Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beauty Junkie Heaven: Birchbox

So last month, sorta on a whim, I signed up for something called Birchbox. Essentially, you pay $10 per month and receive 4-5 customized samples of high-end beauty products. The thought being you have the opportunity to try something new that you may not normally buy, and then you receive rewards points if you decide to purchase a full-size of something via birchbox. The brands include stuff like Smashbox, Stila, Kiehl's, and NARS, and at $10 and no long-term commitment, I figured it might be fun!!

So, a few clicks later, I was member, and a couple of weeks ago, I received my very first box

The packaging is so cute and fun- its like receiving a little prettily wrapped up present!!  November's box included:
Sample of Shalimar parfum: not my favorite scent for me- it reminds me of someone much older
Anastasia Lip Gloss: this was pretty good, but a little goopy
Kerastase hair product: I did not like the way this smelled
Two Paperdoll coasters: cute, but obviously not beauty related
Thymes body lotion: I liked this. Smelled very earthy

So overall, this was a 50-50 box. That said, I can't wait for December's box!! Incidentally, if you have a beauty junkie on your Christmas list, you can gift her a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription to Birchbox: a gift any beauty junkie will surely luuuuurvvee!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Listening Now: Mona

So, I know that the majority of my Tuesday Tunes have been from across the pond, so this week, I've decided to change things up and bring you music from a stateside band. This week's pick is band named MONA. This foursome is from Nashville, although various band members are from Dayton and from various parts of Kentucky. Three of the four members got their start in church groups, although MONA is very far from a gospel band.

Mona's debut album will be released in early January 2012. In the mean time, there is an EP available on iTunes.  Here is one of the songs from their EP which was a Discovery Download on iTunes earlier this year: ENJOY!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Get in the Holiday Spirit (locally): Urban Home and Garden

A couple of weekends ago, I was at Beachwood Place with clefoodgoddess for the Compassion from Fashion Event, when I happened to noticed a wonderfully decorated store that I had never noticed before: Urban Home & Garden. Lucky for me, the wonderful staff were more than happy to let me take pictures! I found out that the store is Cleveland-based, and there are two locations- one at Beachwood Place, and the other at Beachcliff Plaza in Rocky River.

Seriously, this store is really cute, and has some adorable little gift ideas and stocking stuffers. Not only can you enjoy the Christmassy spirit, but you can get some of your shopping done, and support a Cleveland business while you do it!!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Very Merry CLE Weekend

Hello!! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, and are recovering from all the indulgences this weekend! Of course, I pigged out T-day, but spent a relatively low-key Black Friday. JV and I decided to meet up for lunch- 1 bottle of rose and some gossip later, we were ready to shop. My big Black Friday purchase was a brand-spankin-new MacBook Pro!!! YAY!!! I luuuuuurrvvveee this thing. I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with it yet, but it hardly matters- it seems pretty intuitive so far!

This weekend, I took the opportunity to experience the parts of Cleveland that I had never explored before, starting with Polka Happy Hour at Happy Dog on Friday night. Wow! What a ridiculously fun happy hour- if you haven't been yet, you should definitely check it out!! It was absolutely PACKED, and it was SO fun to see people of old ages (including a well-reprensented 80-something population) dancing and having a great time!

DJ Kishka in action

Saturday, N and I headed downtown for Winterfest, and to witness the tree-lighting ceremony- something I had never done in person before. It was SO AWESOME to see so many people downtown- the atmosphere was incredible- it definitely felt like the holidays!

The Higbees window. Its sorta weird to think there will be a casino there next year! I hope that means more windows like this one!!!

Tower City. I like the fuzziness. 

The tree!!!

A very merry Terminal Tower

After seven years of living in CLE (including two actually living in Tremont), I finally made it to the Christmas Story House! Shame on me, but definitely better late that never. The house was so cute, and although part of the movie was filmed on a sound stage, it was fun to imagine that the whole thing was filmed in this house.  I went with Jess and her sister Nicole, and we would all agree that its SO worth the trip and the $10 admittance fee! 

So there you have it- it was a very merry CLE weekend indeed!!! Just the weekend to get in the holiday spirit!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tight Fight

As the temps drop, tights become an absolute necessity in every woman's wardrobe. Of course there are endless options to try, and I have tried a wide variety of them. A few weeks ago, I found myself in need of a pair of black tights, and instead of purchasing regular black ones, I decided to go with the SPANX Reversible Tights (black/navy, if you're curious).

And then last weekend, I found SPANX's less-expensive sister Assets (available at Target), who also offers a reversible option. So, in the name of research (and of course, you can't ever have too many tights), I decided to buy a pair of these too (black/grey).

So how do they stack up?
1. Price: The SPANX tights will run you about $34 vs. $13-15 for the Assets version, a little more than 50% savings.
2. Comfort: They are both really comfortable, but I will say that the SPANX are a little softer around the abdomen and hips, which is key when you're going to be wearing tights all day.
3. Overall look: The SPANX feel a little thicker especially around the abdomen and hips. The Assets version is more panty-hose-like on top than the SPANX, which I thought were like leggings with the all the SPANX sucking-in features we've come to know and love.

