Friday, November 17, 2017

A Classic Christmas Playlist

A Classic Christmas Playlist
Today I'm sharing one of the most requested topics from my holiday survey a few weeks ago and that is my Christmas/Holiday playlist! I created this playlist on Spotify 4 seasons ago and have been continuously adding to it.

In Paris, everything is already beautifully decorated for Christmas... I'm not going to lie, I started listening to Christmas music earlier this month so I am in full-on Christmas-mode.

You'll notice that my playlist is filled with almost all old-school classics. You'll find no Justin Bieber here. I just love this time of year and I think the music is one of my favorite aspects of celebrating the holiday season. I love all of the crooners, the old school movies like White Christmas, and all of the nostalgia from vintage Christmas cards.

I'm sure you can all agree with me when I say that Christmas music holds so many memories, but certain songs hold more memories than others. I thought I would share some of these memories with all of you! Christmas has always been such a warm and wonderful time in my family and I really think the music makes all the difference!

Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi
This entire soundtrack holds so many memories and specifically reminds me of my dad. This is an album that has been played throughout our house forever and specifically when my parents would host holiday parties. To this day, I can just listen to this album over and over and can't help but to feel so cheery!

A GRP Christmas (one//two//three)
To me, this brings me right back to being young and getting so excited for Christmas. I specifically remember all three of these albums from my parent's Christmas CD collection. We used to have a big binder filled with Christmas music and the GRP's were always mine and Callie's favorite. It's so funny because I had songs off of the album on a playlist but I started to listen to the full albums (they are from the late 1980's and you can really tell when you listen hahah) and it's really interesting to me that the first song off of their album reminds me of a timeline during a party my parent's would host. For example, The Little Drummer Boy is one of the first songs on the album and as soon as I listened to it, it makes me think of the period of time we would be setting up the house just before guests arrived for our incredible Christmas Eve party. Callie and I LOVED the Feliz Navidad song and would go crazy in the living room dancing around. We eventually ended up choreographing a dance to Go Tell It On The Mountain and I am sure if I asked Callie to do it with me right now, she would still be able to do some of the opening moves. 

I honestly think you might not all love these albums as much as I do because they sound a bit dated. But for me, I think my children will grow up knowing all of these because they just hold so many wonderful memories for me.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Judy Garland 
This song is not only in Meet Me In St. Louis (which is such a classic) but it's also in one of my favorite movies of all time: The Family Stone. The scene when this song plays always makes me cry. Always.

The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole
This reminds me of Christmases in high school. I was obsessed with this song and would always find it on random burned CDs. It specifically reminds me of one night driving to cheer our high school basketball game which was the last one right before the holidays my junior year of high school.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Andy Williams 
This song reminds me of my grammie and grandpa. For some reason, Andy Williams overall does, but I can just picture my grandpa having this play on the radio. And what a classic, right?

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow by Lena Horn
My mom would always pick us up from high school- you know that feeling of being outside in the freezing cold but getting into a wonderfully warm car? It was the best feeling ever and she would often play this song around the holidays.

Rocking Around the Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
When I hear this song, I think of nothing but this awful dancing Santa that my mom has. You press a button and he shakes around to this song. My cousins and sister will know exactly the Santa I am referring to. It's on YouTube... I'm warning you. You can't unsee it once you've seen it.

Sleigh Ride by Ferrante and Teicher
We played this song in the orchestra in high school (I played violin) and I was SO excited we got to do a holiday song. I just remember the guy who was playing the clapper had to do it over and over to get the timing right, ha!

I could go on and on and on with songs and memories but I'll leave it here for now! What are your favorite Christmas songs and do you have any attached to vivid memories?! Here's to creating even more amazing holiday memories! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Lately 11/16/2017

Sweater (comes in 4 other colors)// Jeans

As you are reading this, I am in LONDON! This is still going to be your typical 'Lately' post, but just know it's not going to be as up to the moment as it usually is since I had to write it ahead of time!

Wearing: I have been wearing this oatmeal cabled sweater on repeat lately. It's SO soft, cozy and great for lazy days when I have no idea what to throw on. It comes in 4 other colors (including a gorgeous navy blue) and it's under $60! It runs true to size. I am wearing a size small for reference.

Wearing II: If you have been wondering what I am wearing in my Instagrams while traveling and you are not subscribed to Like to Know It, I have created a widget in the right sidebar labeled 'EUROPE' with many of the pieces. You can also go to the top of (aka this page) and click on 'Shop My Outfits'. There, you just click on the photo and the products pop right up! No need to sign up for anything or receive an e-mail. It's immediate! Scroll through the above widget to see some of the items I packed!

Eating: Another Trader Joe's Thanksgiving favorite: cauliflower rice 'stuffing'. You guys, it's SO good and has a great stuffing flavor but without the guilt! I like to add chicken for a complete meal. 

