It's time...to make that list of resolutions for the new year. I've got a few things I plan on taking on in 2017 but the biggest thing is prepping for the arrival of my sweet baby. So much to look forward to (designing the nursery, researching the best equipment and must-haves, nesting and getting life organized, etc.) but I'm still feeling so exhausted and just thinking about the "to-do's" makes me feel slightly overwhelmed and very sleepy. I've been told that I'll get an amazing burst of energy soon (honestly can't wait) but till that happens, I want the start of 2017 to be about rest & relaxation...charging my batteries and indulging in a little bit more "me" time while I can!
For me, rest means lots of naps (I've become a champion at taking them over the past 22 weeks) and relaxation means treating myself to some soothing activities. I've never been a huge bath-taking person but lately I've been craving spending lots of time in the tub and really into slathering myself with various products that make me feel like I'm treating my changing body. Over the past few months I've acquired some new beauty goods from Nordstrom that are natural, organic (they have a great selection in this category!), and super great for helping me feel relaxed and pampered. Since I know I'm not the only one who might be wanting to make relaxation a focus of 2017, I thought I would share some of my new favorite products. And hey, only two of the 12 are specifically for pregnant bumps - the rest can be enjoyed by all!
.Aveda ‘Comforting’ Tea Bags ($19): I’ve been trying to keep my caffeine intake to a minimum (which doesn’t necessarily help with the constant fatigue I feel) but I’ve really been craving tea. Iced tea and a bagel have become my morning go-to and in the evening I like to have a cup of this Comforting Tea by Aveda. It’s super calming and the flavor (licorice root and peppermint) make me feel like I’m at the spa and not in bed or on my couch.
.8G Greens Dietary Supplement ($12.50): One of the most alarming parts of my first trimester was how terrible all food sounded to me. Except for anything bread based. Bagels (so many bagels), toast, croissants, cereal, Saltine crackers (so many Saltines), etc. I’ve just recently started to want more fruits, veggies, and proteins but I still feel like I need more nutrients. I discovered the 8G Essential Greens Booster tablets and was amazed by all the vitamins and super vegetables packed into the dissolving tablets. I checked with my OB and was given the green-light for using them and it’s given me a little piece of mind that I’m getting “as much vitamin C as five oranges, as much vitamin B5 as 20 cups of broccoli, as much vitamin B3 as 18 cups of carrots, as much B6 as seven cups of lima beans, as much B12 as nine cups of milk and as much zinc as 10 cups of asparagus” each day while I continue to reach for the bread.
.Mullein & Sparrow ‘Rose Blossom’ Mini Bath Salts ($19 on sale!): To make my baths to the next level, I’ve been trying out various bath salts and soaks. This Rose Blossom Salts from Mullein & Sparrow is really nice because the crystals dissolve quickly and have a great natural aroma that’s not too overpowering. I’m not sure if adding the salts has created a placebo effect or if they’re really working like they should, but I feel like they do help relieve my muscles and give an extra calming effect. Plus I think the bottle is really pretty in my bathroom, ha!
.Whish Almond Body Wash ($16): When I mentioned croissants earlier I should have specified almond croissants. I’m obsessed with all things almond, including beauty products. It just smells so good to me and not in a sugary way (like vanilla-scented products). I picked up the Almond Body Wash by Whish on a whim really recently and using it has been a serious treat. It’s super moisturizing and leaves my skin incredibly soft. And obviously, the scent is divine. I’m wanting to try so many more of the all-organic products from Whish now…people seem to love the Body Butter.
.Herbivore Botanicals ‘Coco Rose’ Coconut Body Oil Polish ($36): I’ve been dying to get my hands on a product or two by Herbivore Botanicals…if only because the packing is so beautiful and the all-natural ingredients are right up my beauty-loving alley. I’m really good at exfoliating my face but realized I had been neglecting the rest of my bod once the fall chill hit Dallas and my skin wasn’t absorbing all the lotions I was slathering on it. I wanted to try the ‘Coco Rose’ Coconut Body Oil Polish because it sounded like the ideal scrub to gently slough off any dead, rough skin but wouldn’t dry me out since it has coconut oil. Love that the rose ingredients are good for sensitive skin (which mine tends to be in the colder months).
.Farmaesthetics Hand to Heel Softening Salve ($30): Speaking of slathering, in addition to all the lotion I use, I have been giving my hands and feel extra special attention with this organic Softening Salve by Farmaesthetics. It’s not super fancy – just a nice thick balm – and it is a little pricy for it’s size but it has been healing my ultra-dry hand and feel like no other. I keep it by my bed and load up before I go to sleep.
.RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream ($18): I’ve been using this Raw Coconut Cream for years now. It’s what I use to dissolve my makeup before I cleanse (literally just rub some all over my face and eyes) and often times wear a thick layer as a mask when in the tub for added intense moisture. It’s 100% coconut oil but unlike the stuff you can buy from the shelves at the grocery store, this is made made with a modern cold-pressing processing technique that makes it superior and ideal for the face and body. The other RMS Beauty item I can’t live without? The Lip & Skin Balm.
.COSMOS Lavender & Witch Hazel Toner ($28): One major habit I have when doing my makeup is using a setting spray before I walk out of the house. I had been using the All Nighter Setting Spray by Urban Decay and I loved it – but I really wanted to find an all-natural alternative. I found the Lavender & Witch Hazel Toner by COSMOS as part of Nordstrom’s “Love Pop-In Shop” and liked that it can work as a daily toner, makeup setter, after-sun spray and base moisturizer. Talk about multi-tasking! Excited to see how it matches up to by other stuff.
.Caudalíe Grape Water ($13): Another facial spray? I know…but this is different from the Lavender & Witch Hazel Toner because grape water is amazing for adding hydration and reducing sensitivity. When used, it has the ability to retain water within the skin’s corneous layer and hydro-lipid film. Cool, right? I use it after cleansing and swiping on my toner, before I apply oils and serums for an extra boost of moisture and love, love it! All the products by Caudalíe are amazing.
.Mason Pearson ‘Popular Mixture’ Nylon & Boar Bristle Brush ($205): This hair brush has such a silly price tag but it really is the best thing I’ve found for untangling the horrible knots my hair is prone to (friends with thin and fine hair, you know my pain). And this sounds weird, but I’m obsessed with how it feels on my scalp. It’s like I get an awesome head scratch every time. My husband likes to say, “Marsha, Marsha, Marsha,” when he catches me brushing for more than 10 minutes. Can’t help it, the brush works magic and makes my hair shinier.
.Noodle & Boo ‘nectar’ Elasticity Oil ($18) and The Honest Company Organic Belly Balm ($16): When I found out I was pregnant I dove head first into Googling so many things and spent a significant amount of time researching what other expectant moms found to be the best products for combating stretch marks. Let me tell you, the recommendations are all over the place and there’s just as many good reviews as bad…and many more products with potentially harmful ingredients than good. I couldn’t determine if an oil or balm-based product was going to be best for me so I didn’t want any concerned pregnant lady would do and went for both. My choices: the ‘nectar’ Elasticity Oil by Noodle & Boo and Organic Belly Balm from The Honest Company. I knew of both brands as being awesome organic lines for baby and children’s products and was surprised and excited to see that they had a few products specific to the mamas. Both products have all the good stuff recommended for expanding bellies (improving elasticity, relieving itchiness, soothing dryness, helping reduce and protect against the dreaded stretch marks) and I basically just massage in the oil, follow up with the balm, then say a bunch of prayers each day.
Whew! That was a lot! But more is more when it comes to kicking back and relaxing, right? Hope you all have a safe and happy time celebrating the New Year!
We got back to Dallas yesterday afternoon and its always a little bit bittersweet coming back after a holiday. I feel torn between wanting to extend the holiday and knowing there is so much to do at home. Our Christmas tree got pretty crispy (aka super dry) while we were away so we sadly have to dismantle the decorations tomorrow. Our New Years Eve plans are looking pretty low key with the babe on the way, but I'm pretty excited to cook a yummy steak dinner at home and hang out with our pups. With the New Year comes lots of good sales, too. No surprise there...what better way to end 2016 than with a little more retail therapy! (read on to get the sales + steals)
This + That:
- A. FAVORITE READ // ITG’s Best Beauty Tips 2016 via Into The Gloss (Could read this kind of stuff for days…)
- B. FAVORITE PIN // this via VSCO xjazlynn (A little inspiration for the new year ahead?)
- C. FAVORITE INSTAGRAM // @mvb
- D. FAVORITE OUTFIT // Aylin König
- Ann Taylor: Limited time only – 40% off full priced styles with code SHOP40. (This color blocked furry stole is pretty adorable and could be paired with just about anything.)
- Anthropologie: Winter tag sale – fresh cuts by the thousands now an extra 40% off. Use code TAGTIME. (How cozy do these look?)
- Athleta: Semi annual sale – up to 60% off online and in store! (I can always use more hoodies and I love the shape of this one.)
- Banana Republic: Extra 50% off sale & up to 40% off select styles. (This is pretty cute to buy now and save for the spring and summer.)
