Chillin’ with Chobani

Chobani Meze Dips

Can you believe the last weekend in August has come and gone? I know we still have Labor Day ahead, but the summer days are winding down quickly. Speaking of summer, if you have yet to plan a BBQ, now is the time. With Labor Day weekend on the horizon, why not get your friends and family together for one last hoorah? And don’t forget to include Chobani’s Mezé Dips — which will be the star of the show. For now, here are a few other essentials!

How to Throw a Delicious Party with Chobani

When it comes to summer, I’m all about food that is fun to make and fast to prepare (and clean-up that is even faster). My go-to summer dinner lately has been lobster quesadillas (you can get my recipe for the chicken version, here). I love preparing quesadillas because they are so easy and you can put in all of your favorite ingredients. They are always a crowd-pleaser.

Since no party would be complete without some pre-dinner snacks, let Chobani give you a hand!

Chobani Meze Dips

Yes, the people who make my favorite yogurt, and perhaps yours, too, (which in case you are wondering, I’m addicted to Chobani’s Greek Yogurt “flip”) have done it again. Chobani’s Mezé Dips are perfect for serving with appetizers at your next dinner party or just for keeping in the house for healthy late-night snacking. On my most recent shopping endeavor, I picked up the roasted red pepper flavor and have been nibbling on it ever since. It’s delicious on top of pretzel crisps, but would also pair nicely with crudités or any type of chip.

With any luck, I’ve given you the extra nudge you needed to send this summer off in style. For more tips, check out Chobani’s infographic to help you throw a delicious party!

*This post was in collaboration with Chobani. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Moonstone Magic: Edgy Meets Serenity

Moonstone Magic - Edgy Serenity 3

I love having a few simple yet elegant pieces of jewelry on hand for those times when you need a little bling to enhance your attire. So when Moonstone Magic reached out to me, I eagerly checked out their selection.

Moonstone Magic is an online retailer that offers a gorgeous collection of moonstone pendants, rings, earrings, and bracelets. It is believed that the moonstone gem is a source of strength and clarity. It can even help you tap into your inner female warrior!

One look at their site, and you’ll immediately be drawn in by their mesmerizing stones. The best part of the shopping experience (aside from browsing gorgeous jewelry, of course) is that their prices won’t break the bank. Moonstone Magic was born online and without the overhead associated with physical locations, they pass the savings on to customers. As a budget-savvy consumer, I appreciate that.

Moonstone Magic - Edgy Serenity

Let’s talk about the piece I picked. This was no easy decision, as I scoured the website and found more than one contender to feature. In the end, I decided on the Moonstone Magic Ring – Edgy Serenity. To me, it was the perfect mix between trendy and classic, and I liked the intricate metalwork around the setting.

When I received the ring (which came all the way from Bali), it arrived in a pretty little jewelry bag for safekeeping. Did I mention that Moonstone Magic ships worldwide for free?

Moonstone Magic - Edgy Serenity

Up close and in person, the moonstone in this ring is even more impressive: it changes color with the light. And the high setting complements the stone nicely. This is a beautiful ring to wear alone or mix with the rest of your collection.

Moonstone Magic - Edgy Serenity

If you are in the market for a moonstone piece, visit Moonstone Magic. You will be very pleased with their selection and craftsmanship.

*Ring courtesy of Moonstone Magic

Glowing Reviews

Laura Geller Luminous Essentials 3 Piece Highlighting Essentials

My favorite thing about summer is getting that sun-kissed glow. And when I can achieve it without having to lie under the hot sun, that’s even better.

Earlier in the summer I scored a three-piece highlighting kit from Laura Geller. It was my first purchase from the makeup brand, so I was excited to try the trial-sized illuminating products that were included in the collection.

Now that I have had plenty of time to incorporate each into my beauty routine, I’m ready to give you a breakdown of how the products performed…and let you know which one is my favorite and worthy of buying the full-sized version.

Laura Geller Luminous Essentials 3 Piece Highlighting Essentials

1. Baked Highlighter (French Vanilla): This compacted powder can be applied like an eyeshadow with either a soft brush or your fingers. While it gives a minimal glow, I found that it left a white powdery residue on my face rather than the golden hue I was expecting. Unfortunately, one hit to the floor and the compacted powder shattered into a million pieces — and is now more of a loose setting powder. While it still gets the job done, I much prefer the two other products in this set.

2. Easy Illuminating Stick (Etheral): I’ve long wanted to incorporate a highlighting stick into my beauty routine, and this one in Etheral is actually what sold me on the kit in the first place. The soft pink shade is perfect for every season and the stick applicator makes it virtually foolproof to apply. One swipe across the cheekbone and you are good to go! If you have sensitive skin, apply sparingly. A little goes a long way and too much can leave your face feeling greasy.

3. Baked Gelato Swirl Illuminator (Gilded Honey): This highlighter is hands-down my favorite of the bunch. First off, the product itself is visually appealing, with a soft golden swirl and lots of shimmer to it. Don’t get discouraged by its tiny size relative to the price. This is another instance where you don’t need a lot to achieve the desired result. After sampling all three of the highlighters, this was the one I found myself using day-in and day-out. I used my regular bronzing brush and applied a small stroke along the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose, and on the cupid’s bow of my lips. If you are new to using highlighters and want just a hint of that summer sun-kissed glow, this is the product for you.

