New Brand Alert– Alamar Cosmetics

With so many big, successful brands out there, it can be extremely daunting and challenging to take the leap and start your own.  I absolutely love to support new, up and coming brands, especially when they are run by incredible makeup artists who know the industry and pay attention to what we need.  I look up to brand owners like this in hopes that maybe one day I could be one too.

Alamar Cosmetics was founded by Gabriela Trujillo, a Miami based makeup artist.  Long before Gaby started Alamar, I knew her as a close friend to Kathleen Lights (one of my favorite YouTubers) and the makeup artist behind all of the KL Polish marketing campaigns.  Just scrolling through Gaby’s Instagram feed you will find gorgeous bridal makeup, Boxycharm tutorials, and tons of colorful and textured looks–all of which give inspiration to other artists!

When she announced that she was creating her own brand, I was so excited!  I knew I would support whatever she came out with, but then when she tied it so closely to her culture and what was important to her, I thought that was such a genuine and passionate thing to do.  Alamar means “stay close to the sea”, which roots her brand in the idea that she wants to always remain tied to her native Cuban culture.  So if you are interested in supporting another woman in the makeup industry who is working hard to make it, who shares her experiences of staying up late hand packing her shipment orders in her kitchen, who invested in herself and her future, check out Alamar Cosmetics.  As I am about to show you, you won’t be disappointed!

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So far, Alamar has released an eyeshadow palette and a brush trio.  I own the palette–Reina Del Caribe Vol. 1, and I was honestly blown away the first time I swatched this.  First, the packaging is some of the cutest I have seen.  The tropical flowers and colors just make you instantly happy, I absolutely love the design and the size of the palette is perfect–not to bulky but not too tiny either.

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The quality and pigmentation of these eyeshadows are insane.  I have eyeshadows in my collection that are considered “high end” or “luxury” that swatch the same as these.  What I love the most about this is that is isn’t something I have seen before.  We have all seen a “neutral warm tone” palette from literally every single brand.  Sometimes I feel like “new” releases of makeup are nothing completely “new” or innovative.  These colors are like nothing else that I own.  Sure, I have a dark brown like “cafecito”, but “el malecon”, “celia”, even “”tropico” are colors that are incredibly unique!  You have to include colors like “coco-taxi” and “cafecito” in order to create a palette that people can use for their entire eye look.  This palette is warm for fall, it’s summery, it really is a year-round gem.

I am extremely passionate about makeup.  It’s just something I love and I never get tired of it.  With that, I take a lot of time and do a ton of research into the products, brands, and influencers that I choose to follow and support.  That is why I really wanted to take the time to highlight a brand and its’ owner who I think deserves to thrive in an industry that can make it extremely difficult for any smaller company to survive.  I can’t wait to see what is coming next from Alamar!

Let me know if you have tried anything from this brand!

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Pat McGrath Ultimate Lip Bundle

Like most makeup-lovers out there, I try to get as much makeup I can, for as little a price as possible.  So while I have wanted to try a coveted Pat McGrath lipstick for quite some time now, I could never bring myself to spend the $38 for just one.  But then, the trendsetting makeup queen released the PERFECT mini MatteTrance lipstick trio–giving us the chance to try not one, but three of her products for only $25!  The amazing part is that if I were to pick her top three colors I have wanted to try, these are it!  They are universally flattering, and can be paired with so many makeup looks.

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From Top to Bottom: Flesh 3, 1995, Omi in natural daylight

This formula of lipstick is the creamiest, must buttery formula that I own.  It is matte, but it is not one bit drying.  The pigmentation is perfection, and it lasts for a pretty long time on the lips!

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As with all of her other products, the packaging is amazing and so unique.  The black and gold is stunning, and even the way they send it to you with the gold sequins is beautiful!

Overall, this $25 purchase was SO worth it.  These have quickly become my new favorite lipsticks, especially the color “Flesh 3” for fall!  This trio has been going in and out of stock since its release, but keep your eye out on Sephora’s website and snag yours when you can!  Now that I know how good Pat McGrath’s products are, I hope that one day I can try her eyeshadows and see if they live up to the hype.

New Colourpop Launch Review & Swatches

I have said time and time again that Colourpop is one of my FAVORITE brands for so many reasons!  They combine affordability and quality and provide new and exciting products that I can’t help but love.  They recently announced a new collection called “Sol y Mar” which gives incredible summer vacation vibes as soon as you see it.  I was so inspired by the colors in the palettes, I ordered the two palettes and 1 lip color the day it was released.  If you are looking for products to help you create a fun and colorful spiced up look, then look no further!

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Top to bottom: New Digs, Anthem, Dynamite, Hotel, Motel, B+B, Floaties, Ooo, Unwind

First up is the Sol Palette!  This palette fulfills all of my orangey, peachy, warm toned dreams.  This palette screams summer time!  The thing I love about this palette is that there is not a color in here that I won’t use.  All of these shades are very wearable, and you can easily go from day-to-day to full glam with this!

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Top to bottom: El Rey, Wild One, Detour, Boozy, Gridlock, Sorbet, HWY, Top Down, My Way

The Mar Palette gives me all of the mermaid beauty that I need.  The blues mixed with warm tones in this palette are so different and outside the box, it inspires me to create new and unique looks.  You also get incredible bronze/gold shades to create a more everyday look as well!  With this palette, you really get the best of both worlds.

The Ultra Blotted Lip in the shade Vitamin Sea is the perfect compliment to these eyeshadow palettes.  I love this formula because the blotted lip is meant to be a “wash” of color.  It’s perfect for summer when you don’t want a full liquid lip, but just a little “barely there” color.  It dries matte and stays ALL DAY long!  It’s a great warm, orangey mauve that looks good on so many skin tones.

