Relaxed Romantic

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Dress and Denim Jacket: American Eagle, Sweater: Old Navy.

The bitter cold of the morning had me wistfully awaiting the sunshine and flowers of spring (they’re calling for another 8 inches of snow tomorrow) but I embraced the last few winter days by experimenting with a variety of fun textures and fabrics for a look that would be warm yet girly and pretty. The result? An effortlessly feminine look. With a quick topknot, ballet flats, some cozy layers, and my favorite denim jacket, the winter blues were instantly banished.

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Rose Gold Watch: Style & Co. Bracelets: H&M, Forever21.

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Leggings: Mossimo for Target, Ballet Flats: Tahari

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Five Things

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Newest purchase: funky, glamorous hardware detailed jewelry.

This week started to seem like a rough one towards the end. However, it ended as a leisurely, enjoyable snow day filled with both productivity and fun. Sometimes moments like these remind us that it doesn’t always take much to give us a fresh look and a new perspective. Sometimes all it takes is a little time to remember what you can smile about. There’s so much to look forward too, like the change of the season, despite the snowstorm. Here’s to an early, much needed weekend and five things that have inspired me lately.

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Ice pink nails with my favorite seasonal ring.

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Fresh flowers in bold colors to introduce Spring in the house.

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Fluffy homemade blueberry coconut pancakes on Easter chick plates and napkins.

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Whimsical, charming, and fashionable television. Perfect girly show for those lazy nights in.

Layered Raspberry Cream Cupcakes

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Beautiful cupcakes sandwiched with light yet indulgent raspberry cream and white cake.

When Valentine’s Day comes around each year, my mom always can be found baking a batch of these gorgeous delights. I served these dainty, flirty cupcakes at a brunch I hosted for girlfriends and was overjoyed that they were well loved. The recipe is simple yet these mini cakes most certainly make a statement when they are enjoyed on today’s celebration of love. It’s quite bold of me to say this, but these might be one of the best cupcakes I’ve ever had.

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Naked cupcakes alongside the decadent raspberry mousse like frosting. With these guys, you can bet there was some spoon licking in the process.

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Preparing the cupcakes.

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My mom chopping off their little heads to scoop a dollop of cream frosting.

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Snapping a few shots before digging in!

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Cups of minty tea to accompany the treats.

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Savoring every bite.

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End result.

All the Single Ladies!

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My favorite part, the cupcakes. These were so spectacular they will be showcased in a post to come!

Love comes in all forms. Being the single gal I am, I decided to celebrate my passion and love with my fabulous friends, cupcakes, and pink by hosting a relaxed yet elegant “Single Ladies Brunch” last weekend. It was a super fun way to enjoy the holiday with lots of yummy, girly sweets and treats, savory, traditional brunch dishes, and sparkling drinks in champagne flutes to really add a festive vibe.

Decor and special touches:

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Adding a feminine touch outside with a trail of rose petals leading to the front door.

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Simple, sparkly decor to hang from the dining room chandelier.

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Using a combination of flower petals, garland, and shimmery hearts to scatter over the table.

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Valentine’s Day limited edition M&Ms along with…

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A friendship favorite, pretzel M&Ms both candies in vintage dishes.

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Metallic heart shaped Yorks in a funky glass bead bowl.

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Pretty table decor creations.

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Candy heart inspired messages under each person’s place setting.

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Putting out extra plates, cups, napkins, and silver wear to add a pop of color and keep things relaxed and at ease.

Brunch Nibbles:

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Lemon ginger scones displayed wrapped in translucent, pink toile.

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Warm mushroom, red pepper, and four cheese quiches.

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Virgin mimosas.

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I picked up this unique pitcher from Crate & Barrel. The clear glass can make an beverage look sophisticated.

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A nice big salad of greens and veggies to balance the indulgent food.

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The vivid, bright colors of fruit salad look both decorative and delicious.

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Festive glasses with each girl’s name to sip juices throughout the morning.

