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August Favorites

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Warby Parker Glasses - I've become completely attached to my Warby Parker glasses in August. After not having a pair of glases for so long, it has been so nice to throw on these striped sassafrass frames and head out for a quick brunch or to run some errands. It's incredible not having to wear my contacts everday if I don't want to!

Essie 'Bikini So Teeny' polish - Summer is almost at an end so I've been using the month of August to show off all my favorite summer polishes! I can't get over my summer love of Essie's 'Bikini So Teeny'. It's such a gorgeous shade of blue that reminds me of cool waters and long summer holidays.

Holly Street Darla Wallet - I have been loving this wallet in August. It's so cute and tiny that it's forced me to focus on the items that I actually really need to have in my wallet and not carry around a gigantic wallet full of non-necessities. The stripe detailing on the inside and adorable bow on the outside make it quintessentially Kate Spade.

Women's Health Magazine - I got this as a bonus in one of my birchboxes and I am so glad that I sent in the little card to get my free subscription. It's different from most of the magazines I currently subscribe to where their focus is mostly on beauty and fashion. Women's health is all about, you guessed it, the health of women! It's a great source of helpful exercise tips, tasty recipes, plus it still has healthy beauty & fashion tips too. It definitely makes a great addition to my monthly stack of magazines.

Origins Checks and Balances - I've been having a bit of fun testing out new face washes lately and one of my favorites has been the Origins Checks and Balances frothy face wash. I love how incredibly frothy the wash actually gets, creating this thick foamy layer of cleanser all around your skin. It makes your skin feel squeaky clean afterwards. I also think this wash would work amazingly with a clarisonic. I can't wait to get a new one and test out my theory.

Sole Society Flats - If you follow my Instagram page, you know I've practically been living in Sole Society flats for weeks now. They have such cute styles and are so versatile, you can pair them with almost anything. They are also pretty darn comfy for long outside excursions. I did several hours of intense shopping in mine yesterday and no blisters. I can't wait to see the shoe options they showcase for Fall! Girly needs a new pair of over-the-knee boots.

What were some of your favorites during August? Share them with me in the comments below!

Welcome Back Kate Spade

Saturday, August 30, 2014

It's always sad to see your favorite stores boarded up for a remodel, but always very exciting to see their fresh new look when it reopens. Thursday night, I went to the reopening of the Kate Spade store in San Francisco. Let me just say, Kate knows how to throw a good party! There were tasty refreshments, delicious bites and a great preview of their new Fall collection. I picked up a few must have items and enjoyed mingling with other Kate Spade lovers like myself!

It was quite the crowded event. There were so many Kate Spade fans, it was a tad hard to move around, but we all found space to check out pieces we loved. The event had waiters passing out Perrier, Lorina Lemonade, cute little Cokes and glasses of champagne. Although I do love my champagne, I couldn't pass up the cute glass Coke with a striped red straw! I really love the stores new look. There are a ton of bright colors, a healthy dose of pattern mixing and inspiring mottos placed all around the store. I found the cutest red party dress that I immediately fell in love with. It would be such a perfect ensemble for any holiday party. Definitely going on my wish list! All I have to say is Welcome Back Kate! You were sorely missed. 
I definitely needed one of these little wallets, but how to choose between a bright hue and a bow! 

How gorgeous are these shoes?

Who can say no to a tasty macaron offered to you by a cute waiter?
Kate knows how to color match!
 It would make the perfect holiday party dress!
They had a raffle to win this super cute polka dot purse!
Even a fun little GIF maker in the back!

Weekend Wear

Friday, August 29, 2014

dress // shoes // bag // cuff // earrings

Labor Day Weekend is all about serious relaxation and celebrating the last big weekend of Summer. School is starting again and Fall is rolling in. Soon it will be time to put away the wedges and sundresses and pull out the tights and boots so this is a great weekend to pull out your favorite sundress and go out in style! I plan to relish every last second of Summer and will be twirling around this weekend in my favorite sundress and shades. Keep on the lookout for all my favorite Outfit of The Days on my instagram page! 

Any special plans for this lovely 3 day weekend? Don't forget to share them with me before you go! Hope it's splendiferous for you!

Warby Parker Review

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I have been severely lacking a proper pair of glasses for months now. I broke my favorite pair a while back, literally snapped in half, and after a failed attempt to repair them, harry potter tape style, I relented to throwing them in the trash bin. I was so disappointed that I had broken my favorite pair that I didn't even bother to replace them. I chose to instead wear my contacts for as long as I possibly could during the day. That was not a good plan. It led to some very dry, very tired eyes and a whole lot of squinting when I didn't have them in. 
After some serious nudging from my boyfriend, I decided to test out Warby Parker, a glasses company that sells most of their product online and lets you do a home try on to choose your frames. The online part certainly scared me, but the premise was very simple. I got to choose out 5 pairs of frames from their online shop and they would send all 5 to me for a 5 day home test run. No charge, no stresses, if I didn't like any of the frames, I could simply send them back, no harm done. I loved being able to test out all 5 frames for so many days. I constantly found myself running to the mirror in the morning checking out the different pairs to decide which worked best. I finally narrowed it down to two favorites, the Finch in Violet Magnolia & the Sims in Striped Sassafrass. I wish I could've bought them both I loved the frames so much, but alas I could choose only one to buy. I finally decided on the Sims since they would work best for working in my office and I wanted the Finch for hanging at home and for out and about. They arrived and I couldn't have been happier with my purchase! Warby Parker does such a good job helping you make the decision that you're actually excited to get your pair of glasses and show them off. 

