Today I’m off on a press trip to Puerto Vallarta and I’m excited to head someplace warm and tropical. Much like my trip to Jamaica, most of the clothing I packed is black. Would you expect anything else? I’ll share my full packing list later on, but today I’m sharing a few of my favorite accessories that I’m packing for Puerto Vallarta.
Puerto Vallarta Favorites:
Giant Monstera Towel
As a plant lover I’ve had my eye on this for quite some time and I’m really excited to bring it on this trip. SHOP NOW
A favorite of mine on many trips, this hat is the perfect size to block the sun, but has the perfect shape to still look stylish in urban areas. SHOP NOW
the sun and her flowers
After reading milk and honey, I had to pick up this one as well. While it’s an easy read, it’s also heavy and full of passion. SHOP NOW
I picked a couple of these up during my trip to Napa and they make for the perfect beach bag because the mesh allows the sand to shake right out. I’ve linked to a similar one. SHOP NOW
Have you been to Puerto Vallarta? What is your favorite item to pack?
This post is sponsored by Casa Velas & Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board. All thoughts and images are my own. Thank you so much for helping to support that sponsors that make life here at Hej Doll a little sweeter.
A few months back I took the boys with me for a little mama getaway to Mendocino. It was their Christmas gift from us and I was so excited to share with them a place I fell deep in love with during our last visit. All I could think about was how fun it would be for them to explore the wonders of the Northern California coastline. Being born and raised in California I’ve always been drawn to the northern coastline’s ruggedness. When you take time and look closer there is also beauty to be found in the tiny details, from the patterns in the rock to the tiny plants that grow along the coastal scrub areas. I’m happy to share it with you on Mother’s Day!
We arrived at our hotel a little too early to check-in so I decided to head through town to explore the headlands state park. It’s a roughly 2 mile trail that runs around the Mendocino peninsula and offers everything from tide pools to grassy trails and cliffs. It’s often easy to spot migrating whales and harbor seals with babies, and makes for a great place to catch the sunset.
Mendocino Headlands State Park
Mendocino, California 95460
The familiarity of checking into an old favorite always brings a smile to my face. I’m so happy they were generous enough to host us again. I’m a creature of habit and sincerely enjoyed our last stay here. The family-owned property boasts 65 guest rooms, a Zagat rated restaurant, meeting & wedding facilities, a golf course, and a full-service salon & spa all situated on 225 wooded acres. It was built in 1857 and their five generations of hospitality always shines through. Our routine often consisted of a room service breakfast, exploring the area, and returning for a delicious dinner at the restaurant. The restaurant is very allergy-friendly and accommodates kids with ease.
The Little River Inn has created a package for those who want to learn how to gather, prepare and preserve Mendocino’s homegrown goodness themselves. The first-ever Mendocino Coast Forage and Ferment Experience will have its inaugural weekend from June 22-24. The Inn itself is a sprawling historical landmark that has been owned and operated by the same family for five generations. Today it is a full-service resort with regulation tennis courts, an Audubon-certified 9-hole golf course, a bar and restaurant, and a salon and day spa. There are 66 rooms and suites, some appealingly affordable and others that are downright luxurious, all of which have views of the ocean. Chef Marc Dym, who helms the Inn’s award-winning restaurant, created an adventure in foraging and fermenting with the help of local experts who uncover everything from mushrooms and herbs to seaweed and sea urchin. The hands-on odyssey starts on Friday night, with a history of the area served up with cocktails, wine and appetizers, emphasizing locally gathered and preserved delicacies. The package includes two nights’ lodging (Fri & Sat) so participants will be right on site to begin Saturday’s activities, which will be divided between mining the forest for treasures such as mushrooms, roots and berries with Kevin Smith, Countryman Forager, and an afternoon at the beach collecting savory seaweed with Larry Knowles of Rising Tide Sea Vegetables. In the evening there will be cooking demonstrations, including tips in preservation. During the demo, led by Chef Dym, Greg Fonts from Triton X will present ocean delicacies from his day’s dive, which might yield scallops, rock fish, box crabs or urchins. The night culminates in a communal feast that incorporates the day’s finds and celebrates Mendocino’s tradition of scrumptious self-sufficiency. Prices for the weekend experience start at $1,000 per person for a single room and $755 per person for a shared room.
