Friday, October 30, 2015

Life Lately

Who else is excited for Halloween?  I for one am ready to pack up all our Halloween decorations:)  So over it.  I am such a Christmas girl at heart. I love my white lights and sparkles.  I am excited to see the kids get dressed up and how excited they are about Trick or Treating. 

I caught the most beautiful sunrise this morning.  I will never get tired of living so close to the water.

Last weekend Matt and I had a date night with some good friends.  We tried out a new restaurant on James Island,  Stereo 8.
I have to say I walked in expecting to be disappointed but it far exceeded my expectations.  The Tuna Tartare and Thai Ceviche were incredible. The Kale chips were also amazing.  I will certainly go back.

Last Saturday our local DNR station hosted the coolest open house.  It had so many fun activities for the kids.  Sterling had a blast.

Frances is trying hard to convince me we need a small dog.  She and Sterling love taking care of my parent's Maltese.  The little star top she is wearing is such a cute fit and style,  I bought it in the penguins print too.
Wearing: Star Top (use code STYLE for 30% off) | Leggings | Native Shoes
Not sure how this guy would do with another dog in the house he has such anxiety issues.  But he is such a sweet dog.

 This Cabernet is a new favorite. It is under $20 and both Matt and I loved it.  We are super picky about red wines but this one was excellent.

I cooked Penne A La Vodka for the first time last night.  My brother in law passed the recipe to me.  Now typically I am not a Rachel Ray Fan but this recipe was awesome and so easy.    You can get the Recipe HERE.

Our planter finally arrived for the dining room.  It had been backordered for 2 months.  I am still waiting on a few more pieces to arrive hopefully before we host Thanksgiving and I can do a full room reveal!  I am off this morning to get some moss filler to go around the plant.

Frances Moon enjoying some Bojangles.  
Enjoying Happy Hour in my cute new cups Paper Snob sent me:)  You can see all her "happy" cups HERE

I just ordered this Mara Hoffman Sweater.  I love the bright colors and fringe and it was just reduced.  I will share pictures when it arrives.

My new favorite boots.  

And because it's Friday and who doesn't love a little eye candy.  I mean Blake Lively is one lucky lady.

Have a great Halloween Weekend.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Halloween Treat, Halloween Cocktail and Recent Outfits

Happy Thursday!  Today I wanted to share two fun ideas for Halloween one for the kids and one for the adults!

These could not be easier and the kids loved helping to make them.  I found the recipe on Pinterest.
-1 bag snack sized reeses cups
- oreos
- icing (I bought the kind in a small squeeze tube)
- edible eyes

Break off the tops of the oreos and break into halves.  Use the icing to secure the oreos wings on the reeses cups and then use the icing to glue the eyeballs.  

If you are not familiar with Hooch, you need to be.  It is the perfect cocktail mixer to have on hand.  
It is a bubbly limeade mixer and we love it.  It is not super sweet which I like.  It is great mixed with vodka or tequila.  If you are pregnant it also makes a great mocktail, my sister likes to sip it on ice with no alcohol added. 
It was created locally here in Charleston and is carried in several stores in the Southeast but for those of you not local you can order HERE
This is what the bottle looks like if you are trying to find it.

You can make this rita with either vodka or tequila.  Just add Hooch, a little fresh squeezed lime, a dash of triple sec if you have it on hand and fresh sliced lime for garnish.  Serve over ice and we like to salt our rims with pink Himalayan sea salt!


I love this simple black dress.  It is great to dress up or down and is now on sale.  It also comes in a really pretty gray color.  Several of you asked about the booties and I found mine at TJMaxx but after scoring the internet I found them Here for 55% off!. They also come in black which I am so tempted to order I love my other ones so much.

This top is another score I found at Banana Republic.  If you love a good comfy knit shirt this one is a winner.  On sale now for only $20.  Comes in 6 different colors too.

You might remember this blouse from my Gigi New York Photos.  It is on constant rotation these days.  Runs on the large side I am in XS. Also carrying my black Gigi Crocodile purse!

My mom ended up buying the same Mara Hoffman dress I had and we decided to trade colors for awhile.  I love the red for Fall.  I bought the Madewell Pumps 2 years and they have quickly become my favorite go to pumps.  They are  super comfortable.

