Friday, November 30, 2012

cold weather layering

Another outfit post. Really. 

The first look I put together featuring C&C California was more appropriate for milder weathers. The plaid shirt, while it has certainly become a favorite of mine, is on the thin side so I always reach for a sweater or jacket to wear with it. Temperatures are dipping into the 30s at night so layers is the best way to go. I love that the three pieces they sent me, while great separately, create a look I love all together. A more casual office? Wear this. Dinner out with friends? Great for that. Just running around town? Perfect outfit choice.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

chambray and denim

{American Apparel Velvet Bow, J. Crew Selvedge Chambray Shirt, Gap Always Skinny Jeans, Ralph Lauren Ballet Flats via Marshalls - similar, Kate Spade Flower Ring - similar, Kate Spade Gold Ring - similar, Alex & Ani Birthstone Bangle, J. Crew Gold Bangles - similar, Mikimoto Pearl Bracelet, Michael Kors Tortoise Watch}

I spent Thanksgiving in the suburbs with my family and was happy to get out of the busy city for a few days. Since we don't celebrate with a huge family gathering, I usually keep it casual for the holidays. A comfortable outfit, especially on Thanksgiving when I know I'll be eating lots of yummy food, is necessary.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

turtlenecks and necklaces

On Monday night, my friend Gabby and I paid a visit to The Bar, BaubleBar's retail shop here in New York City. While we were browsing the selection, I realized that my necklaces have been neglected and traded in for warm scarves recently. Well, I've decided to put an end to that! Turtlenecks happen to be one of my favorite things to wear once the temperatures drop, and I think they'd be quite the pair with some statement necklaces.

Whether it's warm cashmere or a tissue tee, when paired with a pretty and bold necklace, turtlenecks don't seem so bad. I'll admit that I actually really disliked these for a long time, but I was completely converted last fall. I can't decide which pairing is my favorite, but I love the Noir Hex Strand necklace so that may be a frontrunner. I also love this green Club Monaco shirt and this pretty necklace together.

Would you try out this pairing?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

plaid and {faux} leather

Well, I've finally worked up the courage for an outfit post. I had to do it because I have found the most amazing, the softest, the most comfortable dress ever. This faux leather fleece dress from C&C California is my new favorite thing and I have plans to wear this many times this winter. I paired with with a plaid shirt in colors with the tiniest hint of shimmer that has me thinking of the upcoming holidays. All of this without a jacket because the weather was pretty warm over the weekend. Too bad I can't say the same for this week...

Monday, November 26, 2012

eat this, wear that: cranberry and chocolate

After Thanksgiving and a weekend at home, I think that a juice cleanse or a detox is necessary for me for a few days. I plan on starting one tomorrow so that I can have one more day to indulge in treats like this Cranberry Bar with Chocolate Shortbread Crust.

I'm not sure how cranberries and chocolate taste together, but, in my opinion, nearly everything is good with chocolate. Their deep red, almost plum color matches so well with dark chocolate browns. Paired with nudes, beiges, whites, and other neutrals and you've got a simple outfit perfect for the first day back to the daily grind.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Happy Monday!

Friday, November 23, 2012

friday's fancies: black friday shopping

I have never gone shopping on Black Friday. I think anyone who does is incredibly brave to be facing those crowds. Instead, I'll be heading to the movies and relaxing at home and shopping the sales from the comfort of my parent's couch. But if I was heading out to the stores and the mall, I would choose to wear an easy and comfortable outfit

A pajama top that is pretty enough to double as a blouse is a great way to go. Paired with stretchy pants, flats, and a light jacket and you're sure to be comfortable while walking around all day. A cross body bag keeps hands free to carry your shopping bags. Just make sure to pack a water bottle to keep you hydrated, cute socks to try on boots, and a yummy and nutritious snack to keep your energy up.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

happy thanksgiving

This year, I am thankful for many things, but especially my family, friends, wonderful blog readers, good health, and a life that leaves me wishing and wanting for nothing. It's important to remember, especially after Hurricane Sandy, that there are those out there that do not have all the things we do - clothes, a home, a car, heat and electricity. The most important things to be thankful for are not the materialistic things but the people that love, support, and surround you.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

chocolate caramel apple cookies

When I saw this recipe for Chocolate Caramel Apple Cookies on one of my favorite blogs, Hostess with the Mostess, I knew I had to make them. I actually don't really enjoy caramel or candy apples because I have such a difficult time eating them, but turning them into a cookie and adding chocolate? Count me in!

If you're still thinking of what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner, these would be a great addition to the dessert table...

