Why Beautycounter

These are just a few ingredients you won’t find in our products


I’ve been signed up as a Beautycounter consultant for a couple months now and I’ve been a little hesitant, ok a lot, to tell you. Another person you know is selling something. But, I’ve decided I’m going to make myself do this. Why did I end up with Beautycounter? My husband is celiac and has hypothyroidism, he’s been gluten free since before it was cool. Because of that I’ve spent a lot of time researching his conditions and looking for recipes. The last few years I kept seeing Beautycounter at different blog sites, but since I was there for the recipes I ignored it. But recently I’ve gotten really fed up with my acne, seriously I’m almost 40. I’ve had it since I was my daughters age and I’ve tried everything from prescriptions to kitchen concoctions and I don’t want Colette to have to go through this too. I don’t want her covering herself in dangerous chemicals and wasting time on things that don’t work. I don’t mind a little experimenting on myself but I don’t want her exposed to anything that could be harmful. So in my never ending search for healthy recipes and clear skin I started paying attention to the Beautycounter stuff. I finally took the plunge and got the charcoal bar and mask. It seems like everyone is talking about charcoal and the Beautycounter products had great reviews so I went for it and was hooked. Now I’m slowly adding more products as I run out of things and switching to safer options.

Beautycounter wants to change the beauty industry and get safer products into the hands of everyone. Did you know the European Union has banned over 1,400 chemicals and the US only 30. Beautycounter has a Never List of more then 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that will never go into the products. If you’d like to learn a little more this short video is a great place to start.

I hope you’re interested and will take a look at what Beautycounter offers. We have products for everyone from kids to those looking for anti aging. You can visit my link here or ask me about it sometime. I also have a Facebook page where I’ll be posting about offers and other information, but of course you’ll hear about somethings here too.
So anyway, I’m trying this out, I hope you’ll try it too.

Summer’s Over

I’ve been away from my little blog for awhile, ok a long time, but I’m ready to start telling you what’s going on with my family again. We’ve been super busy and enjoying summer so I thought I’d recap what we did.

We’d been at the theater for awhile.

Colette finished 4th grade with great grades, lots of awards and a wonderful job at recital. She had a really good year.

Really good hamburgers in San Juan Bautista

The Monarch Cove Inn is really nice

We love Shadowbrook and even took their vintage taxi there

We went to Capitola for vacation and had a really nice relaxing trip. Usually our trips are pretty structured but we just relaxed and Colette slept a lot, we all did. Colette also found a love for Pizza My Heart and they have gluten free pizza now so we could all enjoy it. She would have eaten there every day.

Colette found filters on my Instagram

We found a great place that has gluten free cones

Colette loves seafood & Jeran loves the portrait option on his iphone

After a few days in Capitola we went over to Monterey and relaxed some more. We went to the aquarium and ate more ice cream, we ate way too much ice cream on this trip. But it was nice to take it slow and just spend time together.

Kool-Aid died hair

We’ve celebrate a bunch of family birthdays and did crazy things like dye my daughters hair red. She’s been wanting to do this for a couple years and I finally gave in since she really needed a hair cut anyway.

Rockets at VBS

Even on vacation Jeran worked on his dissertation

We had VBS and dance intensive the same week, and then more dance the next week too. But the week of VBS was crazy. Jeran was at Google for a mapping training and then he came home for a day and then headed to LA to defend his dissertation. We survived though and Jeran was almost done with his paper.

My crock pot died so I upgraded

One day my crock pot just decided to not turn on, it was dead. So, during Prime Day I got an Instant Pot. I’ve only made 1 thing so far but it was pretty good and I’m sure with this busy school year coming it’ll get a lot of use.

Waiting for Superior Dairy to open

We made a family trip to Hanford to eat ice cream. Last year when we tried to go it was so busy we gave up. This year we went super early and the kids played outside while we waited.

17th Anniversary

My little wizard at Universal

My parents wanted to take Colette to Universal since she likes the Harry Potter series now. They had a great time and spoiled her a lot. This girl is so lucky she got chose by the Dragon Heart and got to pick her wand out at Olivander’s. I think I’ll ask Colette if she’d write a post about the trip. While they were in LA we went up to Napa to celebrate our anniversary. We had a great time and really enjoyed our tour at Schramsberg winery.

