Neutrogena Sun Care for Sensitive Skin

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Neutrogena. I received samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Summer is here! Hooray!! We got a little pool for the back yard and the girls love it. They spend hours swimming around and making up new games to play! Both of my girls have sensitive skin and have struggled with eczema. When I heard that Neutrogena’s sunscreen had received the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association, I perked up! Ada broke out in a rash after I had put a sports sunscreen on her for a pool day at school. It was too heavy and greasy for her sensitive skin. Since I stopped using that and started using Neutrogena, she hasn’t had any breakouts. It goes on light and provides all-day coverage for the pool and beach!Neutrogena Sun Care - karainthekitchen.comNeutrogena Sun Care - sensitive skin (left) is what I’ve been putting on my girls. It lasts hours in the sun and water and is light enough for their sensitive skin. The pure & free liquid (center) is perfect for your face. I wore it to the beach on Friday under my makeup with no issues or buildup. The pure & free baby (right) is applied like a deodorant stick and good to have for reapplications throughout the day. Neutrogena Sun Care - girls helping each other out with reapplications :) My advice is to get everyone covered in sunscreen before you get outside. I lather my girls up before we get to the beach so that I don’t have to compete with the exciting surroundings and worry about coverage. It takes 15 minutes to gain that protection, so better to have kids all ready to go play than wrestling with sand and water. Neutrogena Sun Care - hope everyone has a safe, SPF covered summer! I need to take my advice and cover my skin better. I completely burned my neck and chest because I didn’t reapply! : /Neutrogena Sun Care -

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half 2015 Recap

I was SO excited to run the Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon for the second time this year! Find my first recap here, and 6 reasons you should run it here.

The best part was that it was Matt’s very first half marathon! It was so fun to run it with him. I told him he would be hooked after running it and he is. He said, “We have to run this every year!”

The only problem was that I hurt my back. We moved on May 1st and all of the packing, bending, lifting, and cleaning, led to me throwing out my lower back when I picked up Lola on Tuesday. Went to my chiropractor and told him, “So, I’m running a half marathon this Saturday…” and he’s like, “You mean you hope you’re running! As long as you don’t lift a box or a daughter the wrong way again!” So needless to say, I was in pain the whole race but still ran it. Much slower than I’d hoped to (2:50), but we finished together!

Packet pickup was in Solvang at the Expo on Friday. We saw the finish line all set up and couldn’t wait to cross it the next morning!

I tried on the most comfortable shoes: Newtons. They were so bouncy and maybe when my current shoes wear out I’ll get a pair of them :)


Alaska Airlines was a sponsor and did free name engraving on luggage tags for everyone. We also entered to win a trip…still crossing my fingers!


I LOVE the shirts this year! Super soft and light. And how cute is the race bib? They took one of my grapes in exchange for my shirt. The timing chip was built into the back of it; read: no clunky chip to tie to your shoe! Technology is awesome.


Race morning! Kandie drove us (THANK YOU!!) and we were there bright and early, ready to run! Check out Destination Races’ sweet new start structure:


The overcast weather could not have been more perfect for running! Matt was mad that he even bothered bringing his sunglasses. Mine were so light that I didn’t mind them on my head the whole time.

The course did not disappoint! The gorgeous vineyards, lavender fields, beautiful homes, rolling hills…


Then ending with the finish line in Solvang. Look at the windmill in our finish pic that Kandie took!


At the finish line where my mom met us with the girls! They were happy to wear our medals until they got too heavy…a good problem to have ;)


We got to the VIP area after being measured for our SOLS (more on those later!), and the food tasted incredible! The sun came out just as we finished the race, it was perfect.


Bottom line: I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Hopefully on a weekend where I haven’t moved the week before :) Thank you, Destination Races, for putting on such a great event right in my back yard!

I was provided with two discounted race entries. As always, all opinions are 100% mine! 