As much as I’d like to love Glass Beach, it’s a novelty when you visit Fort Bragg. The beach is often packed with visitors near and far and has been ravaged by scavengers so it has lost much of it’s beautiful sea glass. The history behind it and fun of discovering beautiful pieces of glass (to then leave where they belong, right there!) keeps me coming back. The boys thought it was really cool, I’m just still a little disappointed that it’s not in the same shape it used to be in.
900 Glass Beach Drive
Fort Bragg, California 95437
Hi. I’m here, just not here. I’m not gone forever and I promise I’ll be back soon. I had some things I needed to take care of with myself before I could devote my energy to this space.
I don’t know how it happened, but somewhere along the line I fell out of love with myself and got lost along the way. Life started to feel as though I’m just going through the motions and often I’d feel so disconnected from reality but never knew how to come back. Living with PCOS isn’t easy and I started to feel like my anxiety and depression were winning the battle. Over the last few months I’ve spent a lot of time going back to my roots. It wasn’t easy and it took a lot of forced hard-work on my part. I quit attending most social events and focused my energy on myself and my family.
In January I started to be more active and get back into running, but it wasn’t enough. In February I stumbled along and remaining focused was not my top priority. In March I started to get back to being active and realized that connecting with nature is my happy place. I chaperoned a trip to Yosemite with my son’s school and it was a good chance to further connect with nature and do a lot of unplugged thinking. We hiked and remained active during the whole trip and it gave me the motivation I needed to hit the pavement hard when I got home.
Since then I’ve been active almost every single day and my eating habits have improved a lot. I’ve gone from running up to 3 miles at a time to running 12. I’ve made new friends and am even signed up for a couple of local races. One is six miles and one is a half-marathon. Both felt beyond my wildest dreams just a couple of short months ago and now I’m confident I will do well in them.
I feel better than I’ve ever felt before and I’m so excited to return to this space with a renewed spirit and clear mind.
When it comes to a fast and easy lunch, protein smoothies have long been a go-to for me. Lately I’ve been trying to find ways to make them a little different, as having the same type of meal often can become mundane. Today I’m sharing the recipe for one of my latest favorites, a gray protein smoothie.
5 minutes. Makes approximately 1-2 servings.
1.5 cups almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder of your choice. I prefer this one.
1 handful of baby spinach
1/4c of blueberries. I just add them a few at a time until I get the color I want.
1. Place all ingredients into the blender, adding spinach last. I have a Vitamix Professional and love it.
2. Blend until smooth.
If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy my recipe for a light spinach smoothie.
What is your go-to for a quick meal? Have you had a gray protein smoothie before?
Since I keep a minimal closet, the biggest thing I feel like I can invest in are pieces that can be worn multiple ways. I’ve shared a couple of favorites before, including a scarf and swimsuits that can be worn as tops. Today I’m sharing with you a simple v-neck sweater that can be worn 3 different ways with very little effort.
1. Wear the sweater forward. This is the normal way that you’d wear this sweater, and I think it’s a great casual look when paired with jeans, or you can pair with a skirt or slacks for a nicer look.
2. Wear the sweater backward. The simple act of turning the sweater around raises the neckline and makes it look much more fancy than it actually is. It also moves the V shape to the back, adding interest there so I’d suggest wearing your hair up. During our trip to Napa I simply turned my sweater around before our dinner date and added a bolder lip color for an easy evening look.
3. Wear the sweater off the shoulder. This look is a lot more casual and perhaps a bit sultry. Off the shoulder is not my favorite look for this piece, but since it’s a wide V cut, it can be done if it’s something you’d like. I think pairing it with casual (even ripped) jeans and flats will help it look as though your outfit is intentional instead of undone.
Shop the Post:
Do you have items in your wardrobe that you wear more than one way?
It’s March, the month of spring, and California has finally decided that it’s time for winter weather. While I’m not ready to pull out any springtime dresses, I am ready to bundle up in some super soft athleisure. Ever since I started working out more I’ve been drawn to clothing that offers a little more softness and give when it comes to wear. Today I’m partnering with Lou & Grey to share some cozy athleisure pieces that definitely give me all the feels.
Hoodies are always a welcome part of a relaxed outfit and I love the fit of this one. I’m wearing the Lou & Grey Brushed Twill Hoodie. I’ve always been a fan of larger silhouettes and although the size I’m wearing is a small it has a nice relaxed fit. There is no elastic around the bottom and the straps are wide so it also feels more elevated than a traditional sweatshirt.
