31 July 2013

Let's Talk Brunch

If you know me in real life, you know that brunch is one of my favorite activities.

I mean who doesn't love dressing up, eating amazing food by the water and accidentally getting completely shitfaced after drinking too many mimosas? (Don't lie, you've been there).

After answering an ask.fm question about the best places to have brunch in Annapolis and getting a lot of input from my followers on Twitter, I decided to make it my mission to find the absolute best brunch places and menu items in the area. I asked Annapolis native and brunch connoisseur Mr. Maryland to help me out. (Also, shoutout to his parents for their input. Thanks!) Keep reading to see our favorite places to brunch on the weekend, as well as my followers' favorites.

The Annapolitan's Favorites
(Follow me at @AnnapolisProbs on Twitter)

Boatyard Bar & Grill
Overview: Boatyard is known as the sailors' bar in Annapolis, but weekend mornings draw a more diverse crowd because who doesn't love brunch? If it's a nice day and there is seating available, you can sit outside on the front porch, which overlooks the streets of Eastport. Boatyard Bar & Grill definitely has a family-oriented atmosphere, but you can always find a few Eastport locals drinking beer at the bar at 10 a.m.
Dress: Casual
Best thing to order: My personal favorites are the Bloody Marys, Boatyard Combination and Pepperjack Grits.

Overview: Eggcellence seems to be where everyone goes after church on Sunday, so expect a long wait if you're planning to brunch there around 10 a.m. Trust me, though--the wait is well worth it. Expect the best service and the best food here.
Dress: A step up from casual (think church clothes)
Best thing to order: If you're in the mood for something sweet, order the Waffles or Trio of Blintzes. If you want classic breakfast food, go for the American Breakfast. And if you're a true Marylander, you must try the Crab Hash or the Marylander.

Main Ingredient
Overview: The Main Ingredient is a catering company that also offers a small restaurant/cafe setting located just off Bay Ridge Road. It is well-known for brunch, and with good reason. The mix-and-match style menu that even includes a create your own waffle option is sure to please.
Dress: A step up from casual
Best thing to order: The mimosas are made with fresh squeezed orange juice, and they're huge. On Sunday, mimosas and bloody marys are $4; on any other day, they're $6.

Mr. Maryland's Favorites
(Follow him at @AnnapolisPrep on Twitter)

Chart House
Overview: When it comes to brunch in Annapolis, Chart House is the standard. On the water in the harbor of downtown Annapolis, Chart House offers on of the most elegant views of the historic city. Sit and watch the sailboats go by while dining on some of the finer foods Annapolis has to offer. Make sure to make reservations in advance, and leave plenty of time to find parking downtown. Chart House may not be the best restaurant in the historic district or in Eastport, but you can't beat the location and the brunch.
Dress: Sunday's best
Best thing to order: You can't go wrong with the Maryland Benedict. Crab Cakes and Hollandaise Sauce can't be beat. If you're looking for something on the light side, try the Grilled Watermelon and Feta Salad. The salad bar is also out of this world.

Carrol's Creek
Overview: Carrol’s Creek offers a great view of the Annapolis Harbor and its activities.  It offers a large buffet with everything from traditional breakfast fare to roast beef, chicken and vegetables. The desserts are a terrific way to end the meal if you have room after eating through the main course.
Dress: Sunday casual
Best thing to order: It’s hard to pick one.

Paul's Homewood Cafe
Overview: Paul’s is a classic Greek restaurant tucked away on West Street. Although it has been in the same location since 1949, the interior is modern and friendly. Brunch items feature everything from southern pecan fried chicken and waffles to eggs benedict with either a soft crab or crab cakes, and all the classic breakfast items you expect. The prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is pleasant.
Dress: Sunday casual
Best thing to order: Greek Omelet and the various eggs benedict dishes.

Miss Shirley's
Overview: Miss Shirley’s is fairly new to Annapolis, but it has been a fixture in Baltimore for a number of years. The menu is uniquely southern and includes crab and Old Bay dishes for the locals. You will not go hungry at Miss Shirley’s. The fried green tomatoes, applewood-smoked bacon, savory grits with diced bacon and roasted corn, and coconut cream-stuffed french toast are among the unusual combinations make this food shine. Service was originally slow but has improved.
Dress: Casual
Best thing to order: Everything

Grump's Cafe
Overview: Grump's is a quirky place located in a small strip center in the Hillsmere area of Bay Ridge. Waiters and waitresses wear pajama bottoms and t-shirts. As you enter, you are given a toy or plastic animal with a number on it. You order your food with your number, pick up your beverage and sit down with your toy on the table. Pretty soon, your food arrives. The nice thing about brunch is you can also order lunch, so if you want a hamburger at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning, you can get one here.
Dress: Casual
Best thing to order: Waffles, burgers and my favorite is the stuffed avocado salad.

