Sunday, December 7, 2014


Gratitude is where it's at, people. Actively practicing gratitude was something that was first introduced to me - really introduced as a spiritual practice - on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. Of course, when I was little, my parents talked about being thankful, gracious and vocal for all of our blessings, but it wasn't ever something I actively thought about, and explored, as an adult. 

As I continue to learn about my spirituality, gratitude is something that I have found to be incredibly therapeutic. Here are a few of the wonderful things I'm thankful for recently. 
  1. A rewarding career that challenges me every single day, and amazing coworkers that make each day so enjoyable.
  2. A family that's unrelentingly supportive, and is always there when I need inspiration.
  3. A loving relationship with my best friend.
  4. A group of friends that I wouldn't replace for the world. These people make my life whole.
  5. My apartment. It's my sanctuary.
  6. Our Christmas tree. It smells so freakin' good right now in our apartment (+ our cranberry  spice candle).
  7. This glass of red wine.
  8. Fresh, folded laundry. It's basically the only thing we accomplished on this lazy Sunday, and we're damn proud of it. 
  9. My workout today. It was embarrassingly the first time I had worked out in a long time (too long to admit here), so it felt unbelievable to move my body. Already planned a yoga class for tomorrow morning.
  10. Planning our trip to Machu Picchu in Peru! We're just starting our research for our trip in early 2015, and it's so exciting to map out the adventure together.
Hope you have a lovely week, all! Xx.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

DesignLoveFest's Dress Your Tech | My Favorites

I'm such a fan of a fresh start, and there's something about a new desktop background that kicks me into gear on Sundays and gets me excited for the work week ahead. DesignLoveFest, one of my favorite blogs, has a series called "Dress Your Tech," highlighting downloadable wallpapers for your computer. They're the best I've seen, and I love that there's always such a variety, yet all of them stay true to her aesthetic (clean, fun & minimalist).

Here are some of my favorites, starting with the one I'm rockin' now.

Happy week, everyone! Xx

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Capitol In Fall

Last weekend, Brandon and I hopped in the car for a quick weekend in DC. We spent Friday night with one of my best friends, Margot, and her fiancé, Zach, and got up early on Saturday for a private tour of NASA, thanks to my friend, Lindsay's dad. NASA was DOPE. We saw parts of the James Webb Space Telescope and a few environmental test chambers for rockets, including a room that simulates deep space (*mind blown*). 
We then headed to a nice brunch, explored the mandatories on The Mall, which were all gorgeous surrounded by the changing leaves (The Washington Monument, The WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial and the White House), and met up with Margot and Zach for a beer tasting event at The Daughters of the Revolution. There was something about drinking beer, and being surrounded by drunk people, in such a historical place - it was a super cool experience.
It was a quick weekend, but I'm so glad we were able to go (especially after an equally historic weekend in Philly). Here are some photos from the weekend! Hope you enjoy. Xx

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Saturday Adventure in Philly

A few weeks ago, my mom graciously dropped my brother's car off in New York City for me to have until Christmas, and since she's dropped it off, we haven't used it at all. We've loosely planned a few things (apple piking, hiking), but our weekends end up getting booked up (in the best way possible).

This past weekend, though - we planned. We woke up early on Saturday and drove the car two hours to Philly! It was actually really lovely getting out of bed and carpe-ing the diem five hours before I usually do on a weekend. When we arrived in Philly, we went straight to Ben Franklin's grave then took an early detour to Reading Terminal Market for an early lunch. Brandon got the traditional cheesesteak - with Cheez Wiz - and I embarrassingly purchased the vegetarian cheesesteak. Even the guy behind the grill thought I was crazy. We then went off to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall (both super cool). We made a pit stop for a martini at The Continental, did a little vintage shopping and capped the day off with some Italian food before getting in the car to go back to New York.

It was such a beautiful fall day in Philly - we loved it.

What's next? DC on Friday! Another weekend, another adventure.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Body Shop Haul

Thanks to my girl, Essiebutton, I've been reading a lot about The Body Shop recently. She loves the store herself and always highlights the best-looking products on her YouTube channel & blog. It got me super curious to try some products out...

...So, when Brandon & I were traveling back from Virginia to New York over Labor Day weekend, I stopped into The Body Shop at the airport while we were waiting for our plane to get in. More than $50 later, I walked out with a pretty decent-sized bag and a big grin on my face. 

