Weekend Reflections; Fall gets an Early Start

The best part about this weekend was that, even though it wasn’t, it felt like an extended weekend. Despite the fact that I worked all day on Friday the weekend felt like it kicked off on Thursday thanks to an evening spent at the Yankee Game. Thursday was a gorgeous late summer day, the sun was shining and the weather was hot. Friday was gorgeous as well but Saturday brought in the rain which broke the heat wave. Sunday morning gave us quite a chill but it did warm up a bit as the day went on. After a few too many Blue Moons at Thursday’s game, Friday was a low key day that focused on work and then an early night. Saturday we had planned on going apple picking but the cold air and windy rain deterred us. Sunday we slept in, made a leisurely breakfast of pancakes & scrambled eggs, shopped around for new fall decor and candles and went for a long walk to soak up as much time outdoors as possible. This coming weekend marks the true end of summer and I’m hoping to spend a day upstate at one of the hiking trails!

Enjoying the Yankee game on a gorgeous evening.

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Well I ALMOST got him in this game day selfie.

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Next time, I should probably stick to just ONE round when out on a school week night.

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Commuting to work at 7am on Friday morning after taking in more beer than baseball required the biggest cup of coffee & my head buried in a novel.

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…and a Friday afternoon Pumpkin Spice Latte pick me up when my beer-induced-headache returned.

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Work goodies! Pretty much obsessed with these tanks.

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Took advantage of being cooped up inside on a rainy Saturday and finished up a commissioned chalk board menu board for an Etsy customer.

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Saturday afternoon baking.

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& Saturday evening imbibing..

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I think these mini mason jar candles from Bath & Body Works are the absolute cutest things ever.

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Sunday morning iced cappuccinos & a hot date.

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Sundays & pancakes are made for each other.

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Edible cookie dough…like, not for baking, JUST for eating. Two problems here: 1, WHY didn’t I think of this!? 2, WHY did I buy this?! Most dangerous purchase ever.

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Results of Sunday shopping.

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…continued…

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and continued.

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Changing leaves already and weather chilly enough for hot coffee.

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The best season for candles.

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The worst dilemma..finding something on Pinterest that you HAVE TO HAVE…but the photo doesn’t link back to a purchasing source. Does anyone know WHERE this coat is from!?!

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Hope you are all enjoying this last weekend and week of summer!!

xoxo

Spiced Pumpkin Bread

Tis the season!

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For pumpkin everything.

Last year, with our wedding kicking off the fall and spending prime autumn time (read, end of September through mid October) on an island in the middle of the Pacific, I kind of missed my beloved pumpkin season. I barely even had any candy corn last fall, which is unheard of seeing as Candy Corn is my all time favorite seasonal treat…I mean, like, even more so than Peeps.

So, this season I’ve decided to completely indulge in ALL THE PUMPKIN and make up for last year. Starting, of course, with Pumpkin Bread.

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The internet has decided that Pumpkin flavor in the fall is pretty much the epitome of basic so I figured why not try my hand at literally the most basic recipe ever.

The pumpkin muffin recipe on the back of the can of Libby’s.

It’s September and I’m thoroughly embracing my inner basic bitch. Whatever, she has good taste and I can’t argue with a chick that takes a ridiculous amount of photos of foliage, lights too many pumpkin spice candles and wears infinity scarves.

I used this recipe (can also be found on the back of your can of Libby’s Pumpkin, which I trust you already have a hoarded pantry full of) with two minor adjustments. I used all whole wheat flour, because it was all I had and I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead of 3. Three cups just seemed a tad overkill and they turned out just fine and perfectly sweet with only 1 1/2.

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So, we ended up making 12 massive muffins with enough batter left over to make this mini loaf of bread. We probably could have made two mini loaves along with the muffins but as usual we ate our weight in batter. Seriously though, this batter was way too delicious.

What’s your favorite pumpkin recipe?? Personally, I’m patiently waiting for my mother-in-law’s famous pumpkin bread, it is to die for!

xoxo

Weekend Reflections; Birthday Celebrations

This weekend we celebrated my husband’s birthday! His birthday fell on Sunday which gave us the entire weekend to celebrate. We were able to spend time with both friends and family which is all you need for a great birthday. Saturday was pretty hot and humid, but his actual birthday on Sunday was gorgeous. It was one of those days where the color of the sky was so vibrant I didn’t even want to blink and miss it. Here’s some shots from our weekend:

 

 

Friday afternoon baking: scones from Jessica’s outrageous cookbook Seriously Delish. Totally read the whole thing cover to cover as soon as it arrived then promptly made these. 

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Afternoon snacks during the season of pumpkin EVERYTHING. I’m not complaining.

