Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rockport Challenge: My Daily Adventure (Part IV) - Winners

As I said last week, the Total Motion Layer Dorsay Flats are without question my favorite pair I have ever styled for the Rockport Challenge. They are feminine, sophisticated, seamlessly transition for day to evening and have just the right amount of flair.

I'm obsessed with the thoughtful details like this thin piping that brings together the leopard print and the rich, black suede.

In addition to chic style, these flats have ADIPRENE by adidas technology which make them super comfortable.

As a reminder, I styled the Total Motion Dorsay Layer Flats in two different ways - one look for movie night and one for a post-work happy hour. Then it was your turn to cast a vote.

Let's quickly revisit both outfits.

Movie Night:

Post-Work Happy Hour:

I also shared two of my favorite styles from the men's collection, the Path to Greatness Chukka and the Ledge Hill Too Cap Oxford.

As determined by your votes, the winning Daily Adventure look is . . . Movie Night! It was so fun to read through all your comments and hear which elements of that look you loved most.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for, the winners! As selected by, the lucky readers receiving their very own pair of Total Motion Layer Dorsay Flats are:

1) Bianca Garcia
2) Jena Rossi
3) Lauren Richmond

Congratulations! Please send your shoe size and preferred mailing address to popbopshopblog(at)gmail(dot)com.

If you didn't win a pair today, don't fret! The generous team at Rockport is offering all Pop.Bop.Shop. readers 20% off of their next purchase on Click this link to pick out your discounted pair.

Happy shopping!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Celebrate: Halloween

When I was a little girl, I loved Halloween. We lived in a neighborhood with tons of kids my age and the trick or treating game was on point.

My ever supportive parents totally indulged my Halloween obsessions. As soon as the calendar would flip to October I'd become fixated on planning my costume. My dad, the crafty one (shocking, but true), was always at the ready to help me assemble my masterpiece.

A few days before Halloween, my dad, my sister and I would take a dolly and roll it the mile or so from our house to the pumpkin stand. We'd comb through tray after tray of pumpkins until we'd found the perfect ones for our jack-o-lanterns. Then we'd strap them in and roll them home.

The night before was devoting to transforming our front porch. We'd put out our carved pumpkins, cover the porch in fake cobwebs (my favorite) and we even had a mat that screamed when you stepped on it. Like I said, I was into it.

But my favorite family Halloween tradition was our annual black and orange dinner. On Halloween night, before we went out trick or treating, we'd always set the table in the dining room (reserved for special occasions only) and we'd feast on a meal made entirely of black and orange foods.

Those who have been reading the blog for a while know that my dad is an amazing cook and he loves a challenge (this is why Thanksgiving is like his personal Super Bowl). So when my sister and I hatched this idea for the black and orange dinner, each year he'd come up with more and more sophisticated dishes.

I thought it would be fun to share some of our old standbys as well as some new ideas I found on Pinterest (which is a gold mine for recipes if you don't already scour it on a regular basis).

Let's start with a special drink. I love this spooky caldron cocktail from Kara's Party Ideas. The smoke is made with dry ice.

As a starter, my dad always used to make black bean soup. Check out this five ingredient recipe from Gimme Some Oven.

If black bean soup isn't your taste, prepare to drool over this pumpkin soup with gruyere from Bon Appetit. I love this presentation.

This year I discovered another fun recipe in a pumpkin which meets both the color requirements for this themed dinner - squid ink pasta!

My sister and I always wanted macaroni and cheese for the main course. Our parents had us on a pretty healthy diet, but Halloween was one of the few nights a year we could make Kraft macaroni and cheese. The blue box blues!

If you want to make a version that's a bit more sophisticated and a bit more Halloween-y try this recipe for pumpkin mac & cheese from Chocolate Covered Katie.

I also think this version with butternut squash from Nosh and Nourish sounds super delicious.

If you have leftover butternut squash, you can use it to make fries! Sweet potato fries would add a nice pop of orange too.

Year after year, I always felt it was easier to come up with orange foods. Thanks to Pinterest, I have some brand spankin' new ideas to even out the color ratio. If you like the idea of breakfast for dinner (and who doesn't?) whip up these chocolate zucchini waffles.

Now for the best part of any meal, dessert!

There are several options for black and orange desserts, starting with these pumpkin Oreo cheesecakes from Inside BruCrew Life. You'll notice the Oreo makes an appearance in several Halloween recipes.

Another black and orange dessert option - whoopie pies!

