Our family vacation to Mexico

I’m finally recovered from our epic family vacation. Our sunburns have healed, and we’ve caught up on laundry and sleep! We saved up for two years to travel to Mexico and I’m so thankful we could give our kids some great memories. 

 I’ve been doing this trip for as long as I can remember. We go to Guadalajara to spend time with family and then we drive to the coast to spend time on the beach relaxing. Sometimes we even invite our cousins to come with us. I definitely want my kids to know their culture and to know their cousins in Mexico like I did. I want this to be a tradition they look forward to every year or so. So we make it a priority to save and travel. 

This year the trip fell on Elias’ birthday. So I’m like let’s do a party! It will be a great way to hang out with everyone at once, have fun, and celebrate Elias. And man, it was an amazing party!  A company came in and did two crafts for the kids. A piggy bank and slime. I mean you can’t go wrong with slime at a kids party. Amiright?

There was also a bounce house which is the one thing Elias wanted, and he pretty much stayed in there bouncing away for the whole 5 hours.

The food was amazing. Pozole, enchiladas, sopes, salsas, botanas, and it all ended with a churro bar. Yes two people came, made churros and gave us the option of our filling. So. Good. I’ve been thinking about those churros ever since the party. They were THAT good!

Elias had such a great time. 

See didn’t it look it epic??? I’m so thankful to family who helped plan, and those who showed up.

Puerto Vallarta 

The next day we woke up early and made the 4 hour drive through the mountains to Puerto Vallarta. My father likes to wake up at 6am to beat the traffic. Most of the way through the mountains is one way both lanes, so if traffic slows down…everything slows down…or stops. So we wake up early to get a head start. We stop for lunch in a little town called Las Varas, and make it to Puerto Vallarta by mid-day, and I’m laying out in the sun by 2pm.

The next few days are pretty much the same. Wake up, have breakfast, and head to the pool by 10am. We have no agenda…just to hang out. Elena spent as much time as she could in the pool. I spent as much time as I could in the sun.

In the evening, we shower, and get ready for dinner. We head into town for a nice walk on the malecon. The malecon is a long strip with a lot of restaurants and shops, and lots of vendors selling street food. It’s right off the ocean, so we can see the sun set and hear the waves crashing as we walk along. It’s a really nice way to end the evenings. It was 5 days of having nothing important to do, but enjoy time together as a family.

Hotel Meliá

Now there are two hotels that I rave about. Hotel Melia is one of them. This is the second time we’ve come to stay at hotel Melia It’s an all inclusive resort that is really kid-friendly. They have different daily activities for kids all day! We can either drop them off all day, or drop them off for each activity they want to do; which is what we did. They picked one or two activities they wanted to participate in, and we would drop them off for that hour. They made kites, pinatas, cookies, swords, and played games. They even had a birthday party with cake on Elias’ actual birthday!

The pool area also has games for the adults to participate in. I did water aerobics a few times, and played bingo mid-day. It’s really fun to listen to others participate or participate yourself. There’s quite a few activities for the whole family. I don’t think I would ever want to stay at another hotel with kids; it’s just so great.


One activity that we splurged on was a dolphin and whale watching boat ride. Elias really wanted to ride a boat, and Elena really wanted to hang out with some dolphins. Win-win. We booked the wild dolphins and snorkeling eco tour for the four of us. It started with a marine biology lesson about the sea life we would encounter. Then we took the boat out to the ocean and started looking for dolphins. When we caught up to them, we could jump in to swim near them if they were in a curious/playful mood. At the last minute, Elias decided he didn’t want to jump into the water, so I stayed on the boat with him.

After a few attempts to hang out with the dolphins, we realized they weren’t super playful that day, so we went to a little secret beach to look at shells, and other ocean life before heading back to the docks.

Both the kids LOVED it, and say it was their favorite thing to do. I’m not a boat/ocean person, but seeing their joy and learning about the ocean was worth it for me.


Our time of relaxation was over, and so we headed back to Guadalajara. With only some minor traffic in the mountains, we stopped at Tequila around lunch time. We didn’t stay very long to explore…or to have tequila, because the kids were exhausted. We made it back to the hotel and just chilled out. That evening I visited my abuela who had recently injured her hip. I’m glad I was able to see her, even if she won’t remember I came to visit.

Our last day we went to el centro to buy some souvenirs, and empanadas. Success on both fronts. Walking around on a Sunday in Mexico reminds me of Chicago summers. There’s a relaxing hustle & bustle vibe, as everyone is enjoying time with friends or family. Especially during Holy Week (Semana Santa) people will travel to Guadalajara from other cities. I love it.

