Plan Ahead: A Goal Without A Plan Is Just A Wish

One of my favorite parts of starting a new year is getting a new planner to keep me organized. It may be my Type A personality, but there is something so exciting about writing down all the planned activities for the year, adding work and personal travel and filling up my calendar with to dos. Am I right?

Part of staying organized for me includes color-coding. I use my favorite Pilot FriXion Color Sticks, which are erasable gel pens that come in a variety of colors. Because I’m beyond crazy, I assign a different color for Westley’s activities, personal/family trips/events/activities and then each of my clients has a unique color, which allows me to quickly glance at my planner and immediately know what event corresponds to what person or client. The best part…these pens are erasable (they actually work, not like the old school blue pens with the grey eraser of elementary school), so my planner does not look messy or disorganized when something inevitably changes. (Not a fan of a messy planner) On top of color-coding, I outline the days I’m traveling with a highlighter – pink for personal and yellow for work travel. All of these things combined, help me stay organized and on top of my to dos.

Speaking of to dos, I’m a huge proponent of a good To Do list, which of course I hand write. For me, writing things down makes it stick. I also like feeling accomplished when I write out my weekly to dos, so I always add a few items I’ve already conquered, so I can immediately cross them out. I feel accomplished from the get go because nothing feels better than crossing out an item on the list 🙂

Since I am trying out a new planner this year, I wanted to share a list of my favorites, if you’re in the market for a planner!

Bloom Daily Planner – I came across this company (my 2018 planner) when looking for the perfect planner for this year. I immediately connected with Bloom because the mission is to “help women bloom into the best versions of themselves.” Sold! It’s made for women, by women and the designs are absolutely adorable. I went with the Pineapple design with the words “Be Sweet.” I chose the Monthly & Weekly view layout. Excited to become a #BloomGirl.

Lilly Pulitzer Agenda – This has been my go to agenda for the last few years. Not only do I love the beautiful patterns and stickers (I’m still stuck in my Lisa Frank days…LOL), but the layout is great. The monthly calendar view also includes a To Do list section and there are notes, travel lists, pockets and more. Definitely a great choice!

Simplified Planner, Emily Ley – This planner features a minimalist design and luxurious paper with open pages, bringing to life the company’s mission “to inspire women to organize, simplify and carve out white space for the good stuff of life.” This line includes Daily and Weekly editions based on your organizational needs. Every planner purchase also includes Emily’s monthly “planning tips” via e-blast. Emily Ley also has Home + Kitchen, Baby + Big Kid Books, Journal + Notebooks as well as Notepads + Notecards.

Are there any planners you love or organizational tips you use? Would love to hear from you guys.

Happy Planning!

XO,

Ivette

 

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The Best EOY Sales

So you’ve likely been shopping for everyone on your list except YOU. Enter the end of year sales, which beg you to shop with deep discounts (some up to 80 percent off).

I’ve been doing a bit of shopping over the last few days (shocking, I know) and wanted to share a list of some of the best sales currently happening.

The best part, a lot of these retailers have winter and spring clothing on sale. It’s a great time to add a few pieces to your winter wardrobe, while starting to build your spring looks at a major discount!

Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale – The twice annual Nordstrom never disappoints with designer duds up to 50 percent off. While the clothing is great, the real winners in this sale are shoes and handbags! There are over 30,200 items listed and you have until Jan. 2nd to fill your shopping cart.

Evereve – This is a new retailer I’ve come to love because it’s contemporary and geared toward moms who are stylish. Yes, you can be a mom and be fashionable! Evereve carries a wide variety of brands from high end to super affordable. Santa Sam got me the vegan leather joggers, which are currently on sale. The sale boasts up to 70 percent off and goes through Jan. 1!

Red Dress Boutique – This little Athens gem, which was featured on Shark Tank, is having an EOY blowout with savings of up to 80 percent. I had way too much fun shopping online and scored everything from coats to floral spring dresses (already planning my Disney Cruise looks) – some pieces for only $10! You can do a lot of damage here.

