Friday, April 29, 2016

Blue Mirror Sunglasses


Blue Mirror Sunglasses
Sunglasses: c/o Ilymix | Top: Target | Skirt: H&M | Sandals: c/o Bearpaw
Everywhere I look this season, I see gorgeous mirror sunglasses! I've been so jelly of everyone walking around, all fancy and reflective, until I finally got my own thanks to Ilymix! They make gorgeous mirror sunnies in all different colors.  

The story of how I came to choose the blue mirror sunglasses is a random one but I swear it's related and will come full circle! First of all, my eyes change color - does anyone else have this? Depending on the lighting and what I'm wearing, they range from blue to green. Growing up I was told these are referred to as "dragon eyes," which I always thought was really cool and made me wish dragons were a real thing. But I digress. 

Now, the sunglasses Ilymix makes are not only mirrored, but they change colors! So naturally, I jumped at the chance to get the blue and green sunglasses to match my dragon eyes. See? I told you the story was relevant!

Blue Mirror Sunglasses

Blue Mirror Sunglasses

Blue Mirror Sunglasses

Blue Mirror Sunglasses

Blue Mirror Sunglasses
Sandals: Bearpaw

Blue Mirror Sunglasses

I was definitely getting a bohemian vibe from these pretty sunnies, so I styled them with a flowy white top from Target, a blue-green color changing skirt (is it just me or does it totally resemble dragon scales?) which I snagged from H&M for $10 (!!) and my favorite new sandals from Bearpaw which are crazy comfortable and versatile. 

Now for the fun part: Enter below to win your own blue mirror sunglasses (or whichever sunnies you desire)! Open internationally, must be 18+ to enter. 


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Boston Chops Steakhouse & Life Changes


Ch-ch-ch-changes! There have been so many large-scale changes lately, it's hard to keep up. When in doubt, go chow down at the best steakhouse in town, right? So that's what we did this weekend! 

One of my good friends is moving from Boston to Denver this week, which is so sad! She's a fellow foodie and wanted to check out Boston Chops Steakhouse in the South End one last time before her move. Another good friend of ours, ironically, is moving back to Boston from Texas this fall, and is in town this week as well! So we all met up at this upscale, classic bistro to catch up on all the changes while getting our grub on. 



As many of you know, I'm now gluten-free, so seeing this super fresh, steaming, fluffy bread was like torture! Everyone said it was amazing and I believe them. Major humpf.  


My friend ordered the roasted bone marrow with gremolata and onion broth, which I've never had before! There's something about bone marrow that I have a mental block about eating, but I tried this anyway. I'm not a huge fan of the flavor (salty) or consistency (gelatinous, buttery), but that's just how bone marrow is and doesn't reflect on the venue in any way. Everyone else at the table was excitedly self-serving it as a condiment to their bread.


Guys, these were the best brussels sprouts ever! More specifically, these are the Brussels Sprouts au Canard, which means they're cooked in duck fat, as well as being mixed with pieces of bacon. Does it really get better than that? Their flavor was incredible, and we wanted to order ten more but wanted to save room for the main course. It's impressive when a steakhouse puts a lot of effort into sides like these, when they could really get away with just having phenomenal steak. 


I ordered the 8 oz Filet Mignon. When in Rome, right? It came with fries and a healthy arugula salad that made you feel like you were at least attempting to eat healthy. Choices of sauces included the Boston Chops house, bordelaise, bearnaise, peppercorn, BBQ, creamy horseradish, and chimichurri butter. 

I opted for the BBQ, after checking with the waiter who checked with the chef that it was gluten-free. Did I mention how patient and knowledgeable our waiter was? He was super helpful in helping me order things that were gluten-free, and even came back to let me know what other dishes at the table were also gluten-free in case I wanted to try them. Talk about going above and beyond!


My steak came a perfectly pink medium and so delicious! I completely demolished my plate, even after I got full, because it was just that delicious and high quality. The BBQ sauce was scrumptious in and of itself! I wish I could bottle it up and take some home with me.

My friend ordered her steak "blue," which means it's even more rare than "rare," and it literally is blue when you cut into it!


Above is the Pan-Roasted Halibut, with root vegetable hash and lemon butter sauce. This is a great dish for those who are avoiding eating beef. It's buttery and roasted to a perfect crisp!


The filet mignon blew me away, and this Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee really gave the entree a run for it's money! It was perfectly scored, with sugary creamy goodness at the ideal consistency. Can I just eat this every day?



Pictured above is the Gianduja Hazelnut Tart, with carmelized hazelnut and hazelnut praline gelato. 

In case you can't tell already, Boston Chops is certified delicious with incredible service! To me, that's the best combination, and I would expect no less from a stop steakhouse. I value it a bit above Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian steakhouse because while Fogo's meats are amazing, Boston Chops seems to pride themselves on their sides and dessert just as much as their cuts of meat. Everything is held to this phenomenal standard and they really hit the nail on the head!

After our meal, we hung out at the fun Lolitas Tequila Bar nearby, which has a cool True Blood ambiance, and ended the night with a classic game of Cards Against Humanity! We talked about the many life changes we all face, and how in the end it's the people that are by your side that help make it manageable!

