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makeup monday: add a little color to your summer beauty routine.

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I don’t know about you but I enjoyed the heck out of my first true summer weekend. It was that perfect, no cloud in the sky, 78 degrees and breezy from Friday afternoon straight through to Sunday night, and I relished every second of it. Lazy days picnicking in the park, drinking rosé and staring at the sky. Dinner in the garden of this little gem. A two hour mani-pedi and an impromptu afternoon cat nap. It was THE LIFE. And it was over entirely too soon (I really need to get moving on that life plan to become a lady of leisure).

I was also able to squeeze in a small Sephora run (relatively speaking, Sephora trips for me are never actually small) and picked up some fun, colorful products that are just right for sunshiny weather. In fact, summer is the best time to inject some color into your beauty routine. There’s so much bright and happy this time of year, and even something as simple as a bold lip or a pink cheek brings such a fresh take to your overall look – it’s guaranteed to put a skip in your step!

If you’re looking for a little somethin’ somethin’ to add some oomph to your beauty routine, pick up any of the below and go to town. They’re sure to bring a little life to your (pretty, pretty) face – and to your (pretty, pretty) summer.

PicMonkey Collage

Eyes – Nars Soft Touch Shadow PencilNars shadow pencils are the ultimate simple way to add some color to your look. They come in a variety of colors and are the easiest things in the world to apply given its stick format – applicator and product all in one! Layer these over a bit of eye shadow primer or a crème eye shadow base, and they’re set for the long haul, even lasting well in hot and humid weather.

Cheeks – Le Blush Crème de ChanelThis blush is right up there in my list of favorite cheek products – second only to my beloved Nars the Multiple, and it’s a perfect pop of color for the summer (and winter and spring and fall) season. The cream blush glides on easily and requires minimal blending given its soft and creamy texture. It’s a relatively small collection, so the color range is limited, but the shades they chose are so versatile, you shouldn’t have any issue finding one that suits you perfectly.

Lips – Dior Addict Fluid StickMy new obsession! And a perfect product for summer. It’s basically the lovechild of a bold, highly pigmented lipstick and a non-sticky lip gloss, so you get staying power and shine all in one. I put mine on for the first time last week just to try it out, then promptly fell asleep for a delicious afternoon nap (no judgment), and when I woke up, my lips still looked incredible. I’m officially on board.

Face – Tom Ford Bronzing PowderOh, Tom Ford. Your beauty line is the most beautiful…and unfortunately, one of the most expensive. I have to choose selectively when it comes to purchases from this brand, knowing that it has a significant impact on my bank balance. That being said, the $95 price tag on their bronzing powder is absolutely worth it. I have never found a bronzer this good – natural, blendable, lightly scented – it’s seriously gorgeous. I use it every day, both as a contour and a bronzer, and my cheekbones have never looked better. If you can stomach the investment, you’ll be paid back in spades with this one.

What about you? What are your summer beauty go-tos?

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a little cute for your saturday.

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Introducing the new love of my life — Bill the Dog. A new addition to the family, he is 12 pounds of adorable and a total snuggle slut to boot. He came to us via Wings of Rescue, an organization of pilots who save small dogs from kill shelters in California and fly them to shelters in other parts of the country where they are more likely to be adopted. I heart him and his sweet face, don’t you?

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quick tip: poncho personalized weather forecast.

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Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 9.28.46 PMAsk me what my new favorite thing is lately and I’ll tell you it’s Poncho. Poncho is a new service available for residents of NYC (with ambition to expand to other cities) that provides personalized weather information to you at different times throughout the day. Through a series of simple questions like what time you wake up, how you commute to work, do you have pets, etc., it creates a weather forecast that is either texted or emailed to you at times you specify. The interface is slick and pretty, and it never feels bothersome or intrusive since it only notifies you when you want it to about the things you want to know about.

Right now, I have Poncho set to text me when I wake up in the morning and just before I leave work at night. It’s simple, it’s witty, and it’s saved me several times when I was about to not be prepared for what’s happening out of doors. It’s like having a really thoughtful friend who knows your schedule and is obsessed with the weather and just wants to make sure you wear your warmer coat because it feels like 10 degrees outside.

I’m a big fan of supporting start ups that exist to make life easier, so check ’em out over at http://www.poncho.is. With the type of winter we’re experiencing in the Northeast (dear God, when is Spring coming), it never hurts to be prepared!

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makeup monday: three lipsticks every woman should own.

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Oh, lipstick. I just can’t quit you.

If there’s one thing in the world that makes me feel instantly pretty and pulled together (even when the rest of me might look ‘a fright,’ to quote my college roommate), it’s popping on a little lipstick. It’s also one thing I notice that many women don’t use, whether that be because they just can’t find the right shade, they don’t want to worry about upkeep throughout the day, or they don’t like the look of a ‘full on’ lipsticked lip.

