McCoy’s MeCations: I Spent New Years Alone & I LOVED It…Thanks To The Oaks At Ojai

The McCoy’s MeCation Challenge: Hey, you! Yeah, YOU. This summer, I have an assigment for you. Go somewhere  – anywhere alone – for at least 24 hours. Trust me. It’ll change your life in some miraculous little way. That’s what McCoy’s MeCations are all about.

On my way to Ojai to The Oaks at Ojai, and on the lookout for the bright light shining that is 2015.

On my way to Ojai to The Oaks at Ojai, and on the lookout for the bright light shining that is 2015.

With summer upon us, I felt that sharing my miraculous McCoy’s MeCation over this past New Years might be just the source inspiration for some of you out there. Memorial Day kicks off summer, filled with steamy weather and socializing galore, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve got to carve out time for some much-needed R&R and self-care.

That’s what took me to The Oaks at Ojai, back on December 31st this past winter.

Right when I arrived and felt like I was just in heaven. First up? I had Yoga at 4 pm. Moving healthfully and gracefully into 2015.

Right when I arrived and felt like I was just in heaven. First up? I had Yoga at 4 pm. Moving healthfully and gracefully into 2015.

My career is about as social as you can get, so when I think vacations and celebrations, I don’t think parties and clubs, I think of comfy accommodations, meaningful conversations, delicious food and drink…and there’s gotta be a pool.

Snuggling into my home of Ojai for 3 days over New Years

Snuggling into my home of Ojai for 3 days over New Years. You KNOW there’s a pool!

I asked my friends if anyone felt like traveling, and unfortunately, no one could swing it. So, I decided to find a health spa, where I could truly detox and relax, and gear up for a productive – and healthy – 2015.

Luxuriating in my spa tub at The Oaks at Ojai

Luxuriating in my spa tub at The Oaks at Ojai. Feeling utterly bubbly as I reflected and washed away what didn’t serve me and toasted to the beautiful mysteries that 2015 holds. Feeling so grateful for so many dreams coming true in 2014. So do I want more to come true this year? As AmyPoehler says…YES PLEASE!

I realize that spending New Year’s Eve alone as a 30-something female might sound a little sad to some. But I assure you it wasn’t. I dare say it was my favorite New Year’s Eve to date. And I give 100% credit for that to The Oaks At Ojai. Like many of you, I had overindulged during the holidays, and found myself plotting to be my healthiest best in 2015. Then reiki master Kelsey Patel gave me some sage advice and one piece of direction for my New Years holiday, “Be sure you celebrate midnight on New Year’s Eve doing what you’d like to be doing the rest of 2015.”

A super early morning hike was the perfect, healthy start to my 2015

A super early morning hike was the perfect, healthy start to my 2015

The first thought for me? I want to be my healthiest best. There are plenty of parties and glasses of champagne to be toasted, but I can do that anytime, so for New Years, I would detox. I researched my options and the one spa that kept coming up with a host of accolades and a bevy of rave reviews was The Oaks at Ojai.

Getting the Sweet Slumber massage at The Oaks at Ojai. Perfect way to wind down a busy 2014.

The perfect way to wrap up 2014? Getting a Sweet Slumber 75-Minute Massage at The Oaks Spa . Heaven.

 When I announced on my social media outlets where I would be going, my female friends of all ages came out of the woodwork, all saying how much they love it there and describing it as a grownup girls’ sleepaway camp or a Disney World for women. One of my friends even based the setting for a novel she wrote there. So, the bar? Yeah, that bar was set high.


One of the best parts about taking a vacay alone are the new friends you make. The Oaks seriously is like a healthier version of summer camp.

Sunrise hike with new friends at The Oaks at Ojai. One of the best parts about taking a vacay alone are the new friends you make. The Oaks seriously is like a healthier version of summer camp.. It was one of their Mother-Daughter weekends so I made 3 friends for the price of 1! Plus a slew of others! Here we are on the 90-minute Shelf Road hike through the hills of Ojai.

