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Friday Favorites Round Up

Three cheers for shorter weeks because that gets us back to Friday that much faster!! I can't believe this is the last Friday of May and that we are into June in a few short day!! Slow down time, just slow don and yes I realize I just said "woo hoo" for shorter weeks!!  I'm getting right into it this Friday and linking up with my favorite Grecian Goddess, Amanda, fresh off her amazing honeymoon! 

Favorite Recipe//


I'm all about easy weeknight meals and this flat bread is just that!! Add a delicious arugula salad on the side and you've got dinner in 15 minutes! 

Favorite Workout//



It's going to come as no shock that the TIU Girls did it again and I worked out to both the Abs and Arms videos twice this week! 


Favorite DIY//

How fun would this globe be to your shelf or even a bigger desk? Love that you can play around with the colors too! 

Favorite Work Outfit//

Last Friday I bought this skirt and couldn't wait to wear it to work on Tuesday!! It's currently an extra 50% off from Loft which makes it $30!! I paired it with a bright orange blouse, but can't wait to play around with more colors! Sorry for the bathroom photo...


Favorite Links//

// 5 unique ways to incorporate fruit into your wedding decor
// 10 items all women need to keep at their desks
// Changing out my drab winter totes for some of these more fun ones

That's the round up for the week!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! 
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Photography | Links and Tips

You may remember back in March I set a goal to up my photography game and the first step in that direction was buying a new camera! Well there were a few things that needed to happen before I made the purchase! The first was selling my point and shoot camera (check) and then asking you all for advice on what camera you recommended!! A huge thank you to Karly for recommending Samsung NX300 because that's the beauty we went with! 
It took about two months worth of research, but after talking it through with Gary and really going through why I needed a bigger, better and let's face it, more expensive camera, I decided to take the plunge!! I'm planning on doing a thorough review of the camera after a few months of use, but what I'm hoping is that you'll start seeing more professional looking photos and less iPhone captured ones!

Two Major Selling Points 

1. It's totally compact and not nearly as bulky as a DSLR. I knew that if I bought a bulky camera I'd never take it with me on trips and I'd loathe having to carry it places. This pretty camera is light weight and packs a punch. It also comes with a 18-55 mm lens with your purchase, so that already takes a lot of the price down! 

2. It has wifi and social sharing compatibility! Since it's a Samsung camera, there are apps you can download that make taking pictures with your camera as easy to share on your social channels as with your phone! 

Now that I'm getting starting with a higher caliber camera, I really want to improve my skills and learn all I can about the features, how to make pictures really pop and what in the heck ISO and aperture mean LOL! 

I've rounded up 10 of my favorite photography links and can't wait to dig into more! 

1// How to take brighter photos (via Thirteen Thoughts)
2// Understanding ISO, aperture and shutter speed (via Playful Cooking)
3// What is shutter speed (via Capture by Lucy)
4// Tips on improving your photography (via Postcards From Rachel)
5// Photography tips for bloggers (via Thirteen Thoughts)
6// 5 food photography hacks (via Lisa Loves John)
7// Top 5 photography tips and tools (via Design Eat Repeat
8// 25 fashion poses for lifestyle bloggers (via Venus Trapped in Mars)
9// Photography Tips - incredibly thorough!!! (via I Heart Organizing
10// Better photos - PERIOD! (via Honey We're Home)

Please share all your tips, tricks and the sites that have been crucial to learning for you! 
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Top 4 Concealers

Concealer! It's really a love/hate relationship I have with it because on the one hand I hate that I need it and on the flip side - I'm so happy that I've found four incredible concealers that do their job right!! Through some trial and error, I've picked my four favorite concealers and I'm sharing what makes each of them so special!! 

MAC PRO LONGWEAR CONCEALER

This is my go-to concealer when I'm really getting "done up!" It's got a thicker consistency and a little goes a long way! I swear by a lot of MAC face products because of their staying power. My one piece of advice while wearing this; make sure you set your concealer. I know you're supposed to set it regardless of what kind you use, but with this one especially since it's thicker and can crease by the end of the day. 

NARS CREAMY RADIANT CONCEALER

It doesn't get much better than this concealer! My favorite is the applicator - it makes it really easy to get the "triangle" to make sure you are covering your entire under eye area. I wear "vanilla" and it acts more like a highlighter for me, but still covers my under eye area - if that makes any sense. It's very light and not nearly as thick as the MAC concealer. Again this one tends to crease a little more than I'd like, but a good setting powder and you're good to go! 

