Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015


I figured I'd jump on the blog bandwagon and do a quick 2015 round up - all of my favorite things this year.  Like everyone, I can't believe it's the last day of the year.  2015 has been pretty huge for me - my first full year being a "grownup", a year with phenomenal travel, a lot of challenging work changes, some big stuff on the home front.  Here's to a great 2016.


Tallulah //  This will probably come as no surprise, but my girl tops the list of favorite things.  This was our first full year together, and it's been the most challenging and rewarding part of my life.  She's finally starting to settle down a little, which I'm grateful for, as her puppy-hood was long and hard.  I definitely bit off more than I could chew getting a dog, but it's been so worth it, and she's made me grow up and figure out my priorities a lot faster.

At Home Workouts // The way my schedule and life work, getting to the gym is nearly impossible.  In February, I started doing workouts on YouTube (this channel is my favorite) and it's honestly made such a difference.  I am a much better person if I spend some time getting sweaty frequently, and being able to do it at home limits my excuses.

Sorry not sorry I put a picture of you making out up, Mom and Dad
My Parents // This may seem like a weird favorite of mine, but my parents have had an incredible year.  Both of them have worked so hard for a long time, and it's such a privilege for me to see them reap their rewards. They moved into a new, beautiful home in July, took the family on a number of incredible vacations and have met financial goals I can't even imagine.  I'm always grateful for them, but this year, it's really been extra amazing.

Bean Boots // Backing away from the sentimentality, my Bean boots have been my most worn piece this year.  I chuck them on at least twice a week all year, and far more frequently in the winter.  I honestly wouldn't have gotten through last February - April without them, and I don't see the love affair ending any time soon.


Breakfast // Food is a constant favorite of mine, obviously, and trying to narrow down the things that really made my year was hard (this was a close second). In the end though, I ate the same breakfast for at least 80 percent of the year, so it won out.  Once a week, I make a batch of these beans, a pot of quick barley and 5 soft boiled eggs. Each morning, I put everything in a bowl with a handful of sautéed veggies and call it good. I'm full until lunch.

Travel // The last 2 years have been incredible for my passport and I.  This year, I spent a lot of time in planes and would not have it any other way.  I spent time in Baltimore, Ireland, England, Chicago, Provincetown, Chicago again and Miami.  The increase in work-related travel has been really exciting, if a little exhausting, and I'm hoping to do even more personal travel next year.


Tote Bags // To be honest, these have been a favorite for at least 10 years, but they'll remain forever.  I use a tote bag every day for work, and I can't live with out them this year. Currently, my Dagne Dover is the favorite, but the style of bag in general can't be beat.

Birchbox // When I first subscribed to Birchbox, it felt so frivolous I assumed it wouldn't last. This year, however, the days that those bright pink boxes arrived have easily been my best mail days. I've loved trying new products, and definitely found a few winners, but I think the box itself - getting a piece of pretty, girly, indulgent mail once a month lifts my spirits immediately.  Unwrapping what I got and trying it all out makes me happy enough to easily justify the 10 dollars a month. More info here, sign up here.


Overdrive //  Of everything on this list, Overdrive is probably the thing I used the most. It's an app that basically allows you to access the online volumes that your library owns.  I can honestly say that I would never have read as many books this year (66!) if I didn't have this app.  Once in a while, I load up my holds, then read everything as they come in on my ipad, or listen to audiobooks on my phone.  It's a priceless experience on a free app.

Skincare // This year, I feel like I figured out a routine that has really worked for me skin. While I'll probably love to experiment, my basic products have been incredible at keeping my skin happy, and I don't see myself switching them out any time soon.  I use this cleanser, this toner, this facial oil and this moisturizer

Monday, December 28, 2015

December Budget

Oh, hello, budget.  It's been a while.  Sorry that I blatantly ignored you all month. In case it passes your notice, everything I bought, minus the bow top, is gray or navy.  The Uniqlo jeans/pants etc immediately became my favorite things - so comfy, so easy to wear, and they mostly look like real pants, but without buttons. The bow back top was a hit over Christmas, but I think I'll get more wear out of it, and the Banana Republic dress has been on my wishlist for months and I scored it in the after-Christmas sale for 10% of the listed price. It's a Christmas miracle.
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1 // Uniqlo Jeans
2 // Uniqlo Navy Pants
3 // Uniqlo Long Sleeve
4 // J Crew Bow Back
5 .// LOFT Ruffle Sweater
6 // Banana Republic Dress

