Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday's Fresh Picks: This Week's Favorites

This week was one of those weeks where everything seemed to change right in front of my eyes. All of a sudden spring had finally sprung here in New Jersey. Trees were blooming, flowers were popping up all over the place, and grass magically turned from brown to a vibrant green. In addition to that, both of my daughters seemed to have grown 5 inches in 5 days.

Here's to a gorgeous spring weekend in the northeast.

{Permanent fixtures on my desk: fresh flowers, nail polish, and a tape dispenser}

{It won't be long before she's taller than I am}

{Blooming trees against a spring sky}

{Excited to have received my first Rocksbox this week}

{I'll be setting aside some time this weekend to start reading The Fringe Hours}

Friday Fresh Picks are hand-picked favorite items, reviews and highlights from the amazing women you see above.

Visit their websites to learn about other amazing picks from this week!

To view all of my Friday Fresh Picks posts, click here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Currently Craving: Unique Office Supplies

I can remember back to when I landed my first job out of college. I was so excited to have my own desk. But I quickly discovered that I'd be sharing my desk and my supplies with a part-time employee who worked evening hours after I left work.

We shared the same black tape dispenser and glossy black stapler. Our paper trays were a nondescript transparent brown, and our paper clip holder was one of those standard-issue magnetic ones.

I'm sure the company I worked for purchased most of the office supplies in bulk. And while I commend them for being cost-effective, those office and desk supplies were not the most aesthetically pleasing.

After I left that job, I became a software consultant. Since I spent 70% of my time traveling, I didn't devote a whole lot of time to personalizing my office since I was on the road more than I was in the office.

Now that I work at home, my office space is my own. I don't have to share it with anyone (other than occasionally a daughter who prefers to do her homework at my desk), and I have full reign of how I decorate the space.

My office space is currently undergoing a transformation. Everything from the furniture to the supplies is being overhauled. As I am in the process of redecorating, I am finding myself gravitating towards unique and colorful accessories to balance the neutral decor of the room.

Here are a few of the pieces that I am loving, a few of which I have purchased for my new office.

1. Stapler
I never thought I needed a stapler until I bought this one from Kate Spade. Now I'm surprised by how often I use it.

2. Scissors
This is another daily must-have office item. I reach for my pair of scissors at least 10 times a day. I love this one since it can sit neatly on your desktop and can be accessed easily.

3. Pen Set
I have a weakness for colorful pens. I have a holder filled with gel pens on my desk. I love the way the colored pens look against my white desk. So neat and clean. You've got write, so why not make the pens as fun as possible?

4. Magazine/File Folder Holder
Since I have no need for the large capacity of a filing cabinet, I like to use magazine holders for my file folders instead. Plus, they are much more aesthetically pleasing than a large bulky file cabinet.

5. Notebook
I have a long standing love affair with notebooks and journals. I love to use them for lists, notes, blog post ideas, and more. And the prettier, the better.

6. File Folders
It's time to ditch those blah manilla folders and replace them with folders that are much more attractive. Hey, these might actually make filing fun!

7. Tape Dispenser
This is a must-have for me. I love this turquoise one. Wish I had found it before I bought this one that has a permanent home on my desk.

8. Wire Baskets
I love using wire baskets to corral notebooks, notepads, phone cases, chargers, cords, and other small loose items. Not only are they more stylish than canvas bins, but you can see through them for a clear view of the contents.

9. Memo Cube
After finding myself constantly reaching for a piece of paper and not having one readily available, I finally bought this multi-color memo cube. Now a piece of paper is literally at my fingertips.

10. Paper Weight
I was never a big fan of paper weights. That was until I moved my desk directly next to a window. When the window is open and there's even the slightest breeze, my papers go flying across the room. It doesn't have to be labeled as a paper weight. Anything cute but heavy will do the trick.

11. Pen Holder
I currently have this acrylic cup for my gel pens, but I love this striped one too.

*Some of the above may be affiliate links.

Best Online Reads

All the links I am loving this week:

1. This couple has the best kept secret EVER! via YouTube.

2. The 10-best movie kitchens of all time via Domino.

3. How to make the most out of your weekends via Fast Company.

4. Ten speaking and writing errors that will discredit you via Inc.

5. Clever iPhone tricks known only to power users via Business Insider.

6. Seven must-try restaurants in Asbury Park, New Jersey via Zagat.

7. Useful household cleaning hacks via PureWow.

8. How to back out of a commitment with grace via The College Prepster.

9. The 10 habits of highly organized people via Lauren Conrad.

10. I love this idea for serving Caesar salad via No Biggie.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 2015 Birchbox Deconstructed #Birchbox

Just as I was seriously considering canceling my Birchbox subscription, Birchbox has stepped up its game and sent some fabulous goodies in this month's box. I'm thrilled with receiving some new items to try as well as two that I have used before but that have become beauty staples.

