Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Cozy, Casual, Comfy, Everyday Wear

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Fuzzy Popover Scarf $12 || Twist Square Sunglasses $14.70

“Cozy” is definitely one of my buzzwords.  I like anything that promises to be just that, especially when it comes to my clothes.  If it feels soft to the touch, looks like it will keep me warm, or is just generally snuggle-worthy, you can rest assured that I will buy it.

This past weekend, I did some shopping in-between running errands.  I am heading to Florida next week to spend time with my family – I am not sure how long I am going to stay there for because that’s how we’re going to roll in 2016; whatever happens, happens – but I have a lot of work and a little bit of packing to get done before then.

My Saturday looked something like this: Target, grocery store, Target again (Got waylaid by all of the cute Valentine items on my first trip, and basically forgot everything! #always), post office, Vet (to pick up Sneaks’ travel documents), LOFT, takeout, work, football (YES!  PATS!), more work.  Phew!

My visit to LOFT is actually what I wanted to share with you, as they are having a fantastic sale right now, with 40% off of most of their new arrivals, and an additional 60% off of sale items.  The entire store essentially fits into my cozy criteria (See: scarf above.), and I particularly like their Lou & Grey line, which for reference can be purchased via LOFT, or via their own larger site, here.  I am wearing this hoodie right now, and am pretty excited to eventually wear this dress; both items are super comfortable, under $30, and can be worn casual or fancied up.

I figured that some of you may be off from work today, snowed in, or planning on watching The Bachelor with a glass of wine tonight (Me on the last two counts!  Guilty pleasures.  : )) – all great excuses to do a bit of online shopping while you are at it!  The rest of my picks are below!

XX

PS – As someone who likes to check their horoscope everyday, I really dig this.  : )

 

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1. Chambray Palette Shirt || 2. Sweater Tunic || 3. Signaturesoft Maxi Dress || 4. Flecked Sweatshirt Dress || 5. Quilted Jacket || 6. Essential Leggings || 7. Loopy Sweater

 

Eat Pretty & the Beauty Benefits of Eating Seasonally

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Remember when I said I was going to bring more book love back to the blog?  Well, here it is!  Before I get started, let me just say that this isn’t a leisurely, zone-out, type of book.  It might actually wake you up in more ways than one, in fact!  And truth be told, most of what I read is like this, AKA educational, non-fiction, etc.  I guess I am just not a good “zoner-outer”…I am working on it though!

BUT, I do think this little number is a great read for anyone interested in beauty, diet, health, the benefits of eating seasonally, or who just wants to learn some fun facts about the fruits and vegetables that we consume.  I have been sifting through it for several weeks now, considering it a new, important resource in my kitchen.  This also seemed like the perfect opportunity to write about it as {in my opinion} this is the best time of the year to “Eat Pretty“.  When I went grocery shopping yesterday, the store was loaded with apples, late-summer nectarines and plums, figs, grapes, greens, peppers, tomatoes, and every kind of squash imaginable {Personal fave ♥}.  It was a virtual rainbow!

So I bet you’re wondering about the book…From the inside cover: “Eat Pretty {by former Beauty Editor Jolene Hart} reveals how nutrition can be our most powerful tool in the quest for radiance at any age”.

The pages are chock full of information on the science behind what we eat, with a focus on how those things impact our overall lifestyle too – from stress to hormones to sleep.  There are tidbits about herbs & spices, teas, and recipes to coincide with the seasons {Blueberry Lentil Salad, Oatmeal-Raisin Cookie Truffles, and Lemony Beauty Smoothie – to name a few!}.  I personally love the seasonal breakdowns because they include “Beauty Baskets” with detailed descriptions of the ingredients and why they are good for us.  Did you know that arugula can help to remove dark circles, apples are good for our skin, chard makes our nails grow, and butternut squash is a healthy hair secret?

A little tidbit about that…The top things that you guys ask me about are 1. How I style and shoot my food posts {<— I am working on a series about this!}, and 2. My hair (!), which makes me super grateful and kind of makes me laugh because for a while, said hair was pretty bad!  I have natural waves that are hard to tame and I spent a long time frying them with straightening treatments and irons, and covering them in harsh chemical dyes.  Yuck.  Over the last few years I’ve gotten my hair back to a healthful state by washing it a lot less {2-3 times per week max}, switching to a “green” salon, and changing my diet to be much cleaner than it was.  I learned from this book that my love for squash in particular had something to do with getting it back in to shape, as well.  Cool, right?

Obviously I am not a 100% clean eater all of the time, but I really love delving into this stuff, and essentially playing “science experiments” on myself every once in a while : )  I highly recommend this book if you are into that kind of thing too!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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3 Books That Have Influenced the Way I Look at Food

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{ From the Film: Chocolat }

[Warning: Long post ahead!  It’s been a while since I have shared any of my favorite reads, so I thought it was time to change that.  I included a backstory and lots of deets too, because I get really excited about this stuff.  If you have any recommendations, or points to add, please feel free : )]

 A few years ago, I became super interested in making myself healthier from the inside-out.  It was a very busy period of my life as I spent my days working full-time in Sales – which was also incredibly stressful – going to grad school at night, traveling a lot, and trying to maintain the normal social-life of a twenty-something.  While I was fit and healthy by conventional standards, I really didn’t feel well.  I was tired all of the time [which was somewhat understandable], but more so in the sense that I never had any energy, and even if I had had a solid sleep the night before, I was still running on empty.  And while I have always loved food and cooking, I was single and making big batches of things to reheat throughout the week, consuming the same stuff constantly, eating out with clients or classmates – sometimes catching ‘dinner’ after class around midnight (EEEK!) – and green juice was certainly not on my radar!

