Perfectly Primped Present Gift Guide

Holiday shopping has officially begun, because why would you focus on spending a nice time with your family on Thanksgiving whilst reflecting on how lucky you are, when you could be aggressively tackling people in stores in hopes of getting the best deal? God Bless America.

For us girls, we usually are saavy and resourceful when it comes to making or buying gifts for our husbands, boyfriends, brothers and fathers. Men tend to have a more difficult time because “those two dresses look exactly the same” and “there is just so much stuff in this store.” I hear you, gentlemen. If you’re a little overwhelmed as to what to purchase for your female family members or friends, hopefully this guide will help.

1. Anastasia Beverly Hills Create your Own Eyeshadow Palette ($40-$70)

Anastasia Beverly Hills has been making a name for themselves not just in the brow department, but in the cosmetic industry as a whole. Create a custom 4-well or 8-well eyeshadow palette (Yes, YOU pick the shades!) so your special girl can look extra special every day with the colors you chose for her. A personalized touch makes a gift more meaningful. Definitely but some nudes and browns in there so she can utilize the palette every day!

2. Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Repair and Lift Gift Set ($62)

If you’re shopping for a mother or grandmother, they will tell you that good skincare and moisturizer is the key to a youthful glow. The skin experts, Clinique, have this fabulous and new gift set that contains some of their best anti-aging and repair products.

3. NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette ($65)

For any girl who loves a good glow, the NARS Virtual Domination palette is a total steal. The brand’s famous Laguna bronzer is almost a full-size pot in this all-in-one palette. Tack on 3 gorgeous blushes(a powdery pink, a shimmery rose coral, and a hot coral) for any time of year  and a sparkly highlighter that resembles champagne, and you have half your makeup bag in one place. This palette is limited edition, so any girl lucky enough to get this will certainly get envy from her friends months later when these babies are all gone.

Photo credit: sephora.com

Photo credit: sephora.com

5. Josie Maran Cleanse and Nourish Argan Duo ($32)

Perfect for the winter months ahead, this argan oil duo will hydrate and love skin like no other. Josie Maran is infamous for her argan oil products, specifically her cleansing oil. Don’t be fooled – women and men with oily or combination skin can use argan oil products too. Even if your skin isn’t dry you still need to hydrate and cleanse. This duo is perfect for moms or grandmothers and really any woman who is serious about skincare.

6. Drybar Gift Certificate (any amount, but $40 gets you a blowout)

When in doubt get a giftcard, but not just any giftcard. Drybar gives its guests champagne and the royal treatment when you go in for a blowout. Give her some well-deserved pamper time – it’s what we all want.

Pro Probiotics: Food Product Review

Probiotics. They say they’re good for you and that they help prevent yeast infections in women, aid in digestion, and promote a healthy body overall. But, what ARE they exactly?

In a nutshell, probiotics are microorganisms (yes, they are alive and yes, that is a little freaky when you think about it) that serve as good bacteria in your digestive tract and can also aid in making your immune system stronger. Scientists are still sorting out exactly what probiotics do, but it has been decided that they do more good than harm, if any.

You can generally find probiotics in yogurt, but if you are lactose-free then a really yummy and easy way to get your daily dose of probiotics is by having a serving of Green Valley Organics’ Kefir. It is Lactose-Free, Certified Organic and Humane, and is gluten-free. Not to mention it also tastes like liquid yogurt, or a really smooth creamy smoothie. The Blueberry Pomegranate Acai is my personal favorite. The sugar content is a little high, but most flavored dairy products have a decent amount of sugar in them so unless you get the Plain flavor this is unavoidable.

People who suffer from IBS have said that a daily intake of probiotics has helped relieve their issues, and women who are prone to yeast infections have been shown to have less of them when consuming probiotics daily. If you have either of these concerns or you just want to start eating healthier, definitely try this delicious drink.

You can currently find Green Valley Organics’ products at Whole Foods Markets.

Quilt Trip

If you live on planet Earth, you’ve probably noticed the latest winter accessories trend, quilting. Quilting isn’t a new concept or detail (in fact it was reportedly a trend in Fall 2013), but lately it seems as if it may be for the variations and styles it presents are anything but typical. Boots, coats, handbags, clutches all have quilting, which adds a new texture and a little bit of a bad-ass vibe with a hint of classic taste. Here are some items that I personally would sport during the winter season…and maybe spring too. 1. MICHAEL by Michael Kors Lizzie boot I know, I know. MK is everywhere and I kind of hate it. MK is the new old Coach…get it? Despite my strange distaste for the brand and the blind brand followers, I can’t help but actually like some of the pieces from the collections. These boots caught my eye because not only do they seem durable, but the gold toggle detail goes along nicely with the quilted shaft.

