Friday, June 28, 2013

Fabulous Friday

There is something fabulous that many upcoming Fridays have in common.

You guessed it. It's summer, and I love summer weekends. I'm thinking of heading out to the beach. What about you? Hope you have something summery on the books! See you on Monday.
 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Newlyweds

Last week, I finished this novel that has been on my list for sometime. I found myself transported to another reality so vividly that I was quite sad when I reached the last page. There was so much more I wanted to hear about, so much more I wanted to know. While I like to read what the esteemed New York Times has to say about the books I am reading (but only when I've finished), I have to say that I disagreed with their assessment of this one. I thought it was quite harsh for a book I enjoyed so much. But, let's establish what the book is about, then perhaps you can read it, and we can decided amongst ourselves. Shall we?

The Newlyweds is the story of Amina, a woman from Bangladesh, who moves to Rochester, New York to marry George, the man she meets through a dating website and with whom she has corresponded primarily through email, only meeting him briefly in person when he travels to Bangladesh to propose to her. As you can imagine, life in the United States leaves Amina trying to discover who she really is, particularly in relation to this foreign man with whom she has decided to share her life. Freudenberger writes, "Was there a person who existed beneath languages?" (105). Amina finds herself vacillating between two distinct personas, one being the woman she was in Bangladesh and the other being her new American self who does things and has experiences that she cannot reconcile with her Bangladeshi self. Much of the book centers on Amina's attempt to bring her parents to the United States to live with her and George, a dream the family has harbored for many years. 

In a sense Amina and George don't know each other at all as their experiences of life are so vastly different, and both keep secrets from one another, secrets about the pasts they have abandoned to be together. While I wouldn't say that The Newlyweds is the love story the title implies, it is certainly a story about love, what it takes to make love work, and the various ways that love expresses itself in our lives. I definitely recommend it.

I am currently reading The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, which is a major downer, so I probably won't review that, but up next is Meg Worlitzer's The Interestings.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Little Black Dress: 2 Ways

It's the time of year when lots of people have formal events. I do not currently find myself in this category, but that doesn't stop me from thinking about what I'd be wearing should I have to attend something fun and fabulous. Like most women, I am a big fan of the black dress. It is always slimming, always in fashion, and always appropriate, even at weddings! Here are two dresses that caught my eye styled with different price points in mind.

Which would you wear? Or, do you like a combination of the two?

HIGH: RACHEL PALLY dress - CLARE VIVIER clutch - NARS lip pencil - COACH sandals - LULU FROST necklace

LOW: KATE SPADE SATURDAY dress - BAUBLE BAR necklace (I love this.) - CLINIQUE lip pencil - ZARA sandals - FOREVER 21 clutch

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Beauty: The New Skincare Plan

After my facial at Supple, this is the line-up of products I am working with. I wanted to try something "natural" and this was the arsenal I was "prescribed." While this is not entirely approved by my dermatologist who worries about the scents that might irritate skin, I am giving it a go to see what happens as we had a bit of a flare up again before the facial. It goes without saying that I am just a lay person telling you what I'm trying, a guinea pig of sorts. I have no particular knowledge except the condition and reaction of my own skin. This line up will cost you a pretty penny, that's for sure, but I'm going to give it two months and see what happens! I'll keep you updated.

1. Clearcalm 3 Cleanser: This is a cleanser for blemish prone skin. It smells pretty nasty, but I soldier on!

2. Clearcalm 3 Fluide De Jour: This is an interesting product. It is a day cream. It doesn't contain sunscreen, so that is something to be aware of. It mattifies and creates a slightly strange feeling on the skin, which I imagine is the product creating a kind of oil barrier of sorts. Use only a little amount of it, or it will leave a white residue on the skin.

3. Dr. Hauschka Soothing Mask: While this is technically a mask, Alison suggested I use it as a night cream. I use just a bit and leave it on all night. My skin feel very moisturized in the morning.

4. Clearcalm 3 Treatment Mask: An anti-acne mask to be used twice a week. Unlike many masks, it doesn't harden. It remains creamy on your skin during use. I think it might be taking my skin for another purge...

5. Bio Retinol Anti-Ageing Concentrate: This one smells good. A bit like white peaches. I use a tiny bit on my occipital bone (under my eyes) to combat millia, the tiny white dots on the skin that are not pimples and don't really go away. Anyone else have those nasty little buggers?

As I said, I will keep you posted on the pros and cons of going au naturel!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Musings

Look at how happy she is.
Something big has happened in this household...we have shut off the cable. Not just the premium channels here, people--all the channels. Including basic.

