by Rick Moody

I found this book at Dollar Tree (yes, for $1!), and thought it was an interesting concept. The entire book is a series of hotel reviews by one man (apparently on a popular travel review site like TripAdvisor). His reviews reveal unusual glimpses into his life that are intriguing, a little disgusting, and also made me chuckle. I really loved Rick Moody’s descriptive writing style. I can’t say I loved this book so much- but I won’t forget it soon, so take that for what you will.


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

READ THIS. It’s great. So intriguing. Another one I devoured in about 3 days. 1990s in suburban, idealistic America- mystery, mother-daughter relationships, coming-of-age…it’s got it all and so many will find a relatable moment while reading. Little Fires Everywhere is going to be miniseries on Hulu starring Reece Witherspoon and Kerry Washington so this is a great one to read before it releases!

Limelight by Amy Poeppel

I loved Small Admissions so much, I couldn’t wait to read Amy Poeppel’s new book, Limelight. This one is entirely different in subject- but is so enjoyable. It’s the story of a mom who becomes a teen celebrity’s (think Justin Beiber-like) personal assistant on accident. It’s set in New York City so I loved the story of a family moving from Texas to the Big Apple- seeing their transitions mixed with the celebrity antics is entertaining. It’s a good easy read.

Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

This book is full of research on what it takes to really captivate people. I wanted to read this one after hearing Vanessa Van Edwards interview on a podcast. She is incredibly well-spoken and I loved her practical applications- like suggestions on where to stand at a party and how to connect with people quickly and effectively. I’m going to have to re-read this one a few times just to take it all in.

Small Victories by Anne Lamott

I picked up this one after reading Uncommon Type, thinking another volume of short stories by one of my favorite authors was a good idea. I LOVED Bird by Bird and so I had high hopes for this one. This book is a collection of more spiritual essays by Anne Lamott focusing on “improbable moments of grace”, and I have a feeling I will appreciate this one more at a later stage in life. I’ll keep it around but it wasn’t my fave.

The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner

This one was SO GREAT. It was perfect for me, in this stage of life- trying to raise kids, work, be a great wife and friend. I really appreciated Jessica’s practical perspective and also her ability to make me think about what really matters the most to me. I went in prepping for a guilt trip (as if we working moms need another one)- but that’s not at all what this book is. It’s freedom-giving and encouraging- reassurance that we’re not alone.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

This book was recommended to me by several friends and I’m glad I’ve read it- though I did feel it got a bit long. It’s a great book about racism with twisted moral dilemma that drove me to keep reading. In the end, I enjoyed this book though it got a little long.

The Wangs Vs. The World by Jade Chang

I read this one on the tail of finishing the Crazy Rich Asians Series (I don’t know- I guess I was on the Asian current?!), and it was disappointing. The concept is a bit Beverly Hilbillies-in-reverse- a wealthy family falling apart after experiencing fabulous wealth and then total material loss. There were a few funny moments but in the end I didn’t love it.

Beneath the Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Another historical fiction book, this one is based on the true story of an Italian spy during World War II. It is a truly incredible story- if you love this time period, or have any connections to the Alps, you will love this. I did feel it got a bit long and boring, but there are also quite a few moments that are so incredible, it’s hard to believe it’s actually a true story.

A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman

If you are a Christian creative, this is a MUST READ. I love Emily’s work (I say this as if I know her personally! ha!) and this may be my favorite thing she’s ever written. It is FULL of gems about God’s purpose for creatives and how to create with that understanding. It’s already time for me to read this again.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I’d seen lots of great reviews on this one, so I picked it up to read on vacation. It is charming and mysterious- getting to know Eleanor as she simultaneously makes a friend (seemingly her first ever) is sweet and awkward all in one. There is a great twist at the end of this book, but I can’t say I really loved it.

Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

This was the second time I gave this book a go. I’d heard it referenced so many times on the Dave Ramsey show but wasn’t prepared for it to be so textbook-like. So, when I decided to try to read it again, I was a couple years older and had some more life under my belt. I feel like every household needs this book- it’s a great reference on healthy relationships and how to keep them healthy. My favorite quote, which my husband quotes to me often, is “You are responsible to other people, not responsible for them.”

