Spring for prints.
When warm weather and sunshine rolls around, I love a good floral as much as the next gal, but this season, I find myself gravitating more towards an eye-catching print—whether it be floral or cat inspired. The more complementary color combinations involved, the better. And if it involves a novel idea (ombre heels, here’s looking at you Alice + Olivia), then all the better. Here are my picks:
1. Piamita for J. Crew Isabella shirt ($198, additional 50% off now!)
2. Parker Bayou maxi dress ($308)
3. Collective Concepts dress ($89)
4. Ann Taylor skirt ($89)
6. Alice + Olivia ombre pumps ($325)
What are some of your favorite prints?
I like people who have a sense of individuality. I love expression and anything awkward and imperfect, because that’s natural and that’s real.
--Marc Jacobs (via nofatnowhip)
As I’ve often mentioned on the blog, I am much more of a skincare person than a makeup person. Beautiful skin comes from within, and as cheesy as it sounds, Mom was right about this when I tried caking blue glitter eyeshadow on my lids circa the 7th grade: taking care of your skin is the best makeup you can have, especially when you’re young.
I’ve been a long time fan of the Shiseido Pureness line (which does great things for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin like mine). My favorites are the Pureness Deep Cleansing Foam, which I use twice daily with my trusty Clarisonic Mia. Followed up with the Pureness Balancing Softener and Shiseido Skincare Night Moisturizer (discontinued, but equally wonderful is the Pureness Mattifying Moisturizer). Once a week, I try to incorporate the Boscia Green Tea Mask (which is perfect for soaking up excess oil). Recently, I stopped by the Sephora store in search of a new toner/softener to replace my dwindling supply of Shiseido Pureness, and came back with the Caudalie Make-up Remover Cleansing Water, which serves a dual purpose, is refreshing and has a lovely citrus-y scent. I use Embryolisse’s Lait-Creme Concentrate during the winter especially when my chin and cheeks get very dry—it’s a light but rich cream that is slightly oily, but works wonders on dry skin.
When acne does come about and rears its ugly head with some post-acne scars, I like using Clinique’s Even Better Spot Corrector to even out skin tone. I don’t use makeup often, however, I do love a mascara and tinted moisturizer to provide some sun protection and even skin tone. A Sephora specialist recommended the Laura Mercier Oil-Free Tinted Moisturizer, and even tested it on me (it lasted the whole afternoon and kept me looking glowing and not shiny). Needless to say, that’s a new favorite.
What are your favorite skin-care tips? Any favorite go-to products?
Sunny days ahead and the slow signs of a much-welcomed summer means it’s time for a new pair of sunglasses, a cute new bikini, and all the stored away sundresses and pastels. To shorter work days, beaches, and an epic trip to Brazil lined up. TGFS (thank God for spring!!!!!)
Living out of a duffel bag for six weeks straight—RI, RI, Great Barrington, parent’s house, CT, CT, in that order—and almost zero physical exercise. Hotel gyms are so unreliable and the past weekend’s barre class proved just how out-of-shape I was.
And on top of the constant moving around, the lack of sleep, which is doing horrible things for the mood and skin.
…and speaking of a terrible mood, releasing my stresses on those who do not deserve them (my senior associate, my manager, my friends).
Sleeping through much of the weekend. Did I have some workpapers to sign off on that I told my senior I would? Sure. Might I have left the office a tad bit on the early side on Saturday? Yeah, maybe. But there comes a time during busy season when the realization hits that we’re not doctors, and a little relaxation, deserved or not, does more good than bad. Saturday evening, I took a stroll around the neighborhood, got to bed at 10 p.m. and slept for ten hours. Sunday: I finally got around to hanging up a print I had gotten for my new bedroom, shopped around on Newbury Street, got a pedicure, booked a summer trip to Brazil, and went to my first barre class. And the most relaxing day I’ve had since February 3rd when busy season started ended with a dinner of pasta and lobster ravioli with the boyfriend at Benevento’s, catching up on the week/weekend, and the funny antics he saw at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Southie.
A glass of sangria, also, does wonderful things.
February did some major calendar creeping this year, kind of like the feeling you’d get when you wake up an hour before your alarm, fall back asleep, only to be woken up a short while later, seemingly too soon (clearly we can see where my priorities are these days). I was so fortunate to have some my closest friends around me to celebrate my 23rd birthday in straight-up college fashion: pregame in a hotel room, post-game at Lucky’s Lounge on the Waterfront. Thank you everyone who makes this day a special one. I’m thankful for every year I have, and this year is no exception. xx
Yesterday, I got out of work early enough to see the last bits of daylight and the beautiful tailend of another winter storm from the hotel. Woke up this morning to sunshine and 48 degrees (heat wave!)….only to hear of more snow?? (?!?!???)
This winter has run me ragged. One more month and all I can think about is sunshine and shorter workdays. Any cures out there for the seasonal blues?
I’ve always had a fond appreciation for companies who incorporate passion and giving in their business models, and past the awkwardness of middle school, I’ve grown to love the look of glasses. Both roads intersected when (very) shortly after joining an accounting firm, I developed a need for a new pair of glasses. And there was only one place that came to mind to find the new specs: Warby Parker.
Warby Parker has been progressively featured in more and more top magazines, blogs, and newspapers as word tends to spread quickly about a hot, new, rapidly growing company. The concept is pretty similar to another one of my favorite brands, in that for each pair of glasses sold, WP gives a pair of glasses to someone in need. By multiplier factor alone, it’s the simplest way to give back, and clearly successful. The designs are sleek and simple, and the stores (if you have to chance to stop into one) are so friendly and open. After some deliberating and the helpful advice of one patient girlfriend, I decided on the Crane (in the ‘mallard green’ color above), which has gotten many compliments by itself.
