Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Sample Society & New Beauty Test Tube - 2nd Qtr

Here's what I received in my May 2012 Sample Society Box and 2nd Quarter Test Tube.  Check out my year in review of New Beauty's Test Tube here.

New Beauty - Test Tube Spring/Summer (Q2)

New Beauty magazine
Moroccanoil Frizz Control
Dr Brandt - Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner
SkinCeuticals - Phloretin CF & Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50
Memoire Liquide - Fragrance and Fleur Liquid Body Cream
Perlier & Elariia - body cream
YBF - eyeliner w/ sharpener
Mally - Evercolor Shadow Stick
Olay - Regenerist Wrinkle Revolution Complex
NeoStrata - Cellular Restoration

This is the direct-ship version. There is also a QVC version which is a bit different since QVC doesn't have rights to sell all the brands included in the direct tube. This was the month I was going to switch and get that version. But.....the Moroccanoil in this one won me over. It's full-sized and I was planning on picking some of this up for summer anyway. This retails at $32. It was like getting all the rest for (almost) free.

Sample Society - May 2012

Strivectin-SD - Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles Concentrate
Alterna - UV+ Color Fade Proof Fluide
Stila - Forever Your Curl mascara
Bond No. 9 New York - bonbon sample
Colorscience PRO - SPF 20 Mineral Travel Puff

At first I wasn't overly thrilled with this month's box, but I found myself using all the products.

The mineral travel puff provides a mineral veil of SPF protection and can be reused 10 times. Perfect for in your purse when you're outside and don't want to slather liquid sunscreen over your makeup.

I really like the Stila mascara, and I've been layering it under my volumizing formula.

I'm not a fan of the perfume samples, but if you MUST send me something, at least let it be Bond No. 9! score

I used the Alterna before heading outside for a bit of shine and to try to prevent fading from the sun. I have an arsenal of styling products that I use religiously and love so I probably will only use this if I remember to.

I'm going to give Sample Society and Test Tube one more month and decide whether to keep my subscriptions. Added to my Birchbox and Glossybox subscriptions it can get pretty pricey.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's (un)Officially Summer

I am filled with gratitude and happiness from the last 4 or 5 days. Nothing like a long beautiful weekend to usher in summer. Hello there, we've missed you!

Yes, I'm usually a winter girl, but since we didn't really have one of those this year, I've been biding my time waiting for sundresses and sandal season.

Friday was spent on my favorite patio. Dodging raindrops. The third misting turned into a full on downpour and I was very happy that said patio has an outdoor covered bar. After dinner, we headed down the street to catch up with some friends and it was the perfect end to the week.

Saturday was filled with 90 mins of hot, sweaty Vinyasa with Alicia & Jen. I firmly believe the only reason we didn't pass out promptly afterward was because Momma G had margaritas and a full on spread waiting for us.

2 of these 3 pics were stolen from Jen. Too bad you don't win a prize for guessing which 2.

We actually celebrated Mad Men Monday on Sunday this week (shhhh....don't tell!)

Standing in your yard, drinking can be classy with the right cocktail.
At least that's what I tell myself.

The holiday finally rolled around and Monday was spent with family.

Rule No 1: Marry into a kick-*ss family like I did. With an awesome pool. And guest house.
This is my future sis-in-law, Leah (aka Baby Penton's mom). She's amazing. 
Did I mention she's an Olympic-worthy swimmer? She trains people for triathlons. For real.

Which is why the boys spend the afternoon doing 'Morris Brothers Time Trials' and working on their stroke.
Even the dogs get in on it. I only involve myself in the competitive sport of margarita drinking.

And I got to squeeze my nephew (Baby Penton). Who likes himself a swaddle...

but is a baby Houdini at getting out of them.

This was a loooong holiday weekend. Happy Summer to you! I can't wait to see what Fourth of July brings.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mad Men Monday - The Remedy & Delmonicos

I realize it's Tuesday, but there was no way I was posting on the third (and best) day of a 3 day weekend. What a kickoff to summer! And what an episode of Mad Men.
Oh Joan! Oh Peggy! No she didn't. Oh, yes she did.

What I wore:

dress: LOFT
cuff: Tory Burch - wide lucite
earrings: Amrita Singh - east hampton earring
sunnies: LOFT
wedges: Target - teresa espadrille
ring: Banana Republic

What we drank:
The Remedy

My favorite cocktail from Eleven Madison Park was a perfect fit to a summer Mad Men garden party. Can't make it to NYC? Pick up a copy of Danny Meyer's book Mix, Shake, Stir and have all his best cocktail recipes on hand.

