Trying to Become a Morning Person

Are you a morning person?  Historically, I have not been.  I looooooove me some sleep.  Most days, I wait for my kids to wake me up in the morning, which can vary day to day, typically from 6:00 AM to almost 8:00 AM.  When it's the latter, I often wake up already feeling behind.  The morning is harried, we're rushed to get all the things done, and often scrambling to get out the door to pre-school or the day's activities.  

Recently, I heard Tsh Oxenreider on her podcast, The Simple Show explaining how a mindset shift regarding waking up has helped reframe her entire day.  She stated that began intentionally waking up early, before her children in order wake up "FOR my day instead of TO my day."  Friends, I heard this, and it was a lightbulb moment for me!  These words resonated with me soundly, suddenly waking up early didn't sound so bad, in fact, it seemed quite ingenious!  

I set an alarm, not necessarily with the intention of working out or doing a task, but just to awake "for my day."  I've found, in spite of my love of sleep, when I tried this, waking up earlier, "to my day," I feel more alert, prepared, and focused for the day. Who knew that a few quiet moments to myself; bet that getting dressed, washing my face, having a quiet cup of coffee, was a surge of energy I didn't know I could benefit from.  

What do you tend to do?  Wake up for your day or to your day?

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Natural Deodorants & Armpit Cleanses

I'm sure you've heard the buzz on natural deodorants.  Why, you ask are people making the switch?  Well...conventional deodorants and anti-perspirants contain a handful of chemicals and additives.  

First, let's discuss the difference between deodorants and antiperspirants.  Antiperspirants reduce sweating while deodorants remove the odor of sweat.  Sweat is your body's natural physical response to exercise or exertion.  Its purpose is to prevent the body from overheating.  While many conventional deodorants are effective in curbing sweat and odor, keep in mind they're using chemicals to be effective.  It takes unnatural ingredients to block our bodies natural ability to sweat.  Here's the short list of chemicals hidden inside many conventional and popular deodorants.
  • Phthalates– Endocrine disruptors often found in plastic particles that can cause hormone imbalance and even infertility 
  • Aluminum– evidence linking aluminum to cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Propylene glycol– common name: antifreeze. It is an additive in many personal care products but the EWG reports it carries a moderate risk of allergies and immunotoxicity.
  • Formaldehyde-  a known carcinogen
  • Parabens- A hormone disruptor.  Parabens have been found in biopsied tissues with breast cancer
  • Antibacterial Substances- Endocrine disruptors and can negatively impact immune systems
Now I've tried a handful of natural deodorants over the years.  I used Lavanila for a few years, and tried a few months wearing Native, but have most recently used Schmidt's which I really consider my favorite of all the brands I've tried.  I like that it comes in a traditional stick form (as opposed to a potted, scoop-able deodorant), limits sweat, blocks odor and doesn't make me smell (as I've found natural deodorants to do). 

However, I feel like my experience might have been more effective had I started with an armpit detox.  The purpose of an armpit detox is to expedient the natural deodorant adjustment period.  It helps pull some of those odor blocking harmful chemicals out of the skin and issues of the armpits.  This can be especially effective if you've been a conventional deodorant user for a long time.  Positive outcomes after armpit cleanse/detoxes include: less odor (even w/o deodorant), less sweat, and less rashes or reactions to natural deodorants.

Worth noting, keep in mind that like many detoxes, you may have a reaction.  Some people report that they excrete unpleasant odors in the first week(s) after an armpit cleanse as their body releases the toxins that have built up in the sweat glands from years of conventional deodorant usage.
 Sound interesting?  Here's what you do.

Armpit Cleanse Detox Recipe via Wellness Mama

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (I used Trader Joe's raw apple cider vinegar) 
  • 1 tablespoon bentonite clay (I bought this brand on Amazon)
  • 1-2 teaspoons water (star w/1 tsp and add more to get desired consistency) 
Instructions

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (do not use metal) with a wooden or non-metal spoon until about the consistency of sour cream.

