Good Reads

Sunday, November 30, 2014



1. The Mysterious Crist√≥bal Balenciaga I stumbled upon this article when I was looking up information about hispanic fashion designers for my final oral presentation. The things you learn!

2. Real Talk: Starting & Sharing My Blog I, like Emily, tried blogging quite a few times before I finally found my place with this little nugget of a blog. I've had it for over two years, but I've really been taking it seriously since March! Now I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't blogging every day, y'know?

3. How To Pack for Cold(er) Weather Considering I came from a pretty mild late fall climate to a legitimate snow storm for Thanksgiving break, packing light wasn't an option. Sweaters and vests take up so much space! I love these tips though, especially the boots part. I have a tendency to overpack on the shoe front (I brought 2 pairs of riding boots home and I haven't worn either yet, I wear my new winter boots everywhere).

4. Cold Weather Casual How cute is this layered look? And don't think I wasn't eyeing that Tory Burch Robinson tote...

5. Goodnight Macaroon Pearl Collection I have the tendency to forget to put earrings on, but when I'm coming home for breaks or am going on vacations, typically the only earrings I'll bring with me are a pair of pearls that my mom gave me. They go with everything, but are such a classy touch to any outfit.

6. What to Watch On Netflix — My TV Recommendations I love to see what people are watching on Netflix to give me ideas of what to put onto my list! I'm currently working on Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl. I know, still? 

7. Favorite Festive Films I was telling my friend two nights ago that really the only Christmas films that I watch during the holiday season are Elf, Love Actually, and the Rudolph TV special. I'm going to have to borrow from this list and see if I need to add some to my normal scheduled programming.

8. Stunna Shades The sunglasses are great, but the braid and jacket are even better.

9. A Country Look Niomi is always dressed so stylishly! I'm loving the plaid scarf with the camel jacket! Weather and season appropriate!

10. Travel In Style Definitely a little more dressed up than how I travel, but who knows, maybe this will be me someday. If we're being honest, this will probably be me in approximately two years or so. Never say never!

11. Burberry Holiday As much as I love the classic Burberry plaid, this option is also amazing! It looks so soft as well, doesn't it?

12. Holiday Up-do I am all sorts of tempted to try this out for the holidays this year!

13. Thanksgiving Wonderland What a picture perfect life KJP and Sarah have together! I loved these shots from the holiday, especially Sarah's ever-so-glamorous turkey hat ;-)

14. Kate Spade Art Prints I may need every single one.

What have you been reading lately?

Why I Continue To Wear Makeup

Saturday, November 29, 2014

I've done a post like this before titled Why I Can't Go Out In Public Without Makeup On, and things haven't really changed much since then. I still find myself wearing foundation for a simple trip down to the printing lab in the lobby of my dorm. This is the story of how I started wearing makeup and part of why I still continue to wear it today.

&&


I can’t draw or paint, nor do much when it comes to the artistic realm, aside from Photoshopping a cigar into the hands of a raccoon to amuse my roommate (long story). It was clear from a young age that my calling was not artistry. The thing was, I tried incredibly hard to be good at something that I just genuinely couldn’t do. Traditional art wasn’t my forte. It took a while to accept this, especially when I was forced to take an art class every day until I entered high school. The end of required art marked the beginning of my, arguably, favorite method of artistry.

I don’t have good skin. No amount of celebrity endorsed products promising me clear skin will fix what I have accepted as life’s greatest curse on me, second to me never being able to meet my favorite male celebrities and have them fall madly in love with me. My best friend in high school became foundation and concealer, two products to this day that I choose not to live without.

I remember my first trip to Sephora vividly. It all started with a frosty pink lipstain that smelled strongly of vanilla and made me strongly resemble somebody who would go by the stage name Vanilla. This coincided with my absorption into the world of Youtubers (a lot of moments in my life coincided with one another, like my bang phase as teenage angst). Once I was exposed to the beauty gurus of Youtube, my bank account depleted and my face became slightly more lively.

It took three different shades of foundation until I looked like myself and less like Casper or a competitive cheerleader. It took three different shades of foundation to make me feel OK walking around the halls of school. My otherwise naked face slowly but surely became my canvas, a form of art that I was mastering fairly quickly. Putting on eyeshadow was easier for me to learn than drawing three-dimensional shapes, and just about anything else my teacher’s desperately tried to teach me before giving me a passing grade for effort.

