When I was approached about traveling to Mall of America and staying at the brand new Radisson Blu hotel attached to it I was excited to say the least! Great shopping, comfortable accommodations, and entertainment all under one roof? Sign me up! I asked my boyfriend to accompany me on my journey over the Memorial Day weekend, and what a weekend it was. We started off near Chicago, which is about a 6.5 hour drive. It was a cloudy day with a chill in the air- perfect driving weather. We settled in with a new audiobook and it seemed we were suddenly at our destination: the new Radisson Blu hotel. MOA Radisson Blu Hotel A gorgeous, modern hotel that is as comfortable as it is chic. MOA Lobby 2 MOA Lobby 1 We were greeted with the cozy and upbeat lobby and incredibly friendly staff. We were guided to our room (on the 11th floor- gorgeous view!)… MOA Raddison Blu Room The room was spacious and clean and the view of downtown Minneapolis outside our window set the tone for the weekend. As did the cupcakes that they had waiting for us…. MOA Cupcakes After we settled in the first order of business was to scope out the Mall and all of the stores I wanted to shop visit. I found several that tickled my fancy: MOA Kiehls MOA Crabtree & EvelynMOA Coach MOA Sigma MOA Sephora MOA MAC and Origins MOA Loccitane Of course I had to pick up a few beauty items while I was there, but I was also excited to experience Mall of America… as in… MOA Rides MOA Mini Golf MOA Ferris Wheel MOA Mini Golf 2 MOA Flight Simmulator MOA Sea Life We explored the theme park, and although it is overwhelming at times, it is SO much fun! There are rides for everyone, big to small and even for the meek of stomach. We had our picture taken on one of my favorite rides (that we actually went on several times) the Pepsi Orange Streak. It wasn’t particularly fast and it did not go upside down, but it was enough to give you wind in your face and a great aerial view of the whole park. We also played the Moose Mountain Adventure Golf course. It was 18 holes of fun and at times frustration. We aren’t sure who won because halfway through we stopped keeping score. We just got lost in the game I guess. :) We also stopped by the Sky Deck Sports Grille & Lanes and played air hockey, video games and raced cars. I have to mention that I won the game of air hockey. ;) My boyfriend’s favorite was the A.C.E.S. Flight Simulation experience. He went into a cockpit-like chair that gives you the effects of turbulence, banking, etc. The views were spectacular, though I admit sometimes it made me a bit queasy. The upside down parts were a little nerve-wracking. >.< He chose the F18 fighter jet as his aircraft and was absolutely enthralled with his flight. He came out with his knees shaking and he can’t wait to do it again. SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium® was a lot of fun. There were “petting” pools in the beginning where you could touch starfish and other creatures. It’s a very cool experience. I loved the jellyfish exhibits as well; they are so entrancing. Afterwards we hit up the Rainforest Cafe for some drinks… MOA Drinks And the chic restaurant, CRAVE MOA Lamb Lamb anyone? It was delicious and the atmosphere was cool, yet refined. Art_of_Shaving_13

The final day we were there we were pretty exhausted from being on the go all day and night. We were each treated to spa-like experiences catered to men and women. He received a Royal Shave at the Art of Shaving. There were several stages involved and although I wasn’t there, I heard it was a fabulous experience with hot towels and warm lathers. Progressions Aveeda Salon

I received a facial and plant peel at the Progressions Salon. It was incredibly relaxing. My aesthetician, Erin, was soothing and calming in voice and delicate with my face, neck and shoulders. The peel was cooling and all of the oils that were used felt amazing. She put Blue Oil on my back with a hot towel and it really helped my aching muscles. Afterwards, Brianna shampooed my hair and gave me a beautiful blow out. My hair and skin have never been softer or smoother. Side note: how amazing do Aveda products smell?! After relaxation time was over, I decided to pop into Sephora for one last hurrah. I ended up purchasing a few Dior lip products. Oops. :) I had to get the Addict Extreme in Holiday, because it was after all a holiday weekend and I was on holiday. We are incredibly grateful we had the opportunity to visit Mall of America and have recommended a trip to all of our family and friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to return. There is something for everyone, whether it’s the thrill of adventure or the thrill of a great shopping bargain, or to experience several amazing restaurants – Mall of America has you covered.

 

What are some of your favorite places to visit in Mall of America?  If you haven’t been where would you go first?  Leave an answer in the comments below and you will be automatically be entered into a drawing to win a $100 MOA gift card!

 

Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the 
following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post”
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 6/10 – 7/7.
Be sure to visit the Mall of America page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

 

 

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to try several items from the Mary Kay cosmetic line, a brand I don’t believe I have ever featured on my blog before. I do have some Mary Kay products I have purchased over the years, but for some reason I have largely overlooked the brand — until now that is.

Having tried many products, I can confidently say I was definitely missing out on some gems.

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I can’t decide what my favorite has been. The NouriShine Plus™ Lip Gloss is one of the best formulas around – very reminiscent of my favorite high-end brand. I love that it’s not sticky.