Becoming a Mother with a Special Nurse

With Mother’s Day approaching, it has me reflecting on the time when I first became a mother. It was December 2009, and I was 9 days overdue. I was incredibly anxious to meet my daughter!

I worked with Dignity Health and SocialMoms on this post to pay tribute to the incredible nurses who helped me become a mother in honor of #NursesWeek.

I will never forget getting to French Hospital and meeting my wonderful nurses. I was throwing up because of the pain, and they were holding my hair back and wiping my mouth for me. They were so sweet and accommodating!

I have always had a hard time with needles, but not for the reason you might think. They don’t scare me at all – I just have slippery, hard-to-find veins. I’ve been poked so many times and had giant bruises from a needle going straight through my vein before. So I always warn nurses that I don’t do well when it comes to IVs and such. My nurse, Claudia, was perfect. She calmed my fears and said that we would find a nice vein and that she’d never missed before. She was asking me about what we were naming the baby, where we were from, and before I knew it – the IV was in! Magic I tell you :) She also made sure that I had all of the red Jell-O I wanted!

Pregg-O Jell-O

Here is the direct quote from my labor story: “My nurse, Claudia, was INCREDIBLE! She bent over backwards to make sure that my family and I were comfortable. She was such a sweet, calming, funny, perfect person to have around. Love that woman.”

1st Family Picture

I remember my mom coming to meet us at the hospital. I was laboring and they had the whole labor & delivery wing nice and quiet with dimmed lights. My mom said that Claudia greeted her warmly and asked in a hushed tone who she was here for. When she said my name, Claudia gently led her to my room and made sure she, Matt, and I had everything we needed. It was all such a peaceful experience thanks to her and the other nurses! I remember telling my doctor that I never wanted to leave Hotel French ;)

For such a life-changing event of becoming a mother, I am forever grateful that I was surrounded by such loving, kind, and considerate nurses. They made the labor, surgery, nursing, and recovery the most memorable and wonderful experience in a situation that can be overwhelming and uncertain. Thank you, nurses.

New Mommy

Which nurses have touched your life and made an impact on you?

Check out the posts being shared on the @DignityHealth Twitter feed, Facebook page, and  @Hellohumankindness Instagram.

This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Dignity Health blogging program. As always, the opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

Family Getaway at the Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel, CA

Last month, my mom, husband, girls, and I drove up the coast to stay at the Hofsas House Hotel in Carmel. We were so excited for a little getaway and had the most wonderful time! Upon arrival, we were greeted with Martinelli’s and gourmet cheese from a local cheese shop. I was immediately in love!Travel to Carmel California  karainthekitchen com 1If you’ve never been to Carmel, it is the most charming little coastal town. It’s the perfect home base for your vacation because Big Sur, Monterey, and Pebble Beach are all nearby.

Interesting facts about Carmel:

– There are no addresses in Carmel. To give directions, you tell people between which streets you are located. Because of this, you will see many homes with names.

– Because there are no addresses, residents must go to the Post Office to get their mail. It’s the social hub of town!

– There is actually a law on the books saying that you may not wear high heels over 2 inches high! Insurance people were worried about accidents with the cobblestone roads and uneven roads from tree roots :)

– Every bed and breakfast serves a continental breakfast.

– There are no commercial hotels in Carmel. Only homey, mostly family-owned Bed and Breakfast-type properties.

– There are also no chain restaurants in Carmel.

– Clint Eastwood was once Carmel’s mayor!

– Carmel is devoid of neon signs, expect to see lots of beautifully crafted wooden signs instead.

– There are no traffic lights either!

Carmel is incredibly dog friendly as well. We wanted to bring Maverick but the weather stopped us from doing it. A wet dog in a car is not the best, so we will just have to make another trip to beautiful Carmel with Maverick in tow next time!

