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!

Save Some Moolahhhh

Bath and Body Works AND Victoria Secret are having their MAYYJAHH sales going on right now!!  I feel like both of these stores suck me in, hypnotize me, and force me to buy everything in sight. It’s so awful…but not really!  Anyway, I told myself if I was going to purchase anything from either of these stores it would be online as opposed to in store.  For some reason, especially when I’m in Bath and Body, I just keep adding things to my basket and I lose all control.  I’m not like that online, thank god.
I wanted to get a few things from Bath and Body for the new school year coming up…I gave myself a $50 limit and got to searching for things I’d need for senior year.  I love the aromatherapy line at Bath and Body so I got most of my items from that line.  I can’t remember everything I got, and I’ll be in Africa when my package gets here, but I’ll do a haul when I get back!  
Anywayyyyy, I wanted to stress right now how amazing this Yellow sale is.  There’s also a 20% off coupon you can use in store or online in addition to everything being 50% off.  C-r-a-z-y.  I used that coupon and calculated how much my order would have been without the sale or the coupon.  Although to be honest I wouldn’t of bought anything if it wasn’t on sale.  With my $50 budget I ended up saving over $50!  Without the sale prices or coupon my total came to $110…I can’t believe I saved $60…amazingnessssss!! 
So, shop the Yellow Sale…indulge a little because you’re saving so much money….and use promo code SALE20 at online checkout, or print this coupon, for that extra 20% off!
Next, Victoria Secret.  I love Victoria Secret and I always seem to have a gift card to use which is great.  The semi-annual sale is going on right now — there’s also an online promo for 20% off any one item, code HOTSUMMER, AND free shipping over $100, promo code SHIPVS11.  
I was looking online and there are a ton of cute summer dresses on sale, I have way too many so I’m not even gonna consider buying one — fighting the urge, ugh so hard.  The only thing I’ll be purchasing from the semi-annual sale this time around are sheets from the Pink line.  I seem to have quite a few holes in my sheet sets right now, I think my dog claiming my bed as his has something to do with it.  If you’re looking for lounge wear def check out the Pink sale section, it’s my favorite and they have a ton of cute stuff!!

5 Tips for A Long, Long, Flight

I’m going to Africa for almost three weeks this Sunday! As I’ve been getting ready to leave, one very important aspect I’ve been thinking about is how I’m going to survive the 18 hour flight from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa.  I think I’ve come up with some good ideas, and I figured I’d share them in case anyone else is traveling long distances this summer!
1. A super huge water bottle.  I drink so much water, sometimes people think I’m a fish.  I’m going to bring a liter bottle with me, although since flying can be dehydrating I’ll probably go through it rather quickly.  Whenever you’re flying it’s super important to stay hydrated.  No soda, coffee, or alcohol!
2. Books and magazines.  I already have Cosmo, Self, and Allure lined up for the flight but I also want to bring some good books for my time in Africa and the flights there and back.  The first book I’m bringing is Tim Gunn’s Golden Rules: Little Life Lessons for Making it Work.  I got this book a long time ago, right when it came out actually, but never got the chance to read it…until now!!  I have a bunch more options to bring, I’m still trying to pick a second and third book!
 3. A sleeping mask. I plan on forcing sleep upon myself with some Unisom, and you need to look good even while snoozing.  I got an eye mask at Natural Body Spa, my favorite spa on this planet.  It’s silk which is better for the skin and soft on the delicate eye area compared to the fabric-y and sometimes itchy ones the airline gives you.  If I’m gonna be on a flight for that long and need to be super well rested when I arrive, comfort is key.
4. Upkeep essentials…in addition to my makeup bag I carry everywhere with me…

While I’ll be wearing makeup from that day, first thing I plan on doing is using my Neutrogena Makeup Cleansing Towelettes to take it off when I get in my seat.  I don’t want to clog my pores by keeping it on the whole flight (yuck.), especially if I’m already in a dry environment.  So off comes the makeup, on goes my Origins Perfect World moisturizer.

My next upkeep essential is Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir.  I love, love, love this facial spray, it’s great when you need a pick me up during the day, tingly on the skin, smells like peppermint, and I know I’m gonna need that when stepping off that plane.  This is my favorite refresher spray, and although it’s expensive, the luxurious feel is so worth it!

My last key upkeep essential is Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream.  I love this hand cream because it isn’t greasy and truly is high intensity.  My hands feel silky after using it, which is always a plus!!

