saldana fam cam: kauai style

For years Jimmy and I have been wanting to plan a family vacation for just the four of us, and after our first year of homeschooling, we knew the idea needed to move up in the priority list of our to do’s, stat. So, we started tucking money away and doing research on where we wanted to go, and finally last December we had enough saved and had confidently chosen our location…Kauai.

11 years ago on our honeymoon we spent a week on Oahu, and a week on the Big Island, and we have always wanted to go back and explore the other islands one day as well. After two years of homeschooling, all I craved was relaxation, so Kauai seemed the perfect choice.

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It ended up being the perfect week, and by the time we got home, we were completely content and relaxed. Even the kids seemed more mellowed out, as the plane ride home was much calmer than the plane ride there. (homeschooling was almost easier than dealing with my kids on the way there. oh my word.)

Kauai was unbelievably beautiful, and with every scenic moment we took in, we made an effort to pause for a moment of authentic worship. You cannot deny there is an incredible Creator when you stop and take in all the beauty that surrounds you, especially when you are in a place like Kauai.

I did my best to capture all that I could on the vlog, so that you too could experience a little of the beauty and relaxation the island had to offer as well.

And now that we’re back home, we’re continuing to challenge ourselves to keep up our worshipful heart and mindset, even as we’re surrounded with what feels so simple and familiar…

It’s amazing what you notice when you make the effort.

{To check out all the pictures from our trip and activities, make sure you follow me over on Instagram! I post a lot of things that never end up on my blog or YouTube channel!}


when being a mom is hard

So many times throughout the early years of being a mom, I struggled with feeling so desperately alone and without any kind of actual purpose to my life. I would look at my little ones making messes I was unable to keep up after, and witnessing tantrums I was sure were a direct reflection of my parenting skills, and the combination of it all would make me want to collapse into a puddle of tears.

My days seemed long, thankless and overwhelming.
And I was incredibly tired, hormonal, and discouraged.

And so often, I found myself wondering if just maybe God had made a major mistake in allowing me to be a mother…

But the truth, the reassuring comforting truth is that even on the days when everything goes wrong, and being a mom is hard and it seems impossible to do our job well…we can be assured that our God is faithful and He never ever makes mistakes….

…to continue reading, please visit my full post over at The Better Mom.


Family at sunset





saldana fam cam: beautycon la 2014, dance party & more

We’re coming up on the last weeks of summer and I have this itch more than ever to get outside, be active and soak up each and every moment of free time that we have. It’s crazy to me that in just two more weeks BOTH my kids will officially be in school…no more babies in our house!

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This week on the Saldana Fam Cam:

  • This last week my sweet friend, Becky, offered to take our kids for the day so that Jimmy and I could have our first date in 6 months. I didn’t even realize that we had let that much time pass, but once we had the time together again, it hit me just how much we need to make time for that in our marriage. Having uninterrupted time together when you’re not exhausted at the end of the day really makes a difference. But that’s a whole blog post that I’m thinking I might need to write sometime soon. Anyway, we made the most of our day and went grocery shopping without kids (how easy is that?!?), came home to pay bills (no interruptions!), and then got changed and went to hike a few miles down to Torrey Pines Beach and then back up…finishing the night with dinner out at our favorite restaurant, Tender Greens. It was honestly the perfect day for both of us.
  • Another big event went down this week, and that was Taylor finally got his braces off. Hallelujah, Praise Jesus. Although, now we get to live this next year keeping a 9 year olds retainer in tact. So ya, that’s been fun.
  • As usual, there was a Saldana Fam dance party that went down randomly in our house. This actually happens quite often, but I made sure to capture each family members mad skills. You’ll notice I don’t, however, capture my own. One day.
  • We had a family fun night with some of our bestest friends, and Becky…who is supposed to be like me (allergic to cooking) had quite the surprise for us once we showed up to their house.
  • I picked up Chloe’s books for her first official year of homeschool! I’ve never taught Kindergarten before, but I have to admit that I am beyond excited for this little adventure we get to have together. I’ll be doing a homeschool video/blog post in the next couple weeks to share more in detail about what we’re using and how it’s going!
  • I may have also done a little shopping at Forever 21, though I did get out of there for under $15. So that’s kind of newsworthy, I think. ha
  • And lastly, I went up to L.A. on Saturday to attend BeautyCon LA 2014 with Trisha from A Glittery Life, and shared the makeup look & products I used to get ready. The event was INsane, but I’m definitely glad I went and loved the chance to meet with friends as well as try out some new brands to share with you guys! (more on the goodies I got tomorrow!)

