THE TIMELESS TRENCH COAT

Ready for the rain!

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Fall is in the air and it's a perfect time to update your trench coat for the new season. Turn your fall wardrobe into that old Hollywood glamour feel with a simple fall trench coat. I found this blush pink trench coat at Nordstroms and It's on sale!  Get ready to launch a stylish fall look in your city as  youtransitioning from one season to the next. 

WHAT I'M WEARING

Closed Cropped Jeans

Hermes Scarf

White Loafers

 

Faux Leather Trim Long Trench Coat

SHOP THE LOOK HERE:

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Pop of color

By far my favorite accessory is always a scarf.

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Invention of the trench coat is claimed by two British luxury clothing manufacturers, Burberry and Aquascutum, with Aquascutum's claim dating back to the 1850s. Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabric in 1879 and submitted a design for an Army officer's raincoat to the United Kingdom War Office in 1901.

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In 1850 Thomas Burberry created the first iteration of the timeless trench coat. Marlene Dietrich was my personal favorite trench coat wearing dame. She brought the outerwear option to the world of women's fashion with her sultry, and strong feminine flair. Do you have a favorite dame? or broad??  Google around for a screen siren from the past and find one that you can embody their aura... Pretend, dream a little...dress up and let your imagination take you anywhere you want to go.

TRENCH COAT DAMES:

BRIGITTE BARDOT / CATHERINE DENEUVE / GOLDIE HAWN / TWIGGY / FRANCOISE HARDY / JACKIE KENNEDY / AUDREY HEPBURN / KATE MOSS / YOU...

If you're going to fall, fall in love with you... all else will fall into place...

                                                                       Me.

 

THE CULVER HOTEL - THAT MAGICAL PLACE

 Welcome to The Culver Hotel located in the heart of downtown Culver City. This historic hotel was built in 1924 by Harry Culver and continues today to steal the show. My friend and blogging partner Melissa Meyers and I have an affinity for anything old-school glamour and The Culver Hotel offers just that, and it's a perfect place to meet, catch up on life and enjoy a little cinematic history.

The Cowerdly Lion in the corner of this photo was actually quiet brave.

The Cowerdly Lion in the corner of this photo was actually quiet brave.

If you live in the Los Angeles area and you're searching for a new escape for a morning meeting, an elegant breakfast, lunch date, or just want a change of pace mixed with old Hollywood history, then don't miss out on this historical landmark. 

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When's the last time you got to catch up with a friend and feel like you've escaped for the day? We're fortunate to live in a city where dreams really do come true. Did you know that most of the cast of The Wizard of Oz lived here during the filming of the movie?  Melissa and I both loved that iconic film and looking out the window imagining a day in the life of one of the most memorable films in history felt a bit surreal. Be sure to ask questions when you visit, this hotel is filled with historical myths and mystery.

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Vintage and Glamour, that's what you'll experience here. You can't help but feel the energy and imagine what it must have been like when Joan Crawford, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan and more dined and smoozd behind these door, "if these walls could talk."

Whispering Angel

Whispering Angel

The Culver Hotel has been one of my favorite go-to's for a spark of creativity. They say it's haunted... who knows, maybe Glenda the Good Witch is waving her magic wand over us all as we enter this historical haven.

       "You've always had the Power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself" Glenda, the good witch.

The Grand Lobby

The Grand Lobby

Maya Mallick who now owns this iconic property has reimagined The Culver Hotel into a glittering gem. Maya’s eye for design only adds to the charm of The Culver Hotel. Every item is personally picked and has a special place. Wherever your eye takes you, it feels like you’ve stepped into the past with a modern flair. The entryway is filled with rich colors and texture. This iconic landmark is becoming an alluring hot spot and Maya has managed to do so without losing the architectural integrity of the building.

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 The Grand Lobby also serves as a second restaurant and bar, with a patio garden nearby offering casual food and dining throughout the day. There are plenty of intimate places to sit back and enjoy the view along with great service and delicious food. In the evening you'll be enchanted with live jazz, and that Culver City cool. It's so much more than just a hotel.

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Melissa's Lunch: KALE CAESAR SALAD - White anchovy, radicchio, parmesan, garlic croutons 

My Lunch: COASTAL FARMS MIXED GREENS - Candied pecans, goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette w/ Salmon

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Congratulations are in order! The Culver Hotel turns 100 years old September 23rd.  Join the Culver Hotel for the party of the century celebrating 100 years of Culver City and the 10th anniversary of the historic hotel's remarkable revitalization. Saturday, September 23rd, 2017, 8:00 PM

Don't miss The Velvet Lounge- located on the Mezzanine Level - Reminiscent of a 1920’s ‘Speakeasy’ with a twist of a Parisian boudoir. The Velvet Lounge is open Thursday through Saturday after 8 pm.

Also available for private parties and events.

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  Melissa and I would like to thank everyone at The Culver Hotel for a fun filled day of history, kindness and our beautiful meal. Located at 9400 Culver Blvd.  

See you soon!

See you soon!

                            Just like they say in the movies "That's a wrap." 

Melissa and I feel so fortunate to have The Culver Hotel in the city where we live. The staff is gracious and passionate about the history and they're happy to have you. There's a lot of exciting projects that are happening in Downtown Culver City and it just might be The Yellow Brick Road to an exciting time. Be sure to schedule your next breakfast, lunch or dinner meeting... just click your heels together three times...

Here's a fun story; Charlie Chaplin was even the owner for a while until legend has it, he lost the property in a poker game to John Wayne.

Fact; 1938 – The Wizard of Oz is filmed in Culver City. Much of the cast, including all 124 ‘little people’ also known as the ‘Munchkins’, stay at the Culver Hotel. 
1939 - Gone With The Wind 

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Here are the details for The Culver Hotel 100 years Celebration. We hope you can join us there!

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INSTYTUTUM - MY FAVORITE HIGH PERFORMANCE SKINCARE LINE

We all want our skin to look and feel healthy and by now we know how important it is to be consistent with our skin care routine and when we find one that delivers a noticeable difference...that can be exciting, so exciting that you want to share that information with women everywhere. No, It's not about erasing our lines... we've earned those! But, let's face it, it feels great when our skin is radiant.

Lifestyle & beauty blogger Melissa Meyers has been introduced to so many skin care lines over the years and is always attending beauty events along with discovering the latest treatments. I value Melissa’s opinion so I wanted to share her personal blog post about Instytutum with my readers. After using Instytutum consistently for one month Melissa and I both became proud Brand Ambassadors, and honestly, we are loving our results! 

MY FAVORITE HIGH-PERFORMANCE SKINCARE LINE

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It can be a challenge to find the BEST skin care product launches with so many options out there! Part of my job as a lifestyle blogger is to road test new products and then recommend the ones with proven results to my glow girl friends. The past month you may have noticed on my Instagram that I have been posting quite a bit about Instytutum, a new high-performance skin care brand from Switzerland dedicated to creating flawless skin. I am proud to be a brand ambassador for them, a relationship that was sparked by my love for the products. Read on for more details on Instytutum, how to get some complimentary samples and a 20% discount on all products.

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I first discovered Instytutum at a desk-side product launch meeting that I attended with my blogging partner Janet Gunn of The Grateful Gardenia who is now also a brand ambassador. After listening to a presentation on how this skin care line was different with impressive scientific results, we were given some samples to take home and try. After using them for a few weeks, I saw so many improvements in my skin that I personally reached out to the company to see if we could work together. Instytutum products are formulated with powerful cosmeceutical ingredients like Retinol, Peptides, Patented Stem Cells, Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid and more to improve overall skin texture and to firm the skin. After using the products, I noticed a significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, pore size and spots. Plus, they are extremely hydrating and plumping! 

Go to Instytutum.com and use promotion code FLAWLESSGG for a 20% discount on all products. As a special gift to my Glow Girl community, Instytutum will also send you a complimentary sample size kit including the Cleansing MilkTriple Effect Peel, and Lifting Cream

The body cream is the best ever!

The body cream is the best ever!

instytutum

Three of my favorite product include the serum, the lifting cream, and the eye cream. 

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Since I have been using Instytutum, my skin is more refined and noticeably smoother, firmer, and even toned. All products are formulated without parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, and synthetic dyes. Yay! I feel extremely confident that you will see fast results and fall in love with this Swiss skin care line too!

For more information on Instytutum and to order products, visit their site here. Remember to use the promotion code FLAWLESSGG at check out for a 20% discount. 

xxMelissa

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Instytutum. The opinions and text are all mine.

If you want to stay updated in beauty, fashion and overall lifestyle living, check out her website and sign up for Melissa's newsletter right here.

Email Melissa or myself if you have any questions.  Keep Glowing & Be Grateful.

You're one step closer to Flawless Skin. 

You're one step closer to Flawless Skin. 

A LABOR OF LOVE IN BLUEJEANS

Happy Labor Day weekend!  Thank goodness...one more holiday is here. Labor Day means different things to different people - barbeques, watching that last summer sunset at the beach, the new school year begins, and yes... the end of summer. With all the family time and good food, we often forget the reason we are celebrating. Besides no work or school, it's the American holiday dedicated to appreciating the American workforce. Part of the American culture is the forever loved blue jeans, so take a break from rolling up your sleeves and enjoy your three day weekend wearing a pair of your favorite blue jeans. 

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"I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity - all I hope for in my clothes."      Yves Saint Laurent
 

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I'm a fan of the big cuff, these are one of my favorite go-to's Adding a scarf to any clutch or tote gives a bit of that French girl flair. Reyna Icaza designs beautiful clutch & totes. Tell her I sent you! 

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 Share your favorite look with me! Send me a message on Instagram over the Labor Day weekend, I want to know what jeans do you love to slip into!

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White Blouse - Ann Fontaine

Here's a fun fact; Dungaree is another way of saying blue jeans. It is an old Hindi word meaning coarse, calico or denim. The word came from the name of a village in what is now Mumbai.

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Have a fun, and relaxing holiday weekend. Enjoy!   

“There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”   Sophia Loren

LONGCHAMP - THE PERFECT TRAVEL TOTE

Let's get carried away with Longchamp. This French luxury house was founded in 1948 and to this day is still considered a favorite amongst chic travelers. Over thirty million of these Le Pliage universal nylon tote bags have been sold since the product’s launch in 1994. You can spot these effortless-chic bags on men and women, younger and older, and with prices ranging from $95 to $145. Longchamp says, ten Le Pliage bags are sold every minute across the globe and there are always new colors and styles to choose from.

