Giveaway- Jane Iredale Starter Kit

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you are single or coupled, today is a day to celebrate all the love you already have in your life. Love from friends, family, your pet, your community, YOUR SELF is just as important ( if not more so) than romantic love. I hope you have a day so filled with love your heart hurts. I personally will be spending the day cuddling and playing with my littlest Valentine and the night watching a movie and drinking wine on the couch with my bigger Valentine!

Speaking of love, the lovely folks at Jane Iredale recently sent me their new Starter Kit to try. Knowing I am a busy mom on the go they thought this easy, three step makeup routine would be right up my alley. They were right! With the Starter Kit I can be ready to run out the door in less than 60 seconds! The products are so beautifully effective I even look like I’ve had a full night’s sleep… ha!

Each Starter Kit includes:

Amazing Base® SPF 20 Loose Mineral Powder; the original foundation, powder, concealer and sunscreen in one. It provides exceptional coverage with a luminous finish.
PurePressed® Base SPF 20 Mineral Foundation; the first pressed mineral foundation, powder, concealer and sunscreen in one. It provides long-lasting, highly pigmented coverage with a semi-matte finish.
POMMIST™ Hydration Spray; a hydrating facial spritz with the added benefit of pomegranate extract. This also smells so yummy!
Mini Powder Brush.
Travel-size cosmetic case with extra-large mirror.

The Starter Kit Routine could not be any easier. First, start with Smooth Affair to nourish and refine the skin. Then apply either the Amazing Base to the PurePressed Base with the Mini Powder Brush. Finally, finish with a spritz of POMMISST. That’s it! I like to add a swipe of Jane Iredale Mascara to finish the easy, natural look.

  • Want to try the Starter Kit for yourself? Leave a comment here, tweet me @sarajanemercer or leave a comment on my Facebook page with what shade you would like to try ( Light, Medium Light, Medium, Medium Dark, Dark). A winner will be chosen at random!

 

 

Sweets for your Sweet

Valentine’s Day is this Friday. Everywhere I look there are chocolate hearts, roses, lingerie and champagne. Doug and I gave up going out on Valentine’s Day several years ago. While I love my husband dearly and enjoy romantic nights out with him, I don’t see the need to spend tons of money on a multi course prix-fix dinner. Instead, Doug and I like to stay in on February 14th, make a delicious dinner and watch a movie. We usually then go out on the 15th or 16th to do something special when reservations are easier to get and no one is forcing you to eat an eight course tasting menu.

In preparation for Valentine’s Day, Elizabeth Street, one of my favorite “cool mom” sites asked me to share a few recipes for healthy Valentine’s Day treats. All of these treats are easy to make, better for you than traditional goodies, and are made with beauty foods which will keep you feeling sexy (not bloated!). Head over to Elizabeth Street to see the recipes!

Happy Valentines Day! I know one little girl who is in the spirit…

Avocado, Grapefruit, Beet and Fennel Salad

In this polar vortex of a winter I have found it hard to eat many salads. By the time dinner rolls around I am not only exhausted but am also craving hearty, comforting foods. Make that hearty, comforting, easy to prepare foods! Most nights I have been dining on a simple roasted sweet potato with some sautéed greens…or something along those lines. When I feel like something a little more exciting I have been making a large bowl of this salad. If I roast the beets and fennel ahead of time it take me only minutes to throw together and is oh so satisfying.

This salad combines three of my favorite foods- grapefruit, beets and avocado. Throw a little roasted fennel into the mix and I am in heaven! I could eat this every night. Especially right now when grapefruits are at their peak and are so sweet and delicious-not bitter at all!

Avocado, Grapefruit, Beet and Fennel Salad

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 fennel bulbs
  • 3 medium beets
  • 1 grapefruit
  • sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Trim the fronds and bottom off the fennel bulbs, then slice in half length wise. Cut each half into approximately 1/2″ semi-circles.
  3. Trim the tops and bottom of the beets and cut them into medium sized chunks
  4. Place the fennel and beets on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until both the beets and fennel are tender-about 30-40 minutes.
  5. Peel the grapefruit and cut into small sections.
  6. Slice the avocado into wedges.
  7. Once the fennel and beets have roasted and cooled toss all the ingredients gently in a small bowl so the grapefruit juice can coat the others.
  8. Season with sea salt and serve.
01/16
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Ah, teething. This past week Hermione began waking up in the middle of the night again and I could not figure out why. Then yesterday I spotted it…another little tooth about to make it’s appearance! This will be three teeth total. Personally I cannot imagine what it must feel like to cut fresh bone through my gums… can you? No wonder whenever a new tooth is about to pop my little one has trouble sleeping! Ouch!

