I love Christmas. I love the traditions, the memories it brings about, all the great food, giving gifts, and seeing family. If you celebrate Christmas, I hope that you have a wonderful time this weekend and I’ll be back to blogging next Tuesday with a new One Day series feature, a film/iPhone/digital comparison, and another city guide! Merry Christmas!
Earlier this month, my friend Jess sent me a link about how you could sign up for Julep Maven for $0.01! The Julep Maven box, which is normally $20 per month, is an assortment of nail polish and nail care products delivered to your door! The boxes are valued at $40 and contains full sized polishes and products. Since I signed up in December, I received an introductory box and still have the option to continue before my January box arrives. My initial thoughts of this service (before even receiving the box) were fantastic. Their website is put together well and explains the subscription thoroughly. I’m even able to shop directly on their website for bottles of polish (which cost $14 each). Some of the fun perks of this service is that each month you can preview what’s coming and then have a choice to skip the month, send the box to your friend, try a new style or upgrade. I also get a free month if two people sign up through my link. (Hint, Hint!) Enough about all that…let’s move onto what’s inside:
- Two polishes: One called “Demi” which is a burgundy shade and “Leighton” which is a silver shade. The polish goes on thick, smoothly, AND dries fast. I used both and you can see how it looks on my nails below (photos taken on my iPhone). The burgundy shade wasn’t anything extraordinary but the silver shade was really opaque and I liked that.
- Glitter pot: Amazing name. I used this on top of the Leighton polish and it was really fun! If you’re not neat, glitter can definitely get everywhere. I must say, the glitter doesn’t get as flat or smooth as a glitter polish but it’s still fun.
- Julep “Facial for Hands” Glycolic Hand Scrub: This smells great and made my hands SO soft. Something really fun that I would normally think to buy.
- Two samples (Hand Cream and Age Defying Hand Brightener): I only tried the hand cream and it was so smooth. I don’t like really strong smelling lotion and this was so mild (slightly like yogurt? weird, I know). I actually see myself buying a bottle of this lotion. I keep feeling how soft my hands are while I’m writing this. Creepy? Maybe.
Overall, I really love this subscription. I kind of geek out over nail polish so ultimately I would love to get each month’s box. I will probably skip occasionally or maybe even send to a friend unless I really love the shades offered. Again, if you want to sign up, click here and you can take a test about your style. My next beauty reviews will be about some of the fun products that I recently bought with my Birchbox points (Zoya and Deborah Lippman polishes) and my first MyGlam box (next month’s box is valued at $50 worth of makeup!) so keep your eye out!
Today’s CITY GUIDE post is brought to you by Tom Summerfield of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Enjoy!
Rotterdam in The Netherlands often gets overlooked by travelers who tend to frequent Amsterdam instead and then move straight on to another country. I would just like to say that although Amsterdam is wonderful, Rotterdam is more than worth your time as well.
I’ve been living here for the last few months with my girlfriend and have come up with a mini city guide so you can get a feel for what Rotterdam is all about. These are some of our favorite things to do and some of the places that we love to frequent.
1. Start the day with a walk through the Oude Haven (which means Old Port in Dutch) – there are some neat little shops here and some great photo opportunities. It’s also surrounded by lots of fantastic bars and restaurants where during spring and summer when the weather is nice, are overflowing with locals eating and drinking.
2. Head towards the close by and famous ‘Cube Houses’ – Rotterdam is renowned worldwide for its amazing Architecture which came about due to the fact it was almost completely bombed in World War II. Instead of rebuilding the city the way it was, Rotterdam decided to get funky and creative and build lots of architecturally quirky and stunning buildings. The Cube Houses are a great example of this attitude, and believe it or not – real people live inside them! They are fun to see and one of them is even open as a museum, so you can go in and see what it’s like on the inside for yourself!
3. From the Cube Houses, you can head straight down into the Rotterdam Markets. They run on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the markets are truly something that we just love about this city. They are vibrant, buzzing and alive with vendors selling everything from flowers to cheese to bicycle locks to clothes to antiques to old video games.
When you’re at the Markets, make sure you try a ‘Turkse Pizza’ (thin warmed Turkish bread with meat on top rolled up with fresh salad and garlic and hot sauce) and ‘Kibberling’ (snack bite pieces of deep fried fish served with garlic sauce). I also love getting my cheese here from the smaller cheese producers that come in especially for the Markets. They tend to sell much nicer cheese then what you can get from the local supermarkets.
4. Once you’ve had your fill of the busy markets, go to the ‘Meent’ – which is a street full of wonderful cafes, bars and restaurants (and it runs through the end of the Markets). Here I recommend stopping for a coffee and a bakery treat at ‘Vlamsch Broodhuys’. If you didn’t find the Turkse Pizza or Kibberling appealing, then Vlamsch Broodhuys also has a selection of divine sandwiches on offer – I’ve found all of the ingredients they use to be of the highest quality, and tasty too!
5. When you’re ready for dinner, a favorite of ours on the Meent is the Italian restaurant Napoli (the Dutch love Italian food). They serve extremely delicious and authentic Italian in a lively atmosphere. The house red wine is an excellent drop, and the food is top notch. If you’re going on a Saturday night – you will want to book ahead to secure a table.
