A Kimono for Fall

This past week has been a whirlwind to say the least! I recently got back from a business trip in Europe which if any of you follow me on Instagram (@alison_kozik) I am sure your feed was getting flooded by my pictures, sorry not sorry.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to sit down and chat over apps and drinks with other Northeast Ohio bloggers at The South Side in Tremont – HUUUUGE shout out to The South Side for hosting and accommodating our group, I think a lot of girls will be back to try their chicken and waffles! We had such a great mix of bloggers there, some newbies (like myself) and some OGs that have been blogging for 7+ years! It was so inspiring to talk to everyone and be able to tap into their knowledge. The big topic for this meet-up was working with brands, I spoke as a newbie and Alicia from Always Alicia (Poise in Parma) as a OG blogger. So many creative girlbosses in one room was just so inspiring!

Check out these lovely talent ladies at their own blogs

By Travel & Error

Always Alicia

And Then We Tried

Blissful Gal

Kasually Katie

Bombay Taxi

The Beard and The Broad

Cook Drink Decorate

According to Brittney

Empowered & Poised

On Sunday I took my mom to The Book of Mormon for her birthday. I have been dying to see this musical for a very very long time and even though my mom isn’t the biggest musical fan I thought this would be something different for us to do and that since its not a typical musical she would like it. And guess what? SHE LOVED IT! The play was funnier and cruder than I could ever imagine and I would totally see it again! We ended the evening at Mia Bella in Little Italy, Cleveland, one of our favorite restaurants to dine at. Since we didn’t feel like being so full we would need rolled out of the restaurant we split a eggplant app and a bowl of spaghetti but each enjoyed our own glass of wine.

Since I have been all over the place these last 2 weeks I wanted to share one of my more recent purchases, this kimono I got from TJ Maxx. What I love about this kimono besides the color is that it is almost robe inspired with the length and trim. Since this kimono has a lot going on with the color and print I didn’t want to take away from that and I wanted it to be the main show. I decided to pair it with an all black outfit which I thought would be great for the daytime or a casual evening, like drinks with girlfriends.

Kimonos are coming back and they are a great alternative to a jacket this fall and to be honest you don’t have to spend a lot of money to find one you love.

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Kimono from TJ Maxx, High Rise Skinny Jeans from Madewell (similar), Top from Forever 21 (old, no longer available), Basket Sandals from Old Navy (Last year no longer available), Handbag from Madewell (no longer available), Sunglasses from Rayban

Photo Credit: Courtney Lemmo & Eileen On

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Germany // March 3rd, 2017

Hello wonderful humans after having a guest blogger and taking a week off I am finally back and here to tell you about my Germany trip that I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go on for business 2 weeks ago. I can probably sit here and write paragraphs on my trip but I am not going to make you sit through that read so I am going to try to compact it as much as possible. So settle in cause here we go…

Sites

Our trip started in Frankfurt, Germany and to be honest my first impression was “did I even leave the states?”. I think when we think of a foreign country (especially our first trip) we have this idea in our heads what it should look like straight off the bat. After a few days of sticking to the area around the hotel, I was finally able to venture to Old Town or Altstadt which is a city district of Frankfurt. The main site to see is Römerberg plaza where Germans hold fairs, Christmas markets, and coordinations. The first thing I thought when I got out of the taxi cab is “now this is a little bit more like it”. Unfortunately, only a few sections were rebuilt after WWII and out of that fewer older buildings are preserved. It was early morning when I was walking around so a lot of places weren’t open, but that was fine by me since I was there to soak in the architecture. Our walk lead us to the Main River that runs through Frankfurt where the bridges had locks placed on it by lovers.

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Literally a few hours later I boarded a plane and headed south to Munich. Out of both Frankfurt and Munich, I definitely enjoyed Munich much more! The city was so clean and had more German architecture than Frankfurt did. The city was young and bustling, I couldn’t wait to explore on that sunny afternoon. After checking into the hotel and getting directions to the city center we purchased our subway tickets and took the train to the city center which is described as the heart of Munich. I think for Munich I am going to try to let my pictures do the talking…

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This is the New Town Hall government building that resides in the city center of Munich. Just look at this gothic architecture! When looking this up I found it humorous that it is the “new” town hall because the government moved from the old town hall in 1874.

