Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kiss my Face

If there is anything you should know about me, it's that I have a lot of brains, but not a lot of pigment. Seriously, I burn almost instantly and forgetting sunscreen in sure to lead to a nasty sunburn and lots of peeling. Not cute, not cute at all.

I think I have to give a big thank you to celebs like Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone and Amanda Seyfried. When I was in high-school and college I thought I had to be tan to look good. (remember than fake orange color Paris Hilton rocked all throughout the 2000's) Now, its totally cool to rock your natural and healthy skin! Look at these beautiful ladies!

No tans required! 

Well when wearing sunscreen, if its on my face, it usually gets in my eyes and then it burns and thats not good. It's thick and sticky. It usually makes my skin feel dirty and doesn't always smell that great.

I had picked up some Kiss My Face lotion at Whole Foods not too long ago and loved it. So, when I was looking for a new sun screen I thought I would try out something from Kiss my Face. I was in luck because they had a 50 SPF body spray lotion and a 50 SPF face lotion! So, I ordered both!

I tested it out for the first time while at the Grilled Cheese Invitational and then again while out riding my horse. It worked wonderfully! I was so happy to see I didn't have the slightest tan lines! It also didn't feel sticky or gross! I might use it as an everyday face lotion during the summer! I should order some of their sun screen lip balm to try out too!

Remember- If you are one of those lucky girls (like Mahaley) with naturally darker skin, you should still use sunscreen! We all burn and the sun will damage any skin type it can get it's little rays on, some of us just turn redder than others. Whatever skin type you have check out Kiss My Face to find all their sun care products, we love them!

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A new bathing suit!

OK get ready for this! How adorable is this suit!!!!

Not only is this suit adorable but for those of us who might not feel like rocking an itsy bitsy bikini it's heaven! Every time I have worn this I get so many compliments, I think I've even turned a few girls into one piece fans!

This was one of my ModCloth purchases, and I love it just as much as I love everything else from ModCloth. Plus, this suit comes in regular and plus sized options! Not many of those Victoria's Secret suits can say that!

The suit is by Esther Williams. She has really cute vintage suits and she seems like a really cool lady! Check out her website! She is fascinating, I want to take her out for coffee and dessert so badly! You may know her as the Million Dollar Mermaid. If not look her up! And you while you are at it, you might as well order a suit! The are not only adorable, but super comfy!

It doesn't matter where you live, swim suit season is right around the corer and if you are in Southern California, it is already here! So hurry up and get a new suit!

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Historical Fiction

I have recently discovered that my favorite book genre is historical fiction. At first, this is very surprising but when I thought about it more, not that surprising.

It would be surprising because it just sounds like it would be so boring, right.

But then I think back to the American Girl series I loved as a kid (I'm pretty sure you could put that in a broad historical fiction category) and my obsession with Genesee Country Village and Museum as a kid (ok I'll admit it pre-teen). If you are unfamiliar with the Genesee Country Village and Museum, it is a 19th century living history museum in upstate New York. Long story short, I guess my love of historical fiction is not that surprising.

Blah Blah Blah...Here is a list of my top 10 favorite historical fiction books I have really enjoyed and highly recommend!

Yes, some of these are also movies. Yes, the book is better. Read the book!

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

This book was referred to me by my aunt. I had my book club read it and we all  LOVED it! The whole story is told though letters, which at first I didn't think I would like, but once you get started it sucks you right in. By the end you want to be a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! Its very interesting to see how people kept their spirits up during the German occupation of the Channel Islands.

2.  The Great Gatsby by  F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you haven't read this, or haven't read it since your middle school english teacher forced you to, read it again! The excitement of the roaring twenties and the lives of Gatsby, Nick, and Daisy are glamorous and fascinating! Come on Ol' Sport, just read it!

3. Devil in the White City by Eric Larson

 WOW! When you read this book it is hard to remember that it is based on actual events! Why isn't this a movie yet? This pairs the creation of the Chicago Worlds Fair with the United State's version of Jack the Ripper. You will want to schedule a trip to Chicago as soon as you finish, and you might need some time to wrap your head around Dr. H. H. Holmes.

