Mother’s Day Gift Guide


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Here’s a roundup of three gift ideas for Mother’s Day… I personally use and love each of them!

Clean Beauty: This Spring, Care Skincare launched The Everything Multi-Level Moisturizer. This multi-functional formula nourishes, hydrates and repairs the skin, providing the benefits of a serum in the comfort of a cream. Key ingredients in The Everything Multi-Level Moisturizer include: Hyaluronic Acid, collagen peptides, fermented black tea, turmeric, Vitamin C and antioxidants.

Care. products are developed by a team of world-class experts who formulate highly effective skincare that addresses the skin’s most important needs in a straightforward, simple way. They sell directly to consumers, avoiding retail markups and costs. The most expensive thing about Care Skincare products is each best-in-class formula, crafted with high quality ingredients. All products in the Care Skincare line were developed by a team of world-class experts using high quality ingredients that strictly adhere to the brand’s clearly communicated standards for “Clean Beauty.”

Coastal Coaster: It’s May — time to get ready for warm weather and sunshine! What better way to do so than updating your living space to set this bright and breezy mood? Sometimes it’s the smallest details that have the biggest impact. Take in the scents of summer with candles by Mer|Sea. Their #1 bestselling Saltaire Splash Coaster Candle delivers a spicy mineral aroma reminiscent of the salty air. In addition to scenting your living space with a cool and scented aroma, the candle comes with a stunning polished agate coaster adding a natural element to any room.

CBD starter kit: Cannaisseur Brands is re-launching its topically applied terpene-rich CBD Essentials product line with new branding, logo and packaging. The brand was founded by CBD industry expert and advocate Aryn Sieber, who consults with physicians and patients nationwide on the responsible use and medicinal benefits of cannabis. Sieber became a sought-after professional leader in the industry after using cannabis during his own battle with Stage IV cancer. CBD Essentials topically applied products are lab-formulated, third-party tested, and batch numbered to ensure quality and consistency. All CBD Essentials products feature Sieber’s award-winning flower and meet the federal requirements of the 2018 Farm Bill, which mandates that all CBD-infused products are derived from dried Cannabis Sativa L. plant material that contain less than 0.3 percent THC to be legal in the United States.

I’ve blogged about CBD products before, but if you’re new to the concept, here’s a great summary: CBD is non-psychoactive. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that act on cannabinoid receptors in cells in the human body that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain. Ligands or bonding molecules for these receptor proteins include endocannabinoids which are naturally produced in the body. Terpenes refer to a class of compounds found in nearly every plant species including cannabis. They have been shown to influence many biological activities—including reduction of inflammation, reduced sensitivity to pain, and reduced anxiety. Terpenes and cannabinoids share a common biochemical precursor, giving them the ability to bind with different biological substances in the body, including receptors and enzymes.

Real-world testing has shown CBD to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and to act as an antibacterial, antitumoral and antimicrobial. Studies also have shown that CBD can balance oil production in the skin. Furthermore, because the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is critically responsible for the life cycle of basal skin cells, some treatments encourage the ECS with topically applied CBD in an effort to help regulate the production of healthy skin. (It is important to note that therapeutic statements for CBD products are not yet evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.)


Baby’s First Haircut


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Baby Knox turned one earlier this month and it was high-time to get his very first haircut! I’ve blogged before about how great Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids – Northwest Hills is with kids, so we went back there for lil’ man’s first trim. Here is his “Before” shot:Knox Haircut 1

–His hair looks so shaggy, teehee! (Was I in denial about how bad a cut was needed here?) It’s hard to realize when the babies actually need a haircut, when it’s their first time ever, right? Next step was to put on his cape & assess how much I wanted to cut off…Knox Haircut 3

The stylist combed through his hair and made her suggestions but always checked with me first…which is a huge relief knowing no major changes will be done without mama’s approval!Knox Haircut 4

His sides were the biggest issue — he was born with hair that came down over his ears! I can’t believe his long it had gotten…note the little toy they gave him to hold & chew as a distraction. 🙂
Knox Haircut 7

They were cleaned up first and WOW what a difference! It was crazy to see it all trimmed up. This is the point in the process where I realized he’s beginning to not look so baby-like anymore! Here’s what it looked like mid-way through:Knox haircut 11

