Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pucker Up

When it comes to classic makeup, red lips are one of the first beauty practices to come to mind. According to researchers at Manchester University, lips are naturally the most eye-catching area of the face.
"...scientists at ­Manchester University used eye-tracking software to show that in the ten seconds after meeting a lady for the first time, the average chap will spend more than half that time looking at her mouth."
Regardless of the actual shape of the lips (thin or a fuller pout), the study revealed that those who wore red lipstick were perceived as more attractive. It seems so deceptively simple that a color alone can influence attractiveness.

I've always been a bit wary of red lipstick because I feel it's too dressy for everyday wear. However, a sheer red is still flattering and a great way to ease into a bolder shade. The lipstick above is MAC's Lipstick in Lady Bug. An extra bonus, red lips are especially festive for the holiday season. XOXO ;)

Image via FanPop

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sperry Ladyfish Boots

Yesterday's shopping quest began with a search for a multipurpose pair of leather boots and ended with something far different. I admittedly didn't notice these boots at first glance, but passing by them a second time, I knew I had to at least try them on.

Once they were on my feet with tucked in jeans, I absolutely fell in love. While the Sperry brand is incredibly popular, these shoes are so unique that I doubt I'll see anyone else wearing them. They are unbelievably comfortable, and now that they're waterproofed, ready for all occasions. I'm already envisioning them with skinny jeans, a long-sleeved tee, and giant scarf. I have a feeling these are about to become my new cold weather staple.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Window Shopping Season

Today I got in a bit of post-Thanksgiving shopping (I'm not a fan of crowds, so I waited until the Black Friday hubbub had died down). More on those purchases tomorrow, but in the meantime, I wanted to highlight one of my favorite aspects of the holiday season: window displays!

Macy's has adopted "Believe" as this year's theme. While the displays aren't entirely original, they still are cute and seasonally cheery.

Bergdorf Goodman invokes the luxury and adventure of travels in many of their window displays. I love the vintage feel of the maps and trunks.

Another Bergdorf Goodman window. The carriage is playful and romantic.

I love Barney's "Have a Foodie Holiday" theme. After all, the food is one of my favorite parts of the season. I could do without the Snuggies though...

This Barney's window, inspired by Illy cans, is absolute perfection.

And finally, what girl or woman wouldn't swoon at the sight of this tutu in Henri Bendel's window?

Let the window shopping commence!

Images via The Cut.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookies

No visit home is complete without a bit of baking. Thanksgiving of course necessitated making four pies Thursday morning, but I also had the chance to do some experimental baking. The latest creation: a peppermint white chocolate chip cookie.

The peppermint was a last minute decision, but is definitely perfect for the upcoming holiday season (yes, now that Thanksgiving has passed it is officially the holiday season). I used Andes Peppermint Chips, but you could also coarsely chop white chocolate peppermint bark (click the image for a recipe). Alternatively, you could also easily use white and milk chocolate chips and add half a teaspoon of peppermint extract to the dough instead. The recipe I used is after the jump. Welcome to holiday baking season!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Wish List: Bangles

When it comes to jewelry, I usually prefer earrings and necklaces to bracelets and rings. I find the latter get in the way of writing, typing, and other manual tasks. That might change, however, as I've currently become obsessed with bangles. Below are a few of my favorites.

I love the inscription on this bangle. "Roll up your sleeves" is a great daily motto. (Kate Spade, $42)
Perfect for injecting a bit of glitz into everyday outfits. (Forever 21, $6)
The bow and the stripes make for the perfect preppy combination. (Coach, $138)
There's nothing dull about these neon bangles. (Jules Smith, $72 for 4)
The studs toughen up this otherwise classic piece. (Ted Baker, $54)

I love the multitude of personalities displayed in each of these bangles. There really is a style for everyone, even the most non-bracelet inclined among us.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dessert has always been my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Don't get me wrong. I gorge myself on turkey, dressing, potatoes, squash, rolls, and salad. But in the midst of the gastronomic overload, I am always mindful to save room for the final course. Because what would Thanksgiving be without:

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie
A Dollop of Whipped Cream

A Cup of Coffee?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with plenty of great company!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Apologies for the short post. It's been a long day after too little sleep and time changes. Oh, and I have to wake up at 5:30 am tomorrow. Yikes.

Minimalism is a huge trend this season, but I think it has more applications to my wardrobe than I thought. Beyond monochrome ensembles and simple accessories, there's nothing quite as rewarding as cleaning out one's closet.

