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My summer products are usually all about the "smooth" - smooth hair, smooth legs, smooth/clear complexion. I want products that help simplify my routine and make it easier but effective for the summer.

Keratin Complex Smoothing infusion Therapy certified fabulousWhen I'm in and out of the pool/ocean and the humid weather comes through, it can be quite difficult to keep my hair smooth and healthy during the summer months. To help with that dilemma this summer, I have been using Keratin Complex Infusion Therapy. This hair creme hydrates and revitalizes your hair  with a blend of keratin and emollients for a silky smooth finish. It is great to use before blow-drying and/or heat styling to smooth away roughness and provide nourishment to the hair cuticle. And even if you're not heat styling your hair this summer, it will protect against frizz-causing humidity. This product is also intended to optimize results from Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy treatments. You can use this product on damp or dry hair, but for optimal results use on damp hair and blow dry or flat iron.

Next up, Boots No.7 Beautiful Skin Energizing Mask. I think it's important to keep up with your skincare routine during the summer months, and that usually means using a face mask 1-2 times per week. We want to make sure our skin stays clear for the no-makeup beach days and especially need to give it some extra attention during those particularly hot and sweaty days - make sure to use your cleanser before bed! It can be hard to choose a face mask during those warmer days, as it may feel too hot to wear a thick mask.

Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Energizing MaskThat is why I like to use Boots No. 7 Beautiful Skin Energizing Mask. This peel off mask freshens, hydrates and revitalizes your skin for a healthy, bright looking complexion. It's also a great thin mask to use this summer - apply a thin layer to dry skin and leave to dry for 10 minutes. It looks like a thin layer of oil is sitting on your skin and it does not feel sticky or suffocating when you use it on a warmer day/evening. After 10 minutes, gently peel the mask away from your skin. It is not irritating and does not pull at your skin but comes off easily and best part, there is no residue left over from the product. Skin feels clean, bright and hydrated!

Last but not least, hair removal. Hair removal products are an important piece to maintaining smooth skin this summer, especially when you're out wearing all those dresses and bikinis! A good go to brand is for hair removal is Veet.

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Are you one of the lucky ones taking a vacation to sunnier skies and warmer weather? As I sit inside right now, there are piles upon piles of snow outside my window and the gracing temperature of...let me check....21° (feels like 7°)... Great. So as you can imagine, I'm dreaming of a vacation; one with a beach and plenty of sun. If you feel the same, you might be planning a vacation or all ready have one scheduled and are eagerly awaiting your flight. What's left to do? Pack! I don't like packing, but if it's for vacation, I'd be packed a week beforehand with the suitcase at my door ready to go. So to make sure you embrace your packing with some fabulous vacation style, I've put together a few styles for you to rock on your much needed time in the sun!

Beach Chic

For Beach Chic, think French Riviera style. Or a vacation on a fancy yacht. Your outfit ensembles should be classy and timeless, with a bit of sass. Start with a sexy black one piece, cut just right, add a wide floppy sun hat and thick sun shades for a mysterious look (and of course sun protection). A black and white striped & structured tote plus chunky, polished sandals take the outfit up a notch and will cause those envious stares! Bring a light, loose cardigan to cover up when needed. Last but not least, bold red nails add just the touch of sass you want! Guerlain Nail Lacquer Rouge D'Enfer will give you that bright hue and glossy finish (my favorite nail polish)!

Chic 2.21.14

Sand and Sleek One Piece from Modcloth

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    Cynthia Torres says #
    Awesome. Throughly enjoyed this site.
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With the warm weather finally settling in, I'm sure you're getting ready for those summer nights out. Usually, this means you'll want a new outfit, or two... I love shopping just as much as the next girl, but I can't afford to shop as much as I would like. I like to get a new dressy number every once in a while; it makes your night out a tad bit more exciting. Wearing new clothes tends to have that effect... So luckily, I've been introduced to Ami Clubwear. This site has so many options for affordable & cute clothing, that you're bound to find something you like! And you'll like the price tag too. 

There are plenty of club-worthy outfits on this site, but if the club isn't your thing, and you're just looking for a cute dress, don't shy away from this site. As I mentioned, there are so many styles, that you can find a dress for many occasions for this summer! Here are a couple dresses I tried and how you can style them this summer!

Ami Clubwear blue and white dress croppedI love this dress for nights out/summer parties! The accessory options are endless! Plus, chunky sandals heels are bound to make this a knockout outfit. Also, add a statement red necklace, and you have a stylish (not at all cheesy) fourth of July outfit!

