July 30, 2015
GARDEN PARTY

GARDEN PARTY

Being located on the East Coast means one thing; when the weather is cooperating and sunny you have to take advantage. During the summer months I love to get together with some friends and take to the garden - any garden - and sip some chilled white wine. I've been loving this crepe Maje dress and the print happens to be quite perfect for such an occasion, paired with these camel Celine wedges which are both cute and comfy enough to endure standing in for extended periods of time. I love small bags that require no limb-use (lol) and that aren't overly bulky and get in the way of things - this Ferragamo one is perfect and goes with anything. Sometimes things get a bit sticky outside, but when the sun is blaring I love this pair of tortoiseshell Celine sunglasses, the oversized square shape gives them an elegant edge. Get yourself outside this weekend (or after work today!) and enjoy some cold drinks under the sunshine. 

Celine espadrille wedges (similar) // Celine New Audrey sunglasses 
July 29, 2015
FAVORITE SUMMER FRAGRANCES

FAVORITE SUMMER FRAGRANCES

As much as I love perfume, in the heat of the summer it can be a bit challenging to find one that isn't overpowering or too much. I love heady, musky fragrances during the winter, but my summer favorites tend to be a bit more on the fresh, floral, and fruity side. Layering fragrances is also another great method for creating a light summer-appropriate scent; one spritz of something subtle and one of something a bit heavier will create more of a balance. Right now my favorites include Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino, Tocca Isabel, and Aerin Waterlily Sun

Fleur de Portofino is a vibrant floral scent inspired by the white acacia that grows along the Mediterranean. Isabel is a classic scent centered around the Spanish rose, but with a quirky side inspired by notes of leather, vetiver, and sangria accord. Waterlily Sun is the lightest of the three, and smells of dewy greens and Sicilian bergamot, warmed ever-so-slightly by the sweet and faint scent of musk. If you're struggling to find a summer-worthy scent, I highly recommend you sniff one of these, you're sure to fall in love with at least one. 
July 27, 2015
INSIDE MY BEAUTY CABINET

INSIDE MY BEAUTY CABINET

One of my favorite parts of my morning and evening routines is opening up my beauty cabinet to prepare myself for the day, or for bed. I love to keep it looking as neat and aesthetically pleasing as possible so it's filled with pretty packages, candles, and flowers for added touches of luxury. My linen closet is often stuffed to the brim with additional products in containers organized by category, so this cabinet is sort of my current edit of favorites. 

Right now I have two favorite perfumes: my favorite floral, Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino*, and Byredo Gypsy Water for when I want something a bit more warm and spicy. Both are amazing and two of my all-time favorite fragrances. I like to keep a body oil, lotion, and current haircare products lined up as well. I'm currently loving the Aesop Rejuvenate Intensive Body Balm as it smells like creamy oranges, and my hair standbys are Moroccanoil Treatment, Living Proof PHD, and Sachajuan Ocean Mist

For skincare it can be hard to narrow it down as I'm always trying out new products, but there are certain standouts that I keep coming back to. I love Murad products (they are all amazing!), Tata Harper, Kate Somerville, Glossier, and am completely addicted to using the Santa Maria Novella Rose Water as a facial toner. 

What's currently on display in your beauty cabinet?
July 25, 2015
THE PERFECT HAIR DAY

THE PERFECT HAIR DAY

You really can't put a price on having the perfect hair day. But that's obviously not then case here; it's $26. The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) 5-in-1 Styling Treatment really is your best hair bottled. In my experience with this styling cream, it creates hold, lightweight volume, shine, and softness all with one pump. 

When I use this my hair feels swishy, moisturized but not greasy, and my roots feel lifted - which for me and my super heavy hair, is a real feat. It prolongs the length of my style by an additional day, at the very least, and it smells heavenly. I'm not one to rave about a hair product, because usually they all give me similar results: a whole lot of 'did nothing'. This really is all I would need to style my hair on a day-to-day basis, and best of all, it doesn't leave any grimy product buildup behind. 