The Crazy Rich Asians Series by Kevin Kwan

I kept seeing this series and wasn’t sure what it would all be about- but a chapter or two in, I couldn’t stop reading. This series features an extremely wealthy elite group of Chinese families living in Singapore- their escapades, relationships and inheritances. It was romantic and funny- and of course made me want to visit Singapore. My favorite book of the series was the last one- Rich People Problems, where everything is tied together nicely in the end.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

This book is a great kick in the pants and actually encouraged me to start exercising regularly. It is a very simple strategy for getting things done explained by optimistic-yet-real Mel Robbins (a woman!). If you’ve seen her viral Ted talk, this book is the result of that. I also listened to this one on Audible and it is read by Mel and includes several extra offsides and stories you won’t get in the book.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Another one I devoured in just a few days- this book is a great novel about the volatile relationship between police and African Americans, and is such a relevant and important read. I loved Starr’s character and her interesting relationships with her family and the rest of the world. This is a definite page-turner and thought-provoker. Shawn and I watched the movie after I read this and we both really liked it.

And, if you’re not the page-turning type, I’d recommend checking out Audible. I’ve had a membership for a few years and love it- I listen to books while driving, working out, editing, doing laundry etc!

our road-trip travel hacks + must-haves

TRAVEL, LIFESTYLE, MOMLIFElissa-anglin1 Comment
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So far this summer we’ve spent about 60 hours in the car as a family, getting to our vacations. :) It’s not been near as bad as I anticipated, and we’ve learned a few trips along the way- so I’m here to share!

Our best road-trip travel hacks:

  • Slip on shoes for kids. Keep in one place when inside the car so you don’t have to search for them every time you need to get out. We especially love Natives so this is usually what they are wearing.

  • Small neck pillow and blanket for each kid. We keep in a basket of these in the back of the car all the time.

  • We are big fans of leaving early in the morning so that we can take a pit stop at lunch. So, we get up early. To help the kids sleep, and because I just love it, I keep my car diffuser on all the time- usually with a relaxing scent like lavender. I will throw some peppermint oil in there if I’m driving and feeling sleepy and it perks me up right away. This is the one I have, and it works well, though I wish I would have tried this one since it doesn’t take up a cupholder.

  • Unlimited screen time & cell phone hotspot or downloaded movies. That’s right- we give our kids unlimited screen time and turn on one of our cell phone hotspots while driving. We came really close to using up all of our data this month, but didn’t and it was worth it for the peace and quiet! Also, we say “unlimited” screen time, but in reality they fall asleep watching or their devices die. If you don’t want to turn on your hotspot, you can download selected movies from Netflix for free. They expire in a week so be sure to do it just before your trip. A couple of must-haves for this are some good headphones (we have had plenty break, these are the best), durable iPad cases. We keep a designated backpack to hold all 3 tablets, headphones, and chargers so that they are easily found when not in use.

  • Stay hydrated- We also always bring an insulated mug for both Shawn and I and a water bottle for each kid. The kids know they are in charge of their own cup, so it gives them a little responsibility- though we are still picking them up a lot! Did you know you get a .10 discount if you bring your own mug to Starbucks?! Also, on this note- you’ll want to check out the travel potty that we love because it definitely came in handy!

  • I bought several snacks in bulk at Sam’s before the trip and they really came in handy and kept us from buying junk at the convenience store. (However, my love for chewy Sweet Tarts did overpower me once!) For these trips I bought fruit snacks, Goldfish, Pop Chips, zBars, turkey pepperoni, bottled water, powdered flavorings for water, Babybel cheese, and apples. We kept them all in my favorite travel cooler bag with these flexible ice packs and the cold items stayed nice and cool!

  • Get a good gas station routine. To cut down on time and confusion at pit stops (and there are many when you have 3 littles), we stick to this plan every time- Shawn gets gas and takes Knox to bathroom, I clean out trash and take girls. Seems small, but saves us a lot of stress.

  • I always bring a small dish brush (this one fits in my toiletry bag) and a travel sized container of dish soap. I’ve used it for so many things- namely cleaning our water bottles, but they have come in handy with shoes, stains, and lots of other things!

  • I love to pack with compression bags. I have found I can fit so much more in and keep it all organized with them.

  • When there’s room, I bring a foldable laundry hamper that I set up in the room where we are staying. Makes doing laundry after we get home a breeze and keeps the room clean.

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I love a good list- so here are some things that makes life easier for us when traveling!


AUX Cable with iPhone/iPad charger port

• Band-Aids (these are for practical purposes but also entertain when you’re in a pinch! Warning- they make lots of trash)

The Best Portable Potty Seat + Liners (we LOVE this foldable potty seat and the throw away liners. It comes with a bag to store everything in and fits under a seat!)

