7.31.2012

Little Luxuries

You know those little things, usually under $10, that can instantly brighten up your mood? Those are what I like to call "little luxuries," and everyone has a few. Lattes, le pens and pretty polish top my pick-me-up list. What are some of your favorite little luxuries?


Essie nail polish {Tart Deco / Good as Gold / Geranium}


7.30.2012

15 Minute Flatbreads

Flatbreads are one of my favorite easy dinners to make – not quite greasy pizza, but just as delicious. You can really create any kind of flatbread you're in the mood for, depending what you have on-hand using these recipes as a guide. Over that past few weeks, I've made some of the most delicious flatbreads I've ever had (the photo above is an instagram of mine) in less than 30 minutes.

These two recipes take about 5 minutes prep time and about 5-10 minutes to bake, depending on how crispy/melty you like them to be. To save time, I start with pre-made whole wheat wraps instead of creating my own bread base.


Pear, Gorgonzola & Sunflower Seed Flatbread (inspired by the menu of my favorite spot, Audrey Claire)
+ 1 pack whole wheat wraps
+ 1 fresh Bosc pear per flatbread, rinsed
+ 1 block gorgonzola cheese (or 1 package crumbled gorgonzola)
+ 1 package (or about 2 scoops if you're shopping at Whole Foods) unsalted, shelled sunflower seeds
+ sea salt / ground pepper | extra virgin olive oil optional

Feta, Tomato & Basil Flatbread
+ 1 pack whole wheat wraps
+ 1 large fresh tomato per 2 wraps, rinsed
+ 1 block feta cheese (or 1 package crumbled feta)
+ a few sprigs of fresh basil leaves
+ sea salt / ground pepper | extra virgin olive oil optional



Pear, Gorgonzola & Sunflower Seed Flatbread 
+ Preheat oven to 375°.
+ Peel skin from pear (if preferred). Slice pear into thin wedges, removing any seeds. Spread evenly around the flat wrap.
+ Sprinkle handful of crumbled or sliced gorgonzola cheese evenly over pear. Top with handful of shelled sunflower seeds. If desired, dash with about one tablespoon of olive oil.
+ Bake in the over for about 5-10 minutes (until cheese looks melty and pear and sunflower seeds start to brown).
+ Remove from oven and top with freshly ground sea salt and pepper (this simple step adds a lot of taste!).


Feta, Tomato & Basil Flatbread
+ Preheat oven to 375°.
+ Slice tomato into thin slices or wedges. Spread evenly around the flat wrap.
+ Sprinkle handful of crumbled or cubed feta cheese evenly over tomato. Top with fresh basil leaves. If desired, dash with about one tablespoon of olive oil.
+ Bake in the over for about 5-10 minutes (until cheese starts to melt and brown).
+ Remove from oven and top with freshly ground sea salt and pepper (this simple step adds a lot of taste!).


Happy cooking! Let me know if you test out any of your own delicious recipes!




7.27.2012

A Dark & Stormy Weekend

Happy Friday! With the work week coming to a close, the Olympics beginning, and some crazy thunderstorms on the forecast, I'm excited for a dark&stormy/breakfast in bed/Olympic watching kind of weekend.











Will you be tuning in to the opening ceremony and upcoming events? I personally can't wait to watch the gymnastics and diving competitions. The precision, technique and control of those athletes never ceases to amaze me. Whatever your plans, I hope you'll take a lazy morning and enjoy a delicious breakfast in bed!


A few lovely links for your weekend ... 
+ How cool are these fashion-inspired cards and stickers? I'll take the Celine card, please!
Some more Olivia Palermo style inspiration on Mackenzie's blog ... 
Butter London has some serious Olympic-themed metallic polish.
+ This weekend, why don't you throw a farm fresh brunch?
+ Did you know Neiman Marcus, Target & 24 amazing designers are collaborating on 1 amazing holiday collection this year? Now you do. And now you're excited.


7.26.2012

Hey Olivia, Can I Borrow That Look?

In my pinning adventures, I've discovered lots of different style icons and tons of outfit inspiration, but I keep finding myself coming back to Olivia Palermo's looks. There's no one who pulls off classic-meets-chic quite like Miss Palermo, so I figured she wouldn't mind if I borrowed one of her looks.






Pretty Little Things

So many pretty little things happening over in the J.Crew accessory department right now. I'll be back later today with another post ... I just couldn't resist sharing! 





