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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

12 Hours In Boston

12 Hours In Boston
Last week, we were scheduled to return from Nantucket at 6:30pm after having a quick layover in Boston. Our ACK to BOS flight was delayed and then our BOS to PIT flight was cancelled. If you know me, I'm very much a planner. I'm type A and if I am going on a trip, I always research. I like to find out everything I can before doing pretty much anything and I love to make plans and reservations well in advance.

This was one of those life situations where you just kind of have to buckle up and go with the flow. We ended up landing in Boston at 6pm and then our flight out the next morning was at 6am. So we were literally only in the city for 12 hours! 

Peyton and I had never been to Boston before. It's always been on my list, but I've never really had 'reason' to go there before. So while we were bummed about our cancelled flight, we turned lemons into lemonade and made the best of exploring a new-to-us city! 

It was so weird to me not knowing anything about the city. At. All. I quickly texted my friend, Aly, who is from Boston and she gave me a quick little rundown. Then, I turned to Snapchat and all of you were SO helpful. I probably got 100 messages all with amazing recommendations. Thank you all so much for your help and guidance... I can't tell you how much we appreciated it. Needless to say, I am going to need to make a trip back, ASAP! 

omni parker house boston room

omni parker house boston

omni parker house boston in lilly pulitzer

So here is what we did... We first checked into our hotel, the Omni Parker House. I knew nothing about Boston hotels, but as soon as I saw 'Omni', I knew we would be in good hands. The location of the hotel is ideal. It's right in the middle of everything and we were able to walk everywhere we went right from our hotel. As soon as we walked in, we loved the gorgeous lobby with all of the old school wood paneling, beautiful chandeliers and gilded brass doors and elevators. We were so happy to be able to unload our luggage and freshen up a bit before hitting the pavement. 

One of the things I think that is really incredible about Boston is the rich history. It reminded me a lot of Philadelphia in regard to all of the older buildings and architecture. I later found out that our hotel, the Omni Parker House is the longest continuously operating hotel in the country. Within our hotel, there was a museum because of the role the property played in Boston's history. The restaurant, Parker House is where Parker House rolls and Boston Cream Pie were created and in 1953, it was the spot where JFK proposed to Jackie O.


quincy market boston
After we dropped off our things in our room, Peyton and I headed out towards Quincy Market. We quickly passed through the market. There were lots of little food booths and retail stores like Banana Republic, etc. The area was beautiful, but felt very touristy with so many people (it was crowded kind of like Times Square!!!). So we decided to head for the water. 

boston harbor

boston harbor

When we finally reached the water, we took a moment to soak it all in. The views were amazing with all of the boats docked in their slips. Not to mention, there were some live musicians, a lot of active people doing a zumba class in a well manicured field. I also loved the beautiful archways lit with twinkle lights that you can see in one of the photos above.

It was warm and sunny so it was the absolute perfect night to be out and about, and especially by the water! By this time, we had worked up an appetite. That's when I turned to Snapchat and asked for recommendations on where to eat. Almost all of you recommended eating in the North End area of the city, so we knew that must be the place to go!

north end boston

antico forno boston north end
We mazed through the North End, wandering around all over, until we found the few streets that are just lined with cute little Italian restaurants. Many of you suggested Giacomo's, Mamma Maria, Al Dente, Lucca, Taranta, and Coppa. A lot of the places recommended were too crowded to get into or we felt underdressed, so we came across (and a reader recommended) Antico Forno. Holy cow, was this place incredible. It's unassuming from the exterior and you walk inside and are greeted with the most wonderful smells which reminded me of the Sunday night pasta dinners we would have at my Italian grandmother's house when she was alive. We ordered a pizza and pasta to share. So good. I definitely recommend checking it out if you are in Boston! 

So many of you recommended Mike's Pastry but I also got a lot of recommendations for Modern Pastry. Many of you said that Mike's is too touristy and Modern Pastry is the real deal. Peyton and I don't really care for Cannoli's and the lines at both were outrageous (we were working with very limited time), so we decided to skip out on that, but next time, I definitely want to at least try a famous cannoli! 
sail boston tall ships 2017

sail boston tall ships 2017

sail boston tall ships 2017
After dinner, we headed to the Seaport District. Very conveniently, Sail Boston was going on. This is when tall ships (think Pirates of the Caribbean style) are on a transatlantic sailing trip and stop at various ports around the world. Boston is the only port that hosts the ships in the US and this was the first time in 17 years that they hosted the Parade of Sail. Peyton and I felt really lucky that we just happened upon this really cool event! 

