O-jai, you’re back!

2 Jul

IMG_9369If you’ve followed my travels for a while, you know I love a good weekend trip to Ojai. There’s always less traffic than driving south–from LA. It’s a prettier drive, and you can stop for some outlet or antique shopping along the way.

I’ve been visiting Ojai for over 20 years now. The Ojai Valley Inn has always been my go-to. A quick escape away from home. I’ve loved it since my first rose petal treatment… which I believe they’ve stopped offering. I will always savor my stays there. But it’s changed over the years. The pools and shops for better; the customer service for worse.

I should clarify actually – the onsite service and staff still remain as lovely as ever. It’s the Reservations team and pre-arrival customer experience that has felt cold and unaccommodating the past few years. But, as I’m admittedly picky about hotels and not a huge B&B lover, the resort has always been my first choice in Ojai.

I hadn’t been back to the area since before the 2017 fires, and actually didn’t even know what was still standing. So when I got an invite from the town’s PR team to come visit for a summer solstice shopping event, I was all about it.

Turns out there are plenty of other lodging accommodations in Ojai – camp sites, lodges, B&Bs, and intimate hotels.

I stayed at the Lavender Inn—an historic B&B that my sister told me was charming. And it was! Late afternoon wine and cheese offering. Complimentary wifi. Morning breakfast buffet. Multiple outdoor and indoor spaces to sit and chill. Or work in my case. Lots of little touches to make you feel at home.

I’ll always prefer a luxe hotel stay, but it’s easy to be charmed by the pride of a well-maintained landmark B&B. Built in 1874. It was originally Ojai’s first schoolhouse! Like the Inn keeper at Lavender Inn, the local shop owners we came across all upheld an attitude of gratitude. It’s a town that’s endured disaster and has come out the other side.

I even spotted groups of chairs set up randomly along Ojai Avenue. When I asked what they were for, I was told that the older locals secure their spots weeks in advance for the annual 4th of July parade… and it’s well-known not to mess with these chairs. Amazing! Such small-town spirit is completely foreign to a city girl. I laugh thinking what would happen if people set chairs out prior to a Laker parade, or the like. If LA ever gets another Championship parade, I’m going to set up chairs the night before and see what happens.

If you visit Ojai (and you should!), I recommend stopping in at these charming shops:

#shopojai  #ojailove  #ojai

xo

 

 

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HotBoxing is a (different) thing.

29 Jun

IMG_9456When HotBox was first mentioned to me, I laughed so hard a little spit came out. If you ever had a boyfriend who retaliated for your chick flick choice by holding your head under the covers after Mexican food, you too might have a different definition of hot boxing.

Turns out it’s more of a private sauna experience. Or “an infrared sauna studio,” as founder Jessica Mortarotti describes it. And it’s awesome.

HotBox is in downtown LA (with easy garage parking!) and houses eight private suites – each stocked with a state-of-the-art infrared sauna, mood-enhancing color chromotherapy, tablet with audio/visual options (even guided meditation!), and vitamin C rain shower.

The technology used in infrared saunas is said to support better wellness from the inside out. Each 45-minute sweat helps cleanse your pores, improve radiance, smooth fine lines, and create healthier cells. It also boosts your heart rate (burns up to 600 calories!) and human growth hormone (HGH) levels –crucial to breaking down fat and building muscle.

Building up this kind of sweat and raising your body temperature can help reset your circadian rhythm—enabling a deeper and more rejuvenating sleep.

All enough to pique my interest.

But learning that infrared heat boosts dopamine & serotonin levels, while also reducing cortisol (yes please.) got me to book an appointment.

Full transparency, it’s not inexpensive. Having said that, taking an hour to unplug from the world and come away feeling healthier, calmer, and a touch more radiant makes the price seem pretty reasonable.

I recommend treating yourself to a HotBox session (or three!) asap. Or you could be that cool friend who thinks to give one as a gift. We like that friend.

xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

CityWalk Appeals to Beauty Shoppers

15 Jun
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Nectar Bath Treats | Razzle Dazzle Donut Soap

Last I visited Universal CityWalk, it was all food and tourist shops. Which makes perfect sense for the locale. That said, I was presently surprised when I popped by this week to discover some new beauty-tailers.

First, there’s the mother ship: Sephora moved in! And it’s a good one. Many coveted collections line the walls. Picture brand new, untouched rows of BITE lipsticks, Pat McGrath palettes, Huda, Anastasia & Dior glosses, Tatcha eye brighteners, MILK sticks, Kate Somerville serums, and more. Heaven for an unapologetic product lover like myself. Stop by!

