Naked (4?) Palette: Hot or Not?

As some of you know, I love the original Naked eye shadow palette. Once my friend recommended it to me, I got my sister hooked as well. I’m also positive it looks good on everyone, no matter your skin tone.

IMG_5295But I have not loved every new edition since then. My sister bought the second palette, which was decent and I bought the third. With all the beautiful blush tones in the third, I couldn’t resist. It is like glittering rose petals. But it did nothing for me. It showed me that just because an eye shadow looks beautiful in the case, does not mean it will look beautiful on me.

So against my better judgment and giving into my love of all things makeup, I bought the new Naked palette: Naked Smoky.

My first impressions:

  • The colors are all very intense. Unless you’re doing the plain, barely there, light eye shadow, you cannot use this during the day. Or if you do, use wisely. The bold “Black Market” and “Dagger” are too fierce for your everyday look.
  • I do love the “High” shade because it looks good on every skin type. My mom even approves, which is rare!
  • Why do they put the included brush in an inlay that is too deep? I have to turn the palette over to get it out or reach in and attempt to grab the brush by the ends, which I can’t imagine is good for it.IMG_5293

So, would I buy it again? Probably not. I loved the first Naked palette so much that each one after has been a let down. My advice to you? If you don’t own the first one, go buy it!! If you do, keep using it in bliss knowing that you have money saved for your next beauty investment!

xoxo,

~Sam

A Day in the Town: P-Town

The tops of the buildings blended into the grey clouds. The rain held off, but the mist coated our faces. My sunglasses fogged up so much that I couldn’t see a thing.

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We started our day trip to Provincetown taking a fast ferry out of downtown Boston. Arriving to the city early in the morning on Sunday, there was not a soul in sight.

As we boarded the ferry and pulled out of port, I got to see a new side of Boston. While I have been to the Boston Aquarium countless times, this was my first glimpse of the backside of the building. It gave me a new perspective on how I look at Boston.

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The ride to P-town was a bit choppy and disagreeable, but after almost two hours, we finally arrived.

Stepping out of the boat, the first thing you realize about P-town is that it is dog friendly. There were dogs on the ferry, dogs laying around in the art galleries, and dogs sitting with their owners outside at restaurants.

As a dog-lover, I couldn’t get enough.

The next thing you notice about P-town is the lack of corporately owned stores. As the on-boat concierge told us on the ferry, all boutiques must be privately owned.

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And this is why P-town is so charming. You can find small boutiques that are completely unique and adorable. Local artists provide pieces only available in P-town, so you know your friend won’t have the same pair of earrings.

My purchase-of-the-day was a pair of blue and white butterfly wing earrings.

IMG_5289Now before you freak out that butterflies were killed, they died of natural causes. I was concerned as well. The artist collects butterflies that were killed of natural causes in rain forests and makes earrings out of their delicate wings. Set in silver linings, the wings are almost incandescent in the way they reflect the light.

For lunch, we ate at the Lobster Pot and I had an amazing Lobster Newburg, something I’ve never tried before. It is lobster claws cooked in a sherry-based sauce with breadcrumbs and orzo macaroni. Something new, but delicious.

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We walked into as many shops as possible and saw art from amazing local artists. And at the end of the day, we took a smoother ferry ride back home to Boston.

So if you’re looking for a day trip, consider hopping onto the ferry to Provincetown and exploring the numerous small shops and galleries.

As we pulled
back into Boston at dusk, the city looked eerily similar, like we had never left. With the clouds still enveloping the buildings, we began our drive home.

xoxo,

~SamIMG_6270

Lobsters Instead of Chicken

The summer is almost at an end, so I want to talk about my favorite summer activity.

IMG_3439Eating lobster. Like tons of lobster. All the lobster I can buy. The guy at my local grocery store knows me because I purchase steamed lobsters so much.

Now this may sound weird if you’re not from New England, but lobster is a staple food up here. I don’t consider it a delicacy. My family buys it right at our local grocery store and they steam it there for us while we shop.

The best summer of my life was when lobster was cheaper than chicken so I could easily justify to my mom that we have it at least once a week. Sadly the price is high this summer because of our cold winter. Because of this, the sea never warmed up and the lobsters did not come close to shore. So the fishermen (and fisherwomen!) had to go out farther than usual and couldn’t catch as many.

This was sad because it meant fewer lobsters and higher prices.IMG_3401

But today was my last lobster meal of the summer, so I want to talk about the right way to eat a lobster.

First, take off both of the legs with the claws from the main part of the body. Next take the body apart from the head and put the head right in the trash. Some people eat the green stuff inside the head, but it is the lobster’s guts, so do with that what you will. (I don’t touch it!) Then break the claws and legs apart and enjoy. Some people save the tiny legs from the body and suck the meat out, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

And now comes the best part: the tail. Straighten the tail as much as possible and break off the small end that was originally at the very back of the lobster. Then, with the lobster tail as straight as possible, push the meat out of the larger end. Usually it comes out easily. After that, enjoy with melted butter.

Just writing this makes me hungry.IMG_3425

I hope this helps you next time you eat lobster, and if you have never tried it, you should. ASAP.