Fit Notes // Everything fits TTS for me. The Uniqlo leggings are seriously awesome - they look like real pants and have pockets, but they are SO comfortable.  The LOFT top is my favorite thing - super cute and easy to wear.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Traditions // Apricot Cookies

I am a little obsessive about family traditions, especially around the holidays.  Things need to be about the same, and I get a little crazy about doing the same things again and again and again. One of my favorite things is making apricot cookies with my grandmother.  The recipe is a state secret and deeply weird (the dough makes no sense, the filling is apricot and corn starch), but they are delishhhhhhh.  I brought my camera this year, here's what my afternoon looked like -







Monday, December 21, 2015

Book Review // The Good Girl, Fates and Furies, Modern Romance, Seveneves, Bull Mountain

One of the things I am most looking forward to with this break is reading. The last few weeks have been nuts, so I haven't gotten through as many books as I'd like to, but here are my favorites of the bunch -


The Good Girl // I don't typically like books like this - too dark, too twisty, too mind-bending.  But this book is beautifully written, with an incredible twist I did not see coming.  There were a few story lines that got a little old, and the characters felt a bit cookie-cutter, but the plot is amazing. Definitely worth a read.

Fates and Furies // This is one of those books I put on my list without ever finding out the plot. To be honest,  I'm not sure I ever found out the plot.  Unlike The Good Girl, this book is alllll character.  It basically follows a marriage in two parts - first the husband, then the wife.  I kept expecting some dramatic twist, which never came, but I loved the story anyway.

Modern Romance // Dude, this book surprised the heck out of me.  I thought it was a humor/witty/tinder horror story type of book, but it's actually a well-researched, anthropological look at how we date and what romance looks like now.  It's definitely not a scientific study, but it's darn interesting and really fun.

Seveneves // IT'S 700 PAGES. I could honestly stop the review right there, like that tells you a lot. Honestly, the plot could very easily have been made into a trilogy, which might have been better. Also, it's an incredibly exhaustive end-of-the-world space odyssey, complete with at least 250 pages of incredibly detailed accounts of how things work in space.  If that's your wheelhouse, this book is a dream. If you are part of the other 99.9 percent of the population, steer clear.

Bull Mountain // More dark and twisty. I should probably talk to someone about that...  Anywho - this is beautifully written, the characters are amazing, the story is unique and well-done (believable, interesting, moves quickly) and the twist was not what I expected. It's a fairly quick read and easy to digest.  I would absolutely recommend it and will read the rest of the author's work.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Outfit Ideas

9 days left of my favorite time of year, and planning is in full swing.  My family keeps it pretty low key during Christmas.  We spend Christmas Eve with my mom's family, eating a lot of shellfish for reasons that continue to confuse me, and Christmas Day is just the 4 of us in our pajamas.  Below are a few outfit ideas, no matter what kind of Christmas you're looking at.  I am so, so tempted by the onesie, especially as it has a star on the hood.  Enjoy!
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Pajamas
Slippers

Bow Tee
Pixie Pants
Flats

Red Dress
Sequin Heels

Sequin Dress
Black Heels

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Dagne Dover Tote Review

As a committed lover of all tote bags, my collection is far larger than reason would require. I have, as far as I know, never turned down the opportunity to buy a new tote bag and, in fact, frequently make them up.  I think it has something to do with my pathological need to be prepared for everything.  Until now, my tote bags have been black holes, containing every item I can jam in there with minimal organization, but this bag has helped me reform many of my overpacking/underorganized ways.  It has an incredibly thoughtful design, and I appreciate the insane level of detail that has gone into it.
Some specifics of my bag - I got the 15 inch laptop tote in Bleecker Blush.  I love the color - it's definitely not blush, more of a very dusty lilac. Not quite grey, not quite purple.  It's a gorgeous neutral that's a bit more unexpected. The quality is stunning - super sturdy, the leather is amazing, all the hardware is brushed gold/bronze.

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Why I Love It

Functional Organization //  As I mentioned in my Lo and Sons Pearl review, I love pockets that actually hold specific things.  The Dagne Dover has 3 pen/lipstick holders, a little pocket that perfectly fits my wallet with an additional outside pocket for a single card (usually my work credit card or a hotel key), a phone pocket right under my armpit (easiest access), a padded and closeable laptop sleeve with attached ipad sleeve, plus one more big pocket that I keep my Harry Potter coloring book in (ADULTING). Also THERE IS A WATER BOTTLE HOLDER.  I love it so much, and it's insulated, so it keeps condensation off everything else (works great for umbrellas too).  And finally, there's a key lanyard. SO FUNCTIONAL. SO ORGANIZED.

