Non-Candy Halloween Treats

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a yummy (and healthy!) treat for the whole family!

First of all, I know many of you may have read the headline for this blog post and rolled your eyes… Look, I’m a kid who grew up in the late ’80s and ’90s (Gushers! Mountain Dew! Pop Tarts! Sugar on top of SUGAR!), and I promise you that I’m NOT ready to give up the tradition of genuine TREATS for Halloween! What is Halloween without candy, anyway?! But, as I review the holiday activities we have planned this month… WHOA… it’s major compared to when I was a kid! We don’t just have a class Halloween party and the classic trick-or-treating… We also have the pumpkin patch visit, the multi-family immersive Nights of the Jack experience, our local YMCA trunk-or-treat… and I’ve already said no to a few other local Halloween festivities that include kids getting treats! I realized that if we don’t take the time to be mindful of moderation, the candy exposure can get really out of hand!

So, here I am… being that annoying healthy mom that I used to roll my eyes at before I had kids. I assumed “her” kids drank kale smoothies for breakfast and their favorite treat was the olive bar at Whole Foods… Well, I’m here to tell you that my kids DO NOT drink kale smoothies for breakfast and my oldest wouldn’t touch an olive with a 9-foot pole. But, I do know that my kids can appreciate “treats” in forms other than candy, like nutrient-packed muffins, festive shaped foods and seasonal flavors!

I put together this list of non-candy Halloween treats for parents desiring to limit the candy craziness this year. Whether you want to create healthier habits for your family, dread the kids’ candy sugar high, or responsible for sending a non-candy treat to school for the class Halloween party, these non-candy Halloween treat ideas are great for parents who need an easy, individually wrapped goody this fall season! From pumpkin rice crispy treats to pumpkin dog treats, there’s something for the whole family to snack on and feel good about!

6 Non-Candy Halloween Treats for the Whole Family:

  1. Blake’s Seed Based Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats  

I have lots of memories around my mom making homemade rice crispy treats and purchasing the prepackaged cereal treats to put in my lunchbox as a kid. These are EVEN BETTER! Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats come in many yummy flavors like strawberry, birthday cake, chocolate chips, and now PUMPKIN SPICE! Blake’s is the very first vegan rice crispy treat on the market, so it’s the perfect allergy-friendly trick-or-treat candy. They’re 90 calories, only have 7 grams of sugar, nut-free and gluten-free! If you live in Southern California like me, you can find Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy treats available in local Sprouts stores, or you can shop the snacks online at Amazon or on the company’s website.

Blake’s Seed Based Rice Crispy Treats are a perfect treat for Halloween!

2. Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats   

We already eat Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips in our house as a better-for-you alternative to regular fried potato chips, so I was really excited that the brand came out with Halloween chips in spooktacular shapes! Sensible Portions Garden Veggie Chips Ghosts & Bats have the crispy crunch and flavor you want in a snack, but without all the artificial flavors and artificial preservatives that you don’t. The seasonal chips are packaged in individual-sized bags that are perfect for trick-or-treaters, classroom parties, or lunchbox treats. They are available in major retail stores across the nation, as well as online and Amazon, sold in individual bags or packs of 24.

My kids’ treat bags filled with Sensible Portions Veggie Chips Ghosts and Bats!

3. Bobo’s Pumpkin Spice Oat Bites  

I often get frustrated with store-bought muffins and snack bars, because the ingredients show that they may as well be cupcakes and candy bars! Not Bobo’s! The Bobo’s brand offers delicious, simple, handmade 100% whole grain oat bites and snacks and released a brand-new pumpkin spice flavor just in time for the holidays! The slow-burning oats give kids clean energy that won’t leave them with a crash, while satisfying their sweet tooth. Each bite is non-GMO, gluten-free and plant-based, and there’s a variety of flavors in addition to pumpkin spice, like apple pie, chocolate chip, coconut, lemon poppyseed and peanut butter & jelly! You can easily find them at your local Kroger flagship, Whole Foods Market, or Target and online at Amazon

4. Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips  

Nothing says fall like apple harvest season, which is the perfect reason to pass out Bare Baked Crunchy Apple Chips to trick-or-treaters!  Bare Baked Snacks are real apples baked into deliciously crunchy chips and never fried. The apple chips are non-GMO verified and have no added oils or preservatives. They’re sold at select retailers, or you can purchase in multi-packs online at Target and Amazon

5. Dole Mandarin Orange Jack-O-Lantern Fruit Cups  

Get a little crafty by turning Dole’s Mandarin Orange Fruit Cups into cute Jack-O-Lanterns! All you need is a black sharpie to draw a Jack-O-Lantern face on the cups! Bonus if you decide to add the green pipe cleaner for a stem! These are the perfect festive snack for a class party! Dole Fruit Bowls Mandarin Oranges in 100% Juice are made from the best sun-ripened fresh fruit that nature has to offer, and they’re non-GMO and naturally gluten free. Dole Fruit Bowls are available at all major grocery stores or you can get multipacks on Amazon.

6. Greenies Dental Treats, Pumpkin Spice Flavor  

If you want to share holiday treats with your furry family members or pass out treats to dogs trick-or-treating with kids, Greenies Dental Treats for dogs has launched a puppy-approved pumpkin spice flavor!  The unique texture of Greenies Dog Chews cleans down to the gumline to fight plaque and tartar and freshen breath. The treats are sold at Target, Amazon and Chewy.

Would you share these festive treats with your family? I’d love to hear what other better-for-you store-bought treats you pass out at Halloween! Please share with me in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

6 Healthy Halloween Snacks

Health & Wellness, Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
6 healthy Halloween snacks that are easy and fun to make with your kids!

Got a picky eater? I’ve found the best way to get my kids to eat healthy is to get them involved in the kitchen with me! And, what better way to celebrate the spooky season than with these fun Halloween inspired healthy treats! These snacks are SO EASY to make! Plus, they’re too fun not to eat! Hope you enjoy these fun treats with your kids all month long!

Green Goblin Smoothie Bowls

Halloween Snack Idea #1: Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl

Adding spinach into smoothies is one of the easiest ways to get kids to eat their greens! And, you can’t taste the spinach – promise! For this Green Goblin Smoothie Bowl, make a green smoothie, pour into a small bowl, and have your kids toppings like granola or coconut for hair, dried fruit like raisins, dates or cranberries for the eyes, and pumpkin seeds or marshmallows for the smile. Kids have lots of fun decorating their green goblin face! 

Here is my favorite easy Green Smoothie recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup water (or almond milk or oat milk)

Instructions:

Place all ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Peanut Butter Spider Crackers

Halloween Snack Idea #2: Spider Crackers

Have your kids help assemble these spooky spider crackers made with round crackers (I like Ritz Whole Wheat Crackers), pretzel sticks, peanut butter (or another nut or sunflower seed butter) or cream cheese, and small dried fruit, like raisins or blueberries. 

Ingredients:

  • Round crackers
  • Pretzel sticks
  • Peanut butter (or your preferred nut/sunflower seed butter) or spreadable cream cheese
  • Small dried fruit like raisins, blueberries, cranberries, or Wilton Edible Candy Eyeballs

Instructions:

  1. Spread nut butter or cream cheese on two crackers thick enough to hold pretzels
  2. Break 4 pretzels in half
  3. Place the 8 half pretzels sticks around one cracker to resemble spider legs
  4. Top the cracker with the second cracker to secure the legs and make a sandwich
  5. Dip 2 dried fruit pieces in the nut butter or cream cheese and stick them to the top of the spider cracker sandwich to resemble eyes
  6. Enjoy!
Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

Halloween Snack Idea #3: Clementine Pumpkins and Banana Ghosts

These fruity treats are so easy to make and fun to eat! Peel clementines and cut celery into small sticks. Have kids add the celery sticks to clementines as stems to make pumpkins! Peel bananas and cut in half. Have your children add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth to create ghosts!

Spooky Grilled Cheese

Halloween Snack Idea #4: Spooky Grilled Cheese

Turn everyone’s favorite lunch into a frightful treat with Halloween shaped cookie cutters and dark rye bread! You can use wheat or white bread, but the dark rye bread is much more spooky! Plus, my toddler surprisingly loves it! Because of its color, he calls it “chocolate bread,” even though it tastes nothing like chocolate! Your kiddo will have lots of fun using cookie cutters to make ghosts, bats and pumpkins in their bread, but I recommend leaving the stovetop cooking to parents!

