Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Looks

When the clock strikes 12 we'll all be ringing in the new year with hope for an even happier, healthier, and more fulfilling year than those prior.  It's cause for celebration whether you're attending a ticketed event or cuddling on the couch with your significant other.  No matter what your plans, here are some of my favorite hair and beauty trends to try (with links to help you achieve the look) that will definitely land you that kiss at midnight. 

Photo credit, top to bottom: Glamour, Vogue Australia, Glamour, Elle Czech, Vogue India

Monday, December 30, 2013

Glam Countdown Decor

Every year I'm so wiped out after Christmas that I never go all out with New Year's Eve decorations.  Even when I've hosted small New Year's Eve parties in the past, the extent of my entertaining includes providing the hor d'oeuvres, champagne, and board games, but never the glamorous and eye-catching decorations that have always attracted me.  Maybe next year I'll plan ahead so that guests can ring in the new year against one of these glitzy backdrops.

Photo credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Post Holiday Workout Plan

Physical fitness is a very important part of my life, and if the videos of my 3 year old self working out to Jane Fonda aerobics videos are any proof, it always has been.  But I have a confession.  Over the past half year I've neglected to stay in shape after a hip injury forced me to lay off running.  My doctor advised me to continue working out in other ways that wouldn't worsen my condition, but I was so frustrated that I couldn't run that I allowed myself to fall into a lazy rut where I didn't work out at all.  Slowly but surely I'm getting back on track with my workout schedule, but maintaining physical health is no easy feat.  So in honor of the most popular New Year's resolution, I figured I'd share my workout plan for an ideal week, keeping in mind that I'm still healing and can't immediately bounce back to the routine I followed prior to my injury.  Do you follow a workout plan and if so what are your favorite workouts to incorporate?

Run 2 miles. 15 minutes of upper body strength training.

Swim or bike for 45 minutes.

Run 2 miles. 15 minutes of upper body strength training.

Rest day.

1 hour yoga class.

Run 3 miles.

Rest day.

Photo credit:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!  Here's to a safe and happy holiday, and enjoying a much needed break to spend quality time with family and friends.  

Photo credit: DashofSerendipity

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Top 10 Holiday Movies

This past weekend my fiance and I joined two friends for a fun day filled with Christmas movies, a gingerbread house making contest, board games, and tons and tons of eating.  We managed to watched almost all of my favorite holiday movies and it got me thinking about my Top 10 favorites.  Here they are, some classics and others more recent, all of which I can watch round the clock this time of year.

Top 10 Christmas Movies

Home Alone

The Family Stone

Love Actually

It's a Wonderful Life


A Christmas Story

Christmas Vacation

A Charlie Brown Christmas

The Year Without A Santa Claus

Little Women

Photo Credit: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 

Monday, December 23, 2013

What to Wear for New Year's Eve

This year I'm looking forward to a small, low key New Year's Eve celebration with friends where I'll probably opt to wear something comfortable that I already have in my closet.  But when I think of NYE, I picture black, metallics, and lots of shimmer and sparkle, so I couldn't help but dream up a few more glamorous options.

Outfit 1: Asos studs / Whiting & Davis clutch / Alice & Olivia dress / JCrew pumps

Outfit 2: Lionette by Noa Sade earrings / Givenchy clutch / Zara blouse / Wayf track pants / Jean-Michel Cazabat pumps

Outfit 3: Kendra Scott earrings / Moyna clutch / Alice & Olivia dress / Kate Spade pumps

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Fitness Enthusiast

I’ve saved my favorite holiday gift guide for last.  Here are some ideas for the fitness enthusiast in your life.  I can personally attest to the Brooks Glycerin shoes, which are my favorite for running long distance, and the Old Navy running shorts (you can’t beat that price!).

