Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TLC Tuesdays [The Socks that Saved my Style]

Recently, I've been shopping like a mad woman and stocking up on all manners of leather type shoes. Be it boots, slip on sneakers, or loafers. Last year, before I lost my favorite black booties (RIP) after at least 3 years of wear, I discovered these little half-socks. I use the term "discover" very loosely as these have been on the market for quite a few years now. However, I had never invested in a pair, for some reason I never saw a need. Well, I've been put on this good Earth to let every woman know that she needs 2-4 pairs.

Like I said, I started wearing them last year with my shooties (shoe + booties) but this new Fall season has introduced me to a slew of other shoe styles that could benefit from these babies. What I'm saying here certainly isn't revolutionary, but I will tell you that once I opened my heart and sock drawer to these little guys, I found new and exciting ways to wear them! 


  • slip on sneakers
  • athletic sneakers (when worn casually-not for physical activity) [this happens often]
  • booties
  • converse sneakers
  • leather loafers
  • Toms sneakers
  • select ballet flats
I've been able to find these little black beauties at Target (here), Payless (here), and Walmart (here), so you know they're totally affordable. (So you have no excuse not to buy them). Trust me, these made a huge difference when I put these leather slip on sneakers on for the first time-my feet felt so much more comfortable and dry (and not smelly! #winning).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mark and Graham

I showed some love for the Mark and Graham Suede Boho Bag in this post and my desire to own this tote has only increased. Of course, I added myself to the M & G email list to receive news and hopefully coupons to use towards this tote. They've been sending some beautiful emails my way and I'm becoming more and more interested in all of their pieces- I have a HUGE weak spot for monograms!

Doesn't it all look sooooo cozy? I could honestly see myself in every single one of the below pieces!

  • Brass Monogram Cuff [$150
  • Suede Boho Bag [$129]
  • Wool Tweed Cowl [$49]
  • Short Brimmed Wool Hat [$79]
  • Women's Italian Leather Classic Gloves [$115]
  • Suede Boho Envelope Clutch [$59]

Friday, September 26, 2014


Occasionally, my husband turns me on to really cool concepts (Whimseybox, Bill Evans, and grits), and Salted is gonna go down in history as one of his all-time greatest suggestions.

Salted is an online cooking school. Over the past few weeks, I've become increasingly interested in learning to cook. I've been seriously considering attending a 2-day bootcamp at the Culinary Institute of America. I want so badly to go there because CIA is such a prestigious school and I'd love to say that I trained there! I'd also love the excuse to take 2 days off from work and roam the city. *edit* my husband has informed me that CIA is not in the city-there goes my whole plan. (I have a real problem with tangents).

Back to Salted. This site is PERFECT for me because I'm very much a get-in-and-get-out kind of girl and I've yet to watch a video lasting more than 20 minutes. Salted offers brand new courses on a monthly basis led by awesome chefs located throughout the country. The first month of your membership is free and will run you $9.99 per month after. In addition to offering a decent collection of cooking videos, a membership will give you unlimited access to their chef hotline which offers answers to your most pressing questions in 30 minutes or less.

I've been signed up for about a week and a half and I have completed 3 courses thus far.

A FUCKING GRILLED CHEESE MASTERCLASS. I can't think of anything I'd rather watch.

If you have any interest in learning how to cook from really cool, knowledgeable chefs while in the comfort of your own yoga pants home for a fair price, I recommend it. If you have no desire to know what parmesan-crusted grilled cheese is, then disregard this post (and let's not be friends).


Thursday, September 25, 2014

In Celebration of the Half-Tuck

I've really started to embrace the idea of dressing for myself-of dressing in a way that makes me feel like me. Every article that I've ever read has told me to dress my busty body in a more tailored top to keep me from looking larger than I am. There is nothing that I love to wear more than a loose button down shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, with a half tuck into skin tight or boyfriend jeans. I just love the look of a collar and rolled sleeves paired with a masculine watch.

This little miss has style and sass for days-love her! 

To that end, every time I exercise one of the above mentioned outfit choices, I make sure to tuck my left front flap tightly into my jeans, ensuring that the line of my shirt matches up perfectly with my fly. I was recently told that while presenting at work, I balance authority and casualness really well and I attribute this completely to my excessive use of the half-tuck (which is really the mullet of professional dressing). I've made several lifelong commitments thus far and the newest of which is to immortalize the half-tuck, one outfit at a time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

TLC Tuesdays [The Best Way to Hang Your Sweaters]

Most experts would say that your sweaters should be folded on a shelf or in a drawer rather than hung up. For me, I prefer to have my clothing hung in my closet and sweaters are no exception. The tricky part here is to ensure that your sweaters don't lose their shape or elasticity. To keep them from "growing" or stretching out and loosening the knit, you want to hang them in such a way that relieves stress from the knit.

