Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Resolutions

Tonight is the end of another amazing year. I accomplished a lot, and I have a lot to be proud of. However, next year is going to be even more exciting. I will be graduating college, getting a real job and starting life on my own. I'm both excited and terrified for these major changes. 

As I ring in 2014 I took some time to think of some resolutions for the new year. Nothing too big or too complicated, just a few things that I think would make me...well, a better me! 

Eat Healthier and Exercise More | I always try to eat moderately healthy, but college definitely gives me the junk food blues. As I finish school and start "real life" I want to establish some good habits as far as eating and general health is concerned. Am I going to give up pizza and ice cream? Heck no! I just want to eat more fruits and veggies, eat out less, and enjoy natural health food too. I also want to drink more water. As far as exercise goes, I'm never going to like it but I do want to move around more even if its just taking my puppy for more walks. 

Read More Books | I love to read and I used to finish a book a week at least. Lately, I've been watching more TV and reading a lot less, not cool. So I want to reconnect with my inner book worm this year. 

Keep a Journal | I love to write down my thoughts, but I'm never very consistent about it. This year I want to start a journal and actually use it. 

Grow Up My Wardrobe While Staying True to My Style | As I leave school and enter the professional world, I am definitely going to need to grow up my wardrobe. However, I don't want to abandon my sense of style in the process because I know if I do I'll spend all day uncomfortable. I need to find a balance between professional and comfortable...plus I want to look good in the process! 

Get Creative | I am very much a doodler. This year I want to take that to the next level by actually spending time to create something. My wonderful boyfriend got me a watercolor set for Christmas and I am so excited to develop a completely new set of skills. This will be a challenge for me because I am such a perfectionist and art isn't about being perfect. 

Create a Space Just For Me | This is the resolution I am most excited about. A while ago I mentioned to my boyfriend that I love his house, but I felt like there was nowhere for me to make as girly as I wanted. So, he earmarked a spare bedroom just for me! I can do anything I want with it and decorate it however I want! Right now my vision is for a home office/reading room thats white with lots of pops of color! I'm so excited to really start designing it this year.

What are your resolutions this year?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 Simplified Planner

As the new year approaches many people are in search of a new planner. I am typically an academic planner kind of girl because I'm on a school schedule, but I have found the perfect planner and I had to share. Since I'm graduating college this year, I am seriously considering graduating to this big kid planner.

Without further ado, The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley. Its targeted towards women with families, but I really thinks its perfect for anyone.

First off, how cute is the cover? I love the stripes and the fun colors. Its also great that the corners are reinforced, my planners always get dogeared by the end of the year from too much love. 

Each day gets its own page with a column with times to write down all of your appointments, etc. A section for your "To Do" list. There are also small boxes for notes and whats for dinner. While I'm still in college the dinner box won't be used too frequently, but upon graduating I can definitely see it being a major asset. 

I love the idea of having my "To Do" list right in my planner, it typically gets sticky noted in which can get a little cluttered (which makes my skin crawl). 

One of my favorite features is the weekly prep section on Sunday. Its a great reminder to start your week of right. Ideally I like to use my weekends to do laundry, clean my room, and get ahead on homework because during the week I'd much rather hang out with friends and my residents than do stuff like that. Its not always the easiest to keep up with though, so having a little check list would be super. 

Check out the website for more pictures/a cute little video about the planner. Emily Ley is super inspiring...I mean making your own planner! What a lady! Plus she does everything with a toddler. I love to read her blog too. The only downside about this planner is it sold out so now you have to pre-order and you can expect it around Valentine's Day. 

I'm very seriously considering ordering one and just using my old planner until it gets here. If not, the next addition is on my wish list for Christmas next year! Is it too early to start a Christmas list for next year? 

Note: I'm not being compensated for this post, I'm seriously just a huge fan. All photography was done by Emily Ley. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Essie Toggle to the Top

I have been obsessed with this polish since it first came out and I finally bought it last week at Target. I wanted to wait to put it on until right before Christmas, which was a major test of will power! Well it's finally on and it completely loves up to the hype! It's fabulous!


