May 22, 2017

And I Think to Myself What a Wonderful World

You may have noticed that I've got this little thing called wanderlust.  You name the place, I want to go there and explore!  So when 76th & Newbury reached-out to offer me a travel map, I jumped at their offer!


I chose the Modern World Travel Map and truly enjoyed the design process!  I got to choose the name at the top, the quote and the color the the map details.  Once I made my choices, my very own consultant created a proof and e-mailed it to me so that I could see exactly what the final product would look like.



After confirming my proof, a couple of weeks flew by and the map arrived at my door with a box of pushpins (my choice of color) to mark the countries that I've visited!


I absolutely love this personal, visual reminder of my travels.  I also like to look at my map and daydream about where I will go next!

If you are looking for the perfect gift for your friend who's caught the travel bug or maybe that newly married couple who plans to travel together, I would highly recommend a travel map from 76th and Newbury!
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Finding my Tribe in Toronto

Random Friend: So you're traveling to another country to meet a bunch of people you met online?
Me: Yes I am!

And I couldn't be happier I did!


Just over one year ago, I was invited to join a collaboration called The Blended Blog.  I already knew a few of the other bloggers in the group but most were introduced to me as I started to write with them.

Instantaneously I found myself a part of the most amazing group of women.  We blog across different age groups, countries and phases in life but despite our differences, these thirteen women have become the greatest of friends and one of the strongest support systems I have in my life.  In fact, I think our differences are what makes us great!  We represent women everywhere while strengthening each other through life's ups and downs.


One year later (this past weekend), I hopped in my car to make the trek from home to Toronto, Canada where I spent the weekend meeting ten of these women in real life!  I can't express how surreal it was to see their smiling faces in front of me instead of through my computer screen.  Each and every one of them was exactly what I expected.  Their blogging voices are so authentic that I knew exactly who I was meeting.  I am so so blessed to be able to call these women my true friends now and I'm already itching to spend more time with them.

Tomorrow I want to individually honor each of these women, their unique personalities and their amazing blogs, but tonight I'm sharing some pictures from our trip!


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May 19, 2017

Blogging Besties: Teal

 The Blogging Besties series is the brain child of Alex @ The Cheerful Closet and Whitney @ Whitney à la Mode. In 2015 the series expanded to include Maricel @ My Closet Catelogue and me, Selah @ A Bibliophile's Style. It's based on the idea of "take one, pass it on," but we're passing on an element from another blogger's outfit. It's a fun challenge that inspires us to be creative!

Last week, Whitney looked lovely in teal green:


The prompts she gave me were "the oldest piece in your closet, a denim jacket, teal or scallops".
Since I purchased my own teal circle skirt after falling in love with Whitney's, I decided to use it. I paired it with an Eiffel Tower graphic tee, tasseled loafers, and a sparkly bracelet.

 











 Next week, Maricel can pass on tassels, green & blue, or something Parisian inspired. Previous Editions of Blogging Besties
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May 18, 2017

Switzerland


Hey, friends!  I'm back today with another post about my recent trip to Europe.  In case you missed it, I explained the reason for my trip and my first few days spent in Italy here.

Picking up where I left off in my first travel post, our group arrived at our hotel in the Swiss Alps on the second evening of our trip.  That picture up there is of our hotel.  Have you seen something so charming in your life?!  Below you'll find the view from my balcony as well as the little street where our hotel was located.  This was by far my favorite hotel of the trip!



The morning after our arrival, we took a walking tour of Lucerne, Switzerland and had some free time to eat lunch and shop.  I found Lucerne to be a lovely, not-very-touristy town full of Alpine charm.  It was quiet expensive, though.  I spent almost $50 at the chocolate shop below!  But you have to splurge on Swiss chocolate, right?!





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May 17, 2017

Travel Capsule: Springtime in Europe- Outfits Two and Three

Last week I introduced you to a series that I'm really excited about: my packing capsule for an eight-day trip to Europe during the spring.  In my first post I shared the ten pieces included in the capsule as well as outfit number one!  I'm back today with outfits two and three.


