The weeks are flying by and from here on out I increase my long runs by a mile each to hit my 10 miler the week before the race. Intensity is picking up and the dogs (and I) are feeling it.
Brief recap of notes:
- I can’t believe I haven’t told you about this - but I’VE HAD AN EYE TWITCH SINCE TRAINING BEGAN. I’m highly annoyed and starting to get concerned. Twitch, Twitch. A doctor’s appointment may be in order…. ((what’s wrong with me?!))
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of La Marca Prosecco. It is intended for an audience over 21 years of age.
It can be easy to get the Sunday night blues imagining a stressful work week ahead. One way I’m combating the blues is to start hosting fabulous sunday night dinners! This kills a few birds with one stone: I’m able to spend time with people I love, enjoy the last bits of the weekend, reach my new year’s resolution of cooking for the people I love, and of course - start the week fresh with great memories of a perfect meal.
About half way through my half training and I don’t really have any updates that are out of the ordinary. Mother Nature is really making regret choosing to live in a northern climate, never in my life have I wanted to live somewhere warm and dry so badly. I’m pretty sick of having to work my training schedule around the weather. It’s hard enough to fit it all in!
I’m getting major Spring Fever over here. It’s making me crazy. So crazy, I’m thinking about dyeing my hair for the first time ever.
Let me begin by saying - I LOVE being a brunette. Actually, I’m the captain of Team Brunette. However, I can’t help but wonder what it’s like to be a blonde. Do they really have more fun? What would I look like? Will it grow out into an awesome Jared Leto-esque ombre??
So, I’ve picked out a few of my favorite brunettes who’ve made the jump to blonde quite successfully.
First, let’s talk about the brunette queen - Kimmie K. A+ girlfriend, A+.
Ah - The half marathon is 49 days away! It’s creeping it’s way into a very serious soon-ish thing I’m going to do. That being said - I’ve reached my threshold with allowed times I can talk about the half marathon with JPC. He’s told me that not everyone is running a half marathon and I need to stop talking about it. BUT I CAN”T STOP (WON’T STOP) because I’m scared/excited/nervous/only think about all the running I have to do.
Hey guys— just popping in for my weekly half-marathon training recap. I’m sure you can guess how this will go - I’ll tell you I ran a lot and hated it (hopefully) a little less than the week prior.
Well, you’re right. All of that is true. I’ll spare you a detailed breakdown of each day and just recap with a few fine points:
1. I’m treating my training the same way that an alcoholic working the step program lives life - one day at a time. When I’m running I take it a step further - one mile at a time. While I throw serious hissy fits before every run, so far it’s working. What’s crazier - is once I actually get out there, I pretty much stop feeling that way and ACTUALLY ENJOY IT.
Week three is in the books! Yahoo! it feels good to know I’ve been at work on this for 21 days…isn’t that how long it takes to build a habit? Or something like that… anyway! Yay! Let’s recap it shall we?
Monday: I ran outside with the dogs, was suppose to do 3.5 and kicked out 3.72… HELLO, I’M A RUNNING OVERACHIEVER!! Kidding, of course, but it was a good run and it was light out the whole time and that means Spring soon…right?
Rocking a shade of red, or any bold shade for that matter, always gives me an instant pick me up! There is no easier way to add punch then with a sassy pout. Below are a few quick and easy tips to make sure you prep and set your lipstick appropriately!
If you’re still here reading about my half marathon training…thank you, we have 10 weeks left of these recaps. You can catch up on week 1 here. How is it possible that 10 weeks seems like forever but also way too soon to actually run 13.1 miles? I’m a wreck. Let’s recap the week!
Monday: I went to a gym to run my 3 miles… I walked in the door and they were serving pizza. FOR PIZZA MONDAYS. WTF IS THIS?! It took everything in my to get on that treadmill and run 3 miles and not eat pizza. I felt like not eating the pizza was accomplishment enough. I then STRUGGLED through those 3 miles while watching the treadmill time slowly tick by. When I got home I took my shoe off and my sock was totally bloody. I freaked, took a shower and went to inspect my exercise-induced wound. ONLY I COULDN’T FIND THE SOURCE. Mystery blood is no way to start off the week.
Tuesday: I went to a body pump class… at another gym. This time - no pizza. Only free weights…which made me feel like a bro. The workout was HARD, I was invited by my girlfriend and we rocked the weights to a lot of club music. I’m only doing yoga on my ‘stretch and strength’ days from now on.
Wednesday: Back to the Pizza Gym. I joined as a member - it’s $10 a month…. I’ll just have to avoid the pizza. This run was MUCH better. A tempo run that was a breeze. I drank a cup of coffee before hand and stared at hot models in a magazine… boom, motivation.
Thursday: I ran my 3 miles outside…because it warmed up to a balmy 34 degrees. JP came with me and I was excited for a fun couple run. .25 of a mile from our house I ate shit on a HUGE piece of black ice, sliding for what felt like forever. He told me I went down gracefully (duh). At least I ran the rest of the way home - freezing, looking like i peed my pants.
