Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community: Welcome Kit Favorite Products

Starbucks

I was a devoted coffee lover and Starbucks fan long before I was invited join the Starbucks Coffee Blogger Community. You might remember that I literally lived on top of a Starbucks in Florida before moving to New York. (I may not live directly above one now, but I have like 12 within walking distance. Win!) I also adore Starbucks’ at-home offerings and regularly stock my own shelves full of Starbucks. I also have a minor mermaid obsession, so I connect with all aspects of the company - down to the logo.

So naturally, I was thrilled to partner with Starbucks and join this exclusive group of bloggers! Through the program, I’ll get access to the latest Starbucks products before they hit the shelves so I can test them out and share the deets with you all!

I recently received my Welcome Kit and I’ve been having a blast tasting all of the new products and exploring the world of Starbucks Coffee. Equipped with my handy dandy Starbucks Coffee Passport, I’ve been mastering the fundamentals of how to properly brew and taste coffee.

With my new coffee knowledge and my old taste buds, I’ve put these new items to the test and I’m very pleased with the results. Read on for info on my absolute favs! I think you’ll love these delicious Starbucks goodies just as much as I do.

Starbucks

Starbucks Collection Dot Drinkware

I like my coffee like I like my men – tall and hot. (Sorry, had to.)  So, I really love the design of this quirky polka-dot mug because it gives me exactly what I need. It’s a large mug that keeps your coffee nice and toasty while your hands stay cool thanks to the mug’s double wall construction. The metallic gold dots on the ceramic mug have a hand-painted feel which makes drinking out of it seem even cozier. Designed by Starbucks Creative Studio, there are also a bunch of other fun designs to choose from, all under $20.

Starbucks Core Coffee Series – Caffe Verona

This rich coffee is well-balanced with a dark cocoa texture and a roasty sweetness. It tastes delicious when prepared with a simple pour-over brewer. Caffe Verona was originally blended for a Seattle restaurant to pair with its chocolate cake. (Makes perfect sense why this one ended up being my favorite.) It also pairs well with chocolate chip cookies. And chocolate croissants. And chocolate.

Starbucks Coffee Passport

I originally thought this might just be a novelty item, but I’ve fallen in love with my Starbucks Coffee Passport. Each page is packed full of useful information about each variety of Starbucks Coffee. In addition to an abundance of coffee facts, there is room for recording your own tasting notes. I’m so excited to continue using this tool throughout my Starbucks adventure!

Stay tuned to find out what else Starbucks has in store for next month! In my next post I’ll also put my new knowledge to good use and school you on how to best prepare (and consume) your coffee. Until then, happy brewing! ;)

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Backstage Beauty: Christian Siriano at New York Fashion Week

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I have been a fan of Christian Siriano since he sashayed his way into my heart during the fourth season of Project Runway.

His A/W ‘15 collection was, in a word, fierce.

He presented the new collection on Saturday at ArtBeam. Christian was inspired by the creatures from the Congo Jungle in the Central African Republic. Pieces included sleek burnout wool textured dresses, bold animal printed jacquard coats and liquid panther-like velvet evening outfits. The collection feels luxe and sophisticated but still playful through the ease and fluidity of the silhouettes; elegant, powerful, bold but still romantic for the Christian Siriano woman this season.

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I really loved the edgy feel of the beauty look as well. MAC makeup artist Polly Osmond created a 70s inspired makeup design featuring a striking burgundy and yellow eye paired with bare lips and dewy skin.

Leaving no detail unturned, Jamberry Nails collaborated with Christian on a custom hunter green to black ombre nail design evocative of his Congo jungle-inspired collection.

One of the most interesting aspects of the look was the intricate wet-look hair design, executed by Sebastian Professional lead stylist Anthony Cole. If you’re feeling adventurous, I got the scoop on how to get the hair look at home! Here are the steps he took to achieve this look and the products you need:

  • Mix 2 parts Sebastian Professional Mousse Forte with 1 part Sebastian Professional Gel Forte.
  • Taking 2 inch sections temple to temple from the nape of your neck up, apply the mix to your roots.
  • With a flat brush, blow dry the hair back. When reaching the front slightly direct the hair to either side making sure it is still brushed back.
  • Spray Sebastian Professional Shine Shaker on hair to create a wet look.
  • Take random pieces of hair from the side of the face and apply Sebastian Professional Gel Forte and Sebastian Professional Microweb Fiber to help create waves.
  • Apply Sebastian Professional Liquid Steel to keep the waves together and in place.
  • Finish with Sebastian Professional Shaper Fierce.