7.25.2012

Chic Spaces: Hanging Bulb Fixtures

These little fixtures have been catching my eye on Pinterest for some time now. They're so simple, but still add a lot of interest to a space.

They look amazing in the bedroom, as a "chandelier" ...
spread out in the kitchen ...
chic points for using a variety of Edison bulbs & that exposed brick wall ...
how cool do they look in this cafe? ...
and this restaurant ...
hanging over a reading chair (cue coffee and book) ...
used as lighting for an event (hello, perfect rustic/industrial wedding lighting!)


The more I look at them, the more I find it necessary to incorporate them into my space. The DIY wheels are definitely turning (so stay tuned!). How do you feel about these simple-but-chic fixtures? 

Let me know! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

Images via :: 1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: 5 :: 6 

7.24.2012

I ♥ Your Style: A Book & A Project

Have you ever realized you've outgrown your style? When you've realized you've looked in your closet and thought 'I have nothing to wear' too many times? Well recently, I had that sort of epiphany and I decided to pick up a copy of Amanda Brooks'  Your Style: How to Define and Refine Your Personal Style. And let me tell you – it's like this book is speaking to my soul.


Amanda opens her book with a statement about defining your style that I absolutely love:

"... finding your personal style is really about discovering yourself. There's lots of room for experimentation along the way, but arriving at a strong sense of style that suits you and makes you feel great every day and everywhere depends on confidently knowing who you are and what is important to you."

You know when you see someone and think "She is so impossibly chic?" Well, I want to start feeling that way when I catch a glimpse of my outfit in the mirror. The personal style she speaks of is something that evolves with you, and it's something you have to hone and discover over time. The book inspired me to start my own "I ♥ Your Style Project."

So I'm challenging myself (and inviting you to join me) in what is definitely not an overnight process, but more of an ever-evolving one. I'm taking it step-by-step ... and starting at the beginning: editing down & doing some research.

Step 1: Removing all poorly fitting items that you never wear (or that you shouldn't wear). 
No, this isn't the fun part, but it's completely necessary. Out with the old and in with the new! Be realistic with yourself and ask: 1. Have I worn this in the past 6 months? 2. Does this fit me and make me look and feel good? 3. Is this in keeping with my desired personal style?

If the answer is 'no' to any of the above, and we're not talking about a family heirloom or something priceless, get rid of it! Donate it, sell it, whatever you have to do, but remove it from your wardrobe before you take the next steps! (TIP: If you need to, call up an honest girl friend for backup to help you sift through the good, the bad, and the ugly.)

Step 2: Create a style mood board of all the looks that inspire you, keeping in mind your body, lifestyle & desired personal style. Below, a snippet of my style mood board (you can follow it here!)
My Personal Style: Classic, Feminine, Effortless, Sophisticated
My Lifestyle: Urban (subway hopping...enough said), Day-to-night (needs to easily translate from work to drinks), Stylish/Semi-Professional (my day job isn't at an office, but I generally have daily meetings with clients)
My Body: Petite, thin, but curvier on the bottom

In the book, Amanda uses tons of photos of icons, outfits and lifestyles to better explain each style category she talks about. She creates a kind of "inspiration board" that provides you with a visual for each little niche. While I don't think everyone neatly falls into one category, I think this technique is really useful (which may or may not be left over from my days as a fashion student). To begin to define your style, go through Pinterest, magazines, Tumblr, – whatever inspires you, and start saving images, creating a collage of all the things you like.


When you consciously make an effort to take notice of what is your style, you'll start to see trends emerge. Maybe you like A-line skirts or printed blouses or trouser jeans. When you begin to realize what you're drawn to, it will become much easier to define your personal style and shop for your body type. I always find that when shopping with a visual in mind, I come away more successful. So collect some inspiration and prepare yourself for step 3 (the exciting step) with me and I'll see you back here for next week's post!


P.S. If you're coming along on this "I ♥ Your Style Project" adventure, share your inspiration board & let me know with a tweet or email! And don't forget to pick up the book!

7.23.2012

Throw a Farm Fresh Brunch

Inspired by a trip to Terrain this weekend with the boyfriend (I am kicking myself for not bringing a camera), I dreamt up a little easy-to-throw Sunday brunch perfect for any time of year. One of my favorite things about Terrain, aside from the rustic-chic atmosphere, is their in-store café that serves the freshest of foods. To bring their covetable style and delicious dishes into your own farm fresh brunch, keep food and décor simple and keep the ingredients fresh.