So before your summer’s over, go get a lobster!

xoxo,

~Sam

Your Fall Transition Outfit

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Fall is the perfect time to take out your light sweaters and favorite jeans. This outfit starts with the booties, because who doesn’t love a perfect pair of booties in the fall? It’s not quite cold enough for warm boots, but your toes would freeze in flip-flops!

This cute pair of booties is from Nordstrom. With the buckles up the side, they are unique and have an edge over regular booties. They also let a little in a little breeze.

Then pair these with the perfect pair of jeans.

Jeans can be hard to shop for. If they’re too tight you won’t wear them, but if they’re too lose, they do nothing for you. Jean shopping takes time and patience. My strategy? I go to Nordstrom Rack and try on every brand in multiple sizes because sizes are different in every brand. Annoying, I know. But you will find a pair with enough trips to the dressing room!

The jeans here are Paige jeans. A basic dark wash skinny jean that looks good with everything. With the skinny leg, these tuck right into your bootie or if they’re too long, roll them up a few times for a more casual look. This is the brand I bought during my last shopping excursion and they look amazing!

Moving up the body, we have the perfect sweater for this transition weather. This Wool Jackie Sweater from J. Crew is great because it is sleeveless. You won’t get hot when you pair it with a jacket! It also complements our next item: the jacket.

A jacket is a statement piece. My sister literally collects jackets. The right jacket can take any outfit to a ten. And this one does. With the light color, it transitions perfectly from summer to fall and pairs with the tan sweater. And the dual zippers give it a fun edge.

So to finish, add some unique accessories like this necklace. It pairs perfectly with the high hitting sweater and the gold accents the tan sweater and cream jacket.

I hope this outfit helps you make your smooth transition into your fall wardrobe!

xoxo,

~Sam

 

Credits:

Boots:

http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/bella-vita-ronan-buckle-leather-bootie-women-online-only/4021413?origin=category-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Burgundy+Leather&resultback=2128

Jeans:

http://www.paige.com/hoxton-ankle-peg-nottingham/d/400003279C12829?CategoryId=253

Sweater:

https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/sweaters/Pullover/PRDOVR~E0028/E0028.jsp

Jacket:

http://www.bcbg.com/Kevin-Double-Zipper-Jacket/YXU4I090-P2G,default,pd.html?dwvar_YXU4I090-P2G_color=P2G&cgid=clothing-by-category-jackets#start=52

Necklace:

http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1039197&vid=1&pid=722567002

Why I’m Ready for Sweater Weather

Today as I walked into the gym, I realized I was sweaty before I even started working out. Just from the short trip in from my car!

And I’m tired of it.

This hot weather needs to be over soon. I am completely ready for sweater weather. So below is a list of my top five reasons why sweater weather is exponentially better than the sweltering heat of the hot and humid summer.

  1. As the saying goes, you can always put on more layers, but there are only so many you can take off. In this humidity, I am still terribly hot even in shorts and a tank.
  1. In the fall, you have so many more options because you can layer like it’s your job. Add a chic jacket to pull an outfit together or layer a sweater over a button-down. The possibilities are endless.
  1. Once sweater weather starts, sunburns end. And for pale people like me who slather on sunscreen, this is glorious!
  1. I love the beach, but I don’t love the sand that comes with it. In the fall, you can go to county fairs instead for a fun weekend outing.
  1. During the fall, you save on AC costs. If you’re like me and blast the cool air all summer long, it gets expensive. In the fall, the crisp cool air is the perfect temperature. And you’re hair doesn’t get all frizzy!

I don’t know about you, but sweater weather is my favorite time of year. You can warm up with a hot latte and wear all the sweaters you’ve been waiting to take down from the top of your closet. Comment below and let me know why you love sweater weather!

xoxo,

~Sam

Perfect fall sweaters
Perfect fall sweaters

Blueberries in the Summer

Blueberry picking is one of the most fun things to do on a hot summer’s day. With berries so ripe they just fall into your hand, you can be sure to get all of your antioxidants for the day (or even week if you eat as many as I do!). My favorite blueberry-picking spot is right up the road from my house, shout-out to Turkey Hill Farm. With hundreds of bushes, you can be sure to pick as many as your heart desires. Last week I filled my entire bucket. Yes. The whole thing. picking away

So what can you do with freshly picked blueberries? Well, obviously just eating them plain is heavenly, but I love making blueberry pie.

Last year I brought a pie into my office and shared the recipe. Now everyone else is making them too.

The recipe I use is below. It includes the incredibly simple recipe for making a delicious homemade piecrust. The greatest thing about this pie is that the blueberries are not cooked in the oven, only by the blueberry glaze, so you still get all the fresh flavor from the berries.blueberries on the bush

After you’re done, whip up some fresh whipped-cream and put a dollop on top to make this dessert party ready!

Enjoy!

xoxo,

~Sam

Easy Oil Pie Crust

1 1/3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cooking oil

2 Tablespoons ice cold water

waxed paper

9 inch pie plate

Preheat over to 475 degrees.

