Away Luggage

June 1, 2018

Categories: Travel

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The Carry-On

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The Medium

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Away Luggage:  The Carry-on.  The Medium.

Suitcase Contents:  Shiseido Makeup Wipes.  Face Primer.  Perfect Color-Change Lipstick.  Volumizing Lip Serum.  Naked 2 Palette.  Chanel Perfume.  T3 Hair Dryer.  T3 Curling Iron (1.5″ Attached).  “The Distant Hours”.  Shinola Watch.  Rose Gold Strap.  iPhone X.  Chloé Drew Bag.  Moncler Vest.  Cozy Zip-Up.  Favorite Jeans.  Suede Loafers (Similar Color).  Chloé Flats.


I remember the first “nice” suitcase I bought myself. I was studying at FIT in New York for the summer and Bloomingdale’s was having a luggage sale. I decided it was time to upgrade from my leopard print T.J. Maxx bag when I saw a large, black fabric Samsonite I liked and I excitedly rolled it up to the counter. But after a few trips with my new bag, I realized how annoying and dysfunctional it actually was. The woman at the United check-in desk peered over the counter and said, “That bag is overweight; you’ll have to take something out.” I opened up my suitcase, which was nearly empty, and removed my small toiletry kit. I could see by the look of shock on her face she expected the suitcase to be stuffed full. But even without my toiletry bag, it was still overweight. A sweater and pair of boots later, my carry-on now held more than my suitcase and the suitcase was still overweight. Years later, I “gifted” this problem suitcase to my husband and even he, with his minimalist packing tendencies, complains about how heavy it is. And that’s just one of the many awful suitcases I’ve splurged on and regretted later. I’ve quickly learned that more expensive does not equal more durable or more functional when it comes to luggage.

This year, one of our resolutions is to travel more. We don’t yet have children and we have a laundry list of destinations we’d like to see. So for our anniversary, I gifted my husband (and myself, technically… aren’t those the best gifts?!) a set of Away suitcases. I have had several luggage companies reach out to me, but after so many misses in the past I wanted to do my research and choose my own bag, free of posting guidelines and sponsored content in case I was disappointed. So this review is completely unbiased. I read stellar reviews on these bags, I’ve tried them out, and I loved them so much I had to share them with you.

Like most people, I was initially drawn to the Away carry-on because of the handy charging feature; a little pop-out charging battery that allows you to charge two devices while on the go. I’m always on my phone capturing photos and memories when we’re traveling and the ability to charge up during a layover or while waiting for a hotel room has proven to be a useful feature. The lightweight design is easy to roll around an airport and the snug, tucked-in compartments on either side allow me to open the bag and access my laptop without all the contents flying out. As you can see in the photos above, this carryon holds a lot. You can pack an extra change of clothes and shoes, essential toiletries, and in-flight entertainment with room to spare.

I chose this beautiful denim blue color because it’s my husband’s favorite color and because it complements both black and brown when paired with other tote bags or duffels. For our checked bags, I went with the medium size in the hopes it would satisfy any European luggage size requirements and European rental cars. Since traveling with these bags to Aspen and to Seattle I’ve been pleasantly surprised with this lightweight bag’s packing capacity; it keeps clothes and toiletries securely organized in both sides of the bag while somehow offering space for anything we might pick up along the way. And like the carry-on, the design of the medium-sized luggage allows me to unzip my bag without the contents spilling everywhere. We are currently booking more adventures for this year and we can’t wait to take these along.

Tips & Tricks

  • Another great option to add onto these bags is Away’s monogram-able Tile luggage tag; a tiny location-enabled device hidden in the luggage tag that is active for one year and allows you to locate luggage from your phone anywhere in the world. No matter what the airline says, you’ll know exactly where your bags are located.
  • Take a peek at Away’s new aluminum collection. These durable bags are less expensive than many other brands on the market and their sleek design is gorgeous. I’m particularly fond of the aluminum carry-on for protecting my camera and laptop.
  • If you’re going to invest in two pieces of luggage or more, be sure to bundle them on Away’s website for a discount. They offer discounts on a set of two suitcases and on a carry-on and personal bag combo.

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Hoh Rainforest Hall of Mosses Trail

May 23, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Similar Hat.  Similar Vest.  Denim Shirt.  Suede Hobo Bag.  Black Denim Jeans.  Leather Sneakers.


After exploring the romantic, misty-gray La Push Beach, we headed to Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park for a short hike. This region of Washington receives 12-14 feet of rainfall each year and the results of that nearly constant precipitation are evident; lush ferns, trees hung with moss, and vines delicately sweeping from tree to tree. The Hall of Mosses Trail is a walkable 0.8 mile loop trail within Hoh Rainforest that offers breathtaking views of moss-covered trees with a comfortable 100-foot elevation change. A quick note when speaking of hiking… These leather sneakers have quickly stolen my heart; they are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn and put up with quite the beatings during this trip!

The trail took us about an hour to complete and that includes all the time we spent taking photos and practicing with our new landscape lens we purchased just before the trip. If you’re a photographer you will love this location and the incredible shots it offers right from the trail; it’s perfect for practicing and we saw photographers of every skill level throughout the trail. The lighting shining through the trees and moss can challenge even the most prepared photographer, so teach yourself the basics of ISO and shutter speed before you go. Knowing how to lighten certain areas of an image after shooting can help as well.

