the beautiful things

{things i made} cream-cheese frosting-filled pumpkin muffins

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Happy Fall! While I'm super sad to see summer go, I'm just as excited for autumn. I'm celebrating the start of my favorite season with this amazingly tasty recipe for pumpkin muffins. They're moist–seriously, they have the mouth-feel of a cake–and are absolutely bursting with spice-infused flavor (I throw my own version of pumpkin pie spice in anything that can support it). I adore desserts with pumpkin as the main ingredient so this is easily my new favorite any-time-of-the-day-treat. The cream-cheese frosting isn't overpowering but rather a "something special" that makes the muffins feel ever-so-slightly decadent. 


​3 cups pum
pkin puree

3/4 granulated sugar

4 egg
​s + 1 egg white​
9 oz olive oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4  + 1/3 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1.5 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2.5 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp cloves 

​4​ tsp
​2 ​tsp
​ ​
1 tsp ginger

12 oz

Cream cheese ​frosting, see below​


​1. ​Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
a large 
bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
2. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 
​and spices​
 over the wet mixture. 
Whisk together until just blended. 
Add raisins and fold until blended.
​3. Fill two greased 12-cup muffin trays evenly with batter. Bake for 25 minutes
​ (c​heck with a toothpick
​ for done-ness)
Allow muffins to cool for
​at least 30 minutes.
​4. For cream cheese filling: 
​4 ounces low
​-​fat cream cheese 
​and mix with 4 ounces strained Greek yogurt. Stir in ​1 teaspoon vanilla
​ and​ about 
​a 1/
​4​ cup of powdered sugar
​ and adjust as necessary). ​ Punch a small but deep hole into the center of each muffin and pipe 
or spoon ​frosting into the center
 and ​finish with a small rosette
​ or peak​.

{things i wore} long-sleeved maxi dress

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If you've been following along with my Instagram account, you'll have seen that we decided to send off summer in style with a trip down the shore to Cape May, our favorite beach destination in New Jersey. I absolutely adore day-tripping when it's a bit cooler than sweltering and that's just how it was this weekend. Dressing up is more fun when you can wear heavier items and not worry about sweating through them. This dress was a clearance rack score at at Old Navy–it's sold-out now–but it's perfect to style as the seasons change.


Long-Sleeved Maxi Dress, Old Navy [here and here] // Slim Rubber Flip Flops, Havaianas [$26] // Rocco Duffel in Black with Pale Gold Hardware, Alexander Wang [$895// Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44] // Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175] // Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44] // X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400] // 'Take it Outside' Nail Polish, Essie [here]


{things i did} dinner at a voce columbus

PicMonkey Collage


The last time I ate at A Voce (in the Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle) was over a year ago (check out some Instagram shots here). That trip had been for lunch, and I distinctly remember claiming everything I had was the "best ever"–the best bread and dip I'd ever had (focaccia and fresh ricotta), the best salad I'd ever had (lobster, chick peas, and arugula), and the best dessert (a hazelnut chocolate tart). So when my boyfriend and I decided to stop in again, this time for a late dinner after some shopping. I had very high hopes–and I wasn't let down. The service here is top-notch–everyone is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable–and the food is stellar. Check out my Instagram account for more details on the food (it's hard to pick a favorite flavor of the night, but I think the ravioli win). Have a great weekend! 



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{things i covet} spluge or save: leather, maxi, suede



Like I've said before, I hate retiring my favorite maxi looks as the weather cools down. The great thing is you don't really have to–all it takes are some good staple pieces and lots of creative layering. Here's a perfectly fall-appropriate look for a lot and a whole lot less (seriously: it's $2190 vs. $140!).


on the left:

Collection Quilted Leather Biker Jacket, J.Crew [$1250]

Cotton-Jersey Midi Dress, Rick Owens [$360

Slouchy Suede Ankle Boots, Isabel Marant [$548.71


on the right:

Quilted Faux Leather Moto Jacket, Aero [$100 $50 or similar]

Mossimo Knit Maxi Dress in Black [$20 $10.48]

 Natasha Suede Ankle Boots, Sole Society [$80]

{things i covet} try, buy, spy






gmail hacks are actually very helpful [read]

a way to weather-proof leather boots just in time for fall [shine]

many caloric desserts in one: the hot fudge brownie sundae pie [recipe]


matilde suede pumps, aquazzura [$695]

embroidered moto jacket, marchesa voyage [$595]

gold & black diamond thin ring, jennifer meyer [$175]


a list of celebrities who once worked for other celebrities [read]

classics-in-the-making: jewelry designers that you should know now [drool]

the new it-shoe by bionda castana that everyone is wearing [see]


{things i made} cheese manicotti


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I love manicotti. For all their heavy Italian ingredients–it's seriously cheese and egg overload–they're incredibly light and tender. My mother always made them from scratch and only on special occasions, I tradition I reinstated one year for a milestone wedding anniversary "surprise" for my parents. It's one of the first recipes (if not the first) that I undertook on my own, digging out her old card while they weren't home and faking confidence the entire time. This one's been scaled way up–it's for guests or freezing–but can easily be dividing down for one or two trays. And remember: it was simple enough for a teenage me with zero cooking experience to complete to rave reviews.


