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Thursday, September 22, 2016

What I Wore: H&M Plaid (Again)

There are a few purchases I've made this season that I feel really great about and this lightweight plaid dress that I scored at the H&M x HerCampus event is definitely one of them! I'm about 5'2" and for me, this dress is the perfect length; not too short to wear alone, but not too long to layer with leggings or jeans. You can see how I styled this simple plaid for back to school in my previous H&M post. 

We are still very much transitioning into fall here in Boston. Some days it's 80 degrees, humid, and sunny and others it's breezy with a high of 65. I styled this look for one of those cooler early fall days, layering my H&M flannel dress over a thick knit henley, and ripped skinny jeans. I added the belt, left the bottom half unbuttoned, and completed the look with my favorite minimal sandals. I don't know about you, but this outfit single-handedly made me excited for fall! There's something about layering up in thick fabrics that makes me want to sip on a hit apple cider and walk through a leaf-littered Boston Common (or a Back Bay alley way...).

H&M Plaid Shirt Dress c/o H&M &  //  Frank + Oak Henley  //  All Saints Belt via All Saints Outlet at Wrentham Premium Outlets  //  Lucky Brand Juliet Sandal  //  MAC Lipstick in Heroine

Another trip to H&M is definitely in order, I'm hoping to score more budget-friendly closet staples like this plaid dress. I also saw some really chic sweaters and knit tunics that have my name all over them. And if you're a Harvard student or alumni, pieces from the H&M Harvard collection are still available online, you can shop crimson hued hoodies, pants, and tees here.

This post was sponsored by H&M and Her Campus Media. All content and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for supporting those who support

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wired Women: Maura Duggan

Wired Women profiles successful women with ties to Boston who are pursuing their passions. These women serve as an inspiration not only to myself, but to women and girls everywhere who are eager to make waves in their field. This month's Wired Woman is Maura Duggan, President of Fancypants Baking Co. I was introduced to Maura's cookies years ago and they are my all-time favorite cookies. (You know this if you follow along with me on Snapchat). Crunchy, delicious, wholesome; I've been known to snack on them at breakfast. Read more about Maura below...

Style Wire: You're a smartypants in addition to running Fancypants-- your degree is in neuroscience and education. How did that switch come about?
Maura Duggan: Before I started Fancypants, I worked for several years with students who were deaf-blind at the Perkins School for the Blind (Watertown, MA). The job made a big impact on me, and years later after graduate school, I found myself thinking about ways that I could spend more time helping people with disabilities. The idea of baking popped into my head. I started thinking about whether I could actually make a living by combining baking and working with people with disabilities. It’s taken a long time, but today, one of the things I’m most proud of is that we employ adults with disabilities to help us package cookies.  

SW: Did you always have an interest in baking? What sparked it? 
MD: Yes, I’ve always loved baking! Growing up, my grandmother lived across the street and she was always making something delicious – most often cookies, but also fresh pies and gooey brownies. My mother also bakes; birthdays are not complete without one of her cakes! So, although I sort of stumbled upon baking as a career, it’s also been part of my life.

SW: You've worked hard to get Fancypants Cookies into grocery stores around the country; what has been the most challenging part of this journey?
MD: It’s definitely been a huge challenge! I think the hardest part is learning how to set up, and now running a manufacturing facility every day – I’ve had to learn how to do everything from recipe development, to scaling recipes, to making sales pitches, to hiring employees and paying bills – all at once!

SW: What's the biggest lesson you've learned running your own business? 
MD: Trust your gut. There’s no one way to run a successful business. It’s important to watch what other people are doing and listen to ideas, but at the end of the day, make decisions that feel right for you. 

SW: What does a typical work day look like for you? 
MD: There really isn’t a typical work day for me. I love to squeeze in a workout early in the morning and get in to the office by 7am.  I always drink (gulp?) several cups of coffee as I check email. Usually I check in with our operations director and department managers to see what we’re baking and decorating for the day. Then, I usually have meetings from 9am on. On any one day I could be meeting with our team about improving manufacturing practices or another team to talk about packaging design. There’s always something new happening and the days fly by. I also travel quite a bit for meetings and trade shows so I might be planning parts of those trips, too. When I’m at the office, though, I try to leave around 4 or 5pm – I race home and throw on my sneakers and head to the playground with my 2 boys (ages 3 and 6).   

SW: What do you think makes Crunch cookies stand out? What's your favorite flavor/why? 
MD: What I love about our Crunch cookies is that they taste completely homemade – and yet still have only 100 calories per serving!  We use ingredients that anyone can find at their local store like cage free eggs and King Arthur flour so they’re really a guilt free snack. My favorite is our classic chocolate chip. There’s just something about the having a bit of chocolate, but not overly sweet, that gets me every time. Being a parent it makes me proud to know that we make a delicious treat, that is both school safe and made using ingredients that I’m happy to feed my own children.

SW: How do you stay motivated when you are your own boss? 
MD: Complacency is a silent killer and my awesome team at Fancypants reminds me of that every day. Their constant drive, enthusiasm, and ideas for the future are all I need to keep me motivated and my head in the game.