Mara Hoffman Dress | Madewell Pumps| Boho Beads Necklace

I ordered this dress from Loft last week during the sale and I was so pleased with it.  I love the pattern and the fun ruffled bottom.  Everything at LOFT is currently 40% off with code SWEET.

I also ordered this Floral Blouse (it is the same style as the coral blouse I shared Friday)
and this Dot Blouse, my store didn't have my size in stock.

This is the blouse I ordered during the Shopbop Friends and Family sale.  I love the mustard color and criss cross front detail.

  Have a fabulous Thursday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Asparagus, Mushrooms and Brie + Terrafirma Pieces on Sale!

Lately I have been trying to branch out and try to cook new veggies.  I often get in a rut and don't try new things.  This recipe is a first as I have never actually cooked an acorn squash before.  Spaghetti squash plenty of times but never acorn squash.   A few weeks ago I had a stuffed acorn squash for lunch while my mom was visiting and it totally inspired me.  I made up this combo but the possibilities are endless.  If you don't like quinoa use white or brown rice and any combo of veggies you love.  This would also be killer with some ground sausage added in.  I personally love the combo of the asparagus, mushrooms and brie.  They really pair together perfectly.  You get the crunch of the asparagus, the earthiness of the mushrooms and the creaminess of the Brie.  It is a great combination. This actually made enough filling to stuff another squash but I only bought two.  You could save the filling to have as a quinoa salad or make an extra squash, they save and reheat great.  It was also a very filling meat free dinner.  I wold serve this with a salad and some tasty wine for a tasty weeknight dinner.

|| S T U F F E D   A C O R N  S Q U A S H  W I T H  A S P A R A G U S + M U S H R O O M S + B R I E ||

- 2 acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 cup sliced baby bellas or really any mushrooms
- 1/2 white onion, diced.
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- sliced brie

Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.  Cut acorn squash in half and remove all seeds.  Melt the butter and brush on the flesh side of the squash.  Season all with salt and pepper.  Place the 4 squash halves on a baking sheet flesh side up.  Bake 50-60 minutes until inside is tender.

Cook quinoa according to package.   I did one cup dried quinoa in 2 cups of water.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer about 15 minutes.  Then fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper.
Chop asparagus into about 1 inch pieces.  Coarsely chop mushrooms.  Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet and add onion, mushrooms, and asparagus.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add in red pepper flakes.  Remove from heat and stir the veggies into quinoa.

Stuff each cooked acorn half with the quinoa veggie mix and top with about 2-3 thin slices of brie.  Bake another 5 minutes or so just to melt brie.

I had a sweet reader who was nice enough to alert me that several terrafirma pieces were on sale at JCrew.  You all know I LOVE terrafirma pieces.  They are hands down my favorite serving dishes.  Best part is they are dishwasher safe.  These are on sale + additional 40% with code FALLSALE. They are never on sale, trust me!
The dish above is a terrafrima platter and actually for the most part all of the dishes I use in my recipes post are:)  I ordered a few of the dessert bowls for entertaining!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shopbop New Markdowns.

I wanted to pop in share Shopbop just did some new markdowns. 

 This Joie Off Shoulder Blouse was just reduced.
It runs on the large side, I am in size XS. 

 Below are a few other favorites!

Coming Clean with My Beauty Products

 A few weeks ago after I did my post on my favorite Beauty products, I got several emails and comments alerting me that some of the products I used were not safe, especially my beloved Cetaphil.  I really appreciated everyone that commented and alerted me to the unsafe items I was using.  You see I knew some of my beauty products were probably not the best for me but I turned a blind eye and didn't take the time to dig deep and do the research. It was easier just to keep using what I was using.

The funny thing is I am so particular about what I use on my kids but not me.  I decided it was time to make a change and toss some of my old products and start taking better care of my skin and body.  Something that really stuck with me is the fact that our skin is the largest organ on our body.  Everything we put on it is absorbed- especially lotions.  I immediately threw away my cetaphil and a few other products after that post.