The entire Sol y Mar collection contains two eyeshadow palettes, three ultra blotted lips, and four highlighters.  I chose to pick up the two palettes and one lip, and I am so glad that I did!  Each palette is $12 and the lip is $6, you just can’t beat that price!  That makes each eyeshadow $1.33–insane.  I think this is one of my favorite Colourpop collections so far, and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next!

Let me know what you think of this collection and what your favorite shades are!

KKW X Mario Collection

I have been SO EXCITED for this launch!!! My excitement stemmed from the fact that I follow and support Mario Dedivanovic because he is an extremely talented and inspiring makeup artist.  I have followed Mario’s work for years now, and he is constantly at the forefront of makeup trends, always trying new things and making us look at makeup in a whole new way.  Mario is most well-known for being Kim Kardashian’s makeup artist.  While you can have any opinion of Kim that you want, there is no denying that she has been a makeup icon for going on 10 years now.  The looks that Mario has created on Kim over the years have become the industry standard that everyone looks to duplicate.  Heard of contouring?  Probably because of Mario.  The huge nude lip trend?  Oh yeah, that was Mario and Kim.  Baking your undereye?  Once again, Mario.  I’m not saying that Mario “created” these techniques, as many of them originated in the Drag community, but he did hone his skills and show us how to use these techniques in our every day makeup routines.

Another reason that I look up to Mario as an artist is because he started just like any of us, and rose to success by taking chances.  He started working at Sephora–not even in the makeup department!!  He was in fragrances, but kept giving makeup advice until he was able to switch departments.  Now Mario is one of the biggest makeup artists in the world, giving Master Classes around the globe every year to thousands of people hoping to learn from him.  I will insert one of his recent posts on Instagram that I absolutely love.

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It gives me goosebumps every time!!  That “swipe left to see how that turned out” shows 6 of Mario and Kim’s Vogue covers together.  Mario is an inspiration, and it just goes to show you that you HAVE to trust your gut.  If Mario would have listened to all of the people who told him that doing Kim’s makeup would ruin his career, just image how different things would be.  Sometimes, you have to do the “unpopular” thing if it feels right to you and just see where it takes you.  Especially in a creative industry such as this, there are no right or wrong answers.  Trends don’t start by doing the same makeup look over and over.  Try something new.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Follow your passion.  I hope that one day I get to attend a Master Class by Mario and see him work in person!  Now, let’s get into the collection and see what it’s all about!

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This collection consists of one eyeshadow palette ($45), 2 lipglosses ($18 each), and 1 lipstick ($20).  The whole bundle together is priced at $85.  One of the reasons that I was so excited about the lip products they released is because Mario created them to be worn on ANY skin tone.  He created this entire collection with makeup artists in mind.  As someone who is trying to build their own kit and have something for everyone when I am on set or at a wedding, I was so excited to hear that with this collection, Mario said you could do anyone’s makeup and have it look amazing.  It is extremely difficult to have lip colors and eyeshadows that suit everyone, so this was amazing news!  And let me just say that I completely agree with Mario, these colors look good on so many people with so many different skin tones.

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My favorite part of this bundle is the eyeshadow palette!  These colors are SO creamy and pigmented, and I expected nothing less from Mario.  I honestly have used at least one shade from this palette every single day since I received it.  I am the most excited (like everyone else on social media) about the blue he created.  It is the most perfect royal blue I have ever used.  The very first look I created on myself with this palette was using the blue, and I was so happy with it!  Are the warm tones similar to other colors you may own?  Probably, but I would be willing to bet that the quality of these are better.  I have been so impressed with this palette, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a completely versatile, one stop eyeshadow palette.  Whether you are a beginner or not, you can do so many different looks with just this one palette.  Plus, I get SO excited when I see Mario take this on set to do photo shoots with celebrities like Ariana Grande and Bebe Rexha, I immediately try and recreate his looks!

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Top to Bottom: Juicy, Super Nude, Classic K

All of these lip products are extremely opaque and pigmented.  I have been wearing the “Classic K” lipstick a lot, because it really does go with everything.  My favorite gloss is “Juicy”, because it has just enough peachy-ness to it and it makes your lips look so glossy.  “Super nude” is a little too fair for me, but I love that I can have it in my kit and it looks great on other skin tones.  “Classic K” also pairs well with so many lip liners!  It takes me one swipe to completely cover my lips in color, and I love how creamy and non-drying it is.

Overall, this is my favorite new makeup collection that I have purchased this year (and probably ever, but we will see).  The collection sold out the first time in 12 minutes, so I was thrilled to be one of the lucky ones who was able to grab it!  I highly recommend this to anyone looking for something extremely versatile!  This can easily take you from day to night, from casual to glam, and everything in between.  I hope to see more from Mario in the future!  In 2008 Mario did Kim’s makeup for the first time, and now he has launched a collection with her on the SAME DAY 10 years later!!!  Dreams do come true.  Let me know what you thought of this collection!

Pre-Wedding Beauty Tips

Everyone wants to feel beautiful on their wedding day!  I wanted to share a few things that you can do to try and get yourself wedding-day ready and feeling your best for your big day!  These are all of the things that I am personally going to do leading up to my wedding.  Just remember that the truth is, even if you have a pesky pimple the day of or your hair just won’t cooperate, you still get to marry the love of your life and THAT is what it’s all about!

Skincare

IMG_4823 (1) Mario Badescu AHA Body Soap

Price: $8

It’s all about the A.H.A’s!!!  Alpha Hydroxy Acids are known for their exfoliating abilities.  I will go more into detail about these later, but they are a true skincare game changer.  I LOVE this body soap from Mario Badescu because it really gets rid of any little bumps you may have on your arms or legs and brightens your overall complexion.  It also smells amazing!

 

 

IMG_4827 (1) Exuviance Peel

Price: $77

I picked this pack up during the Ulta 21 days of beauty for half off–I just couldn’t pass it up!  I wanted something stronger to add to my skincare regimen before the wedding, and with over 400 amazing reviews I knew I had to try this.