For a while, makeup was my mask, I will admit it. I can’t be alone when I say that high school can make you feel very insecure and inadequate. And I’m not going to say that college doesn’t miraculously wipe away these feelings, but at least for me, something clicked within me the summer before my freshmen year that told me to stop caring what other people thought and do things for myself. I don’t wear my berry lipstick to catch people’s attention or lure in the men (apparently guys hate bold lipstick? HAH!). I wear it because I’m comfortable in it and I can hide the fact that I recently burned my top lip with a curling iron…so perhaps that use is a mask, but you get what I mean. Makeup is a personal choice, either way you choose.

#blessed

Friday, November 28, 2014

If you were wondering, I do indeed hate myself for titling this blog post #blessed. Let us all collectively sigh and force a pathetic laugh for my sake.

I really hope you all had a really great holiday yesterday, one filled with family, friends, food, loved ones, and more food (preferably desserts). It's a family tradition to have everybody over at my house for Thanksgiving. We've been doing it for years, utilizing anywhere between 4 to 5 tables to try to fit everybody. This year was a five table year, which meant the house was overflowing with family members. To some, this might be torturous. For my family, it's heaven. It's probably a weird form of bragging to say this, but my extended family is already so absurdly close (we see each other anywhere between one to three times a week...sometimes more...) (this is obviously when I'm home) that Thanksgiving isn't even awkward? There aren't any "where's your boyfriend?" moments or anything. We literally see each other so often that it's just another Thursday night dinner for us.

crumbly pumpkin bread

pumpkin spice baked donut holes


My contributions to Thanksgiving dinner included a pumpkin bread and some pumpkin spice doughnut holes. I got a little Pinterest happy this year...


Here are three out of the five tables from this year...we take this holiday very seriously. Have I mentioned how massive my family is before? Because there are a whole boat load of us. It's sort of ridiculous and awesome all at the same time.

And onto the most important part...remember how about a month or so ago, I picked up the greatest buy of all time at Avalon Exchange in Coventry? Well, I finally got to wear the dress and what day would be more perfect to debut the altered dress than Thanksgiving? Are you prepared for selfie central?






Dress: Diane von Furstenberg (from Avalon Exchange)
Tights: Borrowed from Mamma Jamma
Shoes: Kohl's (Lauren Conrad)
Lipstick: Combination of Revlon's Raspberry Bite and YSL's Fuchsia In Rage


Oddly enough, I had just gotten her book that day...it seemed only appropriate to have a little cheese sesh with it in my dress.


Constantly dancing on tables. Or in this case, a toy chest acting at a coffee table.


I'm not entirely sure what I was doing.


Same goes for this one...

How was your Thanksgiving? 

Things I'm Thankful For

Thursday, November 27, 2014

In lieu of a Things I'm Loving Thursday today, I figured it would be appropriate to change it to a Things I'm Thankful For Thursday. There is infinite amounts of things that I'm truly thankful for and that I probably take for granted! Sure, some of these are givens, but that's because I think it's important to be thankful for those obvious answers. I'd probably forget about them otherwise.



1. My family, who constantly puts up with my ever changing moods (and vice-versa!)

2. My friends, who love me despite my quirks and choose to deal with me.

3. My education, which shouldn't feel like a luxury, but is. 

4. My car, for being a generous gift that makes coming home to see my loved ones infinitely easier.

5. The fact that kind and generous people exist, because I truly think the world would be a better place if everybody was just a little nicer to one another.

5b. Also, Harry Styles, because I'd like to think he is one of those kind and generous people.

6. Music and those nice enough to create it, as I think that it is one of the most beautiful art forms out there.

7. Sunrises and sunsets, because even though it gets dark far too early, they're both still very lovely to witness. 

8. Coffee and different flavored creamers, because I can deny that caffeine doesn't give me that extra boost of energy all I want...it does...and it's wonderful. 

8b. The really nice baristas at Starbucks and those who work in convenience shops on campus, because you really make my day, and not just because you provide me with coffee. 

9. EZ Pass, for making driving through several different states infinitely easier.

10. The workers who worked tirelessly to clear the I-90 after winter storm Knife blanketed Western New York in snow for allowing me to get home on my 19th birthday to celebrate with my family.

What are you thankful for this year? Tell me a few in the comments below!

