Category: Lifestyle

2018 Holiday Gift Guide | Mindful Gifts for Everyone on Your List + Plus Gifts That Give Back

Gift giving can be daunting, am I right? With the holidays right around the corner, you’ve probably already googled “gift ideas for mom” or “gift ideas for women” and most certainly “gift ideas for men” because they’re especially hard to shop for! What about that one person that doesn’t need anything or has everything?! Yep, I’ve been there too. Don’t worry, this year, I got you covered!

Are you ready to give gifts that are going to really resonate with your loved ones? Are you ready to give with intention? Are you ready to give a gift that will be remembered and cherished for many years to come? GOOD! This holiday gift guide is going to knock your socks off! Not only are these gift ideas awesome, but most of them also give back! Yep, they do good for others, meaning you’ll be feeding two birds with one scone. 😉

Holiday Gift Ideas | Books

Let’s start with books. I love gifting books because they’re the gift the keeps on giving. A single book can completely change someone’s life. Take, for example, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. This information in this book can be used to reverse heart disease, but please, don’t take my word for it. Go read the 1,700+ reviews on Amazon where readers share their testimonies and lab results. This is some really powerful reading. I’ve been gifted many books over the years, everything from fiction, to non-fiction, to cookbooks, which I still use to this day. Cookbooks make life easier and I’ve loved collecting them since I was a kid. Here are some of my most recent favorites.

 

1. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically-Proven, Nutrition-Based Cure

The New York Times bestselling guide to the lifesaving diet that can both prevent and help reverse the effects of heart disease

Based on the groundbreaking results of his twenty-year nutritional study, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn illustrates that a plant-based, oil-free diet can not only prevent the progression of heart disease but can also reverse its effects.  Dr. Esselstyn is an internationally known surgeon, researcher and former clinician at the Cleveland Clinic and a featured expert in the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives. Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease has helped thousands across the country, and is the book behind Bill Clinton’s life-changing vegan diet.”

2. How Not To Die by Dr. Michael Greger

“From the physician behind the wildly popular website Nutrition Facts, How Not to Die reveals the groundbreaking scientific evidence behind the only diet that can prevent and reverse many of the causes of disease-related death.”

3. The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, and Long-Term Health

“You can dramatically reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes just by changing your diet. More than 30 years ago, nutrition researcher T. Colin Campbell and his team at Cornell, in partnership with teams in China and England, embarked upon the China Study, the most comprehensive study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease. What they found when combined with findings in Colin’s laboratory, opened their eyes to the dangers of a diet high in animal protein and the unparalleled health benefits of a whole foods, plant-based diet.”

4. The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

“Bestselling author, longevity expert, and National Geographic Explorer Dan Buettner reports on health, fitness, diet, and aging, drawing on his research from extraordinarily long-lived communities–Blue Zones–around the globe.”

5. This Cheese is Nuts!: Delicious Vegan Cheese at Home

“In their debut cookbook, The Plantpower Way, Julie Piatt and her ultra-endurance athlete husband, Rich Roll, inspired thousands to embrace a plant-fueled lifestyle, and through their advocacy efforts, podcasts, and talks, countless people are now enjoying healthier and more vibrant lives…Filled with the essential tips, tools, and mouth-watering recipes home cooks need to immerse themselves in the world of nut-based cheese-making, This Cheese is Nuts will demonstrate why nut cheeses should be part of any healthy, sustainable diet.”

6. Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook: Over 300 Recipes for Plant-Based Eating All Through the Year

New York Times Bestseller!

 

Holiday Gift Ideas | Journals

Journals are really trending right now and I’m predicting they will be one of 2019’s biggest trends. Gratitude journals, particularly, seem to be the most popular. Why is this? Well, it seems like this trend started with CEO’s and successful entrepreneurs; many of whom, speak about the power of practicing gratitude and being mindful of the things we have. This is a practice I’ve completely embraced in the last few months and I even started a #gratitudechallenge over on my Instagram. Exercising gratitude is easy and has the power to completely transform your life. I find that since starting this practice, I’m more mindful in more aspects of my life, I have a sunnier disposition, I handle “bad” situations better, I’m kinder to others, I’m nicer to myself, and I have a more positive outlook on life and the world around me. Here are some of my favorite journals.

1.52 Lists for Happiness Journal

2. Good Days Start With Gratitude Journal

3. Diario De Gratitud

A gratitude journal for Spanish speakers. Diario de gratitud en espanol.

4. Start With Gratitude Journal

 

Holiday Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List

 

1. Love Your Melon Pom Beanie

Fifty percent (50%) of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support our nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer.

2. One Hope Wine Gift Box

One Hope Wine partners with numerous nonprofits to help support causes that support animals, children, women, veterans, education, environment, and health. Partners include Pencils of Promise and Room to Read.

3. Conscious Steps Mens Gift Box—Socks That Give Back

This box supports the movement to combat deforestation, protect our environment, and repopulate our oceans.

4. Ceramic Oil Diffuser

An oil diffuser is such a great gift to help your loved ones unwind and relax. This one is so simple to use, just fill the water cup to the line, add a few drops of essential oil, and push the start button. Not only is it super easy to use but the soft glowing light and vase design are so pretty; it makes a stylish addition to any room. It also doubles as a night light!

