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perfume gift guide

Holiday Gift Guide for Her: Perfume

Fragrance is such a personal choice. After all, scent is the strongest sense tied to memory. And if someone is going to remember you, you want them to remember that you smelled lovely and not like old gym clothes. So this holiday season, check out my perfume gift guide if you’re shopping for a fragrance lover … or yourself.

perfume gift guide

Fragrance Sampler | English Laundry Set | I Smell Great | Travalo

What lovely scents are you scooping up this holiday season?

Photo: beautyXposé; Disclosure

beauty blog coalition

Beauty Blog Coalition Weekend Roundup: June 1, 2014

To kick off June in style, the ladies of the Beauty Blog Coalition have rounded up some of their most stylish posts from the week.

beauty blog coalition
Happy reading!

Happy reading!

Tell us  – what are you reading this week?

Photo: beautyXposé

First Look: OPI Launches MLB Collection

It’s opening day for OPI, as the nail polish behemoth throws out the first pitch with a limited-edition collection inspired by Major League Baseball.

opi mlb collection

The new OPI MLB Collection features seven nail polishes in shades of blue, red, orange and white, so fans can show their team spirit on their fingertips as they take them out to the ballgame. Here’s a sneak peak at the new polishes that will hit stores and salons in April for $9 a pop.

Umpires Come Out at Night — A deep midnight blue

Umpires Come Out at Night
Umpires Come Out at Night

 

7th Inning Stretch — A steely gray blue

7th Inning Stretch
7th Inning Stretch

 

Right Off the Bat — A frosty navy blue

Right Off the Bat
Right Off the Bat

 

 Short-STOP! — A rich, cream red

Short STOP!
Short-STOP!

 

Love Athletes in Cleats — A shimmery red

Love Athletes in Cleats
Love Athletes in Cleats

 

Orange You Going to the Game? — A bright orange

Orange You Going to the Game?
Orange You Going to the Game?

 

Girls Love Diamonds — A pure white

Girls Love Diamonds
Girls Love Diamonds

Do you think the collection will hit a home-run?

 

Images: OPI
holiday gift guide

Holiday Gift Guide: For The Hostess

Even though I’m typically “the hostess” of the group, I still have many other friends that fit the bill.  In fact, holiday shopping for “the hostesses” is always my favorite.  I always manage to discover about 15 new kitchen/serving gadgets that I never knew existed.

If you’re shopping for “the hostess” of your group this holiday season, check out my favorites below for some inspiration!

holiday gift guide
For the hostess with the mostess.
  1. Lotus Cake Stand / If you bake a snazzy looking cake for a little get-together, it’s really only fair to the cake if you display it appropriately.  I’m diggin’ this cute little cake stand by Anthropologie.
  2. Gilt Chevron Paper Table Runner / Give your holiday table a little pizzaz.  The hostess knows all about this task.  Make it a little easier and gift a chevron table runner!
  3. Honey Dipper / This one?  I’m not even sure why anyone would really need it, but look at how adorable it is!  And at $3?  This adorable honey dipper is a steal.
  4. Dapper Bottle Stopper / The hostess is sure to have a bottle of delectable wine or fancy champagne. Why not gift a little bottle stopper?  This one by BHLDN takes the cake for cutest, for sure.
  5. Ice Crushing Kit / I have found myself stomping on a bag of ice more than once…which is really just one too many times.  This simple ice crushing kit is sure to make the task a little….cuter.
  6. Imperial Cheese Knives / Because why not?  If you’re looking for a little bit of an over-the-top gift this year, pick up a set of these Anthropologie cheese knives for the hostess who already has everything else.
  7. Acacia Rectangle Tray / Your friend is hosting a little shindig and he/she doesn’t own a serving tray?! Preposterous!  This personalized tray by Mark & Graham is sure to be a winner this year.
  8. American Mini Cheese Board / Well, now that your friend has a small collection of cheese knives, the only logical next step is to pick up one of these mini cheese boards!  Plus you can add a monogram – could Mark & Graham be any more perfect?
  9. Silver Street Coasters / You never want to be that friend forgetting to use a coaster and leaving water damage in your wake.  Bring a package of these drink-inspired coasters by Kate Spade to make sure it doesn’t happen again!
  10. Mule Mug / After a long evening of hostessing/hosting, a delicious cup of morning coffee is in high demand.  Wouldn’t drinking out of one of these nifty mule mugs from Urban Outfitters make it even better?
  11. Two-Tie Apron / An apron is a sheer must when hosting any type of event in your home.  Keep that LBD clean by throwing one of these personalized linen aprons over your party getup.
  12. Ball Mason Jar / I am thoroughly obsessed with my mason jar.  Though I use mine as a coffee mug, they have a ton of different uses!  Candle holder, salad jar, vase, etc.
  13. Mingle Bar Glass / Planning on whipping up your very own drink recipe?  What better way to serve the creation than in an adorable glass like this one from Crate & Barrel?
  14. Mingle Decanter / If your gifting your hostess/host friend a nice set of glasses, might as well add on a matching decanter!
  15. The Hayworth / Okay, this gift takes the cake.  This chic bar cart by Society Social is on the pricier side, but just look at it in all of its glory.  All you need is some gin, St. Germain, a decanter and you’re ready to take on the holidays.

