Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Haute Coco

Today’s post is inspired by one of the many lovely gifts I have received recently. My friend Laura—who is an all-around rock star that is constantly training for one marathon or another, is the life of every party, and always has perfect hair—was kind enough to put together some amazing Chanel beauty items for me. While they were all fantastic, I am totally obsessed with the nail polish she picked out:

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{Chanel Graphite nail polish, $26}

I am in to pretty much all things sparkly and shiny (daytime sequins are pretty standard), so this really comes as no surprise… but seriously, I am smitten by this nail polish. It’s the perfect mix of glitter and color… and, unlike most glitter polishes, it is not annoying or difficult to remove. I’ve been really into doing my own nails lately (as opposed to going to the nail salon), and it just makes me so happy to have this graphite polish in my medicine cabinet! Thanks, Laura!

Image courtesy of www.beaut.ie

Monday, February 27, 2012

Alphabet Soup

Hi, friends! I got a rather late start to my day this morning—total case of the Mondays—so my post is going up a little later than usual. I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I had some friends over for dinner and the Oscars last night, which proved to be insanely relaxing. And, um, how amazing did Jessica Chastain look?!

Moving onto the topic of gifts… I’m sort of a Scrabble freak and got very excited when I saw this item on Fred Flare:

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{Scrabble refrigerator magnet set, $15}

Totally obsessed. It makes me want to clear off all the photos and random coupons/invitations/magazine clippings covering the fridge and revamp it with these magnetic Scrabble tiles! Such a cute way to leave messages or just entertain yourself while you’re waiting for that pot of water to boil.

Image courtesy of www.fredflare.com

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dish It Out

In New York last week (man, am I still talking about my New York trip? Telltale sign that it was a very good weekend…) I visited the new-ish store C. Wonder, which is probably best described as “low rent Tory Burch.” No surprise there, as he is Tory’s ex—and had a hand in the founding of the Tory Burch empire.

C. Wonder is a very bright and cheerful lifestyle store that sells a whole host of things, from clothes to travel bags to monogrammed throws to eyeglasses to home goods. I particularly liked their selection of decorative glass dishes, and wanted to share one with you:

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{C. Wonder keys plate, $18}

Isn’t it cute? Such a charming little piece to put on your foyer table for keys and other miscellaneous items. My good friend recently moved into a new apartment, and I got her this circular dish as a housewarming gift:

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{C. Wonder Savon glass plate, $8}

They have all sorts of goodies like these—this is definitely a great gift destination, and I am confident that you will see many more C. Wonder items on future blog entries. Also, their gift boxes were absolutely adorable… always a nice perk when you are gift shopping!

Have a great weekend, everyone! What is everyone doing? I have a couple of fitness classes and an Oscars party lined up, and I am going to see Hugo with friends tonight. I am hoping that I have such fun this weekend that I can finally stop talking about my amazing time in New York last weekend*, because I am starting to get on my own nerves!

Take care, be safe, have fun, and see you on Monday!

Images courtesy of www.cwonder.com

*Just because I know myself… probably not going to happen. I love New York and all of my friends there. And the shopping. And it really was the best weekend ever. So please bear with me. :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Perfect Card

A little delayed in posting this, but I got the sweetest birthday card from my parents. Pretty sure they were not aware that it is a Taylor Swift-designed one when they got it, which makes the fact that it is even better!

Smitten By Smythson

One really nice thing about turning a year older last week was how amazingly thoughtful my friends were in making my birthday weekend SO special and spoiling me rotten! I got some really generous gifts, which also doubled as blog inspiration.

Two of my most fabulous friends, also known as the Dynamic Duo, gifted me a very beautiful Smythson notebook. I’ve never owned anything Smythson, but I did know that preppy girls everywhere go wild for their stationery wares. Now that I have a piece of my own, I have to say that I see what the hype is about!

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{Smythson “Keep Calm and Carry On” Panama notebook, $80}

I absolutely adore the cheerful orange color, and the lambskin leather covers put new meaning to the word “luxury.” It’s small and fits easily into a handbag or even your back pocket. It’s the perfect size for jotting down quick notes or to-do lists, and the “Keep Calm and Carry On” message on the cover is a nice little reminder to breathe and keep things in perspective. Thanks to the Dynamic Duo the fantastic gift!