Well, The Oaks did not disappoint. With the pressures of Hollywood only an hour and a half away, you’d expect The Oaks at Ojai to be all about “fashionable fitness,” but you’d be wrong. This is a place where it’s more about feeling fit than sporting your LuluLemon, counting your fat cells or validating yourself on a scale. Here, there’s no pressure for anyone to be anything but your truest self. How many places can claim that?

Plenty of times for non-judgmental relaxing and reflecting at The Oaks at Ojai

Plenty of times for non-judgmental relaxing and reflecting at The Oaks at Ojai

As for the rates? They vary, but they are very reasonable. You can go solo and all in, and stay in the more luxe accommodation, the Double Courtyard Suite, like I did (for around $710/ night).

My super comfy, luke and relaxing Double Courtyard Cottage. Just the most heavenly place to kick off a new year…or a summer.

My super comfy, luke and relaxing, spanish-style Double Courtyard Cottage – my home for 3 days. Just the most heavenly place to kick off a new year…or a summer. Lanai? Check. Personal fountain? Check. Fireplace? Check. Huuuuge in-room sunken spa, surrounded by handcrafted Spanish Art Deco tile? Check. Heaven? Check.

Or, you can come with friends, and/or be paired with a “roommate” in a standard twin room (for as little as $250/night). All of these rates are all-inclusive, including 3 meals and snacks, as well as all the fitness classes (15 to choose from – I ended up partaking in 11!!) you could want, so it’s actually a great deal, any way you look at it! They also have spa day passes (for $130 – $185) that are super reasonable.

My FAVE class! Relaxing yoga in my pjs, right before bed.

My FAVE class! Deeply restful yoga Nidra before bedtime at The Oaks. Relaxing yoga in my pjs, right before bed.

As for the food? So healthy and SO delicious.

New Years brunch, The Oaks style.

New Years brunch, The Oaks style. No mimosas, but my conscience sure feels healthy…and no hangover in sight.

A healthy salad at lunch

A healthy salad at lunch


Delicious turkey chili!

Delicious turkey chili!

As for dinner?
Healthy. Light. Delicious.

Healthy. Light. Delicious. Salmon. Shrimp. Veggies. YUM!

And my “weird” high-maintenance request, that The Oaks was kind enough to accommodate, at lunch on New Years:

 Nothin' keeps me from my annual southern New Year's tradition of blackeyed peas for prosperity. Nothin'. It's my annual good luck charm. Luckily, the@oaksspa were able to accommodate my weird request today for lunch. Yes. I was THAT girl. But, such sweet customer service here!  

Nothin’ keeps me from my annual southern New Year’s tradition of blackeyed peas for prosperity. Nothin’. It’s my annual good luck charm. Luckily, The Oaks was able to accommodate my weird request for New Years lunch. Yes. I was THAT girl. But, such sweet customer service here!

I left 12 lbs lighter and I don’t just mean physically. My skin was soft and smooth, and my mind was relaxed and ready for the year ahead.

Refreshing smoothie time! And just look at that glowing skin!

Refreshing smoothie time! And just look at that glowing skin!

Overall McCoy’s MeCations Travel Takeaway? There are many highlights of The Oaks at Ojai: the spa services, the health benefits, the new friends, the comfy accommodations that make you feel like you’re in Santa Fe, and so much more. But the real reason it’s so special? The Cluff family and THE STAFF.

I’m not being a soft-soaper when I say that every single member of the staff at The Oaks makes you feel utterly pampered and cared for. They want to know who you are, what your goals are, and what they can do for you.They are kind. They are real. They are attentive. They are downright loving. Much of the staff is part of the Cluff family (mom, Sheila Cluff, is the founder & a fitness and health icon, herself), or teachers or therapists who have been there for more than a decade, out of sheer happiness and loyalty. Just the fact that they have such loyal, attentive staffers speaks volumes of the home-away-from-home that the Cluff family and The Oaks have created for both its guests and staff.