You can imagine that this might send me into a bit of a tailspin as television is something akin to air in my life. I love it so much. I am such an addict. The consolation is supposed to be that I can download or stream shows, and we are now the proud owners of a hulu Plus account, but I am feeling the loss. Acutely.

Television and I used to get up together on summer mornings. She would keep me company while I had a cup of coffee and a Museli Morning Round (my new food obsession). And then I would sit for a little bit, and we would bond. Later in the afternoons, we might meet again for a cup of tea or a little cavorting while I was preparing dinner. And she was usually the last person I said goodnight to before bed. And now she is gone. My husband has cut the cord. Shut it down. Made me do this cold turkey. And he did it while I was away. Sneaky bastard.

But, don't you worry. I have purchased a season's pass for both the Real Housewives of New Jersey and the OC. Parenthood is available for free through Netflix, and I have the password for my parents HBO GO account that I can access remotely. But, I still miss her. She was so good to me. Life must go on even though, in this case, the show(s) won't.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fabulous Friday: Fabulous Summer Sales!

I think that more companies are having more sales more frequently than ever before. If you buy things full price, well, shame on you. Here are some of my faves from some of the many retailers that are begging us to buy! My dear husband has decided that if I share my great deals with others I may feel less inclined to purchase them myself. Here's hoping...How fabulous is all this loot?

Summer deals from J.Crew, Kate Spade, and Tory Burch

J.CREW is offering 25% off everything with the code NEWSTYLE (or 30% off with a card: CARDTREAT).
KATE SPADE is offering an addition 25% off sale merchandise. Enter JUNE25 at checkout. (Ends 6.30)
TORY BURCH has loads of summer items on sale!

PICUTRED ABOVE: J.CREW tunic - sandals - necklace - dress - scarf - KATE SPADE wedge - cross body - clutch - umbrella - TORY BURCH flamingo tunic - iphone case - flats - cosmetic bag

Anything looking fabulous? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cape Cod Favorites: Things to Do, See, and Eat on Cape Cod

Hydrangeas on Cape Cod
There are so many wonderful things to do on the Cape, but I thought I'd put together a list of some of the places I loved on our most recent trip in case anyone is making a visit!

Skaket Beach at low tide
One of the main draws to Cape Cod is the beaches. We have a house in Eastham, so we have a pass to the National Seashore there. COAST GUARD beach has always been a favorite of mine. In Welfleet, check out CAHOON HOLLOW where you can each and drink beach side at the BEACHCOMBER. They also have concerts all summer. Definitely a good time. This visit we went to SKAKET BEACH in Orleans, which is the bay side. During one beautiful morning when the tide was out, it felt like we were on our own private beach. If it's a gorgeous sunset you're after,  ROCK HARBOR never fails to deliver.

Pleasant Bay from Wequasset Resort
Views from Wequasset

The pool at Wequasset resort
The pool at Wequasset
There are two main luxury resorts on the Cape: WEQUASSET RESORT AND GOLF CLUB and THE CHATHAM BAR'S INN. You should visit both (even if you're not staying there)! They both have amazing views and very good food. At Wequasset, try their lobster and shrimp lettuce wrap. Delicious!

Back entrance to Chatham Bars Inn
Chatam Bar's Inn from the back entrance.

Beautiful Adirondacks overlooking the sea.

They even have their own trollies!

And while we're on the subject of food, two absolute musts during any Cape Cod trip are the Cottage Street Bakery and Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar.

The Cottage Street Bakery in Orleans, MA
Dirtbomb muffins from the Cottage Street Bakery
COTTAGE STREET BAKERY in Orleans is home to the famous dirtbomb, the most decadent and delicious pastry that will every cross your lips. It is worth the calories. They also make a mean croissant, and pretty much everything you get there will be fantastic.

The menu at Arnold's in Eastham, Cape Cod

Lobster roll from Arnold's
 ARNOLD'S LOBSTER AND CALM BAR is a fried fish extravaganza, and, since I've been going there, they've added a mini golf course and an ice cream stand. Everything is delicious, and they are particularly known for their giant and outstanding onion strings. They also have a wonderful raw bar, which you should check out! I enjoyed their lobster roll, but I have to say the best lobster roll I had during this visit was from LAND HO!, which is a fun bar in Orleans. I wouldn't say that they have the best all around menu, but their lobster roll is second to none, and they have night time activities like trivia, karaoke, and live music. Although I failed to snap a picture, my favorite place for a coffee and/ ice cream is definitely HOT CHOCOLATE SPARROW. Try the purple-cow frozen is like a dream. They also have paninis, muffins, breakfast sandwiches, and a full-on candy store.

