Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

I shared with you all back in the beginning of July that I got the collagen peptide powder that I had been seeing all over the internet. Today, I am dedicating a full post to this magical powder (not sponsored) because it is just that: magic

You guys, IT WORKS. It truly, truly works. And I have to say, I'm totally not one for powders or supplements or a protein buff of any kind. So this is all pretty new to me, but I'm just glad to have seen results. And it seems like everyone else is seeing results, too. On both the VP website and on Amazon, there are thousands of reviews giving it 5 stars.

I have been drinking 2 scoops of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides (also available on Amazon) powder in 16 oz. of water (with a packet of True Lemon) religiously every single day. Here's what I've noticed:

My Joint Pain is Gone
I have bad knees in general due to a life of dance/gymnastics/cheerleading. They always bother me but have never hindered my daily life. However, my right shoulder started to kill me earlier this summer. It was so bad, I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to sleep...tears were shed. It got to the point where it was so painful I couldn't focus on anything else. I didn't want to rush to a surgeon, so I quit tennis for a little bit to see if that would help (I didn't notice a difference). This is actually how I found out about collagen peptides- I was googling around to see what less drastic things could potentially help with my joint pain and collagen peptides kept coming up in my search. 

Lo and behold, I started to drink it. At first only every few days when I could remember, but then I got myself in a groove around mid July. I have been drinking it every single day since. I started noticing a real improvement mid-August; meaning it took about a month. 

My Nails Grow Insanely Fast
This was one of the first things I noticed after I started drinking collagen peptides... it was very apparent. My nails were growing insanely fast. If you have brittle or slow-growing nails, this might help you immensely. 

It helps me to drink more water
Because of the added 16 oz. of water first thing in the morning, it's helped me to stay hydrated.

Less Breakouts 
Now, I honestly don't know if this is from the collagen peptides. I think it is probably more so my amazing skin care regimen, but it might be playing a part. The Vital Proteins website claims that it can help skin's elasticity and moisture levels.

My hair grows so fast
I've never had hair growth issues- my hair already grows really fast. BUT, I just went to get my hair done the other day and my hairdresser commented on how fast my hair grew since the last time (about a month). If you have slow growing or thin hair, this is totally for you. 

It has boosted my protein intake
I think the bit of added protein has helped me to feel less hungry in between meals. Two scoops contains 18g of protein (a chicken breast has around 43g protein), so it's not a ton, but a nice added boost. 

So here's what I do... The night before, as I'm presetting my coffee machine, I fill up the water bottle that came with the bundle I purchased and then place in my refrigerator. In the morning, just as I am preparing my coffee, I take out the water bottle and add two scoops of the Vital Proteins collagen peptide powder and one packet of True Lemon. I shake vigorously. It is lumpy at first... it takes about 15-20 minutes for the powder to fully dissolve into the water (this is something I couldn't figure out at first, but you have to let it sit to fully dissolve).

After I'm done drinking my morning coffee, I switch to the collagen peptide water.

While I LOVE this collagen peptide powder, it's not without its cons. Here are some of the cons about this powder:

It's expensive
Like, really expensive. Especially if you had never bought protein powder- this is an added 'grocery' expense. Luckily, the large tub lasts about a month... maybe even a little longer than that. I've heard that the Great Lakes brand is cheaper but comparable, so maybe I'll try that next. 

It's not flavorless
It says 'unflavored' and some people say it's tasteless, but I truly think it tastes AWFUL. I put it in my black coffee, and I couldn't even choke it down. To me the taste is indescribable, but it's just gross. I am thinking this just has to do with people's varying taste buds, but for me, I could never drink it in just plain water or coffee. The True Lemon packets hide the flavor entirely. I've also tried it in smoothies and it's flavorless in that, too!

It's a regimen
I think the only way for this to work is to truly use it every single day without fail. I'm curious as to what will happen to my shoulder pain if I stop using it. I have created a habit out of drinking it, so it's not bad, but at first, it was hard to get it incorporated into my daily routine. Having the small stick packs on hand make it easy to incorporate when traveling or having busy days, too.

