Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Easy Last Minute DIY Christmas Gifts

If you're anything like me, you're pretty good at appearing like you've got your life and holiday shopping completely in order.

But in truth, it's Wednesday and Christmas Eve is tomorrow and you may have several people that you still haven't checked off your list.

I wanted to remind you all of a few simple DIY gifts that can be whipped up rather easily and make a huge impact on your gift recipient. In my opinion, homemade gifts can be just as thoughtful if not more so than those found in stores.

My go-to DIY for the ladies in my life:

Honey Lavender Body Scrub

All ingredients can be found in a supermarket/health food store. Fairway has all ingredients and I'm fairly confident that Whole Foods has you covered as well!

My go-to cookies:

Cool Whip Cookies

These cookies are unbelievably easy and can be customized for Christmas with red and green sprinkles or with Red Velvet cake mix instead of standard chocolate/vanilla.

My go-to Snack Gift:


Rosemary or Toasted Coconut Popcorn

Another fun and easy recipe:

Sprinkles Bakes' 3 ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge


My go-to Subscription Services:



Petit Vour

Blue Bottle Coffee

Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Pants You NEED for Christmas Morning

Happy Saturday!

Jon and I will be hosting Christmas morning breakfast at my mom's house for my troop of siblings. I'll unfortunately have to leave my house, which means I should put on clothing, but they'll all be in pjs when we arrive.

My solution?

These sequin sweatpants topped with a cozy and luxurious sweater.

I got them for $20 a few weeks ago, but they're on sale now for $13. Honestly, you need them! They'll also be perfect for changing into on NYE when you're sick of your too tight, too short cocktail dress!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

On Repeat

  1. I can't stop listening to this song. I'm a woman obsessed. 
  2. Sadly, my worst fears were confirmed by my best friend-I'll never be as cool as Lorde (who is 7 years my junior). 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Use What You've Got: Cocktail Accessory Turned Beauty Savior

Last week, I had a particularly hideous blemish looming on my cheek. Despite my best efforts to keep my hands to myself, I made a bit of a mess out of my skin. I had been keeping spoons in the fridge at work to mitigate afternoon swelling, but I was less diligent at home. While chatting with my husband in the kitchen, I had an epiphany!

I walked over to the freezer and grabbed one of the whiskey stones that lives there in perpetuity. My husband was as equally horrified as I was delighted by my bright idea. The premise of a whiskey stone is that it does not melt and water down your whiskey though your drink stays at a perfectly cool temperature. I quickly learned that a single whiskey stone is also the perfect size and temperature for soothing your skin and will not melt on your face. Obviously, you have to be sure to wash them thoroughly after using them on your blemishes and/or under eye puffiness, though I'm fairly certain that whiskey's high alcohol content will kill any face germs that may linger.

Might I also suggest a second set of stones solely for skincare purposes if your whiskey drinking partner is a bit chilly about sharing?

Friday, December 11, 2015


I've been reading Into the Gloss for quite a while and have been excited to see the launch of their skin care products. I've always been intrigued but never took the jump. I kept seeing the items crop up on every feed that I have, and I've admired Emily Weiss's skin for what feels like forever.

Black Friday presented me with 25% off their entire site, so I took the plunge and ordered the Mask Duo Set (regularly $48) and the Balm Dotcom (regularly $12).

I try to always stay 100% truthful here, so I hope you can believe me when I say that I truly love both of the products (really all 3 considering the mask set features 2 different options).

The Balm Dotcom feels like Neosporin in consistency and also comes in a tin tube. Recently I have been applying it to my dry, chapped lips, but I also used it to soothe a cut on my brow bone. If you only purchase one item from Glossier, this is the one to nab-even better is if you can grab the coconut balm which has been sold out for what seems like forever.

The Mask Duo Set just makes me smile. The product, the packaging, the feeling of my face after-all have exceeded my expectations and I could not recommend the set highly enough. The Mega Greens Galaxy Pack is recommended for when you're feeling "dirty". With the consistency a mixture of a scrub and a mud mask, it leaves your skin feeling refreshed and clean (without feeling dry or sensitive) after an exciting 20 minute tingle. The Moisturizing Moon Mask is recommended for when you're feeling "dry". The Moon Mask goes on in a very silky, creamy consistency. Though it feels like you're simply moisturizing at first, it does bring a more subtle tingle as it works into the skin. I'll admit that the Moon Mask gets a bit tacky and requires more work to wash it off, but the after effect is well worth the added effort.

I've been a longtime fan of Tata Harper's Resurfacing Mask, but this duo set has me seriously considering a change up. I can absolutely see myself purchasing one or both masks once my set is used up. I'm officially a Glossier lover!