The Remedy - the key to this drink is the delightful honey-ginger simple syrup. Easy to make and keeps in the fridge for about a month. Use in this cocktail or add to iced tea or club soda for a refreshing sipper.

Honey-Ginger Syrup
Add 1 cup honey and 1 cup water to a saucepan and bring to boil. 
Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons chopped ginger. Let cool.
Strain out ginger and chill.

The Remedy 
Fill a cocktail shaker w/ ice. Add:
1 1/2 oz gin or vodka
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz ginger-honey syrup
shake and strain into ice-filled glass.

On the menu:
Delmonico steak, grilled romaine salad (w/ bacon, onion, blue cheese and a strawberry balsamic dressing) and grilled lemon asparagus. My goal was not to cook in the house. Everything had to be grill-worthy. score!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cleveland Magazine's Silver Spoon Awards - Recap

It's Friday and I'm still full.
Yep, still full from Wednesday's Silver Spoon Awards Party. I'm not sure how it happened. I had a plan. (It is bikini season and there's this dress I'm trying to fit back into for a certain someone's wedding next week.) A plan that went out the window when I arrived (starving) at the Marriott and saw all the food. And all the wine. My self control went out the window.

top: Jody and Nadine found me first.
bottom: Pants on Fire playing in the lobby.

We arrived right before 7. I immediately began to head to the VIP section to say hello to Team PIP (Alicia, PIP Aunt Kathy and Alicia's Mom). I thought I'd get to that first because once I started in on the feast, I might never be seen again. That's seriously how much food there is. Along the way I saw Nadine & JPC, Jody, Alexa, Alana, Kristian and his beautiful wife. Usually I love catching up, but there were so many distractions, I could barely focus. Every where you turned there was incredible food. I went manic. The husband thought I'd lost my mind. I didn't know where to start. I had a plan, where did it go?

Watershed Gin and Vodka are faves in the Smitten house.
Bubbles in the VIP room & catching up with Team PIP.

First we checked out the VIP section which had a lovely bar, champagne and cocktails from Watershed Distillery (love them!).  Select nibbles were available from Noodlecat, Lolita, Great Lakes and more.

From there we headed out to the grand ballroom and just started meandering. Everything was so well organized, it was hard to believe with the amount of people there that there weren't lines for any of the food or wine. Except for the occasional bump, everything went smooth and orderly. I clearly need to work on my 'eating while walking and carrying a glass of wine' bit. Over 30 restaurants participated as well as 8 wineries.

We Tried:
Blue Canyon - sushi snow cones
Blue Point Grille - point oysters
Bubba's Q - ribs and pulled pork
Chinato - confit of pork w/ spring vegetables
Dante - pepper crusted duck w/ roasted plums
Flipside - pulled pork over mac & cheese
Jammy Buggars - prosciutto wrapped, goat cheese stuffed, mushrooms
L'Albatros - seafood cioppino
Lolita - I ate it, but have no idea what it was!
Lucky's Cafe - strawberry trifle
Mallorca - shrimp in garlic
Noodlecat - veggie steam bun
Pacific East Coventry - sushi
Paladar - chicken soft tacos with cilantro and coconut sauce
Pier W - lavender marinated scallops w/ quinoa
Ty Fun - chicken pad thai

Only 16 out of 31. We're going to have to up that percentage for next year.

My Hands-Down Favorites: 
Pier W, Paladar and Dante

Faves! 2009 Bordeaux Superior, tacos from Paladar,
Pier W scallops, duck from Dante

The guys at Pier W and Paladar didn't even give me the wonky eye after my third trip back. Blue Canyon's sushi snow cones were super cool and tasty and the husband really enjoyed the oysters from Blue Point. 

Noms from Jammy Buggars,
L'Albatros and Flipside

There were (a ton of) really great items to bid for at the silent auction and I had my mind set on bidding on the New Orleans jazz trip and Napa Wine Weekend. Unfortunately the starting bids were $3500 and $5000 respectively and the husband told me I was on my own with that. Next year, more wine for him!

This was such a wonderful event and the Marriott staff were beyond gracious.  Next year I will arrive earlier and maybe not so hungry as I got a bit flustered when I walked in because I was starving and didn't know where to start. Everything looked so good, I didn't want to miss a thing. That being said I ate and ate and I'm still full. 

Full and happy at the end of the night!

