Shop It To Me…Literally…

Photo: Shopittome.com
 I’m a part of this wonderful online shopping community called Shop it To Me: Your Personal Shopper.  Basically you create a profile where you choose your favorite brands or stores, put in your size (you can choose multiple sizes), price range, discount range, and categories (accessories, shoes, dresses, etc).  Then, Shop it To Me sends you an email, you choose how often you want to receive it, filled with sales from all the stores/brands you chose!  Clearly genius.
I have mine set up to send me a compilation twice a week and I also receive their VIP emails which have secret sales for members.  Also, Shop It To Me members can save on shipping or additional discounts with various coupon codes that are in each email.
You can also constantly update your profile, so if I want to add a store or brand…for example I recently added Express to my list…it’s super easy to do so and that store’s sales will be in your next email!
If you want to sign up send me your email address and I’ll send you an invite! 
Here are some FAQs on the website if you want to read up on it some more!

#ManicureFriday: CND Shellac

I got my nails done today!  I got my nails in CND’s Brilliant White #502, and my toes in a regular white that my nail salon had.  The CND polish can only go on nails because it is a gel polish, or if your familiar with the term, Shellac polish.  Shellac manicures have been all the rage lately (especially with celebs) because they last for…forever. Literally, you could stretch it to two or three weeks if you wanted too…compared to a week, or week and a half, with a regular manicure. 
I already have gel tips, so I typically get a gel polish color, but you can use Shellac nail polishes on your regular nails too!  These polishes seriously don’t chip [or more importantly, ruin your nails], and you don’t have to wait for them to dry because the gel is instant under UV ray hand box thingy (I really don’t know how to describe that better…) that your nail salon has.
Also, whether you’re cleaning a lot (i.e. doing dishes, work outside) or doing anything that would wreck your nails, have no fear...this polish is indestructible…not even nail polish remover can take it off!  My nail techinican takes it off with the drill when I get my gels filled in every 3 weeks, but here’s a video from CND on how to get the Shellac off!  Not gonna lie, the video kinda reminds me of videos that put me to sleep in chem class last semester (when I went…), but it’s still interesting to hear how this stuff works!
Next time you go to the nail salon, give Shellac a try.  I think it’s a little pricier than a regular manicure, but just try to once to see how you like it, or before you go on vacation or something to make sure your hands look great the whole time!  Also, you wouldn’t need to get your nails done as often, so the pricing kinda works out!
I’m trying to upload a picture of my nails from my phone, but for some reason it’s being stupid!  I’ll put one up as soon as it’s working!!

[Update]: Here’s a picture!! Now, let me explainnnnn…I messed up the index finger nail on my own, it was not a result of the application of the gel polish.  It wasn’t fully dry and I nicked it on the table.

Now I’m going to get a spray tan to offset the white, and thennnn it’ll be a perfect day!

Lush’s H’Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment

Photo: Lush.com
Last night I put the incredibly popular hair mask, H’Suan Wen Hua by Lush, on and I absolutely love it!  I have super long hair so I used almost the entire pot, but it was def worth it.  My hair is also extremely colored treated, base color and highlights, so I was skeptical on whether or not this mask would have an obvious effect.
Since it’s kinda thin (I heard it was super thick…so, I’m slightly confused…but whatever), it was a little bit messy but no big deal.  I left it on for 12 hours (they recommend 20mins, but I’ve heard the longer you leave it in, the better).  I decided to just go to sleep with it in, then I shampooed and conditioned normally when I woke up.  I just pinned up all my hair, and covered it with my Hello Kitty ;] shower cap, it was fine and comfortable all night.
So far, I’m loving the effects on my hair.  I added the products I normally do right after I wash it, and I can tell there’s a difference from the texture of my hair to just the way its falling today as its drying.  It feels light and overall just looks healthier, shiner, and softer.  The smell lingered a little bit, a mix of cinnamon and bananas..I hate bananas…but I don’t mind this at all.  
This hair mask contains tons of natural ingredients (what Lush is known best for)…free range eggs (the main ingredient) bananas, avocados, watercress, bay leaves, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, and cinnamon oil.  It also has some chemicals in it, but just from the consistency and overall effect I can tell how natural and pure it is, which is exactly why I like it so much! 
I’m giving the rest of the pot to my mom to try, she has short, color treated, curly hair.  I’m interested to see the different effects (if any) the mask has on our two different hair types!
Overall grade for the Lush H’Suan Wen Hua Hair Treatment: A+  Everyone should def try it if there hair is needing a little love!  You can find it at any Lush retail store or Macy’s Lush store for $18.95.  I rather spend $19 than hundreds at my salon to get a hair treatment, so it was well worth the money!

Clean Those Brushes!

