Blake Lively Braid Ponytail Tutorial

braid ponytail tutorial

When it comes to celebrity hair styles, Blake Lively takes the cake for many of us (including me). Her effortless, messy waves and beachy blond hair are just perfect. One of her latest hair styles that I’ve been wanting to replicate is the high ponytail braid, seen above. So I decided to try to replicate her look on my own with the help of a few Dove hair products- their new Pure Care Oil line.

Dove Pure Care Oil hair care products have a variety of benefits. They are great for all hair types (mine is thin and naturally wavy, for example), and leave a light, non-greasy finish (which is rare in most hair oils). The line promises 5 times silkier hair when you use the trio of shampoo, conditioner and treatment (vs. non-conditioning shampoo) and to nourish your hair without feeling heavy. The dry oil features a blend of African Macadamia oil and Coconut oil, two big ingredients on the beauty market right now.

My personal favorite part about the dry oil was the scent- it’s powdery but not overwhelming, and nothing like the overly-fruity scents of many other hair products.

Blake Lively Braid Ponytail Tutorial

dove advanced haircare

brush hair back

Brush hair back with a boar-bristle brush to smooth the top layer. You want the ponytail to be sleek and tight.

dove pure care

dove pure care dry oil

Next, apply the Dove dry hair oil to add extra sleekness and tame any stray hairs.

upside down braid

Then braid your hair. Mine is so long that I have to do an upside-down type of braid and them flip it over my head. It actually helps add some volume, who knew? Secure with an elastic.

long braid hairstyle ponytail braid

braids for long hair

You guys think I could be a hair model? Nope, me either.

 blake lively copycat braid

The finished look. Too bad I didn’t come out looking like Blake.

Dove Hair is currently daring women everywhere to try Dove Pure Care Dry oil, risk-free now through December 31, 2014*. Share your silky results with the hashtag #silkyhairdare. And use #silkyhairdaresweeps for a chance to win** $20,000 in prizes up for grabs. Visit for more information. Purchase in Mass, Food and Drug retailers nationwide.

*If you are not completely satisfied with the Dove Advanced Hair Series Pure Care Dry Oil system, Dove will refund your purchase (from 9/21 – 12/31). Visit for details. 
**No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. The Dove Silky Hair Dare Sweepstakes is sponsored by Conopco, Inc., d/b/a Unilever. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 & older. Begins 12:00 p.m. ET on 9/25/14 and ends 12:00 p.m. ET on 11/20/14. For Official Rules, visit

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Fall Foliage & Pumpkin Picking

Every year, James and I enjoy doing fall things- both in Upstate NY when we go to visit my parents and here in New Jersey. Over the years, at these fall events we’ve pet baby goats and cows, ate our weight in apple cider donuts and fudge, and even got to hold baby bunnies (they were so tiny and warm and you could feel their hearts beating right against your hands). Here are a few snaps from the weekend we got engaged and this past weekend. You can tell which photos are from NY/VT and which are from NJ- the closer you are to New York City, the less beautiful and colorful the trees are. Sorry city dwellers, but it’s true. Although I live in a rather rural area of New Jersey with lots of trees, it still isn’t as beautiful as Vermont and Upstate New York where I grew up.


Vermont & New York

vermont pumpkins


james and trees

vermont foliage

vermont trees

New Jersey

couple eating

corn maze

perfect pumpkins

fresh veggies

indian corn

tiny pumpkins

vintage truck

weak fall foliage

BHLDN Bridal Week Bash- Blogger Happy Hour

bhldn mannequin

This past Thursday I was invited to a blogger happy hour by BHLDN, which was held at the Anthropologie Showroom in New York City. If you’re not familiar with BHLDN (pronounced be-holden), they are a sister brand of Anthropologie, Free People and Urban Outfitters that specializes in everything bridal. They feature a similar aesthetic to their sister brands (in my opinion), which is somewhat eclectic, vintage and actually affordable. In addition to selling their merchandise online, they also have a few stores in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and a new one in NYC.

The event featured a first look at some of their Spring 2015 pieces, including bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, decor and more. They had some delicious appetizers via Poppy’s Catering (the pretzel bites were amazing) and a nice bar, where I chose two glasses of a white wine. Dry Bar NYC was there to pamper everyone, Bracken Floral was there to help us create our own floral crowns and Shutterbooth New Jersey was there to snap all the smiles. As a parting gift, I received this gorgeous floral robe (perfect for getting ready and lounging in the morning) that I can’t stop wearing.

As a side note, I was so hesitant to go to a blogging event alone, knowing no one. I’m a natural introvert so events like this aren’t really my strong suit. There were a few “bigger” bloggers there, which made me chuckle that I was invited as well. In typical blogger fashion, most people were very cliquey with their own groups, not even paying attention to someone like me, but the 4 ladies of BHLDN who attended were the sweetest. So, this is a big shout-out to Ashley, Jessica, Rebekuh and Danielle for putting on a great event and being so nice. I loved getting their personal engagement and wedding advice since this newly-engaged girl needs all she can get!

 poppys catering

Pretty flowers & apps

bhldn food

I had about 5 of the pretzel bites. Nom nom.

