spring & summer wish list

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spring and summer wishlist

I don’t know about you, but as I sit here through the aftermath of yet another snowstorm yesterday and awaiting another storm tonight into tomorrow… I seriously cannot wait for spring and summer. Which is actually saying a lot considering I normally love the winter and snow, but at this point, I’m so over it and over all of my winter clothes. Luckily, I’m leaving for vacation in a few days, and hoping that when I come back, maybe just maybe it’ll be a little bit warmer and there won’t be any more snow in the forecast. In the meantime, I’ve been planning out my spring and summer wardrobe, which contains a lot of bright colors, nautical stripes, and pastel accessories. Here’s a few items on my wish list:

  1. MINKPINK Romper
  2. MINKPINK Maxi
  3. LA Made Tulip Dress
  4. Asilio Romper
  5. Lovers + Friends Cropped Top
  6. Lovers + Friends Striped Skirt
  7. Blue Life BB Dress
  8. Blue Life Bustier Tank
  9. Michael Stars Kimono Scarf
  10. Tularosa Embellished Shorts
  11. Amuse Society Skirt
  12. Greylin Belted Pants
  13. Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC
  14. Rebecca Minkoff Envelope Clutch
  15. Karen Walker Sunglasses
  16. Dolce Vita Helena Heels
  17. Jeffrey Campbell Heels
  18. Striped Bow Headband
  19. Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAB
  20. Ray Ban Mirrored Sunglasses
  21. Amuse Society Pants
  22. Three Eighty Two Track Pants
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red velvet cookies & cream cupcakes

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So these probably would’ve been the perfect Valentine’s Day cupcakes. But since it’s now February 18, they also make the perfect post-Valentine’s Day cupcakes. Seriously have you tried the new red velvet Oreos? They’re all kinds of amazing. In all honesty, I’m kind of a classic double-stuffed Oreo kind of girl. When they first came out, I remember I was really looking forward to the cookie dough Oreo. It had so much potential, but it just wasn’t ..the best? So I had pretty low expectations when I heard they were coming out with a red velvet Oreo. Except then I tried it and oh my god, I hope this stays around and isn’t just a limited time kind of thing, because they’re kind of the best thing ever.

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As soon as I tried them I knew they would be perfect for baking with, and more importantly, a really easy way to use up an entire package before I could eat them all. Addicting, I’m telling you. Almost as addicting as these red velvet cookies and cream cupcakes topped with cookies and cream cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with red velvet cookie crumbs. So do yourself a favor, buy a package (or two or three) of these Oreos, make these cupcakes, and thank me later.

 3Red Velvet Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 tablespoons red food coloring

1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package red velvet Oreos, crushed into fine crumbs and divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined. Stir half of the cookie crumbs into the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound cream cheese, softened

2 sticks butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Add in remaining cookie crumbs (saving a few tablespoons for garnishing) and increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy. Garnish with cookie crumbs.

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valentine’s day worthy treats

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1Valentine’s Day is two days away.. so what are you baking?! I’m debating on either recreating the cake above again (except with red velvet Oreo truffles this time, yum!) or trying something totally new this year. If you’re in need of some sweet inspiration, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite treats that I’ve made in the past that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day. Enjoy!2Brownie-Bottom Truffle-Stuffed Cupcakes3Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake4Lemon Sandwich Cookies5Bacon Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting6Candy Stuffed Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache7Toffee S’mores Brownies8Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes9Brownie Bottom Chocolate Chip Cookie Stuffed Cupcakes10Chocolate Chip Cookie Bottom Oreo Stuffed Browniesimg_0243Brownie-Bottom Chocolate Cupcakes with a Brownie on Top

valentine’s day outfits

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Valentine's Day Outfits

So it’s Valentine’s Day on Saturday and you have nothing to wear. Just because it’s a day centered around all things hearts and Cupid, doesn’t mean you need to look like an oversized Valentine’s Day card. Instead save the cute sweaters for daytime, and for nighttime, reach for something you’ll actually wear again. I’m a big fan of winter white, red-hot dresses, and of course the classic LBD. I pulled some of my favorite looks from one of my favorite stores, Revolve Clothing, that way if you’re a last minute shopper like myself you can shop from the comfort of your home and still receive your purchase in time for Valentine’s Day. Whether you have a date with your Valentine or are celebrating Gal-entine’s Day with your girlfriends, here are my favorite looks:

