Wednesday, March 30, 2016

10 Must-Try Blog Post Ideas for Spring

Can you believe it's officially Spring already? This year is really flying by if you ask me! It feels like just yesterday we were in Napa Valley wine tasting at a castle for New Year's, and all of a sudden it's March! 

Blog Post Ideas for Spring 2016

I even celebrated my birthday last week with a trip to B&G Oysters and hung out at Knight Moves cafe, which is an awesome board game cafe. Board games are one of my favorite things of all time, and my friend even got me the fun new card game Exploding Kittens, which we all played over New Years too!

Even though Boston weather has been going from the 30s to the 70s, I'm excited to be finally wearing sundresses and enjoying the sporadic warmer weather. The following blog posts should help us all usher in Spring!

  1. Spring dress & shoes wishlist
  2. Update on NYE resolutions
  3. Fun outdoor activities 
  4. Reading list for spring
  5. Seasonal spring produce & recipes to try
  6. Outdoor workout ideas
  7. Blogging goals for springtime
  8. 10 best spring flowers 
  9. Travel destinations for 2016
  10. How to start spring cleaning 

Hope this list gave you some springtime inspiration for your blog! Be sure to check out my tips for growing your blog with Twitter and top Pinterest community boards for food bloggers!

Comment Challenge: What's the best Spring blog post you've seen so far?

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hot Pink Birthday Dress for Spring

Dress: c/o The Mint Julep Boutique | Heels: Target | Necklace: c/o Rocksbox | Clutch: Fossil
Dress: c/o The Mint Julep Boutique | Heels: Target | Necklace: c/o Rocksbox | Clutch: Fossil
Happy Easter everyone! My birthday really crept up on me this year - I mean how is it already the end of March! Luckily I had this incredible hot pink shift dress (Similar here, here, and here for less than $50!) c/o The Mint Julep Boutique to throw on and look birthday-ready! We went out to the delicious B&G Oysters for dinner, which we've been wanting to check out forever, and then headed over to Knight Moves, which is the funnest board game cafe!

the mint julep boutique spring dress

the mint julep boutique spring dress

But back to the dress - First off, can we just talk about this phenomenal color? As many of you know I'm obsessed with bright colors, so obviously this is my favorite dress of all time. It's also the perfect color to usher in Spring - bright, happy, and confident.

the mint julep boutique spring dress

Not to mention it's a shift dress, so it's amazingly comfortable rather than some spring dresses which are super tight. Another aspect of the dress which I love is the unique detailing on the back - I'm a sucker for any dress or top with an interesting back design, I think it really sets the piece apart. You'll see it for yourself as you scroll down! 

the mint julep boutique spring dress

Of course I paired it with these cobalt heels from Tar-jay, because why not add some color blocking in the mix to welcome Spring! I also added my collar necklace from Rocksbox which I will forever be enamored with. 

the mint julep boutique spring dress

Remember earlier when I mentioned the gorgeous back detailing? Love it!

the mint julep boutique spring dress

This hot pink number was honestly the perfect spring birthday dress - it's the type of dress that instantly makes you feel super glam and trendy, and what girl doesn't want that? Unfortunately this one is sold out, but The Mint has a ton of similar ones for under $50 - check them out here and here.

Be sure to check out the rest of The Mint Julep Boutique's collection too, they have literally anything you can think of, from springtime dresses, to tops, skirts, pants, leggings, shoes, and accessories! As my favorite characters from Parks & Recreation would say - Treat yourself!

Other dresses I'm loving for spring this year: This white tiered lace dress and this rose gold bow dress!

Comment Challenge: What's your favorite type of Spring dress?

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Friday, March 25, 2016

Ridiculously Good Advice Roundup

Some pieces of advice are good, others are pretty good, but the best advice is ridiculously good! I've compiled a list of this week's impossibly amazing advice links for you to enjoy!

Image via Tablespoon

Ridiculously Good Breakfast Pastry Advice

I'm possibly the biggest cinnamon roll fan of all time, but I just found a recipe that might actually improve on the classic recipe: The Bacon Cinnamon Roll. That's right, you literally put a piece of bacon on the dough before rolling it up and baking it, so every piece is now filled with bacon. Talk about breakfast of champions!

Ridiculously Good Fashion Advice

I love this post by StyleSprinter which includes tips on how to style your rainboots for spring!

And this post by Dress Up Chow Down shows us all how to style animal print while still looking super chic!