The Rule: Keep it simple. You don't want to spend the entire morning in the kitchen and most of these dishes take only a few minutes to prepare. Delicious food does not have to be complicated, and when you serve seasonal/locally grown food, it will do the talking for you. 

The Menu:  Served family style, Can be adjusted according to season
+ Freshly Squeezed Orange-Grapefruit Mimosas
+ Assorted Crusted Breads
+ Strawberry & Basil Honey Soaked Salad
+ Baked Free Range Eggs with Melty Gruyère and Chives

The Place Setting:  Stick with a muted color palette to let the natural beauty of the food shine through. For a rustic table setting, kraft and slate look amazing together.

+ Ball Mason Jars (used as glasses)
+ Terrain Chalkboard Labels
+ Striped Paper Straws
+ Ikea Napkins
+ West Elm Plates
+ Paper Source Hang Tags
+ West Elm Flatware 
+ Terrain Slate Coasters (on sale)


Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

Images via :: 1 :: 2 :: 3

7.20.2012

Friday Under $50: All That Glitters



It's about that time of the week again, and I couldn't be more ready for a low-key weekend. What are your plans over the next few days? I'm planning on reading through my new books, testing out some flatbread & cupcake recipes I have in my head (if successful they will be on the blog!), and going out for a bloody mary brunch.

So here's to what is looking to be a lovely weekend for us all! Wishing you one filled with fresh flowers & glamorous little things!

+ Chloé Eau de Parfum Rollerball
+ ASOS Bow Belt
+ Kate Spade Striped iPhone Case
+ Leif Glitter Teaspoons
+ ASOS Signet Style Ring
+ ASOS Charm Ring
+ Assorted Apothecary Jars
+ Modcloth Glittered Loafers 
Ladureé Savory Recipe Book

P.S. Did you see the new J.Crew arrivals (they're perfectly polka dotted and I need them all) and the fun silhouette I designed for Carly?

Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest


Peony Image Via 

7.19.2012

Yoga Mats

To all of you Yogis out there: I need your help. I'm looking to buy a new yoga mat and I can't decide which to go with. My trusty mat I picked up for $5 is no longer serving its purpose. I've heard many amazing things about Lululemon's "the mat," but I'm not sure if I want to shell out $68. I've also been considering Gaiam's reasonably priced and well rated "Prosperity Mat" for $20, and their rubber mat in black for $40.

My dream mat will be ... 
+ Sticky/grippy enough to last through sweaty Vinyasa practice. I am over sliding around in downward dog.
+ Light enough to tote on the subway when I head to class, but not too thin.
+ Have color options, although I think I'm leaning towards black or gray. I know, it sounds picky, but it's important to me!
+ High quality. I don't want to pay for an inexpensive yoga mat only to have it wear out after a few uses.

I've realized that having a yoga mat that performs is an important part of an enjoyable practice. What is your favorite mat or brand? Do I splurge or are the lower priced options just as great? Any advice is truly appreciated!

Gaiam Prosperity Mat :: Lululemon "The Mat" :: Gaiam Rubber Yoga Mat


P.S. Have you seen Lululemon's "Sh*t Yogis Say?" It's hilarious.

Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

7.18.2012

Mix Master

The art of mixing and matching patterns: something usually considered for the bold and trendy. It's not that I don't fall into either of these categories from time to time, but on a daily basis, I would call my style "classic with a twist." I like incorporating fun details that make my style my own, but I also understand what looks good on me ... and I don't jump on every trend that comes along.

Leopard, stripes, polka dots and floral patterns are just a few of my favorites that play well together (I could easily get into ikat and tartan and gingham and chevron), but they are a good starting point if you're new to print mixing. When styling, I always consider leopard a "neutral" that can be mixed with just about anything, and stripes are my "easy chic" pattern – they're always classic and make me feel put together. Florals and polka dots are fun to mix in, especially in the Summer when lots of great prints are in stores.



Basic Tips to Mastering the "Classic with a Twist" Mix

1. Stick with classic, well-fitting pieces and silhouettes, and you won't look like you're trying too hard to be trendy. 


2. Play with the scale of patterns. Going for a large print on the bottom? Opt for a small print on top.

3. Keep accompanying pieces simple and/or neutral. If you're going with a loud top and skirt combination, go with nude or neutral shoes. If your pants and shoes are the focus, go for a simple top and jewelry.

4. Do a little research. It always helps to visualize how prints look best when an expert does it. Some of my favorite mix masters are Olivia Palermo, the Erdem collections, Blair Eadie, and Mary Katrantzou.

