2.28.2014

My Favorite Things for March




The month of March brings the beginning of Spring, warming temps and lots of celebrations!

Essie provides two great colors, perfect for any occasion.
Tart Deco is the current most pinned polish!

Need a hairspray that will work in any weather? 
Aussie Instant Freeze hasn't let me down yet. 
Through high winds and heavy snow, my curls have stayed intact!

Don't let the winter weather dry out your skin. 
Jergens Natural Glow lotion keeps your skin moisturized 
while ridding your limbs of that winter white.

Don't forget to pick up this month's copy of Southern Living… 
featuring my home state, Tennessee and current city of residence, Washington D.C. 

With all the Mardi Gras and St. Patty's Day parties, let May Designs' May Book help keep you organized.
As a March Bonus, now through Sunday evening, all MayBooks Months + Weeks Agendas are 50% off!!

Make March impressionable with all of these fabulous items!

kristyn

2.26.2014

Bring Mardi Gras to YOU!

While the lucky few are packing their bags and jetting off to New Orleans or Mobile for the weekend, many of us will be celebrating Mardi Gras from home.

While DC ain't no NOLA, there are plenty of ways to celebrate between now and Fat Tuesday.

Here are my top 5 ways to bring Mardi Gras to you...

5. Attend a Mardi Gras party at a local bar or themed pub crawl
A DC favorite. Bayou Bakery (actually located in Arlington), not only sells delicious King Cakes but also throws a huge block party every Fat Tuesday! Be sure to check out both on their website!


4. Take some Mardi Gras goodies to the office (or class)
Purchase a King Cake or cupcakes from your local bakery, or even make your own!
There are countless recipes on Pinterest. Make your own King Cake, or try these tasty muffins to kick off your Fat Tuesday!

   

3. Visit a local Louisiana style restaurant and chow down on some gumbo
New Orleans is traditionally known for their gumbo or Jambalaya, so make a big pot for dinner this weekend or visit your local Cajun restaurant. 



2. Indulge on Fat Tuesday
We all deserve a "cheat day," and what better way to forget counting the points than on Fat Tuesday.
Any of the above recipes are sure to please your taste buds!

1. Throw your own Mardi Gras celebration!!
No celebration is complete without a King Cake, Hurricane cocktail and some colorful beads!
So gather your closest friends, throw on your green/purple/gold attire and start celebrating NOLA style.


No matter where you're celebrating, you can use any of these suggestions to bring Mardi Gras to you!
kristyn

2.24.2014

Spring Shopping, Over the Weekend

In honor of the spring tease and warm weather we had Over the Weekend, I decided to start working on my spring wardrobe. 

I headed to Pentagon City Mall, with intentions on finding some staple items I can also carry into summer. 
Luckily it only took me three stores to find what I was looking for.

Starting off with the shoes, this Bebe Black and Gold Dariana Strap Chain Sandal is more for late spring and summer, but I just had to have them. Apparently this sandal is THE item for the summer (the sales attendant probably just told me that so I would buy them, but it didn't take much convincing). 


I then moved to accessories. Hoop earrings are making a comeback, well they already have, but I found these engraved gold hoops at Nordstrom Rack.


If you haven't already noticed a trend, I am a huge fan of black and gold, so naturally I needed this Love Chain Necklace from C. Wonder.

 

Another great find from C. Wonder is this Leather Wrapped Dome Pyramid Stud Cuff.


Finally the Pièce de résistance is my new Bebe Studded Sleeve Flared Trench
I first saw this beauty on Pinterest and have been looking for it everywhere 


As I was walking through Pentagon City Mall, the studded sleeve caught my eye. 
This trench is WELL worth the wait and perfect for the spring! It's not too heavy for the warming temps, but perfect for the cool morning walks to work. 

All of these pieces are sure to make a great impression. 
What are your favorite looks for the spring?

kristyn

2.20.2014

The Most Amazing Tote EVER

Let's be honest ladies, we can never own enough purses or totes.
There is always the "perfect" bag for every phase of our lives.

