Just Married and Love Quotes

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BIG NEWS! I got married over the weekend (I have been engaged since November for those of you who did not know). It was fabulous, beyond my expectations, and I couldn’t be happier! I’ll be offline for the next week so please forgive me. I thought I would leave you with a few personal and favorite love quotes I which I truly believe!

1. True love does exist

2. Follow your dreams

3. Be smitten over your partner

4. There are such things as happy endings.

5. Soul mates do exist.

6. Find someone you go together with like peanut butter and jelly

7. Love is when you’re looking into someone’s eyes and see everything you need.

8. Love doesn’t make the world go around. It makes the ride worthwhile.

9. True love is when your heart and mind say the same thing

10. Believe in and follow your heart

11. Find someone who makes you laugh (i mean crack up)

12. Find someone who makes your cheeks hurt from smiling.




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DIY Chocolate Mask

Chocolate Mask

Looking to hydrate, reverse sun damage or simply firm and tone your skin? Try chocolate! Why? Chocolate is considered by many to be the ultimate aphrodisiac because it puts you in a good mood simply by just the scent alone.  Chocolate is a natural way to exfoliate with essential vitamins. This delicious ingredient also contains rich antioxidants that help to combat free radicals, which are responsible for our cell aging.  Elizabeth’s Secret Beauty Bar in Miami uses only natural ingredients to ensure this service gives the ultimate experience. Now you can try this DIY Chocolate Mask at home for yourself or on your significant other. Enjoy this recipe below!

6 Mothers Day Spa Getaways


With Mother’s Day around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of the most relaxing Mother’s Day spa getaways to indulge and treat herself to the ultimate spa treatments to celebrate her special day. From Mexico to Vermont, please find suggestions below.

1. Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa  San Diego, CA

This Mother’s Day, moms can get pampered at The Spa at Rancho Valencia with a unique spa treatment, The Sixth Sense Ritual, the resort’s signature body ritual beginning with a soothing bath soak to relax the body and mind, muscles and joints. A massage of mom’s choice follows including a Harmonizing Scalp Massage with organic Mediterranean Myrtle, Juniper, and organic Jojoba, Avocado and Olive Oils. The experience culminates with a hand and foot paraffin treatment, providing softer, more youthful skin.

In addition, Moms can also get pampered at Rancho Valencia with a special spa treatment offered throughout the month of May. The Spa at Rancho Valencia is offering a Essential Summer Prefix

Detoxifying back treatment facial (60 min), a Ladies bikini wax (30 min), and complete with Rancho Valencia’s signature Pedicure (60 min). As moms are getting ready for summer, this back treatment gives instant radiant-looking skin tone and finished with a soft hydrated foot treatment ready for sandal season.

2. Rancho La Puerta Tecate, MX

Rancho La Puerta is the original “fitness resort” and spa welcomes some 140 guests each week to its 3,000 private acres of gardens, mountains and meadows in Baja California, Mexico. All facilities and land are for the exclusive use of guests who come for an entire week, Saturday to Saturday, or partial-week stays of three or four nights. It’s a unique romantic escape for women and men offering over 80 fitness classes including TRX, yoga, pilates and advanced hiking trails as well as spa treatments and therapeutic sessions. In addition to fitness and spa experiences, the Ranch offers daily lectures and workshops to inspire guests. Each week the Ranch has visiting guest speakers, talented performers and workshop leaders—authors, politicians, musicians, artists, MDs and other leaders in their fields — to present afternoon learning experiences and evening lectures. This Mother’s Day, moms can relax and rejuvenate with Rancho La Puerta’s special Head-to-Toe Candle Oil Massage, which uses the warm, scented oil from a just extinguished massage-oil candle, then employs a gentle form of massage that involves long strokes from scalp to toes, administered with a deep, caring awareness of comfort. Soon, moms will unwind, de-stress, and feel warm and revitalized by improved blood circulation.  

