Thursday, July 12, 2018

San Diego Rainbow Bachelorette


I had not one, but TWO bachelorette parties. 

To some this may seem overindulgent. But with multiple babes in multiple cities, this was the perfect way to celebrate with all my best girls! 

My San Diego bachelorette was nothing short of amazing. We kicked off the day with a boozey brunch at Kindred, a scrumptious vegan eatery known for their heavy metal playlist and black cat decor (contrasted with gorgeous white marble and pink wallpaper). 





Did I have aesthetic in mind when I selected this San Diego gem? Absolutely.

Luckily the food was equally perfect. I devoured gluten free pancakes with caramelized banana, bourbon butterscotch, whipped coconut cream, walnuts, and syrup. They were ISNANE.

If you aren't sure about vegan food I super duper recommend to give this spot a try if you're ever in San Diego. (years ago the word vegan made me roll my eyes, I had so many judgements and assumptions about the word. Now I'm down for a vegan meal most days of the week and enjoy all the health benefits!). 

Amidst the pancake orders and brightly colored mimosas the girls in attendance took turns asking me all kinds of questions my bachelorette party planner dreamt up (THANK YOU ALISON). They ranged from what I'm most excited about for marriage to...more risqué questions LOL.






After our sunlit boozey brunch we started our bar hopping spree around San Diego. It was so fun sipping rosé in the daylight, surrounded by my favorite women. 

The highlight? Sipping a GIANT pink alcoholic something at a divey, pastel beachside cafe in Pacific Beach. I chased my sugar-overdose with steak tacos. YUM. 

As a fun spin on the traditional bachelorette attire, I wore a technicolor dream ensemble from Show Me Your Mumu and had the girls wear all white :) 

I'm feeling so grateful for these ladies in my life, some passionate entrepreneurs, others directors at large companies, and all equally amazing, supportive people during my journey to say "I Do." 








The countdown is on to the big day! I THINK we are at about 100 days to go, but I'm honestly not keeping track (just want it to get here!). More wedding fun to come! Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!

xo


Hair by Shawn Knudsen

Makeup by Kelsey Long

Outfit by Show Me Your Mumu 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Australia Travel Recap


I'm back from two weeks spent down under! My oh my is the jet lag struggle REAL.

My dad says that for every hour difference in time zones, one day is needed for full recovery. Do you believe that? That means Chris and I need like 18 days to recover from this trip LOL.

Life certainly isn't waiting around for us to get our sleepy heads back in the swing of things :) 

But back to, AU. 

IT WAS AWESOME. 

Australia is such an amazing place, unique in the country's sense of mateship and camaraderie, and literally crawling with wildlife.

Australia has the friendliest people and the deadliest animals.

Almost everything can kill you! It's actually a running joke for the country as a whole. 

Our first stop was Brisbane, the 3rd largest city in AU, and sort of a smaller cousin to Sydney and Melbourne. 

A free museum was not far from our hotel, where an array of Australian taxidermy is on display (rather creepily), including everything from wallabies to giant furry spiders.   

Perhaps more notable to Chris and I were the food options. We enjoyed a sushi train restaurant where the sushi winds its way on an automated conveyer belt, slipping just under your nose as if to say "pick me! pick me!".

And that's just it, you pick what you'd like from the little choo-choo parade of sushi plates that goes around. I was grinning from ear to ear the entire time. 

Additionally we came across a magical dessert bar with steaming, decadent hot chocolates, lavish cakes, and CHURROS for dipping or a churro ice cream bowl in which your bowl is literally made out of cinommeny churro heaven (which I opted for with much zeal). 

Our next stop was Cairns, AU, a 3-hour plane ride north of Brisbane. The city borders a tropical wilderness that expands past civilization to the very northern most point of Australia.


It's rumored that aboriginal tribes still linger in these forests, completely cut-off from the modern world, and the smoke from their wood-burning fires sometimes visible above the tree line.

If you're looking for adventure (and those deadly animals AU is so well known for) Cairns (pronounced CANS by the locals), is your place!

There's everything from skydiving and aerial trams over the rainforest to snorkeling the great barrier reef. Oh, and crocodiles and Box jellyfish in the water. No really, there are saltwater crocodiles at the beaches and you are advised not to enter the water in certain areas.


