Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Sunflower Fields

A few weekends back I took a trip out east to the North Fork of Long Island for a weekend of fun with my girl friends.  We spent the day touring a few wineries, listening to live music, laughing a ton, and indulging on delicious food all day long! We also drove past this gorgeous field full or blooming sunflowers and couldn't resist stopping for some photos. I wore this adorable tie-front top from anthropologie with kick flare jeans and lace up sandals for an overall look that is easy and bohemian with girly yet refined details. I love the tie details at the front of this top as well as the straps which make it ultra girly from all the bows, but still classic in a summery blue pinstripe print that felt perfect for lounging outside with a glass of wine. I'd been dying for the perfect excuse to wear this top, and a hot summery day out and about with my girls was the ideal occasion.

If you had told me a year ago that I would soon own a pair of crop-flare jeans I probably wouldn't have believed it -- I am not really a fan of the flared jean look, especially on myself, and cropping that look didn't really make sense to me. Yet, here we are... having seen the style on dozens of fashionistas on instagram, stylish ladies in NYC, and even friends and coworkers, the look has grown on me. Plus, recent trends have seen us moving away from skinny jeans a bit, in favor of looser, comfier styles. It all started because my favorite pair of high rise distressed jeans bit the dust, and right after that my other favorite pair of jeans in a mid-wash ripped as well leaving me with a very limited selection of summery jeans to wear. So of course I started looking around for a new pair to get me through the summer, and found myself eyeing this pair of BDG crop flare jeans. The look is trendy and cool with an added element of interest that simple skinny jeans don't have.

Top: anthropologie (also love this top). Jeans: BDG from Urban Outfitters. Shoes: Steve Madden. Bag: Rebecca Minkoff. Jacket: Gap. Bracelet: similar.

xoxo, CC

Thursday, August 24, 2017

First Impressions: Astoria

The big news in my corner these days is that I recently moved to a new apartment in a neighborhood that is totally new to me: Astoria! Having spent three years living in Harlem I was ready for a change and was drawn to Astoria for it's affordability, laid back residential feel, and plentiful tasty restaurants. While I've been pretty busy with getting myself moved in and settled into the new space, I have found a little time to explore the neighborhood as well and check out some of the local restaurants. I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite discoveries so far for anyone curious about the neighborhood! 

Right down the street from my new place is a cute restaurant and bar with outdoor seating called The Bonnie. Since it is close to where I live this was one of the first places in the neighborhood that I tried, and since their menu all looked so good I've been back for more! The first time I went in I ordered the Burrata BLT sandwich, and it was phenomenal. Served on thick cut bread with crisp bacon and soft burrata, this was a total win. They also had a cocktail special that night which involved gin and blackberries that was a total hit too. The next time I went back (only a short time later!) was to try out some of the salads I had seen other people enjoying on my first visit. I got the strawberry poppyseed salad and loved every bite. Not only was this salad pretty to look at with all the bright colors from the strawberries, greens and soft white cheese, but every bite had something tasty in it, including almonds, and cucumbers and feta. I also have my eye on their fried chicken sandwich.... the next time I'm there I'll be sure to tell you how it is.

Exploring along Ditmars Ave one evening landed me at the Pomeroy which was blasting all the best '90s rock songs out the open front windows. So many of the drinks on their menu looked tempting but I settled for the Down by the Bay, a watermelon and cucumber cocktail that was so tasty and summery. Made with fresh watermelon juice this drink was perfect for a hot summer night sitting in the open air seats by the window. 

The Ditmars area of Astoria is known for its Greek restaurants and plentiful bakeries. So far I have only tried the Lefkos Pyrgos bakery, but I know that I'll be hitting up all the rest soon! At Lefkos Pyrgos I ordered the baklava cheesecake to share... and OMG was it delicious! A bottom layer of some of the best cheesecake I think I've ever had, with a top layer of flaky Greek baklava combined for an amazing sweet treat. So many of the cakes and sweets in their case looked to-die-for so I know I'll be back here before long! 

