Saturday, October 15, 2016

13 Cool Things You Need to Click On Today

Image by Tamara Lee
Well, I had a bit of a crazy week! On Thursday night, I went out to a special dinner with three friends to a super fancy, amazing restaurant in the city called Le Coucou. Well, as I was eating the appetizer, I started to get itchy. Then my throat started feeling really swollen and weird. I ended up having to get my duck-cooked-three-ways in a to-go bag, before rushing to a nearby urgent care. Turns out, I was having an allergic reaction!! I have never had a food allergy before, so I don't know what it was--by that point in the meal, I had consumed red wine, lobster, squash blossoms, and bread and butter--but now I have to go get allergy-tested. I can't believe it! Aren't I way too old to be developing a food allergy?? Or maybe it was just a one-time freak thing? Have any of you developed one later in life? I'd love to hear any stories! (And please pray for me that if I have an allergy, it's to freaking squash blossoms and not red wine or butter!!)

So, here's hoping to a less eventful weekend for all of us! And here's a few fun things to check out during your downtime. 

• I plan to live in this long cardigan this fall. I love the faux leather patches on the arms and the surprisingly good price tag. 

• Speaking of cardigans, this boucle one looks so cozy. And it's $89!

• How pretty is the rich aubergine color of this puffer vest? Love that gold zipper, too.

• Dream item alert! If I had an extra $1,500, I would be all over this adorable Barbie clutch.

• Lulu Frost is having a great Friends & Family sale right now. Use code FROSTFAM20 to get 20% off site-wide. (A few of my favorite finds: this necklace, this tassel necklace, and this amazing asymmetrical cuff.)

• Anthropologie is having a big sale and there's so much good stuff there right now! Get up to 30% off fall styles with code YAY. I have my eye on this velvet tee, this gorgeous dress, and this pretty, sequined off-the-shoulder top. (And I recently bought this blue velvet dress and I highly recommend it. Very cute on and SUPER comfy!)

• Next month, my husband is competing in the Haymakers for Hope amateur boxing competition in NYC to raise money for cancer research. If you're interested in buying tickets, donating to the cause, or just learning more, please click here. (Plus, I mean, how cute does my hubby look in that pic?!?)

• I tested a zillion new fall lipsticks for Refinery 29 and these are the best 14.

• Nothing's more flattering than the golden-goddess filter on Snapchat. Here's how to recreate it for your Halloween costume.

• Have you seen this video of an old man trying (and failing) to say "buttery flaky crust?" It cracks me up every single time.

• Totally going to make Crock-Pot Lasagna this fall. Looks so easy and so yummy.

And in case you missed it, I...

• Shared my daughter's first modeling photos

• Gathered some super fun clothes and accessories with patches (big fall trend!) for kids and grown-ups.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

My Little Model


Photos 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 by Sweet Little Smiles Photography

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I have a bit of an amateur model on my hands. My daughter loves posing for photos. She loves fashion and dressing up, so she absolutely adores styling her own outfits and then striking pose after pose. So, I snap photos and post them often, because truth be told, I love it all, too.

Well, recently, I received a direct message on Instagram from Shana, a New Jersey photographer asking if my daughter could model for her in a local shoot. She needed a model for a class she was teaching that gives moms tips on photographing children. (A class, which I now totally want to take myself!)

To make sure she was legit, I looked up her website and saw instantly that her work is beautiful. I was in. Before I gave an official yes though, I told Shana that I had to ask my daughter. (If she didn't want to do it, we weren't going to do it.) That afternoon after school, I brought it up. "So, a photographer contacted me," I said. "She wants to know if you would like to model for a sh--." I didn't even get to finish the sentence. "YES," she said. "Definitely." She was in, too.

The following weekend, we met Shana and a group of five or so moms a few blocks away from our home. I was worried that Sadie might be nervous or shy with a veritable paparazzi surrounding her, but nope. She instantly started posing and spinning and smiling and looking pensively at the camera. She was a natural.

