Life[style]: January

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Happy new year!  2015 is set-up to be one of the best years of my life.  Lots of HUGE life moments are on tap:  new baby, new house, new car, trading the downtown buzz for hill country living, and more.  I’m not really making a specific resolution for the upcoming year, just simply praying, staying positive & keeping my hopes up that all these big life changes go smoothly.  I’m feeling so blessed and fortunate to have just recently become a first time mom…it’s almost too much emotion to fathom.

Instead, I want to blog about new years resolutions in general and the small steps I’m working on to eventually create a larger-scale lifestyle change.  With a new baby to consider, health & wellness is resurfacing as a matter of importance in my household.  With new year’s resolutions, people tend to focus on diets but I want to focus on what I put ON my body as much as what I put IN my body.  Now, eating clean & healthy is always top-of-mind but very often, I pay little attention to the other ways harmful chemicals & icky junk can enter the body.  Luckily, my favorite place to shop for healthy food, Whole Foods Market, is also one of the best places to shop for healthy body products.  I did some exploratory product shopping in their Whole Body department over the weekend and found some tiny changes to make to my beauty routine in 2015:

1.  Continue using ‘natural’ deodorant:  Now, this is an old resolution that’s turned into a 2-year habit, but it’s one I’m compelled to share my experience with…  First, let me say that I live in a super-hot climate so if I can make it work in the sweat-inducing Texas heat, you can too.  I know it sounds scary, but I really encourage everyone to switch from daily applications of regular antiperspirant to an aluminum-free deodorant.  I mean, who really needs to shellac-shut their sweat glands everyday?  In the beginning, I kind-of felt like it took some time for my armpits to adjust to ‘breathing’ normally again.  Was there more sweat than ever or was it all in my self-conscious head?  Either way, winter is the perfect season to begin the transition.  There is all kind of scary research linking the chemicals in traditional antiperspirants with breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and actually increased perspiration, so I’ll spare regurgitating the claims and instead just encourage ya to make the switch.  Skip the crystal/rock type (we don’t need to go THAT natural!) and try out my current fave, Every Man Jack.  I switched it up this time around with the Citrus flavor, but Sandalwood is their best scent — so subtle, sophisticated, and woodsy fresh.Every Man Jack deodorant at Whole Foods Market

2.  From the pits to the face:  Test out a natural foundation.  Don’t get it twisted:  I’ll NEVER give up my NARS Orgasam blush or my MAC eyeshadows — organic or not, there are just some beauty products I refuse to give up.  However, as that first layer resting up against the skin, I figure foundation is a good area consider switching up.  Of all the products I put on my face, foundation covers the most area & is more easily absorbed into pores.  This BB cream by Andalou Naturals is purely a shot in the dark — it was what I needed and on sale, so I went for it.  It sounds fun, though, utilizing fruit stem cells to renew, repair, and regenerate.  It’s GMO-free, harnesses the power of apple & grape stem cells, superfruit berries for antioxidants, and organic aloe for soothing hydration.  I’m excited to try it out!  Oh, and if anyone has any first-hand product recommendations in this category, please do share.Natural BB cream at Whole Foods Market

3.  Next, a product that covers the most square footage:  change up the body wash.  If we’re talking the importance of what goes on your body, there is nothing else that is exposed to more ground than your body wash, right?  This one by Seaweed Bath Co. smells divine in an oh-so-lifelike Lavender.  Basically landed on this one for the scent but it also boasts amazing ingredients like seaweed, coconut oil, neem oil, and spirulina.  Who knew SEAWEED (of all things!) is a powerful way to nourish skin?  And yeah, of course it’s a special specific type of seaweed that’s like, harvested by hand in Maine…typical Whole Foods, lol!Seaweed Body Wash at Whole Foods Market

Good luck working on & keeping up your new year’s resolutions, friends.  May you have a healthy, happy & whole 2015!

 

 

 

Dapper Dad \\ lunch & coffee downtown

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Dapper Dad

Launching a new series today!  I just had to start documenting the joie de vivre I get from my well-dressed husband.  When I saw him don this magenta oxford, I decided today was the day to put him on the blog.  He’s gotten more & more into fashion, proper fit, and quality-over-quantity over the last few years and I admire his sartorial refinement.  He enjoys dressing well, but is annoyed by my impromptu photography sessions.  No matter, he’s gotta do it for me — penance for having a better shoe collection than I do.

