5 favorite non-toxic skincare products boosting my wellness +fertility

Non-toxic + clean skincare products I’m using to boost my wellness & support my infertility journey

Over the last 3 months, I’ve done a complete overhaul of my life to create a toxic-free space in hopes of bettering our chances at conceiving our double rainbow baby and just living a life that promotes health and vitality, instead of taking away from it. I've changed what's on my plate, and I’m eating about 90% plant based, so I knew it was time to change what I was putting on my skin, the most absorbent organ in my body.

Most recently, I cleaned out my bathroom and I was so surprised to learn how many things I was using that was not only hurting my chances of getting pregnant but that was just plain filled with bad things in general. Some of the biggest culprits were my lotions, my cleaner [isn’t that supposed to remove the bad stuff] and my candles! I’ve always been a sucker for clean packaging and I realized that’s not the best way to choose what products you put into your skin.

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After going to the infertility doctor and having him basically tell me I'm too old to have children without the help of IVF, I started researching all the things. I was determined to prove him wrong, because even though I'm about to be 40, I don't feel like there is something wrong with me, I feel healthy. I know from once going Vegan, I can heal with the power of food, and I was ready to change whatever i needed to in order to get this body ready for our rainbow baby. I started making adjusts to my whole life to get what I want. Said goodbye to pizza [dairy + carbs], eliminated all the caffeine and bad-for-me drinks, and started saying 'no' more often, and embarked on an oils journey in an effort to ease my stress. While all of this was effective at calming my mind and body internally, what was I doing externally to support this infertility journey I am on?

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I started reading all the books about fertility and my thyroid condition and quickly learned, many people have successfully had children after the age of 40, and after having many miscarriages. I also learned that there is very little regulation for the skincare and beauty industries and companies are allowed to use carcinogens, hormone disruptors, neurotoxins in many of the products I was putting on my body through my skin. I realized that many of these toxic products I was using every day to "look younger" may have just been negatively affecting my ability to get pregnant and to carry a baby past 12weeks. For those of you new around here, Jason and I, have two angel babies up in heaven and we have been working on getting pregnant with our double rainbow baby for almost 14 months now.

I knew after reading the book, It starts with the Egg, which had an entire chapter on facts as to how these things can harm your eggs, that my skincare routine was having a direct effect on my reproductive system. And I learned that most of the products I was using had these in them.

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I have so much to share that I have learned, and I want to tell you all about what's working for me now after I basically did a full toxic overhaul in my home and with my body. I'm talking all about my skincare routine now, and what products have really made a difference.

These are 5 of my favorite non-toxic, all natural skin care brands I'm using to support my infertility journey and to live a more toxic life.

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The first thing I needed to think about was how I was washing and preparing my face in the morning and at night. I was using a cleanser at night, a toner, and a nightly face lotion. In the morning, I was washing it with the same cleanser, using an exfoliator pad [with all the chemicals], and then applying a serum, then a skin cream, an eye serum, eye wrinkle cream, a toner, a lotion, and I think that's it. I think back about my old routine now and can't help but think about all the chemicals I was applying daily with the products that were supposed to be cleansing my skin all before I even applied any of the harmful makeup I was so used to using my whole life.

I knew that as I made these non-toxic changes, I wanted to find brands to really understood my aging and toxic filled skin. I wanted products that had ZERO sulfates, SLES, SLS, parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, mineral oils, oxybenzone, coal tar, hydroquinone, triclosan, and triclocarban in it. But I also wanted a product that worked and that also HAD things in it that would help fix my skin issues. Basically, I wanted a product that gave me results for my skin issues but didn't give me all the harsh side effects of most of the products I was using.

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Priori : Naturally clean Adaptive Skincare

When I found priori, the first thing I looked for was to make sure that it didn’t have any of those harmful ingredients I was trying to avoid but I also wanted to know that it wasn’t going to take 85 different products to fix my sun spots, fine lines and imperfections. Priori is an adaptive line that uses science and the right ingredients to create something that responds to your individual environment, nutrition and genetic needs. The new TTC line that I have been using, has shown me results. They feature a highly potent compound of 3 kinds of colorless turmeric root, plus green tea, grape seed and licorice to create a product that helps with brightening, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

I’ve been using the cleanser and nothing I have ever used has left my skin feeling so soft. It doesn’t dry out the skin, and leaves it feeling hydrated. At morning and night I apply the skin restore creme, which is going to work on my fine lines and inflammation. And then every other night I apply the Illumination treatment before bed. This is designed specifically to reduce the appearance of uneven skin tones, and adapts to my specific skin type to brighten and illuminate my discolored skin areas.

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Primally Pure: Non-toxic deodorant and skin care

One of the first things I changed about my beauty routine was my deodorant. It’s one of the most used products in my bathroom because I may forget to wash my face or apply lotion on some days, but I never forget my deodorant. I read so many stories about all the scientific theories about how deodorants are related to breast cancer and it scared me. But, honestly, I couldn’t find a natural deodorant that worked! Until Primally Pure. Seriously obsessed with this company and love all their products. I now use their dry shampoo (smells heavenly and works amazingly!) and their geranium complexion face spray for my afternoon refresh. Dying to get in on their body butters and flower bath salts next!

Click here and use code HEIDI10 for 10% off your purchase and don’t tell anyone because it’s not out yet but starting black friday thru Thanksgiving weekend, you get 15% off ! [shhh, secret}.

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Young Living Essential Oils

I recently had a friend reach out to me and tell me that she thinks I should use essential oils. I, like most of you reading this, thought nope, not gonna be part of that pyramid scheme. I politely declined and then she mentioned that maybe I should just try this one drink, that was known to aid in infertility. Clearly, that consumed me and I caved, I bought the starter kit one month ago and I haven't looked back.

We use the oils everyday, from wellness + immunity roller blends to get us over this cold and flu season, to a few drops of lemon on our dryer balls, to diffusers to make the house smell like the holidays instead of toxic candles burning all day.

I'm working on a blog post called, "my first month as a crazy oil lady," that will include all the ways I used my oils and grew to appreciate the way they contribute to our fertility journey and healthy non-toxic home but for now, I'll just put my favorite radiating face serum blend right here for you: It's a game changer.

