Saturday, March 31, 2012

Time To Drink Champagne & Dance On The Table

Guess what today is. Yep, the Husband's favorite day of the year.


Some people don't get as excited about their birthday as they get older. That doesn't seem to be happening to me. Someone better warn him.





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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Naked Sushi



Does hearing Naked Sushi conjure up images of poor Samantha covered in raw fish waiting on that table all night for Jared to get home? Cause it does for me. While intriguing, this is something I didn't think would ever interest me. Boobies don't scare me, but bad fish does.

{via}


Once I heard it would be a Dante Boccuzzi, Ginko and Matthew Mytro mashup I was game. They've done it a couple times before and I was always out of town, so yes, I'm a bit late to this party. Oh, and those famous Dante sushi push-pops. If it was anyone else doing it I would not have been there, but Ginko does have the best sushi in town.

Not having ventured onto West 6th since before the Millennium, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm guessing this wasn't the typical W6th crowd. (I think they were coming in closer to 10p as we were leaving.) We arrived at 8 and the sushi wouldn't be unveiled until 9, so it was a chance to grab a drink and some passed appetizers (sushi pops!) while catching up with Kristian and his brother, Nadine and JohnPaul and Lilia and Todd.


There wasn't any sushi actually placed on skin, it was all on banana leaves. And more than enough all around the models. Actually there wasn't much placed on the girls at all, which I was happy to see as I was worried they'd be poked with chopsticks all night. They were all very sweet.

As soon as some was scooped up, Dante was back at it replenishing the tables. The sushi rocked and we left happy, full and reminding ourselves it was a Monday night and we needed to get to bed.

Dante & Lilia

A spicy tuna push pop makes me a happy girl.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gelish - Tiger Blossom

Today's mani of the week is actually last week's. And I completely forgot to snap pics until now. So the following shows a week's worth of growth. Not too bad, actually. My friend Jaclyn got this a couple weeks ago and I knew I needed to try it. I wanted a hot orange and on me it comes off as a orange-coral. It's almost an exact dupe of the new Sephora + Pantone Universe lipgloss in Tangerine Vivid.

Gelish - Tiger Blossom



If you've read these reviews before, you know that I switch between OPI GelColor, CND Shellac and NailHarmony's Gelish all the time. I pretty much just pick a color regardless of brand. ALL these brands work exactly the same (for me). I've had quite a few conversations recently with women who prefer one over the other, saying that 'whichever brand' didn't last and just peeled right off their nails.

Not that I'm disputing this - I've seen many a bad shellac job, I just want to reiterate that it will only be as good as the manicurist doing it. If you're hopping around from salon to salon based on whoever had a Groupon, you might not get the most experienced person. It's all in the prep and application.

When this comes off I have no damage whatsoever to my nail. I'm not sure what other salons are doing that mine is doing differently but it is what it is.

The only difference I have noticed is removal time. OPI GelColor seems to take just a few minutes more to take off.

Again, all these statements reflect my personal experience.

Friday, March 23, 2012

ONE Styling - Infinite Creations, One Solution



I'm a hair girl. I'm not going to pretend that I do nothing and it just grows out of my head shiny and
smooth and exactly the way I want it. It's naturally curly and frizzy (or naturally crazy, as I like to say) and I've spent years beating it into submission. One thing I've learned is the importance of high quality styling tools. Your hair will thank you. They will cut down on your drying and styling time, do less damage and can actually make your hair shiny and healthier than the less expensive alternative.

But there are so many brands! How to choose? What is the right one for my hair?

The team over at ONE Styling recognizes this. They also get that everyone has different hair types and textures and their motto is "Infinite Creations, One Solution."

Last Friday they held a fun and informative event at Spa West, introducing their line and giving us the chance to test everything out. There were appetizers and champagne and stylists on hand to show us the styles we could create. All of us. All with different hair textures. All with the same set of tools.

Since there are too many products to cover in one post, I'll be recapping the event today and reviewing the line in a series of posts starting next week. Let me just say that this line has changed my life!

*get 35% off, free shipping and a free heat mat at ONEStyling.com with coupon code SMITTEN35 valid thru 4/30/12*


We arrived at Spa West at 6:30 Friday night and were led into a cozy room with couches, candles and a  glowing fire. Appetizers were served, as was champagne, but all we could focus on were these bags.



It's always great to catch up and meet some of the girls you follow IRL (in real life)!

