Category: Beauty

Review and Giveaway: Ouidad Advanced Climate Control

While I was on a mini vacation with my family I got to try the NEW Ouidad Advanced Climate Control® product line, which includes a Defrizzing Shampoo and Conditioner, a  Detangling Heat Spray and a Heat & Humidity Gel.

I was in Honduras for a week and the daily weather was 100+ degrees, to say it was hot and humid is an understatement.  We spent a lot of time outdoors and some time at the beach and pool (chlorine is my hair’s enemy) so this trip was definitely the ultimate performance test for Ouidad’s promise of frizz-free curls.  Keep reading to find out my thoughts on this product line and don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page.

Current Hair Situation

My hair is naturally dry and very thin.  I have a lot of heat damage (mostly in the front) from blow drying/flat iron, and I’m currently dealing with hair loss/thin hair due to low estrogen levels after giving birth.  I also colored my hair right before this trip.   

First Impression and Experience

When I used the Defrizzing Shampoo in the shower,  I immediately  noticed that my hair was curling up into ringlets – more than usual- and most importantly my hair still felt soft during the wash, which is something I am not used to with shampoos since they tend to harden and tangle my hair. I was also able to easily detangle my hair with the Defrizzing  Conditioner  and I left the shower with a head full of wet curls that look ready to go, which again is not something I’m used to. Once out of the shower I applied the Heat and Humidity Gel which was very light, not greasy or sticky and my hair still felt clean, I then used the Detangling Heat Spray and use the rake and shake technique for these last two steps and was ready to head out the door without any more styling.  (Note: later I learned that the Spray goes before the gel, but I was still very happy with the results).  The curls lasted and were moist and shiny all day until I went to bed, the next day I would refresh using a bit of the gel and heat spray.

 

Final Words

I was very impressed and taken by surprised when I used Ouidad’s Advanced Climate control line because:

  1. I achieved curl ringlets in my entire head even though I have a lot of heat damage (didn’t think it would be possible, since the front of my head doesn’t curl very well)
  2. My curls never got frizzy in 100 degrees weather nor after submerging in salt water or chlorine and better yet, the curls were healthy-looking, moist and under control.

Ouidad Advanced Climate Control® lived up to its promise and required very little effort on my part – I literately just washed, applied and out the door.  This line was the perfect vacation companion providing humidity and UV protection it is perfect for the summer and warm weather.  I highly recommend it.

 

Giveaway

Ouidad provided their new Advanced Climate Control line for my review and thanks to them you can enter to win the full-size Advanced Climate Control set worth $96.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the raffle on the rafflecopter widget below  (please click on link if you are on a mobile). Giveaway Entry Tip: you can get 2 entries daily by sending out a tweet.

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Xo,


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Ouidad Mongongo Oil Review + Giveaway!

I’m so excited to review the Mongongo Oil Multi-Use Curl Treatment kindly provided to be by for Ouidad for review.

A Few Points About My Hair

  • I’m transitioning to no-heat styling
  • I have very thin and dry hair strands
  • I stopped relaxing my hair and did the big chop 4 years ago but continued to use heat
  • My styling routine has been to triple heat style my hair weekly, that is hood-dry with rollers, followed by a blow dry and then flat iron. I also flat ironed my bangs daily which equals to lots of heat damage and clearly curl loss
  • 6 months ago I bleached and color my hair twice in one week in to color correct
  • My hair needs a serious change!

Finally, I’m a curly in transition.  As of a month ago I decided to significantly reduce heat in my routine or completely eliminating it.  My husband is so supportive of this so it shouldn’t be hard. before-after-ouidad

The Verdict

I’m in love! This oil is very light weight and can be used in many different ways.  I love that it adds nice lasting shine without weighing my hair down or making it greasy. And it makes my hair smell great. I used the oil on a very humid day and my hair didn’t get out of control and I was surprised to see so many curls in the bottom half of my head.  My hair at the top is extremely damaged from the heat but you can see some curls starting to form.

