Thursday, June 27, 2013

:: into the wild and happily rambling ::

I'm headed off for a survival weekend in New Hampshire! Hopefully I'll actually survive it and be able to share some interesting camping/hiking/getting found skills upon my return.

In the meantime, a big thank you to Bethany over at Happily Rambling for introducing me to her readers! Thanks so much! Please click here to read her post!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

:: Southie's GrandTen Distillery ::

Anyone out there ever been to the GrandTen Distillery in South Boston? It's a charming little spot that produces spirits and liqueurs in very small batches and distills in copper. Each step, from the raw ingredients to the bottling and labeling, is done by hand. While last night's event was private, they do offer free tours and tastings every Friday from 12-4pm. 

 The evening included tastings of their Angelica, Wire Works American Gin, Wire Works Reserve Special Aged Gin, Fire Puncher Vodka, and my personal favorite, Almandine. Their take on amaretto, it's the perfect addition to my favorite cocktail--the margarita.

GrandTen has been open for just over a year and is in quite a few Boston-based bars and restaurants. Interested in finding out where? Click here.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

:: big hair (in a bad, bad way) ::

I am not going to complain about the weather in this post. I swear. This past winter's snowfall totals triggered more than one inappropriate crying jag, and the spring made me feel like I was living somewhere near the Amazon during monsoon season. So the 90 degree weather and sunshine we're getting right now is a total dream.

But I can't fit my hair through the doorway, people. Like, we're talking Bride of Frankenstein crossed with Medusa crossed with Marge Simpson-kind of hair. I fix it in the morning and then I step outside my front door and it does whatever it pleases. I should just save that extra 30 minutes and actually start making myself breakfast.

But since I like to pretend that my hair is my showpiece, I blowdry and Bombshell it everyday, even when the humidity laughs in my face. And here are a few products that help me on my quest:
big hair (in a bad way)

Moroccan Oil ($20 for 25ml): Is anyone else obsessed with the way this stuff smells? I'm waiting for them to make a spritzer.

Pureology Super Smooth ($24 for 150ml): Saw this in a recent issue of Allure and so far so good. Not crazy in love (yet), but it is made for color treated hair which makes me feel like it's pulling double duty for me.

Frizz-Ease ($7.99 for 1.69 fl oz): This stuff has been around for SO long! I rotated it out of my hair regimen a while ago because it felt too heavy and I couldn't bring it anywhere near the frizzies on my hairline because it just made them look greasy. But the line has been reformulated and is so much more lightweight. I'm still wary of how much I use, but it's back in the rotation.

Living Proof No Frizz Styling Cream ($36 for 8 oz): I have a lot of hair, but the individual strands are very fine, making me that much more prone to flyaways. This cream gives me that added weight to make my hair (sorta) resemble the neat and sleek and smooth styles I lust after.

Anything else out there I should try? I'm desperate, and summer's only just starting...
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Monday, June 24, 2013

:: styling the window pane print ::

I'm usually anti any prints on my lower half. As any and all pear-shaped girls know, that's risky business. But this new window pane trend wants to make me reconsider.

I'm completely on board with this pattern when it comes to interiors--pillows, chairs, even bedspreads--but with apparel, I tend to just be much more picky. The size of the panes, the width of the border, how the seams match up and where exactly they land when they fall across my butt. And the black/white and blue/white combo feels a little....well, boring. But these J. Crew pants are a thing of beauty, aren't they?

Totally classy, on trend but not trendy, and paired with simple solids, they don't make me feel like everyone's just staring below the waist. They're drinking in this whole glass of water.

And the gold, the GOLD! I think I've officially abandoned silver forever this season.
styling the window pane print
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Friday, June 21, 2013

:: flats: the helmets of the fashion world ::

Confession time: I never learned how to walk in high heels.

In my defense, I'm 5'10" and have been so pretty much since I was a teenager. Yep, a little awkward for a sixth grader. Now, I'm not unhappy with my height...I actually think it helps me in a whole bunch of different ways. But heels are just a no-no. There is no reason for anyone around here to see a 6'2" ball of arms and legs wipe out in a crosswalk, which is exactly what would happen if I tried a day in them.

But I do have a healthy respect for heels. Kinda like I do for pit bulls. Or motorcycles. Or whitewater rafting. Alluring but too scary. For me, flats are where it's at. Here are a few of my favorites:
flats are where it's at.
Clockwise from top left: 

Classic TOMS ($42): I have these in gray and super comfy. I can't get on the sequin/sparkly/print bandwagon with these bad boys, but the solid colors? I'm a big fan. 