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Bethenny Frankel Debuts New Skinnygirl Cocktails at Launch Party

Bethenny Frankel

Seriously, I should just start another blog called “What I did on Tuesday.”

After Kim and Khloe’s shindig, I skipped on down to Rockefeller Center for the “Boy Meets Skinnygirl” party to celebrate the launch of the new additions to Skinnygirl Cocktails.

With the original Skinnygirl herself, Bethenny Frankel, behind the bar slinging drinks, an enthusiastic group of guests kicked off their Valentine’s Day week by sipping the two newest products in Skinnygirl Cocktail’s closet of low-calorie cocktailing options.

For someone who loves mixed drinks as much as I do, I can be pretty lazy when it comes to bartending at home for myself after a hard day. Sometimes when you need that drink, the last thing you want to do is have to bust out the shaker. That’s why I fell in love with the new Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita, the most recent addition to the brand’s ready-to-serve lineup. It tastes like you put a lot of effort into something that really has only one step! And as much as I love whipping up cocktail recipes, some occasions just call for an easy, one-pour drink. 

Here’s the full scoop on the two new girls in town:

  • Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita ~ Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita is the perfect combination of heat meets sweet, offering a well-rounded balance of cool lime, spicy chili and tequila. SkinnygirlSpicy Lime Margarita contains a light citrus aroma with spicy undertones, finishing with a bright lime flavor and lingering subtle heat. At less than 100 calories per serving, SkinnygirlSpicy Lime Margarita is 19.9 proof and offered in 750 mL and 1.75 L bottles. (Suggested retail price is $12.99 for a 750 mL bottle, currently available nationwide; $19.99 for a 1.75 L bottle, available March 2015.)
  • Skinnygirl Pinot Noir ~ Skinnygirl Pinot Noir contains aromas of dark cherry and mouthwatering flavors of dark cherry, toasted oak and vanilla. At 100 calories per 5 oz. serving, the newest girl to join Skinnygirl,the Wine Collection offers a long and silky finish with juicy acidity. Skinnygirl Pinot Noir is 10% ABV (alcohol by volume) and offered in a 750 mL bottle. Skinnygirl Pinot Noir is ideal for meal pairings, well-suited to pair with a wide variety of ethnic dishes and classic cuisines due to its consistent acidity, subtle, silky tannins and lighter-bodied style. (Suggested retail price is $11.99 for a 750mL bottle, currently available nationwide.)

That night, the cocktail list also included Skinnygirl Pinot Grigio, Skinnygirl Sweet’aritas. Skinnygirl Naked Cosmos, and Skinnygirl Pomegranate Tangerine Spritzers. All of them were delish. (Don’t judge me. Remember, this was all blog research.)

All the fun was for a good cause as the brand donated $50,000 to long-standing charity partner Dress for Success. I’m a huge fan of this charity myself, so I was very happy to learn that. The funds will assist Dress for Success with their mission of helping disadvantaged women on their paths to financial independence.

“Our newest girls offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a cocktail with a little heat and a little citrus, or a delicious wine option without the guilt,” Bethenny said. “We had a great time unveiling the new products all while giving back to Dress for Success, a cause that is so important to me.” 

Celebs partying for a good cause at the event included everyone from comedians like Lisa Lampanelli to reality stars like Jax Taylor from “Vanderpump Rules” and “The Bachelorette” contestant Chris Bukowski. The guest list also included Bethenny’s “Real Housewives of New York City” cast mates LuAnn de Lesseps, Sonja Morgan, Ramona Singer, Kristen Taekman and Heather Thomson.

PicStitch RHONY There may or may not be footage of Sonja and I becoming besties on the next season of RHONY. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, stay tuned for multiple Skinnygirl cocktail recipe posts to follow soon on Martinis and Mascara. I’m obsessed!

