Friday, July 31, 2015

EPIC HAUL | Beauty & Fashion ♥ NSale, Tokyo + Chanel Vibrato Swatches



Since I couldn't include all the Tokyo beauty goodies in my new haul video, I decided to share some here! Lots of you requested swatches of the gorgeous cobalt blue Chanel Vibrato nail polish. Yes, it is similar to Dior's Sailor, but the Chanel formula is better. Some cobalt blues can be tricky to apply but Vibrato is silky smooth and creamy without feeling heavy or clumpy. Perfect in 2 quick coats. I highly, highly recommend it! I swatched it next to ADDICTION's Blue Moon, which is more navy in real life and has a slightly translucent jelly finish (as seen below) that is prone to bubbling. I love Blue Moon nonetheless, but Vibrato is brighter and barely requires any clean up around the cuticles because it's that easy to apply. If you live in the USA, don't fret because it is rumored to be released in the United States in September!

ADDICTION on LEFT (ring finger). Please forgive my super dry cuticles! I need to go get a manicure.
A couple of you asked how much less Commes de Garçons PLAY clothing is in Tokyo. I will update this post when I find the receipts. I stashed them away for safekeeping but forgot where. I believe I saved approximately 20% when factoring in Los Angeles tax. It's not a bargain by any means, but it is significantly cheaper considering that CdG Play never goes on sale! The quality is worth the splurge. I do know for sure that the clothes at Uniqlo were half the price of everything they charge in the USA. I bought tees for $5 apiece and awesome comfy pants for about $25 each! Even budget buys like Uniqlo in Japan are so much better in terms of quality — and fit for shorties like me — than your run-of-the-mill Forever21 items (which are absurdly overpriced these days). In general, clothing that is worth the money is hard to come by now! I was lucky enough to go right as the sales were starting, so I also found a few skirts at a steep discount.


I also visited lots of toy and anime shops looking for Naruto plushies, but the convention had just passed so everything was sold out! I purchased mini figurines instead, so once I find a place to display them, I will share a picture. I got lots of random goodies like handmade house slippers and some more Totoro merchandise as well as a slew of drugstore products like salon pas for my backaches! I also stocked up on Dollywink lashes and hair goodies from Honeycé as shown in the video, and as usual, lots of mascaras and eyeliners. I will share my favorites here on the blog soon!!


Products Reviewed:
Moroccanoil Moisture Kit
DailyLook Elite Box
**affordable version HERE
Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson Collection
Shu Uemura Drawing Pencil
Shu Uemura Brow Palette
Shu Uemura Brow:Swords
Chanel Lip Gloss
SUQQU Brow Pen
Chikuhodo Brushes
Commes de Garçons PLAY Hoodie
 Commes de Garçons PLAY Sweater

Nail Polish Worn: 

Tee:

Hair:

Makeup Worn:
Cle de Peau Eyebrow
Cle de Peau Concealer
Burberry Foundation
La Mer Loose Powder
Velour Lashes in Oops Naughty Me
 **use code RAEVELOUR to receive 15% OFF
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Laura Mercier Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm and Lip Liner Review, Photos, Swatches



Laura Mercier's fabulous new Lip Parfait Creamy Colourbalm lives up to all the hype. I adore the rich, succulent color and glossy finish. These new lipsticks are available in twelve truly delectable shades, so check out the swatches of my top three picks after the jump!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Kpop Inspired "Crazy" Voluminous Curls Tutorial



I have been listening to and watching more Korean pop music videos ever since my sister introduced me to the song "Crazy" by 4Minute. I absolutely love Hyuna because she's such a great performer, but more importantly, I love her signature red lip! My sis and I decided to try emulating her makeup worn in the MV and finished the look with some natural, loose, and very carefree curls. Instead of using the Bodywaver or Whirl Trio, we decided to switch things up with hot rollers!

T3's Voluminous Hot Rollers are my favorite! I've tried lots of different sets over the years thanks to pageants (both while competing and getting others girls ready), but it's difficult to find rollers that are able to give both volume and long-lasting results. I have also noticed T3's cause fewer split ends thanks to the velvet flocking. I take very good care of my hair, but it has been significantly weakened from a lightening aka bleaching treatment so I try to take extra precautions when it comes to split ends. If you've ever struggled to use a curling iron or curling wand and if you have very fine hair, do try these phenomenal hot rollers from T3! The clips take a little practice, but if you find the right placement for your head shape and hair type, you will not see indentations.

