Valentine's Day Must Haves

by Hampton Ivy, 1/29/2017

Valentine's Day is a little more than two weeks away.. and that means it's time to make a holiday wishlist! 
I'm a firm believer that you don't have to have a significant other to celebrate Valentine's Day. Self love is important everyday, but it's nice to give yourself a little extra on these special occasions. I put together a few different items perfect for Valentine's Day, whether you plan to stay in or go out!

I can honestly say that being cozy and snuggled up at home is one of my favorite activities. Even though Valentine's Day is on a Tuesday this year, you can cuddle up with any of these beautiful items after work or after school and relax. 

After giving yourself a nice little spa treatment at home, (which I'll talk about later in this post!), you can wrap yourself in a cozy robe, slide on comfy slippers, and curl up with a faux fur throw on the couch and turn on a movie. Pair that with a nice cup of hot cocoa or tea in a cute mug and you're set! 
When you're all ready for bed, I think it's important to have a nice pair of pajamas. I spotted these beautiful Ralph Lauren pajamas while Christmas shopping and haven't forgotten about them since.
All of these items would be fantastic gifts as well, but in my opinion the mugs, the key necklace, the S'well bottle, or the faux fur throw would be especially great. (If you're wondering if S'well bottles are actually worth it, they really are! As a commuter and someone who loves their coffee piping hot, they're a miracle.)

J. Crew Lace Dress x Michael Kors Jewel Crossbody x BCBGeneration Nude Pump x INC Champagne Bow Clutch x Mix No. 6 Red Pump x Dress the Population Body-Con Dress x INC Black Evie Clutch

Now, if you're planning to go out, these pieces would be gorgeous! This beautiful J. Crew lace dress caught my eye a few weeks ago and I just can't get over how nice it is. I love the idea of wearing it with these BCBGeneration nude heels and the INC bow clutch, but you can pair it with any of these heels or purses. I own both these shoes and they're gorgeous in person, especially for their prices. If you love the red, I personally had to go a half size up, so I'd recommend trying them on first if you can.
If you're looking for something a little sexier, this body-con dress is perfect. I love mock necks because they add a little modesty and help prevent a dress like this from being "too much". I love this dress paired with the INC black clutch and Mix No. 6 red heels, but it would look stunning with the nude heels as well.

Britney Spears Private Show Perfume x OPI Malaga Wine Polish x L'Oreal Paris Doutzen's Nude Polish x Lorac Unzipped Eyeshadow Palette x The Balm Cindy-Lou Manizer Blush/Highlighter x AERIN Fragrance Set

What would Valentine's Day be without pretty pink makeup and perfume?! My current favorite perfume, that's been my favorite since I first got it, is Private Show by Britney Spears. With notes of whipped creme coffee, dulche de leche, and luminous amber, it smells good enough to eat! (..though I would never try to of course..) But if you're looking for something more mature and less sweet, Aerin has amazing perfumes. My favorite out of this fragrance set is Amber Musk, but all three smell gorgeous. 

For makeup, the Unzipped palette by Lorac is my absolutely favorite and most used eyeshadow palette. The colors have pink-y tones to them, which makes them especially perfect for Valentine's Day. Paired with this soft pink blush by The Balm that gives your cheeks a subtle glow, you can create a really gorgeous look. And of course, you can finish it off with pink or red nail polish, my personal favorites being Doutzen's Nude by L'Oreal and Malaga Wine by OPI.

Last but certainly not least, the lip products! They completely deserve their own little part. 
First off, before putting on any lip products, your lips deserve a little treatment as well. This lip scrub by Sara Happ looks amazing, but you can also easily make your own with sugar and coconut oil or sugar and honey. Rinse off and put on your favorite lip balm (mine is the Aquaphor Lip Repair).
Then you can move on to the beautiful colors! I love a beautiful red lip, and nothing tops the Cruella lip pencil by NARS. There is however a drugstore liquid lipstick that takes close second, and that's NYX's Liquid Suede Lipstick in Kitten Heels (the name is also adorable). If you want a more sheer option that's glossy, the NYX Butter Gloss in Red Velvet is wonderful.
Maybe you're not a fan of red and would prefer pink or nude; my two favorites to wear on their own or together are Maybelline's Daringly Nude lipstick and Buxom's lip polish "Jill".

DIY Spa Treatments

For Valentine's Day and my at-home spa days, I like to use the following recipes to treat myself and my skin to some much needed RNR and love.

Dead Sea Salt Bath
The start to any spa day is a relaxing bath. I usually take a quick shower before so I'm all clean, then start the bath. As the water is filling up, I pour in about 1/3 cup dead sea salt. The brand I use currently is DEEP From The Dead Sea, and I use their Soothing Oatmeal bath salts, but any Epsom or dead sea salts will work.

