Saturday, August 30, 2014

Weekly Outfit Recap

I don't know about the rest of your locations but we had a heat wave this week in the 518 with temperatures hitting the high 80s. I for one, am not complaining because I love the heat but it did make me reconsider some of the outfits I had planned for the week in favor of lighter, sleeveless options. Also ignore the giant band-aid on my knee, I fell up the stairs the other day (I'm severely uncoordinatedly and lack grace). 

Here is a recap of my outfits:
Top J Crew // Skirt J Crew Factory // Necklace Macy's

Ring made by a woman I work with! // Bracelet J Crew

Dress Michael Kors

Bracelets Kate Spade

Skirt Vince Camuto // Top Michael Kors

Ring & Bracelet: Kate Spade

Anyone else experiencing a heat wave?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Four

We did it guys, we finally made it to the 3 day weekend. I may or may not have played hooky today at work to extend my 3 day weekend into a 4 day weekend (whoops). Since my cousins have been home this past week, with plenty of other friends arriving as the week went on, my motivation to actually go into the office was severely slacking and may have ended with a few half days. I figured this is the last week to really celebrate summer so why not go out with a bang. 

Here is what I'm loving this week:
Okay, I'm pretty sure the only girly thing about me is my love of fashion. This week I went to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to relive my childhood, please tell me I'm not the only female out there who had the action figures as a kid. The movie was definitely a guilty pleasure and reminded me of the good old days hanging out at my grandmas house playing the Ninja Turtle game on Super Nintendo (remember that?!).

Whenever I'm with my cousins we always find time to play trivia, whether that be homemade trivia (we have a tendency to make up games) or bar trivia. Monday night we went to our local Bomber's Burrito Bar for some margaritas and trivia. However, we were severely disappointed when we found out we would be playing math trivia. Let's be real, I haven't done math since my senior year in high school so I was pretty useless when they started asking about (x-3) + 42 - y = z.... 

Cousins Day Out
So when my cousin Josh is home from Chicago we always plan a cousins day out with my younger cousins and my Aunt Marge (hi Aunt Marge, I know you're reading!). It started off as a back to school lunch years ago and morphed into a full day of family fun. So last Sunday we had dinner together followed by some good old fashion mini golf and ice cream. It's quite the experience trying to play mini golf with 9 people, but being the competitive family we are, it ended up being a full on battle that came down to the final hole. Congrats Aunt Marge for pulling out that hole-in-one to break the 3 way tie for first!

Saratoga Racetrack
Saturday afternoon I'm headed to Saratoga Racetrack with a bunch of friends who I went to Costa Rica with. Most of them are from Chicago and have never been to a horse racing event so I'm looking forward to showing them one of the most popular events in upstate NY. I'm not very lucky so I don't know how much betting I will be doing, but I am looking forward to dressing up and wearing a big hat. You can check out my track outfit ideas: here.

What are you loving this week?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Think Pink

It's been pretty hot in the 518 this week so I've been looking for ways to keep cool and still look put together. Last weekend while shopping I picked up this paisley top in Francesca's. Lately I've been on a Francesca's kick since they have had so many really cute dresses and tops. Sometimes their clothes fit me weird but this summer everything has been true to size for me. I was trying to stay away from buying summer clothes since I'll only be wearing them for a few more weeks but I decided to break my rule when I found this fun top. There are so many colors in it and I can pair it with so many different accessories and bottoms. 

Top Francesca's

Skirt Express
I've also been on a sneaker kick. I typically wear my converse all year long but during July and August I tend to choose sandals over sneaks but these Keds matched my skirt perfectly! I need to be better about searching my closets for forgotten shoes and bags because I ended up finding both the sneakers and the clutch for this outfit tucked away (yay for hidden gems!).

Clutch Coach // Sneakers Keds // Bracelet Macys // Bow Ring Kate Spade

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

End of August Pinspiration

I seriously cannot believe that it's already the end of August. This must be a sign that I'm getting old because I'm constantly talking about time moving too quickly, haha! Lately I feel like I've been so busy that I have been neglecting Pinterest. I typically love spending a weekend afternoon getting inspired by various pictures, fashion ideas, or recipes but I've been so busy lately that my pinning activity has been slacking. However, this weekend I found a little bit of time to not only catch up on the magazines that have been piling up around me but also get some quality pins in. 

Here is my fall inspiration:

I'm loving this look for the beginning of fall when it's still warm enough to rock bare legs.

