Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Las Vegas Guide + Tutu Tuesday Linkup

So I had to take a brief hiatus from this space last week after my trip to Las Vegas.  I knew when I got back that I would be tired, but I did not expect the jet lag to hit my as hard as it did!  I had such an easy time transitioning from EST to PST, but the transition back was rough.  Between being tired from a whirlwind weekend, traveling, major jet lag, and not feeling great I pretty much spent all last week sleeping, but things are finally starting to get back to normal!

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I spent the last weekend in January celebrating my 25th birthday in Vegas.  My last "big birthday" (twenty one) was kind of awful (I had a big surgery two weeks before, was in the middle of having major roommate issues, none of my friends were twenty one yet, and there was a snowstorm) so I decided I needed to do something big for twenty five.  One of my closest friends from college recently moved to California with her husband so I asked her if she would want to meet in Las Vegas for a weekend to celebrate and go see Britney Spears.

We had an amazing weekend and I would definitely say celebrating twenty five was my best yet!  Below I am talking all about what we did and breaking down my guide to Las Vegas.

Mirage Las Vegas || We stayed here in a basic room with two queen beds for three nights.  The room was nice, clean, and quiet, and the beds were very comfy.  The staff was also super nice and they gave us an upgraded room with a view of the Strip and their Volcano when I told them we were celebrating a birthday. 

On the first floor of the hotel there is eleven restaurants, three bars, a club, a Cirque du Soleil show (which we were able to catch a practice of!), numerous theatres, a casino, shopping, an animal habitat, and a pool.  We took advantage of almost everything they had to offer and really enjoyed ourselves.  You have basically everything you could ever want and I would definitely recommend staying here.

Other || While we were there we visited almost all the hotels on the Strip to see what they were about.  Other places that we thought looked nice to stay were Caesars Palace, The Palazzo, The Venetian, Planet Hollywood, Bellagio, and The Cosmopolitan.

LVB Burgers ||  This is located inside the Mirage and I grabbed dinner here the first night when I was staying alone (my friend arrived the next day).  After two flights and a layover I was craving a burger and fries and this place really hit the spot.  The burger was big and juicy and the fries were crispy.  It also had a nice relaxed atmosphere and large TVs with different games on so I had something on to watch.

Sushi Roku || This upscale Japanese and sushi restaurant is located in the shops at Caesars Palace.  We both ordered sushi, which was so good and the portions were generous.  All the food was super fresh and they filled their California roll with fresh crab instead of crab stick, which is always a favorite of mine.

Lavo || Lavo is a well known club and I was surprised to find out that they actually also are an amazing Italian restaurant.  It is located inside the Palazzo and has a fun, yet cozy vibe.  Their menu offers many classic Italian dishes and some unique spins on old favorites.  They also can make any pasta dish you order with gluten free, which was perfect for me.  From the appetizer to dessert everything we ate there was delicious and I definitely want to go back next time I'm in Vegas!

Pantry || This 24 hour breakfast spot was located inside the the Mirage just a few steps from the guest elevators and we ate here two mornings.  It felt like a sweet little cafe and I got a Southern vibe from it.  I love to get pancakes when I'm on vacation and the ones they made were so good and there was way too much for me to eat!  If you stay at the Mirage don't bother looking for somewhere to have breakfast, go here you will not regret it.

Grimaldi's || During lunch on the second day we were walking around the Palazzo and Venetian and grabbed lunch at this pizzeria in the Grand Canal Shops.  I have had pizza in NYC before and they are definitely serving authentic New York pizza here.  It's a perfect place to grab a quick and casual bite to eat while walking around and shopping.

Fin || Fin is also located in the the Mirage.  It serves high end Chinese food in a beautiful setting.  I ordered the General Tso's Chicken (a favorite of mine) and it was delicious.  However, we were not fans of the restaurant atmosphere, the staff was unfriendly, unhelpful, and our waiter did not speak much English (and looked at me like I was crazy when I said I had a tree nut allergy, which was not comforting).  As good as the food was I don't think I would go back here because there are too many good restaurants in Las Vegas to have to deal with poor service. 