Thoughtful Materials // The bag is made out of coated canvas, so scratching or marking it are definitely less of a concern, and the whole thing is basically wipeable.  I appreciate that the entire bag is like this, not just the outside.  I am sure there will be a day when maple syrup or Karo or liquified lollipops or something else horrifying spills everywhere, and it'll be so easy to clean once I calm down.

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What, you don't carry a Harry Potter coloring book, crayons, colored pencils and an NFL game ticket around? Weirdo

Why I Don't 

It's Giant //  Like, enormous.  It fits my laptop with about 3 extra inches on the ends. The size means it's heavy, which would be a bigger deal if I was commuting more than an 8 minutes walk.  I carried it with me on this business trip, packed to the gills with who-knows-what.  It got uncomfortable by the end, admittedly.  Also, if you don't like to carry around enough stuff to live out a zombie apocalypse, this is not the bag for you. And we probably can't be friends.

Handles Aren't Perfect //  I wish that the handles were about 3 inches longer and a little thinner.  When packed fully (not distended, just full), I can't quite keep both handles on my shoulder without holding them.  And the bag sits right under my arm no matter what, while I'd prefer to stick it behind my shoulder occasionally.

January 2018 Update

I ended up selling the bag after using it for about 2 years.  To be honest, there was absolutely nothing wrong with it, and if I was regularly hauling around a lot of things, it still would have been perfect.  Eventually, however, I found it to be too big for my everyday use.  I was thrilled with the resale value it had on Poshmark, so overall, a fabulous investment! I ended up buying the Dakota backpack and am OBSESSED.  Reviewed here, but it's available here.

Other beloved tote options include the Longchamp bag (buy here, reviewed here) and the Madewell transport tote (buy here, reviewed here)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Best Books of 2015

According to Goodreads, I've gotten through 61 books this year.  Which is a little insane, but I did read two yesterday, soooo.  Trying to narrow down my favorites was nearly impossible, so I focused more on books that were a little more under the radar - don't worry, All the Light We Cannot See and The Girl on the Train and all of them were great.



Oregon Trail // Admittedly, this is a book only some people will love.  I appreciate that an exhaustive retelling of two dudes time on the Oregon Trail is appealing to a smaller subset. But guys, it's so good. It's informative and engaging and smart and not boring. I read it at a music festival and ignored several food opportunities to keep reading.

It Was Me All Along // I've been reading Andie Mitchell's blog on and off for many years and adore her writing.  Reading her book felt like I was sitting at her kitchen table, eating pound cake and drinking tea and hearing stories.  She's a talented writer who makes her journey-to-health informative without being preachy and inspiring without the inclusion of any obnoxious idioms.

All the Old Knives // This book took me by surprise - I'm not even sure how it ended up in my Overdrive queue, but I'm glad it did.  It's a very quick read, but fully immersive. The book basically tells the story of a single dinner, but not really.  I loved it and couldn't put it down.

Furiously Happy // The Bloggess aka Jenny Lawson, is a blog I've loved for a long time.  She's a hilarious writer who's honesty keeps me coming back again and again. Just like her first book, Furiously Happy is funny and quick and easy to read and funny and funny and funny.  I love that this one also focuses on mental health. She makes it relatable and, though I don't struggle with most of what she has, I felt empathetic and understanding.  Also, it's wicked flipping funny.

Ember in the Ashes // TBH, I read this book yesterday.  But in my defense, I started it on a plane and was so engrossed I read it walking through the airport, waiting to board, walking down the jetway and on the next flight too.  And then it ended and I had no idea where I was or what year it was.  It might be a YA book, but it's phenomenal. Perfect for anyone who loves Hunger Games/Harry Potter/Percy Jackson etc.

The Painter // The whole premise of this book is kind of weird - a dude saves a horse from an abusive owner and then all of a sudden all of this murder/hiding/craziness happens. It escalates real quickly. It's also almost painfully well written, like I needed to take breaks to process how good it was.  The characters are perfect, the plot is quick and exciting. And the writing, oh the writing.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

23 Things and 23 Years

It's my birthday!!  I have successfully not died for a full 23 years, so that's nice.  In honor of my advanced age, I thought I'd list out 23 things I've figured out so far.

