NYC in 72 Hours

by katyrose on January 28, 2015

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It’s been more than three years since I made it back to New York City, but I finally got to spend a long weekend in the Big Apple. The little trip gave me the chance to catch up with friends, meet-up with bloggers, visit the MET, stroll through Central Park, sip vanilla lattes, window shop 5th Ave, and basically just meander the city for a long weekend. (My Jawbone tracked me at achieving more than 200% of my daily walking goal each of the days I was there.)

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Shirt: Old Navy
Vest: H&M
Pants: Marc Jacobs
Shoes: Rachel Roy
Scarf: Urban Laundry boutique in Wauwatosa, WI
Necklace: World Market
Earrings: House of Harlow via Shopbop
Bag: Adora Bags

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There is something about New York that is magical – whether you live there and are part of the daily grind or visiting for tourism purposes. Sure, it is grimy and the winter makes the city look gray; but there is always so much to do, so much to see, so much to take in. I love having the chance to visit and wander the streets just taking in the sights and sounds of a city unlike any other in the US.

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Plus, the extra bonus of the trip was I got the chance to meet-up with a photographer friend. Amber of CandidCamber took some amazing pictures for this outfit post as well as a couple upcoming posts. We always laugh about always moving but never living in the same city. One of these days we are going to be in the same city and it will be magical. HA. (You can check out her instagram and tumblr accounts to see more of the great, so-very-NYC pictures she captures.) After this photo session I think I need to find a photographer in Chicago who would be willing to work with this blogger!

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And can I say that these Marc Jacob jeans (via Shopbop) are probably my favorite denim purchase in years! They fit perfectly and were ideal for walking around New York all day long. I could layer a pair of tights under then for a little extra warmth and a pair of heels for more length. Plus they were comfortable enough to wear while stranded a couple hours in the airport and during the flight.

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One of my goals for the New Year is to focus on sleep. To be honest, this wasn’t an issue I had ever considered before. I’ve gone through coffee-obsessed periods and months when the alarm was the absolute worst sound in the world. But I never thought about tracking my sleep, keeping track of the amount of hours I got. But then I got the Jawbone UP24 and my eyes were opened.

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This little, fairly discreet wrist band is really designed to track the amount of steps you take in a given day and syncs seamlessly with a phone app. It’s a pretty nifty little addition to any fitness plan. And while I wouldn’t say it is designed for the hardcore athlete or even the very serious gym-goer, it is a helpful tool when looking at your overall day and your activity level. In addition to steps taken, it tells you the amount of calories you’ve burned, it reminds you to get moving after sitting for too long, it tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you at the optimal time for your REM cycle. You can also track the meals you eat by inputting them (although I hate the time that takes so I skip that portion.)

While the band has not changed in any way the workouts I do at the gym, it has made me think of various ways I can fit in more steps in my average day. Can I take the longer path to refill my water bottle in school? Can I do a lap around the building in between classes? Can I walk to the grocery store instead of driving (ok I was doing that already, but you get the idea.) It’s a challenge to hit 10,000 steps every day, or 15,000 on the days when I have a run planned into my workout.

But even better, at least for me, than the step-count, is the sleep information. The app tracks the number of hours you slept, how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up in the night, etc… With 8 hours being the goal I am FAR FAR from that number nearly every night of the week. The app gives extra hints for optimal sleep and will even let you know what time you need to hit the hay that night in order to make up for previous loss. It’s pretty awesome.

Buzz… buzz… To wake you up in the morning you can set an alarm through the app. The wristband will wake you at the optimal time, up to 30 minutes before the alarm time, by buzzing gently on your wrist. I have to admit I was skeptical of that kind of wake-up but I find I much prefer the gentle buzz than an annoying sound. And by waking at the optimal time each morning, I do feel less tired when the buzzing begins, no matter the amount of sleep I’ve gotten.

Jawbone will email you weekly with a progress report. It allows you to see the entire week at a glance as well as give you new goals to shoot for. My favorite is the total number of miles walked through the combination of steps taken over the week.

