Friday Faves {August 15, 2014}

Happy Friday! My husband, pup and I are headed off to Provincetown, Cape Cod this morning, but wanted to share some of my favorite links this week. Check them out below, have a great weekend and I’ll be back Sunday night!

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  1. Closet Envy: This amazing closet/office designed for Rach Parcell of Pink Peonies by Alice Lane has everything a girl could want.
  2. Puppy Love: My new favorite Instagram account, BullyInstagram. How can pics of adorable bulldogs not make me happy.
  3. Lauren Conrad: Slight obsession with her in general – probably due to my high school obsession with Laguna Beach… but really, I’m loving her new items from her LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s collection and also this giveaway.
  4. Office Inspiration: Love this home office look from The Everygirl. Can’t wait til I finally get around to updating my home office space.

What were your favorite links this week? Let us know in the comments below!

Summer Nail Care Tips from Cutex

During the hot summer months, I love to brighten up my style with neon and cool pastel nails. And while trying out the latest nail colors is the fun part, it’s also important to keep your nails protected – especially during the summer months – with quality products. That’s why I wanted to share with you some awesome products that I had the opportunity to try out from Cutex, the leader in nail care products since 1911.

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  • Baseworx: This base coat is exactly what you need to protect your nails before putting any nail color on them. It’s the only base coat made with bioceramics, which pairs with natural oils to smooth, strengthen and condition your nail bed. Bioceramics also fill in nail ridges and help nail polish stay put. ($8, Drugstore.com)
  • Nail Polish Remover: Cutex has lots of great options that make it easy to remove nail polish and also condition your nails in the process. Here are a few of my favorites:
    • Nail Polish Remover Pads: These are amazing and I will absolutely be buying these in the future. The pads are bigger and thicker than ordinary pads and are great for using at home or while traveling because they come in individual packages. And all it takes is one pad to remove polish from every finger – even dark or hard-to-remove colors! They come in three varieties – Regular, Advanced Revival and Non-Acetone. ($4 for pack of 10, Drugstore.com)
    • Liquid Nail Polish Remover: The Advanced Revival Formula combines the power of acetone with the strengthening and nourishing of natural drying oils to leave your nails feeling strong, while also quickly removing nail polish. And the Spa Formula is perfect for removing hard-to-remove colors (glitter!) and even Shellac. (Prices vary based on size and type, CutexShop.com)
    • Gel Polish Remover Kit: I love getting Shellac polish once in a while, but I always end up picking it off (which is obviously not good for my nails) because I don’t feel like going back to the salon to get it removed (and also don’t want to pay for it). This solves that problem – it removes Shellac or gel polish in a way that doesn’t use pure acetone, which is much better for your nails. ($10, CutexShop.com)
  • Corrector Pen: This is an awesome tool for correcting nail mistakes in one stroke. I love getting a professional mani/pedi, but in between I usually do my own nails, so this is exactly what I needed. It has a special tip designed for hard to get to areas. And all you have to do is apply the tip that has nail polish on it, rub it over the nail polish and it disappears right away. ($17, Amazon.com)

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In addition to having great products, Cutex sent along these tips for keeping nails looking and feeling great this summer:

  • Sunscreen isn’t just for the skin. Nails are made of protein and need as much protection as our skin does. When lathering on the sunscreen, remember those hands and feet – especially the cuticles. Cuticles serve a purpose; they seal in moisture and protect new nail growth as it emerges from the base of the nail. Sun, wind and sand can dry cuticles and nail folds (the areas of skin that frame your nails), which is bad for nail growth.
  • Cover your head and nails. Dermatologists recommend donning a baseball cap or cute floppy hat to shade the head and face from the sun’s harsh rays. Cutex recommends coating nails with a polish, base coat or ridge-filler to protect nails against the elements. The Cutex clear basecoat, Baseworx, contains biotin, the only supplement scientifically proven to improve nail health. Baseworx not only lengthens the life of manicures, it is also the perfect protection for those heading sea-side, where high salt and moisture can soften and split nails.
  • Keep infection at bay. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, about 50 percent of all nail disorders are caused by fungal infections. People tend to go swimming, exercise, and visit spas more often in summer. While those places are great for relaxing or keeping fit, any damp place – like a locker room – can breed fungus, so be sure to wear some type of footwear at all times when in public. Feet can also become hot and sweaty in the summer. Open-toed shoes or light sandals can help keep feet dry and healthy.
  • Oil-up to protect and moisturize. Dermatologists suggest coating hands and nails in natural oils to moisturize. When you’re looking to change polishes, reach for Cutex Advanced Revival Nail Polish Remover, which comes in both liquid and pads. Named 2014′s Best Nail Polish Remover by NewBeauty Magazine, Advanced Revival combines the power of acetone with the nourishing and natural botanical oils of apricot seed, flax seed and perilla, for stronger, healthier nails. Plus, Advanced Revival removes polish twice as fast as other brands. That means more time to spend enjoying summer!
  • Ditch the harsh salon acetone for DIY removal. Do you take your nails to the extreme with gel or glitter polish? Extreme nails don’t have to mean extremely harsh nail polish remover. Try at-home removal with the new Cutex Gel Polish Removal Kits or SPA Formula Nail Polish Remover. These products work as well as 100 percent acetone, yet moisturize and condition nails even after the first use.
  • Go Naked! Even with the best products, nails still need a rest. If your nails are brittle, break easily or just look unhealthy, dermatologists recommend ditching the polish for three months. Still need a little shine? Use CutexBaseworx, which uses bio-ceramic technology to bind to the protein in nails, strengthening them in the process.

Each of the products mentioned above are the perfect addition to your nail care routine, summer and beyond. To learn more about Cutex products, visit CutexNails.com and follow the brand on FacebookTwitterInstagram andPinterest.

**The above Cutex tips were originally published by me on my Examiner.com page. Also, while I received samples to try out for this review, all opinions are 100% my own.

Buy Items Directly from an Image with new iPhone App Piccing {Review}

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Piccing. All opinions are 100% mine.

As a Pinterest addict, I was excited to try out a new iPhone app, Piccing, and share my first impression with you. From my experience trying out Piccing, I discovered that this app is a fun way to explore and “picc” visual content from categories ranging from women’s fashion, food and pets, to DIY, home decor, toys and more. The main differentiator between this app and others is that it’s designed to direct you to purchase items you see in the photos with just one click.

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How it works: Download the app, select a few categories that are of interest to you and begin browsing. If you see images that you like, go ahead and “picc” them, which is a similar experience to pinning an item to one of your boards on Pinterest. You can also add your own image by uploading through the website or by using your camera/photo album on your iPhone.

There are little orange circles on some of the images, which you can tap to browse similar items. When you do that, a list of items pops up and you can scroll through and click on items you like, which then brings you to a page outside of the app to purchase that item. You can also mark items within images you’re browsing or that you upload.

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Favorite things: I love the idea behind this app. On social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram, I follow lots of bloggers and brands and often click through to get more info on specific items I’m interested in. With Piccing, you click a few times and you can ideally purchase something similar very easily. The content on the app is great too, so I enjoyed browsing through the different categories and “piccing” items to my profile.

Not-so-favorite things: The main drawback to this app right now is that when you click on a mark, the items that come up to purchase aren’t similar to the item shown in the image. The purchase process is very easy and features lots of big brands, but it would be more useful if you could at least view items that are similar in color, style or brand. Additionally, many images don’t have marks at all. Finally, there are only eight categories to browse and add images to and it might be helpful down the road to add more or allow users to create their own. This app is brand new, so I’m guessing that as more people join, more brands sign on and more users begin marking images, these drawbacks will improve.

Learn more: Check out the video below, visit Piccing.com and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To download the free iPhone app, go to MobileApp.Piccing.com.

Have you heard of Piccing? If so, what do you think? What are your favorite apps right now? Let us know in the comments below!