Image courtesy of www.smythson.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sharing is Caring

I’ve been traveling a lot recently, and one thing I’ve been seeing a lot of is couples sharing ear buds—you know, each person listening to the music in just one ear. Well, traveling friends and lovebirds, there’s a cute solution for this, and as expected, The Present Perfect is on it:

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{Tunes for Two headphone splitter, $14}

The heart plugs into a standard headphone socket, and then both people can plug their respective headphones into the heart. This way, you can share music and listen with both ears. And, it’s kind of adorable and perhaps even romantic, in a super nerdy way.

Image courtesy of www.francescascollections.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Artwork!

Just hung my latest acquisition... My friend Jenny is an incredibly talented painter who created this piece! I love it! If anyone is interested in some original artwork, leave me a message in the comments and I will pass along her info! She does such an amazing job with composition and has been known to do some custom work, as well.

Cute Coat

Good morning, everyone! Sorry about the silence on my end for the past few days… I gave myself a free pass on my birthday last week, and then I spent Thursday night through yesterday morning in New York. I had an absolutely amazing time—many thanks to my wonderful friends who made my birthday weekend SO special. They showered me with thoughtful gifts and quality time, and I am incredibly thankful to have these people in my life!

While I was in New York, I was wearing this coat that I love and my mother hates. She hates it because she thinks it looks like a bathrobe, and I love it because it basically IS a bathrobe… a warm, cozy, beautifully lined bathrobe. Anyway, the universe has informed me that it’s in my camp—about five complete strangers told me that they loved my coat, two of which asked me where they could get it. As a result, I did some perusing and found that the designer is still making and selling it three years later, so I thought it would be a nice gift pick in case you are looking for a  splurge for yourself or some lucky girl:

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{Mara Hoffman Shawl Coat, $671}

It also comes in a dark charcoal, as well as an insanely colorful serape pattern. Glad to spread the love of this coat!

Images courtesy of www.marahoffman.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Floating Away

I had kind of forgotten how much fun balloons could be, until I got two dozen for my little Valentine’s Day gathering yesterday. Armed with a huge assortment of red, pink, and silver balloons, I was quite the sight to be seen as I navigated my way back to my apartment:

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Anyway, after my guests left, I decided to bring the balloons over to my friend’s house—her little girl was having her first sleepover, and I thought some festive decorations might be just the ticket to make this milestone evening even more fun. The kids went absolutely ballistic and could not get enough of the balloons!

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This isn’t a terribly groundbreaking gift idea, but I think that a huge bunch of brightly colored balloons is a cute and inexpensive way to make a celebratory occasion all the merrier. Also, when is the last time you got balloons for your birthday? My junior high had a tradition of friends bringing them on your special day, but I haven’t really had any since then. With my birthday coming up tomorrow, this bundle of color was a nice throwback that combined both occasions.

When it was time for the kiddies to go to bed, we untied the balloons and let them float to the bedroom ceiling with the pretty ribbon dangling down—they kept saying, “Wow! This is a party!” All in all, the little one’s first slumber party was a smashing success. If you are in a bind or on a budget for a birthday gift, this is a quick and easy solution that can be resolved at the grocery store or your local party supply store!

Images property of The Present Perfect

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hope all of you have a wonderful day filled with much sweetness!

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…and for those of you who are really waiting until the last second to do something nice and Valentine-y for that special someone, I just have to say: day of? Come on! If you don’t live/work near a nice chocolate shop or florist, you could always duck into a grocery store or drugstore to pick up a  box of conversation hearts. They’re probably on sale by now—that’s one perk of being a straggler!

The photo above is from the Valentine’s-themed birthday party I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Today, some of my girlfriends are coming over for afternoon tea and treats! I’m thrilled to have some quality time and to use the wedding china that sits in my cupboard for most of the year!

Image property of The Present Perfect

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Homemade Goodness

Hey there! I hope everyone had a great weekend… I am back from Puerto Rico and had such fun. There was a lot of sunshine, beach relaxation, and girl time. The weekend passed too quickly, but I feel very lucky to have gotten away from the cold for a little bit!

So, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. I’m featuring a DIY baking project for those of you who are up the creek without a Valentine’s Day plan:

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My birthday is just after Valentine’s Day, so a couple years ago, I invited some girlfriends over for a Valentine’s-themed birthday party at my apartment. We had lots of cookies, cupcakes, and champagne, as well as an in-house manicure team! I developed a very friendly relationship with the owner of the nail salon I used to go to in New York, so she kindly agreed to come over and do manicures during the party for an unbeatable price. The reason I bring up this story is that I had served the cookies pictured above, and they were a huge hit. They are also beautifully festive for the occasion! You can access the recipe for the cookie dough here.