These are the other glasses I tested out. I so want to get the Finch next time. They were so cute! 

Neat thing! For every pair of glasses bought, Warby Parker donates a pair of glasses to someone in need, cool right? Have you tried our Warby Parker? Was your experience as good as mine? Let me know in the comments below!

My Pamper Night Essentials

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I tend to carry fair amounts of stress and anxiety in my life so I find that it is extremely important for me to take the time to properly relax and take sufficient 'me' time. One of the best ways I have found to do that is by having frequent Pamper Nights. For those who have never had a Pamper Evening, it's quite simple and quite enjoyable. It's a night where you decide to take the 'me' time that you need to do a little beauty & skincare regime that you normally rush through during the other days. It usually starts with a warm bath, some calming tunes and a delightful array of beauty, haircare & skincare products! I do Pamper Nights quite a lot so I thought I'd share some of the essential ingredients that make my Pamper Evenings such a smashing success. 

1. Lush Bath Bomb - Bath bombs, bubble bars, bubble bath, bath salts, whatever your preference, this is a must have for any good Pamper Evening. It scents your bath to get you into a relaxed mood and can leave the water a gorgeous hue. My current favorite bath bomb at the moment is the Phoenix Rising bath bomb from Lush USA. The bath bomb is meant to be a tribute to a phoenix that is rising from the ashes. Its a beautiful royal purple, dusted in gold, with a cinnamon stick at the top. It sinks to the bottom of your bath and slowly rises up, like a phoenix rising from the ashes and gives your bath the delicious scent of spicy apple and cinnamon! This will definitely be a staple in my Fall Pamper Evening essentials. 

2. Scented Candle - A scented candle is a must have for any of my Pamper Night. I tend to save all my sweet smelling, desserty candles for my Pamper Evenings. It makes me feel like I'm enjoying a decadent dessert on top of everything else! The candle that I currently have in my bathroom for every Pamper Evening is the Bath & Body Works 3 wick candle in Raspberry Peach Macaroon. Unfortunately, they no longer sell that one in the stores, but the Banana Nutmeg Bread pudding is another deliciously decadent scented candle that would make for a splendid Pamper Evening. 

3. Lounge Socks - After I've washed, dried & moisturized, I love to slip my feet into soft shea-infused lounge socks. It's a bit of extra pampering for my toes and it keeps them warm and soft, saving them from the dirty floors of my apartment! I picked up this pair at Bath & Body Works and I am completely in love with the little owls that look up at me every time I look down at my feet. They are so cute!

4. Face Mask - A face mask is an absolute necessity for any Pamper Evening. Your face deals with so much stress and environmental pollution throughout the day. It is very important that you take the time to cleanse and reinvigorate your skin. My favorite face mask at the moment for all of my Pamper Evenings is the Origins Clear Improvements active charcoal mask to clear pores. My skin tends to get very congested as the week rolls on and this mask does a smashing job of clarifying my skin and drawing out all the impurities. 

5. Manicure - Although I am truly terrible at it, I like to try and attempt to give myself a manicure during my Pamper Evenings. It's such a boost for me to go through the day and look down at my nails to see them all prim, proper, bright & beautiful. My favorite polish at the moment is Take it Outside from Essie's new Fall 2014 collection. It's a gorgeous taupe with just a hint of pink. A perfect polish for the start of Fall!

6. Hair Mask - I have quite long and thick hair. It takes some serious damage with blow-drying and styling, but thankfully never leaves me, so I like to give it a lot of love during my Pamper Nights with a deep conditioning treatment. My favorite deep conditioning treatment right now is the Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque. It works like a magical, magical charm and leaves your hair with this amazing nutty scent! It definitely gives my hair that necessary bit of bounce and shine. 

As a little note, tunes are also an essential part of any of my Pamper Evenings. I love having soft, beautiful melodic music playing as I breathe deep and relax in my tub full of bubbles. One of my favorite songs that is on all of my Pamper Night playlists is Brooke Waggoner's 'Fresh Pair of Eyes'. Ever since I heard it on Pretty Little Liars, I listen to it all the time when I need to take a beat and calm my mind. It's such a beautiful melody. 

Have any Pamper Night essentials of your own? Share them with me in the comments below! 