Give the rest of my gift guides and holiday-inspired posts over on Kneadle+Bread!

So, what gifts will you be picking up this year for “the hostess” of your group?

Photo: Kneadle+Bread

Be Yourself, Together – Everything You Need On The Target Wedding Registry

I want to preface this post with a note to all of my friends and family who opened this post thinking it might be my way of announcing that the beau and I finally got engaged. Prepared to be disappointed.

They say (if you know who “they” is, please tell me) that opposites attract. While I don’t believe two complete opposites attract, I know from first-hand experience that being mostly opposite can make for a beautiful match. My boyfriend and I, while not married (obvs, or else I would have called him my husband), have been together for the past 3+ years and have known each other for the past 6+.

My BF is a highly logical engineer and I’m a highly emotional marketer/blogger (who likes to pretend she’s highly logical). He hates plans and I thrive on them. While he prefers to do nothing in his spare time, I prefer to always be busy and pretend I don’t have spare time. He is comfortable in large groups, and I prefer small gatherings.

Target Wedding Registry
Me and my mostly different other half

While we have a slew of differences, my BF and I have a lot in common. We both love a good meal (but who doesn’t, am I right?!). We are both stubborn and we both think we’re always right. And most importantly, we both love each other.

While we’re not married (yet, cough), my BF and I have talked a lot about our marriage and wedding. We’ve talked about who we want to invite, the fact that we most likely won’t have a wedding cake and how I’m going to be a total stress-ball the whole engagement. One thing we haven’t discussed much yet, though, is what we would want on our wedding registry. In an ideal world, I would be able to register for all the purses and clothes my heart desires. And in an ideal world, he would register for all of the video games and other things total computer nerds enjoy. But, those aren’t really things you can register for without your guests calling you out.

So, when asked by Target to come up with a “Be Yourself, Together” Target Wedding gift pairing, it took me a while to come up with the perfect match. That was until this past Saturday morning when I found myself cooking bacon for my boyfriend while he was still half-asleep in bed.

Target wedding registry
You can always hit a wedding registry bullseye at Target

His idea of a relaxing weekend morning is a home-cooked (by me while he sleeps) breakfast, while my ideal relaxing weekend probably isn’t considered relaxing by others. I would love to light a few candles, power up my computer and work on the blog or work on some online shopping. I told you earlier, I’m not good at actual relaxation. So off to Target I went …

Target Wedding Registry
It’s like taking an escalator to heaven
Target Wedding Registry
Look at that fancy 12-piece Calphalon cookware set
Target Wedding Registry
So many candles, so little time!
Target Wedding Registry
These babies are coming home with me

This Calphalon 12-piece cookware set would be perfect for the weekend mornings when I want to do something extra nice for my BF. And once the food is finished and the dishes are done, I can set up this scrumptious reed diffuser and candle while I blog (or shop, who knows) my little heart out.

target wedding registry
Breakfast is relaxing when someone else makes it for you
target wedding registry
How can candles not help you relax?
target wedding registry
Too hot to burn a candle … ain’t no thing, reed diffuser has your back

Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be treated to a homemade breakfast while blogging away by candle light and the scent of a reed diffuser. A girl can dream (or hope her BF is reading this post and gets the hint), can’t she?