The items included in this outfit are a navy peplum, a floral scarf, skinny jeans, Converse and my coral jacket (the links to the individual items are in my first post).  I wore this outfit for a day when I really needed a variety of layers.  We started the day in Venice, spent most of it riding on a bus (comfort being key), cruised around sunny Lake Como for a few hours and then ended-up in the mountains of Switzerland.



The stretchy skinnies and loose-fitting peplum were comfy on the bus.  The jacket and the scarf were easy to throw on or take off depending on the current temperature!


This next outfit consists of a pink sweatshirt, that floral scarf again, boyfriend jeans and Converse.  My coral jacket was also tossed into this mix because this was the coldest day of the trip.



I wore this outfit for a walking tour of Lucerne, Switzerland and then to travel to the top of Mount Pilatus (more on Switzerland tomorrow).  Again, the layers worked for the varying temperatures and my Converse were practical enough for being in the mountains.

Well, we've been from sun to snow in one post!  Thanks for stopping-by today and make sure to link-up your favorite style post below for Fashion Files with The Blended Blog!


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May 16, 2017

Ready for Summer


Guess what?!  One month from today is my last day of school for the year!  And oh boy is this teacher ready!  In honor of my one-month countdown, let's take a look at some summertime essentials that I will need oh so soon!

1.  A cute swimsuit: scallops have always been a favorite detail of mine on clothing and accessories.  When I saw this high-waisted, scalloped bikini from Zaful, I was so excited to scoop it up for the season!  I usually size-up from my typical medium when it comes to products from Zaful and I would definitely recommend doing so with this swimsuit.  The large fits perfectly!

2.  Fresh sunnies: Loft has been my go-to spot for sunglasses the last few years and this season is no exception.  I'm excited to wear this retro pair out in the sun (when it finally decides to stick around).

3.  A trendy coverup: I'm not usually quick to jump on clothing trends (classic is more my style) but I do think that it's fun to experiment with swimsuit coverups.  I mean, they usually aren't too expensive and you only wear them to the pool and back.  What a great opportunity to have a little fun!

4.  A fun water bottle: staying hydrated is so important when you are spending more time being active out in the sun!  A cute water bottle definitely makes it more fun to drink that water.


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May 15, 2017

A Beautiful Mélange: Embroidery Wishlist


1   /   2   /   3   /   4   /   5

I mentioned on Friday that I've been admiring all of the pretty, embroidered pieces that seem to be popping-up everywhere this spring!  Since I'm experimenting with different kinds of posts for my Beautiful Mélange link-up with Carrie every Monday, I decided to create a little embroidery wish list.  Although, truth be told, one of these items may have made it into my closet already!  Which do you think it is?

Don't forget to link-up a favorite recent post or two below!


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May 12, 2017

Blogging Besties: Embroidered


Blogging Besties is a weekly series featuring Whitney of Whitney à la mode, Alex of The Cheerful Closet, Maricel of ::My Closet Catelogue:: and Selah of A Bibliophile's Style.  Each week, one of the bloggers will choose one component from the previous week's outfit to pass on in a brand new look.  This "take one, pass it on" challenge is an inspiration to stretch your closet and your imagination!

I've been so excited for this week's Blogging Besties since I get to pass-on some of Alex's inspiration for the first time!  She was so creative in her interpretation of the Disney prompt last week and totally nailed a fun work look!


From her outfit, Alex told me that I could pass along polka dots, a casual jacket, wedges or something embroidered.  This prompt couldn't have been more perfectly timed because I have been eyeing all of the embroidery lately!

It's not often that I totally buy into a trend but I'm loving all of the pretty, stitched floral patterns found on tops and dresses this spring!  I actually purchased a few embroidered pieces the very day that I wore this outfit.  That being said, I did not yet have these items when I took outfit photos.  So for today's purposes, I actually pulled-out one of the oldest tops in my closet...and my only embroidered piece!


I also passed-on a casual jacket but I think embroidery is more fun as the topic of this post!



For next week, Selah can pass along the oldest piece in her closet, a denim jacket, teal or scallops!
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May 11, 2017

Italy

Buongiorno, bellas!  I hope you're ready for lots of pictures because I have some fun travel stories to share with you!  Yesterday I introduced my travel capsule wardrobe for a springtime trip to Europe and today I want to start telling you about my trip!  During our week abroad we spent time in Italy, Switzerland and France so I will be writing one travel post per country.

