Thanksgiving Eve

Hello, my friends! It is Thanksgiving eve, and what better way to ring in the impending food coma than with a little bit of reflection on the things I’m so very thankful for this year.

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Thanksgiving, for me, is just simply a time to slow down, break some bread with various family and friends, and enjoy the warmth and comfort of waking up to a day off, cozying up on the couch with a steaming cup of delicious coffee, and watching the parade on TV in my pajamas.

This year, and every year, I’m grateful to be surrounded by many incredible people who are there for me unconditionally, a job that offers me the flexibility to make creative decisions and pursue additional interests (like this blog!), and, of course, this blog and the people reading it! Thanks to all of you!

Have an amazing Thanksgiving, everyone!

5 Tips For Working From Home

I’ve been working from home for over a year now and the commute from my couch to the desk often gets me thinking about the things I need to do to stay on track and actually get work done, rather than spend the day watching Netflix and raiding the refrigerator.

Don’t get me wrong – I do find myself doing just that more often than I’d like to admit, but on my best, most productive days, I’ve found what works for me. It’s so easy to take an extended lunch break and get distracted with social media when there’s nobody standing over you to make sure you’re getting things done. It’s very easy to go stir crazy and become  starved for human interaction when you are your own boss, coworker, and employee. Here are 5 tips that work for me when I need to break the cycle of procrastination that results from weeks of working from home:

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  1. Relax. Yep, you read that right. The first step is to NOT do work when you wake up in the morning. Everyone is different, but for me, waking up only to immediately get to work is hard to swallow. I want to relax, watch a show, read a book, drink my coffee and enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then start my day happy and not rushed. I wake up earlier and do these things, so that by the time I start my actual work, I feel like I’ve also worked on taking care of myself.
  2. Organize. At the end of each work day, make a to-do list for the following morning and stick to it. Plan ahead which tasks you’ll do during which hours (and how long you anticipate them to take), and you’ll be more inclined to actually get them done. It’s also important to keep hours – it serves as a reminder that you’re still at work and gives you an end time. One of the toughest things about working from home is never leaving the office. Though I am guilty of that myself, it feels like I’m doing too much and not enough all at once when I do.
  3. Tidy up. This is a common piece of advice, but it bears repeating because you can’t sort the thoughts in your brain if you can’t sort through the crap in your workspace. Keep things neat and where you can find them, and going from task to task will be that much easier.
  4. Take breaks. Sometimes I stare at the computer for so long that when I finally snap back to life I realize that my vision is blurry, my back is slouched, and my muscles have contracted. If you’re in the zone and don’t want to stop, try to wiggle your toes and stretch in your chair until you can take a break. Keep a drink next to you so you stay hydrated and comfortable, and try to set an alarm for 5 minute breaks. I’ve started to use this time for squats, planks, and one-song dance breaks, which are much more motivating when I need to get back to work than snacks.
  5. Tackle small tasks. Finally, use times when you can simply can’t be productive for small tasks, such as answering and sending emails, organizing your calendar, or any other little thing that is of lesser importance but hangs over you daily. I have an issue answering emails right away for some odd reason, but when I fight the urge to delay, I feel like I’ve taken care of the small things that are bound to be forgotten, which works as a chain reaction and encourages me to continue working on my bigger projects.

As a small addition, I’d like to share a sixth tip that I recently adopted after reading an article called “Twice, Then Quit.” I love that this idea can be applied to any facet of work and life; if you have the urge to go on Facebook, resist it. Then resist it a second time. If you find that you simply cannot concentrate until you take the break, give in. I’ve applied this to my own social media and useless email checking tendencies and have found that it works like a charm. Chances are, it’s more habit then necessity that is making you feel like you absolutely must check social media, and once you allow yourself to stick to the task at hand, you probably won’t want to stop.

Working from home, while a blessing in so many ways, can also be very difficult. It’s not easy to resist taking half the day off, surfing the internet, and just giving up when there’s nobody there to tell us no. I often experience stir-craziness, cabin fever, and restlessness, so I’m always looking for ways to stay on track and be productive.

