Sunday, January 31, 2016

Statement Scarf

I love scarves as they really can make an outfit. In fact, the same basic shirt and pants can look completely different with a different scarf. Scarves often replace my necklaces in winter and fall. I bought the BP scarf in this outfit in early fall. It was my first online order from Nordstrom, and I loved the free shipping and how quickly I got it. Unfortunately, it was quite warm around here until November, and I couldn’t wear the scarf often for a few months. But I have since made up for lost time.  

Statement Scarf 01
My scarf has been sold out for a while now, but I just browsed the Nordstrom site, and they have many great, affordable BP scarves… I wonder if there is such a thing as owning too many scarves? I particularly like this, this, and this.

I wore the scarf with the drapey mixed media tunic from Loft. I love how comfortable the tunic is. It runs big, and the online reviews suggested sizing down, which I did. I’m very happy with the tunic.

Statement Scarf 3

I also wore my super skinny jeans by Yummie by Heather Thompson. I am not a big fan of shape wear and don’t own other Yummie clothing or shape wear, and I probably would have never looked at the brand hadn't a friend of mine repeatedly mentioned how much she loved hers. I therefore decided to give them a try when they were on major sale. They are very soft and have a higher rise, which I love.

Statement Scarf 2 
Questions: Do you love scarves? What’s the last scarf you added to your wardrobe? Can you ever have too many scarves? Enablers welcome…

Be Well,

[Disclosure: Links in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]

Friday, January 29, 2016

Beet Hummus

Last week, I shared my easy garlic lemon hummus recipe. As promised, here is another super easy hummus recipe with a few shortcuts.

Like last week, I’m using canned chickpeas. And I also use pre-cooked beets. I love beets and often buy them fresh at the farmers’ market and roast them. However, they can be a bit messy as the red color tends to go everywhere (and doesn’t come out that easily in the wash…). I’m therefore reaching more and more often to golden (yellow) beets at the farmers’ market when they are available. But they don’t have the beautiful, intense red color of course. And when I’m in a rush, nothing beats already cooked beets!


Beet Hummus
  • 1 can organic chickpeas, very well rinsed
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 package cooked beets with liquid 
  • 2 - 4 T olive oil 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • 1 - 4 T water (add 1 T first and then add more if the hummus is too thick)
  • Process the beets in a food processor. Once they are pureed, add the other ingredients and process until smooth, adding more water and/or oil as necessary.

I have gotten a few questions about the texture of my hummus. It is a bit more coarse than commercial hummus. One of the reasons is that I use a cheap, mini food processor to make my hummus; the Vitamix would produce a smoother product. Another reason is that I do not peel the chickpeas. If you want really smooth hummus, you can peel the outer skin off the chickpeas (it comes off easily, but it’s time consuming.) I actually enjoy the more rustic texture, so I never peel my chickpeas. 

Questions: Do you like beets? If so, what’s your favorite way to eat them? 

Be Well,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rebecca Minkoff MAB Tote in Rose

A few weeks ago,  I looked through my purses and got rid of several of them that were way past their prime.

I don’t usually spend a lot of money on bags, but I decided I wanted to replace some of the purses I had to let go of with a bit higher quality bags than I have been carrying, as I realized that very low cost bags usually just don’t hold up that well. In the long run, I think it makes sense to spend a little more on a bag that I will have for many years.

When I saw the Rebecca Minkoff medium MAC tote in rose for 50% off, I knew I “had” to get it. I love pink but don’t wear it as much as I used to anymore. Lately, I have been adding it in accessories (scarves and necklaces) rather than as clothing. A bag seemed perfect.

When it arrived, it was every bit as gorgeous as I had imagined it to be, and I’m really looking forward to carrying it throughout spring. But it’s also fun to add some delicate color to winter outfits! (Unfortunately, my bag seems to be sold out in rose, but there are plenty other beautiful rose-colored bags, like thisthis, this, or this.)


