7.31.2014

Rent the Runway Unlimited


Okay friends, I'm going to share a little secret with y'all. Well, I suppose it's no longer a secret, but rather a hidden gem that was just discovered. I've featured my love for Rent the Runway on the blog before (wore a RTR dress to my spring charity gala), but now I must share with y'all their new program they just released called Rent the Runway Unlimited.

Imagine a Netflix type program for women, where you can rent designer handbags and accessories for a monthly fee. A service that offers you the opportunity to rent THREE, yes three items at a time, but you can exchange them for something new from your queue at anytime. This is every girls dream, and thanks to Rent the Runway, our dream is now a reality. For a monthly fee, you can stack your favorite items in a queue, which can be updated as often as you want and chosen from their stock of more than 100 designers. The inventory is updated every two weeks and tailored to the season.


Once you sign up for the program, you can begin building your queue for when your membership is approved. After you are approved, your first shipment of items will be on its way. Three items from your queue will be selected, based on availability, and shipped for free straight to your home. Typically you'll receive a handbag, piece of jewelry and another accessory (whether that be another piece of jewelry or a coat during the winter). The items selected for you will be based on season and what they have available. 

Once you receive your items, you can keep them for as long as you want. There's no time limit, so long as you continue your membership. So that Gigi purse you've been eyeing for fall… you can keep it the entire season! Does your taste change constantly when it comes to accessories? No sweat! Exchange the items in the prepaid shipping bags that come with every shipment. Have you been dying to test out the new Kendra Scott earrings before purchasing them? You can! The options for RTRU are endless.


In my first shipment, I got the Black Hayden Satchel by Gigi New York, Kendra Scott White Deily Earrings and Mint Bauble Necklace by Slate & Willow. I've been eyeing these KS earrings for months, but have been wanting to try them out before taking the plunge. Now I can! The best part is, if I find an item that I just so desperately don't want to part with, I can email RTR for a purchase price quote. 

The pros about this service are absolutely endless. I can't think of a single negative when it comes to RTRU. Oh, and for or all my blogger friends, this service is every fashion bloggers dream!! Rent items for your upcoming outfits of the day posts, and exchange for new ones each week!! This service is absolutely perfect and I just know it's going to make a great impression on you. 

Be sure to sign up for your own RTRU service today! Questions? Comment below and I'll try to answer them or direct you to the appropriate link.

kristyn

7.30.2014

Enjoying the Final Days of Summer

We're now about half way through the summer, with August set to arrive at the end of this week. While I'm sure most of you have already had an eventful summer thus far, there is still plenty of time left to enjoy the warm weather and sunny skies.


My summer has been pretty jam packed so far... everything from spending a week at the beach, to shark fishing (uhhh pretty cool), to attending a country concert, eating at some of my fave brunch spots, and preparing for the big move next month. It has been a crazy few weeks, with my planner offering very little relief over the next month and a half. To fill the little time that I do have, I put together a list of a few things I hope to do before the new season begins (although I am rather excited about fall). You should be able to accomplish these five things no matter where you live. So get to reading and start the planning. Summer isn't over my friends, so enjoy every minute of the time that's left.

Visit a Local Winery or Brewery
Who doesn't love spending a day taste testing some amazing wine or beer?! Did you know that there are wineries and breweries right around the corner from you? Odds are, there is one close enough to you for a day trip out of town. Especially in DC; there are tons if wineries within an hour or two of here. Here are two that I've been looking at visiting later this summer: Stone Tower Winery or Hillsborough Winery (both at recommendations from friends).

Image Via
Be a Tourist for a Day (in your own city)
Depending on where you live, there are bound to be sites and places you've yet to visit. Even for my friends in good ole Knoxville, Tennessee. There are plenty of museums and attractions you probably haven't visited before, like The Museum of Appalachia or the home of John Sevier, Marble Springs. For myself, I definitely plan to do some more touristy things here in DC. I've still never been to the Jefferson Memorial or the National Arboretum. Make sure you do some research about places in your town, and then get out and explore. You never know what you might find.

Image Via
Summer Picnic 
It seems as of late, the picnic is making a huge comeback. I've seen some friends who have attended very chic picnics, minus your typical checkered blanket and basket. Check out a few that I've followed via other blogs here and here.