  1. Peplum Mini Dress
  2. Solace London Irvin Maxi Dress
  3. For Love & Lemons Garden Isle Dress
  4. For Love & Lemons Guava Crop Top
  5. For Love and Lemons Guava Skirt
  6. Parker Jaden Embellished Dress
  7. Solace London Gali Maxi Dress
  8. For Love & Lemons Take a Holiday Dress
  9. NBD Unravel Midi Dress

valentine’s day gift guide for him

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valentine's day for him

Let’s face it – Valentine’s Day is clearly a holiday made for girls. From the flowers to the chocolate covered strawberries to the endless array of heart-themed gifts.. this holiday is our holiday. However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t get your guy something special. Here are my go-to Valentine’s Day gifts for him:

  1. Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones
  2. J.Crew Faded Gingham Shirt
  3. UGG Australia Slippers
  4. Burberry Wallet
  5. ‘I Love You More Than Bacon’ Pillow
  6. Prada Cologne
  7. Salami Bouquet
  8. Salvatore Ferragamo Nicky High Top Sneakers
  9. The Art of Shaving Lexington Collection
  10. Leather iPhone 6 Case
  11. Burberry Tie

Another favorite are homemade gifts – there’s bacon bouquets and liquor bouquets, homemade baskets of their favorite foods, and of course any kind of homemade baked good are sure to be loved!

valentine’s day gift guide

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valentine's day

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s almost time for one of my favorite holidays. Seriously, what’s not to love about a day that is all about eating chocolate, getting dressed up and buying/giving cute presents? Whether you’re buying gifts for your friends, need ideas to give your Valentine, or simply want to spoil yourself, these are my favorite red-and pink-themed presents:

  1. Rebecca Minkoff Leo Envelope Clutch
  2. Saint Laurent Monogramme Wallet
  3. Rebecca Minkoff Love Quilted Crossbody
  4. Valentino Rockstud Pumps
  5. PJ Salvage Sleep Masks
  6. Kate Spade Be Mine Idiom Bangle
  7. Ray-Ban Mirrored Aviator Sunglasses
  8. Zoe Chicco Pave Diamond XO Necklace
  9. Tom Ford Lips & Boys Lipstick
  10. 3.1 Phillip Lim Mini Pashli Satchel
  11. Kate Spade Dear Valentine Studs
  12. Charbonnel et Walker Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles
  13. David Yurman Cable Collectibles Heart Bracelet
  14. Valentino Couture Bow Sandal
  15. Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch

hair essentials

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hair must haves

Yesterday I gave you my tips for leaving the hair salon happy, today I’m telling you all about my absolute favorite hair products. Prior to working at a hair salon, I was a major Pantene-Pro V kind of gal. Not hating on drugstore brands, but depending on your hair type, it could be hurting more than helping your strands. In my case, I was convinced my hair could only grow a little past my shoulders – because it typically broke off at that point. Regardless of the drugstore products I used, my hair wasn’t getting the shine I wanted, and if I put too much conditioner or not enough shampoo, it left a weird residue. I know some people have great results with drugstore products, but unfortunately for me (my hair and my wallet) I wasn’t one of them. These products, although more expensive, have seriously transformed my hair. Gone are the days of breakage, I’m able to shampoo my hair less frequently (tip: try to go as long as you can between washes! It’s better for your hair and such a time-saver!) and my hair is longer than it’s ever been before. If you’ve never tried Oribe, I highly highly highly recommend. It’s pricey, but I’ve heard it’s been included in Birchbox multiple times, so if you’re a subscriber, it’s worth being able to try it out. Here are some of the products I can’t live without:

  1. Oribe Gold Lust Shampoo – This shampoo, although expensive, helps repair my hair. I can actually feel the difference after each use. Tip to help make it last longer: only use a small amount (between a nickel and quarter-size). There’s a misconception, probably largely due to commercials that you need to have all these suds while shampooing your hair. Wrong! You just need enough to clean your root area – try to avoid your ends as much as possible.
  2. Oribe Gold Lust Conditioner – This conditioner makes my hair really soft. Once again, only use a small amount of product, just enough to absorb into the ends of your hair.
  3. Oribe Volumista – Spray a few pumps onto your root area before blow-drying for maximum volume.
  4. Oribe Royal Blowout – I seriously can’t live without this spray. Royal Blowout helps smooth your hair, while cutting your drying time and also prolonging your blowout. A must-have!
  5. Oribe Gold Lust Nourishing Oil – I apply a few drops of this oil to the ends of my hair to help seal them before heat styling.
  6. Moroccan Oil Treatment – Sometimes I alternate between the Oribe Gold Lust Oil and this, or sometimes I use both. This can also be applied after blow-drying to contain frizz and smooth hair.
  7. Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream – This can be applied before blow-drying and afterwards. It makes your hair super shiny and silky, and tames any frizz and flyaways.
  8. R + Co Dry Shampoo – For those days in between washes, this lightweight dry shampoo helps absorb the oils in your scalp, while also making your hair smell pretty. It sprays clear, so no Cruella Deville hair!
  9. Elchim 2001 Blow Dryer – After countless drugstore blow dryers, I finally gave in and bought a professional one and it’s such a time saver. My hair is a pain to dry – you have to constantly go over the same pieces in order to dry it and eliminate the frizz. However, this blow dryer cuts that time in half, so it’s a must-have in my book.
  10. Chi Straightener – I’ve had this for seven years without it breaking, which is insane, considering I used to have to invest in a new straightener each year. Absolutely love this and would 100% buy it over and over again.
  11. Hot Tools 2 inch Curling Iron – I like large barrel curling irons, and this one is probably my favorite. Bonus points for it being available at the drugstore.
  12. Moroccan Oil Restorative Hair Mask – I use this mask once a week (shampoo your hair, towel dry, apply evenly and comb through, wrap your hair in a bun and cover with a shower cap for as long as you want, then rinse out) and it helps keep my hair healthy and shiny.

