- We finally broke down and bought a Sodastream. It’s life-changing.
- Got into the Halloween Spirit by catching up on American Horror Story: Freakshow after it was released on Netflix. Liked it way better than Coven, but Murder House is still my favorite. Have you been watching Hotel? I want to wait until it’s all been aired so I can binge watch it!
- These J Crew Factory sweatpants are super comfy, but the skinny cut feels slightly more stylish than your old sweats, even for just lounging around the house.
- Uber was delivering #uberkittens for National Cat Day this week, but sadly not in Boston 🙁 I celebrated anyway by giving extra cuddles to this little devil.
- Need a last minute Halloween costume? Most of these only require makeup!
How-two: 2 easy steps to doing something just a little bit better…
As the weather gets colder, leaving the house with wet hair is not an option. I also hate to sleep with wet hair (damp hair + warm head + pillow = gross things growing where you put your face), so drying my hair is pretty much a necessity. While I’ve been #blessed with hair that dries pretty straight and smooth, I’ve always been thrilled with how my hair looks when it’s blown out at a salon and have dedicated hours and hours to replicating those results at home. Here’s two little tricks that work for me to get a salon-worthy round brush blowout.
Before we get to the actual two things, here’s a freebie: get your hair almost dry before you start trying to style it. Either wait for it to air-dry to about 85% or blast the roots with your blow dryer, lifting with your fingers, to rough dry before trying to smooth and shape your hair. It will make everything so much easier.
1. Pay attention to your sections. This depends entirely to what tools you’re using. When you section your hair, choose a piece that’s no wider than the barrel of your brush or the length of your dryer’s nozzle. You want to be able to lay the hair flat on the brush and hit the whole section with air at once. Similarly, you want the section to be no thicker than the length of your bristles, so the whole section can be held by the brush at once. It will be a lot easier to manage than if your sections are too big or too small. The general idea is that you want to keep tension in the hair by pressing it against the brush with the air stream from your dryer, so getting the right sized section is key.
2. Twist your hair as it comes off the brush. This is going to be a hard one to explain. Section the hair as described in step one. Place the brush behind the section of hair and direct the air to press it into the bristles. Gently slide the brush down the hair, twisting backwards as you go to keep contact between the brush and hair. Once you’ve made a full rotation, slide the brush down the hair without twisting, and then without sliding, twist the brush another full rotation. This will create a “coil” of hair above where it meets the brush. You can continue the pattern until you reach the end of the section. As the hair comes off the brush and out of the air stream, it will begin to cool. Hair stays in the direction it cools, so if it’s being pulled taut, you’ll end up with smooth but straight hair. If it’s twisted instead, you’ll end up with more waves and texture. For looser curls, choose a larger brush to allow for larger sections. For tighter curls, go for a smaller brush, and therefore, smaller sections.
A closer look, this time twisting towards my face instead of away:
Making these gifs by myself was probably one of the top ten trickiest things I’ve ever done.
Here’s the final result (awkward office selfie):
I’m all about easy weeknight dinners, and this southern inspired Shrimp & Grits took literally minutes.
Precooked frozen shrimp is one of my favorite food hacks. It requires literally no preparation other than running under cold water for a few minutes. It’s great with cocktail sauce at parties (make your own by mixing ketchup and prepared horseradish), in pasta, on salads, or with grits and okra like we had last night!
For the grits, cook according to package instructions. Stir grits and salt into boiling water and simmer for 5-7 minutes. When it’s almost done, lay a slice of Pepperjack cheese on top and let it melt. Once it’s nice and gooey stir it in. Repeat for each serving of grits you’re preparing.
Finally, the okra. I hate okra. Unless it’s fried of course. Otherwise it’s slimy and gross. But when it’s mixed with cheesy grits, I don’t hate it as much, and my husband LOVES it, so I suffer through it every once in a while. We bought precut frozen okra and microwaved it for 3 minutes with a bit of water. Drain (try not to gag at the slime) and serve with a little salt and pepper.
We also added a bit of sriracha because we like to get weird.
Easiest dinner ever? Yes please! What are your favorite weeknight dinners?
The NARS x Steven Klein collection launched with a bang. The suggestive images on the packaging along with the value and novelty of new holiday sets put the beauty world into a bit of a frenzy. The collection is massive and not all of it appealed to me, but when I saw this adorable lipstick set in Sephora I knew I had to have it.
The Killer Heels Lipstick Coffret shades are mostly classics from the NARS lipstick range, but in mini sizes. There are 5 included in the set, and it retails for $49, making each mini lipstick about $10 for 0.05 oz. A full-size lipstick is $27 for .12 oz, so a slightly better value by volume, and of course you get the color variety instead of five instead of one.
The set includes a sheer, neutral nude, a sheer medium plum pink, and three variations of red.