Chris and I opted for the aerial gondola ride and floated our way over the misty forests to Kuranda village, an extremely old settlement that is mostly just a tourist town now. 

We held a stinky koala for far too much money and headed back to Cairns via the Kuranda railway, which sort of felt like a tropical Hogwarts Express, minus the nice witch selling cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs.


The city of Cairns showered us with several light rains during our stay, even though it was technically their dry season. Lizards and jumping spiders (the terror those jumping spiders brought me) littered the walkways and there was one particular tree in town that housed a group of bats, which could be heard making whatever sound bats make whenever you were close to the tree. 

We enjoyed some amazing meals in Cairns and I was thrilled to learn that AU in general is very on top of their health food game. Everything was so so fresh and dairy alternative/gluten free options were abundant. 

My go-to order on most mornings was a fabulous charcoal lemonade from Little Loco Cafe

Myself and the other girls from the Tony Robbins Creative team noshed at this adorable eatery several times during the event we were working (did I mention the entire reason I came to AU was for my job at Tony Robbins? JOB GOALS) :) 

After my work was done, Chris and I took a speed boat out to Hastings reef. Finding Nemo is actually a very accurate portrayal of what reef life is like. 

After jumping into the ocean, rather nervously, I adjusted my snorkel goggles and dipped my head into the water, quite unsure of what I would see. There looming ahead was a vast gohstly mountain sprouting out of the depths.

Our little tour group paddled over, rubber flippers kicking wildly (Chris got kicked in the face several times), until we came upon the reef. I was shocked by how CLOSE everything was. If I wanted to reach down and grab one of the colorful fish cruising by, I could!



The coral was like nothing I've ever seen. 

At one point, we came upon a female sea turtle munching away at the bottom of the reef. She eventually came up for air and it was such a joyous moment just to be close to her.



A little while later our tour guide excitedly proclaimed that there was a shark. Chris and I immediately shot each other astonished glances through our goggles. A shark? F. 

It was a white tipped reef shark cruising the coral highway below and he or she paid us absolutely no mind. "They're highly misunderstood" our instructor informed us as the shark swam away. 

At one point, the instructor became so excited talking about coral photosynthesis in her thick french accent, that she didn't realize the tide had dropped and our group ended up ON TOP of the coral. 

Chris and I both cut ourselves and upon clambering back aboard the boat at the end of our snorkel session, blood was lightly spilling from my right ankle.

YOLO.

Chris was VERY concerned with the cut on his hand, which neither myself or the instructor could actually see ;)  

Despite our coral wounds, the two of us enjoyed a magical speed boat ride back to Cairns as the sun began to set.

It was actually magical.


You might notice our travel itinerary lacked some of the more iconic destinations like Sydney or the Gold Coast. I by no means felt slighted by the areas we did visit!

Our trip to Australia was centered around the two Tony Robbins events I had the honor of working and it was amazing to visit both Brisbane and Cairns, two cities that could have perhaps otherwise been overlooked on a purely pleasure trip to AU.

The recovery mode is real back here in sunny San Diego. I'm sniffling and coughing as I type this closing sentence, but my heart is full from the adventures I shared down under!

Have you visited, AU? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Friday, April 27, 2018

Scottsdale Bachelorette Weekend Recap


Finallllyyy, my bachelorette weekend recap!

Here I am, still slightly dehydrated, and full to the brim with love from three days spent laughing, dancing, hiking, and of course, sipping some major libations with my very best girls in sunny Scottsdale, AZ.

I have to give Scottsdale major props as a bachelorette destination. While it may seem like an unlikely host city for something as iconic as a bachelorette party (with places like Vegas and Mexico as common favorites) it has some serious merit.

Scottsdale has all the charm of Palm Springs, but with a more buzzing nightlife and tons of options for activities!

The weather was absolutely perfect. If we had traveled to this desert hotspot any later than April, I think the weather would have bordered on being too toasty for comfort. Arizona is literally sizzling in the summer (100+ degrees, melt-your-face-off hot). So be advised when planning vacations or events in this desert oasis.

April was just the right time to go!

Day 1

We kicked off the long weekend by lounging poolside at The Saguaro, a festive hotel known for a wild color scheme and gorge aesthetics. There's also one in Palm Springs.