Friday: I had an early client meeting downtown and an after work event right at 6pm - and just like last Friday, I skipped my workout. WHOOPS. I promise I won’t do it again - but standing for 3 hours in heels is a work out too, you know?!
Saturday: Long run day success! 4 miles down, it was early enough before the snow that I had a chilly but picturesque run down to the Westside Market and through St. Ignatius’s campus. The dogs slept the rest of the day (win!)
Sunday: Rest day was amazing. I literally spent the whole day in bed with the dogs. I only ate pizza and watched the entire first season of The Carrie Diaries on Netflix (because I’m secretly 12 years old). BOOM!
Guys. It’s FAT TUESDAY (like I need an excuse) but if you do, get down and load up on all the calories your body can handle by making this outrageously heavenly dessert.
I told you I was making this on Sunday, and I spent my 3 hours doing so - don’t panic, it was worth it. So, back to Fat Tuesday - there are two entire sticks of butter in this heavenly creation. Who cares, throw caution to the wind - eat it all.
Anyway - it’s from Pastry Chef Jennifer Yee at Food & Wine and she blows it up. This was a recipe affectionately referred to as Millionaire’s Shortbread, but Chef Jenny knows it’s time to TURN UP and brought the billions.
So, the gist is this: homemade shortbread, homemade caramel (didn’t even know this was just burnt sugar, hello!), homemade dark chocolate ganache, and sea salt sprinkles.
*Also, my finished product is way uglier than the photos in Food & Wine..but whatever, it still tastes just as good.
I can’t believe it - but the house remodel is nearly complete! We’ve gutted the kitchen, installed new floors, and painted just about every wall or piece of trim in the entire universe.
If you’ve been following along, you know that JPC and I are took care of the reno ourselves…I’m not sure if you can call it DIY when you’re partner specializes in construction - but let’s go with it…since I cancel out just about any ounce of help with my klutziness. We started shopping and tearing up the place just after (or before?) Thanksgiving and completed everything just in time for me to host the ladies of my wine club (more on that later)!
So, lets go! Let’s take a look at our ‘before photo' courtesy of the home listing before we purchased the house:
Alright people - WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE. Holy cow, I can’t even believe it really looked like this. First off, I have to say we replaced the appliances the week we moved in: we bought a new stainless steel french door fridge as well as a new stainless stove/oven. Otherwise - this was our kitchen for a year. I can tell you this - galley kitchens are really really hard. I kind of hate them. I can also tell you that this kitchen killed my passion for cooking and baking. I hated spending time in it. I hated that I didn’t have a dishwasher even more.
BUT GUESS WHAT? With the renovation we got a dishwasher AND a microwave.
AND we got a beautiful set of cabinets, counters, a sink and facet from IKEA. JPC built out an additional wall so we could add some extra cabinets. WE LITERALLY TRIPLED OUR CABINET SPACE with this remodel.
Finally, every wonderful kitchen gadget we own has a place. Finally, I have enough counter space to prep all sorts of deliciousness. Finally, JPC and I enjoy having nights in to cook and enjoy ourselves in our home.
A close up of our sink and backsplash - we previously had a double-bowl and we opted for a single-bowl sink this time around. A few weeks in and I can tell you it was a great decision! I love how much room I have for cleaning and prep this way, I completely recommend it.
At the end of the kitchen closest to the dining room we put in a bar with a few stools. JPC built the bar for us, as I mentioned above, this is his specialty and his business. He’s an amazing craftsman that I’m so lucky to have (check out his website here). Previously, we had our dining room table crammed in this corner and used the space as an eat-in kitchen. It kind of sucked. I’ll be unveiling the new dining room in another post.
Above is the view of the same FREAKING FABULOUS kitchen from the other angle, as you can see the bar area is perfectly placed for quick meals or a cocktail while dinner is being prepped. Last but not least - can we talk about the floors?? The ‘before’ photo shows you the weird Floridian tile that was EVERYWHERE.
Seriously guys, I can’t get over this labor of love (mostly from JPC). I am so grateful that he took this on in addition to the rest of his work. Yes, I learned how to calk, paint, and grout…but if I’m being honest, mostly I just vacuumed. This would have never happened without him.
Petra can’t resist a photo op, ever.
So, the money shot - THE BEFORE AND AFTER COLLAGE, Apartment Therapy here I come:
Alright guys - Week 1 is in the books and today is my ‘rest day’.
I figured I’d give a brief update on how training is going now that my life is consumed by running (and more running). Since Sunday is a rest day and I don’t have to run - I have no idea what to do with myself, so… I’ll blog!
Until May 18th - this is where you can expect to see a weekly update on my progress and thoughts. Again, I’m using the Hal Higdon method and I’m already 2 weeks behind, so it will be interesting on how I make up that missed mileage before the big day.
So, here’s what we’re working with:
Monday/Tuesday: ?? can’t remember if I ran 2.5 on Monday or on Tuesday. Either way, it was only one of the days. I was suppose to run 3 miles, but miscalculated my distance and ran a really difficult 2.5 miles. I realized just how difficult it was for me since I *thought* I ran 3 miles. It was cold and my body hated me. The dogs however, loved it.