Have you tried this little miracle-worker? 
July 22, 2015
EN ROUTE TO THE LAKE

EN ROUTE TO THE LAKE

I don't talk about it all that often, but I love fashion just about as much as I love beauty. More often I speak on the subjects of makeup and skincare because I find that I have more tips and advice to share. However, I do keep up (or try to) with fashion and if I can scavenge up an able and willing photographer (a.k.a. any person who can hold the camera at a given moment) then I am more than happy to share an outfit of the day post. 

This past weekend my boyfriend, Kurt, and I headed to the lake (my parents' lake house for those of you who are new here, and hello, by the way!) for a family party and general bonding time. While most of our weekends there are spent lounging in cozy jumpers and paddleboarding in bikinis, it's nice to sometimes get a little dressed up for the initial arrival. I wore this black loose-fitting tunic from Tularosa; I love so many pieces from the brand and they're great because you can wear them either casually, at the beach, or dress them up. Here I paired it with one of my favorite pairs of wedges (they're strangely comfortable) and this Valentino Rockstud bracelet that I love. Give me all the colors...

What did you do this weekend? Do you have any current go-to summer looks? 

Wearing: Tularosa Wyatt Dress // Valentino Rockstud Leather Bracelet //
  Dior So Real Sunglasses // Elizabeth & James Wedges (old, similar, also love these
July 21, 2015
SIMPLE WEEKEND MAKEUP BAG

SIMPLE WEEKEND MAKEUP BAG

Beauty junkies will be able to relate to me here; it's near impossible to narrow all those pretty bits and bobs down to a reasonable amount for the weekend. Thoughts and situations run through my head making me second guess myself, "What if I need a bold lip option but only bring nude gloss?" - which is quite ridiculous considering I tend to go very light on the makeup for a weekend away especially when boats and bikinis are the main event. I packed my cute Nordstrom makeup bag (an awesome GWP in my opinion!) and have to say I came in under what I expected and was still more than covered in the beauty department. Yayyy for minimalism...or at least attempting it. 

I packed only one complexion product per category: the Sunday Riley Effortless Breathable Tinted Primer for light and natural coverage, the Chanel Concealer for bags and blemishes, and the old reliable Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light. I've spoken many times about these products so if you'd like in-depth reviews, go ahead and hit that search button! 

If you know me at all, then you know brows are something I won't/can't forgo, so in goes with Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil, mainly because it's much more portable than the Pomade. The spoolie on one end and thin wax nib make for quick and precise brow grooming. For eyes it's pretty simple because I tend to stay away from shadows if I'm planning on swimming or getting wet, so I will use a little bit of brown shimmery liner. The Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Ro(Cocoa) works perfectly because it does not budge (at all) and can be scribbled all over the lid and blended out if desperate times called for such. Then I prime my lashes and give them a root lift of sorts with the It Cosmetics Tightline* before coating them in healthy doses of Diorshow Mascara

You won't even believe it, but there was only need for one lip product, though it's a do-it-all product so it's almost like having at least two. The Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Hydrating Lip Balm works great for adding a bit of pinky nude color while nourishing the lips and keeping them slightly glossy. A pop of Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge in Telluride* adds a tawny rose glow to the cheeks and does the job of both blush and bronzer in one. 

There you have it; the perfectly minimal, yet complete makeup kit.
July 18, 2015
THE PERFECT CANDLES FOR SUMMER BURNING

THE PERFECT CANDLES FOR SUMMER BURNING

No, candles aren't just for cozy winter nights in. They're also summertime friendly when you pick the right fragrances. Just think...warm breeze blowing through your open windows and the scent of a heady and leafy floral gets caught in the wind. That's why I consider these candles absolute staples, as they're sure to take any room from blah to "ahhh."

My personal favorites for the warmer months go something like this: Diptyque Baies, Diptyque 34, and Antica Farmacista Damascena Rose, Orris & Oud*

Diptyque Baies is pretty easy to read and such a well-loved fragrance, that I think it would be hard to go wrong scenting a space with this. It smells of a fresh and rich boquet of roses and is sweetened by the fragrant foliage of blackcurrent leaves. Then there's Dipqytue 34; if you're into the milky-muskiness of fig leaves, mosses, and the aforementioned blackcurrent leaves then this spicier scent is one to try. Also, that handcrafted porcelain jar is sure to become quite a beautiful storage item if you feel inclined to up-cycle. 