And look what we have to show for it now! I'm just in love with the resulting photos. She looks so adorable and I love how they totally capture her spirit.

And while we're at it, can we talk about that outfit? We recently went a little crazy with back-to-school shopping at Mini Boden, and this dress and these boots (love those glitter insets!) were some of our favorite finds. (Whoa! Just saw that the dress is on sale AND an additional 20% right now!) I am seriously into this brand right now, especially for kids. This is one of those outfits that I would totally steal if it came in my size.

Also, am I wrong or could these photos totally appear in a Mini Boden catalog? Just saying.

So, what do you guys think of the pics? Until Mini Boden calls, you can see her (and me!) on Instagram here. ;)

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Fall Trend You're About to See Everywhere

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 // 13 // 14
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One of the biggest trends for fall also happens to be one of the most fun. And it's totally nostalgic for me. Did anyone else have a patch-covered jean jacket growing up? I totally did. Band patches galore all over it. 

Well, this year, patches are back. And you're going to see them on jackets, yes, but also on jeans, boots, shoes--pretty much everywhere. The trend is beyond adorable for kids, and--used sparingly--it's super cute for grown-ups, too. 

Here's a few fun things that caught my eye. I'm especially loving the cozy sweatshirt with the cute lipstick patch, these $68 jeans, and this $15 tee shirt covered in Lisa. Frank. stickers

Gotta love those '80s, am I right?



Friday, September 23, 2016

16 Cool Things You Need To Click On Today

Second row at Hamilton, baby!

It's Friday, you guys--we made it! So, how was your week? The highlight of mine was that I finally saw Hamilton! I actually bought the tickets back in JANUARY (!), so this has been a long time coming. Here's the thing: I knew I would like it, but I was honestly a little nervous that I was going to be at least somewhat disappointed. I mean, the show has gotten so much hype, and when is anything ever as good as the hype, right? Well, this is when. 

You guys, it was SO good. The music is awesome and every moment is just so well done. I totally enjoyed it when I was watching it, but I actually think I appreciated it even more later after I got home, and in the days that have followed. I stayed up late that night listening to the music, and I've been listening to it ever since. The show is really, really worth it. And it's even better than the hype.

My one tip: Several people told me to listen to the soundtrack before the show, so that I could familiarize myself with the lyrics--many of which are sung and spoken very, very quickly--before going. I did not do this and I'm so glad I didn't. The only song I sort of knew was the opening number, which they sang a portion of on Lin Manuel Miranda's Carpool Karaoke. As a result, every song, every moment, felt fresh and surprising. I loved it all and highly recommend it. (And if you go now, will you take me with you?? I want to go again!)

So, that was my week--and now I'm ready for the weekend! Whatever you're up to with yours, make it a great one. Here's a few fun links to check out in the meantime!

• Have you guys entered my giveaway yet? You could win a bag full of amazing beauty products worth over $1,000!

• Whoa. I bought this cool brown (faux) leather jacket a few weeks back and now it's on sale for $99! Run! I can vouch for the fact that it's very cute in person and looks way more expensive.

• I totally have my eye on these $150 boots. Should I get black or brown? (Don't say both.)

• I just bought this crushed velvet dress in blue and it's totally giving me '90s flashbacks. (I basically lived in crushed velvet for much of the early part of that decade.) So excited to wear it this fall!

• This pretty dress is really great, too--and it's on sale for $96.50 right now! Love those lace sleeves.

• I need this pink coat, right? It's so fun--and it's 25% off right now with code BESTDRESSED.

• I got a sneak peek at the brand new Nars Velvet Lip Glides awhile back and I've grown to love them. The formula is awesome. It's kind of a cross between lipstick and gloss (lots of color payoff like a lipstick, but with the super shininess and the texture of a gloss). And there are so many good colors! My favorite is Bound (a rosy pink), which has totally become my new everyday lipcolor. If you're more adventurous than me, try La Main Bleue (a cool grape-y purple), Toy (a dark, on-trend-for-fall burgundy), or Mineshaft (a bright poppy red). 