2. Spread in an even layer over the armpits and allow to sit for 5-20 minutes.  I suggest starting slowly and working up to a longer period of time once you see how your body adjusts.  It it hurts at all, remove immediately.

3. This may cause some redness as it will increase blood flow to the area, but it will go away quickly.

4. Wash off in shower or with a warm, wet washcloth.

5. Repeat daily or as needed until under-arm odor goes away and natural deodorant is non-irritating.

Want to read more about this?  I found Wellness Mama and Mamavation to have a lot of information on armpit cleanses and detoxes. 

Quote of the Week

“Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.” 
– Alan Keightley

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Somebody Feed Phil

Have you seen Somebody Feed Phil?  It's a Netflix original series that originally began as "I'll Have What Phil's Having" on PBS, but got picked up an renewed via Netflix.  Always a sucker for a good travel show, then throw in a focus on food, and I'm sold!

The host, Phil Rosenthal is a Los Angeles based TV writer, best known for his work writing Everybody Loves Raymond.  He's not your typical travel host - he's quirky, eccentric, but an affable and lovable host who seems to truly connect with the people he meets abroad.  In the show, he travels all over the world, interacting with famous chefs, partaking in culinary traditions and regional cuisines and activities, all the while peppering the show with a slough of eye popping facial expressions.  While he's no Anthony Bourdain, he does bring a certain sentimentality to traveling.  

My husband and I love this show and save it to watch together.  Favorite episodes include Copenhagen (hands down), then Bangkok, Tel Aviv, Lisbon, Dublin, and Venice.  I love shows like this, they give me inspiration for all the places to see someday!

Have you watched it?  If so, what do you think?

New Motto

I have a thing with words.  I love quotations.  I love books, especially rereading or relistening to my favorites.   And when I hear a quote I resonate with, I latch onto it.  I've subscribed to a few select quotes in my life, but most recently I've been been rolling beloved children's author Amy Krouse Rosenthal's quote "make the most of your time here" around in my brain, fixating over the weight, importance, and depth of these words.  Seven words that together behold so much meaning and significance. Whenever I'm feeling stressed, annoyed, or dwelling on a small problem or inconvenience, I try and mentally recite this to myself.  Make the most of your time here.  Make the most of your time here.  It helps all the unnecessary noise melt away.  

Amy Krouse Rosenthal passed away at age 51 after a short battle with ovarian cancer.  You may recall her from this piece for the New York Times she wrote about her husband, a love letter of sorts, honoring "this extraordinary man" and their life together.  It is touching and heartbreaking, an unorthodox granting of permission of sorts, her way of expressing that she'd like him to eventually move on and fall in love again.

Somehow knowing the circumstances behind her life, illness, and marriage adds an additional weight and meaning to this quote, and her words, at least to me.  If you're in search of a motto, try this one on for size, I hope you'll find it as useful and purposeful as I have.

Do you have a motto?

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The Real Meaning of "Fragrance"

Do you know what’s in your kids’ shampoo? Flip over the bottle and scan the ingredients for the word “fragrance.” 

“Fragrance,” is considered a trade secret, so companies aren’t legally bound to disclose what chemicals make up the scent. It is often dozens, sometimes even hundreds of chemicals.” All tucked away in one little word. Scary, right?

I did this with all of my kids’ products and found the word “fragrance,” on every single bottle, even the ones that were sulfate, phthalate, and paraben free and seemed “clean.” 

Yet another reason I love Beautycounter and their kids line. There’s no mystery “fragrance.” They fully disclose all essential oils and ingredients used. The kids’ shampoo and conditioner come in fresh citrus scents and you’ll feel confident knowing you’re not putting any chemicals onto or into your kids. Looking to make a switch? I’d love to help you, click here or email me at lovelylittlethingsblog@gmail.com for more info.

