Sunday, June 30, 2013

What I Want Now: Pleated Maxi Skirt


Right now I'm obsessed with this Victoria's Secret Pleated Maxi Skirt.  I was clicking through People.com's Love Her Outfit! when I saw the above photo of Alessandra Ambrosio & instantly fell in love with her skirt, it's chic, airy, & perfect for summer.  The thing that makes it even more perfect is its price, right now it is on sale for $55.60 (originally 69.50)!  The only problem is I can't decide what color to get it in since it comes in so many.  While I love the mint green I already have a lot of pieces in that color, which leaves me to decide between Powdered Peach (above), Diamond Rose (below), & Black (below).  If I wasn't a poor college student I would get all three, that's how much I like it.  I cannot wait until one of these is in my closet, there's so many pieces I can pair it with, & so many places I can wear it.  What are your thoughts on the skirt & what color would you get it in?


The Amazing Alpha Hydroxy Acids (aka AHAs)

Lately I've noticed that some of my favorite products include AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids).  AHAs are used in a variety of products throughout the cosmetic industry, as they can help reduce wrinkles, & improve skin's appearance & texture, among other things.  There are  many different acids that fall under the category of AHAs, & these acids can be naturally occurring (ex: lactic acid) or synthetic (ex: glycolic acid).  The previously mentioned products are some of my favorite because they work amazingly on some skin problems that I have been experiencing.


Skin Problem #1: Keratosis Pilaris more commonly referred to as chicken skin (little bumps on the arms that are sometimes itchy &/or red).  I've suffered from keratosis pilaris for years, & while it's not really noticeable to other people, it really bothers me.  I've done a lot of research on this topic & have read numerous times that AHAs are one of the best (if not THE best) way to treat keratosis pilaris since it will improve the skin's texture & will help to remove dead skin.



Solution #1: Dermadoctor KP Duty Body Scrub ($44.00 for 16oz at Sephora)

This scrub is a 'medi-exfoliant' that contains glycolic acid, lactic acid, & azelaic acid, which are all AHAs.  The physical scrub along with the chemical scrub aspects really remove dead skin.  On Sephora's website it explains that it can also be used on ingrown hairs, & shaving bumps.  In addition to the AHAs in the scrub there are calming ingredients like green tea to reduce any redness or irritation scrubbing might cause.  I began using this scrub a few years ago, after receiving a sample from Sephora.  It works really well on keratosis pilaris, I use it about 2-3 times a week at the end of my shower.  I usually just use it on my arms, but it can be used all over your body.  I have used it before when experiencing shaving bumps & it worked well on those too.  This is by far my favorite scrub I have ever tried, & I have tried a lot of scrubs!


Solution #2: St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion ($4.43 at walmart.com, available in drugstores, grocery stores, & super stores like Target as well)
This lotion uses natural citrus AHAs to increase skin cell turnover.  On their website they explain that the AHAs they use have cell renewal, firming, & smoothing properties.  Furthermore it says that users will have younger looking, & smoother skin within a week.  This is the newest one of the listed products that I have tried.  To be honest I brought it because I needed new body lotion, & I wanted something cheap, the tagline of Natural Fruit AHA Complex on the bottle really sold me.  I cannot say enough about how amazing this lotion is.  Like I said I've been using the above scrub for a while & while it did help with my keratosis pilaris, using these two products together has made it completely disappear.  Since using this all the bumps on my skin are gone, & my skin is incredibly smooth & firm.  I would recommend this to anyone, not just people suffering from keratosis pilaris.  The one complaint I would have about the lotion is it's scent, which almost smells like wine, I initially really didn't like it, but it has grown on me, luckily the scent isn't too strong & it wears off after an hour or so.



Skin Problem #2: Dry Heels My mother has a thing about keeping feet, especially heels, smooth & free of dead skin, & she has passed this onto me.  I work hard to keep my feet looking nice, even more so now that we're in sandal season.



Solution #1: True Blue Spa Cracked Heel Treatment - Heel of Approval ($20.00 for Spa Size at Bath & Body Works, right now buy 2 get 2 free on True Blue products)

This foot lotion uses glycolic acid to help break down the dead skin that accumulates on feet.  Also it's a thick cream that really moisturizes deeply, which is aided by the Shea Butter it contains.  This is my favorite foot cream, & the only one I use.  I put it on after I soak & pumice stone my feet so can it really moisturize my feet, I also put it on at night before I go to bed help keep my feet smooth in between pedicures & pumice stoning.  When I wake up after I put it on at night it looks like I just pumice stoned the dead skin away.