Yield: 4 trays ​

12 large eggs
6 cups water
3 cups flour 
1.5 teaspoons salt 

4 lb (6 cups) fresh ricotta
4 large eggs
2.5 oz (1.5 cups) finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cup dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 lb mozzarella, sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces

tomato sauce, as needed (about 3 cups per tray)

1. Crack eggs, beat, and add water. Sift in flour and salt, then stir batter until just combined. Force through a mesh sieve into another bowl to remove lumps. 
2. Lightly brush an 8-inch nonstick skillet with oil and heat until hot. Ladle about 1/4 cup batter into skillet, tilting and rotating to coat and reducing heat if crêpe sets too quickly. Cook until underside is just set and lightly browned, about 30 seconds, then flip and cook other side for the same amount of time. Invert crêpe onto a clean towel to cool completely. Repeat for remaining crêpes, brushing skillet with oil as needed and stacking crêpes in piles.
3. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Stir together ricotta, eggs,
Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, salt, and pepper. Spread about two cups of tomato sauce on the bottom of baking dish or trays.
4. Arrange 1
crêpe, browned side up, on a work surface, then spread about 1/4 cup filling in a line across center and top with a mozzarella strip. Fold in sides to enclose filling, leaving ends open, and transfer, seam side down, to baking dish. Fill remaining crêpes in the same manner, arranging snugly in one layer. Spread about one cup sauce over manicotti. Repeat for remaining trays.
5. Tightly cover trays with foil and bake until sauce is bubbling and filling is hot, about 25 minutes. Serve any remaining sauce on the side and grated cheese. 


{things i wore} chambray shirt

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Summer is winding down–hello cooler temps–which means one thing for me when it comes to dressing and that's layers. It's not quite sweater-weather yet so I keep piling on the clothes that I have been wearing throughout the past few months. I'll keeping singing chambray's praises: it works in any season, styles itself, and is super comfortable. I love fall when it's as mild as this and am fully embracing digging out some post-summer favorites.


Chambray Button-Down in "Moon Shine Wash," Mossimo Supply Co. for Target// Maxi Skirt in 'Dark Gray,' H&M [$18] // Neverfull MM in Monogram Canvas, Louis Vuitton [shop// Slim Rubber Flip Flops, Havaianas [$26] // Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44] // Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175] // Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44] // X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400] // Urban Jungle Nail Polish, Essie [here]

{things i learned} not a thing that i would change


[the most gorgeous wisteria spotted on a sunset stroll]



[strawberries and cream cupcake]



[new cozy lounge-wear ready for some serious staying-in]



[adventures in pasta-making with an improvised drying-rack]



[an sandwich idea to try at home: sun-dried tomato spread + arugula]


I'm excited for this weekend–after a whole lot of stress and deadlines (much of which, I must admit, I imposed on myself), I'm looking forward to unwinding with some good television, shopping, cooking, baking, and, my favorite, eating. I hope yours is a good one, as we all slide into the cooler, happy months of fall. Enjoy!



{things i wore} crossbody bag

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Essie's 'Urban Jungle'–I posted about it on Instagram because I loved the color so much and soon after let it inspire an outfit. I love vampy shades, both for clothing and for nail polishes, but have always been in search of a flattering nude. This one's a good one, pale and easier to apply than most (check out yesterday's post for some of my best at-home manicure tips). The bottle was part of the brand's summer collection but works well with heavier clothes still in the color family of the fading warmer months. 


Stripe Front Tie Blouse in Blue and White, The Limited [sim​liar] // Artist Crop Jean in Light Wash, American Eagle [$50 $20] // Savannah Bag in Sky, Sterling and Hyde [no longer available]// Thin Gold Band with Bezel Set Diamond, Jennifer Meyer [$175]; X3 Diamond Ring, 18k Gold Diamond Anniversary Band [$1400]; Gold & Pavé Diamond Tiny Disc Ring, Sydney Evan [$375]; Threadbare Ring in Yellow Gold, Catbird Jewelry [$44// Leather Sandal, Zara [similar] // Urban Jungle Nail Polish, Essie [here

{things i learned} at home manicure essentials

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I've hardly ever gone a day without wearing nail polish–I feel like my makeup look seems completely unfinished without it. This never translated to weekly trips to a salon–I have always given myself manicures and pedicures since I was really young. In fact I've only gotten my nails professionally done a handful of times, and each was because I wanted a French manicure which I used to think was impossible to master at home (not true–all you need is tape and a lot of patience). About twenty years of practice (seriously) have taught me a few trick and tips. Here are my favorite supplies I use–everything but the colored polish!


Cotton Swabs, Q-Tips [$4] – They fix the m​istakes that are bound to happen and give a nice border.

Twist and Spout Dispenser, Sephora [$11] – Eliminates spills and lets you use less product.

 Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil Cuticle Care, Sally Hansen [$6] – Keeps nails beds soft and neat.

Crystal Nail File, Sephora [$10] – Lasts forever (literally) and stops nails fro splintering.

Hand And Nail Cream, Caudalie [$15] – A favorite to revitalize hands and a few-day-old m​anicures.

'Grow Stronger' Base Coat, Essie [$8.50] – Strengthens nails, holds polish, and dies opaque for easy layering. 

'Good To Go!' Top Coat, Essie [$10] – The perfect quick-dry top coat.






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