 

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4 Ways You Can Use Ouidad’s Mongongo Oil

  1. Mixed with a deep conditioner
  2. In the Shower – spray on your hair after wash and massage onto scalp. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse
  3. As a heat protectant if you use heat
  4. Daily as a finishing gloss
 

Enter to Win a Bottle of Ouidad’s Mongogo Oil!


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An Intimate Chat with Raquel Harris: We talked about Lingerie, Body Image, Tragedy, Strength, Confidence and More…

Raquel Harris - Baiser MarsaiMeet Raquel Harris, a stunning young entrepreneur and owner of Baiser Marsai (be-zay mar-say) lingerie boutique, who is turning a tragic life experience into victory for every woman who feels their needs are ignored by the lingerie companies.

When Raquel first reached out to me to introduce me to her lingerie store, the first thing that stood out were her models, I thought wow, I can see myself wearing this and that model has my body type! I felt understood and a sense of belonging.

I later found out that this is part of her intention, when picking out her models Raquel wanted them to be representative of her clients and herself instead of models the fit the usual idolized idea of beauty because she doesn’t believe that beauty comes in a perfect size or perfect body type, she believes beauty is you and that what is perfect is you just as you are.  Beauty is “I am confident with who I am, I like who I am and like what I see in the mirror when nobody is looking” she said to me.  The passion in Raquel’s voice as she uttered those words during our phone conversation could not have sounded any more pure, it was clear to me that she holds herself to that belief and it translates into effortless confidence, grace and beauty that makes you want her around all the time.   

Hiring non-traditional models didn’t come without objections but Raquel stood her ground and hired models that are diverse in terms of race, size and shape defying the norms of the industry and rejecting all advice that went against the way she wants to do things.

baiser mersai lingerie models - multi cultural

Lingerie is not about sex is about intimacy

“I’ve always wanted a boutique and I knew that I wanted the boutique to somehow gratify the beauty of a woman.  I think as women we are most beautiful in our intimate moments.  Many think of lingerie as super sexual, however I want the intimacy of loving and knowing oneself to be acknowledged and embraced with Baiser Marsai.  When we start the day, it all begins with how we are feeling about ourselves inside, so feeling beautiful in your underwear sets a great tone. Lingerie is something I’ve always love and it is very personal to me and it represents all of this, always acknowledging that the first building block for becoming anything, from having self-love to be invested and be intimate in any kind of relationship whether it’s a friendship or love is Oneself.   The more you embrace your own skin and who you are genuinely and confidently the more your beauty will truly come out, it’s like domino effect.”

Finding strength in tragedy to fuel her purpose

Marsai is the name of my childhood best friend who was murdered at a high school football game our senior year in college.  I always wanted to do something that would somehow pay homage to her.  Marsai loved empowering her girlfriends and had the most amazing, bubbly, contagious spirit.  She’s my angel, and Baiser means kiss, so the name behind my brand essentially means Kiss Marsai, or Kissed by an Angel.”

The most exciting thing that has happened to her store so far

“The first day I launched I was able to sell out of two of the products (this one and this one). I wasn’t expecting that. I didn’t do a big marketing thing or anything paid, it was organic and I just used social media.  I also love that people comment on the high quality of my products often and they find that it is within their reach”

Raquel Harris - Young Entrepreneur - Lingerie Boutique -

And of course I know you want more so here’s our Q&A :)

Tell me a little about yourself

I am a Houston, TX native – born, raised, and schooled there.  I moved to Austin in March 2013 and have lived here since.  In my free time I can easily be found in a random coffee shops known for their affogato and bomb playlists :-)  I enjoy coffee and music so I’ll go into a coffee shop on a Saturday morning with my MacBook and before I know it I’ve spent the entire day there working, reading, and people watching.  It’s great.

Being an entrepreneur is not easy, do you have any mentors?

I learned tremendous amount and some of my entrepreneurial skills from dad who is my very best mentor. He can look at a process and paint the full picture from beginning to end. That’s what I have seen and mimic from him, but most importantly I learned two things that are invaluable from him; which are to do everything with honesty and integrity. I worked for my dad through summers of my childhood and noticed that people always had wonderful things to say about him. Working for him I was able to see that the measure of a person is not what they have but what they do with what they have and he maximized every opportunity, bringing others along as he did so. I want do the same thing, and this business is just the beginning.*

Lingerie is fun so let’s get back to that…

Raquel Harris - Entrepreneur

What is your favorite lingerie color?

