Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Wrinkle me this...

Recently I've become obsessed with my forehead, or to be more specific, the visible wrinkles on my forehead. Once only noticeable when I raised my eyebrows, usually to make my "Muppet face" in photos (you know, the gaping open mouth huge smile with bulging happy eyes and enthusiastically lifted eyebrows!?) now even my "only slightly amused face" (pictured at left) has visible creases across the top. While perhaps these could be viewed as marks of decades of a joyful existence, permanently ingrained on my face, I'm mostly just like "good lord when did that happen and how do I make it stop!?"

As a result of this latest development (which mocks me in every reflective surface I encounter) I've begun to explore the glorious female money-suck of anti-aging products. While the choices are plentiful, all natural, at the drug store or sold exclusively at high end retail, the one thing they all have in common is a pretty serious price tag (even drugstore Garnier brands I have explored retail for $15 (here) -$30 (here) for just a few ounces). Ladies, is there anything more dicey than spending a buttload of money on a product you don't have any experience with (see: that hair salon shampoo/revolutionizing conditioner!?) Thankfully, all my nearly/recently/kinda 30-ish readers, you have me and I am here to make this wrinkled mess better for ALL of us. I've been doing some research, diving deep to find free samples and I have some preliminary results to share:

Garnier Ultra-Lift: I hate to say this ladies, but it looks like these products give back what you put in and at a wallet friendly $15 at CVS, this brand did not impress me. Though I did notice improvement in my skin's "radiance", my nightly applications made me feel more greasy during the day and I didn't see much firming going on. I abandoned application as part of my night time routine before I'd even finished using my supply.

Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Cream: Points out of the gate for this product which Origins happily provided me a sample of. I'm about 1 week into the tiny capsule I was given for free (and certainly have enough for a second week) and honestly, I'm impressed! My skin looks noticeably healthier, even-toned, more radiant and maybe I'm crazy, but are my forehead wrinkles slightly less "deep" looking? Retailing at $55, I'm really pleased to have had a chance to test this product for free and unless I am de-railed by breakouts or some other reaction, I plan to invest in a full supply.

Philosophy Time in a Bottle: Retailing at a jaw-dropping $74 for 1.3 fluid ounces, I have been debating this product ever since it was so highly recommended by my go-to beauty product expert Belle over at CapHillStyle. Despite the "in just 3 days I was in love" endorsement, Sephora refused to give me a sample and I just couldn't swallow the expense. Perhaps when I earn enough Beauty Insider points or score a birthday discount I will take the plunge, but until then, Time in a Bottle is going to have to stay in the bottle, not on my forehead.

I will report back to you at the end of May with a full "Wrinkle me This" product progress update. I'm also going to commit here in writing to being more diligent about sunscreen and perhaps even seeking hats/shade (gasp!). We're not getting any younger people, time to start taking better care of the skin we're in!

Monday, April 21, 2014

dresses and grass

This post brought to you by the fabulous 

First of all, guys, I'm blushing over here. How sweet is that Merry Meri of ours? She totally has my back with the blog that I started, and some of you have even checked it out! Hope you're liking what you see over there! Clerical note: I'm going to switch to the pseudonym system for my little family that I'm using over there, instead of the initials that I (initially, ha) started with here.

So my daughter Sally, has, for quite some time been unswervingly focused on being in "just her legs" when she wears a dress. There may or may not be twisting, kicking tantrums that ensue when I tell her that it's a tights or leggings day (it's always been slightly aggravating for me, because as my dad says, it can be like trying to dress a drill bit).

So the other (leggings-wearing) day, she finally gave some insight into her strong feelings on the subject. She uttered what might possibly be the most innocent and beautifully simple sentence ever: "mommy I don't want to wear leggings because I like when the dress tickles my legs."

Oof. So simple. So sweet. Something so little brings her so much joy. During the spurt of warm weather two weekends ago, she got similarly upset when we said she had to leave her shoes on (we were doing yard work, so the grass was seed-y and wet - I know, I know, we're cruel, thoughtless parents). And then, wait for it, she says - "but I want the grass to tickle my feet. Mommy, take your shoes off so the grass can tickle your feet too."

Always practical (and responsible) aren't I? Leggings when its cold, shoes when its wet. Do we lose that sense of simple joy when we grow up and become responsible adults? Or maybe not...is it really the small things that we look forward to, that drive us? (believe me, the big, responsibility-laden stuff is quite a motivator as well). When I think about the things or moments that bring me actual joy, its everyday happenings, its the times when we remember what tickles our legs and kick and scream to make sure we get to experience it. 

What is it for you?

Friday, April 18, 2014


Beginnings and Endings.
This past week, something very poignant happened... a beautiful old woman I knew left the earth and an adorable baby girl joined it. The two events occurred within 24 hours of one another and I was struck by just how circle of life-y it made me feel. Because the universe can be incredibly confusing at times, challenging us, delivering struggles and causing pain, but this was amazingly clear: sometimes the universe must do out with the old and in with the new. And both events were uniquely beautiful - celebrating the end of 97 years of life and adoring the first few hours of another. It's rare to have things like this coincide so exactly, but on some other-worldly level, Mollie's departure and Marie's arrival seem very much a sign that the universe is in fact thinking of us and asking us to keep the faith. I'm going to try to remember that.
Have a wonderful weekend my merry friends!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interviewing for the world's toughest job.

