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Travel Bucket List: Hello Barbados (50 Shades of Blue)

Monday, August 15, 2016
The luxury of Barbados brings many tourists to the Caribbean every year, and with its colorful culture and foodie scene, Barbados offers a lot more than beautiful blue waters. Did you know? Barbados gets many of its traditions from West African and British cultures. Your Barbados adventure will begin at Grantley Adams International Airport. From there, look forward to festivals, sporting events, and much more! 


When I arrived to Barbados, I couldn’t wait to check out my room at the Coral Reef Club, an intimate, tropical paradise spread across 12 acres of flower-filled gardens. Talk about luxury! This family- owned, five-star resort is located on the west coast of Barbados, merely a 30 minute drive from the airport.


When I wasn’t spending my day lounging by the pool or beach, I was enjoy pampering at the resort spa, which offers a variety of spa services including massages and facials. On my very first day, I enjoyed lunch at the restaurant on the property for a delicious West Indian meal and a cool glass of rum punch! Seriously, the best rum punch I’ve ever had.

The next day, I took a tour of St. Nicholas Abbey, one of the most historical landmarks in the Western Hemisphere. The 400 acre plantation has over 200 acres of sugar cane fields. I saw so many beautiful antiques, some dating back to the 1800s, still preserved in the home. To learn more about the home you can take advantage of a complimentary guided tour (subject to availability) which includes a short film on its history.

The best part of the tour – the rum!  If you didn’t know, Barbados is world- famous for its rum and St. Nicholas Abbey is the place to sample it because it has a long tradition of producing it. While I was there, I had a chance to explore the distillery where they create the rum. The most interesting fact I learned about St. Nicholas Abbey is that they use a traditional distillation process on the rum, the same process they’ve used for more than 300 years – wow!

If you’re visiting Barbados, you must visit Hunte’s Garden, aka the best location for an engagement proposal (just sayin!) I got a chance to meet with the owner, Anthony Hunte, a really interesting British man who made his home in Barbados. We talked about everything from rum to Rihanna! When you arrive to his garden, he has a sign on the chair that says "Please Ring the Bell." Once he hears the bell, he magically appears out of nowhere and greets you! I’m sure he heard me loud and clear because I didn’t realize the bell was so heavy and I dropped it. Luckily, it stayed intact. 


The best part of my trip was lunch at the Cliff Beach Club. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! Do you hear me! I thought I was in the South of France. The beautiful view, the vibe, the food, the people! Just amazing. 


I started with the lobster bisque, which was poured table-side, served with a ciboulette cream! To be honest, I had no idea what ciboulette cream was but I figured it had to be good and it was delicious. Next, the spicy spaghetti vongol, which was prepared using fresh local seafood. My waitress was awesome, she warned me about the spice so I put it to the side and boy am I glad. It was super spicy! 


Later that evening, I went to Mullins Beach Bar & Grill to listen to live music! Kevan Sahai, a local musician who plays at the bar, reminds me of a mix between Bruno Mars and John Mayer. He’s amazingly talented! I could only hope whoever found Rihanna, discovers him too because what a talent. I danced all night long singing songs and mingling with a diverse crowd of locals and tourists. 


I didn’t have a chance to jump on the Jammin Catamaran Cruise the following day, instead I had to jump on a flight off to my next adventure. I’ll definitely go back to experience this because what better way to enjoy the beautiful waters of Barbados than by boat? Since I arrived on Saturday, I missed the Friday night fish fry at Oistins, another must on my list!

Oh Barbados, you’ll forever be one of my favorite destinations. 

MARIO BADESCU SALON REVIEW

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A few weeks ago I booked an appointment at the Mario Badescu Salon after my friend raved about the treatments there.I didn't realize that they offer one of the best facials in New York City. Mario Badescu's spa may not be as 'posh' as Bliss but the facials are outstanding. Don't expect quiet quarters, champagne, and zen music but do expect to walk away with beautiful skin.



I booked an early appointment - 9am! I was stunned at how many people were already there so early and 60 minutes later when I walked out, the place was PACKED with women and men, old and young, ready to get their skin care on! This must be the best kept secret ever. While you're paying $100-plus for a facial at a high end salon, you can get a facial here for only $65. Of course, the additions are extra but the basic facial is a wonderful affordable price. The best thing about starting with the basic facial is that you're able to get a clear idea on what treatments you should book in the future.

The skin specialists wear white coats similar to doctors and really know what they're talking about. They can also recommend what's best for your skin and won't try to up sell you just to get a dollar. After your appointment, you're whisked off (this is optional) to a room filled with products. Another skin specialist will suggest a variety of products that you should try based on your skin examination. She filled up a bag (FILLED IT UP) with all of the products in a sample size that she recommended for me to try. I had at least a month worth of samples and I couldn't wait to test them out. A few weeks after my appointment, I got a letter in the mail from the spa thanking me for my service and they even included a discount for my next visit.