I have a blog that talks about what your favorite/go to lingerie color says about your style (link here).    Mine was black for the longest.  For a few years I literally only owned black underwear.  I’d say I have two go to’s now; black and nude!  Both go with everything and look great!  

What is your favorite lingerie piece in your store and why?

My favorite piece is the Michelle V Lace Teddy.  It’s just hot!  It be worn intimately or even coupled with a high-waisted skirt or pant and worn for a night out!  I actually wore it to my first trunk show :-)

Can you build our lingerie wardrobe from Baiser Marsai?

Can you pick a bra for us to wear daily?
My daily choice is the Strapless Convertible Bra by Nubian Skin.  I love this bra so much that I have it in all the colors offered.  It fits true to size and you can literally do whatever you want with the straps, crisscross them, take them off and wear it traditionally.  It’s a go to bra.

What about sexy lingerie for date night/ special occasion?
I love The Crimson Satin & Lace Corset.  It’s flirty and feminine and I’ve seen it work beautifully on a variety of women.

My wedding is coming up, what lingerie piece should I wear on wedding night?
For wedding night I recommend something comfy to wear to bed – White Lace Kimono It’s lightweight and very angelic.  It gives just a peak at what’s under and you can wear it on wedding night and easily through the honeymoon.

And finally something sexy to wear to bed?
For bed I’m really feeling the Black and Chrome Camisole Set.  It’s feels great, really soft and silky, and it’s equally as pretty.  It’s a win-win because you go to bed looking good and feeling good too.  Only thing about this piece is it’s so comfy I love to lounge it longer than I should sometimes :-)

What’s next?

I’m working on designing my own line of luxury lingerie.  God willing, in 12 months it will be in Baiser Marsai as well as a few other retail shops.

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I hope you guys enjoyed meeting Raquel as much as I have, and if you feel inspired, heard and understood I encourage you to support her small business.  She told me she wants to hear your suggestions and requests so please do reach out to her if you have any comments and finally follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  

Xo,

Leslie

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Enter the Maple Holistics Giveaway: Argan Oil Shampoo and Silk18 Conditioner!

In celebration of luckyseventen.com’s  1-year anniversary I will be hosting a weekly giveaway during the month of August.

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Maple Holistics, a US-based cosmetics company focused on offering natural beauty products that are cruelty free.  I’m clearly obsessed with natural hair products and currently on the hunt to find the best non-toxic hair products out there so MH sounds great to me (ingredients are listed below).

Giveaway Details

You are entering to win: 1 Maple Holistics Argan Oil Shampoo + 1 Maple Holistics Silk18 Conditioner valued at $25.

Maple Holistics Giveaway - Enter to Win!
Mobile users click on the rafflecopter link

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RULES There’s no purchase necessary, simply complete any of rafflecopter actions below.The more you complete the higher your chances of winning. Raffle opens on 8/1 at midnight closes on Friday at 8/7 at 11:59 pm.  Winner will be randomly selected via the Rafflcopter app and announced on Saturday via social media!  Winner will also receive an email confirmation. Valid only in the U.S. Good Luck! XO, Leslie   Maple Holistics Product Ingredients Argan Shampoo: Water, Sodium cocoyl Isethionate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Acrylates Copolymer, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Polysorbate 20,  Argania spinose (Argan) Oil, Phytokeratin, Prunus Persica (Peach Kernel) Oil, Prunus Bulcis (Almond) Oil, Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Pseudocollagen, Camellia sinensis (Camellia Seed) Oil, Pseudocollagen, Natural (Vanilla/Honey) Fragrance, Persea Americana (Avocado) Oil.

Silk 18 Conditioner: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Phytokeratin, Propanediol, Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, Argan Oil, Shea butter, Certified Organic Blend Pomegranate, Hibiscus, Green Tea and Sea Buckthorn, Silk Amino Acids, Jojoba Oil, Natural Vanilla Fragrance, Panthenol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride,  Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate.
Disclaimer:  MapleHolistics is sponsoring this giveaway.  I have  not tested these products.  

