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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Winter Blues | How to Tame Dry Skin + Chapped Lips

Welp – it’s mid-January and we are in the dead of Winter. Of course one would expect cold weather to accompany the season, however, it has been unusually bitter here in the South — was it last week we had a low of 11 degrees? With that said, my skin has taken a serious beating this past month – it is ridiculously dried out and parched, which rarely ever occurs as I would categorize my skin type as normal. If you’ve taken a ride on the struggle bus lately like I have, below are products that I am currently using that will banish your chapped, cracked and dry skin this season!

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Sugar Lip Treatment with SPF 15 by Fresh, $22.50

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Y’all — I love, love, love this stuff and it’s the real deal. I would even be bold enough to state that this is the best balm around. It’s velvety soft, moisturizing and provides the hydration that my poor, little chapped lips need. The best part of all? It comes in 11 different varieties and they all smell delicious. The one shown above (Sugar Rose’) is the one I use and although it looks intimidating, it is barely tinted – all it does is give the perfect rose flush to the lip. But if you are not one that loves a tinted lip balm, there is an untinted option as well. { Check them out here }

 

Ultra Repair Cream by First Aid Beauty, $6.50-$39

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Would you believe me if I told you that this stuff was life changing? Because it is. I wish I could take credit for discovering this but I simply cannot. My best friend, Heather, is the one who shared this magic with me and after purchasing it, I knew my world would never be the same. Wow. Just, wow. Here is the run down: you can use it on your face and your body – legs, arms, hands – it’s amazing. But what is great about this product is that it is made specifically for extremely dry skin – from people who are facing damage from harsh winter weather to those with various skin conditions such as eczema. Feeling a little hesitant and not willing to commit to spending $30 or $39 on a moisturizer? It comes in a variety of sizes, including a tester for $6.50. The proof is in the pudding – try it out first and get back to me. { Snag one here }

 

 Lip Exfoliator by e.l.f. Studio, $3

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Fact: This lip exfoliator will remove dead skin from your chapped lips. Fact: It tastes like brown sugar. Fact: It is only $3. How did I stumble upon it? Oddly enough, I was checking out at Old Navy and saw it in their “impulse buy” section. You know, that designated area by the cash registers that have fun, little goodies for you to browse while you are waiting in line in hopes that it will provoke you to make an impulse purchase? {Hello, Consumer Behavior 101}. I picked one of these up while waiting to pay for my new boyfriend jeans, and ended up taking it home with me. I can vouch that it actually works…and did I mention it was $3? { Take a gander here }

 

Oatifix Fresh Face Mask by Lush, $6.95

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Let me start out by saying, I heart Lush. It is such a wonderful retailer with a great mission. Everything they sell is developed by them, they use little to no preservatives, make their products from organic fruits and vegetables and refuse to purchase their ingredients from companies that partake in animal testing. Secondly, I just started getting into face masks. So the two combined? A match made in heaven. When I’m not using the Mask of Magnaminty, which I use to exfoliate my skin, I’m using the Oatifix Fresh Face Mask which is made for really dry skin. Made with soothing ingredients such as bananas, oatmeal and ground almonds – it will leave your skin soft and nourished. { Pick it up here }

 

7 Dry Hair Hydrating Day Cream with 7 Plants by Phyto, $28

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Is your hair feeling super dry this time of year? This hydrating, leave-in treatment will protect your hair from split ends, frizz, flyaways, and static. Oh, and a little bit goes a long way. If you have never used Phyto products before, I would highly recommend. I can honestly say that everything I’ve used by this company has been top notch. { Grab one here }