Friday Feelings

It’s the end of yet another week, which is good because I could use a little down down-time. This week Long Island saw record highs in temperature for mid-October. On Wednesday, it was so warm that when I got home from work I went for a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. It felt strange heading out in a mere short-sleeved shirt, since just days earlier there was a brisk breeze that required a few layers.

Now that the weather has returned to more seasonable temps, I’m looking forward to enjoying the changing colors on the trees, decorating my pumpkins, and stocking up on some Halloween candy (but not too much or too soon, lest I will eat it all before we make it to Halloween!).

fall leaves

{Fall Colors}


{Horses in the Hamptons}

sweet n savory

{Mid-week stop at Sweet ‘n’ Savory}

apples from the milk pail

{This should last me for a while…}

Chobani pumpkin yogurt

{Seasonal yogurt from Chobani}

Fall Beauty Buys – Part I

stila star light star bright highlighter palette

I have been on quite the beauty kick lately. It’s amazing how a new lipstick (or highlighting palette) can get me excited for the upcoming work week. Lately, the object of my affection has been Stila (surprise, surprise!).

stila star light star bright highlighter palette 2

I thought I had to wait months before the launch of Stila’s new Star Light, Star Bright Highlighting Palette…but I was wrong. When I stopped at Ulta last week, I was pleasantly surprised to see the palette in stock — and now in my beauty bag. I know, you’re probably thinking, ‘Didn’t you just buy a bunch of highlighters from Laura Geller?’ Yup, I did. And while I have enjoyed them, something about this Stila palette proved irresistible. Perhaps it was that the palette contained three shades: Transcendence, Kitten, and Bronze. Or that all three of the highlighting shades could be worn separately. But what sold me is that I could blend them together in one simple stroke for the perfect effect (I’m all about quick and easy).

I’ve been using the palette for about a week now, and it not only brightens up my complexion but also my morning routine. I love how it accentuates my cheekbones and gives me a subtle glow — which helps when you can’t get up on time and are scrambling to get out your front door on those kinds of mornings!

While I wish I could say I stopped after this purchase, on a separate visit to Ulta I was powerless to resist scooping up Stila’s Naturally Nude Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set. Stay tuned for a future review and to see the gorgeous trio of shades in action!

Apple Picking at The Milk Pail

the milk pail 5

Over the weekend, I took full advantage of the gorgeous weather and crossed another item off my fall agenda — apple picking at The Milk Pail in Water Mill, New York.

the milk pail 3

The almost 70-degree October Sunday was too nice to pass up taking a trip out East. The foliage is just starting to turn on Long Island, and the usually congested drive to Water Mill was relaxing and surprisingly smooth.

the milk pail 10

the milk pail 1

You may remember that my first trip out to this orchard was last year, and it quickly earned a spot on my annual to-do list. I love how large and juicy the apples are at The Milk Pail…despite the high price for a bushel ($47!). The trees are small, carefully groomed in rows, so you can pick while standing — you never have to climb or use a ladder at The Milk Pail.

This year, I left with quite the assortment of apples — everything from Granny Smith’s and Fuji’s to Braeburn’s and Ida Red’s. The only bad part about grabbing so many apples is having to lug a very heavy bag back to the car.

the milk pail 4

the milk pail 8

the milk pail 7

the milk pail 6

After the apples were all picked and bagged, it was time to head over to the pumpkin patch, which contained the largest pumpkins I had ever seen (they were way too heavy for me to lift and take home with me). So, after admiring the size and assortment of pumpkins, I decided to search elsewhere for this year’s pumpkin décor.

On the way home from the East End of Long Island I stopped at Trader Joe’s to stock up on all things pumpkin…well, that are edible. I left with a whole lot of pumpkin waffles (three boxes, to be exact), and two large pumpkins that will live back at home on my landing.

the milk pail 2

All in all, the day was a success. I have more apples than I know what to do with, and I satisfied my pumpkin sweet tooth and décor needs all in one day.

Fall Hair Inspiration

Well, it’s that time again. The time when my locks seem to be too long and the lack of an actual hairstyle starts to get to me.

Remember when I chopped almost 10 inches off my hair? I do. While I may not be brave enough to pull off the short bob that I’ve always wanted, I am excited to leave a bit of length — and adopt bangs this time around.

I haven’t had bangs since I was a child, but there is something about adding some long pieces to frame my face that I think will take my hair game from plain to polished.