If you have mason jars, you can also build cupcake trifles. This photo is from Glorious Treats, but you may remember my friend Stephanie also made a delicious version for my Emmy Awards viewing party. Check out her recipe here.

Remember dirt dessert from when we were kids? Swap the gummi worms for candy pumpkins and ta da! Halloween dirt dessert.

With those same candy pumpkins and a fresh bag of Oreos (told you they'd resurface) you can create the world's most delicious graveyard.

With the help of Milano cookies and a jar of peanutbutter, you can also make this version of a graveyard dessert.

If you're feeling super fancy, you can try this take on the graveyard dessert with whipped cream ghosts. Our Best Bites gives an awesome step-by-step tutorial.

Now before I share these last two dessert items, I have to make something clear. I am a purist. I feel that all the food in the black and orange Halloween dinner should be black and orange. My sister, more open minded and more flexible than me in a million ways, thinks that white should also be a major player in the themed dinner.

If you take my sister's approach and allow white foods (a nod to ghosts) then give these Oreo donuts with vanilla glaze a whirl. Arrange them on a tray to spell "Boo" for an extra Halloween flair.

Continuing the white/Oreo recipes, how fun are these Oreo pudding pops? I'd eat these any day of the year!

And there you have it! I hope today's post helps you menu plan for any Halloween celebrations you're hosting or attending. All of these recipes (and many more) are on my Black & Orange Dinner Pinterest board.

Does your family have an annual Halloween tradition?

*All images courtesy of Pinterest.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rockport Challenge: My Daily Adventure (Part IV)

It's official, I'm a Rockport girl.

For the last two years, I've relied on Rockport for adding pizazz to my wedding ensembles, helping me stand out at the company holiday party, crushing the style game at the office and stomping the divots (while still looking cute) at polo.

I've amassed quite the collection:

This week, just in time for my birthday, my newest pair arrived. Meet the Total Motion Layer Dorsay Ballet Flat. As with all the styles in the Rockport Total Motion family, these flats have ADIPRENE by adidas technology which make them outrageously comfortable. I kid you not, slipping into these is like walking on clouds for the entire day.

I gravitated towards this particular style because I'm obsessed with the leopard print! I like that it's only over the toes and the rest of the shoe is solid black. Though it's a bit tough to see in the photos, that black is the smoothest, softest suede.

You can tell right away that these shoes can add flair to a wide variety of looks - work day, date night, networking event or even a fall wedding (with the right dress).

The minute I unboxed them I started pairing them in my mind with so many different pieces in my closet.

I think my favorite detail is the very thin, subtly shiny piping where the leopard print meets the black suede.

As with all Rockport Style Challenges, I couldn't wait to start dreaming up looks for these shoes!

Movie Night: One of my favorite fall activities is going to the movies. When the temperatures start to dip, there is nothing better than snuggling into a leather recliner (SuperLux for life), ripping the top off of a bag of M&Ms and catching a good flick. I don't know about you, but I'm dying to see "Black Mass."

For the night at the movies, I've taken a pair of black jeans, a v-neck burgundy top, a simple double strand necklace and a studded black clutch to really show off the Total Motion Layer Dorsay Ballet Flats. As I was designing the look, I kept coming back to wine colors and hues to accompany the leopard print. You can shop the full outfit (including the makeup and candy bowls) on Polyvore.

Post-Work Happy Hour: I knew the minute I saw these shoes that they belonged with a black, fitted skirt. No brainer. And now that the cooler fall weather has arrived, I can take all my faux fur items out of the closet! How badly are you swooning over this vest?

The Total Motion Layer Dorsay Ballet Flats add that memorable punch that will have every person you meet remembering your conversation, without ever having to look at your business card. Browse this full look here.

Now I know what you are thinking, why are there never any Rockport shoe options styled for men here on Pop.Bop.Shop.? Well, I'm not much of a menswear buff, but I can tell you that Rockport has killer men's shoes for the fall season. My two personal favorites are the Path to Greatness Chukka (how can you resist that name?) and Ledge Hill Too Cap Oxford (the caramel color with the blue laces is sharp!).

For this first time, this Rockport Challenge giveaway will be open to both women and men. There are three pairs up for grabs.

To enter:

Ladies - Leave a comment below with which daily adventure look is your favorite - movie night or happy hour.

Gents - Tell me which of the two men's fall styles you have to have - the Path to Greatness Chukka or the Ledge Hill Too Cap Oxford.