On a final note, I'll let you know that I was initially drawn to this set due to the very detailed approach to its packaging. The Mask Duo Set was modeled on a Russell Stover box of chocolates. If that doesn't make you want to grab a set, I don't know what will.

Check out the below video for a behind the scenes (#bts) video of the sets packaging concept.

PS. Check out MyDomaine's interview with Glossier founder, Emily Weiss here!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

[Semi] Homemade Hot Chocolate with Vanilla Agave Whipped Cream

Mug (Anthropologie) | Gingerbread House Mug Toppers (Anthropologie)

Last week, I was feeling antsy, cold, and bored (the worst combination ever). I thought about going out to find a delicious, indulgent hot chocolate but I didn't want to layer up or put the pugs in their cages (they are crate trained for when we are not home). Jon offered to locate and deliver hot chocolate for me, but I didn't care enough to make him leave the house just for hot chocolate.

A couple hours passed by and my desire for hot chocolate grew and then I realized that I had all the ingredients at home to whip up my own delicious (semi-homemade) hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream!

I will admit right now that I used hot chocolate mix, I'm a HUGE fan of semi homemade treats! I used Godiva powdered hot chocolate mix and I would recommend it any day of the week. It's delicious and the flavor is very build-able depending on how rich you like your drink, not to mention the fact that it allows you to whip up a delicious beverage whenever you want. whenever. you. want.

I like to use a 50/50 mixture of steamed 2% milk (I used my Nespresso Aeroccino for this) and hot water for my drink, but you do you, boo!  After starting my kettle and prepping my whipped cream ingredients, I ran a Ciocattino (chocolate) pod through my machine to make an espresso.

Then I add the desired amount of the aforementioned miracle powder and heat until it's nice and hot, though not boiling (a simmer is the sweet spot).

While heating my liquids, I pour heavy whipping cream into a measuring glass and add a dash of vanilla and light agave. Since we only have turbinado sugar in our house, I had to find another way to sweeten my whipped cream and agave fit the bill really nicely. I personally find agave to be much sweeter than honey and it's definitely lighter/smoother in consistency so it blended into the cream beautifully, however honey will work just as well if you prefer it to agave.

A word of advice regarding adding vanilla, go lighter and add more if you want later on! For me, I want to smell the vanilla in the whipped cream rather than taste it, so a dash does the trick for me.

Once everything has been heated, I add my hot chocolate powder, steamed milk, hot water, and an epsresso into my mug. While the flavors meld together, I whip my cream and add a large dollop to the top and sprinkle with cinnamon.

I'm always looking for ways to spice up my hot chocolate, if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them!

Recipe (Makes 1 serving, double if sharing with a partner):

Godiva Hot Chocolate Powder (about 2 TBSP per mug)
1/2 Cup milk (your choice of dairy/fat content)
1/2 Heavy Cream
1 Espresso
1 tsp Light Agave
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Ground Cinnamon or Nutmeg for garnish

  • Add 2 TBSP of hot chocolate powder to your mug
  • Fill mug halfway with hot water
  • Add remaining half of steamed/warmed milk
  • Add espresso (if desired)
  • Mix thoroughly
  • Whisk heavy cream with agave and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form
  • Top hot chocolate with whipped cream
  • Sprinkle ground cinnamon/nutmeg atop whipped cream
  • Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Closet by Numbers

I've read about capsule wardrobes several times and have considered planning my own, but I work in a boutique that offers the coolest pieces, so I would never be able to live with 3 shirts and 2 pairs of pants. That being said, I really love building capsules for trips and specific events.

I've seen capsule posts with anywhere from 37 to 12 pieces and that made me wonder how my closet actually adds up. I like to think I'm fairly normal in the amount of clothing that I own, accessories and jewelry is where you'll notice my vast collection of nonsense that not every woman owns. I would say that my shoe count is a bit lower than your average woman, I just completed a HUGE purge and have agreed not to replenish. My husband (who is reading this and is laughing about how much shit I actually own) would disagree on all accounts, but he's entitled to his own incorrect opinion.

The calculations below represent only my new purchases for the fall season (which I'll pair with existing pieces), I switch between Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Also, I store my basic leggings/tanks/tees in a dresser, so those aren't included either.

Tops/Blouses: 7
Jackets/Blazers: 4
Sweaters: 5
Bottoms: 4 (3 pairs of jeans/1 pair of black pants)
Dresses: 4 (3 shift dresses trimmed w leather/1 wrap dress)
Skirts: 2

GRAND TOTAL: 26 pieces

26 doesn't sound unreasonable to me, but I wouldn't know what "reasonable" is if I walked into it.