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3. The MODERN Honolulu is a lifestyle hotel conveniently located at the edge of Waikiki where polished sophistication and laid-back luxury combine to create an ideal resort getaway for Mother’s Day. The 353-room urban resort is noted for its chic not overdone design, friendly service and unparalleled guest experiences near Hawaii’s most popular destination, Waikiki. The Modern Honolulu provides a relaxing island getaway for mom with a special spring spa treatment that will provide ultimate relaxation. The Spa at The Modern Honolulu is offering a unique Spring Retreat Package, which features a special 80 minute Enzymatic Facial and 50 minute rejuvenating massage package. This dynamic duo offers the best of both worlds and puts the mind and body in a renewed state for a new season ahead.

4. Topnotch Resort  Stowe, Vermont

Located in the charming village of Stowe, VT, Topnotch Resort, which boasts an award-winning 35,000 square foot spa with over 100 treatments is the perfect retreat for mothers who do it all! Mothers can fully relax and unwind at this peaceful and iconic New England resort. In celebration of Mother’s Day, Topnotch will be offering complimentary decleor hydrating eye treatments with all facials reserved on that Sunday and offering a complimentary keratase deep conditioning hair treatments at the end of all massage services scheduled.

5. Rancho Bernardo Inn  San Diego, CA

The award-winning Spa at Rancho Bernardo features an outdoor spa garden and patio area with treatment casitas in which guests can receive treatments outdoors. A saline Spa Pool is adjacent to the garden area and features seven cabanas for relaxation. In 2008, readers of Condé Nast Traveler voted it the best resort spa in North America. This Mother’s Day, guests can indulge in the bounty of spring with the seasonal “Citrus Cherry Bliss” Made Fresh Daily Treatment, which incorporates specially selected scents and ingredients that complement the seasons of the year. Each Made Fresh Daily experience includes a body wrap, scrub and massage as well as a food and beverage offering and a take home recipe to recreate the spa experience at home.

6. Laniwai, the Spa at Aulani  Ko Olina on Oahu, Hawaii 

Laniwai is a place where moms can experience wellness along with their family. One of the only true luxury, family wellness retreats, Laniwai offers spa, relaxation and spectacular Hawaiian experiences for ages newborn and up. The Hawaiian word laniwai (lah-nee-vai) means “freshwater heaven,” and the spa lives up to its name with more than 150 treatments, including the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden on the island of Oahu. With 18,000 square feet indoors and 5,000 square feet outdoors, the area includes a 2,000-square-foot Lift Fitness Cardiovascular Center, 15 treatment rooms and a full-service salon for hair, makeup and nail services.

Laniwai offers 15 treatment rooms including a couples room and a flex room for treatments for two-plus guests, including families. Treatments include body polish, vitality baths, massage, body treatments, facials, outdoor treatments. Signature therapies include Lomilomi massage incorporating lomilomi “pressure point” sticks and warm river stones; and Kilikili, including exfoliation and massage with coconut oil under streaming jets of warm waters.

Experiences that children can delight in include the ‘Ohana: Designed for 3 to 6 family members, this experience utilizes the healing touches of lomilomi (ages 5 and up) and The Makana: During this soothing therapy for parents and their infants (one-year-olds and under), one parent enjoys a treatment while the other learns the art of baby massage from a certified practitioner.

Moms and their and children will also enjoy the The Pulu Bar, which allows guests to create their own signature body polishes and scrubs by blending authentic Hawaiian fragrances, sugar cane sugar, sea salt and oils, like macadamia, kukui, and jojoba.Parents can relax in O’ahu’s only outdoor hydrotherapy garden – Kula Wai at Laniwai. Kula Wai features herbal pools, reflexology path, six rain showers, cold and hot whirlpools, as well as “Nature’s Soaks,” 25-minute vitality baths infused with flowers, fruits, herbs and oils. Let’s go!

Where is Pixie Tangerine Month

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This April, Ojai celebrates Pixie Tangerine Month with a host of happenings dedicated to the sweet and seedless tangerine that is unique to the Ojai Valley. Native to the Central California Coast, Pixie Tangerines have existed since the 1920’s and were originally bred out of a tangerine called the Kincy. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the Ojai Pixie Growers discovered that the temperate, Mediterranean climate of the Ojai Valley was the ideal place to grow these tiny tangerines. Amazing!