Vici Collection – Another favorite boutique, this SoCal retailer carries some gorgeous pieces at super affordable prices. While they aren’t having a major sale, check out the “final few” section and use code SALEONSALE for an additional 50 percent off sale items! Pro tip, they ALWAYS have some kind of promo code available via Instagram or email, which gives you 20 percent off full price pieces. Don’t buy unless you’re getting at least 20 percent off!

Happy Shopping!

XO,

Ivette

Skin Deep

Being on vacation for the holidays, I’ve given my skin a break from the daily makeup routine (much needed) and instead spent a lot of extra time doing masks and trying out new skincare products. It may be because I’m now in my 30s, but my skin really craves and enjoys a good face oil and extra moisture. It soaks it all in!

I get a lot of questions about my regular skin routine, which includes using mattifying micellar water to remove makeup and then washing my face with a facial cleanser followed by applying a serum, moisturizer (separate versions for day and night) and eye cream. Also, I follow the cardinal rule of NEVER going to sleep with makeup on! And finally, I try to do professional facials at least every three months, if not more 🙂

Pro tip: mix it up. Similar to the way I feel about shampoos and conditioners, I believe in shocking my skin with a variety of products, so it doesn’t become complacent. This is a mantra for many things in my life from haircare and skincare to working out. Too much of the same thing results in no change and a definite plateau.

So with that philosophy in mind, I usually use a few different masks, face oils and other skin products every week to ensure my skin never gets too used to one product type. The good news is there are so many products, it makes it fun to try different ones out and they last way longer since I’m not using them exclusively.

Another tip, look for gift sets or variety packs to try new products without paying full price for an entire skincare line that may not end up being what your skin needs. I recently did that with Beautycounter’s Counter Match Anti Aging system and I’m loving  it. I ordered the holiday gift set for myself and have been using the serum (a fave), day and night moisturizers and eye cream. The cost and size were perfect for trial and now I can order full size of the products I love moving forward.

Alway a favorite for discovering new products is Sephora! They have amazing sets for skin care, whether products from one brand or the variety pack. “Santa Sam” just gifted me the OleHenriksen “Glow Together” set and I’m in love. It includes nine products from the line from a Power Peel to a Truth Serum!

Here are some of my favorites by category.

Facial Cleansers

Your skin is a blank canvas and a facial cleanser is truly the foundation for all skincare. I’m a big believer in washing my face every morning and every evening. Once your skin is clean, you can then add all the extras like moisturizer, serum, oil, etc. Currently in rotation:

Origins GinZing Scrub Cleanser – this is great for a morning wash because it immediately wakes your skin up! The entire GinZing line is awesome – a few of the products will make other appearances in this post.

Beautycounter Rejuvenating Cleanser – cleans, replenishes and moisturizes skin. I’m also a fan of the brand’s Charcoal Cleansing Bar.

L’Oreal Pure Clay Charcoal Cleanser – brightens and cleans impurities with the power of charcoal.  I’ve also tried the other cleansers in the line including “Exfoliate & Refine” and “Purify & Mattify,” which are equally great depending on what you’re looking for. This is definitely my go to drugstore brand.

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Moisturizers

The older I get, the more my skin craves moisture. I use daytime and nighttime moisturizers because they serve unique purposes. Just like you have clothing for the day and PJs for nighttime, you should also have corresponding moisturizers 🙂 On my current love list:

Day

Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Gel Moisturizer – this is a great daytime moisturizer and the gel formula is fun to apply and adds instant hydration to the skin. Tired, dry skin? This is your go to.

Beautycounter Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion – a daytime moisturizer that constantly adapts to the ever changing climate and conditions “by adjusting hydration and oxygenation levels throughout the day.”

OleHenrickson Truth Advanced Moisturizing Creme – Another amazing anti-aging daytime moisturizer with Vitamin C and peptides. Your skin will thank you!

Night

Beautycounter Recovery Sleeping Cream – I love this formula because it’s thicker and made to repair your skin, while you sleep. It’s full of amazing ingredients including Plum Oil. You wake up with skin that feels well rested and hydrated.

L’Oreal Revitalift Overnight Mask – Super thick and moisture packed, this is a nighttime moisturizer that also doubles as an intensive sleep mask. I use this a few times a week.

