I love trying new things but I’m also super loyal when I find something that works for me. I might experiment but I keep some products with me all the time- I make sure I don’t run out. I call these my always, my forever, my loyalty products.
I mean, there’s no better feeling than knowing exactly what you’re going to get with a product. Especially when we’re talking beauty and makeup. Have you ever experienced putting on your makeup in a dimly lit room with new products and then stepping out proudly and confidently into the world, only to realize halfway through the day- when you finally catch sight of yourself in a street mirror that you look several shades of grey. Or the lip color that looked deep red turns out to be a garish orange.
But in order to get to that perfect look, you have to try- you have to experiment. And then when you do find them – you hold on tight (or at least until some business exec decides to discontinue the product and you wonder whyyyy?).
But back to my point. I have what I consider a pretty simplified makeup regimen. It goes something like this- primer, foundation, brows, lashes, and lip. I’m sharing 4 of my new loyalty products- all from where else – you guessed it at Sephora. One of the reasons I love shopping there is that it’s perfectly designed for the experimenter- the person who is looking for the perfect shade, the perfect lip- all of it.
So here are my personal faves- here are the ones that I’m for lack of a better word- getting an annual subscription for, because I know they will be repeat buys.
For foundation- I didn’t check this out immediately when it was released but I should have – Fenty by Rihanna has the coverage I like, but super lightweight and it kept me going all day long.
Mascara- This one is bar none – my ultimate favorite. As in I’m shocked, shocked that I wasn’t on board sooner. I literally will never have an urge for fake lashes again with this magic Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara – Now I know why it’s called that.
There’s some things I realized I have never ever owned, never worn, never had in my closet and I don’t know why. On my weekend visit to Greenport NY (more on that later), I scoured Nordstrom Rack for something a little different and I fell upon this number. I’m not sure why I hadn’t considered tie-dye in the past, maybe it was because I had that one aunt that wore it all the time growing up. It always seemed a little fussy, a little dowdy and just never quite right.
But there was something about this particular one that was saying, get me in thee shopping cart. And so I did. Either I’ve been blissfully ignorant or people love tie-dye. It was quite literally compliments galore everywhere I went. My favorite part was how soft the fabric is and how it moved. Maybe I still have lots to learn after all. And lots more to try.
Are there any fashion trends that you’ve stayed away from? Never tried? Tell me.
If you’re like me, you already know that being a multitasker means you have to get things done where and when you can. With so much to do in so little time, it’s good to know that my tools can keep up with my hustle.
The Acer Swift 7 has been my daily driver for the past two months, and it’s been great at helping me get the little things done to keep this blog going. I chose the gold and black body for the look, of course. The thinnest laptop in the world, the Swift 7 is super-slim and fits nicely in my bag and carry-on luggage. I love that I can take it with me and run the blog from anywhere, whether I’m on vacation or on the move.
Powered by the 7th Gen Intel® Core i7 processor, it packs a punch and gets the job done when reviewing and editing photos and videos on the go.
It has mobile editors and road warriors covered with a 13.3-inch Full HD screen two USB Type-C ports to easily move your files, a webcam, to keep you connected to your audience.
And it’s packed with power and nine-hours of battery life, so I don’t have to worry about finding the nearest outlet to recharge.
Thank you, Acer for this cool little workhorse that keeps up with my hustle.
Spring in NYC is absolutely one of my favorite times of year. So much vibrancy and color, but just how did it get there? I have to give thanks to the artists and painters who help turn the city into a colorful collage or mixed colors, textures, patterns and words. I love wearing bold, bright colors and love that my city’s canvas compliments that. I can always count on this city’s vibrant palette to inspire me when I need a little push.
LIFEWTR knows the importance of inspiration to creators and has partnered with emerging artists to turn every LIFEWTR bottle into a canvas for art. The project unfolds over a series of bottles created by unique artists that are released every few months.
