Sunday, August 13, 2017

Where to Find Outfit Inspirations

I haven't felt all that inspired when it comes to getting dressed lately.

For one, everywhere I look, I see fall clothes - in stores, on blogs, in magazines. Yet, we are in the middle of summer, and it's going to stay hot around here - at least in the middle of the day - until the end of October. Another reason is that I have bought very few clothes this summer and somehow my options seem limited. But in reality, I have plenty in my closet, so I really just have to take a closer look at what I own and wear it!

To help me, I decided to look at the outfits I posted in August 2016. It turns out that all four outfits I posted last year included a recent purchase! I also realized that I haven't worn most of them in quite some time...

I bought this black and white tunic in Germany last summer, and I really like it. It's time to wear it again! 

Black and White Tunic

The graphic tee is another purchase I made in Germany last year... I don't really ever buy "real souvenirs," instead I buy clothes...

The third item I bought in Germany is this kimono/poncho. It's a great third summer layer, and I have worn it recently. But there is no reason why I shouldn't wear it several more times this summer!

Finally, the last outfit post from last August included a new Tommy Bahama maxi dress that I picked up at the Tommy Bahama outlet store on our way back from Tahoe. It was a "real steal" as it was marked down from $168 to $39. However, if I don't wear it, it's not that much of a "steal," is it?

Questions: How/where do you find inspirations for what to wear? Do you find it hard to get dressed at the end of summer when you see fall clothes all around you, yet it's still very warm? What's your favorite outfit right now? What are you looking forward to wearing in fall? 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

DIY Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is something I always carry with me. And I have often thought to myself that I should look into how to make my own. How difficult could it be to make your own? It turns out, not difficult at all, especially when all the ingredients are conveniently delivered to you!

Simply Earth Essential Oils Recipe Box
 Disclosure: I am a Simply Oil ambassador and will earn a small commission if you decide to purchase products through one of my links. As always, all opinions are my own.

As luck would have it, my most recent Simply Earth* essential oils recipe box included a recipe for a hand sanitizer. All the ingredients for the sanitizer, except for the rubbing alcohol, were included in the box.

Simply Earth Essential Oils Hand Sanitizer 

DIY Hand Sanitizer

  • 15 drops orange essential oils
  • 5 drops amyris essential oils
  • 5 drops ginger essential oils 
  • 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol 
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  1. Drop essential oils into bottle.
  2. Add in 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol.
  3. Fill the rest of the bottle with aloe vera gel.
  4. Close tightly and shake to mix.
  5. Your hand sanitizer is ready to use! 

DIY Hand Sanitizer

The recipe and the ingredients for the hand sanitizer were part of the July essential oil recipe box that I received from Simply Earth.

Here is what was included in the July box:

  • Orange essential oil
  • Amyris essential oil
  • Ginger essential oil 
  • Peace and quiet essential oil 
  • Cloth pin (for the car freshener recipe) 
  • Squeeze bottle with aloe vera gel (for the hand sanitizer)
  • Spray bottle (for the linen spray)

Recipes to make the following:
  • Hand sanitizer 
  • Spa day diffuser blend
  • Peaceful diffuser blend
  • Mini car air freshener 
  • Linen spray
Here is my review of the first Simply Earth essential oil recipe box that I received. 

Simply Earth Essential Oils Recipe Box

Simply Earth* is a subscription box that has a new theme every month. The first box I received allowed me to mix different beauty products, and this box contained products for your home, car and on-the-go. I did a bit of research and found out that prior boxes included ingredients and fun recipes for candles, cleaning products, lip balm, bath bombs and more.

In each box, you receive four essential oils, containers, and five to seven recipes as well as recipe ingredients. You can pause or cancel your subscription at any time. You also have the option to buy just one box without subscribing. Additionally, you can subscribe to one box every three months. I really like the flexibility of this subscription service. 

I love the Simply Earth Essential Oils Recipe Boxes* because the essential oils are 100% natural and can be easily mixed into all kinds of nourishing and natural products. I also like that there are easy recipe cards, but that you can also experiment a bit on your own.

I have made several batches of body scrub (one of the recipes from my first box) and have changed the oils I used. I have also mixed a bit of lemongrass oil with a bit of camellia seed oil (both in my first box) and put it into a roller bottle. The smell is very relaxing, and I keep it next to my bed to unwind at the end of the day.

Simply Earth Coupon Code

Simply Earth* has a special coupon code offer for my readers. Here is what you can get:

$10 OFF if you order the SINGLE OILS
A FREE DIFFUSER when you buy an Essential Oil Recipe Box.

The Coupon Code is: ANDREALEEFREE

Questions: Have you ever tried essential oils? If so, what did you use them for? Have you ever signed up for a subscription box?

