A few years ago, I had a version of watermelon feta salad at a friend's house. At the time, the combination was unexpectedly delicious and the recipe was very simple. I came across this recipe on Pinterest a little while ago, and it reminded me of that salad, though with a few delicious differences. This salad is very quick and easy, and it's the perfect light supplement to any summer meal!
watermelon salad with feta and mint
makes roughly 16 pieces (though I've usually gotten more yield from it)

16 1-inch cubes seedless watermelon, chilled (or however many you can get from a watermelon quarter)
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 teaspoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cream cheese or plain Greek yogurt
Pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

 
 

the shirt

The suit might cover the most surface area on a guy, but the shirt is what really sets the tone of the outfit. In the past, ties used to get all the attention. Shirts now come in varieties that invite you to be creative with the rest of your outfit, especially considering it's what you see if the suit jacket comes off. You just have to know how to combine colors and patterns in a way that works, and that's what I'm here for.

Before I go into what could ultimately be an endless exploration of the world of button downs (don't worry, I'll control myself), there's one piece of advice I want to give. I have to admit the fact that though I'm about to endorse everything but the traditional dress shirt, before you can take those leaps, you need the foundation of a white and light blue traditional dress shirt. In reality, you should get two of each, but should you need to be more conservative, this is the only way to go. And as usual, make sure it fits. Shirts come in a lot of different fits, and too tight or too billowy is not the right fit for anyone.

Moving on. Let's start with color. Solid colors will get you very far, especially if your favorite tie is one that doesn't sit well with other patterns. Apart from the blue and white shirts every man should have, stick with solids in agreeable colors, usually ones on the lighter side. You don't want to appear to be cheering on your favorite school.
These colors go well with any basic colored suit you should own, and even some non-traditional ones, like khaki. Patterns are where you get to have the most fun, but in a professional setting, you don't get to have too much fun. Stick to sophisticated patterns, again, in colors that can go with any suit and many tie options. The subtler, the better, but that doesn't mean you have to snooze over your choices.

Patterns can also add a lot of interest to your wardrobe and give you more options. Wearing patterns with a suit can often set you apart from other suit-wearers, especially if you expertly pattern mix with a tie or wear a well-matched solid tie. Like with solids, subtle is better, but because the color is less saturated on the shirt, you can incorporate bolder colors here with more condensed patterns. Patterns also add versatility and personality to your wardrobe when, after the interview, you don't always have to don the full suit or wear a tie.

 
 
what it is: Urban Decay Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Punch Drunk

why I love it: A sort of gloss/pencil/balm/lipstick hybrid, this lip color is - as its name would imply - super saturated. The texture is moisturizing without being sticky, and the color clings for hours. In the warmer months (which have finally arrived!), my go-t0 accessory is a bright lip color. This one is the perfect red-orange, and I especially love it because it's pretty much universally flattering and instantly livens up even the dullest of ensembles. 

where to get it: Available exclusively at Sephora, $19
-S
 
 
what it is: The Cambridge Satchel Company satchel in "The Fluoro"

why I love it: This bag (in yellow) caught my eye in the New York Subway, and my initial reaction to the shouting color was a bit of confusion. It so clearly clashed with anything you'd wear, and I was unsure why anyone would invest in such an otherwise well-made purse. That was until I couldn't stop thinking about it. And now, my love affair with this satchel (I want it in yellow) has been going on for years. It's the perfect shape and it comes in multiple sizes. The colors so obtrusively refuse to match with anything that they end up going with everything. I want the 11-inch so I can wear it as a shoulder bag, crossbody bag or tuck the strap in an use it as a clutch for evening. And according to Refinery 29, my love for this bag accurately describes my entire identity. It's meant to be... some day.

where to get it: The Cambridge Satchel Company (online only), about $167.00 (£105)
-E

 
 
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I accidentally figured out how to curl my hair with my straightener when I went a little crazy trying to flip it out once, but it was a mistake that became a style I wear on a regular basis. When I use a curling iron, my hair usually falls into soft waves. In this style, the loose curls hold for much longer, and I don't even need to use hairspray. It's a lot easier than it looks, and it's faster for me than using a curling iron. All it takes is just takes a few easy steps!