Breakfast in the lobby consisted of authentic French pastries, yogurt, juice, and fruit.Carmel #KarainCarmel - (1 of 1)-3I settled for the pain-au-chocolate, of course.Travel to Carmel California  karainthekitchen com 1 2The girls sitting in the children’s sized antique wingback chairs in the lobby. Ada deep in thought, Lola happy as a clam :)Carmel #KarainCarmel - (1 of 1)-2Hand-painted mural that welcomes you into the Hofsas House:Carmel #KarainCarmel - (1 of 1)-18Carrie now runs the hotel that her grandmother (pictured below) started. As a child, Carrie would visit her grandmother and help her by taking guests up to their rooms. She always knew she would end up here, it was just a matter of time. I love stories about family and multi-generational bonds! Carrie went the extra mile and really made us feel like family during our stay.Carmel  KarainCarmel  karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 4Look at the beautiful ocean view from our balcony:Carmel  KarainCarmel  karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 6

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GoodNites* TRU-FIT* Underwear

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for GoodNites* TRU-FIT*. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Have you heard of GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear before? If you have a child that is either potty training or has troubles with wetting the bed at night (or both), you need to know about these babies. Sold at Walmart, they look and feel like real underwear! They have a clever little pocket inside that you can place a removable, absorbent, lining inside of.

Check out GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear here:

Children should not be embarrassed or scared to participate in activities because of their bedwetting. One out of six children ages 4-12 wets the bed! As a child, my poor husband was petrified of spending the night at his friends’ houses about something he had no control over. Children cannot be trained out of bedwetting. They will eventually grow out of it with time. Having an open discussion about bedwetting with your children is extremely important. They need to know that it’s normal, and not to be ashamed when it does happen! We take our girls to the potty at midnight, before we go to bed, and then we don’t have to worry about doing laundry in the middle of the night :)

I love that GoodNites* TRU-FIT* look like real underwear! They have cute patterns (for girls) that are washable and can be folded right next to their normal daytime undies. This will help children feel confident and not worry about being bullied or made fun of because they are wearing something that looks like a diaper. GoodNites* TRU-FIT* underwear have fully-sealed seams along with six layer advanced absorbent protection to keep your children and their bedding dry all throughout the night!

Family Pictures with LK Photoshoots

We recently had our family pictures taken and I am SO happy with how they turned out! The weather did not want to cooperate, but we ended up some gorgeous shots thanks to LK Photoshoots!

LK Photoshoots - http:/

We were originally going to take these at the beach, but it was pouring rain there! So we tried some other locations and they worked out beautifully.

LK Photoshoots - http:/

I was so impressed with Kirsi’s vision and direction. She would take a handful of shots, then when the rain would start, she’d say, “Okay, let’s go over here!” Then we’d hop in the car and chase the sunshine! She was also a natural with Ada and Lola. They can be stand-offish with people they first meet but they warmed up to Kirsi really quickly!LK Photoshoots - http:/ girls adore their Papa!LK Photoshoots - http:/ and her girls :) LK Photoshoots - http:/ wanted 3 specific things from this session.

1. A new headshot – check!

2. A cute pic of my mom and the girls – check!

3. A great family photo – check!LK Photoshoots - http:/

If you need someone to take your family pictures, I highly recommend LK Photoshoots!

LK Photoshoots - http:/ Photoshoots - http:/

Spring into Carter’s & Coupon

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

Recently, Ada & Lola have been eating non-stop! Both of them have grown 1 inch this calendar year (already). Today is the first day of Spring, a time of renewal, so we decided to refresh their wardrobes. Ada’s one pair of shorts were getting so tight and too short! Time for some new clothes.

Carter’s has some really cute stuff right now! The girls agree:

Carter's #SpringIntoCarters -

I love watching the two of them shop. Lola is checking the size on that dress :) She was so perplexed that she is 3 years old but wears a 5T.

Carter's #SpringIntoCarters -

I love the bright, happy colors in their newest clothing line. The shirts & shorts (below) are a doorbuster deal at 2 for $6 or one for $8 through March 25th!

