Tuesday, February 24, 2015

♥ love is old, love is new.

how adorable is this limited edition t-shirt
i spotted it the other day on one of my favorite blogs, 
advanced style, and could not get the look out of my head!
i need that feather kimono!

there is nothing i like seeing more than stylish older women getting 
their time in the spotlight. have you seen kate spade's latest spring campaign
featuring the inimitable iris apfel & karlie kloss?? i am obsessed!

Monday, February 23, 2015

♥ water, water everywhere.

i talk a lot about maintaining your health and natural beauty on this blog-
whether that means your skin, hair or body- but i don't think i've ever
touched on one of the most important things you can do
for yourself every day: DRINK MORE WATER!

here are some facts you might not know about water:

1) drinking water can help with weight loss, by speeding up your metabolism 
and regulating appetite.

2) drinking water can help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. water flushes toxins out of your body and the few toxins in contact with your colon, bladder and other organs, the less
chance that diseases can develop.

3) water helps maintain a healthy smile; good hydration prevents tooth decay & cavities!

4) water makes up 70% of a person's body weight, drinking water helps maintain that balance.

5) water can prevent and alleviate headaches.

6) water can boost energy! we tend to fade in the mid-day due to dehydration.

7) while tea, coffee and soda contain water- they also contain caffeine. caffeine can act 
as a diuretic, which prevents water from traveling to necessary locations in your body.

8) water helps keep your skin glowing by purging toxins from your blood. it also 
increases skin elasticity and helps replenish skin tissue.

9) water helps lubricate your joints and prevents arthritis.

10) how much should you drink? just follow this calculation!

here, here & here

and while most of us are lucky enough to live in places where water 
is plentiful and potable, it must be said that not all bottled waters are created equal!

i was recently sent a pack of 1907 water, which springs from a natural aquifer in
paeora, new zealand. this high alkaline artesian water has a smooth and delicious
taste without the bite that other waters have. the bottles are made from100% 
recycled plastic and they are available now online and in a wholefoods near you!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

♥ have a joyful weekend + giveaway winner!

what are you up to this weekend?

henry, nick  and i are going to try to do whole lot of maxing and relaxing
 with a little bit of chinese new year celebrating mixed in :)

i am excited to announce that my dear friend, carolyn, is the winner
of kissing frogs-- mostly because she was the only one to
share a crazy dating story! check the comments to
enjoy her strange but true tale!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

♥ to travel is to take a journey into yourself ~ danny kaye

while we were home in boston battling the first round of snow,
my little sister, jennie, was in beautiful peru, soaking up the sun, 
mountain climbing , petting lambs, baby goats and alpacas, 
eating delicious food and popping yoga poses 
in unbelievable locations.

yoga takes you into the present moment-
the only place where life exists.

visiting machu picchu has always been a dream of her's for years,
so i am jealous happy that she was able to cross a major 
life goal off the list!  love it!

do you have a place that you just have to 
journey to in your lifetime??

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

♥ meet jamberry.

have you heard of jamberry yet?

 i hadn't either, until a few months ago when i started noticing cute nail designs 
popping up all over my friend sarah's facebook feed. then i got invited to few
 parties (online and in real life), which made it all the more apparent to me
that i had to try these seriously adorable nail wraps.

 my friend was lovely enough to send me this now-discontinued print
as a sample to try. pink and floral. what's not to love??

i feel very old and set in my ways admitting this--
but up until these jams, i had never tried nail wraps before! 
 i felt nervous that i would wreck them on my first try, so i had my younger 
sister apply them for me. the process (though foreign to me), was fairly simple
 and the wraps literally shrink wrap onto your finger nail with the help of a
hair dryer. they are credited at lasting weeks upon weeks.
unless you're a picker--and then that's your own damn fault.

i asked sarah to let me know a little more about the brand
and here is what she has to say:

 i could honestly write a novel about all the reasons i love jamberry, so i'll keep it short.
basically, my favorite things about jamberry involve the easy at home application and that
i can stay on top of nail art trends for a fraction of salon costs.

for the price of ONE salon mani/pedi you can get at least 10-15 manicures, 
10 pedicures and tons of accent nails! jamberry math is da best math.

there are almost 400 designs, so whether you like simple and classy or crazy patterns,
there really is something for every one. with a good application, a manicure can last up
to 2 weeks and a pedi can last up to 2 months! seriously. no chipping, no dry time, no mess.

i also love that there aren't any of the harmful chemicals found in nail polish, and they can
be removed naturally by heating up a little coconut oil. jamberry is extremely fashion forward.
they have a new exclusive wrap every single month, and we also keep up with the pantone
color of the year. they retire and introduce new wraps every fall and spring.

