Three Things

Three things from this week…

Handley

During a recent trip to Anderson Valley, Mike and I discovered Handley Cellars, and let me just say that the sparkling wine produced here is SPECTACULAR! If you’re a fan of sparkling wine, champagne, prosecco, and so on, then you will not be let down. We tried the 2003 Brut at a Mendocino restaurant and immediately fell in love. The next day we ventured to Philo to learn more about Handley, and hopefully take home some of this liquid gold! Which I’m happy to report, we did! Currently the winery is sold out of all sparkling wine, but various vintages and varietals (2003 rose is supposed to be lovely) can be found in restaurants. So…if you fancy a glass of bubbly before dinner, do scan the list for Handley. I’m hoping we can splurge and open one of our bottles for Sunday football!

Star_cluster

I’ve always loved the paper lanterns and pom pom’s that are trendy now. Having used them at various birthday parties, baby showers, or dinner parties, I have a hefty pile on hand. So.. I FINALLY, hung the children’s cluster in their shared room. With the help of my awesome brother-in-law. YAY! The various lanterns are from Martha Stewart, and the star was ordered from Amazon. When I lay Jack down on the bedroom rug to change his diaper, he looks up at the cluster, and starts to sing twinkle twinkle little star. I guess he likes the paper star best. Super easy to do with some fishing line and clear tacks.

Jack_Jersey

Football season has begun, whoop whoop. The first day of the season is honestly my husband’s favorite day of the year! Monday’s change from the dreadful first day of the week, to MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL fun! For me, football represents the beginning of Fall, Sunday’s with family and friends, lots of cooking, baking, and well I love this time of year as well. This year, Jack got his first official Seahawks jersey and is pretty pumped about it.

Until next time…Happy Weekend!

Capitola: Part 2

 

Venetians

If you caught my Capitola beach style post back in August, then you know I promised to share more about this darling town. You may be thinking, summer is over lady and I’m in “Back to School” mode (thank god), but lodging books fast in this quaint town, so if you are tinkering with the idea of a trip to Capitola next year, read on my friends! Our family books lodging the winter before our summer getaway.

Lodging

We always go for a week or two so renting a beach house is ideal.There are many great options on VRBO, but we have typically stayed at the below two rentals. Both lovely.

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1. The past few years we have stayed at this little gem called the Rose Cottage. It’s charming and cozy sleeping six. It’s around the corner from the main street, and maybe a 3 minute walk to the beach. The backyard is a lovely garden, with patio seating, and a BBQ just off to the side.

2. For decades my in-laws stayed at this Capitola House (not pictured). It’s a great option when you have a large group. It sleeps 10 which can be hard to find in vacation homes. This is just around the corner from the Rose Cottage, so it’s equally as close to the beach.

Kids-Venetians

Other options I’ve heard to be good – The Capitola Venetian Hotel (which are the brightly colored buildings above) is a historic mediterranean hotel that is literally steps from the sand. All rooms come with a full kitchen, so you could stay for a long period of time. Lastly, if you wanted to go without the kids for a quick romantic getaway, check out the Capitola Hotel which is in the heart of the village.

What to Do

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The city offers many cool events. (Here to see the calendar). We’ve been in town for the Art and Wine Festival, the Begonia Festival, and the Wharf to Wharf Race. All super fun, so do check out the calendar. But, of course the beach is always endless fun!

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We’ve rented paddle boards, kayaks, or a fishing boat for further adventure. In the above pic we just got off from a fishing trip. You can rent the fishing boats directly off the wharf. Kayaks and paddle board rentals can be found by the public restroom area just off the beach.

Helicopter

Plane

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Wahoo, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk which is a 10 minute drive from Capitola is loads of laughs. Audrey turned 4 this year, and the joy I felt watching her giggle and scream on all the rides was priceless.

Golf

Well, I’m a terrible golfer but hope to remedy that soon. That being said, our family and friends generally golf either Seascape in Aptos, or Spring Hills in Watsonville.

Shopping

I love puttering through all the shops in Capitola but my favorites are Sweet Asylum, Zen Island and the Village Mouse. I’ve found one of a kind jewelry, dresses, and gifts at each of these boutiques. If you need a Macy’s, Target, or larger department store, then the Capitola Mall located off 41st street is only 5 minutes away.

