What’s In My Carry On Bag | Must Haves


There are a few things I will always have in my carry on bag, no matter where I am going.

  •  Backpack – I personally prefer skate or snowboard type backpacks. They tend to have a lot of pockets and straps. Volcom is a personal favorite.
  • H2O- it’s a must to have a water bottle and stay hydrated. Most airports now have refillable water stations. I am loyal to Nalgene and my husband cannot live without his 🙂
  • Socks- I tend to get cold feet on planes and I have learned my lesson on being miserable. So, socks are a must.
  • Eye mask- For those that haven’t experienced the wonders of an eye mask, I’m sorry. Flying with an eye mask is a game changer.
  • Pillow- Save your neck and enjoy a nap.
  • Headphones – Duh
  • Lotion-  I hate dry hands… it drives me nuts! The little eos one is perfect!
  • Lip blam – I can get the worst chapped lips. I travel with so many lip balms! One of my favorites is Jack Black‘s mint lip blam.
  •  Antibacterial wipes- clean your seat area…even if you look crazy.
  •  Cleansing wipes- Personally I like to feel refreshed after a long flight and cleansing wipes can make you feel like a new person.
  • Wristlet , Fanny pack or any small purse contraption – This is best for getting through the airport and not having to go in and out of your backpack. I personally love my fanny pack!!!
  • Notebook – I don’t care how many note apps there are on my phone, I like to write it down. It’s great to have to make travel plans, schedule, play games with your travel partner etc.

What are your must have travel items?

x- A

Friday’s Cocktail! | Sangria madness

With  a major heat wave hitting southern California, I am in need of a refreshing cocktail. Sangria is one of my favorites but only if done well.

Recently I had a Sassy Sangria at The Patio in Mission Hills, SD. Essentially a sangria with some tequila… it sure will get you sassy 😉  The Patio is a fabulous restaurant that is all about local ingredients and being sustainable, on top of that it is absolutely stunning with great  ambiance.  It is an open kitchen with a  wall of lush living plants and a mix of rustic wooden and elegant heather blue turfed chairs. Your plates will look like art and your taste buds will be dancing.  It is a must try in San Diego!

My other favorite sangria place an happy hour in general is Costa Brava in Pacific beach, SD. It is a Spanish tapas place with $8 pitcher of delicious fresh fruit sangria… I could have an IV of this stuff!!!  You will need some munchies, so.. try everything on the menu 🙂  really… its soo good!

Start your weekend off right with a fabulous glass of sangria and use this amazing chart from wine enthusiast to try something new. Mix it up and get sassy!

Share your favorite cocktails or go to places in your area!

xo- A

Bacon Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

You know those dinners that are so good that you are picking at it during the whole cooking process…. well Bacon crab stuffed mushrooms is that dish for me. This is a by taste recipe… Alex and our buddy Kellen made this happy creation and now it is a staple.

You can make this as low fat or low carb as you want.

Ingredients-

-Crab legs- chop it up!

-Red pepper- thinly diced…. about one big one.

-Onion-  thinly diced…. about the same amount as red pepper.

-Bacon– there is never enough… chop it up!

-Salt and pepper

-Cayenne or red pepper flakes- I like a little kick to it and I am not spicy eater.

-Moisture- We usually use some soft cream cheese and little sour cream- I know not the healthiest but it still is low carb 🙂  You can use mayo, yogurt or even an egg.  The cream cheese mix can also be used for a delicious dip. 🙂

-Parmesan- to Alex it is very important that it is fresh Parm. quarter for in the bowl and the rest for the end.

**Mix all the above and then stuff it into your mushrooms.

We use big portabellas and bake them on a rack to avoid the mushroom getting soggy.

The last few minutes is when you add fresh parmesan on top and put it in the broiler for a few minutes…. it creates a perfect little crust.

Ta daaa…. you have a delicious low carb/low fat however you like dish!

 

 

 

Dark Western | Fall Fashion 2014

Fall is just around the corner and I couldn’t wait to share  the Dark Western fall fashion trend! I am loving it!
  ** Look out for the rest of the up coming  fall fashion trends here on B.D!
 X- A.

