Sunday, February 19, 2017

Beauty Guide: 2017 Favorite Luxury Beauty Finds For Wrinkle Prevention

Ever since I turned 40 last year, I've noticed that my skin is dryer....maybe it is, maybe it's psychological, but I've been a lot better about taking care of my skin.  I've always been fastidious about putting on sunscreen and staying out of the sun, but I am starting to notice some fine lines.  Botox and other fillers are out of the question...I'm a chicken when it comes to pain and I feel like it's a downward spiral if I even got started.  

So, here are some of my favorite products that I've tried and absolutely loved.  You'll notice a lot of Shiseido brands on here - I grew up watching my mom and grandma use it and they have some beautiful skin.  

One thing I cannot live without is my bottle of Shiseido Future Solution Replenishing Treatment Oil - it is absolutely the BEST - it's an incredibly light oil that absorbs immediately into your skin.  I use it after I use my serums and incorporate a pump into my creams.

The IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup is another favorite of mine - it really melts away all the makeup - even stubborn waterproof eyeliner.

Here are some of my favorites that I use all the time - what are some of your tried and true favorites?

PS...Neiman Marcus is having a free tote and samples  with $125 purchase - ends 2/26/17
Nordstrom has tons of gifts with purchases right now

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Best Lavender Products

After a long and stressful day, all I want to do is unwind and relax.  My favorite scent for relaxing will always be lavender - there is something so calming about that scent and it's just a beautiful scent especially when the products contain the purest of French Lavender oils.  

My absolute favorite go to bubble bath is the L'Occitane Lavender Foaming Bath - just two capfuls are enough for a bath full of relaxing bubbles.

Favorite hand cleaner on the go - the EO lavender wipes - you will absolutely LOVE these wipes - non-drying and it smells wonderful!  

Favorite shower gel - the whole family uses this one - the EO French Lavender shower gel  it's economical - though honestly, I would pay triple the price - it's THAT good!  

And for my kiddo's dry skin/chapped lips, my go to is the All Good Lavender Healing Balm/Goop  - My son gets very cracked skin when he gets bad colds - he licks his upper lip area under his nose until it's all chapped and cracked.  I put some of this on overnight and by morning his skin has magically healed.  This also works wonders on dry cuticles.  *and no, this is not a sponsored post!*  

Here are some of my favorite lavender products below:

Magical Unicorn Gift Ideas

I'm loving these fun unicorn finds!  My tween daughter is completely obsessed with them and now I can see why.  Totally cute.  

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How to Find The Perfect Bra Size

Happy early Valentine's Day!  Have you ever had trouble finding the perfect bra size?   Here's a fun flowchart for you to find yours and below, you'll see some of my favorite finds from ThirdLove.

Our friends at ThirdLove have given my readers an exclusive discount code for 15% off your entire order:  


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

All White Kitchens and Design Inspiration

Here is the kitchen that we get to design!

I've always dreamed of an all white kitchen and now it's finally within reach!  
Here are some of our design elements that we've chosen for our kitchen - classic white thermofoil cabinets - These were one of the only items in the entire house that we did not upgrade. You may wonder why - It is because we have two little boys.  We remodeled our current home before we had little ones and spent a ton of money on custom furniture grade cabinetry for our kitchen.  Well, when my big boy got to be a toddler, we realized that he's not very gentle when it comes to closing cabinet doors or drawers.  And crayons...don't even get me started.  

We did upgrade the cabinets to have soft close so they cannot be slammed, and the drawers all will have dovetail joints.  The pros of having thermofoil cabinets is that they are easily cleaned, can take a lot more abuse, and we can replace a panel, door, or drawer front if needed at Home Depot.  

We also chose a backsplash of hexagonal Carrara marble - it's absolutely gorgeous!!  And the countertop will be quartz stone in White Zeus Extreme.  We chose quartz because it is a very hard material, second only to diamond.  It's nonporous and beautiful.  It will definitely hold up to a family that uses it all the time!  Because it's nonporous, it won't stain nor can germs get into the counter itself.  There is also no sealing required which is a huge plus in my book!  It is also not cheap - I don't know the exact cost per sq. ft that we paid but it was a significant upgrade charge from the included granite slab.  And yes, I would have LOVED a huge slab of marble but I know me and I know that I have 3 kids....marble just does not lend itself well to young children....An apron sink sits in the middle of the island. We got all KitchenAid appliances but no built in refrigerator - it just wasn't a must have on my list.  

Here are some kitchens that inspired me:

Monday, January 23, 2017

Pros & Cons of Building a New Construction Home

Why did we choose new construction vs. purchasing a resale home?

