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2.02.2018

Eating Well with Green Chef

Eating Well with Green Chef
2.02.2018
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Every January I find myself in the same place: a brand new year with the same damn resolution to eat healthier. Cleary I can use all the help I can get since eating well starts by deleting the Papa John's app on my phone in my own kitchen. Green Chef kindly offered to help me kickstart my year by sending me a few of their organic meals to test out and review for you. Spoiler alert: they are delicious!

Is this your first time hearing about Green Chef? I was new to the company, too, but let me tell you - they quickly swept me off my feet with their USDA-certified organic ingredient based meals that cater to the food guidelines you likely already follow. Paleo? Vegan? Keto? Yes, yes and yes! You choose which meal plan fits your lifestyle best and get a rotating menu of delicious dinners sent to your doorstep weekly. There's no shortage of unique flavors and recipes either, since October 2014 they've designed over 1,300 delicious dinners of the highest quality organic ingredients. 


Although I'm not eating 100% paleo right now, that's both mine and Tyler's preferred diet as we feel the best when we eat that way. So naturally I opted for the paleo meal plan option from Green Chef! For me, the unique recipes were a huge highlight of this service. I'm only moderately adventurous when it comes to branching out into new flavors and ingredients. If I've never used it before, I'll often skip over the recipe (or omit the ingredient altogether) to keep the meal in my comfort zone. Because Green Chef literally packs up each ingredient and sends them to my kitchen with incredibly easy to follow instructions, it was so easy for me try new foods! And while we're on the topic of delivery, all the ingredients came expertly packed and individually labeled/color coded for each different meal. Super efficient for organizing in my refrigerator! Bonus - all of the packaging is either recyclable, reusable, or compostable! 


While everything I tried from Green Chef was delicious, the photos you're seeing are of my favorite meal -- Memphis Pork Chops with roasted squash and sautéed collards topped with bacon & pecans. Are you drooling yet?! I am just thinking about how good it was! Green Chef recipes average around 30 minutes of cook time and this one was just a little higher at 40. I was stopping to take some photos along the way but I was still easily able to complete the meal in about 45 minutes.


I was incredibly impressed with how few dishes I dirtied while cooking with so many ingredients. The chef who created the recipe did a fantastic job of organizing the steps in order to reuse the same pan & cutting board as much as possible. This was brilliant for me (or should I say for Tyler since he is the typical dishwasher in our household) because I rarely use the same pan more than once when I cook on my own. 

Speaking of Tyler, he was a huge fan of these meals as well. I'll be  He's the first to admit that I cook the same meals over and over again so it was such a nice change from our normal dinner routine. We were also completely satisfied with the portion sizes of these meals - our kits were for 2 people and it perfectly fed us both with no waste. Do you have a growing teenage boy? These are probably not going to cut it for them, but for the vast majority of us - these portions sizes are perfect!



Thank you so much to Green Chef for sponsoring this post. You all know that all opinions here will always be my own & I'm so genuinely excited to share this company with those of you that are looking for a meal service option that is based in eco-friendly, nutritional and delicious food.  Have questions about anything I didn't cover? Leave a comment below or check out the Green Chef website here.

Interested in getting $40 off at Green Chef? Just click here - or any of the other Green Chef links in this post!


1.09.2018

Why I Left New York City

Why I Left New York City
1.09.2018
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Last August, Tyler and I made an exciting move to Austin, Texas. Below is a post I started writing in May of 2017 - the same day Tyler and I made the decision that we were ready for a change. This post was originally written to be an announcement for our move, but I think it so well speaks as a reflection on 2017.

"I don't think I've been very good at hiding the fact that I've not been 100% happy in New York as of late.  Not that I was trying to actually, because that's the entire point of this space - to be open & honest with you, my readers & friends.