Chocolate Caramel Apple Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar {I used light}
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
10 caramels, unwrapped
1 tbsp. milk {I used 2%}
1 large apple, peeled and diced
Chocolate caramel candies, frozen and chopped {HWTM called for 6 fun size Milky Way Simply Caramel bars, I used 12 caramel filled Hershey Kisses - whatever you can find!}
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
2. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the unwrapped caramels with the milk for one minute until creamy and smooth. If necessary, microwave in 30-second intervals but remember to stir each time! Let this cool for a few minutes. {HWTM said to let it rest and cool for 10 minutes but this was too long for me and hardened my caramel mixture. The second time I did this, I only waited 3-5 minutes and it turned out fine}
3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla extract. Then add your egg and egg yolk and beat until combined. Pour your melted and cooled caramel into this.
4. Fold in the diced apples and then add your dry ingredients. Next, add you chopped chocolate caramel candies and semisweet chocolate chips.
5. Spoon onto parchment-lined cooke sheet by the spoonful.
6. Bake these for 10-13 minutes {I recommend a full 13} or until the edges are golden brown. Cook on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

stocking stuffers for her and him

With Black Friday just three days away, the last of my gift guides for 2012 is here! Gift guides are never complete {in my opinion} without including a few things to fill all of the stockings hanging by the fireplace.

Can we talk about how perfect that Kate Spade iPhone case is? I'm seriously considering putting it on my Christmas list this year {I know you're reading this Mom and Dad...}! And how divine do those dark chocolate champagne truffles look and sound? I think those gingerbread men boxers are pretty great too.

I hope these gift guides were helpful and gave you some ideas for presents this year! Happy shopping!

Monday, November 19, 2012

gifts for the hostess with the mostess

I'm sure we all have a friend or know someone who loves to throw a good party. She's the one who pulls out all the stops for dinner parties and get-togethers. Why not give the party host some fun presents this holiday season?

I think the Kate Spade flutes are a super fun gift. How adorable are they with their engraved sayings?  Birchbox recently launched their Home Pop Up Shop, and their Limited Edition Home box, with all the necessities for the home and entertaining, would be the perfect present for party giver.

Friday, November 16, 2012

she's the first & cupcakes!

I couldn't make these holiday gift guides without including the sweetest and cutest necklace of all time!

{All images provided by She's the First, found on AshTreeCreations}

This cupcake necklace, which you can buy from AshTreeCreations, would be a great gift for your sister, niece, friend, the little girl you babysit, or even yourself! The handmade tie-dye cupcake charm is adorned with sparkling Swarovski crystals on "vanilla frosting" that's fun, vibrant, and eye-catching. Hung from a silver chain, this piece of jewelry would certainly be a happy addition to your jewelry collection.

The best part of this necklace is that by purchasing it, you are helping and donating to a great cause and organization, She's the First. When I was contacted about this necklace and featuring it on my blog, I immediately jumped at the chance. Really, a growing organization with a great and meaningful mission plus cupcakes? Count me in! I was able to interview Kristen Healey, the Cupcake Captain of the National Tie-Dye Bake Off, so that she could share more about the week long event and organization.

1. For those who don't know, tell us about She's the First and its mission.
She's the First is a not-for-profit that sponsors girls' education in the developing world, helping them be the first in their families to graduate. In the process, She's the First fosters leadership and global awareness in young Americans, by inspiring them to lead creative fundraisers and correspond with sponsored students. Our efforts shape a rising generation of well-educated global leaders, future philanthropists, and cross-cultural communicators.

2. What is the story behind the Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off? How did it come about? 
In Fall 2010, Lindsay Brown, Notre Dame Campus Chapter President of She's the First, and her soccer teammate Maddie Fox organized the first tie-dye cupcake sale, raising $900 to sponsor three girls at Kopila Valley Children's Home in Nepal. Photos of the bake sale were uploaded to, Twitter, Facebook, and in months following, other students nationwide started to use the same recipe to host fundraisers for girls' sponsorships, which ultimately inspired the Bake-Off campaign.

3. Last year's bake off was incredibly successful. What do you hope to accomplish with this year's campaign? 
This year, the campaign is expected to gain just as many teams or even more. It was so rewarding to see the students who got involved last year grow as leaders and explore international affairs beyond their textbooks. It's amazing for everyone to learn that they are able to make a huge impact - using social media for social good - one cupcake at a time!

4. How is the cupcake necklace helping the organization? 
This necklace helps the organization because 75% of the proceeds go right back to She's the First in supporting girls' education. We have already sponsored over 265 girls to date and we expect many more!

5. With a growing number of campus chapters, multiple projects, and successful project, She's the First is making great strides in sponsoring girls' education. How can people get involved with She's the First and the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off? 
To be involved with the National Tie-Dye Cupcake Bake-Off go to and sign up or donate! There is also a recipe that you can follow to make your own tie-dye cupcakes. Also just check out for any fundraising tips or way to be involved. You can also join us on social media to help spread the word: #STFcupcakes

This year's Cupcake Bake-Off is happening this week, November 12-18. So while it's coming to an end soon it's never too late to get involved! Thank you to She's the First and Kristen for the opportunity to feature their wonderful organization and the sweetest necklace on my blog!