It's a lot of powder
This isn't really a con, but when you are adding two scoops to whatever you choose to put it in, you'll realize that it's a lot of powder. I thought I was using too much at first, but then realized two scoops is just right. Just keep that in mind!

My biggest tip: Make sure you are getting the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides with the BLUE lid. This is their only powder that dissolves in both hot and cold liquid and doesn't change the texture of liquid at all. Some of the others only dissolve in hot liquid and will gel up in cold liquid. 

All in all, this powder has become a part of my daily routine and I'm so glad and relieved it has helped my shoulder pain. Definitely check it out if you are looking for something like this!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Lululemon Look For Less

Running Tee ($50, in a bunch of colors)// Leggings

I'm a huge Lululemon fan. But, there was a point in time where I was anti-LL. I didn't understand spending a lot of money for something you sweat in. Callie was a big Lulu fan from the beginning and she finally got me hooked. Fast forward a few years, and I wear athleisure almost daily. Whether I'm actually working out or not, I always reach for my favorite leggings of all time because they're comfortable and work for morning coffee runs or night-time walks with Mac. They are expensive, but I've come to live in them- plus the warranty and customer service helps to rationalize it, too. 

But, there are cheaper, just as good options, everyone! I came across this long-sleeved running tee and ordered it on a whim because I was curious. Could it be just like the $78 Swiftly Tech tee?! Why yes, friends, it is! And the best part? It's $28 less than the lulu top!

You can see me rocking the lululemon swiftly tech tee in this blog post, here, so you are able to compare the look/fit. Here are the slight differences I have noticed:

- The look for less has a bit of a higher neckline- which I actually prefer. 
- The look for less material is a bit stretchier (feels like it will hold its shape better)
- The look for less is a bit thicker- almost feels like nicer quality because of that. 
- The 'design' on the look for less (which you can barely see) isn't as cute as lulu's version. 

Other than that, the top is excellent and a great less pricey option. It runs true to size- I am wearing a size small for reference. 

In other news, I've been meaning to talk more about the white sneakers I am wearing in the photos above. They are pricey- which made me hold off for a long time, but holy cow are they the most comfortable shoes I've ever owned. Not only do I love the look (which is what sold me in the first place), but the comfort is unreal. It actually feels better than bare feet- the cushion is so soft and cushy and provides great, flexible support. I love them so much, I'm already eyeing the gray pair because I wear them SO much. 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Saturday Shopping

Happy Saturday, everyone! It's been just beautiful here in Pittsburgh. Last night, we got takeout and just hung out and I got some work done. Then today, I got some more work done and am packing to head to New Hampshire bright and early tomorrow morning! Then, I'm headed to drinks/dinner with my parents to celebrate their anniversary!

I wanted to share some photos from last week's Sewickley 'barn sale'. It was my first year going- my friend Aly and I woke up early Friday morning and headed there as soon as it opened. It's a beautiful barn (the property looks like you're on Nantucket and totally not in Pittsburgh), and the barn is filled to the brim with beautiful pieces of furniture. Vintage, antique, etc. There are some amazing and gorgeous finds. I ended up with a beautiful deep brown wicker trunk with brass details. I am putting it at the foot of my bed- it works so perfectly with the coloring of everything in my bedroom. In a future home, I plan to use it at as coffee table in a den. I also got a small hammered silver side table and my friend Aly got the most beautiful beaded crystal clutch for her wedding! They do it yearly, so definitely check it out next year!

I didn't come across too much this week- I was more focused on my upcoming trip to New Hampshire and getting Summer Wind prepared for next week while I am traveling! But scroll through to see a few of the pieces!

Friday, September 15, 2017

My Parents

I get asked a ton of questions about my family since I feature them so much! A lot of you ask about my parents, so I thought I'd do a post on them! I've done posts on them both separately (which you can read about here and here), so here's one about the two of them!

Today marks my parents 33rd anniversary. First, I'll tell you how they met, and then, how they got engaged!

My had dad had just graduated from college and come home for the summer. My dad went out with his group of high school friends to a bar one night (they call it a 'disco'). My mom was out with her girlfriends. They met that night and started dating. 