tips for leaving the hair salon happy

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hair salonImage found via Pinterest

During college, I worked as a receptionist at a hair salon and it was probably one of the best jobs I could’ve had. As someone who, like many others, gets their hair done fairly regularly (and changes their hair color several times a year), there were several faux pas I was committing that I didn’t even know I was committing. Aside from learning many invaluable tips on hair care, I’ve also learned ways to ensure you leave the salon happy. Here are some of the most important:

  1. Find the right stylist. Picking a hairstylist is kind of like picking a spouse – you have to make sure you find the right fit. For me, I like someone who can look at my hair and tell me what I should do. I know other people that prefer the opposite. The important thing is to find a person or team of people that you’re comfortable with, especially before doing a major change.
  2. Bring pictures. When it comes to hair problems, I feel like I’ve had them all. From glowing, orange hair to a butchered cut, I’ve been there, done that. While sometimes it can be the stylist’s fault, many times it’s simply due to a miscommunication. Oftentimes ‘honey’ or ‘caramel’ colored highlights can vary from person to person, so it’s best just to find a few pictures of the look you’re going for and bringing that in.
  3. Be realistic. With that being said, just because you walk in with a picture of Beyonce, doesn’t mean you’re going to leave the salon as Beyonce. It seems silly to even say it, but many times people think that bringing in a photo is going to give them that exact look or transform them completely into a different person. It’s also worth mentioning that Beyonce has a team of experts at her beck and call to make her look great 24/7. You most likely do not, so keep that in mind when thinking of going for a high-maintenance look. It’s also important to be realistic about your hair type. My hair is naturally dark and has red undertones, so even though I love that ashy blonde look, I know my hair will always pick up brassier hues while blonde. Additionally, my hair is a combination of curly and wavy, but frizzes easily, so certain cuts aren’t going to work. It’s important to embrace your hair and work with what you have, rather than force a look that is going to be difficult to maintain in the long run.
  4. Listen to your stylist. My hairstylists know I can’t keep a hair color for a prolonged period of time. I get bored and like to change it up pretty frequently. So when I’m transitioning from brunette to blonde and I want to add more highlights and my stylist tells me to hold off, I know they’re doing it to keep my hair as healthy as possible. It’s easy to make up your mind about changing your look and want it done that instant, but even though your hairdresser wants to make money, they also want their client’s hair to be as healthy as possible, so listen to them.
  5. Stay on a schedule. I can’t even tell you how many times I would get a phone call from a client demanding to be seen the next day, because they have an event to go to and two inches of roots, and then be extremely disappointed when their stylist was completely booked. I’ve been guilty of waiting until my hair looks terrible before calling to book an appointment, however, I also realize that when I can’t be seen it’s my own fault for waiting. The best thing you can do is mark when your appointments are, and then count how long it was in between them. Everyone’s hair grows differently so some people do need to get their color done every 2-3 weeks, while others can go 2-3+ months in between visits. Once you find that balance of how long between when your hair is starting to grow out to when you can’t leave your house without a hat, you can mark it on a calendar and have a good window of time to book your appointments in advance.
  6. Know what to book for. If you’ve been getting your hair done for many years, you should have an idea of what services you’re doing. Yet it would always amaze me when people would call to book an appointment and ask for ‘color’. When I would further ask them what type of color – highlights, single process, semi/demi, ombre, etc., they would have no idea. If you’re not sure what you want to do with your hair prior to booking an appointment, book a consultation or ask to speak with your stylist over the phone to ask what to book for. After that point, at each appointment ask what you should book for the next time before leaving if you think it may be something different. This is important, because it helps ensure you have enough time for your appointment. The application time for each process can vary, so if you booked for a single process (just the root area), it can be a much shorter appointment time than if you booked for a full highlight or ombre.
  7. Be honest. Above all, your hairdresser wants you to be happy, so it’s important to speak up. Obviously not much can be done when too much hair is cut off, but a botched color can be fixed and a blunt style can be properly blended most of the time. Sometimes you just know you need your hair fixed before you even leave, and other times it may take a few days, but if you’re unhappy you should speak with your stylist, because many salons offer complimentary appointments to rectify the situation within a certain period of time (typically a week or two.)
  8. Arrive on time. You’re allotted a certain amount of time for an appointment and arriving late puts a dent in not only your appointment, but could run your stylist behind for the rest of the day. There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed, so be sure to give yourself a little extra time in getting to the salon.
  9. Tip accordingly. The standard is 20%. Just like you (hopefully) wouldn’t skimp on the tip when dining out, it’s important to always tip appropriately when visiting the salon. If an assistant is helping your stylist, depending upon how much of the work they are doing, it’s best to tip them separately as well.
  10. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s only hair. I’ve had more than my fair share of hair malfunctions. Obviously it’s disappointing when your hair doesn’t come out the way you intended it to, but when it happens to me, I like to think it’s the universe testing me to see how well I can pull it off. At the end of the day, hair grows back and color fades, so it’s important to be confident no matter what. So often, I would see so many clients come in to the salon and leave with beautiful hair but still not be happy. It’s not that they weren’t happy with their hair, it’s that they weren’t happy with themselves. Like I mentioned before, you can bring as many pictures of Beyonce in as you want, but that doesn’t mean you’re leaving the salon as Beyonce.