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This is how excited I am over Flash Tattoos…kind of in love.

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Baking all the things my husband loves into one cake that just screamed DAN.

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A hot, sweaty, humid, seemingly never ending training run Saturday morning.

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This weekend reminded me that I need to invest in some sort of cake holder/transporter. This doesn’t really work.

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Fortunately, it did make it safely to my inlaw’s home.

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Saturday errands. These may be from the grocery store but that doesn’t change the fact that they are two of the best smelling candles. 

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Saturday night OOTD. Top by Free People, daisy dukes by me & sandals by Sanuk.

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Possibly the best appetizer ever. A soft boiled egg baked into a pocket of some of the most deliciously charred and chewy pizza dough, sitting atop a bed of ricotta & drizzled with truffle oil. I mean….

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Naturally, the best dough equals the BEST PIZZA EVER. The four of us each got our own and sampled each other’s. I got the salad slice, my husband got one with sausage and onions, my friend got the ‘shroom pizza and her fiancé got the bone marrow. I really can’t even decide which trumped the other they were all so insanely delicious. Top left is baked oysters that were just swimming in the most decadent pool of garlic butter. Just stop. 

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Along with phenomenal food, this spot had divine drinks as well! I was quite impressed with the cocktail menu.

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Since we were celebrating Dan’s birthday, dessert was a necessity. Half Baked Brownie Skillets for three of us (um, a steaming hot bowl of gooey raw brownie batter topped with a scoop of vanilla gelato. Heaven was right there in that tiny little skillet.)

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And my friend got this Panna Cotta which, according to her “just tasted healthy”. Ok.

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Between the company and the food, my husband was a happy dude.

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Sunday morning we woke up and went out to a favorite diner of ours for whole wheat pancakes, turkey sausage, sunny side up eggs and iced coffee. The birthday boy’s choice. Then we came home, snuggled on the couch and he opened his gifts from me.

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Sunday afternoon we headed out to RiverMarket Bar & Kitchen for a birthday brunch with my in-laws.

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I got the Montaulk Pointe lobster salad with a glass of viognier while he opted for the grass-fed burger & fries with a pint of local craft beer.

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One of my favorite things about RiverMarket (aside from the delightfully fresh, locally sourced food) is the small wide mouth mason jars filled with adorable brightly colored flowers. On the bar they had repurposed whiskey bottles brimming with a sweet singular sunflower. Obsessed.

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Post brunch it was back to my in-laws for coffee & dessert.

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The cake was a hit, which means the recipe will make its way here soon :)

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xoxo

My Favorite Quick, Healthy Snacks

Hello! Hope you’re all soaking up every last bit of summer before we make our transition into the wonderful, pumpkin flavored and scented world of Fall! 

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I often get asked, “what do you eat?”. Actually, it’s probably the number one question I’m asked by almost everyone. The answer to that is, I snack. A lot. So I figured I’d share my favorite go-to snacks with you! Before getting into it, let me throw out a quick disclaimer: as a full time Spin instructor I live a very active life. The level of cardio I do on a weekly basis requires a pretty high level of carbohydrate intake. Most people seem to be a bit wary of carbs. If you are an active person, an avid runner or cardio king/queen then you should definitely NOT fear carbs! I like to maintain a high carb and protein diet with minimal fat intake, it’s just what works for me. However, everyone is different. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle (for example, your job has you sitting at a desk all day and you work full time) you do not require as many carbs as I do. A perfect example is my mother and sister. Although they are both active people (they work out and exercise regularly and both walk like crazy on any given day) they have primarily sedentary jobs where they are, more often than not, seated at a desk. They both fare well on a high fat and high protein diet with minimal carbs. It works for them; they are satisfied and look great! So, my snack routine may work great for some but may leave others feeling less than satisfied. 

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This is not meant to be a nutritional guideline of any sort, simply a recount of my typical snacks. I do eat these things on the regular on any given day, but keep in mind that I work out for a living. These may not be ideal “anytime” snacks for some of you but anything on here is an excellent pre-workout or pre-run snack! One thing you will notice that is consistent among all these snacks is that they are all whole foods. Some are certainly “quick & convenient” but nothing on this list is processed or full of chemicals. So, whether your a carb-o-holic or healthy-fat-addict, as long as you’re eating whole, fresh, natural foods, I’d say you’re good! Enjoy!! 