5. Don't try to incorporate more than 2 patterns at once. Your look will just get too busy and fall apart.

6. Be a little bit bolder than you normally would. It never hurts to try something new! Make rules, break rules, and find out what works for you. If you're not ready to dive into all over prints, try dipping your feet in and wearing some patterned shoes or a scarf mixed with a patterned top.

7. Confidence is key in this art – if you feel good, you look good; if you feel awkward, you probably look awkward. Confidence is how you pull off a bold look.


Mixed My Way




Leopard & Floral look
+ J.Crew Top
+ Tibi Pants
+ J.Crew Satchel
+ ASOS watch
+ Ivanka Trump Heels

Stripes & Dots look
+ Dorothy Perkins Dress
+ J.Crew Pearls
+ Essie Polish in Canyon Coral
+ Loeffler Randall Heels

Stripes & Leopard look
+ Splendid Top
+ Madewell Hat
+ Old Navy Denim
+ Michael Kors Watch
+ Topshop Sandals



What do you think? Will you give it a go?


Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

7.17.2012

Feta & Watermelon Summer Salad

One of my goals this year is to cook & eat more fresh food.  It's usually the last thing I want to do after I get home from work, so I've trying out easy recipes that don't call for a lot of prep time or ingredients.  Once I discovered how amazingly easy and amazingly tasty this salad was (sweet, salty & refreshing, yes please!), I was hooked. And now you will be too.

Freshness is key here since there are only a few ingredients. I "splurge" on Whole Foods watermelons when I make this. It really makes all the difference.

+ 1 fresh seedless watermelon 
+ 1 package crumbled feta cheese
+ a few fresh mint or basil leaves if you're feeling fancy

+ Cut watermelon into cubes & put in a bowl
+ Sprinkle a small handful of crumbled feta on top
+ Optional: Add a few leaves of basil or mint 
+ Mix to coat and enjoy!

Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

7.16.2012

Sweet Lemon Magazine Issue No.5

Yes, yes that is the latest issue of Sweet Lemon Magazine looking all snazzy.
We had the pleasure of featuring Sarah Vickers of Kiel James Patrick & Classy Girls Wear Pearls ... doesn't she look lovely as a cover girl? Wait until you see her full feature – I am dying over that Shoshanna dress (you can buy it here or rent it here for $60)!

I won't spoil it for you because you should really pop over and read the full issue (you can even read it on your iPad!) ...  just a few highlights:
A few of my favorite things to make your desk enviable ...
A chic spread styled by Paris ... 
The always hilarious Sarah shares with us "The Broke Girl's Guide to NYC."

That's all I'm sharing here ... head over to the Sweet Lemon website to check it out!


Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

7.13.2012

Friday Under $50


Happy Friday! This week was definitely a busy one, spent putting finishing touches on the next issue of Sweet Lemon Magazine (which goes live this Sunday afternoon!).

This weekend I'm looking forward to lounging around, hanging out with the boyfriend and heading to a kick-butt yoga class. And I'm hoping I can get my hands on a copy of the new Cupcakes and Cashmere book by Emily Schuman – I've been reading her blog for years and I can't wait to see all the inspiring goodies in her new book!

So to kick things off, here's a little roundup of my favorite finds under $50. Go ahead, treat yourself!


ASOS Cat Eye Sunnies
Loren Hope Neon Studs
Julep Polish Hayden
Julep Polish Sienna
J.Crew Striped Top
ASOS Clutch
Lush Butterball Bath Bomb
Cupcakes and Cashmere Book
Jennifer Ramos 'LOVE' Print
Topshop Ballet Flats
J.Crew Neon Skinny Belt
West Elm Gold Flatware
+ Lululemon Align Mat (on sale!)




Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

7.12.2012

Scenes from a Café

Isn't there just something so romantic about sitting at a café, sipping a frothy latte and nibbling on a pain au chocolat? I love that these images, captured by many different photographers in many different locations over many different years, all evoke that same dreamy feeling I get when sitting at a café .

 


Keep in touch! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

Images via: 1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: unknown ::  6

7.11.2012

Planning a Fabulous Fête: The Basics

Whether it's impromptu or planned well in advance, entertaining can be a lot of fun, especially when you have the basics down to a tee.




1. A well-stocked bar. Whether your bar is an all out bar cart or a lucite tray on your countertop, there is no better way you can prep than having a stocked and ready-to-use bar.