5. The last thing I’ll need are some snacks.  I’m not really a plane food type of girl and it’s so easy to just buy a big bag of chips or something along that line.  But, I really want to have healthy options for the flight so I’m going to bring some meal bars and hopefully a big salad and other veggies to snack on en route!
Hoping these 5 Tips will help ya out next time you’re on a long flight!
XO.
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Dove Advanced Care Deodorant

Some may find this post comical, kinda it is…but it’s important! 
I’m obsessed with my deodorant.  I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.  I’ve been using Dove Solid: Ultimate Go Fresh Cool Essentials since it came out, and it’s the best. Really, the best.  The “Cool Essentials” are cucumber and green tea, it smells divine and super fresh.  It works the whole day, I’ve never had to worry about feeling gross during the middle of the day whether I’m in class or running errands. 
Dove advertisements say you don’t have to worry this deodorant about staining your clothes, that statement isn’t entirely true– but that’s okay I’m just careful.  I love that you can buy a pack of two of these at a time, or you can get a deodorant and the spray in a pack.  I’ve only used the spray once when I used my friends, and I really liked it.  I just feel the better value is to buy the double deodorant pack.
I used to use Secret Scent Expressions in Ohh LaLa Lavender, which I really loved too.  It’s the gel deodorant which I know many people don’t like, but it worked fine for me!!  This smelled amazing, but I prefer the Dove more because it smells more fresh and clean than this Secret scent.  I’m sure there are other Secret options comparable to Dove, but I don’t want to part from Dove just yet.
 
Many people don’t think about how important deodorant really is.  But seriously, it’s super important.  If you’re not using a deodorant you love, you won’t feel fresh and clean — and that’s my favorite feeling!!

Haul: Charming Charlie

I’m in the Atlanta area (Suwanee, GA to be exact) visiting my Dad for the week.  Unfortunately, but excitingly (I didn’t know that was a real word), he’s moving to the Fort Worth area in a few months.  While I know I’ll be in the city area of Atlanta still quite often, one thing I will miss is the jewelry store Charming Charlie which is just about a 10min drive from our house. 
I had absolutely no idea what Charming Charlie was until I walked passed it one day, at which point I turned my head and thought to myself OMFG I NEED EVERYTHING IN THIS STORELiterally.  I truly felt like I hit the fashion jewelry mecca.  If you’ve never been to, or heard of, this store before I have one word to describe it…color. TONS OF COLOR.  It’s a huge store (at least the one by me is) and all the accessories are divided up by color on huge round tables.  Also, everything is super inexpensive, think one step above Forever 21 in price, but a flight of stairs above them in quality, which is why I always seem to walk out with half the store.
Before I get started on my haul, here’s a quick commerical from their YouTube channel! (PS: Check out all their videos on YouTube, they’re great!!)  They also have a a blog, Charm Chronicles, which while I’ve only read a few posts, looks pretty good!!  
Here are my purchases!!!  Unfortunately you cannot buy their products online…lame.  But check out the store locater because you never know if there’s one near you!!  I just found out there’s one about 40mins from my house in Jersey!!  Enjoy!
I love classic looking pieces like the one on the right that I can dress up or dress down.  I have a few necklaces along the line of this one but I love the layered look and I have great bracelets that will complement it!  The black and silver necklace with flowers reflects my true style and I know that one will get a lot of wear.
I loved these earrings when I saw them, I think they could go both in a casual and elegant direction.  I actually have a bracelet that will match perfectly with them!  I love that color blue against a rustic gold color, and the shape with that coloring looks great.
A cute flower power ring, just because.  I thought it was summery and I could wear with a black outfit for a pop of color, or at the beach! And, an owl ring because owls are our mascot and I can’t help myself when I see owls!
Two owl necklaces one gold and one silver.  As I just said, I can’t help myself when I see anything owls, and the price was right, so I went with it!  I don’t think you can tell but the other necklace is gold with a hint of copperish color to it.  I thought the coloring was interesting and I would have the focus be on the necklace when I’m wearing it since it might be hard to match other pieces with it.
Another owl, this one kinda looks scary but it has abuncha purples in it which is why I liked it so much!  I loved this drop ring because of the color and while it’s still a piece of fashion jewelry I know I’ll be able to dress it up if I want to!
I thought this necklace was really pretty and I absolutely love the colors.  It’s light and perfect for the summer– I think I’ll layer on tons of bracelets with complementing colors when I wear this.
I know this bracelet is a little loud and ridiculous, but I really don’t care…I think it’s fun and unexpected.  I have an all black bathing suit that I know this bracelet will look great against when I’m at the beach.  It might be hard to incorporate this into a lot of outfits, but I think its a great easy option for the shore.