Ingredients: (makes 1 grilled cheese)

  • 2 slices dark rye bread
  • 1-2 slices of pre-sliced cheddar cheese (depending on how cheesy you like your sandwich!)
  • Butter

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter over medium high heat in pan on stovetop.
  2. Take one slice of bread and use Halloween cookie cutter to cut shape into middle of bread. Butter one side of the bread cut-out bread.
  3. Take the other slice of bread and butter one side.
  4. Place both slices of bread in pan with the buttered side up.
  5. After cooking for a couple minutes and letting the bread get to your toasty preference, flip both sides of bread to cook the other side. Immediately place cheese on the slice of bread without the cut-out.
  6. Continue cooking until cheese is melty.
  7. Place cut-out side bread on top of cheese and press down so the cheese sticks the slices together.
  8. Serve and enjoy!
Creepy Eyes Cereal Bar

Halloween Snack Idea #5: Creepy Eyes Cereal Bars

Add funny eyes to pre-made cereal bars (or my favorite 3-ingredient cheerio bars seen here!) by rolling cream cheese into tiny little balls and adding a mini chocolate chips for eyes. If you’re low on time, it’s fun to add these eyes to anything pre-made, like muffins or frozen waffles!

Halloween Snack Idea #6: Green Halloween “Cupcakes”

My toddler loves these green “superpower” muffins, made with spinach, bananas, rolled oats and sweetened with honey! I love the ghastly green vibes of these for Halloween! Top with Nutella spread for “icing” and have your kids add Halloween sprinkles to make healthy-ish cupcakes! 

Which healthy Halloween snack do you want to try with your kiddos? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

The Best Hair Tools and Products for Long, Voluminous Hair

beauty, Lifestyle
Good Hair Day

On most days, my mom hair is in a low ponytail under a hat while I bounce between running errands, chasing after kiddos, working from home and still trying to somehow squeeze in a workout. But, when I do get the opportunity to get “done up,” I actually love taking the time to style my hair!

I know spending time to fix your hair can sound exhausting to some moms, especially you new mamas who are just trying to find 10 minutes to take a shower! But, if you are able to take some personal time to style your hair, I highly recommend it.

Doing my hair helps me feel like a normal human again – not just an exhausted mommy who rarely has a reason to wear anything else besides athleisure! And, styling my hair gives me a major confidence boost!! I’ve always loved the saying, “When you look good, you feel good!” For me, I feel so much happier (and sexier!) when I take care of my appearance.

I’m sharing this post with my favorite haircare products and tools for three reasons:

(1) I often get asked how I curl my hair or what I do to get volume.

(2) Despite popular belief, good hair does not have to be super expensive!

(3) I hope this post inspires you to get yourself glammed up soon to give yourself a jolt of confidence!

So, if any of those reasons interest you, read on! If not, read on anyway and click on some product links to give my pocketbook a boost (shameless plug – LOL!!).

First, about my hair…

I’ve been very fortunate that I never lost a lot of hair after having my babies, as I know that’s a huge challenge (and totally normal!) for most moms postpartum. I have very fine hair, but I have A LOT of it. Because it’s fine, it tangles so easily. But, because I have a lot, I’m able to make my hair very voluminous with the right products and tools. My natural hair is stick straight and a mousy light brown color. I had platinum blonde hair as a child, and ever since puberty stole my beautiful blonde locks, I’ve been coloring to get it back. I currently get my hair colored once every 8-10 weeks, and my hairdresser does the balayage technique. I do not wear hair extensions. I keep my hair growing long with regular trims, rarely putting lots of heat on it, and protecting it with a nourishing treatment that I’ve linked below. Read on for all my favorite hair products and tools.

My Favorite Haircare Products and Tools:

UNITE Hair Blonda Shampoo

I’ve tried several blonde toning shampoos, and UNITE’s Blonda is my absolute favorite. My hair consistently looks brighter after I use it even if its been several weeks since I’ve been to the salon. I typically use it once a week on Friday or Saturday, so my hair looks extra bright blonde for any weekend date nights or socializing with friends.

L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Shampoo

I have pretty dry hair as a result of living in Southern California (where it never rains), dying my hair, and breastfeeding (babies suck all hydration from you!), and this moisture shampoo keeps my hair soft and silky. Plus, because it’s sulfate free, its very gentle and doesn’t wash away my color. I love that this shampoo is inexpensive and widely available, so I can easily pick it up when I’m running errands. See, I told you haircare does not have to be expensive!

L’Oreal EverPure Moisture Conditioner

The counterpart to L’Oreal’s Ever Pure Shampoo, this conditioner also is my go-to for all the same reasons!

Milk Anti-Frizz Leave-In Nourishing Treatment

I discovered this leave-in conditioning treatment from my phenomenal hairstylist Janelle Harris-Gearhart while she was working at Garrett Markenson’s salon. Garrett is the founder of Reverie, which creates exceptional clean haircare products for all types of hair. His Milk treatment is amazing for my hair – on both dry and wet hair! I put about six pumps in my palm and run it through my wet hair. After blowdrying, I add another three pumps throughout my hair to smooth and protect it from any additional heat I may put on with curling irons. This treatment keeps my hair healthy and encourages long lengths!

OUAI Wave Spray

When I want to add texture to my hair, I use OUAI’s wave spray. It’s like adding gorgeous beach waves to your hair without getting in the ocean! OUAI recommends adding it to wet hair, but I like to add a light mist to my dry hair before curling or using my wave wand.

TRESemmé TRES Two Hair Spray For a Frizz-Free Look Extra Hold

I have tried many expensive hairsprays, but I keep coming back to Tresemme for its effectiveness, affordability and availability. I’ve been using Tresemme hairspray for over 15 years – ever since high school when I’d perform on stage in beauty pageants and dance contests!

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Believe the hype, y’all! The Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer is worth the high price tag. Although I have naturally fine hair, I have A LOT of it, and it takes sooo long to dry! Not only does this hair dryer dry my hair far faster than any other I’ve used, Dyson claims that it increases smoothness by 75%, increases shine by 132% and decreases frizz and flyaways by up to 61%. My hair looks like I got a professional blowout at home!

Hot Tools Professional Nano Ceramic Flipperless Curling Wand

You can’t beat Hot Tools’ professional grade products. According to Hot Tools, the wand has “Advanced Nano Ceramic technology that helps create sleek, glossy shine, and reduce frizz. What’s more, there’s no ‘stick’…hair glides effortlessly along the wand.” I use this wand when I want loose gorgeous waves. This wand provides my most favorite hairstyle look that I know how to do; however, it takes me the longest time to do it. When I wrap my hair around the wand, it takes about 15 seconds of heat to hold each piece, and that takes a long time with the amount of hair I have! That being said, I think it’s definitely worth the purchase for the look you can achieve!

Gorgeous loose beachy waves with Hot Tools Flipperless Curling Wand

Alure Three Barrel Wave Wand

I was seeing tons of influencers on Instagram tout this other more expensive 3-barrel wand for mermaid-like waves, so I was really interested in what all the hype was about. One of my girlfriend’s had a similar hairstyle, so I inquired and she spilled the secret on this much more affordable wand from Alure on Amazon! This wand works so well at creating smaller waves that give off a beachy mermaid hair vibe! And, because it has a clamp, unlike my Hot Tools wand above, it is a lot faster to style! This has become one of my go-to looks this summer!

Mermaid waves with 3-barrel wand

Conair Double Ceramic Curling Iron

I have used these affordable Conair curling wands for YEARS. I had my last one for 15+ years before I decided it may be time to upgrade. This cute rose cold ceramic wand works great for my hair. It creates classic loose curls and doesn’t take too much time. My hair will hold a loose wave from this wand for two days, which I really love. All I have to do on day two is lightly run a comb through my hair, and voila!

Classic big curls with Conair Ceramic Curling Wand

Batiste Dry Shampoo

Batiste has the best dry shampoo on the market, in my opinion! It’s light, smells great, affordable, and most importantly, WORKS! I don’t get a yucky white residue in my hair, and there’s no weird extra stick. I sometimes will even use this dry shampoo on clean hair just to get an extra boost of volume on my roots. HIGHLY recommend!!!