• How gorgeous is this marble cheese board?

• My friend Elizabeth wrote an amazing piece about how moms shouldn't be shamed for not taking their kids to the first day of school. It's awesome.

• If you haven't read this too-crazy-to-be-true-but-it-actually-is-true story of a PTA mom being framed for drug possession, drop everything and read it NOW. It's more a mini book than an article--will probably take you 45 minutes to an hour to finish it--but it is so, so worth it.

• These PB&J cookies are the cutest thing ever.

• I pinned Grace's recipe for Frose (frozen rose!) the second I saw it. Need to try it asap!

• Dude. Back in the day, my dorm room did not look like this.

• This article makes me terrified of goldfish.

• Love that this cool company lets kids design their own dresses! Totally doing this for my daughter.

• This sunny bedroom is just dreamy.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Win The Ultimate Beauty Swag Bag (Valued Over $1000!)

beauty giveaway

Writing about beauty for your job is pretty awesome. Writing about beauty while working from home is even more awesome. But the one "disadvantage" is that, unless you have endless storage in your home (which I so, so don't), you're going to be constantly surrounded by an ever-growing mountain of beauty products. It sounds awesome, but you're actually not going to love it. (And your husband is really, really not going to love it...!)

That's why my new favorite thing has become sharing the love with you guys!

So, just as I did a few months back, I've gathered a pretty awesome assortment of products including a beautiful rose-gold flatiron, a luxe fragrance, lipsticks galore, hair stuff, skin stuff, makeup, etc etc. It's everything you see above--plus a few more goodies that I'll throw in at the last minute.

I'm pretty sure you're going to love it. Oh, and it's worth over $1000. Yep.

Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below, share with your friends, and good luck!

*Sorry: This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, September 12, 2016

Why 9/11 Makes Me Feel Guilty

One World Trade Center and The Oculus

I posted a 9/11 remembrance Instagram for about thirty seconds yesterday. It was the photo above with a long caption about where I was during that day and how much the world changed and how we're all so strong. I regretted it almost the very second I posted it. So, I edited it. And I edited it about three times more. It still didn't feel right. So, finally, I just deleted it. 

You see, I struggle with posting about 9/11. Writing or even talking about it never fails to make me feel guilty. I just don't feel like I should write about it--like it's not my story to tell. In the 15 years since that morning, I have met people who lost husbands and fathers in the towers. I have known people who were separated from their children for hours on that day, unable to find out if they were okay. I have become good friends with a woman who was in one of the towers. (And, clearly, got out.) 

So, when it comes to expressing my feelings about 9/11, I always feel that I just don't have the right. What do I have to complain about? I was literally on the other side of the country that day. Was I scared? Yes. Terrified. But my experience is just so insignificant in the scale of tragedy that happened that day. Who am I to claim it even for a moment?

In New York, if you're at a party or a dinner, or hanging out with anyone long enough, the chances are decent that talk turns to where you were on September 11th. (Does this happen elsewhere in the country, too? I'm genuinely curious.) In New York, of course, most people you encounter around my age were here for it. And if they didn't have a direct connection (and many do), they at least remember somehow experiencing it firsthand, whether it was seeing smoke when they exited the subway, walking thirty, forty, or more blocks home, evacuating their Lower Manhattan apartment, or seeing flyers of missing faces all around them for weeks to come.

I experienced none of that. Though I am in New York now, at the time, I lived in Los Angeles. So, on the morning of 9/11, thanks to the three-hour time difference, I was asleep. (I later asked my mother why she hadn't called to wake me up, and she said that she wanted me to have one more morning of peaceful sleep. Moms.)

So, that morning, I woke up a little after 7 a.m. (10 a.m. east coast time). I switched on the TV, didn't even glance at it, and hopped in the shower to get ready for work. When I got out, I saw the massive cloud of smoke engulfing Lower Manhattan, turned up the volume and tried to comprehend what I was seeing. I thought the world was ending.