M A M A G L O W F A C E S E R U M:

using oils from the starter kit ONLY, combine in 2oz amber bottle and fill with jojoba oil

  • 15 drops frankincense [promotes healthy growing skin, good for breakouts]

  • 15 drops copaiba [driver oil which increases other oils when combined]

  • 10 drops lavender [improves mood and decreases feelings of sadness]

    [for an extra punch of goodness, add this-not in starter kit but you need it]

  • 20 drops blue tansy

I just add a drop to my Priori illumination creme and it's heaven in a drop.

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Herbivore Botanicals: Body essentials for self care

One of the main things everyone talks about when infertility comes up is stress. The pressure that comes along with infertility, miscarriages and trying to conceive is, immense, to say the least. It is so hard to turn the brain off. I try my best to find some alone time that I allow myself to think about the process, the good and the bad of it. I find that if I carve out specific moments to cry, dream, hope, or just be sad about the fact that we can't get pregnant it helps me to sleep better or to move on with my day. I take at least 5 minutes a day, ALONE, to think about my journey. Sometimes it's in bed, sometimes I sit in the car alone after Jason and Finn have gone inside, but one of my favorite ways to reflect and accept what's happening is a long quiet bath filled with herbivore botanicals goodness.

This coconut milk bath soak is moisturizing and softens my skin plus it smells delicious.

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Dr.Bronners Toothpaste

Much like my deodorant, toothpaste is something I literally wanted to change immediately. I have tried SOOO many toothpaste brands and when I finally stumbled on the fact that Dr.Bronners had toothpaste, not just soap, I was in. It doesn't leave that gritty feel after you brush and it has natural ingredients that really do leave you with fresh breath! I love Dr. Bronners toothpaste but I love their mission even more; We’re fighting for a marketplace where consumers are not misled and where organic standards are applied to body care just as they are to food. YES!

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Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” —Maya Angelou.

I leave you with this quote by women goddess Maya Angelou and I challenge you to make some changes in your home and take out some of the toxic things that may be harmful to you, your family and your children. If you're struggling with fertility, it can be a lonely place and I understand. I love this community I have found through social media, and I will continue to share my journey with all of you in hopes that someone reads this and feels a little less alone. Please feel free to reach out if you want to discuss anything further with me, I'm here and I'm an open book!

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photography tips i've learned to create a curated style

the best photography tips i've learned for capturing your family perfectly, even on your iPhone.

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If you're a mom trying to just get great photos of your family that you can frame, or if your an aspiring blogger who wants a curated and personal aesthetic consistently throughout your feed, these are some simple tips I've learned over the last few years that helped me do just that.

If you’re looking for step by step examples of how I edit my actual photos right now. Head over to this post. I walk you through everything step by step and show you how I use all my favorite apps.

Three things I focus on to keep my Instagram feed cohesive:

1. shooting [lighting + angles]

2. editing [presets, touch ups, and angles]

3. posting [9 grid]

90% of my photos I take on my iPhone X, and 50% of the time I use the portrait mode, it needs bright natural light to be crisp, so sometimes I can't use it to get the best shot. If I am using an actual camera, I'm usually using a Canon t3 that Jason bought for me 8 years ago. But truthfully, in my opinion, it's usually not the camera that makes the picture look good, it's the person taking it. It took me almost 3 years to finally feel like I kinda know what I'm doing at these are a few things I've learned that have helped me.

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1. When shooting anything; people, food, scenery, selfies, be aware of your surroundings and don’t be afraid to take a few steps back and get more of the location in the picture. [you can always crop later]. A good rule of thumb I use when directing Jason to take a photo is to make sure you get our feet and our heads. It’s human nature to always want to take the image close to someone’s face but I like it when you get the whole picture of what’s happening in the image when you take it from farther away.

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2. I almost always try and take my photos with natural light. If I’m outside, whoever is taking the picture [usually me] have them [or you] stand with your back to the sun. And try and avoid standing in the sunlight. Use a shaded area that still gets a good amount of natural light from the sun.

3. If you are shooting indoors, or with artificial lighting, you can get rid of the yellow tints by adjusting the yellow hues and the temperature of the image. [Lightroom does this best]. This is my favorite things I've learned so far. But when shooting, try and keep the lights off as much as possible and avoid using the flash. It’s easier to brighten the photo because it’s dark vs get rid of the yellow light or reflections from the glare of lights.

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4. When you edit, keep your photos straight and centered. Use the crop/straighten tools and the perspective to adjust the angle vertically or horizontally. I will show you how to do this in SNAPSEED in this post, but you can use any app or just adjust them in your photo gallery in your phone. This helps with the rule of 3’s, by keeping your lines straight.

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5. Use the rule of 3's in photography to align the photo. This is so simple but makes the biggest impact. The rule of thirds is applied by aligning a subject with the guidelines. The basic principle behind the rule of thirds is to imagine breaking an image down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts and creating a horizon so that your eye easily moves from square to square.

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6. Set your scene first and make sure you’re taking the snap straight if you can. If you have time take a couple practice shots so you can see if a weird outlet or random thing stands out in the image. Try and take photos straight on so when you align your subject, don’t shoot from the side of it, shoot straight at it. Don’t be afraid to move around! Taking images from all angles you wouldn't normally think would be good, sometimes get you the best shot! If you end up with something in the image you want to edit, I use RETOUCH. Like this picture below actually had a vacuum leaning on the sliding glass door. I edited it out with two clicks.

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7. Use your favorite preset or filter to keep all your photos consistent. Lightroom mobile is free and it is a professional photo editing app that usually you can editing in one click using purchased presets. Below are 6 images shot in very different settings and light but edited with the same filter. I’ll put some of my favorite presets in my post, How I create a consistent aesthetic in my photos. [other apps I use and love, snapseed, color story, and retouch].

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8. This one is more for influencers or bloggers, but I use a planning app for my posts. I use planoly, it’s not a free one... but I’ve used it forever and I love it. I usually only post once a day but sometimes I get multiple images that day that I want to post so I save them in there. I store my hashtags and write and edit my captions ahead of time. This helps me see if a photo's colors or how I edited to fit into my aesthetic or if I need to adjust the exposure or temperature to fit the rest of the images before I actually post it.