Check out my other gift guides for last minute shopping ideas:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Cook

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained a strong appreciation for good food, particularly the importance of being able to make good food (a skill I’m still trying to hone).  My fiance and I love to cook together and when the holidays arrive you can be sure to find several kitchen items on our wish lists.  Here are some fun gift ideas that your aspiring chef friend or family member will love.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cozy Winter

Do you ever have those days when nothing sounds better than snuggling up on the couch next to the fireplace with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa?  Today is one of those days for me.  There's nothing better than snuggling up in a soft blanket when it's freezing outside and getting lost in a good book.  So while I'm working all day I'll be imagining I'm doing something more like this.

Photos by: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: Stocking Stuffers

Opening stockings is one of my favorite parts of Christmas, and it always amazes me how many goodies can fit within a single stocking.  After all, "good things come in small packages" is a saying for a reason.  I've found some fun stocking stuffers for everyone on your shopping list, but don't forget that gift cards and candy are foolproof stocking stuffers as well.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY: Christmas Ornaments

I fell in love with these glitter ornaments at Pottery Barn while my fiance and I were perusing items to add to our wedding registry.  I knew this would make an easy and fun holiday DIY project to replicate.  Not only was this one of the least expensive craft projects ever, but it’s even better that I can give the finished product to family as stocking stuffers or to spice up a wrapping job.  Here’s how it’s done.

Materials you’ll need:
Thin wooden letters and shapes
Mod podge
Mini foam paint brush

Step by step:
1. Drill a hole in the top middle of each letter or shape.  I used a ⅛ inch sized drill bit, which was the smallest size I could use while still being able to fit the twine through the hole.
2. (Optional) Sand down any parts of the wood that were made uneven from the drilling.
3. Using the mini foam paint brush, coat one side of a wooden letter with the mod podge.  Sprinkle glitter onto the coat of mod podge.  Set aside until dry.  Repeat with all wooden letters and shapes.
4. Once the first side of all wooden letters and shapes are dry, repeat step 3 on the other side of all wooden letters and shapes.
5. Once both sides of the wooden letters and shapes are dry, apply a thin top coat of mod podge to one side.  Allow to dry.  Then apply a thin top coat of mod podge to the other side.
6. Once the top coat of mod podge has dried on both sides, cut a piece of twine about 6 inches long for each letter and shape.  Insert the twine through the ornament hole, tie the two ends of twine together, and hang on the tree.  
Easy peasy, and now you have a wonderfully personalized Christmas tree!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Fashionista

I'm currently obsessing over metallics and shimmer, which is clearly reflected in my suggested gift ideas for 'the Fashionista.'  I focused this gift guide on both trendy and classic accessories since gifting clothing to another person is always tricky.  Happy shopping!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Guys

Shopping for the guys in my life is always the most difficult part of my holiday shopping, and it doesn't seem to get much easier as the years pass.  For those of you who have the same problem, I hope this gift guide sparks some ideas for gifts that your husband, friend, dad, or brother will be thrilled to receive and that you'll be proud to give.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide: For the Hostess

Every year I vow to start holiday shopping and decorating early so I'm not scrambling to get it all done right before Christmas.  But lo and behold, December is here and I still haven't picked out a Christmas tree or finished shopping for anyone on my list.  Luckily, the sales have been great over the past week so I've gotten some shopping under my belt and at great prices.  To help you along in your shopping, here is the first in my series of Holiday Gift Guides. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Magic of the Season

It's crazy how quickly things can change in such a short amount of time.  When I left for my vacation to Thailand it was practically still Halloween.  I had been gone for two weeks, and on the drive home from the airport last week I realized how significantly colder the temperatures had gotten and I passed by countless shops in the process of decorating their store fronts with Christmas lights.  I couldn't help but feel so elated about the holiday season and the upcoming Christmas bonanza.  I know a lot of people probably disagree and loathe the "Christmas creep," but for me it's the most enchanting and charming time of year.  With that said, I'm still looking forward to indulging in turkey and sides tomorrow, and I'm sending you all best wishes for the Thanksgiving holiday.  

PS. Look forward to regularly scheduled posts after the holiday weekend!

