Saturday, December 30, 2017


Teething babies put everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in their mouths.  More than one item of mine met the trash bin when my daughter was teething. Chewbeads has the perfect solution.  let's face it, we still want to look fashionable and if those delicious bits of jewelry we wear just happen to double as chew toy, well, we are killing it!  Created by a mom!
The idea for Chewbeads began in 2009 shortly after the birth of my son. Like most babies, he loved to put everything in his mouth and my necklaces were a favorite. Like most moms, I didn't feel comfortable letting him chew on them, with concern that they might break or have unwanted chemicals. As a veteran of the fashion industry, I had an amazing collection of necklaces and bracelets, so with those as my inspiration, I set out to create soft, non-toxic jewelry, which was colorful, chic and, above all else safe. Hence, Chewbeads!
  • Beads are made with 100% silicone (similar to pacifiers & nipples)
  • Soft on babies gums and emerging teeth
  • Easily cleaned with dish soap & water, also dishwasher safe!
  • No BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Cadmium, or Lead
  • Necklaces have a breakaway clasp for added safety
  • Necklaces are a great sensory tool to help your baby focus while nursing
  • Bracelets are a colorful reminder of which side you've just nursed

 My daughter is long out of teething territory, but I still wear my Astor Teething necklace in fuchsia (and I get a ton of compliments). I am officially obsessed.  As a side note, I work with lots of children with sensory disorders and have fond that these are perfect to keep them from biting themselves or other harmful objects.  Who says we can't be moms and still look good?!

A Story for Your Hair

No matter your hair type, you have no doubt been lectured that washing your hair daily is not only ill-advised, but harmful.  Standard shampoos are harsh and can actually strip the hair of oils you need for healthy hair and scalp.  Enter Hair StoryHair Story has come up with an amazing product that is a one-stop to gorgeous hair called New WashNew Wash is amazing and will change the way you wash your hair.

No matter what type of hair you have, detergent has an adverse effect across the board. New Wash, on the other hand, stops the damage and balances every type of hair with essential oils that act with the same mechanism as detergent (the ability to remove undesired substances), but they do so selectively: They distinguish between the good and the bad, only removing what is necessary. Everyone thinks they need conditioner, when in fact they don’t. Conditioners and masques are merely band-aids for the damage caused by shampoo. We thought there must be a better, more modern way. We needed to get rid of the detergent and that's what we did. New Wash is allowing people to discover their hair; its personality comes out, and you’ll be amazed at how great it looks. Biodegradable formula.
I was skeptical of New Wash  the first time.  I figured I would step out of the shower with greasy hair that still smelled like my last workout.  I was so wrong.  My hair was not only clean and felt soft, it smelled so fresh.  I did not even have to use one detangler or hair product to coax my natural curls into obedience.  I am a convert.  I only need the smallest amount to do the job, thus saving me literal hundreds in hair products from Shampoo to curl cream.  I love the natural ingredients, and I love that I can take this everywhere and cut my time in half.  Grab a bottle and join the Hair Story revolution.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Handmade and Ethereal by Design: An interview with Kuri Yasuno an Etsy Goddess

I have always been a huge proponent of buying handmade items.  Etsy was like a godsend for someone like me (and many others).  I was on Instagram one day when the most gorgeous necklace caught my eye.  I immediately contacted the creator of said necklace and ordered right away.  Since that time, I have purchased more, and each creation that comes is more and more beautiful.  The holiday season is fast upon us, and I can wholeheartedly recommend surprising that special person in your life with a creation by Kuri Yasuno.  I was interested to know what made this gem genius tick.  What inspired her?  She was gracious enough to let us in on some of her secrets.  Take a read and then go on over to her Etsy shop and treat yourself and everyone on your list. (I included the current pieces I own for you to swoon over).

The necklace that started it for me: Tangerine Quartz.  Be still my heart.

