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Bath & Body Works Fall 2014 Preview

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I popped into Bath & Body Works yesterday and discovered that they were previewing a few of their Fall 2014 collection candles. A little week long sneak peek of some of what was to come! I got so excited and picked up some great new candles so I'll be a bit more prepared to welcome in Fall.

The first item I picked up was the So much pumpkins, So little time mini candle gift set. It came with six mini candles from the new Pumpkin Cafe collection. The set came with Spiced Pumpkin Cider, Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow, Caramel Pumpkin Swirl, Pumpkin Pecan Waffles and Pumpkin Cupcake. It was also supposed to come with a mini Pumpkin Caramel Latte candle, but for some reason all of the boxes were missing that one and instead came with an extra Pumpkin Pecan Waffle mini candle. I was a tad disappointed about the double, but they assured me that I could bring in my mini double and replace it with a pumpkin caramel latte as soon as they get them in!

Spiced Pumpkin Cider - A warming blend of orchard fresh pumpkin-apple cider, ground nutmeg and a hint of clementine orange. Of all the candles, this one is the least sweet. 
Pumpkin Pecan Waffle - Delight in the scrumptious scent of pumpkin pecan waffles, pure maple syrup and a touch of brown sugar. I really enjoy the notes of maple syrup and brown sugar that are apparent in this candle. I think it would be perfect to burn on a cold Autumn morning.
Pumpkin Cupcake - Satisfy your sweet tooth with the scent of a freshly baked pumpkin cupcake covered in loads of rich buttercream frosting. This candle scent wasn't actually as sweet as I originally thought, with a name like pumpkin cupcake, but that made it even better.
Vanilla Pumpkin Marshmallow - The comforting sweetness of vanilla combines with a mouthwatering cloud of pumpkin marshmallow. I really like the tell tale scent of marshmallow in this candle. I love the combination of marshmallow and vanilla pumpkin. 
Caramel Pumpkin Swirl - Enjoy a marvelous mixture of two of fall's most delicious scents, as sweet, smooth caramel swirls fresh pumpkin. This candle smells good enough to eat!

This candle is a new creation from Bath & Body Works by combining three of their Fall candles into one large 3 wick candle. It combines the candles Sweater Weather, Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin and Pumpkin Apple. I can't wait to test out this candle for Fall and see how the layers meld into each other. It was a great pick too because I could try out three candles in one. Also, the sales girl was very nice and let me do the 2 for $22 deal on the Fall previews so I could get a few without breaking the bank!

Sweater Weather - Cuddle up with an aromatic blend of eucalyptus, juniper berry and fresh sage that celebrates the arrival of crisp autumn breezes.
Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin - Relax into the homey comforts of Fall with this inviting blend of harvest pumpkin, sweet vanilla cream & freshly ground cinnamon stick.
Pumpkin Apple - Nothing evokes fall like apple and pumpkin, spiced with cinnamon & cloves.

The last two items that I picked up were in my favorite fall scent, Leaves. If you have smelled this candle, you know what I mean when I say this candle is AMMMMAAAAZZZZINNNNGG. If you haven't tried it, you best get down to a Bath & Body Works this fall and stock up! I even picked up the scent in a great room spray. I can't really describe how good this scent smells, but it immediately brings me back to cozy fall nights. 

Leaves - Jump in a big pile of leaves! Celebrate the brilliant colors of autumn with this rich blend of golden nectar, red apple and spiced berries.

I can't wait for Fall to come around so I can enjoy these candles and the rest of their amazing Fall collection!  

Beauty DNA Unboxing-July 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Beauty DNA is a skincare, body and hair product subscription service that offers great customization to help you get the best products matched personalized for you. The service is currently in a beta program. Once a month, they charge you a flat $25 and send you a product that has been personalized for your needs based on a in-depth beauty profile. For more information on Beauty DNA, check out my earlier post. Now, let's get to this month's match!

