Fall Fashions

Once again, my beautiful daughter decided to jump on the blog bandwagon and helped me out with this post.  We both love the Fall season and she particularly loves fall fashions (boots, cozy sweaters, etc.)  But since we live in Miami, we rarely get a chance to wear any of these items (although may folks here break out their coats when the temperature hits 70)! Browsing through Pinterest and several fashion blogs we follow, she came up with this great list of Fall must-haves, take a look:

Outfit

  1. Ray-Ban Erika Sunglasses, $115; www.jcrew.com Loving these sunglasses, the perfect accessory for this outfit.
  2. Anthropologie Split Shade Purse, $388; www.anthropologie.com Not sure this awesome bag is still available, but browse their website for many other beautiful Fall bags.
  3. Turtle Neck Openwork Solid Color Sweater, $20; www.zaful.com This great cozy turtleneck is perfect for a walk through the city, not too heavy, just right for Fall.
  4. UGG Bailey Button Suede Boots in Chestnut, $165; www.uggaustralia.com Does it get any cozier than UGGs???  My daughter and I love them!
  5. J Brand Mulberry Mid-Rise Jeans, $188; www.jbrandjeans.com Great looking pair of jeans, available in other colors too.
  6. Go On Today Drape Cardigan, $27; www.cupshe.com I absolutely love the look of this draped cardigan, and also the color.
  7. Stila Eternal Love Liquid Lipstick Set, $20; www.stilacosmetics.com I am a huge fan of Stila cosmetics and have a lot of their lipstick, blush and eye shadow sets.  I really love this set with the gorgeous Fall colors.
  8. Starbucks Toasted Graham Latte, available during the Fall at all Starbucks!  Not a fashion item, but who doesn’t love the Starbucks Fall drinks?  My new favorite is perfect for this time of year, graham and sweet cream, combined with steamed milk and espresso, finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon graham crumbles. Absolutely yummy, and of course in the Fall themed cup!

What are some of your favorite Fall fashion must-haves?  I’d love to hear….

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National Vanilla Cupcake Day

So today is National Vanilla Cupcake Day…celebrated each year on November 10.  Now, if you follow my blog, (and I hope you do), you know that I love cupcakes and have featured a few other cupcake shops before.  However, in honor of this “holiday”, today I would like to introduce you to  The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery, Raleigh’s first and finest cupcake boutique and bakery.  I had the pleasure of living in Raleigh for 5 years and can I say, there are many great cupcake shops in this city, but no one makes a yummier vanilla cupcake than this place.  We always pop in and get some cupcakes on all our visits back to Raleigh.  When you first walk in, you are usually greeted by 12-15 different cupcake varieties with fun names like “What’s Up Doc?” (carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing), “Mint Condition” (chocolate cake with mint buttercream), and “Cookie Monster” (vanilla cake with Oreo buttercream).  They also feature flavors of the week.  My favorite was always “Pretty in Pink” (fresh strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream), but my entire family’s favorite was always the “Plain Jane” (simple vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream).

The Plain Jane...so yummy!

The Plain Jane…so yummy!

The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery believes in small batch baking and providing top quality sweets with no shortcuts. Oh and their open kitchen concept allows visitors to watch the staff at work (my daughter always got a kick out of that). Whether piping away on a tray of freshly baked cupcakes, or mixing up a homemade batch of cookies, the shop is both a delight for the young and old.

Oh and if cupcakes are not your thing, you can also feast on their homemade brownies, truffles, cookies, breakfast muffins, and marshmallows. And I should mention that they also make the prettiest custom cakes and cupcakes around, for all types of occasions, look at these beauties:

Jersey-CC Minnie-Cake whale-cake

So when you visit Raleigh, make sure you stop by this adorable little cupcake shop. I guarantee you will be back for more!

The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery in Raleigh , NC

The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery in Raleigh , NC

The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery
104 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh
 919.821.4223
http://www.thecupcakeshopperaleigh.com

Have you been to The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery?  If so, I’d love to hear what you liked most.