What would you get a couple from the Target wedding registry? Check out the Target Wedding Catalog

Photos: Target, beautyXposé; Disclosure.

Content and/or other value provided by our partner, Target.

H&M shape slip in leopard shapewear

The Beauty of Shapewear

Whenever prom time rolled around in high school, I would always complain to my mother and tell her there was no way I was going to wear shapewear.  All kinds of shapewear were ugly and I was not old enough for it. Well, now shapewear has become my secret weapon and looking back on pictures from my prom days, it’s definitely a good thing that I wore it despite my protests.

With a lot of holiday events coming up and my birthday coming up next week, I’m planning on wearing a lot of dresses. However, has anyone else noticed that bodycon (body contouring) dresses are like the plague? They are everywhere, and unfortunately, they just do not look good on most people…unless you find the perfect shapewear.

I’m short, but I’m curvy, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I have to buy any form of bodycon dress a size larger than other dresses just so it will make it past my hips. I use shapewear to flatten my lower stomach and try to stick to black bodycon dresses since they’re able to make everything appear a little smoother.

There are various styles of shapewear, but my favorites are one-piece shaping slips. I think one-piece garments do a great job of eliminating any lines that sometimes appear with other shapewear. Check out this shape slip from H&M that comes in black, as well as in leopard print.

h&m shape slip in black shapewear
H&M Shape Slip in Black, $29.95
H&M shape slip in leopard shapewear
H&M Shape Slip in Leopard Print, $29.95

Just remember, if your dress has a low back, you’ll have to skip the one-piece and opt for something else.  I usually either opt for a high waist brief like this or shapewear shorts.

JCPenney Ambrielle High Waist Hi Leg Brief shapewear
JCPenney Ambrielle High Waist Hi Leg Brief, $10

I generally find that the shorts do a better job of hiding lines than the briefs do, so I usually wear those.

JCPenney Jockey Tummy Shapewear Shorts, $24

I can’t stress the importance of shapewear; it really makes a huge difference. I know I feel a lot better when I wear it under tighter clothes because it makes them fit to my body better.

Freshen Up Your Look With Smashbox Image Factory

My first experience with Smashbox occurred a few months ago when I purchased the Smashbox Decades of Style kit. The kit provided me not only with an amazing bronzer, but a love for the company. Since then I’ve been looking forward to trying more Smashbox products, especially the new fall Image Factory collection.

Recently launched, Image Factory includes an eye shadow palette, cheek color, shadow liner and lip gloss. Lori Taylor, Global Pro Lead Makeup Artist for Smashbox Cosmetics says the collection is “really all you need to create your own unforgettable look that’s totally on trend for fall.” With this many products, the collection is versatile so each individual can create her own image this season.

Smashbox Image Factory Photo Op Eye Shadow Palette
Image Factory Photo Op Eye Shadow Palette $39.00

The Photo Op Eye Shadow Palette is $39.00 and is available in two colors: Icon and Muse. The shadows are crease-resistant, as well as fade-resistant to ensure that your look lasts all day and night. Each palette comes with a double-ended brush.

Smashbox Image Factory Airbrush Whipped Cheek Color
Image Factory Airbrush Whipped Cheek Color $29.00

Image Collection’s Airbrush Whipped Cheek Color is $29.00 and comes in Berry Bliss and Dusty Rose. According to Smashbox, this lightweight blush consists of ultra-fine pigments for easy blending and silicone elastomers that diminish imperfections.

Smashbox Image Factory Waterproof Shadow Liner
Image Factory Waterproof Shadow Liner $22.00
Smashbox Image Factory Lip Enhancing Gloss Duo
Image Factory Lip Enhancing Gloss Duo $24.00

The Waterproof Shadow Liner is $22.00 and available in bronze and charcoal. The formula allows you to smudge it to use as a liner or blend it to use as a shadow. Lastly, the new collection includes a Lip Enhancing Gloss Duo which is $24.00 and comes in two shades: Fab/Snappy and Luxe/Chic. The gloss is meant to last long and comes with an ultra-cushiony applicator.