Sprinkles ||  Sprinkles is always a must visit when I'm in NYC so I had to go to the one in Vegas!  If you like cupcakes, cookies, or ice cream you have to stop here.  It's located in the LINQ Promenade and is as adorable as Sprinkles always is.  This is especially a must stop if you are gluten free they're Gluten Free Red Velvet Cupcakes, and Gluten Free Chocolate Chip cookies are the best I've ever had. 

To be completely honest I found the amount of shopping in Vegas to be a little overwhelming and redundant.  It felt like there were the same shops everywhere we went on the Strip and I know that we definitely missed some places, like the Fashion Show Mall, because we wanted to see more then the same stores that we could see at a mall at home.

Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat || When I found out that they had this at the Mirage I was so excited because I love getting to see animals.  In the large Dolphin Habitat there are probably between ten and twelve dolphins that you can see both above and underwater.  They're quite active and you can even view their feedings.  In the Secret Garden they have white lions, white tigers, leopards, and black leopards.  All of the big cats were gorgeous and we had so much fun watching them.  The oldest white tiger was super active playing with his waterfall, jumping in and out of the pool, pawing around a giant ball, and more, which was so fun to see.

Gondola Ride on the Grand Canal || I feel like this is such a touristy thing to do in Vegas so of course we just had to do it!  You can ride down the canal in a gondola at the Venetian and the gondolier sings you Italian songs (he even sang me "Happy Birthday" in Italian) and tells you about the architecture around the canal.  It was a nice ride, a fun way to see the hotel, and a great way to get a little rest!

Eiffel Tower || So we didn't actually go up in the Eiffel Tower at the Paris, but we walked over to see it and went inside the hotel lobby.  It felt very French (albeit tacky French) and was a cool place to visit. 

Fountains of Bellagio || The number one thing everyone said to do in Vegas was to see the fountains.  Unfortunately when we walked over to see them they weren't going, but we got to see the hotel and where they go off and I had seen them on TV before so I wasn't too disappointed.

High Roller Wheel || Located at the LINQ the High Roller is the World's Tallest Observation Wheel.  This giant ferris wheel "takes 30 minutes to complete one full revolution and features 28 glass-enclosed cabins with broad views of Las Vegas and the Strip."  We went up at night, which was awesome because we got to see the entire Strip all lit up from way up in the sky.  Another cool feature is that you can get a cabin with an open bar and have drinks during the ride.  I would definitely say that this is something you absolutely have to do while in Las Vegas.

Flamingos || You can see actual flamingos at the Flamingo, which we had to stop in and see.  They have a nice little wildlife habitat with a few different fish and birds.  A great part of this is that you can get to it from the LINQ Promenade, so it's easy to just pop by, and it's completely free.

Britney: Piece of Me || The big reason we went to Vegas was to see Britney Spears' residency show.  I am a huge, huge, huge fan of hers and have been since I was five years old, but have never been able to see her perform in person.  I was crazy excited to see this and it did not disappoint.  It was a full hour and a half of dancing and singing and was just amazing.  I was able to see her perform literally every song I wanted and her dancing was just incredible.  I would go see it a million more times and want to plan another trip to Vegas to see it again.

Frank Marino's Divas Las Vegas || We went to see this drag show on a whim and absolutely loved it.  We got a great deal* on the tickets and decided to get ones for the front row, which was such a good decision.  If you're looking for a laugh, a lot of fun, and a really great show you will love this.

*How to get discounted tickets...
We got our tickets for this show at Tix4Tonight Half Price Show Tickets booth and like I said we got a really good deal on the tickets, especially upgrading to the front row.  If you have your heart set on a show I recommend purchasing tickets through the show's venue in advance like we did for Britney Spears, but if you're open to seeing different shows going to Tix4Tonight is a must because it will save you a lot of money.  We went to the booth in the morning, read the list of available shows, and spoke with the helpful sales associates before deciding on a show and purchasing our tickets.

I had such a great time in Las Vegas and would love to go back again at some point.  If you have any Vegas recommendations please leave them in the comments - I'd love to learn about them!

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!

Welcome to Tutu Tuesdays a linkup with The Blush Blonde and The Fairy Princess Diaries!  Linkup whatever you'd like and make sure to do a little mingling - our goal here is to create a community of bloggers where we can all connect, find new blogs, and support one another.  We love new friends, supporting other blogs, and meeting fellow girl bosses!