Wrap Me Up In Wool

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Please don't do what the blog title tells you to, because wool in reality makes me uncomfortable and itchy. However, my favorite types of jackets are typically made of wool, so I suck it up during the winter time and hope that the silky lining will keep me fairly comfortable.

I've had the same coat since eighth grade, a navy blue Delia's peacoat. We've been through a lot together, but I think it's time that I start seeing other people. I love my coat to death, but sometimes I just want something that isn't navy. I especially hate it when I want to wear black. It guts me to have to pair it with navy blue, even if it's just a jacket. I've been lusting after a new jacket since last season, so I think this is the year that I finally just go through with it and add another every day winter jacket to my wardrobe.


What's your favorite style of winter jacket?

Holiday Confidence Challenge

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

To sign up for this challenge, click the banner above or the links scattered through this post!

My friend Abby mentioned this challenge to me over dinner to me last week and I thought it was such a great idea! The "challenge" is held by bloggers Jamie and Ali from The Love Shack Society to promote body confidence during the holiday season. On the 2014 challenge page, they explain it as:
The 2014 Holiday Challenge is a 14 day experience for free with daily challenges to help you live with ease, beauty and confidence along with an awesome community doing them alongside you.
On the Monday of the challenge week, you'll receive and e-mail with that week's daily challenge schedule. For example, yesterday's challenge was to do something unproductive (check that one off about one hundred times...).

I'm really excited about this challenge. I think it's a really positive and and simple way to add some changes to your life, especially during a hectic and stressful holiday season, one filled with uncomfortable dinner conversations, the regret from "over-eating" (is this even possible on Thanksgiving?), and if you're in college, the stress of impending finals. I have a feeling that this challenge will alleviate the weight, both mental and physical, that might plague me for the coming two weeks.

I'll be participating in this challenge daily and I'll post about it on Sundays, detailing my "responses" to the challenges. But I'm also here to encourage you to participate as well! I really think that a body confidence challenge is a great way to increase the inner and outer beauty that you see in yourself and it couldn't have more perfect timing.

If you decide to join in on the challenge, let me know! I'd love to hear about what your responses to the challenges are!

2014 American Music Awards

Monday, November 24, 2014


I am a massive music award show fan. It's some of my favorite artists put in one room together, celebrating each other's music, success, and talent. How cool is that?! It also means that there is going to be some interesting Red Carpet fashion as well as stage outfits. Here are some that stood out to me last night.

image


Obgligatory One Direction appearance on my blog. I think my mom has a blouse just like Harry's and I'm baffled that Niall is wearing just a t-shirt on the Red Carpet (though I'm fairly sure that it's Alexander McQueen so...you're halfway there pal). And don't tell me it's not adorable that Harry's boots match Liam's shirt. Zayn looks like he just walked off the pages of a magazine and Louis...Louis looks very, very handsome.

One Direction won big last night, winning three awards, one of which was Artist of the Year, beating out names like Beyoncé and Katy Perry. They also performed "Night Changes," a performance in which their looks kept me awake (probably an unpopular opinion about that song, oh well).


image

Lucy Hale is my hair-spiration. I'd want my length to be an inch or two longer because I can't pull off every single hair length like she can. I like the boxy neckline of this dress and her dark manicure with the dark lipstick. It's a cute little get-up for a Red Carpet!

image
This is model Gigi Hadid (I believe she dates Cody Simpson, but that's entirely unimportant). This suit is by Prabal Gurung and if I could have it in my closet in my size in approximately 10 minutes, that would be awesome

image
Well...at least Selena's dress was nice...

image

I couldn't find any full body shots of Taylor's dress, but isn't that color amazing on her? I love that she ditched the red lips yesterday too. There's nothing wrong with her statement lips, but this dress looks so nice with the nude lips and simple makeup. Queen Taylor lives on. 

image
I love Lorde and just about everything she does. She's a bit bizarre and risky, but I appreciate that she does her own thing all of the time. Her performances, which once put me off, are some of my favorites now. At least she engages and gets into music rather than standing and singing idly. What's the fun in that? I really like the black and white outfit she wore on stage for "Yellow Flicker Beat." And those dark lips, oh my god, Lorde beats everybody in the game of dark lipstick.

What were your favorite looks from last night? What performance was your favorite? 

