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Favorite Instagram Accounts I Follow

19 Sep

Hey guys!

In addition to The Gift of Gab, I also have an IG account that’s dedicated to my lifestyle. At times you’ll find me promoting my blog posts, YouTube videos, and products that I’m loving at the moment. If you don’t follow my Instagram, be sure to at @classysassg.

I have wonderful followers, but I’m also happy to state I follow accounts that serve different purposes, but I feel have the best content out there. It’s not often I grow to love an IG account, so you’ll discover the ones I discuss in this post, are a few that are worth the follow.

Humor

thingsbitchessay

@thingsbitchessay is a parody account, dedicated to all memes meant to empower or expose the “HBIC”. A lot of the time, I can relate to this account’s posts, and I know a lot of girls would. It’s all in good fun, and the best part? It never portrays a woman as “weak” or a “damsel”. I often find that IG accounts dedicated to memes can be sexist in that it only shows the “man’s side” of things. Who doesn’t love an account like @thingsbitchessay that basically screams “I am woman, hear me roar.”

Travel

tipsyontravel

@tipsyontravel is an IG account based on blogger Leanne’s life. She records all of her travel adventures through stunning visual photography, along with detailed descriptions. I only follow travel and lifestyle IG accounts when their content is high quality, because who doesn’t get drawn in by sight? Also, photo’s that make you feel you are there in the moment, are the ones that transcend meaning most to me.

olivia.lines

@olivia.lines will take you into her world, through her eyes. The contrast and saturation of her photographs, really make for a unique IG quality that not many accounts strive for because they don’t know that’s exactly what their viewers want to see. To be able to view a day in the life, whether it’s traveling to a foreign country, sitting and having your meal, or taking a photograph of street lights, this IG account’s authenticity makes it extremely fascinating!

Food

wineandfoodblog

@wineandfoodblog IG account is based off of the blog, Wine, Food and Friends, which is based around different recipes, that are categorized by each meal course. The IG account and blog owner, Lindsay, captures the essence of her recipes in her IG photographs, and usually focus on one item per photo. I find this technique appeals most to me because simplicity in staging is often all you need to reel your audience in for more.

themiamimenu

@themiamimenu is an IG account dedicated to photographs of delicious foods, whether it’s homemade or from a restaurant in the Miami area. I live in South Florida, so whenever I see accounts dedicated to promoting foods in the area, I’m all for the follow. I also love to drool over amazing food photographs, especially if they are fattening just to get my visual fix. Then I pinch myself, and back on my diet I am again. No harm done, but I also get an idea of what I can indulge in come my cheat meal night.

oliviathevegan

@oliviathevegan is dedicated to veganism and the foods that the account owner, Olivia, eats on a daily basis. Her vegan bowl pictures always have me dreaming about eating them. I’m personally not a vegan, but I’m always on the hunt for new healthy recipes to incorporate into my diet, and she has the best ideas for just that! She makes veganism look easy, flawless and most importantly – delicious.

Beauty

beautybykat____

@beautybykat____ showcases her work of looks created on her YouTube makeup channel, along with product breakdowns of these looks on her IG account. I love how creative Kat gets, and is always coming up with amazing cut-crease eye makeup looks. She’s a natural artist, and her IG account expresses that point across to her audience. Plus, she’s a total sweetheart!

christinaschiccorner

@christinaschiccorner is a beauty blogger who like me, promotes her blog posts often on her IG account. Christina has the best posts based all around beauty and lifestyle. From hair, to makeup, to skincare, she’s got it down to a science. She takes awesome photographs, and has a nice clean theme for her IG account. Plus, she’s on top of her posting game. Consistency is something I admire, because it reminds me so much of my philosophy when it comes to blogging.

maquillajeitup

@maquillageitup IG can help you to discover new beauty products! She does IG reviews, and goes in-depth on her descriptions. Not to mention, the makeup meme’s she makes are hilarious. Demo videos are also available on her account, which makes it a convenient way to preview the hottest makeup available on today’s market, before making that purchase!

Lifestyle

inspire_me_home_decor

@inspire_me_home_decor Interior Design Content Creator, Farah Merhi, outdid herself with this IG account. I’m obsessed with this one, because it inspires the interior designer in you. You’ll want to switch things around in your home, or day dream about a future décor style in the future for it. This IG account features home decors from many different other interior design accounts, which helps other decorators gain exposure. It’s definitely an account you’ll be scrolling through for over 30 minutes, and wonder where the time has gone.

ayeshacurry

@ayeshacurry is the famous GSW Steph Curry’s wife, but she doesn’t stop there. She engages in blogging, vlogging, and even has a cookbook out. Ayesha even has a new home food delivery service called Gather, where ingredients are sent to your door each week, and you can create meals according to her own recipes for your family. She’s got a lot of things going on, and her IG account shows that. She posts about everything lifestyle, and she’s got herself together, which I’ve always admired.

oliviapearson

@oliviapearson is on the show WAGS on the E Channel, but long before she was a reality star, she was just “IG famous”. I’ll admit, this is one of my guilty pleasure follows, but the good thing about Liv, is that she runs a blog and YouTube channel with her cousin Natalie. They both create content catered to high-end products, and have great video and photography skills. Not sure how much of the content on Liv’s IG is her own, but it’s an entertaining account to follow, none the less.

