My 8 for 18

This year is already flying by. I intended to get this post written the first week of the year, but it’s been fast and furious. Between Westley’s birthday party, work travel and life — I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and write.

I’m not a fan of resolutions because it becomes a joke to see how fast they can go down the drain. Instead I see every new year as an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and let go of what doesn’t work and continue doing what makes you happy.

So with 2018 moving at a frantic pace, here are my eight commitments to myself and my family for this year:

1.Choose Happy – you can always look at something from a positive or negative light, so this year I’m choosing to embrace the good in everything.

2. Be Present – it’s so easy to get distracted, wooed by your phone, social media, held hostage by your inbox. We have so many devices and distractions, but I’m making a concerted effort to push it all away when I’m with my family.

3. Be Kind – there is so much hate and negativity in the world, so my goal is to always be kind, even to those who don’t return it. You never know what someone is dealing with or why they choose to act the way they do. Regardless, always take the high road and kill them with kindness.

4. Stay Fit – last March, I began working with a personal trainer and it has been a game changer. Working out has become a passion and a key part of staying sane and happy. I love seeing how much stronger I am with each work out and pushing myself to do more reps, lift heavier weights or conquer new exercises.

5. Reward Myself – as a working mom I’m always on the go and doing things for others. That’s 100 percent fine by me, but I also want to continue making time for myself from workouts and manicures, to quiet mornings and bubble baths.

6. Nourish my Marriage – I am lucky to have a true partner in life who supports me and believes in 50/50. Having a child has made our marriage stronger and we have so much to be thankful for, but I always want to make time for us. From late night talks and date nights to belly laughs and weekend getaways, I never want to lose what makes us, us.

7. Support my Tribe – I have so many wonderful women in my tribe who I love and respect. Often times we don’t see each other as much as we’d like, but I’m committed to making time for lunches, manis, ladies nights and if not, at least phones calls, texts and lots of positive vibes sent your way.

8. Keep Creating – I was so excited when Word Press sent me an email alerting me that this domain is a year old and it’s time to renew! That means I’ve been blogging consistently for a year and I love it. Having a creative outlet to share my thoughts is rewarding. I love hearing from people I don’t know who find what I create valuable. I want to keep sharing, creating, photographing and looking off into the distance, while I dream BIG.

Can’t wait to read this post next January and see how I did. I’m excited for this year and what lies ahead.

XO,

Ivette

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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

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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Motivation Monday: The 30-Minute Challenge

For the last month, I’ve been waking up about 30-minuets earlier than normal to see what I can accomplish during this time. Everything from laundry and loading/unloading the dishwasher to quiet “me time” and reading.

It sounds simple, but giving up 30 minutes of sleep has been a game changer in terms of productivity and taking back my weekends.

This idea came out of a recent workshop I attended/guest hosted given by my friend and life coach, Chelsea Quint. The workshop was all about approaching the holidays stress free and having more joy, but it turned out to be much more beneficial than just for one season.

As the women gathered in the “living room” of a lifestyle retail space, Hearth & Soul, sharing their thoughts on what brought them joy versus what induced stress, one of the attendees shared a simple, yet transformative idea. She had started waking up 30-45 minutes early to do chores around the house with the goal of not spending her entire weekend doing these very things.

I could immediately relate. While we usually run errands and do house work as a family unit (with the toddler usually undoing what we do), it would be way more fun to do other things during our time off from work. Things we enjoy much more than laundry!

The idea struck a cord in me and on that rainy Sunday, I committed to waking up 30 minutes early as a test. Certainly 30 minutes is doable and would not result in me giving up too much precious sleep.

The results have been phenomenal! First, I feel much more energized and ready to take on the day by the time my old “wake up time” rolls around. I’ve already accomplished so much, had some quiet time and am ready for the day.

I also have noticed a difference in the amount of weekend chores we have to do. Laundry is usually finished (or close to it) by Friday and the house is in pretty good shape.

This extra time also let’s me exercise creative outlets outside of work. For example, I wrote this blog during a few of these early morning sessions!

I also use this extra 30 minutes to sometimes get ready earlier, and run an errand before work like dropping off dry cleaning or running by the post office.

My verdict – I’m committed to giving myself these 30 minutes. It’s life changing. It makes me happier, healthier and more energetic. Win win.

What would you do with an extra 30 minutes a day? If you’ve tried this, I’d love your thoughts!