My sister meanwhile, was having some health problems and drawing her own correlations between them and her diet, and opening up to new ways of living in general.  I saw how even little changes were making a big impact in her day-to-day.  I was also following Katie Lee on social media at the time, and in one of her posts she mentioned that she was doing a cleanse outlined by Kathy Freston.  I was intrigued.  I immediately bought The Quantam Wellness Cleanse, and so began my journey into a new way of looking at food – as a healer, medicine, fuel, and something to really truly be savored.  I started reading everything I could about clean living, how the food industry works in our country (A lot of that was downright terrifying, even for someone who grew up in the restaurant business and had previously considered herself informed!), devoured writings by authors like Michael Pollan and John Robbins, and watched gazillions of documentaries (Food Matters, Forks Over Knives, Hungry for Change, Fat Sick & Nearly Dead, etc.)  When I am into something, I am All. In.  I revamped my lifestyle, inadvertently lost a lot of weight, and felt better than I ever had which was absolutely the biggest benefit of all.

As you can probably tell from this blog, I am not as stringent as I used to be because like all things in life, there are ebbs and flows, and I have found that certain principles work for where I am at right now, while others don’t.  I also know that there are some characteristically ‘unhealthy’ foods that I am never going to cut out completely since they are so deeply rooted to the traditions in my family – like this cake for example, or just make me happy (I think some of my most fun nights ever have been shared with friends over greasy slices of pizza and cold beers!), and that’s cool.  All good things, in moderation.

While there are so many interesting, insightful, eye-opening books that I can recommend when it comes to diet/food/lifestyle choices – including those by the authors listed above – the three that I am mentioning here are personal favorites for a few reasons.  The first being that these are all relatively lighthearted reads that have an element of fun to them – even the cleanse, I swear – but are still extremely informative.  I am a “Break it down for me!” kind of girl, so I really appreciate it when I can get the whats and whys of things in an easy to understand way.

The second – and most important [to me] reason that I love these books is that they all address the connection between mind and body, while emphasizing an overall balance, more about adding in the ‘good stuff’ (~ with several great recipes included in each!) and less about deprivation (The first quote above is actually from the Foreword of The Quantam Wellness Cleanse.) in the interest of creating a fuller, happier, healthier existence.  As Guiliano says in her tome “The joy of living is in direct proportion to how much pleasure you know how to derive from every aspect of life.”  That’s a philosophy I can get behind.

 

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The Quantam Wellness Cleanse; Kathy Freston

In the interest of full disclosure, I have never actually done this cleanse in its entirety, however I have read this book 3x and referenced it dozens of times more.  I know that sounds odd, but the main reason behind why I like it so much is that Freston has a really gentle and sweet way of taking you through 21 days [in which you are advised to eliminate caffeine, alcohol, gluten, animal products, and sugar] and each day addresses how you might be feeling and why, gives practical tips on things like how to fill your grocery cart with energizing foods, and how to eat clean while traveling.  She recommends “leaning in” to the cleanse if you are having a hard time (i.e., If you are accustomed to having a cup of coffee every morning, start the cleanse drinking a regular cup, but replace half of it with decaf and gradually wean yourself off of it.), and spends a great deal of time talking about meditation and visualization, and how your diet can ultimately affect your mind.  Lastly, there is some great baseline information in the book on how eliminating these things from time-to-time (or altogether, if you desire) can ultimately benefit us.  I regularly go 2-3 days per week without any of the products mentioned and feel all the better for it.

Favorite Recipe: Ginger Greens with Shiitake Mushrooms

 

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French Women for All Seasons; Mireille Guiliano

Her first book may have had a controversial title (French Women Don’t Get Fat), but I think Guiliano made some excellent points there, and makes even more of them here.  Plus, I love the idea of seasonal eating and the anticipation that comes when the calendar changes and new items hit the market – I just about jumped for joy when I saw sugar snap peas yesterday at my local grocery store!  I also enjoy the style tips that Guiliano imparts in this book, and find the sample menus to be really helpful as well as the guide to wine [where she deems it ‘food’!] in the back of the book – especially for a novice like myself.

Favorite Recipe: Spaghetti with Fiddlehead Ferns and Prosciutto

 

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The Skinny Confidential; Lauryn Evarts

This book is very new, but I have long been a fan of Lauryn Evarts and The Skinny Confidential specifically for Evarts’ no nonsense take on all things lifestyle-related – She is hilarious and real; two things I think every good blogger should be!  Just like its namesake blog, the TSC book is enhanced by lots of pretty pictures, loaded with awesome tips on how to keep healthy, fit, and looking your best, and ultimately feels like you are reading something your BFF wrote.  Evarts stresses the importance of “Everything in Moderation” – citing her addiction to Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, which I can totally appreciate – and even includes recipes for cocktails!

Favorite Recipe: Cilantro Award-Winning Three Cheese Chile Rellenos with Fresh Papaya Salsa (I ate this 3x last week – It’s delish!)