9. This is a personal preference but I use the grid method [maybe it’s called something different] but I staged my photos to have one light and one darker photo each time. Which creates a grid that is easy on the eye.

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10. Try, try and try again. The more you shoot, the better you will get. Same with editing. As you start to edit your photos, it will become second nature and then you'll learn another trick to making your photos the exact style and feel you are looking for.

#thedailymoments || week 7

My life seems pretty boring lately, but sometimes that's just what I need.  Slow moments just spent at home, no plans and without a schedule. 

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These days most of us are living busy over-scheduled lives.  It's easy to lose track of the moments that really matter, which can often be the most ordinary parts of our days.   In the midst of all the responsibilities of our day, we need to remember to check in with ourselves so that we don't lose sight of who we really are and what is really important to us.   This series, #TheDailyMoments was started by my good friend @steph.pollock and as soon as I saw her first post, and when she said, 

It's these small moments that make up a lifetime of beautiful ones,

I knew this was something I needed to join in on.

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If I haven't told you enough yet, I am not a morning person.  If I had it my way I would lay in bed until 9, drink my coffee, listen to morning acoustic radio on Spotify and scroll the gram or pin all the things.  But as any parent knows, once you have kids, you say goodbye to all things slow in the morning. 

Finn has been waking up about 6am without fail these days, and he is READY to go.  He rolls out of bed, stands on his bed and opens his blinds (the half almost breaking them way) to see if the sun is up, which obvi it is [insert eye roll emoji].  Then he grabs all his favorite stuffed animals, turns off his sound machine, walks to his door and as he exits turns on his light, the hall light and everything else in between before barging into our room asking, "Mom, where's dad?"  

But this morning was different. [you should know we potty trained him almost 6 weeks ago, but it isn't perfect yet].  This morning, I heard the blinds, I heard his door open and then as I waited for our door to open, I heard his little run down the hallway instead.  I waited a few minutes to see if I heard him playing in the playroom, or getting a yogurt from the fridge [which generally comes after the "mom, where's dad part"] and I didn't hear any of that.  I laid there wishing that maybe, just maybe he went back to bed, but then, I get worried with the silence, and finally jumped out of bed.  Just as I walked down the hall, I heard him say, "Mom stay out!"  He was in the bathroom, undressed mind you, and had his diaper halfway off about to use the potty ALL BY HIMSELF!!  Say what?!  You heard me.  He got out of bed, went to the bathroom, took off his diaper and pooped on the toilet, without my help!!  Hallelujah! 

I promptly demanded a cookie at 6:03am and stormed off saying, "I don't need pants!" So please excuse the fact that all of the following images are mostly either in his underwear or naked.  That's life and I didn't feel like fighting him today. Xx Oo little man, you win.

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Typical Day at the Wells casa includes Paw Patrol, Booba on Netflix or a Disney movie;  Bolt + Chicken Little are currently on repeat.  While Finn eats his breakfast, I either drink my tea, do the dishes or follow up on emails.  Sometimes I edit photos or plan my future Instagram posts for the week.  [Yes, not all of my posts are spontaneous, most of them are planned days in advance and I adjust the captions for my mood that day].  Today, after we built forts and then tore them down, we headed to the playroom and I shopped for Finn's new playroom makeover while he basically tore everything apart and hid all his toys in his wall storage thingy.

I cant wait for the new space because most of the stuff that's currently in there is from his first nursery almost 3 years ago!  The new room is going to have all the Bohemian Oasis feels with lots of natural colors and organic textiles.  I already ordered this awesome green velvet futon and this storage ottoman that will double as seating and toy wrangling.  I can already picture him having playdates with his friends and finding them building forts and falling asleep in there.  I'm working on an inspiration board blog post for the space and when it's done, I'll insert it here. ;-) . But for now, here's a sneak peek.

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side note: If you haven't looked at H&M home, you're missing out.  But be warned, check the sizing!  I order things thinking they are life size, and almost every time they come looking like they belong in a dollhouse.  But, we've gotten tons of great things from there!  Ordering this cute cutting board for Finn's Ikea Kitchen makeover hack cause I know it will be the perfect "small" size!  

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When all my chores are done and I'm done working for a bit, I usually try and get Finn outside before naptime.  We go back and forth from the front yard to the back, from paying soccer, jumping on the trampoline and playing in the "pool."  [Husband refuses to get a small pool because he is afraid of the mold].  I know, I know...

Today, Finn asked to take our 13 years old girl, Daisy for a walk.  And so we did.

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These ceramic mushrooms came from a little artsy fair in Laguna Beach called, Sawdust.  Have you guys ever been??  When I met my husband, he was living in Laguna Beach and I was in Manhattan Beach so every year when I came to visit we would go to this art fair.  The lady who makes these has been making them and  selling them at the fair for years.  The first couple of years we went, we would say to each other, who buys those?  This year, the year we bought our first home in southern California together, we went back and we both said, let's get those!  We decided to get one for every year we visit the fair from now on and I can't wait to fill our new home with a bunch of these little mushrooms!

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I've said it before but i'll say it again, Daddy is the fun one!  He jumps on the trampoline with him, he runs around the house with him and he even let's him use the hose.  I tried to be the fun one today and let Finn help me fill up the pool and then I turned around and found myself the target.  Drenched to my knees in water, it was finally nap time!

The first thing he does when he wakes up from nap time is ask where Daddy is, and runs outside to see if he's home.  He usually helps him take off his shoes and changes his clothes and before I know it they are back in the backyard playing the pool again!

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Some days I want to keep him up all night and play and other nights I can't wait to get through bath time and get him to bed to I can have a cocktail and a real dinner that he wouldn't even think of touching.  Tonight we had caprese salad my way, and my favorite homeade margarita with fresh lemons and limes and a splash of squirt.  So good.  And that's how we do it over here at #thewellscasa. Goodnight.

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Just as Steph did, I am inviting you to do the same, join us in this movement of letting life be more enjoyable just by letting it be exactly what it is.  Tag your photos with #thedailymoments so we can all share in the joy of the simple moments that make up a lifetime of happiness.