I came to the States when I was 5 years old with my family from Japan. I arrived speaking no English and being dropped in to school with a bunch of American children. That was a fascinating experience.  There were so many things that were different. Names, food, sports, clothes, everything. When I arrived here, we realized that a lot of the clothing didn’t fit me because I was pretty small, so my mom made a lot of my clothes for me, specifically party dresses and such. She’s very creative. She picks up new crafts time and time again. She just finished knitting handbags and moved onto hand woven slippers (zori). My grandmother was also creative and was always crafting all sorts of things. It appears I come from a line of very creative women.  Other than jewelry design, I have a few loves. I love languages and music. I was a language major in college and have a music and fine arts double minor. My main instrument growing up was the piano but I also can play the cello and sing proficiently. Currently I am a mom of two boys 12 and 10 and one of my favorite things to do is to teach them to sing in 3 part harmony. Its a great party trick.  I love to doodle but I can’t say that I am a great artist. I just love looking at pretty things and I find myself always creating.

How did you start designing jewelry?
When I was in High School, I did a summer college program. (can we say nerd? I was that too.) anyway, I met a girl (now woman) who showed me how to bead. At that time, I was just playing with seed beads. Then I kind of forgot about it.  YEARS later, about 5 years ago, I was in a shop in California with a friend of mine. She showed me some beautiful pieces. I said I think I know how to do this. After that trip, I started wire wrapping gemstones and sent her a necklace.  After that, I just got hooked. I started making more pieces and then I started making gifts. Soon after, people were purchasing my pieces for gifts and here I am today with my little etsy shop and my dining room table “workshop."

 What inspires you?
I love all the different colors I see in nature. Looking at water, plants, trees and the sky I see all the colors swirl around. Then I lay out my beads and see what I like together that may resemble what I saw.
Other times, the gemstones themselves make me think up of different combinations and colors.

 What are some of your favorite gems?This is a tough question.
I feel like labradorite and moonstone are some of my favorite. they go with everything and have that internal flash.
On the more higher end, i love tourmaline. the colors of that gem are so beautiful, anything i create with it is just gorgeous.

I also have a soft spot for all the blue of apatite, the soft greens of moss aquamarine and pink topaz.

 First piece your created?
I think it was that necklace I made for my friend. it was iolites, I believe.  The first piece i sold tho, was a kyanite piece.

Favorite piece?
My favorite piece has to be my “one of everything” necklace that I wear often. Its a random selection of gemstones all wire wrapped into one simple but colorful necklace.

Ocean Jasper.  I feel like a forest princess when I wear this.

Product Mommy's newest piece from Kuri.  Sapphire Blue Iolite and Moonstone. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Behind the Mask

I know I have mentioned I suffer from PCOS, so even though I may seem way too old to be getting a blemish, I most certainly still do.  I have hormonal breakouts, and in the summer, certain sunscreens can cause them as well.  I don't like to use conventional blemish creams on my face because they usually contain alcohol, which is too drying, and other harsh chemicals that leave my skin peeling. 

Evan Healy Blemish Purifying Serum is step one in my battle to defeat the spots. It contains no alcohol and is certified organic.  It contains oils such as thyme, lavender, rosehip and rosemary.  It is a tiny bottle that packs a big punch.  Spots go away within a day when I dab this powerhouse on.  It actually smells amazing as well.

When my skin really needs some TLC, I turn to the Hibiscus Willow Face Mask.  I am obsessed with this mask.  It is the most gorgeous mauve color, and it is magic for the skin. 

Flower, bark, root and clay. This harmonizing botanical + mineral quintet work to smooth, calm, clarify and nourish all skin. Marshmallow Root + Oat smooth and soothe. Hibiscus cools and enlivens. Willow purifies, exfoliates and rejuvenates. Kaolin Clay mineralizes, tones and calms. Once activated with liquid, this dusty-rose herbal powder blossoms to a deep fuchsia as it awakens, nurtures, and illuminates while infusing the skin with a profound serenity.