For those of you that also work from home, what have you found to be effective tools for staying focused? Please share!

A Weekend in Boston

Boston is hands down my favorite city. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s due to the same kind of chemistry that we experience with our favorite people. When I’m in Boston (or almost anywhere in New England for that matter), everything feels right with the world.

Recently, several of my friends moved there, and this weekend we went to visit one of them to ogle at his apartment (which can fit about 7 of our NYC apartments into it with some extra space left over), explore the city by foot, and eat at some really tasty restaurants.

We started on Friday evening with dinner at Steel & Rye, a trendy restaurant in Milton, MA. They serve cocktails, which were quite good, and new American cuisine, in a cozy atmosphere that was perfect for a few hours of catching up.

Saturday began with a trip to the Museum of Fine Art, and we spent a couple of hours checking out several galleries. The tickets are pretty pricey if you’re not a member ($25/person), but it turns out it’s worth it. Besides the usual art that you might expect, there are tons of galleries featuring interesting and often hilarious modern art, videos and new media, and the best gift shop/book store I’ve ever encountered at a museum. The galleries are laid out in such a way that visitors aren’t overwhelmed after several hours of browsing, and there are plenty of spots to relax (including on some of the art), and interesting things to see everywhere you go.

For lunch, we walked the 40 or so minutes to Chinatown, via the residential part of the Back Bay, and had some amazing dim sum at the Winsor Cafe. It’s a very no frills spot, and you’ll likely have to share a table, but the delicious food is worth it and will cost you practically nothing. Afterwards, take your pick of bubble tea places and wash everything down with some black milk tea.

After lunch, we continued our Boston trek into the North End, the Italian section of town. It’s known for its many adorable restaurants and bakeries, as well as the Old North Church and statue of Paul Revere. This is an area that should not be missed. It’s always happening, and there’s tons of history and cute little side streets to last you a couple of hours. We were hoping for a cannoli from the famous Mike’s Pastry, but the line was far out the door and it was way too chilly to stand in just for dessert. I do recommend it though!

Luckily, Boston is a pretty small city and can be explored by foot if you have the time and desire. From the North End, we walked to the Boston Common and the Public Garden and then through Newbury Street, the gorgeous strip that is home to Boston’s best shops and boutiques, and plenty of restaurants and cafes. I call this the Madison Avenue of Boston, and it is definitely one of my favorite areas.

Newbury Street will lead you back to the Back Bay, where you’ll find the Prudential Center – the tallest skyscraper in Boston and home to the Top of the Hub, a restaurant and bar on the 52nd floor. We had dinner reservations elsewhere, but we stopped here for a pre-dinner cocktail. Though you won’t get a window seat if you go for drinks only, you’ll easily be able to catch the view. The cocktails were surprisingly delicious and the cost (~$12) was way lower than I expected. You may have to wait downstairs for a while as they do fill up, but the visit is worth it and they have excellent crowd control, so you won’t be squished between tons of people fighting for a glance out the window.

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We ended the evening with an incredible tasting menu at Asta. You’ll need reservations relatively far in advance for this one (we were on a waiting list and got a call that afternoon because there had been a cancellation) but the experience is well worth it. We added the wine pairing onto the tasting and loved every single one. I’ll share a couple of my favorite picks in a later post!

On Sunday, we woke up and headed to the Seaport for a tasting at the Harpoon Brewery. You can opt for a tour (highly recommended if you’re a beer fan) or just order a flight and relax and chat with the friendly bartenders. It’s an airy space with tons of tables and seats at the bar, so it’s perfect for a laid back Sunday morning!

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After our beer tasting, we realized that the dim sum from the previous day had made a little too much of an impression on us, so we went back to Chinatown for more at Gourmet Dumpling House. Just as good, just as cheap.

Afterwards, we strolled around the beautiful Beacon Hill neighborhood, which is a combination of dream homes and blocks of coffee shops and boutiques. We grabbed some coffee at a local cafe to warm up, and continued walking until we were by the Charles River. Despite the cold and cloudy day, there were lots of joggers out and the water was sparkling with the light of an early winter sunset.

