Later 2012. It's Been Real.


I know, everyoneee is saying this right now, but really, where did the year go? 

Often in years gone by, my favorite end of the year pastime would go something like this: I would reflect on the past year, feel like it was a total mess, and sulk around while frantically awaiting the new year to begin for a fresh start.

But things are different this time around.

Taking It Easy.


Please note: This post is in no way meant to be a "woe is me" or a downing of  cheer for those more festive than me. This post, as is this blog, is simply an outlet and quite possibly, a relief to others that may be feeling the same way. Now back to the regularly scheduled post...

I My throat feels like it is getting sore (or is that just the result of being a hypochondriac) and it appears that my last wisdom tooth is coming in. My heart still breaks for the many people affected by the tragedy in Sandy Hook, those rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy, and for my own friends who are dealing with great losses themselves. Ultimately, I just don't feel like being festive.

This time of year can be stressful in more ways than one, and without a doubt, there is a strange pressure to feel endless amounts of merriment. The follow up to LOM (lack of merriment) is usually "Are you sad?" or "Are you depressed?" when actually, I feel neither of those things. More than anything, all I really want to do is just relax at home with my family and take it easy for the next few days.

And that's what I plan will do. The buche de noel will be replaced by my favorite sweets from my favorite bakery and instead of making truffles, Lindt will be my chocolates of choice. There will be no worrying about this, that, or the other. Instead, A Charlie Brown Christmas and Eloise at Christmastime will be on a running loop, (with above treats of course,) as well as some of my favorite holiday songs. Because no matter how I am feeling or what I may or may not be doing, I can't be without my holiday music. (You can listen to my Holiday playlist on Spotify here.)

I hope that what whatever you are doing, that you truly enjoy the holiday season and the time spent with your loved ones. Because in the end, no matter how you spend it, that is all that truly matters.❤

Managing Healthy Goals and the Holidays.


With the holiday season in full swing, one thing I've been getting asked quite often is not what I want for Christmas, (am I too old for that?) but what it is I eat during the holidays. Based on their reactions, I know the answer I give people shocks them.

Because my answer is everything. I eat everything during the holidays.

The Holiday Sweater.


When and where did the "ugly holiday sweater" originate? I had to Google it, because year after year they never cease to amaze me. In fact, I get more and more fascinated by them each year! While I have not worn such a sweater, I truly enjoy being a spectator to the many combinations of garland, lights, bells, reindeers, cats, and pom poms people come up with to wear on a single sweater. It's amazing.

While flashing lights and reindeer may not be making their way onto my clothes anytime soon (although I do find this sweater cute,) the sweaters I do tend to gravitate to this time of year are of the sparkly variety. Whether it be sequin, metallic, or glitter, the more sparkle, the better. Best of all, they can be worn well after the holidays are over.
1.Mossimo Colorblock Sweater with Sequins 2.Topshop Necklace Sweater 3. Topshop Embellished Harness Sweater, 4.Mossimo Sweater Jacket with Gold Foil

What's your holiday sweater style?

Coconut Sugar and a Caramel Sauce Recipe.


I've heard of coconut milk and coconut oil. I've even given coconut aminos a try after discovering it was a gluten free alternative to soy sauce. But coconut sugar? This was new to me and I needed to know more.

A quick Google search lead me to a host of websites and blog posts raving about coconut sugar. As I kept reading, all of the articles I read mentioned two things: that coconut sugar was considered low on the glycemic index and that it was a healthier alternative to sugar. Yes, many will say that “sugar is sugar,” but since I know that all sugars are not created equal, I was intrigued, (and slightly bored of using honey and maple syrup as my sweeteners,) so I decided to pick some up at Whole Foods and give it a try for myself. 