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Kim and Khloe Kardashian Celebrate Kardashian Beauty Launch in NYC

Kim Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian

Whoa. So much has happened this week!

On Tuesday night, I was among an exclusive group of beauty editors, industry influencers, bloggers, and other personalities who gathered to celebrate the launch of the Kardashian sisters’ new Kardashian Beauty haircare collection.

Confession: I was silently fangirling over my many of my fellow attendees just as much as I was over Kiki and Koko. Major beauty royalty at this event.

Kim Kardashian Beauty

Speaking of royalty, the regal princesses of reality tv were everything I thought they would be. Also, Kim can seriously pull off that lob and Khloe must do at least 14,000 squats a day. (Anyone who has Kim Kardashian ass envy has probably never seen Khloe in person. Bible.)

The best part of the event though? I actually really love these new products.

I am the first to admit that I’m always extremely skeptical of the quality of celeb products, but rest assured, the Kardashians hooked up with the right people to formulate these goodies. The famous sisters partnered with Farouk Systems (best known for CHI and BioSilk) to create the new collection. The elegant branding of the line is paired with packaging that has a prestige feel.

Kardashian Beauty Hair

The hero ingredient of the collection is Black Seed Oil, a nutrient rich treatment and styling aid that rejuvenates and nourishes hair so it appears strong, thick, and shiny. I styled my hair with literally every product today and am happy to report that my favorite products of the bunch are the Take 2 Dry Shampoo, Black Seed Dry Oil, and the Smooth Styler Blow Dry Cream.

I cocktailed the blow dry cream and the oil together and ran it through damp ends before heat styling. I also applied a little extra dry oil to my ends after drying. (Technically you aren’t supposed to do that with thick oils like this, but I’ve never really been a fan of rules. It’ll help tame your split ends if they’re really stubborn.)

The dry shampoo is not as heavy as most others on the market. It absorbs oil effectively and provides a light refresh, adding just enough oomph without all the buildup. It also leaves a lingering fresh scent in the hair that I can still smell as I type this.

All in all,  I think Keeks and Kooks launched a fabulous bunch of products on Tuesday. Order online or check them out in person at your local Ulta!

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P&G Giveaway Featuring New Products from CoverGirl, Olay, and Vidal Sassoon

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If you follow me on social media, you got a sneak peek at the amazing P&G Beauty Digital Studio event I attended last week. It was an awesome interactive experience featuring some of the leading beauty brands in the industry… and it was also a mini reunion with some of my absolute favorite bloggers and beauty editors.

At the event, I got an exclusive look at the 2015 launches from Aussie, CoverGirl, Head & Shoulders, Herbal Essences, Olay, Pantene, Secret, and Vidal Sassoon. I was going to pack this post full of my favorites, but there were literally so many that I’ve decided to break them into separate posts! So, keep an eye out for that. (To give you a teaser – I’m living for basically everything new from CoverGirl, especially the Lip Lava. Katy Perry wore it at the SuperBowl. Get some.)

In the meantime, my friends at P&G Beauty are offering a giveaway! If you would like to win a killer Beauty Box featuring some of the amazing new products featured at the Digital Studio event, entry is super easy. On Instagram, follow me, comment on a post from the event using #BeautyScoop. I’ll randomly select a winner based on those comments. You have until Thursday, so get on it!

You can also score an exclusive 20% discount and free shipping (on orders of $25) for select products featured at the event! All you have to do is use code BEAUTYSCOOP20 when shopping online at the P&G Shop. You’re welcome!

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7 Beauty Apps You Need to Download

Loreal-Make-Up-genius

I think the marriage of beauty and digital media is a wonderful thing. There are countless mobile apps on the market now that will do everything from let you try on celebrity hairstyles to connect you directly with a celebrity hairstylist. I’ve mentioned various apps on the blog before, but now I have curated a list of my current faves in one handy post. These tried and true beauty apps are definite keepers that I think you will love as much as I do. Behold, the seven beauty apps you need to download right now… (Seriously, start loading the App Store!)