Be well,

*Disclosure: I received the Simply Earth Essential Oils Recipe Box for free. As always, all opinions are my own. I am also a Simply Earth ambassador and if you sign up through one of my links, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you.


Monday, August 7, 2017

Little Black Dress to the Rescue

This past weekend, Andy and I were invited to a beautiful wedding at Fernwood Cellars in Gilroy. It was the perfect setting for a breathtaking wedding. And the wines were really good, too! We'll definitely be back soon for some wine tasting! (Fernwood Cellars is open the first and third weekend of every month).

Even though we had received the invitation to the wedding back in May, I didn't really think about what I'd be wearing until Thursday afternoon. And then I briefly panicked. I tried on a few dresses that were "ok," but I didn't feel great in them. What I ended up wearing was a LBD that Andy bought for me as a surprise for a last-minute trip to San Diego 10+ years ago.

As soon as I put on the dress, I knew it was the one (even though I originally didn't want to wear black to a wedding...). But the dress is comfortable, moves with me when I move, and it makes me feel great.

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

Questions: When was the last time you attended a wedding? We hadn't been to a wedding since I was pregnant with the kid... Do you have a go-to special occasion/wedding outfit?

Be well,

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sentence a Day: July 2017

I first joined Sarah and Leslie in writing one sentence a day in January, and this is my seventh sentence-a-day post. You can read my January sentences here, my February sentences here, my March sentences here, my April sentences here, my May sentences here, and my June sentences here.

Overall, July was a very good month! We got to spend a week at the beach, I was off from teaching, and Andy only had to teach an online class. Unfortunately, there were also some costly and unplanned (in addition to some planned) home repairs that had to be taken care of.

July 1, 2017
We went out to lunch at Lazy Dog and ran lots of errands afterwards.
July 2, 2017
My MIL and FIL came over for a BBQ to celebrate my MIL's birthday.

July 3, 2017
We went to Great America for a few hours, but sadly Andy's back didn't feel all that good after going on a roller coaster.

July 4, 2017
We went to the track and jogged/ran; we all realized that we are a bit out of shape...

July 5, 2017
The kid and I had dentist appointments in the morning, and then we went on a long and strenuous afternoon hike.

July 6, 2017
We spent pretty much all day getting ready for our trip.

July 7, 2017
We drove to Avila Beach and were in vacation mode as soon as we arrived.

July 8, 2017
We started the day with a 1.5 mile walk to the fish shop on the pier and then spent some time at the beach.

July 9, 2017
Got up at 4 a.m. and made the 3-hour drive to Universal Studios; it was an exhausting but fun day!

July 10, 2017
We spent the morning at the pool and in the hot tub and went on a long beach walk in the afternoon.

July 11, 2017
Perfect day: wine tasting (for me), beer tasting (for Andy), and another long walk on the beach.

July 12, 2017
We went to the beach again; the kid loved being buried in the sand.

July 13, 2017
It was a cooler day today, and we explored San Luis Obispo and had lunch again at Libertine Brewing Company.

July 14, 2017
Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Avila Beach and make the drive back home, but we stopped at a few breweries on the way which made the drive more fun, especially for Andy who did the drinking (and I the driving).

July 15, 2017
The day consisted mainly of chores like laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning, but in the evening we were invited to our friends' house for dinner, which was very nice.

July 16, 2017
It was a very hot day, and we went for a hike in the afternoon; unfortunately, it was still very, very hot.

July 17, 2017
Our water heater started leaking suddenly and a LOT; luckily, we were able to get it replaced the same day, but it cost $1,400 for labor and a new water heater... Ouch.

July 18, 2017
We went to California's Great America for a few hours in the morning as we had to be home because the "water heater guy" had to finish up some work in the afternoon.

July 19, 2017
I went for an early morning hike with a good friend I don't see often enough, and then it was another home improvement day: consultation with an electrician (it's going to be expensive but must be fixed) followed by dry wall repair from the previous water damage (the damage is much worse than previously thought and also very, very expensive).

July 20, 2017
More dry wall repairs...

July 21, 2017
I went to a 6 a.m barre class to catch up on my barre and yoga class summer bucket list goal; later in the day we went on a hilly hike.

July 22, 2017
We spent a relaxing morning at our wine club's pickup party and went on a long walk in the afternoon.

July 23, 2017
I started the day with a barre class, and then we celebrated the older kid's birthday; I can't believe I've been a mom for 26 years!

July 24, 2017
The electrician was supposed to come bright and early, but he forgot; the highlight of my day was meeting up with Dawn from Fashion Should be Fun and Lynn at Santana Row.

July 25, 2017
I met another San Jose blogger, Prerna from Prerna High on Chai, for lunch (strangely we didn't take any photos...); in the afternoon, after the electrician left, we went on a hike.

July 26, 2017
We went to Great America and went on a bunch of water rides right when they opened; then we hung out in the shade for a few hours and read.

