Monday, November 29, 2010

My Visit to a Chocolate Factory - David Bradley Chocolatier

This weekend, after a lovely Thanksgiving, we were driving through New Jersey to do some shopping and we passed some signs on the side of the road that said "Chocolate - Free Samples".

The Outlet is decked out for the Holidays.
Being a lover of all things chocolate, I couldn't resist and we followed the signs.  Shortly thereafter, we arrived at a warehousing complex, and once we had driven all the way around to the back, we finally found what turned about to be the chocolate factory for David Bradley Chocolatier.

David Bradley Chocolatier Factory Outlet in New Jersey. 
I really wasn't expecting much, but what a surprise when we entered the shop!
David Bradley was decked out for the Holidays!
Purple is the signature color of David Bradley Chocolatier.
Chocolate Gift Baskets
We encountered row upon row of chocolate boxes.

This is a massive 10 pound slab of chocolate!
A chocolate CD!
Chocolate Golf Balls.

Chocolate pretzels, chocolate potato chips!  
Chocolate Ballet Slippers.

The Factory Outlet is neat, organized, and immaculate.
Behind closed doors... chocolate was melting before our eyes!
Upon entering, we were offered some samples - I picked a milk chocolate covered fresh strawberry, which was absolutely delicious!  I love Godiva chocolate covered strawberries, but the David Bradley one was even better!  David Bradley chocolate is smooth on the tongue, and because they don't use any wax in their chocolate, it dissolves to a delicate, velvety texture in your mouth.

Although Lindt chocolate has a different flavor, David Bradley chocolate is in that category, and it leaves you with very much the same kind of smooth chocolatey experience - delicious!

I promptly purchased some milk chocolate almond bark, milk chocolate orange peel and some milk and dark chocolate pralines, and my family loved it all!  I really feel like I have discovered a true gem!

We were very surprised at how many people were in the store during our time there - it's as if David Bradley is New Jersey's best kept secret that everyone knew about except me!  Apparently, it is a family run business which began 30 years ago, and now David Bradley sells to over 500 stores throughout the United States.  The staff are very friendly and helpful, and they said that they can make up pretty much any type of gift basket or box to suit any occasion - from family related holiday gifts to business gifts (check out my pic. of their chocolate golf balls!).  They ship all over the United States.

Check them out online at, or call them at 1-877-BUY-SWEETS

- The Sassi Wench

Note: I am not affiliated with David Bradley Chocolatier in any way, I paid for all the chocolate myself and all opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Hakuhodo Makeup Brushes (Fude) from Japan

For years I have had a love/hate relationship with makeup brushes.  I usually apply makeup with my fingertips or a sponge applicator.

This does have it's limitations, however.  It's difficult to get precise lines with your fingertips!  After doing some research I decided to take the plunge and invest in some makeup brushes again.  And it was during this time that I realized what I have been doing wrong all these years... I have always been using the wrong - i.e. cheap makeup brushes (usually the ones that they give you a free gift with a makeup purchase).

As it turns out, not all brushes are equal.  I started buying some MAC travel size brush sets, and as I used them I figured out what style of brushes I really liked to use the most. Recently, I even bought a Cover FX #160 foundation brush (, and I could immediately see what everyone is raving about, with regards to using  quality makeup brushes versus inferior brushes, or sponge applicators.  

Then I decided to search for the best makeup brushes around, and that's how I found the Japanese brand, Hakuhodo who sell Fude (makeup) brushes.  I ordered 5 brushes - gave one away as a gift, and I kept these four:

Instructions on how to care for the brushes are included in the box

The brushes come packaged in a pink box with orange tissue paper

2 lip brushes - Small Lip Brush (top), Kokutan Lip Brush (bottom) 

An angled face powder S100 Finishing Brush, and S142 Round Eye Shadow Blending Brush


The brushes are all cruelty-free, hand-made in Japan with real animal hair.  The brushes themselves are stunning examples of quality and experienced craftsmanship.  For the S100 series, the handles are made of wood, coated in vermilion, which is a traditional Japanese color.  The ferrules on these brushes are brass with 24 karat gold.

Do some research before purchasing any makeup brushes.  For example, Goat hair brushes are good for oily skin, and the Blue Squirrel hair brushes are better for those with dry or sensitive skin.

I have no doubt that they are the softest, most luxurious brushes out there, and worth every penny. The hairs are virgin hairs - meaning the tips of the hairs have not been cut.  Any inferior hairs are removed by hand during a special combing process.  The result is simply stunning.

I'll use these for a month and post an update.

Check out their site:

- The Sassi Wench

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Afternoon Tea at Sofitel Old Winter Palace, Luxor, Egypt

My mother and I recently returned from Egypt, where we had the most incredible holiday experience.

To see a video about my experience, click here:

We were fortunate enough to stay at the Sofitel Old Winter Palace in Luxor, which has housed many famous guests since it opened in 1886.  Prince Charles, Agatha Christie, the famous archeologist Howard Carter, who discovered the tomb of Tutankhmun in 1922, have all stayed in this hotel.
The afternoon tea included cake, fruit scones, custard, macaroons (which were incredibly delicious!), and assorted toasted sandwiches.