I think this is the coolest part, though. When my mom told her parents (my grandparents) that she was going on a date and he was going to pick her up, they asked all the usual questions that parents ask. When they asked what his name was, my grandma said in reply, 'well how old is he?!'... Long story short, my grandma thought my mom was going out with a 40+ year old guy because my dad and grandpa have the same name (my dad is a Jr.)! My grandma went to high school with my grandpa! How crazy is that?! 

My mom's dad (my Pappy who died when I was younger) is a tough (but great) cookie. He is very strict and I can totally see how my dad would have been intimidated by him. One thing everyone knew about Pappy is that he had a MAJOR sweet tooth. My dad's side of the family has the best hot fudge recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. Anyway, one night, my dad went over to my mom's parents and made the hot fudge for Pappy. My dad says that was the trick to win him over!

Here is their adorable engagement story, as told by my mom:
"Dad had to go to DC for his work Christmas party, so we were going to stay with your aunt {my dad's older sister} for the weekend and go to the party. 
He asked Pappy for my hand in marriage. Before we left for DC, he went over to my house to show Grandma and Pappy the ring. We went to your aunt's and Saturday December 17, 1983,  the day of the party, we went out shopping and to lunch. Your aunt had bought a beautiful new coat at Garfinckel's. 
When we were leaving for the party, she insisted I wear her beautiful new coat (looking back that is the only odd thing I can remember that was a sign). On our way to the party, Dad said, "let’s stop at the Capital Christmas tree". I said great idea. We got out to go up to the tree and it was a little muddy and I was in heels. I said, "let’s just stay here my heels are going to sink into the mud."  Dad picked me up and carried me to the base of the tree. It was so sweet. There he reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring and asked me to spend the rest of our lives together. I said YES."
They got married 33 years ago at my mom's Catholic church and had their reception at our country club! The bridesmaids wore blush pink and my mom's veil was a 'hat'- which she says was very in style at that time... let's just hope that trend doesn't come back around! I have a monogrammed matchbook from their wedding- it's funny because these have come back into popularity!

Their wedding invitation was classic and simple- exactly how I imagine mine would be. I love that they still have their's framed with a wedding photo hanging on the wall in one of the hallways. 

My parents honeymooned in Bermuda and still talk about that trip to this day! Some of their favorite memories of their life together thus far are centered around our family's mountain house. My grandparents sold it when I was younger, but even I have the fondest memories from spending weekends at the gorgeous A-frame house and learning to ski! 

One of the things that I love so much is that my dad is still very close with several of his high school best friends and my mom is best friends with their wives. We vacation with each other, I've become best friends with their children, and it's really like a big family we've all created together.

In the past 33 years, my parents have given my sister and I such a wonderful life and we are so lucky to have them as our parents. They've shown us that family is everything and being close to those you love is what true happiness is all about. So today, I am wishing my parents a very happy 33rd anniversary and here's to many more. I love you, Mom and Dad!

*You can also check out this post about my dad, here, and this post about my mom, here. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Lately 9/14/2017

Dress (under $60, comes in a bunch of colors)

And we are halfway through the month of September. Woah. This week went by slowly- I always thought I was a day ahead of what day it actually was. Ick. But it was a good week. I tried a new class at a fitness studio I've started going to, I went to dinner to one of my Pittsburgh favorites, Soba, for a friend's bday, got some work done, had a Sunday funday, and planned for my upcoming trip to New Hampshire! 

Wearing: Sorry for the awful Snapchat photo, but it's the only good photo I have of this dress, ha! I wore it last Friday. It is SUCH a comfortable t-shirt dress. I love the thick, quality material, the tiny bit of stretch and the navy and white stripes plus the cute little pocket. It's such a basic dress but the fit and comfort is better than most I've come across. It runs true to size- I'm in a size small.

Reading: The 10 Best College Campuses in America... JMU made the list!!! Proud alumni!