Hoh Rainforest is not one to be missed. Even the drive to the parking lot deep inside the rainforest amazed me and gave me an idea of the sheer vastness of this beautiful forest. We packed fresh fruit to eat back at the car after our hike as an afternoon snack and I would suggest doing this because we didn’t notice many cafes or restaurants in the area around the Hoh Rainforest. The snack was all we needed and we drove back to Seattle and had a late room service dinner at the hotel.

More From Our Trip:

La Push Beach

Pike Place Market


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Royal Wedding Party Planning

May 12, 2018

Categories: Events, Lifestyle

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royal wedding party favors

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Monogrammed Napkins.  ‘Party Like Royalty’ Banner.  Balloons.  Teacup.  Saucer.


A few years ago, one of our family friends met Meghan Markle on vacation and told me to take a peek at her website, The Tig. I admired Meghan for the way she empowered and uplifted women in her posts and the way she spoke about fashion and lifestyle in an easy, relatable way. Fast forward and she’s fallen in love with Prince Harry; set to become the first American to marry into the royal family since Wallis Simpson in 1937.

Since we Americans are without a royal family, it seems especially fun to witness and celebrate a wedding like this one. I bought a few things to celebrate with my girlfriends, including this life-size cardboard cut-out that has startled my dogs and myself more than a few times when walking into the room where its stored. If you’re looking for party supplies, check out Joessa and Two Funny Girls TX – I found the cutest pieces in their shops!

Only a week left! Will you be watching?


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La Push Beach

May 11, 2018

Categories: Travel

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Hat: Hunter for Target.  Cashmere Scarf: Helmut Lang.  (Similar Scarf.)  Jacket: John Partridge.  (Similar Jacket.)  Denim Shirt: J.Crew.  Quilted Vest: Ralph Lauren.  (Similar Vest.)  Black Jeans: Citizens of Humanity.  Leather Sneakers: Josef Seibel.  Suede Bag: India Hicks.  John’s Shoes: Frye.


I had read about La Push beach on the Quileute Indian Reservation in the Twilight books and had always been curious if it was as beautiful as the scenes the book and movies depicted. Little did we know, this gray sand beach would be one of our favorite places we experienced on our Washington trip.

After driving through a lush green forest, we pulled up and looked down on La Push through the gray mist. Something about it felt so moody and romantic; the mist hanging in the air, the brilliant green seaweed coating the rocks, and the piles of bleached driftwood lining the outer edge of the beach. It was a photographer’s dream and I instantly fell in love with this magical place.

I’ve been to lots of sunny, bright beaches but there’s something really special about a moody, misty one like La Push. The Quileute tribe is a fascinating one; if you go to La Push, be sure to do a little reading about their culture and their unique language beforehand. We had lunch at the River’s Edge overlooking an inlet off La Push; we were craving burgers and fries and this place hit the spot. And… If you are a Twilight fan, snap a photo of the “No Vampires” sign as you enter the town.

A little note about this jacket because you’ll see it often in my upcoming Washington posts. My parents got this for me one summer when we were fishing in Scotland and I was freezing cold. I think I was only eight years old and the jacket hit me at my knees with the sleeves cuffed up to the jacket’s elbows. This is a great lesson in buying quality items that last forever. Each time I wear this jacket, I think of memories with my family… And now new memories with my husband. And aren’t those most-cherished items the best?

More From Our Trip:

Hoh Rainforest

Pike Place Market


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Mother’s Day Baskets

May 2, 2018

Categories: Lifestyle

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Large Basket.  Small Basket.  Small Basket on Amazon Prime.  Paper Grass.  Wired Ribbon.  Similar Flower Garland.

Tea Kettle:  Mackenzie-Childs.  Favorite Tea:  Tea Forte.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas Post


With one mother’s birthday this month and Mother’s Day arriving in just a couple of weeks, I wanted to put together something special for the leading ladies in our lives. I had an idea of a basket with beautiful flowers and charming ribbon, so I just went to work searching for the perfect pieces and I got started on these pretty little baskets. They turned out just how I had hoped and they were so easy to put together, I wanted to share with you in case you needed a little Mother’s Day inspo. These baskets will make any gift look more beautiful and impressive; just fill it with a few of your mama’s favorite things.

Need some gift suggestions? Take a peek at my Mother’s Day Gift Ideas post.

Step One:  Fill Your Basket

I found the smaller, darker basket at Hobby Lobby; it was the largest of a set of three and I’m 90% sure it’s from this set I found online. (I also like the shape and color of this basket style at Hobby Lobby.) And if you’re concerned about shipping time, this is a beautiful basket available on Amazon Prime. For my mother-in-law’s gift, I had to find a basket with handles that allowed for the taller box, so I chose this one on Amazon. It arrived and was so beautiful – well made and the perfect size for stashing throws, guest towels, or pillows. I’m contemplating reordering one for myself!

If your basket is larger, you may want to stuff the bottom before scattering your paper grass on top. I stuffed the larger basket with packing paper at the bottom because I wanted the gifts inside to peek out the top. Then just add the paper grass, pulling the strands apart as you go for a fuller, more fluffy look. Before you add the last of the paper grass, tuck in your gifts and then place the remainder of the grass around them.

Step Two:  Attach Garland and Ribbon

Since Spring makes us think of sweet baby animals, sunshine, and flowers popping up everywhere, the flower garland is an integral part of this gift basket. I wasn’t able to find the exact version I used on Hobby Lobby’s website, but I was able to find a similar version available on Amazon Prime. I cut my garland in half and used one half on each basket.