What are some of your favorite Instagram accounts to follow? Check these out when you have the time, and enjoy your time scrolling!

Thanks for reading, and hope you’re all having a wonderful week!

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Miami Spice Review: La Mar

5 Sep

Hey everyone!

Living in South Florida has many perks, but it can get pricey when dining out in the city. Luckily, I was able to experience a Miami Spice 3 course meal priced at just $23 per person, at La Mar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Downtown Miami. Miami Spice is a once a year dining experience, in which top restaurants in Miami participate in from August 1st – September 30th.

It’s around this time of the year, that tourists (and locals like myself), take advantage of ordering from a curated discounted menu at these restaurants. The Mandarin is a very popular hotel down here, and being able to enjoy this lovely view, was also a real treat for me!

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La Mar is a Peruvian cuisine restaurant, and is ran by the famous chef, Gaston Acurio. I grew up eating Peruvian food all of my life, so anywhere I go to eat it, I always judge a little bit harder. My family members are able to cook the most exquisite Peruvian cuisine right from their homes, so that’s where my biases kick in.

Taking a look at the Miami Spice menu at La Mar, it’s hard to pass up the opportunity to enjoy not one, but three appetizers brought out to you automatically, along with a main course, dessert, and the choice of a bottle of wine. My only complaint on the beverage selection, was that you weren’t allowed to order just one glass of wine. That would be a bummer for someone dining out for a quick lunch, but not so much so for a couple or group of people.

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The appetizers included small bites of a causa salad, cebiche chifa, and chicken anticucho in separate bowls. The causa salad consisted of sunchokes, crushed beets and asparagus, topped with a bit of avocado and huancaina sauce. Causa can be eaten warm or cold, and this causa was warm. I thought it was just right, and the flavors were a nice cleanser between the other two appetizers, which packed a punch in taste.

The cebiche chifa included a mixture of ginger-sesame sauce along with a soft piece of salmon, wonton strips and leche de tigre (lime juice) with cilantro to top it off. This was by far my favorite appetizer that I got to try. I was left intrigued with mystery, as to how the chefs cooked the salmon, where it literally melted in your mouth, and felt like jelly at the same time. It was absolutely delicious, and the citrus sauces brought out the flavors so much more! The appetizer I felt was just okay in my book, was the chicken anticucho.

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Containing chicken thigh, confit potatoes, choclo (giant corn), and ocopa sauce, I felt the chicken was a bit on the burnt side. I think this was meant to add diversity to the flavors, but I just didn’t see the point of it to be honest. It felt like the “odd man out”. If it was cooked to a more medium level, then I probably wouldn’t have noticed how it didn’t fit in for me.

With not having ordered a $50 bottle of wine, I decided to have a non-Miami Spice drink, which was the Pisco Sour for $15. Pisco Sour is Peru’s national drink, and the one at La Mar consisted of a blend of barsol quebranta pisco, lime, egg white, and angostura bitters. I thought the drink was amazing. Not many restaurants make their pisco “easy to swallow”, as most are made to be bitter tasting. If you like a lighter tasting cocktail, that easily packs a punch at the end of one glass, this is the drink to order at La Mar. The fact that one glass is $15 was kind of lame, but it also left me not needing to order another one at the same time.

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For the main course, you’re only allowed to choose one, and I chose the carapulcra. Carapulcra is technically a dry potato stew, with a side of white rice, red beans, and pork belly made to a crisp. This was such an amazing meal, and I feel that if you like the stew type of dishes, picking the carapulcra (anywhere you go) is your safest bet. I do want to comment, that the crispy pork belly was crispy on the outside, but once you tore into it, was completely soft on the inside.

This is something you find rarely with hispanic dishes, as pork chunks are usually crispy from the inside and out. I thought the way it was cooked, was very impressive. My only critique was that it could have used a little more salt. Nothing major, and none the less I would order this dish again, and again!

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To top the experience off, I chose to eat the Peruvian dark chocolate cake. This savory pastry bite was made of lucuma mousse and orange caramel. It was so yummy, and for the first time I realized how well citrus fruits such as orange or tangerines, go well with dark chocolate. It truly brings out the flavors of each combination, and every bite was like heaven in your mouth.

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All in all, this Miami Spice dining experience at La Mar was a success! If I had to rate everything from 1-5, I’d give it a good 4.8. I was impressed by the curated cuisines, but not impressed with the lack of deals on the drinks.

