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Wedding Wednesday: At-Home Teeth Whitening

Nikki Schuster

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Now that the wedding is over, I am unsuccessfully attempting to settle back into reality. This includes getting back into blogging again. I took a hiatus so I could focus on work and the wedding, but now I am back and I have plenty of wedding tips to share! Consider this the first of many Wedding Wednesdays in which I hope to offer some personal thoughts and research to help anyone who is going through the wedding process themselves! (Giveaway included! Read through to the end of this post! )

Today's Wedding Wednesday topic is teeth whitening. Although it is often neglected next to skincare, nail-care and hair-care, I highly recommend adding teeth whitening to the long list of beautifying treatments, products and routines. Your wedding day is bound to be filled with ear-to-ear smiles and that last thing you want is a distracting yellow grin. 

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If you're like me, coffee is an all day affair and red wine is a frequent nightly routine, which means I may always have a good buzz, but the teeth suffer. Which is why I was so excited when Smile Brilliant reached out to me!

Smile Brilliant is a customizable at-home whitening system. You can choose from 6 options which I have listed below (these are from the Smile Brilliant website):

I love the fact that there are multiple options, so you can customize your whitening system to your needs. It is also a much more affordable option than going to the dentist and far more effective than at-home strips. Once I received my kit, Smile Brilliant made it so easy. The box came with everything I needed: the DIY materials to create my personal teeth whitening molds, the return label so that I could easily send the molds in to be made, teeth whitening gel and desensitizing gel. All I had to do was follow the simple instructions, wait for my trays to be returned and whiten away!

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With my crazy work hours, this made is so easy to whiten without taking off work or sacrificing precious work hours for a dentist appointment. You can leave the whitening gel on for 45 minutes to three hours, which means I can do work while I whiten! I love any chance I get to multi-task especially when all the other wedding activities were drowning my free time. 

My husband (or fiancé at the time) and I did it together! We did it in the morning while we got ready for work or at night as we finished up projects/responded to emails. Keegan has sensitive teeth so he used the desensitizing gel. The Smile Brilliant team also recommend coconut oil, so I used that as I always prefer the more natural remedies. This worked perfectly and I highly recommend it!

All in all, I would say this system is definitely the way to go if you are looking to whiten at home. I would say we both ended up improving our smiles and the end result was probably about a shade whiter.  We will definitely use Smile Brilliant to help maintain our healthy smiles and reduce the affects of our red wine and coffee habits.

Left: BEFORE; Right: AFTER

If you are interested enter the giveaway above and get the change to win a FREE T-3 Sensitive Kit!!! Not looking to win your own free kit? Use code thelayeredappeal15 and get $15 off any tray set!! 

Even if you don't win the giveaway, you will get a special, additional discount just for entering!! So enter now! 

*Giveaway open for two weeks *Eligible countries: US, UK, Australia, & Canada

**Sponsored Post**

2 Steps to Longer, Stronger Lashes

Nikki Schuster

THE OUTFIT

THE SHOES | CHLOE: I am telling you, these are a must if you are willing to splurge on flats. They are expensive but they are the most comfortable flats I have ever owned and they can be worn both casually or dressed up. That being said, if you are going to splurge on 1 pair only, don't go with the LIGHT GRAY SUEDE like I did. Suede, especially in a light color, is very delicate and easily stained. I would go with the BLACK LEATHER, plus they are slightly cheaper! Also check out the BURGUNDY SUEDE or the LIGHT PINK SUEDE (the color of this summer!) or the METALLIC SANDAL, which I may have to order myself!

THE JEANS | AG JEANS: These jeans are really comfortable, especially for the girls with more cushion for the pushin'. I don't do cardio, I just lift weights. So when I work out consistently, my butt gets bigger and doesn't fit in some of my jeans. I love these AG Jeans because the allow for a little more room in the hips but still have a slim fit down the leg. 

THE TOP | CURRENT ELLIOTTDespite the cold shoulders, this sweater is so warm! I got mine at Max & Riley on Newbury Street!

THE VEST | LA ROK: Is La Rok even around anymore? I got this vest about eight years ago, but check HERE, HERE, HERE for similar. 

THE BAG | CELINE: I love this bag because I haven't seen this color combo any where else! But take a look at the links below for some gorgeous styles and color options! Or click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. I can't get enough of THIS ONE!

LONGER, STRONGER LASHES...I PROMISE

We have all googled "How to Grow Your Lashes" or even worse, "Eyelash Extensions" and wondered "how bad could it really be for my lashes? Maybe I should just try it!"

I am definitely guilty of that google search - in fact I'll be getting them for the wedding so stay tuned for more information on that in the coming months! But until then, I want to grow my lashes longer and stronger. The trick to beautiful lashes is simple. 

After years of trial and error, I can confidently say that I have found the loyal solution to your lash dreams! Now let's be honest...your lashes won't look like the falsies you glued on for Halloween, but they will definitely have significant and noticeable improvement. 

So what's the secret? Follow these complicated and time consuming steps (Sarcasm):

  1. EVERY NIGHT: Apply coconut oil to the lash line. 
    • I also apply a liberal amount to the entire lid and coat the lashes themselves with it to ensure they're hydrated.
    • Make sure its 100% organic, nothing added! You can click HERE or grab a jar at Whole Foods or Trader Joe's for $10 and it lasts forever!
  2. EVERY MORNING: Apply Vaseline to the lash line
    • If you are like me and you don't wear much makeup to work, I recommend also applying it to the entire lid for better results. However, do not do this if you wear eye shadow. This could cause the shadow to collect in the creases of your skin and its not a good look. Trust me. If you are trying to grow your lashes for a special occasion, I recommend cutting out the eye shadow for six weeks to help kick-start the lash growth. 

Now, you may be thinking, "That's easy, I can handle those two simple steps!" However, in order for the two step process to work, you MUST abide by the cardinal rules:

  1. Take your makeup off every night...and GENTLY!
    • First of all, stop rubbing your eyes in all directions to remove the makeup!!! Find a makeup remover that works for you. Personally, I like the Neutrogena Cleansing Towlettes because they are moist enough to soak through the mascara without rubbing.
      • Quick Tip: Place the pads on your eyes and apply light pressure for 30 seconds. Allow the product to start working without rubbing. Then you can wipe from the eyelid down in a gentle, slow motion until the mascara is removed. When I say "Removed" I mean "completely gone". If you wake up in the morning with a little black under your eyes, you're shit out of luck, you should've listened to me and I can't help you.
  2. Consistency for AT LEAST six weeks, preferably 3-6 months
    • It takes 4-6 weeks to grow a new lash. The better you take care of them, the longer they grow! So don't miss a hydration session!
    • Prior to the engagement I was very inconsistent. My lashes grew but it wasn't significant. Since we got engaged, I have religiously followed the steps above and sacrificed my eye shadow for the cause. I promise you it is worth it.

A few things to note:

  1. The coconut oil turns to liquid when its warm, so when it is against your skin it tends to be very moist. That it why it is best to use it at night instead of during the day. If used during the day it can cause your mascara to run. If it bothers you at night, just use Vaseline for both steps instead of switching.
  2. If you are a worry-wort like me, stop worrying. I went to an eye doctor, told him about my findings and asked if it was safe. He said not to worry at all because Coconut Oil and Vaseline are harmless so long as there are no additives. He did say its possible that the vaseline and coconut oil could get into my eyes, which isn't harmful but just annoying. He was right, sometimes when I over due it I definitely feel the stickiness but it goes away as the eye naturally cleans itself.