* I’ve been trying to be more selective in the moments I vlog and share, so that I am able maintain some kind of balance with being in the moment vs. capturing the ones I want to be sure I remember… It’s a dance I’m learning slowly but surely. xo

superfood smoothie recipes and essentials | living the 80/20 rule

I’ve talked a lot about how as a family we try to live by the 80/20 rule, where 80% of the time we do our best to choose healthier options but the other 20% of the time…we just don’t.

I have commitment issues, I guess.
But also, I like food and makeup and living on the edge…(but just a little).
So 80/20 works well for me.

Except for those times when the 80% is actually UNhealthy options…
But that’s usually just one week out of the month, if you know what I mean.

That said, I wanted to share just a snippet of a day where we really tried to do our best to live out that 80/20 rule when it came to our eating. We ate out most of the day, since it was our first date alone in 6 months, but considering we did a 3 mile hike I feel like our food choices were actually pretty good.

In addition to that, I wanted to share where I’m most considered a foodie in our house, and that’s in the area of smoothies.
I’m obsessed.
I love them like candy and could literally drink one for every meal of the day.
I don’t.
But I could.


I’ll go through all this in the video and show you each and every essential and smoothie, but just in case you need a place of reference, let me share the details.

Okay, so first up, let’s talk about my Superfood Smoothie Essentials:

Vitamix | You guys, I have had a LOT of blenders in my life, and none have ever stolen my heart the way the Vitamix has. If you’re wondering if it’s worth the money, it is. Just go. Do it. You can thank me later.
Pinterest | This is where I really do get most of my recipe ideas for some of the tastiest smoothies I’ve made. And while you’re on there, make sure we’re following each other, will ya?

Dynamic Greens | This stuff is absolutely packed with a ton of superfood greens but the amazing thing is that it actually tastes really good! When I’m super lazy, I’ll just add it to a shaker cup of water and ice, and it still tastes so delicious.
Flaxseed | Fiber, Omega 3′s and even a dose of estrogen & antioxidants!
Chia Seeds | Fiber, Omega 3′s, Protein, B vitamins just to name a few, not to mention they’re incredibly filling.
Spirulina | Proteins, Amino Acids, Omega 3′s, Iron, and a ton ton ton of vitamins.
Maca Powder | Amino Acids, Vitamins B, C & E, Iron, Calcium, Zinc, Magnesium and so much more.

Cute Smoothie Mason Cups | You actually DO need these. Not only are they cute, but they keep your hands from getting cold while you’re holding the cup. Cute and practical, what more do you need?

Frozen Fruit | This is self explanatory, I think.
Frozen Kale or Spinach | Freeze your veggie too, so they stay fresh longer! And switch up your greens each time, but make sure to always add at least one handful to every smoothie. It adds so much nutrition without changing the taste!

Organic Juice (not from concentrate)
Coconut Water
Coconut or Almond Milk
Organic Kefir Yogurt

Protein Powder | At the moment I’m using and loving the Fast Fuel Complete by Lifetime Fitness. I order online with their Auto Ship option, so I get a discount. It’s a Dairy Free plant based protein with a fruit/vegetable blend, fiber, digestive enzymes and probiotics. Yum. I’m pretty picky about protein powders, and this one actually tastes pretty good to me. I mean, it’s still protein powder, but one of the yummier healthier options I’ve tried.

For most of my smoothie ingredients, especially the superfood add ons, I always shop through Vitacost because I really have found them to have the best prices.

* Always first shop Vitacost through Ebates, Extrabux, or Top Cash Back to earn extra cash back off every order! I check them all first to see which is offering more cash back.

Vitacost | (earn $10 when you sign up!)
Ebates | (earn $5 when you sign up with this link)
Extrabux | (earn $5 when you sign up with this link)
TopCashBack | (earn $10 when you sign up with this link)

Okay, now for those two Smoothie Recipes I make most often.

