Sunday, June 25, 2017

Striped Skirt with a Bright Top & Visiting Berkeley

Last weekend, we visited Berkeley. I decided to wear my striped skirt; you last saw the striped skirt paired with a black tee and red accessories.

Many of you had commented that you'd like to see the skirt with a bright top, so I wore it this time with a raspberry tank and cardigan, and I like the outcome.

I love the redwoods right in the middle of the UC Berkeley campus. 

We also made it to the famous Campanile Tower. 

There are so many fun and interesting things to explore on campus. 

After visiting the UC Berkeley campus - Andy's alma mater - we went to the Pacific Standard Taproom

Andy got a beer flight, and I had a tasty cider (third from the left).

Pacific Standard is an outpost of Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. They have an impressive tap list that includes Half Moon Bay Brewing Company beers as well as many others. What was truly unexpected was the quality and deliciousness of the food. The food menu is small, but everything is made with love and truly outstanding. 

We started with some pickled vegetables, which were crunchy and had the perfect seasoning. 

We also got a grilled cheese sandwich and a charcuterie board. The grilled cheese sandwich was served with tortilla chips which came with the tastiest salsa we have ever tasted. And that is not an overstatement. The charcuterie board had a wonderful selection of cheeses and meats as well as more of the delicious pickled vegetables. 

Finally, there were freshly baked pretzel knots, which were served with a warm cheese sauce and a mustard sauce. Everything was extremely tasty and by far exceeded our expectations. 

Questions: Do you like the striped skirt better with the black top or the raspberry top? What was your last tasty outing? 

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

Be well,

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Bucket List

I'm still finishing up the spring quarter and can't wait for summer vacation to start in a few weeks! Especially since most of my teaching friends have been off for weeks...

I'm excited to join Leslie, who also introduced me to writing one Sentence a Day, in writing a summer bucket list.

My bucket list is pretty modest with only ten items, but many of them are weekly items. It's about making time for simple things and being grateful for them and enjoying them to the fullest.

2017 Summer Bucket List

1. Make at least five day trips to the beach.
2. Read three fun books.
3. Go to the farmers' market at least once a week.
4. Go on one hike per week.
5. Take two barre and/or yoga classes per week.
6. Sleep in at least once per week.
7. Barbecue at least once per week.
8. Spend time in the patio every day.
9. Swim at least four times per week.
10. Make good use of our Great America and Monterey Bay Aquarium season passes.  

Write your own summer bucket list and link up your post here: 

Question: What's on your summer bucket list? 

Be well,

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fitter Faster Book Review

Disclosure: I was provided with a free review copy of Fitter Faster. As always, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by the publisher of Fitter Faster: The Smart Way to Get in Shape in Just Minutes a Day. I'm always a bit skeptical when I hear about "getting fit quickly," but I was pleasantly surprised by the book as the authors dispel a lot of myths and give good, no-nonsense advice.

I like that they start of by stating that weight loss should not be your number one goal when you exercise. They point out that exercise is helpful to maintain your weight, and provide a long list of reasons why you should work out.

The book covers important topics that aren't always discussed such as the importance of having good workout shoes, the right workout clothes, do you need to walk 10,000 steps a day, and much more.

They also talk about heart rate, the benefits of HIIT and discuss questions such as if fasting before aerobic exercise burns more fat and if hot yoga increases your flexibility more than regular yoga.

I found the book to be filled with little tidbits of information I didn't know even though I read a lot about fitness and exercise. I also like that there is an extensive list of references at the end of the book.

The final part of the book is the workout, which can be completed anywhere. It consists of proven, no-nonsense exercises, such as push ups, rows, lunges,  and squats. Each workout takes 15 - 20 minutes to complete. The workout plan looks as follows:

Day 1: Strength Circuit 1
Day 2: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Day 3: Conventional Cardio
Day 4: Strength Circuit 2
Day 5: HIIT Plyometrics
Day 6: Your Choice
Day 7: Rest

Overall, I think Fitter Faster is a book filled with lots of useful information. It's beneficial for exercise beginners as it gives lots of background information and is also useful for those who exercise regularly but want to mix things up with a new routine as it provides many useful tips and information and a doable plan.