There are just a few rules we ask you follow to join in on Tutu Tuesdays:

1. Please follow both Jordyn and me, your lovely hosts, on Instagram and/or Bloglovin.
Kristin: The Blush Blonde  |  Bloglovin'  |  Instagram

2. Link to your specific post, not your blog's main page.

3. Grab our super cute button or share a link to Tutu Tuesdays in the post you are linking up so everyone can know about the party!

4. Have fun and mingle with other bloggers that have linked up!  Like I said we want everyone to make new friends!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sara Drury Local Looks

Today I have a special installment of Beauty Behind the Blog and am instead calling it Beauty Behind the Business.  Sarah Drury is a certified Hair and Makeup Artist who has been in the beauty industry for almost a decade.  Sara creates incredible hair and makeup looks and is someone I always turn to for beauty advice.  Today at 12 PM EST Sara is launching Makeup Made Simple, a 6 Week interactive online program where you will learn how to do flawless makeup application on yourself.  To celebrate this launch I am interviewing Sara about her personal routine, her business, and Makeup Made Simple.  Also at the bottom of the interview you'll find my experience with taking Sara's course in advance of the release!

Name: Sara Drury
Age: 35
Occupation: Certified Hair+Makeup artist. Confidence booster - I’ve been in the beauty industry for almost a decade and I absolutely love it!
Where to find more from Sara:  Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram
Where to find Makeup Made Simple: You will find the link here!

Who taught you about beauty?
My mom!  But not in the traditional sense.  She is a total tom boy so she has never been into makeup or fashion or what is typically thought of as “beauty,” and yet she was the one who taught me about beauty, because she taught me about true beauty.  The beauty that is in every person, the beauty that is all around us in nature, the beauty of kindness.  So yeah, my mom taught me about beauty. 

 What is your favorite thing about beauty?
I believe that beauty is a form of self expression so I love that it can be whatever feels good to you as an individual!   

What is your best beauty secret?
Self love! Beauty is an inside job.  Oh and exfoliating regularly! 😉

Do you create any DIY beauty products?
In the winter when my scalp gets super dry I will mix a little raw sugar and coconut oil and exfoliate my scalp with it. Definitely need to wash twice after though!

What is your skin type?
I have combination skin. 

What is your basic skincare routine?
In the morning I keep it simple. I wash my face and moisturize and put on sunscreen!  In the evening I do a little more as make sure to take off all my makeup, then wash my face really well, I exfoliate or add my retinol, night cream, eye cream...etc. (unless I fall asleep first.  Hey nobody’s perfect!)  On the weekends I like to take nice long baths where I do my facial masks and let them set on for a while.  I really use this time as a little ritual for myself and my skin. It feels so good to take time for me!

What are your must have skincare products? 
For the past year I have been using R Devine Skin Care. It’s an all natural organic brand and I absolutely LOVE it! My favorite product is the Sacred Balance Purifying Facial Serum. It’s so great for combination to oily skin and it smells soooo good! I also love their exfoliating face wash/mask! I love it so much I asked to be an affiliate for their products. If you want to try it I have a code for all of your readers to get 10% off, at checkout type SARADRURY in the coupon code.

What is your favorite skincare splurge?
My last splurge was Renée Rouleau Advanced Resurfacing Serum.  I'm already out though and I've picked my next splurge, Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil.

What is your everyday makeup look?
On an everyday basis I don’t do much.  I typically do a little foundation, concealer, blush and my biggest thing is that I almost always curl my lashes and put on a couple coats of mascara!

What is your go to makeup look when you go out?
I am a total homebody, plus I have a four year old little one, so I don’t go out a ton, but when I do that’s my time to play with fun looks!  Something dark and smokey is always fun for a night out.  And definitely false lashes, always!

What are your must have makeup products?
Oh boy! Now you’re gonna get me going haha!  Right now my top 5 are:

What is your favorite makeup splurge?
I recently purchased the new lip palette from Anastasia Beverly Hills!  It’s just so fun to play with and mix all the colors!