Last Great Book I Read: Landline

Normally I'm a paper book kind of person.  I tried the kindle for a while, but honestly, I love the tactile nature of a book in the hand.  The passage of pages, seeing your bookmark slowly creep through the volume.  The sound of an aggressive page flip when you can't wait to find out what happens next.  There's just something about it that can't be replicated digitally (in my humble opinion).  

However, there have been a few books that I just couldn't get into in paperback form, but that I really loooved via audiobook.  Landline by Rainbow Rowell is one of those.  After reading Attachments for my book club which I absolutely adored, I picked up Landline at the library and was underwhelmed.  I don't know what it was exactly about this title, but after several attempts and impending boredness, I just couldn't get into it.  

Normally, I'd just let it go and move on, after all there are plenty of books in the sea...but I kept hearing friends mention this title, offering their own rave reviews, which led me to try it once more via audiobook.  Boom!  Such a difference!  Rainbow Rowell write great dialogue and there was just so much energy and life brought to these conversations when listened to that was somehow missing in the written word.  

I felt the same way about Maria Semple's Where'd You Go, Bernadette and Gabrielle Hamilton's cheffy memoir, Blood, Bones, & Butter, which I could not get into in paperbook, but have now listened to twice on audiobook.  

So moral of the story is, when in doubt, try the audiobook!

image via rainbowrowell

Quote of the Week

"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude."
Brené Brown

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Do You Put Oil On Your Face?

If you’d told me a year and a half ago that I’d be putting oil on my face as a moisturizer, I’d have called you crazy. Having had combination oily skin as long as I can remember, I couldn’t even imagine adding oil to my already oily skin, citing it was a breakout waiting to happen.

Eventually, after reading all sorts of hype about facial oils, I caved and bought one, figuring what the hell, it can’t hurt. As it turned out, there were no breakouts, no zits, and hydration like you wouldn’t believe. Who knew? Certainly not me! 

Over time I tried a few different ones; jojoba oil, rose hip oil, a combination of argan + sea buckthorn oil...but it has been Beautycounter’s brightening facial oil that’s by far my favorite. It’s silky smooth, lightweight, and smells like fresh citrus and sunshine. A few drops go a loooong way. And it’s clean. Chemical and toxin free radiance via oil. Who knew? 


Interested in trying this for yourself?  Click here for more details.

Summer Reading

Hello there!  What are you reading this summer?  As a faithful library-goer I have a looooong list of books in my queue, but as all library fans know, it's a crap shoot as to when your book will actually come in!  On my list there are some decent wait times but plenty of others where I'm like the 200th or even 1000th in line.  So, while I'm waiting around...I'd love hearing what you're reading this summer!

On my summer reading list:

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wollitzer (I enjoyed her other book, The Interestings)

+ Am American Marriage by Tayari Jones

+ The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams
+ The Boat People by Sharon Bala

+ The Ensemble by Aja Gabel


And here's a few I've recently read and enjoyed.  

+ The Queen of Hearts (reminiscent of Greys Anatomy)

+ Still Me (3rd in the Me Before You series)


+ Emergency Contact (YA novel)

What are you reading this summer? Please...do tell!!

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Friday Fun

It's the weekend, hooray!!  After a few back-to-back weekends jam packed with out of town friends visiting, ballet recitals, Father's Day celebrations, we are looking forward to a low key laid back two days.  Currently on the agenda, farmer's markets, bike riding, and hair appointments (that'd be me, yessss).  What are you up to?

bookmarking for a backyard picnic fire pit dinner this summer (potatoes are my favorite!)

+ love the details of these little girls' bedroom

+ wearing my summer staple errryday in peony

+ making this festive cake next week

+ kind of love this idea for a savings account

+ enjoyed this quirky, illustrated book and love her instagram account

+ want to make this for dinner soon, looks amazing

+ clean chemical-free nail polish (finally!!)

