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30 Mar

Life Lately: Sheltering in Our Place

Famous country music star Pat Green described our life lately so well when he posted this quote on social media, “Self-isolation is like Vegas in my house. We’re losing money by the minute, cocktails are acceptable at any hour, and nobody knows what time it is.”

HI! Happy Monday!!!

The days have blurred together since we flew out of town for our Spring Break ski trip to Deer Valley, Utah on Saturday, March 7th. And oh what a memorable Spring Break that was in the history of family vacations. Who knew a global virus would take over the world right at that moment?!? 

I’m not going to lie, these last two weeks of life have been quite the adjustment in finding our comfort zone with our “new norm.” I know it’s probably been the same with you, too. We are all in the same rough waters (or tsunami), just some of the boats look different than others. 

My heart hurts so much for the people who are suffering and have lost their income and their ability to make ends meet or even be able to buy food for their family. This is definitely one of the most difficult parts of this viral crisis. I hurt seeing our city’s economy in its current condition. So many of our friends have had to completely change their business models and some have taken a total loss temporarily, or in many cases, permanently. 

Most of my days are filled with laughter and humorous friends texting me various memes of a very well-end… (well if you know what I mean you just giggled and if you don’t, send me a DM), but some days have wiped me off the planet. As the mom and only female in the family, I have become everyone’s housekeeper, chef and personal bitch. I have truly never cooked so much food in my entire life, only to feed it to 3 bottomless pits for stomachs. Thank goodness Jason took over being teacher for our new world of homeschooling, otherwise the principal side of me would bring on the corporal punishments (and considering both my boys are taller than me, that would be interesting to figure out).

Dealing with my anxiety and clinically diagnosed OCD has been the hardest part of this entire COVID-19 crisis, and that first week back from Spring Break was by far the lowest for me emotionally. I had a massive panic attack and had to take medicine (which I NEVER DO) to bring my heart rate down and gain control of my spiraling. 

FUN TIMES WE ARE HAVING AT THE SMITH HOME. 

Fast forward 18 days since we’ve been home from spring break, and life lately is feeling so much better (from where it had been). Here are the things I did to help get my head back in the game:

Top 13 activities that helped improve my mental health game

1. BUY PRE-MADE MEALS

My intentions of cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner like Martha Stewart ended after three days of feeding bottomless pits who were always hungry. I set out to buy all the frozen food I could find so this mama wouldn’t be a bitch in the kitch! 

2. LIMIT NEWS AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Between FOX & CNN ruining my spring break, and finally having a meltdown along with the stock market, Dad Dunaway had a “Come to Jesus” with me over the phone and told me to get a grip. Everyone is in the same boat on the spectrum. His advice: Stop watching the news. Stop reading articles on Facebook. And stop drinking.

Also, he recommended reading THIS article on why long-term investors should never sell stocks in a panic. It really helped calm my anxiety.

3. HAPPY HOUR WITH YOUR GIRLFRIENDS

Speaking of drinking. Sorry dad, I know I told you I wasn’t, but I am…with my girlfriends on House Party, Zoom and Facetime. GNO, I mean Girl Day QuarWINEtine starts about when carpool would normally roll. (A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.) 

4. JAMMING OUT TO MUSIC PLAYLISTS

We tell Alexa to play a genre of different types of music, including Christmas Classics Radio, Beastie Boys, Counting Crows and The Police, just to name a few. Having this escape lets us do just that, escape. Besides, music soothes the soul.  

5. ORGANIZE & DECLUTTER

There are benefits to having OCD, and since it’s on fire right now, The Organized Nest might want to hire me when everyone comes out of hiding. My pantry hasn’t look this good since before I had children. My closet is next! The Purge has begun, but now’s the time to get it gone! (Follow me HERE for a future announcement on when and where I will sell my designer duds.)

6. COOKING SPECIAL RECIPES IN THE KITCHEN

Ok I know I am contradicting #1, but when you are cooking for the joy of cooking and not because your family is going to starve to death, there is something therapeutic and joyful that comes from this activity. Stay tuned to my blog, cause I’ve added a new recipe plug-in and I plan on sharing family favorites and legendary recipes from both of my grandmothers, Sally Dunaway and Nancy Winn.

7. GROW BABY – GROW A GARDEN

Yup! I busted out THESE old grow boxes that we purchased over a decade ago and I’m starting a garden. I ordered organic plantings from HERE, which will be delivered the first week of April! Let’s hope I don’t kill my future fresh groceries (before they sprout). 