Conair Gel Grips Paddle Brush

Here’s another Conair tool I’ve been using for many, many years. These paddle brushes last forever, they’re affordable and effective! I use this brush while I’m blow drying my hair. I get super tangly hair because its so fine, and this brush is helpful and detangling without creating more tangles or ripping out my hair.

Conair Teasing Brush

I’m originally from Texas where “the higher the hair, the closer to God,” so I’ve always been a fan of adding some lift to my roots. I like this teasing brush more than a comb because its gentler on my hair and easier to get a bit of volume. When I use a comb, I have to really back comb my hair aggressively which does lots of damage, but this brush only takes a few strokes to get the lift I want.

Silk Pillowcase

My grandmother gifted me a silk pillowcase when I was in elementary school, and I never went back to a normal pillowcase again. First of all, they’re simply cool and comfortable! But, if you also care about how your hair looks in the morning plus want to protect it over time, silk pillowcases are amazing for protecting your strands and reducing frizz. I love this silk pillowcase from Amazon, because its affordable and comes in lots of colors! Silk pillowcases are fantastic for your skin, too!

Silk Scrunchie

Now that scrunchies are back in style, I’m wondering why they left in the first place! They’re so much gentler on hair than regular hair ties! I especially love this silk scrunchie for preventing hair breakage! And, it looks so stylish!

Are there any hair products you absolutely love that I need to add to this list? Please let me know in the comments below or by connecting with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Best New LA Restaurants for Date Night (Plus, What to Wear!)

fashion, Lifestyle, Travel

After 18 months of homeschooling, Zoom-ing, and being stuck at home with the kiddos during this crazy pandemic, parents are more than deserving of an adults-only night out!

And, you’re in luck! Quite a few superb restaurants have opened in LA during the pandemic despite the hospitality industry’s struggle to maintain strong business in the rollercoaster of lockdowns and quarantines. These new restaurants on my list are so good that they’re not just surviving during these unsteady times – they’re thriving!! So, in addition to our need to escape repetitive (and exhausting!) parental duties, exploring one of these awesome new hot spots is another great reason for you to get out of the house with your S.O.!

But OMG what do we wear out these days? I don’t know about you, but most of my pandemic time with kiddos has been spent in yoga pants! I absolutely LOVE a good excuse to get dressed up, and as dining establishments continue to reopen, I’ve been so excited shopping for new looks to wear out on date nights on my fave e-retail site REVOLVE! If you’re stumped on what to wear, I’ve included some date night outfit ideas for each restaurant below!

Here are my top six new restaurants in Los Angeles for date night!

  1. Saso, Pasadena
My kind of cocktail: Txolo Squinkles made with tequila, mezcal, poblano liqueur, lime, grapefruit

Located in the historic Pasadena Playhouse, the new Saso serves Basque-inspired coastal cuisine, creating the perfect balance of century-old traditions mixed with farm-fresh fare. Everything at Saso is beautiful, fresh and vibrant — the open-air atmosphere, the flower adorned cocktails, the luscious crab claws and melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu steak. Make sure you start with the croquettes and fried oysters. Not only are they perfectly prepared, but their dipping sauces are addictingly yummy! My only knock on this place is that I thought it was a bit overpriced, but it’s much cheaper than taking a trip to Spain so WORTH IT!

What to Wear to Saso: Saso has a very California casual vibe, so go for something that feels bohemian chic. You’ll feel cool in a puff sleeve black top and high-rise black jeans. Throw a leather jacket over your shoulders if you sit on the patio. Shop this look here.

2. Agnes, Pasadena

Barbecued Pork Collar – honey mustard marinated, apricot mostarda, pink peppercorns

At Old Town Pasadena’s newcomer Agnes, gastronauts will love the open kitchen where they can interact with the chefs creating hearty proteins from the hearth. The best spot for date night, though, is the airy back patio where you can linger over beautiful cheese and meat boards and scratch-made pastas while sipping locally inspired cocktails, like the Descanso (mezcal, Luxardo, green chartreuse, lime, serrano chili) and the Tournament of Roses (aperol, fresh watermelon, Cremant, rosemary). Plan to make your reservations weeks in advance, as a table on the patio at this hot spot has been extremely hard to come by!

What to Wear to Agnes: The restaurant’s open kitchen and airy patio provide a laidback atmosphere. But, you’re on date night, so you gotta look cute! Go for this flowy off-the-shoulder top paired with wide-leg jeans for a look that’s on trend with a dab of hottness! Shop this look here.

3. Cinque Terre WEST and Enoteca 5, Pacific Palisades 

I took this photo of the beautiful Burrata at Enoteca 5 during our media preview dinner

Pacific Palisades’ Lingurian restaurant Cinque Terre WEST opened right before the pandemic hit, and the restaurant’s exceptional food and warm hospitality was such a hit that it stayed open with the support of the community. Locals love the restaurant’s farmers’ market driven menu and outstanding wine list so much that the owners just opened an intimate wine bar next door called Enoteca 5. I was lucky enough to be invited to a private media preview of the new space, and I cannot wait to bring my husband back for date night! The menu changes seasonally, but standouts on the menu I tried included the cheese and charcuterie board (get the Lardo di Colonnata AKA cured pork belly – its like butter in your mouth!!), the Burrata (stone fruit, pea tendrils, sourdough toast, saba), Black Truffle Pizza (mozzarella, goat cheese, black truffle), Papparadelle alla Bolognese, and Risotto del Giorno. The sommelier will steer you toward the best Italian and Californian wine pairings for your meal. Executive Chef Gianba Vinzoni and his wife Marlo are so warm and kind, making every guest feel like family here! Simple, romantic, and authentic, this venue transports couples to a date night in Italy!

What to Wear to Cinque Terre WEST and Enoteca 5: The vibe is dressy casual. The restaurant is tucked into a strip mall, but the amazing Italian food and wine are upscale. The crowd is beachy but wealthy. Look effortless, but look stylish and smart. That’s where this House of Harlow ribbed dress comes in. The soft ribbed fabric says, I’m comfortable, but the dress quality and feminine cut says, I care… but not too much. Shop this look here.

4. Lucky’s, Malibu

A feast for the eyes! Photo credit: Blue Ladybug Studio

The popular Montecito steakhouse has landed in Malibu and provides a fabulous option for an upscale date night! Lucky’s is worth the drive up the PCH to rub elbows with the beautiful beachy “it” crowd and indulge in steakhouse specialties. My Texan heritage requires me to order steak for my entree, and Lucky’s chars them just right served with sinful sauces like cognac peppercorn cream and red wine horseradish. The chopped salad with prosciutto and shrimp is divine, the sides are top-notch (hashed browns with gruyere cheese!!), and the cocktails are strong. Start with a martini and live your best life with your bae in the ‘Bu.

What to Wear to Lucky’s Malibu: This is a classic upscale steakhouse, but you’re in Malibu, so they typical LBD won’t do. Choose a polished yet youthful dress that’s not too stuffy, like this pretty dress made with champagne chiffon fabric. This dress is formal but fun – perfect to match Lucky’s atmosphere! Shop this look here.

5. Gigi’s, Hollywood

The intimate dining room and bar at Gigi’s | Photo Credit: Shade Degges Photography

I’m a sucker for a great adults-only night out in Hollywood to make me feel young and free of diaper duty again, and Gigi’s checks all the boxes: beautiful atmosphere, excellent service, perfect people watching, Insta-worthy strong cocktails and delectable food. Gigi’s serves French bistro fare, so you still feel fancy when your husband orders the cheeseburger with caramelized onions, pickles and frites, but I’m more of a whole roasted branzino girl myself. You’ll have to plan your date night several weeks in advance, because reservations at this celebrity favored restaurant are HOT!

What to Wear to Gigi’s: This restaurant is the pre-party that you never want to end – and it might not if you can snag a spot at the bar after dinner! With Gigi’s lively atmosphere and sophisticated aesthetic, you want a dress that’s both sexy and refined. This is not an appropriate place to wear your barely-there bodycon dress from your last trip to Vegas pre-kids circa 2016 (But, if you do decide to go in that direction, we don’t blame you for trying to relive the glory days!). May I suggest this ribbed bodycon dress instead? I love its midi length with a super sexy high slit and cut out back! Yes, go for it! Shop here.

