Sneak Peek: Saks Summer Beauty Week

IMG_0023Hello, lovelies!

Tomorrow, hubs and I are heading out on vacation- woohoo! We are heading back to our honeymoon spot in St. Barth to celebrate our third wedding anniversary, and I am super excited for some R&R. Be sure to follow along on Instagram this week at @sweetcarolinerva if you want to see some snaps of our travels!

Before jetting off, I wanted to make sure you knew about a celebration coming up next week at Saks Fifth Avenue at Stony Point Shopping Center. The beauty squad at Saks is hosting Summer Beauty Week (June 1-4), and it’s going to be amazing!

The team at Saks is showcasing products that will beat the heat and give you that gorgeous summer glow all season long. PLUS, you get a gift with your beauty purchases. Score! Here’s the skinny on the Summer Beauty Week events:

  • June 1: Complimentary brow threading with any purchase from 6pm-8:30pm with Style by Zahra
  • June 3: Stay cool with King of Pops (yum!) and enjoy a fashion show at 1pm, featuring summer inspired beauty looks.
  • June 4: Infused water tastings with Brewed Well from 1pm-3:30pm

I got a sneak peek today, and it was so much fun! The YSL national makeup artists were in Richmond this week, so I had the special treat of having my makeup done by their team of talented experts. But first, I had to hit up the Saks’ shoe department (because sale. Duh.) How adorable are these Tory Burch Shaw Espadrilles? Perfect for St. Barth!


I was then pampered by the YSL beauty team with a morning makeover! All of the YSL products— from skincare to makeup–look and feel fabulous. My skin has felt hydrated and plump all day, and the makeup is just beautiful.


(P.S. How cute are these two?)

I started off with the Or Rouge Cleansing Creme. This stuff smells amazing and I instantly felt my skin transform. It felt wonderful going on and was so refreshing!


After I was fresh faced, I had my makeup done using all YSL products. I was really impressed with all of the products she used on me– from the eyeshadow palette to the blush! There were three products that really stood out to me, though!

YSL Forever Youth Liberator Eye Zone Serum


This stuff is magical! I haven’t slept well this week– stress? vacation excitement? binge-listening to My Favorite Murder podcast? who knows?– so my eyes have been feeling a little tired and blah. This serum was cooling and refreshing, and really, really perked up my eye area. I looked soooooo much better after she applied this serum (you do not want to see the “before.”)

Click here to purchase!

YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch Highlighter


This bad boy has a cult following, and it’s easy to see why. Highlighter + concealer + contour = magic potion for your skin. This gives you an instant glow and really gives your makeup a polished, dewy, and clean look.

Click here to purchase!

YSL Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick No. 70 – Le Nu


This is the PERFECT lipstick color for summer! It looks great on any skin tone and is the perfect pink — slightly brown, slightly coral, super flattering. I had to snag a tube for myself!

Click here to purchase!

Here’s the final result!


I love the fresh and summery look! 

If you’re looking for high quality, beautiful skin care and makeup, get yourself to Saks and the Yves St. Laurent counter! You can thank me later!

Thank you to my friends at Saks for a fun day of beauty! Can’t wait to return for Summer Beauty Week, June 1-4!


Yves St. Laurent: Perfection of Style at VMFA

VMFAbysl-700x450There are few names in the fashion world that are simply iconic: Dior. Chanel. Armani. Gucci. Versace. And then, there are some icons that require three names, like Yves St. Laurent.

I absolutely loved learning about the history of these fashion houses in a college elective course (I think it was called “The Art of Fashion”), which gave some historical context to these decades-old couture legends. I’ve also always admired YSL’s ability to capture the feminine essence in an exact moment of time, while also possessing the ability to remain timeless and classic throughout different eras. So when I received a media preview invitation in the mail with a big, pink, statement bow on it, I excitedly (and immediately) marked my calendar to check out the Yves St. Laurent: The Perfection of Style exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.


