Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Best Boston Travel Guide


Oh how I love Boston, and all of New England for that matter! If it wasn't for the cold winters, I'd consider moving there. If you haven't ever experienced Boston, I highly recommend considering a trip during the fall. It's my favorite time of year to visit. The temperatures are crisp, the leaves are colorful, and the food is fantastic! Today I'll be sharing the ultimate 3 day Boston Travel Guide for your next visit to Beantown.

Where To Stay

Fairmont Copley Plaza

Location // Location, location, location! One of the biggest pro's of choosing the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel as your home away from home is the fact that it's located in the heart of town - Copley Plaza in the Back Bay. Situated adjacent to the Boston Public library, Hancock Tower and Trinity Church - this hotel allows you to walk the city and it's biggest attractions without the hassle of needing a car. Other walkable attractions included Newberry Street, home of high end shopping and retail stores, as well as the famed Freedom Trail.

The Room // We landed in Boston around 1:30 PM and arrived to the hotel by 3:00 PM. We were booked in a Fairmont Gold room which allowed us our own separate check in and concierge on the fourth floor of the hotel. Our room was spacious, traditionally decorated, and included a non-operational fireplace which was a nice added touch to the ambiance. Although our room did not have a view (it looked at another building across the street), other rooms on this floor have a birds eye view of Copley Plaza with floor to ceiling windows, which I loved! The room had a comfortable working space for Katie to edit photos, a Nespresso machine (my favorite), and a mini fridge with snacks and drinks for purchase. Beds were comfortable, and nightstands included outlets for your phone charger. One of my favorite parts of this room though, were the Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries in the bathroom! They smelled amazing, and are a high caliber toiletry -- meaning you don't need to worry about packing these before your trip! You will want to use the ones provided for you.

Fairmont Gold // The Fairmont Gold package is something you can add onto your stay, and something I highly recommend doing. As a Fairmont Gold guest, you have access to the Gold Lounge daily which provides a beautiful breakfast spread daily, and evening appetizers from 5:00 - 7:00 pm, along with an honor bar and non-alcoholic beverages. It also includes complimentary wifi, newspapers and magazines, and even rentable movies! Adding this package to your stay truly enhances the experience, and is part of why I love the Fairmont brand.







Where To Eat

OAK Long Bar + Kitchen // Located inside the Fairmont hotel, this restaurant is beautiful! We opted to have lunch here which was inclusive of meatballs, tuna tartar, Indian flared cauliflower, lobster and the tuna nicoise salad. Yes, we ordered a gammet of things to get the full spectrum of options! The menu is also set up tapas style, so the plates are small and shareable, and the food was fantastic! But, the item that stood out most to me was the bourbon bread pudding dessert. I'm typically not a bread pudding fan, but wow - this was insanely delicious. So much so, that I didn't want to stop eating it despite not having any room left in my tummy! That's how you know it's worth it!

Lolita Cocina // Hands down the best Mexican dinner in town! This wasn't my first rodeo at Lolita's, but I couldn't wait to be back. Nothing on the menu is wrong to order as all of it tastes amazing! This is a great dinner spot with a super trendy vibe, perfect for starting your night at. The margaritas are so good! I highly recommend making a reservation in advance as it stays busy no matter what day of the week you visit. 

Tatte Bakery & Cafe // Perfect for a latte and pastry, breakfast, or lunch! I know many of you are oatmilk drinkers as well, and they carry this at all their locations! You can't go wrong here, we visited daily! 

Neptune Oyster Bar // The best lobster roll I have ever had! I polled my followers on Instagram for where to find the best roll in town, and Neptunes took the cake. I see why! It's a tiny little place located in the North End with generally long waits so plan in advance. I recommend stopping in and putting your name down about an hour prior to the time you actually want to eat.

Boston Public Market // Specifically visit the Red Apple Farm stand inside the market for hot apple cider and delicious apple cider donuts! They make the donuts right in front of you, and believe me when I say they are the real deal! This was such a fun little stop on our trip, highly recommend it if you're around in the fall and winter!