What is your basic hair care routine?
Honestly my hair gets the least amount of TLC. It’s kind of sad really!  Even though I work in a salon I am in desperate need of a haircut at the moment.  For my basic hair routine, I usually wash it once or twice a week, put my leave in conditioner in, use a root lifter and then I blow dry or air dry.
I use dry shampoo the rest of the week!  I love me some dry shampoo.

What are your must have hair products?
-My Wet Brush!  Best brush ever. 
I have repurchased all of these so many times!
What is your favorite hair care splurge?
I love Pureology 21 Benefits.  It really does have 21 benefits, but my favorites are that it’s a leave in conditioner so it helps as you comb through the hair without damaging it, it is a heat protectant so it helps to protect your hair against damage as you blow dry or curl etc., oh and it smells really good.


Tell us a little about the course.
Makeup made Simple is a 6 Week interactive online program where you will learn how to do a flawless makeup application on yourself, infused with exercises to unlock your most confident self.  Makeup is awesome and fun but what's even more important is that you feel good about you.  That’s why we will not only learn the art of makeup but you will also learn the art of self love.  After you’ve completed this course you will be able to do a complete and totally gorgeous full face of makeup on your own, just as if a pro had done it for you. 

You'll be able to:
-Apply a full face of makeup like a pro (even if you suck at makeup or think you can't).
-Cover your dark circles so it looks like you get 8 hours of sleep every night.
-Apply your makeup so that it lasts all day.
-Choose your shade of foundation perfectly every time.
-Finally master winged eyeliner.
-Do a daytime makeup look.
-Feel confident choosing the right products.
-Save time and money.
-Contour and highlight for your face shape (hello cheekbones!).
-Master a Smokey eye - no more looking like you got a black eye.
-And you’ll have the confidence to pull it all off.

Why did you create this course?
I created this course to help women build confidence in themselves and to feel beautiful on the inside AND the outside!  I believe that confidence starts with self love. If you can learn to love yourself, you can do ANYTHING.  Makeup is just icing on the cake!

What is the number one thing you want people to take away from the course?
 I want every woman to love herself a little more after this course.

How did you decide what to include in the course? 
I actually did quite a bit of research on the front end to figure out what to include!  I have been doing makeup for nine years and I also have been teaching 1 on 1 and group makeup lessons so I would hear the same questions, concerns and frustrations over and over.  Finally, I decided I wanted to help MORE women feel beautiful so I figured out how to create an online program, did tons of research and created a product that would be able to help hundreds of women! 

How much does the course cost and what does that include?
The investment for this course is $197.  I also have a payment plan available!
  It includes lifetime access to a full 6 Module video based course, six live group calls with me to get your specific questions answered, and our incredible community of women inside our private Facebook group.


I had the opportunity to take the Makeup Made Simple classes ahead of their release and I have to tell you they are amazing!  I've already implemented so many of the things I've learned in the classes and my makeup has been looking great.  My main goals of the course were to learn proper face makeup application and contouring, which was I was able to learn in a simple and easy to understand way.  Everyone from makeup novices to makeup masters can learn something from this course as it covers every aspect of makeup application.  I highly recommend looking into the course and taking it yourself.  You can find more information on Makeup Made Simple here and you can also sign up for a FREE class Sara is hosting to kick off the launch here.

Thank you so much to Sara for taking the time to chat with me about all things beauty!

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Birthday Wishes + Tutu Tuesday Linkup

My sweet friend Jordyn is taking over today to help me continue celebrating my birthday!  Jordyn thank you so much for your wonderful post and kind words!  
xoxo Kristin

Hello The Blush Blonde readers! I'm here from The Fairy Princess Diaries with a special birthday message for Kristin. Over the past few years I have been able to get to know Kristin because of blogging. We were excited to discover our birthdays fell within a short time frame in January- obviously meaning our friendship was meant to be.

Kristin celebrated her 25th birthday on Sunday and as a way to continue the celebration all month long I wanted to share a few birthday wishes for Kristin.

Kristin is both creative and kind. Her blog is a source of inspiration and beauty insight for women internationally. Personally, Kristin has grown into more than just a random face I occasionally see on the internet, but rather a real life friend whose dreams I support and who I know I can turn to when I need to talk. I know I speak for many of Kristin's friends when I say she is a loyal and caring woman, we are lucky to call her a friend!
A few Birthday wishes for Kristin's 25th Year:

1. I hope life gives you lots of reasons to pop open a bottle of champagne (even if that reason is just that you happen to have a bottle of champagne in the refrigerator).

