2020! New decade, new year, new YOU! I’ve put together my top 5 supplements I love and swear by. Whole Foods Market is having their annual supplement sale January 3rd-5th, but if you can’t make it to the store, feel free to shop through my Amazon links! Reach out if you have any questions and here’s to feeling and looking your best in 2020!!
I should start off by saying my husband and I have managed to stay at almost every. single. resort on Walt Disney World property! You name it, we’ve experienced it. Budget friendly, mid range and even the best of the best. As a little girl, I remember my first trip to Walt Disney World. I was in the third grade…8 years old. It literally changed my life. I know that may sound a tad overdramatic, but listen here. I grew up in Brooklyn, we played hopscotch on the sidewalk, played on the stairs inside when it snowed and were lucky to hit up a carnival every now and again with the fam. My kids are straight up spoiled! When we lived in O-town for a brief stint, I remember my then 4-year-old boy saying we’re going to Disney AGAIN?! I about chewed his head off and proceeded to tell him about how some people were lucky to visit Disney ONCE in their lifetime! I haven’t heard a word from the kid since.
I can remember it like yesterday…taking the monorail and seeing the double doors open up to an untouchable world of wonder. The Contemporary Resort, The Grand Floridian (which we have stayed at too and I feel is a completely different post) and The Polynesian. That feeling of being so enamored with what’s in front of you, that it takes over your entire body. I remember saying to myself, “Oh, I’ll be back some day!” So, for my 35th birthday, my son’s 6th and our 8th wedding anniversary, we finally made it happen! We literally picked our son & daughter up from school and booked it to the Mouse’s House!
Upon arrival, you’re greeted by an incredible waterfall and the smell of pineapple and coconut is all consuming. The lobby literally transports you to the South Pacific (a place my friend, we will too someday visit), complete with lush landscape, smooth island sounds and a vibe unlike any other hotel on property. P.s. According to Disney.com, it’s been a fan fave since the 70’s! You are then greeted by staff with a lei (a symbol of affection and warm welcome).
While the hubby was checking us in, a woman was walking around in search of the honorary family to be a part of their fire ceremony, to which I immediately volunteered! Bless the hubby for going along with my antics. He took his newly upgraded lei and waited for his cue alongside us! A quick conch shell blow and the ceremony was off to a start! We stood at the front of the lobby and we’re announced in front of everyone “Aloha, please help me welcome The D’Andrea family!” We proceeded out to the lawn) which by the way overlooks the Magic Kingdom and Bay Lake) and took our front row seats for an incredible fire dance put on by one of the infamous dancers known for the “Spirit of Aloha” lively luau, (which we did by the way for my birthday the year prior! Most definitely on my recommended to-do list!) We then were asked to come to the front and say “Aloha!” and pose for pictures! What an incredible way to start off quite the fantastic trip!
The rooms are nice and super chill and the hotel itself is a place where for once, we weren’t trying to rush off to the parks! Whether you get the opportunity to lounge by the amazing pools with the Magic Kingdom as a backdrop or you walk the grounds with your toes in the sand alongside the new villas representative of life in Bali (another bucket list item), there’s no shortage of fun to be had at The Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. I would have to say one of the best parts, besides being so close to the parks via monorail is the fact that you can treat yourself to a Dole Whip any time of day! (My absolute favorite treat, which can usually only be found in the Magic Kingdom!)
One of the mornings we did decide to splurge on a character breakfast with Mickey, Pluto and Lilo & Stitch at “Ohana” (translates to family), which was all worth it for the mouthwatering sticky buns they provide before your meal even starts! (I’ll have to look up a recipe for that one! Ha!)
All in all, the trip was absolutely memorable and one for the books! One that in fact couldn’t be topped! So much so, that we opted to put our passes on hold and venture out to D.C. this summer for the 4th! Full report upon return. Don’t worry though, come fall and less sticky weather you can find the D’Andrea’s back in the Disney saddle with the launch of Star Wars! Make sure to follow me on Instagram @brianadandrea for an inside look at my crazy family, fun recipes and all things wellness! Until then…ALOHA!