Taylor Swift’s surprise new music!! | 1989

I read from Instyle.com that Taylor Swift just made  Monday a lot more exciting. Below is a snippet about how she pulled off a huge surprise making fans go crazy.

From a lounge at the top of the Empire State Building in New York City, Swift began her “Live Stream Extravaganza Adventure-a-Thon” (as she called it), in which she revealed a trifecta of news: her new single is “Shake It Off;” the album—complete with Polaroid-style cover art—will be called 1989.

Taylor speaking of her new song ” Shake it off”—– “I have a new song I’m going to play you in 30 seconds,” she told the crowd. “The idea is that I’ve had to learn a pretty tough lesson in the past couple of years: People can say anything they want about us at any time, and we cannot control that—the only thing we can control is our reaction to it. I figure we have two options: You can either let it get to you, let it change you, make you bitter. Option two, is you just shake it off.”

She did it once again…. caught me in her web of catchy music. 🙂 Enjoy 1989

Xo-A

Vacation Surprise!

Summer vacation… there is nothing better! Alex and I had barely been seeing each other due to how busy life was.So,we were so excited to have a week in Florida. We boarded the plane with our usual travel snack pack,essentially a picnic. 🙂 We also happen to have a bunch of free Southwest drink coupons! Best thing ever! We ordered cocktails and cheered to 7 days of white sand beaches and poolside living! We landed and was greeted by Alex’s mom. We were going to visit his grandparent and his mom had already arrived.

This is not your average grandparent visit. We arrived at the estate and had homemade soup waiting for us. It was perfect. It was late but Alex and I were on West Coast time, so we decided to go for a midnight swim. Beers in hand and warm summer night and a perfectly heated pool, vacation had officially started! The next day, we decided to head to the beach club. This is where we met a cabana boy who set up an umbrella,chairs and a table for us and then took our drink order. Every beach needs this! Now I need to join a beach club. 😉

 

 

The ocean was 80°  and perfectly clear. I love the southwest Florida for its pool like ocean. San Diego, you have to battle the waves…. which is also fun.  Our evenings were filled with watching and tracking the  weather. Alex and his mom love to track thunderstorms while in Florida lol.

A few more of Alex’s Family members came to visit and we had fabulous dinners all together. But after being together with Alex for 7 years, I am continuously asked why we aren’t married. I always say, “I am not the one that gets down on one knee.” I told Alex the next day (our last day) that we needed to come up with a script to tell people on why we aren’t married yet. He laughed at me and said,” we can do that later tonight.” He had seemed weird the past 24hrs, extra lovely but different also. That night we had reservations with the family at the Ritz Carlton on the beach. We all got ready and Alex was looking so handsome.

I was hearing some skinny black pants with a sheer white tank with a fringe bottom and a big white and gold floral statement necklace and some gold strappie sandals. . (I would make links but I scored all the pieces at little cheap stores like, Ross and some local little shops.)

The Ritz was beautiful and we ate a the tapas restaurant inside the Ritz. There was even a Spanish guitarist and a box drummer, it was beyond amazing. I ordered myself a raspberry mojito and scanned the menu. Alex and I always share food, so I had to get his thoughts.   He wanted the duck foie gras and I did not! Good thing about small plates is you can order a lot and sample them all. I stuck with  Crab cakes and Chicken and biscuits 🙂  Alex was loving his  foie gras and ended up dropping some on his shirt. He was so bothered by it and I didn’t understand why. I giggled at him,since normally I am the one always dropping stuff on myself.

After dinner I was ready for dessert! I was listing off all the delicious dishes and hoping I could try them all! Then all of a sudden the waitress walked up and says there is a special for the night. I thought it was a complimentary “I’m sorry” since they messed up grandpa’s order. Well I was wrong!

As the plate was placed in front of me, I read the magical words ” Will You Marry Me?” I looked at Alex and said ” this is happening?!?!” He responded with a huge smile ” it’s happening, babe!” He got down on one knee and asked me to be his Wife!!! I said YES!!! I then broke out in tears and sipped champagne with Alex and  of course called my mom to tell her we are getting marrrieeed.. It is still so wild to me. I kept telling Alex how we are officially \ adults because we are old enough to get married. We giggled like little kids hearing the word penis. lol. We are so excited for this next chapter and  I feel so lucky to have found my person at 20 and to continue riding this journey together!