Feel confident when you travel with Longchamp

Feel confident when you travel with Longchamp

One of my favorite pastimes when traveling is checking out carry-on luggage on busy worldly travelers.  There's always an abundance of travelers proudly toting around a Longchamp Pliage.

Bee- autiful Necklace by Tracy Smolin

Bee- autiful Necklace by Tracy Smolin

Longchamp has turned this basic nylon tote into a full-blown luxury icon. So much so, you'll find these on the chicest of chic French female travelers.  

Pick your color, pick your size and I usually pack them all. 

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I'm here in New York with Lyn Slater, The Accidental Icon.  Lyn's website was the first blog I subscribed to when I was googling stylish women forty-five and over. If you don't know who she is I highly recommend you check her out. Lyn is just that... a style icon and sooo much more. Here we are strolling the streets of New York and of course, she arrives with her Longchamp. By the way, after our meeting...off I went to the Longchamp store and purchased her exact bag. Once again I was inspired by Lyn..

 I bought my first Longchamp tote in Capri. I personally like adding to my Longchamp collection while traveling.

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 I use this smaller bag a lot, running to work out, on the plane if you need to freshen up, toss in your beach bag. After you check into your hotel room and you're not in the mood to carry your larger bag, you can turn it into a casual clutch. You can also add a fun touch by wrapping the handle with a twilly scarf.  Since it's made of nylon clean-up is simple. Just use a handy-wipe and you're good to go.

Culver Hotel - Culver City Los Angeles / Dress- Gratus

Culver Hotel - Culver City Los Angeles / Dress- Gratus

So if you're planning a trip soon or strutting around your own town, why not travel in style, while adding a little French elegance with Longchamp.

     “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

ANGUILLA - BELMOND CAP JULUCA

Welcome to Cap Juluca in Anguilla. This luxury beachfront retreat in the British West Indies is known as the best beach in the Caribbean. Cap Juluca was designed and developed by Linda and Charles Hickox almost thirty years ago and has recently sold to Belmond Ltd., a hotel, and leisure company that operates luxury hotels, train services and river cruises around the world. Renovations are underway and by the end of 2018, get ready, because Cap Juluca's pristine stretch of sand is about to transform into a tropical show-stopper.

The resort's crescent-shaped Maundays Beach is the main attraction, along with the clear, turquoise water and soft white sand.  Water sports are a must... enjoy sailing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and snorkeling, or just float in luxury.

Cap Juluca was originally named for the rainbow spirit of the Arawak whose energy can still be felt amongst the sway of the palms and the tropical rain that comes and goes. The Arawaks were farmers and fishermen, and much of what is known about them today comes from the petroglyphs and archeological remains discovered in two ceremonial cave sites on the island.

Several years ago we visited Cap Juluca for the day, and we always said, "this is a place we must return to"  So happy to have returned for more than one day, let the vacation begin. Next time I stroll down this hallway there will be a brand new Cap Juluca,.

Happy hideaway in paradise.  Expect 80°F monthly mean temperature, with water temperatures generally ranging between 70°F and 80°F. If you choose to travel by private boat charter or shared sea shuttle, you can take the ferry from St. Maarten Depending on immigration and selected transportation, the boat trip from St. Maarten takes approximately 25 – 40 minutes, arriving at Anguilla’s Blowing Point. Shuttle to the hotel is approximately fifteen minutes. Commercial airlines fly direct to St.Maarten with a short boat ride to Anguilla or by air via Seaborne Airlines or Tradewind Aviation. 

Anguilla's main gateways are:

  • St. Maarten/St. Martin (SXM), 7 minutes
  • Puerto Rico (SJU), 45 minutes
  • Antigua (ANU), 45 minutes
  • St. Thomas (STT), 45 minutes

Looks good, feels good...it's all good.

Cap Juluca takes pride in their fresh meals with a garden-to-table approach, along with resort-grown herbs, and spices. There are some exciting new dining concepts on the way!

Sweat Betty Top - Hermés Scarf 

Sweat Betty Top - Hermés Scarf 

My favorite activity was riding horses with the popular Zambezi  Enjoy a little history of the island while touring surrounding beaches and one of my favorite moments, taking a cool plunge in the Caribbean. Don't miss out on this tourist attraction! You can book through their facebook page or guest services at the front desk. Maybe you've never settled up... no worries these horses know the program, you do tnothng but sit back, take in the view and enjoy the experience.

And you'll need plenty of this!  ColorScience Sun Protection. You'll find yourself logging in a little more beach time here at Cap Juluca.  Shop the post below.

Why not begin your day at CapJuluca with a morning jog, a walk on the beach, or a swim in the Caribbean Sea. It's almost a mile long and from sun rise to sun set, this velvety beach never gets old.

Here's a peek at the rooms for not too much longer, every villa has an ocean view. Enjoy your open shower after your fun in the sun. New renovations are on the way.

 No filter needed at Cap Juluca. The evening is as stunning as the daytime. Follow Cap Juluca on Facebook to stay updated on renovations, and for the reopen.

From your room right to the beach. Nudz Beachwear designs the perfect vacation cover up for all occasions. Be sure to use my discount code GratefulGardenia30 for your perfect cover up.

From your room right to the beach. Nudz Beachwear designs the perfect vacation cover up for all occasions. Be sure to use my discount code GratefulGardenia30 for your perfect cover up.

Anguilla style is laid-back chic, barefoot elegance, and a place to rejuvenate the soul. There are no cruise ships, casinos, or traffic,  just breathtaking beaches, and that Caribbean vibe. 

Next time you're ready to plan your vacation be sure to look out for the grand opening of Cap Juluca. You can follow them on Instagram @belmondcapjuluca. Cap Juluca is one of those special places, along with the people who work there. Belmond Hotels create the most amazing escapes, and after this extensive renovation, you'll be ready to book your next hideaway.  Thank you, Cap Juluca for a beautiful experience to add to our family memories, and we look forward to a brand new you... with that same old welcoming spirit.

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“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

CHARCOAL YOUR WAY TO HEALTH AND BEAUTY

Are you ready for a little detox inside and out? Several months back I went for my yearly physical and I requested to have my mercury levels tested. I was having neck pain, my left hand was twitching (chalked that up to way too much time on my phone...) along with numbness in my hands and feet. My husband recommended I have my mercury levels tested, he too had experienced some of the same symptoms. Both of us are healthy eaters, enjoy our workouts and love sushi, that being said too much fish, sushi especially is not a good thing. His doctor suggested reading up on charcoal and try drinking one charcoal drink a day from Kreation Organic for a week. Here's a fact about Charcoal - It literally binds to toxins, and that binding effect makes it a great cleanser, inside and out. 

Between the toxin absorbing qualities of activated charcoal and the hydrating effects of coconut, Charcoalade is also a powerful hangover remedy. Activated charcoal is also used to treat poisonings, overdoses, spider bites, and stomach bugs. It absorbs most toxins up to 60% making it ideal for detoxing. It also helps whiten your teeth!

Between the toxin absorbing qualities of activated charcoal and the hydrating effects of coconut, Charcoalade is also a powerful hangover remedy. Activated charcoal is also used to treat poisonings, overdoses, spider bites, and stomach bugs. It absorbs most toxins up to 60% making it ideal for detoxing. It also helps whiten your teeth!

My test results showed my levels were definitely at a high level, over 11 and Level 9 would be a much better level for me personally, my doctor recommended first of all...I lay off the sushi. Ok, Kreation here I come. Here was my routine - Three days a week, after my favorite workout class I would head to Wholefoods grab my favorite sushi while doing my grocery shopping and that would be my lunch- that's 18 - 20 pieces of sushi a month. This has been my routine for a little too long, and it was time to adjust my intake. There is so much information on Charcoal and I highly recommend reading the articles highlighted below if you haven't read up on high levels of mercury and the effect it can have on the mind and body. After a week of  Kreation Charcoalade, and zero sushi, my neck pain was significantly better, along with the numbness and the twitching of my hand. Literally after a week of drinking one juice a day things changed for the better. This worked for me, check with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms or other concerns that might lead you to think this relates to you.  It was a wake-up call on a few levels and to pay attention to what's going on with our oceans, and which fish is higher in mercury than others, along with the healing powers of charcoal, a natural detoxer. The articles I've listed below are worth a read if you're having any uncomfortable aches, pains or fogginess.

If you're not crazy about the taste of the Charcoal drink you can take 2 capsules a day with this Activated Charcoal. There are so many products out there, maybe you're not sure where to start, It's definitely worth reading about. After all, for over 10,000 years, healers from Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, and Western Medicine have used activated charcoal to soak up poisons and improve intestinal health through a process called “adsorption” which means “to bind to” rather than “to absorb.”  Be sure to read about dosage, you also don't want to take too much charcoal.  Now let's look at charcoal for beauty.

I'm sure you're reading about the benefits of charcoal everywhere too, even in the beauty world. It does make sense if you think about it. Charcoal has been around for centuries and cultures. Native Americans relied on it to heal wounds and treat intestinal and digestive issues. The Japanese use it for dental hygiene, it's also a teeth whitener! It was first introduced as a beauty exfoliator in 1990 by Origins. I decided to try it out myself, if I felt better on the inside with the Charcoalade why not begin the beauty experiment on the inside?

Little Barn Apothecary created this Charcoal + Aloe Foaming Face Cleanser. This activated charcoal will leave your skin feeling tone!  I first discovered this from Love Goodly - A subscription box service and shop that delivers cruelty-free and toxic free beauty and healthier brands.

Think about all the free radicals we encounter the minute we walk out the door. Our phones, computers, door knobs, etc... toxins from the world around us clog our pores. When your pores aren't clear, neither is your complexion. Activated charcoal can draw out those impurities, leaving the pores clean.

Vitamin Sea Beauty - Black Sea Mud Charcoal Cooling & Antioxidant face mask will increase the circulation in your skin, between the Black Sea Mud & the Charcoal, your skin feels so clean along with tightening of the pores.

 Active charcoal acts like a magnet,  say goodbye to oil, dirt and other environmental debris from clogged pores. After eight to ten minutes, rinse with warm water and you're good to "glow"  I'm all for drawing out the toxins, charcoal seems like a good place to begin. I'll save my sushi cravings for a later date.

My search continues in all things health and beauty. I would love to hear from you some of your discoveries along the way for becoming your best self. Here's to the sharing of knowledge for all of us. 

