Monthly Archives: August 2016

Saving Face

DSC_1218

Hormones. Woof. Anyone else’s face revert to teenage status post baby?

After Jackson was born, my face has been um, how do I say this – very temperamental. Aside from the never disappearing dark circles under my eyes that I have now just come to accept, my chin is always breaking out and I’ve developed random dry spots all over my face. And my eyelids get oily. Whuuuuuuut?

I wish I could say I’ve had a super strict skincare routine, considering I’m well into my late twenties – but unfortunately I’m a serial drugstore hopper. Over the past few months, I’ve been asking colleagues (who I now consider my team of skincare experts), and friends on what their routines look like. Additionally, I have become much more aware of the chemicals and ingredients in products – something that sparked my concern after our battle through chemo with Jackson. In this post I mentioned a friend of mine who introduced Beauty Counter’s baby products to me, and after seeing the amazing results on Jackson, I decided to try out their skincare products. That, along with a few recommended additions, I’ve come up with a pretty solid AM/PM routine that has almost instantly changed my skin – in the best way possible!

AM

When I wake up, I wash my face with the Beauty Counter Nourishing Cleanser – super silky smooth that sometimes I like to leave on in the shower. I follow up with a spritz of the Rodial Hyaluronic Tonic Spray (heavenly), and dab on this Murad Eye cream, which is my favorite to date. I’ll let those soak in, and then lather on the Beauty Counter Rejuvenating Day Cream with a drop of Clarins Glow Booster (heavy eye roll on that name). I’m pretty particular about day moisturizers and this is the first one that hasn’t left my face feeling oily or greasy – even with the added ‘glow’. Also, I’m obsessed with the Clarins drops, despite the name, especially in the winter time when I’m corpse-like.

PM

At night, my routine depends on how much time I have // how lazy I’m feeling (not going to lie, I fell asleep on the couch last night in ALL my makeup. Ew).

I start by lathering on the Beauty Counter Charcoal Soap, and then it’s the fun part – the Foreo. Y’all…this thing has transformed my face!! It’s 10X better than the Clarisonic brush with it’s silicone nubbins (? I can’t call them bristles) that really gets that deep clean. It’s a nightly face massage. The soap is detoxifying (but not drying, that’s key), and together with the Foreo, my face gets squeaky clean. I then follow up again with the hyaluronic mist and Beauty Counter Rejuvenating Eye Cream. After that comes the Balancing Oil. A few drops of this is like a sleep mask, and makes my face feel so refreshed in the morning. It’s not super slimy, and I feel like it dries pretty quickly. If I’m really feeling the struggle, I’ll add the Ren ‘Wake up Wonderful’ serum to my routine post mist, pre oil. Last but not least? The neuLash serum on my eyelashes. I’m allergic to eyelash extensions – le sigh – and this product is the BEST thing on the market for enhancing those natural lashes. Trust me, I’ve tried everything.

So that’s it! I realize this sounds like a Beauty Counter sponsored post, but it’s not. I am not a BC rep, I just really love their products! That’s all folks!

Napa Vacation + Guide

Hi friends! I finally kicked my hiney in gear to recap our latest vacation to Napa, California. I’ve also rounded up our favorite wineries and restaurants in the valley.

3 summers ago, Nick and I got married in Yountville – my ultimate happy place. My brother lives there, and our family has adopted Yountville as our second home (specifically, my parents). Every summer we take a family trip to visit my brother #griswaldfamilyvacation. The last week of July has become our favorite time of year because of the Napa Front Porch Fest!

This year was particularly special, because we brought Jack along for the festivities. I know taking a baby to wine country seems counter-productive, but it was such a blast to have him with us – he was SUCH a champ. It was so fun to show him our favorite spots and introduce him to another community who have been praying for him since day 1.

Scroll to the bottom for recommendations. 
DSC_0498DSC_0511 (1)DSC_0509DSC_0526DSC_0560DSC_0592DSC_0673DSC_0617

IMG_0060IMG_0244DSC_0721DSC_0720IMG_0063IMG_0253 IMG_1525IMG_0190

First of all – Wine Spectator’s Guide to Napa Valley  is a great resource for wineries, hotels, restaurants, and other attractions. A helpful hint: book your reservations 2 months out! They fill up fast.

