Join Me At The Niche Parent Conference!

Niche ParentI love when conferences come to Orlando. It happens quite a bit because helllloooo the big Mouse lives around these parts. Yours truly is an Ambassador for the Niche Parent Conference. And wait just one second. Don’t get all huffy and puffy on me and say “But I’m not a pareeeent.” Cool. You don’t have be. In fact, many of the attendees are NOT parents. The Niche Parent Conference prides themselves on bringing together the best digital influencers for a weekend of networking, learning and good ‘ol time.

This conference will be a fantastic fit for bloggers of all genres because the content provided will be geared toward us social media junkies of all backgrounds!

“The Niche Parent Conference features a workshop-style agenda that will give digital influencers, journalists, and business owners hands-on training by top industry leaders in a peer-to-peer environment. Educational and informative continuing education workshops and sessions for attendees will cover the latest trends in blogging, social media, and entrepreneurship. The agenda will be designed to help attendees of all levels enhance their social media and marketing skills, in addition to offering entrepreneurial and business training.” (source)

Yes y’all. Good times will be had and I hope that you can make it! For more information about this very awesome conference, visit the site and to purchase your ticket, do so here!

Heading to Niche Parent and want to meet up? Let me know!

 

 

Disclosure: As Ambassador, I will receive a pass to attend the Niche Parent Conference but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. There’s an affiliate link up there so if you purchase your ticket, yours truly gets a few pennies to spend on saving up for the hotel stay during the conference. Weeee!!!

A Visit to the Salt Room Millenia

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“Seriously Brit? You’re going to a room of salt? That’s crazy. Even for you.”

My girlfriend is going to kill me for quoting her but I had to because she’s hilarious. When I told her that I was visiting a Salt Room, she couldn’t fathom what I meant. And I get it but the Salt Room Millenia is exactly what it sounds like. A room of salt. I’ve been visiting salt rooms with with Elle for months now and I was so excited when the Beauty Bloggers of Central Florida crew were invited to get a firsthand experience of the only Himalayan Salt Room in the Central Florida area.

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And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. “It’s salt! Why would I want to sit in a room of it?”

Perfect for allergy suffers, those with with eczema, colds, ear infections and asthma, salt thearpy or halotherapy has been known to work wonders. A 45 minute session is so incredibly relaxing and visitors will notice an amazing difference in how they breathe. Regular visits will produce the best results and I enjoy taking Elle because even after her first visit,  her chronically dried skin felt so much better.

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Salt covers the walls, ceiling and floor and microscopic pure salt crystals get pumped into the room. Salt lamps glow and you, you just sit there and relax in comfortable reclining chairs. It really is that simple. You can come as you are and chances are you won’t see any type of residue on your skin or clothes. Some of the girls mentioned that their hair smelled like salt, which I think makes for a nice “I just left the beach.” touch. 

Having visited salt rooms at least 5 times, I am here to tell you…they work! I only wish I could build my own salt room (which is possible!) but something tells me I need to be on the side of wealthy and be a homeowner. Until then, I’ll be visiting the Salt Room Millenia for all of my salt therapy needs.

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If you are in the Orlando area, check out the Salt Room Millenia.

 

 

Disclosure: My visit to the Salt Room Millenia was complimentary. All opinions are my own. 

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.

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?

Around Orlando: Cruisin’ With Chevy

I’ve lived in Orlando for almost 5 years and I can’t believe that I am just now discovered that this city is actually…cool. Millions of people visit O-Town every year to head to Disney World and Universal Studios but what’s left to do for the locals? I mean, YES, I’d love to visit Disney every other day but come on…it’s not even an option.

I was beyond excited to be one of the selected bloggers to head on a Cruze the City Beautiful Tour with Chevy and fellow Central Florida bloggers. Um, thrilled doesn’t even define how I was feeling.

We arrived at central location, met each other, jumped in the cars and took off. We started off at a Scenic Boat Tour, had lunch at Prato (where I had the BEST casear salad of my life), made chocolate at Farris & Foster, took a walk in the Leu Gardens park, played n beauty stuffs at Sephora and finished the evening off dining at the delicious Fogo de Chao.

Yes y’all…we were going non-stop from 9am to 8pm and I would not have had it any other way. Oh! And the best part? We got to test drive various Chevy cars. From the Sonic, to the electric Volt, Malibu and Cruze, I ended up falling in love with the Malibu. I’m a gal who loves sedans and I prefer mine to mid-sized.

