Monday, November 9, 2009


It is a busy season, with the holidays coming and going at lightning speed. Finding peaceful quiet family time is harder these days with SO many appointments and hectic schedules, shopping, flu shots, parent teacher meetings, over time the daily grind can slowly wear down the family time cushion that keeps us happy and sane. So we need to make sure to keep our lives balanced and make our families the most important part of the equation. Obviously just staying home is the cheapest option, and yes making time to just be at home with the family is a beautiful thing too, I mean I am a huge fan of a good weekend in, with some movies, Monopoly, or some arts and crafts time like making hand made picture frames, thank you cards for the people you have been meaning to thank, etc...( let's face it, who doesnt LOVE home:)
Another fun option is a nice weekend Stay-cation- a fun more affordable way to enjoy some fun family time without going
too far or spending too much. If you need to find some good local chill spots check out these sites,I have listed some family friendly stay cations for Seattle, and San Francisco, below.

Seattle stay-cation ideas:
If you are willing to make the two hour drive going to Mt. Rainier, there is a gem of a place perfect for a romantic get away or family escape from the city. Deep Forest Cabins, quiet lovely and well kept cabins among a serene setting, you will never know you have neighbors, unless you stay in the barn owl which is closer to the street but is lovely and romantic all the same. Janet and Pat (the owners) are lovely, very helpful people, happy to share their knowledge of the area, and will make your stay as pleasant as they can. They take such good care of these cabins. I have stayed in two of them, and both times I was in complete aww of the up keep, tiny thoughtful details and the unbelievable landscape. They aren't very expensive, and you can make day trip up to paradise point or take a small hike to the glacier. We love the night hike, and there are many deer all over that wander the area. There is nothing like sipping on some champagne in the hot tub while it is snowing. Awww relaxation. If you need a weekend escape take off after work on Friday and stay until Sunday, Ashford is a cute little town with friendly locals too.

Cedar Grove Cabin

The cozy barn owl cottage.

There are many secluded romantic cabins in Ashford, if you want to check out other options, try JASMERS
They have plenty of cabins and some of them are creek side with an indoor jacuzzi, perfect for a romantic getaway.
If you want to bring the whole family, or a big group of friends, try Westwood Chalet, it fits up to 12 people I believe. I haven't stayed there but I have walked passed it, as it resides on the path to the Nisqually river. It's a nice sized cabin and has a big jacuzzi in the back.

If you just need a night away with your sweetie, or a fun day shopping and you want to rest your feet in a pretty place with a delicious dinner and breakfast, check out

Gardens Retreat.

Their rooms are clean and comfy especially after a day of Christmas shopping Bellevue and Lincoln Center. It isn't far from the downtown area and is easy to find.

They offer a dinner with wine, for a small additional charge, and the breakfast is actually quite good. For only (95.00 110.00/for two people) a night it was quite a steal!

San Francisco Bay Area


We often stay at the Embassy Suites about ten minutes away from Cannery Row, it is affordable and close to everything, and you can't beat that huge breakfast buffet they serve every morning. The beds are comfy and there are usually discount packages, like one nights hotel stay and discounted aquarium tickets. When we want to save some mula, a nice day trip is perfect.

The drive is well worth it, even if you just want to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the best aquarium I have ever been to. It holds the largest jelly fish population and AWESOME sea horse exhibit and has a GIANT Outer Bay window where you can sit and enjoy the best view of the Bay marine life.

The restaurants on Cannery Row are yummy especially our favorite, the Fish Hopper.

There is also a great kayak rental spot(click here for info), but be ready to push through the kelp forest for the first 100 feet. Once you pass the kelp, you will be amazed by all the sea lions, nearby dolphins, and jelly fish you will see. It's breathtaking out there. I say one hour isn't enough, rent for two. The kayaks are two seaters so you little one can navigate and point out the sea critters while you paddle.