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The Bavarian restaurant and beer garden Augustiner am Dom where we dined at on Tuesday night where I had wiener schnitzel for the second time.

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The amount of high end (and I mean HIGH end) shopping in the city center was insane, I felt like I was back on 5th ave in NYC.

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Of course, the one beautiful church we find was having renovations done, although it still looks beautiful.

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Bier

Bottomline you have not had beer unless you have had German beer in my opinion. Apparently to be considered German beer you have to follow some pretty strict guidelines, or the purity law from what I understand and that’s what makes it so delicious! This law only permits the usage of water, hops, and barley malt; I feel like this is probably why I woke up the next day after drink 2 of these bad boys feeling great and not hungover at all. I only drank wheat beer when I was there, which normally I am not a fan of here in the US, but it went down so smooth it was hard to pass up. So when you are in Germany make sure you order some white/wheat beer!

Food

I love food and I love trying new food, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t the most excited to go to Germany and try as much German food as I could. Eileen was thoughtful enough to make me a, should we say, food bucket list. I think I did a pretty decent job knocking off some on the list, 6 out of 13 isn’t too bad, right? We also did some non-typical German food some nights. Friday we had Italian where I had the homemade tagliolini with truffle oil prepared in a parmesan cheese wheel with black truffles shredded on top (my mouth is watering just thinking about this again). After a suggestion from our dinner guests, I tried an Italian drink which the germans adopted called Aperol Spritz, which is peritif cocktail consisting of prosecco, Aperol and soda water. And Sunday we had some delicious Ramen in chicken broth with filet of beef, paired perfectly with a German beer of course!

Saturday night we had more authentic German food where I finally got my hands on wiener schnitzel with cranberries and lemon served with a side of potato and cucumber salad. In fact, our whole table of 7 ordered the exact same thing! The waiter was nice enough to put an appetizer sampler together where we got to try a bunch of different things, the mini potato pancakes stood out to me as the most delicious, but I am usually a fan of any form of potato.

At the airport, before we headed to Munich we stopped for a bite to eat and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try apple strudel. Which for a person who isn’t the biggest dessert person, this was delicious! I couldn’t finish the whole thing but I am very happy I was able to try some!

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Monday night in Munich we tried Brenner Operngrill from hotel recommendation where the ambiance was so inviting with a modern decor. This night I was really feeling a steak dinner and when consulting with the waiter he recommended the thin slices of beef because in his words “it was more delicate to eat for the lady”. I took his recommendation and I am so glad I did. Topped with arugula, parmesan, and fresh squeezed lemon, I devoured the whole thing.

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Fashion Inspiration

I love when I travel somewhere and come back feeling so inspired from the fashion that I observed being there. Although it was winter and chilly in Germany that was no exception. Most young women I saw all seemed to have a similar look when it came to what they wore outside to keep warm, a mid-length single breasted peacoat or a cocoon coat in various subtle neutral colors or patterns. When I decided to accompany my mom on a winter coat hunt for herself I wasn’t expecting to find one for myself at a reasonable price that reminded me of what I had felt inspired by in Germany. My mom was actually the first one to try it one but then I ended up swooping in and buying this Lucky Brand coat in black and white tweed!

In addition to the coats, I noticed a lot of black leather chelsea booties with little to no heel. I loved this look, a very effortless European cool vibe this gave off. When I returned I was off on the hunt for a classic black leather chelsea bootie! I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg but I still wanted the boots I purchased to hold up over time. I ended up finding these Cole Haan booties for the right price at the right time since I think they are still full price on their website. I am a size 8 in all shoes so when I saw that most people felt they ran a little small and to go up a half size I still ended up going with an 8 because usually when people say that I am still pretty dead on with my true size and I figured the leather would give a little over time (and if not I am Amazon Prime for a reason). I am glad I did get an 8 because they fit like a glove! No, I can’t wear a thick sock but I wouldn’t want to with these boots. A trouser sock or tights work perfectly with these beauties.

Besides the shocking amount of people that smoked all over the city and the amount of dogs allowed in business another thing that I noticed was that a lot of people wore glasses. The more fashionable ones that you seem more and more people opting for here. Whether they were prescription or not I loved the nerdy chic style that everyone there seemed to have. Needless to say, I came back to the US feeling very inspired by the styles that I saw on the streets in Germany.

