Round-Up: Spring Favorites

spring favorites

 

1 My mom got me this travel cup from Starbucks for Christmas and I finally got to break it out when the warm weather hit. I make my own iced coffee and bring it to work every morning, and this cup is GIANT, so I’ve been plenty caffeinated every day.

2 I got a free sample of Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara from Ulta and LOVED it! I just splurged and bought the regular size and now it’s my new “everyday” mascara.

3 I’ve been loving all of the throwback scents from Bath & Body Works! I don’t shop online, but it was awesome to be able to get some of them in-store! I picked up tubes of Freesia and Cotton Blossom lotions.

4 I’m OBSESSED with gel manicures. I was nervous to get one because I heard they weaken your nails, but ended up finally trying it out. OH MY GOD leaving the salon without worrying about messing up a fresh manicure is totally worth the extra money!!

5 Tall Guy got me a Casetify phone case for Christmas and it’s the greatest! It really is as durable as they claim, and I loved being able to customize the back!

6 Ok, I know this is kind of a lame one, but Dawn Platinum Power Clean dish soap is actually the best soap to clean your dishes with. One smaller bottle of this stuff lasted 3 times longer (!) than a giant bottle of a cheaper brand.

7 Tall Guy and I (ok, mostly me) have been trying to eat healthier as of late. He introduced me to these rice crackers and they’ve been a great snack to have on hand for those times when I’m craving something crunchy, but want to eat healthy. They’re salty and delicious, and 16 of them are only 110 calories! We usually get the original, but they have a wide variety of flavors, too.

8 I recently spotted these Nike Dunk Sky Hi wedges at Burlington Coat Factory and had to have them! They’re a little outside of my normal style, but they are so, so pretty (and I got them for only $30, which is a HUGE steal)!

 

Advertisements

Round-Up: Winter Favorites

Spring is RIGHT around the corner! Here are some things that got me through the Winter months…

winter favorites

 

1. Soap & Glory Oat, Sugar & Shea Breakfast Scrub smells SO. AMAZING. I almost want to eat it.

2. Vaseline Lip Therapy is the only thing that can keep my lips from getting chapped in the Winter.

3. Tall Guy got me Chromecast for Christmas and I’m obsessed with it! You set it up with wifi on any TV in your house and you can stream right to your TV! Apps like HBOGo and Netflix work with it (among a ton of others), so it basically can turn any TV into a Smart TV, which is pretty awesome. And super clutch for my bedroom, where  I have a TV, but not a cable box.

4. Tall Guy also got me the Scooby Doo Where Are You? Mystery Machine boxed set. Are you a Scooby fan? The new stuff just doesn’t compare to the original episodes! #childatheart

5. Urban Decay’s Naked2 was another gift from Tall Guy (he did good this year). On top of loving the shades in the palette, the names are super fun, too.

6. I knew I had to get a new pair of running shoes when I found holes in the ones I had been wearing! I had been wearing a pair of Brooks shoes that I got at City Sports (RIP City Sports… kind of), and while they were fine, they took a lot of getting used to and ultimately I never fell in love with them. But the second I put on my new New Balance sneakers, I remembered why I’ve never liked another pair as much! (Pictured are the exact model/color I got, the 860v6 women’s running shoes.)

7. My mom gave me a Bubba travel coffee mug for Christmas a couple years ago and it’s the most functional (and longest lasting) travel mug I’ve ever had. Of course I love the Starbucks mugs, with their fun designs and colors, but after cycling through mug after mug that broke in a too-short time frame, I ditched the Starbucks ones. The best part is how long the Bubba mug keeps coffee hot (we’re talking hours, here, people). Highly recommend!

8. I am DEFINITELY late to the spiralizer party, but I’m so excited to finally be on board with this new craze! I borrowed a friend’s spiralizer to try before committing to buying my own, and it was so easy to use, and the meal came out so great, that I turned right around and bought one the next day. It tastes like pasta, and pairs well with anything you would put on real pasta, but it’s a vegetable and you can basically eat as much of it as you want. AND it doesn’t leave you feeling bloated and gross like some pasta dishes do. Win!

