Wednesday, November 30, 2011

walk me out in the morning dew

I stumbled upon this great moisturizer when I earned a free sample at Sephora - I love to get the mini sizes to in order try out some of the products that maybe I wouldn't even look at when at the store. Benefit's Total Moisture is truly one of those products that makes your skin look so good- and it doesn't cause me to break out. My skin looks and feels worlds better since using this product- feeling smoother and softer. The lotion also has that clean smell that I flip over (in my mind heaven smells like fresh laundry).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

sleepy alligator in the noonday sun

There's a new shopping center by my parents house, so when I was up visiting we ended up spending an afternoon checking out the new shops. My sister and I checked out Charming Charlie, which is a fantastic accessory/ handbag store. This place is massive, and color coded - so finding something in the color you want or love (hello blue) is so easy. Definitely a great place to pick up some costume jewelry, possibly in mass quantities because the prices are really reasonable. I honestly think we could have spent the entire day checking out the merchandise, and then buying a lot of new things to mix it up. I got a great new handbag, plus added quite a few things to my list for Santa this year.

Monday, November 28, 2011

she needs wide open spaces

Nature lovers rejoice- November ends with another round of 60 degree weather, which lead to me getting out and enjoying a bit of nature in Massachusetts during the holiday weekend. Concord is home of some historical revolutionary events (think of Paul Revere), and has a quite a few parks for families to enjoy walking through- most for the very inexperienced outdoors man. I captured a few photos on a lovely afternoon - couldn't have asked for a nicer day.

Friday, November 25, 2011

do you hear what I hear?

Holiday music cannot be played before Thanksgiving is over, but once black Friday has officially started it's on until the new year. I feel there should be a clear distinction between holidays and Thanksgiving shouldn't be slighted because of hype of Christmas. Below is my top five favorite Christmas songs along with the artist versions.
All I Want for Christmas- Mariah Carey
I am Dreaming of a White Christmas - Otis Reading
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - U2
The Christmas Song- Nat King Cole
Christmas Time is Here- Vince Guaraldi
I am looking forward to cranking these up while I decorate my house for the holidays. Hopefully, I don't drive my neighbors absolutely bonkers by singing too loudly the entire month of December.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

turkey for the girls and turkey for the boys

A wild tom - picture from
 Happy Thanksgiving! Today is a day for gathering around a table full of family and friends for feasting and fun. I am reminded of hometown football games, playing in the backyard with my cousins, and the kids table in the kitchen (definitely the best seats in the house, with the best conversations). Hopefully everyone has at least one thing to be thankful this year, and can enjoy the day away from work and responsibility to kickback and relax and enjoy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

but i'm ready to snuggle up witcha

Cold weather usually sends me hibernating a bit more then when the weather is cooperating and giving the area unusually warm days this time of year. Part of my favorite things about switching to winter time is the need to wear warm sweaters and lots of layers, making for cozy additions to my closet. I recent found this layered shawl cardigan from Old Navy, which I love not only for it's neutral color but also it's draped style. I tend to choose things that I can wear at work and at home, so that I really get a lot of use out of them. This sweater makes me want to book a cold weather trip for skiing or snowshoeing this winter, to have cute little outfit to wear after a day of outdoor adventures.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

gypsies never get tied down

Holiday travel usually leaves me in two mindsets- really happy to see family and friends who live near where I grew up, and dread of traveling during the busiest travel days of the year. Let's face the sad fact that airports, train stations, and even highways are full of people who only travel on major holidays - which is enough to make anyone who has a passion for travel cringe. Since I moved further from my family a few years ago, I spend lots of time traveling for the major holidays - in which I have found it's worlds easier to pack light, which is aided by my favorite travel bag - my Vera Bradley Duffel. I can stuff everything in here, as well as control how much I bring with me (bigger bags, mean you have to carry more - which is heavier). I've taken this bag all over the world from Europe to the Caribbean, and it's always served me well.  The added bonus is the fun colors make it a snap to spot your bag on the carousel at baggage claim.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Crimson and clover, over and over

The holiday party season has officially kicked off, and I already have a few parties lined up for work and with friends. I was looking for something festive, but out of my normal color comfort zone of black (I love the little black dress- so easy). I saw this beautiful emerald green dress from Old Navy and it screamed to me you need to wear this. The color is just a standout shade, so even though it's a simple shape, a few accessories and a killer pair of heels will make this a great holiday outfit. It could also be worn with a long cardigan and a belt for a less dressy, but still festive occasion. The bonus for this is that this dress wasn't expensive- so if it gets worn only this year, I won't feel guilty when next year I want to don a new holiday look.