My first task upon arriving home was tackling the mess of clothes in my closet. I'm finally parting with sentimental items that I know I'll never wear again, but feel guilty giving away. Really, if I haven't worn something in two years, chances are, it's just going to continue to gather dust. My goal is to narrow out the "sort of like" pieces so that my closet is a more streamlined set of "like" and "love" items.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Travel Day

Today I'm flying home for Thanksgiving! I'm excited to spend the next few days with the people who love me unconditionally (or are at least forced to). Of course, after losing my luggage on a traumatic school trip in the 8th grade, I've taken extra care to pack essentials in a carry-on. Even though this trip home means I'll have clothing upon arrival, you can never be too careful.

What to bring? The list's not too exhaustive or complicated, just the basics:
  • Everyday simple makeup: Tinted moisturizer, powder, an eyeliner pencil, beige eyeshadow and mascara. Just enough to look pretty by day, and a little pop of eyeliner for dinners and evening activities.
  • A scarf: to keep you warm on over air conditioned planes, dress up simple jeans when you realize you brought less clothing than you needed, and to stay cozy in the evening.
  • Boots: I know many people like to travel in flip flops or slide on shoes, but when the weather is cold, boots are the perfect choice. They're still easy to slip on and off in the security line (no lacing required) and they can be worn stylishly with jeans, skirts and tights, dresses, leggings, etc.
  • Charger cables: I'm lucky and have a large, tech-savvy family. So in the off chance I forget a phone or laptop charger, I'll be okay. Check and double check that you have everything, ideally right after you charge everything before your departure.
  • Wallet with necessary IDs, credit cards, emergency cash, etc.
  • Hairbrush and lots and lots of extra hair ties: because there's nothing worse than wanting to put your hair up when it's getting in the way, and not being able to.
  • Clothes, obviously. But that's a whole different can of worms...
Good luck to all those traveling this week! Be safe :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sleeping in a Ballgown Room

If I ever find myself in Milan, I'm visiting Viale Monte Grappa 12. The main attraction is the site of the old train station which has been reinterpreted by the creative genius of Moschino to become Maison Moschino.

Life is a Bed of Roses
The 65 room hotel is described as a "visionary and contemporary fairy tale." The rooms have surreal themes from the Alice in Wonderland themed "Alice's Room" to the whimsical "Luxurious Attic".

Sleeping in a Ballgown

My personal favorite is the "Sleeping in a Ballgown" room. I love the playfulness of the giant ballgown headboard, and the luxurious cream color. There's no better way to drift off to sleep than feeling like you've just returned from a fairy tale ball.

Luxurious Attic
Even the hotel's website is inspiring. There's a short movie clip that shows off the fantastic decor and luxury that epitomizes the Moschino brand. Maison Moschino's not just a hotel, but an exemplary example of creative design.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brownies... in a Muffin Pan

Today I decided to bake as a study break. I wanted to make brownies, but with the portability of cupcakes. Solution? Baking brownie batter in a muffin tin. It turned out better than I expected.

I halved the recommended baking time and checked at two minute intervals until the brownies were finished. I liked how easy it was to take the brownies out of the pan (sometimes cutting them evenly without crumbling the pieces is a pain). Plus, the wrappers made it easy to share the final product. I think I'll be doing this often in the future.

How gorgeous are these cupcake wrappers? I'm not sure that you can bake cupcakes in them... it looks like they're wrapped around the final product as part of the presentation. I love all things lace-like, and these wrappers would be a dainty addition to a birthday celebration or springtime fete. Happy baking!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cheery Coats

It's no secret yellow is my favorite color. It's full of light and energy, and can brighten up any ensemble. While the yellow rain jacket and boots are classics, I think yellow outwear can be interpreted more broadly to include all styles of this cheery hue.

When it comes to toggled coats, this JCrew version is stunning. Unfortunately, so is the $495 price tag.

On the wallet friendlier side of the spectrum, this Old Navy coat is adorable (and $69.50)

This JCrew take on a peacoat is divine. I love detailed construction in the princess seaming and waistband ($245).

I love the brightness of this shade of yellow and the shiny buttons (Apt. 9, $120).

If you're unsure about wearing yellow all the time, a less expensive version, like this BP coat for $68, is the answer.

I think it would be nearly impossible to sport such a sunny piece and be gloomy, even in the chilliest weather.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fashion 101

I really enjoy reading informative pieces on fashion. So when I stumbled across Alexandra's set of Fashion 101 posts on Searching for Style, I had to read each and every one of them.

Tiffany & Co. Yellow and White Diamonds
If you've ever wondered why luxury items have high price points or why designers seem to eerily showcase similar trends, these articles are for you. As a girl obsessed with all things yellow and especially sparkly, I loved the piece on Tiffany & Co. yellow diamonds.