Series 1: Public Art
Series 2: Women in Art
Series 3: Emerging Fashion Designers
Series 4: Arts in Education
Series 5: Art Beyond Borders
So when LIFEWTR reached out to help spread the word on the Series 4 of the project: “Arts in Education”, I was all ears. This series focuses on the artwork of three young student artists: Luis Gonzalez, KRIVVY, and David Lee.
LIFEWTR has also partnered with Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children books, to provide art kits to classrooms where kids don’t have access to these tools.
So back to the topic at hand, when LIFEWTR shared with me deets on the Series 4 “Arts In Education” bottles I was excited for a few reasons that are worth repeating:
First things first, I love their water- it’s refreshing, it’s purified and pH balanced for a clean fresh taste and finish.
The bottles are super colorful – you guys know I’m a sucker for color so that box was checked.
The bottle designs represent art- they feel so NYC, the energy and creativity of this city. It’s literally street art on a bottle. I encourage you to actually read the stories about the inspiration behind the art, about the artists themselves, and how it all came together.
These are collectible style bottles.
Art is Awesome. Period. But other that being awesome, art also helps revitalize neighborhoods, bringing color and eyeballs. These artists are rockstars in my opinion. Their work is a symbol for healthy, vibrant communities. Studies show that kids from low income communities who participate in art in school are less likely to drop out, perform better academically, and are more likely to attend college. With that said, I urge you to support arts in education and your local artists in any way you can.
Remember you can find these cool LIFEWTR Bottles at your local 7-Eleven store. You can use this locator to find one nearest you. Visit LIFEWTR to learn more about the Arts in School series, the project, LIFEWTR the company, where to buy the bottles in your area, the packaging process, nutritional info, other FAQ’s and of course, ways to support. Also check out the #BringArtBackToSchools initiative here. You can also find more LIFEWTR inspiration here!
See a fun vid below of my day with LIFEWTR starting with a quick stop at 7-Eleven and continuing on to some of my fave neighborhoods.
Have you had that feeling of- why oh why do I always shop at the same 3 places? It’s funny, we all do it. We think we found what works for us and we hardly ever try new places. There’s a certain amount of comfort in going to an old faithful, the place where you know what to expect.
But There-in lies the problem. The problem or the mundanity of the same. Now I have to admit, for a long time this extended beyond my wardrobe, stretching into the restaurants I go to, the activities I partake in,the way I style my hair. I understand the comfort that resides in knowing, in knowing without a doubt exactly what you’re going to get- but I’m discovering the better joy in discovering and sometimes rediscovering.
Case in point- I will use fashion as an analogy, a very suitable one for this platform. I do tend to shop at the same places and I have to admit, one of the best things about having this platform is the increased exposure I have received over the past few years to brands I had never heard of and brands I was aware of, but just never quite took the time to explore.
Lou & Grey is one. They are a relatively young brand from the Ann Taylor family and While I appreciated their minimal aesthetic – my first interaction with them was in the context of workout/loungewear. Which means that I completely compartmentalized them in my head and would not have considered them as a go to when putting together my summer looks.
As I have been known to say on here- “Color me surprised” when I actually was approached by Lou & Grey to take another look, through a new lens,to explore their summer collection. I could see their cottons and linens perfect for summer, their florals and stripes, the dresses, jumpsuits and even sets. And it dawned on me, I probably wouldn’t have given them a proper try and it had me thinking of what you miss when you assume or when you don’t explore.
And while I’m saying all this in this fun, limited, fashion-y context, I believe it applies across all things, all experiences.
So go take a look, or another look – that is in essence my 2018 motto.