+ looking forward to a bubble bath using these this weekend (jump on the oil bandwagon with me)

+ love this vintage looking ringer tee

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday Fun

+ 5 things to know about migrant family reunification


+ have you joined the strawless movement?

+ love the look of this sweet peach rose tart, wouldn't it be perfect for a shower?

+ a comprehensive guide to amsterdam by one of my favorite instagrammers 

+ summer watermelon salad with a spicy twist

+ fancy a honeymoon in japan?

+ have you seen Beautycounter's new eyeshadow palettes?  I'm loving the classic!

+ bookmarking this grandma's spaghetti sauce for fall

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Currently...

Summer is in full swing.  Our sleep schedules slowly shifting to accommodate a teensy weensy bit of sleeping in, the skies are dry (well, most days), the air is warm (again, well...most days), and summer solstice is upon us.  Around Seattle, the skies were a pinky gray until about 9:45 last night.  Oh, how I love this time of year!

After a packed Wednesday of back to back play outings with friends and a car service, which involved unbuckling and rebuckling two carseats approximately six times, which is an exhausting feat in itself.  Basically, what I'm getting at is we were due for a low key, stay-at-home-morning.  We did a lot of nothing. My floors littered with toys and the laundry is piling up, but we have nowhere to be until the afternoon, and honestly, it's kind of glorious.  Here are some other things we've been up to...

+ amused by the "most instagrammable {non-touristy} spots in Seattle"

+ been enjoying this summery watermelon wheat beer

+ posted about my fave new paleo, vegan, dairy-free chocolate indulgence on my blog's new instagram

+ downloaded this new audiobook and I'm loving it

+ trying out this new local coffee at home

+ just started season 2 of this show (love me some Mike Colter)

+ started reading this book (I absolutely adored book #1, eh on book #2, and so far, book #3 seems promising).

Hope you have a great day!

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10 Years

My husband and I met 10 years ago today.  June 27th, 2008.  This is a picture taken that day.  It was completely random, I did not show up to my friend's birthday party expecting to meet my future husband.  But as it turns out, my friend was dating his friend, who happened to bring his entourage of guy friends along to the party.  We met at this hole-in-the-wall dive bar in a neighborhood I had never gone out in prior to that night.  I guess it was just meant to be.  

It's crazy to think it's been an entire decade.  TEN YEARS.  I remember a time when ten years felt like a lifetime, but now it feels like a short amount of time in hindsight, another reminder of how fleeting life is.  

Cheers to us!  Happy 10 years of knowing you, loving you, and watching you become an amazing dad to our kiddos.  I love you, love you!

2018 Goals


Well this is embarrassing... I realize it's a bit absurd to be posting my goals for 2018 at the HALFWAY POINT OF THE YEAR, but...oh well!  I'm doing it.  No shame here!  Goals are goals, amiright?  (Anyone with me? Anyone?)  Let's just pretend that instead of gathering dust in my blog queue for the better part of the past six months, it went live in January, but we're just reading it on a delay.  Besides, I like to have goals documented to look back on anyways, so better late than never!

This year, inspired by 18 for 2018 the goal setting mode of operation by Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Kraft of the podcast, Happier, I've tried to come up with many short and sweet goals (namely 18) as opposed to few lofty goals as I think that will be easier to manage and attain in this season of life.

1. start journaling again

2. get outside as often as possible

3. make cinnamon bread (my daughter has been asking to make this since we read this favorite book)

4. paint my nails more often

5. celebrate the little things

6. work out at least 3-4 days a week

7. make smarter eating choices (avoid the sugar)

8. try and limit checking my email/social media to time before my kids are awake / rest time / after bedtime (i.e. avoid being on my phone in front of my kids)

9. cut myself some slack (underlined three times)

10. get a new instagram account for the blog up and running

11. read 70 books (my current goal on Goodreads)

12. save $--- for my destination travel fund, always inspired by this blog


14. make montage videos for my kids' birthdays

15. try more savory (international) options for breakfast (getting sick of boring ol' granola over here)

16. make pita bread from scratch for this favorite dinner which we always have in rotation 

17. sub a few times this year (getting back in the swing of teaching, as I miss it so)

18. enjoy every little moment. stop. look. listen. breathe.