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Eye Creams

This area of your face definitely starts to wear with age and needs special attention. When you’re tired, stressed, etc. it shows in your eyes and that’s why a good eye cream is essential. That and lots of water and sleep! In my vanity:

Origins Refreshing Eye Cream – I suffer from dark under eye circles and this eye cream definitely makes a difference. It brightens and depuffs the eye area. This is one of my go to daytime eye creams!

Beautycounter Eye Rescue Cream – This is lightweight and helps brighten your under eye area for a more awake and refreshed look.

First Aid Beauty Eye Duty: Triple Remedy – I’m a huge fan of this brand and many of its products. This one in particular is delivered via a rollover to your skin, which I love and is made to brighten, depuff and smooth the under eye area. A winning combo!

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Serums

If you’ve ever seen the Meme with the old Steve Madden slider shoe and you recognize it/owned a pair (I did), then you know it’s time to incorporate serum into your skincare routine.

Belif Hungarian Water Essence – This is a lightweight serum that adds moisture that lasts.

Beautycounter Countermatch Serum – Power packed with moisture, vitamins and two forms of hyaluronic acid. This is the serum for your third decade 🙂

OleHenrickson Truth Serum – Anti-aging serum packed with Vitamin C and collagen! It brightens and moisturizes.

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Face Oils

As I mentioned, my skin currently craves extra moisture and while I never would have thought a face oil would be a good idea (I thought it would make my skin oily and gross), I’m a fan and convert. I first tried face oil in my Birchbox a few years ago and have been using them ever since including:

Fresh Seaberry Face Oil – One of my favorite brands, this face oil smells amazing and is packed with omegas, which helps maintain the skin’s youthful appearance.

Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil – A plant based oil that is made for overnight use, to clean and detoxify skin.

Clarins Santal Face Oil – Sandalwood, cardamom, and lavender tone and calm skin, while hazelnut oil soothes, smooths, and reduces redness.

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Masks

Last, but certainly not least are masks. I’m a bonafide mask junkie. I use them multiple times a week — everything from sheet masks (Walmart and Target have a huge variety of brands and types of sheet masks usually 2 for $5) to sleep masks (these are great for overnight repair), peeling masks and everything in between. I truly believe masks make a huge difference in your skin. While I use a wide variety, here are a few favorites:

GlamGlow Gravity Mud Firming Treatment – Confession, I always feel like a total Hollywood superstar every time I use these products. They are rich and decadent and leave your skin feeling amazeballs (as Guiliana Rancic would say). This particular mask is a peel-off treatment, which comes in the prettiest silver you’ve ever seen. You lather on a healthy layer onto your skin, sit back for 20-30 minutes and then peel off. It feels so awesome to peel off the silver layer to reveal firmer looking skin instantly! I’m pretty much a fan of every product GlamGlow makes, so look around explore and find the one that’s right for your skin needs.

Too Cool For School Egg Cream Hydration Mask – If you’re into K-beauty, this is is an awesome brand. I’ve tried a lot of the egg based products including the mousse and this mask, which is a favorite. It’s a sheet mask, so you cover your face with the sheet, wear it for 10-15 minutes and then rub in the remaining serum.

LUSH Cup o Coffee Mask – This is like a shot of espresso for your skin. The handmade mask has coffee pieces that exfoliate and the delicious coffee smell will wake you and your skin up! One of my favorite things about LUSH is the fact that they include info about who made your mask. Mine was made by Kevin 🙂

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I would love to hear about any products you love to use. Always in the market to expand my skincare toolbox!

XO,

Ivette

Mom Hacks: Car Seats

Since I have a lot of friends who are either brand new moms or currently pregnant, it was pretty perfect timing that Reviews.com reached out to share with me some of the research and findings surrounding car seat choices.

There are so many decisions to make as a new parent and many times we make them with zero point of reference and very little research. There is no parent handbook and in my opinion, there are no right or wrong ways to do things. I’m a firm believer that what works for you and your family is the best decision always. No one lives in your shoes, so as a parent trusting your partner and your instincts is always a good idea.

Everyone will always have an idea, opinion, suggestion, etc. So with that said, I’m sharing overall info for all the new parents out there to consider when selecting a very important piece in your child’s arsenal of safety tools…the Car Seat.

