Friday Favorites Round-Up

February 27, 2015
This being my first full week back at work since I don't even know when it's definitely felt a little longer, but it's Friday and I'm so excited for the weekend!! Sharing some favorites this week and linking up with Amanda and Liz

Favorite Recipe

I've been on the lookout for some easy weeknight meals and this Meatball with Orzo is just that!! Planning on making it this weekend...just to taste test and make sure it works for the weeknights :)

Favorite Purchase 

I've pretty much gone bananas over suede shoes and picked up these gorgeous ones from Ann Taylor earlier this week - you may have seen it on my Instagram! I also shared about 15+ pairs in a post I wrote for Shift Your Style! I mean I'm obsessed! 

Favorite Outfit

I seriously love everything about this look! From the skinny jeans to the nude pumps to that beyond gorgeous bag! I also spent a good hour combing through all of her fashion posts!! 

Favorite Coupon Site

So this one might be a bit odd, but I recently discovered Groupon's Coupon SectionDoes anyone else know about this? 
I pretty much only shop online if there is a coupon that I can use and was searching for a few that Nordstrom had and lo and behold Groupon's Coupon section is how I ended up being swayed to make my purchase online instead of in the store! I really liked that I could filter by promo codes, just plain sales that they are running and only in-store offers.
After a little more digging they ended up having practically every single retailer on the site and it was much easier to navigate than what I used before which was Retail Me Not. 

Favorite Show

This deserved to be on my favorites list this week because I can pretty much guarantee that we will be watching HOC all weekend long!! If you haven't started with House of Cards yet I'm slightly jealous because that means you have three seasons to watch! 

Favorite Links

//Spring time = wedding time and I love seeing all these fresh spring bouquets
//Not a morning person? These tips will help get you there faster
//Read this real life Notebook story and tell me you didn't cry 

Also, congratulations to Jillian from Cornflake Dreams for winning the Rachael Ryen giveaway from this week! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and hopefully I'll be back Monday with something more to show for it than just watching House of Cards!

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Lovely Links

February 26, 2015
Here's this weeks rundown of my favorite articles & links! 
1// I'm SEO challenged and this guide helped me immensely 
2// Christina Aguilera nailed a Britney Spears impersonation - I've watched it 10 times already! 
3// I can't even begin to tell you how much One Kings Lane's organizational tips have helped me this week while trying to do some Spring cleaning 
4// The most amazing tutorial on how to hide your dark circles, hint there is red lipstick involved!  
5// I've struggled with how to create a gallery wall, but not anymore with this guide
6// Tips on staying stylish in the winter even though we are all so more than over it!!! 
7// Head over heels in love with this enchanting wedding 
8// I'm not sure how I just found out that Ivanka Trump has a blog, but I'm utterly obsessed! Also, her feature with Vogue makes me smile! 
9//My friend just bought this amazing pink blazer and I have to say I want it too!! 
10//Not sure if you all know, but Joey's book is currently on sale from Amazon for only $1.99! Do yourself a favor and download it - I'm halfway through and can't put it down! 

Hope you all have a wonderful Thursday! Anything you've seen that I should read?

Linking up with Natalie and Annie
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Winter Skin Care Routine | Updated

February 25, 2015
It's been more than six months since I shared my skin care routine and while I didn't do anything drastic to change my routine, I have added some new products that have really helped make a difference in how smooth my skin has been this winter. 
I received a lot of great skin care products from my Glossy Boxes over that last few months and I've been testing them out like crazy! I have two go-to products that I don't see myself switching any time soon and the others are all new and great products!!  

For The Face//

Kueshi Toner
I have to be honest and say I hadn't used a toner in probably 7 or 8 years before getting this in my Glossy Box two months ago!! I absolutely love the smell, almost like bubble gum and it leaves my skin feeling super clean! I use it as directed, twice a day and really have seen a great improvement in my skin's overall appearance. Once this runs out - I'm 100% buying it again! 

I use this after the shower and it's a thicker formula which I like. I've used it for years now and really don't see myself switching. I just like the way it sinks into my skin and really hydrates it. 

