Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What I've Been Up To This Week: Christmas Edition

Some of the holiday décor at Marketplace Restaurant
This past week, after countless days working overtime, I finally had a few days off to enjoy a couple local restaurants and festive events. The first evening a friend and I went out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Louisville and then went to a Christmas party. The next night we went to dinner and a play. Needless to say I really got into the holiday spirit. I enjoyed dressing up to go out because there just doesn't seem to be many swanky Christmas soirée's these days thanks to the more casual ugly sweater parties.  

Our first evening began with a fabulous dinner at Marketplace Restaurant on 4th Street followed by a quick and cold walk over to The Brennan House for Yelp's Christmas Party. Dinner started out with a light and fresh Proseccotini cocktail and Salmon Croquettes. The greens and cabbage were just as good as the croquettes. Really, I could have had a dish full of the greens and been perfectly happy.
Proseccotini Cocktail with Prosecco, St. Germaine and fresh orange and
Salmon Croquettes Appetizer with greens, red cabbage "slaw" and sriracha aioli
My taste buds were elevated to another level with dinner. Sadly, my camera did not have time to take a picture before the dish disappeared. I got the sea scallops with roasted root vegetables, local mushrooms, sriracha aioli and almonds and my friend got the Fried Chicken (marinated in Franks Hot Sauce) with potatoes and greens and a chipotle honey sauce with red cabbage "slaw". We decided to go for something light for dessert and chose the Chocolate Mousse. The "candied" pecans, chocolate pearl crisps and strawberries gave the mousse extra texture and flavor. Mascarpone added creaminess and sustenance. 
Chocolate Mousse with Mascarpone for dessert
After Dinner we strolled over to The Brennan Historic Home and Gardens for Yelp Elite Squad's A Dickens of a Christmas event. From the moment I walked in the door of this beautiful historic home I was greeted with Christmas carols and holiday cheer. The house is ran by Preservation Louisville. An interesting fact, the Brennan's had eight children and none of them had children to leave the 1886 home to, so all the furnishing and décor are original to the family.
Posing on the stairs
Along with the original furnishings, select items of clothing are displayed throughout the upstairs bedrooms. You get the feeling the family could walk through the door and go on with their lives as if time had never passed. They would be shocked to look outside and see the "modern" buildings surrounding the house, including a parking garage, instead of the once stately street. Why people think it is ok to tear down historic homes instead of caring for them I will never understand. 
Two dresses displayed in the Brennan House
I loved all the vanity items. Besides clothes, shoes, bags, hats and jewelry I can't think of anything I like better than pretty vanity items to glam up a lady's special area to get ready.
Assortment of vanity items and another dress
A beautiful, and unexpected, purple chandelier tops off the library full of books that I was aching to open. My dream is to have a library in my home one day!
In the library. Wearing a skirt(here) and necklace (similar here) from Modcloth,
bodysuit from Forever 21 (similar here) and shoes from ASOS (similar here).
The next night we went out to eat and to a play. For diner we went to Down One Bourbon Bar and Restaurant. I ordered a new cocktail on the menu call Machismo because it had Rivulet Peacan Liqueur and chocolate bitters as two of the ingredients. This was a perfect holiday drink. We got the shrimp and pineapple skewer for an appetizer and blackened chicken with kale and jalapeño cheese grits for our entrée. 
Machismo Cocktail at Down One Bourbon Bar & Restaurant
After dinner we headed across the street to Actors Theatre of Louisville to grab some wine and see Fifth Third Bank's production of A Christmas Carol. 
Christmas tree at Actors Theatre of Louisville
Along with a huge Christmas tree there were four harpists playing Christmas music to make sure any remaining Scrooge was feeling the Christmas spirit. 
Harpists playing Christmas music
Our seats were on the balcony in the front row so we had a perfect view, although all the seats at Actors Theatre are great. I liked how my dress matched the program so I had to snap a picture. 
Waiting for A Christmas Carol to start
Below is a picture of the set before the show. The play was very entertaining and I enjoyed spotting a few actors from Dracula. My favorite character was The Ghost of Christmas Past. I couldn't stop watching her aerial acrobatics skills while she was on stage. While A Christmas Carol is at an end go online and check out the next play. You can even purchase season tickets. 
View of the set from the balcony
I wore a vintage 60s dress from the Nitty Gritty. The fabric's pattern and color is really pretty (pictured above). Below is the best picture I could find. Can I just say, I need a small new camera for my outings or I need to lug out my larger Canon! The camera on my phone takes horrible pictures.
Wearing a vintage 60s dress from the Nitty Gritty
What did you do during the holidays this year? Like, subscribe and comment below. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

