Monday's Motivation

"Keep your heart open to dreams. For as long as there's a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living."


Valentine's Ideas for Him

I know there are many mixed emotions about Valentines Day. I mean aren't we supposed to love our special someone all the time not just on one silly day? In fact in a recent study, 91% of men stated that Valentine's Day was their least favorite holiday. This does not surprise me, there is so much pressure on both ends to get the right presents for eachother and for the guy to plan this special day even when everything from flowers to restaurants jack up the prices. My feelings are to embrace this holiday no matter how silly it may seem and do something simple and meaningful. If your single, get together with some friends and make a fun night out of it. If your taken then make it low key and unique so that it is special to both of you. Below are some gift ideas for your love, both creative gifts you can make and gifts you can purchase.

For Men:
Purchased Gifts
  1. Has you hunny ever mentioned his interest in learning to play an instrument? Why not buy him some music lessons from a local studio. If you live in California, California Music Studios is a great website you can use to look up music teachers in your local area.
  2. Tickets to a band you both enjoy or a sporting event to watch his favorite team. Ticketmaster is the best website to purchase tickets to a concert or game!

  3. A watch is a great present. Nixon watched happen to be my favorite watches for men, they last forever and have great styles. The Player is the type of Nixon watch that I bought Ryan years ago and he loves it!
  4. For those willing to dish out a bit more money you cant go wrong with something from Apple . The iPad happens to be my favorite of all the Apple products. You can purchase a refurbished iPad for $429 and get a personalized message engraved on the back to make it extra special.

  5. A Flip Video is an awesome present. You can bring the small camera on your special outings together to capture the moment. It's simple to plug into the computer and fun to put together your own personal movies. There are a variety of different designs you can chose from or you can chose to upload a personal picture to use for the front design of the Flip.
  6. Create a picture book at inkubook where you can choose from a variety of different styles and sizes. Personalize the book with messages throughout the book.

Homemade Gifts:

  1. Create a small scrapbook with pictures taken throughout your relationship. Mix in some stories and meaningful quotes about your time together. A scrapbook is fun to look back on and remember all the great times you've shared together.
  2. "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach." Instead of going out to eat why not get all the ingredients to make his favorite meal and spend the evening cooking together. This is something fun you can do and is alot more romantic that going out to a crowded expensive restaurant.
  3. The most important part of Valentine's Day is spending time together and having fun. Therefore, do not even feel obligated to get something. Why not spend your time creating a homemade card with a special message inside. A letter from the heart is more meaningful that anything.
  4. A basket full of his favorite things. Put together some of his favorite treats, DVD's, books, magazines, movie tickets and anything else that he enjoys. This will show how much you pay attention to the things he loves.


Chipolte Burrito Bowl at home!

I am a HUGE fan of Chipolte Mexician Grille, in particular their chicken burrito bowl!!! It has lime flavored basmati rice, chicken, grilled peppers, corn salsa and lettuce! I decided to recreate the burrito bowl at home and thought I'd pass along the recipes. It was delicious and might I say resembles Chipolte quite well!!
Cilantro Lime Rice:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine
1 lime
½ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt)
1 cup basmati rice (Trader Joes has a great brown basmati rice
11/2 cups water

Sautee the rice in oil until almost translucent
Add water, bring to a boil.

As soon as the water begins to boil, turn the heat down low.

Simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.

Turn off heat.LEAVE IT COVERED for 30 minutes. Remove lid, let some of the steam out. Mix salt and juice of lime together until salt is dissolved.

Pour it over rice, fluff with a fork.

Sprinkle in cilantro, and toss well to evenly coat with cilantro and lime mixture. DELICIOUS:)

Chicken marinade:
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 tablespoons oregano (fresh or dried)
6 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes
1 red onion, quartered
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs chicken breast (boneless, skinless)

puncture chicken with a fork and pour marinde on top. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

Grilled Peppers:
3 bell peppers (whatever color you prefer)
1/2 purple onion
3 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Slice peppers and onions in thin strips. Sautee peppers, garlic and onions in olive oil for approximately 5 minutes or until tender.

To make a burrito bowl put approx. 1/2 cup of basmati rice in a shallow bowl, place a spoonful of grilled peppres and chicken on top. Add corn salsa and chopped lettuce for added texture and flavor. Enjoy!


Since the day I heard this song I've been in love, no matter how many times I listen to it, I never get tired of how beautiful it is. Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson are some of my very favorite artists, their talent is so raw and beautiful and miles apart from many of the mainstream artists nowadays. The first video is how they collaborated to make this amazing song and the second video is the final version. Hope you fall in love as I did. This is my winter song to you.


Best of Beauty!

Hi Everyone! Today I'm going to write about some beauty products and supplements that I have researched and have found to be effective!! Take a look at the products that I've narrowed down to be the best of the best!

To improve hair and nail strength, luster and length try taking a Biotin supplement. Biotin is a water-soluble B-Complex Vitamin. Biotin is naturally produced by our bodies however, increasing the dose we naturally create stimulates the creation and growth of hair and new skin cells, making them healthier and more abundant.There are no adverse reactions from taking this supplement and often doctors recommend taking approximately 3 doses of 1000 mcg per day.

This supplement can be found at any local drug store or GNC.

Nioxin Hair Shampoo/Conditioner is a fabulous product that takes off environmental residue and DHT which is hormone that causes hair loss and thinning. The shampoo and conditioner add amino acids (proteins)to the hair follicle which strengthens the hair and gives the hair a nice healthy sheen.

This product can be found at Walgreen's, Target, Costco and Amazon Nails

As mentioned above, Biotin is used not only for hair strength but also for nail strength. In addition, Nailtiques Nail Protein polish is my favorite nail product which works to bond the nail layers creating a healthier, stronger nail.