Here are some styles that are giving me major hair envy:

Fall Hair Inspiration

Which hairstyles are you loving this season?

Pumpkin Pandemonium 2016

I feel like fall is slipping away from me. It’s almost the middle of October, and I have yet to go pumpkin and apple picking (thanks, Mother Nature), decorate a pumpkin, or even buy Halloween candy (it’s probably good that I haven’t done that last activity yet). But I did make it to the Long Island Fall Festival in Huntington over the weekend, where I got my fix of everything pumpkin –- at least when it came to sweets. I’m adding to my fall agenda a trip to Trader Joe’s (because their pumpkin game is always strong)…and maybe then I will finally get my hands on my very own pumpkin!

starbucks pumpkin scone

{Welcome back, pumpkin scone from Starbucks}

pumpkin milk chocolate treat

{Pumpkin milk chocolate treat at the Long Island Fall Festival}

pumpkin spice coffee

{Pumpkin spice coffee is everything}

pumpkin cake

{The best pumpkin cake…ever}

sparking apple cider sangria

{Seasonally appropriate sangria}

Anyone else as obsessed with pumpkin as I am?

Breast Cancer Awareness with Bloomingdale’s

bloomingdales yoga 4

On Saturday I attended a yoga class that Bloomingdale’s hosted for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A friend of mine had seen the event advertised and thought it would be a nice way to spend the morning. Being part of an event for a good cause and getting to meet other people who came to the Saturday morning practice made it a particularly enlightening experience.

bloomingdales yoga 3

Bloomingdale’s deserves praise for their efforts in organizing the event. Every detail was perfect — from the pink Bloomingdale’s yoga mat (which participants got to keep) to the goodie bag, complete with snacks for after the class. The $10 reservation fee went to benefit the Marisa Acocella Marchetto Foundation and The Carey Foundation. Our yoga teacher, Samantha, was a wonderful instructor and I was particularly inspired by her own health battle.

bloomingdales yoga 2

bloomingdales yoga 5

bloomingdales yoga 1

I left the class with a renewed sense of community, peace, and gratitude. A big thank you to Bloomingdale’s and Samantha for providing a restorative practice and for being part of breast cancer awareness!

The October Agenda


Thank you all so much for your support and kind words on Monday’s post. I truly appreciated the well wishes, and I found myself frequently revisiting your comments when the going got tough during the week. Change is never easy, but having a wonderful community full of encouragement has helped make the transition better.

As much as I love summer (and boy, do I), there is something about October that excites me. While I could live without the chilly weather, the thought of pumpkin and apple picking in the coming weeks makes me giddy.

My October agenda is packed with fall activities, so let’s get started:

See: I’m not much of a movie-goer, but every once in a while there will be a movie that I just have to see in the theater (partly because I’m too impatient to wait until it comes out on DVD). This month, The Girl on the Train is being released, and after reading the suspenseful thriller, I’m eager to put faces on the characters I read about. If the movie is anything like the book, it will be fantastic.

Go: I’ve mentioned before how much I love Long Island this time of year. There are fall festivals going on almost every weekend in different towns. This weekend, the Long Island Fall Festival is happening in Huntington, NY. The three-day festival has plenty of fun for the whole family, with live music, a carnival, and sweet treats.

Do: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Bloomingdale’s has events throughout the month to promote awareness. On October 8th, Bloomingdale’s nationwide will be hosting an in-store donation-based ($10) yoga class. Find a store in your area and reserve your spot to be part of a great cause — and get your Om on.

Visit: What would October be without a trip to an apple orchard? Last year marked my first visit to The Milk Pail in Water Mill, NY, and I want to make it a tradition. The orchard has the largest and juiciest apples I’ve ever seen. And while the prices may be a bit steep for a bushel, the overall experience is well worth it. When all of my apples are picked, I head over to the pumpkin patch to find just the right ones to take home and paint. Of course, no fall trip would be complete without an apple cider donut and candy apple for the ride home!

What’s on your agenda this month?

How to Build a Professional Wardrobe

Before I started my new job, I stopped at a few of my favorite stores for some additional pieces to add to my work wardrobe. My search always begins with Loft, Banana Republic, Anthropologie, and J. Crew (but by the time I get to Banana Republic, I’ve usually found everything that I need to get me through at least the first month of employment).