Goodnight Macaroon Clothing Haul

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I am always on the look out for great new additions to my ever expanding closet and I think I found just the store to help me with that. Goodnight Macaroon is known as an online store for women with exquisite taste. Well, who can argue with that? They have amazing pieces for affordable prices. These are pieces that have been worn by the likes of Olivia Palermo, Miranda Kerr and even Taylor Swift. (well, if it's good enough for them...) As I glanced through page after page of their site, I started slowly building up a cart of likes and loves that I had to whittle down later to a reasonable number. I picked up three great new pieces to add to my wardrobe and was so pleased with the pieces I ordered that I have already added a ton more to grab in my next round of shopping.
The first piece that I picked up was the Mixed Stripe Pleated Skater Skirt. It's a great length for work and I love the combination of thick and thin alternating stripes in such bright patriotic colors. In this shot, I combined it with United Color of Benetton Navy Blazer, a flutter sleeve button down and Sole Society's SAM pointed toe flats in black.
Another piece that I picked up was the Crew Neckline Charcoal Grey Sweater Flared Dress. Although it's a tad to hot to wear the Sweater dress just yet, the adorable grey sweater and white skirt can be worn as separates. It's like two different outfits in one! I paired the white skirt from the dress with a Saint James striped tee, a Forever 21 tan trench coat and Ellemenno dark brown booties. Trying to get in all of my wearing of white before Labor Day!
The last, and perhaps my favorite, piece from my Goodnight Macaroon haul was the Shoulder Cut Out Drawstring Jersey Dress. This dress is ridiculously comfortable and is super cute to dress up or down. It is the perfect outfit for end of Summer days. It also comes in blue, which I think I may also need to have for my comfy dress collection. In this shot, I paired it with Ray Ban Wayfarers and my favorite Sole Society Natalia Mini Bag, which is so versatile, it can be paired with almost anything!

As for quality and price, Goodnight Macaroon has both. I was pleasantly surprised by the great quality of the pieces I bought and each of them was such a good deal. Goodnight Macaroon will definitely be one of my new favorites when it comes to online shopping.

Have you checked out Goodnight Macaroon before? Know of any other great stores that I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!

Weekend in Review

Monday, August 25, 2014

The theme of this weekend was definitely patience. I'm so used to having everything (brunch, coffee, laundry, dry cleaning) done so quickly that waiting more than five minutes for anything seems like an impossible feat. Sad, I know, but this city seems to move pretty fast. This weekend, my boyfriend and I hit a block party in San Francisco. Our main objective was to catch the pasta making demo by Thomas McNaughton, owner & chef of the amazing italian restaurant Flour + Water. He also owns two other restaurants in the area. We got there around 3:30 pm, but the demo didn't start until 4:30 pm so we wandered around the block party for thirty minutes, but then quickly jetted to get seats in the small demo tent. The chef taught us some great techniques for making the best pasta dough and showed how to make two different kinds of filled pastas, cappelletti and agnolotti. 
The pasta making demo was to promote their new flour + water cookbook that is coming out in late September!
Chef McNaughton, himself, teaching some of the skills he teaches in his beginner pasta-making classes.
Fresh Pasta beats dry pasta every single time. Look at these beauties.
After the demo, we headed over the Pizzeria Delfina, a neapolitan pizza restaurant near Tartine. Here is where the patience comes into play. This spot is quite popular, especially in the late afternoon so it took us about an hour to get a table. The only place to stand and hang out is right outside the restaurant, basically taking up the entire sidewalk. Thankfully, I had my lovely boyfriend to entertain me, but boy was I glad when we finally got to sit!
We ordered a much deserved bottle of delicious red wine. It paired beautifully with our starters and pizza!
We ordered some mozzarella, roasted carrots and a delicious broccoli raab pizza.
Everyone who knows me knows that I cannot pass up dessert so we ordered two! We ordered the Belweather Farm Ricotta Cannoli with pistachios and the Baba Rum with Raspberry Coulis. I loved the Baba Rum, which was a sponge pastry that had been dipped in rum liquor, filled with a delicious vanilla bean cream and served with a raspberry sauce! The food was totally worth the long wait!
Sunday, we went to a new brunch spot for us called Central Kitchen, coincidentally another of Thomas McNaughton's restaurants! This was another instance where patience came into play as it took us over an hour to be seated at a table and then another forty minutes until we were served our food. Patiently waiting when you are super hungry is never an easy task. Thankfully, the food did arrive at some point and it was quite tasty.
I ordered the fried chicken eggs benedict, my boyfriend ordered the baked eggs and we shared an heirloom tomato salad. My Fried Eggs benedict was soooo tasty! I could barely bear to share any with my boyfriend, but I did and we decided that I had definitely ordered the better dish. I spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the warm weather and celebrating my sister's birthday! It was a weekend filled with warm summer sun, a ton of good food and a whole lot of patience! It was a good time out to remind me to appreciate the quick things in life and to remember that sometimes, a good thing takes time.