Warby Parker has a location in Boston at 83 Newbury St.!
To those who do not know me well, I appear more calm about stresses than I let on. It’s definitely a coping mechanism of sorts—the “fake it ‘til you make it” mantra. When I traveled to Capri during my semester abroad a few years ago, we went cliff jumping. It was easily the most anticipated event of the day, and I’d talked my travel buddy’s ear off with how excited I was. Climbing up the actual cliff, though…that was a whole different story. Little flashes of my life fluttered across my conscience along with all worst-case-scenarios (landing on the jagged rocks, falling backwards off the cliff, drowning, landing in shallow water, claustrophobia, etc). I was so terrified on the way up and that was hardly alleviated by the fact that: 1) the cliff was only 50 feet high, and 2) the excitement of other cliff-jumpers, some of whom had so much fun the first time around, they came back for a second round. “You just have to go for it" had to be said several times before I actually gathered the courage to jump. But once I jumped and plopped into the water safely, I felt like God. So much fun! So free! “You just have to go for it!”
Yesterday, I moved into my first apartment. And while there is no real life-threatening scenarios applicable to that, it was a major life change that stressed me out no less than cliff-jumping in Capri. Little things like getting my couch up the stairs in the apartment kept me up at night. An impending trip to the RMV (to switch car registration) occupied much more space in my mind than it really deserved. Street parking gave me heart palpitations. I had contacted every friend I knew in the North End on moving tips. In retrospect, that was all wasted energy because the move went so smoothly, it could not have panned out better. With the help of my parents and some truly wonderful friends, I was moved in and settled in a handful of hours. The early afternoon also provided for some sunny and balmy winter weather, so beautiful we were able to make a trip to the rooftop patio for a break to enjoy the view.
I spent all day yesterday in the new place and any regrets I had about moving out of home home flitted away. With each passing hour, I began to see more and more of little flashes of the great memories that could be made in this apartment than of annoyances. It’s really just a leap of faith.
If you think of the great love stories—Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Gatsby—none of them end with the boy and girl kissing and riding off into the sunset. They all share a fundamental impossibility. It can never be, but wasn’t it grand to experience? Because the one thing about intense romantic love is, good or bad, you feel very, very alive.
--Baz Luhrmann, WSJ Magazine February 2014 columnist, on love.
Ode to Harmless Harvest.
Confession: if I’m not sick with the cold or flu, it’s pretty difficult for me to drink the daily recommended amount of water. You would think that, knowing H2O’s many benefits I’d gulp it down, but I’m picky with this kind of stuff: I like flavors. I like ice-cold, I like refreshing.
My sister has recently become obsessed with coconut water, but specifically the Harmless Harvest 100% Raw Coconut Water that, according to her, flies off the shelf at the Whole Foods in Union Square, even at it’s steep $5 per bottle price. I visited her a couple times the past summer in New York and this was all she had stocked in her fridge. Recently, I took to the habit and became hooked. It’s fresh (since its 100% raw coconut water and thus highly perishable), it’s cooling, and best of all: it’s thirst quenching. Last weekend, I came out of an intense 45-minute spin class at Sweat & Soul in Brookline dripping with sweat and basically dry heaving, chugged a bottle of this, and instantly felt 90% better. In the middle of drafting this post, my sister (ever the resourceful one) announced to me that Whole Foods is currently having a 2 for $5 sale on the Harmless Harvest coconut waters, so if there is ever a time to try this new phenomenon, it is now.
With each passing year, I’m getting to know myself better and better. Forget “working out more” or “eating healthier”….that was seldomly effective and rarely lasted past three weeks when I was a college student, let alone a working woman heading into her first busy season. So 2014 is the year I set realistic resolutions with (I’ll be honest) pretty lax restrictions…a lot of implied “may"s, "try"s, "perhaps.” Baby steps.
- Dine out less, but better
- Opt for more tea and water over coffee
- Learn to cook, and have a few recipes down pat
- Get rest as often as possible
- Opt out of purchasing coffee at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, etc. (in going over expenses, I calculated that I spent around $60 in a month on coffee…which is a nice dinner out in Boston that I had less money for)
- Forego a gym membership (I’ll never go) and attend barre/yoga/spin/cardio classes more often
- Plan and take a trip to an exotic international destination
- Explore one city in America I’ve never been to
- [And for all aspects of life]: quality over quantity.
What are some of your resolutions?…or better question…How are you sticking to them?
Splurge vs. Save?
The most pressing question on my mind is this: do I splurge a little on Pottery Barn’s classic 300-thread count sheets (free shipping! sale! monogram options!) or save for allegedly better* quality sheets from the Fieldcrest Luxury at Target? Splurge: because you spend at least half of your life in bed and you might as well invest in that…OR…Save: because sheets are sheets.
What do you think?
*based on thread count alone
inspirationnicole asked: :) Hello Dara. I came across your blog by chance since you recommended Nicole Franzen's beautiful blog. Just wanted to drop a note to you that I enjoy your posts and your writing. Have a great day!
What a lovely surprise to wake up to! Thank you, Nicole, for your sweet comments, and for reading! (P.S., your jewelry is beautiful).
I get easily overwhelmed with the amount of seemingly endless “perfect” apartments and houses featured on various blogs and Martha-Stewart-esque websites. Since my new apartment is a rental, I’m hesitant to splurge on major purchases, but seeing as to how I’m away for much of the upcoming auditor’s busy season, I want my apartment to really feel like home for the days I do spend there. I’ve chosen out a bed and blankets (Target makes really affordable pieces that match my tastes perfectly!), but there are still a few more finishing touches I hope to add…the West Elm Parsons desk, a decor mirror, and a nightstand that doubles as a bookshelf.
Any other decorating tips you can offer?
All images from Pinterest.