Wednesday: It snowed and I ran my intervals (about 1.6 miles) on the snowy sidewalks. It was hard. Running in the snow is like running on sand - who knew? Also, I was called ‘a white girl with a dog sled team' and cheered on by a flavorful neighbor. Again, the dogs loved it.
Thursday: JPC and I woke up and hit a 45 minute spin class at 6am. SUCCESS. We did arm weights to Rod Stewart - can you ask for anything more awesome as a kick off to your day?
Friday: I was suppose to wake up and run 3 miles before work. It was 1 degree outside. Instead I went back to bed. WHOOPS. I guess I need to get that gym membership since winter JUST WON’T LET UP. I did not run my miles at all, bad half-marathon trainer.
Saturday: I got up and ran my 4 miles with a pretty decent hangover. The weather was a balmy 35 degrees, the sun was shining and the pups were pleased. We ran steady 10 minute miles. I kicked my hangover and finished feeling awesome - the dogs slept for the rest of the day.
Sunday: (today!) Rest day! Whoopie! I laid around and read food magazines and plan to make this:
Because hello - I need to replace all these lost calories somehow ;)
Guys. I’m two years until 30. In an effort to not squander what’s left of my youth, I’ve decided to take some serious measures. I’m going to run my first half marathon. I don’t even like to run all that much, and now I’m going to do it all the time. CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW CRAZY I AM?
I have about 80 days until the gun fires and I’m already behind my training schedule. Again, CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW CRAZY I AM?
I’m using the Hal Higdon training schedule, recommended by my coworkers who’ve handled the 13.1 miles before. Does anyone else have any training tips? If you’re in the CLE area, I’d love to link up and get a running buddy or two!
I’ll be recapping some workouts and my progress here. I hope you’ll help cheer me on! Honestly, this blog post is what finally forced me to commit. See you on the road ;)
While in NYC I was able to catch up with some girlfriends I met when living around in Seoul, South Korea. We had a lunch in K-Town and spent hours reminiscing on our time in Asia. I thought it’d be fitting to offer some advice on travel to one of my favorite destinations. Seoul is a HUGE city of around 15 million people - it’s the most bustling city I’ve ever had the pleasure of living in. I highly recommend taking a visit.
From the moment you touch down at Incheon Airport visitors are greeted with the most insane shopping I’ve ever seen. The airport holds multiple stores for Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Burberry - just to name a few. High end shopping is a plenty, but budget options are also all over the place. I still have tons of clothes, shoes and accessories that I picked up in subway stations while running around the city. Some of my favorite pieces were snagged for the equivalent of $20 USD.
Korean food is fantastic - full of spice and flavor. If you haven’t ever had a Korean meal I recommend finding a reputable local Korean restaurant where ever you live. BBQ is a huge staple and kimchi is healthy and delicious. Koreans have a dish for every ailment and every celebration. For any foodie, it’s a dream come true. Since coming home, I’ve made it a regular staple of my diet…even venturing to cook a few things myself.
Korean’s have some of the best work-hard/play-hard mentalities I’ve ever spent time with. Their main export of music, K-Pop is a huge sensation and the groups are irresistible. Nightclubs and bars in Seoul literally don’t close until every single person is ready to go home. I’ve walked into a nightclub and night and finally left when the sun is already up the next day. If you’re looking to party, the clubs are the best part. Check out this list of must visit locales.
The Paradise Casino Walker Hill is the biggest casino in South Korea. Modeled after Vegas casinos, the Paradise Casino Walker Hill is found in the South Korean capital of Seoul. Gamblers can expect to find table games with a variety of limits to please just about any gambler. Do not expect to meet local residents here as they are not permitted to gamble in the casinos.
Ever spent time in Seoul? If so, I’d love a comment hearing your favorite things to do!
Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post, all opinions and travel advice are my own
My long NYC weekend was too good for just one post! If you missed it, you can catch up on part 1 here. Every time I’m in NYC I spend my days walking and walking with breaks only for eating and drinking. You know what they say, shopping IS cardio - so in the end I hope it all equals out.
Do: Soul Cycle
I walked over to the West Village studio and rode with my college roommate and bff, Julia. Denis, our instructor is a total babe. We were hungover from too many champagne cocktails, but as soon as the lights went out and the sweat started pouring I knew it was going to be a great day! We crushed the 45 minute class before heading to brunch. You know I’m a big fan of detox for a retox. It was an amazing post-birthday treat with an amazing lady (Thanks Jules!).
Eat: Laduree Masion de Macarons
Great news NYC friends and fans - Laduree just opened a new boutique/cafe on Broadway. We grabbed a few macarons to go and they sustained our shopping for hours. I freaking love this little place so much. The line for cafe seating wrapped around the store, but I’m sure it’s worth it.
Leave it to Nestle to create an entire cafe/restaurant just aimed to marketing/selling their latest instant coffee machine. As a passionate marketer I thought it was genius, but JP thought it was a little bit odd/cheesy. Perfectly located around all Soho prime shopping - we popped in for a doppio and back to the main event (SHOPPING) we went. It was just the boost I needed, plus there’s lunch if you need it.