My sister and I used the same rollers to style our hair, but because our haircuts are so different, the results do not look the same! These T3 Voluminous Rollers are intended for shoulder length to long hair, but longer hair like my sister's will create a more similar effect to a curling iron. My hair turned out bigger and softer than I had expected, but I love the blow out effect! Tag us in pictures of your results so we can see and like!!


Makeup Worn:
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Equitance Brightening Toning Lotion Review, Photos



I have used Equitance on and off for the last year. My favorite product from the brand is still the Brightening Foaming Cleanser, but I keep coming back to the Brightening Toning Lotion because of the superb formula and instantaneous softening effects.


Toner was the first skin care product I ever fell in love with. A toning lotion is absolutely necessary for restoring and maintaining your skin's moisture balance, so I rarely skip it. My normal to dry skin is sensitive and easily dehydrated, so I normally avoid toners with alcohol. With the Equitance Brightening Toning Lotion, however, I find that the alcohol positively contributes to removing dull skin cells and traces of makeup and/or environmental pollution.


For those interested specifically in the brightening effects, the linoleic acid in this toning lotion does minimize the appearance of dark spots. I did not expect results overnight, but when I used this toner for 4 weeks straight, it noticeably lightened my freckles and sun spots! Linoleic acid promotes the exfoliation of the stored melanin that forms discoloration, so use the entire bottle - day and night - to see best results. The other natural botanicals such as cherry blossom leaf extract and shell ginger extract boost the brightening properties of the toner and soften rough skin.


Some of you have asked how Shiseido's White Lucent Brightening Balancing Softener (not the Enriched version, which is more hydrating with a slightly sticky finish) compares to the Equitance Brightening Toning Lotion. I used White Lucent for several years during college, so I am very familiar with it. All of these toners are made in Japan, I prefer the Equitance because it is intensely moisturizing but absorbs immediately. It does not leave a residue on the skin or leave my face feeling parched! The Equitance is $2 more, but it's worth the splurge.

This toner effectively restores luminosity to the skin, and this is a great toner for those just starting out and exploring Asian skincare. The Brightening Toning Lotion is an ideal fusion of Eastern skin care traditions and Western accessibility. It's easy to use with a brand name that's easy to pronounce. I highly recommend this toner, and even my picky grandmother gives it two thumbs up!


P.S. Equitance is hosting a 60 Day Brightening Challenge, which began on July 1, 2015! It's not too late to enter (last day is August 15), so take advantage of the FREE three-day trial offer of the Skin Radiance Dietary Supplement and a coupon for 50% off two full-sized bottles of Dietary Supplements for those who sign up for the challenge HERE. The clinical study results have shown that the supplements improved the appearance of dark spots on 100% of the participants in just 60 days! If you've been looking for natural ways to brighten and even out your skin tone, start improving your skin from the inside. This challenge has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, so share your progress on Twitter using #60DaysToRadiance! Good luck!!
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dolce&Gabbana Light Blue Summer Soirée Recap + Fragrance Reviews



I was fortunate enough to attend the beautiful Dolce&Gabbana x POPSUGAR Summer Soirée this weekend, so I wanted to share some pictures from the rainy yet beautiful event! There was an incredible turn out despite the weather, and I found it quite generous that the manicure bar was offering free nail art services. I especially love the sophisticated, stacked gold design!


Fragrances and samples were displayed all over the venue, so it was absolute heaven for a beauty blogger like me! In case you haven't tried it, Dolce&Gabbana's Light Blue Pour Femme is a timeless fragrance that's especially well suited for warmer weather. I always think of my best friend Tammy every time I see a bottle because it's her signature scent. It is captivating and feminine but modern. I love that it's a fruity floral that isn't overly sweet or heavy. Light Blue has top notes of crisp apple balanced by Sicilian cedar. The heart notes are bamboo and jasmine with white rose. The base notes are citron wood, amber, and musk.