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Cons:

Syncing the band and the app is sometimes tricky. I’ve had to restart my phone a couple times because it doesn’t read the band. That is a bummer when changing my alarm each day.

My second con is more a personal thing than necessarily anything wrong with the device. I wish I was able to press the little side button and see the time pop up. It would make it completely unnecessary to wear a watch, which would be nice.

 

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Snow Days, Cold Days

by katyrose on January 26, 2015

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Dress: c/o Karina Dresses
Boots: Freebird via ShopBop
Scarf: H&M
Earrings: NYC street vendor

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Honestly, one of the teacher perks I never even thought about before it happened were snow days, which actually are now cold days. No sooner had we started back after Christmas break, we got three cold days in a row. Biting winds, temps below zero and lets not even talk about the ‘real feel’ temperature. Of course, this first-year teacher made the rookie mistake of leaving her computer at school, which meant a 5-day weekend all to myself with no chance to work on anything school related. At least I took advantage of the days to catch up on correspondence, writing letters to friends, as well as to read a number of classic books that had been on my to-read list for years now. Yay for time to read The Great Gatsby and True Grit! I watched a few movies too and caught up on sleep.

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Although with all that said I was relegated to indoor shots because one minute outside all bundled up was too much to handle – we’re talking tears practically freezing on your face.

This dress is another one of those Karina wonders. I think the Ruby style is one of my favorites, I happen to own this cut of dress in four diverse patterns. (Like this blue and orange paisley pattern, this summer floral beauty and the floral cobalt dress.)  It’s so easy to wear and as long as it is layered up it’s easy to forget it has no sleeves and is made of thin summer-like material.

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Curly Girl Method Approved Products

by katyrose on January 20, 2015

Earlier this month I talked about how I use the Curly Girl Method to care for my curls. Technique is great but what about the products? What the heck are Curly Girl Method approved products? Where can I buy them?

If you are launching into the Curly Girl Method I highly recommend getting the book: Curly Girl: The Handbook by Lorraine Massey. The book talks about the basics of the method and also has specific instruction for different types of curls.

Don’t have time to read the book…. In brief, the Curly Girl Method means throwing out all the shampoo bottles and using conditioner to both cleanse and condition your hair. It isn’t just removing shampoo from your routine. It is a matter of removing a number of harmful chemicals and such that make their way into our hair products. It also means changing the way you dry and style your hair as well.

The removal of shampoos and conditioners that contain sulfates is critical.

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Products to Use/Avoid:

For Shampoos: You want to avoid products that contain the following items in the ingredient list: sodium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate.

For Conditioners: You want to avoid products that contain the following items in the ingredient list: silicone. Look instead for conditioners with emollients (shea butter, a number of natural oils, wheat germ), humectants (panthenol, vegetable glycerine and sorbitol), and moisturizers (amino acids, aloe vera, etc…)

For Styling: You want to stay away from products that include: silicone, parabens, and phthalates.

Shampoos:

  • Deva Curl, No-Poo
  • RenPure Originals, Moisture Rich Shampoo
  • Curl Junkie, Curl Assurance, Gentle Cleansing Shampoo
  • Pureology Precious Oil Shampoo
  • Burt’s Bees Very Volumizing Pomegranate Shampoo

 Conditioners:

  • Wen by Chaz Dean (Sweet Almond Mint smells amazing!)
  • Beyond the Zone, Noodle Head, Cleanse Your Curls
  • Shea Moisture, Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser, Coconut & Hibiscus
  • Herbal Essences Naked, Cleansing Conditioner
  • Deva Curl, One Condition
  • White Rain Conditioners – Coconut is my favorite
  • Trader Joe Nourish Conditioner
  • Tresemme Naturals Conditioner
  • Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Conditioner
  • Burts Bees Hair Repair Deep Conditioner Shea & Grapefruit
  • Pureology Precious Oil Softening Conditioner
  • Suave Naturals Conditioners – I like the green apple scent.
  • Bumble & Bumble Seaweed Conditioner
  • Beyond the Zone, Noodle Head, Condition Your Curls (leave-in)
  • Shea Moisture Conditioning Curl Milk (leave-in)

