skin care

I’m a research person. Like a sleuth. I like evidence. I like science. I like actual proof that something is effective. Is it too difficult to find empirical evidence that documents the effectiveness of eye cream? Like what does current evidence say about ice rolling and the benefits of taking care of your skin. Am I a nerd? Don’t answer that. Anyway, I did some research. Thanks, American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) for being a reliable, credible source. If you don’t want to read about it, your two take-aways are sunscreen and moisturizer.  The benefits of taking care of your skin are:
  • Retain skin’s youthful firmness longer
  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Keep complexion looking brighter and younger
  • Avoid leathery skin
  • Reduce skin cancer risk

I was really seeking out product that contains no synthetics, alcohol, astringent, parabens, fragrance, retinoids…my skin is uber sensitive! When I try anything new my skin gets all hot, red, and irritated.

Welp, this is what I found works for me. My clinical expertise in the area of skin care is minimal but hopefully the research I found helps make my routine a teeny, tiny bit more valid. Plus, results! My skin is changing from peeling flakes to glowing (-ish) goddess (-ish).

Skin care routine
  1. Ice ice baby. Ice roll. Ice rolling helps minimize redness and the appearance of pores. Cold temperatures have a lifting effect on the skin and reduces puffiness and the look of fatigue. Aka that mama life. Side note: Ice rollers are great for people who suffer from allergies. You can calm inflammation and reduce swelling caused by allergies. (1)
  2. Lather that cleanser up and rinse with not too hot of water. Make sure you use a good cleanser. Most face wash with synthetic gunk will strip your skin if it’s natural oils. Fun fact: Your skin is the largest organ of the body! (3)
  3. Spray Rosewater Toner. Rosewater is an anti-inflammatory and it naturally brings the pH of your skin down (and since all tap/sink water is too alkaline your skin wont get dry or oily if you adjust the pH with Rosewater). (3)
  4. Apply hydrating moisturizer. Because it’s the secret ingredient to anti-aging, duh! But for real that came straight from the AAD. (4) Moisturizer traps water in our skin, giving it a more youthful appearance.
  5. Apply sunscreen. Broad spectrum, SPF 30 or higher please! According to the AAD, sunscreen is also imperative to anti-aging as sun’s rays can accelerate signs of aging. (5)
  6. After all that, I put make up on 😉 But if were having an at home day, then I just wash my face and slather on a moisturizing sunscreen.
  1. Remove make-up. I use jojoba oil…it’s safe around the eye peepers.
  2. Lather that cleanser up, rinse, and pat pat dry.
  3. Exfoliate on a schedule with a gentle mask and be cautious of scratchy exfoliants. Don’t want to irritate the epidermis just say bye, bye to dead skin cells! How often you exfoliate depends on your skin type and exfoliation method (e.g. mechanical or chemical/scrub). Generally, the more aggressive the exfoliation, the less often it needs to be done. Be careful not to over-exfoliate, as this could lead to skin that is red and irritated. (6)
  4. Spray Rosewater Toner.
  5. Apply serum. Why you ask? Serums are meant to be applied before your moisturizer because they work on the lower layers of your skin, while moisturizer keeps the upper epidermis happy. Luminance’s serum includes a small amount of peptide and these are proteins that help our skin retain elasticity as we age. (3) Read more about peptides [here].
  6. Apply hydrating moisturizer.
  7. Lips. Moisturize those puckers too! Choose a lip balm that feels good on your lips. Some healing lip balms can irritate your lips. If your lips sting or tingle after you apply the lip balm, switch to one that does not cause this reaction. (7)
Leaving with some encouraging words and final tips: Give your routine some time to work and stick with it! One or two skin care product lines at a time. More expensive skin care is not necessarily more effective. Use a humidifier at night in order to add moisture to the air. Drink tons of water! Sunscreen and moisturizer.


PRODUCT– I did the research on EWG and ThinkDirty. And I am the guinea pig. Products are rated a 3 and below (low hazard). 
This post contains affiliate links to products I use and, if purchased, a very small commission goes to help our family. These products are truly things we love, would purchase/DO purchase, and fit our style. 

Don’t give up – LOOK UP!