Now for post on wedding planning … 🙂

xo.. A

Robin Williams Neighbors Remember ‘Beloved’ Local Legend

  Being a child of the 90’s I grew up with Robin Williams on my screen.  I know many feel the same, he was like all of out uncles that made us uncontrollably laugh! He had an ability that few people have and that is to simply make people happy with just his presence. Mr. Williams was the first major celebrity I had ever seen. I grew up in a little town next to where Williams lived. I was at the local REI and I noticed a familiar face, he was in a puffy jacket and wearing reading glasses…. I stopped in my tracks….IT’S ROBIN WILLIAMS!!!!  I didn’t want to bother him, so like a a total fan and a creep I just smiled at him and watched him leave the store. I was bummed that I didn’t say anything to him. I shortly after left the store and found myself right next to him at a stop light. He was driving a G5000 with tons of eco friendly bumper stickers, I turned and looked at him with a smile like I was 5 and waves. He smiled back and the light turned green. That was my Robin Williams moment and I know many people of  his Northern California  town loved there little moments with him also. He was remarkable and magical!

 I read the article below and thought it was a great insight to Robin Williams as a neighbor and community member, not just the actor.

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One of the locals who came by to pay their respects was Agne Correll, the owner of an art gallery in nearby Mill Valley, which Williams had frequented. She brought flowers and her 7-year-old son — whom she said she wanted to teach the tradition of paying respects after someone from your community dies. “I didn’t know [Williams] personally, but I felt like I did. We all feel like we’ve been in his life,” she said of those who lived nearby in the area, which is north of San Francisco.

“‘O Captain, my Captain.’ I will never forget,” Correll said.

Fans and friends leave bouquets outside Robin Williams’ home north of San Francisco, in the small unincorporated area of Tiburon, Calif., on Aug. 12, 2014.Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Others who knew the comedian and actor, whether as an occasional customer or as a dear friend, describe a humble fixture in the community who didn’t want to be treated like a celebrity. He would pedal his bike around the surrounding neighborhoods and stop at little shops to flip through CDs, they report — the kind of casual shopping an A-list celebrity could easily do on a computer at home instead, if one wanted to avoid the public eye.

Residents also remember Williams as someone who would never bark at the fan who stared at him or asked for a picture. He was, by all accounts, an American icon who was willing to lend his famous name to any local cause he could help.

“He was so beloved by the community,” said Louise Satterfield, who works at Two Neat, a shop in Mill Valley that Williams patronized. Tears welled in her eyes as she recounted a time they were talking about a Southern rock band named Little Feat, and how appreciative he was when she remembered to tell him their CD had come in.

“I knew it was going to be sad to come in here and see that music section,” she said. “We’re going to miss out on so much. But we have what he left us, which is genius.” After news of his death, the store quickly sold out of all Williams’ comedy albums.

Williams moved to Marin County when he was 16, and was voted “funniest,” as well as “least likely to succeed” by his peers. He studied theater at Marin College and was a lifelong fan of the San Francisco Giants, sometimes rooting for them via a microphone in front of the crowd, riling them up by tweaking one of his most famous movie lines: “Gooooooood evening, San Francisco!” The team also issued a statement after news of his death spread on Monday, lamenting that they lost “one of our greatest fans.” It’s no accident that they expressed condolences both to his family and “the entire community.”

Some locals, like employees at a bike shop where the avid cyclist would shop, refused to speak to the press except to say that Williams was a quiet man who didn’t want publicity. While he may have been a star, he was, to many here, a patch in the town tapestry. One friend of the family referred to the media attention accompanying his passing as “disgusting” and “gross,” an exploitation not of a public happening but a dearly personal, tragic event that befell one of their own. To many, the news coverage looked uglier in Marin County than it does in Manhattan or Los Angeles.

