Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Life Lately

I'm back! I had to take a 2-day break from Summer Wind because holy cow I have been insanely busy! I post Monday-Friday and sometimes on Saturday. In the past 10 years of blogging, I have rarely ever missed posting. This is the first time in Summer Wind history I have ever missed two posts in a row!! I was honestly having a lot of anxiety about it but there was truly nothing I could really do. 

So, I thought today I would share what has been going on lately! Last weekend, I was in Canada for my mom's birthday weekend. We had such a wonderful time. When I got home late on Sunday night, I went straight to bed but ended up getting some sort of weird stomach flu for the following 24 hours. I was pretty useless all Monday. 

Then, on Tuesday, I ended up getting a terrible cold...This was like the series of unfortunate events. I tried SO hard to get work done and pack but I could barely do anything. I would pack a little bit but have to lay down every 10 minutes. 

I was so worried about the next day because I had to fly to New York. Luckily, by Wednesday morning, I felt a little better and was able to head to the airport that morning. 

Normally, I would have spent the beginning of my week working ahead because I knew I had a crazy upcoming schedule, but being sick took it right out of me. It was a good reminder that you can't always have control. 
White Button Down// Jeans (old, similar)
I ended up meeting my friend Eugenia when I landed in New York. I met her at her office and can I just say that she has the coolest job and she is also one of the hardest workers I know. She works at theSkimm and gave me a tour of their offices which were so amazing. After that, we went to get manicures and pedicures- I had an exciting photo shoot the next day where I was required to have my nails done! 
Post manis, we went to Eataly. If you've never been, it's like an upscale market with restaurants throughout. We ended up eating at La Pizza La Pasta and got the Mozzarella bar and the most incredible burrata pizza. I headed back to my hotel with a full stomach and ended up in bed around 8pm since I was still not feeling well! 

Then, on Thursday morning, I got up at 6:30am and was at the photoshoot at 11 Howard by 8am. I can't chat about what the shoot was for, but I have to say it was one of the most fun and coolest experiences. There were about 15 people behind the camera as I was being shot and it was so intimidating but everyone was so beyond nice and fun to work with that they made me feel comfortable. We ended up shooting 5 different looks and each one was so different than the next. I cannot wait to see the final product! 

It was a full day so I ended up leaving the shoot around 5pm and headed to meet Katie and Carly for dinner at Chinese Tuxedo! It was so good to see the girls because I only get to see them a few times a year! It's located in the heart of Chinatown and the door is unmarked so you could easily miss it. The atmosphere is upscale casual and has a little bit of a club vibe with dark mood lighting and pulsing music. The menu was broken down into sections and there were about 6-10 dishes in each section. The food was so good. My favorite dish was the tuna tartare which I basically order at every single restaurant that offers it. The dishes weren't your typical fried rice and orange chicken but they were more upscale and unique. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are in NYC. 
On Friday, I got up early and headed to Penn Station to take the train to Philadelphia. I met Eugenia in Philly and we drove down to DC. Eugenia is one of my best friends from high school. She is getting married in February so this past weekend we celebrated her in DC! A lot of you requested that I share an itinerary of what we did while we were there and I will share it soon- it's a very good itinerary and we all had SO much fun. It was a jam-packed weekend! 

I ended up getting home late Sunday and was hoping to get some work done but by then I was beyond exhausted. I couldn't keep my eyes open so I literally left my luggage at the door, took a shower and went straight to bed. 

I was desperate to get a good night sleep and get a full day of work in but Monday morning I had to go to a funeral so I got a bit of work done in the afternoon and then headed to the grocery store because my refrigerator was completely empty- I didn't even have eggs! 

So now I am glad to report that as of today, I am back on schedule. Last night, I unpacked, somewhat cleaned my apartment, my refrigerator is full and I got a good night of sleep. I am finally starting to feel fully better, too. I was supposed to go away again this weekend but ended up canceling it because it was just going to be too much! So there you have it, my crazy last week. 

Thursday, October 11, 2018


Lip Color (in babe)

What a week and it's only Thursday! I got back from Canada late Sunday night and then got sick with a stomach bug and the day after the stomach bug I started to get a bad cold (what the heck!!). I spent two days sick and then had to hop on a plane yesterday to New York City for a very exciting project that I will share more about soon! 

Today is the photoshoot day so that will be fun and then I am meeting Katie and Carly for dinner tonight! 

Friday, I head from NYC to DC for my best friend's bachelorette party! It will be so much fun to celebrate her and enjoy time in DC. It will be 5 days of quite literally planes, trains, and automobiles! 

Finally, when I get back to Pittsburgh on Sunday night, I will have an entire week here in Pittsburgh and I've never been more excited. I thrive on a routine and do my best work seated at my desk.