Drinking: As the holiday's approach (I can't believe Thanksgiving is just ONE week away), I wanted to link back to the champagne tasting post that I did this summer at the lake. Definitely, check it out if you also like to serve a little bubbly at your gatherings!

Reading: I love being in Pittsburgh and seeing what Uber is up to... If you are unfamiliar, Pittsburgh has Uber offices here and they have been testing self-driving cars here in Pittsburgh for a while. It's fun to spot one, knowing that no one is actually driving it! Crazy, right? Now it's cool to read that they're pairing up with Nasa for FLYING cars! Crazy!

Reading II: Have you guys seen the new addition to Tiffany's flagship store? It's called Blue Box Cafe and let me tell you- it looks incredible! I will definitely be adding this to my list next time I'm in Manhattan. 

Sale-ing: We have about one week away from all of the major sales that will be happening. Even though there are some good sales right now, if you can, hold off for the best sales of the year. I'll be sure to have a full guide to everything. 

 I thought I'd share some of my favorite holiday movies with you: The Family Stone, The Holiday, Home Alone, Eloise at Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Story, and The Grinch (animated version). 

Listening: Tomorrow I'm sharing the ultimate Christmas playlist. Stay tuned!

Loving: I just got this lip color. I've mentioned it on Summer Wind before, and I finally found the color I had been looking for: babe. I think if you only own one lip color it should be this. It's the most perfect shade, it's hydrating, and you don't need a mirror to put it on. Plus, it stays on for a while. You can also control how dark you want it by applying a coat or more coats. Seriously my newest favorite lipstick.

Gifting: You guys, if you are stumped as to what to get someone for the holidays, this steamer is the best steamer I've ever used (even better than full-size steamers). It's great for any age and both men and women! It's under $70!
Wanting: Absolutely loving this equestrian-inspired belt. Belts are having a moment, I find this one to be even prettier than all of the logo'd belts! Scroll through the above widget to see more of my favorites!

Pittsburgh-ing: Tomorrow is light up night in Pittsburgh. I'm sad to be missing it, but it will be so fun to return to my favorite city and see it all dressed up for the holidays! 

Quoting: 'Every experience holds within it a blessing of some kind. The goal is to find it.'// See more of my favorites, here

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What's In My Carry On To Europe

What's In My Carry On To Europe

I've been counting down the days until I got to Paris and I can't believe I'm already a few days into my trip! More on that in posts to follow, but for now, please join me on Instagram!

I wanted to let you all know that I will not be answering reader e-mails this week or the week of Thanksgiving unless they are urgent (put Urgent in the subject!) but I promise I will get back to you the week after Thanksgiving. If you are looking for a super quick response, I'm pretty good with my Instagram direct messages, so feel free to reach out there! I hope you can understand and have a little patience with me while I take my first trip to Paris with two of my best girlfriends! I want to take the time to shut some things down and really soak up being in France! But definitely, follow along on Instagram and Instastories. I'll also have content up here on Summer Wind as usual- some really good posts, in my opinion! So keep coming back as you normally would! 

I also wanted to let you know that you can expect some Paris content starting after Thanksgiving and interspersed through December! On Thanksgiving, I have a REALLY fun giveaway I've put together. It's something really different/special, so I think you guys will really enjoy it!

Now onto today's post- I love reading people's 'What's In My Bag' posts... but they're a dime a dozen. So I thought it would be different to share a few items that I am bringing in my carry-on but also what I've done to prepare for my trip to Europe. So below are details about the items I'm bringing in my carry-on and then if you make it even farther (this is a very long post) you can see more information on how I've prepared!
What's In My Carry On To Europe
iPhone Portable Power Bank// There aren't power outlets on our plane, so I brought several of these portable power banks. This Ventev one is one of my favorites. It's high quality and I love that it has the cable already attached. It charges 20 hours of video or 100 hours of audio on your phone. It's small and compact!

Book// I hope to sleep, but if I can't, this will be my go-to.

Compression Socks// Someone recommended these, so I got them. They're ugly, but I figured, I might as well!

Face Wipes// I just got these face wipes. I've been obsessed with vitamin C products lately and these face wips have that in them. I will use this when I need a refresher.

Mini Skincare Products// I brought so many mini items that I got from Sephora. I'm going to bring them with me if I feel like I need a pick me up. SO excited to try out Sunday Riley and Drunk Elephant. Two brands I have heard so much about.

Sleep Mask// I love this sleep mask. It has anti-aging properties. I use it nightly. Hopefully, this will help to get some shut-eye!

Neck Pillow// I even take this on short flights. I get so uncomfortable and this helps to support my neck and is also great for sleep.

Cashmere Travel Wrap// I take at least one of these everywhere. They are the BEST cashmere wraps ever. Basically, like the best blanket that can double as a beautiful scarf. I'm also bringing the Lilly Pulitzer gift with purchase travel blanket/pillow (that was available this past weekend). I get extra cold and it would be SO miserable should I be freezing for a 6+ hour flight.