URBAN DECAY WEIGHTLESS CONCEALER

As the name suggest, this has the lightest formula of any concealer I've ever tried! The applicator is really fun too because it's not "static," but bends into any section of your face you might need - not just under eye area, but around the nose too. For being so weightless, the coverage is actually really wonderful. I also love that with this concealer I don't have to add setting powder. I usually do just to be safe, but I've noticed that on days when I don't set it, there aren't any creases! 

BENEFIT ERASE PASTE

I used Erase Paste exclusively for about three years before I decided to venture to the three mentioned above, so that should tell you something right there!! the coverage is wonderful, but my one any only gripe throughout my use was that I always used my finger to apply. I only switched because I wanted a different application method, but if I was to go back, I'd use my concealer brush and apply that way!! It's blendable and really does a wonderful job at hiding those dark circles under your eyes! 

Regardless of what concealer I'm using, the biggest game changer in application has been the Beauty Blender! This little tool has totally redefined how I do my under-eye are and it really gets into the nooks and crannies of everything I'm trying to blend!! 

I'm also really interested in trying Maybelline Instant Age rewind - have you tried this one?

What's your favorite concealer?
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Long Weekending | Memorial Day Edition

Happy Tuesday everyone!! There is something so wonderful about starting the work week on a Tuesday, extra long weekend and a short work week!!! This weekend I put relaxation at the top of my priority list and everything else sort of fell to the bottom! 
With a beautiful night ahead on Friday it was only fair to enjoy the weather with some beverages in an outdoor garden! We stumbled upon this gem a few weeks ago and it's going to be our go-to for the foreseeable future! 
Saturday morning I knocked one of my Summer bucket list items off the list and purchased some fresh basil and fresh mint - now let's see if it stays alive! I've already added the basil to some fresh pasta we made last night! 
Pastoral Fort Point
After running around town and a particularly fantastic workout (yes it included four sessions of the 7 minute workout) I thought we deserved some Italian!! We went to Pastoral in Fort Point and can I just say I wish we ordered two servings of the salumi meatballs and stuffed fried olives - incredibly delicious!! Gary had the ricotta dumplings and I had the prosciutto buffalo mozzarella pizza - molto bene!! 
On the walk home we decided to stop into the new Roche Brothers that opened up in Downtown Crossing and picked up a few of their mini desserts! It was hard to say no to this raspberry cheesecake and as you can imagine it didn't stand a chance when we got home! Side note: if you have Netflix please watch The Fall - we finished both seasons and can't wait for the third one this year!! I think after watching the series I understand the casting of Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey! 
We spent Sunday afternoon at my sister's house for an early Memorial Day BBQ. I had a few people ask about my shorts and they are from Ann Taylor and currently 40% off, they also come in yellow!! Fun fact about my family - the ladies are pretty epic ping pong players - probably because my mom taught on the national team back in the Ukraine (I'll let that one sink in) and my sister is all sorts of amazing! 
We hit the road early on Monday to celebrate Memorial Day, Gary's graduation and my nephews birthday at my SIL's. 
It was a wonderful day and who doesn't love a little relaxation on a hammock! Surprisingly or I should say thankfully, we didn't hit any traffic on the ride back to Boston, which made for an extra few hours to relax on Monday night! 
Hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday and link up below to share your weekends with us!! 
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Happy Memorial Day

Hope you all are enjoying your long weekend!! I'm taking this day to reflect on the brave and honorable men and women who keep our country safe and fought and continue to fight for our freedom! 
Enjoy your day!! 
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Friday Favorites | Long Weekend Ahead

Hello lovelies and Happy Friday!! It's a great day indeed since we're on the brink of a long weekend! I wont even waste any time, let's just get right into the favorites this week! 

Favorite Workout//

I recently downloaded the 7 Minute Workout App (it's free) and I can't get enough of it! Often times if I'm not taking a class, then I do cardio and weights on my own, but it doesn't feel like enough! With this little sequence you get a great sweat going and it only takes 7 minutes. There are two other variations that cost .99 to unlock, but I haven't tried them yet! 


Favorite Song//

I have been listening to Ed Sheeran's "Bloodstream" non-stop since Sunday when he performed it at the Billboard Music Awards. If you don't like the live version - you can hear the radio edits here


Favorite Purchase//

Over the weekend I traded in my FitBit and purchased the Anne Klein "Fashion Fit" watch. My biggest gripe with my FitBit was that it wasn't fashionable, it didn't have a watch component and honestly I didn't want to buy the Tory Burch accessories to go with it so that I could wear it while I was out and not feel like it didn't match! 
It has all the same capabilities as every other fitness tracker and does have an app that goes with it. I'm seriously obsessed! I bought it in the black and gold variation but it comes in pink, white, and blue if you don't like the black. The fitness tracker itself pops out so you can swap out the gold bangle when you are getting dressed up or wear it with the silicone base for workouts or any other activity! As I said - I'm pretty much in love with an object! 