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And that’s 48 hours in Boston! We headed back towards the center of the city and over to South Station to catch our Amtrak back to NYC, clocking in at about 12 miles of walking over the course of two days. If walking isn’t for you, the subway is easy to navigate and will take you anywhere you need to go.

All in all, it was a great weekend!

Let’s Catch Up

Hello, friends! It’s been quite a while since we sat down and chatted, hasn’t it? A lot has been going on around these parts, so let’s catch up!

  1. The thing that’s been dominating my thoughts lately is our move to New Hampshire! It’s been in the works for almost two years now and after some serious decision-making and lots of planning, we will finally be New Englanders this coming April! I am beyond excited to finally be where I feel I belong.

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  1. I’m getting pretty riled up for the holidays. It’s just such a festive and cozy time and I love envisioning fireplaces, warm mugs of tasty drinks, happy people, and heartfelt Christmas movies. Sometimes it can also be stressful, and this year I plan to avoid that by not losing sight of my workout goals or eating habits, and preparing all my gifts early. :) I’ve already started thinking about everyone on my Christmas list because this year, I really, really hope not to be shopping on Christmas eve. (I totally said that last year)
  1. This weekend, we’re headed to Boston! It’s one of my favorite cities (see #1) and I haven’t been there in a couple of years. I’m excited to see some friends, try a couple of great restaurants, and enjoy a cocktail on top of the Prudential Center. Now let’s just hope the polar vortex expected on the east coast will come after we leave.

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  1. I FINALLY finished reading Gone Girl. What an incredibly well written story. Do you ever get so emotionally attached to a good book that you feel like a chapter of your own life has ended when you finish it? What else should I put on my reading list for this winter?
  1. I am currently addicted to this. I’m not necessarily raving about the benefits of Kombucha just yet, but I do love the taste and variety, and hey, tea and probiotics can’t hurt. I’ll get back to you on whether or not it’s a magical elixir at a later date. ;) For now, it’s a nice, low sugar option to enjoy with lunch or dinner.

Kombucha

  1. I’m fantasizing about a brief escape from the cold this coming year with a mini-vacation to somewhere warm, like Costa Rica. Most of us hate those post-holiday months of January, February, and March that seem to exist only for cold, short, and depressing days. I always try to fill them with weekend getaways and get-togethers with friends to help pass the dreary evenings, but it sure would be sweet to spend a couple of days on a warm beach.

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And that’s about all the updates I have for you! Tell me what’s new with you.

The Life Of An Aspiring Lawyer

I’m really excited for this first post in a new series featuring people who are still on the road to achieving their goals (you can read all about it here). Today, my friend Marina is here to answer a couple of questions about her career journey. She recently graduated from law school, passed the bar exam, and is currently in that lovely stage we all have to deal with at one point or another: the job search. Check out what she had to say about being an aspiring lawyer:

marinashubName: Marina
Age: 25
Career path: Law

  1. When did you first become interested in law as a potential career?

Freshman year of college, I took a course on immigration law in the United States. The course itself was pretty dry; we learned about visas and immigration procedures. However, we did on occasion discuss immigration policy and immigration reform which was very interesting and made me want to learn more. I felt that by becoming an immigration advocate, I could make a positive change in our immigration system.

  1. What do you love about this field?

There are two things that I love about the field:

  • The mental challenge: working as a lawyer is like solving puzzles. The law is constantly changing and the job of the lawyer is to make that law malleable and work in your favor.
  • The knowledge and ability to help others.
  1. Did you have any work/volunteer/internship experiences that have been instrumental in helping you achieve your goals? How did you find these opportunities?

Right now I am volunteering at a legal services non-profit and working on a variety of projects for a small law firm. I have been continuously looking for new opportunities and networking. In order to achieve my goals, I think I need to reach out to more members of the legal community.