Tackling the back was next and that was the hardest part. –He was squirming like active baby boys do. Plus, he’s just too young to follow a “stay still” direction from me. The stylist suggested I hold him at this stage and it worked pretty well.Knox Haircut 12

Between the bright Cars-themed chair, the little shark toy, and his sweet & knowledgable stylist, he came out A-OK and looking a little older (sniff, sniff) than when we came in. Another milestone in the books — yay for baby’s first haircut! Thank you, Sharkey’s!Knox Haircut 10

Wake, Pray, Slay with these morning-routine helpers


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In addition to making a commitment to certain lifestyle changes like regular workouts, going back to work, and guided mediation (which I wrote all about in my latest for Austin Moms Blog), I am also trying to be intentional about my morning routine in particular. I skip an alarm altogether and sleep as long as possible –until about 7 a.m.– when woken by my baby boy. –I’m starting to see that I really should to start waking up around 6 to get my day going the right way! Ugh. But until then, at the suggestion of motivational speaker Ed Mylett, one thing crazy thing I’ve started doing is taking a cold shower in the mornings. Actually, it’s just 30 seconds of cold water at the end, but he says it activates your body and helps you feel alive. –I’ve been doing it for about a week now and I can attest that it works — definitely an effective wake up call! Here are some other new additions to my morning routine:

  1. Glow-Giving Serum: Beautytap, the premier destination for Korean beauty education, advice, content, community, and premium luxury beauty products, has just unveiled Afterglow Ampoule, the first release from its luxury product line: AZN Labs. The “Seoul” of this line was designed with three core concepts in mind: ingredients, science, and effectiveness. Afterglow Ampoule represents the perfect combination of J-Beauty & K-Beauty, thanks to the use of traditional floral ingredients found in the best K-beauty products, and the careful use of Astaxanthin, a vibrant red keto-carotenoid naturally created in rainwater microalgae and containing 6,000% the potency of Vitamin C. Astaxanthin is traditionally used in Japanese beauty products for its anti-aging properties.AZN Labs
  2. Local honey with CBD: Grassroots Harvest, an Austin-based company that makes all kinds of high-end CBD products, sent me their newest offering: honey infused with CBD! Grassroots Harvest offers high-quality, sustainably sourced solutions that are crafted in small batches.  This little honey pot contains of 100% organic hemp-derived CBD and raw Central Texas honey. For anyone in the area, I love the added bonus of it being local honey, too! #allergies –Adding this as the sweetener to my morning coffee gives me an anxiety-free start to the day.Grassroots Harvest
  3. Breakfast Bars that are actually good: Ideally, the convenience of a grab-n-go breakfast bar would be perfect for my busy mornings. But here’s the catch: I just can’t choke ’em down — I don’t like most of them on the market. These new bars by Dang Foods are different: not too sweet, not too crumbly, not a candy bar in disguise. Dang Bars are low carb, Keto-approved, and plant-based. With cocoa butter, coconut, almond butter and chia seeds, this low carb bar fits the ideal macros for the Keto diet: 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% net carbs. Now, I’m not personally following the Keto diet but can definitely appreciate the healthful aspects of it. I am happy to have found a bar that is actually tasty & satisfying as an on-the-go breakfast solution.Dang breakfast bars

Feel Refreshed in the New Year


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I do love the fresh start that a new year brings. Besides the mental & emotional refocus, I (like so many) set a resolution that targets my physical self. My motivation? We have the opportunity to go to Hawaii not once, but twice this summer. I want to feel fab in my bathing suit and feel as healthy as ever on the beach. My New Year’s mantra? Three words: Peace, Happiness, Energy. Here are some products helping me get there:

Hi-tech facials: I’m a big fan of facials because they are so relaxing & peaceful AND you come out glowing & hydrated! It’s like a two-for-one: you get the chance to unwind while your skin is being cared for and treated. In Austin, Ideal Image‘s new Parmer location offers professional-grade facials using customized Elemis skincare products. I recently tried one out and the tools they used were so hi-tech! Really, I felt like their technology is at the forefront of the latest & greatest offerings within the ‘beauty’ category. Everything from ultrasonic devices, LED light therapy, and crazy-unique masks were utilized to help what I wanted to address with my skin. Here is a pic of me with one of the interesting masks on…the ingredients for it had to be mixed right before use and turned into a sort-of semi-solid foam on my face…wild! These facials and Elemis products are only available at the new location, 6301 W. Parmer Lane Unit #507, Austin, TX 78729.facial