The hemming process, known as the "roulotté", of a Hermès scarf.
The fashion industry is unlike any other creative industry. The many complicated facets are intriguing to those of us who admire from afar. Each post is filled with interesting details and facts that underscore the fascination that is fashion.

Diamonds (and fashion) really are a girl's best friend.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


No, not the school, the shoe. I've been eying this trend for a while now, and I came across what might be the deciding factor.

The Wanted Belfast Oxford. I love the rich color, delicate perforations, and dainty bow. The ribbon balances the masculinity of the trend and keeps the shoes from looking too serious. I have trouble picturing some oxfords with dresses and skirts, but the bow and small heel of this pair are very versatile. Plus, at this price, they're practically a steal. The only thing I'm worried about is the comfort of these shoes. Unless I wore bulky socks, they'd probably be rather tough and uncomfortable. Perhaps with a little wear they'd loosen up.

If not, they're beautiful just to look at...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Heart It

The internet is a consortium of so many beautiful, creative things. I'm a very visual person, and keeping track of inspiring pictures I saw online was a complicated process. Then I discovered we heart it. The site allows you to keep a virtual scrapbook of pictures by handily clicking a button added to your internet browser's bar. The album can then be easily accessed through the we heart it website.

My favorite part, however, is the continuous stream of pictures other users "heart" that appears on the main page of the website. Sometimes I see a distinctive photo someone else has found that I immediately "heart". The glimpse into the inspirational storyboards of others is so fascinating. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I came across tonight.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Peanut Butter & Chocolate

There are few foods as comforting as peanut butter and chocolate. When combined into a decadent truffle, well, it's difficult not to eat the entire batch. This recipe by Anne Thorton is a sweet display of affection for someone special or a nice holiday treat.

  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 a stick), melted
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 11.5 ounce bag milk chocolate chips
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (1/3 cup)
  • Combine sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt in a bowl and beat well with a hand-held mixer or a wooden spoon. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil or wax paper. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls and transfer to the lined cookie sheet in a single layer. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
  • Melt milk chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water, stirring often. Remove pot and bowl together from heat. Take bowl off of heat and allow the chocolate to cool down until it is at about body temperature.
  • Working with about five peanut butter balls at a time, and keeping the rest in the freezer, insert a toothpick all the way through the center of a ball. Submerge the entire ball into the melted chocolate. Twirl toothpick between your finger and thumb to swirl off excess chocolate and transfer to another lined cookie sheet. Slide out the toothpick, and with a small spoon cover up hole from toothpick with milk chocolate and repeat the chocolate coating process with remaining peanut butter balls and chocolate, reheating chocolate if necessary.
  • Freeze peanut butter truffles until firm. Melt semisweet chocolate over a small pot of simmering water, stirring often. Remove pot and bowl together from heat, and allow to cool down slightly. With fork drizzle truffles milk chocolate truffles with semisweet chocolate, making lines going up and down and side to side so looks like a grid. Return to freezer until set. Truffles will keep well in a sealed plastic container up to 2 weeks in refrigerator or a month n the freezer. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Color Wheels

Short post today, but I wanted to share this very informative tutorial on matching colors from Fashion Bomb Daily. When creating an outfit, use these handy guidelines relating to the color wheel.

  1. Colors directly next to each other (i.e. yellow and yellow-orange; yellow and yellow-green; violet and blue-violet, etc.) 
  2. Colors that form right (90 degree) angles with each other (i.e. yellow and red-orange; blue and violet-red; green and orange, etc.)
  3. Colors directly across from each other (i.e. yellow and violet; blue and orange; red and green, etc.) 
  4. Colors that form a T (i.e. blue, orange, and violet-red; yellow, violet, and red-orange; yellow, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)
  5. Colors that form an X (i.e. blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow, violet, blue-green, and red-orange, etc.)

Neutrals can go with any color on the color wheel. White, black, brown, and denim fall in the category. Happy experimenting!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I'm expecting a snow storm or two when I go home for Thanksgiving (only a few weeks away!). Of course, chilly weather is best braved with warm accessories. Today: mittens!

I'm especially a fan of convertible mittens because they really do provide the best of both worlds. Your fingers are still touching, so they can share heat. But should the need arise for more dexterity, you can simply bear the cold for a few seconds. Also, if you have any touch screen device (phone, iPod, etc), trying to work it with gloves or regular mittens is an exercise in futility.

I really love the print on this Aerie pair. The white might be troublesome to keep clean, but you could easily toss these in the wash.
The unexpected mix of warm colors on this pair from Old Navy would cheer up even the bitterest of cold days.

This Fred Flare pair has such a lovely pink color. Definitely perfect for anyone with a girly side.

Finally, the length of these WINK gloves makes them especially elegant, not to mention extra cozy.

