That Time I Had a Spa Weekend At Disney World.

SPA

‘Scuse me for my disappearing act. I had a fantastic spa weekend at Walt Disney World. I posted about it on Instagram and I am seriously re-living every second. Disney knows how to treat a gal and I am counting down the days until I visit the Senses spa again.

Give me a few days, mkay? I’ll be around on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook but my thoughts are mush right now so forming a complete blog post may be challenging.

Ciao loves!

Food Yum: Avu Avu Restaurant Review + giveaway

[NOTE: This post is written by Esposo. He was invited to a media event at the restaurant Avu Avu. Jealous doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling looking at these pictures. By the way, he took the pictures too. Talented chap, isn't it? I'll keep him.  Carry on!-B]
Avu AVU

It’s good to be the king.

And kingly is how I felt upon entering the warm and inviting (if a tad dark) dining room at Avu-Avu. It’s not often I get greeted by a pretty hostess, given a colorful lai, and given a tasty tropical drink all within my first five minutes. It’s not quite the Hawaiian vacation I’ve been dreaming of, but that’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

Now all of this might have been because I was there as part of a group of social media allstars dubbed the #AvuAvuCrew, but I’d like to think it’s all part of the usual package. As I sat down with Droolius, Tasty Chomps, Eating Orlando and more, I couldn’t wait for the rest of my intro to the Buena Vista Palace’s new Polynesian concept.

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To be blunt, this meal was amazing. Instead of doing things in typical restaurant fashion, Avu-Avu serves their dishes family style and gives you unlimited access to the goods. (Waistline’s beware!) We started out nice and easy with edamame dip and tropical chips to snack on alongside our the previously mentioned cocktail. Then we got down to business. And by business I mean PORK.

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The Monsoon Platter may look like your typical Chinese/Hawaiian combo of potstickers and rib bites, but wait until you taste the guava chai barbecue sauce. Out of this world. No, that is not a typo. No, I’m not crazy. Yes, guava CHAI. Stop looking at me like that.

I know it sounds strange, but that sauce (which I need bottled, STAT) is only the tip of the iceberg. Each protein on the menu is paired with an innovative sauce or marinade using flavor profiles I’ve never seen before.

Expertly grilled skewers featuring Coffee Colada chicken breast, Root Beer BBQ pork, and Kalbi Marinated sirloin will have you asking for extras and needing to be wheeled out the door.

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And did I fail to mention that the Monsoon Platter comes with a trio of tasty dipping sauces? Just make sure to only use them on the chicken potstickers or I shall be forced to thrash you.

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To accompany these finely flamed feastables there was a tossed salad featuring toasted coconut and rice crackers with a carrot ginger vinaigrette as well as steaming bowls of stir fried udon noodles with lemon garlic broccoli. I know what you’re thinking, but fear not: the noodles weren’t at all greasy and the broccoli was expertly steamed so that it still had some bite to it. No limp lifeless veggies will be found here.

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That’s not to say there were no negatives at all. The Citrus Ginger shrimp was kind of disappointing after all the greatness surrounding it, and it seems as though the cooks prefer to grill the Kalbi Marinated Sirloin on the rare side. That’s just fine for a predator like myself, but if you’re one of the masses who’s afraid to let his beef “moo” as it comes to the table, make sure to let your server know your preferred doneness.

As we closed out the night, all missteps were forgiven as dessert was served. Caramelized Pineapple Coconut Milk Cake was quite the mouthful to say and to eat, but eating it was an unforeseen pleasure.

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You see, I don’t like coconut. Never have. Never will. But THIS concoction had me wishing I hadn’t been quite so enthusiastic about the guava chai rib bites. A rich, but not too rich yellow cake, laced with pineapple chunks, and bathing in a bowl of coconut milk was just what the doctor ordered and a perfect way to end the meal. Especially when I had the brilliant idea of dumping some of the milk sauce into my coffee. Yum.

