Tuesday, July 7, 2015

How to create a gallery wall: the one simple tip that makes any gallery gorgeous!

Nowadays you can’t scroll through pinterest without seeing someone’s gorgeously styled gallery wall. As a result, when I moved into my apartment last year I started assembling my gallery wall on pretty much day one. It started with three prints, but I bought 5 frames to kick start the gallery wall (I have a bad habit of buying and hanging frames before I have anything to put in them. Don’t tell anyone, but they often hang empty for months. Oops!!).

Before a hung, I put a lot of time into scouring the internet to get an idea of how I wanted to lay out my gallery wall. After much searching and plenty of agonizing, I can across this tip on the Pottery Barn website that was a total game changer for me. Suddenly, no matter which arrangement I tested with my frames, the display looked gorgeous and totally put together.

Basically, the tip is that you want to keep a “spine” running down the center of your display. The frames should vary in their height/width from the central spine, and be arranged both horizontally and vertically, but at the center the frames should be a straight line running down the center, and the frames should be of equal spacing from one another.

This tip even works on smaller "galleries, as you can see with this arrangement of three frames over my dresser. The "spine" is to the left of the larger photo, and the two smaller frames are oriented off of that.

This way of organizing the display is also really nice because it will allow the display to grow over time in a logical manner. You don’t end up with random spaces that are hard to fill!

My final piece of advice on assembling a gallery wall, and art in your home in general, is to be patient and collect your pieces over time. I enjoy the art in my home so much more when it’s connected to a meaningful memory (an afternoon with the beaux at an outdoor craft market, finding a charming artist’s studio on a back street in Europe, ect.) than when I simply bought it at a store. Don’t get me wrong, decorative art pieces from big box stores like Pier 1 and Homegoods definitely have their place in my home, but I do enjoy my art more when it is collected from my travels or when it is a picture that I took myself.

How about you? Have you hopped on the gallery wall bandwagon to decorate your own space? Let me know if you have any tips and tricks of your own in the comments below!

xoxo - Katie

Friday, March 6, 2015

My Pinterest Diet: How I Use Pinterest To Meal Plan

Hello again!

Now that we’re already into March, how is everyone doing with their New Year’s resolutions? I’m guessing my new year’s resolution of eating a healthier, more varied diet (and by varied I mean not eating fro-yo every day ;) was a popular one this year, even though it’s not the easiest one to keep.

So far I’m making good on my resolution to eat better, cook more and get healthy, but one thing I’ve learned is you have to re-resolve to your resolutions every day! I’ve had plenty of cheat days since the new year, and the hardest thing for me has always been getting back on the plan the day after. The single factor that’s made the biggest difference for me being able to stick with the plan (even after mess-ups) this year is…drumroll…weekly meal planning.

I remember hearing this tip before and not giving it a second though. I thought it was for moms, or people on super tight budgets, or fitness nuts. I thought it sounded like too much work. But planning and making meals has become my new favorite hobby thanks to one indispensable tool, PINTEREST!

Thank the internet gods for Pinterest (am i right?). Read on to see my method for making meal planning so easy and fun!

Step 1: Create your boards. Previously, I had one board titled “Healthy Food” where i dumped every single interesting recipe i came across. No Bueno my friends. I remember scrolling up and down this page when I wanted to find a recipe waiting until something jumped out at me, and something something never did. No update, I separated my recipe pins onto multiple boards as follows:

-Vegetarian (Meatless Mondays)
-Side Dishes
-Lunch Ideas

Why does this work for me? When I go to meal plan, I usually start with the chicken page. Quickly one or two recipes I’ve pinned will catch my eye and I will pull those out for the week. Then, i know I need to vary my proteins so I will hop over to my beef and seafood boards and pick out a few recipes from there. If i’m bored with my usual yogurt for breakfast, it’s easy to find a breakfast recipe on my breakfast board. No scrolling up and down a single board cluttered with everything under the sun trying to find that one recipe that will work.