My hot glue gun is my best friend when it comes to projects like this. I placed a little ball of hot glue and held the end of the garland down until the glue dried. Then I used a safety pin to secure the garland into the basket. If your section of garland is long enough, you’ll be able to weave it into a hole in the basket and place a bit of hot glue to secure.

You’ll want wired ribbon specifically because it looks really beautiful in bow form and can be shaped however you want. I loved this ribbon because the ivory satin trim balances out the rustic feel of the burlap. Tie a bow around the handle and maybe a bow or two on the gifts inside… And your beautiful basket is ready to be gifted!


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Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

April 27, 2018

Categories: Holiday, Lifestyle

2018 mothers day gift ideas

Coffee Mug.  Tinted Lip Balm.  Scarf.  Tea Kettle.  Hand Wash and Lotion Set.  Bow Slippers.  Tote Bag.  Leather Tassel Keychain.  Initial Necklace.  Queen Bee Slippers.  Blue Pajamas.  Floral Pajamas.  Pink Striped Pajamas.  Pajama Set – Plus Size Version.


Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 13th and we have just over two weeks to find that perfect something to thank our mothers for all they do for us! I’ve compiled a collection of products that any mama will love. I own and use all of these items and can speak to their beautiful quality and cozy comfort so if you have any questions, please send them my way. What are you picking up for your mother and mother-in-law this month?

1. Mackenzie-Childs Coffee Mug

Available Here

The sweetest handmade ceramic mug that will keep her coffee or tea warm and make her smile every time she sees it. This ‘parchment check’ color goes perfectly in our living space with its delicate cream palette and hints of French blue and soft green.

2. India Hicks Tinted Lip Balm

Available Here

Shea butter, aloe, and beeswax soothe and nourish dry lips with just a hint of delicate pink color. This product is always in my bag and is one of my travel bag essentials.

3. India Hicks Gray and Coral Scarf

Available Here

These scarves are my favorite for everyday wear; they’re priced at a friendly $58 and they can be washed. I love wearing these wrapped around my neck or shoulders, but they’re also the perfect size for a beach pareo.

4. Mackenzie-Childs Tea Kettle

Available Here

I’m not sure there’s anything more adorable than this 3-quart tea kettle sitting out on our stovetop. I make a kettle of tea each day, so this tea kettle is as useful as it is beautiful.

5. India Hicks Hand Wash and Hand Lotion Set

Available Here

I gave this set to my mother and mother-in-law last year for Mother’s Day and both of them commented on the beautiful packaging and the delicate floral scent. We have this scent in all our bathrooms as well; ‘Casuarina’ is such a soft floral it won’t clash with personal fragrances and men don’t mind using it.

6. Ugg Bow Slippers

Available Here

These shearling slippers feel ultra-luxe on feet and the giant satin bow is so cute. I wear slippers almost nonstop in our home because we don’t allow shoes in the house, but my feet get so cold sometimes! Currently 40% off, these slippers make the perfect gift to keep your mama’s feet toasty all year long.

7. India Hicks Leather-Trimmed Tote Bag

Available Here

This is one of my favorite totes for both travel and pool days. The soft cream and beige beetle print fabric is effortlessly chic, trimmed with butter-soft tan leather. It’s the perfect size to stash my essentials, laptop, and a scarf… Or my sunscreens, flip flops, and a beach pareo.

8. India Hicks Metallic Gold Leather Tassel Keychain

Available Here

This gold leather tassel keychain feels high quality and heavy; perfect for toting around your keys or for adding as an accent to a handbag or tote. Might I suggest adding it to the front of the Mayfair tote?!

9. Patricia Green Queen Bee Slippers

Available Here

These chic little linen slippers have a raised footbed that gives them a chic look; I don’t feel quite so “sleepwear” when I wear these around the house. In fact, they look quite cute with a simple white tee and a pair of ankle jeans. What better way to remind your mama she is, in fact, the queen bee?!

10/11/12. My Favorite Pajamas

These pajamas are all from the same brand because it is my absolute favorite. They feel so soft and cozy; honestly, slipping them on after a long soak in the bath feels like heaven. And they wash up beautifully too. If you like your sleepwear to fit more closely to your body, order one size down. But I prefer really loose, slightly oversized pajamas so I ordered my usual size. The blue and pink striped pajamas are in the really soft, almost silky-cotton material I love so much. (Plus size version here.) But I also included the soft cotton floral pajamas I added to my closet this month; they are more cotton and less jersey than the other sets if that makes sense!


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Best Products for Dry Skin

April 20, 2018

Categories: Beauty

best products for dry hair


I didn’t have dry, sensitive skin until I moved to Colorado. When I lived in the Midwest, my skin was combination-oily and I used to think people were insane for complaining about their dry skin. At the time, I was simply trying to keep my makeup from sliding around my face and fighting my hair falling flat in the oppressive humidity with a series of volumizing mousses and sprays. Quite frankly, dry hair and skin sounded like a dream to me. And then I moved to Colorado.

As I unpacked my boxes that first winter, I experienced the full-blown effects of Colorado’s climate and I understood what ‘dry skin’ really meant. Within a few weeks my lips were split and bleeding, the tops of my hands were chapped, and my heels were cracked; my skin actually hurt. I remember thinking there was no possible way I could ever survive in such a dry climate, but I had already fallen in love with my Denver man and there was no going back, so I spent the next three years trying to find products that would save my hair, skin, and body from the dry Denver climate.