Did you guys get up to anything fun this weekend? Let me know in the comments!

Eyeshadows for Fall

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Like most things, I like to switch up my eyeshadows when Summer turns to Fall so I've picked out my six favorite palettes, duos & trios for Fall 2014. They're full of Fall colors like copper tones, bronzes, deep burgundy, taupes and burnt oranges.

Stila Eyes Are the Window Shadow Palette in Spirit. These palettes were inspired by the spiritual notion that true beauty is revealed from within. Each of the four palettes represents a different aspect of inner beauty. Most of my favorite hues in the Stila palettes were in the Spirit palette. The copper and taupe tones remind me of a beautiful Fall day full of falling leaves and cold weather. The beautiful shimmers and bright pigmented shades make this a perfect shadow palette for Fall.

Dior 5-Color Eyeshadow in Trafalgar. I have always loved Dior eyeshadows, however expensive they may be. I saw this palette and I just couldn't get over how pretty the burgundy center shade was and how well the ballet pink shimmer and cream shimmer blended together. A great shadow palette for any Fall makeup collection. It will definitely be on my wish list for Fall!

Estèe Lauder Pure Color Intense Eyeshadow Trio in Sterling Plums. These shadows certainly live up to their names for being pure color intense. These shadows range from soft shimmers to high metal shines and give beautifully pigmented color and blend effortlessly. These trios also boat long staying power, whether or not you are wearing eyeshadow base, which I adore. I hate when your eyeshadows move around during the day. A great must have for Fall!

Sephora Collection Colorful 5 Eye Shadow Palette in Pale to Rich Taupe. For the savvy shopper, the Sephora Collection is a great way to change up your look without breaking your bank! These palettes provide a beautiful collection of colors. I especially like the Pale to Rich Taupe collection, which has some great shadows for Fall. The shimmery light to dark taupes work together seamlessly and are great for mixing and matching for every event.

Too Faced Neutral Eye Shadow Collection. I have raved about this palette for months now and I still see myself using it through the next couple months. These shades provide a great neutral look that can be blended up for day or night. It even comes with an awesome glamour guide to provide step by step ways to create beautiful looks with both the shimmery and matte shades.

Nars Duo Eyeshadow in Isolde. My last favorite for Fall is one the Nars Duo eyeshadows. I especially love the duo Isolde, which has both a frosted ginger and shimmering copper shade. I think it's a great color change for the Fall season. It makes me think of changing leaves and Pumpkin Spice lattes. I really like that these duos can be applied both sheerly or built up for a dramatic effect. They also can double as eyeliners when applied wet! The color combination alone makes this a great duo for Fall!

Know of any other great eyeshadows for Fall? Share them with me in the comments below!

Beauty DNA Unboxing - August 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

BeautyDNA is a monthly haircare, skincare and body care subscription service that sends you a curated full size product every month for $25. The curated item is chosen by a computer algorithm that has been based on a very in-depth beauty profile filled out by you! I have been using the service since March and it has become one of my very favorite subscriptions! I always seem to get a great product and the value of each box way exceeds the $25 price tag. To read more about the subscription box, check out my first post on the service!
The product I received in this month's BeautyDNA box was the Avéne RétrinAL cream. According to the Avéne website, RétrinAL is a clinically proven skin rejuvenation cream that visibly reduces the signs of aging with little to no irritation. While I have no major wrinkles just yet, I know it's never too early to start taking better of care of your skin to prevent future wrinkles. 
I've only tried one other product for the Avène line, the Cleanance lotion, which is an oil-free moisturizer that absorbs oil and provides long lasting mattification. This has become my go-to morning moisturizer so I'm really excited to get to try out another product from the Avène line. I was only disappointed in the scent, it smells like a cream or serum, but I guess I can't be too choosy when it comes to repairing night treatments. They can't all smell like roses, like their moisturizer!

Have you ever tried Avène or BeautyDNA? Have a favorite beauty subscription of your own? Share them with me in the comments below!

Tips for Drinking More Water

Friday, August 22, 2014

Water is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. It's important to keep your body hydrated, it's great for your skin and gives your metabolism a big boost. There seem to be little to no negatives to drinking more water. The problem is that I can never seem to get my daily 8 glasses. We are told to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and for a lot of us that can seem like an insane amount of water! Who has the time to drink that many cups everyday? Thankfully, I have found a few ways to make that requirement easier to handle.

Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning. Before skincare and makeup, I run to my Soma and fill up a big glass. Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning helps wake up my metabolism and it wakes me up too! It's also a great jump start of getting in your 8 glasses daily. You haven't even brushed your teeth and you already have one glass down, only 7 to go!

