February Hits List!

Leave a comment Standard

february2017hitslist01

Goodness, is the weekend almost over? Is tomorrow really Monday and is February nearly finished? It’s been so unbelievably warm out in New England these past few days that it almost- ALMOST– feels like I’m in the midst of Spring Break. Having to switch back into work mode and return to a heated office tomorrow morning seems a little unfair if you ask me!

But before I look back on all the exciting changes that happened this past month (and believe me- I have a lot to look forward to!) and share what I have planned in March- and before I prepare to meet friends for brunch a little later on this morning/afternoon- I wanted to review some of the things that I’ve been absolutely loving in the entirely-too-short month of February 2017.

This is my monthly “Hits List”! Enjoy!

february2017hitslist02

First things first- this year’s Super Bowl was one of the most unexpected, exciting games I’ve ever watched- and the celebrations throughout Boston only made the 72 hours following the Patriots’ comeback and subsequent victory over the Falcons all the more fun. I know they aren’t the most beloved team outside of New England- but that hasn’t stopped me from wearing this silky, commemorative quarter-sleeved shirt out and about (especially on casual Fridays at my office.)

While most of the post-Super Bowl memorabilia has been a tad on the expensive side- this officially licensed shirt was reasonably priced and will surely get more wear than if I had purchased a $150 jersey or $50 hat. Plus- it’s so comfortable!

february2017hitslist03

Now that I’m in my 30’s (just don’t tell anyone)– I’ve been researching different skin care products that will keep my complexion clear and my face looking smooth, bright and firm. Every product or system dubs itself a miracle worker- which can leave a person skeptical after reading for so long. For assistance with my occasional breakouts (usually after PMS)– I turned to Reviews.com to get honest opinions from others who were also doing their own homework into better skin care and results. Reviews.com doesn’t just stick to skin care, however. They weigh in on pretty much everything and anything- making them a valuable resource if you ever want a second, third, or fourth opinion on anything you’re thinking of trying/buying!

One of the most common mistakes people make when it comes to skin care, and one of the things I saw mentioned quite frequently on Reviews.com is over-exfoliating the skin. While it might seem like a good idea to scrub and slough away dead skin cells as much as possible- you can actually be doing more harm than good if you overuse products like scrubs or tools like cleansing brushes.

I’ve wanted to pick up a decent cleansing brush for a couple of months now- but had read mixed reviews on different brands (most that were overpriced or very harsh)– and I finally found this really great brush from Avon that has been working extraordinarily well on my skin! The bristles to the brush are soft and clean out my pores without shredding my face or drying me out. It’s my new wonder tool that I use each night before bed. I find that once a day with this thing works just fine!

february2017hitslist04

I don’t wash my hair every single day (I do always condition it in the shower, however)– since I don’t want to dry my curls or my scalp out by over-cleansing- but since product can build up pretty quickly, especially if I’m wearing any type of hat for any length of time- I’ve turned to this light, fresh-fragranced dry shampoo from Batiste to keep my hair looking and feeling soft and squeaky clean. I simply spritz some of this on in-between washes and massage it into my scalp and through my curls before styling my hair as usual- and the formula adds volume and shine without any residue or stiffness.

Batiste makes dry shampoos that also add temporary color to your hair, too- so if you’re looking for a quick fix to problematic roots peeking through in-between salon visits- it’s worth checking out!

february2017hitslist05

One of my favorite finds in February was this holographic nail polish (the color itself is called “MEGA”) from ILNP. The shade- shimmery and multi-colored- never appears quite the same in different angles and lighting. I treated myself to my first manicure and pedicure in a while literally hours after this arrived in my mailbox because I was s excited to see how it looked on- and I’m confident that this is going to be the lacquer I’m spotted in the most throughout 2017.

It’s so gorgeous, and fun- and long-lasting. I made it just beyond the two-week mark before this started to fade/chip and even then it wasn’t all that noticeable and was easy enough to cover up. That’s impressive for someone who does as much typing and texting as I do!

february2017hitslist06

I am an avid collector of key chains- and although not all of them have made it onto my main key ring (can you imagine how heavy it would be if they did?) I try to keep them on display. This Prince chain from The Found, however- has been added and is proudly on display on my main key ring alongside my Michonne from “The Walking Dead” charm and a flip-flip souvenir from my very first trip to San Diego back in 2007. That’s how awesome this one is.

I’m loving the sass levels of this key chain- the charm being considerably larger than the U.S. quarter I had thought it was initially compared to. I’m not complaining, though. I’ve already had a ton of people notice it and ask to see it up close. It’s so well-made and so, so much fun. My keys just feel ten times sexier with this chain hanging out next to them.

february2017hitslist07

Finally, as we begin to transition into Spring and I begin to re-organize my perfume collection- I splurged a bit via Avon and bought a bottle of their PRIMA fragrance (the body wash and lotion were a bonus with my purchase!) This scent is a really pretty, light and unique blend of rose, plum and patchouli- which might sound a little funky on paper- but I assure you all it’s quite lovely!

It reminds me of sunny mornings spent in a garden- which given the recent warm weather- has me feeling extra happy these days!

