7.31.2014

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale : 4 DAYS LEFT!


Just wanted to give everyone a heads up, there are only 4 days left till the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is over and prices go back up!  This is one of my favorite sales of the year because you can get great deals on new arrivals and items that never go on sale.   

I finally got around to going last week and was like the proverbial kid in a candy store.   I had to focus on great deals that I know I will wear the heck out of through fall and winter.  Check out my purchases below, I can’t wait to wear them!  However, had I been given free reign my shopping cart would have been overflowing.  I shared some of my wish list items below should you happen to be near a Nordstrom (or a computer) this weekend and need a little inspiration.
Happy Shopping! 


BOUGHT: 1.CHELSEA28 / 2.SAM EDELMAN / 3.HALOGEN 

7.29.2014

Simple For Summer: Shorts & a Tank

Tank Top: LOFT (SIMILAR HERE) / Shorts: LOFT / Shoes: Cole Hann Outlet (SIMILAR HERE) / Bag:MADEWELL / Cuff and Earrings: Old VOCABULARY SAN DIEGO (SIMILAR HERE and HERE) / Sunglasses: LOFT

I’ve been so caught up lately thinking about Fall shopping.  It’s hard not to when sweaters and booties are hitting the shelves and they look so warm and comfy.   Fall is hands down my favorite season for the weather and the fashion.  I love dressing in layers and rich colors and fabrics.  


But back to summer, which we still have a good amount of left, because I’m also a sucker for a hot sunny day.  My favorite part of living on the East Coast is that not only do we get all four seasons, we get to dress for them too!  Although I may have a favorite, there is something special about each one.  So when the mercury is hitting 85 plus, there’s nothing better than throwing on a sun dress or a pair of shorts and a tank.  

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Summer dressing is easy and simple but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring.  These pleated linen shorts prove it.  They could easily transition from day to night (something I am a big fan of AS YOU CAN SEE HERE.)  Throw them on with a patterned tank and some statement jewelry and they couldn’t look cuter.  I wore them on my recent trip to Italy with my favorite CARRYALL TOTE, which I love so much I’m considering buying in BLACK as well.  


We visited Cisternino, a picturesque town in the region of Puglia, right around lunch time when most cities and towns in Southern Italy shut down for a 4 hour siesta, so it was quiet and somewhat empty (great for taking pictures.)  I snapped a few cool ones and got a favorite of me and my husband.  I wish I could go back!








P.S These shorts are on SUPER SALE  at LOFT along with lots of other great summer essentials.  Get them before they are gone!




7.25.2014

TROPICAL PRINTS


Dress: Gap Old (SIMILAR HERE) / Clutch: Banana Republic Old (SIMILAR HERE) / Shoes: Banana Republic Old (SIMILAR HERE and HERE) / Bracelets ALEX AND ANI  and Lia Sophia Old/ Sunglasses: NORDSTROM / Earrings: Old 


I’m not sure how the weather has been in your neck of the woods, but we’ve had some pretty wicked summer storms lately.  My hair hasn’t seen a blow dryer in weeks as it would be just pointless, so it’s been ponytails and hats around here.  But a couple of nights ago we had a near tropical storm that got me thinking of tropical prints.  


It’s been awhile now that prints in general have made a bit of comeback and I do love me a good print like THIS DRESS or THIS SKIRT and don’t forget THIS LITTLE NUMBER.  So it should come as no surprise that I’m loving everything and anything with palm trees, pelicans and ferns. 


Whereas with most prints, mixing in other prints and bold colors is ok, when it comes to tropical prints I find it’s better to keep it simple.  I love to wear them paired with softer colors, like pink or the chambray in this dress, and basic silhouettes.  




These are some of my favorite tropical items from around the web.  I bought the fit and flare dress I am wearing on clearance from the Gap back in June so it’s no longer available, but THIS STRAPPY ONE  is just as cute.  I absolutely love THIS PALM CLUTCH from Bendel’s and how pretty and unexpected is THIS DRESS from Mango?  I think the colors are very sophisticated and it looks just perfect with the palm clutch.   

I could spend all summer in THESE or THESE shorts with THIS TEE, don’t think it can get any comfier than that.  And you’d probably see me in THESE TOMS a lot too.  I’m not a huge flip flop person so I wear my Toms quite often.  If you are headed to the Caribbean or wish you were, take THIS FUN BIKINI and THIS MODERN MAKEUP CASE with you.  The bikini has detachable straps for avoiding tan lines and the makeup case is big enough for all your travel essentials.  Lastly since our phones are probably the one thing most of us can’t live without, why not make it look pretty with THIS TROPICAL CASE.




