sagamore hill

Long Island was certainly not what I expected (see the idealized wanderlust in previous post!). But it was an absolute adventure, with lots of learning (and driving) and getting lost on purpose.

Hands down, the most awe-inspiring part of the trip was our visit Sagamore Hill (it was the sole reason for our trip in the first place). It was the summer home of Theodore Roosevelt, one of the most intense and rugged personalities of American history. I seem to love him even more the more I learn about him; more so as an icon, admittedly...until my visit to Sagamore Hill. It might sound boring to some, but as someone who loves history and learning from travel, this was a weekend well spent. I have read several books over the last year in my free time about the life of Theodore Roosevelt - books that paint him in a good and bad light - and I have concluded that he fascinates me as a person and a President. I wish I could do some of the things he has done.

During our visit of the house, it was as though TR would appear at any moment; as if he was about to return from a short outing or errand in town.  The interior of the home was beautifully and richly decorated with dark walls, lavish tapestries and carpets, and other relics distinctly from early 20th century America. His desk was arranged as he used it, with the actual candlestick telephone, ink wells, gas lamps, and typewriters that he used. Books were on the shelves - something over 10,000 - in every room. Hallways were narrow, ceilings were huge, and every inch of free wall space was covered with naval art, mounted taxidermy, trophies and awards, collectibles, family photos, you name it. I could go on and on about the details in the house - and yet, it was a house, not a castle or a museum. It had a comforting lived-in feel, as if a great deal of living had been done in this house.

Sagamore Hill is located in Oyster Bay, New York, on the northwestern end of Long Island. I severely underestimated how long Long Island was; we didn't come close to our goal of reaching the far east side. Another time. It was cloudy and dreary anyway, and to be honest, we spent so much time driving that I glazed over and lost interest to spend more time in the car.

Our trip to Oyster Bay turned out to be the highlight - my mom and I absolutely loved the tour and would go back in a heartbeat. We poked around the main town of Oyster Bay and stopped for amazing burgers at Taby's for lunch. We were either in a burger-and-fries coma, or exhausted from the hours in the car, but we didn't find much to do after Oyster Bay besides drive around.

We found a Whole Foods and stocked up on a bunch of snacks for the hotel. My mom and I have so much fun stumbling on these ideas - food fest in the hotel! We got delicious (and I'm using the healthy excuse, too) dinners, wine, and other snacks...before crashing in that delectably cushy white bed.

ciao! xo


next stop: montauk

images sourced via pinterest

Okay, so we may not end up in Montauk, but I couldn't resist that title and it's definitely a location we're going to try to hit today as we embark to Long Island! It's a girls weekend that I have been looking forward to for a while. I love spending time with my mom and stumbling upon the most unexpected places. Some things I am hoping to do:

- shoot an outfit post somewhere along a cute main street.
- visit sag harbor, NY
- see the windmills
- whaling museum?
- get some fresh cut lavender or buy some fresh flowers.
- squeeze in a coffee diaries
- tour the theodore roosevelt home at sagamore hill
- see a lighthouse (I don't have a preference to which one) :)

I've got my weekender packed, the car is filled, to-go coffee in my hand. I'm wearing the most nautical chunky sweater I could find to fit in with the seafaring theme. Can't wait to get on the road! Have a great weekend, everyone! ciao, xo


best beauty picks

It's time for another beauty post!! The last time I wrote about cosmetics and beauty, I was going through an unusual troublesome time with my skincare regimen. I was breaking out constantly, stressing out about it, and it helped to perpetuate the cycle. Now I feel as though I am in a really good place, with a great balance of skincare and cosmetics that I wear a lot during the week. I wanted to share with you some of my current beauty favorites, with my honest opinion (this is not a sponsored post!) about why these products rock.

