What to do in NJ – Go to the Balloon Festival

Sunshine, great company and balloons, what more could you ask for?! My honey and I attended the Balloon Festival over the weekend with our friends and it was such a fun day! There was an accompanying carnival with rides, games and lots of naughty and delicious food. I, of course, got a funnel cake. Is there ever a time when you turn down funnel cake? Did I mention there were hot air balloons everywhere?! I highly recommended you attend a balloon festival if there is one nearby!

It was a gorgeous and warm sunny day, but the balloon ascension was delayed, because it was slightly windy. I’m sure it was more than slightly windy, but it really didn’t feel like it on the ground. I was glad I wore shorts and sandals (the shorts were from my recent outlet shopping trip and the sandals part of my July Haul) because we were wishing for more wind! Ha! But the balloons needed to wait for the officials to lower the red flag and raise the green. Silver lining: the photos ended up including the sunset too. Ballooning: ideal conditions about 3 days a year.

Once the balloons were finally clear to go, they all inflated and took off at once, it was awesome to see! I couldn’t stop snapping pics, alternating between my phone and camera. #typicalblogger… But I was not alone, everyone was trying to get the perfect shot!

My favorite was the Wicked balloon, which said “Defy Gravity” next to their logo. A double entendre is the quickest way to my heart. After funnel cake. Also, the panda balloon was the fan favorite, it was pretty huge, but he kept mooning us. Nasty little panda!

At night they inflated the other balloons that were in special shapes, like the light house and Angry Bird. It was very cool to see them light up from the fire being used to inflate them. They were set up right next to the stage where 3 Doors Down was playing, so it was duel entertainment. Did I not mention lawn seats to the 3 Doors Down concert were included in our admission fee?! Pretty damn cool, I know! They put on a good 90’s rock band show! We actually all knew more 3 Doors Down songs than we thought. Go figure.

Overall, this was a really fun experience, and something we’ll for sure do again. I have been asked by a few friends to keep them on the list for next year. If you’ll be in NJ in late July of next year, and want to find out more about the balloon festival, click here.

Have you ever been to a balloon festival or gone up in a hot air balloon?

Roxy turns 2!!

Happy Birthday to the most amazing little puppy, best friend, girlie, meatball, listener, helper, snuggler and stinker out there- my amazing #BostonTerrier Roxy!! I’ve been telling her for a few weeks now that she is going to be TWO, but she didn’t understand until I gave her the giant canister of doggy cookies- NOW she surely gets it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Roxy's First Day with me!

Roxy’s First Day with me!

Since the day we brought her home 2 years ago, she has brought tremendous joy, fun and laughs into the lives of all who meet her- We Love You Roxy!!

If only my little angel-face knew just how happy she makes me, she would request more cookies! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know I speak for all pet owners when I say that the unconditional love from a pet is really one of the most amazing things in life! 

Top 5 Favorite Book Series

Looking for a book series that you just can’t put down? It’s list time on SnapGinger Blog, this week it’s a list of my #top5 Favorite Book Series. You won’t want to miss any of these!

ONE

I cheated a little here, and included 3 series as number one. I just couldn’t decide! They all feature main characters named Harry: Harry Potter, of J.K. Rowling infamy; Harry Hole, star of Jo Nesbo’s detective series; and Harry Dresden, Chicago wizard and all-around bad-ass. (I never promised I wasn’t a nerd!)

TWO

The Nightside – This series is dark and magical, it’s a true escape from the everyday. You’ll wish it was always 3 am!

THREE

Dexter – Besides alliteration, Jeff Lindsay is also really good at spinning a sick, twisted story. The Dexter books don’t disappoint, and neither does the series. I managed to convince my honey to watch the show with me, on a Netflix binge. Hopefully I can convince you to read the books, which are so much more entertaining!

FOUR

The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries – This choice is pure fun. By morning, the owner of the Gray Whale Inn bakes muffins and scones for her guests, by evening, she’s solving murder mysteries. Add in a nautical backdrop and a dash of romance, plus all of the recipes from the story. What more can you ask for?

