Christmas Gift Ideas on Pinterest

With so many amazing gift guides on different fashion, lifestyle, and design blogs right now, I've decided to not do traditional blog gift guides this year. Instead, I decided I'd try something different, and create a Pinterest board of great gift ideas! You can check it out here, and I'm going to be adding to it  daily from now through Christmas! 

If you are looking for some great gift guides, I'm really loving the ones from Sarah, Lauren, Alyson, Grace, and Liz

Even though I'm steering clear of gift guides, be sure to stay tuned for loads of holiday-themed posts- I'm planning a cocktail party dress guide, and lots of holiday party inspiration, too! 

Best of: West Elm Holiday Decor

As much as I adore family heirlooms and traditional holiday decor, sometimes it's fun to mix the old with the new, and infuse bits of your holiday decoration with fun and funky new things. I've found that West Elm has, by far, the most creative holiday department that I've found. They manage to make things festive without being tacky, which can be surprisingly hard to do! Whilie I'd never eschew the stockings my grandma made for store-bought ones, but I'm thinking that the feather wreath could be a very welcome addition to my home!

Best of: Manicure Essentials

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I really love having my nails done all the time, but I don't like to pay for pricey salon manicures, so I've learned to master the at-home manicure. In my quest, I've found some of the very best products for manicures out there, and these products make my home manicures last way longer than a salon manicure! The Sally Hansen Gel Cuticle Remover makes pushing back cuticles a breeze.  CND Stickey base coat gives your nails a solid foundation, and my go-to red OPI Vodka and Caviar seems to last longer than other colors I've tried. After I do two coats of color, I put another coat of the Stickey on top, and finish it off with Seche Vite's fast dry top coat. This is my holy grail top coat, by far. It makes my nails extra shiny, and is completely dry within 5 minutes of using it! I use the Sephora cuticle oil throughout the week (the pen brush makes it easy to brush on when you're on the go) to make sure my cuticles aren't peeling apart, especially now since the cold weather has left my hands very dry. 

When I use these products, I can make my at-home manicure last an entire week! 

Best Of: Cute Winter Accessories

When I returned home to Charlottesville after a week in sunny Scottsdale, it was COLD! It's definitely time to get my winter accessories out of storage and into my daily rotation. I've rounded up 20 of the cutest winter accessories I found, in case  you're stash needs a little injection of color and cuteness. These would all make great gifts, too! 

What I Wore: Stripes and Sequins

necklace: bauble bar | sweater: j.crew (similar) | blazer: c/o aritzia | shoes: sam edelman, c/o piperlime

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with your family and friends! We had a great weekend celebrating with our families back home in Scottsdale, and I'm so excited that the holiday season is in full swing now! 

Cyber Monday 2012 Deals

Target Cyber Monday 2012 Deals

Amazon Cyber Monday 2012 Deals

Coterie- Get 3 Julep Nail Colors for $23, and choose between Glow On Age Defying Hand Brightener or Facial For Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub for free. 50% Off MOR Salt and Sugar Scrubs, and more than 40% Off Oscar Blandi Texture and Volume Styling Products

Design Darling- 15% Off Sitewide with $100+ Order (Code: EARLYBIRD)

Shop Jami- Get 35% Off Total Order + free ground shipping  (Code: INSTYLE35)

DKNY- 25% Off Sitewide, Excluding Fragrance, Hosiery, and Watches

Piperlime- 20% Off Sitewide (Code: CYBER)

Aldo- 30% Off Sitewide

Bauble BarFor every $40 you spend, get a free gift of your choosing from over 200 different items. Spend $80, get 2 gifts; spend $120, get 3 gifts; spend $160, get 4 gifts, and so on. 

J.Crew Outlet- 40% Off Sitewide (Code: GIVEANDGET)

French Connection- 30% Off All Orders of $150+

Banana Republic- 30% Off Sitewide (Code: CYBER)

Old Navy- 30% Off Sitewide (Code: CYBER)

Gap- 30% Off Sitewide (Code: CYBER)

Shopbop: Spend $250+, Save 20%, Spend $500+, Save 25%, Spend $1000+, Save 30%, Spend $1500+, Save 35% (Code: BIGEVENT12)

Dorothy Perkins: 25% Off Sitewide

C.Wonder- 30% Off Orders over $100

Alice and Olivia- 20% Off Sitewide

Glossybox: $5 Off Any Glossybox Purchase (Code: FIVE)

Kate Spade New York- Special Cyber Flash Sale

LOFT- 50% Off Sitewide (Code: TODAYONLY)

Ann Taylor- 40% Off Sitewide (Code: MONDAY)

Pin and a Spin

Decided to make this week's Pin and a Spin a cozy, post-Thanksgiving look. Hope you had a wonderful day yesterday! Are you doing any Black Friday shopping today? I'm skipping Black Friday and flying home to Charlottesville after a great week in Scottsdale! Have a great weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving and celebrating with your favorite people! I feel like I have so much to be thankful for this year- the world's most amazing husband, a wonderful family, a job I love, and my health. I'm also thankful for YOU reading this little blog- thanks for tuning in, commenting, and being so supportive of Best of BKLYN! Have a great day. 

