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New "Healthy Glow" Favorites: From Inside and Out

27 August 2015

Now that I am a matured lady of thirty, one of my pastimes is thinking about keeping up my youthful glow that once came naturally.

My skin is very finicky/breakout prone. Hurt its feelings or even breathe wrong and I will see the effects. I am very wary to try new things, yet always on the hunt. I will drop a product like a bad habit if it doesn't seem to be reacting well, or keep you on repeat order for all time if we hit it off.

Lately, I've just been over punishing my "bad" skin. No more benzyol peroxide, salicylic acid or other harsh chemicals. These are lauded as being the must have ingredients for clear skin, and wouldn't you know the second I switched to trying more nurturing ingredients inside and out, my skin has significantly changed.

Here's some new products I'm repeat ordering and crediting with an uptick in glow:

Healthy Glow Favorites

1. Sephora Pearl Mask - I used to be wary of sheet masks or anything moisturizing. I was a damn fool. I pop this pearl mask like a tic tac now, and for the same occasions: air travel, date night and weddings. I can't leave Sephora without one and at $6 a piece, I should just buy a few to keep in the reserves. My skin photographs like an Amazonian dream woman after wearing one for 5-10 minutes while I'm curling my hair and frightening Heidi. Sephora even offers "Buy 4 masks, get 1 free" on the sheet masks, so you can go hard or mix and match.

2. Blue Ice Fermented Cod Liver Oil - After a great vacation but stressful return from Telluride, Markus started his new job on Monday and had shingles on Tuesday. Egad! There's really nothing you can do to help shingles along, but I took to my hippie high horse anyways and wrapped him in Apple Cider Vinegar compresses and read about nervous system health. I finally ordered some fermented cod liver oil I had been hearing so much about. This is like, the nectar of the gods, y'all. There is so much nutrition and goody goodness in these things for your nervous system, mood, gut, immunity and - skin! I've noticed a lot more elasticity and brightness in my skin since taking these a few weeks ago, and fewer breakouts as the fish oil is an inflammatory. I even have Markus taking them with me and Heidi gulping down the oil version every day with some orange juice.

3. Eminence Organics Clear Skin Willow Bark Booster-Serum - I kept noticing Eminence at spas, and tried a few samples of their product when I was at Etre Belle at NorthPark. This is essentially the organic version of an acne spot treatment, with the same results but no drying or irritation for me. Tea tree oil is anti-bacterial and willow bark is anti-inflammatory, which I think works amazing with the Vitamins A, C and E in the serum for overall smooth, clear skin. I put three drops on before bed, or you can add drops to your moisturizer. The good news is, the bottle seems to last a good while!

4. Arbonne Phytosport Complete Hydration and After Workout - One thing that continues to help my skin is regular exercise, so long as I am showering afterwards and staying on top of being hydrated. It seems like nothing can really fester too long if you keep detoxing with a good workout. The ability to really get up a sweat in a Texas summer and not feel the after effects was a rare treat, until I found these Arbonne products. I've been able to spin, pylometrics, weight train and hot yoga it up this summer with no headaches and fatigue I usually feel from the heat and dehydration. I add the Phytosport Complete Hydration to my water bottle during my workout and then refill and add the Phytosport After Workout to sip while I am in the steam room after class. I used to be really against powders, supplements and water additives but, like the Arbonne protein powder I fell hard for and still use every day, I **love** this stuff. On repeat order for sure. I started working out at 6:00 am shortly before taking this, and had the hardest time not crashing by 11:00 am. These have changed the game. Semi related side note: It is totally crazy how many "healthy" workout products I am allergic to. If you are looking for a boost like this but have food allergies, I love the Arbonne Ingredient Policy and strict European food standards that are applied to their products. Everything is botanical, as it should be when you are ingesting something in the name of health. 

Sure there is new love, sleep and other intimate activities to keep skin glowing and photo worthy, but these new recruits to the team have been such an asset to the times where those aforementioned are not available. Are you a glow chaser? Any new favorites from you, especially the naturals, that I should be trying?

Thanks for reading! These favorites are tried and true and personal picks (unsponsored). Some products are linked through my Amazon affiliate program and my Arbonne favorites link to my representative, which kicks nothing back to me but is a thank you to her for taking the time to think of me and personally refer/talk me into these great items. Byeee!

Puppies and Pancakes: Operation Kindness and Pet Supplies Plus at Norma's Cafe!

24 August 2015

As I type this on my Monday lunch break, I could use a bit of an escape. Today is the first day back to school, and of all the moms out there - I am the mess! An ironic twist, as Heidi has practically skipped into her school five days a week for the better of her life, no summer breaks to be had. But, you put a chalkboard in front of a cute kid with moms telling you how fast it all goes by more than forty times in my Facebook feed and yep, I'm going to cry a few nostalgic tears into my morning granola.

