“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves”
Shred the gnar
An Arizona Snowbowl success! Located in Flagstaff (about 2 hours from Phoenix, AZ) is an awesome ski mountain. Enrolled the kids in a 2 hour lesson and they crushed it. Was the first time for Alex and he was unstoppable (I may or may not have cried watching them). Reserve lessons at Snowbowl because they book fast esp on weekends. Kids 12 and under get a FREE Power Kids season pass that’s good at all Power Pass Resorts nationwide. Renting ski equipment was a breeze and the lodge/restaurants had live music, great views + good cocktails.
Forget food, let’s talk about drinks! This is me and my Hot Toddy at Paws Up Resort in Montana. My favorite spot to eat at the ranch was the bar at Tank & Trough. Very inviting for families… kids played games (next pic) while us parents enjoyed our cocktails! We also ate at the resort’s fine dining restaurant, Pomp, where they serve nightly multi-course meals. Oh, and I LOVE this snow bib for women from Halfdays.
The bar at Tank & Trough at Paws Up has a bunch of games to occupy the kids (and in this case, dads who provide crash courses in chess).
Wishing we were still home on the range. Woke to this herd of bison every morning at Paws Up Resort... thousand pound animals spiritually symbolizing abundance and manifestation. When you visit, make sure to spot Tyrone in the herd of bison. You can’t miss him… he’s the biggest of the bunch; in fact, he’s a beefalo- a bison/cow mix.
Yes, that's a Reese's in the middle of my s'more. At Paws Up, you can order an "elevated s'mores kit" with tons of yummy goodies to get creative while concocting your marshmallow sandwich.
Sleigh riding at Paws Up Resort! Linking their snow suits... they're the most adorable, coziest, warmest full-body snow gear. (Even the ranchers gave them a million compliments.) Highly recommend from Reima USA.
There are many adventurous activities at Paws Up, but I highly recommend one of the more relaxing experiences: sleigh rides. Our guide, Cowboy Steve, led us through a majestic winter wonderland and it was lovely. All you could hear was the sound of silence and jingle bells attached to the horses. “The greatest cowboys are the ones with the biggest hearts.” …And that’s my Zaza, our animal whisperer who couldn’t take his eyes off horses Luke and Beau.
I’ve always dreamt of an A-frame cabin on a ranch, and for a few memorable days, I fished my wish. A bit about our accommodations at Paws Up… our spacious 2-story house sported a western flare with a full loft, a few bedrooms, plenty of bathrooms, a kitchen, mudroom with laundry, hot tub, use of a Lexus (next pic), wrap-around deck and a wood-burning fireplace. Felt like home until we had to return the keys…
Loving the Lexus
All houses at Paws Up come with a Lexus so you can drive around the property- to the restaurants, wilderness outpost, etc. There's also an option to call for transportation if you prefer being chauffeured.
Ticket to ride
I’ve learned from having boys (Nate included) that I have to keep up, so this mama got on a snowmobile and made it to 30MPH! If you know me well, you know I’m adventurous (but very cautious) so our scenic journey through Paws Up backcountry was quite a rush and incredibly fun. Shoutout to Dalton our amazing guide for taking us through a breathtaking winter wonderland. We saw cows, elk, and deer… and fearless Nicholas even had a chance at the driver’s seat.
Mom + Dad
Kids club for the win! Escaped to The Green-O, the adults-only property at Paws Up. Nate surrendered to a kissing photo opp in exchange for a sweet sipper + the most amazing lunch ever. Green-O has 12 houses, some on stilts in the trees(!!), available for lovebirds craving a no kids escape (yes please!!).
Dog sledding tops as one of the most majestic, stunning, surreal and incredible things I’ve ever done. Pictures and video don’t do it justice. We ALL had the chance of standing and helping steer the energetic huskies that are simply born to run and pull. Jessie, our guide, has competed in many Iditarod races- 1,000 mile dog sledding competitions in Alaska. In fact, some of her winning dogs helped lead our sled!! If you’re physically and emotionally seeking a freeing, life-changing adventure, this is it at Paws Up.
My heated jacket
Linked my jacket! Obsessed with Gobi Heat- heated apparel for cold temps. Our day of dog sledding dipped below zero degrees and I was not cold at all! There are also heated vests and socks.
Not a bad place for the boys’ first shooting experience, in the heart of Montana, knee deep in snow, at Paws Up. Thanks to Caleb for the crash course in .22 rifles- it was a blast (no pun intended). And for the record, we ALL hit plenty of targets.
Annie Oakley at your service
“Aim for the high mark and you will hit it. No, not the first time, not the second time, and maybe not the third. But keep on aiming and keep on shooting for only practice will make you perfect. Finally, you'll hit the bulls-eye of success." -Annie Oakley Linked the winter activities available at Paws Up.
Meet me in Montana
"We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” We are all about prioritizing bucket list adventures! At the crossroads of incomparable luxury and unspoiled wilderness lies the pristine Paws Up Ranch situated in some of the most breathtaking landscape in the world. Here, guests are invited to escape, reflect, refresh, relax, indulge, and embrace the Montana way of life which somehow manages to dig deep into your soul. Even the boys felt its magical pull.
