Summer Travel


Is it too early to be thinking about summer travel? I hope not because it is all I can think about at the moment. There are so many things I love about summer and travel is definitely one of them. 

While I would normally be in midst of planning some sort of trip for the season, things are a bit different this year. As hard as it is for me to admit, this is still my situation, and as much as I would love to be prepping for a cruise or other weeklong destination vacation, right now, the chances of that happening are slim to none. Instead, this summer will be all about day trips and weekend getaways that are close to home and satisfying to my wanderlusting soul.

L-R: Maine, Cape Cod, Long Island Wine Country, Montauk
Since my sister lives in Maine, this one is a no brainer. Besides the scenic views, and shopping at L.L. Bean, what I am most excited about for this trip is the food!  As "the foodiest small town in America," you better believe I want in! Bring on the good eats, and of course, lobster.

When I think of the quintessential summer destination, Cape Cod is usually the first place I think of. Since I didn't get to make it up there last year , I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can make it happen this year. Sun, sand, and Sperry's. 

Staying close to home, visiting the wineries on Long Island is also on my list. It wasn't until a few summers ago did I even realize that LI even had it's own little wine country to begin with! What better way to spend a summers day than with a delicious wine and a cheese platter? 
FUN FACT: One of the wines served at the Inauguration luncheon this past year was from a LI winery! 

Also on Long Island and on my list is Montauk. While many go for the weekend, Montauk is one of my favorite places to go for a fun-filled day trip since it's so easily accessible by car (and even train!).

Where are you headed or looking to go this summer? What are some of your favorite destinations that are close to home?

Favorite Kitchen Tips and Tricks


One of my favorite things about cooking and baking (besides the end product of course) are all the tips and tricks I've accumulated over the years that makes things so much easier. Some of them I've picked up from watching my family cook, others from some of my favorite cooking shows. Then there are the ones I've discovered from my own pure laziness genius, like using the method of deglazing to clean a burnt pan to avoid having to scrub it and ruin my manicure... Like my favorite go-to recipes, some of my favorite kitchen tricks are the ones that I find myself using over and over again, without fail.

1. Buttermilk is an ingredient that always comes up in recipes...after I've gone food shopping. Good thing it is easily recreated at home by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring cup, then filling the rest with milk to equal 1 cup. Five minutes later and the buttermilk is ready to go.

2. Another handy tip from not reading a recipe all the way through: an egg placed in a mug or bowl with warm water gets it to room temperature in no time.

3. Keeping the pit in and adding some lemon juice to an avocado keeps it from browning.

4. Ice cream scoops make perfectly sized cookies and meatball and are less messy.

5. Parchment paper is an amazing substitute for cooking spray. (especially if you know what's in cooking spray...)

6. Sweet onions don't make you cry.

7. Since I hate cleaning the blender and food processor (I could lose a finger!), this one comes in handy daily: dish washing soap + water + the appliance on high = an easy cleanup.

8. Freezing a soft cheese, like mozzarella, makes it easier to slice or grate.

9. A vegetable peeler doubles nicely as a mandolin.

10. "The Finger Test" is an absolutely genius way to determine if steak is done.

Do you have any favorite kitchen tips of your own? Share them!

Weekending and Some Chatter


At the moment, I would estimate that my heart is beating about a quarter of a million beats-per-minute. Haha, okay, I'm obviously exaggerating, but to say I'm a little anxious at the moment would be a great understatement. Thankfully, it's the result of a new life venture and nothing too serious. Needless to say, I am so ready for the weekend and to not have to look at an Excel spreadsheet or talk about/pretend I remember anything from accounting for the next two days...

Listening to the perfect mix of chill music, including Kasakade's It's You, It's Me. His music inspires me in so many ways, and even more since reading about his start in music. I missed his Redux tour stop in NY last night and I'm trying my best not to be bitter about it...

Playing with my new MacBook Pro...eventually. (It's still in the box.) My beloved white MacBook died over a month ago and yeah, I've put it off getting a new one long enough. That said, I foresee multiple trips to the Apple store in the next week to have everything transferred over and set up. Oh, joy.

DIY-ing a new print for my room. I have an idea of what I want to do, but I also love this heart photo display I saw on Pinterest recently. Decisions, decisions.