CDB products: I’ve been intrigued by the uses & benefits to CBD oil for several months now and am excited to see more & more products including it! I’ve tried some sublingual drops but am really eager to try out these bath bombs by CBD Living. They contain 60 mg of nano-CBD, are vegan-friendly and use only natural fragrances for that post-workout soak. For sore muscles & body aches, the Freeze roll-on includes 120 mg of full-spectrum nano-CBD, as well as cooling menthol and tea tree oil for immediate soothing and extended pain relief. cbd living

Scalp Soothers: This time of year, my scalp can get itchy…actually, not just my scalp but my skin all over gets itchy. I think it’s a combination of winter dryness and our tap water where we live. Apparently the water here has one of the highest levels of Chloramine in it. For some, that can cause itchy skin after a shower. This line of products has helped. After two decades of research and development and eight years of success overseas – Kamedis (pronounced KaMEDis) has brought back its clinically proven, dermatologist-endorsed botanical skin care products to the U.S.dandruff therapy shampoo

What is your New Year’s Resolution? Any products or mantras helping you reach your goals? Please share!

Family Photos at McKinney Falls


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Wanted to share some highlights from our recent family photo shoot… Ryan and I still look at each other in amazement that we have two kids! Alexandra turned 4 earlier this month and Knox turns 1 in just a couple weeks. bnp-01







We shot with Brittany Nicole Photography at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, TX. Think you to Dry Society styling lounge for the amazing blowout!


Grand Opening Party for Sharkey’s Austin


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Sharkey's Intro.jpgToday my daughter & I were invited to attend the Grand Opening celebration for the Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids new location in Northwest Hills – Austin. They had raffle drawings for free haircuts for a year & a free glamour birthday party package, balloons, face-painting, food & drinks and more. Here’s a shot of my little one getting her “rainbow princess” face paint and in the background you can see the pretty fairytale frocks the girls get to play dress-up in at birthday parties.Sharkey's face paintingIf all that rainbow-bling weren’t enough to send my tot into heartsparkle over-drive, they also paint their nails. Of course she chose purple glitter polish. Oh, AND it was done while she sat in a Frozen-themed Jeep. –She couldn’t stop smiling! 🙂  Sharkey's nail paintingWe also squeezed in my daughter’s second-ever haircut in the middle of all the fun. There are no corners cut when providing these kids’ their haircuts — they do a nice wash in the shampoo bowl, wet cut, blow-dry, a dry-cut for touch-ups, and then the stylist even put a tiny little braid in her hair afterward.AA haircutSee, the Sharkey’s name carries a lot of weight because they are so good with kids, and especially special-needs kids, too. They do lots of little things that the kids love, like playing on-demand their choice of favorite Netflix show at each cutting station! And for the older boys, there’s Xbox too.Sharkey's TVIn the past, many families in my neighborhood would travel all the way to Cedar Park to visit our area’s only other Sharkey’s for their kids’ haircuts. In fact, my daughter’s very first haircut (which was right around her 3rd birthday) was at that location. We were thrilled to hear there was a brand new one opening up much closer to us at the intersection of 360 & 2222. Sharkey’s salons already hold a special place in my heart, but this new spot exceeded my expectations. The facility is clean & bright, the staff was talented & positive, the owner was kind & thoughtful and the new location is perfect for us!Sharkey's last pic

My Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks


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Currently underway and officially open to the public on July 20th, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is one of my favorite shopping events of the year. This time around, I took out all the fluff and went with staples that will last for years. Picked up items mostly for my kids: winter jackets, school shoes, etc. Plus, some tall black boots for Mama!

Stuart Weitzman boots: You’ll usually find at least one Stuart Weitzman boot as part of the #NSale — I have a navy pair that I love and have been eyeing a tall black boot from this brand for years. Stuart Weitzmans start at a high price point and it’s rare to find their good styles on sale. I couldn’t decide which style to choose, so I was advised to just order both &  return one. –These will sell out quick!

