Family Travels - Arkansas

No offense to anyone from Arkansas, but I don't think it is typically where people think of going when they take a family vacation.  And to be honest, we wouldn't have gone on our own accord either, except we had the special occasion of celebrating my husband's grandfather's 90th birthday, and we couldn't miss that.  He is the only living grandparent in my husband's family, and he had never met our son (his great-grandson) before, so the trip was very well worth it.  From the looks of it, we may be taking another trip out there in 10 years for Grandpa's 100th! :)

And Arkansas proved surprisingly lovely, to the point my husband and I were trying to imagine the logistics of us moving out there.  Ahhh, the grass is always greener....and in this case, I think it literally is.  I think the air is fresher, the sky bigger and bluer, and the grass greener in Arkansas than anywhere SoCal can offer.  Despite the short duration of the trip, and travelling with a toddler, it actually felt like a vacation. The country was lovely, the people were friendly, the pace was chill.  It's hard to feel completely chill in LA. Even if you turn everything off, there is always the hum of the freeway reminding you that you need to be on the go.

Flying with the Little Dude was my primary concern - he's flown a few other times, with mixed ease.  He's ever evolving, and now at 19 months I didn't know what to expect with him.  He's always on the go, and this was a 3 hour flight -- I came prepared with new books, Chuggington videos on the iPad, a coloring book -- and 10 minutes after take-off he'd fallen asleep. And slept the entire flight. BOTH ways!  It was amazing.  Mom and Dad were stuck in the same position and seat for those 3 hours with the sleeping toddler across our laps, but we are not complaining.  And every other part of the trip he was a champ.  He didn't sleep the nights quite as well as he does at home, but he still did really well, and we had so much fun with him.

The second day of our trip was our 5th wedding anniversary, so as a surprise to me, my husband got us a couple nights at this fun boutique hotel in Bentonville.   21c Museum Hotel is exactly what it implies: its a museum hotel. The lobby and ground level is a contemporary/modern art museum/gallery, then the guest rooms are on floors above.  It was a fun place to stay.  I'm assuming the displays/installations change occasionally, so you likely don't see the same art every visit.  Across the street from the museum/hotel was a park with a large open water fountain that the kids could run in.  It was heaven on earth for our Little Dude.

The last 3 nights of our stay we rented a small house in the hills, which was a perfect choice for a family with a toddler.  One morning we saw a deer right out our carport.  We were walking distance from a playground for Little Dude to climb and slide.  One day we went to Crystal Bridges Museum of American art, which was a very lovely museum with free admission.  The grounds are especially nice, and not surprisingly Little Dude liked the outdoors the best.

100th birthday or not, I would actually enjoy another trip out there sometime. Or if we ever plan a cross-country road trip, this would be a stop on that drive for sure.


Blue Belle

I'd never been to Arkansas before this recent family trip, and I enjoyed it much more than I anticipated.  Typically the weather in that region of the country tends to be what I consider a less desirable combination of heat and humidity than what we have in SoCal, but this year its almost more humid in LA than it was in AR, so I felt like it was easy to acclimate.

I knew what would be most comfortable would be sundresses, so I picked up a few new ones from Forever 21 - they've been killing it this summer with their adorable, totally affordable yet look-more-expensive-than-they-are styles.  This dress is one of my favorites.  With the off-the-shoulder style and my wide-brimmed hat, I felt like a southern belle.


You can find most of the exact items below.

Kimono in the Woods

I've been meaning to, and hopefully this is the start, post more outfit pictures on the blog.  I'm good about it on Instagram, but those are selfies, and I can't get as many variety of shots.  

Here's a look I packed for a recent trip to Arkansas. I'd never been to Arkansas before, and was expecting (from checking my weather app) warm weather with humidity.  Perfect for sundresses. And we were going to be seeing family (the trip was for my husband's grandpa's 90th birthday party) as well as trying to squeeze in some sight seeing of the country, so I wanted to be cool but comfortable and still look put together.  


I love the mixed patterns of this dress. It looks like a wrap dress, but its not, just a pull over. Light cotton fabric and kimono sleeves kept me cool (though I should have taken the pictures before I sat in the dress and got it wrinkly - sorry!) I paired it with my Dolce Vita sandals (that are about the only shoes i can wear right now because of a jammed baby toe) and brought my light scarf for an extra layer, just in case (just in case of what, I don't know, because even at night it was never cooler than 70 degrees).  And to minimize and simplify my travel items, I only brought my one white bag, that was multi-purpose purse, diaper bag, lunch bag, shopping bag, etc.


We rented a small house in a wooded area, so we could have a separate room for our Little Dude. Everything was/is so green and fresh.  Not the same as drought-ridden SoCal.  


And of course had my sun hat.  Have to have the sun protection. And this is a great one to travel with, because it rolls up and fits in a suitcase easily, and can be be reshaped and adjusted with ease.


And I added a tassel and pearl necklace for a finishing touch.

We had a beautiful day, and fun family time.  If you're ever in Northern Arkansas, I recommend visiting the Crystal Bridges American History Museum.  Its open everyday except Tuesday, and admission is free to all (thanks to the Walton family.) A great collection of American art, showcased in a beautiful, new and modern complex, surrounding a small lake, with beautiful outdoor grounds to explore as well.