This second dress is very pretty in pink. I would combine this with a soft pink heel (with this dress it will help elongate your legs!), and then add some edge with sharp angled earrings and a bold black clutch. Of course, a dark smoky eye will take this outfit up a notch and have you ready for trouble!

dress cropI wouldn't necessarily think I would find these two dresses on a site for "club wear" but that's one of the reasons I like AMI Club Wear! There are so many affordable styles on this site that I'm sure you'll find plenty of new options for this upcoming summer season! 

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Come summer time, I tend to do less with my hair. It gets rather frizzy, and if it's humid, my styled hair will turn back to it's frizzy state in no time. So I tend to braid it, pull it back, or put it in a bun. If you want to avoid the heat from styling, there are TONS of braid options that will suit a variety of styles: casual, elegant, free-spirited, etc. So if you're interested in trying a new braid style, but not sure where to begin or even what style to choose, I have a great book to guide you! 

Braiding HandbookThe New Braiding Handbook: 60 Modern Twists on the Classic Hairstyle by Abby Smith. If I'm not sure what to do with my hair for a day/or evening out, and I don't want to heat style it, this book is great to have around. It provides easy-to-create styles with step by step photos and instructions and there are so many styles to choose from, I have no problem finding one to suit my outfit. And you don't have to be great at braiding in order to follow it! I can do a basic braid, but more than that and my braid looks pretty messy, but these photos and instructions guide you through every step! There are definitely easier to create styles in this book, and a few more that will take a bit more time to perfect. I suggest starting with a look that is simple and work your way up from there. Even the simple braids create great looks - the completed style often looks more complicated than it actually is! For me, braids are a great way to add interest to my hair style, and keep my hair off my neck during those warmer days. Keep this book around and you won't run out of hair styles for this summer!

PHILIP B. Thermal Protection SprayIf you still want the full blow out hair style for times this summer, I also have just the right tools you need!

The first part of styling your hair with heat tools, is to always use some type of heat protection product. I like to use Philip B Oud Royal Thermal Protection Spray. This weightless spray detangles your hair, while shielding it from the damaging effects of blow dryers and heat irons. You are left with bouncy, soft and smooth hair. Use before styling to increase shine and prevent hair breakage. You can also take this spray to the beach/outdoor activities - mist for a weightless/invisible shield against the sun, chlorine and water. Hair won't get dry and brittle and the spray protects your hair color from fading! This multi-tasking protection hair spay has one more trick up it's sleeve - hair perfume! When you spray this product in your hair, the scent gradually releases over time for a lingering, seductive scent. You can now add a great scent to your hair without worrying about damaging it. I use this spray every time after I wash my hair, and even if I don't style it, my hair is always soft and shiny. 

Philip B round hair brushThe next tool to use for a smooth blow out style is a good hairbrush. Another one from Philip B is the Round Hairbrush. This brush uses gentle boar bristles that won't snag or tangle your hair. The dense bristles pick up each strand easily and polish the strands for a frizz free finish. The brush is also made from sustainable mahogany. It feels most definitely like a luxury brush that will help create a smooth, bouncy blowout.  

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The weather's warmer, you're getting more active, why not push yourself even further and really start to feel good about your activity level. It's not easy to do on your own, and there's always the "I'll do it tomorrow" excuse that prevents you from really maintaining an active lifestyle. But if you have Fitbit, today counts for today and there's no putting it off. I recently got a Fitbit and I love it! I never really knew why they had become so popular, and I sort of viewed them as a fad that would blow over and onto the next fitness device. But I think this one will be around for a while and I certainly plan on using it for a good amount of time. 

So what is Fitbit? Fitbit has a handful of advanced products that will track your activity level and your sleep. I currently have the Fitbit Flex - wireless activity tracker & sleep wristband. This slim wristband tracks your steps, distance, calories burned during the day, active minutes,  and will track the hours you sleep and your sleep quality during the night. I sync my Fitbit to my phone (just download the app and follow the steps to set up), so that I can check my progress throughout the day. I can also sign in and check my stats on Fitbit.com.Fitbit

This little wristband holds me accountable - if I don't do anything active that day, it will reflect. But if I reach my daily steps, it will provide a celebratory buzz & light up, letting me know I've reached my goals for the day. Wear it everyday and you can gain a good sense of your activity level. I work in an office setting, and am mostly at my computer during the day, so I wasn't getting a lot of steps. I knew that my activity level was low, but to see it reflected in the counts of steps and even in a graph, made me really push myself to get out for a walk or run after work to get closer to my daily goals. I knew that I should be doing some type of physical activity after work, but nothing was really pushing me to do so. Now I check my steps every day and actually want to reach my goals. I get competitive, even with myself and this little tracker. I want to do better and see my steps count up, raise my activity level and burn more calories. And the only way to increase those numbers, if by being active!

