Friday, January 19, 2018

16 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

This week was a flurry of beauty events and kid stuff. (In other words...kind of like most weeks!) I was "helping parent" in my daughter's class the other day, which was so much fun! It's really cool to observe how your kid acts in a school setting, so I highly recommend it if your school allows it, and you can swing it.

My kids also tried skiing for the first time this week! I stayed in the (very-crowded-but-much-warmer) lodge, but they did it! My daughter loved it (and is actually going back this weekend); my son tried it for about 15 minutes, fell on his butt once, then decided he'd rather be inside. Guess which one takes after mom?

This weekend, I'll be hanging out with the little dude, and hopefully doing a lot of reading and relaxing. I'm also checking out a Springstreen cover band tonight with some friends. Should be fun! Whatever you're up to this weekend, I hope it's a great one. Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime.

• These are my new favorite workout pants. I wear them for pilates--and then end up living in them the rest of the day. They are flattering, super comfy, and surprisingly warm. (I also love that the little detail down the side of the leg looks like leather, even though it's not.) And they are on *major sale* right now! I have the burgundy, but at this price, I am going to order the black (and maybe the oatmeal, too) today. One note: I recommend sizing down. I ordered my typical Athleta size (medium) and they were gigantic on me. I had to exchange them for a small. 

• I am dying to try this sunscreen. I mean, how appealing is the name "Unseen Sunscreen?!?" It's supposed to feel like n-o-t-h-i-n-g! (Plus this brand is top notch, so you know the protection will be very effective.)

• Earlier this week, I shared eight new books that are supposed to be amazing and are on my wishlist right now. Well, this is the first book I'm reading off the list, and already, it's hard to put down!

• You know those fur-lined loafer mules that it seems like every high-end blogger is wearing? Well, check out the TARGET version. They basically look identical!

• As I mentioned when I shared my 2018 goals, I'm starting a newsletter this year! It will be cool, I swear, and I promise not to clog your inbox. Won't you (please!) sign up here?

• I'm of the age where Sassy magazine was everything to me way back when. I had a subscription for years, would pour over each new issue for hours when it arrived, and spent way too much time dreaming of being chosen for the Reader-Produced issue. (Spoiler alert: I was never chosen. But years later, when I worked for ex-Sassy staffer Kim France at Lucky, I told her this, and she said: "Well, looks like we made a big mistake!" That felt really good--but junior-high me still would've loved to have been chosen!) ANYWAY, Sassy just turned 30 this year, which makes me feel ancient. Loved this look back.

• I too have very strong feelings about putting vegetables in mac n' cheese (DON'T DO IT), so the guy in this funny video feels like my spirit animal.

• For anyone stuck at home with their kids during the recent snowstorms, this Parenting Blizzed Bingo card will hit very close to home (and make you laugh!).

• Who knew Ellen Pompeo was the highest paid woman on TV? And who knew she was such a badass? This is an amazing (and refreshingly honest!) interview about speaking up for yourself--and getting what you deserve.

• One of my 2018 goals is decluttering. And while I'm sure my home will never look as perfectly organized and Insta-ready as the home of Lauren Conrad, hers sure is inspirational!

• And while we're on the subject of decluttering, I should probably Marie Kondo my kids' toys.

• I'm super late to the party, but I recently discovered YouTuber Jackie Aina, and I'm already addicted to her videos. She is hilarious--and so talented. But some of her videos also deal with serious topics (in a funny way!). This video was an eye opener to me. It's about the new foundation launch from Tarte and about how the shades in the collection were anything but inclusive. I love Tarte so much, but it was a good example of how companies in general need to try a lot harder. It's definitely worth a watch.

• Lists with productivity tips are usually deadly boring and not helpful. But there were some good ones here!

And in case you missed it, I...

• Shared my 2018 goals/resolutions.

Wore a $46 sweater and $56 boots. (And both are pretty darn awesome, right???)

• Gave five beauty-editor-approved winter skincare tips.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

8 Great Books To Read Right Now (a.k.a. My January Amazon Wish List)

best books 2018

Earlier this month, I mentioned that one of my 2018 goals was to read more books. I mean, I have always loved to read, but I also love to listen to podcasts and watch The Bachelor and tweet and scroll through Instagram and hang out with my kids...and there's never enough time for everything! But I've really decided to make reading a priority this year, and that starts with a bunch of enticing new books. 