After all these years of keeping my own secret. It is time to share the wealth. In fact, recently, I wanted to ensure I wasn't just convincing myself that I looked fabulous and wanted to confidently persuade you so I offered ('tested') my tried-and-true eyelash secret with my friend at work. I checked in on her lashes weekly and it works! Its not in my head! 

So go get some Vaseline and Coconut Oil and start batting those eyelashes....I dare you!

JORD Wood Watch

Nikki Schuster

With Thanksgiving this month, Christmas in December, Valentines Day in February and Keegan's Birthday in March I have to be on my gift giving game! This year's gifts have to be especially good because he just got me a ring and proposal that surpassed my dreams! 

The issue is, I have been dating Keegan for 12 years so I have already given him every gift or activity in the book...or so it seemed...until I heard about the JORD Wood Watches! Keegan has a nice watch and a watch he uses to workout but he doesn't have a great everyday watch.

I chose the Frankie Series in Dark Sandalwood and Emerald I absolutely love this watch! It is formal enough for work or going out but it is still masculine and completely unique, which is so important! A huge part of what makes people stylish is when they have a unique flair that represents their own personal style. That is why I picked this watch for Keegan, I have never seen anything like it! I even love the broad array of colors and styles they offer! Check out the Men's Watches Here. They also have women's watches..I might have to snag one for myself. Click Here for Women's WatchesThey say the best gifts are the ones you want for yourself ;)

PS: even the packaging is amazing! The box is beautiful and even has a drawer for cleaning cloths, extra links, etc.

Are you in need of a Christmas gift or just wanting to snag one for yourself?

Enter to win a $75 e-gift code to shop the entire site!! All other contestants will receive a $20 e-gift code just for entering!! Interested? Enter here: JORD Wood Watches Giveaway Entry! 

Contest closes November 20th at 11:59PM and both the $75 and $20 codes will expire on January 1st 2017.

**This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Little Donkey and A Little Thigh

Nikki Schuster

For those of you who don’t know, the gold dome of the Massachusetts State House marks the center of Boston. I am lucky enough to live just behind it, which means, I am within a 45 minute walk from all of Boston’s best spots! I can get to Southie, Seaport, Fort Point, Cambridge, North End, Back Bay and South End all in under 45 minutes. 

For some, that is too far, but I always carry my Yosi Samra fold up flats with me so I can make the trek without ruining my shoes or hurting my feet. The flats are super comfortable AND they fit in almost any purse (assuming I don’t over-stuff it with makeup). Take a look below for some of my favorite Yosi's! 

For me, walking isn’t only good for your health, it is good for your brain. It allows you to think, without getting distracted by directions or the “masshole” in front of you. I love passing little shops and restaurants I’ve never heard of, and because I’m not driving, I can even jot down the name/address and add it to my list of places to explore.

That being said, with the wedding under a year away, by budget has been pretty tight! I want to continue trying new spots, so walking to and from the restaurants not only saves me money, it opens up my world of options. 

Recently I tried Little Donkey. The food was amazing!! Fair warning: it is Tapas, so if you are going with a big group, be prepared to spend a lot and run the risk of leaving hungry, especially if there are hungry guys in your group. However, as a small girl, I was over-satiated. In fact, it was hard to stop - each item was better than the next! I had to remind myself that I didn’t need to order every item on the menu and I could always come back. Take a look below for some of my favorite items on the menu!

MUST HAVES:

  • Parker House Rolls: Yellow chives and Chinese Sausage
  • Black Pepper Popovers: Wagyu steak tartare
  • Pickle Brine Fried Chicken Sandwich: Green papaya slaw, jalapeno, avocado ranch (Beware: this is packed with flavor. If you order this, you may not have a lot of room for all the other options)
  • And of course, you have to get the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough because it’s the only place you can eat cookie dough in public instead of sneaking spoonful’s from the couch.

PS: if you are a guy, check out the artwork in the bathroom. And don’t be a fun-hog, snap a pic and let the ladies of the evening enjoy a little potty humor

THE OUTFIT

DRESS: Unfortunately, I got it years ago. It is a Theyskens Theory dress from Shopbop, however, click HERE and HERE for similar!

SHOES: Stuart Weitzman also click HERE for the same boot but with a small heel

BAG: The bag is consistently on repeat and as I've mentioned in the past, it is from Imports of Marrakesh, an adorable store in Chelsea Market. However, click HERE for one the most adorable yarn bags I've ever seen and HERE for a stunning multicolored fur clutch!! Clearly I have a statement clutch obsession...

Also click the links below for direct access to the outfit and similar items!

6 Tips for Increasing Productivity

Nikki Schuster

Outfit photos and link below! Also scroll to the bottom and check out my 6 Tips for Increasing Productivity!!

Click the links below to shop the outfit!!

The vest is from Club Monaco and currently on sale, a must if you are in the market for a great trench vest!!

As the Summer disappears into the past and Fall foreshadows our Wintery future, I look forward to a little more free time. With wedding planning in full force, a lot of that time will be reallocated to wedding prep, leaving minimal time for the blog and studying. Among all that is going on, I am working on getting my real estate license and taking the GREs with the hopes of heading off to graduate school in the next year or two. All of this means productivity and organization will be important to ensure I can get everything I need to done. 

6 Tips for Increasing Productivity:

  1. WORKOUT: This is important for many reasons. Among the many health benefits, working out also releases stress, which is important, especially with so much to accomplish over the next year. It also falls under the category of wedding prep as I work towards tightening and toning before the big day. But most importantly, accomplishing that first task in the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day and energizes me for the work ahead.
  2. NO MORE SNOOZE: The snooze button only offers instant gratification. After that, it actually makes waking up even harder. Once you are awake, your sleep cycle is broken. Each cycle of sleep in 90 minutes, hitting the snooze button allows you to fall back asleep and enter into a new cycle that you will get 10 minutes into. Waking up in the beginning of the cycle as opposed to the end of a full cycle, could cause you to wake up even groggier than before. Take a look at ASAP Science’s Video  on why the snooze button is bad. The moral of the story is, go to bed earlier or set your alarm for later, but don’t hit the snooze button!
  3. EMAIL ORGANIZATION: I’ve spent my entire working career organizing my emails by categories and sub-folders. This became of vicious cycle of getting behind, drowning in an inbox of various types of emails inclusive of “marked as un-read” and “flagged” for later. “Later” becomes never and productivity ends up at an all time low. But why is something that starts off so organized and productive so impossible to maintain!? Because it isn’t simple. It requires me to pause and contemplate where the email/task should go. It also requires that I remember where I put it, good luck!!! In addition, in most instances, a “pause” is a luxury I don’t always have available to me. That is why I have started organizing my email inbox into the three categories listed below. This new process allows me to easily get rid of unnecessary emails, access follow up items but also maintain and easily view important items in a simple, organized fashion.
    1. OLD MAIL: Emails I have responded to, tasks that I have completed and anything that no longer requires anything of me
    2. FOLLOW UP: My emails or reminders of items I need to follow up with or perform a secondary task later in the future
    3. INBOX (AKA: Important, Needs Response or Action Now!)
  4. 30 MINUTE EMAILS: Dedicate at least two 30 minute sessions to answering emails. Block it off in your calendar so that no one can schedule a meeting during that time. Close your door and turn off your phone. You only have 30 minutes so its important that you stay focused. During that time, you can answer emails, organize and jot down tasks and check the “FOLLOW UP” folder. For me, “out of sight, out of mind” is serious issue. Allotting these two 30 minute sessions to email response and management allows me to catch up on pending items. 
  5. PICK THREE: Pick three tasks to complete for your day and get them done. If you have a large project that will take weeks, dedicate today to accomplishing 5% of that project. Either way, ensure you pick three things and get them done. Three is feasible but it allows you to get at least three tasks completed as opposed to starting many but completing zero. 
  6. SAY NO: I struggle with this all the time. However, in order to get everything done, you have to learn to say no to those people or things that get in the way of productivity. If someone invites you to a meeting or asks you to tackle another project, first assess your ability and availability. If you don’t have the time but you can’t say “no”, say “yes” but I won’t be able to get it for you until Monday. Setting those boundaries allows you to remain productive while accepting new tasks. 