Image Via It's Julien
Spend a Day By the Water
You probably should have accomplished this one already, so for this one think outside the box. Head to your local water park, go tubing in a nearby river or head out to the lake/ocean for a day of fun in the sun. The opportunities to be "by the water" are endless. Summer is always better when you can get out on the water, not to mention it helps you stay cool during the high heat and humid days.


Host a Summer Dinner Party
I posted a few weeks ago about a workshop I attended called The Gathering Project. At this day long event we learned how to host our own summer dinner party. You can read a few of my tips here. Once I make it through the big move coming up, I plan to celebrate the new place by throwing a summer dinner party. So stay tuned for a post later on this summer for that. We're thinking an upscale shrimp boil!! I'm already getting excited just thinking about it. The planning will be so much fun.


I'm always down to add new things to the list, so comment below if there's something fun you're looking forward to this summer.

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.29.2014

Favorite Beauty Products


So I definitely missed My Favorite Things for the month of July; blame it on the first day of the month falling during my vacay to Hilton Head Island. To make it up to all you lovelies, I decided to share some of my favorite beauty products out right now. Quite often, whether it's through a comment or in-person, many of you have asked how I style my hair. While I definitely throw my hands up to God for blessing me with or maybe it's a curse because of the thickness and how heavy it is the best hair a gal could ask for, it definitely doesn't come without the help of some amazing products. I fully intend on sharing my hair care and curling routine soon, but for now I have mixed some of my favorite hair products with a few others I'm loving right now. 

Y'all, I cannot get over the smell of this Drybar shampoo! When I went in for my first Drybar experience, my hair smelled like this stuff for days. Even through two washes, the yummy goodness that was coming from my hair was incredible. So I of course had to add a bottle of their shampoo to my shower routine. Y'all, I just LOVE the smell of this stuff and my hair feels so much fresher and cleaner since I started using this stuff. Post shower I toss my damp hair with their volumizing mousse, and it definitely helps make for a better curl.


I've raved about this gem before, but it was prior to the summer humidity. I will admit, I never thought a hairspray could hold my hair through any sort of humidity or heat. Over the years I have literally tried every product on the shelves. Finallllyyy, Aussie came to the rescue with their extreme hold hairspray. My hair has stayed curled and fabulous all summer long. There's no frizz and by the time I get to work, the curls are still perfectly intact.


While I love a good perfume, I hate wasting expensive scents during the summer. Sweat always rubs it off almost instantly, so in the summers I reapply my smelly good stuff several times. I found a great alternative for the summer, body mist spray. While some of you may think, "how middle school of you Kristyn," Dove makes a great option that comes in several scents. For literally $7 at your local drug store, you can apply as much as you want (well, just be considerate of those around you and if the scent is strong).

Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo
Literally the best thing if you're in a time crunch and need a quick fix. Simply spray the dry shampoo all over your scalp and then use a hair dryer to dry your damp hair. Brush out and either curl or straighten. For best results, apply dry shampoo at night before you go to bed. Will save even more time in the morning when you wake up.


Two of my favorite colors for summer have been Marshmallow and Fiesta. While I normally am not adventurous when it comes to using different colors on my toes and hands, these two colors work well for that. I wear the Marshmallow on my fingers and Fiesta on my toes. White is definitely a fun alternative from the normal coral or hot pink for summer. 

Y'all, yet another product I've featured before. I can't get enough of the REAL natural glow that I get from this stuff. I apply it every other day to help maintain the tan I get on the weekends. You can put it on after a shower or at night prior to getting in bed.

I hope these products will make as wonderful of an impression on you, as they have for me. I don't know where I would be this summer without these daily care essentials!

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.28.2014

Over the Weekend, Summer Concert Ready

Summer Concert Ready

Cuff / Bracelet / Clutch / Necklace / Belt / Dress / Cowboy Boots

Over the Weekend I finally got to see my favorite country band, Florida Georgia Line, perform LIVE!! Some of my friends and I bought tickets months ago to see them and Jason Aldean in their Burnin' It Down tour. When the day finallllyyy arrived Friday night, all I could think about amidst the excitement was "what was I going to wear?!" I've been to several country concerts here in DC, and let me tell you… there is nothing funnier than seeing what "northerners" think "southerners" dress like. It's quite humorous y'all. Everything from homemade cutoff jorts (jean shorts), to pairing anything with the American flag printed on it, with flip flops and cowboy hats. 