Then I discovered what can only be described as the love child of LUSH and Sprinkles. It’s a natural body shop called Nectar Bath Treats—just diagonal from Sephora. Wall to wall popsicle soaps, milkshake soaks, and handmade fruit smoothie scrubs. For bath lovers, it’s a dizzying experience. Crumbly Ice cream soaps, fizzy bath bombs, and macaron bathing treats. A one-stop gift shop—perfect (and safe!) for kids, too.

There’s even a make-your-own fragrance bar. I opted for a blend of vanilla and sugar body butter. Because when in Rome.

Now that I think about it… these locations are genius. By the time you leave Nectar, you want to get your hands on a treat you can actually eat. And whatdya know…there’s are about 6 candy stores within a stone’s throw. Brilliant!

Mother’s Day Gifts You Can Order Today

8 May

Well hello! It’s been a minute. My apologies. The days (ok, weeks) have gotten away from me. But, as I’m sure someone still says: Better late than never.  So just in time for you last minute shoppers, here are a few fun suggestions for Mom’s big day.

2018 MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE

Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 11.56.09 PMLUXE SKINCARE: Send an at-home version of Kate Somerville’s celebrated Melrose Place clinic. Advanced age-defying formulas and curated kits for every skin-type are available, but I recommend the special Every Day Warrior box for Mom. It features Kate’s coveted Wrinkle Warrior 2-in-1 Moisturizer+Serum, Eye Gel, NEW Cold Cream Cleanser+Makeup Remover, and exclusive wash cloth—all wrapped in a beautiful blue box.

 

ACCESSORIES @ POTTERY BARN:

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.13.50 AMThe McKenna collection of leather jewelry cases at Pottery Barn is wonderful. Beautiful pastels lined in ultra-suede with special compartments, so delicate pieces don’t get tangled. My personal favorite is the McKenna Jewelry Binder. Perfect for the woman who travels often.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.24.19 AMMake her mornings easier with the smart simulations of the Simplehuman wide-view sensor mirror. Any woman who knows the frustration of putting on makeup only to get outside and see a clown in the mirror, will fall in love with this ultra-luxe beauty tool. It’s a special must-have for Mom’s vanity. It mimics natural sunlight, and even has a motion sensor that turns on when she approaches.  It’s also got different magnifications—optimal for tweezing and using liquid liner.

 

NEW MAKEUP:

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 12.47.42 AMAnd what goes better with a makeup mirror than a perfect new lip color? There are so many great formulas out right now, so pick out one that she might not have tried yet. I fall for every collection Pat McGrath touches. So when she finally launched her own line in Sephora, I was all over it. And it doesn’t disappoint. There are so many rich wearable shades–Modern Woman MatteTrance Lipstick is my latest go-to cool mauve.

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If Mom prefers an all-natural formula, check out the latest from Tarte Cosmetics. Their Color Splash Lipstick from the Rainforest of the Sea Collection wears really well. Griege, Salt Lyfe, Set Sail... So many moisturizing satin, full coverage options. All in beautiful sea-blue swirled tubes.

 

 

HER PERFECT PAIR:

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 10.04.59 AMWhen your feet feel good, you feel good. Who knows this better than Mom? Send her the ultimate gift card: customized shoes. From narrow to extra-wide, sizes 2-15, Shoes of Prey will create the shoe of her fashion dreams. Sneakers, boots, strappy stilettos—she can choose her fabric, lining, color, heel, everything. Or she can opt for a pre-designed style. Whatever she creates will arrive at her door in less than two weeks.

BONUS: Designing her custom shoe is a fun project you can do together. 

 

TIME FOR HERSELF:

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 10.39.51 AMI always love a gift card to a local day spa. It might not feel that creative, but she’ll thank you after an afternoon of self-care. If she doesn’t appreciate a massage, remind her about facials, scrubs, relaxing tea, blow outs, manicures, et al. Most good day spas have a laundry list of services.

I’ll go into more detail in another post about the Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in California, but if Mom happens to be around the Sonoma area, I highly recommend treating her to a day here.

 

xo

 

 

 

 

#Internationalwomensday

8 Mar

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Here’s to the women who lift each other up and aren’t afraid to rock the boat. 💪🏼💪🏾💪🏻 #internationalwomensday

I pulled this from one of the best commercials I’ve seen in awhile. Nike ran it during the Oscars, featuring Serena Williams.