Happy Earth Day friends! After more than 20 years of trial and error and tons of personal research…I’ve listed my Top 7 non-toxic cleaning products I swear by and I’m sure you will fall in love with them too! Have questions? Just ask! Simply use the links to shop now and celebrate Earth Day with me! xo -Briana D.
If you’re looking for a fun-filled family vacation full of summer vibes then look no further.
I can almost hear the words in my ear. Billy Joel singing “Noreaster Alexa.” You know the part where he says he had chartered a course to the Vineyard, but tonight he is Nantucket bound? I can now really connect with that verse, after taking a visit to the Cape this summer with my family for the forth of July. It’s been a tradition of ours to explore a new destination and there’s something really special about that part of world. Perhaps it’s the easy breeze that hits your face coming off the coast, the back and forth rocking of sailboats on the docks or the sound of the seagulls chirping by, but one things for sure…no visit is complete without a trip to the cape’s neighboring islands…Nantucket, otherwise known as “The Grey Lady,” or The Vineyard you know…Martha’s?
I knew when I was doing my research and planing our vacation, a trip to the Cape’s sister islands was a MUST, but I just wasn’t sure how I would swing it, with the limited amount of time we had and two kids with such short attention spans, it didn’t seem like the stars would align. Between our trip to Portland and Acadia and a visit with the majestic whales (also a must and probably a separate blog post), I knew our trip had to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. That’s where Hy-Line Cruises came in to play. Their staff, especially Ruth were so incredibly helpful with customizing a perfect trip for our little family. With a fleet of ships and an array of excursions to choose from, you can’t go wrong with the adventures they offer. We settled on a trip “Around the Sound,” and what an adventure it was!
We departed Hyannis Port at 8:30a, quite literally ‘Nantucket bound,’ aboard the aptly named Grey Lady! The ship has sight seeing decks, a snack bar, bathrooms and plenty of room to stretch your legs both inside and outside on their rooftop decks. We made sure to arrive 45 minutes before departure and just before we loaded up, we grabbed a quick bite at their amazing on site restaurant, “The Landing Cafe.” Whether you’re a breakfast person or lunch is more your thing, there’s something for everyone! The kids split a bagel with cream cheese and a fresh fruit smoothie and the hubby and I had a quiche and an egg, cheese and bacon English muffin. Everything was fresh and the staff were super helpful and sweet. Highly recommend their grab and go section of salads and wraps too, in case you wanted to do a picnic on one of the islands. Next time I’m snagging a freshly baked popover! Yum!
ALL ABOARD! We were off! While the kids played patty cake (we had a nice chat about this trip being a little bit of work time for mommy, so they were on their best behavior! Lol) Michael and I honed in on exactly what we wanted to accomplish while on the islands. It took about an hour or so to get to our first destination and thanks to to all the health protocols put in place, it was a stress-free and relaxing little trip.
Once docked, it was like we were transported to another dimension. Don’t get me wrong the Cape is great, but Nantucket? It has just a je ne sais quoi. Think hydrangea blooms, cobblestoned streets, gray shingled little cottages dating back to the 19th century, yachts along the dock, a beach for the kids to play (aptly named “Children’s Beach”) and the list goes on. The town was founded in 1641 and while most of the island is accessible by bike or foot, you can ship your car over for a small fortune. From little boutiques to cafes and hidden vias, this island is much like Palm Beach (my favorite local place), only with a much richer history. The fact that Beautycounter and Lilly Pulitzer have some real estate on the island didn’t hurt either and the people who come to summer there year after year, are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet.
After hitting up a couple of shops (The Nantucket Surf Club is super cute and worth checking out), a quick bite at The Nantucket Tavern and a dip of the toes in the sound at Children’s Beach, we were back on board for our next leg of the trip. Make sure to arrive at least 15 minutes before departure, so they can scan your tickets and get a seat in the best possible spot. Should you need any assistance, Hy-Line has an adorable little office right on the port.
On our way to the vineyard we had an incredible view of the famous Brant Point Lighthouse on the top deck of the ship and I happened to spot a pirate ship setting sail across the sound, which was pretty neat and made for a perfect photo op!
After some incredible seaside views and quick cat nap, we disembarked on to Martha’s Vineyard. The vibe there was a tad different than Nantucket, more of a laid back flip-flops and beer kind of energy versus the oysters and champagne. (Both great in my opinion).
