Thursday, August 16, 2018

6 Beauty Products I'm Currently Obsessing Over









 PJ Set (sold out, similar here) // Silk Sleeping Mask

I've spent a lot of nights in hotels this summer, and it isn't slowing down anytime soon! I wouldn't trade the travel opportunities for anything, but with that comes a toll on my hair, skin and nails. Traveling typically means a less restful nights sleep, a deviation from my normal eating habits, styling my hair more often, and a continuous full face of makeup. Combine that together with approaching 30, and you get a girl constantly on the hunt for the latest and greatest in the beauty industry. Whether you're in my same shoes, or just looking for some fresh new adds to your routine, I've rounded up six products that will keep you looking and feeling your best! Trust me, they're worth it. 

1. Shu Uemura Silk Bloom Restorative Hair Treatment 

Single handedly the best hair mask I've found to date. After badly damaged hair due to over processing, and quite frankly, combined with severe stress - I was losing hair quicker than I could ever imagine. I had a ton of breakage, and was willing to try anything and everything to restore the silky sheen my hair used to have. After venting to the girl who waxes my eyebrows in Seattle, I found this product and have never looked back. It's formulated with Argan Oil to replenish damaged hair cuticles. I apply this to my hair once a week, and sleep with it in overnight. The following day my hair is silky soft, and full of body! It's been a game changer. The 6 oz. pot has lasted me one year. 

2. Beauty Counter Color Pinch Cream Blush in Hibiscus

This has been the newest find in my beauty routine and quickly takes the cake as my all time favorite blush! I'm always looking for ways to create that radiant flush dewy glow, and this does just that. In addition to featuring a pop of color, it also hydrates and conditions the skin (unlike a powder blush) via jojoba esters and carnauba wax. And if that alone isn't enough to convince you, this line is paraben and toxin free - so you're making your beauty routine safer by adding this one to the collection!

3. OPI Somwhere Over The Rainbow Mountains

I've gone back to back mani/pedi's with this new color from OPI's Peru collection. It's the perfect nude with a hint of mauve for the upcoming fall season and matches everything! 

4. Aveda Light Elements Smoothing Fluid Lotion

I recently switched out my Chi Silk Infusion with this product and I won't be going back. I don't have anything bad to say about the Chi product, but Aveda's formula is better. Wondering what it is? It's a fluid styling formula that adds shine and movement to your hair. You can apply it to damp hair prior to blow drying, or to dry hair to tame fly aways and frizz. I love using this right after I wash my hair as I usually wear it straight that day. My hair looks so silky, shiny and feels soft to touch from this! This is another paraben free product, and lasts forever! You only need a small amount per use. 

5. Neutrogena Moisturesmooth Color Stick in Pink Nude

There's nothing prettier than a bare, sun kissed face, with a pretty pink lip. When I'm at home (and not on the road), I typically opt for the au natural look and minimal makeup. The one thing you can usually find me using though, is this Neutrogena Color Stick. Flying sucks the moisture right out of my skin, especially my lips, so having this on hand is handy for when I don't want to wear lipstick, do want some color, and need to restore moisture.  It's a balm like formula, that provides a sheer layer of color and moisture! Lasts for hours, and is easy to apply.

6. Magsoothium Recovery Cream

I recently injured my neck pretty severely while working out. I've always had odd aches and pains in my neck from a previous car accident, so I think the injury was already there and I just happened to flare it up while working out. Needless to say, I have been trying everything under the sun (including a chiropractor) to make it feel normal again and this cream has worked wonders. It has fantastic reviews, and has really helped my muscles relax. You can use it for any type of minor ache or pain, or even soreness from working out. If it's been a long day in heels, and you're dogs are barking - try rubbing this on them. It should reduce the swelling and alleviate the muscle fatigue. 

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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Our First Look + Why We Recommend It

















How on earth has it been 7 months since our wedding day!? Time is flying by, and I'm way behind on  completing the rest of our wedding posts - however, today I'm sharing our first look photos and why we chose to do a first look! 