While I do appreciate a good American flag tank every now and then, I decided to go a little more country chic for the concert. I paired my FAV cowboy boots with a white lace dress. I fully intended on an outfit post coming out of this, but I was just too darn excited to hear my favorite boys sing. SO, I decided to recreate the look of "what I wore" on Friday to the concert so that y'all can get some inspiration for any summer concert series you're going to. 

Here are some more photos from Friday night…



kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.24.2014

Healthy Quinoa Bake


I originally found a recipe on Pinterest for a Creamy Caprese Quinoa Bake. The photos just made me want to take a huge bite out of the casserole dish immediately (hopefully one day I'll have the proper lighting and camera to take photos like this… patience, patience). I decided to give the recipe a try myself and sure enough, the dish tasted as good as it looked. While I initially loved the first bake I made, there were definitely some changes I had in mind to tailor the dish to my own taste. 

As y'all know, I've been on this healthy kick lately. While this particular meal is made with quinoa, it wasn't entirely the healthiest once you added all the cheese. So, I decided to change a few things up a bit. Instead of using mozzarella, I decided to use a healthier option from Trader Joes. Trader Joes has a soy milk based mozzarella, that is healthier and offers less fat calories than regular mozzarella cheese. I also cut down on the amount of parm cheese I used and doubled (almost tripled) the amount of tomatoes I used. I definitely think you can add some protein to this as well, maybe with some fresh ground chuck or turkey for an even healthier dish. Scroll on down for my version of the recipe I found on Pinterest.

What you need:
2 cups of cooked quinoa
1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce (whether that's homemade or store bought)
6 oz. can of tomato paste 
1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 table spoon of fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Half a block of soy mozzarella
1 pkg of cherry tomatoes
1 large fresh tomato (from your garden or local farmer's market)
1 bunch of fresh basil
Fresh ground basil (for garnish, not required)
1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (for a spicier version, double the amount)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper 


Now follow me:
Cook your quinoa based on directions given on the bag or box. Typically one cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water, boil covered for 17 minutes or until water has disappeared. Once the quinoa has cooked, set aside to use later. 

While your quinoa is cooking, slice all of your cherry tomatoes in half. Then slice half of your large tomato into slivers. Also go ahead and grate your Parmesan cheese and slice up your soy mozzarella into strips. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan, heat your tomato sauce and tomato paste. Once the sauce is heated up, add your whipping cream, parm, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Combine ingredients and then add your quinoa. Stir again, covering all the quinoa with the sauce. Shred half of your soy mozzarella and throw into the saucepan. Dump all of your cherry tomatoes into the saucepan as well. Stir up all ingredients and throw in a few basil leaves, torn up, into the pan. Mix again and then use Pam to spray your baking casserole dish. Dump the saucepan of ingredients into your casserole dish. Top the bake with the remainder of your soy mozzarella, freshly grated parm, and your sliced tomatoes.

Bake for 12 minutes or until it's bubbly and the edges are starting to crisp.

Let cool for 5 minutes, plate your dish and garnish with remainder of basil.

Now grab your favorite glass of wine and enjoy!!


kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.23.2014

Homemade Blackberry Cobbler

http://www.midwestliving.com/food/desserts/cherry-and-berry-desserts/?crlt.pid=camp.7it3e3nvp5Tc

Over the Weekend I visited one of my favorite places here in D.C., Eastern Market. I shared with y'all some tips on Tuesday for picking out the best and freshest produce. Now that you've got your goodies from your local farmer's market (or for others, from your grocery store), it's time to start making some scrumptious meals with them! In true Kristyn fashion, dessert comes first! So I thought I'd share with y'all one of my favorite summer desserts that my mother made. Whether you're a fan of blackberries or not, this recipe can be done many different ways. However, my favorite has been Blackberry Cobbler. It only takes a few ingredients to make a wonderful impression after any meal is done!

What You'll Need:
1 cup of self rising flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of sugar
1 stick of margarine
2 - 3 cups of fruit (up to 1 quart)

Now Follow Me:
Melt the margarine in a long baking dish. Mix the flour, sugar and milk until well mixed. Pour over the melted butter. DO NOT STIR!! Pour the berries over the mixture, and again DO NOT STIR! Bake at 350 degrees until crust rises and browns. Around 30 minutes depending on your oven. You can use any fruit you want, such as blueberries or peaches.