Magenta oxford by Bonobos

Ferragamo Drivers

Shirt:  Rhodes Collar Solid Oxford in Magenta, Slim fit by Bonobos

Pants:  Stretch Washed Chino in Jet Blues, Straight Leg by Bonobos

Shoes:  Parigi Suede Gancini Driver, Brown Suede by Salvatore Ferragamo

Socks:  Mens socks in fair isle print by ASOS

 

My Holiday Picks, Nordstrom edition

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Now that Black Friday & Cyber Monday are under our belts, do we have our holiday shopping all wrapped up?  Um, no.  We –cough, cough– did a lot of shopping for ourselves on those days.  –The deals were just too good to pass up, y’all!  However, I managed to cross my parents’ gifts off the list, so it wasn’t ALL for us.

If you’re a Nordstrom Rewards member, they’re offering amazing promotions this month.  From a choose-your-own Personal 10 Points Day to a Private Holiday Shopping Party, they are making it quite tempting to shop them exclusively this holiday season.  Our Austin Private Holiday Shopping Party at Barton Creek Square is tonight, actually, and here are some of my personal holiday picks:

Holiday Picks:  Nordstrom Rewards

(clockwise from top left)

1.  Fresh ‘Favorites’ Set:  For the longest time I wondered why Fresh was trying to charge so much for what I saw as glorified chapstick, but this “lip treatment” has a bona-fide cult-following status and I’m curious to see what the rage is all about.  Plus, value sets like this one are a fun way to dive in and explore a beauty brand’s top sellers.  ($28)

2.  Ugg Slippers:  My hubs has a man-version of these house shoes — he’s been wearing them on the daily and now I’m jealous & want some of that comfy cozy footwear action for myself.  ;)  These by Ugg are crafted from luxe materials in glitzy leopard print…kind of a splurge to buy for yourself but they would make a functional yet fabulous present for the lady of the house.  ($119.95)

3.  Yves Saint Laurent Eye Essentials Set:  For the same reason that I’ve been eyeing the Fresh set above, I’m also intrigued by this one.  Their well-reviewed Touche Eclat under-eye highlighter has been on my radar for awhile now & this is a good way to sample it & other offerings from luxurious beauty brand YSL.  ($41)

4.  Little Giraffe Chenille Blanket:  I received one of these at my Austin baby shower and it is the softest little blankie I’ve ever touched!  Can’t wait to wrap our little girl up in its sweet softness.  They are top-rated (5-stars all around), washable, moms love them (because their babies love them!) and makes the perfect gift for the ‘New Mom’ or ‘Baby’s 1st Christmas’ category.  ($68)

5.  Kendra Scott ‘Elisa’ Drusy Pendant Necklace:  Of course I’ve gotta put some Kendra Scott on my list!  I’ve seen these necklaces on ladies around Austin (my mom has one in an Iridescent Cobalt, in fact) and let me tell ya:  they sure do sparkle beautifully.  I chose to picture the ‘Gunmetal’ color here…I have some KS drusy earrings in Gunmetal and get compliments on them all the time.  Because it’s sparkly white it doesn’t photograph so well but my favorite color of this necklace is actually the Iridescent drusy…how to describe it? –literally looks like you’re wearing a magical fairytale snowflake.  ($65)

6.  Cake ‘Cotton Candy’ Seamless Nursing Bra:  –What can I say?  When they’re giving me 10 rewards points per every dollar spent, I’ll go ahead and stock up on some essentials, right?  With our baby due next month & planning to breastfeed, I know I’ll be needing a good non-binding nursing bra for daily wear around the house.  This one is reasonably priced and boasts rave customer reviews so that was enough for me to get it ordered (in beige) & on its way.  Now, we just need little Baby Wiese to make her world debut!  ($49)

Life[style]: November

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This month, Texas experienced its first Arctic cold front of the season and baby, it was cold outside!  I loved our temps in the 30s & 40s, actually…finally got to wear my chic new winter coat and bust-out my cozy fall sweaters.  Here are some other highlights of November that are brightening my holiday season:

1.  Friendsgiving hostess gifts:  The weekend before last was my baby shower in Houston and the trip marked the last time I’m leaving Austin before baby arrives.  Unfortunately, that means no traveling to family for the holidays!  :(  Not having Thanksgiving dinner with our parents will be different, but different can be good, right?  Thankfully, we were invited to attend a ‘Friendsgiving’ on Thanksgiving Day in Austin, so we wont be all alone.  Ryan is planning to bring along a bottle of Cab Franc from one of his favorite vineyards, Trefethen.  I’m gifting our hostess with my new go-to teacher/nurse/hostess/thank you gift:  the Monogram Mug from Anthropologie.  At just $8, not only is this little token of appreciation budget-friendly, but it’s personalized, multi-use, and goes with almost every decor.  Plus, every lady loves to unwrap a little something from Anthro, right?  I appreciate that they’re great given alone or you can personalize it further by filling it with other fun trinkets the recipient would enjoy.  I like to think of it like a modern, mini gift basket…and everyone is gaga over all-things monogrammed these days.  Bonus: for a couple bucks more, snag one of the limited edition versions in GOLD — so pretty for the holidays!hostess gifts: Trefethen cab and monogram mug