I was pleasantly surprised when I got home and opened the coconut sugar. It does not look, smell, or taste the way one would expect it to. It actually looks, smells, and tastes like brown sugar with the slightest hint of caramel. I was anxious to give it a try, so I used it to make the pumpkin spice syrup recipe I just love so much this time of year and it was a perfect substitution. Actually, it taste better. (Coconut sugar is used 1:1 as regular sugar, by the way.)
The slight hint of caramel in the coconut sugar made it perfect for caramel sauce, something I absolutely crave this time of year (salted caramel hot chocolate anyone?). My previous attempt at caramel was a total bust, but this recipe made it foolproof. It was actually easier than making caramel sauce with regular sugar which can burn and become a mess in an instant. I highly recommend making caramel sauce with coconut sugar even its just for the taste. Because it taste amazing. Straight out of the jar. With a (clean!) spoon. 

DIY Ring Resize


In the past few months, my ring size has gone down a band size, maybe two. As a result, I have been giving away my rings to friends (you're welcome!) and using others as a sort of scarf embellishment (think napkin holder...) However, there were two rings I was just not willing to part with and was determined to find a way to wear them again. I knew there had to be a way to make my favorite rings wearable again, so I googled. Because as they say, where there is a will there is a way.

And I found my way. The best part? All it involved was a candle!

The article above mentions two ways to use this wax method, if you will. I went with the second method since the two rings that needed "resizing" have an open top, perfect for filling with wax. I still have the comfort of the band and it couldn't be easier or cheaper!

What you will need:
  • Rings to be resized
  • A candle (preferably white)
  • Matches/lighter
  • Newspaper for work surface
  • Optional: a small knife or pin to remove excess wax. (Excess wax can also just be melted off.)

Life Post-Graduation: Breaking Up the Monotony.


Not being employed five months post-graduation had me in a mood of sorts (hello blogging hiatus…) My professors and parents prior to graduation warned that finding a job would be hard and take time and I knew it would given the current economy, but I didn’t think it would take this much time! I was pretty optimistic in the beginning, but come mid-September into October, I just couldn’t bear it anymore. I was truly feeling depressed.  All I could think was “Why am I still unemployed?!” and have a pity party of sorts.  

I finally came to my senses and to a realization: I am not alone in this situation and this period of unemployment is only temporary. I know I am a qualified candidate and I know the right job will come along eventually. It took a few days to believe it, but I finally did. It’s truly amazing how just a little bit of positive affirmation can turn things around. With a brighter and more positive outlook, I began to see how I could make my situation less miserable and, well, more fun!

After my realizations, it was time to take a close look at my schedule. Having a schedule not just keeps me organized, but gives me a sense of purpose. However, I realized that it was probably causing me more stress than was necessary, as it was a just a little bit too structured. I still (more or less) wake up the same time I did when I was in school and start my day the same way with prayer/meditation and a workout, with the time typically spent at school now replaced with job hunting/research/sending out resumes. While those are all things I need to do daily, what I needed was some more flexibility and spontaneity. Whether it be a trip to the mall, a mani/pedi, or just pinning for fifteen minutes, allowing these things into my daily routine makes me feel more balanced, and even more productive, with the rigidity of my prior schedule gone.

Ultimately, I had to look at my situation in a different light. Sure my main focus and task of each day is job hunting, but one thing I have right now is time. For all those things I’ve been meaning to do, DIYs to try, museums I’ve wanted to visit, books I’ve wanted to read, I can do them now! Who knows when I will have time like this again, so why not make the most of it, right? Since I’ve been meaning to pick back up learning Italian, I finally enrolled in a beginner course at the local community college. The past few weeks have been nothing short of rewarding and fun!
[Clockwise] Keeping Busy:
Practicing Italian.
A beautiful day for a stroll down Fifth Avenue.
Finally got around to this DIY bulletin board! 
When all else fails, a little bit of chocolate never hurts.

For the time being, all I can do is put in the work and effort and continue to be patient and hope for the best. But in the mean time, who says this time can’t be a fun one? Plus, I'll much prefer to save being stressed out for when I actually have a job. I’m hoping I can maintain this outlook going forward and I wish the same for my fellow post-grads!!!



it never fails I forget to take a full outfit picture. le sigh...
TOP H&M,  PONTE KNIT PANTS Mossimo, SHOES Marc Fisher, BRACELET David Yurman

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Cooking last year was fun, but I was happy to let my Dad do it this year. I did still contribute to dinner by helping prep and making green beans, cranberry sauce, and gelato. That was enough for me. 