Fall into Autumn for Less

Nikki Schuster

A few weeks back, I talked about transitioning summer outfits into cooler weather in "Transitioning into Fall with Ku De Taand "Romping Around". As we get closer to Fall, “cooler weather” can mean 40s at night, which means warmer transitional outfits! This time, I have paired a Lovers + Friends Maxi Dress with a cashmere sweater. Mine is a vintage Giorgio Armani passed down from my mom, but you can find similar HERE, HERE and HERE. Maxis are great transitional pieces because they provide full leg coverage and when you add a great bomber jacket or warmer sweater, you are immediately ready for the cooler temps! Check out below for a bunch of cropped bomber jackets I am into right now:

Another way to transition is with a denim jacket. I love my old theory jacket from 10 years ago and I still wear it all Spring and Fall. But once the weather turns ice-y, that denim is replaced with thicker, warmer and hopefully water proof or resistant jackets. So check out some cute options below and go ahead and layer ;)

Planning a Bachelorette Party: The Nantucket Edition

Nikki Schuster

With a 5 day countdown to one of my best friend's weddings, I thought it only seemed fit to write about her bachelorette party! For many, the thought of planning a bachelorette weekend sounds daunting, but the key to a successful weekend is an early start! So if you have any bachelorette parties looming in your future, don't let a fun time turn into a stressful scenario. Take a look below for some tips and suggestions I came up with after hosting a bachelorette party at my Nantucket house!!

BACHELORETTE PARTY TIPS

Start Early

I cannot stress this enough. The earlier you can convince the bridesmaids and bride to pick a location, the earlier you can get started with the planning. Given the fact that most people aren't FUNemployed, this helps immensely when trying to juggle your job with coordinating the gals. Starting early also means you have more options and availability for the activities you are interested in 

SplitWise

I highly recommend using this! Splitwise is a mobile app (also available on your desktop) that allows you to keep track of all costs incurred by each person. At the end, it calculates what is owed and then allows you to pay back your friends instantly with PayPal and Venmo, all within the app! This app was a savior! It ensured that everyone paid an equal amount at the end of the weekend and it saved us from having to convince restaurants to split the meals 10 ways.

Pre-Order & Ship Booze

I pre-ordered 30 bottles of wine: 10 bottles of prosecco, 10 bottles of white wine and 10 bottles of rose and had them all shipped to my house. This saved us from having to lug 30 bottles to the house ourselves, but it also allowed us to save money. When you buy by the case it is cheaper than buying the individual bottle. 

Become a Coupon Clipper

One of the most expensive parts of any group trip is usually the food. So why not get what you need from the grocery store and cook at home? Not only is it cheaper, but all that alcohol you just had shipped to the house makes for a cheap night of eating and pregaming! At a restaurant, one glass of wine can cost $10, but buying by the case can get you a good bottle for $10-$15!! That being said, a few weeks prior to the party, I sent out a schedule of meals to be eaten at home and made a tentative menu and grocery list. This gave the girls a few weeks to make edits. After all the edits were in, I went online and signed up for a Stop & Shop card. I then sifted through the sales and added as many coupons to my card as I could. If there is a local supermarket that delivers, I suggest ordering online and having it shipped the day you arrive. The Stop & Shop in Nantucket doesn't have Peapod, so I went shopping with a friend early in the morning before anyone else arrived. We ended up saving $60 with the coupons and the cost of 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and a dinner only ended up being $50 per person!

SUGGESTIONS FOR BACHELORETTE PARTY ACTIVITIES IN NANTUCKET:

Grey Lady (Booked on OpenTable)

OpenTable is the best! You get 100 points for each reservation and eventually, those points can be converted to cash...for more dinners! I booked dinner at the Grey Lady because it is a fun spot with great food! Ask for the outdoor table on the second floor - it is only one table on the patio, it is big enough for a party of 12 and it is perfect for a boisterous group because there are no other tables! The Grey Lady is also right next door to the Chicken Box so it makes for a seamless transition from dinner to dancing without paying for a cab or having to wait in line...which for the Chicken Box is quite the accomplishment. 

Website: The Grey Lady  | Address: 2 Chins Way, Nantucket, MA | Phone: 508.901.9858

Chicken Box

If you have never been to Nantucket, the Chicken Box is a must try. It requires enough drinks to dismiss the sloppy youngsters that flock the box, but once liquored up the Chicken Box can make you feel young again. With live music and a dive bar atmosphere, you might wake up thinking you are late for class. 

Website: The Chicken Box | Address: 16 Dave Street, Nantucket, MA | Phone: 508.228.9717

Booze Cruise

We booked through Shearwater Excursions and we got a 26 foot boat called Minke that had a bench around the perimeter and spot in the middle for wine, cheese and music! It was a classic crosby launch and it was perfect for our group. We had 11 girls and there was room for more. They allowed us to bring our own booze, food and music (I recommend bringing a portable bluetooth speaker) and we just sailed around and partied for an hour and a half. It was such a great, easy and affordable activity!

In fact, prior to the bachelorette, I rented another boat through Endeavor Sailing, called The Endeavor, with a different group of friends as a test run. The boat was too small for our group of 11 but it was a beautiful option for smaller groups! The Endeavor was also a sailboat, which visually is more appealing than a Crosby Launch. 

Website: Shearwater Excursions | Address: Slip 1011 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA | Phone: 508.228.7037  

Website: Endeavor Sailing  | Address: Slip 1015 Straight Wharf, Nantucket, MA | Phone: 508.228.5585

Cisco Brewery Wine Tasting

The brewery is always a good time but I had never done a wine tasting! The wine tasting tables are tucked away next to the wine hut but hidden behind trees. It feels like a secret oasis and it is very casual! If you are looking for a high class wine tasting, this is not the place. However, if you are looking for a fun, easy going host who will mingle and hang like one of the crew, Michael is the best!! He told us the history of the winery and the history of each wine. And after you enjoy the wine tasting, the live music, food and fun of the brewery await you!

Website: Cisco Brewery | Address: 5 Bartlett Farm Road, Nantucket, MA | Phone: 508.325.5929


Cisco Bewery

MINKE BOOZE CRUISE

Photo from: http://shearwaterexcursions.com 

Photo from: http://shearwaterexcursions.com 

ENDEAVOR BOOZE CRUISE

THE GAZEBO

A Gazebo mudslide should never be missed, even if it means grabbing one on the way to the ferry!

A Gazebo mudslide should never be missed, even if it means grabbing one on the way to the ferry!


THE OUTFIT

Shirt: Jonathan Simkhai (Click HERE for the Equipment off-the-shoulder shirt from above)| Shoes: Forever 21 (SIMILAR, SIMILAR, SIMILAR, SIMILAR, SIMILAR) | PANTS: Paige

Romping Around

Nikki Schuster

While most people are dreaming of cozy, cooler weather outfits, I am still praying Mother Nature forgets to Fall. That being said, while everyone else it out shopping the new Fall items, I am still perusing the summer sales; and what better way to transition my summer sets to Autumn attire than to LAYER pieces! ;) 

For summer, I've styled this Gentle Fawn Romper (From Ku De Tawith an Hermes enamel bracelet (SIMILAR, SIMILAR, SIMILAR) and a double strand, stone necklace from Ku De Ta. It is such an easy outfit to run around in and can be dressed up with heels or kept casual with flats. I love these Gladiator Flats as a stylish way to make any summer outfit pop!

