Fashion/Beauty · Product Reviews

Product Reviews // Influenster Luxe Box

I write reviews for a website called Inflenster. I answer their “snap” questions and write reviews on products that I use, and in return, they send me boxes of free goodies to try, keep, and review. This box was called the Luxe Box; it contained Amika Texture Hairspray, Amika Nourishing Hair Mask, Grande Lips Plumper, Dr. Brant Eye De-puffing Gel, and Aquis Hair Towel.

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  1. Amika Texture Spray: This is a light holding hair spray that adds texture and volume to any hairstyle. This spray smells good and the packaging is beautiful. I will most certainly be using all of this product.

2. Amika Nourishing Hair Mask: This can act as a regular hair conditioner OR a conditioning mask that you leave on for a few minutes and wash out. I used it as a hair mask and left it on for about 3 minutes then rinsed it out. It did not weigh my hair down or make it oily. It felt very smooth when I had it in and it smells great!

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3. Grande Lips Plumper: This is an okay product. I do think it slightly plumped my lips. However, this is not something I am concerned about adding to my beauty routine. It is a nice clear gloss. However, I had a lot of problems trying to get the product out to even use it. Also, it makes your lips tingle.

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4. Dr. Brant Eye De-puffing Gel: I don’t know how much “de-puffing” this product truly does over a long period. However, it does feel refreshing and makes my skin feel tighter when I apply it. It is an orange color, which could help in covering up dark spots for some people. I plan on using the rest of the product and giving it a try.

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5. Aquis Hair Towel: I love this product!! I am all about hair towels. I almost always air dry my hair and these really do help absorb water quickly, aiding in the drying process. Also, the texture of this towel helps hair to not frizz and tangle. The packaging is really nice and the towel is large.

Overall, I am very pleased with all of the products I received in this box. I will get a lot of use out of most of them! Thanks to Influenster for letting my test these products for free.

Much love,

Katie

 

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Travel

Carolina Beach

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So, here is the background to this trip… This trip was planned months ago for my mom’s 60th birthday. This has quickly become our favorite beach, for many reasons, which I will get to later.

What was not planned was the passing of my father and me getting sick all in the same week leading up to this trip. I’m from a small town and I work in a small school. I can only imagine what people must have been thinking when I didn’t take off work when I found out that he died and then took off to the beach later that week. Well, here is why.. or at least all I need to tell you about it. Because, let’s face it, I don’t have to explain myself to you. This is mostly me trying to express to myself I feel. My dad lived in another country. We shared some good memories throughout life, but those memories are distant and few in numbers. This is not to say that I have any bad memories of him, he was simply not around much. I don’t have any hard feelings against him. I don’t have many feelings at all, mostly because it’s hard to miss someone you don’t feel like you ever truly knew. Since he lived in another country, the legality of trying to get his body home has been a mess to say the least. I have siblings that are helping in this and I am grateful to them. It has been a week since we found out he died and we still don’t have a body back in the States to have a funeral with. This is why I haven’t said much, this is why we haven’t had a funeral, and this is why I haven’t taken off work for bereavement yet.

However, the point of this post is not supposed to be sad or dramatic. As I mentioned, I was also sick this week, but I figured that the beach was much more healing than sitting at home would have been… and trust me it was. That’s my new plan… feeling sick? Let’s go to the beach.

We had an amazing weekend celebrating 60 years of life for my mom… who is my best friend and favorite person on this planet. We stayed at Hampton Inn, ocean front in Carolina Beach. This Hotel is on point and everything about it is clean and beautiful.

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DAY 1:

We left mid-day Thursday and got there around 6:30 pm. We stopped by a local favorite dive-bar, The Fat Pelican, to start the evening. This place is awesome. You walk-in to this hole in the wall place and you go in a huge walk-in cooler and select whatever drink you want from over 100s of choices. The bartender opens it and puts it on your tab. They have some indoor seating, games, couches, tvs, etc. However, the coolest part is outside. It has a fenced in, sand floored “backyard” in which it basically looks like they collected random shit and made it into this awesome outside chill area. It is hard to even explain. For example, the (bad quality) picture below is me sitting on a random boat in their “backyard.”

 

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We had dinner at Havanna’s. This is a nice seafood/steak restaurant with a beautiful outdoor seating section. We have eaten here every time we come to Carolina beach and it is excellent every time.  I had volcano shrimp and a Caesar salad. YUM.