This is a great event that benefits The Arthritis Foundation and I highly recommend it. I'll be there next year for sure. 

::Disclosure - I received 2 tickets to this event courtesy of The Arthritis Foundation and 2 as a giveaway on this blog. My opinions are my own, as always::

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mad Men Monday - CLE Style

As a part of today's Ohio Blogging Association's All State Blog Swap, I'm delighted to introduce you to the wonderful Jen from Why CLE?. She's a blogger that has become a great personal friend and I was pleasantly surprised when we were randomly assigned to swap blogs. On this day, bloggers from around the state of Ohio are guest posting on one another blogs as a way to get to know one another in our blogging community. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma today.

Hi, I’m Jen and I blog over at Why CLE?. Each post on my blog tries to give you another reason why Cleveland is a great place to live, work, and play.
If you regularly follow SMITTEN…in Cleveland, you know that Kimberly and Mr. Smitten have “Mad Men Mondays,” where they stay in, have a nice, 1960’s-style dinner, wear cute clothes, and sip old-school cocktails. As a twist on this tradition (and since its Monday), I thought I’d list some places in Cleveland to go out Mad Men-style.
The men of Mad Men are all about being men, especially at dinner. So, next time you want to dine like Don Draper, check out…

Red, the Steakhouse 
Don’t get me wrong, Red has fabulous food. But at this place, it’s mostly about letting the steak stand alone (or possibly with a martini or a glass of red wine right next to it).


Johnny’s Downtown

Johnny’s just gives you the feeling Roger Sterling is wining and dining someone at the next table. It’s a place for great Italian food and backroom deals in dark corners.

But what about the ladies of Mad Men? For something more refined…
Megan could pronounce everything on the menu, so break out your best French Canadian accent and go for it! The cheese board will make you so happy, you’ll sing Zou Bisou Bisou.

Sally Draper would have a great time in this palace of sinfully delicious homemade ice cream and chocolates. I think Betty might indulge a bit too this season…

And for that special date night…
Step back in time and see a flick in this refurbished theater. Peggy Olson would hold hands here for sure!

Next time you’re craving a Mad Men Monday, remember you can stay in or go out and be just as suave as Don or as sassy as Joan!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Get Out & About

hey! I'm guest posting over on Cleveland's a Plum today - go check it out.

There are so many things going on in this city. Seriously. There is no way to do them all, let alone list them all. Here are the ones I think are super fab for the week.

Friday 5/18
Figwood Fashion Show - Banyan Tree 6-9p {free}
Have you been to an event at the Banyan? They rock. Wine, nibbles by Fahrenheit and great fashion. Friday night perfection. Check out their new spring collection.

Monday 5/21
Little Things Project tour - DoubleTree by Hilton 11a-5p
Head over to Willard Park (E9th & Lakeside) where DoubleTree will have their signature chocolate chip cookies, free wifi, cell and laptop charging stations and restaurant, House of Blues & Rock Hall discounts. This is an endeavor by DoubleTree to surprise people with the "Little Things" that will  improve your travel experience and supports Special Olympics Ohio.

Grab a cookie and recharge yourself and your laptop at the  "power bar"
A "Swarm Car" will be driving around the city asking people via twitter what "little things" would make their day brighter and surprising lucky people by filling their request. (Past requests have included lobster and flower delivery!) Tweet to @DoubleTree using the hashtag #LittleThings and your request could turn into a reality.

Viaduct Lounge Cigar Dinner - 5p (Dinner starts at 6p) {$75 w/ spirits, $50 w/out}
Enjoy appetizers, dinner, desserts, spirits and featuring cigars by Perdomo and AVO.

Wed 5/23
Cleveland Magazine's 18th Annual Silver Spoon Awards Party - 6-9p
This is one party you don't want to miss! Not only does it benefit the Arthritis Foundation, but you can taste over 30 of the cities best dishes, sip wine and bid on some pretty fantastic silent auction items. Read my preview here and head over to Alicia's site where she posts the menu and discount codes for tickets making them only $70 {GA} and $100 {VIP}!

CLE magazine issue that proves I can use a scanner and Silver Spoon logo from PIP.

Thursday 5/24
Trinchero Wine Dinner - Fahrenheit 6:30p {$80+tax and gratuity}
Mario Monticelli will be on hand to talk wine from Napa to Italy. 5 courses paired w/ wine. Check out the fantastic menu here.


Saturday 5/26 
Salty not Sweet's 1st Birthday Party - noon {free}
Celebrate their 1st year in business! Drinks, food & giveaways.