I thought I would close out the year with another message from my church. Again, not my words but the words and message notes of my pastor. The Christmas message is one that always sets me toward the Lord. It’s such a great message to end the holiday season and begin a New Year.


The first people who celebrated the first Christmas were stressed and overwhelmed.

  • Mary was confused and worried
    • Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. Luke 1:29
  • Joseph was hurt and brokenhearted
    • Joseph, her fiance, was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. Matthew 1:19
  • The shepherds were scared to death
    • That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified. Luke 2:8-9
  • The wise men were exhausted
    • Now after Jesus was born, some men traveled a long way from the east and finally arrived in Jerusalem. Matthew 2:1

In my life, I need and crave less stress and more peace. I need to replenish my exhausted soul by looking UP to God. When my focus changes, my feelings will change. 

  • Everything changes for Mary when she focused on God’s promises
    • Luke 1:37-38; 48; 58
  • Everything changed for Joseph when he focused on God’s plan
    • Matthew 1:20
  • Everything changed for the shepherds when they looked up
    • Luke 2:9-17, 20
  • Everything changed for the wise men when they met Jesus
    • Matthew 2:9-11


Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Watch this inspiring message from Saddleback Church and be encouraged as you learn what the Bible says about God’s purpose for your life.

Christmas morning tradition

The best part of waking up on Christmas morning is for sure the cinnamon rolls. And homemade. With a side of hot cocoa. My mom uses this recipe from country home mag. 1995! She’s used this recipe for years and it’s by far my favorite! I mean, you brush them with half and half before you bake them. They’re good. And doughy. And I’m so wishing we had more.

If you’re looking for a bomb cinnamon roll recipe.. give this one a whirl.

hot chocolate

Hot cocoa is a contender for fave of Christmas morning. Homemade is obvi the best and supes easy to make. I’ve tried (and seen) several recipes with condensed milk, chocolate chips, crock-pot but my mom’s version tops it all. I hope you try it! …in your coffee…or with whip cream.

1/4 cup good cocoa powder (we use Droste in the red box)

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

1/2 cup water

1 half gallon carton of whole milk (you can sub almond milk or your fave dairy-free milk, it’s just not as creamy)

Pour the first three ingredients into a pot and whisk over medium heat until smooth. You’re essentially making a chocolate sauce. Then pour in your milk and stir until warm. Try the whole milk if you’re not dairy sensitive. Dieting can start after the holidays 😜 Ta da! Finish with your favorite toppings and a classic Christmas movie.


twenty week bumpdate

We are half way! I cannot believe it. We have nothing done and I sometimes forget I’m pregnant. But I’ve been feeling tiny baby kicks and punches and I am feeling much more like myself. Praise!

Weird pregnant things: with both pregnancies, I’ve had this strange dry, rough, snake-like patch on my cheeks. It’s horrible! I’ve tried leaving it alone, no makeup, facial oil, lotion. I’ve finally found a little bit of relief with badger balm. But not really. I’ll be happy when it’s gone because I’m honestly self conscious about it, since it looks like I’m some kind of freakish animal peeling its exoskeleton.

Just this past weekend, I was having braxton hicks. Already! These hurt. I’m thinking it’s because I was dehydrated. I have a hard time keeping up with my water intake when I’m home. Tips and suggestions are welcomed!

I’m starting to gain weight which is always super hard for me. I don’t really change my diet and I try to watch what I eat. Emphasis on try. But Trader Joe’s holiday food. And fudge Oreo’s. Ugh. Jingle jangle ice cream. A forest made of cheeeeese. And with all the winter layers I just feel like I look like a beached whale.

We had our anatomy scan and the doctor said everything looks great! But we’re making everyone wait until this babe makes its appearance. Gender to come April 2018! 😉

national family pajama night

Christmas is a time of tradition. And traditions are my favorite! Fave, fave, fave! In my family, we have countless Christmas traditions. Side note: how many times is acceptable for me to mention tradition? Every year on Christmas Eve we are allowed to open one present. This has been and perpetually will be our Christmas Eve tradition. And that one present is always Christmas jams. You bet I’ll be continuing this with Dane and we are excited to start our own holiday memories. (Secretly, my favorite will always be pjs.) On Christmas morning, we stay in our pajamas all day. It’s really the best. So comfortable. Much tranquil. Very relax. It’s the one day of the year where we look forward to taking it slow, with no place to rush off to.

