BIG news!

For those of you who haven’t heard, my hubby and I recently relocated back to the Bay Area! We are all settled into our new place and I will post pictures once I get around to hanging art on the walls and making the bed. Right now, I am in “recovery mode”. Moving really takes it out of you….yes, I know they say it’s one of the most stressful things that happen in life and now I am on board with that statistic. This move nearly destroyed me. But, I am still here and back to blogging again! 

One of the biggest changes I have encountered with the move has been the extreme weather in the Bay! Apparently we moved up here on the COLDEST week the East Bay has ever seen. I know other parts of the country are seriously freezing, but I’ve never lived in a climate this cold before and I am just trying to survive at this point! It’s been in the 20’s at times, and I’ve had to make several Target runs, for cold-weather essentials. Here are a couple of my favorite cold weather looks for this Holiday season….

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Happy Holiday season to all of you out there! Stay warm!

 

 

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Cinnamon Maple Breakfast Quinoa

I’m coming to you from my couch, on this chilly Saturday eve. Exciting, I know. It was either this or get in bed…being that it’s 8pm, I chose to NOT be a 90 year old woman & be productive. Plus, I figured that some of you may need a new breakfast recipe for your Sunday morning. So, here you go. You’re welcome. 

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This recipe is so easy, its ridiculous. 

Prep time: 3 min. Cook Time: 7 min.

What you’ll need:

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for garnish
2 teaspoons butter
milk or cream, to taste
maple syrup, to taste
banana slices

(Optional: add Chia &/or Flax Seeds for added nutrients and flavor)

Instructions:

Place quinoa in water and rinse well.

Drain quinoa, then stir in 1 cup cold water, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon butter (I personally only use Earth Balance). Microwave on high for 4 minutes. Stir and microwave 3 more minutes. Remove from microwave, cover with foil and sit 2 minutes. Fluff quinoa and stir in remaining butter. Divide between 2 bowls and top with almond milk, maple syrup, banana slices and cinnamon to taste. *You can use Agave (plain or vanilla flavored) instead of Maple Syrup to cut down on the sugar.

 

5 surprising uses for coconut oil

So, it seems that lately I’ve gone a little coo coo for coconut oil. It’s kind of taking over my life & I get the feeling that my husband thinks I’m nuts. But seriously, I need to reign it in a little and stop being so obsessive over this wonderfully, perfect product. Whoops, there I go again.

Here’s the bottom line: Naturally gluten & dairy free, fights diseases, stabilizes blood sugar, packed with medium-chain triglycerides (fatty acids that deeply nourish the skin) & contains an SPF of 10 (meaning it blocks out 90% of the sun’s UV-B rays)….need I say more? If I could marry a food, we’d be hitched by now.

Ladies (and Gents), the best thing about this product? IT’S CHEAP! For a jar of cold-pressed, organic, virgin coconut oil (16 oz jar) you’ll spend about $5.99! I’m practically jumping out of my seat. I know, I’m a huge nerd.

What you may not already know, is that there are hundreds of uses for this stuff. I’ve compiled a list of 5 surprising uses, in hopes that you’ll buy yourself a jar & join me in my love for this little gem.

Makeup Remover

Coconut oil removes EVERY trace of makeup, including mascara (even waterproof)! Since trying it, I ditched my name brand makeup remover & only use coconut oil now. The drug-store makeup remover you’re currently using is most likely full of preservatives–some of them very toxic &/or carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Why not make this simple switch? It’s not messy either because, when stored in a cool place, it remains in its solid state. Also, it is super hydrating for the under eye area!

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Deodorant

This one really surprised me! How could this really work? Well, I’m here to tell you the facts: It does work & I’m currently in the process of making the change from drug-store deodorant to coconut oil. Deodorants have SO many ingredients in them, while coconut oil contains just one. The long list of ingredients in deodorant are placed in the product to keep us from sweating/excreting toxins. If these toxins do not leave our body, just imagine how harmful this must be. Things like propylene glycol (which is a component in ANTIFREEZE) and aluminum (this has been linked to Alzheimer’s and breast cancer) are in traditional deodorants, guys. Using coconut oil is a great alternative to even the “natural deodorants”…which, to be fair, are actually pretty clean but still contain ingredients that I can’t pronounce and claim to have “natural fragrance”. Where do they derive the natural fragrance from?? After reading this, I am hoping you’ll give this idea a chance!

Moisturizer & Lip Balm

About a year ago I ditched my brand name ridiculously overpriced face moisturizer & swapped it for coconut oil. My skin absolutely loves it! It contains so many healing properties, penetrates the layers of the skin on a deep level & naturally helps clear away dead skin cells! This all applies to your lips as well. It heals cracks and chapped lips in no time at all! By doing this, you will save money & love the results it gives your skin! It also contains an SPF of 10 & can be layered with your daily sunscreen.