Demeter Fragrance Review: Hot Toddy

buy here!
Disclosure: Demeter Fragrance sent me this fragrance to review, but all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Olay Pro-X Anti-Aging Starter Protocol Review

I'll be the first to admit that skincare can be a little confusing sometimes. With a million different products on the market, it's hard to figure out which products are right for you, and what kind of "system" you need. Add all of that to the fact that many products are super pricey, and the resulting confusion around skincare is understandable. 

When I was at Lucky Fabb, a rep from Olay was there, and gave me their Olay Pro-X Anti-Aging Starter Protocol  to try out. I've been testing it since early September, and feel like I can now give a full review of the system! 

A little background: I've pretty much always used Olay sunscreen during the day, and I've used Olay serums at night for the last year or so, too. 

The Pro-X line is designed by dermatologists, and aims to give purchasers a professional-grade product at a drugstore price point. At $50 for the set, it's not exactly cheap, but I've been using the products almost daily since September, and still have a lot of product left of each item in the kit. My kit came with a sunscreen lotion for day, a night cream, and a restorative eye complex. I've seen kits on shelves at stores that substitute the eye cream for a deep wrinkle cream, but for me, the eye cream was definitely more my speed, since I'm 25 and only have fine lines. 

The daily Age Repair Lotion with sunscreen seemed to have a similar texture to the Olay sunscreens I've used in the past. I like that it was SPF 30, instead of 15. It layered really well under my concealer and powder, and I felt like it really sank into my skin quickly. 

I really loved the Eye Restoration Complex. I have really dark circles under my eyes, and tend to get puffiness under my eyes, as well. I felt like I could really see a difference in both when I was using the eye cream, and the texture was perfect- not too heavy. I have pretty sensitive eyes, and this didn't irritate them one bit! I also used this during the day under makeup, and I liked that it didn't make my eye makeup just slide right off. 

The Wrinkle Smoothing Cream/night cream was excellent, as well. I have fairly "normal" skin, and it was perfect for me. I didn't feel greasy the next morning after using it, but it's kept my skin well moisturized, even with the cold, dry, fall air we've had the last few weeks. I've definitely noticed a reduction in the fine lines that I have, and my skin looks "fresher" when I wake up after applying the cream at night. 

Overall, I think that the Olay Pro-X Anti-Aging Starter Protocol is a great buy. It's perfect for someone that's not totally sure what products are right for them, and it's the perfect chance to try all of the products without committing to full size versions of each individual product. 

What I Wore: C&C California, Take 2

top: c&c california | leggings: h+m | vest: marshall's | watch: michael kors | boots: cole haan (similar)

This red and black tunic was the second item C&C California sent me after Lucky Fabb, and I love it just as much as the first. It's soft and cozy, but stylish, too- the perfect piece, in my book. I wore this to lunch with a friend, and I'm planning on wearing it again for our plane trip to Scottsdale for Thanksgiving!

Gluten Free Apple Crumble

When my mom asked me to track down a dessert that I could eat for Thanksgiving, I wasn't sure where to start! Since going gluten (and a bunch of other things) free earlier this year, I've had a few yummy cookies and cupcakes , but since it was Thanksgiving, I wanted something more pie-ish. When every gluten-free pie crust I found had eggs in it (can't do eggs, either) I decided to improvise, and make up my own recipe! If you know me, that's not normal for me, but I was really impressed with how my little made up dessert turned out. I'm pretty sure that my gluten-eating family will be jealous of my crumble, so we might be doubling the recipe to share.
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4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Rolled Gluten-Free Oats
1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 Cup Almond Meal/Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 Cup Butter
3/4 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoons Nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 375, and grease 8x8 inch glass baking pan with butter
2. Peel, core, and slice apples, and spread out evenly in pan
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3. In a large bowl, melt butter, add all other ingredients, and mix thoroughly
gluten free apple pie, gluten free apple crumble, gluten free desserts
4. Spread crumble mixture evenly over apples
gluten free apple pie, gluten free apple crumble, gluten free desserts
5. Bake in oven for 30 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a little crispy
gluten free apple pie, gluten free apple crumble, gluten free desserts
6. Serve with ice cream (I use SO Delicious coconut milk ice cream!)
 gluten free apple pie, gluten free apple crumble, gluten free desserts

Serves 4-6, depending on if you like to share or not. I don't.

Pin and a Spin

I've seen this Alexa Chung photo pinned countless times on Pinterest, and decided to re-create the look here. Alexa's style is just so darn cool, and I love the color combo she has going on in this outfit. 