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This is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES! Whether it’s before teaching a class, going for a run or a workout, it’s a GO-TO! It NEVER bothers my stomach and it’s always crave-ably delicious! This is a toasted (until basically burnt and suuuuper crunchy, ‘cuz that’s how I like it!) slice of Ezekiel Cinnamon-Raisin bread topped with 1 1/2 TBSP of natural Almond Butter (Since the Trader Joe’s nut butter recall, I haven’t found a replacement that I OMG-LOVE, so if you have any favorites, pleeease share!) and one half a banana (sliced), a few raisins and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. This is 99.9% of the time paired with coffee. I love dunking slices of this into my steaming coffee!! The toast maintains its crunch but softens slightly and it’s sooo mouth watering. 

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Coco-Roons! I get these at Home Goods or random bodegas around the city. They are made simply of coconut, a small amount of agave and almonds. These are one of my all time favorite pre-run eats. I just recently tried this mini version, but I like the full size best. 

 

 

 

 

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My husband’s muffins & Larabars. Another pre-work/workout/run go-to. The muffins, however are just an all around any time snack. I mean, I eat them with breakfast, dinner, dessert, you name it. I’m kind of addicted. Larabars are my purse staple. 

 

 

 

 

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Yogurts from Chobani Soho. These are MY LIFE!!! I literally stop by this store everyday when I leave work. They have so many flavors! I thought once I tried them all I’d get bored. No. I just get that much more excited to taste it AGAIN! Plus, you get to keep those glass bowls!!! I have quite the collection. However, if you don’t live in the NYC area you can still indulge in these decadent yogurt creations! Apparently this shop wasn’t supposed to be a long term thing. It was originally a pop up that came about as sort of an advertisement to show people how they could “dress up” the plain Chobani. Since it was as amazing as it is it took off and they stayed open as the restaurant-ish storefront that they are now (thank goodness). If you live too far to hit up the store, check out their website and peek into the recipe section! All the ingredients are listed and many are pantry staples, so go ahead and grab some plain Chobanis and try them out for yourself!

 

 

 

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Almond butter single serve packets + whole wheat tortilla + 1/2 frozen banana. THIS COMBINATION!! Literally, this is my life. I eat this almost every morning. I love the contrast of the warm tortilla (I heat it up on stovetop, placing it right over the fire) and the chilled banana slices. The almond butter holds it together like glue and gives the snack some serious staying power.

 

 

 

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Veggies, cheese, hummus and fig jam. Now this is a daily snack. I have this literally every day of the week, whether I’m chilling at home or on the go. The only thing that changes is the jam. I switch between Fig jams and this amazing Guava jam that I bought in bulk in Hawaii. For cheese, I switch it up between low and full fat. I know a lot of nutritionists tell you to go for full fat and that a little goes a long way. Sometimes it does but sometimes, it really just doesn’t. Sometimes I just want to eat like…half a damn block of cheese, ok? For those days low fat cheeses are my life. If I know I will be good with “just a taste” (those days are rare, my friends) I adore Trader Joe’s Sirah Soaked Toscana, Armenian String Cheese or a reeeeally good Jarlsburg. I’m not a fan of soft cheeses. Hummus comes in all varieties, I love every flavor. Dan and I also like to make our own. When I’m on the go and can’t make a pretty little plate I usually pack a baggie filled with sliced cucumbers, baby carrots (or any other raw veggie I have on hand) and a big handful of roasted almonds. 

 

 

 

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Sweetie Sushi!! OMG I love this snack!!!! So on the left side is my PB&J roll. That is a slice of Ezekial Cinnamon Raisin bread (not toasted!) rolled out super thin. I place the bread between two paper towels and roll over it with my marble rolling pin until it is super flat. Then I spread on peanut or almond butter and my favorite-at-the-moment jam. Roll it up and BAM!-PB&J Sweetie Sushi! So cute and so fun to eat. On the right is my Banana Honey Roll. For that one I take a whole wheat tortilla and spread it with peanut butter. Then I drizzle on a little honey (sometimes I sprinkle coconut on it as well!) and place a banana right in the middle. I roll it all up and the PB & honey make it stick so I can neatly cut it into cute little rolls. I make these with breakfast quite often but they’re a fun snack when you’re home alone and want something healthy but something that still feels special/indulgent. Of course, I always plate them on my actual sushi plates…because I’m a loser like that. 

 

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And, of course, sometimes when you’re snacking nothing quite beats wine & chocolate. That really is the ultimate snack. Oh, and it’s totally healthy too…red wine, dark chocolate? Hello, antioxidants?!?

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xoxo|

Welcoming September

I find it so crazy how as we grow over time things shift. Some things change, but what I’ve noticed is that it seems to be more of a shift than a change. Almost like…I guess growing up and coming into myself. 