This isn't your usual glitter polish, it's regular polish with glitter in it. So, I didn't need to put another color underneath it which is great. Sometimes it's too much to fuss with base coat, base color, glitter,
then top coat! Whew! It also only took one coat of polish to be opaque, whereas I usually need two coats. 

The color is absolutely gorgeous. It's a dark red with red glitter. It has so much depth I've just been staring at my fingers all day! I really wish the picture could do the lovely color justice. 

P.S. The book in the picture is from my French copy of A Christmas Carol. I got it while I was in France last year. It's my favorite Christmas story and it always helps me remember the spirit of Christmas. 


Friday, December 20, 2013

Hand Cream

I don't know about anyone else, but as soon as winter roles around my hands get super dry and cracked. I am constantly applying lotion to my hands in order to keep the winter blues at bay. Today I am going to share with you some of my favorite hand moisturizers. 

Neutrogena | I have used this hand cream my whole life. It works great and a little goes a long way. It soaks into your hands quickly and doesn't leave a greasy residue. Plus it has a great bang for your buck at about $5 a tube. 

L'Occitane | This is a fairly new addition to my lotion collection. It is an internet sensation as "the best hand cream ever." So, I obviously had to try it. Totally lives up to the hype. Does it work that much better than the Neutrogena? Meh, toss up. I do love that its natural, comes in a super cute tube, and smells nicer (in my opinion). I think its a nice item to splurge on and it makes a great gift, I got several people mini tubes for Christmas this year. 

Coconut Oil | I swear by coconut oil! My hands aren't the only dry part of me, my legs and arms get so dry they develop annoying bumps. Coconut oil is the only thing that helps. Every other body lotion I've tried seems to just sit on top and not really do anything but coconut oil really soaks in. I always have a jar of this stuff on my dresser and its a must have for winter. Body, hands and even hair! I have thick, dry hair so I apply coconut oil to my hair about 30 mins before a shower and then wash it out. It leaves my hair so soft and strong. I only do it once or twice a week to avoid greasiness. The only down side is it comes in a jar which is not ideal for throwing in your purse.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Holiday Parties

The week before Christmas is full of holiday parties which obviously means you need a fab outfit. I don't have any fancy parties planned for this year (all of my soirees will include jeans and sweaters, fine by me). But I love thinking about what I would wear if I had a glitzy event to attend.

I decided to go with a simple LND (little navy dress) with some festive red accessories.

I'm in love with this scalloped navy dress. Its pretty pricy, so you could definitely substitute any black or navy dress in your closet. Remember, the dress is just a canvas for the killer accessories! 

First find a fun statement necklace like this one from Bauble Bar. I like that its simple, I'm definitely not brave enough to wear some of this huge flamboyant necklaces. I think this one makes a statement without screaming it. I would probably go pretty simple with the rest of my jewelry (pearl studs anyone?) 

Don't forget your festive fingertips! Essie's Toggle to the Top is my favorite holiday shade this year. I just bought it at Target the other day, but I'm forcing myself to save it for next week. I'll report back when I try it on, but I imagine it will be a rave review. 

Last but not least the shoes. I am very seriously considering adding this Nina Culver pair to my closet, I mean the price is right. Plus I have a black pair of Nina heels and they are so comfy. I'm the biggest baby ever when it comes to shoes and I can wear them all night long with very little discomfort. 

Does anyone have any fun holiday plans for this week? 

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Girl

Raise your hand if you are obsessed with New Girl. If your hand isn't raised you are either lying or you've never seen it. If its the latter, log into Netflix and binge watch the first season and report back.

I started watching a year or so ago and I have been obsessed ever since. Its a great goofy show to unwind after a long day. Plus I find it super relatable. I've always been the girl that only hangs out with guys, so I can totally identify with the shenanigans that Jess gets into with the guys she lives with.