I love that the bag has a zipper in the front, as that’s where I like to put some cash and my phone for easy access. And the two tassels are super cute. The bag has a magnetic button closure on the top but no zipper. The button does a good job keeping the bag closed, but a zipper would be of course more secure. I love the size of the bag as it holds my laptop, iPad, and lots more. I also like the pretty lining and the big zippered inside side pocket, which can hold keys and a wallet. 

To be honest, I hadn’t really known much about Rebecca Minkoff purses. But after doing some research, it appears they are a quality, yet still somewhat affordable brand (especially when you get them on sale). One of the items on my “get list” for 2016 is “the perfect brown bag.” I even have a Pinterest board devoted to finding one! The Rebecca Minkoff MAB Medium Leather Tote Bag in almond (same bag as the bag above in brown) could be it…

Yellow is another popular color for spring, and getting a fun, yellow bag (like this, this, or this) is tempting (but honestly a LOT LESS practical than getting “the perfect brown bag,” which I can see myself carrying for years to come without getting tired of…). But then again, since I don’t look good in most shades of yellow, at least not near my face, a yellow bag would be a great way to add a bright color into my life…

Rebecca Minkoff has many gorgeous, fun bags (like this, this, or this). I think starting to look at purses more closely may be dangerous...

Questions: Are you a “bag person?” What’s your favorite purse brand? What is your go-to purse? Any new bags/colors you are considering adding to your collection? 

Be Well,

[Disclosure: Links in this post are affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.]

Friday, January 22, 2016

Lemony Garlicky Hummus

I love hummus. And since it’s so easy to make, I make a fresh batch at least once a week. It makes eating carrots, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, squash, and about any other veggie out there a delight.

In an ideal world, I would cook my own chickpeas. It’s really simple but, to be honest, I often use canned chickpeas (I do make sure to rinse the beans really well under running water).

Here is a super simple, yet flavorful hummus recipe.


Lemony Garlicky Hummus

  • 1 can organic chickpeas, very well rinsed
  • 1 - 2 garlic cloves (one clove delivers quite the punch, so start with one and see if you really want to make it more garlicky…) 
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 - 4 T olive oil 
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • 1 - 4 T water (add 1 T first and then add more if the hummus is too thick)
  • Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, adding more water and/or oil as necessary.

Questions: Do you like hummus? If so, do you make your own? What are your favorite flavors to add to hummus? Recently, I have been enjoying beets in my hummus. I’ll share a beet hummus recipe next week. Do you cook your own chickpeas? Sometimes… I really should do it more often...

Be well,

Sunday, January 17, 2016

5 Faux Leather Leggings Looks

I bought my faux leather leggings in the fall to take on my trip to Germany (they are faux leather in the front and a sketchy ponte material in the back; I ordered them in tall). I knew I was going to attend several holiday parties and thought the leggings would be a nice, easy-to-pack option as they are dressy yet easy to wear.

Loft Faux Leather Leggings

The leggings worked great for the parties (I added a black blazer to the outfit above), but I was surprised by how much I wore them the rest of my trip and after I got back home.

On a side note, I LOVE the Loft tunic, and I got it in the wine color above, in black, and in green - all on sale. Tunics were on my list of clothing items to get/replace as I only had one or two presentable ones but wear leggings and skinny jeans often. I wish the Loft tunic came in more colors as it’s pretty much perfect (and maybe they’ll add some new colors for spring! One can hope…).

Originally, I only bought the tunic above (40% off), but once I got it in the mail (it was an online only item) and tried it on, I knew I wanted it in the other colors as well, as it’s perfect to wear with leggings or skinny jeans; definitely an item that will get lots and lots of wear for years to come (especially since it washes very well). Plus, the material is thin enough to wear well into spring. When the tunics went on sale even more (50% off), I ordered the black one, but I thought getting the green one as well was a bit excessive. But I soon regretted that decision. Sadly, when I wanted to order the green one, it was out of stock in my size. After stalking it online for several weeks, I got lucky and got it for 60% off the sale price. I’ve also been eyeing these tunics from Nordstrom; they seem very similar to the Loft tunics and come in quite a few colors.

