Friday, December 19, 2014

#RockportChallenge: Holiday Season Style

You may remember that over the summer I participated in the #RockportChallenge, hosted by Rockport Shoes. Through that challenge I shared with you my tips for effortlessly elegant summer wedding style and was able to give five lucky Pop.Bop.Shop. readers a pair of Rockport wedges. Need a refresher? Revisit those posts here, here and here.

Today I am excited to return for the final round of the 2014 #RockportChallenge, building the ultimate holiday season look.

To inspire my holiday soiree styling, the generous team at Rockport surprised me with a pair of Total Motion Hidden Wedge Bow Pumps.

I'm not quite sure why they are called pumps since they are flat, but that's neither here nor there.

The bow pumps come in three colors: black, rhubarb (fancy for red) or tartan. How chic is this tartan pattern? It feels oh so Chanel.

I'm kind of obsessed with the patent leather bows.

In addition to their fabulous style, the bow pumps also have Rockport's ADIPRENE by adidas technology, giving the shoes the same level of comfort and support as your favorite pair of running shoes. No joke, walking in these babies feels like floating on air.

I also love the peek-a-boo red inside the shoe. Not only is that a fun design element, but it's delightfully festive for holiday season!

As soon as I took the shoes out of the box, I had a million ideas for how to accessorize with them. For example, wearing these to your company holiday party. They are sophisticated and feminine, without being ostentatious. Here I've paired them with a black lace top, a bright red skirt and some glittering baubles.

While the bow pumps are great for a holiday party, they're also perfect for a Saturday morning with friends, a trip to the mall or even celebrating the holidays at your parents' house. Here I've put them together with a cozy sweater, dark denim jeans, a pom pom hat and a crisp red clutch.

Are you starting to see all the possibilities with this pair of shoes?!

How would you like to go home with a pair of your own?

Well, the amazing team at Rockport is providing Pop.Bop.Shop. readers with a special promotional code that will take 25% off any purchase on Rockport.com for the first 25 readers to redeem this offer. Use code POPBOPSHOP25 at checkout.

Happy shoe shopping!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Read: The Leftovers

With vacation coming up, now seems like the perfect time for a new book recommendation.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I love author Tom Perrotta. Not just because he's from Massachusetts (bonus), but because he has carved out the most interesting, fascinating and disturbing niche for himself. Perrotta writes about the secret life of suburban families in a way that no one else can. If you haven't already, read his books "Election" and "Little Children" (perhaps you saw the movies?) and his short story collection called "Nine Inches" (read my review of that here).

Perrotta's most recent novel is called "The Leftovers." Yes, it is the book that spawned that wildly popular HBO television series. I decided I wanted to read the book first and then I would reward myself by streaming the TV series.

The premise of "The Leftovers" is that on one random day, out of nowhere, several people in every community across the United States just vanish. Wives, husbands, teachers, children, grandparents - no one was off limits. In the book, this day is called the Rapture.

The story follows a few individual people as they try to cope with this new reality. Most of the chapters focus on the members of one specific family of four - Kevin, Laurie, Jill and Tom. Each family member has their own significant story line.

Then there's Nora, a mother trying to grieve the loss of her husband and children. To remember her kids, Nora watches at least one episode of "Spongebob Squarepants" every day.

Most of Perrotta's work has a sick, twisted edge to it. This book was much more morose.

Despite the change in tone from his usual work, I still found myself gripped to "The Leftovers." I read it in two plane rides! There is something intriguing about how people mourn, change, grow and adapt. Perrotta does a great job of crawling into those sacred places in the mind.

If you're looking for a book to take on a holiday trip next week, get your hands on a copy of "The Leftovers." Then we can all have a HBO viewing party!

*Image source. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: For The Mindy Super Fan

Today is Tuesday, also known as "The Mindy Project" Day. What better way to wrap up the fifth and final installment of the Pop.Bop.Shop. Holiday Gift Guide, than with a guide to gifts for the Mindy super fan?

As you know, "The Mindy Project" is my favorite show on television and Mindy Kaling is my undisputed, most beloved role model. Appropriately, this first gift idea is a watercolor snail mail card that says across the front, "It's so weird being my own role model."