I love cleansers and was out of the one I had been using so this came at the perfect time!! I do not remember a time my face has felt so soft and smooth after using a cleanser!! I'm so sad that it was only a travel size and I've been rationing it, but again I'll 100% be purchasing the full size after I run out. I am still using my beloved St. Ives scrub, but rotate between the two every other day. 

This is the newest product that I have been using. I put this on and literally slather my face with it before bed! It's a thicker formula and even though it does say reduces the appearance of fatigue, this does not mean it gets rid of the bags under your eyes...that they will never figure that out! My skin does feel rested in the mornings, if that makes any sense and it's too soon to tell whether my fine lines near my eyes are decreasing, but I really love the formula! 

For the nails and body//

Karly mentioned this a few months ago and I went out and picked it up immediately!! I have been using this every single day and I think my favorite is the night side. I put it on before bed and wake up in the morning with my lips still feeling moisturized and not cracked!! It's 100% reduced my lips from cracking and that in and of it self is a win for me! 

I think it was last year when the world was going crazy over Argan Oil and I've sort of stuck with it!! I use Josie Maran's line of Argan Oil on my cuticles and my heels before bed. For my nails it really helps nail polish stay on longer and my cuticles don't feel as dry. I don't put it on my heels every night, in fact I usually forget, but when I do and wake up in the morning I always feel a difference! 

I honestly don't think I could make it through winter without Aveeno! It's hands down the best for combating dry skin during the winter and honestly year round!! I get the big bottle and it normally lasts me a good while (probably 4 months) and I also have the travel size for my hands at work! It's my life saver!!! 

I am of course still using my Clairsonic Mia, but in the winter try to only use it once a week since I don't want to dry my face out! 

Do you change up your routine for the change in seasons? What are your current go-to products?

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B~Inspired | Rachael Byers Jewelry Designer

February 24, 2015
I'm so excited to share with you my friend and jewelry designer Rachael Byers. Her line, Rachael Ryen Jewelry, has literally taken off in the last few months and has already been featured on, Southern Living Magazine & NY Daily News...just to name of few! I sat down with Rachael to get the inside scoop into her process, what she was doing before launching her own line & just what inspires her!! Keep reading for your chance to win a great prize from her online store! 

You weren't always a jewelry designer, so what were you doing before you started your own company?

Before designing jewelry I worked in corporate as a Customer Experience consultant where I developed programs to increase customer satisfaction. Possessing a certain level of expertise around this subject matter has been exceptionally wonderful in terms of building relationships with my retail and wholesale clients.

How did you decide to take the leap of faith to start your own company?

Initially, making jewelry started as a hobby, creating pieces for friends and then selling to a handful of local boutiques. That real “leap of faith” moment came when my fiancĂ© received a job offer here in Boston. The company I worked for wasn’t open to the idea of me working remotely so I knew a change was imminent. It was actually my fiancĂ© who pushed me to take on the jewelry full time and so I drew out a plan of what that would entail. As we settled into life in Boston everything sort of fell into place and Rachael Ryen became my full time job.
What was the hardest part about leaving your career?

There’s definitely a perceived security when you have a corporate job, knowing you can count on a steady paycheck. I would say that along with having a marketing department, legal team, IT support and several other teams to help accomplish your objectives. I am all of these things now and the workload can be a bit much. I definitely had a better work/life balance before, but it’s something I’m working on. 

What’s a typical day like for you? How do you find the time to fit everything in?

I don’t really have a typical day, except that I always start with coffee and checking emails. Sometimes my days start at 4am on a Skype call with stone cutters across the world. Other days I’m filling press requests for samples or responding to boutiques with information on the line. I also travel quite a bit to trade shows and New York City. When you run your own business there is always something to do and no two days are ever the same, which is what I love!
What is your favorite part about being your own boss?

I really enjoy the challenge of looking at a problem or opportunity, making a decision, and truly being accountable for my actions. It is a pretty powerful feeling. I’ve also learned more than I could have ever hoped for in this past year and a half. It’s definitely not easy, but I wouldn’t trade this time for anything. Everything I do during my day has an impact on my business, and I see that. It’s really exciting.