Reading Relish by Daphne Oz. I absolutely LOVE Daphne on The Chew and find her to be not just relatable, but genuine as well. I'm so happy I finally got my hands on a copy of her new book and can't wait to delve into it this weekend. I read the first chapter and I love it so far.

True story, it took me a very long while to realize who her dad was...

Baking these scones. Or maybe cookies. Oooh, or maybe empanadas! Basically, I'm just in the mood to bake something.

Watching the one of the few Disney movies I like (read, not depressing), Beauty and the Beast.

Dreaming of being back in Nice. I wouldn't mind standing on the beach in the above picture, looking out at the Mediterranean, and enjoying the sunset. I truly left part of my heart in the Côte d'Azur. 

Quoting C.S. Lewis "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."

Now for some confessions/announcements/ramblings. I've been blogging for some time now, and while I've always written in my voice, I've often held back a little.

I want to change that.

Over the last few weeks, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do going forward with the blog and the conclusion I came to? I over think and analyze things too much and that I just need to go for it! So going forward, things may be a little different.

Content-wise, things will more or less be the same, but there will be some new things. I will most likely be including a monthly health/fitness type post that I promise will be fun and not preachy. I swear. This is a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, and while some of you may already know the reason, I will explain why in full detail in a post next week. 

Most importantly, what I really hope to do is add a bit more of "me" back to the blog. I mean, my name is in the title, so it only makes sense, right? Maybe I should reintroduce myself with a "get to know me" post or video? Let me know what you think. Either way, I'm excited for what's to come, because I promise, I have some fun things planned in the next few weeks. Maybe days...

In the meantime, I'd love your feedback! What you like, don't like, salutations, whatever you want!

Whew! That was a lot. Wishing you a happy weekend! What are you looking forward to? xx

My Three Makeup Bag Musts


I can officially say I've completed my spring cleaning for this year. After tackling my closet, makeup drawer  and everywhere else I could think of, I concluded with my everyday makeup bag. My friends have always referred to my makeup bag as "CVS," since given it's contents, it's safe to say that I am prepared for almost anything. Really what that translates to is a bag full of unnecessary, and often, useless items, which then makes my handbag heavy. No bueno.

While the whole idea of the overhaul was to get rid of the excess, there were a few things that I kept and added to the mix, even if I may not use them very often. I call them my "little life savers" since having them on hand makes a world of difference and because they make my day go that much smoother.

The Life Savers: Mascara by BenefitEarrings from my EtsyFriction Block Stick by Band Aid

Every now and then I find myself going through my entire makeup routine yet somehow forgetting my most important step: mascara. I'm usually too far from home (or too late for the train...) to turn back, so adding a backup mascara to be applied at my destination or on the train, (I'm so discrete I swear!) was necessary.

Like mascara, I just don't feel like myself without a pair of earrings. I feel naked without them! Again, adding a backup pair of earrings just made sense. I just need to remember to put them back in my bag after I've worn them!

Friction Block Stick 
I've lost count the amount of times I've decided to wear a pair of new or uncomfortable flats while parading around the city. I think the reason it keeps happening is because I have this little miracle stick with me at all times. A quick swipe before or after with a band aid and I'm usually good to go. I also love it in summer for sandals and "flip flop burn." Truly a must.

What are you're essential backup items?

8 out of 25


After I initially made my 25 before 25 list list 109 days ago, I had a few doubts about it. I knew already where this doubt was coming from and after dismissing those thoughts as negative self talk, I become truly ready for the challenge and the crossing off started to begin. My focus in life has definitely become to live life to the fullest, and in light of the events last week, I've never wanted to pursue that more.

That said, it's time for an update!

3. Go one month without shopping for clothes. This was something that I didn't need to do per se, but something I wanted to see if I could do at all. Could I go into Nordstrom or Target or browse on ASOS and not buy that top I (really) want that's also on sale? Since I put it off for the month of February (Prabal) and March (I forget), I figured there was no better timing to do it than during my Whole 30. It was also the perfect time to really clean out my closet and reorganize it. Now, it's time to shop.

4. Do a typically group thing alone. Yeah, yeah, tons of people go out and eat alone, I know. But I've never liked dining out alone as it reminded me of being in HS. I wish I had ignored all those sneers for eating alone sooner because it's totally liberating! While I enjoy the company of another while dining out, being comfortable within myself to eat alone means I don't have to wait for someones schedule to open up in order to try out a restaurant etc.