On the way back, we flew Aeromexico. It’s a great airline, and it was a pretty smooth ride, even with two exhausted kids.

My goal is to make family vacations to Mexico a yearly thing. I’m already starting to think about next year’s trip, and perhaps making it a 3 week trip where we can explore more cities together, and ending our time on the beach. I mean…cuz this tan isn’t going to stay come next winter, and I’ll need to get a touch up in the sun next year too. ;-)


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Design Inspiration | Elena's 8 year old room refresh

The reveal is here! I’ve been working on re-doing Elena’s room for about a month. She just turned 8, and this year for her birthday rather than throwing a party, I decided to give her room a little refresh. And she was super excited about it.

I didn’t take any before pictures, because it really was a hot mess…and very pink…and cluttered. It was embarrassing, more for me than for her. Haha. Anyway, my hope was to create a space that was comforting, and inspirational for her, and we’re all so happy with how it turned out.


First we started with her favorite picture from the San Miguel Collection. She’s loved this picture since the first time she saw it. She loved the colors, and how it represented Mexico. (She’s my colorful kid, who is always mixing colors in her wardrobe and her creations…quite opposite from me)

Secondly we decided on her favorite color blue for the statement wall, which worked perfectly with the print she loves. Since she wanted her room to be colorful, I painted the other 3 walls a light grey, and made sure the furniture (bed, shelves, storage) were white.

Thirdly we wanted this room to be functional. She has 3 passed down American Girl dolls, and a lot of passed on clothing for them. She also has lot of other dolls. I really wanted to have a space for her to keep everything. I found a bed that has two storage drawers, which is perfect for all the doll clothing, and even the smaller dolls themselves. The cubbies next to her bed are an organized space for her to store other odds and ends. She also loves reading, so instead of having piles of books all over the floor she can store them neatly on the shelves behind her bed.

Another important part of the room is her gallery wall. She is an artist and always doodling, drawing, or painting something. I’ve been saving quite a few pieces, and I’m so excited to finally have a place to display them. This can be a space where she can have rotating art, and we can even add more frames as her collection grows.

She has spent a lot of time in her room since we’ve finished. Her shrieks of excitement are worth it. You can see more photos in the gallery below.


Now if only I could get Michael to replace the carpet with wood flooring…but that probably won’t happen until she moves out. ;-)

Paint: Sherwin Williams: Color - After the Rain

Bed: Walmart

Crown Pillow: Target

Shelves: Ikea

Grey storage bins: Ikea

Square Storage space: Ikea

Frames on Gallery Wall: Ikea

Abstract Colorful Piece: Leah Nadeau

Bedding: Target

Karina Metts
Design Inspiration | Sarapes 2

I'm doing a series on my San Miguel Collection prints and am collaborating with interior stylist Mylene Raspado

This week I'm featuring: Sarapes 2


The textile industry is a very important part of Mexico’s economy. The foot petal loom was introduced to Mexico after the Spanish conquest, and was most widely used in the central and northern parts of Mexico, allowing for bigger pieces to be made.

I remember my parents owning a restaurant when I was younger called “El Zarape”. I went there a few times when they first opened. They chose to have sombreros and sarapes hanging on the walls as decoration. When the restaurant closed, all the decor came home with us. I would love trying on all the sombreros and looking through the colorful blankets; picking out my favorites.

When I went to college, I took a sarape with me as a blanket. My roommates would make comments about how bright and colorful it was, but it was a piece of my culture that I could have with me among the very rural Michigan community.

The Mexican culture as a whole is very bright, colorful, and happy. I love the colors in sarapes, but I’m also drawn to neutral decor. I like a nice statement piece to tie a room together, or add that splash of color. This vibrant picture can do that while still keeping the feel of the room neutral.

I love the warmth of the pinks, greens, and browns of this life style board. It reminds me of a girl who’s grown into a young adult and has kept her feminine style but added sophistication. What do you think? I’d love to hear in the comments.


Pillowcases: Urban Outfitters

Shirt: Lola Y Tula

Shoes: Lola Y Tula

Canister: Holistic Habitat

Planter: Etsy

Sofa: Urban Outfitters

Book Ends: Roolee

Leather Card Holder: Lola Y Tula

This week only (until next Wednesday), I'm offering free framing on all orders of the "Sarapes 2" print. Let me know if you have any questions about this design mood board, or this specific print. Just send me an e-mail, or leave a comment below. 