8. EMPOWER YOUR CHILDREN TO HELP

Many of you who have housekeepers or use a cleaning service had to let them go or put them on paid #Coronacation. More than ever, I completely understand the saying, “It Takes a Village.” Between the grocery errands, cooking, cleaning and laundry, I was turning into everyone’s personal Sherpa! We now have a full chore schedule and everyone does their part to make our world run a bit more smoother. 

9. GET IN SHAPE GIRL, YOU KNOW THE FEELING

We’re all doing a lot more from home than we used to, including eating around the clock. Now more than ever though we don’t have an excuse to get moving. Whether it’s a family walk, a private walk, a walk with the dog, or a ride on your Peloton – we all need to be moving. And it’s helped me not just for hoping to still wear my wardrobe when we’re let out of house arrest, but also for the mind-body connection. 

10. CALGON, TAKE ME AWAY

If you know me, then you know I’m a professional bath taker. I mean, I LOVES me some bath time. It’s my meditation when my body can completely relax in a buoyancy of bubbles. It’s that relaxing time just for me that keeps me sane, especially when I’m doing my bathtub beauty routine. (Make sure you’re taking time alone with all this new togetherness.)

11. FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT

With everyone on a device for school, work, connecting with family and friends, you’d think the last thing I’d suggest is watch TV. But making this something to look forward to is what’s keeping us in check, and that we’re a family that just need to spend time laughing together. We make popcorn, change into a fresh set of PJ’s for the night and enjoy these precious moments. Also, we just ordered some amazing puzzles on Amazon and have busted out the old fashion board games and deck of cards! 

12. STOP AND SMELL THE ROSE

I have to be honest, that first week post Spring Break had me down in the dumps. And whenever I’m down, fresh flowers always lift my spirits. Doctor’s orders! Without hesitation, I picked up the phone and ordered 2 arrangements (one for my mom) from Cityview Florist & Gifts to brighten my day. Their generosity never ceases to amaze me. When they were forced to shut down last week on Monday night at 11:59 PM, they decided to deliver over 70 floral bouquets to clients, friends and family. But great news, as of this weekend, they got a city ordinance in place and can now do “no contact” deliveries.  

13. THE POWER OF PRAYER

Last but definitely not the least. Leaning into the Lord now, more than ever, is the most important thing you can do for your mental health. There is nothing more powerful than the power of prayer. You can hand over all of your fears to Him and TRUST that His plan is perfect. If you are looking for a wonderful church home, I’ve attended Christ Chapel Bible Church since I was in elementary school in the early 80’s. They have multiple wonderful services streaming LIVE all week, plus their Sunday service. 

Remember that we are all in this together. Stay safe and be healthy, and STAY HOME if you can. And a BIG thank you to everyone in the medical field and to all the people in the service industry helping our crippled city keep moving forward.  Godspeed! 🙂

18 Feb

MasterClass with Tata Harper Skincare at Neiman’s

My new favorite all-natural skincare line 

I have a confession to make. I, Christy Smith, am a skincare product addict. Just a little habit I picked up around the ripe age of twelve, thanks to my mom introducing me to the Beauty Terrace at Neiman Marcus in the 80’s.

Of course, my friends already know this, especially if they’ve seen all the lotions and potions I keep in my bathroom drawers. And if you happen to work in the skincare department at Neiman Marcus, well, then this is not news to you. At all.

My Skincare Additions

For years and years, I’ve been in love with three brands almost exclusively: La Mer, Sisley and my friend Lisa Alexander’s vegan skincare line, LA FACE SKINCARE. Now, I added Tata Harper to that list last Fall and it has transformed my skin.

So here is the scoop, and why I have fallen head over heals for Tata Harper! This skincare line unites health with beauty through all-natural and organic ingredients. It’s 100 percent free from GMOs, toxins, fillers, artificial colors, artificial fragrances and synthetic chemicals of any kind, and everything’s bottled in glass (recyclable and reusable!). Plus, it’s all formulated and packaged on a 1,200-acre farm in Vermont by a team lead by, who else, a woman named Tata Harper.

If it’s Good Enough for Gwyneth …

If you read the label of a Tata Harper product, you won’t find any ingredients with names you can’t pronounce. With that said, I didn’t really bother reading any of the labels myself either. I let Gwyneth do it for me. As in Paltrow. You know, the queen of clean beauty and founder of the Goop Empire. 

Well it turns out, Gwyneth is a Tata Harper superfan, and now, I am, too, thanks to Neiman Marcus Fort Worth and my own personal skincare seminar with Tata Harper herself.