This giveaway will be open until 11:59pm ET on Tuesday, October 6, 2015. The winners will be announced on Wednesday, October 7, 2015.

Good luck, shoe lovers!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Welcome To 31

Today I am 31.

Photo taken on Saturday 9.26.15

I remember that last year, as I prepared to turn 30, I thought the earth was going to open up and swallow me. I don't know why, but 30 just felt like a truly colossal milestone that I wasn't ready to hit.

This year, turning 31 is a breeze. After all, it was a pretty eventful year.

Let's review:
Quite a year if I do say so myself! 

I began this year's birthday celebration over the weekend with my college friends. We spent four days in Truro on Cape Cod, which was total bliss. 

Last night I toasted with my cousins and I tonight I'll chow down at one of my favorites, Alden & Harlow

The spectacle continues on Thursday night at the Ben Rector concert at the House of Blues and then birthday week concludes with the Bloody Mary bar at Barcelona Wine Bar on Sunday (one of my new years resolutions!). 

Thank you to everyone who made my 30th year extra special. Cheers to 31! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Giveaway: East Broadway Foodie Crawl

If you've been living in the Boston area for a while, then you've certainly been experiencing the revitalization of East Somerville. It seems like every week a new restaurant, bar or shop is opening somewhere along Broadway, adding new energy to the neighborhood.

Next Tuesday, September 29th (my birthday), East Somerville Main Streets is hosting their 5th annual East Broadway Foodie Crawl. One ticket is $20 dollars ($25 dollars at the door) and with that ticket you have access to 15 different East Broadway restaurants. All proceeds from the ticket sales benefit East Somerville Main Streets. There mission is to, "build a safe, sustainable and prosperous multicultural community by developing a vibrant business district at the neighborhood's heart."

Here are a few snaps from last year's crawl:

I was super excited to see that one of my favorite East Somerville spots is participating this year, La Brasa. I actually tried it for the first time last September, remember?

In addition to La Brasa, crawlers will also enjoy bites from East End Grille, Vinny's Ristorante, Taco Loco, Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant, Deano's Pasta, Rincon Mexicano, Los Paisanos, Tapatio Mexican Grill, Gauchao Brazilian Cuisine, Maya Sol, Blanca's Bakery, Ola Cafe, Amigos Market and more.

My advice - wear elastic waist pants!

Now for the great news. The generous team at the East Broadway Foodie Crawl is offering one lucky Pop.Bop.Shop. reader a pair of tickets for free!

To enter to win:

1) Join the East Broadway Foodie Crawl event on Facebook
2) Leave a comment below sharing your favorite place to chow down in Somerville

This giveaway will be open until 11:59pm ET on Sunday, September 27, 2015. The winner will be notified by email on Monday, September 28, 2015.

Good luck, foodies!

*Images 1 & 2 courtesy of East Broadway Foodie Crawl. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Emmy Awards 2015: Viewing Party

Growing up, my mom used to have all the mothers in our neighborhood over for awards shows. We'd all gather in our living room, in pajamas, noshing on snacks, commenting on the red carpet looks and sharing our thoughts on the movies and TV shows we'd seen from the nominee list.

Now, in my own home, I carry on that tradition by hosting annual viewing parties for the Golden Globes, the Oscars and the Emmys.

Yesterday I shared with you my picks for the Best and Worst Dressed on Emmy night and today I want to share with you the details of the par-tay.

To be honest, I spent much less time hunting for decor for this party than I have for other parties in the past. With Scout (my pup) I just don't have the time and brain space that I used to when it was just me. Now I do things as I remember them, which is often way too close to when they need to actually occur. #TheSruggleIsReal

For this year's Emmy viewing party I wound up ordering quite a bit online. What I couldn't order from the interwebs, I picked up the day of the soiree.

As you may have heard me say before, I like the start setting the tone for the event right from the moment people step in the front door. For Sunday night's affair, I cleared off the table in the entry way and placed a singular tall vase in the center with long stem red roses.

I think fresh flowers are such an easy way to elevate any occasion. This vase is a brand new one I bought during Kate Spade's recent sale. The flowers are from Star Market.

I normally decorate the tray on my ottoman with some type of movie candy and popcorn spread, but with the dog, it's a bit tough to put that much food that close to the ground.

So instead of a concession stand in the living room, I decided to take things up a notch and stage a photo booth in the dining room. From Oriental Trading Company I ordered a gold curtain to hang as the backdrop and a bunch of cardboard props on sticks, much like you've probably seen or used in a wedding photo booth.

