Monday, November 28, 2016

Santa Cruz in November

A few weekends ago we escaped to the beach for some much needed rest and relaxation. The drive from San Jose to Santa Cruz was very pleasant and since we arrived early, there was plenty of street parking.

While many northern Californian beaches are often foggy (and therefore quite cold) for at least half the day in spring and summer, in fall and winter there are many clear days, which make for a very enjoyable beach experience.

I wore comfortable layers that worked out perfectly. I always feel comfortable in leggings and a tunic. I added my denim jacket and a scarf. It was quite warm for most of the day as the sun was out, but especially later in the day I was happy that I had the jacket and the scarf.  

Santa Cruz 4

We first explored the pier and got some lunch. 

Santa Cruz 3

Then we took the kid to the arcade, which he had never been to. He managed to win a Minion on his first try, which made his day.

Santa Cruz 2

Northern California (hopefully!) has its share of rainy days in late fall and winter, but there are also many gorgeous days, and pretty much all of our “perfect” beach days over the years have been in December or January!

To end the day, Andy got a beer at New Bohemia Brewing Company - a nice, comfortable space to enjoy a beer.

Santa Cruz 5

Chadwicks of Boston Gift Card Winner

Congratulations, Rena! Random Name Picker picked Rena as the winner of the Chadwicks of Boston gift card.

Question: What’s your favorite beach memory? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

Monday, November 21, 2016

Versatile Capelet and Chadwicks of Boston Gift Card GIVEAWAY

A few weeks ago, I posted about my boiled wool capelet from Chadwicks of Boston.* Since then, I have worn it numerous times. I love wearing it to work in the early morning, when I run errands, or when we go on family walks. No matter what I wear, it always makes me feel put together and stylish, and I have gotten compliments and been asked where I bought it. Some have commented that they hadn’t looked at Chadwicks of Boston in many years but would do so now.

Chadwicks of Boston Boiled Wool Capelet 3
Chadwicks of Boston Boiled Wool Capelet 1

People have commented that they are especially impressed by the beautiful back.

Chadwicks of Boston Boiled Wool Capelet 2
Chadwicks of Boston Boiled Wool Capelet 4

I enjoy browsing Chadwicks of Boston's website and checking out the huge selection of quality clothes at affordable prices. Recently, I couldn’t help notice some items I’d love to add to my closet… I can see myself wearing this  Wool Faux Wrap Skirt in black grey plaid for many years, either dressed up with a blouse and blazer or paired with a sweater for a more casual look. And how gorgeous is this Faux Shearling Coat? It would be perfect for a winter trip... I also adore these Side-Zip Booties in animal print - how much interest would they add to any outfit! Plus, I never got those animal print flats I’ve been wanting for over year now… I’m also in need of a couple turtleneck sweaters, and I really like this Ribbed Turtleneck Sweater, which comes in many colors - I am especially interested in the black, dark navy, heather grey and pink champagne ones. I had to check out the scarves (you can never have too many, right!?) - I'm particularly drawn to this Lightweight Houndstooth Scarf.

If you are interested in adding some new pieces to your wardrobe or are looking for gifts, remember to check out Chadwicks of Boston between BLACK FRIDAY AND CYBER MONDAY (11/24 - 11/28) to score some great deals.

COB eGift Card  1

$100 Chadwicks of Boston Gift Card Giveaway

Chadwicks of Boston has graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win a $100 gift card to Chadwicks of Boston. I’m excited to see one of my readers with new clothes for themselves and/or as gifts for loved ones. I can’t wait to see who wins!

Giveaway rules: 
  1. To enter the giveaway, visit the Chadwicks of Boston website and leave a blog comment letting me know an item or two that caught your eye.
  2. The giveaway will close on Sunday, November 27 at 6:00 p.m. PST. 
  3. I will announce the winner on Monday, November 28. Check back then to see if you won! 
  4. I will forward the winner’s name, email address and address to Chadwicks of Boston who will provide the winner with the gift card.
  5. Sorry, the giveaway is only open to people located in the USA.