The Daily Moments || Week 1

The Daily Moments || Week 2

The Daily Moments || Week 3

The Daily Moments || Week 4

The Daily Moments || Week 6

 

#thedailymoments || Week 6

#thedailymoments || Week 6

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These days most of us are living busy over-scheduled lives.  It's easy to lose track of the moments that really matter, which can often be the most ordinary parts of our days.   In the midst of all the responsibilities of our day, we need to remember to check in with ourselves so that we don't lose sight of who we really are and what is really important to us.   This series, #TheDailyMoments was started by my good friend @steph.pollock and as soon as I saw her first post, and when she said, 

It's these small moments that make up a lifetime of beautiful ones,

I knew this was something I needed to join in on.

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This weeks recap might sound a little scrambled because that's exactly how my brain feels currently.  Today was a day to just go slowly, breathe and do only what I was capable of doing at the moment.

I took these pictures on Wednesday.  We had our first fertility appt the day before and my best friend, Debi's funeral is on Saturday.   Needless to say, my brain has been working overtime.  I know i've been stressed to say the least but yesterday at the doctor, my blood pressure was higher than it's ever been, even when I was in labor with Finn.  It was 165/101.  That's ridiculously not normal.

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I tried to not stress by having a super slow morning, just Finn and I.  Daddy wakes up at 4:30 to head to Orange Theory, and he comes home to shower around 6am.  Right about that time Finn wakes up ready to go, and I am positive [no matter what Jason claims is "quiet"] that he is woken up by the loudness that my husband is when he gets home.   You see, I am N O T a morning person.  Maybe it's because I never drank coffee, but I do not roll out of bed ready to go, so this 6am wake-up call usually doesn't work for me.

So basically, Finn runs into the kitchen demanding I get up and get him some "lunch."  I cuddle on the couch and hope he comes to cuddle me too.  Sometimes I win, and sometimes I find myself in the playroom at 7am.

We turn on music, we dance, we play outside and I usually get to make myself some tea and breakfast around 10am.  Today, we spent most of the morning outside, played in our "pool" and looked up at the sky as my ray of sunshine Debi shined down upon us until about 11:30 am when it was time for a mommy break [screen time].  

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Today I was tired.  Mentally exhausted from my visit to the fertility clinic and the anxiousness about what is to come this weekend. I wanted to spend my nap time actually taking a nap, but Finn had other ideas.  He usually goes down at 1pm and today, he took one full hour to calm down and get to sleep.   

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It was beautiful outside, the first day that I felt a little breeze and not like I was going to melt.  So, I went into the backyard, plopped my feet up and closed my eyes while soaking in all that vitamin D.  Just as I felt myself nod off, my phone rang.  It was my other best friend, Cara and we ended up talking for almost 2hrs. As much as I thought I needed sleep, I needed this girl talk more.  Feeling refreshed and motivated, I started the dishes just as Finn walked out from his nap, "hi mommy!"

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Daddy called and asked us on a dinner date to Nordstrom because his alterations were ready to be picked up.  I scrambled to finish cleaning the kitchen and quickly showered [of course, not alone] and we were on our way only 15 minutes late.

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We came home and I think we both needed a moment as a family to smile and play so we kept Finn up past his bedtime, drank wine, listened to music and enjoyed these last few warm moments of summer nights.

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It's been almost two weeks since I lost my dearest Debi.  Since then, I have dedicated this weekly series to her.  Even though she isn't here with me, I can write these journals in her honor and hope that she's up there reading them with her signature eye roll and a smile.

Dear Debi, "I don't know when I will be able to function on a normal level again, I'm sure I will spend many more days looking up at the sky and talking to you and wishing you were here. But, I can promise you this, not a moment will be wasted on loving this oh so beautiful life in honor of the joy and happiness you brought into my life and to Finn's life.  We will honor you by truly loving every breath we take; the good, the bad and everything in between."

These are small moments of our day, exactly 2 weeks since you left us. I miss you and I love you. 

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Just as Steph did, I am inviting you to do the same, join us in this movement of letting life be more enjoyable just by letting it be exactly what it is.  Tag your photos with #thedailymoments so we can all share in the joy of the simple moments that make up a lifetime of happiness.

The Daily Moments || Week 1

The Daily Moments || Week 2

The Daily Moments || Week 3

The Daily Moments || Week 4

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids | #TheMomBlogCollective Week 5

Holiday Gift Guide for Kids | #TheMomBlogCollective Week 5

Welcome back and thank you to our loyal followers of this series!  If you're new here, here's the scoop. Once a month, our group of amazing and inspiring mamas will discuss the same topic having to do with blogging, Instagram, photography, collaborations, sponsored posts, balancing it all with motherhood, and more. We each have different perspectives and different opinions, so this is a fun way to learn from one another. We hope you'll join along! Check out the hashtag #themomblogcollective to see everyone on Instagram, and I will also link you to all of the amazing blog posts here at the bottom of my post!

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We thought it would be kind of fun to switch it up and talk about something besides blogging.  This week, 6 of us mamas are talking all about the holidays!  We have a total of 13 kids between us ranging in ages from 3 months to 7 years and we each put together a gift guide for our littles in this installment of #TheMomBlogCollective.

[A special Thank you to @sproutssanfrancisco, @kazambikes and @kidtrax_toys who sponored this post.  As always, I truly belive in everything I share, so all opinions expressed are my own.]

toddler Christmas tree

A little disclaimer.  Christmas is and always has been my favorite holiday.  And now that I have a child to celebrate it with, I definite may go a little overboard.  I still remember that Christmas as a little girl that I ran downstairs and saw a new cabbage patch doll, and that was all I needed until my mom said wait, there's more.  A light bright!  Oh man, hours of fun.  I just love the feeling of Christmas, I love the joy it brings me to give someone something that makes them happy.  I know, it's not all about the gifts, but for this post it IS!  

All of these items are going to be under the tree this year for Finn and I can't wait to see the excitement on his face when he runs down the hall to see Santa has come and delivered happiness straight to our living room. 

If you haven't read my post on 8 stylish ways to kid-proof your home you should check it out but one of the main things I live by in order to avoid my home looking like a preschool is I buy toys that match my style.  Toys that blend into my decor rather than stand out.  That's why I shop small.  I avoid those big bold plastic looking toys filling my organized and adult looking living room.  Here are some of my favorites that will be under our tree for Finn this year.

