Entries Tagged as 'Giveaways and Collaborations'

trip to monterey & big sur

Posted on: Monday, May 16, 2016

#GrabYourMoment Monterey - 15

Last weekend, my parents and sister Hope were visiting California and we decided to break up their visit by spending some time in San Francisco and the rest down in Monterey County! This area of California is one of my very favorites; I have very fond, happy memories (including getting engaged!) visiting places like Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur with both Eric and my parents in the past, and also it’s arguably one of the most beautiful drives along Highway 1 in California. I was SO excited for this trip! It’s been wayyy too long since my last visit (November 2014 for engagement) and I was due for an adventure down there. We stayed in Monterey and had a chance to explore there and Carmel, but we carved out a full day on Mother’s Day to explore Big Sur.

I wanted to share a few photos from our trip and explain some of the places we visited! I love living so close (less than 2.5 hour drive from SF!) to this beautiful stretch of coast, and being in Monterey and Big Sur over the weekend reminded me that I need to plan more weekend trips down here soon. Enjoy!

Exploring Monterreythe town is so cute and we happened to be there on a pretty sleepy, not-super-touristy weekend (yay!). We spent our first afternoon/evening just wandering around Cannery Row and along the ocean on the way to Lover’s Point and had a delicious dinner at Cannery Row Brewing Company. My mom spent a half hour just sitting on the rocks observing the pretty view – it was the cutest! We stayed at THE cutest Airbnb in Monterey –  pictured below, but you can find more lodging options on the Monterey County website. Isn’t that fireplace so dreamy?

#GrabYourMoment Monterey - 5 #GrabYourMoment Monterey - 4 #GrabYourMoment Monterey - 8 #GrabYourMoment Monterey - 6 #GrabYourMoment Monterey - 10

BIG SUR // Bixby Bridge & Highway 1 : On Sunday, we woke up early and drove down Highway 1, heading to Big Sur! The best part about road tripping through Monterey County is stopping whenever you want to catch the stunning views. We stopped A LOT! I always make sure to stop at Bixby Bridge, which is kind of like the entrance to Big Sur and a super iconic (and beautiful) view.
#GrabYourMoment Monterey - 13 #GrabYourMoment Monterey - 9

BIG SUR // Partington Cove Trail Hiking: One of our stops during our Big Sur trip was at this trail, where we went down a bridge and also through a tunnel to get to the ocean! It was gorgeous (and worth that uphill hike back to the car!)

#GrabYourMoment Monterey - 1 #GrabYourMoment Monterey - 3

BIG SUR // McWay Falls: This place is literally magical. McWay Falls is the most amazing waterfall in Big Sur that falls into the sand, right along the ocean. The views are truly breathtaking and the walk to see the views is really accessible (good for parents who aren’t used to our California hills!). The view in the top photo is also from McWay Falls.
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BIG SUR // Pfeiffer Beach: This place is super special to me. The first time I visited this beach was at sunset with my mom about four years ago and it was a really memorable weekend together. This is also the spot, at sunset, where Eric proposed to me, so I obviously get all the feels being here. We spent a few hours here just lounging on the beach – mom and dad napped, while E, Hope and I played cards and just soaked up the Big Sur sunshine!
#GrabYourMoment Monterey - 12 #GrabYourMoment Monterey - 14

If you haven’t been to Monterey or Big Sur, I HIGHLY recommend visiting! Here’s some suggestions:

Places to eat/drink (we went to all of these spots this weekend!): Big Sur Bakery for pastries and coffee, weekend brunch or dinner, Nepenthe in Big Sur for a drink overlooking the ocean, Big Sur Taphouse for local beer, Cannery Row Brewing Company in Monterey for dinner/drinks

Fun things to do outdoors / pretty views: wander around Lover’s Point in Monterey, hike in Big Sur, stop at beautiful spots like McWay Falls, Partington Cove Trail, Bixby Bridge and Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, do the legendary 17-Mile Drive through Carmel.

Here’s the full list of Monterey County regions, including Big Sur, Monterey, Carmel, Salinas and more, with additional suggestions! #GrabYourMoment and plan a trip ASAP!

Experiences Over Things: Dinner Party with IfOnly

Posted on: Friday, April 8, 2016

Dinner Party with IfOnly - Empty Table

“Spending money on experiences ‘provide[s] more enduring happiness’…Experiences tend to make people happier because they are less likely to measure the value of their experiences by comparing them to those of others…Those waiting for experiences were in better moods than those waiting for material goods.” – Excerpt from Buy Experiences, Not Possessions article

You’ve likely seen things like the above pop up in your newsfeed in the past, all about why you should spend your time and money on experiences vs. possessions. While I love getting a new purse or pair of shoes (#notsorry), it never quite competes with an amazing experience, whether that’s a concert, vacation or cooking class. The whole topic of gifts vs. experiences has been a topic of conversation around our house lately, as yesterday was Eric’s birthday. For birthdays and holidays, we’ve been mostly sticking to gifting one another experiences – we’ve done cooking and pickling classes, concerts, surprise weekend trips in sweet Airbnbs, etc. – and thinking about each brings back really fun memories. Of course, tangible gifts are always good too, but experiences seem to have more longevity in terms of what we end up talking about and remembering.