I took this one of Gigi in the lobby at Quirk. Isn’t she gorge?

I was so fortunate to be able to attend the opening gala at the VMFA the night before the media preview, as well. We invited New York-based fashion blogger Gergana (or Gigi) of Fashion is My Forte to join us for the gala. We were able to show Gigi some of our favorite Richmond spots before and after the gala, including:



The gala was black-tie, which meant it was time to Rent the Runway! I ended up going with a beautiful Badgley Mischka stunner, the Fluorescent Chiffon Gown in pink (and I mean PINK!) Badgley Mischka sure knows how to make a girl feel special, I’ll tell you that!

I paired my dress with a pair of turquoise beaded tassel earrings (you can buy similar ones HERE ) and a white, sparkly vintage envelope clutch from Halycon Vintage in Richmond (you can find a similar one HERE on Etsy, or just stop in Halycon sometime! They always have a great collection of fun, festive and sparkly clutches!)

The exhibition itself was absolutely exquisite– and extensive. It’s the largest collection of his pieces, inspiration boards, self-portraits, letters, jewelry, accessories, videos, photos, and more. I can’t wait to go back and spend some more time in the gallery and soaking it all in! Check out this fun teaser video from the VMFA:

“I am no longer concerned with sensation and innovation, but with the perfection of my style” / Yves Saint Laurent

I took a few photos while I was there, but can’t wait to snap some more. Stay tuned for an updated post!

The YSL exhibition will run through August 27, 2017 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (200 N. Boulevard). You can buy tickets here!

I hope you love it as much as I did!

RVA Social Calendar: Wine, Women + Shoes

I am so excited to share this event with you all! Do you like wine? Do you like shoes? Are you a woman? Do you like supporting great causes? Well, this is the perfect chance for you to combine all of those things.

Please join me on Sunday, October 30th from 2:00-5:30pm at the Hilton Richmond Hotel & Spa in Short Pump for Wine, Women and Shoes, a fundraiser benefiting the forensic nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital.  These nurses are absolutely incredible community leaders and angels, providing care to victims of child abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and workplace violence. These individuals are so inspiring and doing extremely important work, and this is a perfect opportunity to show your support. Click here to buy your tickets!

Here’s a fantastic video to give you an overview of the program:

There will be a silent auction and some awesome swag bags, and a great opportunity for networking!

I hope to see you on the 30th! Click here to buy your tickets!


About last night…


As I write this post sitting on our screened-in back porch, it’s cool and rainy. I’m sitting here listening to the gentle sound of raindrops and breeze through the oak tree leaves– it’s incredibly peaceful. With such gloomy weather this morning, it’s hard to believe that only a few hours ago, we were dining al fresco under the light of globe string lights and a huge, uplit Magnolia tree. We had course after course of rustic Italian cuisine paired with perfectly complimentary Italian wines. Laughter, storytelling with new friends, and Catarina Valente softly playing in the background. An unforgettable dining experience.

This is Dinner in the Field.

Curious what this is all about? Here’s an explanation from the Chefs themselves– Paige and Gregorio:

My husband Gregorio and I are a Chef team, who fell in love while cooking and eating together in Southern Italy.

I had recently completed my culinary studies in Italy and Gregorio, an Italian native, was continuing to learn his craft from family members, who had been teaching him ever since he was tall enough to reach the counter. When Gregorio and I met, neither one of us could speak very much of the other’s language, but lucky, food became our universal language. We formed a strong connection in the kitchen–learning from each other, one dish at a time.  After just a few weeks, we were inseparable as we shared our passion for creating large family meals from food grown right outside Gregorio’s doorstep–milk from his cousin’s cow, orange juice from his orange tree, eggs from his Aunt’s chickens, and vegetables from his sister’s garden.  

These relaxed, alfresco family dinners on the Southern Coast of Italy inspired us to return to my hometown of Richmond and share our experience with the people of VA. Each Dinner in the Field event is focused on cooking from the ground up.  First, we find the local seasonally specific ingredients, then we find the breathtaking location, and lastly we create a menu to compliment the entire experience. 