I wear makeup at least 5 times a week. Getting ready in the wee hours of the morning is often a groggy blur of stumbling out of bed, in and out of the bathroom, and in front of my vanity. Hands down, though, the best part of my routine is my skincare  and makeup routine because I love these products.  Here's a quick rundown of what is pictured:

- lancome definicils 
- trish mcevoy intense gel eyeliner
- it cosmetics bye bye under eye cream
- fresh inc. age delay eye cream
- lancome le crayon powder eye brow pencil
- lancome le crayon khôl eyeliner

- nars illuminator
- nars blush

- laura mercier oil-free day lotion
- neutrogena hydro boost water gel

Maybe it seems like a lot but I use these products often and love them - I feel like they really work with my skin and complement my complexion. I am particularly proud of my eyeliner choices because I was in this search for a while for the perfect, long-lasting eyeliner that doesn't smudge but is not waterproof (I hate waterproof anything!). It cleanses really nicely, but STAYS on during the day which is awesome.

That being said, I think that it is super important to take days off and not wear makeup! I make sure that my skin gets a break, and if I am wearing makeup after a long day, I can't wait to get home and wash my face to feel refreshed.

Still, moisturizer is a 24/7 necessity and I have dabbled with a few high end products (such as Le Mer) in the past, failing to find a consistent go-to.  I feel like Laura Mercier and Neutrogena Hydro Boost are really high quality alternatives that are way more cost effective. Here's how I balance the two: Neutrogena is for day-night during the week and I indulge a little bit with Laura Mercier on the weekends. It is so rich and nourishing! Neutrogena's gel is awesome for anytime, though, and I love the light and dewy feeling it gives my skin.

You should try these out! Let me know if there is anything you swear by :)

ciao, xo

PS: I would definitely recommend trying the more expensive items as samples! I always stock up on samples when I make a purchase from Blue Mercury. Some of these products are totally out of my price range but I am enjoying the samples while they last! On the other hand, some of these are totally worth the investment and have been paying off!


scenes from my weekend

hello! happy monday! 

this weekend has been refreshing. it felt like a steady and slow wintry weekend, even though yesterday was the first day of S P R I N G ! I could not be more excited for flowers, warmth, pastel, wearing stripes and skirts and maybe even sandals. 

there were long walks outside...cold but refreshing!

a restorative yoga class...

some spring cleaning and updating...

and lots of calligraphy practice! 

lately i have been feeling an urge to completely update my room. A trip to HomeGoods this weekend really went a long way!  I got some crates for organization, a jasmine hibiscus candle, a really pretty golden trinket box (above - how pretty?!!!), and a new bed set with a shabby-chic, crisp white flair. I was feeling this spring cleanup urge after walking through my town's Anthropologie (love that place) and completely obsessing over their store's layout, including the decor. I could pretty much set up shop in there and be quite content with that! 

nothing else much going on, except the sleepy snow falling outside now. Even though I can't wait for warmth,  a cozy night in front of the fire is kind of amazing right now. 

ciao! xo 


coffee diaries (for two!) | profile coffee roasters

This coffee diaries post is an exceptionally significant one. Let me preface it by saying this...it includes an amazing new cafe, but to make it even better, I was joined by a long time friend from the blogging world who I finally met in 'real' life - it's going to be hard to contain my excitement writing this!!

I started blogging in 2010. If you're a blogger yourself, you may know some of the challenges as well as the empowering moments that blogging brings. I've dealt with the ups and downs of blogging that we all deal with! The times have been good: opportunities to travel, collaborations, and nurturing creative dreams. The times have had their troubling moments: being hacked and starting from scratch, struggling with the privacy issue, and of course, staying authentic and original. Over the years, though, I have found bloggers and cultivated blog friendships that make all of it the best part.

Which brings me to my next point....Kerri (and our mystery photobomber! he made us giggle).

I am not sure exactly when I first started reading her blog, but we soon "hit it off" as bloggers do. Through sweet and encouraging comments, then following each other, and staying in touch with social media. I soon realized that we are both PA girls, and we have such similar interests! Kerri has given me fantastic coffee diaries recommendations, and this place was totally her idea. We had always resolved to meet up for coffee, once things started getting less busy, but it never seemed to happen. Life happens, right?

I've followed her for a while now, and I can say that her posts are consistent with themes of grace, elegance, and inspiration. I love her bright and colorful style, her honesty and authenticity, and of course can totally relate to her affinity for the countryside! We stayed in touch mostly through instagram and blogging, but I turned my blog private this past year and kinda fell off the radar.

