Reviews

Friday Faves: Etsy Shops

by agirlandhermutt on August 14, 2015

I’m addicted to Etsy. I know I’m not alone.

Seriously. It used to be that everything in my house came from IKEA. Now it looks like the Etsy website blew up in my living room. I can’t get enough of people’s homemade goods.

I happen to know that many of you fine folks also enjoy a good Etsy find so I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite stores right now. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (you should!), then you know that I a am addicted to sticker stores.

*Because I have tons to talk about regarding the whole planner world, including stickers, I’m going to be doing a planner week next week. A review of my Erin Condren and Day Designer planners, a run down of the sticker shops I have bought from (both good AND bad!), and a bit about planning resources. Today I wanted to just focus on cool shops with great owners!*

Burlap Blooms
I love a good door wreath. There is something fun about coming up to someone’s door and instantly getting a vibe of what their home is going to be about. Our beach wedding had touches of burlap to give it that whole chic boho vibe. I loved it. I found this store specializing in burlap wreaths but none were the *exact* color scheme I was looking for. I sent a quick email asking if she could do some custom colors and a few emails later I had a wreath on its way to me. Literally. I ordered Monday morning and by Monday afternoon I had a shipping notification. It arrived on Wednesday afternoon.

The wreath was well made and arrived with no issues. Great packaging for shipping!
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The Paper Chick
Next up is a shop that is owned by a childhood friend of mine. I’m a pouch person. I have little bags for everything. Ashley, better known as The Paper Chick, was showing her bags on Facebook and I had to have a few. I ordered the two bags shown below and was blown away by the quality of the fabric, zipper and workmanship. I ended up purchasing 3 more from her recently as gifts. I should note, I bought every single one of my bags. No freebies to get mentioned. Just pure love for her craft from me!

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Blue Green Blue Design
I LOVE personalized items. Not necessarily monograms, but things that are customized to be just for you. While I was searching around for a unique wedding gift I came across the Blue Green Blue Designs shop. I love her graphic prints and decided to give her a try.

I bought a print that included the coordinates of where the couple got married. I emailed the specifics to her, but let her know that the only part that I wasn’t sure about was the color choices. Kaitlyn emailed me back quickly with a proof that included some great options, but also asked that I send her a photo from the wedding day. I did and she responded again with an even cooler design that made the print so personal to the couple I was getting the gift for. It was so easy to communicate with her!

It shipped the next day and when it arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find it in a reinforced envelope (no bending!) and the print quality was excellent. A few days later I ended up ordering from her again for my own personal print! I would show you those, but they are coordinates to my house. Uh no. So here are some examples. And this is exactly how great mine look in person! Seriously. I can’t tell you how much I love my prints. il_570xN.537190229_k4c0
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Happy Fox Design
This shop is a printable art store. I have to tell you…I’m not typically a huge fan of printables. I never really understand how to get them printed and it seems like such a hassle. However, I had been on the hunt for a specific octopus print and wasn’t able to find EXACTLY what I was looking for until I came across Happy Fox Design. The only problem was the art was all printables. It was only $10 to purchase the 3 part art piece so I figured I would give it a shot.

I was surprised to find that the prints downloaded easily from Etsy and then I just uploaded them to Snapfish and had them printed on matte paper. The result?! Really high quality prints that cost me about $12 total! I’ve since tried to do this with a few other shops and haven’t had as much success. Most of the times the colors are off from what was on my screen or the quality isn’t nearly as nice (pixelated) when I print them out. This shop has a variety of pieces at resonable prices.

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The Mod Mobile
Every cute car deserves cute accessories. The Mod Mobile offers accessories for mobile living including car trash cans, on-the-go lids and tissue holders. I got this cute matching trash can and tissue holder set. The trash can has a plastic interior that holds a dog poo sized plastic bag perfectly. They even sent a roll of bags with the trash can! I also got the matching tissues holder that just slides right onto the visor. Super convenient!

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Super cute customized cards! All of my wedding thank you cards came from here and I just loved them. Hand stamped and adorable. These cards obviously run a little more than picking up a pack of cards at Target, but the quality of both the card and the stamping make it worth the few extra bucks for those special occasions that you actually send a real card.