Traveling is one of my favorite things I could ever imagine doing to celebrate any birthday. This year, for my 28th birthday JPC and I jetted off to NYC to spend time with friends, shop and of course - EAT.
We decided to go the Airbnb route for our stay. It’s much more affordable, and offers a real-life NYC experience. We rented a fab apartment in Greenwich Village - check it out here. It’s my favorite neighborhood, with beautiful town homes and fantastic little restaurants. Also helpful, it’s very close to the train and can zip you into Brooklyn in breeze.
Instead of heading to MOMA or some of the galleries that offer unbelievable exhibits, this time we decided to do something new. Specifically, the New Museum. We were able to visit 4 floors of unbelievable work from Polish artist Pawel Althamer.
His work spans across several mediums including video, metal work and sculpture.
The entire 4th floor included an interactive exhibit with a time-lapse recording taking place. Visitors were encouraged to create their own art in the space so Althamer could create a film from it later. While painting, drawing and coloring we were lucky enough to meet the artist himself. Naturally, he was lovely and I was quite starstruck.
Just down the street from the New Museum is the wall space dedicated for the ever-changing Bowery Mural. Just a week before we came to town, artist Maya Hayuk painted a stunning color explosion that was exactly what the city needed with the Polar Vortex crap we’ve been dealing with.
Of course, we spent most of our shopping time in Soho and the Meat Packing District. Scoop, Zara and Topshop are a few of my affordable favorites that we don’t have in Cleveland so I make sure to get some serious retail time here. I also love to check out Opening Ceremony and All Saints when we visit - they offer tons of trend foresight.
NYC ramen is top-notch. In the past we’ve enjoyed more than our own body-weight of Momofuko, but this time we made sure our first dinner came from Ippudo.
We lined up (in a blizzard) and waited with about 70 others for the doors to open. We were seated right away and I was able to slam some buns, noodles and sake all while jamming to 90’s hip hop. It was glorious and probably what Heaven actually looks like.
Guys! Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! In honor of the lovey-dovey holiday I thought I’d share some styles on the ultimate lovey-dovey accessory - ENGAGEMENT RINGS!
Below you’ll find details from myself and my two besties on what we’d like if we had a no-holds choice on engagement rings. We all have such different style - but I think our ring choices are actually quite similar.
Meet Lauryn - a 29 year old year old yoga teacher, foodie and workout enthusiast. She’s super trendy, artsy and loves describing her style as ‘whimsical’. So, what’s Lauryn looking for? In her own words, ‘I would want something that says you’re who I dream of, will you love me and spend the rest of your life with me, with this ring that I could afford right now. ;) Something simple but eye catching. Something that i could add to or change if I needed. Preferably his mother or grandmothers ring or diamond.’
Meet Jen - 28 year old event planner, type A GENIUS. If I’m ever in a pickle, Jen is the gal I want leading the charge. Her style is classic - she’s exactly the person I think of when I think of updated classic looks that are timeless. She knows what works for her and sticks to it. When I think of her style I think of clean lines and bold colors. She loves to jazz it up with something trendy. So, what’s she looking for in an engagement ring? In her own words, 'I feel like my style is timeless and traditional with a touch of trend. I like all things pretty and girly. Despite my classic style I would never want a cookie cutter ring.'
Last but not least, ME! Who am I? Well, I’m a 27 year old who happens to be turning 28 on Sunday. By day I work for a digital marketing agency, by night I run this blog. When I think of my style and who I am, I peg myself as someone who has urban style with a traditional edge. I love statement pieces that can be jazzed up with a downtown feel. In my own words, If I were to get engaged I’d want something timeless but with a story.
Let’s talk about The Mints: ShoeMint, StyleMint, IntiMint. Aside from this goliath I can’t leave out Sole Society (one of my favorites on Pinterest). I LOVE everything that pops into my email from ShoeMint, but I think it’s weird to subscribe to shop.
In an ideal world (one that I’m not obsessing over my bank account) I’d LOVE to buy a new pair of shoes every single month. Hello, I LOVE shoes. That aside, I feel like I’d be riding a dangerous line with access to something that says buy me or don’t forget to waive me each and every month. Am I playing with fire by giving myself another reminder each month to waive or buy?
Here are some of my current cravings from ShoeMint:
I’ve come full circle with my book reviews - I started last January and have kept up with my leisurely reading. This month I only read one book, a book on detoxing and building a more beautiful you from the inside out - how fitting for a month dedicated to change and resolutions!
The Beauty Detox Foods, Kimberly Snyder
This book is an easy read chock full of awesome recipes and suggestions. I really do believe most (if not all) of what Kim says. She’s a dietician and works with many celebrities with great bodies, skin, and hair. If you’re curious about how foods can age and harm you and you’re looking to make better choices (and understand why those choices are better) this is a great book for education.
