Swooning | February Favorites

Hello, lovelies!

I hope everyone has had an enjoyable week thus far! For my first order of business, I wanted to give a shout out to Elizabeth (Instagram name: elisabetaana) for being the blogiversary giveaway winner! She will be receiving a beautiful Volcano candle soon! Congratulations, sweet girl!

This week’s blog post encompasses the things that I am currently swooning over. With Valentine’s Day coming up this weekend, I wanted to share with you the things that I heart. Take a peek at my February Favorites List below (two of which are local to Charlotte, NC). Enjoy!

February Favorites

1. { Hop Cakes from NoDa Brewing Company } If you’ve read my blog before, you will notice that I’ve mentioned NoDa Brewing Company in previous posts. It is a craft brewery located in Charlotte, NC and two of their beers made my top ten favorite beers of all time list (check out that post here). However, I would like to revise the list and add Hop Cakes because NoDa has done it again! I can quite honestly say that I have not had a beer of theirs that I disliked…they nail it every time. But let me tell you about Hop Cakes. It started off as a “NoDable Release”, which is a special, small-batch brew that they change out and feature each Tuesday. However, the popularity of Hop Cakes was significant and rightfully so. Imagine a delicious, double IPA combined with the taste of pancakes. Yeah, I said it. Pancakes. NoDa Brewing Company just released Hop Cakes in cans this month and they’re being snagged up like “hop cakes” (see what I did there?). This will be the 4th beer that they’ve released and distributed in four-pack cans (also check out Coco Loco, Hop, Drop N’ Roll and Jam Session). If you live in the Charlotte area, you can pick up Hop Cakes at your local Harris Teeter.

2. { Shadow/Blush in Hot Mama from The Balm } The first product I purchased from The Balm was the Mary Lou Manizer highlighting powder, which was recommended to me by a friend. I instantly became a fan for life – I loved the product, the packaging and the company mission. Their makeup is certainly not easy to find (it’s not something you can pick up in Sephora or Ulta), but if you have some faith and order online, you will not be sorry! I discovered the shadow/blush merely by accident while I was in Barcelona. My luggage was lost at JFK (fiasco) and I had to purchase clothes, toiletries and makeup since I would be without my own for a few days. I went into a makeup store at the mall in Barcelona and noticed there was a whole display of makeup and skincare from The Balm – bingo! I ended up picking up quite a few products but this shadow/blush – I cannot stress how GORG it is. The peachy/blush color is super pigmented and has a slight shimmer that will make your skin look simply radiant. It is one of those universal colors that looks fantastic on every skin tone.

3. { Rectangle Hand Painted Floral Tray in Yellow from The Little Market } So let me start out by saying, The Little Market is a gem that you must know about if you do not aleady. I’m a avid Lauren Conrad blog reader and discovered this company through her posts. I’ve got to hand it to Lauren Conrad, she is a marketing/branding genius and as someone in the industry, I admire her immensely. Lauren Conrad is actually the co-founder of The Little Market, which is a company that was created to build partnerships with female artisans from around the world and connecting them to customers in an online marketplace. It was cultivated to not only empower women but to provide them with the opportunity to support their families as many of them are in less fortunate situations. The mission itself is so heartfelt and touching and the products? Equally as beautiful. From baby gifts to handbags to home decor – there is truly a little bit of everything. I personally love this dainty, hand painted, pale yellow tray (as well as practically everything else on the site).

4. { Lean In – Women, Work, & the Will to Lead from Amazon } Who doesn’t love a good book? I’ve been blowing through them lately and the one that I just finished up is truly life changing. If you are a female professional, it is seriously your right of passage to read this book by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook. It was informative, fascinating and I could not put it down for the life of me. I would even be bold enough to say it was probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. Download it on your tablet or pick up a hard copy from Amazon or your local bookstore!

5. { Jewelry from Melvin from Shop Melvin } I came across this company on Instagram and coincidentally, discovered that they are based out of Charlotte, NC — go figure! All of their accessories are swoon-worthy but I happen to have a soft spot for their necklaces. Some of their products have even been featured on the hit HBO series, Girls. The designers get their inspiration from art, culture and travel and its definitely translated in their lines. I tend to get a very tribal and boho vibe from their designs – love, love, love!

6. { Embellished Armhole Scuba Skater Dress in Nude from ASOSI’m a sucker for a. embellishments, b. a feminine frock, and c. anything and everything from ASOS. Therefore, this dress is a home run! For those of you who are looking for something a little more valiant, it also comes in black.

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Beauty Buy | Marsala { Pantone Color of the Year }

Hello lovelies and welcome to my very first beauty-related post!

In the past, I’ve been the kind of person that purchases beauty products I love…which mainly consists of Mac Cosmetics as I’ve been wearing the brand since high school. What can I say? I’m a woman that knows what I like. However, a couple of my best friends are really into cosmetics and one recently got me a little more involved in the world of beauty. As mentioned in a previous post, there is a whole subculture of makeup bloggers with YouTube channels, and I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical at first. Not because I doubted the credibility of these people, but because I just could not wrap my head around why I needed to read lipstick reviews or watch makeup application tutorials.

Fast forward a couple of months and I am officially hooked. I look at this makeup craze as another form of art. In fashion, what we wear expresses the mood we are in or who we are as a person and makeup essentially accomplishes the same thing. I can dig it.

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{ My new favorite makeup blogger, Jaclyn Hill (thank you, Heather) – her YouTube channel can be found here }

Over the holiday, I decided to hit the mall to find a new blush. I have three Mac blushes that I regularly use but felt the need to add to my collection…first world problems, right? I was absolutely convinced that I was going pop into Sephora and purchase a Nars blush (which I had tirelessly researched prior to my visit). I had several colors jotted down that I wanted to swatch and as I stood there testing them, an adorable little guy working at the store basically stopped me dead in my tracks and asked if I had seen the Pantone + Sephora makeup collaboration. “No?” “Ummm, then you need to.”

If you did not already know, Pantone chooses a “color of the year”…and it’s a big. freaking. deal. It is essentially the industry standard and connects people from all over the globe with one seamless color system. It is what companies use to develop their logos and is also utilized for design, fashion, paint colors, and pretty much everything in the world. In 2013, the color of the year was Emerald, 2014 was Radiant Orchid but 2015 is Marsala. Although I was not Radiant Orchid’s biggest fan, it certainly had a heavy influence this past year. However, I am head over heels in love with Marsala. It’s such a deep, rich, full-bodied color that universally looks good on everyone.

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Sephora had a large display at the front of the store consisting of various products that they collaborated with Pantone on…all Marsala related. From eyeshadow palettes to lipstick…and of course, a blush palette that was beyond words. This is what my new Sephora friend decided to show me. He took out the sample and swatched it on his hand – Wowza.

{ Sephora + Pantone Universe Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio }

This palette has three components: a highlighter and two shades of blush – one being a true Marsala color. What was recommended to me was to apply the highlighter to your cheekbones, followed by the deep Marsala color underneath to give it a little depth and dimension, followed by the lighter blush color that can then be used to blend everything out. The outcome is truly unreal and it gives your cheeks a gorgeous glow. The blushes are rich, super pigmented and easy to build on. I was originally going to spend $30 on a single Nars blush but instead, spent $28 on three.

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{ The outcome = amaze }

Y’all, the highlighter alone is everything. If you are looking for something new and different to add to your cosmetic collection, I would highly recommend this blush trio. It is definitely transitional through the seasons as it is perfect for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. All hail Marsala!

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