Author Archive

On My Travel Radar: Seven Secrets Resort & Wellness Retreat

I don’t know what I was googling or even the topic I was researching, because once I laid eyes on the Seven Secrets Resort and Wellness Retreat in Lombak, Indonesia all common sense went out of my head. I mean, really? All I could think of was white sandy beaches, yoga, delicious and healthy food, plus luxury. Luxury. All. Damn. Day. I’m a goner. A wellness retreat in this setting. Bring it. I seriously suggest you take a gander and look at these photos.

You know you want to go, right?

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Le Weekend

Daily Paint Works

It’s been such an amazing and profound week. You know the saying when one door closes, one door opens. That has been my week and it was the best week ever. With that being said, there are a few things I’m loving this week.

  1. If you have not watched Drake’s new video, how are we friends. I love it for reaffirming my belief Drake is a nerd and I love him.
  2. Downton Abbey is starting its final season. I seriously need to spend the next few weeks catching up.
  3. I love a good statement piece of jewelry and these earrings are calling me. Big. Bold and so Julia.
  4. Apple and fashion are coming together. I can’t wait to see what they create.
  5. I love a good hat for winter and this one is on its way to me. I can’t wait to wear it on a cold day out with friends.

Image: Daily Paint Works

Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil


I woke up this morning and had to really ask myself if it’s still autumn because it is cold. I mean coat cold. I had to put the lightweight jacket away this morning and put on the puffy coat. It’s too soon for this in my mind.

Cleansing oils have been very popular over the past few years and I like them a lot. I mainly use them as a makeup remover because they melt everything off. One problem I have if the oils are too heavy and then they just sit on your face. Also, I don’t like oils that need cajoling to wipe off. I don’t have to worry about this with the Neutrogena Ultra Light Cleansing Oil. It is so light and cleansing that one pump cleans my entire face. The beauty of this product is there is no oily residue on your face. That’s why I don’t use coconut oil to cleanse my face. Too greasy even after multiple washes.

If you are on the fence about cleansing oils I highly recommend this one. It’s great for the lovely winter we are having this fall.

P.S. I”m obsessed with this essentia alkaline water. I buy it by the case at grocery store and it is so good for your body.

Le Weekend

Keep Calm and love Autumn

I’m so excited to go apple picking tomorrow, visiting a local winery, and having multiple laughs that I hope I sleep well tonight. I’m excited to make my apple and blue cheese galette. It’s one of the things I look forward to this time of year. The weather is crisp and the leaves are getting the beautiful orange and plum hue that signals fall.

  1. I love whipped body butter, but I realized I could just make it myself with a little elbow grease. I watched this video, gathered my ingredients, and now you can’t stop me. My skin is going to be so soft that I actually want to pet it like a puppy. Also, I like that the scent isn’t over-powering. I combined lavender and Madagascar rose essential oils, but only a little bit. Divine. I put mine in glass sixteen-ounce jars I picked up at Homegoods because they make my beauty shelf look purr-ty.
  2. I love Rihanna and her unapologetic love of herself. I think she is smart and badass at the same time. This article reaffirms why I love her. Some people on these interwebs were made that the writer focused on herself more than Rihanna. Tell me what you think.
  3. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction was just announced and I was ecstatic to hear Marlon James won for a Brief History of Seven Killings. The book is so good, but it is very violent. I mean it’s tough. But, if you can get past that it is worth reading.
  4. Every year Neiman Marcus comes out with their annual Christmas Book of ridiculously crazy expensive things that I would buy if I won the lottery. It’s hilarious to look at. I take the time with a cup of tea and laugh out loud. Sometimes, there are a few gems in my price point but not many. It’s an anthropological study in how the other half lives.
  5. On most Fridays, I’m exhausted from the week and normally I’m on the couch watching documentaries on Netflix. Tonight I plan to watch them from the bath because my new ISUN ORMUS bath salts have arrived and plan on soaking until I’m as wrinkled as a raisin.

Feasting Pretty: Heritage BBQ by Cochon 555


I was elated to receive the email asking if I wanted to cover the Heritage BBQ event presented by Cochon 555. I almost cried. This was one of the food events I always wanted to attend but was never in town to do so. Cochon means “pig” in French, so the event had pork prepared various ways by local chefs. It is taken very seriously because it’s bragging rights for the chefs. Cochon 555 only uses heritage pigs. The best pigs in the world without all the crap that most farm animals have now.

One of my favorite restaurants in DC is Graffiato and I was happy to hear Chef Jose Adorno won. For more event photos check here. Cochon 555 tour all over the U.S. and I suggest snagging a ticket if you are into food. You will not be disappointed.