5. Lush Charity Pot

“This rich and generous cream contains seven ingredients sourced from our Sustainable Lush Fund projects that support regenerative agriculture around the world. With every purchase of Charity Pot, we donate 100% of the price (minus the taxes) to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.”

6. Raw Sugar Body & Bath Gift Set

This product gives back! For every product purchased, one bar of soap is donated to a family in need. This brand is vegan and cruelty-free.

7. Raw Sugar Holiday Body Wash Set

The product gives back! For every product purchased, one bar of soap is donated to a family in need. This brand is vegan and cruelty-free.

8. Roma Rain Boots

For every pair you buy, a pair is donated to a child in need.

9. Krochet Kids Fox Ears Beanie

This gift gives back. Krochet Kids creates life-changing jobs through the making of apparel and accessories. They also provide social impact programming that helps communities get out of poverty.

10. Conscious Steps Womens Gift Box—Socks That Give Back

Each box plants 10 trees through Trees for the Future, promotes early detection of breast cancer through Keep A Breast, and empowers women with access to safe water through Water.org.

11. Love Your Melon Black Beanie

Fifty percent (50%) of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support our nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer.

12. Gift Prime

This is a gift everyone needs. I’ve been using Amazon Prime for years but when Athena was born, we used it nearly every day. This was invaluable to us because it saved us from having to go out for every little thing I needed for ourselves, the house, the dog, and the baby. Every parent knows the hassle of packing up the baby for a “quick” trip to the store. There’s no such thing; every trip somehow turns into a 2-hour long journey.  If you don’t know what to give someone, give them the gift of express delivery. Prime also comes with tons of free movies and tv shows as well as free audio books.

Prime Trial

If you’d like to try it for yourself, use this link to get a free 30 day trial of Amazon Prime.

13. Ruby’s Dream Big Socks

These rainbow sock are not only really cute, they also give back! Ruby’s Rainbows

“Ruby’s Rainbow is a nonprofit that grants scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking post-secondary education, enrichment or vocational classes, helping them achieve their dreams of higher education while spreading awareness of their capabilities.”

14. Naja Wonder Sports Bra

Naja offers lingerie and activewear. Their products are made by single mother and female heads of household. They pay above-market wages, provide healthcare, and support child educations with stipends.

15. Matas Traders Hammered Disc Bracelet

These beautifully crafted pieces are made by artisans in India and Nepal. They come from rural areas, tribal villages, and urban slums looking for a chance to lift their families and communities out of poverty. Your purchase supports these artisans and their families for generations to come.

16. I Have Done Love Necklace

This necklace supports the Aleksander Fund by donating $12 for every I Have Done Love necklace sold. The Aleksander Fund is a scholarship to send a woman in need or who have suffered a loss to one of Jen Pastiloff’s healing retreats. It’s named after Julia Anderson’s baby boy who passed away in July 2016.

17. Love Beauty & Planet Rose Gift Set

100% of the gift set profits go to The Recycling Partnership.

18. Petit Vour — A Cruelty-Free, Vegan, Subscription Beauty Box

This is not your ordinary beauty box. These boxes are packed with high-end, vegan and cruelty-free makeup, perfumes, and beauty items. This is the perfect gift for anyone who loves animals as much as they love pampering themselves. Use code: GIFT NOW for 50% off your first box.

19. Deer Sleep Mask

These are currently on sale. Buy one get, one free!

20. Love Your Melon Blanket

Fifty percent (50%) of net profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to the Love Your Melon Fund to support our nonprofit partners in the fight against pediatric cancer, create therapeutic experiences and fund charitable programming initiatives for children and families battling cancer.

21. S’well Teakwood bottle

This water bottle keeps your water cool for 24 hours and hot drink hot for 12 hours! It was created to reduce single-use plastic water bottles and is now the most popular water bottle on the market. S’well partners with UNICEF and other important charities to do great work.

22. S’well Gold bottle

23. S’well Pink Bottle

24. S’well Silver Bottle

25. Future World Changer Tee 

Use code: SITEWIDESALE for 50% off your purchase.

This tee gives back. “Each year, millions of women and children are trafficked into sexual exploitation in India.  Sudara Freedom Fund and the certified B-Corp, Sudara, are working to change this by providing hope and opportunity through living-wage jobs, skills training, and education.  This change is possible because people like you are making donations to Sudara Freedom Fund and customers are purchasing Sudara goods.”

26. Cuddle and Kind Sebastian the Lamb Stuffed Animal 

For every doll purchased, Cuddle + Kind donates 10 meals to children in the USA and around the world.

27. Cuddle and Kind Lucy the Lamb Stuffed Animal

For every doll purchased, Cuddle + Kind donates 10 meals to children in the USA and around the world.