 

 

 

 

Round-Up: Fall Favorites

fall favorites1. I love love LOVE my Fitbit Flex!

2. Taking One a Day women’s gummies makes it so easy to get your vitamins every day! Finally vitamins you can take without a meal.

3. Bath & Body Works Leaves 3-wick candle is one of my favorite Fall scents! I love BBW candles because they actually make the whole room smell AND they’re only $12 when you catch a sale.

4. Bath & Body Works Tahiti Island Dream White Sand body scrub smells SO. GOOD.

5. Tall Guy got me this Mac Viva Glam VI Lipglass for my birthday and I am OBSESSED! I guess it’s hard to get this shade nowadays- Tall Guy didn’t end up finding it until we were in a random makeup store in Myrtle Beach!

6. Playing bocce at the Fieldhouse has been the best thing to happen to my Fall! “Deboccery” doesn’t even begin to cover it. (PS: Winter registration is now open for those of you who want to join in on the fun!)

7. Bareminerals Velvet Vanilla Eyeshadow is my go-to under-eye brightener.

8. This bag (Michael Kors Jet Set Tote in Luggage) is my baby. Isn’t it preeeeetty?!

What are your favorite Fall goodies? Let me know in the comments!

Round-Up: Summer Favorites

You know those things you see and are instantly obsessed with and need to own/eat/use ASAP? These have been mine from the past couple of months…

summer favorites graphic

  1. I saw this Lolo Bag in the window of a boutique and immediately HAD TO HAVE IT! When I finally went back to make the purchase, it was gone! (Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending- it was still available online and is my new travel makeup bag!)
  2. Essie Tart Deco
  3. This is only the best snack mix around! Ain’t no party like a Zen Party, amiright?
  4. OK, so I haven’t actually read Ernest Cline’s new book Armada yet, but Tall Guy got it for me for my birthday and the cover is so pretty! Totally NOT judging this book by the cover though, if it’s anything like Ready Player One, I can’t wait to crack it open.
  5. I got Urban Decay’s Perversion mascara as a birthday gift from Ulta and it’s AMAZING! Even Tall Guy noticed the difference in my lashes!
  6. Tall Guy got me this pillow for my birthday when we saw it at Franklin Flea! Best addition to my couch (and also most expensive pillow I own…)
  7. The only thing that got me through last July 4th was my Stila stay all day liquid lipstick (#10 beso)
  8. Not technically something you can own, and I know it’s certainly not new, but I discovered Nuts to You this past Summer and it was life changing. I HIGHLY recommend the salted caramel covered pretzels.

Chrystina Noel Custom Greeting Cards

For those of you that don’t know, I love (love love LOVE) giving people cards. Birthday cards, thank you notes, love notes- you name it! If I had the money to send someone a card every day of the week, I totally would.

With that said, no one is surprised that I jumped at the chance to have Chrystina Noel make a card for me!

How It Works
You select options for your card right on her website. You’ll decide things like color, shape and pattern, and will also pick a few of your favorite designs from cards she has previously done. Then you’ll write what should go on the inside and outside of the card.

You can have the card shipped to you (it comes with an envelope), or you can coordinate picking it up. Cards cost $6 (plus tax and shipping).

The Finished Product
Move over, Paper Source! The card Chrystina made for me was absolutely perfect.

I decided I wanted to send a card to my best friend, and chose some of our favorite funny song lyrics to go on it. With the lyrics in mind, I had an idea of how I wanted the card to look, but didn’t give any specific description aside from filling in all of the design questions mentioned above.

The card I received did not disappoint! It was even pretty close to how I pictured it would be, so rest assured that Chrystina will be on point with anything you ask her to create.

I’ve never looked into custom cards before because I just assumed they would be too expensive, but Chrystina’s prices are more than reasonable, especially for the completely unique card you end up getting! I will definitely be making a custom card purchase in the future!

Head over to Chrystina’s just-launched card website to check out some of her previous cards and then order a card of your very own.

Note: I received my custom card for free for review purposes. All opinions about the process and the product are my own. 

Olympics Obsessed

It’s finally here! The Olympics Opening Ceremony is TONIGHT!