It is 2 hours away from the city, and the drive up 280 isn't half bad, traffic is okay and the 2 hour drive goes by quickly. I would just avoid 101 if at all possible.
That's if you actually want to leave the city.. If you want to stay in the city, there are lots of fun options too, waaay to many to list but something my family recently did might be fun. A "pretend to be a tourist" type of weekend in downtown SF. It's fun to re-explore your city outside of during the day to day hustle and bustle.

Where to stay: there are a number of affordable hotels that are quite reasonable, if you want to dip in a hot tub, try the Palace Hotel on Market, they have an indoor pool and hot tub, and are very conveniently located close to everything. Movies, art museum, Yerba Buena, Union Square. It's super fun to go to Union Square for some Holiday Ice Skating, and hot chocolate, followed by dinner at the top of Macy's, on the heated out door deck of the Cheesecake Factory. The next day, you could hop on the F to the Fisherman's Wharf, and check out the waterfront shops, and the hundreds of Sea Lions lounging in the back of Pier 39.

if you prefer a more home-like feel, try Airbnb at there are several lovely studios and apartments in the nob hill and downtown SF area for under 125.00. Here are some photos of some lovely spots on airbnb:

Good luck finding the perfect stay-cation for your family:) Have fun and enjoy some down time during the hectic Holiday season:) It's about family, friends, faith and fun so try not to stress about the shopping, presents,dinner parties and finances this Holiday Season.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An inspiring photographer

These are beautiful photographs taken by Compasspoint Photography.

About the photographer, well I used to work with a lovely attorney named Jamena, a vibrant young soul with a cultivated eye for photography. Soon enough, she left behind her Harvard brewed legal digs here at our office, to bravely and admirably follow her dreams and become a full time photographer!
She and her work both are so inspiring. Check out her website!
Click here to be redirected to her site.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is your purse made of 33 recycled water bottles???

Have you heard of Matt and Nat?

It is a collection of gorgeous affordable vegan hand bags.

Each bag is made of up to 55 recycled plastic materials.

Their prices are fantastic, I recently saw one of the gorgeous bags that was originally $310, on sale for half of that at Bloomingdales. They are very sturdy bags and will last close to as long as your usual sturdy leather, for a fraction of the price so why not buy two or three bags by Matt and Nat, rather than one kooba?? You soo get more for your buck and it's great for the environment.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Time to Write a Novel!

This will be my third year writing a novel. Can you believe that? I barely can...

A month in which I will be leaving my inner-editor out in the cold.

I write and write for 30 days straight.

I let out the literary Goddess within and create my masterpiece.

I am inviting YOU to do the same.

If you ever thought about writing, this is the PERFECT opportunity!

National Novel Writing Month!
During the month of November, writers all over the world, whether you are new to writing or you have cranked out a hundred novels, it is a month of writing non stop, and when you have atleast 50,000 words, you my friend have become an honorary novel writing champ, and you even get a certificate to prove it.
My first novel, was called "Goddess in Chains" I wrote it with the encouragement of my pal Kenne who always made sure I new where the write ins were around the city. I found comfort in sitting a room full of writers, all with one common goal, CRANK OUT THOSE WORDS.. My Daughter usually accompanied me, and she became very poplular among the cafe' owners who liked to watch her draw and chow down on chocolate chip cookies;)
Everyone in these writing groups is soo nice and welcoming and helpful, so when you come to a block, there is always someone to help you past it.

My second book, was an experimental venture into the horror genre.. Only to have the rug ripped out from underneath me when the movie "Quarantined" was released, becuase I thought my idea of zombies being humans with "rabies" was sooo original..

So I got frustrated and never finished my edits. Bleh...
This year, I will write an adventure thriller, but I cannot write one word until 12:00 a.m. on October 31st. None of us Nano-ers can.
That's the official minute that the creative mayhem begins.
This year my goal is to write, complete all of my edits on the new book and "Goddess" and get these suckers published even if I have to do it myself.
Join me, and find your inner novelist!
You can sign up and get more info at:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Inside My Makeup Bag

So if you know me, you know that I pride myself on my collection of beauty products. I like to find things that bring my complexion to life especially when I feeling less-than-fab.