Alright, I did it!  It's out there!  Phew... Honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself that I got this up in June and not July.  It's the little things people.

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Quote of the Week

"Summer is always the best of what might be."
- Charles Bowden

Are You Green Enough?

Lately, I've been stepping up my clean living game.  Ditching the OxyClean, Chlorox wipes, Rinse Aid, and other chemical laden products which populate my home.  It's been a progression, definitely not overnight.  A few months ago I ditched scented candles, tossing everything but my unscented in-case-of-a-power-outage stash, and replacing household scents with essential oils. As you may recall in early May, I made the switch to Beautycounter, so now I'm confident my skincare and makeup are clean, but still...that's barely scratching the surface!

I recently finished the book Green Enough by Leah Segedie of Mamavation, which reads like a guided map to all the toxins lurking in your home.  Turns out, my home is filled with things I wouldn't ever thought to consider as harmful.  More than anything, by reading this book I've educated myself.  

Leah Segedie is frank, she straightforward and she doesn't sugar coat. There's even a little swearing thrown in which I found amusing. She is blunt about buying organic vs. not, where to save your money, and where to splurge. She examines products and packaging many Americans use and likely have in your home, and sheds light on which ones pose the biggest threats to you and your family's longterm health.  

My favorite part was walking room by room through an average American household, naming names, calling out the worst offenders and highlighting products that are legitimately clean through the categorizes "bad," "better," or "best."

Not gonna lie, reading this book was a little overwhelming, as I can't financially justify ditching all the bad stuff in one fell swoop, but I did find it useful, and gave me some helpful tips and suggestions of what to buy and avoid going forward.

So...how green are you these days?

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Zzzzzzzz

Last year, Mother’s Day weekend, I had my gallbladder removed. It wasn’t an easy decision, but after several hours-long gallstone attacks when I was home alone with my kids, I decided I needed to do something.  After months of weighing my options, I ultimately made the difficult decision to have my gallbladder removed. Naively, I thought that my surgery would “fix” everything. 


Not the case. In the weeks following my recovery, I could not sleep. At all. I was exhausted. Riddled with anxieties about even going to sleep. If I did fall asleep, it was only for 1-3 hours, and upon waking was up for the remainder of the night. It was a very difficult season. 

After trying every method under the sun, I found oils. Upon the recommendations from a trusted friend, I discovered Cedarwood and Northern Lights Black Spruce. It was with these two heavenly oils that I was able to calm my mind and sleep deeply. And what a relief that was. Cedarwood with its warm, woodsy aroma paired with Northern Lights Black Spruce’s rich, meditative piney scent created my sleep oasis.  These oils brought me back. 4 drops Cedarwood, 4 drops NLBS in my bedside diffuser. Zen. 

Prior to this sleep hiatus, I was a bit skeptical of the whole essential oils thing, but boy, oh boy, do I stand corrected now!  Interested in trying oils out for yourself?  Click here and I'd be happy to help you get started on this essential oils journey.  

Questions? Sure!  Email me at lovelylittlethingsblog@gmail.com

And sleep tight! đŸ˜´

Weeknight Baking: Fresh Strawberry Pie

Earlier in the week, we met up with friends for some strawberry picking.  It's our third year in a row at the same field.  It's become a little tradition of sorts.  We pick / they nibble until our basket is satisfactorily full and their lips and t-shirts are stained by rings of red juices.  We celebrate our pickings with a picnic lunch under a shady oak tree, usually followed by running shenanigans in the grass.  All in all, it's a wonderful day.  

The first year, my son was in the carrier, while I awkwardly attempted to kneel and pick berries, tipping him forward along with me. My daughter was actually decently helpful this year, though she too had a feast in the fields.  