This mask can be used on all skin types.  I find it really clarifies my skin without irritating it further.  Some masks leave skin too dry, this one is just right.  I have even used it after all day in the sun to soothe my skin.  It feels luxurious, and is so effective.  I usually do this mask once to twice a week while taking some "me time" and enjoying a long bath, or even while cleaning up after my pre-teen.  Do yourself a favor, grab this for your beauty and self-care arsenal.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Between the Fine Lines

I hate to admit it, but I am only a few years away from the big 4-0.  That was once my "scary age", like the age I thought my parents were old.  The thing is, I know 40 is no big deal anymore.  I don't feel old, and I like to believe the kids I work with when they (lie) tell me I look young.  Some of that may be in part to good genes.  My Nana is 92 and you would never know.  The other part is good skincare.  I don't do chemicals, and I don't personally believe that they are the only anti-aging answer for my skin.  Evan Healy is always a go-to for my skin care.  When I started noticing a few "life lines" on my face, I started upping my skincare game. 

The Sea Algae Serum is a must for my daily skincare.  I use it at night, and I am so pleased with the effect. 

Formulated with fresh raspberry leaf extract, known for its skin firming effect, to better target signs of intrinsic aging and Hyaluronic acid, which holds moisture to skin forming a protective barrier. Seaweed, algae, and sea buckthorn berry oil combine to firm, nourish, and tonify the skin, and Gotu Kola supports the body’s synthesis of collagen, and connective tissue maintenance.
Described by one customer as: "deep yoga for skin", our Sea Algae Serum visibly transforms wrinkles and fine lines into silky, smooth, radiant skin. Used consistently it helps protect and soften the skin. Sea Algae Serum revitalizes skin damaged by sun, pollutants, and aging.

I use this under my daily moisturizer (more on that in a minute), and I love how it makes my skin look and feel.  I have noticed plumper skin and less of those lines.  My skin feels incredibly moisturized. 
                                             (sea buckthorn berry)                                            (sea algae and seaweed)

For my daily moisturizing needs, I use the Light Moisture Replenishing Fluid.  I have yet to find a moisturizer that feels as good as this does for my skin.  It is light enough for my combo skin, but feels deeply moisturizing (even after being in the pool and ocean all summer).  It never congests the skin and my skin drinks it up.  It also smells so amazing! It features organic and sustainable Argan oil from Morocco’s Berber Women’s Co-Operatives, along with Tamanu and Pomegranate Seed Oil, and is energized with Flower Essences.

(Evan Healy at the Berber Women's Cooperative)
With this two in my arsenal, I am one happy camper.  I can kiss fine lines goodbye and embrace my skin.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Flip Brew Yourself a Cold Drink

I am known to drink either iced green tea or iced decaf coffee all summer and fall long.  I also suffer for this because I spend what seems like a small fortune on purchasing these cups of goodness.  I was sent a Flip Brew by Zing Anything to try out.  The Flip Brew has honestly changed my life!  Yes, dramatic sounding, but so true!  I make my own iced tea and iced decaf right at home and it actually tastes better.  Using Flip Brew I can cold brew my coffee.  What does that mean? Well,  the Cold brewing means a better tasting, less acidic, and more concentrated coffee compared to traditional brewing.  Even better, the Flip Brew  is BPA/Halogen/EA & Phthalate free Eastman Tritan Plastic.  It is so easy to use, just fill the included basket with either coffee grounds or tea, hot water, flip brew, and enjoy!  What could be more simple? 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sun Goddess with a Side of Shade

I am a devoted Evan Healy skincare fan.  I use so many of her products, it prompted my husband to ask if I secretly work for her without his knowledge.  She is just that good and giving the world amazing skincare.  We have all been warned about what the sun does to our skin.  It has made more than a few of us afraid to go into the sun.  I am a pale gal.  I also worship the sun.  I love the beach, and being outside.  I am also a massive hypochondriac with a history of skin cancer on the maternal side.  I wear a high SPF at all times.  I don't tan, I burn.  That being said, I don't avoid the sun, I just protect myself as wisely as I can.  Evan Healy came out with the Sheer Tint Sun Stick.  I am obsessed.
Oils, waxes, butters, and minerals - These are the only ingredients that make up our Sheer Tint Sun Stick. This creamy balm-like formula is completely free of preservatives and designed to protect and nourish all faces. Non-nano Zinc Oxide acts the sole mineral solar-protectant, bouncing sunbeams away from your precious countenance.
Antioxidant-drenched red raspberry seed oil combines with two of our most beloved ingredients — Al Amal Co-operative argan oil and Kpersi Village shea butter — to add a hefty dose of essential fatty acids, vitamins and phytonutrients. The subtle mineral tint blends with all skin tones and is only included to diminish the white cast that is caused when using zinc oxide alone.

