Friday, May 22, 2015

What's In My Makeup Bag

Today I thought it would be fun to share what's currently in my makeup bag. I'm not a big makeup person at ALL, so what I put on my face is super minimal and takes about five minutes. It's a mix of drugstore and department store buys, but the biggest thing about each of these things is that none of them make me breakout. As I was going through a rough patch with my skin, I tried different, more natural beauty products but I always came back to my tried and true items that work well for me. They're not formulated for problem skin, but I've using many of these items since college and they do a great job.

First of all, how great is this Birdling Essentials bag? They sent it over earlier this week and I'm in love. It's a gorgeous olive (and waterproof too!) with fantastic leather details and a cute pop of baby blue nylon on the bottom. It's the perfect size for traveling!

First up are my face products. I really like this foundation. I use a very tiny amount mixed into my face lotion and it stays on all day long. I also really like this Bare Minerals concealer for blemishes. When I was dealing with acne it was wonderful- and using it didn't make me break out more, which was key. Next is my undereye concealer. Another drugstore buy that feels more luxurious than what you pay for. It goes on easily, feels totally moisturizing, and does not sink into fine lines. A couple other products: Bare Minerals Stroke of Light and Benefit's Fake Up. These are both highlighters I use regularly. I only recently got the Fake Up via Autumn's recommendation and LOVE it. It gives the most amazing glow and I can't recommend it enough. And as far as blush, I use Bare Minerals Aphrodisiac everyday. It's a fantastic pink/peach that gives a nice pop of color while still looking totally natural.

Next are my eye products. I keep this very simple. I don't even wear eyeliner or eyeshadow unless I'm going somewhere special, so most days I just fill in my brows with this Anastasia brow pencil (in Taupe) and use my Trish McEvoy curler and beloved LashBlast mascara (in Very Black). Simple. And when I do use liner, this is the best I've found- it's a cheap find that stays put and doesn't bleed onto my lid after a night out. One note about mascara- I've tried EVERY kind under the sun, from the most expensive brand to this, and Cover Girl's orange tube is hands down the best. I love it.

Annnd, lips! I use Aquaphor before I go to sleep and when I wake up (it gives you the softest lips EVER!) and in between I use my Coconut Milk Eos. That's all I use day in and day out, but if I'm doing something fun, I'll throw on one of these colors- Cover Girl's Coral Crush, Laura Mercier's Poppy, or Bare Mineral's Marvelous Moxie in Perky Peony. I also have a few MAC colors I really love, but I don't wear of these too often because I really prefer just straight chapstick-type stuff on my lips. Boring, I know! ;)

So that's my makeup routine. Simple and easy. I hope you enjoyed, and let me know if we share any of the same favorites! xo

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Explore Arizona: Antelope Canyon

A couple months ago Alana called me and said "Hey. Would you be able to take off for a few days and do Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Zion?" I asked her when she was thinking, and she said "Umm, next week." Thanks to my sister, I was able to excitedly say "HELL YES!" and a few days later, we were off.

Hank's family has a houseboat docked on the Arizona side of Lake Powell so we've been close to Antelope Canyon many, many times but never made the time to explore it. And wow- were we missing out!

We decided to visit both Upper and Lower Antelope, and both were very different experiences which I'll detail below. If you decide to make the trip, I recommend taking the time to do both tours.

We went into Upper Antelope first, and used Adventurous Antelope Photo Tours, and did their 12:30pm Prime Time tour. After doing some research we learned that mid-day was the best for capturing the light in the canyon, so we went with Tour #10. We arrived 30-minutes prior to our tour and ate a quick lunch from our backpacks before boarding one of the SUVs with our guide, Dale. There were 9 people total in our group, and then there were also three other SUVs full of hikers following us from the same company.

The whole tour is noted as taking one hour, but with the fifteen-minute drive to the entrance and back, and lingering inside and out, I would estimate the entire excursion took about two hours. It was a GREAT tour. Dale was an exceptional guide, helping us with camera settings, locations, photo ideas, and was full of geological and historical knowledge. It was a phenomenal experience. The only downside was the crowds- it was a weekday so it wasn't horribly crowded, but it was still pretty packed and if you saw an empty spot and wanted to take a photo, you better do it quickly before the next group came through. All in all though I would highly recommend not only this tour company, but also our tour guide Dale.

Next we drove over to Lower Antelope Canyon Tours (I couldn't find a website but it's to the left of Ken's Tours), and waited for our second tour to begin. We were joined by three other people, and we walked back behind the tour shacks to see a very nondescript slot in the ground. It's amazing to think what was inside of that slot- you wouldn't ever know by looking at it that such an insanely beautiful world is down below.

