Stories by: Grace

Mom & KidsArt for Kids

bradfordbook1It’s never too early to expose the younger set to the world of art, especially since imaginations run wild and creativity abounds in fresh minds. An introduction easily made at home is with the bright and colorful book SIX, which is no ordinary counting board book. The author Katherine Bradford is an accomplished New York artist who is known for her portrayal of ships and water, which I find luminous and whimsical. Her work is displayed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Portland Museum.


Mom & KidsJJ Rabbit

Slider-CUPPIES41Mealtime just became a lot more stylish and easy with the smartly designed collection from JJ Rabbit. The line was clearly thought up by parents with a lot of experience with toddlers but with one eye responsibly on safe, environmentally-sound materials. Plant-based construction is something I find astounding, and on some level still can’t believe that the sturdy plastic cups and plates are biodegradable and compostable, made from corn and sugarcane! They’re still dishwasher safe (phew!), and don’t contain any BPAs, pthalates, or PVC. Here’s a quick rundown of their fun collection.


Travel, Washington DCSalamander Resort

salamanderIt is so amazing to me that nestled a mere 50 miles from the nation’s capital is a fairytale horse country replete with rolling hills, vineyards, and small town charm. We were lucky enough to discover all this while visiting the area’s most luxurious and grand getaway, the Salamander Resort & Spa. The resort spans 340 idyllic acres with trails, horseback riding, indoor and outdoor event space. From the moment we drove onto the grounds, we were astounded by the peace, beauty, and elegance that seemed to emanate throughout the property. The hotel lobby is an refined mix of the genteel country and the luxury of an estate, and staff were welcoming and professional, ready to help with any whim.

FOR TRAVEL - Salamander Resort & Spa --Living Room Center View Salamander Resort & Spa features a spectacular Living Room, which is the first space a guest encounters upon entering (Photo credit: Justin Kriel)


SkincareL’Occitane pour L’Homme

l-occitane-cedrat-pure-cleanserIt’s not often that an inspiring men’s line comes up that my hubby will actually use and enjoy! If left to his own devices, this is the guy that will use bar soap (or even dish detergent if in a pinch, scary!) for his face and SPF moisturizer at night. So when I cajoled him into trying L’Occitane’s Cedrat line, I was completely surprised when a couple days into using the cleanser, he volunteered, “All joking aside, I really like this facewash. It just feels luxurious!” He actually looks forward to washing his face when getting off a long day of work. I love the scent as much as he does, and he even enjoys the gentle exfoliating beads. Cedrat, or citrus, originated from Asia and eventually landed on the shores of Corsica. The Cedrat extract from the pulp was found to have skin energizing properties. L’Occitane harvests cedrat during the winter months from a small organic cooperative on Corsica. The exfoliating beads are actually derived from lemon rind to refine texture and reveal soft skin. The scent reminds me of eating juicy citrus fruits in Provence in the evenings on our balcony, so for me there’s even a hint of romance wrapped up in it.


Beauty, Skincare, TravelBordeaux: Sources des Caudalie

chateauBordeaux and its surrounding vineyards in southwest France, is a dreamland for me. It sacrifices nothing: the most revered wine, stellar cuisine, chateaux in droves, and French sensibility. For 36 hours one June weekend, we feasted with our eyes and tastebuds through vast vineyards and Michelin-starred restaurants. I loved every minute exploring the cobbled and sloped walkways in our small town, St. Emilion, and savored evenings on the terrace at the lovely Hostellerie de Plaisance. Our adopted home was full of charm with historic substance and the best service we’ve ever experienced in Europe. We didn’t have a lot of time to visit multiple vineyards, as each appointment is typically over an hour long, complete with a personal tour and tasting. We chose strategically, experiencing two vineyards, each with its own distinct personalities. First was Chateau Grand Mayne, a beautiful boutique winery in St. Emilion, and the second one, much larger, folds out into a beautiful story.