28. Krochet Kids Fox Stuffed Animal

This gift gives back. Krochet Kids creates life-changing jobs through the making of apparel and accessories. They also provide social impact programming that helps communities get out of poverty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non Candy Halloween Goody Bags

 

Goody Bags | Ghost Erasers | Mini Erasers | Glow in the Dark Bracelets | Bat Rings | Spider Maze | Monster Finger Puppets

This year will be our second year giving out non-candy Halloween goody bags. Last year was Athena’s first Halloween. I started thinking about what I would do when she became of trick or treating age. I really hope that by then there are more houses handing out non-candy treats. I’ve always loved Halloween, the costumes, the trick or treating, the fun decor, what’s not to like? However, now as a parent, I see this holiday a little differently. I’m definitely concerned with the amount of sugar kids consume nowadays. Not wanting to contribute to this, and also to set a good example for Athena, I decided to make Halloween goody bags filled with toys. It was around this time last year that I either saw a teal pumpkin on someone’s porch or heard about the teal pumpkin project. If you’re not familiar with the Teal Pumpkin Project, it’s a movement encouraging parents to give out non-candy Halloween treats to make the holiday more inclusive to those with food allergies. These bags are also great for vegan kids, which are also not able to eat most of the candy given out on Halloween. The fact that there are kids with food allergies never even crossed my mind so when I learned about this project I convinced me even more to make these goody bags.

I decided to make this a tradition. Last year I got all my supplies at the Dollar Store. This year I saw so many cute items, perfect for these bags, at Target so I just bought everything there. It was pretty inexpensive too. Target has really been stepping up their game when it comes to the under five dollars items bins near the front of their stores. I Linked all the items except the Halloween sticker boxes and the Halloween tattoo boxes. I searched high and low for these items online but I just couldn’t find them. However, I’ve checked two locations near my house here in Las Vegas and they still have these boxes, I think maybe they’re just not available online.

It took me about an hour to make 40 goody bags. I took my time and sipped on a latte, I love this little Halloween tradition. There are all kinds of cute ways to decorate these types of goody bags but I wanted to keep it simple so I bought these orange bags with the bat print. This pack also comes with ghost-print bags, but I didn’t use them. I also bought a couple packs of bat rings. I tied the goody bags using the bag ties that come with them, then I put a ring around the bag tie to cover it up and make the bags a little cuter. It’s so easy and they turned out great!

Athena has been having a blast with all these goodies. She already made off with a handful of the mini erasers. Lol. I can’t wait to hand these out to trick or treaters. Also, if you’re too busy to make these goody bags (not that it takes long at all), Target also has these little Halloween mini play packs. Each one is about the size of your palm and comes with a mini coloring book, 2 crayons, and a sticker. Each bag is only $3 and has 8 mini play packs inside. Athena really loves these, she asked for one while we were still in the store and she colored the whole time I was shopping. I’m keeping a few extra for future shopping trips. 😉 I couldn’t find the link for these but they still have them in store. You can find all these supplies at Target.

My Favorite Podcasts: Inspirational Conversations You Need to Hear Right Now

If you’re like me, you have trouble staying motivated and inspired. It’s not easy when there are so many distractions all around you. The news crushes our hopes for a better tomorrow. Social media makes us feel inadequate through comparison. And we can even get lost entirely in the roles others expect of us, mother, daughter, father, employee, etc. Well, today I just want to remind you to take a deep, long breath and remember that you are your unique self, and you deserve to go after all your dreams. The world needs you to create, teach, innovate, and bring more beauty and joy into the universe. Now, do you need some inspiration? Great because I have some for you! 🙂

Today I want to share with you my absolute favorite podcasts. I had coffee with one of my girlfriends a few days ago, and I was telling her about some of these when I realized I need to share them all with you! Honestly, every single episode I’ve listened to has been either super insightful, inspirational, interesting or all three. For those of you with iPhones, do you know that your phone comes with a podcast app and that podcasts are all 100% free?! YEP! Open your phone and look for a little purple icon with a picture of a microphone on it. That’s your podcasts app! Tap on it to open it and search for any of these podcasts to start listening right away. There’s nothing to sign up for or pay for. You just find the podcast you want, tap on an episode title that sounds good, and it will play. It’s the best thing ever! If you don’t have an iPhone, do not fret! There are other easy ways to listen, such as by downloading the Google podcasts app, Stitcher, Audible or any other similar app. You can also listen on your desktop via the podcast webpage. Click on the podcast names below to listen or find them in your podcast app.

The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes

If you want to be inspired to unlock your inner greatness, this podcast is the one you’ve been waiting for. Lewis Howes speaks with a variety of phenomenal and inspirational individuals from all walks of life. These conversations are inspiring, enlightening, and valuable. There’s so much to take away from each of these episodes. You’ll be left feeling energized and with a renewed sense of motivation for whatever it is you’re aiming to accomplish. I’m not exaggerating when I say this podcast is a treasure trove of inspiration. Go listen to it now! And while you’re there go ahead and subscribe because you won’t want to miss a single episode.

From The Heart: Conversations with Yoga Girl

I love Yoga Girl, aka Rachel Brathen. This is another inspirational podcast that you’ll definitely want to subscribe to. Rachel is so down to earth, funny, humble, inspiring, and overall a great person. After listening to a few episodes, you’ll feel like you know her personally. I sometimes forget we are not actually friends— because she doesn’t know I exist, lol, but you’ll feel like you know as a close friend. She’s built this incredible empire and yet is still so relatable and humble. You don’t have to be into yoga to enjoy her podcast. In fact, most of her episodes are not about yoga. She speaks a lot about self-care, self-development, and mindfulness. And while I’ve been completely turned off by these topics in the past, mostly because it was from people that were disingenuine, Rachel is entirely herself.

