9.30.2014

Fall Favorites, Carry On Edition

I am the kind of girl who's always fashionably late. You know that friend that you'll invite to a dinner at 7 PM when it actually starts at 7:30? Yep, that's me. There are two exceptions to this rule, however. Yoga classes, where I like to have plenty of time to pick my spot in yoga class (up front) and get centered before beginning sun salutations, and the airport. I hate to feel rushed while traveling, so I'm often at my gate long before anyone else. Since this means I have plenty of time to sit around, I like to make sure my carry on bag is packed with plenty of things to get me through a long wait.

On my quick trip to Charleston last week, here's what I brought along. In my C.Wonder Nylon Easy Tote, I packed Mindy Kahling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? You need to read this book. I was laughing out loud at 6 AM surely ticking off everyone around me. I always bring along my trusty notebook because you never know when a blogging idea may hit or a to do list may need to be written. I have such a sweet tooth so a chocolate treat is always a must have and these new HELLO chocolates from Lindt are amazing. Seriously, you need to try the salted caramel and the caramel brownie. And, since you never know who you may run into, a fun hair tie, a mini hairspray, lip balm, cheek stain, and an invigorating perfume are good to have on hand.

 Hair Tie - Stainiac Cheek Stain - S.W. Basics Lip Balm

It's also worth noting, the mini Easy Tote is my absolute favorite tote bag this season because it actually isn't mini at all. It easily holds all of the favorites I have here along with my wallet, phone charger, and a water bottle. It comes in several colors including navy, tan, and black, but I just love this cherry red. While as an auburn headed gal, I can't wear red close to my face, I love it for a pop of color throughout fall and winter.

 

Shop my fall favorites using the links below!



Thank you to Lindt HELLO for sponsoring today's post! Click here to enter a fabulous Lindt Sweepstakes going on through October 13th or check out the entire Lindt HELLO line here!


September Birchbox

Time for my recap of this past month's Birchbox. This month included a whole slew of great products and I used every single one in its entirety. I'll likely buy the full size of at least one of them, which, for me, is the sign of a good Birchbox month.


This month's box included:
  • Tocca Crema de Mano - Bianca: I love Tocca fragrances, so I was excited to try one of their hand creams. Bianca is a refreshing scent that is not too overpowering, and the cream itself is moisturizing without being too thick. I just wish they carried it in the Margaux scent so that I could coordinate with my winter perfume!
  • Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate: I absolutely loved this serum. It was light and dried quickly which is perfect for using under a normal moisturizer. My skin felt dewey and smooth throughout the day. 
  • Harvey Prince Ageless Liquid Loofah: Not such a fan of this body wash. It didn't have much of a lather at all and I just didn't feel like it was a great cleanser. After trying both this and the lotion, I am unimpressed with this line. 
  • Pixi Shea Butter Lip Balm in Nectar: While I have about 100 lip balms laying around and don't necessarily need another, I did love the neutral color of this lip balm. Plus, at $8, and with adorable packaging, it makes for a cute little add on to throw in a gift bag. 
  • R+Co Cleansing and Moisturizing Duo: I am not sure this shampoo and conditioner duo is worth its full price cost, but it definitely smells great and made my hair feel silky smooth.
  • Atelier Cologne Vanilla Insensee Fragrance: One of the first products I bought full size after receiving a Birchbox sample was a the Orange Sanguine perfume from Atelier Cologne, so I was delighted to receive another sample from this company. The Vanilla Insensee is a warm, intense fragrance that will be perfect for fall and winter. As I already knew from my first Atelier Cologne experience, their perfumes last all day long. 

Sign up for a monthly Birchbox here or shop the products below!


9.25.2014

scratchDC

This week I had the opportunity to try one of the dinner bundles from scratchDC. For those of you who aren't familiar with this type of meal kit, you are provided with literally everything you need to cook a delicious dinner. By everything, I mean not only the main ingredients but a bit of salt and pepper, a pat of butter, literally everything. It's a great way to cut down on the cost of buying ingredients you don't need. I mean, who needs a huge bunch of parsley when all you need is a tablespoon or an entire tube of polenta when a recipe calls for just a quarter cup?

I chose to try this past Tuesday's meal which was Butternut Squash Risotto with Bacon and Gruyere and a Spinach Vinaigrette Salad. scratchDC uses all natural and organic ingredients wherever possible and lists the farms where many of the ingredients came from. An added plus, the packaging is absolutely adorable.


The recipe was easy to follow and only took about 35 minutes start to finish. I am not exaggerating when I say this may quite possibly have been the best risotto I have ever had. The butternut squash was seasoned with thyme and cinnamon which gave it an amazing depth of flavor. You can't go wrong with bacon, ever, and the gruyere added a touch of creaminess that rounded out the recipe.

A simple vinaigrette and sliced almonds dressed the spinach salad just enough, and it came together in about 15 seconds. The meal was absolutely delicious, but since I have a serious sweet tooth, scratchDC really won me over with the 2 cookie dough balls that are ready to be baked. An added bonus that really made the meal. 


Check out scratchDC's upcoming menus here. Meals will keep for a few days before cooking, so don't worry if you like Tuesday's meal but can't make it til Thursday. Personally, I have my eye on the Penne Arrabbiata or the Butternut Squash and Black Bean Tacos, yum!