I actually received two products in my Beauty DNA box this month. The first product was the Wen Sweet Almond Mint Cleansing Conditioner valued at $18. I have yet to try out this product, but I can't wait to use it! The scent is so unbelievably soothing and it is actually quite a tasty smell. I feel like it would be a mini spa treatment for my hair. Sephora describes this product as a way to 

"Pamper and invigorate your stressed-out tresses with this luxurious, multitasking cleanser and conditioner designed to impart shine, luster, and softness. The lightweight, low-lather formula is a universal product that caters to all your haircare needs, regardless of hair type. Herbal extracts like aloe leaf juice and sweet almond oil help your locks retain moisture, while protecting them from daily and future damage."

This product is supposed to be able replace shampoo, conditioner and leave in conditioning treatments. I have read some reviews that it can make your hair a little heavy, but I'll have it to test it out and report back to you on that one! All I know is that it smells divine and I can't wait to use it. 

The second product that I received in my Beauty DNA box this month was my bonus product, the Ahava Caressing Body Sorbet valued at $26. This product is a part of the Active Dead Sea Minerals collection by Ahava. The Ahava site describes this product saying that it 

"Gives skin an extra boost of hydration with Dead Sea minerals, vitamins and plant extracts. This refreshing cream-gel quickly absorbs into skin, providing it with pampering moisture. Skin is left leaving skin supple and protected against environmental damage. The energizing scent of Mandarin and Cedarwood rejuvenates the senses."

I tried this product a few times and I really loved the texture. Its not super thick like a body butter, but is more of a light cream. The description says its a cream-gel and I think that describes the product well. It absorbs super nicely and my arms and legs were smooth all day. I'm not sure how I feel about the scent as I'm not a huge fan of Cedarwood, but it may grow on me. I can't wait to really test out both of these products and report back. 

What do you think of the Beauty DNA subscription service? Can you see it being something you would try out? Let me know in the comments below!

Birchbox Book Club-The Bridesmaids*

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I am a super speedy reader, especially if I'm engrossed in a book that I find interesting. As soon as I got The Bridemaids by Eimear Lynch in the mail, I opened it and read it in just two days. That may not seem too speedy, but the only solitary time I have to read is the bus ride to and from work, totaling only 30 minutes each day. The book is chock full of first-person narratives as told by different bridesmaids. It opens your eyes to everything that goes into the behind the scenes making of a Bride's big day. 

I plan to personally hand this book to any and every friend who calls to tell me they are engaged. Of all those on my list of who should read this book, future Brides are at the tippy top. I hope they learn exactly what I learned from this book, which is that being a bridesmaid isn't all pretty dresses and oohing and ahhing over how pretty the Bride looks. It's a lot more work than that. It can not only cost a ton of money, but also a lot of time and energy. People don't talk about that part. They talk about the honor of being asked and how fun the wedding is going to be, but not the months leading up to the actual big day and all the work that goes into making that wedding a success. Not to say that all weddings are expensive and time-consuming or that those that are, are not worth your time or money. In truth, The Bridesmaids showcases the good, the bad and the poofy world of bridesmaids and their Brides to be. 
(Always with my nose in a book)
What I enjoyed most about the book was the diversity of the stories and the emotions they imparted. It was a roller coaster of funny, deep and sad tales from bridesmaids around the world, of different ages and sexual orientations. I have yet to be a bridesmaid myself, but with two sisters, it is almost a certainty that I will be walking down the aisle in a ridiculous poofy dress trying not to trip. This book gave me a glimpse into the world of these best supporting actors, showcasing what may be in store for me in the near future! 

Have you read The Bridesmaids? Did you like it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments below!

*Quick Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Birchbox at no charge for the purpose of reading & participating in Birchbox Book Club. The thoughts and feelings on this book are my own. 