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Lemon Dill Orzo Salad {Recipe}

Last week was my husband’s 30th birthday and to celebrate we had a big barbecue yesterday. I took the opportunity to try out a few new recipes and then also whipped up some of my go-to recipes, including my favorite Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip (recipe here!). I remembered seeing an orzo salad with lemon and dill on Pinterest a while back and tried out my own recipe, which ended up being a hit and was even pretty healthy for a pasta salad. We discovered that it’s even better the second day, so make plenty for leftovers!

Lemon Dill Orzo Salad

Ingredients:

For the orzo salad:

  • 1 pound uncooked orzo
  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion (more if you like red onion like I do!)

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  • Cook orzo as directed on package.
  • Combine Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, dill, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl or measuring cup to create the dressing.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add chickpeas, cucumber, onions and feta to the orzo.
  • Pour dressing over the orzo salad, mix together.
  • Add additional salt and pepper to taste, along with parsley.
  • Mix together again and enjoy!

Lemon Dill Orzo Salad 2

Lemon Dill Orzo Salad 3

 

What are your favorite summer pasta salad recipes? Let us know in the comments below!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Favorites {Get the Look}

In case you haven’t heard yet, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is taking place through this Sunday, August 3. I couldn’t resist shopping the sale and wanted to share some of my favorite accessories. Check out my picks below and click the links to view and purchase. Enjoy!

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Accessories

Rebecca Minkoff Bag / BaubleBar Necklace / Moon and Lola Bracelets

Michael Kors Watch / WildFox Sunglasses

What are your favorite items from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate National Lipstick Day with Cate McNabb Cosmetics

If you haven’t heard yet, today, July 29, is National Lipstick Day. In celebration, I’m sharing some of my favorite lipstick colors from Cate McNabb Cosmetics, along with some useful tips and tricks.

Cate McNabb Lipstick Day

Cate McNabb lipsticks come in 15 intensely hydrating, trendy shades, from Cate, a blue-based fuschia pink, to Red Red Wine, a pink-based satin merlot. Each lipstick offers full-on, long-lasting color, and feature ingredients like shea butter and sunflower seed oil to leave lips feeling soft and nourished. Better yet, they’re also paraben-free, cruelty-free and derived from natural ingredients.

Cate McNabb Lipsticks

My personal favorites from the Cate McNabb lipstick line are Fetch Pink, a true satin pink, and Clementine, a frosted, mid-tone orange, both shown above.

Wearing lipstick allows you to showcase your personality, beauty and style. To make the most out of your lipstick, try the tips below from Cate McNabb:

  • Prep your Pout: For the smoothest, most even application, exfoliate your lips with a sugar scrub and then apply a thin coat of your favorite lip balm. Wait 5-10 minutes after applying the lip balm to use your lip color.
  • Prolong your Wear: Create a look that doesn’t feather by outlining your lips in a slightly darker shade of lip liner. If you want to intensify your lip color and have it stay put all day, fill in your lips with the liner and layer the lipstick on top!
  • Application: Begin by applying a small amount of lipstick to the center of your bottom lip, then spreading it by pursing your lips together. Carefully apply to your cupid’s bow by pressing the tip of the product to the left point and dragging it down and to the right. Do the same going from right to left, creating a small “x” to fill in the points of your lips. Then, carefully apply the product to the rest of your lips, using the edge to get as close to the border as possible. For the smoothest lines, smile while you apply!
  • For Better Control: If you have smaller lips or simply have trouble applying directly from the tube, try using a brush for more control.

Cate McNabb lipsticks can be purchased for $16 each. To learn more about the entire Cate McNabb Cosmetics line of mineral makeup, all of which is made with better-for-you ingredients, visit CateMcNabbCosmetics.com and follow the brand on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram.

What’s your favorite lipstick? Let us know in the comments below!

**This article was previously published by me on Examiner.com

Delano Hotel in Miami’s South Beach {Travel}

One of my favorite things about my full-time job is that it takes me to places that I might not go to on my own, for one reason or another. Recently, I had the chance to head down to South Beach in Miami and stayed at a beautiful property, the Delano Hotel. Lucky for me, the events I was working were spread out over the weekend, so I actually had the chance to enjoy my stay and also catch up with one of my best friends that lives in another part of Florida. The Delano was the perfect place to stay, with its close proximity to Lincoln Road, beach and pool, and overall chic yet relaxing vibe. Read on for some of my favorite things about this hotel!