Sometimes, I find my hotel before I even book my flights. Because I read travel magazines, travel blogs and follow travel influencers, I am constantly bookmarking places to stay. However, the Cartagena trip was such a last minute getaway that I absolutely had just a few hours (across a few days) to pick a place to stay. I realize that the more I travel, the less anxious I am about having everything lined up perfectly well in advance. Me from 5 years ago would have had a mini panic attack. What if all the good hotels were booked up? What if all that was left were horrible hotels far from the city center? What if, what if? But instead now I think, hmm, what small gem may I discover- if all the more known hotels are booked up, you have no choice but to get creative and to give a chance to what could be a hidden gem.
And that’s almost, almost how I discovered Hotel Noi Cartagena 1860. As with most big cities, a quick google or TripAdvisor search would lead you to the bigger, more popular, more known hotels. Sometimes, they are popular because they belong to a large global chain (Hilton, Sofitel, Hyatt etc). Sometimes, they are popular because they are super affordable and accessible for the masses. But there’s is often little correlation between most popular and best experience. Popularity may be a good guide but it doesn’t tell you everything you need to know especially as we are all individuals with individual likes and dislikes, with individual preferences and priorities.
So let me share a little about Hotel Noi and how it lived up or didn’t live up to my expectations:
LOCATION: Most of the time when visiting a city, you want to be as central as possible. However, if that city is vibrant; hustle and bustle; filled with tourists and party goers, you may want just a little distance. Hotel Noi offers that, a comfortable 8-10minute walk from the center, the hotel is located at the edge of the Old town. On the rooftop you can see just how close to the edge it is, with the ocean on one side (including views of the modern high rises of Cartagena) and on the other side, views of the historic and colonial Old Town. Reddish brown rooftops and colorful bougainvilleas that line and surround so very many homes. If you’re also looking to capture the beauty of Old Town, I have to say there is not a better location. First, it’s a lot less frequented so you don’t have to compete with pedestrian or tourist traffic when taking pictures. Also, because of the way the streets are, even during the day with harsh sunlight, there’s always some good shade for the best pictures.
HOTEL DECOR: A massive wooden door sits by the quiet main street (interestingly enough, not a lot of car traffic). Even as a guest, you have to knock to be let in. You walk into a cool and cosy reception area, with a living area that feels more like visiting your wealthy aunt’s home than a hotel lobby. The lobby looks further in, to a courtyard and breakfast area. There are also stairs and an elevator that take you up to your room. The courtyard reminded me of Moroccan Riads, although I later found out that courtyards like these are quite common to Cartagena design. These courtyards are often at the center of the hotel, and you look up to see open skies surrounded by the hotel rooms and balconies above.
FOOD: I always talk about hotel food- not because I rely on it but because usually at some point in your trip, you may very well need to be fed on premises. for me, that’s often in the form of breakfast or a late night snack. breakfast was excellent and filling. We mostly ordered A la Carte. Our room rate included breakfast so this wasn’t extra. However, I have to say that because Hotel Noi is a small hotel (likely no more than 15 rooms), food service felt more like a bed and breakfast. No massive spread and the kitchen closed rather early as well.
AMENITIES: The rooftop pool is small but adequate for a hotel this size. There is also a pool bar (interestingly wasn’t open for service when we were there) but the true highlight had to be the views and being able to feel like being smack dab in the middle of the Old and the New, with the ocean breeze, ocean smells and wave sounds in the air.
OVERALL: Highly recommended. Make sure to request a room with a view. I was able to check out a few rooms in the center of hotel that had smaller windows and limited light. They were still very nice, but might feel claustrophobic after a few days.
Quick- Don’t overthink, Don’t dig your brain, Definitely don’t google it- 3 things you know about Helsinki. If you blanked- I’ll forgive you. If you said DESIGN, then you’re definitely on the path I was on.
I’ll be honest- any time I thought of Helsinki (or Finland more broadly), my immediate go to was Finnish Design. Much like the rest of the Nordic countries, Finland is also known for having popularized the brand of design characterized by simplicity, minimalism and functionality. So I was rather excited about a stay at the brand new Hotel St. George in Helsinki. I knew I would be in for a design treat- oh how I love lovely spaces. Sidenote: All hotels, please take note- Most of the time, Less is indeed more.