Car Seat Protectors & Kick Mats


Cute backpacks they can carry

Contigo cups

Boogie Wipes (we love the grape ones)

Kid’s Melatonin (We first used these to help with jet lag while in China, and they work so well for our kids that we now take them with us whenever we travel.)

Kickee Pants Blankets So soft and lightweight, fold up to a small size

Boogie Board

Water Wow

Wikki Stix

• Our Favorite Activity Books

Durable Headphones

Tough iPad Cases


Tula Carrier

Airlight Carrier - we used this when the Tula was too hot. The airlight is mesh and breathable, perfect for a newborn to about 6 months. It packs small and is also great for water/splash pad/pool situations because it dries quickly. Of course, I wouldn’t swim in it- but it was nice to have when I was supervising one child while wearing another.

Snack Cups

Portable Placemat


• Mineral Sunscreen (my favorite for face, for body)

Essential Oil Carrier

Oils that I typically carry are

  • Thieves - germ blaster

  • R.C. - excellent for congestion

  • Lavender - sooooo many uses but great for allergies, bug bites, promoting sleep

  • Peppermint - Shawn swears by this for headache relief, great for tummy aches and cooling in the heat

  • DiGize - for all those tummy troubles after adventurous eating

  • Geranium - this is a MUST HAVE for us because Liv gets nosebleeds and this oil stops them quickly

  • Oregano - ear infections, other infections)

Travel Size Dry Shampoo

• Travel Size Dish Soap

Small Dish Brush

Thieves Hand Sanitizer (Young Living)

Probiotics (we use Life 9 by Young Living)


Hardside Rolling Suitcases - These are great because they are expandable and hold a lot.

Foldable Laundry Hamper

CamelBak - I bought one of these years ago and now Shawn mostly carries it. It’s been great for family camp and other days when we’ve been outside a lot.

Tough Luggage Tags with Privacy

Compression Bags

Double Inline Stroller - This one folds down relatively small and we have loved it!

• Extra Gallon Ziploc Bags/a few empty plastic grocery sacks- these are great for alllllll sorts of things. Use them as a dry bag or to cover super dirty shoes. They don’t take up much room and I love having them because I always find a use for them.


Foldable Cart (Beach) - Thankfully, the condo we rented had one of these, but we found out quickly that the wheel size matters! This cart is pricier but worth it when you’re dragging your stuff across the sandy beach.

Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Pop-up Beach Tent - a MUST HAVE with an infant!


Freezable Tote

Dried Chile Mango (addicting!!!)

Larabars (Lemon is my fave!)

ClifKid Zbars

• Turkey Pepperoni

• Beef Jerky

Yeti Ramblers for Coffee

Nalgene Water Bottles


watercolor poppies bible journaling tutorial

HOME + LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment

Hey friends! Since I’ve received my new Illustrating Bible, I have had the best time working in it! It has much larger space to create and I looooove the spiral binding and square shape. I’ve also found that the pages themselves are a bit thicker than other journaling Bibles I’ve had, which is great because I love to use watercolor, and it tends to bleed through.

One of the first pages I created was this poppy scheme in Song of Songs 2 and I’ve had so many requests to do a tutorial on it I thought I’d give it a shot.


So, I set out to create a light pink version of this same concept, and I filmed the process so you can follow along!


I have to apologize for the shaking camera and random interruptions- it’s summertime and my son was wanting to paint with me, so I wasn’t about to say no! I’ll post the links to everything I used at the end of this post.

Affiliate Links:

Illustrated Faith Bible Tabs:

Illustrating Bible:

Holbein Watercolors:

Watercolor Tin:

Round Brushes:

Illustrated Faith Hexagon Stickers:

DaySpring Blank Shape Stickers:

So, let me know- did you enjoy this post? Was it helpful? What more would you like to see? Thanks for tuning in!

summer presets coming in hot!

PHOTOGRAPHYlissa-anglin1 Comment

Confession- I rarely take my "fancy camera" on vacation with me. 2 adults + 3 kids + all our baggage- I just simply don't have room! So, most of my vacation photos are taken with my iPhone, and I'm totally great with that.

There's nothing worse than traveling to an amazing place and having photos that don't reflect the beauty, though. So I created my Summer collection with that in mind. They're formulated for the beach, the pool, the snow cone stand, or a mountain hike. I know you'll love making magic with your photos and my Summer presets!


