Tuesday, December 17, 2013

IfOnly, Extraordinary Experiences for Good

Established in the heart of San Francisco, CA IfOnly continues to prove why they are one of the best destinations, for only the best experiences. IfOnly not only works with global industry leaders, they search the planet for only the best memory breeding experiences.


And if that isn't priceless enough, IfOnly believes in seizing the moment, rather than living day-to-day. IfOnly infuses an inspiration into every experience. Every item and/or experience goes towards helping various charities and causes. And every luminary's proceeds go towards a different charity. For instance; Joseph Gordon-Levitt's proceeds go towards Stand Up 2 Cancer whereas; Miley Cyrus's proceeds go towards the Ronald McDonald House.

Individual luminaries (or individuals who inspire) range from celebrities to people like you and me. Some of them include: Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Mike Tyson, Bruno Mars, Kobe Bryant, Shakira, Fall Out Boy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Cornell, Demi Lovato, Joe Montana, Justin Bieber, Amitabh Bachchan, Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence, Brian Boitano, Dan Jansen, Salman Khan, Justin Tuck, Summer Sanders, Andrea Agassi, Ray Lewis, Jerry Rice, Stefanie Graf, Bonnie Blair, Greg Norman, Rajat Parr, and much more.

Don't miss out on this year's
Meet Demi Lovato with
VIP Jingle Ball Package which
will benefit the Ryan Seacrest
Foundation.
With experiences such as Pasta Making Class + Dinner for 2 with luminary Thomas McNaughton to a meet-n-greet with luminary Kobe Bryant to the Greenmarket Tour with luminary April Bloomfield to a VIP experience with luminary Mike Tyson to a meet-n-greet with luminary Justin Bieber to a recipe showcase with luminary Tyler Florence to a 1 hour figure skating instruction with luminary Brian Boitano to a weekend tennis getaway with luminary Andre Agassi to a private workout on the hill with luminary Jerry Rice, and more; you can make someone's life brighter with just the click of a mouse.

IfOnly also offers last minute gifts that range from personalized gifts from your favorite luminary to individual gift sets put together by your favorite luminary to signed memorabilia that is actually owned (or was once owned) by your favorite luminary, and much more.

And when you become a member, you have additional access to all of the categories that you can't see if you were lurking IfOnly.

You can contact IfOnly directly where they offer Concierge via telephone from 9 AM to 6 PM PST and email. Whether you want to inquire about an experience or even suggest one to a specific luminary, you can. For instance, if you want to hang out with luminary One Direction, you can suggest this to the staff of IfOnly.

Would I recommend IfOnly to a friend? Absolutely. Especially to those that are interested in engaging in an experience they will remember forever. And the best part is, the proceeds go directly to charity. There are simply no words to describe the experiences you will have, as they will be something you will remember and cherish for the rest of your life.

To get started right now with IfOnly, simply click here right now or click the banner below...

The IfOnly Constellation Caramel Collection - Order Now!
 
 
 
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with IfOnly. All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas at the PPG Place in Pittsburgh

The holidays are my favorite time of the year and what better way to enjoy than in the Steel City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As you are aware, I am visiting my boyfriend Joe who I have known for over 15 years. When it comes to Joe, there is never a dull moment, as he and I always have great times. And today, we had a blast going hanging out in Pittsburgh. We decided to head to the PPG Place to enjoy some holiday fun. Here are some great photos and glimpse of what the holidays are like here in Steeler country. 


The day started with here. This shining yet very stunning immaculate building is home of the Winter Garden and the Pittsburgh Ice Skating Rink provided by MassMutual. The first time I saw PPG Place, it was back in  the Fall of 1999 when I started college. 

Other photos from PPG Place today: 








Overall it was a great day. Happy Holidays! 

Photos by Sarah Afshar

Thursday, December 5, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela

It is official, activist, political leader and philanthropist Nelson Mandela has died. At 95 years of age, I would say that he lived a really great, long life. As South Africa's first black "head of state" (or president) of South Africa, he did a lot to change the internal resistance to apartheid. He was one of the first leaders in the world to create his own social movement using a nonviolent approach. He also proved that you did not need to go to war to make changes, hence why he really embraced the passive resistance concept. 