Here's what was in this month's Birchbox:

1. POP Beauty Eyeshadow Palette (Received sample. Full size, $26)
I received this item but in a different color palette in a previous Birchbox and loved it the first time around. So, I was thrilled to get another one in a palette which has all of my favorite colors.

2.  Real Chemistry 3-Minute Peel (Received sample. Full size, $48)
I love getting samples of peels and exfoliators because I don't generally buy them since they have a tendency to aggravate my rosacea. This one was gentle to use almost daily, and it made my skin feel instantly smoother and softer.

3.  Obliphica Professional Hair Serum (Received sample. Full size, $38)
This serum could not have been sent at a better time. My hair ends are dry, and I am overdue for a cut, but this serum has breathed new life into my hair until I am able to schedule my appointment for a trim.

4. Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream (Received sample. Full size, $20)
I had received this in a previous Birchbox but in a different scent. Ever since I received that first sample, I have been coming back for more. I was surprised by how much I didn't miss a foaming shaving cream when I started using Whish. But you can't beat the moisturizing properties of this shaving cream.

5.  Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain (Received sample. Full size, $25)
This stuff is a game changer, people. It adjusts to our skin tone for a natural and customized shade. When I opened the tube, I thought it would never work. It was very light in color...not typical of a stain. But once you put it on, the magic happens. The color was the perfect shade for my skin tone. This will definitely be finding a permanent home amidst my beauty products.

All items available for purchase through the links above.

To see all of my Birchbox posts, click here.

To see more of my favorite beauty products, check out my Beauty board on Pinterest

Five Ways to "Green" Up Your Skin Care Routine

I've been recycling religiously for over 20 years. For me, it's one of the easiest things I can do to prolong the life of our planet. But more recently, I've made serious efforts to "green" up my act in other areas of my life, specifically my beauty routine. Years ago it was difficult to find quality eco-friendly beauty products, but these days, more and more companies are making the shift to producing green beauty products.
Today, on Earth Day, my friends at Earth's Care are sharing 5 tips for greening up your beauty routine in small but impactful ways.

1. Skip long ingredient lists! 

Remember that your skin is your largest organ! Anything you put ON your skin gets absorbed by your skin and ultimately goes IN your body. Choose products with a short ingredient list that don’t contain many chemicals. Keep an eye out for products that list Parabens, Artificial Fragrance or Colors, Petrolatum, Phthalates, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate on the ingredient panel. If a product contains any of these ingredients, it is likely you are absorbing toxic and unnecessary chemicals into your body. 

2. Choose a natural product that can do double-duty

Most of us have a different product for each skin care need. Separate products for skin, hair and body not only mean you are applying numerous chemicals on your body, but it also increases waste from multiple tubes and bottles. Switch to a versatile product like natural Avocado Oil: a single bottle can be used as a deep conditioner for hair, a nourishing moisturizer for the face, and a fantastic source of moisture for the skin. I love using coconut oil as a moisturizer, as a makeup remover, and as toothpaste. One product. Many uses. No chemicals.

3. Support companies who share your “green” values!

For a product to be truly green, look beyond the ingredient list. Is the product packaged with recyclable materials? Does the company believe in giving back? Many companies make a “green” product line, but continue to make products filled with chemicals or materials that are hard to recycle. Earth’s Care believes in nurturing the body and the planet, which means they are member of 1% for the Planet, use 100% recyclable packaging materials, and print their boxes using wind energy.

4. Cut back on your water consumption

Earth’s Care is based in Long Beach, California, which means the company is acutely aware of how water consumption affects the environment. When using tissues to apply make-up or to wipe off excess product, be sure to dispose of the tissue in the trash! Every time you flush a tissue, 5-7 gallons of water gets wasted!

: Skip the harsh chemicals in typical make-up removers and try natural Sweet Almond Oil instead. It is a superior natural make-up remover, which results in fewer tissues used in the first place!