The Summer Collection screams warm sun and adventure. Geared toward enhancing the bright colors we see during summertime, I’ve also formulated these presets to fit your agenda.

Breeze works amazingly in indoor situations, adding a little pop of color, Snow Cone adds a fun punch to your greens and purples for a technicolor dream, Happy Camper is for all your outdoor mountain adventures, Mint Mojito is kind to greenery and will enhance the natural flora around you, Sand + Sea was made for the beach, and will give you a little tan, too! And Tropic is perfectly warm and bright, like you’re patio sitting with a frosted drink in hand.

shawn's father's day gift list

STYLE, WISHLISTSlissa-anglinComment

You guys know I love Amazon lists (you can view all of mine right here)- but this post is something extra special. I asked my husband of 13 years, and general man’s man, Shawn, to put together a Father’s Day wishlist. When he accepted and then came up with this awesome collection, I was so impressed!

Gifts for men can be so tough, and there is a good range of price tags here. I personally loved the Daddy-Daughter Date Idea book, but a lot of the items here are things he already owns and loves. So, check it all out below.

Shawn’s thoughts are on the caption of each photo!

lissa's lists • 50 things to do with your kids this summer

MOMLIFE, LIFESTYLElissa-anglinComment

I don’t know about you, but as a working mom (who offices from home), when summer draws near- I start to panic. I photograph a lot of weddings during the summer and so for me, it’s my busy season. Add 3 potentially bored children to that, and my eye twitch is back in full force.

So this Monday, I’m writing this list for me- so I literally have something to reference when I need an idea to keep little hands busy.

Most of these can be done at home, and I tend to favor ideas that I don’t have to monitor. I know sometimes we just need to get out of the house, so I’m including a few ideas for “field trips” as well. I’m also including a few things like pool and water toys that we like to buy at the beginning of the summer.

1) Freeze toys in ice and let them dig them out

2) Create a pinwheel garden. Buy some pinwheels at the dollar store or create your own, and let the kids “plant” them in pots or the ground. Maximum effect and no watering necessary!

3) Make your own pinwheels (helpful for number 2!)

4) Do some target practice with water balloons in the backyard. Draw a target with chalk on your fence and let the kids go at it! These quick-filling water balloons are the BEST and totally worth it!

5) Paint with water on the driveway. We like to add in chalk to make it extra colorful. Have I mentioned I buy sidewalk chalk in bulk?!? Ha!

6) Print out a free scavenger hunt from my Pinterest board. There are several that will work in the car, at home, or out and about. I also love this D.I.Y. one that is perfect for younger kids who don’t read yet.

7) Blow up some balloons. And just let the kids do as they please. Somehow this is always entertaining.

8) Throw in some paper plates and let the kids play balloon tennis. Don’t forget to have them decorate their plates beforehand! More busy time. :)

9) Love this balloon puppy idea from The Craft Train. My girls would love it and Knox could probably make some Pokemon/Minecraft version for himself.

10) Water balloon volleyball with towels.

11) Create a scene on your driveway with sidewalk chalk that your kids can pose in and take pictures.

12) Make a summer movie bucket list that include some of your old favorites. There are so many great ones available on streaming services we already have. I like to use Common Sense Media to get some ideas and a run-down on the content before they watch.

Best Kids' Movies on Netflix in 2019

13) Mix up a new popcorn recipe for movie time using these recipes from A Grande Life.

14) Create an outdoor mud kitchen. There are many elaborate ones on Pinterest but for us this usually looks like me handing the girls a few plastic kitchen utensils and bowls they don’t normally get to play with.

15) Up your game by including some pantry staples you’ll never use (rice, pasta, etc.) to use in their outdoor play kitchen.

16) Plant something and let them tend to it every day. Grass seeds grow quickly and potato vine is cheap and grows quickly. You can let each kid have a vine they take care of.

17) Make some watering cans from old milk cartons.

18) Have a scheduled fashion show. Assign number of outfits. Designate a stage tech who is in charge of lighting and music.

19) Give the kids a couple of old bedsheets and have them create a fort in the backyard.

20) Create an easy pulley system in the backyard and have the kids haul goods.

21) Create a care package to mail to someone. Make a card, create a scavenger hunt. Have the kids fill out this All About Me printable book and mail it to a friend with a blank one inside for them to fill out.

22) Make a music video using an ipad or a phone and send it to a friend. Assign each of the kids a job.

23) Mystery snow cones. Test the kids’ ability to try new things and have them guess the flavors of their snow cones (you’ll have to order, of course).