My only issue - which is my issue with most of these books/diets are the scare tactics. It’s easy to feel like everything you eat is wrong or bad or can hurt you in some way. To a degree - it gives me anxiety and really makes me feel like I can’t enjoy food. I don’t ever want to feel that way. So I try and take it with a grain of salt.
Is it ridiculous of me to say that reading this stuff sometimes makes me feel like an easy out for an eating disorder? Oh I can’t eat that - it has x,y, and z and will poison me! So I won’t eat anything (or just a few fruits and vegetables)….and I’ll be thin and beautiful and healthy.
I’ll never live my life with 100% clean eating - but I will always try to eat for my health more often than not and this book offers great tips to get started down that path. Buy it here.
// Post Edit // Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway! I love the tips to stay cozy. Congrats to Lauren Adele on winning the Honeywell Humidifier!
Surviving round after round of the polar vortex has been anything but easy. The heat in the house, the office and the car is constantly on full blast and it’s a killer for skin, hair and nails. If you’re not running a humidifier during the winter months, it’s time to think about buying one (or winning one here!)
My house is full of static electricity and my hair fly aways are really something special. Honeywell sent me over this unbelievably stylish humidifier from their designer series and it is making such a difference to the air quality in my house. We run it on low all day long, but turn it up a notch when we’re sleeping. I’m no longer waking up with a dry nose, eyes and chapped lips. After all, what’s the point in slathering my face in night creams if my face is screaming for some simple moisture in the air?
Seriously though - I know it’s hard to get too glam with a home device - but I have to say, they really nailed it on the design! With my house remodel (which is so close to being finished!) I’m working on not buying anything that isn’t beautiful or doesn’t serve a purpose - this bad boy is both beautiful and functional :)
Honeywell was kind enough to offer an additional humidifier from their designer series for a giveaway!
This designer series filter free cool mist humidifier runs for a full 48 hours and doesn’t need to have a filter replaced. It runs on a low hum and is easy to clean. The retail value is $69.99. Visit HoneywellComfort.com or Amazon.com to purchase.
You can win yours by leaving a tip in the comment section on what you do to stay cozy during the winter months.
For additional entires:
Tweet: ‘I just entered to win a @HoneywellPlugIn humidifier from @nadinenocero here: http://bit.ly/1bZs3D5 #giveaway’ and leave a comment telling me you did so.
Facebook: Like Blog - The New Black and leave a comment telling me you did so.
This giveaway is hosted by Honeywell. I was given 1 humidifier for myself and 1 for a giveaway. Open to U.S. residents only. The giveaway winner will be announced Friday 2/7/2014.
I came across the craziest makeup transformation photo on Instagram the other day. While I don’t know a thing about shading to create a dramatic look - I am a huge believer in filling in your eyebrows to pump up your look.
For christmas my mom got me the most adorable brow box from Urban Decay. I love that the box offers 2 shades in each box and offers a brunette and blonde version.
Inside you’ll also find tweezers, a brow sculpting brush, and a palette of wax to help keep long brows in place (this is always a problem for me since I have very long and very straight eyebrow hairs)
I feel like filling in your eyebrows is an easy way to polish a look - especially for a day look when I wear very little makeup.
Just use the little brush provided from Urban Decay. I use a mix of both colors so it isn’t so drastic of a color change. I also use tiny strokes of the brush to ‘feather’ the color in a bit more.
Here’s a before the brows and after of me wearing bronzer and mascara only:
I don’t care who your favorite gal pals are - your BFF, sorority sister, cousin, work wife, mom, daughter - whatever! This gift guide is for them. Tell them you love them this Valentine’s Day with a little token of appreciation.
Adorably fashionable eye mask - I can remember the first time I wanted an eye mask - it was the first time I saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Get this for your fab friend who needs to sleep late on weekends to recover ;) $26.00 via ShopBop.
Darby Smart sent me a kit for a Klout Perk and while I had never heard of them before - I loved the idea. Fool-proof DIY is perfect for gals like me who have 2 left hands. Even more amazing? Their slogan on all boxes is ‘Internet Rehab Inside’ an awesome escape for any blogger. DIY boxes vary in price from $16 - $69, here.
Lastly, these candles are a two-fer. First amazing scented candle - always a good gift - but wait! Deep inside the wax is a piece of jewelry just waiting to be uncovered valued anywhere between $10 - $10,000 Maybe your friend will literally strike gold. $24.99 from Bella J. here.
What a weekend! There were quite a few personal plans on the calendar and plenty of work - around the house and for some deadlines at the office. Lucky for me, I was able to cap it all off with a delicious Sunday brunch at one of my favorite places - The Cleveland Museum of Art!
A few fashionable ladies were invited to brunch at Provenance, which I had only previously been to for drinks (head to the Mad Men-esque bar, it’s amazing).
Post a fashionable, bellini-filled brunch full of laughs and heavenly entrees, we headed over to the theatre to see Mademoiselle C, the documentary following Carine Roitfeld after her departure from French Vogue. The film was fabulous, check out the trailer here:
I’ve always been a fan of hers - she has such a beautiful body that I imagine all beautiful French women to be blessed with, but I have to say what really stood out was just how kind and loving she seemed in the film. I always imagined her as an Anna Wintour sort of type. If you love fashion films, this one will not disappoint.