SW: When you're not working what do you like to do in your free time? 
MD: I’m training for a Sprint Triathlon this fall – so these days you could usually find me doing laps in a pool!  

SW: Nothing pairs better with cookies than coffee, what's your favorite coffeeshop and how do you take your coffee? 
MD: I love El Recreo in West Roxbury. The owners are a husband-and-wife team who actually source the coffee beans from their family coffee bean farm in Nicarugua. The taste is unreal! They are the friendliest people, and I love supporting small business. I’m a no frills coffee drinker – just black.

SW: What's the best piece of advice you can offer to fellow female entrepreneurs? 
MD: Believe in yourself. If you have an idea that you think can work, go for it!   When I studied neuroscience 20 years ago, there were not a lot of females in the field but I loved everything about it and wanted to be part of it. The same thing goes for entrepreneurship, if you have an idea that you love – do it and don’t let anything get in the way.

Follow along with Maura and her adventures with Fancypants Baking on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Monday, September 19, 2016

What I Wore: Orange at the Race Track

I had such a blast last year at Suffolk Downs that I told myself I definitely wanted to return this year. Now that I live in Chelsea the race track is much closer so it was a breeze driving over to Suffolk Downs. This year the weather was a little cooler so I wore a pair of casual ripped skinnies, a silk tank, and a go-everywhere leather tote. And this year I also placed a couple of bets!

Admittedly, I thought I had won the first bet I placed but as it turns out I got the terms "to place" and "to show" confused and lost. But it was fun regardless! I took my boyfriend who had never been to the race track and we had fun mulling over the program stats and randomly picking cleverly named horses. As long as racing returns to Suffolk Downs, I'll continue to visit every year and place a few bets! Who knows, maybe next year I'll actually win something!

Talbots Silk Tank (old)  //  Madewell High Waisted Skinny Jeans c/o Madewell  //  Madewell Lydia Flat (old)  //  Madewell Transport Tote in English Saddle c/o Madewell  //  Prada Baroque Sunglasses  //  Apple Watch

Saturday, September 17, 2016

What I Wore: New Balance Newbury Collection

Whether you're running errands on a Saturday afternoon or have plans to hit the gym, New Balance's Newbury Collection has you covered. This new capsule collection features an easy going jacket for cool commutes, a fun sports bra and a peek-a-boo back top that shows off the cute cut outs and detailing on the sports bra, a chic pair of functional leggings, and a sweet pair of Vazee Transform Graphic Training shoes. 

I've worn the jacket all over Boston; it's my new go-to for chilly mornings and weekend afternoons but my absolute favorite piece from the Newbury Collection are the leggings! I love the mesh paneling and faux leather panels. Something I've never seen in a workout legging before, and I absolutely love. I feel no shame wearing these leggings outside the gym, they look and feel amazing. 

With all this new gear, who can resist a run along the Charles or a workout at The Handle Bar? Stop by the New Balance store at 583 Boylston to shop the  Newbury Collection today!

Photos by Nick Cosky Photography

This post was created in collaboration with New Balance. I was provided complimentary styles for review and promotional purposes. All content and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for supporting those who support!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Luxury R&R at G2O Spa!

When the seasons change I like to prep for the season ahead and mentally recharge by treating myself to a spa service. While I've been to my share of spas and salons, there's something special about G2O Spa & Salon on Newbury Street. Maybe it's the ultra soothing Brine Inhalation Therapy Relaxation Room, or the Penthouse Roof Terrace, or their experienced team of estheticians and technicians. For me, it was the Skylight Hot Tub. 

When I booked G2O's Custom Signature Facial, I wasn't sure what I was more excited about-- the facial or the post-treatment dip in their hot tub! All spa treatment guests are granted access to the luxury amenities offered at G2O Spa & Salon making services here an incredible value. 

After checking in I slipped into their private locker room, changed into the robe and slippers provided, and was whisked away to a private treatment room for my facial. G2O serves up the Rolls Royce of custom facials; your esthetician will ask you questions about your routine, skin care concerns, and the products you use and make selections based on your answers. I let my esthetician know that clogged pores and dullness were two of my main concerns so she spent extra time on extractions and used a Clarisonic brush to address my concerns about dullness. It was one of the more extensive facial treatments I've received  and so relaxing that I drifted asleep a few times! The treatment concluded with a face mask and soothing hand and arm massage. Your esthetician will carefully wrap your hands and put them into heated gloves for the remainder of your treatment. 

After my facial I headed back to the locker room to change into my swimsuit and enjoy their Skylight Hot Tub on their roof deck. After making myself a cup of tea, I took a cool rinse before settling into the hot tub. I must say, it was the ideal way to end any spa treatment! I'm already planning to book an appointment for my birthday week as I can't think of a better way to celebrate than by treating myself to another luxuriously, relaxing day at G2O Spa & Salon. 

278 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 262-2220

I was provided complimentary services for review and promotional purposes. All content and opinions expressed are my own. Thanks for supporting those who support