For Rachael

In the Kitchen: More Pizza!

I’ve been really slacking when it comes to cooking. I’ve tried to make plenty of new things, but nothing really turned out right. I guess my heart just wasn’t in it. But then I decided I really wanted to make pizza (again).

This time I made a homemade thin crust dough rather than just beating the system with store bought mix. I’ve made plenty of pizza dough in my youth with my family, but never on my own despite hearing how “easy” it is from pretty much everyone. The recipe calls for proofing the dough although typically that’s really only done with thicker dough. Proofing this thin dough makes it much more crispy and crumbly rather than airy and fluffy. Proofing dough is super easy because it can be done by room temperature, leaving the bowl on a hot surface (like the stove while the oven is on), or leaving it outside like my grandmother used to.

I chose to split one recipe of dough in half and make two really small pizzas to try different things, so really it makes one regular sized thin pizza ideally. Splitting the dough made it very, very thin and crispy. The first one I made was roasted red pepper and basil while the second was prosciutto and arugula.

I wish I had better photos of the final result. 

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Style Crush: Olivia Culpo

Olivia Culpo is a woman of many hats. She’s an actress, cellist, and former beauty queen, but most of all she has terrific style. This makes her eligible to be a source of style inspiration (and subject of Style Crush). I didn’t know much about her other than seeing her on random social media posts during events where style is heavily prevalent.

Olivia was named Miss USA in 2012 and Miss Universe the same year. I’m not entirely sure how Miss Universe works because the entire universe (aliens) aren’t invited to compete? Regardless, from what I’ve learned Olivia’s style combines classic staples with current trends in a fun, flirty way. Some of her staples include bodysuits and high waisted jeans, and she even praises looking to places like Zara and Topshop for trendy pieces that can be worn year after year (#same).

What I really like about her style is she boldly takes on trends like the completely sheer top and keeps them looking classy (when it very easily can go south….fast). Another thing I like is her ability to rock an entire outfit of white pieces. Sure, solid black is a classic but changing it up to white is incredibly polished and chic. One thing I learned during this process is she believes in getting dressed in the moment. She doesn’t plan her outfits ahead of time but rather uses her mood to dictate what she wears to portray how she feels. That’s definitely something worth trying.

As always below are some looks worth trying out but with a few minor changes here and there.

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BodysuitLeather leggingsFlatsAviatorsHandbagJacket

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Style Crush: Bella Hadid

Okay Rachael, I finally did it. praisehandsemoji

I’ll begin this blog by saying I spent a good day of my spring break looking at photos of the Hadid sisters. It wasn’t difficult as fashion month has just passed and there are sweet baby angels on Tumblr who log hours and hours sharing these photos. It makes this post way easier, I’ll have you know. So after much research and some coercing from my best friend to do this, I’ve finally created this blog post. In case you were wondering, I’m still very much a Gigi rather than a Bella when it comes to style. As if that’s a thing anyone should ever ponder….?

Bella Hadid is a model and younger sister to Gigi Hadid. She began modeling when she moved to New York City to study photography at Parsons School of Design. Since then she has walked in many fashion shows, starred in music videos, and also dated The Weeknd. Her style has the ability to transcend from high fashion to relaxed athlesiure wear with ease which is why her runway booking options are endless. Her off duty style is just as on point as the runway looks she wears creating the ideal balance. Bella takes runway looks and makes them all her own by adding touches from the 90s. The versatility she has when it comes to off duty style is admirable.

All of the looks below are recreated with a few alterations and a budget in mind because…real life.

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Sunglasses | Mini Skirt | Top | Leather Jacket | Boots

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Style Crush: Olivia Palermo

Olivia Palermo is most known for her role on the MTV show The City which was a spin-off of The Hills which aired from 2008 to 2010. Since the show ended she has been a model, socialite, guest judge on Project Runway, and become incredibly well-known for her style. So much so she just became global style embassador for Banana Republic, and when Googling her, “street style” is one of the most common things being searched. She has made an interesting imprint on the style world for mixing bold pieces with casual classics and embracing trends head on. She is often one of the most photographed street style subjects during fashion month.

