J.Crew Factory has done it again. #tbt

This lovely look was one of my favorites last year. I adored this sequined top from J.Crew last year and so were a lot of bloggers who rocked this top in many ways. It was a little pricey for me (but I was lucky enough to snag it up on clearance) but those who wanted it and couldn't get their hands on it, you're in luck -- J.Crew Factory came out with an awesome version that's in stores and online right now. So if you want to recreate this same look - get over there right now before it sells out!
| Details |
Leather jacket: gift from D (similar) // Polka dot top: J.Crew Factory // 
Bubble necklace: ILY Couture (similar) // Jeans: Express // Heels: Nine West // Clutch: Tory Burch
Happy almost Friday everyone! : )

xo Steph


Food trucks, urban art & a day at the Pier.

Food trucks, art and a day at the Pier. These are a few of my favorite things. Living in Hoboken, we are lucky to always have so many fun things to do at any given time. With New York City being so close, you'd think we'd always be there but in reality,  Hoboken has soooo much to offer. One of those is Pier 13 -- which is basically a Beer Garden built on a pier. There is a place to buy beer and alcohol, picnic tables, board games like Jenga (my personal fav) and grass to layout. People bring their babies and dogs (Hoboken is very family and dog friendly) and just hang out. It's a particularly beautiful spot because the NY skyline is your backdrop. Talk about gorgeous! And the food trucks, ooohhhh the food trucks!
Everyday they have a different food trucks selection including brick oven pizza, taco truck, thai food truck, smoothies, hibachi truck, and lobster truck to name a few. 
Talk about a perfect lazy Saturday in my book!
This day, we headed to the pier because a friend of ours was in an urban art show that was being hosted by a fellow local artist. Here, the artists were creating a piece together in hopes to sell it at the end of the exhibit. 

 love these old school signs.
| the trashed urban art show |
 lunch for me was the most succulent lobster roll (made with no mayo, my favorite) and a nice pumpkin beer. 
Tis the season!
 local urban art and the freedom tower in the background.
 so abstract. kinda loving that one piece.
 I'm in a New York state of mind.....
Anyone else have a love of food trucks, day drinking, and some urban art?
Oh how I love this place!

Hope you all have a happy hump dayyyyyyy!

xo Steph


Soup Weather | Potato Leek Soup

With fall officially arriving, we've been experiencing some of those cold days where only soup will do the trick to take the chill out of your bones. Not to mention, soup on football Sundays are like the perfect combo - like peas and carrots, like mac and cheese! So make soup I did. I decided to whip up some potato leek soup, which is one of D's favorite childhood recipes. 
The recipe I used is his mother's family recipe (which is top secret) so I can't share it - but I found one online that is very similar, give or take a few tweaks -- so I feel ok sharing this. D likes it spicy, so I add LOTS of fresh black pepper, but you can season yours to take. Enjoy!

  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, about 1 pound
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 20 black peppercorns
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 1 to 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup creme fraiche or heavy cream ( I use cream)
  • 2 tablespoons snipped chives

Trim the green portions of the leek and, using 2 of the largest and longest leaves, make a bouquet garni by folding the 2 leaves around the bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Tie into a package-shaped bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. (Alternately, tie 2 leek leaves, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme together in a piece of cheesecloth.)
Using a sharp knife, halve the white part of the leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water to rid the leek of any sand. Slice thinly crosswise and set aside.
In a large soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped leeks and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the reserved bouquet garni, chicken stock, potatoes, salt and white pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are falling apart and the soup is very flavorful.

Remove the bouquet garni and, working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. (Alternately, if you own an immersion blender, puree the soup directly in the pot.) Stir in the creme fraiche and adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Serve immediately, with some of the snipped chives sprinkled over the top of each bowl of soup.
Or if you're like me - serve with warm and crusty multi-grain bread. YUM-OOO.
And a nice cold beer. It is football Sunday after all.....
And speaking of beer, I always like trying different local or craft beers. Especially fun fruity or seasonal ones. And especially ones that have cute bottles and logos because I'm a sucker for nice design. I picked up a pack of Dogfish Head Tweason'ale -- that's right -- a special brew for in between the seasons, aka tweason. Which I think I love that word by the way, and plan on incorporating it into my everyday lingo. So the flavor of this one? Strawberries and buckwheat honey. The perfect combination bridging summer and fall. LOVE.

Anyone else been craving soup lately? 
I'm all about it right now!

xo Steph


What did we do before J.Crew Factory?

Seriously, what did we do before J.Crew factory? I know they always existed when you could find a Factory store near you (luckily I grew up near one at our local outlet mall) but since they have become available online in the past year, it has made shopping so much better. Not to mention they have really stepped up their game. What I've noticed is they are featuring a lot of items from the regular J.Crew store from last year, changing the quality a bit, lowering the cost, and giving me the opportunity to buy something I wasn't able to afford the year before.
Take this adorable french hen sweater. I remember wanting this from J.Crew last year (in it's original cashmere version) but for a couple hundred dollars, I just couldn't rationalize that purchase. No matter how adorable that little hen is in his cute french beret. Now, I was able to pick it up for half the price this year -- SCORE!
The only downside: they sell out fast!! I've learned that if I like something, I pretty much have to scoop it up right then and there, or else it will be sold out before I know it. Even as I write this post, I'm guessing by the time you read this, some of these items will be sold out already. So act fast! 