Under all the silliness and weird situations, there are some real life lessons to be found. My number one most relatable New Girl quote is this one...

I feel like every young woman has felt this way at some point in their life. They see a woman who has it all together and feel completely inadequate. They have a successful business or job as a lawyer, you're studying to be a teacher. They wear a lot of gray and navy, you like pink polka dots. They order a salad for every meal, you eat an ice cream sundae for dinner at least once a week. It can be hard to feel empowered if your constantly comparing yourself to these successful women. 

I love this quote because it reminds me that I know I'm smart and tough and strong just the way I am and I don't have to change myself to fit everyone else's vision of success. 

So ladies put on your pajama set, geek chic glasses and a big bowl of ice cream and enjoy some New Girl because your "successful" life can wait one more day.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Happy First Birthday Casually Obsessed!

I'm a day late, but Casually Obsessed just turned one! I started this blog my last weeks of studying abroad. I was feeling homesick and I was very much anxious to come home. My blog was intended to connect me with home and give me something to do other than worry about my finals.

Since then my blog and I have had many ups and downs. In the beginning I was super excited, but I quickly became discouraged that no one was reading. I struggled with this for a while until I realized that I started this blog for me and thats why I should continue it. I'm not writing this blog for anyone else but myself.

Thats not to say I don't appreciate every single person who reads and comments! You guys are great and it gives me extra incentive to post more regularly. Please stick around I love hearing from you and reading all of your blogs!

So here's the interactive part of this post! What do you want to see on my blog in the upcoming year? What do you like best? Where can I improve? I want to make this year a year of growth and maturing for my blog, so I'd love to see where I can improve! Thank you so much for reading! 

P.S. This week was another special birthday, my puppy Bella turned one too!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Crème Brûlée

Crème brûlée is one of my favorite deserts. Unfortunately, my taste is more expensive than my wallet can afford. I only get to partake in this luscious dessert once in a blue moon...until now! 

I'm lucky I have a boyfriend that likes to cook with me, and is pretty adventurous in the kitchen. So, when I suggested we make crème brûlée he said sure. And so we did, and it was awesome! It was actually surprisingly easy too! 

The recipe we followed can be found here. Its a pretty dumbed down version of the real thing, no heating and double broiling required. I swear pretty much anyone can make this recipe. 

5 Egg yolks
2 Cups heavy cream 
1/2 Cup sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons of vanilla 

First separate 5 eggs and use only the yolks, save the whites for a yummy omelette. 

Whisk together the eggs and sugar until they're smooth

Add cream and vanilla, mix gently you don't want to add any air bubble to the mix 

Place custard in ramekins and then in a casserole dish with water at the bottom. Bake at 325 for about an hour. Be sure to check the mixture after about 45-50 mins. When the custard is done you should be able to insert a knife and have it come out clean (Ours was never completely clean but it turned out fine). 

After cooking the custard let the ramekins cool and then refrigerate for an hour or so (DO NOT put hot ramekins in the fridge! They could break). Then sprinkle some sugar on the top and torch it! I let my boyfriend do this part, he used a regular blow torch but they make special ones for the kitchen. 

If you don't have a torch you can sprinkle sugar on top and then broil them in the oven for 2-5 mins. Place the ramekins back in the casserole dish with ice water so they don't get too hot and crack. 

These turned out amazingly delicious, not as beautiful as the restaurant variety but it tasted just as good! Sorry I didn't get a picture of this finished product, they were too good to stop eating and photograph. 

P.S. The photo quality isn't great because our kitchen has horrible lighting and we did this after dark. I hope its good enough to get the idea. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Geek Chic

Most people I know would classify me as geek not chic. But every once in a while my inner girly girl breaks through. Here is a combination of the best of both worlds. This is part gift guide, part things I love.

Pilot Prera Fountain Pen | Ok, I'm sure at this point everyone is sick of me telling you how great fountain pens are...but one more time, they rock! I have this pen and I love it, worth every penny. It writes so smoothly. I think I'm going to do a more in depth review soon, but until then you have my word its awesome. It also comes in a bunch of cute colors!