Where do you find the inspiration from your pieces?

Quite literally, everywhere. I took a picture of a napkin last week because I was inspired by the stitching. I always look at the latest jewelry trends and then decide how to put my own spin on it. The last two collections have utilized the baguette shape which has become a bit of a signature look for me. I also look at vintage jewelry pieces constantly and find design aesthetics that I’ll integrate into my designs as well.

You are getting married this year, so will you be wearing your own collection at your wedding this year?!

Of course! I’m actually planning on using my wedding as a means of introducing an extension to my line specifically designed for brides. The earrings and necklace I design for myself will be part of a 10 piece Bridal capsule collection that will be introduced this fall.

Can you take us, in layman's terms through the process of design to physical product?

Sure! Every design starts with a concept sketch. Think of this as a messy doodle and usually I’m the only person who can decipher what it is. I’ll take the concept sketch to a technical design which is 4 parts; front, back, side views with very detailed measurements of the piece. That technical sketch is turned into a CAD drawing and sent back to me for approval. Once I approve the design it goes into production. The CAD design is used to 3D print a model of the piece which is then used for casting. While the casting process is happening any stones used in the piece are being cut. Once everything is complete, the stones are set and the piece is finished.

What do you think makes your jewelry stand out? 

My collection offers something for everyone, but I’d say the quality and price point are two aspects that definitely differentiate my line from others. I love creating pieces that look a lot more expensive than they really are.

What can we expect from the Rachael Ryen collection in 2015?

I’m focusing on expanding into more boutiques across the US to give customers beyond Boston places to shop for Rachael Ryen in person. On the design front, this year I plan to continue offering versatile pieces that can take you from office to happy hour. I’ll also be adding some edgier pieces and, of course, launching a bridal collection later in the year.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Starting the journey to owning a business isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s more work than you could ever imagine. Make sure you choose something that you’re truly passionate about because you will eat, sleep and breathe it for years. Talk to others who have already journeyed down the path you want to take. Ask a LOT of questions. Listening to the stories of other entrepreneurs is critical for your sanity. All too often we are bombarded with the faces of overnight success which can leave you feeling like you’re “missing” something. It’s those individuals who are willing to tell the messy side of this, details of mistakes…those are the people that help you realize you’re normal and you’re not supposed to have all the answers.

I love to read quotes and even have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to them, so I have to ask, what is one quote you live by?

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”  - Jack Canfield

Do you have a major wishlist item at the moment?

Ordinarily I’d say it would be an order from Bloomingdales, but after all this snow I’m craving a vacation somewhere warm!!! 

What has been your most inspired moment thus far?

I was at my first trade show last October when I met the jewelry buyer for a national retailer. At first I had no idea who she was, we were just talking about the line, pricing and materials. Then she introduced herself and asked for samples. It was the beginning of my first big order. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to have something like that happen…it really validated my decision to take the leap of faith and commit myself to the line full time.

If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be and why?

Sara Blakely of Spanx. She’s an incredibly inspiring business woman and I’d love to ask her about her journey including the types of hurdles she faced along the way and what advice she has for entrepreneurs who are early in their journey.

And finally...what are three things you never leave home without?

My cell phone, jewelry, and lip gloss. 

You've seen a few of the pieces in the line strewn through the post, but now is your chance to win a $50 gift card to Rachael's online shop! Enter the giveaway below for your chance! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you could take the leap of faith to be your own boss, would you?

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Weekend Happenings

February 23, 2015
This weekend we headed out of the city and off to visit Gary's family. It was one of those weekends that I didn't take a lot of photos and really just enjoyed being away from everything! 
//We got drinks with friends and saw a few puppies and even a baby in the bar...when in Rome!
//Used a snow blower for the first time ever
//Also shoveled snow for the first time, feeling it today and thinking city life is the way to go! 
//Watched the Oscars and even tried my best to choose the winners

Having a laid back weekend means lots of Friends binge watching on Netflix and some online shopping!! 