Once again, we have an AHA product.  The word “peel” might scare a lot of people, because who wants to actually peel!?  But most peels do not make your skin peel off.  They just exfoliate the top layer of your skin using chemicals instead of physical beads.  For myself, I notice a BIG difference using chemical exfoliators versus physical.  This box is a 6 week supply of 2 step pads that you swipe all over your face, neck, and I go over my arms too.  It is said to smooth texture, shrink pores, even skin tone, create brightness, and diminish wrinkles.  I have definitely noticed that my dark spots are lightening and my texture is pretty much gone!  So far I am really glad I have this!  It’s the perfect pre-wedding boost!

Son & Park Beauty Water  Price: $30

Ole Henrikson Invigorating Night Transformation Gel  Price: $48

OIe Henrikson Invigorating Night Transformation Cream  Price: $50

Surprise, more AHAs!  Honestly, when I was introduced to AHAs it changed my skin.  When I would try new products, the oiliness and texture would come right back, and I would get out my AHA gel, and my skin would go back to normal!  I have had so many estheticians recommend AHA products to me, so I finally decided to give it a try and I have been so happy with my skin ever since!  Everyone is different, but for me–I am no longer oily, I rarely breakout like I used to, my skin tone is finally becoming more even, my skin is brighter, and my makeup goes on so smooth.  Every single night I use these 3 products, and that’s it!  This is my holy grail combination!

I’ve said it once in a previous post (Sephora & Ulta Haul!) and I will say it again, this “water” is amazing and I don’t see myself ever being without it.  After I wash my face or use a makeup wipe, I put some of this on a cotton round and swipe it over my entire face and I get SO MUCH DIRT that I didn’t even see on my skin!  It’s amazing!  I really think that just properly cleaning my skin with this has led to my skin texture clearing up because my pores do not get as clogged.

Ole Henrikson makes my favorite skincare products.  I think the brand is a little underrated, because I haven’t tried a single thing that I did not like!  These two products from the invigorating night transformation line work together like a DREAM.  Yes, this is the old packaging, but that’s because I find these at TJ Maxx for about 1/3 of the price!!!  Even if I had to pay full price for these, I would do it in a heartbeat because they work for me so well.  You put the gel serum on first, and you will experience some tingling.  Wait for that to dry down, and follow with the cream!  Whenever I wake up my skin is noticeably brighter and any potential bumps I had coming up are either diminished or gone.  My fiancé has even made comments about my skin glowing!

For your daytime skincare, be sure to follow up with SPF!  AHA products can make you more sensitive to the sun, so be sure you are protecting yourself during the day!

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The slogan of the popular hydrafacial sounds like wedding-ready skin to me!  I have watched as so many of my favorite YouTubers receive hydrafacials before big events, and their skin is always glowing!  They rave about the results, and I have always wanted to try one.  The thing is that for a facial, they are very pricey.  But, what better time to splurge than for your wedding!?  I finally booked one for myself for a week before the wedding and I am soooo excited to see what it’s all about!  The website says it is for all skin types and will help with congested skin, fine lines, skin texture, vibrancy, elasticity, and pores.  They use what is called a “vortex” tool to suction everything out of your pores and leave your skin silky smooth.  At the end, they even show you your skin’s “waste”! (Ew, but cool?).  I can’t wait to share my results!  The average cost of a hydrafacial is around $150.

IMG_6549.JPG Lastly for skincare, I always recommend doing 1 sheet mask a week!  Not only do they benefit your skin, they are so relaxing!!!  I always look forward to sitting down with my face mask and some wine and just unwinding for 20 minutes!  I still suggest My Top 5 Sheet Masks because these are really the ones I use all of the time!  Depending on what your skin needs, these can offer hydration, clarity, brightness, you name it!

Other Beauty Tips

Teeth Whitening

IMG_4826 (1) Crest 3D Whitestrips Gentle

Price: $47

I want whiter teeth for the wedding, but my teeth are so sensitive!  Any time that I use the regular white strips, my teeth hurt for days.  I have found that using the gentle routine strips for just 10 minutes a day is perfect for me!  This pack has 28 treatments, so for the month before the wedding, it’s perfect to pop these on every night while you get ready for bed!

Fragrances

IMG_8888.JPG This is one of my absolute favorite pre-wedding “beauty” things to share.  I really love the idea of having a wedding day scent.  Smells have the ability to bring back memories and take you back to certain times in your life, and I wanted to choose a special perfume to do that for our wedding.  My plan is to only wear it on our anniversary so that it can remind us of our special day!  So, we went together to Neiman Marcus to start smelling perfumes and decide on the perfect one, and we ended up finding scents for both of us!  Everyone is very different when it comes to perfumes and colognes, so what smells good on my skin might smell totally different on the next person.  I ended up choosing the Armani Prive Pivione Suzhou which has a raspberry and rose scent.  For my fiancé, we picked the Armani Prive Vetiver D’Hiver which lists its fragrance notes as woodsy and raw.  What made this so special was that the woman who helped us at the counter was SO nice and told us that we could get a special wooden box to showcase our fragrances along with free engraving!  This is a pricey item for sure, but I am so happy that we have scents that we can wear on special occasions that will always remind us of our wedding.  This is the first item we had engraved with our joint last name, and I’m so happy we did this!  Also, she gave us an atomizer to fill with our fragrances so that we do not have to travel with these glass bottles!  So helpful!

Sunglasses

IMG_4802 (1)  Don’t forget to pack your favorite pair of sunglasses!  For us with a destination wedding, this was a must.  When one of my favorite YouTubers, Desi Perkins, came out with her new Quay X Desi sunnies in white, I thought they were perfect!  I’m so excited to wear these on our wedding vacation!

 

Hair and Makeup

Don’t forget to plan out your hair and makeup for the big day!  Get on Pinterest and see what you are drawn to.  You will want to send pictures to your hairstylist and makeup artist before hand so they have a good idea of what you want.  Also, keep in mind what you want your hair to be like for the wedding.  Do you picture it long?  A different color?  Prepare accordingly and make appointments to help get your hair exactly how you want it before you go to your hair trials.