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Articles on Charcoal :

https://blog.bulletproof.com/the-strangest-way-to-detox/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/mercury-how-to-get-this-l_b_469358.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/autism-mercury-toxicity_b_497047.html

 

VITAMIN SEA BEAUTY IS CALLING YOU

Have you had your Vitamin Sea today? Are you ready for a dose of beauty?  The Sea is calling you! On Wednesday, July 26th at 10 am CST  (8 am PST) and 7 pm CST (5 pm PST)  I'll be live on EVINE,  an American cable, satellite, and broadcast television network. I hope you can join me for the premiere launch of Vitamin Sea Beauty, developed by Mark Freeman; from Freeman Cosmetics, Mark is a true native Southern California, born and raised and comes from three generations of beauty professionals. Now Mark brings us these rich & luxurious masks and face scrub.  Vitamin Sea Beauty was created last year while on a family vacation and Mark noticed how fresh and rejuvenated his skin felt, just from being in the sea. He thought, why not take the powers of the Sea and develop the most innovative skin care with the latest technologies and natural ingredients. Vitamin Sea Beauty, promotes that same healthy, youthful skin, just like you are stepping out of the sea. 

WHY THE SEA?

The sea’s abundance of natural and pure beauty benefiting resources help revitalize, nourish, and retain moisture in our skin. Sea plants are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and amino acids...all things we need for proper body balance & function. These plants provide hydration, healing, detoxifying, and restorative properties, while defending against aging, protecting against UV lights, and helping to prevent acne. Naturally occurring in and around our great bodies of water, the ingredients in our VitaminSea.beauty line promote healthy, youthful skin

Who doesn't love the way the skin feels when we're by the Sea? We look and feel hydrated, moisturized and even rejuvenated. I personally long for that feeling all year round. These masks are clean and simple, use three to four times a week for eight to ten minutes a day and you'll begin to see a brightness with your complexion, and you'll feel great for taking time for yourself, and your skin will thank you.

Sea Salt & Coconut Brightening Face Scrub; Sea Salt is a natural exfoliator and the added coconut oil helps to lock in the moisture. I have thin and sometimes sensitive skin, this scrub is not abrasive at all. My teenage son is using this on his face for blackheads and it's working! Plus it's hard to resist the light fragrance of coconuts. Thumbs up review for the men and the teenagers in the home.  

Sea Kelp & Cucumber -Soothing & Smoothing Mask;  Cucumber is a natural toner, just mention cucumbers and I'm daydreaming about the spa. Sea Kelp is loaded with calcium, fluoride, and magnesium, along with being rich in antioxidants. Sea plants are resilient and constantly adapting to our often-changing environment.  Cucumbers are great for reducing those dark circles under the eyes along with reducing swelling and puffiness. Your skin will feel and look hydrated. That's what we lose so much of after we hit forty and over. Having dry skin leads to a dull appearance, and that leads to aging skin.  Masks are a simple and proactive way to get your skin healthy looking again.

Black Sea Mud & Charcoal- Cooling & Antioxidant Face Mask -  Black Sea Mud increases circulation in your skin, helping bring vital nutrients to your cells and you can begin to say "bye-bye" to toxins. Charcoal's natural detoxifying abilities draw out impurities, and mask's high concentration of essential minerals will nourish, soften, and dramatically improve your skin's tone & texture. My husband used this mask and said "his skin looked healthy & clean, along with, he felt good for taking a little time to care for his skin"  This is also a fun gift idea for your girlfriends or teenagers. Give the gift of a return to the Sea. I just love that Vitamin Sea Beauty is for the whole family...families that "masks" together stays together...

Blue Sea Kale & Grapefruit - Deep Pore Exfoliating Mask - If you're more on the oily side you'll love this mask. The first thing I noticed when I rinsed off this mask, my skin was brighter. The Vitamin C from the grapefruit along with Vitamin A, C, K from the Sea Kale is another excellent way to wake up your skin. I also have age spots that appeared a little lighter.  I just love that Vitamin Sea Beauty is for the whole family...families that "masks" together stays together...Or I could just be glowing from the reflection of the family member starring at me...

EVIVE LIVE...Here we come!

EVIVE LIVE...Here we come!

We are so excited for our premier launch here at Evine  this Wednesday, July 26th at 10 am CST (8 am PST) & 7 pm CST (5 pm PST) Please join us and call in! Be one of the FIRST to purchase Vitamin Sea's Mask collection. Here is the link for your local channel or Watch us live right here on Evine Live  

Clare V Leopard Tote - Diane Von Furstenberg Dress

Clare V Leopard Tote - Diane Von Furstenberg Dress

If you're  someone on the go, all you'll need is eight to ten minutes, three times a week, and you will begin to see fine lines diminish, age spots will lighten and your skin will feel rejuvenated and hydrated. Vitamin Sea's not replacing your regular routine, they're  just adding to it. Here's to feeling beautiful and refreshed at any age and bringing the tranquil feeling of the Sea to your own home. Thanks, Vitamin Sea, for bringing us a little closer to paradise.  

" By the Sea By the Sea...By the Beautiful Sea...You & Me, You & Me...Oh, How Happy We'll Be...

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SUMMER SANDALS - ITALIAN STYLE

Summer's still here and so is my never-ending search for sandals. I've spent most of my sunny days in Eddy Daniele and Carmen Sol, both from Italy. Having great sandals makes packing a lot easier, and simplifies your wardrobe. Here are a few of my favorite sandals that keep me skipping along colorful and carefree.

Travel Tote Jade Tribe

Travel Tote Jade Tribe

Happy Feet - Eddy Daniele - Once again Made in Italy, I love the uniqueness and elegance in how they combine the stones with the leather and the pearls. You can shop the post below.

Ripley Rader matching pants and top - Encircle NYC necklace with Eddy Daniele navy blue sandals and the perfect accessory... Buster

JadeTribe Tote

JadeTribe Tote

These Carmen Sol's took me everywhere. We went hiking one afternoon, not really knowing the trail would be as challenging as it was, and these babies held up great!  They're made in Italy...that explains it, love Italian anything...  Carmen Sol is a Jelly Accessories Brand focused on the Resort Lifestyle and inspired by the owners ten years experience in managing retail stores inside resorts in the Caribbean, and yes the hike was in  the Caribbean in St. Barth's. The collection includes shoes, handbags, accessories, and swimwear all made 100% in Italy.

Valentino Rock-Stud Sandal

Valentino Rock Stud Slide

Gucci Floral Slide

Gucci "every girl needs pearls" even on her feet.

Carmen Sol colors that keep your Summer styles going strong. Here's just a few of my favorite colors.

All products are made of non-toxic Jelly Material (Italian PVC) and are Prop 65 compliant. All packaging for the Carmen Sol bags and shoes are made of an eco-friendly and recyclable material, including dust bag and shoe box.


Carmen Sol started in 2006 as the leading luxury retailer in the Caribbean and currently has several stores in the Best Resorts including Casa de Campo and Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana.  Owners Carmen Sol Espejo, a New York native and retail empress with over 20 years' experience and Sebastiano Di Bari, an Italian brand builder and former CEO of Italian Fashion companies, created their own brand together in 2016.

No worries if you spill anything or get caught in a tropical rain storm,  just dip your tote or sandals in the deep blue sea and you're good to go. 

How about a clutch that fits in the tote that fits in the suitcase with ease.

If you can't make it to Italy anytime soon, why not treat your feet to a little Italian flair. I look forward to walking a mile in my Italian sandals in search of that feeling of an endless summer. What are your favorite sandals? Do you have a brand you continue to add to your collection?

What are your favorite sandals? Do you have a brand you continue to add to your collection?  

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“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”      F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
 

WELCOME TO HOTEL LE TOINY - ST. BARTH'S

Planning our family vacations are one of our favorite topics. We look forward to pulling out a big calendar, the kind you buy at Office Depot, a map, and the conversation begins. It usually starts with discussing our bucket list, along with places we'd love to return to. Several years ago we visited St. Barth's only for the day and the conversation always came back to, "we've got to get back to St. Barth's" Excited to return to this charming Caribbean island, we booked our flights, our ferries, The Hotel Le Toiny  and little did we know we would fall so in love with this laissez- fare Caribbean paradise.  Make one trip, and you’ll find yourself immediately hooked. Hotel Le Toiny has now been ranked among the best hotels in the world for 2017 by Condé Nast Traveler (the 2017 Hot List) and Travel + Leisure. 

Hôtel Le Toiny is committed to luxury. They first opened their doors on November 1, 1992, with 14 villas and In 2015, the hotel was acquired by current owners, Charlie and Mandie Vere Nicoll, who initiated a multi-million dollar renovation. 

Welcome to your tropical home away from home. Hôtel Le Toiny. Get ready to be wowed the minute you walk through the door.  It's always refreshing when you find those magical places that go the extra mile.  Le Toiny is a "must visit spot" and once you visit...you'll know why.  It's about a 20-25 minute drive (off season) from the alluring town Gustavia and navigating St. Barth’s can be a tad intimidating if you’ve never been. We chose to take the ferry from St. Maarten to St. Barth's which was quick and efficient, and soon as your boat hits the dock you're met by a driver from The Le Toiny, they offer complimentary airport and ferry transfers. We decided to rent a car and once again effortlessly our mini cooper arrived at Le Toiny shortly after we did. I highly recommend renting a convertible, it's a super fun island to explore.

Walking into Le Toiny will take your breath away. Sitting on the cliff it overlooks the sea, seems like you're floating on a cloud overlooking the Caribbean. The salon awaits your arrival, you're so charmed with the decor, there's no need to rush to your villa. December. 15th, 2017 just in time for the high season, eight new villas will open. The debut of the new villas coincides with the hotel’s 25th anniversary.

Lady Bee Osborn captures that St. Barth's vibe with effortless elegance.

Lady Bee Osborn captures that St. Barth's vibe with effortless elegance.

Privacy and elegance define Hotel Le Toiny, situated in an area of the island referred to as the “Côte Sauvage.”  The villa suites are tucked away on a gentle slope overlooking the Bay and the beautiful sea. The hotel’s neutral color palette and understated decor feesl like you’re living in the pages of an interior design magazine. 

Every seating area is open-air for that outdoor living experience...a bit like a tree house. It's private, It's perfect, it's intoxicating. 

Knock-Knock you're home. The hotel completed a full redesign in 2015 by London-based Lady Bee Osborn, not only is it visually stunning, there is this aura of the ultimate escape on the entire property. You might become a bit weepy when it's time to check out.

Each one-bedroom villa includes a spacious master bedroom, separate sitting area, kitchenette and large terrace with a private infinity pool. One thing for sure... you'll wake up happy!  But first coffee.