We made our way over to a local ice cream shop where the hubby and I shared a coffee and Oreo ice cream and an iced coffee and the kids landed on rainbow sherbert and mint chocolate chip. We meandered our way over to the historic Gingerbread District, a real sight to see! Painted in shades of sky blue and peach cobbler, these whimsical homes stem back more than 150 years to 1826. Each one more darling than the next, in an array of colors with their own themes and names. Almost like a real life Disney World. We saw one for sale and just might make an offer! Lol
Once we snapped out of it, we skipped back down to the beach (where jaws was filmed), passing the world’s oldest carousel and let the kids take a quick dip to cool off. (We told them the Jaws tidbit after the fact! lol) They guzzled down some fresh fried cod, before boarding the ship back to our home base on the Cape at the Anchor In.
As I write this, it was such a dream come true to be able to make those memories with my family, an experience most definitely worth while and one I would highly recommend thanks to Hy-Line Cruises. Hy-Line makes it easy to travel with your family to create memories that will last a lifetime. We will definitely be back someday.
*This is a sponsored post with Hy-Line Cruises. All opinions are true and that of Briana D’Andrea from momgirlblog.com. The “Around the Sound” trip was sponsored and paid for by Hy-Line Cruises. For more information or to book a trip today visit hylinecruises.com. Follow Briana D’Andrea for more adventures with her family on her lifestyle blog momgirlblog.com. #thisishyline #momgirlblog
Here are some fun ideas to get the dad in your life what they truly want for being the Best father!
I had been looking for a place to whisk our little family away thanks to COVID-19 and all of its travel restrictions that came along with it. If you know anything about me, it’s that I love to travel and am always in search of a new adventure. Enter Margaritaville Cottages. It’s like a little slice of key lime pie smack dab in the middle of Orlando. An escape from the hustle and bustle if you will. Your daughter’s 5th birthday only comes along once and since we had to cancel our plans last year to the happiest place on earth, there was nothing coming in between my family and the mouse’s house this year! We packed up our stuff and went there just for the night and man do I wish we had stayed a week!
All of the cottages are just darling! We were in a 1/1 called “Twist of Lime,” this tiny, adorable lime green mini house decorated to the nines in a Key West vibe. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to stays for your entire crew! Whether you’re looking for a few bedrooms or just simply one, a pool or just a deck sitting atop shells (V was in absolute heaven), there are price ranges fit for every budget.
Most of the cottages come equipped with a Margarita maker and you betcha I took full advantage of it and all of the creature comforts like a dishwasher, washer/dryer and linens and place settings you need to feel like you’re at home. It’s a short walk to the little downtown area called The Promenade at Sunset Walk, so you won’t have to worry about blowing out your flip flop. See what I did there? lol With lots of shops and restaurants to choose from and even a live band and car show which we were lucky to catch, (I believe they’re on Saturday nights), it was literally the perfect little getaway for our family.
We made our way over to the hotel to walk around, smell the scent of coconut and feel like we were in the Keys (another one of my FAVES) and when the fireworks are back in business, I hear their top floor is the best seat in the house. We unfortunately weren’t able to catch any this round.
Will definitely make it a point to stay there again, especially because we want to check out Island H20 Live! A waterpark right on property, where you’ll most likely find me knee deep in the water somewhere once they open this summer! So the next time you shoot up to Orlando from South Florida or perhaps you’re making O-Town your home for the week, I would most definitely recommend Margaritaville Cottages, because after all, no passports are required!
5 ways to protect our mother earth!
Happy Earth Day! Protecting mother earth is more than just tree hugging and riding your bike when you can. It’s about making small tweaks to your everyday routine! Here are the top 5 ways you can pitch in and play a part!
- Reusable Water Bottles: There are so many great options for reusable water bottles, not only is it more affordable for you, but according to plasticfreechallenge.org “We produce roughly 300 million tons of plastic each year and half of it is disposable!” Recent studies have shown an increase in toxic chemicals in our bloodstream, thanks to it seeping into our bloodstream causing cancer, infertility issues and birth defects to name a few! Imagine what an impact you canmake! These are my fave water bottles!