Over the hoodie I’ve layered a ribbed sweater to give my outfit more texture. I’m wearing the Lou & Grey Wooly Ribbed Dolman Sweater in the color marscarpone, which is a slightly off-white hue. The sweater is made from a wool-blend and has slightly oversized fit. One fit item to note is that the sleeves can be short if you have long arms like I do, so you might need to size up.
My favorite pants to wear lately have been sweatpants, and the Lou & Grey Zen Bounce Sweatpants no exception. These pants are ultra soft with a relaxed fit. I originally tried on a size small, but they were a little more relaxed than I’d like so I went with an extra small. I prefer a more tailored fit for my bottoms when I wear a larger top to help balance out my outfit. The color is winter frost melange, which has a textured look to it. It makes the white very forgiving if you happen to get anything on it by accident.
1. Try styling your athleisure look in a monochrome color palette to keep it from looking too much like the sweats you also wear around the house. I chose an all-white look because it feels more like spring and is still a little unexpected when it comes to sporty-styling. If color is your thing, you could try something navy or even poppy-hued.
2. Wear shoes that lean more casual with your outfit. If you try to pair sweats with shoes that feel too formal your look might not come together as well as if you pair them with casual shoes that are borderline athletic.
3. To elevate your look, try throwing a non-sporty jacket or coat over the top such as a leather jacket or wool overcoat.
Shop Spring Athleisure:
Do you like to wear athleisure on a day to day basis? What is your favorite way to wear an athletic inspired outfit?
This post is sponsored by Lou & Grey, a brand I’ve shopped at for years (seriously, it’s around the corner from me!). All opinions are my own. Thank you for helping to support the sponsors that help make life here at Hej Doll a little sweeter.
My long blonde hair has become the most definable part of my image and often it receives the most questions, comments, and compliments. They range from how to grow your hair long, to how healthy it is, to how full and thick it is. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my hair, while it may be thick, it is also fine. Very fine. There are a few things I do to get more volume from my tiny strands, and today I’ve partnered with Hair Food to share them with you.
1. The right haircut is essential.
This is such an important part of having good hair. The longer your hair is, the heavier it is. If you have fine and thick hair like mine, especially if it’s longer, you will need to have layers so your hair is not pulled downward. You can ask any good stylist for well-blended layers and explain your hair goals and they can get you there.
2. Shampoo only.
I used to be very diligent about using both shampoo and conditioner, then leave-in conditioner, then oil on top of it. I’ve recently switched to only shampoo in an effort to avoid products containing oils that weigh my hair down. I love the Hair Food Volume Shampoo because it’s free of mineral oil, silicones and parabens. They have a matching conditioner if your hair is not like mine and you need extra moisture.
3. Use thickening hair treatment.
Add thickening hair treatment to your crown area before you start to blow dry your hair. I like to add mine before I comb my hair out so it helps distribute it better. Hair Food has a Thickening Hair Treatment that, like the shampoo, is mineral oil and paraben-free.
4. Add dry shampoo.
This is going to sound crazy, but the more texture your hair has, the less flat it will lay. Add dry shampoo to your hair while wet and before blow drying to help add texture and pre-coat it to avoid any oil later in the day.
5. Dry hair upside down.
I always, always dry my hair upside down. Starting at the back of my head and working my way to the front I rough-dry. This means without a brush, same as finger-dry my hair to about 95%, then follow up with a half-round brush to keep it a little smoother. I try to blow dry my hair with a part that is opposite of what I’d like to wear. That way when I’m ready to finalize my hairstyle it helps to add more volume to it.
6. Curl in opposite directions.
What I mean by this is if you’d like to add waves to your hair instead of curling them all toward or away from your face, alternate with each new section. When you do this it doesn’t give the curls a chance to bunch up since they all have a different pattern. I like to use a curling wand on my hair because it is the fastest method for me.
7. Flip your part & finish.
If you’ve been working on your hair with a part on the left side of your head, switch your part to your right side for a little instant pick-me-up. You can also do this throughout the day if your hair needs extra oomph. Afterward do your final fluff and spray with the finishing spray of your choice.
Hair Food is available at your local Ulta. Click here for more information!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hair Food. The opinions and text are all mine.