And I think that’s it for all the photogenic stuff for February 2017. Let’s move onto the other odds and ends that have made this month so enjoyable!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • “Get Out” – I was a huge fan of Key & Peele’s sketch show on Comedy Central, and their first movie since the show wrapped up, “Keanu”, left me pretty much in stitches from laughing so hard- so when I heard that Jordan Peele was working on a horror movie- I was intrigued. When the first trailers/previews for “Get Out” were released and were already SUPER unnerving, I couldn’t wait for it to be released- and now that the movie is getting glowing reviews and is dominating at the box office- I’ve made plans to see it after work this week and I am. so. excited. I love seeing other, brilliant sides to comedic geniuses- and I love a genuinely good horror flick!
  • “Logan” – Speaking of movies that are getting glowing reviews, I am all about the new Wolverine movie (even if the last few weren’t that great.) The latest- and I think final- installment to this particular franchise looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’ll happily spend an afternoon checking it out with my friends in the coming days. Hugh Jackman, after all…

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • “You Must Remember This” – Hello, newest podcast obsession. If you love old Hollywood and all the bizarre and salacious stories that came out of it, this one is a must-subscribe-to. Every episode, approximately 30-40 minutes long (perfect for that morning commute!) details different famous figures from Hollywood’s golden era through the 70’s and 80’s- including their work, scandals, contributions to film/society, etc. Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth, etc. The podcast is fascinating- and free on iTunes- and extremely entertaining!

And I think that’s it for this month! I have to take off to meet my friends for brunch- but I’ll be back to recap this past February in it’s entirety on Tuesday.

As always, if you have your own favorites for this month that you’d like to share- drop me a line!

xx

That 70’s Shoe!

Leave a comment Standard

One of VH1’s best events!

My fashion sense and personal style has always been unique and often unpredictable, to put it mildly. Some days I’m all about bold prints and daring cuts while other days I’m into more classic silhouettes and subtle shades- and while my makeup has always been fairly consistent (a bold red lip and dramatic mascara is forever my signature)– my clothing and accessories are often a reflection of my mood and/or my interests on any given day- and I really do love mixing it up as much as possible!

As most people know- certain fashions almost always have a resurgence every few years. In late 2016 and early 2017- the beloved pairing of velvet pants/boots/blazers and chokers made a comeback (and growing up in the 90’s where I wore things like that constantly- I was more than thrilled to dig those things out of storage again!) and skinny jeans were briefly rivaled by flared jeans for the first time since I was in high school. It seems like just when we think it’s time to finally throw some our most beloved pieces away- they are suddenly on trend and in high demand again- which is why I only toss out the really, really, really bad and embarrassing stuff I used to wear.

Juicy Couture sweatsuits, glittery tube tops, butterfly hair clips and low rise jeans with thongs, anyone? Oh yeah. I wore those a LOT. Not my proudest or most photogenic moments, I assure you.

I digress- in 2017 it seems like the 70’s are making a highly anticipated comeback- and I’m not talking about Space Invaders, Fonzie, disco or “Soul Train” (although I’d honestly be fine with that coming back because watching old episodes is seriously the best)– but 70’s fashion is returning in a big way- and shoe brand Alterre is at the forefront with some seriously innovative and stylish designs!

For those not familiar with Alterre, they are a New York-based company who design shoes that can be modified and altered within minutes by simply snapping and locking different pieces (with various colors and designs) into place- making the transition from work to happy hour a breeze and rendering the need to carry a separate pair of shoes in your bag or your car obsolete. Alterre offers starter kits, individual shoes/snap pieces for sale- as well as a monthly subscription service (starting at $14.99 a month) for those who love shoes but may or may not have enough closet space to store them all.

I’m guilty as charged on that one.

And I love working with companies who give back in big ways- so it makes me even happier to advertise Alterre’s unique brand knowing that their products are made according to fair labor laws in Brazil, are environmentally friendly by using recycled plastic heels- and that they donate 5% of the proceeds earned to the women’s abuse/sex-trafficking victim shelter Restore NYC– which is a cause I am so, so passionate about.

The company was recently kind enough to invite me to their studio in NYC to check out their upcoming 70’s-inspired Resort/Winter 2017 collection as part of NYFW- and I am already in love with the metallic, sparkle, and floral designs that would make even Jackie Burkhart jealous.

jackieburkhart

I honestly cannot wait to get my hands on some of these pieces. I’ve also taken a peek inside Alterre’s Look Book for the collection and really the shoes, the materials, and the colors are all part of my 2017 fashion aesthetic. This is a company those of you who love versatile, creative, convenient and fashionable footwear should keep an eye on. They’re quite brilliant!

via Alterre

via Alterre

xx

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post powered by BrandBacker. I do not work for Brandbacker and/or Alterre and was not paid or compensated to post anything I did not agree with. All opinions are 100% and completely my own!*

Bedroom Dance Party: A Playlist

Leave a comment Standard

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone!

After a busy work week (that came with plenty of snow!), I’m looking forward to a long holiday weekend to unwind, decompress- and also head back into NYC for a day away!

Leading up to this weekend, I’ve compiled a quick, 10-track playlist of the songs I’ve been listening to over and over lately- typically when I’m in my bedroom and getting ready for work and/or to go out for the night. They get me dancing, or singing along- usually both- and I’ve dubbed this my honorary Spring playlist for 2017- even if we haven’t quite reached Spring yet!

We’re almost there, though- right?

Featuring tracks from Fitz & The Tantrums, Warpaint and Kings of Leon- among others- here’s my latest mix, courtesy of 8Tracks: “Bedroom Dance Party!”

Have a great weekend!

xx

POPSUGAR Must Have Box: February 2017.

Leave a comment Standard

february2017popsugar01

Good Morning! I hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day with your special someone- or if you’re newly single like I am- you enjoyed a day of self-love and much-deserved pampering. Indeed, yesterday marked the first Valentine’s Day in a couple of years where I wasn’t partnered up with a boyfriend- so I made sure to spoil myself with roses, some decadent chocolate cake, a little wine- and a good action movie to round out my night after I had left work.

I also found use for some of the things I received in this month’s POPSUGAR “Must Have” box, which arrived over this past weekend. Oh, how I adore this subscription service. As is tradition- here’s a round-up of the goodies I got!

february2017popsugar02

With February being predominantly about Valentine’s Day- it came as no surprise that the themes/inspirations for the items included in this month’s box fell into the lovey-dovey category: FLIRTY, LOVE, SWEETS, POSITIVE IMPACT, and ROMANCE were the driving force behind one of the fanciest “Must Have” collections I’ve ever received to date!

february2017popsugar03

First things first, I was completely blown away by the quality (and the $98 price tag!) of this handwoven fold-over clutch from Tribe Alive. It’s absolutely gorgeous and compliments every outfit and ensemble I own- which is perfect for those days I want to travel light and not have to swing my usual go-to bag over my shoulder over and over with every other movement I make.