2. Paper napkins for cocktails, linens for dinner. Paper napkins: the "unsung heros" of the cocktail party. Nobody likes walking around with a drippy drink. If your event is more of a sit-down dinner or tea, consider purchasing some linen dinner napkins (monogramming a bonus).

3. A large serving dish or cheese tray. There is one thing I've learned from hostessing ... people love cheese. I've thrown parties where cheese is the main course, and have never had a single person complain. Stash some sort of serving tray away in your closet - you won't regret it. They can serve everything from tea sandwiches to burgers to dainty hors d'oeuvres.

4. Candles for ambiance. Unscented pillar and tea light candles create the perfect lighting for any event, whether a casual dinner party or formal cocktail hour. I also always keep a scented candle handy. My scented choices vary from season to season, but for summer I'm loving Illume's 'mediterranean' & diptyque's 'jasmin' scented candles. (side note: don't put these too close to the food!)

5. A conversation piece (that can double as a centerpiece) or fresh flowers ... or both. Personality is the key in any event decor. You probably already have something you can use as a centerpiece hanging around your place ...  a vintage vase, a unique candelabra, bookends, or anything from Anthropologie. And you can never go wrong with a fresh bouquet, even if it's from the grocery store.

6. Don't forget about the music. Pop on a playlist from your iPod or create a special mix for the occasion. Music makes guests happy and sets the tone for the event. In a pinch I've used a cell phone & my computer ... they got the job done, but let's just say I wouldn't recommend it.

7. Personalized stationery. Whether you pen informal invitations or use it for thank you notes for your hostess gifts, this is an essential. When I can, I like to send actual printed invitations. Nothing beats snail mail!



+ Kate Spade Old Fashioned Glasses 
+ Izola 'Toasts' Cocktail Shaker
+ TillyMaison Customizable Tray / CB2 Format Lucite Tray
+ Two's Company Numerology Napkins
+ Revol Slate Serving Tray (you can write on it with chalk like this)
+ Illume Mediterranean Candle (it seriously burns forever!) / Diptyque Jasmine Candle
+ Ikea Unscented Pillar Candles
+ Ikea Unscented Tea Light Candles
+ Design Darling Topiary
+ iHome Speakers 
+  Sugar Paper Stationery


There you have it – the basics to throwing a fab, fool proof party (although I can't promise you won't invite any fools ;). Cheers to good food, good drinks & good friends!

7.10.2012

Tops with Text

Normally I'm a textless top kind of girl, but ever since I've seen these popping up across the web, I can't get enough! How chic would these be with a pair of dark skinnies or tights to a casual Sunday brunch?


+ Zoe Karssen Crème de la Crème Sweatshirt
+ Markus Lupfer Sunday Brunch Sweater (has since sold out, but ASOS has a super cute Bonjour sweater here)
Zoe Karssen Oh La La Sweatshirt 

What do you think? Will you scoop one up?

Let me know! :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Pinterest

7.09.2012

Life is a Journey, Not a Destination.


Can we chat for a minute about life as a 20-something?

I recently came across this quote and it really resonated with me as it's something I often forget:

"Life is a journey, not a destination." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I don't always (read: I never) take enough time to stop and appreciate what I've accomplished or experienced. It's always "what's the next step?" When are we moving? What's your next project ... career move ... big thing? What are we doing this weekend? It's easy to get caught up in our own minds, rehashing to-do lists, attempting to prepare for what's ahead, basically being good, responsible 20-somethings. Am I right?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we should give up our to-do lists and dreams (I couldn't survive without either of those), but that we should be present in our own lives. It's easy to constantly go!go!go!, but it takes work to be exactly where you are, and appreciate it. It takes work not to go on auto-pilot, especially when you have your daily routine down to a science.

What I'm proposing is that we take even a minute or two longer to enjoy our accomplishments before we start planning our next big feat, savor our coffees in the morning, plan more get-togethers with our girlfriends, linger a few seconds longer over a kiss, and maybe even sleep in on Sundays. Happy little moments that add up over our lifetime journey.

When you're driven and dedicated, it's easy to forget that life isn't about where you end up, but where you are and where you've been. At the end of the day it's a sum of the things you've experienced, places you've been, relationships you've built, and things you've accomplished.

It's about celebrating the everyday ... and remembering that life has a funny little way of working itself out. So what do you say, will you join me in this little celebration of where we've been, where we are, and where we're going? I have a sneaking suspicion that celebrating the little things will make our big accomplishments that much sweeter.



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image via