We actually got to go on one of the ships from Peru (hence the embarrassing photo of me above). After Boston, one of the sailors said they were heading to Canada. The vessels were all huge and so beautifully lit up. Some of the ships had private parties on the decks and they looked like so much fun!

As soon as we got off the ship, it started to downpour and we realized we needed to get back to the Omni Parker House to get some sleep before our 4am wakeup call. We were hot, sweaty, and getting rained on... so needless to say, we were SO happy to return to a comfortable bed and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow. All-in-all, we only really had 4 hours to explore, but we felt like we got to see a lot... we ended up walking 16,000+ steps!! I can't wait to make a trip back because there is so much more to see and do! 

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Stay at 21 Broad Nantucket

My Stay At 21 Broad Nantucket
Dress (under $100)// Bag// Sandals

lark hotels 21 broad nantucket review
If you've been following along on social media, then you'll know I was on Nantucket last week with my friend, Peyton! Peyton and I have been friends since we were born because our dads grew up together/went to high school together. Our families go to the lake together each year and have traveled quite a bit to other fun places together (like the Caribbean) but this was the first trip where just Peyton and I went! We had been planning the trip for a while and were so excited when the time finally came for us to pack our bags!

I'll be doing full posts on what we did, what we ate, and what I wore, but today's is all about where we stayed. 

To get from Pittsburgh to Nantucket, we took a JetBlue flight to Boston then to Nantucket. It was pretty quick and painless! We arrived at our boutique hotel, 21 Broad, which was located right in town (a block from the Juice Bar!) and a quick 10 minute drive from the airport.

If you are unfamiliar with Nantucket, it's a very small island, so getting anywhere is pretty quick and easy, but I just loved being right in the heart of town and being able to walk absolutely everywhere. We walked to the beach, to dinners, to lighthouses, to shops... everything was well within our reach and I think that made everything even more fun! 

The exterior of 21 Broad is a historical Victorian Home which boasts 27 rooms and a gorgeous porch with rocking chairs to relax and people watch! 21 Broad is a Lark Hotel. I had stayed in a Lark Hotel last summer on Martha's Vineyard called Summercamp, so I knew 21 Broad would offer a wonderful stay! 

lark hotels 21 broad

Rachael Reider interior design nantucket
Unlike the historical exterior, the interior is bright, fresh, and modern. There were lots of white spaces with fun pops of bright colors. The interior design was done by Rachael Reider and no detail was left unnoticed. I especially loved the very subtle nautical touches throughout... and how fun are all of the different chairs?! 

Monogrammed Robe (also comes in navy)
Our room was on the second of three floors. It was spacious and offered a large closet, gorgeous bathroom, desk and sitting area as well as three large windows which were wonderful to enjoy all of the natural light! 

I loved that our bedroom had a Keurig, a Vitamin C shower, and all of the amenities you might need while traveling like fresh water bottles each day, an iron, a hair dryer, etc. I also loved that they had USB outlets... so necessary and always such a welcome touch! 

We had a king bed and I am pretty sure Peyton and I took the best nap of our lives on our first day there. We had been up since 4am so taking a nap before dinner was much needed and the bed was beyond comfortable. I wish I could have taken the bed home with me (and the pillows, too, such nice quality). 

One of my favorite parts of staying at 21 Broad were the lovely touches such as complimentary breakfast each morning and complimentary hot and iced coffee available 24/7. We SO enjoyed getting up early, grabbing a cup of coffee and some of their delicious breakfast offerings such as cinnamon rolls, toasts, scones, oatmeal, and more. 

We would bring it back up to our room and put on Netflix. Yes, the TV had Netflix where you could sign into your account. We loved sipping our coffee while watching Gilmore Girls and getting ready. 