Stay warm!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Warming Up

Cooling temperatures make warm beverages more and more appealing by the day. Of course, shelling out for tea and coffee on a daily basis can quickly add up. Solution: find an adorable travel mug that serves as more than enough of an enticement to make your own.

I'm loving this blue and white version, but unfortunately it's sold out. The color and floral pattern reminds me of fine china, but it's also playful and practical. A silicone band shields you from the discomfort of holding a hot mug, and the little teapot is designed to hold the string of the tea bag while you drink. Genius, right?

Hopefully the reorder will arrive soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Lace, Revisted

Earlier, I posted about a black lace Lilly Pulitzer dress. Since then, I've seen black lace dresses everywhere. I'm currently coveting a long sleeved version (though the one shouldered versions are beautifully elegant, I don't know if I could pull it off).

I think the key to this trend is balancing a good fit with just enough skin. I'd suggest a shorter hemline to prevent the lace from becoming overwhelming and to maintain a youthful vibe. An ankle long or too formal dress would look more appropriate for a funeral. Do remember the lace portions are sheer and avoid too much skin. For modesty's sake, dresses with built in slips are key. While I think cutouts can be worked in moderation, I think wearing a version like this, and looking classy, would be extremely difficult.

This version by Adrianna Papell beautifully balances long sleeves with a short hemline. The neckline is sweet with a touch of seduction. I also like the texture of the lace. It's more substantial than you'd expect.

This MM Couture by Miss Me dress is a bit more trendy than the first piece, but I think the shoulders are fun and the tiers on the skirt ground the piece. The sweetheart neckline on the slip would also be extremely flattering.

Yes, I realize this Winter Kate dress doesn't have long sleeves. Notice how the same balancing effect is achieved by the high turtleneck? The edging on the cap sleeves also directs the eye towards the waist and creates a flattering illusion.

Again, not long sleeves, but I love the draping on this MM Couture by Miss Me dress. The use of lace as both an under and overlay is also gorgeous. Definitely a good option if you only want a hint of lace.

Now I'm back to the long sleeves vs. short sleeves debate. To be eventually settled...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pumpkin Season

Pumpkins are one of my favorite fall themes. From my mom's delicious pumpkin bread to Starbuck's beloved Pumpkin Spice latte, I like to capitalize on pumpkin consumption this time of year. Case in point, our dining hall conveniently serves pumpkin ice cream for a limited window between October and November. Who looks for every excuse to justify a post-dinner (alright, post-lunch sometimes too...) indulgence? That would be me.

In the past, I've experimented with pumpkin muffins, ravioli, and soup. My next attempt is a twist on the typical pumpkin cream soup. I'm hoping that the love child of two delicious tastes, pumpkin and thai, will prove to be a new favorite.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 shallots, chopped
2 small fresh red chili peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped lemon grass
2 1/8 cups chicken stock
4 cups peeled and diced pumpkin
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 bunch fresh basil leaves

  • In a medium saucepan, heat oil and butter over low heat. Cook garlic, shallots, chilies, and lemongrass in oil until fragrant (be careful not to burn the garlic). Stir in chicken stock, coconut milk, and pumpkin; bring to a boil. Cook until pumpkin softens.
  • In a blender, blend the soup in batches to a smooth or slightly chunky consistency, whatever you prefer. Serve with basil leaves.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't Ever Look Back

I'm a huge fan of acoustic song covers. Pop songs especially sound beautifully raw with the simple combination of vocals and a few instruments.

I recently discovered Boyce Avenue and can't stop listening to his amazing renditions of familiar songs (both recent and reminiscent of middle school playlists). I've listened to his cover of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream on repeat multiple times this week, so sharing is definitely in order. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Paul & Joe & Sister

Now that temperatures are cooling, it's time for layers and more layers. And of course, what winter ensemble is complete without an coat? While black, brown, and navy are safe choices, there's no rule against bright coats in November.

Paul & Joe's Winter 2010 collection featured bright buttoned and toggled coats in three beautiful hues. All three hues are a dream in technicolor, and I'd happily sport any one of these cheery garments.

I think my favorite is the bright turquoise "Poppy". It's very unexpected, but the structure of the front panel balances the playful color. The buttons have a small gold detail, which provides the perfect finishing touch.

I'm also newly enamored with Paul & Joe's Sister line. It has a more youthful vibe befitting its name.
While less vibrant than the "Poppy" coat, the lovely shade of the "Ruban" is nonetheless eye-catching. The bow on the back is a sweet touch.

Finally, how adorable is this cape? It's loose, yet structured shape, the pockets, and toggles pair beautifully together.

Color beats the cold any day :)