Thinking Out Loud {7/24/14}

Happy Thursday! It’s been a while since I’ve linked up with Amanda for some random rambles, so today felt like a good day for a comeback!

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1. First things first: today I sound like I’m still learning to speak. At the ripe young age of 25, I decided to get braces. I refused to do it as a kid and now here I am, drinking through a straw, eating mashed potatoes (I was secretly looking forward to this), and talking with a lithp. The ones I got are actually behind my teeth, so though they’re not visible, it’s a pretty strange sensation. They went on yesterday…only a year and some to go! :/

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset2. I’m slowly starting to get over this, but last Saturday, after forgetting our bag in a restaurant during lunchtime for exactly 3 minutes, KV and I had our iPad stolen..by our waiter. It was a completely crazy and mind boggling situation. When we returned for the bag, both it and the waiter were gone. We were initially grateful to him for trying to go “find” us, but alas, the bag was returned sans iPad.

3. I have an actress crush. It’s on Elizabeth Olsen, the younger, more serious (at least acting wise) sister of the Olsen twins, who I admired intensely as a kid. Full House 4ever! I saw a billboard for her new movie with Dakota Fanning, Very Good Girls, last week and am counting down the seconds until I can see it. Despite the fact that every critic hated it, I must watch it. I fell in love with her after seeing Martha Marcy May Marlene, and I can’t get enough! Here’s the trailer if you’re interested:

4. Next week, we’re headed to the Adirondacks with some friends for a little weekend getaway. We rented a cottage with a grill, a fire pit, and a porch. All the things I dream of here in NYC. I’m excited for some summer bbq-ing, a swim in the lake, and a couple of evenings by the fire pit.

mooseI do not anticipate any moose sightings, but a girl can dream.

5. Remember I mentioned buying a Living Social deal for Paint Nite? We finally went and had so much fun! I highly recommend it for a date night, a girls night, a random weekday get-together, etc. I think our personalities really came through in those paintings, and my attempts to paint the sunset in perfect lines totally shows how type-A I am. I’m working on it. Here are our masterpieces:

photoTis’ all for me today! What’s up with you? Any creative soft food ideas for me while I learn to eat and speak again? Any movie recommendations?

Clarisonic – A Review

Hello, friends! Let’s talk about breakouts for a second.

Do you get them? I do at least once a month, usually around my chin and jawline, and though I admit to occasionally picking and making them so much worse than they would typically be, I can’t help myself. The best option for me is to destroy pimples forever!

For months, I would scour the internet for proof that the Clarisonic, a popular and somewhat pricy tool for cleaning your face, was truly effective and the answer to my blackhead destroying fantasies. Every night before bed, I indulged in my blackhead squeezing routine and stared in awe at the gunk that hangs out in my pores when I look closely enough. No amount of Biore strips, scrubs, masks, and face-washing could get it all out.

Clarisonic-Mia-2I finally decided to give in and see what this Clarisonic business was. I planned on sharing my experience here with you guys but wanted to give it several weeks before I praised it or complained about it, especially since I have read that your face needs time to break out one more time before it gets used to the brushing motion.

The first time I used it, my face felt smoother, but as expected there wasn’t too much of a difference other than a feeling of cleanliness. Now, three weeks later and with daily use, here’s what I’ve experienced:

  • Cleaner pores
  • Smaller pores
  • Smoother face
  • Dewy skin

This is not to say that every single pore has been cleaned out and that I don’t have a single blackhead. I think it’ll take more time before I can boast that result, but I will say that those hard-to-see ones on my cheeks, which are hard to get out, have decreased astronomically. It seems the motion of the brush helps push them out and eventually gets rid of them, while also boosting circulation and creating that fresh, dewy look. At least that’s how it works in my mind.

I’ve been using the Clarisonic Mia 2, which I bought at Sephora for fear of the fakes that I’ve been warned about on Amazon. It came with a ‘sensitive’ brush head, a small bottle of Clarisonic brand cleanser, a magnetic charger, and a carrying case. The cost was $149, and so far, worth it!

