Category Archives: Lifestyle

european vacation

Europe 2015: Split

After packing up in Dubrovnik, the boyfriend and I packed up our (very crappy) rental car and headed up the Croatian coast to Split. The city of Split is much bigger and more urban than Dubrovnik, so it was a pretty different vibe than the previous two days. After checking into our AirBnB, we headed down to the Old Town and promenade.

Split, Croatia IMG_4155 Split, Croatia

To be completely honest, Split was my least favorite of the three Croatian cities we visited. It was a fun city with gorgeous ruins and some tasty food, but the promenade smelled like sulfur (not sure if it’s a permanent smell) and it was dirtier than Dubrovnik (I guess that’s what you get for being in a city). But with that said, we had a great two days and there were some serious highlights.

Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia

The first thing we did after heading out was walk the promenade for as long as we could handle the smell and then head to the Old Town to walk the ruins of Diocletian’s Palace, which were so different than the in Dubrovnik. I didn’t realize in advance, but Split was built in the 4th century and is centered around Roman ruins. Exploring them felt like I was back in the time of gladiators.

Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia

After exploring the ruins and walking the alleys we had a late, delicious dinner at Uje Oil Bar. It’s fair to say that this was my first memorable meal in Croatia and my favorite in Split. I had marinated white fish, my boyfriend and lamb skewers and we split some bread and olive oil. Our waiter seemed confused why he had to deal with customers, but we had a great time aside from the iffy service. After dinner, we stumbled upon To Je To, a fabulous bar owned by an ex-pat from Michigan. We enjoyed the live music and drinks for a while before heading to bed.

The next day we woke up too late to catch the ferry to Hvar, which we regret, so instead we walked along the perimeter of the city and enjoyed a quick dip in the water each time we wanted to rest our tired feet. We started at the main city beach, Bacvice, but moved along to less populated areas quickly. Bacvice was fine, but it was over crowded and just not as nice as the other, more hidden areas.

Split, Croatia Split, Croatia Split, Croatia

After walking around for a bit more, relaxing and getting washed up back at the apartment, we headed out for our last meal and night out in Split. I had an amazing plate of green pasta with seafood for dinner at Restaurant Trattoria Tinel, a glass of local wine at Marcvs Marvlvs Spalatensis and then ended the night at To Je To again. Obviously it was our favorite spot in town. A little bit tipsy and tired from the heat, we headed back to bed to prepare ourselves for the early morning ahead of us.

Have you been to Split, Croatia before?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

european vacation dubrovnik

Europe 2015: Dubrovnik

The first day of our two-week European vacation started off on a fabulous foot in Dubrovnik. We landed at 2:30PM Dubrovnik time on the 26th and had to leave for our next stop at noon on the 28th, so we had a little more than a day and a half in Dubrovnik. It was a perfect amount of a time for an intro to the city, but I would love to go back and explore more of the surrounding area.

Day 1 – Exploring the Old City 

Our AirBnB host picked us up at the airport and drove us to our apartment for the next couple of days. While our room was very basic (that’s what you get for $23 USD a night), the view from our balcony was absolutely amazing. Being halfway up the hill looking over the city was such a treat, but walking back up to our apartment at the end of the day was a serious workout. I wouldn’t be surprised if we climbed over 1,000 steps during our time in Dubrovnik.

european vacation dubrovnikAfter we settled in and unpacked, we hightailed it over to the Old City to explore the alleys and walk the walls. My boyfriend watches Game of Thrones, so he enjoyed walking around and seeing where a bunch of different scenes were filmed. I can’t stand GOT, so I just enjoyed walking around and listening him explain the scenes.

european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik IMG_3913 european vacation dubrovnikAfter walking a while, we stopped for dinner, which was underwhelming. To be completely honest, I wasn’t super impressed with much of the food we ate in Croatia. I blame part of it on myself for not doing more research on where to eat, but I also blame part of it on how touristy the areas we visited were. If we wen’t off the beaten path a bit, I think we would have found some delectable treats. Then, we headed to Cafe Buza for cliff-side drinks and walked around some more, stopping to listen to live Jazz, before heading back to our apartment for some sleep and to rest up for day two.

