Embrace Yourself With Vera Wang Fragrances

This post was sponsored by Vera Wang Fragrances as part of an Activation for Influence Central. I received complimentary products and other compensation to facilitate my review.

Growing up, like many girls, I would watch my mom perform her beauty rituals: body lotion, makeup, perfume. When I was little, I was very sensitive to the scent of perfume, but now it seems to be a mark of sophistication. Like you’re a pulled-together twentysomething once you have a “signature scent.”

Figuring out that signature scent though? It can be tricky, especially on a budget. The good news is that Kohl’s carries the super luxe and affordable Vera Wang Embrace fragrance collection. The newest fragrance is Marigold and Gardenia, a sweet scent for summer that reminds me of white sangria. Actually, maybe it’s a good idea to spritz some on before grabbing some summery drinks for a date night. 😉

Vera Wang Embrace | Shades of Sarah

When you’re rushing out the door, a fancy fragrance might not be one of your nonnegotiables. In a way, that’s the power of a signature spritz — you’re happy to put yourself together and add those final touches to your ensemble. (Since I work above a warehouse, I wear jeans nearly all day, every day now. I need all the fancy I can get.) Marigold and Gardenia is floral and fresh enough to elevate even a casual summer outfit can be elevated with this fresh floral scent. There’s something cool and yep, sexy, about that.

Vera Wang Embrace | Shades of Sarah

Turns out finding a fun fragrance doesn’t have to be an intimindating thing! For only $29.99, you can try the new scent and grab one for your mom or best friend. (Green tea and pear blossoms? You might be next.) Or you could be one of the lucky few to win the whole collection by entering Influence Central’s giveaway! (P.S. Giveaway is open until July 12th.)

Vera Wang Embrace Fragrance Collections

Have you tried finding your signature scent?

~ Sarah

Wedding Rehearsal Blowout with Hair Cuttery

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hair Cuttery Salons. All opinions are 100% my own.

Earlier this month, I flew to Atlanta to be in one of my childhood best friend’s weddings! Us bridesmaids were pretty much in go-go-go mode upon arrival — it was such a whirlwind weekend that very few pictures even exist. (Not counting the professional photographer’s of course; I’m eagerly awaiting those.)

Our bride was generous enough to pay for our hair the day of, but I knew my hair was the last thing I wanted to worry about leading up to the wedding. I wanted something that would withstand a flight and the Atlanta humidity, so off to Hair Cuttery I went.



Now that everyone is spending their weekends traveling, Thursdays are pretty busy at my local HC. I made an appointment with Kim, a master stylist, but you totally don’t have to! Hair Cuttery is cool with walk-ins, and their handy store locator will also list current wait times.

Kim and I chatted about what I was looking for: something easy but polished and plane-friendly. We chose to do a blowout for the wedding rehearsal and dinner, but if I wasn’t traveling I definitely would’ve experimented more! (Need inspiration? Browse the #myHClook hashtag on Twitter or Instagram.)

Something that has helped me immensely with learning to deal with my hair (it’s fine, prone to oiliness and buildup and frizz) is approaching salon visits almost like doctor’s appointments. I ask so many questions now! Hair Cuttery is a welcoming, unpretentious environment, so I don’t feel lame asking for advice about my hair struggles.

Blowout with Hair Cuttery | Shades of Sarah
Rocking the wet rodent look before.
After!
Another reason Kim was great – she was game for a selfie!

I honestly felt like a million bucks afterwards! Going to the salon for just a shampoo and blowdry sounds indulgent, but the prices at Hair Cuttery start at about half of what blowout salons charge. Totally worth the investment for a special occasion, whether you’re going to a job interview or a wedding (so basically every person every summer).

I was especially glad I stopped by Hair Cuttery because after an early flight and running errands, the bridesmaids literally had 15 minutes to get ready for the wedding rehearsal…so not having to worry about my hair was a bonus. One of the bridesmaids asked me how my hair looked so good, and I was happy to reveal my secret weapon. The proof is in the Snapchat (told you photos were basically non-existent):

And that’s my wedding rehearsal beauty story. The moral of the story, leave the hair to the affordable and accessible experts (hi, Hair Cuttery) and master a 10-minute or less makeup routine.

~ Sarah

What’s In My Travel Makeup Case

June has been a bit of a crazy month, and it’s about to get crazier! The first weekend I visited my friend Stefania and we saw Selena Gomez’s Revival Tour in D.C. and the following weekend I was in Atlanta and had the honor of being a bridesmaid in my friend Sarah’s wedding! Since then, I’ve been relaxing and prepping for my next adventure: a trip to the Pacific Northwest with Nick. We leave Saturday for Vancouver, and from there we’re going to Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. Like whoa.

With all this travel, I’m really nailing down what I need for weekends away. This list doesn’t include things like dental care and skincare because duh, and also that’s very much about what you need for you. These are the items that help me feel put together, without feeling like I’m missing stuff from my vanity or that I’m hauling around too many items.

Travel Beauty Essentials | Shades of Sarah

Smashbox Primer: I’ve tried a few different primers and this is easily the best. It really smoothes things out and my makeup does not budge. I even like wearing it sans makeup just for the mattifying effect.

Blotting PapersBecause not even primer can always save me. These also won’t smudge or remove too much makeup, so they’re useful for a night out.

Pixi Palette: Again, the perfect balance. Blush and bronzer options for day, and eyeshadows and liners for night. I probably won’t use this too often on my PNW trip, but it covers all my bases when I’ll need it. I already used this palette for the concert and wedding! It’s pretty perfect. I also bring my mini travel brushes that I got for Christmas — no need for my full-sized set.

Secret Outlast Extend*: This deodorant definitely has staying power, and the travel size is perfect just in case you do need to freshen up, or end up with some chub rub.

Wet N’ Wild 1-Step Wonder Gel PolishI prefer to have my nails painted, and this polish is long-lasting. My favorite shade is “Condensed Milk,” which is a great neutral that doesn’t look too much of a hot mess when it does eventually start chipping.

Cutex Nail Polish Removal Pads*: And when I do need a full redo, these wipes come to the rescue. One pad really does remove your polish on all your nails, plus it doesn’t sting or smell too strongly. These were made for travel.

Venus Snap Razor: Another must-have in my travel bag! The little case is perfect for trips, plus it’s a reusable razor, so it’s pretty cost-effective overtime. (Also, I used to lose razors all the time while traveling, but the case helps me remember this one!)

Oh and I promise I bring lip color and eye cream with me too 🙂 What’s in your travel makeup case?

~ Sarah

*included in my Influenster Bloom Vox Box