  1. Practice self care // This looks a little different for everyone, but I am a significantly better human when I get alone time, have makeup on and get to bed early
  2. Read as much as you can
  3. Say yes // To everything, in moderation
  4. Get outside
  5. Be that girl // Whatever you see as the ideal - the girl who always has a clean, welcoming home, that's always down for a party, that knows everything about baseball - work to be that girl
  6. Splurge on experiences
  7. Be effusively, sloppily, wildly grateful // Say thank you, smile, acknowledge hard work anywhere you see it.  It makes such an impact and is so easy.
  8. Always carry a Tide pen
  9. Eat good food // Healthy, not healthy, whatever - eat what makes you feel good
  10. Invest in the basics // Jeans, classic sweaters, coats, boots - stuff you'll wear for decades, pay for it to last
  11. Travel everywhere and anywhere
  12. Exercise as often as possible // Whether it's a walk, 15 crunches or some slow yoga, get moving
  13. Protect yourself // This goes along with self care, but it's so important to put your needs as high on the list as possible. Figure out what's required and do your best to make it happen
  14. How to feed people // Basically, how to make a handful of crowd-pleasing recipes that I can always whip up
  15. Treat your possessions well
  16. Be nice, not right // I most definitely am not good at this yet, but I'm trying
  17. Ask for the help you need 
  18. Drink lots of water
  19. Wear the right shoes // Right can go in a lot of directions, as I firmly believe that sparkly heels are appropriate, even if it's snowing.
  20. Budget for your real life // When I first started budgeting, I put tons of limits on how much I could spend.  Because it was unrealistic, I never adhered to it and totally ignored the budget.  Now that my budget is more in line with my standard spending and financial goals, I actually stick to it.
  21. Pack a sweater and sunscreen
  22. Mom's right // Every, damn, time.
  23. You are so, so young // Lols at 15 year old me who thought that, by 23, I would definitely have it all figured out. I'm not even close and absolutely loving it.

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Budget

Welp, that escalated quickly. As of Friday, I had only bought the J Crew flannel. But then Black Friday and errands and poor impulse control happened.  Oh well. The good news is that I finally found a few things I've really wanted - black jeans, gray skirt, navy vest, and everything was on major sale.


1 // Old Navy Vest - 21 dollars
2 // Gap Jeans - 18 dollars
3 // J Crew Factory Socks - 6 dollars
4 // Gap Jacket - 30 dollars
5 // Old Navy Sweater - 15 dollars
6 // Old Navy Skirt - 18 dollars
7 // J Crew Factory Flannel - 23 dollars

Notes - Everything runs true to size for me.  The flannel is definitely oversized, and nothing like the sweatshirt J Crew thinks it is - the material is warm but not jacket weight. The Gap jeans are the legging fit and I'm obsessed with them - so soft and cozy and they fit great.

Linking up with Fran

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hunter Original vs Hunter Tour

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I've owned a pair of Hunter boots consistently for over 4 years, and I don't imagine myself breaking that pattern for a long time.  The boots are durable (for the most part) and invaluable in a number of situations we frequently face in New England.  During an average week, I wear them at least once, for things like dog walking, commuting, getting through high snow etc.  My first pair of Hunters were the Originals, and once those died, I invested in Tours. I figured I'd do a comparison, as there are some pretty important differences.

Comfort // To be completely honest, encasing your lower legs in rubber is not the most comfortable of options.  The Tours do have a distinct advantage in that they don't weigh 12 pounds each.  The Originals are much thicker rubber, which makes them, in my opinion, much more uncomfortable.  As long as I don't get too hot, I can wear the Tours all day, which I could never do with the Originals.  Honestly, my legs would get tired of lifting the giant boots up by about noon.  Tours for the win.

Look // The big downside to the thinner rubber of the Tours is that they sort of wrinkle on my legs. They don't fall down or anything, but they are certainly more pliable. Again, I find this a fair compromise for the comfort, but they definitely can look a little more sloppy.  Also, the Tours come in a much more limited array of colors, so if you're really dying for pink boots, the Tours aren't for you.  I found both to look the same in terms of tightness on my leg.  I was concerned about getting the Tours on, but found the shaft plenty wide.