Styling:

  • Ion Curl Solutions, Conditioning Curl Whip
  • Marc Anthony, Strictly Curls, Curl Defining Lotion
  • Deva Curl, Light Defining Gel OR Styling Cream
  • Aussie, Instant Freeze
  • Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Gel
  • Kinky Curly Curling Custard
  • Jane Carter, Wrap and Roll
  • Curl Junkie, Curls in a Bottle
  • Tigi Catwalk, Curls Rock

This is in no means an exhaustive list. There are SOOO many products out there that it is difficult to list them all. Plus companies are often tweaking ingredients so things change from time to time.

Also, be aware that sometimes companies might make a Curly Girl approved conditioner or styling product but the rest of the line is not CG-approved. I made that mistake a couple times so I now read the back of all bottles before purchasing.

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Here’s my take on those Curly Girl Products listed above that I have tried:

Beyond The Zone Noodle Head 2 in 1 Curl Cleansing Creme – I haven’t loved this cleansing conditioner as much as I hoped to. For me, it feels like it doesn’t cleanse as much as I would like. My hair often feels greasy after using it as both a cleanser and then a conditioner.

Tigi Catwalk Curls Rock Curl Amplifier – One of my ultimate favorite styling serums. A little goes a long way so the small bottle actually lasts longer than you might expect. Love the way it makes my curls look.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Co-Wash Conditioning Cleanser – I pretty much LOVE all the products in this line. They work really well, make my hair unbelievably soft and they smell great too. In addition to this Co-Wash I also use the leave-in conditioner from this line.

Marc Anthony Strictly Curls Curl Defining Lotion – So far, hands down, this is my favorite styling item. It allows curls to form beautifully without making them look crunchy.

Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner – I like this product as a conditioner but I don’t find that it works really well as a cleanser. Bonus of this one is that it is easy to find at most places you usually shop for hair products.

Aussie Instant Freeze Sculpting Hair Gel – Inexpensive styling gel. It leaves hair looking crispy when it dries, but nothing a couple good scrunches won’t alleviate.

DevaCurl No-Poo Zero Lather Conditioning Cleanser Shampoo – Probably my favorite no-poo product. No, it won’t lather up in your hair like a usual shampoo but it will get the cleansing job done.

Beyond the Zone Noodle Head Leave-in Conditioner – Second favorite leave-in conditioner. I apply it just after the shower and then add my styling gel in right after.

Renpure Argan Oil Moisture Rich Shampoo – If you want something that feels a little more like a shampoo than some of the no-poo options this is the way to go. The whole line is pretty great, actually.

Jane Carter Solution Wrap and Roll – I tried this years ago when I wasn’t even working on the Curly Girl Method and I loved it even then. A little goes a long way.

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Cable Knit for Days

by katyrose on January 15, 2015

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Sweater: Kohls
Pants: Paige denim
Boots: c/o Monroe and Main
Jacket: New York & Co.
Sunglasses: Gucci
Earrings: Claire’s

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It’s been so darn cold these last couple weeks that admittedly I don’t want to leave the warmth of my bed each morning. But since work calls I’ve been opting for a comfortable alternative to staying wrapped up in a down comforter all day long – thick over-sized sweaters. I have a couple of these that usually sit at the back of my closet, not getting too much play time, but I added two more to my collection recently after a shopping trip to Kohls. This cable knit sweater has been a staple at least once, if not twice a week since it entered my closet.

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Because I wanted the oversized look and feel, I went with a sweater that was two sizes bigger than what I normally would have purchased. Of course, you can’t do this with every sweater but since this one doesn’t have delineated shoulders and no seem that begins the arms it was easy to go up a size for supreme winter comfort. And apparently I’m not the only one who went with this option. I was talking to a number of other bloggers who all randomly bought this sweater and each of them went up a size or two. Great minds, and all that… (Hopefully later in the month I’ll have a post for you showcasing the way a number of the other bloggers wore this same sweater so you can see how versatile and perfect it is for the frigid winter months.