Russel and Hazel Mini Smartdate System | This is such a great planner system. I think next time I buy a planner this will be the one. Its a little bit more expensive, but its refillable so its not like you buy it once and done. My favorite part is its customizable, every nerd's dream. 

Pink Dictionary | Need I say more? Throw in the matching thesaurus and I'm a happy girl. 

The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy | As a total nerd, I am appalled to say I have never read this series but I want to so badly! I love these Barnes and Noble leather classic collections, they just look so good. If your geeky friend leans to the girly side, there's also the complete Jane Austen set

Katie Spade Gasses Ring | So cute. A perfect little trinket to let your geek flag fly even if your Dr. Who t-shirt is not acceptable apparel. 

Kate Spade Bow Flash Drive | Every girl needs a flash drive, geek or not. This one makes your boring file storage a little more fun. 

Warby Parker Ames Glasses | So every time Warby Parker comes out with a new collection, I feel like I need a new pair of glasses. Eventually I'm sure I will end up with about ten. This pair came out this fall and I am obsessed. A pair of geek chic glasses would be a little harder to gift because you have to know the prescription, lucky Warby Parker offers gift cards

Monday, December 09, 2013

Add Some Glitz to Your Wish List

I don't wear a lot of jewelry. I wear the same pieces literally every day, I have a silver heart necklace from my brother, pearl earrings from my mom, and a gorgeous pearl ring from my boyfriend that you couldn't pay me to take off. Even though I keep it pretty simple, I thought I'd compile a list of glam I've had my eyes on.

You'll notice from these choices that I have very classic (read simple) taste in jewelry, so if you're looking for colorful statement pieces keep looking.

First up, Kate Spade bow ring. I love how simple this ring is and I think it would be a great addition to my daily jewelry collection. I typical prefer silver, but this ring is also available in gold and rose gold. 

Another Kate Spade piece I've loved forever is this polka dot bangle watch. Isn't it so cute? I love pieces that are stylish and functional! I would be hesitant to buy it though because I have such tiny wrists, most bracelets fall right off of me. Dear Kate Spade, please make this in child's size. 

I have been obsessed with this rose gold bangle from Fossil since it came out. I think the pattern and color are so pretty. Plus it would look great stacked with my rose gold watch

This necklace from J. Crew is gorgeous. Its simple, but glamorous at the same time. The gold edges add just enough  special something to dress up a simple pearl strand. Plus who doesn't love a necklace that ties with a bow? 

Last but not least a cute pair of pearl earrings withe the signature Kate Spade bow! These are a fun variation on my favorite classic pearl studs. I like these that I might be convinced to change my earrings once in a while (for some reason that's a total struggle for me. 

I'm surprised how much gold got included in this post! I used to hate yellow gold, I guess its growing on me at least a little.

Anyway, I hope this helps anyone shopping for something a little extra special this holiday.

What jewelry do you wear daily?

Friday, December 06, 2013

Study Necessities

Since I was student teaching this semester, I didn't really have traditional classes. I had my student teaching seminar where we essentially met and discussed student teaching. Well, now its time for my final project. I have to write a 10 page paper...gasp! Ok I've written papers way longer than that during my college education, but I haven't done any school work all semester so I'm struggling.

So, since everyone else in college is going through the end of the semester too I thought I'd share some of the things I can't get through finals without. These are not really things I use to study. So this post isn't really a practical how I get down to business kind of post. Its more like how I stay sane when I have tons of work.

So first off is my lovely geek chic glasses, mine are Prestons from Warby Parker. I love love love these glasses in case anyone was wondering. I love to wear these while I'm paper writing because they make me feel smarter, duh! Also, my eyes don't really like contacts so my eyes get super uncomfortable and dry if I wear them while focusing a lot, plus if you accidentally fall asleep no contacts suction cupped to your eyes. 