Post Workout Creamy Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie 
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (45 calories)
1 handful of ice
1 frozen banana
1 scoop of Dynamic Greens

Superfood Tropical Smoothie (for 2)
1 cup of organic apple juice (not from concentrate)
1 cup of organic kefir yogurt (strawberry, raspberry, acai or vanilla)
1.5 cups of frozen kale or spinach
1.5 cups frozen pineapple
.5 cup frozen mixed tropical fruit
.5 cup frozen organic strawberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp maca powder


*this post contains affiliate links


saldana fam cam: discontentment, jam session and balayage

This summer is going way too fast for me, and as I was just telling Jimmy the other night, it’s been far too busy as well.

I had such high hopes that summertime would bring us all rest and relaxation, and instead I feel busier than ever before. And while some of that is all me and some of the projects I’m taking on, it still feels too…rushed. I am desperately needing a second to gather my thoughts, center myself, and reflect on all thats truly important.

| This week on the Saldana Fam Cam |

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~ We had an insane heat wave hit our area with what felt like a deathly level of humidity accompanying it, and given that we don’t have air conditioning in our house, we were all a bit on the lethargic GRUMPY side. And so, of course, we ended up doing what any normal family without air conditioning does…we got in the car with dinner and a movie…and went for a long drive to look at dream houses. Wait till you see these crazy modern styled homes we discovered!

~ One thing this week that seemed to be a common theme for both Jimmy & me, was in the area of discontentment. Always striving for more but continually feeling as though it’s not enough… And so, one night after we got the kids to bed, we had a little heart to heart that really put things into perspective for the both us, I think. I have this feeling that we’re not the only ones living this struggle, especially in this generation of Facebook & Instagram where the grass is always greener and more manicured on the other side, and so I pulled out my camera and tried to capture the tail end of our discussion. Praying it speaks to you the way it did to me.

~ A bright side to my week was my beloved hair appt where we freshened up my balayage and actually went a little lighter in the front. I’m absolutely obsessed with this style of coloring hair now, that I’m pretty sure I can never go back to any other method. Unfortunately, the girl I’ve been going to is raising her prices and with our budget these days, I just can’t justify paying the increase. So now I’m on a mad (and desperate) sleepless hunt for a new Balayage Hair Master here in San Diego, and praying that someone around these parts can duplicate what’s already been done.

Yes, I realize this is all sorts of #firstworldproblems.

~ We also had the opportunity to attend the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus for the third year now, and absolutely loved it. I tried to capture my most favorite acts (that don’t involve animals, because I understand that’s a sensitive situation), that truly took our breath away. We all agreed that this particular show was our favorite so far!

~ And then of course there’s the beauty stuff, where I test out a new City Cosmetics Lip Plumper and show what makeup I’m wearing on the days I actually take the time to put some on. You also have got to watch the part where Chloe styled not only herself and Girafee for church, but then picked out my jewelry as well. She is just too adorable for words.

I hope you guys enjoy!!!


{PS – I really am longing to get back to my writing posts as well, but am finding that it is incredibly difficult to form complete thoughts while the kids are home all summer. Babysitters or Grandparents would just be so lovely to have in my life, ya know? Anyway, so my prayer is that in the next couple weeks once we’re back on a schedule and school has started for Taylor, that my writing and thinking groove will get back on track. Bear with me!!! xo}

summer’s lovin’: july favorites 2014 | beauty & lifestyle

July Favorites 2014 | beauty & lifestyle

I’ve pretty much decided that from this point on, I’ll continue to do weekly favorites, but then do a round up at the end of each month sharing with you guys my ultimate monthly stand out stuff. And not only will I include my beauty favorites, but I thought it might also be fun and helpful to start including fashion, health and lifestyle favorites as well.

I like to keep things well rounded.

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This month was really all about not spending money and trying to dig into my stash/collection of goodies, and doing my best to rekindle the love for what I already have. Getting into this habit of shopping my stash has actually been kind of fun, though the thrill of a new beauty product in your life is hard to beat…but saving money has got to be a close second, right?

Or third…


Okay, so maybe the thrill hasn’t hit me quite yet, but it IS a responsible thing to do, and I really am having fun rediscovering some oldies but goodies.

It’s called being a grown up.
On a budget.

Fun Stuff.