watch wonders

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watch

There are a few items no matter how hard I try I just can’t bring myself to wear. This list includes dangling (or anything more than a stud, really) earrings, lipstick, hats, glasses and for the longest time, watches.

Most of these items either I just can’t take myself seriously in, or I felt instantly aged me. I first started looking at watches when I was a teenager, but felt they were such an adult item. I knew I liked the look of watches, but I just couldn’t for the life of me pull it off. Clearly this was just all in my head, because watches are so universal that anyone can easily pull it off. The problem was that I kept going for trendy watches – watches in fun colors and styles rather than keeping it simple and classic, and accessorizing it to my liking.

Finally, a few years ago I got this Michael Kors watch for Christmas, and I’ve been obsessed with watches ever since. Now that I know how often I wear it (basically every single day), I’m ready to expand my collection. Since I love mixing my silver and gold jewelry, I know I most likely want a watch that incorporates those two colors — my favorites are the Michele and David Yurman watches.

Whether it’s a timepiece, family heirloom, or merely just a device used to tell the time, watches can be way more than just a fashion accessory– they can also be a conversation starter. So many people have such a great story behind their watch — I’m actually kind of jealous, but considering it’s a pretty recent obsession for me, there’s still time for that.  They’re also the perfect gift – think about it, almost everyone wears one and since they have good quality watches at just about every price point, you can’t go wrong. Here are some of my favorites:watches

  1. Michael Kors ‘Parker’ Watch (my current watch)
  2. Michele ‘CSX-36 Diamond’ Two Tone Watch
  3. Michael Kors ‘Large Lexington’ Watch
  4. David Yurman ‘The Classic’ Timepiece
  5. Burberry Large Check Strap Watch
  6. Movado ‘Bold’ Round Watch
  7. Michael Kors ‘Lexington’ Watch
  8. Michele ‘Serein’ Diamond Gold Watch

P.S. If you’re like me and have expensive taste, but aren’t quite ready to commit to spending full price, then shop vintage and check out Invaluable’s vintage watch selection. Invaluable is the worlds largest online auction marketplace and provides a great selection of vintage watches — including some pretty amazing Rolex watches that I have my eye on!

friday favorites

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{love is letting your dog sleep/drool all over your pottery barn throw}

So the most exciting part of my week was probably hearing that Vogue said it’s socially acceptable to wear Uggs again. But, if I’m being perfectly honest, socially acceptable or not, I never really stopped wearing mine. Mainly just around the house or when I have to run a few errands, but seriously, UGGly (…see what I did there) as they may be, until someone designs a cute, cold-weather alternative they’ll always be my go-to for casually running errands in the winter. Sometimes you just don’t feel like dressing up and wearing cute boots, but also don’t feel like fully donning workout clothes and sneakers when you’re not actually planning on going to the gym. On an unrelated note, I’ve never been more excited for spring. I’m going to blame the lack of snow, because no one loves winter more than me, but when it’s this cold and no snow? Terrible. Anyway, hope you all have a fabulous weekend! xo Cali

2{missing miami and alcoholic beverages that come in cute mugs}3{cold weather calls for chocolate chip cookie baking}4{overly excited for warmer weather and cuter clothes}5{the only good thing about the holidays being over are the amazing sales — got this amazing calf-hair gucci for 60% off!}