Overview: Regina’s German restaurant has been hidden in West Annapolis for 28 years and frequented by the locals. It provides the usual breakfast fare, plus it can be accompanied by real German sausages. Everyone is friendly and the food is plentiful. If you arrive after 8:30 a.m., you’ll probably need to wait for a table.  
Dress: Casual
Best thing to order: My personal favorite is the California Benedict with avocado and real bacon instead of Canadian bacon. The omelets are good as well.

Your Favorites
I got a lot of feedback from my Twitter followers about your favorite brunch places. They are as follows:

Severn Inn
Best thing to order: Everything
*Submitted anonymously via ask.fm

Factors Row
Best thing to order: $16 bottomless bloody marys and mimosas
*Submitted by @clutchmoves27

Middleton Tavern
*Submitted by @marylandlove

Kent Manor Inn
(across the pond on Kent Island)
Best thing to order: Everything (it's a buffet, and it comes with a bloody mary or mimosa)
*Submitted by @cjwainscott

Chick & Ruth's
Best thing to order: Anything (I particularly like the bagel sandwiches)
*Submitted by @winstonsocialpr

Ok, sorry but I can't write about food anymore. I'm getting hungry. How do food critics do it!?
[Photos: Pinterest, weheartit.com, severninn.com, opentable.com, themainingredient.com, missshirleys.com, peoplepets.com]

23 July 2013

What's in my Makeup Bag

Every girl has her favorite beauty products.

Well, I happen to have made it my mission to find the best of the best. One too many trips to Sephora later, I'm opening up my makeup bag to my readers so you can see what I can't live without on a daily basis. Without further ado, here are my absolute favorite beauty products. All can be purchased at Sephora.
Go-To Beauty Products
1. Nars Blush in Orgasm. The blush that looks great on everyone. Nars also makes this shade in a variety of other products, including nail polish, lip gloss, lipstick, cheek stain and illuminator.

2. Benefit Watts Up! Highlighter. I received this as a free birthday gift at Sephora, and I use it every day. It adds a radiant lift to my whole face, and it makes me look like I'm wide awake, even when I'm so tired that I'm about to fall asleep standing up. I recommend using this highlighter on the very inside corners of your eyes, on the inside lower rim of your eye, and on your brow bones for an extra lift.

3. Diorskin Nude Skin Glowing Makeup. In addition to being SPF 15, this liquid foundation will smooth out any and all imperfections, making your skin look flawless and radiant. I fell in love with Dior foundation in high school, and I doubt I will ever buy anything else.

4. St. Tropez Tanning Essentials: Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. I've tried a lot of self tanners, and this is without a doubt the best one on the market. While other self tanners I've tried were pretty good, this one is AMAZING. It's easy to apply, adds a natural (non-orange) glow, and won't come off on your clothes. St. Tropez is worth the ridiculous amount of money it costs, especially for an event or photo shoot you must look perfect for.

5. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. I must note here that I bought this eyeliner after trying Urban Decay's 24/7 waterproof liquid eyeliner. I loved Urban Decay's, except for one thing: It has a tendency to flake off. Stila's is great; it truly is waterproof, and I'll never go back.

6. Bare Escentuals Glimmer. I've been using these sparkly, fairy dust-like eyeshadows since I was in middle school and first started to experiment with makeup. They're not super expensive, are easy to apply, and last forever. I usually apply them dry, but they also apply very well when mixed with water, creating a creamy mixture. I recommend applying Glimmer with an eyeshadow brush.

7. Clinique All About Eyes Concealer. This is the best under-eye concealer I've found so far. When I wake up so tired that I look like I got punched in the face under each eye a few times, I turn to Clinique All About Eyes Concealer to make me look perky and somewhat normal.

8. Nars Bronzer in Casino (or Laguna). Nars bronzer is the best I've found so far. It's subtle, and when applied with a BIG brush, it goes on without a streak and leaves you with a natural-looking tan.

My makeup bag: This isn't the exact pattern I have, but I swear by these LeSportsac cosmetic pouches. They're just the right size, they're easy to clean, and they come in cute colors and patterns.

P.S. I still haven't found a really good lipstick or waterproof mascara, so if you have a suggestion, leave a comment and let me know! :)

15 July 2013

Style Icons: Past & Present

My style is a mixture of a lot of things.