It's crazy how much can change in just 4 years.  When Tyler & I decided to move to NYC it was with so much excitement and purpose. This city was never meant to be a stop on our journey but rather a final destination. I've met so many people here who have already moved away after their 1, 5, 10 years living here.  They would tell me about how they always wanted to live here for a season in life but that it was over and they were moving on to something else.  I honestly couldn't understand it at first because why would you want to move somewhere for just a moment in time.  But as the last few years have gone on, I can finally say I understand. More importantly, Tyler and I both understand.

This decision seems so sudden, yet at the same time, it's been a long time coming. We've toyed with the idea of leaving and moving to a place that was, for lack of a better word, easier. This city sure knows how to be invigorating.  And while that's what brought us here initially, it's also what is sending us on our way. We are constantly exhausted with this place and just want to stretch our legs in a bigger space that allows us to feel a freedom that we gave up when we moved here.  Yes, NYC has nearly everything you could ever want but sometimes that just isn't enough. Sometimes you have to give in and break up when you're not happy anymore.

Oh man, that's exactly what this feels like. It feels like a 4 year relationship with someone you've been so in love with but, after a lot of self-discovery, you've learned that you're not the same person anymore and you want different things in life. I cannot stress enough how thankful I am that Tyler and I mutually feel this way and are ready to leave this city together.  There have been a lot of tears while we've been making this decision - we are so passionate about this city and we think it will always be such a special part of our journey.

The strangest thing is that right now we are the happiest in this city that we've been in the 4 years we've lived here. We have good jobs, great friends, and even restaurants that know our orders -- but it's still time."



From this day on, the year was a whirlwind. After a few job applications & a few interviews, we were suddenly planning to pack up and move across the country. Any move is stressful, and I'm sure if we were packing up more than a tiny studio apartment it would have been much worse, but there were so many important decisions to make in such a short amount of time that I think we too anxious to enjoy those last few weeks to the fullest. Thankfully, we had two of our best friends in town for a week to visit just before we started packing up & it forced us to slow down a bit, relax, and enjoy some of our favorites one final time. 

Cookies at Levain Bakery (Always worth the wait in line. Always!)
A ride on the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island (Choose the moving carts - so much fun!)
Dinner & drinks at Javelina's (Get the Bob Armstrong queso! Delish!)



One of my biggest fears when we decided to move so suddenly was leaving with a lot of regrets. I'd like to say I don't live with those - and I'm working towards that mindset - but, honestly, I do have a few. Like I mentioned before, I thought I would have a lifetime of living in NYC to experience everything but that turned out not be the case. There are so many restaurants I never tried, museums I never visited, and risks I never took. I was so adventurous when I moved to NYC in 2013 but 4 years later I found myself playing everything safe. This was definitely one of the reasons why we decided to shake things up by moving to Austin.

We're now 4 months into life here and to be completely transparent with you, I've continued to play things pretty safe. Y'all, I'm so ready to find my adventurous side again! So ready for it that I could scream! My lists of places to see and things to do here in Austin (& beyond!) keeps growing and I am determined to experience it all - and share it with you!! I crave sharing more both on this platform and on social media but I often completely hold myself back because of my self-doubt and perfectionism. It's a huge struggle that I can't let stand in my way any longer. No more excuses. I'm never going to get what I want in life if I keep making excuses. Anybody feel me on that one?!



So that's where we are on this new journey -- ready to live the life that we literally packed up and moved across the country for. And I'm going to share it with you (duh!) both in long form here and a behind-the-scenes look on Instagram. For those of you who've been so patiently following my journey for years, thank you for sharing your encouragement and grace with me every time I post. You'll never know how much your words & actions (likes, comments, messages, prayers..) mean to me.   

Here's to new adventures in 2018!


>>A huge thank you to my favorite photographer, Ryan Nicholls, for these beautiful photos. Tyler and I will treasure them forever.
5.29.2017

A Cup of Coffee in New York City

A Cup of Coffee in New York City
5.29.2017
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All great days begin with coffee.  No objections? Yeah, I thought so. And this is why coffee dates are the best way to see the city, catch up with old friends, network, and I would assume* make a great first date. 

