handmade holiday: soaking salts and milk baths

the holidays can be stressful, you guys. every year, i feel totally chill– until the day after thanksgiving, when i suddenly realize that i have about a million gifts to give, and my already monumental to-do list seems to quadruple in size. add a baby to the mix, and i can become a bit of a scrooge. but this year, instead of allowing myself to become overwhelmed, i decided to simplify. instead of trying to fight the holiday crowds over silly little trinkets, i decided to partake in a handmade holiday. yes, i still have plenty of holiday shopping to do, but making the bulk of my gifts has already lightened the load tremendously. so over the next couple of weeks, i’ll be sharing some of the holiday diy projects that i’ve been making along with the help of my sister.

first up, a collection of luxurious milk baths and soaking salts. since having the baby, i’ve been making an effort to set aside some chill-out time to soak in the bath about once a week, so i already have my own little stockpile of soaking ingredients in my cabinet! they can all be found at your local health food store, and the recipes are really simple, with many of the ingredients being easily interchangeable. the only real investment comes in the form of the essential oils. some bottles run upwards of $25 a pop, but you only use a few drops of each, so there will be plenty leftover for your own concoctions. plus, the act of simply slowing down and making something was rather therapeutic, and felt a lot more meaningful to me. probably because making these soaks is basically one big aromatherapy session in itself!

the shopping list

pink himalayan sea salt
pink sea salt
red hawaiian sea salt
grey celtic sea salt
epsom salt
baking soda
powdered coconut milk
powdered buttermilk
powdered honey
essential oils (i used vanilla, lavender, ylang ylang, grapefruit, orange, and a “relaxation blend”)

soaking salts

1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup epsom salt
1/4 cup part baking soda
5 – 6 drops of essential oil

i should probably start out by saying that you don’t need to get himalayan pink or celtic grey salt for these. i think they are said to have special therapeutic properties, and that may be true, but i mostly went with them because they come in pretty colors. regular old sea salt and epsom salts will still do the trick. my personal favorite mix of essential oils? lavender, grapefruit, and ylang ylang.

milk bath

1 1/2 cups powdered milk
1/4 cup powdered honey
1/4 cup epsom salt
5 – 6 drops of essential oil

for this recipe, we tried two different soaks, one made with coconut milk and the other made with buttermilk. the coconut milk obviously has a very strong coconut scent, so we mixed in some vanilla to compliment it. the end result basically smells like cookies. the buttermilk is more neutral, so this one is a good option if you want to use essential oils that might not go as well with coconut. we mixed it with grapefruit, orange, and vanilla.



giveaway: enter to win $175 to earth & beauty!

today i am excited to announce my latest giveaway courtesy of earth & beauty. this new online shop features modern women’s clothing and accessories sourced from independent and hard-to-find designers across north america, europe, asia, and the middle east. every piece of clothing is carefully selected for it’s quality craftsmanship, and i have to say that i was really impressed when i received this versatile little dress in the mail. it has a certain quiet elegance and effortless ease about it, and i especially love how it creates the perfect canvas for showcasing a statement necklace, like this little marbled piece i made a few weeks ago. and it turned out to be the perfect thing to wear this weekend to a thanksgiving dinner with family.

earth & beauty has just released their winter lookbook and have freshly stocked the shop with plenty more to choose from, so i’m especially excited to be able to offer you the opportunity to win a $175 gift card to the shop. there are four ways to enter below:

Calivintage x Earth & Beauty Giveaway

gaia black shift dress courtesy of earth & beauty
jenni kayne suede d’orsay flats
vintage coach bag courtesy of twice
self-made necklace

earth & beauty would also like to offer you 20% off your order with code “calivintage” now through 11:59pm pst on sunday 12/7!



at the apple orchard

we’re spending time with family for the holiday, so i thought it would be fitting to leave these here. some photos from a recent trip we took to the apple orchards in oak glen. adam’s great-grandpa proudly held him in his arms and showed him around. we ate apple cider donuts and drank warm apple cider, and got to watch adam as he squealed in delight over the animals at the petting zoo. and funnily enough, we didn’t get any pictures of apples!

adam is wearing: hat handmade by niko’s naptime, american apparel baseball tee, gap sweatpants, old navy sneakers



jane sews summer capsule

today is a good day for those of you in the southern hemisphere! the south african-based label jane sews has just released their new summer capsule collection, and as expected, it’s a good one! designer amy venter has introduced a beautiful new set of classic dresses and separates in a clean black and cream palette with the cutest little sandals and handbags to go with them. the palm print is fun and playful without being overdone, just the type of thing i would love to wear on that imaginary resort vacation i’ve got planned in my head. everything is constructed in crisp cotton, breezy rayon, and luxurious silk blends right in their durban studio, at an incredibly affordable price point. if you haven’t taken the time to check out this brand, then today is the day!

