September Raves

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

It’s fall ya’ll, and as much I try to protest the end of every summer, I always surprise myself with how much I really do enjoy this season. There are some wonderful smells, foods, events, and fashions that just don’t feel right any other time of year. On that note, here’s what I’m raving about this month.

Harry & David Pumpkin Macaroon Candle

Harry & David Pumpkin Macaroon Candle

Nothing is more fragrantly fall than anything pumpkin. It’s mandatory to burn pumpkin scented candles in my home each night from mid September to Thanksgiving. This year my pick is this pumpkin macaroon (yes macaroon, not macaron) scented candle from Harry & David. Even better was the price. I picked it up from Home Goods for $5.99. It has kept my home smelling perfectly pumpkin. I may have to go pick up a second one, just because.

Rare find on Facebook!

Rare find on Facebook!

Speaking of Home Goods I’d like to give a special shout out to them and Pier 1 Imports. I recently moved and both stores have been my go to for decorating my new space, without overdoing on decor and dollars. If there’s anything I’m raving about this month it’s minimalism. I’ve always been a minimalist, but moving gave me the best excuse to purge. I got rid of so much stuff that I didn’t use via Goodwill and Facebook sale groups. I’m totally raving about Facebook sale pages. Not only was I able to get money for and recycle things I no longer needed, but I also found some great furniture that I did need. I picked up a fabulous sleigh bed for my son and an amazing (possibly one of a kind) entry table with mirror set. Check out your local Facebook buy/sell/barter pages. You never know what you might earn…or find!

Eve's Tree hoodies clockwise from top: The Sophie in Evergreen, The Ashley in Sienna, The Lisa Golden

Evy’s Tree hoodies clockwise from top:
The Sophie in Evergreen, The Ashley in Sienna, The Lisa Golden

Finding things is awesome and my favorite recent find is a small company (that’s growing larger by the minute) called Evy’sTree ( I purged I made a vow to never again buy ANYTHING unless I absolutely NEEDED or LOVED it. I just can’t take having unnecessary stuff (or spending) in my life. Well, I may not need everything from Evy’s Tree (though I have convinced myself that I do), but I LOVE everything they make, and when I love something (as evidenced by the throw blanket on my couch that I bought in college) I’ll hold onto it forever, getting more than my money’s worth. I found Evy’s Tree on Instagram while I was doing work for a social media client. They make fashionably addictive and comfortable hoodies with feminine touches like ruffles and patterned lining. I purchased one and commented about it on Twitter. After that they asked me to test run two of their products. Brilliant of them, because I’ve bought two more since. They release new hoodies each month and offer them at pre-sale prices. I can’t wait for my next two to get here. I finally can feel like I’m wearing sweats all the time, but look polished and pulled together. Prices range from $79(intro) to $119 (full). Follow them on Instagram @evystreeofficialTwitter @EvysTree and find them on Facebook. Tell them I sent you, and then thank me when you are luxuriating in the highest quality, most comfortable hoodie you’ve ever owned.

Dare Maple Leaf Creme Cookies

Dare Maple Creme Cookies

Fall flavors are fantastic. Say that one ten times fast. Costco makes a pumpkin muffin to die for. It’s one of my weekend cheats, as you all know I eat clean Monday-Friday (I need to write about that again as it’s really working, people keep asking me how I’ve gotten so slim). Another fall treat in my home are Maple Creme Cookies by Dare cookie company. I dare you to try these and not get addicted. I first had these maple leaf shaped treats on a trip to Vermont many years ago. They are extremely popular there. They look beautiful in a glass cookie jar. Tasty, and fall functional.

The Skinnygirls await my housewarming party.

The Skinnygirls await my housewarming party.

For those of us that can’t let summer go, you can enjoy the perfectly peach taste of summer year round with White Peach Margarita from Skinnygirl Cocktails. My awesome friends over at SG sent me some samples of their line to taste test on a few friends (a Skinnygirl “sponsored” housewarming party is in the works). I held a small unpacking party and this flavor went very quickly. It’s got just the right amount of sweet, which I think compliments any dessert, no matter the season!