Well, ladies, I’m here to help. The greatest thing about lipstick is its versatility. It comes in every color under the sun at every price point and in a variety of different finishes, from matte to shiny to sheer. So with a little work up front, you can find the right shade and the right finish at the right price for you and be done with it. It’s so simple! If you’re like me, however, you’ll never be quite ‘done with it,’ it’s just too much fun. Aaaaand, there goes my paycheck again.

And while I have a lipstick collection that rivals the most in-demand makeup artist at fashion week, all any modern day lady might need are these three trusty go-tos.

The Nudenude lipstick

When to wear it: This is your everyday lipstick. Wear it to work, wear it to cocktails, wear it to pick up your dry cleaning. Because its purpose is to enhance, not alter, your lip color, it’s perfect for any occasion and is the definition of low maintenance beauty.

How to find your perfect shade: A nude lipstick should be as close to your natural lip color as possible. It’s you, but just a teensy bit better. The best way to find your shade is to try, try, try. Grab a friend, take a trip to your local beauty counter, and get down to business. If you can try on shades in natural daylight, even better, as that will ensure you get a shade that looks natural. When trying out different shades, apply the color on the middle of your lip. If it disappears, it’s the right color. If it looks pasty, it’s too light, and if looks orange, it’s too dark.

What I have in my makeup bag: Nars Lipstick in Dolce Vita, $26, sephora.com.

The Redred lipstick

When to wear it: If it was up to me, I’d apply the same rules to red lipstick as I do to a nude shade. I just love it that much. However, for ladies who don’t have the deep, border-line inappropriate relationship with lipstick that I do, the rules might be slightly different. For you, a great red lipstick should be a special occasion go-to. Whether it’s a night out on the town, a friend’s wedding, or a big presentation at work, red lipstick works anytime you want to feel sexy, confident and powerful.

How to find your perfect shade: Is there a more discussed topic in the land of beauty than how to find the perfect red lipstick? I think not. Which basically means there are no hard and fast rules to this game. There are the orangey reds, the pinky reds, and the blue-toned reds, and in my opinion, everyone can wear all three. While you should take into account your skin tone and hair color when choosing the right shade for you, it’s really about finding one that makes you feel beautiful. Trying shades with different undertones will help you understand if you prefer a classic true red or a more statement orange red. If you’re not ready to commit to a full-on red just yet, try a sheer formula for just a hint of color.

What I have in my makeup bag: YSL Rouge Volupté in 17 Red Muse, $35, sephora.com.

The Brightbright lipsticks

When to wear it: Bright lipsticks are perfect when you need a little boost or when you just want to have some FUN. They are playful, flirty and full of energy. If you’re having a bad day, popping on a bright lip color is the perfect way to turn that frown upside down.

How to find your perfect shade: Similar to red lipsticks, bright lipsticks come in a variety of different tones, so it’s best to try a few to see if you prefer a pink shade or more of an orange one. Bright lipsticks are also the perfect opportunity to try out different formulas — you might find you like the shine of a gloss or you might prefer the staying power and matte finish of a liquid lipstick. No matter what shade you choose, keep the rest of your makeup minimal so your lip color really pops (and so you avoid looking like a clown).

What I have in my makeup bag: Tom Ford Lip Color in Wild Ginger, $49, nordstrom.com; Stila Stay All Day® Liquid Lipstick in Tesoro, $22, sephora.com; Hourglass Femme Rouge Velvet Crème Lipstick in Fever, $30, sephora.com.

At the end of the day, the best advice I can give you about finding and wearing the right lipstick for you is to have fun with it, don’t let it stress you out (it is only makeup, after all). Whether it costs $5 or $50 and whether it’s nude or red or orange or green (ok, maybe not green), choose a shade that really feels like YOU. This will ensure that you actually wear it, which means you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck. And remember, you’ve got the goods already; lipstick is just there to pump up the volume (dance, dance).

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sunday dinner: zuni cafe roast chicken.

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I don’t think there’s anything in the world that screams Sunday dinner more than roast chicken.

It’s homey and hearty and salty and crispy and juicy and delicious. All in the same bite.

And if roast chicken is everything that is holy and good about Sunday dinner, then I worship at the altar of Judy Rodger’s Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken recipe. It’s just four ingredients — chicken, fresh herbs, sea salt, and black pepper — but OOOOOH BOY, is it good. And it’s also surprisingly easy to perfect if you’ve got the right tools. And by tools, I mean your hands and a cast iron frying pan.

You ready? OK, let’s do this.