I am a sucker for anything open-back but in order to wear that style, I've got to bring in reinforcements. Good thing I am the self-proclaimed queen of "boob tape" and "nipple petals"; I literally live in the reusable Silicone Cover-Ups from Hollywood. In fact, I wear them so often that I am known to go months without wearing a real bra. I used to be a fan of the No Show Concealers from Hollywood, which I still dabble in but they are not reusable so I blow through them pretty quickly. Both options are 100% discreet and do not show any marks underneath your clothing; even under silk tops/dresses!

This time, however, I actually tried out the Gentle Fawn Bralette, instead of boob tape. I bought mine at Ku De Ta and it is a braless babes dream! Bralettes are the best thing that have happened to me since training bras! They meet all my criteria: barely there, lace-y, sexy, comfortable and care free!

For those of you with a larger chest, that are afraid of bralettes and boob tape for fear of the fashion faux pas that might ensue, Hollywood also sells Secret Breast Lift Tape. If you have used it or you get the urge to try it after reading this, let me know how it works!! I have so many friends with big boobs, looking for the perfect solution to their open back beauties!! 

The Fashion Tape from Hollywood is also a lifesaver! It comes in a small tin case and it fits perfectly in any purse or clutch. I use the tape at work to make my low cut outfits appropriate; I use it to keep my baby boobies in my shirts; I even use it to temporarily tailor pants or shorten dresses/skirts. In fact, if you see me and Keegan at a wedding, we are most likely both held together with tape. He always forgets to tailor his pants and I always go braless.

To style this outfit for Fall, I add my beloved Perfext leather jacket (completely sold out, but see HERE for similar) and a chokeret voila! I am ready for cooler weather...or a least a little cooler. 

I am obsessed with the story behind this choker from www.psykdesign.com: I purchased mine at Ku De Ta in Chestnut Hill and they had four different styles each with their own meaning and empowering message behind them:

TURQUOISE: "For hundreds of years, turquoise has been believed to give the wearer strength and protection from harm and negative energy. wear this necklace not as a source of strength and protection, but as a reminder that you have the strength within you to protect yourself from whatever may try to deter your path to success"

PINK OPAL: "As a stone of peace, hope, and healing, pink opal has been valued as a good luck charm ever since the time of ancient Romans. Wear this necklace not as a source of peace, hope, or healing, but as a reminder that you can bring these virtues to the world and to yourself."  

BLUE AGATE: "Throughout history, many cultures have valued blue agate as a calming stone used to relieve feelings of anxiety and anger. Wear this necklace not as a source of tranquility, but as a reminder that you have the power within you to dissipate any anxiety or anger you may feel."

BLACK PYRITE: "For centuries, black pyrite has been believed to enhance a spirit of boldness and confidence in the wearer. Wear this necklace not as a source of boldness and confidence, but as a reminder that you have the power within you to be bold and confident in any situation." 

I absolutely love the message they offer because it is not about sitting idly by and allowing an object to provide you with the courage, strength, tranquility or luck necessary to be happy or successful. Instead, it encourages woman to find the courage, strength, tranquility or luck within themselves. Today, we are all looking for that quick fix, but what we should all strive for is the ability to provide ourselves with what we need. 

And as if Psyk. Design doesn't get any better, their slogan is "fuel yourself. fuel others." and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the organization Days for Girls, a non-for-profit that provides young girls around the world with the proper personal hygiene products to eliminate absenteeism in schools where young girls are forced to stay home when they get their period because they don't have access to the right products. 

So empower yourself, empower others, let your bra hang out, let your boobs roam free and hold onto summer and bright colors just a little longer!!

 

 

Transitioning into Fall with Ku De Ta!!

Nikki Schuster

This week I collaborated with Ku De Ta and will be talking about how to transition your summer clothes into the fall. With Ku De Ta's summer sale from now until Saturday, both the South Boston and Chestnut Hill stores are 25% off! I recommend heading over and stocking up on outfits for your final weeks of summer! See below for store addresses and contact info.


Ku De Ta
663 East Broadway [map]
South Boston, MA 02127

(p): 617.269.0008 (f): 617.269.0088
emailkudetaboston@hotmail.com

Mon-Fri:10:30-7 Sat:11-7 Sun:12-6

Ku De Ta
The Street 33 Boylston St [map]
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

(p): 617.383.5095 (f): 617.383.5057
emailinfo@kudetachestnuthill.com

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Even with Fall clothes filling the racks, I remain in denial that colder weather is coming. I can't stop buying rompers and wrap dresses! The good news is that with the right layers you can turn your favorite summer outfit into a cozy Fall getup in seconds! 

I give you permission to live on the wild side a little longer. Now you can enjoy those dresses and bright colors into the Fall! Today, I styled a bright, open-backed sweater with jean shorts and heals, but as the weather gets cooler, you can swap those jean shorts for jeans or leather pants.  So go ahead, live a little, and leave the black wardrobe in your closet for a few more months! 

Check out the outfit details below and stay tuned for more transitional outfit options!

Necklace: Ku De Ta (Similar, Similar, Similar, Similar, Similar) | Shorts: Old Hollister shorts (Similar) | Sweater: MINKPINK from Ku De Ta | Sunnies: Westward Leaning from Shopbop (Click Here for the same in metallic silver and Here for rose) | Heals: Forever 21  they also come in black and they are only $29!! | Leather Pants for Fall: Click Here

Floral Crop Top

Nikki Schuster

I leave Thursday for one of my best friend's Bachelorette party. I am hosting in Nantucket so I am heading down early to prepare the house for our lovely group of bridesmaids! Because I am leaving early and have lots of errands to run, I started packing last night. As I mentioned in "June 24th, 2016: Off the Shoulder" I have many packing hacks that I live by and one is packing in outfits! That being said, this outfit is definitely coming with! 

Stay tuned for more information about what we have planned and what I'll be wearing this weekend!

PS: I've copy/pasted the Packing Hacks below - stop over-packing and follow the hacks that I live by! Also feel free to comment with your packing hacks - the more the merrier! 

THE OUTFIT

TOP: Nanette Lepore I got this at TJMaxx a year ago so it is obviously sold out but I have found adorable floral crops at Forever 21 click HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE! Also click HERE and HERE for similar!

SHORTS: Theory from last year but check out HERE and HERE for similar and HERE for Theory shorts that are just adorable!

SHOES: Chloe I got these in college but they have the best shoes and some are even on sale! Check out HERE, HERE and HERE for similar Chloe wedges!!

PACKING HACKS:

 If you are like me and need to minimize the clutter, take a look below at some of my packing hacks:

PACK IN OUTFITS: This means coordinating an outfit for each day and a separate outfit for the night. 

PACK AN EXTRA OUTFIT: Packing in outfits can be hard if you do not know what your plans is, so prepare by bringing one extra day outfit and one extra night outfit. 

DOUBLE DUTY: It helps to bring an article of clothing that can work double duty and be worn casually during the day and then dressed up at night...this article is especially helpful for that "Extra Outfit". Examples:

WHITE PANTS: I always bring a pair of white pants because they are the best option for "Double Duty". You can wear them with a casual shirt for the daytime and then swap the casual shirt for a blouse or layer the casual shirt with a great blazer for the nighttime. 

BLAZER: I have a leather blazer with fringe that I wear pretty much all the time. It is another great option for "Double Duty". I can wear it over a casual day dress and add heals for the day-to-night look. Or I can throw it on over my jeans shorts and t-shirt, add open toed shoes and I'm ready for the bars!