First of all, can we talk about how sweet Shane's reaction was!? He had a face full of tears before he ever even turned around. I'll never forget that moment, or his reaction, and I'd choose to do it over and over again. Doing a first look can be a controversial topic amongst couples and their families. My family was super supportive of the entire wedding planning process. However, their only hesitation in our decision making was to do a first look. My mom wasn't keen on the idea, and felt it should be traditional in that the bride and groom don't see each other until the ceremony. I disagreed. Being that we got married on New Years Eve, sunset was at 5:15 PM. I knew that the second the ceremony was over, we wouldn't have any time to just enjoy each other for a few minutes between bridal party photos, family photos, and getting to the reception before sunset. I wanted to see Shane's reaction and be able to feel his emotions with him in private, and be able to enjoy our cocktail hour with family and friends.

 Doing a first look allowed us all of these things. We got 90% of our pictures out of the way, we got a really special private moment together where we just let it all out without judgment, and we got to enjoy our friends and family after the ceremony. And guess what? Shane's reaction was still authentic and emotional as I walked down the aisle. The feelings don't change. If the emotions are really there, they're going to show regardless of a first look. Shane was still in tears as I walked out of those double doors with my dad, and that moment was still pretty dang special. So in my eyes, we got to experience it twice!

#HowWeWed: Most of you know that I worked with Wedding Wire throughout my wedding planning process to provide you girls with updates on where we were at, how it was going, vendors I picked and why, etc. Well today, I'm super excited to announce that I'm pairing up with them again on a new campaign to share all the creative ways couples have made their weddings unique! So here's how it works:
  • Couples, vendors and guests have the opportunity to submit their favorite, unique, wedding elements via the Wedding Wire landing page or on Instagram with the #HowWeWed hashtag and tagging @WeddingWire! Your profile must be public.
  • Submissions will be accepted August 1 - September 14
  • There will be 6 superlative categories (Venue, Decor, Entertainment, Food + Bev, Style, Stationary + Favors)
  • At the end of the submission window, Wedding Wire will select the top 5 finalists in each of the superlative categories based on creativity, and individuality. 
  • Finalists will be revealed on Wedding Wires landing page on September 18th
  • From September 18 - September 25 people can vote on their favorite finalists in each category
  • Winners will be selected and announced on September 28
  • There will be 6 winners (1 for each superlative category)
  • Winners will receive $1,000 cash prize + gallery wall from Framebridge (3 options available) 

VENDORS:

StationaryMinted
Planning: Candice Lorraine // OOH Events
Photography: Jessi Nichols Photography 
Hair & Makeup: Ash & Co Bridal Hair
Dress: Pronovias
My Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Rentals: OOH Events 
Location: Lowndes Grove // Patrick Properties Group
Videography: Knotted Arrow 

*In partnership with Wedding Wire. As always, all opinions are my own.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The 7 Best Items To Buy on Amazon















Do you ever wonder what other people buy on Amazon? I do. In a recent poll on Instagram, I asked all of my followers what they most commonly buy on Amazon. The answers ranged from dog food, coffee, self care products, books, and tech gadgets. I'm constantly adding new finds to my "what to buy on Amazon" list and after years of searching for the most coveted items, I've come up with a master list of seven items I'm most loyal too. Here is a list that won't disappoint:

1. Le Blanc Portfolio Linen Wash

Coming in at my number one Amazon purchase, believe me when I say this stuff is life changing. I use it specifically for sheets and towels, but they make a regular detergent in the same scent if you wanted to use it more universally. We've never had a guest come to visit without asking us what was used on the sheets and towels to make them smell so good. It's a little bit of a splurge, but it lasts forever since you aren't using it daily. Highly recommend!