Change of Clothes// We can't check into our Airbnb until 3pm... we land at 7am. So basically, we are going to have to get ready in the airport bathroom. That will be interesting.

It was hard to find the information that is below on the internet so I thought this was a much-needed post! I'm also one of those people who are well-prepared in most situations... like I carry an umbrella even when it's sunny. To be honest, with all the terrorism happening, it leaves me a bit unsettled and feeling well prepared helps to ease my angst. 

Data/Cell Service
I have Verizon and they offer an international plan for just $10/day. This way I'm able to use my phone as I normally would while out of the country. I know some people rely on WiFi but I wanted to be able to access maps and Google as we were traveling! 

Copies of Important Documents
I made copies of my passport, credit cards, etc. and gave them to my parents. God forbid my wallet or passport is stolen, I'll have all the credit card info so I'm able to quickly cancel them and I'll have copies of my Passport should I need to do something about that. 

RFID Blocking
I'm one of those people who'd rather be safe than sorry. RFID Blocking sleeves make it so that thieves cannot steal your credit card info/identity from afar using a scanner. The RFID blocking sleeves are really inexpensive on Amazon, so I figured why not? 

My insurance agent said that this wasn't something she saw often, but for under $20, I was able to insure my camera/lenses as well as my Macbook. Not that I think anything will happen (knock on wood), but it was really inexpensive- so it was another 'why not'? 

US to European Plug Adapters
I ordered a bunch and also made sure my items were able to be converted according to the voltage requirements in Europe. My hairdryer was not, so I got this one!

Check With Your Airline
There are back and forth rules about bringing a laptop in your carry-on on international flights. I really didn't think my flight would be affected, but I still made sure my exact flights were allowing laptops in carry-ons (they are). I also made a full backup of my computer should something happen while it is going through security and made sure any sensitive information was encrypted should it get into the wrong hands. I also (I mean maybe I'm way over preparing here) got a new portable hard drive. I'd hate for my current hard drive to be compromised/stolen in any way so a fresh hard drive is coming with me. I won't be getting much use of it because I don't plan on doing a ton of work but I just want to be able to dump photos from my camera to my hard drive to back them up and then be able to edit them on the flight home. It will be nice that I'll have a backup hard drive at home after my trip, too.

Another thing I looked into is if we would have screens for our flight for in-flight entertainment (to see if I would need to load stuff onto my iPad or computer). Get this- no personal screens, no wi-fi (I'm not kidding) and the 'outlets' to charge things are cigarette lighter style (WTF).. and no outlets whatsoever in economy. Luckily, I upgraded so I at least get a cigarette lighter outlet (pure sarcasm, right there). Somehow we got stuck on an American Airlines plane from like 1987. Anyway- me being crazy and looking into all of this made me bring several backup batteries to charge devices while on the flight and I also made sure to download some shows/movies/books in case I end up not being able to sleep. On domestic flights, I never check things like this- which I realize I should now... because who thought there would be an outlet-less, wi-fi-less, screen-less plane in 2017?!

Prep for the Weather
I mean this is a big 'duh' but I made sure I packed an umbrella, shoes I don't care about potentially ruining in the rain (November is the rainy season). I also made sure I packed plenty of layers and cold weather accessories like scarves, tights, gloves, etc. just in case. No one wants to be miserable while walking! I didn't put too much pressure on this, though, because anything I forget, I can always get while I'm there.

Reservations and Tickets
We didn't make many reservations for this trip. We want to be able to wander and not have to stick to a schedule. But, we made reservations at popular places like Angelina. We also pre-purchased our Eurostar tickets because we are going to London one day and wanted to make sure we got the times we wanted!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

My Favorites from the LL Bean Sale

My Favorites from the LL Bean Sale
If you didn't know, LL Bean is having a 25% off sale right now. It ends tonight at 11:59pm! LL Bean is one of my favorite brands, particularly for outerwear and boots. I love their fleeces, coats, boots, and more because they are always such high quality for the price. 

Today I'm sharing my favorite picks from the sale. LL Bean doesn't have a sale often, and usually, it's only 10% off. So this sale is big and really a great time to take advantage!

Gift Guide 2017: My Wish List

summer wind holiday wish list 2017
So it's kind of weird to be an adult and ask for Christmas presents considering you can pretty much buy yourself whatever you want. I think it's fun to receive little surprises like something you didn't even know you wanted or a little luxury like a pricey lip balm. But, I mean, unless someone is going to gift me a Cartier Love bracelet or puppy (which isn't going to happen, sigh), it's hard for me to not buy for myself (I mean Amazon Prime just makes it way too easy). My mom has been getting annoyed with me in years past because I was too hard to shop for.

So, this year, I promised I would not buy things that I want so friends and family can get me things I actually want for Christmas. So here is my Christmas list- it is exactly what I want. It also happened to be the most requested gift guide of the season! It's a little boring this year- there isn't really a 'big' item I'm asking for. Most of it is just random items!

