DIY Gold Leaf Terra Cotta Pots

gold leaf terra cotta potsMy design aesthetic is a precarious balance of rustic and luxe—I’m the girl with party dresses in the closet with garden-muddied rain boots. Luckily, when I’m not drooling over things I can’t afford, I’m scouring flea markets and yard sales, with an eye toward future upcycling projects. Since I put in a larger than usual garden at the farm this year, my focus on the little space just outside my own home has been neglected so I was thrilled when I saw this easy DIY on The Hunted Interiors. And guess who just bought gold leaf at Easter in anticipation of eventually needing it? This girl. Is that not normal?! Hello weekend project.

Friday Favorites

IMG_1010Boston’s Langham Hotel “Cafe Fleuri” chocolate bar — go!
2012-08-25 12.58.47doughnuts + lazy weekends at the beach cottage
IMG_0534a delicious gift from some wonderful friends
IMG_0987the simplest design in quality material = just lovely (bone china tea service)
IMG_2973a jello cupcake and homemade topper for a friend’s birthday

It’s so important to delight in the small things. A beautiful piece of stationary. A stickynote pad that makes you smile. Or the perfect shade of pink macaroon. My camera is filled with so many pretty little instances of beauty that inspire me, that I want to share. These are a few favorites lately. 

Subtle glitter nail art

essie-maxillion-strausser fun french manicure with gold, reminded me of "The Great Gatsby"Nail art is not usually my thing as I’ve mentioned, but lately I’ve been experimenting with some simple, pretty ways to spin it to suit my tastes and have to admit, it’s growing on me. Usually I play with some sort of pastel or soft nude color for the base and use either a silver or gold metallic glitter to accent it with lines or a french tip. Bottles of glittery polish have always caught my eye, so I’m excited to finally have a subtle, understated way to play with them more.  glitter-polishesOPI “Just crown me already” | Essie “Golden Nugget” | Essie “A cut above”


Product review: Philosophy Hope in a Jar oil-free spf 30

20130514-231603.jpgHas anyone ever not lusted after a beautiful bottle of Philosophy body wash? I tend to always sniff, but abstain, telling myself I’ll splurge some day. I still remember the first time I ever saw Philosophy products in a store. The scents, the branding, the packaging — I was in love! The Purity cleanser is still one of my favorites.

I always struggle with the need for sun protection and moisturizer in the summer. So many of the good sunscreens aren’t also specifically moisturizers, so I am happy to report that when I tested this one out, I found it to be a true moisturizer with the added benefit of a high SPF. And I love that it isn’t formulated with harsh chemicals like:

– Sulfates
– Synthetic Fragrances
– Synthetic Dyes
– Petrochemicals
– GMOs
– Triclosan

Health and Wellness

tumblr_mdyxz6pImu1qzsx3zo1_500 Although I was raised eating garden-fresh beets and Swiss chard, I really only started studying nutrition and health in my early twenties. I’d just graduated college and was ready to shed the unhealthy habits that living with all your best friends invites—late night pizza parties, leisurely carb-loaded brunches, and ready company for trips to 7-11 for Taquitoes anytime I craved them. Cringe.

Admittedly, a lot of my interest in nutrition and health is beauty-related. I’m interested in the beauty benefits of antioxidant-packed blueberries and studies linking matcha green tea to increased skin elasticity. I’m all about prevention. Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid and books were favorites for study.

real foodBut if watching Food, Inc., blew my mind back then, reading Michael Pollen’s In Defense of Food was like a blast from the past. Tips like, “shop the outside aisles of the grocery store,” “eat real food,” and “only eat things your grandmother would have” were things I’d learned growing up. I had ants on a log and hard boiled egg breakfasts while my friends had Lunchables, Capri Sun, and Twinkies!

Still, half the battle is acting on all these good intentions. It’s too easy to let a weekend pizza “treat” turn into a spiral binge of Velveeta Mac n’ Cheese, daily bagels, and fast food, so I like to regularly re-read books like this as a reminder to myself that efforts towards staying healthy need to be made daily, one decision at a time. This is what works best for me.

My skin regime: Acne edition

IMG_4518One of the most important things I’ve learned about skincare is that consistency is key. It took me years—and a few trips to a dermatologist—before I understood this. Now, when I’m not dealing with a breakout, I’m in maintenance mode, trying to prevent the next disaster. Acne is a lot like Santa— just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not [going to be] there.