2.  Styling the bump:  A cute part of the weather change is that my baby bump is really starting to show and it’s so fun dressing it up for the season!  I’m soaking up the love from strangers I meet…now that I finally really look pregnant, it’s heartwarming to hear the compliments & well wishes for our little one.  Ryan took these photos of me during our Babymoon in Half Moon Bay, CA.  SkinnyTees basic tank review

I wanted to share that a valuable layering piece I’m wearing underneath both of these looks is my basic white tank sent to me by SkinnyTees.  SkinnyTees offers a collection of seamless tanks, tees, tops, skirts, dresses, bandeaus, leggings and active wear and their products are perfect for that in-between period during and post-pregnancy.  With plenty of material to cover the entire bump, there’s no rolling or riding up here!  Previously, I was living in my Shimera 2-way Seamless Tanks from Nordstrom but for now, the SkinnyTees seamless tank wins out due to the longer length and flattering cut.  seamless tank by SkinnyTees review

2.  Delice:  Arriving exclusively in Texas and Florida this month, this brand new bubbly from the sparkling experts at Chandon won’t be available nationally until February 2015.  Described as crisp & refreshing, they recommend it on its own or in a spritz over ice with a fresh garnish like mint, grapefruit or cucumber.  I was one of the first to receive a bottle of this debut cuvee — while it’ll be awhile before I can enjoy a glass or two myself, I was thrilled to be gifted with a bottle of champs whose name means ‘Delicious’ in French…perfect for Blog Joie de Vivre, no?  Cheers, y’all and Happy Thanksgiving! Delice by Chandon

#BirchboxTakesATX

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I was delighted to recently receive an invitation to a special dinner just for Austin bloggers hosted by Birchbox.  Last night, we gathered at West 6th restaurant Arro for a wonderful evening of dinner and drinks.  The girls of Birchbox treated a curated list of their favorite ATX bloggers & editors –their words, not mine. :)  …and yes, I was beyond flattered to hear that!–  to a wonderful evening of dining and networking.  I’m thrilled to have met & made live connections with some of my local social media pals, especially the girls from naturallycurly.com and wardrobe stylist Cristina Facundo (& Sara, her sister and local PR maven).  Additionally, I was proud to see that I was included in the company of Austin-based lifestyle blogging queen, Camille Styles.

My table buddies, Sara Facundo and Meredith Davis

Me with my table buddies, Sara Facundo and Meredith Davis

Our NYC-based hostesses pulled out all the stops:  we were served a welcome cocktail (or in my case, a fun mocktail), passed apps, charcuterie board, salad, and choice of entree & dessert.  I must mention that locally-owned French-casual favorite Arro never disappoints, so their choice of venue definitely solidified the fabulousity of our evening.  The place settings were personalized, the tablescape was adorned with cheerful floral arrangements, and obvi we were all giddy for the goody bags…filled with our own Birchbox, of course!Place setting at Arro for blogger dinner hosted by Birchbox

If the same amount of detail & attention goes into each Birchbox as they put into this dinner, then I’m certainly impressed!  In fact, I learned they have a huge testing culture, making sure every product that makes it into a Birchbox is tried & approved.  Oh, and if you’ve never heard of the concept, it’s pretty innovative:  for $10/month, you get monthly deliveries of personalized beauty, grooming, and lifestyle samples, tailored to your own profile.  You get exposure to try cult brands, up-and-coming lines, and their beauty bestsellers.  I could see their subscription service working really well for new moms, college girls, and transplants to a new city –it takes TIME to find the good beauty stores & trusted make-up artists, y’all!  For now, I’m inspired to go through my cosmetics bag and update it for Fall/Winter 2014 with the fresh fun products found inside my new Birchbox!

 

Life[style]: October

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Hope everyone had a lovely Fall weekend!  Blogging today from the shores of Lake Conroe at the La Torretta Resort.  On Friday morning, I had to take the dreaded 3-hour long glucose test (pregnancy-related test to check for gestational diabetes), so it was such a welcomed escape to jump in the car for a little staycation escape over the weekend.

