Play! by Sephora: May 2017

My May Play! by Sephora box showed up last week before I went on a mini-vacation, and I spent some time this week trying out my samples before sitting down to write about them. May’s theme is The Rising Stars: stellar “cult favorites, hard-to-find-formulas, and one-of-a-kind brands that are making their mark.”

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Friday Five

1. Smithsonian Castle: I haven’t done any touristy DC stuff in a couple weeks, so yesterday morning I went to check out the gorgeous Smithsonian Castle for the first time. This was the Smithsonian Institution’s original building and it now serves as the main visitor center. There’s not a ton to see inside, but it’s pretty cool as a first stop if you want to learn a bit of history about the institution. It does contain a couple exhibits with pieces from the other Smithsonian museums, plus a cafe and a shop. Bonus: it’s surrounded by lovely gardens.

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Virginia Getaway: Salamander Resort & Spa

Yesterday, my husband and I returned from a three-night getaway at the lovely Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia…and I already miss it. My husband will be super swamped with work soon so he wanted to do a mini vacation while he had the chance! We initially considered going somewhere tropical like Puerto Rico, but we dialed it back and chose a place located just an hour and ten minute drive from DC.

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Friday Five

1. Nocking Point Wine Club: I signed up for this club months ago and received my first shipment in March, then completely forgot to post about it because I’ve had so many DC-related things to share each week! Nocking Point is Stephen Amell‘s winery (you might know him as Oliver Queen on Arrow*) and it offers a wine club shipment for $100 per quarter. So every three months, members receive a selection of the winery’s wines, plus NP coffee beans and gear. For my first shipment I received three wines (a sparkling, a Malbec, and a Sauvignon Blanc), a bag of coffee beans, and a wine bottle insulator. So far I’ve consumed the coffee (tasty), the Malbec (pretty good), and used the insulator a couple of times. The June box will have Nerd HQ-branded rosé…and I can’t wait!

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Friday Five

1. The Handmaid’s Tale: Hulu’s TV adaptation of the Margaret Atwood novel is simply stunning, disturbing…and terrifyingly relevant, given the current tenor of our world. The cinematography, direction, music, and above all, the acting, are top notch. The cast is jam-packed with incredible women: Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, and Alexis Bledel, to name just a few. I’m only three episodes in, but I’m hooked. Somehow I haven’t read the book yet, but it’s en route to my house and I’ll be diving in as soon as it arrives.

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Friday Five

1. Statue of Freedom: on a recent lovely day I took a stroll on over to the U.S. Capitol Building Visitor Center and wandered around inside for a bit. I was very impressed by this full-size plaster model of the bronze statue that sits atop the Capitol dome. Just compare the size of the people in the photo to the size of the model. She’s quite grand, isn’t she? What a beauty.

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Mother’s Day Gift Idea: Zoe Walter Candles

I’m totally going to self-promote here for a second: did you know that I make soy candles and sell them on Etsy? I started this hobby after taking a soy candlemaking workshop and then getting a kit so I could make my own candles at home. I came up with the idea to make candles in twelve scents, one inspired by each month of the year, and all are available on my Etsy store, Zoe Walter Candles.*

So if you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift, why not order a candle or two from my Etsy store? Mother’s Day is on Sunday, May 14 this year so there’s still time to get your order in. You can purchase a candle that represents Mom’s birth month, her favorite month, or even a set of candles for her favorite season. I don’t currently have a ton of inventory because I make small batches of three candles at a time, so get ’em while you can.  🙂

Zoe Walter Candles May Soy Wax Candle

You can always find my candle shop through the link in the menu bar at the top of each page here on my blog. Or go ahead and favorite my shop directly on Etsy for easy access. Happy gift shopping!

*I named my store after our two wonderful cats!

Sephora Spring 2017 VIB Sale Haul

Every year I look forward to the two Sephora VIB sales: each April, members get to take 15% off and in November, we get 20% off! The sale applies to everything in store and online, and is basically a feeding frenzy for beauty geeks like myself. I’ve done a pretty good job of restraining myself during these sales, but I ALWAYS take advantage of them because they’re too amazing to pass up!

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Friday Five

1. Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors: when I visited the Hirshhorn Musem to see the Orchids: A Moment exhibit I witnessed the insane lines for walk-up passes to the infinity mirrors exhibit, so I decided to start trying online for timed passes. Each Monday the museum releases free timed passes for the following week; I struck out on my first two Mondays, but the third time was the charm! I managed to snag three passes for last Friday, which coincided with a visit from my mom. So my husband, my mom, and I got to see this exhibit, and guys…it is so cool! There’s a lot of line waiting to get into the rooms—there are six of them and you only get 20-30 seconds inside each—but the museum has plenty of Kusama’s other work on display that you can wander around and view as well. The longest wait to enter a room was about 30 minutes, and the shortest was about five. It’s hard to say what my favorite part of the exhibit was, but I’ll go with the Love Forever peep show, pictured below. I highly recommend checking this exhibit out if you can (it runs through May 14)!

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tarte Friends & Family Sale Haul

Remember when I got really excited about tarte cosmetics’ huge friends and family 30% off sale? I received my box of goodies within a few days of ordering and have been playing around with most of the products so I can tell you about them here. First things first: my order came packaged with unicorn-printed tissue paper that I’m totally keeping so I can re-use it in my niece’s birthday present!

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