So, if you need a healthy escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life – especially from this City of Angels that doesn’t always feel so angelic – well, have I got the place for you. Be sure to tell ’em I sent you. I’m their biggest cheerleader.


The ‘tails:

The Oaks at Ojai

122 E. Ojai Avenue

Ojai, CA 93023  


Editor’s Note: As per all my McCoy’s MeCations, this post was sponsored by the participating host hotel – in this case, The Oaks at Ojai (805.646.5573), 122 E. Ojai Avenue, Ojai, CA 93023. All accommodations, services, fare and beverages were provided by the host hotel, and their associates.




I have looked at my mom, Clarice McCoy, with wonder like this all of my life. I remember being an itty bitty thing and just staring at her, as she rocked me to sleep, thinking how beautiful she was.


I used to drive her crazy by telling her all day long, “You are so beautiful.” She would literally ask me to stop because it was just too much. I was her own personal cheerleader.


My mom is my best friend…and she’s also my biggest critic. Sometimes this can be challenging, but it’s not always a bad thing.


My mom keeps me in check, and lets me know when I’m obsessing over something that isn’t important, or something over which I don’t have control. She doesn’t really understand what I do, and my life scares her, and becoming an adult for me has meant learning to be okay with that.


My favorite trait that I inherited from my mom? Her eye for beauty, and her need to make her home a loving, beautiful nest for herself and those she loves. Another one? She gets a little more awnry as she ages, but at the center, she always has the most loving heart, so much so that I’ve always felt like we kind of shared the same heart.


My mom worked full time plus, and yet I never felt like I didn’t have a full-time mom. I always tell new parents – and parents of teens- that the best parenting advice they could ever receive is from my mom. At age 5, I asked her what sex was, and she answered me with the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. My father was aghast. My mom defended herself by saying to my father, “If I don’t talk to her now, she won’t talk to me later.” She was right.


Having an open line of communication with my mom, quite frankly, kept me out of trouble. I trusted her to tell me truths, and she trusted me to tell her my truth, and thus, we’ve always had a truth-based relationship. Sometimes too truthful, I think she’d say.

On the other hand, I saw my friends, with more strict parents, smoking whenever they could, hiding alcohol in their windowseats, and sneaking out of the house with boys, just begging for mischief. I, on the other hand, shared my first glass of wine with my mom, and never smoked because she told me that if I wanted to smoke, we’d try one together. Um, no thank you.


So, she did a lot right.  I think she forgets that when her children flounder, fall and fail.

Watching my brother learn to walk. She still watches us with that same intensity.

Watching my brother learn to walk. She still watches us with that same intensity.

She feels like our failures are hers. I only hope I can help her one day understand that our successes as adults are in thanks to her rearing,  but our failures as adults are just that…ours. And, just looking at the friends I have who consider my mom their second mom, reminds me of how right she did it.


I still think my mom is the most beautiful woman on the planet, but now I realize that she is much more than that.



She is strong.

She is someone who overcomes.

Someone who sets goals and achieves them.

Someone who loves to a fault.

And someone whose love knows no limits.

I realize that as much as I always wanted to look like my mother, more importantly, I have the heart of my mother.


But getting her cheekbones didn’t hurt, either.

I love you the whole wide world and back again, Mom.


Getting Naughty with Naked Princess for Valentine’s Day

What, oh what, to do when your plans change during Valentine’s week and you’re all dressed up with nowhere to go?

All dressed up and nowhere to go? Nooooo problem.

Well, firstly, there’s ALWAYS somewhere to go when you need to. I recommend heading to Naked Princess, like I did, where I picked up these little V-Day beauties!

All found at Naked Princess: romantic greeting cards, 24k gold powder puffs, lip gloss,panties, journals, lingerie, nail polish and more!

