Friday, December 30, 2011

All That Glitters


head to toe, with a bow


As we look to the new year, I'm reminded that there's nothing like the excess of year's end. By the time January rolls around I can't even look at a glass of bubbly (because you know I've been partaking since October) or a sequin. But we've still got a few days left and I will be all a sparkle until the very last possible minute of 2011! Grab that bubbly and get glamorous!


mix your sparkle and fur

shake it til the sun comes up

don't forget the confetti

add a tweed blazer for day

go sexy, short and nude

subtle sparkle on black lace

pair with the perfect skinny jean

how to decide?

give great hair

or stay in and snuggle up in style!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Influenster Holiday VoxBox

A few months ago I happened upon Influenster. It's a program that sends you Birchbox-like boxes of product to review and enjoy. You register for the site and based on the feedback provided, they send you complimentary health and beauty samples. A few weeks after you receive them, they will send you out a survey to tell them what you think of the products sent. My first box was December's Holiday VoxBox.

Here's what I got:





New York Color (NYC) Liquid Lip Shine - I got this in #582 Nude York City which is the perfect neutral gloss. I was quite surprised how cushiony (courtesy of Vitamin E) this was. And it tasted fantastic, like vanilla frosting, not cheap and plasticky, like I imagined.  This can easily be worn over any lip color or by itself. This is the perfect compliment to a smoky eye.

LARABAR - These are made with only 2-9 ingredients, are gluten-free and come in 19 flavors. Mine was peanut butter cookie and contains only dates, peanuts and salt. I would have had no idea, it was so good. I can't wait to try some of the other flavors like gingersnap, carrot cake and cappuccino, so the $1 off coupon they enclosed will come in handy.

Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask - I received their anti-stress Dead Sea mask with kelp and seaweed. I ended up not trying this yet because my skin has been so clear lately and I'm  not about to test something out during holiday party season! Apply this to a cleansed face, relax for 10-15 minutes then rinse. I'll let you know when I use it if it really cleanses impurities.

Mentos Pure Fresh Gum - This was the most surprising item in the bunch. How can gum be exciting, you say? I know gum. I know Mentos. But this was amazing. Seriously. It made me so happy I ran right out and bought more so I wouldn't run out. Sticks of gum can often lose flavor quite quickly and become dry if left in your purse too long. These little magical spheres gave me fresh breath that lasted for hours. And made my teeth feel super clean.

Garden Botanika Heart Fragrance - This is Garden Botanika's #1 seller. Fresh and clean with subtle floral hints. Very light. Didn't love it (I usually go for a bit more woodsy scents). But didn't not like it either. Smelled like I just got out of the shower.

Softsoap Coconut Scrub bar soap - I've never used anything by softsoap before, so I had no idea what to expect. I do love coconut, though. This smelled amazing and has a slight exfoliating scrub to it. My skin is super sensitive and I usually use Dove's sensitive skin unscented bar. After the first wash my skin felt a bit tighter (dryer?) than usual. But once I slathered body lotion on, I realized how incredibly soft my skin was. The husband is a big fan too. This will definitely be a repurchase and I can see using this all the time after the gym or when the summer weather hits.

imPRESS Press-On Manicure by Broadway Nails - I am NOT an artificial nail girl. So I won't be trying these. However, they appear to be a good length (not too long) and all you have to do is remove the back and stick on. They have a bunch of cute colors and patterns.



*all products were sent complimentary for review

Sunday, December 25, 2011

All That Is Merry And Bright



I'd like to take this moment to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas! May you eat, drink and be merry with the ones you love.







images via pinterest

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cocktail Of The Day & Christmas Dinner

Happy first day of Winter! While the calendar finally says it's here, Mother Nature just doesn't seem convinced. I'm sick of the rain. For the record, snow doesn't mess up party hair like rain does. So there.

I'm celebrating today with the Winter Solstice Cocktail. After all the heavy cocktails as of late, this is perfectly festive and refreshing for a holiday party. And it won't stain your clothes or your teeth!

Winter Solstice Cocktail
  • 1 1/2 ounces orange vodka
  • 1/2 ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice   
  • Ice cubes
  • Club soda, chilled
  • 1 mint leaf 
  • 1 raspberry 

  • In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and ice; shake until well combined. Strain into a chilled glass filled with ice or chilled martini glass; add a splash of soda. Carefully fold mint leaf in half lengthwise and place the stem end into the opening of the raspberry. Float on top of cocktail and serve immediately.

  • Christmas Dinner
  •  This year I'm switching things up a bit from my usual menu and recreating some of the dishes we enjoyed at Emerging Chefs Prohibition Dinner. Last year I swapped out my beef tenderloin for lamb and this year we're going back to beef but adding lobster. I will most definitely be paying for all this indulgence next week at the gym, but right now I'm soaking all the holiday yumminess in. 


