Monday, November 30, 2009

scents of the season: Perfume & Body Spray Installation

I hope you are enjoying my scents of the season installations! I have a shower and closet full of products and love to test and compare. I think my interest peaked when I worked as the beauty marketplace editor for an organic magazine which helped fuel my interest in all things that are green. Truthfully, I tend to be attracted to natural oils instead of perfume for every day use. However, sometimes I need a pick me up, especially for date night with my husband or for a night out with the girls! 

Ginger, cloves and an exotic blend of Moroccan rose and Arabian jasmine make up Tishka Oriental Fragrance. This provocative scent will take you through the holidays and into the spring.

Bergamot, sandlewood, and bitter orange makes Citron de Vigne the perfect scent for date night.

Throw this solid perfume in your evening bag and reapply for easy touch-ups.

Reuse this recycled bottle after you finish spritzing Fruits & Passion Cranberry Love cranberry scented perfume.

You won't regret buying Tsi-La roll on mini-perfume in Saqui. Even better, snag the mini collection of their organic roll on oils in 4 unique scents.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Greetings from Napa Valley, California!

Recently I was awarded blog awards from two fellow favorite bloggers Beauty and a Budget & Absolutely Not Martha. It took me all night to prepare my here goes:
"I'd like to thank my manicurist, hair stylist, massage therapist, beautician, life coach, psychologist, my dog, my Starbucks barista, liquor store owner, and last but not least, my husband"...ha! Seriously, the last time I received an award was when I was in grammar school, I won the spelling bee. I remember how proud I was to show my parents the blue ribbon I won and they in turn were so pleased they posted it on the fridge.
Not only am I pleased and thankful on this lovely Thanksgiving to receive recognition from two fabulous bloggers but I am also happy to pass this lovely award along. Here are some of my fave bloggers. Please take a minute, check them out, and have a lovely Thanksgiving!!
A Girl in Asia
Apartment #34
Being and Nothingness
Farmhouse Musings
Les Filles Giada et Cairo
Livit, Luvit
Lost in Translation

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just say it already!

I am so pleased and excited to introduce my first guest blogger! She is a lovely human being and I love her to pieces....take it away Sarah!

So, while my cousin Melanie swirls, smells, swishes and swallows copious amounts of wine in Napa Valley I am guest blogging in her place. To my utter surprise, I might add. What do I know about exotic travels and beauty products? I’m the one who offered to give up my spot as my sister’s Bride’s Maid because I knew nothing about clothing, parties, and accessories. (Request denied!) Melanie writes about Kiss My Face and I, Kierkegaard. But, she did ask, and I am grateful. Thankful. And, that of course, has to be my topic on Thanksgiving—thankfulness.
Rather than listing the hundreds of things, people, situations I am thankful for, I’d like to propose something else. Why don’t we just start telling others that we are thankful for them and what they do? It seems so obvious, yet so few of us express our appreciation. Whether we are talking about a banal thank you in a retail store or a heartfelt thank you between friends, so few give thanks for the small kindnesses in our lives. And it makes a difference.

Here’s an example: I’ve spent the last five years telling my children what to do. The results were sometimes positive, but most often grumbling reticence. Then I began saying thank you in advance. “Thank you for bringing your dish to the sink!” And wouldn’t you know, they began to remember to clear the table before I had to remind them. They feed off the positive reaction. Now, we are talking about children, but I hold that adults aren’t more mature-- psychologically speaking anyway. It works with them, too. My adult education GED class is filled with people who have “college dropout” hanging overhead. In a society that values education and titles and degrees, this is a tacit marker of failure. They occupy the lowest job positions and spend hours in underappreciated work environments. Last night I gave them a class assignment. When I told them how much I appreciated the work they were producing for class, you should have seen the brightness in their eyes. Some reddened, some squared their shoulders, and others looked down. They finished the task beautifully—better than if I hadn’t said anything. And all I said was thank you.

And there are so many wonderful ways to embellish our thank yous.  We can say it, send it with flowers or say it in cards. For many, sending out the obligatory thank you cards after a shower or wedding is the most tedious part of the event.  Not for me though-- it is one thing I love about the US.  We have a million places to buy cards.  When I lived in Mexico I couldn't find a thank you card (or a gracias card) to save my life.  And when I wanted to send them out-- forget it! The mail system is rudimentary at best, in shambles at worst.  We take for granted how easy it is to communicate gratitude by snailmail.  And how nice.  Don't you love getting cards in the mail?  Or flowers?