1. PIPERLIME / 2. ASOS / 3. Henri Bendel  4. NORDSTROM  / 5. NORDSTROM  / 6. GAP /
7. TOP SHOP / 8. PIPERLIME / 9.PIPERLIME / 10. JCREW

7.22.2014

Double Duty DRESSing

Dress: Old (see below for similar options) /  Day Look Crossbody: NORDSTROM / Earrings: BANANA REPUBLIC / Bracelets: ALEX AND ANI Shoes: COLE HANN OUTLET (SIMILAR HERE) Night Look Crossbody:BANANA REPUBLIC / Necklace: BANANA REPUBLIC / Shoes:CALVIN KLEIN @ DSW

From my experience, "pack light" is some of the best travel advice I can give.  If you’ve ever had to lug a 45lb suitcase up and down a flight of stairs and across several platforms through a massive crowd of clueless tourists while trying to catch a train in 90 degree weather, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t, save yourself the sweat, tears and chiropractor's bill, and take my word for it.


 I’ve learned my lesson and try to pack clothes and shoes that can serve multiple purposes so I can travel light.  Plus, I find that on vacation as in life, I always gravitate towards a couple of my favorite pieces anyway.  This dress is perfect for traveling or even to wear when I know I will be out all day.  Not only is it super cute and comfy, but it can easily go from day to night by just mixing up the shoes (which I try to keep neutral) and accessories a bit. 

I bought this dress many years ago and can’t remember where I got it from, but I’ve included some pretty "double duty” options below.  All of these dresses can be easily dressed up or down depending on your mood. 



ONE BANANA REPUBLIC / TWO BANANA REPUBLIC / THREE PIPERLIME / FOUR PIPERLIME / FIVE ANN TAYLOR /  SIX NORDSTROM









7.18.2014

The “Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe Ever"


Yesterday my stepson had a play date and I was very nervous.  And when I am nervous, I either shop or cook.  You might say big whoop, a play date? What’s the big deal and what does that have to do with the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever?  

Well for those of you who know me, you may know that my stepson who is 12, has Autism.  And although he does great in many areas of his life and has so many wonderful gifts and talents to offer, he does struggle with social interaction and making friends.  So inviting a friend over to play is BIG.  


I wish that I could make this easier for him or just make friends for him, but I can’t.  And furthermore, since it’s his mom’s week and the play date was going to be at her house, I wasn’t even going to be able to peek in to see how it’s going.  

SOOO, I did what any self respecting Italian who feels helpless but wants to help would do, I cooked.  But what does one make for a “playdate" for 12 year olds?  I didn’t want to embarrass him by making anything too cute, (scratch cupcakes), or too fancy, (no macaroons).  I settled on something so universally good, anyone of any age would love, the chocolate chip cookie.


I don’t have a go to recipe so I quickly googled “best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever”.  Many people claim to have the best recipe, but I decided to try THIS ONE from Alice over at SAVORY SWEET LIFE.  She has such conviction that her recipe is THE BEST, I just had to try it.  



This is for sure one of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had!  It was so easy and came together in under 30 minutes from start to finish.  I followed her instructions exactly.   I baked the first batch for 12 minutes and they came out perfectly soft and chewy on the inside and slightly crisp around the edges.  The second batch that went in the oven was left in for a little longer because I lost track of the timer.  They were equally delicious but darker all around and crispy.  Both my husband and I thought they tasted a little sweeter and the sea salt taste came through a little more.  Perhaps because they were more caramelized.  We really couldn’t decide which ones we liked better. 


No surprise, the cookies were a hit with the boys!  When I called my stepson to see how the play date went he said he had a great time and wanted to do it again AND... he said “those cookies were DEEE-LICIOUS”!  




7.14.2014

Timeless Style - High-Waisted Jeans & Black and White


I was catching up on reading my magazines this weekend, when I came across this picture of the ever stylish Jane Birkin.  Her outfit reminded me of one I wore on my recent trip.  


I got to thinking how some styles just transcend time.  I love this look, it’s casual yet chic, slightly tom-boyish yet feminine.  


It combines two of my favorite fashion essentials,  black and white (check out my love for THIS CLASSIC COLOR COMBO) and jeans (for which I have a near obsession).  These are items that can easily span decades in your closet, so you can feel confident investing in pieces you love.  However, because they are so basic, you can often find great deals on them as well.  Both this TOP and PAIR OF JEANS  are on super sale at Lord & Taylor.    


As for my obsession with jeans,  I can’t say that I have it under control.  I picked up this high-waisted pair right before my vacation, and was happy to add them to family.  They are super soft and the high-waist can also be flattering (read:no muffin top.)  I know I will continue to wear them for a long time.   

7.09.2014

Watermelon Agua Fresca


Nothing says summer quite like a cool, crisp slice of watermelon.  It would probably be my favorite summer snack if I had to chose just one.  Watermelon is best served cold when it’s just been sliced. It’s inevitable though, at least in my house, that we end up with extra watermelon which starts to get soggy if not eaten within a couple of days.

One of my favorite new ways to use it up is to make Watermelon Agua Fresca.  If you’ve ever been to Mexico or to an authentic Mexican restaurant you may be familiar with this drink which literally translated means “fresh water.”  It’s a simple combination of fresh summer fruit, water, and sugar, if needed.  The possibilities are endless when coming up with your own recipe at home.  You can experiment with DIFFERENT FRUITS, infuse a SIMPLE SYRUP  with FRESH HERBS, add tartness with lemon or lime, or add sparkling water.  Heck you may even want to go crazy and spike your concoction with VODKA or GIN.