One of my favorite episodes is from June 8 of this year, titles “Yoga with Usher and An Emergency Toolkit for Wellbeing.” The toolkit part is what really made me love this episode. It has several wonderful tools you can use immediately to bring inner peace and calmness into your life. It’s so worth listening to, I hope you’ll all check it out. If you want to skip ahead to the emergency toolkit bit, it starts around the 24-minute timestamp. Fun fact: Rachel’s baby, Lea Luna, is one day older than Athena.

The Rich Roll Podcast

If you’re interested in adopting a plant-based diet, or recently went vegan and are looking for some guidance or support, or aren’t ready to take the plunge but want to learn more about a plant-based diet and lifestyle, this is the podcast you want. Rich Roll is well-spoken, easy to listen to, and he interviews the best people on nutrition and athletic performance. I’ve been listening to this podcast for a couple years now, and there are some episodes that I’ve relistened to a few times because there’s just so much information to take in. In one of my favorite episodes, guest Dr. Zach Bush speaks about the history of pesticide use—like Roundup— on crops and the severe ramifications it has on our gut lining as well as on our individual cells.

Girl Boss Radio with Sophia Amoruso

Are you on a mission to build your empire? Are you a girl? Then you won’t want to miss this podcast. Okay, you don’ have to be a girl to get some information out of this podcast, boys can listen too, but they’ll have to enter a password, jk. If the name Sophia Amoruso rings a bell, it may be because you already know who she is. Have you heard of or shopped at Nasty Gal? Yep, that’s her company. Sophia started selling thrifted clothes on eBay back in the mid-2000’s. After being banned from eBay in 2008, she started Nasty Gal— a company she quickly grew to be worth millions. Girl Boss Radio features interviews with women that are thriving as entrepreneurs and, well, girl bosses. Guests include Charlize Theron, Tamara Mellon (co-founder of Jimmy Choo and fashion line Tamara Mellon), Aimee Song (creator of Song of Style), Miranda Kerr, and Leandra Medine Cohen to name a few.

Problem Solvers

Editor in Chief of Entrepreneur Magazine, Jason Feifer heads this podcast. If you’ve started a company or are thinking of starting a project, a mission, a brand, or have any type of entrepreneurial goal in mind, you’ll need to listen to this podcast. Jason speaks with entrepreneurs that have overcome huge obstacles in creating their brands. Episode titles include “How do you find your first customers”, “People love your idea, but it doesn’t make money. Now what?”, and “Build an audience without advertising”.

Oprah’s Master Class

Do you really need me to tell you why you should listen to this one? Lol. It’s Oprah. I feel like that says it all. Okay, let’s get a little more descriptive. This podcast just recently launched and these interviews are different than those on her talk show. Instead of interviewing them, the guests just speak on their own, sharing their story with you. The format is different from other podcasts, this one feels more intimate. Each guest shares how they got into the industry, reached success, overcame adversity, and what inspired them. Guests include Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Justin Timberlake, and Shaq.

Ted Talks Daily

You’ve probably already watched a Ted Talk, or several, but did you know there’s a podcast? Yes! The Ted Talks Daily Podcast is a menagerie of talks from all sorts of different categories ranging from health to science to innovation. You can hear from experts in the field of arts, artificial intelligence, medicine, philanthropy, and so much more. There are about 500 episodes currently, with new ones added every day. This is an excellent podcast for those that are interested in a wide range of subjects.

The Birth Hour

I’m including this podcast for all the mamas that follow me. If you’re expecting or know someone who is, you’ll definitely want to listen to or share this podcast with them. It was immensely helpful to me when I was pregnant. In case some of you are not aware, birthing a baby can be crazy and wildly unpredictable. The creator, Bryn speaks with expectant mothers of all types. You can listen to first-time moms, moms that have had 10 kids, moms that gave birth naturally after a c-section (VBAC), moms that had c-sections after giving birth naturally.

There are interviews with moms that have given birth: in hospitals with doctors, without drugs, with drugs, in hospitals with midwives, at home alone, at home with midwives, in the car, etc. There is such a mixed bag of stories, it’s really very informative and insightful. This podcast really helped me let go of my fear regarding all the things I couldn’t control when it came to giving birth. I thought about some of these interviews during my nearly 30-hour long labor with Athena, and it really helped me surrender to the process of birth.

 

 

 

Las Vegas Dining: Wing Lei at Wynn (Birthday Dinner)

Watermelon martini and melon hor d’oeuvre.
Garden Dim Sum
Chilled vegetable roll.
Tiny chair for my purse. So cute!
After dinner, walking to the south valet.
Those are the doors to the south valet behind me.
Koi in the water. So beautiful.

Hi guys! I’m so excited to share my Wing Lei review with you all. I wasn’t planning on writing a review so I didn’t take too many pictures, none of our entrees. However, this immediately became one of my favorite restaurants in Las Vegas so I have to share it with you. My birthday was 2 weeks ago. As I mentioned on my Instagram, we kept it low-key with a nice, quiet, fancy dinner. I’ve been wanting to dine at Wing Lei for quite some time now but it didn’t seem like a place you’d want to take an infant, so I decided to wait for the right time to try it out. My mom flew in for my birthday and offered to watch Athena so Marc could take me out to a nice dinner. I immediately thought of Wing Lei.

