My Review: Madeleine's Daughter

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Madeleine’s Daughter, a privately-owned wedding dress shop in Portsmouth, NH offering the largest selection of wedding dresses in New England (about 600 to be exact) from top designers around the world. They have even won Wedding Wire’s 2017 Couples’ Choice Award and was the 2017 pick in The Knot for “Best of Weddings”.

 A little background before I share my experience…

Madeleine’s Daughter first opened in 1975 with a small selection of wedding dresses. The original owner had a passion to help brides feel beautiful on their wedding day and genuinely cared about her customers. Her passion for making brides happy was matched when she hired Elizabeth Dirom as a stylist in 1995, who is now the current owner. Elizabeth has grown Madeleine’s Daughter into the award-winning salon it is today due to her continued mission to ensure every bride has a personal and enjoyable experience that is unlike anywhere else and exceeds all expectations. Recently, Madeleine’s Daughter underwent a full salon renovation and I have to say it is beautiful!


Over the last few years, I have been to numerous bridal salons accompanying both family & friends to shop for the dress of their dreams and I have to say, Madeleine’s Daughter is a true gem. The staff is extremely welcoming, and makes you feel special from the moment you walk in. My stylist, Kristin, came over to greet me and bring me over to my own personal “bridal suite” where you can have up to 3 guests accompany you. I’m sure there are plenty of brides out there (including me) that would feel uncomfortable/awkward trying on dresses in front of the entire store, so I love that each bride has a private space of her own. After showing me to my suite, Kristin offered me a glass of champagne, undergarments and a robe to change in to. Prior to coming into the salon, Kristin emailed me asking that I share my wedding Pinterest board, venue, date, budget and more so she could get a sense of what to pull before I stepped foot in the salon. While changing into my robe, Kristin went into the back to select a few dresses to start with. What I found interesting was that the salon does not display their wedding dresses in the salon, truly relying on the stylist to do their work. While some brides may want to browse through the dresses themselves, I personally would feel extremely overwhelmed – another plus!


One of the first dresses Kristin had me try on I immediately fell in love with. It wasn’t exactly something I would have chosen if I saw it hanging on the rack, (another plus to having your stylist pull dresses for you). While trying on each dress, Kristin would explain the style and cut of the dress, who designed it, where they were from, the collection it was a part of etc. Funny enough, most of the dresses I loved were designed by Hayley Paige so when my time comes I’ll know where to start!


Once I found the dress, Kristin brought me out into the salon so I could try the dress on with a veil, jewelry & bouquet. Once the look was complete, I truly felt like a bride!


In addition to traditional appointments, Madeleine’s Daughter offers “the salon is yours” appointments, creating a luxurious, private experience outside of normal business hours. The salon is dedicated to working with only the best designers in the industry, and carefully curate their inventory to accommodate every type of bride, venue, and budget. You'll feel like you've shopped at tons of stores without actually having to!

Madeleine’s Daughter also carries bridesmaid dresses, mother dresses, and suite/tux rentals for both the groom and bridal party. All brides who purchase their wedding dress at Madeleine’s Daughter will receive 10% off the above items.

Madeleine’s Daughter is located at 775 Lafayette Road in Portsmouth NH. To schedule your appointment, click here. You can also follow them on Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest.

This post is sponsored by Madeleine’s Daughter.

Fall 2018/2019 Must-Haves Under $150


 FREE PEOPLE Softly Structured Knit Tunic $148 (comes in 5 colors)

FREE PEOPLE Softly Structured Knit Tunic $148 (comes in 5 colors)

 TOPSHOP Long Open Front Cardi $75 (comes in 5 colors)

TOPSHOP Long Open Front Cardi $75 (comes in 5 colors)

 Madewell Eyelet Ruffle Mock Neck Top $92 (comes in black)

Madewell Eyelet Ruffle Mock Neck Top $92 (comes in black)

 TOPSHOP Sam Double Breasted Coat $95

TOPSHOP Sam Double Breasted Coat $95

 Madewell Texture & Thread Wrap Top $49

Madewell Texture & Thread Wrap Top $49

 J.Crew Denim sherpa swing jacket $148

J.Crew Denim sherpa swing jacket $148

 J.Crew Factory Linen pom-pom pant $59

J.Crew Factory Linen pom-pom pant $59

 J.Crew Belted Sweater $36

J.Crew Belted Sweater $36

 J.Crew Ruffle-sleeve pullover sweater $49

J.Crew Ruffle-sleeve pullover sweater $49

 J.Crew Belted wrap coat $148

J.Crew Belted wrap coat $148

 J. Crew Juliette collarless sweater-blazer $148

J. Crew Juliette collarless sweater-blazer $148

 J.Crew Sophie open-front sweater blazer $138

J.Crew Sophie open-front sweater blazer $138

 J.Crew Everyday Chambray Shirt $78

J.Crew Everyday Chambray Shirt $78



 J.Crew Turtleneck sweater tank top $49.50

J.Crew Turtleneck sweater tank top $49.50

 J.Crew Perfect rain jacket $120

J.Crew Perfect rain jacket $120


 TOPSHOP Seline Faux Leather Crossbody Bag $48

TOPSHOP Seline Faux Leather Crossbody Bag $48

 TOPSHOP Panther Crossbody Bag $48

TOPSHOP Panther Crossbody Bag $48

 TOPSHOP Sallie Tortoiseshell Handle Tote $48

TOPSHOP Sallie Tortoiseshell Handle Tote $48

 Urban Originals Crazy Diamond Vegan Leather Tote $88 (comes in 3 colors)

Urban Originals Crazy Diamond Vegan Leather Tote $88 (comes in 3 colors)

 ECHO Maxi Tassel Muffler $59 (Comes in 7 colors)

ECHO Maxi Tassel Muffler $59 (Comes in 7 colors)

 TOPSHOP Supersoft Fringe Scarf $26

TOPSHOP Supersoft Fringe Scarf $26


 TOPSHOP Kane Woven Mule $85 (comes in 2 colors)

TOPSHOP Kane Woven Mule $85 (comes in 2 colors)

 STEVE MADDEN Lancaster Bootie $99

STEVE MADDEN Lancaster Bootie $99

 CHINESE LAUNDRY Daria Bootie $79

CHINESE LAUNDRY Daria Bootie $79

 STEVE MADDEN Claire Bootie $99

STEVE MADDEN Claire Bootie $99

 J.Crew Suede penny loafers $69

J.Crew Suede penny loafers $69

 J.Crew Anya suede block heels $89

J.Crew Anya suede block heels $89

 J.Crew Suede pointed toe pumps $89

J.Crew Suede pointed toe pumps $89

 J. Crew Leather Chelsea Boots $125.00

J. Crew Leather Chelsea Boots $125.00

 J.Crew Pointed-toe slingback flats in suede $128

J.Crew Pointed-toe slingback flats in suede $128

 J.Crew Pointed-toe slides in suede $128

J.Crew Pointed-toe slides in suede $128





Tips for Natural Stress Management with RESCUE

A lot of people don't know this, but almost three years ago I was in a bad car accident on my way back to Boston after visiting my family for Thanksgiving. I had never been in a serious accident like this, and for me, it was very traumatizing. Immediately following the accident, my body was overcome with adrenaline and I felt no physical or emotional pain. I was taken by the tow truck to their lot where my roommate at the time picked me up and brought me home. Still extremely shaken up, I went straight for my bed, laid down, tried to relax and went to sleep. All night I tossed and turned replaying the accident over and over again in my head. The next day when I woke up, I felt as though I was hit by a bus. Everything hurt, and the vision of my car accident wouldn’t stop replaying.