I quite liked One Direction's performance of "Night Changes" (duh), Lorde's performance of "Yellow Flicker Beat," Taylor Swift's "Blank Space," and Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj's performance of "Bang Bang."

Good Reads

Sunday, November 23, 2014

image
1. Sweater Weather Cowl neck sweaters are my weakness this season...but I'm more interested in the faux fur vest. I want one so bad and the one featured is perfect!

2. Camel Colored Coat I am pining after a new winter coat! I'm still holding out for the best of the best...could this one be it?

3. Amy Stone Instagram Prints I'm fascinated by wall prints and Instagram, so combining these two together is dangerous for my already absurdly low bank account.

4. Blue and White Dining Hutch This makes me want an apartment or a house of my own so bad.

5. Outfit: Barbour Jacket I WILL make it to the Barbour outlet this week, even if it kills me.

6. Instagram: Carly's Closet Carly wears the greatest clothes, whether it's a casual run around town or a photoshoot with various outfits. I love that she made a separate Instagram just for those more "casual days" (her casual days are my dressed up days, no big deal), which means more outfits from her!

7. Cozy Outfit Inspiration Cozy has been my inspiration since it got cold at school.

8. It Has Begun... After the first heavy snowfall in Cleveland, I knew winter was coming and that I was going to have to surrender early this year. Sigh. I am embracing the peppermint now.

9. Snickerdoodle Cupcakes with Cinnamon Swirl Frosting I made these cupcakes last night and they do, indeed, taste just like a snicker doodle cookie, just a lot more fluffy. Instead of using the mini cookies as garnish, I'm going to crumble up the new Ghirardelli Cinnamon Crunch chocolate squares.

It's been a busy week, so there hasn't been a lot of time for free reading, but hopefully my week vacation from school will free up some time ;-).

What have you been reading lately?

Nineteen Years Strong

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I got a slew of very lovely birthday messages around midnight of the 21st, most of them including pictures of Harry Styles or at least mentioning the handsome Brit. Then, my friend Abby and I headed out to Target for a much needed grocery/Starbucks trip. Honestly, if you've never been to Target at 9AM on your birthday, you're doing it wrong. I highly recommend it. Totally starts your day off on the right foot.

Loving life with an iced chestnut praline latte...
I spent most of the morning packing and waiting to hear the news on what the time the I-90 would reopen. If you've been living under a rock, Buffalo and parts of Pennsylvania got hit with this massive snowstorm and a lot of trucks and cars got stranded on the 90. They had to clear the cars and trucks off the road before they could plow. I got really lucky that they opened the 90 at 3 o'clock yesterday, which gave me enough time to pack, drive to Erie, PA for lunch. I got to the Pennsylvania border about 10 minutes after it opened and drove through the rest of my drive with ease. God bless all of the people who worked tirelessly to get the highway back open.

My mom met me at Tony Walker & Co. because on your birthday, you get 40% off of one item! I was DETERMINED to find myself a pair of winter boots, my eyes set on a pair of Sorel boots. However, they didn't have them in the color I wanted nor the size that I needed, so on a whim I tried on a pair of UGG winter boots (not the classic ones, no worries) and I fell in love.




I got the Adirondack II Leather Boot in the color Otter and I am absolutely, head-over-heels in love with them. They feel great, they keep my feet warm, and they're waterproof. Alas, homegirl has gotten herself a proper pair of winter boots! No more ruining nice riding boots and complaining about cold feet! A huge thank you to my mom and dad for the wonderful birthday gift!

We stopped at home before going out to dinner so I could change and give Cash (my dog) his present.



How handsome is he in his scarf? He hated it at first, but I put it on him today and he seems okay with it. I think he belongs on a Christmas card.

My family and I went out to La Galera for my birthday AKA my favorite restaurant on this entire planet. It's not a homecoming or a birthday without their food, honestly. I eat there so frequently I should have a plaque on the wall.



I coerced my brother and mom to let me get Starbucks for the second time that day. I was just going to pay for my venti latte, but I remembered that I had a birthday reward, so I got this sucker for free! A day of double chestnut praline lattes is a great day.

Low key birthdays are my absolute favorite and I'm just really glad I got home at a decent hour and didn't have to spend my birthday without family in Cleveland. Now I'm home for a Thanksgiving break until December 1st!

What's your favorite way to celebrate your birthday? 