Now, at first when she was suggested to me, I didn’t think I’d really love many of her looks. We all know I’m pretty basic and classic (okay maybe the word here is boring), but when researching looks I realized that there were so many of her looks I truly wish I could pull off. I was told I would love her collection with Chelsea28 (and I did) and that although some of her pieces were a bit more “wild” I could still find something to love. This was absolutely true. What I really enjoyed about her style after digging deeper is how polished she consistently looks no matter if it’s just stepping out to walk her dog or walking into the next biggest fashion show. Her style is a perfect mix of comfortable and chic so there’s always something that fits the occasion.

There are plenty of looks that are easily pulled off or just changed around a little bit. I really love how effortless most of the looks appear to be which makes them even easier to get the look. Part of evolving stylistically means pulling from new influences, and I am definitely going to be adding some of her most polished looks into my style file cabinet.

Ugh, who says file cabinet anymore…

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H&M turtleneckTopshop jeansLe Specs sunglassesKate Spade bagStella McCartney sneakersThe Horse watch

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J. Crew pencil skirtH&M sweaterZara blazerLuLu heelsLuLu Guinness clutchRebecca Minkoff ring

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Lush blouseH&M pantsAdidas sneakersHouse of Harlow 1960 ringQuay sunglassesZara scarf

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Le Specs sunglassesJ. Crew pantsZara sweaterShashi necklaceSteve Madden heelsSaint Laurent bag

 

Fall Makeup Essentials

Forgive me for the fall overload. Of course, I’m sure it’s really no bother since it really is the best time of the year. One of the best things about it is finally getting to update my beauty essentials.

This is nearly every piece of my daily makeup routine. You may be saying “been there done that” but with fall it’s a little different. I switch out my beloved tinted moisturizer for real foundation because finally it won’t melt off my face or cause a crazy irritation by the middle of the day. Another change is I’ve gone back to my Maybelline Nudes palette. I think I’ve used the browns in the palette so much more than any other eye shadows I own. This NARS lipstick is my favorite during autumn because it’s a really great color that is just dark enough without being too overbearing. It’s a really nice rosy tan.

I picked up the Estee Lauder Edgiest mascara on whim to try new mascara a month or so ago. If you’re looking for spider lashes in an instant you’ve found your perfect tool. It does create volume and length but at a price. It does not come off no matter what remover I use. Straight coconut oil, makeup wipes, or eye makeup remover: it takes a lot to remove it. Other than that, I highly recommend it.

Shop: Maybelline Blur + Illuminate primerNARS Sheer Glow FoundationSonia Kashuk under eye concealerToo Faced Sun Bunny bronzerNARS Orgasm blushMaybelline Nudes paletteRimmel eyelinerRimmel eyebrow pencilEstee Lauder The Edgiest mascaraNARS Lipstick

Styled: Trench Coat

Trench Coats are classic closet staples. They may change fabrics, cuts, and embellishments, but they never go out of style. There’s a reason they’ve been popular forever because of their versatility. Beginning as a military staple, trench coats found a new life during the 1960s when mods and other hip younger people began wearing them as an alternative to popular coat styles. They have made their mark on our culture as the chosen outerwear for flashers and streakers. But more importantly have become icons in popular culture as the chosen outerwear of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, David Tenant’s Doctor in Doctor Who, the bumbling Detective Columbo played by Peter Falk, and of course, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Burberry has the market corned on the dreamiest trench coats I have ever seen. No matter the color, length, cut, or changes they make they have the most lustworthy coats. But they are definitely out of the price range I feel should ever be paid for a coat (even if it lasts forever). There are plenty of stylish options that bring fall/winter outfits up just a notch. Get used to them being around, new cuts and takes on this classic were pretty big on spring/summer fashion week runways.