But back to the leggings. They are super comfortable, and I ended up wearing them with almost all my sweaters and blouses I brought on the trip. I like the leggings dressed up as well as with a flannel shirt and a sweater; they ended up much more versatile than I had thought they would be.

Here are five looks I’ve been recently wearing:

1. Faux Leather Leggings and Jacket Society’s Tie Dye Fringe Cardigan

I previously wore the fringe cardigan from Jacket Society over simple black leggings. It was an easy way to add some interest to a basic outfit. This time I wore the cardigan over a creme-colored blouse from Loft. I added a fringe necklace for some extra fun.

Loft Faux Leather Leggings 01
Loft Faux Leather Leggings 2 
Jacket Society Tie Dye Fringe Cardigan 
2. Faux Leather Leggings and Black Fringe Sweater

Since I had fringe on my mind, I decided to bring out my black fringe sweater. I got this fun piece 10+ years ago at Chico’s. I hadn’t worn it in years, but I lately really enjoy wearing it. This shows that it’s worth it to hold on to unique clothing items, even if you don’t wear them for a while. (Incidentally, I haven’t bought anything from Chico’s in years, so I just browsed their website a bit. I love this asymmetric tunic, this long black vest, and this fringe sweater. I think all would look great with leggings, and all three pieces are on major sale.)

Loft Faux Leather Leggings 3
Loft Faux Leather Leggings 4
Black Fringe Sweater 2

3. Faux Leather Leggings and Flannel Shirt and Sweater

I originally hadn’t planned on wearing the leggings with an Old Navy flannel shirt and a sweater, but once I tried it on, I loved the mix of more dressy and laid-back.

Loft Faux Leather Leggings 5

4. Faux Leather Leggings, Black Tunic and a Grey Sweater

Once I started pairing sweaters and longer shirts and tunics with the leggings, there were endless possibilities. I like the black and grey combo and had fun adding a black and white necklace and my black and white Adam Lippe for Target flats.  

Loft Faux Leather Leggings 6
Loft Faux Leather Leggings 7

5. Faux Leather Leggings, Black Tunic, and Faux Fur Scarf

I got a faux fur trimmed scarf from my mom, and I couldn’t wait to wear it. I love it over the black tunic. It was a fun, slightly-more-dressy-than-my-normal look on a recent date with Andy.

Loft Faux Leather Leggings 8
Faux Fur Trimmed Scarf 
I’m very happy that I got the faux leather leggings. Faux leather leggings and pants have been a “hot item” for a while now,  and I had been intrigued by them. But, honestly, I wasn’t sure I would wear them all that much, so I took my time buying some. The holiday parties I was going to attend were a great excuse to give them a try. Luckily, I found that I wear them a lot. One of the reasons is that they are very comfortable, mainly because of the great ponte back. 

Questions: What recent (or not-so-recent) clothing item do you wear more than expected? Do you own (faux) leather leggings or pants? If so, what’s your favorite way to wear them? 

Be well,

[Disclosure: Links are affiliate links, and benefits from actions taken on the links.]

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Exploring San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square and Juice Shop

We live only about an hour south of The City - as locals refer to San Francisco - but, unfortunately we don’t make it up north as often as we should. There is so much to explore, and we have vowed to get to The City more often this year.

We started this past weekend and explored Ghirardelli Square and its surrounding areas a bit. Even though there was light rain, it was a fantastic outing.

Of course we had to take the obligatory photo in front of the Ghirardelli sign.

Ghirardelli Square

We also walked out onto the pier, from where we had great views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and The City.

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Then we got to taste some fresh, organic, raw juice from the Juice Shop, which opened a store front at Ghirardelli Square about a month ago. 

