Vacationing in Mexico

Heading down to Cancun in November was the perfect way to relax before the holiday season (although I didn’t realize how much it would screw up my NaBloPoMo attemps!). This was my third trip to Mexico and my second to Cancun. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend making the trip at some point.

We left super early in the morning out of BWI. I wasn’t going to miss the 34 degree weather. Passports in hand, we started on the 4.5 hour trip to CUN. We had a brief layover in Floria. Couldn’t resist an airplane selfie and the clouds were so perfect out the window they looked fake!

Mexico FlightWe stayed at the Moon Palace Resort. This place is seriously the best. It is an all inclusive resort, so when you book your stay that also includes all you can eat and drink. They even put $750 of resort credit on each room that you could use toward tours, the spa, and the shops. Our rooms weren’t quite ready when we got there, so we headed to the buffet, then hit the pool.

IMG_4683We stayed in ocean front rooms in the Nizuc phase. It was the best view to wake up to in the morning.

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The hotel brought breakfast to the room and would open the windows each morning.

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The first night we at the Brazilian steakhouse. The turkey was seriously the best. They also came around with a tableside Irish coffee station that included quite the fire show. The next night and the night before we left (I couldn’t resist going twice) we went to the Mexican restaurant, Los Corporales, that had the. best. mole. Wednesday, the resort set up our vow renewal and we had the reception at the Mayan restaurant on the golf course.

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We finished out the trip parasailing on Thursday and swimming with dolphins on Friday. These were both firsts for me. I was super scared to try parasailing, but it has come a long way since just a harness over the water. This was an actual 2 person seat that they let out and reel in right from the boat. You don’t ever have to touch the water if you don’t want to. Or, if you’re brave like I tried to be, they can dunk you a bit as they reel you in.

IMG_5159The weather was gorgeous while we were there. It was in the eighties with a breeze. It was warm, but comfortable and hardly humid. Still strong enough to end up with a sunburn while I fell asleep by the pool though. The only downside to the trip was when I sprained my ankle on the last day. They initially though it might be broken and I opted to wait until I was stateside to get it checked. Getting home was tough, but they gave me a wheelchair and escort to help me get through the lines and to the gates.

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It was hard to come back to freezing weather. My mom wants to make this an annual trip and the hubby and I can’t wait to go back.

 

 

Exuviance Peel Challenge

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A while back I received samples from NeoStrata to try out the Exuviance Peel Challenge. I have always like the idea of peels, but I have very sensitive skin when it comes to those types of treatments so I have to be careful about what goes on my face.

The product for the Peel Challenge is the Exuviance Performance Peel AP25. This is a 25% alpha hydroxy peel (hence the AP25 in the name), which is on the gentler side of peel strengths. The treatment is intended to be used twice weekly. A 6 week supply is currently $75–definitely cheaper than facials at the spa. It is also fragrance, dye, and PABA free.

According to the clinical claims from the website, this product has been proven to:

  • Refine pore size and smooth texture
  • Visibly diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Improve clarity and brightness
  • Brighten and even skin tone
  • Provide an all-over healthy glow, suppleness and smoothness to skin

I have to admit that I often get intimidated about using products like this, even if it can provide all of these benefits. Who wouldn’t be a little nervous about putting chemicals on their face at home? This system makes applying the peel incredibly easy.

Starting with a clean place, you gently rub the activator pad on the desired area of skin. You then allow the peel to work for up to 10 minutes. When you are finished, you take the neutralizer pad and go over the same areas. Then rinse face thoroughly with water. Follow-up with a moisturizer.

When I tried the peel, I was only able to leave it on for about 5 minutes. I would always say to err on the side of less time. You can always do it a little longer the next time. The neutralizer pad instantly alleviated the tingly effects. Even though this is a gentler peel, I still noticed some redness and irritation after using. It was short-lived and resolved itself within a day, but definitely don’t do this before an event or if you’ll need to wear makeup soon after. As for results, I did find my some refinement to my pores and that my skin was noticeably smoother.

Ultimately, I think this is a pretty good product, but you have to know your skin. Be sure to do a patch test for any sensitivity to the product and watch your times. If you’re looking to experiment with peels, the Exuviance system is easy to use, gentle, and in my experience produced noticeable results after just a few uses.

Have you tried this peel? If so, what did you think?

Disclosure: I received samples to do the Peel Challenge. All opinions are my own based on my personal experience with the product.