Last month we got to visit one of my favorite nearby destinations, Downtown Napa. During our stay we were hosted by Archer Hotel Napa. I had it on my wishlist for a long time so I was really excited to get to stay there, and from the photos I’m sure you can see why. The decor of the hotel was right up my alley and I’ve always loved to find home decor inspiration from hotels. Today I’m sharing a few more photos of our room and some tips to get the same look in your own home.
Bedroom & Living Space:
I think we can all agree that the superstar in this space is the bed. I’ve never really been a huge fan of canopy beds but the way the light filtered through the sheer curtains was pretty magical. I’m also madly in love with the modern tufted leather bench. The whole space came together beautifully to create a modern and inviting space to enjoy during our time in Downtown Napa. As a cute little bonus, the room offered both The Little Prince and The 24 Hour Wine Expert as bedtime stories.
Fontanne Leather Bench
Adding this to my home decor wishlist pronto. SHOP NOW
Shop the look:
Bathroom & Relaxation:
I really loved the enormous tub in the bathroom. Though it likely wouldn’t work in my tiny house, a girl can dream right? The plush Frette robe would be my second best pick, and the his & hers slippers were adorable.
A plush favorite you’ll want to take home for yourself. SHOP NOW
Malin + Goetz
All of the essentials you’ll need for your stay. SHOP NOW
Shop the look:
To learn more about my trip to Downtown Napa, click here.
Archer Hotel Napa 1230 1st Street
Napa, California 94559
Our one-night stay at Archer Hotel Napa was sponsored by Archer Hotels, all thoughts and images are my own. Thank you for helping to support the sponsors that make life here at Hej Doll a little sweeter.
Do you draw home decor inspiration from places you’ve stayed?
Years ago I purchased my first reusable bag for groceries. Shortly thereafter plastic bags were banned in my area, and now they’re banned in all of California. It really got me thinking about the type of waste I create, and for a long time now I’ve become more focused on my efforts to reduce the waste I create and bring home with my groceries. Today I’m sharing my favorite and the easiest way to create less waste, by using reusable bags for shopping. I’m sharing some of my favorites for buying different items (you’d be amazed at what you can find in bulk), as well as a few other common wasteful items to replace.
Zero Waste Reusable Favorites
Standard Reusable Bags
A word of warning, collect these slowly because it can be quite fun to grow your collection. These bags not only 2-3 standard grocery bags worth of food, they are strong enough to hold 50 pounds and are machine washable. A word to the wise when ordering online, those neons will stop traffic. SHOP NOW
FLIP & TUMBLE
Flip & Tumble Reusable Produce Bags
I have 2 sets of these for shopping and use them both for produce and for many of my bulk item buys. They are made from a very fine mesh so I would not recommend them for finer items like flour, but they work very well for rolled oats, produce, nuts, snacks, etc. SHOP NOW
Korken Glass Jars
Once you bring home all of your bulk purchases, you’re going to need somewhere to put them, right? Cue the Ikea Korken jars. I keep everything from trail mixes to even homemade pickles and leftovers in mine. They are dishwasher safe and you can buy new gaskets for them if you need to. While they are clear, you can even use a chalk pen to write what is inside in case it’s easily confused (powdered sugar / flour anyone?). SHOP NOW
Food Storage Wrap
Ahh, plastic wrap. I haven’t used it in years and usually lean toward glass storage with lids (see jars above), but if you’re going somewhere this is the way to go. This Bee’s Wrap is coated fabric and will function the same as plastic wrap would and can be reused time after time again. SHOP NOW
Years and years ago I was introduced to goodbyn. When I worked away from home I packed my lunch in one of these, and when Aiden started school he started using one of these. He still uses one to this day! These leak-proof lunchboxes are BPA and phthalate free, recyclable, and can be used for years and years. They come with the main container, plus 2 smaller ones and offer more than enough space to hold a delicious lunch. SHOP NOW
For years (like 8) we’ve been using these coffee cups when we take our coffee in the morning. To work, on trips, etc. They’re dishwasher safe and not hideous. They hold up to 16oz and are insulated to keep your drink warmer longer. I originally found them at Paper Source but have included a link to buy them online. If the other link sells out, you can get them at Big Cat Coffee here. SHOP NOW
Clear Reusable Bags
I use these in place of any other normal gallon plastic bag. We don’t have an ice-maker so I keep one in our freezer filled with ready-to-go cubes of ice. I keep one in my son’s backpack for school with his extra clothes. For travel the quart size comes in handy for liquids. The one drawback I’d say is that I wouldn’t trust them with liquids, and if you do make a sticky mess in them cleaning them out isn’t fun. SHOP NOW
Large Net Bag
Don’t be fooled by the produce in the bag on the left, it really works great for carrying towels, sand toys, and other items around the beach. I know they have holes in them, but hear me out. Because they have holes in them, all you need to do is give them a really good shake to get the sand out. No more finding sand in your bag and all over your carpet or the rest of your house a week later. SHOP NOW
Shop Reusable Favorites:
Do you use reusable bags? Which are your favorites?
