Memorial Day Target Sale Picks!

I hope you all are having a fabulous Memorial Day Weekend if you are here in the US. We have had mostly rainy weather here in Eastern Iowa, though it really didn’t matter much because I have pretty much spent the entire weekend in my office glued to the computer studying (ah, to be a graduate student).

Here in the US, Memorial Day Weekend is known as the start of the summer, which here in Iowa means BBQ, fireworks, baseball, corn on the cob, and spending time at the lake enjoying warmer weather!

Summer in iowa

Target (one of my favorite places to shop) is having a great sale on almost all of their clothing, accessories, and shoes! With code MEM30 you can get 30% off. How awesome is that?! Here are my picks from their sale 🙂

target memorial day sale collage 1

  1.  This pleated maxi skirt in a peachy-oatmeal color is a great piece for transitioning from spring to summer. Pair it with a cheeky statement tee or a chambray button down!
  2. An Aztec-print kimono for under $20? Yes, please!
  3. Slip-ons are everywhere lately. I snagged this pair a couple weeks ago and I love how versatile they are. Available in cognac and black.

Since it’s summer, I had to pick out something for hitting up the pool/lake/beach.

target swimmie collage

  1. Mesh details are very on-point this season for a subtle, but sexy, accent to any outfit. This swimsuit is a very affordable option for incorporating some mesh into your wardrobe! (Bottoms here)
  2. This bag adds a great pop of color (or many pops of color haha) to our mesh swimmie. Plus, it’s actually big enough for your towel, hat, sunscreen, snacks, and bottle of wine water.

What are you picking up at the Memorial Day sales this weekend?

xoxo, Mandie

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Too Good to be True? I test Estee Lauder’s Enlighten Serum

Have you ever looked at a product’s claims and thought, “No way, friend. There is no way you can do all that?” Well, I do all the time. I’m a pretty skeptical shopper. Especially if a product is expensive–I’m almost more skeptical because of the investment.  Sure, all those benefits sound nice, but if I don’t get results, I get a little sour.

In my April 2015 Glossybox, we received a sample of Estee Lauder’s Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum. The claims seemed a little too good to be true. This product is designed to:

  • hydrate
  • improves uneven skintone
  • reduce dark spots/discolorations and redness
  • smooth your skin’s texture

Full results take up to 4 weeks. That’s a lot for one product! It’s also $69/1oz. Yikes, right. For all that money, it actually better deliver on its claims.

Well, it did! I was shocked, but it definitely helped alleviate my hyperpigmentation. You can see a before and after shot below. I get dark spots around my jawline and nose, where I sometimes get acne from hormones and stress. My hyperpigmentation lasts quite a while after a blemish at baseline, so having something to help it along is welcome in my book.

The green circles indicate areas where I had some new acne; arrows indicate areas of greatest improvement.

I also noticed smoother skin texture. The serum itself is hydrating, but not oily. I haven’t experienced any unusual acne outside of my normal patterns. Enlighten is actually quite thin and refreshing to put on the skin. It always feels nice and cool.

My “naked” face–only a little mascara, eyebrow pencil, and tinted chapstick

I usually at the very least wore a BB cream, if not foundation, everyday to cover the patchiness on my chin, but I have definitely felt more confident heading out the door with a “naked” face, lately. I am so grateful Glossybox sent this sample, because I definitely wouldn’t have sprung for this product otherwise. I am definitely going to continue to use it 🙂

What product have you used lately that totally surprised you?

My [Slightly] Off-the-Beaten Path Guide to NYC – Vol. 2

CSIS NYC guideLet’s talk museums….you could literally visit a new museum everyday for probably a month in New York. There are big names, like the Met and MOMA, and smaller obscure museums like the Elevator Museum (yes, it’s a thing).

Here are my two favorites! I only picked two because there is SO much to do in New York that spending all your time in museums is a shame. One is a well-known, household name and the other is lesser known, but quite the gem.

American Museum of Natural History (Cost: Suggested ticket price is $22)

Normally, I tend to shy away from big touristy stops when I’m on vacation, but the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) is worth dealing battling the crowds (pro tip: avoid weekends). No matter what the interests of your group or family, AMNH has something interesting for everyone. For the animal lovers, they have halls and halls full of dioramas of animals from all over the world. They even have some pretty impressive dinosaur fossils if you’re more into the prehistoric side of nature.

amnh dinosaurSelfies with dinos are obligatory.