To accompany this perfect card, pick out a piece of jewelry from the BaubleBar collection curated by "The Mindy Project" costume designer Salvador Perez. For example, these dangly beauties called Cha Cha Drops. This pair is available in two colors, multi or pink.

In similar hues, you can also gift these Gem Trumpet Drops.

If you want something with a little more flash (and Mindy would), this Blue Rumba Collar Necklace from the collection is a showstopper.

Now that we've covered stationary and bling, let's move onto the t-shirt portion of the program.

You may remember that on an episode of "The Mindy Project" our dear Mindy Lahiri said her warrior name would be Beyonce Pad Thai. Well, now you can wear that alter ego to the gym with this t-shirt.

This next shirt is a must. If I have to tell you why, you should probably stop reading now.

I wish I could take credit for finding this next gem, but a friend discovered it on Tumblr and sent me the link. I mean, I have to have it.

Here's one for all the Danny Castellano fans. Is the shirt a bit crass? Maybe. Do I think Annette and Dot would approve? Definitely.

This last item is going to reveal my stalker status a bit, but I'm willing to take that risk. If you follow Mindy on Instagram (@mindykaling) you will notice that she has an Alexandra Ferguson pillow on the couch in her trailer that says, "Go to the gym." Well, now you can gift that exact same piece of Jillian Michaels-like decor to the Mindy devotee in your life.

In fact, take a look at all the Alexandra Ferguson pillows. Each phrase is more hysterical than the one before.

That's a wrap on the 2014 Pop.Bop.Shop. Holiday Gift Guide! I hope these posts helped you to uncover some new and creative gift ideas for the people you love the most.

Happy Holidays my beautiful readers!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dining Out: 75 On Liberty Wharf

Last month I was out to dinner with my college roommate and her husband and they mentioned how much they love dining at 75 On Liberty Wharf in the Seaport. I responded by admitting, "I've actually never been there." When it came time to plan our monthly dinner date for December, it seemed only right to enjoy a meal there together.

The night we met up it was dark, cold and rainy. I felt like I was in Gotham City.

Despite the dreary weather, 75 On Liberty Wharf glowed from the warmth and spirit of their holiday decorations.

Right at the front door, the menu is illuminated by a sparkling wreath.

The back side of the restaurant faces Boston Harbor and as such, has floor to ceiling windows for diners to fully enjoy the view.

It's a bit tough to see in these evening shots, but there are very impressive boats lined up along the Fish Pier.

Mimicking its nautical neighbors, 75 On Liberty Wharf has a whole wall outside the restaurant filled with boat-themed embellishments.

The night of our dinner coincided with the weekly Wine Wednesday menu special. Don't mind if we do!

I decided on a glass of Wither Hills Sauvignon Blanc.

My dinner date, in the 36th week of her pregnancy, went with one of the mocktails on the menu, the cranberry sparkler. The color of the drink was so rich and beautiful and it was topped with fresh cranberries.

While we looked over the dinner menus, our waitress brought us a basket of freshly baked bread. They literally took it out of the oven and sliced it just a few moments before it arrived on our table.

It was so warm that the butter melted right into the bread the minute it made contact. Yum!

To begin, we shared the Mediterranean platter which was tabouli, marinated artichokes and olives, red pepper hummus and grilled lavash.

The charred lavash added extra flavor and grit, especially combined with the smooth taste of the hummus.

Continuing our Mediterranean theme, for her entree my dinner date went with the ravioli served with pine nut pesto, feta cheese, roasted vegetables and grilled chicken.

After a few bites she said, "The ravioli is cooked well, as is the chicken - not overcooked. The pesto was a bit oily and I could have used more variety in the veggies, instead of just roasted tomatoes."

I also selected a ravioli dish, the pumpkin ravioli. On that bitterly cold night, a piping hot bowl of pasta sounded like the best possible scenario.

The pumpkin ravioli was served with a vodka sauce, cubed butternut squash and the world's most generous shaving of parmesan cheese.