Don't like tap water, try a Bobble water bottle. I'm not a huge fan of tap water, but I also know how bad plastic water bottles are for the environment. I was at a loss for how to fix this dilemma when I discovered Bobble water bottles. Bobble water bottles are reusable bottles that actually filter the water as you drink it! Each filter equates to about 300 single use water bottles, crazy right? One of my favorite parts of the Bobble is how cute they are! They come in a ton of different colors so you can match your Bobble to your personal style. I opted for a Burgundy Bobble and it has helped me drink a ton more water while I am out and about.

Checking off cups on a list. I love my to-do lists and crossing things off of it, so I started doing something similar for drinking water. Everytime I got up and out of my desk to go grab a glass of water, I'd make a little tally mark in my daily agenda book. It gives me a little sense of accomplishment to make a new mark each time. It also helps keep me on track about how many I've had so I know how many I have to go!

Setting a daily alarm. There's an app for everything nowadays, even apps remind you to drink water! Waterlogged is an iPhone app that helps remind you to keep on drinking! You can set up alarm reminders and chart how much water you've been drinking each day. It is a perfect app for all the tech savvy water drinkers out there!

Drinking Flavored or Bubbly water. Personally, I can get kinda bored drinking water. It's just never been terribly exciting for me so I tend to switch up the types of water I drink. I love sparkling, 'bubbly' water as I call it, and I always keep a bottle in the fridge. I also really like flavored waters, especially Metromint. Metromint is a mint infused water that comes in a variety of flavors like lemonmint and cherrymint. It's the perfect thing for running around town or for in between meetings. It tastes great and gives your breath a minty fresh kick!

Drinking Fruit Infused water. Fruit infused water has been my favorite go to drink this summer. Bottles like the Flavourit and the Citrus Zinger are perfect ways to get your daily intake of water in a fun new way! I love combining flavors like strawberry and basil or mint and pineapple. Fruity water is a great way to get your daily 8 glasses.

Have any water-drinking tips of your own? Share them with me in the comments below! 

Recipe: Birthday Cake Tea Muffins

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Baking is such a relaxing pastime for me. I like setting to work grabbing bowls, ingredients and quietly measuring out and mixing, all the while listening to great music. This is a recipe I concocted myself based on a bunch of other recipes I had found for using tea to infuse flavor into a muffin. I made these as part of a contest my company was sponsoring with great tea-makers David's Tea. While we couldn't win the contest, we were encouraged to participate and I came up with the idea of making muffins using one of my favorite flavors of David's tea, Birthday Cake. How could you not love it, it has sprinkles and pieces of freeze dried ice cream in it?! I wanted to share my recipe with all the tea lovers and bakers out there so here it is!

Ever made a tea-infused dessert? Have a favorite baking recipe you'd like to share? Share them with me in the comments!

5 Ways to Have a Better Morning

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Mornings are always the hardest for me. When I wake up, I always want to close my eyes and snuggle in my warm comfy bed. Leaving seems like a totally unbearable task so I've come up with some ways to make it easier for me to get up and at 'em in a more cheery fashion.

1.  Slowly enjoy a good cup of coffee.  I hate having to rush out the door in the morning with a to-go cup of coffee. I've spilled in my bag more than once and I always feel like the coffee just isn't as good by the time I get to the office. I try to take the time in the morning to slowly make myself a cup of coffee or tea. This slow ritual can gives me the time to take some deep breaths and slowly adjust to being awake. 

2. Look through Instagram or Tumblr. I'm a very visual person. A picture can change my entire mood in an instant. I spend at least 10-15 minutes every morning looking through my Instagram feed and Tumblr posts to simply 'think happy thoughts'. A photo of a beautiful ocean or woods in the fall or even a cupcake piled high with icing can help me remember all the great things that can be happen once I'm up and out of my bed!

3. Write out your to-do list. Sometimes, anxious nerves hit me in the morning as I mentally run through my to-do list and try hard not to forget anything on it. I refuse to do that anymore! Now, I sit down at my desk and carefully write out my to-do list while I slowly sip on my morning coffee. Calmly taking the time to write out each item on my list makes it seem much less daunting, especially when I write it out on the cute little Kate Spade notepads I picked up from Design Darling

4. Put on your favorite playlist. Everyone knows how much music can change your mood! Depending on my morning mood, I choose a soundtrack to play as I go through my morning skincare and makeup routines. I've been loving a New Orleans/Jazz playlist on Pandora for my calming mornings and have been playing Taylor Swift's 'Shake it Off' on repeat for my more exuberant, dance around mornings!

5. Plan out your outfit the night before. I've been that girl where I stared at my closet, chock full of clothes and yelled to my boyfriend that 'I have nothing to wear'. There's nothing worse than getting ready in the morning and feeling uninspired to put on anything in your closet. I've taken to planning out my outfit the night before to help myself get excited to get dressed in the morning. I'll usually take the time to check the weather and plan a cute and totally put together ensemble that gets me excited to get out and about in the morning and show off. 