Have you every been to Germany? Comment down on this post and let me know what you loved about your visit to Deutschland!

Five Things // February 3, 2017

Happy Friday wonderful humans of the internet and if you can’t tell my the title of my blog and the title of this post, I am going to raving about 5 things I am into this week. So buckle up cause here we go!

One // Chinese New Year 

This past Saturday I had an opportunity to kick off Chinese New Year by eating delicious Dim Sum and watching the loin dance in Cleveland’s own Chinatown restaurant Li Wah. We had a small group of us eating all the deliciousness that Li Wah has and my friend Eileen was our tour guide for the day showing us just some of what Chinatown has to offer. If you are not familiar with Dim Sum, it is a style of Chinese cuisine where there are small bite-sized portions of food served in small steamer baskets or on small plates. Typically carts are pushed around a restaurant where people can order and get there meals right there and then. We started out our meal with Shumai (pork & shrimp dumplings), Har Gow (shrimp dumplings), and Tofu wrapped pork; I don’t think I can pick a favorite child out of these three, but if I had to it would probably be the Shumai. Our next round to taste was Cha Siu Bao (baked pork buns), Spring rolls (vegetarian). Now I am usually not the biggest spring roll fan but OH EM G… these were so delicious and the Cha Siu Bao was a little bun of pork happiness! To round out our meal Eileen thought it would be good to try a dessert, Dan Tat (egg custard tart). Now first let me start out by saying that I am not what you would call a dessert person, so with that being said I can’t say I was the biggest fan of of this egg custard tart. All of the goodness was accompanied by a pot of jasmine tea, we needed all the help we could get with digestion with all the food we ate!

Shout out to Eileen for sending me all the names of the food we tried that day!

Two // Search Party 

Does anyone need a new show to watch because I am volunteering TBS’s Search Party as tribute. This dark comedy is based around a missing girl that the main character Dory (Alia Shawkat from Arrested Development) “knew” back in college and she becomes obsessed at trying to find her. Do you like murder mysteries and satire at twenty-something hipster’s expense? Well then get ready to binge watch this 10 episode series and become instantly hooked! This is Nancy Drew for the millennial and I assure you, you will not be disappointed. Here is a nice tip, if you download the TBS app (how I am watching it) you can choose between the edited episodes on TV or the explicit one so you can get the full experience when someone drops F bombs.

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Credit of Photo

Three // Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate 

Is it possible that I have found the holy grail of nighttime skincare? Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate is a little miracle worker, I swear little esthetician elves come and give me a facial while I am sleeping. This nighttime oil claims to restore the appearance of skin by morning and I feel that my skin has seen an improvement since I have started using it. I am a big believer of using oils for overall skincare, I know there has been a lot of buzz around oils for the past year but it is with good reason. I don’t use this as an alternative for my moisturizer. I simply add about a dime size or less to my finger tips and pat into my skin after cleansing my face, wait for it to absorb a bit then follow up with my nighttime moisturizer. The lavender scent is very relaxing, it helps set the mood in my bedtime routine. There are other great uses for this product, just click on the image to what else Kiehl’s suggest!

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Queen of the Nighttime Skincare

Four // Topshop Robe 

If you are like me and can be happy living in a robe, if you had the choice, the let me introduce you to this buttery cloud of warm and coziness robe from Topshop. I was looking into getting a new robe since my cotton one was just not cutting it for the winter months. I wanted to feel warm and luxurious when I lounged around in my robe for hours after my shower, so began my hunt. I really wanted a “I stole this from a hotel” look to my new robe and I just so happen to find it at Nordstrom. The off white color with navy blue piping was just what I was looking for, although the varsity lettering Not a Morning Person across the back isn’t may favorite part of it the pros of this robe thoroughly out way the one con.

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Check it out at Nordstrom!

