Wednesday, July 30, 2014

july favorites!

How is it already the end of July? This month both went by so quickly and dragged on at the same time. Some fun news - I started filming videos for my YouTube channel again! I haven't done a video since March and I really missed it. It can be a little awkward sitting in front of the camera and just talking to myself {I'm convinced my neighbors can hear me}, but it's a good time. I didn't include any bloopers/outtakes this time, but there were quite a few. Next time I promise you'll get to see some. But here are my favorites from the month of July. Lots of beauty products, some food, and the one TV show that is so good but drives my crazy at the same time. You can see the full list of things I loved on YouTube.

I plan on filming videos more often so if there's anything you'd like to see, please let me know! Send me an email, leave a comment, tweet me... I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, July 28, 2014

what i learned from #100happydays

What I Learned From #100HappyDays // A Style Caddy

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I attempted the #100happydays challenge. I'd seen it filling up my feed and thought it would be a great thing to try. Pictures of something that makes me happy for a straight 100 days? Easy.

Not so much. Here are a few things I learned during my 100 happy days.

1. Taking pictures every day for 100 days is hard...
While I use Instagram often, I don't use it every single day. I don't really use my phone for that purpose so I knew going in that would be a challenge for me. It might sound silly, but it was tough making this a priority for 100 days.

2. ... But remembering to take pictures and tag them is even harder.
Honestly? Sometimes I just forgot to take pictures. Like I said, this wasn't the main thing on my mind throughout the day. Sometimes I'd be in bed at night and realize I hadn't posted anything. And there were times I would remember to snap a quick photo, post it, and then realize I'd forgotten to include the appropriate hashtags.

3. It's tough to find something happy in your day when you're having a bad one.
This seems pretty self-explanatory. If I was having a bad day, it was difficult to find something during my day to label as 'happy'. I mean really, is your first thought on an awful day or week about how beautiful the flowers on your walk home are? Probably not.

4. Sometimes, it's better to just live in the moment than to have to document your little bit of happy.
There were plenty of days where I was somewhere and something put a smile on my face. It was anything from a pictures drawn in colorful chalk in front of my building, the colors in the sky as the sun set on my walk home, or just a display on mini pineapples at Whole Foods. The thought of pulling out my phone and taking a picture for the #100happydays challenge would cross my mind. Then, I would stop and think that I didn't need or want to interrupt my little moment and I just needed to soak it in without needing to document it.

So no, I didn't successfully complete #100happydays, but I am glad I tried. It taught my to be more grateful every day and to see that even the tiniest of things can add a bit of happiness to your life.

Let me know if you've taken this photo challenge!

Friday, July 25, 2014

weekend reading

Weekend Reading {image via Paris in Four Months} // A Style Caddy

-- Today is National Hot Fudge Sundae Day! This one from Creme De La Crumb looks and sounds delicious. YUM!

-- The RBC Canadian Open started yesterday - aka the tournament when, in 2013, Hunter Mahan left with the 36-hold lead because his wife went into labor with their first child. What a guy!

-- Have you shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale yet? Prices go up soon so make sure to get your order in!

-- Christian Louboutin is releasing nail polish next month, starting with their signature Rouge Louboutin! Even better, you can already pre-order it.

-- This list of French food reminded me of my semester abroad in Strasbourg and made me miss it even more.

-- Did you see the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer that premiered yesterday? Best part: the new version of Beyonce's "Crazy in Love".

Happy Friday! I wanted to share with you some of the things that caught my eye these past few days for you to read and shop over the weekend.

Have a great one!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

poutine picks

Poutine Picks // A Style Caddy
Authentic Canadian Poutine via Seasons & Suppers // Vegetarian Poutine via Flourishing Foodie // Paleo Poutine via Grok Grub // Beer Barbecue Pulled Pork Poutine via Buns in My Oven // Grilled Cheese Poutine via BS' in the Kitchen // Sweet Potato Poutine via The Best Thing I Ever Ate... And Then Some

Confession: I've never actually had poutine. The closest I've ever come to it is having disco fries late at night at a diner in NJ, and I know for a fact that those don't even come close. The RBC Canadian Open starts tomorrow in Québec and this dish immediately popped into my head. I unfortunately live in a tiny studio apartment in New York City and the idea of frying anything and making my apartment hotter than it already is just didn't sound appealing. Instead, I thought I'd pick a few in all their deliciously, greasy, and cheesy goodness for you to try! And for me to put on my recipe list for a later date.

Monday, July 21, 2014

a new pair of sneakers

Sneaker Obsessed // A Style Caddy

Like most girls I'm sure, I've got quite the collection of shoes. Ballet flats and sandals take up the most space on my shelves, with some wedges and heels here and there. But with the ever growing sneaker trend becoming more and more popular, I think I need to expand my little collection. The one I've got going is pretty simple - a pair of white Vans {the first in the picture above!}, off-white Converse, and my pair of black Nikes {currently on sale!} for the gym. I think the purchase is completely justified since you can wear them with pretty much anything, right? Right.

