Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Sephora Sale!

I love this time of year mostly because I feel like the year is transitioning...we're going into fall and everyone LOVES fall but also, it seems like every retailer has a major sale

I've always been a loyal Sephora shopper as they seem to have every brand and product imaginable and I really love their reward system- I'm all about those samples. However, Sephora rarely has a SALE...I wait months for this to happen- much like the highly anticipated Zara sale. We obviously know a woman's maintenance can be expensive so why not benefit from saving 20% to 10% off your order?

So as of right now, the VIB Rouge is 20% and starting today the VIB and insider memberships are 15-10% off. If you haven't signed up- it's quick and free and your levels depend on how much you spend for the year. 

With all of this excitement - I've rounded up all of my tried and true's and the staples that I buy every time. I've also put together a list of items that I purchased to try... I never flee from a product that I love but I do love to try something new every once in a while- although I usually end up reverting back.

These are my tried and true favorites that I honestly can't live without:

IGK products: I love this product- it's one of my staples for my hair and I can't tell you how well this product smooths my frizzy/damaged hair. I tried this maybe a year ago and I've been in love ever since!

Olaplex: Another hair staple of mine. My hairdresser started me on these treatments after battling breakage about a year and a half ago and what a difference it's made!

The Ouai: I recently ditched my long time affair with it's a 10 to give this a try and so far I'm impressed and LOVE the way it smells!

Aerin Rose Garden Rollerball: I love wearing this scent when I'm on the go for travel or when I forget to spray perfume- the scent isn't overly intoxicating as it's very light and fresh.

Luxe Tanning butter and St. Tropez bronzing lotion: I recently switched from St. Tropez to Luxe and while they both have great factors- I personally prefer the Luxe Butter as it doesnt rub off on clothes or your sheets and has less of an oder and a gradual build. If you need something with quick color- I highly suggest the St. Tropez.

Caudalie Milk Cleanser and Fresh Soy Cleanser: I recently switched to the Caudalie Milk due to a few skin issues I was having. I love Caudalie products to start but this cleanser is super soft with my skin and keeps the natural oils to keep me from being overly dry. I love that you can squirt this on a cleansing pad and remove makeup without water if you're on the go! Fresh is a good option if you're looking for something gentle- I just had overly dry skin.

Caudalie Moisturizers: I love both of these- I actually use one for morning and one for night. The pink tube is a heavier cream and I love how my skin feels instantly hydrated. The green tube is a lighter moisturizer which works great for during the day!

Sunday Riley- Luna: I love this serum! I don't buy it often because of the price point but I love how great my skin looks and feels when I use this product! I highly recommend if you're looking for a game changer in your skins appearance!

Benefit Brow Kaboom: The holy grail for your eyebrows- I've used this for 2 years and refuse to make the switch! It's budge proof during the day but washes all well at night with any facial cleanser.

Sephora liquid eyeliner: We all know how much I love the cat eye and it's become my signature. This is the product that I use... it's 12.00 and it's AMAZING! I've used this for years and I won't ever switch - I did list the Stilla Pencil for all of you who are afraid to use the brush- I've heard great reviews about this one.

Lancome Primer and Mascara: I recently switched from Mac falsies mascara to this and I often get asked about my eyelashes and what I use. My favorite is the primer because I do think it makes a great base but I honestly believe you can use it with any mascara and still have the wow factor.

Grande Lash: This is my jam! I've previously use Latisse and Nuelash - Latisse worked wonders for me but it was costly. I switched to Nuelash and didn't really see much of a result so I read the reviews for Grande Lash on Sephora and decided to give it a try since it was at a much lower price point than any other option- WOW! It works wonders- I've been using it now for over a year and I only use it maybe 3- nights a week? I think I last purchased this bottle back in Feb! So I highly suggest this! You'll start to see results within 3-4 weeks!

The Naked Pallete: I have this one but I don't use it that often- I'm honestly not huge on eye shadow but I do think it's a great base to have for those of you who like to create more looks! 

Bobbie Brown Bronzer/ Nars Blush/ Tarte Blush: I LOVE the BB bronzer- the compact has lasted me well over a year and I love the natural color that it provides- not to mention is stays on! Another favorite is the Nars blush- a true makeup staple and I received a sample of the Tarte blush which is what I've currently been using- all 3 of these are top rated!

