Friday, November 21, 2014

On My Radar

It's been a full week trying to get tie up loose ends here before heading back to Florida for the holidays. Teddy and I are flying to Tampa Saturday afternoon and will be there for a full week. Really can't even tell you how excited I am... especially for the warm weather and sunshine! Packing is SO weird though... I swear, I have to go into a completely different mindset to pull clothes out of my closet.

Wearing: Sequin Top + White Skirt + Grey Suede Pumps (c/o Ann Taylor) and BaubleBar necklace (c/o)

One of the more exciting things that happened was a photoshoot of apartment for Style Me Pretty Living. To be honest, I've been hesitant to do one of these "published" apartment tours. I think the photos are going to turn out great and I think they're a really great thing to use as inspiration. BUT THEY ARE NOT REAL LIFE. Like, at all. It's pretty staged and all of my "real life clutter" was moved into my bathtub. In fact, my kitchen table wasn't photographed because there's currently a printer on it and boxes of organized clothes for upcoming blog posts. So next time you see beautiful photos on Pinterest, just picture a bathtub full of real life ;-) 

Although, I do obsessively make my bed every morning... so that's pretty accurate below.

Wallpaper: Anthropologie; Bookshelf: Container Store; Bedding: Crane and Canopy (c/o); Pillows: Caitlin Wilson Textiles (c/o) & Kate Spade

Onto my radar (lots of videos I think you'll love!):

ONE // Kids in trouble, dad can't stop laughing

This is going to be me as a parent. I don't think I'll be able to keep a straight face half the time. I think the best part of this video are the kids' eyes... they're just so guilty. 

There was this article floating around my Georgetown friends' Facebook pages. It must have been texted to me about six times, too! Jack the Bulldog (Georgetown's mascot) is killing it on Instagram. Whoever is in charge of his account deserves a raise and a great recommendation letter! I feel like anyone can appreciate this account, even if you're not a Hoya, because he really is a cute dog! (And then there's this one... ha.)

THREE // Puppies climbing stairs

Okay, well... while we're talking about dogs... I loved this video!!! There was a solid month when Teddy could not walk up or down the stairs. Even after he learned, he would sometimes topple over legs over head! (This was a BIG day!) The cutest part of this video is the older dogs teaching the pups... my heart!

Need outfit inspiration for the cooler months? This is such a good round up of New Yorkers' style right now. And unlike some of the crazier weeks, these are all pretty normal outfits anyone can pull off. Instant chic!

FIVE // Idina Menzel and Michael Buble

A) this is one of my favorite holiday songs B) Idina Menzel is brilliant C) the video could not be cuter. Enjoy!

Anything good on your radar this week?


PS Did you miss any of my gift guides? Monogrammed Gifts // Gifts for Guys // Gifts for Girls // Stocking Stuffers
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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stocking Stuffers

Stocking stuffers are so much fun to open. I know a bunch of families have different traditions when it comes to stockings. Growing up, we'd hang the stockings at night and then in the morning my mom would have each of the family member's (dad, grandparents, Stacy, hers, and mine) on different couches and chairs in the living room. Some years we'd have bigger gifts instead of straight up stocking stuffers, but they generally were small, unwrapped fun little things.

Hilarious "sign of the times" side story... When I was in seventh grade, my friend and I begged our parents for cell phones. Mind you, cell phones at the time were little boxes with a black and white screen with which to play Snake. Our moms must have shopped together because they got us these round disk games (where you try to move the pieces inside to the right holes... filled with water? no idea how to explain) that had a picture of a phone instead. We were not thrilled with their cleverness.

We always start the morning with opening our stockings and then move on to the presents under the tree. Always such a fun time– my mom is great with stocking stuffers!

Here are some of my suggestions:

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Bit By the Baking Bug

I'm really beginning to settle into my hibernation mode over here. There's something so cozy about baking and very holiday-y. It makes me feel like I'm back at home! And if there was any question about how much I am turning into my mom, this whole baking thing is totally Meesh (my mom's name is Michele, we call her Meesh). At one point this week, there was banana bread, cornbread muffins, apple cinnamon doughnuts, and cookie dough in the freezer.

My trip to Sur La Table (recapped here) has really reinvigorated my spirit for baking. I've gotten over the fact that my kitchen is the size of a postage stamp, figured out how to fit everything in my oven for storage, and even converted my bar cart to a mini-pantry for appliances that don't fit anywhere else. It's so relaxing for me to just measure, mix, stir, bake... and enjoy!

