Monday, April 21, 2014

Getting Sensitive

*I was not paid for this post though I did receive products to try. All thoughts, opinions and experiences are my own. 


I've said before how important skincare is to me and I have no problem switching up my routine as the seasons change as well as trying new products as I am introduced to them. In fact, I am somewhat of a product junkie. But that usually goes for my face and not my body. The one thing that has been a constant in my bathroom is the presence of Dove. I am a Dove girl tried and true. It's one of those products I started using as a kid and because I never had a reaction (hello sensitive skin) and it's always treated me well, so I stuck with it.
I was so disappointed when they discontinued their facial skincare several years back. Their Energy Glow face cream was EVERYTHING and gave me the most amazing sun kissed glow. But that never stopped me from using their body wash and deodorant. In fact, their deodorant is one of the only ones that doesn't make me itch or break my skin out. Particularly if used after I shave.
And you can bet your bottom dollar that when they launched their Men + Care I was quick to scoop some up for the Mister. He used to use some awful brand that dried his skin out and left it irritated and blotchy. Now, not so much.


Our whole family has sensitive skin. All four of us have experienced breakouts due to lotions and the like so this is why we stick with Dove. I know it's going to keep us moisturized and not have any adverse reactions. Some people are shocked I don't use "baby wash" on Baby Ninja but I know what works so I stick with that. So when they reached out to me to try out their new Creme Mousse body wash I happily agreed. I was pleasantly surprised when they also sent Body Bar's and their Deep Moisture Body Wash for the rest of the family.




The extreme weather changes have begun to dry out my skin and throw in the need to shave my legs and it can get pretty brutal underneath my pants. So you can imagine my excitement when presented with the opportunity to try out an all new body wash made specifically for sensitive skin like mine. The creme formula is amazing, super rich with a fabulous lather that was ideal for shaving. I didn't even use any other shaving creme! Just lathered up my pouf and that was it! My legs were so smooth afterwards I almost didn't want to put on pants!





According to Dove; this new body wash contains the highest concentration of their trademark NutriumMoisture which replenishes your skin with nutrients lost during shaving for a soft smooth feel. The hypoallergenic formula is unlike any other and the mild fragrance is both soothing and refreshing. I have to agree 100%. I absolutely love this body wash. I also love knowing that it will work just as well on my daughter's very sensitive skin and look forward to having her try it out and see the difference it makes on her as well! 


It's creamy texture is great for the upcoming season which will require more shaving (suns out, legs out!) and best of all, there were no irritating shaving bumps right after! Whoo hoo! Talk about a win!
They've got me really looking forward to shaving my legs over the next few months and not suffering with irritated skin (nobody wants that when you have to get into a chlorinated pool) AND having silky smooth legs I want to show off!

Thank you Dove for creating a product for us sensitive skinned folks!



Are you a fan of the Dove brand? If so, what's your favorite Dove product?













Thursday, April 17, 2014

Cupcakin' For A Cause

It's no secret that I have a major sweet tooth and I've been known to throw down some cupcakes at the drop of a hat. Baking is one of the things Sweet Pea and I love to do to stay connected and the way our family loves cupcakes, you can often find us in the kitchen poring over new recipes!
I'm happy to share that I'll be attending this year's Inland Empire Cupcake Fair Sunday May 4th! Whoo hoo!





Below you'll find a recipe from one of this year's judges, Sara DeLeeuw of My Imperfect Kitchen which sounds amazing and I can't wait to try it and possibly test it out on my own family!
And guess what? You could go too!!! That's right, the lovely hosts are authorizing me to giveaway tickets to the event! Who doesn't love cupcakes and want a reason to taste as many as possible?

One winner will receive two general admission tickets which will be waiting for you at Will-Call!

Go ahead and enter using the Rafflecopter below. You KNOW you want to!






Contest is open to local residents and ends on 4/24 with a winner announced 4/25!!

Also - my family and I will be there so if you see me give me a holler!

And if you don't win , don't fret, tickets are on sale NOW. Visit IEshineOn for packages including General Admission, VIP and group tickets. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit Community Connect and the California Riverside Ballet.

