Category Archives: Beauty

Snowcation: Salamander Resort & Spa

It seems like just yesterday I was buried in the blizzard up in DC and now I write to you from sunny Florida where I have headed back home for 2016.

I am so excited to be back and share with you all about my #snowcation to the Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia (just an hour outside of DC). I was lucky enough to get a hard hat tour of this amazing 5 start resort a few years back for my old job but I was beyond blown away with my stay last month and it was the perfect way to relax and recharge before I headed back South for my big move after 11 years away!

This luxury resort is set on 340 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and perfectly positioned in Virginia’s famed horse country and beautiful vineyards. They boast a spa, cooking studio, billards room, wine bar and an array of other dining and outdoor acitivites. It was also named in the top 10 best resorts in the South by Condé Nast Traveler (and yours truly).

Of course, it would not be a trip without my traveling partner in crime & fellow Floridian, Cori Sue of Bitches Who Brunch. We dug ourselves out of the snow, packed all the essential winter gear we owned (hey! I wasn’t going to get to wear this for awhile) and hopped in a car (read: uber) out to the Virginia countryside to escape our cabin fever and enjoy one last girls trip before I would be a plane ride away vs. an uber away. If you followed along on snapchat (bannc) and instagram (@bannc), you know we had too much fun and share our moments along the way.

{Outfit Deets: Pom Hat (on SALE!) // Puffer Vest (on SALE!) // Sweater (on SALE!) // Leggings // Sunnies (similar here) // Socks (on SALE!) // Bean Boots // Jewels // Lips (fanfare)} 

We checked into our rooms, which were nothing short of perfection – equestrian details, personalized welcome notes on each tv screen, a bathtub I wanted to take home (more on that later) and of course, a lovely bottle of vino awaiting each of us. No detail was left unnoticed and if you know me, you know this is what matters most. You really feel like you’re inside an old Virginia home and the staff could not be more friendly or accommodating too.

After we settled into our rooms, we hopped downstairs to enjoy lunch at Gold Cup. Two hungry girls quickly filled up on burrata, salads and the delicious garlic fries plus plenty of sparkling water and diet coke (for yours truly). We also had the loveliest view of the winter wonderland that took over the resort and then Cori Sue got to work (#workcation for her) and I headed to the Spa for the first time (naturally) for an express facial. I don’t think my skin has ever looked better than those 24 hours.

Before heading to dinner that evening, we were spoiled at Boxwood Winery. The Salamander has several partnership with local vineyards and wineries in the area and can accommodate your travels to them as well. Boxwood set up a private after-hours tasting for Cori Sue and I with Rachel. They specialize in reds (perfect for the cold weather) but also have a lovely rosé and the most beautiful bottle labels I’ve ever seen.

After trotting through the snow and a lovely happy hour of wine + tour, we left with two bottles and headed to dinner back at Gold Cup Bar but this time, for sushi (and yes, more wine).

{Dinner Outfit: Jeans (on SALE!) // Sweater (on SALE here too!) // Pumps (on SALE!) // Tassel Earrings // Lips (capricious)}


Ultimate Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

As promised, today’s post is perfect to send along to all your loved ones and hint at some Valentine-inspired gifts or shop for them yourself! There’s bound to be something for everyone (I know I’d certainly be happy with anything below).

In addition, for all my DC and NYC readers – be sure to place your flower orders with UrbanStems before the 14th – they just launched their new flowers and personally, I love the Georgetown (I might be a little bias). And ladies, they’re also teaming up with Bull + Moose to send floral bowties too.

Shop till your heart’s content!

2 Weeks & Counting!

{Image via UrbanStems}

How-To: Blowout, Curls & Hair Products

Today I’m blogging about a new topic for H&T – my locks.

Now before I begin, full disclosure: I am by no means a hair stylist or even expert for that matter. However, I decided to share my routine because I often get asked by readers and friends, what products I use, how I curl my hair and my favorite; “if I just got a blowout” (no, I don’t get them every week. sigh. but thanks for the compliment.)

The first thing you must know is that this routine works for me but, as my hair stylist reminds me, I have “A LOT of fine hair”. My hair often looks thicker in photos or in person because of this. With that being said, I find that I can’t use a lot of products because they weigh it down.

Also, before a few years ago, my hair would hold absolutely NO curl (it’s naturally pin straight and also dries in about 5 seconds) – more on that later.

So after much trial and error, I have found what works for me. Alas, here are some of my routine products with tips and suggestions.

One. Drybar Texas Tea Shampoo & Conditioner + L’OREAL EverPure Volume Shampoo & Conditioner – I have both sets in my shower and switch it up each wash or often mix them. I can’t use a lot of conditioner on my roots or my hair will be weighed down so I focus mostly on the ends. Both of these products are also sulfate-free. (I noticed a huge difference in my hair’s shine since switching to sulfate-free shampoos years ago. Note: I also do absolutely no coloring to my hair.)

Two. ghd Style Heat Protect Spray + ghd Paddle Brush – I spray the protectant on when my hair is still wet & use the paddle brush after. This brush is pretty much life changing – it has a non-slip handle and is perfect for detangling, styling and blowdrying.

Three. Drybar Texas Tea Volumizing Spray – I spray this on the upper half of my hair near the roots while it’s still wet as well. This is a new product for me and I’ve noticed a big difference with volume since using.

Four. Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 Spray – Sometimes I will use this instead of the Texas Tea spray but I have to be careful to not over-do it or my hair will look greasy. This little baby is a volumizer, texturizer and dry shampoo in one. I use it when my hair is still wet before I blowdry.