Every evening, the fire would be lit out on the beautiful deck. So you could go out there and enjoy a cocktail before dinner or cozy up on your way back from dinner. We also LOVED the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies that they had in the afternoons and evenings. They were seriously the best chocolate chip cookies we have ever had.

All in all, our stay at 21 Broad was so relaxing and enjoyable. The staff was friendly and welcoming and we loved the location, amenities and decor. If you are planning a trip to Nantucket, I couldn't recommend 21 Broad more. I can't wait to go back!

Items Mentioned in this Post:

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Saturday Shopping 6/24/17

Pork Pot Stickers + Quick Pickled Slaw

What a week it has been! I spent part of it on Nantucket, part of it in Boston and the rest in Pittsburgh, phew. Exhausted just typing all of that out. But lots of fun, nonetheless. Needless to say, I have been sleeping like a baby! 

This week, we made one of our Hello Fresh dinners. This one was my favorite yet! I have talked several times about how much I am loving this meal delivery service (not sponsored). I've signed up for a delivery each week so far because it's healthy and affordable, not to mention super convenient and all of the recipes are pretty easy! If you click the link, it is using my referral code, so if you haven't tried Hello Fresh before, you can sign up and get your first delivery for just $20 (3 meals for 2 people which is regularly $59). A hint: if your roommate/significant other/etc. lives in the same place as you, you can still use your separate e-mails and get the deal a few times just using your different e-mail addresses.

I didn't do a ton of browsing this week, but scroll through the widget above to see what I am loving. Most notably, my favorite perfume now comes in this trio set... I'm about half way through my bottle, so I am going to order these soon! I love that they are kind of travel sized and you are able to switch things up between the three different scents!

Last night I headed to my country club for dinner and a band. It was lots of fun... today I am spending at the club lounging by the pool because we are having gorgeous weather. Then tonight, I'm headed to record a podcast for YaJagoff with John Chamberlain... it's a popular Pittsburgh-based podcast. I've never been on one before and I also hate hearing my voice played back, so this should be very interesting, ha! Then, we are headed out with friends to dinner/bars, which should be fun! And Sunday, probably back to soaking up the sun. Do you have any fun plans this weekend?

This weekend there are some pretty good sales happening. Most notably, I found a ton of amazing things on Williams-Sonoma with major markdowns. Be sure to use code SUMMER for an extra 20% off clearance items. You can see some of my favorite items in the widget above! The best deal is that these AERIN chargers are a steal at just $22 for a set of 4. The AERIN brand is exempt from the extra 20% off but you can still get free shipping (usually $6.95) if you use code SUMMER. 

Also, if you don't mind buying out of season items, these plaid monogrammed cocktail napkins are just $20. Such a steal. You can even buy now and give as gifts around the holidays! I always like to plan ahead (and score a good deal while doing it!).

Saks is doing up to 40% off swimwear. I'm really picky about swim suits and I hate to spend a ton of money on them since they only last a few seasons, so this is a really great sale! I have been looking for a new suit or two for my trip to the lake next month! They are also having a huge designer shoe sale... definitely worth searching by your size. There are some real gems like classic Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik styles, and some more affordable pairs like these gorgeous leather slide sandals.

If you are looking for furniture or decor, West Elm is having a huge sale. Up to 70% off, to be precise. The campaign dresser that I have and use as a TV stand in my living room (wanted a dresser for more storage options), is on major sale!

One-Piece Suit (under $100)
Anthropologie is having an up to 50% off sale. There are a ton of inexpensive items included like this striped tee  (patriotic and nautical!), this cozy sweatshirt, this adorable white peplum, and my favorite one-piece bathing suit as seen in the photo above! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

The Best Way to Exfoliate and Brighten Skin

I can remember back to a few years ago, watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Caroline Manzo mentioned that she 'shaves her face'. When I heard that I was like what on earth?!

Well flash forward a few years and I got curious. So many articles were coming out online about this new craze. Instead of shaving your face, they are calling it 'dermaplaning'... which is really just a fancier word. 

You can go a dermatologist for a dermaplaning appointment or you can do it yourself at home. In my opinion, it would be nice to have someone else do it, but for the higher cost, it's just not worth it because it's so quick and easy to do yourself. 