In the past, I have worked for a non-profit, the government, large and small law firms and a private company. These experiences exposed me to the legal field and showed me what it means to be a lawyer.

  1. Have you had to make any compromises in order to stay on track?

Truthfully, I feel like I’m “off track” more often than I am “on track.” But otherwise, I think I did make some sacrifices: I avoided getting into romantic relationships during times when I really had to study (first year of law school, during finals my second & third year). I didn’t go out as often and I couldn’t devote as much attention to ballroom dance as I wanted to.

  1. What have you found to be the most helpful resource(s) as you work your way up?

Talking to my colleagues and staying away from my colleagues. The people that you work with and study with are some of the best resources for the future. You can discuss your troubles, sympathize, complain, ask questions, get advice, and learn from others’ mistakes and achievements. But I also found that you shouldn’t immerse yourself in that environment; colleagues can give bad advice, stress you out and bring you down. Only you know what you want, so it’s important to take all advice with a grain of salt.

  1. What is the most useful piece of advice someone has given you?

I have two pieces of advice that I found to be useful. One was given to me by someone the day before I had 20 on-campus-interviews with major international law firms: “there’s no reason to be stressed; you’re going to end up doing what you are meant to do. If you don’t make it tomorrow, that means that that is not the right path for you. The most you can do is try your best. This is an opportunity, have fun with it.”

Another one was something I read on a law school forum written by another student: “First of all, it’s just physics that if you ever want something, there will be stress about it. Having goals means that you aren’t what you want to be right now. That’s uncomfortable.”

I interpreted this as, anybody who wants something is stressed about it, it’s just nature.

  1. What advice do you have for someone considering a career in law?

Since I don’t have a career in law yet I don’t think I’m qualified to give this advice. But for people who are considering law school, they should first think about why they want to do it. Then they should think about the reality: most law students graduate $150,000 in debt and only about 50% of them find employment in the legal field within a year. Only 10% find a job that pays a traditional “lawyer” salary.

  1. What are your other passions and interests?

Ballroom dance, Photoshop, reddit, reading about interesting research in psychology and nutrition. Helping others build their resumes and cover letters.

  1. Talk about a time when you’ve felt like giving up or switching career paths. What made you decide to stick with it?

Don’t have an answer since I’m only sticking with it because I have no other choice.

  1. What is your dream job?

    I have a few: working for an immigration law firm, working in-house at an innovative company, or having my own practice.
  1. How do you stay motivated?

I talk to others and find out about their journey: what keeps them going or what’s keeping them back. Knowing that others are fighting the good fight makes me want to be part of the battle.

  1. Anything else you’d like to share?

I think that people who are trying to achieve their goals and haven’t reached them yet are bound to have bad days. It’s important to know that. Sometimes things just suck, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you failed. That’s how I see my journey at the moment.

Thanks, Marina! Feel free to leave questions for her, and comments, feedback and suggestions for me as I seek out the next great candidate for the series!

Not (Yet) The Corner Office

Hi, friends! I’m sorry I’ve been out of touch for almost a week, but I’ve had something very interesting brewing that I’m super excited to share with you!

I love reading career profiles because they help me gain perspective and consider my own career goals, as well as fulfill my curiosity about everything and everyone. Most importantly, reading them regularly provides inspiration and a certain feeling of solidarity with others who are working towards something.

hustlnOftentimes, we feel smaller, less successful, and unlucky when we see that others are doing better than us. On one hand, it gives us hope to know that people are achieving their goals, but on the other it makes us wonder if maybe there’s something we’re not doing to get to that point ourselves. I know I’ve certainly felt that way.

The truth is, we rarely know all that is going on behind the scenes because the point of a resume, cover letter, or interview is to give a highlight reel and turn career zig-zags, periods of unemployment, and career deviations into “positive experiences.” They most definitely can be, but it’s hard to feel that way when it’s our path that’s in question, and when we’re all our own worst critic.

All this is to say that starting this week, I’ll be starting a series featuring young women (and men!) from all walks of life and various career paths who are still on their way. They are not yet CEOs or multimillionaires, but they are working to achieve their goals and will be sharing their journey right here!