If you are new to the professional world, you don’t need to spend a ton of money to build up your collection. Here are my key staples:

How to Build a Professional Wardrobe

Blazer: I love a well-fitted blazer…even when I’m out of the office. I have quite a number of them in my professional arsenal, but my favorite has to be my grey one from Theory. It fits me so well that it seems tailor-made for me.

Pants: Banana Republic is my go-to for dress pants. I prefer the factory outlet — because the prices are better, and I know that I will find what I am looking for in their generous petite selection. I’m no fan of having my pants hemmed, so my main requirement is that they fit sans alterations.

Dress: For those days that are full of meetings (or when your alarm clock fails you and you need to run out the door in mere minutes), you’ll be glad you have a professional looking dress to throw on. I’ve resorted to such tactics on plenty of occasions. There is nothing worse than running late and having to ponder whether your outfit matches. Do yourself a favor, invest in these key pieces.

Heels: After working at home for the last 13 months, my shoe game was lacking. I needed a pair (or two) of heels — and that’s where DSW came in. I picked up a pair of suede Vince Camuto’s (which, once I break in, will be a favorite) and a pair of black patent leather Michael Kors. Just remember to be mindful of the heel when examining and trying on shoes. Nobody wants to come home from a first day limping with sore feet — take it from the expert on that one! Walk around in a pair — and picture yourself wearing them for a full work day. Then decide whether you want to buy them.

Bag: I’ve been using my black Coach messenger bag since I was a freshman in college. It has accompanied me on many a first day, whether to school or the office — and still shows little sign of its age. But when it does finally need to be retired, I see another Coach bag in my future. I like bags that can accommodate anything from the day’s lunch to an extra pair of flats, without feeling like you are carrying your life on your shoulder.

What are some of your work staples?

The Next Chapter


I recently wrote a post about change. Well, there has been a development in my life that has warranted my taking my own advice.

In August of 2015, I decided to quit my 9-to-5 job and give blogging full-time a try. It was a decision that came with some heavy consequences, like the loss of a stable income. And while the paycheck every two weeks was nice (and appreciated), the job itself was unfulfilling. I needed to make a change and pursue a more creative venture, so I put in my notice and decided to work for myself. I had a powerful incentive to take this leap of faith: After having thyroid cancer in 2013 at age 26, I promised myself that I would appreciate my time more and do what made me happy.

My adventure with blogging this last year has certainly had its up’s and down’s, but I’ve learned more in one year of full-time blogging then I had in any prior role I’ve held. From pitching to brands, working with a photographer, determining my rate, creating consistent and engaging content to finding my voice and being confident in my writing, those valuable lessons are hard to put a price on.

But being in business for yourself is no easy feat. Working at home is at times isolating and stifling to creativity. It is also incredibly difficult to depend on creativity for income. I’m reminded of what Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Big Magic (remember she held odd jobs until she hit it big with her fourth book) about how difficult it can be to ask your passion to support you. Those words profoundly affected me. I had turned something I was doing for fun and tried to make it profitable. Sometimes this formula equals success, but not for me at this time. I am perfectly okay with that, for I learned the very important distinction between an avocation and vocation.

So while I will not be a full-time blogger this year, working from my nice home office, and running up to Starbucks at noon, I will be using the skills I have gained from blogging in my new role in marketing. Fortuitously, my employer hired me because of my blog and all the skills I acquired through creating my site, writing copy, and promoting content.

I will forever be grateful for these 13 months — the friendships I’ve made along the way, the brands I’ve collaborated with, and of course, all of my readers who make blogging such a rewarding experience. But with my new time constraints, my blogging schedule will return to Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. Of course, you can follow along on Snapchat and Instagram (@livinginsteil), where I will be posting daily.

The greatest lesson for me in all of this is that sometimes you can’t turn your dreams into dollars, but you can allow your passion to pave the way to a paycheck.

*Image via PicLab Studio

Take Me Back to Summer

It’s only a week after the official end of summer and I am already missing it! It seems like there has been no gentle transition to fall temperatures; the weather has changed suddenly – too abruptly for my liking. What happened to sweater weather? I’m about ready to reach for my winter coat in the morning. With any luck, Mother Nature will remember that it’s not supposed to be this cold and give us some warmer weather — after she gets done dousing us with rain for the next several days…at least in these parts. Here’s hoping you all have a great weekend and that the weather is better wherever you are!

Fall Sunset

{Fall Colors}

Horsein Around

{Looking for a treat}

Happy National Coffee Day


Endless Summer

{Missing Summer}