Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Goals are dreams with deadlines." -- Diana Scharf Hunt

Setting & Keeping New Year's Resolutions
By Molly from Smart Pretty & Awkward

I'm all about goals, planning, the future-- I am always making & updating plans for 3 months, 6 months, & 1 year out.  I would make plans for 5 years out, but I'm practical enough to know that the longer-out the goal is, the more likely it will not happen as my short-term goals are always changing! Below are my steps that I follow when making, updating, & refining resolutions.

Step One: Making Resolutions
To make a New Year's resolution, think about your life currently. I like to divide my life into segments: Career, Financial Health, Personal Health, Beauty, Relationships, Friendships, and My Blog. Tailor your segments to what makes sense for your life (maybe School would substitute for Career, or a different hobby for Blogging, for example). Most of us naturally compartmentalize our lives, but this is a way of consciously doing so.

In each section, I like to think about where I am now, & where I want to be going, i.e. what do I like about my job? What do I want to improve in my relationship? What is realistic and tangible for each of these goals?

I won't bore you with my choices for each category, but needless to say there are things I like & things I want to improve on for each. I'm careful to say improve on, rather than dislike, because a dislike is essentially just something that needs an upgrade or a change to make it a like.

Step Two: Keeping Resolutions
There are three keys to keeping New Year's Resolutions.

The first is writing down goals for easy reference, & also because writing down goals makes them seem more "real." I save all of my goals in a Google document, so I can see what my goals were for the past few years & the updates I made as I went along. Before I made my 2011 goals, I checked in with my original 2010 & 2009 goals to see what I was working on in years past.

The second key to keeping a New Years Resolution is frequent check-ins on goals progress throughout the year: daily, weekly, monthly &/or quarterly check-ins. I do personal check-ins on my progress almost daily, & always weekly.

The third is sharing your goals with others who can help you. One of my closest friends is a health guru, and we shared our nutrition goals with each other to keep each other on track via weekly emails (she lives in another state). Another close friend is in a similar spot in her career as me, although a different industry, so we frequently talk about career and job goals. My boyfriend and I shared our goals for our relationship, because it is important to us that we keep working to improve it. & finally, my mom is on board to listen & give feedback on my financial goals.

Step Three: Refining Resolutions
After goals are set, they might need refining or updating throughout the year. My birthday & my half-birthday are the two times a year when I modify my goals list and see if a resolution need to be tweaked. If the goal is achieved early in the year, maybe a new goal need to take its place (Get a Better Job changes to Get an Excellent 6-Month Performance Review at New Job, for example).

& of course, don't forget to celebrate with pals when one of your goal is reached!

Monday, December 27, 2010

"We live not according to reason, but according to fashion" - Seneca

I know it is rare for me to devote a whole post to just one product, but these boots from Target are worth it. Mossimo's Katherine Leather Engineer Boots ($49.99) are Genuine leather boots for under $50..& worth every penny. I asked my sister to get me these for Christmas this year, & I have not taken them off since I opened them.

Mossimo Katherine Engineer Boots
They are so comfortable & perfect for this time of year.  I have been pairing them with black leggings&jeggings, big wool knit sweaters, & messy hair.  Target.com offers free shipping on any purchase over $50 (we couldn't find these boots in any Boston or NY Target store) so add a pair of these leggings to your cart & avoid shipping fees.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Belle of the Ball

I prefer to keep things simple.  New Year's Eve outfits have caused unbelievable amounts of stress in my life, as well as the lives of many of my girlfriends.  This year I advise you to work with what you have & keep the new purchases to a minimum.  If you have a 9-5 like me, you probably own seven variations of the basic black cardigan, & equal amounts of pencil skirts.  Pair one of those cardigans with a glam skirt, spice it up with some jewelry (& of course red lips!) & go dance the night away.