To shape and decorate, you just need to refrigerate the cookie dough for at least an hour so that it’s not too sticky. Roll out the dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/8” thick. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to punch out the hearts, and then bake the cookies according to the recipe instructions linked above. For the icing, you use a regular buttercream icing for the border and let it set for a bit. Then make the filler icing by combining one cup of confectioner’s sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon water, as well as a few drops of whatever food coloring you prefer. To fill the heart outline, place 1 teaspoon of icing on the center of each cookie and then spread the icing with a circular motion using a butter knife or small icing spatula.

I can guarantee that your Valentine will truly appreciate these homemade treats! And in the spirit of tomorrow’s holiday, here are some photos of my homemade decorations for that party I described earlier.

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{Crayon hearts dangling from the chandelier—instructions here}

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{Heart garland on the sconces… and gorgeous tulips from my husband!}

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{Close-up of the glittery garland}

I hope everyone’s week is off to a great start! See you back here tomorrow!

Images are property of The Present Perfect

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hasta, PR!

Really sad to leave this place! I spent an idyllic afternoon swimming in the ocean... it was so refreshing. I feel very fortunate and rejuvenated. I hope all of you are having great weekends, too! See you back here tomorrow for the final pre-Valentine's Day gift idea!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ahhh...

Happy weekend from Puerto Rico!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Jewelry!

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope that everyone had a great week—mine was very busy and hectic, but fun. And today, I leave for a little weekend getaway with one of my good friends—beaches of Puerto Rico, here we come! I am looking forward to some warm weather and tropical relaxation.

On the subject of Valentine’s Day, though, I think one of the best presents a girl can get is a pretty piece of jewelry. Check out this beautiful necklace from Greenwich Jewelers:

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{Melissa Joy Manning yellow gold ring necklace, $175}

The chain is made out of oxidized sterling silver, and the rings are made of 14k yellow gold. I love it because it’s a piece that can be worn with both casual and dressy outfits. On a more personal level, I have this weird aversion to heart-shaped jewelry, so this necklace wins in that regard as well.

Hasta luego, friends… and see you back here on Monday! Have a wonderful weekend, wherever you may be!

Image courtesy of www.greenwichjewelers.com

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Homemade Puppets

As much as I love those boxes of perforated Valentine’s Day cards that are sold at the grocery store, hand-crafted Valentines are even better. This kit from Paper Source comes with everything a kid needs to make 28 finger puppets to share at school:
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The kit includes pre-cut hearts, stickers, and googly eyes… you just provide scissors, a marker, glue, and a hole punch! The kit comes with supplies to make four of each animal pictured above. Such a cute and memorable way to spread some Valentine’s Day love! Also, it’s an excellent afternoon activity to keep the kids occupied. :)
 
Image courtesy of www.paper-source.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Baby Bum

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{Old Navy heart-print tights, $7}

How CUTE are these baby tights?! Such an adorable accessory for your littlest Valentine. I love the heart on the bum!

Image courtesy of www.oldnavy.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine’s Day: A Manly Drink

I tend to get somewhat mixed messages about guys’ opinions about Valentine’s Day. I know some who are of the “Why should guys have to do all the work?” camp, and then there are others who regard it as the one day a year that a girl can reasonably expect to be showered with gifts and attention.

I am of the opinion that Valentine’s Day gifts for the boys are thoughtful and a very nice thing to do, but one also has some flexibility in the territory between silly and romantic. (Quick poll: do guys even want flowers? This is something I have not experimented with).

So, all that being said, I naturally turned to good old Jack Spade in my search for a nice, manly gift, and I found these whiskey tumblers:

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{Jack Spade “Good Grief” tumblers, $38 for a set of two}

Funny, right? I found these glasses to be rather amusing. Even better if you pair them with these re-usable whiskey stones!

Image courtesy of www.jackspade.com

Monday, February 6, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Sweets for My Sweet

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{La Maison du Chocolat coffret, $52}

Ah, chocolate. While I’m of the opinion that it’s a year-round treat, there is something nice about a fancy box of the stuff on Valentine’s Day. La Maison du Chocolat has a special place in my heart not just because of their delicious chocolates, but also because I had such a friendly relationship with the staff at the Wall Street store when I lived in New York! They were so nice to me, and they even allowed me to host a fund-raising event for a non-profit in their store—they closed early one evening  for the private event and provided delicious samples for my guests! Class act of a team, I tell you.