Wearing: Talbots comes out with so many great cashmere pieces each year and this style, the Sabrina, is one of my favorites. It has the prettiest fold-over mock neck and a tunic length. Right now, through 10/14 you can get 30% off cashmere- this sweater is included! You can see me wearing it in black (last year), here.

Eating: Thinking about making this taco stuffed peppers recipe in the coming weeks. Sounds so easy but delicious!

Reading: I was featured in my alma mater's newspaper, The Breeze (James Madison University)! Andrea was so sweet and wrote the kindest article. It made me miss JMU!

Reading II: Loved this article from Forbes talking about 'The Contagious Charm of Pittsburgh'. 

Sale-ing: Tory Burch is having their tiered sale! Save 20% off $200, 25% off $350 or 30% off $500 with code FALL. Valid 10/10-10/15. 

Listening: Are you a Serial podcast fan? Has anyone listened to the new season? I don't mind this new season but I'm not loving it! Do you have any good recommendations for Podcasts?

Loving: Since I travel so much, having my external hard drive sitting next to me attached to my computer is not always the best- especially if I have my computer on my lap on a plane or in the car. I found this amazing adhesive pocket on Amazon that you can put your hard drive in as you work. It's brillian! 

Wanting: I've recently become obsessed with the brand, Mango. It's a high street brand that feels very similar to Zara, but I find the quality to be even better. Pieces are fashion-forward but you can find things in neutral colors that aren't too trendy. I also just got this black dress for the bachelorette weekend. It has a current-vibe without being overly trendy! 

Smelling: Since I have been traveling so much lately, I usually just toss a perfume sample into my bag. This time, I had Diptyque's Vetyverio. My goodness does it smell wonderful. It's a little musky/manly but also has some floral notes to lighten it up. Perfect for fall.  

Traveling: NYC right now then off to DC tomorrow! Be sure to follow along on instagram

Quoting: 'Do something instead of killing time because time is killing you.'- Paulo Coelho // See more of my favorites, here. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Travel Guide: Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-On-The-Lake

Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-On-The-Lake
This past weekend, we headed to Ontario, Canada as a little getaway to celebrate my mom's birthday (which is actually on 10/21). We crossed the border into Canada and about 25 minutes later, we were in Niagara-On-The-Lake

I had never been to this adorable town before, so I was very excited. After having visited, I could not recommend this location more! It feels like you stumbled into Stars Hollow (for all of my fellow Gilmore Girl fans). It's quaint, well-done, clean, and friendly. The attention to detail in the architecture and florals around the little town is incredible! 

Getting There
It was also reasonably easy to get to- just as easy as it is to get from Pittsburgh to DC. It was about a 4.5-hour drive. You can also fly into Toronto or Buffalo and then drive to Niagara-On-The-Lake. 

Where We Stayed
We originally looked into renting an Airbnb but were unable to find anything we really liked. My dad ended up finding the Prince of Wales Hotel and we all absolutely loved it. When we had booked it, we were just going off of the photos and reviews online, but this is a must-stay! 

It's a relatively small hotel. It has as all of the charm of a bed and breakfast but all of the amenities of a large hotel chain. Every single room is different and the decor is ornate/Victorian which really fits in with the entire town's vibe. It has a full-service afternoon tea room, a gorgeous dining room that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and then a casual lounge/bar area. It also has a spa and an indoor pool/hot tub.

It felt like we were abraod rather than only a few hours from home. It had a very European vibe- a little bit French and a little bit English. 

We ate breakfast in the Prince of Wales dining room and it was so cozy and elegant. Not to mention the food and service were top notch. There is a breakfast package that you can add on to your hotel room rate that ends up saving you money, so I recommend doing that! 

We ended up eating lunch at Churchill's which is the Prince-of-Wales Hotel casual lounge. Think dark wood paneling, lots of shelves with books, and cozy fireplaces. The decor is handsome and upscale but also has a casual pub-style feel. It's a great spot for a cocktail or a nightcap. I didn't love my food and didn't think the menu had a lot to offer, so I would skip eating and instead just go for drinks. 

Besides the hotel restaurants, we ate at The Cannery for dinner one evening, which is a beautiful steakhouse. I had the lobster and filet entree and it was beyond delicious and cooked to perfection. This is a fancier restaurant so it was fun to get dressed up! We also ate at the Irish pub around the corner, Irish Harp. The exterior is filled with flowers and the interior looks and feels just like you are in Ireland. The food was phenomenal and portions were huge. 