I Was Nineteen

Friday, November 21, 2014

More like, I am nineteen. Today is my birthday and I'm very excited and relieved that today has arrived. Anticipation for birthdays is never my favorite because they're just not that big of a deal to me (says the girl writing a whole post about her birthday...nice...). While I have massive amounts of homework and final projects to do, I'm taking today for myself.




For fun, here is a picture from my 18th birthday. I'm wearing a sombrero and that free fried ice cream was incredible.

When is your birthday? What is your favorite way to celebrate? 

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, November 20, 2014

1. FOUR

It should come as no surprise that One Direction's new album is something I've been loving during the past week. The rest of the album came out on Monday and I've been listening to nothing else all week. Every time they come out with a new album, I say that it sounds nothing like the last album, and FOUR is no exception. Midnight Memories was more 80s rock and FOUR is in a whole other realm. My favorite tracks now are "Where Do Broken Hearts Go," "18," "No Control," "Stockholm Syndrome," "Change Your Ticket," and "Clouds."

2. Nick Jonas

I still don't like him as a person and I think "Jealous" is a gross song and women aren't your property. With that aside, his song "Teacher" has been stuck in my head all week, which is slightly problematic when I want to dislike him. Also, his song "Santa Barbara" is legitimately fantastic. Taylor Swift described it as Bon Iver meets Christmas, I believe. I'd have to agree.

3. Chestnut Praline Latte

Some people were complaining that this drink was nothing special, but I guzzled mine down so something must be right with it. I also recently got the life changing Starbucks app on my phone and I am in love with that as well.

4. Rosebud Salve

After an accidental burnt lip (I was trying to sniff my curling iron to see if it smelled like smoke and I ended up overestimating the distance between the barrel and my lip and...ouch), I've been applying a generous amount of this to my lips to try to keep them from scabbing and chapping too horribly. Paired with the dropping temperatures and season of dry everything, this lip balm has been my savior.

5. Anna Kendrick's 'The Waiting Game' ad for Kate Spade

HILARIOUS. Anna is funny on screen, on twitter, and especially in this new ad for Kate Spade. Locking myself out of my apartment is something I can see happening to myself frequently in the future...pray for me.

What have you been loving recently?

These Boots Are Made For Walking...Through Snow

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I don't think I've owned a proper pair of winter boots in a long time. Once I got my first pair of UGGs in middle school, I thought I was covered on the boot front. When those got pretty much ruined (Northeastern winters don't allow your boots to last for very long...), I transitioned into riding boots, which aren't exactly the best for winters when mixed with salt and melting snow. Now that I walk to get most places in the city and a lot of the sidewalks aren't shoveled, I've decided that maybe it's time that I get myself a nice pair of winter boots. Here are some pairs that I've been pining after (okay, and some riding boots because I can't help myself).




What are your favorite boots to wear in the winter?

How to Survive the First Snowfall

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It started snowing in Cleveland last Friday and let me tell you, I nearly cried. The first snowfall that stuck last year was the middle of December, when I was leaving to go back home for Christmas break. I didn't really check the weather, so this premature snowfall blindsided me. I hoped that it would melt, but more snow keeps piling up, so accepting it is unavoidable at this point.



1. Waterproof your boots

Whether it's your riding boots, your ankle booties, your UGGs, whatever is going to be on your feet this winter that would possibly need waterproofing. UGG makes a special waterproofing kit, this I know for a fact. Ask your mom or somebody at a shoe store as to what products are the best and will ensure good results and not messing up your beautiful boots.

2. L-A-Y-E-R-S

Nobody likes being cold. Nobody. So rather than shiver during your walk to class or complain about the freezing temperatures, put on a few unnoticeable extra layers to bring a little warmth to your day. Pop a sweater on over your oxford or wear a long sleeved shirt with your cardigan. Adding a scarf to any outfit adds that extra bit of style and warmth when you need it the most.

3. Own a proper jacket 

I cannot tell you how many thin fleece jackets I see on a daily basis and the amount of complaints I hear. It won't kill you to get yourself a down jacket or a nice wool peacoat. The extra warmth they give you make all of the difference!

4. Hats and gloves can be practical and stylish

Bundling up can still be cute, especially with the popularization of the beanie over the past few years. A lot of brands create "tech friendly" gloves now that are usually sleek and allow you to still use your phone without having your fingers freeze off.

5. Fuzzy socks

The greatest part of the cold months, by far. You can get a pair of a dollar and they will change your life (or at least your winter) forever.