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Recipe | Pollo con Mole

Sometimes I’m intimidated by making meals. Ok, most of the time; which is why Michael does the cooking. But I think that if I can’t replicate the exact recipes from the restaurant then it’s pointless to even try. But there can be an easy way to make this delicious meal…that’s simple and doesn’t take all day to make.

So today, I’m sharing another super easy recipe: pollo con mole. The hardest part of this meal is opening the mole container. I’m serious, wear an apron, and use a can opener. But after you get it open, you’ll be good to go.


Gather Ingredients

Chicken (Raw chicken)

Mole - Doña Maria

Mexican Chocolate -Abuelita or Ibarra



Now what?

1. Set your chicken to boil in a large pot of water. (About 45 minutes - hour)

2. About 20 minutes after starting the chicken boiling make your arroz. I’ve shared this recipe before…and it’s optional…but I don’t consider the dish pollo con mole without arroz.

3. Scoop out about half the bottle into a sauce pan.

4. Cut up a few triangles of Mexican chocolate and add to the sauce pan. (The more you add, the sweeter it will be.)

5. Take a ladle-full of water from the pot the chicken was boiling in and add to the mole and chocolate.

6. Stir continuously. Add more water to make it thinner until it’s a nice not too runny, not too think consistency.

7. Plate chicken and arroz, and top with mole.

8. Heat up tortillas and enjoy!

See, doesn’t that sound super easy? Yes of course. I don’t share this recipe because it’s complicated or new, but because it’s a meal that makes me feel at home. We eat this a few times a month and usually make this when we have company. It’s a nice and easy meal to feed a larger group. It’s definitely a comfort food/winter meal. And I hope you can now enjoy some too.

*Just a little side note: taking pictures of food while making it look as appetizing as it is, is hard…especially if that food is brown and runny. So I didn’t include many pictures in this recipe.


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FoodKarina Metts
Family Lifestyle | Holiday traditions

I thought I’d make this post a little personal. 

I remember being in middle school and feeling self conscious about being Mexican. Specifically during the holidays. I guess that’s when I realized that my peers started to see me as being different.  

During one holiday I was shocked when I was asked “Do you even celebrate Christmas?” 

I wondered why someone would even ask me that, of course I celebrate Christmas. Why wouldn’t I? 

But they kept pressing. Well what do you eat? Tacos? Do you have a tree? What did you eat for Thanksgiving? 

I was young so I was just surprised and annoyed by these questions. However I wasn’t the kind of person who showed much emotion so I answered these questions and I kept my confusion to myself.

It wasn’t until I was older and had kids of my own that I realized that the kid’s from my middle school years just didn’t have any understanding of other cultures. No one had told them the beauty of other traditions. They just knew or heard about a few differences and made assumptions.  I was their way of satisfying their curiosity.

I’m ok with that now, I just wish I had been a little wiser, and more secure in myself to answer their questioning.


Again, I’d like to talk about how important it is to have conversations like this as a family. Conversations, not only explaining and talking through your own culture, but also exploring and appreciating other cultures in an uplifting way.  If we want to shift the entitled, and elitist way of thinking then it has to start with us teaching and having meaningful conversations with our children. It’s their future that we need to protect. One that isn’t filled will shock and fear of the unknown, but one of unity, possibility, and excitement.

Anyway I thought I’d share a few traditions we have as a family during the holidays. 

1. Tamales: My grandfather used to spend all day making tamales. We would eat them for days. Even though he doesn’t make them anymore, we still have tamales for Christmas. We buy so many, and have them for leftovers for the rest of the week. I remember sweet tamales (strawberry & raisin) being a treat during the holiday season.

2. Chocolate caliente: Now this is my favorite thing ever. As soon as the weather starts getting chilly, the kids start asking for chocolate caliente. I usually make it when we decorate the Christmas tree and we have it as a special treat every so often. It’s always a little bit of a process because I like to get it frothy (like it should be). Having it with pan Mexicano is also a must. I’ve shared the recipe before if you want to try it for yourself.

3. New pijamas (or pajamas) and movie. We do this on Christmas Eve every year. The kids get to open one gift, which is a new pair of pajamas. They change and get cozy while I make popcorn and chocolate caliente, and we watch The Polar Express.

Our traditions are simple…and probably similar to mane people. (Well…maybe not the tamales…but my husband does like this tradition I bring to our family.)

Now I’d love to hear of any fun traditions you either remember and loved as a kid, or are starting with your own family. It’s so wonderful to see how people celebrate this special time with their friends and family. SO share in the comments below, or join the conversation on Instagram!

Family LifestyleKarina Metts