Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Style Spotlight: Coat Appreciation

Let's be real, it's cold. Although winter is coming to an end, I'm definitely still appreciation coats. After all, what would I do without them? I definitely would not have been able to get through the winter this far without them. For this style spotlight, I'm putting the spotlight on coats, because they always have my back. (pun intended.) I've focused on three coats, each very different in style and each different for the occasion. Each coat is ideal for a different weather situation and each coat has a very different look, since we're appreciating all styles and situations. 


The In-Between Coat

This is probably my most versatile coat. I just got this coat this season from J. Crew and I'm obsessed with it. I love the style of it, the color is so versatile and matches with every outfit, and I love the gold accents. The zipper and the buttons are all gold, which accessorizes the whole look. In addition, it's a long coat, it falls just about the knee. I love this, especially since I like to wear a lot of sweaters. Some of my sweaters are longer than my coats, which ends up looking a bit strange, but this coat is longer.
I actually got this coat from J. Crew Factory, but it's currently out of stock. However, the original store has one that's almost exactly like it (click here for it!), but it's a bit more pricey. It looks super similar, has the same cut, the same general design, but it has some different accents and I think it has some different color options. It runs right to size, so sizing up isn't necessary. I got the same size that I always get, going off of reviews that said that it fits true to size. I usually size up for coats to accommodate for any bulky sweaters that I might want to wear underneath, but for this, it wasn't necessary to do so. 

The ideal weather: Winter, probably around 25 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit
Find the coat: J. Crew


The Lightweight Coat

Lightweight coats are perfect for wearing in the fall and the winter, and I've been wearing this drawstring jacket from Tobi for the warmer days. Although it's a coat, I wear it all the time, even indoors, especially because I get cold all the time. In order to stay warm, even indoors, I wear this coat. It doesn't add much extra warmth, so it's not ideal for the winter, but it's ideal for indoor situations or when the seasons are changing and the weather hasn't gotten that cold yet. 
I think that having a lightweight coat is perfect and super versatile, especially since I'm always so cold during the fall and the spring, since it's too cold to wear a winter jacket but too cold to go without one. In the past, I would usually just not wear a jacket, but then I would be super cold. Having a lightweight jacket keeps me at the perfect temperature, nice and warm, but not overheating. 

The ideal weather: Fall, Spring, and Early Winter, probably around 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit
Find the coat: Tobi



The Heavy Duty Coat

 For you all that live in cold weather locations like I do, it's always important to have a super warm coat. Although the other two are more stylish, this one is reliable and versatile. It serves its function and keeps me warm, which is especially helpful for anyone that has to walk often in the winter, so if you're a student, it's so important to have a quality winter coat. 
This one that I'm wearing is no longer in stock, but it's from North Face. It's actually a ski jacket, which makes it incredibly warm, but I still wear it on a daily basis, considering that it's so cold where I live and I need to stay warm with the proper coat. I like how this one is belted, since I like having some kind of form and structure. Mine also has a ton of pockets, which I assume is probably because it's a ski jacket, but I really appreciate these pockets because then I don't have to worry about carrying a bag. 

The ideal weather: Winter, anything colder than 30 degrees
Find the coat: The North Face


Let's put the appreciation on our coats for always having our backs!

What are your favorite coats?


Saturday, February 11, 2017

A Love Letter to Myself - Collaboration with Simply by Kate

Coming up on this Tuesday, is Valentine's Day. Some call it the day of love, while others call it singles awareness day. However, I like to make Valentine's Day all about me. Valentine's Day has some very negative and positive connotations, some people love it, some people hate it. I personally am not a huge fan of Valentine's Day in the terms of romance, but I love to use it as an opportunity to remind myself about all the good things about myself or to use it as an opportunity to give appreciation to friends. In this post, I'm using the holiday as an opportunity to give myself some self-care, some self-love. So today, I'm writing a love letter. To myself.


I think that over the past few years, I've been slowly realizing the importance of learning how to love myself. All my life I've been striving to make myself loved and appreciated by others. I strive to fit in. I strive to be accepted. But the thing that I've learned recently is that I can't expect to be loved, to be appreciated, until I learn to love myself. I originally wanted to do something like how I always do my posts. With lots of personal experiences, encouragement, and sprinkles of advice. However, I wanted to do something different. Something all about me. Maybe it seems a little narcissistic, but I quite frankly don't care. Inspired by a very Rupi Kaur in Milk and Honey -esque kind of thing, plus seeing what Kate (we're collaborating! she did a love letter to herself as well! and I love it!), I've decided to do somewhat of a poem. So, here it goes:



Dear Rebecca,

You are strong. 
You are thoughtful. 
You are creative. 
You are smart. 
You are determined. 
You are balanced.
You are kind.

