Happy Halloween!

If you get in the spirit of Halloween, I wish you a very happy and fun one indeed! We already did our mini celebrations over the weekend, so today we will stay home and be cozy and pass out candy to the neighborhood kids! Its always fun to see how cute and excited little ones get over candy and costumes! I look forward to the days where J gets to partake on that fun! I corralled a few of my favorite NO carve pumpkin decorations. As you can see, I definitely love pumpkins to be glamourous and beautiful!

confetti pumpkins 

glitz and glam pumpkins

white and gold decoupage pumpkins

faux bois painted pumpkin

pink and white painted pumpkins

herringbone pumpkin// diamond sequined pumpkin// ghost pumpkin

six things

Its been a busy week around here for me and I've been trying to wrap up things I want to accomplish before the holidays begin and the New Year as well! I mean, they're right around the corner! Today I leave you with six things that I am loving right now.





Monday Musings // Quote of the Week

How was everybody's weekend? We had a busy one filled with lots of stuff to get accomplished ie; house chores, errands etc. But we did manage to squeeze in a bit of fun at a Halloween party we went to! Today I plan on making some (more) homemade applesauce for my growing (almost 10 month old) son! He LOVES applesauce! I also have some painting that I would like to accomplish today as well. Have a great monday! 




Sleeping Beauty

Happy Happy Friday everyone! This morning we are off to the park for a little play date, then later to a Halloween party! I am just so glad its Friday and the weekend is here! Time to catch up on some R&R and some Zzzs! Speaking of, I want to share with you my 5 top tips and secrets for overnight beauty.
Sleeping Audrey in Breakfast at Tiffany's

1. Wash, then Wash again: Didn't your mother ever tell you to wash your face before bed? I cannot tell you enough how this is the #1 secret to beautiful, radiant looking skin! Before bed, wash your face then wash it again! I recommend doing this every night as part of your nightly beauty routine; while you're in the shower, wash your face (preferably with an oil cleanser like this one) then take a second cleanser, it could be a mild cleanser like this one, and wash again. This 2 step process will eliminate makeup, dirt, oils, and other yuck stuff that your skin has been exposed to throughout your day.

2. Treat: Your skin needs some love, treat it to a moisturizing or vitamin C serum. A lot of people don't put anything on their skin before bed and wonder why their skin looks dull. What happens at night, about 3-4 hours into your sleep, the pores of your skin relax and open up much wider than they do any other time.  I know, sounds scary! Who wants big pores??? Not me! But this is a natural process that your body and skin does in order to breathe, relax and detox all at the same time. When you put vital nutrients onto your face before bed, well guess what happens?! All that loveliness you just applied to your skin will be soaked right into the pores and deep into your skin! (Thats why you just don't sleep in makeup ladies!) You will get the most out of your serums and other skin treatment products at night. Oh, and don't worry, your pores will go back to normal before you wake up and notice! ;)

3. Bat those Eyelashes: Before bed, apply a tiny amount of coconut oil to your lashes. Coconut oil has properties in it that naturally pull out impurities and gets deep into the follicle to stimulate hair regrowth. I've been using this little home remedy myself and actually have noticed a difference! My lashes look healthier and thicker since I started this technique. You can also use coconut oil around the delicate eye area as a nice eye treatment.

4. Mask: Give yourself an at home facial with a mask at night before bed. By applying your treatment mask at night this allows your skin to relax and breathe without any makeup going on afterwards to hinder the effects of your mask. Its such an effective technique and really helps you get the most out of your product!

5. Hands & Feet: Don't forget about your hardworking hands and feet. Show them some love with a nice body oil or lotion to intensely moisturize cracked skin, dry cuticles and tired muscles. I personally keep my lotion sitting on my nightstand. The last thing I do before I turn out the lights is a light massage over my feet and hands. Every now and then, its also nice to give them a gentle exfoliation. For hands I am obsessed with Julep's Glycolic Hand Scrub, and for feet I just love the Julep Foot File with the Best Pedi Prep Ever! 

So tell me, what beauty tips and tricks do you do before you drift off to sleep?! I'd love to hear them! 

Have a beautiful weekend! 