1st day of 5th grade

School started today and I’m sad to get back to the schedule. I like the lazy summer days with nowhere to rush. But I know this will be an exciting year. Jeran’s almost done with his dissertation, it needs to get published, and then he’ll be Dr. Ott. Colette has a lot of dance and we’ll be off to celebrate my nephews first trip to Disneyland soon. We’re having some Disney withdrawls, last year we had a pass and went 22 days. It was a little crazy and we stayed away for the summer but I have a feeling it’ll be a Disney year again, we just can’t stay way too long. I don’t think we’ll go that many times again. So that’s what we did this summer. I hope you had a great one too.

Velocity Convention


A little while ago a few of the younger dance teams at our studio were invited to come along with the big girls to a dance convention. Usually the younger girls stay local for competitions, but this was different. The Elite teams were going to compete but the younger girls were just going along for the experience and the convention. This would be 2 days of dancing. Colette was lucky, she would be in an age bracket that only danced half day. It was a good introduction to the experience, but still 4 straight hours of dancing is a lot, I wanted to make sure she really wanted to do this.  Needless to say she was ecstatic to be invited and insisted we go. We booked our room at the Anaheim Hilton and started researching dance conventions. I found there isn’t a lot of information out there about dance conventions so here’s what I learned this first time around.

  1. Book your room at the convention site. We did this just because we weren’t sure what to expect but this really is the best.  You can get to the early call times easy and also get your tired dancer back to the room fast when the day is done. Our team didn’t compete but for the ones that did it’s a really long day with classes in the morning and competition in the evening. It’s just easier to be close to your room, and dance supplies.
  2. Dress for success. I got Colette a couple new outfits, she needed them anyway since she’s grown since the beginning of the school year. I let her pick out something that made her feel confident. And she rocked her black and hot pink outfits all weekend.
  3. Be consistent. Everything I did find online about conventions mentioned keeping a similar look the whole time. This way the teachers remember you. So Colette had a color scheme and a hairdo that was always the same. She had double dutch braids that kept her hair out of her face but also was different. Most girls didn’t wear braids so she stood out a little more.
  4. Be comfortable. Wear something you can sit on the floor in. Since Colette was in the mini sessions, most moms stick around and watch, and there are not enough chairs in the room. Just camp out on the floor, you’ll probably get a better spot this way too.
  5. Bring snacks. Your dancer will be hungry and only get minutes between sessions. So, bring drinks and easy things to munch.
  6. Pack a picnic. Another thing I learned before hand was lunch at conventions are a nightmare. They don’t get a lot of time and the options are not the best. We could have done without this since Colette’s classes only went to noon the first day at 1 pm the second but I think the picnic was the best idea I had. My husband is gluten intolerant and Colette should stay away from dairy so I packed 2 picnics. The first day we had a Mediterranean chicken picnic with a rotisserie chicken, hummus, olives, tomatoes and pita chips or gluten free matzo. The second day we did a charcuterie platter with cured meats, olives, pickles and gluten free baguettes. It was really simple and it didn’t require much refrigeration, we did have a fridge at the hotel otherwise this would have been hard to do. It was also nice to know what we were going to eat. All we had to do was find a space for our lunch. No arguing over where to eat and no waiting,which was great because Colette was starving.
  7. Have Fun! Since Colette had half days we got to spend some time across the street at Disney and got Annual Passes since we’ll be in Anaheim a few times this year. You’ll probably see a lot more Disney posts because of the AP. We also hung out at Downtown Disney with Colette’s best dance friend, eating junk food and buying tsum tsums.

It was an adventure and we all enjoyed it so I’m sure we’ll be doing it again next year.

What Did We Get in the Veggie Box?

I’ve been away from the blog for awhile. I wanted to post about our fun summer trips but they came and went and I never got around to it. So, I’m moving on and telling you about something we’re doing right now that has been more fun than I expected. Recently we joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group and get veggies once a week. My parents have been using the CSA for awhile. When my daughter was in preschool she loved it when Grandpa would go pick up the veggie box. She couldn’t wait to see what was inside. We eat pretty clean at our house, eating out is a different story, and buying all the veggies was getting expensive. So, we switched to the CSA, we pay about $16 a week and get what we get, so far, not too many fits. Colette seems to like the excitement of the veggie box, more than the veggies, but she tries them.