A few days later, with our cleaned berries, my daughter helped me slice off the stems with her learning knife and I attempted strawberry pie.  Truth: it's a bit gelatinous despite having chilled in the fridge for a good four hours, but the flavor is on point.  While it retains it's lovely pie shape for pictures, it might hearken to more of a strawberry syrup on crust upon indulging.  I'll call that a win.


Cookbook Crush: The Minimalist Kitchen

I am going through a bit of a cookbook renaissance my friends.  I've noticed my cookbook shelf has a few stand out favorites and a sizable handful gathering dust.  I no longer turn to Giada DeLaurentiis with the same enthusiasm as I once did, namely since we've cut back considerably on our pasta consumption.  As for other favorites of years past, I've decided it's time to swap out those I've neglected and refresh my shelf with some new titles.

I still check everything potential cookbook out from the library first.  If you don't do this, convert now, it's a huge money saver!  If you're anything like me, who can easily be swept up in the silken pages and delicious color photos of cookbooks when they're breezily displayed on bookstore shelves.  At any given time, I have about ten cookbooks in my library queue.  Typically there is a wait, so I just bide my time and enjoy my thirty days once they arrive in my name.  I typically read them post bedtime, bookmarking the recipes, before trying to discern if number of sticky notes justifies the price.

A recent favorite which will surely be dogeared once it arrives is The Minimalist Kitchen, the brainchild of Melissa Coleman, you may know her from the blog The Faux Martha.  This cookbook boasts all my favorite things, lovely full paged color photos of the food, easy step-by-step directions, easy tabs indicating make ahead, or ideas for quick substitutions should you not have an ingredient on hand.  I also want to eat every. damn. thing. 

I made her quinoa bimibap bowls for dinner, which was surprisingly well received by my kids, hooray!  Other pages currently sporting sticky notes include the blender dutch baby, soba bowls with peanut sauce, a quick 'n dirty fried rice, takeout cashew chicken, baked falafel pitas with tahini sauce, and while I'm not currently indulging in dairy, I couldn't help but salivate over the recipe for roasted banana cream pie.

Sound good?  Well then, put it on hold already!

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Friday Fun

Kickstarting the long weekend!  What are you up to?  Something fun I hope!  Here are some links to things I've been reading around the web.

+ this 3D skin printer can heal deep wounds within minutes!  isn't technology amazing sometimes?

+ have you heard there's PBS is remake of Little Women in a mini series, will you watch? Here's a review.

+ thinking of making this salad next week

+ almost the season for all things rose - lemonade frose anyone?

+ inspired by abby wambach's commencement speech at Barnard College

+ did you watch the royal wedding? I saw the highlights and loved every detail

+ Swedish law passed today declares sex without consent is rape

+ our world is drowning in plastic

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Dinner Last Night: Crispy Tofu Pad Thai

We sure do love our Thai takeout around here!  I've tried a pad thai recipe here and there but Deb of Smitten Kitchen always comes through and when she posted her recipe for crispy tofu pad thai, I knew it was worth trying out myself.  I appreciated her tips on how to prep the individual components and then assemble into the final dish, definitely helped me when prepping dinner with two kiddos at my feet.  

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Currently...

How are you??  Have a good weekend?  We enjoyed a leisurely weekend of kids' birthday parties, soccer games, brunch with friends, and sunny skies.  All in all, a good one.

+ just watched this movie based on a true story this past weekend (I love Jessica Chastain)

+ just started this book per it's mention on the ted radio hour podcast

+ loving this new lipstick in "first date" and this lip gloss in "peony" (not sticky with a subtle hint of mint)

+ also recently finished an epic binge of homeland (seasons 3-7)...phew, I need a break

+ this essential oil is in the mail, pretty excited to test it out

+ looking forward to the royal wedding and this lifetime version of their romance

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Beautycounter

Hello out there!  I have a new gig I wanted to share with you!  I recently became a consultant for Beautycounter. I was reluctant to take on a side hustle unless I truly felt like it was a good gig for both myself and family and it had to be a company I really believed in.