I'm interested in trying The Glycolic Acid Treatment. This treatment is an all-natural, rapid exfoliating treatment that stimulates cellular turnover to help you regain a healthy, smooth, and even complexion. Glycolic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid derived from sugar cane that works to loosen the bond that holds dead skin cells together, allowing them to slough away revealing fresh, new skin underneath. The spa offer 6 treatments for $250.

Regular glycolic treatments will result in:
  • Minimizing pore congestion and blackheads
  • Minimizing discoloration from old acne and sun exposure as well as softening the look of fine lines and dull skin.
Now, that my breakouts have stopped thanks to the Murad Pure Skin Supplements (read my review here), I look forward to removing minimal discoloration and any dullness in my skin. Do you have a favorite Mario Badescu product? Comment below! I'd love to hear about it. 

Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Dietary Supplement Review

Monday, February 15, 2016

I'm back and I discovered the best dietary supplement for radiant clear skin! I was on Snapchat one day (follow me at: luvjonesy) and I was watching one of my favorite YouTuber's talk about her skin. Lately, her skin has been looking amazing! I wondered what her secret was and she revealed it one day - Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Dietary Supplement. I've tried every lotion and potion but never could really get my skin to completely calm down at certain times. I have really good months and then some bad. This summer, my skin was amazing! I hardly wore makeup but then after I started a new job my skin started to change. I was getting more breakouts than normal and I wasn't quite sure why or what to do. I consulted a new Dermatologist and even tried some new products. It seemed to help a little but during that time of the month (when you are more hormonal) I'd still get breakouts. That's when I discovered Murad and decided to try them out. I went to Sephora and was told they were SOLD OUT! Wow, these must be good. I remember walking, determined to get to another location 10 blocks away to pick up a bottle. 



I started by taking two pills in the morning and then two at night. I did this for a month and I noticed amazing results right away. No more breakouts, my skin looked radiant and I was well on my way to recovery. I purchased my bottle at Sephora for $43 but you can also purchase the pills on the Murad website which offers an auto-delivery option (save 20% off) and guarantees you'll never fall behind. To save money, I decided to reduce my intake from four pills a day to only two. Since I didn't suffer from bad acne, I decided that four wasn't all that necessary to get the results I wanted. I suggest starting your first month with four but eventually testing it out to see if you can reduce it down to two. 

Side effects? I didn't really experience any except that your urine will turn a bright yellow color. This caught me off guard but it's definitely not the end of the world. 

Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Dietary Supplement is suggested for people looking to:
• Have clearer, healthier-looking skin
• Help prevent clogged pores
• Enhance internal defense against acne

Well all know that clogged pores is a cause of acne and if you've suffered from cystic acne (which is the worst if you ask me) it can be quite difficult to find a facial wash or topical treatment that will rid of it. That's why skin supplements are such a great option. If you suffer from cystic acne I definitely recommend this product. It's been about 3 months and I can't remember the last time I had one pimple. Amazing right? To make my skin even more fantastic I've been getting facials at the Mario Badescu Skin Center in New York City. 

Have you tried these pills and did you like them? Comment below. Stay tuned, I will be doing another full review of this product as well as other products I love for the skin on my YouTube Channel (subscribe here)


COVERGIRL SUPER SIZER AND INTENSIFY ME EYELINER REVIEW

Friday, July 31, 2015


A month ago I received the new CoverGirl Super Sizer by LashBlast Mascara. The mascara is supposed to give your lashes more volume for full, fanned out lashes. I also received the Intensify Me! Liquid Liner.  It's supposed to give you the same control of a pencil with the intensity of a liquid eyeliner for beautifully defined eyes every time. One of these products I LOVED and the other I did not. Can you guess which one?
I absolutely love this mascara. It gives my lashes a lot of length and great color! It also prevents my lashes from looking "clunky," that is major! Check out this blurb from Allure.com:

"First, there's the wand: Sandwiched in between the longer bristles are rows of the tiniest little baby bristles you've ever seen. And these tiny bristles get loaded up with tons of mascara—so much so that 'mascara hits your lashes before the bristles do,' Vickery explained. 'That initial drenching of the lashes is unusual, and what it does is deposit a ton of mascara right at the lash line, giving you that intensity that makes your lashes look thicker.' The longer bristles comb the pigment evenly through to the tips, especially if you roll the wand toward you (this is key). The other interesting thing about the Super Sizer wand is that the longer bristles are spaced far apart—26 percent farther apart than on most mascara wands, to be exact—so that lashes are coated with mascara in groups. 'By coating the lashes in uniform groups, you end up with more of a dramatic look,' says Vickery. I can attest. My lashes nearly touched my brow bone. And finally, the formula: "It's a dual-polymer system balanced with the perfect mix of clays and waxes," says Vickery. That basically means the formula is both flexible (so you have some play time when applying it) and long-lasting (so you won't get to work looking like you never went home the night before). You really have to try this stuff."