There's also a Light Blue Pour Homme in case you wanted to wear matching scents with your significant other! I adore the energizing top notes of juniper, grapefruit, and mandarin. It has a hint of pepper with oak in the base, so it dries down less citrusy. It is intoxicating yet lively. 


There are two new limited edition Light Blue Eau de Toilette releases this year, one for women and one for men. Sunset in Salina Pour Femme ($77 for 50mL) and Swimming in Lipari Pour Homme ($88 for 125mL) are now available at Sephora in case you're looking to change up your summer scent!


The rich amber orange color of Sunset in Salina is a fitting tribute to the Mediterranean's scorching hot sun. The vine leaves and yellow freesia have a strong presence in the bright opening, while the white musky notes allow it to dry down with more elegance and posh. The lasting power is quite strong for an EdT, approximately 4 hours. I like that Sunset in Salina feels more sensual and less floral than the original Light Blue because I can justify owning and wearing both!


Swimming in Lipari feels more masculine than the original Light Blue Pour Homme thanks to the sea salt and fragrant woods. It still feels easy to wear but just like Sunset in Salina, a little more grown up. They're both wonderfully different takes on the Light Blue saga. Pick up samples to see how they wear on your skin!

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dolce & Gabbana through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select.
While I was compensated to write a post about Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SK-II R.N.A. Power Radical New Age Essence and Cream Review



I have been using SK-II's brand new R.N.A. Power lineup for several weeks now. The Essence and Cream have been reformulated to target all 10 known tell-tale signs of aging, and I can see on my travel-weary skin that it's working! More details after the jump!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

TRAVEL | Tokyo Vlog + Geisha Photoshoot



My second trip to Tokyo was a whirlwind of work and play! I was able to dress up as a geisha, whittle down my foodie wish list and even visited a tourist attraction (other than a mall, of course). My first trip to Japan was pretty stressful, but this time, I made sure to pause and capture some footage to share my visit with you! I'm still a novice vlogger, and it takes more courage than you could imagine to vainly shoot oneself in public, but I tried my best! Many thanks to my talented friend Tony for helping me edit this travel vlog ♥


Featured:
Anya Hindmarch Inflight Case and HERE
Proenza Schouler Handbag
TUMI 33" Luggage (40% OFF)
Gjenmi Necklaces
Tom Ford Sunglasses

Makeup:
SK-II Foundation
Shu Uemura False Lashes
Cle de Peau Concealer in Almond
La Mer Loose Powder
Marc Jacobs Contour

Outfits:
Splendid Pajamas
Vince Cardigan
Equipment Blouse
Splendid Striped Tee


For those curious, my Chanel eyeglasses style number is 3292A. I got them earlier this year after randomly stopping by an eyewear boutique in Los Angeles. They're lightweight and comfortable. I actually purchased another optical frame during this trip to Tokyo, but I will share them with you via my travel series "Everyday Luxe" on ICON in a few weeks!

My Proenza Schouler bag is the classic PS1 Medium in Smoke. I love it so much that I'm considering the new Pepe suede version here. The design is understated and casual, crafted using a luxurious yet lasting leather. I have a few different handbags ranging from Chanel to DailyLook, but the PS1 Medium is the most functional! I highly recommend Proenza Schouler if you're trying to stay away from logos.

My jewelry during this trip was all gold — a pretty rare switch for me. I'm obsessed with the mix of Dior's bold earrings and Gjenmi's delicate necklaces, so it was effortless in the way of planning. I am not naturally talented when it comes to styling, unfortunately, so I usually have to try really hard to put outfits and accessories together. I love finding pieces that always coordinate well because that makes packing (and my life in general) much, much easier!

I revisited several department stores such as Isetan and Takashimaya as well as specialty boutiques in Hakajuku to shop. I plan to compile a Tokyo Shopping Guide next month to highlight the best fashion and beauty stops. Let me know if that would be of interest to you! Now that I've been to Tokyo twice, I feel much more confident in recommending where others should make time to browse! I've visited during the sale seasons, so I have been lucky in the shopping arena and can clue you in on what the best deals were.