You are loved.

I love that you can be a strong, independent woman.
I love that you stand in your convictions.
I love that you try to see the perspectives of others.
I love that you try to step out of your comfort zone
I love that you respect your comfort zone.
I love that you put your heart into everything that you do.
I love that you're a dreamer.
I love that you're realistic.
I love that you're an introvert.
I love that you're still sometimes talkative and like an extrovert.

I love the little things about you.

You have your ups,
but you have your downs.
You smile,
but you cry.
You have good days,
but you have bad ones.
You have your flaws,

But this is a part of who you are.

You try to see the positive sides of things.
You forgive and move on.
You wipe away the tears.
You learn from your mistakes.
You don't let them stop you.
You continue.

You look to new adventures.

I love that you change.
I love that you grow.
I love that your ideas progress.
I love that you stay true to yourself.
I love that you learn.
I love that you're learning to love yourself.

I love you.



And that's my little love letter poem kind of thing. It's definitely a little bit different from my normal kind of writing, but you know what? Different can be good. Change can be good sometimes. It's so important to appreciate yourself. To learn to love the little things about yourself, whether it's externally, or internally. In my love letter to myself, I wanted to focus on the good things, but I still did acknowledge some of my weaknesses. I'm selfish sometimes. I'm sad sometimes. But part of learning to love yourself is also learning to deal with some of your weaknesses. Although sometimes we like to gloss over all of the things that we might feel uncomfortable with, I want to be able to love myself entirely, even the little flaws that might feel uncomfortable.


This is a collaboration with Kate (Simply by Kate), because we both love ourselves and plan to make the most of this Valentine's Day with self-appreciation. I encourage you to join us, and write your own love letter to yourself. Maybe write it down in a journal, jot down a few things that you love about yourself, or better yet, post it online and share it with us! Because you are loved this Valentine's Day, even if you don't realize it yet. Be your own Valentine! Have a self love day, eat all the chocolate, and write a little love letter to yourself. You can write it in any way that you want. You can write a diary-type letter, or something more like mine, with a poetic style to it. If you end up writing a love letter to yourself, I would love if you sent a picture to me on social media, maybe Twitter or Instagram. Let's make this Valentine's Day a fantastic one, full of love. 

View Kate's post here!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Burgundy on Black

Although I love posting some more dressy outfits on the blog, it's nice to keep it real with more casual looks as well. This one is still a more dressy look, but it's dressy casual. It's the kind of thing that is perfect for day-to-day things, or for going out with friends, shopping, and other activities. In this outfit, I aimed for a color scheme of burgundy and black. I love wearing burgundy, I feel like it's such a great color for the winter and it also looks great on me, no matter what style it is. I paired it with black, because black is timeless, plus it goes great with the wine color. 



I'm wearing this wine colored cardigan, which is a bit oversized, but I like that style. There's just something that I love about oversized sweaters. They're comfortable, and they make me feel stylish. This one is no exception. It also has little slits on the sides, adding a bit of extra style to a simple look. I got this cardigan from Tobi, and I love it's style meets function. It's warm and cozy, but it also looks great, especially because the color can make the entire outfit. Underneath the cardigan, I'm wearing a simple black mock neck top from Urban Outfitters (Cooperative brand). This top is also very simple, but it has somewhat of a chevron pattern of stitching, which adds something a little extra to the simple look. I tucked this top into my jeans, since it's quite a long top and I honestly love tucking in tops to my jeans, since it has such a clean look. 
On top of the Urban Outfitters mock neck top, I'm wearing this small, delicate necklace from Charming Charlie. Like the sweater and top, it is also a very simple piece. However, as all of these simple pieces come together, it can still make for a stylish look. Just because the pieces on their own are plain, doesn't mean that the outfit will be. Also very simple, I wore a pair of jeans from Gap. These ones have a light wash on them, which I think adds a bit more contrast to the top than dark jeans would have. Although I tend to lean towards the darker jeans, I feel as though this wash is a lot more appropriate to the look. 