Longevity // I owned Originals for 3 years without any problem, even with frequent use and non-optimal care.  The Tours, on the other hand, died a pretty dramatic death after only 8 months.  Luckily, Zappos was great about exchanging them for a new pair.  I'm hoping that those specific boots were the issue, not Tours in general, but if this pair develops holes along the edges, as the last one did, I'll absolutely switch back to Originals.

Specs // The Originals have a shaft height of 16 inches, while the Tours are 1/2 an inch shorter.  The Tours also have an inch wider calf circumference (16 vs 15 inches). The Originals weigh 2 pounds, 2 ounces and the Tours are 1 pound, 8 ounces, but I promise, you can feel that difference.

You can buy Originals here and Tours here

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review // Furiously Happy, So, Anyway, Sapiens, Why Not Me

Mooooooorreeeeee books, lalalalalala. I've been in a bit of a reading slump recently, which I'm hoping to rectify over Thanksgiving break, but in the meantime, here's what I've gotten through recently!



Furiously Happy // Ohhhhhhh, I loved this book.  I first tried to read it while proctoring the SAT, but that ended quickly when I started laughing out loud.  Jenny does a phenomenal job telling funny stories while also being informative about what it's like to live with mental illness.  She walks a very fine line beautifully and made me lose it multiple times.

So Anyway // Yet another funny one.  I grew up watching Monty Python and love John Cleese, so when Blogging for Books sent me this memoir, I was thrilled.  In terms of writing, I think this book fits pretty well with what I was expecting - it's rambly and sprawling, but fun and warm.  It surprised me to learn more about Cleese's upbringing and start in comedy - the process took a while and wasn't always pleasant.  The book isn't perfect, but it's definitely worth a read for Cleese fans.

Sapiens // As I've mentioned before, I'm a huge fan of nonfiction that goes really in depth into a particular topic. This book, which is a history of humankind, is anything but brief. I'm hard to bore with this type of thing, but there were a few sections that had me skipping ahead a little.  There's a fine line between informative and over-detailed and this book isn't always on the right side. I don't regret reading it, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.

Why Not Me // Mindy Kaling is the best.  Honestly, I am in the Mindy-can-do-no-wrong camp, so it should come as no surprise that I loved this book.  As opposed to Mindy's first book, which covered a lot about growing up and becoming who she is, Why Not Me is much more about her professional life and being an adult.  It read as more mature, self aware and reflective, which I absolutely loved.  She made me laugh out loud a few times and more than once made me really think.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Cold-Weather Skin Routine

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Since the last time I did a skincare routine, every single product has changed, so it's probably time for an update.  Brief refresher - I have combination skin that gets very dry and dehydrated in the winter.  Also, now that I've reached the ripe age of almost-23, wrinkle-prevention and bounce-retention are top of my priority list. Caroline Hirons writes a brilliant skincare blog and I've basically copied all of her tips and worked them into my routine.  You'll notice that lots of my products are Paula's Choice.  I love the brand because they do quality, unfussy skincare with ingredients that really work

Morning

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Once I wake up, I quickly wash my face with PC Hydralight cleanser, which gently sloughs off the nastiness that I get on my face from the bottom of Tallulah's feet when she shoves them in my face in the middle of the night (#foreveralone).  I follow up with the incredible Pixi Glow Tonic, which has a mild acid in it to remove any dry spots and enough moisture to not throw things out of balance again. I finish up with the Dr Jart Ceramidin cream, which hydrates like absolutely no other.  Once that's all on, I start in with makeup. I've been using the Ceramidin Day Tint and absolutely love how hydrated and even my skin looks.

Evening

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This is admittedly a very princess-y skincare routine.  It's cool, I've got nothing better to do.  I start by removing my makeup with Clinique Take the Day Off balm.  This is the first cleansing balm I've used and I much prefer it to oils - less messy, easier to control and way easier to travel with.  Once I've removed that with a washcloth soaked in hot water, I was my face with the Hydralight again.  Before that dries completely, I use a cotton round to apply the PC Skin Balancing Toner, which does a brilliant job of taking off any last makeup and keeping my skin calm. Next is PC 2% BHA.  BHA is also known as salicylic acid, and this acid step helps with both acne and wrinkles.  It also helps remove dead skin, which prevents those yucky dry spots people often get in the winter. Once that dries a bit, I apply the Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Serum and Origins Night-a-min Cream.  Though a recent purchase, this lotion is a huge favorite - it keeps my skin balanced, hydrated and bright, all while smelling like orange sunshine.