Naked Princess on La Cienega (here in LA) and online (for non-LA girls & boys) has everything you need for one terribly romantic Valentine’s Day.

I’m still dreaming about this one. It’s a nightgown, but is it so wrong that I want to wear it as a dress?

Nightgown as dress? Ohhhh, I think this is gonna have to happen. I feel like Charlie's Angel, Jaclyn Smith.

And, lucky for me, I got to get all dressed up and hang out and play dress-up with my very own Jennifer Chan, one of the hosts for the evening.

With my very own Jenn Chan, donning floral prints to celebrate one successful & sexy party

So, head on over, and see what luxurious lingerie and lovelies you can find. And, boys, remember…while the lingerie is a gift to her, it’s ultimately a gift for you, too.



A Very Valentine Mani

A Very Valentine mani this week c/o my fave, Enamel Diction (by @noemihk ).

A Very Valentine Mani ℅ Enamel Diction

Pink, red and some candy stripes for good measure make one sexy-sweet stiletto grip.

Lots of love in this manicure!

The Annual Girls’ Giftwrapping Party, featuring PJ Salvage pajamas

A very pastel cupcake Christmas at The Cupcake Palace

Last year, my friend Lindsey and I started a now-annual tradition: The Girlfriends Giftwrapping party. I brewed up one of my signature holiday cocktails (this year was my Homespun Spiced Butter Rum Eggnog), pick up some festive holiday cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery and wrap gifts galore, thanks to my fun friends.

This year, we decided to make it a a pajama party and PJ Salvage upped the ante by sending some of their sweetest pjs – the Gingerbread Man flannel pj set…

Me sipping some eggnog in my PJ Salvage Gingerbread Men pjs

and the Cake Party pj set (both $65)

The lovely Lindsey in PJ Salvage The Cake Party pjs

to play well with my pastel cupcake Christmas theme.

Oh ya know…just hiding behind the tree, sipping our eggnog. Normal.

We wrapped presents, thanks to GORGEOUS gift wrap from The Container Store.

No brown paper packages tied up with string. All pastel paper with pretty bows. Giftwrapping paper ℅ The Container Store

Toasted to the new year ahead with eggnog and nibbled on cupcakes and cookies from Magnolia Bakery.

My Spiced Butter Rum Eggnog teams up delightfully with Magnolia Bakery cupcakes and holiday spritz cookies

And just had some good old Christmas fun…even a gift wrap sword fight!

Sword fight! It has to happen every year in my house.

It was a good chance to take a moment in the midst of a busy season, enjoy some delicious drinks, eats and conversation.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope the magic of Christmas brings you jolliness and joy!



BF Asks: How are you celebrating Christmas this year? 

Holiday Up Your Bakery-Bought Cakes

Few things are as sweet as old friends…but this Society Bakery-bought vanilla Christmas cake came close. I didn’t have time to bake for a holiday tea party with girlfriends, as I had planned, so I just hopped by Society, bought a cake and a gingerbread man and put that little guy right on top for a little additional holiday whimsy. Really easy way to dress up your holiday cake? Christmas cookies as toppings! #ItLooksLikeHesStuckInSnow

Fast, easy way to decorate a bakery-bought cake? Christmas cookies.




BF Asks: How do you “holiday up” your desserts?

TinyPrints Holiday

My favorite holiday event this holiday season?

The TinyPrints #TinyPrintsHoliday party, where I got to design and order 100  custom holiday cards, envelopes & liners and address labels.

The best gift of the season? TinyPrints' custom Chistmas cards at their #TinyPrintsHoliday party

I even had my own custom invitation designer, Emily, on hand. But they’re not just available to me, they’re available to you, too! A custom invitation specialist is available to all of us all year-round with TinyPrints.

A creative girl's dream. At Petit Ermitage, picking out custom @tinyprintsholiday cards, envelope liners, envelopes and address labels for the holidays 2015. Happy early birthday and very merry Christmas to me!