Mikes Pastry // Boston is known for the food scene in the North End, specifically the rival of cannolis between Mikes Pastry and Modern. Personally, I'd grab a cannoli from Mikes! This is a great stop while waiting for a table at Neptune Oyster as the two are around the corner from each other. 

Barcelona Wine Bar // Not exclusive to Boston, but a highly recommended dinner spot if you don't have a Barcelona in your city. It's Spanish style tapas with a fantastic ambiance! Service is great too. Highly recommend trying out the meatballs, and olive oil cake for dessert (trust me here). 

For additional food recommendations around the city, see this post. 







What To Do

Take a walk through the Boston Public Garden
Catch a game at Fenway Park, or hop over to visit the stadium - they do tours!
Stroll through Beacon Hill & Marlborough Street and admire all the fall stoop decorations
Do happy hour at OAK Long Bar + Kitchen
Visit the famed Acorn Street
Go shopping on Newberry
Walk the Freedom Trail 
Visit the North End (Boston's little Italy)
Grab a hot apple cider donut and cider at Red Apple Farm
Visit Harvard 
Visit the Boston Public Library and make a reservation for high tea inside the dining room






*Thank you to Fairmont Copley Plaza for hosting this stay. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

The 6 Best Amazon Fashion Finds










Amazon has been killing the fashion game lately! Free shipping, free returns, most items arrive within two days of purchasing, and great prices. I've always loved Amazon, but I'm a loyalist when it comes to the retailers that I feel provide quality and customer service - so I have to admit, it took me a while to hop on the Amazon Fashion bandwagon. But, to my surprise - I've had great luck so far! 

Shopping for clothes on Amazon is like going to Marshalls, you have to be prepared to spend a couple hours sifting through the bad to find the good, because not all are created equal if you know what I'm saying. So, my round up today is to make your life easier when navigating the world of Amazon Fashion! These are items I've recently ordered, worn, and washed and can highly recommend - keep in mind this is my personal opinion, but hopefully by now you trust me...

Keeping this list mainly in the fashion realm, but if you're curious about other repeat offenders on my regularly scheduled Amazon order - see here.

Drape Deep V Back Yoga Top // You can't beat this top for $16.99! I sized up one size to a Medium, and plan on ordering other colors as well (I purchased in white). See a photo of me in it here. Great quality, looks super cute with leggings, holds up well when washed!

Sequined Glitter Lip Print T-shirt top // Pictured above, and I am obsessed with it! It's also only $15.99 with several color options available. I sized up to a medium but really wish I would've size up two sizes to a large. I like to knot these tops, and this one runs fitted so the extra room would've helped with knotting. 

Ruffled Cocktail Dress // Got a fall wedding coming up? Need new work clothes? Add this to your cart! At under $30 this is a must-have! I purchased it in burgundy, see photos of it here - and was shocked at the quality for such an inexpensive price point. It runs true to size, and I'm wearing a small in the photos!

Built-in Bra Workout Tank // Wow! If you're a Lululemon fan but hate the prices, this ones for you!! It's essentially an amazing dupe for a popular style Lululemon carries and it is super worth the buy (it's half the price at $25)! I sized up to a medium based off the reviews, and it fits perfectly. I ordered it in black, but am eyeing additional colors because it's been the perfect addition to workout gear. It's also super sweat wicking, and a very cool material! Perfect for the gym, or if you just want to look cute with leggings! It's long enough to cover the booty as well. 

Louis Vuitton Bifold Wallet Dupe // If you love to look of Louis Vuitton, but hate the price - look no further. I ordered this for myself after wanting the Louis wallet for ages but just couldn't justify the price for something that stays inside my purse nonstop. This is actually a great quality wallet, and the differences between the dupe and the real deal are mere! Highly recommend. 