Going Gaga over Tata 

That’s right – I met Tata! Here’s us together. Which means I am now only one degree of separation from Gwyneth! I mean, we are practically a squad now!

Seriously though, it was so inspiring to learn about natural skincare from the very woman who developed the line. She shared so much info about quality, natural skincare and beauty that I wanted to leap out of my chair and scream, YAAS GUURLL!! while giving her a big sloppy kiss and a dry hump to boot. I didn’t, of course, mainly because I wanted Neiman’s to invite me back again, but you get it. I was pretty much, blown away. 

The Dirty Truth

  • Here’s the deal, everyone is trying to live better and look better. Although you can’t make time stop, you CAN make sure you’re aging in an amazing way. Chemicals and unhealthy crap don’t accomplish this goal. We also know this when it comes to food, and the same is true when it comes to the stuff we slather all over our skin for our bodies to absorb.

 

  • I’m talking about parabens like isobutyl and isopropyl, formaldehyde (which is a known carcinogen), triclosan (a hormone disruptor) BHA, BHT, dyes made from coal tar and siloxanes and more. This is just a small list of the thousands of chemicals used in skincare formulations today which can range from not great to actually harmful.

 

  • European countries have banned over 1,300+ of these harmful ingredients. Here in the U.S., only eleven have been banned. Yup. Eleven Luckily, you don’t have to sacrifice health for beauty thanks to Tata and her trademarked blends of hundreds of botanicals and all-natural ingredients. 

Beauty is a Process

Tata taught me that just using a natural product isn’t enough – the how and how much also matters. It’s all about finding the right routine for your skin, and layering products to ensure that your products are working for your face.

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As important as layering is to lavishing, Tata believes more is more. Don’t scrimp on product – slather your skin forehead to chest, then take a moment to let all the goodness sink in and be totally absorbed into the skin before starting the next layer.

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Oh, and one more tip: SUNSCREEN!!! If you wear sunscreen on a daily basis, this should be the last step, not the first step, of your morning skincare routine. If you put it on first, it blocks all of the beauty products from absorbing into your skin and doing their job. 

Does all of this take a bit more bathroom time? Maybe. OK, yes. Yes it does. But aren’t you worth it? Yes, my friend. Yes you are totally and absolutely worth it!

Wanna Get Started?

Are you ready to get down with your very own customizable Tata beauty routine? Then check out this really cool feature on how to personalize your very own Tata Harper regime.

Full disclosure!!! I am not getting paid for writing this blog post, I just want to give you the tools and the power to be healthy and to feel as beautiful as you already are. Besides, it’s not often I fall so head over heels about a beauty line, that I literally arm swipe all the products off the shelf and into a box.

Check out the 8 products below that have transformed my skin.

You can also watch my entire Tata Harper beauty routine in my Instagram highlights!

 

If you’ve tried Tata and want to share your experiences or have any comments about the importance of natural skincare in general and your thoughts, please post below!

SoFortWorthIt x Tata Harper x Neiman Marcus GIVEAWAY!

Oh my gosh y’all, I am thrilled to share this Tata Harper giveaway with you. The Tata Harper MasterClass at Neiman Marcus Fort Worth wasn’t just a blog-worthy experience, but it was incredibly educational! I wish everyone could have been there to further their knowledge on healthy beauty.

 

With that said, I am giving one lucky winner a lovely start to build a Tata Harper collection of their own!

6 Feb

Make Valentine’s Day Sparkle with Ruinart Champagne

Nothing says love quite like Champagne.

To commemorate Valentine’s Day, I am devoting my entire post to the best of the bubbly stuff. And y’all, when I say Champagne, I mean real Champagne. No Prosecco, Cava or “headache in a bottle” for this girl. It might bubble and fizz like a Champagne, but it’s only a Champagne if it’s from Champagne, France. And one of the shining jewels of Champagne is Ruinart.

A couple of months ago, Chester Cox reached out to me and asked if I was interested in learning more about Ruinart. You might recognize Chester from his five-year run as Fort Worth Magazine’s best wine expert, but he’s also the sommelier and retail wine specialist at Ellerbe Fine Foods. Chester invited me to bring a group of my most favorite peeps to experience a tresspecial, tresexclusive Ruinart Champagne tasting lunch.

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Let me just stop this story and give you some advice: If someone offers you and your crew an exclusive lunch featuring one of the world’s most exclusive wines, say yes.