In addition to being South Africa's first black leader from 1994 to 1999, Mandela was president of the ANC from 1991 until 1997. In the early 60's (I think 1964) Mandela actually went to prison, where he would serve 27 years until his release in 1990. Having been arrested for treason for simply advocating nonviolent approaches to violence, the former attorney then left the country. Eventually Mandela was released.

Having been one of few to want to combat the poverty problem in Africa, Mandela exhibited a commitment to the value of life, liberty and love. He wanted to genuinely help people and strongly believed in free speech. Personally I didn't agree with some of his political beliefs; however, he was very true to his beliefs and never put his country in a bad place nor made a decision to jeopardize the people. 

His story is quite fascinating and if you are looking to read an interesting one about a political figure, I definitely recommend that you read about Nelson Mandela. In 1999 he officially retired from all things political, but remained a strong advocate for many years up until his death today. 

Nelson Mandela was a man with a voice, a vision and a message. A message so powerful, he will forever be the force and the face for the change of the internal resistance of apartheid in Africa. 

Rest in Peace Nelson Mandela.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Santa Claus, Indiana

Santa Claus, Indiana, America's Christmas Hometown.

Christmas Lake Village.

Holiday World.

Holiday World and Splashin' Safari parking lot entrance.

Louis J. Koch and Christmas Blvd.

Holiday Foods, the main grocery store in Santa Claus, Indiana.

Are you going to call Santa's mom?

Holiday Blvd.

The largest church in Santa Claus, Indiana.

The Santa Claus Christmas store offers more than Christmas
ornaments and decor. It even offers food.

A glimpse inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

Christmas Blvd.

Old Tyme Liquors, the Wines & Spirits state store of Santa Claus.
The Santa Claus Christmas Store located at 33 North Kringle Place in the heart of Santa Claus, Indiana. Open Monday through Friday from 9 am until 6 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 am until 8 pm.
The Santa Claus Christmas Store is fascinating and possesses so many beautiful Christmas items, that truly do put you in the spirit of the holiday. The best part is, they allow you to shop from home. With 5,000+ ornaments alone to choose from, there are so many things to love and appreciate, including their extensive personalized selections. + Free Shipping over $40 or if you purchase 4 or more personalized ornaments. Don't believe me? Just click here right now.
I've been to many holiday stores (including amazingly exciting Christmas stores) and this is one of the best Christmas stores you will visit.
Inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

If you ever decide to visit Santa Claus, Indiana, you must check out
the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

Look at all of those Santas...

Lots of Christmas trees and Christmas accessories. The
ornaments are amazing here.

You can even get your picture taken with Santa.

Frosty, is that you?
I absolutely love this sleigh, inside the Santa Claus Christmas
Store.

A look inside the Santa Claus Christmas Store.

I am struck by the Christmas trees and the color coordinating ornaments. To purchase one of these ornaments, just click here right now.





You just have to love this snowman.

I absolutely love Santa Claus, Indiana. It's an amazing place. You can travel the world and see a lot of incredible places, but there is nothing like this place. It's Christmas every single day. Whenever I get struck by the glory of being in a fairytale-like place such as Santa Claus, what I find fascinating is that the people who live here treat it as an amazing place to call home. 
The post office in Santa Claus, Indiana.


Location: Santa Claus, Indiana
Photos/Pictures by Sarah Afshar


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ipsy bag for November 2013

So, I received my November Ipsy bag yesterday which consisted of a cute faux leather gold croc bag filled with 6 fantastic beauty products. These products include:

bh Cosmetics Baked Eyeshadow in Neptune

Pixi Beauty Bronzer in Summertime

Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Lip Crayon in Hot Damn

.EM Cosmetics Waterline in Sunshine Yellow 

nailtini nail lacquer in caviar cocktail
Starlooks liner in Topaz

Only $10 a month. No more. No less. You receive products every single month, plus special incentives from companies too. It's a great deal and I highly recommend it to anyone. Especially if you love makeup and love trying new products. And it is great for traveling too. 

To join Ipsy, just click here.