Over the next few months I started feeling extremely anxious. At first, I wasn’t sure what the feelings were, and tried to play them off. Immediately after the accident I couldn't even get into a car never mind drive myself anywhere. I was anxious about getting into elevators, taking the T, and so on. About a year later, while waiting for the bus (still was not driving myself) to go home for Thanksgiving, I had a full-blown panic attack. At first, I had no idea what was happening. It felt as though my body was completely shutting down. I started to lose my vision, had zero control over my body, not to mention I was both sweating and shaking profusely. I had to have someone watch my things and found the nearest chair to sit down as I thought I was going to faint. Eventually, I made it onto the bus and immediately ran to the bathroom where I threw up. 

From that moment on, I was unable to shake the anxiety. Even being home surrounded by the best family in the world. Fast forward to the end of the weekend – I was not in a good place. I was extremely anxious ALL THE TIME, which caused me to dive into a severe state of depression. I tried my hardest to shake the feeling and tell myself it was going to be okay. After a day or two of being back in Boston I knew I needed help. One evening around 8 or 9 pm, I had my boyfriend drive me back to CT so I can see my doctor and be with my family. After a day or two nothing had changed. I became extremely depressed, wasn’t eating, lost a ton of weight, and was even suicidal. At the time, I felt as though my life was over; like I was going to be stuck in this anxiety-stricken way of life forever, and I knew that was not how I wanted to live. As I’m sure you can imagine, this entire year of my life was extremely stressful. I felt defeated.

Later that week, my parents convinced me to see my doctor who prescribed me anti-anxiety medication. At first, there was no way I was going to take the meds. I was afraid of how my body would react. After a pep talk from my amazing boyfriend and family, I took a leap of faith and started the medication. It was around 3 weeks from that moment that I started to feel more like myself before the accident. During that time, I experienced the most stressful moments of my life thus far. I had to explain to work what was going on, and "WFH" almost every day. In addition, I was taking Xanax 2-3 times a day which I hated. I was constantly tired, didn’t want to leave the house or hang out with friends – I even stopped blogging. In addition, I was extremely scared that someone I knew was going to pass away in a car accident. I would cry if my mom would leave to go to the grocery store, or my boyfriend would go down the street to get gas. It was not a way to live. I started going to therapy weekly to help with the PTSD and daily struggles I was facing due to my anxiety which helped.

Working alongside my therapist I learned there are other ways besides medication to help with stress, anxiety and depression. She convinced me to try yoga, doing more walking, making more plans to hang out with friends to keep myself busy, etc. While in the process of bettering myself, I was contacted by a company, RESCUE, that has a line of products aimed to help people deal with stress. The company was developed by a doctor more than 80 years ago and is the leader in over-the-counter stress relief products. RESCUE provides natural relief for everyday stress, helping you to stay calm and in control. Each product includes one dose of their famous 5-Bach® flower blend that are safe, gentle, and effective for people of all ages, including children. It is also widely recommended by veterinarians for emotional and behavioral problems in pets.



 RESCUE SLEEP (my favorite)

RESCUE SLEEP (my favorite)









I want to make it very clear that I am not using any of these products as a replacement for my medication, but as another tool to be my best self. What I learned from RESCUE is that stress can intertwine with your anxiety/depression. I know if I was stressed at work, or about what was going on with my accident, my anxiety only became worse. Everybody experiences stress in different ways. It is controlled by our nervous system which when faced with danger goes into "flight" or "fight" mode. When this happens, the following can occur: heart races, blood vessels become narrower, we become more mentally alert, some people get headaches, some people's mental performance is severely impacted and so on. If you read my post before, you will see some of these symptoms are the same to when I had my first panic attack. After reading RESCUE’s site, what I found most important is that stress can be managed. 

In regards to using the above products, you can ingest four drops, two sprays, a pastille or a melt orally at least four times a day, more frequently if necessary, depending on the acuteness of the situation. RESCUE drops can also be added to a beverage for an ongoing administration of the remedy. In addition, RESCUE products can be blended with other Bach Flower Remedies.

Personally, I love RESCUE's sleep aid and sugar-free pastilles (shown above). Of course, I use the sleep-aid a bit before I go to bed to put me in a relaxed state. The pastilles are great for at work when you're feeling a few steps behind and the need to stop and compress for a moment is not possible. They make me feel calm, relaxed, and stress-free! 

All RESCUE products are available on Amazon and you can find a full list of their products on their site You can also follow RESCUE on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment or email me at: 


Pure Glow Organic Sunless Tanning

Summer is finally here, and every where you look, people are working on their tans. As I became older, I've started to care more and more about my skin. When I was in my teen's/early twenties, I had monthly tanning packages and laid out any chance I could with ZERO sunscreen. Since I was a little girl my mom would always tell  "pale is pretty" but I always thought I looked better with a tan. At 27, I know my mom was right. 

In my early-to-mid-twenties, I started to get spray tans when I had an event, going away for the weekend, etc. For me, something always went wrong. I either came out too dark, uneven, or splotchy. I would use lemon juice (and other homemade remedies I found online) to get it off but it never worked. I then learned that there are people that spray you instead of using a machine and I knew I had to try it. Enter Pure Glow Tanning - my go to sunless tan salon (did I mention it's ORGANIC!?). 


Before finding Pure Glow, I never thought about how the spray could effect my skin/ body.  According to their website, 90% of what goes on our skin is absorbed into our bloodstream, SO getting a spray tan with organic ingredients truly matters. (For ingredients click here).  Pure Glow's tan is customized to flatter every body shape, create definition and mirror the way the sun would hit you throughout the day, so that your tan always looks genuine. Rather than trusting them to mix from hundreds of different tones, your skin does the work for them. Their solution reacts directly with the amino acids and melanin in the top layer of your skin so that your tan always looks natural.

My experience was beyond amazing. First of all, they allow you to bring your dogs in, which was great for me since I typically bring my dog to work. The lovely staff occupied my pup while I was getting sprayed, and even offered her organic treats! The entire process from start to finish is fast and easy, and the staff is great at giving direction. Once you are finished and dried, the team comes back in to do a final check and make sure your tan is even. When finished, my skin looked like I spent a week at the beach! Scroll down for a pic. 


Pure Glow Tanning is located at 176 Newbury Street. Appointments can be made by phone (617-267-4455) or online by clicking here. Pure Glow offers full body, partial body or face only. More info and pricing available here.  Don't believe they are as good as I think? Pure Glow has won a Best of Beauty Award (2017) by Allure, Best Spray Tan (2016/2017) by Boston Magazine, Best Sunless Tan (2016) by The Improper Bostonian, and Best Spray Tan (2016) by Boston Weddings. 

American Eagle Sale
















































FashionMaria Albini
Rompers Galore

Does anyone love rompers as much as I do? I love how easy they are to throw on, and especially love that you only have to worry about wearing one piece. Picking out a top and pants, can sometimes be nerve wracking, not to mention my room and closet are usually a mess after from trying so many things on (anyone else???). 

Sharing one of my favorite rompers for summer, recently sent to me from Vineyard Vines. It's super light weight, easy to wear, and I love the tassel detail on the waist. Perfect for a day event, or fun night out with friends. See below for a few more of my favs all UNDER $100! 