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Bug Repellant

Yeah, weirdest use for coconut oil ever, I know. But, it works! By making your own, you’re avoiding those pesky chemicals (like DEET) that comprise main-stream bug spray.  Luckily, we don’t have to spend hours perfecting the perfect, natural bug repellant recipe…someone has already done it for us! Here is the link for the spray:

CLICK HERE

Helps with Nausea

Is there anything this oil can’t do?! Rub a small amount of coconut oil on the inside of your wrists to help calm your upset tummy. Great for infants & toddlers since it’s all natural & chemical free!

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Friends, if you end up trying out any of these ideas, let me know what you think….I would love your feedback!

Tis the season for sweaters

It is OFFICIALLY the Holiday season, guys! I am so excited and have been secretly playing Christmas music in my car. This stays here. The truth is, I am obsessed with this time of year and that is partly because I get to start wearing cozy sweaters, cute leggings and fun boots. Let’s be honest…nothing beats a great sweater. Tomorrow, I will attempt to make the switch. I will pull out my summer clothes and store them away until next year…under the bed…far, far away. It’s time to pull out our comfy clothes, gals! Let’s get this show on the road! 

Cheers to a cozy season, full of scarves and sweaters!

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My European Vacation: Lessons in packing

I’m back! After spending two weeks in Europe, traveling with the hubby, I couldn’t wait to blog about some of our adventures and of course….what I packed! First, you should know that I HATE packing for trips. I won’t lie, It overwhelms me. Probably because I stress myself out thinking, “What If I forget something?!” The best piece of advice, given to me before I left for Paris, was, “Em, If you forget something, buy it there. The French are civilized people…not cavemen.” This somehow helped me immensely.

Packing the ‘ole suitcase was still a week long slow process for me, being that I’d never been to France or Italy…I had no clue what to bring! Thanks to my good friend google and the advice from people who had already been there, I was able to put together some great outfits and make sure I packed all the essentials. I thought I’d packed my bags like a champ, until reality set in: I’d seriously overpacked.

 If I could do it over again, I would bring a SMALL, rolling suitcase, that could double as a backpack. Stubbornly, I brought the largest bag I owned, with all the bells and whistles that a suitcase can have, and quickly learned my lesson. 

It is important to remember that in Europe, elevators are a thing of the future. I carried my small elephant of a bag up MANY flights of stairs and onto several trains and even had to RUN with it at times. Not a pretty sight. But, nevertheless, I wanted to share with you the items that I loved wearing in Europe, and the things I COULD NOT have lived without. So, here they are…in no particular order:

1. A couple of fun scarves. I loved my leopard and floral print ones;

2.Comfy shoes, that can endure cobblestone. I chose these Steve Madden Booties;

3.My military Jacket from Nordstrom (I wore this a LOT);  

4. Fun Jewelry from H&M.

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I hope this has helped all of you travelers out there! Take my advice and pack the basics, bring items that you know you’ll wear and don’t stress–whatever you need you can always buy when you get to your destination!

Cheers to packing LIGHT!

 

Fall in love

Happy Friday everyone!
As we transition out of summer and into fall, it is crucial that our beauty routine follows suit. With that said, I wanted to give you all a look into my personal makeup bag, to share my absolute favorite beauty items!
This fall, I have been drawn to maroon and neutral color palettes. I LOVE the look of a natural, daytime look and a dark nail color. This can easily transition to a nighttime look by adding a smokey eye, or a touch of Laura Mercier’s “Black Karat” eyeshadow–the color is dark green with specks of gold. STUNNING! It’s no secret that Laura’s “Spellbound” Illuminator is my latest obsession. It gives you that natural glow you’ve always wanted, while creating perfect looking skin.
About a month ago, my friend Brooke, from somewherelately.com, told me about the worlds BEST drugstore mascara. I had purchased it and fallen in love within the hour. I will never give up my L’oreal Telescopic mascara! It works wonders and is totally affordable!
I hope you find a little Fall inspiration today, and have fun updating your look with this new season!
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A Sideboard Love Story

As newlyweds, we started out with very little furniture. We combined several pieces, most of which did not match or really belong in our new home….at all. We found a small brown leather couch and a coffee table at a local consignment store and bought our bed from my co-worker. We didn’t need much as our place was an overpriced micro-loft pretty tiny. As the months and seasons passed, I realized that there was something missing in our new home. Something I had eyed at retail stores and coveted for years. A dark, wooden sideboard. I had always imagined having guests over for hand-crafted cocktails, listening to Miles Davis, all while discussing California’s global economic ranking. Ok, but seriously….I just wanted to be able to mix a dry martini for a girlfriend now and then.