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A Hair Oasis in the Concrete Jungle: My Organic Color System at Yarok Beauty Kitchen Review and Experience

A couple of weeks ago I was searching for non-toxic hair dyes and I came across Organic Colour Systems (OCS), an ammonia-free hair coloring product available only in hair salons.  They provided me a list of salons that carry their colors in my area and I immediately recognized Yarok Beauty Kitchen (YBK) from a time that I purchased their products at an IBS Show and I gave them a call to partner for this post.

Mordechai Alvow (YBK’s owner) and Damian Daffara (Brand Manager) welcomed me into their literally hair kitchen, a clean,  sleek and relaxing salon where you can truly escape into peaceful and quiet place for some hair pampering.  Don’t think of it as a busy, loud and obnoxious place where you just want to be in and out, but rather a tranquil hair spa where clients get one on one personal attention from their stylist.  YBK  works by appointment only and there’s hardly ever more than two clients at a time. They pride themselves in taking care of you the moment you walk in, so there’s no waiting either.

yarok beauty kitchen - chelsea nyc organic salon

 

yarok beauty kitchen - Hair Color by Isaac Davidson using Organic Color SystemsIssac Davidson was my stylist.  I initially wanted an ecaille balayage but since my hair, though course, is naturally thin and has been so fragile in the past couple of months from mixing a henna color and detox powder the same day, I told him I was  completely open minded to whatever he wanted to do.  Issac opted to tone down my brassy grown out highlights, and for my look paired very subtle low lights with an ombre look. We chatted as he colored my hair and I was impressed to learn of his career in the beauty industry and he is a total sweetheart!  check out his website here and  Wigbar business here.

yarok beauty kitchen - Organic Hair System - Salon Review
I was very excited to try Organic Color Systems.  Ever since I found out that most hair dyes (anywhere) contain highly toxic ingredients that have been to linked to  fertility, allergies and immune system issues and in some instances to cancer I became obsessed with finding an alternative to dying my hair.  Some of those bad ingredients include  Ammonia, PPD,  Coal-tarDMDM HydantoinMethylparabensPropylparabens2. 2,5 Diamine Toluene Sulfate,  Lead AcetateResorcinol among others. While OCS is not completely chemical-free (that’s impossible) nor is it 100% natural, it does not have any of the following 5 toxic ingredients which to me is an improvement because it still managed to make my hair a few shades lighter without the bad stuff and offensive smell.

The real alternative to traditional dyes are Henna dyes, and by far the safest hair coloring available  in the market, however I once (not long ago) tried to use a blonde henna color to go a few shades lighter and that of course it didn’t work at all on my dark hair.  I love light hair and since I don’t dye my hair often OCS proved to be a good alternative for me. I hope the ombre and balayage looks are here to stay so that I can keep the dyes as away from my roots as much as possible.

yarok beauty kitchen - intimate salon dedicated to the YAROK lifestyle of organic, sustainable beauty. Here, Mordechai Alvow chats will Leslie of luckyseventen.com

While getting my hair done, Mordechai sat down to talk to me about his reasons for starting a hair salon committed to high quality organic and sustainable hair products.  He previously owned MOTY MOTY, a hair salon inside the upper east side’s Equinox Sports Club.  While he was in the process of going through healthier and greener lifestyle changes, Mordechai  started experimenting with fresh ingredients in his kitchen for his salon clients at the time.  His clients would just keep coming back to ask for more scalp treatments, they just couldn’t get enough of the amazing results they were getting from it.  In fact that’s what inspired him to start his own vegan hair line Yarok, which means green, and is made with organic and all-natural botanicals.  He later opened his second salon Yarok Beauty Kitchen to embrace this new lifestyle and is enjoying the same loyalty from his green-conscious high-end clients.