Tribe Alive also gives back in an awesome way. They partner with artisans worldwide to employ impoverished women and provide them with safe, reliable jobs at fair-trade wages. They have so many beautiful products you can browse on their website without guilt- because each item is helping a woman in need build a better life. Such a great company with an even greater cause to support!

february2017popsugar04

I’ve always been a big fan of any and all snacks that POPSUGAR includes in their “Must Have” boxes, but the chocolate-covered cereal bar from Chuao Chocolatier I found inside this month’s collection of items is by far the tastiest and my favorite so far! This bar, which is essentially Cinnamon Toast Crunch pieces dipped in delicious milk chocolate- was so, so, so good. I mean gone in under 2 minutes kind of good.

I’ve already bookmarked Chuao’s page for future reference when I decide to do a mass snack haul since they have so many other delicious-looking things to savor! They have a chocolate & bacon bar, for crying out loud. What more do you need in this life?!

february2017popsugar05

I’m not going to lie- I’ve always been dreadful when it came to false eyelashes. I can never get them right, they itch, they fall off way too easily- you name it. It’s just never been a good combination. Not only that, but I prefer them to look a little more natural and most of the ones I’ve come across throughout my travels and experiments have been a bit over-the-top, to put it mildly.

Despite all of that- I thought these silk lashes from Battington Lashes looked rather lovely and more realistic than other falsies I’ve tried in the past. I haven’t given these ones a go yet, but I have a feeling I’ll finally try them out when I prepare for the first comic-convention I’ll be attending in 2017 a little later on this month in Rhode Island. These are good for up to 25 uses- which means I’ll have plenty of time to practice getting these on right!

february2017popsugar06

I will never say no to a good quality body cream- especially in the Winter- and my prayers were answered with this super soothing body treatment from JUARA Skincare. Infused with candlenut oil and vitamin E- this nourishing cream leaves my skin hydrated, conditioned, soft and smooth.

This has been a miracle these past few days- especially after the recent snowstorms that have slammed New England. I come inside after shoveling and immediately slather some of this on and it’s like instant relief. I’m a big fan and I have a feeling I’ll be picking up a couple more jars of this- both for myself and to gift friends & family, too!

february2017popsugar07

february2017popsugar08

I have been wearing this adorable gold -plated “love” script necklace from Kris Nations Jewelry non-stop since I received it. It’s tiny, classy, delicate- and pairs beautifully with my small stud earrings and plain sweaters I typically wear to work this time of year. It serves as a nice little reminder of one of the most important things in this world- although at $48 I’m always a tiny bit nervous the thin chain will break while I’m wearing it and it’ll be lost forever!

Other than that, though- this was such a lovely surprise to receive in this month’s “Must Have” box.

february2017popsugar09

february2017popsugar010

Finally, POPSUGAR included a bonus item in this month’s assortment- a ruby red lipstick from Revlon’s Super Lustrous collection. This creamy formula feels so lightweight on my lips- but is still super pigmented and gives my fair complexion a brilliant and unexpected pop of color that lasts a lot longer than I thought it would!

I’m always on the prowl for really good red lipsticks- since I consider it to be one of my signature colors- and this one is right up there on my list of favorites!

_____________________________

I think February’s “Must Have” box might be one of the best ones I’ve ever received. Each item was so lovely, and the value of everything included far surpassed my monthly subscription cost/shipping and handling. I was so impressed by everything- even the smaller items like the lipstick and the chocolate bar. This box was well thought out and organized- and I am once again a very satisfied customer!

xx

Quick Drinks: Starbucks’ Pink Drink

Leave a comment Standard

starbuckspinkdrink01

If you’re addicted to Starbucks like I am- and also use Instagram as much as I do- then you would have noticed the #PinkDrink sensation that swept social media last Summer. The drink in question, Starbucks’ Strawberry Acai Refresher- replaces the water in the beverage with coconut milk- leaving a bright pink, creamy in texture and subtle sweet flavor, instead. The drink is refreshing on hot days and a nice change from strong espresso with it’s mild caffeine amounts on those mornings when I don’t necessarily want the coffee-jitters before I go into a meeting or anything.

Having been snowed in yesterday, and with tomorrow being Valentine’s Day- I thought I’d try my hand at making my own version of the “Pink Drink” since the color of the beverage reminds me of the impending romantic holiday and because I actually had all of the ingredients in my kitchen already. There are enough versions of the recipe floating around online by other enthusiastic fans of the beverage- so finding one wasn’t hard at all.

Please keep in mind that the ingredients can be tweaked and adjusted based on your preferences and tastes- so feel free to experiment a little! I know I did!

starbuckspinkdrink02

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 4 packs/teabags of acai berry tea (or regular green tea)
  • 1 cup hot boiling water
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice
  • 1-2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • Fresh sliced strawberries & blackberries
  • Agave nectar (optional)

OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. In a 2 cup glass measuring cup add unwrapped tea packets. Pour hot water over the packets and let sit until cool. Squeeze out tea packets and discard them.

2. Pour white grape juice into the measuring cup with the tea.

3. Fill a glass with ice and add about 1 cup of the tea/grape juice mixture. Top off with the desired amount of coconut milk.

