fragrances that flatter

fragrances that flatter | the original mb15

Don’t you just feel better when you’re wearing a nice scent? I do. I wear fragrances daily because it makes me feel feminine and fresh and ready for my day. Historically I’ve obsessed over my “one true scent” which was Estee Lauder’s Miracle. But in the last few years I’ve branched out a bit. I’ve built a small army of similar fragrances that are light, fresh, fruity, floral and make me smell like #freshlypickedwarmlaundrysuckingonajollyrancherduringasunnyspringday. Ya know –  clean. A few of my favorites are Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet and L’Occitane’s Eau Spontanee. What scents are at the top of your list?

this stuff right here

Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel | the original mb

Good afternoon, ladies & gents. Since moving to NorCal a few years ago, I’ve noticed that I feel more comfortable taking certain liberties that I wouldn’t have before. It doesn’t bother me to go a few weeks or months without a pedicure – naked toes are good enough! Furry eyebrows, underarms and legs? NBD, boo boo! Roll those cuffs up anyway. These are things that would never fly when I lived in LA or Orange County. But this is the Bay Area, nobody is looking at your hairy legs…they’re staring at the guy pissing in the corner of the train car like nobody else is there. So when it comes to my skin and haircare products, I’ve started to relax on the average stuff and transition to the more organic/natural stuff…and it rocks. Thayers Witch Hazel is one of those products. Happened upon it at Whole Foods and never looked back. I’m a sucker for anything with a Rosewater essence so when I came across this product I was excited to switch out my Proactiv toner and give this a try. It not only cleans my skin thoroughly but it doesn’t strip it and leave it dry like other products I’ve used. It soothes. It leaves my skin so incredibly soft. It just feels better. BONUS: Thayer’s Witch Hazel comes in flavors like Cucumber, Lavender and Lemon for those that aren’t bonkers over Rose scented items (like I am). So do yourself a favor, ditch the Sea Breeze and treat yourself to a bottle of this.

daydream

daydreaming | the original mb

Lately, life has been crazy good. Not perfect, not by any means…but good. Holly and I are moving forward. Our dreams are being realized one step at a time. Lots of huge and exciting things coming our way this year and next.  When I was in therapy last year for a short while my shrink would ask me to visualize my perfect place [read: perfectly safe place]. It could be a fantasy or a real memory – anything that would lead me through my meditation practice. Surprisingly, I wasn’t really able to do it. It sounds so absurd thinking back but my mind wasn’t in a space where I could imagine a perfect scenario where no details, no fears, no worries existed. My mind doesn’t work that way, I told myself. I’m too neurotic, too much into the details. Flash forward to now: my anxiety is under control, my path is clear and life feels quite fulfilling. I have a recurring daydream that has turned itself into a goal. It’s a vision of myself and a young child swaying on a porch swing attached to a beautiful, cozy home. I’m wearing a sundress and it’s a hot, sticky summer evening. I’m pregnant with a second and there’s a dog romping around in the yard. We watch. We sit. We relax and enjoy the warm air. I feel calm and content. Nothing is said and no pressure is on. It’s just stillness in that moment; and pure joy. I’ve only just recently come to the realization that this daydream is the meditation fantasy that I wasn’t able to achieve before. It brings me such hope. It makes me feel warm and I aspire to make this daydream a reality some day soon. Now that I’ve shared mine, what’s your meditation | daydream | fantasy | goal?

xo

photos c/o RachelRenee

 

 

A Birthday in the Woods

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb14

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb06

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb04

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb08

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb05

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb15

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb11

 

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb10

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb13

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb16

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb12

A Birthday in the Woods | the original mb02

My friend Rachel is a nature baby; so of course it’s fitting that she wanted to have a day amongst the redwoods for her birthday celebration. We packed supplies for a big ‘ol picnic and drove up into the Oakland Hills to Joaquin Miller Park. It was a magical day that didn’t end until sun down. Amy (Rachel’s gf) did most of the cooking and I made her a special cake with lavender and lemon. We sat by the fire pit and ate s’mores, played with the puppies and basked in the sun. Happy Birthday, friend. Thanks for bringing our asses back to nature!

the perfect cup

the perfect cup | the original mb

Good mooorrniiinnngggg, ladies & gents. Your girl woke up on the right side of the bed today. Popped right up, did some sun salutations, made a cup of coffee that made it seem like all is right in the world. *releases white doves* While I was waiting for my soft boiled eggs to cook I brewed up some of the Pantheon blend from Starbucks and flavored it with the best cream I’ve ever tasted and a bit of coconut sugar. All of the ingredients that you see above make one of the BEST cups of coffee ever consumed in this household. Why coconut sugar, you ask?  Because the wife is on a Paleo kick. Why Straus Family cream? Because it tastes like the most delicious cup of cold milk that you’ve ever drank times a hundred (also, it’s local!).  Here’s to a great day, people. Cheers!