A quick aside, I ordered a bunch of items from Oriental Trading Company for this party, about four weeks before go time. When the box arrived, I was so excited to open it and check out all the goods. As soon as I cut through the tape and saw the contents of the box, I was perplexed. Every single item was gold and said "Happy Anniversary" or "Happy 50th" on it. Hmmmm. Definitely not the theme I was going for.

When my order did finally arrive (10 days later) the box of photo booth props came with something for everyone.

Naturally I loved the gold star that said, "VIP."

I also enjoyed mock sipping out of the soda cup.

Now with my short hair, I was able to hold up the blond wig prop and actually have it look like my hair!

Here are a few snaps from the booth:

Before everyone left for the night, we set the self-timer on the camera and grabbed this shot of all of us together (see, I can't resist fake sipping on that soda!).

Next to the photo booth, I had a very small spread of decorations on the dining room table. I've had this gold table cloth (from iParty) for years. You may remember it from this year's Oscar party.

At the far end I had a cupcake tower shaped like a camera and reels of film. This was another Oriental Trading Company purchase. I thought it would be made of plastic, but it turned out to be cardboard and needed some light assembly. Whoops!

In the center of the table I had an unconventional centerpiece. I took a large crystal bowl and covered the bottom in floral marbles (50% clear, 50% red). Then I filled it with water almost to the top and individually placed circles of movie-themed rubber ducks.

I had completely forgotten that in August 2011 when I hosted a hurricane party (in honor of Hurricane Irene, which barely happened in Boston), I gave everyone a rubber duck as a parting gift. Some of the girls at the viewing party said, "Oh man! More ducks. I still have my rubber duck from the hurricane party." Well, at least I waited four years before reusing an idea, right?

At the end of the table closest to the living room I set up two plates of cheese and crackers on my brand new platters from the Fishs Eddy and West Elm collaboration (currently on sale for $12 dollars!). You may remember me sharing a different set of plates from that same collection in my 2015 Birthday Wish List.

I love the movie ticket pattern. It strikes the perfect balance between childlike and sophisticated.

The cheese plate situation only continued to grow after I took these pictures. We added a wheel of Brie, green apples, carrots, grapes, fruit dip and veggie dip.

The last area where I snuck in some party decor was the bathroom. If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you know my friend and Golden Birthday party planner Dustin is all about surprises in the most unexpected locations, even the bathroom.

For this party I decided to take a few rubber ducks from the centerpiece and have them showcased in the bathroom. I specifically chose the ducks drinking soda, because that is always the reason you have to leave a movie to pee!

Just as I was finishing setting up for the party, my friend Stephanie arrived to prepare the feast for the evening. Chef Steph, as she's known in our group, provides all the dinners for these annual viewing parties and she ups the ante every time.

To begin, we'd be having roasted butternut squash soup. Stephanie made this recipe for New Years Eve 2014 and it was a huge hit. The full recipe is here.

When she began cooking down the veggies, my house started smelling yummier and yummier.

Here's a shot of all the bowls lined up when we were ready to dig in.

To accompany the soup, she made three kinds of grilled cheese - Bleu cheese and fig, Havarti and tomato and Brie with chocolate chips and basil. Yup. Not a joke. Really happened.

I was so busy devouring these sandwiches, I forgot to snap the Brie one!

For dessert, the chef intended to make chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin cream cheese frosting. I neglected to mention to her before she came over that my oven was broken. The burners on top of the stove work, but the actual oven does not. Yeah, epic friend fail.

To try and make the situation less brutal, I suggested, "It's like your on 'Top Chef' and this is a challenge!"

Totally unflappable, she said, "We'll make do!" She then proceeded to bake the cupcakes in my toaster oven, six at a time. Unfortunately, the cupcakes wound up sinking in on themselves so she had to improvise.

She decided to switch her game plan and make cupcake parfaits. They came out beautifully and would actually make a sensational Halloween party dessert!

Photo courtesy of @stephmblackurn

After hours of judging the red carpet fashions, rooting for our favorite comedy and drama stars and stuffing our faces, the nine o'clock hour rolled around and people started to fade.

The girls packed up whichever leftovers they wanted for lunch the next day (always a major bonus) and we hugged goodbye.

With that, the final viewing party of 2015 is in the books!

Tell me, did you host friends to watch the Emmys?
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