JCrew Taffeta Tulip Mini ($69) / BCBG MaxAzria Feather Tiered Skirt ($198) / DKNY Sequined Miniskirt ($88)

Only have black skinnys & heels?  Dress up your bottom half with these spirited tops:

Michael Kors Sequined Tunic ($89) / BCBG MaxAzria Ombré Sequin Racerback Tank ($132) / Free People Velvet Burnout Top ($108) / BCBC Silk Chiffon Paillette Top ($238) 

Already have a closet full of LBDs to wear? These accessories will be sure to spruce up any outfit:

RJ Graziano Multi-Shapre Stone Necklace ($95) / Trina Turk Shanghai Ring ($85) / JCrew Isis Bangle ($78) 

Best wishes to you & yours ringing in the new year :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cranberries, cranberries, cranberries!

I am not a baker.  In fact, I hate baking anything other than cupcakes....& these cranberry muffins.  Mainly because they're so easy & delicious.  Every Thanksgiving & Christmas I make these for my family in NY, & take some back to Boston & throw them in my freezer.  Pop one in the microwave for 20 seconds & it gives me a little taste of home :) Enjoy!

Cranberry Muffins / Cake
3 eggs
2 c sugar
3/4 c softened butter
1 tsp almond extract
2 c flour
2 1/2 c fresh or frozen cranberries ( I prefer one bag of Ocean Spray fresh cranberries!)

- In mixing bowl, beat eggs with sugar until slightly thickened & light in color (~5 minutes)
- Add in butter & almond extract, beat for 2 minutes..
- Stir in flour until combined
- Fold in cranberries
- Drop batter into greased muffin lid pan (**batter does not rise too much, so fill muffin cups / muffin lid pan / bread pan generously!**)
- Bake at 350 degrees for ~20 minutes (muffin lid pan) 45-50 minutes in a baking pan.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more! - How the Grinch Stole Christmas

I have found that the holidays are often more stressful than intended.  Buying gifts, cramming work into shorter work weeks, decorating, baking, hosting parties...it can add a little stress to ones life!  Here are a few tips & ideas I have pulled out of my pocket to keep me sane:

What to serve at a holiday party? Beer & wine just don't seem to cut it.  Make an easy festive holiday drink - the Poinsettia Cocktail! This easy champagne cocktail is perfect for any holiday party.  Remember, with any champagne cocktail to mix all of the ingredients then add the champagne just before serving.


1/2 oz Cointreau
3 oz Cranberry juice
Champagne / Prosecco

  1. Chill all of the ingredients beforehand.
  2. Pour the Cointreau & cranberry juice into a chilled champagne flute
  3. Top with champagne

How to look festive without over doing it in a pinch? A little red nail polish & or red lipstick goes a long way.  My picks for this holiday season:

OPI Vodka & Caviar nailpolish & MAC Ruby Woo lipstick
OPI Vodka & Caviar -- MAC Ruby Woo

Asked to bring an appetizer & don't have time to prepare one?  Again, I must give credit to MimiBlanca for this one, I love this recipe - & without fault, I bring it to every gathering.  Brie Cheese in Phyllo dough cups with *real* maple syrup.

- 1 pkg frozen phyllo cups (25 ct usually to a pkg)
- brie cheese
- real maple syrup

- slice brie cheese into cubes
- place cube(s) into phyllo cups
- bake at 350 degrees until brie has softened
- drizzle maple syrup over brie into cups & serve!

I hope all of you enjoy a stress-free pleasant holiday season :)

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I know I have blogged about Tim Walker photography before, but the man deserves more than just one post.  He is genius...& creative / unique / captivating. One bookshelf must for me :

I would love to have the opportunity to meet this man in person.  His creativity & the ability of his pictures to evoke curiosity in the viewer has ensured he will not go unnoticed. 


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Giftguide: Part Deux

I love this time of year. As much as I love shopping for myself, I like shopping for others even more.  This year, I'm a little late in the game - but not for lack of perusing! Below are more of my 2010 finds.