:Disclosure - I was asked by DoubleTree to attend their Little Things event and had to decline due to scheduling conflicts. After spending a good potion of my life in hotels, I can day the DoubleTree brand is one of my faves and I'm always up for promoting them. (Have you tried those cookies? omg)
I am receiving tickets 2 the Silver Spoon Awards c/o the Arthritis Foundation in return for blogging and reviewing the event. All opinions are my own, as always:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fashion Week Cleveland

This is hard for me. I've spent 4 days trying to figure out how to write this review. 

As you might have read in my previous post, this past Saturday was Fashion Week Cleveland's black-tie gala.  The Husband, Jen, Alicia & I got all dressed up and started the night out at Pier W. We then headed over to the Halle building where the gala took place. The concept of a fashion week here in the CLE is a great one for me. I shop at Valerie Mayen's Yellowcake, Dredger's Union and love Banyan Tree's Figwood line. I have accessories and jewelry made in Cleveland from local artisans. I will do whatever I can to support this, and any event that does, you can count me in.  When the team at Fashion Week Cleveland contacted me asking if I was interested in doing a blog giveaway and offering me 2 VIP tickets to attend their black-tie gala, I was excited. VIP tickets were $100 a piece and this review will reflect that experience.

This is the 9th year of Fashion Week Cleveland and I'm really surprised it was met with so many glitches. There are many wonderful event planners in town and we have an abundance of large events that run smoothly. This was not one of them.

I want FWC to succeed! We have many great resources at our disposal and I'm a bit disappointed that the talent may be overlooked due to some poor event planning. All anyone talked about at this event was what mass confusion was occurring.

Here are the issues that arose. 

-Tickets and website stated the doors opened at 7:30. We were told at the door this was wrong and that they hoped to let us in at 8:15.
-Our VIP tickets were taken and no stamp, wristband or ticket stub was given to us.

Drinks / Food:
-There was a champagne fountain that had warm champagne. They ran out of champagne after 15 minutes.
-Our VIP tickets stated "open bar" which was a vodka only bar that you had to wait in line 20-40 minutes for a drink. It was packed. Wall to wall people in a glass room.
-There was no way to differentiate who was VIP and who wasn't so what's the point of paying for $100 ticket instead of a $40 one?
-The food, however was delish. They had stands from L'albatos, Stone Mad and Flour. This was one area I felt they excelled in and it was appreciated.

Runway Show:
-Again as VIP we were to have reserved runway seating and General Admission tickets were standing room only. Since there was no way to tell the difference it was a joke.
-The runway was not elevated. Meaning that you couldn't see anything if you weren't in the first two rows. This is a huge error. The whole point is the fashion and we couldn't see it.

I understand that things don't always run on time or smoothly. But this isn't FWC's first go at this. To spend $100 and have to stand shoulder to shoulder for a half hour in a tuxedo for a cocktail that you don't even get a choice in is ridiculous. To ask questions and have the people working the event roll their eyes at you and tell you they have no idea what's going on is unacceptable.

I would love to support this project and see it grow but I feel all the efforts of everyone that works so hard to put this together are wasted when things like this happen. We should be talking about the designers. We should be talking about the fashion culture we've created in our city. This was not the conversation on Saturday night. All the above issues could easily be improved upon and make it worth it for purchasing a VIP ticket in the future.

I am hoping this can be turned around. I'm hoping that for Fashion Week Cleveland's 10 year anniversary it's the gala of all galas. Because that's what Cleveland deserves. That's what the designers deserve.

This was hard to write. I thought about not writing anything at all. I wanted to be fair to my readers and give you my honest opinion. Would this be worth you spending $100 on? Renting a tux for?
This blog is called SMITTEN for a reason. I won't post something I'm not swooning over. I wan't your reading this blog to be a happy part of your day, not griping or complaining.

WHEW! All that said, everyone looked glamourous and I had great company!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recapping The Weekend

I love a weekend recap. On a Tuesday. Sometimes Monday is just too much and I need an extra day to get my sh*t together. Yep, yesterday was that day. I got a lot accomplished, so it was a good Monday in all.