4. The Paris Wife by Paula Mclain

I loved this book! I am a big 1920's fan, but this was great for any book nerd! You will fall in love with, and hate Hemingway, all in the same book. You will also fall in love with Hadley and probably book a vacation to travel through Europe to see the things they saw!

5. Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen

You might want to run away and join the circus after reading this, or you might not. (It gets a bit rough and tumble) In the middle of the Great Depression, the circus still entertained people all across the United States. You get to see some of the challenges faced by those who turned to the circus for work, plus a love story thrown in there to tug at your heart strings.

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

A peek into life in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960's. You will love and hate the characters in this story because, well some of them deserve to be loved, and others don't! You will probably get so excited and nervous while reading it as if you were were watching your team in the super bowl.

7. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

This was a book club book that I would have never picked out, but I'm so happy I read it! It takes place in Barcelona in the 1930's during the Spanish civil war. Its not at all about the war tho! It follows the main character Daniel, who discovers a book that sets him off on an adventure. Its also a bit of inception because its kind of a story within a story.  Also, you might want to take a tour of Barcelona when you finish. They thought you might feel this way so they put a map for a book tour in the back!

8. Gone with the Wind

Ok I have to re-read this because it has been years! If you haven't read or don't remember, it takes place during the Civil War (and before and after). But the thing I remember loving about it was Scarlet! What a brat, what a sassy brat!  You can't help but love her! Because it has been so long, and I need to re-read it I don't to guess at what I remember and be totally wrong. (especially if this popped up when you googled the book for your book report!)

9. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

This takes place in South Carolina during the early 1960's. It follows  the story of a little girl names Lily who runs away to search for information about her mother with her maid. The relationships between Lily, Rosaleen and all the women in the pink house is very touching. It is also another peek into our country's history in the middle of the civil rights movement.

10. Loving Frank by Nancy Horan

Loving Frank was the very first book I read with first book club. So I guess you can say it has a special place in my heart.  It takes place in the early 1900's and follows the life of Frank Lloyd Write and his "mistress" Mamah.  It not only talks about the amazing buildings Write created but goes into their private lives. The ending will SHOCK you and you will immediately google it to see if its true... it is!

Ok! so there you have it! My current top 10 historical fiction books! Now, because I just cant seem to get enough...

The Next Historical Fiction books I plan to read are:

1. Z: a Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler

2. The Chaperone by  Laura Moriarty

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

5. Ellis Island by Kate Kerrigan

6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kinslover

7. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

8. Elizabeth Street by Laurie Fabiano

Anyone read any of these yet? Let me know if I should move anything toward the top of the list!

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Yoga Shelter

I am the opposite of a true "yoga go-er" - I have a hard time relaxing, am always on the move, and love my workouts to be intense. That being said, one of my best friends and I are workout buddies, and always try new places via Groupon or Living Social. We had just used up our "Pop Physique" classes when a new Groupon came up for "Yoga Shelter." They were offering 10 classes for $20. How could you resist a yoga class for $2? I was slightly unexcited, because I had tried other yoga studios before and always found their classes under stimulating.

That all changed when I started going to Yoga Shelter. They have three different class options - slow flow, yoga rocks, and fusion. Slow Flow is a slower class, with longer poses and more focus on the breath. Yoga Rocks is higher energy, with more flow sequences. Fusion is a combination of the two. I love them all, but Yoga Rocks is my favorite.

Yoga Shelter, in my opinion, does yoga the right way. You are encouraged to go at your own pace, and modify poses if you need to (for those of us who aren't regular yoga go-ers!), and the music is amazing. I am not a huge fan of meditation music - I need something upbeat that will keep me awake! They have a great upbeat music selection, and don't take themselves too seriously. It's so much fun, and has made me see yoga in a new way. Yoga Shelter has definitely made me more "zen" and appreciate the art of relaxing. I am officially a yoga lover - something I never thought I would say!