The eight books below are on my Amazon wishlist right now, and I'm super excited to break into all of them! All have come highly recommended either by friends or reviews or (in most cases) both, and all sound amazing. The only problem is deciding which one to read first.

Anyway, take a look, get some reading inspiration, and then tell me what's missing from this list. I'd love to get some more great recommendations from you!

The Perfect Nanny - This book was a #1 bestseller in France (apparently, it's basically their Gone Girl), and has just been translated into English and released here. It deals with the complicated relationship between a woman and her children's nanny, and sounds sooo good. I'm almost afraid of it though, because it all centers on what is possibly the scariest, worst thing you can imagine (it actually doesn't say what that is on the Amazon listing,  so I won't spoil it here, but it's revealed in any review you'll read of it). But the book is supposed to be incredible. I'm scared--but excited--to dive into it.

Two Girls DownThe book description had me at "two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot," and I've heard from several people that it's the kind of thing you read in one afternoon because you can't stop. Sold!

The Woman In The Window - A woman, who lives alone in NYC, sees something she shouldn't from her window. I literally know nothing more about the story than that, but it's supposed to be Hitchcock-esque, thrilling, and "unputdownable." Sounds good to me!

The Immortalists - The premise is absolutely fascinating: A family of four children visit a psychic who tells them the exact date that each of them will die. The book then follows them over the next several decades and examines how much of our lives is predetermined and how much is choice. 

Here Is Real Magic - I love memoirs and this one sounds so cool and different. It tells the true story of a professional magician who has spent his life studying wonder. After many years, he becomes burnt out (apparently the life of a pro magician is tough!), so he takes time off to travel to India. There, he rediscovers his sense of wonder and awe at the world. I'm kind of fascinated by magicians--and the story sounds beautiful and hopeful--so I'm intrigued.

After The Eclipse: A Mother's Murder, A Daughter's Search - This is another memoir, and though it definitely sounds dark, I've heard it's soooo good. When the author is 12 years old, her mother is killed, in their home, two days after an eclipse, just steps from her bedroom. (Eek!) The killer then disappears and it takes the police 12 years to find him. The book is the author's attempt to understand more about her mother's life and death. More than one of the reviews I read called it "breathtaking." Another said they cried out loud reading it. A third said they actually didn't even know it was a memoir until halfway through; they just thought it was an amazing piece of fiction. OMG I CANNOT WAIT!

The Heart's Invisible Furies - I'll be honest: The description of this one didn't really do anything for me (the life story of an adopted boy born in 1940s Ireland). But people who have read it are obsessed. People say it's incredible, that they've cried reading it, and it seemed to be on the best-of-2017 lists of everyone I trust with these things, so I'm convinced! Can't wait to find out what all the fuss is about.

Between Me And You - A lot of heavy, dark stuff on this list, so I am particularly looking forward to this love story, which looks at the way a love between two people changes over the years. This one is about a screenwriter and an actress who fall in love, get married and become parents, and then have to deal with the fallout of one becoming more famous than the other. Allison Winn Scotch is my longtime Twitter buddy, so I've been hearing about this one for some time now. Can't wait to finally dig in!

So that's on my wishlist right now. Have you guys read any of these? What did you think? And what should I add to my list next?

Friday, January 12, 2018

This Cute Sweater Is Under $50!

nordstrom sweater
tory burch gemini link bag
Sweater (on sale!); Jeans; Boots (on sale!); Necklace (old, similar and also here); Bag (old, similar--on sale!); Sunglasses, similar.
tory burch green bag
nordstrom sweater
nine west oreyan tall boots
Boots (on sale!); Jeans; Bag, (old, similar--on sale!). Photos by Lydia Hudgens

I love a good deal, and today I have two pretty amazing ones for you. When I bought this sweater a few months back, I paid full price for it, and even then the price wasn't too bad. But now it's on sale! For $46! It's really comfy and warm and the blouse-y sleeves make it feel just a little more special than your average sweater. It also comes in charcoal, so of course, now I'm considering getting that one, too...!

I really love the sweater worn with skinny jeans and these Nine West boots (yes, Nine West!), which are also an incredible deal right now. Originally $199, they were already on sale for $79, but then right now, you can get an additional 30 percent off, which makes them $56...! And I promise you that they look way, way more expensive than that price. (Love those gold buttons!) They remind me so much of a pair of Loeffler Randall boots that I've had forever, but of course the Nine West ones cost several hundred dollars less. (*Note: I'm wearing the dark brown boots in these photos and they are the price mentioned above. The same boots also come in black, but for some reason that color is $20 more. Still a great deal though!)