July 27, 2017 
I started the day with a barre class, and then we took the kid and one of his friends to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

July 28, 2017
The electrician was back to do more work, and we ran a bunch of errands.

July 29, 2017
We went to the Ciderwalk in Willow Glen in the early afternoon and to a fabulous "Taste of Summer" dinner at Whole Foods Market in Santa Clara in the evening where we learned where many of the ingredients that went into the dinner came from - a truly tasty and inspirational evening!

July 30, 2017
I started the day with a tough barre class - I'm really proud that I have been keeping up with my barre classes, and my lower back is thanking me...

July 31, 2017
I started the day with another barre class, and then the kid and I went on a hike.


Question: What were your highlights in July? Are you going to join us this month and write one sentence a day? There is still time to catch up and write one sentence a day for each day in August.  It’s lots of fun to look back at the month; I promise.

Be well,

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Perfect Third Summer Layer

A Kimono: A Perfect Third Layer

When I get dressed, I usually try to add a third layer because it takes an outfit to the next level. In summer, adding a third layer can be challenging, but a lightweight kimono works perfectly. In fact, I find it keeps me cooler than not wearing it as it protects me from the sun.

I bought the blue and white kimono last year in Germany and was going to get a few more kimonos but haven't done so yet.

 This post contains affiliate links, and benefits from actions taken on the links.

 Outfit Details: Kimono (similar), White Tank, White Capris (similar), Cork Heels

Murrieta's Well Wine Club Pickup Party

I wore the kimono on a hot day to our wine club pickup party at Murrieta's Well in Livermore.

Wine Club pickup parties at Murrieta's Well are always enjoyable with delicious wine to sip, tasty food to eat and great music to listen to. 

I loved relaxing in the shade for a few hours; the kid brought a book to read and also enjoyed the outing.

Questions: Do you own a kimono? If so, do you like wearing it as a third layer in summer? When have you last been out on a relaxing outing? 

Be well,

Thursday, July 27, 2017

New Hair, New Attitude

This post is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are my own. 

For many, many years I had the same haircut.

Finally, a few haircuts ago, I told my hairdresser that I would like to try something new. Her response was: "I've been waiting for this!" After some discussions, we decided to cut shorter layers and grow out my bangs. The cut is softer and less structured. The new haircut can also be changed by the way I style it, something that wasn't really possible with the old cut. Cutting my hair made me aware of how a haircut can change one's attitude. My new hair feels more fun, easy going and free, and that affects how I feel.

Since I'm now in a playful mood when it comes to my hair, I was intrigued when Divatress contacted me about their hair pieces. I've never really thought about playing with hair pieces in the past; with my structured haircut, it just never occurred to me. But now that my hair has layers, I am thinking of experimenting a bit more. For instance, I think it would be fun to change my look for a special occasion or just because.

So when Divatress contacted me and invited me to explore their website, I decided to check out some of their human hair lace front wigs. And they have many great, affordable options that allow you to totally change your look or try out a new hairstyle for a night out or a few days. I love the idea of having long hair for a night. And how great is it to be able to "test drive" a short hair style before committing to cutting your hair?

Questions: When was the last time you changed your hairstyle? Have you ever tried a hair piece? If so, what was your experience? 

Be well,

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blue and White Striped Tee and Cork Heel Sandals

I always like to wear stripes, but a blue and white striped tee is especially essential for me in summer.

When we went on vacation to Avila Beach a few weeks ago, I took white capris and a white and blue striped tee.

This post contains affiliate links, and benefits from actions taken on the links. 

I also wore my new cork heel sandals from Target. I don't usually wear heels, but one of my Instagram friends recommended the sandals, and when I saw them in the store when I picked up a few things before our trip, I decided to give them a try. I have a weak ankle, and I like that the sandals feel sturdy due to the cork block heel and the thick straps. I only wore them for a few hours, but while I wore them I felt secure, and they were comfortable. They certainly don't have a high heel, but for me wearing any heel is very unusual, and it's nice to have a low heel to wear once in a while.

When I posted a photo of the sandals on Instagram, I was contacted by Target and asked if I would give them permission to use my photo. It was fun to see it on the Target website.

When we visit the San Luis Obispo area, we always pass by the Madonna Inn. The big pink building can't be missed. We also have several friends who have said that everyone has to visit the Madonna Inn at least once. So on our way home, we decided to stop by. We went for a late breakfast/brunch and were not disappointed. I ordered the corned beef hash with poached eggs after reading about it on Yelp, and it was very good and a standout for me. The atmosphere is a bit over-the-top and very unique. It's definitely an experience!

Unfortunately, at that point of our vacation, we weren't in the mood for taking a lot of photos anymore, so there aren't many...

Questions: What are some of your go-to summer combos? White pants and a striped tee is certainly one of my favorite summer combos.

Be well,