In high school we didn't just carry any backpack, but the North Face Jester (cause I mean everyone had one).
In college, we upgraded to the Vera Bradley backpack or the Lilly tote.
Now that a lot of us have entered the workforce or are attending grad school, wouldn't it be nice if there was a bag that fit our twenty something years? Well ladies, there is!!

Introducing the Dagne Dover Tote bag.
I was first introduced to this tote by my friends Alyssa and Kelly.
Like me, they had been searching high and low for a bag that fit their daily routine. 

Kelly explained to me why she loves the Dagne Dover tote:

"This tote has a compartment for everything a young working/studying woman needs. It has a place for your work badge, morning coffee, wallet, a tablet and a clip for your keys, along with the usual cellphone pocket. I also like being able to throw in a pair of flats for the day. The purse is a plastic coated canvas, so it's easy to wipe down and is very durable. "

Inside the Hudson Blue Tote
While Kelly is currently enjoying her beautiful bag...


Alyssa, myself and many other pining ladies are stuck on the wait list.
This bag is SO amazing, that the supply cannot keep up with their fast growing demand.

If you're wanting to purchase this gem, you'll have to get in line. The tote is currently sold out and it can take several months for you to receive your "buy now" email. DON'T let that dissuade you, as those who are lucky enough to currently own the Dagne Dover say it's well worth the wait!

While the D.D.T. runs for $245, the quality, size and durability of this bag make the price worth it.
Most good quality totes can cost you north of $500. So the price is affordable for someone on a grad school or young professional budget.

If you don't need a tote, make sure you check out their Clutch + Wallet.
It's only $125 and they currently have some of the Hudson Blue in stock (will ship March 15).

The Dagne Dover Tote will surely make a great impression, not only with your friends but at the office as well. Head on over to their site to checkout all the color options and get yourself on the waiting list today!

2.18.2014

A Weekend of Birthdays

This past weekend was FULL of birthdays. Most notably we enjoyed a three day weekend (in some cases 5 days thanks to the snow) in honor of President's George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. However, it was also a weekend of celebrating four of my great friends and even a new one!
Friday, wasn't just Valentine's Day, but a new friend Ed's birthday. We enjoyed a fun evening of meeting new people, eating lots of chocolate strawberries and toasting to the man of the hour!


Saturday was an early riser, as my roommate Ashton had a big surprise for her boyfriend Ryan. 

We picked up some yummy doughnuts and coffee and headed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Most people don't realize, but President Harry S. Truman added a bowling alley to the White House in 1947. If you know someone who works for the Executive Office of the President, you can rent out the bowling alley for a gathering. Ashton and all of our friends surprised Ryan with a morning of bowling, in the same room many of our past presidents and current president have thrown a strike or two!

          

Saturday night was all about my good friends Alex and Katherine (aka Getty). 

They had a bunch of us over to their house to hangout and of course we then headed on over to our fave Glover Park hangout, Mason Inn

It wouldn't be a birthday without presents, so I made these precious gift boxes for Al and Getty! Everything below I found at Target. How cute are these boxes?


The box was filled with some yummy cupcakes and red velvet cookies (link to recipe), pink and white polka dot straws and of course my fave Champs, Barefoot Moscato


It was such a fun night and great having most of the girls together! (Sorry the pic is a little blurry)


I am a HUGE fan of birthdays, but more importantly I love celebrating my friends. 

February has been such a fun month toasting to everyone's special day!! 

Happy Birthday Ryan, Charlie, Alex, Getty and Ed! 

kristyn

2.14.2014

My Valentine's Day Gift to You!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

As my gift to you, here is the recipe that evidently made a great impression on y'all last night! 

As a forewarning, these cookies taste even better than they look. 

Happy baking (and eating)! Trust me, you won't be able to eat just one!

Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies


What you'll need: 

1 box of Red Velvet Cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
6 tablespoons of melted butter
1/4 cup of Ghirardelli Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chips 
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of corn starch 


Directions: 

Combine the cake mix, melted butter, eggs, cocoa powder and vanilla
Mix with a large spoon
Fold in white chocolate chips
Place in the fridge for 30 - 40 minutes to harden 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and corn starch
Mix together with a fork
Remove dough from fridge
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
Either use butter to grease the parchment paper or Pam Cooking Spray
Roll dough into 1 inch balls (using a 1 inch ice cream scoop to get the dough the right size makes it easier)
Then roll the ball in the powdered sugar and corn starch mixture
Place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet
Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cookies are crinkly at the top
(It's okay if they are a little soft and doughy… they'll harden up as they cool)

Pour yourself a glass of milk and enjoy!! They're served best warm or you can store for up to a week if they're sealed properly. 

kristyn

2.12.2014

The Perfect Date Night Dinner


When I posted this picture a few months ago on Instagram of a meal I made, people went insane. I got texts, comments, and many questions on how I made this dish. While I am in NO way a chef like Paula or Sandra Lee, I am striving every day to make them proud. 

You can ask my mother, growing up I hated to cook. I refused to let her lend me her guidance (oh how I regret that now) for making the perfect fried chicken or how to properly melt chocolate (trust me, it isn't as easy as it seems).  

As I get older, a passion for cooking has quickly developed. I love nothing more than finding a recipe on Pinterest or in a cookbook and adapting it to my own. Sometimes a recipe just needs more salt or would be good with a different side dish. 

The Apple Cider Bacon Scallops was a recipe I found on Pinterest, but made it my own. With Valentine's Day quickly approaching, a home cooked meal may be the perfect date night for you. This is my favorite dish and it will definitely make the best impression possible for any holiday or date night at home!

Apple Cider Bacon Scallops 
Dinner for Two
6 Jumbo Sea Scallops
2 slices of thick cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
One pkg of mushrooms
10 oz. of baby spinach 
butter
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper 
About 3/4 cups of unfiltered apple cider
About 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 
1 tablespoon of honey

If scallops aren't your thing or you have seafood allergies, try thin cut chicken breasts. 

Directions: 
Place sea scallops on paper towels and blot dry
Make sure they stay dry or they won't cook properly 
Lightly salt and pepper the scallops and set aside
(If you're doing chicken, do the same, lightly salt and pepper, put in your oven for 30 minutes on 350 degrees. Once done, turn off oven and leave inside till ready to plate.)

Cook bacon till thick and crispy
Cut into tiny cubed pieces and set aside

While bacon is cooking, chop up mushrooms in thin slices

Leave bacon grease in sauté pan
Reheat to medium - high
Add a little butter to the pan
Sauté mushrooms till lightly brown
When done, place mushrooms in bowl and set aside 

Leave grease and butter 
Add a little more butter to pan if needed
Work in batches to sauté the spinach till it's wilted
Continue till all spinach is cooked
Add mushrooms and bacon to the pan
Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper 
Put in a bowl and set aside

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the apple cider, balsamic vinegar and honey
Set aside

It's all to coming together!!

In your large sauté pan, heat till searing hot
Make sure you still have a thin layer of bacon grease and butter
Place scallops in pan to sear
Leave for 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown
Flip scallops
Leave for 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown
Remove scallops and put on a plate to keep warm (place in foil tent if possible to keep them warm)

Slowly pour the apple cider mixture into the pan, stirring in any leftover scallop bits
Heat for about a minute or two, till the liquid has thickened 

Time to plate your dish!

Place spinach, mushrooms and bacon mixture on plate
Place scallops on top
Pour apple cider mixture over
Clean up your plate edges and voila!! 

Happy cooking (and eating)!

kristyn

2.10.2014

So You're Single for Valentine's Day


This is probably the attitude a lot of us take toward Valentine's Day. It's a holiday that some love to celebrate with their significant other and the rest tend to loath. For those who will not be spending this Friday at a FuFu restaurant, your evening will probably be something similar to one of these options...