They have one location in LA - Studio City - and the rest of their studios are in Michigan. So, if you live in Michigan, it's your lucky day!

Also, your first week at the studio is free!

I may still be at a "day 1" mat, but I love it! 

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bachelorette Weekend #3... Night 1


We had been munching all dance since we arrived (not even counting the mid trip Sweet Potato Fries stop that was disguised as a bathroom stop). We wanted something delicious and light. We also had quite a few diets to accommodate. Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Vegan, and good Ol' fashion meat eaters.  Tapas alway seem to be the best for this dilemma. With a quick Yelp search we found Cafe Sevilla!

While getting ready to go out, we made some Sangria! Just a quick easy recipe...
1. Trader Joe's Sangria Mix
2. Champagne
3. Limeade
4. Fruit for flair
We dumped and mixed it all into big soup pot because that was the only thing we could find in the house we rented. We had a ladle, so we were in business!

San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter is a great city to walk in. We left a bit early and made it to the restaurant in no time at all. So easy to walk in fact, that one of us forgot our ID and had to walk back to get it and was back before appetizers arrived!

We let the hostess know that we were celebrating a bachelorette party when making the reservation and they gave us a great table right in front of the entertainment! Here are a few of us at the restaurant...

This place is so cute inside! At night with all the lights and music its so much fun! Be sure to make a reservation, it gets pretty packed! 

The food was amazing! Everyone was able to find something tasty that met their dietary needs. As usual, we were most excited about the dessert. We were given a "surprise" dessert for the bachelorette! The free rice pudding was amazing but the production of it all was even better!

The "bachelorette" 

Like I said, we love dessert. If you go to Sevilla in San Diego, we HIGHLY recommend the Churros! 

After dinner, we wanted a nice easy, casual night. (We had BIG plans for the next night!)

Our first stop was the Tipsy Crow, where we had a round of drinks and an exciting game of foosball! Dancing didn't happen, mostly because the downstairs dance room smelled like dirty feet and a middle school boys locker room. The other two floors were lots of fun and thankfully, the smell stayed downstairs!

Next stop, Whiskey Girl! Heads up to all you Bachelorettes out there... as soon as you enter the bar they announce your party and give you a crown, and boa! 

So there you have it! Night one was a great success! Good food, dancing, free gifts, no waiting in line and just enough fun, but not so much that we weren't able to have a round 2! We have learned not to burn ourselves out the first night! Nobody likes a hangover, and who wants to pass on a second night of fun just because they weren't smart the first night. 

Stay Tuned for Night Two!

Also, If you missed the first Bachelorette post click here!

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Place Beyond the Pines

I have been anticipating this movie for months, and it is finally out. So, the boy and I ventured over to Laemmle to see it opening night. We were not disappointed. The drama, directed by Derek Cianfrance, stars Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes, Bradley Cooper, and Rose Byrne. The film highlights a generational feud between a police officer and a bank robber. The story unfolds in a way that you wouldn't expect, and will definitely keep you on your toes. Every performance is brilliant, but Dane DeHaan deserves special notice. I adored him in Chronicle, and can't wait to see him in Devil's Knot (post about this coming soon!), and he completely stole my attention in this movie. Ryan Gosling is dreadful to look at, so if you don't mind that, go see the movie. 

I'm obviously kidding. He's to die for.

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Grilled Cheese Invitational

I attended the 11th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational and boy oh boy was it delicious. If you are not familiar with it, the GCI is a grilled cheese cooking contest where you can judge and sample grilled cheese from all over! Whatever your little heart desires, tradition grilled cheese, fancy grilled cheese, dessert grilled cheese or some crazy unheard of grilled cheese. They have it all!  

It was HOT and there were people everywhere! There was also grilled cheese everywhere! The GCI started back in 2003 as a small grilled cheese competition between friends. Not anymore! It is now known as the nation's biggest, craziest, most awesome grilled cheese sandwich cooking competition! I couldn't agree more!