Now for some foodie tales.. I cannot begin to explain how much I love eating in Tokyo. I wish I had a larger appetite so I could eat more. I am very sensitive to salt and MSG, but I have no problems eating out in Japan because everything is fairly healthy! I especially enjoy eating seafood in Asia, but Japan takes freshness to a completely different level. Even the veggies taste better! The giant scallop at Tsukiji was inexplicably succulent and I had the best sashimi I've ever eaten at Inakaya, so I may not be able to stomach the sushi in LA anymore. I hear from many seasoned travelers that the food is Osaka is tenfold better, so I plan to make a trip out there just to eat my heart out!


Last but not least, here are some more images from my geisha photoshoot with fellow blogger Ivy! I arrived at the studio with a made up face, so I requested a subtle but signature geisha look. The makeup artist kindly obliged, so she used a dusting of white kabuki powder all over my face with pink eyeshadow on the corners of the eyes. She heaped on a brighter pink blush in a c-motion around my eyes to the top of the apples of my cheeks. The kimono was much heavier than I anticipated, but the most interesting costume element was the wig. It looked so intimidating when she brought it out! Once she formed and styled my bangs, however, it looked much more natural against my face. It's hard to imagine that geishas of the past used only their natural hair to achieve those full looks. No wonder they had to grow their hair down to their ankles! Hope you enjoy the pictures (taken by photographer Ash) xo

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

UPDATE | Nordstrom 2015 Anniversary Sale Recommendations and Wish List


The best Nordstrom sale of the year starts on July 9th, 2015 for those with early access. Eight days later, the sale opens up to the public on the 16th, closing on August 2nd. The prices go back up on August 3rd, 2015 so pinch those pennies and save up for some awesome deals! I already shopped some of the sales because there are so many other promotions going on at Nordstrom, so I took advantage of the opportunity to step up my wardrobe for my trip to Tokyo and the rest of the summer. First, I'll share what I ordered.


I needed something vibrant to spice up my fairly neutral wardrobe, so I scored this Haute Hippie silk blouse ($117.98) for 60% OFF! It looked very plain and too oversized on the hanger, even in size XS, but you have to put in on to see the Haute Hippie magic. It slims my figure and drapes so elegantly. The color is exquisite and flattering across all skin tones. This is probably my favorite clothing purchase this year, especially since it was a steal!

Next up is this NIC+ZOE moto jacket ($78.30) for 55% OFF. This fills a hole in my wardrobe that I have been trying to fill for years, and it is offered in a petite version so I ordered the small. Last season, Helmut Lang released a jacket similar to this but the XS sold out within a couple weeks. I had been debating if I wanted to pay full price for it, so it fate told me it was not meant to be. I love the look of the wide collar and zipper detailing, but I had this jacket shipped to me, so I am anxious to try it on and see if it's everything I have been waiting for!

Along with the white jacket, I ordered this Burberry Brit button down shirt for 30% off ($277.50). It wasn't a significant price cut, but I know this will become a staple in my wardrobe. I love the thin stripes and layered pleats, which lends it a casual tuxedo vibe and lengthens my petite frame. I always prioritize the fabric, so the 71% cotton, 16% linen, and 16% silk combination is the reason why I pulled the trigger! I find that cotton, linen, and silk mixes are good investments since the blend is lightweight but can be worn the whole year. Dress it up or down!