Carter's #SpringIntoCarters -

Fashion show in the dressing room! These two are so funny modeling all of their outfits. I have no idea where they got it from ;) I love my mom smiling in the background! And those Bermuda shorts that Ada’s wearing? I want them in my size!!

Carter's #SpringIntoCarters -'s #SpringIntoCarters -

When my siblings and I were little, my mom would take us back-to-school shopping down in Oxnard. There was this lady that worked in the dressing rooms and she remembered us every year! We would try on an outfit, then walk out yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!” so that she could come approve or veto the clothes. The lady was always so tickled that we all called our mom Mommy still and say, “Oh I remember you kids! Mommy, Mommy! Come look at us!” :)

Check out these poses! Little models.

Carter's #SpringIntoCarters -

Ada showing us her foot :)

Carter's #SpringIntoCarters -

Silly sisters!

Carter's #SpringIntoCarters -

Here is a coupon for you to use on your trip to Carter’s to refresh your children’s wardrobes: carters_0311_marchblogger_coupon

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DisneyEaster #CollectiveBias

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1

Since we live in sunny California, I thought this year I would make Easter Beach Buckets for my daughters instead of traditional Easter baskets. I have this incredible memory of a trip that I took to Hawaii when I was about nine years old. It was Spring Break and my dad was based in Honolulu. The whole family flew out to meet him and we stayed for a week-long vacation. Easter was happening while we were there, and as young children I remember my siblings and I were very concerned about the Easter Bunny being able to find us! What if he left our baskets at our house? What if he didn’t know we were here? I remember my parents assuring us that the Easter Bunny would find us. Sure enough, on Easter morning, Mr. Bunny had left three different colored buckets in the living room for my brother, sister, and I. We were ecstatic!

FROZEN Easter Beach

I wanted to recreate that for my daughters and give them a bucket full of items that they can take to the beach with them! Walmart has everything you need with many different themes:

Walmart Easter Aisle - karainthekitchen.comWe went with FROZEN because we still love it in this house! Have you seen the new short, FROZEN Fever? It plays before the new Cinderella movie in theaters. It’s so cute! Here’s my latest short:

A video posted by Kara Miller (@kara_j_miller) on

For the FROZEN Easter Beach Buckets:

A water bottle to stay hydrated, flip-flops to protect their feet from the hot sand, a fan to keep them cool…

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1 4

a giant bubble wand, sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun, panties to put on after they rinse off in the outdoor showers, a jump rope just in case…

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1 3

washcloths to brush the sand off their feet before they get in the car, and eggs filled with jelly beans that (hopefully) won’t melt!

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1 2

I hope you’re inspired to make your own take on a traditional Easter basket now! Which characters are your children’s favorite?

Trick or Treat Em for Howl-O-Ween?

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TrickOrTreatEm

I never thought that I would be the type of person that would buy a dog costume. Then I saw the video on the Blue Buffalo – YouTube channel of SPIDER DOG! I laughed so hard and thought it would be hilarious to dress Maverick up as a spider. I did find a spider costume (not as awesome as the one in the video), and Mav looks so cute in it! Trick or Treat Em (1 of 6)It’s got light-up eyes, fangs, little legs hanging off the sides, and a fluffy rump…too much! His ears don’t really go through the holes like they’re supposed to, but I think it makes him look so cute. Trick or Treat Em (2 of 6)Look at that concentration. He is being so good waiting for a Milkbone treat. Trick or Treat Em (3 of 6)If you go to, you can take a quiz to see your pet’s Halloween personality (Maverick is “Quite The Trickster”), make a custom frame for your pet’s picture, and get a coupon for treats! Trick or Treat Em (4 of 6)Our mailman carries dog treats in his pocket and I think that is so smart! He’s come to our door and commented on how good Maverick is to lay by the screen and not bark. I love the idea of having treats ready for the pups that come Trick-or-Treating with their families. I’m sure the puppy parents would appreciate it too!  Trick or Treat Em (5 of 6)Our local FoodsCo has tons of Big Heart treats to choose from. If you can get around the boxes first ;) IMG_8477Mav loves his treats and will do all of his tricks to get one! 11 months old and he can:



Lay down

Roll over



Balance on his hind legs (Up)

He’s been working hard on his tricks and will definitely get treats from us this Howl-O-Ween! What about your pets?Trick or Treat Em (6 of 6)

Ada’s First Disneyland Trip

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Matt & I took Ada to Disneyland for the first time! It was 5 days before her 3rd birthday, so she was still free. Yeah! We dropped Lola off with Nonnie in Santa Maria and continued down the road in terrible traffic to Long Beach, where we stayed the night with Matt’s college buddy Steve. He treated us to dinner & his mom runs a regular B&B! She had little water bottles & snacks out for us, then made us crepes for breakfast, and made sure that we had snacks in our bag to get us through our day. Thank you so much Williams! We love you guys!!

So it turns out that their neighborhood is where Ferris Bueller’s house is! I freaked out a little bit and had to have my picture taken in front of it in true geek fashion :)

Ada was so excited! She had played the Disneyland Explorer app on Matt’s iPad so she was excited to see everything in real life! It’s free & fun, great marketing Disney ;)

She thought the tram was a blast…we were joking that we could go home after that!

We brought the stroller for her and told her that was the only way she could go on rides, if she rode there in the stroller. She really wanted to walk but we knew she would get way too tired and might get lost in the crowd. We are so glad we brought it!

I definitely recommend getting there early. We were at the park by 8:30 AM and it wasn’t even crowded. We were able to go to City Hall and tell them it was Ada’s first time. They gave her that cute button and she wore it with pride! Along with the two pins Steve gave her :) She was one accessorized little Cinderella! We saw Chip first and got a picture with him. Ada immediately had to wrap her little arm around him like they were old pals. She says he was very soft :)

Our only plan was to stay calm and relaxed so that we didn’t have an overwhelmed, crying child on our hands. We just walked leisurely around and let Ada decided what looked like fun, instead of pointing at every single thing and trying to get her on every ride.

The first ride we went on were the Astro Orbitors in Tomorrowland! Don’t watch the video if you get motion sickness, I’m talkin’ to you Aunt Lizzie!

Then we made our way over to the Teacups because word is that Fantasyland gets really busy the later it gets. I used the app Mousewait on my phone and it told us which rides had the shortest wait. The only bummer was that it sucked my battery dry.

This picture is right after Matt accidentally bonked Ada in the head with the camera :( She took off running and he reached out to grab her and forgot the heavy camera was around his neck.

She was not happy about it!

Poor girl!

Once we got into a giant purple teacup, she was magically healed!

Then to try and pull out the Sword in the Stone:

She gave it her all!

Look at the tongue action!

She ultimately concluded that she needed Papa’s help and that it was just for big kids to pull out.

Ada’s #1 favorite ride:

It’s A Small World!

Look at the wonder in her eyes!

She was singing along with the Christmas carols and waving to all of the dolls:

I must say that the Christmas version is much more enjoyable than the original. This was the first time I’d ridden it since I was a little girl…I think my parents took us on it once and that was it! While in line we saw Meridia from Brave and Ada got to wave to her. We also passed Cinderella and she waved but Ada was disappointed that she was in such a hurry. We told her Cinderella needed to go potty :)

Enter Frontierland around noon! We laid the stroller flat and put the shade down so that Ada could take a nap if she wanted. She ended up just laying back because Billy Hill & the Hillbillies put on a fun show she couldn’t sleep through! It was perfect for her to decompress and relax as we hung out. Frontierland is incredible at Christmastime. They had a huge area for kids to play reindeer games, make Christmas cards, do crafts, meet Santa & Mrs. Claus, and listen to the show. This is where I found these little nuggets of fried goodness:

MONTE CRISTO BITES! I was so happy. The best Disneyland lunch in bite-size form!