Enjoy! (If you own the sweater or boots--or if you just bought one or both--definitely tell me below...)

And, P.S., speaking of deals: Have you seen this one? Free fancy home products!


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Here's How to Get Some Super-Fancy Home Products For FREE!

grove collaborative

Last week, I shared my goals for 2018. Getting rid of clutter was one of them, but that's not my only goal for my home. I'm also hoping to keep it much cleaner in 2018. And that's a challenge, because, quite simply: I am not one of those people who loves, or even remotely likes, to clean. It just doesn't come naturally to me, and there's pretty much anything I'd rather do than sweep, scrub, or vacuum. 

But this year I'm going to try to learn to love cleaning a little bit more for the sake of my house and my sanity (let me know if you have tips!). And for me, I already know that starts with cleaning products that are a little fancier and a little more pleasant to use. Mrs. Meyer's has long been one of my favorite brands for this sort of thing, and today, I'm going to tell you how to get some Mrs. Meyer's products for free!

grove collaborative

Many of you guys have heard me talk about Grove Collaborative before, but if you're new here: Grove is a site that carries natural products for home and body, and somehow manages to offer these high-end, normally-pricy brands at very competitive, very affordable prices. (They carry lines like Mrs. Meyer's, Method, Caldrea, Seventh Generation, Acure Organics, Burt's Bees, and many more.)

The other awesome thing about Grove is that, from time to time, they offer these kind of unbelievably amazing, limited-time free gifts just for trying out the site. And I have a good one for you today where you can get a three Mrs. Meyer's products, plus a cute metal carrying caddy and a couple of Grove's awesome sponges for FREE!

grove collaborative

With your first order of $20 from Grove Collaborative using this affiliate link, you will get the following (full-size!) items for FREE in your choice of any scent:

• Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap

• Free Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap

• Free Mrs. Meyer’s hand lotion

• Free Grove cleaning caddy

Free Grove walnut scrubber sponges

• Free Shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial (VIPs get free shipping on every order, free gifts, exclusive sales, and more)

The products are worth over $30, so it's a great way to check out some really nice home products that you might otherwise never have tried because of the price.

*FYI, if you're already a Grove Collaborative customer, you aren't eligble for the deal above (sorry!). BUT *if you use this link,* you'll get a FREE set of the walnut scrubber sponges. (I know it's weird to get excited about sponges...!, but these are really great--so much better and more effective than the basic colored ones.)

grove collaborative

You can cancel anytime, so honestly, it's worth at least placing one $20 order of basics like paper towels, laundry detergent, etc, and getting all the free stuff. Then you can decide later whether or not you want to continue ordering through them. (That's what I planned to do when I got my own deal way back when, but I've stayed on and I order all of my cleaning products through Grove now. It's so easy!)

I'll also be doing a Facebook Live later this week talking about this deal, these products, and Grove, so make sure you've liked and followed me on Facebook so that you get a notification. It should be fun!

Note: This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid to feature these products, however I will receive a small affiliate commission from any purchases. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

5 Beauty-Editor-Approved Winter Skincare Tips

alyssa hertzig

alyssa hertzig
essie once upon a time
dove deodorant
dove deodorant
Photos, from top: Sadie Hertzig (2), Pau Loyo (1), Alyssa Hertzig (2)
As in much of the country, it's been about a billion degrees below zero here lately--so not just cold, but cold. Think bone-chilling, lip-chapping, skin-drying, California-is-looking-really-amazing-right-now cold. That means it's a good time to stay cooped up inside with a cup of coffee--and the perfect time to talk about upping your winter skin-care game. So, I've partnered with Dove to do just that. Read on for five things I do to keep my skin soft, hydrated, and protected throughout the season. It's stuff I've gathered from trial and error, and from years and years of interviewing dermatologists for my job. All are effective, and most importantly, super easy.

1. Go for creamy products. Gels, sprays, and really any ultra-light moisturizers, lotions, or body washes are great for the summer, but they're often not hydrating enough for wintertime. (Just ask my forever flake-prone legs!) This time of year, I shelve the whisper-light stuff, and switch them out for creamy body washes and rich creams, balms, and butters.

