I'm dreaming of a white Christmas. 

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnd by white, I mean pearly white shiny smile. I used to pride myself on my sparkly white teeth, but due to increased coffee consumption and decreased me time, my shiny white smile has since faded to an interesting apartment beige like color. I've never been one for smiling with my teeth... It's usually because of my ptsd from braces, but lately I've been increasingly more bummed out by my less than brilliant smile... Boo. fullsizerenderEnter Smile Brilliant Professional Teeth Whitening. Everything you need sent directly to your front door. Ummmm YES. YES. I definitely think I will. The kit arrives with all your goodies, I am using the sensitive kit. Everything you need to make molds of your teefs, Rocco's preferred pronunciation. You simply mix the catalyst paste and the base together until they are a solid blue, pop goop in the tray, and pop in your mouth. I have to admit, I was sweating bullets, but they give you enough goop to do 3 impressions incase you jack one up. And it's really pretty easy. Throw those in the mail and shortly thereafter your perfectly fitted whitening retainers are in your hands. Do we see a trend?!? EASY. And I when you're a mom. Nothing seems easy. This is ACTUALLY pretty stinking easy!  Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Need a last minute Christmas gift?!? Use coupon code "blissfulhappenings" for 5% off of your purchase!!!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOh and it wouldn't be Christmas without some presents!!! So I'm excited to announce a giveaway with Smile Brilliant click www.smilebrilliant.com/g/blissfulhappenings and leave a comment below to enter!!!! We will announce the winner in 2 weeks, plus debut my whitening progress!!!

Clean up, clean up everybody, everywhere...

Excited to have Kelsey here today to talk cleaning! Safe, non-toxic and actually works. Yes please!! Enjoy. Lo 

When it comes to cleaning we all often roll our eyes, take a deep sigh, and ready ourselves for the arduous task of removing the ick, the stink, and the germs from our homes to give our families a safe pleasant place to live and grow. In most homes, we do this not just daily, but seemingly ALL. DAY. LONG- often leaving us sore, tired, and downtrodden. Yes, there is that short-lived victorious moment when it is finally all done and we look around for a split second at our accomplishment before someone destroys it but on the whole, lets face it cleaning is the never ending pits! 

Unfortunately the task gets worse, cleaning with mainstream chemicals (yes, even some of the "green" ones) isn't just unpleasant it's actually unhealthy! According to the American Lung Association VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and other chemicals released when using cleaning supplies contribute to chronic respiratory problems, allergic reactions and headaches. Products containing VOCs and other toxic substances can include:
  • Aerosol sprays in health, beauty & cleaning products;
  • Air fresheners;
  • Chlorine bleach;
  • Detergent and dishwashing liquid;
  • Dry cleaning chemicals;
  • Rug and upholstery cleaners;
  • Furniture and floor polish; and
  • Oven cleaners
Recent research has found that even natural fragrances in cleaning products, particularly in air fresheners, may react with high levels of ozone from indoor sources or from outdoor air to form formaldehyde and dangerous fine particles indoors. Ozone is a harmful, but invisible, gas that worsens asthma and other lung diseases. Both ozone and particles can be life-threatening. Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen The National Institue of Health's National library of health has a whole section referred to as Tox Town where it describes the harmful effects of many of the chemicals found in the average family home. For example, at home you can be exposed to solvents in cleaning products, personal care products. Some solvents are listed as human carcinogens or "reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens" in the 13th Report on Carcinogens published by the National Toxicology Program and can cause cancer. Regular exposure to solvents can cause memory and hearing loss, mental illness, depression, fatigue, confusion, dizziness, feeling drunk or "high," lack of coordination, headache, nausea, stomach pains, skin rashes, cracking or bleeding skin, and irritated eyes, nose, and throat. Exposure to solvent vapors can cause hoarseness, coughing, lung congestion, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