Ridiculously Good Life Advice

As many of you know, I travel between San Francisco and Boston semi-often. What you may not know is that I actually hate flying! It's so weird because I had no trouble with it when I was younger - when I was a baby apparently I never even cried on planes! The more I travel, however, the less I enjoy flying 40,000 feet in the air at the whim of every batch of turbulence. This week, I came across this great post filled with strategies to overcome the fear of flying which are pretty helpful!

Image via Aviophobia
Ridiculously Good Blog Advice

Xomisse put out a great post on Google's recent guidelines for all bloggers who receive products to review. Check it out here

Hope you enjoyed this week's advice roundup! Be sure to sign up for email notifications and never miss a post!

Comment Challenge: What's the best advice you've come across this week?

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bistro du Midi: The Fluffiest French Omelettes

Bistro du Midi is a must-try French venue for any Boston foodie. The location alone is impeccable - you'll be seated just across the street from the Public Garden, a city oasis which includes a pond, countless willow trees, a bridge, musicians, swan boats, actual swans, and every flower in season.

Since turning gluten-free, I've moved away from my staple french toast brunches, replacing them with the best egg dishes I can find to start my day off right. Bistro du Midi is perfect for this venture, as it has one of the best and fluffiest omelettes around! Scroll down for a cross-section!

Best seat in the house.

In case anyone was doubting the sheer fluffiness of this omelette: Look how thick the egg layer is! It's unheard of. The inside is filled with super healthy, dark green spinach and ooey-gooey melted cheddar cheese. All you have to do is bring your appetite (and your wallet, of course).

On top of the scrumptious dishes, Bistro du Midi has really incredible service. It's a classy venue with great ambiance, and the servers and management really take care of you. My friend asked for a croissant though they weren't on the menu. We figured it was a French restaurant so it was worth a shot to ask them, and they actually did come back with a warm, flaky croissant! Service is so important to me when dining out, so I really appreciated this.

We actually visited for dinner during restaurant week last year and it was pretty amazing then too. If you're in the Boston area, I definitely recommend Bistro du Midi! 

Comment Challenge: Have your brunch patterns changed over the years? What's your go-to dish in the morning?

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Bistro du Midi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, March 20, 2016

11 Best Gluten-Free Restaurants in Boston

Since becoming gluten-free last fall, I've made some major diet tweaks. This honestly wasn't as tough as it sounds, it just meant learning new routines, like which section of Trader Joe's and Whole Foods has the best gluten free items (I'm loving Trader Joe's g-free waffles and rice pasta, but Whole Foods is winning the g-free chip and desserts game). 

After some trial and error, I've also found some great Boston restaurants that really cater to the gluten-free more than others. This isn't meant to be a comprehensive list of gluten-free restaurants in Boston, but it's just some great examples that I've noticed in my journey so far!

1. Sonsie on Newbury

Sonsie offers a pretty extensive and scrumptious gluten-free menu, which includes pizza and dessert items (foods that can be tough to find without flour). It's location on Newbury is also ideal for those who love to shop and stroll in Boston.

2. Myers and Chang

Myers & Chang also went out of their way to add a gluten free menu to their Taiwanese and Southeast Asian venue. They offer everything from rice bowls, to ginger scallion bok choy, sweet and sour brussels sprouts, and Thai ginger chicken salad.

3. Area 4

The baker at Area 4 is actually gluten free, which for us meant gluten free donuts were on the menu! Check for their daily specials and you won't be disappointed. They also offer these amazing egg dishes in skillets for brunch, which are gluten free and absolutely scrumptious. 

4. Davio's

Davio's in Back Bay offers gluten free brunch, lunch and dinner. I've ordered their gluten free pizzas for lunch, and they're a bit greasy but still good. They also have an extensive g-free dinner list that includes all kinds of pasta, which is exciting because pasta is one of those things that are hard to re-create without wheat flour.

5. Seasons 52 

Season's 52 also boasts an extensive gluten-free menu, including flatbreads, scallops and risotto, chicken skewers, and desserts. Their menu changes seasonally so you'll have new g-free options to try every few months!

6. Flour

Flour is an amazing, super healthy and fresh venue that offers incredibly delicious sandwiches with gluten-free bread, as well as really good g-free salads (their chopped Greek salad is a must-try). I also recently learned that their sandwiches (like my favorite - roasted chicken, mashed avocado and jicama), can be turned into incredible salads! So instead of a bun, they add your sandwich toppings to a bed of fresh mixed greens - how healthy and delicious is that!