2. Le Blanc Portfolio Dryer Sachet 

If you're anything like my husband, or maybe you have a husband like my husband, you need these. He is the king of throwing in a load of laundry before bed, and forgetting about it until.. well until who knows when! These aren't made for that reason, but they sure do help. Or, if you're like me and actually do laundry correctly, these will make your laundry smell likes roses! They last for forever, and don't seem to lose their scent which is an added bonus. We just leave ours in the dryer at all times. Thank me later! Try just a single sachet here.

3. Neocell Laboratories Biotin Burst

Looking for a supplement that will actually make your hair and nails grow? Try these. I have been taking these daily for years and they work wonders! Plus they taste delicious, so I usually wait until I have a sweet tooth craving to take my dose for the day! Killing two birds with one stone. 

4. Sweet Sweat Waist Trimmer

Get your sweat on! This is a product my trainer, Body By Ro, recommended to me years ago. I've gone through several of them now, and my husband has a couple of his own. A Sweet Sweat is designed to increase your core temperature during exercise enhancing thermogenic activity and sweat. I've had a lot of questions from followers on wether or not it actually works, and I wouldn't recommend it if it didn't! It basically helps remove any water weight you are carrying while helping to enhance the visibility of your muscles from exercise. 

5. Sweet Sweat Arm Trimmer

Same technology as above, but for your arms! If you follow me on Instagram, you see these on my arms in a lot of my fitness videos. I've found great success with them!

6. GG Scandinavian Bran Crispbreads

Initially heard about these on some of the health and wellness podcasts I listen too! They come highly reccommended by nutritionists as a great source of fiber and an easy substitute for bread. I use these to make locks and "bagel" but replace the bagel with GG's crackers. Because they are so high in fiber, they help you feel fuller much longer! I typically eat three crackers at a time. 

7. Premium Velvet Hangers

Number 7 was a toss up between ground flax seed, and these hangers. The hangers take the cake though! I recently had my closet redone by California Closets and decided all my hangers should be uniform. I ordered two boxes of these to start with, and have found myself ordering additional boxes as time goes on. They're good quality, inexpensive, and add a polished look to my closet. 


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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

10 Fun Things To Do In Charlotte This Summer












It may be August, but if you're in the Carolina's, summer is just coming into full swing. With the hottest days upon us, I thought it would be fun to share 10 things to do in Charlotte right now. After all, I spend most of my time here and talk about it the least - so let's switch it up a little! Charlotte has a lot to offer. In fact, of all the traveling my husband does, it's still his favorite city. With a major boom in recent growth (one of the most rapid growth rates for cities across the country), new spots are popping up on every corner and young people are flocking this way. It's not just a financial city anymore, it's becoming a destination for people all over the country in search of four seasons, the lake, the beach, the mountains, and a lower cost of living. Over the last 5 years, I have watched this city evolve into something really cool, so let's take a look at the newest local "must see/must do" hangouts. 

1. Do it for the 'gram

Jeni's Spendid Ice Creams is the newest kid in town and arguably the most Instagrammable location our city has to offer (pictured above). Mark my words, this will become one of the most photographed places by locals and bloggers alike. Located just outside of uptown, it's easily accessible by light rail, bike (or bird these days), and surrounded by great restaurants within walking distance (try Oku or Superica for dinner). Oh, and the ice cream is pretty good too! 

2. Grab drinks and watch the sunset at Merchant & Trade

Merchant & Trade is located at the top of the Kimpton Tryon Park Hotel in the middle of uptown. It is hands down my favorite spot for happy hour in Charlotte, and the cities newest rooftop bar! They opened last fall, and have no shortage of business. If you're headed there for an evening out, expect a line - they don't take reservations. However, my recommendation is to head there for happy hour and sunset. The views are spectacular, the drinks are fantastic (try the Rosa if you like sweet, the Beet it! if you like tart), and it's trendy. Also makes for a great photo opp! This blog post was photographed there.