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Let me know if you have any shop recommendations or if you even have a shop of your own!

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Review: Aerial Silks Yoga at Ebb n’ Flow Yoga

by agirlandhermutt on June 19, 2015

Back in October of last year, my friend Karen organized a fantastic bachelorette weekend for me. One of the highlights of that trip was waking up bright and early on a Sunday morning, after a night of lots of champagne, wine & cocktails, and heading out to group fitness class. We did SurfSet and it was SO MUCH FUN.

When it came time for me to organize Karen’s bachelorette weekend I knew I wanted to do something similar. My friends are pretty adventurous and we all know each other so well that we don’t embarrass easily. I did some digging around and found a yoga studio not far from Karen’s house, where the party was taking place, called Ebb n’ Flow studio. It seemed like a lovely studio and had pretty good review. Then I realized that they offered an AERIAL SILKS YOGA CLASS!

Yes. YES! YES!

I signed us up for a private group class immediately.

I sometimes forget that our group of friends can be…loud. I don’t know any other way to put it. We laugh a lot. A *few* of us are loud talkers (me!). And we love to talk. So when we walked into this lovely and serene studio I got a little nervous. Would the instructor be annoyed with us immediately? Would everyone have fun? Would it be too serious?!

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We were greeted by Kim, our instructor and maybe the owner of the studio?, and I was immediately at ease. She was friendly, upbeat and happy to see us. She gave off that ultimate yogi vibe that I so desperately wish that I had. Do you know what I mean? That I’m so cool but don’t try to be anyone but me personality? Yea. That is Kim. She told us a little bit about the various spaces in the studio and invited us to look around, grab a mat and head into the studio.

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The studio is comprised off one larger yoga room, a Reiki room, the aerial yoga room and a room in the making that will feature local artist’s works. They are also in the process of painting a gorgeous mural.
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The aerial room is set up for 9 people to participate. It is intimate and cozy, but still with plenty of room to swing around and be a nut.
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Kim started off the class with a few instructions on how to use the fabric and then we started with our class. Obviously this was a beginner/get used to using the silk sling, or hammock, so there was not as much flow as there was laughing while trying to do different poses. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the stretch I got when doing typical poses in the sling. For instance, I was able to go so much deeper in my poses because I had support from the sling. On a typical day there is NO WAY that I could get my leg straight out in front of me and then bring it to the side, but with the sling, I had support so I could easily move my leg back and forth while opening my hip flexors. It was amazing! And it was FUN!

We did inversions. We sat on the sling like a chair. We swung around! It was like being a kid on a swing at some points! I was sweating so much but barely noticed because we were having so much fun.

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So a few things…

The fabric can be a little uncomfortable at times. I found that any time the fabric was bunched up, it really dug into my skin. I checked with a few of the skinny chicks in my group and they said the same thing. I think it a lot like spinning. You go and your butt hurts so much you can’t sit down for the next two days. But you keep going back and suddenly you don’t need the gel seat. I think that is similar with the fabric.

You NEED to wear a shirt that covers your armpits and pants that cover the back of your knees. If you don’t, you will regret it. Ebb n’ Flow has a great FAQ section about the class that states you should do this and we all followed those instructions. I’m so glad we did! It would have been an awful class without that layer of protection.

No fear! You have to trust your instructor, the fabric and yourself. There are times where you just kind of flip over and are upside down. On purpose! I don’t know about you, but I don’t do a ton of inversions and especially not without someone supporting me. To have the fabric there feels very surreal at first until you finally just realize the connection between you and the sling.

Like any traditional yoga class, we ended the class with my favorite yoga pose, Savasana. I put this picture up on Facebook and instantly got comments about being “Pod People”. I can’t lie. I felt like one too.
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I get a little claustrophobic sometimes so I had to play around with my arm placement to get it so the fabric wasn’t touching my face and I didn’t feel inclosed. It kind of looked like I was making a gang sign on my forehead with my hands and my elbows were pushing the fabric away from me. I finally got it just right and really found myself relaxed and in the moment.
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Overall, the class was amazing. The combo of the studio, Kim (our instructor) and the fabric slings was unique and fun. I like the incorporation of traditional yoga poses with the fabric and the ability to do many poses that my lack of flexibility would prevent me from being able to do otherwise.

