Back-to-School: Treats for Your Aspiring Student

It's hard to believe it's that time of year again: back-to-school.  {Where does the time go?!}  Some of you have already "been there, done that," while for others, these next few weeks hold the familiar excitement of the "first day of school."

Our new school year started last week, and in the course of preparing myself for the occasion, I stumbled across some of the most darling school-themed gift ideas that I just had to share.

Whether you've just started the journey or are getting ready to begin, here are a few fun {and inexpensive} ideas to help your budding student celebrate the start of a new school year.  Check 'em out:

Girls, Girls, Girls: How adorable is this Crayola flavored lip balm?!  I couldn't resist.  A Nordstrom exclusive, these crayon-inspired lip balms are sure to bring a smile to any little girl...
Let's Hear It for the Boys:  After scouring Etsy for something original {and boyish enough to be "cool"}, I found this collection of boy-inspired Alphabet Wall Cards to help the little guys practice or learn his A,B,C's.  

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.  Or perhaps they will inspire you to search out your own back-to-school treats.  Whatever the case, here's to a new school year full of good things...

The CAKE LADY: End of Summer Treat for the kids

I'm so excited for one of my best friend's Mary Thompson to guest write for us!! She started baking for me when she designed our Beach Bungalow Designs grand opening cake. She has baked her way through all my most major parties or memories since then. I just cherish her friendship and lean on her for her wisdom since she is an amazing mom. I hope you enjoy her posts on unique cupcakes ideas for you and your kids to do at home together...

{Beach Bungalow Designs Grand Opening Cake}

My name is Mary, and I absolutely love cupcakes. I have been finding fun, new ways to decorate cupcakes for over 12 years. I started when my first born was only a few months old. I took her with me to a cake decorating class in her baby carrier. I needed something creative to do and baking was my answer! I now have 4 amazing children who continue to inspire all my designs and keep me excited about cupcakes. My husband of over 14 years claims the smell of cupcakes in the oven is still something he enjoys(even though there aren't always extras for him to eat). I am so excited Tritia asked me to share my love with all of you on her blog. I personally feel that  whether you are looking for something fun to do with your kids in the kitchen, or need a creative outlet while baby is sleeping, cupcakes are the answer!

Summer is coming to an end. This means less trips to the beach and more time inside. But this doesn't mean you have to say good-bye to one of my all-time favorite summer treats...the S'MORE.
Here is a simple spin on the classic treat so you may enjoy it anytime without the need of a beach bonfire!

Just make any chocolate cupcakes that you wish. A simple box mix will work perfect!
Grab some marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate frosting to get started! 

Frost the cupcakes with the chocolate frosting.  

You will need to put the graham crackers in a sandwich bag and smash them with a spoon(great job for any young helpers). 

Once smashed, put the crackers in a bowl. Holding the cupcake sideways, gently roll the edges into the cracker, leaving the top center of the cupcake cracker free.  

Now you will slice your marshmallows in half, adding one half to the center of each cupcake.
At this point you are welcome to be done, however, you have the option of adding a little chocolate syrup to the top of the marshmallow for an extra punch of flavor! 

Now the only thing left to do is eat and enjoy! I know my kids and I did!  

Stay Tuned... Mary will have some more ideas for us throughout the year!!

Playrooms: Stylish Chaos???

{Glass Playroom- Beach Bungalow Designs}

Let's all be real with each other! This playroom probably is never going to look as good as this day! We all know our playrooms, lofts, dining rooms, side of our family rooms or wherever we have space for our kids junk, never ever stay clean!! Maybe just maybe at 8:30 at night after we have put all the little figures away, it looks good. The room will probably last looking clean until 7:30 am the next day before the cycle starts over.
I think the key to organizing our playrooms is stylish chaos!! You have to have a place to put away from sight all the little things our kids have but still feel like they can mess it up and return it to looking good when guests are around.

{Barry Playroom- Beach Bungalow Designs}
The key piece for any playroom is a cubby unit of some kind. I love baskets because they hide a plethora of ugly!! You can put any combination of balls, dolls, and cars inside and no one knows its not that organized.  My daughter usually dumps and mixes all her baskets and I keep shoving them back in until I organize one time a week... Well lets be real.. One time a month!
My second tip is a fun rug. A rug covers up any stains that are on the carpet and provides a pattern to make a room look more decorated. Its a constant that doesn't have to be put away !