As I did previously, masks still make their way into my routine occasionally, but I don't really treat them as part of my skincare routine.  What I do count as my routine, however, is drinking lots of water.  I notice a huge change in my skin if I don't drink 80+ ounces of water a day.  Overall, these products and enough water are all I need to keep everything hydrated and happy throughout the winter!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Lust List // Christmas

My birthday is in early December, and I have a very hard time containing my Christmas spirit past November 1st, so my gift list usually arrives pretty early in the season.  I like to think it's helpful, but I'm pretty sure my mother's blood pressure increases a few notches immediately.  Oh well.


Perfume Sampler // To be honest, I only want this because it means 10 dollars off the bottle of Chloe I'll inevitably trade the certificate in for.  Just trying to save the fam some money

Lemon Tree // Weird, I know, but it's on my 101 in 1001 list and I have a lemon kitchen, sooooo

Cookbook // After my CSA experience, I want to get better about cooking vegetables more simply, but with more flavor.  And this is one of Orangette's favorites, so I'm sure it's flawless

Illustrated Harry Potter // This should surprise no one, especially after the excited melt-down over the Cursed Child tickets

Winter Coat // Last year, I got a winter coat at H&M during the Black Friday sale, and the 20 dollar investment served me well, but is in need of replacement.  This one ticks all the boxes - covers my bum, lots of pockets (with fuzzy lining!), giant hood, reasonable price.

Car Vacuum // As anyone in my family can tell you, my car is in a semi-permanent state of messy. In an attempt to rectify that, keeping a little vacuum for dog hair/sand/spilled snacks seems a good way to go.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

DIY // Travel Display Ideas

As I think I've mentioned, I spent half of my junior year abroad, living in Denmark and traveling around Europe. Since then, I've gone on a couple of other big trips.  Typically, my souvenirs are actually what most other people would consider trash, so I end up coming home looking like a scary hoarder. I also, like most people, take lots of pictures.  In decorating my apartment, I really wanted to showcase my travel, because I love it, without looking like a showoff. Here's what I came up with - 

Place Boxes // This is for my hoarding tendencies.  I bought photoboxes at Christmas Tree Shops, painted them in my favorite colors, then stenciled the name of the places I visited on them.  Inside each are tickets/stubs/maps/brochures/receipts/napkins.  Basically, anything and everything from the trip. I love to go back through each and remember the specifics of the days, not just the overall trip.

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Photo Displays // I typically take tons of pictures on vacation, both on my phone and with my good camera.  Like everyone else, it's pretty fun to display them. I used this site to make the instagram poster, and I chose two images from my trip to Cornwall, England to get printed in a higher res.  I don't love to pick really obvious travel images (Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, Colosseum), but instead ones that I took in places I loved or from days I want to remember.

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Maps // I obsessively hoard maps when I travel, and have basically wallpapered one wall in my bedroom with them.  It looks really cool, and most of them have drawings or notes on them from travel, which is another fun reminder of the details of the trips.  And the scratch map is just awesome.

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Winter Lipstick Favorites

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In general, my makeup routine is pretty basic - tinted moisturizer, bronzer, blush, setting powder, brow gel.  On special days or days where I'm wearing all black, I'll occasionally throw on a lipstick.  In the winter, I feel like I can get away with a little more color.  These are my favorite options -

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MAC Ruby Woo // One of the cult favorite MAC products, this is by far my favorite red lipstick. It's a matte formula, so I need plenty of chapstick before I put it on, but the staying power is impressive.  And the blue base makes my teeth look supah white.

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Revlon Color Stay Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush // Though a painfully long name, the formula and color of this product is fabulous.  It goes on shiny, but dries down quickly to a more matte, long lasting formula.  The color stays put for a long time, and I kind of prefer the faded color a bit more.  Flattering without being too much.

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Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Berry Haute // I love this color.  The purple brings out the green in my eyes, but it's not too much of a color that it makes me look weird.  And the tube feels verrrryyyy classic fancy old lady.

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Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina // This is my favorite everyday winter color.  The formula is kind of insane - once it sets, I basically have to chisel it off.  It's a pretty basic color - pinkish brown, which I love.  It works with every makeup look and outfit. 