SKIP THE WORKOUT CLOTHES: Let's be honest...you aren't going to workout...and if you really want to, go for a walk on the beach!

BUY MINI TOILETRY BOTTLES: I can't stress this enough. You should always have containers (clearly labeled) filled with your favorite products. This includes hairspray, deodorant, mini toothbrush/toothpaste, samples of your favorite make up, body lotion, face lotion, etc. This is great to have on-call because you never know when you need a little extra volume for your hair or blush when you are tired; but also, it's the perfect grab-and-go toiletries kit for quick weekend trips.  If you go to the travel section at CVS they actually have mini versions of most products for under $3 a pop!!

Lastly, trust that you look good and be confident in everything you put on because confidence is a building block for great style! 

If you have any other packing hacks, feel free to send them my way! Otherwise, I hope these help.

Happy travels!

Office to Nantucket

Nikki Schuster

On Friday's during the summer we get off of work at 3:00 PM, which gives me just enough time to make the 5:40 ferry to Nantucket. So what do you wear that is suitable for the office, the ferry and dinner in Nantucket? Equipment! 

During the summer, my Friday outfits have to easily transition to the weekend, which for me means Nantucket. That means, I'm usually in my go-to wardrobe: blouse, jeans, heals and accessories/layers to adapt to each location. The earrings dress it up and an added scarf keeps me warm at night. 

Outfit Change, Exhibit A: swap platforms for Manolos and Earrings for the scarf

Outfit Change, Exhibit A: swap platforms for Manolos and Earrings for the scarf

THE OUTFIT:

Shirt: Equipment They always have great basics but this is a perfect twist on a basic blouse. / Pants: Paige Jeans  / Shoes: Christian Louboutin These are old but click HERE and HERE for similar on sale!! Also click HERE for similar Louboutins and HERE for similar Saint Laurents that are a must! / Earrings: Kenneth Jay Lane They are sold out of the  red but click HERE for silver, HERE for gold, HERE for white (perfect for summer!) and HERE for black in oval!! 

I said Yes!!!

Nikki Schuster

Two weeks ago, my best friend and now fiancé, took me on a journey I will never forget.

In fact, to ensure I did not forget, he had photographer, Barbara Clarke, join us for every step of the way. Not only is she an amazing photographer, but she felt like family and she helped make this an unforgettable start to the rest of our lives.

The story begins with a wager we had at work. Keegan and I have been dating for 12 years (on and off), so it is no surprise that my colleagues were ready to place bets on when the engagement would happen. I wouldn’t have been able to offer any clues if it weren’t for my mother’s newfound interest in my manicure schedule.

That being said, the week of June 6th, I was nervously preparing for a family trip to Nantucket; I was concerned that if it did happen, I would obviously need the perfect outfit!

However, Keegan threw me off his trail by picking a big fight with me in front of our family friends. Frustrated and confused by Keegan’s strange behavior, I prepared for a family dinner on Saturday night. We were going to the Galley, which has the most stunning sunsets so I was still angry with Keegan but also excited to get great blog photos!!

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On the way to “dinner” my Mom reminded my Dad that we had to make a pit-stop at the airport because something had been delivered for him. Not unusual for my family to do strange things at strange times…

When we got the airport, my Dad and Keegan went to retrieve the package. While they were inside, my Mom showed me her phone and said, “did you see that picture Keegan sent us?”. Confused, I took her phone only to find a picture of The Lady and the Tramp with the words, "This chapter starts with a trip back to where our story began…” written across the photo. Growing up, The Lady and the Tramp was our favorite movie and Keegan used to call me "Lady".

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 It took me three tries to finally understand that what I had been waiting for since I was 15 was about to happen. I started crying and asked “Am I supposed to get out of the car?” My brother laughed, and yelled, “Yes, get out of the f***ing car!!” I met Keegan at the entrance to the airport where he was holding out his hand. He took my hand in his and guided me to the airplane.

Once we got up into the air he handed me a note that said "Whiskey Girl", which was our childhood song. With tears streaming down my face, he pulled out a tiny bottle of Jack Daniels and said “Cheers to our next journey together”.

We landed in Martha’s Vineyard and were met by a car service which took us off the beaten path and through winding dirt roads. As we drove, I became more and more confused. Our “Journey” did not begin in Martha’s Vineyard.

For those of you who don't know us, our story began at a party in our friend's basement. I was in private school and my best friend went to the public school in our town. She had taken me out to one of her parties...with older boys. At 15, I was both excited and terrified. 

We had been there since 8 and we were quickly approaching my midnight curfew when in walked Keegan. Apparently I have no poker face because my friend looked directly at me, pointed to the bathroom and said, "I have to go to the bathroom, don't you have to go too?" With that, her eyes widened with urgency. Our telepathy was on point, she didn't need to be dramatic, but I begrudgingly followed her to the bathroom anyway. 

Once we made it to the bathroom she grabbed my arms and said, "I saw the way you looked at him. As your best friend, I have to protect you. He only goes for older, blonde hair, blue eyed, athletic girls. He doesn't even talk to the younger girls!" I had one out of four of those qualities, so I had a chance, right!?

Being shy and awkward, my disillusions of my chances didn't help me when I finally "confronted him" In fact, I walked right up to him and just stood there until he spoke to me. I am sure he was confused and I do not know why he engaged me in conversation, but he asked if I wanted a beer.

That broke the ice and we got to talking until my phone rang. It was my babysitter. She had called to tell me my curfew had come and gone and I needed to get home, now. This was a tough situation for me considering my babysitter was my Spanish teacher, but I negotiated anyway. 

At 15, my version of negotiation was really just honesty and unsupported declarations. I told her I met a guy and he could be the one so she had to give one more hour.

Thank you Mrs. Bartone for that extra hour! After I finished my negotiations, Keegan asked for my number, which I wrote down his arm (don't ask me why) and then took me and my friend home, just in time for our newly appointed 1:00 curfew.

Now that you know that story, you can understand why driving around Martha's Vineyard's dirt roads, didn't spark me as "the beginning" but I went along with it anyway. After driving for what felt like 20 minutes, we pulled up to a gate that said "Private Property, No Trespassing". Keegan turned to me and said “this is where we get out". I diligently got out and we walked down a dirt path to a pier, at the end of the pier he said, “Take off your shoes”. Again, I diligently took off my shoes and followed him down the beach.

We walked along the beach until we reached another pier. When we made it to the edge of the pier he said “do you know where we are?” I had absolutely NO idea!!!!  

As I stared at him, bewildered, he said, “12 years ago, we had only been dating for a month but your parents invited me to Martha’s Vineyard with them. That Saturday, we all went to the beach, but you and I separated for a bit to go for a walk. In fact, we walked to the edge of this very pier. Do you remember what we did?” Embarrassed and excited, I said “no” again!!

Keegan laughed and reminded me, “we carved our names onto the pier”.... all of a sudden I remembered the whole thing, how I felt, how knots filled my stomach, how sweaty I was just having him next to me, how nervous I was to have this gorgeous, older guy on a trip with me and of course, how perfect it felt. How could someone I just met, at fifteen, feel SO right??

Tears started STREAMING down my face and my stomach cramped up the same way it used to when I was fifteen and I would see his name on my caller ID, or when his Jeep Cherokee would pull into my parents drive way, or when I would catch his gaze from across the room at a party. 

Out of the tear-filled blur, I saw him get down on one knee and he said “Since we were here 12 years ago, the weather has washed away our names. Now, 12 years later, I want to start the next chapter of our lives with something more permanent…will you marry me?”

Of course I said YES and then we got back in the car, popped the champagne and flew home to Nantucket where my family met us on the runway to celebrate.