{Jones Playroom- Beach Bungalow Designs}
My third tip is artwork. Use your kids artwork, use book pages, find a canvas... It adds so much to the room and will really help bring your theme together.

{Barnazel Playroom- Beach Bungalow Designs}

My last tip is create stations in the room for your young kids. Here is the reading area, over here is the art area, and this is the kitchen area. Put all the supplies around that area so you stay more organized.
We have decided to reach out to all of you to see if you have playroom ideas that you would like to share for the month of October!! E-mail me at and you might be featured on our new posts "What's in Your Playroom??"
Until next time!

House Consultations: What a Privilege!

                         How do you get a room to look like this???


                                             From this...???


If your planning on using our service, the magical answer is a house consultation. We come out to your house, we measure and plan in the actual space giving us a map for the room for our next store presentation.
There is something different about spacial planning for me being in the room versus client's bringing pictures to the store with rough sketches. Sometimes when I walk into rooms for installations without being in the room previously, I think how are we going to fit all this?? or do we have enough to fill the space??  


{AFTER Beach Bungalow Designs}

I also use house consultations to see if we can use any of the items from the old room in the new room. Many clients want to scrap everything and get all new BUT there sometimes are pieces that can work with our new concept that are real gems! We reused this great nightstand and vintage Barbie pictures that my client had already for her girl's room above. It gives my client's a great satisfaction to work with things that they had previously and make them fit in my new design.

My mom always told me that it is a privilege that someone invites you into their home. I always view my visits this way.. so for all of you that have invited me in.. THANK YOU!!

Carolyn's Corner: OHH What a life!

 I'm very excited to share some wonderful words by my sister-in-law Carolyn. I asked her to guest blog for us once a month to give a stay at home mom's perspective on life with the kids. After reading this post that she sent me, I could not stop crying for 20 minutes. My husband even asked me if I was okay! It was such a window into her life the last year that I felt overwhelmed and inspired. I'm so thankful for her and our relationship! Jump right into to Carolyn's Corner and enjoy....

{Carolyn, Jackson Matthew on left, Colton James on right}

 When Tritia first asked me to guest write on her blog, I thought to myself.. what could I possibly say that others would find interesting, amusing, sensible or worthy of someone else's time.  She promised me there would be no pressure and that I could write on anything. I am humbled by her request.  So grab your cup of joe, or "mommy" juice and lets chat... Thank you for spending time with me and listening to my ramblings!

I decided to title my guest posts "Oh What A Life..."  Since this is my first post and I don't know most of you, I thought I would do an introduction of sorts.  I promise you I am just like you, a least in most ways. If you are reading this, chances are, you are a woman, so am I, and you are a mom, or so will be, I am also a mom.  We do everything.  That just about covers it don't you think? Thats only part of the story. I am married to Tritia's younger and only brother. I am so blessed to be married into this family. From day one-- I have been treated like a daughter and sister!  I love my in-laws.  I realize now, not many people can say that about their spouse's family.  If that is one of you, I am truly sorry. 
For my first post as a way to get to know me, I thought I would give you a glimpse into my life. I am a SAHM of two boys.  They - along with their father - are the loves of my life.  My boys are sweet,  most of the time, that is not to say we haven't had our share of moments where we wished there was a return policy.   If we are all being honest, come on now, we have all thought that at some point for a split second.   My boys consume all my energy.  Yet they are God's gift to me.  I love them dearly.  My oldest is two and a half years old and his name is Jackson.  Nineteen months later came his younger brother-- Colton. He just turned one.  We live in a suburb of Los Angeles. Having two kids pretty close together has had its challenges, hurdles and moments - or more than a few moments - of insanity.   But now it feels like I've made it safely to the other side!  
{ The Whole Burns Family}
This past year, my husband kept saying to me, "its just a season."  It would drive me bonkers, and even make me frustrated at times.  But in hindsight, and I can admit, that he was right.  When you have a new baby or add siblings, things are going to change. They change from one kid to the next.  They just are.  Sometimes I think we all expect everything to stay the same.  As many of you probably know or have experienced, lots of things will change, from how you did things, your day-to-day and even your marriage will change. Hopefully they will all change for the better, but expect some hiccups along the way.  There were many, many sleepless and tireless nights. 