Our trip began in Italy so let's start here!  The school group I traveled with flew into the airport in Milan.  The original plan was to head straight to Venice but the group we were sharing a bus with was running behind.  Instead of waiting for them at the airport, our tour director took us to the center of the city to explore a bit and eat some gelato.  What a great bonus since we weren't supposed to see Milan at all!  The picture below is of El Duomo in the city center.


From Milan, we hopped on a bus for several hours and arrived outside of Venice just in time for a pasta dinner.  After a good night sleep (a bed, finally!), we woke-up ready for our first full day of touring the beautiful city.




Early the next morning we took a ferry to Venice.  Once we arrived, we spent the morning on a walking tour of the canal-lined city.  I wanted to take pictures of every little side street and café because each angle was so beautiful!



After our walking tour we had several free hours to eat lunch and wander.  All of our students decided to explore the city with their parents so my teacher friends and I got to enjoy a glass of wine with the most amazing Italian pizza!


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May 10, 2017

Travel Capsule: Springtime in Europe- Introduction and Outfit One

I'm so excited to be kicking-off this series today because, in writing these posts, I'm getting to relive my spectacular Spring Break trip!  In early April, I took a group of twenty-one students, parents and teachers from my district on a European vacation.  It was a big (and sometimes stressful) undertaking but the trip went off without a hitch and everyone had a wonderful experience.  We traveled through Italy, Switzerland and France.  I got to visit places I've never before seen and I got to experience the magic of Paris through the eyes of my students who were seeing it for the first time!



While preparing for this trip, I challenged myself to create a travel capsule wardrobe.  We were constantly on the move so this capsule helped me to pack light while always feeling put-together.  The trouble with traveling in Europe during spring is the unpredictability of the weather.  Not to mention we were traveling to several locations across the continent!  Being prepared for all weather conditions was a priority as was dressing comfortably because we were often on our feet all day.

Here is what I brought with me for my travel capsule wardrobe:

1.  blue and white striped dress (similar)
2.  navy floral sleeveless top (exact)
3.  navy peplum sleeveless top (exact)
4.  light pink sweatshirt (similar but short-sleeved)
5.  mustard cardigan (similar)
6.  floral scarf (exact)
7.  skinny jeans (exact)
8.  boyfriend jeans (exact)
9.  coral loafers (similar)
10.  white converse (exact)

Extra #1: coral jacket (exact)
Extra #2: navy bag (exact)

In coming-up with this lineup, I started with a color scheme: coral and navy.  From there I chose basics that would mix and match but with some fun details like stripes and floral prints (so I didn't feel too bored).

Here is the first outfit I created from my list of ten items!



I wore this during our day trip to Venice, Italy.  The knit dress was the perfect weight for a sunny day in Northern Italy.  I mostly wore the scarf for show but it did come in handy on the chilly ferry ride to the city.  And these loafers!  They are from Old Navy so I was a bit worried about how comfortable they would be, but they were perfect for a day of sightseeing!




I also have to note that I found the most perfect travel bag!  I wanted a cross body bag for security purposes, something big enough to hold the paperwork I had to carry, and something chic that would go with the other items in my capsule.  I found this awesome messenger bag from eBags.com and it comes in a few other colors and prints.  I would highly recommend it if you are in the market for a travel bag.

I hope you are as excited as I am for the continuation of this series!  I will also be posting reviews of the actual trip and you will find my Italy installment tomorrow.  And while you're here, link-up your latest style post with The Blended Blog below.


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May 8, 2017

A Beautiful Mélange Link-Up: Good-for-You Skincare

Yep, I'm double posting today!  Not only am I running my new weekly link-up with Carrie, I'm also co-hosting a link-up with The Blended Blog today!

If you missed last week's announcement, A Beautiful Mélange will be live every Monday and is a space for you to link-up whatever is sparking your imagination lately.


To avoid redundancy, I will just give you a little bit of information about my other post today.  If it's something that sounds interesting, you can hop on over!