As the folks at Reviews.com share, all car seats are designed to be safe, but some are definitely easier and more convenient to use than others. Their team of experts worked with over 100 parents to identify the most sought after features, while also consulting with child passenger safety technicians and pediatricians. They then compared the functionality and features of an infant car seat vs. a convertible car seat.

Since both serve unique purposes, they ultimately created a guide for each to provide parents with all the info needed to make a choice that is right for their family.

You can read more here about their tests and recommendations:

Infant car seat: https://www.reviews.com/infant-car-seat/

Convertible car seat: https://www.reviews.com/convertible-car-seat

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For W, we started with the infant car seat that was part of our travel set, which I absolutely loved. We each had a base installed in our cars and would take W into daycare in the car seat. When they’re little babies, the flexibility of the portable car seat is awesome. You can go from the car to the stroller in one easy click!

Once he was close to a year (he was big and tall y’all), we transitioned into the convertible car seat that will then become a booster once he’s old and big enough.

Good luck to all the mamas out there as you navigate all the safety and tools needed to keep those sweet babies safe.

XO,

Ivette

Holiday Gift Guide: For Her

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for some finding the right gift can be stressful.

I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite things at a range of prices as inspiration for the lady in your life. These can work from your family and significant other to friends and co-workers. A little something for everyone! Enjoy.

Versace Eros – My hubby gifted me this fragrance two birthdays ago and I instantly fell in love with the unique scent that is not too overpowering. Works for day or night. Bonus, the bottle is absolutely gorgeous, a work of art that will elevate a perfume collection and look lovely on the vanity!

Fuji Instax – Retro vibes and nostalgia reign with this gift for capturing memories. This is the perfect gift for the photo obsessed or a great addition if you’re taking someone on a trip as part of the gift. Add this cute camera in a fun color, extra film and a post card for the gifted destination for extra points 🙂

Toms – I just received the Toms holiday catalog (love still getting printed pieces in the mail!) and the collection is vast and beautiful. From classic Toms with a holiday twist, to velvet, fur lined slippers and booties galore, there is no shortage of choices. Bonus – you always feel good buying or gifting these because a person in need receives shoes too. One for One and One for All!

All Birds – A friend introduced me to these beauties from New Zealand. They ship to the U.S. and the company just recently opened a NYC flagship store. This is the perfect gift for the Athleisure obsessed lady in your life. The shoes are super comfortable, chic and come in a variety of gorgeous tones!

Comfy + Cozy – Truth be told, I have not thought of Abercrombie since college, but I came across this adorable menswear inspired PJ shirt paired with comfy socks and fell in lounge love. You can never go wrong with cozy loungewear and sleepwear as a holiday gift. Whoever receives this will instantly want to sit by a fire, sipping hot cocoa and binging on Hallmark Christmas movies (Candace Cameron Bure not included).

Baublebar – Give me all the baubles. This year’s holiday collection is beautiful with tons of options from my favorite jewel tone studs for every outfit to fun tassel earrings and dainty necklaces. Major plus, the gifts come in gorgeous packaging for stress free wrapping. This is especially great for someone like me who is definitely on the struggle bus when it comes to gift-wrapping.

Prive Reveaux – I used to be a fan of spending beaucoup bucks on designer sunglasses, but after most of them have either been ruined, broken or lost, I am now all about great looking glasses for affordable prices. Enter Jaime Fox (yes the Oscar winning actor) and his new sunglasses line for men and women. Apparently he was also tired of paying premium for a product that is pretty disposable. The styles go from classic to risk shader and the price cannot be beat$29.95! Gift a pair and get yourself a pair for being so frugally fabulous.

Sephora Favorites Sets – Who doesn’t love receiving a black and white striped bag with beauty goodies inside?! Last year, hubby got me the skin saver set, which was amazing and introduced me to tons of new products including my favorite face oil. There’s also lip kits, mascara, face mask kits and more. Depending on whom you’re gifting, I guarantee you there is a kit to fit!