Marbled Vanilla Mocha Cupcakes
Recipe by: Sara DeLeeuw, www.myimperfectkitchen.com, March 2014
Ingredients:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
1 5.3 oz container of plain Greek Yogurt (I used Chiobani)
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons strong black coffee
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 12 cup muffin pan with your favorite liners, plus an additional two liners on a separate pan, as this recipe will make approx 14 cupcakes.  Set aside.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until the solids are completely dissolved.  Let it cool for a few minutes.
While the butter is cooling, in a medium bowl sift together the flour baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
When the butter is cool, pour it into the bowl of your stand mixer.  Add sugar and mix until well combined. The mixture may look gritty at first, but don’t worry, it will smooth out as you add other ingredients!  Add egg and mix for 1 minute.  Add the yogurt, milk and vanilla extract to the bowl and beat until well combined.
Slowly incorporate flour mixture in the batter and combine until their are no lumps.  The batter will be very thick.
Transfer 3/4 cup of the batter to a clean bowl.  Mix in cocoa powder and coffee until well combined.  The chocolate batter will be even thicker than the vanilla portion.
Scoop approx 1 TBLS of vanilla batter into each pre-lined muffin cup.  Top with a small scoop of chocolate batter, then add an additional scoop of vanilla on top until all the batter has been used.
Insert a butter knife into the center of each cupcake and twist gently to swirl the batter. If you’d like you can bake them without swirling the batter, which will give you a nice layered look to your cupcake.
Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 18-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting!
YIELD:  14 cupcakes

Chocolate Espresso Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Recipe Courtesy of Desi Massei, [desi]gn cakes & cupcakes, March 2014
Ingredients:
5 Large egg white, room temperature
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
4 sticks unsalted, room temperature butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
Directions:
Combine egg whites, sugar, salt, and espresso powder in a heatproof bowl of a stand-alone mixer.  Whisk ingredients together.  Set over a pan of simmering water (double boiler). Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch, and when rubbed between finger tips is smooth (sugar and espresso powder has dissolved).  Attach the bowl to the mixer and whisk (using a whisk attachment) together gradually beginning with low to high until stiff but not dry peaks form (they should be glossy). Once peaks have formed, SLOWLY add in butter, 1-2 tablespoons at a time until all is added.  Add in vanilla and cooled chocolate, then whisk until combined.  Switch to the paddle attachment and continue to beat on a low speed until the air bubbles are eliminated (approx. 2-3 min).  Add to piping bag & pipe with desired tip.

ieshineon_iecupcakefair_cupcakes1

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Drop It Like A Squat / Fitness Challenge



A few weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a photo with the caption "you wanna do this?" and the image was for a 30 day squat challenge. We follow each other on Pinterest so she sees I'm pinning things to my Work It Out board (even if I'm not actively doing them) and knows how I'm obsessed with getting a Beyonce booty so it made total sense she would send it to me.
My initial reaction was "Oh HELL no!! I have no desire to do that!" And then I looked at the cupcake in my hand (my fourth one that day) and realized, if I keep eating like this my shorts aren't going to fit. Forget about getting in a bathing suit. And y'all know I love me some bathing suits!
So pushing all negative sarcasm aside I agreed to begin April 1st. Makes sense we would start a challenge like this on April Fool's Day no? Had to be some kind of sick joke to agree to eventually get up to 250 squats in one day in the span of 30 days.


But now, we're at the halfway point and I'm kind of loving it. Sure doing 70 squats and then walking around in heels for 2.5 hours at the Lucky FABB brunch wasn't the best idea but I kind of love that I'm committing to a workout of sorts and am sticking to it. Having an accountability partner helps a ton. I can always blow off or half ass a workout on my own but when I have someone I have to check in with, well that sort of makes me want to stick with it more.
And I have. And so has she and now we want to do another one next month. We may be in over our heads because everyday each of us is like "Gahh my legs!" But we're starting to see a change, albeit small, in our physique's. The booty is popping a little more and the
I turn 35 in about 8 weeks and I just want to feel good about the way I look. Don't get me wrong, I'm not overweight by any means but I've slacking on my fitness routine. After losing the baby weight I got a bit complacent with my workouts and was doing them sporadically and only when I really felt the need for the stress release I get when I workout. I forgot how much it feeds my spirit and my soul.
So with that being said, we started looking at what else we could challenge ourselves with for next month. And there are a LOT of  challenges out there! But we finally settled on focusing on abs this time and we're just hoping we can stick with it!







Both of these are pretty serious and we'll see which one we end up going with but I'm excited to see if we can stick to it. I like the idea of doing both abs & legs but I know the plank one will have killer results as well. Of course, it's all fun and games in the beginning and then three days in one of us is going "why did I let you talk me into this?" But then we'll see some fabulous item we just have to have that shows off the legs or emphasizes our waist and then it's like, "well clearly I need to stick to it." 
Also - french fries. And cupcakes. And margaritas. So yeah, that's motivation too.
But I don't want to leave YOU out  - so won't you join in this challenge with me? I'd love to get a group together so we can all be accountable and encourage each other. That's the only way we'll survive!


So......What do you say? Who's up for a challenge?

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Golden Age

Flowers are blooming, sun is shining, weather is warming up and it's officially spring! That means it's time to bare those stems that have been hiding under long pants all winter! I for one am thrilled that it's finally time for "suns out, legs out" weather. I love the warmer weather and am quick to show off my gams with a skirt or shorts. In the last few years my love of shorts has grown greatly but my love of skirts will never be abated.


