Sunday, June 30, 2013

Summer Lovin' // Makin the Most of Our Time

I'll be the first to admit I enjoy the lazy days of summer more than most. Because my birthday pretty much kicked off my summer vacation I thrive in the relaxation of a slower pace. But not really because I'm still me and require activities to pique my interest. So while we will enjoy the summer months and all our 'free' time we still stick to a pretty general routine.
But I have no problem relaxing bedtimes for things like trips to the amusement parks, playing outside with cousins and friends, and family night at the park. And I'll go a little easier on the requests for icee's, ice cream and other frozen treats. Because hey it's Summer, and these kids are only young once. We might as well make the most of it.

So here's a few things we're doing to maximize our summer vacation:

* Get touristy. We plan on visiting some of So Cal's more memorable locations and experiencing them together as a family. Beaches, parks, piers and attractions. As I said before, you forget how cool California can be until you start to show it to someone else. I'm super excited about showing the kids the different cities as well as museums and cultures that abound in this great state.


* Get outside. Go to the park, have picnics, take walks and the like. Our community is pretty well suited for those that want to walk and Baby Ninja and I have been known to take many a morning stroll up the hills. And I want Sweet Pea to get out and play with her friends. Not just be cooped up in her room playing dolls or making things,(not that there's anything wrong with that) but getting out and getting dirty with not only her girlfriends but the neighborhood kids as well.


* Get neighborly. Our town has both movies and concerts in the park during the month of July and you would think that we would have taken advantage of this when we first moved here. Sadly this was not the case. Though we had a more flexible schedule back then D and I were both working and generally so tired at the end of the day socializing wasn't really high on the priority list. But this summer we plan on taking full advantage of all the city has to offer and have already marked a few dates on the calendar to get out and enjoy the warm summer nights with our neighbors.





* Get creative. Sweet Pea has a website that she goes to that inspires her on things to make for her dolls. I have Pinterest. Together we cannot be left alone in Hobby Lobby, Michael's or a Dollar Tree. So with all this free time we've made a list of 5 must make projects for the summer and plan on getting cracking this week with some 4th of July shirts and more! Stay tuned to see what we come up with!



*Get cooking. Summer is ripe for the picking (literally) of fresh fruit and veggies. It's about high time I tried some of the delicious looking concoctions on my Pinterest boards. One of my favorite things about this time of year is all the fresh food available and the many different ways to cook it. But when it's really hot out the last thing you want is the oven on, so we tend to grill out often. I'm going to make it a point to find as many different things for us to grill as possible. Plus, I love it when my man smells like the grill later in the evening.




Enough talking about it....I need to get out there and BE about it!!


Do y'all have any big plans for the summer?


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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer Beauty // Barely There

We all know that I am somewhat of a makeup junkie. I love products and trying out new things and experimenting with new looks. I'm a total product hoarder and once I get hooked on something you better believe I'm going to run with it. And as I've gotten older I've learned what works for me and what I really need on a day to day basis. Of course, those needs change as the seasons do and I've found it even more necessary to switch things up.Your skin tends to get used to products after a certain time so if you notice it no longer has that same glow it once did it might be time to change something.
I always saw photos of these gorgeous stars with barely there makeup (if any) looking very refreshed and summer ready but it seemed that I could never get that same effect on myself.
Until lately.


For the last few months I've implemented some new products into my regular beauty routine and I can really tell a difference. I know it sounds cheesy but the addition of a night calming cream and the under eye roller has left my skin soft and refreshed so when I wake up I'm less puffy/ruddy looking. I'm sure all the extra water I've been guzzling has also helped but since I'm talking beauty products here we'll stick with that.


I've completely stopped wearing any kind of powder (as I am prone to do in the summer. No one wants sweat streaks from their cover-up) and instead I've opted for a tinted moisturizer in addition to my regular Aveeno Positively Radiant moisturizer.
But for the past week I've only used Naked Skin Beauty Balm along with my moisturizer.
Y'all. I am a total convert. This balm minimizes my pores and lines and gives me an overall smoother appearance in seconds.  It also claims to help your skin look firmer in as few as 8 weeks. We shall see. But I am loving it so far. It also has an SPF of 20 so I feel good knowing my skin is protected.