6. Merois, West Hollywood

These views!!

Merois is everything you want from a date night dinner spot in Los Angeles: outstanding Eurasian cuisine from renowned Chef Wolfgang Puck, upscale atmosphere, jaw-dropping rooftop views of Los Angeles, impeccable service and a beautiful crowd. It’s definitely a see-and-be-seen place at West Hollywood’s hottest new hotel, The Pendry, so expect to see some familiar faces. In between bites of Hamachi Tartare and Shanghai Lobster, you’ll probably say something like, “Don’t look now, but isn’t that the one guy from Stranger Things?” From my last decade spent working in the hospitality industry, these are the types of hotel restaurants that get me giddy. Everything at Merois comes together just right for an impressive and memorable dining experience with your forever dinner date.

What to Wear to Merois: Pick an outfit that’s stylish yet timeless. You may finally get discovered by some big shot agent at this restaurant, so you should look like the leading lady. Hey, you never know! I love the classic silhouette on this Majorelle dress, and the ruffles and terracotta color are on trend. Shop this look here.

The cutest yet sexiest dress from Revolve

Where should we go on date night next? Which outfit is your favorite? Give me your best LA restaurant recommendations and tell me your favorite looks in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson! You can shop all my date night looks by clicking the image below and following me on @shop.ltk!

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Must-Have Items for Safe and Fun Family Beach Days!

Lifestyle, Mom & Baby, Travel

School’s out and everyone’s ready for fun in the sun! After being in lockdown last summer, I know many families are eager to visit their local beach or travel to a beach destination for vacation!

Living in Southern California, my family goes to the beach all the time. We absolutely love it. My husband surfs, I paddle board, our kiddos dig in the sand and dip their toes in the water. Needless to say, we consider ourselves professional beach goers.

My baby Lucy and me on a recent family beach day

The best part about a family beach day? All the sweet memories playing in the sand and jumping over waves with your little ones!

The worse part? All the STUFF you have to haul to the beach to have a safe, cool and fun beach day. Seriously — why do kids need SO MUCH STUFF?!?! Before kids, my husband and I showed up to the beach on our bikes with two towels and a water bottle. That was it. Man… those were the days!! Nowadays, with two kids under 3 years old, we arrive to the beach with our SUV trunk full!

Let me back up a bit… When my husband and I were kidless, we’d lay in the sand watching all these families struggle hauling all their stuff to the beach, and we swore to each other we would NOT be those people! We’d cringe as we watched dads dragging wagons full of gear back and forth across the sand from their car to their spot on the beach. Moms had their arms full of babies and shoulders weighed down with packed bags. Big kids would drag bags and toys behind them. Watching them go back and forth multiple times in the hot sun looked painful. I always thought, Can’t you just make one trip? The sight itself served as birth control for a few years. We did not want to give up our simple beach days that we loved so much!

Fast forward to today… After a few disastrous beach days with kids (and painfully going back and forth to the car to drag all our stuff to the beach), we finally got it right. We are now SMART about our beach days and have all the best portable gear to keep us cool, safe and, most importantly, have FUN!

While our beach days today aren’t as simple as our lives pre-kiddos, we still love them. And, I want you to love your beach days with your family, too!! Here are my must-have product recommendations to have a great, easy beach day with your family!

SHADE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

CoolCabanas Large CoolCabana 5

First and foremost, shade is a top priority for your family beach days – especially if you have little babies like us! You need a space that is cool and comfortable so your kids can get a break from the sun. I love CoolCabanas because they’re lightweight and easy to setup – even for one person! Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your style. Our family has the medium size in navy stripes and the large size in lemon scarletta – both feel super chic and summery! Use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order at http://www.coolcabanas.com!

Here’s the shade mistakes we made before getting CoolCabanas:

  1. Regular beach cabana – The metal frame of a regular beach cabana is SO HEAVY!! And, it takes more than one person to set up. If it’s really windy out, just forget it!
  2. Beach umbrella – Not enough shade for the whole family, especially if you have active kiddos! My 8-month-old is exploring and crawling, and I can’t keep her under a tiny umbrella!
  3. Three-sided beach tent – If it’s really sunny out with little wind, these tents can trap the air inside and get so hot! We were trying to protect ourselves from the sun but ended up sweating nonstop in the shade of this tent!

Do yourself a favor and make family cabana setup easier by getting a CoolCabana! Check out all of CoolCabanas options at http://www.coolcabanas.com, and be sure to use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order!

STAY HYDRATED AND KEEP COOL!

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

Everyone knows YETI makes the most legit durable, high-tech equipment that can withstand all sorts of crazy outdoor adventures worthy of praise from people who live the wildest life. That being said, YETI is our go-to brand for everything we do outdoors because we know we can trust it to last a long time and, most importantly, WORK!

After a few trips to the beach with a couple soft coolers that leaked and didn’t keep our food and drinks cold enough for all day in the sun, we turned to YETI and discovered the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler… It’s a backpack, y’all! GENIUS! Like, why didn’t I think of this?! Instead of lugging our former coolers on our shoulders (with all our other shoulder bags that we take to the beach), we’re now hands-free with an ergonomically designed backpack that promises superior cold-holding, a 100% leakproof zipper, a tough shell and can hold up to 20 cans of soda or beer! Get with the program and get this cooler!!

YETI Rambler and Rambler Jr. Water Bottles

Keep your water cold all day long with YETI’s amazing Rambler Water Bottles. My favorite is the 26 oz. size with chug cap for easy drinking. I love that YETI has a Rambler Jr. for kids, too! And, as a well-deserved convenience to parents, its straw cap is leak resistant when closed and both the bottle and cap are dishwasher safe. I’m so grateful for one less kid/baby item to hand wash!!

PROTECT YOUR SKIN!

Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen + Supergoop! Sunnyscreen

The face sunscreen made popular by celebrities and influencers now has a sunscreen for the whole family! I started using Supergoop! CC Screen years ago and fell in love with the brand for its clean ingredients, non-greasy feel and effectiveness, so I was thrilled when I found out they have a sunscreen for face and body, called PLAY, that our whole family can use. The SPF 50 formula can be used on face and body, it’s water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes and made with reef-safe, clean, cruelty-free ingredients. It also smells amazing! It comes in a spray, a lotion and a large 18 fl. oz. pump bottle for the whole family to share.

We like to take Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen in the spray bottle to the beach for the whole family to use!

I’m also so happy that Supergoop! has developed a sunscreen safe for little babies called Sunnyscreen. It’s 100% non-nano mineral formula checks all the boxes, meaning it’s pediatrician tested, hypoallergenic, & fragrance & silicone free. Sunnyscreen comes in a spot-on sunscreen spray, stick and lotion. I personally prefer the spray for our family, because its the simplest to use on my little 8-month-old.

KEEP KIDS SAFE IN THE WATER!

Splash About’s Go Splash Swim Vest

Our toddler was gifted this Go Splash Swim Vest for his 2nd birthday, and it has been one of the best items of our summer! It has a built-in float system that helps kids learn to swim as they’re splashing around in the pool or ocean. As a former swim instructor, I love that this swim vest encourages kids to use their arms compared to other floaties that keep arms lifted. I need to note that this is NOT a lifesaving device, and you should still always monitor your child when wearing this swim vest in and around water.

My son Landon in his Go Splash Swim Vest

One of the best things about this swim vest is that its lightweight and lays flat, so it’s packable! We brought it with us on vacation to Hawaii recently, and our toddler wore it every day! I was so thankful we packed it with us in our suitcase!

DON’T BRING THE BEACH HOME WITH YOU!

Tesalate Sand-Free Beach Towel

When you go to the beach, sand gets everywhere – especially when you have kids! Luckily, Tesalate has made the ULTIMATE beach towel! Made with AbsorbLite Microfiber, Tesalate’s beach towel is engineered for sand to slip off easily. It’s also ultra-absorbent, retaining up to a liter of water, and it dries in half the time as regular beach towels. I love that its compact and light, so easy to pack – no more bulky towels! Our family has two XL sized towels, which are great to lay next to each other for our whole family to spread out. The towels come in individual and XL size and a variety of beautiful designs. The regular size are $59 and XL are $99 and available at http://www.tesalate.com.

