Thursday, July 31, 2014

The perfect planner

You guys: I've always talked about my need to use a paper planner, even in this digital age. I think I've finally found the perfect one. It's called the Day Designer by Whitney English. I can thank Instagram for my discovery of it. I saw a post about it one day over at Chirps & Cheers, an Oklahoma-based blog, with a note to call and reserve one right away because of how quickly it would sell out. Call to reserve? For a planner? I was super intrigued. After a fair amount of Googling, I decided to go for it. (I mean, just read this.) There is space to organize your calendar, your to-do lists, your short- and long-term goals—everything. Plus, it's so pretty!

The August 2014-August 2015 edition of the planner begins today and I can't wait to start penciling things in.

What kind of calendar do you keep?

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Travel Page: Cinque Terre

More from my European vacation! I know, I know—I'm really spacing this out. ;) A quick recap in case you missed it: I've already covered our time in Stockholm, Paris (Part 1 and 2), Aix-en-Provence, and Antibes. Now, Cinque Terre, Italy! After a bit of a delay due to a one-day train strike in Italy, we finally made our way to the colorful coastal town of Riomaggiore, the first stop in Cinque Terre. Even though the forecast predicted all grey and rainy days during our two-day stay, the weather completely cooperated, gifting us with loads of sun...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Roasted carrot and avocado salad

It's so hot and sticky in the summer, there are so many nights where all I crave is a delicious salad for dinner. Lately, Matt and I have been making variations on this recipe from ABC Kitchen. There's something so tasty about roasted carrots, avocado, a lot of fresh lemon juice, and a little salt and pepper. It is so filling, too! The roasting can take about 30 minutes, but otherwise, it's a pretty fast and easy dish for the nights we don't feel like cooking a lot.

Do you have a go-to summer salad that you like to whip up?

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Calligraphy practice

My grandmother Jane on my dad's side was always incredibly artistic. She did a lot of oil paintings—mostly of the pretty beaches in Maine—but she was also a calligraphy pro. Her illustrated, hand-written poems hang on so many walls in my home. I've always had an interest in it, but had never really pursued it. When I saw that Paper Source was offering a class for beginners, I immediately signed up.

It was so fun! There were only eight of us in the class, which made it easy to get lots of one on one time with the teacher and really learn. It was also really cool to see the other students' calligraphy styles—everyone had their own take on the practice strokes. I like that calligraphy requires you to piece each letter together. For example, did you know that to write an R, you use four separate strokes?

I was also impressed at what a difference the type of pen you use makes—and how quickly my hand would start to cramp up from writing. It's harder than you think!

I'm practicing with these pens for now before I graduate to pen and ink, which is apparently much more challenging. (My teacher recommended this pen as a middle ground.)

What do you think? Have you ever tried to learn this writing style?

Friday, July 25, 2014

The weekend is here!

Happy Friday, my darling readers! What do you have planned for this weekend? I'm taking a calligraphy class! My grandmother always used to practice this art form, making beautiful prints that still hang on my parents walls today. I'm excited to give it a try. :) Wishing you a lovely and relaxing weekend ahead. Here, to get it started right, a few happy posts from around the web:

Saturday-inspired nails.

Revisiting the South of France.

Pretty Kate Spade swimsuits. With bows!

How to properly pack your toiletries. (Bonus: What to bring for two weeks of travel!)

A DIY project I can't wait to try. (Thanks, Joy!)

Before the website re-launch, a few New Yorker favorites like this one and this one and this one.

Origami picnic boxes.

Summer hair.

Royal families on vacation.

Kristen Bell as Mary Poppins. Love.

(Image via The Daily Muse)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brooklyn Pizza Tour

My love of Brooklyn pizza has gotten very serious over the last year and a half since moving to my new 'hood. Even better, I've gone on many a pizza taste test with my pizza-loving pals Dominic and Shannon. This weekend, our efforts will continue with a visit to a relatively new joint called Emily's in Clinton Hill. I can't wait!

In honor of the occasion, I thought I'd pay homage to my top five Brooklyn pizza spots. Of course, Emily's has a real shot of nudging someone off this list—but they'll have to work very hard to do it. ;)

Here goes:

1) Di Fara: I call this destination pizza. Even though I live in Brooklyn, it's a hike on the subway. I've actually been twice, but only after renting a car each time. This pizza is life-changing, from the sauce to the olive oil and hand-snipped basil leaves.