4. Add in sliced strawberries & blackberries and add in sweetener if desired.

5. Sit back, sip- and enjoy!

starbuckspinkdrink03

I love this drink. It’s easy to make, tastes delicious, and costs a fraction of the price to simply prepare it at home instead of buying one every day at Starbucks. I’m seriously addicted to coconut milk- and am looking for other ways to use it in the kitchen since it just tastes so good. Plus- these drinks are just as pretty on Instagram homemade as they are in a Starbucks cup- so get creative! I enjoyed sipping mine out of my mason jar drinking glasses I picked up a few months ago.

Even though we’re in the peak of Winter here in New England- and these beverages are served chilled- they’re still really good year-round. They’re refreshing and don’t leave you with a serious caffeine buzz- which make them ideal for an afternoon pick-me-up!

xx

Cha Cha Cha!

Leave a comment Standard

superbowlsunday2017

The city of Boston has essentially been in non-stop party mode since Sunday night’s Super Bowl- and I’m still in a state of bewildered bliss, myself. I cannot BELIEVE that comeback. I mean- did that really happen or was I dreaming? Am I still dreaming? Prior to Lady Gaga’s amazing performance at halftime (side note: someone please point me in the direction to where I can buy one of those glittery/studded leotard things she was wearing. I want one for myself!)– the game was just downright painful to watch as the Falcons were mercilessly pummeling the Pats. I didn’t think there was any way to come back from that beat-down…

… But I guess miracles really do happen and it’s never truly over until it’s over. I went from borderline heartbroken to nail-biting levels of nervous, to a stunned/ecstatic mix of emotions and then straight into frenzied celebration mode in a matter of minutes during overtime on Sunday night and let me tell you- it was EXHAUSTING– in a good way, of course!

Today was the Patriots’ homecoming party in the form of my city’s favorite victory tradition: the Duck Boat Parade. Work and rough weather conditions prevented me from going, but some of my friends mustered up the courage to call out sick and bundle up to brave the sleet and ice to find a spot along the parade route early this morning- and their photos/videos were giving me life in my office all day. I couldn’t stop smiling.

The celebration will continue well into this weekend for many, I’m sure- and I’m already eyeing some commemorative gear to  splurge on as a memento for what is hands-down my most favorite Super Bowl I’ve ever watched (so far, anyway!)

chachachas01

chachachas02

Prior to Sunday’s big game, I did some pre-gaming of my own with friends at a couple of new spots in Everett and Melrose. On Saturday, I finally got around to checking out the Cha Cha Cha Taqueria in Everett- a hole in the wall/blink and you’ll miss it Mexican food spot I passed by chance a few weeks ago while on my way home and had made a mental note to check it out ever since. Although the place is pretty small on the inside- it’s some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. I ordered a chicken quesadilla, which came rolled in a seasoned corn tortilla instead of pressed flat in a flour one- and what a difference it made!

I ended up eating the entire thing (and also- yay for street tacos!) with chips and homemade guacamole. Completely gluttonous and worth it. I’ll definitely be going back.

damicisbakery01

Later on that night, when I was back in Melrose and needed to walk off my gigantic quesadilla (and get a coffee to keep myself out of a food coma)– my BFF Sean and I took a brisk walk over to Main Street and, specifically- D’Amici’s Bakery. I’d only ever been in there once before for a quick cappuccino last Fall and didn’t take the time to sit down and really savor the place, so it was nice to do it this time. Their coffee/tea/hot chocolate selections are fantastic- and their baked goods are delicious. I ended up getting a chocolate cannoli to eat while I was there, but I also picked up a few of the above-pictured Patriots cupcakes to bring to my Super Bowl party the following night and they ended up being a big hit.

I think I know where I’ll be going the next time I need to pick up sweets for any functions/parties!

Overall, it’s been a very exciting weekend and week so far- and I’m very much looking forward to a day or two of downtime after a couple of big meetings I have lined up at work within the next few days so that I can pause and catch my breath for a moment- and also finish some much-needed renovations here on the blog without distraction. I’m excited to reveal the changes once they’re done.

We’re almost to the weekend everyone. Hang in there!

xx

Skincare In Your 30s – Laser Treatments?

Leave a comment Standard

Now that I’ve entered the new and still-uncharted “Early 30’s” territory, one of the questions I get asked the most- both by friends and strangers in person or on social media alike- is how I keep my skin looking so young. Now, I don’t consider the 30’s to be old at all (nor do I think 40’s or 50’s are that old!) so it’s always a bit unusual to answer. I mean, a small percentage of keeping a youthful appearance is the genetic lottery. Both my mom and dad looked young for their age- as did their parents and their parents before them- while the rest is all in how you take care of yourself. Diet, adequate sun protection, not smoking or drinking too much alcohol, getting enough sleep and water in your system- and using preventative products all help keep signs of aging at bay and also reduce the signs that may already be visible.

Of course, I know that answer may not satisfy everyone- and I’ve had people ask me about laser treatments- and if that’s something I’d consider in the future. While I’ve never been one to really contemplate going under the knife or having any kind of plastic surgery done- I find the procedures fascinating- both in their quickness and in their long-term results that don’t require multiple and/or painful appointments. The way procedures have advanced over the years is starting to make the traditional “get knocked out and wake up sore for a few weeks” methods obsolete.

I did a little research for those who are considering laser skin treatments, and put together a small guide for others who may also be entering their 30’s and are considering giving the procedures a try:

Lasers for Skin Treatment – What You Need to Know

Lasers have been used to treat the skin for decades, but exactly how they are used has changed over the years. As the laser skincare treatment options have grown, so has the popularity of the procedures themselves. But just because something is popular doesn’t mean you should jump right in and have it done when you are uninformed. Here’s what you need to know about having a laser treatment.

Lasers Perform Versatile Skin Treatments on Multiple Body Parts

First, you should know that lasers are very versatile. Not only can they help to tighten up wrinkles and sagging skin, but they can also help you get rid of unsightly blemishes and scars. Although, one specific laser may not be able to do all of that at once. Different machines have different purposes.