I have to be honest here, I don't remember where I first saw this trick, so I apologize for lack of credit given. But I can say that since I implemented this hanging system, I've yet to experience a stressed-out sweater.

1. Fold sweater in half and lay flat
2. Position hanger at arm hole seam of the sweater
3. Fold the body portion of the sweater over the hanger with hook to the left
4. Fold the sleeve of the sweater over the hanger with the hook to the right-the hook should now be centered through the fold of your sweater
5. Hang and enjoy!

PS. These are my absolute favorite hangers. I despise the feeling of velvet, but they ensure that all of my clothing hangs gently and stays put. I also love these for pants.

Monday, September 22, 2014

August Petit Vour Box + Bonus Products

Beauty School- Become Your Own Beauty Expert

I'm so sorry that this post has taken so long! I'll likely have my September box soon to share with you guys too! xo

Beauty School is the theme of the August Petit Vour (PV) box and as soon as I opened it, it instantly struck me as the best one yet! This box included 5 samples that seem like they were picked specifically for me. In past boxes (specifically with Birchbox) I found that 2-3 of the 4-5 samples would actually be used and hardly ever until they were empty. I can tell you on the life of my fur babies that I will use every single one of the items in this box to completion and there is a high probability that I'll be springing for full sized versions as well! 

  • Beauty Without Cruelty-Black Eyeliner
    • I had been wanting to switch to a c-free pencil eyeliner and honestly hadn't gotten around to trying one yet, so I was so excited when I saw this one in my box. Not that I don't appreciate a fun little colored eyeliner from time to time, but black gets the most play with me. I'm so happy that PV gave me black so I can actually wear it to the office and test it out during a normal day in my life. 
  • Earth Body- Beauty Mask
    • What first struck me about this mask is that it arrived in powder form-housed in a small amber colored glass jar. I've heard many times that active ingredients whether they be in food or personal care products must be stored in darker colored glass containers to keep them active and potent. I love that this mask is made of nutrient-rich plant extracts and contain all natural ingredients that require a little extra care to keep them working. The way I see it, natural/active ingredients pair best with my natural/live skin. 
  • Harvey Prince-Perfume (Journey)
    • You may remember from this post that I love my Yogini roll-on perfume from Harvey Prince so I was super excited to receive another scent from their collection. Where Yogini is light and refreshing, Journey is a bit more complex and strong-I can definitely see myself wearing this one on summer nights and throughout the colder months. Oftentimes I will have to smell a scent several times before I can determine whether or not I like it. This was not a concern at all with Journey, I LOVED it immediately. I loved it so much so that I ordered the full-sized version about an hour after receiving my box.  
  • Mi-Me-Tangerine Lip Butter
    • First of all, this lip butter comes housed in a test tube-how fun! Second, it smells amazing. Third, it feels amazing. That's all you need to know-I have it in my purse and find myself applying it far more than is necessary simply because it smells and feels so good! 
  • Rosemire Organics-Sweet Coconut Body Butter
    • It's no secret that I adore the scent and flavor of coconut and this body butter feeds right into my addiction. A thick, luscious body butter that soaks right into the skin making you feel smooth and soft (and tasty). This body butter comes with the suggestion that you lightly tap its contents onto your skin rather than rubbing it in to reap the full moisturizing benefits that it has to offer. Regardless of how you apply it, you're guaranteed to love it! 

Every month, PV selects a subscriber to receive a $50 credit for their online store and I was the grateful recipient of July's giveaway! I wanted to share with you guys the products that I chose to use my credit on. Hint, Hint, I loved them all! 

  • Modern Minerals- Mineral eyeshadow in Burlesque and Cherish
    • I received Lola in my July box and loved it so much that I wanted to give a few other shades a try! Burlesque is a deeper bronze that works perfectly for nighttime. Cherish is a light gold shade that works for any setting or occasion! Both colors wear just as beautifully as Lola and I would definitely recommend giving them a try. 