FIVE

The Sookie Stackhouse Series- I remember waiting anxiously for season 1 of True Blood to finally air. My gfs and I had all read the books up to that point, and got together in our then apartment with snacks and martinis and settled in for a girly-vammpire-fest of epic proportions. The intro was sexy, we all had the “I Wanna Do Bad Things With You” song as our ringtones after we heard it, and the series held so much promise. They were following the books! Our fan-fiction dreams were coming true! Shortly after the season 2 premiere I started to realize that we couldn’t have been further from the truth. HBO wasn’t sticking to the books, and I was no longer interested. I know I didn’t give it that much of a shot, but there was something about taking a one-chapter character like Marianne and basing an entire season on her that irked me. I do highly recommend the books. They’re girly and fun, quick reads, and I enjoyed every last one of them!

I hope you enjoyed my choices for book series favorites! Have you read any of these books?What are some of your favorites?

your new faves

The Sunday Social, Week 4

Sunday Social

Welcome to another week of the Sunday Social! This week’s theme is THREE’s, and I am a huge believer of things happening in THREE’s! Check out my choices below!

THREE Favorite songs right now

On my way to pick up my new wheels (post on that coming up soon) I heard “Walking on the Moon” and I had forgotten how much I loved this song! It inspired me to create a playlist, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

A few nights ago my main squeeze and I watched an Eagles documentary and were hooked on their catalog! We’re loving any similar sounding, laid back, classic rock songs too. They’re really making our summer! A playlist chock full of these tunes is on its way soon too!

I included links to live recordings of all the songs on YouTube! Enjoy!

Walking on the Moon– The Police

One of these Nights– Eagles

Doctor My Eyes– Jackson Browne

THREE Favorite movies that remind you of Summer

Little Miss Sunshine, National Lampoon’s Vacation, (500) Days of Summer

THREE Favorite articles of clothing you own

My Manolo Blahnik Point-Toe Metallic Patent  BB Pumps – no explanation necessary, they’re divine…

My leather hooded jacket- I picked this up a a Bloomie’s clearance 5+ years ago. It was the last lonely jacket on the rack, in an XS. It’s impossible to wear anything but a tee or tank underneath, but I don’t care! It’s so soft and cute! I’m wearing it in this pic:

My Joe’s Jeans– They don’t have the blue version on the site anymore, I snapped them up at Last Call Neiman Marcus for a song, but I also bought the black ones because I loved them so much!

THREE Items on your wish list

I of course look to Pinterest for this one, I constantly update my Swoon Board with wants and splurges. I can set goals to save up for them, or wait it out and remove them after a while if the urge passes haha! It’s saved me money, trust me!



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THREE Books you would recommend to someone

The Night Circus (really unforgettable and down right beautiful storytelling), #GirlBoss (inspirational go-get-it-girl quick read), Gone Girl (haunting- read it fast before the movie!)

The Night Circus

By Erin Morgenstern

#GIRLBOSS

By Sophia Amoruso

Gone Girl: A Novel

By Gillian Flynn

I hope you enjoyed my selections of THREE’s- have a wonderful Sunday!

your new faves

Celebrate National Parents’ Day!

It’s time to celebrate the people who mold us into the adults we become, support us, provide for us, are always there for us, and make us try to always be better– Our Parents.

We don’t always see eye-to-eye with them, we sometimes take them for granted, and every now and then they need our help for a change! Through it all, they are the glue that binds our families together, and their love and care is irreplaceable!

Happy National Parents Day to all of the Parents, and thank you for all that you do.

A special thanks and love go out to my own parents, Frank and Janice- my heroes, my biggest fans, and my favorite Geeks in the whole wide world! I love you both very much ๐Ÿ™‚ And so does Roxy ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank you guys- I’d be nowhere without you both! xo

A Weekend in Newport

In May my honey decided to surprise me with a romantic weekend in Newport, RI. Isn’t he thoughtful?! He is the cutest, he kept the destination a secret from me up until a few weeks before. He remembered that Newport is one of my favorite weekend destinations, so I was thrilled when he finally told me where we were going. I had been doing a lot of trip shopping with Newport in mind, so luckily that worked out. I don’t think my bright preppy outfits would have worked as well somewhere less nautical and cheery. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are some of our trip highlights and details!

