Summer Vacay (Leg 2) - NY, Niagara, & Canada

I shared the first part of our epic Jansen vacation all about New York City HERE...and our second leg of the trip was just as, if not more, exciting and fun!  From NYC, we rented a minivan and headed upstate.  Side note: I never have driven (nor probably ever will again) a minivan and I was oddly giddy about the chance to drive one for several weeks!  Weird I know...but I digress.

We headed up to the Finger Lakes region and found our AirB&B in Honeoye Falls, NY.  It was an old farm house built in the 1800s.  We had an entire wing of the house all to ourselves, as well as access to the pool and grounds.  Besides being a really old house (which showed its age a bit), it was the perfect accommodation and location for our family of six.

On our first day upstate, we visited some historic and very significant church sites, including the Smith Family Farm, the Sacred Grove, the Book of Mormon publication site, and the Hill Cumorah.  We pretty much had each site to ourselves, which was so nice.  Not only were we able to have some special family time spent at each of these locations, but being alone allowed us (especially our kids) to really understand and wrap their brains around what we were seeing/visiting.  We hope at some point, our children's testimonies of God the Father and Jesus Christ were strengthened from their experiences. 

The next day, we arrived early at Niagara Falls for our Maid of the Mist adventure.  I had done this before, so I was super excited for the rest of my family to experience it.  It's like nothing you've ever seen before, as the boat goes right up to the ginormous horseshoe falls.  Everyone gets soaked (hence the ponchos) and the wind blows the mist so hard that at times you can't even look up!  It's incredible!  Afterwards, we cruised across the border to the Canada side to view the falls from a better angle.  The Canadian side is way better, nicer grounds, and an absolute must if you visit Niagara.  For lunch we headed down to one of the most picturesque towns I've seen called Niagara on the Lake.  It sits right on Lake Ontario, which is a sight to see in itself!  Although our stay in Canada was brief, I was glad the kids got to experience what it's like in another country...although Tyler Bree remarked how it's just like the U.S.  Yep!!!

At the end of this leg of the trip, sadly Blake had to return home.  Mostly because of our three dogs...we just didn't feel comfortable boarding them for 3 weeks.  The morning he flew back home, the kids and I flew up to Maine to meet my mom and spend the next two weeks.  Maine is one of my favorite places EVER and it was such a blast!  More coming soon!

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New York City | In 2 Days With 4 Kids

We had SUCH an amazing (almost month-long) trip that I'm just now being able to sort through my photos and wrap my brain around it!  Our trip started out with a brief stay in New York City.  Our flight got in mid-afternoon on a Tuesday and we drove out of the city Thursday afternoon...short but sweet.

In planning our trip, I have to admit I was a tad anxious about taking all 4 kids to the big city.  I had visions of gripping their hands and navigating the stressful streets of NYC.  But in actuality, it wasn't anything like I thought.  Yes, we were cautious and stayed together, but I didn't feel that nervousness I thought I would...except for just once.  We were going down into the subway and I swiped Bennett's card before mine (I don't know why I did this...before then, Blake and I had made sure we were bookends to the kids at all times) and then I went through the turnstile to find him no where in sight.  I full-out panicked and wildly started yelling his name.  I think probably only a few seconds passed before I looked to my right and saw him standing on the outside of the exit turnstile while all of us where on the inside.  I yelled at Blake to swipe the card again to let him back through, but we were all out of money on the card!!!  Pure craziness. It all ended up fine, but could have been a reeeaaaaaaaal bad situation.

I think out of everything we saw and visited...Museum of Natural History, Central Park, Staten Island Ferry, Ground Zero, Times Square...their absolute FAVORITE part was spending their hard earned money at Dylan's Candy Bar.  I mean, they were like kids in a candy store!!!!  ;) We had a great time and would love to go back to New York.  I've been to NYC several times and going all together as a family made me see it in a different light.  But also, made me want to go back again soon with no kids. Ha!

What's YOUR favorite thing to do/eat/see in New York City???

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Summer-to-Fall Transition Piece | Velvet Top

Currently I'm sitting in a hotel room at the half-way point through our family's vacation.  I had remembered that I never posted about my new velvet top I was so stoked about.  One may think (and may be correct in assuming) that velvet is only for cooler weather.  I thought that too...until I wore this top.  It's lined and surprisingly breezy, lending itself to being a great transition piece from summer into fall.  I comes in a variety of colors, including midnight blue as well as this mauve I'm wearing.  I like it so much!

Once home from our trip, I'll be sure to post all the highlights and some travel tips from the places we've been.  Just to give you a little, we rode the Maid of the Mist boat at Niagara Falls and the kids LOVED it!  So did I, but it was especially fun getting to watch their faces in awe.  I hope you all are enjoying your first week of August.  Summer is winding down and it doesn't quite seem fair.  Here's to cherishing these last several weeks before school starts back!

sunnies // ASOS
velvet top // Nordstrom
black denim // Level 99
wedges // Nordstrom
black tote // Kate Spade
jewelry // c/o Lavish Leathers

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Update | High-Low Wrap Tunic

Some of my Nordstrom Anniversary Sale purchases came in and I'm loving what I got!  For the most part, the sizes fit but I'll be making some exchanges soon.  I bought several tops that are a bit out of the everyday-wear category...meaning ruffles, high-low, big sleeves, etc....and I LOVE them!  I wore this oversized bow shirt to church yesterday and this high-low wrap tunic (plenty of sizes still available) to our family birthday celebration.  It's lightweight and easy to wear with skinny jeans (as shown) or leggings or even over a fitted pencil skirt!!!