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The Cookie Dough Cafe

I don’t know about all of you (although I can take a guess), but my family loves raw cookie dough so much that when we buy the package at our local super market, half the product does not make it on to the cookie sheet.  And yes, we’ve all heard of the dangers of getting salmonella by eating raw cookie dough, but does anyone ever really listen to that?  Well, luckily for us cookie dough lovers, there’s a new product in town that will let us enjoy all the raw cookie dough we desire, without the worries.IMG_3496

The Cookie Dough Café has created a delicious cookie dough product that can be eaten like ice cream but contains no raw eggs, it is actually meant to be eaten raw right out of the cookie jar, not cooked.  What??? Yes, sister entrepreneurs Joan Pacetti and Julia Schmid have created what we’ve all been dreaming of since childhood…edible cookie dough. The product was featured on Shark Tank (hubby loves watching this show) and its success led the products to be sold through many dining locations, select grocery stores, and online. Oh yeah, and it comes in 4 different flavors.  Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream, Monster (natural peanut butter and oats loaded with chocolate chips and M&Ms) and last but certainly not last, Naked Dough, for the non-chocolate lovers (I’ve never met one but OK).  They also offer 3 gluten-free flavors, Peanut Butter, Creamy Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chip.

Four different flavors available.

Four different flavors available.

You can purchase it in pint size and keep it refrigerated or you can also buy the single serve cookie dough cups, that come in a pack of 4 (these are great for a lunchbox treat on special days).

Pack of 4 cups.

Pack of 4 single serving cups.

To find other product locations, or to check out other cookie dough flavors, visit the Cookie Dough Cafe website at www.thecookiedoughcafe.com.

Do you love raw cookie dough?  Have you tried The Cookie Dough Cafe? I’d love to hear your thoughts…My Signature

The Intern

I love any movie Anne Hathaway is in, (I’m a huge fan of The Devil Wears Prada, have watched it over 20 times with my daughter). So when I saw the commercials for The Intern, I knew I  had to see it.  The Intern is a comedy that stars Anne Hathaway as Jules Ostin, the founder of a fashion based e-commerce company who hires Ben Whitaker (Robert De Niro), a 70-year old widower bored with retirement, as her intern. Ben is seeking something more in his life. “There’s a hole in my life and I need to fill it,” Ben explains in the opening narration of The Intern. “I still have music in me,” he adds.

So naturally, after coming across a flyer seeking senior interns for the company Jules runs, Ben simply cannot contain his excitement and decides to apply as an intern. The company, About the Fit, is ironically seeking people with a lifetime of experience instead of kids who have spent the last four years updating their Facebook status and getting drunk at frat parties. So naturally, Ben is perfect. Of course he gets the internship after an interesting interview process (being asked at age 70, “What do you see yourself doing in 10 years?)” and that’s when the film takes off.

The plot revolves mainly around Jules, how she must figure out how to balance being the owner of her company while preserving her personal life as well. It’s told from Ben’s perspective, as he is her intern, and very quickly figures out her life. As can be expected, they form a great friendship based on loyalty and trust, a partnership where both learn a lot from each other.

Wouldn't you enjoy working in this environment?

Wouldn’t you enjoy working in this environment? Photo Courtesy of http://www.theinternmovie.com

The Intern was written and directed by Nancy Meyers who is well-known for “What Women Want,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” and “It’s Complicated. Yes, you may be thinking that it’s a chick flick, but I personally love chick flicks. This one deals with the world of work, retirement, millennials in the new workforce vs. the old school workplace. In my opinion, the message in this movie is that a lot can be learned and shared between generations. In today’s world, many think the older generation is just not “with it” simply because they don’t know how to use the latest smart phone or don’t have a twitter account. Yet this film shows us that there are still many things that the older generation can teach the so called “millennials”, that simply can’t be learned from the internet.