I planned my entire Friday night around The Avengers. Feeling like I was the only person in Cleveland yet to see it (Did you know they filmed here? No? Then you must not live here because that is all anyone can talk about.) I love my city, but we sure know how to twitter-beat something to death. Which is why I waited a week to see it as I was scared of being squashed in a super packed theater. And you know what? It was worth it. We had cocktails/beer and a nibble before the show at Luxe and then grabbed more wine/beer at the Capitol. I suggest seeing any 3D movie with a glass of wine in hand. It totally lets you forget you're wearing sunglasses to watch it and that your left eye is twitching. Don't even get me started on the 3D experience. We have one of those TVs at home and it took me a year to try it. I'm going with "It's a guy thing." The movie was great. Go see it.

The next day was Cleveland Fashion Week's black-tie gala (more on that in a later post) and I thought the husband and I would run errands, grab a cocktail and enjoy the lovely weather flitting about town. We apparently have very different ideas on what makes a great Saturday afternoon as his was to put brakes on one if his cars. Really? I'm sure beer and cigars were involved.

Saturday night the Husband, Alicia, Jen and I got all dolled up and headed out to Pier W to kick-start our night. The lounge is the perfect place to stop for drinks if you're all dressed up and it's beautiful in there. Reservations were all booked up but there was plenty of room in the bar are a little after 6. The best part? The awesome happy hour they have during the week extends to Saturdays and runs until 6:30. Perfection.

The second best thing? You can take prom-like photos with your friends. (see above)

After the Gala, we were craving bubbly (as they ran out about 15 minutes in) so we swung by Market Avenue Wine Bar for a bottle to go. They had a ton of bubbles at all price-points already chilled. And they sell it at state minimum prices. Yep, we got that bottle at midnight at a wine bar for less than at some local shops/grocery stores. Score! We then retired to my living room where we took off our shoes, sipped, laughed and chatted. Good times, dolls. Good times.

Sunday brought brunch at my brother-in-law's where he (and the Husband) cooked brunch for Baby Penton's mom, grandmothers and aunts. Let me just say the guys should be in the kitchen more often! It was delish.

Sunday night was spent making homemade pizza thanks to this week's Fresh Fork offerings of pizza dough, sausage and sauce. We added baby portabellas, gouda, havarti, shaved parm and red onion.

We kicked back with a bottle of wine, our pie and watched North by Northwest which had us picking out Cary Grant as Don Draper and Eva Marie as Betty.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Beauty Must - Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel

:a bit of blogkeeping - Sara from Finding the Time is the winner of my Stella & Dot giveaway. Congrats! Please email me with your contact info and I'll get those right out to you:

Finally. A mask that actually does what it claims to. I love the idea of a mask. A pampering step mid-week to reset and treat my skin, leaving it glowy and radiant. The idea is great. But I've had a really hard time over the years finding something that changes your skin for more than a few hours. Until now.

Meet one of Murad's newest stars: The Intensive-C Radiance Peel ($49.50)

I was hesitant at first because of the name. Peel sounded harsh. This is actually more of a mask than a peel.

What it claims to do:
- dramatically reverses environmental aging caused by sun, smog and stress
- smoothes and perfects skin to enhance luminosity
- reduces hyperpigmentation to restore clarity

What it actually does:
- smoothes skin leaving it soft and glowy
- fades sunspots (for real!)
- keeps pores clear (I don't know how or why it does this, but ever since I started using this those pesky teeny blackheads on my nose are gone)

Apply to a cleansed face and leave on for up to 10 minutes, once or twice weekly. This went on smoothly and smelled delicious, a soft fresh orange scent (not overpowering at all, more relaxing.) It tingled at first and I thought "Oh no, I won't even make it 5 mins with this on!) but as soon as I thought that it turned into a cooling sensation. I then rinsed with lukewarm water and my face was incredibly soft. As if I just had an exfoliating scrub done. My face felt that soft for 3 straight days!

I've been using this consistently for 4 weeks now and I have noticed softer, glowy skin and that some of my sunspots are lighter. I also was able to cut my exfoliation in half while using this. Usually the effects of a mask barely last through the day for me.

I fully recommend this product and it now has a permanent spot in my skincare regimen.

A little story on disclosure:
I was invited to a dinner with Jeff Murad, son of Dr. Murad and Vice President of Product Development. Murad contacted me and asked me to email them my skincare concerns prior to our meeting. One of my major concerns was sun damage and fine lines, so I was beyond thrilled when, at dinner, I was given this new product to try. Murad is currently the #1 skincare brand at Sephora & Ulta and the fact the company was willing to meet with local bloggers, sit down and chat about our skincare concerns was fantastic. They never asked us to blog about or promote them. All they asked is that you give any new skincare product 4-6 weeks to start showing results. At this meeting I was given 4 products and will post about the others if I end up finding them as fantastic as this one. If not, you won't  hear about it.