Insulated Lunch Box // Okay, I get you're probably thinking this isn't a "fashion" find but hear me out... If you work in an office environment and need to carry a lunch box to work -- this one actually looks like a handbag and matches tons of outfits due to its color! I bought this for myself to bring meal prepped items with me when I travel, and have received so many compliments on it! It's functional too. 

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Fall For Flawless Skin on a Budget





5 months between facials, several vacations, multiple plane rides, and a lot of time in the sun -- my skin was feeling dull, dry, and stressed out! I recently paid another visit to my favorite skincare queen, Toska at Toska European Spa in Charlotte for a much needed skincare revamp. With only two weeks left of summer and an upcoming change in temperatures it was time to reboot my skincare regimen. 

It's no secret that the sun takes a lot out of your skin - so, fall is the perfect time to correct sun spots, pigmentation issues, and focus on brightening and lifting (my favorite). However, today I want to highlight how you can do this on a budget because let's be honest, good skin comes at a price. Investing time and money into a good skincare routine can be a pain, but as I've mentioned before it's worth the hassle in the long run. Skin is the bodies largest organ, and it has the least protection. Everything we do in our daily lives affects our skin, right down to the air we live in. Ignoring these factors can lead to things like sun spots, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, acne etc. and I don't know about you but -- ain't nobody got time for that!! So, here are a few budget friendly things you can do to keep your skin looking flawless this fall season.

Skin Instant Lab

Skin Instant Lab is a skin analysis test system offered at Toska's spa that gives you an in-depth snapshot of the current state of your skin. This is a great starting point if you aren't sure what facial is right for you, and it allows you to monitor the changes in your skin over time. Your skin constantly changes, especially with season changes, so to optimize your results I highly recommend starting with this. For example, over the 5 months between my facials, my skin declined significantly in elasticity, however my pigmentation became better with the use of P50 PIGM400. This gave the Esthetician a perfect snapshot of what type of facial would be most beneficial for me that day. A SIL test runs $50. 

Mini Facials 

The perfect option for an on-the-go mama, working woman, or anyone who desires to take care of their skin but doesn't have $350 for a full facial monthly. A mini facial combines some of Toska's most popular services in one 30 minute treatment. So yes, you can do this over your lunch break! My favorite facial at Toska European Spa is the Brightening and Lifting Bespoke facial which is on the pricier end of the facial spectrum, however, you can opt for a mini treatment for less than half the price and still receive the microcurrent, mask, and oxygen therapy parts of that facial! That's a win, win situation if you ask me! 

Rotate your P50

If there is one skincare product I love most, it's the P50 in all forms. Trust me when I say, it is life changing and worth every penny the bottle costs. Switching up your P50 to Lotion P50 PIGM 400 is a great idea after the summer season as it balances the skin's pH and illuminates while treating pigment issues. Every one's skin needs are different, which is why I recommend taking the skin analysis test mentioned above, so I am actually rotating from the PIGM 400 to P50 1970 but I can vouch for the PIGM400 as my test results significantly increased in pigmentation levels after using it for 5 months. If you're not ready to commit to the goddess of all exfoliators, grab a sample bottle for a fraction of the price and test it out until you have an accurate read on it's worthiness. 

Brighten with Masque VIP 02

Insert infamous Kim K IG story screenshot with this mask layered over her face perfectly! We used this along with Masque Vivant during my last facial to hydrate my skin, lighten pigmentation spots, and reduce dark circles. The results are incredible!

Moisturize 

Probably the easiest tip to follow, but one of the most important! Just like the P50, I switch out my moisturizer each season too. Opt to layer SPF over top of your moisturizer, and watch the hydration from the moisturizer help skin cells repair themselves while replenishing the oils stripped away from cleansing. This fall I will be using Creme Echinoderm au Complexe Biomarin.