I will say, although I really enjoyed this film, after all I love anything these two actors are in, I did find it a bit slow at times. Having said that, I still think it was a great “feel good” film and I recommend you go check it out if you haven’t had a chance yet.

Have you watched The Intern?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Radiant Rhodes

Rhodes, (Rodos) is one of the most beautiful of the Greek Islands.  Situated in the gorgeous Aegean Sea and the largest of the Dodecanese islands, it’s actually closer to Turkey than it is to mainland Greece.  We have traveled to Greece several times, primarily to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini, and somehow had never made it to Rhodes, until last summer.  And boy am I glad we finally made it.

To begin with, out hotel was magnificent. Rhodes was the last segment of our 17 day trip and we were exhausted from so much sightseeing, not to mention the August heat.  After extensive research (like we typically do), we decided to stay at the Atrium Platinum Hotel in Rhodes Town. This place was gorgeous from the moment you walk through the lobby and we had the luck of getting upgraded to an Executive Family Suite which had a sea view and a personal pool on the balcony! The room itself was super spacious and our daughter had her own bedroom and bathroom. The beds were so comfortable we had a hard time leaving the room after our nap. The breakfast buffet in the mornings offered everything you could possibly imagine, my hubby’s favorite being the crepe station with all sorts of toppings, especially melted white chocolate! However, if you’re planning on having dinner in the restaurant, men have to wear a jacket and pants (no shorts), and since we packed light for this island trip, we couldn’t have dinner there.  Not a big deal for us though, we rarely have dinner at our hotels, as we love to explore and find recommended places in town. And the hotel’s main pool is amazing.  My daughter never wanted to leave.  Also worth mentioning is the mini-mart by the pool, selling everything from food and suntan lotions to souvenirs. Extremely convenient and less expensive than ordering from the poolside café, which took 30 minutes to bring us cold drinks.  And if the beach is more your thing, just cross the street and enjoy the water. Take a look at this:

The pool at the Atrium Platinum

The pool at the Atrium Platinum

The Atrium Platinum Hotel

The Atrium Platinum Hotel

Crepes with white and milk chocolate.

Crepes with white and milk chocolate.

Our daughter enjoying the heated private pool on our balcony.

Our daughter enjoying the heated private pool on our balcony.

The Old Medieval Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the oldest continuously inhabited medieval town in Europe. To wander through the town is a unique experience for all to enjoy, since it’s mostly a pedestrian area, with streets full of shops and restaurants. Although the back streets are mostly residential, particularly in the Jewish Quarter.  The town is surrounded by medieval walls with several gates as entry points, most folks enter through Marine Gate, the main entrance to the town from the harbor. Inside of these walls are roughly 200 streets or lanes that simply have no name. However, in my opinion, getting lost and wandering around the streets is half the fun.  It reminds me of the winding streets of Mykonos, which also have no rhyme or reason.

The entrance through Marine Gate.

The largest shopping streets appear to be Orffeos, Socratous and Aristotelous.  Orffeos Street is a wide road with tourist shops and restaurants near the Gate of Saint Anthony, which connects with Socratous Street, the main shopping street of the old town. This becomes Aristotelous Street when you get to Ippokratous Square, the main square in front of Marine Gate, which surrounds a modest Castellania fountain, and is framed by the old Chadrevan mosque on the west and the Palace of the Castellan on the east. All around, coffee shops and restaurants are bustling with tourists hanging around, eating ice cream, sipping drinks and snapping a million photographs.

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Shopping on Orffeos Street

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More shopping streets

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Shops on Socratous Street with the Suleiman Mosque in the background.

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My daughter not knowing where to go next?

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Beautiful ceramic hand painted crosses

After touring the sites of the old town, you might want to walk around the walls, which is a remarkable example of a fully intact medieval structure, although it can be viewed from just walking around the outside. Here are a few more photos for your enjoyment:

The d’Amboise Gate

The d’Amboise Gate

The beautiful Suleiman Mosque, located on top of the town's hill at the end of Socratous street.

Beautiful Suleiman Mosque, located on the town’s hill at the end of Socratous street.