Turn on some Dean Martin, pour yourself a glass of wine, and relax!
If there are any hair masks or face masks that you love, put those on as well!

Cucumber Eye Mask
This one isn't new but it's still great! All you have to do it cut up a cucumber into two thin slices, refrigerate them so they're nice and cool, and place them over your eyes! 

Coconut Latte Scrub
My current favorite at-home scrub is perfect for winter. It'll exfoliate your skin while moisturizing it as well, which is extremely important this time of year. 

All you need is:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp brewed coffee

Mix it all together in any container and you're set! I usually end up getting two to three uses out of this recipe. I store it in the fridge and when I'm ready to use it again I let it sit out for a little so the coconut oil softens again. I like to exfoliate after a bath before I rinse off with a second very quick shower, but you can use this during a regular shower as well. Keep a towel handy to wipe the bottom of the shower or tub, or just be careful, because the coconut oil can make things slippery.

And that's my favorite routine for my at-home spa days! I haven't yet found a face or hair mask recipe that I love, but this body scrub and eye mask are amazing.
I hope you all enjoyed this post and have a wonderful Valentine's Day this year!

If you try these DIY treatments, let me know how you like them!

Ivy at the Library

by Hampton Ivy, 1/23/2017

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." - Jorge Luis Borges
The Cold Spring Harbor Library sure feels like paradise! Any place with books is paradise to me, but this library takes it a step further with its beauty. Read by the fire or read on the balcony with a view of the water; you're surrounded by comfort here. 

I've been meaning to visit the Cold Spring Harbor library for a little while now, and I'm so glad I did! Even though it's a little far from where I live, I'll definitely be stopping by more often. A library with a fireplace and a view of the water is pretty hard to turn down! 

The environment also matched perfectly with this vintage Polo Ralph Lauren sweater I bought recently at a local consignment shop. It's hand knit 100% wool and kept me so warm I didn't even need to put on my Barbour jacket. I plan on doing a blog post soon about thrift store and consignment shopping, including some of my favorite finds and tips, if you friends are interested! 

I hope you all enjoyed this post!
And if you're ever in the Cold Spring Harbor area I definitely recommend stopping by this beautiful library! Have a wonderful week!

Sweater: Ralph Lauren (vintage) // Jacket: Barbour // Jeans: Flying Monkey // Flats: New Look // Purse: Miztique // Earrings: heirloom // Rings: heirloom (ruby), Old Navy (rhinestone) // Bracelet: Hampton Ivy

A promising organic nail polish and a brand new drugstore lip product! 
Today I'll be sharing my review on Karma Hues Nail Polish in the shade 469 Mountain High and the L'Oreal Paris Infallible Lip Paints in the shade 324 DIY Red.

Karma Hues Mountain High Review 
Price: $9.99

"Discover Karma Organic's award winning nail care products. They are free of toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalate), camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, and parabens and are safe for pregnant women, kids, cancer patients and allergy sufferers. Chip resistant, durable, and with no harsh odors, they are available in glossy, matte and glow-in-the-dark shades. The non-yellowing formula is cruelty-free (not tested on animals). Packaging is 100% recyclable." -

Back in October, during my New England vacation, I was shopping in Old Mystic Village when I stumbled upon a nail polish display at one of the stores. The display was right next to the cashier, who then started to tell me and my mom about the nail polish brand. She talked about how it is free of all the harmful chemicals usually found in nail polish and how it lasts chip-free for 12 days. Yes, she said 12 days. Of course, I was sold. I settled for just one, since I already have so many nail polishes, and chose the gorgeous dusty rose/mauve shade called Mountain High. 

I went without a base coat and top coat to test how the polish did completely on its own.
The formula is thin, but opaque- not sheer or streaky. You could get away with one coat, but I prefer two coats. It took about 4 minutes to really dry, and in my opinion that's pretty fast. After it dried it had a decent amount of shine.

The first day was a hit, so far I loved the polish.
The second day was a little disappointing. Even though the polish seemed dry, I woke up with sheet imprints on my nails. I also noticed the polish shrank, which happens with some polishes, mostly top coats, exposing the tips of my nails. 
The polish started chipping more and more after the third day. After 9 days I finally moved on and took the polish off.

Final opinion..
To start with the obvious- the polish did not last chip-free for 12 days. Karma Hues hasn't made any claims it would last this long, so it's the claim of the cashier that I have to disagree with. 
The polish went on nicely, but had its downfalls afterward. I'll definitely continue using it anyway, especially since it's a "healthier" polish, but probably with a base coat and top coat next time. 