Our first CSA box

I thought the food planning would be more stressful than it is but really it’s been fun. I get the list of what vegetables are expected to be in the box a week ahead, then I look around for ways to use them up. We’ve even tried some things we’ve never had before like ratatouille. My husband doesn’t like eggplant, but I thought I could get everyone to eat it, because it used up a lot of the fall veggies. Colette’s seen the Disney movie, so maybe she’d go for it. It was not a hit with my daughter, she pretty much just ate the pasta we had with it. Jeran did like it though, it’s always good to try new things. I’ve even tried my hand at changing a recipe. I usually stick to a recipe and don’t change it at all, I’m just not comfortable enough in the kitchen, but I got it in my head that I could convert a regular pumpkin persimmon bread into one made out of coconut flour and it worked! I used the pumpkin puree my mom made from Jeran’s Halloween pumpkin that broke in half before he could carve it. It was sad, but it made 5 cups of puree. My experiment worked and it made a really yummy breakfast bread that was gluten free. The other day we got way more zucchini than expected so we made zucchini bread, gluten free of course, but with a regular gluten free flour mix this time.

Besides being fun trying things out it’s saved me a lot of time grocery shopping. Now all I have to get is protein, any staples and possibly other side items, but we’re pretty low carb at our house since Jeran’s gluten free and the rice and gluten free pastas are only a couple times a week. If you’re interested in trying out a CSA, go for it! You can check out our local one here. And see my Fall CSA pinterest board for what I’ve been making so far.

Italian Road Trip

Our road trip snacks are the same everywhere

Our road trip snacks are the same everywhere

Recap of our Mediterranean Cruise & Trip to Switzerland Day 10

It was time to leave the cruise ship and head off on our road trip to Switzerland. I was the most nervous about this part. On the ship everyone speaks English, they make sure you get everywhere and Jeran could eat safely every meal with no worries about gluten. Now we were headed on a real adventure. We carried our bags off the ship and headed out into the rain to find the Hertz office to pick up our rental car. It was quite a trek from the cruise terminal to the monorail we needed to take to get to the rental office. While we were getting monorail passes we ran into our Scottish friends again. The girls were so excited to sit together on the train. It was great we ran into them too because we ended up using their phone to figure out where we needed to go. For some reason we couldn’t get Google maps to work but it was fine on their phones. The girls said good bye again and we were off… to wait in line again. A lot of Americans were waiting at Hertz to get their rentals and head off on an adventure. I was sure we were going to end up with the smallest car imaginable, soon a van pulls up and we’re told to go out to it, it couldn’t be our car, it’s way too big. No, we were being taxied to the mainland location where other cars were parked. So we headed off to the parking garage and when we get there we are given a beautiful Mercedes station wagon. Apparently it had come from Switzerland and we were lucky enough to be returning it. In all of our vacations I always expect the worst, Mr. Bean car, but sometimes we’re lucky, and end up with the Mercedes. Thankfully we figured out how to change the nav to English. I think we would have been really lost without it. We were off. We drove through Italy and had a lot of toll roads. I knew we would have a couple but there were a lot, I think we spent 10 euros on tolls. So if you ever drive in Italy make sure you’re ready for toll stops. Soon we stopped at an AutoGrill bought a few presents and road food and then kept going.

Colette was so excited to get a Happy Meal

Colette was so excited to get a Happy Meal

We decided to stop for lunch in Lake Como. It was a little bit of a detour but we needed to get out. We stopped to look at the lake, we couldn’t explore too much we needed to keep going, then found a mall and had McDonald’s. Colette was so happy with her Italian Happy Meal. Jeran got a salad, since it’s the safest option for him there and they gave him olive oil and pepper for his dressing. The little olive oil bottle was so cute. Soon we were back on the wet road and leaving Italy. The drive was beautiful, once off the freeways. I think one of the things Colette will never forget is all the tunnels. Switzerland has tons of tunnels and they are really long. There was a lot of work on the tunnels we were using but there was also a lot of signs to let you know what was coming up. If we ever drive in Italy or Switzerland again I’d study the road signs before we go. We weren’t always sure what the signs meant, but with the nav and Jeran’s great driving everything went well. We were getting close to Interlaken and had to take a mountain pass to get there. I wasn’t sure how we’d do with this part of the trip. Colette gets car sick and I don’t care for heights. It all went fine and we were enjoying the curvy ride, but just as the road was straightening out, Colette got sick. All I can say is always have ziplocks ready. She was worried we’d be on winding roads again but that was it and we were almost to our hotel.


