A Trip to Washington DC

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A couple of weeks ago, some girlfriends and I made a trip to Washington DC to see The Nutcracker Ballet, performed by the Washington Ballet, at the Warner Theatre.


We left bright and early on Friday morning and arrived just in time for lunch. Our first stop was Tyson's Corner Center, which is probably my second favorite mall, ever. I swear, every time I step into that mall, my heart races a little. It has a tiny bit of everything a girl needs in a good mall, including a Zara (it's new). I'm not gonna lie, I ensured that Zara was our first stop. I was on the hunt for the black leather ankle boots with the deep cutout at the ankle and silver chains that hung down to the heel, but alas, they were nowhere to be found. I guess it just wasn't meant to be.

After lunch and a bit of shopping, we checked into our hotel, The Crowne Plaza Hamilton, which is located on the corner of 14th and K. We could not have asked for a better hotel. The staff was very accommodating, the room was cozy, with just enough space for the three of us, and the location couldn't have been more perfect. We were literally only a few blocks away from the White House, as well as Warner Theatre, with loads of opportunity for food, shopping, and touristy attractions.



The theatre was only a few blocks away from our hotel, so it did't take us long at all to walk there - even in heels. It was a bit cold and windy, but I was equipped with my lambskin leather jacket and very thick tights, so I stayed rather cozy. The ballet was adorable - there were more children in it than I expected - but best of all, there was alcohol served! Score!

The following day we did a bit of sight seeing. We walked around The Mall and hit up the White House, before heading back to the hotel and checking out. However, on our way home, we headed back to McLean for a browse around Tiffany's, where I may or may not have made a couple of purchases. Merry Christmas to me!



Happy Holidays everyone!


Philosophy Purity Made Simple Mineral Oil-Free Facial Cleansing Oil

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The word Oil on any kind of cleanser, especially a facial cleanser, scares the buh-jesus out of me.  I avoid it like the plague. However, I came across the Philosophy's Mineral Oil-Free Facial Cleaning Oil and given all the chatter about oil cleansers right now, I decided to give it a go.




It's kind of awesome.

It feels a bit bizarre to be smothering oil all over your face in an effort to remove your makeup, but I swear, this shizz works. It's gentle, it smells pleasant, and it does an amazing job of removing makeup, especially that stubborn eye makeup.

I like a dramatic eye, which typically requires some sort of eyeliner and Eyeko's Skinny Liquid Eyeliner is a staple in my makeup bag. I love it, but it's a real bitch to remove. It requires a lot of eye makeup remover, along with a bunch of scrubbing, which leads to very red and irritated eyes and half the time, I still end up looking like a raccoon! When I use Philosophy's oil cleanser, there is very little, if any scrubbing, and zero irritated eyes. Success!

Interested in giving it a shot? You can find it at Ulta.com, as well as Sephora.com.

2014 Lorac The Royal Eye Shadow Collection

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I was in Ulta the other day killing time before work and I came across the 2014 Lorac the Royal Collection. The packaging was what caught my attention, to be honest. They always get me with the pretty packaging.

It reminds me of Christmas and chocolate. Nuff said.

The collection features 16 gorgeous eye shadows that are divided up into four different velvety palettes.

 
The Queen palette includes a slightly shimmery peach, a rosey pink, a deep shimmery magenta, and a matte black.
 
 

The Countess palette features a shimmery butter cream, a deep rosey pink, a shimmery brown, and a matte teal.

 

The Princess palette includes a matte cream, a deep gold, a very shimmery brown, and a deep slightly shimmery chocolate brown.

Last but not least is the Duchess palette. It features a slightly shimmery white, a very silvery silver, a matte gray, and a matte navy blue.

These shadows are absolutely gorgeous and perfect for Auntumn and Winter. I was nervous about the quality since they are limited edition, but I was pleasantly surprised when I swatched them. They are just as creamy and buttery as Lorac's standard range of shadows.

My only complaint is that the 16 (full size) shadows don't have names! I have scoured the packaging, as well as the Internet and haven't been able to find them anywhere.

You can find the collection at Ulta for $38.

 

 

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque

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Do you ever have those days where you want to go Silence of the Lambs on yourself and peel your skin off your face? You're still using all the same products, still eating your usual foods and drinking the same amount of water, and all of a sudden, your skin goes "I'm gonna fuck her shit up today, y'all".

My skin did this the other day and I was thisclose to skinning myself. It was red and irritated and oily and I was at a complete loss for why.

So, I had an intervention. I sat infront of a mirror and read a heartfelt letter I had written, explaining exactly why I was upset and why I thought my skin's actions were douchy and uncalled for.

Not really. I don't have that kind of time on my hands. Well, that's a lie. I do, but I'm 100% sure I could find something more productive (and sane) to do with that kind of time. Like watch all my favorite YouTubers' versions of Vlogmas. Again.

