How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note for Any Occasion

Thank You Notes

Whether you just celebrated a birthday, wedding, or baby shower, it’s very likely your friends and family have given you gifts to commemorate the occasion. While you probably thanked them in person and even over the phone or with a text, it’s important to write a handwritten note to them as well. They’ve gone out of their way to think about you and buy you a gift, so why not take a little time to show them how much you appreciate it.

As I inch closer to becoming a mom, my friends, family, and even my coworkers have all made an effort to show how excited they are for our new bundle of joy by giving us gifts for the baby. Between our wedding festivities and the baby, I’ve had to write a ton of thank you notes over the past four years. I finally feel like I have a system that works.

Below, my five rules for writing a stellar thank you note for any occasion:

Continue reading “How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note for Any Occasion”

I’m Going to Be A Mom!

We're Expecting!
Since my husband and I found out we were having a baby, I’ve taken some time off from blogging and Instagram to focus on life and preparing for our new addition. Baby boy is due in April and with just two weeks to go I feel as excited and nervous as ever about the changes that are coming our way. I’m finally ready to share this magical experience with all of you!

Friday Fave: Smith & Cult Lip Lacquers

smithandcultSmith and Cult has just released a new line of lip lacquers! Great news for those of us who prefer paraben-free lip glosses, which also happen to be gluten-free and vegan too. The line of glosses is made up of ultra-feminine, easy-to-wear shades of pink, plum, and red and come in names that are as equally enticing–High Speed Sonnet, Her Name Bubbles, The Lovers, and The Queen Is Dead are just a few. Smith & Cult founder (a.k.a. Hard Candy co-founder) Dineh Mohajer called her line of lacquers The Shining, after Stanley Kubrick’s film, telling Nylon the name “seemed perfectly fitting, since it captured the objectives of the collection: To be shockingly shiny and scary addictive.” Prepare to be hooked.

Smith & Cult is available at Neiman Marcus

Friday Fave: Serena and Lily for Paperless Post

Serena & Lily + Paperless Post banner

Two of the best reasons to host a party this summer are Paperless Post and Serena & Lily. The online stationer is known for its eye-pleasing collabs with designers like Kelly Wearstler, Kate Spade, Jonathan Adler and Oscar de la Renta. By adding Serena & Lily to the roster, Paperless Post just made the party-hosting game a lot more colorful. There are 30 different styles of stationery–offered in both digital and printed formats–all featuring the punchy prints and colors that Serena & Lily is so well-known for. Want to earn yourself the Best, Most Put Together Hostess badge of the summer? Choose a party invitation that matches your Serena & Lily table settings and couch cushions and you’ll be one step closer to becoming the next Colin Cowie. See below for a bit of guidance…

Serena & Lily LobsterClockwise from left to right:
Serena & Lily for Paperless Post Lobster Runner stationery
Buoy Pendant Lamp in cobalt
Brasserie Chair in red
Raffia Runner


Serena & Lily Lemon
Clockwise from left to right:
Serena & Lily for Paperless Post Lemon Drape stationery
Beach Stripe Napkin in dandelion
Milano Enamelware Collection in lemon

Serena & Lily CatalinaClockwise from left to right:
Serena & Lily for Paperless Post Catalina Frame stationery
Laquer Rattan Tray in navy
Medallion Euro Sham in Catalina Navy
Ellie Side Table

5 Unexpected Ways to Use Josie Maran Argan Balm

Josie Maran Argan Balm ReviewSkin Saver: Josie Maran Argan Balm

After hearing so many great things about Josie Maran Argan Balm, I finally picked it up at Sephora a few weeks ago. Aside from my face, the rest of my skin is chronically dry so I was excited to use the head-to-toe moisture treatment for things like dry elbows and post-shave relief. But to my surprise I discovered that Argan Balm can be used for so much more!

Besides taming flyaways and moisturizing your skin, lips and nails, this lightweight, fragrance-free miracle balm also:
1.) Soothes sunburned skin
2.) Smoothes fine lines around the eyes
3.) Tames and defines eyebrows
4.) Highlights cheekbones to provide a natural, dewy look
5.) Treats and lessens the severity of paper cuts

Velvety Smooth Hummus Recipe

Smooth and Easy Hummus

I had a friend from Lebanon growing up and while her mother never cooked for me, she did occasionally treat us to lavish meals at a Lebanese restaurant in Midtown called Al Bustan. She would order all kinds of food for us but the dishes I remember most were the abundant and colorful mezzes. Stuffed grape leaves that glistened, falafel that were oh so satisfyingly crispy, phyllo pockets stuffed with rich halloumi cheese, bowls of pickled carrots that made our mouths purse and our bellies giggle, and the smoothest, lightest hummus I had ever tasted in my life.

I’ve been a hummus snob ever since, always gravitating toward the smoother–and somehow more elegant–Lebanese version, as opposed to the often chunky styles of Turkey, Greece, or Israel. It’s a style of hummus that I can only get from a few restaurants in the city, so as the cravings pop up I’ve started making my own.