*I was not compensated in anyway for this post. I truly just love She's the First and their mission.

gifts for the beauty mavens

The holidays are the best time to give out a few beauty related items since most brands will put out fun and exclusive sets and palettes. Who wouldn't love some holiday-themed nail polish in fun colors and glitters? This Stephanie Johnson bag would make a great present, trust me. I use mine nearly everyday and every time I travel and am amazed at how much it can hold. I'm willing to bet that it will old all of the other 10 items...

Of course, we can't forget about the guys. Cologne and travel kits are always great gifts to give!

Make sure to check back later today for another fun gift! And two more gift guides are coming next week!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

gifts for the gentlemen

Buying gifts for guys always seems to be the most difficult. I never, ever, ever seem to know what to get - anyone else have that problem? Sports-themed items and winter weather accessories seem to make great presents. I always try to go a different and more creative route every year but have yet to succeed. I think some of these would make great presents, especially the James Bond book, Happy Socks pack, and the Tumi travel kit!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

gifts for your favorite ladies

Cheers to the first day of holiday gift guides! I'm kicking today off with some ideas for moms, sisters, best friends, and maybe even something to gift to yourself...

Some of these items I already own and love so much {the monogram necklace is one of my all-time favorite purchases!} that I just need to include them. Others on this list are on my personal wish list for this year. I would certainly be happy with any of these!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

joe fresh

I first heard of Joe Fresh last October while watching a review on YouTube. With such positive reviews, I knew I needed to check out their clothing and their makeup. Unfortunately at the time, I didn't leave near one of their stores. While they haven't expanded much outside of Canada, their clothes and prices are too good not to share. If you live in Canada, northern NJ, or New York City, Joe Fresh is a store you'll want to stop in!

Their prices are great. The pretty print is just $40 and none of their makeup is over $12. That sequin shirt? $30. And those sweaters? Both at $40. They've got good quality products and clothing at affordable prices, a great combination if you ask me!

And as a little heads up, some fun holidays gift guides will be starting tomorrow! Putting together these gift guides and my own personal Christmas wish list is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I've already gotten a head start on my holiday shopping so I thought it would be great to post these now to help me and hopefully you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

eat this, wear that: crispy autumn kale salad

Kale seems to be the "it" food. To be perfectly honest, I've totally hopped on that bandwagon. Kale is good in salads, juices, baked chips, as a snack, as a side... you get the picture. This colorful and crispy kale salad had me wishing I had some fresh on hand to mix this together.

I love the bright colors of the orange sweet potato and the red pomegranate against the deep green of the kale, a great fall color palette. An outfit in shades of green accented with vibrant orange and poppy red adds the perfect splash of color to the first day of the work week.

Happy Monday!

{image via How Sweet Eats}

Friday, November 9, 2012

friday's fancies: bonfire beauty

To be completely honest, I've never been to a bonfire. So really, I have no idea what is appropriate attire for this. They sound so fun but since the east coast was just hit by snow yesterday, I think I would really want to bundle up if I went to one of these.

This seems like it would be warm enough for me! If I had the money to spend, I'm pretty sure that I would purchase every one of these items. But I don't. So instead, I'm going to dream about this and set out to find a similar jacket with a much lower price tag.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

DIY: tassel necklace

Tassels seem to be everywhere nowadays, from keychains to jewelry to handbags, the list goes on and on. When Rachel Zoe's jewelry line was launched this summer, I featured a few of my favorites on the blog, which included one tassel necklace and tassel earrings. I've been unable to find a piece that I liked and was in my price range so I decided to take matters into my own hands with this DIY tassel necklace.

For this you will need:
Chain of your choice {I used this and this}
Beads or bead caps
Eye pins
Jump rings
Round nose pliers
Side cutters
A ruler
Strong adhesive glue {I like using this}

1. Measure your chain to double the desired length of your tassel {I wanted the tassel to be three inches in length so I measured out six inches} and, with your side cutters, cut to that length.

2. This step is a bit tricky! Thread your bead cap onto the eye pin. Then, using your pliers {it's easier!}, create a U-shape so that the bottom of the eye pin goes back through the top of the cap. You want to have a loop/opening for the chains to go through. Don't worry if it's too big {the bigger the loop, the more chain you can hang}, just make sure you have enough through the top to wrap around the 'eye' of the pin. It'll take a bit of maneuvering, but the pliers make this very easy.