tink photography
hair and make-up by candice mac nicol
model ndumi matiwane



a variation on candied yams

and just like that, thanksgiving is upon us. my family will be gathering at my grandma’s house for a traditional thanksgiving with all of the usual suspects: a giant turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rolls, and steamed veggies. my grandma’s been making it that way her entire life, and we don’t tend to stray away from her tradition. but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a bit of fun on our own. my sister came over this weekend, eager to try out a recipe for “healthy” candied yams that she’d dreamt up the night before. it turned out so good, that we’ve decided that we might as well entertain ourselves with all of our own thanksgiving alternatives  in the days before and after this most gluttonous of holidays.

a variation on candied yams

  • 4 cups cubed sweet potatoes (you can also go half and half with butternut squash if you like!)
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil, or enough to coat the potatoes
  • 3 – 4 Tbsps maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • juice of half an orange
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans, lightly chopped

set oven to 400 degrees. toss the potatoes lightly in olive oil and bake in the oven until tender, about 20 – 25 minutes. remove from the oven and stir in the orange juice, pecans, and cranberries. drizzle with maple syrup to taste, then return to the over for an additional 15 minutes, or until the dish has caramelized. let rest for a few minutes and enjoy with your favorite thanksgiving dishes!


the warm bright by swords smith

i’m quite the fan of new york-based boutique swords smith. so much so, that i literally have to avoid looking at the site, for fear that i might black out and buy all of the things. but when my pal emily theobald sent me the photos from their latest look book, i could not look away. she was basically given free reign to create this beautiful november editorial, and of course the results are on point. i know i’m a “personal style blogger” and all that, but if i was rich and famous, i would try by best to convince her to be my personal stylist. so behold a sampling of looks available online.

creative direction, styling, and modeling by emily theobald for swords smith.



giveaway: win $100 to standard edition!

today i am pleased to announce my latest giveaway courtesy of standard edition. this la-based etsy shop is filled with a beautiful selection of unique vintage, including this amazing cat jacket that i’m wearing in this post, which will be available in the shop in the next couple of days! so of course, i am very glad to be able to offer you the chance to win a $100 gift card to the shop!

enter using the widget below:

Enter to win $100 to Standard Edition!

cat jacket from standard edition, available soon!
steven alan dress
swedish hasbeens
j.w. hulme mini legacy shoulder bag
jasper sunglasses courtesy of warby parker
self-made teething necklace

standard edition would also like to offer you 15% off all orders with code “calivintage15″ now through november 25!


stuffed squash

the weather is finally cooling off around these parts, bringing with it the opportunity to warm up the kitchen with all sorts of autumnal delights. my sister came over earlier in the week with a big butternut squash all ready to bake, so we whipped up a tasty stuffing to go with it. even though it’s a pretty simple recipe, it certainly isn’t short on flavor.

butternut squash stuffed with wild rice and brussels sprouts

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 2 cups uncooked chard
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • 2 cup of cooked brussel sprouts (cut in half)
  • 2 tbsp roughly cut craisins
  • 1 tbsp slivered almonts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • enough olive oil to coat squash/ sprouts/ pan to saute onions

heat the oven to 375 degrees. half the butternut squash, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. coat the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. pop it into the oven with the cut sides up until the flesh is tender, about 45 minutes or so. while the squash is baking in the oven, cook the wild rice to instructions. in a pan, saute the onion and chard in about a tsp of olive oil. roast the brussels sprouts in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. in a medium sized bowl, mix in the cooked rice, onion, chard, brussels sprouts, craisins, and slivered almonds. scoop the ingredients into your cooked butternut squash and serve!


want: marais usa cowboy mules

i’ve been going through my fall wishlist, and a new pair of shoes are at the top of my list! all summer long, i was scouring ebay and etsy for a pair of western mules that i’d dreamed up in my head. i found a few pairs that weren’t my size, and was getting pretty discouraged until this perfect pair popped up by marais usa. i love the almond-shaped toe and the low heel, and i really like the way the haircalf adds just the right touch of interest. or if you want something a little more flashy, they also come in two different snakeskin patterns and leopard print!

the marais usa cowboy mule.





lauren manoogian fall 2014

for the first time in my entire life (ok, maybe since i was a little kid), i left the house in a pair of sweatpants. mind you, it wasn’t like i’d just rolled out of bed and meandered out into the street. i was wearing a pair of “fashion” sweatpants rolled at the cuffs,  styled with a pair of loafers, a soft button-up shirt, and a denim coat. even so, it was a departure from my typical style. for me, walking around in the daylight wearing glorified loungewear was akin to wearing my underwear in public. i kept glancing at the people around me, scanning for their looks of disapproval. but of course, once i realized that people weren’t shocked and horrified by my relatively boring sartorial choices, i got comfortable with the idea, and have since become obsessed with what i am now calling “elevated loungewear.”

so of course, i now dream of swathing myself in all of the clothes from the lauren manoogian fall 2014 collection. these beautiful knits are spun with luxurious alpaca blends from peru. they’re expertly constructed in cool silhouettes that would elevate even the laziest of outfits. toss on a pair of old 501s and a big roomy sweater with a statement necklace, and you’re good to go! i have been wanting a cozy shawl collar coat, and i certainly wouldn’t mind one of these. a girl can dream, can’t she?

photos courtesy of lauren manoogian, photography by dan mcmahon.