My newest obsessions

The title of the post says it all, so let's jump in:

HelloFresh. I didn't think I'd ever really try a meal delivery service, but I'm so glad I did. What led me to jump in? Well, they offered $30 off the first week, and I was tired of spending so much energy trying to figure out what was for dinner that night. And also - I'm not a great cook, even if I do enjoy it sometimes. So, HelloFresh was practically MADE for me. I love that there's fresh ingredients, I can choose what meals we want, that there's always just 6 easy steps when it comes to cooking the meals and that I feel so proud of making something so delicious. I have a bunch of free boxes to give away, so if you're interested in giving it a try, let me know!

It was this IG repost from Jessica Alba via JBeebeShoes that initially caught my eye!

It was this IG repost from Jessica Alba via JBeebeShoes that initially caught my eye!

Honest Beauty. Even though I've always thought Jessica Alba was ridiculously gorgeous, and one of my hair idols - I wasn't super intrigued by the Honest Company baby products (but I do love their hand sanitizer, even if I don't think hand sanitizer is really good for you but that's another story). HOWEVER, I follow Honest Beauty on Insta, and happened to see a bunch of comments saying how amazing the Younger Face moisturizer was. AND - I went to Target that afternoon and was delighted to see Honest Beauty is sold there. It was fate. And, I have to say - I'm in LOVE with that moisturizer, as well as the Magic Balm, Replenishing Mist, and Younger Eye Cream. So far.

Red Bull - the tropical flavor. Yes, I know Red Bull isn't GREAT for you, but it's so delicious and gives me that lift that an afternoon coffee could, except I can't stand the way coffee coats my mouth and makes it dry af. However, I do not drink RB's daily. Or with vodka.

Apple Smart Battery Case. I was getting tired of having to charge my phone every.single.night and sometimes throughout the day. I wouldn't get a text or email for hours and then when I'd go to charge it across the room, it would start dinging. Annoying. Now, I can go pretty much an entire day without having to worry about that. Worth the $99 investment.

evil eye.jpg

Evil eyes. Evil eyes protect you from jerks, says Greek culture. The evil eye is a curse and has lots of symptoms - headaches, nausea, dizziness, or just feeling crappy. It's given to you by someone who doesn't like you, is envious of you...or even by someone who is obsessed with you. I'm not worried about getting this curse, per se, but I do like to feel like I have some form of extra protection from a-holes in this day and age. I got this beautifully delicate evil eye necklace from an Etsy shop called ALTUJIN.

Those are just some things that are getting me though my days lately, and I'd love to hear yours! Happy Friday!

If you enjoyed this post, don't forget to 'like' and share! xo

The best 4th of July outfits

Maybe it's the diehard America and Ralph Lauren lover in me, but I've always liked red, white and blue together. I love stripes and stars, too. So, this 4th of July, I LOVE seeing everyone's outfits on Instagram (SN: I'd say Facebook too, but that's becoming more of a social media outlet for those in their 60s, isn't it? Anyway...).

Here are some ensemble inspirations for the 4th, whether you're going to a picnic, party, the beach or just relaxing in your own backyard! What will you be wearing?

Those after-baby selfies

Those after-baby selfies

"I don't know. I just feel like I should get a one piece, now. I hate my belly."

I nodded, understanding how she felt. Nothing is worse than a fellow mom being all, "hate it?! That belly produced your child and you should be SO PROUD AND SHOW IT OFF ALL THE TIME, MAMA!" Like, can those moms just stop with that preachiness? I personally know my belly hasn't gone back to what it looked like before baby and I'm not ecstatic about it, and I'm not going to pretend to be. Granted, I also haven't been going crazy trying to exercise it 24/7, either. I never really did, anyway. I guess I was just blessed in that department - but now, after baby? Meh. Kind of a different story.

"I got a bikini. I refuse to wear a one piece unless I want to" I said. And, I meant it. I don't think that just because a woman has a baby, that means she has to dress "like a mom." Even in a bathing suit. While some one piece suits are super sexy and stylish, I prefer my tummy to get a little sun and I didn't sign over my right to a bikini when I got pregnant.