DISCLAIMER: When using any products with AHAs you MUST wear sunscreen as they make your skin more susceptible to sunburn.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Favorite Instagram Picture of the Week

Posted Friday, June 28, 2013 by rosiehw (Instagram)

After combing through Instagram all week I've picked this picture of Jessica Alba & Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, which was posted by RHW, as my favorite of the week.  I love both of these ladies so picking a picture of them together was a no brainer for me.  What was your favorite Instagram picture of this past week?

Friday, June 28, 2013

What to Wear: Rainy Weekend at the Beach

I live at the Jersey Shore (where I live is nothing like that tacky show).  When I was checking out the weekend weather it showed that it will be warm & rainy all weekend.  For everyone that wants to go to the beach this weekend that is disappointing news.  The weekend forecast got me thinking of what to wear & what to do on rainy summer days.  When it rains in the summer, all the fun summer outdoor activities are eliminated, so one has to think of what they can do indoors.  During the daytime on a gloomy day one can run errands, grab lunch with friends, go to the movies, stay in & watch movies, paint pottery, bowl, craft, cook, & many other things.  I put together a rainy day outfit idea on Polyvore, for those casual days when you are doing any of the aforementioned activities.  I choose a light t-shirt, & soft denim cut offs to help remain cool & comfy.  The most important thing about dressing on a rainy day is to make sure your outfit helps you stay dry, & this outfit will certainly help with that.  It includes Hunter brand rain boots, which are huge among celebrities and fashionistas alike, as someone who owns a pair I will testify that they are great, & do exactly what they are supposed to do, I chose a gray color as it is a neutral & goes with a lot.  Next is The North Face rain jacket, this jacket will certainly keep you dry, & give a pop of color to your outfit.  Finally, an umbrella is a must have when it rains, bubble umbrellas, like the one pictured below, are the best umbrellas around, they are large so that they give you great coverage, but are see through so they do not impede your vision, & I think it makes for a chic rain accessory. 
Wildfox Couture Things I Love T-Shirt: $78.00, amrag.com
Mavi Emily Mid Ripped Shorts: $46.00 (originally $78.00), lordandtaylor.com
The North Face Jacket, Resolve Zip Up Waterproof Jacket in Ion Blue: $90, macys.com
Hunter Original in Graphite Hi Gloss: $140.00, piperlime.com
Bubble Umbrella: $18.00, urbanoutfitters.com

A great thing to do on a rainy night is to hit a bar with your friends, I created an outfit on Polyvore for such an occasion.  When going out in the summer I like to wear something easy & a romper is a great option.  The romper below is a great color, & has a sexy neckline, furthermore it's loose fitting, which will help you keep cool.  I love nude accessories because they go with everything.  Lately I have been obsessed with shoes with an ankle strap, the heels below are pretty & simple, & go well with the romper.  I like to carry a clutch at night that way I have all my essentials, but am not lugging around a big handbag, the one below compliments the shoes & has great stud detailing.  Gold jewelry goes well with the rest of the outfit's color scheme, in the summer I tend to stick to smaller jewelry because when I get hot bigger jewelry begins to annoy me, the pyramid earrings & ring match the studs on the bag, & really pull the outfit together.
Peach Mini Playsuit with Plunging Neckline: $52.00, ustrendy.com
Steve Madden Marlenee Shoes in Fawn Patent: $100.00, piperlime.com
Aldo Change Tonal Stud Flap Clutch in Nude: $44.95, dsw.com
14k Gold Earrings, 8mm Pyramid Stud Earrings: $400.000, macys.com
Jennifer Zeuner Jewelry Double Band Square Stud Ring: $220.00, shopbop.com


Now that I've given you some activity & outfit ideas, what do you like to do & wear on rainy days & nights? 

Friday's Celebrity Outfit of the Week

I've decided that on Friday's I would like to post a 'Celebrity Outfit of the Week'.  This post will detail my favorite celebrity outfit of that week.  I am a loyal people.com follower, & am a huge fan of their 'Last Night's Look: Love It or Leave It?', I also love their 'Star Tracks' & 'Top 10 Most Loved Looks' photo features.  Each of these features show pictures of celebrities throughout the week, whether it is everyday ('Last Night's Look: Love It or Leave It?' & 'Star Tracks') or a weekly roundup ('Top 10 Most Loved Looks').  I go on people.com to take a break from my day, & use the photo features to see who's wearing what, what's trendy among celebs right now, & for outfit inspirations.  I always like to look online for style inspiration, & people.com can be a great source for that.  Most likely my 'Celeb Outfit of the Week' pictures will come from people.com, but I will always give the info on where I got the photo from.