Be well,

* Disclosure: I am participating in a compensated campaign with this brand. The styling and the written words are my own. #ad

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Skin Care Over 40

As I’m getting older, I have realized the importance of consistent skin care, and I clean and moisturize my skin very diligently twice a day. At the moment, I’m not using a skin care “system” but selected individual products that I have found through trial and error that work well for my skin. Here are three of the products I currently love.

Skin Care over 40 1

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Day Tint, SPF 15*: I adore this daily moisturizer with just a hint of color. I discovered it because I had received a deluxe sample and loved it. It’s super moisturizing and lightweight and feels wonderful on my skin. Plus, I love the natural look.

Dr Jart+ Ceramidin Day Tint 
Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Hydrating Gel*: I have been using this gel for over a year and make sure I never run out of it. I have found that a little goes a long way. When I first started using the gel, I put it on every other night so that my skin could get used to the glycolic acid. After a few weeks, I started using it every night, and I believe my skin has become a lot smoother. Plus, before using the gel I had the occasional breakout, but since I have been using it, I haven’t had one.   

Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10 Hydrating Gel

Frownies Facial Patches for Wrinkles on the Forehead and Between Eyes*: My dad has had the biggest “worry lines” between his eyes for as long as I can remember. He has always looked much younger than he is, but the worry lines have always been VERY pronounced. And I have noticed that I started to get some worry lines myself. I was therefore excited when Frownies contacted me and asked if they could send me some “wrinkle patches.” Frownies are supposed to retrain the underlying muscle. I believe my worry lines are less visible after using the patches for just a few weeks. Basically, you put the patches on at night and take them off in the morning. To activate the patches, you need to use the Frownies Rose Water Hydrator Spray. In addition to the forehead and between eyes patches, there are also Frownies Eyes Mouth Wrinkle Reducer Patches specifically designed for the corners of the eyes and mouth. I’ll continue to fight those worry lines! 

Frownies Facial Patches

Questions: What’s your beauty routine? What product(s) do you love? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

*Disclosure: 1. I was provided the Frownies Facial Patches and the Hydrator Spray free of charge. As always, all opinions are my own. 2. This post contains affiliate links, and may earn a small commission on actions taken on the links.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Embroidered Jeans

A few months ago Zara had some embroidered jeans that sold out very, very quickly. I was quite disappointed that I wasn’t able to get my hands on a pair. When I found out that they had another pair of embroidered jeans, I ordered it right away. I haven't regretted it.

Embroidered Zara Jeans 1

Embroidered Zara Jeans 2
Embroidered Zara Jeans 3

Here is a closeup of the embroidery/embroidered patches.

Embroidered Zara Jeans 4

The jeans have an unfinished hem which is a first for me, but I like it. I have already worn the jeans numerous times with different shoes and tops.

Embroidered Zara Jeans 5

Another option is to buy embroidered patches and sew them onto denim yourself. To be honest, I'm not that excited about sewing patches onto denim, but I found some really cute patches that can be ironed on (but sewing them on in addition to ironing them on is still recommended; I may just see how it goes…). I think several of them would look great on my denim jacket. I have been wanting to add a few patches to my denim jacket for a long time, but I only have one denim jacket and would like to find another one first as I like having a neutral/plain one because I wear my denim jacket so often.
Questions: Do you own any embroidered jeans? Or any other embroidered items of clothing? Have you ever considered adding embroidered patches to clothing? 

Be well,

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Long Cardigans

For the past five years, Adrienne from The Rich Life in Wine Country and Jill from Everything Just So have been posting a monthly series called “How I Wear My.” Apparently, it started when they both bought the same long cardigan and decided to post about it on the same day. And then they invited others to join in the fun. So every month they feature dozens of women across their blogs and show how they wear a certain item. This month’s theme is “long cardigan.”