Sparkling Champagne Bottle – This is the perfect gift for the bling and bubbles obsessed on your list! ONEHOPE glitter champagne bottles are stunning and philanthropic. ONEHOPE was founded by eight friends with a lofty vision: to create exceptional products that inspire people to indulge while doing good. The bottles come in a variety of glittery goodness filled with Cali bubbles. Pair with some flutes or a cute “I’ll Be There in a Prosecco” sweatershirt from Target for a little EXTRA in your gift giving.

Mug with Gift Card Bouquet – This is for the “hard to shop for” lady in your life. Buy a fun and fabulous mug with a great saying, add a foam ball and make “gift card” flowers (aka gift cards on a stick) for everything from coffee and fast food to fine dining and movies. It’s creative and won’t disappoint!

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Halloween Style: Recreate Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” Looks

I have always loved dressing up for Halloween. It is after all, the one day a year, you can be whoever you want to be…no judgement.

With Halloween a few days away, I’m sharing super fun and easy looks inspired by Taylor Swift’s smash hit and epic video – Look What You Made Me Do.

These are four unique looks that can be recreated with items you probably already have in your closet plus a few accessories!

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  1. Biker Babe – Channel your inner badass and race into the holiday with this bold look. It’s easy, slimming and hot. Just grab a pair of black leather leggings, bustier or tank, leather jacket and booties and you’re on your way. Spice it up with a biker hat, studded accessories and choker to complete the look. Motorcycle not included 😜 zhalloween17-7424-Edit
  2. Frosted Taylor – This look takes commitment and confidence. If you happen to own a diamond encrusted bra and bottom, then you’re all set. Otherwise, you can use a white or silver sequined dress and fake diamonds to pull this look together. Top it off with a bold red lip. zhalloween17-7375-Edit
  3. Lady in Red – This look is sleek as “snake-y.” You will need a red kimono dress, snake accessories including a long necklace and bracelets, gold heels and pomade to slick hair down. If you’re a brunette like me, you may want to invest in a bottle of Jerome Russell B Blonde to complete the look. zhalloween17-7407-Edit
  4. Naughty Cat – If you’re in a rush or in witness protection, this is the Tay Tay look for you — the ultimate comfort and incognito Halloween costume. You get to wear an oversized sweater and a cat head, so no one will know who you are. Also, no need for hair or makeup. Craft queen? Go ahead and make an amazing paper mache cat head like my friend Jillian. Otherwise, purchase a pre-made cat mask and meow your way to trick or treating. Finally, no one will mess with you – after all you’re an angry feline with a bat! Finish this look off with thigh high colorful boots or sneakers…whatever your heart desires. zhalloween17-7405-Edit

Photos: Brooks Photography

Happy costuming and Happy Halloween!

XO,

Ivette

Listen Up: Podcast Reccos

While I love to read (book finds is a post for another day) and watch my fair share of good and bad TV, I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with podcasts.

The hubby and I listened to Serial during a road trip and while it was fast and furious, I only associated podcasts with long stretches of driving. And I guess my love affair with a podcast always starts with a drive.

Except these days I listen while I’m on the elliptical, in the car, in bed, wherever. So if you’re into (true crime) podcasts or want to get into them, here are my latest obsessions. And if you’ve never listened to Serial, start there, since a lot of these were inspired or produced by the Serial team.

Up and Vanished: Documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey investigates the unsolved murder mystery of a small town former beauty queen and teacher, Tara Grinstead. The 24 episode, two season podcast is a must listen and does not disappoint. If you’re a real junkie, Payne has in depth case evidence file episodes and more. Bonus – for my North Florida and Georgia peeps, this murder happened in the small South Georgia town of Ocilla, so it will feel familiar and close to home.

S Town: Another day, another small town inspired podcast. S town aka Shit Town is a seven episode podcast that starts as a murder investigation, but quickly transforms into a profile piece on an eccentric, genius man. It’s fast and interesting, albeit the ending left something to be desired. Nevertheless, worth a listen. It’s like watching Dexter and making pretend the last episode/”lumberjack” gate never happened.

Dirty John: this is the newest true crime podcast to “go viral.” I’m four episodes in and it’s every woman’s worst nightmare…older divorcee meets “man of her dreams” who turns out to be a liar and master manipulator…more to come as I listen on.

What are your favorite, must listen podcasts?

Happy Listening,

Ivette