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Packing List: Hawaiian Island Vacay

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I wouldn’t trade New York for any other city, but right about this time of year I start to miss the ocean like whoa. I’m headed to Hawaii this week to visit family and get my fix of palm trees, sand, and spam musubi. (Not kidding—don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.) Here’s what I’m packing for my tropical escape. 

1. La Fresh Oil-Free Face Cleanser: I’m a big proponent of face wipes, both at work (key when product-testing) and when traveling. These hydrating wipes have both aloe vera and vitamin E—they’ll come in handy on the 12-hour flight as well as any beach adventures.

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Soapwalla’s Crazy Cool Deodorant: Well-Balanced

You wouldn’t know it from how much we talk about cookies, but Birchbox staffers are a pretty healthy bunch. We love our veggies and mind-clearing workouts, and are always up to try the latest fitness class or nutrition bar. Which is why we have new regular column: Well-Balanced. Check back weekly for our latest wellness obsession.image

Mea culpa, take two. I was late on this week’s post because I was in transit to Europe, where I am visiting our amazing London and Paris teams. This time, I have plenty of snacks and, since I’m traveling with a fellow Birchbox staffer—Rachel, our social media master—plenty of products. In the process of comparing toiletry notes, I discovered that we both recently switched to natural deodorant. I’ve tried to make the swap a few times, but those stints only lasted until the first warm day. But this time I’m newly committed, thanks to a tip from Of a Kind’s Erica Cerulo about Soapwalla’s Deodorant Cream.

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Dior’s Gorgeous Spring Polishes, Rihanna Announces a Clothing Line, and More

We’re l-o-v-i-n-g Dior’s new cruise 2013 polish collection featuring the ultrabright shades Lime, Mango, and Pastèque. [SheFinds]
Rihanna is about to touch down in London town: The singer plans to launch a clothing and accessories line during London Fashion Week. [WWD]
And the haircut of the year award goes to…Karlie Kloss! [New York Times]
Does being vitamin D deficient mean that your workouts are less effective? [Q]
We were heartbroken to find out that the world’s most famous advice columnist, Dear Abby, has passed away. [The Daily Beast]
Help your hair make it through these dry winter days with these 10 essentials. [Beauty High]
Did Vogue go too far with its February Hurricane Sandy spread? [Huffington Post]
Celebrities like Kristen Stewart and Rihanna are receiving criticism for staring in “heroin-chic” ads. [Shoptiques]
Get your glutes in shape with these kick-butt moves. [Well + Good NYC]
-Charisse
Want to try out the haircut of the year? Click through for three easy ways to style it.

Dior’s Gorgeous Spring Polishes, Rihanna Announces a Clothing Line, and More

-Charisse

Want to try out the haircut of the year? Click through for three easy ways to style it.

Of A Kind Jewelry Designer Alyssa Lesser’s Must-Have Lip Tint

The Of a Kind founders have unquestionably impeccable taste—a huge reason we love having their designer picks on our blog. Today’s featured designer, Alyssa Lesser, creates just-tough-enough pieces for her ultra-cool jewelry line, LessAs a lady constantly on the go, Alyssa has a particular affinity for one of our favorite, easy-to-use lip products—and we couldn’t agree more with her on-point pick.

Alyssa Lesser has a lot going on. She’s finishing up her last semester at Parsons—which involves developing a crazy-daunting thesis collection—and she has had her own glam-tough jewelry line for three years and counting. Basically, girlfriend doesn’t have time to be fussy. “I don’t wear a lot of makeup on non-fancy days. Enter Tarte LipSurgence lip tint: It comes in a bunch of awesome colors, and gives you that slight punch of color that keeps you looking alive, without the commitment involved in a lipstick. It stays put longer than a gloss, though, and smells like peppermint!” Alyssa explains. The scent has got to come in pretty handy—a pick-me-up on days when she’s bound to be running on empty.

Of A Kind Jewelry Designer Elizabeth Knight Smells Delicious

The Of a Kind founders have unquestionably impeccable taste—a huge reason we love having their designer picks on our blog. Today’s featured designer, Elizabeth Thompson, creates ladylike jewelry for her line, Elizabeth Knight, named after her two grandmothers. We’re already picturing unlimited outfits that would benefit from these oxidized silver and rose gold Athena earringsThompson also has a penchant for fragrances, an addiction we share. Read on to find out her favorites.

Having started her training at SCAD in Savannah, it’s really no surprise that Elizabeth Thompson has a thing for all things old and stately. When it comes to her jewelry designs, that means casting a lot of amazing found objects and creating pieces that would look as good on you as your great aunt—take the oxidized silver and rose gold earrings she created for Of a Kind, for example.

In the beauty realm, she has a fascination with fragrances. “Jo Malone’s Wild Fig & Cassis and the Soaked Earth scent from CB I Hate Perfume have long since been competing for my heart—all in all, I usually won’t deviate too far from my earthy-musky go-to scents,” she explains. “Lately there has been a new one in the running: Bal D’Afrique perfume by a Stockholm-based line Byredo Parfums. The fragrance is inspired by Paris in the 1920s and by African dance music. It is still too hard to decide which is my favorite, but what I can say is the Bal D’Afrique bottle has come and gone in the time that the other two have sat on my vanity.” If that isn’t a hard sell, well, we don’t know what is.

Catch up on all of our Of a Kind posts here.

Of A Kind Designer Blanca Monros Gomez Keeps Her Hands in Tip Top Shape

Every week, Of a Kind brings you a new limited edition piece from a brilliant up-and-coming designer. This week, meet Blanca Monros Gomez, a jewelry mastermind who has a flare for feminine pieces with a modern twist. Pick up a pair of her black diamond studs (the perfect holiday gift, no?) and learn her trade secret for keeping hands in good shape despite wrestling with precious metals all day.

Of a Kind Designer Blanca Monros Gomez’s Hand Saver

Among the biggest complaints of designers who work with their hands all day: gnarled cuticles, rough patches, and all sorts of battle scars from sewing machines, torches, or other tools of the trade.

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Of a Kind Designer Sara Dudzinsky Shares Her Must-Have Fragrance

Chalk this up to something we never knew we wanted: earrings made from sea urchin spines. This week’s Of a Kind designer, Sara Dudzinsky isn’t just a genius at turning unusual materials into jewelry works of art — she’s also a fragrance savant. Pick up her Ocean Quill Studs here and read on for her favorite, totally non-girly scent.

Sara Dudzinsky of Better Late Than Never Has Uncovered the Ideal, Just-Feminine-Enough Perfume

Though Sara Dudzinsky’s jewelry for her line Better Late Than Never is undeniably delicate, there is nothing sweet about it. She uses raw crystals — and, most recently in her edition for Of a Kind, sea urchin spines — to create the sort of earrings you could wear constantly…and get compliments on day-in and day- out. When it comes to a signature scent, she’s managed to achieve a similar effect, finding a perfume that’s both graceful and undone. “I couldn’t live without my OLO Violets/Leathers fragrance. It’s perfect for everyday wear—soft and light but not overly feminine,” the designer explains. Bonus: The perfume is concocted in Portland, Oregon, just like her accessories are.