Here are the two photos I submitted. Both feature my grey, long cardigan that I’ve owned for about seven years. I have worn it a lot over the years - with leggings, with skinny jeans, with white wide legged pants, even over a dress. I also have other long cardigans that I enjoy wearing, but somehow I don’t blog about them a lot because I often don’t deem the outfits “blog worthy,” which is maybe a bit silly since I enjoy wearing them, and they feel very “me."

Grey long cardigan 2 andreaswellnessnotes

Grey Long Cardigan 1 Andreaswellnessnotes

And here is my long(ish) black cardigan with a tunic and leggings.

Black White Tunic 6

And here is another photo of me wearing the grey cardigan with skinny jeans, a grey tee and one of my favorite necklaces.  


A long cardigan is definitely part of my signature look.

Here are some great long cardigans that I like a lot.* The Eileen Fisher ones are a bit pricey, but I think they are true investment pieces that I could see myself owning for many, many years.

Questions: Do you like long cardigans? If so, make sure to head over to  The Rich Life in Wine Country and Everything Just So to see many fabulous women and how they wear their long cardigans.

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, and may benefit from actions taken on the links.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Moto Jacket with an Edge

A faux leather moto jacket has been on my wishlist for a while. I like the edginess it adds to any wardrobe and the versatility of it.

Adding Some Edginess with A Moto Jacket

I was excited when I was offered to select a piece of clothing from Metrostyle.* Metrostyle has been offering trendy, quality, yet affordable clothes for ten years and offers tall, petite and plus sizes all pictured together. I looked through their online catalog and focused especially on outerwear; there were many jackets and other pieces I would have loved to add to my wardrobe. One of them was a black moto jacket* and that’s what I ended up picking.

I was excited when the jacket arrived and loved how soft it felt. I decided to style it with faux leather leggings and black booties for an edgy look - perfect for going out or a special occasion.

Metrostyle Moto Jacket 1
Metrostyle Moto Jacket 4

The cut and details of the moto jacket are beautiful, and it looks and feels much more expensive than it is. It’s a great piece to update my wardrobe.  

Metrostyle Moto Jacket 2
Metrostyle Moto Jacket 3
Metrostyle Moto Jacket 5

The moto jacket looks great with a scarf, and I can’t wait to wear it with the many scarves in my collection. I sized up a bit in the jacket so that I’m able to wear sweaters under it. Even though my jacket is roomy, it has a great shape because of the strategically placed seams, zippers, and studs.
Metrostyle Moto Jacket 7 
I also wore the moto jacket with my printed jeans, a black blouse, a grey sweater, and a couple different scarves. I think the jacket looks great with the casual outfit, and it adds just the right amount of interest to the outfit.

Metrostyle Moto Jacket 8 
Metrostyle Moto Jacket 9

Questions: Do you own a moto jacket? If so, what’s your favorite way to wear it? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.

Be well,

*Disclosure: I am participating in a compensated campaign with this brand and was provided the jacket free of charge. The styling and the written words are my own. #ad

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Studios Hollywood

A few weeks ago the kid was on fall break, and he had been asking to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood ever since he read the Harry Potter books earlier this year. We therefore planned a trip to celebrate Andy’s and his fall birthdays. The kid had just turned 9, and I think he was at a great age to experience all of the attractions in the park. There is also lots to do for younger kids, but we focused mainly on the rides and attractions for older kids.

Hogsmeade 3

Where to Stay Near Universal Studios Hollywood

We stayed near Universal Studios Hollywood at The Garland, a newly remodeled hotel that we enjoyed quite a bit. They were running a special room rate in August, and I was able to get a very good deal on the room. I would recommend checking the hotel’s website directly as well as I noticed that sometimes has special reduced rates for a limited time which are a lot lower than the rates on the hotel’s website.