GlamSquad

GlamSquad is like Uber for your beauty routine. Simply download the app, select the beautification service, and they will come to you (on location!) and pretty you up. GlamSquad offers a variety of predetermined hair and makeup looks (like “The Bombshell” and “The Siren”) to make your selection a snap. This service is super convenient and will save you time and money in traveling to your salon! Treat yourself like the star you are and have your beautification team come to you.

YouCam Makeup

Look a little washed out in your photo? Just add a little post-production blush with YouCam Makeup. (I suggest you use this one post-selfie-shoot, but pre-filtering.) It’s an app that uses facial recognition technology to digitally add makeup to your photos. It can look beautiful and natural when done correctly. It does look a little cheeseball if you go overboard, so please YouCam in moderation. Thankfully, each feature can be adjusted and does not have to be rendered at full intensity.

Beautified

Beautified, co-founded by DJ/model/fitness guru/professional cool person Hannah Bronfman, allows you to effortlessly book same day salon/spa services and fitness classes with the touch of a button. It features a well-curated list of providers, all displayed in a very user-friendly way with easily accessible info and pricing.

Sephora to Go

Sephora to Go is amazing. In addition to the traditional Sephora shopping we all know and love, the app features inspiration including shoppable looks! Look at a photo of one of your glammed up favorite influencers, and click to purchase the products she put on her face. It’s super easy and fun if shopping is your mission.

Glam Style

This amazing lifestyle app features a new edition every month, always packed with fun, relevant content. (You might remember when I participated in the Glam Beauty 100 with my #GlamFam and mentioned the app back then.) This month’s Valentine’s focused edition is definitely worth checking out!

L’Oreal Makeup Genius

THIS. This app is awesome. L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius scans your face in seconds then allows you to try on any shade (in real time!) and shop direct from your phone. The makeup library also features complete looks created by L’Oreal artists that you can try. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen the video of what it looks like in action. It’s brilliant.

Martinis and Mascara

Shameless self promotion alert! It felt wrong to not include the Martinis and Mascara app in my roundup of favorite apps. Chances are, if you’re reading this post right now, you’ll like it. ;)

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Brighten Your Smile with Crest HD

Crest HD

Did you know that one in five people say they avoid having their picture taken because they are self-conscious about their teeth?  That is so unnecessary. I think a bold, confident smile is the best accessory… and so easily attainable with the right toothcare products!

Crest just unveiled its newest product called Crest HD – a two-step system that offers breakthrough benefits in cleaning and whitening and gives you a 6x healthier mouth and 6x whiter teeth in just 1 week!

Crest HD, available at CVS, not only whitens, but also tackles gum disease head-on. It’s a first-ever, two-step product that utilizes a paste to strip away plaque as well as a perfecting gel that polishes and whitens teeth.

I’ve been using it myself and my mouth feels cleaner, healthier, and more radiant! I’ve noticed a serious improvement in the whiteness of my teeth and I’ve only been using it for a little over a week now.

If you go to CVS to get your own, make sure you do it before the end of February! They are running a special promotion where you’ll receive $2 in extraCare bucks with the purchase of Crest HD.

If you’d rather win the product instead, you’re in luck! I just so happen to be giving away a prize pack of goodies.

Here’s what you could win:

  • Crest HD
  • Oral-B 3D Ultra Soft Toothbrush
  • $50 CVS gift card
Sweet deal, right? Enter below via the Rafflecopter widget and get ready to smile a little brighter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Become a FabFitFun VIP and Score a Free Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

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Who wouldn’t love a free fruit infuser? My friends at FabFitFun are giving one away completely free when you sign up for the FabFitFun VIP program (which is a pretty sweet deal in itself). If you missed my previous ramblings on sweet perks of the #FFFVIP, I will give you the rundown.

Every 3 months, FabFitFun VIP members look forward to their new seasonal gift box filled with the new most fab items, hand-picked by the FabFitFun Team which includes Giuliana Rancic and some of the best gosh-darn people in the industry. (As a contributor to the publication, I know this first hand and trust their judgement completely!)