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YSL Rouge Volupte Sheer Candy in 15 // This is the spendiest lip product I own, and you could absolutely find something similar for less, but dayum doesn't the packaging make me ridiculously happy.  I mean, the lipstick is gorgeous, and the juicy rose shade works as a great everyday, no mirror required option, but the packaging man. So fancy.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Budget

From all J Crew to no J Crew.  Sorry, Jenna Lyons.  Instead, a few random pieces that, though I didn't necessarily think I needed them, have gotten a lot of wear.  The booties are my favorite - super comfortable and the first pair of booties I've ever felt look good on me with skirts/dresses.

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1 // Old Navy Top - $15
2 // LOFT Top - $22
3 // Old Navy Vest - $25
4 // LOFT Shell - $14
5 // LOFT Skirt - $15
6 // Forever 21 Booties - $28

Some notes - the LOFT skirt is gorgeous - a very nice lined tweed with great winter or spring colors, but it runs quite small.  I sized up and was more comfortable. The length is appropriate for work.  The LOFT top is listed as gold, but is much closer to mustard.  It's completely see through, but moves beautifully. And the booties are fabulous - they make my legs look a mile long.

Linking up with Fran!

Monday, October 26, 2015

J Crew Field Jacket Review

I, like every other 20-something white girl in America, am the proud owner of a J Crew field jacket. It was an impulse purchase over 2 years ago, and is one of the first three pieces of clothing I would repurchase if my entire closet tragically died in a fire.  I was shopping with a friend recently and she referred to the jacket as a "Kyle Jacket" in the store.  My legacy is complete.

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Style //  I absolutely love the look of this jacket - basic but not boring.  It comes in three colors (moss brown, black, burgundy) and I have the olive/brown.  The style of the jacket leans towards military/utalitarian, but with the gold buttons and feminine shape, there's a nice balance.  So far, I haven't found an outfit this doesn't look cute with... I also love that there are 4 pockets.  The two chest ones don't hold much, but they work for my little wallet, a hotel key etc.

Fit //  As someone with a classic hourglass shape, jackets can be a hard fit for me. Basically, I need a jacket that doesn't make me look like a potato, but that does it's jacket job well - keeps me warm, works over other clothes and holds the huge number of random things I carry around (currently 2 lipsticks, my wallet, keys, a poop bag and a ticket to the Cliffs of Moher).  The jacket has waist snaps that allow for a more tailored fit, which I love, and the cut is generous enough that, even wearing my normal size, there is plenty of room for chunky sweaters without looking like an over-stuffed sausage.

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Functionality // My favorite aspect of this coat is the waxed cotton.  Though not particularly cozy, the coating means the jacket water resistant, without looking like a rain coat.  Personally, this feature is what makes me reach for this again and again. Throughout the winter and spring, this coat is able to take me from walking the dog in the morning to work and out to dinner at night no matter the weather. The best.

Worth the Price // Overall, absolutely. I've worn mine at least three times a week for the last 2 years, and, though it's showing it's age a bit, the jacket is still in good condition.  As you can see in the pictures above, the fabric is getting a bit thinned out in the back, and the arm creases are now permanent, but the snaps, zippers, corners etc are all perfectly fine.  I may replace it for next year, but even so, my cost per wear is down to about a nickel, so I'm happy to make the investment again.

Overall, my love for the Field Jacket is deep and wide.  I would feel bad about being so basic, but honestly, I don't even care.  The jacket is great and I'll wear it into the ground and buy a new one. Love it and highly recommend.  Buy it here (currently 25 percent off).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I grew up with a mother who has innumerable talents, few of which are baking.  If she ever made cookies for us, I can't remember, but I'm sure she'll correct me.  I however, love to bake and live with 24 teenage girls, all of whom require chocolately confections on a regular basis to keep the crazy at bay.  This is my holy grail, ride or die cookie recipe that, as long as you can brown butter, is a piece of cake (PUNS), and you have to brown the butter - the deep, nutty, caramel flavor it gives the cookies is incredible

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Ingredients //

2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 bag chocolate chips 

Instructions //

Brown the butter (place both sticks in a large frying pan over medium low heat.  Stirring continuously, allow the butter to cook until a deep, nutty brown, approximately 5 minutes

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While allowing the butter to cool, mix the flour, baking soda and salt together, set aside

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Once the butter is cool, add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes

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Add the egg and vanilla, mix to incorporate, then slowly add in the flour mixture

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Add in a bag of chocolate chips or less, if you are not feeding hormonal basketcases

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Chill the dough for 2+ hours, then roll into balls and cook for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees

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Nom Nom Nom