7 Natural Gift Ideas for Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner I want to share a few ideas for natural beauty, food and beverage gift ideas. With items for your hair, bath and body, makeup, sweets and tea I have something for almost anyone. Well, mostly just for us girls! My gift ideas, ranging from $13-26, can be mixed and matched. Hopefully you decide to pick up a few gifts and something for yourself! With so many amazing options out there I decided to stick with items from Vitacost. You can shop for all the following items with ease on one website and get free shipping if you spend $49 or more! Check out more information on online shopping at the end. Peruse Vitacost for an array of special gifts for your friends, family and yourself anytime of the year! Happy Shopping!
Holiday Natural Beauty Gift Ideas

Acure Organics Dry Shampoo $10.29
   Bass Bamboo Paddle Brush $11.99
   Total $22.28
I love this Acure Organics Dry Shampoo Argan Stem Cell + CoQ10 to help my hair get a couple more days in before I have to wash again. Bass The Green Brush 100% Pure Bamboo Paddle Brush is a great way to not only keep your hair detangled but will help evenly distributed hair products and natural oils to keep your hair healthy. While I haven't tried this brush the reviews are great and it is in my cart waiting for me to place my next order. Earth Therapeutics also has a couple very affordable wood bristle brushes.  

Andalou Naturals Glycolic Brightening Mask $11.99
   Badger Organic Face Oil $11.89
   Total $23.88
While I am not a fan of eating pumpkin I love the Andalou Naturals Glycolic Brightening Mask in Pumpkin Honey. The ingredients are great and it doesn't leave my face dry like other mask do. The Badger Organic Face Oil Damascus Rose with Lavender and Chamomile is a great partner to keep your face hydrated after a mask and great after washing your face at night before putting on your moisturizer. 

Deep Steep Sugar Scrub $7.19
   Deep Steep Dry Oil Body Spritzer $9.29
   Total $16.48
The Deep Steep Sugar Scrub in Grapefruit Bergamot is a great way to get a burst of citrus in the morning. While this scent is my favorite, Deep Steep offers six other fragrances, and a wide array of other products. They even have a Christmas inspired Candy Mint Foot Care Line. After a nice body scrub the Deep Steep Dry Oil Body Spritzer in Grapefruit Bergamot is a great way to get an extra helping of this delicious scent. While it does moisturize, I wear it as a perfume on top of my everyday moisturizer. 

Honeybee Gardens Eye Liner in Blue Jeans $5.99
   Honeybee Gardens Lip Liner in Zen $5.79
   Honeybee Gardens a Lipstick in Cherokee $8.99
   Total $20.77
Honeybee Gardens has an array of colors and products to choose from but I picked these three because they will work for almost anyone. The Honeybee Gardens JobaColors Eye Liner in Blue Jeans is not your typical shade of blue, the Honeybee Gardens JobaColors Lip Liner in Zen is a perfect warm pink and the Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipstick in Cherokee is beautiful warm mauve that will work for almost any pout.
Holiday Natural Food and Beverage Gift Ideas
Y.S. Eco Bee Farms Raw Manuka Honey $18.49
   Living Raw Organic Truffles $4.49
   Wonderfully Raw Mini Coco-Roons $3.19
   Total $26.17
This decadent gift set for your favorite foodie is not only tasty but completely raw. The added health and skincare benefits of the manuka honey will make this gift the envy of all. With rich Living Raw Organic Truffles in Darkest Cacao, sweet Wonderfully Raw Mini Coco-Roons in Vanilla Maple and delightful Y.S. Eco Bee Farms Raw Manuka Honey (Hi-Active 15 Plus) the recipient will be over the moon.

Numi Glass Teapot "Teahouse" $17.99 
   Numi Flowering Tea Petite Bouquet $6.49
   Total $24.48
Why get someone flowers when you can give them tea that transforms into unique tea flower bouquets. With the Numi Glass Teapot ''Teahouse'' and Numi Flowering Tea Petite Bouquet (assorted) you will be able to share a unique and fanciful gift. This artistic and tasty set makes me dream of bygone days with afternoon tea, tea parties, Alice and Wonderland...
Yogi Tea Assortment:
All teas are $3.39 and the total is $13.56.
Since you can never have enough tea why not give someone you love an assortment of flavors. All the Yogi teas I have tried taste great and have health benefits. I haven't had the skin detox yet but with a sweet floral flavor and ability to cleanse from the inside out this tea is sure to be in my next order. Also, I am pretty sure everyone could use a detox after the holidays!
Top off each gift with an Enjoy Life Boom Choco Boom Chocolate Bar! Who doesn't love chocolate? There are three kinds and they run $1.79 each (with a minimum purchase of four for each type). Share a few with friends but keep a one for yourself! 