As far the initial “breakout” that I had read about, it didn’t happen immediately. In fact, I felt like I saw results fairly quickly, but I did have a small breakout around my chin this past weekend and I’m not sure if it had anything to do with the Clarisonic. I did get rid of it quite fast though, and that may have had to do with the fact that I’ve been cleaning my face so well.

Between the hot summer, the NYC humidity and bus fumes, and the generally dusty nature of my surroundings, I just knew my face was not getting the cleaning it needed. A scrub and facial cleanser can only do so much, and it wasn’t doing enough for me.

Now, I see my moisturizer and my BB cream absorbing the way it should, and there’s never any cakiness. It feels like the dirty outer layer of my face has been removed! Yay!

Now, tell me if you have any questions! The more I use my Clarisonic, the more I learn about it and the way it works, so I’m happy to help if you’re considering the investment.

 

*I was not compensated in any way for this post. I purchased the product on my own and wanted to share my experience with you.

Sausage Turmeric Soup

On Monday, my boyfriend woke up with a cold, the sky was dark, and it was definitely about to rain. This meant only one thing: soup. Sausage Turmeric soup to be exact, because it needed to knock the cold out (before I got it too ;)), and it needed to warm, filling, and delicious (to suit the weather).

It may be hot and humid these days, but sometimes, you just need some good soup.

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As usual, my first condition was that I needed to be able to whip it up fast. For some reason, the first ingredient I think of when I think ‘fast’ is sausage, because I can just throw it in with some veggies and it’s pretty much done.

The second condition was that it needed to have some cold-healing ingredients, so that meant garlic, chicken broth, and turmeric. Luckily, all three of these also produce a wonderful taste.

My final condition was that it needed to have a kick, so in went my not-so-secret ingredient, Cholulah sauce. The result: perfect.

I was so excited to get this recipe up here that I forgot to give the soup a stir before photographing it, so I apologize for the less than appetizing presentation. I promise it’s delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Roasted Garlic Chicken sausages, or your choice (I use the Al Fresco brand)
  • 1 carton of chicken stock (32 oz) (Unsalted)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 1-1.5 tsp diced garlic
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 102 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp of turmeric, or more, to taste
  • 1 tsp salt, or more, to taste
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • A generous dash of Cholulah Sauce

Instructions:

  1. Heat up the olive oil in a large pot, throw in garlic, onions, carrots, and peppers
  2. Once the onions turn somewhat translucent, add sausage, and cook until slightly browned
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, followed immediately by the chicken stock
  4. Stir in salt, turmeric, and Cholulah sauce
  5. Leave to simmer for approximately 10-15 minutes
  6. Enjoy!!

Makes about 5 servings

Have a lovely day, and let me know if you make this! Fall isn’t too far off, and this is a good one to save for those chilly autumn afternoons.

Fourth of July + Spicing Up the Work Week

Hello, old friends! It’s been an unintentionally long time since I’ve been here. Independence Day festivities and a three day weekend have come and gone, and the work week has drawn us back in.

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I spent the fourth in New Hampshire, and though 3 out of our 4 days there were super rainy, we still made the most of it by trekking around in the pouring rain and trying out various coffee shops and restaurants, hitting the [indoor] pool, and watching a tornado from the inside of our car. All good vacation activities.

We started our little getaway at 5 am on Wednesday morning, with the intention of seeing the sunrise on our drive out of NYC and arriving in time to work from our destination.

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For a while now, I’ve been entertaining the idea of working from a different location for several days. Obviously, this is not possible for everyone, but if your workplace allows you the option of telecommuting every once in a while, I highly recommend it! Being in a different place does wonders for productivity. I was afraid I might get distracted, but I got more work done in several hours than I typically do here at home. By the end of the week, I felt totally deserving of a Fourth of July getaway!

So, in honor of that, here’s some snapshots from the weekend!

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Hope you all had a great, relaxing long weekend! What’d you do?!

25

Well hello! It may be Tuesday, but I’m still riding high from the birthday festivities of last weekend. On Friday, I turned 25, and it still seems kind of weird to say it. Something about it feels different. I’m officially in my “mid-20′s.”

The weekend kicked off with a surprise trip to the Berkshires with my boo, and though it was only for one night, it felt like a mini vacation, and everyone knows I love those.

Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetAfter checking in to our inn, we headed to dinner at a delicious wine bar and restaurant in Lenox, MA. On the way, we explored the area a bit and stopped at the Cranwell Resort for a pre-dinner cocktail on the terrace, but it was unfortunately closed for an event, so we enjoyed the sunset from some Adirondack chairs on the gorgeous grounds before driving downtown for dinner.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetAfter sleeping for a nice, long 9 hours, we enjoyed a leisurely lake-view breakfast at our inn, did some more driving around in the area, and headed to lunch at the most gorgeous spot, with a full view of the Berkshire mountains. It was truly amazing.

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 presetLunch was followed up with a wine tasting at a local winery, as well as a stop at a farm/distillery where we got tons of fruit and apple cider. We also couldn’t resist trying an apple cider doughnut that was recommended to us by a friend.

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On our way home, we stopped for dinner at Terrapin in Rhinebeck, NY. The drive back was perfect, with a gorgeous sunset, rolling hills, and cows. Moo.

berks9-1The rest of the weekend was spent with family, and it was perfect. Wish Monday didn’t come so soon!

I suggested  last week that I might have 25 tidbits about being 25 for you this week. I don’t have that many nuggets of wisdom quite yet, but here are 5 things that are finally starting to sink in:

  1. Worrying too much is a bad idea. Finding time for yourself and de-stressing is a good idea.
  2. You’ll never be able to please everybody.
  3. Putting age limits on what you should have accomplished by now is unrealistic.
  4. Think outside the box and don’t worry about what others will think of it.
  5. If you don’t ask for what you want, you probably won’t get it.

Have a great week, friends!

 

 

 

Birthday Weekend!

champagnequoteThis is what I’ll be doing today! Just wanted to pop in to wish you all a wonderful weekend. After a little bit of work, I’ll be off to do some birthday celebrating, though I sort of started the day with a smile and a little bit of champagne already ;)

I’ll be back on Monday with some musings about being 25 (so far, so good) and a recap of the weekend. Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!

Weekend Happenings

Hello, friends! It’s already Tuesday morning but I wanted to check in with some weekend happenings because NYC was looking especially pretty and I just had to share it.

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 presetThe weekend started on the roof of the Met, where I still hadn’t been, despite being practically born and raised here. The views up there are incredible, and even though you have to pay to get up (the museum entry fee, which is whatever you choose to donate,) it’s so worth it. You can get yourself a nice, cool cocktail and enjoy the gorgeous view of Central Park and what feels like half of Manhattan at your fingertips.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThere’s also some good people-watching to be done, and lots of tired tourists.

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I couldn’t stop with the iPhone photos. It’s just so, so pretty. These are the moments when I do love this city, and anyone that knows me knows that those are few and far between ;)

The rest of the weekend included some serious relaxation, including a boxing class, a mani/pedi, some smoothie making and drinking, a little bit of reading and TV watching, and ended with a glass of Riesling and a eucalyptus bubble bath.

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Since this was clearly a weekend of treats, I’m going to link up with Becky over at Olives ‘n Wine for Treat Yourself Tuesday! Have a great week everyone!

Thinking Out Loud {6/19/14}

Hi, guys! This week has gone by pretty fast and we’ve gotten to one of my favorite days, the one where I can babble on about anything that comes to mind, along with Amanda of Running With Spoons. So, without further ado, here’s what’s up:

1. Tonight, I’m going to see Walter White in person. Except this time, he’ll be Lyndon Baines Johnson. My dad and I are headed to see All The Way, which I was excited to score tickets for before they all sold out!

ALL-THE-WAY2. One of my favorite things about NYC is being able to feel like I’m somewhere else while I’m still here. Kinda confusing, but I’d say it’s practically one of my hobbies to seek out spots that remind me of a cute, quaint town. Last week, my family and I hit up Palma, an adorable Italian restaurant with a back garden that was anything but NYC. I highly recommend it if you’re in town!