PROTECT EYES, EARS AND FACE WITH AFFORDABLE, PACKABLE SUN HATS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I was younger, I often purposely left my beach hat at home simply because I didn’t have a place to pack it in my suitcase or didn’t want to have to carry it around all day. Now that I know better about the importance of protecting my skin, I refuse to step out of the house for a day in the sun without a hat. Luckily, there are so many great packable hat options out there nowadays, and tons of options can easily be found on Amazon for an affordable price!

Lucy and me rocking our packable sun hats on vacation in Hawaii!

When shopping for sun hats for your family, it’s important to find one that has a wide brim to cover your face, ears and neck. Here’s a few great packable sun hat option for the family:

For Women: FURTALK Rollup Packable Visor

I love this visor because, not only is it packable, it’s super cute! It’s especially great for really hot days when I want to wear my hair up off my neck or if I want to swim around without getting my hair wet. It’s rolls up, so it’s compact and easy to stash in your beach bag or suitcase. It comes with an adjustable velcro closure, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing the correct size!

For Men: Quicksilver Bushmaster Bucket Hat

Okay, I know bucket hats are coming back around in style, but I have to admit that its been hard for me to jump back on the trend I used to wear in the ’90s. One great thing about bucket hats, though? They’re soft, so they’re easy to pack! I like this Quicksilver option for men, because it’s wide brim will protect the back of guys’ necks – something the usual ball cap or trucker hat does not do!

For Babies: SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat

Both of my babies wore this SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat, which offers UPF 50+ UV ray sun protection! I love that it comes in a variety of colors to match their little swimsuits or outfits. My favorite is the white eyelet for little girls!

WIPE OFF SAND AND KEEP LITTLE HANDS CLEAN!

Yipes! Wipes

How is it that little kids always find the yuckiest things to get their hands into?! With all the digging in the sand at the beach, kiddos hands can get particularly yucky! And that sand sticks! To clean little hands, I’m really excited about this new brand of wipes called Yipes! because they were developed to help foster a culture of hygiene while making it fun and approachable with their mascot, Yolanda the Yipes! Yak. They even created a kids’ board book about hygiene featuring Yolanda! And, it’s a product that parents can feel good about while being 94% biodegradable and made with 99% plant-derived ingredients. Yipes! are available in large canisters, as well as in individual, easy-to-use pocket-sized sachets (sold in pouches of 12), which are ideal for on-the-go—perfect for lunch boxes and beach trips! Find them at http://www.YipesWipes.com.

Here are some other important tips when taking your family to the beach:

  • Go early! Don’t wait until high noon when the sun is at its strongest. Plus, the earlier you go, the the less crowded it will be, so you’ll have an easier time finding parking and a great spot in the sand. Early evening also is a nice time to go for same reasons.
  • Don’t skimp on water. We always bring more water than we think we’ll need. And, we typically end up drinking all of it!
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! There’s something about being near water that makes kids (and grown-ups!) extra hungry! Make sure you have enough to go around!
  • Be wary of the ocean, as most waves may not be manageable for little children. Our family is very familiar with SoCal beaches, so we know what to expect with our waves. I recommend watching the ocean for its wave size and take time to understand the strength of the undertow and which direction the current is going.
  • Appropriate shoes! On hot summer days, the sand can get really hot! I recommend buying water shoes so your little ones can run around without burning their feet. Sandals and flip flops are too challenging for little kids to keep on their feet in the sand.
  • Bring some fun beach toys that encourage exploration! For my kids’ ages (an almost 3 year old and 8 month old), we stick to toys that can be used to play on the sand rather than the water. We put all the toys inside one large sand bucket to make carrying them manageable. A blow up beach ball is also a great idea, because its inflatable which makes it easy to pack.
  • Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go to the beach. Little ones get too excited once they arrive to the beach to slow down and put on sunscreen. Plus, you risk giving them an accidental exfoliating massage, because they’re likely to get sand all over them immediately!
  • Remove sticky sand with baby powder. If you don’t want to take your baby into the ocean or under the public showers to rinse off sand, sprinkling baby powder on their skin and hair removes moisture and helps sand dust off easily.

Do you have any questions or additional family beach day tips? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Best Affordable Swimsuits for Summer

fashion, Lifestyle
The cutest lavender bikini from H&M

This summer, I’m all about AFFORDABLE SWIMSUITS! After a year of little social activity and few vacations, plus being pregnant last summer, I’m now ready to overhaul my old swimsuits for fashionable new ones!

I don’t know about you, but I like to change up my pool/beach looks while on vacation… which means I can’t be spending $100-$200 per ‘kini — OK?!?! Luckily, H&M has killed it this summer introducing TONS of affordable swimsuit options! And, many of the suits you can mix and match – like these ribbed bikini bottoms and matching tops!

I’ve outlined all my favorite affordable H&M swimsuits below. I can’t wait to wear some of these new suits at all the upcoming pool parties and travel we have planned this summer!

Affordable swimsuits from H&M
  1. Lavender Bikini Bottoms and Lavender Bikini Top – This lavender color is so pretty for this classic bikini. This will probably be my most worn swimsuit this summer!
  2. White Bikini Bottoms and White Bikini Top – I was hunting for an all white bikini to rock this summer, and this one fits so perfectly! I love that its ribbed, so the fabric is thick. It comes in multiple colors, so you can mix and match the bottoms with the tops!
  3. Neon Yellow Bikini Top and Neon Yellow Bikini Bottoms – I’m digging all the ’90s vibes this season and this neon suit feels so old school Sports Illustrated! This will look so good with a tan!
  4. Pink Brazilian Bikini Bottoms and Pink Brazilian Bikini Top – So girly and flirty! If you’re looking for a high waisted bikini, this one is so flattering!
  5. Black High-Legged Ribbed Swimsuit – I got this swimsuit in red and I love it! It’s sexy but also appropriate enough to wear in the water with kids.
  6. Red One-Piece – Ready to join the Summer Olympics in this number! Feels like Sporty Spice!
  7. Blue Striped One-Piece – Feelin’ the classic East Coast vibes with this suit! Perfect for rocking at the country club or a Fourth of July pool party.
  8. Pink Striped Shaping Swimsuit – This suit is ultra flattering with high leg cut and sculpting effect on waist. I love how girly it is with pink stripes and ruffles.

Which swimsuit is your favorite? Are you team one-piece or team bikini? Let me know in the comments below, and be sure to follow with me on Instagram and LIKEtoKNOW.it for more easy, affordable fashion!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Easy and Affordable Red, White & Blue Looks for Summer

fashion, Lifestyle
Love this red puff sleeve crop top from H&M!

I absolutely love summer! The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, but I like to kick off the season of red, white and blue outfits with Memorial Day Weekend! I don’t know about you, but since its the first long holiday weekend in the COVID vaccination era, I’m ready to celebrate with family and friends! I can’t wait to get dressed up and see people again! Here are some easy red, white and blue looks to copy for poolside parties, backyard BBQs and date nights this summer!

Three easy red, white and blue looks to copy for summer!
Red, white & blue looks for Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July and ALL SUMMER!
  • Straw Fedora Hat – Nothing better than a classic straw fedora hat to wear all summer for all occasions – so easy for pool, beach or any outdoor party!
  • Red One Piece Swimsuit – I love that one-piece swimsuits have really made a fashionable comeback in the last few years. This one gives ’90s sporty vibes, which I love for being chic but also active in the pool with my kiddos!
  • White Swimsuit Cover Up Wrap – This Amazon cover-up is so affordable, comes in a variety of colors and comes in packs of two! I love this for when I’m at the pool and want to quickly get up to get a drink or go back to the hotel room but don’t want to get fully dressed.
  • White Birkenstocks – These have been my go-to sandals for the last year, because they’re so comfy and waterproof. Great shoes for running errands, staying cute at the pool or chasing my kids around!
  • White Crop Top – White linen crop tops will be my go-to with all my high waisted shorts and jeans this summer!
  • Blue Striped Paper Bag Waist Shorts – Bless the person who invented paper bag waist shorts! They are so comfy! These navy stripes are perfect for summer and can go with lots of outfits.
  • Elda Slide Sandal in Natural Raffia – This sandal gives me tropical vibes. Can’t wait to wear them on vacation and with all my dresses this summer!
  • Red Chandelier Earrings – I’ve worn these for the last couple years and they don’t get old! Perfect to dress up a casual outfit or add a pop of color!
  • Red Puff Sleeve Crop Top – This top looks so romantic and chic for a date night!
  • Distressed High Waist Levi’s – My most favorite “mom jeans” ever! They’re often sold out, so I’ve linked similar styles here and here.
  • Tule Block Heel Sandal in Black Leather – I’m digging the square toe this season. These sandals are ridiculously comfortable for heels. Can’t wait to wear these for date nights and evening social gatherings with friends!