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Day 2 – Lokrum and Sunset Drinks

After sleeping in a bit, we made our way back down to the Old City for a light breakfast before hopping on a ferry to Lokrum. Just a 20ish minute boat ride from the coast, Lokrum is like a world of its own. No one lives on the island expect for the local peacocks who walk around like they own the place … which they basically do. After a stop at the very random and very hilarious outdoor gym area, we finally stopped at the cove for a leisurely swim in the Adriatic Sea.

european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnikAfter spending most of the day on the island, we headed back to the Old City and then our apartment to clean up for dinner and drinks on the other side of the island. We were hoping to catch a glimpse of that night’s lovely sunset. After getting spruced up, we headed over to the Hotel Palace for a couple of drinks along the water. Remember that sunset I mentioned two sentences ago? It didn’t disappoint. It was a bit cloudy, but the sunset was still breathtaking. Once the sun was gone for the night, we walked around the neighborhood to find some dinner and headed to Hotel More for a drink in their Cave Bar.

european vacation dubrovnik european vacation dubrovnikFeeling adventurous from a few too many drinks, we caught a cab back to Old City to explore more of the nightlife, but didn’t last long. We eventually hiked back up the millions of steps to our apartment to crash before packing up and driving to Split the next morning.

Have you been to Dubrovnik before?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

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european vacation

Europe 2015: The Highlights

I just got back from the most amazing trip of my life. And by “just” I mean about a week ago, I’ve just been too busy pretending I’m still on vacation to get back to my normal routine and update you all. My boyfriend and I spent two weeks in Europe and it could not have been more perfect. We were gone from June 25th to July 11th and hit seven cities and 5 countries during that time:

  • Croatia (Dubrovnik, Split, Rovinj)
  • Italy (Venice)
  • Germany (Munich and the surrounding area)
  • Denmark (Copenhagen)
  • The Netherlands (Amsterdam)

The trip started because my dear friend from high school was getting married in her village outside of Munich. Knowing that we’d be traveling that far to begin with, we decided to make a full vacation out of it. What started as just a week somehow turned into two weeks, and I’m so glad it did. Our first week was in Croatia and Italy, which was a nice beach-style vacation allowing us to relax together and enjoy to sun and beach.

Then my younger sister joined us for the wedding in Germany and stayed until the bitter end in Amsterdam. Well technically she had to leave a day before us, but we’ll pretend she stayed to the bitter end. The second week after the wedding was much cooler and more urban, filled with racing around the respective cities and fitting in as many sites (and desserts) as possible. I fully intend to do a dedicated post on each stop during our trip, but I figured I’d start out with the highlights. It’s a good way to give you an overview of our trip without overloading you on pictures … that part is sure to follow in the next few weeks. I will only be posting photos cause they’re worth 1,000 words … so here’s bunches of thousands of words in photo form:

1. The View from our Balcony in Dubrovnik

european vacation

2. Swimming on Lokrum in Dubrovnik

european vacation

3. The square outside of Luxor in Split

european vacation

4. Plitvice Lakes Park 

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5. The Sunset in Rovinj

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6. The Glass Factory in Murano (Venice)

european vacation

7. My Friend’s Wedding Outside of Munich

european vacation

8. Eating like a local in Copenhagen 

european vacation

9. Eating like a local in Amsterdam

european vacation

10. Skins Cosmetics in Amsterdam 

european vacation

I hope you enjoyed the highlights and I can’t wait to tell you more about each city we visited! Also, I would like to be back on my European vacation, if anyone could make that happen. Ok, thanks!

What’s your favorite trip you’ve ever taken?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Chicago

A Weekend in Chicago

Lovelies, we need to talk about Chicago. I visited for the first time earlier in the month for personal/work and I L-O-V-E-D this gorgeous midwestern city. I was going for work during the week, so my boyfriend decided to join me the weekend before for a fun getaway/birthday celebration. Plus, we got to spend all weekend with one of my dearest friends, which was just the icing on the cake!

We packed a lot into the weekend and it was well worth it. To start out – we knocked out all of the major tourist attractions. We did Willis Tower, an architectural boat tour, Navy Pier and Millennium Park. All of them were super cliche, but I would redo all of them in a heartbeat!

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

But we didn’t just stick to the well-known spots. Having a best friend in the city meant that we also got to live like locals. We laughed the night away at The Improvised Shakespeare Company, explored the Gold Coast and hung with the hippest of cool cats in Wicker Park.

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

And of course, we ate our little hearts out. Everything was mighty tasty, but some of my favorites were Chicago Q, Miss Ricky’s, RPM Italian, The Gage, Girl and The Goat and Big Star. And if those restaurants were any indication – there are so many other local gems left to unearth. Obviously I need to go again!

Chicago

Chicago

Chicago

IMG_3376I can’t say enough wonderful things about Chicago. I had an amazing time and want to go back as soon as possible. It’s even been added to my “I’d move there” list. Who knows where the wind will take me!

Have you been to Chicago before? What is your favorite part of the city?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure   

Maintaining those Spring Colors

The best thing about Spring? I’m sure saner people would say the blooming flowers and budding trees. And yes, those things are fabulous, but the bright fashion is my favorite part of Spring. After our long New England Winters, it’s such a joy to be able to bear my legs and wear bright clothes that don’t weigh approximately 500 pounds.