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset3. June is one of my favorite months because it’s filled with birthdays of many of the people I know and love. And then it ends with my own birthday, next week! I’ve always thought I wouldn’t do one of those 25 things I…something, by my 25th birthday, but I can smell one coming ;)

4. I’m currently about to dig into this baby for breakfast. I’ve been seeing delicious- looking pancake recipes on so many blogs lately, and it got me craving one. My food choices basically revolve around the recipes being made by you guys. So thanks for making it easy!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset5. My current seasonal food obsession is watermelon. I can’t get enough!

watermelonpops6. I’ve got the baking itch again. I usually bake in the cooler months, and I have a running list of sugar/flour free healthy recipes, but I’m hoping to expand my collection with some new ingredients. Any ideas?!

20131021-AXS_2738That’s about all the rambles I got for ya today. Head over to Running with Spoons to join in and tell me what’s up with you below!

How To Stay Productive In The Summer

Happy hump day friends! The week is rolling by and with the warm weather, it’s hard to find a perfect balance between work and play. I don’t know about you, but I want way more of the latter ;)

summerI’ve put together a little list of things that help me stay productive when all I want to do is be outside and go on road trips instead of staying inside and working. The good news is that achieving the perfect balance always feels the best.

  1. Set a few summer goals. Be they fitness, work, or travel related, jot down a couple of things you hope to accomplish this summer, and make working on them them part of your week.
  2. Wake up early. I know we’re not all morning people (I just pretend to be) but like I’ve mentioned before, if I have 30 minutes of quiet time to enjoy my coffee in the morning and not think about work, I am more productive, which in turn allows for an evening that can be enjoyed.
  3. Stay active. This is already easier to do in the summer, with water sports, beach walks, and bike rides becoming the norm, but instead of worrying about having to get in shape for the summer, stay in shape all throughout the summer by doing as many of the activities that make you happy as possible.
  4. See your friends. Summer is the time for catching up! While we do still have to work, things are generally a bit more laid back, and if you’re especially lucky, you get summer Fridays. I unfortunately don’t, but I try to take advantage of the long days by grabbing dinner with someone I haven’t seen in a while every week.
  5. Take a trip if you can. For me personally, it’s a great way to escape the NYC heat, but in general, it’s just a good time to take a break. This season is synonymous with relaxation.
  6. Get outside during the workday. This always helps me take a breather and split the day up, so that I don’t feel like I’m stuck inside while summery things happen around me. Take a walk, take it all in, and work won’t feel as tedious.

Have a great day, everyone!

The Victoria’s Secret Angel Sports Bra [Review]

Hello, friends! Have you heard about the Victoria’s Secret Sport line, or am I the only one who’s late to the game? Either way, I’ve finally caught up, and I’m glad I did.

Each week, I take a variety of fitness classes, ranging from barre and Pilates to Zumba and boxing. One of the most important elements of a good sports bra to me is not having to worry about spillage, side boob, back flab, and PAIN in high intensity workouts, which I do most often.

Enter the Victoria’s Secret Sport Angel bra, a medium impact sports bra that has thin racerback straps and still keeps things in place, even if you’re larger chested (I’m a 34D). The memory foam conforms to your shape and there’s an underwire for additional support.

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To test the bra out, I did some Zumba as well as a 15 minute strength training session.

The Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Good amount of support
  • Easy to put on/take off
  • Stays in place for the most part
  • Comes in a variety of cute colors

The Cons:

  • Not suitable for very high intensity workouts
  • Straps are not adjustable

So, there ya have it. I will definitely be sporting this bra at a yoga, Pilates, or other strength training class, but I’ll have to keep it in the drawer for things like Zumba, kickboxing, and running. This may vary based on your desired level of compression and support, of course, so I urge you to give it a try as it is a very comfortable, well-made sports bra. I have always preferred a tighter fit but minimal material, and the angel bra shocked me by offering both. It didn’t shift, my boobs didn’t pop out all over the place, and I felt good about myself throughout my workout. When these factors align, I find myself especially satisfied after a sweat sesh.

Have you guys tried any of the Victoria’s Secret Sport bras in the line? I’m excited to try out the others, especially the maximum support ones! Looking at their website, I can see that there is an ENORMOUS selection to choose from, and of course, in true Victoria’s Secret fashion, they’re all cute and come in a variety of colors and styles.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post; however, I did receive a sample for my review.  All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.