2. Bump up your P.M. routine. As many experts have told me over the years, bedtime is the absolute best time to hydrate your skin. And if you're also worried about anti-aging (*raises hand*), nighttime also happens to be the optimal time to tackle that stuff, too. Dermatologist Alicia Barba recommends three steps: washing your face, applying a retinol, and moisturizing. This is my own nightly routine, and I swear by it. I'll admit that it took me years to start wearing night cream, but now that I've started, it has made such a difference for me, especially during the colder months. When I wake up, my skin is so much softer. (And on the nights I skip it, I can totally tell in the morning!)

3. Sunscreen it up. I cringe when I hear people say they don't need sunscreen in the winter. People! Sunscreen is a year-round non-negotiable. (As Dr. Barba told me: "Harmful UV rays don't take a break for cold weather.") Now, do you need to lube up your arms and legs when you're bundled tight in sweaters and jeans all day? No, of course not. But you absolutely must wear an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen on your face, every day, no excuses.

4. Don't forget your underarms. They need TLC, too--especially now. "Textures and fabrics in sweaters, undergarments, and t-shirts can irritate sensitive underarm skin," says Dr. Barba. Underneath all those layers, you'll need a product that keeps you hydrated and protected." Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant is formulated with moisturizers to relieve irritation and keep underarms soft, while also providing 48-hour protection against odor and wetness. I've used it for years, and have always loved how incredibly gentle it is on my sensitive skin. (Plus, sidenote: The scents are so good!)

5. Hydrate all over. Confession: I'm super guilty of skipping this one, but I'm really trying to get better about it this year. I'm excellent about moisturizing my face every day, but less so about my legs and arms. It's just so hard when they're hidden for so many hours of the day, right? But then I'll inevitably catch a glimpse of my neglected legs and think "Yikes!" To avoid that moment, let's all promise to moisturize all over (legs, arms, hands, chest, all of it), okay? Bonus points if you do it right when you get out of the shower, when you're still a little damp, so your cream traps all that good moisture in your skin.

If you guys have any more winter skin-care tips, I would love to hear them! And to get more info on Dove Advanced Care, click here.


Thank you to Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant for sponsoring this post!

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

My 2018 Goals

new year's resolutions
Photo by Caitie of @ktnewsms

Though I've always made New Year's goals and resolutions privately, surprisingly, I don't think I've ever actually shared them here in this space. Well, this year, I feel like I need the kick in the pants that comes with accountability, so here I am putting them out into the world. They're not revolutionary resolutions or groundbreaking goals, but they're mine. Read, enjoy, and me stick to them!

1. Read more books. I talked about this in my Instagram Stories recently, but though I consider myself someone who loves to read, I don't actually read that many books anymore. I've really gotten into podcasts, and those have kind of replaced books for me in many situations where I used to read them (I.e. during a commute). I also spend a ton of my free time on my computer--on social media, reading political articles (ugh), etc. No more! I'm going to make reading books a priority, and my aim is two each month. (That's not a ton, I know--and I do hope to exceed that--but I need a doable goal to start with.) I recently started This Is How it Always Is, because it was on so many best-of-2017 lists, and so far it's great! And as soon as I finish it, I'm diving into The Bright Hour. It had already been on my Amazon wishlist for months, but then I read this amazing, beautiful story yesterday and realized I had to read it asap. (BTW, I had already read--and sobbed through, and adored--When Breath Becomes Air, but if you haven't read it, you need to do so immediately. It's incredible!)

2. Drink more waterThis is a lame one, I know, but it's necessary. I'm so bad at drinking water and am pretty sure I have to be constantly dehydrated. And honestly, I feel like I'm starting to see my dehydration in my face! And the worst part is that I'm not one of those people who doesn't like drinking plain water. I love a glass of ice cold water! My issue is that I just never think to drink it.(Except at meals when I only ever have water. I don't drink soda, juice, etc.) If anyone has tips on how to make yourself drink more water (and how to track your ounces), I would love to hear them! In the meantime, I think I'm going to buy this cool water bottle, which helps track how much you drink.) I'm aiming for half my body weight in ounces each day, which seems reasonable. 

3. Put my phone away when I'm with my kids. Yes, sometimes it's necessary to be on it, but usually it's just not. Yet, I constantly find myself mindlessly scrolling through Twitter when I should be snuggling and engaging. This especially happens when I'm eating a meal with my kids or putting them to bed, and I've thought about it/felt guilty about it for some time now. But what really inspired me to put this on my list is this: Last night, while my son was brushing his teeth, I had my head down focused on my phone per usual when he suddenly said, "I don't like it when I try to tell you something and you are on your phone and are not listening." Heart. Broken. I shouldn't even have it with me during moments like that, I know, so going forward, I won't. (BTW, I need to get my husband on board with this goal, too!)