Okay, so, here’s what I loved and used most this month…

Products Mentioned:
Tracy Campoli (i want personal sessions!)
Walk off the Earth (makes me so happy)
Lorac Pro to Go (must have for all)
Wet n Wild Blush Heather Silk (don’t apply with a heavy hand!)
Milani Baked Blush Berry Amore (all their blushes are so good!)
Khroma eyeshadow stick (if the Kardashians can do something right, it’s makeup)
NYX Butter Lipstick in Hunk (just one of my favorites colors in this formula)
Hanae Mori perfume (this scent is heaven.)
Sibu Seabuckthorn Eye Cream (even if you’re not aging, get into this eye cream habit!!!)

What did you guys love most this month???

FTC: This is not a sponsored video. While some products may have been sent to me, I will always share my honest opinion of everything that I try and review on my channel. I will never accept payment in exchange for a positive review. Some links above may be affiliate.

how to heal a sunburn overnight | natural remedies

I’m ashamed to admit that this summer has been the summer of sunburns for me.

I shudder just typing that sentence…because I am such a freak about sunscreen and not being in the sun too long, and I am most definitely anti-cancer. (I think it’s safe to say we all are?)

But even with all the caution I usually apply, somehow I have still managed to get burned several times just in the last few months. Not cute. Not cute at all.

Thankfully though, some good always comes from the bad moments in my life, and this time it is that I have found a way to heal a sunburn overnight …Literally…and now I get to share this discovery with all of you. So I guess my pain is your gain.

What I go through to help others….

I’m not exaggerating when I say that within just minutes of applying this concoction, the pain and sting were gone, and it completely stopped hurting. I was still pretty red for another 24 hours or so, but never ended up peeling. And then thankfully it turned into a nice little tan a couple days later.

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Okay, so here’s what you need:

  • Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar (anti-inflammatory)
  • Organic Cold Pressed Coconut Oil (this is a gift from Jesus)
  • Lavender Essential Oil (soothes, regenerates, and smells amazing)
  • Peppermint Essential Oil (soothes and cools)
  • Washcloth & water (application & dilution)

And here’s what I did…

If you guys try this, let me know how it works for you…although, I would just suggest not to get burned in the first place.

And make sure if you have your own natural remedies that have also worked wonders, to definitely share them in the comments below!

saldana fam cam: shespeaks conference 2014 & more

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Last weekend I had the incredible opportunity to attend the SheSpeaks conference 2014 and meet up with a few of my most beloved friends, Ruth, Mandy and Karen.

We all first got to know each other way back in the day when we wrote for our other friend, Candace Cameron Bure‘s website, RooMag (which is gone now. sadness!). But actually getting to spend one on one time with them that many days in a row was absolutely refreshing to my soul. They’re the kind of girls that are just…comfort, if you know what I mean. Just truly genuine, comfortable and easy going.




And while I had every intention of vlogging throughout the entire conference, once I got there I was so completely immersed in soaking up all the wisdom being shared, that vlogging was the last thing on my mind. Thankfully I was, however, able to capture parts of incredibly beautiful worship, along with a little bit of when Karen Ehman & Renee Swope shared…both of whom I absolutely adore. {Look them up, you will too.}

If you’re a writer or a speaker or you have dreams to ever be one day, let me just tell you, this conference is for you and absolutely worth every single penny.

It’s just amazing what spending time with creative and like minded friends will do for you.
We should all be doing more of that, conferences or not.

Also included in this weeks vlog…
~ Taylor’s tips for me on how to write a book (who needs a conference after this wisdom?)
~ Makeup I’m wearing
~ Young Living, Butter London & Cover FX unboxings
~ Jimmys Facebook dilemma
~ My tips on how to pack jewelry so it doesn’t tangle
~ One of my most delicious Vitacost food finds
~ and you definitely can’t miss Taylor’s magic tricks….


shopping healthy on a budget! health & beauty haul!

If you know me at all, you know I have a slight obsession with shopping on Vitacost. These last few months though, we’ve needed to tighten things up with our budget, so I’ve had to commit to only shopping when we truly need things…and then committing to only purchasing what we truly need. Because Vitacost is a lot like Target…you go in for one thing, and a few hundred dollars later…your husband is texting you about the credit card statement.

I remind him though, that shopping is like therapy, and at least we’re not having to pay for both at the moment.
Sometimes it’s all about perspective!

But, the truth is shopping healthy doesn’t have to break the bank! So here’s just one way we have figured out how to shop healthy on a budget!