As a fellow fashionista, I’m sure you also turn to Pantone for color guidance throughout the year. I don’t feel the need to follow trends religiously, but I do enjoy making sure that I’m keeping up with the latest colors so that I don’t look like a #TBT in living form. So as Spring time seems to be here to stay in Boston, I decided it’s time to catch up on the hot colors and add a few splashes of these shades to my closet. Naturally, I headed to Nordstrom.com and put together a mini wish list, which you can see below:

New, cute cloths for Spring are all well and good, but there is nothing more depressing than realizing you’ve ruined your favorite frocks in the wash. One of the easiest ways to either go horribly right or horribly wrong with your wash? Picking the wrong laundry detergent.

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Never fear, method has you (and your clothes) covered. Not only is their detergent effective and cute (I mean look at that packaging!), but method has also teamed up with ASOS to create a 10-piece line of A-FREAKING-DORABLE pieces.   I mean, just look at these tops, skirts and dresses. Yes, please!

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Look10_025

method laundry detergent works to maintain both brights and whites, which is great for lazy people like me who don’t want to have more than one detergent. Plus, the detergent works great in cold water, which is a huge plus for anyone looking to save energy on each load of laundry. Saving the your clothes and the environment? Double win!

How do you maintain the vibrant colors in your Spring clothes?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

My So-called Beautiful Life: Montreal

You might have noticed that I haven’t posted a new blog post in a week. Gasp! It’s not because I have forgotten about you. It’s because I was in Montreal for my “real” job and I had less free time than I anticipated, so I feel behind on my posts. Poor planning skills, me.

Not my usual type of 'gram, but thought this convention center was too pretty to pass up - Kristin

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While I barely saw the outside of the convention center, I made sure to leave a bit of time to walk around the beautiful city and of course check out the local drugstore (Pharmaprix) and Sephora to see what different products I could find. I went to Pharmaprix twice and made great friends with the sales associate. I picked up a bronzer primer and lip crayon from Bourjois and this gorgeous lippie in “Excessive Rose” from Guerlain. Apparently they carry some designer brands in Canadian drugstores … excuse me while I move.

In Montreal for work, so naturally had to check out the drugstore beauty situation. Pharmaprix is AMAZING but I controlled myself and only got two things I can't find back in Boston. Buuuuutttt I might be going back - Kristin  #bbloggers #beautybloggers #beautyxpose #bosbloggers #bostonbloggers #drugstorebeauty

Theeennnnnnn I headed to Sephora on Sunday AM for the VIB Rouge event. I wasn’t going to let being in another country keep me from the samples and 15% off. Not only did I attend, I called the store in advance to ensure they had space for me. I left a very rambly voicemail begging to get in … it was pretty epic. Rather than list everything I bought, I’ll be posting a collective haul from the past few weeks in a couple of days.

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Being out of the country for work won't keep me from a VIB Rouge event - Kristin  #bbloggers #beautybloggers #beautyxpose #bosbloggers #bostonbloggers #ohcanada

Like I said, not a whole lot to report from my trip, but I wanted to pop in and say hi so you didn’t think I had dropped off the face of the earth.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Montreal?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Beautiful Boston: Endurance Pilates and Yoga Studio

A couple of weekends ago, I met up with a bunch of fabulous local bloggers at a three-month old yoga and pilates studio in the South End – Endurance Pilates and Yoga.

endurance pilates and yoga studioWe were greeted by the fabulous and energetic owner Julie Erickson. After a quick introduction, she whisked us down a flight of stairs (covered in leopard-print carpet) to the intimate studio for an hour-long sample in which we rotated through pilates, barre and yoga exercises. After, she talked us through the TRX and kettlebell classes she offers in addition and then we took a turn on the reformers. Surprisingly, they are way more fun and less intimidating than I originally thought.

endurance pilates and yoga studioAfter breaking a sweat, we noshed on the tasty treats Julie and her team put out for us while she told us more about her story and her practice. Julie has been teaching for 20 years, and it shows in her practice. Julie was recently named Boston Magazine’s Best Of Boston® 2014 Personal Trainer!

endurance pilates and yoga studioJulie has an amazing story – as the daughter of a double-amputee, she saw how important core strength was to those learning to walk on prosthetics. It was because of this personal experience that Julie was inspired to work with some of the Marathon bombing survivors (pro bono, I might add). It was beyond touching to hear her talk about how pilates has allowed the survivors to take control of their lives again.

Julie generously gifted each blogger in attendance with a free one-on-one session. I can’t wait to get back in the studio and work out on the TRX and reformers with her help. I’ll let you know how it goes and if I make it out in one piece 🙂 And good news for you ClassPassers, you can sign up for Endurance classes in the app!