If you know me, you know I have spent my entire life picturing and planning my future. Stupidly, and to my own dismay, I have expected and planned every moment to mimic my favorite RomComs – because who wouldn’t want the Notebook love affair?? But I was always disappointed when life didn't happen like Nicholas Sparks wrote it. However, this engagement was better than I could have planned or Rachel McAdams could have starred in!

Because Barbara Clarke did such an incredible job and because I can’t choose, I’ve added photos from the engagement below!

THE OUTFIT:

JACKET: PERFEXT and SIMILAR / JEANS: PAIGE  and SIMILAR / SHOES: STEVE MADDEN and SIMILAR (wrap), SIMILAR, SIMILAR (with fringe!),  SIMILAR (with fringe!) / RING: PAGEO

Off The Shoulder

Nikki Schuster

If you are like me, you always over pack. If you are looking for ways to reduce the clutter while traveling, read on!

THE OUTFIT

SHOES: Zara now on sale for $49.99!! Also click HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for similar

DRESS: Susana Monaco or you can shop it HERE 

SUNNIES: Nina Ricci, but they are sold out. I got them at Neiman's Last Call. You can find similar HERE for only $11!! or you can shop These Dior beauties just because I think they are fabulous ;)

BAG: Imports from Marrakesh this bag has been on repeat since I bought it almost a year ago! The vendor is located in Chelsea Market in NYC, but if you call they can send you pictures of the bags they currently have.

PACKING HACKS:

During the summer, Nantucket is a pretty consistent weekend activity for me. That being said, packing can ruin a good weeknight and over-packing can ruin a normally enjoyable journey. If you are like me and need to minimize the clutter, take a look below at some of my packing hacks:

PACK IN OUTFITS: This means coordinating an outfit for each day and a separate outfit for the night. 

PACK AN EXTRA OUTFIT: Packing in outfits can be hard if you do not know what your plans is, so prepare by bringing one extra day outfit and one extra night outfit. 

DOUBLE DUTY: It helps to bring an article of clothing that can work double duty and be worn casually during the day and then dressed up at night...this article is especially helpful for that "Extra Outfit". Examples:

WHITE PANTS: I always bring a pair of white pants because they are the best option for "Double Duty". You can wear them with a casual shirt for the daytime and then swap the casual shirt for a blouse or layer the casual shirt with a great blazer for the nighttime. 

BLAZER: I have a leather blazer with fringe that I wear pretty much all the time. It is another great option for "Double Duty". I can wear it over a casual day dress and add heals for the day-to-night look. Or I can throw it on over my jeans shorts and t-shirt, add open toed shoes and I'm ready for the bars!

SKIP THE WORKOUT CLOTHES: Let's be honest...you aren't going to workout...and if you really want to, go for a walk on the beach!

BUY MINI TOILETRY BOTTLES: I can't stress this enough. You should always have containers (clearly labeled) filled with your favorite products. This includes hairspray, deodorant, mini toothbrush/toothpaste, samples of your favorite make up, body lotion, face lotion, etc. This is great to have on-call because you never know when you need a little extra volume for your hair or blush when you are tired; but also, it's the perfect grab-and-go toiletries kit for quick weekend trips.  If you go to the travel section at CVS they actually have mini versions of most products for under $3 a pop!!

Lastly, trust that you look good and be confident in everything you put on because confidence is a building block for great style! 

If you have any other packing hacks, feel free to send them my way! Otherwise, I hope these help.

Happy travels!

Nerd Pants

Nikki Schuster

Yesterday was Summer Solstice, which means days are only going to get shorter. So enjoy the daylight and warm nights before its too late! This time of year the Seaport district of Boston is beautiful but the bars are always packed which means lines are inevitable. Boston's roof tops are minimal, so I recommend expanding your search to include any outdoor patios, water views preferable. Check out below for recommended rooftops and outdoor spaces!

THE OUTFIT:

SHIRT: KENDALL + KYLIE - I am loving their stuff and it goes on sale quickly ;) This top is already on sale for $68.60!

SHOES: Stuart Weitzman - clearly these have been on repeat for the past 7 years. The wedges are peeling and are in desperate need of the shoe doctor but I can't keep them off for long enough! I have linked a few similar HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE

PANTS: TIBI - I have linked a few stores that are carrying them including a pair that are on sale for $118!! Usually, stuff like this looks good on everyone but me. However, these pants hit high enough that they make every belly look good - No one wants to show the handles, just the top two abs ;) Click HERE and HERE for the nerd pants 

I also linked an adorable over the shoulder dress by KENDALL + KYLIE because its a must!

THE BARS:

ROOFTOP MUSTS:

The Envoy Hotel | 70 Sleeper Street, Boston MA 02210 | 617.338.3030 |

Outlook Kitchen and Bar is the restaurant with city views and Lookout is the rooftop bar! I haven't been yet but I have heard great things! They do not take reservations so the hostess recommends arriving right at 4 when they open. I will be in Nantucket the next few weeks but as soon as a I make it to the Envoy rooftop, I will be sure to give you the low down!

The Rooftop at the Revere Hotel | 200 Stuart Street, Boston MA 02116| 617.482.1800 |

This spot used to be packed every day, but with the Seaport in full action, it has quieted down. If you are looking for great drinks, great food and minimal crowds this place is perfect! Also great for a big group of people to celebrate a birthday, engagement or just the start of summer!

Legal Harborside | 270 Northern Avenue, Boston MA 02210 | 617.477.2900 |

I love Legal Harborside. The food is amazing and the set up is perfect! There are two outdoor areas on either side of a full-glass, covered, bar area. I highly recommend this! Again, the line gets long and arriving early is a must. However, if you are too impatient to wait in line, the first floor also have great food and great views with outdoor seating and open air areas. This place is a MUST!

Whiskey Priest | 150 Northern Avenue, Boston MA 02210 | 617.426.8111 |

The crowd can get rowdy and the sun is directly overhead but it is a causal classic. Again, the lines get long so get there early.

Atlantic Beer Garden | 146 Northern Avenue, Boston MA 02210 | 617.357.8000 |

Same thing for Whiskey Priest goes for here. If you don't get to these places early, you won't get in. If you take forever to get ready (like me) and are stuck in Seaport lines I recommend assigning a designated spot-holder to hold the groups spot in line while the rest pop over to the Lawn on D for some beers and Cornhole! But be nice and don't forget to rotate line-holders!

Baseball Tavern | 1270 Boylston Street, Boston MA 02215 | 617.867.6526 |

This is always a great causal spot, especially after work because the sunsets are spectacular. However, there is only one bathroom on the roof-deck and people will fight for it!

Jerry Remy's  (Now Tony C's)| 1265 Boylston St, Boston MA 02215 | 617.236.7369 | 

Again, this is the perfect casual spot for a week-night drink or a non-game night. If you head in during the Sox game you are bound to wait in line.

Pier 6 | 1 8th Street, Charlestown, MA 02129 | 617.337.0054 |

Pier 6 is on the pricier side but the views are worth it! Looking to stay cost effective? Eat first and join the gals for drinks only!

The Sinclair | 52 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 617.547.5200 | 

If you are looking to get away from the hubbub of the Seaport/Downtown Boston, the Sinclair is an awesome rooftop in Cambridge. Better yet - they also do live music!!

OUTDOOR HAVENS:

Mare | 3 Mechanic Street, Boston, MA 02113 | 617.723.6273 |

If you love fresh seafood and good views, you can't miss Mare. With fire pits for cold nights and indoor/outdoor bar for warm, rainy nights, you can't go wrong. But make a reservation! It is small and it fills up fast!