Golden Age by carpools2cocktails 



Being that my 35th birthday is coming up I have been scouting ideas for outfits like crazy. Never mind that I don't have any solid plans and the fact that my Sweet Pea graduating 6th 4 days prior will have me a hot weepy mess. A woman like me needs to plan things out. And because I like to shop online and at particular 'fast fashion' stores things I love tend to sell out fast. 
Case in point - both of these metallic numbers are from H&M which we all know is one of my favorite go to's for ....well, everything. Particularly as of late. Something about their spring + Summer collection just speaks to me. Anywho - I love both skirts and totally wouldn't be opposed to having them both but alas the wrap skirt is only available online and is currently sold out. Cue sad face. 
Of course now I feel like I have to have it, simply because it's not currently available. Lame. 
But I'm loving this metallic moment I seem to be having and pairing either skirt with a bold hued shoe seems like just the proper thing to do. It screams summer to me and because 35 feels like somewhat of a milestone I think I need to make a statement no matter what I do. 
The simple v-neck tee keeps things casual yet chic paired back to the simple jewelry and bold heels while the graphic CALI tee + cork clutch combo is a bit more playful. 
Can't even front. I'm a tad obsessed with both looks and I don't know how I could choose which makes me want to celebrate all month long! Or wear one look for a birthday dinner and another for our anniversary? Maybe? No real plans for that yet either. Clearly I need to get my calendar together. 
Here's to hoping I get lucky and the wrap skirt becomes available sooner rather than later but if not, well I guess owning just one metallic mini will have to do.



What have you got your eye on this month?




Shop the set below & follow me on Polyvore for more style inspo!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Happy Hour: Lucky Edition



Whew, it has been a week y'all. I am SUPER jazzed it's the weekend and we don't have anything major on the agenda. At least nothting that I remember. I think I may try and squeeze in a trip to the barre on Saturday because torturing myself doing this 30 day challenge just isn't enough.

I've finally gotten my cooking mojo back and dinner has been pretty good as of late. I scored some grass fed organic ground beef at the farmer's market on Wednesday and I kind of want the husband to grill out one day this weekend. Wednesday trips to the market are quickly becoming my new favorite thing.


  • This week was all about LuckyFABB and what I wore (Day 1 and Day 2). I had a blast catching up with my girls, falling more in love with Nicole Richie and drooling over all the fab shoes. I still need to go through my swag bag and take stock! 


  • I also posted about one of my many DIY projects, the infamous IKEA Vittsjo shelving hack. And I shared some tips on bookshelf styling. Kind of obsessed with our current living space right now. I'm not sure they're fully complete but they'll do for the moment.


  • Oh and if you missed it the trailer for American Blogger hit the interwebs. Subsequently Twitter peeps created a new hashtag #RealAmericanBlogger and got all up in arms about it. You tell me what you think.


  • I was also on MommyNoire talking swimwear trends. Yes, it's April but it's been in the 80's all week long and I can't help but think about the long summer days and trips to the beach. I pretty much want to wear every single piece in the post but I'm kind of excited to try a monokini this year.







So it feels like summer and what says summer more than watermelon? And what drink spells summer? Margarita! Well anytime is a good time for a margarita around these parts but since I happen to have fresh watermelon on hand I thought I'd try my hand and at a Jalapeno Watermelon Margarita I found via Gimme Some Oven.

Jalapeno Watermelon Margaritas via Gimme Some Oven


Spicy Watermelon Margaritas

Yield: About 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh watermelon juice (**see instructions below**)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup Triple Sec (or any orange liqueur)
  • thin slices of fresh jalapeno
  • garnish: salt or sugar to rim the glasses, frozen watermelon cubes, lime slices

Method:

In a shaker, add watermelon juice, lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and a slice or two of fresh jalapeno. (Start with less jalapeno and taste test - you can always add more!)
Use a muddler or a wooden spoon to gently muddle the jalapeno to release the flavor. Shake the drink to combine. Pour into salt- or sugar-rimmed glasses, then garnish with watermelon ice cubes and slices of lime if desired.
**To make fresh watermelon juice, simply puree fresh watermelon in a blender or food processor until smooth. If desired, you can strain the juice through a fine mesh strainer, or just use it as is. If your juice is not as sweet as desired, you can boil together equal parts sugar and water to make a simple syrup, and add a tablespoon or two until the watermelon juice reaches your desired level of sweetness.

Now tell me that doesn't sound delicious? Check out my Instagram later this evening to see how it really goes down and if Mr. C2C likes it as well.


Cheers y'all and happy weekend!