This year was the first Thanksgiving where I actually got dressed up as we had family friends over for dinner. Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without a pair of stretchy, comfortable pants, so I was really happy when I came across these ponte knit pants at Target on Wednesday. They are the perfect combination of comfortable but presentable. OK, so they are kind of glorified leggings, not pants, but with a long enough top, they look like pants. Simply put, I love them, and I want to go to Target and buy another pair. 

Speaking of shopping, are you scoping out any deals this weekend? I am not one for Black Friday, but  I may browse online later on. (JCP has some amazing deals right now!) Whether you are shopping or spending time with your family, I hope you are enjoying a relaxing weekend! 

Fashion Documentaries


While I am not much of a movie person, I absolutely love to watch documentaries, especially fashion related ones. I love that rare glimpse inside of the fashion industry and those moments one may not get to see otherwise. I have a huge list of fashion docs I hope to watch soon, but here are a few of my absolute favorites that I can't help but watch over and over again. (I promise, I will only give brief insight. No spoilers here if you haven't watched!)

The September Issue
A professor in one of my Fashion Buying and Merchandising classes required us to see this movie when it was first released in theaters. Best assignment ever. As much as I wanted to see Anna Wintour give a lecture on cerulean, I left the theater with a new found respect for her, as well as Grace Coddington and Andre Leon Talley. To see all that goes into the making of the September issue, and the months, weeks, days, and even hours leading up to the closing of the issue, is truly phenomenal. 

Valentino: The Last Emperor
Whether in print or picture, I always find a designer profile to be so fascinating. To learn where they from, or where they live, and where they get their inspiration from, can make an admirer and consumer feel so much more connected to the designer and the brand. Watching The Last Emperor will leave you with that feeling. Valentino was truly a master at his craft and every piece he designed was a masterpiece. Be forewarned: you will probably want a red Valentino dress and a pug after watching. 

Bill Cunningham, New York
Bill Cunningham is the creator of street style as we know it. While street style is often worthy of air quotes nowadays, Bill Cunningham has this amazing gift of being able to capture what is truly authentic. When I was younger, I loved nothing more than browsing the Sunday Styles section for every image he had captured that week on the streets and at the various society galas. Needless to say, I was truly awestruck when I caught a glimpse of him back in 2011 at FNO. I know I sound like a total fan girl, but he is truly remarkable, and this doc enforces that. 

The Tents
Even though they were temporary, the tents in Bryant Park were as iconic to me as the Empire State Building. Seeing them go up used to bring such delight to my little fashion loving heart. This documentary chronicles not just the history and start of NYFW, but the last season in Bryant Park leading up to the move to Lincoln Center. If you are a lover of New York and Fashion Week, this one is a must watch.

Do you have a favorite fashion documentary? If you could pick an aspect of the industry or a designer, what would your ideal fashion documentary be about?

Wishes to Wander...


"We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” 
print via

Lately, my need for travel has been at a considerable high. Whenever I see a plane, I can't help but wish that I too were on my way somewhere, as I watch it disappear over the horizon. There's nowhere in particular I want to go at the moment; I just have a great need to be and see somewhere else, somewhere new. Since travel is completely impractical for me at the moment, reading, dreaming, and pinning, will just have to suffice for now. Here are some of my favorite travel posts from around the web:

Hibernation Season.


The Nor'easter that hit yesterday was supposed to bring rain and high winds. Instead, it brought snow. Half a foot of it. Totally unexpected, but I will always welcome a snowfall (granted I don't have to trek in it,) especially when it is the first one of the season. Since I am always cold (currently using a heating pad as a foot warmer...) I love nothing more than chunky knits and fleece blankets to keep warm during the colder months. 
(clockwise) High/low knit sweater: Target (Mossimo), Fleece lined leggings (the warmth!): Armani Exchange, Cozy critter socks (an essential novelty for this time of year.): Old Navy, Monogram blanket (a cozy, personal touch.): Pottery Barn, Slippers: Minnetonka

The items on this list I am most excited about? Everything. I play no favorites.

