Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter Style Staples

Winter is not my favorite season. Trudging through the snow, cleaning off my car and jacking up the heat are not things I look forward to. But over New Years, Mike and I did something different and went on a little winter getaway to North Conway. It really brought me back to what I do like about winter. The cozy scarfs and sweaters, no humidity to make my hair frizz, sipping hot chocolate and cozying up to a fire are all things I enjoy. Since then, I've really been trying to be more positive about winter and one of the ways I've done that is through embracing my favorite fashion items.

Here are some key pieces that have been my Winter Style Staples:




1. Earflap Beanie - I'm reaching for hats with earflaps lately since they really keep you bundled up in the cold winter temps. I love this one from The North Face, its so warm and the cream color will go with anything.

2. Ballerina Flats - In the winter I like to wear boots outside and then have some flats with me to slip on once I get to work. These Tieks flats are great because they fold up and you can carry them in your purse.

3. eTip Gloves - eTip gloves make it so that you don't have to remove your gloves to use your phone, ingenious! These ones from ones The North Face are great because all five fingers are touchscreen compatible, usually its only the index finger and thumb.

4. Dainty Necklace - I've been wearing a lot of scarves lately but I still like incorporate jewelry into my wardrobe. Choosing a dainty necklace is a nice way to do that without your accessories looking overwhelming.

5. Aviator Sunglasses - I find that solar glare affects me the most during the winter so a nice pair of sunglasses is a must. I love my Ray Ban Aviators, they're so comfortable and they go with anything.

6. Blanket Scarf - The Blanket Scarf has taken Pinterest by storm this season. This one from Target is so warm and cozy, I have it in two colors. They are hard to find online but I found both of mine in store, so make sure to peruse the scarf racks!

7. Deep Berry Lipstick - I've been gravitating towards plummy-berry lipstick shades this winter. A bold lip and minimal eye makeup is a great way to look done-up without a lot of effort.

8. Navy Handbag - I've been loving a nice navy leather handbag this season. Its a nice change from the basic black I usually sport this time of year and I think it will transition nicely into the spring.

9. Ugg Boots - Uggs aren't necessarily the best for traipsing around in the snow, since they're not waterproof, but they are just so warm and cozy. I wear these more when its cold than when its snowing or wet out. I love the button detailing on this pair, it really dresses them up.


Shopping Tip:

I am an avid shopper and I recently discovered Raise.com, which offers gift cards at a discount. When I have something I'm shopping for I first check out Raise to see if there are currently offering any discounts at the store I'm planning to visit. Another great thing about this website is that you can also sell your unused or unwanted gift cards that you might have sitting in your wallet, taking up space. I'm always looking for ways to save money so this website was a no-brainer for me.

I hope this post inspired you to embrace the winter weather and gave you an idea on how to save a little money while doing it!


Friday, January 16, 2015

Winter Nail Polish Picks + How to Winterize your nails


Winter is such a brutal season that its important to prepare for it. Some things even involve a "winterization" process to protect them from winter's cold temperatures, snow and ice. Winterization also translates into the beauty world. The cold, dry air can affect your skin, hair and nails, so its important to change up your beauty routine to prepare for it. Before we get into what my winter nail care routine entails, I thought I'd first share my Winter nail polish picks:




Julep Kiki - This is a ice blue with silver shimmer. The color reminds me of the movie Frozen. Its almost the color of Elsa's dress. Yes, I still watch Disney movies as an adult. This is the color I've been reaching for lately when I want a fun pop of color on my nails.

Essie Fiji - This is an opaque pale pink. It is a perfect pastel pink that will transition nicely into the spring. The drawback to Fiji is that with most pastel colors, its streaky. It requires patience and many coats to get the color fully opaque, but it is achievable. I used three coats here.

Julep Joanne - This is a smoky plum color with a creme finish. Its a very ladylike and work-appropriate shade. Opaque in two coats.