I’m happy I was able to go, and if you’re ever at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami, this is one restaurant you do not want to pass up! Until next time, have a great week!

Weekend Chit Chat: Ikea & Wedding Decor

19 Aug

Hi there!

These past weekends have been quite eventful for me, and they include attending a family wedding, and taking a stroll in Ikea. I don’t know about you guys, but Ikea is a field trip in and of itself. I want to note that sometimes when I write eventful chit chats, they don’t always occur in the same weekend. They are more of a recap than anything else. Still makes for a fun, and interesting post if you ask me!

Bernie Wedding

The wedding I attended was spectacular. The theme was cinema, and all things theater, which I found to be such a creative way to celebrate! The décor and displays were made personable, and that’s one of the best ways to connect with your family and friends on your special day. Everyone could relate to the bride and groom in some way, and I was lucky enough to enjoy this beautiful centerpiece of tulips and hydrangeas in my own home as a reminder of the beautiful night that had occurred.

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I also got a chance to explore my local IKEA, and as always, I find it fascinating. Not sure if it’s because of the maturity relating to my age, or genuine interest, but anything relative to architectural or interior design, has remained an unawaken liking of mine. I first reached the rug area, because I was in search of a new rug for my room. Overwhelming was an understatement. There are rugs hanging from the walls, on the floor, and thrown on boxes. It’s literally your choice of many, and it’s kind of like encountering a play pen of pets. It’s like a picking a puppy to take home with you, to be quite frank.

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After choosing the right rug for my surroundings, I decided to explore a bit, and my curiosity got the best of me. I found these little lighting fixtures first, which would be adorable for a child’s room. I wondered what the inspiration was behind them, as these reminded me of characters sort of like from the movie Totoro, which was a childhood favorite of mine.

The lighting fixtures are permanently interesting. You never see these types of designs other than Ikea. I do wonder whether the orb shaped fixtures give enough lighting as the uncovered, wired ones do. I’ve dreamed about having a modern and minimalistic room, and putting one of these as the main centerpiece. While chandeliers were my first preference when I was a little girl about lighting fixtures in my future home, these futuristic designs have replaced that dream of mine, or should I say, evolved.

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Making my way to the storage area, there are tons and tons of boxes. Some are metal, some are cardboard. I managed to pick these two zig zag cardboard pattern boxes, which came with a self-assemble box and lid. For less than $5, I thought these were a steal. Just because something looks expensive, doesn’t mean it has to be.

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Recycling material once used to hold documents in a storage room, which is now transformed to an aesthetically pleasing household décor piece, not only looks good, but protects the environment as well. One less plant destroyed in vain, right?

Ikea and weddings are fun, but knowing you guys enjoy these posts is even more fun for me! I hope you all have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

Easy Homeade Pina Colada Recipe

12 Aug

Hey drink lovers!

This post is SO for you! Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your yummy tropical drinks. Pina Coladas can be made all year long in my book. On my Instagram, I had promised you all a recipe my family has been making for some time now for an easy homemade Pina Colada experience. This recipe is dedicated to my grandmother, because she introduced me to it.

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What You’ll Need

For starters, you’re going to need the two most very basic essentials in this recipe: a blender and two cups of ice. If you add too much ice, this drink will be watered down, and not frozen. The only way I can withstand so much sugar, is by it being nice and frozen!

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Once the ice is placed in the blender, it’s time to open that can of Pina Colada mixer. It’s very gooey, and you’ll need a spoon to dig it all out. After the product is in the blender, be sure not to throw the can away, at least not yet.

Measuring the amount of rum is fairly easy, so you’ll need no measurement cup. Your measurement cup will be the remaining mixer can. Trust me, I’ve tested this many times, and it’s JUST right.

Now just blend, blend, blend. After you’ve hit your desired formula, you’re going to pop open that Maraschino Cherry can. My grandmother likes for the cherries to be cut in half with the stems still intact, and placed on the rim of a glass. You can get quite creative at this point.

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Finally, with a spoon you’re going to scoop some cherry juice from the jar, and swirl it on top of the drink. It will then sink to the bottom of the glass, creating an aesthetically pleasing factor about this drink. I think it pulls it together nicely, while making it taste delicious.

Does your family have their own drink recipes? Let me know if you get to try this out in the comments below, and enjoy your week!

Weekend Chit Chat: Décor & Dining

11 Jul

Hey guys!

Recently, I had a weekend full of back to back events, which included social gatherings, as well as dining experiences. I was fortunate to draw inspiration from them, and build this post together for your guys! If you’re ever in the West Miami area, and you’re a fan of experimenting with different cuisines, I highly recommend Aromas Del Peru.