I also want to note that I never receive everything I ask for and I truly don't need a single thing. I'm happy with what I have, but it's fun to give and to receive during the holiday season, isn't it?! I personally like to share a big list so that way there are a lot of options at different price points and also so I'll be surprised a bit!

Diamonds By The Yard Style Bracelet// I guess this is the 'biggest' thing on my list. I want this bracelet to wear 24/7 as I do with my bezel set diamond solitaire necklace... so they'll 'match'.

Microneedling Tool// This is, apparently, the best thing you can do for your skin. It is tiny needles that you roll over your face every night (painless). The one I am linking to is just $20. There is a popular one that is $200, that also uses light therapy, but so many people/reviews are saying the $20 version does its job just as well (it doesn't light up, though!). I'm always down to try the latest in skincare and this is supposed to help reduce acne scars and is also anti-aging. I also like that it helps your skin to absorb the products you put on it much better! I would typically want to buy the pricier product when it comes to skincare, but since you have to replace the head so often and I don't find myself really 'needing' the light therapy, this one should (hopefully) be perfect!

Charlotte Tilbury Healthy Glow// This gets rave reviews. It's like a tinted moisturizer but it gives you more of a glow like you just went somewhere tropical and really evens out your skin tone. There is just one shade and it apparently works for men and women. I'm so intrigued! 

Amazon Echo- Callie and my parents both have Alexa and I really want 'her' so I can ask her to play my Spotify without having to get up from my desk and so much more!

WiFi Smart Plugs// These work with Amazon Echo so you're able to turn things on and off with your phone. I think it's really clever, too, because you can turn your lights on before you walk in the door at night or if you don't want to get out of bed!

Bum Bum Cream// Callie (my sister) has this and loves it and it also gets really good reviews! It's cream meant for your bum/legs and supposedly makes them look better! It also smells SO good (tropical but not overly strong).

T3 Travel Hair Dryer// Well, in the time between writing this post and it going live, I already bought myself this one (see I told you I do this... sorry, Mom!). I thought I'd leave it on my list just because I think you guys will love it as much as I do. I LOVE my full-size T3 Micro Hairdryer. It works so well (I have super thick hair), is lightweight, and high quality. It majorly cuts down on dry time. I couldn't recommend it more. They make a travel version that's smaller but just as good. I ended up getting this before Paris because it also works in other countries, too (without ruining the dryer or the fuse). If you are looking for a less pricey option, this one gets REALLY good reviews and also works internationally!

Light-Up Vanity Mirror// I have seen these everywhere and love this! I can always use the extra light (does that mean I am getting old?!).

Travel Folding Mirror// This mirror is brilliant. It lays completely flat so if you are traveling or on-the-go, it takes up minimal space, but then you can fold it to sit upright. I can't tell you how many times this would have come in handy for me. Even in a hotel room where you are sharing a bathroom, this would be so handy. I also do my makeup in the car or in an airport bathroom and I would love to have this mirror to travel with! It's beautiful, too!

Dior Addict Lip Glow// I have this in pink and berry, and just ran out of my berry shade. It's hands-down my favorite lip product ever. It's pricey, though, but worth every penny. It's lip balm in beautiful packaging with the most beautiful, natural, subtle hint of color. I want to try the lilac shade but also need a refill of my berry shade!

Body Wrap// I feel like this is kind of a weird item to have on my list but I LOVE those warm weighted wraps they use at spas and this is just that (they have an eye mask version, too, that you can heat or cool)! I can just picture myself with this wrap on my shoulders with a cup of tea while I'm reading a good book. Sounds pretty perfect to me! If you're into this, too, keep an eye on it- it keeps going on sale at Macy's, but I usually prefer to shop at Nordstrom and they'll match the price!

Invisibobble Hair Ties// These really work. They don't crease your hair at all and hold a bun nicely! This is a cute gold set of 3 for just $8!

Ugg Slippers// I am OBSESSED with these slippers. I still have Uggs from high school that I love them and wear them all the time. I want something to keep my feet warm in my apartment that are easy to slip on and off and still have a true sole in case I wear them outdoors for some reason. My second choice is these wicked good slippers. In a slipper, it is important to me that the shearling is true shearling because of its moisture-wicking properties. You'll notice that a lot of other slippers on the market are made with a shearling alternative or faux, even. I find the shearling to be warmer and higher quality. If you are looking for a faux shearling option, though, I really love the look of these. 

Black Ugg Classic Boots// Not going to lie. These are the first shoes I grab when heading to somewhere like pilates or even just out to run errands. It's not the best look, but they are so darn comfortable and warm...there's a reason these have continued to be released year after year. I have had my pairs since high school and want a fresh new black pair so I can wear with leggings while running errands.

Ritz Carlton Robe// I almost immediately ordered myself this after coming back from the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia, but my mom said it would make a good Christmas gift, so I have been holding off but dreaming about this robe for months. It is truly the most comfortable robe I've ever felt.