Road Trip! We set out from home and did our usual rituals: picked up Pizzeria Pretzel Combos to munch on, bottles of water, beef jerky (how long is this trip anyway?!), and iced coffee; sang at the top of our lungs to a mix if Indie rock, 90’s rock, classic rock, and smooth acoustic covers; yelled at drivers from other states (Jersey stereotype number 5000 debunked: we are NOT the worst drivers, sorry PA); ignored the GPS and found back roads to take (re-calculating…); and laughed at each other the entire time!

We made a pit-stop in Mystic, CT (thanks for the rec #teammulvey) and I took this pic of the weather-vane and flowers at the brewery where we had lunch. 

We made it to Newport in one piece and checked into the adorable bed & breakfast that my honey booked- it was very quaint, and was 5 minutes walking distance to everything- good job my love!

I immediately changed into the preppiest pants I own, and we walked down to Thames Street to check out the shops, bars, restaurants and the Newport Harbor. There is some amazing seafood in Newport, and we had it with every meal. My honey had the best lobster roll, I am unfortunately allergic so I couldn’t even taste it, but my crab cake wasn’t so bad ๐Ÿ˜‰

We had drinks and clams outside watching the sites, and headed to The Black Pearl for a late dinner. This is such a romantic place, I love the vibe- like you’re in the belly of an old ship. Make sure to stop in there if you’re in Newport!

The next day we rented the most ridiculous vehicle known to man and scootered our way along the coast. We saw some amazing little beaches, carved out of the rock. Some awesome homes (read: mansions) with the most amazing views and stopped by The Breakers for some history and opulence.

Isn’t it breathtaking?! The weather was a bit too cold for swimming, but I’d love to go back later in the summer to take advantage of the amazing coastline.

That evening we had, surprise surprise, seafood again- this was the best meal I had on the trip. We stopped at a hole in the wall bar, saddled up, and ordered a few rounds of fresh oysters and clams, and some frosty pints. I ordered garlicky shrimp alfredo for my main course and it was divine! So salty, with sweet shrimp and that garlicky bite! {drooling} My honey had the fisherman’s platter which was scrumptious, but not as good as mine! ha!

Here is my favorite photo of us from the trip! We had such a wonderful time, which we always do, it’s just so nice to reconnect on a romantic weekend away!

What do you think? Will you be visiting Newport anytime soon? What is your favorite romantic weekend getaway spot?

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Don’t be a No-Reply Blogger! (Even if you don’t Use Blogger)

How delighted I was to open my inbox and see an email from Tami at Friday Morning Buzz this morning! The email was bad news though! Tami had tried responding to one of my comments and couldn’t reach me via email. Oh no!!! Seriously, how sweet is she?! She’s wonderful, go check out her blog now. I’ll wait!

You’re back? Great! Apparently I was set up as a no-reply blogger on Blogger, even though I don’t use Blogger for my site. (I use SquareSpace, isn’t it pretty?!) Anyway, Tami had sent me two tutorials on how to change this setting, but they didn’t work for me, since I don’t use the Blogger platform. If you do use Blogger, stop reading and go visit these two fantastic tutorials:

Anyone Can Decorate: Are You A No Reply Blogger?

Venus Trapped in Mars // Google+ The Ultimate No Reply Blogger

If you don’t use Blogger for your blog, but comment on a ton of blogs that use it to publish, I put together a few steps below to help you to change this setting!


Step 1- Go to the Blogger site and log-in if necessary. Notice my blogs section is empty, because I don’t use Blogger. Click on the gear icon in the upper right hand corner of your Reading List.


Step 2- Clearly, I follow my own blog. If you don’t support yourself, who will?! Anywho, click on “Settings.” 


Step 3- A window will pop up and you might be required to log-in. My Blogger account was set up to use my Google profile. There are a few other options, like Twitter, but you want to click “Change” to change that to use Blogger.

Step 4- Under your photo it should say “Currently using your Blogger Profile.” Next click “Edit Blogger Profile.” 