  • Gressa Skin- Lip Boost Bare 
    • This balmy/glossly lip miracle feels so velvety soft on and enhances your natural color to make it appear that you #WokeUpLikeThis I love to put this on as I'm doing my makeup to soothe my lips and it stays on until I get to work!
  • Aromi Lipgloss- Snob
    • This is a light, frosty pink gloss that goes on so smoothly and offers a very subtle shimmer. Worn alone is a light, barely there shade. It also layers beautifully with darker shades that you may want to tone down.
Side note: something that I really love about PV is their assortment of price points. All of the above products came to $61 before my store credit. While that may be more than you would normally spend if you went to a drugstore or even shopped from a store's own collection, you can rest easy knowing that you bought high quality products from companies that really care. Over the past few weeks, I posted pictures of the above products and past items that I received in my boxes and had conversations via Instagram with the founder of Modern Minerals and Pelle Beauty. That's not something I've ever experienced with larger, corporate companies and to me, that makes a huge difference! #CustomerService 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Zucchini and Feta Orzo Salad

This recipe was inspired by an orzo salad on the menu at Positano in Wayne, NJ. While their version is delicious and has quickly become one of my favorites, my version is super easy to make and I don't have to wear pants leave my house to enjoy it!

Ingredients are as follows:

  • 1 cup dry Orzo (cooked then drained)
  • 2.5-3 cups chopped and grilled zucchini and yellow squash
  • Added deli salad of your choice (I used Feta and olive salad)
  • Olive Oil to dress

I used 2 cups of diced zucchini and yellow squash but would recommend using 2.5-3 cups to get a bit more into the salad. I also used feta and olive salad from Whole Foods-this was already marinated and seasoned and made execution that much easier-just mix and go!

I used this panini pan (on sale) to grill the vegetables, which is perfect for when you want that grill look and feel without having to go outside (holy humidity). 

All that's left for you to do is to mix your orzo, deli salad, and grilled vegetables together and enjoy! I fully intend to whip this recipe up the next time I'm asked to a BBQ.
A 1 cup serving will run you about 320 calories. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Zucchini 5 Ways

Last week my friend brought me a 5lb home grown zucchini (Thanks Tij!)-I may be exaggerating when I say that it was 5 lbs, but I'll put it this way; it was about the size of a newborn child. She mentioned to me that she had just made a tomato and zucchini frittata so that sparked my week of the zucchini.

Determined not to waste this gorgeous piece of vegetation, I set out to use every last piece of it and wound up with this post that contains 5 recipes centered around the Zucchini. As the summer comes to an end, I'm sure many people are gathering their garden treasures or are receiving them from family and friends and I thought you could all benefit from this collection. Technically there are only 4 recipes listed on today's post as the last one that I have for you guys is my own and I want to give it some extra attention-check back tomorrow for the 5th dish!

Don't forget to share any favorite recipes that you may have, I'm always down to try a new ones!

Tomato and Zucchini Frittata [Recipe ]

This was honestly one of the best things I've ever cooked. My husband enjoyed it so much that he went back for a second slice and I had my second slice for lunch the next day. At 176 calories per quarter this recipe is super easy to execute, tastes amazing, and won't leave you feeling guilty. I made this on a weekday night after coming home late and we were eating in about 35 minutes.

 PS-this recipe calls for a whole medium sized onion-which I did not notice at all (texturally)!

Zucchini, Garlic, Cheddar Bread [Recipe]

I've never made bread before and I was a bit nervous about taking on this recipe and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to make! The process got a bit hairy at times due to me messing up measurements (thinking I needed 4 eggs instead of 2), not having fresh dill or garlic powder, and using every last drop of flour that I had in the house. If you are less spastic than I am, you will be just fine executing this recipe. This is definitely a weekend recipe as it takes about 55 minutes for the bread to bake, but once it's done, you'll see how worth the effort it is!

PS-I've been loving slicing a piece off and toasting it with some butter-delicious! 
Mini Zucchini Pizzas [Recipe]

These were so easy to execute; simply slice your zucchini, tab some sauce, and sprinkle your cheese. Of course I went a bit overboard with the cheese-sometimes ya gotta be reckless! 

Parmesan Zucchini Chips [Recipe]

These are a delicious addition to any meal. The zucchinis can be sliced prior and just crisped up alongside dinner! These are also a great snack and work well over salad or incorporated into an omelet (if sliced smaller).