4. Eat for health. This is a bit vague, I know, but I'm not trying to adopt some crazy diet here. I just need to eat in a more health-focused way. I'm not looking to lose a ton of weight or become a vegan or anything dramatic. But I do need to do a few key things. I need to eat fewer carbs (sadly, they make up the bulk of my diet right now. Me love carbs.), I need to eat more protein, and perhaps the biggest one: I need to eat more veggies. Above all, with every meal, I need to remember to eat to nourish my body, not just to fill it with stuff. That means meals with veggies and fiber and protein--and not just a bowl of cereal or pasta because it's easy. 

5. Spin at least twice a week. I do private Pilates sessions twice a week, religiously, so I'm really good about getting in my core work/stretching. But I'm abysmal at cardio, these days. And worst of all, I have no excuse for this one considering we have a damn Peloton bike in our bedroom!!! So I'm setting a very reasonable, very doable goal of two Peloton sessions a week. And then hopefully I'll become hooked again and will do it a lot more!

6. Blog three times each week. Or, okay, maybe twice a week. But more than now! You guys, I'm sorry. I've never been the type of person who blogs every day, but yikes--my blogging schedule this past year was, shall we say...irregular. I'd like to make three times a week my goal, but I also want to make sure I'm not bringing you crap, so let's say two to three times a week. One things for sure: I'm going to be here for you more this year. Promise.

7. Do a blog re-design. Another huge goal that I have for this space is a re-design. My site has actually never been redesigned. And I've had this blog for almost seven years now. It's gotten embarrassing...and it's beyond time. (If you know a great blog designer, let me know! I have started looking into this a bit, but I'd definitely like to get more suggstions.)

8. Start an email newsletter. Here's something else I've been meaning to do forever. But I never wanted to do a newsletter just for the sake of doing one. I only want to do it if it's going to provide new info, cool recommendations, exclusive giveaways--basically fun stuff you haven't seen or read before. I can't stand newsletters that exist solely to regurgiate what you've already read on someone's blog. But I feel like I've got a good plan for a cool newsletter now, so this is my year. If you are interested in being one of the first people to read it when it (hopefully!) launches, you can sign up for it here. Note: I will NEVER sell your email or use it to spam you. I will also send my newsletter very rarely--once a week max, probably even less. (I mean, you know me...!) Basically, I promise to never, ever clog up your inbox.

9. Get rid of clutter. I have so much stuff, you guys. I buy too much stuff, I get too much stuff for free thanks to my job, and I am bad (like really, epically bad) at getting rid of stuff. As a result, my house is in a constant state of clutter. And while I'm not one of those people who needs no clutter in order to function happily, the amount I have is just too much, even for me. I didn't connect with the Marie Kondo method, and I'm not even sure if I need a method, but I do need to get rid of stuff. So, I'm going to set aside two half days each week to go through all of my crap and get rid of it. (Salvation Army, get ready!) P.S.: If you guys have any pieces of advice for sorting through stuff--or any favorite books, articles, or organizing doodads--please send them my way!

So that's it. I have a few additional personal and professional goals, of course, but these are some key ones. And the ones I really want accountability on! Would love to hear if any of my 2018 goals coincide with yours. What are we all aiming for this year? Tell me below!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Hair!

2017. Man. What a year. There was a lot (a lot) of depressing stuff happening in the world. But the bright side is that, despite all that, my family and I were lucky enough to have a lot of great moments, too. A few of the highlights: I met Madonna (!), my daughter got the cutest haircut, we went to Disney World, we threw a Spider-Man birthday party (and a faux-sleepover one, too!), we went on a kid-free vacay to St. Lucia, and I also managed to squeeze in about 126791824 blowouts along the way (some of my favorites, above).

Here's hoping 2018 brings you health, happiness, fun, and of course, lots of good hair days.

Looking forward to spending this next year with you. Thanks so much for reading!

P.S.: If you're so inclined (and need some hair inspo!), you can check out my Happy New Hair posts from 2017201620152013, and 2012. (OMG! Can you believe my hair was ever as long as it was back in 2011?!?)