1.  La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa:  Located about an hour north of Houston & 2.5 hours east of Austin, this Lake Conroe resort offers a ton of amenities at a great price.  Upon check-in, we received one of their Lake View Suites on the 17th floor — what a splendid view of the waterpark & lake!View from the Lake View Suites at La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa

Our first evening was enjoyed exploring the resort grounds…they have just about everything you could want in a vacation property.  My favorite features are their lazy river, room views, and lakeside location; Ryan is happy with the ESPN in HD, hot tub, and on-site dining options.  Our first night, we had dinner at their flagship restaurant, Lakeside Restaurant & Bar…we recommend the Spinach & Artichoke Dip appetizer and housemade cheesecake for dessert.  Saturday night was spent at the sushi bar watching the MLB World Series –Go Royals!– over a delish Philly Roll.  Finally, we capped off our evening at the lively piano bar for a little live music and people watching.

Part of me wishes we would’ve at least gotten out on the lake/rented a jetski or something, but between packing boxes for our upcoming move & all my pregnancy appointments back home, simply taking it easy and never leaving the resort property was exactly what we needed.  You can’t really tell so much from their web site, but the fitness center is huge and we were impressed with the variety of workout rooms & equipment options at our fingertips.  A good workout, soaking up a little sunshine, springing for room service, and a nice nap will do wonders for the soul, I tell ya.Sunset at La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa

2.  Organic Muscle Milk:  Being pregnant, my husband is always pushing for me to get more protein…he wants that baby to GROW! :)  Because their organic line is newly launched, I recently received a complimentary shipment of 2 four-pack cartons, one chocolate and one vanilla.  Besides endorsing this drink as a great way for me to get in those grams of muscle-building protein, the hubs loves this stuff too.  He gulped down both flavors eagerly, going for them as a breakfast on-the-go, post-workout protein supplement, and ‘just because’ as an afternoon snack…goes without saying, I had trouble keeping them stocked in the refrigerator.

I’m usually a chocolate girl but the vanilla is hands-down my favorite.  I had one of those crummy-feeling days a couple weeks ago, full of pregnancy symptoms like headache, nausea, and all-around lack of energy…was contemplating cancelling my afternoon beauty appt. just becuase I didn’t want to leave the bed.  After some self-coaching (get up! you can do it!), I peeled myself up and drank a muscle milk during the drive there.  –Must’ve been exactly what the doctor ordered, becuase I felt energized after finishing it and the delish vanilla flavor made me feel like I was treating myself to a milkshake!

Being organic is a game changer for me on these drinks, too.  I don’t know of many protein shakes that taste as good (especially while containing as much protein) while maintaing that USDA Organic stamp of approval.  Plus, they are low fat, low cholesterol and sweetened with organic cane sugar and organic stevia.  You can try Muscle Milk Organic Vanilla Protein Shakes at Target.

3.  Mustela:  I’m 29 weeks along now and among other pregnancy concerns, I’m in full-on stretch mark prevention mode.  The baby is estimated to weigh about 3 pounds at this point and is expected to triple in size during the third trimester!  Although my preg-o belly has been pretty small-ish so far, I know this bump is primed to really pop in the coming months.  My mom says she used olive oil to prevent stretch marks and I think I’ll follow her natural oil-based lead by experimenting with my organic coconut oil from Whole Foods.  Mostly, though I’m leaning on a stretch mark prevention cream by Mustela.  It’s a little pricey at just under $50, but I got mine with a 20% of coupon at buy buy BABY.  This one seems to be the most reputable:  successful in clinical trials, legit sounding active ingredients, and Paraben/Phthalate-free.  It’s worked so far…not a single stretch mark yet (fingers crossed my skin stays that way!)Mustela stretch mark prevention cream review

Surprise! It’s a…

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Last weekend, my husband and I threw a Ba-By-Q to celebrate the news of our pregnancy with our Texas friends & family.  Never heard of a “Ba-By-Q”?  –Think co-ed baby shower meets afternoon barbecue.  Since it was too soon to call it a baby shower, we deemed it a combo Diaper Party and Gender Reveal.  A Diapers & Dudes / Burgers, Beers & Baby kinda thing.  –I have Pinterest to thank for the idea, of course!  (If you’re on Pinterest too, I’d love to swap ideas…follow me here.)  It was just our luck that my in-laws rented out a casita at the UT Golf Club as their lodging for the occasion and they agreed to allow us to host the party out there.  The space was the perfect place to gather and we loved our weekend out in the hill country.Ba-By-Q Gender Reveal Party theme ideas