LOCATION: Perfect location for exploring the city and walking distance to all the shops, parks and dining you’ll need. It sits across from the Old Church park and the building is striking once you see it, especially from across the street. Older, historic buildings is really where Europe for the most part has USA (much younger country, so not it’s fault) beat.
ROOM DESIGN: Not surprisingly, the rooms had that Nordic flair, but not so minimal as to be cold or inhospitable. I actually felt that there was a perfect balance of neutral tones that didn’t feel bland and somehow managed to make one feel welcome. I actually thought there was a lot of warmth in the space. Interestingly enough, most of the hotels furnishings are actually available for sale at the Finnish Design Shop, so check it out.
FOOD: The complimentary breakfast was served every day from 6AM -10AM. The restaurant space felt much more elegant than some full scale restaurants. The range of options was varied, every pastry and bread you’d need as well as so many alternatives for those with dietary restrictions.I spotted gluten free and low lactose, or dairy free options. Eggs were made to order from what I believe was a wood burning stove (the kind you’d use for pizza) and service was attentive without being overbearing. Around the corner from the restaurant was a little cafe (St George Bakery & Bar) that became my go to for their fruit smoothies and for a quick bite before or after long walks in the city.
SERVICE: I often delicately ask (don’t want to be obnoxious) when I arrive at a hotel for some kind of accommodation. Often, I know I would be taking pictures so I often request one with good light, big windows or higher up with less obstructions. The staff were so very busy that weekend as they had been open for barely 2 weeks and were planning a large opening event with all of Helsinki’s best. In spite of what could have been a chaotic period and an unreasonable request, the staff were so attentive, followed through, personally walked me through a few different room options to make sure I was happy. Even though very single one of them had been on the job for so little time, they were professional but warm. Those interactions were very welcome and they made every effort to accommodate all my requests.
OVERALL: I think Now is the time to visit. Their rates are currently quite reasonable but I imagine as more people discover them, their rates will go up. So now is a good time to visit. Unlike me, make sure to visit their Library, as well as their Spa and Playground Gym.
This post is sponsored by the new Simply Light Beverages. All opinions are my own.
It’s mid-year and like most years (l’m sure I’m not alone in this, or at least I hope I’m not alone), mid-year is right around the point in time when it becomes evident that many, if not all, of the resolutions you made for yourself might not just be happening the way you envisioned. That you’re not quite keeping the promises you made for yourself.
I have learned that accomplishments are usually in the small things. That the oversized, overly ambitious goals are great, but it’s really in the little things that we can surprise ourselves.
One thing I try to do each year and then try to build on, is to be more watchful not only about how much I consume, but exactly what I put into my body. So, I try to make healthier choices in big and small ways. But sometimes, a healthier diet can get complicated and expensive. Seriously? Why is it that healthier food options are often more expensive even though it’s exactly what we all need?
Which is why for me, there have been a few key things that have made it all easier:
I need to be able to easily purchase – for it to be widely available (as opposed to a specialty store); I need for it to not throw off my weekly grocery budget (gotta stay on budget) and I need it to taste good (cos taste is ultimately everything).
One good decision, which only required a small change, has been making the switch to Simply Light Orange Juice. First, there’s 50% less sugar and fewer calories than Simply juice drinks, while still being made with pure and simple ingredients.
Also, all of the Simply Light varieties are non-GMO (not genetically modified) and completely delicious with the required daily dose of Vitamin C in every serving. There are four flavors: Simply Light Orange Pulp Free, Simply Light Orange with Calcium and Vitamin D, Simply Light Lemonade and Simply Light Lemonade with Raspberry. So in other words, there’s something for everyone and there should most definitely be something for you.
Tell me in the comments, what simple changes do you make to enjoy life’s satisfying moments and a well-balanced lifestyle?