I called a friend who lived in my apartment complex and screamed: "What is happening??" We spent the rest of the day on her couch trying to make sense of what we were seeing on TV. I don't remember crying; I just remember feeling utterly in shock. 

Later that day, when I was finally able to get in touch with my parents, I remember asking my mom: "Are things ever going to feel normal again?" She said she didn't know. I appreciated the honesty. Because it really didn't seem possible at the time.

I thankfully didn't mourn anyone that day. But I did feel a type of loss. There was a heavy sense that the world had changed and that our lives would never be the same again. Would things like this just keep happening? Would there ever be a time when we weren't scared anymore? Would we feel happy again?

But, as everyone knows, eventually things did get better. That day, I had sworn I would never get on a plane again. But, two months later, I did. I would be leaving soon to go to grad school to study magazine journalism, but now I sure as hell planned to find a job in California after that; there was no way I'd move to New York--the epicenter of magazine jobs. But two years later, I did. And, in what would perhaps have been the biggest surprise that that scared girl of September 2001 could never have imagined: 13 years later, I walked into my first day of work at a job in the new World Trade Center. (Truth be told, I was never thrilled about working in that building. But I did it.) For me, my world went on.

So that's my story. If you can even call it a story. It still feels like nothing. But I wonder if there are other people out there with "nothing" stories who feel the same sense of guilt. Because, what I'm slowly, finally starting to realize is that, while there may be vastly different degrees of experience, that doesn't mean something wasn't experienced. My "experience" was tiny. And ultimately lucky. And it had a happy ending. But it was emotional, it was impactful, it was terrifying in its own way, and it was mine. For those of us who were fortunate enough not to lose anyone on September 11th, it doesn't mean we didn't lose anything. 

And, I guess, that's something.


Phew. So, I still feel kind of icky about talking about this, but I am so curious if anyone else feels similarly, so I decided to put it all out there. If you had a similar experience on September 11th--that is, no direct experience, at all--do you feel the same sort of guilty feeling?

And if you did lose someone, please know that I know that my experience is nothing compared to yours--and that my thoughts are always with you.

Talk to me, people. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

11 Great Buys For Fall

Dress, Anthropologie. Burgundy sweater, Boden (20% off with code 2F5Z). Bag, Rebecca Minkoff (on sale!). Yellow-and-beige sweater, Boden (20% off with code 2F5Z). Burgundy faux-leather skirt, J.Crew (use code SHOPMORE for 30% off a $200 purchase or 25% off $125). Sunglasses, Illesteva (on sale!). Sneakers, New Balance. Green-striped sweater, J.Crew (30% off with code SHOPMORE). Booties, Madewell (30% off with code DOUBLEUP). Necklace, Baublebar. Camel-and-black striped sweater, Banana Republic.

Not sure if it was the slightly chillier air this past weekend or all of the killer sales going on right now, but I'm suddenly totally inspired to do some fall shopping. Here, I've gathered a few things currently on my wishlist. (Bonus: Most of it is either on sale or can be bought with a discount code! But act fast, because some of the sales are only going on through today! Codes are listed in the caption above.)

A few standouts: 

• This yellow dress! I love it with bare legs and booties now; it would be super cute with tights and a cardigan once the weather gets colder. 

• Sweaters. I live in them in the fall and winter. Right now, I've got my eye on this cute button sweater, this cool colorblock, this camel-and-black striped sweater, and this green-striped one.

• Necklace. This one is so cool. It looks just like Lulu Frost--but costs under $50! 

Fall-ready shoes. These Madewell booties kind of remind me of my all-time favorite Rag & Bone Newbury boots. But they a) are way less expensive, and b) have a much lower heel so they'll be much more comfy. And these sneakers are plaid! How cool, right? Need.

So, tell me: Have you guys started buying fall clothes? I definitely don't want summer to end, but I'm can't help admitting that I'm getting excited for sweaters and boots, too...