How I got here? Well, I've been on a quest to rid toxins in my everyday products since a good friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, and was told by her doctors that traces of parabens were found in the cancerous tissues removed during her mastectomy. Since then, I've tried to transition out all the products I use that contain chemicals. During this process, I kept noticing that swapping out household cleaners seemed to be an easier switch. Their labels were more explicit, clear cut, and more transparently chemical free. But when it came to skin care, shampoos, and makeup- if was very ambiguous and I felt like I never really knew what I was putting on my body.

I first heard about Beautycounter on a few blogs I love. I admit, at first, I too was skeptical. With so many people are plugging their side hustles these days, it's hard to know if it's the real deal. In addition, I'd been pretty loyal to big name makeup brands like Laura Mercier, Mac, and Tarte for years - despite not knowing what exactly was in their products. In addition, I was a little wary of a new brand - would an exclusively clean line be able to hold up to the makeup coverage I was used to? The answer is YES!

I started small; first with foundation, powder, and moisturizer. Since then, I've dabbled in lipsticks, lip gloss, concealer, cleansers, sunscreen, and more! And believe me when I say, since I've switched, I haven't looked back! Plus, I feel so much happier and more confident in my skincare and makeup routine today knowing that I'm not inadvertently putting any chemicals or potentially harmful ingredients into my body.

One of the main reasons I'm excited to partner with this company is because of their mission. They only sell products FREE of parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, etc. in addition to 1,500 other questionable or possibly harmful chemicals, which consequently are quite prevalent in other companies the beauty market today. Their never list includes the 1,400 chemicals restricted or banned from personal care products in the European Union plus others Beautycounter has found to be of concern.

To put this in perspective, there are currently only 30 banned ingredients in the US, and there have been no laws passed to regulate the cosmetic industry since 1938. Beautycounter also spends considerable resources advocating for stricter laws and regulations in Washington, D.C. to help change this, to promote change and hold companies accountable for the the ingredients they're allowed to put into their products.

I encourage you to check out the Beautycounter website and seee if you find something that piques your interest. If you decide to buy and try, there's a 60 day exchange/return window, no questions asked.

And if you’ve read this far – thank you!  I want to give you as much information as I can without overwhelming you.  If you have any questions, please ask!  In the meantime, here is the link to my business website.  I'm excited to be doing something that I believe in that also earns money for my family.

P.S. I'll be posting some of my favorite products soon, so stay tuned!

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Happy Monday

Trying to get back on the blog wagon...it's been a while.  How have you been?  We had a glorious weather week this week - sunshine, blue skies for miles, all the shorts and skirts.  We went to a local beach last night for a picnic dinner and there were even kids dancing around in

+ this new food show on Netflix

+ rediscovered this delightful movie this past weekend. love! have you seen it?

+ when your outfit perfectly matches the sky and sea


+ wanting to copy this itinerary for a sw roadtrip

+ would you ever make a children's art quilt?  love the idea.

+ don't these succulent cupcakes look too good to eat?

+ loved the first episode (christina tosi) of the new chef's table: pastry

+ bookmarking this pad thai recipe for a rainy day

+ loving this cookbook by nadine levy redzepi (wife of famous chef rene redzepi of noma)

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Weeknight Baking: Double Chocolate Banana Bread

A day of endless rain - torrential downpour at times - made for a cozy afternoon indoors, baking.  With four brown spotting bananas calling out to me on the counter, I opted for banana bread when my daughter insisted, "chocolate banana bread!"  Upon the suggestion I shrugged, oh what the heck, who am I to withhold chocolate from our banana bread.  This recipe did not disappoint.  Truth be told, about 90% of it was eaten within a day.  Yum.