Comment Challenge: What major life change have you or a friend been through lately?

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Boston Chops Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Chic Fashion Inspiration by Minan Wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong
Top: c/o Minan Wong | Skirt & Bag: Desigual | Jacket: H&M (old) | Boots: H&M 

You never know when inspiration may strike, and for me today was a very inspiring day on many levels. For one, it's Patriot's Day aka Marathon Monday in Boston, and we went out to cheer on all the runners of the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon! It's honestly so motivating to see not only the physical and mental strength of the runners, but to see the community come together to show support. It also makes me feel like I should have no excuses to skip yoga class next time - mental note!

On a personal level, I've been beyond energized and inspired by the chic and modern collection of Minan Wong in NYC! This ultra chic Sleeveless Bias Shift Top is one of those pieces that I may have shied away from, not sure if I could quite pull it off. However, when a New York designer personally selects a top from her collection for you, you take it and don't look back. I'm so glad I did, because I've felt a monumental shift in how I view my wardrobe and the level of sophistication it can withhold. That's a pretty big deal!

I paired the top with a simple black skirt & crossbody bag which you may remember from my Desigual post a while back, H&M booties and jacket, and Nakamol bracelet from Rocksbox.

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

chic-fashion-inspiration-minan-wong

The more I learn about Minan Wong's pieces, the more I fall for her collection. She draws inspiration from the confidence and strength of Audrey Hepburn, has worked with Donna Karan, and has shown her collection at the Louvre in Paris. It's swoon city over here!

I was definitely feeling the sophisticated and metropolitan Audrey vibes in this shift top, which is amazing since she's a personal source of inspiration for me as well. 

As an added bonus, Minan Wong's collection is sustainable, eco-friendly and guilt-free. Her clothing is incredibly high quality, and made with materials such as organic cotton, Tencel, recycled wool and recycled PET, and each piece is designed and made in the U.S. under fair wages, supporting the local economy. Shouldn't all of our closets be held to this high standard? 

Comment Challenge: What has inspired you lately?

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lavender Spring Dress by Shabby Apple

Lavender Spring Dress Shabby Apple
Dress: c/o Shabby Apple | Heels: Target

There's a very exciting detective story behind this post. Well, a bit of sleuthing at least! As many of you know, I've been on quite the spring dress kick lately. So naturally, I jumped at the chance to collaborate with Shabby Apple, who has such an incredible collection of fun and glam dresses! Their website and Insta are honestly a treasure trove of girly style inspiration.

I instantly fell for this Gramercy Lace Dress, with it's intricate lace detailing, scalloped hemline, and ruffles - I mean really, how adorable can one dress get! I was honestly blown away by the flattering fit and quality of the dress when I received it, too - it's no wonder they have hundreds of thousands of followers. The inside of the dress is lined in a satin/silk material, which feels so chic and glamorous. 

As soon as I saw the dress, I knew I wanted to show it in front of this epic spring mural we saw last year, but we couldn't remember exactly where we had seen it! Even my google searches only turned up my own Instagram posting of the mural from a year ago. Looking closer at that post, I saw the name of the artist at the bottom (Yetti Frenkel), so I googled her murals. A picture of the mural came up on her website, but with no address - just the town. So we took to Google street view until we finally found it! I definitely feel like Sherlock Holmes now, and I feel like that detective work paid off because this mural perfectly compliments the lavender spring dress for sure! 

Lavender Spring Dress Shabby Apple

Lavender Spring Dress Shabby Apple

Lavender Spring Dress Shabby Apple

Lavender Spring Dress Shabby Apple

Lavender Spring Dress Shabby Apple

Lavender Spring Dress Shabby Apple

I'm perfectly smitten with my Shabby Apple spring dress, and they've certainly made me a fan for life. I know this piece will be on repeat for brunches, picnics, and parties for the rest of spring and summer! Thanks to Shabby Apple for sponsoring this extremely spring-y post, and be sure to head to my Insta for a $25 giftcard giveaway to Shabby Apple! 

Comment Challenge: What are you looking forward to most about the warmer months ahead?

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Why You Should Get Another Phone Case: CaseApp Review & Giveaway

custom iphone case

I love switching out my phone covers, for both practical and philosophical reasons. This post is all about my reasoning behind the swaps, including a review of CaseApp which let's you customize your own custom iPhone covers or laptop skins, and finally a giveaway for you to win your own free case! 

Why You Should Get Another Phone Case

1. Live Longer - Okay this one might be a little dramatic but honestly, ever since I read those studies that show phones are literally dirtier than toilets, I've been swapping out my phone cases much more often. It makes sense too - you wash your hands all the time, but how often do you clean your phone? And your phone goes on your face when you talk, not to mention gets your hands dirty when texting or surfing the web. Swap out those phone covers and keep clean!

2. Keep it Interesting - There's something to be said for your phone looking completely different. It's like a breath of fresh air. You may not even realize that you're sick of your current case, but when you get a new one it's honestly pretty exciting every time you take it out or even look at it!