all of the new catalog items are based on what is hot and trendy in the fashion industry.
one of the coolest products jamberry offers is the style box subscription.
they send you $30 worth of exclusive wraps/laquers/extras that are
available only to subscribers. last month they had a luxurious
deep pink lipstick that i love it more than words can say.

jamberry also participates whole heartedly in fashion week!
this year they are ofificially sponsoring the nicholas k fall/winter 2015 
runway show. 

lastly, jamberry is commited to charity!  $2 from every sale of these heart health 
awareness wraps (seen above on the runway!) goes towards the american heart association.
 and they also offer fundraisers where a portion of the sales benefit a person
or organization! 

 told you i could go on forever about jamberry.
i'm in teen love.

if you have are interested in getting your hands on some jamberries,
or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email my
 friend, sarah: the nail enthusiast  & jamberry extraordinaire 
at sarahpiccuirro@jamberrynails.net

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

♥ art history's burn book.

what happens when you combine mean girls quotes + historical artwork?

this masterpiece of a tumblr & instagram:

you're welcome!

Monday, February 16, 2015

♥ a meeting of the minds.

two brilliant authors with very unique styles of writing
and points of view, not to mention amazing personal style!

to see them share a stage is really something.

Friday, February 13, 2015

♥ kissing frogs: review, q&a, and a giveaway!

last year at a good friend's bachelorette, i had the pleasure of meeting stephanie blackburn-
a fellow cat lover/vegetarian/ blogger who also happens to be a published author!

a few months ago, i was lucky enough to receive a copy of stephanie's third young adult
book, kissing frogs,which henry finally allowed me time to finish this past week.

set in boston, this book is about a girl named elliott roux and her unique relationships
 with her family (particularly her wise and sophisticated grandmother, who she
affectionately calls, gram), her feisty kitten, stanley, her totally relatable group of besties
 and the crazy cast of men that they try to date.

having skipped over the dating scene in real life, and settling easily into my thirties as a mama,
this book allowed me to peer into the life of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, living
it up in the city and learning how to deal with the many challenges that life threw her way.
it was not only a fun read, but one that i thoroughly enjoyed going back to every
free moment that i could find!

i had the chance to ask stephanie a few questions about her book
and here is what she had to say:

A Glimpse of Glamour: Your book includes a pack of girlfriends who are very much like a group of gals I could be friends with if I were a few years younger. How are you able to write about characters in a way that is so accessible and believable? Were these characters bouncing around in your head for a while before you put pen to paper?  

Stephanie Blackburn:I had been thinking about these characters for six years before I started writing Kissing Frogs. I thought about the girlfriends, their storylines, how their friendships came to be and how they would evolve, the people they'd date, etc. and I planned out the three books (it's a trilogy). Then I started writing a chapter for the second book and then one for the third book and I realized that groups of friends don't stay the same throughout your twenties and thirties. Relationships evolve, people move away, get new jobs, date different people, and I needed to be realistic about that in the books. I tried to focus on portraying real girlfriend relationships and how we speak to each other - the things we discuss and how open we are with each other.

AGOG: Having married my high school sweetheart, I skipped the dating scene altogether. Are the crazy stories and wild circumstances that your characters find themselves in at times a true depiction of some things you have encountered as a single lady?

SB: On the one hand, I think you are a very lucky lady to have found the love of your life at such a young age! On the other hand, you missed out on some crazy life experiences by not dipping a toe in the Boston dating scene (in retrospect, not necessarily something to be sad about). Dating can be a really crazy thing - putting yourself out there and not always meeting the most amazing people. But in my mind, you have to try and look back on each date with a hint of humor. And whether I admit to the guys in Kissing Frogs existing in real life or not, I have no doubt that there are lots of guys like them out there, who do weird things like taser themselves for fun, would rather cuddle their cat than you, or suggest getting a dog together on your third time hanging out. I have a funny feeling that if you ask around you'll be surprised at how many people have horrible (hopefully in hindsight they've ripened to being funny) dating stories.

AGOG: Gram was a very real character for me, one who came to life almost instantly through the strength of her convictions and her cheeky sensibility  Did you have real life inspiration for her? Have you really lost someone as close to you as Gram was to Elliot?

SB: Gram was the sole reason I didn't want to be done with this book. I finished the first draft and felt this ache inside me and went back and wrote three more scenes with her. Just because. I didn't base her on either of my grandmothers, though looking back, maybe without realizing it I took their best qualities and molded them into Gram. I just knew I wanted readers to fall in love with this woman and wish she was their Gram, too.
From Elliott's point of view, her mother isn't an intrinsic part of her everyday life. Instead, Elliott's world focuses on girlfriends and Gram. So because her mother isn't a major player, I knew I wanted Gram to be that rock that Elliott could always tether herself to - her moral compass. And with all the wild nights out with girlfriends and dating questionable men, I knew there needed to be this safe haven that Elliott could escape to, where there'd always be a cup of tea and freshly baked goodies waiting and honest advice from someone who has lived and loved. 