7. El Pelon & Anna's Taqueria

El Pelon & Anna's Taqueria are quickly rising in the ranks as my favorite Mexican spots in Boston.They both have corn tortillas, so you can request to get your enchiladas or quesadillas in a corn tortilla and voila - it's gluten-free!

8. Burger Joints: Wahlburgers, Tasty Burger, & B.Good

Wahlburgers, Tasty Burger and B.Good are all Boston burger places that have phenomenal g-free buns. Wahlburgers actually has a ton of gluten-free items, and they even have a designated kitchen area for these items (so you don't have to worry about cross-contamination). Their sweet potato tater tots are a must-try!

9. Lone Star

So Lone Star doesn't have a g-free menu, but they don't really need one as most of their menu items (tacos, corn on the cob) are on corn tortillas and without gluten by default. 

10. BBQ Venues: Red Bones, Sweet Cheeks, Fogo de Chao
These meat-based restaurants tend to be a safe bet. Just be sure to steer clear of any mac & cheese sides, and ask your server if the sauces were made with flour (many of these dishes still taste great sans sauce)!

11. Seafood Venues: B&G Oysters, Sushi Restaurants
Seafood and sushi restaurants tend to be gluten-free since they revolve more around protein (fish, oysters, scallops), and rice. Just beware of those pasta seafood dishes, and many sure any noodles are rice-based!

Hope you find this list helpful! I'm sure there are more gluten free restaurants in Boston, and I can't wait to find them! 

Comment Challenge: Did I leave out your fave gluten-free venue? Leave it in the comments below so we can all check it out!

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Best Retweet Accounts for Twitter

Best retweet accounts for twitter

Twitter can be an amazing resource for bloggers. In fact, it's one of the main sources of traffic for my blog! Apart from the Twitter basics, there are plenty of hashtags and retweet accounts out there that will help you expand your audience base. So of course I've compiled a list of the best retweet accounts for Twitter below!

The steps are easy: Simply include one or more of the below RT accounts / hashtags in your twitter post and they will retweet your post to their followers! As you can see, some of these accounts have upwards of 30k followers, so that's a huge deal when it comes to your potential reach. 

Here's the list of what I consider the best retweet accounts:

Best Retweet Accounts for Twitter
*Updates* Others have graciously added: @bblogrt (17.5k) and #blogginggals (30k). Got to love the helpful blogger community!

It's almost too basic, right? Let's complicate things a little. 

Less is More
You don't want to overload your readers with a tweet / feed full of only these tags. "Look at my morning bagel! @femalebloggerrt @lovingblogs @theblogguidert #lbloggers @thebloggerspost @theblogger_hub" looks a little ridiculous. I try to only use these account tags on blog posts that I feel my readers will really get value out of, and I try to keep it down to 2-3 in each post, tops.

Variety Counts
Wondering why I included accounts with a smaller following? The larger accounts are going to be much more saturated with retweets 24/7, meaning your posts can get lost in the shuffle. I think it's good to switch it up - sometimes use a larger account and sometimes use a smaller account. That way, your posts can gain more traction with the smaller accounts while still taking advantage of the larger account's audience base.

Practice Restraint
It's okay to NOT include these in every post (though it may be tempting). It's possible that readers are less likely to retweet and share posts with a ton of hashtags or accounts tagged, so try to use these in some of your posts but not all of them. See what works for you!

Don't forget to check out How to grow your blog using Twitter and this ultimate list of Twitter Chats!

Comment Challenge: Did I leave any out? What are your go-to retweet accounts or hashtags for Twitter?

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Pink Bow Dress for Spring + Irish Film Festival

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016
Dress: c/o Shein

I swear I'm not doing this on purpose, but here's yet another swoon-worthy bow dress! Some of you may remember the previous bow dress I wore from SheIn, but I promise I do have dresses without bows on them. Really. I must be subconsciously drawn to them though!

Anyway, it's finally starting to feel like Spring in Boston this week (yay!), which means warmer weather, lighter colors, and dresses starting to come out of the woodwork.

I couldn't think of a more perfect dress to transition to spring than this light pink bow dress c/o SheIn! It's pastel color is perfect for the upcoming season and the bow gives it a fun femme look. It has a billowy, bell-shape towards the bottom which makes it perfect for brunches, picnics, and other playful spring activities. Plus, the price is right - it's less than $21!