Questions: Do you follow a workout plan at the moment? If so what does it look like?  

Be well,

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Striped Dress with Striped Cardigan

I bought a striped dress 7+ years ago from Banana Republic and hadn’t worn it in about two years. To be honest, I don’t remember it being that short. In fact, I believe it shrunk quite a bit when I washed it last time - I actually may not have followed instructions...

I love the stripes and colors of the dress - black, white and tan are such a classic and nice combination. But I don’t like how short the dress is. Next time, I'll see if I like it better with tights or leggings (obviously when it is cooler in fall); otherwise it'll go into the donate bag...

I wore the dress on a warm day but added a striped cardigan so I wouldn’t be cold in air conditioned buildings.

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

I like these striped dresses very much.

Question: Did you recently discover any items in your closet that don't work anymore? Are you as much a fan of stripes as I am?

Click here to check out the fabulous bloggers I’m linking up with
Be well,

Sunday, June 11, 2017

10 Ways to Style White Jeans Year Round

White jeans are really versatile, and I love how they can freshen up a look all year long. Thankfully, we now are “allowed” to wear white whenever we want, and I love wearing a pair of white jeans in spring, summer, fall and winter.

White Jeans with a Colorful Tunic

White Jeans with White and Navy & a Colorful Necklace

White Jeans with Raspberry Pink

White Jeans with Apple Green

White Jeans with a White Graphic Tee 

White Jeans with Grey and Pink 

White Jeans with Blue and Pink 

White Jeans with Black and White

White Jeans with Green & Yellow

White Jeans with Brown Boots 

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

Questions: Do you like white jeans? If so, what’s your favorite way to wear them? 

Be well,

Sunday, June 4, 2017

5 Ways to Style Loud, Colorful, Printed Pants

I own several pairs of loud, colorful, printed pants. If you have been reading this blog for a while and/or follow me on Instagram, you probably know that my wardrobe consists of a lot of neutrals and that there are many solid, muted colors. Nevertheless, I'm sometimes drawn to a loud print. But, to be honest, I have to be in the mood to wear them. And when I wear them, I usually keep the rest of the outfit neutral. Here are some examples of how to keep loud pants from being too loud (if you are used to a more neutral wardrobe):

1. Pick one color in the print and match your top to it


5. Combine floral pants with a polka dot blouse, a denim jacket & a neckerchief - this combination is a bit more interesting as there is some pattern mixing going on with the floral print, polka dots and the neckerchief. I think it works since the floral pants have both blue and orange in them.

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

Even though I have to be in the mood to wear loud pants, I'm often drawn to them. I wouldn't mind having any of these in my closet...

Questions: Do you have "loud" pants? If so, how do you style them? Do you like any of the "loud" pants above?

Be well,

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Sentence a Day: May 2017

May was another very busy month, and I felt a bit overwhelmed. I guess my sentences make this quite obvious as I wrote a lot about grading and being busy... There also aren't as many photos as usual. In June I'll try to document more of the positive highlights of each day!

I'm very glad that I started joining Sarah and Leslie in writing one sentence a day in January. You can read my January sentences here, my February sentences here, my March sentences here, and my April sentences here.

Monday, May 1, 2017
We went to the park to play frisbee, but unfortunately, the kid twisted his ankle.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017
The kid had a miserable day at school with his twisted ankle.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
It's a super busy week, but I'm glad that I made it to the gym and really pushed myself.

Thursday, May 4, 2017
We went to a May-the-4th-Be-With-You-themed beerwalk with Andy, and it was fun to see many participants in Star Wars costumes.

Campbell Star Wars Beerwalk

Friday, May 5, 2017
I got a new haircut as I was getting tired of the same old, same old for years; we decided to cut some pretty short layers and grow out my bangs.

Saturday, May 6, 2017
I spent many hours grading, but we also went out to lunch and to a brewery where we played table tennis and chess and Andy had a beer; later in the day we went to the gym.