Ippokratous Square, the main commercial hub of the old town.

Gorgeous ceramic pottery sold at various stores.

Gorgeous ceramic pottery sold at various stores.

St. Catherine’s Gate

The beautiful fountain on Ippokratous Square

Beautiful building behind us.

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Another view of the shops.

A view of the harbor from St. Catherine’s gate.

A view of one of the island's beaches.

A view of one of the island’s beaches.

View of the Acropolis of Rhodes from the taxi.

I would also strongly recommend if time permits, to take a day trip to Lindos and to also visit the nearby island of Symi. Unfortunately we ran out of time, but both places are high on our bucket list when we return to Rhodes. And don’t worry about driving if you aren’t renting a car, there are plenty of bus and ferry excursions available.

Have you been to Rhodes or any of the other Greek islands?  I would love to hear what you enjoyed most…My Signature

Think Pink

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a post dedicated to my beautiful mother, mother-in-law and sister, all brave women who have fought and won their battles against this awful disease.  Here is my annual favorite pink products list, and I should mention all of these companies donate a portion of their proceeds to breast cancer foundations and research, so please support them when you can.  Take a look at some of these goodies:

  1. Coach Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Stainless Steel Charm Bracelet Watch; $295 www.macys.com From October through December 2015, 10% of the proceeds from sales will go to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  2. Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Collection, Pink Pony Soft Ricky 27 bag; $2,250 (yes, I know, a bit pricey) www.ralphlauren.com  25% of the purchase price of Pink Pony products benefits the Pink Pony Fund of the Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation to support programs for screening, early diagnosis, treatment, research and patient navigation. Internationally, a network of local charities benefits from the sales of Pink Pony products.
  3. Marimekko Galleria Scarf; $129 www.marimekko.com Marimekko will donate $25 from the sale of every Galleria scarf from October 1-December 31, 2015 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation with a guaranteed minimum donation of $10,000.
  4. Bobbi Brown Breast Cancer Awareness Peony Set; $50 www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com Bobbi Brown will donate $12 of every sale to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  5. Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Collection, Pink Pony Racerback Tank; $68 www.ralphlauren.com
  6. Clinique ‘Great Skin, Great Cause-Dramatically Different’ Moisturizing Lotion+; $38 www.clinique.com Clinique will donate $10 from the purchase of this product to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  7. Aveda Limited-Edition Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme with Calming Shampure Aroma; $26 www.aveda.com $4 of purchase price supports cruelty-free research through The Breast Cancer Research Foundation from 9/27/15-9/24/16.  Maximum donation of $314,000 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation to support research focusing on environmental and life style factors that possibly affect risk of breast cancer.
  8. C.O. Bigelow Freesia Scented Candle; $42, www.bigelowchemists.com 10% of all sales will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
  9. Tweezerman ‘Precision in Pink’ Neon Classic Lash Curler (Limited Edition); $14 www.nordstrom.com  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each curler will be donated to breast cancer organizations.

Many of these items are available in various other colors, but this month, it’s all about PINK!  Have you bought any Pink items to support the fight against breast cancer recently?

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Beautiful Ruins

Continuing with my book reviews, here’s my next pick…

Beautiful Ruins, a New York Times Bestseller, immediately caught my eye (I was judging a book by its cover, literally.) But who can blame me with that magnificent photo of the Italian coastline. I figured this was something I would be interested in as I have a slight obsession with Italy. This was the first novel I’ve read by Jess Walter, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I must say I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading a few more of his books. Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962…and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later. This book has romance, drama, a beautiful setting, and tells a great story.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (synopsis from Goodreads)

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

Gloriously inventive, constantly surprising, Beautiful Ruins is a story of flawed yet fascinating people, navigating the rocky shores of their lives while clinging to their improbable dreams.

Well, there you have it…so, pickup a copy of Beautiful Ruins or download it to your e-reader, and enjoy this great story.

Have you read any good books lately?  I love suggestions!

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