So those are my current obsessions. Let me know what you think of them and tell me, what are YOU obsessed with? If there’s something you think I need to try for my next Rave Page give it a shout out in the comments!

Regards and hugs,


July Raves

1 purity cleansing wipes from Philosophy 2 Pet Odor Exterminator Candle Mulberry & Spice Scent 3  Shark Navigator vacuum cleaner 4 Lucky Brand strapless cotton romper 5 Puddle Jumper life jacket 6 Skinnygirl Cocktails White Cranberry Cosmo

1 purity cleansing wipes from Philosophy 2 Pet Odor Exterminator Candle Mulberry & Spice Scent 3 Shark Navigator vacuum cleaner 4 Lucky Brand strapless cotton romper 5 Puddle Jumper life jacket 6 Skinnygirl Cocktails White Cranberry Cosmo

By Tara Cushing @TheBravoBlonde

The lazy days of summer are finally upon us, but some things just need to get done. Here are my current favorite things that make what we must do this summer a little easier to accomplish:

One thing I confess to being lazy about is skincare. By the time I am able to shut down for the evening I’m too exhausted to do the whole washing routine. My first rave is for lazy face washers like me everywhere. In May I raved about Philosophy body wash, this month it’s their purity one-step facial cleansing cloths. They are a tad bit pricey ($15 for a 30 count package), but they get the job done. I’ve tried cheaper brands and even regular baby wipes, but they dried out my skin and left me looking like Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner after a good cry. I purchased my purity wipes at Sephora, but they are also available at Philosophy ‘s website. Try them and never wake up with makeup stains on your pillow again.

Summer brings with it certain smells. The honeysuckle in the breeze, the brine of the ocean, the stench of your pet on a humid day. Recently I had an issue with this and was mortified when a house guest (ok home shopper) noticed a “strong dog odor” in my home. I went so psycho over the whole thing that I dumped an entire can of freshening powder on my carpets and broke a vacuum cleaner that was less than a year old trying to suck it up. We had to rent the industrial vac from Home Depot and buy a whole new vacuum (see next rave) after the debacle. In the end my house still smelled like the dog (turns out it was him, not the carpets). When grooming didn’t even help I turned to my local pet supply store and that is where I found the Pet Odor Exterminator Candle. They offer a 100% money back guarantee if it doesn’t work…it works. It works so well, in fact, that my realtor commented “The place smells amazing”and my house even sold! You can find the candle on Amazon. I recommend the Mulberry & Spice scent.

After I broke my vacuum I was faced with having to buy a new one for the second time in less than a year. Not wanting to spend a ton this time I looked for a less expensive brand. I’d heard many people rave about their Shark brand vacuums, including my mother. I got a Shark Navigator at Bed Bath & Beyond for about $130 with my coupon and it is THE BEST VACUUM I’VE EVER OWNED. I don’t know whether I should be excited or terrified by the amount of dirt this thing sucks up and it’s got such power it needs minimal push. Even better it comes apart and has a fabulous attachment for doing the stairs, upholstery, and the car interior. Now if you really really want to be lazy you could spring the big bucks for a Roomba, but, don’t let my husband read this, vacuuming with my Shark is kind of fun…almost.

Now that it’s hot out getting dressed is a chore, and uncomfortable. Since it’s not appropriate to be naked in most communities, one step lightweight clothes are the way to go. How to look cute when you just want to throw something on? Lucky Brand makes adorable lightweight strapless rompers with hints of lace so you can look put together, stay cool, and dress down. Perfect for the pool, beach, running errands, you will feel like you’re wearing nothing, without the risk of getting arrested. I got mine at Lord & Taylor (coupon!), but Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Bloomingdale’s also carry them (in fact Bloomies has it on sale until July 5th!).

So you want to be lazy poolside and just watch your little ones swim? You need to get them Puddle Jumper life jackets by Stearns. Unlike traditional floaties, these don’t have to be blown up. They are one piece that slide up the arms and fasten around the body, giving your child three areas of support. My kids love theirs and can spend the whole day wearing them without complaint. Kids who don’t complain are awesome. You can find them at Target and pool supply stores.