Use a medium-sized bowl and a fork. Mix the flour & salt. Mix in the oil. Mix in the ice water.

Roll out dough between pieces of waxed paper on top of a cutting board. Put cutting board and dough in refrigerator for about 5 minutes to stiffen the dough.

Remove top piece of waxed paper. Invert the dough over the pie plate, and center it in pan. Gently pull off the other piece of waxed paper, and ease dough into pan.

Prick bottom and sides with fork and bake for 12-15 minutes till light brown. Cool before using.

Glazed Blueberry Pie

2 pints fresh blueberries

1 baked 9 inch pie shell (see recipe below)

3/4 cup sugar

2 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup water

Mash 1 cup of the blueberries and set aside. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, & water in a pot. Cook, stirring until thickened, over low to medium heat. Add the mashed fruit and cook just until the glaze has a nice color.

Spread the fresh blueberries in the baked pie crust. Pour the glaze over the blueberries. Coat each berry by using a spoon to distribute the glaze throughout.

Cool for at least 4 hours. Serve with whipped cream.

Note: The secret to this pie is to make sure that none of the uncooked berries are overripe (mushy and flavorless). When I clean the berries, I divide them into 3 bowls: firm berries, slightly soft, and mushy. I spread the firm berries in the pie crust, mash the slightly soft ones for the glaze, and discard the mushy ones.

so many blueberries

Tea In the Garden

Shoes from Anthropologie Dress from Anthropologie Watch from Anthropologie J. Crew bracelet J. Crew pearl cluster studs

Today I want to provide you with some inspiration of what to wear to a weekend garden party. At this time of year in New England, it is starting to cool down, but it’s the perfect weather for an outdoor party. The bugs are mostly gone and the air is no longer sweltering. So take a look at your attire for the last party of the season.

It all starts with the shoes.

So lets start at the bottom. These beautiful blue shoes give the vintage classic vibe. When paired with the navy dress with flower accents, the light blue of the shoes compliments the navy of the dress.

To accessorize the dress and bring the outfit together, wear light and airy pieces. These pearl cluster earrings are timeless and make the navy dress classic. Then layer this blue, jeweled bracelet with a white watch with colorful floral accents.

With this perfect outfit, you will look effortlessly stunning at your next summer party. Enjoy!

xoxo,

~Sam

Credits:

Garden Grove Watch: http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/jewelry-bracelets/36117760.jsp#/

Pearl Earrings: https://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/jewelry/earrings/PRDOVR~A9388/A9388.jsp

Dress: http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/clothes-dresses/4130089177603.jsp#/

Shoes: http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/shoes-heels/36763241.jsp#/

The Apple Pie of Australia: The Pavlova

 What is the most American dessert you can think of? Obviously apple pie. There is nothing more American than apple pie. And that is what the Pavlova is to Australia and New Zealand. It is the classic dessert served at almost all family get-togethers. And it’s easy to see why.

Pavlova

The Pavlova dessert was born after the famous Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova visited Australia and New Zealand on a dance tour in the 1920s. Named after her, it is elegant and beautiful, just like a ballerina.

So what’s it made of? It is basically one big meringue topped with fruit and homemade whipped cream. What could be better than lots of sugar and fruit in one dessert?

So after returning from a trip to New Zealand and Australia in July, I decided to make a Pavlova from scratch. Making desserts from scratch is an important history in my family. In fact, I didn’t even know what a box-mix was until I saw someone else’s mom make one. So after finding a recipe online, I set to the task.

Here is the recipe I used from Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/332803/pavlova

IMG_5111Making the Pavlova was easy; it’s a recipe even a beginner can conquer. Though mine did not look as aesthetically beautiful as Martha’s, it was delicious topped with fresh whipped cream and freshly picked blueberries.

Though I am an American, I will definitely keep this Australian recipe in my back pocket!

New England Summers

The sun is shining down, reflecting the brightness of the sand. Cold water flows across my toes as I brace myself for its cold. This is life at the beach in New England.

Beach Panoramic

My favorite part of going to the beach is people watching. Though I always bring along a book, I rarely crack one open. Instead I revel in watching all the people and their children playing in the sand and water.

What amazes me most is that you never see two people with the same bathing suit, that is, unless a mother dresses her kids like twins. Just think about the amazing diversity of all the suits people wear.

Why is this? My first theory, based on logic, is that once you are an adult, you are basically done growing. And a bathing suit is something you wear only occasionally so it doesn’t wear out. Therefore, you amass a large collection over time because you buy a new suit almost every season.

Beach

But I have another theory. Bathing suits are something incredibly personal. Think about it. You are basically naked except for the suit. It is a piece of clothing that can do little to hide your insecurities because it is skintight and shows everything. So when you buy a bathing suit, it must be a piece you absolutely love and trust will make you feel your most confident.

So when I look around at all the different suits, I see a million different personalities because bathing suits reflect the most intimate part of one’s personality. Maybe this is why you never see two matching suits.

With my toes wiggled down underneath the cooling sand, I sit and admire the universe of colors and diversity in the suits that surround me.Beach