- BaubleBar: Extra 20% off sale, now up to 75% off for 4 days only!
- Bloomingdales: Save up to 75% off through 1/1. (I’ve been wanting a pair of flat, short boots and I like the look of these a lot. The price can’t be beat either!)
- Blue Mercury: Free two day shipping and free products with every purchase! (I love all things RMS, so I’m curious to try these!)
- Calypso St. Barth: Enjoy an extra 60% off sale! (Since being pregnant, I am very picky about my shirts and sweaters being long enough. T-shirts are the hardest to find in a long length, but this one looks pretty perfect.)
- Club Monaco: Up to 65% off sale when you take an additional 40% off already marked down styles. (How darling is this skirt?)
- domino: Boxing day – up to 50% off rugs, lighting, chairs, and home decor. (Jenna Snyder-Phillips does some amazing artwork – how cool is this?)
- Everlane: Choose what you pay! It only happens twice a year so jump on the offers!
- Gap: 35% off regular priced styles + extra 40% off sale with code YOURTIME. (Since I spend the better part of my days in some form of lounge wear, these would make for a good buy!)
- H&M: Sale – now up to 80% off! (This cute and soft sweater is now on sale!)
- Intermix: Extra 50% off sale. (Talk about the perfect shoe for New Years – love these.)
- J.Crew: Enjoy an extra 50% off sale with code SHOPSALE. (I almost bought these as a stocking stuffer for myself – I think its meant to be that I order them now!)
- J.Crew Factory: Online only – extra 40% off clearance with code SHOPCREW. (Thinking my husband should take advantage of the sale and order this. Would be great with dark denim!)
- kate spade new york: Enjoy an extra 30% off sale styles with code sprinkles. (This is pretty amazing. I’m partial to the bright blue version.)
- LOFT: Enjoy an extra 60% (!!) off all sale styles. (These look pretty cute on the model!)
- Lulu & Georgia: Warehouse sale! Take up to 70% off rugs, accessories, and more! (The colors in this are so pretty, no?)
- Madewell: Extra 30% off all sale styles with code BIGSALE. (With how mild the weather in Dallas has been lately, stocking up on a few of these wouldn’t be a bad idea!)
- Mango: Sale – up to 50% off! (Can’t get enough of this, especially the sleeve detail. Also, this is SO pretty.)
- Nordstrom: Half yearly sale – save up to 50% off through 1/2! (These are some of my favorite and most comfortable sneakers and the price is SO good and these are a STEAL!)
- Old Navy: 20% off your order through TODAY with code ENJOY.
- Saks: The designer sale, up to 60% off online and in stores! (These are pretty darn cute and would go with everything.)
- Serena and Lily: Get 30-65% off at the winter tent sale! (We have a few things for our nursery, but will definitely be getting more after the new year. I love these gingham crib sheets.)
- Stuart Weitzman: Take up to 40% off + new styles added! (These are great classic, flat boots. I bet they’re insanely comfortable, too!)
- The Loveliest: New Year sale! Get 30% off everything on the site with code HELLO20171!
- TIBI: Sale – now up to 70% off. (If you never got your hands on an off the shoulder top, this one is adorable and the white is classic.)
- West Elm: End of season sale – up to 70% off thousands of items!
If you live in Dallas and have yet to visit the new Outdoor Voices shop, make sure to get yourself there asap. If you don't live in Dallas and haven't heard of the brand - and can't pay a visit to their other stores in New York or Austin - get on their website and discover why people are freaking for the line of "Technical Apparel for Recreation." Sally and I got our first OV pieces while in Austin last January and have been faithful devotees ever since. It's a little hard to put your finger on exactly what makes the brand and its pieces so instantly covetable but they definitely have something everyone wants...I think the pieces are cool but not intimidating, elevated but not too pure to sweat in, and I love that brand celebrates fitness over performance. They're into "Doing Things" - whether that means hardcore workouts or walking your dog - and that's something I can get on board with.
When it comes to doing things (be it sweating at a workout class or sitting on my couch) and being in comfortable clothing with stretch, I tend to gravitate towards leggings. My collection isn’t absurd but the only real variation is in pant length. While Sally and I were in the Dallas Outdoor Voices store before Thanksgiving we were asking the fab sales team what their favorite items were and they all led us over to a section of sweatpants and hoodies. I was like, “Wait, we just bypassed all the leggings with the awesome new color combinations and I think I saw some cropped tanks…” And then I felt the Mossed Jersey sweats. And they felt like butter. And I was intrigued and excited. And also a little ashamed that I was just now turning my attention away from the leggings, bras and tops onto these heavenly sweats.