Outer Cape Sailing

This visit, we did something special for Father's Day and went out on a sailboat ride by way of OUTER CAPE SAILING to a island where we had a picnic lunch. It was so relaxing and beautiful. The captain, who is extremely knowledgeable, also does sunset cruises. The prices are actually quite reasonable.

Main Street in Chatham, Cape Cod

If shopping is what you're looking for, my favorite place to browse is the Main Street in Chatham, which is full of preppy shops and artist galleries. At the Lily Pulitzer store, In The Pink, I lamented the fact that Lily is not very SF.

I would be happy to share LOADS more recommendations with anyone, so shoot me an email if you have a query! In the meantime, feast your eyes on this...

Ah, Cape Cod. Quintessential summer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Discovering Bernadette

Today I wanted to give you a recap/review of Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. I know that this book has appeared on a number of blogs (probably in part because of its whimsical, colorful cover), but I first spotted it in the alumni magazine from Choate, my alma mater. Semple is a Choate graduate amongst other things (like being a writer for Arrested Development).

When I read the first page, I was all in. I read the 330 page book in three sittings. Janet Maslin, of the New York Times, writes, "Where’d You Go, Bernadette leaves convention behind. Instead, it plays to Ms. Semple’s strengths as someone who can practice ventriloquism in many voices, skip over the mundane and utterly refute the notion that mixed-media fiction is bloggy, slack or lazy." (Okay, does bloggy mean bad in this sentence? I think so. Luckily, spell-check does not even recognize "bloggy" as a word. Take that, Janet.) "Mixed-media" is an apt way to describe the novel as it is comprised of letters, emails, report cards, narration, and FBI documents. It is the witty, hilarious, and, at times, poignant story of a young girl trying to locate her eccentric and wildly funny mother, Bernadette, who has disappeared before the family's long awaited trip to Antarctica. Semple satirizes life in Seattle and spares no one with her social criticism, which I, personally, love. I also loved all the ridiculous references to Choate. Made me wonder what Semple's time there was like! (Perhaps she and I should compare notes on that...)

This is a terrific summer read, and I highly recommend it. Check it out and tell me what you think. Next on my reading list is Nell Freudenberger's The Newlyweds. I am finally getting to it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Beauty: Supple Apothecary

Supple Apothecary in Orleans, MA
I had the wonderful fortune of getting a facial last weekend at Supple Apothecary in Orleans, MA. If you've been reading along, you know that I have been bemoaning the condition of my skin for a good six months now. It probably would have been less if I had had this facial long ago. Not only did I feel like my skin was finally taking a chill pill when I was finished, but I had actually settled down quite a bit myself, which is nothing short of a miracle. Cheaper than therapy and more restorative, I'd say.

I first heard about this location when I came across the house tour of the owner, Alison Supple-Evans. When I realized that her new apothecary was just minutes away from the family house in Eastham, I knew I had to stop by. All of the products are natural, sleek, and beautifully packaged. The store itself is calming in its simplicity.

My facial was performed by Kelly, and she was absolutely lovely. She gave me great feedback about my skin (which I asked for), about what I was doing that wasn't really working for me, and what I might change. (Stay turned next week for my new and improved skin care regimen.) When I was done with the hour long, customized facial, she recommended some products that I might try. By the time I drove back to the house, I saw a noticeable difference in my skin. It was visibly less irritated and much more moisturized. I continued to see improvements the next day.

Alison & Kelly

But, the best part of a visit to Supple (I know-it is hard to believe there is an even better part than witnessing a skin miracle) is certainly the warmth and wisdom of Alison and Kelly. They are beyond lovely. I was sitting outside waiting for my mom to finish her facial and Allison came out to offer me a cold drink! If I lived closer, I would probably stop by every day just to say "Hi." Lucky for me, Supple started out in Berkeley. Alison sold that location to move to Cape Cod, but she and the new owner still collaborate. So, when I need my fix and can't get to Orleans, I can pop over to Berkeley for a tune up. This is truly an indulgent experience worth every penny.

Thank you, lovely ladies! I can't wait to come back!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Musings: Currently

As usual, I am feeling inspired by Ashley. She posted this post last week (which she was inspired to write by Danielle of Sometimes Sweet who does "Currently" posts weekly), and I thought it would be fun to do one too. So, here we go.