*You know, because I've been married for 100 years and have zero idea how to date.  Actually, I didn't know how to do that when I was single so being married really isn't an excuse. 



I actually didn't drink coffee before moving to the city.  Well, I did make an ocassional trip to Starbucks for a sugary sweet drink but I definitely don't count that. But damn if New York doesn't require every single person that lives here to drink at least one gallon cup each morning to simply survive. I'm not kidding. My coworkers and I are on a group text and 95% of our conversation is about who is picking up coffee for the rest of the group that day. 



While I'm typically a cold brew kinda gal, this day I couldn't resist trying out this simple black coffee at Blue Bottle because usually sometimes I live for the aesthetic. Can you blame me with that beautiful clear mug?! 


And for the record, my go-to cup of coffee in NYC is a cold brew with almond milk from La Colombe. ;) 


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5.18.2017

5 Ways to Feel Good About Yourself

5 Ways to Feel Good About Yourself
5.18.2017
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I know I'm not the only one that finds themselves in an evil little funk every once in a while. I've been fighting one off for the past few months & am finally starting to get myself in a good headspace again. I wish I could say that there was one simple magic thing that helped me feel good again - believe me I'd share it with you in a heartbeat - but, like everything else in life, it's taken some work. Today I'm sharing my perfect formula that has helped me get back on track to be a happier & healthier person.



1. Start a Fitness Challenge
Before this month, I hadn't worked out in over a year.  Guys, that's really embarrassing to admit but I'm here to keep it totally real with you. I've totally been neglecting how important it is to just get up and move.  I've found myself really unhappy with how my body looks (and feels) lately & when I look back to photos of when it looked and felt better, the common theme from that time of my life was consistent exercise + a clean diet (more on that later). 

So this month a coworker of mine was kind enough to create a custom fitness challenge (think one of those Pinterest-worthy monthly challenges focused on one theme - like squats, sit-ups, & planks - but ours includes all 3) and she committed to doing it with me.  Other coworkers were so excited by our enthusiasm about it that they joined in, too!  I'm just over a week in but it feels so damn good to be doing some sort of exercise again. I'm already looking into other options to add more activity to my life! Do you have any favorite workouts or gyms/classes that I should check out?  Let me know in the comments below!



2. Get a Facial
Have you ever had a facial?  I just got my first one a few weeks ago at Skin Spa on the UES and, guys, I don't know what was holding me back from getting one before!  Never have a I felt so confident in my own skin (hence all these sans-makeup photos today!) than after getting my treatment from my incredible aesthetician Laura. I can't tell you the number of people who see me on a regular basis that asked me what new foundation I was wearing -- they were so surprised to hear I hadn't changed a single thing, my skin was simply that much better!

Skin Spa was so gracious to treat me to the Time Eraser Facial which my aesthetician referred to as "the works!" This is essentially a 3-in-1 facial focused on reducing fine lines, age & sun spots, enlarged pores, redness, and the list goes on. The service was about 1 hour long and included steam, extractions, a glycolic peel, and laser genesis treatment. I was kind of lost in relaxation during the entire service & loved trading New York transplant stories with Laura! 

Again, this entire tip is about truly feeling confident in your skin.  Mine has drastically improved as I've gotten older and I've by no means been shy about going makeup free in public pre-facial, but this treatment has definitely boosted my confidence. My skin is firmer, clearer, and so glowy! Trust me when I say you'll be so thankful you invested in your own self-confidence! If you're interested in trying out Skin Spa they currently have the Time Eraser Facial deeply discounted - nearly 40% off!!   Just let me know in the comments if I can answer any questions for you!



3. Eat Clean
Food is my vice. Ugh. I'm basically breaking a sweat just thinking about how to write this one. I've always had an unhealthy relationship with food & zero self-control. Zilch. Nada. Last year I started working with a Nutritional Therapist who literally changed my life. I learned how to eat well and - bonus - how to make my body feel awesome by eating well. Seriously life changing & I promise you an entire post on this in the future. 