Five. Drybar Buttercup Blowdryer + Drybar Medium Round Brush – I now own the BEST blowdryer (thanks to Christmas) and I switch between my paddle brush and the round brush when drying. To be honest, my hair already dried super fast and now that I have my own Buttercup, it’s amazing how quick I’m out the door. If I’m going to curl my hair, I’ll put a headband in, put on my make up and take a “hair break” and then proceed to the steps below.

Seven. Drybar Money Maker Hair Spray – If you buy one hair product on my list – make it this. No, seriously. This is the only hairspray I have ever liked or used consistently – it is worth every penny and I have multiple travel bottles so there’s always a can around. Not to mention it smells amazing, feels light weight (not sticky) and lasts all day long. I even spray it on straight hair.  If I’m going to curl my locks, I will spray my paddle brush first and then brush my hair out. I also use this once I curl my hair to set. I cannot get enough.

Eight. Enzo Milano Hair 25 MM Wand(1″ Barrel) – As I mentioned earlier, my hair is pin straight naturally. I spent my childhood in dance recitals, plays and cheerleading competitions and I was always that girl who had to keep the bandana on with pin curls or rollers until the last minute – please, tell me someone else shared my pain?

I also could not use a curling iron and hated the dent marks they often left. This all changed a few years ago when I got my ENZO wand (complete with a Michael Jackson-esque glove for newbies #hot). It truly is the only tool that works for me and lasts and I can’t tell you how many people I’ve recommended it to. I use is a few ways – I will split my hair in two and curl sections from the root down away from my face or just curl the ends for a quick and easy look. I’ve also used it while my hair was in a pony tail and then curled. Another tip if you have super straight hair is that I always make the curls tighter (hello, Shirley Temple). I then spray and let them fall out or shake them out with my fingers before I’m ready to leave the house. This item deserves a blog post and how-to video of its own.

Nine. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – the last product that I consistently use is this dry shampoo. Like hairspray, I have never been a huge fan of dry shampoo as a whole until I discovered this one. Drybar also makes a “brunette” version but I prefer the normal one as the brown spray can come off on your sheets, clothes and hands (no bueno). I use Detox before I go to bed at night and then again on the day of. I also am a fan of “dry blowouts” on the days where I don’t wash my hair or frankly, don’t have the time. I will spray in some Detox on my roots, run my fingers through it and then blowdry the rest out.

For those of you wondering how often I wash my hair, this depends on the week – I used to be a “wash my hair every day” kinda of gal but I noticed when I let it go an extra day, it always ends up looking so much better. Truthfully, it also really depends on my Barre Tech + Soul Cycle schedule. I’m sure someone understands this too? #sweaty

 And there you have it! What are your favorite products? Have you tried any of my favorites? 

Shop them all again below and send any questions/comments my way!

Stay tuned later this week for my Valentine’s Day gift guide galore!

{Photo by Daniel Swartz}

Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

Today I am heading down to Florida for 11 whole days to spend time with my family and friends for Christmas. I am looking forward to some sunshine, lazy days and all the traditions that Christmas brings at my house. Most importantly, setting out milk & cookies with my youngest sister who is only 10 years old on Christmas Eve (or more recently, wine & cheese as I’ve convinced her Santa enjoys that too).

Now for all those who wait until the last minute to shop (I won’t judge, I plan to finish my shopping in Florida too), below are some stocking stuffer picks from yours truly.

I also must include a special shoutout to three recent favorites of mine that are perfect for stockings as well.


Black Friday SALES Roundup

If you decided to skip the lines and shop online from the comfort of your home this Black Friday then you’re in luck. I have a rounded up the sales from some of my faves below so you don’t have to filter through those emails in your inbox for the early deals.

Ann Taylor – 50% OFF Everything

Ann Taylor Loft – 50% OFF Everything

ASOS – 30% OFF Everything

Bloomingdale’s – Up to 50% OFF

C. Wonder – 40% OFF Everything

Chicwish – 30%, 35% or 40% OFF + FREE Shipping

Design Darling – 20% OFF Entire Site

Gap – 50% OFF Everything

Gigi New York – FREE Gift with Purchase + FREE Shipping

J.Crew – 30% OFF & Extra 40% OFF Sale

J.Crew Factory – 50% OFF Everything + FREE Shipping on orders over $50

Jack Rogers – Amazing Sales + FREE Shipping

Kate SpadeSurprise 75% Off Sale + 25% OFF Entire Site 

Kate Spade Saturday – 30% OFF Full-Priced Items

Kendra Scott – 15% OFF Everything + Free Shipping

Lululemon – FREE Shipping

Lulu & Georgia – 20%, 25% or 30% OFF

Madewell – 25% OFF Everything

Nordstrom – Up to 40% OFF

Old Navy – Up to 50% OFF + Extra 15% OFF

Pink Bubbly: 10% off 1 item with code PF10 + 20% off 2 items with code PF20 + 30% off 3 or more items with code PF30.

Piperlime – 25% OFF Entire Site

Pottery Barn – 20% OFF Regular Priced Items

Revolve – Up to 75% OFF

Shopbop – Up to 25% OFF Entire Site

Sole Society – 30% OFF Everything

Sweet & Spark – 25% OFF Entire Site with SHARETHESPARK25

Target – 40% OFF All Clothing

Tory Burch – Up to 30% OFF

Waiting on Martha – 10%, 15% or 20% OFF

Skip the emails again and stay tuned for a Cyber Monday roundup next that will include some of my picks too.

Happy Shopping!