I find the Fitbit Flex to be very motivating. You are working with and against yourself. I always want to do better than the day before, and even if that doesn't happen, it pushes me to work harder for the days to come. Fitbit also awards you with daily, weekly or lifetime achievements. When you reach a new goal, you are awarded with a badge! Just another way to recognize your hard work! And if you're really competitive, you can share and compete with friends. You can compare stats and see how you rank against friends in the number of steps. 

Fitbit Flex will also track your sleep and sleep quality. Wear it throughout the night and it will track the number of times you Fit bit blueare restless and the times you are awake. It gives you a good understanding of how well/poorly you sleep, and you can make your own adjustments to sleep better. For me, I always thought I was getting a good 8 hours - which I really need to function well the next day - but my Fitbit was showing me that I usually get seven and a half hours, due to the number of times I wake up and am restless. Another great aspect: you can set silent alarms! The Fitbit will gently buzz to wake you up. I hate alarm clocks and I hate waking up, but with the silent alarm, I wasn't startled by a loud alarm, and I woke up every time I used the silent alarm feature.

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Today it finally felt like summer is actually around the corner. It was a possibility to wear a dress today, with no tights, and not freeze. That's a pretty exciting day when you live in Maine. While I was looking at my short dresses, skirts & shorts, I realized that showing off my legs, will mean keeping up with shaving more often. Even though I still shave year round, I put a little more effort into in during the summer. But lets face it, shaving is annoying. It's easy but doesn't last that long, and with razor bumps or skin irritation, it can be a bit frustrating during the warmer, skin barring months.

So with these thoughts in mind, I'm quite happy to have whish: flawless ingrown hair serum, post wax & shave serum. This little serum will solve your shaving woes and ensure you have flawless skin to show off this summer. After your shower or post hair removal, massage a small amount of this serum into your bikini area, underarms, or any other problem areas. I tend to get razor bumps on my legs, so I apply this serum after I shower and I have seen great improvement in my skin. Those little irritation bumps have diminished significantly and my skin appears overall smoother. This serum calms and soothes irritation and will address those bumps and ingrown hair for smooth, bright skin this summer. 
whish flawless post wax and shave serum Ingrown Hair Serum certified fabulous

The serum formula does not contain any alcohol or skin-drying ingredients, and is all natural & organic, so it is truly soothing and beneficial for your skin. Another great aspect: this serum contains Papaya Extract that helps weaken hair follicles and inhibits future hair growth. I truly am shaving less often after using this serum; I can go a whole week with just a little bit of hair growth appearing before I shave again. Before using this serum, I would need to shave every other day, which did not help keep my skin calm and smooth. 

whish: flawless - ingrown hair serum, post wax & shave serum is one of my essential products for the summer. If you're experiencing any frustrations with shaving (irritation, ingrown hairs, quick re-growth), I highly recommend giving flawless a try!

www.Nordstrom.com 

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I am quite the fan of DHC. The well known DHC Deep Cleansing Oil has me hooked and I always enjoy the opportunity to try more products from the brand. I recently tried the DHC Olive Essentials Set - a perfect gift set or addition to your own beauty collection. This set includes the wonderful Deep Cleansing Oil, DHC Mild Soap, DHC Mild Lotion & DHC Olive Virgin Oil. The four-step skin care set gives you the perfect tools for a cleaner, calmer, moisturized complexion through pure, organic olive oil. 

Start your skincare routine with the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - Deep Cleanse/Remove Makeup. DHC Olive Essentials SetThis oil thoroughly cleanses and removes makeup while managing to leave your skin feeling soft and moisturized at the same time. This cleanser is also fantastic at removing eye makeup; it easily takes care of my stubborn mascara and eyeliner without irritating my eyes. Using this cleanser is a little different than your typical cleanser as you apply it to your dry skin; dispense into dry hands and massage onto dry face. This will dissolve makeup and other impurities. Rinse thoroughly. You may be thinking that since this is an oil it will be difficult to rinse...quite the opposite. When the oil comes in contact with water, it breaks down and rinses easily leaving your skin soft and never oily. 

The second step in this skincare set is to Wash with the DHC Mild Soap. Wet face with lukewarm water and lather in palms, then massage face with the foam to cleanse. Rinse thoroughly. This soap lathers really well and does not feel drying. 

Third step...Tone with the DHC Mild Lotion. After washing your face and patting dry, apply this toner to skin with hands or DHC Silky Cotton. I like the texture of this toner, it's like a soft liquid that absorbs well into your skin.  