As someone who loves to hear the back story and the decisions people make in order to reach success (slip, trips, horror stories, and everything else included), I’m super excited to bring that right here to Fresh as a reminder that we all have to start somewhere.

In the next few days, I’ll be introducing you to my friend Marina. You’ll be able to read all about the challenges, fears, and emotions she experiences as she makes her way in the working world.

See you then!

10 Travel Tips

Now that I’ve shared a couple of tidbits from my time in England, France, Italy, and Croatia with you guys, it’s time to impart some wisdom that I’ve acquired not only over the course of this three week trip, but also from various other travel experiences. Here are ten travel tips I’d give to anyone planning a vacation, starting with the absolute, most important thing I learned and a mistake I will never make again:

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  1. Bring comfortable, worn in shoes. In planning, you’ll think you want to look cute, in action, you won’t care about anything until your feet stop hurting.
  2. Make copies of important documents such as your passport, insurance card, etc. and email yourself and/or your travel partner a copy. Just in case.
  3. Pre-plan entire outfits when packing, rather than individual items. It will help cut down on both extra baggage and confusion once your trip begins, and you will thank yourself.
  4. Don’t stuff too many plans into one day. This often results in just going through the motions to say you covered a lot of ground, and takes the enjoyment out of just being where you are.
  5. Be patient. You will experience language barriers, confusion, missed buses and trains, and various other mild inconveniences at some point during your trip. The best way to deal with them is to stay calm and have a back-up plan, or to accept that you might have to be spontaneous.
  6. Don’t forget to pack band-aids, painkillers, anti-histamines, and any other medication you might need. This will help if you forget to follow tip #1 ;), and other unforeseen ailments.
  7. Wear something comfortable but functional for the flight. Heels are too much and your feet will get cold. Sweats won’t help when you’re already feeling gross after a long flight. A scarf and cardigan packed away in your carry-on will help for when you inevitably get cold on the plane.
  8. Do some research beforehand. I’ve mentioned this in almost every travel post, but having a few restaurants, neighborhoods, and activities on hand guarantees that you won’t have to plan on your feet all the time. I don’t necessarily recommend planning every single detail, but a little bit of research can go a long way.
  9. Wake up early. This is the best way to get a glimpse of daily life in the place you’re visiting. Everyone else will be sleeping in, so you’ll have an opportunity to walk through uncrowded streets and see everything from a different perspective.
  10. Always have extra cash. You never know when you’ll need to take a cab or bus, or find yourself in a restaurant that doesn’t accept credit cards. Extra cash is always a comforting thing to have.

If you have anything else to add to this list, I’d love to hear it!

Checking Out: The Amalfi Coast

Happy Friday, friends! We have reached both the end of the week and the last destination of my three week European journey, the Amalfi Coast, an incredible region that I could go on and on about forever.

As with Croatia, there aren’t many ways to go wrong here, both with food and hospitality.

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The Amalfi Coast is a region in Italy that is made up of multiple towns. You can visit several of them during your visit by hopping on a ferry, which I highly recommend, or in some cases by bus. In my opinion, the ferry is the way to go as it will give you incredible views of the gorgeous, clear blue Mediterranean water, other towns, and small islands that you would otherwise never see.

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A word of advice regarding transportation: you will likely be terrified for your life as soon as you board a bus on the Amalfi Coast. The entire region is built on cliffs and the roads are narrow, so bus drivers flash their lights and beep their horn when coming around a blind turn to notify oncoming cars and mopeds. Fear not, however, because they’re used to driving here and are completely unsurprised and unaffected by what will seem to you as a near collision.

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Instead, do some people watching, which is fascinating here.  All of the towns are filled with visitors, but Positano, where we stayed, still manages to keep its local feel.  You will find delicious food, locals, and glimpses of day to day life almost everywhere you go.