9.23.2014

Nate Berkus

If you're looking to add some warmth and textural interest to your living area this fall, the Nate Berkus for Target collection is a great place to start. There are so many pieces that create a budget friendly way to incorporate natural textures, a touch of metallic, and tribal influenced pattern into your home.

With natural seagrass, woven throws, and touches of gold, the entire Nate Berkus collection exudes a sense of bringing the outdoors in and encompassing the home with a cozy warm environment. Add just a few metallic elements to a coffee table or a mix of fabrics to a sofa for an autumnal pick me up. These pieces are just as at home in a rustic setting as they are in a much more glamorous space.






Shop the items from the Nate Berkus collection below!

9.22.2014

TruBlend FixStick

This past weekend I lost my Benefit Erase Paste. Somewhere between getting ready for brunch on Sunday and doing an evening touch up, that little pot of ivory colored magic went missing. I've searched my room high and low and turned up absolutely nothing.

Considering I spent a small fortune on car stuff this week, splurging $25 on a replacement concealer just didn't seem like a very frugal decision. So I stopped by CVS on my way home from barre a couple nights ago, and after standing in the beauty aisle googling reviews for about 30 different concealers (some are too watery! some crease after an hour! some are too pink!) I finally settled on the TruBlend FixStick Concealer Crayon from Cover Girl. Besides for the Cheekers blush in Classic Pink, I rarely ever buy Cover Girl makeup. However, after a few days of using this FixStick Crayon, I'm never splurging on concealer again.


This crayon has a smooth, creamy consistency that's incredibly easy to apply. I was concerned that a crayon might not blend enough for under eye coverage, but it's perfect and it doesn't budge. Plus, the crayon packaging makes it perfect for toting around in a purse for midday touchups. The ivory shade is spot on for my porcelain skin, but I could see also buying one of the darker shades to use for contouring. Reversely, one could use the darker shade for concealing and the ivory for highlighting.


You can find the TruBlend FixStick Concealer Crayon at any drugstore or buy online at Ulta or Amazon.  

9.19.2014

Basil and Ricotta Spread

Last week I made a pizza with ricotta, zucchini, yellow onions, and basil. Absolutely delish, except I found myself with a ton of leftover basil and ricotta and only so many recipes on hand to use it up. So, after a little googling "basil and ricotta", I decided to make a spread. This Basil and Ricotta Spread recipe is incredibly easy and took just a few minutes to gather and measure the ingredients. The hardest part was probably putting my food processor together (I bought it a few months ago thinking I would use it all the time... maybe now that I've assembled it, I will.)


Paired with some cherry tomatoes (I really should have made a bruschetta, but I was hungry!) and a crusty baguette, this spread made for a light and yummy dinner.

Basil and Ricotta Spread

1 cup basil leaves
1.5 cups whole milk ricotta
1/3 cup shaved parmesan
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (use more or less here to get the desired consistency, I may have used a bit too much and my spread turned out a bit yellow tinted!)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Mix all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Season with salt if necessary. Enjoy!

9.17.2014

Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser

I received a sample of Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser last month in my Birchbox and finally got around to trying it just this week. Liz Earle is a brand that was started in the UK by two friends that had backgrounds in botanical skincare and the beauty industry and wanted to create a luxurious line that used naturally active ingredients and was affordable at the same time.

The Hot Cloth starter kit (the sample size is pictured below) comes with a 3.3 oz. cleanser and 2 muslin cloths. I'm a sucker for packaging and branding, and even the sample of the starter kit was beautifully presented in a turquoise box. The blues and greens are just so zen and spa like, you can definitely tell that one of the founders had a background in beauty marketing and product development!


The Hot Cloth cleanser is a two step cleansing process that involves a creamy cleanser and a cotton muslin cloth. The cleanser uses gentle and soothing ingredients like cocoa butter and eucalyptus, yet when it's polished off with the damp cloth, it feels like it's truly deep cleaning. It has a subtle, calming scent and was perfect for my sensitive skin. My face didn't feel tight or tingly afterwards, it just felt clean, smooth, and even. This is definitely a product that I will purchase in full size once my sample runs out, and I'm already thinking about trying other products from Liz Earle like the Brightening Treatment Mask or the Gentle Face Exfoliator.

NOTE: I just noticed that Birchbox is running a promotion on their website where you get a free Hot Cloth Starter Kit with any full size Liz Earle purchase with the code CLEANSEANDPOLISH. If you're interested in trying the cleanser, definitely scoop it up for free along with another product!


Shop the products mentioned using the images below!



9.16.2014

Fall Wardrobe Essentials

If you need to stock up on some basic fall wardrobe pieces, now's the time to do it. J.Crew is offering 25% off full price fall styles and additional 30% off sale through September 24th.

With the items below, you'll have the start to a basic mix and match fall wardrobe. An olive field jacket and a denim jacket are the perfect toppers for cool autumn evenings. As you finally let go of summer white, ecru skinny jeans will become your new go to. A pearl cluster necklace adds an air of elegance to any outfit. Leopard loafers and a pair of ankle boots are two of the most versatile shoes you will find. An oatmeal colored cardigan is thrown on anytime there's a chill in the air. A leather detail skirt is a must for adding a bit of edge. Don't forget a colorful dress for those occasions when you need to stand out. 








Shop these fall basics (on sale!) using the images below!