Phoenix Secrets – Enchanted Island at Encanto Park


Despite her lack of enthusiasm, I can assure you this kid is a thrill seeker! I was excited to find this new little treasure right in the heart of Phoenix. Enchanted Island at Encanto Park. We’ve been cooped up inside for far too long this summer and Rylie and I are ready to get out and be adventurous. With the cooler weather coming, my guess is that we’ll be spending a lot of time at this fun park geared toward littles of (mostly) her size. We just need a few more inches to get on the “dinosaur” (AKA dragon roller coaster).I think this is a good first step toward the fun we’ll be having next month on her first trip to Disney.


By the end of the night, her hands were in the air… unprompted


The Shine Project

On Saturday I attended a benefit for The Shine Project. This amazing organization helps at-risk youth to earn money and scholarships to go to school. Through their jewelry company Threads, they employ these students to make fabulous jewelry while learning to be self-reliant, hard workers. Did I mention how fabulous their jewelry is? Oh, yeah… I did.

Pixie Dust Collection | Threads | by The Shine Project

The Shine Project also does bi-weekly service projects with inner-city kids, teaches them leadership skills and encourages them to make the world a better place.

Listening to the kids stories was inspiring. For many of them they are or will be the first in their families to attend college.

It’s not often I get out for an evening of pampering but I’m glad I was able to escape for a few hours. They did my hair (thanks Salon 7000), nails and eyebrows, and bonus, I got to hang with some really great women!

#PicTapGo @theshineproject Beauty Bar benefit

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@theshineproject Beaty Bar benefit #updo

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I encourage you to check out Threads and support The Shine Project.

Easter Weekend Recap – The Bright Side

Today I am grateful for the stomach flu, my amazing husband, new bedtime routines and this video…

After my bedtime blues rant I wound up with the stomach flu. As I was bedridden for nearly two days, my husband managed to figure out a new bedtime routine that seems to be working so far. Rylie gets to watch 1 episode of her favorite tv show, says night night to the characters, goes upstairs, brushes her teeth, reads a few books and then watches Twinkle Twinkle until she falls asleep. So far it’s led to the most peaceful evenings we’ve had in a while with little to no leg movement. In fact tonight, after her most favorite episode of Yo Fresh Beats Gabba Gabba and a few minutes of getting her sillies out, she grabbed my hand, said night night owl and led me up the stairs. Success. and might I add, she went to bed 45 minutes earlier than usual. YEAH.

Despite the otherwise pukey end to my weekend (and I mean that in every sense of the word), Rylie and I had the most wonderful Easter weekend just the two of us, exploring some of our favorite places in Phoenix totally Dad free.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday to go use some of my free herb coupons from Penzys. If you’ve not been to Penzys you must go. AND, if you have one local to you, and sign up for their catalog, you get free coupons. BONUS. I scored 2 small jars of Cinnamon and a jar of Cumin.


Rylie also had a load of fun running rampant at Tempe Marketplace. Hint: If you go there early enough on the weekend the place is empty. Perfect for a toddler on the move.

After our little shopping venture we headed to The Farm at South Mountain for some lunch with friends. One of our favorite hidden spots in Phoenix. In fact it’s such a favorite, I even got married there. They have a delicious lunch spot that only uses locally grown foods. There is a farmers market on the weekends and even a delicious breakfast place. Its perfect for kiddos to run around free while moms chat it up.

The Farm at South Mountain


After we went home and each took a nap, I decided my lack of planning would not stop the Easter Bunny from making a stop at our house, so we headed to Target where I snuck some dollar bin toys into the cart. As we walked through the store, Rylie suddenly started yelling NOT NICE. This was the first time I’ve heard these words spoken from her mouth. OK, time for bed.

We woke up Sunday morning to a table full of treats and quickly headed out the door to see the Easter Bunny and have some yummy breakfast at another hidden Phoenix gem… The Grove. Clearly we have a love of farms… after all, we are The Gardners.


I would have to agree with Rylie, this bunny was a bit creepy… but thanks to Rylies mad egg hunting skills, he was kind enough to give me a bag full of candy. OK, we can be friends, but Rylie will only accept a high five. No hugs please, NOT NICE.


The Grove

The Grove

So you see, bedtime complaints set aside… this cute little girl is my BFF. Next weekend we tackle our first toddler birthday. It’s going to be fun!

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