- Recycle: You know what to do renew, reuse, recycle! According to the University of Southern Indiana, recycling a single run of the Sunday New York Times would save 75,000 trees.
- Reusable Bags: There are so many cute reusable totes these days, you’re bound to find something you dig! Plus, how annoying are plastic bags piling up or even the paper ones you have to then fold up?! Come on people check some of these cute bags out and make the switch today!
- Plant a tree or just plant anything!: Trees give off oxygen and oxygen is LIFE! Why not grow a garden or if you’re like me and can’t keep anything alive, plant a tree in your backyard! Here are a few fun options for the kiddos!
- Coral Reef Safe Sunscreen: Not all sunscreens are created equal. It’s important to support companies who walk the walk. Lots of companies out there “greenwash,” a term used to bogusly convince consumers to buy their “safe” or “all-natural” products. Be your own advocate and do your research. Beautycounter’s Countersun Mineral Safe Sunscreen is not only good for your littles, but it’s also good for the coral reefs! Why is that important? Places like Hawaii have banned sunscreens deemed unsafe for our reefs, because it was not only killing the little fishes and our reefs.We recently launch our sustainability report and our blueprint for clean launched 12 safety standards for our manufacturers! Check them out here!
“I’ve got a pocket, got a pocket full of sunshine!” Oh great another beauty product, I barely have the time to wash my face! Trust me, I get it and I hear ya sis! You HAVE to believe me when I say the Counter+ Brightening Serum is the number one product your face has been missing! With 2 forms of vitamin C, this sunshine in a bottle is the perfect punch needed to leave your skin glowing and radiant! Not only will you say bye bye to the appearance of dark spots, but the anti-oxidant rich turmeric and camu camu will shield your beautiful face against new spots popping up! Not only will you see an instant brightness to your skin, but your mug will be protected against daily skin agressors too! Can I get an AMEN?!
After just 8 weeks of use, 100% of clients said their skin looked brighter, 94% said their skin looked more even and their dark spots diminished and 97% said their skin looked more youthful!
So what are you waiting for? Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone! New clients get 20% off right now with code “CLEANFORALL20!” Happy 8 years to Beautycounter! Go on and get your glow on and #findyourbright!
5% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C): Antioxidant that reduces the appearance of dark spots and boosts skin brightening, to reveal more youthful-looking skin.
5% Bis-Glyceryl Ascorbate (Vitamin C): Moisturizes skin while providing antioxidant benefits known to protect skin from damaging environmental stressors. Helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract: The serum’s vibrant hue? That’s thanks to turmeric, an antioxidant superstar that helps even skin tone and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Myrciaria Dubia (Camu Camu) Fruit Extract: This powerful antioxidant helps reduce the appearance of dark spots while brightening, to visually improve signs of skin fatigue.
If you had told me four years ago, I would have been a part of a direct retail brand, I would’ve laughed in your face! However, after the insane year our nation has faced, I can’t help, but to be so grateful for Beautycounter and the blessing it has been! When the world shut down and people lost their jobs, I was able to say nothing changed aside from the fact that my family was home full-time. Zoom? I was doing it for years. Working from home? Had it down pact. In 2020 alone, my team was able to bring in $70,000 in sales, helping to change the lives of so many during a time in which they needed it most!
8 years ago Gregg Renfrew had a vision, to change the status quo. To flip the script on beauty companies as we know it and our 60,000+ network of independent consultants are coming in HOT!
According to Beautycounter’s social mission report:
- We’ve increased our Never List™ to more than 1,800 ingredients that we’ll never use in our formulations.
- We’ve conducted phone audits for 100% of our mica suppliers, as part of our best-in-class responsible sourcing program.
- We supported Congress’ first vote on cosmetics reform in more than 80 years.
- We diverted an estimated 76% of our HQ waste from ending up in landfills.
In 2021 we passed 9 nine laws & the best part is we’re just getting started! The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act, Safer Sunscreen Bill, Clean Product Right to Know Act, Safer Salon Bill, Microbead-Free Waters Act, Pollution Prevention for Our Future Act, Safer Fragrance Bill, Sustainable Chemistry Research & Development Act & most important to me The Toxic-Free Kids Act!
