Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cheese Plate 101

I don't claim to know much. I'm still trying to figure out my strengths at 27 (I get to say that for one more week). But if there is one thing I do know, it's cheese. I have always loved cheese. Not string cheese, kraft singles, and shredded stuff in a bag. I'm talking delicious, artisinal cheese. Growing up my family even referred to our house staple cheese (Port Salut) as "Ali Cheese," and now my boyfriend even calls it that.

One invaluable skill every gal should know is how to curate the perfect cheese plate. It's great for easy entertaining, the perfect accompaniment to a wine night in, and is hands down the best no cook meal out there. Here is my formula for the quintessential cheese platter to please any palate:

soft cheese + hard cheese + aged cheese + blue =  cheese plate perfection

{personal favorites: triple cream brie, manchego, sharp white cheddar, cashel blue }

Now, once you have the cheeses down you can get creative with accoutrements. I like to throw in some charcuterie (prosciutto, spicy sopresata, or coppa), something sweet like a jam or decadent truffled honey, a crunchy element like marcona almonds, and something briney like olives (non pitted). Pair this with some good crusty bread and thin crisp crackers and you're on your way to elegant eats. 

image via honestly yum

Monday, October 28, 2013

Glass half full

Happy Monday! I'm trying to start this week (and hopefully every week) on a positive note. So much of our attitudes/perspective comes from our thoughts so lets keep said thoughts good, light-hearted, and positive. I hope everyone has a great week!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekly Wants

Weekly Wants

cowhide // coasters // pillow // antler // french press // book ends

Happy Friday! I'm signing off for the weekend, but had to share some glitzy goodness for the home with you. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Button Up Baby

Winter Wonderland

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

It's officially getting cold in DC and usually I drag my feet on getting myself ready for colder temperatures, but I am actually looking forward to revamping my cold weather attire. I have Fur Fever badly (faux is perfectly lovely too)! I am ordering this fur scarf and Ted Baker ear muffs ASAP to start the process. I was practical last year and bought a down knee-length coat (it's not a puffy nightmare I swear) which is so great, but I would kill for this fuchsia wool coat... it would be absolutely dreamy with black pants and leopard pumps. I have been on the hunt for the perfect faux vest since last year, and I am pretty sure I have to have this one. Add a pair of lady-like gloves to top it all off and I'm buttoned up in style!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekend Looks

Weekend Looks

sweater // jeans // studs // snood // lip tint // bag // booties
blouse // coated jeans // pumps // lipstick // necklace // studs // clutch

I have a hard time coming up with outfits on the fly. Usually, I will just end up wearing the same outfit or similar style when pressed for time. So in the spirit of looking more put together, I put together two easy, polished looks for day to night. Each piece, to me, is so versatile and that makes them even more appealing.

What are your go-to's for easy outfit coordination?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lazy Day to Cozy Night

Lazy Day to Cozy Night

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 

With all the travel and hectic schedules I've had lately, I'm really relishing the days that turn into nights where I have nothing I have to do. Since lounging at home is becoming more of a preference, I've been thinking there's no reason not to be stylish and comfortable for those lazy days in. I can picture curling up with a cup of tea, that gorgeous throw, and diving into a new book or watching an entire series on Netflix. Just because I live in an apartment doesn't mean I have to forgo that comforting fireplace crackle and scent. I can just light a WoodWick fireside candle and I'm exactly where I want to be. How do you like to spend your lazy days in?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Currently Obsessed With

Layering Mascara

I don't fuss too much with makeup on a day to day basis. I pretty much swipe mascara on, conceal any imperfections that are very visible and get out the door. I have to admit though I do have a major jealous streak when it comes to women with full lashes. I have nice long lashes, but like my hair, they have zero volume. I've tried every kind of mascara out there promising better results than all the others, but they all have fallen flat.

So a few weeks ago while I was bored in my hotel room I started looking on Pinterest for different celebrity beauty secrets. I stumbled upon Carrie Underwood's mascara routine, and was pleasantly surprised. Of course for stage events she wears falsies, but for everyday Carrie stated that she layered three different mascaras to achieve the same look. Well I only had two with me, but the three coat layer technique did the trick! My lashes were full, long, and more dramatic than ever before without the dreaded tarantula look. 

I have been layering my mascara for a few weeks now, and I am hooked. I use CoverGirl Clump Crusher, Maybelline Falsies, followed by another coat of Clump Crusher to achieve my look. My advice would be to put on a defining, lengthening mascara first then a volumizer, followed by a third coat of defining to get rid of any clumping. Hope you like your results as much as I do!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekend Wants

Happy Friday! Usually I do a Weekly Wants post, but this week really all I want is the weekend to be here. I don't have any set plans other for a dinner reservation tonight and I couldn't be happier about that. The beau has been in San Fran all week so I intend to steal as much time as I can before he leaves on another work trip Sunday afternoon. My non-agenda agenda is a nice date night out, brunch, hopefully some apple picking and/or vineyard hopping, and a nice Sunday morning in bed. Any fun plans this weekend?

All images via Pinterest

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Pins I'm Loving

I've been falling in love with Pinterest all over again recently. There are just endless pretty pictures, DIYs, recipes, and general inspiration to be had. So today I wanted to share what I'm loving on Pinterest lately. I'd love more "Pin Pals" so check out my boards here, and send me your links so I can follow your boards too!

Beauty Loves

Recipe Love

House Love

All images are sourced from Pinterest. None are my own.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Light 'em Up


Jo Malone // Jonathan Adler // Voluspa // Archipelago // WoodWick // Rewined // Fresh // Tocca

Nothing, absolutely nothing, instantly lifts my spirits like a freshly lit candle. Not only does it fill the room with scent, but there is something homey and comforting about that little flickering light that puts me in a great mood. They are so many great fragrances out there, and in every imaginable price point, that there is no excuse not to fill your home with them. Candles instantly add the mood setting factor for a night in, offer great supplemental lighting for when you entertain, and fill your home with luscious scent (which for me is always a happy memory trigger). 

I love getting new candles, and tend to give them as gifts too. The ones I have pictured above are my favorite every day, seasonal, and floral scents. Do you have any favorites? I'm always on the hunt for new ones.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

You Need: Blouses

SIlk Blouse

Silk Blouse available here

If you're anything like me, you sometimes struggle with what to wear. I know that at 27 I probably shouldn't wear a sweatshirt and jeans for casual day to day, and I'm also aware that sometimes you need try a little harder than a cardigan and a cami. Even though I'm more fashion conscious these days, I still like to keep my comfort level high without being frumpy. Unlike many things in life, there is actually a cure-all to fill the comfortable, yet casual but can be dressed up needs of the modern lady. May I present to you the silk blouse. The one pictured is a gorgeous Equipment nude blouse that I could pair with a million things.

I say silk because it's a classic fabric that works well for pretty much everyone, but any type of flowy materialed blouse counts too (if it is synthetic just make sure it doesn't look cheap and you're good to go!). A soft, but structured shirt will take you from day to night, jeans to a skirt, and everywhere in between. These shirts look good by themselves, or accessorized with you favorite baubles. The possibilities with a good blouse are endless.

If silk or the style you like is out of your budget, try these awesome alternatives I stumbled upon at Express (I haven't been in there in years but these shirts fit like a dream, came in a dozen colors, and are wallet friendly at $50 a pop).  

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