AGOG: The same goes for Stanley the cat! I hope he's based on a real cat just because he sounds adorable.

SB: Oh Stanley. Stanley is based on my cat Bug, probably the judgiest cat you'll ever meet. She was the sweetest baby but now she is the queen of stinkeye. And I love it. The funny thing is, I always fancied myself a dog person. I grew up with a menagerie of animals but gravitated towards our dog the most. I moved into my first apartment post-college and our landlord would not allow dogs but he would allow one cat. So I went on Petfinder, found Bug, and adopted her. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Elliott's first night with Stanley is pretty much how my first night with Bug went. It was an emotional and poopy mess that ended with me convinced that I was going to ruin both our lives. Nine years later, adopting Bug was probably the best decision I've ever made.

AGOG: Your inclusion of Boston as the backdrop of your book had a seamless quality that did not feel forced or touristy. How did you make sure to highlight some of the city's best features without going too overboard? And does the Four Seasons really pack special lunches like that?

SB: I could easily have gone overboard and basically made a list of all the places I think people should visit when they come to Boston, but as I was writing I remembered back to my early twenties and a lot of times we were struggling financially and ended up just hanging out in someone's apartment and ordering food in. But we never skimped on going out to bars and drinking. Priorities, right? So I tried to just point out certain neighborhoods - brunch in Inman Square, drinks in Downtown Crossing. There are so many fantastic places around the city and I hoped that Bostonians reading Kissing Frogs would think about their favorite haunts around the city.
As for the picnic lunch, I swear I watched a show years ago about a hotel that did offer picnic lunches to go, but maybe I just imagined it. In any case, the Four Seasons should offer that. Wouldn't that be the perfect way to spend a gorgeous weekend afternoon in the Public Garden?

AGOG: What was your inspiration behind the cover art for Kissing Frogs?

SB: I was actually picturing something different for the cover design and then the artist sent me four options and that design ultimately drew my eye and stuck. Boston's skyline, the frog tongue, the bright colors - it just popped. And ultimately, it's the type of cover that someone will notice and decide to pick up.

now for the giveaway!!!

for your chance to receive your very own copy of kissing frogs & a tote bag to go along with it,
 be sure to leave me a comment with your craziest dating story and your email address
so i can contact you! a winner will be chosen next friday.
good luck!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

♥ truer words were never spoken.

with more snow expected today and this weekend,
this poem by friend and comedian will noonan
perfectly sums up what many of us
are feeling here in boston!

♥ taking beauty into your own hands: how to winterize your nails with julep.

i don't know if it's the harsh winter weather or the nature of the fabrics
that i come into contact with on a daily basis, but this season 
has done a number on my hands.

i will often look down mid-day and ask myself if i am a chimney sweep???
 because that is the only feasible explanation for why the skin on my hands is
so dry, cracked and sad, not to mention, always covered in 
 black dust from all of the hangers i have to work with.

last year, when i was pregnant (with all the time in the world, it seemed..) 
i would change my nail polish every couple of days, for fun!

now, i am lucky if i can paint my nails and let them dry thoroughly 
before i have to pick henry up and tote his spoiled self 
around the house with me :)

thankfully, the lovely people at julep must have known my plight and 
foreseen the new england forecast because they came up with this fabulous tutorial 
on how to "winterize" your nails and encouraged me to share it with you:

while i have not had the pleasure of testing any of the julep products
 for myself just yet (i have a feeling i am in need of the in good hands kit!!) 
i wanted to share a few more tricks that i've come up with after a little research:

* make your own DIY hand scrub! i like this recipe, which calls for
two teaspoons of coconut oil + two tablespoons of granulated sugar.

* apply hand lotion after the scrub (and whenever humanly possible!!)

here are a few that i've tried:

i have also heard fabulous reviews of:

* use aquaphor/ petroleum jelly on hands and cover with gloves overnight.

* use cuticle oil religiously. this kind by butter london looks lovely.

* and lastly, have a good set of tools to keep nails and cuticles maintained.
i have an inexpensive kit from revlon that does the trick just fine!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

♥ well, hello there, stranger.

i have let a ridiculous amount of time pass since i have written.
and now, it's a whole new year, which makes it even more awkward...
but return i must--and hopefully (fingers crossed!) i can carve out a
little pocket of time in my work/baby-consumed life
to say hello every now and again.

i missed you terribly. 
happy 2015, friends! :)