Nailtini Nail Lacquer in Caviar Cocktail by Tini Beauty


Yesterday, I received Caviar Cocktail, a stunningly gunmetal silver polish by Tini Beauty with my Ipsy bag for this month. I love this polish because it's extremely pigmented, producing a color pay-off that is outstanding. 

One thing I don't like to do is coat my nails just to produce the color that I want when the color is marketed to look a certain way that I like. I don't like wasting so much product just to achieve the desired shade. 

With this polish, a little goes along way. 

If you are looking for a polish that promises, I recommend this one.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nashbar

Established in 1973 in the heart of Northeast Ohio, Nashbar continues to prove why they are the #1 destination for only the best deals in cycling. Nashbar searches the planet for only the best values and as a result, you will not find unbeatable prices anywhere else.
 
Fuji SL-1 Comp LE Road Bike.
Nashbar has an extensive selection to choose from which include bikes (BMX bikes, mountain bikes, drop bar road bikes, cyclocross bikes, full suspension bikes, single speed bikes, women's bikes, kids bikes, and more), bike frames (mountain bike frames, various road bike frames, and more), bike helmets (adult, children, etc.), bike sunglasses (single lens, multi-lens, cycling lens, etc.), bike shoes (everything from mountain biking shoes to casual biking shoes to even road biking shoes and much more), bike tires, as well as, tubes and wheels (tires, hubs, wheels, rims, you name it, ie.), bike trainers, bike tools (various tools and workstands, as well as, lubes, degreasers, transports, packs, racks, and much more), bike lights, bike pumps, bike locks, GPS, heart monitors, energy drinks, energy bars, hydration packs, personal care aids, and more.
 
Nashbar also includes various clothing and accessories for both men and women which include standard cycling clothing layers, cycling shorts, jerseys, socks, full finger gloves, various cycling headwear, and more. They also include stuff for triathlons and marathons.
 
Providing with 100% customer satisfaction, Nashbar accepts VISA, Mastercard, Discover, and Paypal only.
 
Would I recommend Nashbar? Absolutely, especially if you are looking to purchase an amazing bike for an amazing price. After searching the world wide web, I have yet to find a place like Nashbar which incorporates both quality and quantity in the same MO. The customer service is fantastic too.

To get started shopping at Nashbar, simply click here or click the banner below...
 

 
 
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with eAccountable. All opinions are my own.

Discount School Supply

Established in 1985 by Ron Elliot, the Discount School Supply provides you with over 500 pages of 5,000 essentials for children of all ages, across the globe. Located in the heart of Monterey, California, this amazing store provides you with a 110% product guarantee. In fact, if you find a product elsewhere that is cheaper, not only will Discount School Supply refund the difference they will deduct another 10% off.
 
Big Book Easel.
These essentials include arts & crafts (paper, markers, crayons, glue, and other adhesives), infant & toddler (strollers, changing tables, high chairs, and more)active play (balls, active play kits, playground, and other play spaces), dramatic play (animals, puppets, kitchen, role play, and other accessories), furniture (tables, chairs, carpets, and more), manipulatives (puzzles, building blocks, various games, and more ways to test a child's skills), cirriculum support (books, pocket charts, pock standards, and other various resources), angeles (various products involving the angeles name), and other (special needs, techology, clearance, etc.)
 
Discount School Supply also includes free publications which include information on free kid activities, iPhone and iPad apps that cater to children which involve crafts and biocolor, information about the Head Start program, Highscope, free grant database, and individual product reviews and ratings.
 
Discount School Supply accepts American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Discount School Supply also accepts Paypal and offers a credit program, which is great for small institutions such as Head Start. 


 
Colorations Marker & Crayon
Combo Pack.
Aside from the numerous savings you will receive as a result for shopping with Discount School Supply, you will also get free shipping on all orders over $79 which is automatically calculated during checkout so, you don't have to worry about adding a code. Your purchases will be delivered UPS, however; if you have a PO Box, your purchases will be shipped via USPS.
 
 Would I recommend Discount School Supply to anyone? Yes. Not only do they provide you with the lowest prices (which lets face it, everyone wants to save money) they offer some of the best customer service you will receive. Whether you are in charge of budgeting a small institution or a simple program, this is the place for you.

To get started shopping at the Discount School Supply, simply click here or click the banner below...
 