9. Hold plank for a minute. Considering I was averaging 10-15 seconds at the start of the year, I'm really happy with my progress. (And the strength in my core and arms isn't bad either.)

10. (Secret) The secret to-do was to complete the Whole 30. Done and done!

11. Purchase personalized stationery. I may have picked up a few more sets since this post, but in my defense, they have been coming in very handy.

13. Wear something out of my comfort zone. You wear a bag, right? Either way, I really did not expect to walk out of Macy's having purchased this stunning, bright orange DKNY bag. Given that most of my bags (and shoes) are black, while I would admire this bag on someone else, it is not something I ever thought would pick out for myself. Yet, here we are. And you know what, I LOVE it.

18. Take a group dance or fitness class. Almost everything on my 25 before 25 list requires me to be put in a position that takes me well out of my comfort zone. So far, ballet wins that title.
Thinking I was "past my prime," when I saw an offering for a ballet class for everyone, signing up was a no brainer. I may tumble on my pirouettes and be too exhausted to do anything post-class except lay in bed, but it has been so worth it.
My ballet slippers on the first day of class. They definitely have some wear on them now!

21. Learn more about photography. I can fiddle around with the camera enough to get a decent shot, but I don't want to be a fiddler! I just want to know what to do in a given situation. I know photography is about practice, but I thought a course would help. In mentioning this to my dad, he told me to just practice (what?) and handed me this massive practice set. I'm about 1/3 of the way through it, but I've learned so much already, from different lenses (hello vintage 50mm prime lens, ways to upload (how easy you make life card reader), and the best ways to achieve the shot you want. Hopefully my very own DSLR will not be long now!

Some of My Favorite Things


I read something recently that I can't get out of my mind.  In the April issue of O Magazine, Dr. Phil wrote an article titled "6 Steps to Self-Assurance" for a "deeper, stronger faith in yourself." (Who doesn't want that?!) It's what he said about negative thoughts that had me go "aha!" He says:
It's human nature for us to think negatively. Studies show that negative thoughts and emotions are quicker to form, attract more of our focus, and are more likely to be recalled than positive ones. 

While I don't allow myself to wallow in self-pity (ok, not very often anyway), I'm glad I now know that when I can't shake a negative thought from my head, it's actually human nature! Ultimately, what helps me to snap out of it and regain focus is embracing the positives, whatever they may be. As Dame Julie Andrews once sang "I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad."

I just belted that out. You're welcome.

These beautiful hydrangeas decorated my dresser until I realized they were the reason I was uncontrollably itchy. Blasted allergies!

I'm not a frequent coffee drinker, but after tasting Lavazza, that may change. 

I'm normally not one for celebrity lines etc. but this foundation  from the Kat Von D line at Sephora is just perfect from formula to color. 

Thanks to my friend Lauren, I now know my new iPhone can take panoramic pictures! This was at The Met. 

I need more days that require open windows/an open sunroof while driving! 

Working while wearing a new piece coming to my Etsy this week!

What are some of you're favorite things? 

Whole 30: DONE!


From March 15th to April 13th, I will be doing the Whole 30 and recapping my experience every Monday with a post outlining how I'm feeling, what I'm eating, and how it is going overall. 

I. am. done! I feel like these 30 days just flew by! The Whole 30 is something I've contemplated doing for a while now, and even thought the beginning was tough, I'm glad I did it. 

Was it worth it?
100000%! For starters, I am back to getting a perfect nights sleep, which in turn is making me feel more energetic and focused throughout the day. Most importantly, those pesky cravings, especially sugar, I had previously? Gone. I've been tested a few times (like picking up pizza for my dad), but I never once felt like I just had to have whatever it was. (Plus, the thought of the agony my body goes through to process say, gluten, turned me right off.) Feeling as good as I do, the last thing I want to do now is screw up everything I've been working so hard for. 

So what now?

Kate Young for Target


In addition to the Whole 30, I also set out on another challenge for myself: no clothes shopping for the duration of the 30 days. Nada, zippo, zilch. It's not something that I needed to do, rather it was something I wanted to see if I could do. Thankfully my Whole 30 ends on Saturday, since the Kate Young for Target collection comes out this Sunday! 