For some reason, I never take inventory of my cupboards before going to the grocery store. So I have a bit of a surplus of flour. I'd rather have extra than not enough though... so it's not so bad! (Funny enough, it's the same case for sugar... whoops.)  

Banana Bread smells so great! It's not necessarily my favorite thing to eat in the world (don't get me wrong, I will eat and like it...), but it smells heavenly. It's almost worth baking just for the smell alone!

I think the recipe I use is from Betty Crocker... My mom sent me a scan of our recipe book at home so I can't be too sure:

2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cups milk
1 egg
2-3 mashed bananas (OLD over-ripe)

Mix everything together (that easy), pour into loaf pan, bake for 65 to 75 minutes at 350ยบ.

Chocolate chip cookies. Garrett and I obviously can't eat all the cookies from one batch of dough, so I've been double-wrapping in wax paper and storing it in the fridge. Thaw the dough and roll out the cookies... however many or few as you like!

(Our family favorite recipe!)

The doughnuts have to be the best thing I've ever decided to buy... and make. I picked out the doughnut pan from Sur La Table and the Apple Cider Doughnut Mix, too. It's so easy and the results are insanely delicious. I do have a couple of tricks about the doughnut pan from my first run. You have to grease the pan really well. I did an okay job with butter, but a spray like Baker's Joy would have been better. The doughnuts got stuck in the pan anywhere it wasn't perfectly greased and they fell apart a bit while taking them out. The biggest tip I have is to PIPE the dough into the pan. I didn't have pastry bags, so I spooned the dough into a plastic bag and snipped the corner. Instant pastry bag! I would go light on the dough per doughnut as they do rise a lot while baking and it cooks more evenly if they're smaller.

Next up on my to-bake-list is zucchini bread! I'll share the recipe we love when I bake it... So, so good.

What's your favorite thing to bake? Any family favorites?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014


Whoa. My. Goodness. So I had been hearing quite the buzz about a podcast. It seemed like everyone was talking about it. About two years ago, I would ride the subway and every girl (and some guys) would be reading Gone Girl. Now it's like everyone is listening to Serial.

Okay, let me back up in case you don't know what Serial is yet! From the website:

Serial is a podcast where we unfold one nonfiction story, week by week, over the course of a season. We'll stay with each story for as long as it takes to get to the bottom of it. We'll release new episodes every Thursday morning. Listeners can subscribe for free to the Serial podcast on iTunes and other audio platforms, and can also listen here on this site. Serial, like This American Life, is a production of WBEZ Chicago, which also produces these podcasts.

iPhone case (c/o Sonix)

In Season One, which is happening right now, Sarah Koenig (the host of Serial) is trying to get to the bottom of a murder that happened in 1999. A young man went to prison, but a ton of questions remain about the case. Sarah conducts interviews, shares sound bites and pieces of information from the trial, and walks the listener through her own investigation.

The first episode is kind of slow as it focuses on the background and doing initial introductions to each of the characters. By the end of the first episode, I was really hooked though. I have since listened to every one that's been released so far! I can't get enough.

The podcast has a very unique feel to it. It's a mixture of traditional radio, television drama, and a news special. I really love the way the producers set the different episodes up... every five minutes I change my mind about who did it.

One thought on listening versus watching. As Maxie tweeted the other day, "Where do you look when listening to podcasts? I don't know what to do with my eyes! #help #embarassingproblems #Serial" I think you have to be doing something, but that something has to be mindless. I've loved listening to the podcast while I'm walking and riding the subway. I listened to it while I cooked and baked and folded laundry this weekend. It's also great to listen to while I'm editing photos or Photoshopping graphics for posts.

Definitely download Serial!!! Let me know if you've become obsessed as well!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Gifts for Her... Head to Toe

I spent quite some time ordering Christmas presents, birthday gifts, and omg-you're-having-a-baby gifts for my friends and family. I'm the WORST secret keeper ever, so Alison (my pregnant friend) and Stacy (my sister) should particularly not click on these links... I got Stacy this for her birthday and I got both Stacy and Alison this for Christmas gifts.