If you’re not familiar with Wing Lei, here’s a little overview from their website: “Wing Lei, the first Chinese restaurant in the country to be awarded a Michelin Star and the only Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award-winning Chinese restaurant in North America, combines Chinese flavors with Western technique to create an exceptional dining experience at Wynn. A lavish gold and jewel-toned dining space draws inspiration from elements of classical Chinese architecture and design to create contemporary rooms that are rich and eclectic. Wing Lei features a view of a private garden that harbors century-old pomegranate trees and a gleaming golden dragon. The elegant surroundings pair perfectly with Chef Ming Yu’s menu—a masterful mix of Cantonese, Shanghai and Szechuan flavors—featuring delicacies like tableside-carved Imperial Peking duck, mu shu pork and wok-fried Maine lobster.”

The Ambiance

This dining room is beautiful. It feels very open and equally private. There are beautiful wall sculptures, walls draped in luxe fabrics, traditional Chinese architecture, gorgeous flower arrangements, and touches of gold that dazzle the eye. The entire space is elegant and lends a relaxing vibe. We sat next to the private garden that holds century-old pomegranate trees.

The Service

We made a reservation for 8:30 but got there closer to 9. It wasn’t until we arrived that I realized they close a 10. I got a little anxious because I like to take my time during dinner, well, during any meal. But especially for dinner I like to sit and relax, converse, and maybe have a cocktail or some wine. When we arrived the hostess greeted us with a smile and we were shown to our table. The restaurant was about a third full. Our waiter came out to take our drink order and he also had a smile on his face. Already, my anxiety started melting away. By the time he came back with my drink, about 5 min later, I completely forgot about my anxiety. The entire staff was really nice and professional throughout the entire night. We were never made to feel rushed even though we left close to 11. We let him know we are vegan and he pointed out some good options.

The Food

We, of course, skipped the animal products, instead opting for their vegan options and it.was.fantastic! Did you know that every single restaurant inside the Wynn has a vegan and vegetarian options? It’s true! That’s because Mr. Steve Wynn, himself, is vegan. Wing Lei doesn’t have a separate vegan menu but there are vegan options on the main menu. They started off our meal with a complimentary melon and vinaigrette hor d’oeuvre. Marc immediately said it was the best melon he’s ever had. I have to agree, it was soooo good and we were left wanting a bowl full of it, lol.

Garden Dim Sum

We started with the garden dim sum. This dish is meant to resemble a garden and the presentation is just beautiful. These delicious little dumplings are colored with vegetable juices like, red beet, corn, and spinach. They are filled with a savory veggie filling with a texture similar to a traditional dumpling. Topped with pea tendrils and edible flowers to add a bit of whimsy and color.

Chilled Vegetable Roll

This chilled vegetable roll is filled with mango, carrot, cucumber, mint, wrapped in rice paper and topped with a chili vinaigrette and micro greens. It was delicious, so refreshing and light but filling.

Vegetable Fried Rice

I was so happy to see this on the menu. Fried rice is typically made with egg so I asked if they could make it vegan and they said absolutely. I was so excited because I love fried rice. I could have used a bit more flavor but it was still really good and perfectly complimented the Gardein chick’n dish.

Sautéed Mixed Vegetables

Bell peppers, mushrooms, choy sum, baby bok choy, and broccoli in a black bean sauce. This dish was so flavorful and cooked to perfection.

Tai Chin Gardein Chick’n

Gardein chick’n with scallions and garlic in a black bean-chili sauce. This was amazing! It was so packed with flavor and cooked perfectly. I highly recommend getting this when you visit.

Tips

Wing Lei is located near the south valet entrance. We left our car at the north valet entrance and when we asked for directions to the restaurant, the nice gentleman that checked our car informed us that we could pick up our car at the south valet; so convenient!

The restaurant is open for dinner Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.

There is a dress code. Business casual attire is required; shorts are not permitted and gentlemen must wear a collared shirt.

Children under five are not permitted.

To make a reservation by phone, call (702) 770-3388.

Have any of you been here? If so, how did you like it? I’m dying to go back!

Baby Gift Ideas for Christmas 2017

We spent this past Saturday wrapping presents and keeping Athena away from the Christmas tree, lol. I can’t wait to see her open her presents on Christmas morning! We bought her some toys and a LOT of books. She’s had a natural love of books for a long time, since she was born really. Although, lately when we try to read to her she has a slightly shorter attention span and she crawls away to the nearest toy. I think it’s totally normal though. She’s learning so quickly and now, at nine months old (tomorrow!), she LOVES more interactive toys and those with a variety of textures.

I’m linking the exact items we bought for her. I feel so confident your little one will absolutely love any one of these items because Marc and I played with all these books and toys ourselves and we love them! They’re all made really well and are of high-quality materials. We even let Athena play with them for a few minutes before I wrapped them up and she was in HEAVEN. These toys range in ages from 3 months to 3 years old. We generally try to stick to age recommendations for toys. However, oftentimes, we feel like Athena becomes bored and uninterested in toys for her age group so we move up. We always evaluate toys above her age group for safety. Side note: if you’d like to evaluate toys that may be a chocking hazard, use this choke tester designed by the CPSC, Consumer Product Safety Commission. Read more about each toy below and click the item title to shop.