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Amazon is taking over the world y'all, right?  So many people are getting all there shopping done via the world wibe web these days, but I've always been a big believer in shopping small. I get it, it's just so easy now to say, "I'll just get it from Amazon," but I'm not ready to not have face to face interactions with people just yet. So, I try and support the family-run or small businesses.  And most of the time I find better, more ethically sound, and organic items that just fit my lifestyle better.   

little cottonwood children's wood guitar

1. Little Cottonwood - This wooden guitar has real strings and can be tuned and played

organic sustainable kids wooden drum set

2. Sprout, San Francisco - This musical band drum set is made of natural rubber wood and water based non-toxic paints.

Finn is constantly obsessed with music, sounds, and dancing.  I once had an old lady who told me she was psychic and she said, "Never turn off the music around him, this boy thrives with music, so feed that desire and always play the beats."  No clue if she was crazy or right or both, but here goes nothing.  Guitar and drum set coming right up.

toddler ride on training bike kazam

3. Kazam -  The KaZAM mini ride-on is designed with three wheels and a curved frame that is perfect for any constantly moving toddler and helps to develop motor skills

We have a little 12-year-old neighbor who rides his scooter outside and Finn is obsessed.  He isn't quite old enough for a skateboard but I wanted to get him something besides his little rocket he has been pushing himself on for over a year now.  This balance bike is legit you guys!  It's the perfect starter bike for your little one.  I think this is going to be the overall winner of the Christmas morning excitement. 

kickee pants organic bamboo cotton footed zipper pajama

4. Sprout, San Francisco KicKee Pants Zipper Footie is made with super-soft organic bamboo and will keep your little sprout stylish & cozy on Christmas morning

I know, clothes aren't the most fun presents to open but I wanted to start a tradition this year and get him a new Christmas-y jammie set each year.  Kickee Pants are insanely soft and I wish these came in my size!

Avigo Land Rover Ride 12vo ride on for kids

5. Toys R Us - In my family, there is always that one BIG gift, and this year, the Avigo Land Rover Defender 12 Volt Ride On is that one. 

I know, I know...this is too much but when we visited our friends a few months ago, they had one and he loved it.  He also has a yellow toy jeep he got with Grandma that he won't put down so it just seemed like he needed this. We will need to grow into it, but i'm so ready to have him drive me around for awhile.

kids play wooden fruits and vegetables kitchen accessories for kids

6. Sprout, San Francisco - Your little chef can chop & prep with this Assorted Fruit & Vegetable set  

Tegu Children's Magnetic building set

7. Sprout, San Francisco - We've been obsessed with this Tegu's Magnetic Wooden Block Set since we played with it at our local Patagonia store, I waited to get it for Christmas and I might be more excited about this one than Finn. It's also on Sale currently!

stabilo woody crayon set washable crayons for kids

8. Amazon - Stabilo Woody crayon set is my favorite stocking stuffer.  They don't break when thrown and they come off of any service, walls, floors, and even windows.  The most genius crayons of all time.  I heart you Stabilo!

kids wooden cooking pots and pans kitchen accessories for toddlers

9. Sprout, San Francisco - Your aspiring chef can cook up anything with these wooden Cooking Utensils. Made with rubberwood and non-toxic paints.

green toys organic and sustainable toy cars trucks for kids

10. Sprout, San Francisco - This environmentally friendly flatbed truck with race car by Green Toys is a must-have.  Finn is obsessed with these whenever we go into Whole Foods.  Thank goodness my favorite little boutique carries all of them.

kids wooden mini golf set organic and sustainable play toy

11. Sprout, San Francisco - The Mini Golf Set is made of sustainable and preservative-free rubberwood colored with natural water-based dyes coated with a nontoxic finish

I spent my Saturday running errands and got pretty much my entire shopping list done just by visiting one of my favorite children's boutiques, Sprout, San Francisco.  They have one simple mission; to handpick the safest and healthiest products for your children.  There are so many new chemicals and recalls being thrown at us in this modern world, it important to find the right toys that are safe for your little ones.  I don't have to think twice about what Finn is putting in his mouth when I get it from Sprout because I know they have chosen the safest and most organic toys out there.  I've been shopping at their Palo Alto location since Finn was a baby, and they have several other locations up here the bay but, you can also shop online if that's your thing or you don't live close by.  

gift guide for toddler

Ok, yes yes yes...I know.  Going out in holiday traffic to shopping with a toddler isn't the easiest.  So even though I love the face to face interaction with small shops, I do also do some online shopping every now and then.  I do love me a good sale too, so I couldn't pass up a few items from my favorite online shops too!

So, that's it.  It's not even December and my shopping is complete.  It sounds crazy but in 2015, I was 9.5 months pregnant and I had the early stages of preeclampsia, so I wasn't really in the decorating or shopping mood.  Then in 2016, Finns first Christmas, we were actually told we had to move our of our home because the owners were moving back in, so the whole house was in boxes on Christmas morning and only 1/3 of my decorations were out.  It was still a great day but, because the last few years have been hard for me to fully enjoy my favorite holiday, I'm going to enjoy every last minute this year.  

Happy Holidays to you and yours!  

Here's a link to all the other beautiful, genuine and inspiring mamas in the #TheMomBlogCollective:

Cultivate Motherhood | @cultivatemotherhood

Steph Pollock | @steph.pollock

The Love Designed Life | @thelovedesignedlife

Occasionally Perfect Blog | @occasionally_perfect

Hello Baby Brown | @hellobabybrown

Mrs Seacannon | @mrsseacannon

Ashley Noel | @_ashley_noel_

Britt Havens | @britthavens

 

our guests this week:

Jordan & Co | @jordan.and.co

Hello Tiny Love | @hellotinylove

 

If this is your first time checking out the series, and you'd like to get caught up from the beginning, here ya go:

Top 5 Tips when starting a blog or Instagram | Week #1

 How to create your brand + build an online community | Week #2

Photography tips for a Cohesive Instagram feed | Week #3

How to Balance Motherhood + Blogging | Week #4

 

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This website contains some affiliate links to products that we use and love. A very small percentage of purchases made through these links goes to help support our family in a small way. Thank you for following along.