Listening: September's playlist is still going strong. It's crazy to think I am going to need to start on October's playlist in just a week or so! I've currently been obsessed with an old song that's new-to-me. It's ASAP Rocky's Fashion Killa (lyrics are inappropriate, be warned). I don't love rap, but there are some specific rap artists/songs that I absolutely love. This happens to be one of those songs I can't get enough with. It's so fun and has a great beat. Besides the inappropriate lyrics, it's really funny because he is basically name dropping designers. It's so fun to listen to see which ones he mentions like Balmain, Helmut Lang, Cartier, Donna Karan, Goyard, Linda Farrow, Dior, etc. The list goes on. It's funny, because when we were with guys listening to this- they didn't get all of the fashion references. For once, I totally knew exactly what the rap song was talking about!  
Loving: Did you see Olivia Palermo's collection with Banana Republic?! I can't get enough and love that the price points are very affordable! My top 3 favorite pieces are this bright yellow midi skirt, this unique white peplum top, and this super luxe navy coat.

Loving II: This weekend, while tailgating at the Luke Bryan concert, my friend Dani brought these 'drinking buddies'. They provided us with endless entertainment- they're hilarious little men in bathing suits with names on their behinds. They hang on the edge of your drink. Hilarious. Definitely great for large parties, tailgates, bachelorettes, etc.

Loving III: Did you see Le Creuset launched a matte pink collection? It's like a beautiful blush pink. I love the color. While I don't think it's appropriate for my kitchen, I really think it could be amazing in a kitchen with a blush color-way!

Drinking: I made sure this one came after the drinking buddies. But, I know I've shared this before but wanted to pipe back in. I am not a beer drinker, so when we do tailgates, I usually bring rose or champagne. But this time I brought, Rheingeist bubbles, which is a sparkling rose cider. It comes in a can just like a beer would and it is SO good. It's dry and sparkling and I really think it tastes like sparkling wine. I could not recommend it more! 

Wanting: I didn't come across a ton of stuff that I was dying for this week- which is great news for my wallet, ha! Scroll through the widget above to see some of my favorites. 

Pittsburgh-ing: I just went to D's Six Packs and Dogs for the first time. It's located in Regent Square and is a super casual bar-style restaurant. As the name suggests, it specializes in specialty beer- they seriously had everything under the sun- and hot dogs. I love a good hot dog- and these were amazing. Not at all healthy, we totally pigged out on hot dogs and cheese fries. Amazing. 

Smelling: So I've already shared that I am obsessed with Voluspa's French Cade Lavender scent, right? Well, I caught myself leaving a candle on in my bathroom unattended. Nothing happened, but that worried me. Instead, I got the French Cade Lavender diffuser- it smells SO good and isn't overpowering. I put one in my bedroom and one in my bathroom. No more candles in either place!! 

Traveling: Headed to New Hampshire on Sunday with Katie and Grace! Be sure to follow along on our adventures over on Instagram/Instastories!

Quoting: 'Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.' // see more of my favorites, here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

6 Makeup Products I Can't Live Without

6 Makeup Products I Can't Live Without

Shop the products:

During the week, I try not to wear a lot of makeup. I've even gotten my skincare routine down to a point where I feel OK without makeup. But, when I want to look nice, makeup is definitely on my face! 

I love trying new products and I'm always checking out new things and switching up my routine. However, the six products you see above have been in my routine for months and I haven't found anything better! 

Tinted Moisturizer (tan... for the summer months)
This is probably the most recent discovery. I originally got it just to wear at the pool/out in the sun (when I don't really wear makeup) since it has SPF 30. I figured, if I am going to put sunscreen on, it might as well be tinted to make my skin look flawless! A girl in Sephora recommend this tinted moisturizer to me and I LOVE it. It's a little more tinted than others I have tried, which I like! It's enough for me to just wear this and lip balm during the week, too. I also love the creamy, moisturizing texture. It's easy to just apply with your hands like you would your moisturizer. 

Tinted Lip Balm (pink and berry)
By now, you have all heard me rave about this tinted lip balm. It's pricey, but so worth it, in my opinion. I have the berry shade and the pink shade. They're super subtle and give you a very moisturized feeling- like you're wearing lip balm. But the shades give you a natural 'flushed look'. I find the pink to be more subtle and the berry to give a little more/deeper color. I could not recommend these more for anyone and everyone. They are a must have for me. 

Brow Powder (soft brown)
I LOVE this brow powder. I've always used pencils before this, but this is easier (which sounds backwards). I just tap this brush into the lighter powder and work it into my brows. It's very natural and easy to use. I use the darker color when I was some 'oomph' to my eyes and use it as eyeliner on both my top and bottom. It stays put and never smudges. I could not recommend this product more. 

