April 28, 2017

Sunshine + Government Shutdowns + Help Needed

It's Friday. The sun has shown it's face. I'm annoyed at our government. You know. Normal stuff. I figured today would be a good brain dump.

Our friend, Emma, is coming for the weekend from Minnesota. It has snowed there this week, so I think she's in for a treat with our weekend forecast. We are going to see a show on Broadway and planning on eating our way through Brooklyn and spending as much time outside as possible. 

We have spent at least one night a week combing the internet for posts on Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria. It's easy to forget how much fun planning a vacation can be. We have missed some epic spots in the past when we haven't done much research ahead of time and since we are only going for 7 days, we want to make sure we have some "must-do's" to make the best of our time there. If you have any favorites in the area or any posts you've read/written, please leave them in the comments so we can check them out.

Playoff hockey is running my life and I'm not mad about it. This is almost as intense as our fantasy football league. Speaking of football, AP is officially no longer a Viking. I'm not sure if I care at this point. There was too much drama. Those of you watching the draft - I'm impressed by your commitment, but I am not a college football fan and the Rangers are on. Sorry.

The buy a favorite and get a free gift sale is done at noon today. If you are interested, take advantage. You can buy a Charcoal Bar for $24 and get a free full-size Mascara ($29 value). Not a bad deal. Click here for more info.

My Amazon Fresh delivery included 4 pineapples that I didn't order. They told me to keep them. I'm trying to figure out what to do with them to not waste them. Please send help. I might drop a few off to neighbors. I hate wasting food.

Happy Friday friends! Let's hope the government figures out how to function, the climate change march pisses us our president, the sun is out all weekend, a bunch of you send me awesome Europe recommendations and that I walk off all the food I will be eating this weekend. Cheers!

April 25, 2017

Spring in Brooklyn

I was already in love with our neighborhood. The brownstones, tree lined streets and walking distance to all of our needs (including a Target.) I really didn't need any more selling that this is my favorite place in the world right now. But then Spring happened.

This weekend, we spent our Sunday outside enjoying the perfect weather. We went to see the Cherry Blossoms at peak bloom in Prospect Park. This has been on my wish list since we moved to the east coast but travels and funky weather has always gotten in the way. I was determined to make it happen this year. I'll just leave a few photos here.

After strolling through the Botanical Garden, we finally made it to the Smorgasburg in Prospect Park. Why did I wait so long to go to this one? The lines were way more manageable and it's closer to my house. I will be spending lots of Sundays here. The park was filled with people.

We tried all new food. Arepas with eggs and veggies, brunch on a stick (quail eggs with pesto, parmesan and cream cheese), ice cream sandwich and Oreo pudding. The brunch on a stick is my new favorite find and there are a million different toppings that you could try something different each time.

The rest of our weekend consisted of some with the Jersey crew, watching hockey and laying low. We celebrated Earth Day by doing some trash clean up on our dog walks. It just blows my mind that people can't just put garbage in the garbage can. There was plenty to clean up. It gave us a good way to reuse some of the takeout bags we have stored under the sink. 

Hope you had a great Spring weekend filled with flowers and sunshine and hockey.

April 18, 2017

Accidentally Trendy

I am not a trendy person. I never have been. Keeping up with current trends costs a lot of money and creates a lot of waste if you are constantly trying to keep up. I just get lucky sometimes that my comfort overlaps with a current trend. Boom. Lately, I'm on a roll.

Here are some of the trendy things I have locked down:

1.  Eyebrows - Growing up a tomboy, I never really asked or figured out eyebrow grooming. At 31, I've still never touched them. Now bushier eyebrows are back in style. I win.

2.  Top Knots - I'm lazy with my hair and have been throwing it up on the top of my head for a decade.

3.  Binge watching TV - When 90210 was released on DVD, you better believe I put every season on my Christmas list and as they started to show up under tree, I curled up for many weekends in a row watching every episode of the show. Now Netflix allows me to do that without having to purchase anything.

4. "Athleisure" - You know, the trend of wearing sweatpants all over the place. I'm in. I mean, I've been unashamed for my whole life to wear my loungewear all day, every day. That said, I'm not sure I have the right sweatpants, but who is counting. If you need proof, GiGi is all about this trend - she just has way more money.