Along those same lines, you need to understand that lasers can treat your skin in different ways. Some medical tools that use lasers are capable of treating surface concerns, while others get down a bit deeper, impacting areas that can’t be seen with the naked eye. You might think that surface issues are the only ones you need to treat, but that isn’t true.

You see, your skin naturally flakes off over time. As it is, lower layers move up and become upper layers. By improving your general skin health, you can often see gradual improvements over time. So, there are advantages to both types of laser treatments.

How Lasers Interact with Skin Oils

The next thing you need to know is that any oils or liquids on your skin, whether natural or applied, can alter your laser treatment results. That’s why your clinic should tell you not to put on any perfume or sprays before your treatment. It’s also why your clinician may recommend against laser appointments if your skin is naturally too oily. Oily-skinned people often find that they develop blisters or burns after laser procedures.

It’s Vital That You Choose the Right Laser Clinic for You

It’s also vital that you know the difference between a good clinic and a bad clinic. Unfortunately, there are untrained people out there claiming to be skincare experts. You can verify the reputation of your clinic through reviews, references, and general word of mouth. You can also inquire about the individual experience and training that a specific clinician in the clinic has. Don’t be afraid to ask multiple questions! It’s your skin and you want to make sure you’re putting it in the right person’s hands!

 You Still Have to Take Care of Your Skin After Laser Treatment

One thing that some people don’t realize is that laser treatment isn’t a permanent fix for all skin problems. Even if your treatment or series of treatments is successful at first, wrinkles and skin sags can return weeks, months, or years later.

You can improve your odds of lasting results by caring for your skin, even after your laser procedure is complete. Ask your clinician or dermatologist what creams, lotions, and cleansers are best, and then use those products regularly as directed.

As long as you make an educated decision about which clinic and which laser procedure to choose, you should see marked improvements in your skin health within a relatively short time. Just make sure that you don’t expect too much too soon. Remember that laser treatments often need to be repeated for the best results. But have a little patience and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier appearance.

_____________________________

I hope that is helpful and sound advice for anyone thinking of getting any kind of laser procedure done in the future! It’s all pretty standard and common knowledge- but it never hurts to have additional information to reference while researching clinics and mulling over decisions.

If anyone has ever had one of these procedures done, and would like to share their experience- I’d love to hear it!

xx

Super Bowl Survival!

Leave a comment Standard
superbowl51pats

via The Patriots’ Instagram account.

Good Morning and Happy Friday, everyone! This weekend couldn’t come fast enough for me- not only because I have fun plans with friends tomorrow just outside the city- but because Sunday night is the Super Bowl! After last year’s devastating loss to the Broncos during the AFC Championship Game- The Patriots are taking on the Atlanta Falcons in Houston. It’s essentially considered a holiday here in New England- even though I have to be at work bright and early on Monday morning (not too thrilled about that one!)

I digress- it’s always a thrill when your team makes it all the way to the big game (and Lady Gaga is headlining the halftime show? Yasssssss!) so I took the necessary steps to guarantee the get-together I have planned goes off without a hitch. I’ve put together a short guide for anyone else looking for some pre-game tips and tricks so that they don’t get stuck in traffic, trampled in the grocery store while picking up that last minute bag of chips, or stranded in the back of a bar trying to peer over a bunch of other peoples’ heads to see the score on the TV everyone is crowded around.

And I’ve included a quick and delicious recipe for those who are looking for something a little different to munch on or serve guests!

THE SCREEN:

Nobody wants to crowd around a tiny TV to watch the game. That doesn’t mean you have to run out and purchase a huge flat-screen to appease everyone, but making sure everyone has a clear view of the score is pretty important. If the viewing situation or standards aren’t exactly up to par- the problem can easily be solved with a blank wall or by hanging up a sheet like my friend Stef did during the Patriots/Seahawks game a couple of years ago when she streamed the game through a projector synced up to her laptop and onto a wall she’d cleared in her living room. The picture was perfect, the sound was great- and everyone could see what was happening- even from the next room over while they were grabbing snacks.

I’ve heard of other scenarios where people have brought their own large TVs over to friends’ houses to set up for the game- which sounds like a lot of work- but desperate times call for desperate measures. If it comes to that: just make sure they arrive early enough to guarantee the TV is working properly. There’s nothing worse than getting no picture/static or no sound when you’re just a few minutes away from kickoff.

THE FOOD:

Okay, this is probably the most important thing. If you’re hosting your own Super Bowl party- then a half a bag of potato chips and some cheese slices just isn’t going to cut it. People are going to be amped up- and they’re going to get hungry. That doesn’t mean that you have to pay a small fortune for take-out (or wait 2 hours for the delivery person to arrive since you know they’re going to be SLAMMED with orders.) Go to your local market and pick up a couple of frozen pizzas. They take no time at all to cook up and they taste just fine. I promise you- no one is going to complain.

Stuck on appetizers? Check the frozen food section in the market while you’re there. A lot of stores take advantage of Super Bowl Sunday and have buy one/get one specials leading up to game day on frozen appetizers like mozzarella sticks, buffalo wings and loaded potato skins. Like the pizzas- you just toss them in the oven for a few minutes and they’re good to go. Serve them with some sour cream and marinara sauce and you’re all set!

I typically take advantage of the deli in my local market when it comes to snack foods for special occasions, too (i.e. my weekly ‘The Walking Dead’ feast when the show is back on.) I can get everything I need for a meat/cheese platter, cooked potato wedges, onion rings, tempura chicken, or salad kits for anyone coming over who might not be into the whole “Football Foods” thing.

Baked goods are also nice to have should anyone with a sweet tooth get a craving. Cookies, brownies and cupcakes are easy enough to bake/decorate or buy in bulk at the store. Right now my local market has some yummy looking chocolate TB12 cupcakes available in honor of Tom Brady.