I hope my gift ideas help make Christmas shopping a little easier! By shopping online you can avoid crazy stores and people but always check out your local shops when you can! Below are some ways to save even more money while shopping online! Let me know your own natural gift ideas below. Like, comment and subscribe today!
More information for shopping online:
I love shopping on VITACOST for almost everything: healthy food, supplements, bath and beauty products. You can get most things for a fraction of the price compared to Whole Foods and other health stores. You get free shipping if you spend $49.
Vitacost: Save $10 of your first order of $30 if you click the link: http://goo.gl/y0hE3P
If you shop online ANYWHERE you should sign up with Ebates, Extrabux and Topcashback to get cash back. When shopping check each and see who is giving more cash back. Once you find the one that will help you save the most, click on their link to the store and shop away. It's that easy! Click the links below to get extra perks.
EBATES: Get a $10 gift card to selected store or $5 Ebates credit when you sign up
EXTRABUX: Get an additional $5 cash bonus when you sign up http://www.extrabux.com/r/538ca48a12
TOPCASHBACK: Get an additional $10 cash bonus when you sign up http://www.topcashback.com/ref/member112513373322

Monday, November 17, 2014

DIY: Natural Daily Makeup Brush Cleaning Spray

Am I the only one out there who is lazy when it comes to cleaning makeup brushes? Not only am I normally in a hurry when I am putting on my makeup but I cannot stand my brushes being damp later in the evening or the next day, which is why I do not wash them all the time. 
You should clean brushes at least once a week, more if you have acne prone skin. While I try to follow this rule, using Dr. Bronner's Castile Liquid Soap, the reality is this rarely happens. I used to use the E.L.F. Studio Daily Brush Cleaner because it was so easy to spray my makeup brushes and wipe them with a cloth in between washing. While I was making the transition to natural beauty products I began to realize that I could make a lot of the things I used to buy. So I began to experiment on the perfect daily brush cleaner. The following recipe has ingredients that are antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic.
What you need:
Glass spray bottle
1/8 cup Rose Water
1/8 cup Witch Hazel
2 drops Lavender Essential Oil
2 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil
Both Witch Hazel and Lavender have antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties. Rose Water is antibacterial and antiseptic while Tea Tree Oil is antibacterial and antiviral. Just shake and spray 1-3 sprays (depending on brush size) onto your brushes after applying makeup each day and wipe with a clean cloth. I use a washcloth folded twice allowing for eight days of cleaning. Once I use up the washcloth I know it is time to clean with my Dr. Bronner's Castile Liquid Soap and water for a thorough clean. If I happen to be a little lazy and skip a cleaning at least I know my daily brush spray is keeping away the germs that could cause a breakout. 
Make sure to subscribe to my blog and tell me what you think in the comments. What other ingredients could you use for a daily makeup brush cleaner?

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What I've Been Up To This Week: Halloween Edition

This week has been full of great food, talent and sights! Everything started off with the Yelp's Art in Action event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery. Then, I went to see Dracula at Actors Theatre. To top everything off was the Jack O' Lantern Spectacular at Iroquois Park. 

Cookies from Whole Foods Market

Yelp' Art in Action
Yelp is a great way to get involved in your city. I love finding new places where I can go to eat, shop or just be entertained. Not only can you read and write reviews but you get to connect with people about the things you truly love! They also host wonderful events and if you are lucky you can become an elite member and receive many extra perks while helping show pride for your city! 

This week I went to the Louisville Yelp's Art in Action event at the Tim Faulkner Gallery in the Portland neighborhood. There was an array of restaurants, adult beverage companies and other local businesses all trying to "Keep Louisville Weird"! I sure hope we raised big bucks for the Colon Cancer Prevention Project!

I wore a 70s style Bell Sleeve Woven Top from Forever21 (similar here) with Calvin Klein skinny jeans (old pair) and Madden Girl Sharpen Black Booties. I accessorized with a long gold necklace and a vintage cream purse. 

The Blue Moon Circus preformed and my favorite act was the fire eater! She was a hot act to follow!

Then, there was this guy on a 5 foot unicycle! Needless to say, he had amazing balance which I could use more of in life. 

Fifth Third Bank's Dracula

In honor of Halloween I went to go see Fifth Third Banks Dracula at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. While the plot does not directly follow Bram Stokers novel (which I recommend you read...now!) I loved the play! The actors were fantastic. It's pretty hard to act crazy, possessed and deranged. Renfield, the twisted and hilariously funny patient, almost stole the show. Dracula ends October 31st so call the box office at 502-584-1205 for ticket availability. Next up will be Fifth Third Bank’s A Christmas Carol. I cannot wait to go and get into the Christmas spirit!

