blogging

Ricky’s Cult Crushes Review

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Hello beauts! So I know we can all spend our paychecks in Ricky’s or Sephora or Ulta, or anywhere that sells makeup. There always seems to be a new product to try or a new beauty trend. I also feel like there a ton of beauty boxes out there that offer monthly subscriptions. I have tried Birchbox before since it was a gift from my sister, but I just felt like the samples were so tiny. What caught my eye about Ricky’s version of the monthly subscription beauty box is that it typically comes with one full size product. I also love that you get 25% off of all online purchases and free shipping on purchases of $50 or more. YASSSS. For only $11 getting ALL of that (retail value up to $50) seems like a steal in my eyes! For that price, it doesn’t even matter what is in the box, but it seems to always be something awesome 🙂 Check it more here.

This is the review September – I plan on updating this post each month with what I receive!

Opened it up to a little motivation! #CameToCrush everyday!

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HSI Mini Straightener

Umm ok a mini straightener?! This is actually perfection. Tiny yet so powerful! I can throw this right in my purse for days I am running late and can just plug it in at work, and viola my hair is set! The plates are ceramic which helps leave your hair shiny, annnnd even more importantly, they heat up in seconds! Love love love!

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HSI Argan Oil Shampoo, Conditioner + Leave In Treatment

Alright so after summer sun and salty hair, this came in at the perfect time. I felt like my hair was looking so dull and dry and brittle. Not after using these bad boys. I seriously am going to have to get the full size versions. I also love that they are sulfate free and full of vitamins.

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Z-Palette Large

Say what?! This is so unbelievably convenient – I remember my old company did some work with Z Palette and I kept saying I wish they would send us some so we can try, and now my dreams came true lol! This seemed to be a custom one for Ricky’s and I love it. It is so urban and hip. I love that I can customize my own palette with everything that I use – it is so helpful if I am doing my makeup on the go. Instead of lugging around my makeup bag, I can just throw it on my palette and shove it in my purse. Total win with this.

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Wella Root Shoot Mousse

I am a big advocate of Wella products – I used to work in a salon and everyone swore by it and since I got to test out the products first hand, I came to swear by them too! Sometimes my hair can get sooo flat, and since I typically straighten it, it doesn’t make for the best mix. I can’t seem to nail down that middle part with my hair pasted down like the Kardashian’s can haha. Sometimes I throw in a little volumizing powder but it makes my hair feel stiff and weird and doesn’t seem to work. I tried this once and my Jersey girl came out. Total life saver.

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Masque Bar Luminizing Charcoal Mask

I cannot seem to escape masks lol I recently just got a facial so I am trying to leave my skin alone for a bit so I have not yet tried this. But when I do, I will update 🙂

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After just one box, my final verdict is YES – totally worth it! For $11 the value is unbeatable.

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The Beauty of Moving On

I try not to get too personal on here but writing is one of the best ways I know how to cope with anything in my life. I felt like writing about something that we all can relate to at one point or another in our lives, which is…heartbreak. Sometimes we are the ones suffering from it and sometimes we are the ones causing it. That is just how life works, no matter what side of the sword you’re on, simply put, it sucks. If you’re going through it now, I hope this helps make you feel a bit more optimistic, or puts things in perspective, and just overall helps you awaken from the cloud you may feel you’re under.

So when is it really over? When do you get up and walk from the table? Simply, when love is no longer being served. When respect is no longer on the menu. When your self love and self worth are all sold out. When you’re being treated as scraps when you deserve to be surf and turf. Once you finally figure out what respect tastes like, you will always always always choose it over attention.

I’m sure we have all found ourselves asking the universe for signs. We can ask all we want. But truthfully, we all already know the answer, right? If it is at the point where we have to ask for signs on if this whole thing is right and meant to be, clearly it is not. That in itself is a sign – but we see what we want to see, and when we are ready, we will see the signs we were searching for. Just be careful not to keep your eyes closed for so long.