Of course, I can’t wrap up a post on a fashionable brunch without sharing what I wore:
I was just at Target today and have to say - their home accessories section is KILLING it lately. So, do yourself a favor and get over there.
Also stop by on February 9th because there is another hot collaboration launching! Peter Pilotto for Target offers their signature prints and some serious crop top action. Here are my favorites that I hope make it home to my closet:
This sleeveless dress ($69.99) + long sleeve shirt (&19.99) are EVERYTHING.
This dress ($79.99)
This dress ($44.99)
This dress ($44.99)
This skirt ($34.99)
This sweatshirt ($29.99)
This blouse ($34.99)
This crop top ($24.99)
Guys, this collection screams awesome. My birthday is 7 days after the collection launch, so I may just pick up everything I want ;) Also, can we talk about this model? Awesome hair and I need those heels.
Crazy news - do you live abroad and don’t have access to a Target? They’re pairing up with Net-a-Porter for an online release as well, ships internationally!
Nonstop on the brain are these three beauties below. If you follow me on Insta you’ve already seen the Nike’s. I love the Pigalle’s for work or fun and these espadrilles just scream warm weather getaway… le sigh…
A few days into the new year, I spent some time writing a recap of my 2013 resolutions, a year in review, if you will. While I wasn’t 100% successful on all of my ventures, I still think I made awesome progress. I don’t see my new years resolutions as pie-in-the-sky dreams, but as smaller attainable goals to make myself better. I don’t want to set myself up for failure, because well, that sucks.
So, I’ve done some reflecting on what I want to get out of 2014 and I’m come to the following thoughts:
2013 was a blur. While I did a lot, I didn’t do anything that really truly stuck out to me as fantastic. I wasn’t living my best life. 2012 was a HUGE year for me, and when I look back on it, 2013 felt I was still playing catch up from my wonderful steps - new house, new job, great vacations, new dog, the list goes on - and I am so lucky for that. But I couldn’t say the same about 2013.
They say how you spend your time is how you spend your life - so in 2014, I’m going to rock some major self care. Here’s where I’m going with my resolutions:
Travel: This blog has an entire section dedicated to travel, to give you an idea of how much I used to do it and how important it is to me. When I lived aboard - my life was spent buried travel books and online travel booking services. Because of that - I’ve been all over Europe and Asia and have LOVED every minute of it. In 2013 I hit Mexico, Minneapolis and Boston - it was all amazing, but a wedding weekend and a work trip aren’t the most ambitious travel plans. Of course I hit my former-home of Chicago a few times, which being as close as it is, should happen way more often. Here’s what I’m trying to do:
- Make more trips to Chicago
- Make more trips to NYC
- Take one domestic trip to a place I’ve never been to
- Take one international trip to someplace I’ve never been to (!)
Pay off a student loan: Getting WAY real with you guys - I have a ton of student debt. I went to an expensive private school (that I loved) and financed my education on my own. I’m doing alright paying down my debt, but I’m sick of being saddled with it…as anyone can imagine. So, I have one baby loan that’s just hanging around getting paid down with my larger payment, but this year I’m going to knock that sucker out. Every bit helps and I’m going to work on OWNING this part of my life - instead of just auto-debiting my payment and looking the other way.
Cooking For The People I Love: JPC and I have been working our butts off getting the kitchen/dining room/floors completed. This means we can finally host guests properly in our house, which I haven’t done since I moved to Cleveland just over 3 years ago. I know the best way to bond with friends and create closer relationships is to invite people into your home. I plan to do this often, using my time at home to host small soirées. First up? I’m hosting my wine club - nearly 20 women will be the test of it! Wish me luck ;)
Get a Rockin’ Booty: I saw this picture of Lea Michele and I saw my future. I knew it was time to get serious. I will be on my next domestic or international beach trip rocking a half thong/Brazilian bikini. I will work out, do my squats, and eat healthy. I mean, my US Weekly tells me Kim K. does 100 squats a day - I can do that. Because while a rocking’ booty isn’t the end all be all - it also represents being curvy, healthy, happy and beautiful. I should treat my body better, I’m a better person to others when I do.
This week is shaping up to be a crazy one - tons of client to-dos, my monthly KKG Alumnae board meeting and (still) tons of work around the house to complete the kitchen/floor renovations.
All that craziness means I need comfy but fun work clothes - this American Apparel skirt is the best. I own it in three colors and it is such a comfortable option. Paired with an old cashmere sweater staple and some low heeled booties - I’m ready for a long day in and out of the office!
I LOVE Indian food. It’s one of my favorite take-out cuisines for a night in (the spicier the better). The only problem is that I usually end up spending close to $40 for a quick takeout meal, which is fine - it’s fantastic food and the restaurant is a block from my house, so I’m happy to support it. I just can’t justify it every time I have the craving.
But look! I’ve found amazing and less expensive alternative at the grocer. JPC and I decided to try this all natural brand on a whim, and love it!
