Friday, February 25, 2022

Work To Weekend Wear featuring J McLaughlin

 Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying these chilly winter months- or maybe you are somewhere sunny! If so, send some sunshine to Buffalo! 

As I begin to add more work appropriate pieces to my wardrobe, I always make sure they are versatile. Having pieces that can easily be styled during the work week and dressed down on weekends is a must for me. A goal for me in the new year is to start editing my closet and focusing on having higher quality pieces that can be worn infinite ways. When I studied fashion merchandising for my undergraduate degree, we learned about cost per wear (CPW) and I always found it so interesting. Cost per wear breaks down the cost of an item in your closet by how many times you actually wear it. It is likely that when you invest in higher quality basics, you will have them forever and cut down on the cost of trendy 'wear once' items. I'm linking a really interesting article here that talks all about CPW and how it can help you save money!

One of my favorite high quality brands to shop is J. McLaughlin. Everything I have from the brand are pieces I find myself wearing time and time again! When I started shopping for work wear I knew this was the perfect place to start. They have so many elevated basics as well as trendy twists on classics. In today's post I'm sharing two workwear looks from J. McLaughlin, as well as how to incorporate these pieces into your weekend wardrobe. All of the pieces styled in this post can easily transition to spring as well- I can't wait to style them once the weather warms up! I hope you love the looks as much as I do! 

I saw the Fanning Jacket and immediately fell in love. It is so versatile and we all know how much I love navy! The details on this jacket are impeccable and it has become a new staple for me. Above I styled it with jeans and sneakers for an elevated weekend look, and then I paired it with the cutest gingham pants below for the perfect teacher outfit. Also how adorable are all of the details on theis bag and sneakers? One of my favorite parts about these gingham pants is how stretchy and comfortable they are! I am on my feet and moving around a lot throughout the day so comfort is essential for me. 

Jacket | Cream Sweater | Jeans | Sneakers | Tote Bag  



     








This look has so many of my favorite pieces- the perfect camel cashmere, a chambray shirt, and another pair of comfortable work pants! I love the length of the Ivy Pant  - I'm 5'2 and they fit perfect without tailoring! I'm so thrilled with all of the pieces I picked up from J McLaughlin and know I will have them forever!

Thank you so much J McLaughlin for sponsoring this post!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Hatch Restore Review

 Hi everyone! One thing I've always struggled with is falling asleep without background noise. I would watch TV every night to help me fall asleep, but last year I realized this habit was making me tired and have headaches in the morning. I wanted to get myself into a better routine, but I didn't know where to start until I found the Hatch alarm clock. This post isn't sponsor by the way- I'm just obsessed! 

I received the Hatch Restore alarm clock for Christmas and it has been such a game changer for my sleep! One of my favorite parts about the Hatch is that you can completely customize your nighttime and morning routines. My current routines are as follows:

Nighttime- I have a reading lamp on for 30 minutes followed by a bedtime story (typically about 20 minutes long). During the bedtime story I usually have fall asleep and then white noise plays in the background for 45 minutes. I posted a reel and TikTok with a better look into my routine if you're interested! 

Morning- The morning wake up is incredible. I no longer feel stressed when I wake up since the Hatch wakes me up with a gradual light five minutes before my alarm. There are a ton of different alarm options so whether you're looking for something more traditional or something calming (like a morning flute) - there's something for everyone! 

Here are a few of the frequently asked questions I've received about the Hatch Restore:

How easy is it to read by?

Since the light is adjustable you can definitely find a comfortable brightness for reading. Sometimes I will still keep my lamp on until I go to bed just because I find that it helps me stay awake while reading. 

Is it worth the money?

It depends on how much you struggle with sleep! I never had a problem falling asleep- but I always needed noise and wanted to stop watching TV or spending time on my phone at night so this was the perfect solution. The Hatch has truly helped me fall asleep quicker, wake up refreshed, and sleep through the night. I also love that they have guided meditation as well because I think that it is such a healthy practice to include in your day! Overall I think if you're looking to stay off your phone in the mornings and evenings and sleep better it is a great investment. 