Friday, November 18, 2011

silver moon's sparkling

The black pencil skirt is something I always have in the closet- it falls into a staple that if it's not in your closet, you should run (run!) out and get one. I've recently had to start replacing some of the skirts I've had for years, due to just looking worn, or needing an update. It's hard to let go of some of my favorites- and sadly I can tell you where I was when I bought them, and who else was there, and some of the memorable places I've worn them. I know you all must be surprised that I found this one at Banana Republic, that has a uniqueness to it that is sure to capture some memories as well. The skirt has a sparkly thread through it creating a really nice subtle sophisticated look, without being so over the top it cannot be worn at the office. The skirt definitely can be worked in both a dressy or casual look depending on what it's paired with, making this a great addition to my winter wardrobe.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Starfish and coffee, maple syrup and jam

The holidays are fully upon us, particularly when Starbucks brings out the holiday cups- which just makes me feel cheery. I also love the saying on the cup "Let's Rediscover why we're best friends" - such as sweet sentiment. My sister and I both love the peppermint hot chocolate - which is one of those rare holiday blends that disappears shortly after New Year's Day. It's pretty much like drinking a peppermint patty, which is divine. One of my friend's makes his own version with peppermint schnapps - which pretty much is the best of both worlds, a warm drink that leaves you warm all over- exactly what the Christmas/ Holiday season should leave you with.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

devil with the blue dress

Blue is my most favorite color, if there's a choice of color on anything I pick blue every single time - hands down. My office is located right above an Ann Taylor store, in which the focal color this season is this beautiful cobalt blue. I could stand outside the store and ogle the window displays of the pretty colors all day and pretty much just want to go in an buy single thing in this color. I finally broke down and had to own this gorgeous dress, which is also in that wrap style I've been digging a lot so far this fall. This is one that I am going to have to be careful how often I wear it, because it's so distinctive, and because I am going to want to be in it all the time.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

tastes good cause the candyman thinks it should

Homemade treats are a big part of the holiday season, and I was inspired to try making peanut butter cups from scratch from reading this blog. And truth be told hers look way more professional then the ones I made - however I am sure they taste just as good. I used this recipe by modified it slightly by using milk chocolate chips instead of candy bars. The nice thing is the peanut butter cups don't take much time to make, and set very quickly the refrigerator for enjoyment within an hour of beginning the process. The downfall is I have the skills of a five year old when pouring melted chocolate into cupcake tins, and ended up covered in peanut butter and chocolate. I am looking forward to making these again for holiday treats in December for friends, family and coworkers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

all you do is sit around drinking wine

I am a terrible liar- which probably isn't a bad thing - but the reason I had to try The Pinot Project bottle of of wine is because the bottle reminded me of propaganda posters. I know that's a bit strange but the simplicity of just the words in faded black lettering with stars, and the name just caught my eye a few times. I will admit that many times over the labels tend to draw me in at the package store when mulling over what to pick up for stocking my wine rack.  This was a quite enjoyable pino noir at a moderate price point, with a hint of cherry but not sweet. Definitely one of those wines that is great to have a bit of at the end of a long day curled up on the couch for relaxing, or to be enjoyed over dinner with just about any menu.

Friday, November 11, 2011

where the caravan camels roam

Classics colors, something my grandmother had a bunch of in her wardrobe - particularly beige or in politer circles - camel. I love this cardigan from Banana Republic, its one those true staples that belongs in every girl's closet. It's fitting my requirement of not being long this season, but also looks good paired with navy, black, or brown bottoms - so there's endless pairings, giving this sweater lots of life. This is also a great way to showcase some fun accessories - like my animal print shoes, a bold necklace, or a really colorful belt, without wearing all black.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

turning japanese

I eat a ridiculous amount of Japanese food in any given week. I'd be hard pressed to put a lot of thought in the last time I ate sushi (usually within three days or less), so I am always up for trying new places. I was recently taken to Kyotofu for lunch for a very unique take on the cuisine - definitely not your traditional teriyaki chicken place.  The salad served with the lunch had a delightful dressing and sesame seeds with diced tomatoes and cucumbers- and a beautiful presentation (adorable tilted bowl). For my main dish I had a turkey tofu burger which was so tender it practically melted in mouth. I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone looking to trying something a little different - I definitely can't wait to come back and try some more tasty treats.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I pull on my jeans and I feel all right