Ebb n’ Flow offers a beginner Aerial Yoga class that they recommend you take a few times before moving into the regular Aerial Yoga class. I imagine that one flows a lot more and there is probably a little less laughing and grunting. 😉

I wish that Ebb n’ Flow was closer to Boston. The space is so welcoming and feels like a place that could be a permanent yoga home for me. I know I will definitely be returning to the studio to give it another try and I’m pretty sure my friends will be joining me.

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*Thanks to my friend, Jeanne, for most of these photos! She was injured and couldn’t participate but offered to come and take photos. We have a TON of photos, but I don’t know how much my friends would appreciate me putting their business on the internet. Just know that they had a good time too!*

If you are in the MA area, check the studio out!

Ebb n’ Flow
Northborough, MA 01532
Facebook, Instagram

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Best in Beauty 2014

by agirlandhermutt on January 23, 2015

Happy Friday Friends! If you have been reading for a bit then you know that I LOVE all things make-up, fashion and hair. That doesn’t mean that I’m a pro at any of these, but I do enjoy pretending to be! In past years I have talked about monthly favorites or items I was into throughout the year, but this past year I kind of dropped the ball. So we are doing a whole big ol’ round-up of my tried-and-true products! Warning: This is going to get a bit long! Enjoy!

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Face

It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation
Color: Light-Medium
This powder foundation is perfect for someone who wants full coverage, but hates the feeling of traditional liquid foundation. I used this foundation all summer and winter long. It goes on perfectly and lasts all day! Even the super sweaty days.

IT Cosmetics Buffing Foundation Brush
This sucker came as part of a little kit that I got off QVC when I ordered my foundation. When applying the IT Cosmetics foundation with this brush I got that airbrushed looked that can be really hard to achieve with powder foundations. It is jam packed with synthetic hairs that don’t shed. A must for any brush.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
Color: Luminous Light
After watching about a bajillion bridal make-up tutorials, I was convinced to give this finishing powder/highlighter a try. Yep. It is just as fantastic as people said. It gives my face a light glow (now sweaty looking) that makes me look sun kissed. It isn’t sparkly or shiny, but truly a glow. Perfect for those of us who have grown out of the glitter make-up stage. This stuff ain’t cheap, but it also doesn’t take much so it will last forever!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush
Color: Prim (or any color)
I debated putting this one in because my favorite color doesn’t seem to be a part of the regular Tarte blush rotation. I got the color Prim in the Chic to Cheek collection over the holidays and fell in love. But honestly? All of the Amazonian Clay blushes are fantastic. They last all day long, have a ton of pigment and have a fantastic texture. Is it weird to like a blush texture? I just mean that it goes on really smoothly without having any patchy spots. Which happens with other blushes and that can get weird.

Makeup Geek Rounded Blush Brush
If you haven’t watched Marlena, the woman behind Makeup Geek, on YouTube then go do that and come back later. She has great tutorials and her make-up line is fantastic. What I’m most in love with though are her brushes. This rounded blush brush is PERFECT for applying bronzer. It lets me be a bit more precise in my application and doesn’t get all muddled on my face. These bad boys are always sold out so stay on top of the website to grab one the minute they are restocked.
Eyes

It Cosmetics Brow Powder Universal Eyebrow Pencil
Color: Universal Taupe
This brow pencil takes some getting used to, but once you do…magic. The universal concept is simple. Press lightly for light color and press harder for darker color. No lie. It works! I alternated between dark and lighter brows throughout the year. When I’m doing a no make-up look, I go lighter. When I’m dressed up, those bad boys are DARK. Bonus, this stuff looks really natural.

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil
Color: Milk
This eye shadow/liner pencil doesn’t crease. Ever. Which makes it perfect for a primer of sorts. When I want my darker shadows to stand out, I first apply a layer of this pencil, rub it in with my finger and then apply my regular eyeshadows. Suddenly the colors just POP.

Covergirl Full Lash Bloom Mascara
This is a relatively new favorite, but deserves some attention. I’m a sucker for advertisements and this mascara had Katy Perry in it. Yessss. BUT! This is actually a really nice mascara! It provides a really natural look where the lashes are longer and fuller, but not over the top. A perfect every day mascara for sure. And take it from this small eyed gal, it doesn’t smudge!