 Enter my friend Christi Hucks.  Christi contacted me after my post about my favorite beauty items and alerted me that many were toxic.  She shared so much helpful information with me.  Christi and I have actually never met in person but we connected via social media.  I started following her last year when she did the One Year Wardrobe Resolution and went a whole year without buying any new clothes or accessories.  I was so impressed with her dedication and feel the same way about her work now.   She is now a rep with Beautycounter which is rapidly growing as one of the biggest  "safe" cosmetics  and beauty line.   She offered to do a post for my blog answering questions I had and I thought it was a great idea.  Also what better time than October- Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I am not saying either of us are experts ( I am most certainly not)  but we are just trying to learn all the facts we can about the Beauty Industry here in the US and why there are not more restrictions.  I wanted to share the info I received with others who may not know all the scary details like me a few weeks ago. Some of the facts and stats are frightening especially the ones involving breast cancer.

I am sure by now most of you are familiar with Beauty Counter. I have mentioned it several times on here before and I truly love so many of their products.  Their main mission is to get safe products into the hands of everyone and I love that.

Below are a few of my favorite Beauty Counter Items. After I tossed my Cetaphil Christi was sweet enough to send some of the Beautycounter Body Butter to try as a replacement.  Well I love it and it is now my everyday lotion.  A little bit goes a long way so it lasts awhile.

 If you are looking for other "safe" lines that I really like I also suggest Tata Harper, Josie Maran, and RMS Beauty (their coconut oil wipes are a must).

Enlightening Treatment Pads | Kids Bath Collection | Lip Sheer | Body Butter
Body Scrub | Concealer | Tinted Moisturizer | Restorative Night Cream


I compiled a list of my questions for Christi to answer and wanted to share her answers.

What ingredients should we as consumers be on look out for on our beauty labels that are particularly bad?

At Beautycounter we have a Never List of over 1500 ingredients, and I refer everyone to that list when scanning product labels for toxic ingredients. Here are the main chemical groups to avoid:

I know you mentioned Cetaphil as containing un-safe ingredients any other familiar brands that are also un-safe?

I usually don't like to name specific companies, rather I prefer to educate everyone on where to find the safety scores on the brands they are currently using. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is one of our trusted non-profits and they have an extensive database of over 60,000 products. Each product is given safety score on a scale of 1-10, with 1-2 being the "green zone." This is where you want all of your personal care products to be. You can find this database at or you can download the Skin Deep app to your phone. I do like to make the disclaimer that many products are not in the system. The reason for this is because, by law, there has been no regulation in the personal care industry since 1938. And companies are not required to list their ingredients on their products. Without full disclosure, it is impossible for the EWG to give an accurate safety score. My recommendation is to stick to products you can find in the system. If it's not in there, it should be a red flag. 

Why does the US not have the same restrictions on beauty items like Europe?

The US has not passed a federal law governing the personal care industry since 1938. This is alarming! Furthermore, the law that was passed is just 1 1/2 pages long and only bans 11 ingredients. Europe currently bans over 1300 ingredients from their personal care products.

Is there anything we can do to petition to have more restrictions placed on what is used in our Beauty Industry?

Absolutely! First and foremost, cast your "vote" for the world you want tomorrow by choosing to buy safe products today. Boycott toxic products.
As our Founder and CEO Gregg Renfrew says, "When the tide rises, all ships sail." When we all unite and make safer choices, companies will start to pay attention. It is consumerism that ultimately drives the market. If we stop buying toxic products, they will be forced to make a change. 

You can also contact your state senators and congressmen. Let them know where you stand on these issues. The more they hear about these issues, the more likely they will be to add it to the agenda. There is strength in numbers. Add your voice to the movement.

Top 5 Favorite Beautycounter Items?

Wow! This is super hard. I literally use and love everything! But if I had to pick my 5 that I couldn't live without, this would be the list:

1. Lustro Face Oils - #1 is for sensitive skin, #2 is for anti-aging, and #3 is for acne-prone skin and rosacea. They can be used alone or mixed with one of our moisturizers. I prefer to mix 2-3 drops with the Essentials Every Night Cream at bedtime. 

3. Nourishing Cleansing Balm - This product is truly a miracle in a jar! It has 101 uses. You can use it as a cleanser, mask, or an overnight treatment. I have really dry hands and feet so I use it on them at night. This product also cured my son's eczema. I'm obsessed.

Why Use Beautycounter?