Lately I've fallen for a line of beauty products called Beauty Counter.  The products are luxurious and the company is committed to creating a skincare line free of any potentially harmful chemicals or ingredients.  I'm reviewing a number of the products I've tried in my other post today.  And, if you are interested in trying any of these products for yourself, you can shop through my links and earn some awesome freebies (including my favorite product)!

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Spring Time Fun: Good-For-You Skincare

Happy Monday, lovelies!  Only six more Mondays of the school year...but who's counting?!  Today I'm participating in the Spring Time Fun blog hop with some of my favorites from The Blended Blog. Our topic this week is Spring Fashion and Make-Up.  If you're just arriving from the fabulous Deena's blog, bienvenue!

Since I usually blog about fashion, that's probably what you're expecting from me today.  But nope!  I'm going to try something new: a beauty product review!  When the weather finally starts to warm-up, do you find yourself in need of a new skincare regime?  I know I do!  Suddenly the thick cleansers and heavy-duty moisturizers that I need during the winter feel like too much.



So, each spring I find myself reinventing my beauty routine, and as I'm doing so this season I've found myself smitten with a new-to-me brand of products: Beauty Counter (thank you, Carrie for getting me hooked!).  Not only does Beauty Counter carry a luxurious collection of skincare products, the company is "committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States."  Their website features a Never List "made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that they never use as ingredients."  Using these products makes your skin feel great and you can feel good about what you're putting on your face!

Continue reading to find reviews of all the products I've tried (and a link-up through The Blended Blog), but I want to mention that I'm working with my Beauty Counter Consultant, Beth, to host an online party through the end of May.  If you are interested in trying any products from Beauty Counter, this is a great opportunity because you can earn some freebies!

Purchase any Beauty Counter products through these links and you will receive a free sample of your choice of face mask.  Buy more than $100 worth of products and you will get a free Peppermint Lip Conditioner (my favorite product)!

Here’s how to claim your free mask and lip conditioner! 
  1. Shop through the links in this post - required! 
  2. Place any order to receive a mask sample. Place an order of $100+ and receive a free Peppermint Lip Conditioner. Offer good through 5/31.
  3. Forward your order confirmation email to beth@smallbiteswellness.com and include your mask sample choice (Brightening, Plumping, Balancing). 
  4. Your sample and lip conditioner will be sent separately from your order and will arrive within two weeks of your order. 
Alright, let's get to those reviews!



Charcoal Bar: This is the product that got me hooked to Beauty Counter!  I use it to wash my face every morning and let me tell you, it makes my face feel squeaky clean without being drying at all (which can be a big problem for me).  The charcoal absorbs impurities and I can't emphasize enough how clean my skin feels when I use it.



Lip Conditioner in Peppermint: The lip conditioner is hands-down my favorite Beauty Counter product (and you can get one for free with a $100 order)!  I struggle with dry, flaky lips and using this product for a few days has solved those issues!  The conditioner is a nice, thick balm but doesn't feel sticky or goopy.  The peppermint scent is fresh without feeling overwhelming.  Really, you have to try this stuff!



Brightening Mask: This mask will brighten your skin tone and even-out your complexion.  It goes on like a cream, dries (and feels a bit tight in the process), and then washes-off easily with water.  After using it, my skin felt much smoother and fresher!




Brightening Oil: I've been using this oil as a nightly moisturizer and I'm loving how my skin feels.  In general my skin feels more capable of regulating its moisture level, if that makes any sense!  The oil also has a delightful, citrusy smell.



Brightening Facial Mist: You can use this mist to set your make-up or as a refresher throughout the day.  I've been using it more as a refresher when I have plans after school and want to have that freshly made-up feeling.


You can purchase the Brightening Set as three individual items, as a collection or in travel sizes!


Cleansing Balm: This is a pretty sweet product that can be used multiple ways.  You can use it as a moisturizing mask, or may favorite way to use it is to remove my make-up in the evening.  It really feels as if your make-up melts off of your face with this balm.  Afterwards, my face feels so moisturized that I almost don't need actual moisturizer.

Have I convinced you to try any of these products?  If you have any other questions, please let me know!  If I can't answer them, I can direct you to Beth, the expert.  And since you've made it this far, please link-up your favorite springtime post below.  Now it's time to head over to Nicole's blog to see what she's talking about today!

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