Edited By: Taylor Davies Aubergine. Oceanic blue. Wedding White. For this week’s Links a la Mode round up, I focused on posts that drew inspiration or centered around color. Whether it was styling up a range of colorful pants or looking at the rise of black and white dressing, there were so many creative and cool blog posts centering on color. Take a look, get inspired and taste the rainbow!


SPONSOR: Shopbop 40% Sale: FreePeople, Tsovet, DKNY, Watches, T-bags, Hatch, Yogawear, Sneakers, Bras & Stockings If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE where you see “Links a la mode next week’s date (official)”. The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode widget on the right side of the blog, and will be published later today. ~ Jennine

What I Wore: C&C California

Sweater: C&C California | Pants: H+M | Shoes: Vintage | Bag: c/o Just Fab | Necklace: c/o Shop Jami | Bracelets: c/o t+j designs | Watch: Michael Kors

When I was at Lucky Fabb, C&C California graciously allowed me to pick out a couple of their pieces from their Fall line, and they just sent the items! I'm participating in a little styling challenge, and the first piece I'm wearing is this black sweater. I had previously equated C&C California as a more causual line filled with basic tshirts and tanks, but I was really impressed with the line overall, and I especially love the coated finish on this sweater. It elevates a closet staple, and the uneven hem is the perfect finishing touch! Thanks, C&C California!

Creative Thanksgiving Table Centerpiece Ideas

Thanksgiving centerpieces tend to be similar to the day itself- traditional. While I'd never dream of messing with my aunt's awesome mashed potatoes and my mom's broccoli dish, the Thanksgiving centerpiece is a fun way to mix things up each year. While I'm not hosting Thanksgiving this year, I still wanted to share a few creative Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas with you. My personal tastes are decidedly more modern, and I think each of these Thanksgiving tablescapes are a fresh take on seasonal classics. 

creative thanksgiving centerpiece
Place cranberries and tealights in a glass tray- simple and stunning. 

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White pumpkins, letter decals, and cake stands make this pumpkin-centric centerpiece stand apart from the rest.

modern thanksgiving centerpiece, mercury glass
Mercury glass and metallic pumpkins make for a very modern, sophisticated centerpiece.

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I love these tall taper candles in various glass candlesticks- an unexpected twist on classic candle placement.

creative thanksgiving centerpiece, martha stewart centerpiece
Grapes aren't usually associated with Thanksgiving, but the deep berry hues are perfect for a Thanksgiving day tablescape. 

martha stewart thanksgiving centerpiece
These copper leaf gourds (click here for the how-to) are simply stunning. Plus, you'll amaze relatives all evening when you share that they are your own handiwork! 

Fun Things to do With Your Instagram Photos

If you're anything like me, you're completely and totally obsessed with Instagram. Between blogging and managing social media for my clients, I'm pretty much always using one form of social media or another, and Instagram quickly became my favorite social media platform when I started using the app.

That being said, I'm still a sucker for real, printed photographs. Before I used Instagram, I used a Holga camera, which produces a similar effect without filters on real film. Instagram is definitely easier to use, but I find myself missing having physical prints of some of my favorite photos. I decided to do a little digging, and found a few fun ways you can print and display your own Instagrams!

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Want to display an Instagram as a canvas? is your best bet- they do canvases and framed prints, and if you want, you can even set up your own "gallery," where others can buy your Insta art! 

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Blurb has Instagram memory books- I think it would be a fun little project to take an Instagram a day for a year, and then make a book of the photos!

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These little tiny ceramic magnets of Instagram photos from ImageSnap are super cute!

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Want a truly original iPhone case? Casetagram allows your to turn your Instagram photos into a phone case- pick a bunch of them for a collage, or spotlight your all-time favorite Instagram as the image for your case.
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Just want simple prints of your pics? Printstagram will print in two sizes 2.5 or 4 inch squares. (Prinstagram also has a bunch of other fun Insta-products!)

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This calendar (also from Printstagram) would be the perfect Christmas gift for the Instagram obsessed person in your life- I love the clean simplicity of it.

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Stickygram makes photo magnets, too! I've seen people cover a section of their fridge in them, and it's the perfect way to jazz up a boring white fridge.

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I think this is the most unique thing I've seen! Ixxi allows you to make a large wall collage, and you can either have a bunch of different photos, seen above, or split one square photo into several blocks that make up the photo when placed together.

Have you tried any of these methods to display your Instagrams? Which is your favorite? You can follow me on Instagram here.

Cayman Islands Underwater Photo Diary

Brett and I returned home Wednesday evening from an absolutely fantastic vacation with his parents in the Cayman Islands! We spent almost a week on Grand Cayman, snorkeling, reading on the beach, and eating lots of yummy food. When we first arrived, Brett's parents had another surprise for us...this Pentax Optio underwater digital camera. To say this was the perfect gift for a week in the Caymans is an understatement, and we had a blast photographing everything we saw snorkeling! If you're in the market for an underwater digital camera (it can go down to 40 feet deep!), I'd highly recommend it- it was so fun to be able to capture everything we saw!

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cayman island photos