Here's a look at what I got.

Shea Body Scrub | $12.00
*Read Essiebutton's "First Impressions" blog post of this product here!

Have you ever shopped at The Body Shop? What are some of your favorite products? I'd love to know.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

DIY Instagram Photo Wall

Instagram is a hobby of mine, so when my friend Chrissy told me about Artifact Uprising - a site that creates physical photos & albums from your Instagram photos - I was super interested. She showed me her cute wall of Instagram photos in her Boston apartment and I fell in love. I needed to do the same.

I ordered 25 prints of my favorite Instagram photos from Artifact Uprising, and within a week, they were in my apartment. Talk about some serious Insta-ception.

Take a look at how I transformed the space above our bed into an intimate peek into our day-to-day lives. I absolutely love it. Waking up & seeing some of my favorites moments - lovely meals, views from my most memorable travels, and snapshots of the mundane, but interesting - is the absolute best.

I recommend taking a look at the website & seeing how you can transform your favorite photos (whether it be in designed photo albums, books, wood calendars; you name it). Sometimes it's great to move from the digital to the physical.



Sunday, August 3, 2014

How To Clean Your Make-Up Brushes!

A huge pet peeve of mine is dirty make-up brushes, so I like to give mine a good cleaning once a month or so. Instead of buying expensive cleaning solution, I go for the cheap, easy version: the Dove beauty bar! The beauty bar is SO inexpensive and it leaves my brushes so clean & beautiful. 

The process is super easy. Take out your make-up brushes, your eyelash curler (& your tweezers, too!) and lay them out on a towel. Just wet the beauty bar under your sink and start brushing your brushes up against the bar. You'll start seeing ALL of your make-up go down the drain, which is such an awesome sight. Then, keep brushing them against the bar of soap until you don't see any make-up in the sink anymore.

Simply lay them flat on the same towel after rinsing, and by the next morning, your brushes should be good as new! It only takes about 10-15 minutes, and it's so worth it. Kind of soothing, too.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Day in Astoria

I was a bit overdue for a day trip to Astoria, so today, I met Katie, MA & Lizzy up in Queens for a girls afternoon. Our first stop was the flea & food market - it's an awesome (and very manageable) market with tons of delicious, local food options and some quirky stands. By the end of our two hours there, I managed to consume strawberry basil lemonade, cucumber mint limeade, an Asian cabbage pancake with noodles, a few bites of a deep fried rice ball & a few too many samples of salsa. Needless to say, I was a happy girl.

After we felt satisfied by our food choices, we made our way down to the different product stands. I ended up at a jewelry stand called We See Stars and purchased two midi rings that I'm LOVING (one is gold and the other is rose gold - perfect for stacking).

After scouring the market for a bit longer, we split ways, and Katie and I decided to hit one more shop: Lockwood. This place is such a hidden gem for gifts (and adorable clothes, jewelry & housewares that are pretty impossible to pass up). I left with some constellation socks for Brandon and nail stickers with lovely pastel colors & geometric patterns, but I definitely wish I left with more... the candle selection was ah-MAZING.

Katie & I were feeling quite indulgent, so we capped off the day by getting mani/pedis at Athena's Nails in Queens. A hot coral for my toes and Essie's "Marshmellow" on my fingers, and I left feeling like a million bucks. It was an awesome day with great friends, and the weather couldn't have been better. Days like this make me love summers in New York. 

Hope you have a great week, all! Xx

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Steep Your Soul: Maya Angelou

Super Soul Sunday is one of my favorite weekend rituals. Brewing my morning coffee & snuggling under a blanket with my windows wide open - with Super Soul Sunday on TV - always starts my Sunday off in the best way possible. It's uplifting & inspiring, and gives me incredible food for thought for the week.

Oprah often references Maya Angelou in her show, so when she passed away recently, I turned to Oprah's content to learn more about her life & her messages. I ended up on Oprah's YouTube channel, watching video after video with Maya, and her words really hit home with me.