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shelving It In Style

A few months ago I came across some photos of an IKEA hack so absolutely brilliant I knew I had to do it myself. The VITTSJO shelving unit is a play on an image I pinned a LONG time before we planned to move and was part of my "someday" home file.
inspirational Pin via 

IKEA hack inspiration

When I found the hack it just seemed to good to be true and like it was meant for me to find, then the shelves went on sale in March (for IKEA Family members - which I am....duh) and it was like the universe was trying to send me a message. After debating on whether I wanted double or single shelves my awesome hubby put them together late one night and Sweet Pea and I spent the weekend spray painting them gold. For some reason mine came out more of a burnished bronze gold than bright brilliant gold but it works because I have a golden lamp that matches perfectly. No complaints here.

The next step was to style them. We have a lot of books. Like a LOT and they are an interesting variety so it was my mission to make them 'work' in this collective space while incorporating framed photos and other knick knacks we've had laying around the house with no home. I pinned a great post about styling a bookcase last year and it was semi helpful but because these aren't exactly bookshelves and are wide sort of "floating" it didn't all apply.
I started with the basics - books and accessories. I knew I wanted to put words and other kitschy items on display so I added those in next. Then I went through our frames and kind of threw them up there knowing I would come back and revamp as I saw fit. So far so good.




HomeGoods will be my next stop as they always have a TON of decorative accents that I'm always drooling over but never had a reason to buy (like I really need one) or a place to put them. Now I do!

in between stage while still organizing

Because the walls are very plain I wanted to layer in pops of color on the shelves so I chose accents in varying but complimentary shades to bring warmth to the room. Also, because this is a shared space with the dining table it has to all work together for one cohesive look while still being two separate vignettes. I kind of love it so far. The shelves seemed huge when we first put them up and then once I started filling in the blank spaces it began to just make sense.







Does that make sense?
Putting the picture on the wall above the mantle creates some symmetry and I can't wait to add a nice cozy rug to really complete the room. I also have big plans for the chairs to be reupholstered but am sweating choosing the fabric. I want something fun that works in the room and for our lifestyle. And also that when I show my husband he doesn't raise his eyebrows at me. But we'll see how that goes.

How did you come up with the style for your rooms?


Shelving Styling Tips: 
1.) Don't be afraid of color! This can be a fun way to play around with colors that may not be in your "main color scheme" or that you like but aren't sure how to incorporate into a room. Use books and other knick knacks to add dimension and
2.) Layer, layer layer. Normally we talk about layering clothing but here it applies to books, frames and decorative accents. Prop them up against each other, on top or in front of. You'll be surprised at how much depth you can get when you layer.
3.) Play around with sizes and height. Everything does NOT have to be the same scale. You actually want your pieces to be different sizes so as to draw attention and create interest.
4.) Be unique. Choose items you already own (like that lopsided ceramic vase your kid painted in pre-school) mix in more trendy items (horse heads/ owls/ pineapples etc.) with a few fun quirks and antique pieces to make it your own.
5.) It doesn't have to be "perfect". We all fret about having things look 'just so' or like they were styled for a magazine and that's just not real life living. Do what works for you and if it feels like it's done then let it be done. If not, don't stress or give yourself a time frame for completion just walk away and come back to it. It's a shelf. It's certainly not going anywhere.




Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jump Jump Jump To It




If you recall a few weeks ago I wrote on MommyNoire about the 12 Must Have Trends for Spring and touched on jumpsuits are all the rage. Well there were no less than 4 other ladies wearing either jumpsuits / rompers / playsuits while at the LuckyFABB networking brunch on Saturday so clearly I was on to something.




Of course, I was one of them having stalked the H&M website weeks prior waiting for my size to come back in stock after my local store (and those in the surrounding area) were out of stock. Sometimes, patience is a blessing and as I was checking for something else late one night I saw it was available in my size and scooped it up praying it fit since I hadn't been able to try it on in store.
Thankfully it did and I knew as soon as it arrived that I had to wear it to the conference, but I just wasn't sure for which day. Once I got the full schedule I realized it was just the thing for brunch outdoors. It's lightweight material worked well in the warmer L.A. weather we experienced over the weekend and the gold accents on the sleeves and drawstring waist were the perfect compliments.  I loved the ruching at the ankles and how it's baggy but not obscenely over-sized and doesn't swallow my petite frame.







I kept the jewelry simple opting for a few understated pieces around my neck and wrist with some iridescent bling on my ears. My favorite fringed heels gave me a leg up and made for a fun contrast in color. Yet again, I was completely in love with my look. I was beyond comfortable and can't wait to wear the it again. Jumpsuits are the new black and definitely a wardrobe staple. Like my love affair with rompers last summer, I kind of want one in every color. I only have two and that's just simply not enough.

Photo by Chelsea

Outfit Details-
Jumpsuit: H&M
Shoes: via Aviesta (old) 
Necklaces: Stella & Dot On The Mark 
Bracelets: Stella & Dot Renegade / Gilded Arrow 
Earrings: Forever21 (old)
Sunnies: (Forever21)

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