A large bathroom featuring a soaking tub, shower overlooking the sea, vanity for two, along with a large walk-in closet. Plenty of space for the goodies you'll find from The Toiny Beach Club's boutique! If you find something you want to try on but feeling a bit sandy., no problem. It will be delivered to your room to try on at your convenience.

Wake up, dive in, start your day. Your personal paradise is right out your villa, along with this stunning view of  “Côte Sauvage"  

Cheers! Here's to gratitude and delicious coffee with the Le Toiny family, enjoying their gracious staff along with a fabulous breakfast.

Completely let go amongst the coconut trees

Completely let go amongst the coconut trees

Get ready to unplug - The road to the beach club is still the natural terrain. Instead of modifying the road for its vehicles, Le Toiny adapted its vehicles to the road with two safari style customized Land Rover Defenders used as a shuttle to transfer guests to and from the hotel and the beach.

Who needs shoes...

The Le Toiny Beach Club is delish! Simple, elegant Meditteranean inspired cuisine. Enjoy a full beach service with loungers under the shade of Coconut palms. The Beach Club is full service, the menu arrives on a chalkboard and updated on a regular basis, and if it's not on the menu...no problem.  Bon Appétit!

Enjoy your extended meals under the palms with The Beach Club crew and your loved ones. 

Don't miss this charming boutique, perfectly curated by the owner.  A pair of historic 18th-century cottages sits amongst the coconut grove, tamarind field, garden, orchard and pineapple trees. Enjoy a glass of rosé while you shop. 

I'm always in search for little treasures I can't find back home... special pieces that keep my vibe of St. Bath's going until my return. Poupette is a favorite brand of mine, and you'll find plenty of Poupette here, along with fabulous bathing suits, hats and island jewels. It's truly a treasure chest!

Take a journey to Shell Beach

Have lunch at Shellona

Have lunch at Shellona

Seashells galore,  Make sure to visit Shell Beach for an incredible sunset, along with the sound of the shells washing onto the shore.

Another local favorite is Colombier, an isolated haven accessible only by boat or a exhilirating 30-minute hike. The downhill trail to get there is deceivingly easy. The way back . . . not so much. I suggest going in the early morning to avoid the afternoon heat. If you enjoy a good hike, don't miss out on this trail.

We loved our daily discovery in our Mini Cooper, but don't be gone too long, You'll find yourself wanting to return to your Le Toiny family.

Serenity Spa Cottage

Surrounded by lush vegetation with beautiful views of the ocean, the Serenity Spa Cottage features a wide range of Spa treatments. Technicians use Elemis an exclusive cosmetic line. Your skin, body and mind will thank you.

 There’s a treatment room that accommodates a single or couple’s treatments. The fitness center is a perfect size, Le Toiny’s new gym features all the equipment you need for a complete workout.

Unwind, relax, and rejuvenate your soul

Come rain or shine Hotel Le Toiny's got you covered 

Doorway to Heavan - If you forget your beach tote, no worries...your villa comes with one you won't want to leave behind.

Hotel Le Toiny creates magic, It's moment's like these that keep you and you and your loved ones returning to that special place time after time.

Pack your bags...We're going to St. Barth's... music to my ears. Thank you Le Toiny, We walked away with wonderful family memories, a few new friends, and a love for your Caribbean charm... Merci!

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Please see Instagram for all clothing and accessories worn in St. Barth's.

 

Getting There
There are no direct flights to St. Barth’s . . . unless you charter your own plane. If a PJ isn’t a possibility, the next best option is flying to Princess Juliana International Airport on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, where, upon landing, you’ll have to choose your own adventure for the final leg: a 15-minute plane ride or a roughly 45-minute ferry crossing. Flying will get you to paradise quickly, but the flight itself—a 12 seat puddle-jumper—is not for the faint of heart. (The runway in St. Barth's also happened to be one of the shortest in commercial aviation, you can watch a few youtube videos to see the exciting landings! Book your flights in advance on either Winair or St Barth Commuter, the only commercial airlines that provide shuttle flights to and from the island. We chose the ferry: an incredibly efficient option for an effortless arrival. Buy your tickets in advance on either Great Bay Express or the Voyager to secure your seat.

The Beaches
St Barth's offers diverse beaches. There are sixteen of them in total, each with its own special touch. Saline Beach you can get lost in the white sand that feels like velvet. Saline, like most other beaches on St. Barth’s, is simple—no bars, no shops, no restaurants. If you prefer a more vibrant scene, St. Jean is where Eden Rock and Nikki Beach are located. Surfers like Le Toiny or Lorient and the snorkelers at Gouverneur or Petite Anse. Cheval Blanc is another beautiful beach area.

Restaurants

Our favorite spot for dinner in town was Bonita. Latin-French food along with the ambiance was just perfect. Diverse menu, a D.J. with that groovy beat, When the sun goes down St. Barth's comes alive in whatever way that fits your style. 

Isola -  For Italian food lovers L’Isola is renowned for its sophisticated Italian recipes, prepared using only the very finest ingredients imported directly from Italy. An elegant restaurant, a true culinary experience.  

La Gloriette  - Delicious pizza and seafood, a place where you can feel like a local. We loved this place. So casual but so French. The food Is fantastic. The staff is lovely and there's no shortage of flowing Rosé. No shoes needed here, toes in the sand, pizza & wine in hand... I'm in!

JULY 4TH FIRECRACKER FAVORITES

It's that time again, barbecues, sunshine, swimming and celebrating the USA. Here are just a few of my favorite things to add a little fireworks for The Fouth of July holiday.

Most 4th of July's our family heads to Newport Beach, it's a sure thing there will be plenty of festivities both on and off land to kick off the holiday. One of my favorite go-to boutiques is Bohemia, you can always find plenty of fun T-shirts, shorts, and dresses for your personal fireworks style.  Hat by Artesano -  

Nudz Beachwear's coverups are so easy to travel with, whether you're beach bound or poolside...just slip into one of their coverups and you'll look and feel beach chic.

Eddy Daniele Sandals are perfect! Take any simple outfit, slide your tootsies into a little sparkle!

I'm a big JADEtribe fan, Kimberly Hartman really gets that tropical vibe with her brand. A little bit beachy, a little bit bohemian jet set, and 100 percent natural and ethical, JADEtribe is the true embodiment of fashion with a conscience.  Bracelets by; Love Around the Neck.

Two must-haves when traveling, a hat along with a great backpack. I prefer ones that are super durable and water resistant. This Sweaty Betty is loaded with pockets and adjustable straps on the bottom for your towel, blanket, wrap or a yoga mat... I love the black with gold zipper details. Artesano has the most amazing hats for any occasion. Find your perfect Panama hat for any season. 

Sweaty Betty understands active wear. This one piece is practical and sexy.

Cami & Jax - Super stylish high-waisted bottoms paired with my Eres top. Ray Ban Sunglasses - exclusive at Neiman Marcus - Shop the post below.

Cami & Jax - Super stylish high-waisted bottoms paired with my Eres top. Ray Ban Sunglasses - exclusive at Neiman Marcus - Shop the post below.

Carmen Sol Sandals - I gave these sandals a workout, and they still look great!  Afterall...Italians do know shoes.

Purlisse's BB cream is my favorite. You'll be protected along with a flawless complexion. Don't forget your lips, Pucker up with Purlisse, mango & shea butter lip balm. I cover my lips with this when I fly.

How about this towel from The Beach People.  Perfect for a 4th of July picnic in the park or on the beach, and it's reversible. Hat by Borsalino (another favorite)

JADEtribe 

JADEtribe 

Fun twist for a cosmetic bag, load up your sun protection.

Colore Science has got your covered. This foundation goes on so smooth. I like that it has SPF built in. It's very natural looking and evens out any discoloration. You're left with a flawless finish & protection.

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Bust out a little fun on your vacation. This traveling backgammon set rolls up and has a handy zipper compartment to keep everything in place. Create a little entertainment with your family, and unplug. 

Have a festive 4th of July,  You are a firecracker! 

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TRAVELING LIGHT WITH CALPAK

Summer time, travel time! Are you in the market for a new carry-on? No matter where I'm traveling to... land or sea,  my carry-on packing routine is nearly always the same, my favorite essentials, entertainment, comfort, and of course... the perfect carry-on luggage. CALPAK  not only holds the necessities and then some, they make it so easy to travel InStyle. 

Skirt & Top from Market in Brentwood   Pomandere

Skirt & Top from Market in Brentwood   Pomandere

Take the Ambeur collection on your next getaway! The CALPAK Ambeur White Carry-On features 8 multi-directional spinner wheels that offer effortless mobility, a retractable handle, and is expandable for extra storage. The interior is fully lined and includes an easy to clean mesh zip pocket and an adjustable tie belt to hold clothing in place. Take a look at their website, and find the perfect color for you.

You'll have smooth sailing with CALPAK along with staying organized. It's easy to clean, just have your handy wipes with you & what I love the most, it's incredibly light-weight. I prefer the white for Summer, and for this price, you might want to choose another color!

Program your personal lock

  • Lightweight and durable hard-shell body
  • Large main compartment
  • Push button heavy duty handle system
  • Cushioned top and side handles
  • Mounted TSA-approved combination lock
  • Expandable for additional packing capacity
  • Eight 360-degree spinner wheels
  • Fully featured signature interior lining including:
    • Zippered divider that creates two separate packing compartments
    • Zippered accessory pocket
    • Elastic accessory pockets
    • Side pocket
    • Elastic tie belt

Having the expandable packing capacity is a huge help along with packing cubes. CALPAK offers a fun cube with see-through mesh along with label id tags.

The F-1  Spacepak Sets are my personal way of keeping your luggage tidy,  Packing tip; I also take photos of the clothing articles in each bag. The Spacepak Sets system maximizes luggage space by compressing about a week's worth of clothing in compact compartments that fit together perfectly in your suitcase or carry-on.

Add this stylish Sweaty Betty Backpack with your carry-on. Black with rosegold hardware.

Add this stylish Sweaty Betty Backpack with your carry-on. Black with rosegold hardware.

I just feel happy when I wear Sweaty Betty, so why not carry it too?

Master & Dynamic Earphones 

Master & Dynamic Earphones 

The ultimate experience for perfect sound. Get lost in your music, your movies or just quiet the world around you.