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics
I’m obsessed with the Naked line from Urban Decay, but the first basics palette just didn’t wow me. When the Naked2 Basics line came out I was surprised to see that there was a bigger range of shades. This ended up being my go-to and travel eye shadow palette. They are all matte and just look great with anything.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer
Color: Brightner
I don’t have a huge under eye circle problem, but I do really like that whole Kim Kardashian bright eyed look. This concealer is perfect for getting the bright look without being heavy and settling into my fine lines. Plus, it is CHEAP!

Lips

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm
Color: Pudgy Peony & Whole Lotta Honey
These little chubby sticks are so cute and perfect for my lips. The sticks have a sheer quality to them, but with still plenty of color. They also live up to their moisturizing name. Don’t you hate when moisturizers dry you out?! Not the case here.

NYX Wonder Pencil
Color: Light
Ok, this is my lip secret. I use this as my lip liner. My lips + this pencil= BOOM. Big ol’ lips.

It Cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush 4-in-1 Reviver Lipstick Stain
Color: Je Ne Sais Quoi
My lips but better. Gorgeous sheer color that just seems to bring out my natural color. Plus, it stays put all day long for me! Be careful with this lipstick in the heat though. It is a softer lipstick and will become a big ol’ puddle in your bag if you let it get hot.

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Hair

Sexy Hair Healthy Hair Soy Touchable Weightless Hairspray
I don’t typically use hairspray. I’m blessed with good hair that just holds curl and styles. HOWEVER! There are times when I want to just make sure everything stays in place. This hairspray gives me the hold I need without becoming a helmet head. I also don’t need a professional hair wash the next day to get this stuff out. Seriously. I have had to do that before. It was awful! This spray really does leave your hair touchable but still provides a great hold.

Herbal Essences Sleeker the Butter Shampoo & Conditioner
Mmmm. This shampoo and conditioner smells so good! I should note that I wash my hair about 2-3 times a week. At most. So when I condition, I REALLY need to condition my hair. This combo not only smells good, but keeps my hair looking and feeling healthy without feeling weighted down.

NuMe Titan 3 Curling Wand Set
First…don’t ever pay full price for a NuMe product. There is ALWAYS a coupon code to be found online. I think I paid about $65 for this set and I really love it! The variety of barrels give me a great option for curls. I tend to stick to the medium sized barrel (25mm) but have used the others too. I wouldn’t say using a curling wand is faster for me than a regular curling iron, but it does provide a much more natural and relaxed curl. Great for when you want curled hair but don’t want to look like you spent an hour getting ready. And use the glove that comes with it! Safety first folks.

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Other Goodies

OPI Nail Polish
Color: My Vampire is Buff & My Favorite Ornament

I’m obsessed with gel manicures and this combo was my favorite for the whole year. Simple. Elegant. Gorgeous!

Ponds Luminous Clean Wet Cleansing Towelettes
Never ever ever ever go to sleep with your make-up on! A quick swipe with one of these wipes and your make-up will be gone. It takes off the most stubborn eyeliner and mascara with ease.

The Body Shop Body Butter
Smells: Almond, Coconut, Vineyard Peach, Strawberry, Honeymania
I’ve mentioned these body butters before and I still adore them. They are super moisturizing without being sticky and I just love them.

The Body Shop Body Mist
Smells: Coconut, Almond
If we ever hang out in the summer, I will smell like coconut. If we hang out in the fall or winter, I will smell like Almond. Light, delicious and long lasting. These body mists are perfect for those people that want to smell good but don’t really care for the traditional perfume smell.

Eyelash Extensions
Sigh. I *wish* I had the time and money to keep these up year round! The price is totally reasonable for the amount of work they do, but every time I went I thought about other things I could be doing with that money. I would totally do it again for an event, big trip, etc. They were perfect for my wedding! Locals, I got mine done by Lash L’Amour in Newton. Total pros.

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So there you have it! My top beauty faves for 2014! I’ll be posting in a few weeks about my wedding make-up and hair where you will see a few of these favorites appear again. I also plan on doing a bit of a Not So Hot products post. Hopefully I can save you a few bucks with that one.

See you soon and have a great weekend!

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