Melissa & Doug Classic Bead Maze

This toy is a classic. I used to think the bead maze toy was overrated but I’m not a baby and babies sure do love it. Athena played with this maze almost the entire time we were in the store and then some more when I went to wrap it. It’s made really well, no chipping or paint peeling, and has a sturdy wooden base. The exact dimensions are 11.75″ x 11.75″ x 12.5″. In case you don’t have a ruler in front of you, it fits on my lap. Teach your baby movement, shapes, colors, and more! This toy is recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze

There’s also a smaller version with four suction cups on the bottom, perfect for setting on highchair trays. I’m thinking of getting this one as well for traveling with. Every time we go out to eat, Athena immediately starts grabbing at anything she can get her hands as soon as we scoot her highchair in. This suction cup-based bead maze would be perfect for keeping your little occupied in such scenarios. This one is also recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Squigz Starter Set

How cute are these little suction cup toys?! Athena currently loves suction cup toys; she’s going to go bananas for these! They’re stackable so your little one can make all sorts of fun shapes with them. They’re made of smooth silicone, which means they’re super easy to clean. These would be perfect for traveling with since you can stick them on baby’s highchair tray, stroller tray, or table top while your dining out. The starter set comes with 24 pieces in a variety of colors and are recommended for ages 3 months and up.

Mirari Pop Pop Piano

This toy is so, much, fun! Athena loves pressing the piano keys and seeing the colorful jacks fly! The music is also not annoying— a very important selling point for me— lol. I read reviews on all of these toys and for this particular one, many people were concerned about the jacks being a choking hazard. The clear cover can be pulled off by strong toddler hands BUT, the jacks are too big to be a chocking hazard according to this device designed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This is probably my favorite toy thus far, it’s so cute and fun! This child’s piano is recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Learning Resources Snap-N-Learn Alphabet Alligators

Fun fact about me and my sister. I taught my sister how to read and do basic math by the age of 2 (I was 5). I had a little chalkboard that I would take outside everyday and we would have alphabet and numbers lessons everyday, al fresco, lol. We would have loved these toys when we were little. These letter matching pieces will make learning so much fun! And it I love that they come in cute little alligator shapes! The container is also sturdy and can be used for storing and traveling, so useful. This toy is recommend for age 2 years old and up.

BeginAgain Color N’ Eggs Matching Puzzle

I’ve talked before about the importance of Athena learning both English and Spanish. I love finding cute and fun toys that help her do just that. These little egg puzzles are adorable! We currently only have one set of bilingual flash cards. I’ve been looking for more bilingual toys and these are perfect! I can’t stress enough the importance of teaching your child a second language. I feel so lucky to have Spanish as my first language, it’s been so helpful in understanding and learning other languages. This bilingual matching puzzle toy is recommend for ages 2 years and up.

Janod Zigolos Pull Along Drum Elk

I’m so excited for Athena to open this pull along toy. You can see her playing with it in the 7th photo from the top. She already loves dragging along her pink bunny (or any other toy, really) while she crawls around the house so I’m fairly certain she’s going to love this pull along toy. This toy is recommended for ages 18 months and up.

That’s Not My Puppy Book

We got her so many books for Christmas, including these touchy-feely books from the “that’s not my” series. She loves these books because they come with all sorts of fun textures to touch. The first one we bought her when she was 4 months old (I think) was the That’s Not My Dragon book. It’s one of her favorite books. She quickly learned where all the textured spots are and she goes right to them as soon as I turn the page, lol. Make sure to see the other “that’s not my” books in the widget below. I read through them before wrapping them and they’re so cute! This book is suitable for all ages.

Other fun books pictured above:

That’s Not My Panda

This is another touchy-feely book from the same series. It’s got cute pandas! This book is suitable for all ages.

Toot

I have to admit, the name of this book is what drew me too it. I thought it was so funny. The illustrations are simple but really cute. It’s about, you guessed it, tooting. Such a cute book. Your little ones will definitely get a giggle out of reading this. It’s part of a series, see the others in the widget below. The book is recommend for grade levels preschool and up.

Ice is Nice: All about the North and South Poles

I love this book and the one below. It’s never too early to start teaching our little ones about how the earth functions and the importance of taking of our planet. This book teaches kids about the different poles and how animals stay warm in different temperatures. It’s filled with busy colorful images that are candy for the eyes! This book is recommend for ages 4-8 years old and grade levels preschool-3.

If I Ran the Rain Forest: All About Tropical Rain Forests

This book is one of my favorites and while, like the one above, it’s recommended for ages 4-8 years old, I firmly believe it’s never too early to start teaching kids about the importance of taking care of our planet and being respectful to nature. This book teaches kids all about the trees, animals, insects, plants, and native people that inhabit the rainforest. This book is recommend for ages 4-8 years old and grade levels preschool-3.

 

Radio Flyer Wagon with Canopy

Last but not least, this adorable Radio Flyer wagon with canopy! I mean, how cute would your baby look sitting in this? I can’t wait to see Athena and Grayson sitting in this wagon as Lexi and I pull them along in the park. Oh the cuteness! I can’t even!




A Five Year Relationship, A Break Up, & A Pregnancy

One month old Athena. She peed all over this setup about 15 minutes after I took this photo, lol.

Ever since Athena was born I feel like I’ve been going nonstop. Her 8 month birthday is coming up soon and I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much I’ve learned. There are SO many things that I want to share, but I don’t even know where to start. Ive been sitting here giving it some thought and I realized that I haven’t shared much personal information with you guys, so I should probably start with that. I should preface this by saying, I’m really private when I comes to my personal life and sharing personal details doesn’t come easily, so bear with me. That being said, let’s dig right in.