Aragosta Bar + Bistro | 3 Battery Warf, Boston MA 02109 | 617.994.9001 | 

This spot is also in the North End so if you can't get a reservation at Mare, head over to Aragosta. It is only a 10 minute walk and the views of the water are incredible!!

Scampo | 215 Charles Street, Boston MA 02114 | 617.536.2100 |

I am not a big Italian food lover, but Scampo is the best food in Boston. It is always consistent and super close to me :) They have a patio that opens in the summer...the views are nonexistent, but it is a cozy spot on a warm, cloudy night.

My goal is to explore more hole-in-the-wall restaurants so if you have any suggestions, send them my way! 

 

 

 

Life Hacks for Summer

Nikki Schuster

THE OUTFIT

DRESS: H&M - this specific dress is sold out online but may still be in stores since I only got it 2 weeks ago at the H&M in downtown crossing. However, click HERE for similar from H&M that is only $19.99!! Also click HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for similar. Also click HERE for a fun, flowy and totally fashionable option if you are looking for a spin on your classic denim dress!

SNEAKERS: H&M I also got these at H&M and they are still available online for only $24.99!! These have been on repeat since I picked them up two weeks ago! I love the lace detail! Also click HERE for similar from H&M for only $14.99!!

GLASS: NINA RICCI - I got these at Neiman's Last Call but click HERE and HERE for similar from Nina Ricci!

 

Summer is almost here and that means greasy sunscreen pimples and sweaty armpits! Check out my "Summer Hacks" below to find out how to prevent pimples and summer sweat!

BYE BYE PIMPLES!

I don't know about you, but all sunscreens leave me greasy and pimple prone... either that or maybe it's just that time of the month. Either way, I have the best pimple hack. Get up, go to CVS or your local drug store and pick up some rubbing alcohol. I recommend the 90%. Use a Q-Tip and dab it on 4 times a day, over your make up, sunscreen, moisturizer, whatever!! I promise you that stubborn pimple will disappear...even the under-grounders!! 

HELLO ARMPITS!

Summer time means little white dresses, white pants, pastels, fun colors and sweaty armpits. Nothing ruins a good outfit like a little stinky pit. The only way to cure a little B.O. (Body Odor)is with a little D.O. (Deodorant) and a little antibacterial soap.

Your sweat alone does not actually smell, in fact, it is mostly just salt and water. Instead the smell is caused by the sweat interacting with the bacteria found on your skin. Therefore, the best way to get rid of the smell, is to get rid of the bacteria and wash with antibacterial soap!

My two favorites are Softsoap because they have great fragrances and Hibiclens. The Hibiclens is my favorite. I feel like it gets more than the Softsoap, but it has no scent. If you really have an issue, I recommend Hibiclens and then Softsoap.

If you struggle with pimples or stinky armpits, I hope these little hacks help! Feel free to write in and let me know how they work for you!

The Summer Skinnies: Skinny Summer Cocktail Ideas!

Nikki Schuster

THE OUTFIT:

DRESS: H&M in stores now and only $59.99!!

BAG: from Imports From Marrakesh - it is a vendor in Chelsea Market in NYC. I loved their stuff so much that I got two bags!! Check out their website hereThey mostly have home decor pieces but give them a call and they would be happy to send you pictures of the bags they currently have for purchase over the phone. Click HERE and HERE for similar

SHOES: Charles David - Click HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for similar or click through the pictures below

GLASSES: Nina Ricci

 

 SUMMER SKINNIES

As the summer kicks into full gear its hard to say no to day drinking into the night ;) As a self-diagnosed skinny fat, drinking doesn't make me gain weight, it makes me gain cellulite. So whether you are a cellulite collector or fat collector, I've concocted a few "skinny summer drinks" just for you!

Things I promise to offer with these delicious drinks options: I promise they won't taste like pure alcohol, I promise they are easy and I promise to offer a few options that even keep you hydrated....because it is hot out there ;) 

FIRST....A FEW SUGGESTIONS:

THE BLENDER: I recommend investing in a mini blender and not just for your alcoholic side,  but for your health. A quick smoothie for any meal or inbetween meals has been a great way for me to get the nutrients I need quickly, deliciously and easily. I joined the health kick about 3 years ago and I am by no means perfect but the NutriBullet helps me get back on the band-wagon when I've fallen off and all I can see are red meats, fried foods and candy.

PROSECCO or CHAMPAGNE LOVER? So am I! I used to get so confused because I would either wake up with a throbbing headache or wake up feeling great. The key to drinking Prosecco or Champagne is that is has to be "Ultra Brut" which means "No Added Sugar". 

WINE LOVER? Always go with the organic because it has no added chemicals which makes it less harmful to your body and less harmful to your hangover! Always go organic if your wallet can! For white/rose you can always add soda water to make it a spritzer - This is a great option because you get drunk slower but beware of the need to pee!

If you are going the liquor route, always go clear and use water or soda water as a mixer as it is hydrating and sugarless. The best mixers are fresh fruits because they are healthier and all natural sugars. See below for some of my skinny summer concoctions!

THE COCKTAILS:

THE AUD-TAIL: This one is named after my mom, Audrey (Also known as DOZITALL). Not only is she my best friend, but she is definitely cooler than me. In fact, she created this classy cocktail and enjoyed it with me and my friend Danielle last weekend at Figawi. The ingredients are as follows:

  • Ice: I always leave a few glasses in the freezer so that whenever I am craving a cocktail I have an ice cold glass to enjoy it with. Either way, add ice because everything is better cold.
  • Vodka: Either plain or flavored depending on your preference. Obviously, the flavored has more sugar and truthfully the lemon really cuts the vodka so its not intense
  • Muddled Raspberries: To do this just use the back of a spoon and mash the raspberries until they are soupy. As you do this, continuously add lemon juice.
  • Lemon: You should use a total of a half of a lemon per drink, 1/4 will be used to drizzle lemon juice intermittently throughout the muddling process. The other 1/4 will be used at the end and drizzled of the final drink before the final stir.  

NEVER GROW UP: Figawi weekends seem to spark great drink ideas because this drink also came from a Figawi weekend in my past. It was the third day into the binge drinking weekend and I was desperate for hydration and electrolytes. The ingredients are as follows:

  • Ice
  • Vodka: Again, plain or flavored (up to you)
  • Soda Water: If you go with the flavored vodka and you are opposed to the taste of alcohol, I recommend adding soda water that is flavored to match the flavored Vodka you choose
  • Pedialyte: Weird, I know. But just try it - you will never go back. Not only does it cut the taste of the vodka, it is super hydrating. Again, match the flavor to your soda water and vodka. I highly recommend Cherry Punch, Strawberry (the sweetest) or mixed fruit. 

SKINNY GREYHOUND: This on is not my own creation but good nonetheless. If you like Greyhounds, always go skinny because it doesn't hurt. The ingredients are as follows:

  • Ice
  • Tequila or Vodka: This is completely a preference thing but I much prefer Tequila. I think the drunk is more fun and so is the hangover. The sugars in tequila are simple sugars, which means they break down more easily. But make sure it is 100% agave, otherwise none of this applies!
  • Muddled/Slightly Blended Grapefruit: Obviously you can just do grapefruit juice but it has more sugar and doesn't taste as good!
  • Soda Water: But only if you need it

CLASSIC SUMMER SKINNIES: This one just looks and tastes like summer. It is a mixture of a few drinks I have had and I picked my favorite parts. The ingredients are as follows:

  • Ice
  • Tequila or Vodka: Again, up to you, but I always choose tequila
  • Soda Water: Again, if you go with the full flavor option make sure they match or at least go together
  • Muddled/Slightly Blended Fruit of Your Choice: My recommendations are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, Pineapple or Mango.
  • Lemon: Always fresh, always drizzled during the muddling process and after

I hope you enjoy these skinny summer cocktails as much as I do. If you have any other skinny cocktail ideas, send them my way!