I look at traveling as a journey of the unknown and opening up to new ideas. Traveling offers us just that, so many opportunities for personal and spiritual growth, you appreciate your life and others when you step into a different environment.  It's a gift to have the chance to meet new people, understand their culture, and learn a little history. It's also a time to reflect and why not take a travel journal with you to document your journey and of course...express your Gratitude. Let yourself enjoy every moment, and don't forget to pack your good attitude and look up!

There's only one friend that's not so fond of my CALPAK luggage when it comes out...especially if I'm not packing his toys.  Next road trip pal. 

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VAMOS A CUBA!

Just 45 minutes out of Miami Florida, 90 miles south of Key West, a thirty-minute cab ride to town and say hello to Cuba!  A beautiful and dilapidated environment basically untouched.  I am fascinated with this tragically beautiful city, and yes colorful city The Cuban people are proud, they're kind, and generous. Don't miss a day without asking a local about Cuban life. 

I think this was the only day we rode in a 'typical' taxi, the rest of our trip we cruised around Cuba in style "old-school" style. Some of the vintage cars are in pristine condition others are simply old and rusty and most are privately owned and shared, meaning the drivers share their cars so other drivers can also make money. 

Checking into the Hotel Nacional was simple and organized. You'll want to exchange your money at the front desk, and you will need cash for everything.  Hotel National has been there since 1930, it had a renovation in 1992 and is considered a 5 Star. The rooms are fairly large, lots of closet space, and clean.

There are two pools and a gym. I suggest walking and dining outside of your hotel on most occasions. 

Nudz Beachwear - Use GratefulGardenia30 for 30% discount

Nudz Beachwear - Use GratefulGardenia30 for 30% discount

The hotel has incredible potential, you can't stop daydreaming about what it must have been like 'back in the day.'  In the 50s most likely you would've seen Hollywood royals like Elizabeth Taylor or Frank Sinatra in the bar at the Hotel Nacional de Cuba or find Liberace at the Tropicana Nightclub. The dress code is casual, there's not really a certain style for tourist, the locals wear Caribbean-style clothing, and the men love their Mexican wedding shirts. I suggest simple dresses, shorts, and flats. The streets are a little uneven and you will want to walk after your meal, so comfy shoes are suggested. Cuba at night is a magical experience, when you're walking along the streets, people leave their doors wide open so you can have a peek into their lives and enjoy music playing  from everywhere. The glamor days are gone but the spirit is still lives on.

Oh hello handsome! Morning coffee at Hotel Nationale with my peacock friend.

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Here' our first introduction to Old Havana.  Soon as you step out of the taxi, you'll have a glimpse into the Cuban culture. 

Dance and music are a lifeline in Cuba and it’s the birthplace of classic dances such as the Bolero, Cha Cha, and Mambo. Some famous musicians include superstar Celia Cruz, singer Olga Guillot, musician Arturo Sandoval, and the Buena Vista Social Club. Every street you roam you'll find musicians like these, amazing sounds and smiling faces. 

Our first stop for Cuban food - El Del Frente

Frente is a must along with the fresh mojitos, rice, and beans. There is no shortage of food. I suggest sharing a salad and entre.  My husband and I split a fresh, and I do mean fresh mojito and shared soft tacos and empanadas.  Everything was excellent.

There's good energy here, and the staff is lovely.  The restaurant has an upstairs and a rooftop bar. While the view was not scenic or spectacular, if weather permits I suggest sitting outside and listening to the music and noises of Havana.  We decided to sit inside with the air, it was a little too hot for the rooftop.  Service was terrific, attentive and prompt, and we did tip our servers. 

Your credit cards won't work here, you'll need cash for everything. You can exchange your money in your hotel. Don't forget to do so, you don't want to stand in line somewhere outside of your hotel. The average price for the three of us to eat lunch and dinner cost around $45-$50. If you have wine with dinner it's around $75. Just to be safe take extra cash. We're light eaters for breakfast, so coffee, fruit and toast cost around $20.00 for three.

El Floridita is one of the most iconic bars and restaurants on the island and was often frequented by Ernest Hemingway. It is said that the Daiquiri was invented there. The roots of El Floridita is older than America’s Prohibition itself. In 1820 it was known as The Silver Pineapple (La Piña de Plata) then later became La Florida, which eventually became  El Floridita.

  Because El Floridita is known as the Cradel of the Daiquiri, this is a quote attributed to Ernest Hemingway, who visited on many days at 10am..There is a statue of Hemingway that sits where he sat, in the corner of the bar. Rum and Coke in Latin America (except in Cuba) is known as a 'Cuba Libre' (free Cuba in English. In Cuba is called a ‘mentirita’ (or fib in English) On New Year’s Eve Cubans burn dolls in order to symbolize forgetting bad times and looking forward to new and good times during the new year.

You can negotiate on the taxi rides to and from your hotel into town, I do suggest you brush up on your Spanish, it helps tremendously. Round trip taxi cost about $25.00. If you stay at Hotel Nationale it's about a 25-minute walk into town. 

Hotel Manzana is the newest hotel, opening in May 2017 

Hotel Manzana is the newest hotel, opening in May 2017 

Until 2011, the only cars that Cubans can legally own are cars created and bought before 1959. After this year, the Cuban government seized all of the cars and owns them all to this day. Most of the pre-1959 Cars in Cuba are from the U.S. Everyday I absolutely loved stepping into these old classic rides.

We never felt unsafe walking around town day or night, like any new city you travel to,  just make an extra effort to be aware.

Museo de la Revolucion; This museum is a beautiful building and contains exhibits from the revolution. Due to a lack of funds, the museum is not up to par with our usual museum experiences, but the artifacts are fascinating. I would suggest reading up on Cuban history then walk through the museum chronologically, by the end, you'll have a clearer understanding of how everything transpired to the situation we know today. Cuba is one of the world’s last remaining socialist countries, following the Marxist-Leninist ideologies.

The entire pace of Cuba requires patience, so get ready to dial it down a notch or two...or three.

I do suggest you visit the Partagas Cigar Factory, you can purchase your tickets from the front desk of the hotel for $10.00 a piece. The 166-year-old Partagás Factory, hands down, this is Cuba’s best-known cigar factory and certainly the one most frequented by tourists. Standing outside requires a bit of patience. Most likely you will be approached by locals selling cigars... even by the front door. Don't buy them, After the tour, your guide takes you into a private room with your purses or backpacks (I suggest wearing a money belt or something close to your body so you can keep your wallet, phone/camera on you.) Only purchase from your tour guide or the factory, others are sure to be counterfeit. you're allowed 25 cigars a person,  the Romeo & Juliet's (most popular) were $15 a piece.

The factory is clean and very efficient, there’s a beautiful old marble staircase to the left when you enter. The rolling gallery is one of Havana’s largest, with huge windows along either side with natural light shining through for the workers. There are 204 torcedores working here. It looks a bit like the old prisons you see in movies, but it's very organized, and honestly, you get used to the smell of cigars pretty quick.

Havana is the birthplace of the premium cigars The smell of unlit cigar tobacco, earthy and pungent and remarkably intoxicating. These leaves felt like velvet. The production here is unlike almost every place else. Cuban cigarmakers, unlike their counterparts in most of the non-Cuban cigar world, make the entire cigar themselves. Women are considered the ultimate artist when it comes to rolling cigars.

Workers roll about 50 cigars a day and are allowed to smoke 2 cigars a day.

The factory is buzzing with row after row of workers measuring and perfecting every cigar by hand. It's unrushed, antique and an artisanal process, one that hasn't changed for hundreds of years, and yes there is strict quality control. We were told there's no room for error when working in this room. If you've made it to this area, you get only a few bad rolls, then you're out, and there's no shot at a second chance. It's mandatory for each worker to read only classical literature along with Cuban newspapers only. You won't find magazines or billboards anywhere in Cuba.

Here are a few local Cuban women enjoying their cigars.

El Cocinero opened right next to FAC in February 2013. This hot spot has instantly become a favorite. Located underneath the imposing brick chimney of the same name that used to be a vegetable oil factory.

After a wait at the front door even if you have a reservation, you'll be led up  3 flights of circular stairs, similar to a lighthouse, and yes it's worth it. This place has a renovated artistic feel, fun music, nice décor and has attracted a mixed crowd of affluent young Cuban locals and tourist.

Cuba, an island composed of keys, an installation at Fabrica de Arte Cubano, Havana

Cuba, an island composed of keys, an installation at Fabrica de Arte Cubano, Havana

 

Fábrica de Arte Cubano (Cuban Art Factory)  Located in Vedado at Calle 26 -This is a must see!  Cuban artist wait for two years or more to be seen inside this space.   It's delightfully hip and unique venue (frequented mainly by young and fashionable Cubans) with a nightclub, live music, live performances artist and anything that might be labeled as artistic, it's here. If you're a traveler who wonders "where do the cool and fashionable locals go?"  It's here.

Making our way to LaGuardia Restaurant was just as exciting as eating there. Fidel's spirit, of course, is felt and seen everywhere you go.

There's something so intoxicating about this vibrant and crumbling city.

Paladares are privately owned restaurants housed in shabby-chic quarters, our first evening we dined at La Guarida, quite a dramatic setting, arriving there was just as exciting as eating there. We had fish, rice, beans, and salad. Simple and stasyfing. 

The city takes on a whole new color at night, if you love the nightlife, you'll come alive in Havana.

While in Cuba you must take a ride to the beautiful beach Cojimar, about twenty minutes from town and visit La Terraza,  a legendary fishing village in Cojímar, another of Hemingway’s haunts; La Terraza de Cojímar Restaurant. The place actually opened back in 1925 as a cheap restaurant called Las Arecas, and it was in 1940 that it became an exclusive restaurant and bar under a new name: La Terraza. It soon became famous with international visitors, and Ernest Hemingway was the most loyal customer of all. He would come here regularly after going out to sea with his loyal and faithful friend, Gregorio Fuentes, the ultimate fisherman who was the first mate of the writer’s boat, the Pilar. Gregorio taught Hemmingway everything he knew about fishing. In 1952 "The Old Man and The Sea" was published. Gregorio passed away at 104 years old, he never read Hemmingway's book. I guess you could say he lived it.

Pictured above is the author’s favorite corner table, which has a picturesque view of his beloved ocean, permanently set for its most famous customer. Picture Ernest Hemmingway sitting right here, visions and words falling into place for The Old Man and The Sea. La Terraza is in tip top condition, an incredibly peaceful place and most likely the spirit of Ernest Hemmingway returns often. Ernest Hemingway lived in Cojimar for some years and this was his favorite restaurant.

The seawall, called the Malecón, is where most of the Cuban locals spend their evenings enjoying the city view. It is referred to as "Havana's sofa."