I had several criteria for buying our next home:

1.  The new home had to be large enough for our family of 5 to grow into.
2.  It had to have a bedroom and full bath downstairs for when our parents come to visit.
3.  We had to stay in the same school district.
4.  With the budget that I had, everything had to be accounted for - ie - if the resale home needed a new kitchen or landscaping work needed to be done

I've had my eye on the real estate market for the last year and nothing ever came up in the resale market that matched my all of my criteria.  One home may have had a gorgeous kitchen but then I would have wanted to rip out all the bathrooms.  I factored the cost of say bathroom remodels and new flooring and the amount of time it would take to redo everything and I realized that a resale home may not be for my next home.


The resale homes in our area of comparable size were believe it or not - higher priced than new construction.

New construction also allowed us the flexibility of choosing the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, whether we wanted a regular sliding door or an 18 foot floor to ceiling accordion door, choosing flooring that fit our needs, brushed nickel bath accessories and door handles, the entire kitchen customized to our liking, and many more details that I'll go into in another blog post.  We LOVE the open concept floor plan and were able to choose the floorplan that best suited our needs!  We also don't have to pay for upgrades that we will never use - such as a surround sound system.  

KB Home also offers a full one year warranty on everything and then a 10 year limited warranty - less money to shell out for maintenance = happy me!

Everything is built to be energy efficient so that means lower utility bills.

So, I waited patiently for a builder to start building in our area.  KB Home was the only builder to fit all of our criteria.  


It's been mostly smooth sailing with the building process - the only downside I feel and we still haven't even broken ground yet even though we signed our contract back in early November is that our timeline could have been better managed.  We were told in the beginning of a March/April move in and now we're looking at June/July.  It makes it hard to sell our current home because we need to rent back until we move into our new home.  Temporary housing is not in the cards because it is just too hard to move twice in 3 months with 3 special needs kiddos.

We may be looking at piles of dirt outside our windows for a while as they build up the next phase of homes after we move in - but the boys will think that is great fun. 

There is no negotiating on the price of the home as we are in a highly desired market.

Every upgrade and customization costs money and trust me when I tell you that it adds up really fast!  If you want to replicate what the model home looks like, be prepared to shell out some serious cash.  I suffered from sticker shock at first....but when Phil did the math for me, every $10,000 in upgrades would only cost me $50/month in additional mortgage payments - this is calculated at the interest rate for our loan.

Building a Custom Home with KB Home in San Diego

So sorry I've been missing in action from my blog for seriously over a year!  How are you all doing?  Happy New Year!  Time just goes by so incredibly fast when you're swamped with work, 3 kids, and now building a new home!  

We decided to build vs. buy a resale home - I'll go into more detail in another blog post as to the pros & cons of building.  Here's a funny story as to what happened... We were bored one Sunday afternoon and my husband asks me what I wanted to do with the kids - it was 5:30 - I said - let's go look at the new homes!  We weren't in the market to buy, yes we had talked about moving in the past, but being so busy and with the holiday season coming up (this was in the beginning of November 2016), we really should have been focusing on work....but like having a kid, buying a house, especially building a new one - there never is a good time as there's SO much that needs to be done.

So, we went to go look at the home, but Phil didn't get to really see it because he was chasing the boys around.  I saw it, loved the model and came home with some new reading material to pour over.  I went back on Tuesday for the lot map after reading up on KB Home.  They showed me what was available and I did my research.  I realized that my first picks were already taken but by Thursday morning, I couldn't remember what was still available so I called them up.  They told me what was left and I circled them - oh wait...did they say Lot #33 is available?  They did and that was my #1 choice!  I told them that I'd be over in 5 minutes...with a check in hand.  Phil is looking for me - texting me...and was wondering where I was.  Uhmmm...I'm at the housing office?  *Seriously bracing myself for whatever's coming my way*  For what?  Ohhh...I just put a deposit down on the house.  Oh awesome...I guess we're moving?  was his response.  My poor husband.  It's gotta be hard being married to me.

Our beautiful dirt lot for our future dream home - currently it looks like a lake with all the rain that we got this week!

So that's how it all started - all the paperwork was signed one week after we first saw the home.  

We ended up choosing the largest model at 3907 square feet - it will be perfect for our family for many years to come.

Some upgrades that were a must have on our list:

We converted the den to a 5th bedroom and added a full bath for our parents when they come to visit. 

18 foot accordion door along the back wall

9 foot ceilings vs. 8 foot ceilings on the second floor

 Anyways, exciting times - I'll be showing you what we upgraded to in the next blog post!  I spent well over 30 hours at the Design Studio picking out every last detail!  

So, why did we choose KB Home as our builder?  We definitely wanted to stay in our school district - our kids have grown up here and we love the teachers.  We definitely wanted a new construction home, and frankly, we loved the open floor plan of the home we chose!  

Have you built a home from the ground up? I would love to hear your experiences!

Bluemercury, Inc.

design + development by fabulous k