Has it snowed where you are yet? Does it ever snow where you're from?

Finals Are Coming...

Monday, November 17, 2014

I've never seen Game of Thrones (is that what "winter is coming..." is from?), but that doesn't mean that I don't sense a storm before it hits. Finals week is three weeks away for me and let me tell you, the stress has already kicked in. I only have two proper final exams, but I have a long form story due for my Media Writing class and a final group project for my Foundations of Journalism and Promotional Communications course, as well as an online comprehensive exam for my Mass Media and Society course. To sum it up, I have a lot of my plate and only three weeks to prepare. Chances are, you're in the same boat, so let's nip our stress in the bud and prepare properly!



1. Mental preparation. 

That's right, it's the homestretch of the semester. You need to start strategizing and thinking of your game plan now. How much time are you going to dedicate to studying and preparing for finals? Are you going to wait until after the Thanksgiving holiday or do you need all of the time you can get?

In addition to strategizing, you need to remind yourself to remain calm. There is still time left in the semester for regular assignments. You've got time to boost your grades! Finals are important, especially if you don't get a lot of smaller assignments throughout the semester, but that doesn't mean stress yourself out about them three weeks before they happen. Just because you're not sweating thinking about your final doesn't mean that you don't care about it!

2. Physical preparation. 

This might be a weird one, but I like to get my workouts done before finals week starts because you will not find me in the fitness center during finals week. It just won't happen. So I like do my cardio and strengthening exercises in the weeks prior so I don't feel so guilty dedicating most of my time to studying or putting the finishing touches on my final projects.

3. Actual preparation. 

After you've thought about finals and worked off your stress through elliptical work, you actually have to start studying. Studying methods vary for each person. Some like group work, others prefer solitary confinement in the libraries. People might prefer power points over textbook readings. Figure out how you like to study and actual start prepping for it. If you know that you like using flashcards, start making them early so you're not spending your entire finals week writing them up. If you have them done beforehand, you have more last minute cram time to spend actually studying rather than trying to prepare your materials.

When do your finals start?

Good Reads

Sunday, November 16, 2014

image

1. Pretty: Whatever That Means I'm always interested to hear where other people stand on the idea of wearing makeup.

2. What Your Coffee Order Says About You Where do you fall?

3. Old Navy Plaid Vest I love the plaid with the stripes! Mixing prints and patterns is a new obsession of mine.

4. Caitlin's November Edit Those sweater socks look like heaven.

5. DIY Lace Up Ballet Flats One of these days I will actually successfully complete a DIY project...

6. Bow-Tie Barbour I cannot wait to hit up the Barbour outlet this week when I come home for my birthday!

7. Slater Mill My dream is to have a sleepover with Taylor Swift and Mindy Kaling and own Sarah Vickers's closet.

8. Faux Fur Vest I was trying to find one that I loved during my weekend in New York as well! I can't give up my J. Crew quilted puffer vests quite yet though...

9. Weekend Travels: Budapest Yep, the first thing I thought of was the George Ezra song...

10. Toms For Target: Giving Looks Good On You Those blankets look absolutely fantastic...definitely going to have to contribute to this good cause!

11. Taylor Ormond, FIT Student Can anyone say #LifeGoals? This girl is incredible!

12. Pumpkin Spice Latte Costume I don't dress up for Halloween, but I told myself that this is what I am being next year no matter what.

13. UB Professor Who Once Struggled With An Eating Disorder Now An Empowered Yogi Definitely an article a little more serious than the rest, but I am so impressed by her work.

14. My Relationship Allie is one of my favorite Youtubers and young women and she totally says everything I could possibly want to say and more in this video.

What have you been reading lately?

Recipes I'd Like To Try

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I am a self-proclaimed horrible cook. It's true, I can mess up the simplest of dishes! In fact, just yesterday, I improperly cooked some white rice. I don't know where I went wrong, but I got a few forkfuls in before I wanted to throw up. Cute, right? However, I can bake, even desserts from scratch. Perhaps it's because I like desserts infinitely more than I like normal food (Mexican food aside). I'm not sure what the sorcery behind my inability to properly cook a meal that isn't pasta with butter, but that doesn't stop me from wanting to be able to cook. My I Can't Cook Pinterest board is one of my biggest, which is funny because the only other thing I'm worse at besides painting is cooking.