We hope to see you at one of their family tables this summer. 

Working at Virginia Tourism, we have highlighted Dinner in the Field in our marketing– from an advetorial in Food Network magazine to connecting our friends from SORTEDfood with Chef Paige for cooking lessons on a boat and the Dinner in the Field experience for themselves. I had heard how special this evening was– most of these dinners sell out within 10 minutes of posting tickets — but I hadn’t yet experienced it myself. And I am so very glad I had that opportunity last night!

We arrived at the stunning Seven Springs, less than 20 miles from the heart of Richmond in King William county. The farm boasts expansive acreage dotted with little cottages, beautiful old trees, a fenced-in area for their Hog Island sheep, and a manor house (frequently visited by George Washington). Note to soon-to-be-brides: this is the most perfect place to get married. Look into having your wedding here!

*All photos courtesy Don Mears Photography/Seven Springs Farm

We strolled around the grounds with glasses of prosecco in hand, then relaxed in the outdoor living room while Chef Paige introduced the first course — the apertivo.

  • Rustici con riccota e pomodori secchi (a light, flaky pastry with ricotta cream, basil, and sun dried tomatoes)
  • Aged parmigiano reggiano cheese and local honey

adored the rustici — it was light and refreshing but also decadent in a way, as well! So yummy.

IMG_1006Next, Chef Paige asked us to find our seats at the long dining room table a few yards away, next to a beautiful Magnolia tree. The table was decorated with seasonal vegetables and bouquets of basil as centerpieces. Paige and Gregorio would come out between each course to tell us about what we were about to eat. Many of the ingredients were just hours or days off the vine– which meant they retained maximum sweetness and nutrients. And we also learned: never ever refrigerate your tomatoes! Each course was absolutely incredible.

Chef Paige and Gregorio also share some of their guests’ favorite recipes on their blog, and I was so pleased to find the recipe for tiramisu and parmigiana this morning. Yay!

We were treated to the following courses, each were fresh, seasonal, and, well, pretty perfect.

  • Insalata: Italian green beans, potatoes, onions, cherry tomatoes, oregano and basil.
  • Primo: Rigatoni al Pesto com Gamberi (basil, parmigiano, garlic, pine nults, walnuts and pistachios, blended and sauteed with rigatoni pasta with zucchini and shrimp).
  • Secondo: Parmigiana (layers of sliced eggplant baked with fresh tomato sauce, parmiggiano reggiano, basil, and provola cheese)– this was my FAVORITE! And lucky for me (and you!) Chef Gregorio has shared his recipe here.
  • Dolce: Tiramisu’ (with mascarpone, coffee, and cacao). Recipe here!

We ended the night around 11pm and made our way back to downtown, still chatting the whole way about each course and what a dreamy evening it was.

I simply cannot say enough about what a magical experience Dinner in the Field was, and I can’t wait to return for another. Chefs Paige and Gregorio are hoping to soon open a restaurant to share Dinner in the Field with more people — so stay tuned for what is sure to be an in-demand destination restaurant!


Two very happy campers last night above – thank you Chefs Paige and Gregorio for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we will cherish forever!

Meet our new friend, Benjamin Moore.

A few weeks ago after we signed the contract for our new home, I reached out to my dear friend Meredith for some inspiration and advice on color and wallpaper. Mere is one of my oldest friends- we’ve known each other since second grade! Here’s Mere and me in third grade doing a “talk show” for Mother’s Day dressed up as our moms (?!) Mere was so chic, even at age eight! (Note: Mere is the mini-Audrey Hepburn. I’m the one that looks like Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances. See reference photo below.)

We grew up together in Richmond, but Meredith quickly outgrew RVA and went on to study at SMU in Dallas before heading to New York City for design school. She now works for one of the top interior design firms in Manhattan, Gomez Associates, with a bevy of socialite and celebrity clients (don’t pump me for gossip, though. Mere is as tight-lipped as they come about her clients! Privacy first!)