What are you looking forward to wearing this summer? For more fashion inspo, be sure to follow me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson and LiketoKnow.it!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

2021 Mother’s Day Gift Guide For Every Type of Mom

Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
Great Mother’s Day gift idea: Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister

Mother’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 9, and if you’re struggling with what to get Mom this year, this gift guide is for you!

I get it, moms can be hard to shop for!

Since women make up 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, your mom likely does a lot of shopping for herself already! Those three Amazon packages at your door? I promise that not all of them are “things for the baby!”

Plus, some moms can be so picky! Like, she loved rose gold jewelry two years ago but now only wears yellow gold… What?!?!

So, how do you choose a gift for mom that says I love you and appreciate you without resulting to the boring old vase of flowers and Hallmark card?

*Please note: Flowers and cards are still ALWAYS a welcomed thoughtful gesture!!

Below, I have put together a Mother’s Day gift guide comprised of five truly unique, one-of-a-kind gift ideas for every type of mom. Happy shopping!

My Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts in 2021:

1. FOR THE JEWEL LOVING MOM:

Ring Concierge’s Personalized Pieces

Perfect Mother’s Day gift idea: this Ring Concierge Personalized Multi Name Necklace

If you have a mama who loves jewelry, the new personalized pieces from Ring Concierge make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift because you can add your children’s names or initials. There’s nothing sweeter than wearing a reminder of your babies everywhere you go! The line offers a variety of styles, metals and fonts to customize and fit your mom’s personality… and your budget!

An especially thoughtful gift that gives back are the jewelry pieces from Ring Concierge’s engravable heart collection. Fifteen percent of gross profits are donated to Pretty Brown Girl, a non-profit promoting confidence and leadership development for girls of color. I love a gift that also makes a difference!

I’ve gotten to a point in my jewelry collecting days where I don’t necessarily want another piece of trendy costume jewelry, and that’s why I love Ring Concierge. The brand offers bespoke “elevated classics.” It’s high-end jewelry that you can personalize and buy online… How cool is that?! Fashionable celebs like Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor and former Bachelorette Joelle Fletcher are fans of Ring Concierge, so you know you’re giving mom something that will make her feel like a “cool mom” when she wears it!

Starting prices for the personalized pieces range anywhere from $90 to over $2,000. I’ve shared a few of my favorite styles below, or you can browse the collection yourself at http://www.ringconcierge.com.

2. FOR THE CHEF MOM:

Messermeister’s Adventure Chef Knife

For the mom who loves to cook or be on-the-go, I love the new folding Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister. We’ve been home long enough this past year during the pandemic, so take the kitchen on the road and cook from anywhere with this full-sized knife! It’s the same high-quality of a chef’s knife you’d use in your kitchen, but compact and portable. I know our family will love using this at the beach to prepare lunch and for future camping trips! You can even have the knife engraved with mom’s name to make it extra special and personalized!

What makes this gift even more special, in my opinion, is that Messermeister is a local mom-owned company. The brand has been around for 40 years and is based out of Ojai. The family business is led by Debra Dressler and her two daughters, Kirsten and Chelcea. Shop all of Messermeister’s knives at http://www.messermeister.com.

3. FOR THE STYLISH AND ECO-CONSCIOUS MOM:

Aurora Sage’s Silk Scarves

If you have a stylish mom, she’ll love these one-of-a-kind silk scarves from Aurora Sage, an LA-based sustainable women’s fashion brand. The scarves come in three sizes and can be worn a variety of ways, like on your head, around your neck or shoulders, or even as a top! Aurora Sage specializes in organic silk pieces, and all are hand-dyed using natural ingredients such as rose pedals, avocados and turmeric… how cool is that?! And, you’ll be supporting a local mama, as everything is manufactured in LA and dyed in-house by founder and fellow mom Stephanie Carollo. Stephanie created the company just after she had her second son and wanted to create a line that made women feel beautiful while also being safe for their bodies and the environment.

I personally love all of Aurora Sage’s clothing, and it’s fun mixing and matching the different colored pieces. Right now, I’m really into all the yellow pieces, as they feel so cheery for spring and so on-trend with Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating Yellow. And, the silk blazers look so chic over the slip dresses! Shop all of Aurora Sage’s items at http://www.aurorasage.com.

4. FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED MOM:

Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box by Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder

If your mom can’t get enough beauty products, Curateur has launched a Special Edition Beauty Box just in time for Mother’s Day! The Beauty Box is curated by celebrity moms Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder and features some of the leading and most innovative beauty products on the market. Additionally, sales from the Beauty Box benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF), a cause that’s near and dear to Rachel’s heart and mine, as both my mother, grandmother and mother in-law battled with breast cancer. Curateur will give 20% of the purchase price to the BCRF and their life-saving work. Another gift you can feel good about!

Rachel Zoe with Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

The box is valued at over $230, but is sold for only $49.99!! It’s a real steal including some amazing products like:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex: This supercharged treatment helps repair the visible impact of lack of sleep, UV, pollution, even blue light. It’s proven to reveal a bright, hydrated, visibly revived look with comprehensive benefits for the eye area.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Styling Leave-In: This UV-protective gel-creme conditions, detangles, and fights frizz creating beautiful surfer girl waves!

Origins Plantscription™️ Multi-Powered Youth Serum: Their most comprehensive serum for face, neck, and eyes that helps provide a youthful transformation with every use.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base: One of Bobbi Brown’s bestsellers—a primer plus moisturizer for smooth makeup application (it’s the best of both worlds)!

So many fabulous products at fantastic price in Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

You can purchase the box by becoming a Curateur member for $99 at http://www.curateur.com. As a member, you’ll receive a seasonal lifestyle box featuring the most coveted beauty, fashion and home brands on the market. Imagine how excited mom will be receiving her Curateur box with each new season!

5. FOR THE DOG MOM:

Paw.com’s PupProtector Blanket

All moms deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, including Dog Moms for everything they do for our furry family members! As a dog mom myself, I can’t recommend this Paw.com PupProtector Blanket enough! The blanket is designed to seamlessly blend into any home, and it looks super chic at the end of our bed and on our living room couch. Made from plush faux fur on one side and ultra-soft microsuede on the other, the blanket protects areas from pet hair, dirt, spills, pet accidents, and scratching damage. Our toddler even likes snuggling with it! The blanket comes in so many color options and matches with many of Paw.com’s dog beds. Plus, its so easy to clean – waterproof and machine washable! The blanket comes in a couple different size options and can be purchased on www.paw.com.

Naps are cozy (and chic) on our Paw.com PupProtector Blanket
We have the Polar White color available here: Paw.com PupProtector Blanket

I’m hopeful you’ll spoil mom with one of these very thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day! Tell me which gift idea is your favorite in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Diaper Bag Essentials

fashion, Mom & Baby

The baby product industry is always working to convince us that we need MORE STUFF, so I’m determined to keep our approach as minimalist as possible. With all the options out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed guessing what you truly need in your diaper bag – for baby and mom! Rather than carry half the nursery with me “just in case,” I personally prefer to stick to just the essentials.

The first step is choosing the right diaper bag. I have two: the Freshly Picked Classic Backpack in black and my new favorite Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin.

Here’s what’s important when shopping for a diaper bag:

Backpack style – Only once did I attempt to carry a large shoulder bag with me when out with the babies, and it was so challenging! Backpacks keep your hands free and the bag off the dirty ground – especially important when changing diapers in public restrooms!

Pockets! And more pockets! – Staying organized on-the-go is necessary when you’re quickly trying to clean up a mess or wipe a runny nose. Sometimes, you only have one hand to quickly grab a wipe! Pockets provide a place for everything, so you’re not digging toward the bottom of your bag for the loose hand sanitizer, sunscreen or whatever it may be.