Nestled in rolling vineyards atop a gentle slope is the family-run Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, a producer of superb red and white wines whose history dates back to 1365. The vineyard takes exquisite care of each step of the wine-producing process, from honed techniques of nearly all-organic growing processes to having their own barrel maker who works with tasters to cater each piece of wood to a desired taste of wine. The estate hosts a luxury inn, two restaurants including the decadent and delicious La Grand’Vigne which has the distinction of two Michelin stars, and a spa. The beauty brand Caudalie is part of what makes the chateau so special as it utilizes the rich resources of grape by-products in production of the line. Even the name ties into the equation, the word Caudalie is derived from the word caudal (tail), this is the unit used to measure the the persistence of a wine’s finish, with one caudalie representing one second.


Mom & KidsLittle Passports

ppOn the hottest days of summer, I search near and far for unique indoor activities. A fave of ours is Little Passports, which is educational, fun, and allows for “world travel” without leaving the living room! The “Global Adventure” starts with a suitcase full of goodies including an introduction to Sofia and Sam, two kids who zoom around the globe to exotic locations on their magic scooter, a big fold-out map, and of course, a passport for stickers from every country visited. Every month, a surprise package arrives with a new country to highlight, complete with pictures, a new story from Sofia and Sam, and some kind of activity. My favorite so far is the Egypt package, which came with a pyramid hiding a buried treasure. Tools provided were small shovels and a hammer to “excavate” the treasure, in our case a bronze pharaoh head.


Beauty, SkincareDiary of a Skin Regenerist

pad I’m on a mission! With the wedding of an old classmate of mine coming up, I am suddenly feeling the anxiety of an approaching reunion and the pressure of looking just as good (or better!) than when we graduated a decade ago. So I decided to go into full-out cram mode, focusing on getting rid of the dull, both inside and out. It’s high time that my skin reaches it’s potential for being as smooth and bright as possible! Culling invaluable knowledge from beauty experts and tips from girlfriends, I’m embarking on a month-long journey with one of my favorites, philosophy. While I get inspired by their pithy messages on each package, my face will be uplifted as well.


Beauty, SkincareSummertime

encantoFresh off a getaway weekend in Santa Barbara, I’m missing the clean breeze mingled with sea salt and organic fresh food. We spent a lot of time in the sun, and I brought along Kiehl’s Multi-Corrective Cream SPF 30 to keep my skin hydrated and protected from the California rays. The rich cream hits two birds with one stone, working on existing dark spots (so pesky!) and fine lines while protecting against future damage. I made sure to coat my face, decolletage and shoulders with it before eating al fresco or going for a swim. I could feel the cream hugging my face and nourishing it while keeping harmful rays away. The absence of heavy scent was appreciated, and it also doesn’t have that unpleasant “sunscreen smell.”


Mom & Kidsaden + anais layette

adenI’m so excited to break the news that aden + anais, my fave brand for baby swaddles, blankets, bibs, and more has finally launched a line of layette clothing (available on the 27th)! The only thing better than being all wrapped up in the sweet cotton muslin is wearing it all day. I’m absolutely in love with the adorable shapes and prints for both tiny boys and girls. I’ve trusted both my babies with aden + anais products, which are uber-soft and absorbent, and hold up amazingly well to constant washing and drying. They only get softer with time and use!


MakeupGo Nude for Summer

With 90 degree weather and hot sun every day, I don’t want a lot of fussy color and makeup running down my face. Fresh, bright and youthful is what’s called for this season with a focus on facial contouring. It’s easy to be intimidated by the concept, but in a few simple steps I’m loving the new “no makeup” (wink, wink) look while making the most of my facial shape. A neutral but dynamic visage goes with any outfit, from summer whites to wedding wear, so you only have to pack one palette to take on travels!

contourContouring is the ubiquitous topic du jour it seems, and I confess I’ve never considered it too seriously until now. The idea behind contouring is to shape, highlight, and bronze in the most flattering way for any shaped face. The concept is so simple yet appealing, so I can’t think of any more excuses for putting it off. I was immediately hooked by Smashbox’s Step-By-Step Contour Stick Trio which transforms my face in seconds, and is incredibly easy to use. The set comes with a guide detailing recommended custom application for any face- it covers anything from oval to heart-shaped faces. Lines and shapes are strategically placed under and over cheekbones to highlight, and the lighter color on the forehead and chin. Blending is a cinch since the creamy pencils glide on, and it’s actually pretty fun to draw shapes on my face before smoothing the lines with my fingers.


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