Anastasia Contour kit and the Becca Highlighter: So, I hardly ever contour- last time I touched my pallete was maybe 8 months ago? Maybe because I'm not that great at it... but I will say I do like how the product in the pallette applies to the skin- as I mentioned earlier I'm dry so I need something that's a more liquid base. The Becca Highlighter- I use it every day! I usually do it under my eyes- in the corners of my eyes and down my nose to have the added glow. I love the natural look this product gives you and it's powder based but not too heavy.

Pressed Powders- Laura Mercier and Kat Von D: I love them both- if I had to choose one- I'd say Laura Mercier because it's slightly lighter. Kat Von D works just as well but slightly heavier.

Smashbox Primer: I love this product. I can't live without it. I love the radiant formula- it gives me the added shine AND if I've used the Luxe tanning butter on my face- I can just apply this with a little concealer and walk out the door. I haven't tried the redness formula but it's on my list to buy as I've been battling with redness lately.

Estee Lauder Concealer and Nars Concealer:  I've been between both and both are very similar. I do think the Estee offers more coverage but requires a little more powder to set as it can smudge if not dry. 

Last but not least- Dior Forever Foundation: I've gone through many brands and formulas of foundation but this is one I will not stray from. First of all you can do from light to heavy coverage without looking like a cake. Second of all- it has SUNSCREEN! SPF 35. Third- I love how it applies and perfects your skin. If you're looking for a nice foundation that doesn't feel heavy, protects your skin and easy to apply... look no further. If I had to tell you to buy one item- this would be it!

Sorry for the lengthy post but you can obviously tell how much I love these products and use them every day. My next selection is for the items that I want to try and have ordered. I usually buy based on reviews and stars- if you've tried these products and love them- let me know!

Hum Collagen: I've been researching the collagen trend and there seems to be proven benefits to adding this to your diet- I'm all for looking younger and feeling great! I decided to give these a try instead of doing the powder scoops for convenience.

Olaplex Shampoo and Conditioner: I love the bond treatment so much that I wanted to give this a try. I've been using Kenra and Kristen Ess- while I like both of those- I wanted to try something to give more moister to my hair- along with using the IGK leave on treatment.

IGK Treatments and Keratase : I love the IGK expensive treatment so I wanted to branch out with these other two products - both have outstanding reviews and over 4 stars! I also wanted to try the Keratase to see how much of a difference I would notice from using my heat tools- this one also has rave reviews.

Ouai Rose Oil for Hair and Body: This product is everywhere- possibly her best seller from her line so I'm all in to give it a try! I love anything that makes my hair glossy and smell like roses.

Summer Fridays: This is one of the most sought after products. I follow Marinna Hewitt -partner of Summer Fridays and to see her and Lauren's success has been incredible. They've made a product that literally can't stay in stock- it's like gold! It's highly moisturizing and works as a mask or lotion but apparently it will change your life- totally sold me!

Sunday Riley Treatments: I really haven't done too much with anti-aging but if it's anything like the Luna serum- count me in!

Charlotte Tilbury Mascara: So, I'm switching from the Lacome mascara to this one to give it a try with the primer. I recently started using her lip liner and lipstick and really love her products.

Fenty Beauty Blush: I've been dying to try this type of blush since my skin has been on the drier side lately. I've heard great reviews about her products so I'm definitely looking forward to giving this one a whirl!


Monday, August 27, 2018

Vacation Series: The Florida Keys

Have you ever heard of the term Key's Disease? It's a real thing. There's something so quaint, timeless and effortless about these tiny little islands in the southern most point of Florida. Everyone always seems to be cheerful and optimistic, no one is in a rush and a good time is to be had at every turn.

Some of you may know this but the Florida Key's started my existence in  Florida. Six years ago I moved to Key West for a job without knowing a single person! Sometimes I can't believe I did something so spontaneous but I'm beyond thankful for my time that I spent there and the incredible people that I met.