8 stylish ways to kid proof your home

I wouldn't say that Jason and I necessarily have the same decorating aesthetic, so our home is the kitchen sink of styles.  Modern bohemian, eclectic, mid-century, call it whatever you like, but one thing is for sure, this living room is where most of our family time is spent.  And since this is where we make most of our memories, the last thing I wanted was to make it so fancy or clean that Finn felt like he couldn't touch anything. At the same time, I tried to avoid the living room that was taken over by toys and turned playroom look.  I think we've done a pretty good job making sure it is equally our space and Finns and I think it still manages to have a sense of cohesiveness, charm, and coziness all at the same time.

[disclaimer: Thank you to Lorena Canal for sending us this rug in exchange for an honest review.  As always, all views expressed here are my own.] 

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Here's what I thought about when decorating our favorite room in the house:

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Stick to a color palette, and play with textures.  One thing that I love when decorating any room is to make it more about texture, and less about color.  Matchy-matchy has never been my jam.  I've never been a fan of the couch with 2-4 matching pillows on each side.  I like to mix a few of my favorite things in the same colors with a different texture that mesh well together.  My living room happens to be white and black with pops of natural, in the form of wood or greenery.  I do splash in some pops of brighter colors here and there but mainly try and keep true to black, white, tans or browns, and green.

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When looking for toys for Finn, I try and stay in the same color palette or find things that have the same accent colors as the rest of the room.  This way they don't stand out when scattered across the room.    One thing that works well is to curate a stack of kids books in the same color palette.  That way the books become part of the decor vs an eye sore. 

 

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Less is more. A home should feel lived in and not perfectly clean.  But with that being said, it shouldn't feel like you have 6 kids when you only have one.  Try and keep the toys in the living room to a minimum.  A few balls, a handful of books, and 1-2 toys.  I like to rotate his toys every couple of weeks and only keep a few favorites in the living room. Periodically, I'll go through a purge and donate some and I'll swap out the others for some toys in his room and retire some from the living room to his bedroom.

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Create a defined space for him.  We don't have a play pen or baby gates, Finn has access to the whole living room.  The way we are able to achieve this without him getting hurt or drawing all over the furniture is to create smaller spaces within our space that are JUST for him. We use rugs, his gathre mat, and this tee pee to make the living room feel like a play area, but still like an adults live here.  He's able to play independently while I fold laundry, send an email, or just enjoy my coffee.  All in the same space. He loves reading his books in the morning in his tee pee and in the afternoons, I usually put down our Gathre mat with some crayons or toys on it and Finn knows that's his space to play.  

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Rugs can make a space feel more like home.  Am I right?  I love hardwoods but I love the coziness a rug brings to a large space.  Nothing beats cuddling up on a cushy rug with some pillows and a fluffy blanket for family movie night or stepping barefoot on a soft cushy rug first thing in the morning.  But with a toddler, let's be real...things happen (Photo evidence attached).  Finding a bright white or cream rug that fit my aesthetic was purely a dream until I found Lorena Canal's machine washable rugs.  You heard me, they make rugs you fit into my own at home washer and dryer- GENIUS! Skip the stress and work of spot cleaning or the million dollar rug cleaning bill and stay home while you clean your rug! Finn can eat, play or just relax on the floor with his favorite snack without a worry from this mama because I know I can fix any stain with a quick stop to our laundry room.  Plus it doesn't hurt that they come in so many prints and solids, so you can add design to your living room,  no matter your style.  These rugs are the overachievers of home accessories and my favorite elements of my home.   We fell in love with the style of the Berber Beige and I linked it for you here.

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I have a basket problem. (and maybe a Target problem too)  I'll admit it, I can't pass up a good basket.  We use them in all of our rooms, they have tons of uses; laundry hampers, blanket holders, pillow keepers, and toy wranglers.  The baskets can not only help keep things in their place and help your room feel more organized and clean, but they can also bring some style to your space.  Stop hiding things in drawers + closets, and go grab yourself some baskets!

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Utilize all the rooms unused space.  Using your wall for organization clears up the clutter on the floors.  I found this awesome wall basket with hooks at target and it's hanging right by our front door and it's perfect.  It helps get Finn involved with daily tasks and when I tell him it's time to go somewhere, he goes to the basket, grabs his shoes, and hat and is ready to go!

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Distract, distract, distract.  This is a tactic I often use when Finn is getting into something he is not supposed to.  I'm sure that most parents know this "hey look over here!" tactic all too well.  I purposely put things on the fireplace ledge to deter Finn from grabbing the fireplace screen.  If the screen was the only thing on the ledge, you know that would be exactly what those little hands would go straight for.  All the items on the ledge are kid friendly and if he gets into the poof or the pillows, it's all safe for him to play with.  

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Lastly, IMHO, you can never have enough blankets pillows and throws.  Since my toddler is so mobile, I find myself either chasing him or trying to stop him in his tracks by getting on his level.  We spend a ton of time, actually most of our time, on the floor.  That's where a soft rug, these pillows and lots of blankets come in handy cause somersaults aren't that fun on hardwood floors, trust me.

Sources and links are below.

Lorena Canal : Washable Rug Berber Beige
Caco & kai : Mexican Blanket/indigo pillows 
Fireplace accessories: Similar pillows from Targethere, here and here
T-nees T-pees: All natural Tee pee
Gathre Playmat:   Medium mat in Blanc midi
Toys:  Bla Bla kids knit dolls + Melissa & Doug wooden car toys
Target: Links for fireplace basket click here.  Links for hanging wall basket here.  Links for play area basket here.

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This website contains some affiliate links to products that we use and love. A very small percentage of purchases made through these links goes to help support our family in a small way. Thank you for following along.

Ultimate gift guide for Her

Whether you are shopping for the host, the yoga enthusiast, the traveler, or the fashion guru this list works for everyone.  Everything in my top 15 is approved by yours truly and I could say I am one or all of those types of girls up there. This list is for every woman in your life: friend, mom, wife, sister, co-worker or yourself; these products are my happy place.  I've rounded up my favorite items for you to celebrate this Hallmark Holiday in style.  My top picks for the Ultimate Valentines Day gift Guide for her.