There are a huge variety of remedies to help babies cope with teething pain. A lot of people suggest giving a mild pain killer such a Tylenol but since I won’t even take it myself I am certainly not comfortable with Hermione having any. As we have gone through these first three teeth I have found a few natural solutions that seem to help Hermione on days when her teething pain is most acute. Luckily once the little tooth pops the surface she quickly gets relief. With (almost) three teeth down and 17 (yikes) more to go these are the teething solutions that have helped us so far.

Raw Apple Slices

Teething or not Hermione loves to gnaw on cold apple slices. They are sweet, suckable and can keep her occupied and happy for long periods of time. When she is teething a cool, rough apple slice seems to help the pain quite a bit. Now that she has some teeth I have to be careful she does not break off a piece larger than she can swallow. So far we have been ok, but if you give a baby an apple slice make sure you are always nearby for safety!

 

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile tea is soothing for everyone, teething babies included. I brew Hermione a super weak cup, let it cool completely and give her a little bit in a medicine dropper. It seems to mellow her out and help her deal with the pain.

Camilia

Camilia is an all natural homeopathic teething remedy you can find at Whole Foods and a lot of pharmacies. These single dose tubes really help Hermione. I give her a couple before bedtime or anytime she is acting cranky and in pain. I always have some in the diaper bag, on the changing table, and by her rocking chair for middle of the night doses.

Clove Oil

Clove oil (easily found at Whole Foods or any health food store) is a natural analgesic (numbing agent) that can be very helpful for tooth pain. In order to be used safely it MUST be diluted with a carrier oil first. Add a few drops (1-2) of clove oil to a tablespoon of olive oil. Keep the mixture in a small jar and apply with your finger to your babies gums a few times a day and before bedtime.

Frozen Washcloth or Burp Cloth

A frozen washcloth or burp cloth is great for a teething baby to chew on. Simply wet it a little, roll it up and throw it in the freezer. The coolness helps sore swollen gums. For an added bonus you can dip these is camomile tea before freezing! Two remedies in one!

Honest Company Teether

Hermione is OBSSED with her Honest Company Teether. Made from natural silicone it is huggable, chewable and gnawable. It it extra soothing when thrown in the freezer and can even be washed in the dishwasher. I have two of these so one is always cooling in the freezer while the other is being gnawed on.

01/03
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Cozy Snow Day

Snowy days like today ( thanks Winter Storm Hercules) make me want to hunker down, stay indoors and eat warm comforting food. It is freezing cold outside and with a baby at home there is really no where worth trekking to. I got my workout in this morning and plan on spending the rest of the day cuddling my small person and cooking food for the weekend. These days I try and prepare recipes that all of us can enjoy. Hermione has started eating lunch everyday and loves to experiment with a variety of vegetables. So far her favorites include root vegetable “fries”, green smoothies and kale pesto. She really is my daughter!

Doug and I recently started getting weekly deliveries from Rustic Roots Delivery, an organic food home delivery service. They source beautiful produce from Montauk to the Hudson River Valley and deliver us a cooler of goodies each week! It is so much fun to open up the cooler and see what I have to play with. It really forces me to be creative with my cooking and use what I have.

This weeks delivery included an beautiful, huge butternut squash. I immediately know what I wanted to make. This Butternut Squash Puree tastes like Thanksgiving on a spoon. The best part is if I make it without salt ( a no no for babies and their tiny kidneys) Hermione can have some too! The perfect family meal for a freezing cold January day!

Butternut Squash Puree

  • 1 whole butternut squash
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 4 sage laves
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds
  3. Divide the garlic, sage and rosemary between the two squash cavities
  4. Place the squash cut side down on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the squash halves are soft
  6. Allow the squash to cool before scooping the flesh into a high speed blender
  7. Blend the squash until smooth
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm
Enjoy the snow! In case you need something to warm your heart here is a picture of Hermione on our trip to Whole Foods last night before the snow started. It was her first experience with mittens and I swear she thought her hands had totally disappeared!
A New Year’s Letter

December 31st, 2013

Dear Sara,

At 22 weeks pregnant you are still feeling pretty good. It’s bitter cold out but tonight you will go out with your husband for a romantic dinner and randomly wander into a raging party where you are the only sober (and preggers) person. Try to have a good time. Dance a little. Doug really wants to dance.