The colors were EVERYTHING. My girls were savvy enough to secure a cabana, so we had plenty of privacy to sip drinks and catch up. It had been nearly a year since we all had been together (we're a group of high school and college besties from the midwest, now living in different states) and the time and distance between us dissolved like a sugar rim on a strawberry margarita glass :)

I DO pity the poor pool-goers that shared The Saguro grounds with us that day, as we were very loud and rambunctious by drink # 3 and the place was pretty mellow otherwise. 

Ariel, of Ariel Miles Photography was there to capture the shenanigans. She's a Phoenix local and an absolute gem I located through Instagram.



 My girls were champs in accommodating my photo taking requests as we tiptoed precariously in sky-high wedges throughout the hotel, posing in front of rainbow-hued architecture and cheersing drinks repeatedly until only watery remains glistened in our cup bottoms. 

Flamingo-clad straws graced many of the photos along with brightly colored pool floats and too many smiles to count. And of course, Ariel killed it. How dreamy, candid, cute are these pics!?

I donned a pink bride-to-be one piece that I bought off Etsy along with my trusty wide-brimmed hat and tan wedges from Forever21.




We rounded out the day by cooking pizzas back at our Airbnb and settled in for some much needed rest. The Airbnb was DECKED out with immensely girly decor (my fave) complete with a 5ft tall hand-painted flamingo sporting a flower crown.

Bach Stash, an adorable bachelorette party supply biz, generously provided a gazillion items to help make my weekend an aesthetic wonderland. From gold and white striped drinking straws, to cute cactus and giant engagement ring balloons, the place was poppin' in the decor department. Make sure to check out Bach Stash for their adorable bachelorette supply party packages that are VERY reasonable.

I think they even have a Cinco De Mayo themed box, perfect timing!  

Day 2

The following day was a beautiful slow morning, my favorite kind. The girls sipped their coffees and we all enjoyed-fruit laden smoothie bowls, thanks to matron of honor Brittney (she's our wiz of a chef in the group).

Once everyone had their fill we donned athletic wear (mine being an all-white matching sports bra and mesh-paneled leggings set from Forever21) and pink visors I purchased off Amazon for the girls.

Have you noticed I like pink? I ordered these little visors and placed them in the girls' bridesmaid goodie bags. They were perfect sun protection for our hike in the Arizona heat.

I just love a good goodie bag :)

We packed into the car and drove to a hiking location by the name of Hole-in-the-Rock. The hike entailed a gentle climb towards a huge rock formation overlooking Phoenix, which, you guessed it, had a ginormous hole in the rock. 

That evening bridesmaid Stacey whipped out her smorgasbord of makeup products and gave me a super glam look (contouring, false lashes, the works!). Stacey has come a long way from experimenting with makeup on my 11-year-old-face (back when we first met in 6th grade) and is truly a master of makeup. Definitely check out her Instagram for inspiration.

Matron of honor Brittney gave my hair loose waves. It felt SO nice to just sit and have someone else take care of making me look good for our big night out! Brittney even provided a white bridal robe to don as I got ready.




A few games, drinks, an all black entourage, and one saucy white two-piece set later (also from Forever21, are you seeing a theme?) and we were ready to paint the town. 

Bridesmaid Laura couldn't bare to have us waiting in the long line that snaked about outside one of the bars. She boldly stomped up to the bouncer and somehow got us all through immediately.

Bachelorette fairy godmother much? 

Next we stumbled onto a bachelor party that had secured a bottle-service booth overlooking the main street. We clambered up to join them and spent the next hour enjoying the fresh air, free drinks, and the view.

I may or may not have ended up dancing on the table. I'll let you decide ;)

It was the perfect night on the town dancing and being ridiculous with my friends. The best part? We were home by 1!

Sorry, but I love my sleep.




Day 3

Tired is an understatement. We dragged our weary butts to the Airbnb's pool and enjoyed each other's company for a last day together. 

We talked husbands, babies, faith, Emergenetics profiles, and everything under the sun.

Sunday morning five of six sleepy-eyed girls entered the Phoenix airport. Three were to return to the snowy midwest, one to the mild South, one to balmy San Diego, and one to drive a short road back to her Phoenix home. No matter the final destination, we all felt a little warmer inside after our weekend in the desert sun.