5. Hygge - This whole concept took off big this year and I was seeing it everywhere. Thanks to Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage - it's a concept that was talked about for a while in my home state. I wrote about it originally a few years ago because I just love the concept - especially in the winter months.

6. Statement Making T-Shirts - I love a good t-shirt. Always have, always will. Especially with the most recent election, I feel like there are some of the greatest statement shirts out there now.

See you on the runway next fashion week in the fall. In the meantime, I'll be working on making bedhead and dog hair a thing.

April 14, 2017

5 Random Thoughts for Friday

Happy Friday to all. Unless you have today off and then I'm just jealous. Since I'm on a roll with my blog this week, I figured I would finish the week off strong with five random thoughts.

1. I was super mad at Delta last week. They are my airline of choice, but last week, I was delayed and cancelled and was mad that no one ever at any point apologized. Last night, I got an email that they were giving me bonus miles and were extremely sorry and all was forgotten. As long as you apologize for crap that happens, let me wear leggings and don't bust my face on an arm rest while assaulting me - I'm happy. That's low maintenance.

2. I have this strange item in my Amazon cart. Do I buy it? It's 75% off the normal price and I feel like it would be a handy thing to have for the park or camping or our living room when we have movie marathons. Help me.

3. Jimmy Fallon is hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend. I have taken a break from him because his show has felt a little too safe and that's boring. I've been watching Trevor Noah and John Oliver instead - plus clips of all the late night shows on YouTube. I feel like this SNL episode is his chance to make me fall in love again. Plus, he always does a musical number and those are my favorite.

4. The March for Science and the Climate March are both coming up this month. We just sent these awesome shirts to our nieces who are participating in their first march next weekend and I love them. There are so many awesome shirts, but these were my favorite. Plus, I'm just the proudest aunt in the world.

5. SPRING HAS ARRIVED. The trees are blooming, the mornings are magical to be outside, my winter jacket is put away and I'm a happy camper. I was starting to really hate the cold and I'm usually a big fan of winter.

Have a wonderful weekend!

April 13, 2017

The Votes are In

It's been a while since I shared exciting Beautycounter information, but I couldn't pass on sharing this month's awesome deal. They are running an awesome promo for the rest of the month that I wanted to share with you. They have rounded up the customer favorites and if you decide to purchase one of them, you will get a free travel size product. Everyone loves a little incentive, plus you'll be trying safe products from an awesome company.

Here are the customer favorites:

1. Cleansing Balm - $80 - I've written about this stuff when I shared some of my favorites in Feb. This is a cleanser and also a moisturizer. Lots of people will actually sleep with this on for a deep hydration. It has Vitamin C in it which is amazing. It's a great makeup remover and will make your skin feel so good. The jar will last a few months. We're still working our way through our first jar almost 6 months later with both of us using it a few times a week. 

2. Charcoal Cleansing Bar - $24 - This is definitely the product I hear more people raving about than anything else. I'm a big fan of the charcoal mask as well. Coconut oil and green tea help detox your skin without drying it out. 

3. Protect All Over Sunscreen - $32 - It's that time of year again. The sun is out and you must protect yourself. I have tried lots of safe ingredient sunscreens, but many of them are hard to rub in or have a chalky feel. This one goes on smooth, keeps your skin hydrated and has 30 SPF - plus it doesn't have all the horrible chemicals that lots of other sunscreen has.

4. Tint Skin Foundation - $41 - There are 8 different shades of this foundation available and the reviews are amazing. I haven't used this product because I'm stuck on this Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer that comes with SPF protection.

5. Sheer Lipstick - $30 - I have never been a lipstick person, but I'm always game to try something. I got a really neutral color of this and I love it. I'm going to get a little crazy with my next color choice and either try the Plum or the Scarlet. 

6. Face Oils - $68/each - There are 3 different kinds that are outlined below. They are all part of the new Beautycounter+ line. There is a Brightening Oil #1a Plumping Oil #2 and a Balancing Oil #3 available. I heard never used face oils before being introduced to Beautycounter and I don't think I could ever go back now. I usually add a few drops into my moisturizer in the AM and then apply in the evening at the end of my routine. They are such a small luxury - can't get enough.