5. Swap in natural alternatives

Benzoyl Peroxide isn’t the only way to combat acne. Earth’s Care Acne Spot Treatment utilizes maximum strength Sulfur to clear stubborn blemishes, pimples and breakouts. It contains no parabens, phthalates, artificial colors or fragrances which means harsh chemicals aren’t being placed onto your body!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fabulous Finds for Cat People

I'm not shy about owning up to my crazy cat lady status. My little fur babies are a huge part of my life. I wish I could adopt more of them, but my sensible (and slightly allergic) husband always seems to talk me down from the ledge. I can't have anymore cats, but I can certainly have cat stuff.

I'm always coming across the cutest cat items online, most of them on Etsy. Here are a few of my favorites.

T-Shirt | Scarf | Clock | Mug | Necklace | Phone case | Makeup pouch | Flats | Pillow | Sleep mask

Monday, April 20, 2015

Menu Plan Monday :: 4.20.2015

I'm counting down the days until the meals are lighter, easier to pull together, and can be prepared using the outdoor grill. But until then, I'm pulling out some of my favorite recipes until they are retired until next fall and winter.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Monday - Crockpot minestrone soup

Tuesday - Meatball Parmesan sandwiches

Wednesday - Sante Fe stuffed peppers

Thursday - Chicken BLT salad

Friday - Dinner out

Saturday - Grilled lemon Dijon chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans

Sunday - Chicken cutlets with pasta and marinara sauce and a side salad

What's on your plate this week? For more meal time inspiration, visit I'm An Organizing Junkie's Meal Plan Monday linkup.

To view all of my menu planning posts, click here. Visit my What's For DinnerPasta, and Soups On! Pinterest boards for even more ideas.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Starbucks To Offer a S'mores Frappuccino {Giveaway}

In anticipation of summer, Starbucks will introduce a new frappuccino on April 28th. The S'mores Frappuccino will feature a marshmallow-flavored whipped cream base, topped with milk chocolate sauce, a layer of classic coffee Frappuccino mixed with graham cracker syrup, then another layer of marshmallow whipped cream and some crushed graham crackers. Sign me up!

The S'mores Frappuccino is not for the weak. This drink is for serious frappuccino, caffeine, and sugar connoisseurs. If you want the taste of s'mores but want to skip the whole fire pit, sticky fingers, melting chocolate mess, this drink is for you.

Wanna skip the long wait for this drink? You're in luck. The S'mores Frapp will also be available in a bottled version sold in grocery stores.

Pieces of a Mom is giving its fellow Starbucks-loving friends a chance to win a $25 Starbucks gift card to enjoy a few S'Mores Frappuccino or whatever your drink of choice is.

Win a $25 Starbucks Gift Card

Friday, April 17, 2015

Look of the Week: Festival Chic

With the Coachella music festival in full swing in the California desert, it's only natural that fashionistas everywhere are sporting carefree, chic looks. These effortless, boho looks are enjoying a comeback and not just with the free-spirited. Channel these 70s looks with flowy tops, floppy hats, and easy denim.

Top | Jeans | Crossbody Bag | Wedges | Faux Suede Jacket | Hat | Hobo Bag | Sandals | Earrings

Whether you are going for a boho vibe or a casually cool girl vibe, this look can work for you. You can do it head to toe without looking crazy or you can choose one item and mix it in with other pieces.

Some celebs who do this look very well include Sienna Miller, Vanessa Hudgens, and Nicole Ritchie.

I'm linking up with Fashion Friday. For more style inspiration, visit Fashion Friday.

Friday's Fresh Picks

To say that I am ready for the weekend would be an understatement. The weather is predicted to be spectacular, almost summer-like tomorrow. I found a great article last night which I'll share in next week's Best Online Reads about how to make the most of your weekends. After reading it, I am ready to give it a try!

Whatever your plans, I hope you have a great weekend. xx

Here are a few of the things that made me happy this week.

{A big cup of frozen yogurt with all my favorite toppings}

{This sweet face greets me every morning when I return from the bus stop}

{Can't stop wearing my fave stylish and comfy sneakers}

{My new breakfast go-to treat: The Cleanser from Re Juice A Nation}

{A much needed mid-week pick me up that powered me through until dinner}

Friday Fresh Picks are hand-picked favorite items, reviews and highlights from the amazing women you see above.

Visit their websites to learn about other amazing picks from this week!

To view all of my Friday Fresh Picks posts, click here.