What makes it worth it?

The Hatch is so much more than an alarm clock and I think investing in sleep is never a bad thing. When I think about it my sleep impacts so much of my life, and by sleeping better I can be more productive, happier, and accomplish more of my goals. A big goal for me in the New Year was to reduce my screen time and read more. Since I've had my Hatch I've been accomplishing that goal and am so thrilled! As I mentioned earlier, it's worth depends on your current routine and how much the Hatch can improve your daily life. For me it has taught me how to wind down and relax at the end of the day which is so important. 

How does the wake up to light feature work?

You can choose from a variety of sunrises in the app (and even adjust the brightness). I normally will wake up from the light and then the actual alarm rings a few minutes later. I find that waking up this way is a lot more relaxing and doesn't make me feel the same sense of stress and urgency as when I used the alarm on my phone. It also stops me from checking my phone first thing in the morning which is great! 

Do you control it through an app?

Yes- there are a lot of different options on the app so you can set up your routine and adjust as often as you'd like. It is not required you use the app on a daily basis- only when you want to make changes to your routine. They also include messages on the app with different tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Hatch. If you want to see into my app head to my Instagram or TikTok

Are there options other than bedtime stories? 

There are TONS of other options. I prefer the bedtime story because it tends to help me fall asleep the quickest. Other than bedtime stories there are a variety of sounds, meditations, breathing exercises, music, yoga, stretching, and more! I love it too because you can use the Hatch thought the day if you want to meditate or take a minute to relax. 

Do you have to pay for the premium subscription? 

You don't have to buy the premium subscription- you will just not have as many options on the app. The subscription is $50 annually so I would definitely try to use the Hatch without and see how it works for you. You can also try the monthly subscription for $5 if you'd like. I did the yearly subscription so I can get the most out of my Hatch, but it certainly is still helpful without it!

Linking my Hatch and a few of their other products for kids here:

 
Linking some cozy pjs to get you ready to rest:



Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 7, 2022

Christmas in Edgartown Recap

 Hi everyone! I recently went on a weekend getaway to Marthas Vineyard and had the perfect holiday weekend. A group of us went to celebrate Christmas in Edgartown and enjoyed all of the festivities all weekend long. In today's post I'm recapping my trip and sharing some recommendations for your next visit to The Vineyard! I would definitely recommend planning a trip to celebrate Christmas in Edgartown for next year- we had the best time and it really put me in the holiday spirit. I'm so excited to plan a trip back this summer as well! 

We had a long day of travel from Buffalo, NY because of a few delays but we were so relaxed once we made it to the ferry. It was such a peaceful ride from Woods Hole and so exciting once we arrived on The Vineyard. Our first stop was the Aquinnah Lighthouse which was so beautiful. Everyone on the trip met here and it was so great to meet everyone including Marissa from @onecraftdiygirl, Annah from @annah_todd, and Kristy from @kristynewengland

My luggage made it to The Vineyard a little later than I did- but it was the perfect excuse to stop at Vineyard Vines to pick up a cute outfit for our evening activities. After doing some shopping we checked into our beautiful room at the Harbor View Hotel. The hotel has the best view of the Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse which was going to be lit for Christmas this evening! 

We changed quickly and all met downstairs to toast the lighthouse being lit for the season! We then headed to a cocktail party at The Carnegie which was beautiful. There were so many delicious drinks, appetizers, and we even got to meet Patrick Ahearn. After mingling and enjoying a few cocktails, the Minnesingers were performing their annual Christmas concert which was a delight to attend. They were incredible and it was so nice to be at a live performance! We wrapped up the night with dinner in town and headed back to the Harbor View to rest up for another busy day!

For breakfast the group went to Espresso Love which was delicious and the perfect start to our day! After breakfast we shopped around town before the Christmas Parade started. The parade was so cute and full of so many floats from local businesses. It was such a festive event! We sipped on hot coco from Murdicks Fudge which was beyond delicious- I brought home some fudge so I can try to recreate their recipe at home!