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Take for example, the month of September. When I was a kid I only had one association with September, and that was the dreaded thought of going back to school. Despite the fact that I was the ultimate summer baby I never acknowledged the fact that September actually held those beautiful final weeks of summer or took the time to notice the shift in temperature and golden bronze sunsets. All that mattered was that I had to put my Catholic school girl uniform back on, get teased by my classmates (middle school hell), and sit in endless hours of detention. Whereas, on the flip side of September was summer where I was free to wear the clothing of my choice every day, as well as free to simply be me. 

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This is my second September of not being a student, however, it feels like my first. This time last year we were several weeks away from our wedding and the summer planning was hectic, to say the least. It was go-go-go and I really never took the time to simply appreciate the days. We went straight on our honeymoon after the wedding and didn’t return until the middle of October. So, by the time I was able to “relax” it was Halloween. Only, I couldn’t relax at all because I had yet to figure out what my job situation was and was still working odd jobs here and there as if I was still a busy student. 

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I will say, this past year has been a roller coaster. As much as I disliked school, last year made me realize how much I actually needed the routine of it all. This past year felt like I was floating out in sea without an anchor. This past winter was incredibly challenging and I succumbed to a state of seasonal depression. It was not fun. I became so complacent in that depression that I think my ass left a permanent indent on our sofa. 

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The spring was equally as difficult. I still had yet to figure out what I was doing. I still wasn’t myself, I still had no set job and still carried an abundance of anxiety. Finally, the summer came and longer days helped me remove myself from the sofa and spend more time outside. The sunlight certainly helped and I started to feel better. Finally, I settled into a career. Finally, I felt happy. I had a routine, I had something that would give me both an anchor and balance.

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However, I still had this “in the back of my head” anxiety. Would this winter wipe me out again? Well, it might, but I’ve decided that I won’t let it. (SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a case of depression one may experience in the winter months. A major cause includes lack of sunlight and shorter days which decreases the body’s supply of vitamin D and can leave us feeling sad and lethargic. This is a major reason why I’ve chosen to run my marathon in the spring. The training will force me to get outside into the sunlight at least once a week with my long runs. This past winter I spent my days spinning indoors instead of outside on runs. I believe the lack of sunlight was a major contributor, especially since I am not used to exercising only indoors. I will also be sure to take a daily vitamin D supplement, 2000 IU). So, I’m taking this month of September and honoring it for all the beauty and happiness it holds. September has  redeemed itself for me and become one of the most special months. It’s the month that holds both my husband’s birthday and our wedding anniversary. This autumn season we have so much to look forward to and I’m using that as the catapult to bring me back into a routine and start fresh. It’s time I feel like myself again. I wanted to share my excitement with you and end the summer, as well as kick off the fall with happiness, eager hearts and so much to look forward to!

 

Autumn Goals, Events & Bucket List

What I’m looking forward to this season.

 

SEPTEMBER

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  • My husband’s birthday! This is the first time we will be celebrating his birthday as husband and wife and I was so excited to pick out a specific “husband” birthday card! 
  • Apple & Pumpkin picking! We make a point to go to the orchids every fall, but last year with all the wedding to-dos we completely missed it! So sad. We’re planning on going in about two weeks and I already have a ton of apple & pumpkin recipes just begging to be made!
  • Speaking of recipes, COOKING WITH PUMPKIN. OMG…I am so ready for pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING!! This time last year I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season and it was at the Starbucks in the Miami Airport on the way home from my bachelorette party trip. <–almost ended that with an exclamation point. I realize every bullet is ended with one…I mean, yea I’m excited but let’s not be obnoxious. -.-
  • The GRAND opening of BFX Studio! We had our soft opening two months ago but mid-September we’re really breaking out and introducing the studio to the city and I am so excited! 
  • Puppy visits!! Dan and I are looking to adopt a sweet little Boston Terrier this fall and plan on visiting a couple breeders in the coming weeks. If anyone knows any GREAT Boston Terrier breeders in the Tri-State area or even Pennsylvania, please comment or let me know by email!! :)
  • Late summer beach days. There is nothing quite like the ocean in September. The water is at its warmest after the hot days of August, the crowds are gone and the bronze sunsets are breathtaking.
  • FALL CANDLES. 
  • Shorts & Booties. & SCARVES. Love, love, love!
  • Our FIRST WEDDING ANNIVERSARY!!!! <- totally warrants all the exclamation points. !