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides// You can read all about my love for Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, here. I stopped using it for a few weeks to see if I noticed any changes and no exaggeration when I say my shoulder pain came back. I'm 110% sold on this product. I drink two scoops every single day without fail. I just recently started taking the capsules to see if they work just as well (which is easier for traveling) and so far so good!

Lake Pajamas Set// I LOVE Lake Pajamas. I would wear them out in public if that was appropriate. They are made of the absolute softest cotton and they're just so wonderful to lounge in. They're a bit pricey but well worth it in my opinion. I am asking for a long-long set (which is long sleeves and long pants).

Paravel Boxer// I asked for this last Christmas and didn't get it. I love that you can now have it hand monogrammed. I love it in navy with navy initials and plan to keep my makeup in it while traveling!

Ferragamo Headband// Headbands definitely go in and out of style, but I think I'll always be partial to a good headband. I really only like thin ones and this is such a classic.

Stocking Stuffers:
I don't normally ask for stocking stuffers, Santa is really good at this ;), but I figured I might as well make the list so you can all see! 

Olay Daily Facials Cleansing Cloths// These are such a great stocking stuffer. I use one every single day. They are the best cleansing cloths ever! You can read my full post, here.  Since I use one daily, a new pack is always welcome!

Voluspa Candles// I love love love Voluspa. It's definitely one of my top favorite candle brands ever. Right now I am loving the Gilt Pomander and Hinoki, but for year-round scents, I love French Cade Lavender and Moso Bamboo.

Probiotics// This is a weird one, but I take a probiotic daily, so I can always use a new bottle!

Starbucks French Roast Coffee// I drink this daily... can't get enough.

SD Card// I can always, always, always use another SD card!

Nespresso Pods// I have the Nespresso Vertuoline and always need more pods. I loved their 2014 vintage pods but they were only a special edition pod. But I typically always have Altissio (purple), Stormio (green), and Decaffeinato (red, I drink this at night).

And when all else fails, when someone asks, I say Lululemon, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, or Starbucks gift cards!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Red Lace Dress for the Holidays

Red Lace Dress for the Holidays

Red Lace Dress for the Holidays

Red Lace Dress (under $100, also comes in black)// Black Suede Pumps

Shop the Look:

Today is a pretty fancy Monday around here, huh?! I love a red lace dress around the holidays (case in point, this post from last holiday season). I think it's so festive and fun... especially for me since I tend to prefer black dresses! 

This gorgeous red lace dress is under $100, which really surprises me for a few reasons. It's hard to find a great dress under $100, but even harder to find a quality dress under $100. I couldn't believe how well-made this dress is. I love that it has sleeves, too, because I tend to get chilly and the added sleeve really makes it appropriate for winter! 

The fit is pretty form fitting. It's not body-con by any means, but you definitely want to make sure you get the right size. I am wearing a size small and it runs true to size. It's short but not too short. Typically when I rock a short dress, I like to balance it out and this dress does just that. It's short at the hem, but the sleeves and somewhat conservative neckline make it look appropriate for just about any holiday party you have this season! 

Last week, I shared 6 pairs of shoes that you need for the holiday season and a pair of classic black pumps were included in the list. I don't wear heels too often, but around the holidays, I definitely do a lot more. Since I don't wear heels a ton, I don't have tons of pairs to choose from, but my classic black pair gets TONS of wear. Not only around this time of year, but I wear them constantly. They go with everything and never go out of style. I have had them for years and since they are well-made, they've held up beautifully!

Nordstrom carries a bunch of black pumps at all different price ranges. If you don't already have a pair, it could be a great thing to add to your Christmas wishlist, too! Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

More Classic Black Pump Options:

More Red Lace Dresses I Love:

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sephora Sale + My Favorites

My Favorite Holiday Gift Sets Under $50:

I am a huge Sephora fan. This year was the year of skincare and makeup for me. I feel like I really got things down to a routine and found SO many products that I love. Needless to say, when I walk into Sephora, I am like a kid in a candy store! I just went the other day and picked up way more than I went in for... kind of like Target, it's dangerous!

With the holidays coming, I LOVE Sephora's gift sets. I think it is so much fun to try new products and Sephora always has the best sets and so many are such a great value.

Right now Sephora is having a BIG sale! It's a great time to take advantage of the sale if you want to do some of your holiday shopping! Here are the details...

- 20% off with code 20FORVIB (if you are a VIB member)
- 15% off with code INSIDER15 (if you are a beauty insider)

The sale ends 11/15 (that's Wednesday!). So today, I thought I would share some of my favorite products at Sephora. Do you have any favorites I should know about?