So I know what to eat, how to do make it work with my NYC lifestyle -- I just wasn't doing it anymore. I could not seem to motivate myself to get started again but the previously mentioned fitness challenge, I was ready!  It always amazes me that when you put one foot out to take a leap, the other foot follows and progress starts. So just like the fitness challenge I'm just over a week in but I feel good. I'm motivated. And I am completely confident that you will feel this way, too. Kick the sugar, the dairy, the grains -- these things are just holding you back.  Take control of how you feel by eating clean!



4. Treat Yourself to a Manicure
Or to lash extensions, a spray tan -- whatever it is that will make you feel like you've got your shit together. For me, it's having my nails done. I feel incomplete without a fresh coat of paint in a color that makes me feel good. You don't have to spend a fortune on going to the salon all the time, but even if you're an at-home mani kinda person, treat yourself every once in a while. Let someone do the work for you.  Invest in feeling pampered. You deserve it.




5. Embrace your passion
This will undoubtedly be different for each and every one of you - and that's what makes this one so special.  We all have different talents, gifts, dreams.. and they are all very important. You absolutely should live a life where you are pursuing your passion. Sometimes all the clutter in life gets in the way - that's definitely what's happened to me on and off for the last few months years. How am I getting back on track? Not being afraid to talk about what I want with those that care about me. When I am willing to open up and share my struggles I get the most amazing support, advice, and motivation to keep going for it. This is the person I want to be for you. I want you to know that no dream is too small - we can all make our dreams a reality. Find at least one thing that you can do each day that allows you to work on your passion and do it. It's that simple - one step at a time. 


As I said before, there is no perfect formula for everyone but these 5 things have really helped me feel so much better about myself lately. I would love to hear about some of the things that help lift you up -- I can use all the tricks I can get!  Let me know in the comments below!


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3.27.2017

How the Q Train Changed My Life

How the Q Train Changed My Life
3.27.2017
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I'm just going to say up front that I realize this one is going to make me sound lazy - and I won't completely say you're wrong but just hear me out.  I quite love living on the Upper East Side in our tiny apartment that we've had for the past 3 years.  Our neighborhood is pretty quiet but not so much that you feel like you're no longer in the city.  It's close to both Central Park and the East River.  And, come on, it even has one of only two locations of my favorite paleo restaurant: Hu Kitchen. But (yes - there's the 'but' you've been waiting on), the walk from my apartment to the overly crowded 4/5/6 train is a solid 10 minutes at a brisk absolutelycannotbelateforworkagain pace. 


I know, I know.  I'm basically complaining about getting 10 minutes of exercise, but this walk is the worst.  New York City is one of those places where everything is hard when it absolutely does not have to be.  I mean, I know that's a huge reason that a lot of my friends don't even entertain the idea of living here - because who actually wants to make things harder on themself? Well apparently 8.5 million of us do - and we're always looking for ways to cut corners on every difficult thing we encounter.


When you're lazy like me and you feel like you've just walked a half marathon to get to your apartment after work, you don't want to get back out to see you friends, go to events.. or do anything for that matter. But then, on January 1st 2017, a magical thing happened: the Q train opened to connect us Upper East Siders with the rest of the world. *insert emoji praise hands* 



Long story short, work on this train line was originally supposed to begin in 1919 but the Great Depression happened.  After years of planning and funding issues, the construction finally started in 1972 only to continue having similar issues. Fast forward to last December and the reality of this section of the new line about to open became so real for us on the UES.  Now, New Yorkers aren't really known for showing their happiness, so I can only imagine that my neighbors were equally as excited as I was on New Year's Day when we took our first ride on our brand spanking new train line. 


When anyone asks me about this new train service, I have to give them an honest answer: it has drastically increased my quality of life. Overdramatic? Honestly, no. My once rushed 10 minute walk is down to an easy 3 -- only three minutes!! Friends actually want to come visit now and, more importantly, I actually want to visit them.  I don't feel the need to take as many cabs because getting home doesn't feel as hard. Plus it's so rare that riding the train feels crowded now - such a huge relief for someone who has acquired a touch of anxiety since moving to the city. Basically, this Q train has changed my life in these 3 short months. I've found myself with so much more inspiration to live my life to the fullest in this crazy place. 