After the parade we went to Donaroma's which I was thrilled to visit. This nursery is responsible for a lot of the beautiful Christmas decorations on the island! We were able to make our own wreaths and loved having the help from the team at Donaroma's. My wreath made it home on my flight to Buffalo and I loved having it as holiday decor. If you're on MV make sure you plan a stop to Donaroma's! With our beautiful wreaths filling the trunk we headed to a quick lunch. After lunch we took some photos around the island and got ready for dinner at the hotel. The restaurant at the hotel was absolutely delicious and I would highly recommend. Everything from the appetizers to dessert was divine and I can't wait to dine at Bettini again soon. 

On our last day we woke up early to watch the sunrise and then went to one of my favorite spots- Morning Glory Farm! The farm is family owned and grows a variety of things for people on the island to enjoy. We toured the farm and had a change to visit their market full of fresh produce, baked goods, and much more. I was so sad to leave the Vineyard, but happy that I had some delicious baked goods to enjoy on our way home!

A special thank you to the Marthas Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, ShoredUp Digital, and Shorelines Illustrated for putting together such a lovely trip. I hope you all get a chance to visit Marthas Vineyard soon!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

10 Road Trip Ideas Near Buffalo, NY

 Hi everyone! Since the start of the pandemic I have found myself doing a lot more local travel and have been finding so many fun spots! Throughout past few years I went on a lot of road trips all within a few hours of Buffalo and am sharing some of my favorite places with you in this post. I hope this gives you some inspiration for your next getaway! If there's any other spots I need to know about leave me a comment or DM me on Instagram @belleoftheball45

Finger Lakes, NY 

The Finger Lakes are all so beautiful and there are a bunch of great spots and cute towns to stay in! Here are a few of my favorite spots in the Finger Lakes:

1. The Lake House on Canandaigua 

If you're looking for a relaxing getaway with amazing views, great food, and wonderful experiences you need to stay at the Lake House! My mom and I did a little girls trip in January last year and had the best time. The hotel is absolutely incredible and impeccably decorated. A few highlights on the property:
  • -A beautiful pool and hot tub area. We loved warming up in the hot tub on a chilly winter day!
  • -Great restaurants on the property such as Rose Tavern and Sand Bar 
  • -A well curated shop with items from local craftsman, artists, and designers
  • -Yoga in their yoga studio 
  • -Willowbrook Spa 
  • -Close to Bristol Mountain
Here's a few photos from our stay:







2. Inns of Aurora 

I stayed here in the fall on a trip with my mom and blogger friend Sydney and her fiancé! We all had such an incredible time and can't wait to go back. There are a bunch of unique experiences we did while there and everyone working at the Inns could not have been more incredible. They also recently expanded and their spa opens at the end of the month! I'm definitely going to try and plan a trip this summer so I can check out the spa! If you're interested in booking or want to learn more about the Inns of Aurora here is their website. While I was there here were a few of my favorite experiences:
  • -S'mores by the fire at our Inn- the Rowland House
  • -Chocolate Tasting with Aurora Cooks
  • -Morning coffee at the Village Market
  • -Tea Blending with the Director of Serenity 
  • -Archery lessons with Matt and Mike
  • -Dinner at 1833 Kitchen and Bar
  • - Lunch at Fargo 
  • -They recently opened a new spa too, I can't wait to plan a trip back!
Some photos from my stay:




     





3. Glen Scott Manor in Hammondsport, NY 

Over the summer my friends and I had the chance to visit this beautiful farmhouse in the Finger Lakes and had such a wonderful time. This house is the perfect getaway for your family, a group of friends, or for a special occasion like a bachelorette. The house is a few minutes away from town where there are a lot of adorable local spots. Linking the Glen Scott Manor here! Here were a few of my favorite things we did during our stay:

  • -Wine tasting at Point of the Bluff Vineyards
  • -BBQ at Point of the Bluff Vineyards (we went for their summer concert series!)
  • -Dinner at the Park Inn 
  • -Coffee from Crooked Lake by the water
  • -I would definitely try to rent a boat the next time we go! Keuka Lake is incredible, especially during the summer. 
Some photos from our stay:


     



     



4. Geneva on the Lake, NY 

I have not stayed here yet, but it has been on my list! I have driven by a few times and this hotel looks like a little slice of heaven. It is on a beautiful 10 acre plot of land overlooking Seneca Lake in the heart of the Finger Lakes wine region. I found a few photos on their Instagram and am sharing some of the amenities listed on their site below:
  • Dine at Lancelotti's 
  • Explore the area with a variety of wineries, shopping, and museums
  • Enjoy the property with a gorgeous lake view, pool, spa, incredible gardens, outdoor fires and more
Geneva On The Lake Reviews & Prices | U.S. News

5. Ellicotville, NY 

I've been going to Ellicotville since I was a little girl and always have so much fun while I'm there! It's so fun to see a lot of new spots popping up and there being so much to do. This is a great spot in any season, but I particularly like to visit in the fall and winter months. Here are a few of my favorite spots to stay and play in Ellicotville:

Stay:

Eat and drink at:
  • -West Rose Restaurant 
  • -Ellicotville Brewing Company 
  • -Tap + Bottle Taqueria 
  • -The BANQ
  • -Fattey Beer Co.




6. Lake Placid / Adirondacks 

This drive is a little bit longer than the other spots I've shared, but definitely worth it! There are so many beautiful views in the Adirondacks and its a great spot if you love to hike. My friends and I have done a few trips here and Lake Placid is an adorable place to spend some time in as well. There are so many cute shops and restaurants. This makes a great winter destination as well because the skiing is great! I've heard Whiteface Lodge and High Peaks Resort are both great places to stay. 

Here's a few photos from my trips:







7. Ithaca, NY 

My brother went to college in Ithaca so I was able to visit often when I was younger. Its such a fun town and my favorite part is all of the hiking and waterfalls. I went back a few summers ago and stayed at Firelight Campground which is an adorable glamping experience. It is so close to a lot of activities- we loved hiking to Buttermilk Falls when we were there. The complimentary breakfast was great with some delicious local finds. We also enjoyed exploring Ithaca more and shopping at the farmers market. Including a little more about the experience below and feel free to check their website here for more details and booking. 

  • -Complimentary continental breakfast, locally-sourced.
  • -Private tented balcony immersed in the woods.
  • -Immediate access to Upper Buttermilk Falls hiking trails.
  • -Bathhouse with hot showers, flushing toilets & eco-friendly bath products (2-5 min walk from tents).
  • -Bare Bones Living Lanterns with mirco-USB ports for charging.
  • -Four of their tents (Tents 16, 17, 18, and 19) have electric heaters, fans, floor lamps, and outlets; these tents are priced higher. All tents have super warm bedding. We recommend booking an electric tent if you're wary of sleeping outdoors during the spring and fall when temperatures can be chilly in Upstate, NY.
Some photos from my stay:

     


     



8. Niagara on the Lake Ontario

Since the start of COVID I haven't had the chance to travel back to Niagara on the Lake, but I absolutey loved it the few times I visited! It is such a charming little town full of so many great shops and restaurants. There are also a lot of wineries that are great to visit while you're there! I also loved stopping at Prince of Wales for their afternoon tea. 





9. Toronto 

My friend Carolyn and I used to take a trip to Toronto for her birthday every year in high school and always had so much fun! I went back a few years ago when I was in college and can't wait to go back soon. I haven't been in a few years so I don't have any updated recommendations for you- but definitely check Pinterest and Yelp and you'll be sure to find some local spots! I did stop into the Eaton Center the last time I was there which has so many great stores. 

10. Chautauqua / Bemus Point 

This area is so beautiful especially in the summer. I would recommend planning a trip during the summer so you can experience the beauty of the water and the fun events at the Chautauqua institution. There are so many fun little shops, beautiful architecture, and more in the area. My mom and I love to do day trips here once in a while! Here's a few photos from our last visit:




Thanks for reading! 

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