2. Any Quilted Leather Jacket Just ordered one from Forever 21 the other day, because a mid-twenties girl like myself is on a budget and believes that its not what you wear but how you wear it. Shout out to my main go-to Target! Anyway, Cara Delevigne sports her infamous 6 billion dollar (joking…) Burberry quilted/textured leather jacket, and everyone just HAS to get one too to compliment their bushy brows. I can dig it.

3. This sweatshirt from Target This Mossimo sweatshirt is casual, but gives a little edge to your usually boring sweatshirt and jeans weekend attire. Unfortunately, this item is no longer on Target.com, but I’m sure you determined shoppers can find a similar item out there. Monique from casuallychicbymonique.com wears it perfectly with this tweed mini skirt and shows that this is one item that can swing both ways. Pair it with leather leggings for a biker babe look, or prep it up with a skirt.

4. A Quilted baby clutch Stop thinking practically – you CANNOT bring gum to the bar tonight because it doesn’t fit in your clutch. That’s when you know your clutch is cuter than a baby rhino…alright, maybe not that cute. Despite the small size, these really do just look adorable and formal with any outfit. Make it quilted, and voila, a baby wannabe Chanel bag. In all seriousness though, these are great for going out for a night on the town and really have become a classic staple in any formal or not so formal nighttime look.

Photo credit: http://www.oasap.com/

Photo credit: http://www.oasap.com/

5. Ann Taylor Quilted Skirt For all the professional women out there, you know that Ann Taylor is one of the stops on your route for office clothing shopping. If you’re petite like me, you also are probably obsessed with AT’s selection. This quilted skirt is not only sexy, but 100% appropriate for the office. The perfect choice to go from work to happy hour.

5. A Quilted Coat If i had a million dollars, I would drop $800 of it on this DVF coat and then proceed to take off the fox fur and replace it with faux fur. Despite the dead animal on the hood, I love the cinched waist, length and design of the entire coat. It is easy enough to find a similar version, but this one really caught my eye.

Restaurant Rave: Hundred Acres

Although the name sounds like it might be one of a Winnie the Pooh themed children’s store, the atmosphere and food at Hundred Acres are sophisticated and welcoming to those of all ages.

Right on the corner of MacDougal and Prince, Hundred Acres is in the prime location for any Soho/Village brunch goers and only a 2 minute walk from the Spring Street subway station.

Upon arrival, I immediately fell in love with the quaint flower boxes hung outside the restaurant’s windows. The old wooden doors and dark molding outside reminded me that I was indeed near Soho. Everything unique and anything but modern.

Once seated inside, our server Michelle recommended the Meatballs and Grits and the Beignets, which we ordered despite almost everything on the menu looking appetizing. Thank goodness we took her recommendations seriously because this food was outstanding.

I have been to New Orleans and have eaten their cuisine. My mouth still waters every time I think of the beignets at the infamous Cafe du Monde. But, these Ricotta Beignets, which are drizzled with honey and lightly dusted with powdered sugar really may be better…please don’t be offended if you are an avid Cafe du Monde fan. The golden crisp shell, which contained just the right amount of sweet honey, was enough to make me love these beignets. But, it is what is on the inside that counts, right? “Welcome to heaven,” a voice said from the sky as I bit into the beignet and moist doughy goodness filled my mouth. The inside was not bread-like, but not like cake either. It was as if pastry dough and ricotta and clouds had a baby. A perfect baby.

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Moving onto the Meatballs and Grits. Again, home run. The warm grits sat beneath a delicious and slightly spicy tomato sauce with mini salty meatballs, which sat beneath sunny-side up eggs. A true ladder of success. So much flavor and colors in one dish makes me very happy. “I could definitely eat another one of these right now,” my friend said as she finished her plate. I think that about sums it up.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

I only ordered 2 of the sparking acres cocktail, but it was the perfect citrus drink you crave at brunch. The color is also lovely to look at. Definitely recommend if you like Bellinis and a little bit of a sweet flavor.

image3 (1)

October Wish List

Happy October 1st! Just 2 more days away from when Aaron Samuels will ask you what day it is.

Even though Autumn technically began last week, I now officially feel like it is here due to the weather. Just a few days ago it was 80 and sunny in NY, and now it is overcast and rainy and perfect for all things Pumpkin Spice.