3. Rent a boat on Lake Norman

Lake Norman is the largest man made body of fresh water in North Carolina. With 520 miles of shoreline, there is plenty to see for everyone. While this is one of the pricier activities on this list, you can actually make it pretty cost effective by grabbing a group of friends and splitting the cost. We typically rent from this marina, and split the cost between 4 couples (8 people), bringing the total with gas to around $50 per person for an 8 hour rental and an exponential amount of fun. Local hangouts on the lake include Governors Point (sand bar), and Hello, Sailor - a popular restaurant accessible by boat. 

4. Date night at Topgolf

New to Charlotte, Topgolf opened it's first North Carolina location just over a year ago in Charlotte. I'm not a big golfer, so I was skeptical as to how fun this would be but I was pleasantly surprised. We had a blast! Bays are rented by the hour, ranging from $25-$45 per hour depending on what time of day you play. The number of people playing doesn't make a difference, so again - a great opportunity to gather a group of friends or make it a double date! The food here is also fantastic! 

5. Listen to live music at the White Water Center

River Jam is hosted Thursdays-Saturdays from May-September at the White Water Center. This is a live concert series that takes place at the worlds largest man-made whitewater river which is an outdoor venue. Outside of the music, they offer other activities like evening yoga, big water sessions, and open water swimming (if you're feeling adventurous). It's fun to grab a beer, listen to the music, and relax on the lawn while listening to live tunes. It's a free event, but parking is a $6 fee. Dogs are welcome!

6. Catch a Charlotte Knights game at BB&T Ballpark

I've never been much of a baseball fan, but when the Knights moved their stadium to uptown and our balcony looked at center field, I felt obligated to give it a go. To my surprise, it's actually a great evening out! The Knights have broken their all-time attendance records at this stadium which was recently built in the heart of uptown, and the ambiance alone is worth it. I recommend catching an evening game so you can walk to dinner or drinks (try Merchant & Trade for drinks, and Angelines for dinner) afterward. If you're catching a weekend game, make sure to keep an eye out for the fireworks display post game. It's worth it! Tickets are typically under $20.

7. Spend quality time with friends and your four-legged fur baby at Lucky Dog Bark & Brew

This was my husbands idea, and is perfect for dog lovers like us. He loves being able to bring the dog anywhere that involves beer and sports, and I enjoy being outside and socializing while the pups run free. I'm not much of a beer drinker, but they offer cocktails as well (and Mimosas if you're out and about early on a Saturday). Lucky Dog has three Charlotte locations, with the uptown location being 25,000 square feet. This is a great place to meet new people in the community and give your furry friend a safe place to play. 

8. Grab ice cream at Golden Cow Creamery

Depending on who you ask (and if you're asking me), this is hands down the best ice cream shop in Charlotte. We frequent this place every Sunday during the summer months, and the line stays wrapped around the building. Golden Cow offers hand crafted small batch ice creams, and rotates flavors seasonally. The golden child of flavors that always stays is the Salted Oreo, and you haven't lived until you've tried it. They are locally owned and operated, and use only fresh ingredients to produce the fruits of their labor.

9. See the city by Bird or Bicycle 

The hottest new trend in Charlotte are electric scooter rentals. Located all across town, you can download the Bird or Lime bike app, locate a scooter or Lime bike via GPS tracking, and unlock a ride by paying an hourly rental fee. The concept is super simple, they are reliable, and it's a fun way to see the city and get some fresh air on a sunny day. You can probably catch my husband riding his to lunch during work daily if you look hard enough.

10. Indulge in South Ends newest restaurant scene

Although Charlotte isn't necessarily known for it's food scene, it has definitely stepped up the game recently.  South End is a historic area just outside of uptown where the locals love to hang. Old mixes with new, contemporary meets retro, and the food scene is booming. Check out Superica for a frozen margarita and fajitas (it's the ultimate tex-mex in town), walk over to Oku for chic Japanese dishes and a trendy vibe, or head to Zeppelin for drinks and apps under al fresco lighting.

For additional posts about Charlotte, NC - click here.


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