Concealer (medium light neutral... for the summer months)
There are many days where I just swipe some of this concealer on and head out the door. It is so creamy and easy to blend. It's also super pigmented so it's sure to cover up sleep deprived eyes and the worst of blemishes. Although it's pigmented, it never looks or feels heavy on my skin.

My sister, Callie, turned me on to the great drugstore find! It's such beautiful, fine powder. It comes in a bunch of shades, but I get it in the banana. I use it after foundation/tinted moisturizer/etc. and put a big dusting under each eye, in the middle of my forehead, down my nose, and on my chin. Basically, wherever I would get oily or wherever wet makeup needs to be set. I find the banana shade to brighten and almost act as a matte highlighter. I also definitely think it refines my pores and gives my makeup a very flawless look. 

I've been using this bronzer for forever. It's just so natural and gives you a sun kissed glow. It's matte (no sparkle) and not orangey at all. It never makes me break out and is super easy to apply. They make a 'light' version which I tend to use in the winter. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

How To Style a Monochrome Outfit

j. mclaughlin fall 2017

j. mclaughlin fall 2017

chanel chocolate bar bag

How To Style a Monochrome Outfit

How To Style a Monochrome Outfit

fall in pittsburgh

frick fine arts building pittsburgh
Vest c/o// Scarf c/o
Chanel Bag (similar)
Cap Toe Slingbacks (similar)// Sunglasses

It certainly feels like fall is here in Pittsburgh. On Saturday night, I went to the Luke Bryan concert (which was amazing) and I actually wore boots, a Patagonia pullover and a down vest. It's crazy! Apparently, it is going to warm up a bit this weekend, though. 

But because of the cooler weather, there has been no hesitation from pulling out all of my latest fall pieces. This outfit mostly consists of pieces from one of my favorite brands, J.McLaughlin and their fall collection. 

If you've never shopped J.McLaughlin before, you're in for a real treat. The pieces are such high quality. The fit is always comfortable and flattering. It's classic, while still giving nod to each season's trends. It's their 40th anniversary, and I love the story and inspiration behind the collection.

I've been very into monochromatic dressing lately. All summer long, I wrote all-white outfits, so I figured, why not bring that into fall, too? Instead of a crisp, bright white, this is more of a warm, creamy white, so it doesn't seem so harsh. 

How fun is this sweater? This is a bit out of my comfort zone- I have broader shoulders (thanks to years of swimming and gymnastics) and things that draw attention to that area are usually what I steer away from. However, I think these ruffles are very strategically placed! I love it paired with the velvet pants for a bit of mixed textures. 

To break up the monochrome, I always add some sort of pattern or color. In this case, I am showing you two different ways: with a vest or with a scarf. Don't they give two very different looks?! It really is amazing how you can totally change the look of an outfit by just adding or removing a piece or two. 

Other pieces I am loving from their fall collection? This navy blue cardigan, this cozy cashmere sweater (their cashmere is sooooo soft), love this textured top for date night, the perfect cream sheath dress for work or play, and super chic and comfortable black cigarette pants.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Fall Dresses Under $100

Dress (on sale under $100)// Solitaire Necklace (similar)
Louis Vuitton Speedy 30// David Yurman Cable Bracelet
Lip Balm (in 006 berry)
Shop the Look:
I don't know what it is about fall, but every year, I feel like I'm going back to school. But, I'm not. In fact, for me, nothing really changes except for the pool is closed. But, I still always feel the need to stock my closet with a few new items- something fresh and fun... like getting ready for the first day of school. 

I'm also one of those people that wants to wear my fall pieces right away. It's actually been quite cool here in Pittsburgh lately, which is unusual. But it's not yet time for heavy sweaters, pants, etc. I find that a dress is the perfect piece to be wearing as the temperatures transition. 

I am not usually one for prints, unless it is a fun and summery Lilly Pulitzer print, but this dress just screamed fall. I love the warm colors mixed in with the unexpected dose of navy. It looks like fall but is something you can most definitely wear right this very minute. Then, as the temperature cools down, throw on some tights or a cardigan and it can easily transition you through the full fall season. 