It's crazy what good company can do for a person's soul. And perhaps even more notable is the power of supportive, female friendships.



A huge thank you to my bridesmaids for putting together such an epic, Taylor-inspired weekend.

Stace - thank you for the super special makeup application and amazing iPhone picture-taking skills! You truly have a gift and I love watching you share it with the world.

Lo - thank you for hauling an absurd amount of groceries to and from the Airbnb AND for getting us to the front of the line at the bars ;)

Lyn - thank you for your contagious positivity and energy all while BREAST PUMPING on the trip (BOSS lady). You made me feel so special I cried a little when we first hugged.

P.S why you so hot mama?

Madi - thank you for taking the brunt of my bridezilla (mostly joking) moments and executing the more Taylor-centric requests. I feel closer to you than ever and LOVED having my sis join our time-honored friend group.

Brit - you envisioned, planned, and executed like only a Chess would do for a Fran. I'm forever grateful to have had you lead this entire shebang!

They truly thought of every detail! 

I highly recommend Phoenix as a bachelorette destination and if you have ANY questions at all about outfits, locations, things to do etc. ask in the comments below OR comment on my latest Instagram post and I will answer :)



Now it's time to adjust to reality. I have loads of travel ahead with my job at Tony Robbins, I can't wait to share my future adventures! 

Talk soon. 

XO



Special thanks to The Saguaro for the free champagne!

And endless gratitude for Ariel of Ariel Miles Photography for the amazing photos.


Sunday, April 8, 2018

What the Heck is Collagen and Why You Need It


Thanks to the popularity of skin-boosting smoothies and other wellness/beauty based elixirs, collagen is getting a lot of limelight. 

And with good reason!

Collagen is not only a foundation for the body, but key to a younger looking you!

What da Heck is it

OK, but what is collagen really?

It's a completely natural, vital protein found in skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels, the digestive system, and tendons.  Collagen is sort of like the glue of the body, holding everything together.

(oh um, you mean super duper important?) 

For skin, it's magical. It's what makes our skin strong, supple, and elastic. Collagen also replaces dead skin cells. 

The sad news? Our collagen decreases with age, hence wrinkles, drooping skin, and joint pain.

Collagen-Boosting Foods

The good news? We can replenish our collagen levels by eating the right collagen-boosting foods. 

Try bone broth for example. A daily cup of this soup-like mix is extremely healing for the body. I highly recommend for cold season or just for regular wellness and beauty related maintenance.

Sure, it's a little thicker in consistency and can take some getting used to, but heat it up HOT and it's a nice way to start your morning with crazy-good health benefits. 

My functional nutritionist swears by it. 

Other options include wild-caught fish like tuna and salmon, dark greens, berries, garlic, oysters, and clean meats.

Healing Powers of Collagen

Collagen acts as a lubricant for the joints and bones of the body, ensuring our movement is smooth and pain free.

In addition, collagen can aid in repairing the inner lining of the gastrointestinal track. This assists with issues like leaky gut, IBS, acid reflux, Crohns, and ulcerative colitis. 

I'm totally team collagen when it comes to improved digestion! 

Oh, buzz word! Cellulite. 

Yes, collagen actually helps reduce the appearance of cellulite. You see, cellulite is what's going on underneath the skin's surface. Thinner skin reveals the presence of cellulite. Collagen helps in thickening skin, therefore making cellulite less noticeable. 

MAGICAL.

It also helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks. 



Other Ways to Supplement Collagen 

Want an easy way to get your recommended daily dose of collagen? There are tons of amazing brands offering digestible forms of collagen!

My personal favorite, and perhaps the most well known, is Vital Proteins. They not only offer tasteless collagen for mixing into smoothies, teas, coffees, and foods, but also offer unique forms of collagen consumption like collagen based matcha and collagen coffee creamer.

Of course, these cool twists on collagen consumption are all-natural and on par with what's healthy for your body. (none of the bad stuff!)

For instance, their collagen creamer doesn't have any dairy in it! 

So my jam!

Get Your Own Free Collagen 

Now comes the fun part!! I've partnered with Vital Proteins to give away their collagen matcha and their vanilla collagen creamer. One lucky person will receive canisters of BOTH products!