Wineries

Our days in Napa usually consist of  2-3 (or ok, 4) wineries a day + one big lunch. Here is a list of some great wineries to visit with a medium sized group!

Restaurants and Bars

So many fabulous restaurants in the valley! This is certainly the time to over-indulge. Below are some of our absolute favorites..

Domaine Carneros: This winery is located just south of Napa and is a great place to stop on the way from San Francisco airport (or vice versa). We usually make a stop here (if we have time) to get a glass of sparkling wine and sit on the patio. Table service available 10:00am to 5:45pm daily and tours are available at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm ($30/person).

Bouchon Bakery: This is always our morning pitstop. Our group usually ends up renting a house outside of Yountville, so walking to Bouchon is the perfect motivation to get a little exercise for that chocolate almond croissant. It’s also the perfect place to sit and watch the hot air balloons in the mornings!

Pacific Blues: So simple and so delicious. Unique omelets and amazing pancakes, this place has all the traditional breakfast staples. Located right in the middle of Yountville, you could walk in wearing pajamas if you really wanted to.

Gotts Roadside: Two words here…garlic fries. This is a great casual lunch stop with counter service and plenty of outdoor seating. Our favorites here are the burgers, fish or ahi tuna tacos, and their garlic or sweet potato fries. Their St. Helena and Downtown Napa locations are about equal distance from Yountville (but we suggest the St. Helena location). 

Bounty Hunter: Another Downtown Napa favorite, this is the place to go if you’re craving BBQ of any kind. Not your typical BBQ hole-in-the-wall…this is more of a Napa meets BBQ kind of place with an extensive wine menu. Fun atmosphere. Amazing food. Easy.

MustardsAnother Napa staple for us…in fact we have yet to visit the valley and not make a stop here. Ideal lunch or dinner spot with a “Way Too Many Wine” selection. The daily specials are always spot on. Be sure to order to shoe-string onion rings with homemade apple-ketchup. Can you tell we like food?

Oxbow Market: A great indoor marketplace in Downtown Napa that has everything from an oyster bar to fresh crepes to local cheeses. The market has a wide variety of gourmet specialty shops and dining areas It also has a super fresh juice bar for all you overindulgers. 

Ad Hoc: All unique, farm-to-table dishes and served family style; $45-50/person will you get you an amazing four course meal that changes daily. Menus are posted day-of on their website. Great bar here too.

Goose and Gander: Located in St. Helena; this is a great place for dinner. Dark and cozy with big leather booths upstairs and a speakeasy-esque bar downstairs makes this a one-stop outing. Everything on this menu is delicious from the cous-cous and scallop appetizer to the burger with duck-fat fries.

Bistro Jeanty: A cozy french bistro in the heart of Yountville – this place has the most incredible tomato soup we’ve ever had….you must order it. 

Archetype: This was a new one for us this trip, and y’all I’m in love. The decor is perfection and even better, the food. I suggest ordering the tater tots to start. YUM

Hot Air Balloons

A hot air balloon ride is a fun way to see Napa Valley. Below are a few of the companies that offer rides in the area and all cost ~$200/person for a 1 hr ride

Napa Valley Aloft: Balloons take off right from the Vintage Estates so very convenient for those staying in Yountville (www.nvaloft.com)

Napa Valley Balloons: Includes a post-flight breakfast and sparkling wine at Domaine Chandon (www.napavalleyballoons.com)

Balloons Above the Valley: Napa Valley Marriott is the meeting location so very convenient for those staying there (www.balloonrides.com)

End of Summer Favorites

IMG_4357Top: Tibi, Jeans: DL1961, Shoes: Steve Madden, Sunglasses: Illesteva

Have sale fatigue yet? I sure do. My bank account is still reeling from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but I still couldn’t help myself to see if some of my favorite spots had any end of season steals.

Why? Because this is the BEST time of year to stock up on end of season pieces. Prices are rock bottom and you still have a few weeks of wear before packing it all up for next summer. I have a problem with instant gratification, so this one is a little hard for me. That’s why I have a love-hate relationship with August.

Love? My birthday, Nick’s birthday, summer sales. Hate? The 500 degree heat, my once new sandals now demolished from repetitive summer wear, and summer sales.

Alllllll that being said (I know – shut up, Alison), here are my favorite finds from the Shopbop sale. Do you like taking advantage of end of season sales?