Fair warning though: you need to get to the store today or tomorrow to avoid crazy lines or worse- the food selling out. It happens. Believe me.

If you do have time to whip something up, though- you can’t go wrong with a gigantic plate of nachos, some shrimp cocktail, or even something as simple as mixing up a couple of fresh dips or cheese balls to dunk your chips and crackers in. Below, I’ve included a recipe for buffalo cauliflower nuggets- a lighter alternative to hot wings in case you want to leave more room for pizza and potato skins.

buffalocauliflower01

I love buffalo wings and I love cauliflower- and while browsing the web for some new snacks to incorporate into this coming Sunday’s menu- I came across this quick recipe that combines both things. If you want something light, spicy, and with just enough crispy goodness to satisfy your crunch-craving without filling you up- these are seriously awesome and worth checking out/trying.

You won’t regret it!

buffalocauliflower02

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • Oil, as needed for frying
  • 2 eggs
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • Buffalo/hot sauce
  • Bleu cheese dressing (for dipping)
  • Celery and/or carrot sticks (to serve with nuggets)

OKAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU DO:

1. Pour 2 to 3 inches of oil into a large sauté pan. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers on the surface and reads about 350°F on a thermometer. (Or you can test the oil with a piece of cauliflower: If it bubbles and stays at the surface after you drop it in the oil, then you’re good to go.)

2. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels. Whisk the eggs in a large, shallow bowl.

3. In another large, shallow bowl, whisk the flour with the garlic powder, salt and black pepper.

buffalocauliflower03

4. Working with a few pieces at a time, dip the cauliflower florets into the egg until they are well coated. Then dip them into the flour mixture and toss well to coat. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower.

5. Working in batches, fry the cauliflower until the pieces are evenly golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes. Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon and drain on the prepared paper-towel-lined baking sheet.

6. Fill a small bowl with the buffalo/hot sauce. Add the fried cauliflower to the sauce and gently toss to coat.

buffalocauliflower04

7. Serve the cauliflower immediately, hot, with the carrots and celery on the side and the blue cheese dressing for dipping.

8. Watch the game and enjoy!

buffalocauliflower05

They taste incredible- and don’t make you feel too-full-to-function. I’ll be cooking up a fresh plate of these on Sunday!

THE ALCOHOL:

If your party is going to be 21+, then you’re going to need the proper amount of alcohol- which can be tricky if everyone likes to drink different things. I’ve found having a B.Y.O.B. rule works out well, so that everyone can bring enough of what they personally enjoy and you don’t have to foot what will surely be a very expensive liquor store bill- but it never hurts to have some spare booze and beer laying around. Just in case.

I keep it simple: a case of a generic beer/lager like Sam Adams, a 6-pack of something fruity/a hard cider (because there’s always someone who wants it), and a bottle of red and/or white wine for the non-beer drinkers. I try not to have too much hard liquor around during sporting events because you never know how someone’s going to react to the score when they’re 3 shots of whiskey or tequila in. If they want to bring it themselves, fine- but don’t throw up or break anything in my place because I WILL make you clean up after yourself/replace things.

And it goes without saying that there should always be one- if not more- designated drivers assigned to the party to make sure people get home safely. It’s also good to have an air mattress or a freed up couch available if someone has had too much to drink and cannot find a ride home so that they can crash somewhere familiar, warm and safe and sleep it off. Keep everyone’s car keys in a bowl so no one attempts to leave on their own after having one too many.

Also be sure that anyone not drinking alcohol have beverage options, too. Water, juice, soda- it’s good to stock up on a few different things so that everyone has something to chug while they’re eating their food.

Living in New England, I usually store the beverages in a cooler on my back porch to keep them really cold- but make sure you have plenty of ice- just in case. The weather and temperatures can get really unpredictable here and it might be warmer outside than anticipated this Sunday.

(via Pinterest)

(via Pinterest)

THE DECOR:

You don’t need to have every single inch of your living room covered with your team’s logo. Implementing their team colors in your decor is good enough- I promise. Pick up some paper/plastic plates, cups and utensils in one color- and then mix it up by adding paper napkins in the other hue. If you want to go a little further without having to blow up one of those gigantic inflatable football players on your front porch/lawn, you can always buy inexpensive paper tablecloths with your team’s logo on them to stack the utensils, food and beverages on. The whole theme here is convenience and everything being easy to clean up and dispose of once the game and the party are over for the night.

You don’t want to be up ’til 2 a.m. taking down color-coordinated Christmas lights or popping a bunch balloons or anything, do you?

Window decals and streamers also liven things up, but again- it’s not necessary to go overboard. People are going to be focusing on three things and three things only: the game, the food, and the beverages. They aren’t going to mind if you don’t have an ice sculpture carved into the likeness of your team’s quarterback sitting in the middle of your table.

THE WARDROBE:

Listen, it’s Super Bowl Sunday- not Fashion Week- and wearing leggings and an oversized team jersey is not only allowed, but encouraged. You’re going to be savoring some serious junk food, probably having some alcohol, and stressing out about the score. You don’t want to be uncomfortable, do you? Sport your team’s colors with pride- but don’t worry about having the perfect hair, makeup, or manicure.

Me? I’m shamelessly throwing on my Gronkowski t-shirt with my favorite pair of navy blue jeggings and a Patriots sweatshirt so I can move around and eat as much as I want. Since the Super Bowl is in Houston, I don’t think incorporating some cowboy boots into the ensemble is all that bad, either. How cute are these brown, knee-high equestrian boots from KING RANCH SADDLE SHOP, for example?

(via King Ranch Saddle Shop's website.)

(via King Ranch Saddle Shop’s website.)

Those are seriously my favorite types of boots to wear with jeggings. It’s like the perfect mix of cowgirl and comfort- and they match pretty much everything.