This year we went with coordinating jams from The Company Store.  We got some in green plaid and some in red plaid. The company store is partnering with the Ronald McDonald House NYC, hosting the 7th annual National Family Pajama Night. The children who are ill and staying at the house can enjoy a fun-filled, festive night with their families in their matching PJs! Yeah! I just love that! For every pair of family jams sold, the company store donates $1 to the Ronald McDonald House in NYC. The donations will help create, fund, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children. Click [here] for more information on National Family Pajama Night and I hope you join in on this super, jubilant tradition.

Do good, get yo’ jams. You wont regret being ultra comfy on Christmas morning.

Photos courtesy of Emily Saenz

Post in partnership with the company store. All opinions are my own. These products are truly things we love, would buy, and fit our style. 


It’s no surprise. I like a warm baby. During our California winter months (lows of 60, I know, not cold), I legit dress Dane like Ralphie’s little brother, Randy, all bundled (over-dressed/stuffed like a sausage) in a snowsuit. “I can’t put my arms down”. I just don’t want Dane to be cold. Ever. Briar Handmade has the best bonnets to keep babies nice and toasty. Those ties also help with toddlers taking them off. 😉 It’s staying on kid.

Like Blair and Rachel, I am eagerly anticipating the hullabaloo (what a fun word) of the Christmas season. We are going to #giftbriar with the release of their Winter Jungle Pom bonnet collection. And maybe (most likely) with some basics too. Bonnets make great stocking stuffers! We have jingle and it is the most beautiful cobalt blue with, not one, but two poms. Two poms are better than one! He looks like Mickey Mouse. Or a baby bear. Dane is almost 21 months and he’s wearing the 18-24 months with some room to grow. At 18 months, his head circumference measured 19.25, so just at the tail end of the 12-18 months size. This bonnet will last us all winter! I can’t wait to see all the babes in their poms.

Post in partnership with Briar. All opinions are my own. These products are truly things we love, would purchase/DO purchase, and fit our style. 

Halloween trash day theme

This little baby. What a cutie but man, he refused his trash can. I am going to call it a win that I at least got a picture of him holding it. Immediately after, he threw it. I had a feeling he wouldn’t wear it but it was worth a shot. His green pajamas are super soft and were supposed to blend with the trash can and his chambray bonnet was supposed to be the lid. Good thing the trash truck Travis created was a hit! Trav is legit the Dr. Victor Frankenstein of cardboard box crafting. I mean, it had actual lights! Working lights!

Halloween was SO much fun this year. Dane rode in his trash truck, went up to houses and said, “trick-or-treat”. He told everyone, “you’re riding in your wagon”. We still have to work on pronouns. He got a lollipop, figured out how to open it, and guessed it was edible. 30 seconds of a sugar high. Holidays with kids are… let’s be honest… work and slightly exhausting. But oh, so much fun! And the memories are completely worth the bags under my eyes.

Happy Halloween.


Merry Christmas! Am I right, or am I right?

I’m right.


Dane’s green pajama set c/o KicKee Pants; bonnet from Briar.

Growin’ things.. and by things I mean a baby

So we are growing a new garden at my moms house and I’m also growing a tiny bb who is expected on April 25th!

We are elated to be expecting a little babe! I’m also slightly (v) terrified because I do not know how we are going to manage two. But I guess we will cross that bridge when we get to it. I mean, some people have FOUR kids and they’re alive. Anyway…excited and petrified. Two totally normal emotions, right?

First trimester is hard. Especially with a toddler. The sickness is lingering this time around. I just get sick when I’m pregnant. I can’t eat. Nothing sounds good. Definitely not stepping foot in a grocery store. Count me out. Cooking? That’s a hard pass. It’s all day nausea for me. At 14 weeks, it comes and goes in waves. I’m still having some food aversions but some cravings are coming in. Cookies, burgers, fries, gummy bears. You know. The healthy stuff.