Almost all the sweatpants I own are the kind that shouldn’t be worn outside the house. Like my Juicy Couture velour pants (true life, I also have them in turquoise terry cloth). And some very baggy joggers that make my tush look like I may-or-may-not-be wearing a diaper with them (for the record, I do not wear diapers). I like all these pants and feel zero shame wearing them around my dogs and family (and friends I really like) but they are not pants for “Doing Things” in. The Outdoor Voices Running Sweats on the other hand, have a lovely fit that isn’t tight like leggings but isn’t so loose you look like you stole them from your dad. They are soft like butter and light like a cloud but also super cozy. Sold.
I was not however, totally sold in getting the Catch-Me-If-You-Can Hoodie in the same color. Would I wear these two things together? Is it super lame and weird to wear a matching set? Will I look…like I did back when wearing Juicy Couture sweat sets (the high school snap shot in my memory is enough to give me spine shivers). The OV girls assured me that the matching set was a thing (something they actually sold as a kit) and that it was totally acceptable – and even cool – to wear them together or mix and match with other stuff. I giggled and said I would try this unitard thing out in the fog grey.
As soon as I got home with my new sweat set I jumped into it felt the softness on my bod, determined that I was 100% on board with the matchy look, and decided I needed to get a set in another color. Then I wore the look like multiple days in a row (including on my drive home to Kansas City for Thanksgiving) before washing it and repeating the uniform. The Mossed Jersey fabric is, as I mentioned like a million times, beyond soft – but it also has four-way stretch which means that while you’re busy doing things, it’s not giving you a diaper tush or getting saggy.
I can’t believe I wrote that much about sweatpants and a hoodie just because. But guys, I have been so excited to style them up and share my insane love with you. I literally wear both together and separately (sometimes, if my legs are shaved or I’ve spilled coffee on the hoodies) almost too often. How you see me wearing them in this post is pretty much exactly how I’ve been doing it in real life: throwing a coat or vest over the hoodie then hopping out the door to walk the pups or run errands.
And that kit I mentioned makes buying both pieces such a steal: you get the Catch-Me-If-You-Can Hoodie and Running Sweats for $150 – making it a $65 saving. Sooo. Consider getting a matching set then thank me later?
I say this every year, but Christmas really went by too quickly. We did all the things: eating too many good meals, opening too many gifts, getting in too much quality time with our family staying up too late and sleeping in a little bit...it was a full and wonderful time but I still wish it lasted just a little bit longer. Or I guess I wish I could just have more hours in the day or be able to slow down time. But the show must go on and it's time to get back to regular life programming. (proof of life going on in the form of today's vibes)
1. ATHLEISURING // J.CREW GUIDE: J.Crew teaches me many things…like the fact that the word “Athleisure” was officially added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2016 (“refers to casual clothing — like yoga pants, sweat pants, and hoodies — that are designed to be worn both for exercising and for doing (almost) everything else.”). Whew. Thanks Crew for the heads up! And thank you for also showcasing some really great ways I can style my yoga pants, sweatshirts, hoodies, and sneakers for non exercise wear with this blog post. Getting back on the workout train might be one of my resolutions for 2017 but that doesn’t mean I’ll give up wearing my stretchy clothing as a 24/7 option. My only problem is that now I have these, this and this on my “need” list and they’re definitely more of “wants.”
2. READING // CHERRY BOMBE No. 8: A few weeks ago I received my bi-annual copy of Cherry Bombe in the mail and it was like Christmas came early (raise your hand if you have a major girl crush on Padma Lakshmi). I’ve been in love with the magazine and its celebration of women and food since it launched Issue No. 1 in the Spring/Summer of 2013 and it’s crazy amazing to me that I just added Issue No. 8 to my colorful stack of older issues. The beautiful photography, typography and layouts speak to my graphic design loving soul and the content and featured cover ladies just gets better and better. If you’re late to the Cherry Bombe party, don’t fret. Many of the older issues are still available to buy and the publication hosts a Podcast Series on Thursdays via the Heritage Radio Network.