Now that I’m in the fall spirit, I made a wish list of things that I hope to get my hands on this fall.

1. Tarte’s maracuja oil. This has been raved about across the board and is said to actually work. I find that many “oils” that aren’t pure and from makeup brands tend to just be gimmicks, but this seems promising to give my skin that radiance it needs in the gloomy months to come.

photo credit: ulta.com

photo credit: ulta.com

2. LORAC Pro Palette. This is not cruelty-free…but I cannot resist the STUNNING array of colors this palette offers. Sable looks especially perfect for fall.

3. David Yurman X Crossover Ring with Gold. This ring has nothing to do with fall, but I have had my eyes on it for a while now. Maybe I’ll be able to take the plunge and splurge a little before 2015!

4. Faux Leather pants. I ordered a pair from Forever 21 and they’re not terrible but the fit is off. That’s what you get for spending $25 on a pair of pants! I hope I can invest in a better quality pair to amp up my wardrobe for the fall.

5. Marc Fisher Peddle Shooties. These shoes are perfect, just perfect. The perforated detail is different while still being classic. I plan on wearing these with my faux leather pants or with skinny jeans. You can even wear them with a dress to work or dinner. Worth every penny.

Photo credit: macys.com

Photo credit: macys.com

6. Black Shift Dress. I have been dying for a black shift dress that can serve as the laid back version of a LBD. Day or night these can work with almost anything at anytime. Channel an “Audrey Hepburn style” by wearing your hair in a tight bun and adding ballet flats, or add a leather jacket and biker boots for a whole new look.

Photo credit: us.asos.com

Photo credit: us.asos.com

Recipe: Super Simple Apple Crumble

apple crisp

I’m not a great cook or baker, but once in a while inspiration strikes me and I attempt to make something decently edible and delicious. I recently went apple picking and have had a scrumptious basket of apples sitting in my dining room for a couple of weeks. I can’t let perfectly good food go to waste, so I decided to make a super easy apple crumble. I stumbled upon a few recipes that took over an hour to make, and that just won’t do. I need something quick and simple so I can easily memorize it and do it without glancing at the recipe every 2 minutes. I hope all you wannabe chefs that don’t want to put in too much effort enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

Ingredients:

5-6 large apples (I used macintosh, but you can use any apples you like or mix them up)

3/4 cup flour

6-7 tbsp butter, cold (use 7 tbsp if the apples are especially large)

1 tbsp cinnamon

6 tbsp sugar

1 lemon, squeezed

1/3 cup brown sugar (I used a little more)

Vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and core the apples and chop into medium bite-size pieces.

Put 3 tbsp of the sugar and the apples in a large saucepan over medium heat. Coat the apples in the sugar and mix gently for about 10 minutes, until apples begin to soften. Once done, set aside.

Combine flour, cinnamon and the rest of the sugar (3 tbsp) into a bowl. Cut up the 6-7 tbsp of butter into medium pieces and mix into bowl with dry ingredients using your hands. Break apart butter in the dry ingredients to create a crumble consistency. Add more butter if needed.

Pour lemon juice from the lemon over the apples and place apples evenly in a baking dish.

Coat the apples with the dry mixture then add the brown sugar on top, evenly covering the apples.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove carefully and serve immediately with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Add cinnamon on top if you prefer the taste.

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Voila! Simple, and easy apple crumble in under an hour!

Doughnut Domination

Am I the only one who has noticed a recent and slight obsession across social media with doughnuts? I have no idea why, and I’m certainly not saying it is a bad thing, but it is nothing else but very random. Call it fatass fashion or the perfect combination of primped and peckish, or just the domination of the doughnuts. God Bless America.

I have seen this doughnut float EVERYWHERE on Instagram, and while it is pretty cute, it makes me hungry just looking at it. Not really helpful when you have to be on it in a swimsuit. Find it at UO here.

Photo Credit: Urban Outfitters

Photo Credit: Urban Outfitters

 

Every doughnut shirt on Forever 21’s website is sold out…except this one (which will probably be sold out in 3 minutes).

 

Let’s not forget the new chic hairstyle that is perfect for a non-wash day – the hair doughnut bun. So cute, so classic, so…I’m really hungry now.

hairdonut

Phone cases are the new handbag – every girl has to have one and it actually has a practical purpose. While a purse protects and hold all your unnecessary completely necessary things (such as bobby pins, almonds, clear nail polish and 90 lbs of Advil), your phone case protects and holds your phone in an expressive way. Why not make a statement with your phone case that says, “I like to eat, and not just eat, but eat doughnuts.” You’re so deep.