Even though Sochi is kind of a hot mess,  I’ve been counting down the days to the Olympics and cannot wait to see all of the different events! Everyone is as excited about the Olympics as I am, right?

My Olympics obsession started way back in February 2002 when my dad and I took a trip to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was pretty young, but I will never forget all of the crazy things we did on that trip. Highlights include… Seeing the US Women’s bobsled team win Gold; taking an old-school train through the countryside to the cross country course; sitting in the very back row at the ski jumping stadium and making friends with the women next to us; getting ice cream from a shop called COWS; trading 3 pins for a green jello pin; seeing Bode Miller on the podium at a Medal Ceremony; my dad and I making the best steak sandwiches I’ve ever had in our tiny hotel room; sitting on the side of a mountain at a skiing event with no jacket on because it was super warm out; getting a t-shirt signed by the Jamaican bobsled team; going to a Dale Chihuly exhibit; seeing a medal women’s hockey game and watching the losing team cry on the ice; and realizing I had the best dad ever when he got tickets to the Medal Ceremony where ‘N Sync was performing. We saw every event except for curling and speed skating and it was, hands down, the best vacation I have ever had (and probably will ever have)! We took millions of pictures, but unfortunately they were all on disposable cameras (do you remember those?) and the prints are now sitting in an album at my parent’s house, so I can’t share them with you, but just take my word that the trip was amazing.

ornament

My dad sent me this picture last week! We bought one of the (super fancy shmancy) 2002 Olympic commemorative ornaments.

So not only do I love watching the Winter Olympics every 4 years because of the fun events (snow cross, anyone?) and the amazing athleticism that these people display, but it brings back really fond memories of my own Olympics experience.

Tune in to the Opening Ceremony tonight on NBC at 7:30 pm! And be sure to check out the NBC Olympics TV schedule so you don’t miss your favorite events!

Anywhere But Here

I’ve had a particularly less-than-lovely couple of days. The weather has been absolutely miserable and I think I’m in the middle of the worst Winter Blues I’ve ever had. I want out of this weather and this city ASAP.

If I could be anywhere…

It’s the Summer after my Freshman year of college. Early August, to be specific. I finished up working at the yacht club snack shack around 3:30 pm and it took me approximately half an hour to drive out to my favorite spot on Duxbury Beach. That’s where you’ll find me. Bayside, in a little-known spot that only has a few parking spaces, so I’m mostly alone, except for an elderly couple who has clearly been here for a while. I set up camp around the corner from the parking spaces, just out of view of the beach road. I’ve only got the bare essentials with me today. Chair and towel, both of which I keep in the trunk of my car 24/7, sunglasses, a bottle of water and a book. I’m not even wearing sunscreen since it’s so late in the day, and I’ve got a good tan going, so I’m not worried about getting burned (my high school self also, unfortunately, was not worried about getting skin cancer).

Yeah, that’s where I’d be if I could be anywhere right now. Lounging on that beach, my beach. Reading and taking in the view, without a care in the world or a cloud in the sky.

My Favorite Restaurant Dessert

Tall Guy and I have a lot in common. Like, so much that it’s scary and was super weird at first. Ok, it’s still pretty weird now, but we’ve gotten used to the “I love such and such” “Me too” conversation.

So that brings me to our favorite dessert. Tall Guy isn’t a huge dessert fan, and I will admit that I prefer fruit desserts over sickly sweet ones most of the time (although what woman would ever really turn down chocolate?), but we both LOVE creme brulee. Up until this past week, I had kind of deemed creme brulee a “restaurant dessert” because of its difficulty and need for a chef’s torch, but after doing some research online, I decided to give it a go for Tall Guy’s birthday and I’m really happy with how it came out!

creme brulee

Creme Brulee (recipe originally from Allrecipes.com, with modifications based on recipe comments by CHEFPEON)Makes 2 servings