Meredith has always had an impeccable eye for style and design, even before studying it professionally. She has an effortless way of mixing traditional with funky, neutrals with pops of color, and envisioning how to make a space come to life even from just a simple photo. Everything she touches looks like it magically came to life from the pages of a magazine. Which is why, as a clueless design neophyte, I absolutely needed her help in building the very basic-but essential-foundation to our home’s design: paint and wallpaper.

First up, our dining room. I sent her a safe, neutral grasscloth idea. Now? We’re doing this beautiful grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries to punctuate a statement dining room that will look similar to this:

This is our furniture that will fill the room:

Mere also advised us on our paint colors. I picked up my paint samples from Benjamin Moore this week, and tonight I did giant DIY paint swatches on white posters.

Here are some of the color examples for each room we’ll be using these paint colors, and some real-life examples of that room in others’ homes. ALL are Benjamin Moore, our new friend!

Kitchen: Wickham Gray

Living Room: Manchester Tan

Master Bath: Palladian Blue

Master Bedroom: Wythe Blue

Guest Bath: Oyster Shell

I want to find a room SOMEWHERE to do Edgecomb Gray and Gray Owl, but that is for another project, another day….

What paint colors do YOU love??

A New Beginning…

It’s been a little quiet around here on Sweet Caroline over the past few weeks. Things have been non-stop, go-go-go, but I’ve also held off on posting for a while because the temptation was too great to share our big news. Now that it’s Facebook and Insta-official…



We bought a house!!!

Paul and I have been searching high and low for the perfect home in Richmond to start this next chapter in our adventure. We wanted something historic but updated. Large but not too. Something we can grow into and make our own. A home that was great for entertaining and for the just-us nights. And we finally found it! Endless thanks and gratitude to our wonderful agent, Philip Innes of RE/MAX Commonwealth. We can’t say enough good things about our experience buying our first home with Philip! [Read more…]

The Perfect RVA Holiday Cocktail


Happy Holidays, RVA!

There are only a few more days left until Christmas, and Richmonders are busy finishing shopping, decorating, and menu-planning for their guests and families.

While you are planning what to eat and drink this holiday season, make sure you don’t forget the most important menu item of all: the Christmas Morning Cocktail.

This year, I will be making the RVA Bloody Mary, made with all local products that I adore— and they’re all readily available to buy online or in local Richmond shops.

The Ingredients


Crunch Dynasty

Crunch Dynasty is an Asian-inspired hot topping that goes on just about everything– from sushi to mac & cheese. This delicious topping is made with garlic, shallots, gluten-free soy sauce, sesame seeds, hot peppers, and special seasons and oils.

I love to rim my Bloody Mary glass with Crunch Dynasty (and sprinkle a bit into the cocktail itself!) The topping gives your drink a delicious zing and lots of flavor. This stuff takes anything from a Bloody Mary to scrambled eggs from blah to blazing in an instant!

Click here to find the store closest to you, or click here to purchase online!

Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix

Texas Beach Bloody Mary mix isn’t your mama’s mix– this delicious mix is just as special as Richmond is. Named after Texas Beach, a park at the south end of Texas Avenue near Maymont, this Bloody Mary mix packs a punch– and is one of the tastiest mixes I’ve ever tried. Garlicky, peppery, and just the right thickness, this is by far my favorite Bloody Mary mix on the planet.

Click here to find the store closest to you, or click here to purchase online!

Belle Isle Moonshine

Belle Isle Moonshine came to market in late 2013 with a bang, and Richmonders have been loyal to this incredible brand ever since. The creators were tired of all of the “novelty” moonshine brands on the shelves, and created this premium brand with a nod to Belle Isle in downtown Richmond. The moonshine is smooth and easy to drink, and is the perfect addition for the RVA Bloody Mary.

Belle Isle Craft Spirits are carried in most ABC stores in Richmond. Click here to shop!