Nails and Eyebrows

Make your appointments ahead of time!  When my eyebrows are trimmed and cleaned up, it makes everything look so much better.  I get them threaded about once a month and I love it!  As for nails, going with something white will always look nice!  Just make sure you get the appointment close to your wedding day so that it all stays nice and perfect with no chips!

Tanning

We don’t want to look pale next to our white wedding dress!  It’s controversial, but I personally think that tanning in a bed for a week is the best way to get a good solid base color and glow.  I have very rarely seen a spray tan that looks good, and even if parts of it look good, the hands ALWAYS get rubbed off and look splotchy.  I don’t want a picture of my holding my bouquet with patchy hands!  So plan accordingly and get a couple day pass to a tanning salon right before your wedding to get some healthy looking color!

Gym

Yes, “shedding for the wedding” is a popular thing and we all want to look our best.  Personally, I think it is more important to go to the gym before the wedding in order to help you manage your stress!  Exercising can be a huge part in stress relief, and with all of the planning, you will need something to help you unwind!  Go to the gym to be healthy both physically and mentally!

 

There you have it!  My beauty and wellness tips to help you get ready for the wedding!  Please let me know if there are any tips that helped you get ready for your wedding!

 

Amalfi Coast, Italy Trip Itinerary

We all want to make the most out of our time when on vacation, especially when traveling abroad.  There are so many things to do and you have to fit it all into a limited window of time!  This can be the hardest part of planning a trip, and for us, we were also including a wedding!  I wanted to share our itinerary so that anyone looking to plan a wedding or vacation in Italy can get some ideas as to what we found worked the best!

 

Itinerary

Our trip gives us 10 full days to make the most of our time in Italy.  Here is a full breakdown of what we have planned!

Friday

Goodbye U.S.–Hello Italy! We will be departing Florida and heading to Europe!  We will be flying overnight.

Saturday

Ciao! We will be landing in Rome at around 10 am.  We will be taking a private transfer from the Rome airport to our Villa in the Amalfi Coast.  This journey is expected to take around 4 hours.

We will all check into our Villa around 4 pm.  As our welcome to Italy, a Chef will host a pizza making party for us!

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Our Villa outdoor dining area

Sunday

We will be embarking on a private boat tour to the island of Capri and 3 grottos!  We will leave at 10 am and return to the Villa at 6 pm.  The marina is a 10 minute walk from the Villa.  We will have our own sailor and will be able to swim, walk around on the island, or whatever we wish to do.

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Blue grotto

For the evening, we will have the Chef prepare a dinner for us in the Villa for when we return.  The menu for tonight is pasta with zucchini, dessert, and wine.

Monday

Today we will be hiking the Athena Loop Trail with a private guide.  The hike can be strenuous, but the views are spectacular.  We will be transported from the Villa with a pickup time of 8:40 am to the starting point at the square of Termini for a starting time of 9:00 am.  We will also be having a picnic lunch along the way.  The tour will last around 3 hours and we will be taken back to the Villa around 12:00 pm.

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Athena Loop Trail hike

For the evening, the Chef will prepare us dinner in the Villa.  The menu tonight is grilled chicken, a mixed salad, dessert, and wine.

Tuesday

Today we will tour Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius!  We will leave the Villa at 9:30 am and spend 2 hours visiting Pompeii and then 2 hours at Vesuvius.  This is an 8 hour trip with a minibus for 13 people and a private driver along with a private guide for 2 hours in Pompeii.

During our trip, we will also have a lunch and wine tour at the Mount Vesuvius area!  This will include homemade bruschetta, salami, cheese, bread and olive oil, 3 different types of wines, pasta with red sauce, and cake for dessert.

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Mount Vesuvius

The evening will consist of another dinner prepared by the Chef and the menu will be ravioli with ricotta and mozzarella cheese, dessert, and wine.

Wednesday

It’s the day before the wedding!  Today we will be taking it easy!  You can leave the Villa to explore, or hang out by the pool!  There will be 2 masseuses coming to the Villa and providing massages.

We will be having the rehearsal dinner at La Tagliata in Positano.  This restaurant is about 1 hour from the Villa, with a drive consisting of gorgeous coastline views the entire time.

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La Tagliata restaurant

Thursday

It’s Wedding Day!!!

We will spend the day getting ready at the Villa!

4:00 pm- The transportation will arrive at the Villa to take us to the ceremony.

5:00 pm- The ceremony will take place at Villa Fondi.

6:00 pm- We will head to the reception to celebrate!

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Antico Bagno Nettuno restaurant on a jetty for our reception dinner

Friday

For our “day after” celebration, we will be going on a Mozzarella and Limoncello tasting/making tour!  We will leave the villa at 9:15 am and travel to the farm where we will taste 8 different types of cheeses and learn how to make mozzarella ourselves.  Next, we will taste limoncello and learn the Italian secrets to producing it.  We will return to the Villa around 2:15.

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Limoncello farm

Our final evening will be spent with the Chef preparing us a dinner in the Villa.  The menu will be caprese salad, grilled eggplant, bruschetta, dessert, and wine.

Saturday

10:00 am- We will check out of the Villa and head to Rome!  Private transportation will take us the 4 hour journey to Rome.

The rest of the adventure in Rome will begin!

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Today we will check into our new Villa, explore the area, and find a good spot for dinner!

Sunday

We will be exploring Rome on foot!  We will take in all of the sites and enjoy the city!

Monday

We will be touring Vatican City!  We will have a private guide to show us the history and help us steer clear of long lines.

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Vatican City

Tuesday

We will be heading to the airport and going back home, but this time as husband and wife!