Clean. Your. Makeup. Brushes.
Seriously, this cannot be stressed enough!  It’s so crucial to clean your makeup brushes…and often.  I’m not gonna lie, I’m not always so perfect when it comes to thoroughly washing them every week like you’re supposed to.  BUT, I do spot clean them constantly with the Sephora cleansing wipes.  I love these wipes and they’re so handy to have around.  For example, if I’m using dark shadows, I don’t want to mix those dark colors with my neutral ones the next day…duhhh…and it gets rid of any potential bacteria brewing about.
Photo: Sephora.com
There are abuncha reasons backing up constant brush cleaning…bacteria being the most obvious and yuck.  This bacteria can cause mayjahhhh breakouts — especially on concealer brushes that were used on a breakout.  Also, if you don’t wash your brushes, or at least use wipes on them often, you’re mixing up colors and you may not get the results you want…which would be sad.
Photo: Sephora.com
Now, there are different ways to wash your brushes.  You can use any mild shampoo on them, I like to use the Sephora purifying brush shampoo.  It has an anti-bacterial in it which is super important, and it’s very gentle which is alsooooo veryyyy important to make sure the bristles on the brush are a-okay through washing.
Some quick tips
-Don’t use too much cleanser, you don’t want to have any excess dry up in the brush
-Always point the brush down while washing it, water can get into the brush handle, which isn’t cool and will ruin the brush
-Don’t play with the bristles too much, move them around enough to get out all the makeup and clean them, but try to do this while keeping the shape of the brush
-Hang your brushes off the side of a counter…you don’t want to dry them on a towel, I’ve read that mildew can build up in them if you do this…yuckyyy  
After writing all this, I’m gonna go clean my brushes now!!

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm

I just wanted to put up a quick post about my favorite lip balm.  I ran out of it today, and it made me think about how many of these I go through…I think I’m addicted. 
This stuff is amazing.  I wrote about it in my beach bag post, but I would just like to reiterate how fabulous I think this lip balm is.  I’ve used all types of lip balms/ chapsticks…Blistex, Rosebud Salve (which I still love), Softlips, and Carmex.  But, for some reason I love the texture of the Burt’s Bees the best.  I also like that I can feel the pomegrante oil, and I really think that has helped keep my lips protected in both the winter from the harsh cold, and the summer from the strong sun.  Lastly, this lip balm uses all natural ingredients which I prefer and has an SPF of 20.
Which remindssss meeeee, it’s SO important to make sure your chapstick or lip balm (whatever, they’re the same thing) has SPF in it.  Usually making sure your lips are protected from the sun is the last thought someone has while at the beach ready to get their tan on.  Howeverrrrr, your lips don’t tan, duh, so they must be protected from the harsh rays.  So, make sure you have a lip balm wth SPF 15 or higher, I’d always opt for the higher.  
PS: Sorry I haven’t updated in a few days, life has been super hectic the past week!

What’s In My Beach Bag???