Today, there are over 25,000 Pixie trees in Ojai tended by more than 40 tangerine growers. The entire community has embraced the season and many of the restaurants, shops, hotels, and businesses are offering specials featuring this favorite fruit.

For the Active:

Enjoy a sightseeing adventure that celebrates Pixies with tours of the famous Ojai citrus groves with Cloud Climber Jeep Tours:

The Mob Shop is offering a special biking package including a tour of citrus groves throughout Ojai.

Take a Ojai Pixie Squeeze Cooking Class at Inn and learn how to incorporate Ojai Pixies into every course in a meal using simple recipes

For Culinary Enthusiasts:

Pixie flavored frozen yogurt available through April at Bliss Frozen Yogurt

A local favorite, Feast Bistro, will feature a warm feta, Pixie and kalamata olive spread, and a mozzarella flatbread with Ojai Pixies and caramelized onion throughout April

At the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa enjoy a three-course Pixie-inspired menu curated by Executive Chef Georg Paulussen available throughout March and April. Highlights include the Trilogy of Pixie desserts: grilled Pixie ice-cream; rice pudding spring rolls with Pixie and mango coulis; and tequila Pixie chocolate truffles

The Perfect Pixie Martini available at Maravilla throughout April

Pixie flavored ice cream available through April at Ojai Ice-Cream:

Zhena’s Tea is offering specialty formulated teas featuring Pixies will be offered through April

Where to Stay:

Lavender Inn will have Lavender Pixie muffins provided for guests every morning, and Pixie Tangerine mimosas available during Sunday brunch.

Relish in the exclusive Pixie seasonal scrub as a complimentary spa treatment at the Oaks at Ojai.

Friday Finds

Happy Friday! Here are a few of my favorite Friday finds that make me smile! Have a great weekend!

Spring Spa Hot list from my post at Huffington Post

Mason Jar Cocktail Kit and Bag via Pinterest

Coconut Creamsicle Margaritas from How Sweet It Is

Gorgeous Kitchen from Veranda House

Bring your instagram to life with Stickygrams


Home for the Holidays Show House by Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles

Tis the season for the Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse & Marketplace presented by Dovetail Homes. Beginning Friday, November 15, and running through Sunday, December 8, this designer showhouse, located at 58 Blackland Road NW in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood, will be transformed into a holiday oasis. With proceeds benefiting the Southeastern Horticultural Society, the newly constructed home will play host to tours, seasonally inspired workshops and a café and marketplace for guests to enjoy.

The Home for the Holidays’ designer home built by Dovetail Homes pays tribute to American colonial times while remaining true to the charm of the South. At approximately 7,000 square feet, the LEED-certified home is equipped with energy-efficient appliances and repurposed materials to ensure an environmentally friendly project. An acclaimed group of more than 16 local designers have been selected to put their lavish touches on each room of the house from the main living room and powder room to the custom library and lady’s retreat. In addition to tours of the elaborate home, this nearly month-long event will offer a truly interactive experience. Every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. there will be themed workshops inviting guests to listen, learn, craft, wrap and more as well as various specialty events. The full event schedule includes:

Saturday, November 23 It’s a Family Holiday

This weekend is devoted to celebrating the season with family. A children’s fashion show hosted by McCall Wilder Designs, storytelling sessions featuring local celebrity guests including Atlanta & Co.’s Christine Pullara and WSB-TV anchor Jovita Moore, a gift wrapping seminar for the adults hosted by Nicholas Kniel Fine Ribbons & Embellishments and a Stress-Free Yuletide Entertaining workshop by tastemaker Steve McKenzie are all slated for this family-friendly day.