Julep Sawyer - This is a molten copper color with metallic shimmer. It is a gorgeous, rich color that looks different depending on the lighting. The formula is thick, you can get away with one coat if you're careful.

OPI Ink - This is a deep ink blue with shimmer. The color is almost a mix of blue and purple that is peppered with a pink shimmer throughout. Its really a mesmerizing color, opaque in two coats.




Now that you've picked out that perfect winter color, its time to treat your hands to a winterized manicure. The cold temperatures and dry air can wreak havoc on your nails so its important to change up your nail care routine to keep your nails healthy and strong during the winter months. Here's how I do it:




Step 1 - Clip & Shape

I use a square ended nail clipper and my trusty Ruby Stone nail file to keep my nails short during the winter. The cool, dry winter air causes my nails to be more brittle. Wearing my nails short keeps them healthy and makes them less susceptible to breakage.

Step 2 - Cuticles: Be Gone!

I soak my nail beds with a cuticle eliminator for about 30 seconds which softens them, making them easy to remove.

Step 3 - Give 'Em A Nudge

Next I gently push back my cuticles with a cuticle pusher.

Step 4 - Clean Up Time

Next I wash my hands thoroughly with warm soapy water. I then buff away any unevenness on my nails using a buffer block and use a cuticle nipper to nip away any nail hangs or leftover dead cuticles. Be careful not to over-trim!

Step 5 - Extra Oomph

Since my nails have been so dry, I've started using a strengthening base coat to give my nails a little boost. I use the base coat under my nail polish and I've really been noticing that my nails feel stronger and I'm having less breakage.

Step 6 - Moisturize Often

Once my nails are dry I finish up with a hand lotion. I massage Essie's Many Many Mani Hand Lotion, into my hands and cuticles as the last step of my manicure. This is a thick lotion but it melts into my skin in seconds and helps keep my hands nourished and happy through the dry winter months. I keep this lotion on my bedside table and use it in between manicures to keep my hands hydrated.




I hope this post gave you some ideas on some new winter colors to try and also inspired you to winterize your nail care routine!


Reference:

Julep
Essie
OPI
Sally Beauty Supply


Friday, January 9, 2015

New Years in North Conway

Happy New Year! Can you believe its 2015? Back to the Future promised we'd all have flying cars and hoverboards by now, what gives? Mike and I rang in the New Year with a trip to North Conway, NH. My family used to vacation there every year during school winter vacation week and I've always loved it up there. Mike is currently suffering from a broken elbow so winter sports were not in the forecast for us this time, but we still found a lot to do!





We drove up on New Years Eve and took the scenic route by way of the Kancamagus Highway. Driving the Kancamagus takes you right through the White Mountain National Forest. There are stops along the way that offer beautiful views of the White Mountains. 






The Swift River runs parallel to the Kanc. You can even stop and swim in some spots during the summer. Obviously there was no swimming happening in single digit temperatures but we still stopped and checked it out.





Once we checked in to our hotel we headed downtown for dinner and to watch the fireworks. They lit off fireworks from Schouler Park which is in the center of the downtown area. Turns out it is REALLY cold to watch fireworks in 2 degree weather in the middle of winter. The fireworks display was pretty impressive though so it was worth freezing our butts off. I wanted to take some pictures but I was way to frozen, the one above was taken when people were gathering in the park before the fireworks started.




We stayed at the Green Granite Inn. They have a huge fireplace in the lodge that was so cozy to warm up to at night. Overall we enjoyed our stay. The rooms were clean, the staff was very friendly and they had a free breakfast every morning.





Besides a lot of shopping and eating, we also wanted to do some sightseeing in the area so we decided to check out the famous covered bridges.




Arguably the prettiest of the three bridges in the Conway area is the Jackson, NH covered bridge, aka the "Honeymoon Bridge". Its painted bright red and it was all decorated for Christmas. Jackson is such a cute little town. If you are ever in the area its worth the trip over the bridge to check it out.