6. Once you’ve enjoyed your dinner, then no doubt you’re ready for a few drinks. In Holland, most drinking spots are called cafes rather than pubs – so don’t be fooled into thinking a café is not a fantastic spot to enjoy a drink! One of the best cafes on the Meent is definitely Café Van Zanten. The atmosphere is trendy yet unpresuming and there is a nice selection of various drinks to keep everyone happy. Whenever we go there we find the staff are always friendly and a treat to deal with.
Thus ends the little tour of some of our favorite places in Rotterdam city, so if you do find yourself traveling through The Netherlands – give Rotterdam a chance to win you over.
Featured image by F.d.W.
Thanks to Janine Aquino, proprietor of Camelot Cellars, I’m able to share this amazing holiday wine guide! Here are some other tips and wine advice from Janine:
- If you like a Cabernet Sauvignon, try an Italian Amarone instead. Lots of flavor with a slight sweetness, almost raisin like. If you like the oaky buttery, vanilla quality of a Chardonnay, try an unoaked Chardonnay instead. It’s much lighter and refreshing.
- Her #1 suggestion for this season is to go to wine tastings that are informational rather than ones where they simply pour wines and you taste. When you see a wine tasting you might be interested in, call them and ask what style the tasting is going to be.
- When you are in a grocery store buying wine, look for bottles laying on their side. This is telling you the cork is wet and won’t dry out causing wine to turn into vinegar. Also look for wines by geographic region. Typically if you like a lighter bodied, easy drinking wine, you’ll want to try a French, Chilean or Washington state wine. If you prefer medium to heavier bodied wines, try ones from California, Italy or Australia.
- Drink what you like. There is no right or wrong answer. Don’t force yourself to drink something because it’s “in.” At the end of the day, wine is simply a beverage.
I got my December Birchbox last week and over the weekend, I finally got a chance to use the products and compile my review! First of all, I was really excited to see that they are donating 100% of all full-size sales to Baby Buggy (with a guaranteed contribution of $25,000). Okay, onto what’s inside:
- AHAVA | Mineral Body Lotion : Not going to lie, I absolutely cannot stand the scent of this lotion. I used a pea-sized amount and washed my hands afterwards. I will not be using or buying any more of this.
- amika | Obliphica Hair Treatment : I also did not enjoy the scent of this oil so I didn’t use it on my hair. Also, it had leaked in my box before it was delivered so my entire box smelled like this oil.
- Incoco | Nail Polish Applique : Ehh…nail polish strips? I guess I just enjoy using regular polish.
- Jouer | Moisturizing Lip Glass in Birchbox Pink : I actually really love this shade (it’s not as bright as it looks) and am considering buying some Jouer products with my Birchbox points.
- Prep ShowStoppers | Designer Fashion Tape : I have never had the need to use tape to keep my clothes in the right place but I’ll keep this around in case I ever need to!
- Recharge Eboost | Orange Natural Energy Booster : I actually liked the taste and could see myself ordering a few packets for those times at work that I don’t want to drink a Diet Coke or a coffee!
Overall, I wasn’t too impressed with December’s Birchbox. I actually think I’ll be canceling my subscription for the month of January and signing up/giving MyGlam a try! I love that they’re solely focued on makeup but their website is definitely lacking. I love that Birchbox allows you to gain credits and even buy the products through their website. Have any of you tried MyGlam? If you’re a Birchbox subscriber, what did you get? Anything different that you love?
I was planning on reviewing my December Birchbox today but I wanted to actually USE all the products so that I could contribute to the review other than listing what’s inside. Instead, I thought I’d share some of my current favorite products. For me, a recommendation goes a long way. If a close friend or a favorite blog suggests a product (freely and not as an advertisement), I usually write it down or pick it up at the store. Some of my recent favorites include:
- OPI’s Getting Miss Piggy With It. Sparkly nail polish is definitely a trend right now but when have women really ever stopped loving glitter? I love this shade because it has the shimmer of a regular glitter polish but also large silver pieces of glitter that–when applied–look really fun! I actually used a bright red polish before applying the glitter to get an opaque look.
- Clinique’s Cream Shaper for Eyes. I was at Macy’s picking up my Clinique facial care and mascara when the lady suggested that I try their eyeliner. I probably rolled my eyes because I hate pencil eyeliner. It always smudges and at the end of the day, it’s all gone. BUT, this actually lasts. I’m shocked. Buy it. It’s great. It even has a little shimmer.
- Burt’s Bees Facial Towelettes. If I need to remove my makeup quickly before working out or going to bed, I use these towelettes. They don’t smell strong (like Neutrogena’s) and they’re 99.1% natural.
- Design for Living 32-Ounce Stackable Tritan Water Bottle. My favorite water bottle. EVER! It holds a lot of water, great design and with one twist of the cap it’s completely sealed. And they stack. (Yes Adam has one too).
- Brilliant Shampoo and Conditioner by Aveda. HOLY COW this stuff smells good. My best friend was visiting and borrowed it while showering and even commented on how amazing this stuff smells. My hair always feels great and the scent lasts for a long time. It’s pretty pricey (in my opinion) but I’m going to need to upgrade and buy the bigger bottles after I run out.
Check back next week for my December Birchbox review, an amazing new CITY GUIDE, special holiday tips on picking the perfect wine, and of course some Christmas cheer.
If you’re interested in collaborating on a blog post here on Show + Tell, I’d love to have you! My three current series are: One Day (wedding series), City Guides (share what you love about your city/town) and MEET (interviews with creatives). I’m also always up for promoting small shops and artists through features, giveaways and wish list boards.
Leave a comment below if you’re interested or contact me through my contact form above!