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Something else you’ll notice is all the stairs. The region is full of them and it hurts to go down just as much as it hurts to go up. I do recommend trying out a climb or descent one day if it’s not too hot, because it will add to the experience of seeing how locals live, as well as give you a 360° view of the Tyrrhenian Sea, gorgeous cliffs, and the small little houses along the edges that we’ve all ooh-ed and ahh-ed over when looking at photos of the Amalfi Coast.

Food

The food on the Amalfi Coast was some of the best I’ve ever had, paired with incredibly friendly service. The truth is that any restaurant you pick will be beautiful, so when doing your research, take note of whether you’ll need to make a reservation to snag a table. We had to skip out on a couple of restaurants that we really wanted to visit because we hadn’t made a reservation several days in advance.

If you’re staying on top of the hill (something many people choose not to do because of the bus ride or walk necessary to get back to your b&b), I cannot sing enough praises for Ristorante Il Ritrovo. It was recommended to us by our b&b as an “inexpensive, tasty, simple” choice on the evening we arrived, and turned out to be one of the best dining experiences of our entire vacation.

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Lodging

This region has TONS of b&b’s, so you’ll have a huge selection from which to choose. Keep in mind that the lower on the mountain you go, the more expensive it’ll be, and the higher up you go, the cheaper it’ll be. Both have pros and cons. The bus ride up wasn’t always what I wanted to do late in the evening after dinner, but the view from the top was incredible. On the other hand, if you’re looking to get to the beach, you’ll get there faster if you’re towards the bottom.

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Experience

And speaking of beaches, the ones on the Amalfi Coast should not be missed. Many of the towns have a beach at the center of town. These will be more crowded, so if you’re looking for something quieter and farther away from the center, you can walk an extra 20 minutes in Positano to Fornillo beach. There you’ll find cheaper chairs and umbrellas and fewer people. That said, you also won’t have the same large selection of restaurants and the beach is a pebble beach, so don’t be like me and bring a pair of water shoes! Also, there will be several people offering to rent out chairs and umbrellas to you, so don’t choose the first offer you get until you’ve seen them all. They’re all in the same general price range, but some will offer more for your money than others. Most of the rentals also come with a wifi password, and some will also come with a boat ride back to the center of town, a drink, and a place to have lunch, which can be delivered to your chair if you choose.

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Finally, if you have the time, you can take a day trip to another town. We visited the actual town of Amalfi and the gorgeous town of Ravello. Amalfi is a good place to find inexpensive souvenirs and grab a bite, but can otherwise be skipped if you’re irritated by big crowds. Ravello has beautiful views, a very cute town center, and a limoncello factory, so I do recommend taking a ferry via Amalfi and hopping on a bus to get there. Buses will be packed and you may have to let one pass before you get on, so plan accordingly!

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As always, this is just a small snippet of the Amalfi Coast, so please feel free to comment or email with any questions! Happy travels!

Currently Loving…

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some of the things I’m currently loving, so the start of a new week felt like the right time! Every few months, I become completely obsessed with something. There’s never a gray area – I never merely ‘like’ something… I devour it whole and then I move on.

  1. In the spirit of fall, my favorite season, I decided to purchase this amazing Cream-On-Top Maple yogurt from Ithaca Milk at my local supermarket. I usually go for plain Greek yogurt and dress it up on my own, but this is a real treat and I will inhale it until I have a new seasonal favorite. The taste reminds me of salted caramel or dulce de leche, and could easily double as a light dessert.
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  2. While away on my three week trip, I realized that my hair was feeling waxy and greasy towards my scalp. Pretty sexy. This happened shortly after I also noticed that my scalp was super dry. No dandruff, just an incredibly itchy, dry scalp. After a couple of weeks of researching dry scalp shampoos and not really knowing which were effective and which were just advertising, I randomly encountered this new tea tree extract scalp treatment shampoo from Tresemmé. It worked like a charm! I’m still dealing with occasional dryness, but it has improved immensely, and there’s no more gross waxiness. It doesn’t hurt that it smells amazing, too!