I played around with a couple of different combinations but I found that the recipe below is not too sweet, not too tart and perfectly refreshing.  Depending on how sweet your watermelon is you can omit sweetener all together and it will taste just fine.  It’s really a "taste and adjust as you go" kinda drink so have fun with it.  
 
Ingredients: Makes just about 6 cups
6 cups Watermelon, diced (preferably seedless)
2 cups cold water, divided
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime slices for garnish
1 tablespoon agave

Procedure:
1. Place watermelon, agave, lime juice and 1 cup of water in blender and blend on high speed till fruit is completely pureed.

2.  Strain liquid through fine mesh colander.

3.  Add additional cup of water, stir and chill till very cold.




7.07.2014

Go Bold or Go Home



I’ve had this outfit since the day BANANA REPUBLIC debuted it’s MARIMEKKO  collection in store.  It was the first piece of the collection that caught my eye.  It’s bold, bright, happy, and makes me smile.  I had to rush to two different stores to find it in my size, but finally victory was mine!  Truth be told though, it’s been sitting in my closet since I bought it.  I’ve tried it on a couple of times, but always opted for a safer option.  Is it too bold, too bright I asked myself, and so it sat hanging, begging to worn.  When I started packing for my trip I knew it had to come with me because if I wouldn’t wear it on vacation, I probably would never wear it.   

Top and Shorts: Marimekko for Banana Republic (Sold Out) (SIMILAR 5” INSEAM SHORTS)  / Shoes: CASLON @ NORDSTROM / Bag: TORY BURCH  / Earrings: ARGENTO VIVO @ NORDSTROM / Bracelet: Old 

 Vacation wardrobe should be comfortable, versatile, and make you feel good, but it’s also a great opportunity to be adventurous and try something new.  And after wearing this on my trip, I can say, check, check, check and check!  These shorts are the perfect length, I'm not crossing into Daisy Duke territory but can still show a little leg.  And with the help of a spray tan and little wedge I'm ready for a night out!  Surprisingly this set is super versatile as well.  I wore the shorts with a white tank and flats and the top looked great with white skinnies and a heel.



Most importantly when I wore this out, I felt fun, fashionable and fierce! Sooooo, lesson learned; Sometimes we need to push the envelope a little to realize that we can pull off more than we thought we could.  And what better time to do so then on vacation! 







7.03.2014

Red, White, and Shades of Blue


Happy 4th of July!!!  Summer holidays are the best, especially when they fall on a Friday giving us a three day weekend.  WOOHOO! Here is my short list of DO’s (with some great links) for this Independence Day.  

Tank: Gap SIMILAR HERE / Jeans: JCrew / Belt: Banana Republic (still in stores) SIMILAR HERE / Beach Bag: Borrowed from my sister SIMILAR HERE and HERE / Shoes: TOMS @Nordstrom

DO show your patriotic side by WEARING RED, WHITE, AND BLUE (always chic.) 


DO THANK OUR SERVICEMEN PAST AND PRESENT for our continued freedom.



DO head to the BEACH or host a BARBECUE



DO check out the GREAT SALES wonderfully recapped by Liz over at SEQUINS AND STRIPES.

DO spend time with friends and family 


and most importantly 

DO HAVE FUN





7.02.2014

7 Days in Puglia, Plus a Short Stop in Munich

Ostuni, Puglia

Last week I spent 7 days in Puglia, a region in southern Italy, visiting family and a day in Munich, Germany on a long layover.  I wanted to share a few pictures, which I hope capture at least some of the beauty that I saw.  Coming home from a trip is always bittersweet.  I hate for my vacation to end, but I always come back refreshed and renewed.  For me it's similar to that feeling you get on January 1st when your “slate" has been wiped clean and you can start anew.  

Cisternino, Puglia
Molfetta, Puglia

The older I get, the more I become a traveler and the less I am a tourist.  Gone are the days of my packed schedule of museums, monuments, and activities.  They've been replaced with leisurely strolls through historic centers, lazy lunches at local cafes, and lots of window shopping.  


Cisternino, Puglia
Ostuni, Puglia

I wont miss out on the important sites altogether, but I am most energized when I explore a destination through the eyes of a local.  When I do so, I come home rested, motivated, and inspired.


Alberobello, Puglia

As R and I were strolling through Munich on Saturday morning, I started thinking of how much I would love to travel more often, if only little things like time, money, and work would stop getting in the way.  


Munich, Germany
Munich, Germany

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that part of the joy of travel comes from discovering new things and experiencing what's out of the ordinary.  Travel doesn’t have to involve a trans-atlantic flight, you can create the feeling of travel on any budget and in any destination, including the very town you live in.  So why not hop on a quick flight for a long weekend or book a hotel room in the closest big city?  

Munich, Germany 
Munich, Germany

There is no better time than the summer to take a long drive or visit an outdoor market or festival.  I’ve promised myself to “travel” locally this summer so I can keep that energy and inspiration flowing.  I’m excited to see what I will discover.  What are your “travel” plans this summer?