Some days, I look like I just stepped out of the Lilly Pulitzer styling room. Other days, I look like I just stepped off the beach. But most days, I'm wearing more J.Crew than anything else. Over the years, as my personal style has evolved, I have gathered a lot of beauty and fashion inspirations. The following nine women contribute to my fashion, hair and makeup decisions on a daily basis.

Blair Waldorf

The fictional Gossip Girl character played by Leighton Meester serves as a style icon for many young women. Her haute couture style, flawless hair and makeup and regal aura make her extra enviable.

Signature moves: headbands, updos, invisible tiara

Best style moment: I loved her hair, makeup and dress for her wedding with Prince Louis on GG.

Emily Maynard

The Bachelor winner Emily Maynard has a southern charm that's hard to resist. She always looks cute!

Signature moves: straight hair, bright colors, big sunglasses

Best style moment: I don't know where or when the above photo is from--I found it on Pinterest--but I absolutely love her outfit!

Kate Middleton

My favorite thing about Kate is that she can pull off any dress code. She looks fabulous in jeans, in a gown or in a regal coat. She literally looks flawless at all times, and I'm convinced that she's perfect.

Signature moves: riding boots, military-style jackets, hats, tiara

Best style moment: I loved the shimmery pink gown Kate wore to the 10th Annual Absolute Return for Kids Gala Dinner in London.

Jackie O.

Where to start...Jackie O. is my number one fashion inspiration. When I'm putting together an outfit and don't know where to start, I ask myself what Jackie would have worn. As first lady, she shocked traditionalists by wearing capris in the White House. She could often be found in a shift, and she would never leave the house without her pearls and big sunglasses. Her all-American, classically preppy style is timeless and still resonates today.

Signature moves: capris, shifts, hats, big sunglasses, pearls, big hair, Jack Rogers, white gloves

Best style moment: Can you really choose one?

Miranda Kerr

When I think of Miranda Kerr, I think girly. The exotic Australian model is one of my makeup inspirations. Her tan, glowing skin always looks perfect and natural.

Signature moves: cat eye eyeliner, loose curls, perfect skin, pink blush, Victoria's Secret wings

Best style moment: I loved Miranda on the Victoria's Secret fashion show stage.

Kristin Cavallari

I look to Kristin Cavallari for hair and makeup inspiration. Although I was definitely on Team LC during Laguna, I can definitely appreciate Kristin's beachy style.

Signature moves: beach blonde hair, smoky eye, perfectly layered hair, glowing white teeth

Best style moment: I'm going to go with the days of her short, layered bob haircut.

AnnaLynne McCord

Actress AnnaLynne McCord has a sex appeal that's hard to match. When styled, she pulls off the vintage pinup girl look without a hitch.

Signature moves: big hair, pouty lips

Best style moment: I loved her as Naomi, her character on 90210.

Raquel Welch

This all-American beauty has been a sex symbol since the 1960s. She is 72 now, but she could pass for 35. I can only hope to age as gracefully as she has.

Signature moves: bikinis, leopard print, American flag bathing suit

Best style moment: Of course, it would be hard to top Raquel's infamous debut of the American flag monokini.

Blake Lively

Ok, maybe I'm a little obsessed with Gossip Girl. But how can you not love Blake Lively? She has gorgeous legs, her hair is perfect and she practically glows at all times. I love that she's not afraid to rock sequins, jewels and other shiny stuff--she knows she can pull it off.

Signature moves: anything shiny, toned legs, sideswept hair

Best style moment: This is easy: Her defining moment in my eyes was her wedding on GG. That Georges Chakra dress...I can only dream of wearing a wedding gown so utterly stunning.

11 July 2013

The Most Country Club Names You'll Ever Hear

With a name like Vanderbilt or Archbold, success is inevitable, right?

I've searched the internet, magazines, books and the world for the most country club names you'll ever hear in your life. Why? Because I needed to procrastinate.

So without further ado, here's the list. Some are lacrosse players (obvi), some are high-powered CEOs, some are members of prestigious clubs, and some are fictional characters. And they're destined for success, because how could you not be successful with a name like Wellington Stanwick?

Ford Archbold, pro surfer

Wellington Stanwick, college lacrosse player, Johns Hopkins

Murphy Vandervelde, college lacrosse player, Harvard

Drew Aldridge, Capital Club board member

William Walford Astor, late publisher of The Observer

Sterling Archer, fictional Hopkins lacrosse alum on TV series Archer

William Amherst Vanderbilt Cecil, The Biltmore Company

Nate Archibald, fictional character and lacrosse player on TV series Gossip Girl

Duke Wellingham, fictional character and lacrosse player on TV series Blue Mountain State

I hope you found this as entertaining as I did, and maybe even got some ideas for baby (or puppy) names!