Last year the North Bay area was ravaged by fires, including many parts of Napa Valley. As a place close to both my heart and home, I felt so deeply for so many of my fellow Californian’s in trouble. Many of my friends and family personally donated their time and resources to helping rebuild the area. This year Downtown Napa reached out to me to come check the area out and there’s no way I could say no. My last visit to Downtown Napa was one of my favorites, and I learned how walkable it actually was. This time was no different, so today I’ve teamed up with Downtown Napa to sharing my 24 hours there with you!
Saturday, 11AM: My husband and I packed up and left the house around 11. Traffic is always a little iffy to navigate through the bay area, but luckily we made it to Napa in good time, traveling up highway 880, then over to 680.
Saturday, 1PM: We made it to downtown after a stop for gas and were able to check in to our hotel early, yay! We were lucky to be hosted by one of my wishlist hotels, Archer Hotel. After settling into our room, we did some walking around the hotel. The rooftop isn’t open yet, but I’m hoping to return when it does.
Archer Hotel Napa
Located in the heart of Downtown Napa, Archer Hotel has been on my wishlist since long before it opened. Not only does it have an amazing and central location, the hotels decor is so dreamy, I promise I’ll share more later!
1230 1st St, Napa, CA 94559 (www)
Saturday, 2PM: We took a walk down first street to one of my favorite places downtown, Oxbow Public Market.
Oxbow Public Market
A large indoor market near the riverside with food vendors, local produce, and more.
610 1st St, Napa, CA 94559 (www)
Saturday, 3PM: Do you ever forget to eat lunch because you’re having such a good time? Us too. We stopped in to one of our local favorites, Gott’s Roadside for a quick bite. On the way back to the hotel we stopped by Back Room Wines to grab a souvenir (Hint: Wine!) for later.
Burgers, beer, and wine, what more could you ask for? Casual and cool inside, their giant neon “EAT” sign makes for a really good instagram photo.
644 1st St, Napa, CA 94559 (www)
Back Room Wines
A casual no-pressure wine store and bar located on First Street. We picked up a bottle of Riesling to enjoy later on.
1000 Main St Suite 120, Napa, CA 94559 (www)
Saturday, 5PM: The sun set on the west end of First Street in Downtown Napa and it made for a memorable sight from our balcony. I don’t feel like I’m a big “steak eater”, but every now and then I really crave a good steak. After watching the sunset we headed downstairs to Charlie Palmer Steak and it did not disappoint. We sat tucked into one of the booths while we enjoyed our dinner.
Charlie Palmer Steak
Sleek and sophisticated, located on the first floor of Archer Hotel, the steakhouse serves seafood, steak(duh), and more.
1260 1st St, Napa, CA 94559 (www)
Saturday, 8PM: In the mood to stroll downtown after our delicious dinner, we took a walk around downtown admiring various works along the Napa Art Walk and enjoying the beautiful weather. The rest of the night was spent with a delicious bottle of wine, a warm fire, and a relaxing bath.
Sunday, 11AM: One thing I never can resist is sleeping in. I also can’t resist room service breakfast. I never used to go for it but now I just can’t resist. It always makes getting ready in the morning easy, especially if you’re going to check out. The valet brought our car around quickly, and the drive home was painless. 24 hours doesn’t seem like a long time to stay somewhere, but our short and sweet adventure in Downtown Napa was just the break we needed from the usual Bay Area hustle we’re used to.
This post is a part of my City Guide series, click here to see them all.
Have you been to Downtown Napa? Any places you would add to this list? I’d love to hear!
This post is sponsored by Downtown Napa, a favorite place of mine in California. Thank you for helping to support the sponsors that make life here at Hej Doll a little sweeter.