How many times have you been in your office, cubicle or work space on Valentine's Day and you squirm with every door open because it's a steady stream of flower arrangement after flower arrangement? And none of them have your name on them. Well, not this year...

Close your eyes and imagine this...  {well, I guess you'll need them open to keep reading. Lol}

You come home from a long workday (or a stressful trip to target in my case) and your husband or your man greets you at the door and says, "Don't worry about a thing, I've got everything under control."  Before he heads off to the kitchen to continue whipping up a home-cooked meal, he says, let's start here.  He opens the bathroom door and you see he's run you a warm bubble bath. {ok, this isn't 50 shades ladies, so don't go there...} Before he leaves he hands you a stack of the cutest bracelets, and says... put your hair in that top knot, hop in, relax and enjoy a good book.  {At this point, he's clearly outdone himself and if you aren't already married, you'll be ready to skip the ring and elope just to keep this man! ....ok, maybe not skip the ring part}  When you get out of the bubble bath you realize there's the most deliciously soft Turkish bath towel just waiting for you to wrap yourself in.  Now the part that's for both of you to enjoy {men, if I've lost you before this...don't worry....this part will make you happy} He says, I got you something to more comfortable to slip into while you open your other gifts. Sounds kinda amazing right? Well send this post to your main squeeze so they can take notes.  And if you haven't found that special someone yet, it's ok, Galentines Day is a real thing.  Invite a girlfriend over, have fun drinking wine and cooking a delicious meal together and each of you can gift the other with something from my must have list and that will be just as perfect.

*I have received some of the items below for review, but the opinions expressed are my own. #occperfsp #sp #sponsored

Now for the list.  This is the holy grail of gifts lists, I swear if you get any of these, you'll be virtually cheersing me with a glass of wine or cocktail.  These are things are my love language. Oh and some of them wanted to celebrate with you so they are offering a special discount code for you to use for a limited time.  So don't wait, take advantage of these sweet deals.

1.  BoxFox - perfectly pre-curated gift box
2. Herbivore Botanicals - Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist
3. Chez Moi - a book with style with home decor inspiration & more
4. Nashelle personalized oversized heart pendant Use code PerfectLoves20 for 20% off
5. Diptyque Paris- limited edition Rosa Mundi votive- candle
6. Ray-Ban double bridge aviator sunnies - iconic eyewear frames
7.  Eberjey Encajes Teddy - luxurious designer sleepwear
8. Hello Fresh food delivery- - fresh meal delivery Use code HeidiJo30 for $30 off your first box!
9.  Bela Bracelets - hair tie bracelets
10. BloomThat - same day flower delivery service
11.  Mullein & Sparrow Pink Himalayan Bath salts
12.  Daniel Wellington Limited Edition Somerset Watch Use code PERFECT15 for 15% off

13.  Sunday Dry Goods James-Turkish towel

14. MAST Brothers Smoke chocolate bars
15. Life Proper messenger bag Use code PERFECTLOVES20 for 20% until the 14th

1. BoxFox - curated gift boxes full of all the right things that make life easy for the lazy gifter.  Guys, if you don't wanna think about buying a bunch of things or heading out to the mall and running from store to store, this is your answer. They have boxes already put together or you can edit and build your own.  I use Box Fox for my girlfriends, moms, babysitters, everyone. They've done the work to find the best products to fill the boxes and they style it in a way Every Girl will love.   These boxes are Instagram post worthy for sure. $35-$120 Right now they are offering FREE SHIPPING ON YOUR FIRST BOX.

2. Herbivore Botanicals - Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist.  These beauty products are hands down my fav.  All natural, and cruelty-free.  The make products that not only smells delicious,  it makes you feel amazing as well.  A must have in my purse at all times is their Rose hibiscus, coconut water hydrating face mist.  Ladies, this is created with pure plant actives and will give your skin a boost of moisture-enhancing and youth boosting hibiscus flower when you need it.  I use it to set my makeup, after a long plane ride, or right before bed.  It helps all skin types and doesn't make your face greasy or oily.  Plus the packaging is so gorg, it's good enough to leave out on the counter.  Am I right? $32 

3. Chez Moi - Books with style.  Ok, this may not be for everyone but I'm currently obsessed with making my home feel like home. This colorful book is filled with vibrant images and sketches full of inspiration to make your home a sanctuary away from the stresses of life.  Sarah Lavoine gave us 192 beautiful pages full of advice on everything from fashion to beauty and cooking all for the bargain price of $25. 

4. Nashelle personalized oversized heart pendant - not only is this my favorite piece of jewelry I own because it is the epitome of my style, but they are huge advocates about giving back.  They donate to numerous charities but the biggest thing they do is donate a plate of food for every single piece of jewelry sold through Feeding America.  So feel good about shopping because you're helping feed someone with each purchase.  My heart is engraved with J+H but their signature engraving is simply LOVE. Depending on the metal choice you can get this one of a kind piece for $38 or $105 for gold filled. (Mine is gold filled and I wear it at least 6 days a week.  Splurge for the good stuff, you'll thank me later.) 
USE CODE "PerfectLoves20" for 20% off your purchase through Valentines Day.

5. Diptyque Paris- limited edition Rosa Mundi votive- If this print looks familiar it's because it's the famous Domino paper by Antoinette Poisson and as if this wasn't enough to display this gorgeous candle in your home, it's paired with a limited edition fragrance by my favorite perfume maker, Dyptique.  Trust me on this one, it's worth it.  Smells bring back memories and this is a smell you want to remember. $68 

6. Ray-Ban double bridge aviator sunnies- The iconic Ray-Bans have stood the test of time, and aviators are always in style but these black and gold frames hit all the right latest trend marks.  Not too round, not too square, not too big and not too small, these will look good on all face shapes.  I know glasses are hard to buy for someone but these make it easy to win because they are super versatile. $175 

7. Eberjey Encajes Teddy - let's get personal for one hot second okay? I live for sweatpants, fluffy blankets and anything that I can get generally super cozy in. I've been wearing Cosabella panties since circa 2001, but the moment I found Eberjey my life changed.  For reals guys, this brand is full of the coziest, softest, airy fabrics your skin has ever felt. I own numerous panty sets from them but when I got married someone got me an eberjey teddy and I gladly threw my sweatpants to the side to experience the luxury of this pajama.  This teddy is an all in one, sexy, soft, luxurious, flattering and easy to wear pajama.  You'll look good, feel good and your man will love it also. I give you permission to buy this one for yourself.  Go ahead.  You deserve it. $97 