So, say it. Or send it. Spend a moment to tell someone you appreciate them. It doesn’t have to be mushy. And you might be surprised at what results you get.

As for my beauty choices: I like St. Ives Soothing Oatmeal and Shea Butter body moisturizer, Shi Seido face wash and my ion flat iron. That’s it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

scents of the season: Home Scents Installation

There is nothing like coming in from the cold to a warm apartment and a lovely smelling living room. Candles and room sprays are my thing. I have at least 2 candles lit in my living room and kitchen and I have an oil burner in my bedroom. Oh, and I always have a diffuser in the bathroom! Seems like overkill, but I coordinate all of the scents so they harmonize with one another. Each room smells a little different but always smells good. Here are some of my favorites...I have so many I may turn this into a 2 part series!

I usually buy 2-3 bottles at a time of Bath & Body Works Pumpkin Patch room spray. I use it so often during the fall and winter months I run out by March!

Thymes seasonal scent Frasier Fur potpourri captures the fragrance of a freshly cut tree. Check their site for soaps and candles too!

This company is in my top 5. With over 20 different scents they've got enough to take you through the seasons. Check out their amazing soy candles, home sprays, body butters, and wonderful gift packages.

Madagascar Spice Soy Candle   &   Mediterranean Fig Perfume (I use it as a room spray!)

I have this Body Shop oil diffuser in my bedroom. I find that it disperses a more intense scent than hot wax holders.

Add a couple drops of Fruits & Passion festive oils- Winter Berries, Gui-Mistletoe, & Orange Cinnamon.

If you like a massive scent you will love Henri Bendel's candles. When I light one of his candles I do just that- I light only one. The scent fills up my entire apartment.

My red flower products are some of the more luxurious home scents I own. Their candles, hair products, and diffusers smell great, but if I had to pick just one, I would go with their diffusers. Although a bit expensive, the beautiful recycled vase it comes in is well worth it. I gave my brother the Cardamom Amber Resin diffuser several years ago and he still talks about!

I just picked up Mrs Meyer's Iowa Pine Holiday diffuser at my supermarket. Smells great and keeps my bathroom smelly-free.

Monday, November 23, 2009

scents of the season: Organic Lip & Mouth Care Installation

Dry, flaked, and cracked...three words you don't want someone to use after a kiss. The cold weather and stress brings on all of these. Avoid the chapped look this holiday season with these yummy, smooth, and refined lip balms and mouth care products. After a trial run your lips will be irresistible and kissable!

A long-standing favorite of mine, Burts Bees lip balms always help hydrate my lips. Their Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil not only hydrates but tastes great.

I've tried many lip exfoliators and found Nvey Eco's organic exfoliator with cranberry seeds on the top of my list.

Eos lip balm line comes in three great flavors and the packaging fits right in with my evening bag.

Cranberry orange lip balm...yum. Kiss My Face lip balm tastes as good as it sounds.

Did you say cranberry dental floss? Radius natural cranberry floss is made from natural beeswax coated with unsweetened cranberry essence.

If you haven't tried it yet, natural toothpaste gently cleans your tooth without all of the chemicals regular toothpaste contains. Tom's of Maine toothpaste in cinnamon-clove cleans and whitens your teeth with natural ingredients and real flavor oils.

Friday, November 20, 2009

scents of the season: Organic Bath & Body Care Installation

I have scented products for every season. Summer is grapefruit and coconut, spring is lavender and lemon, and lemongrass is year-round. There are certain scents that conjure up thoughts of the holidays. For me they are pumpkin, spices, vanilla, cranberry, and pine cones. They not only create a heavenly smell in your home but can also be amazing for your skin. The following are my organic holiday picks for your bath and body.


from left to right.
Bath & Hair
Once I poured Naturopathica Deep Forest Bath and Body oil into the bath the scent of a Christmas tree hit the air. The scents teamed up with the hot steam from the bath water will help clear your mind and your sinuses. There is no need to light a candle, the scent from the oil is relaxing enough.
If the smell of homemade cookies are your thing, try pouring a cap of Archipelago's Vanilla Sugar Bubble Bath into the tub. Sweet bubbles everywhere!