Products I Purchased
Ole Henriksen Cleansing Cloths// Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color in Babe// Sunday Riley Luna Oil// Bumbum Cream// Travel Dryer// Dior Balm// Caudalie Beauty Elixir Mini

Products I Love

Dior Lip Balm// I have talked about this balm so many times before. It's hydrating, goes on without a mirror, and feels just like chapstick. But, it gives you the most beautiful natural color. 

Bobbi Brown Crushed Lip Color// I just got this and I am OBSESSED. It lasts so long and it's just a really pretty natural, everyday hue. 

Dior Blush// This is similar to the Dior balm in that it works with your body's chemistry to create the right color for you. This color, on me, just gives me a subtle healthy glow. 

Becca Bronzer// This is a new-to-me brand and I love this bronzer. It's a bit intimidating in the packaging because it looks 'sparkly'. But, the way the woman at Sephora explained it to me, the sparkle doesn't actually sparkle on your face. Instead, it works to create a bit of depth. And she was right. This is just such a great natural bronze color to bring some warmth to my complexion. 

Makeup Forever HD Foundation// This foundation is one of the most top rated foundations ever. The formula is so smooth and easy to apply and never makes me break out. It's pretty full coverage, but not at all heavy. It just looks natural and feels very comfortable on my skin. I couldn't recommend it more. 

Stroke of Light// This has been one of my favorite products for years. I put it under my eyes in the area between my upper cheekbone and nose (where you're supposed to highlight). It really helps me to look more awake. 

Naked Concealer// This is SUPER full coverage. I use this under my eyes and to cover blemishes. It's lightweight and easy to blend. 

Brow Powder// I've been using this brow powder for use. I use the lighter shade in my eyebrows and it stays put all day. I use the darker color for bottom eyeliner when I want to get super dolled up! 

Ralph Lauren Woman// I just got this perfume and it smells wonderful. A great fall/winter scent because it has a woodsy, warm feel! 

Caudalie The Des Vignes// Love this gift set for the holidays (under $40). I am such a huge fan of this scent and have been wearing it for years. It's super light and fresh and easy to wear. 
Chanel Chance// This was 2017's scent for me. It's so light and fresh and just all around pleasant. Whenever I wear this, I am always getting compliments! Love this gift set!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Gift Guide 2017: For the Beach Babe

Shop The Look:

Happy Saturday, everyone! This weekend is going to be crazy for me. I'm shooting some holiday outfits because I LEAVE FOR PARIS ON MONDAY! I'm so excited and I can't believe it is finally here! 

Since I'll be gone 10 days, I've had to do a lot of planning for content through when I get back (right before Thanksgiving). Hence, shooting some holiday looks now! I'm also trying to squeeze in some friends/family time, too, as well as finalize packing. And lastly, I like to clean before I leave, so still need to do that, too. Phew, I am exhausted just typing all of that out! 

Please feel free to follow along on Instagram/Instastories while I am in Paris! I'll have all of the Paris content go live starting the week after Thanksgiving and continuing through New Years! 

Today I'm sharing two fun things: first of all, in honor of Lilly Pulitzer's birthday, Lilly is doing some really amazing gift with purchase promotions!
You can receive a travel wallet, 2-in-1 travel pillow/blanket (which is SO soft), duffel bag, and rolling duffel bag depending on the amount you spend. Lilly sent me the pieces to share with all of you and they are SO fun. It makes me wish I was jetting off somewhere tropical, but hey, Paris will do ;) 

While I'll need larger suitcases for Paris, I'll definitely be taking the 2-in-1 travel pillow/blanket and then I'll end up taking the rolling duffel to Arizona for New Year's Eve! I actually can't believe how nice the rolling duffel is. The top fully zips open and holds a ton. Plus the front pocket is perfect for things like electronics/cords/etc. and then the bottom fully unzips which I love for keeping shoes separate from everything else!
holiday gift guide for the beach babe

Charlotte Tilbury Healthy Glow// Raffia Clutch// Pineapple Shaker// Bose Soundlink Mini
Shop the Items:
So in honor of Lilly Pulitzer, the ultimate beach gal and a brand that always keeps me in a sunny state of mind, I'm sharing my gift guide for the beach gal! I love doing this post every year. Holidays are so focused on red and green and winter items like sweaters, it is refreshing to do something so bright and colorful!

I think these items are so great for a gal of any age that may be going on a warm-weather vacation around the holidays or for those who may live in a resort town! Truly, these gifts can be for anyone that is just always in a bright and cheery mood! I'm thinking I'll be wearing Lilly Pulitzer (something sparkly!) for New Year's Eve since I'll be somewhere warm!

I'm particularly fond of the Pamela Munson tote. It's been on my wishlist for quite some time. I have the pineapple cocktail shaker and it looks so pretty sitting out, but is also really high quality for actually making cocktails! I also have the whirl trio styling wand set. I'm often asked how I curl my hair and I'd say I use this wand 50% of the time. It creates really natural looking waves!

