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california dreamin

June 23rd, 2014 · 1 Comment

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About four years ago, when Chad and I were just starting to think about the possibility of leaving New York, we spent several days in Los Angeles. 

It was a serious trip — we were house-hunting (or, at least, house-window-shopping), trying to get a sense of what we could afford in cities that weren’t Manhattan. 

Only, the thing was: it was freezing.  It was this weird August when California was freezing cold, so the weather in Santa Monica, where we spent most of our time, was grey, windy, and about fifty-five degrees most days.  I only made one purchase that whole trip, and it was a big cozy sweater from J. Crew. 

Yes, I went to LA in the middle of summer, and bought a sweater.

But one afternoon, just for something to do, we left Santa Monica behind and drove out to Malibu.

And as we drove, it was like the clouds opened up — suddenly, the weather was eighty degrees and sunny.  I took off my sweater.  I put on my favorite sunglasses.  And we had lunch by the ocean, on a beautiful blue-sky afternoon.

Even though we decided against moving to California a few months later, sometimes I still think of that beautiful afternoon, when everything suddenly took a turn for the outrageously beautiful. 

So, with this outfit, I decided to recreate it — starting with my new, updated version of those favorite sunglasses.  I’ve always loved aviators — they’re the coolest sunglasses around, bar none — and this Foster Grant pair is the one that I’m constantly reaching for nowadays.  If I suddenly found myself in the middle of a sunny Malibu afternoon, they’d be on in four seconds flat.

Foster Grant sunglasses, The Classic tank, Abercrombie shorts, Tiffany & Co., Ettika and Alex and Ani bracelets.

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Tags: sponsored · style

Spring Cleaning: Beauty Cabinet Makeover!

March 21st, 2014 · 1 Comment

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A few weeks ago, I did something *long* overdue: I cleaned out my beauty cabinets!

I try to keep our house streamlined and organized, but with the influx of beauty and hair products I receive every month, it’s almost impossible to keep my beauty cabinet organized.  It’s funny — I have SO many products, but my day-to-day routine pretty much fits into a small makeup bag.  Basically, it’s just Simple Skincare Protecting Light Moisturizer in the morning, and Simple Skincare Foaming Cleanser at night, along with makeup wipes in a pinch and spot treatments if I have a break out. 

And yet, somehow, I wind up with drawers and shelves full of beauty products, which get so disorganized that I have no idea what they are or how long I’ve had them!  So, every once in a while, I do a huge cabinet cleanout and start fresh.

This was my rule: If I got it after September Fashion Week in 2013 (seven months ago), it could stay.  You can actually hang onto many products for much longer than that, but I wanted to toss a LOT of products, so I set my timeline a little shorter. 

And then, I organized!  I had all these old dividers from years ago, that were originally meant to be stacking shelves.  Instead, I used them to line my drawers, creating mini compartments for everything I needed.  Hairbrushes, lipsticks, eyeshadows, skincare supplies — everything in its place, clean and de-cluttered.

I created a little cheat sheet list below, in case you’re wondering how soon to toss your old beauty products!  And scroll down for my before and after pictures — I debated whether to post them because the “before” shots are really messy and gross, but I figure honesty is the best policy!  Everything looks beautiful now that it’s done.

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Less than One Year
Anti-aging and acne treatments: Three months to a year, as long as there are no changes in color.
Bath oil: One year.
Nail polish: One year.
Mascara and liquid eyeliner: Two to three months.

Two to Three Years
Body lotion: Two to three years.
Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel: About three years.
Lipstick and lip gloss: Two to three years.
Foundation: Two years.
Deodorant: Two years (the package probably has an expiration date).

Three Years or More:
Eye and lip pencils: Three to five years.
Perfume: Technically two years, but truthfully, I keep mine around much longer than that.
Hair styling products: Three to five years.

So there you have it!  Who’s up for some spring cleaning this weekend?

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Tags: beauty · home · sponsored · This post was created in connection with my appointment as an Ambassador in the SimpleĀ® Skincare Program. · Visit www.facebook.com/SimpleSkincare to share your story on sensitive skin. For more tips and deals from Simple, join the Simple VIP community at https://www.simpleskincare.com/simplevip/

Southern Charm

February 27th, 2014 · 4 Comments

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As a newly minted southerner myself, I’m always fascinated by southern culture!  The first year we lived in Texas, I was surprised to find out things really are different in the south.  It’s true: the pace is a little slower, the people are a LOT friendlier, and the landscape is a little more colorful than I’ve seen anywhere else.

So I was super excited to tackle some classic southern recipes in celebration for Bravo’s new reality series, Southern Charm!  (Check out the trailer here!) It’s about a group of twenty-somethings in Charleston, and I love that it’s showing all the traditions of southern culture, and the behind-the-scenes drama too! 

I’ve already set my DVR for the premiere on Monday — it’s basically everything I look for in a reality show!  Southern aristrocrats, backstabbing drama… I.  Cannot.  Wait!

For this post, I picked two of the ultimate classic southern recipes: Strawberry Shortcake and Sweet Tea!  (Incidentally, these are two of Chad’s favorite things on this planet, so I had a very happy husband when he got home!) One of my favorite things about southern culture is the way that it can be so traditional and so modern at the same time, so I thought these were the perfect dishes to try!  They’re both recipes that his parents and grandparents have made, but they’re perfectly at home in our modern kitchen.  Kind of like this show — a little old, a little new, and the perfect guilty pleasure. 

(And yes, I totally ate shortcake for breakfast after making this!)

So mark your calendars for the premiere on March 3rd, and in the meantime, get in the mood by whipping up these southern recipes!

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Sweet Tea

INGREDIENTS
Pinch baking soda
2 cups boiling water
6 tea bags
3/4 cup white sugar
6 cups water
1 lemon, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into a large metal bowl or glass pitcher (must be heat-proof). Carefully our in boiling water, and add sugar and tea bags. Stir, and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes, pour in cool water, stir again, and then refrigerate.  Serve over ice with sliced lemons.

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Strawberry Shortcake

INGREDIENTS
16 ounces fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
2 cups whipped heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Toss the strawberries with 1/2 cup of white sugar, setting aside a few for garnishing.  Allow to sit for 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tbsp white sugar and salt.  Cut in the shortening until combined, and then add the beaten egg and milk.  Stir until just combined.

Spread the batter onto a greased 8-inch cake pan.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, and then allow the cake to cool for about ten minutes on a wire rack.

Slice the partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with the whipped cream and reserved strawberries, and serve.

And remember to tune in on Monday, March 3rd at 10/9c for the Season Premiere of Southern Charm only on Bravo!

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Tags: desserts · food · sponsored