Products for dry and sensitive skin is one of the things I get the most questions about on social media, so I wanted to be sure this post was as comprehensive as possible to answer all your questions and help heal your hair/skin/body!

Details on the Sephora VIB Sale:  Only through Monday, April 23rd… Sephora VIB Rouge members can take 15% off their orders with code YAYROUGE, VIB members can take 15% off their orders with YAYVIB, Beauty Insiders can take 10% off with code YAYINSIDER. Shop now at Sephora.com.


Hair

1. Aveda Pramāsana Purifying Scalp Cleanser

Available Here

Sometimes what we assume is dry scalp is actually just buildup from hair products. This scalp cleanser gently cleanses the scalp pre-shampoo and removes all traces of dry shampoo and hairspray buildup. If you do have a dry scalp (I tend to just have dry hair) you can apply the Aveda Protective Scalp Concentrate after your shower.

2. Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 Treatment

Available Here – VIB Sale!

This healing hair mask is designed to strengthen and protect the structure of damaged hair. And it really works. This product healed my hair and helped me to go from blonde back to brunette. Once a week I like to apply this treatment to my dry hair halfway down to the ends, twist it up in a claw clip, and let this miracle product work its magic while I do things around the house before I shower. The longer I leave it, the better this product works!

3. Amika Soulfood Nourishing Mask

Available Here – VIB Sale!

I love the scent and creamy-smooth texture of this hair mask. It doesn’t heal my hair the way the Olaplex above does, but it does smooth ends and hydrate my hair. I like switching back and forth between the Amika and the Olaplex each week for soft, hydrated hair.

4. Le Labo Scrub Shampoo

Available Here

This refreshingly gritty shampoo feels like a scrub for the scalp. Whether you have a dry scalp and need to exfoliate or you just have a lot of product buildup, this is a great product to add into your haircare routine. I like using this once a week to exfoliate my scalp, but my husband uses it nearly every day to help wash out his pomade.

5. Unite 7Seconds Leave-In Detangler

Available Here

A huge part of keeping my hair hydrated is protecting it against breakage. After my shower, I spritz several sprays of this product halfway down and through the ends, then I comb through my damp hair with a wide-tooth comb. It smells refreshing and makes the comb glide through my hair like water while conditioning and protecting against breakage. I also like using this on second or third day hair to moisturize my ends.

6. Kérastase Elixir Ultime

Available Here

I was introduced to this magical potion several months ago and it has changed my life! It’s unlike any other oil I’ve used. I apply two pumps of this oil on my ends after the leave-in detangler. It heals and moisturizes my hair without weighing it down, making my ends shiny and soft. If I had to choose any product for my dry hair, it would be this one.

7. Unite U Oil

Available Here

This is another hair oil I like to use. It’s really just a personal preference between the two!

8. Kérastase Nutritive Nectar Thermique

Available Here

This creamy hair treatment goes onto damp hair halfway down and into the ends after the detangler and oil. I use a quarter-sized amount. It smells incredible and it nourishes hair with lipids and proteins, making it soft and bouncy.

Hair Products

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Skin

1. L’Occitane Reine Blanche Illuminating Scrub

Available Here

This gentle scrub has the most perfectly sized exfoliating beads for a refined, smooth complexion. I use this every other day and I love the way it brightens and refreshes my skin.

2. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate

Available Here – VIB Sale!

I apply this to my skin in the shower, gently rubbing it onto my face for about 20 seconds to activate the lactic acid and fruit enzymes that exfoliate skin, then leaving it on for 2 minutes in the steam. It’s a great way to get brighter, smoother skin without the facial appointment.

3. Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

Available Here

This luxurious cleansing balm removes dirt, makeup, and grime while moisturizing skin. Made up of rose and mimosa waxes and elderberry and starflower oils, this product smells like a trip to the spa. I like applying this to dry skin then splashing a little water on my hands and massaging to remove all my makeup at night.

4. Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil

Available Here – VIB Sale!

This cleansing oil is moisturizing and gentle on my skin, but still manages to remove makeup and product. I like using the Cleansing Balm I mentioned above at night to remove makeup and then I use this in the mornings or daytime to cleanse my skin in the mornings and/or post-workout.

5. Peter Thomas Roth Hydra-Gel Eye Patches

Available Here – VIB Sale!

These anti-aging eye patches are infused with 24K gold and colloidal gold to help lift and firm the eye area. I use these post-shower and leave them on for 10 minutes before I apply the rest of my skincare and makeup. They help hydrate and plump my under-eye area and provide a smooth canvas for my makeup.

6. L’Occitane Pivoine Sublime Flash Moisture Mask

Available Here

I did a previous blog post with L’Occitane on these mask pods. They are little miracle workers that pack a punch. This Flash Moisture Mask is my current favorite because it hydrates skin in just 10 minutes. Try this mask before you apply your makeup, whether at night or in the morning; you’ll love the glow they give your skin.

7. La Mer The Tonic

Available Here – VIB Sale!

This is my daytime toner. I apply it after cleansing and it removes any trace amounts of makeup or product, tightens pores, and gently hydrates skin.

8. Pixi Skintreats Glow Tonic

Available Here

This is the toner I use at night. It contains glycolic acid, which gently exfoliates to reveal healthy, glowing skin.

9. Lift Lab Lift + Firm Eye Cream

Available Here

This eye cream is one of the only I’ve tried that actually improves my dark circles. The science behind it? Aquafill reduces wrinkles and Glucosyl Hesperidin and Niacinimide help to lighten dark circles. Try it for two weeks and I bet you’ll notice your eye area looking brighter!

10. Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

Available Here – VIB Sale!

This silky, luxe oil is made from soothing rose oil and plant-derived squalane. Vitamin C helps our skin create collagen and fights free radicals. I love layering this product on after my toner and sometimes I even mix a drop or two in with my foundation for a more dewy, fresh look.

11. Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer

Available Here – VIB Sale!

The perfect lightweight gel moisturizer for daytime use. Plant-derived squalane acts as a barrier against the loss of moisture during the day.

12. La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream

Available Here – VIB Sale!

I fell in love with this luxe face cream as soon as I learned the proper way to apply it. Instead of smearing it all over your face, tap the product between your fingers until it emulsifies, then melt it into your skin. I like using this as my night cream but it also can soothe and soften dry skin during the day. It’s incredible; there’s a reason this product has a cult following.

13. La Mer The Perfecting Treatment

Available Here

The perfecting treatment is an extra dose of hydration I like to apply after my daytime moisturizer. It softly blurs pores and creates a smooth canvas for makeup. This is a combination between a moisturizer and a primer. If you live in a humid climate, you may be able to

14. Sara Happ Lip Scrub

Available Here

This brand has updated their packaging since I got mine, but it goes to show you how long this luxe lip scrub lasts. I keep mine in my shower and use it every day or so to exfoliate my lips. It removes dead skin, but it also contains soothing oils to help hydrate lips and prep them for lipstick application.

15. Dior Crème de Rose Balm

Available Here

When I was looking for the link to this product, I realized they might this sitebe discontinuing it! I was only able to find it on and it’s going for twice the price on eBay. It has a cult following because of its creamy, soft texture and beautiful light pink color. It smells like a dream and it gently plumps lips while protecting them with SPF 10. In other words, stock up.

16. Lansinoh HPA Lanolin

Available Here

Bear with me here… This is nipple cream for breastfeeding mamas. I learned about this trick in the beauty program I was in. If you have cracked lips, there is nothing more soothing than lanolin. It’s natural, safe, and heals and protects like nothing else. I keep a tube of this in my bag at all times and another in my bathroom cabinet to apply before bed.

Skin Products

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Body

1. Amopé Pedi Perfect

Available Here

I know these things seem like one of those As Seen on TV products, but they really work. I’ve linked the new version that can be used both wet and dry; the earlier version I have can only be used on dry skin. I suggest sitting in your shower or tub and exfoliating your feet and heels while they are dry once a week or so. This tool works better than any foot file or callus remover I’ve tried before. Even pedicures often don’t get my feet as soft as this does.

2. Kiehls Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish

Available Here – VIB Sale!

This body polish really is a body polish; it’s gentle, soothing formula differs from most harsh body scrubs on the market. Shea and jojoba butters and almond oil hydrate skin as you exfoliate, then honey and soy milk soothe and protect skin even after your shower.

3. L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

Available Here – VIB Sale!

This product is one of those ‘game changers’ we fall in love with and repurchase every 3 months; it will change your life if you have dry skin! This gentle almond oil transforms into a creamy foam with water, making it the most soothing and hydrating body wash you’ve ever tried. But my favorite way to use this is as a shave cream; when I shave with it, my skin stays moisturized even after my shower. It’s incredible.

Note: It looks like Sephora only has the travel size in stock (perfect to try out) but if you’d like the full size, it’s available here.

4. Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Crème Body Wash

Available Here

This is the more liquid, less moisturizing sister of the Honey Bath I’ve mentioned below. Both have the same incredible scent and both are hydrating. If you’re having difficulty deciding, think of this version for showers and the below version for baths and gifting to others.

Note: This is typically available at Sephora, but is currently sold out due to the VIB sale so I’ve linked at another store where it is available.

5. Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Honey Bath

Available Here – VIB Sale!

My mom and I gift this product to each other every Christmas. It’s our favorite because the luxe, honey-like formula hydrates skin with the most delicious crème brûlée fragrance. Drizzle a little into your bath (featured in this bath caddy blog post) or use it as foaming body wash when you shower. Like I said, it also makes the perfect gift!

6. Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Soufflé Body Crème

Available Here – VIB Sale!

If you’re already addicted to the decadent scent of Laura Mercier’s Crème Brûlée products, you need to add this thick, creamy body moisturizer to your collection. It’s perfect for dry skin and I like to use it on hands, elbows, knees, and feet in the summer. The scent blends beautifully with most fragrances and… As a bonus, men love it.

7. Clarins Moisture-Rich Body Lotion

Available Here – VIB Sale!

This silky body lotion is nourishing but isn’t as thick as the Laura Mercier version above, so it’s perfect for using every day. The delicately fresh scent is barely detectable, so it’s perfect for using with other fragrances. I found my jumbo version here.

8. Biossance 100% Squalane Oil

Available Here – VIB Sale!

Our body produces squalane naturally, but the amount decreases over time. Nourish your body with this plant-derived version. Sometimes I add a few drops to make my body cream less thick and more oily, sometimes I just apply this to extra-dry areas, and sometimes I apply this all over my body before bed. It’s a great go-anywhere product to add into your routine.

9. Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Creme

Available Here

This is the most healing product I’ve ever found for feet. It’s not really a cream, but is more of a thick honey texture. Once a week after I use my Pedi Perfect I apply a thick layer of this to my feet and then wear soft socks to bed. In the morning, I wake up with the softest feet ever. This is a game changer!