Microphones are piled high at the press conference to address the death of Robin Williams, held in San Rafael, Calif., on the morning of Aug. 12, 2014.Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Almost every Tuesday, Williams would cross Highway 101, traveling from his home in Tiburon to the neighboring suburb of Mill Valley, to attend the weekly comedy night at the Throckmorton Theatre. On Tuesday this week, the board that would otherwise have announced what was showing had been erased and read simply: “Robin Williams.” More often than not, the Oscar-winning actor was in the green room, rather than onstage, encouraging young comedians, says the theater’s marketing director Julian Kaelon.

On Tuesday this week, the venue owners canceled Throckmorton’s comedy night for the first time in 10 years. They would run a show on Christmas if it happened to fall on a Tuesday, Kaelon says — but not today.

Throckmorton’s doorstep was also lined with flowers on Tuesday. A staff member put on a record of Gregorian chants, as locals wrote notes to the actor on a piece of cardboard taped over a glass poster box. Michael Jeung brought yellow roses and water in a mason jar, which he poured into an antique bowl where he had placed a single gardenia.

“I wanted to bring something that lasted a while and that was a little sweet, because he was so sweet,” Jeung said, recalling a time he helped divert one of Williams’ more insistent fans — an act the comedian heartily thanked Jeung for the next time they met.

Pilgrims to Throckmorton would walk under a big, circular painting on the ceiling outside the theater, a skyscape showing stars that shine bright enough at night to turn the clouds light yellow. The painting is by Williams’ widow, Susan Schneider, an artist who became his third wife in 2011 and who is also a respected resident of the town.

This painting decorating the entryway to the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley, Calif., was painted by Robin Williams’ widow Susan Schneider. Photograph taken Aug. 12, 2014.Katy Steinmetz for TIME

Caroline de Lone walked under the painting clutching a box she brought from the bakery where she works, Beth’s Community Kitchen. “He was like a ball of sunshine,” she said. Her mother, Lesley, agreed: “He was a local. Everyone loved him. He was completely unspoilt.”

The baked goods were not for the memorial but for the executive director of the theater, Williams’ close friend Lucy Mercer. In a statement, Mercer asked people to remember Williams this way:

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Robin, we have a simple request. Honor his appreciation of humor by laughing everyday. Honor his modesty by staying curious and willing to make mistakes. And please — hug someone today in honor of the greatest friend in the world Robin Williams.”

While some gave hugs in Marin County, many also turned to flowers. By Tuesday evening, the dozen bouquets outside Williams’ house had turned into nearly 100. Behind them, two statues of monkeys flanked the walkway leading to the front door, as they had before the tragedy but perhaps with new significance. The sentries’ small, stone faces were frozen in toothy, permanent smiles, and their hands held instruments just in front of their lips, forever almost ready to amuse the next passersby. They were playful and grotesque, fitting symbols for the day after the world had to face the loss of a sad man who made so many people happy.

You’re Free….

Original Article. 

Beach Day Essentials!

Beach Day musts!

Dry vs. Dehydrated and The hydration magic of Hydroluric Acid!

 

healthy face

Who knew there was a major difference  of  Dry vs Dehydrated skin?!!?   I have always thought my skin was oily and that’s why my foundation never lasted. Years and years going to different makeup artist and just being told to use a primer… well I have and it still doesn’t work.   Lately, I have noticed my foundation has become patchy after an hour or so. Which is not a cute look. I started looking into patchy foundation and the causes. I stumbled upon lumiashe’s  Youtube Channel and she went over what she learned from her research and mostly from Caroline Hirons’ blog

Caroline made a fantastic cheat sheet on Dry vs Dehydrated skin and how you can have oily skin that is dehydrating. New news to me!

Here is what Caroline explained about the differences in skin types and conditions !

“Dry and dehydrated skins have similar characteristics, but different underlying reasons.