 

OCTOBER

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  • One of my favorite months! The colors of the leaves, the cool fall breezes and my favorite holiday ever.
  • HALLOWEEN!
  • My sister’s birthday!
  • My mother in law’s birthday!
  • The fact that we literally already have every weekend of October booked with fun fall and Halloween activities. Many of which involve pumpkins and Headless Horseman things…omigosh.
  • Autumn Fashion
  • CANDY CORN

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NOVEMBER

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  • Our seven year dating anniversary! Yup, still celebrate it.
  • My mom’s birthday!
  • Thanksgiving and ALL THE STUFF[ing].
  • Our annual anniversary trip to Newport, RI! First time we’ll be back since our wedding!
  • Hopefully cuddling with our new little puppy. Fingers crossed!

 

With all this excitement there is no room for sadness. Even though the fall will be busy it will be far less chaotic than last year and that brings some comfort. I feel settled, I feel happy and I feel like I’m finally in a routine. Now I just have to keep up with it every week of September and let that routine flow out into the rest of months, including carrying me through winter and giving me strength. :) 

xoxo

Weekend Reflections; A Rainy LDW

If there’s one thing a rainy holiday weekend is good for, it’s shopping. 

Lounging and snuggling don’t hurt either. Fortunately, we did sneak in a few hours of sun on Saturday before the clouds rolled in. This Labor Day Weekend was exactly what a lazy holiday weekend should be…a whole lot of doing nothing. My mother and I spent the day together today getting pampered with mani-pedis and taking advantage of the holiday sales at our mall and Bloomingdales. Hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend. Have fun tonight and sleep in tomorrow! LOVE long weekends when Monday’s kind of don’t exist. ;)

 

The last quiet week of summer before New York returns to its usual busy self.

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Matching pants + pedicure.

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Cozy summer scented candles warming up a rainy night.

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Calories don’t count on holidays, right?

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Pineapple + Toasted Coconut + Hazelnut topped yogurt from Chobani Soho.

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A gorgeous view during Saturday morning’s run.

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Shopping with my mom always yields an endless supply of samples.

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Supplies ready for a chalkboard commission piece.

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Sunday manicure…with coffee of course.

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Shopping trips left me with Flash Tattoos, a new perfume, a few makeup essentials, birthday gifts for my husband and these new pieces of jewelry sure to become new obsessions.

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xoxo

 

 

 

Thoughts on Running

There’s nothing quite like the peace and solitude one finds on a long run. (this link made me lol ;) )

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I mentioned the other week that I registered to run my first full marathon this spring. I know I’m a ways out but I figured why not start now. The earlier the better, right? 

I used to do a longish run every Saturday until this passed November. That was when I started teaching 2-4 spin classes on Saturday mornings. Obviously, with that much spinning a run was simply unnecessary. I’ve run cross country since high school and I always thought distance running came easily to me. Hah…that’s funny. It wasn’t the exercise itself, what made it seem “natural” was due to the practice, discipline and consistency. The simple act of running regularly made it feel like it was easy. However, once I stopped it was a challenge to start again. I didn’t exactly pick up where I left off. Even though all the spinning I was doing was technically endurance, it wasn’t running. It’s simply different parts of the body used in different ways. 

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Two weeks ago on a Saturday morning I set out for my first “long run”. I did around 6 miles (I was normally banking between 8-11 miles every Saturday morning, granted I only did it ONCE a week!). Surprisingly, it felt fine so the following week I figured I’d ramp it up. Well, I ramped it up to 10 miles and apparently it was a little too much, too soon. I was so sore. Like, could not even work out until the following Tuesday. 

So, yesterday morning I dialed it back a bit. I did a 9 miler on a completely new route and slowed my pace just a bit. I felt a lot better. I’m glad I gave myself more than enough time to train because clearly, I’ll be needing it. What I realized this morning, though, was that there really is nothing quite like a long run. It’s the best way for me to clear my head, be alone with my thoughts and just be. 

(and take mid-run selfies..)

(and take mid-run selfies..)

However, this is the BEST, hands down best part of a long run: listening to new jams and discovering new-to-me artists. Nothing beats downloading a brand new album or two on a Friday night and looking forward to listening to it the following morning. A lot of people ask how I stay motivated or get myself going to run distance. Well, there is your answer! 

As a spin instructor, and all around music junkie, discovering new beats is a serious passion. Mid run is when I zone out to the beat and movement of a song as well as take note of how it makes me feel. It’s where I decide what goes into my playlist, where it will be and what movement will be choreographed to it. 

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Yesterday’s run playlist was all about this band that my husband just told me about called Slightly Stoopid. I had heard of them before and had heard a few of their songs here and there but had yet to download any specific song or listen to an album in its entirety. Dan was raving about them so I downloaded two of their albums for my run and I’m now just as obsessed as he is. If you like reggae, ska or just chill-out beats with a beachy vibe, definitely check them out. Dan found them from a song he heard in the background of a surfing video. 

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xoxo