WINNER? Definitely SPANX, but if you don't wear tights a lot, the 50% price differential may not be worth it. The Assets brand is definitely a solid second choice!!

What's your favorite brand of tights? Do you have different preferences for "fun" tights vs. basics?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Listening Now: Unabashed Boy Band love

I'm not even ashamed to admit this- I LURVE boy bands. Not all boy bands- please- I have standards; but I was a huge fan of *NSYNC and The Backstreet Boys (but not so much 98 Degrees). I went to the NKOTBSB tour earlier this year, and happily SCREAMED MY HEAD OFF for like 3 hours. Sadly, the boy band phenomenon has met its demise, but its alive and well in England.

And with that, I introduce to you, The Wanted- A British/Irish boy band based in London, England. The sad news is that you can't really buy their entire albums on iTunes (yet), but you CAN buy the full version of their performance at the iTunes Festival in London earlier this year. And so today, for your Tuesday Tunes, I will leave you with not one, but TWO songs:

All Time Low:

Glad You Came:

See, I told you I had varied taste in music!! I hope you enjoy my not-so-secret guilty pleasure!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Come for the shopping, stay for the eye-candy

Wow, I can't believe Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!!! That time of year is creeping up faster than I can handle, and you know what that means- HOLIDAY SHOPPING!!! Last year, I got a really good head start to my shopping with the Compassion from Fashion event at Beachwood Place, and this Saturday, Beachwood will be playing host to this awesome event for the THIRD straight year.

If you haven't been before, here's what you should expect:
$20 (in advance, $25 at the door) gets you a wrist band that entitles you exclusive fashion discounts at a number of Beachwood Place Stores. If you're one of the first 750 to buy your ticket, you will receive a $10 mall gift card AND a $10 dining certificate to McCormick and Schmick's, making your ticket essentially FREE!! 100% of the proceeds go to The Gathering Place which provides invaluable services for those affected by cancer and their loved ones!

Shopping + a GREAT cause?!? How could this get better??? BUT WAIT, IT DOES!!!
Not only do you get to snack on delicious offerings by Maggiano's Little Italy, but at 7pm, Beachwood plays host to a celebrity fashion show, featuring cancer survivors and local celebs including:

Maureen Kyle

Ryan "Mickey" McLean, from Cosmo's Bachelor of the year 2010 and Bachelorette fame

As hot as Mickey is, I am a married woman, so I'm obviously MOST excited about the shopping. Here's the discounts I WILL be taking advantage of:
BRIGADE: 10% off entire store (N is probably getting some of his Christmas presents from here)
AVEDA: spend $50 get $20 personal blends "purefume"- I need some more hair products, and their hand lotion is a lifesaver in this weather!!
MOOCHIE & Co: 20% off regular priced merchandise- I can't leave the pooches out!! They get Christmas presents too!

The full list of discounts is available here. You can purchase your tickets here, and if you buy online and use the discount code "266727", you will receive $5 off your ticket price, making it an even better deal for $15!!

So if you want to avoid the Black Friday crowds and get a head-start to the shopping season, I hope you will consider joining me at Beachwood Place this Saturday. Happy shopping all!!

Full disclosure: I received two tickets to this event in exchange for my support via this here blog. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Listening Now- Ben Howard

Hello all,

So its a little late on Tuesday, but I haven't forgotten about my Tuesday Tunes. This week, I bring you Ben Howard, a singer-songwriter from England. I first heard the song "Keep Your Head Up" over the summer, and had been stalking both Amazon and iTunes waiting for the U.S. release of his first album (Every Kingdom) which was finally released on October 3rd. For the past month, I've listened to at least one song from the album, I LUUUUUUURRRVVEEE it so much. So, in honor of Tuesday Tunes, I decided to share the very first song that started my Ben Howard obsession. Enjoy!!


Friday, November 4, 2011

3x the LURVE- a little luxury

So my top 3 this week, in descending order were:
1. The Jump Back Ball Kickoff party! I LURVED hanging out with some of the people who will be attending next year's soiree including Jess, Allison, Charity, Christina, and new friend Carli. There were some adorable mini hats on display, and I can't wait to see what people wear to the main event!!

2. This week I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fly via private plane. IT.WAS.AWESOME!!!

3. And finally, my most FAVORITE discovery of the week:

There is a scarf named after me (by luxury brand Buelah), and Pippa Middleton is a fan!!! A portion of the profits from the sale of this scarf go to charity!!! Now comes the not so fabulous part- including shipping to the US, this little gem costs almost $150- not quite what I want to spend on a scarf. Ah well, maybe I will just have to let this one go...

Have a wonderful weekend, and see you back next week!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Listening Now- Lana del Rey

Late last week, I happened upon on of the most haunting songs I've heard in a long time- The song is called Video Games by Lana del Rey.

I'll be the first to admit I don't know a whole lot about Lana, except that she has an EP available on iTunes which I promptly purchased. She's expected to release her first full length album in 2012, and in the mean time, she's generating A LOT of buzz. She has this 60s bombshell look going that I absolutely adore, and this song is on heavy rotation on my iPod this week!! So take a listen, and let me know what you think!!!