Anyway, my real intervention was in the form of Queen Helene's Mint Julep Masque.

It's a clay mask and it's minty and it smells nice and it kind of looks like baby poo.

You apply the mask generously and let it sit until it dries (about 15-20 minutes). Rinse it off and voila! No red and irritated skin! I'm not really sure why putting minty mud on your face does this, but I don't really care, either. As long as it gets the job done.

The kicker...it only cost $3.99. I know, right? Cheap and it works. You can check it out at Ulta and most large pharmacies.

 

The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner

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I discovered The Body Shop's Tea Tree Toner several months ago while watching the beautiful, Estée, from EssieButton.com, on YouTube. Estée is an avid Body Shop fan (did you know she used to work there?) and consistantly raves about their Tea Tree Toner. Having tried a few of their products myself, I figured I would take her advice and give the toner a go.

I apply the toner with a cotton pad after removing my makeup and cleansing my skin. It removes any left over makeup, oil, and other impurities, and because of the shake activated formula and mattifying powders, leaves my skin shine free. This is huge, especially during the summer!

I'll be honest, I didn't love it at first. I thought the 'shake activation' was a bit annoying, but after several uses, this became less of an issue. I was also mildly concerned the first time I used it because I experienced a warming sensation after application. I didn't remember reading anything about a warming sensation and thought it may be my abserdly sensitive skin. However, I Googled the shit out of my experience and discovered that it was completely normal. Phew.

I have been through one bottle of this stuff already and felt the need to rebuy it, which is something I rarely do, as I really enjoy trying new products, but I really can't imagine my skincare routines without it, at this point.

For more information on The Body Shop's Tea Tree Toner, visit thebodyshop.com. Side note: It's 40% off right now.

 

 

What's New with Mulberry?

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Do you ever have those times when you just need to scour the website of your favorite brand? After a hectic day at work today (seriously, by the end of the night I was thisclose to losing my shit on someone) I decided what I needed, was some Mulberry in my life. I'm really loving the styles and darker colors they have introduced this season. They scream Autumn and I love it! Let's start out with a couple of my favorites..

Mulberry Panel Alexa $2,100

The Panel Alexa in Evergreen, as well as in Midnight Blue, in Silky Nappa with suede trim. Sigh. Can we just take a second to appreciate how gorgeous these bags are? The combination of the silky Nappa leather and the soft suede is spot on, in my opinion. Two of the most beautiful bags I have ever seen.

Mulberry Tessie Satchel $990
 
The Tessie Satchel is one of my favorite style bags. It's simple. It's sleek. It's practical. And best of all, it's versatile! Not only can it be work as a cross body, but it has an adjustable strap, so it can be worn on the shoulder. It comes in several different colors, but my favorite is, by far, the Oxblood.

Mulberry Lily $3,050

The Mulberry Lily in Midnight Blue Croc Stripe with Calf Hair. I feel like this doesn't bag doesn't really need much of an explanation, but I'll humor you, anyway. The midnight blue color alone is beautiful, but again, the contrast in texture between the croc leather and the calf hair is superb. You guys, across the pond at Mulberry, really do know what you're doing!

Mulberry Willow Tote $2,700

The Willow Tote made it's first impression on me when it was introduced during the Spring/Summer of 2013. It didn't exactly steal my heart, but the fact that it is so versatile (the envelope on the front completely comes off - I know. Awesome) really caught my eye. However, I may be in love with it in the Black Shrunken Calf and Evergreen Suede.

I'm going to be honest, I was mildly disappointed with Mulberry's Autumn/winter collection last year, but I'm reeaally liking what they have going on this year. We'll see what else they have for us as the season continues!

 

 

Hiking McAfee's Knob

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Last week some friends and I decided to hike a popular local trail called McAfee's Knob. It's a 4 mile hike up a mountain that leads you to a lookout over a huge valley. I wouldn't consider any of us "avid" hikers - if I'm honest, I was probably the most experienced of the three of us, if that tells you anything. I don't think any of us were expecting to have to climb over rocks, but when we got to the top, after throwing ourselves onto more rocks and dramatically screaming "Land! Land!", the view was more than worth it.

We were probably a little ambitious in choosing this hike to be one of our first, but at least we have something to compare our future hikes to. "If we can make it thorough McAfee's Knob we can make it through anything."
Until our next!

Marcelle New-Age 8 in 1 Power Serum

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I'll be honest, I'm not very experienced in the serum department. I had a bad experience with one, one time, and it kind of scarred me. It. Was. Awful. I won't name any names (Juice Beauty), but I tried a serum once, and it left my skin in shambles. It was oily, blotchy, and I had deep, painful spots. I shudder at the thought of it, still.