Step 2: Create your shopping list. I do this paperlessly by having two windows open on my computer. My pinterest on the left and a word document on the right. As I’m surfing through my various boards I will click through to the recipes that appeal to me that week and record the name of the recipe, the link to the recipe, and all of the ingredients i need to create the recipe on my word document. Once you get your pinterest boards filled out with a good volume of recipes to choose from, this process can take as few as 5 minutes!

Step 3: Cook and Review! My single favorite thing about this process (besides the fact that I can feel like I’m doing something productive while surfing the internet looking at pictures of delicious food) is filling out my “Recipe Reviews” board. Every time I cook a new recipe, I re-pin it to my recipe reviews board along with my thoughts about the recipe, any modifications I made, anything I’d do differently next time, ect. Pinning new recipes to this board gives me such a sense of satisfaction; I love watching the number of pins on this board grow along with my skills in the kitchen!

And that’s it! I go shopping for my groceries once a week on Sundays. Once a week shopping helps me stick to my plan even if I have a screw up in the middle of the week; once I already have the ingredients in the refrigerator and recipe ready to go it’s much harder to go out to say “f*ck it, I’m going out for sushi” (I know you feel me).

I hope this post has inspired you to keep on keeping on with any resolutions you might have made for 2015!

xoxo - Katie

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Decor In Review: Christmas 2014

Hello again internet!

It has been a gooood long while since I've worked on this blog. To make a very long, winding story short, 2014 was a roller coaster ride that consisted of a new job, quitting said new job, moving to a new city, going back to school, and finally being accepted into my dream occupational therapy masters program! Hooray!

While the holidays are over, I wanted to document the decor I found to make my tiny little Philadelphia apartment festive for the season. First up, the tree!

 After a few nightmare experiences with live trees in small apartments, this year I finally settled on a pre-lit fake tree from target. I scored it just before Thanksgiving on a 50% off deal (a good tip if you are in the market next year, keep your eyes open for sales before thanksgiving!) and this baby was only $30! I consider myself a Christmas tree snob, so saying that I love this tree really holds some weight.

For ornaments this year I went with a monochromatic muted gold and silver color scheme. I found almost all of them at HomeGoods, with the exception of my basic balls and elongated santas (seen in top right corner) which came from Target.

I scored this statement tree topped from Pier 1. I LOVE this thing. It was also a steal at around $15 full price, but they always have great sales leading up to Christmas!

This little coffee table display is one of my favorite vignettes from the holidays. The pillar candles and candy tea light holders are from Pier 1, and the box and glass pillar holders are from Pottery Barn. I loved lighting up the candles in this display at night!

The pillows in the background were from Target. I loved their urban vibe, and I'm thinking the smaller beaded pillow will be good year round!

Over on the other side of the coffee table, I have to share with you these gorgeous homemade coasters I picked up at a local arts festival. Each coaster in the set is slightly unique and they are the best quality! Go check out the artists Etsy shop here!

One of my favorite holiday decorations that might stay up through the winter were the fairy lights I lined my three front windows with. I actually picked this idea up from the Mindy Project (Mindy does this in her supercool NYC apartment). I also hung a wreath from the middle window with a bit of chevron ribbon (not quite visible in this pic) and created a little greenery for the sill with a length of garland and a burlap ribbon from the Target dollar section.

Another little vignette I made up this season could be found under the tree. I loved these lanterns and this silver sparkly nutcracker that matched my ornaments on the tree!

On a corner of my kitchen countertop you could find this bath and body works owl luminary (recycled from my fall decorations) paired with a couple vintage mason jars (one held straws and the tall jar usually held wooden spoons. The spoons all happened to be dirty when I took these pics!) and a small wooden sign from Pier 1.

Finally, I was inspired to put this little display from a user on instagram (I wish I remembered her username!!). I stuck some Martha Stewart bottlebrush animal ornaments in HomeGoods apothecary jars with some kosher salt for snow. The display was all arranged on a mirrored tray from Target and accented with some fairy lights. So delightful!