I know you've perused Instagram or other newsfeeds and have come across photos and posts of moms proudly showing their extra-skin bellies with/without stretch marks in bikinis (or underwear, which is so weird to me but to each their own). I actually recently saw one where two of the mom's three kids were pulling and twisting her extra skin while she laughed.

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Pores suck

Pores suck

I'm super into skincare. I love trying new lotions, masks, etc. I don't remember how I came across this Refinery 29 article from 2016, but safe to say I must have been deep into the beauty/skincare interweb late one night.

It's about pore vacuums. What are those, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. I hope you're not eating.

It's simply a tool that sucks oil and blackheads from your pores. It's big in Korea, which is like - the mecca of skincare, in case you didn't already know. So, I had to try it.

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Here are some random baby posts that never became grownup adult posts:

I'm so backwards. When it's cold out, I want to wear a t-shirt for some reason, yet when it's hot AF out, I'm pulling on a sweatshirt. Am I alone? I've always been like this, per my mom.

What's on your playlist these days? I'm digging the new Liam Gallagher single, and I typically just check out Apple Music's curated daily playlists. But, I need a good "leave it on and don't skip a song" album. Shuffling my library is not an option, because I have Christmas music on there and it's weird to hear in June.

You know what's a really bad TV show? Two Broke Girls. I feel like every episode is the same and the jokes are predictable.

At what point does calling someone out online become cyber-bullying? Like, for example - if someone cuts you off, and you post their car, license plate and other descriptive details online, inviting a free-for-all of comments and namecalling...are you bullying? Nowadays, with social media...I tend to lean more toward yes, you are.

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What happened to the stars?

What happened to the stars?

I reached my hand down and pulled up on the lever, feeling the inside of the passenger door slide against my hand as I dropped back. The sunroof was the perfect size to see The Big Dipper. He pointed it out to me like he'd done this before, and/or maybe it was some sort of high school inside joke of his.  But, I didn't care. Those sparkling, twinkling stars were too distracting to care.

The whole world - and now the whole universe - was right there, just for a moment. 

I shuddered as I wondered how big the sky stretched, and how small that made me. Coupled with the dizziness of tilting my head up, and I was giddy with sweet excitement. I remember feeling like I could do anything as long as I felt like that. 

Now, I wonder - what happened? 

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Men's summer footwear

Love these... Via

Love these...

With warmer weather, comes feet. Hopefully, those feet/toenails are fresh, clipped, lotioned and ready for viewing. And, while I think dudes deserve to let their dogs breathe, I also think those sandals should be just as fresh as their feet. I got used to seeing guys flip flop around SoCal pretty much all year long, but even those laid-back beach bums knew to change up their footwear for the occasion. As in, beach = flip flops. Dinner at night = nicer flip flops, or maybe some casual kicks.

I love shoes. They're the one item that I think can take an outfit from day to evening. So, here are some options for a comfortable, casual and good lookin' summer, curated by yours truly. Each photo is linked up with click-to-buy.

Are politics still off-limits?

Are politics still off-limits?

I don't know where or when I 'learned' that it was impolite to talk about politics, religion and finances at the dinner table. But, I can remember thinking it made sense. Those topics can become argumentative and thus - make someone lose their appetite. Plus, if you're at a dinner party with strangers, you don't know if your views will offend them. So, it's rude.

But, with everything that's going on in the world today - is politics still a topic that people avoid? And if they! If you bring up any topic - health, environment, social justice issues, etc. - all roads lead back to politics these days. And, it seems so awkward to talk about these topics without mentioning the elephant in the room, so you just want to be like, "Go ahead...just say it." Just like that - the 'no politics' rule is out the window.

What did not talking about these topics really ever accomplish, anyway? More small talk? More discussing the weather, TV and tales of the past? Yawn. So, maybe it's time to open up the dialogue over the turkey. Maybe the pepper in the potatoes doesn't have to be the only spice at the table. Besides, we're evolved humans, so shouldn't we be able to digest our food, as well as the differing opinions of others, at the same time?