I could use a mini escape with thought of puppies, pancakes and plans for the week. Fortunately, all three are in the bag as I am meeting my best girlfriend at the Norma's Oak Cliff breakfast counter on Wednesday!

I love a good diner experience, especially at the counter. I spent many a weekend morning at the breakfast counter with my Dad. Sitting at the counter means you're low maintenance but high on experience. Norma's in Oak Cliff has a great counter with many quality humans around to complete the experience. With so much fresh food on the menu, there's always something I can enjoy gluten free. I **love** their Migas, and have been known to order them at all hours of the day.

Wednesday will be a rare occasion where the breakfast food is the runner up on "Things at Norma's Most Likely to Make You Smile and Take an Instagram," as the Norma's staff will be joined by some adorable furry faces up for adoption from Dallas' no kill shelter, Operation Kindness!

Here are a few of the little love muffins you can meet on Wednesday, and earn a $25 gift card to Norma's when you adopt from Operation Kindness! All pets on site will be ready to adopt, and current on vaccinations, spayed or neutered and microchipped.

Bubba is a three month old Terrier mix. Yes, his ears stay that way with one up and one down. So cute!

Rose Marie is a five month old Italian Greyhound mix and is super cuddly and fun.

Shiloh is an eight month old Schnauzer mix and is incredibly lovable and sweet.

Puppies will be on the Norma's tour all day, beginning at the Oak Cliff location and ending in Frisco. You can catch them at your Norma's during the following times,

Oak Cliff Location - 8:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
1123 W. Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208

North Dallas Location - 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
17721 N. Dallas Parkway #130
Dallas, TX 75287

Frisco Location - 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
8300 Gaylord Parkway #19
Frisco, TX 75034

Come meet me for the most important meal of the day and meet your new best friend for life, or stop by another Norma's Cafe location for lunch or dinner and try their chili dog platter! Whether you leave with a new pet or not, Norma's will donate a portion of sales from the day to Operation Kindness. Local pet store (and Little Child's favorite) - Pet Supplies Plus will be on site at Norma's passing out coupons and dog treats for you to take to your friend at home! 

Toddler in Telluride: Our First Family Colorado Vacation

13 August 2015

Oh, friends. What a summer it has been. I mentioned in my Flywheel Challenge post this spring that I was ready to summer - hard. And we did it! We have so many amazing memories and moments from this summer that really bonded us as a family. I am still squeezing the juice, but instead of thinking my favorite months of the year were a blur, I am just relishing them every day. Toddler time is a great age for us in many ways. 

Full disclosure though: It is not great for air travel. And before I share some of my all time favorite pictures of our family's happiest place on Earth, I must admit: My daughter is a terror. Thanks to a very epic airplane meltdown, we ended this trip unexpectedly driving home in a rented Mitsubishi Mirage 3 cylinder sub compact. But how can you stay mad at this face? 

Sure enough, I was even starting to make eye contact with her about 48 hours after we decided to remove her from our flight. 

So bad but so cute! But bad...very bad.

Ok, on to the happy babies and memories of Telluride, Colorado, for they were much more plentiful and memorable! 

We first landed on Telluride as a family trip when Markus' mother was coming in town from Germany. I love hosting visitors in Dallas, but it gets hot for the non-locals! Markus' brother lives in Tyler, so we kind of ping pong around when Oma is in town. I thought it could be a new experience to all pack up and head to a place with all types of activities, cooler weather and gorgeous views. Everyone is talking about Telluride, and it was the perfect fit! 

Getting there:

So, um, obviously when traveling with small children or if you have time, I recommend driving. The drive is actually beautiful and from Dallas, there are great spots in New Mexico and Amarillo to host you. 

However, the inbound flight was great as well. American Airlines flies direct from DFW to Montrose airport, just about 90 minutes from Telluride. The airport is super tiny and adorable, reminding me of one of the most underrated sitcoms, Wings. 

With the gondolas and easy walking, you really don't need a car in Telluride at all. We used Mountain Limo for our airport transfers, and they were great with Heidi, safe and super friendly drivers. You can also use Telluride Express, which we didn't book due to a slightly higher cost but seems to have better customer reviews online overall. 

Where to stay: 

Since we were traveling with two other families, I was looking for a three bedroom condo, knowing we would all do different things during the day and could use a communal kitchen and living space to maximize time together and let the two babies under 18 months crawl and play. Our See Forever cabin with The Peaks Resort was one of my favorite things about the trip. It was so comfortable, roomy, accommodating to the little ones and all of the best parts of a hotel included with the privacy and space of a condo. 

And the view off our porch was like a storybook (my Heidi book growing up, to be specific):

The Peaks Resort See Forever Cabin

It was really helpful to have large bathrooms for all of the bedrooms, housekeeping, a full kitchen and grill for making dinner as a family every night and the incredible spa, fitness center and indoor/outdoor pool (with waterslide!) at The Peaks Resort. We would hike all day and I tended to sneak off while the family was playing or making dinner to catch a little solo time in the huge Roman bath, steam room and sauna at The Peaks. 