    tresemmeshampootresemmeconditioner

  3. This one is nothing new, but I’ve reminded myself of just how much I love warm lemon water in the early mornings. It takes care of hydration, which I can be pretty bad at, gets the digestive system going, and helps me ease into my day. It just feels good.
    lemonwater
  4. Gone Girl. Can’t put it down. It’s just so incredibly good and well-written. I can’t wait to see the movie either, but won’t allow myself to until I finish the book. It’s just as well anyway, because it’s been sold out since opening day!gonegirl
  5. Early mornings. I used my mild post-trip jet lag to make 6 am (and sometimes earlier) wake up calls my new norm. I get so much done before the work day even starts! Like watching Gilmore girls re-runs…
    earlymorning
  6. Gilmore girls re-runs. Enough said. Also, is it me or is it always autumn on Gilmore girls?
    gilmoregirls

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

And please, do share your favorite things for when I tire of these, because I’ll kill ‘em like I do a good song. ;)

Checking Out: Croatia

The longest part of my three week European getaway included Croatia, and thank goodness for that! Turns out Croatia is amazing, and I’m completely in love.

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We visited three different locations: Split, the island of Korčula, and Dubrovnik. All three were full of history, beautiful sights, extremely nice people, and amazing food.

It’s hard to cover all of the things we loved in Croatia because honestly, we loved everything. Maybe we got lucky, but it seems that for the most part, there’s no way to go wrong. While we definitely did our usual research and advised with several locals, we found that almost every experience was at least good if not excellent.

The beaches are beautiful and the trick is to find one that’s less popular. Many of the beaches have at least one cafe next to them, and the more popular ones will have an entire boardwalk of places to grab a bite. Pack your water shoes and put up with the pebble beaches for more space to spread out, swim, and enjoy some gorgeous downtime.

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When it comes to food, we had some of our favorite dinners in Split and Korčula, where fish is a major player and the offerings are always whatever was caught that day, so you’re never getting anything that isn’t fresh. The beers are big, cold, and delicious, but the wine is hit or miss, depending on your taste. Also, keep in mind that the smallest wine pour is really small, so you’re not getting ripped off – this is just the way it is in Croatia.

Though there’s so much amazing food to be had in Split, I will suggest a restaurant that was so outstanding that I think everyone needs to know about it. It’s called Konoba Marjan and I can almost guarantee an amazing experience . Definitely make reservations because the chances of getting a table otherwise are slim to none. After dinner, or really at any time because it’s so delicious, don’t miss the ice-cream at Luka. The flavors are often unusual(ly delicious) and change daily.

A favorite downtime of Croatians is midday coffee, nursed anywhere from twenty minutes to a couple of hours. I highly recommend partaking in this activity as it really does have a calming effect, and the coffee is phenomenal.

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The most fascinating thing about Split and Dubrovnik is that both cities are contained within ruins, with Split’s old town being almost entirely in Diocletian’s Palace. On our first day there, we found ourselves in the middle of a Game of Thrones shoot. Seriously.

Everything in both cities, and on the island of Korčula, is accessible by foot, so there’s really no need for cabs or public transportation unless you’re staying outside of the center of town, which might be the case in Dubrovnik. In that case, public buses are very easy to use and almost everyone speaks English, so you’ll rarely have to worry about not knowing where you’re going.

Croatia -8

Last but not least, the lodging. In Split, it’s mostly apartment style, so you’re staying on a regular, local block, and your neighbors are regular, local people. It actually adds some authenticity to the experience so I really enjoyed it, and we were able to snag an apartment with a washer and dryer, which was needed after almost two weeks of travel. The apartments are advertised everywhere, along with the number of stars they have, and people will harass you to rent one from them the second you get to town. I recommend planning ahead, but I guess it’s nice to know that no matter what, you won’t be stranded. In Korčula and Dubrovnik, you’ll find a mix of options, including b&b’s and small hotels.

And that’s about it! Obviously I didn’t go into excruciating detail with Croatia because there’s just so much to do, but I’m happy to answer any specific questions! Get there before it’s overflowing with tourists, because I suspect that soon enough, it will be.