Very rarely do I receive things without paying for them. Any product you read about on this blog I have paid for with my own money and you are reading about it because I'm smitten with it. There will be no question if I received it at no charge as I always disclose such practices.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Gossip Girl Birchbox - May 2012

::Quick reminder - There are just a few days left to win a pair of Serenity Stone Drop earrings from Stella & Dot. You can enter here::

I adore themed Birchboxes! I like the regular ones, too, but I get so excited when I see they've teamed up with someone fabulous and built a box around them. So far I've enjoyed the work they've done with Teen Vogue, Cynthia Rowley and now the CW show Gossip Girl. They send out earth month, holiday and valentine boxes too. This month's box came in black with their signature hot pink lettering. Inside was the usual box with a Gossip Girl sleeve.  Let's peek...

Gossip Girl Birchbox 

Kerastase - Age Premium Bain Substantif
Kerastase - Age Premium Masque Substantif
Dior - Diorshow Extase mascara
Algenist - Firming & Lifting Cream
Miss Dior - Eau de Parfum

My thoughts:
I love myself some Kerastase. This is one on the list to try since they use UV filters and hyaluronic acid to strengthen hair and add shine. I'm dying to try their new line for long hair so I hope BB keeps up the Kerastase love.

I'm not overly crazy about perfume samples, but at least it's Miss Dior. I'm happy to have a travel sized Dior Show. Although not my fave mascara. (Chanel!) It's great to have a high end one while traveling.

I also was quite happy with the Algenist, as I will always be on the lookout for the fountain of youth and this is one killer line. The notecard is super cute and I can't wait to use it. I will most likely be purchasing a set of these.

Side note:
I thought BB did a great job keeping the high-society theme throughout the box. The one thing I did note was that half of my items were age-related. I am 36. I realize I'm about 10 years older than a lot of my friends and I'll pretty much do whatever I need to (other than surgery*) to keep this face from falling and my hair thick and shiny. So BB did a great job w/ my beauty profile even if it gave me a start to see "age" written on three products.

*I'm not opposed to surgery. In fact, I've begged my husband for Botox but he is really against doing anything to your face. He thinks I should age gracefully. Perhaps when he sees my face fall to the ground he'll change his mind...

What did you get in your Birchbox? Did you love it or not?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Favorite Summer Sunscreens

Reminder: There are a  few days left to win a pair of Stella & Dot earrings. Enter here.

There's nothing quite as trashy as a sunburn. I know, you put that SPF 50 on and swam or sweat it off and never reapplied, right? We've all done it. It doesn't help when you really don't like what you're using. Let's be honest. Sunscreen isn't fun. It kinda sucks. You need a good one. Especially for your face. One that will last and not break you out or make you look pasty or greasy. Something you can also wear under a bit of makeup if going to a summer party. By now, most of us have some type of SPF in our lotions or tinted moisturizers but most likely this isn't enough protection. We do so much to prevent wrinkles and age spots - after the fact. But protecting your skin in the first place is the easiest thing to do. For the record, I have combination, possibly sensitive skin. It likes to get a hive every now and again. Break out at the hint of anything new and can be, at the same time dry and oily. Let's call it confused. Here are my faves.

You can't go wrong with Clarins. Super sheer, fights free radicals, filled with anti-oxidants and available in multiple tints make this my all around go-to superstar. A little goes a long way and spreads easily, so it's worth the price tag.
Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen (no color $38)(tinted $40)

Sephora's Sun Safety Kit always sells out. (It's already sold out online but still available in stores.) And for good reason. Not only are these some of the best sun protection products on the market, but they're also the perfect size for your purse or carry-on. It's an easy way to try a bunch of new products without investing a ton of money.