Boots 2

Boots 1

Patagonia Jackets:  These ultra-lightweight, packable jackets are surprisingly super warm. The weight is perfect for our winters in Austin, Texas. Again, this is a staple that rarely goes on clearance. Love the basic black color, too — goes with everything. They have them in most sizes so you can outfit the whole family…we purchased these pictured below for my husband and daughter. The hubs liked that his came with a generous sleeve length to cover his long arms.mens patagonia jacket

Girls Patagonia Jacket

New Shoes for the Kids: We purchased the Girl’s Adidas Superstar sneakers for our rainbow-loving daughter. The classic Adidas 3-stripes are holographic & add a bit of spunk to this classic shoe. We’ll keep ’em bright & shiny for the rest of the summer and let her have them as her new preschool shoes. For my infant son, I went with the Freshly Picked oxfords. These are the only type of shoes that stay on his lil’ kicky feet. They come in a perfect neutral color that’s sure to match all of his Fall baby clothes.Superstar Sneakers

Freshly Picked

Results from the 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge + a free gift for readers!


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We have come to the conclusion of my 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge with Anjum Hanafi, Independent Consultant at Rodan + Fields. And I must say, I have an appreciation for my skin unlike never before. Before I tried these products, I was at war with my face: constantly fighting off breakouts, dullness, oil production, dry flaky patches, and appearance of fine lines. Due to a variety of factors (hormone changes, lack of sleep, lifestyle change, and just from general aging) I never knew what face I’d wake up to in the morning. Plus, the unpredictability of it all was aggravating my postpartum anxiety! Now, through this skin care regime, I feel like I’m working WITH my skin, feeding it what it needs, and creating a harmony of hydration and health. There are few surprises these days and I’m grateful for that.

R + FOk, regarding my issues I was hoping to address:

  • Dullness: Completely gone. I feel I’m rocking a healthy glow once more and there is a nice color in my cheeks. Even on nights where the baby wakes up THREE TIMES (and once for the toddler, too!) I don’t experience that showing up in my face the next morning.
  • Flakiness/Dry patches: Completely gone. The surface texture has totally evened out and I’m back to my regular homeostasis of normal-to-oily skin. The combination of oily in some places and super dry in others was confusing to me (I didn’t know what to put on my face!) and it’s nice to just reach for one go-to product that handles it all.
  • Old acne scars: Fading. Both the subtle pockmarks and not-so-subtle dark spots are continuing to even-out.
  • Fine lines: When I turned 33, I got my first wrinkle. My tall forehead wrinkles up with certain expressions and one of the lines finally just stayed there. However, –and I can’t believe it– but the roller smooths out that one pesky line. If this continues to work, I’ll keep to my personal promise of putting off the Botox until age 40.

Intensive Renewing SerumAdditionally, one product comes in the kit I received but wasn’t used in the challenge. I’m breastfeeding & it’s not recommended, so I had to hold off. BUT, it is amazing and award-winning and deserves a mention: R+F’s all new re-vamped Intensive Renewing Serum is all the rage — even featured in the April ’18 edition of Oprah’s O Magazine! The highest concentration of Vitamin A available on the market without a prescription, this powerful tiny daily-dose blue capsule packs a punch. Many Vitamin A serums on the market are too much for sensitive skin but this product is specifically formulated for even the most sensitive skin and works to visibly firm, smooth and revitalize the skin. It reduces the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles and the individual capsules ensure the product says fresh at every application.

Best part– my neighbor Anjum is running a special just for Blog Joie de Vivre readers: Get a FREE gift with any $80+ purchase! Y’all can choose from their Body Moisturizer, Foaming Sunless Tanner or Body Sunscreen. Here’s a simple & quick one-minute skin questionnaire with direct recommendations from the dermatologists…just fill it out as your first step and she’ll arrange your free exclusive gift.