I hope you all had as wonderful of a holiday season as I did! Wishing you health and happiness this 2015!

xoxo, Katie



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Winterize Your Beauty Routine: Moisturizing Must Have Makeup

Calling all dry-skinned snow bunnies! Does your face feel dry, itchy, and flaky all day no matter how much moisturizer you slather on at night? This has been me, every winter, for most of my life. This year, I say no more!

I'm fighting winter dryness 24/7 with this seriously moisturizing makeup routine, without sacrificing an ounce of glam. The best part is, these products apply quickly and easily, perfect for a 5-minute face!

For my first winter skin swap, I shelved my beloved Clinique Even Better Foundation in favor of their Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer. I've been devoted to full coverage foundation my whole life, but this tinted moisturizer actually has pretty great, and very buildable coverage. It covers general redness and uneven skintone with ease, only letting hyper pigmentation show through (though that's nothing winter must-have concealer can't handle!). Most importantly, this product packs some serious moisturizing punch and is so lightweight it won't feel heavy or irritate even the most sensitive dry winter skin.

Next up is Benefit's Fake Up Concealer, a seriously moisturizing crease control concealer. This product comes in a lipstick-like twist up tube that has a color corrector running through the middle of a clear, moisturizing balm. When I say this product is moisturizing, I mean moisturizing! This puppy hydrates like a dream. I use the lightest of this product's three colors and apply it under my eyes, on my forehead, chin and down the bridge of my nose (I outlined this technique in my post here) and blend with gentle patting motions with my fingers. This product gives you quick and dirty full on glam, and I am in love.

I finish up my winter makeup routine with for Urban Decay's Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder. Most powders are too heavy and end up looking cakey on skin that's parched and flakey. Not this baby! It's ultra-lightweight, unbelievably comfortable on the skin, and while it doesn't pack a coverage punch it does wonders for blurring out imperfections and making my tinted moisturizer last and last.

Swatches: Top - Naked Skin Pressed Powder in Naked Light; Bottom - Fake Up Concealer in 01 Light

I hope you've enjoyed this post! Do you change anything in your beauty routine for winter? Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on bloglovin!

xoxo - Katie

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Liquid Foundation's Best Friend: Sigma Synthetic Kabuki Brush Set Review

I'm a HUGE MAC makeup brush devotee, but if you promise not to tell, I'll let you in on a little secret:

I don't love MAC's brushes for foundation (and I've tried them all). Not the classic 190, not their duo fibres for stippling, not even the much loved small bristled 109. (It's shocking, I know.)

I'm all for full coverage makeup (in fact, I'm a full coverage girl 12 hours a day, 365 days a year), but all of my MAC foundation brushes make my liquid foundation nearly impossible to blend and cause it to never sink into my skin. My beloved Clinique Even Better, which I've been using for years, sits on top of my skin ready to play slip and slide at even the slightest of provocations.

Enter Sigma's Synthetic Kabuki brushes. I've never before loved the results I've gotten from synthetic brushes, but somehow, for my liquid foundation, these brushes WORK.

The kit contains four brushes, the F80 Flat Kabuki, F82 Round Kabuki, F84 Angled Kabuki and the F86 Tapered Kabuki. All of the brushes bristles are heavenly soft and unbelievably dense, and they all (drumroll ladies and gentleman) make you look like an airbrushed goddess.

I apply my liquid foundation with the flat, round, and angled kabukis by first spritzing them with some MAC Fix+ (it makes your foundation look dewey, like you're glowing from within!), and using a soft of combination stipple-swirl technique over my face and down my neck. The tapered kabuki is excellent for applying concealer underneath your eyes, down you nose and on the center of your chin and forehead like I outlined in my post about Kim Kardashian's highlighting technique.

My favorite part about this kit is that you get four brushes for a reasonable price ($67). I refuse to use dirty makeup brushes to apply foundation (I'm acne prove so I have to be very careful with my skin!), and having four brushes to apply foundation with lets me get away without having to wash my brushes every. single. day.

These brushes do have the tendency to absorb a lot of product and can be hard to clean. I've found the best product for getting them back in tip top shape is Dr. Bronner's Mild Pure Castille Soap. This stuff works waaaay better than baby shampoo at getting the gunk out of the super dense kabuki bristles.