I’m going to the beach today and since I’m up so early I figured I’d do a post on what I bring with me down the shore.  I have a lot of beach bags, but so far I’ve been using my Tory Burch one this summer.  Most of my other beach bags are from Victoria Secret, they were free with a Pink purchase.  I love those bags, they fit so much in them and they’re made well for being free!
Anywayyyy, I got this bag the day after Christmas in Bloomingdale’s, it took me forever to realize that it was printed in pink bugs.  My friend said to me, “why does your bag have cock roaches on it??” — I thought it was just pink and pretty…wrong.  But, oh well, i just ignore the bugs…whatever species they are.
Aside from my wallet, towels [I bring two, one to lay on and one for my head…makes it more comfortable] and sunglasses [with case for extra protection against sand scratches!] here are some essentials I always make sure come with me to the sand.
Most importantly, here are the two sunscreens I use while I’m at the beach.  I use Aveeno Face 30SPF, and I love it.  I’m really picky about the sunscreen I put on my face, Aveeno isn’t super oily, and I’ve never broken out after using it…which can sometimes happen to people with oilier prone skin.  The formula is light, and doesn’t leave a gross residue.  I def suggest this for your face if your looking for a new facial sunscreen!  For all over sun protection, I took my mom’s 48SPF sunscreen the other day.  It’s from Walgreens, it worked really well.  I applied every hour and still got tan without being burnt.  Since it’s not a facial sunscreen it’s a little bit thicker than the Aveeno, but it applies pretty dry which is always a plus…as opposed to streaky and yucky white goo everywhere…bleh.  It worked just fine for being a generic brand, so I’ll keep that in mind from now on! 
I prefer to read while I’m at the beach, as opposed to listen to music.  Since I’m always with my friends I think it’s more fun to read so I can still talk, rather than be zoned out in music.  Today, I’m bringing the August issue of Cosmo [Kim Kardashian…yay!] and one of the books I’m currently reading, Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl.  It’s a very cute and easy read, I’m almost half way through…I feel more like a French glam girl already!  I bought this book in Anthro a few months ago, and while I can’t find it on their website now..here’s a link to Amazon for it! 
I make sure to have a compact with me, I always need a mirror.  This compact is from the Hello Kitty collection from Sephora.  I also always carry blotting papers, I hate to feel oily whether it’s just from the heat or my sunscreen.  I really love these tea tree oil blotting tissues from The Body Shop.  I know the link doesn’t exactly look like the ones I have, but I’m 100% sure they’re the same ones!
Lastly, while I don’t wear a lot of makeup when I go to the beach, I still need to have something on.  I always put on Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturizer spf 20 [I use bisque] on in the morning, and I actually add the Aveeno sunscreen to that before I leave.  I don’t put much else on besides mascara [Maybelline Falsies is my new favorite], because nobody will ever see me in public without mascara on. 
I bring a bronzer with me because we usually go out to lunch so it’s nice to have a glow-y look after I’ve been laying out.  Right now my summer bronzer is MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in medium deep.  I use it as an all over bronzer or sometimes just as a blush which looks great too. And lastly, I always have my Burt’s Bees Replenishing Pomegranate Oil Lip Balm with me…everywhere.  Some people don’t like this Burt’s Bees balm, they like the original better, but I love this one.  It’s so hydrating, especially after being in the water.  
I keep my makeup in this oversize Coach wristlet I got a longggg time ago.  I don’t want to bring my everyday makeup bag since I have other unnecessary stuff in it.  Everything fits in here just fine, and with a zipper I can make sure nothing falls out of it and gets sandy in my bag!
This is all the stuff I’m bringing with me today!  Also, a quick tip…I put water bottles in the freezer the night before and wrap them up in paper towels [for when they start to super sweat from the hot sun, the water doesn’t get everywhere] to bring with me to the beach.  Cold water for hours in 95 degree weather sounds perfect to me.  It’s SO important to drink water all day when in the sun, but I’m sure you all already knew that!
   

Haul: Anthropologie

This past weekend I went to Anthropologie, it’s one of my favorite stores because they have the cutest clothes and household accessories.  I went shopping with my mom, and got a few things.  Hope you enjoy!  PS: I have yet to find a decent background for pictures, sorry, I’m still working on it!  
When I saw this dress, known as the Wayfarer Dress, I knew it would be perfect for my internship this coming semester.  When I tried it on, I was very impressed with how professional it looked, while still looking incredibly stylish.  I’m a tall girl, but the length is perfect on me, which is sometimes difficult for me to find!  The middle is a little too big, so I’ll need to get it taken in a bit, but the bottom half is perfect and super flattering.

Most of my shirts are sleeveless, and in the summer going into a restaurant can prove to be quite the chilling experience.  The air conditioning is full blast, but I still don’t want to wear a sweater, or necessarily something with sleeves.  I think this Circle Vest is super cute, the color, taupe, is perfect for matching any outfit, and (hopefully) it’ll take away the slight chill when indoors.  I like the design, and it’s slouchy frame.

I loved the style and fit of this shirt when I tired it on.  I know it’s simple, but I can dress it down with jean shorts or dress it up by tucking it in with black shorts for going out.  Adding a big chunky necklace will be great too, the coloring is perfect so I can choose either gold or silver jewelry.  Unfortunately, I can’t find this shirt online!  It wasn’t on sale, so I don’t know why I can’t find it…but check out the store if your interested!

I always find myself picking up a book in this store, when I saw The Gospel According to Coco Chanel I knew I had to have it.  Any book title with the words ‘gospel” and ‘Coco Chanel’ should be in any fashionista’s life.  While I haven’t started reading it yet, I know I’ll start it soon…I think it’ll be a perfect beach read.

While I was in Anthro I tried on a pair of AG Stevie Ankle jeans in sulfur plum.  Colored denim is taking over this summer.  Everyone from Kim Kardashian to Cameron Diaz has been seen rocking ROYGBIV via denim.  I love it, but I wasn’t sure I could pull it off…turns out I really liked the look!  I decided not to get them because I wasn’t 100% sold on the color, but I’m glad I tried them out and I’m happier I liked it!

My First Birchbox!