Sun Safety Kit 2012 $30 includes:
- 0.23 oz Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42 PA+++
- 0.08 oz Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15
- 0.25 oz Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 with Dermaxyl Complex
- 0.5 oz Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Defense Moisture Lotion SPF 30
- 0.5 oz Ole Henriksen Protect The Truth SPF 50+ Sunscreen
- 0.4 oz Philosophy Hope Oil-Free SPF 30
- 0.5 oz Boscia Oil-free Daily Hydration SPF 15
- 2.5 oz St. Tropez Gradual Tan
- 0.33 oz Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA+++
- 0.33 oz Supergoop! SPF 30+ Everyday UV Lotion for Face and Body Cream Oil-free
- 0.5 oz Origins VitaZing SPF 15
- 0.33 oz Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15
- 0.03 oz Bare Escentuals bareMinerals SPF 25 Mineral Veil and brush
- 0.169 oz Sephora Collection Age Defy Moisture Cream SPF 15
- 0.23 oz Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 60 PA +++
- 1 Kate Somerville Somerville 360° Face Self Tanning Pad
- 1 TanTowel Classic Self-Tan Towelette for Face & Body
- Bonus train case

For The Face:

Best High Protection - La Roche Posay - Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Fluid $32.95
Perfect for sensitive skin and avail tinted (dewy finish) or untinted (matte finish)
Argan Oil Infused - Josie Maran - Argan Oil Daily Moisturizer SPF40 $32
Not only is this a great moisturizer, you can also use it as a primer and sinks right into skin.
 Best Smell - Origins - A Perfect World SPF35 $27.50 - I usually like my facial skincare unscented
 but the calming white tea scent feels more like a treatment and less like sunscreen.
Best for Breakout Prone - Murad - Oil-Free Sunblock SPF30 $31 - This is perfect if you've got 
oily skin or your face is just going a bit haywire. The silky, matte finish keeps 
shine at bay and wont break you out.

For The Body - Drugstore Picks:

L'Oreal - Sublime Sun SPF30 Crystal Clear Mist $10 (also avail in SPF50)
Hawaiian Tropic - Sheer Touch Lotion SPF30 $8 (also avail in SPF50) 
Aveeno - Continuous Protection SPF55 $7 (avail in SPF 30 and 85)
Neutrogena - Ultra Sheer - Dry Touch Lotion & Body Mist $8-10 (avail SPF30-100)

Best On-The-Go:
Supergoop Sunscreen Swipes SPF30 $10-34

::I am not a dermatologist, nor do I claim to be. I'm just a fair skinned girl with a cranky complexion::

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stella & Dot Summer - Giveaway & Online Trunk Show

I've got some exciting news today. A Stella & Dot Giveaway!!!

If you read this post you remember how smitten I was with their line (& the Pegasus!). I just about lost my mind when I saw their Summer 2012 collection. About the same time Jennifer, a S&D stylist, inquired if I'd like to do a giveaway and online trunk show for my readers. Um, how fast can I say yes? We are all super busy as of late and there would be virtually no way for us all to get together so an online show was perfect.

What I love about Stella:
Quality: I'm blown away by how well-made everything is. Lines that are priced double this don't even compare.
Affordability: Half the collection is under $50
Covetability: I actually really love the designs. You see it in all your fashion mags and on the celebs you love to gossip about.
Bonus: Returns and exchanges are no-questions asked and super easy too!

And the giveaway? Just one of my "must haves" from my original post. The Serenity Stone Drops ($49 value). I have one pair for a lucky reader. I just received these for myself and they are even more fab in person.

How to enter:
1 - Take a look below and on the Stella & Dot site and leave a comment on this post telling me what you're loving
2 - Follow Jennifer's Stella & Dot page on Facebook OR Twitter and leave a comment on this post saying you did so.
3. Make a purchase during my trunk show and get an entry for each piece purchased. So if you buy 3 items you'll get 3 extra entries. (no need to leave a comment for this, it will be noted separately)

Online Trunk Show:
Here is the shopping link for my show.  Giveaway starts Mon 5/7 and closes Mon 5/14 8AM. Trunk show closes Tues 5/29th 8AM. Shipping is only $5.95 no matter how much you order!

During the month of May, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Stuttering Foundation of America.

Here are my Summer Stella Must-Haves

Candy Confections:
left to right: Lindsay bangle $49 (pink, white, turquoise, orange) sold separately, Eleanor bangle $79 (turquoise/silver) $98 (coral/gold) sold separately, Carrie bangles (set of 3 $59)

Summer Lovin'
1 - Carobella hoops $29 (also in rose gold)  2 - Vallen pendant $39  3 - Cameron pendant $79 
4 - Felicity hoops $54  5 - Charlize teardrop earrings $34

Arm Party
1 - Bello bangle $89  2 - Bardot spiral bangle $59 (also in silver $49)
3 - Callie bracelet $49  4 - Renegade cluster $49  5 - Luxor link $89

Sea Glass on the Shore
1 - Estate chandelier earrings $49  2 - Amelia drop $79  3 - Delicate drop $24  4 - Camilla necklace $158 ON SALE $94.80  5 - Serenity small drops $34 (also in lapis)  6 - Pippa necklace $69

::Disclosure - I was provided a pair of earrings to keep and a pair to give away for hosting this giveaway and trunk show from my Stella & Dot stylist, Jennifer::

images via Stella & Dot

Friday, May 4, 2012

We Have A Winner!