As long as you’re comfortable- that’s all that matters. Even if you show up to the party in a pair of fleece pajama pants with your team’s logo printed all over them and a hoodie- at least you’re still showing some spirit!

______________________

And there you have it! My guide to hosting (and more importantly- enjoying) a stress-free Super Bowl party. No sweating the time, no pulling your hair out over the decorations, and no sink full of dirty dishes to take care of in the morning. Just a few easy and inexpensive methods to making sure everyone is fed, quenched, and ready to cheer and shout at the TV for a couple of hours.

Best of all? You might even have leftovers for Monday, too!

If you have Super Bowl Survival tips of your own- feel free to share them!

Have a safe weekend, everyone! Go Pats!

xx

January 2017: In a Nutshell.

Leave a comment Standard

stellabella2017Before I talk about the rest of the month, I just want to take a moment to pay my respects to my cat, Stella- who passed away Saturday night after a brief battle with an illness. Stella went quickly- surrounded by her favorite toys, her treats, and the people who loved her and took care of her for the past 5-6 years. I buried her in my backyard yesterday morning, in a spot where I plan to grow a flower bed come Spring- and I’m going to miss her terribly.

Stella originally belonged to my friend Sam, who had adopted her when she was just a kitten and who kept her for a couple of years until an unexpected change in Sam’s living situation brought Stella into my home while pet-friendly accommodations were sought out. What was supposed to have been a brief stay- lasting only a couple of weeks- turned into months and eventually years. Stella wasted no time in acclimating herself into my home and within my family- and it took us even less time to embrace her and fall in love with her.

Having pets can be one of the most fulfilling and wonderful experiences in a person’s life- but when you lose them- it’s absolutely brutal. I’m going to be feeling this loss for a long time, and I appreciate my friends and my family for being so kind and supportive in the aftermath and while I work through it.

Apart from this recent tragedy casting a shadow on the final days of this month, January was a lot of fun overall. I started the month (and year) off with a relaxing weekend in rural Vermont, I celebrated my best friend’s birthday- as well as my own- and I recently had a spontaneous day off in NYC in-between working and getting political with the recent Women’s March (and I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot more protesting in the coming months) as well as on social media where I refuse to back down to anyone who promotes or perpetuates sexism, racism, xenophobia, bigotry and intolerance. While the news continues to get more and more insane, depressing and infuriating with every passing day- the one constant is that I continue to stand up for the rights of others and myself. It’s a trend I hope to see more of throughout 2017.

I recently offered my experience as a paralegal to any attorney within my state that may be in need of assistance- free of charge- who were attempting to help refugees or citizens affected by Trump’s newly implemented travel ban. My grandfather risked his life in WWII fighting the Nazis because he believed in democracy and wanted to keep the country he loved safe from tyranny and oppression. His family before him immigrated here looking for a better life and opportunity knowing there would be struggles and plenty of hard work ahead of them- but that was the American dream. Watching people who have that same dream and/or simply want to raise their families in a safe environment be turned away because of the color of their skin, their religion, or where they originated from absolutely breaks my heart and I want to help them in any way I can.

I think Cher said it best in “Clueless”:

cluelessstatueofliberty

But politics and protests aside, I’m thankful that January was- up until the night Stella died- pretty calm and laid back amid international upheaval. I feel like I really needed it after a crazy holiday season and an even crazier workload and schedule at my office. It was nice to have more downtime than usual to spend either on my own or in the comfort of friends and family. It gave me a lot of time to decompress and even more time to prepare for February.

So what’s in store for the coming month? Well, I’m kicking things off by getting in the Super Bowl spirit, planning another trip to NYC, doing some layout/long overdue maintenance on the blog (as well as my place), checking out a couple of new restaurants in the area, getting ready for the return of “The Walking Dead”- and continuing to spend more time with my family and friends.

But first things first. This morning I have an early meeting at work- so I should probably be heading off.

Enjoy the last day of January 2017, everyone!

xx

selfiejanuary2017

Pre-Pizza Party: 1/29/17

January Hits List!

Leave a comment Standard

january2017hitslist01

Happy Saturday and Chinese New Year, everyone! If you didn’t know, today marks the beginning of the Year of The Rooster (specifically, the Fire Rooster)– and if that’s not another reason to get out there and have yourself a wonderful and celebratory day/night- then I don’t know what is! The Chinese Zodiac is fascinating, and if you haven’t checked out all the associations with this coming year (or even your birth year) like lucky numbers, colors, etc., then I highly recommend it. You just might learn something new about yourself!

I’ll be celebrating with friends tonight, more than likely digging into some Chinese food (as is tradition) and snapping some sparkler and Chinese lantern selfies- but before I get going on my day- I wanted to share some of my favorite odds and ends from this past January. In what has become a monthly tradition here on “Legally Redhead”, it’s my Hits List post: a re-cap of all the things I’ve been loving/using/wearing/watching/eating/etc. over the last few weeks.

I always start these posts off with the things/items I could easily photograph before I divulge other random and assorted bits and belongings that aren’t quite as easy to capture with a snapshot. January was chock-full of great stuff, so this post might be a little on the long side. Sorry in advance!

Without further delay- here’s what I adored in January 2017!

january2017hitslist02

January was all about self-care- inside and out- and that included freshening up my skincare and makeup, too. I’ve been sticking to and continually using some of my long-time favorite scrubs and cleansers, but I also integrated a couple of newer products into the mix to keep my complexion looking bright and radiant during these harsher Winter months. Without a doubt, my new favorite face mask is the Elizavecca Milky Piggy Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask- which I reviewed earlier this month HERE. I use it once a week and still get the same, amazing results- and it’s just as fun to use as the first time I tried it!