BHLDN back of dress

How gorgeous is the back detail?

bhldn wedding dress

This was my favorite dress of the night

bhldn photobooth

That’s me on the right in the blue- BLDN posted this snap on their Instagram!

bhldn bridal gowns

Loving the sleeve details

bhldn bridesmaid

A few bridesmaid dresses. Should I choose short or long?

bhldn centerpieces

Spring-y floral centerpieces

bhldn decor

Cute ideas for centerpiece decor

bhldn flowers

More pretty flowers

bhldn sparkly dress

Pretty. Shiny. Sparkly.

bhldn spring dresses

Some slinky dresses that require a wedding diet

Fall Wish List

fall wish list

Just a few things on my fall wishlist…

Kate Spade New York ‘Hanover Street- Charee’ Leather Satchel- I’m not a huge bag girl- meaning I’d rather spend my money on a nice pair of jeans or a dress than the newest ‘it bag’- but this one caught my eye. Since I mostly carry around a neutral bag in brown, black or taupe, this red satchel would be a welcome addition to my color-less purse wardrobe. And how adorable and ladylike is that bow?

C. Wonder Evil Eye Applique Loafer- Whether you call them smoking slippers (so random) or loafers, these shoes look so comfortable. I have a weird obsession with all things evil eye (mainly jewelry), so it’s no surprise these are on my wishlist.

Sole Society Mini Fox Print Scarf- My college mascot was a red fox, so naturally I want this scarf. Maybe wearing it would transport me back to those days?

Frye ‘Lindsay Plate’ Boot- I’ve never splurged on Frye boots before, but boy have I wanted to. Their boots are always perfectly weathered and I love that this pair is the perfect brown- not too dark or too light.

Stella & Dot Somervell Necklace- I love everything Stella & Dot puts out, but it’s hard to find good silver options since it seems that they cater more towards gold offerings. I’m a silver girl, through and through. This necklace would go with any outfit and adds a little toughness while still being feminine.

Forever21 Classic Car Coat- Ah, the pastel coat- so pretty online, but always ends up making me look like a puffy Easter bunny. But this one actually looks like it might fit me and keep me warm during late fall and early winter. Now the real question is pastel pink or blue?

J Crew Merino Wool Mixed Media Sweater- Yes, this sweater is overpriced, but it doesn’t mean I still can’t say I want it. I love the sweet floral print mixed with the wool houndstooth pattern.

We’re Engaged!

This past week has been crazy, so the news is a week late here on the blog. But if you follow me on any form of social media, you may already know that last Saturday, October 4th James and I got engaged! We’re so incredibly thankful to all our family and friends for their outpouring of support and kind words (and a few nice cards and gift cards!) I can’t stop staring at the gorgeous ring on my finger and it’s hard to believe it’s all happening.

post engagement photo

buddy rose petals

candle entryway

candles and rose petals

congrats banner

engagement baloons

engagement cards

engagement spread

red roses

thumbs up

window engagement

Our Engagement Story

Last Friday James and I headed to my parent’s house in upstate NY for our annual fall weekend. At least once a year we visit my parents during the fall to see the gorgeous shades of the fall foliage, stuff our faces with apple cider donuts and my Mom’s pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and make a trip to the nearby farm/apple orchard. It’s a special time of year and we always look forward to it. Saturday we visited a few local places to do “all the fall things” and then started on our trip back  my parent’s house.

As we pull in to the garage, I notice lit candles and rose petals adorning the steps of the garage leading into my house. I was confused, but still not sure what was going on (I wasn’t expecting an engagement at all this weekend, so I didn’t even have it in the back of my mind). As I opened the door to my house, the candles and rose petals continued and I saw a huge “Congratulations” sign with a table full of champagne, desserts, balloons, roses, cards and more. In typical Rachel fashion, I shouted “Hellooooo. Is anyone home?” and “Congratulations? For what?” That’s when, in my confused state, James turned to me and asked me to marry him.

Without going into too many personal details and reciting every word he said to me during the propsal, the month of October holds a special place in our heart. Taking trips to visit me at my parent’s house (when we living long-distance for the first two years of our relationships) in the fall was always the best time for both of us. So asking me during our “favorite weekend” at my parent’s house meant so much to me, him and to my family. It was the sweetest and most thoughtful proposal ever and was perfect for us. We’re more of a quiet couple and neither of us wanted a huge scene to be made in public.

We immediately called down my parent’s (who were hiding upstairs after helping to set up all the candles and rose petals) to celebrate and called James’ family as well. We popped some champagne, were told we had planned dinner reservations and told all our friends and family members the news. The next day we traveled to James’ parents house for another dinner and celebration. Let’s just say I’ve had enough champagne for a few months…

halo engagement ring


pink ring

sylvie ring

The Ring

The ring is just perfect. It’s exactly what I wanted (a halo style setting with a center round diamond with a skinny band) but even better. The diamond is so shiny and sparkly that I can’t stop looking at it. You know you have a nice ring when your mother is in disbelief at it’s appearance, everyone says “OMG IT’S HUGE!” and your co-workers are constantly making jokes about how it’s blinding them. The ring is designed by Sylvie and was purchased at a local family jeweler near where James grew up. You can see the ring details and a professional photo here.

The Wedding

No, I don’t know when we are getting married yet. We just got engaged, people! I would assume sometime in 2016 in the summer or fall though. Planning weddings take a while, you have to book things wayyyy in advance, and I need to save up some money.