Fast forward to now: Every summer Chris plans to dive for lobster with a couple of close friends- this year we decided to make it a family trip and travel down for a few days so that he could lobster and we could vacation- one can never "over" vacation. We arrived to our resort La Siesta in Islamorda on Friday after a long day of traveling. This was our first time staying at the resort and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The rooms were extremely spacious and the amenities were plentiful. The offer a pool, breakfast, beach, boat ramp- including dock space, bicycles, paddle boards and kayaks. The resort also offer access to two sister resorts the Amara Cay and Pelican's Cove which I highly recommend visiting.
You can shop Lilly's looks below (actual bow: Splendid Bows, actual sandals: Gap Kids)

                                                       (Actual Bag: Zara, actual romper: Zara)

Our first night there involved more of exploring the resort and catching up with friends over dinner. The next day I planned to take my daughter, Lilly down to Key West for a few fun activities. You wouldn't necessarily think of Key West being super child friendly but there really is so much to do with children while on your vacation. Our first stop was lunch- while I have an enormous list of all my favorite restaurants including but not limited to (Santiago's Bodega, Bagatelle, A&B Lobster, Louis Backyard) We decided to try out a French creperie across from Blue Heaven (my original choice- but closed). Our lunch was delicious and filling and in the perfect location of a little sight-seeing. I elaborated to Lilly about all the six toe kitties at the Hemingway house and she was eager to go visit them all. The Hemingway House is the famous residence of Earnest Hemingway. The house is truly remarkable and the gardens are immaculate. Lilly loved touring the home and was beyond joyed to see all the kitties running around and in the most inconspicuous places.

Our next stop included the lighthouse across the street from Hemingway's. I've honestly forgotten all of the beautiful places that Key West offers. Lilly was amazed at the size of the lighthouse and couldn't wait to see it in person. After scouting out the tourist spots, I met up with a dear friend of mine and her daughter at the butterfly conservatory. While we have one in Gainesville- it's no comparison to the beauty of this one. The butterflies were vibrant and lively, the colorful birds and parrots were flying and the beautiful pink flamingos were the show stoppers. I highly suggest taking your children if in Key West! 

After our excursion in the heat (it's uncomfortably hot in August) we ventured over to Maria's gelato spot. My friend, Hollie knows Maria quite well and she's known for the best authentic gelato in the keys. Her machinery even came from Italy! I ordered the Key lime (when in the keys) and Lilly had the mango- both were unbelievably Delicious! She's located near Mallory Square and worth every penny!

We couldn't stop with just the gelato... I had promised over and over again to Lilly ...the Key Lime Pie on a stick. I personally had never had one and I was curious to give it as try as I love anything in the form of Key Lime. We visited the cute little shop right off of Mallory Square and were pleasantly surprised with their selection of all things key lime. Lilly had the chocolate key lime pie on the stick while I opted for the strawberry key lime pie on a stick with white chocolate- both were phenomenal! The girls thoroughly enjoyed their visit here!

After getting our sweet tooth fix, we headed over to Mallory Square- the best time to go is before sunset when all the vendors come alive and the views of the sunset going down over sunset key are magical. Unfortunately, we went a little earlier as I had to get back to Islamorada... so the girls had plenty of open space to run around, chase the chickens, view the water and just have some fun.

After a day well spent in Key West, it was time to head back to Islamorada. From Islamorada it's roughly a 2 hour drive to Key West. Once we returned, we enjoyed a nice dinner with our friends at the resort and Lilly's grandparents came to pick her up for the rest of the vacation. Chris was able to go back out lobstering and I could catch up on a little R&R and work.

The following day was full of fun with the girls...we did a couple of photo shoots for the blog, met a few friends at the bar over ice cold pina coladas and made plans for dinner at Pierre's. If you visit the Keys and have time to stop for dinner, a drink or even just to view the property- I highly suggest it. I've been a fan of Pierre's for almost 6 years now- way before it's popularity to bloodline. The food is incredible and the property is breathtakingly beautiful. The grounds are full of beautiful flowers, chickens, roosters- the house offers so much character and alone is the show stopper. We also decided on doing a few photo shoots here, which is why you probably noticed I was after day. A fun fact: during a full moon- they participate in what's called a "Full Moon Party" I've personally never attended but I've heard it's worth checking out. Across from Pierre's is a resort called the Moorings- while we didn't stay there- I've been for a visit or two. The property offers a beautiful- tranquil stay. The resort offers cottages full of amenities and breathtaking views- the property is lined with beautiful tall palms and has been home so several major productions. Also beside Pierre's is a more casual dinning area on the beach called Morada Bay- the two properties practically connect but I hear the food and drinks are delicious! One must is that you arrive to Pierre's before sunset- have a drink at the bar downstairs and venture off onto the back porch. You'll catch the sunset in one of the most beautiful places- it's practically an attraction to Pierre's.