Graphic Tees

At heart I am a down to earth dresser; comfort and style go hand in hand for me. And nothing can beat the practicality and comfort of the good ol' fashioned T-shirt! They can be dressed up or down and are incredibly versatile! They are especially perfect when they can be glammed up in such a simple, effortless way. Just add some skinny jeans, jewelry, a cute bag and a beautiful, smiling face! Then I am one happy lady and totally in my style element! I am loving these graphic tees with simple lovely words that convey such positive, beautiful messages. What about you? Are you a fan like me of these simple graphic tees? Here are a few of my favorites, enjoy! 





 








October Julep Box

This month's Julep box was quite a "treat"! As you can see below, I received the usual, 2 nail polishes. The extra goodies I acquired being a Julep Maven were the Kajal Eye Glider, some candy corn and a fun, sassy quote. ( I just LOVE being part of their maven program!) This box definitely felt very "Halloween" like to me and full of October flavor! 


I love this month's nail colors: A bold brick RED and a soft dove GRAY, both non-toxic polishes of course!

I also have been using the Kajal Eye Glider liner. It goes on quite smoothly and with ease. There are two sides to the eye-liner, one tip is black, the other is brown. The liner also came with a handy-dandy sharpener! Perfect!

*** My makeup tip: Line the upper lid as close to the eyelashes as possible in brown from corner to corner, then go over the brown with the black liner. Something about this little trick helps the eyeliner pop, yet it looks so sophisticated and beautiful when its put together! ***



Monday Musings // Quote of the Week

Happy Monday everybody! How was your weekend? I hope it was lovely whatever it was you spent doing! We definitely had fun, spending time with family and friends. I love that we are surrounded by so many loving people in our lives. Today's morning is really gloomy outside, makes me want to jump back in bed where its warm! Fall is officially here in Southern California. You can just feel the shift in the air. 

Speaking of Fall things, Halloween is coming up! Normally I am not a huge fan of Halloween. Don't get me wrong, I love getting dressed up and decorating pumpkins, but thats probably the extent of my excitement. However, since this is J's first Halloween I've been thinking over and over what he/ we all should be. We do have a party to go to, so I want it to be a fun and of course cute costume... Here's what I've narrowed my ideas down to: Baby Yoda, Princess Leia (Me) and Han Solo (Husband) OR my husband and I are both robbers and baby J is our bag of cash! What do you think???? I'd better decide soon! 

On another note, have you all seen the HOLIDAY edition of Domino Magazine?! Its just perfect! Saw it at Whole Foods over the weekend and snatched my copy up! They've also changed their magazine to make it more shopper friendly (or so they say) regardless it was a great magazine, one that I will add to my cherished Domino collection. 

Today I have a quote by wise Mr. Napoleon Hill. I love this quote by him. Such a great reminder for all of us. Have a fantastic week!


Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad

Have you hopped on the quinoa band-wagon yet? It's a healthy and gluten free alternative to breads and even rice. I am a big fan of quinoa! I cook with it so much now, our household probably eats several different quinoa dishes a week! I love how this simple yet super-seed can be dressed up in so many delicious ways! As we head into the weekend, I want to share with you a healthy fall quinoa salad with roasted butternut squash mixed with aromatic sage, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and a honey-citrus dressing! Yumm... 



This dish is so easy to make, and most ingredients you might already have on hand! I've made this salad several times already to eat with dinner and as leftovers. I also think this would make an excellent complimentary dish to a Thanksgiving feast or potluck! 


Butternut Squash Quinoa Salad with Sage, Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds

Serves: 8-10     Prep Time: 10 min      Cook Time: 50 min

Quinoa Salad Ingredients:

1 Butternut Squash: Peeled and cut into 1" cubes
Olive Oil
1 3/4 c. Quinoa
4 c. Water
1 c. Dried Cranberries
1 c. Roasted Sunflower Seeds
4 Large Sage Leaves (roughly chopped)

Honey-Citrus Dressing:

Juice of 3 large oranges (I used naval oranges)
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 c. Olive Oil
1 tbsp. Raw Honey
Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the butternut squash pieces on a large non-stick baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with 2 roughly chopped sage leaves (sprinkle over top). Roast the squash until tender, about 30-40 min, turning only once.