Stitch Fix Review - July 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's the middle of summer which means its time for short skirts and fun maxi dresses and Stitch Fix is great at delivering both of these. Stitch Fix is the answer for the girl who is in desperate need of a wardrobe update, but has literally no time to shop. You can get fixes every 2-3 weeks, monthly or for any specific date you choose. I've been getting fixes every 2-3 weeks because I seem to be in dire need of new pieces for my wardrobe. For more into about the logistics of Stitch Fix, check out one of my earlier posts on it! This fix was full of bright pieces to welcome the halfway point of Summer. My stylist for this month, Emily, sent along this cute little note to explain her picks and how to style them!
The first piece that I knew I had to try on was the Angie Tenessy Chevron Print Maxi Dress. It was a beautiful green and white chevron print and the fabric was incredibly comfortable. I loved the thicker straps on the dress that allowed me to wear it with a normal bra and the higher neckline that made it look modest, but fashionable without showing lots of cleavage. I paired the dress with the Street Level Bonnie Striped Straw Clutch, which I immediately knew I'd like as soon as I saw it. It looks like an awesome day or night out essential, especially suited for the summer season. As cute as the pieces looked, I had to take a pass on both. Asking myself how often I'd wear the maxi dress, I couldn't find many situations where I would prefer it over a shorter version of a similar dress. I couldn't imagine constantly having to hold my dress up so I wouldn't step on it during an event. However,  since trying this item on and loving it, I would consider buying a maxi dress in future as it was just so cute! I also passed on the clutch. My reasoning was the zipper and the fact that it got stuck several times while I was showing the item off to one of my friends. A sticky zipper is a non-negotiable with me as I don't always have the patience to keep trying to open/close my purse until it works. 
Angie Tenessy Chevron Print Maxi Dress
Street Level Bonnie Striped Straw Clutch
The second item that I tried on was the 41Hawthorn Ruffle Front Tank. It was a really beautiful pink/orange color and was made of a really comfortable material. I also liked that it was sleeveless, so it would be perfect for hot summer days. I paired it with a long white skirt from Anthropologie and thought it was a great bright color match for the summer season. The only part of the top that i didn't enjoy was the actual ruffle. I felt that it called too much attention to my chest and made it stand out even more. I think it would look awesome on a girl with a smaller chest, but on me, I felt it just didn't work. I had to take a pass.
41Hawthorn Astor Ruffle Front Tank
One of the last pieces that I tried on was the Loveappella Kaci Abstract Chevron Swing Skirt. It was the perfect height for a summer skirt and did that awesome twirl out when you spin around. It had a tight band at the top and flares out from there in little pleats. I paired it with the Amour Vert Racquel Solid Silk Blouse. The blouse felt amazing on and was such a great color for me that I was very sad to pass on it, but it was more of a tank top than a blouse and for $78, I couldn't justify the expenditure. The one thing I couldn't pass up though was the skirt. For $58, the price was well worth it, especially since I can't say that I have a skirt similar in pattern. It will be great to pair with any solid color blouse and perfect to wear for work with a solid color top and a blazer.
Amour Vert Racquel Solid Silk Blouse
Loveappella Kaci Abstract Chevron Swing Skirt
Although I was bummed that I still didn't find that perfect summer fit and flare dress I was looking for, I did find some great pieces that I would not have selected for myself. I have fixes coming every 2-3 weeks now so I'm sure there will be more awesome dresses in my Stitch Fix future. What was your favorite piece from this fix? Let me know in the comments below!