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016

pink bow dress shein fashion blogger 2016
Dress: c/o She Inside | Bag: Coach | Jacket: Target | Heels: DSW | Earrings: Kendra Scott | Necklace: Lou Lou Boutique | Ring: Vintage
This weekend, I scored tickets to the Irish Film Festival through Yelp Elite (I'm a new Boston member and absurdly excited about it), so we attended the movie Garage at the Somerville Theater in Davis Square! It's directed by Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson (who directed Room), and is set in a small town in Ireland and follows the menial life of a learning-disabled man named Josie. I won't give anything away, but it's a dramady (drama / comedy) and really well-made! 

At the end of the movie, the star Pat Shortt came onstage for a Q&A, and even started playing some impromptu Irish music for the audience. He even mentioned he was from Tipperary which is where my mom's Irish side of the family is from! 

It was an honor to attend the film festival, and really great to get out and see a thoughtful movie that really makes you think. Don't get me wrong, I love my Netflix marathons just as much as the next person, but it's important to remember to see independent movies and broaden our scope a little! It also made me want to go visit Ireland even more than I already did, it's at the top of my list!

Comment Challenge: How are you enjoying your hopefully warmer weekend?

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Lone Star Gets Five Stars + iMac / Kate Spade Giveaway!

Lone Star Tacos Boston

As many of you know, it's no secret that we love brunching at Deep Ellum in Allston! Did you know they have a sister restaurant right next door called Lone Star? We usually walk past it, but this time we decided to duck in and try their tacos - and were so glad we did!

Lone Star Tacos Boston

Lone Star has this great, rustic ambiance. Filled with exposed brick, wooden panels and stools, and steel top tables with exposed rivets, it really sets the scene for a great meal. 

Lone Star Tacos Boston

Nine times out of ten, when grilled corn on the cob is on the menu, I'll order it! There's something so fresh and versatile about corn on the cob, and I love to see the different twists each restaurant puts on this dish. Lone Star garnishes their Grilled Street Corn with generous helpings of cotija, cilantro, and garlic lime aioli. It was absolutely delicious but the most messy thing I've ever eaten! I think it would have been better with a little less sauce on top.

Lone Star Tacos Boston

Each taco here is only $4, and they're filled with amazingly fresh and bold ingredients. On the left is the Grilled Avocado and Braised Tofu with salsa verde and corn relish. This plate was packed with flavor and I loved the bright presentation. The right dish is the Beef Barbacoa, with smoked brisket, pickled red onion, avocado crema, and cotija. This taco was super hearty and had generous portions! The only drawback was the little slice of lime on the side - the peel was so small I couldn't even squeeze it! 

They offered great sauces that spice lovers will enjoy - the green bottle is jalapeno, and the orange sauce is sweet potato habanero. I'm such a wimp when it comes to spicy food, but I did try the habanero on my barbacoa taco. It had a great earthy flavor but was a bit too spicy for me.

Lone Star Tacos Boston

Lone Star Tacos Boston

The above plate shows the Baja Fish tacos we ordered, with beer-battered white fish, pickled red cabbage, and mango-habanero aioli. This dish, like the others, was well thought out and incredibly fresh, with great presentation. Basically this venue is a food bloggers dream (did you notice that amazing natural light)! 

Speaking of bloggers - A group of bloggers and I have teamed up to bring you an amazing giveaway! One lucky winner will take home a brand new 21.5" iMac, and another winner will win a Kate Spade bag and wallet. This giveaway is open to international contestants, and you must be 18+ to enter. Please review the full Terms & Conditions prior to entering. The more accounts you follow, the more chances you have of winning! Good luck!

Photo Credit
Lone Star Taco Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Sweet Cupcakes + Spring Weather

sweet cupcakes boston

The other day it was over 60 degrees in Boston, and we definitely took advantage of the "heat" (yes, for us that's tropical weather right now)! We started with an incredible brunch in Cambridge at Area Four, then took a walk around MIT's insane campus. It honestly looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book! 

sweet cupcakes boston

sweet cupcakes boston

From there, we took a stroll over the bridge back into Boston. It was so sunny and clear, you could see every building across the river! 

sweet cupcakes boston

Look familiar? It's the same Charles River that we went kayaking on a couple times!

Back in Boston, we passed the cutest cupcake shop ever! It's name is literally just Sweet, need I say more? They even have the most adorable cupcake ferris wheel, not to mention gluten-free cupcakes (whooo)!

sweet cupcakes boston

sweet cupcakes boston

sweet cupcakes boston

I can't even handle the cuteness. Look at those specialty cupcakes. One of each, please! This warmer day really made me excited for the spring and summer months ahead!

Comment Challenge: What are you most looking forward to about Spring?

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Sweet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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