When it’s done it is done. What is the use of picking up broken pieces off the floor? It could never look the same. It will never be the same. You hurt yourself in the process. The person who hurt you cannot be the person to fix you or save you. All of that has to come from you. I am not sitting here promising you will be healed of heartache the next day. No way. It is a journey. If love can fade, so can pain – and it will. You must grow through what you go through and learn to never settle in this life, ESPECIALLY when it comes to love. Your new life will cost you your old one, remember that. Not everyone you lose is a loss.

“Why should I be sad? I have lost someone who didn’t love me. But they lost someone who loved them.” Life doesn’t always bring you people you want to meet. Life puts you in touch with people you need to meet – to help you, to hurt you, to teach you, to love you, to leave you, to strengthen you and make you the person you were meant to be. Throughout that journey though, you must love yourself and be true to yourself. Sometimes we forget about all of that when we break up or when we are with someone for so long that they have clouded our judgement. Here are some of my tips for moving on and getting back to that place of self love. Once you love yourself, everything else falls into place.

  • Cry. This seems so obvious, but you need to cry. You need to let it out. Scream into your pillow. Go through a box of tissues. You just need to release the emotion, because when you bottle it up, it is like drinking poison, you will be the one continually suffering. My mom always said after a good cry, everyone looks prettier. Plus, I think the tears wash away all of that cloudy and dirty judgement we once had either about ourselves or the person we once loved.
  • Unplug yourself. Get off social media. Don’t post all those sad quotes or the revenge quotes. Who is it for anyways? They don’t care. They aren’t looking. Don’t post the sexy or seductive posts, you look like you’re starving for attention – and you may get it – but NOT from the type of people you want to attract into your life. Plus, the people you do want to attract, may steer clear from you as they may have a different perception. Don’t snap pictures of you out on dates or with other guys, it is immature, and makes YOU look bad once again. Lay low. Move in silence. Let them wonder what you are up to. I’d also “unplug” myself from constant reminders of them – take down the pictures, put the gifts in a big box and shove it in the back of your closet. Out of sight out of mind…
  • Keep busy to better yourself. Read a book, write a poem. Take those spin classes you always wanted. Take up painting. Go to the gym. Volunteer. Take up cooking. There is SO much you can do to preoccupy your time. Don’t spend it stalking them and seeing how they are doing or who they are with. Put. Yourself. First. Treat yourself to a manicure or a blow out and feel good.
  • Vent. Call your mom, call your best friend. Get their advice, and actually listen to it. No one wants to have the same phone call with you discussing the same thing, twenty more times. It is exhausting for them, and isn’t it exhausting for you too? The run around, the roller coaster of emotions? Get one big vent session going and really listen to those who have been in this situation before.
  • Stop overthinking. What is done is done. The more you overthink what you could have done differently, or what you maybe should have, or what they could have or should have done differently, you’re just hurting yourself. You need to focus your energy on you. Take the lessons you learned (there is always one with each relationship), and thank your lucky stars you got out of it before your world came crashing down. Yes, you will hear a song and it will remind you of them, you will see their favorite food or restaurant, you will smell their cologne or perfume, but with time, none of that will matter. Acknowledge the moment, acknowledge your feelings, but don’t succumb to those feelings and make them your permanent feelings. Take a deep breath, shoulder back, lift up that chin, put a smile on and carry on. Fake it until you make it.
  • Do not become who hurt you. I think this is the most important one. It is so easy to become bitter and hateful. It is so easy to turn into a monster, to even turn into the monster who hurt you. Never step out of character, for a character. Remain true to yourself. You are love. You are happy. That is your natural state. Everyone has their own demons, don’t let them walk through your head with their dirty feet, don’t become responsible for them. They are not yours to keep or fight.
  • Bless them. Forgive forgive forgive. Forgive your enemies, forgive everyone who hurt you. Wishing them bad is like drinking poison and expecting them to get sick. Bless them and move on. There should be no room for hate in your heart, only positive thoughts of you and what you are looking forward to accomplish and attract next.

Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. Stay strong and focus on respecting and loving yourself, because if you don’t no one else will. You accept the love and respect you think you deserve. YOU GOT THIS! ❤ ❤ ❤ 

“Put on some lipstick darling and handle it”


 

 

Apple of My Eye Apple Pie

So it feels like ages since I went apple picking, and I promised I would share just what I did with all of those apples. A few days after apple picking, I whipped up this recipe for everyone to enjoy – however, I’m just posting about it weeks later. It has been so hectic on my end – starting a new job, helping with my sister’s wedding & bachelorette party, it never ends!