3. TREATING // WAGWEAR BONES: You can bet that I didn’t forget to gift Rosie and Blue a few toys for Christmas. I’m lucky that they go nuts over toys…it makes picking them out and presenting them really fun. When Blue was a bitty baby and I had him at home over Christmas three years ago (!) I bought him a small peanut butter scented rubber bone by Wagwear. I figured it would make an ideal teething toy and that he would stop chewing on me and move over to the bone. Wrong. He showed little to no interest in it an it’s has sat at the bottom of our doggie toy bin for years…that is, until we brought Rosebud home. Rosie has a real passion for toys – way more than Blue ever did at her age – and for whatever reason, she is obsessed with the peanut butter bone. And now her affinity towards it has made Blue want it again. We’ve brought it over to Sally’s house to play with and her two pups love it, too. So now I think I need to order at least one more. The “Give A Dog A Bone” is 100% gum rubber (a natural substance), comes in four scents (peanut butter, pistachio, chocolate and cashew) and really durable – but now that Rosie has had several weeks with the one we have, it’s definitely time to invest in another. Or two. Or three. #dogmomproblems
4. WANTING // PEARL-EMBELLISHED DENIM: One of the best parts about blogging is that Sally and I are constantly hopping around the internet, seeking out new things we could possibly post about, style, and/or share. One of the worst parts about blogging is that we then want to buy every great thing we see. Poor us, right? I have to say, I’m pretty good at holding back on pulling the trigger – only buying what I know I will really, really wear. But then I see things like this pearl-embellished Cropped Denim Jacket and its Mom Jeans pairing at Topshop and I’m all, “OMG those are so unnecessary and trendy and wonderful and I feel like I need one or both in my life stat.” I’m such a sucker for pearl anything and the washed black hue plus pearl detailing is so cool. Seriously, what’s a girl to do but sleep on it for a week (my go-to method for determining if I should really buy something I don’t need) and then decide which of the two would be the most life changing. I’m thinking the jacket?
5. MASKING // RICH SNAIL: I know y’all have read me mention my friend Brittany and the site she co-writes with the lovely Riley, House of Preservation The two have some serious skin and beauty knowledge and I turn to their blog and Instagram on a daily basis to learn about products, pick up on new tricks, and see what stuff they’re loving. In early fall I was discussing some of my skin woes with Britt (so. much. dryness.) and she told me that I needed to go home immediately and order a set of mothermade Rich Snail Facial Masks. She told me the mask was her favorite and that she uses one nearly every day because they provide a ridiculous amount of moisture and a serious instant glow while being super gentle and non-irritating. At first I had to confirm that the daily masking wasn’t a exaggeration – Britt assured me that it wasn’t and that doing a rich face mask was not a practice that should be reserved for special occasions but done consistently and routinely for best results. The Snail Masks are under $18 for a pack of 10 and really, that’s a daily cost I can absorb and would happily pay if it helped me achieve healthy, hydrated skin like hers. Usually I follow all her advice to the letter but for whatever reason, I just got around to ordering the sheet masks. It only took me using one from the pack of 10 to understand why Brittany puts one on everyday. Brittany advises washing your face and applying all your toner and serum as you normally would, then wearing the mask (15-20 minutes), and patting the excess product into your skin after removing. Let me just tell you, the hydration is unlike anything I’ve done before. About to place a bulk order now so I can go for everyday usage and I HIGHLY suggest y’all get on the snail sheet masking train!
6. LOVING // TRACY WATTS HATS: I wish I had an upcoming beach trip on the books so I had an excuse to order a straw sunhat by Tracy Watts. Based in Brooklyn, Tracy is a milliner that and has been hand making her unique designs since 1993. Usually I get upset with Sally for the 5,231 accounts we follow on Instagram (that’s an insane amount in case you’re wondering) because I never know any of the people/brands/retailers that come up on our feed and it’s made me shun the habit of scrolling – but I have to credit her with following Tracy’s account because it’s how I fell for her Resort 2017 designs. I see a pre-spring splurge in my future and I’m thinking the Tenerife Large Fedora with grey pom poms has my name on it.
7. SHOPPING // at THE SABAH HOUSE: Incase you missed this Instagram PSA, our friend Mickey (aka The Sabah Dealer) recently opened a little retail spot in Dallas – properly named The Sabah House Dallas – and there is a huge selection of colors and sizes of the famous Sabah shoes in stock. Not sure what Sabahs are? Check out this post I wrote about the brand last year! Or just know that they are an ancient style of unisex Turkish leather slippers, handmade by artisans in Turkey, designed to last for-almost-ever, and ideal for year-round wear. Sally and I are addicts (I just recently got a pair of the Sabah Baba slides) and wear the pairs we have on the reg. Sabahas are comfortable, versatile, durable, and they go with almost everything. If you live in Dallas, we highly suggest stopping by the Sabah House (literally a small little house in Uptown) at 2312 Routh Street. See the hours and days they’ll be open right here. And if you don’t live in Dallas, come visit, keep an eye on @thesabahdealer via Instagram to see where they’ll be hosting trunk shows or shop Sabah online!