FashionMaria Albini
Spring/Summer Must-Haves

Happy Spring babes! I am so glad the weather is finally cooperating. Now lets just hope it stays! This week I stopped into one of my favorite Boston boutiques to update my spring wardrobe, ouimillie, located on Charles Street in Beacon Hill. In case you haven't been in (what are you waiting for???), ouimillie carries apparel, jewelry, accessories and even home items all one-of-a-kind. Most pieces come from Europe, however they do carry products from local Boston designers which I love. ouimillie is a tad pricey (you get what you pay for peeps!), so I have shared a look for less below. I have also pulled together my favorite must-have items of the moment for the spring/summer months all under $100. Happy shopping! 




FashionMaria Albini
Wedding Dresses: The Guest

Hit the dance floor (and of course the open bar)
wearing this season's hottest wedding-appropriate dresses and my favs! 





Tyler Off The Shoulder Suba Crepe Dress





Yvonne Dream Crepe One-Shoulder Dress





ASTR the Label Lace Midi Dress

Sweet, playful and party-ready, this lace midi-length dress has slender straps and an airy silhouette that's perfect for twirling in the sun. Comes in 9 colors.





Bardot Gemma Halter Sheath Dress

This leafy lace cocktail dress conceals and reveals with caged ladder trim, a strappy open back and a sheer illusion hem that showcases intricate detailing. Comes in 5 colors.




Eliza J. Crochet Overlay Dress

A crocheted overlay with the delicate look of Battenberg lace adds breezy romance to a short-sleeve dress nipped in at the waist for a flattering fit. Comes in 4 colors. 





Charles Henry Off The Shoulder Dress

This vivid dress has a trendy off-the-shoulder neckline styled with a flirty ruffle that enhances the crisp, fluttery silhouette. Comes in 6 colors. 




Eliza J Glitter Halter Neck Sheath Dress

This sparkly sheath is topped with a crossover halter neck that evokes understated elegance. Comes in black & navy. 





BB Dakota Jayce Lace Sheath Dress

Lace brings timeless romance and femininity to a fitted sheath dress topped with an illusion neckline and tipped with eyelash fringe. Comes in 3 colors.







Adelyn Rae Asymmetrical Crepe Fit & Flare Dress

A cascading overlay deepens the pretty impact of this stretch-woven dress featuring a flattering deep V-neckline. Also comes in navy.





Eliza J. Lace Sheath Dress

Clean and simple in form but lavish in lace, this slim sheath is just the dress for afternoon parties and other special occasions.

FashionMaria Albini
Gift Guide: Father's Day






Herschel Supply 'Novel' Duffle Bag

Double carrying handles define a classic duffel designed with an exterior zip shoe compartment to protect interior contents from dirt and grime.









Burberry Manston Check Silk Tie

Bold checks touch up a handsome Italian tie cut from pure silk. Comes in three colors. 



The Art of Shaving Sandalwood Mid Size Kit

The mid-size kit offers all of your perfect shave elements in a smaller size, perfect for gifting or travel.







Cathy's Concepts Monogram 6-Bottle Beer Cooler

Transport a six-pack with ease in an insulated, monogrammed canvas cooler that's a must-have for picnics, tailgating and more.









Cathy's Concepts Monogram Spirits Decanter

A classic decanter topped with a square stopper makes a handsome addition to any bar set.




Cathy's Concepts Monogram Bifold Wallet

A metallic monogram adds understated refinement to a smooth leather wallet featuring a built-in stainless-steel multi-function tool.





Cathy's Concepts Monogram BBQ Grill Tools

A collection of professional-grade grill utensils in a monogrammed
case makes a perfect gift for the serious grill master.






Cathy's Concepts Monogram Golf Set

Head to the course in style with golf-shoe bag embroidered
with your initial and an absorbent, terry-cloth towel.








Cathy's Concepts Personalized Cooler Chair

Take your tailgating to the next level with an all-in-one cooler chair featuring plenty of storage compartments and a custom varsity-style monogram.






Cathy's Concepts Monogram Apron

A single-initial monogram adds a personalized touch to a utilitarian apron fashioned from water-resistant waxed canvas.

Gift Guide: Mother's Day







Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Robe

Perfect for cozy evenings at home, this cushy robe is made from CozyChic, a machine-washable microfiber that won't ever shrink or pill. Comes in 12 colors. 





Herbivore Botanicals Coco Rose Luxe Hydration Trio

A limited-edition trio of luxurious rose and coconut
products to nourish and hydrate skin.








Longchamp 'Large Le Pliage' Tote

A customer-favorite, water-resistant nylon tote is offered in a range of colors, each trimmed with embossed leather for classic contrast. Comes in 11 colors. 








PANACEA Crystal Circle Double Chain Necklace

Stunning hoop pendants—half-filled in sparkling beads—are suspended from the double strands of this delicate golden chain necklace. Also comes in white. 








VIKTOR&ROLF Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum Spray

What it is: Viktor & Rolf’s acclaimed first feminine fragrance, Flowerbomb is a floral explosion that makes everything more positive.



What Moms Are Made Of

It's not one quality or single event that makes her the mom that she is. From her comfort and care to her hugs and strength, Mom is made of so many wonderful things. This sweet and elegant book celebrates Mom, giving thanks for the beauty she shares just by being who she is. Features a classic design with a series of witty and heartfelt sentiments based on a lyrical rhyming scheme that echoes the popular children's nursery poem for a sweetly nostalgic feel. 



Mom Boss Desk Sign

Show your mom who the boss is with this wooden "Mom Boss" desk sign with gold accents. A fun and perfect gift for Mother's Day or any day! Pair with one of the Paper Source design paper weights for a complete desk set gift.









SERENE HOUSE Cool Mist Cosmos Scentilizer Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser

A beautifully designed electric aromatherapy diffuser offers a new and sophisticated way to fill your living space with the scents you love.










Cathy's Concepts Monogram Stripe Canvas Tote

A monogrammed canvas tote with nautical-inspired stripes makes for a chic summer carryall, especially when you're water-bound.






Topshop Bali Pom Straw Tote Bag

Playful poms swish at the sides of this vacation-ready tote that's perfectly charming, even if you're staying local.








Skin Gym Black Obsidian Facial Roller

A face roller used to enrich your morning and evening beauty ritual.






Fresh Hydration in Bloom Duo

A pair of rose products for hydrated,
petal-soft skin.

Can Acne Scars Go Away? Banish Acne Scars Review

Hey guys! If you've been following the blog/my social handles recently, you will see that I'm super into skin care, which is why I was very excited to try Banish. For those of you who have never heard of the comapny, here is a little back story.

The founder, Daisy Jing, was always insecure about her skin. Ever since Daisy was in 3rd grade, she dealt with terrible skin and had no idea why. She tried product after product after product and nothing worked. She saw numerous dermatologists who would all go through the same checklist and ask the same questions but never found a solution. Her confidence plummeted and she had little social life, so she immersed herself in school. Daisy's dream career was to be a dermatologist so she could help others find a solution for something she had longed to find herself. When she started college, she developed cystic like acne that created very deep pustules that were very painful to touch. These cystic pimples would leave a scar when their tenure was over. And those scars stayed along the sides of my face and jaw that I couldn’t hide. One day, she came across a YouTube video by someone who shared her experience with acne (skincare routine, products she liked, etc.). From there, she discovered other videos of people who had the same skin ailments. One day, Daisy turned on her webcam and decided to start fulfilling her dream of helping others.