Can you find us on our balcony?

Can you find us on our balcony?

We stayed at the Royal St. George. This hotel is beautiful and one of the best parts, BBC. Colette was so happy she could understand the shows, even though I think she really liked watching the French and Italian game shows when we were in Venice. After we explored the room, Colette and I love hotels, we checked everything out, then went out for dinner. Switzerland is expensive, and eating there is a big part of it, but everywhere we ate was really good.

Yummy pizza & risotto

Yummy pizza & risotto

We chose Da Rafmi for the first meal there. Colette wanted pizza, so we saved the Swiss food for another night and had a really nice meal. The manager was great and came to talk to Jeran about what he could eat. We showed him the gluten free cards I had printed off and they made him a risotto that was really yummy, and gluten free. Colette and I shared a pizza and then we headed back to our room to wind down, and watch some BBC.

It had been a really great day. Everything had gone much better than I expected. We were ready to explore more tomorrow.

A Day in Venice

Lunch at Al Nono

Lunch at Al Nono

Our Mediterranean Cruise recap part 2

We had a whole day in Venice to explore. We got up and headed to the hotels complimentary breakfast. Colette enjoyed every breakfast on our trip. The hotels we stayed at in Venice and later Switzerland had wonderful breakfast options.

Breakfast at Hotel Rialto

Breakfast at Hotel Rialto

Colette enjoyed trying a lot different things, the hot chocolate they would bring her, and eating bacon, and I found I really like Italian coffee for breakfast. They bring nice coffee and then a pitcher of warm milk. So yummy. Our cruise even had warm milk in the buffet every morning and I don’t remember this on our first Disney cruise to Mexico. We sat outside and watched people exit the vaporettos and head off to work, and enjoyed the quiet of the Rialto Bridge before all the tourists showed up.

Walking to St. Marks

Walking to St. Marks

As soon as we finished breakfast we headed to St. Mark’s square. I had read Rick Steve’s guide book on Venice and he said to get to St. Mark’s early. So, that was our plan. He was right, as we walked the alley ways to the square we got to see all the shops opening and it was peaceful, not full of people like you hear so much. When we got to St. Mark’s there was hardly anyone there. We looked around and took pictures, it was beautiful. Soon we headed toward the basilica.

St. Mark's Square before the crowds

St. Mark’s Square before the crowds

There was a line but it wasn’t bad, since the church hadn’t even opened yet. We must have looked like we knew what we were doing because a couple asked us if we spoke English and if they were in the right line. We were, and the line soon started to move. Since it’s free to tour the basilica most people seem to just do the main church but everyone moves together like sardines. It was pretty cramped. We did the treasurery tour. It’s just 2 rooms. 1 room has candlesticks, vases, incense boxes and other beautifully made items. The other room has relics, a lot. My daughter thought this was pretty weird, but still interesting. This little tour was not really necessary, and there is a fee. I would say skip it if I did it again, but it is a nice way to support the church. Next we did the tour of the altar. This part most people seemed to skip. There is a fee, but it’s nice to get a closer look, and it’s a great chance to get out of the crowd. Then back into the crowd and we headed to the museum. The museum is on the 2nd floor and you need to take some pretty steep steps. It has a lot of beautiful tapestries, mosaics and the bronze horses. The balcony has some great picture spots. After a stop at the gift shop we were off to explore the city. The basilica was the only thing we had planned that day. I didn’t want to wear us out and bore Colette with museum tours. I was glad that was all we had planned because wandering Venice is fun on its own.