L-R: Charity, Lauren, Me, Dina, Crystal


Kate, Nadine's Mom, Nadine


Joe Kim from ONE Styling meeting Charlene.

Joe Kim sat us all down and gave us a brief history of the company and explained why they were so passionate about hair. It all started when Joe and his brother David grew up in Northeast Ohio. Their family ran a beauty supply store and when they started getting a lot of new orders for flat irons, David decided to manufacture his own rather than just order them in. He partnered with a factory in Korea and started selling them at trade shows. This was the beginning of the FHI brand.

The ONE Styling team: Josh, Joe & Les

Last year David Kim and his core group parted ways with FHI and founded ONE Styling, keeping their headquarters in Cleveland.
The brand is primarily stylist based with much of the design and innovation coming from feedback of stylists with years of experience.

At this point, we were positively giddy and couldn't wait to get into the stylist's chairs and see these tools in action!


There was lots of styling...

Mingling...

Great hair...
Lauren, Dina
Nadine, Charity

And everyone went home happy!



Nadine & her mom, Charity & Suzanne


The Birthday Girl, Nadine, Julie & Crystal

A big thanks to Les, Joe, Josh and Tran at ONE Styling and the stylists at Spa West for such a lovely evening! The tools we tried out were: 

Read more reviews of the night from Wearing Mascara, Blog-The New Black, Life in the CLE, Dina's Days (and here).

*Disclosure - I was provided the above tools as a  courtesy by ONE Styling for review. My opinions are my own and do not reflect that of anyone other than me

All photo rights belong to ONE Styling & John Tran.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sample Society Review - March 2012


Add Sample Society to your list of beauty sample subscriptions. Coming to you from Beauty Bar and Allure, I had a feeling this was going to be a good one. Not all beauty subscriptions are created equal. There are quite a few out now and I will cover them all in a future post - coming soon.

Sample Society is $15 a month and you receive:
5 deluxe sized samples from high-end beauty brands
$15 off a $50 purchase from Beauty Bar when you purchase any of the featured full-sized products
Expert beauty advice
One year subscription to Allure magazine (if you already get Allure or are not interested, you can request a refund for this bonus)

This being the first month, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was excited!



Included:
Fekkai Advanced - Glossing Creme
REN - Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask
Dermalogica - Daily Microfoliant
Oscar De La Renta - Esprit d'Oscar mini rollerball
Skyn Iceland - Icelandic Eye Relief Pen


Quite a nice little booklet detailing what products you've received and 
helpful beauty/skincare tips.

What I think:
I've been a big fan of Fekkai's Glossing Creme for years and I kind of forgot about it. I was glad to see it and excited to use it, especially with summer coming, I love using this to smooth out the ends of my hair.

I'm all about any type of exfoliating and anti-aging skincare and I've been wanting to try Dermalogica's Microfoliant.

REN's peel mask is intended to remove dead skin cells, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines while combating congestion, blackheads and evening skin tone. I say yes, to all of that and will update you if it really does work!

Skyn Iceland is a paraben free, natural skincare line marketed as 'Solutions for Stressed Skin'. The eye relief pen has a flexible rubberized tip which you glide under the eye area. It felt slick and had no fragrance and absorbed quite nicely. Not sure if it reduces puffiness or circles/wrinkles etc, but I was able to use this under and over makeup and I instantly felt hydrated without looking greasy or having my eye makeup smudge.

I'm not a personal fan of Oscar perfumes but I really like that this came in a rollerball. If Birchbox started that trend I'd be in love!

The only downside I can see of this box is that there were no cosmetic samples, strictly skincare. Not that I mind, because I love the selection. The site and some promo materials do feature cosmetics so that might be more prevalent in a future box.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Smitten With Stella & Dot




This past Tuesday my girlfriend, Julie, held a Stella & Dot party. See, I practically begged her to, as I was on the hunt for a specific necklace (and you can only buy Stella from a stylist). True, you could go online and purchase from one, but what's more fun than getting the girls together and squealing over all the prettiness? Not to mention trying it all on.

If you're not familiar with the name, Stella & Dot, let me assure you, you're familiar with their line - even if you don't realize it. It's all over the hottest celebrities and in the likes of pretty much every fashion mag from Vogue to Harper's to Lucky to People Style Watch. Apparently if you watch The Bachelor, those girls were dripping in it - which might have been their only redeeming quality.

Getting to see it in person was great, since the quality is exquisite and some pieces that looked nice online were gorgeous in real life.