If you haven't seen this video yet, it is 100% worth 4 minutes of your time.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hump Day Distractions

Are you dying looking at this picture? Because I'm dying
looking at this picture. (More (very) random greatness, HERE)
Guess what you guys!? I'm going to talk about the weather!!! The it-snowed-last-night-are-you-serious-with-this-frost-on-the-ground, mother f'ing weather! If you don't believe in global warming and the man-made impact on our weather patterns, it is time to get on the freakin bandwagon my friend. Seriously. [Rant. Over.] While I thaw out and will it to get warmer ASAP, here are some delightful distractions from around the web. Enjoy!

* Hey there hockey fans, are you ready!? #BecauseItsTheCup
* It's like someone went into my brain and created my heaven on earth.
* You know you're getting old when you swoon over a good deal on chic flatware.
* If you purchase THIS awesome necklace in gold or silver (not rose!) and use the code "run4brad" at checkout, 75% of proceeds will go to Burke Rehabilitation Hospital on behalf of an amazing co-worker of mine and her husband.
* Do you have any of these kitchen gadgets?
Irene and Alice, you are my heroes (seriously watch this for a smile, it's adorable).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Sip on spring

Drinking & Shopping... 2 personal favorites.
Today is a gloomy and grey April day here in NYC so I thought "hmmm... what is the opposite of that?" and quickly decided it is a bright and sweet cocktail. Yes indeed a cocktail is just what we need to survive these April showers until our May flowers arrive (and if that doesn't work, go shopping... but not after you've had a spring cocktail... that could get expensive).

A Raspberry Beer Cocktail sounds like heaven in a mason jar to me. With only a few ingredients required, you don't have to be a master mixologist to serve up this delicious (and potent!) drink during happy hour at you house! Click HERE for the full recipe from cup of Mai.

For those of you with a bit more patience and muddling experience, this Grapefruit Mojito looks divine and oh-so-springy! Click HERE for the full recipe from Iowa Girl Eats along with a complimentary recipe for Grapefruit Chicken Satay (Yum!!)

Skinny Sparkling Raspberry Margarita... was there ever a more delightful combination of words!? Since sweet drinks can often be loaded with sugar (i.e., calories) I was excited to stumble upon this recipe for a slightly less naughty margarita, including a brand suggestion for sugar free syrup (Torani). Click HERE for the recipe from the Comfort of Cooking, and get a practice cocktail in before Cinco de Mayo!!

Perfect for your next bridal shower or bachelorette, this pretty pink "Blushing Bride" cocktail is easy to make (just 3 ingredients, no mixing or stirring required) and darling to look at. Click HERE for the full recipe from Capitol Hill Style.

And because your Sunday brunch host/hostess duties are not complete without a champagne cocktail, here's a handy little chart of bubbly recipes for your sipping pleasure! (Enlarge and Pin it HERE).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Costa Rica is for Adventurers

Annnnd we're back! Dr. H and I have returned from our whirlwind trip to Costa Rica which included hiking in the rainforest, zip-lining through the canopy, spotting toucanettes, snakes and tarantulas, experiencing our first noteworthy earthquake, strolling on a beautiful Pacific ocean beach and most importantly, spending some quality time with a most favorite friend, Q. Costa Rica my friends, is divine. Though I haven't uploaded my camera pics yet, it was such a great trip that I thought I'd share a bit about our adventures and iPhone images today, with more to come whenever I get my act together and edit all my "real" photos.

For the first 3 nights of our trip, we stayed at the Hotel Belmar located in Monteverde, which is a small town in the north-west-middle-ish part of Costa Rica, home to several "cloud forest reserves". These cloud forests are incredible rainforests in the mountains, overflowing with plant life and animals, many of which are found more densely in Monteverde than most other places in the world. The weather changes literally every minute in Monteverde, varying from bright sunshine, to mist, to pouring rain depending on what cloud is briefly floating overhead. It's incredible.

Hiking, day and night is what you go to Monteverde for, but they also have lots of "eco-tourism" activities for adventurers like zip-lining, hanging bridges and horseback riding. Also lots of places to see butterflies, reptiles, amphibians and hummingbirds up close.

If you're visiting Monteverde, I cannot recommend Hotel Belmar, where my buddy Q is working, highly enough. The rooms and facilities are beautiful, the food in their restaurant is knock-your-socks off delicious and the staff is incredibly friendly and accommodating. Like everyone in Monteverde, they are proud of where they live and eager to make sure you love it as much as they do. 

We spent the last 18 hours(ish) of our trip in Playa Hermosa, a small beach town located about 20 minutes from Liberia International airport. If black sand beaches, gorgeous sunsets and insanely cheap fresh ceviche/massages/shaved ice on the beach are your thing... go here.

I had to beg Dr. H to stand up & take this photo...
I'm really glad I did.
As usual, I spent the last few hours of my vacation wondering why on earth I live in a crowded city, spend the majority of my days sitting at a desk and relegate activities like hiking, exploring and strolling on the beach to just a fraction of my time... but I guess that's what makes travelling and vacations so magical. And sure, I could pack up and move to the jungle or settle into a life somewhere exotic by the sea (I've certainly considered it!), but I know eventually I would miss my "real life" - my amazing family and friends, my meaningful work and even the sparkling skyscrapers and bustling pace of New York City. So I guess I'll just make sure I keep getting away, as often as possible, to amazing pockets of the earth like Costa Rica. I hope you do too:)