Lobster Vol Au Vent via userealbutter

  • Am I crazy for attempting this on a holiday? Quite possibly. Am I crazy enough to try to make puff pastry from scratch? Not a chance. Pepperidge Farms, here I come.

Chateaubriand with Bearnaise Sauce via eprimecuts

And it wouldn't be a holiday in our house (or a Sunday for that matter) without sprouts.

Roasted Bacon, Shallot Brussels Sprouts via australianfood

  •  What's on your Holiday menu? Do you keep the same traditions year to year?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Covet - Rachel Zoe Pre-Fall 2012



When I got my first glimpse of Ms. Zoe's pre-fall 2012 collection I could barely catch my breath. She did it again. Melding a 60's lady-like, prim and proper vibe with her classic 70's with-a-twist, every look has me coveting something. Her styling is spot-on, as usual - shoes, jackets, flowing dresses, fur. I'm almost speechless, almost. I want it all! Take a peek...

















all images via

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Inspiration

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Christmas is just 5 days away and I feel so behind! I'm blaming the bizarre weather we've been having here in the CLE. 50 and rainy, 60 degrees and sunny. None of this is conducive to getting into the holiday spirit no matter how many made-for-tv Christmas movies I watch. I'd never make it in one of those places that doesn't get snow.

Luckily for us, the glorious white stuff finally arrived on Saturday, coating all of CLE in sparkly, shimmering holiday joy! Perfect timing since I had 3 parties that evening. Whew. Sunday was spent in my pajamas, recovering with Chinese food, last minute Christmas cards and more made-for-tv holiday movies. Yes, I'm a junkie. Thank baby Jesus for DVR.

Do you need some last minute inspiration? I'm beyond obsessed with Pinterest so here's mine:


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Friday, December 16, 2011

Birchbox - November and December 2011

December's box marks my 15th Birchbox! Where has the time gone? If you are new to the program or have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, read all about it here. What I've learned over the past year is that I look ridiculously forward every month to that little pink box in the post. And that my friends never get the same box as me (which is good, because you can always swap treats!). Who knew that $10 a month could make a girl so happy? This month there were something like 16 different boxes. I always get asked what I got in mine, so I figured I'd start posting them.


Birchbox December 2011
December 2011
Benefit - The POREfessional - velvety facial primer that hides pores and fine lines
Harvey Prince - Ageless perfume
Jouer - Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Birchbox Pink
L'Oreal Professionnel - Mythic Oil - lightweight hair oil that fights frizz and boosts shine
Showstoppers - Fashion Tape - double sided tape that celebs love to keep 'everything in it's place'
EBOOST - Orange Natural Energy Booster - mix with water for an energizing boost of nutrients*
A $20 Birchbox coupon off a $75 purchase was also included :)

*the above listings are descriptions of product, not necessarily a personal review

I'm most excited to try the POREfessional, fashion tape and Jouer lipgloss!
I'm least excited about the Mythic hair oil, due to my ridiculous love of Moroccanoil. There is no need for me to ever try another one. That's how much I love it (and the smell!)
What I wish I received - Oscar Blandi Pronto invisible volumizing dry shampoo. I'm a huge dry shampoo user and haven't tried this one yet.


Birchbox November 2011
November 2011
LaROCCA - Champagne and Shimmer Supreme Creme - fragrant body butter made with 24k colloidal gold
Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee - perfume
Two Paperdolls - coasters
Borghese - Fango Active Mud - cleansing mineral-rich mud mask for face and body
Zoya Gems & Jewels Polish - Izzy
Prize Unlocked - Baublebar black wood pop bracelet (and a $10 off Baublebar coupon) - given out based on how many Birchbox points you had

Most excited for the Baublebar bracelet (!) and Fango Mud. I used to use Borghese products years ago and always loved this mud treatment. I also really loved the Zoya polish, but have been on such a shellac kick that I gave it to a girlfriend.
I was least excited for the coasters until I used them. They really are great and fun. They absorb moisture unlike the fancy stone ones I have, where the water just drips off the coaster onto the table.


Don't forget to post feedback on every product to get your Birchbox points! 10 points for each month you subscribe and 10 points for every product you review. 100 points = $10 off

What did you get this month? What did you love or hate?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Gatherings Kitchen - Here A Cookie, There A Cookie

I just finished up a wonderful night of cookie baking. So wonderful, in fact, that I don't ever want to see a cookie again. Well, ok, until tomorrow. Can you tell I had a few too many? (cookies, that is)

Gatherings Kitchen in Lakewood put on their 3rd annual Holiday Ice Box Cookie Making Event, which I read about over on I heart Cleveland's page. The concept was simple. Come hang out, whip up some cookies and take home an array of yummy icebox cookies to bake whenever you please. I'd heard many great things about Gatherings, so I was eager to check it out.