A few thoughts post Sandy...


I don't even know where to begin. I can't even compare this storm to Irene. I think it was worse than anticipated. Snowstorms I can deal with, even a severe thunderstorm. But hurricanes. Hurricanes are just a whole other beast.

And Sandy proved that.

The majority of the day (Monday) was spent on edge, doing whatever I could to keep busy. Fortunately I don't live in an area that floods, so my biggest concern was the wind and the massive tree in front of my house. It's huge. Or I should say was, as it fell, clean across the street (Thank God!) Everyone let out a huge sigh of relief as our biggest fear was eliminated. The rest of the night was spent listening to to the TV/radio (when we lost power for a bit.) I was finally able to calm down around 2 AM as the winds sort of died down, and soon fell asleep.

Waking up Tuesday morning, all I could do was be extremely grateful. We got through this storm unscathed. Putting on the news soon after, my heart just broke. The devastation. Seeing the images of neighborhoods not too far away, burned down. Others flooded. The Jersey Shore and Fire Island where I spent so many summers growing up, submerged underwater. It's really so hard to believe that all of this is happening literally in my own backyard, and not some far away place.

I'm sorry that my first post in weeks is a somewhat somber one. But it's hard to see all of this happening so close to home and not have feelings about it.

I hope you are all safe, wherever you may be, and I promise, happier posts will be coming! 

Pumpkin, Four Ways.


In October, I'm all about apples. Whether it be pie, in a main dish, or just as they are, I gorge myself on them. When November rolls around, pumpkin gets the same treatment. I usually start picking up cans of pumpkin puree at Trader Joe's in the end of October, in anticipation of whatever pumpkin recipes I may come across and want to try. Pumpkin soup is always a given, so here are a few other ways I have been enjoying pumpkin this fall. 

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
This syrup just gets better and better. I used the same recipe from my post last year but replaced regular sugar with low glycemic coconut sugar. I have been using this syrup to make a pumpkin spice hot chocolate that is too good for words to fully describe.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup (paleo, refined sugar free)
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves or 3 to 4 cloves
3 tbsp pumpkin puree

NOTE: I usually add more puree because I love the pumpkin flavor. This, and the spices, are completely adjustable according to taste.

Over medium heat, combine the water and the coconut sugar until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add in all of the spices (except the cinnamon sticks) and the pumpkin puree, and whisk until the pumpkin puree is combined. Add in the cinnamon sticks and continue to stir the mixture over medium heat (you do not want it to boil,) for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Once the mixture has cooled, strain the syrup into a container and store in the refrigerator. 

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
My new favorite smoothie for breakfast/post workout. I just blend together 1/2 cup pumpkin, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (I love Fage), 3/4 almond milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and ice! 

Paleo Pumpkin Granola

I adapted this one a bit from a recipe I found via Google search. Great over yogurt or by the handful. It even makes a yummy "cereal" when added with almond milk.

Grain Free Pumpkin Spice Muffins
I am so happy I came across this recipe from the Detoxinista. It's incredibly hard to believe that there is no flour of any kind in this recipe and that the main ingredient is almond butter! They come out so fluffy and moist! (I hate the word moist, but I needed to describe these muffins.) They are great plain and even better with a few added chocolate chips. 

FUN FACT: I've never had pumpkin pie. I just realized that writing this post. 

What are your favorite ways to eat pumpkin?



There are some stores that I just can't go into. Target is number one, Michaels is another, and any type of kitchen/home goods store follows close behind. I will always find something that I just absolutely "need."

Case in point, my madeleine tray. I bought it back in January, not because I wanted it, but because I needed it. I needed it because I had given up processed foods, and while I enjoyed them on occasion at Starbucks with my tall Americano, that was a thing of the past. So I needed that tray to make them on my own, with ingredients I could feel good about.

(I swear that was my entire thought process.)

So I'm sure some irony lies within the fact that the tray I "needed" so badly didn't get used until six months later.  But despite that, I already know that buying that tray was completely worth it. I had a few recipes that I wanted to try out, but went with this recipe for starters. Those dainty, buttery cakes are were just too good to have just one. I can't wait to try other varieties including chocolate and Nutella.