Next we checked out the Swift River Bridge in Conway, NH. This one was my favorite. Its no longer accessible by cars so there is a little park there and you can walk inside the bridge.





Just downstream from the Swift River Bridge sits the Saco River Bridge, also in Conway, NH. Its interesting reading the history about the two Conway covered bridges. Back in 1869 heavy rains caused so much flooding that it caused the Swift River bridge to lift off its foundation and barrel down the river into the Saco Bridge. Both bridges then broke apart and the debris traveled two miles downstream. Both were rebuilt shortly afterwards and much of the lumber was salvaged and used to rebuild both structures. Seeing how low the water level is now its hard to imagine the water getting up that high!








While we were in Conway, we decided to check out the Tuckerman Brewery. Although it didn't look like much from the plain warehouse exterior, inside there is a new beautiful bar and tasting area. The back of the bar is all windows and behind it you can watch the brewing process in action. We also went on a tour and learned about their history and how they brew. The tasting room staff was very knowledgeable on their four brews. We had only tried the Pale Ale previously and we loved the three other offerings, our favorite being the ALTitude.

All in all it was a great winter getaway and hopefully we'll get back there soon!



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Home Tour 2014

In yesterday's post I revealed my Holiday Milk Glass Vignette, where I gave a sneak peek of my Holiday Decor. I'm so excited to share my full Holiday Home Tour with you today!

I had so much fun decorating this season. I've changed up my decorations this year and went with a "Woodsy Vintage" theme. I decorated simply, but I have lots to share! Most of the decorations are in my Living Room, so we'll start there!








I went with a red, green and white color scheme with natural accents. I used burlap and fresh greenery to give the room a more rustic, woodsy vibe and I also added in pieces from my Milk Glass collection to give it a vintage flare.

If you can't tell from my decor, I am LOVING plaid this season. There is an explosion of plaid happening in my life. I'm loving plaid scarves, shirts, even a plaid coffee cup, so why not some plaid home decor? I incorporated it into my living room through throw pillows and a plaid-trimmed tree skirt.








Speaking of vintage, I'm displaying my Mom's ceramic Frosty the Snowman, that we had at our house growing up, on a small telephone table. I also have my Grandmother's Nativity Scene set out on one of the side tables. I love mixing new items with vintage and family items, especially during the Holidays.

Now for the main event, the Christmas Tree!








As always, we have a natural tree and we decorated it with white lights this year. I'm usually a colored lights kind of girl but I'm really loving the way the white lights give our tree a classic warm glow. I wrapped the whole tree in burlap garland and added red and white matte bulbs. Next, I added beaded pinecone ornaments then sprinkled in our family ornaments for the finishing touch.




I love Christmas Cards. I'm always looking for new ways to display them so I took to Pinterest and stumbled upon this idea. While I didn't get as creative as she did and make the sign myself, I took a Merry Christmas hanging sign I already had and just added two red ribbons. I clothes pinned cards to the ribbons as I received them.  Its hanging on the basement door and I'm really loving the way it turned out!




The last stop of the tour is the bathroom. I just wanted to highlight a few items I added in there. How cute is the Lumberjack Santa Nutcracker? I'm really not a big Nutcracker person but he was too cute to pass up. He didn't really have a place in the living room so I just put him out on my bathroom counter and I think he works in there.




Besides holiday hand towels and soap, the only other decoration in there is the Milk Glass tub full of Boxwood branches. I got this piece of Milk Glass for my bathroom because I thought it looked like a bathtub and I usually fill it with pretty soaps. For the Holidays, I changed out the soap for some Boxwood Branches and I think its a really simple and elegant decoration.

Thank you for taking the time to view my Holiday Home Tour! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


Reference:

Burlap & Plaid Tree Skirt - Ballard Designs
Nutcracker - Target
Burlap Garland - Michaels
Plaid Pillows - The Plum Peony on Etsy
Bulbs - Michaels
Beaded Pinecone Ornaments - Crate & Barrel