A five year relationship, a break up, & a pregnancy

That’s how I would sum up the following in less than 10 words. But for the sake of being more open, let me expand on this title. Marc and I were in a romantic relationship for 5 years, we broke up, I moved out of the house we shared, and two months later, I found out I was pregnant. We decided we would co-parent and live together again for the baby’s first year to lean on each other as we navigated through life as new parents. We moved into a bigger house and a few months later Athena was born.

Fast forward nearly 8 months and everything is going well. When it comes to parenting, we’ve had some bumps in the road but that’s perfectly natural since this is a new experience for all three of us. I can’t speak for Marc but I can say that I’ve personally learned a lot from this experience. Like I said in the beginning, there’s so much I want to share, about pregnancy, about being a vegan mom, raising a vegan baby, breastfeeding, parenting, baby products, etc. So this is where I ask for your help. Let me know in the comments or over on my Instagram, what you’d like me to share about first. Thank you all in advance and I wish you all a happy weekend!

Baby’s first Halloween: Mommy & Baby Easy Costume Idea

Top: Target | Leggings: Spanx | Boots: Steve Madden | Headband: Target (similar) | Lips: Nars (in Damned) | Lip Liner: NYX (in Plum) | Athena’s Onesie: Kickee Pants (without the footies here) | Headband: Janie and Jack

We are SO excited for Halloween this year because it’s Athena’s first! The search for Halloween costumes for babies is tough though. We had a hard time finding costumes in her size, 6-9 months old. We checked online, 2 Target stores, Marshalls, and a nearby Halloween store. Finally, we landed on a chicken costume and a black cat. The chicken costume we found at the Halloween store for like, 19.99, I believe. The cat costume, we couldn’t find so I decided I was going to make it. But then I realized I don’t have the time or the energy to make a costume that she’s only going to wear for 1 day so my mommy brain kicked on, “I’ll just put her in a Kickee Pants onesie and her Janie and Jack headband. Done!” (high-fives self).

Easy Halloween Costume for Babies

I’m obsessed with Kickee Pants. They’re soft, high-quality, comfortable, durable and they’re super cute! When I was thinking about Athena’s black cat costume I looked for black separates but couldn’t find any. You’d think it’d be easy to find a black pair of pants and a black top for a baby, but nope. She wears Kickee Pants all the time so I thought why not just buy her an all black Kickee Pants onesie that she can also wear after Halloween? I bought the version with the footies but there’s also a version without the footies. Her cat ears headband I found while perusing one of my favorite children’s clothing stores, Janie and Jack. It’s so cute and she can wear it any time just for fun! For a super quick and easy kids Halloween costume, you could also use Kickee Pants in other solid colors such as light green, dark green, pink, purple, or brown to dress your little ones as a dinosaur, unicorn, or a teddy bear. Just add a little bit of makeup from and fun headband or beanie. I’ve linked a few fun headpieces below.

Easy Halloween Costume for Women

My costume was super easy to put together as well. I used my favorite faux-leather leggings from Spanx that I purchased during Nordstrom’s anniversary sale. They’re so comfortable, they go with everything, and they make your tummy look flat, I LOVE them. You can shop them here. My top is from Target, it’s super soft, comfortable, and it’s like $10. MY boots are from last year but they’re back this year and they are some of the best over the knee boots ever. If you have wide calves, these are the boots for you! FYI, I couldn’t find my exact headband to link but I purchased it at Target from the $1 bin at the entrance. I did, however, link a similar headband that’s about $5. I also linked several other options below.

Americana: A Fine Dining Gem Off The Strip

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I’m overwhelmed thinking back to my first time dining at Americana. Overwhelmed in the best sense of the word. The food, the ambience, the service—I don’t even know where to begin! Walking into the restaurant, you can see slivers of water through the windows at the far side of restaurant. That’s Lake Jacqueline, on which Americana sits atop. The ambience is elegant and luxurious without being pretentious. The lighting gives the whole restaurant a calming glow; the vibe is relaxed and welcoming. This restaurant is tucked away in the middle of the Desert Shores community, far off from the strip but you’d never guess that looking at the food.

I was 1 of 6 Vegas Lifestyle Influencers invited to dine at Americana. We sat out on the picturesque patio overlooking the serene lake. Chef Stephen Blandino, who is also the owner, created the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing dishes for us. We were treated to a three course dinner as well as champagne, wine, and all the desserts a girl could ask for. They even created special dishes for myself and my fellow vegan Ashley Diana. Given the fact that a vegan menu isn’t standard here, yet every dish was phenomenal, there is no question, Chef Blandino and his team are experts in their field.

We started the dinner off with a flute of champagne. The first course was a mango and radish slaw salad with mandarins and strawberry caviar. A portobello mushroom steak followed. This was the most delicious portobello mushroom I’ve ever had in my life; it was juicy and so packed with incredible flavor. Then they brought out a cauliflower steak paired with corn, bell peppers, snap peas, and oyster mushrooms over a cherry reduction. I paired a nice glass of cabernet with my cauliflower. Everything was absolutely delicious! And these were just the items I had. There was so much food!