Even though The Garland is right next to the freeway, it’s a very enjoyable hotel and you don’t hear the freeway when on the grounds (our room was close to the freeway, but since we didn’t open our window, we didn’t hear it). There are a lot of greenery and areas to relax, a pool, a fitness center, a foosball table (the kid’s favorite) as well as a nice restaurant, The Front Yard.

The Garland 2

A free shuttle runs between the hotel and Universal Studios Hollywood about every hour. It’s a quick 10 minute ride, and taking the shuttle worked well for us. The shuttle also picks up and drops off passengers at the Universal Studios Metro Station.

The Garland Shuttle 
We would definitely stay at The Garland again.

What Tickets to Get for Universal Studios Hollywood 

We had gotten quite a bit of advice from people who are visiting Universal Studios Hollywood often and one was to get Front of the Line tickets. Looking at the price, I decided to forgo that idea. Luckily, the park wasn’t very crowded - especially early in the day - probably because we visited on a Thursday and on a Friday in October.

We ended up buying annual passes at Costco (one day admission is $114 and we paid less than that for an annual pass at Costco; it’s my understanding that each Costco sells their own passes with slightly different blackout dates and slightly different prices).

When you buy a season pass at Costco, you will need to register the day of your first visit at the Universal Studios website. Your first visit can be on any day before the date printed on the ticket (ours was some time in February). Any other visits cannot be on the blackout dates that are printed on the ticket, so make sure you check the blackout dates carefully (mainly weekends, holidays and vacation weeks in December and in summer). Obviously, if you can only visit on weekends and/or summer or holidays, the annual pass with most weekends - and other dates - restricted would not be the best choice.

Universal Studios just came out with a California Neighbor Pass that is valid for 9 months, including selected weekends, and that pass costs $119.

What Rides to Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is a relatively small park (at least compared to Disneyland and California Adventure), and it’s easy to walk to different attractions (with a 9-year-old; for little ones, definitely take a stroller). We therefore moved back and forth between Harry Potter World and the rest of the park throughout the day. The only exception was that we went to all the rides on the lower lot - Jurassic Park, Transformers, and Revenge of the Mummy - at the same time, so we didn’t have to make the trip between the upper and lower lots more than once.

Hogwarts 2

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

This was my favorite ride by far. It’s a breathtaking 3D experience that truly brings the Harry Potter books and many of its characters to life. The kid was scared of the dementors and said riding the ride once was enough. I now regret that I didn’t go on it a second time by myself, especially to take a closer look at all the items displayed in the waiting area of the ride. We rode it first thing in the morning and didn’t have to wait at all. In fact, we almost ran through the line because we were so excited.



This was an enjoyable 3D experience. While it is intense, I think it was appropriate for the kid. We also enjoyed taking a photo with a Transformer outside of the ride.


Revenge of the Mummy

This ride was by far the scariest. It’s an intense roller coaster in the dark with terrifying sounds and lights. I think this ride is a bit too much for a 9-year-old.


Jurassic Park

The kid loved this ride. I was most concerned about not getting too wet on this water ride. We rode the ride when it opened at 9:30 a.m., and the attendant told us that they use very little water early in the morning and increase it throughout the day. We didn’t get very wet.


Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

This is such a fun 3D experience that can be enjoyed by young kids. It’s the only ride the kid and I rode twice. 


What Shows to See at Universal Studios Hollywood 


Shrek 4D

Shrek is a very cute 4D family show, and we enjoyed it a lot.


Special Effects Show

The kid loved the Special Effects Show and insisted we see it a second time. I was reluctant at first as I was so uncomfortable the first time we saw it. The seats are very close together and when you are surrounded by adults, there is no room. I also have long legs and just couldn’t get comfortable. The second time we saw the show we sat in the last row on the left, and I was able to lean against the back wall, and there was no one sitting directly in front of us. It was a completely different experience.



