"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have". - Frederick Koenig

Friday, July 22, 2011

Drink of the Moment: Frozen Lemonade with Coconut Rum

With all of the oppressive heat most of the US has been dealing with the past few days, I don't know many that couldn't use a nice frozen drink - sweating it out without one might actually be considered cruel and unusual by some.  With that in mind, I thought I would share a drink that will not only help you cool down, but also won't sabotage your summer 'slim down'.  Not only is this one fabulous and frozen (I guarantee you'll want more than one); it's super easy, and only requires a few basic ingredients (that don't include sour mix, coconut milk, or ice cream).   Also, it's not nearly as boozy as some of my other 'Drinks of the Moment', which means you might actually be able to enjoy one or two on your porch or patio after sunset without experiencing any debilitating symptoms of dehydration ... or, maybe you should just stick with sitting in the air conditioning, and looking out the window at your sweltering porch or patio.  Either way, enjoy and try to stay cool out there!  :)

  • YIELD: 1 serving (serving size: about 1 cup)
  •               172 calories per serving

  • 1 1/2 cups ice cubes, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut rum (such as Malibu)
  • Lime wedge (optional)

  • Preparation
  • Place ice, concentrate, and rum in a blender (I used a Margaritaville Mixer to make the ones above, but a standard blender would do the trick wonderfully); blend until slushy. Garnish with lime wedge, if desired.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Clarisonic Challenge Kick-Off and a Coupon Code for 20% Off

After taking a minute to get all of the giggles out of my system from my initial Clarisonic post the other day, I couldn't wait to give this new gadget a try.  I mean, who wouldn't be just a bit curious as to what the results were going to be with a corporate product description that reads like it might be found in an adults only section?!?  Well, now I know why they might be pushing that comparison, because after trying it just once, this thing seems like it might be capable of doing some pretty awesome things ... FOR YOUR COMPLEXION.  

The Clarisonic Plus, which I received through the Vogue Influencers Network, comes packaged with a facial attachment, body attachment, universal charger, three different cleansers (specific to different skin types), and a body scrub.  It also comes with a very descriptive instruction manual that specifies where and how to use everything. 

It does not, however, come with a third hand which might have been helpful with my first usage attempt.  Needless to say, it was not the most graceful process I've ever had, but I was also dealing with some other variables including not having my contact lenses in at the time.  (Note: If you wear glasses/contacts, please read the instructions and do a 'dry run' first until you know what the heck it is you're doing, also have all items you'll need located so you don't end up running around blindly with a soap trail behind you).

Once I had navigated through things a little better, and was actually able to get a feel for how the process was supposed to flow going forward, I had time to inspect my face again, and was almost taken aback by the initial results.  This cleansing tool seems to be the equivalent of a basic facial from what I can tell - really.  First of all, my face felt so clean, and was so smooth just from that one (turbulent) use, and any of the flakiness that I usually seem to have on the sides of my nose were gone.  Seriously, the closest thing I can compare it to was the last facial I had a a spa (before they put all of the serums and stuff on).  I obviously don't look 10 years younger now, and still need my 'can't live without it' concealer/brightener, but I'm really looking forward to putting this face & body brush to the test to (all giggles aside) see what it can really do.

I've already started taking pictures, so watch out for before and after shots over the next few weeks.  Wouldn't it be great to actually see an improvement?  I know I would LOVE to look and feel like I've had a facial every day.  Oh, and if you're interested, it's still not too late to take the 'Clarisonic Challenge' right along with me.  You can get 20% off all Clarisonic products at http://www.clarisonic.com by using coupon code "VogMag" on orders of $149 or more (effective 7/14/11 - 7/29/11, 11:59PDT).

Ciao for now!  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Clarisonic Cleansing System: For All of the Dirty Girls (and Boys) Out There. Plus a Coupon Code for 20% Off!

Oh Vogue Influencer Network, how lovely you are .... I think.  Always ahead of the curve with the latest and greatest in beauty, fashion, exclusive events, and ... vibrating body cleansers?!?!?  Yep, that's right.  My current task is to try out the Clarisonic Plus Skin Cleansing System, or as they call it, "Take the Clarisonic Challenge", and experience the "sonic difference."  Have you ever heard of this new gadget (and are you drawing the same parallels I am?), because I don't recall hearing anything about a new battery charged body brush that isn't sold to anyone under 18; and to be honest, I'm not really sure whether I should be slightly frightened, or consider it my new best friend.  Either way, the box showed up on my doorstep today, and I suppose I am going to be trying it over the next few weeks, so I can ... er, share my experiences with you while trying not to put quotes around everything that comes across like a double entendre.  

So far, I have read that this targeted cleaning pistol (hehe) is supposed to use sonic technology - I assume this means electricity/power - to "gently, yet thoroughly, cleanse 6X better than using your hands alone" (tee hee).  By removing more dirt, oil and makeup, creams and serums are able to work more effectively.    

Oh, and to make sure everyone's needs are covered, there are 3 different varieties available:  

1. The Clarisonic PLUS (which I will be trying out) -- With three speeds and a body mode, the PLUS is ideal for cleansing the face and areas of the body needing extra attention (tee hee hee). 

2.  The Clarisonic Mia Mini -- Available in a variety of colors, Mia pairs powerful sonic cleansing benefits with a single-speed, compact design. 

3. The Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System -- A palm-sized device, Opal uses a micro-massage motion to infuse serum more thoroughly than manual application for younger looking eyes. (Oh right, eyes. Yes, that's exactly where I thought that was going).

Any questions?  Good, then I'll just be keeping you posted on my results.