Dinner Last Night: Caramelized Pork Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Add this one to your repertoire peeps!  This recipe takes pork loin to a whole new dimension - I am a fan, this will definitely be a repeat recipe in our home.  In addition, the pineapple, red onion, cilantro, cucumber salsa is light, crunchy, and refreshing, capped off with a zingy Sriracha mayo.  Holy yum!

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2017 Goals Recap

Well, we're already about 1/4 of the way through 2018, it's about time I cobble together some goals for the current year, don't you think?  In the meantime, here's a recap of my 2017.  

throw kindness around like confetti
I think this went fairly well.  It is very easy to become consumed or absorbed in our little worlds, ignoring those around us that we interact with but do not inhabit our regular orbits.  I tried to go out of my way to make small talk with strangers, offering more than just a smile, and continuing the conversation were it fruitful.  I also tried to acknowledge and thank service people with more genuine thanks than I have before.  Going out to eat with two young kids is not always a cake walk, but when servers take the time to offer extra crayons or water with a straw and lid, it means a lot. On the whole, I feel like I achieved this goal.

try new things
Well, we did attend a symphony this year, which was positively lovely!  Plus, it's an annual benefit function, so we plan to make it an annual thing, and I'm glad we made that initial leap.  In terms of experiences, I tried more adventurous outings with my kids, ditching the stroller and being spontaneous, subscribing less and less to the rigidity of routines like nap time, which has allowed us some spur of the moment adventures.  


+ build an exercise habit 

Um...yeah, this not so much.  I tried, and I have been exercising, though I'm still far from calling it a "habit."

+ give back
I ended up giving back in unexpected ways.  I'm on the board of a local moms group and this year I was the philanthropy chair.  I helped organize an adopt-a-family at Christmas and we sponsored a student at one of our local elementary schools for the 2017-2018 school year.  Our club provided this student with a large donation of items each season (short sleeves for spring, winter coats for winter, you get the idea).  Also did a marble jar with my kids which we call "Kindness Marbles."  When they are caught being kind, a marble goes in the jar.  Upon filling the jar, we counted the marbles and assigned each marble the value of a dime.  Instead of spending this money, we talked about selecting organizations where we could put our kindness back into the world.  I had my kids pick who they wanted to give back to since collecting the kindness marbles had been their effort.  They selected "building houses for people" and "babies," which led us to give back to Habitat for Humanity and March of Dimes. 


+ bake something every week
Ha...also didn't happen.  I had some unexpected health things emerge this year, including gallbladder removal surgery.  This and some dietary changes made baking low on the priority list.

+ put away my phone
Yes, I think I've done better this year, but there is always room to improve in this area.



2018 goals coming soon...
                        Past goals for 201620152014201320122011201020092008

February & March Favorites

+ finally found an aluminum-free deodorant I love (bonus, it's also sold at Target!)

+ eating lots of roasted plantain chips from Trader Joe's - have you tried these yet?  soo good and healthy-ish as snacks go

+ finally jumped on the essential oils bandwagon and wondering why I waited so long - currently diffusing lemon, peppermint, and lavender in the diffuser - my house smells like a spa

+ watching this oldie but goodie series, freaks + geeks on netflix, fun to see a lot of now-famous actors making their screen debuts (Seth Rogan, Jason Segel, James Franco, Linda Cardellini, Busy Phillips, and Rashida Jones - just to name a few)

+ devouring and making on repeat this easy dairy-free ranch dressing (super simple too)

+ reading this lovely children's book explaining the meaning of foreign words that don't directly translate into English

+ listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (after seeing the show in mid February) - I am totally hooked, the hype is real!

+ enjoyed watching this quirky movie on amazon prime (a cute, albeit unusual love story)

+ loving this travel food show on netflix as well (the host is a goofy, lovable writer from everybody loves raymond)

+ just started listening to oprah's super soul conversations podcast - especially this episode

Quote of the Week


“God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well.” 
- Voltaire

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