FEELING: I am feeling content. I am enjoying the last two days of my vacation with my husband and parents. I generally suffer from an ailment I like to call "slow-to-warm-up-itis." I am so ridiculous that I actually have to get used to people when I haven't seen them for a while (regardless of how close I am to said people--this includes my husband). So, when I arrive at my parents' after a long absence, even though I have been missing them and wanting to see them like a crazy lady, I am withdrawn until my warming up period passes. I know. I am a freak. But, once it passes, I never want to leave. I get the same way about summer vacation. It takes me a little while to find my groove. But when I do, watch out. I get real comfortable real fast. And that is the place I'm at right about now...full on vacation mode and full on chillin'.

THANKFUL FOR: Time. I am so lucky to have a job that affords me time to pursue my passions. I can write, read, blog, travel, and explore because I have almost three full months a year to do so. Time is one of the greatest gifts a person can have, I think. Now the key is taking advantage of it and not watching tv for three months straight. Easier said than done, but more on that to come...

THINKING ABOUT: What am I not thinking about? Everyday in my mind is like Grand Central Station. Geez. Frankly, the last few days have been a little respite from so much thinking, and I think I could get used to that.

EATING: Way too much. Damn vacation.

WATCHING: Parenthood. I have started watching this at the gym, which is terrible because every.single.episode makes me cry. Not just a stray tear, but the I-am-pretending-to-wipe-my-sweat-but-I-am-actually-blowing-my-nose-into-my-towel kind of cry, which is actually hard to do while running or using the elliptical. (If that isn't a first world problem then I don't know what is.) I love this show. You should definitely watch it.

LOVING: My new pajamas from Marigot. They are so beachy and summery. I decided that as someone who likes to wear pajamas more than regular clothes, I should grow up and get some real ones with the intention of (eventually) retiring my favorite uniform of old sweatpants and stretched out tees. So glad I did. I have also noticed that I really love making parenthetical comments. I just can't get enough of them. (Is that annoying?)

BUMMED OUT ABOUT: The horrible weather. I came to Cape Cod with a bag stocked with shorts and tanks only to be wearing my sister's rain boots, wool socks, and rain coat for the majority of the time I've been here. Ugh. I could have stayed in San Francisco for this nonsense. That being said, I think today is going to be a sunny one!

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Did I mention that I am going to London next month?!

(Ashley also included "LISTENING" and "READING," but since I covered one here and have one to come this week, I didn't want to be redundant!)

What's current in your life? Check back tomorrow for a special Tuesday Beauty post!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fabulous Friday: For the Men in My Life

I have always loved the look on his face in this photo. This was taken during my dad's speech.

Today is fabulous for two very important reasons: 1.) It is my five year wedding anniversary and 2.) this weekend we are celebrating father's day. I thought it would be fit to do a combo post about the two most important men in my life.

Let's start with the first man I ever met: my dad (Maybe it was a doctor, but let's just pretend it wasn't.) My dad is a character. When my siblings and I talk about him, it is usually with reverence, like "Oh, Dad is the smartest man we know" or "Dad is so sweet, and he never gets mad" or "I want these really expensive x (fill in the blank). Dad will say yes." My dad is all the these things. He is the smartest man I know, he is one of the kindest men I know, and there are very few things he says no to. (That is why we have my mom around.) But, the things I think about when I think about my dad are the little things that make him who he is. Let me illustrate:

To begin with, he has always had important corporate jobs (though he is a physician by training), yet he dresses like he is a lumberjack. On the way to an interview when I was looking at boarding schools, I distinctly recall my mom yelling at my dad because he had worn a suit with a big patch sewn onto the knee. At a Christmas dinner after he had just gotten a new sweater, I asked him why he was still wearing his old one. He told me he was "finishing one before he started another." He almost exclusively wears college sweatshirts and L.L.Bean snow boots.

Historically, my dad is the first person to want to do something extravagant, but he will suddenly decide to be unreasonably frugal at the most ridiculous time. Case in point: Years ago we were at Costco, and my dad saw a canoe hanging from the ceiling. He said he wanted to buy it despite the fact that my parents do not live near water. He thought we would have an awesome time canoeing around...somewhere. In that same Costco trip he told me I could not have a pack of gum because it was 89 cents.

My dad has the strangest grooming routine of anyone I've ever met. Sometimes he wears my mom's perfume, and he has recently taken to using some fancy hair product, which he seems to distribute on only one part of his hair.

My dad is famous for the "five second" time outs, which were his strictest form of punishment growing up.