At Beautycounter, we ban over 1500 ingredients from our products - more than any other company on the planet. We also have one of the most rigorous and strictest ingredient screening processes, and we have the highest level of transparency of any brand on the market. We are also a B Corp. This means we have a triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. We have to meet extremely strict standards (like having a zero-carbon footprint and using sustainably harvested/fair trade ingredients). Some other famous B Corps include Patagonia and Ben & Jerry's. We are also proud to partner with 3 trusted non-profits: Healthy Child Healthy World, The EWG, and The Breast Cancer Fund.

Any other favorite lines that are natural and safe to use?
When it comes to beauty, Beautycounter is definitely my favorite. But other safe brands that I would recommend are Tata Harper, Ava Anderson, and Honest.

Is there one item that if you are going to buy anything natural it should be that item? 
Organic Coconut Oil. You can use it for almost everything!

Any other important stats we as consumer should know?
Since we are highlighting Breast Cancer this month, I will start there. Currently, 1 out of 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Of those women, only 10% carry the BRCA gene. This means that 90% of the women being diagnosed have no family history of the disease. 
Here is an info graphic on some other scary statistics.

 I also want to mention Christi is donating 100% of proceeds from the sale of "pink" products this month.  Pink products are:
beauty counter 2

Huge Thank you to Christi for educating me and inspiring me to change my beauty habits!

I would like to note I am not affiliated with Beauty Counter and was not paid to write this post. I truly love their products and have been using them for over a year now.  I have joined together to help Christi host an online social for the next two weeks that you can shop HERE.

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Dream Come True | Re-Invent-It with Gigi New York My Purse Design!

As many of you know, while we were in New York two months ago Matt and I stopped by The Gigi New York factory.  I mentioned I was working on a fun project with them, and it has finally come to fruition!  Gigi selected 5 bloggers to redesign a purse of our choice, and they picked me to be the first one!  I have been a huge Gigi New York fan for years, so I was thrilled when they proposed the idea to me.  It truly was a dream come true to be involved in the whole design process and see how their purses are made. 

They asked me to select my favorite handbag from their line.  I was torn between the Tori and the Teddie, because they are both favorites of mine.  I really like a bigger tote style bag to have room for all my stuff and the kid's stuff too.   After I selected the bag they asked me for fabric ideas to narrow it down.  I had envisioned a textured leather, almost like crocodile or ostrich leather.  They then mailed me a package of leather samples to feel and see what I liked.  Remember their leather wall?  They have so many different leathers that have never been used before.

I received the samples in the mail and 3 favorites immediately stood out.
When I visited the factory in August, Gigi had made sample purses out of the three leathers for me to feel and actually see in person. We loved two of the leathers so much we decided to offer the both the Teddie and Tori Re-Invent-It instead of just the one. This made me ecstatic because it was next to impossible to choose a favorite out of the two.

After I made my final leather decision we then talked about details of the purses. We had several conference calls and emailed back and forth during this process.  I like an open purse with no dividers.  As a busy mom I can fit more things in this way.  My sister said she also preferred this open style to fit in her laptop.  So both bags have an open center, but they also have side zippered pockets, which I love to store my phone in.

We settled on our final two designs the beginning of September: the Tori in Embossed black Crocodile and the Teddie in Tejus Leather.

I love both purses equally.  It was hard for me to choose a favorite.  If you have seen me around town I have been carrying the black crocodile Tori.
Both leathers are incredibly soft.  They just feel and look luxurious   I like that they are timeless and classic but still have a slight edge.

I love the color of this purse.  It is the perfect everyday color for year round.
Here is close up of the detail which is hard to see on the web page.
This tote is slightly more structured with a stiffer bottom and wider straps.

Both bags are limited edition and limited quanity so once they sell out that is it!   I am thrilled to offer you guys a free iPhone 6 or 6 plus case with your purchase.
Keep the iPhone case for you or they make great Christmas gifts as well.

Use code NATALIEIC6- for iPhone 6 case
and NATALIEI6P - For IPhone 6 Plus case 

With holidays around the corner you can now get free shipping my Re-Invent-It purses and a discounted personalization rate.

It is hard for me to put into words what a dream it was to work with Gigi and re-design these purses.  
I feel so grateful for this amazing opportunity!

Outfit and Purse Details:

Photo Credit | Rick Dean Photography