1. Bobbi Brown Lipgloss ($20) in the best color I've ever seen: {Buff}  The consistency resembles MAC lipglass, but in a perfect nude shade.  I hope I find this at the bottom of my stocking!

2. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Edition Dictionary ($138.99) in genuine goatskin leather. I love the metallic white gold.  I think the perfect home for this is right on my bookcase!

3. Club Monaco started selling the "Library" line of Paddywax candles, & I must say, they're worth.every.penny. I particularly loved the Edgar Allen Poe scent ($25), but the Jane Austen scent was just as wonderful.

4. Ben's Garden Antique Estate Key Glass Necessity Tray ($64). I fell in love with Ben's Garden glass trays after seeing them in a little antique shop in my hometown.  The perfect catch-all tray for a mother, colleague, or boss.

5. Also from Ben's Garden - this slightly larger glass tray depics a map of one of my favorite summer spots, Cape Cod, MA. Vintage Cape Cod Glass Tray ($74)

6. For the entertainer in your life, a relatively inexpensive plum&gold rectangle lacquer tray from Caspari.  The tray is 14" x 19" perfect atop a ottoman, or to serve drinks off of & is a steal at only $30!

7. I love tartan patterned anything, & I love a man wearing a nice scarf.  This is the best of both worlds :) Barbour® Merino/Cashmere Tartan Scarf ($79) Tartan plaid will always be a classic, perfect for any man in your life any age!

8. The best product since sliced bread. Seriously.  Aigle Jumping Boots ($189). These boots are handcrafted in France with the look of leather with the functionality of rubber, including a 100% waterproof, oblique cut topline. How amazing are these?!  Looking like a chic riding boot, but acting like an all-weather rain boot. These blow those clunky Hunter boots right out of the water if you ask me.

9. One of many Graphic Image products that I love.  Apparently I'm into white gold metallic products, if I had an ipad - I would want this Monogrammed Case for Ipads ($135)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I love shopping at Anthropologie - not only does the store transform any poor mood of mine into a fabulous one, but I could get lost in their home decor & knick-nacs section for hours.  On one particular display of books, I picked up the Fortune Telling Birthday Book - & flipped through to find mine. (Please excuse crappy blackberry pic)  I was shocked at how dead on it was. 

Barnes & Noble $8.95

Could it be that who we become is predetermined by our birthdays? Make note I'll be purchasing this book for my bookcase (that is currently in design stages).

I obviously had to have this for my bookcase too. A chic new twist on the old Alice in Wonderland cover!

Clothbound Peguin Classics - Alice In Wonderland $20

Many others to choose from as well - popping up in stores everywhere.  I noticed these in Club Monaco as well. The linen cases stamped with great colorful patterns make these books impossible not to buy.

Penguin Clothbound Classics

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pleasantly Surprised!

A few weeks back, a girlfriend of mine blogged about her experiences cooking with spaghetti squash.  I am a huge pasta lover - so I became instantly fascinated with the idea of eating a vegetable that mimics my favorite carbohydrate! I decided to follow Meghan's instructions for cooking the squash, and just substitute it for the pasta in an easy favorite (& inexpensive) recipe of mine.  The results were unbelievable.  I honestly will sub pasta for this squash quite frequently in the future. 

Chicken Pesto "Pasta"

1 spaghetti squash
1/2 C pesto
1 pkg stir fry chicken
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 small can evaporated milk
Parmesan cheese

I cut the squash in half & placed it cut-side down on a greased baking sheet - baking it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Defrosted half a cup of pesto my mom had made a few weeks back on the side.  Sauteed one small package of chicken strips (seasoned lightly). Shredded the chicken strips & placed them along with the pesto into a sauce pot over low heat.  Added one can of diced tomatoes (I prefer the ones with basil), one small can of evaporated milk & let the sauce simmer.  Removed the squash from the oven & ran a fork through it creating spaghetti strands.  Added strands to the sauce, tossed with grated Parmesan cheese & serve!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Life In A Playlist

One of life's smallest pleasures is turning on the radio & hearing a song that brings you right back to a moment in time.  You instantly remember who you were with, the feeling you had, & the memories associated with it.  I love that! Opening the floodgates & going right back.  When you're out with girlfriends & the dj plays a song that reminds all of you of when you shared an apartment, played the song on repeat, shared each others clothes, & giggled all the time.  That right there my friends, is life&love at its finest.  I've done my best to create a playlist of those songs in my life.  The ones that send me back in time to relive goodtimes & badtimes in an instant.