I was SO happy today when I came home from the beach…I saw a bright pink box from Birchbox!! YAY.  I wrote about Birchbox a couple of posts ago, I while I said I was hesitant at signing up, the good news is…I LOVE EVERYTHING IN MY BOX!
First off, the packaging is so cute.  When I opened the box I saw that Cynthia Rowley was a contributor to this month’s box.  I love Cynthia Rowley, I have a super cute silver sequin pillow by her and I take it everywhere with me…literally…it’s in my car right now.  The products in this month’s box are her favorites, which works perfectly for me because my favorite facial product of all time is in it!  
I’ll begin with my favorite, “Purity made simple” facial cleanser by philosophy.  This is my favorite makeup remover ever.  My mom and I both use it, and we’re addicted.  Of course, it’s a travel size, which is perfect because I’m going to Chicago at the end of the month, so I’ll def need it then.
My next product is “Redken shine brillance” glistening mist.  I thought maybe at first this was a light hair spray, but I sprayed it on my hand and it’s not sticky at all…which is what I was hoping for.  The smell isn’t so lovely, but we’ll see how it works out.
The next two products are Joya perfume and Nuxe dry oil.  I’m not familiar with either of these brands, so I’m excited to see if I like the products.  I don’t typically use shower oil in the summer (spray tan killer), so I probably won’t start using that until the fall.  The Joya perfume is a roll on, it smells very clean and fresh but I’m not sure I would really consider it a fabulous scent.
The last two products are a ybf beauty eyebrow pencil, in taupe, and a KIND almond and apicot snack bar.  Um, I was slightly confused as to why there was a snack bar in my beauty box…but then I read the note in the box and Cynthia Rowley says she always has one on her, so it’s an extra for this month.  I’m excited to use the eyebrow pencil, I’ve honestly never used one before because I really love my eyebrows, but whenever I go get my makeup done professionally they always still fill them in.  It’ll be a good experiement…hopefully.
SO, that’s my July Birchbox!  My expectations were definitely exceeded with this first box, from the products to the packaging.  I hope next month makes me just as happpyyyyy!

Zimbabwe + Zambia Adventures

Yesterday morning I got home from a 16 hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa.  I spent 2 weeks volunteering at a lion conservation center in Zimbabwe and the experience was amazing, I honestly didn’t want it to end– 2 weeks was entirely too short.  I learned so much about the Zimbabwean people, their language, and customs.  I met other volunteers from all over the world..from the U.K to Iceland…from Norway to Sweden. It was awesomeeeeeeeee!
Here are some pictures of me with the lions..and some elephants!  I love, love, love animals so this experience was over the top incredible for me.
I was staying in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe…Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Wonders of the World…and boy were they wondrous.  We took a helicopter ride over the falls, and also walked through them which was so much fun…even the getting completely soaked part.
Lastly, here are some beautiful sunrise and sunset pictures!
This was the best experience I’ve had in my life thus far.  The opportunity just came across and I took it, I had no idea what to expect but I didn’t really care!  If you wanna do something adventurous like this, do whatever you need to do to make it a reality and just go for it!
XO.
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Just Because…Birchbox

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Last night I took the $10 plunge and signed up for the beauty-box-of-the-month club, Birchbox!  This club is relatively new but so far the press and reviews have been great!  In case you haven’t heard about Birchbox here’s a quick rundown…every month, for $10, you get a box with four or five beauty samples.  The samples cover hair, skin, makeup, body, and fragrance.  

Also, you can earn reward points, there are different things you can do to earn these points like purchase full size products (recieve 1 point for every dollar), refer friends (50 points for every friend who signs up), and review products (10 points for every review you do).  Once you get 100 points, you’ll get a $10 reward that you can put towards a full sized product.
I’m super excited to recieve my first box in July.  I took a beauty quiz so my box is more tailored for me.  For example they ask about skin tone, hair color, etc.  It’s very similar to the jewelry profile Jewelmint asks you to complete. It’s all about narrowing down the best options for you!  
I was slightly skeptical about this club for the past month, samples are samples.  They’re small, and although you get 4 or 5 per box is $10 really worth it?  Well, I decided it was once I took a look at their brand page.  I think Birchbox has done a great job of securing deals with amazing brands, I recognized and think highly of almost all of them!  bareMinerals, benefit, Cargo, juice Beauty, laura mercier, Nars, Oscar Blandi, stila, too faced, and Kate Spade are some of my favorites from the list!  I use these brands, and others listed, almost every day.  So I know I’ll use, and hopefully love, every sample given to me!
I’m constantly looking for ways to build up and evolve my beauty routine.  Rather than spending $30-$50 for a new product, I can try the sample first and then really think about whether or not I want to purchase it.  And if I do, I can purchase directly from Birchbox and get rewards points!  While I’m not really looking to spend money on full sized products any time soon, I’m loving my beauty routine right now, it’s always a good option down the road.  
For now, I think I’m gonna have fun sampling new things every month!  I’ll do a review with pictures once I get my first box!