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{A classic Manhattan in a mason jar. Love.}


{These pig skins were worth every calorie.}

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{Chef Marc Pauvert butchering one of the pigs}

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Shopbop Friends & Family Sale Starts Today


Shopbop is one of my favorite places to shop online. Since I’m only buying very limited amounts of clothing, I’m curating my closet to only have beautiful and luxurious items. I love every single item I’ve purchased from Shopbop. So when they have a friends and family sale it’s worth spreading the love.

Happy fall shopping.

Le Weekend

Your Vibe

All I want this weekend it to make my spiked apple cider hot toddy, finish a few of my advanced reader copy books, and binge-watch old Barefoot Contessa episodes. It’s been a busy week, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It means I’m doing things I love and I’m happy.

  1. I’m not in the camp that if you drink coffee you don’t drink tea. I’m an equal opportunity beverage girl. I’m picky about my coffee and love a good strong cup of coffee. I recently discovered Marley Coffee’s One Love and it’s been in heavy rotation in our house. It just drop-kicked Verona to the curb.
  2. I have a serious girl crush on Chrissy Teigen. I think she is hilarious and my dream is to eat food, drink and laugh with her. She’s so funny and real. Here are a few reasons she makes me smile.
  3. I want to get enough strength to go and smell this candle, but I think it’s not going to happen. Maison Francis Kurkdijan doesn’t make anything bad so his holiday candle has to be in my home. Maybe I need to order it “sight unsniffed.”
  4. I had this Cabernet Sauvignon a few years ago and it has become my weekday red, not to be confused with my weekend red. I was always on the hunt for a good deal for it then my beloved Costco started selling it. A very happy wine girl.
  5. J.K. Rowling just made my weekend. Yep, the new Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Illustrated Edition has made its way on the bookshelf. Happy girl.

Wellness Wednesday: Why Self-Care is Important


{Quiet area at the Sofitel in Biarritz, France}

Self-Care Wisdom from Xina:

For the last couple of weeks, I had to stop running because I was suffering from back pain. It killed me to give it up. There is no worst feeling in the world for me than to stop running because of an injury. Not being able to run left me empty because I was missing my “runners high.” Additionally, I was worried about weight gain since I was not able to burn those calories on the trail. However, instead of focusing on not working out I leaned on my lifestyle and self-care to see me through until I was able to run again. I ate more fruits and vegetables and completely gave up sugar. I started practicing yoga and incorporated elements of Julia Coney’s 5-Day Cleanse.

Having a healthy lifestyle also means you must eat healthily and work out. Some use working out or running as an excuse to eat whatever they want. What happens if you get sick? Pull a muscle? Break a bone to prevent you from working out? It is important to have a full and balanced healthy lifestyle in place just in case you can’t burn those calories during a high impact workout or run. Also, I know a person who ran marathons but ate all of the wrong foods. She looked like she was in the best shape for her age group. Eventually, she suffered a stroke in her late 50s. That was my wake-up call to watch what I eat.

On average, I run 31-40 miles a week. I burn hundreds of calories a year from running, biking and lifting weights. But, I am mindful of what I eat. I am working on incorporating more yoga in my life because I need to stretch my muscles to help alleviate the tension and stress that build up after my runs.

My recommendations to maintain a healthy lifestyle incorporated into a fitness routine:

  1. Shape up your diet: Complement your exercise efforts with a healthy, portion-controlled diet. Eat fewer processed foods and more fruits and vegetables.  I love to eat chips, sweets and drink sodas, but I stopped keeping those items in my house because I didn’t want to spend precious time working them off. Get your diet in order and stick to it.
  2. Practice yoga: As a runner I suffer from tight hips, hamstrings and now lower back pain. Yoga helps with stretching muscles and easing lower back pain. Yoga isn’t just about chanting, breathing and stretching; it can be the missing part to improve overall flexibility and performance. Sometimes I don’t have the energy to stretch before and after runs. The only time I think about attending a yoga class is when I see my body isn’t responding well when I hit the pavement. If you practice yoga consistently, you will learn where your body is tight, weak or strong. Yoga can resolve the many problems I face from running.
  3. Get massages: Sports massages improve your running and workouts. A couple of weeks ago I got a Thai massage, a method that combines deep stretching and yoga. It worked miracles on my body, especially my back. Within a couple of days, I was back out running again.
  4. Lessons Learned: Take it from me, you have to take care of your body. I’ve promised myself that this time around I will practice yoga before and after my runs, get Thai massages regularly, and eat a balanced diet. If I do these things, it will make me a much happier runner.

My yoga teacher Dana of Spiritual Essence Yoga on the important of self-care. Watch and learn.

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