 

Things to Consider

  • Remember transportation!  Most people will tell you not to drive in Italy or rent a car there.  It isn’t worth the stress or potential fines that most people say they receive for some type of driving infraction.  The good thing is that private transportation is readily available!  You have to make sure you set it up for each place you go!  If you want to go to dinner, you need to get there and back.  If you do on a tour, you need to get to the starting point and back to your Villa, etc.
  • Our Villa had an in-house Event Coordinator who I worked with to plan all of our excursions and dinners, which was AMAZING.  Check and see if this is an option for you!  It makes a world of a difference having someone who knows the area and good times to go see certain sites.
  • If you do have an event coordinator, keep these emails in your binder that I mentioned in the last wedding post.  You will want to stay organized and make sure you have confirmations on everything!
  • Having dinners out with a big group is very challenging if not impossible at times.  The restaurants in Italy are not big, so trying to find a place to accommodate a large party will be a headache each time you try to go get a meal.  This is why we opted for in-Villa dinners with a chef.  We all get to relax and be together with no worries about finding a table!  In the end, the price evens out because we do not have to pay for transportation to a restaurant, so it’s totally worth it!
  • Another tip I have is to see if someone who works for the Villa will get your group groceries before you arrive.  This way, you all have something you like when you get there and you don’t have to go out to find breakfast or lunch!
  • Take all of your plans into consideration when packing!! Good walking shoes are a must!  Check the weather before hand and make sure you are prepared!

 

I hope this post helps other people organize their trip!  It is a lot of work, but SO worth it!  Let me know other places you visited on your Amalfi Coast, Italy trip!

 

How To Plan A Destination/International Wedding

April is here!!! I can barely believe it because exactly 1 month from today I will be boarding a plane to head to my WEDDING in Italy!  I have been planning this wedding for about a year now, and I am beyond excited that it’s almost time for it to happen!  With that being said, I want to start a 4 part weekly series of wedding blog posts to share some of my planning efforts!  Let the wedding countdown and month of posts begin!

 

Planning an International Wedding

Choosing your Destination

Soooo many people (and I mean almost everyone) ask us “why/how did you choose Italy to get married?”  We had been engaged for 3 years when we starting seriously planning and our choice was made pretty simply.  We toured several venues, all of which were gorgeous and located on Amelia Island in Florida.  Not only were the locations beautiful, they were extremely expensive.  I could see us getting married there, but I wasn’t necessarily “in love” with the venues because it just seemed overpriced and over the top.  Here’s how I saw it: a 4 hour, $150 per person dinner party that will cost you at least $20,000.  My fiance and I met in high school, and one of the places we had always said we wanted to visit together was Italy.  Specifically, I’ve seen pictures of the Amalfi Coast and dreamed about going for years now.  After talking with my parents about my venue dilemma, they asked me: if you could get married anywhere, where would you do it?  Without hesitation I said the Amalfi Coast of Italy and whipped out my Pinterest board filled with pictures of my dream vacation.  They responded by reminding me of the absolute truth–that life is short.  If we wanted to get married in Italy, why not do it?

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Amalfi Coast, Italy

So we decided we would do it, we would get married in Italy (still crazy to say)!  That was our perfect location!  What you have to keep in mind when choosing your destination is how this will effect your potential guest list.  For us, we never wanted a “big” wedding, so we were totally fine with it.  I always pictured myself with an intimate wedding and maybe a party later, but I knew I just wanted my very closest friends and family to actually be there when I got married.  There are a lot of people who will not be able to come to a destination wedding, and that’s okay!  At the end of the day, the wedding is about you and your significant other, and that is it.  After we told everyone what we were doing, we started planning away!

Finding a Place to Stay

After choosing your date and deciding on the amount of time you want to spend at your destination, step 1 is to make sure you can find good lodging!  We knew we wanted to go in May because the weather would be perfect, and after looking at dates for school and work, we settled on our trip lasting from May 4th to the 15th with our wedding day on the 10th pretty much because we liked the number and we could have the ceremony whenever we wanted.

Next, we started researching places to stay and I highly suggest using VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner).  We thought it would be best if our group could all stay together to make everything easier, so we narrowed our searches to having the right amount of bedrooms.  Pretty quickly we came across a 10 bedroom/10 bathroom Villa overlooking the Amalfi Coast and I fell in love.  It had amazing reviews left from several people who got married in Italy–which was so perfect!  We contacted the owner and it couldn’t have been better because he introduced us to his in-Villa event coordinator and a wedding planner, how lucky were we!?

Find a Wedding Planner

Planning an international wedding is not easy.  The hardest part is trying to figure out all of the legal documents needed to have an actual wedding–most of which are in Italian.  You need to visit the U.S Consulate here with several forms filled out, bring a translator with you, have your birth certificates translated into Italian and printed out, bring all of that with you to Italy, and then follow another long series of appointments at the Italian Consulate so receive the proper paperwork.  If one thing is wrong, the wedding isn’t happening.  So for me, I knew I wanted to hire someone in Italy that could help me make sure I had everything in order and make that process a smoother one.  The owner of the Villa introduced me to the Book of Dreams owner, Alessandra, and she quickly began helping me plan everything I had been envisioning.  If you choose this route, make sure you know what they offer as far as helping you with legal paperwork.  Alessandra makes appointments in Italy for you, fills out forms, and offers to go with you to appointments  in Italy so that you have someone who speaks Italian with you.

There is no way we could have planned this wedding without a professional planner based out of Italy.  She knew the area, gave advice on locations, contacted every vendor and made all arrangements, and has been making sure everything will be in order for our big day.

Start Planning Wedding Day Details

Your planner will most likely have a list of vendors lined up that they generally work with.  First, we chose the venue.  I knew I wanted to get married somewhere outside and by the water, which is why she suggested Villa Fondi and I immediately agreed.

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Villa Fondi, our wedding venue

Keep in mind that in order to legally get married in Italy, you have to get married at a town hall location.  Italian town halls are clearly not like what we are used to, because most of them have gorgeous balconies or gardens for a beautiful wedding!