The Victorian Lounge
The hot tea was just perfect!  It was piping hot, and I had mine as I usually do, with milk. The sandwiches and cake were good - I have had better, but then I have had tea in several different countries, including The Ritz in London.  While the sandwiches at the Old Winter Palace certainly can't compare, the actual hot brewed tea most certainly can!

We loved the macaroons!

A part of the hotel is new, built in the 1990's and the other part was built in 1886. The Victorian Lounge is in the old building of the hotel.  Upon entering, you feel like you are in another time and place.  We felt like we were in the board game, Clue (or Cluedo, as it is known in some countries).  I expected Colonel Mustard to meet me in the Billiard Room, which is just down the hall from the Victorian Lounge! 
The Victorian Lounge had great ambiance.

An Oasis in the Desert.

I was captivated by this painting.

The staff in this hotel are very friendly and provide exceptional service.

Overall, I would highly recommend this incredible and literal oasis in the desert - The Sofitel Old Winter Palace Hotel, and along with that recommendation, afternoon tea there is a must.  It harkens back to another era, and it's a welcome reprieve from the incessant heat of the desert.

- The Sassi Wench

Friday, November 26, 2010



I got a nasty surprise this morning when I checked my bank account. I had a charge for $6.99 from Big Fish Games.

I was completely perplexed - neither my husband nor I had purchased anything from this company recently. In June I did purchase a hidden object game from them.

As it turns out, if you don't choose to "opt out" of their "Game Club" you will be automatically charged each month for all eternity! This is absolutely absurd, even though I believed that all I did was purchase one game and I thought that I did read everything on the screen.

I was horrified and they have already filched almost $40 out of my bank account!

I decided to look this up online, and it's no surprise that there are hundreds and hundreds of complaints about this company, with the Better Business Bureau alone having 117 various recorded complaints about them to date! Surely all of us who have had this nasty experience with this company can't all be that stupid that we would allow money to be taken out of our account on a whim for some dumb game club we didn't even know existed.

And get this, when you log onto your account with them to cancel everything, one of the drop down box reasons to cancel is "I didn't know I signed up for the Game Club" which obviously shows that the company is completely aware of what is going on and yet they continue this practice. This company uses sneaky tactics to make money off of honest customers who would normally willingly pay for games.

When you have a transaction with a company, trust is involved. You trust that they will provide you with the product they sell you, that it works as you expect it would, and you trust them with your billing information and the fact that they will charge your bank account only for what you authorized. This trust has been shattered, and it's obvious this company is only interested in making a quick buck, rather than forging long term honest relationships with their customers.

This is the Complaints Board link and all of the stories are the same as mine:

My recommendation is that you should avoid this company at all costs.

UPDATE 12/09/10: After disputing these transactions with the company, they refunded me the last two months worth of charges.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rock & Republic Pavia Clutch in Black

I saw this clutch a few weeks ago when Brooke Shields carried it to an event.  After some online research I discovered that this gorgeous clutch was made by Rock and Republic.
The Pavia has been carried by celebrities like Brooke Shields and Nina Dobrev.
Rock and Republic are known for their pocket denims, and for their edgy designs that are inspired by the world of Rock & Roll.
The Pavia is a very unique clutch
This is a 100% leather clutch with spiky metal zippers and chrome hardware.  It has two magnetic closures, and a little pocket inside, and it comes with a dust bag.
These are the most fantastic spiky metal zippers!
Fortunately, it is still available on their web site (warning! Their site plays very loud music!)
The Rock and Republic Pavia is really roomy
It is simply stunning, and no photograph can really do it justice!  Because it’s quite long you’ll be surprised at just how much fits inside.  There is ample room for a small wallet, keys, a cell phone and some makeup.
Magnetic closures
Dimensions: 11 ½ “H X 4 ½ “ W X 1 5/8”D.
- The Sassi Wench

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Objects of Desire - Gustto Parina Tote

I absolutely love purses, bags, handbags, clutches, swingpacks, wristlets... the list goes on and on!

My latest object of desire is this Gustto purse.  I haven't been able to find one at a good price yet, but I'm definitely on the hunt!  This looks like the perfect tote bag - it's large, stylish, made with quality suede, and it's purple!  A good combination, any way you look at it!

Gustto Parina Tote

Gustto Parina Tote Bag

  • The beautifully detailed Parina bag from Gustto™ is made of soft suede leather.
  • Holds your wallet, sunglasses, personal technology and a small bottle of water.
  • Dual shoulder straps. Shoulder drop: 8" length.
  • Front exterior zip pocket.
  • Flat bottom.
  • Drawstring closure.
  • Interior lining with a back wall zip pocket and multifunctional slip pockets.
  • Dimensions: 18" wide x 4" deep x 16" high.

I do own two Gustto purses, and a clutch.  I can tell you that these bags can get heavy, so if you don't like heavy bags, Gustto is not for you.  