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We spent the day on the beach. We had absolutely amazing weather. The water was a little cold…but I absolutely love everything about the beach and the ocean. Nothing was stopping me from enjoying my much needed vacation. I’ve never understood people that travel all the way to the beach and then complain about the ocean or the sand. Why did you even come to the beach if you don’t like the beach?!? I’m the type of person that is going to pull my chair down to the water’s edge and just sit for hours.

We had lunch at the hotel Tiki bar, which is slightly over priced, but what hotel bar isn’t?

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We later got cleaned up and walked down to the board walk for ice cream. The boardwalk has a lot of benches and swings set up along it, so you can sit and enjoy the moment. PS: that’s another thing I adore about this beach. Everything is within walking distance. It is a non-crowded beach, but has a lot of fun attractions. I feel like that is rare.

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We had drinks at Hurricane Alley’s. This is a small bar on the boardwalk that has roof top seating so you can see the ocean, which is what makes this place special.

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We had dinner at the Deck House. This is an old Presbyterian Church that the remade into a nice seafood restaurant. Their food is also excellent and I would recommend it to anyone! I had calamari, blackened shrimp, and  3 cheese mashed potatoes. AGAIN, YUM. One of my favorite things about traveling is trying new restaurants, and these never disappoint.

Also, part of the reason that mom wanted to come to Carolina Beach for her birthday is so she could eat some of the AMAZING Britt’s Donuts! They make these fresh constantly. It doesn’t matter whether you are first in line or 20th in line (and trust me, there is always a line) you are going to get a hot fresh donut.

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Day 3:

I forgot to mention earlier, but the hotel has free continental breakfast, which is not uncommon at hotels. However, this breakfast is GOOD. like really good. Like fresh food that changes daily.

We walked around some shops and walked over to the Carolina Boat Regatta Festival that was going on during this weekend. We did not stay long, but it was neat to see.

We spent most of the day on the beach, soaking up the sun and simply relaxing. With the  hurricanes that are going on currently, the tides were acting a bit crazy by the end of the day. There was almost no beach left be 4pm. However, that did not stop me.

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We had dinner and listened to a live band at Sea Witch. This is another awesome, unique place in Carolina Beach. It has inside, yet still outside seating. They have live music almost every night. I had a fried shrimp basket and it was again, YUM. (I like shrimp, can you tell?). We sat and enjoyed the band for a while and just took in the moment.

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I would have died without my sunglasses on this trip. I have two pair that I switch back and forth between. This trip, I took my DIFF Bella Sunnies. Shop through my link for $10 off your own. For every pair that is purchased, DIFF donates a pair of eyeglasses to under privileged kids. Get $10 off!!

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My goal for the entire weekend was to simply live life in the moment and enjoy time with my family. We had an amazing time and will continue to go back to Carolina Beach. Thank you for reading. If you have any questions about this beach or my trip let me know 🙂

 

Next Adventure: Nashville in October!

Much love,

Katie

Travel

Chesapeake/VaBeach/Norfolk

 

My passion in life is to travel, explore new places, and try new things! It does not matter to me whether I travel/explore near or far; I try to enjoy every moment of life, because, why not?

This Labor Day (2017) weekend, I spent my holiday spending time with family that lives in Chesapeake, VA. We stayed at their beautiful house on a lake and spent time relaxing and eating great food! My mom and I left early Saturday morning and arrived around lunch time. We started our Saturday exploring local shops. This sign (below) pretty much sums up my life. 🙂

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We had lunch at a small sandwich shop called “Taste”. They make fresh sandwiches and serve several craft beers and wines. My mom and I split a flight, in which we sampled 1 peach and  1 pumpkin beer (which were both AMAZING). This place also had a small gift shop where they sold wine, beer, snacks, and small gifts.

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Sunday morning we woke up, enjoyed coffee, and set off for VA Beach. We parked and walked along the boardwalk. It was a beautiful day (especially after a forecast of rain). The Virginia Beach boardwalk has grown beautifully in the last few years. It is huge and also has a large separate bike lane. There are different neat statues along the boardwalk, including this HUGE neptune statue. Ignore my one blue eye, one dark eye LOL 🙂

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There are many ocean front hotel restaurants that are open to the public. We ate at Katie’s (ironic, right? 🙂 on 33rd Street (I think). It had a gorgeous view of the beach and the food was AWESOME. We had a late brunch style lunch with delicious omelets and fried potatoes.