And I could not be more thankful.


Shop the look:  >>jumpsuit  >>jacket (similar)  >>shoes (similar)  >>earrings


The Nail Polish Company You Need to Know

The Nail Polish Company You Need to Know

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Yes, you are indeed looking at the thing nail polish dreams are made of.  I can't be the only one that has dreams about nail polish, right?  

Meet SquareHue - an incredible subscription polish service with an even better purpose. 



Each month SquareHue releases 3 new shades of their 7 free/cruelty free/vegan polishes.  You have the option to purchase all three colors, to pick your top two favorites, or even to skip out on the month altogether if none of the colors suit your mood. They arrive in the most darling box along with a color swatch card to keep track of your polish colors. Isn't that brilliant?

Not only are these polishes legit good quality [I got a solid 10 days of wear out of the color Pompidou that I'm wearing in the photos], they are for such a good cause.  SquareHue is passionate about fighting against human trafficking - a sad but true reality that is happening right here in the USA every single day. With each purchase, SquareHue donates a portion of the proceeds to for prevention awareness, protection of trafficked victims, and prosecution of human traffickers. Guys, this is a nail polish company I can 100% stand behind.


These shades are from a couple months back but I'm obsessing over their April box colors - the red shade is on point! Thanks to SquareHue for sending over these polishes for me to try. You can learn more about SquareHue and their mission here.


Photography by Tyler Skiles

A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

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If you're ever feeling stuck - in a life rut, in a bad relationship, in anything that's making you unhappy - do yourself a favor and just search 'change quote' on Pinterest.  Boom - suddenly all the motivation you need will be there smacking you in the face and giving you the courage to do what you've been to afraid to go after.  For me, it was simply letting go of an unfulfilled goal I once had and turning into a new one - a fresher, more mature, and actually attainable one.  Let me explain...

Photography by Tyler Skiles

Back in 2012 I started a fashion blog. I loved it. I had serious goals for it but after moving to New York the next year, I just couldn't get it together. The reasons for it? Well, I'm sure we'll get into that another time, but in summary: New York is a hard f*cking city to live in. 

I seriously feel so much better getting that off my chest. 

And that is the reason for this blog.  I'm not the same person I was when posting fashion photos 4.5 years ago and I mean that in a really positive way.  I'm older, wiser, & more independent. I'm far more interested in what's going on in the world because it actually impacts me. I still love fashion and beauty but I also want to share much more than that.  

So I just used my Pinterest motivation to say goodbye to the old site and have, instead, created this space.  A space that represents who I am today as a 31 year old woman.  What I've learned about myself over the last few years is that I really do love clothes and lipstick - but I'm not always inspired by it. Sometimes my inspiration comes from the architecture I pass on my way to work. Sometimes it's from the cutest little coffee shop that I don't even have time to stop in but I snap a photo of it as a reminder for another time. Sometimes it's seeing the passion in a coworker who is doing everything they can to fulfill their dreams. I live for this stuff, guys. 

And this space is where I want to share it all with you. 

Here's what you can expect: people, places, and things.  I'm going to continue to share personal style posts and beauty favorites.  I'll still share shopping guides for holidays and all of those kinds of things. But now I'm going share more of my life with you - both in NYC and beyond.  I'm going to share more of my heart. I know everyone is sick of the word authenticity but, guys, there's going to be so much authenticity around here. I want to be real - someone you can actually relate to.  I need that for myself, just as much as for you.

This fresh start is my journey towards living an inspired life.  

If this is the kinda place that speaks to you, then by all means make yourself cozy here.  Leave a comment with any of your thoughts/ideas/inspirations & sign up for the email list at the bottom of this page so you'll be notified when I publish a new post [once a week to start].  Here we go..


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