Next up are my Bose AE2 headphones. Remember in this post when I was debating which headphones I want? Well my boyfriend decided for me and got the Bose pair for my birthday and I love them! Highly recommended. Music sounds awesome and even though they aren't noise canceling headphones, you can't hear anything if you have music on. Which is great because you can just get in the zone and not get distracted by library chatter or noisy first years running around on your hall (#RAproblems). 

A cozy throw is also a must have. I don't know about anyone else, but my dorm room is always cold. Having a snuggly blanked to wrap up in makes everything better. I don't really know if it helps my productivity but it certainly makes me a happy girl. How amazing is this one from Pottery Barn? I don't think I've ever seen something so soft in my life. It needs to come live at my house end of story.

Tea is another must have. I try to avoid coffee at night or in copious amounts. Having a ton of work messes with my sleep schedule enough without adding the effects of caffeine on top. Red Rose tea is my favorite for during the afternoon (since its caffeinated), then I switch to herbal tea as the night wears on. Something about a warm drink makes everything better, plus a cute mug cheers me up too. I can never have too many mugs.

Last but not least candy. I live my life on a rewards based system. Write a paragraph get a peanut butter cup, finish three pages watch a tv show. Whatever it takes to get things done am I right? Mini Reeses are my favorite and I have an uncomfortable amount of gold foil wrappers sitting on my desk right now...whoops.

What gets you though the end of the semester (or a tough project for those grown ups out there)? 

P.S. Yes I did write this post as a way to procrastinate on my paper.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Stocking Stuffers for Him

Boys are definitely tough to shop for, but I think I've come up with a pretty good list for stuffing boy's stockings.

Fossil Leather Phone Case | This phone case has man written all over it. Who wouldn't want their phone encased in leather?

Zippo Lighter | I think every guy needs one, I'm not really sure why though. Most of the guys I know never smoke anything, but all of them have a zippo lighter. I guess its a guy thing that ladies just don't get. Plus you can find a lot of cool custom ones to fit your guy's personality.

Socks | Everyone needs socks and guys don't buy them for themselves (at least the ones I know) or if they do its an 80 pack of white ones with a nike swoosh. Do them a favor and get a cute pair once in a while. 

Boxers | See above. I really love this red checked pair, its festive without being too festive.

Kaweco Fountain Pen | I've said before how much I love fountain pens. This is a great started pen thats pretty cheap and still has a manly feel to it.

Whiskey Stones | Real men don't want watered down drinks. End of story.

Small Bottle of Alcohol | For all the boys over 21 of course. This is great because doesn't everyone need a little help getting through the holiday with family? Disclaimer: If they are spending time with your family, they may need a bigger bottle.

I hope this helps everyone who as the what to get guys blues. Are there any others that I missed?

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Stocking Stuffers for Her

So, here's my first gift guide of the season. I decided to start small with stocking stuffers. I love opening my stocking because its all surprises! Who asks for stocking gifts? I typically get lots of candy, some nail polish, and socks. All of my favorite things!

Here are some great ideas for stuffing the stocking of a lady in your life.

Essie Polish Set | This set is their fall collection minus After School Boy Blazer (which everyone and their mother already bought anyway). The cute mini bottles are great to tuck away in stockings. 

Kate Spade Pencils | This pencil set is too adorable, typical Kate Spade. These would look great in a cup on any girl's desk

J. Crew Socks | If I only got cute socks for Christmas, I'd be ok with it. 

Julep Mini Polish Set | Another mini polish set. Nail polish is my weakness and a definite mush have for any stocking. I love the cute glitters in this one.

Pinch Kit | This kit has everything you could ever possibly need. Its perfect for the girl on the go who always needs everything at her fingertips... Or the complete klutz who's always spilling, losing a button, or has an embarrassing piece of salad in her teeth. 

Tarte Lipsurgence | I know I mention these all the time, but I'm obsessed! I love these because they add some color with out being anywhere near as intimidating as lip stick. 