1. Crumbly Pumpkin Bread x Damn Delicious My aunt actually requested that I make this for Thanksgiving, so I guess I'm going to have to give this guy a try.

2. Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry x Skinnytaste Meat is one of the things I am absolutely terrified of cooking. What if I don't cook it long enough? I'd prefer not to sicken myself like that! However, this stir fry sounds incredible so I'll maybe have to get over my fear of salmonella. Side note: You would think that somebody so afraid of undercooking chicken because of salmonella would limit the amount of raw cookie dough they eat, but nope, not me.

3. Copycat Panera Macaroni and Cheese x Shugary Sweets Don't even try to tell me that you wouldn't want to know how Panera makes their heavenly macaroni and cheese. I kept meaning to try doing this over the summer but failed to make a proper grocery store trip. Maybe next month...

4. Chicken Alfredo Pizza x The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie The chicken alfredo pizza at Pizza Bistro in Niagara Falls is heaven on earth, but knowing how to make it at home would save a 15 minute trip downtown as well as quite a few bucks.

5. S'mores French Toast x BS' in the Kitchen What's better than French Toast, you ask? French toast with all of the fixing for a s'more, that's what.

What recipes have you been dying to try?

Dry Skin

Friday, November 14, 2014


It's that lovely time of year in which the air becomes lighter, drier, and sucks all of the life out of your skin. The wind and dry temperatures take all of the moisture out of my skin, making for a very miserable fall and winter time without the help of some of my favorite products.

I like to take the best care of my lips and my face and I normally won't skimp out on these steps or forget them. For chapstick, I really like Smith's products. Right now I have the Strawberry Salve and for those on-the-go applications I used my tube of the Rosebud Salve. I find that these are perfect for every day wear when you apply a sheer layer, but if you pack them on at night they work as a very hydrating treatment. Plus, they're super inexpensive!

On my face, I use one of two moisturizers depending on the day. Nine times out of ten, I use the Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer just because it's cheaper and easier to replace. Plus, I find that the cream formula is a lot better at replenishing my skin. However, if I'm having a better skin day where it doesn't seem to be as dry as usual (or when I'm traveling), I'll use my Origins Ginzing moisturizer. It smells very strong (I like it thought), but it gives my face a nice slick base for my makeup and puts a little more life back into my skin.

I'm terrible at remembering to use lotion on my hands and legs. I generally avoid using it on my hands just because I'm constantly touching something (computer, book, iPhone, pencil or pen, etc) and the feeling of lotion on my hands just feels wrong to me. But, as of late, I've been really into using my Lush Charity Pot lotion on my legs after I get out of the shower. Since I shave my legs every night, applying this afterwards makes them feel like a dream and it doesn't irritate them!

What's your favorite moisturizer or lotion?

Things I'm Loving

Thursday, November 13, 2014


1. Coach Wristlet

This has been my lifesaver over the past few weeks. I take it to concerts, when my leggings don't have pockets in them and I'm not wearing a vest, and I even took it on a run with me in Central Park because, well, you obviously can't run with a Kate Spade crossbody bag. I like how it's just simple black leather and isn't the heavily monogrammed Coach pattern as well! It goes great with any outfit and it's handy. Doesn't get much better than that.



2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

I read this book in one sitting on the first half of my bus ride to New York City last Friday and I do not regret any second of it. I could not put this book down, it completely enveloped me into the interesting story line. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried a bit (OK, a lot...) at the end. If you see this book in your local bookstore or in the library, I highly recommend picking it up.


3. Trader Joe's Apple Cereal Bars

I'm not a fan of fruit that's not in its natural, raw form. I don't like pies or apple crisp and barely like blueberry muffins or scones, but there's just something about these cereal bars that I cannot get enough of. I like the Trader Joe's brand infinitely more than the Nutri-Grain kind and I'm happy to have these back in my life again!


4. Zara Shawl

So yes, the tag and receipt say this is a shawl, but there's no doubt in my mind that this will be my coziest scarf for the fall and winter seasons. I got this in New York and I haven't taken it off. I even wore it to do laundry at 7:30 AM because I'm really annoying. It's the warmest and comfiest piece of clothing I own right now, hands down, and I cannot wait to use this when it gets freezing in the city and I need to walk outside.