XO,

Ivette

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

“Fall” for Pattern Mixing

Full disclosure, it feels like the hottest of summers still in Florida, but it’s officially FALL — my favorite fashion season. There’s something about being able to go from comfy, chic sweaters with skinny jeans and booties to full on leather that makes me a very happy girl 😄🤗

While the weather is still not where it needs to me, I’m struggling to keep parading my summer brights and Lilly when it’s practically OCTOBER. So I’ve decided, regardless of the temps, I’m slowly but surely introducing some fall wardrobe staples, darker colors (including my eggplant nails), bold textures and pattern play. 😜😬

I love planning fun, bold looks when it’s crispy and cool outside (a girl can dream in Florida or wait until “winter”). And one of favorite fall traditions is mixing patterns and textures.

Here are my favorite pattern plays:

Floral + Stripes

Buffalo Plaid + Leopard

Polka Dots + Leopard

(Small) Polka Dots + Zebra

Leather + Floral

Herringbone + Zebra

Lace + Animal Print (choose print based on lace texture and color)

The possibilities are endless, and while some combos may seem a bit “wild,” trust me, they work. If you’re confident in your outfit choices and own the look, the compliments will follow. Also, animal print is a neutral…so a lot of these looks are more tame than cray!

So go in your closet and pick two crazy patterns or items that you think may not go together and GO FOR IT!

Happy Dressing,

Ivette

Having It All OR All In Your Head

Bottom line…you can have it all, but not at the same time. Working mom means you’re always working and you’re always a mom, but how you manage the madness and prioritize is how you achieve having it all.

You can’t give 100 percent and slice and dice it a million ways. Instead you look at your (virtual) pie and make room for the things that fit, the things that matter and the givens.

There are 168 hours in a week. If you work, then a minimum of 40 hours is spent at work (not counting random late night emails, travel, client crisis, special projects, etc.) What you do with the remaining 128 hours is up to you.

There are always things that will suffer or take a back seat from dishes and friendships to social events and sleep. There is only so much room for it all…having it all also means having less of it all.

One thing is certain, parenting is never ending (hardest but most rewarding work you’ll ever do IMO), but the daily “hard time” commitment is getting kids ready in the morning, daycare drop off, pick up, bath time, dinner, play/fun time and bed time. It’s never enough time during the week, so for me weekends are mostly dedicated to my family. I always have room and time to spend with my hubby and son. Never gets old or boring 🙂

Working out keeps me sane, but fitting it in always looks like a jig saw puzzle. I literally squeeze it in when I can. Luckily I have an awesome partner who trades daycare pick up, bathing and dinner duties with me so I can get my sweat on. I return the favor a couple of times a week.

But in order to work on my fitness, I work it in at all times. Monday and Wednesday circuit training immediately after work, Tuesday PT during lunch with one of my fave girlfriends, Saturday morning Body Sculpt at 8:30am, randomly in my garage or even doing squats and planks while catching up on TV😂😂

To “have it all” means to integrate it all, make the puzzle pieces work and embrace the madness.

In my world it translates to maximizing lunch hour by getting a manicure or catching up with girlfriends (HH post work is hard to fit in…something’s gotta give.)

It’s working faster and smarter and moving the To Do list to tomorrow when the day is done.

It’s folding clothes and doing laundry, while watching my new obsession A Handmaid’s Tale on HULU or redefining date night with a yummy meal and glass of wine with the hubby once the rug rat is asleep.

It’s being much more of a scheduler in the love department than a free agent.

It means sometimes reading or writing in bed (current situation), while the rest of the house sleeps or getting up early to get stuff done around the house before the day really starts.

It’s choosing the 6am flight and 3:30am wake up call to spend one less night away from home during a work trip.

It’s less sleep and more love. Less complete control and more letting go.

It’s less about perfect and more about embracing the real and living in the moment.

One day we’ll have a teenager and then a college kid and then a full
fledged adult (scary writing that) and we will be empty nesters with all the time in the world.

But for now I want to cherish every crazy moment from work deadlines to toddler tantrums and embrace life for what it is — chaotic and beautiful all at once.

As everyone will remind you (ad nauseam) when you’re a parent of a young child…it all goes by way too fast.

The days are long, but the years are short. So I’m determined to savor every moment and have it all.

XO,

Ivette