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(Image via TripAdvisor)

The Rooms

I LOVE the all-white look this hotel has going on in the rooms. If I could pull it off at my own house, I would… but I’m just not tidy enough for it. So I go to places like the Delano to enjoy. I stayed in the City View King room shown below and it was pretty amazing even with just a view of the city, so I can imagine the Ocean View, Oceanfront and Poolside rooms and suites are pretty incredible. The rooms lived up to their description: “Playful and elegant, the serene oasis of every Delano room brings a fresh interpretation of ‘barefoot chic’ to Miami.” The bed is so cozy that I could have slept all day in it, with luxurious 300 thread count cotton and down bedding.

In the bathroom, the rainfall shower head complete with MALIN+GOETZ bath amenities were also perfection. And last but certainly not least, the mini bar was not your everyday mini bar. It was stocked with high-end cocktails and glasses to match. And there’s even a box with any item you may have forgotten or needed, from Supergoop! sunscreen to Advil, to mints and even socks.

Delano South Beach - Rooms

Delano Hotel - Bathroom

The Pool

Not much of a description is needed for the pool – you can see for yourself in the photos below. The Delano Beach Club is a 7,000 square foot seaside retreat, with a beautiful pool and direct access to the beach. If you want more of a lounge area by the pool, you can rent a poolside cabana. And of course, the poolside cocktails looked amazing and if you want to keep it non-alcoholic, try a smoothie.

If you’re looking to step it up a notch for a special occasion, check out the poolside bungalows. Admittedly I didn’t experience these for myself, but they sound pretty amazing! The bungalows include a private patio, rainfall showers, MALIN+GOETZ bath products and an enormous Roman-inspired marble soaking tub. Step outside and you’re right at the pool!

Delano Pool 1

Delano Pool 2

Delano Pool 3

The Beach

This one also speaks for itself, but as I mentioned above, the hotel has direct access to the beach and ocean. The staff down by the beach were super friendly and led us to a beach chair with fresh towels. For an additional cost ($200!) you could rent cozy beds on the beach, but our beach chairs were perfect for what we needed that day. And the ocean water was much warmer than in New England! Oh and in one of the pics below I’m wearing my new bikini from Mi Ola Swimwear… more to come on that in a future post!

Delano Beach 1

Delano Beach 2

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Delano Beach 3

The Spa

If you have time, you have to take full advantage of this spa, Club Essentia. It’s located in the penthouse and is a 3,500 square foot private rooftop oasis with amazing views and a calm, refreshing vibe that it so perfect. In addition to your traditional spa offerings like mani-pedis and massages, they also offer preventative aging procedures. It was raining when I was up there, so my photos don’t do it justice, but check out a few below that I found.

 

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The Location

The Delano is only a few blocks from the popular Lincoln Road, where you’ll find lots of shops and restaurants. My favorite spot for breakfast was on Lincoln Road, Paul. It’s actually a chain, but it has delicious omelettes and other breakfast offerings. And of course, the Delano is right on the beach, so you can’t go wrong there.

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The Food & Drink

Bianca, the hotel’s main restaurant, is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and has both indoor and outdoor seating. I sat outside on their deck for a post-work glass of wine and apps, and then again for lunch with my friend when she was in town. The menu items are simple and savory. I tried the calamari, a chopped salad and truffle fries, all of which were delicious. You can also order from a menu of sandwiches and the likes from the pool deck and beach.

FDR at Delano was the perfect place for my friend and I to go out for a bit the Saturday we were there. I’m not really into clubs, but this place was not too clubby, not too casual. They played awesome music (lots of fun remixes and older rap/dance) and the drinks were delicious (but beware, the martinis were $20 each… pretty typical for South Beach though!). We also got to cut the line and avoid paying a cover since we were guests at the hotel.