I for one feel like this business opportunity is personal development with a paycheck! I’ve learned so much about myself and my skills and ways to improve my efficiency. I get to mentor some of the most amazing souls on the planet and watch their businesses grow, collaborate and learn from the brightest and the best. I create my own schedule and work on my terms. Setting goals for myself both personally and financially. I am there for all of life’s most precious moments and some not so precious, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! This business is a gift and if someone is offering it up to you, trust me when I say #takethejob!
Tucked away all the way back in horse country in Wellington, Florida is a little slice of farmland home to some of the most exotic animals in the world. You’d never know it was there, unless you were looking for it and lucky for me and my family, I had my eye on the Wellington Conservation Center for quite some time now. I truly didn’t know what to expect and I can honestly say my family and I were blown away. It’s a place where rehabilitated animals go to get a second chance at life, a place where unwanted, abandoned and injured species find their second home and a sanctuary where each sweet soul has a truly unique story to be told. From orphaned birds, to mammals and everything in between their website says they “specialize in conservation of South American exotics who are endangered from habitat loss and poaching,” a truly commendable feat.
If you ask my 4-year-old daughter Vera, her favorite animal on property was the unnamed little kitty, the horse we were able to feed apples to and the little bunnies she was able to snuggle up with. My son was thrilled by the lemur who grabbed bananas off a stick with his lefty hand and my husband thought the pot belly pigs were a sight to see. I especially loved getting up close and personal with the Brazilian Porcupines named Bonnie and Clyde and the 2-toed sloth family, especially the momma and baby duo. Feeding the sloths lettuce was an incredible experience, we won’t ever forget! I still have fomo that we never were able to get a front row seat to see the sloths while on our honeymoon to Costa Rica ten years ago and now I can finally say I was able to interact with them right in our very own backyard! How cool is that?!
From wallabys to foxes and even a crab-eating raccoon that bunks up with a Patagonian Cavy, the amount of animals we encountered exceeded our family’s expectations and I’m sure won’t leave you on the side of disappointment! Cole was an exceptional and knowledgeable host on the farm and we can’t wait to come back soon!
Sloths and lemurs are one of the primary focuses of the center due to the fact that these animals are an endangered species. The Wellington Conservation Center is a non-profit organization and they receive all of their funding through donations from their tours, grants, trusts and local sponsors. Tours are by appointment only taking place Wednesday through Monday and offered three times daily. Adults are $20 and kids 6-10 are $15. Those 5 and under are only $5. To book a tour call 954.448.1044. For more information visit their website at wellingtonconservationcenter.org.
Let’s be honest, sweating is the pits and most of us are desperate to find whatever it is to keep our stink & sweat at bay. However, there’s a difference between a deodorant & an anti-perspirant. Most anti-perspirants traditionally use aluminum, which pretty much just blocks the sweat. Sounds good right? Wrong! What ends up happening is it plugs your sweat ducts, which has long-term adverse effects. Typically the cells end up re-growing and could lead to some pretty scary scenarios. Plus, our bodies never get to really have a natural detox! If we don’t detox, then the heavy metals never leave our body. Scary to think about right?? Deodorants help to absorb sweat & fight odors caused by toxins to keep you feeling fresh as a flower or coconut! Best place to start is with a charcoal mask detox on your pits and find a safe deodorant that works!
Pit Detox Challenge
Think about it. Every day you are in constant contact with hundreds of different environmental toxins on any given day. From industrial to pollution, to different types of foods, cleaning products and yes deodorant, you are subjecting yourself to lots of toxic ingredients. Now, I say this not to scare you, but to be mindful of the products you are choosing to place and SIT on your skin every single day just like we choose safer beauty products.
The toxins like to sit and store and multiply in the cells within tissues of your body. This can cause some serious health, hormonal and reproductive issues.
When we choose to “detox,” we are giving our bodies the permission to release all the toxins from our bodies and improve our overall health and well-being.
Let’s talk pits…
I know what you’re thinking, well don’t I want to look like a sweaty pig?! The short answer is yes, but we need to let those toxins we talked about be released from our bodies.