from left to right.
Soften winter hands with Kiss My Face Rosemary & Mint Hand Alert. It includes alpha hydroxy acids to help exfoliate dead skin and shea butter to soften it.
MyChelle's Autumn Woods Body Ambrosia leaves your body feeling super smooth and smelling woodsy. Oils of olive and pumpkin seed are two of the organic ingredients in this body moisturizer. My husband and I share this one!

from left to right.
Hair Care
It's not organic, but I had to give this product a shout-out because I lurvve it. All I use is a dollop of fresh's Pomegranate Conditioner and my hair smells and feels great. I only wish they made pomegranate shampoo!
John Masters Organics Herbal Cider Hair Clarifier & Color Sealer is a must have year-round product. It is great for those who have dry scalp or use products daily on their hair.

left to right.
Organic cranberry and essential oils are packed into Greenland's Organic Shower Gel.
Pangea Organics Malagasy Cinnamon Cassia w/ Cloves Soap smells like a pack of mulling spices heating over the stove.

left to right.
Cranberry & Pomegranate in one scrub? You get both of those and green tea when using Cranberry Pomegranate Sugar Scrub by Eminence.
100% pure is everything the name states- 100% natural, 100% gluten free, and 100% vegetarian. Their Organic Pomegranate Body Scrub is wonderful for winter skin. Check their website for more exciting, truly organic, products.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monthly Surprise

I love surprises, especially when they are monthly. Wine of the month, Cheese of the month, Potato Chips of the month....I think you can get anything via a month club! And they make great wedding, birthday, or holiday gifts. Here's a selection of my faves:

join this cheesy club!

vino- red or white?

potato chip club!

polaroid a month club!

did you say shoe of the month club??!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Grey's Anatomy has been one of my long-standing loves. I think the story lines are always unexpected and half way through I shed a week's full of tears. Not because it's always sad, but because it's that good. Emotion provoking television. Now, my husband might disagree, but I have to say this season has been no exception. Although we lost George :( I think the rest of the cast has been given strong scripts and some great love interests. Here is a look back on some of my fave, tear-jerking moments in years past.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tunes for a Mellow Yellow Day.

Mellow Yellow

I'm feeling quite mellow today, like someone shifted me into the slowww mode gear. I think it has something to do with the amount of sleep I got- 12 full hours. After I woke up I headed straight to the gym and worked out for an hour, but it felt like a century. When I came home I sat on the couch in a daze, and then I remembered I had a huge list of 'to-do's'. I looked at the clock and with a big sigh I thought oh well, there's always tomorrow.

photos courtesy of me and

Friday, November 13, 2009

Seared Scallops with Creamed Corn and Bacon

Found these adorable pictures on GoBuggyGo's photostream on flickr

I have to admit I don't eat a lot of fish. I am very picky, especially with fishy smelling fish. However I took a liking to scallops when I was young. Every summer as a child we used to take family trips up to Maine. We would travel up and down the coast for a week, stopping at our favorite seaside towns and eating the freshest seafood I ever tasted. I remember popping fried scallops with homemade tartar sauce in my mouth as we walked around shopping at the outlets. This recipe brings me back to a time when the only responsibilities I had was to hand my homework in on time and be home before dark.

Sometimes I make this dish as an appetizer. I place the creamed corn on the bottom of a long platter and pile the scallops on top.

NOTE: Make Creamed Corn first and then cook scallops. While scallops are cooking, keep corn on simmer to keep warm. 

Seared Scallops (Servings: For Two People)
6 sea scallops
1 tsp of unsalted butter
2 tsp of olive oil
salt & pepper

Wash the scallops and pull off the small muscle on the side. Dry well! This is key when you are searing them. Heat up a skillet large enough to fit all scallops so they aren't touching and put butter and oil in pan. Place heat on high and wait until pan is hot enough. S&P your dry scallops and place in hot pan. Now, depending on how well you like your scallops I would cook them between 1-2 minutes per side. I personally like them done on the inside so I cook them for 2 minutes per side. They should be nice and brown.