At $29.95 a head and unlimited eats, I’d say that Avu Avu definitely goes into the “win” column. The food prep was top notch, the staff gracious and inviting, and the sauces were insanely good.

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The only thing I’d suggest is that they start selling that guava chai rib sauce before I’m forced to raid coroporate headquarters for the secret recipe.

 

Want to win a dinner for 2 at Avu Avu? Shoot an email to Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com with the subject: Feed Me. I’ll be giving a gift certificate away. I’ll be choosing a winner on April 28th at 8 PM EST.

Event: Meet Me at Naturals In The City!

Hey girls…hey! It’s my first speaking engagement of the year. Woot! I haven’t done a local event since last November so I am super excited to be hosting and sitting on a panel at the Naturals In The City event in Tampa, Florida.

Loving My Natural Self VIEW

Focused on natural hair, beauty, fashion and wellness, this is THE event to be at this season. Tickets are only $15 and you’ll get to check out several vendors, listen to panels regarding beauty and hair and have a great day out in the beautiful Tampa Bay area. If you think you’ll be in the Tampa area, purchase a ticket and meet me out there. I would so love to see you! For more information, visit the event website.

The Makeup Show Orlando and the awesomeness that ensued!

Ohmigoodness, The Makeup Show Orland was epic, y’all. I mean, I knew it would be a big deal but when the day actually came, I was floored. I didn’t even get to do half of what I wanted to do at this show. Which sucks. Walking big beauty shows is already a daunting task but it’s a freaking workout when you’re 7 months pregnant.

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Sometimes I forget that I’m pregnant. It sounds crazy, I know but my belly isn’t ginormous so I feel like I can do the same things I did pre-pregnancy. Um no. My poor feet got all swollen (sexy, uh?) and fatigue hit me within only a few hours of being at the show. But I did what I could picture-wise when I was there.

The show was held at The Peabody Hotel in Pointe Orlando. There were more than 60 brands in attendance and we would have seen more except Hurricane Sandy messed things up a bit. But the vendors that were there were welcomed by over 2,000 beauty professionals. But first things first. My girls Courtney of Phyrra.net and Cristina of Let Them Have Polish and I, along with Koren of EnKore Makeup and Elessa of Pursebuzz rocked our beauty blogging panel.

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I mean, rocked! The crowd was packed and the 5 did such a great job at answering questions and keeping the crowd interested. Shortly after the panel, I chit chatted with a few Clumps of Mascara lovers and then flewwwww to Elessa’s booth.

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Please check out her Hello Kitty shoes. *faints* I stocked up on her glitzy and shimmery jewelry and baubles.

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And then I made my way over to Tia Dantzler’s booth.

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Words can’t express how much I love celebrity makeup artist Tia Dantzler. I first met at a blogging conference and have been loving her ever since. Aside from being crazy talented, she is such an inspiration to makeup artists everywhere. She recently released her FIRST makeup DVD. But more about that later. :wink:

The sea of vendors…

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It’s pretty lame of me to not have many pictures of me with my beauty blogging sisters. In fact, I only have a few.

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Shortly after linking up with some of my girls, I ran into Cat getting her makeup matched at AJ Crimson’s booth. He recently launched a foundation line and the shades were people of darker hues. Holla!

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The Make Up For Ever booth is always doing something spectacular at beauty shows.

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And then I stopped by the Cult Nails booth!

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I am obviously a member of this cult so I was so excited for Maria and her super supportive husband.

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And that about wraps up my photos. Pretty pathetic, I know. I had an amazing time and I’m so glad that that the show made its way to Orlando. I’m actually thinking about going to The Makeup Show in NYC again. You know, if Baby Clumps will allow. :wink:

An experience at The Spa

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to test drive a spa service at a spa in the Orlando area. FACT: I’m a spa snob. And I have no problem admitting this. I don’t even regularly go for manicures and pedicures because I’m paranoid about if the utensils have been sterilized well enough. I’ve never liked facials (they’ve always been so painful) and when it comes to massages, I make a lot of demands and ask A LOT of questions. And why shouldn’t I? If someone is going to be feelin’ all up on your body, shouldn’t you be comfortable enough to ask them some questions. Um…yeah.