To enter this giveaway:

 Comment on this blog post below telling me why you want to try incorporating collagen into your diet! (make sure you leave your IG handle!)

Make sure you're following me (@Sandandsequins) and Vital Proteins on IG!

And tag a friend on my latest IG pic! 

Dat's it! I'll announce the winner on IG stories! Good luck! 

I hope this blog post shed some light on what collagen actually is and how it can improve our overall health. 

Cheers to collagen! 

Insider Tip:

I mix my collagen up in a blender with coconut milk and matcha (featured in the above picture) for an energizing morning beverage that's nutrient rich!

Throw in a few berries, honey, or organic stevia leaf for a little sweetness! 



Monday, March 26, 2018

5 Things to Do Now for Better Skin



Skin is in. It's all the rage to have a healthy, glowing epidermis. 

I mean who doesn’t want to feel glowy and healthy through their largest organ! That’s right, skin is our largest organ and is also a telltale sign of what’s going on INSIDE our bodies. 

Didn't we learn this in like 6th grade science class? 

Before, I feel like a little skillful makeup application was sufficient in creating the allusion of good skin.

Now, it's the real deal people want. We're talking totally nude, smiling faces sporting just-rolled-out-of-bed top knots walking down the street. 

The natural look is so in.


I'm not going to lie, this intimidated me greatly at first. I didn't feel confident in the way my skin looked without at least SOME makeup on.

But good skin doesn't have to be some fabled unicorn of womanhood. 

It's right within our grasps. 

We just need a little coaching :)

Check out these quick tips for better skin:

1. Eat healthy fats! 

Avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, whole eggs, and fatty wild caught fish all promote plump, healthy skin! Aaaand your hair and nails will also thank you! 

(I've literally seen an eyebrow renaissance thanks to these healthy fats.) 

Refined sugars and carbs worsen hormonal acne that you see along the jawline and chin. 


2. DRINK WATER LIKE IT'S YOUR JOB. 

Yea, yea, we've all heard this before. Pretty boring tip TAYLOR.

No, no, no. It's key.

I can literally see my skin droop and crinkle at the slightest hint of dehydration. It's crazy how much it affects the look of our faces. My under eyes are more bluish, hollow, and gaunt looking and my face feels puffier, like a big Cheeto puff. 

Not very flattering.

Did you know that dehydration causes your body to retain water and therefore bloat? 

Don't droop and crinkle, DRANK GURL. 




3. Oil it up!

Oils like Rosehip oil supply your skin with omegas 3 and 6 that combat acne, scarring, pigmentation, AND encourage regeneration of skin cells. We're basically turning back the clock people.

The best part? Organic Rosehip oil won't break the bank. In fact, it will only set you back by about $9. 

Here's the kind I use, linked here.

4. Wash your makeup off.

Every. Single. Night. 

Your skin needs a naked face to regenerate. A face caked with makeup all day and night WILL age you faster. Plus think of all the non-organic products you most likely apply to your face on a daily basis. 

(hey, we can't all afford organic beauty products) 

Chemical city.  Scrub, scrub :)



5. SPF. 

No really, have you seen how young asian people look!? 

The sun is so so damaging to our skin and the effort it takes to reverse the sun’s damage is colossal. 

Save yourself the trouble and don’t damage your precious face in the first place! 

All the water, creams, oils, green juices, peels, facials, and prayers will fall flat as a paleo pancake if you are out in the sun receiving regular damage to your face. 

Can you see how it's counter productive to apply a serum that helps reduce pigmentation of the face, when you are worsening the pigmentation from exposure to the sun?

Also, don’t forget neck, chest, and shoulders too for SPF. Use a block vs. a screen if at all possible and re-apply like a really annoying mom to her kids at the beach.

hah. 



Good skin is worth fighting for. Even just toting around a refillable water bottle to work can allow for a major skin upgrade. 

Take it day by day, and pay attention to how your skin reacts to certain foods you eat and products you apply. Ultimately your body will tell you what's up.

Cheers to beautiful, naked skin!

Talks soon, XO


Post Details:

Photos by my girl Danielle McBrayer

Makeup by Kissed by Alma

Sailor Cap by Scala Hats.