Favorite Nordstrom Sale Picks//



The best part of the Nordstrom sale is that it's running through May 31st...that's a lot of shopping that you can do - not quite sure if it's a good or bad thing yet! You can click on any of the photos to see price or go directly to the link! 


Favorite Links//

//Taking your Memorial Day Party look from day to night with one maxi dress
// In theory this twisted up-do looks easy enough - lots of effort, but looks so pretty
// Loved this interview with Lauren Scruggs - she's such a great inspiration
// All your work email etiquette questions are answered 

I hope you all have a wonderful and safe long weekend!! No weekending post on Monday, but the link will be live on Monday and Tuesday for those that still want to share the weekend happenings!! 
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How To Have An Epic Day Trip

Before moving to Boston I didn't really do "day trips" mostly because I lived in a state that was so expansive it would take hours just to drive one way - so I didn't think I could make it (which was not true by the way...you could totally have a day trip in Florida)! Now it's a completely different story because of how close Boston is in relation to the other New England states!! With long weekends, Summer Friday's and fun weekends ahead I thought it would be a good time to share some ideas of how to make the most out of your day trip! 

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DAY TRIP

//PICK A DESTINATION

This one is quite possibly the easiest part of the plan or hardest depending on how you look at it! My absolute favorite day trip is going to Newport, RI - it's only about an hour and 20 minutes from the city (with no traffic) and there is plenty to do!! I think it's important to pick a location that will not require a ton of driving to get to - then you spend all day driving instead of enjoying your getaway! I think two hours is the perfect amount of time to spend in a car going one way! I also believe picking a location that offers you more than just restaurants to visit is key - even though a day spent eating sounds wonderful! If you are having a hard time deciding on where to go - let google help!! Find cities or towns that are no more than two hours away and then let TripAdvisor do the rest! 

//LEAVE YOUR HOUSE EARLY

I think this one is sort of expected! If you only have a day to explore a new place or travel to a favorite spot, you want to leave early so that you get there early!! Early and late mean different things to different people, I'd say leaving by 8:00 AM ensures that you'll be at your destination that is no more than two hours away still in time for breakfast or even brunch! 

//BRING A CHANGE OF CLOTHES

Maybe you'll agree with me on this one and maybe you wont!! I usually opt for something slightly more comfortable to wear for sightseeing and car rides. Since we are going to be spending all day somewhere walking and possibly sweating, I want to change before we head to dinner! While we're on the subject of clothes, be prepared for the beach or even a hike - just be prepared for a little adventure!

//EAT ONE SIGNATURE MEAL 

For me lobster rolls are a must with any New England town I visit if I was going somewhere that was known for hot dogs, I'd probably make sure to have a hot dog!! I don't want to miss out and neither should you! Seriously though if you come to Boston for a day trip - do yourself a favor and go to James Hook & Co. for some of the best lobster / lobster rolls in the city!  

//PICK ONE MUST SEE ATTRACTION OR ACTIVITY

If you're going to a small sea side town it probably wont be hard to see the entire city in a day, but if you're going somewhere big like Boston or New York for the day then you'll probably get a bit overwhelmed trying to do it all - this is why picking just one activity or attraction that you absolutely must knock off your list is a must! If I'm going somewhere known for their beaches - I'm going to spend a large portion of my time exploring that - same goes for a place that has a few great vineyards...I'll be doing some day drinking! One of my favorite parts of day trips is since these destinations aren't far - I'll be back, so seeing it all the first time around isn't a priority! 

//TREAT THIS LIKE A VACATION

Our summers are so jam packed that we often don't really have a true vacation, this is why we should treat our day trips like vacations! So we might opt for a fancier dinner or do something a bit pricier, like a boat right or sight seeing tour. Since it doesn't happen that often, why not splurge a little! 
Day trips are the best - it's less than a weekend away, but more than just an afternoon spent exploring!! What are your suggestions of making the most out of a day trip?
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Summertime Bucket List

After a few blogging ladies shared their summer bucket lists - I wanted to get on board and share mine! I group Spring and Summer together because here in New England one day it's summer and the next is Spring, so we really never know what we'll get!!  

GET TO THE BEACH//

Growing up in Florida I always took the weather for granted - I mean how could you not, but now that my "beach season" is only 2 months long - I try to make sure I'm there as much as possible! 

