Once upon a time, around the age of 11 to be precise, I thought I was a lyrical genius. Despite not playing an instrument of any kind or the ability to read music, I thought that my mildly good voice and affinity for writing were the essential ingredients to making me a musical sensation. I will not out the friend who supported this unattainable dream that she and I could be the new M2M (yes, I understand that knowing what we know now that was not a very high musical aspiration; but at the time, M2M was pretty freaking cool). I kept our song lyrics in my binder in the hopes that people at my new school would somehow happen to notice and I would be able to humbly explain how cool I was. HA!
This passion for music, although it led to some misguided notions, also led me to be that person who (when she finally got an iPod c. 2009) constantly had head phones in her ears. In college, I would listen to my iPod (RIP) all day long while riding my bicycle to and from class, singing (albeit quietly) “Put Your Records On” by Corinne Bailey Rae and “Bicycle Race” by Queen shamelessly. In public. Totally fine admitting that now.
I used music to get in to character for plays and rehearsals and block out the world. I use music to take me back in time to happy moments of my life like in my carpool where we would sing all the way to school and all the way home. My friend and I would even harmonize and sing duets. There were no musical boundaries. Music takes me back to the heartbreaks where I would listen to one song on repeat over and over again and make it my anthem. To this day, “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles induces feelings of embarrassment at just how heartbroken I was over someone who did not care a lick about me. If you are not familiar with it, “Gravity” is a horribly heart-wrenching, beautiful masterpiece and I highly recommend it.
Because I now work in an office job where I have little to no privacy, but get phone calls fairly frequently so I can’t always be plugged into headphones. I have gotten into a habit of not listening to music, which quite honestly, depresses me a little. Then one day, I’ll turn on Pandora stations and find music I’ve never heard before. Or Brandi Carlisle comes out with the new album, By the Way, I Forgive You that I listen to while getting two fillings at the dentists office. My love resurrects from the pit of silence and all the obsession bubbles up to the surface and asks me how I ever survived silence. This has happened more than once now, so I’m sure it will happen again, but at this moment, I am blissfully enveloped by The Wailin’ Jennys “By Way of Sorrow” on their Pandora station.
Now that I have less time to discover new music, I wonder how you are discovering new artists and music. The radio only seems to play the same 100 songs over and over again and most of them sound the same. What are your anthems? What song has touched your soul?
I feel like most people who write also love to read. This makes sense, because to be good at writing, you really must be a reader. We learn all of our best writing habits from reading without even knowing that we’re doing it. This is how we learn to spell and where to put those annoying commas (just kidding, I love commas; for me it’s really where not to put commas).
What I mean to say is that reading is important and I love reading. However, in the past few years, I haven’t been as much of a reader and that makes me sad. Towards the end of last year and this year I’ve been picking up my reading again. In honor of reading, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites I’ve read recently.
This novel is so inspiring. It is both a family drama and a coming of age tale of a young woman, Li-Yan who grows up in rural China and tries to strike a delicate balance between the the practices of her culture and her hopes to live the life of an educated woman. I learned so much while reading this as I had no previous exposure to the cultural differences between regions of China. I also found the woven story-telling between times and places to be an extremely effective way of building anticipation and exploring different characters. I highly recommend this pull at your heart strings read.
This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
I couldn’t tell you what it is that makes me this way, but for me, there is nothing I love better in a book than something that makes me cry giant crocodile tears. It makes my husband so concerned and he doesn’t quite understand it, and his reaction makes me laugh. So we come full circle?
This Is How It Always Is is a big crocodile tear book about Rosie and Penn and their five boys. However, their youngest is not quite the same as the others and so it begins. Claude becomes someone new, bringing on changes, questions and challenges that seem like all too much for a child. This novel explores the growth of the family and the people around them as they all discover who this child is and how to help on the journey of growing up.
This one is mostly a break from all the tears. So if you aren’t like me, and prefer a book with lots of laughs, this is one for you. I knew I had to read Where’d You Go, Bernadette? when it was described to me that the relationship between mother and daughter greatly resembled that between Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Although the daughter in this situation is quite a bit younger than Rory when we meet her, the dynamic between mother and daughter is one of selfless love, silliness with a touch of dry humor and absolute stubborn will. I enjoyed this book for all the laughs, but I loved this book for the characters and their individual evolution.
That’s all for now! What are you reading? What have you enjoyed? I’d love to hear about it!
- Denim can go to Blue Jeans Go Green. Bonded Logic turns denim into insulation for homes and they, in turn, donate a portion of their products to build homes for those in need for charities such as Habitat For Humanity. You can donate at Madewell or send in your items.
- Cut up t-shirts, ratty towels and sweatshirts into cleaning fabrics. This will allow you to get the most out of the fabric and use fewer paper towels!