Feeling hopeful, I set out on my sideboard hunt. Still on a “newlywed budget”, I began to wonder what I could realistically buy that would capture the look I was going for . Then, there it was. A HUGE, red and white “SALE” sign! It was a gift from God. So, I took that gift straight home and set up shop in my entry-way. To this day, it is still one of my favorite pieces, not because it was the most expensive, or that it is incredibly unique but because it represents our first year of marriage together. It represents the hunt for something you desperately desire. It represents the gratitude you receive when you’ve been patient enough to wait for it.

Allow me to introduce to you, my first grownup piece of furniture: My on-sale sideboard.

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Coconut Vanilla Protein Pancakes

BREAKFAST….It’s my favorite meal of the day. Sadly, this poor meal does not get enough credit or appreciation from its fans. I mean, we spend anywhere from 7-8 hours sleeping….shouldn’t we celebrate the very first meal we have after our food hiatus? I think so! So here it is, a celebratory post about pancakes. These are not your ordinary pancakes…they’re packed full of protein, metabolism boosters and FLAVOR! Yes, you can have all 3 things in a recipe 🙂

One thing that I strongly recommend you use for the creation of this recipe is a food processor. It mixes the ingredients to perfection and gives the pancakes the perfect consistency! 

Without further delay…..here is the recipe:

2 tbsp spelt flour
2 tbsp almond meal
3 tbsp protein powder (I used Trader Joe’s Vanilla Protein)
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp chia seeds
1 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
1 egg white
4 tbsp almond milk

 

instructions:

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  Then add wet ingredients and stir together.  Heat a pan and spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour 2 tbsp of batter to form each pancake.  Cook a few minutes. Once it starts to bubble on top, flip and cook an additional minute or two.  You’ll get exactly 4 pancakes if you measure (and use a spatula to scrape the bowl).

Serve with you toppings of choice.  One delish way to serve it is with some extra coconut and a maple syrup/yogurt combo (2-3 tbsp greek yogurt + 1 tbsp maple syrup + water to thin it out).  YUM.

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Fall, finally

It is the season that I eagerly await all year long: Fall. After spending my first summer living in Orange County, I am so very relieved as the tourists slip away and the weather gets dreamier with each moment. The sun has shifted in the sky, creating a beautiful, luminous glow through the tree’s leaves and the stores are full of autumn decor!  Fall brings so much…festivities, dinner parties & cocktails cider, beautiful colors and most of all, tradition. I am a huge advocate of traditions in our household, and although it’s just my husband, me and my two little pups, there is nothing more special than making memories. I crave it. I live for it. We have been talking, lately, about our future traditions for our family and how they will capture who we are. I love the idea of camping together, going Christmas-caroling as a family and spending holiday eves snuggled up, reading our favorite books. Since we do not have kids yet, we started two new traditions last year, in our new hometown, that really speak to who we are right now…..

1) Our 1st Annual Themed-Halloween Party

2) Pumpkin Carving night in, with my niece and nephew

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Both traditions turned out to be hugely successful, and we are so excited to re-create these events again this year!

Last year, we hosted a “Madmen” themed Halloween party & it was a hit! The outfits, the vintage cocktails and the music were all on point, and I must say that our friends really know how to bring their A-game when it comes to theme parties. Side note: Who knew Gibson’s were so delicious?!

Stay tuned for this year’s  Halloween theme! It’s going to be epic.

I hope everyone is enjoying the first glimpses of the most enjoyable season!

Meet the girl behind the glow

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was play “beauty shop”. I would set up my hairdressing station, and all of my tools, and invite my clients into my salon (I didn’t realize it at the time, but my father was my only client).  As I would dye my clients’ hair, we would talk about life….the weather, his new job and how my children were doing. Apparently I had 7 of them. Gulp.

Fast forward to today: I love everything beauty. Makeup, skincare, hair, etc.  After college, I decided that getting a desk job would be the “responsible” thing to do. I lasted 2 months. A week after I left that job, I was enthusiastically enrolled in beauty school. I LOVED it! Every day, I would arrive early, sit in my desk and soak up every bit of information. After our morning lecture, it was time for us to practice facials on one another. I couldn’t WAIT to start learning the steps and playing with all of the fun skincare and makeup. I have been a licensed esthetician for 4 years now and am so grateful that I chose to purse my lifelong dream! The story does not end there though. 

Exactly a year ago, this month, my hubby and I up and moved from our home in Northern California and moved to Southern California. Why, you may ask? We have both wanted to live by the beach our whole lives and decided that there was never going to be a better time. So, we packed up a u-haul, full of everything we owned (which really wasn’t much) and our two puppies, and set out on our journey! A year later, we are happy and completely in love with our new home. Oh, I left out a small detail: two weeks after we moved, my husband’s sister, brother in-law and their two sweet incredibly irresistible kids moved too! We now live walking distance away from one another. My heart is full! 

As you enter my world here, in this blog, I hope that you will be inspired to try something new, take the road less traveled and join me in this fun, exciting thing we call LIFE.

Welcome to my journey!

LOVE,

Emily

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