White Sangria

My favorite drink there has to be the White Sangria, where they dice up fresh fruits into a mixture of white wine with juice, along with some dry ice for special effects (video of the drink is up on my Instagram @ClassySassG). Though you can select from the menu some delicious choices, my family and I much prefer the buffet special, which runs from 12pm – 3pm at the location in Coral Gables. I’m not sure if this special applies to their other locations in South Florida, as their website doesn’t mention it.

This includes all you can eat for one person, for $19.99. If you’re not familiar with Peruvian food, it’s a unique take on Spanish, Asian, and Native Peruvian influences all into one category. I thoroughly enjoy eating Peruvian, and here’s a peak at what my plate looked like at Aromas Del Peru recently.

Peruvian Buffet

Shifting restaurants, I also indulged in the Cheesecake Factory! I feel like whatever item your order on their menu, you can’t be disappointed. I myself haven’t tried everything on the menu, but when I do go, I choose an item I either have come to love every time I go there, or something completely new. I’ve tried everything from sandwiches, to lettuce wraps, to enchiladas. I had their steak tacos, and my mouth was in heaven.

The steak wasn’t hard to chew, and the small corn tortillas along with the side of rice with black beans made for the perfect Mexican dish. What I like about the Cheesecake Factory is that there is something for everyone on the menu. If you’re on a diet, there’s something for you. If you want a burger, they have that too. If you want an upscale piece of fish, it’s there at your request.

Cheesecake Factory Steak Tacos

You can never go wrong with a glass or two of Prosecco, so at Cheesecake that was my choice of drink. I’m not the type to order a Pina Colada unless I’m on vacation or in the hot sun at the beach. Prosecco is my favorite sparkling wine, and the brand varies. I’m no beverage connoisseur, but for a long time I couldn’t tell the difference between sparkling wine and champagne. The biggest difference is that champagne does not go stale if left in the bottle for too long, while sparkling wine does.

Proseco

Finally, onto two little decoration inspirations I got while at different baby shower events. This particular decoration with the anchor details, helps if you’re on a budget, and the availability of baby’s breathe is usually easy to find. I liked the sailor themed mason jar with the flower pebbles at the bottom, because the detailing was simple, yet very crafty and creative.

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I love DIY center pieces! The combination of daisies with baby’s breathe, along with sliced lemons in a watered vase, make for a beautiful center piece in the summer time. This was a Pinterest idea (as they usually are), and its ideas like these that make time and effort, along with care go a long way when putting a DIY idea together creatively.

Table Top Arrangements

That’s it for my chit chat post today. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read, and have a great day!

Dollar Tree Haul

5 Jul

Hey guys!

If you haven’t visited your local Dollar Tree as of late, a lot has changed there. First off, though they often come in an exaggerated amount of bulk, you can now order items online. Secondly, the selection of items available have expanded drastically.

This was news to me, as I only used to visit a Dollar Tree to pick up holiday decorations. Now, it’s become my new obsession. I never spend more than $35 there, and I walk out with a ton of new things. The point is, they’ve stepped up their game. I see you, Dollar Tree.

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My recent haul called for me to purchase a few frames to hand out my graduation pictures to my family members. For just $1 each, I purchased more than 10 frames. The frames are your standard black, modern design, which make them hardly cheap looking. They served their purpose so much, I decided to buy extra frames of different sizes for my room.

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Another item I needed desperately were socks. I grab two variety packs of them, and have been surprised with the quality so far. They do great in the washer, and are even more comfortable than my regular socks purchased from Walmart or Target. If you’re like me that mysteriously loses a sock every time it goes into the dryer, you can benefit from grabbing a few packs of these at the Dollar Tree, without regrets.

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I was using a cup holder from a cruise to hold my pens and pencils on my desk, so when I saw an actual pencil holder, I immediately reached for it. At my store they only had it in the black shade, and I’m glad for that because it goes well with my dark furniture.

I have mentioned these candles before in my monthly favorites before, and right now they still hold the title of the best affordable scented candles out there. The WoodCraft line of candles run small, similar to the BBW Mini Candles, and can fill a huge room of scent. Unlike other cheap candles, these are worth the buy.

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In order to add some life to my room, I decided to create my own faux floral arrangements. I was able to get a mini vase out of my laundry room from a past house party, and incorporate it into my new floral arrangement.

I did purchase a round floral bowl, and used the left over flowers from the first arrangement that didn’t fit. I also bought clear glass floral marbles to add a bit of detail to the DIY. The faux flowers can be purchased at the Dollar Tree as well.

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Instead of paying my usual $4 and up on cotton and nail polish remover, I opted for a more economical choice that day. Let me just say they have all of your hygiene needs at this store. I would just stock up on these if I were you, but I didn’t since I had half of a bottle left at my house still. Grabbing a bag of cotton balls that didn’t cost over $5 was a nice treat as well.