Where to Grub

Breakfast

Wharf House is located at the end of the pier and serves up a fantastic breakfast. It offers traditional breakfast with yummy pancakes, but also seafood inspired omelets and egg benedict. Gayles Bakery is a short drive to Bay Ave, but it’s worth it. The baked goods are scrumptious, and if celebrating a birthday or special holiday it’s a great place to call in a cake or dessert. We love Mr. Toots for a cup of coffee and a morning stroll to watch the surfers.

Lunch

Pizza My Heart – truth be told we either pack a lunch to the beach or grab a slice of pizza. You’ve likely heard of Pizza My Heart, because it’s a chain restaurant now. But, you probably didn’t know it was founded in Capitola in 1981. During the summer months the line can be CRAZY but it moves quickly. Tip – Call in an entire pie for the family from the beach, and you can bypass the line.

Happy Hour

Zelda’s is the best place to grab a cocktail. There is an outside patio directly on the beach. The happy hour Mai Tai’s are fantastic. We don’t love the food at Zelda’s, so if you want an appetizer and a cocktail, we recommend Margaritaville, which is just a few doors over.

Dinner

 Shadowbrook

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We love to bbq and cook at our beach rental, but also enjoy a night off. Shadowbrook Restaurant is by far our favorite spot to dine. Located along the river, you may walk or take a cable car through the garden to reach the entrance. The place is family friendly, but if you can get away without the munchkins for a night, it’s really romantic. Mike and I have been going for years, fantastic food, and the memories dance through my head every time we visit here. This would also be a great spot for groups. Stockton Bridge Grille is another good option. Spectacular views of the water and the seafood is always super fresh. Both locations are walking distance from any of the hotels or beach houses in the main village. If you are craving Mexican cuisine, Taqueria Agave and El Toro Bravo serve up some of the best!

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No trip is complete without a visit to the Village Grille and Creamery – 48 flavors of locally made ice cream! This year my husband took my kids at 10am in the morning for their first ice cream cone…big kid himself. Needless to say, I had to take my mom pants off and chill out that they were eating chocolate ice cream for a post breakfast snack. Of course, Jack proceeded to request ice cream for breakfast the next few days, and looked at his eggs with disgust. Can you blame him?

Family_Bridge

We truly love this place, and while I focused on the summer, it’s less traveled and still beautiful for a mini vaca in the winter months. In the words of Huell Howser, thank you for letting me share a little piece of California gold with you all. Happy travels!

DIY Vintage Wedding

This past weekend we attended Mike’s cousin’s wedding and it was lovely! When Alice and Chris got engaged, they decided they wanted to stray from an overly extravagant wedding and keep things to a budget. So they went DIY crazy, were inspired by Pinterest, and incorporated Alice’s love of vintage. The wedding was a perfect example of how you don’t need to spend loads of money for it to be beautiful, magical, and memorable. I wanted to share a few of their creative ideas. Pics were taken with my iPhone. I left my Nikon D7000 at home, so I didn’t drive my husband crazy, and I could embrace the night.

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Married at Oakland Nature Friends, the venue is rustic and set in the trees over looking the bay. Alice looked stunning and wore a vintage off white Grecian dress that she found from UniqueVintage.com. Affordable and every bit as glamorous as the gowns from a bridal shop. Favorite part – her jewel embellished cap sleeves took this gown to another level! Her hair was twisted to the side and adorned with calla lilies. The bride’s bouquet was made by her friend, whose husband imports roses from Ecuador. They incorporated kale and succulents in the bouquets and wrapped it with gold ribbon at the stems.

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Audrey was so thrilled to be the ring bearer for the wedding. It was a proud moment for mommy and daddy too, she was just precious. I had the flower crown made at Fiore Flowers in SF and her simple white sundress is from Target (similar here).

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Gold spray painted canisters, and wine bottles served as the flower holders. The Bride and Groom asked friends to keep wine bottles, and other jars so they could repurpose them. They peeled, cleaned, and sprayed painted 159 bottles in total! The gorgeous vintage linens took Alice hours of thrifting but cost her a total of $60. They were actually lace curtains that she repurposed as tablecloths…genuis! The couple was gifted roses for the event, but also had succulents on tables and scattered around. The succulents were grown in their backyard from clippings.

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Chalkboards served as signs throughout the wedding. They even incorporated a kids craft table to keep the little ones happy.

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Twinkle lights and twine balls hung in the trees. As the sun went down it felt so romantic and charming. Alice also brought a vintage chandelier that she was gifted from the Betsy Johnson store she managed in San Francisco. It gives that chic outside/indoor touch. You could easily recreate this by finding an older chandelier and spray paint it your color of choice. I’ll be doing this at one of my next outdoor parties, thank you!!