Living the suite life in Lala Land. This is our balcony on the top floor of Loews Hollywood. Caught the sunrise. The picture of me and Nate shows the other view angle...
Spot the sign?
Can you see the Hollywood sign in the distance? Me, Nate, wine and our Loews Hollywood balcony. Doesn't get much better!
We stayed at Loews Hollywood conveniently located at Hollywood + Highland just past the Hollywood Bowl. The impressive property is next to an outdoor mall with tons of restaurants and shops, and it’s literally steps from the Hollywood Walk of Fame (the star walk), the Dolby, the Chinese Theatres, and a bunch of touristy museums (the wax museum, Ripley's, etc). In fact, the afternoon we arrived we stumbled upon the West Side Story red carpet premiere! Ok, back to the property… when you walk in the lobby, there’s a cool kid-friendly bar with great food (which we really needed after a full day at Universal. Our suite was on the top floor… overly spacious and perfect for our family. We had a big living area, kitchenette, and dining room. We also had a balcony where you could spot the Hollywood Sign. The hotel is contemporary and clean- surely the best luxe place to stay for visiting Universal. It took us about 5 minutes to drive to the amusement park! Another big plus: breakfast!! The hotel has a great restaurant open for breakfast and lunch with quality meals for adults + kids. And the view from our room was awesome- you could see the whole LA skyline. If you’re planning a trip to #universalstudioshollywood, definitely book #loews. Our experience was flawless and on top of everything, the service was fantastic ✊ btw, I never leave home without coloring books… what’s your go-to toy for travel??
Must watch videos!!
Linked the best videos ever!! I don’t know what was best: Alex’s fear of Megatron while Mr. Mega messed with me... Alex transforming for Optimus Prime… Or Alex’s complete and utter awe of meeting Bumblebee. If you have the time, watch with sound. Alex, the ultimate Transformers fan, got face to face with his idols. Thank you, Universal Studios, for making my child’s year. Btw, shout-out to these amazing characters for taking the time for personalized convos with the kids making the experience extra magical!
Three things lured us to Universal Studios: the older boys loving Jurassic Park, Alex’s obsession with Transformers, and Alex’s love for great white sharks. In fact, if you ask Alex, he’ll say he was born a surfer and made friends with the sharks and somehow ended up on the sand and into our family... he even sleeps with a stuffed shark (not a teddy). However, when the big moment came for Alex to meet Jaws, he was absolutely petrified. He has since recovered and now wants to ride on Jaws’ back, so I suppose we didn’t scar him for life, thank goodness. The studio tour was nostalgic, as I have memories going on it as a kid. Some things were the same… Jaws, the flood and the earthquake… However, King Kong now has a 3D fight with a dinosaur and there’s a cool Fast and Furious race simulation.
All the rides
Here’s a recap of what we did at Universal Studios. Caveat, I haven’t been in so many years that the only thing still there from my childhood is the studio tour! So, much of this was new to me and Nate, making for an authentic experience with the boys. The park opens at 10, so we arrived around 9:45 and getting in was a breeze- barely any lines. Masks required and you must bring your vax card or negative covid test taken within 72 hours. Kids under 12 don’t need to show proof of either. We got express tickets which lets you fast pass through attractions one time- totally worth it. We never waited more than 5 minutes to ride anything. Since the boys are all about Jurassic Park + Transformers, we did the lower level first. Alex was too short to ride jurassic, but the older boys loved it. Steps from Jurassic is Transformers, and outside the ride, there are meet-and-greets with characters. The characters are absolutely amazing. The transformers ride is quite intense and scared Alex a bit, but it was really incredible. After transformers, Nate and I took turns riding The Mummy with Nicholas (ride switch for the win)… The Mummy is a thrilling coaster and a ton of fun, especially if your kid is fearless like my Nicholas. After, we did the hour-long Studio Tour- totally nostalgic and the boys loved it. And then came The Simpsons ride… a total win for all three boys. Following that, we did lunch in Harry Potter land- a complete replica of Hogwarts. There’s a great coaster- even Alex did it- and the Harry Potter main attraction, which only Nicholas could do. It was seriously one of the coolest rides I’ve ever been on (and I’m admittedly not even a HP fan). After checking wizardry off our list, we did the Minions ride (adorable)… then made the 4pm Waterworld show (which I remember as a kid!!)- so entertaining. Ended the day with the last three rides: Secret Life of Pets, Silly Swirly, and Kung Fu Panda (which is more like a show).
Our experience at Universal was flawless. Granted, it wasn’t super busy, and we didn’t have many lines, but still, we never felt rushed or stressed. Universal Hollywood is easily doable in one day; in fact, we rode a few rides twice (like the Harry Potter coaster). The park restaurants have beer + wine! Cheers Everything closes at 6pm, so plan for dinner in City Walk (or skip to dessert- we bought a dozen mini donuts). There are tons of character meet and greets, and all are equally as wonderful. The donkey from Shrek had a full-blown convo with our kids, and they also met a minion, Scooby Doo, Dracula, Transformers, and Doc from Back to the Future.