For dessert they brought out some amazing dishes including cheesecake, chocolate cake, a lemon bar, macarons, blood orange sorbet, and cotton candy. The blood orange sorbet and cotton candy were the two vegan options and they were both yummy. My mouth still waters when I think about that sorbet. We finished dinner off with cappuccinos and some great conversation. I was floored by not only the food quality and taste but also by the plating. Every dish was beautifully plated and prettier than the last. The Americana team really know how to make their guest feel welcomed and valued. I’ve been recommending them to everyone! If you’re looking to celebrate a special occasion (or even just for a nice dinner) in an intimate setting with high quality food, great service, and beautiful lake views, this is the place to go. I can’t wait to go back for another fantastic dining experience.

If you’d like to know more about Americana visit their website, here, and follow them on Instagram at @AmericanaLV. You can also find them on Yelp, here.

Dinner with Margaritaville

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#OOTN for dinner at Margaritaville hosted by Vegas Lifestyle Influencers.
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“Who’s to blame” margarita.
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Vegan dinner at Margaritaville located inside the Flamingo Hotel & Casino.
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Fun night with these lovely ladies! Photo by: @coreybondphotography

Monday night, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner at Margaritaville hosted by Vegas Lifestyle Influencers. Talk about starting off the week right! Good food, great drinks, lovely company, it was such fun! Everyone seemed to really be enjoying the food but I didn’t partake because it wasn’t vegan-friendly. I did however, order a margarita and it was fan-tastic! I love a good margarita on the rocks, it’s one of my favorite drinks— perfect for a hot summer night.

This was my first time at Margaritaville. I wasn’t familiar with the menu so I looked it over a few times trying to find any vegan options. They have a pretty good selection of food but the only entree that was vegan friendly was a spinach and strawberry salad (without the blue cheese). I wasn’t really in the mood for a salad so I passed on the food. Our waitress seemed very friendly so I decided to ask if she knew of any vegan food options I may have missed. She said they could make any of their salads without the meat or cheese and they also had a few sides that are vegan. I wasn’t too convinced but said I’d think about it.

A short while later, our waitress comes by holding a plate of rice, black beans, pico de gallo, and guacamole and says to me,” I can’t let you sit here and be the only one not eating.” How sweet is that?! She told me that one of the dancers (they put on performances inside the restaurant!) is vegan and that’s what she eats there. You guys, it was delicious! Those black beans may be the best black beans I’ve ever had, no joke. Best.Customer.Service.Ever. Thank you Clarissa, you made my night!

Thank you to our event sponsor, Margaritaville; our gift bag sponsors, Coola Suncare, Verb, and Modern Siren Boutique, and to Vegas Lifestyle Influences for the invite. 🙂

 

 

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks in Kids

 

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1. City Quilted Faux Leather Diaper Backpack

2. Baby Arrival Gift Set

3. Pom Set of 3 Canvas Bins

4. Breakfast at Mom’s Bib

5. Happy Mat Feeding Mat & Hardcover Book Set

6. Baby Bling Headband

7. Luxe Hooded Towel

8. ‘Mini Sugar’ Rain Boot

9. ‘Spruce Tree’ Bookcase

10. Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat

 11. Little Royalty Piggy Bank

12. Ultragirl Sweet III Mary Jane Flat

13. Cable Knit Bow Headband

14. Bomber Jacket & Tulle Dress Set

15. 3-Piece Teething Necklace & Bracelet Set

16. Mini Boss Faux Leather Diaper Bag

17. 3-Pack Muslin Swaddles

18. Companion Quilted Nylon Diaper Backpack

Hey friends! This is my final post in Norstrom Anniversary Sale picks. These eighteen items are my top picks from the kids section. They’re in random order but my number one pick is the Maxi Cosi Mico Max 30 Infant Car Seat (#10)! This was the very first item I received from my baby registry and I love it! It’s a great car seat. It’s very well made and easy to take apart should it become soiled (it will, often). You can throw it straight into the wash and tumble dry. I’ll be sharing a full car seat review soon, but don’t miss out on this anniversary sale pick! Mine was $250 on Amazon. This one is the same one for only $199! It would make a great baby shower gift btw.

I also received pick number 2 during my baby shower and I loved it! This is a great baby shower gift idea. It’s packaged super cute and everything is not only useful but natural and safe for baby. I love the quality of Honest Co. products. We’ve been using their diapers, wipes, bathing products, and body products since day 1 with our baby.

I’m obsessed with pick number 1 and 18. I can’t decide which one I want. I’ve been using a large Rebecca Minkoff tote as a diaper bag. Mostly because I never had the time to do my research on and pick out a diaper bag so I just grabbed my largest tote. Pick number 1 is a vegan faux leather diaper bag (cruelty-free yay!). The faux leather look and quilted pattern is so cool. Perfect for stylish moms and dads! Pick number eighteen is a nylon diaper bag. You know what this means? Machine washable! Yaaaaas! Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more anyway. The camouflaged print is so cool! Love it!

I have to quickly mention picks number six and nine. I’m also deeply obsessed with these. I purchased one of the Baby Bling bows a while back and Athena gets tons of compliments every time she wears it. They are so cute and soft! They’re super stretchy without being loose. I love that they come in a variety of colors, we have about 8 of them now. She also has the cable knit one (pick number 13), so freakin’ adorable! Lastly, how cute is that tree shaped bookcase?! OMG, too cute. It also comes in white and gray. I’m thinking that gray one is coming home with me.