Sunday, May 7, 2017
Andy and I spent an hour in the patio cleaning and planting some more plants.

Monday, May 8, 2017
Another busy day of grading, but I'm thankful for my workout.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
We discovered a leak in the ceiling in the downstairs bathroom. Apparently, the upstairs toilet is leaking; not looking forward to the repair costs.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017
I collected yet another batch of writing assignments; I'm feeling exhausted yet the quarter isn't even half over yet...

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Another crazy day of grading...

Friday, May 12, 2017
We got the plumbing issue fixed (which was very expensive); now we'll have to get all the wood replaced...

Saturday, May 13, 2017
The kid went to a birthday party, and Andy and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Il Fornaio where I enjoyed a fantastic Ahi tuna salad with two salad dressings served in an egg.

Il Fornaio Ahi Tuna Salad

Sunday, May 14, 2017
It was a lazy day, and I loved that all my boys hung out with me; they also got me a beautiful Coach bag.

Brown Coach Tote

Monday, May 15, 2017
Another day of frantically grading the assignments for my Tuesday class.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
I didn't sleep well last night, so I was tired, exhausted and "foggy" all day long.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017
I didn't make it to the gym and didn't get 10,000 steps; I never feel very good on physically inactive days...

Thursday, May 18, 2017
Another busy day, but I made it to the gym!

Friday, May 19, 2017
I had a long but productive meeting at work, and then we met up with friends for dinner.

Saturday, May 20, 2017
Today was a quiet yet productive day; we also enjoyed our patio for several hours - often simple pleasures are the best!

Sunday, May 21, 2017
It was another quiet day; we also spent some time getting ready for the kid's school trip to Gold Country, which is very exciting!

Monday, May 22, 2017
We went out for dinner with the kid as he'll be going on his trip tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The kid left at 6:20 a.m.; I was excited for him but also quite sad...

Wednesday, May 24, 2017
It was strange not having the kid around....

Thursday, May 25, 2017
Andy left at 5:30 a.m. this morning to drive to Gold Country, where he'll be a chaperone for the last two days of the kid's camp; I was super busy grading huge stacks of paper but missed my boys dearly...

Friday, May 26, 2017
The boys came back from Gold Country!!! Unfortunately, the kid has a bad cold, and Andy didn't sleep all night. (Yes, I'm cheating here and writing more than one sentence).

Saturday, May 27, 2017
Today was a low-key day with lots of grading (me) and resting (the kid).

Sunday, May 28, 2017
Andy is now really sick as well, so it was another low-key day.

Monday, May 29, 2017
The boys are still quite sick, and I caught up on the mountain of papers to grade.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
The boys are still sick, my throat started hurting, and I have a runny nose.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
I'm feeling worse today and was very glad when I was done teaching my class and could rest.

Question: What were your highlights in May? Are you going to join us this month and write one sentence a day? It’s lots of fun to look back at the month; I promise.

Be well,

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Navy Blue and White

The other day the kid went to a birthday party at noon, and Andy and I decided to go on an impromptu date. If we don't take advantage of a few free hours here and there, we never go out by ourselves. It was a chilly day, and we ended up going to an Italian restaurant; it was very nice to get away and enjoy some adult time and delicious food.

I decided to wear my new(ish) navy and white blazer, white jeans, a blue/white polka dot blouse and a skinny blue/white scarf.

Navy Blue and White Blazer  

I like the outfit, but I do realize that the scarf pushes it quite a bit in the direction of a flight attendant uniform...  So next time I would probably not wear the scarf but a statement necklace instead...

Navy Blue and White Blazer
This post contains affiliate links, and benefits from actions taken on the links.

Questions: Do you like navy and white together? What colors are you wearing today? 

Be well,

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Simply Earth Essential Oils Natural DIY Beauty Products

Several weeks ago, I was contacted by Simply Earth and asked if I was interested in reviewing their Essential Oil Recipe Box for free. The ingredients in the box I received allow you to mix your own natural beauty products with 100% pure essential oils. I am very interested in what I put on my skin and have been wanting to try essential oils for a while now and therefore said yes. As always, all opinions in this post are my own.