The best part about this kit is that you can use each product alone or combine them for a truly radiant look!

Snapshots from the Sunshine State

As I write this post, the temperature outside is 70 degrees — quite a difference from the hot and humid days I experienced last week in Jacksonville, Florida. Since I’ve been home, it feels like fall is starting to make a debut in these parts. I’ve also noticed that it is getting darker earlier (and that makes me sad). In an effort to delay the eventual end of summer, I’ve been going through my recent travel photos. Ah, what a difference a week makes.

Here are some snaps that make me think warm thoughts:

Morning coffee on the balcony

{Morning coffee on the balcony}

Had to try a cupcake from Sweets by Holly

{Had to try a cupcake from Sweets by Holly}

Can I stay here forever?

{Can I stay here…forever?}

Cooling off with a custard from Whit's

{Cooling off with a blended custard from Whit’s}

Farewell, Florida

{Farewell, Florida!}

Things Are Looking Rosy

Rose Gold Aviators from Nordstrom

I have been on a major sunglass kick lately. Prior to this summer, the only pair of sunglasses I owned were from Coach. I remember when I bought them as a college student they felt like a major splurge (and they were). But fast-forward ten years later, and I would say they were worth the money. Those sunglasses have seen me through college, traveled abroad with me, and have made countless appearances in my day-to-day life. They are a treasured possession by now and I feel naked if I leave the house without them.

In honor of my first real pair of grown-up sunglasses, I have decided to add to my collection. You may recall that I purchased a pair from Loft just a few short months ago — and they have been a welcome addition.

But when I was strolling through Nordstrom in Florida the other day (something I don’t get to do often at home because there isn’t a Nordstrom near me), I spotted a pair of sunglasses that I had to have. The rose gold aviators have been on my wish list for some time — so when I tried them on and saw the $12 price tag, I knew it was futile to resist purchasing them. I quickly scooped them up and noticed one thing almost immediately –- everything does look better when you’re looking out rose-colored glasses!

Monday Mantra: Be Open-Minded

Atlantic Beach, Florida

I’m back from Florida (and to my normal posting schedule this week). Last week was a whirlwind of new experiences for me — from driving two days down to Florida (which I highly recommend doing at least once in your life — you’ll even get to pass by the famous “South of the Border”), to exploring a new City, and finally feeling something I rarely feel when I travel…a desire to extend my stay (indefinitely?). While it’s good to get away, I’m usually excited to come home. But not this time. Have you ever been to Jacksonville? If you have, you know it is a beach lover’s and sun worshiper’s paradise!

I’ll be sharing more about my trip soon, but my time away reminded me of something that I often forget — the importance of being open-minded to new experiences. I like routine — I tend to go to the same places every summer, visit the same beaches, and head to the same events year after year. It’s easy to get complacent in the familiar, but it’s important to incorporate new adventures, which keep life interesting (and not to judge things and places before you see or try them in person). I knew little about Jacksonville before I visited last week. As a beach goer, I figured I would enjoy its proximity to the water. It’s located on the East Coast in Northern Florida, just a short drive over the border after Georgia. The one thing that struck me almost immediately was how friendly the people were and how much there was to do (I highly recommend the St. John’s Town Center, if you’re into shopping).

This trip has encouraged me to think of ways I can be more open-minded in my day-to-day life. Whether it’s a travel destination you never thought of visiting or a coffee shop that just opened that you’ve wanted to try, remember to be receptive to new excursions.

What are some ways that you practice open-mindedness in your own life?

Florida Fun

Hello again, from Florida! As I write this post, I’m sitting on what just may be the largest balcony I’ve ever seen, watching the palm trees gently blowing in the breeze. Not bad, right? It may be harder than I initially thought to leave and return to New York in just a couple of days. This time, my travel will consist of a short flight (and not an 18-hour car ride). One thing I learned during this trip is that the Florida sun doesn’t mess around. This sun worshiper was no match for the intense rays (actually, I didn’t even try laying out by the pool–it was just too hot). But I still squeezed in some summer rest and relaxation!

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Welcome to Florida

{Welcome to Florida}


{Making friends with the locals}

Cinnamon Roll French Toast

{Cinnamon Roll French Toast at Mimi’s — A.K.A The best brunch…ever}

Florida Sunset

{Florida Sunset}

Palm Trees

{Palm trees at night}

I hope you have a great weekend. I’ll be back to my regular Monday to Friday posting schedule next week!

Sunny Summer Style

Mossimo Strapless Dress

After 18 hours in the car (and nine states and one District later), I have arrived in sunny Florida. If you’ve been following my journey on Instagram and Snapchat (@livinginsteil), you’ve probably seen all of the travel snaps I took along the way (don’t worry — more will be coming, soon).

