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Culture, Living

The 4 Books We Can’t Stop Talking About This Summer

August 14, 2015

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For many of us at milk + honey, reading provides an outlet for self-reflection, creativity, and inspiration. It’s an action that requires dedicated time away from our phones and computers. And, most importantly, reading allows us to engage our minds in a meditative way.

With the dog days of summer in our midst, herein find our top escape-the-heat picks. Our recommendation? Grab a book, pack your sunscreen and a towel, and head to Barton Springs for an afternoon of lounging and literature.

  1. The Dog Stars by Peter Heller — Hig survived the flu that killed everyone he knows. His wife is gone, his friends are dead, he lives in the hangar of a small abandoned airport with his dog, his only neighbor a gun-toting misanthrope. In his 1956 Cessna, Hig flies the perimeter of the airfield or sneaks off to the mountains to fish and to pretend that things are the way they used to be. But when a random transmission somehow beams through his radio, the voice ignites a hope deep inside him that a better life—something like his old life—exists beyond the airport. Risking everything, he flies past his point of no return—not enough fuel to get him home—following the trail of the static-broken voice on the radio. But what he encounters and what he must face—in the people he meets, and in himself—is both better and worse than anything he could have hoped for.

    “The best book I’ve read this year. The writing is so good, so stark.” — Emilie, HR

  2. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan — When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.

    On Nick’s arm, Rachel may as well have a target on her back the second she steps off the plane, and soon, her relaxed vacation turns into an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers.

    “Frivolous, fun, and addictive. You’re immediately drawn in, like a fly on the wall of Singapore’s wealthiest [fictional] families. The characters are outrageous and the shopping is the stuff of fashionista dreams. And if you love this one, be sure to add China Rich Girlfriend to your list, too. ” — Marisa, marketing

  3. The Fever by Megan Abbott — Deenie Nash is a diligent student with a close-knit family; her brother Eli is a hockey star and her father is a popular teacher. But when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class, the Nashes’ seeming stability dissolves into chaos. As rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through school, and hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families, and the town’s fragile sense of security.

    “Author Megan Abbott illustrates how quickly fear can sweep through even the sleepiest of towns. Like with any good book, you are left haunted long after you put it down. The scariest part? It all seems so real.” — Kate H., Hill Country Galleria assistant manager
  4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr — Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

    “This was tortured reading for me, but not for the reason you think. I couldn’t put it down, but I didn’t want it to end. I’d find myself highlighting passages just so I could return to an exact turn of phrase later. Doerr’s writing is beautiful, lyrical even. The slow unfolding and eventual overlap of the characters’ lives expose us to the realities of World War II from two distinctive perspectives: a blind Parisian girl and a German boy. Highly recommend.” — Marisa, marketing

Body, Products

Sale’s On! Arnica Balm to the Rescue.

August 13, 2015

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Whether you’re an athlete, dealing with everyday aches and pains, or simply live by the “work hard, play hard” mantra, our Arnica Balm will help you recover. This powerful Arnica-infused balm stimulates the senses as it zeroes in on tired muscles and joints. The icing on the proverbial cake? It’s on sale through August 31, 2015.

Shop it right here.


Image courtesy of Instagram user nikerunning

Style

Summer Style Decoded: the milk + honey way

July 3, 2015

The warmer (Austin translation: hottest) weather can be the seasonal impetus for breathing new life into your sense of self and daily routine. And yes, your sense of style certainly falls under the category of the former. Today, we’re mixing things up with something a little more fashion-minded. Let the spa be a place for repose and renewal — but these five tips? Let these inspire — and elevate — your summer wardrobe to the next level.

— Ricky Rodriguez


1. The Modern Strap

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The strappy sandal has become a wardrobe essential for the woman who embraces simplicity and functionality. Thanks to designers such as Diane Von Furstenberg and Fendi, the summer staple has been upgraded with mixed materials, exotic textures, and unexpected accents (think PVC straps, colorblocked low heels, and flashes of metallic).


2. Monochromatic

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Monochromatic color is defined as “all the colors of a single hue extended using its shades, tones and tints.” Take cues from Calvin Klein and Stella McCartney — both of whom could be crowned the Masters of Monochrome. Whether you opt for something as breezy as a dark blue denim mixed with a dark blue pocket tee or try a more complex mash-up of ivory, cream, and crisp white, the monochromatic palette instantly injects freshness and surprising versatility to any outfit.


3. Print + Pattern

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Diane Von Furstenberg and Roberto Cavalli are renown for their constant (and refreshing) use of print and pattern. Season after season, these greats invent new ways to wear prints that dazzle the eye. Sure, pattern can deter many from wearing a particular garment for fear that it looks too busy or chaotic. But we say — everything in moderation, right? Don’t be afraid to select a print that speaks to you and reminds you that summer is here.