Now over to California Adventure. The only ride I cared about going on was Tower of Terror, my all-time favorite! Ada & I waited for Papa to go on the ride and had a snack. The child swap is incredible. The second Matt got off a ride, I was given a pass and went to the front of the line. Genius!

While we were waiting for Papa to get off the Cars ride…

suddenly a dance party began in the middle of Cars Land, and the cast members were trying to get kids to come out and dance with them. A ton of older children around us said no, and when she got to Ada, she just ran out and danced her little heart out with no hesitation!

So happy (note the glass slippers have been traded out for comfy shoes)!

Then, Lightning McQueen cruised right in front of us! He was talking and thanking everyone for being there. Ada was big on waving to everyone :)

Getting into the evening (notice the little bags under her eyes), we asked Ada if she was still having fun. Her response:

She made friends all over, in every line we waited in. This was for Mater’s Tractor Ride and we all laughed SO hard on it! We were heavy with the 3 of us so it whipped us around really fast! Ada giggled the entire time.

Her second favorite ride was Ariel’s Grotto in CA Adventure. After riding it, she said, “The Sea Witch was SO mad! She was like, grrrrrr!” And made the expression below:

Last ride of the night for Ada girl…King Triton’s Carosel on the Boardwalk.

After all of that, I was ready to head home. Matt insisted that we stay for the World of Color show so we did & it was brilliant! Like the waters of Bellagio in Vegas x 1,000,000.

All day long, I went on any ride that spins with Ada. Matt says he can’t handle them, so I did them all. After World of Color, he says, “Babe! The line is so short for California Screamin’! You have to go on it!” I said no, I was ready to go home, but he talked me into it. I do love that roller coaster…normally. After splitting a churro with Ada and being so tired, I wasn’t really feeling it. But I went against my better judgement. It was awesome until I got off the ride. I said we are going home now! I had the worst headache and decided that I just needed sleep. We get to the car and Ada falls asleep immediately. As we’re pulling out of the parking structure, I tell Matt he has to pull over NOW. He pulls straight into the AMPM and I run inside looking for the bathroom. No bathroom to be found! I ran into a room that turned out to be a closet and threw up on the floor :( I hear a teenage valley girl’s voice behind me say, “Uhhh ma’am, what are you doing?” I turn around, mortified, and say, “I’m so sorry I couldn’t find the bathroom in time…do you have any napkins?” She rolls her eyes at me, no doubt thinking that she’s the one who has to clean it up later! She brought me some towels and I cleaned myself up and RAN to the car. We continued to an Albertson’s where Matt went inside to buy me Saltines and 7UP. I threw up again in the parking lot and a random lady is sitting in her car and asked if I was okay. It was just easier to tell her I was pregnant instead of, “Oh, I just ate a churro and went on a roller coaster and don’t have the stomach I used to since having children.” She was very sympathetic with the pregnancy claim ;)

So: aside from the last events of the day, Disneyland was a raging success! Ada loved everything and still talks about it.

My Packing List for Disneyland:

– baby wipes

– Purell

– change of clothes (she was not about to take her princess dress off, but you never know)

– comfy shoes

– extra panties (she’s been potty trained for a year, but excitement can get the best of any kid)

– sweatshirts/cardigans for everyone

– blanket to hang over stroller during nap time & to keep warm at night

– water bottles

– snacks for waiting in line (clementines, grapes, fruit snacks, crackers, Steve’s cookies!)

– Advil, Excedrin, etc. for mom & dad :)

It was so much fun sharing the magic of Disneyland with my daughter! I can’t wait until Lola is old enough to appreciate it too, I think we’ll go again right before Lola’s 3rd birthday.