This is the necklace that started it all, The Pegasus.

pegasus necklace

I had budgeted $200 for jewelry that night. This necklace is $198. So it was this or I could get a slew of other goodies. I decided to splurge as I've never seen anything like this before and Brooke (our S&D Stylist) had it in her collection, so I was able to put it on and check out the quality. Each gold feather is hand sewn onto the softest silk organza and looks stunning. Score. This is one of the most expensive pieces in the line, so don't let the price deter you, there are some great deals to be had!

Here is what I still have on my wishlist:

 (If you'd like to order anything shown, just click on the link and add it to your shopping bag. Upon checkout please select 'Wearing Mascara' from the drop down menu when it asks if you were invited to a trunk show. -Thanks!)


UNDER $50

1- serenity stone drops $49
2- capri earrings (also avail in coral) $49
3- camilla ring $49
4- on the mark necklace $49
5- pippa stone earrings $49
6- serenity small stone drops (avail in lapis or aqua) $34


1- soiree trio ring  $49
2- talia teardrop earrings $39
3-bardot spiral bangle (avail silver or gold) $49
4- deco drop earrings $44
5- fringe hoops $44 (also in gold $49)
6- signature clover chandelier earrings $49


CELEBRITY STYLE

Get Reese's look with the Serenity Stone Drops $49
Also wishing for:


Limited Edition Fatima Necklace $248


chantilly lace chandelier earring $49
petra braided bracelet $98
garden party chandelier earrings $54




1- stackable gem ring $54
2- alexandria necklace $89
3- soiree trio ring $49
4- bianca tassel necklace $138


sierra necklace $148
bahari necklace $98



all images from stella & dot

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Wine, Cupcakes, Cheese & A Baby!

Who recaps their week on Thursday? This girl.

Cutting to the chase, all you really need to know is this:

I'm an aunt! (read on for more...) 

Last Thursday was the Emerging Chefs event at the Shaheen Galley, Corks & Cupcakes. A slight departure from their usual multi-course sit down dinner format had us mingling in the gallery, sipping on Italian wines from Tuscany Distributors which were paired with mini cupcakes from Indulgence Cakes. And if you haven't tried Lilia's cupcakes, you're missing out. We went with our friends, The Palmer's and Jaclyn was smart to arrange a car service for the evening (for the same price as a cab).

Amuse Bouche: "Lure me in"
strawberry thyme shortbread 
(lemon curd & red wine caviar)
Prosecco

I: "Take me on a picnic"
cheddar cupcake
(candied pecans & honey blue cheese frosting)
Lugana Base

II: "Wine me, dine me, make me sparkle..."
cannoli cupcake
Sangue di Guida

Intermezzo: "Give me a break"
mint julep panacotta
Spring Water w/ mint

III: "Butter me up, buttercup"
salted caramel cupcake
Pinot Nero Rose

IV: "Marry me at breakfast"
dark chocolate bacon cupcake
Giome

Jaclyn & I in the car - this is how the Real Housewives do it, right? / Lilia, Crystal & I
Oliver, Michael DeAloia & the Husband / The amuse bouche was my favorite 

Head over to Eat*Drink*Cleveland for a full, course by course (with photos) review. The next EC event is Garden Party billed as "a dynamic farm-to-table experience" and will take place at Amp150 with Chef Jeff Jarrett, Wed April 18th.

we took home the Pinot (red) and the Chianti

Friday, Raffaele, from Tuscany Distributors was doing a tasting at Wine & Design in Tremont. Since it was so busy the night before, we didn't get a chance to chat during the event. So we headed out for a little more wine and to chat with him (and see Greg, of course!) Read more about Raffaele, his wife and their journey back to Cleveland here. Check out their facebook page where they post all their upcoming tasting events. On the way home we stopped by Light Bistro and picked up an Albondingas (which is the best lamb pizza of all time) and a beef carpaccio pizza. The carpaccio was tasty, but quite hard to eat on a pizza.

Saturday, the husband was out of town and I heard about this Parm Cracking happening at Whole Foods. I had no idea what I was in for. Apparently every Whole Foods across the country would be cracking 90lb wheels of parmesean at the same time (setting a record). I knew there would be cheese and food and that was enough for me. I mentioned to Alicia and Crystal that I was going and, luck have it, there was a mini food blogger's event Whole Foods was putting on at the same time. I'm not a technically a food blogger, but they had a cancellation and I was in! I must say Whole Foods is a great supporter of our local blogs (food or otherwise) and they always pull out all the stops for us. Thank you!