So y’all, that’s exactly what I did! I said yes! So I am going to stop again and say, if this sounds like something you would love to do, you totally can. As you know, Ellerbe is owned by sommelier Richard King and executive chef Molly McCook, but Richard has teamed up with Chester on an amazing wine pairing event venture called White Gloves, Purple Teeth. Molly remains the mastermind behind the food and flavors in the kitchen, but Richard and Chester stand at the ready to direct a decadent evening of oenophilia for groups large and small.

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OK, now back to our wine lunch. Jason and I arrived at Ellerbe with eight of our most connoisseur-y friends. This group has literally seen it all, and our jaws all dropped when we saw our elegantly appointed table. Like, Carol, queen of tablescapes,  would have been proud.

One more thing I know y’all want to know – how do you pronounce Ruinart? OK, repeat after me: Rwree narrr. And again, but this time pretend you have a stuffed up nose: Rwree narrr. Tres bien!

Once we were seated, Chester introduced us to Jeridan, our tasting guide for our champagne-paired course and the official U.S. Ambassador for Ruinart Champagne.

30 seconds later, the white gold began to flow!

In between bites and sips, I soaked up the back story behind the Ruinart Maison and everything beautiful about the bubbles.

The History of the House

Ruinart, located in the town of Reims, is the oldest established Champagne house in France. Nicolas Ruinart founded it in 1728 right after the King of France decided to allow Champagne to be transported in bottles rather than barrels.

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Ruinart was the first Champagne house to cellar its wine in the region’s famous chalk caves, which were dug out by Roman prisoners over 2000 years ago. They’re 125 feet underground and span over five miles – big enough to house Ruinart’s entire production.

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Fun fact: It’s not just Arkansas where everything is relative. Nicolas’s uncle, Dom Ruinart, was a Benedictine monk and equal contemporaries with another wine lover, Dom “Donny P” Perignon. They were monks together in the same church, and they are also buried in the same abbey.

Also, Nicholas was the great grandfather of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, better known as the Widow Clicquot, or Veuve Clicquot.

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Today, Ruinart is owned by LVMH, which also owns Louis Vuitton. (I knew there was a reason I loved this Champagne!)

We drank a range of wines, including a Blanc de Blanc with our salad and soup course. A Blanc de Blanc is 100 percent pure Chardonnay. (And it’s also 100 percent pure vegan! Win!)

Their Chardonnay is the finest in the region sourcing Premier and Grand Cru fruit from our estate own vineyard in Sillery in the Montagne de Reims along with the vineyards in the Côte des Blancs.

 

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We also sampled the Tête de cuvee Ruinarts Vintage Champagne while dining on our main courses.

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Another fun fact: Ruinart was not just the first Champagne house, they were also the first to make rose, way back in 1764. We sipped Dom Ruinart Rosé, which is an amazing balance of Chardonnay & Pinot Noir while we enjoyed Chef Molly’s amazing third course.

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You may be thinking, Christy, it’s great that you were drinking the good stuff, but what in the wine cork could you eat? Turns out, a lot! Chef Molly and her staff were so amazing, the kitchen coordinated a selection of special vegan dishes just for me to enjoy.

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Tasting Notes

  • Our group loved all three wines, especially since they were all specially blended to pair perfectly with food. Champagne was actually made for food – its acids breakthrough meat fats and cream sauces. It’s great with charcuterie, chicken and duck. The rose is great with steak, pasta, cheese and pizzas. It’s especially great with fried foods like French fries and fried chicken. Not that I know, but I’ve been told!
  • Now here’s a fun fact that’s actually crazy: The only thing that doesn’t taste good with Champagne is chocolate. For reals! The tannins in the Champagne are too big a taste and too bitter for the chocolate. Better bet is to go with a port. You’re welcome.
  • Want me to keep going? Here goes: Ruinart uses just under 8 grams of fruit and beet sugar per liter of alcohol, which is equivalent to about a sugar packet. Champagne also is the least caloric of all wines. Just 74 calories per glass! Just be careful if you decided to indulge in the bubbly while exercising.

And at the very end of our experience, our group had the opportunity to purchase the champagne we tasted, including rare specialty bottles we didn’t get to taste, at below wholesale cost! You can just imagine how many cases of champagne this group took home. I have to officially say, my wine refrigerator is filled with Ruinart!

Thanks to Ellerbe’s wine program, White Glove, Purple Teeth.

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Ruinart GIVEAWAY!!!

Who wants to win more fabulous freebies compliments of yours truly and Ellerbe?

We’re giving away a bottle of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc and a Champagne-fueled lunch for 2 at Ellerbe. $300 VALUE