The nude shade, Little Darling, was the scariest for me. Light lipsticks don’t always work with my coloring, but this one is sheer enough that it can be layered over a liner or another lipstick to tone it down without completely muting out your lips.
Mayflower is the kind of shade I tend to buy over and over again in every finish from every brand. It’s a my-lips-but-better shade that’s completely wearable for all occasions.
Joyous Red is a warm, muted, pink-red. It has a semi-matte finish that makes it, again, very wearable. This would look amazing with a metallic eye.
If you’re looking for a slightly brighter shade, Jungle Red might be it. It’s similarly semi-sheer and semi-matte, but a more true, brighter red.
And finally, Fire Down Below is a deep wash of plummy red.
I actually prefer that these shades are sheer. It makes them easier to apply and to wear more casually. The texture is soft and velvety and non-drying. And the tiny sizes are perfect for throwing in your clutch or pocket.
I think these will be my go-to lip shades this winter!
This month’s Sephora Play! box theme is “Secrets to Dewy Skin”.
Before I get into the specific products, I’ll mention that compared to last month’s disappointing assortment, I thought that this box was much improved.
First, a Sephora sheet mask in Pearl. I also received a sheet mask in my Birchbox, which isn’t surprising as they’re very trendy currently. This one promises to be perfecting and brightening. I can’t say whether or not it works, but I am interested in trying it. It’s not something I would have picked out on my own, so it’s kind of cool to get it in the box.
Next, the Fresh Black Tea Age-Delay Instant Infusion. I actually have the full size of this already and like it well enough so this is a nice sample to receive. Fresh is a great brand and I love the Black Tea line of products as “age-delaying” is definitely something I’m looking to do!
Two products from Boscia: the Detoxifying Cleanser and the Charcoal Konjac Sponge. I’ve used sponges like these before, and I always like getting tools in beauty boxes. You soak the sponge in water and it grows and softens and you can use it to cleanse and exfoliate skin, with cleanser or even alone. The warming gel cleanser, however, I’m not very excited about. Gel cleansers and I never really get on well as they tend to dry out my skin and leave it tight. The “warming” part also worries me. I’ll give it a go, but I don’t have high hopes.
The Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin Day Tint is a sample I’ve received before from Birchox. It’s a bit too light for me, so I wish I had gotten the un-tinted formula instead. It’s very sheer coverage, but the finish is perfect, light and soft and luminous. I might save it for the winter when my skin reaches it’s peak paleness. The only negative is that it has a bit of a funny scent. Ceramides are amazing for skin and this has SPF in it.
Belif is a Korean skincare brand. The True Cream – Aqua Bomb is a lightweight gel-cream with a cooling finish. Gel moisturizers, like gel cleansers, never seem to really do much for me. This one seems refreshing if not super hydrating, so it could be nice for mornings to wake up and as a base for makeup, since it’s not too heavy.
Finally, Atelier Cologne is a super luxe fragrance brand. Their scents are usually very unique and interesting, This one is Mandarine Glaciale, citrus-y and musk-y and unique. It’s a unisex fragrance, like most Atelier Cologne fragrances, so it’s not too sweet.
So all in all, not a bad box, but not a lot of makeup. The only “color” product is the tinted moisturizer, which is a lovely product, but not really makeup, and not really a great match for my skin even. I do prefer it to last month’s box, but I think there’s definitely room for improvement.
Five moments from the Wellfleet OysterFest!
These lovely shuckers from Sheila’s Oyster Farm (not pictured but present: Sheila herself)
This awesome band that managed to change Ring of Fire to Ring of SNOW when it started to flurry (and it even still rhymed!)
This handsome man on the beach!
This group’s oyster shell mountain. We’re going to go head to head in oyster shell construction next year. I think we can take them. We ate about a million oysters.
This gif of our last oyster plate of the day!
We decided to buy a 5 lb bag of carrots at Whole Foods (because why not, right?), so get ready for a lot of carrot related food posts.
Starting with these muffins. I knew I wanted to make a form of carrot cake because 1) SO MANY CARROTS and 2) our new food processor can shred like a champion. So I searched for recipes using my usual technique and ended up with this one for Gluten-Free Vegan Carrot Apple Muffins.
Which I promptly massacred into no longer being remotely gluten-free OR vegan by swapping in eggs, milk, flour, honey, and butter. What can I say, I’m a traditionalist.
These muffins turned out awesome though, and I’m sure the gluten-free and vegan version is at least 75% as good.
You can click through to the recipe. Basically, I just used one extra large egg instead of the “flax eggs”, butter instead of olive oil, 2% milk instead of almond milk, regular old all purpose flour instead of the gluten-free flour blend, and honey instead of agave. I also skimped on the brown sugar because our open package was shy of the 1/2 cup required and I didn’t want to open a new one. They are plenty sweet as it is, so I don’t think we missed it! Other ingredients: shredded apple and carrot, mashed banana, rolled oats, almond meal, and cinnamon.