We had a reserved space in the Osteria, grabbed some wine and beer and got started. Jim the cheese monger came over and as we sipped and tasted, explained the heritage, proper cooking and eating techniques (no freezing, buy only what you need!) and what sets this apart from other cheese.

a recently cracked wheel of parmigiano reggiano / melon & crispy prosciutto
menu of the day / orechiette w/ roasted squash, thyme brown butter parmesean

Cheese was King that day and Elvis was on hand to celebrate and participate in the cracking. There were mini stations set up all around the store with nibbles featuring the cheese. Recipes were available at every station so you go go home and recreate your favorite dish.

Crystal getting a big squeeze from the King / the cracking!

As if I didn't eat enough all afternoon, I met my girlfriend Michelle out and we headed to Olmsted Falls to a little french piece of heaven, Le Bistro du Beaujolais for dinner. She had the trout, I had the veal and it was all wonderful and just what we needed. Olmsted Falls is such a darling little place, it had me dreaming ice cream cones and patio dining.

Sunday I spent the day spring cleaning with the doors open, the husband came home and we lounged about and grilled out. Until we got the call that it was TIME and we headed out to Fairview hospital, where the rest of our family already was, to await the arrival of my first nephew. Early Monday, he came, one day before his beautiful mother's 30th birthday!

Penton William Morris and his beautiful mommy, Leah

The happy parents, can you feel the love?!

Later that day was our monthly meeting of the Ohio Bloggers Association and this month we were volunteering at the Cleveland Foodbank. The goal at the Foodbank is to ensure our entire community had the nutritious food they need every day. They supply most of the food used in local shelters, meal sites and food pantries.They also work closely with other local hunger relief centers supplying food to the Hunger Network, Catholic Hunger and the Salvation Army.
Monday, our group got a quick tour and orientation of the program then were tasked with filling up backpacks for the BackPack for Kids program. This provides children in need six meals to carry them through the weekend. On Friday, they receive an umarked back pack filled with food and on monday they bring their empty bag back to school so it can be filled during the week. $4 feeds a child for the weekend and $16 feeds them on weekends for the month. Click on any of the links above to learn how you can donate money or time to this program. Check out Why CLE's review and get more info here.

photo from Why CLE?

On Tuesday, some of the girls and I headed over to Julie's apartment for a Stella & Dot party. If you haven't been to one yet, it's so much fun and the jewelry is featured in Lucky, Vogue and on all the hottest celebrities. In-depth post on that coming soon!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March 2012 - Teen Vogue Birchbox

Last month Birchbox sent me an email announcing they were partnering up with Teen Vogue. I could opt-in for a Teen Vogue Birchbox in lieu of my usual box for the month of March. Considering I have quite a bit of new skincare I'm trying out, I jumped at the chance of a box (I hoped) would be filled with sparkly cosmetics.




There is nothing I don't LOVE about this box!

Essie - Luxeffects polish - set in stones
Tarte - Lip Surgence lip tint (Joy) - long lasting, moisturizing lip stain
Shisedo - Pureness Oil-Control Blotting Papers
Twistband - hair tie
Annick Goutal - Petite Cherie
Modcloth coupon


The two full-sized products (polish & lip stain) retail for $32 alone! And I'm so into tangerine right now.

Thanks Birchbox, this was such a treat!

Want to get in on the fun? Sign up here.


Saturday, March 10, 2012

OPI GelColor - Strawberry Margarita

Do you ever find yourself doing crazy mindless things while watching tv? I've been known to eat entire bags of chips, popcorn, pints of ice cream, all alone, sitting on the couch. For no reason at all. Which, by the way, is why you'll find none of these things in my house (except the popcorn!).

As I've said before, any type of gel-polish works very well for me. I keep the same color for 2 weeks before getting a new one. Two weeks of nail growth can be pretty long (for me) and I like to keep my nails quite short. I have smallish hands/nail beds and they just never look right longer. The great thing about these manicures is that you can file your nails with the polish on and they still won't chip or peel.

So that's what I did as the Husband and I caught up on Dexter. And as the suspense grew, I filed away. Mindlessly. When I arrived to get my manicure, Sarah looked at me like a disapproving mom. If I was going to have my go at it, it could at least be even. Oh well. I blame Dexter Morgan. Add nail files to the list of things I can't bring into the living room.

My nails are quite short in these pics but the color is still beautiful - and makes me want a cocktail.


OPI GelColor - Strawberry Margarita

OPI GelColor - Strawberry Margarita
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