10. Lanolips Lano Rose Hand Cream

Available Here

This intense hand cream is made from a lanolin and rose oil blend that deeply moisturizes hands and leaves them soft and silky. I like to keep a tube in my handbag and one on my nightstand. Every night before bed I apply this to my hands and feet.


Included in VIB Sale

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Skin Products

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Spring Breakfast Table

March 31, 2018

Categories: Lifestyle

easter tablescape

joanna gaines target

magnolia spring 2018

spring tablescape

spring table styling

bunny egg cup

Bunny Serving Bowl.  Gold Speckled Eggs.  Bunny Egg Cups.  Pastel Napkins.  Woven Placemats.  Blue and White Plates.  Maison Louis Marie Candle.

Bunny Egg Cups on eBay.  Another Style of Bunny Egg Cups.

Cabinet, breakfast table, and chairs from Arhaus.


When I think of Easter, I often think about how special and beautiful my mother always makes the holiday. She makes our family’s recipe for dinner rolls, passed down from Welsh women one generation to the next; heat rising off them as they sit waiting in a bread basket. And she always has the most beautiful Easter baskets prepared. (Just like our stockings at Christmas, the adults are not forgotten!) In each Easter basket, my mother places a spring Steiff animal. Some years we’ve received baby chicks, lambs, or bunnies… The animals may vary, but we always look forward to finding them in our baskets Easter morning. This year, I was thrilled to incorporate some spring Steiff animals into our breakfast table decor. I can’t help thinking little ones would be delighted by them!

Our breakfast table is where we eat most of our meals, so I usually decorate a tablescape in our dining room instead. But I knew I wanted to center my tablescape around these charming bunny egg cups I recently picked up; they are so quaint I knew they belonged on our rustic little breakfast table. The egg cups are currently only available in store, but I found one set on eBay and I also discovered another style of bunny egg cups I love. If you don’t typically use egg cups, they’re perfect for holding a soft-boiled egg steady as you tap off the top and dip your spoon in. When I was a little girl, my mother would make me a soft-boiled egg (four-minute boil) then cut a slice of buttered toast into thin pieces for dipping into the runny egg. They call this dish “egg and soldiers” in the U.K.

What Easter traditions do you celebrate in your family?

“Egg and Soldiers” Recipe Here


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Aspen Travel Guide

March 30, 2018

Categories: Travel

aspen colorado

st regis aspen

birthday cake

st regis hotel room

st regis aspen patio

smores aspen


I’m a girl that loves snowy destinations. Especially here in Colorado; the sun is shining overhead, the ground is covered in fluffy mountain snow vs. the Midwestern ice slicks I grew up with, and there is a plethora of breathtaking snow-dusted views everywhere you look. This year, we only had a few snow days in Denver and I had been dying to visit Aspen after hearing so many glowing reviews from family and friends. So for my birthday, my husband planned the sweetest Aspen vacation. It had been over a year since we had vacationed for anything other than work, weddings, or to visit family, so we went all out and made it really special. Speaking of going all out… Another thing I particularly enjoy about wintry destinations is the ability to experience new restaurants guilt-free because I’m layered in scarves and sweaters. Let’s all raise a glass to those stretchy ski pants, shall we?!

Aspen is a tiny city in the Rocky Mountains that flourished with the Colorado silver mining rush in the 1880’s. Quaint little Victorian storefronts and houses still dot the picturesque town; the saloons and boarding houses having given way to designer boutiques and five-star restaurants. If you’re sensitive to altitude like I am, you may prefer 8k ft. high Aspen to other mountain towns at higher elevations. And unlike other mountain towns I’ve visited, there’s truly something for everyone in Aspen, even if you don’t like skiing.

After hearing how many celebrities frequent Aspen, I was concerned it would be too flashy and loud for my taste… Not the case. It’s definitely a luxurious spot to vacation, but it’s luxe in a casual way that also allows you to wear a cowboy hat and jeans to the best restaurants; relaxed in a way only the American West can pull off. Think Ralph Lauren style: cozy sweaters, lots of denim and leather, cashmere blankets, and vintage maps and Native American prints on the walls.

Below I’ve organized all my favorite stops, eats, and shops to help you out if you’re planning an Aspen getaway. (Trust me, you will after reading this!)

Where To Stay

If you haven’t spent much time at altitude, you may want to be a bit careful when traveling to the mountains. You may have a headache, feel queasy, and alcohol will affect you quickly. Be sure to stay hydrated and request a humidifier from the hotel ahead of time. Our hotel even refilled our water tank each day and night.

St. Regis Aspen

Website Here

We chose to stay at the St. Regis because of the resort atmosphere. Spacious rooms, plenty of outdoor space, and a luxe spa make this a great destination for those who like a large hotel property with spaces to explore. The on-property restaurants were delicious and each night we took advantage of the outdoor fireplaces with hot chocolate and s’mores, then soaked in the hot tubs surrounded by a patio with a heated floor. Even a week wasn’t enough; we wanted to move in!

Hotel Jerome

Website Here

My readers told me so many great things about this rumored-to-be-haunted property, we had to stop by and have lunch here one day. Although its an Auberge resort, the Hotel Jerome will be right up your alley if you’re into boutique hotels because of the intimate atmosphere and vintage touches. The interior is moody, romantic, and perfectly Aspen.


hotel jerome

aspen colorado hiking

dog sledding

dog sledding aspen

krabloonik Aspen

dog sledding colorado

snowshoeing colorado

haunted ghost town

pine creek cookhouse


What To Do

Exploring Aspen

Aspen Chamber Website

One of our favorite things to do each day was simply explore the charming village of Aspen. Grab comfy boots and a hot coffee and weave your way through quaint bookstores, browse antiques, and pop into art galleries. Into art? Take a peek at the Aspen Art Museum. Or catch a performance at Wheeler Opera House or Theatre Aspen. History buffs might enjoy the Wheeler Stallard Museum or the Holden Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum. The breathtaking Maroon Bells were closed during our stay, but are said to be the most-photographed peaks in North America.