 

Wedding Weekend in Ocean City, Maryland (Part 2)

Nikki Schuster

The other weekend we went to a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple in Ocean City, Maryland. If you are interested in making a trip to Ocean City, you must try the Crab Bag!

The Crab Bag

Saturday morning we woke up pretty sluggish from the night before - Seacrets got the best of us! We prioritized our day wisely: we started with coffee and bagels and then made our way to the Crab Bag - because what better to do for a hangover than eat it away!?

The Crab Bag is an indoor/outdoor restaurant with all you can eat blue crabs, the Maryland state crustacean. Each person we went with got the "Super Feast" with all you can eat hot steamed crabs, baby back ribs, Crab Bag's famous wings and steamed spiced shrimp. The "all-you-can-eat" part got the best of me. I also ordered the oysters because why not?

The oysters were not good...but the crab and shrimp were amazing! Keegan introduced me to the Maryland born "old bay seasoning" which I immediately fell in love with and poured over my endless bowl of shrimp. It was great in the moment but the next day I was so bloated from the sodium that couldn't get my rings off! So if you choose to dabble in the "Old Bay", dabble wisely!

The Wedding

The Outfit:

DRESS: Charley 5.0 - I bought this years ago on Shopbop but you can find similar HERE for only $87 or HERE 

SHOES: Gianvito Rossi clearly these shoes have been on repeat. They are the perfect buy because they are the perfect day-to-night shoe. Not only do they pair well with everything, they are extremely comfortable! I understand they run a bit pricey, but they will last you forever. If you are looking for similar but more affordable, click HERE for Manolo Blahniks on sale! or HERE for similar that are only $78! or HERE for similar that are only $96!

CLUTCH: Chanel - My nana gave my this clutch (I am lucky to have a nana with such great taste!) Click HERE for similar or HERE for an adorable Marni clutch on sale for only $198 or HERE for a Clare V. with a pop of color (I am loving Clare V.)

The Wedding:

The wedding was held outdoors at the Ocean Pines Yacht Club and Marina, overlooking the Isle of Wight Bay. The forecast called for rain all week, but they made it through the ceremony without a hitch. As soon as we got inside for the reception, the sky opened up and it began to torrential downpour. It all worked out perfectly and we had a blast! 

Wedding Weekend in Ocean City, Maryland (Part 1)

Nikki Schuster

Friday Night

Thinking about getting away for a few days but don't know where to go? Last weekend we went to Ocean City, Maryland for a friend's wedding and had a blast!  Having gone to University of Delaware, Keegan and a lot of our friends knew the area well. For me, it was an excuse to explore Ocean City for the first time!

THE OUTFIT:

DRESSForever 21

SHOESStuart Weitzman from years ago. See HERE for similar and HERE for denim wedges I love!

NECKLACEForever 21There are so many great statement necklaces at Forever 21 right now! It is the perfect place to get a trendy necklace, because the prices are so affordable! Check out HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE for similar! Each one is under $20!!

THE ACTIVITY:

PIT-STOP # 1: THE ROPEWALK

Friday night we went to the Ropewalk to start the evening off with some drinks and appetizers. I had the award-winning Ropewalk Hickory Smoked Victory Wings and a Skinny Grapefruit Crush. The Crush, a Maryland tradition, got me all excited for skinny summer drink ideas (stay tuned for a blog post about those)! The original recipe is fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, triple sec (or sprite), crushed ice and pinnacle grapefruit vodka. Of course, I had to make things difficult and swap out the triple sec for soda water and the vodka for tequila (its a much better hangover). I loved it!

I wish we could have gone during the day because The Ropewalk boasts an expansive sand-covered, out-door area with corn hole and other activities. They also have seating on a porch overlooking the water and live music! Check out their website for more information - The Ropewalk Ocean City

PIT-STOP #2: SEACRETS

After the Ropewalk, we took taxi's to Seacrets, a giant venue with several stages, bars and activities. Fair Warning: Seacrets can get pretty rowdy, so I don't recommend going unless you are dedicated to the debauchery that will ensue.

Seacrets could be your one-stop-shop for day and night drinking, or you can head over late night to finish off the evening. Either way, you have many options to choose from including the Beach Stage/Bar, the Pier Stage/Bar, the Tiki Stage/Bar or the Nite Club. Each location is just how you would imagine. The Beach is a sandy mess of live bands and shoe-less bars. The Pier is dedicated to all things water, with swim-up tables/chairs, lazy river floats and ankle deep dance parties. The Tiki Area is more of an indoor/outdoor spot with protection over your head for a rainy day or when you've endured too much sun. However, the ground is still sandy and the walls are all open. The Nite stage is a little bit of Miami Beach meets Atlantic City...enough said.  

All in all, I think Seacrets is a must-stop for the experience and the people watching - there is never a dull moment! See below for more links to the outfit I wore and a photo from the Tiki Stage at Seacrets!

Be on the lookout for my next blog post where I will talk about what we did the day of the wedding, the wedding itself and what I wore!

Office Friendly Florals

Nikki Schuster

There are certain brands that know how to create classic pieces that never go out of style and Chanel is the best for basic, timeless layers. This top is a hand-me-down from my Nana and I wear it all the time!

THE OUTFIT:

 SKIRT: Dolce & Gabbana -- I got this at TJMaxx in Newton, MA - my go-to store because they are right next to my office and they have the best brands at the best discounts! I bought this a long time ago so click HERE for an Oasis skirt, HERE for a similar Dolce & Gabbana skirt with a little peplum action at the bottom, HERE for Nicole Miller, HERE for a skirt from Shoptiques.com, HERE for one from Off 5th, HERE for a similar Dolce & Gabbana without the bright pattern, HERE for a similar Dolce & Gabbana on sale, HERE for another similar Dolce & Gabbana on sale and HERE a Ted Baker version! 

SHIRT: Chanel - my grandmother gave this to me years ago and it sat in my closet until a few years ago. I save everything because you never know when the style will come back around! ....and if you can't find an outfit to wear, layer an old top with a new blazer et voila! you have a whole new outfit!

Click HERE for a Jonathan Simkhai that is similar, click HERE for an A.L.C version (only $50!!!), click HERE for a flowy version from T By Alexander Wang (I love this one!), click HERE for a Dion Lee version and click HERE for a similar Chanel top!

SHOES: Gianvito Rossi  I cannot get enough of Gianvito Rossi right now, so I figured I would like a bunch of my current favorites. Click HERE for a suede block sandal, click HERE for a suede ankle bootie, click HERE for a suede ankle-wrap sandal, click HERE for a suede ankle-wrap gladiator sandal, click HERE for a low suede sandal (all are perfect for summer to dress up a casual day dress), click HERE for a woven metallic leather flat and click HERE for a lace up gladiator sandal.  

Summer Stripes

Nikki Schuster

THE OUTFIT:

SHOES: Manolo Blahnik (sold out) Below are similar denim pumps for as low as $62!!! I also linked a denim block heel for $168 just because they are adorable!

SIMILAR: Asos, SIMILAR: Gianvito Rossi, SIMILAR: Charles by Charles David, SIMILAR: Jimmy Choo

Denim Block Heel: Boden, Denim Slip-On Sneaker: Kate Spade

SHIRT: Rails - Exclusive for Intermix

PANTS: Helmut Lang. SIMILAR: Rag & Bone, SIMILAR: Hudson, SIMILAR: Cheap Monday, SIMILAR: KUT, SIMILAR: Isabel Marant Etoile, SIMILAR: Frame Denim