We started to head towards a restaurant that I saw in the Rick Steve’s guide book, Al Nono. We were the only ones there at first, so they sat us on the patio (it’s a beautiful patio and very Italian) so you could see us as you walked by. While we were there the patio filled up nicely with a lot of other vacationing small families. The staff doesn’t speak as much English as other places we’d been to already. I was a little worried since Jeran’s gluten free but I printed out these dining cards in Italian and they really helped. They had gluten free pasta so Jeran had spaghetti and Colette and I shared a Marguerite pizza. This was also the first place Colette had Coke. We don’t usually let her have soda, but since it was vacation and Coke is usually safe when you’re out of the country, we let her try it. She loves Coke now! She tried it everywhere we went on this trip and would tell us if it tasted different. Italy, Greece, Turkey, Switzerland, they all taste a little different. Greece ended up being her favorite with ice and a lemon. I personally liked Turkish Coke better, it was sweeter.

Gondola ride before dinner

Gondola ride before dinner

After lunch we wandered around looking at masks and glass. Colette decided she really needed a mask, we eventually found one but as we looked Colette had a desperate need for the bathroom. Finding a toilet was hard so we ended up going back to out hotel. We needed a break anyway. My feet were really tired from all the cobble streets and bridges. We rested for awhile and Colette watched Italian game shows while we tried to decide where to go for dinner. We had read another blog that told of a good gluten free pizza spot. We headed for it but could never find it. We did find a cute kitchen store. The clerk directed us to an area of town, where most tourists don’t go, to find some nice restaurants. As we were headed there another search for the toilet commenced. We finally found the public toilets and the line was so long we just went back to the McDonald’s we saw and bought a drink so we could use the toilet. The regular drink was 2 euros. We didn’t get any food but a small hamburger would have been $8.

dinner 3

There’s a lot of graffiti everywhere

Dinner switch

Dinner switch

dinner 2

We wandered towards the restaurants we had been told about. We found Restaurant Diana. It’s right on a small canal. Most of the seating is canal side but they did have a small inside space. As we looked over the menu they gave us the house spritz it was ok but the food was really good. Jeran had sea bass, I ordered gnocchi knowing Colette would probably switch with me and Colette had pasta with clams. My gnocchi were delicious and I kept trying to get Colette to try it, she didn’t look totally happy with the clams. Once she did, we switched. The clams were so good. I was glad we swapped. When we were finished they brought us limoncello, Jeran was so excited.

Yum gelato

Yum gelato

Then we headed back to our room. On the way we stopped for gelato, we’d already had some earlier in the day but we didn’t want to leave Italy without one more taste. We got Colette’s favorite stracciatella and headed up to the hotels roof to see Venice glow at night. It was a wonderful day of exploring and I’d love to do it all again.

The rooftop patio at our hotel

The rooftop patio at our hotel

Flying to Venice

off we go

Our Mediterranean Cruise Recap Part 1

We’re back from our trip and I think I’m finally over the jet lag. This was my first trip overseas and it was wonderful. The weather was great, our rental car was surprisingly large and no one got sick. We had a really nice time. So today starts my look back on our trip.

We started with a short trip on United to Denver. We got there early and looked around. It was Colette’s first flight ever so everything was exciting, she couldn’t wait to get on the plane. I was worried how she’d like flying, just a few days before she told me she thought the airplane might fall out of the sky. She had apparently forgotten her worries and was ready to go. Since we had some time we stopped at the Starbucks after security and tried to relax. We didn’t stay there long, Colette couldn’t wait to get to our gate. We ended up waiting a long time since the plane was really late. We finally made it on and Colette started checking everything out. She loved the magazines, tray table, window shade and re-positioning them all kept her busy most of the flight. Her Nobi kept her occupied the rest of the time. She loved everything about flying. I was so glad because we had a really long flight coming up. I wasn’t sure how I’d do, I’ve only ever been on short trips.

waiting insta

We made it to Denver and stayed out of the way of the worried passengers. There were a lot of people on our flight that had 15 minutes or less to get to their connection. We still had a couple hours so we checked out the airport, got a cookie and waited to board. We took Lufthansa to Frankfurt. Jeran, my husband, and I have decided Lufthansa is great! We would fly them anywhere. Lufthansa is like the Ikea of plane travel, and I love Ikea. Their color scheme is the same, they really cater to children and we felt relaxed and comfortable the whole time. If  you fly Lufthansa with children take advantage of the early boarding. We didn’t have to stand in the mass of people pressing towards the front of the line. We entered the plane with other families and started checking out the tv. Colette was so excited she had her own tv. She went through all the options, put on her headphones and had a “Good Luck Charlie” playing before everyone else funneled in. I had some activities planned to keep us busy but Colette enjoyed the shows so much we never got to them.