He is a manical dancer. I will never forget New Year's Eve 1999 when my dad had just had major knee surgery (because he blew out his knee trying to score a goal at my sister's father/daughter soccer game) and insisted on dancing the whole night long on his crutches. On my wedding day during our father/daughter dance, my feet never touched the ground--and that is not a idiom.

Photographic evidence.
For birthdays my dad makes movies about my life on the computer with photos of occasions from my birth to the current moment. It will be set to music. I will cry. (Especially at the fact that he ended the video with the sun setting, which made me think he was telling me that my youth had in fact left the building--permanently.)

But, my dad is so much more than his quirks. He has taught me the importance of family, the meaning of unconditional love, the necessity of hard work, the pleasure of cultivating a life of the mind, the joy that comes from having children, the importance of commitment, and the value of seeking happiness in whatever form you find it. My father has accumulated accolades in his life that make it difficult to be his daughter for fear that I will never live up to what he has accomplished. So, imagine what my husband must have felt...

Lucky for J, another great quirk of my dad's is that he has no protective instinct. He loved J. immediately and has ever since he met him. He truly considers him another son.
When I met J. twelve years ago, I had no idea that our relationship would end in marriage. I told him I would only date him for one month. Turns out, the universe had other plans for us. Aside from the examples of my parents and grandparents, my relationship with J. has taught me the most valuable lessons of my life. He continues to challenge me and support me in equal measure, to love me and tell me I'm beautiful almost every day, to believe in my ability to do almost anything, to accept me despite my plethora of flaws, to comfort me, care for me, cook for me, laugh at my jokes (which are always funnier than his), paint walls for me, pretend he didn't see the J.Crew bag hidden in the closet for me. He shows up for me--always. He is one of the best men I've ever known, and I am so lucky that I get to take on life with him by my side. Happy Anniversary, babe.

To celebrate these two men, we are taking a sailboat ride on Sunday, and I can't wait to smother them both in lots and lots of fabulous love.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fun Summer Finds

Kate Spade Bungalow Bouquet Hinge Bangle Lovestar Confetti Days Madewell Embroidered Peasant Top Design Darling Turquoise Drop Earrings Sam Edelman Trina C. Wonder Wide Enamel Initial Bangle Tory Burch Bow Envelope Continental Anthropologie Crystalline Hair Ties Style Trader "Dotty" Cushion Design Darling Amy Necklace Kate Spade Saturday Cooler Tote J.Crew Silk Maxidress Loeffler Randall Georgie Ballet Flat BHLDN Dapper Bottle Stopper

All of these little pretties make me feel the summer sun on my shoulders (because, truth be told, it is nowhere to be seen around here) and hear the waves lapping on the shore. I am also particularly stoked that after lusting for a while now, I finally got those Loeffler Randall beauties for a fabulous steal. Getting a good deal always makes my day! Here's to the almost weekend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Jump in!

What do we think? Are jumpsuits/rompers a fashion "yes" or a faux pas? Aside from the obvious challenge of using the bathroom in one, I think they are rather I alone in this? Anthropologie has a terrific selection of rompers. (Me, being me, wishes the shorts were a little longer. However, I suppose that would make them horribly uncool.)

Jumpsuits even come in the fancy and terribly fashionable variety. 

I would totally rock one of these if I had any sort of special occassion that required a fancy jumpsuit.

What's your vote? Yes? No? Maybe-so?

GARNET HILL romper - ANTHRO light blue - ANTHRO orange lace - ANTHRO red floral - ANTHRO black - ONE jumpsuit  -A.L.C jumpsuit

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Beauty: Light Up

Everyone wants to have that modely glow, right? I have a few products that will give you just that.

I received the "Watt's Up" in a Benefit birthday gift from Sephora, and it was one of those products that I put in the make-up pile, but never tried. When I was packing for my trip, I grabbed it, and it is seriously amazing. My skin now has a beautiful glow to it, albeit fake, that I wasn't sure how people achieved. Now I know. I use it on my cheek bones and sometimes the top of my nose. I like to use theBalm's product, "Mary-Lou Manizer," to accentuate my brow bone. Use both and get your glow on!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Musings: The Vacation Life

Here's what my day is looking like...

A latte, a nice scented candle, beautiful flowers, comfy lounge wear (with a little sparkle and a pink lip, obviously), and a good book. Sometimes Mondays are nice. Hope yours is one of that variety!

FURBISH "cheers" sign - ASHLEY BROOKE mug - TOM BINNS earrings - SOFA.COM couch - FACE lipstick - UGG slippers - WHERE'D YOU GO, BERNADETTE - PEONIES - FURBISH table - J.CREW robe - CAPRI BLUE candle