2. While the butternut squash is roasting, start cooking the quinoa. Add quinoa and water to a medium sized saucepan and allow it to boil on a medium heat setting. Let it boil for 5-10 minutes. Then turn the heat to low to let it simmer for another 20 minutes, you will know its ready when all the water is absorbed and the quinoa looks fluffy! Set the quinoa aside to allow it to cool to room temperature.

3. While the quinoa is simmering, make the honey-citrus dressing. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Set aside the remaining 2 roughly chopped sage leaves to use as garnish. Then combine the quinoa, cranberries and sunflower seeds. Pour the dressing over and mix well with a fork. Top the salad with the chopped sage and serve. It tastes best when served warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!


DIY Pumpkin Mask

I love pumpkin! Practically almost anything pumpkin this time of year flies with me. I especially love skin care products that contain pumpkin in them! Its an amazing ingredient that really can be used year round in your skin care regimen. However in honor of the season, treat yourself to a little pampering with an easy DIY pumpkin mask that will give your skin the much needed love and care it deserves! You will be glowing afterwards and its also so fun to do! It's just so good, you might find yourself wanting to eat it!






Here I am enjoying my mini DIY facial!

Ingredients:

1/2 c. Pumpkin (I used organic canned pumpkin)
1/2 c. Plain Greek Yogurt (you can also substitute with milk or cream)
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Ground Ginger
1 tbsp. Honey (Raw honey is best!)

Fun Facts about this mask:

Pumpkin: Excellent for all skin types. It is moisturizing and full of antioxidants and vitamins, so it will heal your skin and soothe at the same time. It also is a great base to help other ingredients absorb better to your skin which will provide better results.  

Greek Yogurt: A natural form of lactic acid, its enzymes will break down dead skin cells to reveal softer beautiful skin! Its also moisturizing. Yogurt will help with hyper-pigmentation from acne scars to sun spots etc.

Honey: Believe it or not its one of nature's form of an antibacterial! It heals and soothes.

Cinnamon: Is a major ingredient for skin purification. In fact the combo of honey + cinnamon will work wonders for clogged pores and breakouts.

Ginger: Will give your skin a beautiful radiance & decrease inflammation. Its also an antioxidant, which will stop harmful free radicals that cause skin damage and aging. Because of ginger, your skin will look more smooth and even after applying this mask! (I love this effect!)

Directions & Helpful Tips: 
Scoop a small handful onto your palm with a spoon (not your fingers), then use your fingertips to smooth the mask over your face. Let it sit for 5-10 min, then rinse with cool water. Store the mixture in a glass jar in the fridge. It can remain there up to a week. 

Because of the spices cinnamon & ginger, it is normal to feel a tingling and warm sensation on your face. A slight burn is ok too. However, adjust the spice ingredient portions according to what you like and what you can handle. I don't mind a bit of the tingle at all. It feels like a low intensity peel in my opinion.  When these spices come into contact with your skin they are literally warming the skin and aiding in circulation. When you wash your face with cool water it is normal to see a flushed pink tone to your skin. This is completely normal and it should clear up within 15-20 min. Also keep this mask away from your delicate eye area! I also love applying this mask when its been chilled in the fridge!


Tuesday Mama Thoughts // 9 Month Photos // Whitney Hartmann Photography

 I am extra excited about today's post! My sweet J had his 9 month photos taken a couple weeks ago and voila! Here they are! Just looking at the photos, I couldn't help but step back and reflect on all the changes and development my son has gone through since he was born. My heart wells up and skips a beat when I think of him getting bigger and older every second. How brief and fleeting babyhood is. I try my best to cherish every moment I get to be with him as his mother and in this stage of his life. I love watching him grow more and more into a little boy... It is such a miracle and I am amazed by him daily, definitely a proud mom moment...sniff sniff... ok, I'm not gonna apologize, I can't help but get overwhelmed with emotions; All you momma's out there understand!

I am also so lucky to have so many talented friends. My friend and professional photographer, Whitney Hartmann did J's 9 month photo shoot for us! She did an amazing job at capturing his personality; got him to laugh, smile and have fun throughout the whole process! In fact he loved her! She has such a knack for working with little ones and as you can see, is incredibly talented. Be sure to stop by Whitney's site and blog! She's always posting fun updates with new photos and fun, styled mini photo session announcements as well! Thank you Whitney for giving us this beautiful gift that we will enjoy all the days ahead.