While I'd love to post photos of my friends & I back-in-the-day-buffet when we acutally listened to each of the songs, they'd probably have my head on a platter if I ever shared them with the public.

“How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” - Dr Seuss

I can wholeheartedly say I have no idea where 2010 went.  Last time I checked, it was April. I must have been hiding under a rock because December has crept up on this year like never before.  Thankfully I am confident in saying I never stopped to think what time of year it was because I was having so much fun.  Not too many complaints about this year! I mean I didn't win the lottery, Jason Statham & Jake Gyllenhaal still haven't called me but oh well..

Here are some of my favorite things from 2010!

Ombré.  Total sucker for it. Ombré shirts, ombré hair, ombré dresses.

Chain strap bags. The return of the classic Chanel style!

Faux fur PETA-friendly VESTS!

The long-awaited return of leopard

Ankleee length trousers!  Hellooo fashionable highwaters.

Jeggings.  They're comfortable, fit in boots better, & maintain their shape. 

Blazers, blazers, blazers...

Victoria Beckham's dress collection:

 Flannel. Comfort chic

Fedoras.  This spring I bought a straw fedora from BananaRepublic - & lived in it all summer.  Tshirt, yoga pants, hair in a braid & my fedora.  They're just so darn fedorable ;)

Any trends from 2010 leave you with a warm&fuzzy feeling?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


...Is KiLLiNG it this season.  For starters, everytime I visit their Newbury St. store, it's packed. I now only visit the store between 10 a.m. & 11 a.m. or from 1p.m. to 3p.m. on weekdays.  Unfortunately for those of you who don't live close to a Zara you're out of luck as you cannot shop on their website. It bothers me that Zara & Club Monaco products aren't offered online.  Boo to that. 

Anywho! Moving on to a number of things that caught my eye the other day while I perused the luxe 2-story Zara in Boston :)

I'm not sure if I am allowed to buy another black ankle boot this year - but if I were I would be purchasing this one.

Ankle Boot with Elastic

Now on the other hand..I do not own a pair of leopard ankle boots YET. I'm obsessed with these.
Leopard Ankle Boot 

 The Flat Sole Musketeer Boot. The name alone makes me laugh & the color makes me drool!

Flat Sole Musketeer Boot
Sooo fancy!
Silk Printed Tunic
...& for my winter obsession: Ankle.Length.Trousers. I had to have them & I plan on wearing them...everywhere.

Tweed Trousers
Here are more looks from Zara I am in complete admiration over. (& I LOVE the model's red lipstick):

Designer Crush: Pamela Love

I stumbled upon jewelry designer Pamela Love's collection & instantly felt that tingly 'love at first sight' feeling with two of her pieces.  A little on the pricier side..but nontheless unique & definitely statement pieces.  Behold, the Talon Cuff & Wrap Rope Ring

Talon Cuff $1,000 - $1,250

Wrap Rope Ring $520
The rest of her unique collection can be found here

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You can mess with a lot of things, but you can't mess with kids on Christmas - Kevin McCallister

I am a big fan of giftguides.  I always strive to get someone a gift that they will not only love, but also rave about.  You don't have to spend half your paycheck to get a great gift - there are some great products out there for everyone in your life at a reasonable price! Most magazines & department stores have guides on their websites as well as in print - I highly recommed perusing them. Below I've created my own "gift guide" (my christmas wishlist mixed with a few of my favorite products) Happy Holidays & Happy Shopping!