Just big enough for a small laptop – Our family loves traveling and I’ve even brought the babies with me on work trips. In my opinion, there’s nothing more annoying than carrying additional bags through the airport when you also have kids in tow, so having a diaper bag that’s large enough for a small laptop – but no larger – is ideal.

Chic – As someone who considers herself a “cool mom,” there’s nothing more annoying to me than an item that screams baby. Like, I want carry a diaper bag, but I don’t want to look like I’m carrying a diaper bag. I like that the two bags I have can also function as stylish backpacks without looking like I’m carrying a pack of baby wipes with me.

Quality – This bag will go everywhere with you for a couple years, so you want it to be durable.

My diaper bags:

Freshly Picked Diaper Backpack in Black

This was the bag I had on my baby registry, and it has been such a wondeful gift! This Freshly Picked diaper bag has survived almost three years of baby and toddler craziness. I’ve brought this bag everywhere with me, and I really don’t see why a mama would need any other bag. In addition to the zipper closure, it has a flap that goes over the top, which is so handy when you only have one hand to close your bag and go! Because its black vegan leather, the bag can be dressed up and doesn’t stand out when I’ve had to take it to more formal occasions. I’ve brought this bag with me to present at work conferences! Bonus: It comes with a portable changing pad, so you don’t have to buy a separate one!

Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin Leather

Y’all, I am so obsessed with this Cleobella bag that I’ll probably continue to carry it as a chic travel backpack even when we’re out of the baby stage. I got this diaper bag after having my second baby, Lucy. I’d been carrying the Freshly Picked bag for the last 2.5 years and was ready for a change. I’ve been gravitating toward more neutrals since having a girl, and I think the moccasin color is perfect for spring and summer. The leather is so soft, and there’s so many pockets and compartments inside making it so easy to stay organized. I love that it also comes with a long shoulder strap to wear as a cross body. The braided detailing is very stylish. When my mother and husband first saw it, they did not think it was a diaper bag – WIN!

What’s in my diaper bag:

Portable Changing Pad

For diaper changes on-the-go, an easy-to-clean portable changing pad is vital. I like this portable changing pad from Amazon because its small and thin, so it doesn’t take up too much space in my diaper bag.

Muslin Swaddle Blanket

I love these aden + anais Muslin Blankets because they are multifunctional while being beautiful and long-lasting. I use these as a nursing cover, a swaddle for baby, a blanket for baby to wrap up in or lie down on, or to cover dirty surfaces baby may touch, like a grocery cart. They come in several beautiful colors and patterns that are easily washable. I like that they can cover a large surface while still being able to fold small to fit in my bag.

Burp Cloth

My favorite burp cloths are by KiddyStar, because they are thick and hold their shape. I’ve ended up with spit up all over me when using other brands’ thin, short, floppy burp cloths.

Disposable Diaper Bags

I carry these Munchkin Diaper Bag Refills in case I have to change a yucky diaper on-the-go and there’s no where to dispose the diaper. Believe me, you don’t want to have to keep an exposed yucky diaper in your beautiful new diaper bag or inside your car – ewwww!

Backup Clothes – Kyte Baby Footies

Spit-ups and blow-outs are just a part of everyday life when you have a baby, so always keep an extra change of clothes for baby in your bag. I especially like to have Kyte Baby Footies, because they’re sooooo soft and fold up really small inside your bag! They come in so many colors, so when you’re making your baby registry, register for a bunch!

Huggies Diapers and Wipes

After trying every brand of diaper out there, Huggies Diapers seem to be the best at keeping blow-outs at bay – very important when you’re out and about with baby! We also use Huggies Natural Care Wipes.

Extra Teething Toy

I always keep an extra teething toy or two in my bag to give something “new” to the baby that she’s currently not playing with in her stroller. It helps when she’s starting to get bored and fussy. I like these natural wooden teething rings because they’re non-toxic and have fashionable neutral colors.

Cuyana Wristlet

After carrying around my heavy wallet for a year with my firstborn, I finally wised up and got this cute, slim wristlet wallet from Cuyana. This wristlet has been so handy, especially when traveling. I keep my diaper bag on my back and this wallet around my wrist as I’m going through the airport and have to consistently pull out ID’s, tickets, credit card, etc. I also like this for quick errands when I don’t want to carry my diaper bag to the store. Now, I don’t need to transfer my wallet to another bag, because this wristlet does it all. It also has a pocket big enough for my iPhone 12 Pro Max. Cuyana has become one of my favorite leather goods brands. It’s such good quality at a perfect price point. And, the brand works to be as sustainable as possible.

Quay Sunglasses

I’ve owned several pairs of Quay Sunglasses, and these are my newest pair. I like that they’re fashionable, good quality, and at a good price point, so I don’t feel guilty buying a couple new trendy pairs at a time to try.

Other items that I always keep in my diaper bag include disinfecting wipes (to wipe down yucky surfaces), hand sanitizer, chapstick or lip color, and snacks for my toddler and me.

Our matching outfits:

While I have you, let’s talk about how cute these matching mommy-and-me dresses are from Cleobella. My mother and I used to wear matching dresses and jumpers back in the ’90s, so when I found out I was having a daughter, I got so excited for our future matching outfits! The main difference is that my mother actually used to sew our dresses back in the day, and since I’m no seamstress, it makes my heart so happy that Cleobella sells these adorable dresses. I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural.

I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural
Holding my Cuyana Wristlet

I hope this post was helpful for new mamas trying to plan outings with their littles or for experienced mamas looking to revamp their diaper bag! Comment in the posts below or let me know on Instagram!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

The Best Rosé Wines! Plus, My Favorite Wine Accessories!

Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle
Cheers to rosé! The Palm by Whispering Angel is a favorite “pink wine!”

With summer upon us (yayyy!), it only makes sense to do a post about my favorite rosé wines…. Wait, who am I kidding – I drink rosé all year round!

What I love most about rosé is its versatility. In addition to being a delightful wine right out of the bottle, I also love it as a spritzer! And, it can be paired with EVERYTHING – from BBQ to sushi!

However, I don’t consider all rosés equal, so this post highlights only my top 10 favorite rosé wines. If you’ve previously passed on “pink wine,” I highly recommend that you give one of these rosés a try and let me know what you think. For those of you who already understand the gloriousness of rosé, let’s be friends! Comment on this post or connect with me on Instagram to tell me your go-to rosé!

Before we get into this list, I do have to add the disclaimer that I am not a sommelier – just an amateur rosé connoisseur. No one has dubbed me as an expert, but since I drink rosé so often, I feel like a professional… Alas, I have no certificate to prove it.

As you’ll see from my list below, I lean towards rosés that are from France, specifically the Côtes De Provence region. However, not all the rosés on my list are from France. There’s some California in there, too! I also prefer dry rosés over sweet, and I’m drawn to rosés that are more pale salmon pink than dark cherry pink.

The majority of these wines can be found at your local grocery store. Or, you can make your life easier and get the wine delivered from Amazon Fresh, which is conveniently included in an Amazon Prime membership. When you have two little babies, like me, grocery and wine shopping is so much simpler when ordered online. Plus, I love that Amazon Fresh has same-day delivery, and I often get the groceries delivered to my door in 2 hours or less!

So, let’s dive in! My list of best rosés below is in no particular order.

My Top 10 Rosé Wine Recommendations:

Chateau D Esclans Whispering Angel

Region: Côtes De Provence, France

Winemaker Notes: “Whispering Angel is today’s worldwide reference for Provence rosé. Made from Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle (Vermentino), its pale color is pleasing to the eye and draws one in. The rewarding taste profile is full and lush while being bone dry with a smooth finish. Highly approachable and enjoyable with a broad range of cuisine, Whispering Angel is a premium rosé that you can drink from mid-day to midnight.”

Maggie Notes: Whispering Angel is perhaps the Holy Grail of rosés. It’s on the pricier side for a reason – it’s darn delicious. Bring this rosé to a party and you’re guaranteed to make friends.

Chateau D Esclans The Palm by Whispering Angel

Region: Côtes De Provence, France

Winemaker Notes: “Made from Grenache, Cinsault and Carignan, this authentic rosé from Provence operates as a playful, trendy, energetic “little sister” to Whispering Angel. The Palm is expressive both inside and out as it shows great aromatic freshness on the nose followed by more subtle, fruity notes on the palate. The colorful and playful label has been called “almost as perfect as the rosé itself”. Signed and approved by Whispering Angel.”