When you go to Cuba, hit the ground running. Don't miss out on feeling so alive and connected while having no wi-fi connection. Remember the days when you ran out of the house, hopped on your bike or in your car and you felt free? There's something to be said about feeling free in Cuba and what a contradiction that is.

Gentleman's rendezvous.  

The weather was perfect in April, a little humid and balmy in the evening.

Hotel Saratoga - Is beautiful Inside, there is a wait for this hotel so book in advance if you choose to stay here. The Manzana is Cuba's newest hotel that just opened.

 Hotel Saratoga - Hotel Saratoga was finally completed with the hotel opening its doors to guests in December 2005. The Hotel is located just inside the historical center of Havana.

During and after Prohibition, American gangsters made their way to Cuba, mafia heavies such as Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano. The jet-setting glamorous party crowd soon followed, attracted by a tropical haven where drinks flowed freely and gambling and showgirls were all part of the day.

Transported back in time.

We had the chance to meet one of Cuba's top young entrepreneurs; Carlos Garcia the founder of Kewelta. Carlos is leading the way for technology and his office is around the corner from the Hotel Nacional. We were invited to his office to meet his team, and talking with them left you with certainty, that this group of young entrepreneurs are switched on. Carlos can be seen on CNN talking about his vision for what's on the horison for Cuban technology. 

If you want to know about Cuba, ask the people. Cubans are happy to have the tourism, and they truly enjoy talking about their families, their culture and their country.

Even the Cuban coffee is happy to see you. 

Checking in at the airport; The airlines will ask your purpose for traveling, we said "people to people" We were not traveling with a group. You can purchase your visa at the ticket counter -$20.00. Thre was limited paperwork.  There is very limited shopping, you'll spend money on cabs, food, museums, and cigars and tours. Wi-fi is only available in your hotel and it's still a bit challenging, but it was quite nice to be disconnected for awhile.

Gracias Cuba! My family enjoyed our visit and look forward to returning. P.S. love my Panama hat purchased from your market and thrilled to have our son explore & experience Havana. Thanks for the memories!

If you're interested in an organized tour contact; Collin Laverty with Cuba Educational Travel - Providing everything you'll need for a detailed Cuba experience. 

All you'll need for your Cuban trip;

LET'S TALK SKINN-CARE

"If I could turn back time", you know the song...So let's sing it for real!  A few months ago SKINN Cosmetics reached out to me to try several of their product. In the past year, I've been fortunate enough to be introduced to many skincare lines, and I must say...SKINN has been a game-changer for my skin. I was grateful for the day the package arrived. I'm a sucker for serums and lotions and potions...so upstairs I went to wash my face to begin the SKINN test run.

Dimitri James is the Founder of Skinn Cosmetics, a line of premium skincare formulas and color cosmetics. Dimitri is passionate about skincare, his inspiration comes from his mother and his grandmother who are European-trained aestheticians and made their own skincare products from the finest natural ingredients. They instilled in him that what matters most when it comes to beauty is what’s on the inside (love them already) True beauty, his mother always taught him, comes not only from having a good heart and mind but also how a person feels about themselves. I have so much respect for Dimitri, he followed his passion, and that meant listening and understanding the need for women to feel beautiful from the inside out. There's a reason SKINN is becoming so popular amongst women today, and that's the desire behind Dimitri's vision for authentic beauty.

Love my robe from Ya Living

Love my robe from Ya Living

The Collagenesis Crème Reverse & the Translucence  Resurfacing Concentrate -I'm using this as my daily moisturizer, along with the Translucence Serum; It's lightweight, silky and quickly absorbs into your skin. It really works on those tiny fine lines, apply first thing in the morning and before bed. The moisturizer; There's no greasy feeling, and it absorbs right into your skin, leaving it smooth and even, ready to apply your base.

After several weeks of using this trio, my skin has shown a visable difference in moisture and hydration. I'm on the dry side, and this serum, eye cream, and mask helped tremendously. Apply the Hydro Vital Mask and after 15 minutes your skin will glow! Concentrated with a highly effective and innovative blend of Blue-Green Algae and Malachite Extracts which are rich in minerals, vitamins, and amino acids.

 Hydro Vital Eye Cream -  As we age, the area under the eyes can be so tricky, even we feel rested we begin to have this dry, dull and sunken-looking appearance. This delicate, yet potent blend of antioxidants, Hyaluronic Acid, botanical and fruit extracts has softened that area, which lightens up the dark areas. Under my eyes, the skin is thin and can begin to look dry fast. I have seen a difference after 3 weeks of using regularly.

The Hydro-Vital Serum is enriched with various forms of Hyaluronic Acid, botanical butters, oils and fruit extracts, this has evened out my skin, along with changing the texture. What a difference!

Enlightened Radiance Youth Capsules; You know what they say...Big things come in tiny packages. The capsules are fantastic for discoloration! I have age spots, and yes ladies after using these Radiance Capsules those spots are so much lighter. These capsules have brightened my complexion. Featuring a unique and extremely effective peptide derived from Pearl Protein.  

Fill Me In Volumizing Mask; Who doesn't' want a fuller look! Formulated with a potent and highly effective blend of Sesame Seeds, Hyaluronic Acid , and an encapsulated amino acid to deliver deep hydration and anti-aging benefits.  Brush this on before a night out and you'll love your look!  

Oh no the neck!  Neck Amor; Yes, I'm trying to say kind words about my neck. The neck area is so thin & delicate, this leave-on neck mask is formulated with Rice Protein to increase moisture retention, as well as a Probiotic blend made from 100% pure plant juice derived from jicama to help improve skin radiance with a redefining and smoothing effect. Don't go to bed without it.

Lipid infusion Face oil - I am crazy for this face oil!  Not only do I put it on before applying my makeup, I apply it over my face during the day to keep the glow going. Essential Omega and Lipid Infusion, a lightweight, exquisite blend of Omega 3, 6, 7 & 9, Ceramides, Vitamins D & E, a Sunflower Seed Cake, Barley and Cucumber extract blend, as well as Seabuckthorn, Cranberry, Olive, Rosemary, Dilo, Marula, and Grapeseed. For perfect glowing skin.

Beauty Sleep Botanical Oil Mist - We all know we need our beauty sleep, with this calming Lavender, Valerian, Chamomile, and Passionflower Oil, you'll instantly decompress. Spray on right before you get into bed. We all need a good nights sleep, reboot your soul with this mist.

I don't travel without my Collagenesis Stem Rejen Facial Serum (pink bottle) This is a must! Formulated with three high-performing active ingredients, Glacier Water, Snow Algae Powder and Alpine Rose. Glacier Water, an active found in the glaciers of the Swiss Alps has been preserved for thousands of years keeping its youthful properties helping to keep skin looking younger by delivering deep, long-lasting hydration. Even if you have sensitive skin, I suggest trying this.

Life is such a gift and most of us understand how important it is to take care of our mind, body and spirit and of course that includes our skin. We are living longer in today's world and we want to look how we feel. Most of us aren't even close to looking our age, and thanks to people like Dimitri from SKINN, we can find what works best for us, yes...we're all different but we are women, and we're fearless... and we don't give up!  Step out your door and feel alive, feel beautiful no matter how old you are, and look in the mirror and know You Are Beautiful. 

      "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams".                                                                                                   Elenor Roosevelt

    

 

IN THE NUDE(Z) FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND & ONE-PIECE SUITS

Memorial Day Weekend is here. Let's welcome the holiday with a few great styles for your weekend & Summer getaway plans. Coverups, one piece bathing suits and a few products to help you glow your way globetrotting along.

Use my discount code GratefulGardenia30 and save 30%

Use my discount code GratefulGardenia30 and save 30%

Nudz Beachwear Santorini Cover up works from sunrise to sunset. Get ready to revv up your shore-side style. Nudz is made right here in Los Angeles. 

This Santorini Cotton coverup works over any suit and covers all the right places. It's lightweight so if you're on-the-go... no worries when you toss it in your tote. If you're planning on traveling to Miami take a look at The One Hotel - pictured above. Lovely hotel.

With the coverup & the mini you're ready for cocktail hour and a lovely sunset.

Barefoot, sandals, or heels...it all works. 

The Angie mini dress, in solid microfiber, is fully lined at the top and has adjustable and convertible over- the-shoulder-straps, insertable pads, if you need them. It's perfect for paddle boarding, dries quickly. It has UV +50 protection, swim in it, lunch in it, shop in it. Off you go, from the beach to the street.

Angie Dress

One Piece Collection

La Petite Robe di Chiara Boni -- This one-piece is a Neiman Marcus exclusive and the ruffles are the IT trend for spring. What I love about this suit is how versatile it is.

La Petite Robe di Chiara Boni -- This one-piece is a Neiman Marcus exclusive and the ruffles are the IT trend for spring. What I love about this suit is how versatile it is.

Marysia Swim -- This Los Angeles-based brand is super popular with celebs and bloggers. Their one-piece suits are super stylish, the material does not bunch up, and they dry quickly.

Marysia Swim -- This Los Angeles-based brand is super popular with celebs and bloggers. Their one-piece suits are super stylish, the material does not bunch up, and they dry quickly.

Jets by Jessika Allen -- Playful yet sophisticated, this bathing suit comes in black, blue, and orange, and is sophisticated, yet chic. It can also double up as as bodysuit!

Jets by Jessika Allen -- Playful yet sophisticated, this bathing suit comes in black, blue, and orange, and is sophisticated, yet chic. It can also double up as as bodysuit!

I'm a big fan of ERES they hold everything in, even after lunch!

Ted Baker London Known for its feminine prints and silhouette, this suit has a vibrant print that's not only perfect for a vacation, it also offers plenty of support. 

Ted Baker London Known for its feminine prints and silhouette, this suit has a vibrant print that's not only perfect for a vacation, it also offers plenty of support. 

Kate Spade Love the retro feel of this suit! Plus, the applique and cutout add a bit of elegance and sophistication. 

Ted Baker -- Another fantastic piece by Ted Baker! Love the blue prints mixed with tropical elegance

Ted Baker -- Another fantastic piece by Ted Baker! Love the blue prints mixed with tropical elegance

 

Kiini ‘Cha Cha one-shoulder metallic-trimmed swimsuit' -- This swimwear line has reached a cult status and the suits come in solid prints with embroidered edges that take the styles to a whole new level of chicness. 

  Eres 'Cassiopee Swimsuit’ -- Love the timeless feel of this suit!