This product can be found at many beauty and drug stores including CVS Priti Polish is a line of organic beauty products specializing in hands and feet. I LOVE their polish as it is gentle, glossy, chip resistant and carries the most amazing colors. I also enjoy their soy polish remover. These products have been featured in all kinds of magazines lately and are especially well received amongst fashion designers during New York fashion week. Most models were sporting Priti Polish down the runway! The products are 100% Biodegradable, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.

These products can be found at select stores , their website or on Amazon

AmorePacific is my favorite lip moisturizer. For those who have dry cracked lips this lip balm replenishes and binds hydration to the lips for up to 8 hours.

This product can be found at Sephora
Philosophy Kiss Me Exfoliating Scrub is a gentle scrub for dry, flaky lips leaving the lips softer and smoother! I use this scrub a couple times a week to add hydration for an easier application of lipstick.

This product can be found at Sephora and at Philosophy website.

Above any products we can use proper diet and hydration is our best tools for getting healthy skin. Remember to eat healthy balanced meals and drink at least 64 oz of water per day. Oh and don't forget to clean your face before bed!! Sleeping with makeup on is a BIG no no!

I have tried a variety of facial cleansers from Philosophy, Clinique, Proactive, Bobbi Brown, etc and I have found nothing better than Clean and Clear Morning Burst Cleanser. It smells fantastic and it is a gentle cleanser than cleanses without drying out the skin. Alot of the other cleansers that Ive used either leave my skin flaky and dry or a bit too moisturized leading to break out.

You can find this product at any drug store.Dr. Patricia Wexler's dermatology line at Bath & Body Works is amazing! I have been using the skin brightening daily moisturizer with SPF 30 for several years now and I have noticed a huge change in my skin. I have less breakouts and my skin feels soft and hydrated but not overly moisturized or greasy. The SPF is especially important!Body

I've been using the same body scrub for the past 5 years. St. Ives Apricot Body Scrub, is effective in sloughing off dead skin leaving it soft and smoother and you cant beat the price! St. Ives Oatmeal & Shea Butter body soap is also one of my favorites.

These products can be found at any drug store and most grocery stores.

Dove Shea Butter Cream Oil is a wonderful yummy smelling moisturizer combining both Shea butter and skin nourishing oils. Believe me, you'll fall in love with this lotion. Hope you were able to get some inspiration for your next beauty purchases!


It's all about the accessories!

In my little free time lately I've been switching it up from my usual card making or painting and have been making jewelry!! Above everything in fashion, jewelry has always been the thing I gravitate towards the most. Its fun to play around with big bold pieces with a simple outfit or dainty pieces with a more busy look. Take a look at some of the pieces I've made so far and instead of spending too much money on a piece that everyone has why not make your own one of a kind piece!!


Lookout Looklet!

I've been in love with a website I discovered called Looklet which allows you to create fashion looks from head to toe. You chose what model you want to dress and then search through all the clothing types to put together a look that you like from the jewelry, undergarments, tights, headbands and photo backgrounds, the possibilities are endless. For someone who is visual and loves fashion you'll find this website to be extremely fun. Hope you have as much fun as I've had with Looklet!
Here are some looks I put together along with where to find the specific pieces featured.

Items in this Look:
Earring by Accessorize
Briefcase by Beyond Retro
Bracelet by MaNoLin
Necklace by Viveka Bergström
Belt by Marc O Polo
Blouse by Rodebjer
Blouse by H&M
Skirt by Carin Wester
Heels by Zara

Items in this Look :
Earring by Kitson LA
Clutch by Longchamp
Ring by Thomas Sabo
Bracelet by Zanzlöza Zmycken
Belt by Karen Millen
Dress by Carin Wester
Heels by Burberry

Items in this Look
Sunglasses by Dior
Head band by Urban Outfitters
Shoulderbag by Volcom
Leather Jacket by Volcom
Ring by NC Raw
Necklace by Patrizia Pepe
Tank top by Wood Wood
Shorts by DKNY Jeans
Bra by Maidenform
Boots by Hugo Boss

Items in this Look
Earring by Åsitas
Clutch by Abro
Bracelet by Philippe Audibert
Belt by Beyond Retro
Top by Twist&Tango
Tank top by H&M
Pants by Joseph
Skirt by Patouf
Heels by Karen Millen

Items in this Look:
Head band by Topshop
Earring by Vintage
Clutch by Lara Bohnic
Cape by Patouf
Ring by Zanzlöza Zmycken
Tank top by One Teaspoon
Jeans by G-star Raw
Heels by Chloé

Items in this Look:
Earring by H&M
Clutch by Abro
Blazer by Killah
Bracelet by Mint
Ring by Thomas Sabo
Belt by Peter Jensen
Dress by H&M
Heels by Ellos

Items in this Look
Earring by Zanzlöza Zmycken
Handbag by Van Deurs
Watch by DKNY
Necklace by Vintage
Belt by Beyond Retro
T-shirt by Shakuhachi
Flats by H&M
Jeans by Nudie
Tank top by Kani Ladies

Items in this Look
Head band by Caia of Sweden
Necklace by Cooee Design
Belt by Peter Jensen
Tunic by By Malene Birger
Bra by Maidenform
Flats by Grishko
Tights by DKNY Jeans

Items in this Look
Earring by JC
Handbag by Botkier
Necklace by Tatty Devine
Bracelet by Indiska
Mini Dress by One Teaspoon
Boots by Catwalk
Tights by Monki

Items in this Look
Beret by Esprit
Bracelet by Indiska
Necklace by Åsitas
Vest by Noa Noa
Belt by Cheap Monday
T-shirt by American Vintage
Jeans by Nudie
Sneakers by All Star Converse