Simply Earth* is a subscription box that has a new theme every month. The box I received allows you to mix different beauty products. 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 five essential oils, containers, and six 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.

The box arrived smelling great - just a faint hint of the essential oils that were inside! In the box I received were the following products:
  • Geranium oil
  • Cypress oil 
  • Juniper berry oil 
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Castile soap
  • Camellia seed oil (a carrier oil)
  • 2 roller bottles
  • 6 recipe cards

I was very excited when I saw the recipe cards; they are beautiful, and I looked forward to making several of the recipes right away. Here are the recipes my box included:

  • Body scrub
  • Makeup remover
  • Under eye serum
  • Natural shampoo & body wash
  • Natural conditioner 
  • Natural facial cleanser

The first recipe I made was the body scrub.

I love the simple ingredients, and the scrub smells amazing and works very well. Plus, it's very easy to mix the oils with regular kitchen ingredients - sugar and honey. It's definitely my new go-to scrub.

The box even comes with little stickers for each of the recipes included. I stored my body scrub in an old marmalade glass and added the sticker to the lid.

The second recipe I made right away was the under eye serum. My under eye area is definitely a part of my body I pay special attention to. While I want a product that works, I also worry about the side effects of the ingredients in many products. In fact, I’ve been using an under eye cream that works quite well, but I won’t buy it again because I don’t like the ingredients and their potential side effects. I love the simple ingredients of the under eye serum, and it does hydrate my under eye area very well. I also like that the box comes with convenient roller bottles, which is perfect for storing and applying the oil.

Simply Earth Essential Oils Recipe Box

I have been intrigued by subscription boxes for a while now, but the items in most boxes don't entirely interest me as they often include products I know I'll never use. The Simply Earth Essential Oils Recipe Box* is different 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'm already planning to use some different oils in my next batch of body scrub, and I'm also looking into using the oils I received to make a natural bug repellent! Finally, I like that even though this is a subscription box service, there is some flexibility in terms of frequency of boxes, pausing, or even just buying a single box.

Simply Earth Coupon Code

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

A FREE OIL ($10 or less) on your first purchase! Shipping not included.
A FREE DIFFUSER when you subscribe to the monthly Essential Oil Recipe Box.
*The code can only be used once and not on the same product.

The Coupon Code is: ANDREALEEFREE

Questions: Have you ever tried essential oils? If so, what did you use them for? Have you ever made your own beauty products? If so, what did you make? Finally, have you ever signed up for a subscription box? I never have, but I've been curious for a while, and I'm really tempted by the Simply Earth box as I know I'd use the products in it...

Be well,

*Disclosure: I received the Simply Earth Essential Oils Recipe Box for free. As always, all opinions are my own. After trying the box, I was offered to become an ambassador and because I believe in the products, I accepted. That means that if you sign up through one of my links, I will earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Striped Skirt in Livermore Valley Wine Country

It seems like we are making a lot of trips to Livermore Valley Wine Country lately. I think it’s because it’s not too far (less than an hour from Silicon Valley) and usually not overly crowded. Plus, I love the scenery and the open space that’s everywhere…

A few weeks ago, we spent a relaxing afternoon at one of our favorite Livermore Valley Wine Country wineries. We enjoyed barbecued food, a little wine and some corn hole. I remember years ago, when we were younger, a visit to wine country always meant stopping by multiple wineries. But as we are getting older, one winery is enough…

I decided to wear a striped skirt that I bought last year on clearance and hadn’t worn yet. The skirt has grey and off-white stripes, and I was a bit uncertain what to pair it with. In the end, I decided on a black t-shirt, but I look forward to experimenting a bit more. Let me know if you have any ideas in the comments!

For a bit of color, I added red accessories: a red necklace, red sandals, and a red bag.

I’m not sure why I decided to play corn hole with my bag on my shoulder...

I love the wine country landscape…

Question: What should I wear with the skirt next? I need some ideas...

Be well,