Step 5- Yet another window will open, prompting you to go back to Blogger to edit your profile. Very efficient, Google. Click “Edit my profile at Blogger.”

Step 6- You will see the options to edit your user profile. Click the box next to “Show my email address.” This is the blogging Holy Grail. I can’t wait to start receiving responses via email! Weeeee! Remind me to thank Tami!

Step 7- Don’t forget to click “Save Profile” at the bottom! You’ve made it, aren’t you proud of yourself?! {High Five}

I hope I was able to help you, let me know if you have questions, and enjoy this whole new world of bloggy conversations. Thanks again Tami! Now go comment at Friday Morning Buzz!!

Summertime Beauty Routine

Enjoying the glorious sunshine, splashing in the salty ocean waves? Diving into a crystal clear pool and jet-setting to exotic locales? It must be summertime! And all that summer fun can wreak havoc on your skin, hair and eye makeup. Don’t fret! I’m outlining some of the key players in my summertime beauty routine, complete with shopping links. 

First let’s start with cleansing and moisturizing: I use a few items from the Aveeno Positively Radiant line. I lather up with the skin brightening daily scrub to slough off dry skin cells after a day in the sun. It’s gentle but works really well! Afterwards, I slather on the daily moisturizer for light but effective hydration.

I have pretty balanced skin except for sunspots on my forehead- a big ole’ patch right down the middle. Seriously though, the girl at the salon tried to rub it off thinking it was hair dye the other day. I can’t make this stuff up! So, I recently picked up YesTo Grapefruit dark spot correcting serum, which seems to be working a bit. I am pretty sure they’re caused by hormones, so I might be fighting a losing battle.

Depending on my plans for the day, I will add CVS brand renewing BB cream (A Garnier dupe), and forgo foundation powder. Either one gives me a smooth even base.

Next up are my essentials: bronzing cream, which I use every other day, concealer and CC powder or foundation powder to smooth out my complexion, bronzing powder for a warm glow, cream blush for a soft rosiness and highlighter for brightness around my eyes. I then curl my lashes- how fun is this Revlon curler with the rhinestones?!

I’m not entirely sure that it works yet, but man is it pretty. Actually, I’ve used quite a few different eyelash curlers and I’m not sure any of them work. Even the fancy shcmancy Shu Uemura one! Maybe I’m doing it wrong? Can anyone help me with this?! haha

Nevertheless, I curl and curl, and then I add one of my favorite mascaras- Cover Girl Clump Crusher by lashblast. This formula and brush combo are true to the name, they banish clumps! I use CC prior to every other mascara to keep it from clumping up, it’s that good. Don’t forget to add a bright pop of lip color for a fun twist any day!

If my skin is feeling particularly dreary, I will add more highlighter (my miracle product) and use an under eye roller to wake me up! The Naked Basics palette from Urban Decay is my go to for everyday wear. It is so subtle, and the black shadow makes a great eyeliner. I finish off the look with a little cocoa butter swivel stick through my eyebrows to darken and tame them and Voilร ! You’re ready for a casual day out and about, or in the office with Look #1!

Ready to be cas- look #1

Ready to be cas- look #1

Before we get into Look #2, I wanted to share a glimpse of how I store my makeup tubes, brushes and wands:

Isn't it pretty?!

Isn’t it pretty?!

I up-cycled some jam jars, and grabbed a bag of marbles and my brushes and tools were instantly organized and easy to grab! The rest of my products are stored in my desk drawer in plastic dividers.

For Look #2 I followed the same basic steps as I did above, but instead layered a cheek stain (Blushing Bride from tarte is my favorite) with a light pressed blush over it. I found this tip on a beauty site and have been a big fan ever since!

SnapTip:

*Apply the cheek stain with a brush, blending from the apples of your cheeks up to the brow bone- the color should be very faint near your brow. Then pat and blend the powder brush over the cheek stain to set it. This will also make it look more matte and natural, perfect for summer.

Next I use a more colorful palette, with both neutral and shimmery colors, and a highlighter included (bottom left). I finish off this look by adding Benefit They’re Real mascara over the Clump Crusher, and a swipe of coral lip gloss. What do you think of Look #2?