WaterWorld is such an impressive and fun show. But be prepared to get quite wet if you sit near the middle or in the front. There are signs that indicate which rows of seats are wet zones.

WaterWorldUniversal Studios


Where to Eat at Universal Studios Hollywood 


The Three Broomsticks

We really enjoyed eating at the Three Broomsticks and ended up eating there on both days. The food is enjoyable, and the atmosphere is magical. On both days we only ate a piece of fruit for breakfast in our hotel room and were therefore ready to eat lunch very early, before the crowds. On Thursday, we ate lunch around 10:40, didn’t have to wait in line at all, and were able to snag one of the beautiful round tables inside. On Friday we ate lunch around 11 a.m. and had to wait for about 10 - 15 minutes. All tables inside were already taken, but we found a nice table in the shade outside. When we walked by the Three Broomsticks later, there was a long line outside, so planning to eat early (or maybe later, after traditional lunch times) is a good idea.

Three Broomsticks


Other Attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood  


Photo on Hogwarts Express

We splurged and got a photo on the Hogwarts Express taken. I had read online that the attendant usually lets one person in your party take a photo, but we didn’t ask (and the person working that day seemed quite determined to get us seated right away and it didn’t really seem possible to take a photo ourselves…). Plus, it's nice to have a photo of all three of us on the train, so it all worked out.

Making the Most of a Visit to Universal Studios Hollywood


Attending a Wand Picking Session at Ollivanders

We all agree that this was the only activity we did that was a bit disappointing. Having said that, it was still an amazing experience - the small wand room is beautiful, the performers are completely in character, from the moment you enter the room, and the brief performance is quite magical. However, we waited in line for almost an hour, and it was extremely hot. I also think the kid thought he might be picked to be part of the show, and he was quite disappointed when he wasn’t. If the line isn’t too long (or if it isn’t 90 degrees out!), I think it’s a worthwhile activity. You can also buy a wand, if you so wish, on the cart that is outside of Hogwarts Castle, which will be MUCH faster.


Buying an Interactive Wand and Performing Magic Tricks Around Hogsmeade

A wand isn’t cheap but a lot of fun. The interactive wand (as well as the trip!) was the kid’s birthday present. We had read beforehand that an interactive wand costs $50, and we had discussed this at home. Using the interactive wand to perform various magic tricks around Hogsmeade is definitely a fun experience, and you’ll see many adults and kids doing this and having a blast. The kid spent quite a bit of time on both days performing the magic tricks again and again and found delight in doing so every time.

Interactive Wand Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Studio Tour

We all enjoyed the Studio Tour, but the kid LOVED it. In fact, he insisted on going on it both days. I have to say it was fun to see the differences in the two guides as they really put their own spins on the tour. And the King Kong 360 and the Fast & the Furious experiences during the tour are pretty amazing. TIP: Try to sit on the right side of the tram; you’ll have a much better view of the shark and other attractions.


The Walking Dead

Andy went on the Walking Dead attraction by himself and said it was really scary, but he enjoyed it tremendously.


Final Tips for Visiting Universal Studios

Tickets bought at the Universal Studios website usually come with early admission. On the days we visited, early admission was from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. We had to register the tickets we bought at Costco at the Universal Studios website, and we had early admission as well (this was not clear based on the conversation we had with others; it’s worth it to double check this!). Definitely take advantage of the first hour and ride the rides that get busy. We rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, took photos of areas that get very crowded, and made our way to the lower lot right at 9 a.m. (when that area of the park opened).  We therefore were able to ride all three rides on the lower lot without any wait time.

Finally, you are allowed to bring water into the park, which will save you a lot of money and ensure you stay hydrated on hot days. Small snacks also don’t seem to be a problem; we were able to bring fruit and various bars.

Universal Studios

Questions: Have you ever been to Universal Studios? If so, Hollywood or Florida? How was your experience? Do you have any tips? 

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with.


Be well,

[This is not a sponsored post.]