25) D.I.Y. Pantry popsicles. We have made popsicles many times with some cheap popsicle molds and ingredients we had on hand- powdered lemonade is a staple for us so we mix it with whatever fresh fruit we have- canned fruit works well, too! Add in sprinkles, crushed candy, yogurt- you name it, we have probably tried to make a popsicle out of it! Or you could just try these tried-and-true delicious popsicle recipes!

26) Play snow! This stuff makes a mess but brushes off the skin very easily. And one little bag makes a ton. Our kids love playing with it.

27) Play florist for a neighbor, grandparent, or friend. Buy a cheap bouquet while you’re at the grocery store, have the kids make a card. Use a leftover vase or mason jar and help the kids create a bouquet. Add ribbon. It doesn’t have to be pretty. One bouquet can make several small arrangements. Add in greenery from your backyard as filler. And deliver it!

28) Prep dinner. I have found my kids will eat so much better at mealtime if they “help” make dinner. We do a lot of crock pot/instant pot meals so I have begun appointing a helper at every meal who assists me.

29) READ. Knox is a great reader but never really wants to read, so if I give him a time requirement (usually 30 minutes) with a reward at the end (such as screentime), he’ll often read longer than he is required to.

28) For non-readers, let them “read” on youtube! Start here! Tons of great children’s books.

Our library hosted a free petting zoo last year and our kids still talk about it as one of their favorite things we did!

Our library hosted a free petting zoo last year and our kids still talk about it as one of their favorite things we did!

29) Hit up the local library, which has a lot more than books. Ours has an array of free or cheap activities for kids.

30) Wash the car! And the bikes! Good soapy fun is always enjoyed.

31) Leaf Rubbings are always enjoyed at our house. You can make people or flowers out of them.

32) We used to love making hot rocks with melted crayons. This does require using an oven but I still enjoy doing this as an adult and you’ll have some pretty rocks for your garden!

33) Make paper airplanes and have awards for most decorative, longest flying, etc.

34) Make these awesome sponge balls instead of water balloons. Reusable and cheap!

35) Paint with watercolors on a block of ice. Use cheap watercolors- they will last a long time!

36) Show them how to create a summer dance playlist on spotify or Apple Music. Make a “dance floor” in the living room. Our girls love dancing with these play scarves, too.

37) Let them take something apart. This could be an old sports ball, outdated electronic, old stuffed animal, etc.

38) Run in the sprinklers. Put a sprinkler under the swingset and BOOM! Instant water park.

39) Go geo-caching. Super fun and free! Bring a few small prizes to leave when you find something. Start here!

40) Observe the constellations on your phone by downloading the Sky View app. Our kids love this app and you can print out this free constellation map to use!

41) Give the dogs a bath. Or the baby dolls.

42) Use these free printable tangrams! These are great for a variety of ages. Our 8 year old son enjoys origami, too- find some youtube videos that teach.

Bubble machines are relatively cheap and great for littles who haven’t figured out the wands quite yet.

Bubble machines are relatively cheap and great for littles who haven’t figured out the wands quite yet.

43) I love this create your own paintbrushes idea! Grab some tempera paint that will wash out easily or use watercolor.

44) Practice the alphabet with sticky notes.

45) Get the GoNoodle app on your computer or smart TV. Tons of great songs and activities there.

46) is an awesome learning tool for school-aged kids and a lot of fun.

47) We also love Cosmic Kids Yoga, too!

48) Make (or just buy!) some different varieties of bird feed and hang a paper on the window to track which feed is most popular and what birds are eating it.

49) Make some bubble wands with pipe cleaners. We love bubbles and stock up on them always!

50) Watch some silly or interesting kid-friendly videos. We love episodes America’s Funniest Home Videos, BBC Walk on the Wild Side videos like this one, and we also love to research trips or upcoming vacations by finding informational videos on those places.

Most of these ideas have a corresponding pin on my Summer Activities for Kids Pinterest board!

I’m also planning on picking up a few items for the pool or outdoor play for the summer- here are a few of the things I’ve been eyeballing!

Hope you found this helpful! Here’s to a fun summer!

lissa's lists summer fashion faves

STYLE, WISHLISTSlissa-anglinComment

Way, wayyyyyy back on this blog I did a feature called Lissa’s Lists- because I am a LIST LOVER and have about 30 of them going at all times. I’ve been wanting to bring it back in some form or fashion- and you guessed it- FASHION it is!