So...this past weekend, our plans for coffee actually came to fruition! Meeting Kerri was the BEST! It  is such a weird phenomenon to meet someone for the first time in "real life" but feel like you're in such familiar company. It just felt like catching up with an old friend! When we started snapping photos of our lattes in unison, I knew that it was going to be the most fun coffee date.  She brought me the most precious gifts: a handmade bracelet (Kerri, you need to sell these, seriously!) and the most beautiful rose tea cup. It is perfect for intimate weekend moments when nothing but a cup of tea will do. It's perfect, and I love that Kerri makes a point to enjoy tea the right way (in teacups, not mugs!!)

We ventured out to a new cafe: Profile Coffee Roasters. I read about it by chance in the paper - it is a new cafe inspired by the Seattle coffee scene.  I love the small-town roots, although this cafe rivals any of its counterparts you could find in the city. The interior of the coffeehouse is clean, crisp, and bright; the counter/bar is adorned with warm wood tones and has the essentials of any classic cafe like chalkboard menus, cafe lights, and big windows. I ordered a simple skim latte (Kerri ordered a vanilla latte) and we were both fawning over our cups! The baristas - clearly knowing the way into my heart - poured in latte leaves. Note to self: learn how to do that someday so I can impress all my friends. The coffee was delicious, and it was good to support this new local business. I love shopping small. I'll keep coming back to this cafe because it's just plain, good coffee and has such an alluring coffeehouse atmosphere.

notes from the coffee diary:
- delicious, light, smooth finish
- intimate, bright coffeehouse feel
- balanced, full-bodied and just-right foam
- the latte art, though :)

Every coffee diaries post should be like this. I loved catching up with Kerri and turning a blog friendship into a real one. I've seen so many of my favorite bloggers do it and now I can understand the hype!  She helped me with some blog advice, and if you haven't noticed, there are some changes I've put into place since our meeting (i.e. no more private posts! helloooo, world!). Chatting about the blogosphere was inspiring, encouraging, and much-needed. Truthfully I became a little disenchanted with it all over the last year, which happens to a lot of people - but I like it too much to stop altogether. Talking to someone else who blogs really is helpful, especially when you're from an area that doesn't have a big concentration of bloggers. It was really empowering.

So, in a nutshell, best coffee date ever.

Profile Coffee & Roasters
21 S. Market St., Elysburg


scenes from my weekend

Here's what's going on lately!

  • in the mood for flowers. obviously, can you tell? It's been slowly warming up here and the beautiful pink magnolia tree - the most majestic in the springtime - has its buds! (!!!!!!!!). I can't wait for it. So in the meantime I planted my own seeds, and they sprouted in under a week! I am a novice when it comes to this, so I'm not sure if that's normal...but I am pumped. My seedlings include some poppies (which aren't going to transplant well, but I don't care), stock, zinnia, and ranunculus.
  • coffee diaries of epic proportions coming soon! it was so fantastic and inspiring! I turned a blog friend into a real friend, yay!
  • the great outdoors. well, I didn't walk through it - but we drove up through the mountains this weekend and the landscape and scenery were breathtaking. getting some cool mountain air in the lungs is always a good thing. and how about that covered bridge? I love my car's gps system for surprising us with that one along the route.
  • falling off the healthy wagon...lately my weeks have been up and down. sometimes, i eat healthy in my head but don't actually do it. does that make sense? {actually, even I don't understand that!?} What i think I mean is that I intend to eat well, especially during the week, but then sometimes the hangriness sets in and it's very hard to control! I have been SO good lately about eating practices, and working out, but I hurt my knee and haven't run for a few days. so mentally, i feel like I have fallen off the wagon. Need to get back on (and stop eating chips and salsa). 
  • springing forward for daylight savings hurts. 
  • there is something to be said about old fashioned, slow paced visits. whether it is coffee meet-ups, spontaneous get-togethers, or dinners with old friends, building those kinds of relationships - over laughs, stories, memories, old photos - is the paramount happiness. I had so many of those this weekend with old and new friends, and it is something special. Being in a rush is overrated.