One of the most exciting discoveries I have made though, is that I live right down the street from some of the best bagels I've ever had -- and that's saying a LOT. I am very picky about bagels, and have so far been largely unimpressed with most of the bagels I've tried in New York. I knew the good ones had to be out there somewhere but I had yet to discover them. I like my bagels to be dense and flavorful - I can't stand when they are fluffy and chewy (think Dunkin or anything similar). Up until my move to Astoria the best I'd found were Tomkins Square Bagels and Blackseed Bagels, both of which are very good, but somehow weren't quite perfect. But moving to an apartment right near the Astoria location New York City Bagel and Coffee House has changed everything!! Their bagels are hugeeeeee and so tasty, and definitely my favorites in New York! On my first visit I got an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on a sesame bagel and it was so so so good. I had to save half of it for later though because the bagels are so big! On my second visit I had a toasted bagel with bacon scallion cream cheese which I gobbled right up! And just to top things off, they also serve Dough doughnuts in the cafe - so yeah that's dangerous to walk by every day! Phenomenal bagels AND phenomenal doughnuts all in one place?! Almost too good to be true.

xoxo, CC

Monday, August 7, 2017

Back to Blonde

Hello and happy summer! Last month I decided to change up my hair a bit, and went back to blonde just in time for the height of summer! I had let my highlights grow out for the past two years so my hair had been looking pretty dark with a slight ombre fade from my natural darker color on top to a lighter blondish color at the tips. After trying out my natural hair color for a while I was feeling ready to get back to a brighter blonde shade that I'm more familiar with, since I've kept my hair blonde for most of my life. I also can't believe how long my hair had gotten! I tried to keep some of the length but had the stylist trim up the damaged ends a bit for a smoother look. Anyway I wanted to share a little before and after pic of the results! 
My natural darker shade still peeks through for a textured effect, but the addition of light highlights is summery and fun. The change looks subtle here but as the highlights have matured I am feeling great as a blonde again.
Top: Loft. Bag: Rebecca Minkoff.



xoxo, CC

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tips for the Best At Home Manicure

I've been doing my own nails for just about as long as I can remember. While it can be a fun and relaxing experience to get a mani/pedi at the salon with girl friends, I more often than not still do my own nails at home. It saves (tons of) money and comes out just as well with few simple tricks that I've learned over the years. The years of practice have lent me a steadier hand, but just knowing these few tips can make all the difference to get that professional and flawless look we all want to achieve. 

So let's dive right it. Sometimes I start with a base coat, and sometimes I don't bother. But if my nails are feeling weak and chipped I'll often do a base layer of this Nailtiques protein treatment to help my nails stay healthy and strong even while painted. Especially if I'm working with a dark color that I don't want to stain my nails, a base coat can be a great place to start.

Next comes the color. Today I'm using an Essie color I've been loving this spring called "Lady Like" which is a gorgeous muted dusty pink. It has tones of lavender and works as a lovely almost-nude that goes with everything. I always apply two coats of color to make sure each nail is evenly covered. I start with a swipe of the saturated brush up the center of the nail, and then gently spread the color up each side of the nail starting from the bottom with every stroke and making sure to evenly cover the tip of the nail. I've learned that you only need a minute or two to let one layer dry before applying the second coat.

But here's the trick I use: don't paint your thumbnails until the very end. That way, after each coat applied to your other nails you can run your thumbnail around the edge of the cuticle to remove any excess polish that has gotten onto the skin. leaving the thumbnails bare until the others are all done allows you to ensure that all of those nails are flawlessly painted with no excess color spilling over onto the skin. Because let's be real, no matter how steady your hand is you're bound to get some polish on the skin. I learned this trick by watching the ladies at the salon, who tend to use one of their own finger nails to clean polish from your cuticles as they paint, and it works like a charm. I've tried other tricks like using a polish-remover soaked q-tip to clean the cuticles, but nothing works quite as well as using a bare nail to clean up as you go.

But then, what of those unpainted thumb nails? Well, they're not forgotten. Since I'm right handed I tend to be steadier when painting with my right hand -- so I start with my weaker side and use my left hand to paint the first thumbnail. This way I can still clean the edges with the last bare nail if my weaker hand makes any mistakes. After two coats have been applied it's time for the final nail to be painted. Since I'll be using my stronger right hand at this point to paint it, chances are I can get it pretty clean and accurate on the first try. But, if I do mess up, I like to use the tip of a metal nail file to scrape away any polish from the cuticles and skin. 

The last step: a clear top coat. This is essential to prolong your manicure and prevent immediate chipping. With a top coat I can get through at least a full week with fresh-looking nails as long as I let them dry properly after painting. Recently I've been using Essie's Super Duper top coat, and I really like it. I also previously used a Deborah Lippmann "Addicted to Speed" top coat that I loved until it started to get dried out and sticky after only a few short months which was really disappointing. Either way, a top coat is necessary to keep your mani looking fresh longer, and it also adds a smooth shiny finish to your nails. As much as it may seem like an annoying extra step, don't skip it! Without a topcoat your nails will be chipping within a day or two. 