It’s super easy too. I throw on the rice cooker while browning up some cubed chicken in coconut oil, then pour the jar of sauce all over it and let it simmer for 25 minutes. Voila, dinner is served!
For my last month to reach my 24 book reading goal in 2013 (spoiler alert, I didn’t reach it) I only read one book. Fittingly enough, it was the best freakin’ book of the year, well played universe, you are awesome. You can see all the other books I read by clicking here.
The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt
So, this is the first novel from Tartt in 11 years. The Goldfinch made the NY Times Best Books of 2013 list too. I’ve never read one of Tartt’s novels before (I will pick up her other two shortly). The book was suppose to be released in 2008 and was pushed back, for reason I’m not sure of, and was released this past Fall. Brief synopsis: The book focuses around a boy, Theo Decker, and how his life unravels after it is forever changed as he and his mother fall victim to an NYC terrorist attack. To say this is a coming of age story would be too superficial. It is that yes, but it is also a beautiful story about art, love and the battle each of us faces between good and evil. Frankly, we’ve all done things we aren’t proud of and this book forces the reader to get a little introspective and think about those things, to think about our secrets. I LOVED this book. All (nearly) 800 pages of it. It’s hard to read at some points, you’ll find yourself on a roller coaster of emotions with each character loving then hating and (hopefully like me) loving them again. I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the book: What if our badness and mistakes are the very thing that set our fate and bring us round to good? What if, for some of us, we can’t get there any other way?”
Happy New Year readers! 2013 was a blur to say the least. JPC and I finally settled into our home, I settled into a now not-so-new job and we adopted Huckleberry Finn!
When looking back at my 2013 resolutions, I figured I’d share how I succeeded (and failed) on my to-do’s. Here’s my recap:
Host 1 Charity Event: Nope. Didn’t even come close. I loved the idea when I was making my resolutions, but I couldn’t even give it a moments thought. I did step up as the programming chair of my sorority alumnae association (KKG), but I didn’t get to give back financially in the way I was hoping. I’d still love to do something…possibly in 2014?
Read 24 books: Including my yet-to-be-written December review, I read 21 books. 3 short of my goal, but I’ll take it! I bought my Kindle and it rekindled my love for reading (see what I did, there, so punny!) I hope to exceed this number in 2014. Get the scoop on all those books here.
Finish the house updates: Well well. This one I can’t say I completed. Instead of going on a winter vacation, we decided to redo the kitchen. It is a freaking construction zone - but it will be so worth it! We couldn’t have afforded to do it any sooner, so this is what it is… either way it’s underway!
Loose those last 5 pounds: Oh boy. This was a huge failure. With the pressures of my new job I really dropped the ball. Instead of loosing 5, I gained 5… so now I have a whomping 10 pounds to loose. This is no laughing matter. I don’t look good and more importantly I don’t always feel good. I know when I’m healthier, I’m happier ( and thinner)
Redesign my blog: Success! I met the amazing Julia Kuo, created an adorable caricature and have a beautiful new layout. I hope you like it!
Nurture my relationship: I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t do this. At all. As much fun as JPC and I have together…living together is hard. Working a ton is hard, having two dogs is hard… and most times our relationship takes a back seat. We had a jam packed year and it was stressful. We didn’t go away on any proper vacations alone and just didn’t do our commitment to each other justice… I’ll be trying harder in 2014, I know our relationship deserves it.
Continuing practicing yoga: Success! A huge benefit of my new job? I’m a block away from my favorite yoga studio and was able to indulge in some awesome lunchtime yoga sessions. I stepped up my practice and FINALLY mastered crow :)
Learn how to ‘cook’ vegan: I barely put my toe in the water on this one. I mastered making some vegan snack bars and LOVED them each and every time, juiced A TON but otherwise not much for true vegan cooking. I’d love to dive deeper into this in the new year. Lord knows I need it. So, recipes??? SEND ‘EM OVER!
How’d you do in 2013? What are you looking to achieve in 2014? Leave me a comment, because really, I want to know :)
Stay tuned! After I have some time to think about 2014 and have some goal setting time with myself, I’ll share my resolutions for 2014.
How is everyone recovering from the holiday? I’m back at work but a bit slow moving. I’m looking forward to sharing holiday photos, but until then - something quick, easy and healthy to get you back on track:
With the kitchen a mess, it’s been hard to do anything let alone cook. We were finally able to hook the oven back up and I needed to make something quick, easy and healthy. This recipe for Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas from Chow.com is a must.
All you do is toss 2 cans of rinsed chickpeas with olive oil, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt and you’re good to go. Roast for 40 minutes at 400 and you’ll be snacking in no time.
It’s been about a year and a half since JPC and I bought our first home and said goodbye to apartment living. We’ve done some slight updating since then - mostly painting and decorating, but we’ve finally bit the bullet and we’re working on all new floors on our main floor and a whole new kitchen!