More Lilly Pulitzer Items I Love:

Friday, November 10, 2017

My Camera and Lenses and Accessories

Camera and lenses for fashion and lifestyle bloggers

lo and sons claremont crossbody camera bag
Products Mentioned in This Post:

I'm *not* a photographer, so this post needs to be taken with a grain of salt. With that said, I have had over 8 years of practice with DSLR cameras so I thought I would share what I use and why I like it.

It's kind of ironic, but the images above were shot on my iPhone because my camera was the subject!

I think my biggest tip for anyone that is looking to get into photography is to practice. I truly believe the more you practice shooting, the better you will get. I also think it's smart to read and watch as much as you can. I constantly watch YouTube tutorials and read photography blogs so I'm able to learn! 

I shoot with Nikon, but there are three other brands that are always on my radar: Canon, Sony, and Leica. I don't necessarily like Nikon better than another brand, but that's what I learned on, so it's easiest for me to continue using Nikon! 

I'm also typically shooting myself or my travels, beauty, etc. So please keep that in mind when you're reading my reviews. A lens that is my favorite may not work for you if you are shooting something completely different! 

Lo and Sons Claremont Camera Crossbody c/o// You guys. I am SO excited to be bringing this bag to Paris. This bag was designed specifically for a DSLR camera. From the outside, it looks like a beautiful leather crossbody bag. But, when you open it up the interior is padded with nylon so your camera is snug and safe. It also has spots for SD cards as well as a zip pocket hidden in the back which is where I'll stow my money, passport, etc. I was struggling to find a bag that would be comfortable to carry and be large enough for my camera and this bag is both of those and more. 

Nikon d610// I got this camera a little over a year ago and I am so glad I did. The quality of my photos from my last camera (Nikon d5000) to the photos from the Nikon d610 is insanely better. I typically think the lens makes all the difference, but my Nikon d5000 had been shot so many times, it was time to replace it. I still have it as a backup (just in case). This camera is full-frame, so it's a bit heavier/bulkier than I would like, but the crispness of the images and the fact that it's easier to shoot in low light are well worth it. The outside of the camera is also 'tough'... it's well-made and high quality, but it doesn't feel fragile, which is really nice. 

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art// This Sigma lens is THE BEST. I pretty much always use this lens. It produces the most beautiful images that are sharp and clear. I love the way it captures color and the low f1.4 really enables me to have a great blurred background in outfit photos. This also does really well with detail shots. It's just all around a wonderful lens and soooooo worth the money. It makes my life so much easier!

Canon Powershot g7x// There is a newer version of this camera since I bought it a few years ago. But I LOVE this little camera. It's what I use when I don't want to lug around my DSLR. It would be perfect for someone that just wants some really great images but isn't looking to be super professional. There are two specific reasons why I got this camera. The first is that it takes beautiful video and the second is that it shoots so well in low light. So basically this is what I shoot videos on (I'm taking one in Paris!) and also how I get a lot of my restaurant/food photos and nighttime travel shots. This has wifi capability built in, too, so it's awesome for people on the go! 

Nikon 50mm f.18// This was the lens I used most before I got the Sigma lens. It's your classic blogger/portrait lens. This is the lens that ables you to blur the background of your photos and really put you as the clear subject. I definitely think this is a great lens and something you should definitely get if you are just getting into DSLR photography, especially becauase it is so inexpensive!

Nikon 18-55mm// This is zoom lens that came with my first DSLR. It's inexpensive, but I really like it when I am traveling. It is great for getting hotel room shots and landscapes/scenery. You can be really close to your subject and get a lot in the shot. 

Nikon 55-200mm// I rarely ever use this lens. It came as a kit lens with my d5000 and it's honestly not the best, but if you are starting out, this would be a good choice because it's inexpensive. I think it would be useful if you travel a lot or if you go to a lot of sporting events. It has a great zoom, but I just personally prefer fixed lenses. 

UV Filter// This is a really high-quality filter. I'm always hesitant to use one because a poor quality filter can make your images less sharp. However, this one does a really great job of blocking out UV rays (which can sometimes compromise the colors in your photo) and I don't think it has any affect on the actual image. I also like that it serves as protection for the actual lens. 

Camera Sleeve// I use this when I travel. I have a super padded case to store everything, but this camera sleeve is great for traveling when the case is too bulky. I typically keep my camera in this at all times during the week. 

Lens Sleeves// I store my lenses in more padded sleeves at home, but these are really great for travel. They're a thin neoprene so they don't take up much space. I also use the smallest one as a case for my Canon g7x!

Nikon Wireless Adapter// One of the only drawbacks I had with the Nikon d610 is that it doesn't have built-in WiFi capability. So, I had to get this wireless adapter which enables me to transfer the photos from my camera to my phone instantaneously. This is GREAT for traveling. It takes a bit to load, but if I'm out on the beach and just took a photo, I can transfer it to my phone fInstagramram! 