This blends seamlessly into the skin. The above pic is to show it heavily applied and not blended yet.  It smells incredible.  My daughter claims it smells just like an orange creamsicle.  I use this daily, and it is the only sunscreen my daughter does not fight me on when I lather up her nose.  This is a product I will be taking on beach vacations.  With the convenient size it is TSA-approved and perfect to throw in a purse.  You have no excuse to not protect that gorgeous skin.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


If you are like our household, you have at least one mason jar (or ten lying around).  We are a bottle carrying family as well.  We never buy plastic bottles of water for numerous reasons, but mainly waste and leaching chemicals.  Zing Anything has come up with genius JarGo

Transform mason jars into portable, drinkable bottles with the JarGo. From cold brew coffee to morning smoothies, the JarGo makes sipping out of your mason jars easy, stylish, and fun.
This 23 ounce container adds to the volume of a standard mason jar, with a leak-proof cap, and an easy-carrying loop. Add some fruit to your water or iced tea for a refreshing drink, or pour some milk and coffee over iced for a delicious morning jump start.
Take glass jars on-the-go!

As I mentioned, we love bottles in this house, and when the JarGo arrived, we actually fought over who could have it.  The ten year old won!  She uses it every single day.  I did manage to pry it from her once and I love it.  I plan on buying more.  It has been really spill-proof for us, and even better, it has no weird taste some metal bottles can leave.  This is a truly amazing product.  Grab one and hydrate!

Back...back in the blogging groove!

It has been almost eight months since you last heard from me.  It was a long and arduous eight months of dealing with some stressful situations. My husband dealt with some minor health issues and a major change in jobs.  We also moved to a home more suited to our needs.  While we love our new place, we did not love packing and dealing with all that entailed.  The new place has a gorgeous fenced in back yard with room for lots of plants (and a VERY persistent groundhog who loves eating them).  My daughter spends most days outside practicing soccer (futbol for my European friends) and playing on various ride-on toys.  We have been enjoying summer, but I decided its time to get back to blogging to and to what I love.  I love sharing new products that my family uses with you, my readers.  I cannot wait to share some exciting new products.  Drop me a line and let me know how you are doing and what you do to deal with stressful situations like health issues, moving and job changes.  I have missed you!

Friday, December 9, 2016

All I want for the Holidays is Wonderful Skin

We are all well aware of my obsession with Evan Healy products.  This entire natural skin-care line allows your skin to not only breathe, but uses the power of nature and years of knowledge to do so.  Evan Healy is a holistic aesthetician, who I am convinced breathes pure magic into her formulations.  I write about them often because I love them so much.

The Patchouli Rose Cleansing Milk is  the classic Rose Cleansing Milk blended with Evan’s special reserve of Patchouli Essential Oil to create a decadently deep chocolatey floral cleansing experience.
  • Our creamy cleansing milk, handmade with regenerating plant oils, antioxidant-rich gotu kola and purifying white kaolin clay, leaves skin feeling clean, relaxed and refreshed
As an avid user of the Rose Cleansing Milk, this new formula is another bonus.  It is a sensory journey that leaves my skin glowing and the most delicious fragrance lingers in the most unobtrusive way.  I hope this becomes a permanent part of the line.  My skin loves it.  It does a wonderful job of rinsing away even my toughest makeup.

The Lemon Thyme Hydrosoul smells like a garden and completes my process before putting on my favorite Evan Healy moisturizer.  This is perfect for hormonal, teenage and blemish prone skin.  It does not dry me out at all which is an added bonus (with that yummy lemon scent). 