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Honestly, this was the windiest, coldest set of outfit pictures I’ve ever taken. BRRRR!!!!

 

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How I Use the Curly Girl Method – one year later

by katyrose on January 14, 2015

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I’ve spent almost a year not washing my hair. No, I’m not working on creating some awesome dreads. I’m focused and committed to the Curly Girl Method. In short, the method is meant to care for curls through the correct choice of cleansing, conditioning and drying products/items.

Since I color my hair frequently and was also in the habit of straightening it with a very hot flat iron my hair was damaged and looking gross. As I continued to grow it out from my pixie days I realized I needed to implement a routine that would allow me to repair my damaged hair and let me curls breath.

Almost a year into the process and I can honestly say that I my hair looks healthier than ever, even with all the coloring treatments.

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How I Cleanse My Hair:

  • Shampoo infrequently. I tried going entirely without any kind of shampoo and found that my scalp is too oily for that to be the case. When I need to cleanse my hair I apply a small amount of shampoo to my finger tips and then massage it through from my hairline towards the crown. I concentrate on the scalp area and NEVER shampoo the rest of my hair. (This probably happens 2-4 times a month, depending on how active I am at the gym, etc…)
  • Condition. I switch up my conditioners but I always apply a large amount to my left palm and then dip my right fingertips in. Then, starting at about the middle of my head, I gently comb the conditioner in using a downward motion. Once the conditioner is applied liberally to the bottom half of my hair, I massage it into the top portion. I let the conditioner stay in my hair for 3-5 minutes before lightly rinsing it out.
  • Re-condition. Just before the end of my shower I add my conditioner to the bottom half of my hair and leave it in. I might also add a leave-in conditioner once I’m out of the shower or go right to the styling.
  • Scrunch. I ditched the towels, brushes and combs years ago – before I even knew about this method. Instead, I’ve found my hair curls best when it is allowed to air-dry from it’s wettest state after leaving the shower. I’ll use a 100% cotton t-shirt to scrunch my hair in an upward motion to remove some of the excess water, apply the gel in the same upward scrunching motion and then let it be.
  • Coloring. I also did away with the all-over color treatments. I used to get a box of dye and spread it all over my hair. UGH. So bad. To get away from this I got my hair colored once, with highlights at a salon and then asked my stylist what the best way was to maintain the color without damaging my locks. She suggested a professional at-home color and told me to ONLY touch up my roots when needed. So every 4-6 weeks I’ll touch up the roots without coloring any other part. I then get highlights added every 6 months, or so, in order to maintain the color and make sure everything blends together seamlessly.

My sister who has really curly hair, started this method around the same time I did and she hasn’t shampooed her hair at all since she started. Her hair looks amazing!

Stay tuned for a second Curly Girl Method post on the products I use.

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A Year of Paleo Living

January 12, 2015

In the middle of January 2014, I decided to make some significant changes to my diet. After purchasing a couple cookbooks and doing a lot of online research I jumped into the Whole 30. After that initial 30 day period, I moved slightly away from the Whole 30 and went with a Paleo diet instead. […]

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Long Skirt, Long Vest, Bold Sweater

January 6, 2015

Skirt: Target Sweater: Target Vest: New York & Co. Booties: DSW Earrings: ??     Bring on the cold. Well, really maybe not -13* as is expected for tomorrow, but still. I’m ready for the winter to really be a winter, with snow and cold sunny days. And with that cold comes a need to […]

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Out with the Old Year and in with the New

January 5, 2015

I’m never one to get too nostalgic about the ending of a year, although I do like the ready excuse to make big plans that comes with ringing in a New Year.  As with most years, 2014 was a whirlwind of ups and downs… At the start of the year, I tried my hand at […]

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Versatility in a Patterned Dress

December 30, 2014

Dress: c/o Karina Dresses (you can find it at ModCloth too.) Tights: Target Boots: Freebird via Shopbop Sweater: ModCloth Earrings: Mimi Boutique Watch: DKNY Bracelet: homemade Usually my wardrobe consists of a lot of basic-colored items and very few patterns. I suppose part of that is because I have a hard time figuring out how […]

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