The rest of your pregnancy will be a little hard on you. You will continue to hate getting bigger. Go easy on yourself, it is all worth it. Very, very worth it. And yes, you will be able to spin right up until you give birth. Don’t be mad when Laurie moves you out of the front row, it’s for your own good you crazy lady! And yes, the swelling in your feet will go away. And yes the pain in your ribcage will stop. And yes and yes and yes.

By the time your baby shower rolls around you will be DONE. Swollen feet and huge belly aside try and enjoy the party. All of your very best friends will be there celebrating you and Hermione (no body knows her name yet but I do!). Also, don’t bother buying those 4.5″ Jimmy Choo heels a size up so you can shove your pregnant feet into them…you still won’t last more than an hour in them.

38 weeks and one day into your pregnancy you will decide to get dressed up and go out for lunch with your mom and sister. Your mom will tell you how beautiful you look pregnant. Listen to her. Listen to everyone who tells you you look beautiful pregnant. You do.

That night at midnight your water will break and you will go into fast and furious labor. You will do the whole thing completely drug free as you wanted. It will be hard, harder than even you imagined. The pain will be mind numbing but you will do it. You will think you can’t but you will do it. Just trust Doug and Amy and Dr. Worth, they will get you through. Give into your body and trust it to do it’s job. Your body is amazing.

At 1:41 pm on April 27th after 2.5 hours of excruciating pushing Hermione will be born. From the second she is placed on your chest your life will never be the same. You never truly knew love before this moment.

Nursing will be hard at the beginning. Don’t give up. She will figure it out. She is little and nursing is hard work for her. When she is about four weeks old it will all click and you two will have the most wonderful, beautiful nursing relationship.

Your first summer as a family will be magical. Doug will have all of July and August off and you will spend it in a baby filled haze together. Enjoy the warm days at the beach. Don’t panic when she wakes up every two hours overnight. Don’t try and do too much. Just love your baby and the new family you have created.

Be easy on your body in the months following Hermione’s birth. Your body will eventually go back to something that resembles your old self (plus giant nursing boobs) but it won’t happen overnight. Sometime around mid September your jeans will fit perfectly again. Come the winter you will be back in your leather leggings. Your shoes will also all fit again. I promise.

2013 will be a magical year for you if you let it. Enjoy your pregnancy as much as you can. It is temporary. Enjoy those sleepless early days with a newborn. They are fleeting and she will grow quickly. Enjoy nursing her in the middle of the night. Soon enough she will sleep all (most) of the night and strange as it sounds you will miss her and your quiet, dark nursing sessions deeply. Enjoy all of the music classes, swim lessons, trips to the swings, and play sessions on the floor. She will change every day so make sure to take it all in…even if all you really want is a shower and a meal you can eat with two hands.

It’s December 31st again and you are laying in your bed writing this while an eight month old Hermione naps in your arms. All the cliches are true. She is you sun and your moon. You are now one of those people who has their baby as their Facebook photo. Embrace it. When you feel exhausted just wait for her to smile or laugh at you or give you big wet baby kisses. She is hands down the best thing you have ever done in your life.

Happy New Year! 2013 is going to be a big one for you.

Love,
Sara

 

Have you heard of the Snippet App? Snippets are media rich, beautifully designed, mini e-books that you can download and read from your mobile device. With a huge range of topics from health to fiction there is a Snippet for everyone! Best part is the app is FREE and the Snippets range from just .99-$4.99!

Just in time for the holidays I recently published my first Snippet. Featuring all my best tips on how to host a healthy holiday party Clean, Pure and Simple Holidays will help you celebrate in style. From recipes, to decor, to personal style I have you covered!

So, get the Snippet App today and then download Clean, Pure and Simple Holidays!

Alignyo’s Plant-tastic Holiday Dinner Menu

I can’t believe Christmas is next week! Our tree is up and decorated, my shopping is done, Hermione’s first Christmas presents are all wrapped. Seriously, where did 2013 go?

Every year we spend Christmas with Doug’s family at their house upstate. We do a huge Christmas Eve dinner and then a breakfast Christmas morning before we open presents. It’s very festive and celebratory and I can’t wait to see Hermione experience it for the first time!