Cole Haan Reesa Ballet Flats ($111): I am a committed Cole Haan footwear consumer. With the Nike Air soles and the crazy good outlet store right outside the city, it's a no-brainer. These ones are winners. 

Sam Edelman Gigi Thong Sandals ($54): I have a pair of these that have a little more substance for my foot to cling to. I think I might just walk right out of this pair. But the sole is surprisingly padded, so important for heels that are practically touching the pavement.

Minnetonka Thunderbird Mocs ($46): Does anyone else think these are the best shoes ever? I know they're suede and it's summer, but I. don't. care. 

Any other winners out there I should try?

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

:: best wine tasting in Boston ::

The work week can be long. And at the end of it, some of us look like this:

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The Charlesmark Hotel on Boylston Street has a humpday solution that has been a go-to favorite of mine for a few years now--their monthly Wednesday Wine Tastings. The lounge is all comfy white leather and big pillows, and the staff is super friendly.
For $20 (!), the evening includes: 
  • Sampling of six wines (pours are generous) as well as tasting comments on three whites and three reds
  •  Cold appetizers (fruit, veggies, cupcakes, chips, salsa, cheese, crackers, etc.)
  • Samplings of three signature martini shots throughout the night
  • A raffle for a lounge visit and a hotel stay
  • A free drink voucher worth $12 for a future cocktail at the Charlesmark bar
These tastings (and their similar martini nights) always sell out, because, well, this is seriously the best deal in town. Next wine tasting is July 17 at 6pm. Hope to see you Bostonians there!

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

:: file under: there are worse things to OD on ::

Cheap and pretty, and one can argue a ~true necessity~ especially during schizophrenic varied Boston weather, lip gloss is in it with me forever. I'm a fan of sheer and shiny, but not too much of either. I'm also weening myself off the sparkle, as I've been told that as one ages, bling on our butts and bling on our lips needs to decrease significantly. The latter rule has always been followed. The former? Notsomuch.

The treasures below are my current favorites. Yes, I have them all and yes I use them all. Don't pretend you're not right there with me.
gloss party
1. Smashbox O-Gloss ($23) :: Avocado oil and antioxidants could almost convince you that you're just putting vitamins on your lips. The color is supposed to customize to the shade of pink that's right for you. This is always just a touch too bright for me, but I love it paired with evening makeup.

2. Smith's Rosebud Salve ($6) :: Smith's, how I love you so. I adore this product, and it's great for cuticles and curling iron burns (yes, ugh). It also comes in mint and strawberry. The only drawback for me is that I have to stick my finger in the tin to apply it and when you're riding the subway twice a day...I don't even want to think about it.

3. Lancome Juicy Tubes ($18) :: So many colors, so thick and glossy. An addict's dream. If I wasn't constantly getting all my hair stuck on my lips when the wind blows, I would have a JT surgically implanted between my fingers.

4. EOS ($3) :: I'm new to these cute little balls, but I'm liking what I'm feeling. I'm trying to forget that I saw Kim Kardashian with one in a recent US Weekly and instead am focusing on the fact that they're organic and all natural and really cheap.

5. Philosophy Lip Shine ($10) :: I've already confessed my love for all things Philosophy. And this gloss is no different. I'm walking the sparkle-line here, but not officially crossing it. Yet.

6. Fresh Sugar ($22.50) :: Technically a lip treatment, this one is more like a balm and also contains SPF 15. And tastes delish.

How about you? Any must-try or stand-by glosses I've forgotten?

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

:: 380 calorie smoothie ::

Anyone who knows me knows that things are not pretty when I miss a meal.

They get especially bad if I have meetings/sports/gym/cocktails after work and don't get an actual meal with something resembling fruits and veggies in it until 9pm or later. I found this smoothie recipe in our local newspaper and adapted it into something that could serve as a meal stand-in in a pinch. But it also makes a great pre- or post-workout snack, and at only 380 calories it doesn't totally break the diet bank.

2 scoops protein powder (I use hemp + fiber, but use your favorite)
1 cup unsweetened soy/almond/coconut milk (the original recipe called for just 3/4 of a cup, but I found it to be too thick)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries (could substitute raspberries or blueberries)
1 medium banana
5 ice cubes

Drop them all in the blender until smooth and enjoy!

And now for a little housekeeping:

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Monday, June 17, 2013

:: going [light] green ::

I hope everyone had a great Father's Day! I spent mine in Maine, and it included lobster with Dad, getting lost in the woods with my brother, and falling asleep on the deck. So, basically: fun, fear, and exhaustion.

And to elaborate on the fear factor, I understand the food chain and that all God's creatures deserve to be here, but can we talk about the need for ticks? That ill-fated trip through the woods resulted in 36 ticks between my brother and me. Not okay, Mother Nature. Not. Okay.