I recently discovered IfOnly, an online marketplace where you can book different cool, one-in-a-lifetime experiences — from jam-making classes and wine tasting trips to sailing trips around the Bay and meeting cool athletes, musicians and designers. One cool difference between IfOnly and other experience-based sites if that every experience booked also gives back to a specific cause. They work with TONS of nonprofits (check out the full list on their site).

I had to chance to try out an IfOnly experience and decided to have a chef come to our house and cook dinner! E and I really love inviting people into our home to drink wine, enjoy a meal and just spend time together, but usually we are the ones cooking! This was the first time I’ve had someone cover over and cook FOR us at our apartment. I picked this Californian cuisine “A Feast for the Senses” meal and invited a few friends over for dinner last Sunday evening. The experience included a three-course meal, as well as all of the fresh ingredients, set-up and clean-up and gratuity.

The chef who cooked our meal (also known as an IfOnly luminary) was Marisa Cole and she was SO kind and talented. She was helpful beforehand running the proposed menu by me and super accommodating when I shared that we would like a pescetarian meal and no mushrooms. She went above and beyond to make it such a fun and special night, even doing little things like decanting the wine, putting together a cheese plate for us prior to the ‘official meal’ started and bringing a dessert wine over for us to drink after dinner. I’m pretty sure we were the most unprepared and un-fancy group of people she’s cooked for (I had to run to CVS to get real napkins after realizing we only had paper towels…) and that our kitchen was the smallest she has ever cooked in, but she was super relaxed and go-with-the-flow about everything.
Here’s what we ate and some photos! Also…my iPhone photos don’t do her food justice, especially given it was dark by the time we had our entrees and dessert. (And make sure to scroll to the end of the post to see a $50 discount code off your next IfOnly experience!)
APPETIZER: Radicchio, olive, and fennel panzanella salad. This was absolutely delicious. Marisa plated this salad as a tower – so beautiful!
Dinner Party with IfOnly - Above Shot
Dinner Party with IfOnly - Salad 3
Dinner Party with IfOnly - Salad 2
Dinner Party with IfOnly - Salad Top Shot
MAIN COURSE: Seared diver scallops with tangerine beurre blanc served with gnudi (similar to gnocchi, but not made with potatoes and just made with ricotta cheese, eggs and flour) with asparagus and spring peas. These scallops were fresh from the ferry building that morning!
Dinner Party with IfOnly - Entree
Dinner Party with IfOnly - Entree 2
DESSERT: Ginger-nut strawberry tart with chocolate custard. This was gluten-free and there was no sugar in the crust! So delicious and healthy!

Dinner Party with IfOnly - Dessert

I highly recommend hosting your own dinner party with Marisa – my friends all texted me the next day saying how delicious and amazing everything was (and we ate the amazing leftovers the next day!).

Check out IfOnly for unique experience ideas – you get $50 off your first experience purchase using the code LUCKY! If you’re an artist/chef/local expert on a cool topic, you should sign up to be an IfOnly luminary…it’s a great way to inspire others, grow your clientele, make some extra $$ and give back to a cause you care about!

Meditation & Living a Calm(er) Life

Posted on: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Calm

“We all want the kind of mindset that allows us to be calm while driving to work in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Or the calm that helps us to stop ruminating about the past or worrying about the future so we can sleep well at night. For many of us, the stress and anxiety we experience seems to be greater than ever before. We rarely pull away from our digital devices and we end up feeling overwhelmed and overstimulated. We’re so focused on ‘the next thing’ that we regularly miss what’s happening in front of us. We fall into bed exhausted, waiting for weekends to come around, and when they do, we spend them worrying about what we didn’t achieve or thinking about what’s next on our plate…” – Excerpt from page one of the Calm book

Ummm whoa. Does this resonate with any of you? This hits particularly close to home for me lately, as I’ve been feeling more overwhelmed and stressed than normal. More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because my mind is racing at all the things to do or things I’m overwhelmed by. I’ve also caught myself getting more easily annoyed by things that shouldn’t bother me so much, things like spilling a drink or missing the bus. And I want – and need – to change, because I don’t want to live life in that way! I want to be relaxed, thinking clearly, happy, grateful, at peace.

Calm

I recently discovered Calm, an amazing meditation mobile app that provides simple, guided meditations to help you get into the practice of meditating daily and living a calm(er) life. The mobile app has guided meditations, where you select your amount of time (2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes and so on) and a situation you’re looking to get through or goal you’re looking to achieve with your meditation (like Deep Sleep, Deep Concentration, Commuting, Emergency Calm, Forgiveness, Inner Strength). Calm also has different programs like 7 Days of Calming Anxiety, 7 Days of Sleep, 7 Days of Gratitude, 7 Days of Focus, etc. if you’re looking to do a regular meditation program in one area.