Taste aside, don't they just look so impressive? I suddenly have the urge to have a tea party, especially after laying my eyes on this tea set...

Because I need it right?

A Day at the U.S. Open


Yesterday, I had the opportunity (thanks Dad!) of going to the U.S. Open. I am normally not one for spontaneous/last minute plans, but if there was ever a lesson to be flexible and throw away the schedule sometimes, this was it. I would have missed out on a truly spectacular experience.

Truth be told, I have never understood tennis. Sure, I played one summer in camp, but that was short lived after a serve hit me dead center in the middle of my forehead... After yesterdays game, I know that there are six games in a set, the player must lead by two to win a game, and it's the best out of three sets! See!! Professional. 

While the day was long and a bit hot, it was nice to see some of the best tennis players in the world right now, especially Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. In addition, the grounds of the stadium are absolutely beautiful, with so much to see and do (I couldn't get over the outdoor Moët & Chandon terrace). All  know is, count me in for the Open next year! 

Transitions and Changes


Ever since coming across this quote, it has been my mantra of the week. I never realized how much of a transitional month September is, especially as a recent graduate. It has been weird with some of my friends going back to school, studying abroad, and I'm not. I guess you can say it has finally set in: I am a college graduate. I surely do not miss college and its many syllabi, overpriced textbooks and overbearing professors. Yet, it doesn't change the fact what was a routine for so many years, is no more.  There is one thing I can be sure of, onwards and upwards. Amiright?

Speaking of changes, I've made a few little ones around the blog. I've done away with the Disqus commenting system, and gone back to Blogger's. Also, the blogs gotten a makeover! (Huge thank you to Blair!) What I love most about the new layout is the "share" features at the end of each post. Don't be afraid to pin it, tweet it, or share it on Facebook!!

I have a few super fun things planned in the next coming weeks. Giveaways are always fun right?

Bedroom Decor Inspo


Yes, I know. I have been redecorating my room for forever now, but as the new season approaches, I am antsy to complete it now. I did manage to complete the two major projects I wanted to do this summer, (staining my dresser and putting up pictures) so now it is just time for the finishing details. 
{photo sources: one, twothreefour, five}

What are your favorite ways to accent or spruce up your space?

Sweet September...


some weekend reading.

Is it just me, or is this year just flying by? I cannot believe it is already September!

But I have no complaints, because September is my absolute favorite month of the year. The number one reason that I love September? It's my birth month! But birthday aside, September is just such a great month, especially being in NY. From Fashion Week to the feast of San Gennaro, there is so much going on! Not to mention the (welcome) change in the weather and the start of the best season of all, Fall!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Happy first day of September!!

Vacations and Lessons...


This year's family trip was supposed to be a land based vacation. London, Aruba, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos were all on the table, yet a unanimous decision was hard to come by. After almost a week of discussion, every one was suddenly in favor of a cruise. Since Bermuda was an original thought, we decided a 5 night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas (which I sailed on last summer on the 9 night itinerary) would be the  perfect choice.

Since this cruise was shorter than past trips, it was imperative that we get in as much as possible in a short amount of time. We had two days at sea and two days in Bermuda with an overnight, which was a first, but really nice. The two days at sea were spent taking in all the ship had to offer: lounging by the pool and reading, taking in the ice and production shows, relaxing, eating, and yes, drinking. My favorite bartender from last year was on this year, so I had a bit of help with that last...activity. If you are ever on the Explorer of the Seas, Melvin in the Aquarium Bar is phenomenal at what he does. We are kind of best friends.

Our first day in Bermuda, we took the ferry to Hamilton, to walk around the city for a few hours. Using the ferry was not just fast but inexpensive as well. Using the ferry, we saved over $200, than if we had gone on the cruise excursion for the same destination/amount of time. In Hamilton, we stayed mostly around Front Street, walking (and shopping, at Marks and Spencer specifically) on Reid Street over to the park and to city hall. What I loved most about Hamilton was observing the men in their famous Bermuda shorts and knee socks. Even though its a uniform, based on some of the combinations I saw, some of them really have fun with it and make it their own. Love that.