Have any tips that make your mornings a little easier? Share them with me in the comments below!

My Favorite Things: Candles

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I have a serious candle addiction. When I say serious, I mean that there is an entire closet in my apartment dedicated solely to candles and I feel like I never have quite enough so I'm always picking up more. I love the way a candle fills an entire room with a delicious smell. I love watching the flickering light in a dark room. Candles are a total soul soother for me and I love to find new candle obsessions. Here are some of my current favorite candle companies!

Yankee Candle - Yankee candles are well known in the candle world. They come in a million different sizes and scents. I just grabbed a bunch of their wax tarts to try and so far I'm loving them. I'm currently using the Apple Cider wax tart and it fills up the entire room with the delicious scent of hot spiced cider, perfect to test out before the Fall season hits. 

Anthropologie Candles - Anthropologie has some pretty awesome candles! I especially like their Mini Capri Candles in the scent, Volcano. Volcano is a mix of tropical fruits, sugared oranges, lemons & limes, redolent with lightly exotic mountain greens. It makes the entire room smell like the Anthropologie store which, if you ever been to one, is a pretty great smell. 

Diamond Candles - These candles are beyond adorable. In each of them is a hidden surprise, a ring. These rings can range in value from $10 to $5,000. It's like an amazing treat on top of your candle. 

Bath & Body Works Candles - My ultimate favorite candles have to come from Bath & Body works. Their scents change from season to season and they're always a delicious scent to discover. They also come in a variety of sizes, even including mason jar and mini mason jar candles. Right now, I'm loving the scents Banana Nutmeg Bread Pudding, Vanilla Chai and my always Fall favorite, Leaves. 

Wax Melts & Oil Warmers - I know this isn't exactly a candle, but I have just become  totally enthralled in the wax melt and wax warmer world. It's all the benefits of a scented candle without the long commitment of burning it for hours. I can burn a variety of different scents, which I can change whenever I feel like. 

Have any candle favorites of your own? Share them with me in the comments!

Weekend in Review

Monday, August 18, 2014

My weekend was wonderfully low-key. I have been feeling a tad off lately so I've been trying to take it easy and not go too crazy with the scheduling. I tend to be an over planner, not exactly leaving room to rest and relax so I've been determined to give myself the break that I need to get back to being 110% Brenda. Since I was determined for a break, I stayed close to home, but still made sure to get out and about a bit. 

Lately, I've been obsessed with Frozen Yogurt so I made a Saturday stop at Easy Breezy and picked up a delicious treat! There were so many flavors to choose from! I'm known for wanting to try a little bit of each in my bowl, which almost always ends up being a tasting disaster from mixing too many flavors that simply don't go together. I decided it was best to limit myself to two flavors and then go crazy with the toppings. Some of their flavors change weekly so you never get bored. This week they had Butterscotch Baby, Limeberry Sorbet, Cherry Pie, and Vietnamese Coffee. Since I also have a dear love of Pie, I opted for the Cherry Pie, which was part fro-yo part part custard and then added a little Vanilla Bean fro-yo on top! For toppings, I went with a chocolate theme with Oreo bits, Andes chocolate & mint bits, chocolate sea salt caramel turtle bits and topped it all off with a sprinkle covered Animal Cookie! Let me tell you, I was so proud of my Fro-Yo creation because not only was it beautiful to look it, it was SOOOOO delicious! 
Yum! Cherry & Chocolate are a perfect combination. I left a very happy camper and now have my own little frequent user punch card for Easy Breezy! 
On Sunday, my boyfriend and I headed to Beretta to enjoy a late Brunch. In typical Brenda fashion, my eyes were bigger than my stomach and I may have ordered a bit too much. We got herb onion bread with olive oil, a kale caesar salad, heirloom tomato bruschetta and a carbonara, bacon, eggs, mozzarella, pecorino & cracked black pepper pizza! Everything was really tasty, especially their Kale Caesar salad; I could eat that everyday for lunch and never get tired of it. I also need to say how tasty their cocktails are. My boyfriend went for a Mimosa, whereas I chose to get a Pamplemousse, which is actually the French word for Grapefruit. The Pamplemousse was made with gin, lemon, grapefruit, basil and elderflower. I've had a lot of Pamplemousse's in the past and the ones at Beretta would definitely make my top 5!
So, you may have heard, but I now have my own incredible, amazing desk. I ended up leaving my desk in my apartment when I moved back from college, so sure I would never need a formal desk again. What the heck was I thinking? Working on the couch for long periods of time is truly awful for productivity and the kitchen table just wasn't cutting it. I could never seem to get real work done where I eat and I hated having to clear it off every time we made a meal. I am so happy with my new little desk, which is from Blu Dot modern furniture. It's what I call perfectly 'Brenda sized'. It fits my laptop and a myriad of desk organizing essentials and still has space for more without it taking up a huge part of the room. I like the little shelf that attaches to the top, giving me the extra space for more organizing necessities to go underneath. 
I picked up the cutest desk accessories in a theme of stripes from Design Darling's birthday sale! I'm glad I grabbed them when I did because items in the shop were selling out fast! I grabbed the Kate Spade Striped Notepads, which are lined and perfectly sized for my forever changing to-do lists. I also grabbed the Scalloped Desk organizer in navy stripes and the Navy Stripe Deskpad. The scalloped desk organizer has been perfect for holding my mail. I was really excited for the Navy Striped Deskpad so I have somewhere to write down all my random notes!
Currently, I've been using a chair from the kitchen table as my seat, but I think I might upgrade for something that is a bit more cushy for my longer work sessions. 
I love having fresh flowers on my desk. It brings a breath of life into the space and truth be told, they just look really pretty sitting there. I also loving having a candle on my desk to get into my perfect writing zen. Since I share the office with my boyfriend, a huge 3 wick candle makes no sense and would overpower the entire room with scent. I opted for an adorably tiny mason jar candle from Bath & Body Works. This one is in the scent of Banana Nutmeg Bread Pudding, which smells amazing. 
I just can't get over my little jar vase of flowers. I totally need to arrange a weekly flower delivery.