After the venue comes transportation to and from the wedding (I will talk more about transportation later, but I highly suggest having someone drive you everywhere and not driving yourself), flowers, photography, decorations, makeup and hair, music, and your reception.  All of this is just whatever package you prefer!  Think about what colors you want, what flowers will be in season, what hair would go best with your dress, it’s time to break out your Pinterest board and go to work!!!

Things to Consider

Transportation

  • Are you going to rent a car?  I suggest not, just because several people who have been to Italy have told me that they were constantly lost, the roads are windy, they got pulled over, and they overall wished they would have just had someone drive them who knew where to go.
  • Do you want to take a separate car the day of the wedding than your significant other?  I personally don’t want him to see me!  So I made sure to arrange for 2 vehicles.

Flowers

  • What colors do you want for your wedding theme?  I’ll be honest, you won’t have too many options because these venues only offer so much.  I went with red and white because I thought it would look beautiful next to the blue water.  From here, I just Pinterest searched bouquets and sent what I found to my planner!

Photography

  • Do you want just pictures or picture and video?  We decided to just go with photos because I couldn’t see us ever really watching a video again, plus it’s a big expense!
  • What pictures are must-haves for you?  This will help you choose the right package.  I knew I wanted some pictures of us getting ready at the Villa, pictures at the ceremony, and pictures of us cutting our cake (we aren’t having a traditional reception–it’s just our group of 12 adults and 1 child!).  I relayed what I was looking for, and this fit in a half-day package!
  • Make sure you ask how you will be getting your photos after everything is done.  It is common for them to mail you a USB drive once you leave Italy.

Decorations

  • Stick with your color theme!  You probably will get to choose the aisle color, chair color, and if you want to add any sashes to your chairs.  I wanted to add more color than just the flowers so I chose a red aisle to walk down, white chairs, and red sashes.

Makeup and Hair

  • My suggestion is to pick what looks best with your dress style.  Some dresses have so much detail and you want your hair mostly up to show it off.
  • Yes, I am a professional makeup artist.  No, I do not want to do my own makeup for my wedding.  I do other people’s makeup all of the time!  I want to relax on my wedding day and let someone else do mine.  Choose whatever works the best for you!
  • You will also be able to choose if you want a trial or just hair and makeup the day of the event.  I personally did not care enough to take a day out of my Italy vacation to go to a salon for a trial run, so whatever happens, happens!

Music

  • What do you want to hear when you walk down the aisle?  After a few hours of listening to YouTube wedding music played on various instruments, we chose a guitar player.  For the songs we wanted, it sounded so beautiful.
  • You get to choose songs for various parts of the ceremony.  We wanted to pick songs that we loved and that meant something to us.  Here is what we chose:
    • Arrival of the bride: Canon in D (Pachelbel)
    • Exchange of the rings: A Thousand Years (Christina Perri)
    • Signing of the register: Say You Won’t Let Go (James Arthur)
    • Exit of the couple: All of Me (John Legend)

Reception

  • How far are you willing to travel after your ceremony?  We did not want to have to go far, I wanted to keep that special feeling going right into the reception!  The venue we chose has a beach right below it that leads out to a restaurant on a jetty.  We wanted to have a really fun family dinner here on the water!  The restaurant had wedding dinner menus, cake options, and they play music, so this was perfect for us!  All within walking distance!
  • What type of atmosphere do you want?  Maybe you really want to dance!  It would be nice to choose a location with a dance floor and music.  Keep in mind the size of your group because renting an entire space for a small group might not have that “party” vibe to it.

Make a Binder

One of my biggest pieces of advice–STAY ORGANIZED.  As soon as we started planning, I started my huge binder.  Here are my binder sections:

Emails

Print out every email between you and your planner for future reference.  You will forget things she told you over this process and through all of your threads it gets hard to find in your inbox, trust me!  Highlight all of the important parts.

Receipts

Keep all of your receipts together!  You never know when you will need something.

Ideas

Print out Pinterest ideas!  Keep a list of things you see in magazines or random thoughts that come to you so that you can run them by your planner.

Spending/Prices

Make a document that has all of your potential spending points such as the venue, flowers, cost of the planner, etc. and fill in the quoted price as you go.  Mark what you have paid for when you send money!  This will help you keep track of your budget and make sure you know what prices to expect for your total bill.

Villa

Keep track of your reservation for the Villa along with your check-in and check-out times.

Wedding

I like to print out all of the package options and then highlight what I want to pick, that way I can look back and see what choices there were.

Itinerary

I will talk a lot more about this, but this trip is more than just a wedding!  It’s a vacation!  Here you can start planning all of the things you want to do while you are in Italy!

Get Flights

Start looking way in advance!  The farther out you book, the better chance of getting the best deal!  Also, keep in mind that there are certain times of the year where airlines offer specials!  Don’t forget to coordinate with the group you are traveling with.  I knew I wanted us to sit together for the long part of the flight, so we all bought our tickets at the same time and picked seats together.

Get All Important Documents

You will need to make sure that everyone has a valid passport!  You and your significant other also need your birth certificates, so don’t wait until the last minute to find all of your necessary paperwork!

Start Saving

Set savings goals for each month!  It will add up quickly and then you won’t be stressed as you get closer to your wedding date!  Almost everything will require that you pay cash in Euros once you get to Italy, so you really have the entire planning process to save money which makes it nice.  Don’t forget that on top of the wedding day essentials, you are on vacation and you will need daily food, money for excursions, etc.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that all of the prices you are quoted are usually in Euros!!  You need to convert the Euro to the Dollar and make sure you save accordingly.

Start Planning Itinerary

I will be making this part an entire separate post!  Just be sure that you start making a list of things you want to do while in Italy!  Do research, ask around, read blogs, get all of the ideas you can!  There are so many options and so little time, so make sure you pick things that are at the top of your list!  The hardest part will be deciding which day to do which thing, which takes a lot of time and patience to properly plan.  I will be sharing how I created our 10 day Italy itinerary in my next post!