Our next day was our last full day and the vacation mourning had already set in with the thought of going back to reality. After breakfast at Robbie's (which if you've never been - you must go...and feed the tarpon) we decided to take the boat out to the sandbar to relax. This is something we'd do every weekend in Key West so it brought back all the nostalgia from Snipes. We packed a cooler and off we went- the weather was beautiful and the water was crystal blue- it couldn't have been a more perfect day. If you don't have a boat- don't worry... there is a boat service that will take you to the sandbar. After spending a few hours out in the water- we decided to head back in to get ready for dinner. We decided on a quaint place right on the water called "Lazy Days" most people coming to Islamorada LOVE Lazy Days- the atmosphere is fun and laid back. I recommend sitting outside on the bottom floor vs upstairs inside- the atmosphere is very different. We were surrounded by tiki torches, live music and a beautiful night. Our food was delicious- especially if you love seafood! One item you can't skip out on is the key lime pie martini... I know several other places outside the keys will make them but there's no comparison to a REAL Key Lime Pie Martini from the keys...

A couple of other restaurants in Islamorada worth checking out:
The Green Turtle- featured on the food network, Lorelei's, Mac's kitchen for key lime pie, Chef Michael's, Florida Key's Brewing, Sea Grapes Wine Bar and Bistro.

Things to do in Islamorada:
Theater of the Sea, Alligator Reef Light House, Snorkeling, Indian Key State Historic Park, Charter fishing

Driving to Key West:
Make a stop at : Square grouper in Cudjoe Key- phenomenal restaurant- order the tuna wasabi egg rolls. Baby's Coffee: Best coffee shop in my opinion- order the Cafe con leche. Hogfish on Stock Island- order the hogfish- it's a must!


Friday, August 24, 2018

Shop My Favorites: It's Anthro Day!

I'm an avid lover of all things Anthropologie. I love the store and how it caters to an individuals uniqueness and offers something for everyone!

Today is Anthro Day which means it's 20% off of EVERYTHING! New arrivals, sale... you name it! Considering the sale only last for 1 day... I did a quick round up of all my favorite items and also added to my shopping cart!

First off- clothing selections. I love buying my outfits from Anthro because I can always count on the quality of their products. I love to shop for pieces there that I know I won't see somewhere else. I based these selections on items that I would HAVE to have and would be perfect going into fall and winter. For instance, I love the fleece lined leggings- these are some of my favorites- I know that I can wear them out or lounging around the home and they keep you completely cozy. Another big favorite of mine was the corduroy overalls- I loved the shade of blue and perfect for fall! keep in mind- everything is 20% off at checkout plus free shipping!

My next selection is from shoes and accessories because now is the time to stock up! I found the cutest booties for all and winter and found a pair of black riding boots at a great price! I tried to keep all of my items under 150.00 with the 20% off- I personally don't like to spend a ton of money unless it's truly an investment piece. I also found a few french berets, I have them in the pink and the off white. The scarves are a must have for this season, I love how you can wear the over a pony tail or just around your neck for an added detail. I also love to buy my earrings here and I picked up the ones shown to add a few fall selections to my closet.

I couldn't shop without flipping through the home section. I love to buy their home accessories and furniture. They have the best selection of fabrics, wall paper, kitchen items and the CUTEST items for the kids. I always shop at anthropologies for Lilly's Christmas- the toys and books are very educational and unique! I found the state puzzle that's officially going under the tree and the cutest little cat pouf for a girls room. I also spotted the sweetest farmhouse dishes- I'm drawn to anything with a pig or a cow and I saw the set of matching glasses and bowls - perfect for a farmhouse! Another good sale buy is the art and tapestries- they offer a unqiue selection for any style. The large floral tapestry above our fireplace was purchased here and still in stock!


Monday, August 13, 2018

For the Bride: Two Dresses You Need!