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Finally, I got my hands on three Wet n’ Wild makeup brushes! These are the new ones I hear everyone on YouTube and Instagram rave about, and I’m glad they are less than $1 each! So far, I’ve been loving them so much as far as performance wise.

It’s difficult to find a full set, because the two times I’ve visited the Dollar Tree, they never have the same in stock in a week. These aren’t listed on their website, but you can purchase them online, and I’ll leave the link down below.

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Have you had a recent Dollar Tree haul, or discovered some great finds? Let me know, as I love to hear about how creative people get when they visit that store. Hope you guys enjoyed this post, have a great day!

Products Mentioned

Black Wire Mesh Pencil Holder

Assorted Socks

WoodCraft Vanilla Sugar Scented Glass Jar Candles

Glass Floral Marbles

Round Floral Bowl

Swan Strengthening Nail Polish Remover

Assured Cotton Balls

Wet n’ Wild Brushes

5 Ways to Unwind From Your Day

20 Jun

Hey there!

Life can get pretty hectic sometimes. Whether you’re working hard at work, school or going through rough moments in life, when is it that you stop and think about treating yourself? Every week, you should stop, and treat yourself.

Even if it’s just for an hour or two at the spa, or an entire day vegging at home on the weekend. If you’ve watched Eat, Pray, Love, you might’ve heard of the phrase, “Dolce far Niente” while Elizabeth Gilbert’s character visits Italy. This means “The Sweetness of Doing Nothing”, and that’s exactly what we forget to do.

In order to be pleasant for those in our surrounding environments, as well as be internally happy once we’ve recharged our batteries, we can then set back into our labor routines the next day. In fact, some European and Asian countries encourage their employees to take an hour to take a nap and relax! Why that concept hasn’t caught on here in America, I’ll never understand.

An hour to relax might solve some of our current problems. So for those of us who don’t get the luxury of an hour a day to relax in the middle of the afternoon, let’s just leave these five suggestions on how to unwind from a long day to a time where you DO have free time available.

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  1. Take a hot bath or shower.

This one isn’t that hard to do, because we do it every day regardless of our schedule. So why not make this time, YOU time? Indulge in some stress relieving products that induce relaxation inside of a warm bathtub. If you’re not a bath type of person, you can enhance your shower relaxation experience by investing in a body exfoliator. Just shower as your regularly do, and make sure to incorporate scrubbing the exfoliant all over your body, to reveal fresh, smooth skin. I always feel like I’m doing a good cleansing of the soul, after I’m able to reveal new skin and remove dead, dry skin that’s just been sitting on the surface.

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  1. Drink some wine.

According to a study conducted by Harvard University, red wine is actually good for you.  Resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, activates a protein that supports the wellness and longevity of a lifespan. Although it should be in moderation, a glass a day of red wine won’t hurt. This unwinding technique works best for someone whose constantly busy. You can enjoy a glass while you read a book, do laundry while sipping, and even have a glass after the kids have fallen asleep. It’s a win, win situation here, isn’t it?

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  1. Do or get your nails done.

If running on a tight schedule, stop by the nail salon, and treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure session. If you’re in college, or have a little more time on your hands, you can always opt to do your own nails in the comfort of your own home. I’ve always been a fan of doing my own nails, since I’m a hypochondriac about sanitation of the professional tools used at some salons, so if I opt to go to a salon, it’s because I’ve done my research on it, and will take my chances. The point is to get your nails done, because what woman (and man) doesn’t feel more confident and polished after they’ve gotten them done anyway?

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  1. Get your facial mask on.

This is my personal favorite way to relax (plus wine). If you wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning, and have the urge to clear your pores from the week’s sweat and dirt, I highly suggest a mask session. Once a week, you owe your skin a little detox time. Finding the right mask to use can be difficult, so I’d suggest trying some from your local grocery stores such as Publix or Whole Foods. If you have the time to take a trip to ULTA, they have a great selection there too as well. Though your skin will let you know which ones work best with it. Those pictured above happen to be what work for me.

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  1. Light a candle or two.

Dim the lights, and light one or two up. There’s nothing more relaxing, than enjoying the aroma of a well scented candle, to promote relaxation and tranquility. If you’re tight on a budget, invest in some candles from the Dollar Tree as I’ve found they are just as scented as a high end candle. Yet if you have some money to spend, I recommend Bath & Body Works candles. Start off with smaller candles, to find what scents you prefer. That way, you’ll know your favorites once you make your repurchase of the larger three wick versions.

Want to know a cheat code behind these five unwinding techniques? You can almost do them all at the same time. That is, if the kids are being watched by a baby sitter, you’ve finished taking that exam, or have a free day from work. The choices are yours to make, but you better make them for your own sanity. Squeeze in “unwinding time”, you and everyone around you, will be glad that you did.

Thanks so much for reading!

Bed Bath & Beyond Haul

25 May

Hey guys!