A bit more glamour- Look #2

A bit more glamour- Look #2

A product I wanted to break out into it’s own category is eyeliner- it can really make or break your look! These are so many options out there, however do you decide which one to use?!

As you can see from the photo, I might have an unhealthy obsession with eyeliner- I swear, I just like variety!! 

I use the purple cream liner and brush for a little pop of fun, or the eyeliner pencils for lining my water line (check out the pin below for tips on this!).

I use the Benefit They’re Real Push- up liner for the perfect cat eye or the Blinc Ultra-thin liner for a more subtle look.

The type of liner I use really depends on the occasion and my mood- some days I want something more simple and subtle, but you usually won’t catch me leaving the house without it. Or concealer, they’re just my things, everyone’s got them!



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Next let’s talk about hair- with all that summertime heat comes humidity (in NJ anyway!) and finding ways to control your mane has always been a struggle for me. I make regular appointments for trims and treatments, but I can never get enough help from products. Something it took me almost 21 years to learn- Hindsight really is 20/20! (I’m talking to you frizzed out super blonde Jamie of my youth)

Now my goal is to combat dryness and frizz at any cost. What I find works best is a color safe shampoo and deep-conditioner, followed by a spritz of CHI Keratin Mist. This protects my hair before blow drying, and helps me to comb out my wet hair so much easier. I recently started using oils on my skin and hair, and I love the Argan Oil Hair Serum from Josie Maran. The products I’ve used from her line so far are all amazing! This one blends right in without greasiness, and doesn’t leave a spec of residue on my hands. That’s how you know its good ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next I’ll break out the blow drier, more on that below, and finish with a light hold anti-frizz hair spray and a triple nutrition shine spray. It’s looking like a I own a lot of Garnier Fructis products, you really don’t realize what brand you lean towards until you lay it all out like this!

I like to wash my hair once every 3 days to keep the damage to a minimum. I use Herbal Essences Naked dry shampoo on the days I don’t wash my locks- check out my reviews here.

I have tried tons of different models, but I find that using a good blow drier, with ion technology, and faster drying time, is essential. Combine that with a good round brush with a comfy handle and you’re golden! 

A good blow drier doesn’t have to cost a fortune either- the one I use is top rated, and comes in under $40! Seriously, stop reading and go buy this model now! OR head to Harmon’s with a coupon and get it for even less! The brushes are Conair also, snatch those while you’re there, because they don’t snag, and they’re pretty ๐Ÿ˜‰

This is what Roxy did while I pampered! “I’m boredddddd”

Now onto skincare, I wanted to point out a few of my favorite products I’m using right now! These help me to keep my skin in top condition, avoid tanning in the sun for too long, and smell delightful!

I just picked up the olive oil hand cream on the left at my local nail salon after using the sample. It smells amazing, like rosemary and freshness, I will keep you posted on the results! I am a new fan of the gรผd by Burt’s Bees line. The pink grapefruit scent is so strong without being unnatural, its very fresh, and perfect for summer. Plus it’s called Red Ruby Groovy, so fun!

Up next is another Josie Maran Argan product, this time its a bronzing lotion. I use it on my arms and legs those weeks when I can’t spend any time sunbathing (slathered in sunscreen of course!). Last, but not least, is my fruity citrus body spray from Vickie’s- I do not like anything heavy in the summer and this is my go-to spray!

Now that we’re all pretty and fresh, what to do at bedtime? I wash off the days grime and build up with the MakeUp-BreakUp oil cleanser from Boscia. You rub some between your hands and apply to your dry face, massaging away all the gunk, and then rinse! I didn’t believe it at first but it really works and isn’t drying at all.

I then use Olay Regenerist night cream, a little dab of Roc retinol eye cream, and some more Josie Maran (light argan oil this time) on any dry patches. I scrub away with Fresh Sugar Lip Polish to keep my lips soft and supple. A quick brush of the pearly whites and its time for bed! Lots of beauty sleep helps me get ready to do it all over again tomorrow (isn’t being a girl fun?!).

Don’t forget you can shop the post below! What are some of your favorite beauty products for your Summertime Beauty Routine?

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