 My helpful little dishwasher has been on-site to assist with the cleanup of various dishes! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Words

This is so me. Last week-I cried about 3 times at work for various, ridiculous reasons. Most of the time, I would really love to be an emotionless black hole-everything would be so much easier to deal with. </rant>

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TLC Tuesdays [Brushing Up on Clean Makeup Brushes]

I'm pretty sure there are two types of people in this world, those that use makeup brushes and those that don't wear makeup. I fall into the former category and find myself to be a fairly recent brush enthusiast. I was always a fan of using my fingers, or those applicators that came with my eye shadows and palettes.

About a year ago, at the suggestion of a friend I upgraded my brush stash to an Arbonne kit very similar to this one. I had complete buyers remorse until the second this kit arrived. Once I felt those silky smooth bristles, I was hooked. Now, I will say this, I am not 100% sure if these brushes are made from animal hair, please note that I purchased these quite a while before I went cruelty-free and when the time comes that they need replacing, I'll be looking into cruelty-free/vegan option. For those of you that are a bit more flexible, I can't stress how soft and luxurious these brushes feel!

Now that I paid a decent amount of money for these brushes, I am very conscious of keeping them clean and healthy-not only for their sake but for my own health and skin! I've been doing some research and have heard several different opinions on how one should upkeep their brushes.

On a daily basis, I'll brush any excess makeup off the brush head onto a towel, but every so often I'll notice how caked on and dusty looking my brushes appear. When that time comes, which is about once a month or so (which I know is not really frequently enough), I like to treat them to a lovely spa day in my bathroom.

There are differing opinions on what you should wash your brushes with, and I think it really comes down to personal preference. I've heard that if you have animal hair brushes, you should use shampoo (tearless baby shampoo is probably the best option here). I've also heard from a dermatologist that you should use your face wash as shampoo could be too harsh on your skin. Since I've been having blemish issues recently, I went with the latter option.

The following steps should be followed on a weekly basis to keep your brushes and skin healthy and happy!

I keep two bowls of water, one for washing with diluted face wash and one for rinsing. 

Having two separate bowls makes it so much easier to see if your brushes are fully cleaned or not.

I love to give them a good swirl to ensure that nothing is stuck in the bristles, soap included!

I always lay them flat overnight to dry to help maintain their shape and keep water from pooling in the bristles. It's perfectly safe to blow dry your brushes if you prefer to speed up the process. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Commodity Goods

I've found that it's pretty easy to switch over to cruelty-free products with the exception of a few niche areas. One of these areas for me was fragrance-emphasis on WAS. I went from having not a single bottle (of c-free) to having 4 with 2 more on my want list. As per the usual, my best friend sent me an email invitation for Commodity Goods and I immediately emailed them to see if they were c-free (they are).

You can sign up here for their fitting kit, which costs $9 for 10 sample sized sprays along with a note card to mark your favorite(s). After you've received your kit, you'll be sent a code to redeem for $9 off your full sized order. I'm totally down with that, with 100 ml running you $108 and a purse sized 10ml running you $24 for the first bottle and $12 for subsequent bottles.

My plan is to purchase a 10ml of Moss and Gold and to spring for the 100ml as a treat to myself once I work through some of the scents that I already have. I've never before considered myself a perfume lover, but that tides have turned and I don't mind it one bit.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Introducing TLC Tuesdays

You may remember this post from a couple weeks ago where I talked about small daily goals that I've been thinking about. Well, I was sorting my laundry to go into the dryer last night when I thought of a new series that I'd like to introduce on Novelty. At first, I though "Little Extra Care" but really, my heart loves alliteration and everyone knows what TLC stands for (Tender Loving Care-just incase!) so that is what won out.

I've always been the type of person that puts in a half-assed amount of effort. Just enough to get the job done but never enough to be outstanding or to feel that I've really worked toward something. Well, I've started to realize (about 25 years too late) that it's the effort that you put into the small, unnoticed areas of your life that make all of the difference. For me, that means taking the extra time to make my bed every morning, to not wear the same pair of contacts for 6 months [SO guilty here], and to take stock of my life every once in a while to ensure that I'm headed where I want to be.

I thought that others out there may be interested in putting a little extra effort into their lives and that's why I'm starting this series. So guys, next week will begin the first official TLC Tuesdays. I don't hear from my readers often enough, so if you have a topic that you'd like for me to explore in this series, I'M ALL EARS and eyes now that I've changed my lenses!