(All photos are by Whitney Hartmann Photography)



Monday Musings // Quote of the Week

Happy Monday everyone! Today my hubby has the day off so we are venturing out as a family today to take little J to his very first pumpkin patch! I am actually so excited! I can't remember the last time I went to a pumpkin patch! Its been years. Its so fun getting to share and create these wonderful memories with our little one. Being a parent allows us to re-live our childhood all over again, but seeing it differently and through the eyes of our babe. Such a blessing! So I hope you all have a great start to the week, and I leave you with a lovely quote by my idol Audrey Hepburn on the "Beauty of a Woman".




Hyaluronic Acid // The Secret to Youthful Skin


There are so many products out in the market promising youthful looking skin. Not all are created equal. One of my favorite if not by far the best ingredient for beautiful youthful looking skin is hyaluronic acid. Hyla, what? HA is a natural substance that our bodies naturally contain. When we were born our bodies contained significant amounts of hyaluronic acid; thats one reason why babies and children have perfect skin. As we get older the amount of HA in our bodies starts to drop usually around the time we are 18-20 years old, then after 40 HA really starts to decline at a faster rate. Once this happens skin starts to sag, fine lines and wrinkles and other aging skin concerns start popping up. So ladies, its really never too early to start addressing skin health for life! Hyaluronic Acid is the secret key to youthful skin due to its properties of attracting and binding water within the cells of the skin and tissues. It literally acts like a sponge to retain supple, firm skin tone and a youthful glow. And check out this fact: HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water! There is no other ingredient or substance other than HA that can do this! And what I love about HA is any skin type can utilize its amazing benefits. It does not matter if you have young or aging skin, acne, dry, sensitive, oily or normal skin! It will go to work for you instantly. As the weather turns colder and drier it is so crucial to help your skin retain its moisture. I am a huge fan of HA and have used several different products containing this secret ingredient. Hyaluronic acid comes in several forms: serums, toners, moisturizers or cremes and supplements. And here's a tip: After you've applied your makeup, get out your HA toner and spritz it over your face, neck and decollate and this will not only set your makeup, but it will give your skin an added boost of moisture. Carry it in your bag and spritz throughout the day to feel refreshed and invigorated. Give your skin some love and add hylauronic acid into your skin care regimen!

1. Image Ageless Hyaluronic Acid Filler Serum | 2. Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Essence | 3. Eve Lom Intense Hydration Serum | 4. Renee Rouleau Moisture Infusion Toner | 5. Skin Eternal Day Creme | 6. Skin Eternal Hyaluronic Acid | 7. Aveda Botanical Kinetics Skin Firming-Toning Agent


Tuesday Mama Thoughts // Cloth vs. Disposables: Our Diaper Experience



Before I was even pregnant with my son, I knew I wanted to do the Cloth Diaper route. My cousin told me all about her experience of cloth diapering for her son, and it sounded amazing. Sold! Some time later I was pregnant and doing all kinds of research on every product we needed to get. Everything from the crib to what stroller we should buy. It became very quickly a stressful and sometimes emotional time trying to pick out the best for our baby! I had gone as far as registering for cloth diapers and then at the last minute I canceled it. I was just too overwhelmed at the prospect of being a new mom, I didn't know what to do. And with my husband gone long hours for work, I'd be the only one taking care of a newborn and a pile of dirty diapers to wash. I just didn't want to do them any more.

Since birth, my son has been wearing disposables. At first I was thinking to myself, "why did I ever want to do cloth diapers? I'd be doing nothing but laundry". Fast forward to today, er a month ago now I ended up making the switch to cloth! My reasons for switching? Yes I am a tree hugger no doubt and I want to do my part to contribute to our earth and resuse instead of waste. I also want to be an example to my son J and show him how to care. But aside from the obvious the other two big motivators were convenience and our pocket book.

1. Auto Ship for Diapers just didn't work for us. My son just seemed to grow so fast into the next size. We were constantly sending back diapers that were on auto-ship that no longer would fit him. It was incredibly annoying and unnecessary having to run to UPS every few weeks. Auto-ship is supposed to be convenient not work.

