California Trip Recap: Gamble Gardens, Carmel by the Sea & Family Time

Well, we made it to another Friday! That's SOMETHING, right?! ;) I've been meaning to recap my trip to California a couple weeks ago, but I didn't know if anyone would be interested now that we can't go anywhere. But yesterday I thought, why not?! They're mostly pictures of flowers and that brightens any day! Everything I went to CA for was cancelled, but I still got some great family time in. And I made it back to Michigan before things got really bad.

Remember that all these photos are taken BEFORE quarantine started.

On the first day of my trip my mom and I went to Stanford Shopping Center (again, it was still totally fine to be outside!) then we stopped at Gamble Gardens on the way home to consider it for my Grandma's 90th birthday party this July. It was gorgeous, just spilling over with flowers!

Look at these tulips! I'm hoping these are what mine will look like in my yard :)

The next morning was sunny and beautiful, so we took advantage and went to the Jesuit Retreat Center in Los Altos. It was one of the first few days of Lent and they have this beautiful nature walk set up that you walk through called The Stations of the Cross. While we're Christians, not Catholic, it's a beautiful way to observe Lent and remember what Christ did for us by going to the cross. This is the view from the top:

The next day we went to lunch with my grandma and these trees outside where we ate were just stunning! SPRING!!

We decided to go to Carmel for the day and this was really the turning point in the trip, as it relates to the virus. When we got home from our day there, the news was ramping up and everyone was being advised to stay at home. I'm so glad we got this day trip in, because it was the most gorgeous day I've ever experienced in Carmel by the Sea. I didn't know what to wear, so my mom let me wear this cute sweatshirt of hers ;)

We always make our way to Earth Bound Farm Stand in Carmel Valley for pastries and a coffee/tea. They have the cutest flower stand and gardens to walk through, as well as corn hole and some other fun dog and child-friendly activities!

These are tulips-- can you believe it?!

Earth Bound Farms also has a produce stand and these colors were just so vibrant, I had to snap a shot.

Got my iced tea in hand!

We also stopped at Carmel Valley Ranch for a quick peek. If it was sunny by the pool, we were going to stick our feet in, but it was really shaded. Their lobby is insanely gorgeous. This is the hotel my family and I stayed at the night before our wedding, so it's really special to me!

Back to the ocean! It was 70 degrees and it felt amazing coming from snowy, cold Michigan! Such a gorgeous day.

 If you're on this post for some Carmel recommendations, here are a bunch of things we love to do:

- Shop up and down Ocean Ave (they have a really cute Anthropologie tucked in the little shopping mall at the top of Ocean Ave). Tons of boutiques on this and surrounding streets.
- Go wine tasting in Carmel Valley 
- Visit Griggs Nursery in Carmel Valley (pics in my blog post. Just a cute little flower nursery!)
- Tons of tasting rooms through Carmel by the Sea off of Ocean Ave. I'll send some favorites, I'm asking my parents and will email when they get back to me. I don't remember all of them!
- Eat at Grazings or La Bicyclette for lunch, Demetra Cafe (SO GOOD and live music!), Hog's Breath or Mission Ranch (Clint Eastwood's restaurants), Il Fornaio in the Pine Inn, Casanova (a little fancier/more expensive), and get coffee at the Carmel Roasting Company (great pastries, too). The Tavern in Carmel Valley is also great for lunch and apps.
- Stop in the Cottage of Sweets for some cute candies on Ocean Ave. So charming.
- Tour the Carmel Mission
- Walk along the beach / watch the sunset.
- Drive or walk through the charming neighborhoods and gawk at the gorgeous homes! They're amazing. There's a walking path along the top of the beach where you'd walk along these houses and see the ocean at the same time.
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is gorgeous and just a short drive from the main downtown.
- You're close to Big Sur if you want to do any nature hikes/walks 


Another fun thing we did on this trip was we looked through some family albums and watched some home movies. Here's a gem for ya ;) I loved my dolls! My dad had me clean out some boxes of dolls and animals I was keeping for future kids/memories. He had me get the four boxes down to three, and I even managed to get it down to two boxes! I kept all my American Girl dolls, a couple barbies, some doll furniture and about 1/3 of my beanie baby collection ;)

Got some pretty ranunculus for my parent's living room, once we realized we would be spending a lot of time on the couch ;) My brother came over one night and we had dinner just the four of us (so special!) and watched a comedian on Netflix. I baked cookies and it was a really fun night.

One of the two main reasons why I went to California was for my Grandpa's 90th birthday party. My mom and aunts had worked hard on the party for months and we had over 40 people coming in from all over...Michigan, Arizona, Colorado and Boston just to name a few! He played in Major Leagues as a catcher (first draft pick of the NY Mets when they first started their team!) so the party's theme was, of course, baseball. Needless to say, the party got cancelled and I was the only one who was supposed to fly in who actually made it, because I came out early for another event that got cancelled as well.