One thing I love about these diffusion lines (besides the clothes of course), is getting introduced to talent that may or may not necessarily be a household name. (An example that comes to mind is the Target employee that kept referring to Prabal Gurung as "Pablo Garcia." Bless her.) Since Kate Young was my Pablo Garcia, I googled and found out that she's not just an incredible stylist, but she started her career in fashion at Vogue as an assistant to Anna Wintour (!!!) and later became the in-house stylist. From there, her career has taken her from editorial to the red carpet and beyond. Not to mention, she's a huge fan of Chanel. A girl after my own heart. 

Getting to know more about Kate Young made me that much more excited about the collection, and I cannot wait to shop it on Sunday! After many a browse through the lookbook, I narrowed down my list to my top five wants from the collection. 

LOVE these silk shorts (also available in black.)

Whole 30: Week 3!


From March 15th to April 13th, I will be doing the Whole 30 and recapping my experience every Monday with a post outlining how I'm feeling, what I'm eating, and how it is going overall. 


It wasn't until I came to write this post did I realize that I am three weeks into  the Whole 30. Not just is time flying, but at this point, it just feels so natural. While I will, I don't even feel like counting the days anymore. This is my new normal...again. 

This week I had my first dining out experience since starting the Whole 30. I haven't seen my friend Lauren (who is also Paleo), since last September, so we decided we would get together and catch up over brunch. There was a part of me that wanted to postpone it until after I was done with the Whole 30, but doing so would have meant not getting together until the end of April/May. While the Whole 30 has it's restrictions, the reality is this: Life goes on. There will be brunches, and lunches, and various other get-togethers that will involve food. And if there's one thing in life that I cannot live without, it's good food and good company. The most I can do is research beforehand if possible and make the best choices I can while out. 

After said research, we decided on Nice Matin on the UWS. Since I had already reviewed the menu, I decided on the spicy lamb sausage and egg scramble (sans cream), with a side of bacon. While I would have loved a cappuccino, my pomegranate-rose tea was just perfect, and so was the day. 

A Spectacle.


The thought of "April showers bring May flowers," may add a new umbrella or pair of rain boots (or both) to the spring shopping list of many. Come to think of it, I do need a new umbrella, but instead, I am looking to pick up a new pair of eyeglasses. April showers may bring beautiful May flowers, but they also bring the worst time of year for many: allergy season. Itchy eyes + contacts = no bueno.

While I may be using the upcoming allergy season as an excuse, truthfully, I've been meaning to pick up a new pair of glasses for the longest time. It's been almost 3 years since I got my current frames and I have never liked them. I think they are nothing short of hideous and I won't even wear them out in public.* My search for nice, new specs has brought me to none other than Warby Parker. I have been following the brand for a while and absolutely love their fashionable, yet affordable eyewear, as well as their "buy a pair, give a pair" program. I can't wait to check out their showroom and pick out my new frames!  Now to narrow done my favorites list to a favorite...

*slight exaggeration. 

Are you a fan of Warby Parker? Which ones are your favorite? 

Portuguese Chicken


Chuck Hughes has to be one of my top five favorite chefs on TV and definitely one of the most entertaining. (And he's kinda cute but whaaatevverr.) Last summer after graduation, Chuck's Day Off immediately became one of my favorite cooking shows to watch on whenever I had some downtime. I've always enjoyed watching cooking shows, but it wasn't until I saw the episode for Portuguese Chicken with Chorizo and Clams did I actually feel inspired to actually make the dish myself. Even before the episode was over, I had the recipe printed and a shopping list of ingredients to pick up at the store, I made it the next day and instantly became a favorite. It's been in dinner rotation ever since.

Before starting the Whole 30, I knew this would be an easy dish to "paleofy" and make Whole 30 compliant. I switched the canola oil for coconut oil, regular potatoes for sweet potatoes (actually really good!), and added some carrots. Either way you make it, the dish is so full of flavor, guaranteed you will make it again, and again, and again. Did I mention that it's incredibly easy and requires only one pot? Because it is and it does. 

Portuguese Chicken (Printable recipe HERE)

2 peppers, halved and seeded
6 pieces of chicken, thighs and legs (I typically do two pieces per person)
1 pound sliced chorizo
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons per person coconut oil (or ghee)
2 sweet potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion (medium sized) halved and sliced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
12 clams*
2 to 3 cups of kale*
1/4 cup each parsley and chives for garnish
Salt and pepper

*More or less of these items is personal preference.