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Their untraditional guest book was adorable. They collected postcards (some vintage), and asked guests to write them a message. I decided to mail mine instead of slip it in the box. I remember that sad feeling after everything was over, so I thought it might be fun for them to receive a postcard in the mail. A little reminder of that special night.

K&J-Dance

As I mentioned above, Alice worked for Betsy Johnson for years as a manager before deciding to become a teacher. The bride is well-known for her extensive and fabulous dress collection. So, it was only fitting that I wore this divine Betsy dress in honor of the bride.

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Finally, who doesn’t love a photobooth. They suspended a gold frame and had a friend set up their camera on a tripod. Guests kept going back all night for the fun!

Not pictured, but definitely noticed was the artisanal cocktail bar. Chris enjoys crafting various cocktails, and had several delicious options for guests. We’ve been to many weddings, and they have all been beautifully done. But, I just loved this couples savvy smart ways to repurpose, save money, and make the wedding truly unique to themselves. I can also appreciate the hours they spent on DIY projects. Hats off my friends, and congrats! Thank you for letting me share bits of your special day.

Beautycounter: Keep the beauty not the toxins

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Recently, I had the pleasure of joining a Beautycounter social at a friend’s house in San Francisco. I’ve been to these types of gatherings, and maybe you have too. I’d be greeted with a glass of wine, great conversation with friends, and some new trendy product to indulge myself with. I love these type of female glam driven encounters. It’s a chance for me to engage with some brilliant women, indulge in pop culture, or share how my four-year old shut my two-year old in the closet, yet again. Of course my night included all the above, but I didn’t walk away with a new fabulous Stella and Dot necklace, or a cool piece from a new clothing line. Instead, I walked away with a greater knowledge of the cosmetic industry and the means to make wiser choices for my family.

Did you know, there hasn’t been a federal law passed since 1938 governing the cosmetics industry? I didn’t. Did you also know that the European Union has banned over 1,300 ingredients from use in personal care products? No, again. Conversely, the US has banned or restricted a mere 11 ingredients. Those two numbers are vastly different, and don’t equate well for us Americans. This new information has left me feeling vulnerable and a bit cheated.

While I was gifted with samples of the skin care line to test and write about, my goal isn’t to sell you on Beautycounter’s products. The honest company speaks for itself by producing quality and safe products, but I’ll touch on some of my favorites at the end. What I’d rather touch on is why Beautycounter’s founder, Gregg Renfrew, is striving to make big changes in the cosmetics industry as we know it today. (Cool article on Gregg here)

As a mother, daughter, and beauty inspired young woman, I’m often looking at the newest product lines to take care of my family. I’m not just talking youth seeking lotions and potions to erase those little crows feet that are creeping up ever so diligently. I’m talking children’s products, toothpaste, detergents, makeup, hair care, body scrubs, and more. Women and men are saturated with options, but what do we really know about them? The average women uses 12 beauty products a day. “Natural”, “Organic”, and “Hypo-Allergenic” are meaningless with no regulation saying what that means. Fragrance is a trade secret so anyone can put anything in their fragrance and not disclose it. Did you know that two perfectly safe ingredients can create a very toxic bi-product and the cosmetic industry doesn’t have to say beans about it!? In all honesty, I don’t always choose the most natural ingredient, sometimes I choose what’s on sale, but I try to balance between the two. Knowing most products that claim to be “Natural” or “Organic” have a higher price tag, how frustrated would you be to discover you’re actually paying MORE of your hard-earned money for a product that might be MORE TOXIC for your family, than a product that doesn’t claim to be “Natural” or “Organic”. I’m not saying that these terms we see so often are never true, but I’m asking you the consumer, to rethink what we know to be safe.

“1 in 3 women” and “1 in 2 men” will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. What relation does the cosmetics industry have to these statistics? Clearly many factors contribute to an illness, but being able to avoid a carcinogenic product is a good thing, right? Shouldn’t the US help identify the least toxic options? 1938 was a long time ago, and something tells me we can ban more than 11 ingredients in 2014. Realistically, I know that my family will be exposed to toxins. That being said, Beautycounter’s goal is to reduce your exposure by running a strict screening process. In doing so, Beautycounter has created a “Never List” which has eliminated over 1500 ingredients that they will never use, nor any of their suppliers. I like this. They also strongly encourages you to check your products with www.ewg.org/skindeep. I did, and have already eliminated a few products from various brands that I was using in my household. Knowledge is power and I’m grateful for being invited to the Beautycounter event. It’s a priceless gift to be given information that changes the way you care for yourself and more importantly your innocent children. If anything, research your household items..be informed. So now, let’s talk the more light-hearted fun stuff, whoop whoop!