I don't really have anything on my list because I swear I have everything I could ever want or need... I have a lot more fun picking out presents for my friends and family anyhow! Because I don't really want anything, I thought it would be fun to share the things I already have and LOVE and think would make great gifts. Everything on this list is something that I have (or is super similar to what I own) and highly recommend. 

Drybar Curling Iron // So this was my birthday present to myself for my 24th birthday. It. Has. Changed. My. Life. Obviously I'm being dramatic here, but it really is the first time in my entire life where I feel in control of my hair. Having grown up with the frizziest of frizz, it's the best feeling ever when someone compliments my hair or asks how I do it. I owe it all to this curling iron. I will say, it is not easy to get used to, but once you do it's a game changer. (Here's a video of how I use it!

Monogrammed Necklace // I resisted the monogram necklace for a while... It seemed like everyone had one. Now I know, there's a reason why! BaubleBar's medium pendant is the perfect size... but I think the small would be cute too. This is the perfect wear-every-day necklace.

Tech Gloves // Okay, okay... I just ordered these so I don't technically have them yet. However, I have a feeling I'm going to be living in these. I have a pair of "glittens" I've had for years, but I can't use my phone when the cap part is pulled over. I can't wait for these to arrive so my fingers stay warm and I can still navigate my Google Map app for directions on the go. The leather bow is a bonus!

Bobbi Brown Makeup // While I don't have this particular palette, I have too many to count. Bobbi Brown is my favorite makeup ever and these little palettes make perfect gifts and stocking stuffers. Especially if you've never tried the brand before, it's like a high quality sampler! For the Bobbi Brown fans out there, the deluxe palette is great as well... and this brush set is definitely drool worthy.

Bold Earrings // I'm typically more of a small stud kind of girl, but these are so great! Just what I need to spice up an otherwise simple outfit. Loren Hope can do no wrong.

Turtleneck // Hilarious confession, my mom once gave my something like eight sweaters one Christmas. It was really funny at the time for some reason. Now I think there's nothing better than a new sweater, or two, although I still think eight is overkill! Maybe it's because I grew up in Florida, I want ALL the sweaters, the warmest ones I can find, for November through May. 

Barbour Coat // Dream gift alert!

Leopard Belt // This is a bit of a random piece in the mix, but I think every girl needs a leopard belt. It's my go-to trick to turning a drab outfit into something stylish. Jeans and a button down? Check. Little Black Dress? Check. T-shirt and shorts? Check.

Gigi New York // It's borderline embarrassing how often I wear this crossbody bag. The perfect shape and size... and the monogram is a bonus point. This is truly a year-round bag, which is not something I can say for every handbag I've ever worn. I wore it in the summer with sundresses and it is great with my thickest wool coats!

Hunter Boots // I know shoes can be a difficult gift because of sizing, but I can't say enough great things about these Hunter boots! A classic gift for any girl, especially for girls in college! While I wear mine year round, I definitely wear mine a LOT January through, like, May. Almost every day it seems like because of the constant slush and melted snow puddles on every corner. Wish I had these while I was at Georgetown!

Riding Boots // I've gotten riding boots as gifts for two birthdays and they remain the best, most well-worn things in my closet. (Did I mention these are on sale?)

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Cozy Scarf

I have a major confession. With the sun setting so early.... I've been kind of tired more than normal. Nothing has really majorly changed in my life, it's just the sun!!! Because of the way my apartment is situated and the trees on my block, it is DARK inside at 4pm. Legitimately dark at 4pm and completely pitch black at 5pm. It's so hard to stay focused when it feels like midnight. (I've been starting my day extra early to combat this.)

For better or for worse this has translated to my outfits. Almost every day, I'm wearing jeans and a sweater with one of my favorite scarves. So easy, it's embarrassing!

This is also my most ideal work-from-home outfit. I feel completely comfortable, but it's not like I'm just lounging in pajamas. I can run downtown for a quick coffee or meet up with friends for dinner at the end of the day and not feel like a total slob. Hello, win-win. 

Oh, and I really do love a good navy and grey combination; it's Georgetown's colors!

This Gap scarf has to be my best purchase this fall. I bought it on a whim... I went into Gap for something random for Garrett and couldn't resist the scarf for myself. It's also everywhere. I know a lot of girls has the tartan blanket scarf, but I swear... I see a couple of girls on the subway wearing one of the Gap scarves every day! It's super soft and big enough without being overwhelming and the perfect neutral plaid.

Photos by Bekka Palmer

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