Instead, we celebrated his birthday with a group of 8 of us at their house and my aunts brought some decorations to liven the dining room up. It ended up being a fun night, despite the setbacks! I loved listening to my grandpa tell some old baseball stories from back in the day! I even got some on video which is so special.

That was my trip! I was there for 13 days and mostly stayed home after day 5 of the trip, but was happy to be quarantined with my fam. 

Before you go, here are some awesome deals going on online:

- Anthropologie: 25% off home // 50% off sale
- Nordstrom: Spring up to 40% off Sale
- J. Crew: 40% off with code SHOPNOW
- J.Crew Factory: free ship with code YAYFREE and up to 70% off spring picks
- Loft: Keep it comfy sale! My favorite butter sweatpants are $30!!! Code: COMFY
- Caitlin Wilson Textiles: 15% friends and family sale
- Beautycounter: 10% off site-wide. (Be entered to win a fun lip product from me if you place the order in my Homebody Popup online party at check out!)

Hope you all have an enjoyable weekend....though every day is starting to feel like the weekend ;) Ha!


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Things I'm Doing During the Coronavirus Quarantine

Well, PHEW. What a couple of weeks we've had. I know everyone is effected in different ways and I want you to know I'm praying for you and our world daily. I thought I'd share a bunch of things I'm trying to do while we're all staying home.
photo: the poffs, from our wedding day

1. Making the bed. I am convinced this is the first step to a better day. I didn't make the bed yesterday and I had a harder day. Not saying it was just the bed situation, but I DO think that walking into your room with a beautifully made bed helps you breathe a sigh of relief.

2. Reading the Psalms. In addition to going through the book of John, I'm also reading one Psalm a day and noting in my journal where I see God in each Psalm. Praying the Psalms is also very helpful in times where you don't even know how to pray.

3. Being sure we take our vitamins! We take a multivitamin, probiotic and Vitamin D3 every day. I just ordered Vitamin C which we'll also add in the routine. 

4. Washing my hands like a mad-woman. Then promptly applying lotion...anyone else super dry?! 

5. Washing our jackets, couch blankets, sheets, and kitchen/hand towels more often.

6. Wiping down my phone once a day. So many germs are probably on there!

7. Each having our own hand towel in the bathroom to dry our hands. It seems like the right thing to do, ha!

8. Trying to keep up with house chores just like I usually would! This gives me a sense of normalcy.

9. Making it a priority to reach out to my loved ones. Video chats with friends and playing games (we downloaded Jackbox) over Zoom with family and friends has been an awesome way to pass the time. I think I've Facetimed my mom every morning since we've been shut in. It's been nice to connect like that!

10. Watching the Star Wars movies...much to my dismay ;) I made this promise to my husband years ago after he found out I haven't seen any of the movies. He said now was a great time to watch them. Last weekend we watched the second one (but actually the 5th in the series...mind blown haha) and so far, your girl is NOT a fan. Hoping for things to look up soon ;) 

11. Making my husband watch a rom-com or two with me, due to the above LOL

12. Baking! Well, I haven't yet, but I'm about one overripe banana away from a delicious batch of banana chocolate chip bread. I'm also planning to bake chocolate chip cookies and scones soon, too!

13. Taking EXTRA good care of my skin. Listen, if I don't come out of this quarantine with the best skin of my life, I have failed. I've been living makeup free for almost a week and my skin is so happy about it. I'll do a post next week on my morning skincare routine, but you probably know I'm a big fan of these products.

14. Taking Lincoln on more walks and snuggling with him in the morning. I have one veryyy happy pup!

15. Making time for house projects that we usually put off...basically getting a jump start on Spring Cleaning:
+ Clean out the Tupperware
+ Organize the pantry (we might even measure our pantry cupboard for some pull out shelves so that we can better utilize this counter-depth pantry.
+ Clean out the linen closet
+ Organize my closet
+ Clean out under our bathroom sinks
+ Recaulk the builtins (this is SO needed! It's all cracking since we installed them last year because of settling...this is normal and fixable.)
+ Dust baseboards
+ Clean dishwasher
+ Pull front yard weeds
+ Built planter bed in backyard
+ Clean windows inside and out
+ Dust blinds

16. Watching church on the live stream each Sunday and keeping up with favorite faith-filled podcasts like Ask Pastor John, The Briefing, Journeywomen, Made for This, Verity, etc.