June Update: 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge


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Welcome to the middle of my 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge…I am happy to report I am seeing improvement! The area that is showing up most significantly are in the acne scars along my cheeks. To illustrate it best, I tried to take a pic that’s back-lit and from the side to show off the texture. Subtle improvement, but the results are something I’ve never been able to achieve through any facial or topical cream, prescription or otherwise. Very excited to continue ‘rolling’ as I think the surface texture of my skin will continue to even out. No difference in fine lines yet, but honestly wrinkles are the least of my skin-specific worries.Acne Scars, one month inThe little roller has been a bit of an adventure to use. I mean, there ARE ACTUAL NEEDLES that you’re rolling across your face! The sensation kind of surprised me at first, but I quickly got used to the feeling and now look forward to ‘rolling’ at night. You move in up/down and side-to-side motions and the process only takes one minute to cover the entire face. It needs to be rinsed with warm water after each use and submerged into an effervescent tablet solution (just like dentures, teehee!) twice a week.Active Hydration SerumRegarding the Active Hydration Serum (pictured above), it has been a process getting my skin used to that level of moisture. As first, my skin felt sticky after each application. It was as if the skin was absorbing it very slowly. The product never sat on my skin and looked greasy, though (which has happened before with over-the-counter night creams). After a month of use, the clear serum formula is absorbed right away – as if my skin recalibrated & now accepts the product very well. I’m really enjoying the consistency of the lightweight formula – no residue on my fingers and my skin drinks it right up. I shouldn’t call it ‘lightweight’ though, because the product is actually quite an intense moisturizer! Plus, the cool applicator tool distributes the exact right amount for each use. My internal image of skin “dullness” is gone and the pesky flaky patches have vanished.  ~More updates in another month! 🙂




60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge


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Any reader of this blog knows I’m an avid tester of the latest skincare products. I absolutely love to try out new serums, creams, & cleansers and then share my reviews with y’all. My neighbor Anjum knows this, too, and suggested I give Rodan + Fields a try. She is a huge advocate of this line and sells it with great success. She prompted me to use certain personalized products and commit to them for 2 months — or, the 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge. Because even with all the fun products that are sent to me for review, I still don’t exactly “love” my skin.
Acne ScarsThrough this challenge, we’re hoping to tackle a couple of issues I’m currently dealing with: acne scars and dullness. –Anyone in the same boat? I’m in my mid-thirties and finally the pimples I’ve dealt with my whole life are starting to subside. BUT, I’m left with subtle scarring, or slight pockmarks that show up at the right angle & in some lights. More noticeably, I have scarring that manifests as dark spots…those fade over time, but we’re talking MONTHS. My dermatologist told me the scarring could be addressed by a series of microneedling services. (Since I’m breastfeeding, there’s a lot of products and procedures I need to steer clear of for now.) Microneedling is safe, but the price tag is scary! The packages at my dermatologist’s office started around $800. Luckily R + F makes a roller than is basically the same idea but can be used on yourself in the convenience of your own home.R + F RollerThe AMP MD Roller, Rodan + Fields micro-exfoliating roller, is designed to help the skin heal itself. As the micro-needles move across your skin (don’t worry, they don’t hurt!), signals are sent to the brain to “SEND COLLAGEN!” Collagen is what heals our wounds and gives our skin strength & elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. The micro-needles also create channels in our skin allowing any skincare products applied after to be absorbed quicker & deeper, creating results for a firmer tone, smoother texture, and a reduced appearance of lines & wrinkles!

The second skincare issue I’m hoping to rectify is dullness. This could be just a case of life with a newborn and general postpartum skin changes. I just feel like my skin is lacking luminosity. –I guess once you have that ‘pregnancy glow’ and then proceed to see it fade, you want it back, haha! Now, I haven’t been able to keep up with my facials over the last few months, so I know a contributing factor here is the lack of regular exfoliation. But Anjum tells me hydration is a major component in dealing with skin dullness. Again, since I’m breastfeeding she had to stick within certain ingredient boundaries but we found something that should work fabulously for me in their Active Hydration Serum.R + F AHSActive Hydration Serum (AHS) is a hydrating, oil-free serum that increases the hydration level in our skin. Often times, we apply moisturizer to our skin, thinking this will help with hydration. Moisturizers, in fact, only seal in EXISTING hydration — they do NOT add hydration to the skin! As we age, our level of skin hydration decreases, causing our skin to look dull and (dare I say it) droopy. AHS adds hydration into the skin, and when your skin is hydrated, it looks more vibrant, glowing, and smooth! AHS is formulated to benefit all skin types.

So, here begins Day 1 of our 60-Day Love Your Skin Challenge! I’ll keep ya posted during the journey and share my progress. –Interested in joining me? –Want to FINALLY love your skin? Check out the products here and reach out to Anjum on Instagram or Facebook. She’s always available to answer any skincare questions or recommend the right products.