By purchasing any of these items, you will be able to add a free travel size luxury item to your cart. The options for the add on are the Body Butter, the Sugar Body Scrub (another one of my favorites) and the Nourishing Night Cream

On top of all that goodness, if you sign up to be a Band of Beauty member, you get free shipping on orders over $100, 15% product credit on all purchases and a free gift (this month, the gift is this lip conditioner.)

Browse & Shop the Site by Clicking Here

Last, but not least, anyone that wants to host an online social via Facebook before the end of May will receive a free gift from me (you'll get to pick.) The rewards for a host are pretty awesome - free products and 1/2 off products. Comment below or email me steph.gregerson@gmail.com if you're interested. And if you aren't subscribed to the monthly newsletter yet, do it.

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April 12, 2017

Bach Bash in Asheville

The last 8 days have been a bit of a whirlwind for me. I spent last week in MN for a big work training and dealing with Delta's shenanigans with flights cancelling and changing. I had about 17 hours in NYC before I got on another plane for North Carolina. It was the bachelorette celebration of my friend, Meredith. As always, I was a little nervous to spend the weekend with a group of girls that has been friends for YEARS that I didn't know too well (except the bride obviously) but it was absolutely wonderful.

I landed in Charlotte and rented a car to drive to Asheville. As soon as I started seeing mountains, my whole body relaxed. Some people are like that with the ocean, but my peace place is definitely the hills. I had a few hours to relax at the cabin before the party arrived. We cracked the champagne and got ready for dinner.

Really, our dinner deserves a post of its own, but I haven't mastered my food porn skills yet, so I'll just share a few pics. We ate at Night Bell in downtown Asheville. I'm not much of a foodie, but holy smokes, this place blew my mind. We let our server determine what we would eat so we ended up with a very eclectic variety. We stuck more to the seafood side of the menu so I could eat almost everything. My favorite were their "deviled egg" (bottom right) and the flounder that was so perfectly cooked, but seriously, everything I put in my mouth was amazing.

After our amazing dinner, we headed to Sovereign Remedies for a cocktail and then ended our night hopping around to a few other places downtown.

Sunday morning, we woke up to the sound of birds chirping and the creek outside the cabin. We enjoyed the sunshine and some fresh eggs courtesy of our VRBO host. He had ducks and chickens on his property and delivered us eggs upon our arrival. We spent the morning lounging and got ready to do some brewery hopping early afternoon.

Our first stop was New Belgium Brewery. It's one of my favorites. We got the most amazing behind the scenes tour thanks to some connections with one of the ladies in our group. We tried lots of stuff and saw some really cool employees only sections of the brewery. They had a freaking slide as part of the tour. Their facility is awesome and worth visiting for anyone in Asheville. They had a food truck where we got some lunch and enjoyed a little more sunshine.

We left there and headed to Burial where we checked off most of the items on Meredith's bachelorette checklist. It was all thanks to one man we met that was determined to help us. He recruited many of the other patrons to give lap dances, tell us their dirty little secrets and even give piggy back rides. My face hurt from laughing - plus the beer was really good.

Our last stop was Funkitorium which features mostly sour beers and some of the Wicked Weed brews. Turns out I was able to find a sour beer that I liked - imagine that. Also, if you ever find yourself in the presence of the Milk & Cookies Stout from Wicked Weed - drop everything and drink it.

We ended our evening with pizza delivery at the cabin, a meet & greet with our hosts' farm animals, a bonfire and some card games (and a bedtime of 10:30.) Hello perfect Sunday Funday. I also feel like I should mention that our whole group split each flight... so I drank lots of sips of beer. Best case scenario.

Monday, we woke up and scrambled up the rest of the fresh eggs. We had some donuts and nitro coffee delivered from Vortex (definitely recommend this stop) and said goodbye to our lovely little cabin. I had 4 hours of solo time before I had to be at the airport, so I decided to turn on a playlist and cruise a few miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway and then head towards Chimney Rock to do a little hiking. We didn't get to do the waterfall trail when we were there in the fall, so I took some alone time and avoided the crowds on the main trail and hiked to Hickory Nut Falls. Then I road tripped back to Charlotte and caught my flight back to New York City.