Fast forward five years. Daisy's YouTube channel has grown and she's had a fair share of followers who are acne sufferers. She was fixated on using organic products which reduced her acne. By the time she graduated college, Daisy had saved enough money ($4,000 to be exact) to get her skin lasered in hopes of getting rid of her scaring. Just before getting the procedure done, she met a plastic surgeon who told her about using this cosmetic tool in conjunction with a Vitamin C serum. He recommended this routine much more than undergoing the procedure as the system was non-invasive and natural, and creates far better results than anything he has seen before. A few months later, her YouTube subscribers were commenting on the noticeable difference in her skin. She asked if they wanted her to send them what she was using and within a few days everything was sold out. The rest is history!


After reading about Daisy and watching many of her videos, I was even more excited to test her products. I received the starter kit in the mail which includes: banish oil, vitamin C beauty elixer, banish rollerpumpkin enzyme masque, activated charcoal clay masque, pore smasher, banish bag and plastic cleaning container all for $195. All Banish products are vegan & cruelty free and made from organic ingredient you can pronounce! In addition, all products are made fresh to order and without parabens and sulfates. There are also no artificial colors or preservatives. 


The only thing I did not like about the kit was the instructions. When it comes to using new products, I like to have a detailed step by step process so I can learn as I go. I went on YouTube and found a video by FaceBeautybyEn explaining what came in the kit and how to use each piece which I found very helpful and I highly suggest watching before using your kit. 

One of my main questions, prior to using the kit, was whether or not it would hurt. When I took the roller out of the case, I saw the tiny spikes that I would be applying to my face and thought it wasn't for me. Contrary to what I thought, it does NOT hurt at all. It feels more like tiny pricks, but nothing we can't tolerate. 

My favorite aspect of Banish as a whole, is their use of fresh natural ingredients. For the most part, their products are created the same day they get shipped, and they ship 6 days a week. Something I didn't know prior to testing out this kit, is that the Vitamin-C serums we buy at CVS, on Amazon, etc. are dyed orange so that we cannot tell when they are no longer fresh. Banish's Vitamin C beauty elixer, which comes in the starter kit, is a clear liquid and will change color when you should no longer use it. Some food for thought...


Two-days after using the banish roller on my skin, I tried the pumpkin and activated charcoal masks and I have to say, I love them! The pumpkin mask gently exfoliates your skin without harsh scrubbing to reveal smooth and more evenly toned skin (and smells like pumpkin pie!). It also helps to reduce the appearance of oily skin and and can reduce congested skin to help with clogged pores. The charcoal mask is pretty much a facial in a jar. As the mask dries, you will feel it tighten on your face as it is pulling out the impurities and excess oil from deep within your skin. The mask comes in a powder so you have the option to customize it depending on your skin type plus you have full control on the consistency of the mask. A little goes a long way so this will be your comrade to slay blackheads (I have a million) and impurities for months to come. This mask is also vegan friendly and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee!


If you have any questions on Banish as a whole or on the starter kit, feel free to leave a comment or email me at To view before and after shots, click here

Review: SkinSmart Antimicrobial

A lot of people don't know this about me, but I suffer from psoriasis; a condition that has been in my family for generations. For those of you that don't know, psoriasis is a condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches.

When I was younger, around third grade or so, is when I started to develop psoriasis on my scalp. It was incredibly itchy and I would constantly be brushing the flakes off my clothes. My mom would try to apply a cream or balm to each patch to try to hydrate my skin and get rid of the itching but it never worked. As I got older, the patches spread to my elbows, arms and stomach and I would try my best to cover it up. After trying numerous steroid creams (prescribed by my doctor) I finally found a product that I really loved, Simple Sugars. I first learned about Simple Sugars when I saw the founder pitch her product on the very first season of Shark Tank (SS received an investment from Mark Cuban's whose children deal with psoriasis). While I love Simple Sugars and will continue to use it, it only helps on the surface. 

Recently, I was asked to test out SkinSmart Antimicrobial™ which although made specifically for eczema, works great on my skin. It is based on Hypochlorous, a “secret weapon” in skin care treatment that has been used in the medical field for years to treat serious and chronic skin & wound issues, but was only available with a prescription, until now.

SkinSmart Antimicrobial uses Hypochlorous technology to bring new solutions to help your skin. Their technology works because advances in science have taught doctors much more about the role of bacteria and microorganisms on the skin. What does that means? Studies show that most eczema sufferers have an excess amount of Staph (staphylococcus bacteria) on their skin. SkinSmart doesn't just soothe symptoms, it addresses this problem at the root. The product removes microorganisms, which promotes healing, helps itch, soothes your skin, and more. Best of all – it can be used on any skin, even faces, as much as you need.

What I love most about SkinSmart is their are driven to break the cycle of never ending creams and steroids (as I mentioned above)! The product is steroid-free, dries like water with no residue, is great for all ages, soothes angry, red, broken skin & of course promotes healing. I have only been using the spray for a few days and can already see a difference. It also has NO restrictions on use. In fact, the more exposure your skin has to the product the better. 

Right now, this product is available in the following stores: Safeway, Albertsons, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilion, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Lunds/Bylerys. It is also available on Amazon (depending if weather is permitting as product can freeze). You can also email the company at: and they will find the closest store to you! 

This post was sponsored by SkinSmart. 

Review: HomeDNA Healthy Weight

A few months ago, I shared my review on HomeDNA's skin care analysis and report, and I am back to share my review on their new Healthy Weight DNA test. Within the last two years, I was diagnosed with anxiety after a pretty bad car accident. My anxiety got so bad that I was prescribed medication to be taken on a daily basis. While my medication has turned around my life for the better, it has also caused me to gain weight (about 30 lbs) and fast. I have changed the way I eat and am more motivated to get to the gym, but was still feeling like I needed more. The process of losing weight is definitely not one-size-fits-all. Everyone is different, and in order to do it right, I believe, that you need to focus on what works best for you, which is why I was super excited to test out HomeDNA's Healthy Weight analysis and report

HomeDNA™ Healthy Weight is a scientifically-based weight- management test and program that identifies your unique genetic makeup and provides diet and exercise strategies specifically tailored to your genotype. All you have to do is take the simple at-home DNA test and within a few weeks you will receive personalized nutrition and fitness recommendations that work best for your body. 

HomeDNA's certified and highly-qualified lab checks it for certain genetic markers connected to your weight, metabolism and body type. Using these genetic markers, HomeDNA will send you a personalized report with specific recommendations based on the results of your genetic test. The personalized report provides you with essential information you need to tailor a weight-loss program that can achieve real results. Unlike diet books and pre-packaged meal plans, the fitness program created by results of DNA testing can offer customized solutions to help you realize a healthy weight since it’s based on your unique genetic information.

Results Include:

  • Detailed analysis of the genetic markers influencing your weight
  • Personalized recommendations for:
    1. Foods to eat—the best foods to meet your caloric needs
    2. Nutrients—Optimal nutrient needs and most effective supplements
    3. Best exercises—Ideal workouts to achieve and maintain your healthiest weight

If you're interested in viewing results, please feel free to email me; I would be happy to share mine with you ( Want to give it a try? Use code HW50 to save $50 off your order now through 4/30 HERE

*HomeDNA provided this product for review. All opinions are my own.


Review: Freeman Beauty

Happy Tuesday peeps! I recently received a variety of face masks from Freeman Beauty and  wanted to share in case any of you haven't heard of them before. They have been in business for a while, but prior to them being sent to me I never heard of them. Their masks are super affordable & garner great results...what more can you ask for?! 