It seems a bit odd to me that I spent so much of my younger years piling on the makeup at first to look 'older' and then just because that was the 'look' of the day. And now, at 34 I'm wearing less makeup than I did ten years ago. And I love it.
I don't know if its the confidence you gain as you get older or just plain not giving a _____ any more but I am so comfortable in my skin right now I don't even know what to do! I've tried new things with my style, hair and now my makeup. I even left the house with no mascara or eyebrows the other day! Who am I???


my 'arsenal' these days
I'm operating on a 5 product regime these days and it makes getting ready that much easier each morning. Sure, I still amp things up as need be but there is no need or desire to be the "glam mom" at all times. Not to mention how freeing it is to really be seen. Just me.
Next week, I'll showcase exactly how I get my 'no makeup' makeup look and how you can do the same!

But first I'd love to hear from YOU!! What's your summer beauty routine look like?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Daily Style : Night of the White Pants

I fully admit I used to have a major aversion to white bottoms. Chalk it up to being clumsy and prone to spilling food, bad adolescent experiences, and a being told a rather ...ahem... less than flattering tall tale about women who wear white pants I just never really considered them an option for me. But I loved how crisp and clean they looked on others!
And then last summer I needed some bottoms to go with my gingham J.Crew button down and white seemed like my best bet, so I picked up a pair from Old Navy and found I loved them.
But I still only wore them maybe two or three times. Fast forward to this summer and I'm fully engaged in a search for the perfect white jean even though the thought terrifies me.


On my birthday we stopped off at TJ Maxx so I could grab a cross body bag and as soon as I walked in there was a rack of premium white denim. I did a quick scan and came across only one pair in my size in one of my favorite brands. I had no choice. I had to get them.
And I'm so glad I did.


I wore them out for dinner on Monday with the family and even though it gave me pause to think about the inevitable ketchup stain that would appear I went ahead wore them anyway.



I actually really liked how it all looked. Very clean, simple and ever so summer. It helpls that the  Mr. said that combined with the flowy top I looked all glowy and summer like. Two thumbs up from the hubs.  That may have been due to the wine but hey, I'll take it!

Top: Nordstom Rack / Pants: Paige Denim  via TJ Maxx / Shoes: Sam & Libby / Bag: Steven by Steve Madden
We were all impressed I managed to keep my dinner off my pants and D put Baby Ninja in and out of the car so as not to chance me inadvertently brushing against my dirty car. Because inevitably that would happen. But I got lucky this time!!



Of course, when we got home I sprinted up the stairs to take them off lest anything should happen on the way in the house (hey I'm clumsy....things happen to me) and promptly threw on cut-off's.
Success! I made it through a whole dinner with no mishaps!
Perhaps even next time I'll wear them the whole day!! Sans kids of course.



How do you feel about white pants?




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Monday, June 24, 2013

Life + Style // How To Look Hot In A Minivan - Part One

One of my birthday presents was a gift a card and I wasted no time in putting it to use whittling down my Amazon wish list. I am somewhat of a book hoarder and I have no problem adding to my collection. Much more of an issue letting go of said books, especially if I loved them. My dream is to have library of sorts in our 'forever home' and if we can't have a dedicated library then we will need lots and lots of bookshelves.
Reading is one of my biggest passions. I love the insight, escape and knowledge you can glean from a book and adding to my bookshelf is something that brings me great joy. Also, who doesn't love getting mail from Amazon?
I got a total of four books last week and they for sure ran the gamut of topics from lifestyle to humor and I had a hard time deciding which to start first. If you follow me on Instagram you saw photos as they arrived and I shared how excited I was about them all.
Normally, I would start two at a time and think nothing of it and years ago it was easy for me to do that and knock them both out in a week's time. Not so much with Baby Ninja tornadoing through the house. So, I decided to focus on just one at a time. A rarity for me, but reading is a luxury I refuse to give up so focus I must.
I chose to start with How to Look Hot in a Minivan by Janice Minn, former editor in chief of US Weekly magazine.