Option A: Take the Day for What it's Worth
Those who fall under this option likely have the attitude similar to the photo above. You'll roll your eyes at every "OMG, my boyfriend is SOOO amazing (likely with some heart emoji)" photo or post on social media. You'll have the "it doesn't bother me" attitude, but deep down inside you wish you could post a photo of the insane arrangement of flowers your BF got you! Sigghhh… 

Your actual Valentine's Day will probably consist of avoiding all forms of social media and giving anyone wearing V-day colors the stink eye. You'll probably spend your evening alone, on your couch watching Friend's reruns while eating the exact candy that caters to the holiday you HATE! Ugghhhh

You'll be most happy when February 15th rolls around and all Valentine's Day candy is on sale. Gotta stock up on Dove chocolates and half priced jelly beans!!!

Option B: Take the F this approach

Those who fall under this option have probably already planned their "I Hate Valentine's Day Party." You've most likely sent out the invite to all your single friends or at least those who highly dislike this Hallmark holiday. You will still deck out your entire house with red and pink decorations, make plenty of food for your friends to pig-out on and of course have some red colored drink for everyone to drown their sorrows with. 

You will refuse anyone to come to your party if they are all lovey-dovey and insist on having their romantic dinner prior to your party. "Commit fully or don't come" is probably what you're thinking. 

You'll be most happy when people show up, because nothing could be worse than celebrating an "I hate Valentine's Day" party by yourself.

Option C: Take the Find a Date Approach

Those who fall under this option are probably on Tinder or Hinge right now, checking YES to anyone who looks remotely decent. You WILL find a date for Friday if it's the last thing you do!!!! You'd much rather spend the evening out, appearing to be soooo happy and in love, than spend it doing something similar to those in Option A. 

You'll be most happy when your butt is parked in a chair at that FuFu restaurant, gazing at your bouquet of flowers your date got you and dream of the pictures you're going to post on Insta later! Obvi…

Option D: Take the Right Approach
Those who fall under this option totally get that Valentine's Day is a holiday meant for expressing your love for one another. Whether that's love for your soul mate, a friend, family member or coworker. It doesn't matter if you're single or in a serious relationship, we all need a reminder to stop and appreciate those around us. 

A lot of people complain that Valentine's Day is stupid because "you are supposed to share your love year round", but that's exactly the purpose of this holiday. We all get caught up in our day-to-day routines, and sometimes take the relationships around us for granted. Valentine's Day helps us remember to share the love.. and I suppose provides candy suppliers with a little extra money in the bank.

You'll be most happy when you don't sweat the meaning of the day, instead embracing it with anyone and everyone. Don't waste your evening sitting on the couch, or throwing hateful parties or even stressing over which filter to use for your flower pic on Instagram.

Instead, take a minute to reflect on your friendships and relationships, and share your love in an impressionable way.
Which option will you choose?

kristyn

2.09.2014

Make a Great Impression with Rent the Runway

I'm excited to announce a new partnership for First Impressions!

As I was looking through my closet a few months ago for a formal dress, I realized I had dozens of gowns and dresses I've only worn once or twice. It made me reflect on how much money was just sitting in my closet, dangling on hangers. Why on earth did I have to have a new dress for every formal of my college years?! 

So I thought, wouldn't it be nice if there was a way I could rent a dress for an evening and save some money in the process?

Well, there is and it's called Rent the Runway. Rent the Runway offers thousands of dresses to choose from and at 90% off purchase price. You can choose the perfect dress for you, it's shipped straight to your door and you're ready to go! What I LOVE about RTR is that they send you two dresses for the price of one! Worried about the size you ordered? Don't sweat, you get to choose two sizes for your rental. So if you're like me, and never know what size to get, you are good to go with RTR.

Have a formal or prom coming up? Let Rent the Runway help you make the best impression possible for your upcoming event! 
Click the link below or the RTR banner on your bottom left, sign up for your FREE account and begin searching for the perfect dress.
Be sure to share pictures of the dress you chose with me on Twitter or the First Impressions Facebook wall. 