The weather was perfect. The beers and the food exceeded all expectations. The cabin was peaceful and comfy. Lots of laughs and a hashtag that proved to be a little difficult to remember. The group I was with was wonderful.

There were definitely moments in the last week that I was exhausted, but it was a perfect weekend and I'm so grateful to have friends that have awesome friends that welcome me into their squad no questions asked. Can't wait to celebrate Meredith & Andy's wedding in less than a month in the big apple!!

April 11, 2017

The Bookshelf: Vol 11

My reading has slowed down a little bit since my tear in January, but I've finished another four books in the last two months keeping me on track to hit my reading goal for the year.

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick - (Goodreads/Amazon) I just love Anna Kendrick. I flew through this book and felt myself nodding along with her. She talks about self improvement and I laughed so hard. "The further I get into self-improvement, the more I hope I'll grow some new part of my brain that makes me take care of my responsibilities automatically. Like highway blindness. If I grabbed my keys for a Krispy Kreme run in my sweatpants, I'd come to twenty minutes later, wearing pleated khakis and getting my oil changed." Don't we all?

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood - (Goodreads/Amazon) So this was a strange story. I don't know if I loved the characters or if I was horrified by them. It was a story about a family that has lots of drug issues and it centers around a relationship between a young girl and a young adult man. It kind of grossed me out the whole time, but I was definitely pulling for the girl the whole book. I didn't love it, but I'm glad I read it. It is best described as a story of dysfunction.

The Girl Before by JP Delaney - (Goodreads/Amazon) This was an interesting story that followed two women at different time periods living in similar situations. It was good, but nothing to rave over. I was really intrigued by the architectural masterpiece that is the center of the story. It's a high tech house that requires minimalist living. I keep reading that it's a mix between Gone Girl and 50 Shades of Grey and I can kind of see that, but I wish they would stop referring to any psychological thriller as "the new Gone Girl." I read recently that Ron Howard is directing this movie, so I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

And finally, my favorite of this round up:

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance - (Goodreads/Amazon)  Since the election, I've been trying to learn more about the point of view of people that are different than me and there are millions. I saw this one on the best seller list and waited a long time to get it from the library. It is the story of a man that grew up in the Appalachian region of Kentucky & Ohio and ended up at an Ivy League school. Reading his thoughts and opinions on the community he grew up in helps me think about that part of the country in a different way. It's just one story, but every story helps to expand my view on the world and I would highly recommend checking this out. Let me know if you've read it. This book made me wish I was in a book club because I just wanted to discuss this one. I even read through all the reviews I could on Goodreads just to see other opinions.

Tell me what you think if you've read any of these. Do you find a hard time reading when it gets nicer out? I'm hoping with the balcony being open for business at our apartment that I will find myself enjoying some sunsets with books in hand.

Obviously, I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for their monthly book share. Go find some things to add to your list.

April 3, 2017


April has arrived. There are buds on the trees again and pretty soon, things will be green everywhere. Here's another round of things I'm currently up to.

Enjoying the longer days that come with the changing of the seasons. Also, just being outside and not freezing is a plus.

Deciding which color to paint my nails. Sandal season is just around the corner and I can't wait.

Packing for a work trip and then a bachelorette weekend in North Carolina. I got a new carry on to replace the Target one we've used for years. I'm obsessed with it. If you're in the market, you can use this link to get $20 off a suitcase.

Wearing these pants from Gap - I have them in multiple colors and I love them. Also, Gap was running a 40% off sale and who hates that.

Trying this Brightening mask tonight. It's the only face mask I haven't tried yet, but people are raving about it.

Listening to Pod Save America. I'm a big fan of the Crooked Media podcasts and this is the one that I never miss. There's a new one every Monday & Thursday.

Overwhelmed by the amount of things happening at work right now. It's the busiest I've ever been which is awesome, but also exhausting.

Counting down the days to our Europe adventure. I'm beyond excited. We have to still figure out what to do with the dogs (has anyone used an app to find a dog sitter) and book our hotels, but everything else is taken care of.

Winning my NCAA bracket. Who thought that could happen? I had Gonzaga and UNC in the finals with Carolina winning it all.