*****

UPDATES!
Nordstrom has added many more sale items since the preview, and the sale is now open to the public until August 2nd. Here are the best beauty and fashion exclusives that you won't want to miss!
How adorable yet practical is this Compact Styling Set from T3? I've already raved about the travel sized folding hairdryer, but this kit also includes a mini hair straightener -- a $229 value for a mere $150! It's perfect for bangs, curling ends, and styling short hair.
Chanel is offering a Travel Makeup Palette, packed full of their bestselling shades! This is a great introduction to Chanel makeup, and it is also ideal for the jet-setter who wants to pack lighter. These $95 multi-use palettes are normally only available at duty-free shopping inside airports, so stock up while you can! Hint: Christmas gifts.
NARS Lip Pencils are now cult favorites, and this nude variation "Ultimate NARS" Set is priced at a sweet $49! It's quite a deal, considering the retail value is $81 and the pale pink lavender shade is limited edition. I love how these pencils have a glossy finish, so they are lower maintenance and easy to swipe on the go.
Guerlain has released a Nordstrom-exclusive set of Meteorites pearls ($62), which I am sure will delight collectors! I love this youthful, colorful take on this classic product. I recommend using this variation as blush on fair skin and all-over brightening powder on tan to dark skin!
This Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Set ($85) is already in my basket, and I'm ready to check out before it sells out! I've reviewed the shampoo and conditioner before, and these lovely products make up my everyday use hair care. They're pricey but don't break the bank and truly nourish my hair! The shampoo and conditioner aren't always available through Nordstrom, so purchase extras!!
Last but not least for the beauty picks, SK-II is offering this Bestsellers Set ($205) as an introduction to my favorite skin care brand! You will receive incredible 5 products, a value of $287. The Facial Treatment Essence is SK-II's star product, and it gently exfoliates, hydrates, and rebalances your skin. You'll also get to try the Facial Treatment Mask, one of my must-haves, and maybe even give one to your sister or friend to try! This set also comes with one pack of the Signs Eye Mask, which is perfect for use in the mornings. Moisturize with the deluxe sample-sized Essential Power Cream, one of my anti-aging favorites!


Now for some more fashion and accessories. Let's start with Burberry's Merino Wool Check Scarf in black! You'll score $100 off for a sale price of $295.. what a deal! I have one in teal, and it's the perfect Fall season/layering scarf. I have one in my cart, so let's match!


I love a good dark wash, and Hudson still makes some of my favorite jeans. I am petite at just 5'0 but I can always rely on Hudson to fit my curves well. Check out this Elysian - Nico Super Skinny style, marked down to $129 from its original $198 price! It's also available in Tall for those with longer legs xo
Sunglasses are a summer style staple. These Jimmy Choo Ally/S 56mm have a slightly retro feel that still translates as classic. They're usually priced at $295, but get them now during the #NSale for $196. FYI: Jimmy Choos are made by the same Italian company, Safilo, that produces my favorite Dior and Celine sunglasses!!

*****


Now for my top picks and recommendations from the Anniversary sale catalog! We will start with beauty, move on to shoes, accessories, and finish up with some more fashion. A lot of these are on my own wish list, so let's buckle down and start saving!

Jo Malone's Nectarine Blossom and Honey cologne was my first of many. These trios are the perfect introductory kit for those new to Jo Malone or those who already love Jo Malone but need travel-sized bottles. I've been purchasing these for years because they also make great gifts! 


Finally, a NARS blush palette that doesn't include Orgasm and Laguna! The palette's beautiful packaging and the travel-sized blush make this a must-have. Such a good value, too!

Most artisan brushes, like my favorites from Chikhodo and Wayne Goss, are quite an investment. MAC brushes are still popular, but their quality has tanked in the last two years. That is why I recommend trying Trish McEvoy makeup brushes! This 8-piece brush set is an incredible value, so try this if you've been looking for an affordable kit. I have owned several Trish brushes over the years, and my sister is a big fan, so we both vouch for their quality.

My sister no longer works for La Mer, but we both love the brand still! This 6-piece set is still expensive but it saves you a significant amount of money if you're interested in The Reparative Body Lotion (full-size, retail value of $185). 

Everyone knows how much I adore YSL! This cute little trio is essentially a taste of the best Glossy Stains — featuring the new pale pink plumping formula, the best-selling classic formula in a universally flattering peach, and the recently released Pop Water formula in another universally flattering bright pink. Plus the red makeup bag is too cute!

I've used Laura Mercier's Radiance primer since its release. It's one of the best universal primers ever made! I'm glad to see it included in a travel-sized trio along with my favorite products from her skin care lineup, the Face Polish! This scrub has a gentle yet invigorating formula with a subtle refreshing fragrance. Rounding out this set is the cult classic Tinted Moisturizer, perfect for lazy days all year long!

It has been a few years since I raved about Philosophy's Purity cleanser, but it's still one of the best affordable cleansers I have ever used. This deluxe sized combo is a deal too sweet to miss!


Most of you know of my love for Diptyque, but their candles are undoubtedly a luxury. If you're looking for something more affordable, try Voluspa! Their scents are inviting and subtle, so I'm never overwhelmed or disappointed.