Cut-out booties are on my fall wish list!

How amazing does this macaroni and cheese chili look, think it might be one of my Sunday fall recipes!

Blazers + shorts combo = LOVE!

My favorite appetizer of all time is probably spinach and artichoke dip, however I've never made it from scratch. Think I'm going to try to find a recipe I can make in the crock pot.

Possibly a road trip to check out the upcoming fall foliage?

What's inspiring you lately?
**Follow me on Pinterest to see the rest of my inspirations**

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
So here's the deal. When I started this blog I decided that once a week I wanted to share a recipe that I have personally made with all of you. I really enjoy cooking and I'm constantly trying new recipes at home on weekends, attempting to recreate something I ate in a restaurant or fulfill some crazy craving. The whole point in the recipes that I share is that I have made them first-hand, I don't like to post a random recipe that I've never tried making/eating because who knows if it was going to be any good!? But coming up with new recipes each week can be difficult. Since I post something new every Tuesday, I have to come up with 52 new recipes every year, and that is a lot of time spent in the kitchen. 
So since I haven't tried making anything new in the past two weeks I decided to give you a recipe I made a couple years ago when I first bought the KitchenAid Mixer. I had my eye on this mixer for years but it's super expensive. When we finally bit the bullet and invested in it I knew I wanted to make something complicated that, without the mixer would have been a lot more work (mainly because I hate stirring bowls...). Enter this amazing chocolate peanut butter cake. It was very delicious and very fattening but a great way to break in the new mixer. So pardon the not so great photo of the finished product since I took this years before I had a blog and realized that when I cook I need to make the picture pretty!

Ingredients for Cake:
  • 1 box devils food cake mix 
  • 1 large package of jello instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of peanut butter cups chopped
  • More peanut butter cups for topping garnish
Ingredients for Frosting:
  • 1 cup shortening or crisco
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl, combine all cake ingredients except peanut butter cups so that everything is mixed completely (it will be thick so use those muscles if you don't have a mixer!). Then add chopped peanut butter cups.
  • Pour batter into cake pans of choice (I use ones similar to THIS). 
  • Bake in oven according to the time on the devils food cake box (plus add 10 extra minutes). You can use a toothpick to determine whether the cake is done or not--- clean toothpick means its done!
  • In a second bowl, combine shortening and peanut butter mixing them until light and fluffy (use a mixer is possible!). 
  • Add sugar and continue creaming until blended, then add salt, vanilla and whipping cream until frosting is fluffy.
  • Once cake is cooled, frost it! I did a little design using decorator tools and then topped it with even more chopped peanut butter cups!
  • Enjoy!
What is the most complicated recipe you've ever tried?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekend Haul

This weather really needs to get itself together because my wallet is not happy. You see, despite being super busy in the summer with fun activities, I actually tend to save money in the summertime because I spend most of my weekends by the pool instead of the mall. However these past few weekends have sucked, to say the least. It's cloudy, rainy and kinda cold so my days at the pool have been few and far between. This means I'm spending my days at the mall instead of the pool. 
So the bad news is I tend to spend my paycheck quicker than I anticipated but the good news is I got a jump start on the items that I wanted to invest in for fall. We are in full back to school mode so there are plenty of sales to be had and I was trying to take full advantage of them this weekend. One thing I was searching for was a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans, which I successfully discovered at the Gap for 40% off, yay! In addition I picked up a fabulous faux leather sleeved top for Ann Taylor that I ended up getting for $10 with a rewards point gift card and a pair of suede navy booties on sale at Macy's. Typically anything Sperry is hard to find at any discount, so when Macy's was running a special one day sale that included designers, I took the plunge. Overall, I wasn't planning on doing any shopping this weekend but I'm happy I did because I got some quality pieces to add to my fall wardrobe.

What are you looking to invest in this fall?


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sunday Thoughts + A Weekend Recap

Happy Sunday friends!
Why oh why do these weekends go by so quickly? Luckily I have a short week ahead of me because I'm playing hooky this Friday! That means I have a 4-day weekend to look forward to with Labor Day next Monday as well, hooray! 