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We met one of the Juice Shop's owners, Ben. He, his two brothers, and his sister-in-law own a total of six store fronts throughout San Francisco, where they sell raw, organic juices. Ben told us that they became interested in juicing when their older brother got sick and juice helped him greatly in his recovery. 

Ben said that their mission is not only to sell juice but also to educate the public about the health benefits of juicing. We really enjoyed speaking with Ben and learning about the benefits of different juices. All the juices we sampled (about seven or eight) were truly delicious, and 100% kid-approved (and the kid proclaimed that they are a lot tastier than the juices I make at home…). I know that we’ll stop by for a juice next time we are in The City.

After we explored Ghirardelli Square a bit more, we walked over toward Fort Mason and walked around the park; a great way to get plenty of steps.

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It was a great day in The City. We can’t wait to go back!  

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Questions: Have you ever been to San Francisco? If so, what’s your favorite neighborhood? Do you regularly explore neighborhoods, cities and other sights near where you live? Do you enjoy freshly squeezed (green) juices? If so, what’s your favorite combo? 

Be Well,

Monday, January 11, 2016

Raincoat Love

It looks like we might get a decent amount of rain in the Bay Area this year (keeping my fingers crossed as we really need it!). And I’m happy that I have a chance to bring out my raincoat as I didn’t get to wear it much in the past few years.

I got this MICHAEL by Michael Kors raincoat several years ago at Costco of all places. I was immediately drawn to the bright red color, and I liked the fit. The only problem is that the belt doesn’t stay put when it’s looped through the belt buckle, but I’ve solved that problem by tying it. Recently, I like adding an extra pop of color to the raincoat with my cobalt blue scarf. This MICHAEL raincoat seems to be very similar to mine and comes in several colors.
Red Raincoat
I think owning a bright raincoat is a must as it can truly brighten up a dark, rainy day, of which I hope we’ll have many more here in California… I also used to own a bright, cheery umbrella, but sadly it broke. So I’ve been on the lookout for a bright umbrella (especially for the days when I don’t wear the red coat, but one of my more muted coats). It’s somewhat surprising to me how many dark umbrellas are out there and how hard it is to find a fun, yet still "age-appropriate" one! Maybe I should go into the umbrella business...

Here are some bright raincoats that I think would brighten up any day (click on the photos for more info):

Questions: Do you own a bright raincoat? How about a bright, fun umbrella? How do you bring color and cheer into a rainy day? 

Be Well,

[Disclosure: Links in this post are affiliate links.]

Friday, January 8, 2016

Three Workouts for 2016

2015 was a difficult year for me, and, as a result, I didn’t exercise as much as usual. I continued to walk every day and did push-ups and a few other strength and core moves several times a week, but that was pretty much it. Here are the three workouts that I want to focus on in 2016:

1. Lots of Walks & Hikes

My main form of exercise are long, brisk walks and hikes, and I will continue to walk and hike every day in 2016. I got my Fitbit Flex for Christmas 2014 from the older kid. At first, I wasn’t sure I liked it as I’d been used to the Fitbit Zip (which I liked a lot, but I had trouble finding a good place to wear it; I got the pink one and it always showed when I wore it on pant pockets and it weirdly showed when I wore it on my bra (which is recommended). My main complaint about the Fitbit Zip was however that it uses batteries, and I didn't like having to replace batteries quite often.

I didn't like the black, plain wristband of the Fitbit Flex as it is too casual to wear to work or when I’m dressed up. I therefore ordered the Tory Burch bracelet for the Fitbit when it became available in silver. There was a bit of a learning curve: How do you open the darn thing? I actually had to google it! How do you keep the cover from rattling? You actually just have to give it an extra push to make sure it is truly all the way closed. Is there an easier way to get the Fitbit in and out of the bracelet? Not that I have found. That’s why I always wear the Tory Burch bracelet and only take it out once a week to charge it - this is not what’s recommended; the recommendation is to wear the Flex with its original wrist band for most accurate tracking, but the tracking in the Tory Burch bracelet is fine. I have been wearing it daily.