That is why I fell in love with Norwex which stands for the Norwegian experience. Their mission to improve the quality of life by radically reducing chemicals in our homes has lead to the development of an impressive line of completely non-toxic, waste reducing and money saving cleaning products. At its core is the micro-fiber cloth. To be legally called micro fiber each strand of the cloth must be 1/6th of a human hair but Norwex took this further, WAY further, than whats available in a retail store and took their fibers down to 1/200th of a human hair. Each cloth contains thousands of miles of fiber , if unraveled it would stretch from Canada to New Mexico! All of those tiny fibers knit together and combined with JUST WATER allow you to mechanically clean your surfaces rather then chemically.  Yes, you read that right- no soap. no chemicals. Not even baking soda and vinegar. The fibers actually lift and remove the dirt, germs, and residue from your surfaces and trap them deep within the cloth. Don't believe me? Check out this link (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mKQMIcnTy8) where a local news station in Tennessee put this claim to the test in a real lab with real E-Coli bacteria. They not only tested Norwex's claim to remove the germs but also compared it to other leading cleaners and the results were astonishing- Norwex removed 92% of the bacteria from the surface, a store bought micro fiber cloth removed 84%, and the leading all purpose cleaning spray with paper towel 0%! But what really makes Norwex incredible is that the tiny fibers lock the germs inside the cloth instead of spreading them around or cross contaminating. Just google Norwex chicken test and see the numerous videos where users cleaned up raw chicken and then rubbed the cloth on a clean surface swabbed it with a protein test strip and found no evidence of protein (which would contain the bacteria) on the rubbed surface! But the best thing of all- cost comparisons (I will share specifics in a bit) show that over the 2 year warranty period of the micro fiber products Norwex can save you hundreds of dollars. 

I know this sounds too good to be true and probably like a big ole sales pitch so let me share with you the one thing I can't stand about Norwex- I miss my clean smell!!! I know, I know the truth is "clean" doesn't have a smell, but the leading cleaning product manufactures have done a pretty good job of brainwashing us into thinking that if it doesn't smell clean it isn't clean. To put it simply I am a little leary of having people over when my house doesn't smell fresh! Thankfully we have essential oils to not only bring back our beloved "clean smell" but actually improve our health instead of destroying it. But enough theoretical yammering- lets talk practical applications to clean your home into your safe haven!

1. The enviro cloth is the work horse of the Norwex product line- From this little cloth other variations have developed to help us better clean all the surfaces of our home from THE most incredible mop to the kitchen cloth and a whole lot of awesomeness in between. We already discussed how the micro fiber works and does a better job then its chemical counterparts but how to bring back the beautiful clean smell? Simply take a few drops your favorite essential oils such as orange, lemon or even tea tree for an extra cleaning boost and add them to a small spray bottle. Sprtiz your enviro cloth, mop pad or kitchen cloth and clean those surfaces leaving just a wonderful aroma and nothing else. But what about the cost? At $16.99 for an enviro cloth and $14 for a bottle of oil it may seem like an unfavorable trade off. Lets take a closer look- On average just in our kitchens we would use approximately 5 disinfecting wipes a day (wiping counters after each meal prep, our table once a day, and cleaning up at least one spill- some days way more a day sometimes less). The average cost per wipe is $0.04 X 5 times a day = $0.20 a day. $0.20 a day X 365 = $73 a year, $146 over 2 years. Replacing those disinfecting wipes just in your kitchen with an enviro cloth and a bottle of oil costs $31 saving you $42 a year, $84 over 2 years!

2. Organic material such as dead skin cells, germs, pet dander and dust mites often take up residence inside our upholstered furniture, mattress and pillows - items we either can't wash or can't wash often. Frequently we turn to products like air fresheners to cover this smell. Not only does this rarely work, it adds more allergens and harmful chemicals to our air space without removing or cleaning anything! Norwex has an amazing product called simply Mattress cleaner (though it can be used on pillows and upholstered furniture) that is enzyme based and actually removes the organic material that leads to allergies. Google it! Diffusing essential oils is a far better way to lightly scent our air space giving us that fresh scent we crave and unlike the chemical air freshers, essential oils actually improve our health, supporting our bodies immune system rather than harming it.

3. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs what we put on it in just 25 to 30 seconds. While we may not drink our soaps, cleansers, and cleaning products we regular consume them through our skin and our airways. Norwex has developed a softer version of their revolutionary micro fiber called the body cloth (and a travel/kid size version called the baby body) that mechanically cleans your skin, removing dirt and grime from pores rather than filling them full of synthetic fragrances and harsh stripping agents. While anyone can benefit from using our microfiber cloths and water rather than soap, this is especially wonderful for those with sensitive skin or those plagued by difficult skin conditions like excema. Essential oils paired with natural ingredients like sugar open more options for exfoliating and toning skin naturally, some oils, like rose hips, even offer antioxidant properties! Skin cleaners and soaps run the gambit in price, but Norwex body clothes come in a set of 3 for just $19.99 - yep add a $14 bottle of your favorite oil and you could be spending as little as $33 for TWO YEARS of skincare! The smaller version, the baby body, is perfect for travel and sells for just $14.99 for 3 cloths. The leading travel disinfecting wipe costs $0.09 a wipe even if you only used 1 a day X 365= $32.85, more than double the cost for just 1 year!

This body cloth IS my skin care regime and my skin has never been cleaner or softer! I also occasionally use an natural organic scrub for a little extra exfoliation.

4. Dryer sheets are one of the most toxic products in our homes- seriously people use them to kill mice! But oh the smell! The fresh smell of laundry! This is one of the areas where Norwex and essential oils really come beautifully together. A few drops of your favorite oil on Norwex's wool dryer balls allows you naturally and lightly fragrance your clothing all while reducing drying time and clothing ruined from tangles (especially in our HE machines)

5. For many of us our pets are like our children…our often smelly, hairy, dry skinned (dander!) children who hate being bathed. Norwex has taken the fluffy version of its mircofiber cloth (the dusting mitt) and recreated it especially for use on pets. Adding a few drops of tea tree oil (always check with your vet before using oils on pets!) to a spray bottle and spritizing the Norwex pet mitt allows you easily give your pet a daily freshening and brushing with out the struggle of a bath!

Need these amazing cleaning products like right now? Shop Here!!

I got all of this FREE the first week I signed up! Norwex spoils there hostess & consultants like crazy, comment below if you want to find out how to stock your house full of these amazing products FREE!!!

Confessions of a SkinCare Junkie 

For as long as I can remember I've been obsessed with skincare. Even as a teen I buying and trying every kind of skincare I could afford. I had moderate to severe acne and literally spent entire paychecks from Pier 1 Imports trying to fix it. I bought all the products I found in my InStyle: La Mer, Murad, Mario Badescu, SonyaDakar, frou frou small batch organic stuff, the list goes on and on... Literally any kind of face junk you can think of, I've bought it. I can barely remember finishing a single product let alone repurchasing a skin care regime over and over. Enter Renée Rouleau. I found her in a magazine where Emmy Rossum was singing her praises. So I tried it. I took her skin quiz [in Cali I was a 6, in Florida I am a 2]. It takes into account not only your skin issues, but how much you sleep, travel, the humidity level. And for 3+ years now, I have been using RR products. I've adjusted a few for the difference in climate + postpartum dryness, but overall I've stuck with the same products. NUTS. I am just obsessed. I love her blog and delightful pink hair. My favorite product is hands down the AHA Smoothing serum or maybe the sunscreen... It's all so good. They have spectacular customer service and if you plan on spending over 100$ you can get a consult with one of her aestheticians!!  Oh yeah and the best part! I've been told, like a few times, that I have beautiful skin  and I can't tell you how good that feels. It's practically tear inducing. Those who've battled long term difficult skin will totally understand what I'm talking about. 

Anywho. That's my time. Comment with your fave skincare lines or products. Have you ever tried Renée Rouleau?! Do you want to now?! Do tell. 

All things San Diego, Part I

torrey pinesTorrey Pines | Image Via

As we prepare our family for a big move, there's been a lot of reflecting about all of our time in Cali. This is the first place we’ve been able to settle in and actually live some semblance of a normal life. We love it here and we are sad to leave, but are excited for the next chapter in our lives. I thought it would be fun if I shared my definitive list of ALL things San Diego!!