Are you in to yoga and pilates?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure

Who, What, (Workout) Wear

I’d be lying if I said I was the most fit person out there. At one point in my life, I was. As a competitive gymnast for about 10 years, I worked out constantly. And then I “retired” and went to college … and then got a job  … and then got a bit lazy. You know how it goes.

I go through phases when I work out almost every day and phases when I just don’t for months on end. I’m reentering a workout phase and hoping to make it stick this time. I only ever fall out of my routine because of excuses I make for myself, and it’s time to stop making those excuses.

And while sheer motivation is the main driving force behind a constant routine, cute workout wear doesn’t hurt. I don’t know about you, but a new sneaker or a cute performance hoodie inspires me to go to the gym and show off my new outfit … I mean workout.

So this past weekend, I met up with Elissa from Style Wire for a blogger class at Endurance Pilates (more on that here). Before the class, we had a little fun warming up and snapping some pictures of our newest workout wear.  It was so fun to catch up, work out together and compare notes on our respective new workout attire.

workout wear

workout wear shoes

workout wear

workout wear

workout wear

workout wear

Oh don’t mind us, we’re just casually sitting in the middle of this parking lot. Nothing to see here. Move along …

Jacket c/o New Balance | Pants GapFit | Tank GapFit | Shoes c/o New Balance

What brands do you gravitate to for workout wear?

Photos: beautyXposé/Style-WireDisclosure

Kennedy's On The Square

Beautiful Boston: Kennedy’s on the Square

As you know from reading this, I love all things beauty. Makeup, skin care, nail polish, clothing … the list goes on. But you know what I think is equally, if not more, beautiful? A well-crafted cocktail and food I just can’t stop eating even if I’m bursting at the seams. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

So imagine my delight when I was invited with some of the other lovely Boston bloggers to enjoy a complimentary night of drinks, tasty treats and laughs at Kennedy’s on the Square. Located in historic Harvard Square, KOTS coins itself as a “gastropub with tantalizing cocktails & craft beers.” The interior is filled with rich leather booths and cozy, dim lighting. It’s the perfect setting in which to share gossip with your friends over a plate of grass-fed sliders and a couple of Vault martinis.

Kennedy's On The Square

Kennedy's On The Square

Over a couple of hours, we downed cocktails and gorged ourselves on a mix of apps, entrees and desserts. Before we get in to the food, I wanted to apologize for the lack of corresponding pictures. My camera died because I forgot to charge my battery and all the phone pictures I took turned out blurry. Once the other bloggers post their articles, I’ll link them here.

My favorite app was hands-down the grass-fed sliders, which were served on potato buns. The meat was tender, juicy and perfectly seasoned. For an entree, I enjoyed the Sausage pizza, which was equally as delicious. The crust was a bit too thin for my personal preference, but it was still amazing. The combination of lamb sausage, feta cheese, pomegranate, molasses and mint was perfection.

Kennedy's On The Square

Kennedy's On The Square

Kennedy's On The Square

To round out the night, I had a bite of three desserts – the bread pudding, Nutella creme brûlée and flourless chocolate cake. All were enjoyable, but my favorite was the bread pudding. I just went back to look for a description of the bread pudding, but didn’t see it on the dessert menu, so I guess the menu changes regularly? Regardless, if you go and they are offering the bread pudding, make sure to put in an order … and then bring it to me 😉

Kennedy's On The Square

kennedy's on the square

If you can’t tell from my post, I had an amazing time and I would definitely go back. It strikes me as more of a place to go with friends for drinks and a shared meal than a place for an formal dinner, but to each their own. And you know what’s even better? There is a sister restaurant, Kennedy’s Public House, in Norwood out near me. I can go any night I please. Win, win!

If you do happen to spend some time at KOTS, come back to let me know what you thought!

Photos: Kennedy’s on the Square; Disclosure

 

puerto rico

A Weekend in San Juan, Puerto Rico

This year, my boyfriend and I attended five weddings. Four of which we had to travel to. Needless to say, we are a bit worn out now by all the travel, but we couldn’t help but be excited about our last trip to Puerto Rico last week. We attended a gorgeous wedding at Casa de Espana, had scrumptious drinks and late-night snacks at La Factoria and enjoyed a day of windsurfing with Sotavento Water Sports. Since photos speak louder than words, I’ll skip ahead to the photos.

puerto rico

puerto rico

puerto rico

puerto rico

We had such a lovely time and we that we had an extra few days. I was dying to spend more time on the beach and to make it up in to the rain forests.

Have you ever been to San Juan, Puerto Rico?

Photos: beautyXposé; Disclosure