Whether you’re headed to a romantic dinner with the hubby or boyfriend, single and mingling around, or looking to get together with the girls, remember love doesn’t mean the stereotypical idea it’s promoted to be on this holiday. Express you passion for everything and anything you love on Valentine’s Day! Send some valentines, eat some chocolate, and pamper yourself. Giving your body a little TLC is one sweet way to feel the love.
Happy brunching!
XOXOXO

Favorite Escape: J. Rene Coffee

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Beautiful lattes, fig, pistachio cream scones, orange ginger bars.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for Starbucks. Busy mornings, instant caffeine fixes, but finding a locally owned coffee house has taught me a few things:
Coffee is a personal preference, a unique experience of texture and flavor. There are literally thousands of various blends, roasts, and specific types of coffee beans from around the world. At J. Rene Coffee, they allow you to choose what brew method you would like, there are 4 to pick from.

Additionally, after a leisurely morning at J. Rene I had this revelation that you could have a real experience having coffee, as opposed to the rushed feeling I always seem to have after a quick trip to mass chain coffee stores. The people sat down and spoke to their customers at J. Rene, honestly interested in what they thought of their drinks and pastries (which they get from a wonderful bakery known as The Kitchen at Billings Forge which I have wanted to visit for a while). The vibes were relaxed, modern, and elegant. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that they brew their own coffee beans right in the shop, making the coffee that much more fresh.

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Drink menu.

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Cases to display delicious pastries and treats.

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My mom enjoying her snack. The inner architect in me is obsessing over the structural layout. How funky are the design elements?

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Funky lighting fixtures.

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Fresh flowers add life and dimension.

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Long tables to encourage people to mingle and chat.

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Electric lime green chairs to add color.

Night-Time Routine: Getting Ready for Bed.

It’s so important to remember to take time every night to take care of yourself by doing a little pampering and getting nice and clean. Here’s my current night-time routine. Lets get ready for bed!
Shower Power:

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Lately I’ve been loving the Tresemme Keratin Infused shampoo and conditioner. It leaves my hair beautifully soft, shiny, and frizz-free. The Lavender Chamomile body wash from the Bath & Body Works Sleep collection smells incredible and helps me relax and unwind. The Clean & Clear Morning Burst facial soap is a favorite. I use this both morning and night. It’s light and gentle but really cleans your skin deep down to the pores.
Skin Care

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Even after washing your face, it’s crucial to further remove your makeup with a makeup removing wipe. These are the best I’ve ever used and are infused with lavender to help calm skin redness before bed.

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Using my Sephora eye makeup remover I trace under my eyes with a q-tip to ensure all eye make has been 100% removed. To further balance my skin’s PH level, I use an alcohol-free toner with my Target exfoliating cotton rounds. These cotton balls help brighten my skin and make me look radiant due to the exfoliating texture that removes dead skin.

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You want to avoid SPF in your night beauty products. This moisturizer is amazingly hydrating and lives up to its name. While it’s a little expensive, it’s worth the splurge once in a while when you really want to treat your skin. In the winter it’s essential to focus on really keeping your skin healthy and moisturized.

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I just picked up a sample of this Clinique “Dramatically Different” eye cream and I’ve been loving it! You can never start too young when it comes to anti-aging. This formula is antioxidant packed to really protect your skin from dark spots and signs of aging.
Hair:

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Before I put a comb in my hair, I always generously spray my strands with my favorite de-tangler/leave-in-conditioner to help mend split ends and damage. To smooth fly-always and frizz, this styling cream works wonders! Never brush your hair when it’s wet! That’s a sure way to damage your hair. Instead, turn to a wide tooth comb to slowly make it through through your hair.
Lips:

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These two are the ultimate power combo. The delicious, extra-hydrating formula of ESOS lip balm with classic Vaseline leaves lips soft and kissable in the morning.
Pampering and Unwinding:

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Using the “True Blue Spa” foot scrub and lotion from Bath & Body Works, I love to give myself a little at home pedicure to keep my dancer’s feet happy in the harsh winter weather. To lock in the moisture of the lotion, slip into some aloe infused socks after.

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Spray your pillow with a little sleep spray…

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At least one hour before bed, electronically shut down. Read a book/magazine to help ease your mind and prepare to go to sleep. Avoid stimulating yourself with T.V. and computers before catching your zzz’s as it may interfere with your sleep cycle. I can’t sleep without a mug of tea . Lately I’ve been into the Tazo “Calming Chamomile” tea I picked up at Starbucks. Make sure your tea is caffeine free. Green tea tends to have caffeine along with black teas so I recommend chamomile tea before bed.
What do you do to get ready for bed?
Sweet dreams! xoxo