Did you guys have an eventful weekend? Have any desk essentials that I should know about? Let me know in the comments below!

The Sunday Blues

Sunday, August 17, 2014

You wake up on Sunday morning so cheery and bright! You got to sleep in late, you slowly get up to make some coffee and you feel like you have all the time in the world to do whatever moves you. Then, all of a sudden, its 6 p.m. and you feel like the week is already here. You're thinking about your work inbox and the projects that are due to be completed and the seemingly endless tasks list that you were oh-so-happy to leave at the office when you took off on Friday.

I tend to get this feeling every Sunday afternoon and my boyfriend has dubbed it my Sunday Blues. I start to focus too much on the week ahead and all the work that needs to be done and I forget to enjoy my Sunday. It's a terrible cycle of sudden anxiety and nerves that I was determined to put a stop to. After many a sad Sunday, I have found some great ways to to subdue the Sunday Blues.

1. Fix yourself a Sunday Pamper evening. Grab yourself a scented bath bomb, a soothing face mask and a calming playlist and draw yourself a warm bath. It is the perfect way to calmly ease yourself into the start of a new week. It's become one of my cherished Sunday rituals to pop myself in a hot bath and take some very necessary 'me' time.

2. Plan a special Sunday dinner. I usually end up rushing through my weekday dinners and rarely take the time to  make a proper meal. I also tend to eat ridiculously fast so I can get onto whatever I'm doing next. This doesn't exactly make for a relaxing meal. On Sundays, I try to make or order something special; Taking my sweet time to enjoy a particular favorite, eat a dessert, drink some wine. Having a special meal encourages me to slow down and take the time to enjoy my Sunday.

3. Pick out a great end-of-weekend movie. Whether it's an old one that you'd love to see again or a new one that you've been wanting to see for awhile, plan to make it a Sunday night event. Grab the popcorn, red vines or whatever candy you prefer and settle in to watch your end-of-weekend flick.

4. Put on your comfiest pair of pajamas. Pajamas, to me, are like a big warm hug. To relieve any nerves about the coming week, putting on your comfiest pair of pajamas is always a great idea. My favorite pair is a Nick & Nora Sock Monkey Onesie! It is the comfiest thing I've ever worn. If it was considered appropriate, I would totally wear them to work everyday. (Oh, if only!)

5. Take the time to read a bit. Reading is a treasured pastime of mine. It can completely transport me and after a few pages, I totally forget about anything, but the story in the book. (I've walked into a few doors this way) I make sure that reading is the last thing I do on Sunday night and the first thing I do when I wake up Monday morning. It's a perfect way to end my weekend and it puts me in a great mood to start a fresh, new week.

Do you ever get the Sunday blues? Have any tips of your own? Share them with me in the comments below!

Fall Necessities

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer is slowly winding down. That means it is almost the beginning of a most beloved season, Fall. It's almost time to pull out the scarves and mittens and put back the shorts & sandals. To honor the soon to be changing of the season, I thought I would share some of my must-have Fall necessities! 

1. Burberry Brit Hooded Wool Duffle Coat - I feel like a warm coat is a complete necessity for the Fall/Winter season. This Burberry Brit Hooded Wool Duffle Coat, while insanely expensive, would be an amazing must-have for Fall! It's such a gorgeous shade of red and has the two things I always feel are necessary for a perfect fall coat, a big hood and toggles! I love toggles!

2. Tory Burch Riding Boots - I have read so many positive reviews on the Tory Burch Riding boots. After buying more than a couple pairs of inexpensive, poorly made boots, I now understand the importance of investing in a better pair. I think the Tory Burch Riding Boots would be a perfect investment for the many Fall seasons of the future.