GROW FRESH BASIL & MINT//

My favorite thing to add to recipes is fresh basil and we can't forget the staple summer drink - a mojito with fresh mint!! Since there is no outdoor space for me - some cute little indoor plants will have to do! 

PICNIC IN THE PARK//

When we were in Paris last summer, we made it a point to pick up some sandwiches from a little store and just sit in front of the Eiffel Tower with some champagne of course!! Definitely going to be recreating this in the Public Garden this summer. 

TAKE A DAY TRIP//

I'm going into more detail on day trips tomorrow, but living in New England you have to take advantage of being so close to so many different towns and states!! My favorite...well you'll have to wait until tomorrow to read! :)

ENJOY DRINKS AT A ROOFTOP BAR//

Enjoying drinks and looking out at the city skyline is one of my favorite things! I love it even more when the summer heat has died off a little bit and being outside is bearable! 

GO TO A FARMERS MARKET//

Not only do I want to go to the Farmer's Market this Summer, but I want to make a meal bought exclusively from fresh produce and food from the market! 

What will you be doing this summer?

P.S. I'm also guest posting over at Amanda's Blog today sharing 4 tips on making your vacation memorable!!! 
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Tasty Eats | Creamy Ravioli with Squash and Lemon

Let's just say that this is one of my favorite pasta recipes for Summer! The squash with lemon zest gives it that freshness that you really want to taste in a pasta dish when it's hot outside!! It's got the man seal of approval from Gary and will be made throughout the season no doubt! 
Creamy Ravioli with Squash and Lemon
What you'll need:
16 or 18 oz. frozen cheese ravioli (used ricotta and spinach stuffed ravioli)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot - chopped
4-5 squash and zucchini thinly sliced in circles and then cut in half
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp lemon zest
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese (used asiago and Parmesan)
2 tbsp of chives - chopped

Creamy Ravioli with Squash and Lemon
//While your pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add your chopped shallot - stir for 3-4 minutes
//Add in your squash and zucchini with salt and pepper to taste - stir for 4-5 minutes
//Add the cream & lemon zest into the skillet - your cream should start to thicken - timing depends on stove
// Drain pasta and add a little olive oil so it doesn't stick - then add in your pasta to the skillet with 1/2 the cheese
//Sprinkle chives, add additional cheese, serve and enjoy! 
Creamy Ravioli with Squash and Lemon

I was a little hesitant with just using cream as the sauce, but it turned out to be so delicious!! What's your favorite Summer pasta recipe?
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Weekending | The Perfect Boston Weekend

Happy Monday friends!!! Thank you all so much for your sweet words about Gary's graduation! I was definitely a proud wife and we've had a great weekend celebrating!! Let's get right to it! 
I took about a 1,000 pictures of this guy as ge walked across that stage on Friday, but my favorite is the one as soon as he was walking out of the tunnel...it's like "I'm DONE!!"
 Friday night we went to The Palm steakhouse downtown! The wedge salad was top 3 in my entire life...the blue cheese mixed with walnuts was so good!! 
I had been waiting for Saturday afternoon all week...it was chocolate tour time! Thanks to Vimbly, Gary and I were able to knock off one of our Boston To-Do's. Vimbly allows you to search events, activities and just about anything that is going on in 18 cities (currently). The South End Chocolate Walking Tour is one of the most popular things to do in Boston and with 8 stops around my favorite neighborhood - it was 2.5 hours well spent! The best part is that we were able to take a lot of the chocolate home with us...they said "no chocolate left behind" so we followed directions! 
South End Chocolate Walking Tour
I loved that there was a variation of different types of chocolates to taste including sorbets and drinks - so it's not just chocolate bars you're eating! Since it's a walking tour, the guilt level sort of decreases with each step! 
Clearly not having indulged enough, we decided to round out the day with some sushi!! We recently starting adding brown rice to our rolls and it totally makes a difference!!
The Lawn on D
I can't even put into words how perfect Sunday was! The weather that day is the reason we go through winter!! We made our way to the Lawn on D. It's an outdoor event space with everything from LED swings to life-size Jenga! We had a blast playing like we were kids and I finally found a Jimmy John's here in the city!! My life is now complete!! I'm pretty sure we will be heading back every single weekend!  

Finished the night with a new recipe I'm sharing tomorrow and starting a new show on Netflix, The Fall...addiction worthy!! 
Link up below to share your weekends!! Hope you have a wonderful start to your week!! 

I was gifted the passes for the Chocolate Tour from Vimbly but all opinions are my own! 
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