Please remember these two things:
- Our skin, which is our largest organ is constantly absorbing all of the things. Simply layering harmful ingredients to our bodies suppresses their functionality and leaves us subject to illness and disease.
- When it comes to our armpits, where our lymph nodes like to hang out, switching to a clean and non-toxic deo is a great way to put an end to the possibility of toxic and harmful ingredients entering the body.
Steps of Detoxing and what you can expect:
Step 1: The Detox
In this stage you’ve got to consider mind over matter. Your pores are going ot open up and let out all of the toxins. You will probably sweat more and even stink a little. Using the Beautycounter charcoal mask should help to speed up the process some!
It could take up to 2 weeks before you fully release all of the toxins. Stay strong and drink lots of h20.
Use the clean deo just as you would your regular one and reapply when you feel like it.
Feel free to use the deo at night too, bc you’ll definitely be doing some detoxing in your overnight rejuvenation process!
Remember to STAY STRONG! The heavy sweats and stinky pits means your body is working to release the gunk! Mind over matter, YOU GOT THIS!
Drink lots of water during the detox process! 8 cups at a minimum.
Ditch the processed foods and alcohol whenever possible to make the transition a little smoother. The less your body has to detox the better equipped to make the transition to clean deo seamless.
Let your body sweat! It’s a natural occurence and needs to happen and don’t sweat the small stuff! K?
The most harmful thing you can do is clog the pores that are working to cool and regulate your body and its temperature!
Step 2: Adjustment
At this point your armpit has rid of more than 50% of the toxic yuckiness stored and believe it or not your pits are starting to work the way they were intended to! That’s a win! At this point the smell and sweats will begin to subside!
Step 3: Acclimatization
At this point your pits are able to regulate themselves. Most of the toxins have said their goodbyes to your pits and and your lymph nodes are pretty clean. Although you may not be as sweaty, you will still sweat, because we our jobs are never done when it comes to detoxification.
Important to note*: Try not to introduce toxins back in, this is a lifelong commitment and journey to your health and well-being.
Give yourself some grace:
There will be instances when you need to reach for that anti-perspirant when necessary or on special occasions. The most important thing to remember is to NEVER GIVE UP! Your mind is stronger than you think and your body will thank you in the long run!
Have questions? Just ask! Shoot me a message at email@example.com or visit my site to order yours today!
*I do make a commission based on sales as an independent consultant with Beautycounter.
I feel like I get this question all the time…what do you use on your skin?
Let me start off by saying that no two skins are alike and all skins aren’t created equal!
Here’s the thing, I don’t care what products you use, but you should most definitely wash your face at least twice a day! Think of all the dust, grime and pollution you face daily, it’s important to wash the crud to not only feel good, but to keep your skin looking radiant and young! Isn’t that what we all want?
Here is the 4 step process you should commit to at least daily:
Step 1: Cleanse- Remove any makeup or excess oil.
Step 2: Prep- Get your skin ready for treatment. When you cleanse your skin, especially with hot water, those pores open up. It’s important to shut those puppies back up so you can get your face ready for the real deal!
Step 3: Treat- This step packs powerful benefits and is often times overlooked. Do you have dull skin? Dark spots? Wrinkles? Whether you’re in the market for a serum or peel it’s important to stay focused on keeping this a step as a part of your regimen!
Step 4: Protect- Last but not least it’s the step that locks it all in. The moisturizer step! Whether you need a cream that’s going to counteract your oily skin or one that will boost hydration it’s important to understand your largest organ to treat it with only the best. You can skimp on a pair of earrings or jeans, don’t skimp on your face!
Not sure where to begin? Take this quiz, enter your concerns and see what is recommended.
Remember, your regimen is like an ingredient to you favorite recipe. If one item is missing, then it won’t give you the optimum results you’re in search of!
You wouldn’t make chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips right?
It’s important to get adequate sleep, h20 and minimize the stress as best you can! I know what you’re thinking…ha! You got this! I like to double cleanse with the Countercontrol Cleanser and Countertime Cleansing Oil.
*Video features Countermatch Toner, Overnight Resurfacing Peel, Countertime Supreme Cream & Countertime Eye Cream. Music by Outkast.
*I do make a commission based on sales as an independent consultant with Beautycounter.