Make a Wedding Website

This is an incredibly fun and easy way to stay organized, while also letting your destination wedding group know the plan!  It’s hard to always update people individually, especially when your head is in a million different places between planning an international wedding and real life in general.  I found that updating the website when I received new information from our wedding planner or our event coordinator was the best way to let everyone know what was going on.  I was sure to include prices, locations, and most importantly our itinerary.  It’s been so nice to refer back to now that I started to pack my clothes and organize our budget, you just pull up your site and you have prices of each excursion, transport, and dinner!  I thought that The Knot was a great way to make a website–plus it’s free!

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Find Your Dress and Get the Tux

Dress shopping is FUN!  You basically get to feel like a princess the entire day!  I can’t wait to share the dress that I picked after our wedding and we get our pictures back!  I’ve been keeping it a secret from most people!  Give yourself plenty of time for alterations and to pick accessories.  You will learn a lot at the alteration appointment–such as if you want a veil, if you want to add cups, if you want a crinoline slip, etc.  Bring your shoes to check your height and just enjoy it!

Make sure that you go look at tuxes with enough time to get alterations done to it as well.  I must say, the tux shopping is much more simple and laid back than the dress!  Here you do have the chance to add in your wedding colors and see your future hubby in his wedding day attire (heart face emoji for sure).

Get Wedding Accessories

Don’t forget to pick out jewelry and shoes!  Also, decide on a veil or hair piece!  There are so many options, so don’t get overwhelmed and just try and think what you can picture for yourself in your dress.  My parents surprised me with the most gorgeous necklace, earrings, and bracelet set of pearls for my wedding day.  Pearls are timeless, classic, and very bridal, which makes them perfect!  I wanted cute heels for our pictures, but I also bought a pair of rose gold sparkly Toms for the reception!  Keep your comfort in mind, it is likely to be a long night and I knew I wouldn’t last in heels!

Order Wedding Favors & Gifts

Etsy is a magical, wonderful place filled with so many creative things!  I ordered our wedding gifts and favors from different vendors on here, and I am thrilled with each purchase.  I can’t talk about the gifts just yet, but I can’t wait to share them after the wedding!  They turned out so good!  For wedding favors, I know our group is small, but I really wanted something with our date on it so we could all have a keepsake.  I found the cutest shop that had Italy themed favors and she worked with me to make can coolers and wine glasses!  Check out String Bird Bridal for some awesome wedding ideas.

Don’t Forget the Pets

You will need to arrange for petsitting/boarding for your trip!  Do this in advance, you never know how quickly people can book up!  We have one cat and one dog, so we had to do something different for each one.  For the cat, she is most comfortable at home and would be too upset to be boarded for that long.  We bought a security camera from Amazon that allows us to both hear what’s going on and talk through the camera.  This way we can see our baby while we are gone!  It also gives peace of mind when having someone come into your home to check on your pet.  I can make sure her food bowl gets filled and that she is safe and happy.  For the dog, I suggest checking out doggy day care centers that also board!  During the day, she gets to run around, swim, and have play time.  At night, she gets a room to herself with a bed and a video camera so we can see her!  I’m already nervous to leave our girls, but knowing they are safe will help ease the worry of traveling so far.

Extra Things to Keep in Mind

  • Credit Cards
    • Don’t forget to call your credit card companies and let them know you are traveling internationally.
  • Cell Phones
    • Check out what international plans your phone company offers.  Don’t turn on phones that you don’t have to use while you are over there, because you will rack up bills just by receiving texts and using data to get notifications.  Choose a designated phone to use as the calling and texting phone and add the international plan to that one!
  • Clothes
    • Start thinking about what you will be doing during the day on your trip and planning accordingly!  I will have a separate post on packing, but grab items here and there that you know you will want on your trip.  For example, I personally wanted a few cute “bride to be” things to wear leading up to the big day!  Just keep your eye out over the course of wedding planning so you are not stressed at the end trying to desperately find cute outfits!
  • Beauty
    • A post on this will be coming soon!  Start thinking of things you want to do to get ready for your big day in the realm of skincare and makeup!  I can’t wait to share what I have been doing and my suggestions!
  • Cash
    • Almost everything you reserve will need to be paid for with cash Euros when you arrive in Italy.  Make sure you head to your bank and order the correct amount of Euros that you need ahead of time to save A LOT of money in conversion fees at the airport.

 

There it is!  My list of everything I can think of that I have been working on for the past 11 months or so.  It’s surreal that my day is almost here, so I hope that this list helps other future brides who are thinking about doing a destination wedding!  All I can say so far is if you have been thinking about it, do it.  I am so incredibly excited that we are doing our wedding this way!  Yes, it is very different and there are sacrifices you have to make in order to travel to another country for your wedding, but so far I think it is worth it.  Your money goes A LOT farther, and you get an entire vacation out of it rather than just a one night party!  Let me know any questions you might have and I look forward to sharing 3 more wedding posts with you soon!

 

 

 

Eggs For Your Skin?

I’m always very intrigued by skin care, so I love learning about new trends and what to try next to get radiant, smooth skin!  Especially with my wedding just 6 weeks away (!!!!), I am on the hunt for that bride-to-be glow!  I have been hearing a lot about egg products being a skincare wonder, so I wanted to try this out and see what all of the hype was about.

I started researching what eggs can do for your skin, and here is a general list of what I found:

  • Albumin in egg whites can help tighten pores and clear blackheads
  • Egg yolk has hydrating properties
  • Egg whites contain collagen that can help fight wrinkles
  • Due to the skin tightening properties of eggs whites, it can reduce oil production and help those with oily skin

Not a bad list, right!?

I came across two egg products at Ulta, and decided to give them a try and see what results I could get!