Serve with some vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

xoxo,

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

*Photo via

7.21.2014

Over the Weekend, Fresh from the Farm


Over the Weekend I paid a special visit to one of my favorite spots in Washington, D.C., Eastern Market. Ever since moving to the district I have been going to Eastern Market on the weekends for fresh from the farm produce. I feel like I'm back in the south, walking the streets of my local farmers market. It brings back memories of when I was a child, going to pick up fresh peaches, cucumbers and melons with my mother. So Eastern Market has been a great reminder of home, while also providing me with fresh and healthy produce all summer long.

Sometimes it can be hard to find the "freshest" or "ripest" fruit or veggies. There are many tips and tricks that my mother taught me when it comes to picking out the freshest produce. So I decided to pull my mom in to help me with this post and have her give some advice on how to "pick your produce."

Corn on the Cob
When choosing corn, pull back the husks to look at the kernels. They should look full and not dented.
If dented, the corn is old so you should pass.
You can also tell by poking a fingernail into a kernel, and if it's full of white juice, it's fresh!
(Mom's Tip: If you're boiling your corn, add some sugar to the water and it'll bring the sweetness of the corn back out! Trust me, it makes a huge difference)

Tomatoes 
Tomatoes should have no bruises or bad spots on them.
Depending on when you plan to use them determines the "firmness" of the tomato.
The softer, the sooner they're ready to eat.
(Mom's Tip: Do NOT store them in the fridge. Leave on kitchen counter to continue ripening.)

Cucumbers
Cucumbers should always feel firm, never soft.
If it feels squishy, it's probably full of water and will not make for the tastiest cucumber.
Make sure there aren't any black spots.

Okra
Okra should be sturdy with ZERO black spots. Black spots show it's rotten and they won't cook well.

Peaches
Once again, depends on how quick you plan to eat them.
The softer the peach, the quicker you can eat!
(Mom's Tip: NEVER store peaches in the fridge. Lay a kitchen towel out on the counter and place the peaches on the towel, not touching, and let them ripen on their own to the softness that you prefer)


Berries
When it comes to berries, it really is all about taste. Some produce stands will have berries for you to taste test. The freshest berries also depend on what season it is. While you can find most berries in your  local grocery store year round, the selection at your summer farmer's market will be determined by season.

Hope my momma's tips will help you pick the freshest produce this summer. Have a question about other types of produce not listed? Comment below and I'll have Momma Suze reply!

Stay tuned later this week for my mother's Blackberry Cobbler recipe, made from the berries I picked up at Eastern Market this past weekend.

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.18.2014

Barefoot Blue Jean Night


"It's Friday, Friday... gotta get down on Friday," okay so enough of that horrible song, BUT in all seriousness TGIF friends!! This week has seemed to drag on and on, so I for one am so thankful that the weekend is here. I have so many fun things planned... an event tonight, pool tomorrow and brunch with some of my blogger faves on Sunday!! All I have to do now is figure out what I'm going to wear to everything. One of my favorite go-tos for summer are shorts. I probably own about 30 pair, all in different colors and patterns. These LOFT shorts are one of my faves and have been featured on First Impressions before. They seemed to make an overwhelmingly good impression on y'all, so I decided to bring them back for another outfit post.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!! Scroll down for more photos and outfit details!




Francesca's Bluejean Chambray Top / Jane Necklace / Francesca's Bangle / Talbots Belt
Ann Taylor Loft Shorts / Kristen Davis Sandals (Belk

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.17.2014

Bar Cart Essentials

Bar Cart Essentials

As the number of days till the big move get smaller and smaller, the ideas for how to decorate our new apartment are getting greater and greater. My friend and I will have about 11 days to move from my current apartment to the new place. Since we have almost a week and a half to move, we want to take our time decorating the place. One thing that we both want is a bar cart. My friend and I LOVE to entertain (so many ideas for parties this fall, stay tuned!), so we want an area to store all of our party essentials. I've already been putting together some inspiration via Pinterest, but wanted to share some of the main pieces we're hoping for. The obvious being, the cart! I have been eyeing this beauty from Society Social for more than a year now. While the price may be steep for some, I feel that a year's worth of waiting is justification enough. Now all we have to do is wait for it to come back in stock (patience I tell myself, patience). In the meantime, here are some of my favorite things that I plan to fill our new cart with!