 I'd seen this book a while back on some morning talk show and loved the title but somehow forgot about it (baby brain) until I was scrolling my wish list and found it nestled between the Mi Vida Loca (my crazy life) DVD and a T-Bar Bangle Jewelry display.
I have to admit I was jazzed about it since it pretty much operates off of my whole philosophy of taking care of yourself as a woman and being cute while carpooling and taking that same look up a notch for that evening's cocktails.


I loved Janice's witty descriptions of her reaction to her postpartum body and her self deprecating anecdotes make the book quite relate-able even though it's clear she has money and therefore access to the some of the best Not like Gwyneth money but money none-the-less.
I've broken the book up into two parts chapters 1-4 and then chapters 5-7. Here are a few of my highlights from what I've read.


The first four chapters are mainly dedicated to the postpartum woman's overall style. From clothing to hair and makeup it's pretty much all covered. The chapters all have cheeky titles like "What I Didn't Expect After Expecting: The 10 Terrible Things tht Happen PostPartum" and "Hot Mess? Try the 5-Minute Mom Face: Fake a Good Night's Sleep with Easy Makeup".  After reading that I knew I was in for an entertaining look at women's 'mama style' how it's evolved and how the 'every woman' can achieve the same polished looks as the celebs. Sort of.


I was twenty nine pages in when staring me in the face was pretty much the entire concept of this blog name. I mean. It was like kismet.




While chapter one highlights some of the more 'ahem' interesting after effects of pregnancy (saggy boobs, muffin tops, stretch marks oh my!) Chapter two was all about style and what I like to call "Mommy Chic".


Janice talked about the importance of having a working closet with the essentials that can be mixed and matched effortlessly. Of course it wouldn't be a chapter on style with out showcasing some of the most stylish celeb moms and being that she used to work at US Weekly and has seen her share of hot mess mama vs. polished mama, I'm inclined to agree with her choices.


Personally, I would include Jessica Alba and Nicole Richie as they both have that cool mom style down to a science. She also detailed the 10 stylish essentials every woman needs to get her through a week. Again, I'm pretty inclined to agree with this assessment as well and as I was reading I was mentally going through my own closet checking to see what I'm missing off the list.




I also loved that there were several pages dedicated to hair care and quick fixes. I mean, how many of us have had to throw on a raggedy baseball cap for morning/afternoon pickup thanks to an overdue trip to the salon? Tips on the simplest cuts to work with as well as hair coloring tricks. The advice on hair styling was practical and true. Info provided for the top products to have your hair looking good everyday and not spend a small fortune.
I was delighted to find a full six pages dedicated to 'black hair care', however, I was kind of sad to see that there were no photos of celebs with 'natural' hair and the first image was the typical of Halle Berry, but the tips were helpful even if they were the somewhat vague standard tricks offered in fashion mags the world over.


As far as the beauty section goes, well, I have to say as a makeup artist and busy mom, I fully agree with the 5 - Step Face Fix and the 'Old Mom vs. Modern Mom'. Most women don't realize how much their makeup and hair can age them. I understand you've been wearing the same style, look, color for years and it's worked but sometimes you gotta switch things up to see what's what. She also discussed skin by age which is also another factor. If you're wearing the same makeup are you still doing the same skincare routine? How you treat your skin has a direct reflection on how well your makeup holds up so if you've been holding on to the same type of face wash since 1999 and still find yourself battling with the same problems it might be time to switch things up. Especially if you've had a baby.


The book also provided a list of their top 20 beauty products for every day and they offered a few splurge vs. steal options. I must say that although a few products are quite pricey (Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat $40) they are totally worth it in the long run.


Out of the top 20 they chose, here are my top five: Rosebud Salve, Anastasia Brow Gel, Eye Lash Curler + Tweezers, Touche Eclat , Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer.

The next several chapters seem to focus on food/health + fitness + plastic surgery/botox. She is writing about the celebrity momspiration after all. I mean.

Check back next week for the wrap up on those final chapters and in the meantime, I'd love to hear from you!

What does your daily beauty routine look like? Have you found yourself falling into a 'mommy rut'?