Now that I've gotten through that, the other important thing I have to tell you is that you can try these products our for yourself!  For a limited time, you can save 20% on all Clarisonic products at: http://www.clarisonic.com by using coupon code "VogMag" on orders of $149 or more.  (Offer is effective 7/14/11 through 7/24/11 11:50PDT).  So, why leave all the fun to me?  Go grab one for yourself and create a"sonic experience" of your own!     

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brahmin Fall Collection Preview

Though a lot of us might be in the throws of summer heat right now, fall fashions seem to be creeping up fast.  Rich berry hues, exotic leathers, and animal prints are just around the corner, and thanks again to the Vogue Influencer Network, I can share with you an exclusive preview of Brahmin's fall collection.

All of the fall bags have the timeless elegant detail and luxurious texture that is signature Brahmin, but still keep with current fall trends.  I'm typically a sucker for leopard print so the Tyler in Pecan Leopard is up in my top picks, though the Cleo in Cranberry is certainly some fierce competition.  Oh, and the cute hobo at the top of the page - that's the Carmela in Amber ... I like that one too.  Which one will you be eyeing when they hit the market?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Waves of Hawaii

Sometimes you get email forwards from special people that you just can't help but share.  This one in particular almost made me feel like I was somewhere else for a minute, and helped reset my perspective a bit.  I couldn't help but continue the share on this, even though it's not in email form.  I do hope you enjoy!

Photographer Clark Little stands in the water and waits until the very last second to snap his camera shutter, and then takes a beating when the wave collapses over him.

Waimea Bay shore-break surfing pioneer, husband, and father of two, Little has gained 
nationwide recognition for his photography on National Television..

It all started in 2007 when Clark 's wife wanted a nice piece of art to decorate a wall.

Voluntarily, Clark grabbed a camera, jumped in the water, and starting snapping away capturing the beauty and power of monstrous Hawaiian waves from the inside out.

Clark 's "view" is a unique view of the ocean that most will only
be able to experience safely on land while studying one of Clark 's photos. 

Now with a camera upgrade and an itch to get that better shot, Clark has taken this on full time and

has moved his office from land, to the inside of a barrel.

Since the recent stir of Clark's work, his images have been run on the Today Show, ABC World News Now, Nature's Best Photography, Paris Match(France), La Vie ( France ), Hana Hou (Hawaiian Airlines) magazine, Surfer magazine, Surfer's Journal as well as multiple publishers and newspapers in the U.S. and overseas.

He is dedicated to photographing the waves and has published a selection of his best.  

These incredible images of waves in the Hawaiian Islands were taken by Clark Little, the number one photographer of surf.

Sun Glints Off Wave
Clark Little/SWNS

Sand in Surf
Clark Little/SWNS

This shot captures sand from the ocean's floor being swept up by a monstrous wave and resembles a sandstorm. 

Little calls it the Sand monster.

"There were clouds of sand ten feet high and I'm standing there.  I'm holding on to my camera and my trigger as long as I can.
Then I have to jump into the cloud of sand to try to get out of danger's way".

His fans pay as much as $4,000 for his gorgeous photos.

Tubular Shining
Clark Little/SWNS

Beach - Surf Crashes Down
Clark Little/SWNS

Molton Liquid Gold
Clark Little/SWNS

White Tumultuous Water
Clark Little/SWNS

Clark Little/SWNS

Red Mysterious Shot
Clark Little/SWNS

Break - Wave Crashes Down
Clark Little/SWNS

Beauty - Water Drops
Clark Little/SWNS

This shot is his favorite.  With a high shutter speed he caught the brilliant fanned effect of two waves intersecting each other and throwing out this beautiful fan of water.    

"Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Drink of the Moment: July 4th Edition

In the spirit of the weekend, I thought I would share a nice summery beverage that should be enjoyed properly outside on a patio with a slight breeze (or a patio ceiling fan, or a child hired to fan you with a palm frond, etc) while socializing with a group of friends, or maybe just enjoying your own company in a state of calm.    It combines one of summertime's signature fruits - watermelon; with one of summertime's signature vegetables- cucumbers; AND it's a lovely reddish pink color to uphold the patriotic aspect of the weekend.

While it does require a little bit of prep work to be made 'properly', I found that I was able to do a little cheat that got me to the end result without one bit of embarrassment when served.  If I were hosting an exceptionally elegant luncheon with proper linen towels and the company silver then maybe I would put in the extra effort, but until then, I'd totally recommend my little cheat.

Watermelon Refresher

Light, flavorful and summer-y.                                 

2 oz. Square One Cucumber vodka
1 1/2 oz. watermelon juice*
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/4 oz. organic agave nectar (or to taste)
5 sprigs of mint

(Credit:  Allison Evanow)
Remove leaves from all but one sprig of mint, reserving that sprig for garnish. Place mint leaves and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker and muddle for 15 seconds. Add ice, vodka, watermelon juice and lemon juice and shake for 15 seconds. Strain the liquid into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a mint leaf.
* Watermelon juice - Take one cup cut watermelon and place in blender. Blend on high until pureed. Using a fine mesh strainer, strain mixture into a glass or bowl. Discard remaining solids from strainer. Will yield enough juice for 4 cocktails.

So, that is the proper way to make the drink, watermelon juice included, though if you're like me you realized that the drink might not ever be made if you had to strain watermelon.  Because I thought this sounded so good, and I happened to have watermelon that I didn't care to blend and then strain, I just chose to muddle the watermelon with the mint and agave in a separate step.  I found that this little shortcut worked out lovely for my current needs.