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.16.2014

Healthy and Homemade: Brussels Sprouts


Recently I've been on this "must eat healthy kick." I've constantly been tired and just haven't felt like my normal self. To combat this problem, I decided to make some lifestyle changes. Up first (well, because working out for me is going to take A LOT of motivation) is changing my eating habits. In the past I have tended to rely on things that are quick… frozen meals, fast food, whatever would get in my belly the quickest. While these eating habits worked for me while I was a competitive swimmer and even in college, they aren't going to get me far as I get older. 

When it comes to eating healthier, the one thing I won't compromise on is taste. There is no way in heck that I am eating rice cakes or those crappy weight loss meals that taste like card board. For me, my main goal is eating healthier so I have more energy, not to lose weight. So I challenged myself to make healthy meals with no compromise on taste.

First up, I decided to start adding in more veggies to my meals. One veggie that I have recently discovered I like is brussels sprouts. Now growing up I would have NEVER touched these if my life depended on it, BUT as I get older my taste buds have seemed to shift. So here is a recipe I created to help get my daily doss of green veggies, but there is definitely no compromise on taste. I absolutely love pairing these things with some chicken or another meat. 

Let me know what you think!

What You Need:
1 pkg of store bought brussels sprouts
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar 
Minced Garlic 
Salt and Pepper to taste
Parmesan Cheese

Now Follow Me: 
Rinse your sprouts and cut them in half, or in sections if they're on the larger side
Throw them into a bowl
Toss with EVOO, Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tbs. of minced garlic and salt/pepper (amounts to your liking)
Let marinate in the fridge for 20 - 30 minutes
Heat some more olive oil in a small skillet on high
Dump sprouts into skillet and cover
Let simmer for 10 - 15 minutes on medium heat, tossing occasionally
Once they're starting to crisp, and you notice some charring, they're done! 
Shred some parm on top and enjoy!

**If you have a cast iron skillet, that is preferable. The extra grit and grease will bring out more flavor and crispiness in the sprouts.

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.14.2014

Over the Weekend, Beating the Heat


Over the Weekend, I spent a lot of my time outdoors at brunch or lounging by the pool with friends. One thing I noticed was that the air felt warmer and my clothes were getting a little damper. Not only was the heat index higher, the humidity was just miserable. That's summer for you I guess. Although I try to stay cool by hanging out in the pool or sitting in the shade, it can still be hard to get away from the heat with all of the humidity. To help beat the heat as much as I could, I stayed hydrated with water and cooled off with one of my favorite summer treats, popsicles.

I put together some of my favorite flavors and pop recipes below. Go check them out and let me know which one is your favorite! Any of these options are sure to cool you off, and hey, they'll go a lonnngg way with impressing your friends too!

Watermelon Strawberry Frozen Smoothie Pops / Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pops
Pomegranate Sex on the Beach Pops / Watermelon Margarita PoptailsFresh Fruit Pops 

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.11.2014

Casual Friday: Desk to Drinks

Casual Friday: Desk to Drinks

One of my favorite dresses in my closet right now is this J.Crew Arrow Print dress. I first saw it on one of my favorite bloggers and knew I just had to have it. While I patiently waited for it to go on sale, it finally was featured in the J.Crew 40% off sale a few weeks ago. I was able to snatch it up and am so glad that I did. I would definitely choose to wear this dress on any Casual Friday. It's the perfect desk to drinks outfit. Pair it with a navy cardi and sandals for work... then lose the outerwear, throw on your favorite heels and a necklace for an after work Happy Hour. Switch out to a smaller clutch and leave the big bag at work!

What's your favorite desk to drinks outfit?

kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!

7.10.2014

When the Sun Goes Down

Photos by Zack Royster

One of my favorite country musicians is the great Kenny Chesney. I remember my high school summers were spent by the pool, listening to his album When the Sun Goes Down on repeat. It most certainly is not summer till I have heard that song at least once. You better believe it was the first song I listened to when I headed to the beach last week. It's just something about that song, well really any of Kenny's songs, that make me feel like I'm on vacation even if I'm stuck sitting at home or at the office. I'm a huge fan of music that can take me out of my hectic and busy life, even if it's just for a few minutes.

Do you have a favorite artist or song that helps you escape from the hustle and bustle?


kristyn
Don't forget to follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter for more F.I. fun!