I loved the pillows of pumpkin ravioli, the rich and creamy taste of the vodka sauce and the heaping pile of parmesan. My old gripe was the addition of the cubed butternut squash, it just felt unnecessary. That component felt too firm alongside the soft textures of the other ingredients.

After clearing our ravioli plates, our waitress asked if we'd like to see the dessert menu. Clearly she didn't know who she was talking to.

The header on this dessert menu is perfect. "The Grand Finale" is absolutely correct way to describe the dessert course.

After a quick deliberation, we opted to share the brownie a la mode. When it arrived, it was topped with strawberries and blueberries. As my loyal readers know, I hate fruit on dessert. The fruit wasn't listed anywhere on the menu description, had it been, we might not have chosen that.

The brownie had walnuts, giving it a nice crunch. It was served warm, which helped to melt the vanilla ice cream. Sometimes I forget how delicious pure vanilla ice cream is. You really can't beat this classic a la mode combo.

Our meal at 75 On Liberty Wharf was lovely, but I can't help but think about how nice it would be to return in the summer and sit on their outdoor patio.

Who wants to meet there in June?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Shop: Plammie Activewear

Last week I was invited to attend a blogger Yankee Swap at the Cambridgeside Galleria. Rather than have each blogger bring a gift, the gifts for the swap were all provided by different stores in the mall. Yes, it was exactly as awesome as it sounds.

In addition to our swap gift, we were each given a very generous swag bag. One of the gift items was a free pair of panties from a new store in the mall call Plammie Activewear. The free gift was only available that night, so we all walked over to the store together.

While browsing through wildly patterned underwear, I couldn't help but notice all the hilarious tank tops Plammie sells.

This one is by far my favorite and it reads, "I run because I really like cookies."

This one would make a fantastic gift for so many of my friends. It truthfully declares, "Run now. Wine later."

This electric yellow top confesses, "Will squat for peanut butter."

For all you paleo folks out there, you can rock this coral top that proudly shouts, "Eat clean. Train dirty."

All of these Plammie tops are available online or in-store for just $24.00.

Are you loving these as much as I am? Which top is your favorite?

*All images courtesy of Plammie Activewear.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: For The Kiddos

Today, in the fourth installment of the Pop.Bop.Shop. Holiday Gift Guide, we're talking about gifts for the munchkins. Personally, I have three little cousins who I am obsessed with and I am always on the look out for new, festive and creative gifts for them. I basically never stop shopping for them, I just got into over drive at the holidays.

Let's jump right in, shall we?

My first pick for the kiddos this year are these adorable knit booties. They come in a multitude of animal choices, but I really love the reindeer and the polar bears.

Speaking of polar bears, how cute is this dining set from Skip Hop? You may remember in last year's gift guide for the kids I shared the Skip Hop backpacks (which I still love), but this year I am super into this place setting.

I am clearly feeling the polar bear vibe this winter, since I can't over this hat from J. Crew. It's soft, cozy and totally adorable.

It wouldn't be winter without sledding and this year I have my eyes on this Sonic Saucer from L.L. Bean. The bright red color feels perfect for the holiday season and it's gender neutral. I wouldn't mind one for myself . . .

I freaked out with happiness when I made this next discovery on Etsy. Have a nephew who is super into trucks? Snag this t-shirt for his dad or uncle and he'll be entertained for hours. Best part? The wearer doesn't have to a damn thing!

I was psyched to find these dump truck crayons because I think coloring books, crayons, etc. are usually reserved for little girls, but boys like to color too! This is a fun way to put a twist on the usual art supplies.

One of my little cousins lives in Florida so I can buy her warm weather clothes year-round (bonus!). I love the idea of her prancing around in either of these Lilly Pulitzer dresses - the palm leaves or the electric tropical pattern.

Naturally I've saved the best item for last. I immediately purchased this Nike t-shirt when I found it on Zappos.com last week. It's purple and says in hot pink, "I'm so big time."

What is an aunt's job if not to build confidence, am I right?

And there you have it! My picks for outfitting your favorite kiddos this holiday season.

Have you found something amazing to gift your niece or nephew this year?
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