My Favorite Podcasts + $33 Striped Summer Dress

It’s almost the weekend! Two things to talk about today: First, HOW CUTE IS THIS STRIPED DRESS FROM Who What Wear?! It’s only $33, and I’m not sorry to say that I think I’m killing it with this look.img_5010.jpg

img_4990.jpgSecondly, podcasts. I’ve been on a major kick lately – one of my new “daily goals” is to listen to one a day during my commute or while walking Roxie, so I’m constantly on the hunt for new pods. Six of my current must-listens…

Forever35: Putting this first because I’m newly obsessed. A co-worker turned me on to this podcast and it’s really addicting. Two friends, Kate and Doree, talk about all the different things we do for self-care, from journaling to serums to solving bad rashes. The longer episodes have a range of guests from authors to entertainers to makeup artists, but they have mini-episodes to answer listener questions. A real ‘gal community’, easy to listen to and you might even pick up a self-care tip or two. Mindless, but a real delight. They also have a website that lists every single product they talk about and a supportive facebook community. Continue reading “My Favorite Podcasts + $33 Striped Summer Dress”

Build Your Perfect Travel Makeup Bag

travel makeup bag.jpgI just got back from some whirlwind travel cross-country travel. Five days in Chicago, flying back to San Francisco on Saturday AM, leaving Sunday AM for New York City for 5 days, then flying directly to Michigan for a wedding Friday, before going BACK to San Francisco on Sunday. Ugh, I’m exhausted just talking about it, and honestly that part of the story is boring. The interesting part, which inspired this post, and the question you’re probably already asking, is: BUT WHAT MAKEUP DID YOU BRING? It’s the important question, after all. When you are packing for long trips, you become very aware of every single item that you pack, including your makeup bag. Makeup not only takes up a lot of space, but it can get heavy – and both those things are annoying when you’re traveling. To avoid it, take a peek inside my finely tuned makeup bag, crafted over years and years of time on the road… Continue reading “Build Your Perfect Travel Makeup Bag”

How to Make Friends in a New City

Moving is so hard. Moving cities, impossible. There’s the hiring of movers, the packing and unpacking of the stuff. The inevitable day where a beloved piece of furniture breaks or your favorite box of clothes is lost. But it doesn’t get easier once you’re settled in. Figuring out new public transportation, learning a new job, and most terrifying, the MAKING OF NEW FRIENDS. Even if you’re in a relationship, it still gets lonely without girlfriends. I’ve moved a lot, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert in this space…

In the last 15 years, I’ve moved from Michigan to New York, to Chicago, to San Francisco, where most places, I had little or no friends. Finding and crafting friendships takes work, but the first and hardest step, is finding people with similar interests. You really have to put yourself out there to find a new BFF – believe me, I’ve “cold called” friends multiple times, but none of those friendships fell into my lap. Here’s how I’ve met people in the last four cities I’ve lived in: Continue reading “How to Make Friends in a New City”

My Top Tips For Planning A Wedding

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finders keepers dress

We went to this beautiful wedding at Atwood Ranch in Sonoma on Saturday and spent much of the night talking to a newly engaged friend. She was already stressed about planning the wedding, and it had only been a few weeks since the engagement! I flashed back to when googling “wedding planning” spit out millions of to-do lists and timelines, and I freaked – where to start? I ended the night promising to send her a list of everything we did in the first few months to minimize our wedding stress. Promise, delivered! My top tips for you too, here… Continue reading “My Top Tips For Planning A Wedding”

Need A New Book? My Latest Picks.

If you’re like me, you’re always on the hunt for a new book. I go through books pretty quickly because I read constantly – and there’s so many benefits to a page turner on the reg. Did you know only six minutes of reading reduces stress by 68%? If you have trouble falling asleep, read for 10 minutes. Trust me, you’ll pass right out. Here’s what on my nightstand right now.

Essentialism, Greg McKeown: Normally I don’t buy into self-help. But this book has actually changed and improved my life. If ever feel sucked into a dinner you don’t want to be at, or tired of doing things that don’t bring you joy, or overwhelmed, well… ever, this is the book for you. A pretty quick read, Essentialism’s premise isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s a guide for focusing on what’s necessary in your life and spending your time and energy there. The good part, it doesn’t tell you what should be important in your life (since we all have different priorities!), it let’s you figure it out for yourself, and gives you the tools to focus on those things. A must read for the working girl, or literally any mom.

Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng: A fly-by-night mom and daughter move to a small town where residents pride themselves on following the rules. This is a story about families, friendships and what happens when worlds collide. Per the blurb: “Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity.” A real page turner, Celeste’s way of writing is poignantly engaging, but not so flowery you get bored. The characters are interesting, and you can’t help but want the best for all of them – even when they are making terrible decisions. Good for the beach, before bed or on the subway.

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt: A single tragic accident changes the course of a young boys’ life and brings into his possession a captivating painting, as we follow the aftermath into his adulthood. This is a legit piece of literature (it won the Pulitzer) – a long, hard read, but totally worth it. The writing is powerful and vivid. The characters are complicated, frustrating, and simultaneously irresistible. I read it months ago and still find myself dreaming about the characters and what’s happened to them since. Don’t pick it up if you prefer lighter, fluffy books. Read it before it’s turned into a movie in 2019.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen: You probably read this classic in high school and haven’t thought about it since. Give it another look – I’ve read it a dozen times and always realize something new. A powerful love story and a reminder that women should never settle in love or life. And my third favorite movie. (I mean, the part where Mr. Darcy is laying it all on the line for Keira Knightly by the white column building in the rain, ugh, chills!)

Have any good book recos? Send them my way!

xo Alaina

Our Destination Wedding in Puerto Rico

AlainaTimothyWedding_0278copy.jpgI can hardly believe that we got married two years ago! Time has gone by so fast. As we celebrated our anniversary yesterday, I was feeling wistful for our wedding weekend and in an effort to relive that glorious time, I wanted to share moments from our special day with all of you! Warning: rainforests, champagne and dancing ahead…  Continue reading “Our Destination Wedding in Puerto Rico”

Make Your Bling SPARKLE (How to Clean Your Jewelry At Home)

It makes me sad to see a gorgeous piece of jewelry lose it’s shine. I feel so strongly about sparkle, I travel with a “jewelry kit” and demand to clean my friends’ rings when we go on vacation. (Sunscreen is the worst offender for dulling shine.) The good news: anyone can get a pro-level clean at home in a few minutes! Stick with me.

I’m going to clean my engagement and wedding ring (platinum and diamonds), and my Dior Oui ring (white gold, aquamarine and diamonds). See how the stones are super cloudy and the bands are lackluster? This is totally normal and happens from regular wear – everything you touch, from makeup, to lotion, hairspray, and even food, takes a toll on the shine of your favorite things. Most of us don’t have time to get it professionally cleaned, but my jeweler taught me this at-home trick that works just as well. I try to do it every Sunday, the difference in before/after is so noticeable.

For the newly engaged: If you’re taking engagement or wedding photos, you MUST do this beforehand!

Note: I’ve used rings for this post, but it works for gold and silver necklaces, earrings and most natural gemstones. BUT I’ve never tried cleaning any costume jewelry, so attempt at your own risk!IMG_2448 Continue reading “Make Your Bling SPARKLE (How to Clean Your Jewelry At Home)”