3. Coach Cashmere Lined Leather Gloves - Keep those chilly hands warm & toasty! Coach comes out with these gloves every year and every year I always talk myself out of buying them. Hopefully this year I break that cycle. If you live in a city with ridiculously chilly weather, then you definitely need to pick yourself up a pair of gloves!

4. Clarisonic Mia2 in Navy Blue - As the seasons change, my skin tends to go a little wonky and exfoliating it properly is a necessity for keeping it from going over the edge. I love how clean the Clarisonic makes your skin feel, like its sloughing off all the dirt of the city. It will be an amazing staple in my fall/winter skin routine. I'm also in love with this dark navy blue shade!

5. Over the knee socks - I love, love, love over-the-knee socks. I love to wear dresses and boots in the Fall, which means that the little space between my boots and my dress can get a little nippy my poor knees. I love having a myriad of over-the-knee socks in various colors to style myself up and keep my legs toasty & warm.

6. Essie Polish in Wicked - Fall for me means turning in my brightly colored nails & toes and opting for darker shades. One of my all time favorites for Fall is Essie polish in Wicked! I love the dark cranberry coloring and it matches the colors of the season.

Have some Fall necessities of your own? Share them with me in the comments below! I would love to hear about your must haves for the Fall season!

Birchbox Unboxing - August 2014

Friday, August 15, 2014

In the words of Birchbox, it's time to Lighten Up! This month's theme for Birchbox was super appropriate for me! I have been in such an intense, work-focused mood lately that I've barely noticed that Summer is almost over. Eeek! It's time to take a step back, enjoy what's around me and lighten the hell up. There was awesome variety in my Birchbox this month, switching up the type of items that I had in my box last month. This gave me a chance to test out some awesome new products!
Dr. Jart+ Dis-A-Pore Beauty Balm
Birchbox Take: A blend of smoothing powder and elastic silky polymer minimizes the appearance of pore and fine lines and evens skin tone. Meanwhile herbal extracts reduce excess sebum to keep pores clean and clear. Vitamintree fruit and snow lotus soothe and brighten skin, while Nordenau water locks in moisture. The hypoallergenic formula is free of unwanted parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, and uses SPF 30 to protect skin from sun damage. 
My Take: I received this sample at the perfect time! My skin had been freaking out due to stress and I wanted to give it a healthy break from my foundation routine. Since it was a BB cream, I didn't expect the Beauty Balm to have great coverage, but it did! It had amazing coverage for such a creamy light product. I will definitely thinking about picking up the full size to use through the rest of Summer!

ModelCo Shimmer Bronzer
Birchbox Take: This sheer, oil-controlled powder glides on smoothly for weightless coverage. Matte leaves behind a natural warmth, while Shimmer has a golden, illuminating effect. Suitable for all skin types and tones. Like all of ModelCo's products, this one's cruelty-free and PETA certified.
My Take: I totally freaked out when I read the word Shimmer on this Bronzer. I'm not a fan of glitter or super shimmery products because they don't really pair well with my combo/oily skin, but this bronzer has a really light and subtle hint of shimmer that looks beautiful on the skin. I also love how tiny this bronzer is, it's a perfect size to throw in my touch-up makeup bag.
Neil George Shampoo & Conditioner
Birchbox Take: Indian Gooseberry is packed with Vitamin C- a must-have for healthy hair. Botanical extracts get strands squeaky clean without creating dryness or frizz, and the formula is safe for color-treated hair. Natural scents like grapefruit and sage ass a long-lasting fragrance that-fair warning-is highly addictive, and the formula is safe for color treated hair. The TSA-friendly size means you can get sleek hair to go, not matter where your travels take you. 
My Take: I LOVE the smell of this shampoo & conditioner set. It reminds me of the citronella candles that we used to burn to repel bugs. It sounds weird, but that scent now totally reminds me of lazy long summer nights spent outside making s'mores and being silly. I have yet to try them out so I can't comment on how they work, but if they are anything like how they smell, they will be awesome.
Catherine Malandrino Style de Paris Fragrance
Birchbox Take: This multifaceted perfume has citrus notes that open up to aromas of lush orange blossom, sweet jasmine, and fresh gardenia. The fragrance rounds out with hints of amber and musk, leaving behind a lovely blend that capture ad flirty but refined mood.
My Take: Okay, I'll say it! I strongly dislike perfume samples. I will never purchase a perfume based on a tiny sample vial and I'm such a picky person with perfumes that even if I did want to buy a perfume off a sample, it would be rare that I would find one that I liked. Case in point, this perfume, while good for some, was a miss for me. Oh well, you can't win them all!

While not loving the perfume, I did like the rest of the products in my Birchbox this month and I really can't wait to try out my little Citronella Shampoo/Conditioner combo! 

Do you guys subscribe to Birchbox? What was your favorite product from this month? Share them with me in the comments!

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