Monday, November 30, 2015

My Newest Skincare Commitment

This is about to sound completely ridiculous, but I have not had a consistent face wash since I switched over completely to cruelty-free products. I've managed to squeak by using samples, products in my Petit Vour box, or even using my husband's face wash (sorry, babe). It's just that I haven't found anything that I love enough.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I only wash my face in the morning while in the shower, so that has also contributed to me stretching out all the samples, etc. At night, I use my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE elf Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes (I'm totally serious when I say that I buy them 2 or 3 packs at a time to ensure I never run out). Even after years of reading that it's not enough to simply use towelettes to clean your face, I've persevered.

That is, until last week. I was in CVS picking up a prescription and in the mood for a bit of a pick-me-up when I wandered into the "Natural Beauty" section when I stumbled upon this Promise Organic Nourishing Coconut Milk Facial Cleanser. I grabbed it for about $8 and then went home to use it (after using my beloved towelettes).

It smells amazing and leaves my face feeling toned and fresh (not dry and tight), and I've loved incorporating it in my routine!

After washing with my Clarisonic, which I dusted off after several months of neglect, I like to roll on some of this serum in my lines (yes, they're starting), followed by an around the eye massage with this eye oil, topping it all off with a generous slather of this facial oil.

*I'm going to add one more little note here. I have a theory that part of my distaste for actually washing my face at night, aside from laziness, is the mess that it leaves in my tiny bathroom. I tend to get a bit overzealous with my face washing and splashing a la a face wash commercial and then everything is soaked. I started washing my face in my much larger kitchen sink and it's a much more pleasurable experience (and quite a bit tidier as well). I'm hoping that by coming forward with my story, my bravery will inspire others to wash their faces outside of the shower.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Seasonal Update

Early in September, I made a deal with my husband. The deal was that I was going to purchase a bag and pair of boots that I was MADLY IN LOVE WITH (to the tune of a few hundred dollars-no small purchase understandably) and in exchange, I would not be purchasing another pair of shoes or bag until January 1, 2016 (you can bet your top and bottom dollar that I have a pair of shoes picked out for my new year purchase).

This deal was made in conjunction with a desire to have only things that I LOVE in my life. For me, it was a bit nerve wracking to think that I would not bring another bag or shoe into my wardrobe until the new year, but honestly, it's been freeing. Now, I don't even waste time looking at new bags/shoes because I feel really fulfilled with what I have. As an undiagnosed shopaholic, I'm very surprised to be sharing these words, but I think this could become a new way of life for me. I experienced the same feeling of freedom when I stopped eating meat and started purchasing only cruelty free products. When your choices are limited, it's so much easier to a. make a decision and b. stay on track with clear cut yes/no "rules".

Novel concept: buying 1 pair of shoes and 1 bag per season to freshen things up and to ensure you only buy what you love. I highly recommend giving it a try!

You're probably wondering what shoes and bag I grabbed, right?

*Editor's Note: In the end I returned the boots. I loved them, but I had a really hard time pairing them with pants that I already own due to the higher piece of leather around the ankle in the front. With the whole philosophy of having only items that I love, I had to let them go. I loved them, but I wasn't going to wear them. In their place, I purchased a pair of custom Adidas sneakers that I will be sharing soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Love x Style x Life

I'm not entirely sure how Garance Doré came into my life, but somehow she found her way. First, mentioned as the other half of one Scott Schuman (aka The Sartorialist), then as a blogger/illustrator, and most recently as an author.

I had seen through several of her instagram posts and also a feature on The New Potato that she had written a book on everything-life, style, love, and French-ness-basically all things Garance.

To be completely honest, I had admired her from afar, never really diving too deeply into her blog, but always enjoying it and her instagram posts whenever they came across my screen. That being said, I am now a huge fan!

I loved her book! It felt to me like the love child of Alexa Chung's It, and Caroline de Maigret's How to be Parisian Wherever You Are. I was in Barnes and Noble with my husband a couple weeks ago and I happened to see Love x Style x Life on a table and I began flipping through it, immediately liking what I saw, so I did what any sensible person did, I went on my Amazon app and ordered it for $12 cheaper with Prime Shipping (guilty of #ShowRooming).

It arrived exactly 2 days later as expected and I devoured it within a week. I wouldn't really call myself a francophile, but I definitely appreciate the mythical French Woman's approach to life and style, I also have an insatiable desire to be more European, regardless of country, just more European, so I was hooked immediately by her promise of "style through storytelling" aka attainable je ne sais quoi,  and I'd say she definitely delivered.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in finding your personal style, while simultaneously hanging out with Garance Doré.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Little (Long) Note

Recently, I've been the quietest that I've ever been on Novelty. My husband jokes that each of my posts opens with, "It's been a while. . ." and I can't really say that he's wrong.

In my absence, I've been debating wether or not I wanted to keep going with Novelty, something that I debated with Samm while on our brunch date. Then I received an email from Hover, my domain host stating that my domain was coming up for renewal in 90 days, I could either renew and keep going, or cancel and let go of Novelty. I chose to renew and keep going, for now. . .