Printed tops are always kind of a hit or miss for me, when you have some curves they can cling in very awkward ways. Lately, I've been getting tired of solids so when I saw this cute dotted top from the Gap, I had to go for it. The shirt is a featherweight cotton, so it's great for layering with a tank, or under a cardigan - or both if is particularly chilly. This is definitely a more casual Friday top, or for wearing when not in a professional atmosphere. The print reminds me a bit of dalmatians - its the spots really, but it's definitely more playful then a solid top.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

seas of cheese

Homemade macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods. In order to master this dish, one cannot be afraid to use too much cheddar, or any other cheese for that matter. Since I make mine gluten free, I use Parmesan cheese to thicken the rue instead of flour, which gives the mac a different kick then just using one type of cheese. My personal recipe includes, boiling milk, about 8oz of cheddar cheese, and throwing in any other types of cheese in the fridge - think American, Provolone, Mozzarella, even cream cheese, along with a little bit of salt and pepper to taste. The cheese shouldn't be too thick, but not to watery either - which is where the Parmesan helps to create the correct consistency. While mixing your cheese sauce over a low heat, make sure that you are boiling your pasta as well. Once the pasta is cooked, drain it, and then mix it in the cheese sauce. Finally, pour into ramekins to bake in the over for about ten minutes at 375 - the cheese should be bubbling a bit when done. Allow the dishes to cool for about five minutes and then enjoy.

Monday, November 7, 2011

`cause tramps like us, baby we were born to run

Marathoners are a little crazy, they kind of have to be to want to run 26.2 miles all at once. Needless to say this task is extremely impressive to watch, particularly in a city like Manhattan. I joined some friends over the weekend for some marathon viewing in Central Park. We found a great spot around mile 25, in which to cheer on the runners through the final leg of the race. There was one runner we all were looking for, our good friend and marathon runner extraordinaire. After cheering for strangers, it was so moving to see her come up from the crowd and run by us, making the feat seem way to easy. This woman is truly fierce, and it's amazing to see how much she's done with her running in the past year. I can't wait to see what she'll accomplish next.

Friday, November 4, 2011

god only knows what I'd be without you

The Beach Boys are one of my all time favorite bands. You might be able to trace that back to the days when Full House featured them on the show at least once a season for my formative years (Uncle Jesse was so cool, and anyone else notice how he got hotter as he aged?). Though Kokomo and Forever are great songs, they don't compare with the classics of the Pet Sounds album. This is one of those CDs that I can play the whole thing and just enjoy every song. Those classic melodies, songs that tell a story, and of course some simple little love songs that state what every young couple in the 1960's must have been thinking- yes, it really would be nice if we were older. The boys harmonizing puts me in a good mood, and these are songs that just make long for summer days at the beach or driving in a convertible car.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

when autumn leaves start to fall

When I was little, my mother always brought home gourds to decorate the house for Halloween and Thanksgiving. I love miniatures, particularly the little pumpkins.  Tiny and cute, and definitely a lot easier to carry home then their larger counterparts, gourds offer a fun way to seasonally decorate with color and unique shapes. These look great on a table, or in a bowl, either alone or mixed with some leaves from outside. Just make sure you don't bring in any bugs for your centerpiece.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

turtle neck check, with another on deck

Snugly crowl necked tops have long been on my favorite late fall/ winter wardrobe lists for a long time now. I find they give the extra warmth without the restriction of a regular turtlenecks. I found this knit crowl neck at Loft. I love that it's not bulky, but a nice layer that could work in my office with trousers or a skirt, or more casually on the weekends with jeans or even sweatpants for curling up on the couch.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

oh candy, your love's so sweet

Clearly, I am trapped in the past this week - I think any holiday sends me on a trip down memory lane. Halloween is one of those rare holidays where bad behavior can totally be allowed. I remember how important it was to count all the loot from trick or treating upon arriving at home, and then figuring out which candies you had the most of, and trading siblings and friends for your favorites. I still get disappointed when I think about the people who gave raisins, Charleston Chews, or the dentist down the street who would hand out toothbrushes - definitely not in the spirit of the holiday. My favorite candy has held steady and true after all these years, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. There is something about that chocolate and peanut butter combination that I never tire of.  Now, if only I was allowed to go trick or treating to see how many of these I could come home with.