Best Waxing: La Di Da Sugaring with Kelly

Kicking it off with the good stuff. So the best waxing is, in fact, not waxing, but sugaring. A mixture of sugar, water, and lemon juice applied directly to the skin to remove hair. I could go on for days about how it’s less painful and more sanitary than waxing, but you should just check it out. Owner Kelly Fritz is one of the most magical people I’ve ever met, she just radiates friendliness and can get your who dolled up in record time. I started seeing Emily in the evenings to work around The Captain’s schedule and she’s equally wonderful! These ladies will change your life.

Best Hair Cut: Meghan Noel Salon

I have been seeing Meghan ever since I hit on her in a Robeks. But seriously, I was like, “you have beautiful hair.” She was like, “I’m a hair stylist.” I was like, “give me them digits.” Meanwhile The Captain sits in the car with the dogs confused. I get in the car and he asks, “did you just get that girls phone number?” Perv. The rest is history! With stellar prices and a real knack for hair artistry she’s worth the drive from any part of SD.

Best Facial: Serenity Skin Care

I haven’t been able to make it in for a facial in some time, but when I do Ann Duke is who I call upon!! This lady knows skin! And on top of that, she’s a lovely human being! SSC is run out of her home in Hillcrest and she and her husband, Mario are just as charming as they come! I still swear that her monthly facials are what continues to keep my skin happy and healthy, even years later.

Best Tattoo Artists: Charlie Cung at Guru Tattoo and Shannon Nordin at Remington Tattoo

If you are look for awesome black ink work with a focus on mandala and dot work then Charlie is your guy. He’s so chill and an artist through and through. Shannon did The Captain’s back piece which turned out absolutely amazing. He does more traditional style tattoos! Both parlors are super chic and crazy clean.

Best Botox: re:vive salon & spa

Yep, I’ve dabbled with the tox. I know it’s pretty much the opposite of my healthy, natural living... blah blah blah. Everyone has their thing, you eat a steak a week and I keep my forehead forever youthful. So if you are thinking of getting some enhancements, Kathleen at re:vive is totally who you should see! Not only does re:vive offer the best price in San Diego, [10$ a unit] Kathleen is a rn and a trainer for the company, she really listens to what you’re after. They have a Doctor that works in the office and comes and talks to you before you have your botox injected.

Best Dentist: Poway Dental Arts

The nicest dental crew in North County. I love Michelle and all of the staff! Dr. Rich is such a nice guy and is pretty easy on the eyes too!

Best Work Out: Major tie: The Dailey Method RB & The Bar Method Carmel Mountain

I have had the most lovely experiences with both of these studios. I did Bar Method for nearly 2 years pre-baby and loved the teachers and the method. After baby, I tried out Dailey Method because of child care, but was happy to find another lovely studio filled with wonderful people and a killer work out. I wish I could’ve been a member longer!

Best Hiking: Torrey Pines

So not the most creative answer, but alas the most beautiful and calming. I love hiking by the beach and this hike makes me happy. I also dig Iron Mountain... if you’re in the mood to hike something called Iron Mountain...

Stay tuned for Part II for all my favorite spots to eat! Yes, ALL OF THEM.

Does it even matter???

So I haven't blogged-- hell- I haven't written anything in quite some time. Been busy on a little something called living my damn life… Can I get an amen!? I don't know how mommy bloggers with tiny ones do it. Stay connected to their kids, spouse, friends, work, and find time to care about writing a blog. More power to ya sistas.
After many a long talk with The Captain it's become pretty obvious that my issue isn't really time or content, it's wondering if it really matters… Like who really cares?! I have a small and loyal following so it's not to dog on you, but seriously, does sharing my thoughts on food, fashion, and mommyhood even matter... What I've come up with is... No. In the grand scheme of important world shit, it's tiny. But at the end of the day writing makes me happy. I enjoy it. I don't really get the time I once had to write daily or even 3 times a week! Dude, I now write blog posts in the privacy of my bathroom on my cellphone. Life is just different. And it's good. Heck, it's great.
So this isn't happening in a week or even a month. We bought our first home via FaceTime 2000 miles away. So the next few months are gonna be filled with packing, adventuring, and soaking up all our amazing city has to offer before we hit the road. But I'm excited to get back to posting quick healthy meals for the whole fam, showing you our new home and how decorating can be fun and chic even with a toddler and minimal budget, and oh-so much more.
2016 is gonna be a blast.