The above products make up my dermatologist-recommended routine.
I use them in the following order:

CVS Acne Foaming Face Wash, $9 — Few things make me happier than discovering similar ingredient labels and testing to find similar performance between store and name brands. Love me some savings. I wash with this morning and night at least 4-5 days a week.

Clindamyacin Pads — These are prescription. Without getting too scientific, they’re round pads soaked in a lincosamide antibiotic used to stop the growth of certain bacteria that cause acne. Sexy, right?

Adapelene Cream — Another prescription. This is a topical retinoid cream that works to unclog pores. One of the side effects is sun sensitivity, redness, and peeling in the beginning. Make sure you use sunscreen if you’re using retinoids!

Neutrogena Oil-free Moisture, SPF 15, $10 — No matter what, but especially crucial because of the retinoids I use, my AM routine always contains some form of SPF. I like this moisturizer on work days because it’s oil-free.  But if I’m going to be outside for longer than an hour, I always use a straight broad spectrum sunscreen and a higher SPF for more protection. But when I’m just commuting to/from work and plan for minimal time outside, I think an SPF in my moisturizer and makeup covers enough bases.

Love list: Magazines

Magazines are my weakness. I’ve been reading Allure since middle school and have copies of Mademoiselle and Vogue from 1995. My subscription list is insane— and I  can’t toss any of them. They’re invaluable reference for writing, but organizing them is tricky. I dream of eventually archiving them like Carrie’s bookshelves on Sex & the City, but for now they’re in piles all over my apartment.

I’m not claiming to have read them cover to cover though.  Sure, I’ve gleaned a lot of styling tips and developed the foundation of my beauty knowledge from magazines, but more often, it’s the content design, fashion photography, and advertisements that prove the greatest sources of inspiration for me.

So for now—they stay!

Friday Favorites

IMG_4468can’t wait to get crafty with these ribbonsIMG_8203it’s nearly time for the annual “summer-is-almost-here” road trip trip to Maine for chowder + cocktails 29927_DM0460omg this Madewell chambray shirt is adorable. stop it, shirt.dress>>honing in on a potential birthday look
fe9f298ec65c1f944daccde917a3647f>>this color combination + the fresh blooms—ah! //totally smitten &  inspired

Maybe it’s just because another birthday is on the horizon, but May is feeling a lot like New Years. I’ve been making lists of projects I’ve been meaning to tackle, setting aside time to write, taking my camera everywhere, and making time to cook and bake.  I’m so much happier. Strangely, this blog is a massive source of stress because I want to write about SO many different things but (usually) feel that it’s best to leave the beauty/product stuff separate from the more personal and married-life stuff that I write about over here. For now, I’m not going to keep stressing over it and  just focus on getting some posts up. Happy Friday!

Birthday Wishing

birthday-wishlistI love my May birthday. The trees are at their peak blossom, the lilacs are just coming out, and I swear, the sky looks bluest this first week of the month. If it wasn’t for the whole getting older thing, I’d call it a win. That’s why luxuries like the perfect scented candle and fun little bottle stoppers exist. Necessary? Not at all. Needed? Oh, definitely. Here are some examples I’m lusting for lately.

Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel, $65 here
Ralph Lauren “Duchess” candle, $55
Kerestase Ciment Thermique, $45
Cle de Peau Beaute Smoothing Base, $65 here
Dani Notes Monogrammed iPhone case, $55, here
Jonathan Adler Dachshund bottle stopper, $24 here
Ojon Rare Blend Oil, $35,  here
Essie polishes, $7, Boxer shorts// Maximillian strasse-her, here

Sunscreen 101

bikinis on the beachMay is Skin Cancer Awareness Month? It’s literally my sun-block-touting time to shine, (pun intended).

I push sunscreen for two reasons: Skin cancer and wrinkles. In fact, the main reason I began writing this blog was because I noticed a lack of online information educating people about the importance of proper sun protection while using retinol products. And as the number 1 fan of the chemical peel, I’m  schooled in the dangers of sun exposure in the weeks following one. But there are so many out there who aren’t.

So I started this blog to share what I know. I’d always heard that most sun damage occurs before age 18, but recently read that this was confirmed to be a total myth. What other misinformation is out there? Do you know what SPF actually means? Or the difference between suncreen and sun block?

In an effort to educate, I’ll be dedicating a post or two a week over the course of May to answering some some of these questions and will also review some of my favorite sunscreens. Who doesn’t like new beauty products?