The travel size mask (show above) is just a $2.99 and is great for a weekend trip (I got 3 uses out of that one little pack!) You can also purchase the full size tube for just $4.29! Charcoal is super trendy at the moment, so I had to try that mask first. I love the clay texture and the deep, pure clean feeling I received. The serum-infused mask instantly clears pores, and the activated Charcoal gently draws out oils and toxins without over-drying, something we definitely don't want in the winter months (especially me who has super dry skin). The mask also contains Probiotics to reveal a fresh, clear complexion and is perfect for all skin types ( a plus!).


I was also sent the Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Foaming Clay and Pomegranate Facial Revealing Peel-Off Mask. The honey mask was made to deliver potent healing properties to nourish the skin. It also helps to purify your pores and control oil with its antibacterial properties. This mask also softens while Collagen helps to improve elasticity and restore smoothness. Although I do love the Collagen aspect of the mask, it really works best for those who have oily/breakout prone skin. I have very dry skin and am not prone to breakouts therefore it is not the best fit for me. The pomegranate mask gently purges dirt and excess oils from skin for a cleaner, refined surface, guarding against free radicals and environmental stress. It also helps plump and increase skin's resiliency featuring a powerhouse of antioxidants that tones and reveals radiant, glowing skin. It comes out a liquid (as opposed to the clay texture in the above mask) and feels like pure magic on your skin. 

Freeman Beauty masks can be found at Ulta & Sally Beauty


Health & BeautyMaria Albini
My Favorite Skincare Products

While the new year is still young, I wanted to share my ever growing list of skincare products
that are well worth getting your hands on like, NOW.

Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist $48
I just purchased this spray (thanks to my girl Jenny Z!) and I am loving it! The spray provides a boost of soothing hydration & a luminous complexion, especially needed in the cold winter months. It is formulated with more than 20 percent botanical oils and humectants to leave skin dewy. It’s also infused with hadasei-3 anti-aging complex, a trinity of Japanese anti-aging superfoods—green tea, rice and algae—that restores the look of youthful radiance. Just 2 or 3 spritzes before you apply your makeup & you are good to go! You can also mist it over makeup to replenish moisture and prevent caking. It won't disturb makeup, so you can use it anytime, anywhere. 

Dr. Dennis Gross Daily Peels $88
These peels have to be my FAVORITE skin care product out there! I use them daily to exfoliate, and they make my skin feel super smooth. They help to revive your skin without the risk of irritation no matter how sensitive your complexion is. They come with a two wipes, one to exfoliate and the other to deliver antiaging actives while nourishing and soothing skin to keep it balanced, soft, and luminous. Daily use produces powerful results—reduced fine lines and wrinkles, minimized appearance of pores, and enhanced radiance—with a soft touch. 

Creme de la Mer $170
I know this product is SUPER pricey, however it is AMAZING. This highly coveted moisturizer is known for its power to hydrate and heal dryness in as little as three days. Miracle Broth™ softens, nourishes, soothes, and gives skin the energy it needs to focus on repair, while the powerful antioxidant lime tea protects against stress and pollution for a healthy-looking glow. Skin looks instantly radiant and naturally balanced as imperfections fade. 

SK-II Pitera Welcome Kit $110
While I have never tried this product, I have heard nothing but GREAT things about it so I wanted to share it with you all! This essential set of Asian beauty bestsellers utilizes the power of Pitera™ to help boost skin's hydration and combat signs of aging, resulting in a visibly radiant, firm, youthful complexion. Pitera is rich with vitamins, organic acids, minerals, and amino acids that work together to enhance the skin's natural rejuvenation process, transforming skin's texture and tone. 

Fresh Rose Face Mask $62
I love love love anything rose scent, so I immediately fell in love with this mask. It is a toning gel mask that drenches dull, tired skin with hydration for a healthy-looking complexion. This unique cooling mask is infused with real rose petals (an average of two-and-a-half roses per jar) to restore radiance and suppleness to all skin types.  Gentle enough to use every day, this powerful mask is perfect for all skin types. 

Tarte Drink of H2O Hydrating Moisturizer $39
This moisturizer is a great low-budget option! A daily, vegan & hypoallergenic gel moisturizer that soothes and refreshes parched skin with electrolyte-packed hydration, perfect for your dry skin in the winter months. 

Simple Sugars Almond Body Scrub $14
Simple Sugars is a product that I use on a daily basis that I cannot live without. I suffer from psoriasis, and this body scrub has seriously changed my life. This all-natural cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizer for the body and leaves your skin feeling super soft and smooth so you don't need lotion. Simple Sugars products are intended for daily use and are safe for even the most sensitive skin. 

It Cosmetics CC + Illumination Cream $38
I recently tried this product for the first time, and is something I definitely cannot live without. I apply before putting on my makeup and sometimes use in lieu of foundation. The cream delivers full, flawless, perfect coverage and protects your skin with SPF 50+. It is also clinically proven to provide intense hydration, support improved appearance in skin texture, and enhance skin brightness without glitter or shimmer. It  never creases or cracks and instantly camouflages imperfections, including dark spots.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer $44
If you're like me and only like to wear foundation for going out or on special occasions, you need this tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier. I have tried a few brands and this one is definitely my favorite. It not only keeps your skin hydrated, but also gives you a little color boost and SPF. If you have oily skin, I suggest trying the broad spectrum version, as this one can make your skin oily. 

Sephora Collection Eye Masks $5
These Sephora brand eye masks are a life saver and won't hurt the wallet! Each of these masks is infused with a different active ingredient to replenish skin's nutrients, provide a boost of vitamins, and achieve a brighter, more revitalized eye look. The new fiber masks adhere perfectly to the contours under the eye for better penetration of active ingredients. The rose mask replenishes the delicate eye area with water for intense moisturizing and an immediate radiance boost. 

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation $43
If you're looking for a foundation that has great coverage & long wear, Makeup Forever's Ultra Invisible Cover Foundation is a must have! Completely invisible under the latest, super-focused 4K lens, this innovative foundation is infused with uniquely-coated pigments that provide medium-to-buildable coverage with an even lighter weight, second-skin texture that looks just like skin. It delivers the very same flawless results as before when applied with a flat foundation brush in a tap and stretch motion. 

Buxom Big Tease Plumping Mascara $22
For the last year or so I have been using Better Than Sex mascara by Too Faced. While I loved the length it gave me, I didn't like the way it clumped my eyelashes together. While looking for a mascara that did both, I was told my a Sephora employee to try Buxom's plumping mascara and well, I'm IN LOVE. The mascara delivers a smooth and creamy application experience, coating every surface evenly from root to tip. 

Becca Highlighter $19
When highlighters became popular a while back, (thanks Kardashians!) I tried a few different kinds to see which looked best on my skin. BY FAR, my favorite was Becca in Golden Opal Pearl. This iconic formula is enriched with ultra-fine, luminescent pearls that absorb, reflect, and refract light to amplify your natural radiance. The multi-toned pigment pearls adjust to your skin’s natural undertones. Unlike traditional pressed powders, this unique formula blends pigments with liquids, to create an unparalleled, creamy feel that applies seamlessly for a silky finish that never cakes. 

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder $38
I always had an issue with my makeup not staying on all day. I would come home from work or dinner looking completely different than when I left. Recently I learned that if you apply translucent powder, it helps set your makeup for long-lasting wear and I highly suggest using it! Translucent Loose Setting Powder locks in makeup for long-lasting wear, without adding weight or texture, so your makeup continues to look natural and not caked on. 