Photo compliments of: Pinterest

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hello There, November

{Lounging with my boys}

It’s November, which means the holidays are just around the corner and only two months remain until 2014.  How in the world did that happen!?!  The busier we are, the quicker time flies, which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time.  I’ve had a difficult time slowing down lately with my new job, upcoming vacation (we leave tomorrow - eee!), wedding planning, and now we’re all about to get swept up in the impending holiday flurry.  These are all great things, so I’m not complaining one bit.  But I recognize the importance of slowing down, taking breaks, saying ‘no’ every once in a while, and enjoying time alone to relax and recoop.  So this past weekend I made it a point to take a break from it all and capture the little things that ease my body and mind, if even just for a bit.

{Going for runs in the crisp November weather}

{Waking up to a hot cup of coffee & good reads}

{Fresh air after a rain shower}

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone!  I hope you all have your pumpkins carved, costumes perfected, and a sweet tooth ready to dig into the delicious candy to be had tonight.  I'm looking forward to passing out candy and seeing trick-or-treaters dressed up in costume, but I'm most excited to celebrate my Bagheera's 6th birthday!  And there's no better companion to have on Halloween than a black cat.

Photo by Vogue Paris

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Featured Sale: Kate Spade

In case you haven't heard, Kate Spade is offering up to 75% off of their final sale items for 2 days only.  There are incredible deals on bags, wallets, tech accessories, jewelry, shoes, and clothing.  The holidays are coming up so this is a great time to buy a few gifts for friends and family, and of course there's nothing wrong with treating yourself to new arm candy.  Hurry, because items are already selling out!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lessons in Layering

Here comes the cold, and with it, the need to pile on heaps of clothing to keep warm.  Of course, with that comes the fear of the dreaded Marshmallow Man look.  However, layering clothes is actually an easy look to master.  Here are a few tips to guide you through creating a layered outfit so that you're ensured to stay warm and look stylish during the colder months.

(1) Choose neutral colors to serve as your base.  Blacks, grays, nudes, and muted blues (ie. denim) are good starting points to craft your layered look.

(2) To avoid overwhelming your body with too many bulky layers, start with something form-fitting as the initial layer.  This makes your job of adding layers to the look much simpler.

(3) Add depth to your look by mixing different fabrics and textures.  A lightweight blouse under a chunky knit adds dimension to this look.  Other fun fabrics to play with are tweed, faux fur, and leather.

(4) Make your layered look more on trend by adding a pop of color or a print.  Pops of color are easily incorporated with accessories such as a statement necklace, bag, or scarf.  Prints are a fun way to really pull this look together.  Animal prints, plaid, and stripes are the easiest and most classic prints to incorporate.

Photos by / / /

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pumpkin-Chocolate Whoopie Pies

I’m a complete sucker for anything and everything pumpkin. It doesn’t feel like Fall until I’ve had my first pumpkin spice latte or I’ve smelled the sweet and spicy aroma of a pumpkin spice candle in my house. Pumpkin puree is a Fall staple in my kitchen cupboards, so when the craving hit for a delicious dessert I knew exactly what I was going to bake. I’ve had this pumpkin & chocolate whoopie pie recipe saved in my recipe binder for a few years but had never gotten around to baking it, until now. This is the perfect autumnal treat that I know I’ll be baking for years to come. I’d love to know what your favorite pumpkin or Fall recipes are - please share!


Yields: Approximately 8 whoopie pies

Time: 30 minutes, not including wait time for cookies to cool

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
¾ cup pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
⅓ cup unsalted butter, melted; plus ¼ cup, room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1¾ cups confectioners’ sugar

1) Position oven racks to the upper and lower thirds, then preheat to 350 degrees F.
2) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, & salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, melted butter, and ¼ cup heavy cream. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and whisk until just combined.
3) Drop dough in 2-tablespoon mounds (I used an ice cream scoop), 1 inch apart, onto two greased baking sheets. Bake until tops of cookies spring back when gently pressed, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
4) In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat room temperature butter, ½ cup cream, cocoa powder, and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread filling on flat side of half the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies.

Recipe courtesy of Food Network Magazine, with a few minor changes of my own.

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