I love movies from my childhood (I swear they just don't make 'em like they used to!!)...& am glad I can now buy them on DVD to watch whenever I want.  Currently on my list to acquire: Home Alone 1&2, Hocus Pocus, & Drop Dead Fred.  CLASSICS!

Home Alone (1990) DVD $15.99
I'm in the market for a timeless, classic wallet.  I love this quilted leather Tory Burch wallet in red..or black...
Tory Burch Quilted Wallet $195

Brocade home now sells duvet covers, shams, & pillows.  Woohoo! :) Best of all, they're reasonably priced! 

Brocade Home Champagne Damask Lace Duvet $139 - $159
Aubergine Moroccan Duvet

Who could go wrong with giving the gift of David Yurman?  Current / future boyfriends, fiances, & husbands take note.... you can never go wrong with David Yurman.

David Yurman Large Oval Link Chain Bracelet $295

I adore the tartan scottish print of the MAC travel brushes case... Perfect stocking stuffer for any woman, any age.

M.A.C. A Tartan Tale 'Sweep Me Off My Feet' Sweep & Define Brush Bag, $49.50

Sephora sells a limited selection of mini rollerball perfumes - perfect to throw in a purse on the go, & small enough to bring in flight!  Lucky for me, my new personal scent is offered in a rollerball.  Warning: a little of this Chloe' perfume goes a loooooong way.
Chloe' Rollerball Perfume $25
Hoping in the year 2011 I will transform into an organized person. (This coming from the girl who LIVES for her outlook calendar). I may just make a new years resolution to keep my appts and to-do's neatly written down in this chic leather planner that will fit perfectly in my LV.  Just maybe.

Kate's Paperie 2011 Daily Planner $35

Perfect for the girl who works a 9-5.  Realizing I spend majority of my waking hours at my desk in Boston...I need to invest in one of these Jonathan Adler desk calendars.  Quick & inexpensive way to brighten someone's day & simultaneously spark their memory of you every time they look at the date :)

Jonathan Adler 2011 Desk Calendar $10

The best makeup set I have purchased in my 25 years on this planet.  I use each & every product included in the set.  I have brown eyes, but prefer plum tones to bring out the color of my eyes, so I bought the Hazel Eyes set pictured below.   

Smashbox Master's CLASS: Ultimate Eyes $59 

Monogrammed stationary - a must.  I write quite a few thank you notes to managers, mentors, friends, & family throughout the year, so in my opinion this is a timeless gift.  The stationary below was found on Etsy, though I also recommend checking out Horchow.com
50 Monogrammed Note Cards & Envelopes $40

As you can see, I'm on a big monogrammed gift kick.  I love opening a gift that I not only love, but also has been tailored to be for me. I would love this hanging over my desk. Jack&Lulu offers different monogramming styles as well as background patterns. Even better - for only $50 it comes matted & framed.

Jack & Lulu Framed & Matted Monogram Wallart $50

Still on the monogramming kick ... these aprons are actually a great heavyweight cotton & perfect for any chef.  I have ruined more cardigans & blouses by not wearing an apron when cooking...
Williams Sonoma Logo Apron $19
I struggle to buy gifts for people who have everything.  I've been told I fall into that category.  If you're struggling to buy me a gift - these simple handblown Ikea vases are amazing!
Ikea Salong Vase $10 & $5
Toms.  One simple word that signifies such a great cause and inspiring story.   Their story is based upon the slogan of "One For One".  For every one pair of TOMS bought, a pair will be donated to a child in need.  Story aside, they're incredibly comfortable.  I bought the pair below while on vacation in Sonoma, CA & have worn them everywhere.  They are sold in various fabrics, patterns, & colors  - & are truly far more comfortable than any flipflop or converse sneaker.  I love the bright orange shoe with a great pair of dark wash ankle length jeans. The best gift is a gift that gives back.
TOMS $48

Bloomingdales Holiday Gift Guide
InStyle Gift Guide

Happy Shopping!
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