 

Eres 'Cassiopee Swimsuit’ -- Love the timeless feel of this suit!

Mara Hoffman Terry -- The stripes give it a nautical feel that's playful and very stylish. 

Mara Hoffman Terry -- The stripes give it a nautical feel that's playful and very stylish. 

Karla Colletto -- Another cutout suit that enhances all of the right curves and at the same time is very elegant. 

Karla Colletto -- Another cutout suit that enhances all of the right curves and at the same time is very elegant. 

Karla Colletto -- Another great piece that's very flattering and offers plenty of coverage.

Karla Colletto -- Another great piece that's very flattering and offers plenty of coverage.

Vitamin A Neutra -- This suit is all about the California lifestyle that is very slimming and sexy at the same time. 

Vitamin A Neutra -- This suit is all about the California lifestyle that is very slimming and sexy at the same time. 

I personally prefer a one piece suit, I swim, jump, dive, and paddleboard. Wearing a suit that doesn't need to be tugged on is my idea of a great one piece. 

Feel like glowing a little...

My go-to for that perfect amount of golden sheen.

My go-to for that perfect amount of golden sheen.

Lacréme Beauté's GOLD OIL is not only luxurious in how is shimmers on the skin, this product is also filled with very nourishing oil. From the magical baobab oil which improves skin's texture and luster, along with moisturizing oils of Jojoba. This is the perfect body oil for any occasion just adding that little bit of luxury to one's beauty regime. There is a light scent of exotic frangipani, and the minute it's applied you will be transported to those wonderful days of summer.

NAKED Urban Decay Lipgloss - Perfect natural nudes with a hint of pink & peach

Don't leave out our highlighter from Laura Gellar - easy to travel with, no brush needed.

Don't leave out our highlighter from Laura Gellar - easy to travel with, no brush needed.

Have a great holiday weekend! Go create a new adventure & be grateful for every moment.

Cressi Swim Mask - I always travel with my swim goggles, Cressi makes the best!  Swimming along in Eres

Cressi Swim Mask - I always travel with my swim goggles, Cressi makes the best!  Swimming along in Eres

Just Keep Swimming...

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Thanks for reading... Janet & Jes

Jes' Adventure at the Parker Palm Springs

A Note From Jes...

When it comes to decompressing, I am all about fun road trips. One of my favorite places to unwind and relax for a weekend is non other than Palm Springs! You can check out some of my posts about this desert oasis here, here, and here.

About two hours east of Los Angeles, this city offers pretty much everything that I 'a must' when vacationing. From great hotels with a buzzing pool scene, to delicious restaurants, and unique finds -- Palm Springs has it all going on!

I escape here as often as I can, and have made quite a few great memories. Some of my favorites involve a very special and beautiful Parker Palm Springs.

The former Gene Autry Estate is now a Jonathan Adler-designed property that boasts chic and comfy rooms, three pools, a spa that feels like a Nantucket country club, a Trina Turk boutique on the weekends, two delicious restaurants, and ample outdoor space complete with a fire pit, a giant chess board, bicycles, a lemonade stand, and games.

Upon entering the property, guests are greeted with an eclectic lobby filled with old-world rugs and modern, colorful geometric design. My favorite details include the white walls adorned with colorful lanterns, playful seating areas, and quirky art.

The rooms are worthy of a five-star snooze! Spacious, with a beautiful mid-century modern feel, and incredibly comfortable beds, the only reasons to get out are breakfast and the pools. Some of the luxe toiletries they offer include Hermes soaps and Penhaligon's shampoos and conditioners -- perfect for a night of pampering and well-deserved R&R. They also have villas perfect for group outings or a girls' weekend. 

The grounds have several gardens, including a shaded croquet court, a playful oversized chessboard and a sunny spot with hammocks where you can bask in the sunlight. Grab a cold beverage and be sure to enjoy these amenities during your stay.

If brunch is what you crave, Norma’s is the place to enjoy a delectable fare. The staff is incredibly friendly, and your meal will begin with a smoothie of the day sample. Last time I visited, I ordered their chocolate French Toast, and it's TO DIE FOR! It's so rich and decadent, but worth every bite -- call it a 'cheat day must have,' if you please! Other delicious staples include their burgers, salads, and huevos rancheros.

The hotel has three pools, two outdoors, and one in the spa - which is a must-try. The outdoor pools have, about halfway in between them, a bar called Lemonade, with delicious treats and perfectly chilled drinks for those hot desert days. Only one of these pools is kid-friendly, so plan accordingly.

IMG_5600.jpg

Once you set foot at the spa, you may not want to leave! They offer relaxing treatments such a hot stone massages, exfoliating body srubs, facials, waxing, and spray tanning. They even have special packages for baby moons, and other special occasions. If working out is what you desire, then their fitness center, group yoga classes, and outdoor tennis courts will do the trick. 

Before you book your adventure -- here are a few 'good to know' tidbits:

-The weekends are incredibly busy, especially during the Summer months. If possible, go on a weekday, and you will most likely have the place to yourself!

-Ask for a room upgrade: Everyone at the property is very helpful, and they will try to accommodate your requests. If available they will honor an upgrade, so don't be afraid to ask (the worst they will say is 'no')

So excited for my next Palm Springs visit, because it's going to be another one for the books! Tell Janet and I, what are some of your favorite places to escape for the weekend?

Janet and I during a fun adventure in Downtown Los Angeles in 2015. I am so grateful for the friendship we've developed over the past few years!

ENCIRCLE NYC & LIVOTTE LONDON; Circle of Life & A Spot of Tee

  My friend and fellow blogger Melissa Meyers and I were headed to an event one day and she was wearing a long necklace of endless circles. It instantly caught my eye...plus It's always fun to find a new jewelry line, so I said,  "Oh I love that!" Melissa showed me the website then introduced me to Amy Heilberg, the founder of Encircle NYC, now I too have my own Encircle collection. Mother's day is near, so here's a few gift ideas for your mom, yourself, or any occasion. I've also included Livotte, and I think you'll appreciate how founders Beth and Delphine have reinvented the basic tee. Get ready to enjoy modern elegance with Encircle NYC & Livotte. Three entrepreneurial women who are passionate about creating simple and practical beauty for everyday life.

Cover-up Nudz Beachwear

Recently I was in New York and met with the founder Amy Heilberg.  Not only did I love everything she showed me, we connected right away. We chatted about... stuff, how after a certain age life begins to come full circle, and I'm certain to why I was drawn to Melissa's necklace that day. We enjoyed our breakfast & cappuccinos at Le Coucou, and shared how we both constantly find messages in everything!  #soulsister...I'm thrilled to be part of Amy's circle. 

 Amy is the founder of Amy Heilberg Jewels, a private jewelry consulting company that specializes in custom fine and vintage collectible pieces. While working with clients for over sixteen years, Amy decided to create a collection of chic fashion pieces that give off the Amy Heilberg Jewels fine jewelry feel; but at an accessible price point. With that idea in mind, she launched Encircle NYC in January 2016.  

The pieces channel the powerful concentric circles of our lives. Our designs are organic and timeless with a fashion-forward edge. 

Vertical Pendant with pave piece

Buster in his Charlie & Me Choker along with our rug...we're a house of circles...signs are everywhere.

Buster in his Charlie & Me Choker along with our rug...we're a house of circles...signs are everywhere.

Each shape we sell are circles, flowers, ovals and squares; which is a variety of styles just like women. Circles represent protection and wholeness. Flowers, with their infinite variety and beauty. Ovals are symbolic of abundance and the cycle of life. Squares are foundational, structural, and provide support. We all come in different shapes and sizes – and that is reflective in our collection. No matter your personal style, there is a shape that each customer gravitates towards that represents them. What's yours!  You will receive a 10% Discount.

Take a look at Encircle website - You'll find more styles!

Take a look at Encircle website - You'll find more styles!

In this current time, unity, diversity, understanding, community and love is what we need to survive in this world; and Encircle NYC embodies the connectivity that each represents. 

Keeping it simple and chic with Encircle Verticle Pendant

Keeping it simple and chic with Encircle Verticle Pendant

Ecircle jewelry is designed to make each woman feel her best as she takes on her life. Thank you, Amy! I love being part of your circle xxooo

Welcome to the Lovely Livotte; Beth & Delphine who are fashion veterans, are committed to bringing organic, locally sourced luxe cotton jersey tops to women across the globe. Here's to dressing effortless chic, day or night.

I'm wearing; Jacqueline

I'm wearing; Jacqueline

I am definitely the woman who feels like I can conquer it all in jeans & a tee, and now more than ever! Livotte has filled a void for the everyday tee, and of course, they're all named after women and the name Livotte comes from their daughters...Livvy & Charlotte, and of course I like them even more!  It's like having a little piece of London close to your heart. Thank you, Beth & Delphine! Hands down my favorite T, and oh so soft and stylish.

Beth & Delphine live in London; their girls were born there and will most likely grow up in the amazing city. Livotte wants to support the London fashion community and make the extra effort (and by extra effort,  putting it mildly) to deliver a product both designed and made right in London within the M25. 

They were able to source a fabric that is both organic and luxurious.  Their mill is in the Midlands and the yarns are the best in Europe making our cotton jersey tops luxurious, long lasting and able to withstand many many machine washes. 

Style tip from Livotte; Pair it with your leather leggings or blue jeans or even your favorite pencil skirt. Lifestyle tip from Livotte;  Live In It, Love In It, Lunch In It! 

Don't forget to Laugh in it!

Thank you to; Encircle & Livotte for providing photos and information. Cheers to many years of success and fun! I love working with inspirational & kind women, it makes the journey so rewarding.  #grateful

  “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel

LET'S PEEK INTO OUR EVERYDAY & GETAWAY LOTIONS & POTIONS

Notes from Janet & Jes...

Do you ever wonder what's in the woman's bag next to you on the plane, train or sitting next to you at your favorite bistro? When I'm traveling, especially abroad...I would love to take a peek into what women "go to" from sun-up to sundown. Here are a few things in mine and Jesica's everyday bag along with our weekend getaway bag.  

Everyday potions and lotions Jes & I can't live without.