Recipe: RVA Bloody Mary

  • Crunch Dynasty topping
  • 1.5 oz Belle Isle Moonshine
  • 3.5 oz Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix

Rim glass in Crunch Dynasty hot topping. In another glass, stir together Belle Isle Moonshine & Texas Beach Bloody Mary Mix. Fill glass with ice, then pour mixture into second glass. Pour back and forth 3-4 times to mix well. Pour into rimmed glass, garnish with celery stalk and serve.



Holiday Gift Guide: For the Beauty Lover

photo credit: Jenny McQueen

Our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide continues today with gift ideas for the Beauty Junkie in your life. All of these luxurious beauty products come from one of my favorite shops in Richmond – Elements of Carytown! If you’re not an RVA native- or prefer to do your holiday shopping online- you’re in luck. Elements has all of their products online, too!

If you’re new to Elements, check out my introductory post here. I know you’re just going to LOVE these products! And as a special treat for Sweet Caroline readers, beginning on December 3, 2015, you will get 20% off your purchases! This special only lasts until December 10th, so be sure to get your beauty shopping in fast! Just use the code “SWEETCAROLINE” at checkout at or mention my blog in-store.


BONUS! Want to win a $50 gift card from Elements? Show us your #ElementsBeautyHaul! All you have to do is post a photo of your purchases on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #ElementsBeautyHaul for a chance to win a $50 gift card. They pick one winner each month! Score.

Now, without further ado, here are my favorite products for the Beauty Lover in your life!

Peter Thomas Roth Must-Have Holiday Kit

I am a certified PTR addict – I love all of the masks, serums, peels and cleansers! (Don’t believe me? Check out this post devoted exclusively to my main man Peter!) This holiday kit not only comes with a beautiful, festive gold bag, but it also includes some of my favorite products: Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel, To Die For Mascara, and Irish Moor Mud Mask. This is a perfect combination of some of Peter Thomas Roth’s best products. Click here to purchase ($38) [Read more…]

RVA Shopping Guide| Ledbury Warehouse Sale | August 19-22

Attention RVA Gentlemen (and the ladies who dress them):

It’s that time of year again: out with the old, and in with the new! It’s time to toss your ratty old dress shirts (you know the ones) and replace them with brand new, gorgeously tailored shirts from Richmond’s sartorial darling, Ledbury. (PS: Did you see their fabulous feature in the Wall Street Journal? Check it out!)

ledburyLedbury is hosting their storied Summer Warehouse Sale August 19-22, 2015 at the 14th street shop in Shockoe Bottom, and it’s set to present some epic bargains (up to 75% off discontinued items!)

The Ledbury team is kicking it all off this Wednesday, August 19th, from 4pm-7pm at their wonderfully chic shop (117 S. 14th Street, Richmond). They’ll have tiki drinks, snacks, and great tunes — and a chance to shop the sale early.

Here are all the important sale details:

  • Expect savings of up to 75% discontinued items – and significant discounts on some current items, exclusive to local customers only!
  • Shop “Ledbury vintage” styles and new shirts from the past year or so, all in range of bold prints and classic go-tos.
  • In addition to shirting, they’ll have limited blazers, pants(!) and accessories.
  • Sips and snacks will be served throughout the sale.
  • Best strategy for shopping:
    • Come early Wednesday for your best shot to snag shirting in your size (especially slim fit) as well as a limited selection of blazers.
    • Stock will be replenished everyday, so it’s worth checking back in.


    • 117 S 14th St, next to LaDiff.
    • Free parking at 14th St and Dock St.


    • Wed, Aug 19, 10AM-7PM
    • Thurs, Aug 20 – Sat, Aug 22, 10AM-6PM

With Ledbury, surprises are always possible. Insider tip: keep an eye on all of Ledbury’s social media channels for a golden pineapple… that’s all we can say- but they did post this little teaser on Instagram. Stay tuned!



Happy Shopping! Hope to see you on 14th Street this week….