yarok natural and organic beauty line
Although I came in for a hair color I must admit I was intrigued and could not take my eyes off his famed scalp treatments! Yarok Beauty Kitchen is literally a hair kitchen, equipped with high quality exotic nut seed oils and essential oils with amazing beauty benefits.   When I saw the aloe vera leaf and avocado on the table I knew I would be right at home. Those are part of my weekly hair routine, because like Mordechai I also experiment with fresh ingredients at home.  But I have to admit fruit seed oils is something I have not played around with yet, nor have I used many of the exotic oils he carries. I didn’t try the scalp treatment this time for lack of time but I plan to make an appointment for that because certainly this salon elevates scalp treatments to a utopian level.

yarok beauty kitchen - exotic oils
YBK  is highly committed quality, so you can expect top notch local and imported exotic oils and natural ingredients.  Some of the interesting oils I spotted included with amazing hair benefits included: Broccoli Seed Oil (growth, strength, counter hair-loss); Black Currant Seed Oil (hair-loss prevention/ prevent thinning hair ); Black Cumin Seed Oil – used by Cleopatra– (hair-growth and prevents (poliosis) early graying); Marula Oil (scalp-health and growth); Apricot Kernel Oil (conditioning/norishing, moisturizing, growth); Kukui Oil (moisturizing) and Tomato Seed Oil (conditioning, restores dry/brittle hair). Scalp treatments area vailable a la cart or any of the curated mixtures.yarok beauty kitchen

And here’s what you’ve been waiting for, My Organic Color Systems results:

yarok beauty kitchen - YBK - Organic hair Systems Review

You can see my previously brassy color in this picture.

yarok beauty kitchen - Isaac Davidson  - Isaac Davidson Hair Stylist Yarok Beauty Kitchen is excited to introduce organic colorist and hair designer Isaac Davidson. After graduating from the Aveda Institute, Isaac moved to NYC where he began his path to alternative styling, starting with Hair Police salon and then apprenticing with one of Broadway's leading wigmakers. Although specializing in Hair extensions , Isaac continues to see clients for hair cut styling and color services. Isaac is devoted to organic practices and products using "The Organic Color System" Isaac has worked with renowned photographers including Steven Meisel, Jim Fiscus, and Terry Richardson, and has a client list featuring top fashion brands like Chanel, Bebe, and DKNY. He has designed custom wigs for shows and exhibits in renowned venues like Museum @ FIT, Hessel Museum of Art, and Brooklyn Art Museum. His television credits include RuPaul's Drag Race, America's Next Top Model, and MTV's "Made" series.
Issac Davidson, Organic Colorist and Hair Designer and myself
yarok beauty kitchen - Mordechai Alvow Hair Stylist Mordechai Alvow is an editorial stylist and the founder of Yarok Haircare, a budding, botanically-based line of restorative hair care. Brilliantly interpreting fashion and trends into uniquely fresh and wearable hairstyles. He has worked with scores of designers, advertisers, photographers and celebrities, his work gracing the pages of Allure, ELLE, InSTYLE, Marie Claire, New York Magazine and VOGUE. Mordechai's celebrity clients include Melania Trump, Naomi Watts and Vanessa Minnillo, to name a few, and his international runway experience includes Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, and Yohji Yamamoto. He brings this runway influence to his salon clients through his technical mastery of cut and color.
Mordechai Alvow, Yarok Hair Products and Yarok Beauty Kitchen Owner and Stylist and myself

Thanks to Mordechai and his wonderful team for my color and allowing me to introduce you to this hair heaven.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

XO, Leslie

Follow Yarok on Facebook| Instagram|Twitter| Pinterest!

Follow Organic Colour Systems on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest!


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Best Kept Eyebrow Secret in NYC?

A few are blessed with stunningly thick eyebrows that can be easily shaped to perfection but the rest of us have all kinds of issues from thin, unruly, patchybarely there among other things.

If you fall into the eyebrows issues group, you know a skilled eyebrow artist is hard to come by.  The average ones take a little too much from here, too little from there and give you all the reasons why your eyebrows are the problem. Only on rare occasions have I’ve been happy with a threading or a waxing job and on more than a few occasions I have literally walked out with tears in my eyes after getting my eyebrows done because of a very poorly done job. So for the past 10 years I’ve been hopping from place to place.  Sometimes I settle for an average place for a little while before moving on after a few tries.  By kismet, I stumbled upon what I think is the best kept New York city eyebrow secret a couple of days ago on yelp while searching hair salons.