But that little hike WAS fresh, and green, and breezy, just like these little numbers below. Celery might be my summer 2013 favorite. Take THAT, Pantone Emerald Color of the Year.

all things celery

And while we're on the subject of snappy greens, thanks to Michelle over at A Thrifty Diva for these lovely bangles! Love them!

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Friday, June 14, 2013

:: on organization ::

I'm a list-maker by nature and I couldn't make it through the day without my planner, but that's kind of where my organizational tendencies end. My desk is a mess, my car is a mess, my purse is a mess. So, in an attempt to gain some kind of control over my life, I decided to start small and make a few little changes. I'll start with know, the important stuff.

I got this beauty below over at rustic.chic and I love its' guts. It declutters the top of my bureau and I can see all of my choices. Mornings and I are not usually the best of friends, so anything that helps me not go insane pleasantly greet the day is a great thing.

Here are a few other pieces for my organizational wishlist. I'm embarrassed to say exactly what I would give for that walk-in closet. Not to mention the pendant lighting and the Louis Vuitton handbag on that built-in bench. But I'll settle for a scarf rack and a deer antler jewelry holder.

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:: marry me, philosophy? ::

 I first discovered Philosophy when I bought their Real Purity skin cleanser about 15 years ago. I used it ~obsessively~. The smell of it (herbal-y/lemony is probably the best way to describe it) still reminds me of living in Santa Barbara when I was just a fresh, young thing. Unfortunately, at present I suppose their Hope in a Jar is a better description of my current needs.

Now, I love Sephora as much as the next girl, but that is not the place for a Philosophy addict to get her fix. The Philosophy website is out. of. control, and their email list offers are insane, too. I got everything below (all full-sized except the vanilla cake shower gel, which was 2 oz) for a total of $38.95, including shipping. The 8 oz Real Purity (now called Purity Made Simple) alone is $22 on the Sephora website.

I always check RetailMeNot before I place any order online and that's how I scooped up the free raspberry gloss and the bath gel. And I've decided that Amazing Grace is my new signature scent, so this bargain hunter to going to need all the discounts she can get.

marry me, philosophy?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

:: another thing that's harder than it looks ::

This past weekend I took a flower arranging class at the Boston Center for Adult Education, and let me tell you folks, it ain't easy. The instructor was fabulous and while I didn't LOVE the flowers when I first saw them, they're sitting on my mantle now, and they're growing on me.

The whole process takes way more foresight than I expected and there's real ~technique~ to it, rather than just bunching together what looks good to the eye. There's height and texture and form and lines to think about. Here's a start to finish...the squishy one in the middle needed a definite redo. I ended up with the bouquet on the right as my finished project. She survived the subway home and I vow to change her water regularly until she takes her last breath.

And while we're here arranging our blooms in a vase, our European neighbors have mastered the art of the hand-tie, which they then place in a vase. Super hard. But super pretty. Instead of sharing my monstrosity of an attempt, the video below demonstrates the technique quite nicely: 

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

:: Please tell me tribal prints aren't out ::

I'm a fan of easy wins. First is this outfit and second is my ability to actually create it on Polyvore.

I would love to be wearing this right now, but summer has been slow to arrive here in Boston. Like, painfully slow. Like "Why am I still wearing Hunter boots and fleece" slow. The babies on the subway are still bundled like it's late March.

So here is my ode to orange and gold and all things tribal. And a t-shirt with a knot in it. To summer!

:: weekend wear for almost summer ::

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

:: a small start ::

I've been thinking for a few weeks what to write for my first (!) blog post...and since that has resulted in a teensy bit of anxiety and exactly ZERO words on paper, I decided just to start writing and see what eloquent, interesting, hopefully sense-making ideas I can commit to. 

Right now, I'm dying to sprinkle a little creativity in my life. I want to read the stack of books beside my bed, learn to improvisationally (is this a word?) cook, spend an evening after work relaxing over cocktails instead of packing in three extra activities on top of each other and then STILL trying to make it to the gym. I want to finally take a class in make-up artistry, get that dressmaker's dummy and use it like crazy, and actually make my own Polyvore board instead of just drooling over everyone else's. I want this to be a place where I can open up about exploring the city, fashion, fitness, hair, food, and maybe an occasional good old-fashioned rant.

Adding blogging to my list of activities, especially when I'm trying to ~simplify~ seems counter-intuitive, but I'm trying to forget about the endgame and focus on getting some pleasure out of the journey. Maybe the blog will do it, maybe it won't.

Here's to the ride,
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