Bonus? The take-home swag included cute thank you cards!

I’m fairly certain Santa was involved because this was definitely a gift of an evening on this nerd’s Christmas wish list.

If it’s still on yours, head on over to today!

BF Asks: What is your holiday card like this year?

Holiday Hosting: Festive, Floral Holiday Pies

Dress up your dessert.

You heard me.

What’s a super simple and cheap way to dress up your festive holiday pies? FLOWERS!!

Festive, floral holiday pies!

Here is my sour cream apple pie – not so beautiful on its own – that I topped with some holiday red gerber a daisies for Thanksgiving dinner. Instant americana beauty!

I’ve found that just buying a few extra bunches of flowers can come in handy when dressing up desserts or sad looking pies. Try it yourself this holiday season!



BF Asks: What pies will you and your family bake up this holiday season? 

BeautyFrosting Holiday Hosting Guide 2014

It’s not just the magic of the season that makes the holidays so special. It’s also simple psychology.
Families rely on happy holiday traditions for consistency in inconsistent lives.
Here are a few of my tips for fun, festive and efficient ways to host and celebrate the season this year!
Low-key can be lovely. My family loves to do a low-key Christmas Eve. We play board games and Mom puts out an assortment of appetizers. As a professor, she always received those delicious Hickory Farms cheese and sausage trays, so she’ll put those out on her beautiful crystal serving dishes along with some spicy mustard, sweet and dill pickles, creamy brie cheese and crackers, veggies and dip, spicy cheddar biscuits and her homemade shrimp ball (my fave).
Serve with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Scrabble and we’re one happy family!

The McCoy sibling holiday celebratin' in style

Casseroles are key. For Thanksgiving, Christmas, and – really all – holiday weekends, casseroles can be a lifesaver. With the relatives visiting and friends stopping by, I’ve always found having a pre-homemade casserole in the freezer a must-have. Keep a breakfast casserole and you’re good to go! And for the day after a big holiday, such as Christmas, make it easy on yourself, and make a casserole with all of those delicious, hearty leftovers. Get creative with that cranberry sauce. Who knows? It might become one of your family’s favorite recipes! Serve casserole with a salad and it’s the perfect, post-holiday meal!

Serve a signature cocktail or punch. Be sure to make the base of your cocktail in the autumnal spirit – whether it be apple, cranberry, pear or pumpkin, you can’t go wrong with a winner that whets the whistle. Two of my favorite recipes? My Charlotte’s Applejack Brandy Cider

Charlotte's Applejack Brandy Cider

and my Brandywine Punch which I created for this past Thanksgiving.

Brandywine Punch

Tailor-make your tablescape. For instance, I love this turkey.

Let one piece of decor guide the rest of your tablescape planning

I love her so much that I tend to design everything around her – from the flowers to the dishes to the table runner aand tablecloths, Brandwywine sets the mood. Oh, did I forget to mention that I also named her? Yep. Her name is Brandywine. For instance this year, I designed a rose and gold table setting with a chalboard butcher paper runner down the center and, naturally, called it Brandywine Rustic.

One single Thankgiving decor element dictated my whole theme this year

Plan ahead to save your head. To make for a happy – and peaceful – holiday, about 2-4 weeks before the big day, ask all family members to submit their favorite recipes that they’d like you to cook. Also, ask what they’d like to contribute. This is a two-fold brilliant and sneaky strategy – a) it reminds everyone that they should contribute something and b) you can see overlap when it comes to the traditional family faves you cook, so you won’t overcook.  Sometimes the family favorites that we think our loved ones love aren’t the true loves. This also helps us see their changing tastes and plan the menu accordingly each year.

What would Beyonce do? She would plan ahead and make that menu!