To enter the canyon, you head down a couple of very steep flights of stairs to descend to the canyon floor. Once below we realized we were basically the only ones inside which was such a sharp contrast to our experience in the Upper Canyon. It was amazing to walk through slowly, with no one around, and listen to the sounds of the wind, our breath, and our feet crunching on the rocks. About halfway through our guide started playing a wooden flute and the entire canyon filled up with the most beautiful music. It was truly a "made-it" moment for this trip, and something I think back to often.

It was an amazing time, and I can't recommend visiting Antelope Canyon enough. Be sure to book both Upper and Lower too- they're both incredibly different, and worth the trip. I'll be back next with with details from Horseshoe Bend, and then the following week with my post about the Zion portion of our trip. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions- I'm happy to answer below.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I'd Like to Imagine...


Sometimes I think about you, on the other side of that screen. I'm sitting here right now on this side- specifically in my bed, where I do half of my blogging (the other half at my desk when I'm feeling official)- and I'm typing this. My hair is up in a messy bun of too-clean hair, which I actually hate 10x more than too-dirty hair. If you're curious, I got my hair colored yesterday and unlike most women I've spoken to about it, I may be the lone lady who really doesn't like that fresh from the salon feel. Way too soft, way too clean. But anyway. Top knot, workout clothing, listening to my sister entertain three children in the playroom. You might be curious after reading that, why is your sister watching your children while you sit in bed? Well, we switch off watching the little ones during the week. I watch Lucy for a few hours in the morning, and she watches in the afternoon. I work from home so most of the time while she's watching the boys I'll be working on actual work stuff, but sometimes I'll take a break and write a post here. Not too often though, as I'm sure you've noticed, but whenever I get an idea or an urge to share in this space, I do.

So that's my side of the screen. Or part of it. On this side I have so many thoughts going through my mind. I went out with friends on Saturday night so today I'm feeling that third day after-drinking sadness. It's making me say things like "I will never drink again!" Or to my sister, "Why didn't I stick with just wine?" I'm also thinking about this video I came across, of our last East Coast trip. My sister is divorced now and there are parts of the film that include her and her ex-husband. It makes me think about marriage and how no one goes into it thinking they will get divorced. But people do get divorced. There are just no guarantees in life in anything you do, and that's equal parts exciting and scary, depending on the situation at hand. I could get lost in thinking about it so instead I'll just stop- I'm just so glad my sister is happy and doing okay. I also can't help but wonder about this next year. Hank and I decided to hold off on having another baby and do some of the traveling we've been dreaming about with "if not now, when?" echoing in our heads. But then the other night I spent too much time looking back at old photos and videos of Charlie as a tiny baby and that familiar ache returned in my chest. Another baby. Yes. And so I had a panicky moment thinking about the trips that are already booked and in place and unchangeable, and how we absolutely could not have another baby now, even if I wanted to (which I absolutely did in that very moment). I went to bed with incredibly dramatic tears in my eyes and woke up feeling silly and a-okay that we were waiting. What was the rush anyway? So we'll wait a year.

I'd like to imagine that you're there, on your side of the screen, and you're smiling. You're reading this and thinking how funny it is to read this weird lady's random thoughts and about her day and her family. I'd like to imagine you have a lot going on in your life too, over there, and you're taking just a moment to read these words I type here, from my bed. I hope you know how much I appreciate you. Some of you have stuck around for almost eight years here in this space. Whoa, right? So crazy, so cool.

Now I'm going to shut my laptop and go out to see how everyone is doing out there in the playroom. You'll shut your computer too, or lock your phone, or walk away from your desk, but just know that I'm thinking of you. I'm sending you these positive vibes and happy thoughts and I'd like to imagine that you can totally feel them coming your way, floating out there in cyber space and over to you, somehow. Lots of love, my friend.


Packing...for a Month Long Trip

Today I spent some time making a list of all the things we'll need on our East Coast trip. We leave this weekend (I'm so excited!), so I'm trying to get everything organized in the next couple of days to alleviate any last minute stress. We'll be staying in different hotels and B&Bs, with stops at my Aunt's and Uncle's in the middle (Vermont and New York) so thankfully we'll be able to do laundry at least once. Lately I've become a big time overpacker, so I'm looking forward to packing simply and intentionally, rather than bringing anything and everything I could possibly want or need.

Hank, Henry and I have done a month+ long trip a few times before Charlie was born, but this time it's everyone and it feels like 100x more stuff due to the diapers, wipes, stroller, two carseats, an Ergo, and a portable crib. We've traveled a lot with the boys but never for this long with I thought I would ask if anyone has any tried and true travel tips for extended vacations with little ones or even just on your own! It would be awesome to learn a new tip we can put into practice.

I'm all ears! And when we return I'll write a follow up post sharing what worked and what didn't.