2. I hope an occasion calls for a glittery new dress and the opportunity to dance in confetti, give a toast, and hug your bestie close.

3.I hope Blake Lively delivers you homemade cupcakes, but if not I hope you have afternoons and evenings spent baking with Taylor, Karlie and Blake as your blondetourage inspiration.

4. I hope you enjoy lots of trips close to home and around the country (or even the world) with the people closest to you.

5. I hope Coco snuggles you when you need it...

6. And you have solid friends who are there for you when life hands you challenges.

7. I hope you make new friends who bring an extra dose of spontaneity to your life...

8. And I hope the bonds of friendship you have already formed grow deeper and stronger.

9. I wish for your life to be filled with bundles of fresh flowers and pretty trinkets.

10. May your lipstick never stain your teeth...

11. And may your skin glow flawlessly without a single ounce of makeup. #IWokeUpLikeThis

12. I hope you have the opportunity to try lots of new beauty and skincare products on your own and for The Blush Blonde.

13. I hope blogging provides a source of happiness, a place to express yourself creatively and heaps of online friendships and new opportunities.

14. I hope the next year is filled with evenings to cheer on Villanova at lots of basketball games...

15. And a few shopping trips worthy of Blair and Serena in NYC. Here's my advice, when in doubt buy the shoes!

16. I hope you have far more good hair days than bad...

17. And fewer days spent wishing migraines would get lost.

18. I hope 25 is a year filled with lessons and though they might not always be as happy as rainbows and sunshine I hope they continue to help you grow as a woman of courage and character.

19. I hope you meet a handsome stranger who will tell you you're wonderful and make you feel pretty, but if you don't I hope you know how many of us think you're wonderful and pretty already.

20. If you kiss any boys I hope they make you happy and if they don't make you happy I hope you don't waste a single second of your beautiful life fretting over someone so silly.

21. I hope you dream big about grad school or blogging or traveling the world.

22. I hope you do what you can to make your dreams happen and I hope those close to you do everything in their power to support you and help raise you up.

23. May you have lots of opportunities to laugh so hard you get an ab workout...

24. And may you create memories that will make you look back and remember being 25 fondly for years to come.

25. Finally, I hope you radiate the confidence of a Victoria's Secret Angel with the grace of Kate Middleton. 25 is your year girl!

Wishing you more happiness today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow.

Welcome to Tutu Tuesdays a linkup with The Blush Blonde and The Fairy Princess Diaries!  Linkup whatever you'd like and make sure to do a little mingling - our goal here is to create a community of bloggers where we can all connect, find new blogs, and support one another.  We love new friends, supporting other blogs, and meeting fellow girl bosses!

There are just a few rules we ask you follow to join in on Tutu Tuesdays:

1. Please follow both Jordyn and me, your lovely hosts, on Instagram and/or Bloglovin.
Kristin: The Blush Blonde  |  Bloglovin'  |  Instagram

2. Link to your specific post, not your blog's main page.

3. Grab our super cute button or share a link to Tutu Tuesdays in the post you are linking up so everyone can know about the party!

4. Have fun and mingle with other bloggers that have linked up!  Like I said we want everyone to make new friends!

Monday, January 23, 2017

25 Lessons from 25 Years

Yesterday was my 25th birthday!  Birthdays are my absolute favorite thing and I have been celebrating since Thursday and will continue to through the end of the month ending with a big birthday trip next weekend.  It's crazy to think that I am actually a quarter of a century old.  I'm not going to lie my life is nowhere near what I thought it would be at 25, but I am ok with that.  I have learned a lot in my 25 years though and I thought it would be good to share some of it with all of you.  Today I have 25 life lessons that I've learned through the years and below that are 25 beauty lessons I've learned too.

1. The quality of your friends is much more important than the quantity of your friends.

2. At college you can learn just as much outside the classroom as inside the classroom.

3. Listen to your Mom's advice.

4. If you overwork yourself, don't take care of yourself, and/or don't sleep you will be miserable and burnout at some point.