Mossimo Strapless Dress

There was so much to do before I left New York that scheduling my posts this week never happened (#bloggerfail). So here I am, with an outfit post from Florida. To say it’s been hot and humid down here is an understatement. I wore one of my favorite summer dresses from Mossimo the other day in an effort to combat the heat. While I wish I could be lounging by the pool, my days have been filled with tons of errands. This simple strapless number, which is an oldie but goodie, was the perfect partner to beat the August humidity while still looking chic. Plus, the dress pairs nicely with my Sam Edelman sandals (which have gotten quite the workout since I purchased them). If you don’t have a simple strapless staple for summer, run to your nearest Target and check out Mossimo’s selection. This dress is so comfy that I recently bought a second one in a different print (but this one is still my favorite).

Mossimo Strapless Dress

{This chambray shirt from Mossimo is perfect for braving the AC!}

Mossimo Strapless Dress

Mossimo Strapless Dress

I’ll be back on Friday with new content. See you then!

The 5 Pieces to Buy Right Now

The 5 Pieces to Buy Right Now

As you read this post, I’m somewhere south of North Carolina heading by car to Florida (#prayforme). There will be more content coming your way on Wednesday and Friday this week. Be sure to follow my journey on Instagram and Snapchat (@livinginsteil).

I know we are all trying to hold on to what remains of the summer. But what about those must-have summer pieces that you’ve wanted to buy, but didn’t quite get around to? If you don’t have these pieces in your closet yet — hurry up. Not only do these five items represent great summer wear, but they are versatile enough to carry you into fall.

I was a bit late in the game on some of these pieces myself (like chambray, which I now live in). So I don’t want that to happen to you. If you do have these staples tucked away in your wardrobe, make sure to breathe new life into them come fall.

Wedges: Personally, Franco Sarto is a summer, fall, winter, and spring staple for me. I have a pair of Franco Sarto wedges that served me well in hilly San Francisco last year, as well as two pairs of riding boots that are currently on their third year of life. If you’re looking for comfortable and chic wedges, look no further than a pair from Franco Sarto.

Chambray: I’m not sure how I lived this long without some chambray in my life. I bought a chambray button-down at the beginning of summer, and to say that I’ve gotten my money from it in one season is an understatement. The fabric is so lightweight and soft.

Jumpsuit: I never thought a jumpsuit would be one of my favorite purchases…ever. But it has been. I bought one from Loft a couple of years ago and it is still a chic and elegant staple in my wardrobe. Don’t worry if you’re petite. Loft happens to have a great selection.

White Jeans: I’m all about white jeans in the summer…and the winter, too. If you’re in the market, many stores have them on clearance now. So hurry up and snag a few pairs.

Saddle Bag: After my recent purchase from GiGi New York, the saddle bag (featured above) is on my wish list. I love how simple and versatile this one is.

What pieces do you want to buy before the end of summer?

The August Agenda

The August Agenda

August is always a busy month. Not only does it mark the final month of summer (even if the calendar says otherwise), but it’s filled with tons of fun events, trips to the beach, and with any luck, some time away.

As much as August makes me sad because I know the warm weather and long days are dwindling, I look forward to the activities this month brings. So let’s dive in!

Read: I’m proud of how many books I’ve read this summer. I went from reading solely blogs and magazines to ticking off a book per month. Pretty good, in my book (pun intended). Going into fall, I hope to finish two books a month. But for now, I just got through Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and can I just say, I think that book changed my life?! It was such an inspiring read and I’m looking forward to sharing a full review with you in September. This month, I’ll be reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown.

Do: Unfortunately, I’m going to miss Battle of the Burger presented by the Long Island Pulse magazine this year (see ‘Go’ below for why). If you’re on Long Island, you don’t want to miss this fun burger judging competition, which will be held at the Shorefront Park in Patchogue on Sunday, August 14th (click here for tickets). In a way, I’m glad I won’t be there because I don’t know how I could ever decide between Vauxhall, Dirty Burger, and GM Burger Bar (all of which are incredible burger joints on the Island). It’s going to be a tough competition, to say the least.

See: My summer wouldn’t be complete without attending the Hampton Classic Horse Show in Bridgehampton, New York. The equestrian competition, which runs from August 28th – September 4th is one of the largest outdoor horse shows in the United States. Whether you’re an avid equestrian, or just someone looking for something fun to do on the East End of Long Island, this is the place to be. There are tons of vendors on-site, and when you are through with the show, you can head into town or to Southampton for lunch and more shopping. Maybe you’ll even catch a celebrity sighting. If you are planning a day at the horse show, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the sun (as shade is at a premium). You’d be wise to have plenty of sunscreen and water on hand. For more information on the show, click here!

Go: I’m going to be taking a road trip next week as I head from New York to Florida (by car going down and then flying back up). It will be the longest I’ve ever been in a car (with the exception of driving the Pacific Coast Highway from Los Angeles to San Francisco). Follow my journey on Snapchat and Instagram (@livinginsteil), and let me know if you have any fun recommendations for my time in North Florida (or ways to pass 18 hours in the car!). My posting schedule will be a little lighter than normal next week. You can expect new content Monday, Wednesday, and Friday!

What’s on your agenda this month?