Final step, Moisturize with the DHC Olive Virgin Oil. Use this day and night as your final step in your skincare routine. You only need 1-2 drops per use, rub the drops between your palms to warm the oil, then gently press onto your face. You can also use this oil in other areas where you have dry skin (such as your neck, arms and legs). 

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I love Mother's Day. I think it's so important to show your Mom how much she means to you. Not that you shouldn't do that everyday, or whenever you see/talk to her, but it's a good day to make you take that extra time and extra effort to make your Mom feel special, valued, loved, and pampered. Make her take the time to pamper herself and not worry about anyone else on that day. Whether you're taking your mom out, or doing something special at home, you still might want to get her some useful & pampering gifts. So here are a few items that will make Mom smile:

Jill Martin Canvas BagsJill Martin Canvas Accessory Storage Bags

These fun printed storage bags are perfect for this Spring! As Mom is most likely doing some Spring cleaning and putting away winter clothes, she'll now have a fun & useful bag to store her winter shoes! I think these are great for keeping those special shoes safe in storage. They have taller bags for boots, and other bags for heels, sneakers, sandals, basically whatever shoe you need to protect! I also think these are perfect for travelling! I tend to put my shoes in plastic bags because I don't want them mixing with my clothes in my suitcase, but these bags will keep your shoes & your clothes protected while traveling, and they look much classier than a plastic bag! www.qvc.com 

Korres WIld Rose Vit CKorres: Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial

If you're looking to pamper Mom with some skincare, she's bound to love Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. We know Mom most likely doesn't have the time to treat her skin to a facial mask as much as she would like to, but she'll love the ease and benefits of this sleeping facial. With Wild Rose exract & Vitamin C, this sleeping facial address the visible signs of premature aging (caused by sun & environmental exposure). It provides antioxidant benefits, improves skin texture, evens skin tone, and reveals a smoother, brighter complexion by morning. This product makes sure Mom gets her beauty sleep! I absolutely love the rose fragrance in this cream, plus it's just the right amount of thickness for a nighttime product and is still breathable.  www.korresusa.com 

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I'm always looking for new hair care products. My hair is usually dry, rather frizzy, wavy, colored, and is usually hard to tame. This means I'm constantly on the look out for products that will address my many hair issues while repairing damage instead of causing it. 

For the month of April, Certified F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. has come across a good amount of natural products that are great additions to your skincare and hair care routines. With all that we put our hair through - straightening, curling, coloring, up-dos, numerous products for the look we want, etc. - we all know this can start to hurt our hair. But this next line has all the products you need so that you don't have to sacrifice style for healthy hair. That is the Eufora Beautifying Elixirs Vibrant Color Complex line.

The products in this line all contain Eufora's Vibrant Color Complex to protect against color fading. This color complex will also help protect against UVA & UVA rays, heat styling & environmental damage among others. This line also uses 100% Active Formulas - meaning all the ingredients have a purpose, there are no fillers for fluff ingredients. The products for the Beautifying Elixirs line do not contain: artificial aromas, colorants, sulfates, sodium chloride, parabens, phthalates, gluten, mineral oil, petrolatum, propylene glycol, or formaldehyde.

Here's a quick description of a few products that I tried & how they work for healthy, vibrantly colored hair!

Eufora Moisture Intense Shampoo & Conditioner

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Spring is all about color. The grass is finally starting to show, along with just a few flowers and that blue sky and sunshine have you feeling well, colorful. Naturally, that tends to reflect in your clothing selections for this season. I'm not one for wearing bright colors but I do tend to lean towards my softer colors in my wardrobe rather than sticking to black. 

This clothing brand that I want to introduce to you, will have you stretching your color choices and embracing the vibrant fabrics for spring! Fresh Produce Sportswear offers vibrant, comfortable, active-friendly clothing for women and children. Their clothing is primarily made in the USA and offer clothes that you feel good wearing, look good wearing, and can wear everyday. When I tried on their Cotton Cashmere Uneven Hem Crew I instantly fell in love with the fabric! It's lightweight but still super cozy and comfortable. I also feel the uneven hem adds an unexpected interest to the sweater. It is perfect to wear everyday and you can even dress it up with a skirt and jewelry. 

To show just how style and comfort can come together I've created this ensemble below:

Fresh Produce Clothing Sweater

Pairing a simple sweater with a patterned skirt is one of my favorite outfit go-tos. It's super easy and usually pretty comfortable. I love these studded flats and added some relatively simple jewelry for a complete look. And since it's Spring, you'll probably be toting your favorite jean jacket around with you everywhere you go, so why not add it to the mix! Explore around town, check out some art galleries - with this outfit, you'll be quite stylish and comfortable for your social events. 

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