While all of her messages are worth sharing, here are a few that brought me chills in those videos:

  • "Love may be the energy that keeps the stars where they are. Love may be the energy that keeps blood flowing through our veins. It is the reason for everything good."
  • "It's such an amazing understanding to think that the "It" which made fleas and mountains, rivers and stars, made me. What I pray for is humility. That there is something bigger than you and I. I would like everyone to think of a statement by Terrence: "I am human. Therefore, nothing human is alien to me."
  • "When you know better, you do better. Don't hold yourself hostage for who you used to be."
  • "When people tell you who they are, believe them."

I'm hoping I can embody some of Maya this week.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

100 Happy Days

I've recently been intrigued by the #100happydays challenge. It's quite a simple challenge, really - basically, all you need to do is identify one thing a day that makes you happy... for 100 days. Doesn't seem that hard, right? Well, according to the website, 71% of people who start the challenge fail, and most of them quote a "lack of time" as the main reason. These people simply did not have enough time to find something that made them happy.

So, I'm giving myself this challenge to identify one thing a day - just one thing! - that makes me happy. It could be a cup of coffee, my comfy couch after a long day of work, a bright blue sky, a cute dog I pass on the streets - whatever! If it makes me smile, I'll document it.

I'm already a week into the challenge, and I've had so much fun taking photos! It's crazy how conscious you become in finding the good in every day when you're forced to take a photo of it. I've come down with the flu the past few days, so a lot of my photos have been of soup, tea & my bed. It's all good, though - you can still find the good when you're sick. Especially when you have a cute guy making the soup for you. :)

Keep up with my journey on Instagram here!

What do you think? Could you be happy for 100 days in a row?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Mexican Night

I really love Sundays, and this rainy, wintry day in New York City called for some cozy food indoors. Instead of opting for takeout, Brandon and I decided on Mexican (duh). After a morning of running errands, we came back to our apartment, flicked on the football games & started to cook! This dinner was just what we needed - it's healthy, vegetarian & actually fairly light (which was needed after a heavy pasta dinner last night).

Here's what was on the menu. Read on for the full recipes:

1. Mexican cucumbers 
[baby cucumbers, lime juice & chili powder]

- cut the cucumbers into small pieces & put them into a bowl
- drizzle the juice of 1/2 a lime over the cucumbers (you can easily put more lime juice into this recipe, but Brandon isn't a huge fan, so I kept this part minimal)
- finish with two tablespoons of chili powder - mix it into the bowl with the cucumbers and lime juice & stir
- plate the cucumbers onto a plate & you're done!

2. Bean salad 
[one can of kidney beans, two cans of chick peas, green beans, celery, red onion, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt, pepper & sugar]

- after rinsing the beans, put all three cans into a bowl
- chop up the green beans, celery & red onion as you wish - I used two stalks of celery, a handful of green beans and 1/3 of a large, red onion
- mix the beans & the veggies
- add in 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup of oil & sugar and finish with salt & pepper
- refrigerate for at least and hour, then serve

3. Vegetable fajitas
[red pepper, red onion, one can of black beans, monterey jack cheese & tortillas...don't forget the glass of white wine on the side ;)]

- sauté the red onion and red pepper in a pan with olive oil for 10 minutes, until golden brown
- rinse the black beans and put them into a pot on the stove to heat up for about 10 minutes
- warm up your tortillas in the microwave
- serve the tortillas with the sautéed vegetables, cooked black beans & shredded monterey jack on top. garnish with sour cream, hot sauce & scallions and you got yourself a dope fajita.

let me know if you try any of these - i'd love to know! also, comment with your favorite mexican recipe. we're always down to try new mexican dishes!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hey There, '14

I've always loved fresh starts, and New Year's Day is a favorite of mine. 2013 was incredible - probably one of my favorites yet. I moved to a new job that challenges and excites me every single day, Brandon and I moved to a wonderful apartment in Chelsea, and my relationships with him, my friends and family have strengthened and continued to grow. I'm so insanely lucky. It was a great year, and I'm looking forward to what 2014 will bring.

To kick it off, I wanted to set a few resolutions. here are a few of my simple goals:
  • Practice the act of gratitude 
  • Wake up early and take time for myself 
  • Eat something green every day
  • Plan a trip (on my list of places: New Orleans, Thailand)
  • Workout at least 3x a week
  • Read a book a month
There they are. Now, all I have to do is focus on them. Here's to an abundant & adventurous '14!