This beautiful red box will surely impress your Valentine, even before he or she opens it up. Inside, you will find the following flavors: Tonfiant (plain dark ganache), Envoƻtant (dark ganache with passion fruit and Cambodian pepper), Enivrant (dark ganache with an infusion of Madagascar vanilla), Aphrodisiac (hazelnut praline).

La Maison is offering free shipping on all online orders over $50 until February 9—so move quickly to take advantage of it!

Image courtesy of www.lamaisonduchocolat.us

Friday, February 3, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Say It with Flowers

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all had a great week and are looking forward to the weekend. Does anyone have big Super Bowl plans?

Many people will probably disagree with me, but I think Valentine’s Day flowers do not need to include roses. I don’t have a problem with roses, but they are rarely my flower of choice. Last year, I featured these beautiful orchids, and this year, I am presenting some other lovely floral alternatives.

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{Assorted tulips, 60 stems for $60}

I adore tulips. And this is such an amazingly lush, full assortment of them. I personally don’t believe that Valentine’s Day bouquets need to to red or pink… plus, this is such a cheery combination! Only issue is that I am pretty sure it doesn’t come with the vase. However, I feel like the last thing a girl needs is another random vase you have to find storage space for. At my old job, we sometimes got to take home the beautiful floral arrangements that were ordered for client meetings, and I can’t tell you how many random glass cylinder vases I have as a result.

If you would prefer to stay more in line with the holiday’s theme colors, though:

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{30 red/pink/white tulips with red vase, $39.99}

One complaint that people often have about tulips is that they droop easily. A tried and true trick that I learned from a florist is to put pennies in the vase—the copper makes them stand up! I usually go a little overboard and throw in, like, 30 pennies—probably a bit much. But seriously, it works!

Have a wonderful weekend and see you back here on Monday!

Images courtesy of www.1800flowers.com

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Pillow Party!

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{Cheese to My Macaroni pillow, $16.95}

There’s something to be said for perfectly crafted words, and this pillow says it all. It measures 10” x 15”, and is made of burlap. If you’re having trouble putting the words together this Valentine’s Day, let this pillow say it for you!

Also, any excuse to inject some good old country music into this blog… the pillow reminds me of a very cute Blake Shelton song called “Honey Bee.” My favorite lyric from that song is “You’ll be my Louisiana / I’ll be your Mississippi.” Give it a whirl by clicking here. He is adorable in it!

Image courtesy of www.paper-source.com

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Valentine’s Day: Pucker Up

And… we’re into the month of February!  One of my favorite things about February is Valentine’s Day. I am not talking about fancy gourmet dinners or gifts of sexy lingerie… but the fun stuff that you do in elementary school. You know, construction paper mailboxes, candy hearts with words on them, and fun cards with your favorite cartoon characters. (Also, question: is the lingerie actually a thing? Because I really have only seen it done in movies and on The O.C.)

Last year, I had a little Valentine’s Day lunch for some girlfriends, which proved to be an enjoyable way to celebrate friendship. Behold:

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{The spread: this was at the height of my obsession with striped straws}

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{Some goody bags to take home. For the hearts, I just cut a kitchen sponge into a heart and dipped it into red acrylic paint. Insanely easy.}

In the spirit of being crafty (meaning, Martha Stewart-esque, not scheming—though I suppose there are all sorts of jokes that could come out of that) today’s gift idea is a DIY project!

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{What you need: tissue paper, lip gloss, string, gift tags, clear tape. For an extra touch: festive stickers and pretty envelopes.}

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{Cut a rectangle of tissue paper and roll up the lip gloss, like a candy wrapper.}

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{Tie the ends with string and attach the “candy” to a gift tag. Add stickers or a nice message to embellish.}

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{Put the finished product in an envelope and seal with a pretty sticker!}

This is a fun project that doesn’t take up too much time. I found everything but the lip gloss at Paper Source (where else?), but if I’d had more time to run errands, I probably would have hit up the dollar store first… it is always a treasure trove for seasonal items! Some of my friends (ahem, PAUL) make fun of the fact that the dollar store is my go-to destination for these little projects, but don’t knock it until you try it…

I’m excited to spend the next two or so weeks blogging about fun Valentine’s Day ideas! See you tomorrow!

Images are property of The Present Perfect

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