During my cosmetic adventures, I have run across soo many promising products, all prices, all different ingrediants, but now I am finally truly happy with the contents of my makeup bag.

So my search is almost over.

My skin, is dry, suuuuuuuuper dry. No matter how much water I drink it is just so dry! For a while ther I was using Decleors very light floral oils just a dab on each temple and massaged all over, but that got pricey. I then tried Philosophy's "Hope in a Jar" which worked well but it just didnt hydrate enough.
Then I found the Vitamin E Intense Moisturizer at the body shop (pictured below). I soon discovered that the entire line, was made for a person with sensitive dry skin like me.
The facial wipes are soo convenient for traveling too!

As far as makeup goes, I have found the worlds greatest mineral brand out there. It is only sold at Whole Foods, or online at their site (click here) but it makes my skin look flawless, with tiny light diffusing reflectors that really cammouflage inperfections, and it doesn't look like I even have a drop of makeup on. I use the kabuki brush to apply and the flawless finish brush to smooth all over.

Mineral Fusion

It is paraben free and full of antioxidants (like white tea, red tea, and pomegranates)
It also has ingrediants that protect the outer layer of your skin from free radicals and uv.

Click here for more info!
There are tons of mineral makeups out there, I have tried I.D. Minerals, RawMinerals, and
this one.
If you are wondering which mineral brand you should try, try this one first. You will not be dissappointed!

Creepy Halloween Goodies

As I was walking by Godiva yesterday, there were these cute little white chocolate covered strawberries that were decorated like little ghosts it was the cutest thing ever!
I started thinking about different ways to creat cute Halloween snacks. There were hundreds of GREAT ideas at

Here are some of the great fun Halloween snack ideas that we found!
All you need foer these healthy eyeball snacks are some carrots, cream cheese and some black olives:)

Are you in need of some fun party food ideas, check out these bat shaped tortilla chips and monster brain dip!

Click here for the Bat chips recipe!

These soooo horribly gross:) but thats just how we like it:) I would purchase the vegan hot dogs and slice them to make the right shape.

Sterling Statements

I found a lovely shop on Etsy, full of lovely necklaces with sterling silver words made out of bent and welded wire.
I love the simplicity of this one.

The seller PianoBenchDesigns (click here to visit her shop)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Weightwatchers Update

Moment of truth...

I got weighed last night at my meeting and I was completely shocked by the numbers on the scale!

I even told the weigh in lady that it must be broken, and I got on the other scale.. Well, both of scales couldnt be broken... I am now declaring WAR on my weight.
Even though I still feel smokin' hot at my weight, just because I have always been confident on the inside no matter how I look onthe outside.. I know it isn't healthy, and may have allot to do with why I was having knee and back issues when training capoeira. Forcing me to give up something I love for MONTHS..

I know I need to make different choices starting today!
So this morning when I went with my buddy for our morning coffee, I actually ordered a 2% Latte, and for me that is a huge step granted that I am all about the mochas, with whip, and flavoring and this and that, I mean if they had the option of adding coconut flakes and friggin walnuts in that drink I would be like, yes please...

But this is war! I am going to put a restraining order on my weight. I dont want nothing to do with it.
If I ever see my weight, on the streets, I am pulling off my earrings and putting a beat down on my weight lol
You get the message heehehe

My goal, for my weigh in next Tuesday is to lose 3 pounds. Here goes.
Want more info??
You can sign up for free online tools (daily food point tracker, journal, message boards, etc.)
and free monthly meetings for only 39.99 to sign up and month, 2nd month is free.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Make Lunch Fun!