The line has many products, but I chose to test the following items listed below. I honestly loved them all, but the body lotion, night cream, and the oils were stand outs for me. Below are my notes for the products. Visit www.beautycounter.com to check out more.

  1. Kids Squeaky Clean – My kids were happy with this wash. My daughter has sensitive skin and never had an issue. No reactions, smells fresh, and doesn’t leave any residual product on the skin.
  2. Restorative Night Cream – Luxurious feeling and super hydrating. My skin felt balanced in the morning.
  3. Every Day AM Hydrating Cream – I loved the lightweight feel, and paired with the #2 oil it was great as a base for makeup.
  4. Hydrate Everyday Body Lotion – I LOVE LOVE this lotion. I’d use it after shaving and it made my legs so smooth.
  5. Gentle Exfoliator Polishing Cream – Jojoba beads paired with coconut oil made for a gentle exfoliation. I think this is a great option for sensitive skin types, like myself.
  6. Lustro Face Oil 2 – I love the oils from this line! I’d buy them all, and this one was perfect for day time. I’d mix two drops with my Every Day AM Hydrating Cream and it was hydrating without being greasy. I also felt like my pores looked smaller after using this oil. Great primer before makeup.
  7. Lustro Face Oil 3 – I used this oil at night three to four times a week. Again, I’d mix a drop or two with my Restorative Night Cream. The oil felt nourishing to my skin while soothing any irritations. None of the oils made me breakout, which can be a concern for users.

The products are fantastic and the companies efforts to create further transparency in the personal care industry is refreshing. If you have any additional questions about Beautycounter, feel free to contact me and I can put you in touch with a consultant. A special thank you to the beautiful Katrin for introducing me!

Capitola Style – Marilyn Monroe meets Boho

Capitola Style

 

If you’ve never visited Capitola, then you don’t know what you’re missing! Often compared to Cinque Terre, the town is truly something special. My husband’s family has been vacationing at Capitola since he was six months old, and I feel lucky to have become a part of the annual tradition. Many of my friends ask me about Capitola, and have never actually been (it’s only an hour and a half from the city), so stay tuned for a post on what’s so fabulous about this family friendly town.

Until then, let’s talk beach style. Here are my key pieces for this vacation but #2 is definitely a newbie. My husband is probably going to be confused when he sees me rocking a one piece…let’s be honest here, for most men, a teeny-weeny string bikini is sexy and likely the preferred attire when basking in the sun. Well, sorry boys..I say one pieces are SEXY too! I love that they are making a come back (and so does my post children mid-section). With so many one piece styles that feel a bit retro and fresh, I had a hard time deciding. I ended up going with a classic red one piece, similar to the Tory Burch one posted, and I can’t wait to embrace my Marilyn Monroe chic style. Paired with a panama hat, cat-eye sunglasses (I’m obsessing over the Versace ones above) and some simple gold accessories, it keeps the one piece from feeling too matronly. It will be a twist on my usual boho beach style, but of course those items are packed as well. Oh and please take note of this fab CALIFORNIA towel. I immediately thought of the song “California Girls” by the Beach Boys when I found this towel. Happy summer all!

  1. Panama Hat (JCrew similar version)
  2. Tory Burch Swimsuit (this is my similar version)  (love this Nanette Lepore option as well)
  3. Versace Sunnies
  4. Striped Tote (mine is from T.J.Maxx, but you can find these everywhere)
  5. Gold Cuff (similar here)
  6. Dolce Vita Sandals (Mine were a gift, and I wear them with everything)
  7. Humble Chic Coral Necklace
  8. Topshop white crop shirt (Forever 21 version)
  9. Pendant Necklace (Nordstrom $$ option that I really want, but you can find inexpensive ones at Francesca’s, JCrew, Charming Charlie’s, H&M, T.J.Maxx)
  10. Element Tie Dye Maxi Skirt
  11. Statement Necklace (Stella and Dot options are always great)
  12. Gap cutoffs (I love mine because they aren’t sooo short, more age appropriate, and I just got them an additional 50% off in store)
  13. Nars multi-stick in G-spot color…yes I said G-spot! Wacky but memorable branding.
  14. Sisters of Los Angeles Beach Towel