Be an smart shopper. I realize how bossy that sounds, so let me explain. I like to (but don’t always) buy my canned goods, sugar, flour, etc. the week before Thanksgiving. That way the pumpkin isn’t sold out and I’m not carrying in 20 loads of groceries up my stairs. Because a Thanksgiving hernia isn’t as romantic as it sounds. Then, about 2-3 days before, I buy the dairy, eggs and produce. I save the uber fresh stuff, including flowers, for the last day. This means less hassle and running all over town with all of those other last minute shoppers. You’ve got this handled.

Save the best for last!

Sass up the standards. Really wanna venture out? Ditch the pumpkin pie and bake some pumpkin creme brûlée. Keep the family faves but add in some new dishes to create new traditions. Every Thanksgiving, I bake pumpkin croissant bread pudding with cranberries and moonshine sauce. I love pumpkin pie, but I wanted to create my own tradition. Now, it’s a family favorite. I’d highly encourage you to do the same. Whether it’s turning up your turkey, making your dressing more daring, or spicing up a side, try updating those classic faves. If you – or your family – doesn’t like it, you can always go back to the traditional recipe the next year.

Pumpkin Croissant Bread Pudding with Eggnog Moonshine Sauce

Cook up some soups or beef organ yo I had let Matt Marr did for our Christmas dinner that he made me need a few days ahead of time to save time and it actually tasted better cause the flavors had time to marinate why they were frozen.
Ornament Originality. Have each person bring an ornament to share with the family tree each year. This year, I am taking my mom a french cruller donut that I found at Dylan’s Candy Shop because I grew up with her eating a dunkin’ donut on many a morning when we would drive to school. Sweet memories. And isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?
BFBF Asks: What are some of your family’s holiday traditions?

A Festive Fête Full of Heart: Cocktails With Caravents at Mr. C Beverly Hills

Is there any gift more rewarding than the gift of giving back?
Not in my book.

Photobooth fun at Mr. C Beverly Hills

So I was delighted a few weeks ago when Caravents invited me to their #CocktailsWithCaravents holiday party (co-hosted by Sazan Barzani and Sheryl Luke) benefitting Dress For Success.

The co-hosts of the evening Photo Credit: @paigejonesphoto for #Caravents

Not only was it a meaningful night, but it was a beautiful one to boot, thanks to the delicate details that Caravents is famous for.

Mingling and merriment occurred. Photo Credit: @paigejonesphoto for #Caravents

To welcome us at the exquisite Mr.C Beverly Hills, we were greeted with mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.

Chestnuts roasting by..a brass punchbowl of mulled wine? I'll take it.


Then, there was – of course  – photobooth fun.

Photobooth fun at #CocktailsWithCaravents

Another round of cocktails by Mr. C Beverly Hills, featuring ​Abso​lot​ Elyx – the oh-so-delicious cranberry ​”H​oliday​-Thyme”​ cocktails that we couldn’t stop staring at and sipping.

Holiday Thyme. Photo Credit: @paigejonesphoto for #Caravents

And, as if the evening wasn’t gift itself on its own, we were given luxe, overflowing Gift Bags By Rachael.

Gift Bags by Rachael Photo Credit: @paigejonesphoto for #Caravents

To cap things off? How about cookies and milk and mini ice cream cones?

Sweets as nightcaps Photo Credit: @paigejonesphoto for #Caravents

The sweetest of all though was that, thanks to the generosity of all the guests, they collected over 250 pieces of clothing, accessories and beauty products to donate to Dress For Success, helping disadvantaged women gain the skills, confidence and attire needed to gain economic independence.

The collection of all that was donated in the lobby of Mr.C Beverly Hills Photo Credit: @paigejonesphoto for #Caravents

And it is such a gift to all of us who attended that we were able to use the power of our voices for good by properly kicking off the holiday season! We even raised awareness for Dress For Success by making over 2 million social media impressions over the course of the evening.

Thanks for hosting such a festive holiday fête, full of heart, Caravents!
BF Asks: How will you give back this season? 

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