What to do:

The best part of going to Telluride with a group, is there is SO much to do in the summer! Markus' brother and his family rented bikes and went all over the town and mountains (they even had an adorable trailer for the baby). Markus' mom and husband liked to just ride the gondola and walk around town.

I had found a Chicco hiking backpack for Heidi on a Facebook yard sale a while back, and we brought it with us to Telluride. We tried a different trail every day and had the best time! This was a great age for family hikes since Heidi isn't too heavy to carry or wanting to walk herself and then get tired.

I loved the Ridge trail for our first day. It's a quick, 2 mile trail from the Mountain Village gondolas to the top of the mountain. You can then take the gondola or the Telluride Trail (long, steady descent) into the Telluride town square.

Ridge Trail Telluride
Markus and Heidi on the Ridge Trail
Here's Heidi and I at the top of Ridge Trail about to take Telluride Trail down into town - for grub!

The backpack made getting on and off the gondola really easy. I also loved the gondolas for knowing you can go all out on a hike and not fear having to hoof it back! They are completely free and run almost all day (early morning until Midnight). 

I loved just walking around the town. Everything is a picture. I texted my sister that these were our new houses. Then I read they were whore houses back during the gold rush and figured that made sense too. 

Heidi really loves her personal space (hence her hatred of airplane lap riding), so I was a little worried on how we would do with keeping her in a hiking backpack for long stretches. I had some baby wearing contraptions back in the dark days, but she never took to them. She *loved* the hiking backpack, and would trying to climb in it when we were at the condo! We loved that it popped out to a tripod so we could take the occasional break on our way up the mountains without worrying that she could run off.

Bear Creek Falls Telluride
Banana break on Bear Creek Falls!
My absolute favorite hike was Bear Creek Falls - mostly easy, a little hard and THAT VIEW! It was something to remember for a long time and I am ready to get back on that trail! 

Bear Creek Falls Telluride
Feeling proud at the top of Bear Creek Falls!
Another, shorter, trail with guaranteed waterfall is Cornet Falls trail. This one could be great for little ones who want to hike on their own, as there is plenty to see from the start. We got a good ways up, but it had the most loose rocks of any of the trails which was a little more nerve wracking to navigate feeling top heavy with the backpack on. 

The waterfall on Cornet Falls Trail. 
Besides hiking, we loved jumping in on all of the cool summer festivals Telluride hosts in the summer! I took some really fun community classes through Telluride Yoga Festival, and Markus and I scored wristbands to Widespread Panic at The Ride Festival. This concert will be remembered as one of the coolest things we have ever done. There's a different reason to get together almost every summer weekend in Telluride, so take a peak before you book your trip! 

The sun going down on Widespread Panic at Ride Fest! 
What to eat: 

No surprise now, my favorite thing to do on vacation is eat my way through the township. Telluride did not disappoint on the gluten-free dining options. Since we were enjoying an active vacation, there was no reason not to try them all!

Steamies Burger Bar was a big favorite for the fam! Good gluten free buns, delish burgers with a huge condiment selection (Markus lives for condiments!) and great seating for the little ones. Mexican coke on the fountain, which is a guilty pleasure for me. It's no fancy like some of the places we have in Dallas, but it continued to hit the spot!

telluride gluten free
Another delish burger from Steamies!

Another non-fancy, but always so happy to see spot was Tracks Cafe in Mountain Village. Dreyer's ice cream, bowls of chili and mega sandwiches with fresh deli meat and Udi's bread - this is what I want to see at the finish line of a long day outside. Heidi was happy to hang out on their patio, and we always popped in for a sundae after our final ride on the gondola up to Mountain Village for the night. 

telluride gluten free
Mountain girl sandwich from Tracks Cafe in Telluride.
Our fave fave was probably Brown Dog Pizza in Telluride town square. Check out that gluten free Detroit style pizza - I die! Then I rise from the dead and finish the rest of this 'za, bro. We dined in one night, but you better come early for a table. We also ordered take out from here and would picnic in the park or take it up the gondola home.

telluride gluten free

Another very fun and memorable crowd favorite was The Grilled Cheese Cart. Actually, before we landed in Telluride plenty of friends had already told us to look out for the cart! It was always nice with a little one to know a snack or quick lunch was close and fast over at the cart. The woman owner also happens to be completely hilarious. Who doesn't love an alfresco meal with a show? 

telluride gluten free

When we first walked around Telluride, Markus said he wanted to come back every summer. I told him I liked it, but what about seeing the world? By the time I left, I thought, "Forget the rest of the world. The best part of everything is in Telluride." We're already planning for next summer!

It was a wonderful experience to take Heidi to the mountains. I cried a little (lot) as I read this favorite passage from her namesake book:

"It was so lovely, Heidi stood with tears pouring down her cheeks, and thanked God for letting her come home to the mountains. She could find no words to express her feelings, but lingered until the light began to fade and ran on."
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