2. This meant us running to our local Target to buy diapers. We learned our lesson from buying in bulk through Auto-Ship so we'd just buy what we needed until it was time to buy more. This resulted in again, too many unnecessary diaper buying trips.

3. Buying Diapers adds up on the pocketbook! We were buying Seventh Generation disposables for J. There's nothing wrong with their prices, in fact they're comparable to other brands in the market. I just loved our experience with Seventh Generation! They sure make a great diaper! However, once you're a parent, you can really understand the waste that happens with disposbables. I would literally change a diaper then 5 minutes later its soiled(#2). Now its a diaper that has to be changed and thrown away. We were practically throwing money down the diaper pail! Over time it adds up and I just cringed at the waste we were creating to the earth and with our money. It was time for a change!

I started to do research. Contacted friends and visited a local baby store where they sell cloth diapers. I ended up selecting Flip Diapers. They are a hybrid diaper- which means there is a diaper shell/cover and a removable insert. So changing a diaper mostly means just changing the insert not the cover. Also a diaper cover will last a baby from 8lbs up to 35lbs! So you will get lots and lots of use out of them, since the diaper grows with baby! I bought 5 covers and about 12 inserts,  soon I will buy just a few more of each. I absolutely LOVE them! It is just as easy to use these diapers as it is to use disposables! I seriously mean that last statement. It also just feels so good to know that we are not contributing to all those diapers that just sit in land fills as much. We still use 1 disposable per day and thats actually J's overnight diaper. I just haven't made that transition yet. We will also use disposables when traveling. As far as "extra-laundry" goes, the laundry isn't actually an extra step. We do so much laundry now since having a baby, I've gotten used to doing laundry often. I just throw this planet wise bag that holds all the dirty diaper covers and inserts into the wash every other day. Easy-peasy! ;)

I know that was a mouth-full but there really is a lot to dish on this subject! Do you use cloth diapers? Considered switching to them or know anyone who uses them!? Would love to hear your thoughts!

September Birchbox

Happy Friday everyone! It is a hot and windy day here in So Cal, most likely the Santa Ana Winds so I'm doing my best to stay extra hydrated! Today I want to dish about my September Birchbox. I realize I am a few days late in posting this but better late than never, right?! So I've gotta be honest, I was actually disappointed when I opened up my birchbox this month and even more bummed when I tried the samples given to me. It's not that any of the products were bad, I just wasn't wowed. I didn't find one item in there that I felt like I had to order the full size. 



1. Sugarbomb Ultra Plush Lip Gloss by Benefit Cosmetics- I actually love this lip gloss, but I have this gloss in the full size, so it definitely wasn't my first time trying it on. What I love about this gloss is how neutral the color is, it really could compliment any skin tone. I love that it glides on smoothly, blends well and isn't a sticky gloss! I totally dislike sticky glosses! I usually wear this lip gloss over another lipstick or tint to add depth to my look.

2. Nail Laquer in Fox Hunt by Ruffian- I have not yet applied this nail polish. When I do, I'll update this post.

3. Blueberries Cleansing Facial Towelettes by Yes To- This was my first experience using a Yes To facial towelette. I have to say, it wasn't bad! I liked that this towelette had antioxidants in it from the blueberries and felt kind of moisturizing on my face, even after it dried. I think these would be perfect for after a day at the beach, hiking or the gym, somewhere where clean water and facial cleansers aren't around!

4. All-in-One Moisturizer by Mereadesso- This moisturizer is a one step formula targeted as an anti aging day and night cream, serum, eye cream, toner and primer. Thats a lot of punch for one product! I really liked the feel of this moisturizer on my skin. My skin really absorbed the product and never felt greasy or sticky. I also quite enjoyed the fresh scent it has. I did not notice any dramatic effects and at $120 for a full size product, I think I'll pass!

5. Grapefruit CC Cream by Yes To- I liked that this cream was lightly tinted and made from natural ingredients, however CC's aren't for my skin. It was a bit too thick for my taste and would probably serve someone with drier skin better. I did enjoy the natural streak-free finish though! And it dried on my skin as a soft, matte finish.