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H&M turtleneckRag & Bone jeansH&M ankle bootsWestward Leaning sunglassesLouise et Cie bag

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Madewell teeRag & Bone jeansJ. Crew shoesElizabeth & James bag

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Zara dressAdidas sneakersTopshop bagMr. President & Co barette

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Tularosa jumpsuitVince Camuto heelsMatt & Nat bagTopshop necklace

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Shop trench coats: Forever 21SacaiJ. CrewMadewellThe RowBurberryZaraH&MWho What WearTopshop

The Do’s & Don’ts of iPhoneography

Obviously I am not a professional photographer, but I, like anyone else in the 21st century take a lot of photos with my iPhone. There are so many tips & tricks for getting just the right photo, but I’m throwing my proverbial hat into the ring and sharing my own. Not only am I going to share my do’s and don’ts, but I’m going to share the tools I use (which is typically against my code of conduct).

The Tools:

Built-In Camera: I always use the iPhone’s built-in camera. Apps like Instagram and VSCO have cameras available in their apps, but the resolution is often lower than that of the phone’s own camera. Using the app editor’s camera may seem like it’s a one-stop shop, but taking photos on the phone camera allows for editing later. This gives more time living in the moment rather than being tempted to edit and share it straight away.

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Apps:

VSCO – The only filters and editing tools I use are available in the VSCO app. Obviously I’m not going to share the exact methods of my madness, but I do own all the filters available (so it’s one or two of those).

Layout – If there is ever a time to make a collage, I use Layout. It’s user-friendly and gets to the point with minimal options (no one needs a 16 photo collage) and zero fuss.

Instagram – This one is a no brainer. Everyone and their Grandmother use Instagram practically. VSCO has a built-in social sharing site, but it’s for great photographers (thus not ideal for my amateur photos of palm trees).

Do’s & Don’ts:

Don’t subscribe to the idea you need a theme. There are hundreds of bloggers and people in the world that will tell you your Instagram account needs a theme. Only use one filter with the same brightness, hue, and saturation levels. Every such and such photo should be of this item, black and white, etc. I’ve heard them all. If you want a theme, cool. If not that’s cool too. Just do what you feel.

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Do be as real as possible. Yes, big famous Instagram accounts come from bloggers and people with incredible photos, but I’m a regular person. I don’t go on vacation 30 times a year to beautiful exotic places and most of the time my outfits aren’t worthy of an #OOTD. Share what you want, and don’t be intimated by everyone elses highlight reel.

Don’t post more than 3 photos per occasion tops. This goes for birthday parties, concerts, and even vacations. I break this rule a lot, but I try to follow it. Odds are whoever is in my photos or looking at them is at the event. They know what it was like and it saves a lot of hurt feelings for people not included. (Unless someone starts drama with you on the regular for little to no reason at all then post all you want) This goes for reposting Snapchat’s as well.

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Do fake good lighting. Lighting is an issue especially indoors. My apartment has the worst built-in lighting so it makes taking photos in certain areas after sundown horrific. Use a white background (even a piece of paper if you’re trying a lay-flat of clothes etc) and it will naturally brighten it. Mess with the exposure in VSCO (or the brightness in other apps). Positive numbers will darken the photo while negative numbers brighten it. Beware not to mess with it too much or the photo will become grainy.

Do photograph your food but do it well. No one likes ugly, poorly lit food. Don’t take a sad photo of a sugar cookie on a paper plate. If you made it: awesome. Show it off. Just do it on a good plate.

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Don’t listen to dumb people. There are people who have to say something about literally anything and everything. I’ve listened to all the photo sharing rules, but honestly they are a bunch of bull. If you want to post an inspirational quote, go for it. You want to post a funny meme, go for it. It’s portraying you as a person and the most popular accounts these days are filled with repurposed quotes and memes from all over the internet (looking at you Fat Jew). Also concert photos: share them. I’m a huge advocate of sharing those.

Bottom line: share what you want in the most pleasing way. Convey your best self and your best life. Don’t try to subscribe to the thoughts, ideas, and “rules” set by famous accounts or large accounts.

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This is part of an ongoing series being featured in, what I can only assume is the “How to Be Nicole Guidebook,” Rachael is writing.