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer $30
Ideal for all skin types, Radiant Creamy Concealer is a multi-action formula that instantly masks imperfections, blurs the look of lines and wrinkles, and hides dark circles and signs of fatigue. The botanical blend hydrates, firms, reduces redness, and strengthens the look of skin by helping its barrier retain moisture. Light-diffusing technology evens out the complexion so that skin appears fresh and natural with a radiant finish. It also delivers antioxidant protection to help shield skin against damaging free radicals. 

Becca Sunlit Bronzer $38
Bronzer is a must have in my beauty routine, I mean who likes to be pale?  Becca is definitely one of my top Bronzer brands. This
neutral bronzer imparts healthy-looking warmth so that skin looks sunkissed—never orange. (In high school I was SO orange!) Each beach-inspired bronzer is custom-made with subtle shimmer that  blends pigments with liquids to deliver its unparalleled, creamy feel. The powder’s silky texture lets you customize your glow—go from subtly sunkissed to a just-stepped-off-the-beach bronze.


NARS Blush $30
NARS Blush offers a range of translucent, natural shades, each with a subtle pink for a natural-looking blush undertone to highlight the complexion. Designed to be worn alone or layered together for more depth, it provides a healthy glow that flatters any skin tone.


Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer $23
Featuring a unique, triangular tip, Brow Definer's retractable pencil design is ideal for outlining and filling your brows in one fluid motion. The custom spooley end is created with a precise width and firmness to seamlessly blend color. For someone who is bad at doing her eyebrows, this pencil makes it a piece of cake! 

Health & BeautyMaria Albini
Shaklee Review

I'm super excited to share a package with you all I recently received from Shaklee, including six products from YOUTH, a line of skin care products designed to regenerate your skin cells so they act younger. The company does not promise that their products will not only dramatically improve the health of your skin, but is also 100% guaranteed to shift your skin to a younger age. Once I heard this, I knew I needed to see what all the fuss was about. 

Prior to receiving these products, I had never heard of YOUTH, so I was super excited to give the products a try. Unlike ordinary skin care products, YOUTH uses advanced technology which goes beyond addressing aging on just the surface by also targeting the cellular level of your skin.  The products are able to so this by using a patent-pending Youth Complex that activates a key youth protein to regenerate cells to produce more collagen and elastin helping your skin act younger so you can look younger.

YOUTH products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, gluten free and free of more than 2,500 harmful chemicals and questionable ingredients, delivering Clinical Results Without Compromise. 



The Radiance C+E formula is AMAZING and is definitely my favorite! It plumps, brightens, and visibly reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. I've been using this product once a day, typically before I go to bed. To use simply twist off the tab and squeeze the product onto your hands and smooth on face. When done, I use either a serum or moisturizer and then off to bed! 



I love love love to use serums. After applying, I feel my skin always feels super smooth and hydrating. I typically use Dr. Dense Hydroshield Moisturizing Face Serum but was very pleased with the results from using YOUTH's activating serum. It has gentle encapsulated vitamin A retinol, polyphenols, plus extracts of Lotus japonicus, apple cell and schisandra. I've been using this product twice a day, once in morning and once at night, and have been loving it! 



Last but not least is YOUTH's activating BB cream. My favorite part about this product is that it contains SPF 30. Most people don't realize that it is important to wear SPF on your face year-round. This product leaves my skin glowing and helps to correct, hydrate, nourish and protect with mineral, chemical-free sunscreen. This product comes in four different shades - at the moment I am a 2 but would most likely be a 3 in the summer months. I have been trying to not wear a lot of makeup lately, so I like to use this BB cream as my foundation, throw on some mascara and I'm good to go! 


Overall, I really enjoyed YOUTH products and will definitely continue to include them in my skincare regimen. Feel free to comment if you have any questions regarding any of the products, I would be happy to answer them! 

Whole 30 Approved Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Chili
 Photo courtesy of  One Lovely Life

Photo courtesy of One Lovely Life

Hi babes! On January 2nd I started Whole 30 so I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes for those who are also doing Whole 30 or are looking for a healthy & easy dinner idea. There are a ton of Whole 30 approved recipes out there that are either difficult to make or require a ton on ingredients which is why this is one of my favorites! 

This slow cooker sweet potato chili recipe (which is gluten free and both Whole 30 & Paleo friendly) is super easy to make, requires only a few ingredients (all of which you most likely already have in your home) and is perfect for the winter months and game days. It also makes multiple servings, making it perfect for lunches for the week as well. 


    • 2lb ground beef or turkey (based on preference) 
    • 1 onion diced
    • 1 clove garlic (minced) 
    • 2 (14 oz) cans of tomato sauce
    • 1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
    • 3 cups of beef stock 
    • 2 large sweet potatoes (peeled & diced)
    • 3-4 tbsp chili powder (or more depending on preference) 
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • 1/4 tsp oregano
    • Cilantro (optional for garnish) 


    • In a saute pan, brown beef/turkey over medium heat until cooked through 
    • Drain excess fat, then transfer to slow cooker
    • Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine (I typically stir after each ingredient goes in to make sure everything is evenly distributed)
    • Cook on slow for 6-8 hours OR on high for 3-4 hours
    • Stir occasionally to break up the meat
    • Garnish with cilantro and serve! 
    FoodMaria Albini
    2018 Books to Read

    Morning peeps, happy snow day!

    Towards the end of 2017, I got back into the rhythm of always having a book to read, and I'm so happy I did! I read so many awesome books, that I thought I'd share my reading list with all of you. In 2018, one of my goals is to keep this rhythm going, by reading a minimum of one book per month. Anyone else have a similar goal?

    Below are the top books I've read in the past few months. I'm sure there are ones that I'm missing, so feel free to comment with ones I should add to my list. I'm also super excited for the books that don’t appear on this list ― books we don’t even know about yet, but which will end up being our favorites of 2018! 

    Happy reading! 

    2018 PICKS

    Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and cakes. They wear pastel dresses and drink champagne by the case, but amid the celebration these women have their own lives to contend with: Isabella is working a dead-end job, Mary is dating a nice guy with an awful mother, and Lauren is waitressing at a midtown bar and wondering why she's attracted to the sleazy bartender.

    With a wry sense of humor, Jennifer Close brings us through those thrilling, bewildering years of early adulthood as she pulls us inside the circle of these friends, perfectly capturing the wild frustrations and soaring joys of modern life. 

    Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night, when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately lands on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

    Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they've kept for years. 

    What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of  deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.



    Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country--Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

    The series that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo continues as brilliant hacker Lisbeth Salander teams up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist to uncover the secrets of her childhood and to take revenge.
    Lisbeth Salander—obstinate outsider, volatile seeker of justice for herself and others—seizes on a chance to unearth her mysterious past once and for all. And she will let nothing stop her—not the Islamists she enrages by rescuing a young woman from their brutality; not the prison gang leader who passes a death sentence on her; not the deadly reach of her long-lost twin sister, Camilla; and not the people who will do anything to keep buried knowledge of a sinister pseudoscientific experiment known only as The Registry. Once again, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist are the fierce heart of a thrilling full-tilt novel that takes on some of the world's most insidious problems.

    Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over—she’s getting divorced, she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over...

    On what should be a romantic trip to California wine country, Babe realizes there's something off with her new lust-at-first-sight-lover, Jack—something she can't get past, even with all his inherited wealth. So she decides to take matters into her own hands and toss him to the curb to enjoy the rest of her vacation.