I purchased my Sigma Synthetic Kabuki Brush Set from Amazon for $67.

What's your favorite way to apply foundation? Do you have any holy-grail brush finds to share? Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on bloglovin!

XOXO - Katie

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hair Care Routine - Healty, Sexy Hair!

I go through phases of interest with beauty products. For a few weeks I’ll be completely obsessed with blush. I’ll only buy blush, coordinate my makeup looks around my blush color, eat, sleep, breathe blushes. Then without warning it will be bronzer. I’ll look at all of my bronzers one morning and decide I don’t have nearly enough. Then, for weeks, I’ll be all about bronzer.

For a long time I’ve neglected my hair. I’ve been wrapped up with various makeup product micro-obsessions while my hair gets nothing more than a splash of cheapie drugstore shampoo and a quick comb out with the matching conditioner. It's been a completely uninspired, amazingly monotonous, wash and go routine.

Then all of a sudden one day at Ulta I couldn’t bring myself to spend any more money on boring-but-it-will-suffice shampoo and conditioner. As I stood there in the drugstore section of my Ulta, all of a sudden, I was inspired to take special care of my hair.

Now, I’m not the sort of person who buys a product on a whim. For me, half the fun is researching a new product, reading blog posts, watching youtube videos, scouring makeupalley reviews. I LOVE that stuff (it’s a big reason I was inspired to create my own beauty blog!). So even though I was suddenly all about my hair, I wasn't ready to shell out $30 for a bottle without doing my research.

Without the time to properly prepare to make a hair care investment I decided to pick up a shampoo and conditioner duo whose price point seemed more reasonable for a spur of the moment purchase. Little did I know, my new $15 shampoo and conditioner would be my new holy grail!

The shampoo is sulfate-free, which I wasn’t thrilled about at first. Sulfate-free shampoos are better for your hair because they don't strip your hair and scalp of their natural oils. This improves the health of your hair over time and will teach it to regulate it's oil production, but it usually comes at a price; a fairly lengthy adjustment period where your hair is WAY more oily than usual.

Somehow, though, this shampoo bypasses that oily stage and takes you straight to shiny, healthy, not-too-oily hair, no two weeks of up-dos or hair turbans necessary!

This duo made took about a week to make my color treated hair softer, shinier, and LESS greasy than usual! I honestly can't remember ever being this pleased with a shampoo and conditioner. What a difference they've made!

The leave-in conditioner is an added bonus, I've actually been using this for years as a way to detangle and protect my locks before my daily blow-dry. It adds to the shine and moisture, but I take care to spray sparingly and only at my roots where my hair needs extra moisturizing care.

The shampoo, conditioner and leave-in spray can be purchased at Ulta online or in stores.

I hope you enjoyed this review! Don't you love it when you have beauty serendipity, and a prefect product just seems to fall into your lap?

What are your hair care staples? Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow me on bloglovin!

xoxo - Katie

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Line I Love: Kenneth Cole Jewelry

Hello all! Today's post is something I've been planning for quite a while. It's all about my all-time favorite jewelry line, Kenneth Cole. I discovered this line at a Macy's counter many, many years ago but to this day a look at my jewelry box will tell you just how timeless I've found this line.

The jewelry is mostly simple, comprised of clean but organic shapes. Their earring, necklaces, rings, bracelets; all minimalist with a twist.

Some pieces are almost sculptural, like something my eccentric (but also favorite) sculpture professor might have had hanging in his studio. The sculptural elements don't make them hard to wear, though. The pieces are never too much, they are always very effortless chic.

Even the simplest of studs or a clean long chain necklace have an artsy twist.

Kenneth Cole jewelry typically retails from $20 to $50 dollars, keeping it on the more affordable end of designer jewelry. To browse what pieces internet retailers have to offer a great place to look is polyvore, here.

Do you have a particular brand that dominates your jewelry box? Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to follow katie'sbeautique on bloglovin!

xoxo - Katie