I also love that this dress feels so light and airy making it very comfortable and easy to wear. I think it would work with most body types. And, for under $100, it's a beautiful dress that won't break the bank. 

I am wearing a size small- if anything, it runs slightly large. It is a little short in the front with the flow-y bottom, but is longer in the back, which I really appreciate. I'm 5'6" for your reference. 

I got this dress from Nordstrom which is one of my go-to retailers, especially when it comes to fall shopping. They have so many cute dresses right now and they are all under $100. Scroll through to see some of my favorites! Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Friday, September 8, 2017

kate spade new york Fall 2017

Kate Spade Fall 2017

kate spade wool and velvet ruffle coat

kate spade olana shoes and emerson place bag

Kate Spade Fall 2017

kate spade emerson place serena bag

kate spade broome street bow sweater

kate spade fall 2017

kate spade emerson place serena bag and olana shoes

kate spade wool and velvet coat
Shop the Look:
I made sure that this post would go live today as it is the kate spade new york Spring 2018 presentation in New York City. I was so excited to have been invited and thought it was so neat that they were doing their presentation in an iconic New York location: The Grand Central Oyster Bar. It is kate spade new york's 25th year anniversary, too, which makes it even more exciting! Unfortunately, I am not attending as I decided to skip out on fashion week this year.

But today, I'm partnering with kate spade new york to celebrate from afar... and can you imagine my excitement?! 

Overall, I love Kate Spade New York. It's quirky and fun, girly and ladylike all at the same time. From bold colors and sparkle to classic LBD's and pearls, there's really something for everyone. And don't even get me started on their Madison Avenue store... it's a DREAM. I stop in every time I am in New York!

I chose some of the pieces from the fall 2017 collection to style and I cannot say enough positive things about these pieces! Every single piece I received is such high quality. The attention to details is amazing. I am going to touch on each piece, simply because I think the photos on the website don't share enough about these amazing pieces!

First of all, one of my main excitements was over this gorgeous quilted bag. It is offered in three neutral colors, but my favorite was the burgundy. It's the most beautiful, deep, rich shade of red. The quality of the leather is impeccable and the stitching is beautiful and everything lines up perfectly. I chose this bag because I have always wanted a classic Chanel double flap bag. While that is out of my price range, this Kate Spade bag looks very similar! It's such a classic that I know I will have for years to come. And surprisingly, the burgundy shade of red matches with SO much, it's practically a neutral. 

The shoes are a bit out of my comfort zone since they are quite different, but I do love a good pop of leopard print at look at that heel!!! They are surprisingly very comfortable and are just an all around fun shoe. The amount of compliments I got while wearing them this past Sunday is unreal!

The sweater is something I really wanted because it is basic with a cute little touch: the velvet bows on the sides (it is also available in black). This sweater is part of their Broome Street collection. I have actually been to their Broome Street location in SoHo and it's really fun to visit. It's a bit more casual and laid back of an atmosphere which pairs well with their collection. The pieces are more for weekends and casual events. But as you can see, it pairs really well with all of the Kate Spade pieces as well. I also find the Broome Street collection to be a bit more affordable. You all know I am really in tune with what things are made out of and can I just tell you, this mix of cotton, nylon and silk is DREAMY. It is SO soft it feels like I am wearing a t-shirt and the cut is just beautiful the way it drapes and the perfect crew neck.

And finally, the piece de resistance: this gorgeous wool coat adorned with a velvet ruffle, gold buttons, and an adorable little velvet bow on the back of the collar. Holy cow is this a show stopper. A woman actually came over to our table at dinner because she saw it hanging on the back of my chair to ask about the coat. It's that much of a stunner.

I shot these photos in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh right outside of the Carnegie Museum of Art just as the sun was starting to set. I was meeting my family for dinner for my aunt's birthday and it was so fun to stop at the museum and shoot some photos of this gorgeous outfit. The Carnegie Museum of Art is a must-see while in Pittsburgh. They just opened The Cafe Carnegie and it's SO cute... such a great little spot (and picturesque, too) for brunch/lunch/dinner!

More kate spade new york Fall 2017 Pieces I Love:


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