This past weekend I made a stop at Bed Bath & Beyond, and picked up a few essentials for my organizational agenda. Whether it’s conscious or unconsciously, my surroundings always affect my moods. You can say I’m in full Feng Shui force. Since I’m done with college (for now), I can put the order in my living space that I’ve always procrastinated on.

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I decided to get two storage crates at $7 apiece. I tried searching for these exact crates on the Bed Bath & Beyond website, but it seems they’re only sold in store. My local store had either a gray or aqua shade to select from. Since anything remotely aqua reminds me of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, I was all for the aqua. I’ll be using these to store a lot of the items I’m selling on my Mercari and Poshmark online stores. Keeping everything nice and neat, just makes for easier finding of these items when it’s time to ship them off. I like these crates so much, I plan on going back and getting two more for the closet.

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I also picked up a travel thermal coffee mug by Rove. I’m excited to try it out, but I have read online after my purchase, that not many people find it that great. This travel mug was on sale for $6 at the time, so I won’t be too blown away if it doesn’t get the job done. As long as it can transport my coffee from point A to point B, I think I’ll be content. If you guys have any travel mug suggestions, feel free to inform me of them! For now, this will do.

UPDATE: I’ve tried the thermal out, and apparently the manufacturer must have remade this product, because I have absolutely NO complaints about it. 

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Living in hot South Florida, you can easily burn your fingers on your steering wheel. Conveniently, I’ve been doing this for the longest time. Until I ran into the Jumbo Folding Auto Shade windshield cover for $8. I don’t have a leather interior car, nor are the seats leather, but the car still gets blazing hot in the summer time. With summer just starting, I knew I didn’t want to keep burning myself every time I wanted to change the radio, shift modes, or drive. This cover comes with suction cups that sticks to your car glass. At last, I’m now a part of the “windshield cover” team.

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Finally, another item I purchased with mixed reviews, was two quantities of Real Simple’s Slimline 5-Tier Swivel Pant Hanger. I bought one to hold my heavy bottoms such as jeans and jeggings. Then the second one is meant to hold my soft pants such as leggings and joggers. I read on the site reviews that these hangers break easily. I’m glad I bought two, because I feel if you try to pile on too much on, then they will. For the budget price of these, you can easily make it work with strategic placement, and care.

I’m glad I made it out in one piece from Bed Bath & Beyond. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants to buy the entire store! Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful week!

Products Mentioned

Real Simple Slimline 5-Tier Swivel Pant Hanger

Storage Crates and Connects (in store)

Jumbo Folding Auto Shade in Silver

Rove 14-Ounce Stainless Steel Tumbler

Royal Caribbean: Allure of the Seas Vacation

21 May

Hello there!

It was time for a vacation from reality (including blogging), but fortunately I’m back to share the fun I’ve had! I visited three (technically four) beautiful islands on board Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas cruise ship. The entire experience lasted for 7 days, and guests were taken to St. Maarten, St. Thomas & St. John Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas.

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Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

Yet the destinations weren’t the sole highlights of my trip. Sailing on the Allure of the Seas was amazing. It had been a while since I had sailed on a cruise ship, and this was by far my favorite trip. The Allure of the Seas is huge, and to think that the Oasis and the new Harmony of the Seas are bigger, makes you wonder: Which one should I sail on in the first place? I would recommend taking any of these three, as they are all similar in design and structure.

Another great tip as soon as you come on board of the Allure: get familiar with your surroundings. That means grab a drink and start walking ALL over the ship, take pictures on your phone of maps and menus on board, and read all of the 7 day itineraries your state room attendant leaves you every day in your room. I’m telling you, if you follow these simple rules, you’ll get the most out of your vacation, and feel like you did almost everything there was to do on board.

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Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas cruise map.

By day two, we landed in Nassau, Bahamas, and had from 8 AM – 2 PM to enjoy the island. To be honest, this was my least favorite destination. I’ve been to the Bahamas about 2 times before, and I already knew the only spot I wanted to be at: Paradise Island.

This time, my family and I wanted to try something different, and we tried to explore the areas outside of the Port. We were met with a fast paced small city life, and a bunch of people trying to sell us stuff. So what did we do to salvage the rest of our time? We headed to where we knew we’d enjoy it best, which was Paradise Island.

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Behind Atlantis’ beach on Paradise Island, Bahamas.

Once you cross the bridge from Downtown Nassau to Paradise Island, you encounter the Atlantis Resort. The hotel tours have risen in price around $130 or so, which is far more expensive than when I took the hotel tour more than 6 years back. We decided to enjoy the beaches behind the Atlantis resort, and we were harassed by someone every 3 minutes trying to sell anything from Cuban cigars, to bottom shelf liquor made drinks.