Saturday, November 30Atlanta Style Now

The Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) plays host to this style-centric weekend complete with interactive seminars and workshops. Programming will include a keynote by celebrity designer, producer and blogger Brian Patrick Flynn, a panel discussion on hiring a design professional moderated by Hillary Mancini of Peace Designs and the Design Collective, and a group discussion with Home for the Holidays designers on how the worlds of interior design and fashion co-exist and collide.

Thursday, December 5 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – Sip ‘n Sign

Raise your glass of fine wine as we toast some of Atlanta’s finest authors while they sign copies of their latest books. Grab a copy for yourself and everyone on your holiday gift list. Chef-owner Anne Quatrano, The Peak of Chic’s Jennifer Boles, interiors photo stylist Annette Joseph, cookbook author Carolyn O’Neil, as well as design writers Kimberly Grigg, Elizabeth Dowling and Kathryn C. Greeley will be present. Tickets are $40 each and can be purchased at www.atlantaholidayhome.com.

Saturday, December 7 Kitchen Confidential

Home for the Holidays’ final weekend concludes on a gourmet note with chef demonstrations in the home’s outdoor kitchen garden. Guests are invited sample seasonal dishes presented and prepared by F&H Food Trading Group’s culinary director Bob McDonough, F&B’s chef Phillipe Haddad and chef Mimmo Alboumeh of Red Pepper Taqueria.

Showhouse Hours and Costs

Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse and Marketplace is open to the public for tours Friday, November 15, through Sunday, December 8, Thursdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday workshops are free and included with general admission. Advance tickets purchased before Thursday, November 14, are $20 per person, and $25 at the door or online after Thursday, November 14. Groups of 10 or more are $15 per person, and children 10 and under are free. Tickets for Moonlight & Mistletoe and Sip ‘n Sign must be purchased separately at www.atlantaholidayhome.com.

About the Southern Horticultural Society:

The Southeastern Horticultural Society (SHS) formed in 2008, growing out of the annual Southeastern Flower Show, a truly premier event. We connect children, teens and adults in Metro Atlanta and throughout the Southeast with nature and educate them about the environment, healthy living and sustainability. Realizing the powerful impact of working in partnerships, SHS teams up with locally based organizations to bring educational resources to develop the Wellness component in neighborhoods where people live. Overall, SHS provides a platform for communities to learn about, experience and sustain healthy environments.


7 Accessorizing Tips to Decorate Your Home

I am changing gears for this Friday. How about a little lifestyle and decorating? If you like to keep your home looking fresh, but don’t have the money or time to completely redecorate at the moment, you could get a new look just by updating your accessories. This will save you time, money and hassle, and it can achieve excellent results. Here are 7 accessorizing tips to decorate your home this summer.

1. Change with the seasons

It’s important that your interior design reflects what’s going on outside. Dark hues and lots of wood aren’t going to look particularly current if it’s the height of summer. Try changing your fabrics, ornaments and other objects with the seasons. This gives the home a fresh look.

2. Use the rug as a focal point

An area rug is a fantastic addition to any living or dining room as it creates the perfect starting point for your interior design. It’s worth investing in a good quality rug as it will last for many years. Use the colors in your rug to choose a color scheme for the room.

3Use pillows

Whether you call them pillows or cushions, they are the ideal accessory for any sofa or bed. They are a fantastic way to experiment with different colors and find unique combinations that make your room look extra special. Don’t be afraid to experiment with colors, sizes and textures.

 4Select your favorite items

Pick your favorite things in your home and make the most of those instead of using miscellaneous accessories that you don’t absolutely love.

5. Good things come in threes

A really great way to design your interior is to use multiple accessories. If there’s a particular piece that you love, use it three times in the same space. This will create a bold statement and make it look all the more impressive.

6. Use art to your advantage

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, so if you spot some art that you like, display it with pride.

7. Dress your tables

You might have a beautifully decorated dining room, but if you’re greeted by an empty dining table, it always makes it seem a little dull. Don’t be scared of dressing your dining table when it’s not in use. Bold, colorful napkins and accessories will ensure it’s a worthy focal point and make a world of difference to the overall look of the room.