We came hungry, but that didn't last very long! Our first stop was at Heywood. We have heard some great things about their grilled cheese so we decided to make it our first stop!

We had their "sample" which was still pretty much a full sandwich.

It was delicious and extra cheesy! I'm really excited to take a visit to Heywood and try the rest of their delicious grilled cheese sandwiches! They even have vegan and gluten free options so everyone can enjoy the cheesy goodness! They even have a s'mores bar for dessert! What?!?! Yes Please!

Another great part of any festival is the free samples. A grilled cheese festival is definitely going to have some pickle samples! They were so good! We went back for seconds and  because I think pickles might be one of my favorite snacks, I might need to pick up a jar soon.

We also sampled  some Boulder Canyon gluten free potato chips! These were delicious and I need to find them in a local grocery store! I had the totally natural chips and Aaron had some of the BBQ chips. Both were fantastic! These are also gluten free which is always a good thing to have around in case you have guests that are on a gluten free diet. 

Next stop, because when you are at a grilled cheese festival, you can't just have one sandwich, we headed over to check out the infamous Grilled Cheese Truck!

We had to wait in line for quite a while in the hot hot sun, but we were given some delicious taxer-tots while waiting. I had the pleasure of tasting the Cheesy Mac Melt! 

Every grilled cheese sandwich should have mac and cheese inside!

After grilled cheese, you gotta have dessert! I was about to get one of those delicious looking dessert grilled cheese sandwiches when I was distracted by a pretty pink truck. The Fry Girl truck had mini donuts for sale!

With donuts as "healthy" as this how can you pass them up!

So delicious! I need to track down the Fry Girl truck again! These donuts were amazing! I also would love to see what else they have in their truck. 

Overall, it was a successful day and we left with full happy bellies! 

If you want some more information so you can make sure you are ready for next year go check out their website here! Bring your soon to be famous grilled cheese sandwich or maybe register to be a judge! 

Have you been to this festival? Or even better, if you know of any other food festivals please share! 

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Leather flats - for $40?

This post might actually deserve to go in the "Finance" category, because I'm about to share the steal of a lifetime.

I am not a walk-in-heels kindof girl. I prefer booties or flats. Comfort is my priority, but for those of you out there with sensitive feet, like myself, you know comfort does not always mean cute. In fact, I rarely find comfortable and cute shoes, so I usually end up buying duplicates when I get a good pair of shoes. These Merona flats from Target are no exception. I was slightly skeptical - $40 for insanely cute leather flats? But, after reading excellent review after excellent review, and my previous experience with a pair of leather boots from Target that are in their third year, I decided to give them a try.

I am in love. They were having a buy one get one half off sale, so my two pairs ended up being $30 each. Plus free shipping! They have over a dozen different colors - I bought the camel color and coral color, and am also dying for a pair of the mint (hint hint).

Merona Emma Leather Flats

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Club: First Meeting!

Book Club Meeting #1

And so it begins! We had our first meeting and it was full of yummy goodies and lovely ladies. Our group has grown to 8 and it has been great meeting a few new people. We have decided to do our meetings potluck style. We are hoping to turn it into a "Pinterest Potluck." Each time we each make something sweet or savory (or both). Our goal is to make something creative and delicious, but, if life gets in the way, just grab something from Trader Joe's. 

Our menu: Brownies, garlic edamame, watermelon and mint, seasoned popcorn, gluten free quinoa banana muffins, fennel radish quinoa salad, grapefruit honey salad, and homemade hummus.

Our Choices:


Drum roll please.......by an overwhelming vote, our first book is...

We all immediately ordered our books with Amazon Prime and will be reading in two days! Our next meeting is scheduled and we are ready to go! We have our book selection rotation all set so next time I get to pick a book! Poor Mahaley is at the very bottom!  

Poor Mahaley :)

There you have it! See you back here in about  month when we give you our review of The Fault in Our Stars!

Have you read this yet? If so, what did you think (no spoilers please)! If you haven't read it yet, grab a copy and read along with us!

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