This is a perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, especially if you’re having a more intimate, smaller gathering. A great alternative to apple pie – and you don’t have to worry about how big of a piece you take 😉


Ingredients:

  • 10 apples (this is only because I had sooo many)
  • 4 Tbsp. of butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Crumb Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup crushed graham crackers (this is optional)
  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 6 Tbsp. butter (melted)
  • 1 roll of pre-made pie crust (optional if you don’t want to wrap the apple in dough)
  • Ice cream! Caramel sauce, whatever you’d like!

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash apples and set aside.
  3. Prepare the crumble topping by combining flour, graham crackers (if used), oats, brown sugar, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and then melted butter until mixture is combined and crumbly. Set aside.
  4. Peel and chop 4 of the apples.
  5. Add these chopped apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup to a large frying pan and cook over medium heat for about ten minutes (until the apples are softened and tender!). Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
  6. With the remaining 6 apples, cut the tops off and use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Be careful to not go all the way down/pierce the skin of the apple! Leave a perimeter within the apple as shown below. It should resemble an “apple bowl”.
  7. Fill your “apple bowl” with the filling from the sauce pan you just made. Fill about 3/4 of the way, or halfway if you’d like to be generous with the topping.
  8. Cut the rolled dough into strips and “mummify” or wrap the apples! It can be a bit tricky to have them stick to the apple so definitely press the dough strips into one another so they don’t unravel.
  9. Place the apples into a pie pan (I had to use two) because just in case of drippings, it doesn’t overflow as it potentially could on a flat baking sheet.
  10. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  11. Serve warm and with your favorite ice cream! I recommend Ben & Jerry’s cinnamon one.

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Weed Orchards & Winery

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Fall is my favorite holiday simply because of all the food, the activities, the fashion, and it basically means the holidays are around the corner! 🙂 I recently went on an apple picking double date up at Weed Orchards in Marlboro, NY with my cousin and our boo thangs. Although we got lost once or twice along the way and then our wagon full of everything we picked tipped over (thanks Cosmo), we still had an amazing time.

Coming from suburbs right outside of NYC, we are all sooo used to the fast-pace, go go go lifestyle, houses on top of one another, skyscrapers, etc. Driving through these “country” roads (that’s basically what it is to us), was so beautiful and peaceful. Looking out the window and seeing farms, and an expansive amount of rolling hills was so different, and I loved it! It’s so refreshing to get away from all of that city hustle and bustle sometimes.

Once we arrived, we were immediately overwhelmed with everything that there was to do. There was a cafe, a winery, a kitchen, and a little petting zoo for the younger kids. They also had free hard cider tastings going on (they had a few different flavors, all looked awesome!). We were in a rush and on a mission to pick some apples so we didn’t get a a chance to taste any of them. We rented our wagon and we were off.

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We first came across the pumpkin patch (buy 3 get 1 free), where it was perfect pumpkin on perfect pumpkin on perfect pumpkin. Seriously, I kept changing my pick because every few feet I would come across another perfect one!

Then we got to the apples and the fun began. It was the boys first time apple picking so they had fun climbing the trees, and shaking the branches. Basically my cousin and I were the babysitters.

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Since we went in early October, they had 8 different apples: Empire, Cortland, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Mac, Macouns, early Fujis, and Honeycrisp. We also came across some other fruits and vegetables like eggplant, grapes, and peppers.

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As we were finishing up, our wagon tipped and everything spilled out (WTG Cos hahaha). We salvaged most of it, but we still wanted our apple bags to be filled, so on we picked. Before and after he lost his wagon privileges hahah.

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Also, Cos decided to put me on his shoulders. As you can see from below, it gives me complete panic attacks. The before and after:

We finished the day by getting some BBQ and other fresh food from their kitchen. I walked through their little store where they had fresh baked pies of ALL kinds, honeys, jams and spreads, salsas, breads, the list goes on. I was like a kid in a candy store. I bought a strawberry pie for Cosmo’s family, some zucchini walnut bread, blueberry crumble bread, and some honey. The blueberry crumble was so good I may have to make a trip back up there just so I can have it again.