L'Oreal Paris Infallible Paints DIY Red Review
Price: $9.99

"High color impact lip paint. Saturated with pigments. Designer applicator. Lacquer up lips for a bold color statement with L'Oreal Paris Infallible Paints/Lip. In one stroke, the designer applicator precisely diffuses vibrant, full-coverage color to lips for comfortable wear. Available in 14 high-impact liquid lipstick colors, from nude to bold." -

At 3pm I applied the L'Oreal lip paint. 
First, I outlined my lips with my ColourPop Lippie Pencil in Poison. Then I filled in my lips with the lip paint, which was extremely easy. The doe foot applicator is shaped nicely where it holds a lot of product and also makes tracing your lips a breeze, so using a lip pencil before isn't actually necessary. The lip paint is beautifully pigmented and only one application is necessary, just like L'Oreal claims. 

This lip paint is very glossy and does not dry down, meaning it is not transfer proof. 
Something worth mentioning is that if you're drinking anything, the lip product will transfer to the cup rim and then to whatever it touches. So if you take a sip and then another, it can lead to smudging on the corners of your mouth if you're not careful.
This lippie also bleeds a little, which can be fixed with transparent lip liner or concealer, but might be bothersome for people with more prominent lines around their lips. 

At 7pm, after 4 hours of wear and drinking water, the lip paint was still on my lips, pigmented and even. There was a little smudging and my lips felt a tiny bit dry, but it wasn't anything too bad.
At 8:30pm I ate a slice of buffalo chicken pizza (sorry New Years resolution..) and the lippie of course smudged and wore off more, but left a stain behind. I took the last photo at 9pm and finally took the lippie off.

Final opinion..
I'd consider this a bit of a high maintenance lip product, since it can easily smudge and transfer, but I still really like it. It's opaque and creamy, the color is gorgeous, and, even though it doesn't claim to be long lasting, it lasted a good amount of time. 

I hope you've enjoyed my reviews and found them helpful!
Have a great week everyone!

Would you buy either of these products?
Or if you already have one, or both of them, what're your opinions?
I'd love to hear in the comments!

New Year, New Goals! + Book of the Month

by Hampton Ivy, 1/10/2017

A new year means a fresh start! Time to sit down, reflect, and write down all of the goals we want to accomplish this year. I thought it would fun to share with you all my own New Year resolutions and you can comment below what yours are as well; maybe we'll have some in common!

Read More..
I've briefly mentioned it in a past blog post, but I love books. My shelves are jam-packed with them, and I'm a little ashamed to say I probably haven't read about 95% of my collection. So, it was a given that one of my goals this year had to be to read more books. My specific goal is to read at least two a month. Every day I now set aside a half an hour to an hour just to relax and read. 

I also plan on sharing which books I'm reading on my blog now! (Call it a "Hampton Ivy" or "Melanie's Book Club".. Or we can just call it "Books of the Month").. I love mostly fiction and young adult books, but I am more than open to any suggestions if you have them! Though my shelves are already packed, I always manage to find room for more.
Currently reading: Big Little Lies

Use a Planner..
I hate to admit it, but I'm guilty of buying planners and never using them.. My goal for this new year is to finally keep up with my planner, rather than just leave it to look pretty on my desk. The planner I have now is from Target by Sugar Paper.

Work Out & Eat Healthy..
Yes, the resolution probably every single one of us has made for this year, and every year that's passed! I want to start eating a healthy diet and working out again. I'm guilty of skipping meals and then going for quick, not very healthy meals when I do eat. So, my goal is start cooking and being more involved with the food I eat. I also want to start working out again, and I want to start doing yoga as well. (If you have any good yoga recommendations or tips, I'm all ears!)

I'm usually on and off with eating healthy and working out; where for months I'll be dedicated to both and love it, then I'll get terribly busy or occupied with something and go back to old habits. Getting back to healthy habits should be easy though, I just have to jump right in and do it!

& some more....

Learn Italian..
I've taken Italian twice in college and tried to learn it on my own before too, and then I gave up. The problem is, I, and I'm sure so many others learning a new language, want to know it immediately. It's a daunting task. But now I plan on studying for an hour a day and however long it takes to learn, I'll be O.K. with that. Currently I'm using the Duolingo app and listening to Collins Italian with Paul Noble on Audible. If any of you have studied and truly learned a new language, I'd love to hear any tips you have!

Blog More..
Yes! I want to blog more this year! I love blogging, and I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't. What happens is that I get caught up with everything else and forget to fit in the time to blog. This year I'm making sure to schedule things out properly and accomplish everything I want to do, (with the help of my planner of course). My goal is have at least one new post a week and incorporate more lifestyle and beauty related posts, as well as my usual style ones.

& Those are my goals!
2017 is going to be an amazing year.
I'm so excited to see what new adventures and opportunities it will bring!

What're your New Years resolutions?!