What to Do
The temperatures were mild during the day and chilly at night. Fall colors just started to peek through. You can see some orange in the trees starting to pop! The Prince of Wales Hotel is on Queen Street which is the main street in the little town. Queen Street is lined with adorable shops and restaurants. They weren't cheesy shops, either. Many of the shops were based on English/Irish/Scottish heritage so it was fun to pop into stores and see certain cookies, candy bars, etc. from the UK. Everything was within walking distance. 

Besides shopping and eating, we spent all of our Saturday afternoon hopping from winery to winery. We ended up going to Konzelmann, Trius, Two Sisters, and Wayne Gretzky's distillery. We liked all of them but we agreed that Trius had our favorite wines. I loved the Trius brut (like champagne) and the Cabernet Sauvignon.

We also ended up heading to the beautiful parks on the way back to Pittsburgh that lead up to Niagara Falls. We skipped the falls but went to see the rapids part which I highly recommend. It was incredible to see how fast the water was flowing and how high the waves would shoot up! We skipped the falls part because it was so cheesy and touristy, plus, we had all done Niagara Falls before so we didn't feel the need to stop. 

As you can see there is no lack of things to do. You can hike, fish, go boating, and so much more. Niagara-On-The-Lake was so much fun, so beautiful, and so easily accessible from Pittsburgh. We all agreed we would be back as soon as possible!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Top 5 Favorite Makeup Products

Top 5 Favorite Makeup Products

One of the most fun things about being a blogger is that I am constantly being sent products. I absolutely love trying new products and I think after trying so many products, it's easy for me to weed out products that aren't superior. 

I know that many of the beauty products that I recommend are on the pricier side, so I figured I would make a shortlist for all of you. If I could only choose 5 makeup products to splurge on- these would make the cut and I'll share why!

I've tried them, used them regularly for at least 2 months and love them. These are products that I think are worth their price tag and that I buy time and again!

Becca Sunlit Bronzer in Capri Coast// I just recently finished an entire Becca bronzer. I almost never reach the pan in makeup before I'm off and trying something new. But with this one, I have used in its entirety. I think it's one of the best bronzers I have ever tried. It's not super pigmented so you can have a heavy hand without looking like an oompa loompa. It also has the tiniest, finest bits of shimmer. I'm typically anti shimmer but instead of coming off as sparkly or shiny, it just gives the color a nice depth. There is no orange to it at all and it truly looks natural and sunkissed. Another concern of mine was that Benefit's Hoola bronzer was making my face look 'muddy' if that makes sense. And since switching to the Becca bronzer, this hasn't been an issue at all! It blends so beautifully! 

Urban Decay Concealer// I switch between light-neutral and medium-neutral depending on how tan/pale I am! This is the best! I have purchased so many tubes of this concealer in the past few years. It is my go-to. It's lightweight, full-coverage, blends beautifully and stays put all day! I love that it dries matte and doesn't pool into fine lines around my eyes. This is my second favorite concealer and the reason it is not #1 is that it's a little too creamy so I find it to sink into fine lines around my eyes more often. 

wearing all of the products mentioned in this post in the photo above!

Dior Addict Lip Glow// If you have been reading my blog for any period of time, then you may have guessed that this lip balm would make my list. It's truly one of the best products ever. For lip balm, it's definitely pricey, but it has enough color that it is more like a creamy lipstick than just a balm! you can see a 'true' color of the berry shade in the photos above. The product feels so smooth and hydrating on my lips just like a lip balm. The colors look natural and really enhance your own lip color! You can easily apply this without a mirror. I like the colors pink and berry most. The only downside is that this doesn't last too long (just like any other lip balm you might have tried). I reapply after eating, drinking, etc. I would buy this product time and time again and I often give the pink color as a gift because it really does look good on everyone! 
Charlotte Tilbury Blush// This is the newest item that has quickly moved into my holy-grail products. I have tried so many so-so blushes. I had yet to find one that was a beautiful, natural-looking flushed color. I am a huge fan of the Charlotte Tilbury brand so I went straight to the counter at Nordstrom and a lovely saleswoman helped me to choose a color right for my skin (ecstasy). I love that this has a  brighter center color for the apples of my cheeks and a bronzer color for my cheekbone. I think this truly 'finished' my makeup look and made me look more alive... especially in the mornings! 

Charlotte Tilbury Highlighter// So this is a bronzer/highlighter combo, but it's the highlighter that really steals the show. It is the best highlighter I have ever used. I love a glowy look and that is exactly what this highlighter achieves. It's just subtle and the powder is so fine that it melts wonderfully into my skin. I run this down the center of my nose and I really think it makes my nose look a little smaller and when I add it to the inner corners of my eyes, it makes my eyes pop!

Thank you to Nordstrom for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own!

Honorable Mentions:

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