So there you have it, my process for getting salon-quality nails at home. With these few tips that I've learned over time I'm now able to produce a flawless home mani easily. No more messy nails! And no need for expensive salon appointments! Cheers to that, ladies. 

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Outfit Essentials

Spring means a chance to step up your color game and show off fun styles and silhouettes. That's just what I plan to do with this fun outfit ensemble. I wanted to highlight this outfit since it touches on all of my favorite spring essentials: flirty styles, blush pink, denim, and cute flats.

Classic nautical stripes are a great transitional print and a fun ruffle sleeve on this top I bought last year adds a flirty spring vibe. A pop of pastel pink is my go to for spring outfits, and this blush colored satchel is the perfect piece to add to a casual outfit. I tend to add touches of pink into any spring outfit when I can, it's just the perfect time of year to go overboard with pastels. I am also all about denim, no matter the season, but this time of year it starts to creep into our outfits in more unexpected ways, like these denim flats (which I am obsessed with currently!). Flats come back into play once the snow is gone for good but it might be too soon for sandals, so a pair like these is invaluable! They are super comfy and I just know I'll be pairing them with my everyday outfits all summer long for a classy touch.

Throw a few classic yet trendy pieces like these together with fun accessories like round shades and a soft pink lip and your outfit is made! I love that a look like this can be transformed by pairing it with jeans or a skirt, or even denim shorts! This look makes a statement yet remains classy and chic with a pairing of my favorite color combo: pink and blue. Seriously, how many of my outfits have incorporated this color dynamic? Quite a lot I might say!

 What are your springtime outfit favorites?

Top: J. Crew (also cute/and ruffled). Bag: French Connection (love this or this). Shoes: Aldo. Sunglasses: Anthropologie.

xoxo, CC

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Midnight Gingham

Last weekend was warm and beautiful and I wore this fun gingham dress for a full day of activities in the city. Starting with a breakfast run where I discovered this fun wing mural, then on to running errands, a street fair with tons of yummy food, followed by an impressive apartment rooftop party and then dinner out with my girls. I was comfy all through this fun-packed day in an off the shoulder dress and ankle strap flats. I had been on the hunt for a cute piece in a gingham print, and this adorable off the shoulder dress was exactly what I needed.

Gingham is a perfectly summery print that is casual yet chic, and I love the texture to this cotton & linen fabric and the girly ruffle along the neckline. To compliment the simple black and white pattern I added denim blue flats and a blue stone bracelet. Since the print is so bold I kept to a simple chunky bracelet and subdued color scheme. The loose shift fit was comfy to wear all day long on a hot humid day, and the shoulders stayed exactly in place the entire time. Plus, this dress has pockets. Enough said.

On our walk back from dinner we had fun snapping a few photos in the moody lighting of New York City at midnight.

Dress: Anthropologie. Bag: Rebecca Minkoff. Shoes: Aldo. Sunglasses: AJ Morgan. Bracelet: J. Crew (love this one).

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Happy April! Who else is pumped that it's finally officially spring!

After the teasingly warm weather we had back in February, it finally warmed up above 55ยบ again this past weekend. I took the opportunity to wear this flowy peasant dress that I added to my spring wardrobe recently. I love the drop waist and peasant style tiers that make this dress ideal for early spring. The loose oversized fit is counterbalanced by the sheer fabric allowing your shape to show through despite the voluminous draping. I paired it with over the knee boots for a transitional look (and to hide my pale legs!), and added a faux leather jacket that was only barely necessary in the sunshine. Altogether the look is a little bit edgy yet still soft and romantic.

I spent the afternoon browsing the Affordable Art Fair in NYC and strolling in the sunshine along the highline in the sun. The wind just about blew me away when we were up on the highline getting the breeze straight off the Hudson, but in the sunshine the weather was impeccable. Perfect dress weather! The all black and white vibes of this ensemble are very city chic, but the tiered flounce and loose fit keep the look feminine and casual. The simplicity of a monotone look and comfy dress is just what I've been waiting to wear now that it's beginning to warm up! 

Dress: Scotch and Soda (similar). Jacket: Zara. Boots: Sam Edelman. Sunglasses: Anthropologie. Lip: MAC. Bracelet: similar.

xoxo, CC