Sephora VIB Rouge Spring Social Event

Friday, July 18, 2014

Better late than never, but I finally got a chance to write about the Sephora VIB Rouge Spring Social Event that was held at the Union Square Sephora in San Francisco. Arriving a tad early for the event, I grabbed a Cappuccino from the Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza and waited for the doors to officially open. Little did I know, Sephora was providing breakfast pastries and morning refreshments, but I was very content with my Blue Bottle delight. 
As soon as I walked in the door, I saw a hair stylist brandishing the signature Drybar buttercup yellow blowdryer. I immediately walked up to him and said a very cheery hello. I'm a huge fan of Drybar for nights out or even just for a pamper day to myself and I've raved about their products/services in earlier posts so I was very excited to see them at this event. I had had no time to shower that morning so my hair was tossed up in a sockbun. The stylist kindly offered to give my hair a style refresher and I gladly took him up on it! I got to try out the Drybar dry shampoo, which has now become my go to favorite, especially when I travel. He styled up my hair, giving me some beautiful loose curls with a nice lift on my bangs, all the while, giving me great haircare tips and tricks.
After my mini blowout, I sat down in a lovely swivel high chair to get a mini makeover from one of the Dior makeup artists. I have only ever owned Dior eyeshadows, mascaras, and lip glosses so I was excited to try out their skincare products and foundations. I loved the look that the artist gave me, which was perfect to rock day or night. I was really excited when I finished my mini makeover to go do some shopping. 
Courtesy of Sephora, each VIB Rouge Member received a black and white striped makeup bag filled with samples. I loved the stripes and the red accents so this has become my go to travel makeup bag. It's on the smaller side so it makes me really consider what I NEED to take with me when I travel. I also picked up the Cover FX Bronzer in  Suntan. I really needed a new bronzer and I had read such great reviews online about this particular brand. All of Cover FX's products are clinically tested, vegan, and free of parabens, fragrance, gluten, mineral oil, and talc, which means they are great for those with sensitive skin like mine. The color blends beautifully, even on my light skin. The  second thing I grabbed was actually an impulse buy after I had chatted with the Drybar stylist. I can't believe this, but I don't own a large round brush. After seeing how awesome the stylist made my hair look with the Drybar Full Pint round brush, I knew that I needed to have it for my everyday styling needs. The whole event was so much fun! I got to explore the store and ask for advice from seasoned experts. Thanks Sephora for hosting this great event!
They also had these cute little photo backdrops for VIB Rouge Members to pose in front of after their mini makeovers. I took mine on my way out, after a happy morning of makeovers and shopping!

Birchbox Unboxing - July 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I loved the theme of the box this month, Power up! I think it's a great kickstart to getting into a new workout grove and a new health kick. I've just started trying to eat a bit healthier and get a tad more exercise so this was a perfect time for me to Power up!
 I really liked the diversity of this birchbox. There were a variety of products for my nails, skin, body and lips. I couldn't wait to get home that evening to try everything out!
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
Birchbox Take: An exclusive blend of Icelandic glacial water, Arctic cloudberry and cranberry seed oils, pure molecular oxygen, and six essential minerals deliver much-needed nutrients, energy, and healthy fats, helping to protect skin and restore its healthy glow. Ginko biloba leaf extracts reduces puffiness and dark circles by improving blood flow, while hydrolized elastin tones and firms skin.
My Take: I have yet to try these beauties, but I'm so excited to see them in action. I think this will perfect for next Friday where I have a hectic day of travel planned and these would be perfect to use during my late flight. 
NAOBAY Body Radiance Lotion
Birchbox Take: Olive oil, shea butter, and avocado oil deliver serious moisture, while aloe vera soothes and protects skin. More than 98 percent of ingredients in this creamy lotion are natural, and over 19 percent are organic-and like all of Naobay products, it's free of GMOs and made without paragons, formaldehyde, petrochemical, synthetic dyes, and a host of other chemicals that research suggest may come with health risks.
My Take: This felt like a great light body moisturizer. It has a deliciously citrus scent and is a perfect size to throw in my purse to keep moisturized throughout the day.
Marcelle New-Age 8 in 1 Power Serum
Birchbox Take: It's called a power serum for a reason: The lightweight formula boasts five peptides, the amino acids that amp up collagen production and improve elasticity, plus xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol that helps skin retain moisture. These potent ingredients work in eight great ways. When it comes to lines, they smooth, provide a filling effect, and visibly reduce wrinkles. They also firm, life, and strengthen, while working to goose radiance and improve the texture of your complexion. Even better? It does all of this without parabens or fragrance.
My Take: I haven't used this product long enough to see its long-term effects, but it immediately leaves my skin feeling a lot softer and moisturized, which is very important to me in a night-time serum. 
LAQA & Co Sheer Lip Lube Pencil - Bees Knees (Coral)
Birchbox Take: Unlike some glosses that simply provide a nice shine, this lip lube channels softening shea butter, which moisturizes and fills in any unsightly lines, and is infused with refreshing mint. Available in an array of wearable, softly pigmented shades.
My Take: I was slightly disappointed in this sample. I had been coveting my sister's LAQA lip pencil since she first got in a birchbox a while back. It was a beautiful bright red lip pencil that was a perfect size to throw in a small clutch. I wish that I had received one of the lip pencils in lieu of a sheer lip lube. The lip lube is a light coral color and does have a delightful mint scent and feels nice on the lips. I will still hold out for a full color lip pencil, but in the meantime, I can try out some looks to go with my new coral colored lip lube. 
Ruffian The Rapture Collection - Ambrosia
Birchbox Take: This high-end polish is specifically formulated to hold up for days without chipping, so you can rock your (streak-free!) metallic mani all week. An added bonus: The unique shape of the deco-inspired bottle helps us get a good grip on the cap so we can stay inside the lines while painting our nails.
My Take: Sadly, I'm not a huge fan of metallic polishes. I generally go for more solid colors in tune with the changing seasons for nails. Also, I'm not one who  is coordinated enough to do my own nails often so I'm not thrilled with the polish, but I'm sure I can get it to someone who will appreciate its metallic purpley color!