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Side note, these sunglasses that I am wearing are my favorite EVER. They are made by blenders, check them out here. Use code katiechur20 to save 20% on your entire order! They are QUALITY BUT affordable. You will love them!!!!

BUT back to the trip

Holiday + Family + Beach + 3 day weekend + Traveling = Happy Katie 🙂

and this was just the beginning of the day!

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After enjoying a few hours at the beach, we headed to Norfolk where we had a tasting flight at Mermaid Winery. This is an Urban Winery in Norfolk, VA. The atmosphere was absolutely stunning. The tasting flight came in a towering glass holder and it was overwhelming gorgeous.

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Another side note, Visiting wineries is the #1 thing that I look for when exploring in a new city. I have probably visited at least 30 wineries in VA and NC in the past 2 years. So keep that in mind as you read my review of this winery.

Mermaid Winery makes their own wines, but they also serve 100’s of different wines for all walks of life. And by that I mean from affordable to $500 a bottle. Jeez, I know. The set-up in Mermaid was more like a wine bar than a tasting room (although we found out later that they do have a a tasting room, but no one told us, even after we asked “Do you guys do tastings here?” but anyway! The tasting was $11, which is not bad, but a little more than I typically pay for a tasting. The wine was very good, I did a flight of French Wine, so I did not try their wine. The service here was slightly lacking, but did not alter my enjoyment.

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After our wine stop, we headed back home (after my mom decided to stop and get a hair cut LOL). We had a delicious dinner and passed out early from our long day!

After lots of laughs and great fun, Mom and I said goodbye Monday morning and headed back home (about a 4 hour drive). We stopped at a few local shops along the route and then made the best decision to stop at Rosemont Winery, just outside of South Hill, VA. Rosemont is a beautiful winery, located on 25 acres of estate grown vines. This was one of my favorite wineries I have ever stopped at (and I think that says something if you read my history in local wine travel). ALL of their wines were excellent and reasonably priced. The visuals of the winery made their already great wine even greater.

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We enjoyed a pimento cheese sampler platter (OMG YUM) and a glass of wine on the patio. We sat around a while and enjoyed the gorgeous day before heading back to the road and finishing up another great adventure!

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Over all, Labor Day weekend 2017 was a huge success and puts another great adventure in the books! Upcoming adventures include Carolina Beach in Sept… Nashville in Oct… and Gatlinburg in Nov.

Stay tuned for more travel adventures!

Much love,

Katie

Birch Box · Fashion/Beauty · Product Reviews

Birch Box – August 2017

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I absolutely love getting my birch box each month! For only $10, I get to try 5 products each month and they get sent right to my house! Try BirchBox today, here. Look at the top of the screen when you get to their website. They always have some special free promotion going on for when you sign up for your first box!

My August Birch Box contained 5 great products including Amika Dry Shampoo, N4 Leave-in Conditioner, Balanceme Natural Acne Spot Treatment , Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer, and Glam Glow Hydrating Treatment Masque.

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  1. Amika Dry Shampoo: This is a great dry shampoo, it comes out very full and gives hair volume and makes hair feel fresh and clean. Also, the can is super cute and it smells great and does not leave a white residue.

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2. N4 Leave in Conditioner: this leave in conditioner sprays nicely into hair. It smells good and is not sticky. It makes hair feel slick and smooth but does not leave hair feeling heavy or oily.

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3. Balanceme Natural Acne Spot Treatment: this is my favorite product in this months box. This acne spot treatment not only works great, but it is a natural product. Most acne products are very harsh on skin. This treatment smells great and feels light and smooth on the skin.

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4. Coastal Scents Blush and Bronzer: this sample palette contains one blush and one bronzer (highlighter). Both colors are beautiful. This is a small product, but it would be a good product to keep in your purse to touch up with throughout the day.

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5. Glam Glow Hydrating Treatment Masque: This is a great mask if you have dry skin or just need a hydrating boost after a long day. It smells herbal and feels good and clean on the skin. You can wash this mask off after 15 minutes or sleep in it for a real skin pick me up!

Again, if you love trying new products you need to try BirchBox today, here. You will love it 🙂

 

Much love

Katie