If animals aren’t really your thing, the museum also houses a planetarium and artifacts from countless different Native American, Polynesian, and African cultures. Since AMNH is huge, they also run tours all day of both the museum and specific halls. I do actually really enjoy a guided tour of a museum or hall–I always find you get information you’d never otherwise know just walking through, even if it’s just fun stories about how an exhibit came together. AMNH also puts together great special exhibits. Even though they do cost an extra admission fee, it gives you a chance to see and learn something new and different! We attended the recent exhibit on natural disasters, which has many interactive stations. I learned quite a bit! If you haven’t been, I highly recommend! It’s perfect for a rainy day.

amnh elephants

The Frick Collection (Admission: $20)

If The Frick Collection were located in any other city, I think it would get so much more buzz than it does in NYC. It is unfortunately overshadowed by the bigger name art museums, like MOMA and Guggenheim. The Frick Collection is a smaller art museum located in the Henry Clay Frick House on the Upper East Side, which in and of itself is gorgeous enough to warrant a visit. Henry Frick amassed an impressive collection of art in his home, which was then converted to a public museum in the 1930s after his widow died. Inside, you will find art by Rembrandt, Renoir, and The Greco, just to name a few, inside rooms whose decor is spectacular. You’ll also find rotating special exhibits. Admission includes an audio guide, available in many different languages. I love that they allow you to learn about the art as you go through the rooms at your own pace. If you’d like a more guided live tour, they also offer docent talks in the afternoons. This museum is a perfect break from the hustle of the city. If the price is too far out of your range, you can attend for free on Sundays from 11-1 pm, but as always with free museum times, expect more crowds.

frick

Also, here is a link that I’ve found handy in the past for a guide to free museum times. You can use this to get in free or to avoid times when these museums will definitely be more crowded 🙂

 What are your favorite museums in New York?

May 2015 GlossyBox Review!

Hi Friends!

So glad you are stopping by the new site. 🙂 If you have any helpful hints or suggestions, please let me know!

Today I have for you a review of my May 2015 Glossybox, which just arrived here on Saturday. Happy weekend to me! I love subscription boxes, they’re like surprises you can give yourself. If you’re not familiar with GlossyBox, GlossyBox is a monthly beauty subscription box that offers 5 full or deluxe size samples of products for $21/month. They offer mostly high-end products, but they throw in some great drugstore items too.

Here is what they had to offer for May 2015:

Teeez Trend Cosmetics Head Over Heels Nail Lacquer (Value: $14/0.24 oz)

Teeez is a Dutch brand that’s new to me and–if you’re located in the US–it’s probably new to you too. As far as I could tell from a quick search, the only place it’s available to buy online if you’re located in the US is Cloud10Beauty.com. Teeez strikes me very much like a Dutch version of Urban Decay: high-end products, but still edgy.

The nail lacquer I received was in the color Smoking Gun, which I have swatched below!

The color is lovely–it contains flecks of gold, bronze, and silver. It is definitely something I will wear and use! I also noted that it dried very quickly when I swatched it–always a plus!

GlamGlow Powermud Dualcleanse Treatment (Value: we received 0.5 oz, which retails for $19 at Sephora)

The GlamGlow product line is really hot right now–everyone seems to be buzzing about their masks. I’ve never tried one, partly because Lush’s Fresh Masks line (my favorite) is much more affordable; however, I am pumped to see what all the fuss is about. This Dualcleanse treatment is both mask and cleansing oil treatment. You apply a layer and allow it to dry for 5-10 minutes.  Then as you add water to rinse it off, it transforms into the a cleansing oil. The treatment is intended to purify and exfoliate. I am intrigued and I will definitely let you all know what I think!

GlossyBox also included a coupon code for GlamGlowMud. Enter GLOSSYBOX30 to get 30% off through July 31st, 2015.

Clearista Retexturizing Gel (Value: ~$10–retails $79.99/4 oz; we received 0.5 oz)

This is a pretty unique product and I am excited to see if it’s worth the hefty price tag. This gel is massaged into the skin for 30-60 seconds, then rinsed off. The gel is supposed to exfoliate and smooth the skin, reduce dark spots, and hydrate all in one. The brand, Clearista, prides itself on producing forward-thinking skincare products through science and research. They remind me a lot of another brand I’ve had great luck with–Algenist. I will definitely do a review on this, since it’s a newer product on the market.

Doucce Mineral Matt Lipstick (Value: $20/full size lippie)

Doucce is a New York based up-and-coming makeup brand. They are new to me, so I was excited to swatch this and tried it out right away this weekend. Below is a swatch of the color I received, Cherry Blossom.