2) Speedy Romeo: Great pies and great service. That's a tough combo to find. And despite being a backdrop for the recent season of Girls, I've still never had to wait more than 15 minutes for a seat. Impressive.

3) Roberta's: The Bee Sting isn't on the menu anymore, but this specialty pie is my go-to order here. It comes with honey. Need I say more? Plus, the backyard bar area illustrates Brooklyn at it's best.

4) Paulie Gee's: Delicious pizza, but an even better late night scene, given that Paulie himself visits the tables to check in and make sure your pie is perfect.

5) Fornino: You know my love for this place runs deep. This spot is all about pizza with a view. What slice won't taste great when it's enjoyed next to the Manhattan skyline under pretty globe lights? :)

Honestly, it was tough to narrow the choices down—and I'm totally open to debate. What is your favorite Brooklyn pie?

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pretty in purple

Do you have a go-to summer nail polish? I keep going back to an Essie color I discovered last year, called "Under Where?" It's a soft, orchid-like purple, and with two coats, it goes on opaque, but still nice and light. It's also one of those colors where you don't notice polish chips as easily, something that makes it easier to extend the length of time between manicures—an ideal situation for summer. Anyways, I love it so much, I'm still wearing it a full year (and a few months) after it first came out!

How about you? What color do you paint your nails during the summer?

PS: Another nail polish trend.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Prince George!

It's nice to have some happy news to focus on! Just when you thought Prince George couldn't get any cuter, his Royal parents go ahead and release these adorable pics from their visit to London's Natural History Museum's Sensational Butterflies exhibit, in honor of his big day. Taking his first steps and delicately interacting with butterflies? George is too sweet for words!

Discover how well you know the little prince with this fun matching game from USA Today!

Plus, a look back at his first year:
- The Great Kate Wait
- His Royal Arrival
- A Royal Christening
- George's first Royal Tour

Happy Birthday, Prince George!

(Images via The Daily News)

Friday, July 18, 2014

The weekend is here!

Happy Friday, my darling readers! What do you have planned for the next couple of days? I'm New Hampshire-bound for a friend's wedding. I can't wait! Wishing you a lovely and relaxing weekend ahead. Here, to get it started right, a few happy posts from around the web:

A physical analysis of When Harry Met Sally.

Behind-the-scenes of the prettiest business cards.

Love this tea towel, inspired by Teddy Bear.

Will you see this film?

Summer tunes.

DC in three outfits

Why I love French grocery stores

The coolest kitchen gadget for summer.

Yada, yada, yada.

Since I'm wedding-bound this weekend, a favorite.

(Image via 500px)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Travel Page: Antibes, France

At last: all about Antibes! For anyone who has been keeping up with my travelogue of my trip to Europe this spring, this was the next stop (links to the other places I visited are below). From Provence, we took the high speed train to Antibes—a gorgeous coastal spot in the South of France, just past Cannes. After checking into our hotel, meandering through the streets, and finding a delicious café for an al fresco lunch, I already knew: this would be my favorite spot of the entire vacation. Here's why...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A view from the ferry

Any time I've visited my friend Barb in New Jersey, I've traveled by train. This time, she recommended that I take the ferry. Brilliance! Seeing the Manhattan skyline from the water is breathtaking, and something everyone in New York should do at least once. 

Bonus: It's surreal to pass the Statue of Liberty on a "commuter" boat. I've lived here six years, but seeing that sight still gets me every time. 

PS: Another view from the water.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The perfect salad

When I was home for the long weekend, my parents and I had a huge BBQ to celebrate July 4th. As usual, my mom made her signature garden salad—with most of the ingredients picked from our backyard. Sure, it's a basic salad, but somehow, it always tastes crisp and crunchy and looks fluffy and fresh. 

I finally asked her to share her secret: she uses paper towels to dry off every vegetable she adds to the bowl after washing them. For example, after pre-washing the lettuce, she leaves it in a plastic bag with a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. She also lets ingredients like cucumbers and tomatoes air dry on a paper towel before adding them to the salad. What a difference this makes! 