The Lash Love™ Waterproof mascara has been a staple of mine since getting it. Up until recently it has been incredibly hot and humid every single day. This mascara held up against late meetings, high humidity and even my morning run! It gives my lashes length and volume and actually isn’t that painful to remove considering it is waterproof. The shadows also impressed me. The formula was smooth and the shades were pigmented, they also held up very well.

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Mary Kay® Compact Mini

One of the more unique items to the Mary Kay line up is this fillable compact that you can customize with a variation of shadows or blushes. Mine contained 3 shadows (Golden Vanilla, Lavender Fog and Truffle) and 1 blush (Shy). Underneath the products are two eye brushes and a blush brush…that you can actually use! I used them in the look I created below. I love having something like this to throw in my bag for touch ups or just as a travel-friendly piece. Each item is magnetized and can easily be popped out and exchanged with other shades.

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Swatches L-R: Shy blush, Golden Vanilla, Lavender Fog, Truffle

I would be lying if I didn’t say that Truffle was my favorite of the group. All three work nicely together to create a day time look that is office-appropriate and can be glammed up for the evening with a little more of Truffle added to the crease, outer V of your eye.

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Wearing all three shadows and Ultimate Mascara.

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Wearing the compact and NouriShine Plus™ gloss in Café Au Lait. It pairs well with a neutral lip, or if you’re feeling a bit more punchy…

It can also handle a bright lip – wearing NouriShine Plus™ Lip Gloss in Rock ‘n’ Red.

My overall experience was surprising in the best possible way. I was blown away by the mascaras and the lip glosses. Both performed well and have superb textures and formulas. I can definitely say I’d be happy to own more Mary Kay in my collection based on what I’ve tried here. If you are looking for a place to start, I’d go with mascara and the gloss. The eyeshadows were nice to be sure, but two of the shades could have been more pigmented. It’s definitely worth your while to check out the brand and their fabulous line of products; you’ll be happy you did.

Tell me the greatest beauty tip you’ve learned for an opportunity to win a fabulous Mary Kay gift basket!

Each comment counts as an entry in the sweepstakes.

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 19 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 11/19/12-12/31/12.

Be sure to visit the Mary Kay page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

I was provided with Mary Kay products to use and review, and was compensated for this post, however all opinions are my own.

It’s summer time and the livin’ is easy…

And it’s about to get even easier! I have a special giveaway for you all today- direct from the Giorgio Armani summer collection. It’s the Écailles eyeshadow palette!

Want to add a touch of luxury to your daily routine? Just enter below to win!

Here are the rules:

Thanks, and Good Luck!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

My love for a particular brand–Sonia Kashuk, carried exclusively at Target–is well documented. A simple search of my blog will yield many results covering her products. On my frequent trips to the beauty aisles of Target (one might even say I haunt those walkways) I have ogled and subsequently purchased many an item. From brushes to blushes, Sonia Kashuk never fails to impress me.

Speaking of impressed, have you seen some of the fabulous new items out this spring?

Clockwise from left: Illuminating Bronzer, Eye Quad in Fair and Square, Satin Luxe Lip Color in Pink Punch

One thing that really gets me about Sonia Kashuk’s products is the packaging. It’s a drugstore brand presented like a department store one. The magnetic clasps thrill me to no end, and the sleek, clean lines of the packaging further excite me.

One of the stand-outs of her entire range are her eyeshadow quads (of which I have personally purchased seven). Fair and Square is no exception.

The mix of satin neutrals with high-powered shimmers makes the product undeniably versatile. Two of the shades are beyond creamy (the taupe brown and peachy/pink). The pink shade is drier and more powdery, and not my favorite texture of the group. The final shade is actually a cream–a full-on shimmer in the best possible way.

I find all the shades blend easily and work well together. The thing I love about the way Sonia Kashuk does shimmer shades is that they aren’t gritty like glitter, and they glide on smoothly. One thing to keep in mind when working with these types of shades is to apply your eye makeup first, so you can wipe away any possible fallout. The high-shimmer shadow gives you the freedom to apply a bit to your eyes to take your look from day to night without all the mess.

Need further proof? Take a peek at the looks I did with this palette (and the items featured above):

Day: Using the peach shade all over the lids, blended out with the pink and a tiny bit of the taupe in the outer corner, my eyes have definition and are office-appropriate. I also lightly dabbed on some Pink Punch Satin Luxe Lip Color and swept the Illuminating Bronzer across my cheekbones, then finished off with Sonia Kashuk’s blush in Sunset.

Night: To add some drama and flare, I dabbed on a bit more of the lipstick, deepened my eyelid crease with the taupe shade of shadow, put some more taupe near my lash lines, and finally dotted a small amount of the creamy/shimmer shade to the center of my lids.

It’s as simple as that! The ease of use, exceptional packaging and high-quality line-up will keep me coming back for more and more. Sonia Kashuk items can be purchased at Target stores or on the Target website here.

*I was sent these items by Target for review purposes.* However, to be fair, I had already purchased the Fair and Square quad myself last year. ;)

BlogHer is also sponsoring a great giveaway for my readers in the U.S. They are giving away a $100 Target GiftCard to one lucky person!

To be entered, tell me: How do you like to take your eye look from day to night?