Before you start: This technique works best when done with a 1-inch flat iron. I use this one, if you're curious. This style can be done on any hair type, dried naturally or with a blow dryer.
Step 1: Divide hair and take a .5 to 1-inch strand to style. 
Step 2: Clamp hair in the flat iron as if straightening it. Drag down piece of hair until you reach the point that you want the strand to start curling.
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Step 3: While still clamped, take the flat iron and flip it 180º at the point you want the curl to start.
Step 4: Continue to drag iron down strand of hair with the straightener still flipped all the way down the entire strand.
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Tip 1: Once you flip the straightener, you might have to use your other hand to feed the rest of the strand through the flat iron to make sure it doesn't run off the heated plates. 
Tip 2: The slower you drag the straightener down a strand, the tighter the curl will be. 
Tip 3: Separate different sized strands for a more natural curled look.
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Repeat on your whole head, and you'll be left with loose curls.
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I like this option because I only need one tool to produce multiple styles. Next time you need to dress up an outfit, consider using your straightener for these loose curls.
-E
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I (along the rest of the world's sane population, I'm assuming) have always considered peanut butter and chocolate to be the perfect combination. During a recent sugar craving I discovered this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, where it was adapted from the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I figured both of those sources couldn't be wrong, and let me just say, these cookies do not disappoint. Don't skip the final step of rolling the cookie dough in sugar before baking - not only does it make the cookies look pretty, but it also adds an extra dose of sweetness adequate for satisfying any sugar craving.
peanut butter cookies with dark chocolate chips
makes about 24 cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy to add extra texture)
3/4 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons reserved for sprinkling on dough before baking
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk  I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk because I had it on hand)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chunks

 
 
We've both been obsessed with Deborah Lippmann's Get This Party Started Nail Lacquer Trio since its debut last year. Forget You, the polish pictured above, is black with large specks of multicolored glitter (read: the perfect combination of sophisticated and ready to paaaarty).  I could personally wear this polish every day, but one drawback is the $18 price tag. That's why I was so excited when I spotted a similar nail color for around $2! Crazy, right?
The (much) cheaper copycat? Wet 'n' Wild FastDry Nail Color in Party of Five Glitters (pictured above). The main difference is that it's clear instead of black, but if you layer it over any dark polish you already have, it looks pretty similar in the end. You'll need to apply several coats of it in order to achieve the optimal sparkle ratio, but it's worth it because you'll end up with undeniably Deborah Lippmann-like results. 
Polish colors: Deborah Lippmann Glitter Nail Color in Forget You, Esteé Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Perfect Storm, Wet 'n' Wild FastDry Nail Color in Party of Five Glitters
-S
 
 

the suit

My brother found out about a job interview with just two days notice, and texted me in a mild panic requesting suit advice for the big day. Beyond knowing that he should wear a suit, he was a little lost. It occurred to me that because much of the male population isn't exactly sartorially inclined (no offense), this might be a problem a lot of guys face. So here's the advice I gave my brother. 

My first rule is that a man should always wear a suit to a job interview. I don’t care if you’re trying to be a janitor or a CEO; wear a suit unless you're told otherwise. Second, make sure your suit fits. You might as well wear your PJ's if it doesn’t.

These non-black neutrals leave a lot of room for a variety of shirt/tie combinations and can be worn all year round.

But just getting a suit on your body doesn’t mean you’re done. Men don’t have much flexibility when it comes to interview attire, so attention to details can be the best way to set yourself apart from other candidates. Try to stay away from plain black. The fact that you’re wearing a suit is formal enough, and unless you’re applying for a job on Wall Street, you don’t have to be quite that conservative. Grays, navys and subtle patterns will look just as professional, but will also give you an opportunity to differentiate yourself.

If you're really confident in your ability to pull off a suit, these less conventional neutrals can be an interesting alternative if done right.

 
 
I'm a firm believer that almost anything tastes good in taco form. There are so many different flavor and topping combinations to experiment with, and I'm always drawn to anything that can be used as a vehicle for lots of avocado. These shrimp tacos are the perfect twist on traditional Mexican flavors. They're smoky, just a little spicy and, in my opinion, the ideal spring meal.
The radish-apple slaw is a simple way to add great color, crunch and tartness. Add some avocado to the mix (because it always makes everything better), and you'll end up with a pretty perfect taco!
shrimp tacos with radish + green apple slaw
makes 6 tacos

For shrimp tacos
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
cooking spray (I used canola oil)
6 small corn tortillas
1 avocado, cut into bite-size pieces

For green apple-radish slaw
1-2 granny smith apples, chopped into bite-size pieces
5 medium radishes, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

 
 
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I've been excited to see colored denim popping up everywhere lately, because it's a trend that is easy to follow and can add some immediate interest to your wardrobe. Having the option of substituting something fresher into my usual blue jean rotation gives the illusion that I took an extra second to think about my outfit. 
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I love color play in an outfit, so I chose to pair the jeans with a patterned top that doesn't have green in it, but complements the denim nicely. If the contrasting colors go together, a perfect match is not a necessity. I've worn this top before with regular blue jeans, but I like to change up my outfits, so adding a color was the perfect update for one of my go-tos.
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Outfit: Gap jacket, h.i.p. top, Blank NYC jeans, Forever 21 shoes
Accessories: H&M ring, Timex watch (similar here), Forever 21 bracelets (similar here), Forever 21 necklace, J.Crew necklace
-E