My hope is to create a new list weekly (fingers crossed) of things I am loving or have had my eye on. I am endlessly “adding to cart” and so this will be a hopefully-helpful way to share what I’m loving with you, my dear readers.

This week’s edition is my Summer Fashion Faves!

Now listen, I love what’s trending but I am also a MOM and need some modesty in my life. Because much of my time in the summer is bent over at the pool getting someone in or out, or sunscreen-ing or honestly trying to avoid the sun altogether because my pasty white skin hates the sun, I’m always on the hunt for good coverups, shorts, and hats/visors that don’t make me look 100% dorky. I’m ok with 75% dork…I can handle that. :)

So, here you go- a few things I’m loving for Summer!

P.S. Did I mention EVERYTHING IS UNDER $50 and MOST ARE UNDER $20?!? Be sure to scroll all the way through because I saved my favorite for last.


Huge, water-resistant, wipeable pool bag.

Goes-with-everything black tank. I also love this because it’s long enough to cover my booty so it’s yoga pants approved!

Basic ponytail cap. WORTH your $9 if you have long hair and want to keep it out of the chlorine.


Black & Gold Oversized Sunglasses. You can’t beat the price and they’ll go with everything.

Tropical Print Shorts. I was expecting these to be too small and short, but was actually really pleased! They have a TON of different prints, and I’m wearing the XL here (typically a size L), so size up.

The most comfy, pool-perfect white sandals. You guys, I have always been a fan of this brand but have only bought for my kids until now! I’m so glad I gave these a shot because they have molded soles with arch support. Perfect for a vacation or any day when you’re doing a lot of walking.


The most flattering swimsuit ever! Conceals my tummy pouch and covers my booty. This one comes in a LOT of different prints and I was surprised by the great quality. You must at least try this on- because the top ties, it can accommodate a lot or a little on top.

Pretty and versatile kimono. $18 yall! This one also comes in a ton of different patterns, but I loved this one in particular- because it can go with my swim gear or be worn with shorts, dress, you name it! This one is very flowy and can accommodate many body shapes. I am wearing a Medium here but think I could have sized down to a Small.

Comfy neutral sandals. I wanted to find something that could easily be washed off and these are perfect for that! They are extremely lightweight and will pack flat for vacay!

Cutest tortoise sunnies. These are great and an instant fave. They are a bit higher than most dupe sunglasses at $25 but the quality is better. I also loved the way they fit every outfit.


Kaftan please! This one is perfection. It’s also just $18, annnnd again they have a ton of different patterns. But trust me, you want this one, because the instant you put it on you will also feel the need for a mai tai.

Brown criss-cross sandals I’ve been wearing all the time. They go with everything. And they’re comfortable. Done.

Brown hat. My one and only trick for the days when I don’t dry shampoo and I want to look like a legit fashion blogger.

Denim bag. I was so, so pleased with the huge size of this bag, and how it looks. I wish it were waterproof, but it could probably be scotch-guarded. Regardless, it’s a great overnight bag/carryall.

Those tortoise sunglasses again. Love them.


White duster that goes with everything. It completely buttons down so you can make it a dress, wear it over an outfit or over your swimsuit. I am wearing a Medium and probably could have sized down to a Small. This is a GREAT versatile piece that makes me feel more put-together instantly.

Oversized tank. I have worn this so much since I got it, and love it for it’s versatility. Comes in blush pink, too! Enter LISSA10 at checkout and get 10% off!

Hi-rise jegging. Probably my favorite pair of pants in warmer weather. And button-fly is so trendy right now.

These strappy sandals. I am clumsy, and can’t usually handle any type of platform or wedge (yes, I am a DORK) but these are great. I’ve worn them all day and they haven’t hurt my feet. And also they are cute.

Earrings from my girl BreckieGrey Designs.


Lace kimono. Under $20. Looks expensive and I have had so many compliments on it! Great to dress up shorts and shirt, great over your swimsuit. This is my FAVE!

Button-fly denim shorts. When I ordered these I really expected them to be too small- but they are PERFECT. The length is great, too- and I really wanted to find some button-fly because I love that that 90’s trend is baaaccccckkkkk, baby!

I hope you enjoyed that round-up and can’t wait to see what your faves are! The image below is CLICKABLE so click on what you like to be taken directly to shop!

There are a couple of items here I actually own but didn’t get photographed, so I can vouch for the quality and fit. :)

Let me know what you have your eye on in the comments! Hope you enjoyed the come back of Lissa’s Lists!