Dog Sledding

Website

My husband surprised me with a dog sledding experience at Krabloonik. Located in nearby Snowmass, guests get to take in stunning Colorado backcountry views while being pulled by a team of sled dogs. Speaking of the pups, arrive a bit early so you can have time to meet the pups. We went on the twilight ride just before sunset, stopping halfway for a cup of hot cocoa by a campfire in the woods. After the ride, you can purchase professional photos of your adventure and have dinner in the Krabloonik restaurant. I can’t speak for the restaurant because we went back to Aspen for dinner, but the dog sledding experience itself is well worth it.

Snowshoeing

Website

Isn’t it the best when you try something new and end up loving it?! That’s how I felt about snowshoeing. Similar to hiking, you can choose the trails that correspond to your desired level of physical exertion. The snowshoes allow you to stay on top of the snow and experience some of the most breathtaking views. We went snowshoeing up to lunch at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. Our snowshoe experience began by exploring the Ashcroft ghost town. After a brisk uphill climb, then a leisurely twisting snow path with incredible views, we reached the mountainside restaurant where we had lunch as the snow began to fall outside. We took the easy path back down the mountain and made our way into Aspen before twilight.


french bistro aspen

best bread pudding

steakhouse no 316


Where To Eat

French Alpine Bistro

Website

This place is seriously Instagram-worthy. Outdoor French bistro meets mountain town in the best way possible. It’s the perfect spot for lunch between activities or a cozy evening meal. They aren’t open for breakfast, but are known for their delicious crêpes!

Cache Cache

Website

This was our first dinner spot in Aspen and I loved it. Cache Cache calls itself an “upscale French American bistro” and though I found the French component a bit sparse, it was delightfully delicious. I had the foie gras and rainbow trout and both were done to perfection; the foie gras was especially creamy and flavorful.

TIP:  In high altitude, I like to order a glass of rosé with ice cubes (wine connoisseurs feel free to cringe here) because I’ve found it’s the only way I won’t get a headache after even a half glass of wine.

White House Tavern

Website

So many people recommended this restaurant to me prior to our trip and when we sat down for lunch it all made sense; White House Tavern is part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group. Hillstone and Cherry Creek Grill are probably our two favorite restaurants in Denver; they’re cozy and consistent and delicious. White House Tavern has a mix of both menus along with a few unique items set in a tiny, quaint Victorian house. If you’re from Denver and looking to try new places, it might be best to experience Hillstone or Cherry Creek Grill in Denver and try some unique-to-Aspen spots. But as always, the Hillstone Restaurant Group is consistent so you’ll never leave one of their restaurants disappointed.

Steakhouse No. 316

Website

This was my favorite restaurant in Aspen. The interior feels like walking into an 1880’s saloon; it was dark and sexy and romantic. The food was honestly incredible; one of the best meals we’ve ever had. I started with the tuna tartare, had the Dover sole for my main, and we ended with the bread pudding. Best bread pudding I’ve had in my life. It’s worth just going for a coffee or glass of wine and that incredible bread pudding. We also noticed that the waiter kept checking on us from afar and left us to chat and enjoy our meal; that perfect balance is a true art. If you go to one restaurant in Aspen, let it be this one!

Matsuhisa

Website

If you live in Denver and love sushi and seafood, you may have tried Matsuhisa in Cherry Creek. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa infuses creativity to Japanese cuisine; if you’ve never eaten at one of his restaurants, it’s worth a visit. The energy and vibe in Matsuhisa was more upbeat and exciting than other restaurants; this would be a nice spot for a girls’ night or for dinner before going out.


aspen shopping

paris underground aspen

shop til you drop


Where To Shop

Daniel’s Antiques

Website

We spent over an hour in this shop, talking to the owner. This place is a fascinating little treasure trove of vintage pieces and one-of-a-kind antiques. There are WW2 binoculars and vintage Louis Vuitton luggage; just a great mix of pieces collectors will love.

Explore Booksellers

Website

We were walking one day and stumbled across this little gem of a bookshop. If my husband weren’t with me I would have spent hours browsing the stacks. I found a few books and a beautifully scented candle; it wasn’t difficult to find something in this shop! I’ve heard the bistro above the bookshop is delicious; it focuses on nutrient-dense, seasonal foods.

Aspen Home Consignment

Website

Another little gem we stumbled across! This little Victorian house is filled with beautiful consigned pieces, ranging from furniture to decor. You know I love the thrill of the hunt; scouring antique shops and estate sales for that perfect vintage item. I was happy to find a pair of framed original fashion sketches by Dior and Givenchy here at an absolute steal.

Paris Underground

Website

This shop has beautiful home decor and its where I discovered my new favorite candle brand, Baobab. They are giant candles that smell absolutely incredible. My favorite scents are “Feathers” and “Women”.

Pitkin County Dry Goods

Website

This moderately priced shop has a relaxed mix of casual clothing, shoes, and gifts. I found the softest long-sleeved ‘Aspen’ thermals here. It’s a great place to pick up a gift as well; I left with a charming canvas market tote and candles and fragrances from Maison Louis Marie.