Here is a quick recap of my weekend:
  • Friday was a night for getting ahead of the game. This week is going to be hectic and I wanted to make sure I was on top of everything before all the chaos arrives. Getting some posts done for the upcoming week was high on my priority list.
  • Saturday was cloudy so I went to lunch with my mom followed by a trip to the mall (mistake #1) and ended up scoring a bunch of fall items on my wish list (mistake #2). I wasn't planning on spending any money this weekend but I was happy to score some great deals when I did.
  • Today is going to be a little hectic. My cousin is home from Chicago so I plan on sitting by the pool for the beginning part of the afternoon. Then the rest of my cousins are joining us and we are taping our audition tape for Family Feud (yeah, we have issues) and then we're going to a cousins dinner with my Aunt Marge followed by mini golf.... phew, I'm exhausted already!
What did you do this weekend?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Weekly Outfit Recap

I seriously can't believe there is only one more week of August! It really has me digging through my closet making sure I get to wear all my white, linen and super summery tops before the first of September. 

Top Banana Republic // Skirt Macy's

Green Bangle Nordstrom // Boys Make Passes Bangle Kate Spade

Top J Crew Factory // Skirt Ann Taylor // Chain Link Necklace J Crew Factory

Bracelet Wantables

Didn't have time to take pictures before work for this outfit... whoops!
Top Target // Skirt J Crew // Necklace J Crew Factory // Sandals Steve Madden

Bracelets Talbots & Macy's

Maxi Michael Kors
It was so dark and rainy today, definitely doesn't do this dress justice!

Bracelet Lilly Pulitzer

Dress J Crew (on super sale!) // Necklace ?

Belt Kate Spade // Bracelets Kate Spade

Is anyone else rushing to wear all your summer outfits before Labor Day?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Five: Book Edition

Does anyone else feel like the work week drags when you have something that you're looking forward to? This weekend my cousin Josh comes home for the week and over the course of next week plenty of friends from Costa Rica will also be coming into town to spend the long weekend together, so of course this week went by so slow in anticipation for the weekend. I'm hoping for beautiful weather because we have a cousins dinner planned with my aunt on Sunday and I would like to go somewhere with a patio so we can sit outside.
As a change up from the typical 'Friday Favorites' I do which highlights my favorite things in the week, I decided to do a post on 5 of my favorite books instead. During the summer I get a lot of reading done because I'm spending plenty of time sitting by the pool. Plus I always have a book at my desk at work during downtime and breaks. I used to hate to read as a kid but as I grew up and was no longer forced to read certain books by teachers, I definitely grew to love it. I tend to gravitate towards books that have television series or movies based off of them but I'm guilty of picking up fun reads from my favorite celebrities as well.

A Song of Ice and Fire Series AKA Game of Thrones - By George RR Martin
I can't recommend this series enough. I started reading them when the first season of the HBO show premiered and I was adamant about finishing book 1 before I watched the show so I wouldn't be spoiled and I instantly became obsessed. The books are definitely for the brave because each book dabbles around 1,000 pages and there are so many characters it is easy to get confused but the end game is so worth it. There are still 2 more books coming that I am patiently waiting for because I am now so invested in these characters and I'm dying to know how it ends. Fair warning-- don't get too attached to the characters you're reading about, Martin is famous for killing off characters!

Most Talkative by Andy Cohen
I love Andy Cohen. He is probably best know as the creator of the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo and the host of Watch What Happens Live and when he came out with a book over a year ago I knew I had to read it. The book chronicles Andy's journey from dorky child to successful television creator and host. If you're a fan of the housewife's you will love the inside dirt he gives! It's definitely a fun summer read.

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
After instantly becoming obsessed with the Orange is the New Black series when it was released on Netflix in 2013 I knew I wanted to read the book that the story was based on. It tells the true story of Piper Kerman who was sentenced to 15 months in prison for money laundering and drug trafficking, a crime she committed over 6 years earlier. Her journey at the women's prison has its ups and downs but it's a fascinating look into the life women in prison deal with.

The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris
This book series, inspired the television show True Blood on HBO, was originally recommended to me by my aunt. She told me they were a quick but fun read and since I'm a sucker for a good series I borrowed the first book from her and flew through it. There are 13 books in this series and they tell the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress and telepath living in Louisiana. She gets into all sorts of supernatural hijinks after she comes into contact with a vampire. The book series is nothing like the television show even though they share the same characters, but if you're looking for a fun supernatural lead with a likable main character, I definitely recommend these.

i like you just the way i am by Jenny Mollen
I picked up this book right before I left for Cape May last month and had the book finished in two days. Jenny Mollen (wife of actor Jason Biggs) is hilarious and totally relatable with her crazy antics. Although she can be quite inappropriate during 95% of the book, I found myself laughing out loud reading her adventures. If you're a fan of women like Chelsea Handler or Kathy Griffin you will definitely appreciate this book.