Blueberry Basil Smoothie

Monday, July 14, 2014

1 Banana (Fresh or Frozen)
1/8 Cup of Basil
1 cup Blueberries
1 and 1/2 cups of Almond Milk

Put all of your ingredients in a blender, ensuring that the Almond milk is just covering the dry ingredients. 
Blend until creamy. Enjoy!

note: I added a couple tablespoons of chia seeds in mine for added nutrients!

Sunday Funday

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Funday in San Francisco
* Outfit - Stitchfix
* Brunch - Outerlands
* Jaunt - Cliff House, Sutro Bath, Lands End

Bliss Spa - The W Hotel Review

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Earlier this month, I took a pamper day to relax my mind and body after some stressful weeks. After perusing the list of offered services, I finally decided on a warm lotion manicure and a elemis exotic lime & ginger salt glow body treatment. 
The closest Bliss Spa near me is in the W hotel in downtown San Francisco. Currently, it's under a lot of construction, but thankfully it wasn't intrusive on my spa experience. Since my appointment was in the evening, the spa was quiet and almost empty, which was great to put me in a relaxed mindset. After changing into a robe and some little slippers, I headed to the lounge for some fruit infused ice water and to indulge in the array of snacks, which included delicious mini brownies. Finally, it was time for my first treatment, the elemis exotic lime & ginger salt glow. The treatment consists of 'a light body brushing, warm Japanese Camellia Oil drizzling, and top-to-bottom buffing with Elemis's lime and ginger-tinged salt scrub. Skin is left soft, smooth and read for the 'lime'-light.' This was a great treatment to get before my beach bound vacation to ensure I looked my best. It also was great to just relax my mind for an hour. After my body treatment, I took another little break in the lounge area to drink up some more water, which I was urged to do after my salt treatment. 
Next up was my warm lotion manicure. I sat down with a cup of hot orange tea and was handed a remote and a pair of headphones. Happily sated with my tea, I was even more excited to find that the spa television was playing all of season 6 of Sex and the City. After I inwardly squealed in delight, I chose my polish, Essie's Bikini So Teeny blue, and sat back to enjoy Carrie's trip to Paris and final reunion with Mr. Big. 
My overall experience with Bliss Spa was amazing! I'll have to be on the lookout for more deals on their services because I walked out a very happy camper and felt completely refreshed.
If you know of any other great Spas in San Francisco that I should try, let me know in the comments below! 

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