Monday, September 8, 2014


I have to admit that I didn't have much energy this weekend to prep for this week on Novelty. On Saturday I woke up with some weird cold/allergy thing that left me coughing and exhausted. Since I feel very guilty (which is a useless emotion but it's there nonetheless) when I miss a day's post, I thought I'd leave you all with some Monday morning motivation (say that 3xs fast). This is just a few gorgeous Autumn images that resonate with me, I'm longing for cooler [not cold] weather!

All images via Pinterest

Friday, September 5, 2014


Currently, I follow 916 friends, family, companies, pigs, and random ass people on Instagram. I LOVE IG and all that is has to offer (and I'm very nosy). I've realized that I follow several accounts solely for the beautiful, inspiring images that they send through my feed. A gorgeous image of Santorini can lift my spirit on a difficult afternoon and a picture of a gorgeous latte can mentally transport me to Sunday brunch with my favorite people.

Below are some of the most inspiring, beautiful pictures that I've pulled from my favorite IG friends, enjoy!

Oh, and don't forget to follow yours truly! (@christabene)

  1. @gabyburger - Beautiful, colorful images from the mind of a fabulous blogger living in Toronto, Canada. Who knew Canada was so chic?
  2. @TOMFORD - For a daily dose of unapologetic sensual fashion. Not only do I worship Tom and everything he does, but he has a way of coaxing out the most luxurious images of the half naked models that he works with. 
  3. @belgravecrescent - For beautiful, feminine images of England
  4. @coffeenclothes -Just as it's name suggests, this account is dedicated to images of coffee and great clothes, two of my favorite things to see! 
  5. @figandolive - For lovers of the mediterranean lifestyle.
  6. @Santorini_Greece -For a daily dose of absolute blue gorgeousness known as Santorini, Greece aka one of my dream vacation destinations!
  7. @PiggyandPolly- Two of the cutest sister Frenchies ever! 
  8. @centralparknewyork - I live so close to the city but no one ever wants to go with me, my best friend and husband both commute in for work! #wah
  9. @thefatjewish - I debated whether or not I should include this account because it is so inappropriate but the truth is that this account has me laughing out loud all the time. If you have a twisted sense of humor, go follow this dude! 
  10. @cecildelevingne - Cecil Bunny Delevingne- This little bun belongs to fashion world's newest it-girl @caradelevingne ! #2for1
  11. @caradelevingne -This girl's eyebrows inspire me daily! She's landed some of the most coveted Fall fashion campaign's including Topshop, Chanel, Mulberry, Burberry, YSL, DKNY, and La Perla.
  12. @emilyschuman - One of my absolute favorite fashion/lifestyle/DIY bloggers! PS for you cat lovers out there, her fur babies make frequent cameos!
  13. @taylorsterling -Another blogger favorite. Follow Taylor for a #bts [behind the scenes] look at life as a blogging new mama from the founder of @glitterguide [see next]
  14. @glitterguide - For a dose of all things girly, fun, and glittery!
  15. @frenchwords -I follow this account in the hopes that I'll actually pick up one french word per day and become fluent and move to Paris. #YeaRight
  16. @dominomag -For chic interiors and #bts looks at the magazine that we all know and love! 
  17. @homegoods -The Instagram account behind the store that my husband has forbid me from setting foot inside (whoops). 
  18. @danasbakery -For gorgeous, richly colored photos of my most favorite treats! PPS Dana's bakery is located about 3 blocks from my house and they have yet to ask me to come in for quality control/taste testing! #rude
  19. @nicolerichie -I just think she is hysterical, I live for her show (Thursdays at 10pm on VHI) #candidlynicole
  20. @targetstyle -For all the latest on their style pieces. This damn store will land me in the poor house, I swear it! Yes, I want the $300 Dior version of these earrings, but for $7.99 at Target I can grab them and throw them out if I felt like it! #sold

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Double Dutch

While I'm not the hugest fan of Rihanna, there's no denying her influence as a style maven and recently she was spotted carrying not one but two covetable Dior bags while out and about in NYC. I've loved this look since SJP as Carrie held onto two Fendi bags in a scene of the SATC 1 movie. I'm actually a bag lady to my core, I am often spotted carrying 2 and sometimes 3 bags into my office. Usually one of them is my Pashli, which is very glam, but the other 1-2 are usually shopping bags or canvas tote bags. Today, I vow to start carrying doubly fabulous bags when I'm schlepping about.

Double Bagging it

Ralph lauren tote

Beige tote

Sophie Hulme snakeskin handbag
$975 - selfridges.com