The color is a beautiful rosy-pink with blue undertones. Unfortunately, it is a little too blue on me, but I can make it work with a warmer gloss over top. Regardless of the color, let’s talk formula. The formula is described by Doucce as a matte color that “glides on effortlessly.” Well, it is matte. I will give them that. However…it does NOT glide on effortlessly. The bullet is actually rather dry and applying it was literally a bit rough. Given how difficult it was to apply, I was actually rather shocked that it wasn’t drying on the lips at all. I wore it all day on Sunday with no issue. However, I probably wouldn’t purchase it outside of the box given the rough application. The packaging is also a very light plastic that feels quite cheap–it doesn’t feel like something you would spend $20 on.

Sebastian Professional Stylbrid 9 (Value: ~$5; retails $19.96/6.2 oz, we received 1.55 oz)

This product is a hairspray that can also act as a primer to protect your hair from heat, add volume, define curls, and offers UV protection. That’s a lot of usage packed into one bottle. I have used Sebastian products previously and really liked them; I am really hopeful I like this too because I am definitely in favor of any product that can free up some space under my sink!

Overall Value: $68 (over 3x your subscription cost!)

I am once again really impressed with this month’s Glossybox. I think they do a fantastic job of combining highly buzzed-about brands like GlamGlow and sleeper hits, like last month’s Marrakesh Endz. If you’re interested in signing up for GlossyBox, I would love it if you clicked here 🙂

Which products in this month’s GlossyBox that you are dying to try? Did you receive any new favorites in your subscription boxes? Let me know in the comments below!

New Product Review: Not Your Mother’s Déjà Vu ‘Do Style-Extender!

dejavu doHi friends!

For the last couple weeks, I have been trying out a new product from Not Your Mother’s (NYM) called Déjà Vu ‘Do Style-Extender. This product is a primer designed to extend the life of your hairstyle by repelling dirt and oil, maintaining body and volume, and preventing the effects of humidity. Now, I can use all the help I can get when it comes to humidity. My hair is naturally wavy and when you add in humidity, it goes full Monica. It ain’t cute.

Anyone else remember this episode?

Usage

NYM recommends applying a nickel-sized amount of product to damp hair, root to tip. Comb through, then style. Blow dry for best results.

de ja vu do collagePictured above is my hair on day 1 and then on day 2 after using Déjà Vu ‘Do.

Pros

  • Decreased frizziness
  • Decreased oiliness–I still used some dry shampoo, but definitely less than I usually do
  • Maintained more body and volume–even on day 2
  • My hair only needed a few touch-ups on day 2. Definitely made getting out the door easier and faster.
  • I also I also worked out in between these photos and my hair still held up (and I sweat like it’s my job)!

Cons

  • You must blow dry. I have tried using this product on days when I left my hair to air-dry and it did not work. My hair became frizzy throughout the day and was fairly limp the next day.
  • Product has an artificially fruity smell. It claims to smell like red apples & berries, but it smells like a candy version of red apples & berries. Luckily, the smell doesn’t linger.

Overall Impression

I will definitely continue to use this product on days when I blowout my hair. My hair felt like I had just come from the salon. I was also so impressed that I hardly had to mess with my hair at all on day 2! I’m excited to use it this summer, as I often would just wear my hair up constantly in the summers because it would get so frizzy from humidity if I left it down.  Déjà Vu ‘Do Style-Extender is also a great value–it retails for $9 for 4 oz and is available at many large retailers like Target, Wal-Mart, and Walgreens. I will definitely be repurchasing!

And just to prove that it wasn’t a fluke…

dejavu2 collageI will also add that it was incredibly windy on day 1, but my hair held up!

What new products have you tried lately?

xoxo, Mandie

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Disclosure: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Frenchie Fever!!

My little squishy-faced buddy, Winston, turns one today! winston birthdayBecause of his fawn coloring, he is often mistaken for a pug. But this handsome little dude is all French Bulldog. Frenchies have been everywhere lately, so in honor of Winston’s birthday, I rounded up a few Frenchie merchandise favorites!

PicMonkey Collage frenchie

  1.  Adorable lipgloss from Forever 21, cute enough to display on your nightstand or desk!
  2. Perfect for a day at the dog park, these French Bulldog Print Toms by The Matt Butler via Scoutmob will have everyone talking!
  3. The Frenchie on this shirt is as cool as they come!
  4. Those big ears get cold in the winter! Protect them with the BatHat by snorfindustries.
  5. Where else would you want to store your cookies? Or homemade dog treats?
  6. This dishtowel from Anthropologie is too cute to use, officially.
  7.  You can never have enough Frenchie shirts!

And of course, you can always customize a shirt for yourself at Pop Your Pup! They take a photo of your pet’s face, turn it into pop art, and put it on a shirt for you!

And because I’m obsessed with my dog and, like any good fur-mom, think he is just the cutest ever…here are more photos of my buddy Winston

winstonCollageHappy Birthday little dude. Thanks for make me smile everyday–even on the days when you eat my socks.