Friday, May 15, 2015


I'm so excited to share Matter with all of you today- a great, inspiring company I learned about when they emailed me to partner up on a post. The photos attached to that initial email were what first caught my eye, but then when I read more about their mission, their goals and the hows and whys of their production, I was even more excited to help spread the word. In short, Matter inspires consumers to value provenance – to ask of the where and why something is made, and champion alternative production models for textile artisans to expand their economic opportunities. And as someone who admittedly doesn't usually think about things like this, it widened a whole new avenue of thought for me, and opened up my eyes as well.

Reading about Matter was inspiring (get more information on their philosophy here), and I also thought it was fascinating to watch videos on how every single one of their textiles is made. All of their pants are great to-and-from pieces, lounge pants, or even something you could dress up with heels and go out on the town. They're comfortable, travel-ready, and not only do they tell a story, but they inspire me to go live one of my own, too.

If you're in the market to treat yourself to something really special, go take a look at the Matter website. And better yet, you can feel good about your purchase, as you're supporting local artisans, makers, and economies. Here are some of my favorites: one, two and three. And be sure to watch the videos too, because they're really, really beautiful.


This post is in partnership with Matter. Thanks for reading! xo

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Fun Family Weekend in Palm Springs!

I've thought about writing this all week and tried to think of a way I could somehow convey what Crafting Community at The Ace was like in one post...and really, I feel like it's kind of impossible. I'm going to try though, and share a million photos (seriously, there's a lot!), and wish you all had been there with me. Next time, I hope! And this is kind of a bold statement, but this might have just been one of the best weekends I've ever had with Henry- it was really, really special, and I think even more so because we carved the time out just for him. My Mom watched Charlie for the weekend, and as guilty as I initially felt about leaving him behind, I felt a million times better when I saw just how much Henry enjoyed having a special weekend with Mommy and Daddy, just for him. It was awesome. And as we drove away on Sunday I looked back at our little guy and he had tears in his eyes. I asked him why he was sad, and he said "I just don't want it to end." I feel you, kid.

To me, Crafting Community was like a big summer camp for kids and adults, with something for every single person. I wasn't too sure what to expect going in- I'm not a super crafty person, nor do I like to feel obligated to spend an entire day following a schedule someone else has set. But let me tell you, when I say "something for everyone" that really is the case. And all of the "somethings" are so easy-breezy that you do it all at your own pace, when you feel like pressure. And you know how sometimes you leave a vacation and need a vacation? Not this time. I think because they built in these little pockets of time for the adults amidst all of the family acitivities, like the Mama Dance Party, numerous workout classes (with babysitting available!), or even just meeting up with friends as your kiddos napped, all of the parents got to get some "me" time in too.

We crafted, we swam, we ate delicious food, we danced with glowsticks. I Soul-Cycled, we all played Bingo, and Hank and I enjoyed hanging out on the patio after Henry went to sleep. There were times I looked around during the weekend and was struck with what an amazing thing it was, to get all of these families together who have the same goal in mind- to love more and love harder, create art and have fun with each other. It was pretty powerful to be around that kind of energy and I left feeling incredibly inspired.

A couple of things:

1. Although we left Charlie behind, babies of all ages were present. Henry is 4 1/2 and was the perfect age to craft, but there were younger kids sitting on parents' laps or being worn in Ergos, families that would divide and conquer (one parent with each kid), and overall I would say this is a wonderful event for families with kids of any age.

2. The Ace Hotel is SO great. We've gone there to eat before, and also used their photobooth numerous times, but this was the first time we stayed as guests. I really, really loved our time there, and thought the room we had was absolutely perfect for families. We stayed right across from the pool, and had our own patio...we were right in the middle of everything but it was convenient to be able to have space to hang out on our own too. As an added bonus, once we put Henry to sleep at night Hank and I could go out to our patio, and enjoy talking and snacking while Henry slept. We're looking forward to booking rooms with friends in the Fall and doing the same thing!

3. This would be a great destination vacation. Although we're able to drive to Palm Springs (it's about 5.5 hours away), this event is so worth it that even if you don't live close by it would be fantastic to make a whole vacation out of it and tack on some California beach time while you're out this way.

To wrap it up, we (obviously) had an amazing time, and I wholeheartedly cannot recommend this weekend enough- we're already counting down until next year. If you want to join us next time, or come to other amazing event Crafting Community puts on (remember this one, from last December?) get on their mailing list here. Seriously, do it!

I'll leave you with a million photos by my friend Morgan Pansing, Kate Miss for Crafting Community, and then also some from my iPhone sprinkled throughout. I hope you enjoy, and if you have any questions about the event or a particular photo feel free to ask! You can also see more info about the artisans and makers who taught workshops here.

This post was in partnership with Crafting Community. Thanks for reading! xo
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