SD Card// I prefer a 64gb SD card. Any bigger (gb-wise) and I feel like I use it for too long and it makes me nervous something will happen to it. They're fragile so I don't like to take my chances. I keep about 6 blank ones on hand at a time. I don't reuse SD cards, either. Once it is full, I use a new one. I like to think of the SD cards as serving an emergency backup.  

Tripod// This was super cheap on Amazon. I don't use it too often. It's not great quality, but it does the trick! 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Lately 11/9/2017

This week I have spent so much time on my computer prepping for being away from it for 10 days. It was a bit grueling but soooo worth it.

This week was also a week of pampering. I got my hair highlighted, my eyelash extensions freshened and a manicure (in my favorite fall shade: OPI I've Got The Blues For Red). I wanted to be well-coiffed for Paris and also for Thanksgiving!

I also got to spend time with one of my high school besties (her younger sister is coming to Paris with me) who is pregnant! I am so excited for her and her husband. She is one of my first close high school friends to have a baby. They aren't finding out the sex until birth but my guess is that it's a boy!

I'm also having dinner with one of my very best friend's tonight. It will be such a good casual night to catch up and take a break from my computer. She is getting married in December and I cannot wait for her wedding! I love hearing about all of the planning and excitement!

Wearing: Today I'm sharing a velvet dress that's perfect for Thanksgiving. It also comes in black! It is a bit short. I am 5'6" and I'm thinking if you're any taller than me, it might be too short. But for those who are shorter, this will fit you perfectly without having to be hemmed. I love the richness of the color, but if you are not a fan, it also comes in black!

Eating: Trader Joe's has alllll the Thanksgiving things out right now and I LOVE it. They have turkey stuffing kettle chips.  It sounds so bizarre, I know, but they are SO good. They're very savory and have the slightest stuffing flavor.
Reading: I love ranch dressing. Love, love, love. I would put it on everything if it wasn't so unhealthy. Hidden Valley Ranch came out with a $50 ranch dressing keg. How funny would this be to gift to someone who loves ranch?! As you can see in our texts above, my sister thinks it would be the perfect gift for me, ha! I personally think that Ken's has the best store-bought ranch (they also have the best caesar), though.

Sale-ing: I LOVE these navy blue bow flats that are on major sale right now! Club Monaco is offering 20% off coats through 11/13 (no code needed)! I love the color of this coat and love the way this coat drapes (so elegant!). Abercrombie is offering 60-70% off clearance. It ends tonight! This gorgeous mohair sweater as seen on me in the photo above is on sale for under $30 (originally $68!).

Sale-ing II: Have you guys shopped Ruelala lately? I kind of forgot about it but I opened an e-mail and ended up on the site. They have some really amazing sales and way more brands and selection than I ever remember! This is such a good place to check for something you may be wanting but you'll more than likely get it for less here

I haven't been watching much lately. Are there any good movies or series I should download for my Paris trip?! 

Listening: My November playlist is live and it is SO good.

Look for Less: You guys know how obsessed I am with these bow flats! They are supppppper pricey, though, so I haven't pulled the trigger. BUT, I found a super similar pair for a fraction of the price. I love the little heel on this pair

Loving: How cute are these tartan and velvet bow flats for under $100?! Also, the joggers that I love are now in a navy and white!!! I just ordered it and I love that it pairs with a matching sweatshirt (also ordered). Seriously, the fabric is SO comfortable. I'm so excited about this!
Loving II: Ann Taylor's shoe selection is absolutely KILLING it this season. Every single pair of shoes is gorgeous and most are under $200!

Loving III: You guys I have been absolutely LOVING this Zo Skin Health C-Bright Serum. It's 10% vitamin C and goes on immediately after you wash your face. I do it both at night and in the morning under my makeup. It removes discoloration and brightens skin. 10% is one of the highest concentrations you can get over the counter. It doesn't irritate my skin at all and I'm truly seeing brighter skin! Could not recommend this more. The way it goes on is really smooth, too, so under my makeup it's almost like a great primer! Speaking of skincare, I also picked up these brightening face wipes for while I'm traveling. I think it will be a great refresher while in flight/post-flight.

Launching: The Hearth and Home Magnolia collection launched at Target.  I saw it in person and the prices for the quality are pretty good. The items are super high quality but the prices aren't high either! It's a little rustic for my personal taste, but the items are tasteful! I think the decor is my favorite part. It is understated, which I like. 

Wanting: I will be sharing my personal Christmas wishlist on Tuesday. This was the #1 most requested gift guide post you have all asked to see! In the meantime, here are some pieces I have been loving this week! 

Pittsburgh-ing: You guys, the other night I got takeout dessert from Bill's Burger Bar. They're known for their shakes but I was really craving apple pie. They have THE BEST apple pie. Seriously, you should just go for the apple pie. It's warm and gooey and not overly sweet and served with Millie's vanilla ice cream! YUM. 

Quoting: 'You don't always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens.'// (Constantly reminding myself of this.) See more of my favorites, here. 

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