    What she doesn't expect is to run into her old high school nemesis Tina, whose life is at rock bottom. Babe’s frozen heart is warmed by Tina's plight as a struggling winemaker. Armed with a pair of Louis Vuittons that would look fabulous crushing grapes if she felt like it (she doesn't), Babe decides to bring her no-apologies approach and street-smarts to Tina’s vineyard to help her revitalize her business in her most selfless act yet. The always hilarious, upfront, and basic yet delusional Babe Walker is everything you hate to love and love to hate. Just don't call her Thirsty.

    Babe Walker, center of the universe, is a painstakingly manicured white girl with an expensive smoothie habit, a proclivity for Louboutins, a mysterious mother she's never met, and approximately 50 bajillion Twitter followers. But her "problems" have landed her in shopping rehab-that's what happens when you spend $246,893.50 in one afternoon at Barneys. Now she's decided to write her memoir, revealing the gut-wrenching hurdles she's had to overcome in order to be perfect in every way, every day.

    In an Adderall-induced flash of inspiration, Babe Walker has managed to create one of the most enjoyable, unforgettable memoirs in years.



    Fresh from a four-month stint in rehab for her “alleged” shopping addiction, Babe Walker returns home to Bel Air ten pounds lighter, having made amends & confronted her past (after meeting her birth mother for the first time—a fashion model turned farmer lesbian). Babe now faces a host of outside forces seemingly intent on derailing her path to positive change. Not only is she being trailed by an anonymous stalker, but she’s also reunited with the love of her life, a relationship that she cannot seem to stop self-sabotaging.


    Babe Walker thought she had done it all. After all, she’s survived the highly exclusive social hierarchies of Bel Air, traipsed around Europe in true white-girl fashion, and left her mark on several of the best rehab facilities in the United States. But now Babe is about to enter a terrifying new world: Middle America.

    After a freak accident that was definitely not Babe’s fault, her estranged mother offers her the perfect escape from LA: an invite to her grandfather’s eightieth birthday party in Maryland, of all places. Babe’s journey throws her headlong into elementary school classrooms full of small, unfashionable people and pizza buffet restaurants that will haunt her nightmares and eventually back to Los Angeles, thank goodness. Tossed together with her cousins—basic preteen Cara and mature and preternaturally stylish Knox—Babe learns that connecting with someone on an intimate, familial level might be the most rewarding experience there is…

    Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben.

    Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.


    Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.


    Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.

    Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.


    Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle, beautiful thirty-three-year-old triplets, seem to attract attention everywhere they go. Together, laughter, drama, and mayhem seem to follow them. But apart, each is dealing with her own share of ups and downs. Lyn has organized her life into one big checklist, Cat has just learned a startling secret about her marriage, and Gemma, who bolts every time a relationship hits the six-month mark, holds out hope for lasting love. In this wise, witty, and hilarious novel, we follow the Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio.



    In Truly Madly Guilty, Liane Moriarty takes on the foundations of our lives: marriage, sex, parenthood, and friendship. She shows how guilt can expose the fault lines in the most seemingly strong relationships, how what we don’t say can be more powerful than what we do, and how sometimes it is the most innocent of moments that can do the greatest harm.




    Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

    Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

    As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love--and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

    The Goldfinch is a mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

    “Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.” So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos. A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.

    The Boston Girl is a moving portrait of one woman’s complicated life in twentieth century America, and a fascinating look at a generation of women finding their places in a changing world. The book follows the life of a n immigrant Jewish girl, born in 1900 to parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End of Boston, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, to finding the love of her life, eighty-five-year-old Addie recounts her adventures with humor and compassion for the naïve girl she once was.

    Wendy Walker's All Is Not Forgotten begins in the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut, where everything seems picture perfect.

    Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, struggles to pretend this horrific event did not touch her carefully constructed world.



    M.J. Stark’s life is picture-perfect—she has her dream job as a magazine editor, a sexy doctor boyfriend, and a glamorous life in New York City. But behind her success, there is a debilitating sense of loneliness. So when her boss betrays her and her boyfriend offers her a completely new life in California, she trades her cashmere for caftans and gives it a try. Once there, M.J. is left to fend for herself in a small beach town, with only the company of her elderly neighbor, Gloria, and an ocean that won’t shut up.

    As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancé, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

    But Ani has a secret. There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

    With a singular voice and twists you won’t see coming, Luckiest Girl Alive explores the unbearable pressure that so many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a heroine whose sharp edges and cutthroat ambition have been protecting a scandalous truth, and a heart that's bigger than it first appears.


    Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one who got away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was going to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie's house on Scribbly Gum Island—home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.

    As Sophie's life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around—and come up with your own fairy-tale ending.

    Agatha is pregnant and works part-time stocking shelves at a grocery store, counting down the days until her baby is due. As the hours of her shifts creep by in increasing discomfort, the one thing she looks forward to at work is catching a glimpse of Meghan, the effortlessly chic customer whose elegant lifestyle dazzles her. 

    When Agatha learns that Meghan is pregnant again, and that their due dates fall within the same month, she finally musters up the courage to speak to her, thrilled that they now have the ordeal of childbearing in common. Little does Meghan know that the mundane exchange she has with a grocery store employee during a hurried afternoon shopping trip is about to change the course of her not-so-perfect life forever…





    A gripping emotional page turner with a twist that will take your breath away


    Tina Craig longs to escape her violent husband. She works all the hours God sends to save up enough money to leave him, also volunteering in a charity shop to avoid her unhappy home. Whilst going through the pockets of a second-hand suit, she comes across an old letter, the envelope firmly sealed and unfranked. Tina opens the letter and reads it - a decision that will alter the course of her life for ever...

    Billy Stirling knows he has been a fool, but hopes he can put things right. On 4th September 1939 he sits down to write the letter he hopes will change his future. It does - in more ways than he can ever imagine...

    Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

    But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. 

    Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal.

    When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.



    Although not a formal training guide, Inside of a Dog has practical application for dog lovers interested in understanding why their dogs do what they do. With a light touch and the weight of science behind her, Alexandra Horowitz examines the animal we think we know best but may actually understand the least. This book is as close as you can get to knowing about dogs without being a dog yourself.

    Andy Barber has been an ADA for two decades. He is respected. Admired in the courtroom. Happy at home with the loves of his life: his wife, Laurie, and their teenage son, Jacob.

    Then Andy’s quiet suburb is stunned by a shocking crime: a young boy stabbed to death in a leafy park. And an even greater shock: The accused is Andy’s own son—shy, awkward, mysterious Jacob. Andy believes in Jacob’s innocence. Any parent would. But the pressure mounts. Damning evidence. Doubt. A faltering marriage. The neighbors’ contempt. A murder trial that threatens to obliterate Andy’s family.

    It is the ultimate test for any parent: How far would you go to protect your child? 

    Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

    With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

    Difficult Women tells of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection. The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and, grown now, must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay gives voice to a chorus of unforgettable women in a scintillating collection reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Anne Enright, and Miranda July.

    When Elise Perez meets Jamey Hyde on a desolate winter afternoon, fate implodes, and neither of their lives will ever be the same. Although they are next-door neighbors in New Haven, they come from different worlds. Elise grew up in a housing project without a father and didn’t graduate from high school; Jamey is a junior at Yale, heir to a private investment bank fortune and beholden to high family expectations. Nevertheless, the attraction is instant, and what starts out as sexual obsession turns into something greater, stranger, and impossible to ignore. 
    The couple moves to Manhattan in search of a new life, and White Fur follows them as they wander through Newport mansions and East Village dives, WASP-establishment yacht clubs and the grimy streets below Canal Street, fighting the forces determined to keep them apart. White Fur combines the electricity of Less Than Zero with the timeless intensity of Romeo and Juliet in this searing, gorgeously written novel that perfectly captures the ferocity of young love.