Along with those simple pieces, I've added some more attention-grabbing pieces as well. I'm carrying this bag from Tory Burch, that matches the top and continues on the overarching color scheme. I love how this bag, also can be so simplistic, but still is somewhat of a statement piece. It's structured so nicely, and I love the little gold accents and the subtle logo. I'm not a big fan of loud logos, I prefer more subtle implementation of logos. 
Lastly, I'm wearing a pair of lace-up flats to tie together (pun intended) the whole look. These flats are the same color as the cardigan, continuing with the color scheme, and these shoes are a bit more attention-grabbing, more of a statement piece, which contrasts against the more simplistic pieces. These flats are so nice, the lace-up flats look is super instagrammable, and I feel like these really complete the look. These shoes are from Steve Madden



What I'm Wearing

Top: Urban Outfitters (similar) // Sweater: Tobi // Jeans: Gap
Necklace: Charming Charlie // Shoes: Steve Madden // Bag: Tory Burch (similar)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Molten Lava Cake

Cheat day treat? Yes please! These past few days, I've been totally not feeling it at all. I've been feeling a slight loss of motivation, I've been feeling sick and under the weather, tired all the time, and just not 100%. So I think that this called for me to #treatmyself. And one of my favorite ways to do so? With a molten lava cake. This molten lava cake recipe is for one, so it's basically like making a mug cake, you're putting in the same amount of work, but instead of microwaving it, you pop it into the oven. Although it takes longer to bake, let's be real, mug cakes are a great invention, but they don't taste nearly as good as one that was baked in the oven. And you know what's even better than a plain cake? A molten lava cake. It's chocolately and moist on the outside, but warm with smooth and rich chocolate on the inside, pure heaven. 



This recipe that I used is adapted from a recipe from PBS. It's pretty true to the original recipe, but I did make some slight modifications in order to make the recipe a bit easier. It's nice to have just one serving of something, but it also makes me a little more guilty spending more prep time, so anything that can cut down the prep time is a good thing. 

This recipe makes one molten lava cake. It can be modified in order to make more by just multiplying all of the ingredients by the number of cakes you desire. These cakes must be served hot, while the chocolate "lava" is still warm and smooth. If they're not served hot, then you're missing out on half the fun and deliciousness, the rich "lava". 

Ingredients:

1.5 oz chocolate (or 1/4 cup of chocolate chips)
2 tbs of butter
2 tsp sugar
1 egg
1 tbs flour
oil, butter, or cooking spray (to keep cake from sticking to ramekin)
powdered sugar (optional, for garnish)
ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
chocolate sauce (optional, for garnish)

Procedure

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
2. Put the butter and chocolate in a small microwavable bowl. Microwave until smooth. I ended up microwaving mine for about one minute, stopping to stir it every 15 seconds. 
3. Once the butter and sugar mixture is smooth, add in the sugar, whisking the mixture. 
4. Allow the mixture to cool, while whisking it more. Next, add the egg, but take caution, because if the batter is still too hot, then the egg will cook. Add it slowly to avoid the egg from cooking and making scrambled eggs in your batter.
5. Stir in the flour until the batter is smooth. It should be slightly thickened.
6. Line the edges of your bake-able ramekin(s) with either oil, butter, or cooking spray, being sure to do so generously, so that the cake will be able to come out of the ramekin easily. 
7. Add the batter to the ramekin and bake for 10 minutes. 
8. While the cake is baking, you can prep your optional garnish ingredients, take out all of the ingredients, since it's best to quickly get the garnish on so that you can eat your cake ASAP, enjoying it right out of the oven. 
9. Once 10 minutes have passed, remove from oven and let sit for about a minute to cool. You can choose to eat out of the ramekin, or put it on a plate by flipping over the ramekin over a plate. If you are removing the cake from the ramekin, you may need to take a spoon or knife around the edges in order for the cake to release more easily. 
10. Based off of your optional ingredients, sprinkle on some powdered sugar, then add a scoop of ice cream and/or whipped cream, and then drizzle on some chocolate sauce. 

Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How to Minimize Stress

I don't know about you, but I've been feeling the stress slowly creeping up on me. I don't know what happened, but it feels like my calendar has gone from absolutely empty, to completely filled with things to do and places to be. And although I always try to stay calm and not panic, sometimes it's just plain hard to battle stress. Luckily, I feel like I'm pretty decent at handling stress. I manage to stay calm during a crisis and to not let all the things that I have to do drive me crazy. So how do I do it? Maybe a part of it is due to my personality, but I also feel like it comes down to just how you deal with stress. How you cope with stress can minimize the degree of stress that you feel, so here are my tips for doing so based on my personal experiences.


Don't procrastinate. 

This is probably the most helpful tip to avoiding stress, but also the hardest one to put into use. It's easier said than done. I see you out there, reading this post and procrastinating on your responsibilities. However, I always try to avoid procrastinating so that after I finish everything that I need to get done, I have time to relax and not stress out, since everything is already finished. Try to stay one step ahead of schedule, so that if you do end up having an off-day where you procrastinate just a little bit too much, you're still on schedule with everything that you need to get done. 

Allocate a certain amount of time each day to "Me-time".

I. Love. Me-Time. Every day, I try to give myself at least half an hour where I don't do any work, but rather do something relaxing or work on a passion project. I always have a little me-time in the time between when I finish all my work and when I go to sleep. Sometimes I'll watch something on Netflix or just hang out on my phone doing absolutely nothing productive. Having a little time every day where I don't need to focus on anything, just do whatever I want, is so therapeutic, it keeps me sane. After all, Marthe Troly-Curtin once said, "Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time". And it's true. Although some people feel guilty about having me-time while there's a mountain of work to do, sometimes you just need to put some time aside to just waste time, get all of that stress out. The thing about me-time is that it's different from procrastination. Me-time is about de-stressing. However, I do understand that it's a slippery slope from me-time to procrastination, so I suggest that you limit the amount of time for me-time (actually adhere to these time limits) and try and only have this time after you've finished your work. It's so much more satisfying to have me-time when you have nothing to worry about doing. 

Get more sleep.

I know that it seems counterproductive, but just a little more time sleeping and a little less time working can transform your stress levels. When you have a lot to do, the instinct is usually to stay up late and finish it, but when you do that, you end up ruining your productivity for the next day and increasing your stress as a result. Getting a little more sleep, one hour can be life-changing, and you'll be so much more alert and ready to tackle everything that you have to do. For me, it's always easier to stay calm when I'm well rested and on my feet. It's hard to think when you're tired, so you might as well maximize your time by getting a bit more sleep and getting through a power-hour (or more) of quality work done. I cannot function without 8 hours of sleep, since my sleep schedule is so regular, but I can still get everything that I need to get done. Despite the fact that a lot of my friends taking the same courses find the need to stay up late working on their assignments, by getting enough sleep, it makes me more alert and more sane to get everything done more productively, efficiently, and stress-free than if I had been tired and worn-out. 

Set a bedtime. 

As an extension to the "get more sleep" tip, setting a bedtime not only ensures that you get enough sleep, but it also encourages you to get your work done by a certain time. Just because you're not a kid anymore doesn't mean that bedtimes still aren't a thing. Give yourself a designated time that you plan to go to sleep at, mine is 10pm. so that you will be striving to get everything done by the designated time. Having a bedtime is kind of like having a due date, something that will motivate you to get everything done by that certain time. Since I know that I want to be in bed by 10pm, it motivates me to get all my things done by 10pm, so as I'm watching the clock I can figure out how much time I have allotted to get everything done and think of a game plan for how I can most efficiently finish it all before the time. Sometimes I don't finish everything by 10pm, but in that case I'll spend a little extra time working, but I always feel guilty when I go over my self-prescribed bedtime, so even when I need a little more time to get everything done, I still get in bed by 11pm. 

Use self-motivation and affirmations. 

Sometimes for me, all it takes is a little self-motivation. Tell yourself all kinds of positive affirmations as you handle difficult tasks. It sounds a little silly, but honestly, it works somehow. As you're tackling something rough, say to yourself, "I can do this." I think that saying affirmations, even though they're to yourself, puts you in a positive growth mindset. Instead of being stuck in your "I can't do this" thinking, you open up your mind to some positivity.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Black Mock Neck Dress

There has been such warm weather lately where I live, and when it comes to decent weather in the winter, it's time for some cute, casual winter dresses. I love wearing dresses, even in the winter, because it's totally different styling than in the summer. Pull out the long sleeve dresses, throw on some tights, pair the look with some boots, etc. It's a whole different experience styling dresses in the winter than in the warm weather. So today I'm showing one of my new favorite winter looks. It's casual yet classy, simple, and makes me feel crazy confident. 