Do you have any salad-making tricks?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy Bastille Day!

Happy Bastille Day! Given my love of French culture and history, this holiday is one of my favorites to celebrate. In honor of the day, here's a tip for anyone interested in brushing up on their French: download the Duolingo app! Remember when I took French lessons in Brooklyn last year? I wanted a way to practice everything I learned, and keep my new language skills top of mind. Duolingo turns studying into a game with daily challenges and point values you have to earn to reach the next level. I love it! I practice on my subway commute to work.

For those not interested in French, the app offers other languages, too. 

Another fun way to celebrate? Eating macarons! :)

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Friday, July 11, 2014

The weekend is here!

Happy Friday, my darling readers! How was your week? It was a four-day week for me after the long weekend, and it flew. by. Now, I'm hitting the Jersey shore for some much needed R&R with one of my best friends. Wishing you a terrific and relaxing weekend ahead. Here, to get your weekend started right, a few happy posts from around the web:

How to search for an Airbnb.

The glam ladies of Downton.

For the love of brussels sprouts.

The best trick for bikers who like to wear skirts.

A sweet take on relationship anxiety.

The coolest pilot ever.

Obsessed with this dress.

Tips for a novel-in-progress.

An extreme close-up of fireworks.

Words of wisdom (hang it on your wall!). 

Travel recap: Stockholm, Paris, Provence. (Next week, I'll be posting about Antibes and more from my trip.)

(Image via Wit & Delight)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Beat the NYC heat

This week, as I waited for the A train in the sweltering underground heat, I glanced over at another woman on the platform. She was dry as a daisy, fanning herself with one of these—a portable, battery-operated fan. I immediately thought of all the things that I carry in my purse to be prepared (a sewing kit, a mini-flashlight, Advil, Shout wipes) but it never crossed my mind to carry something as brilliant as that.

Now, I'm totally rethinking my summertime essentials and the things I carry to get through a hot day in New York. PureWow suggests Evian mist, Shine Control sheets, and this awesome cure for ponytail hair.

One thing is for sure: I'm definitely getting that fan!

PS: An ode to summer in the city.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Endless summer

Lately, my weekend look has been limited to the following: white jeans, a lightweight tee (like this l'été sans fin shirt from J.Crew), my white Birkenstocks, and a dab of this Stila Convertible Color lipstick in Sweet Pea. It's so easy and mindless—and a great way to keep cool as the July temperatures start to hit 90...and up.

Do you have a signature summer look? Or a key piece that helps you beat the heat?

(Image 1, 2 and 3) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bits of the Weekend

How was your July 4th holiday weekend? Sorry I didn't get a chance to post before heading off to Massachusetts! The extra days off were so lovely and restful—and after Hurricane Arthur passed through New England, we were left with one of the most gorgeous weekends of the year. On Saturday, my parents and I headed up to Plum Island on the North Shore next to Newburyport. It was lovely—no greenhead flies, either, thanks to the breeze! We rounded out the weekend with these awesome sparklettes

How did you spend the holiday? 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Magic in the Moonlight

Remember when I first mentioned Woody Allen's next film, starring Colin Firth and Emma Stone? It comes out in theaters this month! Even better, it now has a name—it's called Magic in the Moonlightand looks so fun. It's about an Englishman (played by Firth) who hopes to uncover a possible swindler (played by Stone). It's set in the 1920s in the South of France—oh la la! 

The clips I've watched make it look Great Gatsby-esque, at least in style. It comes out July 25th, so only a few more weeks to wait. :)

Will you see this film?

Watch the trailer here!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Page: A Toast!

Happy July 1st, my darling readers! I always look at this weekend as the official kick-off to summer. The 4th of July weekend happens to be my favorite holiday, too. There's nothing better than leisurely BBQs, sunshine, and enjoying it all with family and friends. Here are a few things I'm excited about this month:

• Picnics in the park, and dining al fresco
• Beach days—and sunscreen
• Sipping rosé
• Fireworks (so pumped that they're moving back to the East River this year!)
• Prince George turning 1!

How about you? What do you love about July?

PS: Another reason to celebrate summer!

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