3. Treat Yourself - You only live once, right? I think you deserve to switch up your phone cases if you feel like it! It's not like you're getting a car or a house. Though that would be nice too!

4. Match with Outfits / Accessories - All you fashionistas, I know you were thinking of this one too! Having various patterns and colors on your phone means that you get to match it with your latest heels, bag, scarf, etc. No one will be able to deny your stylish ways!

5. Be Different - Let's face it, almost everyone walks out of the phone store with one of their pre-packaged cases. Don't get me wrong, they can be really nice cases, but there's something to be said for having a case that 10,000 other people aren't walking around with at a given time. This is an age where we have so many options at our fingertips, including our phone covers! Why not choose a unique one that speaks to your personality?


custom iphone case

CaseApp is amazing because it allows you create a custom iPhone case or laptop skin - yes, please! You can upload your own images, add text, or just use one of their adorable templates. I could see people adding images of their loved ones or pets, and this would be perfect for party favors too! Be sure to use code CHOWDOWN20 for 20% off your case!

custom iphone case

I've been loving the marble trend lately, so I was immediately drawn to this chic case. It even has a touch of golden glitter, which compliments my girly/glam style nicely!

I've listed some of my other fave templates from CaseApp below. Honestly, how cute are these??



Be sure to fill out the below giveaway to win a $40 credit to CaseApp! This can go towards a customized iPhone case or laptop skin of your choosing, and is open to US as well as International entrants! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*Note: This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting those who support Chow Down USA!
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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

B&G Oysters for Birthday Dinner in the South End


b&g oysters boston south end

As many of you know, I recently celebrated my birthday! I thought I'd share my birthday dinner with you all, since it was pretty spectacular and one for the books for sure!

B&G Oysters in Boston's South End

Chef Barbara Lynch's restaurant has been on our list of must-try venues for far too long, so I was super excited to find out that's where we were going (it was a secret dinner)! 

B&G Oysters definitely has a more intimate, neighborhood vibe, while giving the feel of a modern oyster bar. This results in an ultra-trendy atmosphere and electric environment which is so fun to dine in! 

b&g oysters boston south end

b&g oysters boston south end

We started with the halibut tartare, which comes with chorizo vinaigrette, radishes, and pickled tomatoes. I usually love raw seafood plates, but wasn't a huge fan of this one since it had a more earthy flavor (which I hardly ever favor). I was definitely expecting the usual bright, flowery notes that you usually find in crudo or sashimi. It wasn't until later that we discovered the difference between tartare and crudo - see below!

While dining, we began to wonder what the difference was between tartare and crudo. In case you're wondering, I ended up looking up the definitions so now you'll know! Crudo simply means "raw," so the preparation may vary, but it's usually served in thin slices much like sashimi in sushi. Tartare, on the other hand, is generally served as a mound of cubed meat or fish. In this case, it was a long strip of cubed fish.  

b&g oysters boston south end

The service was pretty amazing. Our waitress fielded our many questions about the menu and offered great suggestions on which oysters to devour. We ended up going with the Cotuit, Wellfleet, and Moonstone oysters. 

The Cotuit and Moonstone were both briny, so you could really taste the ocean. I love those because they remind me of the beach and summer trips! The Wellfleet were also very good, with more of a salty flavor. All in all, I would have to say Moonstone was my favorite - due to the ocean notes and it's ethereal name of course. 

b&g oysters boston south end

For my entree, I ordered the mussels fra diavolo, which were ginormous and came with pork belly confit, san marzanos (a kind of plum tomato), and tapenade. I'm honestly a mussel fiend - if they're on the menu, I'll most likely try them! 

This plate really held up as one of the best mussel plates I've had for a couple reasons. For one, as mentioned they were truly huge and just felt more substantial. I felt like I could really taste them more rather than just gulp down one tiny mollusk after another. The pork belly not only modernized the plate, since it's so trendy right now, but it also added more interesting flavors, textures, and substance to the plate.

b&g oysters boston south end

This entree is the halibut en papillote, or "curlpaper," and yes it comes in this paper on a plate! The presentation was bold and intriguing to say the least, and it felt a lot like opening a present to see what your dish will look like.

b&g oysters boston south end

The contents of the papillote: halibut, clams, cavatelli, watercress pesto, and oven-dried tomatoes. The halibut tender and perfectly infused with the myriad of flavors surrounding it.

b&g oysters boston south end

Our chocolate mousse dessert was served in a mason jar, solidifying that this is indeed a modern and trendy restaurant. We thought it would be delicious, as most chocolate desserts are, but this one really blew us away. The mousse contained not only the crunch of a health bar, but also the delicious addition of sea salt. We were full before dessert, but we scooped up every last bit!

b&g oysters boston south end

b&g oysters boston south end

b&g oysters boston south end

All in all, we had a really nice time at B&G Oysters. The service was great, the atmosphere was fun and we left feeling like we tried some new things and learned a little something along the way!

Be sure to check out my fun birthday dress if you haven't seen it yet, and if you're looking for more oyster bars I've got you covered!

Comment Challenge: Have you ever been to an oyster bar? What was your experience like?

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B & G Oysters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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