It's finally here! This is my first real post about getting married and I'm happy to finally be sharing some of the details with you! Chris and I got engaged last April in France and it's been a whirlwind ever since. Originally, we started planning right off the bat and I was immediately overwhelmed with all the small details I had to decide on, the venue, who to invite and obviously the cost! Let's face it... a wedding is an investment. I weighed the pro's and cons of having an actual wedding vs the cost of eloping. I also did my research and asked my married friends their opinions and to my surprise... majority of them said ELOPE! You put so much time and money into planning this huge event for your guest that you forget that it's your day and it flies by. We also estimated cost for both options and we could have an incredible elopement/honeymoon in France for a fraction of what we would spend having a wedding- so there it is... we are getting married in France on April, 25th!

I recently went dress shopping for "The Dress" with a few of my close friends and had much success in finding "the one". I quickly realized during all of this that not only do I need a wedding dress but I need a dress for every occasion- bridal, showers, engagement parties, rehearsal dinner- anything practically wedding related. Fortunately, I stumbled upon Chicwish who offers an amazing collection of beautiful dresses for every occasion- as well as other clothing. I was amazed after finding so many options all well under 100.00.

I decided to pick out a cute crochet number for my first outing which was dress shopping! We drove 3 hours to Melbourne to visit Olivia Bowen Bridal where I proceeded to try on dress after dress but after I slipping on dress number one... I knew that was it. I tried others on to be sure but it was unanimous that the first dress was going to be my wedding gown.  

I love the dress that I wore to the bridal boutique - It's extremely comfortable ( I did drive a total of 6 hours in the car wearing this dress) Lightweight and the fit is perfect! Usually I have to alter my clothes but I ordered an XS and I couldn't have been more satisfied with the fit!

I decided to add one of my favorite belts and my go to floral heels to complete the look. I honestly felt a bit like Julia Engel in this outfit and loved every minute of cute but curated outfit. I knew there would be a ton of pictures so, I dressed for the occasion!

I decided on a second dress from Chicwish for a small engagement party. I love to stand out and make a statement and I thought this dress was perfect for my personality.

One of the wedding venues we considered locally was the Herlong Mansion in Micanopy. I love it's historic charm and the fact that it sits back in a quaint little town. 

My favorite detail of this dress is the flower cut outs- I love that it makes a statement and doesn't require a lot of accessories. I ordered this dress also in an XS and the fit was perfect- it's like a fit an flair but isn't so fitted and more like a shift which I loved! It's definitely a dress that I can wear on more than one occasion. 

I've listed these dresses plus a few more options below! 


Monday, August 6, 2018

The Paris Guide

Coming from a Francophile...I can't explain to you the overwhelming sense of love and excitement I get when I think of France- let alone, Paris. Many places are beautiful, many places offer wonderful cuisine and many places evoke a magical feeling but nothing will compare to your first visit to Paris.

In this guide to Paris- I'll explain the do's and don'ts, experiences you don't want to miss and some insider tips from the ultimate Parisian know it all- who also helped guide us through Paris. Grab your pain au chocolat et cafe au lait and take notes!

1. Your absolute must do before getting to Paris: even though you're traveling to Paris where a lot of Parisian's do speak English- learn the basics. Know that "Bonjour" is appropriate morning and during the day- after sunsets it's bonsoir- if you're saying good night it's bonne nuit. Get to know your surroundings- if you're on the hunt for croissants and pastries- look for boulangerie and patiserrie. The Market is called - "marche"- it's helpful to know some of these in order to find what you're looking for. I recommend doing the "in flight French" CD and booklet and take this with you everywhere you go and practice, practice...practice. Parisians appreciate your effort.

2. Make a list of places you absolutely can not miss and map them out. Paris is a huge city and not everything is in walking distance. Versailles is a 30-45 minute drive outside of Paris- I would recommend a day here and also plan to see Giverny. Focus on different arridonsements for certain days. If you're at the Eiffel Tower- plan your day around surrounding areas. 

3. Be french: I get we all have our certain fixes and you might be use to something one way but I've said this before and I'll say it again- dive into being french- do as the french do, eat as the french eat. Have a REAL experience. You travel to explore, to experience and to learn- you can't do that by refusing to try new things, scouting out McDonalds or complaining that it's not like what you're accustomed to. 

Now for the fun part: What are my top must do's?