For now, my hunt for this lovely tote continues...

- The Sassi Wench

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mini Sephora Haul, and Sephora's new Gift with Purchase!

I went to Sephora last Saturday, hoping to buy the Cover FX #160 foundation brush.

Unfortunately, Sephora stores only carry a limited amount of items from Cover FX.  They didn't have Cover FX brushes, so I had to order it online at

Cover FX #160 Foundation and Stippling Brush
This is a natural bristle brush made of Goat hair
If you have ordered online from them before, I'm sure you know how Sephora sucks you in with free shipping offers, so I bumped up my order by adding something that I have been eyeing for a long time... Fresh Sugar Lychee Bath & Shower Gel.  I have been using Fresh products for years, and this one just smells yummy, almost like a sugary gingery lychee.  Love it!

Fresh Sugar Lychee Bath & Shower Gel - For a squeaky clean shower experience!

And of course I got to pick out my free 3 samples:
Bvlgari perfume Jasmin Noir, Ole Henriksen Pure Perfection night creme, and REN Clean Bio Active Skincare - Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask
I love the Bvlgari perfume!
Then, as it is my birthday this month, I got my free birthday gift from Sephora!
The free Sephora Beauty Insider Birthday Beautiful Eyes Gift included eyeshadow,  eyeliner, and mascara!

And finally, more free gifts!! A little folded zippered clutch with TWELVE FREE SAMPLES!

The outside of the clutch

Inside the clutch

12 free samples!

CoverFX Conceal FX Camouflage Concealer
Stila One Step Makeup in Medium
Benefit High Beam
Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream
Lancome Genifique youth Activating Concentrate
Clean Outdoor Shower Fresh Eau de Parfum
Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Kate Somerville CytoCell Dermal Energizing Treatment
Kinerase Daily Defense Lotion SPF 30
Aquolina Pink Sugar Eau de Toilette
Sephora Collection Colorful mono Eyeshadow Card
Sephora Collection Smoothing Primer

You can still redeem this coupon code right now - use ONTHEGO at checkout.  The code is only available for purchases online.

I can't wait to try everything!

- The Sassi Wench!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My Saturday Afternoon - I went to The Ultimate Beauty Workshop Makeup Event at Lord and Taylor and I won!

Yesterday I went with my Mother to a Makeup Event at the department store Lord and Taylor.  Little did we know that we were really in for a special treat!

The way it worked was, you had to buy a $20 gift card prior to attending the event.  Then, on the day in question, you visit the store, sign in, receive your $20 gift card to use on purchases within the store (there is no expiry date on the gift card, so we weren't obliged to make any purchase that day).  We also filled out entry forms so that we would be eligible for the larger prizes, and all of them were hampers or gift boxes or gift baskets filled with items from a particular cosmetics company.  The main prizes were from NARS, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Clarins, etc. Each main prize was over $100, I believe.

We got a little swag bag filled with samples and 2 makeup bags, then there was a table with drinks and snacks, like coffee, water, bagels, cheese, fruits, etc.

We took our seats, and the fun began!  First up was Chanel.  Each cosmetics company had a makeup artist or representative there with a model who was made up with their makeup and dressed with the latest fashion arrivals to the store.

Lord and Taylor Makeup Event.
In between segments, the host or makeup artist would throw samples into the audience.  It was fun, and was able to catch a Lancôme and a Bobbi Brown mascara!

Lord and Taylor Makeup Event.
 My Mom caught something from Estee Lauder!

And also, in between segments, they picked an entry form out of the box and called the winners, and guess what?  I was picked as one of the winners!

I won the gift box from Clarins, worth over $200!!!  

Clarins Makeup Box.

My winnings - Clarins box filled with Clarins products.

Clarins Eau des Jardins.

The Swag Bags!
Mascara samples from Bobbi Brown and Lancome, a Clinique Lip Gloss
Samples from Clarins, Estee Lauder, Borghese Fango, primer from NARS,  lipstick from Elizabeth Arden.

I was thrilled about this, because Clarins is not on the top my list when it comes to makeup or skincare, so I am very excited about trying out their products.  I confess, I haven't bought anything from Clarins in years, but this might just change my mind!  I can't wait to try out these products!

When all the excitement was over, I headed over to the Bobbi Brown counter to buy her Caviar Ink gel eyeliner.  I used my $20 gift card and paid the difference of just under $3!!

So all in all, this was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  I would recommend a Lord and Taylor Makeup Event to anyone, and I will definitely attend these in the future.  Look at all of the items I got, for just $20, and for showing up!

Afterwards, we were hungry from all of the excitement, so we headed off to P.F. Chang's for lunch.  As far as chain restaurants goes, this is absolutely one of my favorites!  The meals are served "family style", which means you order several different plates and everyone helps themselves to as much, or as many different dishes as they'd like!

Chicken Lo Mein
Left: Sweet and Sour Pork
Right: Honey Chicken
My all-time favorite! Shrimp with Candied Walnuts!
So all in all, we had a spectacular and fulfilling day!  Love it!

- The Sassi Wench!