Luckily, I chose the bottom shelf liquor made in a coconut drink. These were not cheap either. Yet in the money that was spent just on the beach alone (chair rentals, umbrellas, and bottom shelf liquor coconut drinks), it added up to the price of a Royal Caribbean excursion. I’d say, if you can save your money and do an excursion, or just not get off at Bahamas at all, and enjoy the ship. I would do exactly that.

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On the Rising Tides Bar, overlooking The Royal Promenade, Deck 5 on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

Next was a day out to sea, and since I loved being on the Allure, I didn’t mind our sea days one bit. My favorite areas were Deck 5, which was named the Royal Promenade, and included restaurants and shops; Deck 6, which was modeled after a board walk, where the Aqua Theater was located; and Deck 8 which was modeled after Central Park, New York.

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Bow & Sterns Pub on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

The Royal Promenade had an old town feeling to it, and reminded me of walking down Georgetown, Virginia. You had the Bow & Stern Pub, where you could get almost any beer you wanted to. If you look at the menu, you can see what cocktails they serve especially there, although it’s most popular for its beer selection.

I discovered Real Stripes Jamaican Lager Beer onboard the Allure, and I also tried El Fin Du Monde, which is a Canadian beer. Just watch out what you order, as the alcohol percentage isn’t known until they bring it out to you. I found out the hard way when I learned what El Fin Du Monde meant… “The End of the World”, with a 9% alcohol content.

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Bow & Sterns Pub on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

Another cool bar available on Deck 5, is the Rising Tides bar. A unique feature to this bar, is its complete modern design. The bar physically rises up, all the way to Deck 8, where Central Park is. I loved this one so much, but you’d have to catch it on time (displayed on both Deck 5 & 8), as there are set times the bar rises and lowers. If you’re early to a show, dinner, or just want to hang out, I’d suggest hanging out here and enjoying a lovely view!

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The Rising Tides Bar on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

Deck 6 reminded me of a Carnival theme. There was everything from Ben & Jerrys, to Mexican food, to an outdoor Aqua Theater to enjoy scheduled movies, or live shows. What’s gorgeous about the layout of this part of the ship, is that it is in the very back of it. It’s like a miscellaneous area, where you can rock climb, ride a carousel, or grab a drink. The boardwalk was very beautiful in its structure!

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The Aqua Theater, Deck 6, on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

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The Boardwalk, Deck 6 of Royal Caribean International’s Allure of the Seas.

It was Deck 8 that I thought was so peaceful to be at. The Central Park theme provided for a calming atmosphere. There’s a bar located in the middle of Central Park, and a a nice sitting area for you to enjoy your drinks, and the view. Not to mention Park Café, which was my favorite dining selection on the ship. If you go there, try the Roast Beef sandwiches, and please don’t forget you heard about those little slices of heaven on here!

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Central Park, Deck 8 of Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

After a bit of exploring on board the ship, we arrived at our second destination, St. Thomas. The next two destinations gave us a much longer time to explore our surroundings. My family had chosen to do the Half Day Champagne Cat Sail Beach and Snorkel Excursion, so we met at the pier with our group, and were taken on a 35-minute ride through the island on a bus to our next pier to board the catamaran.

I didn’t expect the bus ride to be so enlightening, but it was. I got to see how the people live, and came to the conclusion that the island is so diverse and beautiful. The houses looked like they were out of a modern Spanish colonial catalog, and were placed on mountainous terrain. The ride felt like a roller coaster, but once it was over, the fun had just begun!

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On board a catamaran, in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Island.

The boat was waiting for excursion guests at a small harbor of other catamarans, and once we hopped on, the waters were a bit choppy. The skies were sunny, and the Adventurer crew were doing everything to make its guests feel welcomed! They served refreshments, provided an extensive history of St. Thomas, as well as the other Virgin Islands, and alerted us that we were in for a treat, as we visited an extra Virgin Island, St. John!

St. John is mostly a protected area, where Kenny Chesney also chose to own a secluded house at. The resorts on St. John don’t even have AC! It’s just a super natural place, almost completely untouched by man. Our excursion group were given the option to either Snorkel off of Honeymoon Beach in St. John, or visit the beach instead. I opted to take the small vessel provided by the crew, and enjoy the baby powder smooth sand, and crystal clear waters on the shores of St. John’s beach.

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Snorkelers off of St. John’s Honeymoon Beach, U.S. Virgin Island.

It was absolutely beautiful, and was by far my favorite stop on the cruise. After an hour or so, we were called back to the catamaran, and once we got on board, the crew quickly began handing out complimentary snacks, cocktails, and beers. The waves were calmer now, and the music was relaxing. I had a spectacular time, and I highly recommend this excursion!

Back on board, there was still a lot to do. I had the opportunity to check out the Broadway Musical, Mamma Mia on the Allure, as well as watch the Vegas headlining stars of Mo5aic perform their Acapella routines. The group ended up joining us on board after reaching St. Thomas at the same time we were stationed there. I’m not sure how much a headlining show is in Vegas, but being able to see both a Vegas and Broadway Musical on the Allure truly blew my mind.