Officially, I've decided not to decide. I'm not sure how long I'll keep going or what this blog will eventually become. For now, I have a few more posts in my head, and I want to get them out-wether or not they're my last remains to be seen.

The past few weeks saw a shift in the seasons and in my life and I've been on a kick of cleaning, organizing, and purging. I have a pretty serious case of "nesting" without the related pregnancy. I feel so much lighter and in control of my life and I would recommend ridding your life of everything that brings you less than "joy" (I'm planning to read Ms. Kondo's book ASAP), I promise, you'll feel renewed.

In place of blogging, I've been enjoying mid week days off (I work on Saturday and I'm off on Wednesday) and I've been devoting each day off to a single purpose. For example, one day was filled with "maintenance" doctor appointments, another day saw me running errands to 10 different locations, while one saw me tying up loose ends in the morning and indulging myself in the afternoon. If you have PTO or the ability to schedule yourself a Wednesday off, I highly recommend that as well, it breaks up an otherwise monotonous schedule and allows you to breeze through errands and shopping while everyone else is working-you truly can't beat the "playing hooky" feeling that it brings.

With all of the above being said, please see below for some recent life snaps to bring you up to date. Also, get ready for some fun new posts, probably on a schedule of 2-4 posts per week, keeping up with 5 posts weekly has proven too great a task for moi, I'm a delicate orchid after all!


We attended Caitlin and Brian's picture perfect wedding in Maine in September.

Later in the month we had dinner for Michael's birthday at Fish in Ridgewood (delicious).

My best friends and I spent a beautiful fall day at Warwick Valley Winery and were lucky enough to witness the engagement of our friend Lisa to Joe!!

Harry is just as fuzzy and sleepy as ever, while Piglet still fights to keep her tongue in her mouth.

I dressed as Rosie the Riveter on Halloween to hand out candy while at work!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Bite Beauty Lab

After visiting The Met on Sunday to see China Through the Looking Glass, Alyssa and I went to the Bite Beauty Lab in Soho to sit down for a consultation with a color specialist to create custom lipsticks. I went with a Kylie Jenner inspired nude (which I was embarrassed to ask for) while Alyssa asked for a berry that looked like blood on her lips. Our specialist, Nicole was awesome and delivered exactly what we each asked for on her first "mix". 

Visit the Bite website to book your own appointment. Apparently weekends fill up pretty quickly, though we were the only customers in the lab at the time. Another exciting option is going with a group of friends, parties can be booked after hours (with champagne). If you have more than 10 people, you can book the entire lab for around $350! 

First you provide direction for what shade you're looking for and then your specialist mixes the shades in front of you and allows you to try them on until your specifications have been met. Apparently not everyone loves the shade on their first mix, so she was pretty happy with us that we loved the shades right away. 

After determining your mix, you pick your scent (we both opted for mint and vanilla) and your bullet shape (lipstick lid). 4 lid designs are available and all are mirrored on the shape that lipsticks develop into after the wearer applies them several times. 

Your personal recipe is then made by cutting pieces of these lipstick "bon bons" that match the shades available in the jars in my first picture. 

The bon bons are then melted down in jars and your scent is added. 

Once the shade is confirmed to match the shade from your mix, it's then poured into a lipstick mold and placed on a frozen metal plate to set for about 5 minutes and then your lipstick is very carefully inserted into the bullet! Mine set in the first pour, but Alyssa's needed a second pour as hers crumbled when the mold was initially opened, but that only cost us another 5 minutes or so. 

Bite has the cutest business card!

At the end of your session, you'll receive your personalized lipstick ($36-$48) and a recipe card for you to come back with in the future should you wish to recreate your shade! Having a "custom lipstick" definitely feels a bit self indulgent and unnecessary, but I love unnecessary shit!

Monday, August 31, 2015

China Through the Looking Glass

Guys, you have until September 7th to get yourself to The Met to see this exhibit. It was absolutely beautiful. My best friend and I attend the costume institute exhibits every year for the past 5 or so years but this one was one of my favorites (Savage Beauty will likely be #1 forever). This exhibit spans several galleries and floors and feels endless (in a good, but also slightly confusing way). I'd say that of all the exhibits we've seen, this one is the most transformative in the sense that you really feel as though you are in another time and place, where a gorgeous faux Chinese garden, pond, and pagoda was recreated within the Met complete with Dior and Margiela garments floating on "water". Below are some pictures that I snapped while walking through-guards did not stop pictures like they have in years past.

If you are unable to attend this exhibit, definitely pick up the accompanying exhibit book on Amazon, which I plan to order ASAP (PS it's $13 cheaper than buying in at The Met).

This Sarah Burton for McQueen gown was STUNNING. This picture in no way does this gown justice :(