    It’s 2011, and Samuel Andresen-Anderson hasn’t seen his mother, Faye, in decades—not since she abandoned the family when he was a boy. Now she’s reappeared, having committed an absurd crime that electrifies the nightly news and inflames a politically divided country. The media paints Faye as a radical hippie with a sordid past, but as far as Samuel knows, his mother was an ordinary girl who married her high-school sweetheart. Which version of his mother is true? Two facts are certain: she’s facing some serious charges, and she needs Samuel’s help.



    Soon to be an HBO series, book one in the New York Times bestselling Neapolitan quartet about two friends growing up in post-war Italy is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted family epic by Italy’s most beloved and acclaimed writer, Elena Ferrante, “one of the great novelists of our time.”


    Eleanor knows she's a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won't swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother's company. It's also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he's on vacation. Just when it seems like things can't go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret. 


    Samuel Hawley isn’t like the other fathers in Olympus, Massachusetts. A loner who spent years living on the run, he raised his beloved daughter, Loo, on the road, moving from motel to motel, always watching his back. Now that Loo’s a teenager, Hawley wants only to give her a normal life. In his late wife’s hometown, he finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at the local high school.

    As Loo uncovers a history that’s darker than she could have known, the demons of her father’s past spill over into the present—and together both Hawley and Loo must face a reckoning yet to come.


    This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.



    For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-six languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.




    They were six university students from Oxford--friends and sometimes more than friends--spending an idyllic week together in a French farmhouse. It was supposed to be the perfect summer getaway...until they met Severine, the girl next door. 

    Maria Albini
    Black Friday & Cyber Week Deals 2017

    You can find my top Black Friday and Cyber Week sales below! I’ll be updating this post frequently throughout the weekend, so stay tuned! Be sure to head to the sites for even more great savings.AND don't forget to check out my Gift Guides now up on the blog for: Her, Him, Kids and Host.

    Happy shopping!  


    Abercrombie: 50% off entire store & free shipping on all orders (no code needed)

    All Saints: Up to 40% off EVERYTHING 11/22-11/28

    American Eagle/Aerie: 40% off & free shipping (no code needed)

    Anne Taylor: 50% off everything with code THANKFUL (offer valid 11/22-11/24)

    Anthropolgie: 30% off everything (no code needed)

    ASOS: Get 20% off using code GOGOGO.

    bebe: 30-50% off select styles

    Bloomingdale's: Save 20% off purchases of $200+, 15% off 100+, and 50% off select items.

    Boohoo: 60% off (excluding Sale/Premium) 11/23-11/27

    e.l.f. Cosmetics: 50% off site-wide with code CELEBRATE on orders of $30 or more. Exclusions apply. Plus, get FREE shipping on orders of $25+ valid 11/22-11/27

    Express: 50% off entire store & free shipping on all orders (online only; no code needed)

    Francescas: Buy one get one 60% off all clothing, jewelry, accessories, shoes, home & gifts. 

    Gap: 50% off everything and free shipping with code CYBER

    Gilt: 90 items discounted by 90% at 4 p.m. EST on Thanksgiving Day (better eat early!). On Black Friday, take an extra 50% off select categories, such as outerwear and cold weather accessories, and an extra 40% off boots, footwear, and dresses; starting at 4 p.m. EST, 95 items will be 95% off (!!). On Saturday, take an extra 25% off all Gilt City offers. On Cyber Monday, Gilt will offer special discounts on designer brands like Vince and Trina Turk for up to 70% off.

    H&M: Get 30% off everything & free shipping with code 5083 on orders of $50 or more.

    Intermix: 30% off full-price styles + FREE shipping

    J. Crew: Save 40% with the code HOLIDAY.

    Kate Spade: Take 30% off with the code THANKFUL.

    Kiehls: $20 off your purchase of $65 or more  with code JINGLE at checkout 11/10-11/30

    Levi's: 40% off site-wide with the code HOLIDAY40 and free shipping.

    Loft: 50% off everything and free shipping with code CLICK

    Macy's: Take an extra 20% off % free shipping on orders of $25 or more with code CYBER (excludes furniture & mattresses)

    Madewell: 25% off with code DONTSTRESS

    M.Gemi: $50 off each pair in stores on Black Friday and online on Cyber Monday.

    Missguided: Use code DRESSBABE for 50% off dresses

    Nars: From 11/23-11/28, Nars is offering 20% off sitewide, excluding palettes, books, candles, and the Man Ray for Nars Holiday Collection.

    Neiman Marcus: Shop the designer sale and save up to 40% off select merchandise at 11/21-11/23

    Nordstrom: Get 20% off select sale items and big savings on certain beauty and skincare products.

    NYX: 30% off your entire purchase both online and in NYX retail stores.

    Old Navy: 50% off entire store (no code needed)

    Peach & Lily: 30% off sitewide from 11/22-11/27 with code PEACHANDLILY30. No exclusions!

    Peter Thomas Roth: On 11/24 you can grab the Mega-Rich Cellular Crème (3.4 oz) for $24 — which is way (way!) less than its usual $120 price tag — along with a free Skin to Die For Primer with any purchase of $50 or more. On 11/27, you can get the brand’s popular Retinol Fusion PM Serum for 50% off.

    rag & bone: Save 25% site-wide with the code BLACKFRIDAY25.

    Saks Fifth Avenue: Up to 60% off select items and up to $150 off women's denim with code DENIM2016.

    Shopbop: Get 20% off orders of $200,+, 25% off orders of $500+, and 30% off orders of $800 or more with code MORE17 (offer valid 11/21-11/26)

    Urban Decay: 50% off all products with free shipping from 11/24-11/26. Half. Off. Everything.

    Urban Outfitters: Beginning on 11/22, buy one get one 50% off EVERYTHING in-stores and online. Limited time only. 


    Anthropologie: Get 30% off your purchase site-wide.

    AllModern: Up to 70% off select items.

    Article: Until 11/27, get up to 30% all furniture and decor.

    CB2: 15% off site-wide and free shipping on orders over $129.

    Draper James: Get an extra 30% off sale items.

    Jonathan Adler: Take 20% off everything (except artwork) and get free shipping on everything except furniture.

    Joss & Main: From 70-80% off site-wide.

    Lulu & Georgia: On Black Friday until 11/26, get 25% off all purchases with the code GOGOGO.

    Modsy: Until 11/27, get 50% off Modsy's design packages with the promo code THANKS50.

    Of A Kind: On 11/22, Of A Kind is releasing their first-ever holiday gift sets (ranging from $70-$250) and from 11/22-27, you'll get 15% off these sets.

    Rebecca Atwood: Get 20% off site wide with the code GIVETHANKS20 from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, and if you sign up for their Loyal List email newsletter, you’ll receive an additional discount.

    SNOWE: Save 10% on orders of $50 or more, 15% on orders of $200 or more, 20% on orders of $500 or more, and 25% on orders of $1,000 or more.

    Society6: Get 20% off and get free shipping.

    Wayfair: Up to 80% off Black Friday deals across home categories.

    West Elm: 15% savings on $100+, 20% on $500, 25% on $1,000, and 30% on $3,000, plus free shipping.

    SalesMaria Albini