Beauty Brand I Love: Peter Thomas Roth

Image result for peter thomas rothGreetings, bellissimas! I’ve taken a bit of a summer hiatus from the blog the past few weeks due to lots of traveling, work, and events! Being so busy, sometimes it can be a challenge to find time to take care of yourself — on the inside and out. But even at my busiest, I try to find time to squeeze in a workout, some quiet time, a glass of wine, and to take care of my skin. A common misconception about skincare is that it eats up a big chunk of your pre-bedtime ritual. Not so, especially when you have the right products in your arsenal!

My end-0f-day beauty routine is down to a science now, primarily because of the great education I have received from the owners of Elements Beauty Shop and my fellow Elements Beauty Bloggers. Through those conversations, I have come to rely on Peter Thomas Roth Labs as my go-to skincare line, from start to finish. I still have a few other brands on my counter (Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Moisturizer and REN Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water), but I SWEAR by Peter Thomas Roth for just about every other skincare need. Here are a few of my favorites!

All of these are available for purchase at Elements Beauty Shop (online or in Carytown). Be sure to register for an account and use my code “sweetcaroline” at checkout for 10% off your purchase.

PTR Rose Stem Cell  Bio-Repair Gel Mask

I am in love with this powerful, soothing mask. Christina of Tiramisu for Breakfast turned me onto this product. I actually put it on right before bed and sleep in it – and it’s even more refreshing if you pop it in the fridge before application. It’s made my skin feel more plump, brighter, and rejuvenated – and it also helps attack fine lines and wrinkles. I will continue to buy this again and again as a go-to in my beauty routine. ($45, click here to purchase)

PTR Power K Eye Rescue

Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue

This is a new product in my beauty routine – I just bought it a few days ago and can already tell a major difference. Sherry and Jeanie from Elements have both been using this for weeks and swear by it – it’s great for undereye circles and puffiness. I had been using Erno Laszlo’s Phormula 3-9 Eye Repair (which I adore), but I think I’m a new convert to this amazing eye treatment. Loaded up with Vitamin K, just a small amount has the power to transform tired, puffy eyes and make them look like new again. Obsessed! ($100, click here to purchase).

PTR Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Cleansing Gel

After using the Rose Stem Cell mask for the past few months, I recently discovered this amazing cleanser from the same line. A little dab will do ya! Just a small amount leaves you with a rich lather. It also helps speed up cell turnover and repair! This has been featured in ELLE and Vanity Fair magazines, as well. I like to use a dime size of this cleanser with my Clarisonic for an even deeper clean. ($38, click here to purchase).

PTR FirmX Peeling Gel

I first tried this product at one of our Elements Beauty Bloggers events with the rep from Peter Thomas Roth. She put a small amount on the back of my hand, then asked me to rub it in across my skin. A few seconds later, I noticed some grainy, tiny balls that were rolling under my fingertips. Yep — DEAD SKIN! This is a really gentle way to exfoliate and clear your dead skin to reveal younger, more healthy skin underneath. It’s non-abrasive but powerful, and a good treatment to use about once a week to really freshen up your face. ($48, click here to purchase).

PTR Irish Moor Mud Mask

Trust me when I say this: the first time you use this mask, you’re going to feel like you look ridiculous. The mask is black and thick, so it really looks like you have just spread a bunch of dark mud on your face! But, the results are so impressive and fabulous it’s worth the silly feeling. My favorite word to describe this mask is “decongesting,” because it does just that. This is a perfect way to refresh your skin and revive it after airplane travel, pollution exposure, a long weekend of celebrating, or when you just need a pick-me-up.  The ingredients actually come from Irish moors, and are chock full of nutrients. This is a great mask to use every other week or whenever you need “decongesting!” ($58, click here to purchase).

Those are just a few of my favorite Peter Thomas Roth products. Remember, be sure to use my code “sweetcaroline” at check-out, in-store or online, for 10% off!


What’s your go-to beauty brand? Leave your comments below!


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