Finally, what’s the summer without a cocktail? Again, I’m lazy, I don’t want to mix my drink, hey, I’m on vacation. My favorite ready to go cocktail du jour is Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo. Made with “vodka, triple sec, and natural flavors” one serving is only 34 calories, which is awesome when you are spending your days running around half-naked in the heat. The flavor is fruity but not too sweet and seriously, who doesn’t love a Cosmo? It’s also clear in color, which is great for when you spill your drink and are too lazy to try and coerce the stain out of your strapless romper.You can order Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo online (if your region allows) at Total Wine.

Will you or have your tried any of my raves? What are you raving about? Share with us, we’d love to hear from you!

May Raves

Top: Bare Skin foundation by Bare Minerals, Amazing Grace olive oil body scrub from Philosophy, Anthropologie hat, Three Bird Nest top, Niks Creations necklace Bottom: Stonewall Kitchen Herbs de Provence handsoap, Janie and Jack swim trunks, me wearing Bare Skin foundation and my Niks Creations necklace.

Top: Bare Skin foundation by Bare Minerals, Amazing Grace olive oil body scrub from Philosophy, Anthropologie hat, Three Bird Nest top, Niks Creations necklace
Bottom: Stonewall Kitchen Herbs de Provence handsoap, Janie and Jack swim trunks, me wearing Bare Skin foundation and my Niks Creations necklace.

By Tara Cushing (@TheBravoBlonde)

I’m the kind of person who never feels so-so about anything. I either love something, or hate it, there’s no in between. When one feels so strongly about the things she likes, naturally she wants to share them with others, and so I invented the rave page. None of these companies have sought me out to rave about their products, these are all just things I’ve recently acquired and love.

No look can go over well when your skin looks crappy. Believe it or not, I have problem skin, and it’s never an easy task for me to cover it up. For years I’ve relied on Bare Minerals powder foundations, but now that I’m getting older the powder is starting to make my face look dry, not to mention it settles into any fine lines that may or may not be starting to develop. On a recent Sephora trip I discovered that Bare Minerals does have a liquid foundation called Bare Skin (1). I love it. My skin looks hydrated, brighter, and it’s sheer enough to not feel or look heavy. They recommend buying a special applicator brush with it, but I’m using my good old fashioned (cheap) fingers just fine. Make sure you shake the container well before applying or the foundation comes out too liquidy. Check it out here.

My second beauty rave is from another company I have purchased many products from. A relative of mine received a free bottle of Philosophy Amazing Grace olive oil body scrub (2) and passed it on to me. I can’t get enough of this stuff! It makes my skin baby soft and the smell is light and clean…and most scented products irritate my nose and give me headaches. The scrubbing particles are minimally abrasive. The only downside is the price, but the bottle is HUGE and it’s so great, I’ll be purchasing it even when my freebie is gone. Amazon has a good deal here.

From beauty lets go to fashion, and this month I’m raving about black and white. I got a sunhat from Anthropologie (3) and I just can’t wait to wear it to the beach Memorial Day weekend. Unfortunately they don’t seem to have it in stock anymore, but here’s a similar style that’s just as cute. Matching the hat this really cute top from Three Bird Nest (4). The shoulders are adjustable, just don’t let your kids untie them in public! My last new fashion find is this Buddha tassel necklace from Niks Creations (5). Though I do represent Niks Creations, they have no idea that this article is even being written, I’m just honestly obsessed with this piece. It goes with so many things and I get compliments everywhere I wear it. What’s even better is they will customize it according to your color specifications.

In the home this month I’m obsessing over products by Stonewall Kitchen, especially their hand soaps (6).At about $10 a pop they are pricey, so I treated myself to one each grocery shopping until every sink in my house had one. My favorite scent is Herbs de Provence, and not just because it’s my favorite color. I also love the Lavender Mint and the Grapefruit Thyme. Their soy candles are also fabulous!

Last but not least is a rave for my kids. Though I don’t usually like to spend a lot of money on kids clothes that will be outgrown after one season, I couldn’t resist these Janie and Jack swim trunks. I love the appliquéd anchor. Even my husband was on board with buying these when we saw them in the store.

So what are you raving about this month? Let us know in the comments section, maybe your suggestion will end up to be the next thing I’m raving about!