The Spa had a blogger event and invited me and some of my Beauty Bloggers of Central Florida sisters out. Like I do with everything, I checked Yelp to check out some of the spa’s reviews. I recommend doing this any time you visit a spa or salon. The reviews were average at best. I didn’t see anything that terrified me and that’s always a good sign. Price-wise, I was happy to see that The Spa’s menu was comparable to other spas in the area. Like most spas, they have a “Club” that offers discounts when you join. Club members also get discounts on products, priority parking space (a huge perk since parking is limited), free hour long service during your birth month, half-off all services, free polish changes, etc. The perks go on and on and at $49 each quarter, I find it to be a better deal than other clubs.

Inside, The Spa is a trendy little joint with sweet and professional staff. I had a tour of the place and loved how serene the Relaxation Room was. The mani/pedi section had a slew of seats and tables and the massage rooms were spacious, comfortable and relaxing. They also have an outdoor jacuzzi out on a lanai which I reckon would be perfect for a group of friends and couples.

Service-wise, I had a prenatal massage from heaven. I’m not exaggerating, y’all. My massage therapist not only asked questions but made sure that I felt comfortable each time she moved around. She asked if the pressure was okay and modified it if it wasn’t. I’ve had a full body massages before but they never tackled my hands and feet. My massage therapist did so and it was absolutely glorious. An hour flew by before I knew it and I groggily made my way to the Relaxation Room to gather my thoughts before leaving. I ended up just sitting and chit-chatting for a good 30 minutes before leaving. I felt THAT relaxed. The staff walked by and offered beverages and constantly made sure that we were okay.

I ended up tipping my massage lady handsomely because she was just THAT good. I’ll be requesting her the next time I go. And I do plan to go again. As members of the press, we were offered 2 complimentary quarters in the Half-Off Club. I plan to go at least 2-3 more times and I definitely want to tote a girlfriend and Mama Clumps for some pampering.

I can confidently say that I’d recommend The Spa to others searching for some pampering. I had a great experience. The Spa sits in the College Park area, not too far from I-4 and I find it to be a decent locals and visitors who are venturing outside of the touristy areas.

 

 

*I was invited as a member of the press to a complimentary massage. I was not paid to write this post and I am only doing so because I had a great experience. Images sent to me courtesy of The Spa.

Yummy Food from Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival

Back in the day I used to consider myself an amateur photographer. My specialties were landscapes, babies and food. First trimester sickies robbed me off that hobby but now I’m back! I’ve pulled out my cameras and now I can’t stop taking pictures. Such was the case when I went to Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival last week.  I am totally one of those annoying people who take picture before they eat. But come oooon. Just look at that waffle!

If you’re an adventurous food lover, you HAVE to visit’ Epcot’s Food & Wine festival. Several kiosks are located throughout the park that allow visitors to purchase yummy eats (and drinks) inspired by various countries. And the food is AMAZING. Oh! That waffle? It came from Belgium. It’s a Belgium Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream. I love waffles and I didn’t expect much but it was absolutely delectable.

Join me and Chevy for a Pregnancy Pick-Me-Up!

Soooo, guess who’s doing another awesome event with Chevy? I aaaaam! And I’m beyond excited about it because this event is specifically for preggo chicas like myself.

If you’ve been a Clumps of Mascara reader for awhile, you may have seen some of my Chevy posts. I’ve done a lot of Cruze-in’ with the brand. I explored Orlando with my fellow blogger friends, got a sugar rush during Valentine’s Day and  hosted a pizza crawl. Chevy knows how to have a good time so I’ll be partyin’ with them for as long as I can.

Do you know any pregnant mamas in or around the Orlando area? Tell ‘em to join me next Wednesday for a fun Chevy-sponsored event. As the flyer says, spots are limited to if you or someone you know is interested, RSVP with the quickness. Don’t hesitate to email me with any questions.