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After figuring it out, I started loving the bracelet and have been getting many compliments on it. People are usually surprised to learn that the pretty bracelet houses a Fitbit. I just realized that there are some other new Tory Burch Fitbit bracelets that I really like.

Keeping track of my steps is a great motivator to walk more as I often head out for another 30-minute walk at the end of the day to increase my step total. I also want to push myself with some long, hilly hikes - we'll see how far and high I can go! :)

2. Consistent Weight Training

I’m also ready to add some more weight training back into my routine. Since we stopped our gym membership a few years ago, my weights routine has been a bit lackluster; it mainly consists of push-ups (I am proud that I have kept up with doing push-ups consistently and have been seeing steady improvement in the number and quality of my push-ups), tricep dips and some yoga moves that involve strength.

When I was contacted last fall to review the Sandbag Training Bible I was intrigued as it seemed like a perfect weight workout at home. The little book contains 100 functional exercises that can easily be done at home with a sandbag and a backpack (to put the sandbag in). I have actually been using a sandbag we have around the house to keep water out (I covered the sandbag in a plastic bag and put it into a pillow case). But a sandbag specifically designed for working out would be even better; there are several affordable workout sandbags on

I like building muscle and will definitely continue my weight workouts on a regular basis.

3. Barre-ish Workouts

I used to take barre classes consistently for four years, but last year that stopped, too. I’m ready to get back to barre (or similar) workouts. One obstacle has been getting to a barre studio as it takes several hours out of my day (because of drive time, getting to class early to get a “good” spot, etc.). I have a couple  barre DVDs that I use once in a while. I also purchased Tracy Anderson's Mat Workout for Beginners (and watch it on Amazon instant video). After doing barre workouts for so long, I really didn’t want to order the beginner workout, but I figured I better get clear instructions of what I’m supposed to do (I had read several reviews that highly recommended getting the beginners DVD first as Tracy doesn’t really explain the moves in detail in the other workouts; since I knew that it’s very important to use correct form, it was really a no brainer). Plus, after not doing any barre-type workouts for almost a year, I truly was a beginner again... I really like the workout and look forward to exploring more of her DVDs.

Questions: What are your exercise goals for the coming weeks and months? 

Be Well,

[Disclosures: 1. I was provided a free review copy of the Sandbag Training Bible ; as always, all opinions are my own. 2. Links in this post are affiliate links.]

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tie Dye Fringe Cardigan

I am a huge fan of Nora at Jacket Society. Nora is a designer who creates the most beautiful blazers, wraps, and cardigans. I previously ordered a reversible wrap from her and am loving it. 

Plus, I love the way Nora styles all her jackets, wraps, scarves, etc. If you haven’t done so already, check out her Instagram

A few months ago, I started admiring her Tie Dye Fringe Cardigan. And then it went on sale before Christmas (everything on her site is still 25% off until January 10th). I was in Germany at the time and decided to leave a not-so-subtle hint for Andy on Instagram:


I was excited when I came back from my trip and got to open the box! And I was not disappointed. It’s exactly as I pictured it, and I couldn’t wait to wear it.  

I decided to just put it on over some simple black leggings and a black tee. The cardigan instantly made the basics interesting. I can’t wait to play around with different ways to wear it in the coming weeks.
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Questions: What’s the last clothing item you purchased? Do you ever leave hints for people when it comes to gifts? Andy and I don’t always give each other gifts for special occasions but usually decide to make bigger purchases we really want instead. For example, this year Andy got a DSLR (he wanted one for YEARS) instead of any other gifts. Well, besides a beer Advent calendar that is… We do always celebrate special occasions with a special meal or outing however.

Be Well,

[Note: Andy purchased the cardigan with our joint credit card, which meant I got an email alert once he purchased it - even less a surprise than I had thought...]