Lots of love to Joscelyn of Mami of Multiples and the Chevy team for providing us with such an amazing opportunity. See Chevy’s blog post highlighting our day.

 

 

Disclosure:
While the attractions and meals were paid by Chevy, I was not paid to write this post.

March Meetup of the Beauty Bloggers of Central Florida group

Soooo, guess who hosted the March meetup of the Beauty Bloggers of Central Florida group? Meeeee! It was so epic, y’all. As much of as I love my girlfriends, sometimes talking beauty talk with them just….doesn’t work. And the same goes for blogging. But to be able to be around 20 beautiful and talented women who get the whole beauty obsession and blogging thing was just pure joy!

How crazy is it that we didn’t even think about taking a group photo until about half of the girls had already left? Ha! Autumn 2011 marked my first meetup with the beauty bloggers in Orlando. And even then, there were less than 10 of us. We had a grand time swapping polishes, chowin’ down on yummy food and networking. Months passed, a few tweets were exchanged between us gals and I said, “Let’s get the ball rolling for another meetup.”

And so we did.

I reached out to some of my favorite brands (as did some of the other ladies) to see if they were interested in providing product samples of us bloggers. Through Twitter and Facebook, I tried to rally up as many beauty bloggers that I could find – and on March 3rd, we had our meetup!

I forgot to take pictures. Yah. I was so annoyed with myself for not taking ANY pictures but between attempting to being a good hostess and rummaging through the hundreds of bottles of polish that we brought him to swap and trade, taking pics just didn’t happen. But tons of  thanks to Pamela because she took fantastic photos.

 We are already planning the next meetup and I can’t waiiiiit. If you are a beauty blogger, beauty enthusiast or makeup artist and are looking for other beauty lovers in your neck of the woods, put some feelers out there. I would have never thought we’d have a group of 20-something. Who knows? By the end of the year, we may have over 50 beauty bloggers at our next meetup.

See. Orlando is so much more than Mickey Mouse, y’all. We’ve got Premiere Orlando coming in June, The Makeup Show Orlando in November  and we’ve got a crew of some of the hottest bloggers around. Oooooh yeah.

Special thanks to our sponsors: Milani, Milani, Avon, Venomous Cosmetics, Cult Nails, tarte Cosmetics , Pure Ice, Overall Beauty, CVS Beauty and NYX Cosmetics.

As far as the fabulous ladies who were at the event – they are listed below.

-Ali of niftyBA!
-Judi of Judixo
-Stephanie of Imperfectly Painted
-Kari of OnceBitten
-Alyssa of Alyssa’s Nails
-Kimberly of Libby’s Pink Vanity
-Maria of Cult Nails
-Cat of Beauty by Beauty by Cat Blog
-Pamela of Pamela’s Closet
-Safia of Lipstick Mixtapes
-Courtney of Phyrra
-Toni of ToniizBeauty Blog
-Leandra of Nail Polish Therapy
-Rhonda of Nails Beautiqued
-Cristina of Let Them Have Polish!
-Margaret of The Glamazon’s Blog

Oh! And a quick pic of Kari’s gooooorgeous Fantasy Fire nails! Goooooorgeous.

Stay tuned for more beauty-related events in and around the Orlando area! And if you happen to be a beauty blogger in Orlando, Tampa or the surrounding areas, let me know!

Orlando Event: Fashion Quest 2012!

For a loooooong time, I didn’t think Orlando was considered “cool” when it came to beauty and fashion events. Well, scoot over Mickey because in a few years, Orlando will be known for more than just the home of Walt Disney World. If you’re in the Orlando area and looking for something fun to do this upcoming weekend, join me at Fashion Quest.

I’ll be on the scene to cover the event and hobnob with the many talented beauty and fashion folx of the greater Orlando area.

For more information, visit the event website.

Oh! And on Saturday, March 10th, a few of us beauty beauty bloggers (okay…more like 20) will be getting together for a meet-n-greet and swap. If you’re in Orlando and would like to join us, let me know at Brittany@ClumpsOfMascara.com.

See. I do have a social life off of the internet. 8)

 

Food Yum: Boston Market for lunch

Any fans of Boston Market? On days when Mama Clumps didn’t feel like cooking, Boston Market was always an option for my sister and I. After all, how many fast food joints can you find that DOESN’T serve burgers and fries? So as far as a healthier alternative, B.Market is definitely a better one.  Two of my co-workers wanted to grab some lunch and considering it’s a serious rarity that I don’t bring my own lunch, I decided to tag along.

Not a bad price for lunch, uh?

Yummers!