A yelp elite review tipped me off to that secret and her name is Julie Tussey. An artisan in her field.  She can shape an eyebrow like you were born to have it that way.  She leans towards long and thick and uses neither waxing nor threading, just that old original method called tweezing, yep! the stuff  even tweezerman couldn’t get us to use for too long when it made it’s comeback. She plucks away little hair by littler hair, stops and examines, plucks away even more until she achieves the best shape she can give you considering previous damages.  As scary as this may sound, it did not hurt at all.   julie tussey - eyebrows - best eyebrows in nyc - celebrity eyebrow artist - luckyseventen

My Experience:
I made an appointment and she welcomed me into her peaceful Chelsea apartment on a Tuesday evening.  I was the only client, since she works by appointment only.  She settle me in, offered me something to drink and begun to work on my eyebrows.

The first time Julie showed me the mirror so that I can examine, I thought she was finished and was happy with the shape.  She examined my face again and I can tell by her facial expression that she spotted imperfections and she was not willing to let go.  I couldn’t understand what else she could possibly do to them because it was a pretty clean job, but after ten minutes of plucking away  (30 minutes by this time) she shows me the mirror and whoa whoa wow I love, I love, I love. I then realized that the first time she showed me the mirror she was just getting started.

She then tinted my brows and let sit on my brows for a few minutes before cleaning my clownish face off and again whoa, I have length and the patches are gone. But she was not happy yet, she notices more unwanted little hairs in the way and she goes on to pluck even more, showed me the progress as she went along, then tint a little more, then clean, then pluck again,  then fill them in on last time and even thought me how to fill them in myself and showed me a technique to to cover my patches.  Every step she takes is like a step closer to eyebrow perfection.   You can tell that Julie is really in love with her art.  All in all it took her about an hour for her to find my perfect shape.

You are probably wondering how much this cost, it was it was one pricey side but totally worth it – please contact Julie for her rates*.  If you calculate the what you pay for 10-15 minutes (not including wait time) for an average job at a regular salon it will make sense to you. One of her regulars that came in for her appointment as she was finishing up with me said that she hadn’t waxed in almost two months!  Turns out that after speaking to that regular for a few minutes I found out she was the same yelper who had tipped me off to Julie.  What are the chances?!  So don’t be surprised if you run into me when you go see her. This is my first visit and not the last.

I would love to hear your eyebrows stories in the comments.

Xo,

Leslie

*updated to remove rates per Julie’s request.


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A Mag-nificent Date at NYBG

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Calvin Klein. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

The NYBG is one of my favorite places in the city and it’s not just because I’m obsessed with flowers (I obviously am) but because I love to be able to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, tune out the noise and just relax and breathe fresh air.

This weekend my fiance and I went on a casual date and the cherry blossoms and magnolia trees were in full bloom. We spent quite a while just sitting under a magnolia tree enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and beautiful view (tip: a picnic basket would have been awesome!).  We took tons of pictures on the gorgeous flowery backdrops lent to us by nature and on a bed of white and yellow daffodils.

A little while later we walked the trail that led us to a small waterfall and even stumbled upon an outdoor New York state wine tasting they happen to have on site. I picked up bottles of pear, apple and raspberry hard cider.

If visiting the NYBG, I highly recommend that you have fun with your outfits when you go for your pictures but be sure to dress comfortably. There is a lot of walking to be done and the last thing you’d want is for your clothes to not allow you to enjoy yourself.

I wore a a flowey top, paired with a fun hat to protect me from the sun (and be extra cute!) and wore my new everyday Calvin Klein tote I picked up at Macy’s last week. Of course I sprayed on a few splashes of euphoria Calvin Klein because the garden flowers are not the only ones smelling pretty!

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Tip: Don’t forget that from now through Mother’s Day, anyone who purchases a large spray from the euphoria Calvin Klein fragrance collection at Macy’s or Dillard’s will receive a complimentary live orchid.  

Antonio was also dressed very comfy cool.

The hubby is a big fan of nature and so am I,  so this was truly a joyful and perfect date.

What’s your idea of a perfect date?
Xo,

Leslie


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