We’ve been in the thick of it for about two weeks, and most weekends/weeknights have been spent in full construction zone. Our house is completely torn up and there is dust EVERYWHERE. I’ll admit, it’s been quite the roller coaster - I’ve gone from terrified to start the process, stressed about making the design decisions, to thrilled to get started, to feeling ‘Ok, this isn’t so bad’, to feeling like I’m going to burn the whole place down. JPC and I have joked more than a few times about how the kitchen might be the end of us. Now we’re nearly done, with the full construction part anyway and I can’t wait to share the reveal with you.
Part of the reason I’ve been so spotty on the blog - is most free time is either spent working on the house or coaxing one of the pups out of the master bath - she thinks it’s a tornado shelter and we’re in the middle of a twister.
If you couldn’t already figure it out, you’re also checking out our Christmas gifts to each other ;) In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the CoNo Reno project photos!
This is America, and I can’t imagine an America where I couldn’t freely drink all the alcohol I’d ever want. Yes, that makes me sound like a total lush, but I love a cocktail.
Lucky me - I was born post-Roosevelt’s overturn and was invited to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the repealing of prohibition at an old-fashioned cocktail speakeasy. The only requirement? Appropriate Prohibition attire.
About six French 75’s later - I needed a burger in a bad way. Whoop!
Guys. I’ve been a slave to designer denim since I was old enough to get my own credit card. For some reason, designer jeans always seemed like such a simple justification - expensive but not so much so that I couldn’t have them.
For those who’ve been reading for a while now, you’ll also know I’m fairly self conscious about my legs - so buying expensive jeans seemed to give me some self-assurance that I was ‘buying the best’ which would then make me look the best.
Well, this past Black Friday I popped into Old Navy for the 50% off sale and in a fit of buying EVERYTHING I also picked up a pair of the Rockstar Mid-Rise Skinny Jeans and I haven’t looked back. I wore them for 5 days straight.
After realizing there would never be another pair of jeans for me - I jumped online and ordered two more pairs. Old Navy almost always has a sale (I got all of mine for under $20 a pair) and even at the $35 full price, they are worth it. The jeans are snug and will hold everything in place, but are also stretchy enough that you don’t feel too stuffed into them. Buy them, and then email me to thank me profusely for turning you on to these bad boys.
Also, that flannel was another total gem from my thrift store grabs - $4 with a full price tag of $24.99, still attached. BOOM!
Thanksgiving has past and December is well underway! I’ve already had two holiday parties and the evenings are quickly booking up with holiday cheer. I love this time of year - spending time with the people I love and just celebrating all we’ve been blessed with is a lucky and amazing feeling!
So, what do you wear? This year I’m trying to stay away from the traditional dresses and spice it up a bit with some edgy outfits.
This top I snagged at the local thrift store for $2! I popped some major tags that day…
My leather pants are a total staple as soon as the cold comes and they are worth the investment - My cost per wear has to be virtually free at this point. I LIVE in them all winter.
When I think about winter in the north the first thing that comes to mind is seasonal depression, the 2nd thing that comes to mind is dry, ashy flaky skin. Until JPC gives up the ship, I’ll have to deal with both. However, don’t let that assume I’ll never live my life out as a faux-Latina in Miami… those days are coming, they just might take a little longer to see. In the meantime, let’s talk about scrubs.Scrubs are muy importante in the cold weather - below are my top 3 from head to toe:
Eraclea’s Daily Bamboo Exfoliant: This exfoliant is on-the-spot for your face. With face scrubs, I’m always very hesitant to commit because cheaply made products can be too abrasive on your face. This product is so gentle, but very effective. I can feel the difference immediately when I’m applying my moisturizer and my foundation. The product is very light but does the job. I have especially sensitive skin and this does not agitate it in the least. This is a scrub that can be used several times a week with no worries. Buy it online here.
SW Basics of Brooklyn Body Scrub: I will whole-hardheartedly admit that I bought this scrub because US Weekly told me how much Gweneth Paltrow loves it. I’m a sucker for tabloid news, what can I say? Anyway, the product is beautifully packaged, affordable and organic. It smells DIVINE and the fat kid deep inside me thinks about eating it every time I use it. Pick it up online here.
True Blue Spa’s Toe The Line: Let’s take a minute for some deep and serious honestly. I have mother effen’ dragons feet. Without regular pedicures, foot scrubs and moisturizers I would be a nightmare. This is a easy staple you’ll always find in my shower. The crushed walnuts are boss enough to the job even on my hooves. Enjoy! Get it here.
I was naughty - I didn’t hit my reading goal this month. I didn’t really blog much last month either (whoops). I guess I’ve been busy… Good news, I read one awesome book that I’ve been waiting for release since the last awesome book I read by Veronica Roth.
Allegiant, Veronica Roth
Without hitting y’all with any spoilers… I got right back into this seriously hard where I left off after finishing book 2 in July and needing to wait until mid-October for this book to get released. Of course, it was action packed and filled with ‘what-ifs’ the book lives up to the rest of the story. I hated the ending. HATED THE ENDING. That’s all I have to say about it from a negative perspective… oh, that and teen sexual frustration is creepy to read about as a 27 year old. Otherwise, party on! Read it, buy it here.