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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day Trippin // The Sea is Calling

When I was at Blissdom in March I made a promise via Johnson & Johnson to spend more time at play with my family.Now that Baby Ninja is older and more into things, I want to make sure this summer we are making memories and the kids understand how fortunate they are to be able to do some of the things we do. Simply because of where we live. While we're not taking fabulous exotic vacations at this time, we can go on tons of mini adventures. And this summer we plan to do just that. Really taking advantage of So Cal living and getting out to see the sights.




Growing up out here it's easy to become numb to all the fabulous things the state has to offer and you tend to forget about 'hidden gems' because you're so used to things. Having young children  and participating in their experiences has brought up many memories for both D and I so we are brainstorming places to take the kiddos all summer long. (Any thoughts?)



For my birthday last week, my mother got us passes for Sea World as we had been talking about going one weekend this summer. Now we can go as often as we like! So last Saturday was our first foray into the world of the aquatic as a family of four and it was all kinds of fun.


We couldn't wait to see Baby Ninja's reaction to seeing fish and all the other sea life up close and personal. He's obsessed with his Baby Einstein Baby Neptune DVD so we just knew this was right up his alley.


He had no words when he saw the killer whales jump out of the water and he was definitely more into the bubbles being blown about than the actual show but he seemed to enjoy the spectacle all the same. My phone died shortly after arriving so there was no overgramming on my part. Just tons of photos with the Nikon.


 After an overpriced lunch, we visited the flamingos just in time for feeding which was pretty hilarious. Baby Ninja was all about that. As soon as he saw them he sat up and said "Biiiiirss"!! So of course we had to photo op with them.


We saw the penguins, polar bear, walrus and beluga whales. We visited the sharks and the turtles, who decided they liked Baby Ninja and swam right up to the glass. He, however, was not so excited about them and turned to high tail it away from there.

 


 D and Sweet Pea rode Manta and Atlantis (and subsequently got drenched) and Baby Ninja got his play on in the Sesame Street area.




By the time we made it back to the car both kids were wiped out. Baby Bear could hardly keep his eyes open and passed out shortly after leaving the parking lot! One of our favorite things about San Diego is all the delicious Mexican food and before we left town we had one more stop to make at our favorite place to eat and he woke up as soon as D pulled him out of the car> He held it together just long enough for everyone to enjoy their food and put on his jammies before we hitting his wall and signaling it was time to hit the road and head home.

It was a spectacular day. Full of laughter and squeals of delight and wonder. It's pretty awesome to get to re-visit the haunts of my childhood with my own children and see how it's changed and to  enjoy it from their point of view.



I can't wait to go back. There were many things we missed out on doing so it's great to have passes and be able to experience the park at our own leisure and when we like. Day tripping with the family is always a good time and this adventure was no exception. Can't wait until the next one!



What are some of your favorite ways to spend time as a family?


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Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Happy Hour // Officially Summer Edition


Happy Friday Y'all! 
We made it to the end of yet another glorious week.
We are in full on summer vacation mode and all schedules have been tossed out the window. (with the exception of those who must nap in order to remain sociable) so I've lost track of the days a bit.

* This week on the blog was all about owning one's personal style. If you like it wear it. Eff the "rules".

* It was another good mail week. Surprise package from Victoria's Secret from my bestie, books aplenty and coffee for days! Hooray for happy mail!



* Of course I needed to return the favor so I've been a busy bee with trips to the post office and sent some snail mail love to far flung friends.


                ******************************************
Here's a few things from around the web I saw, liked and wanted to share:


* Instagram now has video. I cracked up at my FB friend's caption on this:

"Throw Back Thursdays!!! Too soon??? ...well played Instagram well played."



* Rouge & Whimsy reminded me of link I'd meant to click on The Glitter Guide. So glad she did. This will come in handy for a birthday party in the fall.

* I've been in a mood to create something fierce. We are so doing this next week.

* Speaking of denim shorts - Refinery29  and WhoWhatWear rounded up their top shorts for summer. 

* Oh and Rachel Zoe is pregnant again? BA-NANAS.

* Because it's been hot and only going to get hotter. These. We've officially entered Summer!! 





I mean.

Cheers y'all!






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