The difference between going to the dermatologist and doing it yourself is that the blade you use at home is a lot duller than the one that they use at the dermatologist. Your dermatologist will use a surgical blade and the one I recommend is much duller so you're less likely to accidentally cut yourself. 

Here is my usual disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist, all of the information I am presenting is based on my experience and research. As always, you should consult with your doctor and do your own research to decide what is best for you.

So why do this?! Here's a quick list of some of the top benefits:
  • It's anti-aging in that you are removing the top layer of dead skin on your face which gives way to brighter, clearer skin. It also helps with reducing acne scarring or dark spots/age spots. 
  • It's also beneficial because you are removing the peach fuzz on your face which is one of the top reasons that make up can become 'cakey' looking... models and celebrities have been doing this for years and is one of the reasons their makeup always looks so smooth and flawless. 
  • The hair on your face is also an aid to acne forming since the hair can trap dirt and oil on your face.
  • Your skincare products will absorb into your skin better once you have removed that top layer that can get in the way. 
  • It's chemical free. You aren't using any new products with this, so it's good for you and the environment. 
  • The hair does not grow back any thicker or darker. The hair is called vellus hair and is a different type of hair than what grows on your head, it grows back exactly the same as you see it now (and I can vouch for this!). 
  • It's totally painless. It feels so much more pleasant compared to things like chemical peels and microdermabrasion. 
  • You can do it as often or as little as you choose. So you don't need to keep up with it if you do it once and end up hating it. 
  • There's no downtime. You could shave/dermaplane and walk out the door 5 minutes later. 
Ok so you want to try this, what do you need?

To start, you are going to want to have very clean, fresh skin to work with. I swear by the Olay Daily Facials Daily Clean 4-in-1 Water Activated Cleansing Cloths (great for all skin types). They are water activated cleansing cloths that are textured and lather (but are soap-free!) when wet for a total clean. It has the cleansing power of a scrub, toner, mask, and cleanser all-in-one cloth. The Olay Daily Facials will ensure the total removal of your makeup as well as cleanse your face in one step. So using these is quick, easy, and also makes sure my skin is super clean and ready to go! 

Rubbing Alcohol 
This doesn't play a big part, but I suggest having it on hand to clean the blade before you start (just to be on the safe side). In most articles online, they don't suggest this or mention it at all, but I just do it to be overly safe! 

I use these blades, but there are a ton of different brands/models to choose from. I suggest doing your own research to decide which is best for you. I like this blade because they aren't super sharp. They get the job done but they don't make me nervous that I am going to cut myself.
So now you have everything you need, what's next? First, I highly suggest watching this video by Carli Byble. She's a beauty guru on YouTube and really does a great job of illustrating how to do this properly. I will say, in her video, she says she re-uses her blades and doesn't really talk about disinfecting, so that's where I will come in and say I use the blade once and toss it. They're really inexpensive, there's no reason to keep one around after you have used it once.  

I also suggest doing this at night before bed because your skin could be slightly irritated and red afterward. I also don't love the idea of applying makeup right afterward since your skin is so fresh. I like to give it a night to 'heal' before applying makeup. I also suggest testing a small patch of skin to make sure your skin has no weird reactions, especially if you have super sensitive skin. 

So here's what you'll need to do to begin:
  • Make sure your face is completely dry with no product on it. 
  • Pull your skin taught
  • Take the razor at a small angle and do short passes on your skin downward
  • Once you've done your entire face, take a cotton round with lukewarm water and gently pat your skin to remove any straggling dead skin or hair. 
  • Apply moisturizer- this makes my skin feel super dry afterward, so I like to apply a ton of moisturizer.
If dermaplaning isn't for you, I totally get it...it's an acquired 'taste' if you will. But I love it and am so glad I have started doing it!!
To safely and easily exfoliate without dermaplaning, I use the Olay Daily Facials Daily Clean 4-in-1 Water Activated Cleansing Cloths every night before bed since they are textured to gently exfoliate skin. They are non-irritating and make my skin really bright and fresh. So much so, I go makeup free during the week because my skin feels and looks so great! This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.