At night, I’ve swapped my more oily, plant-based serum for something that will moisturize and tighten my skin without ruining my pillowcases. I’m really liking the ‘Rejuveness’ cream from POND’s lately. My mom had given me a jar of the stuff a little while back when I was in-between moisturizers and needed something to keep my skin hydrated until I could make it to Sephora- and I really liked it. Loaded with Vitamin E, collagen and AHAs- this cream is lightweight, non-greasy and doesn’t clog my pores. I wake up with softer, smoother skin every morning.

january2017hitslist03

Of course, self-care also includes getting a good and undisturbed night’s sleep, too- so I’ve been utilizing this eye mask from Pier 1 Imports to shut out any light while I’m snoozing. I know there are super fancy masks available out there that help reduce puffiness around the eyes or offer cooling sensations and whatnot- but this one does a fine enough job for me. The elastic is adjustable so it’s never too tight or loose, the satin fabric is soft on my skin- and I’m a sucker for zebra print.

january2017hitslist04

january2017hitslist05

I picked up some new makeup in January, too- bold shades to brighten up my more neutral-toned wardrobe pieces this time of year. One of my favorite new additions to my collection is this golden/brown long-lasting liquid lipstick from Sugarpill. Accurately named “Pumpkin Spice” (with the matching scent to boot!) this color glides on effortlessly and dries to a smudge and fade-proof sparkling finish that doesn’t budge for hours. I am absolutely in love with the shade, and often pair it with my copper-colored eye shadow I’ve been wearing on the regular.

When MAC Cosmetics announced they were creating a line of makeup inspired by the Queen of Tejano- Selena- I knew I was all in. I loved Selena growing up, and wanted to get my hands on some of the collection (if not all of it!) After browsing the makeup- which was GORGEOUS– I settled on three products that I felt would better compliment my fair skin tone. There’s the purple “Selena” eye shadow- which is a spot-on match to the singer’s purple disco outfit from her last concert at the Houston Astrodome. Then there’s “Coma La Flor”, a vibrant red lipstick with a shiny finish- and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom”- a bubblegum pink lip gloss that doesn’t feel sticky or tacky on my pout.

january2017hitslist06

It’s a weird New Year’s resolution- but I’ve wanted to start wearing some of my perfume collection more often in 2017. So many friends and family have bought me gorgeous bottles of lovely fragrances- and I’ve worn them maybe once or twice before tucking them away where they have unfortunately been overlooked. One of those perfumes, which has stayed in mint condition- is a Prada fragrance (the “Amber” Eau de Parfum) my father bought me while he was away in Las Vegas a few years ago. It’s heavy with sandalwood and Patchouli- and perfect for this more frigid time of year. I forgot how much I loved it and cannot stop wearing it.

january2017hitslist07

Also new this month? My weekly planner. This coral and gold colored notepad is a lifesaver and is already filled from cover to cover with my appointments, engagements, meetings, blog post schedule, vacations, trip details, etc. etc. I check this thing nearly every other day to keep track of all the important happenings and due dates in my life- and I cannot thank my mom enough for picking it up for me. It was a lovely Christmas present last month! She knows how busy I can get.

january2017hitslist08

And finally- I am so, so SO excited that chokers are making a comeback. I used to wear them all the time with my friends in the 90’s and then during their brief resurgence in the early 2000’s. I have to admit that they are much prettier now than they were back then- and lately I’ve been sporting this ultra-sparkly one I picked up at H&M recently. It goes with pretty much everything and adds a nice touch of bling to even the most basic of ensembles. Here’s to recycling more trends in 2017!

That’s it for the stuff I was able to take photos of. Time to get into the random things that also made the list this month!

– MUSIC/MOVIES/TELEVISION –

  • “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia…” – One of my favorite shows of all time, the latest season kicked off earlier this month and it has held no punches. It’s been brutal, offensive-and-funny, and just as hilariously over-the-top. How I needed these five awful, terrible characters back in my life to make me laugh so hard I cried again.
  • Dropkick Murphys: “11 Short Stories of Pain & Glory” – I am always going to have a special place in my heart for the Dropkick Murphys. The guys are gracious, funny, and have given so much back to their communities and to the city of Boston over the years. I was thrilled when they released their ninth studio album earlier this month. It’s got the fast-paced and clever stuff I know and love, like ‘Rebels with a Cause’ and ‘Kicked to the Curb’- but there’s also a couple of slower and more somber songs, too- such as ‘Blood’ and ‘4-15-13’. My favorite so far has been the closing track, ‘Until the Next Time’- and I’m hoping to catch them live soon!

– TECH/APPS/GAMES –

  • “Resident Evil 7” – Out of all the video game franchises, the ‘Resident Evil’ and ‘Silent Hill’ series are by far my favorites- even when the games get ridiculous with their plot lines and character development or when they inspire awful movies. While I don’t personally own a VR headset (yet…), some of my friends do- and we have all been waiting anxiously for the latest installment in the RE series to be released. I’ve played a bit of the demo- which was absolutely terrifying- and later on tonight my friends and I are going to attempt our very first run-through together. If you follow me on Instagram– expect our results to wind up in my feed/story!

– MISCELLANEOUS –

  • My “2017 Keep Calm and Quote Movies Daily Desktop Calendar” – Another Christmas present to keep me organized, I had actually wanted to snap a photo of this tear-away daily desk calendar that I’ve been using at work- but accidentally forgot it in my office for the weekend. You can see some of the calendar HERE through Amazon- but basically every day features a different and popular movie quote, all designed similarly to the famous “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters. I’ve been having a blast reading each one every day- and some of the quotes have inspired me to re-watch some of my favorite classic movies or seek out the ones I haven’t seen yet.

And I think that’s pretty much it for this month. There were so many new and exciting things to make these first few weeks of 2017 wonderful and I can’t wait to see what I discover in February!

As always- if you have any of your own personal favorites for January 2017 to share, feel free to leave me a comment or drop me a line!

xx