I did not love the liner. The brush itself felt uncomfortable on my skin, it didn't feel gentle at all. It felt somewhat tough and hard. Unfortunately, I couldn't perfect my wing with the tip. My first impression was that it was difficult to achieve an angled wing with this brush. For $1.99 my NYC Liquid Eyeliner does a much better job and lasts throughout the day.

Run and get the mascara but ditch the liner!

CHEAP PRIMER - NIVEA MEN'S AFTER SHAVE

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


I discovered a new primer that I love, are you ready? Nivea's Men's After Shave! Yes, men's after shave. Not only is this product CHEAP ($6 bucks or less at Target, CVS, Rite Aid, etc) but it works wonders! Rumors swirled around the beauty world and I just had to test this out for myself.

This product is meant to smooth and improve sensitive skin. It makes the skin of most men baby soft after they shave, so it must be a great product for women as well. I decided to test it out! I washed my face as normal, applied moisturizer, followed by the after shave. I used a sponge to apply my foundation and immediately noticed how glowling and smooth my face looked. How would the makeup hold out throughout the day? Well, my foundation was in great shape. It could of been a combo of the primer and foundation. Since using this combination, I've received a lot more compliments from both women and men.

Heads up, this product product (photo below) does have a slight scent. Yes, it smells kinda like a man but I like it : ) 

Have you tried this combination yet? Comment below!




MY DRY BAR EXPERIENCE WITH NATURAL HAIR

Monday, July 27, 2015
I've seen Drybar all around New York City but never thought it was an option for me. My hair has been natural for over ten years and I've always had my hair done at a Dominican or African American beauty salon. 

The concept of DryBar was always intriguing. It's a very simple idea: No cuts. No color. Just blowouts!.What they believe is that almost everyone (even the pros) prefer having someone else blow out their hair. As someone with natural hair, I cannot blow out my own hair. Not only could it take me hours (my hair is super thick), a necessary skill is needed to turn my hair from curly to straight.
Also, instead of paying $60+ at a traditional salon, or going to a less-than-desirable discount chain, DryBar offers a flat fee of $45 dollars (it recently increased from 40 dollars.) For a few extra bucks, you can add on a deep conditioning treatment, head massage, etc.
After getting my hair done there twice, I can finally share my overall opinion. The price is great (about the same I'd pay at a Dominican salon), and the blow outs are amazing (more on that in a second) but it's the customer service that I love! Customer service that I haven't received from some of my other salons in the past. Setting up an appointment was easy, they have an app for that! How cool? Once I arrived at my appointment, I was seen within 10 minutes. A stylist came out to greet me "Hey, Shannon" and I'm asked if I'd like coffee, tea, water, or .... a mimosa! My favorite! I'm taken to a bar area where I can put down my things and then off to get my hair washed. The decor in the salon is absolutely fabulous ( I love the pop of yellow in the color scheme.) The products smell yummy! Your stylist does your hair start to finish.  If I had to complain about two things in my prior salon it would be: the wait time and dealing with multiple stylists in one appointment.
I'm sure you may have experienced this before. You get to the salon, one person washes your hair, another person sets your hair, and so on. Sometimes I'd like one dedicated person to do it through and through. Secondly, waiting sucks! I've spent 5 hours at a salon before (on a weekend) when I could of been out within 2 hours instead. The long wait usually stems from having to wait for your stylist to finish another customer before they could tend back to you. At DryBar, you have one stylist that focuses on you and only you, the entire time! How amazing is that?

Once my stylist washed my hair she took me to the bar area and the blow out began! First, she handed me a menu book. The menu contained several of their signature styles, click here to check it out. So far I've experienced the Mai Tai and Straight Up, both styles came out great! 

When I informed several of my friends and Instagram followers about my experience, a lot of them were surprised because I have natural hair. Here's the thing! Can every DryBar handle natural hair? I don't know. I specifically did research prior to going. First, I went on yelp and I searched "Natural Hair" within a few different DryBar locations. Quickly I learned the names of a few stylists in various locations that have done natural hair before and were good at it! Another way to research is by using instagram hashtags. I searched #drybarnyc #drybarnewyork #drybarny #drybarmeatpacking and searched for brown beauties like myself. When I stumbled across a stylist, bingo! I knew I had the one. When I booked my appointment they gave the option of leaving a comment. My comment was very specific "Hi, I have natural hair. I would like a natural hair stylist to do my hair the day of my appointment. I would like to request Cynthia if she's available that day please." Easy? That's exactly who I got when I arrived and she did a great job! Now ... did my hair last? If you have natural hair, you know that not all products for all hair types work with our hair. It's important to use a product that can beat that humidity! My first experience at DryBar was great but I did notice my hair frizzed up a bit more quickly than it does at my usual hair salon. The solution for me was easy! I found a product I could apply on my hair after my blow out that would help to reduce the frizz. 

Although I'll still need to go to my salon once every now and then for a cut and color, I'll definitely be returning to Drybar for another blow out (and mimosa) soon. Would you try Drybar? Comment below.
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