 

Weekend Wear [2/28]

Weekend Wear 2/28 | the original mb

Weekend Wear 2/28 | the original mb

Weekend Wear 2/28 | the original mb

For this installment of Weekend Wear, I’m bringing back ol’ trusty – my overalls. They’re cotton, stripey, comfy as f@%!. Can’t go wrong. Sure, this isn’t the most flattering outfit but it still screams “I WANT TO BE COMFORTABLE BUT STILL SOMEWHAT STYLISH OK?!” On second thought, don’t all of my outfits scream that?

Photos by Rachel Hall | rachelreneeboudoir.com

31 years in the making

UK Passport | the original mb

A lot of people that know me don’t necessarily know my background. My parents met when my Ma was stationed at the Navy base in  Rota, Spain. My Dad was from the UK and was bouncing around as a traveling musician at the time. They met, he wooed, they married and out came my older brother Asa and I. When their marriage fell apart 5 or 6 years later he left and I never really saw him again. Years and years went by in which I was always curious about my paternal roots. I knew about my family members on the other side of the pond but I had no way of contacting them. They were lost from my life but I never stopped wondering about ’em.  A few years ago I found myself doing the annual Google search and Facebook (Myspace, in the past) stalk of people that lived in the UK with the last name Birrell. I would write to them, not knowing if they were a relative or not and ask if they had a family member named Andy, which was my Dad’s name. It wouldn’t usually get me anywhere but one day, I received a response. It was my cousin Becky. Just writing about that moment gives me chills. What are the chances, right??! I hope to write more on how it felt to reconnect with my family overseas and the conversations that I’ve had with them since. But this post isn’t really about that. It’s about a life long dream of getting my British Passport. And you guys, as of a couple months ago, I DID IT. I’m officially a dual citizen. This is HUGE in my world. It validates me. It means that I can go live and work in the EU whenever and however I please. It means that I can go visit family and know even more that I’m one of them. It took quite a while to attain this maroon beauty. I had to track down my father’s birth certificate from Scotland, my parent’s marriage license from Gibraltar, and snag all of the old and brittle documents that my Ma saved all of these years. *THANKS, MA!* It was quite a journey, and I’m proud of it. Now Holly, honey, I know you’re reading this… when are we moving to London? 😉

As a loyal subject of the Queen, I curtsy and bid you adieu.

xo

Weekend Wear [2/21]

Weekend Wear 2/21 | the original mb

A bit of truth to begin this post: I don’t live the sort of life that’s conducive to dressing stylishly every day. It is a goal of mine but a far off one for sure. I work in your typical SF tech office which amounts to lots of hoodies, jeans, sneakers, flats, top knots. In the 2 years that I’ve worked there I’ve never worn a dress to work and I’ve worn heeled booties maybe once or twice. It feels out of place there. But weekends are for me! This is when my style can flourish. I love fashion and I have a strong allegiance to personal style. When I put together something cute I’m excited about it, I want to show it off! And so, the Weekend Wear series is born. Welcome to the world, baby girl. My plan is to share 1 or 2 outfit posts per week that give you a feel for my personal approach to comfortable fashion.  I’ve enlisted my friend Rachel to photograph this series. We’re excited to get creative and see where this will take us!

Photos by Rachel Hall | rachelreneeboudoir.com

The Marshall Store [Tomales Bay]

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

The Marshall Store | the original mb

Since there are about a bajillion pics in this post, I’ll let them do most of the talking. In case you’re wondering – in my world, this is what the PERFECT day looks like. Meaningful friendships, beautiful scenery, some amazingly scrumptious food, adventure! Life is grand.

Starbucks on Steroids [ Seattle, WA]

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room | the original mb

Being the coffee culturists that we are, we knew that no trip to Seattle would be complete without a stop at the brand new Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room. This place is truly Starbucks on steroids! HOLY DINERO. They spared no expense when designing this space. I mean, WOW. Copper errrything. We weaved around the large mass of people and headed downstairs to have a tasting. We tried 3 flavors of which the Sulawesi and the Pantheon were our favorites. The Sulawesi had a grassy, earthy taste while the Pantheon had a much more balanced and bold flavor. They took great care when presenting us with each pot of freshly brewed coffee; no creams or sweeteners were permitted. We had a fun time geeking out over the flavor notes and were super impressed by the place as a whole.  It reminded us not to count Starbucks out even though we usually do the local yokel-roast thing. All hail Starbucks. You win!