Overall, amazing place that I would definitely recommend you check out if you live around the area. I would also try to get there a bit earlier so you can fully enjoy all it has to offer.

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After a successful day of apple picking 🙂

Can’t wait to show you what I do with all of these apples!

Already looking forward to coming back next year!

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Double Stuffed, Cookie Dough Fried Oreos w/ Nutella

Yes. You read that title correctly. Luckily summer is over and it’s okay to indulge a bit (thank goodness for sweater season!). If you still want to reminisce on the summer feels, like carnivals and festivals, what other way to do so than fried oreos?! These are incredibly easy to make, and I must admit I make them more often than I should. I like to add cookie dough, because well cookie dough is everything and I personally believe it to be it’s own essential food group. And of course the Nutella drizzle just speaks for itself. Enjoy!


 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Oreo’s (I usually get the mega-stuffed, or whichever new flavor they have at the time)
  • 1 Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie dough roll
  • Aunt Jemima pancake mix (I use this because you just need to add water to the mix)
  • Vegetable oil (enough to fry the Oreo’s in)
  • Confection sugar
  • Nutella

Directions:

First, prepare the pancake mix in a medium sized bowl. If using Aunt Jemima, it is 2 cups dry mix and 1 1/2 cup water.

Begin to heat up the oil in a deep frying skillet, or a fryer if you have one.

Next, take your Oreo’s and twist the top off of each (gently, so the cream stays on one of the cookies). Take a heaping teaspoon of cookie dough and press onto the cream to flatten so it looks like it is just another disc of cream. Put the cookie that you just took off back on.

I recommend doing this to all of the cookies first, and then once that is done, begin dipping them into the pancake batter, as it is more efficient.

Once all the cookies are done and the oil is heated (you can test by flicking a few drops of water in it – you’ll hear it sizzle and see it bubble), begin to dip the cookies into the pancake batter. Using a spoon, gently place them into the oil.

As they begin to cook, line a plate with paper towels to absorb the oil for when you remove them.

You’ll notice the Oreo turning golden brown. If the oil isn’t high enough, simply use the spoon to turn the Oreo to fry the other side as well.

Once a nice, bronzed, golden brown color, remove the Oreo from the oil and let cool on the paper-towel lined plate. Continue doing this until all Oreos are done.

Once cooled, sprinkle confection sugar and drizzle Nutella all over those bad boys! This is where you can really go to town, use as much as your heart desires 🙂

 

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Sorrento

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Oh Sorrento, I absolutely adore you. Sorrento is definitely in my top five favorite cities of all time and I recommend if you ever go to Italy to make it a priority to spend a day/night here. With charming little alleyways lined with shops, incredible restaurants, and views like no other, it is also the limoncello capital of the world (all the more reason to visit!).

When I first arrived in Sorrento, I’ll never forget how breathtaking the views were, especially since it is like a city carved into and atop the cliffs. Overlooking the sea, our hotel room (see the video below) was like a dream.

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My sister and I immediately went to the beach and went swimming – the water was freezing since it was September, but we figured we were in Italy so we just had to do it. Later in the day we were able to rejoin our group and went to a local pizzeria where we were able to have a pizza demonstration and of course eat our body weights in pizza (when in Sorrento, right? 😉 ). Afterwards, my sister and I went strolling around, shopping at the boutiques and emptying our wallets. We strolled around Piazza Tasso, a square lined with little cafes.

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I think my favorite part was when we went to Limonoro, a candy/sweet shop that revolves around everything limoncello. I’m talking limoncello filled cookies, limoncello gummies, the list goes on. They offered us free samples of literally anything we wanted to try! I had these cookies, and honestly my taste buds have never been the same. I am seriously placing an order as soon as I finish writing this post.