I have been itching for some leopard flats and tried them on when I was at DSW...they didn't have my size, but I knew that they would fit perfectly and would be really comfy because they are Dr. Scholl's, which is what they're known for! 
I'm also slightly obsessed with suede shoes at the moment! I found these two at H&M and I'm leaning towards the pink ones, but wanted to see what you all thought! They come in the usual colors like khaki and black, but I want something with a little more pop! 
Now let's talk Oscar fashion!!
Chrissy Tiegan would have been my favorite of the night had Jennifer Lopez not showed up, but Chrissy looked gorgeous and I could not love that pale blue color more!! Jennifer Aniston = pure perfection and Jamie Chung...who would have thought she got her start on the Real World!! I absolutely love her dress! 
I have to say what I love most about the Oscars is the drama of the dresses!! Reese Witherspoon, Rita Ora and Rosamund Pike looked amazing!!! I did think that Reese looked stunning, but a little safe even if she did wear white. 
I could not even get over Jennifer Hudson in pale yellow and then Jenna Dewan showed up...seriously!! 
I'm utterly obsessed with Jennifer Lopez's dress from last night!! She looked youthful, gorgeous and absolutely flawless!! 
Did you watch the Oscars? Who was your best dressed?

Hope you all have a wonderful start to your week!! 

Celebrity photos via E!Online
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Friday Favorites

February 20, 2015
I had to post this image because I'm seriously dreaming of spring! 

I'm so excited for this Friday - not for me, but for my bloggy BFF Amanda!!! It's her wedding day and I hope it's everything she and Mark have ever wished for!! Thankfully she's still doing her link-up so I can share a few of my favorite things from this week!! 

Favorite Recipe

Gary and I made this Lemon Baked Cod on Monday night and paired it with a delicious arugula salad - the recipe is incredibly easy and the meal was fantastic!! 

Favorite Print Shop

I'm borderline obsessed with Stephanie Sterjovski's blog and her Print Shop! Her note card set is also at the top of my wishlist! 

Favorite Fashion Blogger

I have a new obsession with Krystin from Suburban Faux Pas. I love the way she styles her clothes and it also helps that she just went on a dreamy vacation so I've been vicariously living through her photos! 

Favorite DIY

As much as I love fresh flowers in the house, the idea of creating a centerpiece that will never wilt is sort of exciting!!

Favorite Links

//Tiffani Amber Thiessen shares her secrets to the perfect dinner party, she also has a new show coming out! 
//Do you have an email template - here's a tutorial 
//I'm on the hunt for a perfect quilted bag - loved these options 
//Ankle Booties are so in, but what are the best ways to wear them

The Oscars are taking place this Sunday and I for one could not be more excited to see what the stars are going to wear - sure Best Picture is cool and all, but what will they wear?! Are you going to be watching? Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and see you back here Monday for Weekending!! 

Linking up with Liz! 

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Style Love | Athleisure Wear

February 19, 2015
Before I get into today's post I want to take a quick moment to wish my sweet and wonderful husband a very happy birthday!! He's a one-of-a-kind man and I'm so lucky to share life with him!! Without getting too mushy...Happy Happy Birthday to my favorite person in the world! 

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I've been loving this trend for a while now and anything that pairs comfort and style is a win in my book!! When three of my favorite blogging ladies (Ashley, Amanda & Ashley) posted themselves wearing the trend I decided it was time to dig a little deeper into Athleisure! Don't believe it's a word, well you're right - it's not! Something that the fashion community came up with to give a broad name to being able to wear clothes that look like they can be worn to the gym, out for a day of errands or even dressed up for a date!

I've found a couple pieces that I'm borderline obsessed with and looking for the right time to purchase! 

While I'm not sure how exactly I'd pull it off without looking frumpy, this Lou & Grey jacket is at the top of my list and also these joggers. If you're like me and still not 100% sold, then these Target joggers might be the best starting point!! But how cute are the sequined pants - I mean that's dressed up right there! 

Is this taking comfort too far? In my opinion, not in the least - I think if styled appropriately it's a great look! So the question is, would you wear it? 

I'm also over at Shift Your Style sharing my latest Save vs. Splurge

Linking up with Natalie and Annie

Images via 1//2//3//4//5//6//7//8//9
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