There’s also the Umi Sushi and Sake Bar, which I didn’t have a chance to try myself but looked delicious from what I saw walking by. The restaurant offers guests a casual, full-dining experience right in the middle of the lobby, featuring a large communal table that’s great for group dining. And lastly, the Rose Bar is a cute little bar at the hotel that’s a great post to grab a drink and light food bites in a relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

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(Image via HotelChatter.com)

Have a favorite hotel to get away for a relaxing weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

Summer Wedding Style {Get the Look}

I had a big case of the Mondays after a long weekend reuniting with some of my best friends for a wedding in Portsmouth, NH (and some festivities in the days leading up to it). Our friend was lucky enough to have great summer weather for her wedding – not too hot or cold and a little overcast that always makes for great photos.

Today I’m sharing my wedding outfit featuring some of my favorite brands: Shoshanna, Loeffler Randall, Diane Von Furstenberg, BaubleBarKate Spade and Essie. I purchased my Shoshanna dress earlier this year, but I’ve included a very similar strapless version below. Check it out and click the links to view or purchase any of the items yourself!

Summer Wedding Style

Dress / Shoes / Bag / Necklace / Earrings / Bracelet / Ring / Nails

Summer Wedding Style {Get the Look on DailyKaty.com}

What are your favorite colors for summer weddings? Let us know in the comments below!

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese {Recipe}

In case you missed it, Monday was National Mac and Cheese Day. I could eat mac and cheese any day, whether it’s a box of Annie’s or homemade cheesy deliciousness. Today I’m sharing a new, healthier spin on mac and cheese that substitutes some of the noodles for cauliflower. I swear you won’t even notice the difference and I found it to be much more filling than traditional mac and cheese. It’s based off of a recipe I found on Damn Delicious and there are lots of ways you can tweak it to make it your own (see the bottom of the post for some ideas!).

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

 Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 cup Panko
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup elbows pasta
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk, or more, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add Panko and cook, stirring, until browned and toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley; set aside.
  • In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Within the last 3 minutes of cooking time, add cauliflower; drain well.
  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in the pot. Add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in pasta, cauliflower, sour cream, milk and cheeses, a handful at a time, until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste. Add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  • Spread pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish. Place into oven and bake until bubbly, about 12-15 minutes.
  • Serve immediately, sprinkled with Panko, if desired.

Variations

  • Add Frank’s hot sauce before serving (my favorite!).
  • Take a tip from Michelle Obama’s cauliflower mac and cheese recipe and puree the cauliflower to make it blend better with the cheese.
  • Use any combination of your favorite cheeses (below I used Trader Joe’s Swiss and Gruyere along with cheddar cheese).

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

What’s your favorite mac and cheese recipe? Let us know in the comments below!

Perfect Fall Outfit, Complete with Affordable, Stylish Jeans {Get the Look}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Abercrombie & Fitch for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Summer took forever to get here in Boston, but it finally feels like it’s here to stay. But now that summer is in full swing, it’s already time to start thinking about fall fashion. Whether you’re headed off to college for the first year or juggling grad school courses with your full-time job, it’s important to look put together even on those days that you can barely roll out of bed (I know, easier said than done). I’m loving the outfit below for fall because it’s simple, yet stylish, and can easily transition from class or the office to dinner and drinks with friends.

Fall Fashion Finds

 

Finding the right jeans includes a combination of the perfect fit, stretch and style, all of which depends on how you intend to wear them and on what occasion. While there are many times where I’m a fan of expensive designer jeans, when it comes to my go-to everyday jeans, I personally love simple, stretchy jeans like the Super Skinny style shown above from Abercrombie & Fitch. I also love their Boyfriend jeans, shown below. One of the best things about their jeans is that they have a no-slip waistband with memory stretch that lasts wash after wash. They also come in lots of different washes, rises and sizes. The best part? Right now, you can get any jeans in store for $35 - such a deal!

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To stay up-to-date with the latest from Abercrombie & Fitch, Follow @abercrombie on TwitterFollow @abercrombie on Instagram or visit their website at Abercrombie.com.

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