5. One Direction's New Singles

One Direction's new album officially releases on November 17th, but almost right on schedule, the album leaked last Friday...while I was on the bus. Not that I necessarily condone pirating music, but I've been very excited to hear this album since they announced it. With each progressing album, the boys seem to be distancing themselves from the manufactured pop music that they boosted their careers with. Either way, I love their voices and music and personalities, so the fact that they've been releasing a single each day makes me very excited. So far, excluding "Fireproof" and "Steal My Girl", they've released "Ready to Run", "Where Do Broken Hearts Go" (FAVE), "18" (written by Ed Sheeran), and "Girl Almighty." I haven't been able to stop listening to WDBHG, so that's definitely a frontrunner for me so far (though I did hear "Stockholm Syndrome" on Tumblr during the Great One Direction Leak of 2014 and I was digging it).




6. Carlo's Bake Shop Cupcakes

I'm nervous to try popular bakeries most of the time because I'm afraid that they're going to be overhyped and not actually be delicious. Carlo's Bake Shop cupcakes did not disappoint and I wish that all four of the cupcakes pictured above were mine. I had the peanut butter cup one in the bottom left hand corner and tried the icing on the red velvet in the bottom right hand corner and I think I died and went to heaven repeatedly throughout the consumption of these cupcakes.

Boutique Crawl & Bryant Park

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

(Very very sorry for the technically difficulties yesterday and this whole weekend. This post will detail my Monday in Hoboken and my Tuesday in Midtown)

My morning, surprisingly, didn't start off with cuddles from Marlo as he ditched me for the floor about halfway through the night. I pretended not to be hurt by it, but it definitely broke my heart a bit.

I made plans weeks ago with my cousin Jessi to run in Central Park with her, so we met at the Lombard Lamp (oddly enough where I had been waiting for my other cousins two days before) and ran on a combination of the inner and outer loop for about an hour or so. 




After a healthy dose of jogging, we headed out to Hoboken, New Jersey for the day. With a quick pitstop to her apartment for an outfit change and drink break, we went out for lunch at a fantastic old fashioned diner.



I was so hungry by the time that I could our food that I sort of devoured it...but I got a BLT (with no tomato or mayo, of course...I call it a bacon, lettuce, and toast...) with kettle chips and an iced coffee. 


After lunch we went on what Jessi called a "Boutique Crawl", which just consisted of us stopping in every boutique that we saw on Washington Street that looked interesting. I didn't get anything, though her favorite boutique Dear Hannah, had the greatest chalk sign out front.

We grabbed a quick drink at Dunkin Donuts (Snickerdoodle lattes) and headed for the water to watch the sunset over the Manhattan skyline. 






We did things a bit out of order and decided to head to Carlo's Bake Shop (Cake Boss anybody?) because she had never gone and my dad was obsessed with the show and would have killed me if I didn't try a cupcake from there.





(Top left is Oreo, top right is Caramel, bottom left is Peanut Butter Cup, and bottom right is Red Velvet)

I bid farewell to my cousin after we had some salads for dinner near her apartment. Even though I was given petty clear instructions on how to get back to Queens, it still made me excited when I successfully managed to do so without even a second of panicking. 

I promptly took a nap when I got back to my other cousin's apartment and started packing up (insert crying emoji) for my trip back home.

Onward to Tuesday...

I went into Midtown/Bryant Park area with my cousin on Tuesday, but not after bagels that we ate on our subway commute. She went to work and I went around wandering the Bryant Park area and parts of Fifth Avenue that I hadn't covered on Saturday (though I did hit Rockefeller Center again...). I was on a quest for Zara and after about an hour of botched navigation because of the Veteran's Day parade, I found the motherland. 


After another quick coffee run (I think I consumed more coffee than water this trip...), I met up with my other cousin and headed out toward Chelsea. 






I quickly got changed and went to La Taza De Oro near W 15th, a small Spanish diner with some killer grilled chicken and vegetables. 

After that, it was onward to Port Authority  where I was catching my bus at 10:15 PM.

The overnight bus ride was miserably long, mildly nauseating, but I'd do it all over again for a weekend even half as fantastic as the one I just had. Many thanks to all of my wonderful family who accommodated me so nicely and were wonderful hosts and tour guides. And for Taylor Swift for providing my soundtrack for the entire trip. 

Until next time, New York...

Latest Instagrams

© life according to francesca. Design by FCD.