Since we would be revealing the sex of Baby Wiese to both our parents during the event, I wanted to create a comfortable atmosphere for guys and girls alike.  I feel like gender reveal parties can easily get a bit of a vanilla-sweet ladies lunch vibe, so I kept the day casual by serving sliders, hot dogs & cold beers.  But, it all had a tie-in with the theme:  the beer chest had a chalkboard “Huggies and Chuggies” sign and the white wine was labeled “Pampers and Pinot.”  Oh, and I couldn’t resist these Barefoot wines with their tiny baby foot imprints on pink & blue labels!Gender Reveal party ideas:  white wine with tiny baby feet on pink & blue labels

Although it was a grill-out, we kept it upscale by serving all organic foods & sodas, i.e. sliders were made of grass-fed, pasture-raised organic lean beef and the hot dogs were humanely raised uncured beef, made with no antibiotics or preservatives.  A rainbow of organic chopped fruit was served kabob-style and rather than a traditional sheet cake, dessert was comprised of mini bundt cakes (cupcake size) in a variety of flavors.  Have y’all tried Nothing Bundt Cakes?  –OMG, so good and moist!  I opted for three dozen of their little “Bundtinis” in chocolate/chocolate chip, red velvet (everyone’s favorite), white chocolate raspberry, and lemon.Baby Gender Reveal Party with mini cupcakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes

Now, for the highlight of the evening:  the big reveal!  We had our friends “Cast Your Vote and Wear It’ by signing a black foam board w/ chalk markers and don a boy or girl lanyard made of a cute little pink or blue lucite charm strung with matching baker’s twine.  Additionally, I drew up a board of clues to help everyone narrow it down…Clue Board for Gender Reveal Party

So…any guesses?!?  The “Old Wive’s Tales” where the responses would indicate boy are written in blue, and girl are obviously in pink.  As you can see, that gaggle of ol’ wives would predict we’re having a BOY.  To keep things interesting, I came up with a way for our voters to get some skin in the game:  I knew that after the reveal we’d be doing a champagne toast, so those who guessed correctly got to cheers with Moet & Chandon champagne from France…those who guessed wrong got Korbel sparking white wine from Cali. ;)

As to how the actual reveal would be done, I definitely did my research to find something new.  I’ve seen the cake-batter reveal (kinda anti-climactic, honestly) and the whole ‘releasing a box of balloons’ thing can easily go haywire (the balloons don’t always cooperate the way you hope ‘em to), so I settled on the balloon-pop idea.  Each set of Grandparents-to-Be got one opaque black balloon filled with either pink or blue confetti.  This way, each of our parents found out at the exact same time and the popping of the balloon visually revealed baby’s gender in a nice ‘Surprise!’ way to our guests.  Gotta say, it went over so well…our dads held the balloon steady while our mothers popped it with a toothpick on the count of three, and the silk rose petals I had placed inside flew into the air and fluttered slowly to the ground.  It was a complete shock to our parents and so much fun to see the excitement on their faces when they found out their future grandchild is a… Baby Gender Reveal Party:  balloon pop with confetti idea

GIRL!!!

Big thanks to those who flew in from out of state, who drove in from Houston, and to all who came out to Steiner Ranch for the party.  It was such a memorable day for our family and I am thankful to share it with each of you.

Pregnancy Announcement Photo Session, part two

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More maternity pics from our shoot with Laura Vogt Photography

I first felt the baby move at 18 weeks and now feel it moving around all the time.  Both my husband and my mother have felt Baby Wiese’s little kicks, too.  We find out the sex in just a few days!  Gender Reveal Party is in Austin on Sept. 6th.

Pregnancy Announcement PhotographyPregnancy Announcement PhotographyPregnancy Announcement Photography Pregnancy Announcement Photography Pregnancy Announcement Photography Pregnancy Announcement Photography

Pregnancy Announcement Photo Session, part one

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Now that we’ve officially announced the pregnancy, I thought I’d share some highlights from our pregnancy announcement photo session.  We were so lucky to be vacationing in the picturesque setting of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains at the same time as my Sister-in-Law, a talented photographer based in Tulsa, OK.  Laura of Laura Vogt Photography specializes in engagement, wedding, and boudoir photos with an ethereal, soft, romantic quality about them.  She does a lot of outdoor shoots in fields of flowers at sunset, beautifully capturing ‘golden hour’ to give her photographs the essence of a fairy tale.  She graciously took time out of her holiday to shoot some 800+ shots of us, which came out to one click every four seconds!  I’ve narrowed down my favorites and although totally unedited, they truly capture how I’m feeling right now.Pregnancy Announcement Photo Pregnancy Announcement #2 Pregnancy Announcement #3 Pregnancy Announcement #4 Pregnancy Announcement #5 Pregnancy Announcement #6

 

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