One of the things I was curious about before our trip was how many meals we would be served. There had to be some kind of time table. Did they go off of the time of the location you just left, or the place you were headed to? I could never find my answer. They gave us drinks and a pretzel snack mix as soon as the seat belt sign went off. Colette wasn’t a fan, I thought it was OK. Jeran got the gluten free snack which were tangy chips, he was happy. Not much after that it was time for dinner. Colette and I both had pasta, there were too many obvious veggies in the sauce for her. I made her stop watching the screen for dinner so she ate what she wanted and then got back to her shows. I decided then that if there were choices for the meals we’d get one of each and then Colette could pick which one she liked, this would be the beginning of many switched plates between the 2 of us. Jeran got his gluten free meal, which I can’t remember, and was very satisfied. He was so worried he wouldn’t be able to eat anything but he was really happy. After the dinner service they came around with coffee and tea. Even though we were all packed in the plane the dinner time was really relaxing.

yeah food

Soon they shut the lights off on us and expected us to sleep. I tried, I even chose my travel outfit based on looking nice but feeling a lot like pajamas. My cute eye mask didn’t even help. It just seemed to be in the way because I had to keep taking it off to talk to Colette, until she finally feel asleep. Before I knew it, it was time to eat again. We had eggs in tomato sauce with potatoes. I liked it but Colette did not. Jeran again had a separate gluten free option. Before we knew it we landed in Frankfurt. The Frankfurt airport was hot and we really didn’t explore it much. Soon we were on a smaller Lufthansa flight to Venice. The attendants handed out these cute activity books to the kids that taught knots. Then it was time to landed and figure out where to get vaporetto (water bus) tickets.

Once you find your luggage at the Marco Polo airport then you go through a mess of people, water taxi drivers holding signs with names of people that have already set up a driver, taxi drivers who want to drive you to the vaporetto stop, friends and family looking for their loved ones, it’s a little crazy. We found our way to the vaporetto ticket both. We decided this would be the best/cheapest way to get to our hotel. It was not the best way. You have to walk quite a way to the stop, it was a long hot walk and we were getting pretty tired. We made it though and got on what we thought was the boat going to the Rialto. It was really just a floating bus stop. People would get off a boat and walk through there and then when our boat finally came we didn’t know we needed to push our way through, so we missed that one and had to wait 20 minutes. The next time though we were ready and made it on, it took a little shoving but that seems to be the norm with the vaporettos. That’s probably why you hear about people getting their pockets picked so much, it’s too easy at these locations. We made it though and we were almost to our hotel.

vaporetto exhaustion

It had been a long trip and Colette passed out in the boat. Too soon we had to wake her up and drag our luggage to the Rialto Hotel. Thank goodness it wasn’t far. This hotel was a good hub for us. The water taxis pick up right in front and you can always find your way back to the Rialto Bridge.

Our hotel was a sight for tired eyes. Jeran checked us in and the desk clerk started to hand the bellman a key, then laughed and gave him a different one. That made me a little worried. The bellman got us in the elevator for 1 floor then told us, it’s a lot of stairs. It was 59 stairs up. He took care of our bags and we dragged ourselves up. At that point I wasn’t sure about this but our room (316) was really nice. We had 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and air conditioning. Colette was so excited she had her own suite. It didn’t have a great view, but we didn’t pay for that. We did have a view of the roof, and a funny set of stairs that helped you see out towards St. Mark’s Square. Soon we cleaned up and went back down all those stairs to find something to eat.

Little Stairs

We wandered around, checked out the Disney Store and then picked a restaurant close to the hotel. Al Teatro Goldoni was not great in anyway. They did have gluten free spaghetti carbonara though so Jeran was happy. I had ham, peas & cream sauce pasta, Colette had lasagna. We ended up switching and both of us were happier. Then we headed back to our hotel, stopped by the little gelato shop outside for our 1st gelato of the trip, it would be 1 of many, and then back up all the steps to our room. It was a long day(s) of traveling but a good start to a really wonderful trip.