Dry Skin – normally a skin type but can be a temporary skin condition

  • caused by lack of oil in the skin
  • small pores
  • ‘tight’ feeling
  • may be flaky
  • milia, blackheads and spots may still be present
  • skin looks dull
  • skin is not plump
  • doesn’t absorb products easily
  • easily irritated – more likely to suffer reactions to products
  • aggravated by poor skincare

Dehydrated Skin – is a skin condition affecting any skin type – including DRY

  • caused by lack of water in the skin
  • pores can be large or small
  • skin feels tight and dry although it can confusingly sometimes look oily and have breakouts
  • absorbs moisturizers really quickly
  • blackheads and spots are still visible
  • makeup disappears (and goes patchy) throughout the day as the skin is absorbing any water in your foundation
  • skin looks ‘ashen’
  • aggravated by lifestyle circumstances – may suffer from a lot of headaches

Skin is made up of 70% water – around  20-30% of that is in the epidermis (top layer of the skin). In normal circumstances, your hydrolipidic film acts as a regulator and barrier – retaining moisture and protecting against germs. If – for whatever reason that is compromised, the moisture in the epidermis evaporates too quickly and the normal, healthy state of the skin is compromised.

The following can cause dehydration –

  1. Environment – wind, cold air, dry air, too much sun, air conditioning, central heating
  2. Diet – the wrong foods, alcohol, caffeine, not eating enough water-heavy foods, not drinking enough
  3. Lifestyle – stress , poor skincare routine, using the wrong products, medication – including birth control, smoking
  4. Genetics – monthly cycle, pregnancy

It is quite common to be both dry and dehydrated but if by looking at the above you have ascertained that you are one or the other – these do’s and don’t might help.

Do and Do Not:

  • Do upgrade your moisturizer to something suitable for dry skin if you recognize the signs – go for products using the words ‘nourishing’
  • Do change your moisturizer to something labelled ‘hydra’ or ‘hydrating’.
  • Do steer clear of foaming anything  – keep the bubbles for your dishes
  • Do use balms, oils and serums for dry skin.
  • Do use milks, specified oils and treatments for dehydrated
  • Do stay away from mineral oils, silicone (in skincare – not makeup), lanolins and synthetic fragrance which will make a dehydrated skin worse and make a dry skin scream for help.”

So, what is the magic to getting hydration back to your face? Hydroluric Acid!!  It holds up to 100 times it’s own weight in water.

Doctor Oz covered the who, what and why of  Hydroluric Acid!

He explains, that it is a powerful humectant which is a  moisture-binder. This  keeps skin plump and hydrated and looking young!

Biology geekout:  Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide in the human body. It’s present in large amounts in the spaces between skin cells, where it provides moisture, plumpness, firmness and suppleness to the skin.

As a baby you are born with extra H.A but over time you no longer have the fresh dewy baby skin and need a little help.  While you’re never going to get back that perfectly dewy baby-skin, it is possible to help restore the skin’s hyaluronic acid content and get a  fresher, more supple look.

There are serum or moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid. While it won’t give you the dramatic, instantaneous  results , you will see benefits in the form of softer, smoother, more hydrated skin.

Applied topically, it will increases hydration, improves elasticity and also reverses free radical damage, so it may have some benefit in protecting from UV damage.

Bonus: Hyaluronic acid is one ingredient that works across the board. Every skin type, even oily, can benefit. Look for hyaluronic acid serums and apply one alone if you have oily skin or under moisturizer if you have dry skin.

It is all about prevention of wrinkles and making sure  your skin is kept  fresh and hydrated.

Hope you babes learned something helpful!

xo- A.

 

 

 

 

Low carb comfort food | Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients:
1 medium head cauliflower

1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened (optional)

1 tablespoon of half and half or cream.

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions
Boil water over high heat  to then  

Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces.

Steam cauliflower.about 6 minutes, or until well done.

Drain well; do not let cool and pat cooked cauliflower very dry 

In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese (or some half and half),

Parmesan, garlic,

salt and pepper to taste.

Blend until smooth or your desired taste.  

Other ways to mix it up:  try rosemary or cheddar cheese. for a whole new taste.


This dish is key to fulfilling my comfort food craving without eating mass amounts of carbs. This is a superb way to eat low carb and not feel like you are missing out on anything! I have also made mock mac n cheese with cauliflower.. which is delicious!!

Finding new ways to enjoy your favorites is important when eating healthy.

xo- A

 bonappetito