3 egg yolks1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp white sugar, divided
1 tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Beat egg yolks, 2 tbsps white sugar and vanilla in a bowl until creamy.
3. Heat cream in a saucepan over low heat until it starts to simmer. Remove from heat immediately.
4.  Pour a little of the hot cream into the egg mixture and whisk briskly.
5. Pour the egg/cream mixture into the rest of the cream and whisk. This will create a lot of foam on top. Skim the foam off with a strainer. Discard the foam. 6. Divide the mixture into 2 ramekins.
7. Set the ramekins in an oven-safe dish and put the dish on your oven shelf. Pour hot water into the dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
8. Bake anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. They are done with you shake the dish and the brulees jiggle slightly in the middle. It should be a jello-type jiggle, not a liquid jiggle.
9. Remove from oven and let the brulees cool in the water bath for about 15 minutes. Then remove the brulees and put them in the refrigerator to chill. They can be left there overnight.
10. Just before serving, sprinkle the tops with sugar and shake off the excess. Place under broiler until sugar is caramelized. Serve immediately. You can either top them with granulated (white) sugar or a mixture of the remaining sugar called for in the recipe (1 tbsp white sugar and 1 tbsp brown sugar). I tried one of each and liked the brown sugar mixture just a bit more.
Serving suggestion: Top with fruit or a stick of vanilla. As you can see, I put blackberries on mine.

Since I had never done anything like this before, I did a trial run of the recipe two days before the birthday dinner. It was definitely worth doing the trial run, as it was way easier the second time around, but the trial run came out really good, so don’t be scared to give this recipe a shot!

Even though I discovered that Tall Guy eats the entire bruleed topping first, which is just wrong, I was still really happy to make his favorite dessert for his birthday. And I’m pretty excited to be able to add creme brulee to my list of dessert accomplishments!

A Few of My Favorite Things (Part 4)

I have a crystal clear memory of one Christmas morning when I was very young. I walked out of my bedroom and immediately spotted a present at the end of the hallway. When I turned the corner into the living room, I could see that we had so many presents under our Christmas tree that the present at the end of the hallway was not, in fact, forgotten by Santa, but placed there because he ran out of room everywhere else! We had an unbelievable amount of presents to open that year and it felt like it took us the entire day to get through everything!

Being older and wiser, I now know that there probably were not millions of presents for us to open and it most likely didn’t take all day, but I’ll never forget the way I felt when I walked out and saw all those presents that morning. It was, for lack of a better word, magical.

Christmas never feels as magical as it does when you’re a kid, but I still cannot wait to go home for the holidays every year. Christmas isn’t just about gifts, it’s about family and traditions and trees! And food. Lots of food.

I leave Philly for Boston this Friday night and I could not be more excited. I love everything about spending the holidays at home.

I love our Christmas decorations and the fact that we have a working fireplace that gets used fairly often.
I love my mom’s cooking and brunch on Christmas morning.
I love decorating the tree and re-discovering all of my favorite ornaments every year.

dad and tree

I wasn’t home for last year’s tree buying, so I had to give my text message approval.

I love that our tree topper is a starfish that my parents got when they lived in Aruba way back when.
I love the party we go to on Christmas Eve at my dad’s cousin’s house in Rhode Island.
I love that we always drive around to look at Christmas lights on our way home from that party.
I love the fact that I still wake up first on Christmas morning.
I love that we always open our stockings first and that my mom always puts an orange in the foot of them.
I love hosting a party at our house on Christmas night.
I love that my brother, sister and I take a picture together at our party every year.

Lastly, I love knowing that even though times may change, our Christmas plans are pretty much a constant. We do the same thing, more or less, every year, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Happy holidays! From my family, to yours. x

A Few of My Favorite Things (Part 3)

Two words: Paper. Source.

For starters, Paper Source is my go-to store for cards. Yes, I’m one of the few people who still sends cards for special occasions…

If I wasn’t super broke all the time, all of my friends would get gifts from Paper Source for their birthdays… And Christmas… And random times just because. Their gifts are suuuuper cute, and their cards are a lot nicer/more original than the ones you’ll get at CVS. I could seriously spend hours in this store. Talk about a Martha Stewart wannabe’s heaven!

If you have any friends or relatives who are big crafters or are looking for some addition Christmas gifts, definitely stop in to Paper Source to see what they have!