Each box costs only $49.99 and contains over $300 worth of goodies - fashion finds, glam beauty secrets, and fab fitness gear guaranteed to make you feel like a VIP all year long. Ready to sign up? Click here and use code FRUITWATER to score your free fruit infuser bottle (a $20 value)!

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How to Recreate Amal Alamuddin’s Makeup Look from the Golden Globes

attends the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.

Amal Alamuddin was the obvious star of the Golden Globes on Sunday night.

Clad in classic Dior, the powerhouse human being hit the red carpet with her trophy husband as well as a seriously beautiful beauty look created by the amazing Charlotte Tilbury. 

When asked about inspiration for the look, Tilbury said, “Amal knows and loves my products – she wears my Matte Revolution Lipsticks in Walk of Shame, Bond Girl and Amazing Grace. I went into today knowing what she likes, so I created a retro beauty look inspired by the silver screen sirens that fits her classic style.”

#NailedIt. I’m a huge fan of Charlotte and her cosmetic line, so I’m thrilled to share the scoop on which products she used to create this timeless look for Mrs. Clooney. Here are the deets:

  • Charlotte Tilbury Goddess Skin Clay Mask was used to create a veil of perfection on the skin. Charlotte then applied Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream to the entire face followed by Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow to create a flawless soft focus and an instant “spotlight” effect, which acted as the perfect base to the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation in 7 Medium.
  • Charlotte applied Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher concealer in 2 Fair and 3 Medium underneath the eye. Rid the face of any unwanted oils with a dusting of Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder in 2 Medium down the middle of the face only to keep Amal’s skin dewy and fresh.
  • Next, Charlotte used Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift in Cara D to perfect brows and shape the face. 
  •  To bring out the golden highlights in Amal’s eyes, Charlotte applied the pop shade from Luxury Palette in The Dolce Vita across the lids. Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eye Pencil in Barbarella Brown was applied around the eye. To soften the liner, Charlotte Tilbury The Classic in Sophia was applied over the top. Charlotte applied three coats of Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes to the top lashes and only one coat to bottom lashes to create an open-eyed look.
  • To add an unbeatable red carpet-worthy glow, use Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow to highlight and sculpt the cheek, nose, jawline and temples.
  • To create the perfect cheek, Charlotte used both Cheek to Chic in Love Glow and First Love across the cheekbones. 
  • Finish with the perfect velvety, red lip by using Lip Cheat Lip Liner in Savage Rose along with a mixture of Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G. Lipstick in Night Crimson and Matte Revolution Lipstick in Red Carpet Red.
  • Charlotte applied Charlotte Tilbury Multi-Miracle Glow for moisture and a dewy finish followed by Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Body to sculpt and illuminate the limbs.

Ta-da! Now you can look like George Clooney’s wife, too. You’re welcome.

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#STARTHERE with Walgreens for a Healthy and Beautiful New Year

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Happy New Year! First thing’s first – it’s time to update your beauty bags, stock up on the essentials, and take action to feel more happy, healthy and beautiful in 2015!

#STARTHERE with Walgreens and grab the latest high quality beauty products from COVERGIRL, Olay and Crest. At Walgreens, you can get all the necessities at one place to make it easier to keep all of your resolutions. In addition to the awesome beauty goodies, you can get Walgreens’ new pedometer that tracks your steps as well as the new line of Delish water to carry while you exercise.

It just so happens that I have a bunch of resolution-loving goodies to give away today, too! Kick off 2015 the right way with this amazeballs Walgreens prize pack featuring some of my absolute favorite new products.

Here’s the scoop on the prize pack:

  • $75 Walgreens gift card
  • CoverGirl Full Lash Bloom Mascara in Very Black
  • CoverGirl Outlast lip color in Plum Berry
  • Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10 BB Crème
  • Pantene Weekly Rehab Crème
  • Crest Whitestrips Professional Effects
  • Crest 3D White Arctic Fresh toothpaste 5.5oz
  • ZzzQuil Liquicaps 24ct.
  • Walgreens Digital Pedometer
  • Contigo Autoseal Grace Water Bottle
  • Reusable Walgreens tote bag

Ready to win it? See the Rafflecopter widget below for entry options. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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