Start by heating the oven to broil and place the red peppers, skin-side up on a baking sheet for approximately 10 minutes or until all the skin is blackened. You can also do this in the toaster oven or over an open flame on the stove, turning occasionally.

When the skin is blackened, place the peppers in an airtight container or bowl covered in plastic wrap to sweat and cool for 5 minutes. Once they are cool, remove the skin.

Reduce the heat of the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a bowl, add the chicken as well as the smoked paprika, paprika, chorizo, salt, pepper and mix well.

In a pan, heat the coconut oil on high heat. Add the chicken and fry until crispy on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chorizo and do the same for another 2 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, carrots and onions and stir. Slice the skinless, roasted red peppers into long strips and add to the pan, along with all the juices. Place the smashed garlic on top of the chicken and season with salt and pepper.

Put the pan in the oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until the chicken is fork tender. Remove from oven. Add the clams and kale and cook for another 10 minutes. (You can also steam the clams separately and add to the pan after cooking.)

Remove and plate, garnishing with fresh parsley, chives, and a drizzle of olive oil.  

Spring Cleaning


So the weather this past weekend? Just spectacular. The blue, sunny skies, and warm-ish temps, had me in the best mood and in the mood to get some spring cleaning done. Spring cleaning for me usual centers around my closet, discarding what I haven't worn/what I don't like and what doesn't fit. While I absolutely hate this type of cleaning, it becomes a win-win situation as clothing that no longer fits needs to be replaced with clothing that does. I love when the odds are in my favor!

Once I got started on my closet, there was no stopping. My dressers, storage closet, and even my little corner in my dad's office all got refreshed and reorganized. The last stop on my spring cleaning tour was probably the most important: my makeup drawer and everyday makeup bag. While I take very good care of my makeup, (sterilizing after each use, etc.) I have a tendency to keep makeup, that I don't like, and worse, has expired. I know, it's terrible and not to mention, gross. 
 I think the lip lacquer and gloss are at least 6 years old...

Like my closet, cleaning out my makeup means room for new products! One of my favorite things about discarding empties the Back to MAC program. If you're not familiar with it, MAC has a program where you bring in six empty MAC products and in exchange, you get a free lipstick (at the counter) or a free lipstick, eyeshadow, lip gloss (at a freestanding MAC store). These empties bring me to a total of 12 empties. Two free products!

Did you get any spring cleaning done this weekend? Are you good at cleaning out your makeup?

Whole 30: Week 2!


From March 15th to April 13th, I will be doing the Whole 30 and recapping my experience every Monday with a post outlining how I'm feeling, what I'm eating, and how it is going overall. 


Week 2! As I mentioned last week, I made my way to Whole Foods and Trader Joe's and picked up some new veggies and herbs in the form of parsnips, rutabagas, and dill. I've only used the dill, so far, but I will report back on the veg, since I've never had either before. 

Otherwise, things are going well. I am finding my transition back to Paleo much easier than I anticipated, and even though I am "on a plan," it doesn't feel like it anymore. I also observed this week that:
  • With the exception of meal planning, I am not thinking about food as I was before. 
  • I feel fuller for much longer.
  • Because I feel fuller, my meals aren't always on a schedule anymore. Dinner is sometimes later than my usual 6 o'clock because I don't feel hungry. 
  • I haven't experienced being hangry since starting the Whole 30.
  • Eating before working out makes me feel absolutely horrible, but a post workout meal makes me feel amazing. 
  • I feel like I am getting more out of my workouts.
  • My cravings are more or less gone. I even went to the pizzeria to get pizza for my dad and did not feel an ounce of a craving (probably cause eating it would make me sick anyway). 

As always, here is my journal for the past week:
Sleep 8 hours
Activity Kickboxing (Tae Bo), strength training

Pre-Workout Canned salmon with olive oil mayo
Post-Workout Remaining salmon, Ella's Kitchen (yes, baby food) 
Breakfast One egg scrambled, lox, leftover broccoli, tea
Lunch Ground pork w/ zucchini noodles and tomatoes, salad, a grapefruit
Dinner Pumpkin soup with sweet potatoes and chicken