Now it's your turn--- what are some of your favorite books of all time?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Weekend Wear

So when I post my outfit recaps on Saturdays, you never get to see my actual 'weekend wear' because I basically only take pictures of what I wear to work each day. This means you get a lot of pencil skirts but no shorts. The real deal is, once Friday arrives I can't wait to peel off my work clothes and spanx (the worst) and put on a comfy pair of shorts and a comfy tee.  If it was warm enough to wear shorts all year round, I would. Pair that with a cross body bag and a pair of converse and I'm ready to conquer the weekend. I've never been the kind of girl that can wear heels, I end up walking like a baby deer with my ankles wobbling so my shoe collection tends to be made up of sandals, flats and sneakers. I can't recommend a pair of converse enough, they come in so many colors and are classically cool. 

Tee J Crew Factory (25% off with the code EXTRA25) //  Wishbone Necklace C Wonder

As I've grown up I have moved away from the graphic tee shirts, remember the middle school days when all that mattered was a brand name plastered on the front of your tee? But lately the graphic tee has made a huge comeback! I spotted this fun number at the J Crew Factory store a couple weeks ago and thought it would be versatile enough to pair with a pair of shorts/jeans or a skirt. 

Bag Kate Spade Outlet // Bracelet Banana Republic (old)

Quilted Shorts J Crew (Extra 30% with code SHOPSALE) // White Converse

Finally, I can't get enough of these quilted J Crew shorts. I picked them up in the J Crew store a couple weeks ago when they were incorrectly marked down to $14. Apparently they we're still supposed to be full priced but one of the workers had made a mistake and put them on the clearance rack with a marked down sales ticket, when I went to check out they charged me the price of the sale (score!). They are pull on with an elastic waist but the tiny detail of the material gives them a dressier look that can easily be paired with a button up. 

What do you wear on the weekends?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Smart Shopping, The Lilly Sale That Wasn't

As I'm sure many of you all heard, the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale started last Monday. It's a HUGE once a year sale where you can find $300 Lilly dresses for $50 and it's something that I have been looking forward to. However, it's definitely one of those sales that you can easily get caught up in mainly because so many people are shopping the sale at once and it's somewhat of a mad dash to get the items you want before they sell out. The pressure to purchase things quickly, knowing that they are final sale and can't be returned is not something I enjoy. I'm not someone who likes to rush into a fashion purchase, mainly because I'm trying to be more conscious with my money and not just buy things because they're on sale. 

Another thing weighing heaving on my mind? The fact that their is only 2 more weeks until Labor Day and I should really be focusing my attention on the new fall arrivals rather than continuing to buy summer things that won't even get worn until next year. So despite this amazing Lilly sale, I only ended up buying a Shell Clasp Belt (which, I am quite excited about) and instead I'm going to save my money so I can invest in some quality fall purchases. I felt like this was a huge step for me becoming more of a smart shopper.

Here are some other tips for 'smart shopping':
  • Coupons & Sales: So many stores offer discounts and coupons so if you see something you like, wait for a deal! I'm not sure about the rest of you, but I get bombarded daily by stores emailing me offering coupon codes or advertising big sales. So unless an item is in real risk of selling out, I recommend waiting for a deal to come along. Also, take advantage of your student/work ID, so many places offer 15-20% off, don't be afraid to ask!
  • Focus on the future, forget about the past: So many summer clothes are going on sale right now, and although these clearance sales can be alluring it's important that you're not tempted to buy non-quality items just because they are on super sale. Before purchasing, ask yourself whether this item would positively contribute to your closet or if you're buying just because you think you're getting a deal. This was a big factor for me this week, deciding to focus on the upcoming season instead of buying more summer clothes.
  • Spend $ on classic pieces, not trends: Fashion trends come and go, but there are a few things that will never go out of style. I've gotten better about focusing my purchases on items I will have forever, but it's still something I need to improve on. Even I'm guilty of jumping on the latest trends but I've become smarter-- making sure these trend purchases don't break the bank because you never know when the latest trend will quickly turn into a fad. Instead, I recommend putting the extra cash into 'forever things' like jeans, cashmere and leather handbags.