But First, Coffee

sleeplessssss.001So part of me feels like people don't want to hear about how effing tired I am, but there's this other part of me who A. doesn't care and B. feels like it's complete bullshit if I pretend to have a perfect baby who sleeps perfectly and shits perfectly… I don't even know what that means, but I've seen bloggers with beautiful family pics of their amazing baby who not only brings joy and perfect piles of perfect poo, they sleep through the night and even started working a part time job to pay for diapers… It makes me mad, like, rullll mad. I know a ton of moms read these blogs and think, Shit, what am I doing wrong?! Nothing, you're doing nothing wrong!! Around 4.5 months MohawkRoc completely forgot how to sleep. So for the past month or so we have gone back to the basics of getting him sleeping through the night. We are dealing with "the rolling over" phase and he's yet to master rolling back so he wakes up on his tummy very angry-like… but enough of that, here's what has been sustaining us during our sleep fast. [1] Fuel. There are a variety of must have beverages: h2o, coffee, and beer… not necessarily in that order. Hydrating is super important and La Croix coconut sparkling water is my favorite thing in the world. I toss back these things like a boss. Donut Shop's Coconut Mocha coffee is INSANE delicious, I mean so good. I've never needed coffee before, but that is not the case any more. I don't do cream and sugar, but lately I haven't been digging my usual super bitter black coffee. Enter this coffee. It's so crisp and yummy you don't need to add anything. Then there's the booze. Banquet Beer. Cheap and tasty. Perfect when you just need a light beer with dinner to relax your brain from thinking about how you probably aren't going to sleep tonight either… le sigh… Oh and let us not forget to eat. We live off of Chipotle. Brown Rice. Beans. Veggies. Gauc. Lettuce. Relatively healthy, cheap, and fast. Boom. Enjoy with cold Banquet beer.

[2] Wardrobe. It's imperative you have stretchy lounge pants acceptable to be worn in public and a good hat… Boom. Pair with a cute tee or tank and you look like you give a damn, but we all know the truth... Not only do you not remember when you last gave a damn, you also put your underwear on inside out this morning and can't be bothered to fix them… not that I'm speaking from experience...

[3] Beauty. So eye cream is my new best friend. I've actually been using the whole line of Renée Rouleau products and I'm really impressed with the results, but this eye cream is brilliant. Total Eye Repair. Because, DAMN, we need to repair those eyes. And forget wearing your hair down, your kid is gonna pull all that shit out, like giant chunks of hair, and then they are going to try and eat it… Weirdos. I love these Emi Jay hair ties, they help you avoid hair headache!

[4] Entertainment. Our attention spans are pretty pathetic these days, but once the monster nugget is asleep we like to snuggle and laugh our asses off. Currently, we are obsessed with Blackish and The Mindy Project. We also love Modern Family, New Girl, About a Boy, and Brooklyn 99.  All VERY funny and while we might not know much, we know funny. We also watch The Walking Dead, but we right now we are a few episodes behind. CARRLLLLLLLLLLL.

[5] New Challenge. Journaling. I opened up to a wonderful friend about how the exhaustion was really weighing on me. I feel tired to my core. It's so hard to do anything well when you are that worn out and that can really start to affect your mood. I had been praying for rest for Mohawk and for The Captain and I and was just really feeling unheard, my friend suggested journaling and just keeping all those thoughts fresh in my mind and having an open and honest connection to my feelings and to God.

Hope this helps in some small way!! It helped me just to right it out!! So ladies, I want to know what are your must haves when you are utterly exhausted!?!