4. The Sundress Redux

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This summer’s adaptation of the sundress combines equal parts structure and flow. What exactly does this mean? Look to the DKNY and Tibi S/S 2015 collections for what we’d like to think is the ideal balance between airy summer slip and tailored shift. Carefully constructed busts, cinched waists and flowing fabric will highlight your figure in all the right places, making you look (and feel!) like a goddess.


5. Just a Pop

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Color enthusiasts, this is your time to shine (or more literally, to stand out). Select pieces that offer a subtle pop of color, giving you a dynamic yet classic look. Or, if you’re feeling a bit more daring, try something a little louder. We love how Thakoon and Carolina Herrera have interpreted this bright trend — adding bursts of bright blues and pinks to otherwise understated looks and embracing bright color-ways in accessories.

{Images courtesy of Net-A-Porter}

— Additional reporting by Marisa Tom

New Spa Partisans, News

Get to Know: Susan Michele, milk + honey’s New President of Operations

June 29, 2015

Susan Michele 4 (2)What better way to get to know someone than with a rapid-fire series of irreverent questions? Quick: what is your most-used emoji? What came first, the chicken or the egg? How do you say “Caribbean”? Are you a morning person or a night owl? Telling stuff, right?

For our inaugural Get to Know post, we put our newly-minted President of Operations, Susan Michele, to the test. And spoiler alert: she’s pretty great.

What’s your favorite spa treatment?   
My favorite spa treatment is always the one I just came from. I fall in love with skincare each time I have a facial.  My mainstay is massage because my body carries tension that massage takes away . . . and I love the fresh, polished, and buttered feeling after a body treatment.  

As a new Austin-ite, what’s high on your “to-do” list?
1. Find some favorite music spots.
2. Learn to stand-up paddle board on Lady Bird Lake.
3. Discover all the swimming holes and hiking trails.
4. Find the right community service organization to join.  
 
Your dream breakfast taco combination is…  
Scrambled eggs, cilantro, cheddar, and jalapeño.

If you could pick any city (after Houston), where would you like to see milk + honey next?
Dallas, Portland, and Seattle.
 
What’s your favorite milk + honey product?
Arnica balm is heaven.
 
What is your spirit animal — and why?
Wolf.  The wolf often appears both in my dreams and in my waking life when I’m in nature.  The wolf represents instincts and intuition. Whenever I see a wolf, I am reminded to be strong and fearless in all situations, to trust my instincts, and to be my most authentic self. 

If you could pick three dream dinner guests (past or present), who would they be?  
Jacque Cousteau, Queen Elizabeth, Sheryl Sandberg
 
Best beauty advice:   
Be exactly who you are. Express your inner self outward and your beauty will shine forth.  Next, find the place that nurtures you the most and then, go there physically or in your dreams. I think the most beautiful people are those who sparkle with health and vivaciousness and also those who glow with a gentle inner serenity. I love the spa/salon industry because the people in that industry are both sparkle and hush, excitement and Zen. That’s true beauty to me.
 
What’s the one beauty product (or three) you can’t live without?
A hydrating water-based moisturizer, SPF lip balm, and salt scrubs.

 

Green, Living, News

Honey, We’ve Got BEES by milk + honey!

June 1, 2015

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The U.S. honeybee population has been dying off in droves and the impact of this has a rippling effect on both our economy and on the global food supply. At the commercial beekeeping level, beekeepers are experiencing 30 to 50 percent hive loss (on average!) due to the not-so-mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder. Additionally, there have been major declines in native bee populations, which hold serious consequences for our native landscapes.

Let’s put it in everyday life perspective. Here’s what a meal without honeybees might look like, pictured below.

picnic without bees copyConsider that 90 percent of the wild plants you see around your neighborhood and 35 percent of the produce section in your local grocery store require bees to survive. Without bees, there will be a significant reduction in the quality and length of our planet’s health and human existence. Scary, right?

This is where our own story begins.

Alissa Bayer, milk + honey founder and owner, wanted to find a way to help the bees in the most direct way possible. So, in the winter of 2014, she reached out to Anna Gieselman. You may recognize Anna’s name from her gorgeous bee-inspired jewelry line, Bee Amour, which we sell in most of our locations. Or perhaps you know Anna as one of our original massage therapists. She has been a part of the milk + honey since our earliest days in 2006 and she also happens to be an experienced bee keeper.

Together, they partnered up to create an urban apiary, BEES by milk + honey.

Under milk + honey’s sponsorship, Alissa and Anna sourced bees from fourth-generation beekeepers at Bee Weaver, who have been raising bees without the use of chemical interventions for more than 15 years. Currently, our small, but growing, urban apiary consists of 10 hives in total — six are being hosted on some beautiful land off of Bee Cave Road and four hives are located on a rooftop near 5th Street and I-35 (the old Progress Coffee spot!) — and we aim to double this number in the next year.