Five o'clock came today as I was sitting outside The Greenhouse Tavern with Jen from Why CLE? sipping on a round of cocktails that our yoga instructor Bethany bought us. As in "called Greenhouse and said to buy Jen & Kimberly a round of drinks". How ridiculously awesome is that? If you were still thinking if Nishkama Yoga is the place for you, this is a real testament to the wonderful people that work there. (And we thought that even before the drinks!).

All this is leading up to the fact that my giveaway for Cleveland Magazine's Silver Spoon Award Party closed at 5pm. So there, on the patio of Greenhouse Tavern, I went to on my phone and queued up a winner.

And the winner of 2 tickets to the party is...

Comment #20

OH my! Its too hard to pick just one favorite, Momocho, Dante, Noodlecat.... I'd love to attend! Thanks for hosting the giveaway xoxo

Congrats! And thanks to everyone who entered. Your comments have made a pretty awesome "go-to list" of the best of the CLE restaurant scene!

Glossybox US Inaugural Box - April 2012

Glossybox is here! The beauty crack that all of Europe loves has finally come to America! Think of it as Birchbox - on steroids.

I was lucky enough to win this box and subscriptions should be available any minute now.

Are you ready to peek?

 I was so excited, I barely had time to snap an iPhone pic so here are some pics from their site:

In The Box:
*all items except the Erno Laszlo are full-sized, this may be bacause the first box was promotional

OPI - Kiss Me On My Tulips polish (retail $8.50)
Erno Laszlo - Hollywood Collection - samples of the Velvet Night Cream, Instant Eye Repair, Refresh Moisture Infusion, Intense Porcelein Veil 1, Morning Beauty Rescue (retail $125)
BASQ - Cucumber Tea Eye Gel (retail $24)
C.O. Bigelow - Lavender & Peppermint Shampoo (retail $12)
Cargo - Eye Bronzer (retail $22)
Kryolan - High Gloss Brilliant Lip Shine in Toffee (retail $18)

Not including the Erno Laszlo, since it was sample-size, this box comes to $84.50. Keep in mind this was a promo box and that most-likely they won't have all full-sized items included.

The Details:
-5 luxury travel-sized beauty products delivered to you each month. (word has it one will always be full-sized)
-go online, choose a subscription plan and create a beauty profile
-no exact pricing/plans have been listed yet (word has it to be $21)

I'm excited to see how this plays out. I love Birchbox for the quality of their products and points system. So far, I'm liking Sample Society too, although it is heavier on skincare and $5 more than BB. Glossybox is already in 15 other countries and is known to ship the best in beauty and skincare.

What do you think? Will the $21 price tag price it out of the market for you?

I'll keep you posted on future boxes and details as I get them.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fresh Fork Summer In Review (PHOTOS)

::Don't forget to enter to win tickets to Cleveland Magazine's Silver Spoon Award Party here. You've got until Fri 5/4 at 5pm::

Time is running out to sign up for your Summer Fresh Fork share. If you're on the fence or thinking about which CSA* to join, I decided to recap my Summer 2011 share for reference.

For the record, Fresh Fork is not a traditional CSA. You are not working with just one farm. Trevor from FF sources the best in produce, meats, cheeses and more from local farms and artisans within a 75 mile radius from Cleveland. See their site for more info such as how to sign up, what to do about vacations, programs and cost and more.

Top Reasons I Chose Fresh Fork:
-25 pickup locations
-small share option is perfect for 2 people
-much more than just produce
-weekly newsletter tells me what I'm getting (in advance) and how to use it
-option of ordering add'l products through website on a weekly basis

Here's most of what we received in our small share - Summer 2011. Please click on the link for a complete list of what items were received for each week.

Weeks 1-3, Week 4

Week 5, Weeks 6 & 7

WEEKS 8-12
Weeks 8-10, Weeks 11 & 12

WEEKS 14-17
Weeks 14 & 15, Week 17

WEEKS 18-22
Weeks 18 & 19, 20-22

*I may refer to Fresh Fork as a CSA in some of the linked posts. It is not a traditional CSA. I understand that. It's just easier when explaining it to people who may have never heard of or used one before. 

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