Do you like to bring lunch from home? I try to pack my Daughter Teihani's lunch as often as I can, even though lately she feels like middle school cafeteria lunch is "cooler" :) When she was in third grade I discovered Bento Lunch Boxes. Little stackable boxes that come in 1-2-3-or even 4 stackable containers. They usually come with a little band that goes around them, a cute little matching bag, chopsticks and we have even found cute little sauce containers for her soy sauce and a tiny mini salt/pepper shaker for seasonings.

I think kids love the presentation too and they have a creative little way to put their lunch together and feel all grown up:)

I like to put rice and furikake (rice seasoning usually made of seaweed) in the bottom, then some steamed fish and veggies in the middle, and I use the top for something sweet like some fruit or some Dark Chocolate Chip Kashi Cookes, and I tuck the little sauce containers in the pockets of the little bags with some wet wipes. She LOVES it.
Here are some cute little bento boxes and gift sets! It's a great x-mas gift for even the grown ups:)

Look at this lovely Bento Box Set by SpaceStich (click here for more info)
Or this lovely Bento lunch set by Bunny Enterprises (Click here to go to her shop)

If you are like us and need more than one or two level boxes, check these out, they are super sturdy and you can fidn otu more abotu them at Plastica (click here to go to the website)

Such a great way to make lunch fun for your kids:) There are tons of bento accessories available onthe market, a great place to look is at Daiso Japan, they have tiny miniature forks, and spoons, tiny little bento inserts so you can separate the foods within each level, tiny chop sticks, and cute little wet wipe baggies. If you live close to one, you can definitely find all the bento accessories there!

Monday, October 5, 2009

a lovely time

I spent a weekend at my favorite place with my favorite person.
Awwwww... Life is beautiful. So is his smile......
Sipping on a COCONUT Mojito at LA ISLA Puerto Rican Restaurant .

Pez Gato y Salmon ala parilla!


A Gooooood Read

I have been reading a book called

Paint it Black, another book by Janet Fitch ( the Author of White Oleandar). I took a trip to Seattle this last weekend and during my long airport wait I was completely and absolutely glued to the pages of this womans life, Josie. A lovely slightly lost soul who deals with and endures so much pain. In the first few pages she loses the love of her life and begins her journey of self discovery. So far, it's an awesome book and I highly recommend it!

No Ordinary Dwelling...

I found this lovely vacation rental and it's owner to be a pleasant inspiration in my quest for finding pieces that liven up my space at home.

I fell in love with her funky yellow couch
Meet the lovely owner Helena.

She was soo super helpful and always just a call away if I had any questions about anything. Her place also has a doorman and a nice little gym.

During our trip the rate was only 100.00, a night! Unbelievable price! It has gone up a little but it is still well worth it.

Her place is clean, stylish, central, and really close to the subway.
While in New York, we rented an editors condo on Murray Hill, you can look her up, or search for her place , it is named "Grand Central Park" on

When I left I was more than inspired and I was ready to start searching for ways to incorporate more color into my space but still maintaining the peaceful tranquil elements.

As you can see, she balances black and white as well as neutrals with color in such a creative and sassy way. I wish I had photos of the silver palm tree decals on the other side of the wall.

As soon as we walked in I fell in love with her place! She has a great eye for color and design and her entire place was soo very stylish.

Next time you travel to New York, get in touch with her and rent out her place, she is awesome and she also has a special mattress, it was like sleeping on a cloud!

I loved the idea of wall decals. They can really change and add to the environment of a room, while making a statement. I searched Etsy, for some interesting decals and found soo many!

Here is one of my favorite decal shops.

Can you imagine, a simple living room livened up with these fun decals! You can really transform an entire room just by placing a decal on one wall. Use one with lots fo color for rooms that have more neutral and earthy elements, and tone down a bright room with an all black, all silver, or lighter colored decal.

The birds on a branch are a real conversation piece, or just a nice peaceful place to sit and relax with the birds.

NYC skyline

MS. Hepburne