We split up in teams of 2 (thankfully my girlfriend Michelle joined me), were given a recipe and all the tools and ingredients we'd need.

Michelle and I made lime melt-aways. Gatherings feature a fully equipped professional kitchen with plenty of
 room for everyone to work comfortably and help if you need it. 
Chef's Ruth and Doug were on hand as well as their fun staff to help with questions or suggestions. They don't sell wine or beer, so feel free to bring some yourself. We drank, laughed, whipped and baked our way through the evening.

A batch of each was baked (and expertly decorated by Ruth)
and they were all as delish as they looked.

We took home enough dough to make
2 dozen of each cookie.
If you haven't been to Gatherings Kitchen, please stop by! Every Friday (January to November) they host a supper club where for $55 you get a hands-on workshop preparing the evening's meal and then the staff serves it up to you -restaurant style- in their dining room. They also have wonderful workshops for kids and a 4 class Prep School to fine tune your skills.

The lovely dining room.
I can't wait to go back.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

OPI Gel Polish - Russian Navy

You all know by now how I'm completely obsessed with all things shellac. For a girl who has to have perfectly polished nails (and wouldn't succumb to artificial nails), this has been a life-changing development. It's so nice not having to give myself a manicure every 3-5 days because my polish started to chip or peel. After trying and loving CND's Shellac and Nail Harmony's Gelish, I was thrilled to try out OPI's Gel Polish. Unlike their previous attempt, Axxium, this went on just like Shellac and Gelish and came in a polish bottle.

I forgot to photograph these when I got home. I took these pics 7 days later. Still look great (as always!)




OPI's Russian Navy is a dupe for Gelish Deep Sea. The only difference I can tell is that Deep Sea has slightly larger shimmer particles than the OPI. As for the formula - I'm in LOVE. They wear exactly like Shellac & Gelish, but might be a tad glossier-if that's even possible.

I'll let you know how weeks 2-3 go.




Friday, December 9, 2011

Cocktail Of The Day - Winter Wonderland Martini

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It snowed...it snowed...it snowed last night! Ahhh, finally, here in Ohio City I awoke to snow on the ground. Just a sprinkling, but hey, I'll take it. Which reminds me of my favorite Christmas song, It Snowed by Meaghan Smith. Head on over and take a listen.

To celebrate, today's cocktail is the Winter Wonderland Martini.

2oz vanilla vodka (or infuse your own vodka with vanilla and figs. read how-to here)
2oz Godiva white chocolate liqueur
splash Frangelico
splash of cream

Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into rimmed martini glass. You can rim your glass with chocolate or coconut flakes, crushed peppermints or skip it all together and garnish with a few cranberries threaded onto skewers.

ps. A bottle of the Vanilla & Fig infused vodka would make a wonderful holiday or hostess gift.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Earth Fare Cleveland

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Yesterday Earth Fare opened it's first Cleveland location in Fairview Park. I was super excited and wanted to get there first thing in the morning, but my 2 cups of coffee turned into 3 and not wanting to encounter the lunchtime crowd, I ended up there a bit after 1 o'clock. The store was busy but the employees were kind, excited and quite knowledgeable.




Earth Fare bills themselves as the healthy supermarket. They carry foods that have no artificial sweeteners, colors or fragrances. They do not carry any food that has high-fructose corn syrup, synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics.
The store is gorgeous. Just what you'd imagine it to be from peeking at their site. I've never shopped at an Earth Fare before. As someone who feels stressed out at Giant Eagle, I do all my shopping at Heinen's, Trader Joe's and The Fresh Market. (Well, and the West Side Market, but that's a different kind of shopping) Earth Fare is a gorgeous,organized, foodies dream.

scoop your own ravioli with pre-made
sauces on the top shelf
Walking in I was presented with a free shopping tote, flyer and book of savings...

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As I shopped, I sampled egg nog, cheese, kettle corn, baked goods, juices and the most wonderful prosciutto with fig jam. The prices are comparable with Fresh Market and Whole Foods. If you sign up for their email they'll send you a coupon for a free whole chicken or pack of veggie burgers. Their savings page of their website allows you to print coupons as well.

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Keep an eye out for the Earth Fairy! She'll be around until the 11th handing out treats and goodies.

delectable cured meats at the cheese counter


Can't wait to try them all! I picked up some speck to add to dinner tomorrow.

They carry so many of my favorites.
Stop on in and check it out for yourself. They have a wonderful prepared foods section, bakery and juice bar. Thursdays from 4-8pm they have Family Dinner Night where kids eat free with an adult meal purchase of $5. You can get up to 6 kids meals if dining in, 2 if taking it to-go.



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