I know I’m eager to test out this collection and am sure I’ll be picking up some of these pieces soon. Will you be trying Smashbox’s Image Factory collection?

Photos: Smashbox

Put You Best Foot Forward in Nautical Shoes

If you can’t already tell, I’m a sucker for shoes. I can’t say I’ve hit Carrie Bradshaw status just yet, however, as we quickly approach spring I can’t help but obsess over all the shoe trends to bring in with the warmer weather. Last week was the sneaker wedge, this week- nautical.

By rule, I normally stray away from a “preppy” look, which is why I surprised myself by falling head-over-heels for this upcoming shoe style! The best part is that I really feel like I can integrate these fabulous finds into my wardrobe, despite them being out of my style comfort zone. Tory Burch takes an edgy spin with some styles and has even added in some elements of classic 1960’s flair into others, while Sperry continues with their always-popular boat shoe and Tom’s brings in a patterned wedge. I picked some of my favorites that I’d love to splurge on for my spring wardrobe. Take a look!

Tory Burch Two-tone Espadrille Wedge – $175

When I saw these I immediately thought of Jackie-O. So ‘60’s!

Sperry Topsider  Women’s Cloud Logo Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoe – $75

Because even if you’re not a boater… it’s always best to look like a boater

Tory Burch Angeline High Wedges – $325

Wedge with edge… Do you think they’re worth the splurge?

Tom’s Yellow Nautical Stripe Wedges – $69

Pair with jeans or even a sundress!

Will you be dropping anchor on this nautical shoe trend or hoping it sets sail soon? (Sorry we had to. Or really, we’re not sorry).

Get Naturally Lucious Locks with Abbey St. Clare

I’ve been revamping my lifestyle a bit late. I’ve switched to as much certified-organic food as possible, have increased my fitness routine and now, apparently, made my hair-care routine a bit more natural.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been washing my hair with Abbey St. Clare’s Chamomile Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner for light hair.

According to the brand:

The Abbey St. Clare line of skin, hair, and makeup products combine cutting-edge cosmetic science with nature-based healing.  We want our customers to become the best they can be, while avoiding chemicals, and minimizing investments of treasure or time.

Chamomile Shampoo for Light Hair:

  • Chamomile and calendula brighten all light colored hair.
  • Adds soft natural highlights to blonde, light brown, or grey hair.
  • Incredible natural fragrance is calming and soothing.
  • Natural oils, protein, and vitamins strengthen hair and provide natural repair of split ends.
  • No sulfates. No parabens.

Chamomile Leave-In Conditioner for Light Hair:

  • Chamomile hydrosol and essential oil based formula intensifies highlighting.
  • Vitamin B protects hair from breakage and eliminates static and split ends.
  • Natural oils and proteins add moisture to dry locks.
  • Organic extracts strengthen hair and add body and fullness.
  • Incredible fragrance of chamomile is calming to the spirit.
Chamomile Shampoo and Leave-In Conditioner for Light Hair

I can’t say that either product helped to lighten my hair, as I’ve noticed no difference, but I have noticed a difference in another way. Both products consistently leave my hair silky smooth and perfectly manageable. Plus, the fragrance is crisp, clean and just divine.

For the first several days, I used the conditioner as a standard conditioner. I applied it and rinsed it out during my shower. It didn’t leave my hair feeling as smooth as other conditioners in the shower, but I definitely saw the results after blow drying my hair. However, inspiration struck me one evening in the shower, and I decided to use the product as a leave-in conditioner as suggested. I was skeptical that a product could work well both ways, but was instantly proven wrong. The product worked just as well, if not better, as a leave-in conditioner.

Both the shampoo and leave-in conditioner (8 fl oz each) retails at $18 and can be purchased at the Abbey St. Clare online store.

Photos: Kristin Bassett/BeautyXpose; Disclosure