Friday, September 29, 2017

Lash Extensions

I recently got lash extensions for my upcoming wedding (8 days to go!) and it's safe to say I'm obsessed! My sister works at a salon & spa and she's a pro with everything from hair, nails, lashes and microblading! It took about an hour, which was mostly relaxing since my eyes were closed but a little uncomfortable when the time came to tape down my bottom lashes. I have a bit of an eye-phobia (I can't even use eye drops!) but once we got past that, it was a breeze! I am in love with the results - long & full lashes that still look natural. Best part = no mascara! Bring on the wedding day tears! 

It's been quiet in my little corner of the internet lately, thanks to the final stages of wedding planning. The last month of planning is stressful nonetheless, but add a destination wedding right after Hurricane Irma just hit, and it's a recipe for disaster. It was the most stressful couple weeks filled with meltdowns, a full-blown panic attack at work, and countless calls with my coordinator. We came this close to having to change pretty much every detail including the city, venue, caterer and florist, but I'm happy to announce that all of our original plans are still in affect to get married in Key West on October 7th! So relieved and ready to celebrate with all of our friends and family! I'm hoping to get back to regular posting next month. Check back soon for a full recap on our wedding week & honeymoon travels! 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Pearl Slides

My current go-to outfit is comprised of basics paired with statement accessories. These lace shorts have gotten a lot of wear in the last few years (such as here, here & here) mainly due to both their ease and comfort. They also lend a more refined touch than the cut-off shorts I usually gravitate toward on the weekends. I scored these slides at Target (only $25 and also come in blush!) and love the pearl embellishments. I finished off the look with my bright red bag for a pop of color.

{outfit details)
Tank - Zara || Shorts - Madewell || Sandals - Target || Bag - Tory Burch || Sunglasses - Ray-Ban

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Currently Obsessed

I'm a big proponent for sunless tanning because while I love a little color, I try to avoid getting too much sun exposure - all about the SPF! My sister found this California Tan Sunless Spray at a hair show and it's kind of amazing! I used it before my bachelorette party and loved the results - natural bronze color and even application with no streaks in sight. I will definitely be using this sunless tanning spray for the big day! 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Cilantro Jalapeño Hummus

One of my favorite paleo snacks is hummus & baby carrots, which is even better when the hummus is homemade! This cilantro jalapeño hummus is full of flavor and so easy to make.

3 cans low sodium garbanzo beans
1 bunch fresh cilantro
3 large jalapeños (seeded & deveined)
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
3/4 - 1 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and combine until smooth and creamy. Enjoy with pita chips, carrots & celery or spread onto a tortilla and top with veggies - the options are endless!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bachelorette Bash

Last weekend my three best friends and I went down to South Beach for my bachelorette party! To say we had fun would be an understatement - from the chic condo (which promptly became covered in banners, balloons, confetti and clothes!), amazing food (sushi at Zuma was life-changing!), brunching for hours with bottomless mimosas, pool party at Fontainebleau, and everything in between. So thankful for these girls and a weekend full of a million laughs and even more memories! 

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Smile Brilliant At-Home Whitening Kit

{beauty essentials: bright lipstick & Smile Brilliant teeth whitening trays}

Like most people, I can't start my day without a cup of coffee. It's not the caffeine that I crave first thing in the morning, but rather the ritual of waking up slowly while I enjoy a cup, simultaneously listening to the news, reading blogs and talking with Greg. I've had this daily coffee habit for half of my life, and unfortunately my teeth are proof. 

As soon as we started planning our wedding, I began thinking about the little beauty details that would help make me feel my absolute best on the big day. Teeth whitening was near the top of the list so I was thrilled when Smile Brilliant contacted me to try their at-home teeth whitening trays. The process was super simple: they mailed me a kit to create my dental impressions, I sent them back and then received my custom-fitted whitening trays with the teeth whitening and desensitizing gels. I used them for 2 weeks, every other night for 60-90 minutes while I caught up on my Netflix shows. I have mild teeth sensitivity so I requested the desensitizing gel just in case, but ended up not needing to use it, as the discomfort subsided after the first few minutes. If that is a concern of yours, I would recommend using the desensitizing gel after whitening.

The results started to show about a week into the process and I'm very pleased with how white my teeth look after two full weeks of using the whitening trays. It easily became part of my nightly routine and I would sometimes forget I was even wearing them. I will definitely use the whitening gel again before October 7th to make sure my smile is bright and white alongside my wedding gown.

I'm so excited to offer my readers a chance to win a free Smile Brilliant whitening kit! 
Enter the giveaway HERE!
*Giveaway is open for one week. You MUST enter through the link to be counted.  Giveaway is for $139 credit- and is open to USA, UK, Canada, and Australia residents*

You can also receive $15 off trays using coupon code: mc2squared15

Before & After

Thank you to Smile Brilliant for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Broccoli Salad

Looking for a side dish for your 4th of July barbecue this weekend? This broccoli salad is it. Full of flavor (and pretty healthy!) with sweet cranberries and a little crunch in the form of toasted almonds. 

Hope you all have a safe & fun holiday weekend!