Five // Nail Polish Top Coat

30 seconds to a dry fresh painted hand of nails, sounds like a myth right? WRONG. I was at Ulta this past week to pick up a few things I was running low on and one of them so happen to be a top coat for my nails. I usually buy Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Fast Dry top coat (which I do really like and I think it dries really quick), but I decided that I was feeling extra rich that day and decided to shell out the extra dollar it cost to upgrade to the top coat in a box, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti Chip Top Coat. What is the difference you might ask while my usual top coat (the first one I mentioned) is an extension of the Fast Dry line, its fast drying and with the great applicator brush its simple to apply. The cons are that I usually have one or more chipped nails by the next day. The fast drying anti chip top coat that I just bought is also fast drying, but in comparison to the first it’s FAST FAST, 30 seconds and I felt comforting not babying my nails. From what I can tell the anti chip claim on the box is legit, the picture below is 4 days after I painted them!

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Five Things // January 13th, 2017

Beauty // Chapstick Total Hydration Lip Balm in Coral Blush

Over the weekend one of my best friends/roommate, Courtney, introduced me to this little beaut and I had to run out and get my own ASAP! First of all since before I can remember Chapstick brand’s cherry chapstick has been my all time favorite go to lip balm without a doubt. I used to have stock piles of it everywhere! But in the past year I have been branching out and trying different balms and lip treatment because, I mean aren’t we all curious what else is out there?

What I love about this chapstick is that it is moisturizing like my classic cherry chapstick but it adds a hint of color that is near my actual lip color. In the winter time not only my skin is dull, but my lips are too and they need a little extra color.

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Fashion // Madewell Socks

I have a confession… I LOVE buying socks. I get such great joy buying big comfy socks on the regular and it doesn’t help that Courtney is the same way. So when we were out shopping and stumbled upon some great looking socks we both reassured each other that we need another pair and its okay to have too many socks.

I won’t continue to bore you with my passion for socks rant, so why are socks are one of my favorite things this week? It is because Madewell had a great sale on socks over the weekend and I bought a crap-ton! 30% off socks and then an additional 40% of on sale items, how can anyone say no??? I was cornered by a killer sock sale! Boot socks, crew socks, ankle socks galore!

Entertainment // Cleveland Art Museum

I remember going to the Cleveland Museum of Art when I was a little girl with my mom and cousins and getting too close to Monet’s Water Lilies that the alarm went off.

Flash forward to this past Saturday. First things first, I had forgotten how huge the museum is and how you can get lost and lose track of time, but that is the beauty of it. It was nostalgic revisiting works of art where I remember repeatedly saying “that ones my favorite, no that one is”. I know I am probably the last person in Cleveland that hasn’t seen it since the renovation, but I highly recommend taking a day out of your weekend and getting lost in time.

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Food // La Dolce Vita in Cleveland’s own Little Italy

SOOOOO in my last post I talked about working towards changing my diet to a gluten-free one, but this past weekend I cheated… I am only human and pasta!

Hear me out though! when one goes to Cleveland’s Little Italy it is next to impossible not to order pasta. Or if you’re like me pasta (a dollop of ricotta) and eggplant cutlets. After Courtney and I went to the art museum we decided the right way to end our cold Saturday was with a big ole dish of pasta and a glass of Chianti of course.

If you are from Cleveland and have ever been to Little Italy I am sure you and your family have “your restaurant”. A restaurant that you or your family goes to without question. My family’s is Mama Santa’s, and according to my mother they have been going to it since it opened back in 1961! This past year my mother and I decided we wanted to venture out and taste what else Little Italy has to offer, and we have made it a point to eventually try every restaurant in Little Italy. Currently one of my favorites, which Courtney and I ate at Saturday, is La Dolce Vita.

We watched the people walk by as we sat in the front window and cheered to a very successful Saturday afternoon!

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Decor // Organization

On Sunday I decided I would attempt to re-organize my bedroom/closet a little bit, after of course I dabbled in a little Gilmore Girls binge.

I switched furniture around to give myself more storage in my closet and room to stretch in my bedroom. I also moved my large full length mirror from the closet to my bedroom to cash in on that natural lighting. This freed up some floor space and the room seemed less cramped. Hello carpet angels. In return, I moved my 4 cube storage into my closet and utilize it more for clothing storage than decoration. At first I wasn’t too crazy with the change but I think having my mirror in my bedroom versus my closet with more room to step back and look at myself makes this switch grow on me.

What have you been into lately?

Five Things // January 6th, 2017

I figured I would start out 2017 by trying to start something that I have been thinking about for a while… starting a blog. I think the biggest thing that was holding me back from finally biting the bullet and starting one was what to write about? So I settled on the idea of sharing 5 things I am currently into/obsessed with/in love at the moment.