1. Montmartre: This is what I call "old Paris"- or Moulin Rouge. Chris and I took off on a Sunday morning- we had breakfast a cute cafe and indulged in cafe au laits and crepes while people watching from our table. The locals were setting up for their art market- I ended up buying a couple of pieces from a few artist and it's highly worth it. Montmartre is home to Le Consulat the restaurant , La Maison Rose- the cute pink restaurant famous in pictures. The most notable feature of Montmartre is the view including the Sacre Coeur. The view none the less is stunning- you over look all of Paris and the view goes on for miles. Also famous for this area are Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet and Picasso- who had studios in the area known for its claim to art.

2. Versallies: On the way over to France I watched Marie Antoinette (the one with kiersten Dunst) I've watched this movie hundreds of times but I was always so fascinated by her- although she ran the country into countless debt. The palace itself is fascinating. It's intricate details, it's elaborate gardens and it's overwhelming size is just incredible to see in person. We visited the palace when there was strike so unfortunately we didn't get to explore the interior but this is one I highly suggest!

3. The Noteable: Obviously you'll want to explore the Louvre, Notre Dam and the Eiffel Tower- these are the biggest attractions to Paris and all are equally as stunning. I recommend going early to beat the crowds- especially if you're into photography- the earlier the better. Be sure to also enjoy the gardens surrounding each of them- FYI- Jardin is garden in French. 

4. Places to eat- drink: This is such a loaded question: there are SO many
awesome places and it really depends on which arrondissement you're exploring that day but I would include these while you're mapping out your days.
-The ultimate cliche but totally french worthy cafe is Cafe de Flore- this is a must! The fun thing about Cafe de Flore is it has a rich history and you never know who you might find dining beside you. 
-Carbon- a fun little lunch spot or dinner. This was on our list but sadly we didn't have time to make it here. Definitely a must try.
-Brasserie Lipp- a true Parisian experience- they don't care for tourist so try to fit in and get a table- you'll have to hunt down the manager for a table but authentic and good food- dress nice for this one.
-We had dinner at the Eiffel Tower - beautiful views but high price points- try Monsieur Bleu for authenticity and charming views of the lady Eiffel.
-Hemingway Bar at the Ritz- this is a MUST! Drinks are pricey but worth it for the good times you'll have. The Ritz is breathtakingly beautiful and the Hemingway bar is full of rich history. Be prepared for the beautiful roses that accompany your order.
-Lapernouse is on our list in April. I read about the history of this restaurant and it's very intriguing. During the Belle Epoque , it catered to married men who discreetly entertained Parisian courtesans with champagne and gifts. The owners installed private rooms with entailed lots of velvet and privacy. Ask for the La Belle Oteri - the mirrors will bear scratches from the courtesans testing their lovers diamond gifts to verify authenticity.

- A couple of other noteworthy places to see:
Restaurants: Chez, Denise, Ellsworth,Le Grand Colbert, Chez Julien, Le Dome,Petit Palais and Septime. Any Boulangerie is great- I always suggest getting fromage, wine and pastries and having a picnic in the jardin.
* Caesar Salads are must order.

Cool Places: Shakesphere and Co., Cafe Kitsume at the Jardin- lots of retail shops- high end and consignment. Amorino for rose shaped gelato- also in this area is a cute little market area with restaurants- go explore! Wander around Saint Germain and Le Maris- both are really fun neighborhoods to explore. Champs Eylsee - good for sight seeing- Arc De Triomphe, the Ferris wheel, place de la Concorde. Sezane is a must for shopping- the store is instagram worthy with the perfect french garments, Andre if you're looking for cute Parisian shoes, Merci has everything- highly suggest going here and kiliwatch- I bought several items from here!

My BIGGEST Suggestion: Buy this book- I found Messy Nessy to be super insightful and I loved learning the history along the way. She will give you a true Parisian experience and give you all the glitz and glamour behind it. I used the book as a guide when exploring Paris because it breaks down what's in each arrodissement and what you're near. I also bookmarked notes and highlighted which places really intrigued me- definitely worth keeping in your purse on your trip! Also, She's on instagram @messynessychic

If you think of ANY questions or want to know more- reach out to me! I'm happy to help plan your stay in Paris.

Bon Voyage!

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