{Colton's First Birthday}
As I write this, I'm reflecting on this past year and giving thanks.  We just celebrated Colton's 1st birthday!  Oh what a glorious day that was!  Yes, thankful for his life. Thankful that we made it.  Two kids. Two boys. We did it.  We had to celebrate!   We threw a big party ( much to my husband's chagrin)... ok... 2 parties in 2 different countries.. cause thats how I like to do it.  I am only kidding. We had a party with all our friends and family here in Los Angeles and another party in Canada where I am from, with my family on his actual birthday cause we happened to be visiting.  If you know me, you know I love a good party.  I am a firm believer in celebrating life's moments-- big and small. Your first birthday is pretty momentous!  Thats 365 days of firsts!  First smiles, first time they slept through the night, first tooth, first words, first foods, first crawls, first steps.    I was thankful for him on completing 365 days of life and living out his first year, but also  WE SURVIVED and Now I'm Free! "THANK. GOD. ALMIGHTY. I'M. FREE. AT. LAST! "  I had my kids pretty close together so for the first time in 3 years, I wasn't pregnant or nursing.   WOW!  It was time to throw back a cocktail and celebrate!  It was a time to be truly thankful and celebrate all those moments, all that we learned, all that we shared, all the firsts.   It was also a great reminder that this was in fact "just a season." There will be many seasons in life, some easier than others. With seasons, there comes growth, times of learning, times of hardship, and - a time to rejoice. 

"For everything there is a season, a time and a purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1).



Megan's Sweet Escape

{ Sweet Escape Nursery}

{Bella Notte Linens}
When Megan and Kyle met with me the first time to create their baby girl's nursery, I thought they are just the sweetest couple and the ease of this project speaks a lot about them! Megan had a clear picture of soft grays and pinks but with minimal amounts of patterns to bring together a peaceful nursery for her baby girl. We started with the crib bedding by Bella Notte Linens. We used a light silver linen for the dust ruffle that has a detailed ruffle at the edge and layered it over a petal satin. For the bumper, we used a tone on tone petal damask that is washable and soft. I love this bedding because it looks custom but it can go straight into the washing machine!! The crib was a white distressed panel crib by Newport Cottages that was gender neutral.

{ Newport Cottage Changing Table}

We didn't want to crowd the room so we placed the changing table inside the closet in order to still fit a chair into the room. We removed the closet doors and built cubbies and a drawer system( which wasn't completed yet by installation time:)) so Megan could maximize her space for storage.

{Custom Chair and Tuffet by Beach Bungalow Designs}

We painted the walls a soft pink so I decided to upholster the chair in a heavier gray linen. Due to space constraint, I was worried about a full ottoman but I wanted  Megan to have a place for her feet while rocking. We made a round tuffet for her to use that could move easily aside anywhere in the room. Megan wanted a plain white flat roman shade AND of course I wanted something with a little more pattern. Our compromise turned out perfect! We did a white flat roman with a banding in gray and white damask along the 3 sided hem. My very favorite part of the room was the rug. The rug had a pale pink background with white, light gray, and dark gray damask pattern that tied all our colors together.  It was the one pop of pattern I was looking for!! It took a little convincing but Megan went for it and I think she was really pleased with the outcome!

{Side table Custom Beach Bungalow Designs}

{ Restoration Hardware Baby Frames and shelving}
I kept the accessories simple as our fabrics were the focus of the room. Megan did not want a theme of any kind so we decided to order these picture frames from Restoration Hardware and she could put family photos inside. TIP:: I used these same frames in my little Finley's room! My dad gave me a vintage barbie calendar for Christmas when I was pregnant with Finley. I cut out the photos and inserted them in these frames. It was a cute way to add a theme without having it  to be so prominent in the room.

I want to say a special thanks to Megan and Kyle for letting me help them with this process. They are going to be wonderful parents and are really ready for this time in their lives. I can't wait to meet the sweetest new member of their family!

Just a Mom: Respect

{Tritia age 2}
Another post from my mom on teaching your kids respect in your home...