To get my hummus as smooth as possible, I peel each garbanzo bean one by one. It sounds like a pain, but it creates a rich, velvety hummus that I find to be much more palatable. Plus, sometimes it’s nice to throw yourself into a brainless 5-minute task. The rest of the recipe is easy-peasy. I hope you enjoy it!

Super Smooth and Insanely Elegant Hummus

Makes about 2 cups of hummus, takes 15 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz. can of garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas), peeled
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon juice (from 1-2 lemons)
  • 1 large garlic clove, diced
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Drain garbanzo beans.
  2. Peel the garbanzo beans one at a time by holding each one between your thumb and pointer finger and pinching it slightly to remove the soft shell.
  3. Pour the peeled garbanzo beans into a food processor and blend until powdery, about 1 minute.
  4. Scrape down the sides and add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Blend until creamy.
  5. Pour in water and blend to incorporate, creating a smooth puree.
  6. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Best Mother’s Day Spa Treatments in NYC

Still don’t know what to give your mom for Mother’s Day? Time is ticking and something tells me you’ve exhausted your options of soft bathrobes, fuzzy slippers, and crazy kitchen gadgets over the years. Make this year even more special by treating her to a day of beautification and relaxation at one of New York’s most luxurious spas. Who knows? She may be so touched by your thoughtfulness that she might just have you join her.
–A Sweet Experience at Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf–
Guerlain NYC
If your mom’s guilty pleasure is getting manis and pedis, indulge her with unforgettable nail treatments at Guerlain Spa. During the Milk Haute Honey Mani-Pedi, her legs and forearms will be scrubbed with lemon sugar and brushed with honey produced by bees that live on the top of the Waldorf Astoria. Honey bees that live at the Waldorf? She’ll be bragging to her friends about it for weeks.
Price: $140
–A One-Stop-Shop at Le Parker Meridien Hotel–
Le Parker Meridien NYC
If you have a limited budget but want to give your mom a full day of beauty, this is the place to do it. The Mother’s Day package includes a 60-minute massage or facial at Moonshine Spa, signature manicure at Tenoverten, blowout at Drybar, lunch from Petit Blue Dog Cafe, and all-day use of Gravity fitness center and rooftop pool. She’ll walk out of Le Parker Meridien ready to conquer the world–or at least ready to face the other posh ladies at BG restaurant.
Price: $180
–Timeless Tradition at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa–
Red Door Spa_Union Square copy
If your mom prefers classic luxury with few surprises, book her a day at Red Door Spa. All three NYC locations carry out Elizabeth Arden’s longstanding tradition of understand elegance, with a wow factor that never ceases to please. The Beautifully Original with Massage package includes Elizabeth Arden’s
Beautifully Original with Massage package includes a 50-minute signature massage, warm cream mani-pedi, and a makeup refresher.
Price: $224
–Pamper and Primp at Paul Labrecque–
Paul Lebrecque Salon_Chelsea Piers copy
If your plans for mom include taking her out to dinner or to see a show, schedule an afternoon of beauty for her at Paul Labrecque. She’ll be treated like a queen with a 30-minute scalp treatment, shampoo, blowout, makeup application, manicure, and brow shaping. She’ll look so good at the end of it she might even take her first selfie!
Price: $190 (normally $252)

Awesome Emerald Green Smoothie

Emerald Green Smoothie

Whether I go to the gym in the morning or lounge in bed with a cup of tea and the newspaper, my best days are ones I start by doing something good for me. Breakfast has always been an important part of my day but since I’ve been making an effort to not settle for a bowl of cereal, it has become an even more sacred ritual. This green smoothie is one of my favorite things to make in the morning. It has the most amazingly fresh and grassy scent and gives me a boost of energy that I appreciate. I always enjoy it with a piece of toast, and often drink it while sitting in my favorite pink armchair. Whatever your morning ritual becomes, I promise this recipe will be a great addition to it!

Emerald Green Smoothie

Makes 2 tall glasses, takes 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • Leaves torn from 4 stalks of kale
  • 1 hearty handful of baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut water
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 green apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 1 handful of ice

Directions:

  1. Add kale and spinach to a standup blender. Pour in coconut water and blend for 30 seconds.
  2. Add celery, apple, and kiwi to the mixture. Blend until smooth, about one minute. (Use the liquify setting if you have it.)
  3. Toss in the ice and blend for another minute until smooth. The smoothie will be thick yet easy to pour.
  4. Enjoy!

The Best of Spring Beauty

Spring Beauty

When it comes to springtime beauty essentials, soft, girly, pastel palettes and gorgeous packaging are my weak spots. Shop some of my favorite picks of the season below:

  1. bareMinerals eye shadow in Princess (left) and Cultured Pearl (right), $14 each. beauty.com
  2. Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh eau de toilette, sizes from $24-$98. sephora.com
  3. Guerlain Météorites compact, $62. saksfifthavenue.com
  4. Aerin makeup brushes and pouch, $148. aerin.com
  5. Dior ‘Crème de Rose’ Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm SPF 10, $28. nordstrom.com
  6. Chantecaille Save the Bees Eye Palette, $83. barneys.com
  7. Clé de Peau Beauté Eye and Lip Makeup Remover, $50. neimanmarcus.com
  8. Clinique Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette, $32. lordandtaylor.com