2.) Sell anything that is in excellent condition, high quality, or high-end label to a thrift store or online.
- Salvation Army
- Father Joe’s Village
- San Diego Rescue Mission
- Women’s shelters
- Animal shelters (they need towels and blankets the most, but sometimes have thrift stores of their own)
Summer in San Diego is one of my favorite seasons. While it’s perfect year round (yes, we’re spoiled), summer is when people sit out on their patios, have barbecues and soak up the delicious sunshine. Growing up and living in San Diego, I am a verifiable sunshine addict and I always loved that last weekend of summer: Labor Day. In honor of this joyous end to the season, here are some of my favorite tips for soaking in that vitamin D.
- Get outside and into the water! Find something new ! I am a personal fan of sitting by the pool, kayaking and paddle boarding.
- Protect your hair! Too much sun can turn your hair dry and brittle and damage the color. Wear a hat and/or use a leave in conditioner with UV protection. Here are some of my favorite picks:
- Floppy straw hat from Amour Vert
- Patagonia trucker hat
- A hair spray from Aveda to protect your gorgeous locks : Protects your hair from damaging UV rays
- 3-in-1 Leave in Conditioner from Sun Bum: Protects your hair from damage like split ends and keeps it smooth in spite of the salt and chlorine
- Slather on that SPF! Going back to school or work is a lot less fun if you’ve been burned. My favorite sunscreen this summer is another pick from Sun Bum, their Original 30 SPF Lotion.I used it while I was in Arizona and I can honestly tell you, I have never found a better sunscreen. It’s my favorite because it doesn’t feel like sunscreen, but like a lotion. None of the oily mess I’ve experienced with so many alternatives! Plus this one is BPA & paraben free, vegan, and Made in the USA.
- Sunglasses- I haven’t always been good about this one, but as I’ve gotten older, my eyes have gotten more and more sensitive and I find myself buying more sunglasses. Try this pair from Maven in San Diego.
Love that sun and embrace your Labor Day Weekend, but make sure to take breaks from the heat! No matter how you protect yourself, too much sun can be damaging!
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One of my favorite things to do is try a new restaurant and I am so lucky to live in San Diego where there’s always a new, surprising local restaurant for me to experience.
Is everyone else ready for spring? I have blooming orange blossoms in the garden that embrace me with their beautiful scent every time I step out my door. I want to bottle it and wear it as a perfume. But while the blooms are all ready for spring, my skin is still pretty dry from the winter and I am counting on Kiehl’s to help me through it!
Kiehl’s is new to me, but I’ve fallen in love with the simplicity and moisturizing power of their products. My three favorite products for getting rid of winter dullness and moisturizing skin to prep are Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream and Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado.
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is thick and rich enough for people who work with their hands and gentle enough to work on anyone’s skin. Plus it makes your hands feel soft as a babe’s bum and is unscented, so it’s great for any perfume you may have on! This is ultra great to keep in your desk if you use purell or wash your hands frequently. I also like to keep it in the kitchen!
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is another new favorite. It literally sucks in moisture, but it’s super light and dewy. This is another unscented product that is super soothing and great for sensitive skin. I don’t typically (read never) ask my fiance to try my beauty products, but after using this for a couple weeks, I suggested he try it. He was hesitant as he has had some serious issues with facial moisturizers in the past irritating his skin. Kiehl’s is legitimately the only product that doesn’t cause him redness and inflamation; aka I’m buying this in bulk for him! I am so happy I found this for both of us! This product doesn’t have SPF, there is an SPF 30 version available here that I have not yet tried.Last, but certainly not least, is the aptly named Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. This eye cream definitely tops my list as one of my favorites. It’s creamy and absorbs into the skin quickly while leaving my under eye skin brightened and velvety to the touch.
All of these products pack a serious punch in the moisture department and they come with Kiehl’s trusted brand name. I highly recommend them! If the price tag looks a little scary for a new product, I would highly recommend starting with one of the amazing kits, like the Kiehl’s Since 1851 Healthy Skin Essentials Starter kit which includes the Ultra Facial Cream and the Creamy Avocado Eye Treatment as well as a couple of their other best sellers.
What are your spring beauty rituals? I’d love to hear about them!
Oh, hair. I do love you. But I want to change you. I want you to look amazing and perfect and I know I’m constantly trying to alter you, but I’m going to try to take better care of you.
How am I going to do this? Here are my commitments to my hair: first, I’m drinking more water. Drinking 8 cups of water a day will help your hair to grow stronger and longer faster. Hydration is key to a healthy body. Next up, biotin supplements. This vitamin is supposed to help your hair, skin and nails grow healthily! Other elements I’m looking into and will let you know about: collagen supplements and lavender. Both are supposed to help hair growth.