At our apiary, we practice “organic” beekeeping, meaning we choose not to use chemicals to treat the bees for pests. We raise our bees with the intention of supporting them through non-aggressive beekeeping techniques and with the goal of raising healthy strong hives for our environment. We have also started a beekeeping apprenticeship program for milk + honey employees, in the hopes of educating even more people about the importance of bees.

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Ultimately, we hope to see the apiary continue to thrive and expand in the coming years, as well as use the bees as a tool to keep the conversation going about the role humans must play in cultivating a healthy ecosystem.

Wondering how you can help, too?  Here’s a few tips on how to start:

  1. Make a commitment to buy only organic produce and nuts when available and possible. By shopping at the numerous local farmers’ markets, you support organic growers and beekeepers in town. {FYI, this is a comprehensive list of food that requires pollinators.}
  2. Plant bee-supportive plants and do not use pesticides on those plants.
  3. Make a DIY solitary bee house.
  4. Petition congress and local government officials to create and support bee-friendly agricultural policies and laws.

You can follow milk + honey and Anna’s beekeeping adventures on our Instagram as well as on Anna’s Instagram and Facebook page. Plus, stay tuned for more blog posts about what we are up to right here!

Beauty, Events, News

The Ultimate Eye Trifecta Event Is April 23

April 13, 2015

We’ll let this event speak for itself (with a few added details for posterity, of course).

The first-ever Ultimate Eye Trifecta Event takes over our Hill Country Galleria location on Thursday, April 23, 2015. From 3:00 p.m. ’til close, you can take advantage of our day-only deal: lash flare + brow shaping + brow tint for $99.

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Um. Have you made your reservation yet? Call 512.236.1115 to do so.

P.S. If you book with a friend, you both will receive an extra 10,000 VIP points.

P.P.S All eye-related products (like RevitaLash!) will be 20% off.

News, Products, Wellness

Big News: milk + honey Products Have Landed in Whole Foods Market Austin!

March 18, 2015

That’s right. Not only can you find us here, here, here, here, and here, but now, we’re officially on the shelves at the Whole Foods Market North Lamar flagship and at The Domain. It’s incredible to see our milk + honey products available in both stores and, of course, it feels great to partner with another Austin-bred brand.

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To celebrate the latest, we’ll be holding two Whole Foods Market demos over the weekend, one at North Lamar on Saturday, March 21 from 11am to 2pm, and one at The Domain on Sunday, March 22 from 11:30am to 4pm. Come by, say “hi,” meet Alissa, sample our products, and get to know your new favorite bath and body products!

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Did we mention you might just see our founder, Alissa Bayer, “hanging” around? She’s featured on the Local Maker posters that greet you as you walk into the store. If you see her, be sure to tweet (or Instagram) us a selfie with her with the hashtag, #hangingwithAlissa.

Thank you for all of your support!

News

SXSW 2015? Gilt City? We Have All the Updates Here.

February 27, 2015

Okay, okay. We admit. We’ve been a bit silent on the blogging front as of late. Nothing a good update post can’t fix. And more importantly, our absence has everything to do with all the great things we’ve been plotting and planning… for you.

First, up: our just-launched Gilt City Boston offer. Make that two. We wanted to show some extra love to our newest location with something extra sweet. Something to the tune of a $45 m + h Manicure and Pedicure and $59 Signature Facial to be exact. The deal won’t last long, but we’re hoping we’ll get to meet a lot of you because of it!

Visit Gilt City Boston to get in on these limited-time offers!
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Second, but certainly no less important: we’re excited to be a part of Austin-based Outdoor Voices’ A Brunch of Joggers #SXSW event on Saturday, March 14, 2015 from 9am to noon. Interested? RSVP ASAP. The first 150 RSVP attendees will receive a custom Outdoor Voices South-By tote with special treats for yours truly, KIND, Evian, Thinksport, and more. We. can’t. wait.

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Where else can you expect us to pop this Spring?

We can’t reveal all of our secrets (just yet), but please come say “hello” to us this Saturday — February 28 — at Austin’s annual 2nd Street Soundcheck! We’ll be there with milk + honey’s latest bath and body care products for you to sample and stock up on! Win-win.

Remember you can always find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, even when we’re not diligently blogging. Which, yes, we need to be much better about. We consider ourselves warned.

Living

Quoted // Maya Angelou

February 9, 2015

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It’s Monday. Mercury is still in retrograde. We’re days away from Valentine’s Day. Let’s put it this way — we won’t blame you if you’ve been feeling a little off lately.

We’re taking extra inspiration from incredible poet & writer/soulful person/insightful being, Maya Angelou, in a conscious effort to appreciate who we are, what we’re doing, and where we’re going. As trite as what we’re about to say may sound, it is true. Loving yourself, giving life and stock to your own ideas and beliefs, and never letting the noise get in the way of doing so is your very own, built-in secret weapon.

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