Emi-Jay Hair Ties - I usually put my hair up at least once a day. Emi-Jay ties are either on my wrist or in my bag, and they don't damage your hair. They're also great gift ideas, and for any age.  -Purliesse for Flawless Skin -I can't say enough about this BB Cream. Literally, you'll have a flawless finish, it evens out along with protecting your skin. Purlisse makes great non-toxic products - Ilia lip & cheek tint - Because it's just that - a quick touch up for a little brightness.  Lune+Aster Poet Lip Gloss for that perfect pink pout - Lune+Aster glosses are not sticky and they have beautiful shades to choose from- Warby Parker reading glasses, Warby Parker has great frames for $95. and they make the process so easy for you. Order online - they send a box of 5 frames you've picked out, keep them for 5 days and choose your favorite pair(s)... return the box with your for prescription and you'll have them in back 10 days and Warby Parker gives back!  Kiehl's in coriander (love this scent) I've been using Kiehl's for years, this is still my favorite scent. Browza Eyebrow pencil, my eyebrows are very fair, so I always have it on hand,  - Nia Tech Neck roller for your neck...Must have!  In traffic, at home, sitting at my desk, I moisturize my neck all day long.    Jes...Don't forget about your neck! 

Don't leave home without it!

Don't leave home without it!

On our recent Spring Break trip, everything I needed fit into these two bags. I try and keep it simple when I travel, only go for what I need. Kát Rudu - Cucumber Eye Gel - I use this every morning. Nuxe - For the perfect golden glow. I'll never tire of this scent. Tata Harper Eye Mask  - Skinn Hydration Serum - Fantastic Facial Serum Great for on the plane! - Skinn Deep Wrinkle Resurfacing Concentrate - I use this day and night. It brightens your skin instantly.  Skinn Eye Cream - Skinn Neck Cream Mask  - My favorite neck cream for day & night -  Purlisse Sheet Mask - White Tea - These are a must! You'll be left with glowing, moisturized skin, and the scent is so calming. You'll want more that one!  Purlisse Cleansing Milk - Travel Size.  Elizabeth W. Eye Mask - Take a look at all you have to choose from. Nilotic Shea Butter - Incredible moisturizer. It works for every part of your body, it's a brand that gives back, and it's for the whole family. Beauty Blender Body Sponge for blending lotions & bronzers. If you're looking for a great Mother's Day Gift Idea or really for any occasion, check out Cuyana, I'm a fan of their elegance & simplicity and they give back. Not only do I love traveling with these beautiful bags but I love the mission behind the brand. 

Great Mother's Day Gift Idea! Monogramed Travel & Everday Bags

Great Mother's Day Gift Idea! Monogramed Travel & Everday Bags

Hey there, it's Jes! When it comes to my beauty on-the-go, I keep a pretty close roster of my favorite finds. Below are my can’t live without items that are often my trusty companions for those long days at work or when I need a beauty pick-me up. I tend to be loyal to certain brands, so if it works, chances are that I will use it on repeat until the last drop!

1.       Aesop Hand Crème ($28): This is hands down (pun intended) one of my favorite tubes to carry. Its texture is light, and the rose scent smells divine. It contains a beautiful blend of botanicals that leaves my hands feeling soft and rejuvenated. It restores my cuticles, and helps my nails grow healthy. I am constantly using my hands, whether it’s by endless hours typing on the computer, driving or working out, so my goal is to always have them be healthy and hydrated.

2.       Blistex Lip Medex ($1.79): Rain or shine, my lips are always chapped. Luckily, this drugstore miracle keeps my pout moisturized and refreshed. Sometimes, I only have to apply it once a day, and it stays put. You really can’t beat this deal – as it truly works wonders on my lips!

3.       Tocca Florence Travel Spray ($38): Tocca has been a favorite of mine for years, and Florence is perfect for the warm LA summer days. This floral scent is a combination of bergamot and gardenia that keeps me refreshed all day. Plus, the bottle is adorable and their lotions and candles are also worth a try.

4.       Eau Thermale Avène Thermal Spring Water ($9): This is the perfect remedy for those sticky humid days! Avène is one of France’s most popular brands, and it’s a top choice for many makeup artists and dermatologists. This is also perfect after long flights, as it helps skin glow and keeps it hydrated.

5. Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($36) and Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush ($29): SPF is a must, whether you are 15 or 75! This dual BB cream comes in a variety of shades and applies smoothly without leaving a chunky residue, and it blends evenly. This blush is pretty natural, long-lasting, and also, it doubles as lip gloss. I also love how the color works with my complexion, leaving a dewy and rosy finish with an extra glow. One added bonus -- this is the perfect neck cream, as it's never too early to start protecting against wrinkles.

6. Wet Naturals Evergreen Wood Detangling Brush ($14.99): This brush is light and untangles my hair without leaving it frizzy or sticky. I also keep one in my car, when I am running around and don't have much time to freshen up. Since I began using this brush, I have noticed my hair is healthier and with less breakage. 

7. Super by  Retrosuperfuture Sunglasses ($179): I pretty much wear sunnies from sunrise to sundown (protection is key), and these wayfarers and timeless and pretty much go with anything. I also own their tortoise shell sunglasses, and they are both super chic!

I recently went on a 12-day trip home to Peru to visit family and friends and packed an array of travel-sized products for the adventure. Since I went to two different climates -- coastal and mountain, I knew I needed plenty of hydrating potions. 

Check out my travel companions during hot weather in Lima, mild dry temperatures in the Andes, and extreme humidity in Machu Picchu!

1. Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating treatment ($24) | 2. Caudalie Radiance Moisturizer SPF 20 Complexion Correction for Flawless Skin ($49) 3. Bulgari The Blanc Shampoo & Conditioner Set ($29.99) | 4. La Prairie Eye Cream with SPF 15 ($185) | 5. Pixi by Petra Glow Tonic ($22 for travel set) | 6. Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens ($10) | 7. Chapstick Total Hydration ($4.99 for set) 

Whether you're in your 30's 40's or 50's It's fun to share  "A few of our favorite things"   Jes & I want to know..."What's in your bag"  

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone...Audrey Hepburn. 
 

RIPLEY RADER - JUMPSUIT QUEEN

When I first met Ripley I instantly lite up! Not only are we both "dancin fools" but we're southern girls and she's incredibly passionate about women feeling their best. My friend Melissa Meyers said, "you've gotta meet Ripley, you'll love her and her brand." She was right. Melissa and I did a Facebook Live segment with Ripley at her studio talking about her brand and the inspiration behind her designs. Meet the Hollywood's mover and shaker...literally, Ripley Rader.

"The jumpsuit is here to stay." So sayeth The Queen!

Meet "The Queen of the Jumpsuit" herself, Los Angeles-based designer Ripley Rader. Rader, an accomplished professional dancer who considers herself an artist first, launched her eponymous ready-to-wear label in 2013. Inspired by Southern California's eternally sun-drenched 1970s chic, her aim was to "encourage women to express their individuality through timeless silhouettes and softly tailored separates," all at an accessible price point. Celebrities like Gigi Hadid, Amy Schumer, and Kate Upton have all rocked her designs... Can you dig it?!

Cue the perfectly classic, totally effortless, infinitely wearable jumpsuit. If you're looking for a versatile piece that will carry you from an important morning meeting to a cocktail hour after a long flight, or a night on the red carpet, clear out some closet space! This is the line for you! The pieces are very flattering and feel incredible. The fabrics Rader uses are SO comfortable and soft, while still being carefully-crafted and luxurious. Seriously, you can wear Ripley Rader anywhere! 

Ripley's two piece top and pant - wear with flats or heels! / Encircle Necklace

Ripley's two piece top and pant - wear with flats or heels! / Encircle Necklace

The designer attributes her particular form/function sensibilities to a lifetime spent stretching and pirouetting across dance studios.  (ahhh woman after my own heart) "I like 'good-move' clothes," she says. "I live in dance clothes. I always like to feel free and move my body easily and I never want to put a lot of time into getting dressed. I like to walk out the door feeling polished and comfortable the next."

One Piece Jumpsuit  Let's Dance!

One Piece Jumpsuit  Let's Dance!

And that comfort level carries over to the bottom line, as well. One of my favorite things about Ripley's approach is her reasonable price point. "Our jumpsuits are all under $200 and 100% LA-made. I feel even $200 is an investment for the modern woman, and I wanted to really honor that," she says, "keeping it at that price point and having everything is made in the U.S. does present some challenges, but I can sleep at night." Another reason for Rader's frugality? Her roots in the creative community. "I'm an artist, so I just wanted to be sure my hippie/artist-friends could afford this line," she laughs. 

Not sure if a jumpsuit is your Groove Thang? Fear not! Rader has a few suggestions up her (bell) sleeve. "Tailoring is key," she says. "Pay particular attention to hemlines--you shouldn't have fabric pooling around your feet, nor should your whole shoe be visible. Find the middle ground."  What's better than getting your groove back with your girlfriend's in one of Ripley's Jumpsuits!

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Styling can also make a big impact. "Rock a great shoe, and try incorporating different belts, statement necklaces, or a high-end clutch to carry your look from daytime functionality into evening chic." This line makes incorporating the High/Low trend so easy and fun(ky). "For me, the jumpsuit works on all body types-tall, short, curvy, straight," she says, "with great tailoring and styling, you can really make it your own and make it feel fresh and modern." 

This year will also see the line extending its sizing options to include Plus sizes, something that Rader says is of great personal importance to her. "I design my pieces so they can be worn at any age, and at any size. I want people to feel good in their bodies and I want to help them dress their bodies--no matter what shape that might be. I'm not trying to reinvent the look of the modern woman, but it is important to me to have clothes that not only can carry her from day to night but also pieces that are hearty - that will last and look good and feel good.

Ripley's pants paired with Elizabeth & James top / Encircle Chocker

Ripley's pants paired with Elizabeth & James top / Encircle Chocker

Dying to slip into one of these disco-dusted creations? The full line is available via the Ripley Rader website, and is slowly-but-surely coming to a boutique or shop near you! "We're in about 100 high-end boutiques nationwide," she says, "We were slow to break into the larger market because I wanted to make sure we were a well-oiled machine first. I wanted to be a company that grew organically. Now I feel we're ready, and I'm excited to be able to dress more women."  

Melissa Meyers & I during our Glow & Grateful segment for Facebook Live.

Since Ripley's initial outreach was purposely Boho-boutique, this true Hollywood IT-Girl used a little star power to build her brand. "I don't have a huge publicity team behind me, so I've always gifted pieces to stylists who love them so much, they refer their celebrity clients and word spreads out of a genuine enthusiasm." Organic press? Genuine love?? 

Hats off to my fellow dancing sister, thanks for creating clothing that's "got all the right moves"

Kumbaya and Long Live The Queen!

Check out Ripley's website to book an appointment or shop online. Her studio is so much fun!      

         "I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and     confidently themselves, who bring light into the world." —Meryl Streep

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