And for my outside hair health, I’m washing my hair less frequently with better quality products. Washing your hair less frequently not only saves water, but helps keep the natural healthy oils on your scalp. Also, if you color your hair, it helps your color to last so much longer.
For products, I’m using Aveda. I was turned in to Aveda by my amazing stylist. I’ve been with her for nearly a year now, so she’s gotten to know my hair and how I treat it. The last time I saw her, we talked about how I’m trying to grow my hair long again, but also how I would like to pump up my hair health and volume. She had one recommendation: Aveda Pure Abundance.
Since I’ve added the Aveda Pure Abundance shampoo and conditioner and Aveda Thickening Tonic, my hair not only looks and feels fuller, but when I brush my hair, I’m coming away with far fewer strands on the brush. This means less shedding. Girls, you know what I’m talking about. When you leave long strands of your own hair on your jacket, pillow, fella, etc. The worst.
I try to only wash my hair every few days, which typically amounts to 3 times a week (yes, I shower in between). I do brush my hair everyday to make sure it doesn’t tangle and to keep the oils in line.
I apply the Aveda Pure Abundance to my roots only and lather it up. I love massaging this into my hair because FYI everything Aveda makes smells like Heaven in a bottle. Pure Abundance smells like jasmine, ylang ylang and peppermint. I want to live in these scents. And the key ingredients are natural too, acacia gum and kaolin clay.
Rinse and follow with the Aveda Pure Abundance Conditioner. This one I apply opposite the shampoo and only apply to the length of my hair (unless my roots are really tangled, e.g. I’ve used hair spray).
*there is a different feel to Aveda’s Pure Abundance hair system in that you don’t get the detergent type clean some non-natural cleansers will give you. It may take a little time to adjust.
When I get out of the shower, I gently brush my hair tips to roots and then towel dry a bit so that strands are loosened and there no dripping. I spray the Thickening Tonic all over and style however I would normally, usually a blow dry.
Aveda is committed to using natural and plant based products. So not only do their products work, but they’re far less harmful to your hair than harsh detergents. They also contain no parabens, phthalates or sodium lauryl sulfate.
Aveda is also committed to green initiatives and does not test their products on animals. The company also has several initiatives to help give back to different communities and causes they believe in, like breast cancer research and community partnerships with their growers.
Give it a try, I highly recommend it. What shampoo or collection is your favorite? Why do you use it?
There’s nothing better than flawless looking skin. Unfortunately my skin is not perfect. I have dark circles under my eyes when I don’t get enough sleep and a few little scars I want to hide, and of course, I feel like I’m always having to hide an irritating blemish. On top of that, my skin is often a little too oily or shiny looking post make-up.
That’s where Laura Mercier comes in, perfecting the appearance of my skin and creating the perfect palette for my makeup. Or, as is often the case, making my face look perfect as if I’m not even wearing any makeup. Laura Mercier is always the beauty counter that is trying to make you look like the best version of yourself, which is what I love so much about the brand.
I’ve tried many different concealers in my life. In fact, concealer was the first makeup product I ever owned (excluding glitter lip gloss: hello, millennial kid). I always found concealers to be heavier than I wanted or not enough coverage, never in between. I also had trouble with knowing my shade and would often end up with something too yellow. I stopped using concealer all together for a while until a Los Angeles makeup artist used this one on me. She applied the tiniest amount to a trouble spot, it was covered and the color was great. Most importantly, it wasn’t cakey and didn’t get cakey later. And it’s not dry but super moisturizing!
I’m sorry to say “cakey,” but really, there is no other way to describe the feeling of a thick, frosting like makeup sitting on your skin. It looks gross, not to mention the fact that it draws attention to the very spots you want ignored!
Laura Mercier Secret Concealer isn’t like that. It seamlessly blends into your skin. And you don’t need very much! I apply the smallest amount after foundation with a clean lipstick brush or my (just washed) ring finger.
Side note: the ring finger part is really important. Don’t use your index fingers!
Next up: Laura Mercier’s Invisible Loose Setting Powder. I have some shine. So when I put on my makeup, I want to soften the appearance of shine and have a matte finish. Once I finish my face base (foundation, concealer, fill in my brows) I add a light brushing of this and I am good to add color and mascara or walk out the door.
Now let me tell you how I found this powder. I saw it on the bathroom counters of two separate, flawlessly beautiful friends who told me they swore by it. These women don’t even know each other. I was slow to pick it up and how I wish I had gotten it earlier! A little tip: this comes in a loose powder and a pressed powder I prefer the loose powder because a.) you have better control of how much powder you’re picking up with your brush and b.) you never have to deal with a brocken pressed palette. Am I the only one this happens to? Literally, this happens to all my favorite products.