5. Don't diet, instead eat healthy because going on a strict or very restrictive diet won't last.

6. Wear sunscreen and apply it properly because skin cancer is a very real and very dangerous thing.

7. Be nice and polite, but stand up for yourself when necessary.  Don't let others push you around.

8. If something is really bothering you go to the doctor and get it checked out, it's better to be safe than sorry.

9. Wash your hands frequently and be a little bit of a germophobe because it will help prevent you from getting sick.

10. Take good care of your skin, it's the largest organ we have and also the one everyone sees.  Taking good care of it is not only good for you, but will help it look better in the long run.

11. Speak up for what you want.

12. Don't bother arguing with someone who's "always right" or is too stubborn to see someone else's point of view, it's not worth it, you'll never get what you want, and it's a waste of time.

13. Make time to spend with your family, especially your parents.

14. Get an external battery for your phone and keep it in your purse, it will save you from the anxiety of being somewhere you don't know or needing an Uber and only having 5% battery.

15. When you go out make sure that all of your friends get home safely or are going to a place they will be safe.

16. As women it is our job to look out for each other.

17. Listen to your gut, if a guy gives you the creeps, a situation makes you uncomfortable, or you know something is wrong listen to that voice and get out of there.

18. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issues seek out help and don't feel one bit embarrassed about it.  Trust me, getting the help you need can be life changing.

19. Spend a night in relaxing, binge on Netflix, and indulge in your guilty pleasure.  Small things like these can help you to reset and recharge.

20. Don't judge a book by it's cover, you never know what is going on in someone else's life.

21. If you're eating healthy and cheat don't beat yourself up, enjoy your cheat and then get back on the wagon.

22. Take lots of pictures, but don't miss the experience because you're too concerned with taking said pictures.

23. You can learn something from everyone.

24. Be social and talk to people otherwise you'll miss out on new friends, business opportunities, people to date, and more.

25. Splurge every once in awhile, you deserve it.

1. Drink lots of water, if you're bad at this keep a water bottle with you at all times so you're forced to drink more.

2. Use hand cream, especially in the winter, because dried out and cracked hands are painful.

3. Try to use natural products when you can.

4. Always put on lip balm before bed because like your hands dry, cracked lips hurt.

5. Don't be afraid to use oils on your face.

6. If you like gel polish make sure to take a break from it every few weeks and allow your nails to grow and repair.

7. Don't cake on your foundation and consider using a BB or CC Cream instead for a more natural look.

8. Make sure you have good lighting where you do your makeup.

9. Mascara and concealer are the most important products in your makeup bag and can easily (and quickly) take you from a naked face to a better and slightly enhanced bare faced look.

10. Long showers are amazing, but make sure they're not too hot because you run the risk of drying out your hair and skin.

11. Always apply body lotion after a shower.

12. Exfoliating your face and body are incredibly important to maintain good skin.

13. Get a facial mist, it will boost hydration and help you feel refreshed.

14. Become a Beauty Insider at Sephora and join ULTAmate Rewards at Ulta.  Both programs have many awesome perks and you will reap the benefits.

15. Don't skimp on your beauty products when traveling, especially if you're flying.  Yes pair down your products, but not to the point where you will ruin your hair or skin while you're away. Make sure to get travel sizes of your favorite things to make packing easier.

16. Deep condition your hair at least once a week.

17. Always use a heat protection product on your hair before heat styling otherwise you can seriously damage your hair.

18. A facial cleansing device (like a Clarisonic) will drastically change your skin for the better.

19. Have a nighttime beauty ritual, not only will it help you take care of your hair and skin, but it will help you to relax too.

20. Do a face mask at least once a week to improve your skin, you will see instant and long term results from it.  (If you're really serious about skincare though mask two to three times a week).

21. Try DIY beauty, it's fun to mix up your own products and often less expensive than store bought ones.

22. Clean your hairline with a toner or astringent (especially if you wash your hair every few days) to prevent breakouts.

23. Diaper rash cream (like Triple Paste) is amazing for dry spots on your skin and eczema.

24. Get regular haircuts to get rid of dead ends and help prevent breakage.

25. Get a clear lip liner so you can wear it with all of your lipsticks and prevent them from bleeding.

Have a great beauty or life lesson?  Share it below!

Make sure to add me on Snapchat - @kthomp22!