Must Have iPhone Apps

I couldn’t even deny it if I tried…I’m addicted to my iPhone.  I used to be team Blackberry in high school and part of college, but then we broke up and I got together with Apple. #sorryimnotsorry
Anyway, I use my iPhone for everything from keeping my schedule and financial shiz completely organized to having Netflix and Food Network instantly at my fingertips.  I love love love my iPhone. 
One very important aspect of my iPhone are apps that are dedicated to shopping and beauty.  These are obvz my favorites.  I thought I’d share all my favorite apps on here, hopefully most of you are iPhone users…and if not…after reading this you’ll probablyyyy want to run out and get one!
1. Sample sale apps — these are without a doubt my favorite apps I have.  Hautelook, Gilt Groupe, and RueLaLa have each come out with their own app which makes the rush to the 11am sample sales that much more easy.  Each app works great, I used to have some technical issues with Gilt but they fixed it with a new update.  If I’m not at home but I’m super excited about a sale I’m so happy I can just click on my app and have everything right there…checkout is super easy too and they store credit card info so it’s just one click and purchased!
2. Groupon. My obsession with Groupon has gotten out of control.  Today for example, was $40 for $100 worth of lingerie at a boutique in Georgetown (I go to school in DC) — so obviously, I bought it.  I have all my cities — DC, Atlanta, NYC, and all the Jersey areas — saved so I can look at all the deals and purchase what I want.  I also love how I can stay green and not print out my Groupon, it can be scanned from my phone! 
3. Allure Best of Beauty.  My favorite magazine is Allure, hands down. Every year they have their Best of Beauty awards highlighting the best makeup and beauty products at all price points.  This app has all that information including comparisons and even a locate option to find the product at a location nearest to you!!  Hmmm, there’s also an option for you to “Shop by Store” for the products — everywhere from Bloomingdale’s to Walgreens! 
4. Style.com — I love Style.com on my computer, so why wouldn’t I love it in an iPhone app?!  This app covers videos from runways around the world — it has almost all of the Fall ready to wear shows (Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy) and tons of pictures from red carpets and parties.  I also love their Look of the Day which highlights different runway looks and you choose which you like the best– today, for instance, is all bold colors ranging from a DVF piece to Narcisco Rodriguez.
5. Ebay. I love the format of the Ebay app much more than I like it on my laptop.  I find it’s much easier and fun to use and I like the layout a lot.  I can conveniently go to my ‘watch list’, ‘buying’, and ‘selling’ and my recently viewed items are pictured on the bottom.  I use eBay a lot so this app is very useful!
I have tons more apps, but those are def my fave!  Team iPhone all the way !!!

Things I Love…Candles

I. Love. Candles.  Love love love them.  I think it’s because my dad would bring home tons sometimes after business trips.  I always have a candle lit in my room and in the bathroom…always.  I hate that we aren’t allowed to have candles in our dorms at school, but obviously I totally understand it.  I thought I’d share some of my favorite scents from my favorite brand, Yankee Candle Company.  They had amazing sales this weekend for Memorial Day which gave me the idea to write this post!!
My absolute favorite candle in the WHOLE WORLD is Lemon Lavender.  Santa got me this candle a few years ago and I’ve probably bought at least 5 since.  I even have the car air fresheners and I always get compliments on the smell! This scent is fresh and clean (the lemon) yet relaxing and soothing (the lavender).  I think this will be my fave scent for the rest of my life, I swear I’ll never get tired of it!! 
Another one of my favorites is Fresh Cut Roses, I’m currently using this one in my bedroom right now.  This is a very light scent, which is perfect for the hot weather.  I have this lit all night and it’s nice to wake up to in the morning, my room basically smells like a garden (which I don’t mind at all)!!
My last favorite from Yankee Candle is Eucalyptus.  I usually use this fragrance in my bathroom since it’s very good aromatherapy wise.  I’ll have that candle lit while using my eucalyptus spa products…it’ll smell like heaven while I’m taking a bath.  It’s so fresh and really wakes you up and makes you feel alive (sounds deep, but it’s totally true). 
You can find all these scents either online at Yankee Candle or in store!  I usually buy in store because I like to find new scents to try out.  Most of the time they have great sales and if you give them your email they send great coupons!
Lastly, in celebration of Memorial Day Weekend Yankee Candle is having a “red, white, and blue jar” sale, meaning any candle, any size, that is either red, white, or blue is buy 1 get one 50% off.  Pretty good deal considering tons of their candles are those colors!  
PS: These are what I call my off-season favorites.  I love all the fall and Christmas-y scents, I’ll write about those when it’s weather appropriate!! 

Budget Beauty: CVS Eye Makeup Remover

I spend a fair amount of money on my skincare routine, but one area that I seriously save on is my eye makeup remover! I’ve been using CVS’s Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover a long time now and I love it.  It seriously gets the job done on stubborn eye liner, waterproof mascara, and heavy shadows for only $5.99 a bottle.



My main draw to this product is that you don’t feel oily after using it like most eye makeup removers that rely on oil to get the waterproof makeup off.  To remove the makeup I soak a big cotton pad and hold it to my eye for about 10 seconds then gently wipe away everything.  I don’t wear false lashes so I layer on mascara like crazy so I have to take a lot of extra time to get all of that off, but this remover has always worked best for that! 

I’ve used both L’oreal Dermo-Expertise Eye and Lumene Waterproof eye makeup removers and hated them.  I don’t like the consistency and I felt like I had to rub and pull to make the makeup come off — totally not good for the sensitive eye area.

Neutrogena makes a similar oil-free eye makeup remover to the CVS brand, but it’s $2 more and honestly they both work the exact same.  If you don’t have a CVS near you Target brand Up and Up’s eye makeup remover is exactly like CVS’s (and for a $1 less!!).

It’s super important to take off your eye makeup, and all of it at that.  I know it gets annoying to take off so much mascara or eyeliner, but you can seriously damage your lashes if you don’t take that extra minute or two to make sure it’s all off!!