Maggie Notes: A more affordable rosé by the same folks behind Whispering Angel – what’s not to like?! Also, the bottle feels so fun and perfect to bring to a pool party!

Chateau Miraval

Region: Côtes De Provence, France

Winemaker Notes: “Pretty petal pink color with shiny undertones. Instantly reminds of Provence with its beautiful aromas of fresh fruit and spring flowers. Airy and balanced, it delicately combines great freshness and complexity, and develops saline and mineral notes. Its long and intense finish is the signature of a rosé with incomparable elegance: Miraval.”

Maggie Notes: I recently learned that Miraval is a joint venture between Perrin family and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. It’s safe to say the Pitt-Jolie family knows their rosé, as this is one of my most favorites. To me, this wine offers the perfect balance of light fruit while still being dry and sophisticated. I especially love pairing this wine with a fancy brunch or lunch.

Chateau Minuty M Rosé

Region: Côtes De Provence, France

Winemaker Notes: “M de Minuty is the quintessential Cotes de Provence Rose, a style that Chateau Minuty defined,and is the reason behind their success as the world’s top producer of premium rosé. Fresh, lively and perfectly balanced, fantastic quality, a glass in hand transports you to the seaside and the French riviera lifestyle, watching the sea and the sky, surrounding yourself with friends and family, and enjoying life to the fullest.”

Maggie Notes: This rosé is so refreshing and drinkable. I imagine being at a pool party in St. Barts surrounded by other fabulous people drinking M de Minuty in private cabanas. It’s lovely for a day in the sun or to liven up your brunch.

Summer Water

Region: Central Coast, California

Winemaker Notes: “This dry rosé reflects the pale pink promise of the perfect warm-weather wine. It’s delightfully crisp, lighthearted, and destined for a good time. The grapes for this Central Coast Grenache and Syrah blend were picked early in the season to achieve a natural acidity that’s ideal for summer drinking. To ensure as little extraction from the skins as possible, we used the direct press method, retaining the delicate fruit aromas and pale color rosé is known for. The result is light, aromatic, and dry – with notes of melon, peach, rose, and citrus. Summer-friendly fare like shellfish, ceviche, and salads will pair swimmingly or just drink it chilled with the ones you love.”

Maggie Notes: While hailing from the Central Coast, this rosé is as drinkable as the rosés from Provence with the bonus of American Spirit. This is the rosé you bring to the beach or have waiting in an ice bucket for your guests at your July 4th BBQ. It goes with everything, so be careful – it really can go down like water!

Gerard Bertrand Cote des Roses

Region: Languedoc, South of France

Winemaker Notes: “A wine to celebrate the Mediterranean Art of Living! Its originality lies in its original rose-shaped bottle, created by a young designer from Ecole Boulle. This cuvée boasts a lovely yellow color with golden tints. It is fresh. A soft, pale, brilliant pink with bluish tints developing over time towards more orangey nuances. The bouquet releases aromas of summer fruits, cassis, and redcurrant. Floral notes of rose along with hints of grapefruit complete the picture. The finish is fresh, offering notes of candy. On the palate, the impression is fresh and full, with great aromatic persistence and balance.”

Maggie Notes: A great balance of floral and fruity, this rosé makes for a lovely hostess gift because it comes in such a beautiful bottle.

La Vieille Ferme

Region: Rhône, France

Winemaker Notes: “Pale pink in color, this rosé offers fresh, delicate aromas of red fruits (currant, cherry), and citrus (lemon). On the palate, it shows a beautiful balance between ripeness and acidity, with notes of fresh fruit.”

Maggie Notes: This the most affordable rosé on my list, and it just so happens to also be one of my favorites. I recently learned that La Vielle Ferme is made by the Perrin family, who also produces the top-rated Miraval (also included on my list above). No wonder it’s so good! We always have this rosé in our wine fridge. I will sometimes use it to make rosé wine spritzers, too.

Meiomi Rosé

Region: California

Winemaker Notes: “Delicately pink in color, Meiomi Rosé is delightfully dry with vibrant acidity. The wine opens to delicate aromas of watermelon, orange peel, and subtle hints of rose petal. The palate offers a lush mouthfeel with flavors of stone fruit and strawberry with a cool minerality on the finish.”

Maggie Notes: This is the rosé I want to drink when vacationing the Coast of California. It’s delightful for pairing with snacks at a picnic or sipping on your hotel room balcony before dinner. It’s dry and fruity. It feels like vacation, and it feels like California.

Thorne 2019 Rosé

Region: Santa Rita Hills, California Central Coast

Winemaker Notes: “The 2019 vintage was Estate Grown, in our Rio Vista Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills appellation and is our first rosé production. Produced in limited quantity, the resulting wine was made using a saignee, or juice draw, taken immediately upon crushing the grape clusters into the fermenter. This saignee was taken from small 1 – 1.5 ton lots of Pinot Noir from 6 different blocks and is 100% from Rio Vista Vineyard. The brief contact with the red grape skins renders its beautiful pale salmon color. The juice was fermented in stainless steel barrels, then aged on its lees for five months, adding depth and complexity to the wine without overshadowing the fresh fruit components. This Rose was bottled on March 4, 2020 and is an expression of the unique terroir of our vineyard in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA.”

Maggie Notes: This is the only wine on my list that’s not easily found in your local grocery store, but it is too good to leave off. I’m usually skeptical of California rosés, because I’m convinced no one can make a good dry rosé like the French, but this rosé from Thorne Family’s Rio Vista Vineyards is absolutely delicious. I was introduced to this rosé from a Thorne family member who became a friend in a local mommy-and-me class. I ordered a bottle to sample, and I liked it so much that I ordered more! I love supporting local winemakers (we have a collection of California Cabernets from small, independent winemakers), so I encourage you to try this rosé if you live in California. You can shop and buy at this link.

Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial

Region: Champagne, France

Winemaker Notes: “Rosé Imperial displays a pink color with amber highlights. Lively and intense, the bouquet exudes red fruits (wild strawberry, raspberry, cherry) with floral nuances of rose and a slight hint of pepper. On the palate, the wine shows a juicy intensity of berries (strawberry, raspberry, red currant) rounded out by the fleshiness and firmness of peach and the freshness of a subtle note of mint.”

Maggie Notes: For the Champagne lover, you can’t go wrong with Moet & Chandon’s rosé. It’s the perfect accent to any elegant summer soiree (or just when you want Champagne!).

Do you know of a lovely rosé that didn’t make this list? Let me know in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram! I’m always ready to try a new rosé!

Brunch is better with rosé wine, especially Chateau Miraval!

And, while I have you thinking about wine, below are my favorite wine accessories – perfect for adding to your home wine bar or wrapping up for a gift!

My Favorite Wine Accessories:

Riedel O Wine Tumbler

We received these as a wedding gift, and we use them ALL the time. I love stemless glasses, because I worry less about potentially breaking them!

Marble Wine Chiller Bucket 

A fashionable way to keep your wine chilled after opening!

BrüMate Winesulator

BruMate makes taking wine to-go so much easier! Never drink a warm glass on the beach, at the park or while camping when you have this!

Personalized Bottle Wine Stopper Top

Maybe its the Southern in me, but I love all things monogrammed!

Custom Engraved Personalized California Champagne Saber

My favorite tradition at St. Regis hotels is their evening Champagne sabering ritual. Ever since staying at The St. Regis Bal Harbour, I’ve dreamed of hosting a fancy soiree where I kick off the evening sabering a bottle for friends. This engraved saber is super classy!

YETI Rambler 10 oz Wine Tumbler

You can’t beat the Yeti brand. It seems glass will always find a way to get knocked over and break when outside, so my anxiety level is way down when using these tumblers during our outdoor happy hours and BBQs.

Rabbit Bar Tools Classic Wing Corkscrew

We’ve yet to have an electric wine opener last longer than a couple of months, so we stick to the classic corkscrew. Rabbit is one of the most trusted wine accessory brands out there.

Cote des Roses is a perfect hostess gift because of its beautiful bottle!

I hope you have a beautiful summer filled with good times with family and friends – and rosé!

CHEERS!!!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.