(Yes, everything leads back to fashion and style somehow.)

After Hamilton, it was back to the ship for our excursion to the one and only Horseshoe Bay Beach. The overnight was nice because you really get to be at your leisure. At night, we opted for dinner at the specialty restaurant on board, and later walked over to the Dockyard where they had "Dockyard Nights" which was an outdoor concert with local crafts and foods.

Day two in Hamilton, we were off to the beach bright and early. Horseshoe was nice and quiet at that time, and perfect for a morning stroll. Our departure that day was around 4, so we left the beach at around noon to walk around the Dockyard and go to the Glassworks an Bermuda Rum Cake Company. The cakes are delicious (the chocolate rum was my particular favorite,) but boy are they strong. Eating the sample bite they give in the shop wasn't bad, but eating a slice back home, I felt like I had taken a shot of rum...or two. Maybe I'm a lightweight as they say, but regardless, the cakes are a local specialty, and worth trying. While I was sad to leave, we had an absolutely picture perfect sail away.

Not to be forgotten/not mentioned, the cruise director, Richard Spacey. One of the best CD's I have had on a cruise yet. I've never (slight exaggeration) laughed or been so entertained by a single person (other than myself, of course.) And yes, these are the only pictures I have of him...

I am all for honesty, so being honest, this was one of the hardest vacations I have ever been on. Don't get me wrong, I did have fun and am beyond grateful to have even taken such a trip, but golly, there was some drama. Too much for me to comprehend. But life is full of lessons, and if I took away anything from this trip, it was this: be very careful who you invite with you to travel. 

Also, rosé, shots, Long Island Iced Teas, and seasickness do not mix in any way, shape, or form.  

"I have found out there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them."
 -Tom Sawyer Abroad

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bark


Am I alone in saying that I never really see chocolate bark outside of the holiday season? Maybe it's because I have only ever noticed it at Starbucks when they have their peppermint bark during the holidays. Sure, I love indulging in a bit of chocolate, but making truffles is labor intensive (a labor of love no less,) and best saved for a special occasion. Chocolate bark is easy, quick, and completely adaptable. Plus, dark chocolate is good for you. You need to be eating more of it anyway.

1 10 ounce bag of dark chocolate chips (preferably Ghirardelli, 60%cacao)
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (add more to your liking)

For a truly decadent treat, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Nutella when melting the chocolate chips. 

In addition:
Baking tray
Parchment paper
Stainless steel bowl

First start by covering your baking tray with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.

Add the chocolate chips to your stainless steel bowl and place over a pot of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl and the water do not touch.) Stir until melted and glossy. Remove the bowl once the chocolate is completely melted, to prevent it from burning.

Using an oven mitt to hold the bowl, carefully pour the chocolate onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet and smooth with a spatula. (The more you smooth it out, the thinner the bark will be.) 

Sprinkle the hazelnuts over the chocolate.* 

Place the baking tray in the fridge for approximately an hour, or until the chocolate has completely hardened. Break apart and enjoy! 

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

*If you would prefer, you can add the hazelnuts to the chocolate after it has melted, then spread on the baking sheet. 

Printable recipe available HERE.

Pre-Fall Runway Inspiration


Even though "embrace the season in its entirety" was on my to do list for summer, I can't help but be excited for fall. It never fails that around the middle of August I become slightly over summer, and dream of crisper days, chunky knits, and all the fun that comes with the best time of year. 

Since fall shopping is a bit impractical right now (it was 85 today...), I did the next best thing: I browsed the Pre-Fall looks on Harper's Bazaar. While I may not be shopping right this moment, its nice to get an idea of what I want to shop for when the season actually rolls around and new ways to transition some of my favorite summer pieces. 
Looks by: Salvatore Ferragamo, Valentino, Chloé, Versace, Giorgio Armani, DVF, Rag&Bone.

*Images via Harper's Bazaar. See more Pre-Fall looks here.