Stay tuned for more update of this event. You know I’m takin’ pictures, right? :cool:

 

 

Neiman Marcus Beauty Blogger Breakfast

The Beauty Bloggers of Central Florida do it again! We managed to get together and have a phenomenal day learnin’ and chattin’ about beauty. When we usually get together, the group, as a whole run the show. This past Saturday, Neiman Marcus in Millenia Mall here in Orlando were so gracious to host us. I know, right? How awesome is that? What we thought would have been us just glancing at pretty beauty baubles turned out to be an experience.

Don’t hate me if you get a tad bit envious looking at these pics. Say you Promise….

That picture is courtesy of my darling sister Courtney over at Phyrra. Okay so yeah – I thought we’d go in the glitzy and glamorous Neiman Marcus, check out their new beauty products and be on our merry ways. Girl no. First they treated us to breakfast complete with mimoas in shimmering glasses…

…and coffee for the gals in need of energy boosts.

Those that arrived early chit-chatted and snapped photos as we waited for the event to get started…

You can’t tell me Su’s nail jewel on her pinky isn’t the hottest thing you’ve ever seen. Hotness!!

The school bell rung and our wonderful beauty principle gave announcements. We would be split up in 4 groups and would circle the beauty department; all while getting mini presentations about several brands. YES!!! But before we departed, we were sent off with notepads…

Cute, ri?

First stop was Lancome, Kiehl’s and YSL.

Of course we all know I love me some Lancome but it was Kiehl’s that blew my mind a bit. How have I never tried any of their products? Fail, B. Fail. And YSL, of course has one of the best mascaras that I have ever tried. Every one of their products scream class. The representative of each brand schooled us on not only the history of each brand, but their newest products as well. These ladies knew their stuff!

Next we scooted on over to Giorgio Armani…

Le Meiter de Beaut…

…and a showcase of some of the newest and most popular fragrances in Neiman Marcus.

First of all, I NEED all of the lippies in Mr. Armani’s newest collection. Secondly, I know I’m not much of a fragrance wearer (not by choice…perfumes usually trigger migraines) but I was thisclose to buying Elie Saab’s newest.

Thisclose.

The bell rung and we weren’t scent (haha, get it?) to third period where we experienced a lil’ Chantecaille…

Estee Lauder…

Bobbi Brown…

…and Kate Sommerville.

Yes finally! I finally know how to say Chantecaille correctly. This brand was perhaps my favorite of all of the new ones I was introduced to because it’s cruelty-free and preservative-free. Both are hard to find among higher-end cosmetics and I respect a brand that can do this while producing superb cosmetics with pretty packaging.

Kate Sommerville is all about skincare. Fancy shmancing skincare at that…

The bell rung and we were sent to 4th period where I was introduced to Tom Ford’s fragrances…

I’ve heard of his cosmetic line (not currently sold in Neiman Marcus) but didn’t know that he had a fragrance line too. Ah-mazing!

Laura Mercier…

Don’t even get me started on the love I have for this brand. Don’t even! I practically shrieked when I rolled up on the LM counter. What can I say? I still find that foundation to be one of the best I’ve tried. Ever.

Chanel…

What an adorable collection. And can you believe that outside their polishes and mascaras, I haven’t tried anything else from Chanel? What the what?

…and we ended the school day with a little Trish McEvoy.

We were then gathered for recess where we all went to take a peek at Deborah Lippman’s newest polishes.

And because I’ve owned three and sing their praises, I took a pic of my skincare BFF.

What a fantastic way to spend a Saturday! I got to hang out with my girls AND learn a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ on the beauty level. I left Neiman Marcus with a Ice Cube smug on my face like  “It was a good day.” Indeed it was.

Shouts out to the Neiman Marcus team who allowed us to the opportunity to do something like this. Being a blogger has its perks but when department stores open their doors early to allow you to get behind the scenes on their products, well, you feel all fuzzy wuzzy inside.

See any brands you like?