I love when people ask for my advice on where to eat, what to read or watch next, or my opinion on a beauty product. What I love even more is when they actually take my advice.

Instead of babbling about why I am here, I am going to start with the first 5 things that I am currently into and loving this week!

Beauty // Glossier Balm Dotcom

For Christmas I decided to give myself the gift of skin care. I got some great items from Glossier, but I am only going to discuss one product this week that I am already deeply obsessed with! Glossier’s Balm Dotcom which is a universal skin salve which doesn’t sound like anything too impressive, but I actually got complimented while wearing it and keep in mind this is just a non-colored, non-scented balm! I also put a little bit on top of my cheekbone and on my eyelids, which I saw in a YouTube video. By putting this salve in these unexpected places, it just adds this subtle highlight and glow to a “no makeup” look!

I usually have a big can of Bag Balm in my bathroom, which is part of my nighttime routine. This is literally an oldie but goodie! It was originally designed for chapped cow utters, but now a lot of people in the beauty community swear by it for curing the driest chapped lips! I put a healthy amount on my lips every night before I go to sleep and I wake up with the most baby soft lips! Another take away to use Bag Balm is if you are going to be applying lipstick, put a generous amount on your lips a few minutes before you applying lipstick. Right before applying, wipe it off and apply your lipstick and you will notice the color sticks so much better. But since I am traveling overseas in a month, carrying a can of Bag Balm around isn’t the most convenient. I decided to buy the Balm Dotcom from Glossier, which is both travel friendly and works wonders!

 

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Glossier Balm Dotcom

Fashion // Adidas Superstar Stan Smith editions

A pair of shoes that I bought last year around February, I finally found myself wearing a lot lately; my Adidas Superstars Stan Smith editions. First of all, I feel like I am throwing it back to my middle school days, when I am wearing them, and second, they are SO comfortable. These shoes add an element of cool to any outfit, without trying too hard, which I am all about! I get a lot of compliments when I wear them since they are not the “classic” Superstars and you don’t see this version of them too frequently.

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Stan Smith Adidas

Entertainment // La La Land

Over the holidays, my mom, aunt and I went to the Cedar Lee Theater, a little gem in Cleveland Heights. I highly recommend everyone to see a movie there if you are in the Cleveland area. The essence of the theater contains an air of nostalgia. We saw La La Land with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, which I had been dying to see since I saw the previews a little while back. By far one of the best movies I have seen this year! It was a film that felt like a classic movie (the ones where they flawlessly incorporate song and dance into every other scene) even though it was set in present day. It has a healthy dose of singing and dancing, but I feel like if musicals aren’t really your thing, you can still appreciate this movie since it has a plot that will keep you on your toes. What I personally think makes a good movie is when I can’t predict the ending, and this one I didn’t see coming.

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Food // Gluten Free

So I don’t have a particular food or restaurant this week, but I want to share my current diet which I has the potential to influence my future choices in this section.

Starting a few weeks ago, I decided to change-up my diet by trying to cut out gluten. I am not allergic to it but I wanted to see if I was sensitive to it. Within the first 2 weeks, I started feeling the difference. I felt less bloated all the time and more alert/focused. I am not going to lie… Over the holidays I did cheat and I had a few Christmas ales because, I mean, it’s pretty hard in my family to turn those down with the cinnamon sugar rims! But after two drinks, I already felt gross (but it could have been because I had 2 Christmas ales, we all know how strong those are), and continued to feel bloated the next day. Trying to do a gluten-free diet is difficult and there are a lot of trial and errors with different foods, but I want to continue sticking to this diet for as long as I can or feel necessary.

 

Decor // Sweater Knit Blanket

With the winter months upon us and since my bedroom, I swear, rejects any heat, I got an additional blanket for my bed. When I was at Target a few months ago during one of my weekly trips, I found this gray, knit sweater blanket and I fell in love, but I couldn’t justify spending 50 dollars on a blanket. During all the holiday sales, I was able to get it for $29.99! It is heavy enough to add additional warmth under my duvet, but I also think it will be great during the summer months to use it alone during the cooler nights.

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Sweater Knit Blanket