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Broadway Musical Mamma Mia! on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

The late night Comedy Club was always booked in advance, but many people didn’t show up to their reservations at the end of the night, and I managed to get in. If you’re hesitant about showing up to an already booked performance, I suggest you try to show up 30 minutes before it starts. There is always someone bound to have enjoyed their day a little too much, and call it a night early. The entertainment provided by Royal Caribbean is top quality in my book!

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The Comedy Club on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

We reached our final trip stop at Philipsburg, St. Maarten, which is part of the Netherlands. I didn’t get the chance to visit the French part, known as St. Martin, due to being told about the high volume of traffic the island usually has. Fortunately, my family had an excursion planned in Philipsburg, known as the Schooner Sailaway and Airport Sightseeing Excursion.

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On board a schooner, at Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

We hopped on board a schooner, and were slowly taken to the airport area, which is known to be one of the most dangerous airports due to it being so close to the shores of St. Maarten. You could literally hang out at the beach, and see a plane fly right above you. That was probably my favorite part of the excursion.

The skies were overcast, and we were taken a few miles off of a beach opposite of the airport beach, to jump off the boat and have a simple swim. I was already spoiled by the catamaran’s hospitality in St. Thomas, so I had to remind myself that I was not in the U.S. islands, but in a Dutch island. The crew was extremely generous, and told us the history behind their schooner, and their relations with the island of St. Maarten.

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Philipsburg, St. Maarten.

It was a nice experience, but when it was over, my family and I decided to hit the local tourist beach spot, and were so happy to have done that! While there were a few people asking us to buy items from them, it was nowhere near like the Bahamas. Everyone was respectful of your wishes, and I found it refreshing to find such diversity among the locals as well. St. Maarten was beautiful, and I’m happy to have witnessed it for myself!

On the 6th day, the cruise was already winding down. My family and I enjoyed a parade of Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda characters at the Royal Promenade, while we sipped on beers at the Bow & Stern. It was at this time that I realized what an awesome vacation I had, and how much of a fan of Royal Caribbean I had just became.

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Kung Fu Panda’s Po in the parade on Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas.

This might have been my first time on the Allure of the Seas, but it won’t be my last exploration trip aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Thank you for reading, and enjoy your week!

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Back of Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas cruise ship.

Products Mentioned

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas Cruise Ship

St. Maarten Schooner Sailaway and Airport Sightseeing Excursion

St. Thomas/St. John Half Day Champagne Cat Sail Beach and Snorkel Excursion

The Miranda Sings Awards

18 Apr

Hey there,

You’re probably wondering what a Miranda Sings Award is, and if you’re a blogger like me, you’ll appreciate this post, I’m sure! You get to choose what fun tid-bits to reveal as a blogger if you’re nominated to write your own Miranda Sings Award post! I want to thank Kimberly at Life Across the Hudson for this nomination. Her blog is absolutely beautiful, and I love empowering other bloggers.

This is a wonderful way to do so, and if you want to get the word out about your blog, along with supporting other bloggers, then keep reading and you might want to start your own chain of Miranda Sings Award blog posts (Tip: You don’t necessarily need to be nominated, be a trend setter and start your own!)

Rules:

  • Announce your nomination with a post, including a link to the blogger who nominated you
  • Include the featured image on your blog
  • Nominate 10 other blogs and link the nominees in your post
  • List seven things you love about yourself (e.g. your appearance, personality, achievements, etc.), but don’t use negative comparisons!

7 Things I Love About Myself:

  1. I love that I get to write about how much I love myself, and not sound vain what so ever. LOL, jk, this was a nice start right?!?!
  2. My hazel eyes, their shape as well.
  3. Capability of running a blog for almost two years now.
  4. How efficiently get things done.
  5. Taste in music. I have a healthy variety I love (no country though).
  6. Time efficiency. I like to start early on with everything, so I don’t fall behind.
  7. I can’t stand something unorganized for too long (though I’ll try to put it off).
  8. Eating habits. If I fall off my “healthy” wagon, I’ll get right up without beating myself up too much about it.
  9. The fact that I only nurture healthy relationships in my life.
  10. My love for a nice cup of herbal tea!

Blogs I Nominate:

  1. Maggie & Sasha from Darling Domay
  2. Jasmine from The Sixth Disney Princess
  3. Nicole from The Perks of Life
  4. Candice from Beauty Candy Loves
  5. Nicole from Wanderlust & Style
  6. Lulu from Lush Upon A Time
  7. Clarina from Clarina Beauty
  8. Rebecca from The Proper Brunette
  9. Samantha from Sam’s Ramblings
  10. Elainea from Toast the Girl Almighty

Enjoy creating your own posts ladies, and thanks so much for reading!

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