Bright Whites

{Theysken’s Theory Jipsi Fologna Jacket}

I saw this blazer on Glee a few weeks ago and I was intrigued. (I love musicals. I’m just going to put that out there.) I wasn’t sure how I felt about the inverted bottom hem, but after a moment’s thought I was sold. This Theysken’s Theory blazer is way out of my budget at $675, so I’ve been on the hunt for a more affordable version. Though these blazers don’t replicate the inverted bottom hem, their crisp  lines and clean bright white color leave little else to be desired.

  1. Banana Republic Contrast-Trim One-Button Blazer – $130
  2. Lovers + Friends Desert Moon Blazer – $124
  3. Patterson J. Kincaid Ricci Blazer – $139
  4. H&M Natural White Blazer – $49.95
  5. Forever 21 Shawl Lapel Blazer – $32.80

Soft Hands

{For soft, smooth hands in the fall, keep them nourished and moisturized}

Since I was a little girl, I’ve been slightly obsessed with hand lotions. I remember dreading high-fiving the opposing team after soccer games, afraid the other girls would notice the calluses I’d developed playing on the bars in the schoolyard. My mom always had incredibly soft hands, so I would raid her bathroom cabinet and slather on her creams, often mixing some of each kind till it created a sticky mess. Luckily, I’ve moved on from my days on the uneven bars, so keeping my hands soft is a much simpler task. These are some of the best hand creams I’ve tried, in order of my favorites – just in time for the start of dry autumn weather:

  1. Gold Bond Ultimate Healing Skin Therapy Cream with Aloe
  2. Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Therapy
  3. Aveeno Skin Relief Hand Cream
  4. Mary Kay Hydrating Lotion
  5. Johnson’s Extra Care Healing Hand Cream
  6. L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

Classic Chocolate Chip

{My favorite: Chocolate Chip Cookies}

There’s something about the reliability of a great recipe – how maintaining exact measurements and temperatures and following the directions carefully will always yield the same results. It’s dependable. It’s comforting.

I’ve been experimenting with different recipes for years, but I’ve finally mastered the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I took this recipe and made a few tweaks, adding a tablespoon of honey to the wet ingredients and opting for milk chocolate chips in place of bittersweet. I’ve received multiple requests from friends and coworkers to bring in batches of these delicious little suckers for various events and each time they ask, I feel a silly sense of pride and accomplishment.

Love Locks

{Hair Crushes: Jennifer Aniston and Kate Beckinsale}

I’ve gone through a series of hair cuts and styles through the years, from a pixie cut, to long layers with bold multicolored highlights, to a very ill-begotten perm in college. After said perm completely destroyed my hair and left it dry and brittle with a permanent burning smell, I swore to never let another damaging chemical touch it again. After what seemed like years of growing out my hair and cutting off all of the damaged ends, I’ve developed a list of rules for growing long, healthy locks that I now swear by.

  1. Sulfate-free everything. Avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils by always using sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner. My favorite products are Wen Cleansing Conditioner and DermOrganic Conditioning Shampoo and Masque Intensive Repair.
  2. Focus on the roots. To further avoid stripping your hair of its natural oils, shampoo just the roots, but condition to the tips.
  3. Deep condition. Treat your hair to a nice deep conditioning at least once every other week.
  4. Regular trims. Keep split ends at bay by trimming your hair once every 6-8 weeks.
  5. Prenatal vitamins. Nearly every woman I’ve met who’s had a baby tells me how her hair was never healthier than when she was pregnant, which she attributes to her prenatal vitamins. If you’re not actually pregnant, there’s no need to buy the expensive brands; any drugstore brand will do – they’re basically your everyday multi-vitamins on steroids.
  6. Biotin. Skip the hair-skin-and-nails vitamins that only have about 1,000 mcg of the super supplement and go for biotin tablets that come as high as 7,500 mcg at your local drugstore.
  7. Don’t over-process. If you have wavy or curly hair, try to straighten as much as possible with your blow dryer before using your straightening iron. I like to straighten with a round brush, then smooth it out with a paddle brush, finishing with my blow dryer on cool.

Stay Classy

{Night out in Little Italy}

Keeping with my resolution to go on as many outings as possible this summer, some friends and I decided to take an impromptu trip to San Diego, simply because one of them had never seen a polar bear. We packed our bags and left at the crack of dawn, spent the day of reliving childhood dreams of swimming with dolphins and playing with penguins (which sadly never came to fruition), and watching a polar bear blissfully roll around on its back, then ended the day with a meal in Little Italy and took in the view from the rooftop bar of our hotel.

{Dreams fulfilled}

{An evening stroll to the Gaslamp District}

{Reading by the bay before heading home}