Photo credit: etsy.com - theSugarloafBoutique

Photo credit: etsy.com – theSugarloafBoutique

 

Another top that I admit is actually pretty cute. I Heart Doughnuts<3

Photo credit: http://www.tillys.com

Photo credit: http://www.tillys.com

And finally, go big or go home. Eat a doughnut and be happy because your diet starts never tomorrow. Photos by me, and yes I actually ate these delicious devils.  (rebeccajk_ on Instagram)

donut

 

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Restaurant Rave: Toast

If you were introducing someone to Long Island and wanted to show them all the great spots and towns the island has to offer, put Port Jefferson on the list of stops. While it is not the upscale Hamptons, the offbeat  hispter Brooklyn, or even the quaint eastern vineyards,  it offers some fantastic food and a great place to just  “chill out” near the water. Anyone who lives on the North Shore of the island will certainly tell you that it’s a popular choice for any summer day outing.

That brings us to the restaurants in Port Jefferson. Some are nothing worth bragging about, but others have established  a solid reputation. Being near the water, most restaurants pride themselves on their fish dishes whether its tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes or just some classic fish n’ chips. Toast, which is on East Main Street, doesn’t really hang with the beachy fish restaurant crowd. They offer a consistently good, unique bunch and lunch place in which the food speaks for itself.

Be warned, when deciding to go to Toast know there will be a wait. There’s always a wait. Once seated in the small restaurant that features local, unknown artists’ work on the walls (on sale for high prices, I may add), you get to decide between 30 options on what you’d like to order. And yes, that is the number you will narrow it down to. Want an omelette? Sure! But, they all look good…Want a burger? You got it, but once again you’re leaning towards more than one option. I chose the Hamptons Ham and Brie wrap because brie is freaking fancy and I heard someone else behind me order it. I really just needed any reason to decide as the waiter approached the table. My fellow diner ordered the jalapeno chicken burger and the table near us ordered 900 bellinis.

When my wrap came I ate really quickly because I was hungry, but also because the slightly salty ham, creamy brie and crunchy lettuce with its honey mustard vinaigrette were just making my taste buds crave more and more by the second.

Oh, the fries were also AWESOME. You know sometimes when fries are just OK? I’ts one of the worst letdowns in the world. Fries are delicious and we expect them to be all the time. When they’re not its as if you went to a party hoping to see someone and then find out they’re not there. Yeah, you’re still at a party, but who the hell cares at that point. At Toast, my friend I was dying to see was there. And in my mouth constantly. That sounds really bad…let’s just move on.
ToastwrapI really wanted to order dessert, but I’m fake dieting again so I didn’t. (Got a Starbucks frap later on.) The total came to about $14 with tip, which is a little much but I also was really full after eating the entire majority of the wrap and plate small helping of fries. Toast is a great place for a group or date where one or two people may be picky. It’s also super kid-friendly, which is a great thing for families and a bad thing for everyone else.

 

 

 

Restaurant Rave: Sweet Green

“Meet me at Sweet Green. It’s like Chipotle for salads,” my friend texted me around lunch time, immediately sparking my interest by comparing our soon-to-be meeting spot to the nothing-less-than-perfect Chipotle. Let’s get one thing straight: I LOVE Chipotle and anything in the same realm of deliciousness is something I naturally feel inclined to try.

I approached the corner of this potential heaven and saw that it was fairly crowded. Despite the inside looking like a worker bee hive,  the line moved fast, which made Sweet Green an extremely appealing option for busy bees in the area.

Choosing between the slightly unusual but intriguing premade salad options and the “make your own” one was a little overwhelming, as you are hurried along the line and forced to make your decision promptly. As a slightly frantic and last minute decision, I chose the Kale Caesar salad (pictured below), which proved to be quite delicious.

Sitting outside in the hot sun, I was refreshed by the local, crisp kale and creamy dressing. The cheesy bits were yummy, but a little strong and frankly made me feel like I would suffer from heartburn if any more of them were piled into my bowl. Despite their unwelcomed presence, they did work well as a flavor component.

Honestly, it was not the best salad I’ve ever had, yet I appreciate the attempt at using all local ingredients. You can taste the difference, and you feel charitable knowing you’re supporting local farms.

Good news for anyone outside NYC: Sweet Greens has locations in Maryland, Pennsylvania, DC, Massachusetts and Virginia.

If you become addicted, like many have, make sure you download their rewards app. Upon downloading, you get $5 towards your next purchase and rack up rewards points with every scan. Talk about getting some sweet green.

 

sweetgreen