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So, here’s our latest health and beauty order with some of our usuals, but quite a few new to me products as well. My hope in sharing is to inspire you to consider switching from maybe from your less healthy products to some healthier alternatives. And if you shop on Vitacost, you really are getting an incredible price compared to what you’d spend in a Health Food Store. (I promise I am not sponsored by Vitacost, nor do I get free products!)

One thing to keep in mind is that while I do my best to make good choices, I always stick to the 80/20 rule in life. We do our best 80% of the time, and the other 20…eh.

Remember to always first shop Vitacost through Ebates or Extrabux for extra cash back! I check both to see which is offering more cash back.

* Vitacost (Get $10 when you sign up!)
* Ebates: (get $5 when you sign up with this link)
* Extrabux: (get $5 when you sign up with this link)

ringling bros. and barnum & bailey circus giveaway!

I have truly come to love our family tradition of going to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus every year, and I am so excited that this year I get to share the opportunity to go with those of you who live in the area! Because not only have they offered to send my family, but they’re also GIVING AWAY a family pack of 4 tickets to one of you!

So all you gotta do to enter is leave a comment below with your email address, and Sunday night I’ll choose & email the winner!

Check out below for all the fun and exciting details!


Prepare For A Family Experience Of Mythic Proportions With The All-New Show

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS
Coming To San Diego, August 7-10

**Debut of New Ringmaster Zone Behind The Curtain VIP Experience**

(San Diego, Calif.) – Behold the living legends! Children of All Ages will believe in the unbelievable with the all-new circus spectacular, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents LEGENDS, coming to the Valley View Casino Center from August 7–10 highlighted by legendary family-friendly prices with all seats only $20 each!*                                                                                                                                               (*not valid for premium ticket levels)

Iconic Ringling Bros. stars meet fabled mythological creatures at the place where legends live…The Greatest Show on Earth®!  Experience unimaginable family fun, as amazing circus athletes perform awe-inspiring feats of daring, spectacles of strength and thrills of wonder in a celebration of the LEGENDS that have captured imaginations for centuries.  Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson guides Paulo the Legend Seeker on his quest to discover real, living circus legends from around the world…along the way encountering the fantastical Pegasus, a Unicorn and the remarkable Woolly the Mammoth!

Featuring over 100 performers spanning 25 countries plus more than 85 animals from nearly every continent around the world, the Ringling Bros. 144th Edition features several unique acts including:

China National Acrobatic Troupe from Beijing perform several impressive acts including balancing 20 people on two bicycles, fast-paced hoop diving and graceful Diabolo juggling skills

* Introducing the Double Trapeze, especially designed for Ringling Bros., with the attempt of four consecutive triple somersaults in a row

Plus additional circus legends highlighted in the show such as Big Cat trainer Alexander Lacey; edge-of-your-seat Cossack Riders equestrian stunts; Globe of Steel motorcycle daredevils; of course, no show would be complete without the Ringling Bros. Clown Alley and treasured performing pachyderms!

Debuting this year for the ultimate circus fan, check out the exclusive and intimate fan experience within the Ringmaster Zone.  Access to this VIP area is only available to select ticket holders and offers guests an unprecedented look “behind the curtain” of The Greatest Show On Earth. Fans have the opportunity to walk the Ringling Red Carpet, meet Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson and the stars of the show, step inside the Globe of Steel, take photos on the Ringmaster’s float and have an up-close elephant encounter.

Be sure to arrive early to experience several exciting interactive elements before the show starts, included with the ticket price – visit the Animal Open House to get up-close with our amazing animal stars and the All Access Pre-Show where families can step onto the arena floor to meet our performers, learn circus skills, try on costumes and much more!

WHEN:          Thursday, August 7 – Sunday, August 10
Thursday, Aug. 7                    7:00 PM
Friday, Aug. 8                         11:00 AM & 7:00 PM
Saturday, Aug. 9                     11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday, Aug. 10                     1:00 PM & 5:00 PM

WHERE:         Valley View Casino Center – 3500 Sports Arena Blvd., San Diego CA 92110

TICKETS:     All seats only $20 each; premium level pricing $45 (VIP) and $110 (Ringmaster Zone)

Opening Night tickets are just $10!  (select seating only; not valid on VIP/premium levels)

All seats are reserved; tickets available thru, charge by phone at 888-9AXS-TIX or visit the Valley View Casino Center Box Office.                                        
*tickets may be subject to service charges, facility and handling fees