 

Renewing Our Vows in Mexico

I always wanted to elope, but my hubby wanted a more traditional wedding. Our compromise was to go the traditional route for the big day and then renew our vows on a beach somewhere down the road. Back in May we booked a trip to the Moon Palace in Cancun and when I was looking into whether or not we could have a small patch of beach to renew our vows, the resort pointed me to their complimentary wedding packages that you can tack onto your stay. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but they blew me away. They provided an arch on the beach, an officiant, a sound system, flowers, a dinner reservation for a reception, cake, and even a violinist to play we cut the cake. It was truly an amazing day. Here’s a look at some of my favorite photos taken by us and my mom.

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Monat Rejuvenique Oil Intensive Review

I have the blessing/curse of long, thick hair. When it behaves, I love it, but when it doesn’t, it can be a complete mess. I know I’m not the only one out there searching for the next great hair product, so when iFabbo hooked me up with the opportunity to try Monat’s Rejuvenique Oil Intensive for hair, I knew this was something I wanted try and share my experience with you.

 

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The Basics:

  • This is a luxury product that retails for $84-$99 and is available for purchase on the Monat website
  • Contains a unique blend of oils to achieve results
  • Does not contain phthalates, parabens, sulfates, or harmful fragrances, colors, or chemicals.

The Benefits:

  • Reduces hair thinning
  • Adds volume
  • Increases shine

My Experience:

I have to say that I am always afraid of oils. The last thing anyone wants is a heavy residue building up on their hair. Luckily, that was not the case with this product. There are so many different ways you can use it. I like it as a pre-shampoo treatment to nourish my hair for 15-20 minutes before my daily routine (plus the shampoo removes any excess product). It also great to smooth a little onto your hair if your ends are dry or you need a little extra shine for your slicked back pony or bun. This product is so versatile that anyone can work it into their routine in some form. Just be sure to use it sparingly as a little goes a long way.

As for results, it really made my hair shine. I loved the glossy, healthy look it created. I didn’t really notice a change in volume as my hair is already very thick, but I did notice less fallout when brushing.

I know this is a bit on the expensive side, but if you’re looking for a hair splurge I would definitely keep it in mind. This product might not be for everyone, so I’d try to sample it (or another oil) to make sure you would enjoy this type of product before taking the plunge, but I think if you’re looking for some added shine and an easy way to restore some life to your locks, this Monat hair oil is definitely a great choice!

Disclosure: I received this product gratis for the purposes of writing this review. All opinions are my own based on my personal experience with the product.

 

A Perfect Fit with eShakti.com

Eshakti Dress

eShakti recently reached out to me to try out their custom dress service and I was happy to oblige. They carry so many styles and colors to choose from and each dress is customizable in a number of ways. You can choose a pre-set size from their size chart (which runs very true to size in my experience) or you can enter your custom measurements. They also offer an extended range of sizes so you can get the perfect fit regardless of your body type. You can also change the sleeve length and hem length. The customization and checkout process is simple, a few clicks and your custom dress will be made and on it’s way to you via DHL.

For my dress, I chose this beautiful green dress with a hi-low hemline. It was originally sleeveless and I had them add elbow length sleeves. The dress arrived quickly, especially for being custom made. Right out of the box, I knew I was going to love wearing this piece. The dress was well-made and flattering. There was so much attention to the seam placement, ensuring that it would hang nicely on the body. The fabric is lightweight and the hi-low hem catches a bit of and gives the appearance of an etherial train as you walk. This dress also came with a coordinating sash that I chose not to wear, but also provides a different look.

For the picture above, I style the dress with my favorite NY & Company jacket and Caparro heels. Because the dress is lightweight, it’s important to pay attention to undergarments or wear a slip. In the picture you can see a little bit of a line near the neckline from the tank I was wearing underneath. But with a little care you’ll get a great look. My only complaint would be that the fabric wrinkles a lot! This has nothing to do with the craftsmanship, just something that if I were to do over I might pick something that doesn’t need quite as much steamer attention ;)

Overall, I can’t recommend them highly enough. I’m always having trouble finding the perfect fit when it comes to buying a dress and I’ve always been hesitant about shopping at online sites offering to customize pieces for you, but after shopping eShakti I can say with confidence that I would definitely purchase from here again.

If you’re interested in ordering from eShakti, you can get 10% off your order until 12/6/14 when you enter danareneestyle in the promo code box!

Also check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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Disclosure: I received my choice of a dress for the purposes of writing this review. All opinions are my own based on my personal experience with the product.

 

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