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 6/4 to 6/30.
Be sure to visit the sponsor’s brand page on BlogHer.com, where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the Darphin Paris skincare line. I was overjoyed at the opportunity to try such a luxurious brand whose philosophy is “More than skincare, an Art.” A little bit of Paris on my skin in the morning and at night? Yes, please!

Darphin Paris was started in 1958 by Pierre Darphin. Pierre’s belief was that a woman’s skin was a mirror, reflecting her life. I tend to agree. Our faces definitely tell a story of our life experiences: too much sun, too many late nights, etc. It’s not always the one we want shown to the world to be certain, even after those habits are long gone. That’s where good skin care comes in and Pierre Darphin understood that so many years ago.

I am in my mid-20s and my biggest skin concern is the prevention and treatment of the first signs of aging. I want my skin to maintain its current elasticity and smoothness, so it’s important that I use skincare that addresses these issues.

It starts with mint green outer packaging (anyone else find mint green irresistible?) and it just keeps getting better from there.

L-R: Darphin Arovita C Line Response Firming Serum, Ideal Resource Smoothing Retexturizing Radiance Cream, Anti-Fatigue Smoothing Eye Gel

The serum and cream are both housed in weighty glass jars and all three look every bit as lush as the products they house.

Anti-Fatigue Smoothing Eye Gel

What Darphin says:

With its ultra-light texture, this eye gel softens and hydrates the delicate area around the eye while providing a targeted youth defense for the entire eye contour. The complete vital strength of the walnut tree and the energizing effects of caffeine are the perfect recipe for smooth, revitalized eyes.

Key Ingredients: Walnut extract (Botanical Growth Factors,Free Amino Acids, Polyphenols), Caffeine, Vitamin C Acid Spheres

Retails for $38 for 15mL of product

This gel has worked wonders on and under my eyes. It’s lightweight and blends in to skin easily. I have noticed added softness to the area under my eyes, and a brightened quality as well. This product has become an everyday MUST for me.

Arovita C Line Response Firming Serum

What Darphin says:

Exquisitely scented, vitamin-enriched AROVITA C Line Response Serum invigorates skin’s defenses to address first signs of aging. Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, firms and re-energizes skin’s youthful glow.

Key Ingredients: Artemia Salina Extract, Caffeine, Carrot Protein, KombuchkaTM, Ligopeptide, Noni Extract, Vitamin C and E

Retails for $100 for 30mL of product

I think their description of “exquisitely scented” is dead on. Light, fresh and slightly floral, it awakens my senses when I apply it. It’s not the scent alone that made me fall in love with this serum, however. The texture and formula is divine. Most serums I have tried in the past have been too oily or greasy feeling; too heavy for my oily/combination skin. This serum is weightless, quickly sinks into my skin and leaves behind a healthy glow. Most importantly- this serum doesn’t break me out!

Ideal Resource Smoothing Retexturizing Radiance Cream

What Darphin says:

A true skin-restoration cream delicately scented with white flowers, Ideal Resource Cream progressively reveals ideal skin while providing a unique sensory experience. At the heart of this deliciously rich cream resides a trio of flowers acting in synergy to help rebuild the vital resources of younger-looking skin. Their combined properties have the power to help restore the skin’s natural collagen, revive complexion luminosity and reactivate natural cell renewal.

Key Ingredients: LINE POLISH COMPLEX: White Hibiscus – promotes natural cellular renewal and refines skin for an even texture; Centella Asiatica – Helps to replenish skin’s oxygen supply, revealing a radiant complexion; Knotweed – Stimulates natural collagen production to smooth surface wrinkles

Retails for $90 for 50mL of product

This is by far the most luxurious cream to have ever touched my skin. The texture is extremely thick, but not greasy. When I first applied it to my skin I felt myself saying, “Ahhhhhh.” It was like silk! You only need a tiny, tiny amount of this to treat your neck and face. I am using this on my neck and around my mouth and eyes. I refrain from using heavy creams all over my face because of my skin type, but if you have normal or dry skin, I could easily see you using this all over. I have noticed improved texture to the skin on my neck. It’s more supple and soft to the touch. One other notable thing, it is formulated without parabens!

The different textures L-R: cream, serum and gel

My first experience with Darphin Paris was an excellent one. It’s definitely a luxury skin care brand and the prices of the products reflect that. The scent and texture of all the products I’ve tried didn’t disappoint and neither have their results. I am so impressed that I am already eying the products in their Matifying line!

You can find the full range of Darphin Paris skincare products on the Darphin website here.

Much to my delight Darphin is also hosting a giveaway for all you lovely readers! Did you visit their website? If not, do so now and tell me which Darphin skincare product you would like to try and why to be entered to win $100 worth of Darphin products!

Plus, Darphin has a special offer (one of their best!) just for readers of this post: Get a free Age Defying Dermabrasion Deluxe Sample, Dark Circles and De-puffing Eye Serum Deluxe Sample and Spa Headband with any order at Darphin.com through 5/31/12. Use code BLOGGER at checkout.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 4/23 – 5/24

Be sure to visit the Darphin brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

*this is a sponsored post by BlogHer and Darphin Skincare*