17. Sanitizing our door knobs, hardware and countertops as often as I can.

18. Not checking the news too often and NOT checking Facebook before I fall asleep. These things tend to fuel my anxiety and I want to focus Truth, especially before bed. Instead of fueling the anxiety fire, I'm reminding myself that God is in control, He holds all things in His Hands, He will never leave us, He sees and knows all, He is our comfort, our strength, our healer and our helper.

I'll end with this:

I thought I'd share a couple of things I'm trying to do every day while we're staying home in hopes that it might inspire you, too! They are simple, but attainable. 

+ Something Active (walk the dog, do a workout video, maybe just do a couple sets of crunches)
+ Something with God (read the Bible, a devotional book, pray)
+ Something Relaxing (watch a favorite show or read a book, do my nails, do a facial...charcoal mask coming in handy ;))
+ Something for Work (whether it's for Beautycounter or an interior design client I'm working for virtually, or writing a blog post)
+ Something Communicative (stay in touch with friends and family)
+ Something for Outreach / Community (reach out to a neighbor, donate to a local food pantry, write a note to my grandparents...)
+ Something for our Home (I have a whole list of projects that I want to get done without having to leave the house: clean out the Tupperware drawer, clean out the pantry, organize my closet, clean the windows, re-caulk our builtins, dust the blinds...)
+ Something for our Health (take vitamins, drink tons of water, eat veggies, or maybe it's even putting on makeup and real pants for mental health ;))

What things are you doing these days?! Lots of love, friends!

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March Favorites

How are you all doing? I haven't blogged in a week or so-- just taking time to try to figure out what the new normal will look like around here. I thought, to get back into the swing of things, it'd be fun to share some of my favorites for March. Notice they are all cozy ;) 

Later this week I'm going to share a recap of my trip to Northern California to visit my family (which sort of got rained on by the virus, but I'm still glad I went and am so grateful to be healthy!) and I might also share a couple of things I'm going to be doing during our Shelter in Place.

Hope you enjoy these picks!

 blue light glasses (for your eyes now that we're probably all spending more time on our phones and screens)/ neck warmer (I use this thing about 6 times a day! Pop it in the microwave and put it on your back, shoulders, stomach...whatever you want! It is so soothing and warms you right up) / scrub and body butter (for dry hands that you keep washing)

What are some of your favorite finds recently? Stay safe and stay home, friends!

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My Parent's Kitchen Remodel Reveal

You might remember a couple of months ago when I was in California visiting my family, I shared some sneak peeks of my parent's newly remodeled kitchen. I'm so excited to share the final reveal with you today! I'm actually back in town visiting them again, so I'll pop on Instagram to show you a real life look.

Ready for the BEFORES?!

We had dingy oak cabinets (mind you, they looked great 20 years ago when my parent's bought the house), no backsplash, and some dated features like the color of the window box, light fixtures and most notably, the roosters everywhere. Sorry, mom ;) 

Fun fact: I painted the piece of the fruit above the oven when I was 12, I think. We finally retired it ;)

For some reason the previous owner put paneling around the kitchen window. Obviously this had to go!

Now for the AFTERS!

Here's what we did: Home Depot resurfaced the cabinets, which means a new front was put on the base cabinets plus completely new doors and drawers. We were also able to change the cabinet doors to big drawers for pots and pans under the cooktop. We added pretty hardware to match the sink faucet. Adding a backsplash was a total game changer! It's a light greige color to pull out that hue from the countertops. We tiled around the window box and updated the window box by getting glass shelves and painting it white to match the cabinets. We also retired the rooster rug and got a really pretty new ruggable rug, which we're so happy with! Finally, we removed the huge kitchen light and replaced with recessed cans. So. Much. Better!

I need to note that not only is this not sponsored by Home Depot, they also probably won't like me saying that it was honestly a really miserable time working with them. The project was delayed almost 2 months (almost didn't make it in time for the holidays, when they originally said it'd be done by the last week of August) and it was a complete nightmare trying to get a hold of anyone in the department. While the communication was terrible, the outcome was amazing. Everything looks really beautiful and my parent's are very happy!

The tile around the window box and new light fixture are two of my favorite updates!!

Some fun comparisons:

I love that while we didn't change everything (we kept the floor and the granite), the things we DID change made a huge impact and it literally feels like a completely different kitchen! 

Happy Thursday!

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Clean Beauty Acids that Give You Your Best Skin Ever

Chances are when you hear the word "acid", your mind immediately transports you back to high school chemistry lab...and I, for one, never want to be transported back there ;) The point is, the word acid, especially when associated with skincare, can sound like a bad thing. But in fact, the opposite is true! Many acids are great for skin and are totally safe to use.