Oh, Lancôme. I always support the classics! Their eye makeup remover, liquid liner, and mascaras reign supreme year after year. Although I have been loving Cle de Peau and em cosmetics mascara lately, Lancôme's are overall winners in terms of price and performance.

Now for the top shoe pick! I am obsessed with all things Vince, so this will be the first on my shoe wish list. I like that this shape is more sleek and classic than some of the other open-toed booties that Vince has released in the last year. This style can be dressed up or down is ideal for the fall (or fall/winter if you live in Southern California) season! 

I have a soft spot for fringe, even though I rarely (aka never) wear it. I adore this boho-chic bootie style, and if it fits well, this is an affordable boot that I would purchase for myself! The heel height, side zipper, color, and price make this an excellent addition to any wardrobe.

Frye boots are some of the most time enduring styles on the market. Some might find the equestrian style too masculine, but the Melissa Tab is functional yet stylish. Most importantly, it is comfortable! I love the all-leather construction. This price is almost too good to be real, so make sure this is the first thing you place into your basket if you're looking for a flat knee-high boot!

This Sam Edelman flat seems to have taken a bit of inspiration from both Chloe and Chiara Ferragni. I think the scalloped topline and playful glitter make this pink pair a must-have for summer/fall! My best friend Tammy is very picky with flats because she is on her feet a lot, but she says Sam Edelman's are some of the best in the $100 category.

Nike has always been my preferred sneaker brand. I have worn hundreds of Nikes in my lifetime, and I continue to buy more because I think they're the best. These are the best looking pair of Air Max running shoes I have seen in years! I love the mint green and turquoise ombre effect.


I live in Southern California so I never understood the difference that the famed Hunter rain boots could make until I started traveling. I don't need them enough to invest in a pair just yet, but I know how popular they are so I thought those who live in damp climates would appreciate this head's up!

I plan on purchasing these for my grandmother! She loves how comfortable UGGs are, and these look easier for her to slip on because they look like knit socks. Most people have a love/hate relationship with UGGs, but ultimately, wear what you like. My grandmother is almost 79 and chooses comfort over all!

This is a little random and maybe TMI for some, but the Natori Feathers bra is what I consider the most universally flattering bra. My best friend Tammy introduced this, and I have since collected several of them. It is comfortable and comes in a variety of hard-to-find sizes. If you have struggled to find an everyday bra, definitely this out! 

I have been wearing gold necklaces a lot recently! I also tend to favor silver and gunmetal jewelry, but I think gold looks softer against my red hair. This Freida Rothman necklace mixes metals and adds a touch of bling to make this piece the perfect statement against all your shirts, blouses, and sweaters!

I normally do not support copies of haute couture, but a Chanel Boy handbag is very, very, very expensive. This Rebecca Minkoff version is made of real leather and a steal at $196.90. 

If you have a man in your life, whether it is your dad or your boyfriend, consider this Tumi backpack. I have developed an affinity for Tumi in the last couple months, so I now stand by their products. This simple and practical backpack will make a wonderful gift!

This IRO Jacket is the sale piece I'm most interested in, despite its synthetic blend. It is rather tricky to find a jacket with the perfect balance of structure and comfort, but I think this fits the bill. Keeping my fingers cross in hopes that it won't be too long on my 5'0 frame!

This coat is a bargain! I have a Helmut Lang jacket with leather sleeves, and I found it so useful in cold climates that I had to recommend this jacket. I love the envelope collar because it gives the coat more structure and drama. Effortless chic!

As I've mentioned before, I've had a long-lasting love affair with Vince. Some of my sweater coats have lasted me since my college years (nearly six years now). Although this coat is a wool and nylon blend, I adore the addition of the hood! It makes this perfect for traveling and rainy weather. 

I am addicted to cardigans. I love them boxy, flowing or long like this Halogen duster! It creates the illusion of a longer, slimmer frame and is available in a petite version! I'll definitely purchase a couple of these to wear with jeans and even shorts or over a bathing suit.

Nordstrom will be be adding more products online as well as in store once the sale starts, so I will update this post on the 8th and again on the 16th depending on stock. This sale's selection does lean heavily toward fall/winter wear, but this way you will be prepared AND stylish for the seasonal transition!
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