Designer Boutiques

Aspen is known for the incredible high-end designers that line its snowy streets. It’s honestly so funny to see brands like Prada, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, and Dior in such a tiny, quaint little town. We do have some designers in Denver, but what I really enjoyed in Aspen was the lack of crowds and the attention the sales associates could give each customer. Take a peek in feminine, classic Dior. Louis Vuitton is worth a browse because they had a larger selection than the Denver LV. Moncler is a treat to go in because their wintry pieces are so timeless and high quality.


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A Good, Long Soak

March 5, 2018

Categories: Beauty, Lifestyle

favorite beauty products

laura mercier creme brulee

best bubble bath


Do you remember when you were little and your mother telling you to come in from playing outside and take a bath sounded like the most dreadful thing you could imagine? And now (if you’re like me) you might be out somewhere lively and wishing you could magically teleport yourself back home and into the bath tub with a hair mask on your head?

The bath tub is my happy place; where I can relax and do a beauty treatment or two along the way. To encourage happy thoughts, I’ve surrounded myself with a framed picture of Paris, a wooden sign from our wedding ceremony, and a crystal jar stocked with bath bombs and bubble bars. In this post, I’m sharing my tried-and-true bath favorites I keep in this beautiful bath caddy with you. So get ready for a… Good, long soak.

1. Start With…

Aveda Shampure Composition Oil

(Available Here)

This beautiful oil contains an intoxicating blend of over twenty-five pure flower and plant essences including organic lavender, petitgrain, and ylang ylang. I like to put several drops in the water for a little extra moisture and a lot of calming aromatherapy. If I’m planning on washing my hair the next day, I’ll give myself a little scalp massage with this oil, rub it into the ends of my hair, and twist my hair up into a bun for an overnight hair treatment.

Laura Mercier Crème Brûlée Honey Bath

(Available Here)

I like to drizzle some of this luxurious honey bath in the water; it’s not really a bubble bath, but it does add a bit of suds and a little moisture too. I also use it for a deliciously-scented, luxe body wash mid-soak. My mother and I gift this product to one another all the time; it’s our favorite!

A Bath Bomb

(Available Here)

As I mentioned above, I keep a jar of bath bombs and bubble bars beside my bath tub. My favorites are from Lush Cosmetics; they come in the most gorgeous colors and are all handmade. We used to walk by the Lush store all the time when we lived in London and I remember being mesmerized by the bright piles of bath bombs and their scent that floated out of the store.

Do you like bubbles with your bath? Try this pretty pink Rose Jam Bubble Bar. Need extra moisture in the form of luxurious oil? Try this yummy Marshmallow Moment bath oil. Want a colorful bath with a romantic fragrance… And maybe a tiny floating rose blossom? Add the Sex Bomb bath bomb. Each time I use one of these, I feel so pampered; they make wonderful gifts as well!

If you’re more into bath soaks or bath salts with a bit less color and scent, try the bath salts from Fig+Yarrow here in Denver.


elemis cleansing balm

paris candle

loccitane facial products

best loccitane beauty products


2. Cleanse and Exfoliate

Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm

(Available Here)

This buttery-smooth cleansing balm is so soft and hydrating on skin. It erases all traces of makeup, cleanses skin, and leaves a glowy complexion in its silky wake. Bonus? It comes with a gentle cleansing cloth too. I like using this as my first cleansing step to “take the day off”.

L’Occitane Reine Blanche Illuminating Scrub

(Available Here)

This scrub has the most perfect, creamy texture. It’s not too scratchy and is gentle enough to use daily, but is substantial enough to remove dead, dull skin. The result? Soft, illuminated, and brighter skin.

L’Occitane Peony Minute Mask

(Available Here)

This quick mask packs quite the punch. It reduces impurities, absorbs excess oil, and minimizes pores. Use it to give your skin a weekly detox and help makeup go on more smoothly.

L’Occitane Peony Cleansing Oil

(Another Favorite Here)

I prefer to use cleansing oil after a facial mask because I find that oils remove the mask without undoing the benefits the mask just gave to my skin. I can’t seem to find this peony cleansing oil anywhere, so I’ve linked another favorite cleansing oil of mine.


best facial scrub

biossance rose oil

best facial oils


3. Pamper Skin

Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Body Scrub

(Available Here)

The most scrumptiously-scented body scrub I have ever come across; I instantly fell in love with its fresh, energizing blend of lemongrass, coconut, jojoba, and vanilla. This gem of a product removes dry skin and then somehow melts to moisturize skin. A similar product made specifically for lips is this lip scrub.

Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil

(Available Here)

This is the product that introduced me to facial oils. A secret of French women for decades, oils hydrate and nourish the skin in a way other products simply cannot. After cleansing and masking, treat your skin to extra hydration by jade rolling (see below) this beautiful brightening and tightening oil into skin.

Jade Facial Roller

(Available Here)

Although jade rollers have been used in Asia for ages, they have only recently been embraced by the American beauty community. Rolling a cool, smooth stone like jade across the skin de-puffs and drains excess liquids, increases circulation, and rejuvenates facial muscles. I like jade rolling under my eyes in the mornings, but I’ve noticed massaging products into my skin at night helps to increase their absorption. Another tip? Tuck this baby into your bag with a small bottle of oil while traveling and jade roll mid-flight to prevent puffiness after landing.


bath essentials

products for relaxing bath


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