If you missed my Nordstrom sale round-up posts, check out my Favorite Finds in Category post and my 25 Under $50 post.  As I've mentioned before, the best way to shop this incredible sale is online because of their free shipping and free returns, not to mention Nordstrom's stellar customer service.  Really, I always find myself impressed with how they continue to go above and beyond!  But don't wait, several pieces I really wanted to get my hands on already sold out!

Let me know what Nordstrom Anniversary Sale picks YOU snagged for yourself...I'd love to know (and even better see)!

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Nordstrom Anniversary Sale | Favorite Finds

After a fun week of 'Early Access', the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is NOW LIVE for the public to shop!!!  While this sale is the best of the best, it can be somewhat of a frenzy to shop and easy to get overwhelmed...not to mention, from this point forward, items and sizes will sell out fast.  So I've got for you a breakdown of my picks broken up into some of everyone's favorite categories.

***Remember that shopping this sale online is really your best bet because of the free shipping and free returns...Nordstrom truly has the MOST AMAZING customer service!

Jackets & Sweaters:

Jeans (under $100):


Bags (under $50):



Back-To-School Outfits & Goals

Goodness, this summer is flying by!  How is it already time for school supplies, school clothes, and all that is "back-to-school"?!? This time of year we always start thinking of what we want to accomplish for ourselves and as a family in the coming school year.  Setting goals (and writing them down) are not only beneficial for our own growth, but can also strengthen family bonds as we cheer eachother on!

I sat down with each of my kids the other day and we talked about their school-year goals.  Their responses were such a perfect representation of who they are and the young people they're becoming!  Check out our goals below:

Bennett - To learn more math and science so he can build a lightsaber

Blakely - To create inventions

Riley - To begin and complete "The Order of the Phoenix" (Harry Potter) by Christmas

Tyler Bree - To become an expert on weather

And last but (hopefully) not least....

Me - To keep my home clean on a regular basis to allow for increased harmony and order (wishful thinking?)

Tyler Bree's Outfit:  dress // leggings // shoes // headband 

Riley's Outfit:  top // cardigan // leggings // shoes // headband

And as far as the school-prep goes, one of my kids' favorite parts is getting new school clothes!  (Doesn't everyone?)  I love the back-to-school looks Gymboree sent each one of my kids...they're a perfect fit and look for the first day of school!  Not only are Gymboree's clothes great quality, but they can be worn for all sorts of occasions, dressed up or down or for play!!  And what's even better is that most of these styles are all on SALE!  I've made each one of their looks easy to shop by linking to the exact piece...and if I'm playing favorites (which I try not to do), I must say that I LOVE Tyler Bree and Bennett's outfits, and especially all the adorable shoes my kids are sporting!  While I'm not quite ready for summer to end, there's just something about back-to-school, isn't there?

Blakely's outfit :  dress // cardigan // headband // shoes

Bennett's Outfit:  shirt // pants // socks // shoes

Make sure to check out Gymboree for your family's first day of school outfits and share what you love!!!  Also, let me know in the comments what YOUR kids' goals are!

*Because I love sharing kids style tips and goal-setting, I've partnered with Gymboree on this post.  All opinions are my own.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale | 25 Under $50!

Now that we're into the Early Access weekend of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, I've had some time to really sort through (online and in store) of the best finds of the sale, both in wearability and price.  

*Remember that the sale is now open for those who have a Nordstrom debit or credit card (get one HERE), and then it's open to the public next Friday.

I've rounded up for you 25 sale items ALL under $50!!!  I've snagged a few of these for myself and can't wait to get them in next week!  I'll be sure to post some outfit photos to see how they wear.  Also, check out my Insta and Facebook for some dressing room try-on pics from today's Nordstrom run.  There are really so many wonderful things!!!  Simply click on individual images below to shop or checkout the links below.  And REMEMBER...Nordstrom offers free shipping and returns, so it's always best to order whatever you think you might need/want and then can always exchange/return later for free.  That way, you're less likely to miss those hot items that sell-out.  Happy Shopping!!!

1 // Crushed Velour Tee
2 // Striped Pocket Tee
3 // Floral Print Wrap Top
4 // Slit Tee
5 // Roll Tab Sleeve Shirt - LOVE this...I have it in Black!
6 // Leopard Print Scarf 
7 // Spinning Initial Necklace
8 // Faux Leather Tote - Multiple color options
9 // Cubic Zirconia Earrings
10 // Bar Bib Necklace
11 // High/Low Wrap Tunic - Bought this for myself!
12 // Double Ruffle Blouse - Got this one too!!
13 // Curve Open Front Blazer - AKA the BEST blazer EVER
14 // Tie Front Blouse
15 // Pleat French Terry Top
16 // Faux Wrap Maxi Dress
17 // Pleat Midi Skirt
18 // Frayed Hem Skinny Jean - Multiple color options
19 // Stretch Straight Leg Jean
20 // Sarah Ankle Skinny Jean
21 // MAC Brush Kit - Such a steal!!!
22 // MAC Lip Kit
23 // Clinique Moisturizing Lotion Duo
24 // Eye Envy Collection
25 // MAC Mini Lip Kit


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