If you’re looking for accessories to improve or enhance your home, visit bettaliving.co.uk for more fantastic ideas. Also, see my favorite home decor magazine Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine. Sign up for their weekly newsletter and enjoy the beset interior content you can find. Thank you Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles for allowing me to use this photo.

Thursday Thoughts: Words of Wisdom for 2013 Guest Post

Last week I read the most beautiful, wise and meaningful article that truly touched me. My friend, Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis, a mom of four girls  writes a monthly column in three Birmingham papers: Village Living, The Hoover Sun,and 280 Living. Her latest column, featured below, was inspired by the untimely deaths last year of two Birmingham moms, both taken by cancer. Kari wrote this piece for her children, and it’s her hope that other parents may be encouraged to leave their children a written legacy as well. I found so much inspiration for myself and my family, after personally coming off a mentally tough 2012 with the loss of my mother. I hope this touches your heart and life as much as it did mine. I am honored that Kari was willing to share her writing and guest post with me. See her blog and more information about her below. Thank you Kari!!

If I Die Young

When it comes to my mortality, my first fear is dying too young. My second fear is dying very old, being the last in my generation to go.

At times I can imagine myself as the great-great grandmother sitting in the corner of the room at Thanksgiving, the one everyone feels obliged to say “Hello” to but whose dementia and hearing loss make it hard to converse. I can imagine staring up into a sea of polite smiles, wondering what the awkward silences mean and wishing I had someone my age who understood me.

Given the choice, I’d rather not get to that point.

When my earthly life will expire is a mystery; it could 60 years or 60 days. Today I’m healthy, so it’s easy to be theoretical. But death can occur in a split-second. It can come in a car wreck, a medical emergency, a fluke event. And while I like to think I’ll have a chance to express parting thoughts, there’s no guarantee. The only guarantee is today.

Today I’m alive and able, and to me that’s reason enough to document life lessons I want my children to embrace after I pass. I’ll be honest: This is hard to think about, even for a writer. I can imagine how daunting the task sounds to a non-writer. However, I think every parent should have a written legacy. Even a letter or collection of stories, advice, or life-changing moments would prove priceless to our family should something happen.

With that said, I’ve compiled some words of wisdom for my children. By sharing them, I hope you’ll consider doing the same.

*Genuine interest in other people will attract you friends quickly.

*Nothing done out of love is a waste. Love’s the best gift you have to offer.

*You’ll spend half your life waiting—waiting for a test result, waiting for a relationship, waiting for a chance—but remember: What happens to you while you’re waiting is often more important than what you’re waiting for.

*The world is full of talent. It’s not a lack of ability holding most people back—it’s attitude.

*People will push you as far as you let them. Set parameters, and learn to say NO.

*Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s okay to be the only person in the room not doing something.

*Be grateful. This alone puts you ahead of the game.

*Character is who you are in the dark. It’s doing right when no one sees. Character enables self-love. Seek it.

*You will make mistakes. You will feel ashamed. You will know the sting of regret. Own your choices and accept your flawed nature, using the past to your advantage. When you learn from mistakes, you wind up in a better place.

*When misfortune strikes, see it as a chapter, not the story of your life. A storm in one chapter can create a rainbow in the next.

*Practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is about letting go and releasing anger. Not everyone who wrongs you will ask for forgiveness. Forgive them anyway, and move on.

*Don’t judge. We all need mercy.

*Be real, be authentic, be you. Wear your skin proudly.

*Stay away from toxic people, and don’t enable or justify bad behavior. People must hit rock-bottom alone. You can love someone without them being in your life.

*Find a job that pays the bills. If it’s not your heart’s desire, pursue that on the side. Not all passions immediately churn profits.

*Beware of white liars. Small liars become big liars.

*Trust your gut, and value your loved ones’ opinions. When they all tell you the same thing, it’s time to listen.

*Speak the truth, and deal with the consequences. Sweeping the truth under the rug aggravates it, creating explosions down the road.

*There’s no disgrace in falling down. The only disgrace is not getting up.

*Believe in goodness. Don’t let the bad seeds in your life ruin your hope in mankind.