 
 
Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with eAccountable. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sephora OPI Jewelry Topcoat in Not Your Average Turquoise

 
When Sephora marketed this jewelry topcoat as being Not Your Average Turquoise they were not lying. This stunning glitter top coat truly is a force to be reckoned with, as it is extremely pigmented and stands out. The optics in this polish truly give your nails the right about opaque, which I really enjoy.
 
Although I wore this alone, it is primarily recommended as a topcoat to your favorite polish. It can also work as a nail d├ęcor. As much as love all things bling, this isn't a glitter so it is a bit chunky and tends to hang on the nails if you don't apply a topcoat. It is very crucial though to use a non-matte formula so it doesn't change the formulation and glitter of the product.
 
This jewelry topcoat and amazing Sephora addition is part of their recent collaboration with OPI and is definitely one of my favorite nail effects I have discovered. I am looking forward to trying the rest of them I purchased, as they are currently on sale at Sephora as I type this.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Violet Velvet Cake

 
As many of you know, I just had a birthday this past week and might I also add, it was great. Not only did I get to have dinner with family and friends, but I made my own cake too. I know, it's not really traditional when someone makes their own cake, however; I wanted to try something new. I decided to make a vegan violet velvet cake. It was not only colorful, but delicious too. As soon as I posted this picture on my Facebook, I received so many inquiries about how I made this cake.
 
First and foremost, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients...
 
4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (if you are on a diet, you can use Almond Flour)
 2 cups Granulated Sugar (if you are on a diet, you can use Truvia or Stevia)
 3 teaspoons Baking Soda
 2 teaspoons Salt
2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder
2 cups Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk's Chocolate Soy Milk)
 1 cup Coconut Oil
 2 tablespoons Red Food Coloring
2 tablespoons Blue Food Coloring
1 tablespoon Yellow Food Coloring
 3 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
 3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
 
For the frosting, you want to make sure you have the following ingredients...

 2 cup non-dairy, nonhydrogenated butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup non-dairy, cream cheese (I used Follow Your Heart)
 3 cups Confectioners' Sugar
 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 tablespoons Silk Very Vanilla Soy Milk (if you are allergic, just use Silk's Vanilla Almond Milk)
 Wilton Color Mist (optional)
Edible Cake Pearls (optional)
 
Let's Bake!
 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your batter by combining flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. As you continue you want to  fold in the remaining ingredients. So you want to add oil, milk, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla, and mix until thoroughly combined.
 
Once you continue, it is important to lightly oil (1) 12- inch round cake pan. Bake for about 40 minutes.
 
Let the cake cook for about 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges, to loosen the sides. Once you have accomplished this, let the cake cook for an additional 20 (this will make up the entire 40 minutes in the oven). 
 
As you can continue, let the cake set for 5 to 10 minutes before transporting it onto a plate and then, onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Set it aside.

Let's Frost!
 
I used my KitchenAid mixer to make the frosting.  It is important to combine all of the ingredients, except the confectioners' sugar (or powdered sugar), vanilla, and milk into the mixer and mix until it is smooth and begins to fluff. With the mixer on low speed, add confectioners' sugar and fluff for another few minutes. Add vanilla followed by the milk.
 
Once all ingredients are well-combined, beat on high until frosting is light and fluffy for about 5 minutes. Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more milk to achieve the consistency are you hoping to achieve.
 
Take your cake and start to apply the vegan frosting. You an pipe this because of the consistency of it. Decorate the cake however you choose. Add the edible beads on first before using the food color mist. As you continue, take your food coloring mist (I used Wilton's) and spray whatever colors on top.
 
Guess what?! You're done! Congratulations! You have just made the violet velvet cake.

 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Estee Lauder's Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Black Plum

I am always finding myself discovering new nail polishes. One of my most recent discoveries is Estee Lauder Nail Lacquer in Black Plum. It is truly amazing. A little goes a long way, but what I loved most about this particular polish is the fact that I didn't need a top coat and it lasts longer than most polishes. Plus, aside from being long-lasting it's extremely pigmented which can be hard to find in a polish these days. The color is fantastic and the color pay-off even more so. Definitely a new favorite.