Decorating an Outdoor Space

My current apartment doesn’t have any outdoor space, unless you count the front stoop. That hasn’t stopped me from dreaming about my perfect patio or porch though – there is always the next apartment!

Decorating an outdoor space can be challenging, so make a plan before spend any money. Think about how you will use the space. Will it be used for eating, lounging, or both? Think about the style of the space, too – do you want it to be bright and cheerful or calm and relaxing?

I like to start with an inspiration piece and build my designs from there. A rug is a great place to start, because it draws the whole look together. Here are three ideas to get you started:

Decorating an Outdoor Space: Parisian1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

My husband and I took a trip to Paris last fall, and one of the things I loved about the apartment we stayed in was the shutters on all of the windows. I enjoyed opening them each morning to view life on our street in Montmartre.

I wanted to recreate a Parisian feel for this space, so I started with a fun rug. A small table and chairs are perfect for a tiny balcony, and the standing screen reminds me of our shutters in Paris and adds room for colorful plants.

Decorating an Outdoor Space: Bright and Colorful1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

I love this fun and colorful space, which was inspired by the yellow polka dot rug! It’s the perfect spot for relaxing. Stretch out on the sofa or kick up your feet on the poof. Pillows and accessories add even more punch.

Decorating an Outdoor Space: Traditional1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

 This last space is more traditional but definitely not boring. The patterned rug adds interest, as do the fun striped pillows. The coffee table has plenty of room for drinks, making this space great for entertaining.

Which look do you like the most?

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My Favorite Summer Beauty Products

Although I love the warm weather and long days of summer, I find it challenging beauty-wise. My oily skin starts spinning out of control and my hair gets poofy and frizzy at the slightest hint of humidity – not a good combination!

Here’s a few of the products that help to keep my “issues” under control at this time of year:

My favorite summer beauty products.

  1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is the best. It removes makeup and cleans your skin at the same time. I was really hesitant to try it at first (putting oil on oily skin seems like a recipe for disaster, right?), but my skin has really improved since I started using it.
  2. I also love DHC Eye Bright, which is a miracle eye de-puffer. OK, maybe not a miracle, but it is perfect for those mornings when you didn’t get enough sleep.
  3. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock is my favorite. I am hyper-vigilant about wearing sunscreen every day, and this sunscreen never makes my skin feel greasy. Love it!
  4. I just discovered Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle, which came in my May Birchbox. It’s a great leave-in conditioner that leaves my frizz-prone hair smooth and shiny.
  5. Suave Professionals Dry Shampoo Spray is perfect for those days when I don’t want to wash my hair. The price can’t be beat, and it soaks up excess oil and even has a great scent. Just spray it on your roots, tousle hair with your fingers, and style.
  6. Clean & Clear Instant Oil-Absorbing Sheets are a life-saver. I always keep these on hand and use the sheets throughout the day to keep my oily skin in check.
  7. For natural, glowing cheeks, you can’t beat Benefit Posietint. The sheer pink color is super easy to apply, and it lasts all day. I’m also a huge fan of Benetint.
  8. Maybelline Volum’ Express One by One Mascara is my favorite everyday mascara. It really pumps up my fine lashes but never looks clumpy. It’s great for a natural, daytime look.
  9. When it comes to lips, I love Philosophy Raspberry Sorbet Lip Shine. It’s a great non-tacky, yet super-glossy option for lip gloss fans. I love the sheer pink color – it even has a little sparkle!

OK – now it’s your turn! Tell me your favorite products and tips for summer beauty.

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Hello Friday! Link Roundup – Summer Edition!

Today is officially the first day of summer. After living in a city that had mild, cool weather year round, I’m definitely excited to experience the seasons again here in New York. I could live without the humidity, but you can’t win them all!

Sunset view of the Hudson RiverSunset over the Hudson River.

In honor of the new season, I’ve rounded up some fun links to get your summer started right.

I’m in love with this striped shirt from Tailor and Stylist. A girl can never have enough striped shirts, am I right?

I can’t wait to try this Mexican Street Corn Salad. It looks like an easier to eat version of elote – yum!

Zabars shopping spree.We went on a Zabars shopping spree this week – so many delicious treats!

Recycle an unworn dress with this tutorial for turning an old dress into a maxi skirt. I may have to give this one a go.

Host an easy summer brunch and serve Basil Bloody Marys. I’m a sucker for a good Bloody Mary, and these come garnished with pepper jack cheese – sold!

Dress up your brunch table with a vintage seaside table setting – so pretty and colorful!

Sneak peek of a new projectHere’s a sneak peek of a DIY project I’m working on – more details soon!

Apparently, you can use castor oil to create a DIY lash/eyebrow serum. I’m intrigued.

I love this tutorial for dip dye shoes. It’s perfect for a pair of boring Keds!

This Strawberry Coconut Smoothie looks delicious, and it’s pretty darn healthy, too.

New York courtyard.Isn’t this courtyard pretty? I’m trying to figure out how I can get over the fence that surrounds it.

I must be on a strawberry-coconut kick, because these Roasted Strawberry and Toasted Coconut Popsicles are on my short list, too.

Here’s a great roundup of 25 DIY shorts for summer.

Just for fun … you must check out the hats from Royal Ascot’s Ladies Day.

View from our front stoop.The view from our front stoop.

I hope you have a fun weekend planned!

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Mastering Rainy Day Style

Here in New York, our weather has been really rainy lately. And inevitably, by the time I get to work my hair is a mess, and I’m soaked from the knees down.

I haven’t mastered the frizzy hair yet (other than relying on a lot of pony tails), but I have invested in a pair of rain boots, which has improved my rainy day style about 100%. Boots are definitely the key to staying dry on the long walk to the train.

Here are three cute looks – planned around three pairs of boots – that will brighten up the rainiest day.

Rainy Day Style: Mod1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

This look was inspired by the striped sheath dress and fun white boots, which looked a little 60s mod to me. A retro bubble umbrella will keep you dry and won’t hide the fun accessories and polka-dot trench underneath.

Tip: if your boots get scuffed up, try using a little Windex to clean them. It will remove marks and bring the shine back to your boots.

Rainy Day Fashion: Casual1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

How cute are these boots? The little bow will cheer you up all day long. Pair your boots with a pair of skinny khakis and a sweet blouse. Simple accessories and a short white trench complete the look.

Rainy Day Fashion: Bright1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

I love, love, love these lace print boots. They are the perfect complement to the bright, swingy dress and classic trench. Tuck a fun change purse into your tote, grab a striped umbrella, and you are ready to head out the door and face the rain.

Do you love the rain or wish it would stop?

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Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

I have a major sweet tooth, but I don’t like to keep a lot of treats around my apartment due to my poor impulse control because I like to eat healthy. But sometimes, I just have to have something sweet now. Do you know what I mean?

This recipe for caramelized bananas is the perfect way to conquer any sugar craving. It’s quick, easy, and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. Plus, it’s got that whole salty-sweet thing going on – yum!

Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

Salted caramelized bananas with ice cream.

Serve 2


  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 bananas, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Coarse sea salt

Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add bananas and brown sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter and sugar are well combined and a sauce has formed. The bananas should have softened slightly and will be coated with caramel.

Serve bananas over ice cream and top with a pinch of salt. Eat quickly before the ice cream melts!

Salted Caramelized Bananas with Ice Cream

Notes: this recipe is easily scaled up or down, so make it for yourself or a crowd. I like to use Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, however you can use any coarse salt you like – just don’t use table salt.

What is your favorite way to conquer a sugar craving?

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