3. Put the pieces of chain through the loop you created. I ended up using seven pieces for this necklace.

4. Wrap the remainder of the pin around the bottom of the 'eye'. Cut any excess with your side cutters.

5. Open a jump ring. Slide your bead cap and chains onto this.

6. Then, just decide how long you want to necklace to be and slide your chain onto the open jump ring. Use your pliers to close it. {I made this a long necklace so that I could put it on without a clasp.}

I used strong adhesive glue on the inside of the bead cap to make sure the chains didn't move around so much. For the gold chain {a slightly easier version}, I slid the eye pin under the cut chain pieces, folded the pin, then repeated steps four - six. I glued together three beads/spacers and slid it over the connected jump ring, eye pin, and chain.

I would say that this took me about 30-45 minutes to make two necklaces. The late hour {I didn't start this until around 11:30 at night} and my perfectionist tendencies most likely affected the amount of time it took me to complete this. It's really not that difficult once you get started. Not to toot my own horn, but I really like the way they turned out. These would be a great stocking stuffer, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

cold weather sweaters

I mentioned in last Friday's post that I love sweaters. Whenever I walk into a store, I always end up spending so much time looking at the sweaters. Unfortunately for me, my sensitive skin just doesn't love anything but cotton. Yes, even the smoothest of smooth merino wool and softest of cashmere can be too much for me sometimes. It's upsetting because I think fall and winter sweaters are much warmer than my cotton pullovers and cardigans and come in the prettiest colors, prints, and designs. Cable knits and Fair Isle? Yes please!

I will take all three Topshop sweaters, the Fair Isle turtleneck {more on my love for turtlenecks soon}, and the one with the peter pan collar pretty please! Also, I'd like to grab a few from the Gap like this, this, and this. Really, I just want to add to many sweaters to my closet that doesn't have the room for them.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

rock the vote

Today's a pretty important day. It's November 6, 2012 - election day {don't worry, I'm not going to get all political!} If you're of age and registered, I hope that you head to the polls or have sent in your ballots. If you're not, well I hope you register so that you're ready for the next election.

It doesn't matter what party you belong to or who you vote for, it just matters that you do it. So go out and rock the vote.

And hey, it doesn't hurt to have some pretty patriotic accessories while you're at it...

All three of these pretty pieces are form the BaubleBar and Dara Ettinger Designer Series. I'm in love with the glamorous stones in this collection, aren't you? 

Monday, November 5, 2012

eat this, wear that: pear and raspberry crostini

While picking up apples at the grocery store last week, I spotted some pears and realized I haven't had one in such a long time. I don't stray from my usual purchases so I'm always buying the same fruits and vegetables at the store. I was researching some recipes over the weekend and found this one for pear and raspberry crostini. The description sounded too good to pass up: "grilled whole wheat crostini spread with goat cheese, topped with slices of pear and a couple of raspberries, and finished with a drizzle of honey, a sprinkling of black pepper and a squeeze of lemon"

Mouthwatering. Seriously.

The photo completely drew me in and only added in the desire to make these. The pop of raspberry red against the neutrals of the pear and crostini and the bright white goat cheese is great color inspiration for a Monday work outfit. Start the work week off right with comfortable cords, a cozy sweater, pretty polka dot loafers, and fun bright earrings.

Happy Monday!

{Image via Cookie and Kate}

Friday, November 2, 2012

friday's fancies: sweater season

If there is one thing that I really, really, really love about fall, it's sweaters. In fact, sweaters may be the number one reason that fall is my favorite of the four seasons. They're so comfy and cozy and perfect to wear for so many occasions.

I thought this week's Friday's Fancies theme would be a great chance to show how to style one item two different ways - wearing at home and out during the day. I saw this J. Crew sweater the other day while at the mall with my mom and absolutely loved it. I think it would be the perfect transition sweater to go from home office to running errands around town.

Take a look at other sweater favorites on long distance loving!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

apple cider doughnuts - part two

Did you see yesterday's post? If not, I highly suggest checking it out to see the first of two doughnut recipes I tried this past weekend.

This recipe, which is my favorite of the two, took a bit more time since I double glazed these. There first dip looked more like a soak than a glaze. I'm sure it would taste great with or without a double dip glaze.

Baked Apple Cider Doughnuts with Apple Cinnamon Glaze
{Adapted from Lexy Levin}

2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt {I only had plain so that's what I used}
3 tbsp. vegetable oil

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of your wet ingredients {from the egg and below}. Pour this into your bowl of dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
4. Pour or spoon your batter into the doughnut mold, about half to 3/4 full. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
5. Once completely cool, dip these into the apple cinnamon glaze. Enjoy these warm and with hot mugs of tea, coffee, and apple cider!

Apple Cinnamon Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup apple cider

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Dip tops of doughnuts into glaze and shake off excess.

For the second dip, I added about another quarter to half cup of powdered sugar and about another quarter cup of apple cider. This will make it thicker and more opaque.

The recipe says it will 6-10 doughnuts. I was able to make one dozen doughnuts and one dozen mini doughnuts. Again, this is dependent on the size of your pan.