If you know me, like know me-know me, you know I suffer from permanent exhaustion. I’m always tired. No matter what. I wake up tired. Something new this pregnancy is the trouble staying asleep. I can fall asleep easily. No problem. Maybe a little too early. Like 8:00 pm. But every time I roll over, and I mean every time, I wake up.  Sometimes for like 30 seconds, sometimes it feels like an hour before I fall back asleep. Apparently, this is “normal” but it’s been so hard since I work part time and full time take care of my people. And I need sleep. Emphasis on need. Serious dragon lady without eight hours. Even though I wake up tired, I still need my beauty sleep. I’ve been doing limited electronics at night. Some nights nothing at all. That’s been super hard because I love watching TV when Dane goes to bed. Side note: Hallmark Christmas movies start this weekend so you bet I’ll 100% sacrifice my sleep for those glorious movies. Loading up on iced coffee the next day.

We don’t know the gender yet but we will find out around December 7th at my 20 week scan.

Thanks for being over the moon with us!

finding hope again

Still processing. Still confused. Still devastated. Still angry. Still sad.


Still trusting. Still hoping. Still praying. Still loving. Still believing. Still going. Words from our worship pastor, John Cassetto. Yes, I feel those things too.

I’ve been at a loss of words. What do I say? How do I pray? I am not good with words. Thankfully, I remember Romans 8:26… “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (NIV)

Praying for the families who lost loved ones. Praying for the recovery of the 500+ wounded. Praying for change.

So much going on in our nation right now. The fires. The hurricanes. The violence. Las Vegas. Puerto Rico. Houston. Florida. Mexico. So much pain and brokenness and darkness. We are in some serious need of HOPE. The weekend of September 9th, Kay Warren delivered a powerful message about finding hope after a traumatic event, a strained relationship, serious health problems, crushing disappointment, unchangeable circumstances, or a painful loss.

Through all the storms we experience (some quite literal) Kay helps us understand that we can find hope through resilience (definition: able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. Strong, tough, hard, buoyant, irrepressible, flexible, pliable, supple, durable. Able to become strong, healthy or successful again after something bad happens.) Resilient people survive and thrive in the face of trauma. Resilience can be learned.

There’s this illusion that life is easy. Wrong. Life is harder than you’ve ever expected and Jesus said, “In this word we will have trouble” (John 16:33). The first way to build resilience is to accept that life is tough. But God gives us resources to cope with life. He gives us a guide, a mentor, a savior. We are not alone. He gives us a new mind and a new heart when we accept Jesus as our savior. He’s given us his word as a road map. We can’t control the hard, we wont be held captive by what has happened to us, and we get to choose how we respond in hard times. Here are seven practical choices Kay mentions that can help build resilience:

  • Expand your connections when hope starts to fade. Don’t pull back! Press in to community/relationships.
    • “A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles.” Proverbs 17:17 (CEV)
  • Believe you’re capable in God’s strength of handling anything.
    • “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.
  • Avoid expecting the worst.
    • “Lord, when doubt fills my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.” Psalm 94:19.
  • Practice self-care. Take care of yourself in the middle of hard times. Eat well. Rest. Exercise.
    • “You let me rest in fields of green grass, You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and You refresh my life.” (CEV)
  • Seek self discovery. In the middle of the mess there are learning moments. Trouble has the benefit of exposing the gaps in our faith.
    • “We can also learn from insults and hard knocks.” Lamentations 3:30 (CEV)
  • Practice gratitude. Be grateful for the beauty still in this world even though beauty has been taken from us.
    • “Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just you were taught. And be grateful.” Colossians 2:7 (CEV).
  • Decide today that nothing can destroy you. No matter what comes our way, we will grieve, mourn, and be devastated by the losses but we will not let them destroy us.
    • “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 (NIV)

Kay stresses that we are more than conquerors. When we take the pain, the loss, the suffering, the beauty that was stolen from us, the trauma… When we take what is meant to kill us, and learn from it and use it as the stepping stones to grow more like Jesus we become more than a conqueror. Because of the beautiful scars of Jesus, we are still here. We are still standing.

And one day…

“He will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain. All of that has gone forever.” Revelation 21:4 (TLB).

Watch [this] beautiful message by Kay Warren from Saddleback Church. Be encouraged as you learn what the Bible says about God’s purpose for your life including your work, relationships, health, and more.