Using acids in your skincare routine transforms your skin, delivering amazing results.
But what do the different types of acids do? And which ones are the best ones for you to use? I’m no expert, but I am a skincare fanatic. Ingredients matter, so let’s chat about the acids you should be using as part of your skincare regimen. Tons of research has shown that these acids are good for your skin.
Clean Beauty Acids that are Good for Your Skin 

Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic Acid is a synthetic version of vitamin C that offers antioxidant benefits to the skin. It brightens skin as well as stimulates collagen production.

Found in: Beautycounter’s Overnight Resurfacing Peel

Citric Acid
Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is antioxidant-rich and good for preventing premature aging. It exfoliates to lighten brown spots, and is great for both acne-prone and sun-damaged skin. It’s a mild acid, so even those with sensitive skin can tolerate skincare products containing citric acid.

Found in: Many of Beautycounter’s products including Brightening Face Mist & No.3 Facial Mist, Hand Cream in Citrus Mimosa, Body Butter in Citrus Mimosa and others

Glycolic Acid
Glycolic acid is a wonder acid in that it’s an AHA that can help to improve the appearance of spots, scars and wrinkles all while making skin more radiant. Plus, it can shrink and tighten pores!

Found in: Beautycounter’s Overnight Resurfacing Peel

Hyaluronic Acid
You’ve most likely heard of hyaluronic acid. It’s in a lot of skincare products because it’s a water-binding hydrater. It literally binds moisture to the skin. It helps to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as it plumps skin because of this!

Found in: Overnight Resurfacing Peel and Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation (This is one of the main reasons I love this foundation so much! It gives your skin a smooth, plump look.)

Lactic Acid
Lactic acid is great for those with sensitive skin. It exfoliates and softens lines and wrinkles without irritation. Lactic Acid has been used in personal care products for a very long time, dating all the way back to Cleopatra.

Found in: Charcoal Facial Mask & Overnight Resurfacing Peel

Malic Acid
Malic Acid is a mild AHA, that when combined in formulas that contain lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acid, aids in gentle exfoliation and ceramide stimulation.

Ceramics are lipids (aka fats) that naturally occur in skin. They compromise over 50% of the skin’s makeup. They hold skin together and form a protection layer to help prevent moisture loss and damage from environmental stressors.  Ceramides are responsible for helping to keep skin supple.

Found in: Overnight Resurfacing Peel

Phytic Acid
Phytic acid helps to fend off skin-aging free radicals. It also helps to prevent blackheads and shrink pores.  It gently exfoliates to aid in cell turnover, which helps skin breathe for a natural glow. When used daily it gives skin a complexion refresh. Phytic acid also helps to reduce the appearance of shadows and puffiness, so it’s great in an eye cream.

Found in: Beautycounter’s Countermatch line, including the Eye Rescue Cream. Also found in the Overnight Resurfacing Peel

Oleic Acid
Oleic acid is wonderful for those with dry skin. This moisturizing essential fatty acid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can help with psoriasis, eczema and even seborrheic dermatitis.

Found in: Lemongrass Body Scrub

Salicylic Acid
Chances are you’re well acquainted with salicylic acid, which is a Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). It’s been used in skincare for decades because it’s gentle yet effective. It’s especially great for acne-prone skin because it penetrates pores to reduce sebum. It can also improve discoloration and improve the tone of skin over time.

Even those struggling with sensitive skin can benefit from salicylic acid as it has the ability to calm skin, making it suitable for even those with rosacea. Using salicylic acid as part of a daily routine will help refine pore size, unclog pores and soften the look of wrinkles.

Found in: Countermatch and Countercontrol lines, as well as the Overnight Resurfacing Peel

If you haven’t noticed already, Beautycounter’s Overnight Resurfacing Peel is a skincare game changer! Now you can see why it’s one of my favorite products! It’s packed with amazing ingredients (mostly acids!) that deliver incredible results, even after just a couple uses.
Overnight Resurfacing Peel Acids in Skincare
Obviously these ingredients can be found in many other products from different beauty brands, not just at Beautycounter . However, as a Beautycounter consultant I can speak to how well these products perform. Plus, I trust BC’s commitment to safety, as well as their rigorous ingredient selection process.

Right now NEW customers get free shipping on orders over $100-- just sign up on our website with your email, then grab the discount code from the email they'll send you to confirm!
If you love learning about safe, effective ingredients and want more information on how to clean up your beauty routine, sign up for my monthly Safer Beauty Tribe newsletter! These newsletters are a monthly guide to help you navigate the cosmetics aisle with confidence. They’re meant to help you make safe, effective selections no matter what brands you choose to use and let you know about any sales or favorite products (not just Beautycounter). 
As always, I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, let me know! I'm always happy to help. You can also take my skincare consult if you need personalized results.

Have a great day!
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