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What were they thinking?

What were they thinking?

When you have a napping infant, what will wake them up is always a gamble. One nap, you can run the vacuum and the next, closing the microwave can alter the course of your entire day. If you have creaky floors/stairs? Godspeed.

So, I find myself wondering why certain things exist - and if the person who invented them ever had babies. Like...

...those ceramic built-in soap dishes. Those rounded, smooth 'ridges' meant to hold the soap in the dish are a J-O-K-E. It's like whoever invented this genius idea forget that showers/baths get wet, you know - from WATER. And so, anything less than a spike will not hold that slippery bar of soap from dropping loudly onto the shower floor. Multiple times, if you're a mama just trying to hurry up and hopefully squeeze in drying your hair before the nap comes to an end.

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I had a slight bought of postpartum anxiety after having Owen. I had heart palpitations, slight OCD and would wake up in the middle of the night startled and sweaty. I had no idea it was anxiety, however - and thought it was my heart. I remember thinking, women go through so much during pregnancy and delivery - what if it did something to my heart oh my God I need to see Owen grow up and so I went to see a doctor. He strapped a monitor on me for 24 hours to see if it was my heart...and it wasn't.

"It's anxiety", he said. I welled up and thanked him. When he asked me if I had an idea of how I wanted to move forward, I said I did. I'm not a fan of slapping a Band-Aid on things, so I refused his offer of a prescription. I cut caffeine from my diet, consciously reminded myself to breathe and take things slow, started eating a little better, went a little easier on myself and did Pilates whenever I had a free 10-20 minutes.

I think being a new mom comes with so many unexpected emotions. It's like everything - everything - affects me differently, now. Or, it affects me NOT AT ALL because it's petty as hell.

Sigh. Deep breath. OK. The Manchester bombing rattled me hard. Those were kids. Those were kids at a music event. Those were kids at a music event just like I was once a kid at a music event. Those were kids at a music event just like my Owen could one day be a kid at a music event. No. It's unfathomable. I don't think I can understand where that type of hate comes from, nor do I want to. It's just evil.

But, sadly - it's also our reality. We went walking at a park. As Owen and I rounded a turn in the trail, I saw a group of young men talking and laughing and hanging out on a picnic table. Closer to the trail, was a backpack all by itself - a good 10-15 yards from the group of guys. It was most likely one of their backpacks, but I know I wouldn't leave my bag that far away from me at a public park. As we got closer, I debated what to do. Turn around? Keep going and take a chance? Rationality doesn't really have a place in situations like this because who the hell knows anymore?! It's the argument of "Do we let terror win? Do we let it make us afraid to live? Do we let it control us and cripple us with anxiety and paranoia?"

I honestly don't know.

I guess we do whatever we have to do to stay safe, and to keep our children safe. To me, that means listening to your gut (not necessarily your heart because if you have a good one, you think good things more often than not), keeping your head on a swivel and not letting fear control you, but let it keep you smart.

Just as I neared the laughing guys who were now saying goodbye to each other, one ran over and snatched his backpack up. He opened it and pulled out his ringing cell phone.

"Hi, mom. Yeah, we're just leavin' now. See you in a little."


Asking for a friend (me)....


I need to know...

...your favorite dry shampoo?

...favorite mascara?

...favorite eye cream?

...favorite brand of baby clothes?

...favorite yoga pant brand?

...favorite t-shirt brand? (MOM ALERT MOM ALERT)

...favorite way to get a tan without lounging on a chaise outside for hours?

...favorite coffee?

...favorite wine?

...favorite body lotion?

...favorite nail polish color at the moment?

Hey, happy Friday and have the best weekend!

The *one* mom thing I'd hate to be without

The *one* mom thing I'd hate to be without

...besides Owen. Obviously.