*Stay close to your siblings. Your sibling relationships will be the longest relationships in your life, so nurture the ties. Should the world desert you, I hope your sisters are your last friends standing.

*Don’t keep score in love. Keeping score is exhausting and fosters competition.

*It’s better to be alone for the right reasons than with someone for the wrong. If a boy treats you poorly, or puts you on an emotional roller coaster, drop him. A relationship isn’t about you keeping a boy happy. It’s about two people seeking to make each other happy, being better together than apart. (Think of it as synergy, where 1 + 1 = 3.)

*Say what you mean. Don’t expect others to be mind-readers.

*When you’re upset, ask yourself if the issue will matter in one year…five years…twenty years. Chances are it won’t.

*Clean up your own mess. You earned the job.

*Keep God first. He loves you madly and has plans for your future. Problems begin when you drift away from God. A strong prayer life can keep you anchored.

This list is a starting point for me, something I hope to build on. What about you? Are you ready to start? As the saying goes, there’s no time like the present.


Kari Kubiszyn Kampakis has a background in PR, writing, and photography. Find her blog at www.karikampakis.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter

7 Health Benefits of Apples

Do apples make you skinny? That’s what I have heard from some time. Whether they do or not, apples are in abundance right now, and I love cooking and eating them. My daughter, Leigh, fractured her foot last week at dance (this is the 3rd fracture she has had in a year-ughhh). I told her yesterday, “Maybe you should start eating apples since they are good for bone health”, and it made me think of writing this post on the 7 Health Benefits of Eating Apples:

1. Apples make you feel full (or skinny?)-I heard that apples can make you skinny, but perhaps it’s the fiber in an apple that keeps you feeling full longer. There are about 95 calories in a medium-sized apple, and they take our bodies longer to digest since they are made with complex fiber. One component of an apple’s peel is something called ursolic acid, which was been linked to a lower risk of obesity in a recent study in mice. Also, applesauce is also a great healthy substitute for baked goods. Try substituting it for half of the butter and oil in many dessert pr baked recipes.

2. Apples can lower cholesterol- Apples are one of the top fruits with plenty of pectin, a soluble fiber that reduces cholesterol. Pectin prevents cholesterol from building up in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the risk of arteriosclerosis and heart disease.

3. Apples are a good memory booster- Apples have quercetin which may protect brain cells, help improve your memory and lower your chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

4. Apples help reduce blood sugar– The polyphenols in apples can influence the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and help achieve normal glucose levels.

5. Apples have anti cancer benefits- Studies have showed that apples can also help protect against colon cancer from a chemical in apples. Another in 2007 also found additional compounds, called triterpenoids, which seem to fight against liver, colon, and breast cancers.

6. Apples can protect bones-Apples contain phloridzin that is said to increase bone density and boron that strengthens bones.

 7. Apples can help reduce and prevent Asthma– Studies link a higher intake of vitamin C with improved asthma. Another study, discovered adults and children who consumed apples or apple juice every day also reduced their risk of asthmatic attacks.
Also studies show that women who eat plenty of apples are less likely to have children with asthma.

Fitness Friday: Juicing & Exercise and Beet-Carrot Juice Recipe

Whether you’re training for your first first 5K race or your first marathon, add juicing to your diet. Juicing has shown to provide significant health benefits and nutrition from antioxidants, enzymes and photo nutrients. All of these are terrific for athletes of all levels and ages. Try this Beet-Carrot Juice for a start. It’s so easy, fresh and tasty.

  • Antioxidants-These protect the body from cellular damage. Juiced fruits and vegetables provide antioxidants that can improve strength and stamina.
  • Enzymes-Thes are present in a variety of raw fruits and vegetables. Juicing retains enzymes that help climate toxins from the body for a cleaner fueled body.
  • Phyontutrients-These can be obtained from fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes. These help boost your immune system.

If you’re looking for a juicer, check out Omega Juicers. They have developed the most efficient and reliable juicers available, and they are frequently being used by pro athletes during training and competitions.