Have a great week! ciao, xo


lazy sunday

flats (similar)  / denim lucky  / blouse urban outfitters / tote / necklace loft  / hat brixton

The perfect lazy Sunday is actually not lazy at all! It would be dressing up in my sunday best, having breakfast or coffee or tea with my loves, and taking in all the joys of the season. And that was last sunday! I strolled around with my photog (aka my brother) after enjoying an amazing family breakfast and planning an upcoming mini-getaway to Long Island, NY for later this month. Lately I have been wanting to do so many things on the weekends but I am trying to restrict myself to budget-friendly activities (aka no shopping - or not a lot, at least. hehe). I want to be disciplined and cut out unnecessary spending over the next few weeks so I can really enjoy the cafes, maybe a cute B&B, and spontaneous stops along the way. I am dreaming of the early spring nautical delights of the Hamptons and cannot wait! So for now, I am really indulging the weekends with simple time for photography, exercising, painting, and getting ready for spring. Just this weekend I planted some ranunculus bulbs and other spring seeds to get in the spirit of warmth!

Right now it's chilly in these parts, but during this time of year I always feel like ditching my coat. While shooting, I was definitely cold, but it felt great walking through spurts of sunshine down the street and feeling the breeze in my hair!  For this chilly day look, I wore my favorite new ruffled blouse from Urban Outfitters.  I love the romantic, drapey ruffles on this shirt. It's actually very lightweight but pulls down in the right places. It was perfect to pair with my also romantic lacey flats, which I learned are properly called ghillies (they're named after old Scottish dancing shoes). I thought a half-up half-down wavy hairstyle would be a nice girlish touch to this finalize this look.

PS - these pics are edited in Lightroom and how awesome do they look!? I am amazed by the power of this program. It also makes me realize how just about every image that has ever been published or shared in this age has been retouched! While I definitely love my share of instagram filters, lightroom presets and other editing goodies, I know that over-editing and photoshopping can really take away from the beauty of raw images, and that's why I like to keep it pretty simple. I only like to edit or add to the mood of the image. For the above photos, I was feeling a light, bright and airy morning vibe. It adds a weird sense of authenticity to these pictures, in my head. No major edits go into my work (it is so time consuming!). The skill of taking the shot matters first, and when that's awesome quality, then editing is a breeze.

before and after in lightroom 


spring wishlist

sandals / lens for nikon / jeans /  pouf / moisturizer / blouse / dress / socks / earrings 

I am feeling MAJOR, major major spring fever vibes! All I want to do is run through a field of flowers and be outside! I am craving cool spring mornings, sunny afternoons, and having longer days. The school year is almost over, warmth is coming, and I always get this jumpy wanderlust-y feeling about upcoming summertime travels.

This winter I have really found my stride with my go-to shopping picks: the items from above are on my radar to add to the arsenal! There are so many trends I am loving, in particular the marble-white jewelry with gold, flowy hemlines and ruffles, cropped high waisted jeans, and romantic yet minimalist details (like lace, or fluff as seen on that awesome ottoman/pouf!). Anthropologie and Urban have been unexpected favorites lately - along with the usual Loft, etc. 

As for beauty, Laura Mercier is my new favorite moisturizer. I actually own this already but I love it and wanted to share! I've been using this as a luxe weekends-only moisturizer, because it is so rich and nourishing I don't want to use it all up! It is $98/bottle, so it's not something I want to be stocking up on very frequently. Wish it was cheaper! I use this in the meantime as a great weekday choice that is light and super-hydrating. 

And...for the fun little tech piece...a new lens! I actually owned this lens at one point and switched it out after having second thoughts. But now I am having third thoughts (is that a thing?) and the verdict is: I wish I never sold it back. This lens has it all! I love the lens' ability to zoom in on the finest details like strands of hair, petals on flowers, etc. The f/2 aperture really blurs the background nicely and adds such a pleasing bokeh effect. So, I am thinking I need to reintroduce this glass into my collection.

what's on your must have list for spring? 

ciao, xo!