Sunday Dinner Roast Chicken, adapted from Zuni Cafe

You will need:

One small chicken, 2¾ to 3½ pounds
Four sprigs fresh thyme, rosemary or sage
Sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

One thing to note before you get started: the size of the bird is key to the success of the recipe, meaning the smaller the better. So if you’re serving a crowd, i.e. more than 2 to 4 people, it’s better to cook multiple small birds vs. one larger bird. I’m just trying to set you up for success. Phew, OK, moving on.

One other thing to note: the Zuni Cafe would prefer that you season your chicken 1 to 3 days prior to cooking it. If you have the time to do this and the space to hang out with a chicken for a few days, by all means, season away. I, however, have a full-time job and live in a New York City apartment, so I have neither. I’ve found that seasoning the chicken a few hours before cooking has the same effect, so you don’t need to go too crazy to still achieve a delicious result.

When you’re ready to season your chicken, the first thing you need to do is get over your fear of handling raw chicken. You can do it, I promise. Wash your hands. Have a chat with your chicken. Introduce yourself, talk about your hopes and dreams. Then grab that sucker and get down to business.

First, you want to remove and discard the lump of fat inside the chicken. Believe me, I never thought the phrase ‘lump of fat’ would be part of this trusty little blog, but there it is.

Then, rinse the chicken with cold water and pat very dry with a paper towel (a wet chicken is not a happy chicken…or a crispy one).

Finally, get to know your chicken, shall we say, intimately. It’s OK, this is where the magic happens. Heh heh. Carefully slide a finger under the skin of each of the breasts, making two little pockets, then use a fingertip to gently loosen a pocket of skin on the outside of the thickest section of each thigh. Shove an herb sprig up into each of the 4 pockets. It’ll feel weird and you might not be able to look your chicken in the eye, but it will all work out in the end. He’ll forgive you.

Finally finally, season the chicken liberally all over with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a little of the salt just inside the cavity and on the backbone. Cover loosely and refrigerate. Read the new issue of InStyle. Get a mani. Catch up on Real Housewives.

When you’re ready to cook your chicken, preheat the oven to 475 degrees. (It’s getting hot in herre)

Then, take out your cast iron frying pan (if you don’t have one of these, you can also use a shallow flameproof roasting pan or a skillet with an all-metal handle). Pop the pan on the stove over medium heat to warm it up a bit. Take your chicken out and pat it dry again lightly before placing it in the pan breast side up. It’ll sizzle, don’t freak out.

Stick the pan into your preheated oven and watch for the chicken to start browning. It should take about 20 minutes for it to start looking golden and blistery. If it’s not browning, turn your oven up to 500 degrees. If it looks like it’s burning or the fat is smoking, turn your oven down to 450. It’s a crapshoot, you guys. That’s life.

After about 30 minutes, pull the pan out of the oven and turn the chicken over. If you’ve done everything right up to this point, it shouldn’t stick to the pan. If it sticks, don’t cry, you didn’t ruin anything. Put it back in the oven and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes (the bigger the chicken, the longer the cooking time), then take it out again, flip it back over, and stick it back in the oven to re-crisp the breast skin for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Total oven time will be about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the chicken is fully cooked, take it out of the oven, remove it from the pan, and set it on a plate to rest. The little guy is tired, he needs a nap (this ensures your chicken stays moist and juicy).

After about 10 to 15 minutes of resting, it’s time to carve your chicken. I am no expert on how to do this, but this guy is. Once it’s all carved up, put the pieces on a warm serving platter, bring it to the table with great fanfare, and dive on in. So good, so good, SO GOOD.

I usually serve my chicken with a veg and a starch, and my recent go-tos have been garlicky spinach and smashed potatoes. Yums all around.

Sunday dinner at its finest. Enjoy!

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hello there.

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Here’s what I know.

I am a plumber’s daughter. The child of a father who spent most of his life figuring out how to do things for himself, and who found it incredibly important to pass that trait on to his one and only daughter.

I spent a lot of time as a child doing things for him under the guise that I was his ‘sous chef’ or his ‘apprentice’ or his ‘mechanical/automotive/grocery store special assistant’, when he was really just fooling me into helping him with some task he could never get me to do by simply asking me for help.

(I was a brat, let’s be honest, but aren’t we all?)

But, surprise surprise, through all of his covert tactics, I actually learned something. Quite a bit really. Like that I like having a pot of something on the stove on Sundays because making food from scratch tastes better, or that I can change my own damn car battery if I just follow the instructions, or that not blowing my entire paycheck on lipstick is a good idea. (I’m still struggling with that last one)

So I figured why not share what I’ve learned from my dear old dad with the world. And why not share other things that I’ve learned along the way. I’ve got lots of good stuff, people!

So strap yourself in (safety first) and come along for the ride. Be my ‘sous chef,’ if you will. Maybe you’ll learn something, maybe you won’t, but I can promise that it will at least be an entertaining journey.

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