For those who are curious what the results of a facial at Toska European Spa look like -- here are my before, and after photos from my most recent visit! For additional skincare tips & tricks click the skincare tab at the top of this page.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Fall Wedding Attire: 5 No Fail Tips For Dressing The Part










Getting dressed for a wedding can be a challenge, especially if you are someone who hasn't attended many weddings in the past. With fall being a popular season for weddings, I wanted to share a few tips for looking the part during this festive season of "I do's". 

Fall is probably my favorite season to search for wedding guest dresses as the color palette generally consists of beautiful jewel tones, fabrics switch to fun textures like velvet and sequins, and patterns echo the change in seasons with vibrant florals. With all that said, here are a few tips to help you plan your guest of the wedding outfit accordingly:

1. First things first, check the invitation for dress code 

You will likely need to dress differently for an afternoon wedding hosted in a barn or outdoor venue, vs an evening ballroom reception. It is important to pay attention to this as you do not want to be overdressed, or under dressed. 

2. See if you can figure out the bridal parties color scheme 

While in today's day and age you don't need to worry about this too much, I personally still think it's best to avoid blending in with the bridesmaids. Often times couples will choose to post wedding color schemes on their wedding website so guests can be aware of what colors to avoid. 

3. Consider renting your outfit 

While there are lots of affordable options out there these days, if you've scrolled through Instagram for two seconds - you're well aware everyone and their mother is walking down the aisle. Meaning, being a guest can get expensive if you're invited to more than one wedding. Furthermore, if you're like me and always have champagne taste on a beer budget, renting a dress can be the perfect option for you! Websites like Rent The Runway can provide great designer options, at affordable prices so you can look the part without blowing your entire fall shopping budget on guest of the wedding dresses.

4. Accessorize with outwear 

Autumn temperatures can be brisk! Don't be afraid to dress appropriately by accessorizing your outfit with a coat. If you're wearing a short dress, create balance with a long coat. If you're wearing a long dress, choose a fun cropped jacket to make a statement. 

5.  Invest in versatile shoes 

Once you have the dress, it's time to find the shoes. I would suggest investing in a pair of heels you can not only dance the night away in, but one that matches the seasons latest styles so you can continue rocking them long after wedding seasons over. I have these in 4 different colors, and cannot recommend them enough for not only their comfort level, but versatility in styling too!

If you need a dress suggestion, the ruffled pencil dress pictured above is a budget friendly option age appropriate for all generations! It comes in 8 different colors, runs TTS, and includes a little stretch for comfort. 

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Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Ultimate 2019 Fall Bucket List: 25 Ideas To Try This Autumn










 Burgundy Maxi Dress // Espadrilles // Gucci belt // Bracelet Stack (use code CHEEKY for 30% off)

We are less than one month away from the first official* day of fall, and although I used to consider myself a summer gal, I think over the years fall has stolen my heart! I'm a sucker for cozy sweaters, crisp morning air, apple cider donuts, and the beautiful color show our trees put on for us! 

With the recent drop in temperatures in Charlotte, my fall meter has been going crazy! So in lieu of my current state of mind, below you will find inspiration on what to do this season to help you get into the autumn spirit. Here are --- indoor and outdoor activities to add to your fall to-do list!

1. Try making a homemade pumpkin spice latte 
2. Go pumpkin picking 
3. Take a scenic fall road trip to see the leaves 
4. Go on a fall hike 
5. Find affordable fall home decor at Homegoods
6. Make pumpkin cupcakes
7. Visit a cidery for apple cider and donuts
8. Go apple picking
9. Shop for all the fall candles
10. Make Hot Toddies
11. Attend a football game
12. Bake a harvest loaf
13. Take fall family photos
14. Roast marshmallows at a bonfire
15. Go star gazing
16. Getting matching flannel and do a mountain weekend with your best friends
17. Snuggle by the fire
18. Make a giant pot of chili
19. Take a foggy Sunday morning walk with the pup through a park
20. Decorate your front door stoop
21. Roast butternut squash
22. Pass out candy to trick or treaters
23. Shop for the biggest mums you can find
24. Visit the farmers market
25. Visit a brewery/winery in the mountains 

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