J.crew factory picks

My current fall J.Crew Factory picks:

Is anyone else as obsessed with the J.Crew Factory store like I am?
What do you think of their quality and selection?

Happy Monday everyone! Let's do this : )

xo Steph


Pumpkin Spice Latte #tbt

So I got to thinking, what a shame it is that many bloggers (myself included) can create such great content for their blog, but if you didn't read that day -- poof! it's like that post never existed, as it gets pushed farther and farther into the archives. I know bloggers work very hard on content and in constantly creating new and fresh ideas for readers to enjoy. But if that post or day was missed, it's most likely off the radar. That's where my brilliant Throwback Thursday series or (#tbt as instagrammers are calling it) has come into play. I thought it would be really cool to use some of my Thursday posts to re-feature some of my favorite old posts just in case you missed it. That's the nice thing about style too -- what is old will always become new and fresh again! Fashion is always being recycled. So why not do that here too?
Here's an outfit I wore last year that D aptly said, "you look like a pumpkin spice latte!" which I think he was pretty accurate. Between the mustard colored sweater and striped scarf, I was totally channeling warm fall colors which captures the essence of a pumpkin spice latte. As I sip on a #PSL as I write this post now, I pay homage to my most wonderful time of the year : )
Outfit Details:
 Mustard Tunic: H&M (cute option here) // Black jeggings: Lauren Conrad for Kohl's (similar)
Scarf: Old Navy (fall-ish scarf) // Gold Watch: Fossil // Love Necklace: Tiffany and Co.
Leopard Flats: Payless (nice option)
Taking my Throwback Thursday post a step further, I was thinking it might be cool to even host a Throwback Thursday link-up with other bloggers as a chance to make an old post fresh again, link up with other bloggers, and make some new friends in the process. But before I go about doing this I wanted to get your input. 
Is a Throwback Thursday link-up something you would be interested in?
Let me know what you think in the comments section : )

Happy Friday Eve everyone! 

xo Steph

also linking up with Tara at Mix and Match Fashion


Life is Better Down the Shore | Part 2

Welcome to part two of our beach vacation! Aside from lots of beach time and lots of good food, there were so many fun things to remember from this trip. For one, D surprised us and rent a 6 person bike to buzz around town as a whole family. We all loved it. Well except when our legs got tired and we had to make it back to the rental shop! We also went to Fantasy Island which is like LBI's boardwalk. We road the ferris wheel, ate some ice cream and soaked up those summer nights.

our sweet 6 person ride : )

the family. minus D who was taking the pic.
Dad, what's up with that face?
we biked to the end of the island. literally.

had some laughs.

worked on my beach yoga.
hit up Fantasy Island

you must be this tall, to ride this ride.

A view from the top.

sweet treats at the end of the night.
On our last night there I promised D we would wake up early to watch the sunrise on the beach. And when I say early, it was EARLY. But so worth it. I've never actually taken the time to watch the sunrise ever and it was so beautiful. The pictures do it no justice. But we were in awe.

capturing the sun in my hands.

then we tried to eat the sun.

channeling my inner ms. pacman

followed by breakfast at the pancake house

known for their award winning chowder, or chowda as they call it.
probably the best lobster bisque I've had.
"I mentioned the bisque".......(what's that quote from??)
our lovely little house. you were so good to us.
last pic before we say goodbye.
Hope you enjoyed my vacation recap.
Til next summer LBI : )

xo Steph

ps. what's up with that guy in the background??


Life is Better Down the Shore | Part 1

Well better late than never...I'm finally getting around to sharing my beach vacation pics down in Long Beach Island. Just looking back at these make me want to go back there so bad. There's just something about being near the water that is so peaceful and calming. Everyone is so laid back and chill. Now I know why they say life is better at the beach. There's not a care in the world other than working on your tan, eating fresh seafood and listening to the soft ocean waves in the distance. Ahhhhh life there is good. Here's to hoping one day I'll be able to afford a house there : ) 
We were also having a debate which you would prefer: living near an ocean, a lake, or a bay?
My vote is actually for a lake......but what's yours?
getting my tan on : )

lovely house details
The cool thing about our house is that we were a block from the bay on our right and a block from the ocean on our left. Talk about having the best of both worlds!
me and D <3
splashing around and trying not to get knocked over!
Another thing I love going down the shore is the food, my god, the food.
Seafood restaurants galore, and everything so yummy and fresh.
Us with my brother and his girlfriend.
Notice: rockin' the short wig ; )
Stopping at Pinky's seafood is a staple for me and D every year. Their fresh snow crab legs are ahhhh-mazing and one of those little things we look forward to every summer. They are a little on the pricey side, so they are certainly a treat.
I find lobster to be the most sensual of all the ocean crustaceans. 
10 points to anyone who gets this reference.
spending every night out on our deck .
Enjoying fresh watermelons and cold ones on the deck.
life is good.
Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow.
Summer, I miss you so.....I'll be daydreaming of you while at work today.....

xo Steph

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