The BEABA (pronounced Bee-ah-bah) Babycook is LIFE. It's literally the single most amazing invention I've ever heard of. If someone walked up to me on the street and asked, "What is the most amazing invention that comes to mind right this second" I would say "BEABA BEABA BEABA!" without even thinking.

What is it?

Well, I'll tell you. It's a lifesaver. This machine not only steams food like veggies, fruits and even then purees it. You do it ALL in ONE MACHINE. And, it's so easy for cleanup, too. There's even a little spatula hidden in the back of the machine that you can use to push down food while pureeing, and it doubles as a tool to lift up the steamer basket when the steaming process is done. Mind.Blown.

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GIVEAWAY: Win Ray-Bans

These can be YOURS. 

These can be YOURS. 

Soooo, I bought these Ray-Bans and thought they were super cool. But, I didn't try them on and now I don't like them on me. Which, is a huge bummer because I LOVE them. They're denim, and different. So, Owen was napping and I was sipping some Ries and got a great I usually do while drinking Riesling.


Because who doesn't like free stuff?! Especially Ray-Bans, just in time for summer!

Here's how you can win:

Share this post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram tagging me, and/or with the hashtag #vandenvogue.

That's literally it. Oh, and the more you share, the more chances you have to win.

I'll announce the winner here, this Tuesday at 12 noon EST.

So, if you like free sunnies - share share share share share share share share and share!

The very second I knew

It was a great day. Nothing and no one could bring me down - not even the work-related problems I encountered that day. Even little things I would normally find annoying were just sliding off my back without a second thought. And, I had absolutely no idea why.

I packed up my bag, cleared my desk, emptied my inbox and powered my computer down. Walking out to my car, I hummed Adele's song "Sweetest Devotion" from her newest album and thought about what we'd have for dinner when I got home.

My humming turned into singing as the CD coincidentally hit the same song I came to label as my favorite, which opened up with Adele's son saying something about 'wanting friendship' and her singing about her love for him.

I stopped at the same red light I usually did in Orange County rush hour traffic, singing I'll forever be whatever you want me to be. I'll go under, and all over, for your clarity... and I choked up inexplicably, with tears trickling down my cheeks. The light turned green and...

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Don't lie to me

Don't lie to me

It really shouldn't be called The Voice when 98% of the season is about changing the contestant's appearance in order to make them more marketable in the music industry. I missed a couple episodes this season and when I turned it on again, I had no idea who 4 of them were anymore. It should be called The Voice For Five Minutes and Then Can We Market Them Because That's More Important (and why today's music sucks so bad). That was actually the working title.

Don't tell me you never argue with your spouse. Like, never? Stop. Are you alive?

Sometimes, you crave McDonald's fries and maybe even a milkshake to dip them in. STOP SHAKING YOUR HEAD YES YOU DO.

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Life's little (big) tests

Life's little (big) tests

I think there are milestones in life that test you, and your relationships with people. And, these milestone "tests" happen naturally - so naturally, that you might not even realize they're happening, or that they've already happened because you've been busy with...well, life.

Sure, you meet new people throughout the years - coworkers become friends, you meet people here and there through shared interests - maybe even online, who knows? Chances are, new people come into your life...and sometimes people leave, for a multitude of reasons.

I've "lost" friendships when I've entered into relationships, and when those friends have entered into relationships. I've "lost" friendships - or should I say "friendships" - when I simply disagreed (even silently) with destructive life choices they were making. And, some friendships seemed to slowly disintegrate when I - or they - moved away. Physical distance can be tough unless your connection is strong. Sort of like a cell signal.

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Get over it

Get over it

Unicorns. I know, I know - they're mystical. But, they're everywhere now. How is that mystical?

Make-your-own-slime. Gross. AND UNICORN POOP SLIME? Come on.

Adam Sandler movies. No reason needed, amiright?

#foodporn. Not food photos, because I love those - but the hashtag. The food isn't having sex. It's just sitting there.

Tanning beds/booths. Do people seriously do this anymore? I'm not sure, but if they do - it's time to s-t-o-p. It's so bad for you! Spray or self tan. Or actual sun. 

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