Have any of you tried these products? If so, what'd you think about them?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


Blog Love // A few of my favorites

Where do I begin in picking a favorite blog? I just can't. I love and subscribe to many, and all of them are unique in their own way. Today I'd like to share and highlight a few of my favorites that I never get tired of turning to. They are definitely worth mentioning! Tell me, what blogs do you frequent? I'd love to know!






I love Arianna's blog & her pillow shop! She is crazy talented at organization and comes up with some
of the neatest ideas to stay on top of things. Plus she makes everything look just oh so beautiful! Her pillow shop is just lovely too! I love seeing her progress and her business grow through all the features and mentions her shop and pillows get. Well she deserves it! I know she's one hard working lady. I feel so fortunate to have met her in person! Apparently we live near each other! Such a small world! She is just as sweet as can be! 






Monika, writer and creator of The Doctor's Closet has got a signature style! And I just can't get enough!  Her blog is a mix of beauty, lifestyle, mommy hood and more on what inspires her. Everything she posts or blogs about is like living on a lovely cloud of dreams. 







I love In Her Chucks! Heather is a down to earth gal with a flair for healthy cooking and using the best most wholesome ingredients. She's also a talented musician and amazing mommy! I would know, we used to be neighbors! Follow along with her blog to be satiated with all the mouthwatering treats and creations she comes up with.






Last, but certainly not least is Recently. This blog is amazing and filled with so much inspiration for your home and style! Emily has got a knack for DIYs and her work was even featured in HGTV magazine! I love how artistic and cultured Emily's taste is in decor.



Oil Cleansing For Beautiful Skin


(product information below)

Most of us have been taught to clean our skin with cleansers and soap (soap is a huge no-no by the way) and I as well love the feeling of bubbles and foam lathering up my face and body. I used to think if I didn't use foamy cleansers I wouldn't feel "clean" enough. I want to point out that there are a lot of cleansers that are great for certain types of skin and I will always use a cleanser in conjunction with the method I am about to dish on. I'd like to introduce a new method of cleansing your skin which will help you attain the best skin you've probably ever had... Oil Cleansing. Whether your skin concerns are acne, aging or just wanting to achieve better skin health, oil cleansing will work for most if not all skin types. I know washing your face with oil sounds very counter-intuitive, but trust me its exactly what you want to do. In fact your skin is craving it! To break it down for you, its quite simple: Oil attracts oil. When you lather your face with oil and work it into your skin, the good oil penetrates your pores to pull out excess oil, dirt, makeup and other impurities. Oil does all of this without stripping your skin of the moisture and oil that it needs in order to function healthily (yes your skin still needs some its own natural-made oil). Many cleansers and all soap will strip your skin of the moisture and hydration that it needs to feel good. If your skin is stripped of everything it needs the oil glands go into overdrive and start producing more oil. That and the combination of your skin naturally shedding skin is a disaster waiting to happen; breakouts, clogged pores and dull, lifeless looking skin.

Personally my skin care regimen includes cleansing my face and neck twice a day with a cleansing oil. I use a couple facial cleansers as well as oil cleansing, but not all of them at once. And many if not most times opt not to cleanse with a cleanser. My first experience with oil cleansing started in Esthetician school where I learned about the wonderful benefits of this little gem.

1. I started using Dermalogica's Pre-Cleanse since that was a product line we used in class. I really love the smell of Pre-Cleanse and I've seen it work on countless skin types with success.
2. Next up is Julep's Bare Face Cleansing Oil. I blogged a little bit about it here. I really am enjoying using this product. I was introduced to it through my Julep Maven August box!
3. This by far is my favorite cleansing Oil: Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil and Makeup remover by One Love Organics! I love this line because everything smells like heaven but also One Love is all Organic and Natural. I love knowing that its chock full of everything my skin needs and free from anything it doesn't!

My recommendation is to give yourself at least 1 week to see dramatic results. It takes time for your skin to repair itself. Over time your results will continue to get better and better. Below I've mapped out my 4 Step Process of Oil Cleansing instructions.

Give Oil Cleansing a try! You will be amazed at how soft your skin feels and how radiant you will look! Please email me or comment below with any questions! I'd love to hear from you!