I always bring a vegan dish or two for the holiday meal, so when Alignyo asked me to contribute a recipe for their Plant-tastic Holiday Dinner Menu  I was thrilled. Along with my recipe this e-book is loaded with plant based festive ideas for starters, mains and desserts. So invite your friends and family over, break out the holiday tunes and mistletoe and cook them a plant based meal they will never forget!

Norman and Jules Toyshop

As a mom, toys now play a huge part of my life. A good chunk of my day is spent on the floor with Hermione playing with the various dolls, blocks, books or musical instruments that live in her toy bin. I am very selective about what I will let her play with. At this age almost everything she touches ends up in her mouth so I have a very firm no plastic toys rule. I also want to inspire her to be creative with her play so none of her toys light up, use batteries, or play fake music. We are a mostly wooden toys and handmade dolls family.

Some of Hermione’s favorite toys are actually ones we have made her ourselves like her Wonder Jars. She also loves her shredded coconut sandbox and her homemade “sled”! The sandbox is just an empty Honest Company Box filled with shredded coconut I had left over from making granola last year.

Her sled is another box lined with soft blankets that I tied a twine pull cord onto. Before bedtime she sits in it with her stories, and favorite doll “Beverly”, and I pull her around the house while I get her bath and nursery ready for bed. It sounds silly but she loves it!
When Hermione is playing with store bought toys they mostly come from Norman and Jules Toyshop in Brooklyn. This amazing store has the most well curated collection of treasure and goodies I have ever seen. Each doll, block, instrument and book is unique, gorgeous and completely up to my non toxic, made with love standards. Many of Hermione’s friends including her BFF Beverly the SnugglyUgly Monster  came from Norman and Jules.

Married couple Courtney and Avi were kind enough to answer a few questions for me all about their shop. I hope you enjoy!

If you have little ones on your holiday list head over to Norman and Jules’ recently launched website to pick them up a friend of their own. This Tutu Rag Doll would be great for a little girl, or these gorgeous blocks, or this awesome rainstick. Happy shopping!

Tell me the story behind Norman and Jules? What made you decide to open a toyshop in Park Slope?

Avi and I have both lived in Park Slope for over a decade. We each came to the neighborhood in our early 20′s, met here and now have a child here. We felt a void when we were looking for toys, decor and books for our daughter and felt that others must feel the same way! Since we shared the dream of being shop owners we decided to open the toy shop of our dreams in our own community. Norman and Jules is named after each of our Grandfather’s. 

What makes Norman and Jules so unique?

Our relentless need to find new things. Avi and I are both researchers. We love to find hidden treasures and things that will make others happy.

I love how sustainable, and handcrafted all of your gorgeous goodies are! What is your criteria when picking toys to stock your shelves?

We like to know that the materials are being harvested responsibly that the people that are employed by the companies are being employed fairly and that each toy evokes the imagination and creativity of young minds.

 Do you each have a favorite item you carry?

Courtney: Lieschen Müller hand-made dollAvi: Tegu Blocks 

Hermione has been nudging me to get to work on her first Hannukah and Christmas (we celebrate both in our house) What are your favorite gifts for a baby girl?

Jeanette Farrier one of a kind sari blanket. Snuggly Ugly Rag Doll, Grimm’s Grasping Beads, Glockenspiel,  and a mushroom night light.

Does your daughter Charley have any say in what you carry? Is being the kid of toy shop owners so much fun?

If we gave Charley a say in what we carry the whole store would be filled musical instruments, baby dolls and muffins!!! So not yet, but I’m sure as she gets older she will have her say. She definitely has some nice toys at home, but we are very mindful of not over indulging her, after all, she has a whole store to play in.

Lastly, if your family was going on a dream holiday vacation where would you go and what essentials would you bring with you?

The mention of a vacation sounds really nice!  

If it was a family holiday vacation. Nantucket. Essentials would be some comfy clothes, an iPad, and a few toys to keep Charley happy.

If it was a Courtney and Avi holiday a villa in Fiji. I would need nothing except the sound of the ocean and my sweet husbands company and some good books. Oh and maybe an iPad so we could check in on Charley.

I am all about beauty foods that make you both feel and look good! Last winter, I was thrilled to be asked to appear on Nikita Chopra’s new show, Naturally Beautiful on Veria Living and share some of my favorite beautifying recipes. I was quite pregnant at the time and vividly remember scrambling to find a dress that both fit over my belly AND was TV worthy!

Take a look at my  recently aired segment here:

 

Like what you see? Give my Cauliflower Fried Rice and Pomegranate Guacamole recipes a try yourself