Three Rules of Our Home

You would think by looking at Tritia's little face in the picture above that she was as easy as pie when she was a  toddler. She was a sweet little girl but those of you that know her know that there is some fire in there too! My next couple of posts will share with you some of the parenting tips I used to help guide her to be the woman she is today. I hope they encourage you in your walk this week as a mom.
As parents, we only had three rules that were the core of our parenting beliefs. They helped us not have to make lists of do’s and don’ts.  We found every situation where questionable behavior is displayed, one of these rules will fit. Steve used to do pop quizs with the kids to see who could repeat them the fastest for fun. I believe these rules were written in their hearts not just in their minds and they apply to their lives now as they are parents.
The three rules are:
1) Respect
2) Obedience
3) Tell the Truth.


Respect is defined in Webster’s as to feel or show honor, or to show consideration.  This is a quality that makes any parent proud.  Demonstrating this quality creates esteem and for them to be respected by others.  If there is respect in the home, they will carry that into school, work and all areas of there life. We tried very hard to never take the side of our child over any adult especially until we knew the entire circumstance.  It is so easy to break down the quality of respect.  WE all need to learn and understand that we are put in situations that we have to respect or honor someone just because of position even if its not fair or right.  WE always allowed them to discuss situations at home but never let the root of disrespect to develop. Begin to develop the attitude of respect.  Talk about it, implant it in there minds and explain it over and over. 

Respect isn’t just towards people it can be taught towards possessions.  Starting at a very young age, children need to be taught to be thankful and take care of their things.  Teach then how hard you work for things as a family and how they are so blessed.  I love it that Caden (Tritia's son) now knows to pray for customers to come in so that he can get a toy or go to lunch. He is understanding that we work for things in life and seeing the value of what Tritia is doing everyday. He is learning to be respectful of her work. There is nothing wrong with saying no or making them wait or earn rewards. I love to spoil my kids but it is also my responsibility to teach them value and appreciation.  I always told Todd and Tritia that life wasn't fair and that our family didn't act as other families. We had a high expectation because much is expected to much is given.  I believe once they learn this important lesson they will be so much happier in life and so much more willing to help others around them. My prayers are with you on this journey of motherhood...


These lessons my mom shared with you were so valuable to my life. I have begun to teach them to Finley and Caden. Its a daily struggle but I will face the challenge!!

Friday Favorites: Jaden's Big Boy Room

{ Jaden's Big Boy Room AFTER}


When my client Gina found out she was having her 2nd boy, she decided it was time to give her firstborn Jaden a new big boy room. I have worked on Jaden's nursery with Gina and was excited to help her with this next phase. It all began with the raffia upholstered bed that Gina saw in our store. We thought it would be perfect for the style of room she wanted now as well as a style he could grow with. We paired it with some ready-made bedding by Serena and Lily that was washable since Jaden is just 2 and will be going through the potty-training process soon.

{Custom Furniture Country Cottage}

We had a custom dresser built in a matching Caribbean Brown Stain that utilized a lot of drawer space. I specifically kept the raffia off that piece in order to not have such a matching set of furniture in the room.  I knew we needed a bookcase of some kind in the room but we ran out of room! I found this white wall bookcase at Restoration Hardware Baby that gave him plenty of space for his books. I decided to bring a yellow lamp in to pull in a different pop of color from the artwork. The orange shaggy raggy rug was sentimental for Gina. Jaden had one in chocolate brown in his nursery and she loved the texture. We purchased one for this room so there could be one piece of familiarity in his new room.

{ Oopsy Daisy Artwork}

We decided on 5 "under the sea" themed pieces of artwork that had bright colors and flowed with our bedding colors. The raffia style furniture naturally paired with a beach or water theme so these fit perfectly. I love that they could work for Jaden now as well as when he is older.

{Serena and Lily Book ends}

Don't be afraid to mix different items throughout the room that you love even if they aren't necessarily in theme. It gives an eclectic look to the room and allows for everything to look more decorated.

{ My client Gina and I on installation day}

 I want to say a special thanks to Gina and Ryan for allowing me to work with them again. Gina trusted me in times when she had hesitations and I think was very pleased with the outcome. Even though Mom and Dad weren't ready yet, Jaden slept his first night in his big boy bed that night and stayed the whole time!  Many blessings to the Goldstein family from Beach Bungalow Designs....