This week I could not decide between two looks I am absolutely loving!  

The first look is Julianne Hough at Svedka Splash of Summer Party in Los Angeles.
       Source: people.com
I believe the color of the night was orange, people in some of the other photos I saw from the party all had some shade of the color on.  I'm not typically an orange person, but I love the hue Julianne wore, it is a pretty creamsicle color, which is feminine & soft.  The dress (by Naven) has amazing detailing, the tiny cutout that gives the dress just the right hint of sexy, & the perfectly placed peplum.  I'm in love with her shoes, I'm always a sucker for metallic accessories (clutch by Edie Parker), the pointed toe is so on trend right now, & the ankle straps make the shoe (by Oscar Tiye).  Lastly, Julianne's hair is amazing, the short do is great for summer & looks fabulous on her.  

The second look of the week is the epitome of a fashion icon, Sarah Jessica Parker at the Serpentine Gallery Summer Party in London.

Source: people.com
This dress (by Naeem Khan) is perfection.  While, it is obviously 20's flapper inspired it is not costumey like some fringe dresses can be.  The sparkle that this dress emits is just mesmerizing, it too is just right not cheesy or overdone like some metallic dresses.  Her jewelry (by Fred Leighton) does not compete with the sparkle of the dress, but compliments it well.  SJP wore simple black pumps, which punctuate the outfit, & add a bit of a classic touch to a glamorous look.  Finally she pulls the whole look together with understated straight hair worn down, which is one of my favorite hair looks for her.

While so many celebrities wore amazing outfits this week Julianne Hough & Sarah Jessica Parker really hit it out of the park with these looks.  The fact that the stars wear great outfits every week will make it easy to find outfits I love, but hard to pick my favorite.  However, I look forward to doing it & hope you do too!  What's your favorite celebrity look(s) of this past week?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Graduation Dress & Shades of Green

Congrats Bridget!!

My younger sister graduated from high school on Monday (yay!).  She was having a difficult time finding a dress & I needed to look for one too so I suggested we take a trip to Francesca's Collection.  I love it there as they have chic yet affordable items, which is the exact reason I suggested we go there.  I really like how the store is organized by color, it forces me to stay away from colors that I typically lean towards & own a lot of.  I was a little disappointed because I didn't feel the store had as many options that I loved as they usually do.  Furthermore, the store we went to was messy & the sales associates weren't very friendly, both of which are unusual for Francesca's stores.  Despite this my sister landed up trying on about ten different dresses, & I tried on about four.  She decided on an emerald green dress, in person it is more vibrant then it is in this picture, she is on the left, it had a heavily beaded neckline & is gorgeous.  I always love a beaded neckline because you can keep other accessories minimal.  The dress looked great on her--she accessorized with stud earrings, black sandals, & a cap & gown of course.  I decided on a mint green dress, big color of the season, that cinches at the waist & has a ruffle at the neckline that cascades down--I accessorized with stud earrings, a chain bracelet, & DV by Dolce Vita sky high patent leather nude pumps with little bows on the back.  I adore the color of this dress, and I really like that it is simple, but not too simple.  However, I learned my favorite thing about the dress on graduation night, it was light weight, which was amazing since graduation was held on a one hundred degree day in a gym that is not air conditioned.  Finally, the best part of our trip to Francesca's Collection was when we reached the counter & the (unfriendly) sales associate informed us that dresses were buy one, get one 50% off that day!  When we got home my mother was thrilled that my sister finally found a dress, but even more so about the deal we got.  Overall, we had a successful trip to Francesca's & walked away with two great dresses all for $70!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pesto

Last night I made pesto for dinner, my mom & I are obsessed with it.  The best time of the year to make pesto is summer because it is easy to find the fresh herbs, I still make it in the colder months but I usually have to run around to find some of the ingredients.  I got this recipe from a friend & modified it so it is nut free, as I am allergic to nuts.  This recipe not only tastes amazing, but smells amazing too, last night our entire kitchen smelled of parsley & basil, which I loved.


Ingredients:

1 cup basil, packed
1/2 cup parsley, no stems
1 large clove garlic
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
1 lb. pasta*
*I used Wegman's Brand Gluten Free Fusilli, as my sister & I cannot have wheat.