Happy shopping!

kristyn

2.06.2014

Gearing Up for a Winter Olympic Viewing Party

The Winter Olympic Games are finally here!
It's time to start coordinating your red, white and blue themed outfits and head to your local party store for USA supplies in preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
We have all been counting down the days since the summer Olympics in London ended two years ago. While the summer games are always highly anticipated, there is something about the winter Olympics that draws more excitement.
It's cold outside, so there isn't much else to do than head to a friend's house or local bar for an all night viewing party. Unlike a Saturday night football game, the Olympics last for several weeks. So prepare yourself my friends for many days of eating, drinking and chanting "USA, USA, USA!!!"

If you plan to host your own America themed viewing party, here are some of my favorite things from Pinterest that are sure to make your gathering golden!

American flag painted mason jars:

Since it's cold outside and of course the Winter Games, a hot chocolate bar provides the perfect beverage.
(For those who wish to have a "Special Hot Coco", add some Peppermint Schnapps, Amaretto or Bailey's Irish Cream)


If you want to cool things down, try a mixed drink. I recommend using mason jars, because what's more American than that, and add a red, white or blue paper straw...

 
           1 cup of Red CranApple Juice
            1 cup of White Sobe Pina Colada flavored drink
       1 cup of Blue G2 Gatorade 
               Ice
             (and a shot of Vodka, if preferred)

For the food, stick to finger foods that everyone can munch on throughout the night.
Some of my favorites are BBQ Sandwiches / hot dogs, fresh fruit or some homemade salsa.


To finish off the food table, make these ever popular chocolate covered strawberries. Another Pinterest favorite I found were these Patriotic Oreo Pops. If you have some chocolate leftover from making Christmas candy, these dessert options are perfect for you!

 

Hopefully some of these Pinterest favorites of mine help you throw the best America themed viewing party. Now all you need to do is decorate your place and pick out your red, white and blue attire!

Although coverage of the games starts today, be sure to watch the Opening Ceremony tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.

Cheers to the U S of A making a great impression at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games!!

kristyn

2.03.2014

Over the Weekend: Super Bowl 48

While this past weekend was very eventful, the main focus was on Super Bowl 48.
I mean let's be honest, nothing else mattered.

It was a great evening spent with good friends and some new ones. While I basically used all of this week's cheat days calorie wise, and the game didn't turn out how I wanted, there were still some highlights from last night.

Let's start at the beginning… Coin Toss 101:
Wait till the referee tells you to flip the coin Namath… and that coat?! Which Real Housewife did you steal that from?? So funny!


The outcome of the game definitely wasn't what anyone predicted and if you did, then well you're a winner and deserve a gold star. No one expected the mighty Peyton to have a down night, nor did anyone anticipate a blowout. 

With that said, I will ALWAYS love Peyton #VolForLife


The greatest part of the evening came at halftime. I've always been a fan of Bruno Mars, but this show was the icing to the cake. While we all love us some Beyonce, last night's halftime extravaganza was exactly what halftime shows should be.
Bruno has the raw talent, amazing dance moves and great style. 
Oh, and the RHCP were there and gone in a flash. 
But we love them and they added a nice rock taste to the mix. 

Now what about my favorite commercials? While every year we all anticipate hilarious commercial after hilarious commercial, this year was again a letdown in that department.
However, what lacked in hilarity, was made up for by tear jerkers. 

Here were my two favorite commercials… Budweiser for the win (as usual)!

Budweiser's "A Hero's Welcome"

Budweiser's "Puppy Love"

And then everyone's favorite, according to Twitter…

Cheerios' "Gracie"

What were your favorite moments from Super Bowl 48?
Were there other commercials that touched your heart or made you laugh? 

As an added bonus, in the hubbub of Super Bowl Sunday, a lot of us probably overlooked another important holiday this past weekend. Apparently Phil the groundhog saw his shadow Sunday morning. I know a lot of us put great weight on what Phil thinks, because clearly social media was all the buzz about it… not really, it was crickets.
So in case you missed it, keep your winter coats handy.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week! Make it a great one!

kristyn