Antica Farmacista Damascena Rose, Orris & Oud is another scent centered around roses, but this version is a bit more tart and powdery, thanks to the inclusion of amber, musk, and cashmere. The throw with this is particularly strong, but never too overpowering. The perfect choice for a large room or apartment. 

What are your favorite summer appropriate candles?
July 15, 2015
A DAY ON THE MEDITERRANEAN

A DAY ON THE MEDITERRANEAN

An early morning wakeup call is very rarely tolerable. But when Italian espresso is involved, I'm a little more than happy to be up and at 'em at just about any time. After all, time stops in Italy. How else could a culture foster such a dolce vita attitude?

Our last day in my favorite country was spent on a jaunt to the coast from Milan. And by "coast" I mean the Italian Riviera - where towns freckle the cliffs overhanging the Mediterranean as though they'd placed there by the sun himself. 

We hopped on our coach bus, espressos in hand, at 6am sharp, eager to make it to the seaside before the rest of the city did. (We used Viator for this tour, who made the treck to the secluded spot as easy as pie tiramisu.)  Our bus wove its way through the hills of Lombardy, into the land of cheese and ham in Parma, and down through Tuscan villages until we reached the Ligurian coast. I've always felt as though Italy was a country made to be seen only by bus or walking - no rolling acre or ancient building should be missed. Any other way would almost seem...insulting
We made our way into Poet's Bay in the port city of La Spezia. A bit industrial nowadays, the city is one used as a military base and is a popular trading port, as well as cruise ship docking spot.  
The bus hugged the cliff tightly as mopeds and cars rushed by, dangerously close to each other and the edge. But all I could think about was having a taste of the local white wine that our tour guide had spoke lovingly of the entirety of the trip. Oh, and this view. Which I'm pretty sure is enough to turn even the coldest of hearts into a romantic, don't you think
It's no wonder Lord Byron himself was repeatedly inspired by his time spent here. 

Just past the bay, we stopped off on the side of yet another narrow road to unload and catch the tram to Porto Venere. From there, we were to take the (very crowded) ferry to the famous five towns, or, Le Cinque Terre. But not before first exploring the town itself, which is, in fact a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park. And rightfully so, just look at it...
The pastel-hued town, whose Roman name was Portus Veneris in reference to a temple dedicated to the Goddess Venus that once stood right beneath this very church, dates back to at least the 1st century B.C. and was a fishing village during Roman times, before later becoming the base of the Byzantine fleet. 
It was a place known throughout the region for it's magnificent beauty. I could have spent days perched along the surprisingly quiet cliffs (quite a stark contrast from the neighboring crowd-laden five towns) getting acquainted with the Tyrrhenian Sea. 
Packed into a boat like sardines, we departed the town, and chugged along miles of undisturbed and quite rugged coastline. 
Our first stop was Monterosso al Mare (the largest of the five towns) where we traded our hiking shoes in for some beach chairs...
Not a bad place for people watching or a bit of daydreaming, eh? With little time to spare, some was left to sample the local fare and poke around some shops. We settled on a quaint and authentic restaurant where we sat under an awning behind misting fans. A much welcomed luxury in the heat of the day. We ravaged our meal of Calamari Fritti and Spaghetti al Pesto, both of which were perhaps the best I've ever tasted. I have to say, as someone who doesn't love seafood, the calamari was the most fresh, melt-in-your-mouth thing I tasted on the trip. It also went pretty well with the crisp, sweet, and refreshing local wine that the tour guide had tipped us off to. 
Bellies and shopping bags full, we hopped back on the ferry to Vernazza to see what all the fuss was about. The charming, dollhouse-sized town was filled to the brim with excited tourists, even more than I had expected to see. Some were spread out on rocks by the bay, some eating in the main square, and the others walking hand-in-hand pointing upward in awe. We stopped off for one last Mediterranean treat - Crema de Vernazza flavored gelatos from the Gelateria Vernazza - the best in town. The creamy, fruity delight made for the sweetest end to a beautiful and unforgettable day. Ciao for now...but, only for now.