So what exactly does mindfulness mean and why is being calm so important? Here’s a definition from Calm: “Mindfulness is about focusing your awareness on the present moment while calming acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts and body sensations.” Mindfulness can also lower blood pressure, reduce chronic pain, improve sleep, regulate appetite, boost your immune system and more.

The Calm team also recently sent me their book, which I’m already obsessed with! The book provides an overview on meditation and the importance of being calm, as well as eight sections – nature, sleep, travel, relationships, work, children, creativity and food. Each section offers related inspiration and meditation tips and exercises you can try out. I love this part of the book sharing 25 ways to take a break (yay for digital detoxes!)

Calm

Today, Calm is celebrating their second annual “International Calm Day” where they are encouraging people everywhere to slow down, take a break from stress and distractions and indulge in a moment of calm. SIGN ME UP! I’m going to be not spending every single waking minute glued to my computer and remember to take time to myself, focusing on decreasing my stress and worry. If you’re interested in having access to all of Calm’s programs and guided meditations, you can get 25% off your yearly subscription to the Calm app by clicking here: calm.com/luckyandi.

I’m giving away one copy of the Calm book! To enter,commenting on my Instagram post about the Calm book (@luckyandi) with one way that you stay calm or peaceful (yoga, reading, meditating, praying, going on walks, whatever!). I promise, this is a book you want!

Also! If you are looking for some ongoing Calm during your workday and don’t have time for a quick meditation sess, just go to the main Calm website. You can select different relaxing and calming background sound to play – I like the Mountain Lake and Sunset Beach – while you’re working. I’m actually currently listening to Mountain Lake as I type this post!

Calm

 

bathroom refresh with wayfair & giveaway!

Posted on: Thursday, March 31, 2016

Wayfair & Home Dynamix Bathroom Refresh

thank you wayfair for partnering with me on this post & giveaway!

i’ve said this before, but our apartment is a constant work in progress. i’m always looking to tweak, improve and re-energize the space with just the right additions, whether it’s updated pillows for the chaise or couch, swapping out photos in frames or finding a perfect new plant. there’s one space that often doesn’t get as many fancy tweaks and seasonal updates compared to the rest of the apartment: our bathroom.

if you’ve been to our apartment, you understand why the bathroom isn’t a big focus in terms of decorating or updating because literally – it’s SO small. our entire apartment is probably like 800 square feet and the bathroom is a super tiny corner of that. there’s not really space for fun (and functional) additions like shelving or larger plants (boo!) but one easy way to refresh the space is with new bath linens and displaying small things like candles and pretty lotions.

wayfair recently sent me this new bath linens set – a white, fluffy pinnacle chenille bath mat and set of plush towels – and i’m loving the way they look in the space and feel. given the bathroom is *so* small, i always try to keep lighter gray or white towels in the room because a darker shade would make the small cave-like bathroom feel even smaller. to make the bathroom feel a little brighter and better, I display my a candle, and some pretty lotions and perfumes on the window sill and top of the toilet. i also recently added some (small) greenery to make the bathroom flow into the rest of the apartment (we have lots of plants – my goal is for it to be a jungle in our tiny apartment!).

check out more photos of the bathroom below!

even though the bathroom is tiny, i want it to feel like a mini oasis if at all possible! one of my absolute favorite ways to unwind is by taking a bubble bath. i usually have a cup of tea or glass of wine, a book or magazine to read and add a bath bomb to the water (the ones pictured below are from williams-sonoma but i also love everything from LUSH). having good, fluffy towels (like my new set from wayfair!) to use post-bath are always important because the apartment always feels so cold compared to hot bubble bath water!

now for the fun part, i’m hosting a GIVEAWAY! i’m giving away the exact same bath set pictured to one lucky winner. you will receive a 7-piece bath linens set from home dynamix (includes two large towels, two hand towels, two washcloths and one bath mat). to enter to win, simply comment below, letting me know if you’re a shower person or a bubble bath guy/gal. as mentioned earlier, i’m definitely a bath person, but prefer showers in specific situations like right after a work out. this contest closes on friday, april 8.

Wayfair & Home Dynamix Bathroom Refresh 5e939471-8efb-482f-99cd-0cdf427ad205 Wayfair & Home Dynamix Bathroom Refresh Wayfair & Home Dynamix Bathroom Refresh

and if you’re looking to refresh YOUR bathroom, check out the home dynamix collection and see wayfair’s huge selection of bath linens here!
more of my blog posts with wayfair here: living room favoritesa pop of color, cherry chocolate chip cookie recipe, my parents cozy living room, castiron apple pie recipe.

 

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