I recently got this dress from Tobi and I'm obsessed. Although it's a little different from my usual style, I am loving it. It's simple, yet elegant, all the while being super comfortable. It's flowy so it allows prime comfort, but it also has long sleeves, which is so nice for the winter. I've been seeing mock neck dresses everywhere, but the thing is, all of the ones that I've seen have been sleeveless. The thing is, I get cold so easily, so wearing a sleeveless dress just wouldn't be comfortable. If I was to wear a sweater, then I would ruin the look. Luckily, this dress makes it so that I can be warm and still get the same look, with the long-sleeves. I wore this dress a couple days ago and I got so many compliments on it, not to mention that I felt great. I felt so confident, so comfortable, and so good with myself. And that's what I look for in clothes. 
I also paired the dress with this necklace from Charming Charlie. I wear this necklace all the time, but I love it with this dress, as it adds a little something extra to the look. A plain black dress is a bit simple, but dress it up with a necklace, and it's a lot more complete. This necklace is also simple, so it doesn't draw too much attention, but rather compliments the look. 



I'm also wearing a pair of black sheer tights. I never know what kind of tights to wear with black dresses, since if I wear opaque black tights, then the look is too dark. Colored tights would look great with this look as well, but I didn't have any, so I settled with these sheer black tights. I think that these tights look great with the dress, not too dark. In addition, it makes the outfit more winter ready. Although tights aren't the warmest, they're still better than nothing at all. 
Over the tights, I'm wearing a pair of red socks. With a look that's so dark, I wanted to add a pop of color. I'm not that into all-black outfits, so the red socks made the outfit a bit brighter. In addition, with the socks, I'm wearing brown Chelsea boots. I wear these booties all the time, they've appeared in countless blog posts. Booties look great with dresses, perfect for the winter, but not as attention-grabbing as knee-high boots. Chelsea boots are so simple and minimalistic, so they match with pretty much everything, including this look. 
In addition to the socks, I wanted to add more color to the look, so I wore a little lipstick. The lipstick color that I'm wearing is a bit darker in real life, it's a bit less pink and a bit more burgundy. It's the Revlon super lustrous lipstick in the color, Black Cherry, number 477.



What I'm Wearing

Dress: Tobi // Necklace: Charming Charlie // Tights: Target (similar)
 Boots: Nordstrom, Summit brand (similar) // Socks: Gap (similar)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cookie Butter Milkshake Recipe

I love milkshakes. And I love cookie butter. So why not put it together? The other day, I was craving a milkshake, but the only thing that I had on me was vanilla ice cream. I didn't have any fancy toppings or anything that I could put in my shake to make it a bit more fun. No oreos, no brownies, no caramel, no sprinkles, none of that. And I'm not a fan of plain vanilla shakes, I like to shake things up a bit with different flavors! (pun intended.) So that's when I thought of it, a cookie butter milkshake. 


Recipe:

3-4 scoops of vanilla ice cream (depending on the desired thickness)
1/4 cup milk
A pinch of cinnamon (+ more, for garnish)
4 Biscoff cookies or Speculoos (2 for the shake, 2 crushed for garnish)
2 tablespoons of cookie butter
Whipped cream (optional, for garnish)

This recipe makes one serving. 

Procedure:

1. Add the ice cream, milk, and cinnamon into the blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Crush 2 Biscoff cookies, you can just break them a bit, and put them into the blender with the ice cream, milk, and cinnamon. Blend a little bit. If you prefer little cookie bits, blend only a little, but if you want it to be smooth, then blend longer.
3. Spread one tablespoon of cookie butter around the rim of a cup. 
4. Crush the other 2 Biscoff cookies, you can either do fine pieces or crushed into larger bits, either works. 
5. Dip the rim of the cup into the crushed cookies. Stick the larger bits onto the rim if necessary.
6. Melt the rest of the cookie butter (1 tablespoon) in the microwave and then drizzle inside of cup.
7. Pour the milkshake into the cup.
8. Add whipped cream if you would like. I don't like whipped cream, so I didn't add any. You can also garnish the shake with a bit more cinnamon and with any leftover melted cookie butter drizzled on top.

And enjoy!