8. Hello Fresh food delivery- ok, this mom in stuff ain't easy...am I right? Where does the time go? Sometimes I look at the clock and it's 3 pm, my hair is in half falling top knot (not on fleek), I haven't showered, I'm still in my sweats, and I realize I have nothing to cook for dinner.  Hello Fresh to the rescue!  I wish I would have thought of this sooner! Life changing.  Fresh, healthy meals delivered to your door, with picture instructions that even your man can handle.  When we started this delivery service, the husband and I made a deal that one day a week he would be in charge of the cooking.  He obviously chooses the Hello Fresh delivery day as his night to cook every time! 
Use code HeidiJo30 for $30 off your first box.  

9. Bela Bracelets- "Wherever my hair ties go, I hope they're happy."   No, but seriously, why can't I ever find a hair tie when I need one?  Even though it's a necessity to have my hair up these days as a mom, I refuse to wear that elastic band on my wrist.  Avoid the dent in your arm and the eye sore by using these beauties.  Bela bracelets are dainty and stylish and they hide that band you so desperately need to have close by.  $25 

10. BloomThat -Flower delivery.  Seriously, who doesn't love fresh blooms? Bloom That delivers SAME DAY, just like Uber for flowers.  (limited SF area) or next day for the rest of the US.  Ashton Kutcher and Joe Montana invested in Bloom that because it's just that good.  The blooms are unique and on trend and their customer service is insane.  If you're sending flowers this year, use Bloom That, seriously. Oh, and ladies, they have some really cool succulent arrangements that your man would love, cause I believe men love surprise deliveries too! $32 and up
Ok, they don't really offer discounts but guess what- got you a hookup...ONE DAY ONLY until Feb 7th you get 15% off!

Use code PERFECTLOVES15  15% off your order

11. Mullein & Sparrow Pink Himalayan Bath salts- Bubble baths and bubbly are necessary to soothe the mind and body.  And with the right bath salts, like these, you'll slip into pure relaxation.  These Himalayan salts are made with all natural ingredients and the purest crystals that will replenish nutrients into the body, remove toxins, and aid in the relief of muscles, nerves, and joints. Ok...brb, gotta go start my own warm bath. $42 

12. Daniel Wellington Limited Edition Somerset Watch- Some words to describe a Daniel Wellington watch might start somewhere like perfection, end with timeless, and have minimalist and refined in between.  I bought my first DW almost 3 years ago and I still love it today. It's lightweight, easy to wear and literally takes my accessories game up a step.  The 36mm face size is big enough to stand out but it sits close to your wrist so it's also subtle.  They have tons of band choices and different metal choices, but this limited edition rose gold and navy has everything that speaks directly to my personal style. $199 

Use code PERFECT15 for 15% off

 13.  Sunday Dry Goods  James-Turkish towel - I'm seriously obsessed with soft, and cozy things.  A warm pile of soft laundry and some carbs, and I'm in heaven.  Sunday Dry Goods literally has made all my dreams come true with this oversize super plush, deliciously soft bamboo towel.  The unique weave in this one makes it highly absorbant and the coziest ever.  If towels aren't your jam, they also have scarves, blankets, throws and yes,  pretty much everything they make is worth freaking out over.  $64`

13. Sunday Dry Goods James-Turkish towel - I'm seriously obsessed with soft, and cozy things.  A warm pile of soft laundry and some carbs, and I'm in heaven.  Sunday Dry Goods literally has made all my dreams come true with this oversize super plush, deliciously soft bamboo towel.  The unique weave in this one makes it highly absorbant and the coziest ever.  If towels aren't your jam, they also have scarves, blankets, throws and yes,  pretty much everything they make is worth freaking out over. 
$64`

 14.  MAST Brothers  Smoke chocolate bar - Ok, Valentines Day isn't Valentines Day without chocolate.  If you go through the month of February without some form of chocolate in your life, you aren't fully living.  My husband has never had a sweet tooth (I know, it's annoying) but these MAST Brothers Chocolates are the way to anyone's heart, including his. Meet Smoke, this flavor features smoked coffee beans.  Yes, coffee and chocolate made out in a hipster eatery and had a baby with this one.  These $10 beautifully packaged bars are taking chocolate to a whole new place it has never been.  And if the taste is measured by its beauty alone, these bars would be pretty damn good.  Some of my other favorite flavors include Lavender, Lemongrass, Thyme, Olive Oil and Sea Salt...say what? Yum. $10 

14. MAST Brothers Smoke chocolate bar - Ok, Valentines Day isn't Valentines Day without chocolate.  If you go through the month of February without some form of chocolate in your life, you aren't fully living.  My husband has never had a sweet tooth (I know, it's annoying) but these MAST Brothers Chocolates are the way to anyone's heart, including his. Meet Smoke, this flavor features smoked coffee beans.  Yes, coffee and chocolate made out in a hipster eatery and had a baby with this one.  These $10 beautifully packaged bars are taking chocolate to a whole new place it has never been.  And if the taste is measured by its beauty alone, these bars would be pretty damn good.  Some of my other favorite flavors include Lavender, Lemongrass, Thyme, Olive Oil and Sea Salt...say what? Yum. $10 

15. Life Proper Messenger Bag - A woman's handbag is like her best friend, she never goes anywhere without it.  It's the most important accesory and a necessity for her daily life.  Finding the right bag can be hard.  But look no more.  This bag is it ladies.  I swear.  It's size is perfect.  It's highly functional and you can wear it with the cross body attachment for those on-the-go casual days or you can go for the bitchy-im cooler than you look and use the smaller hands to rest it in your elbow crack with your arm raised like your doing some curls, but your not. (what is that look anyway?)  They are designed using premium leather from ethically sourced houses, which creates a smooth leather finish and gives you all the feels of that new car smell.  You want this one.  I just know you do.  $270

Use code PERFECTLOVES20 for 20% until the 14th.