Anyway, I'm basically in love with this stuff and I highly recommend it to anyone who is willing to listen to me blab about it. Initially, I discovered it through Birchbox (I know, shocking) and was skeptical, given my past experience with serums, as well as the fact that it is marketed as an anti-aging product, but I decided to give it a go anyhow.

The serum contains amino acids that increase collagen production and improve skin elasticity. It also contains xylitol, which helps your skin retain moisture, decreasing the appearance of wrinkles and lines, giving you a more youthful appearance. I'm not really considered "old" (or I don't like to think I am, anyway..)but I have been told that your mid to late 20's is the optimum time to use anti-aging products and that by the time you begin to look and feel like you actually need them, it's too late.

Honestly, I really don't care how it works, as long as it works. I mean, as long as you're not going to give me cancer or make my limbs fall off, by all means, concoct whatever potion you want. Just give. It. To. Me.

Anyway, according to the packaging, you should start to see results after a week of regular use. I, however, started seeing results by day four. My skin looked and felt more smooth to the touch. It also appeared more youthful because my skintone seemed to be more even. I suffer from very sensitive and (mostly) dry skin, but after four days of using this stuff, I could tell my skin was retaining more water than normal. Thankfully.

It's light. It doesn't leave you greasy or oily. It's kind of awesome, in my opinion. And I think you should try it. You can find it on Birchbox.com for $34. I don't really know if that's considered standard for a serum, but hey, it's a product that works, so whatareyougonnado?

Dolce&Gabbana Pour Femme Intense Eau de Parfum

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I have some slight commitment issues when it comes to fragrances. My tastes change so frequently that I really can't justify spending $80 - $130 on a bottle of perfume that I can't guarantee I will wear for any more than a month. I also feel the need to apply, reapply, and re-reapply my perfume an annoyingly obnoxious amount of times throughout the day and it's easier to carry around a rollerball or mini spray versus a gigantic (and heavy) glass bottle. Also, I have a friend who had a bottle Taylor Swift's Wonderstruck shatter in one of her favorite handbags, once. You could smell her coming from a mile away. In a good way of course, but still.

Anyway, I think I may have a new favorite fragrance. As in, I might consider purchasing the actual full size. It's warm and slightly sweet with a bit of spice. It's intoxicating, inviting, and I have literally been sniffing my wrists all day. I know I look like a nut, but Idon'tevencare. Don't judge.


The fragrance pen comes in a soft, velvety oxblood box with pretty gold lettering...What can I say? I'm a sucker for nice packaging.



The pen itself is simple and sleek with matching cap and gold letting. Again..with the pretty packaging..

At $27, this stuff is a real steal. It smells amazing and judging by my past experiences with rollerballs and mini sprays, it will definitely last for quite some time. Absolutely worth the money, in my opinion!

Shopping in New York, New York

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This weekend I took a trip to New York to visit my friend Amna. I flew out on Thursday at 6:15 am, which is a whole story in itself. I was meant to wake up at 3:30 am to shower, dress, and do a little last minute packing, but I wound up waking up at 5 am to Sandy asking if I was ready yet (she was taking me to the airport). When I realized what time it was, I did a mad dash for the shower and miraculously, was able to shower, do my hair, dress, and toss some random crap into my suitcase in 18 minutes. Impressive, I know. I did have to brush my teeth in the airport bathroom and do my makeup at my gate, but I'm fairly confident I'm not the only person who has had to do this. This is what I told myself as I sat by my gate with a lap full of cosmetics and makeup brushes, anyway.

Amna picked me up at the LaGuardia Airport, which is where our adventure began. Our first stop was an Indian buffet in Jackson Heights, which was uh-mazing. For my first Indian cuisine experience, I was thoroughly impressed. After lunch, we dropped my bag off at her apartment and headed out for a day of nails and shopping. The main event of the day (and a lot of why I was in town on that specific day): The Rebeca Minkoff sample sale. Can we just pause for a moment and revel in those words? Rebecca Minkoff. Sample. Sale. I know. You're super jealous, right? It's totally fine. I'm normally the jealous one in situations like these, but last weekend I was lucky enough to experience the holiness of RM sample price cuts. It was pretty bomb. PS, I would like you to meet my new baby.


Introducing the Rebecca Minkoff Quilted Affair with Studs. She's beautiful, right?

After leaving the sample sale, we wandered around 5th Avenue and stopped at some of our favorite shops; Zara (we stopped at two because I was in search of a specific pair of shoes, but was unable to find them), Henri Bendel, Ferragamo, Sephora, etc.


We wrapped up the day with a nice warm bowl of ramen before heading back to Amna's apartment, where I went through her nail polish and basically insisted she do a show and tell of all her designer bags. It's entirly possible I may have developed a small love for Balenciaga. We shall see if it turns into a full blown obsession.