Dracula's stage.

I was amazed with the effects surrounding this small and intimate stage. The haunting sounds and screams, the flashing lights and scorching fire, they all draw you in into the dark and crazed minds of the mental institution in Dracula's grasp.

 I wore a Marled Knit Dress from Forever21 with black H&M tights and Blowfish booties (similar here). I accessorized with a silver pointed "stake" necklace.

Jack O' Lantern Spectacular

Jack O' Lantern line, sign, Belle of Louisville, Sponsors and theme "A Walk in Time"

The Louisville Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular at Iroquois Park has 5,000 carved pumpkins! The amount of time and artistic talent to create this event is mind blowing. Proceeds benefit the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation. The hours are from dusk to 11p.m. (midnight on weekends) and ends November 2nd.

So many pumpkins!

The theme is "A Walk in Time" and begins with beautifully carved pumpkin clocks and the prehistoric times. The pumpkin themes move through the history of mankind up until current times and include bits of mythology and aliens.

As you walk along the path and reach the modern age the themes are set up by decades and the pumpkins portray wars, famous people and entertainment icons.

These events are just a few of the options around Louisville for entertainment during the Halloween season. What are you up to? Let me know in the comments below and subscribe to my page!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit


Illustration from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There
by Sir John Tenniel (PD-1923)
"There is a curtain, thin as gossamer, clear as glass, strong as iron, that hangs for ever between the world of magic and the world that seems to us to be real."

The time between 1858 and 1925 is known as the golden age of children's literature. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Princess and the Goblin, The Wonderful Wizard of OZ, Peter Pan and many other books influenced children and adults alike. The industrial revolution along with numerous scientific discoveries changed the way people viewed the world.  Anything seemed possible and the curtain between this world and the magical world seemed to be at its thinnest. One of the many authors to feel the effect was Edith Nesbit, author of The Enchanted Castle (1907). Nesbit and a multitude of other authors inspired great works like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia and my all time favorite, the Harry Potter series.

"He had the extraordinary feeling so difficult to describe, and yet so real and unforgettable - the feeling that he was in another world."

Edith Nesbit is not a popular author for classic children's books in America. After reading The Enchanted Castle, I feel she should be. You are taken on a wild, magical ride full of mystery and laughs. I would love to see this story made into a movie. There are great lesson to be learned in Nesbit's books like being polite, not to lie or steal and to be brave. Another teaching tool would be to show how times have changed and/or improved from the early 20th century. One thing to remember when reading classics, these were the groundbreaking works that led to what we have today. Many books may seem unoriginal and less exciting but if you put yourself into the time period the book was written and open your mind a magical experience awaits. Below is a brief description of the book.
The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit
Brothers Gerald and James are staying at sister Kathleen's school for the holidays. They couldn't go home because their cousin, who was already at their house, got the measles. They all wrote home saying they didn't want to stay with a local, Miss Hervey, who lived in a "house where it is impossible to play".  The only people, besides themselves, at the school are the French mistress and Eliza the maid. The children pretty much have free reign once Gerald gets on Mademoiselle's good side and get permission to go out into the woods during the day. The next day they set out in search of a cave with a castle nearby that Gerald heard about at school. While sitting down to rest and eat he almost falls into a hole which turns out to be the cave. Gerald bravely leads the others through a passage, into a gully and under arches until they entered upon a picturesque garden with a lake, maze and castle beyond. 

Illustration from The Enchanted Castle 
by H. R. Millar (PD-1923)
"I'm going to believe in magic as hard as I can. This is an enchanted garden, and that's an enchanted castle, and I'm jolly well going to explore."

As they hungrily try to reach the end of the maze they meet a princess. If only they new then the number of twist and turns their future's held and how often they would be hungry. They play in a secret room where they find "it" (It's not "It" from Five Children and It) and unexpected things start to happen. The story is packed with magic and adventure at every turn. Oh and did I mention trouble.

Illustration from The Enchanted Castle 
by H. R. Millar (PD-1923)
Trying to deal with the real world and the unusual circumstances circling around the enchanted castle at the same time can be trying. While the children deal with all types of situations and people they also have to figure out the secrets of the castle and what they found in the hidden room. This is a delightful read for both children and adults and stands the test of time.
Final Sketch: Harry Potter Book One courtesy of Elisabeth Alba
 "I don't understand how railway trains and magic can go on at the same time."
What are your favorite books written in the golden era of children's literature? Have you read The Enchanted Castle or anything else by Edith Nesbit? Let me know your thoughts on this or any of her other books below in the comments. Also, you should hear about Nesbit's real life dramas, but that's another story. Lastly, check out the enchanting illustrations by Elisabeth Alba in the link above. Happy reading!