Instructions: 

-Rinse & dry basil & parsley.
-Put basil, parsley, garlic, & parmesan in a food processor.  Pulse ingredients in the food processor until ground.  Do not ground too much.
-Add olive oil & pulse until it is the consistency of soft butter.
-Cook pasta to your liking, & drain.
-Pour pesto over pasta & mix well.
-Garnish with additional parmesan.



How to Put Glitter on Everything!

It's no secret that I am obsessed with glitter, & I found a way to put it on anything I want!  The best part about this is it is inexpensive.  You can update old items or make new ones.  Instructions & ideas below:



Basic Supplies:

Sponge Brush &/or Paint Brush
Mod Podge (Glossy)
Glitter in shaker (the size you get will effect the coverage)



Step 1- Coat entire item in Mod Podge using the sponge brush or paint brush.  Apply (sprinkle) glitter while wet.  Allow to dry, this may take multiple steps so there is a dry section to hold & to rest the item on while drying.

Step 2 (optional)- When the item is completely covered in 1 coat of glitter, repeat Step 1 over the first layer of glitter.  Allow to dry.  Repeat until you get desired glitter coverage.  (I only needed 1 coat.)
Step 3- When the item is completely covered in glitter & had dried, generously apply Mod Podge over the glitter in a smooth coat; again this may take multiple steps.  After the item is completely coated allow to dry overnight.


I did my cellphone, iPad, & computer chargers in gold:




I made a tray to be used to hold my makeup.  For the tray you can use an old one you have or get an inexpensive one at a craft store, I got mine for about $4.00 at A.C. Moore.  The whole tray cost under $10.00 to make. 




I covered old Mason jars, the center picture is a before shot.  The one on the left, I painted black before Step 1; this one will be used as a vase on my kitchen table in my apartment.  The one on the right is not painted, I will use it to hold makeup brushes & will keep it next to the tray above.  I also covered smaller Mason jars, which I painted pink before Step 1, & will use them to hold Q-tips & cotton balls in my bathroom.  I plan on tying bows around the mason jars.




Additionally, I covered my mother's stapler at her request, & an old soap dispenser that was not being used to use in my bathroom in my apartment.  I am addicted to covering things in glitter & I'm sure there will be more to come!

Yummy & Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I found this recipe for chocolate chip cookies from www.welltraveledwife.com on Pinterest, & was very excited because I'm always looking for ways to make my favorite foods more healthy.  I modified the recipe a little to meet my personal tastes/dietary needs.  These cookies are seriously AMAZING!  I cannot say enough good things about how delicious they are.  My cookies came out a little flat, but that is because they are gluten free, the flatness did not effect the flavor though.  My sister who is sometimes a health fanatic, sometimes a junk food crazy, but always a very picky eater, loves these, & trust me if she didn't she would tell me.  My mom (who does not have to eat gluten free) loved them so much that she brought some into work to share.  My family has decided that this recipe will now replace the Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe when we make chocolate chip cookies.  In my opinion, all of this shows just how good these cookies are.  The recipe is below:



Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut oil (room temperature, it will be solid)
1 cup plus 1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1tbsp. pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour*
1/2 tsp. salt
1tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
6 oz milk chocolate chips
Optional:
1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded coconut**
*I am wheat intolerant & my sister has Celiac Disease so I used gluten free flour mix that I made myself instead of all purpose flour.  The flour mix is mad of corn flour, oat flour, coconut flour, & an all purpose gluten free baking mix (usually whatever one I can find).  I put all of the different flours together in a bowl & mix them until blended, sometimes I have to do this in a few steps since it makes a lot.  When I am done mixing I put the new mixture in an airtight container & use that in place of all purpose flour.
**I did not put this in because I did not have any in the house, but am going to next time.  Between the coconut oil & the coconut flour from the gluten free flour mix, my cookies had a slight hint of coconut flavor, which I love.


Instructions:

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a cookie sheet with wax paper.
-In a bowl, combine the flour (all purpose OR gluten free), baking soda, salt, & baking powder, & mix thoroughly.
-In a different bowl, use a mixer to beat the coconut oil & brown sugar.  Add in the eggs & beat until fluffy.  Add in the vanilla extract.
-Mix the flour mixture into the coconut oil mixture a little bit at a time until all the flour is incorporated.  Add in the chocolate chips & coconut, & mix well.
-Drop dough by small rounded spoons onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake for about 8-9 minutes or until slightly browned around the edges (mine cooked quickly!).  They will be really soft & chewy, with a slightly crispy edge.  Let them rest on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to rack to cool completely.
{NOTE: Cook on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper!!}





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