My absolute newest obession that I cannot get enough of, is the Lemongrass Facial Polish.  I love a good exfoliating product.  This one is in my top three of all time!  It can be used as a masque or as a skin polish.  I employ it in both manners.  It is a brownish color that really purifies skin and polishes it without harsh chemicals.  Skin looks refreshed rather than raw and scratched (which conventional facial polishes are infamous for).  Kiss chemical peels goodbye!

Give the gift of beautiful skin this holiday season.  

Monday, December 5, 2016

Fun with Stitchables!

We are a crafting family.  I believe crafting gives children a life-long appreciation for arts and also helps tremendously with creativity and hand-eye coordination.  Fun with Stitchables is a fantastic new book by Suzy Altman that brings cross-stitch to kids from ages 5-10.
Fun with Stitchables introduces young crafters to the fun of simple embroidery. Quick and easy cross-stitch sewing cards are included with punched holes for easy stitching, as well as a 16-page project book with instructions for designing your own unique stitching patterns and color combinations. A project gallery shows examples of what the hand-stitched cards can become once they are complete: everything from ornaments to greeting cards! The simple stitching patterns taught in this book promote growth and development, hand-eye coordination, as well as creativity and imagination. Fun with Stitchables will entertain and delight crafters of all ages and inspire a lifelong love of embroidery.

This is a great gift for little crafters and so fun!  My daughter and I both love the colorful  illustrations and ease of learning embroidery.  The directions are simple and the materials are easy to find.  What a great way to learn and have fun.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Paper Trax

I know it is depressing, but summer is making its way out the door, and iffy weather might make for long hours of trying to entertain the kids.  For years, kids and adults alike have been enchanted with toy cars.  My nephew and even my daughter, spend hours zooming cars across my floor.  I have a very strong dislike for the tracks that go with these cars (step on one in the night and see what I mean).  I heard about Paper Trax and had to try them!

Paper Trax is a completely recyclable, all paper based race track created to race cars on Trax attached to your walls. Each Trax is designed by a local artist with your kid's imagination taken to heart, and truly meets Einstein's famous quote, “Play is the highest form of research.”

These are 100% recyclable, but with the hours of fun kids will have, you will never want to see these go.

I know a few little people who are definitely getting a set of these for the holidays.  There is so much fun to be had and these foster creation in such a great way.  I can even see these being a fabulous way to decorate a play room or even bedroom.  Vroom, vroom!

Hydro Flask a Hydration Saver

When I want to keep my family happily hydrated, there is really only once place I can go.  Hydro Flask bottles can legitimately keep up with the coldest winters and hottest summers.  I have left my bottles in a boiling hot car and got them the next morning to find the ice still in place.  They are honestly that good.

I made a pledge to keep myself hydrated.  I am not a soda and juice person, so water is my mainstay. I work in a place where I am constantly running around.  The 40 oz. wide mouth bottle with straw lid is my new best friend.  Here are some the things this baby boasts:
  • TempShieldTM Protected
  • Keeps cold up to 24 hours
  • Keeps hot up to 6 hours
  • 18/8 Pro Grade Stainless Steel
  • BPA-Free and Phthalate-Free
  • Durable, sweat-free powder coat finish (or our Classic Stainless option)
  • Lifetime Warranty

Yeah, so why don't you have one yet?  This lasts me all day at work and I swear it has become an extension of my own arm. 

We have reviewed the 64 oz. Growler, and we are equally in love with the 32 Oz. Growler

  • Hydro Flask created the first stainless steel insulated growler on the market
  • Fresh Carry System™ keeps beer cold and carbonated for hours
  • Streamlined handle for easy one-handed pour
  • Smaller size is ideal for stowing in a backpack - (why limit yourself to just one craft variety!)

My daughter grabbed this before I even had time to try it and made it her soccer game water bottle.  I ended up buying another for my craft-beer obsessed husband.  We love it!  This has won design awards for very good reason.  It actually keeps the beverage carbonated, and you look pretty fancy using it too.

Stay hydrated and happy!

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