Creamed Corn w/ Bacon
3 cups of fresh cooked corn (can also use 1 can of corn or half bag of frozen corn)
4 slices of bacon- preferably apple smoked if you can get it!
1/2 small onion finely chopped
2/3 cup of heavy cream

If you are using fresh corn you will already have a considerable amount of liquid or 'milk' from the ears of the corn so you may not need 2/3 cup of heavy cream. When corn is in season, we cook several dozen ears, cut the kernels and freeze them in small zip lock bags for the year.
Place bacon in a large skillet and cook through. Once they are browned place on a plate. Using the same skillet saute onions for 2 minutes. While sauteing onions, crumble the bacon and keep on a plate. Add corn to skillet and saute corn and onions for 3 minutes. Next add bacon and heavy cream.  Cook on low heat for 4 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Plate corn mixture on plate and top with 3 scallops per person- viola! With this recipe and any non-baking recipe really, feel free to add anything you like into it. Some make this with more onion or add chives or's up to you.

The June Bahtra- Pt. 3 (The Missing Chapter)

* I mentioned in my recent posts that I would elaborate on the loony 75+ year old french woman who was on our boat. She, we call her frenchie, and her boy toy, this italian stallion who was at least 30+ years younger than her, complained throughout the entire trip. Frenchie mentioned she just had 'surgery' done and needed a month to get away so she came to Thailand. She had some serious work done on her face as it was still puffy and red. Throughout the entire excursion frenchie had a cigarette in her and kept throwing them into the ocean when she was done. As she would walk over to her boy toy to ask for another one, her breast, yes frenchie’s breast, would fall out of her bikini. She would walk around the boat with her boob hanging out and start talking to people who were obviously embarrassed to have a conversation with her in that state. 

When we got to the Sea Gypsy village she demanded money for a cigarette and a soda from the tour guide. Frenchie had to have one or else. He certainly wasn't going to give her his hard earned money so she attempted to ask the rest of us. Jason and I quickly walked in the opposite direction and by the time we all met up to leave someone apparently gave in and bought frenchie a soda (although she was angry no one on the island sold smokes). Alas, for the next couple hours frenchie sat and walked around the boat, breast exposed, and we all just kind of chuckled :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Excursion Review: Asian-Oasis Tours

Sailing on the June Bahtra was one of the many fond memories we have of our travels through SEAsia. In my previous posts I discussed our day excursion on the beautiful schooner- the June Bahtra. The boat is owned by Asian Oasis, a boutique tour company that runs unique tours, treks, and cruises throughout Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. We stumbled upon their website when we were researching transportation options to Laos. This particular tour was in Phuket, Thailand and I highly recommend it.

Our itinerary:
They picked us up from our hotel and drove us to the marina
We hopped on board the beautiful boat and embarked on our journey through Phang Nga Bay
11:00 ish 
We boarded a long tail boat which took us to the Sea Gypsy village and James Bond Island & Rock
The long tail boat took us back to the June Bahtra where a delicious Thai meal was waiting for us
After we filled up our tummies they handed out fruit and some got out to swim
We arrived back at the marina

  • The staff was wonderful and most spoke english and you can request a tour guide who speaks french or german. 
  • You can ask for refreshments at any time and they passed out fruit (one of my favorite things to eat in Thailand). 
  • The food was delicious and we went back for seconds! 
  • We brought our own towels but they have some on board if you need one. 
  • There is also a canopy that covers most of the deck if you don't want to be in the sun for that long.
  • Everything is included in the price except for alcohol.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Craving for Bleu

Last night I tossed and turned until 3am'ish. My husband was snoring (per usual) and I had cheese on the brain. After every toss and turn I made an image of bleu cheese would flash in mind. Yes, blue (or bleu) cheese. I love, love, love the big bad bleu. Every cheese is unique: some are buttery, gooey, peppery, or stinky. Some are made from cow's, goat's, or sheep's milk. I don't discriminate when it comes to the bleu, I just eat it. I love it on burgers, on salad, on pizza, as a dip, with french fries...the list goes on. Well, last night I couldn't stop thinking of blue cheese, to the point my mouth was watering! Today I had my fix Green Salad with Marie's Premium Super Blue Cheese, mmmmm.  Tell me, after you look at these photos, that your mouth isn't watering??!

butternut squash risotto w/ rosemary & blue cheese from

bacon blue cheese butter on steak from

the big ben burger featured on

veal chops & roasted potatoes with blue cheese dressing and mint,

Lonny Mag

With the recent launch of the online mag Lonny, comes a renewed hope for shelter magazines. The format is easy to use and, most importantly, doesn't crash your computer when you open it! The easy on the eyes layout and short but sweet front of book pieces clearly foreshadows the beautiful photography in the feature well. If you are in the mood for a little style rejuvenation, click here to check out the magazine.

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