2 heads of broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup mayo (plus more to taste)
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1 cup cranberries (I used craisins)
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/2 tablespoon butter, melted
2 pinches of sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Wash broccoli and chop into small florets. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Chop onion finely and add to the broccoli.
Spread almonds evenly over a small baking sheet and add 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter.
In a toaster oven (or regular oven) toast the almonds under the broiler. Stir every couple of minutes until golden brown. Watch closely because they are known to go from white to burned in what seems like a matter of seconds. 
In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup of mayo, the honey and lemon juice. Whisk until creamy. Pour over the broccoli and add the toasted almonds & cranberries. Stir until everything is lightly covered with the sauce, then add more mayo as desired. Sprinkle a couple pinches of sugar and season with a little salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Stripes + Suede

Unless it's something for the wedding, I've pretty much been on a shopping-freeze. Lately I've been getting creative and styling my current closet staples in a new way. This look, for example, consists of pieces that I've worn multiple times before (tank / skirt / headscarf) but mixing them all together feels fresh. 

We've been getting a ton of rain here in the sunshine state, so outfit shoots have been a challenge recently. But good news: Greg is back to working days! Hallelujah! It's been almost 2 years of working opposite shifts and seeing each other about one day a week so it's really nice to actually see my fiancé! Feels kinda like we're back to dating again, when everything is new in the beginning, but the little things mean so much more after time apart. Waking up in the morning and enjoying a cup of coffee together is priceless. Hope you all have a great weekend & Fathers' Day!

{outfit details}
Tank - Zara || Skirt - Tobi c/o (last worn here) || Headscarf - Nordstrom || Bag - Zara || Sandals - Target || Lipstick - NARS "cruella"

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Chambray Hat

Another day, another monochromatic outfit. White on white has been in my rotation quite a bit this year (such as here & here). When it comes to styling, it's all in the accessories. This chambray hat, which I scored through work, is the perfect addition to top off a casual summer look. One of the most fun aspects of my job as an accessories buyer is designing pieces for our private label brand. Everything from fabric to silhouette to embroidery - it's challenging but so rewarding when something I've helped create turns out to be a best seller! Looking forward to seeing the collection come to life for Spring 2018!

{outfit details}
Tank - Zara (similar version here) || Jeans - Current/Elliott c/o Shopbop || Hat - sample (similar style here) || Bag - Rebecca Minkoff c/o Shopbop || Sandals - Steve Madden || Aviators - Ray-Ban || Watch - Michael Kors || Lipstick - NARS "schiap" || Nail Polish - Essie "coconut cove"

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salty & sweet is a seriously addicting combination and these salted caramel chocolate chip cookies are no exception. I dare you to stop at just one...

1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package vanilla pudding mix
1 bag of Ghiradelli milk chocolate chips
1 bag of Ghiradelli caramel baking chips
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars on low speed. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda & salt. Gradually add the flour mixture, stopping halfway to scrape down the sides of the stand mixing bowl to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated. 
Add pudding mix and beat well. On low speed, add the chocolate chips and caramel chips, just until mixed throughout.
Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, place dough on a non-stick baking sheet about one inch apart. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven, sprinkle the cookies with sea salt. Let stand on baking sheet for a couple minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Enjoy warm or store once completely cooled.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fringe Kimono {500th Post!}

The easiest way to add a bohemian touch to an outfit is by throwing on a kimono. I love these light-weight layers, which are perfect for summer. Although my office dress code is casual, sleeveless tops are not permitted so kimonos are my favorite way to cover up while still looking cute. This printed fringe one is a few years old but I still reach for it often and pair it with everything from denim to dresses.

This post marks my 500th!!! When I started MC Squared, I was a Junior at Florida State procrastinating studying for finals and thought it would be fun to create a blog instead of cram for my fashion merchandising exams. Now here we are, 7 years, countless hours and photos later, and I still get excited every time I click "publish." Sharing my passions has been the best part of blogging and hope you all continue to enjoy reading my next 500 posts! Cheers!

{outfit details}
Kimono - Forever 21 (cute kimonos here) || Dress - Loft (similar on sale here) || Sunglasses - Warby Parker || Clutch - Divas & Devils Boutique || Booties - Steve Madden (almost identical pair on sale here)|| Lipstick - Revlon Ultra Matte in "flirt"

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mixed Print Top

I bought this top a couple of years ago when I was a buyer for BCBG. In the fashion industry, I'm always working 6 months ahead and looking for the next trend, so sometimes I lose interest in an item by the time it hits stores. This top however, I was still lusting after and picked it up right away! It's so perfect for Spring, with pretty florals and a built in mixed-print design. The neckline is so unique, definitely my favorite detail. I paired this top with my go-to cut-offs, which I wear on the weekends more than I'd like to admit! Cognac accessories provide grounded accents to this shades of blue outfit.

Wedding Planning Update: We are less than 5 months away from the big day and getting so excited! We booked our honeymoon! Originally we were planning on Hawaii but 2 full days of traveling and expensive flights forced us to get creative. We live in paradise on an island by the beach and our wedding is a destination in Key West so we figured we didn't need to honeymoon in a tropical place. I'm so excited we will be spending a week in San Francisco & Napa Valley - hiking, wine tasting, a hot air balloon ride & more! I can't wait! 

{outfit details}
Top - BCBG || Shorts - Levi's (last worn here) || Bag - Dooney & Bourke || Sandals - T.J. Maxx || Sunglasses - Ray-Ban || Lipstick - Revlon "flirt"