First up, the very highly rated and talked about Too Cool For School Egg Cream Mask (Price: $6).  The claims of this mask are that it provides you with hydration and brightening effects.  I also picked up the Egg White Perfect Nose Kit (Price: $4).  I was really drawn to this because of the fact that unlike any blackhead clearing strip I have used before, this came in 3 different steps (and the picture of the egg going from dirty to completely white really got me).

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I actually loved the Egg Cream sheet mask!  It made my skin feel SO hydrated and didn’t leave me feeling sticky.  I did think my skin was a little brighter, and any redness I had was soothed.  This was a win for me!  Especially for $6, I would want to pick this up again.  As for the nose kit, I wasn’t overly impressed.  I have used the Biore Nose Strips for years, and I really like them!  The issue I have is that I don’t feel like they ever “fix” my blackhead situation on my nose, they just help a little and I have to continually use them, yet I never see that my nose is completely clear.  This is why I wanted to try a 3 step process, just in case I needed a little extra strength to see more results!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t really tell a difference between these and my Biore strips.  The process is really different though–the first strip is like a sheet mask that sits on your nose, then its a sticky strip that hardens and pulls off, then the third strip is a sheet mask again.  It was a fun process, but also a lot of work to keep track of the time and keep changing steps.  For $4 I would suggest giving it a try, but for me personally I don’t think I will repurchase.

Overall, the egg trend is still really interesting to me!  I will continue to check it out, and maybe even try making my own DIY egg white mask at home!  Let me know what your favorite skin care ingredients are!

Intergalactic Makeup

The most recent makeup trend has been the holographic/galaxy inspired looks, which I think is so fun!  It’s different and unique and I love trying new things.  I received both of these products as gifts over the holidays so that I could achieve this type of look!  I also wanted to have these in my on set kit just in case I would need to create a character that was “out of this world”!

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First up is the highly anticipated Fenty Beauty Galaxy Palette.  The first thing about this eyeshadow palette is the insanely cool packaging.  Inside, there are 14 glitter eyeshadows that will add a pop to any eye look.  Some of these are more sheer topcoat colors that just add a little something to existing shadows, and others are more opaque shimmers.  Overall, this palette is so fun to play with!  The colors are really different from anything I owned and they kinda force you to go outside of your usual comfort zone.  They make me want to create an Effie Trinket inspired character look!  I would say the quality of the shadows is also really good.  There is fallout, but I feel like most glitter shadows have this as well.  Definitely use these on your eyes before you put on your foundation, but then you are good to go!

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The next perfect “stellar” makeup product is the Huda Beauty Winter Solstice Lip Strobe Set.  These lip glosses layer perfectly on top of any color or you can wear them by themselves.  They are extremely iridescent and often look like different colors in different lighting environments.  In the packaging, they all look to be a white color, but when you swatch them, they have colorful undertones with duochrome glitters.  These make for the perfect festival look!  They are branded as a “winter” collection, but to me these are great for a party, a costume, or just to add an intriguing little flare to a lip look.

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Both of these products are limited addition according to the Sephora website.  I think they are fun additions to any collection!  For me, you never know what you might need on a film set or what your next job could be, so I love having options!  It’s also fun to just play around and create new looks!

 

February Ipsy Bag

Last month I was introduced to Ipsy, and I decided to keep my subscription for now!  I have to say, I think February’s bag was even better!  So far I am loving this!

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The bag itself is super cute.  This month is a pale pink with black lace trim, and I can never have enough of these little makeup bags for my kit!

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It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer

Price: $10 for this travel size

What’s pretty cool is that just this concealer alone would be the cost of the whole Ipsy bag!  I have heard so many rave reviews about this concealer, I was so happy to receive it in the bag!  I love trying new concealers because I feel like you need different ones for different days.  This one is definitely a full coverage concealer.  It also says that it is anti-aging and waterproof, both big pluses!  Overall I really like this!  It is pretty thick, so it wouldn’t be good if you have dry under eyes, but on a normal day or if you have dark circles I think you would really like this.

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Naked Cosmetics Lip Scrub

Price: $4.99

I have been sooo dry recently with the change in temperature, so I was happy to get a lip scrub that could help my chapped lips!  This smells really good, it has a vanilla scent.  It’s just like most lip scrubs, it gently buffs away dry, dead skin and then you can apply a lip balm and quench your lips!  I don’t know that I would repurchase this because I have lip scrubs that are similar, but I always enjoy trying new ones!
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Z Skin Winter Skin Hydrating Spray

Price: full size is $19

I mentioned that I have been extremely dry recently, so I was very excited to see this in the bag!  Plus, I LOVE face sprays, they are so relaxing and refreshing I can never get enough.  This is probably my favorite item in the bag.  This smells and feels amazing!  I really think this made a difference in my dry skin!  This brand is made with all natural ingredients which I love.  This product hydrates and tones, and it says that it will reduce dark spots over time–which I was very intrigued by!  I have been using this every morning and night and I definitely enjoy having this in my routine.

IMG_4741 (1).jpg Ofra Liquid Lipstick in Unzipped

Price: full size is $20

Ofra cosmetics has amazing liquid lipsticks!  So many YouTubers have collaborated with Ofra to create their favorite shades, and they rave about the quality.  These liquid lipsticks are so comfortable, pigmented, and they last for a long time on the lips!  This shade is really nice, it’s a flattering berry pink.  You can never have too many lip colors in your collection!

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IMG_4743 (1).jpg Seraphine Cosmetics Blush

Price: $14

I am pretty much drawn to anything that says “rose gold”.  I think it’s so gorgeous and always looks pretty!  This blush fit that category perfectly!  It is another natural product, with lychee and chamomile extracts in the blush to give more luminosity and hydration.  It says it is a healthy glow blush, and it gives you just that!  It isn’t an extreme amount of color, but I feel like it’s just enough for a natural looking day.

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Another month of new products and a successful Ipsy bag!  I am still loving this subscription, and I can’t wait to see what March brings!  Let me know what you received in your February bag!