Tarte Cheek Stain | Another Tarte product I couldn't go without. You put on this blush and it just stays on! It blends so easily and its perfect for the days you don't really feel like putting on makeup but still want a little color. No brushes necessary, just roll on and go. 

Check back tomorrow for some ideas for boy stocking stuffers! 

Monday, December 02, 2013

My Christmas Wish List

Now that Thanksgiving is over, its definitely Christmas season! I am so excited, I've been scheming for weeks what I want to get my friends and family. My boyfriend and I also went to get a Christmas tree for his house!

So, I want to do a couple gift guides over the next week or so, but I thought I'd start with what's on my wish list this year.

1. Pilot Cavalier Fountain Pen | I love fountain pens, they are just so elegant and they add a little wow factor to your writing. I have been drooling over this particular pen for a while. It writes with such a fine line, which I love. Plus the color is to die for. 

2. Tarte Lipsurgence Holiday Set | This is a great set. You get 8 mini lipsurgences in both matte and regular finish. I love all of the colors and its a great excuse to add some bolder colors that I would usually shy away from 

3. Essie Nail Polish | I love Essie polish and their holiday colors are great this year! I especially love Toggle to the Top. The red glitter is just so festive! 

4. Crate and Barrel Copper Shaker | My boyfriend loves making mixed drinks and I love when he does. I think this is a fun unique piece that would look great on my future bar cart. Thats a story for another day though

5. L.L. Bean Peacoat | This is the only thing on my wish list that I really want. I currently have the most awful bright green winter coat that I've had for years. What was my 10th grade self thinking!? It really started to stick out when I had to wear it with my work clothes. I knew I needed to get a grown up coat thats classy, timeless and still warm enough for PA winter. This one is absolutely perfect! 

6. Drybar Blowout in a Box | I mentioned in another post that I am obsessed with Drybar's at home line. This kit is just too great! QVC had a pretty good deal in November, and now that its gone I'm having pretty big not-buyers remorse. Funny because its usually the other way around. 

Whats on your wish list this year?

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Clarisonic Mia

I have wanted a Clarisonic forever, I have heard so many great things. However, the price tag was a big deterrent for me. Spending $125-150 was just too much for something to clean my face!

So, as my student teaching semester was drawing to an end, I was looking for a gift to get myself as a reward. I thought an accomplishment that big deserved a big splurge. I bit the bullet and ordered a Clarisonic Mia. I got my light blue one on QVC.com for a little cheaper than anywhere else, they actually have some pretty good deals. I decided the Mia 2 was not worth the extra price for just adding another speed. After I bought mine, Clarisonic came out with the Mia First for only $99. It seems to be very similar if not the same as the original Mia. So, if you're skeptical about the price that may be the way to go.

I was so excited when I got my Clarisonic, I had to use it! No way could I wait until I finished my student teaching. Besides, my skin was a mess from all of the stress.

At first, I was seriously considering returning it. I broke out pretty bad, but I was expecting this "purge," but my skin was also super irritated. I didn't really notice any significant change for the positive my first two weeks using the Clarisonic. I was so disappointed, but I cut down how much I was using it and decided to give it another week.

Then one morning I washed my face and my skin looked great! Seriously it was like night and day. My skin was so smooth and clear. My makeup applied so much nicer. My face just felt cleaner which was great. So, if you're thinking about getting one, I definitely recommend it (based on my three weeks of experience with it). I also recommend giving it plenty of time for your skin to adapt and starting with light use and building up your tolerance to it because it can be irritating.

I use my Mia at most once a day, usually only once every other day. I use it with my Cetaphil cleanser and finish with Olay Complete moisturizer. This is the same combination I've used for years, so for me its tried and true. I am thinking about upgrading my face wash and moisturizer next time I run out. I feel like I've reached the point in my life where I can splurge a little.  

Does anyone have any good suggestions for a good face wash or moisturizer? Have you tried the Clarisonic, what do you think?