What are your smart shopping tips?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Recipe: Penne with Vodka Tomato Cream Sauce

Happy Tasty Tuesday!
As previously mentioned, I was in the process of experimenting with different ingredients in hope to recreate the amazing dish I had while vacationing in Chicago and I believe I came pretty close to the original masterpiece. The finished product was super delicious and it took no more than 20 minutes to prepare (score!). FYI: I usually don't buy raw chicken since I really hate to touch it and usually substitute a rotisserie chicken for most of my recipes, however, I decided to buy raw chicken strips for this recipe and it really paid off.
  • 1 box of penne pasta
  • 1 package chicken breast strips
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 4 whole mushrooms, washed and sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp vodka --- For those of you without vodka in the house, I bought a little nip at the liquor store for $1.50
  • Red pepper flakes & parmesan cheese for garnish

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes. Drain water from pasta and set pasta aside.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. While that heats up, cut chicken strips into smaller pieces and add to skillet. Cook chicken strips completely until they start to brown up a bit. 
  • Add garlic, mushrooms and peas to skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes and salt, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Add vodka and cream and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low and add cooked pasta, toss until pasta is completely covered.
  • Garnish with red pepper flakes (if you like a little spice) and parmesan cheese.
  • Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Transitioning Your Summer Dresses for Fall

This past weekend was a real wake up call for me. It was in the low 70s and dipped to the 60s at night and suddenly I realized that I can no longer walk outside in shorts and a tank top and feel comfortable. However, just because it was a little chilly outside didn't mean I was ready to pack away my summer attire in favor of a winter coat. Instead, I found myself brainstorming how I could add layers to my summer dresses to make them last way into September. 
  1. Blazers- Now I'm not saying it's okay to bring out the wool blazers just yet, but a lighter blazer over a sundress can be a laid back look that will keep you warm when the sun goes down.
  2. Leather Jacket- This will work better for post-Labor Day outfits but I love the way a leather jacket looks over a floral dress or maxi. It's the perfect mix of masculine and feminine.
  3. Chambray Shirt- My favorite thing about incorporating a chambray shirt into your wardrobe is that it literally works with everything and can be worn so many ways. I suggest switching it up,  by wearing it over a dress one day by tying it in a knot at the bottom and then try wearing it under a sleeveless dress the next day.
  4. Sweatshirts- Embellished sweatshirts have been everywhere these days. Long gone are the basic hoodie and instead sweatshirts have become more fashion forward. Invest in a short sleeved sweatshirt for those early September days and wear them with a shorter skirt and sneakers for the perfect weekend wear!
  5. Open Toe Booties- This is one summer-to-fall trend I really want to invest in. It may start to get too cold for sandals but a peek-a-boo toe shows the perfect amount of skin without turning your toes blue from the cold!

How do you transition your dresses from summer to fall?


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Sunday Thoughts + Weekend Recap

Happy Sunday!
First of all I have to give credit to my friend Nicole who posted this quote on her Instagram. I immediately became obsessed with it and made it the background on my phone. For my fellow Game of Thrones fans, it made me think of the Mother of Dragons. Anyways, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. These past two days have been a little out of the ordinary for me because it was chilly in the 518, staying in the low 70's with many clouds and scattered showers. I suddenly become lost when the weather is not so nice in the summer, here's hoping next weekend is better.

Here is a quick recap of my weekend:
  • Friday night I headed out to the Lee Outlets in MA with my mom. We had to return a couple purchases we made at Ralph Lauren and since it's only a 45 minute drive to Lee we decided to make a night of it. I'm still not in fall clothing purchase-mode mainly because all the new items are just being released and there aren't too many good sales yet. I figured if I wait until after Labor Day, the good deals will be all over. I did however pick up this J Crew Factory Field Jacket for $60---- a serious steal!
  • Saturday was an awesome catch up day. In the early afternoon I was able to get some blog posts done for the week and work on an exciting project I will be revealing to you all soon. The end of summer/early fall is shaping up to be a busy time so any free moment I have will be used to check a few things off my list.
  • After getting my errands done I went to my friend Dana's house for a outside bash. She has this amazing backyard and her family always throws the craziest parties. The only downside was it rained towards the end of the night, yuck!
  • Today is another sunless day (sigh), so instead I'm going to spend my day in the kitchen. I'm going to make steak fajitas in the crock pot for tonight, a lasagna for tomorrow and some macaroni salad! I'm a huge fan of making meals in advance so when I get home from work all I have to do is pop it in the oven!
What did you do this weekend?