Are you fan of sneakers with... well, everything?

Friday, July 18, 2014

time for the nordstrom anniversary sale!

It's that time of the year again! Whenever the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale comes along, I always get a little bit excited. I usually take it as an opportunity to buy a few things I'll need for colder weather - like riding boots and warmer jackets - but I always sneak in some other purchases as well. I'm on a major spending freeze for the summer {sad face!} so I unfortunately won't be getting anything on my list, but that doesn't mean I can't do a little online window shopping. Prices go up on August 4th so be sure to grab your favorites now!

I also love this BCBG Max Azria wrap dress for work days and think this open sweater is unique and perfect for those days when you just need a light cover-up.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

victoria sponge cake & the open

A Style Caddy // Victoria Sponge Cake

Since the third golf major of the year, The Open Championship, starts tomorrow in England, I wanted to share a recipe that is delicious and classically British. I never had this cake when I visited England, but I've put it on my bucket list to have some the next chance I get. Light layers of vanilla sponge, fruit jam, and whipped cream is my new favorite combination! And this cake is so simple to make that it will definitely become one of your go-tos. Afternoon tea anyone?

2 sticks unsalted butter {softened}
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup self-raising flour
Milk {optional and only if needed}

1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry jam
2 tbsp. sugar
1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Beat together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Add in the eggs one at a time. Then, add the vanilla extract.
4. Mix in the flour with a rubber spatula. If the batter seems too thick, add in about one teaspoon at a time of milk.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Let the cakes cool completely before adding the filling. While they're cooling, whisk together the sugar and heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form to make whipped cream.
8. To assemble the cake, transfer one cake to a plate or stand and spread jam evenly over the top. Then, top with whipped cream. Place the second cake on top.
9. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and enjoy!

A Style Caddy // Victoria Sponge Cake

A Style Caddy // Victoria Sponge Cake

A Style Caddy // Victoria Sponge Cake

A Style Caddy // Victoria Sponge Cake

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

what i learned from a month without coffee

If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have noticed the picture I posted yesterday about going a month without coffee. I started this challenge in June and today happens to be day 30, the last and final day! For some of you who don't drink coffee, this may not seem like a big deal, but for me, it proved to be quite the test. Here are a few things I learned during those 30 days...

A Style Caddy // 30 Days Without Coffee {Image via Madewell}

1. The withdrawal headaches were no joke, showing just how dependent I was on daily caffeine.
When I decided to try this 30-day challenge, I was having coffee every day. The first week was so bad that there were days when I felt physically sick because of how badly my head hurt. I eventually started drinking some tea, which I think helped. But that could have just been all in my head.

2. I don't need coffee to get me through the day.
I started drinking coffee for the same reason I imagine most people do - for a jolt of energy. When I felt lethargic in the morning or drowsy in the afternoon, a cup of joe was my go-to. Since I couldn't have it, I turned to green tea and water. And no surprise here, my upped water intake did wonders not just for my energy but also for my health. {As a note: I don't drink soda or energy drinks so I never considered have that instead of coffee.}

3. My wallet didn't feel so light.
This is probably an obvious one, but iced coffees/cappuccinos/caramel machiattos are not so kind to your wallet. I didn't realize how much I was really spending on my daily Starbucks fix because I often paid with my Starbucks gold card. When I stopped having to refill it because I wasn't going nearly as much, I realized how much money I was spending on my afternoon pick-me-up.

4. I slept much better at night.
This isn't to say that I always went to bed at a sensible hour {I seem to have picked this up from my mom}, but my sleep during this challenge wasn't so restless. I use the Sleep Cycle app on my phone to measure how well I've slept during the night. When I compared the quality during these past 30 days to those prior, I was amazed how much quicker I fell into a deep sleep and how much longer I actually slept for.

5. The feeling of accomplishment is pretty great.
To be honest, this isn't the first time I've tried to give up coffee for an extended amount of time. It's usually my top choice during Lent, and I've never succeeded in making it to day 40. I usually give up before around day 15 or 20. After multiple failed attempts {think more than five}, I'm really proud of myself for making it to day 30! Any accomplishment, no matter what kind is a great one.

So there you have it - a few things I learned along the way. Would you ever consider going without coffee or something similar for 30 days?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

independence day treats

Style Caddy // Fourth of July Treats!

Can you believe that the Fourth of July weekend is just a couple days away? Where is this year going? I thought I would share a few recipes I've found that I think would be a great addition to your party's dessert table. The watermelon cake is fun and unexpected, but I'm particularly loving the ombré funfetti cake. Not only does it look beautiful, but who can resist funfetti and sprinkles for any celebration?

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!

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