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To end our stay in Sorrento, we had a feast with our Contiki group for those who wanted to participate, and the views were just breathtaking from the restaurant, Circolo dei Forestieri. The decor was beautiful, the food was unmatched. When I get married, I’d consider having destination wedding with the reception here – everything about it was above and beyond. After my meal, I was sitting there with my sister and this older gentleman came up and asked me dance! I’m normally very shy, ESPECIALLY dancing in front of other people to Italian songs doing Italian moves I have no idea how to do. I kept saying no, but that doesn’t work too well with Italians – especially the men haha! So he pulled me up and whisked me away for a solid two songs. I let him lead the way…and of course I had him dance with my sister as well. We go down we go down together, sisters are forever haha!

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Before we left for the night we stopped at a limoncello store I Giardini Di Cataldo, and stocked up on bottles on bottles on bottles of limoncello. It also made for the perfect favor. Good thing we didn’t drink too much of it since we had a boat ride to Capri the next morning.

Stay tuned for the lovely Capri!

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ROMA E POMPEII

img_4052Buongiorno a tutti! So, growing up Italian (well only half  😉 ), it has always been a life-long dream to visit the motherland. Since I was practically raised by my Nonna, the Italian culture and way of life has always been something that has resonated deeply with me, and something I have always cherished. I also believe that when my dad (an Irish/British gent) married my mom (a hot-headed Italian), the Italian culture just kind of took over. Although, she does give my dad’s side of the family some recognition by making corned beef and cabbage on St. Patty’s Day hahah.

ANYWAYS – I finally was able to make this dream a reality with my sister. We went on a Contiki tour (a travel agency catering to 18-35 year olds), which took us ALL over Italy, starting at Rome. Since I have over 4,000 images from this trip and notebooks of memories, I decided to break down the blog posts in sections, by cities.

Let’s talk about getting there first. I don’t know about you, but I always have the biggest anxiety before overseas trips. Irrational, I know. From all of my experience travelling overseas (okay 3 times), the planes have been equipped with WiFi, televisions, charger ports, the whole nine yards. Well, let me tell you, stepping onto that plane was like stepping into a time warp that transported me to 1492. I minds as well have just sailed with Columbus. The phone (shockingly equipped with one), still had a cord attached to it…I didn’t even know they made those anymore! And so, a panic attack ensued.

Luckily we made it safe and sound, we had our meals (best part of the flight to be honest), and landed in Rome bright and early. With all the stress from the flight, thanks to me, my sister and I were completely worn out. Once we got through customs, we went outside and were greeted by a line of taxis. We got into a “taxi”and were on our way to our hotel where we would meet with our Contiki group later that evening.

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The cab ride was great, the guy was super friendly, giving us recommendations, I was even speaking with him in Italian! Then…we got to our hotel and he wanted 200 euros…normally a 50 euro trip. He became a little angry and us being scared and in an area we knew NOTHING about (it didn’t help it was so early and no one was around), we had no choice but to give him the euros. I should note it was all of our euros we had initially exchanged to get us by the first few days of our trips. So we were robbed in Rome within the first twenty minutes of being there. At least now as I type this I can laugh, not cry.

I immediately started looking at flights home while my sister sobbed in the bathroom. Our parents were able to calm us down and things actually started looking up. We went to a little restaurant La Gattabuia, where we had a few aperitivo. Seriously the food in Italy had the power to turn our entire mood around. We ate until we were in a food coma and went straight to bed since we were off to Pompeii in the morning!

Pompeii was so historic and the Italians did an incredible job of preserving this history, but am even better job telling of the history. On a side note, I learned that Mt. Vesuvius erupted on my birthday, to which my dad said “explains a lot”. I learned so much about the culture there at the time, let’s just say it wasn’t too PG-13. They even had a prostitute row, I guess it was the OG Red Light District. The beds were made of stone, because they wanted everyone to do their business and then leave immediately and not get comfortable so the next person can come in. There’s also a really interesting background to puttanesca sauce. Puttanesca comes from the Italian word “puttana”, which basically means whore. Legend has it that at these brothels, the puttanas would make this “quick and easy” sauce and serve it to customers who were waiting their turn. All in all, Pompeii is an absolute tourist trap, I would just recommend going on a walking tour and leaving.

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Stay tuned for Sorrento – one of my most favorite places in the world!