In lieu of traditional cream cheese frosting, we served these for breakfast with Siggi’s yogurt, which is more tart, thicker, and smoother than other yogurts I’ve found. The tart balanced the sweet perfectly. They also have great fall flavors out like Pumpkin Spice and Apple Pie which are amazing with these muffins. Finally, add a handful of raw walnuts and you’re good to go!
As the weather gets colder and suntans fade, you’re going to want to make some changes to your routine. Here are a few updates I’m making:
The other day, it was pretty clear that it’s no longer acceptable to go outside with wet hair. You could catch a cold (or freeze and damage your tresses)! So I’m pulling out the blowdryer more often, and shampooing as infrequently as possible to make those blowouts last. You hair will adjust to more sparse washing schedule over time, but until then you may find it gets greasy along the roots or dry among the ends. To combat this (and prolong my blowout) I make sure to use a heat protectant spray, a hair serum or oil, and plenty of dry shampoo. Since blow drying applies heat to the hair, I’ll also cut back on other hot tool styling so as not to fry my poor strands too much.
I still want glowing skin in the summer, but my skin tone is a growing paler every day and a more matte finish is starting to appeal to me more and more. I’ve been mixing about 5-6 drops of the Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation in shade 5 and 2 drops of the Bare Minerals Bare Skin Serum Foundation in Bare Latte. I put both on the back of my hand, blend them together and apply in sections with the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. These formulas are both so lightweight and together I can make the perfect shade with a natural satin finish. I’ll finish up with the Armani Maestro Eraser concealer under the eyes, using the same brush.
Colder weather can dry out skin, so I’m reaching for heavier eye and lip and skin creams, and being careful with my cleansers so as not to strip or dry out skin. I use the original Bioderma formula to remove all traces of makeup while keeping my skins moisture balance intact. Another product I’ve been relying on night and day is the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. I love this for lips, cuticles, anywhere you’ve got dry skin really. Also the Nuxe Multi Use Dry Oil has been a lifesaver for arms and legs. My go-to cold skin eye cream is the Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica Eye. The thick formula is super moisturizing.
Let’s talk about the J Crew Downtown Field Jacket.
You might not know it by name, but chances are if you don’t own this jacket, you know someone who does. It’s a classic in every way: cut, color, fabric. It’s simple, but the gold tone hardware and slim but structured shape make it a perfect fall jacket. The only problem is everyone else seems to think so, too. So how can you style it to stand out from the crowd?
Add a fur collar. Or if your moral bar is set higher than mine, a vintage or faux fur one. Etsy is a great place to find them. Usually, they’ll come with 5-6 pins and you can attach them to any jacket or sweater you’d like. It’s also a great way to transition a lighter fall jacket into early winter. It adds warmth while still feeling chic. It’s a great investment since you can keep the stole forever as jackets go in and out of style.
Enamel pins. They’re so trendy right now! And an easy and inexpensive way to show some personality. Sara M Lyons (of NSFW nail decal fame) has some great ones in her shop, like this “Whatever Forever” pin and these false lashes. You can also find pin forms of emojis, your favorite foods, cartoon characters, etc. This is another one where you can probably stumble upon some great vintage finds.
Layer it. Vests are also quite trendy right now, and as it grows colder, you’ll only want to pile on more and more clothes whenever you venture outside. You already know how much I love wearing leather, but suede, fringe, and shearling are also popular and chic options. Throw one on over your jacket to elevate it just a bit.
Columbus Day weekend marked the two-year anniversary of the night Matt and I got engaged.
It was a very simple proposal, just in our apartment with a ring in a glass of champagne (cheesy but classic!), followed by the most amazing meal we’ve ever had at Daniel. We did a late seating and chose the 6-course tasting menu with wine pairings so it was quite late and we were quite drunk when we finally made it out of the restaurant. We did a years long tour of Daniel Boulud’s NYC restaurants, starting with DBGB and working our way up to Cafe Boulud and finally, Daniel. The best part: our server at one restaurant was later the maître d’ at another, and finally part of the staff at Daniel as well. As we moved up, so did he!
We put off eating brunch the next day as long as possible in fear of “normal” food feeling entirely inadequate after eating at Daniel, and we were right. On Sunday, we went to visit my parents in New Jersey and celebrate with them a bit, and the Wednesday after we left for a 10-day cruise to the Caribbean.
We called it our “Engagementmoon”. We got spa cabins and drank exclusively Long Island Iced Teas. I made my way through almost two Game of Thrones books reading on the beach or by the pool. We woke up early to catch sunrises and swam in incredibly blue ocean water.
Right as the boat was embarking, we snapped this selfie on the top deck. The bottom photo was taken this weekend, almost two years later at the Wellfleet OysterFest (more on that tomorrow!)
I can’t believe it’s been two years! I think we’re due for another elaborate meal and island vacation. Any suggestions?