Lots of instas for the month of April! It was a beautiful, busy month - my birthday, coffee dates, SO many beautiful flowers, family dinners, trips into the city, magnolia blooms, sketches and walks with Scout. All of it has been perfect and I can't begin to explain how excited I am for May...yay!

follow me at @tmango77


scenes from my weekend (and some thoughts)

ok...so I cheated! I posted two weekends in one.
both were verrrry nice, very relaxing. filled with flowers. and caffeine. and hockey playoffs.

- - -

So, unrelated to the above pictures...lately I am feeling like I need a little push in the right direction.
Should I focus on applying to grad schools? being irresponsible and traveling the world? 
volunteering my butt off in my current job? focusing on moving out and getting an apartment?
studying something that really interests me, like Italian? spending more time improving my artwork?
I can't decide which one I want to throw my all into. I find myself wanting to do it all,
but then I can't get really good at one thing.

So I am feeling a little direction-less. But grad school is a definite must for me sometime soon.
I really want to do something that gets me traveling again - but I worry that it will conflict with my job.
I want to study italian again, but I worry that I will never have the opportunity to use it.
The GREs terrify me, too. What if I don't get a good score? What if it takes multiple times?
I think that this is a great strength and flaw of mine, to always wonder what is next.
Because it propels me to keep moving...but there's that question that plagues me...what if?
Ok- this is a bit heavy for monday morning.
All in good time, all will fall into place - it always does.

some posts that have inspired me over the weekend (check them out!)

ciao, xo


inspo for may '14

ooooh! ok, may, I am ready for you.
Thank goodness the sun is coming...warmth is coming...summer is coming.
The winter seemed endless but I can say with pure happiness that
it is maxi dress season, time for wedges and sandals and sun-washed brightness.
things I want to do more in May: run and jog, sit outside after work, spend time with friends.
more dining al fresco and wearing dresses. even to work! aaaand travel. near and far.
things I want to keep doing, that I have been: cafe hunting, taking (more) pictures, and laughing.
I am full of ambition and anticipation for this month and the summer that follows it!
could. not. be. more. excited!

ciao! xo


thoughts on being unfinished

Everyone knows what it feels like to start something and not finish it. Whether its a chore, a project, a tedious little job, or even if it is something you want to finish but you can't because you're a perfectionist (ding ding ding! that's me). I was so happy when I half-revived this old sketch (and I think I like the undone feel of it all) and it turned out so nice with a pop of color! I find that I like my sketches so much better when they are actually sketches, rather than prim-and-proper pen lines or neatly-dabbed watercolor. I like the shadows and the creases and the rawness that a pencil makes. I like being able to smudge with my finger. But I have so many books - literally, books - of unfinished sketches. I want to bring them to life. I like this clean yet rough draft look, with the emphasis on one or two details. Just another phase I am in, I guess.. :) but look for more soon!

Man, I have missed my sketchbook.

ciao! xo


coffee diaries | small world coffee

Preetttty perfect, right!? That's exactly what I was thinking. Small World Coffee in Princeton is a new amazing find of mine - and it was the first entry in my brand new paper-based coffee diary (seen in the pictures) that was a gift to me from my sister. I have only great things to say about it - it was such a pleasant experience on such a lovely spring day.

You know you're in luck when you can snag a table at one of these places. The timing was right, and I ordered a latte first (I was a little hyper on caffeine that day, as you will soon find out). The person in front of me in the line ordered a cappuccino, and when I saw it come out, expertly poured and made with love, I knew I had to have one too. That art! True skill.

We grabbed a seat by the open doors and people of all sorts sauntered in, their dogs leashed outside or their kids by their side for an italian soda.  I am not sure, but I think hours went on as we leisurely sipped our coffees (iced macchiato for J). Thank goodness for her because she talked me into ordering the picture-perfect cappuccino above. First, the leaf, and then the pretty little heart appeared at our table courtesy of the sweetest barista behind the counter. Could I have had a better inaugural experience at Small World Coffee? I don't think so.

Notes from the Coffee Diary:
- smoky undertones, lingering finish
- perfect with a tad of sweetener
- Columbian/Sumatran origin
- full-bodied. yuuuuuum.

Small World Coffee 
254 Nassau Street
Princeton, NJ


college visit

Princeton and Nassau street were gorgeous this weekend.
This impromptu college visit (as if) was the perfect way to spend a 68 degree saturday.
Every single cherry tree and magnolia was blossoming, and the streets were lined with
stunning puffs of pink and white flowers! 
My best friend J and I were hunting for a great latte (we were successful)
and I think we didn't expect the day to be as gorgeous as it was.
It was also a little otherworldly to be walking on such hallowed grounds.
Einstein walked these streets! He's one of my favorites.
It is so cool to me that I can hop in my car and just drive so close to such an influential place.
People watching in this kind of place is so interesting.
People watching over a really great cappuccino makes it all the better, too... :)

happy spring! yay!
ciao, xo


may I vent for a moment?

{ a lovely picture of flowers that has absolutely nothing to do with anything }

1. My favorite Chinese restaurant has closed! All of a sudden, out of nowhere! First the windows were dark - then the phone was disconnected. Noooo. That was certainly fun to find out. They had the very best tea in the world, and made such delicious steamed veggie dumplings. There just isn't a substitute. sigh. 

2. Taxes. Oh my god. I am sorry, but this was my first time doing them alone. All I heard was, "it's easy! Just do turbo tax! Press the buttons!" It could not have been more stressful. I went through such waves of emotion. Relief! Anger! Joy (for not even a hot second)! I am pretty sure I messed up (am I even allowed to say that here?) but I tried my best. Just glad it is over, and I am so not doing them myself next year...

3. Not remembering passwords.

4. Painting your nails, then doing something before they dry. GRR. Also, used this new kind of polish and I am pretty sure it didn't work. So I am walking around with one really weird nail, it brushed up against something while wet and later dried with a huge slab of paint missing. I don't think it really matters, because they're already chipped up anyway.

5. My personal favorite is my cell phone. For instance, this week I left it in my bag for an afternoon (I was at work), perhaps 2-4 hours. When I checked it again, it was at 13% battery. I wasn't even using it, nothing was downloading...seriously? Also, when I do want it to actually charge, the cord has to be inserted at the perfect angle. Not straight in, not inclined upwards, but downwards. Seriously?

6. My haircut - I know, I know, I preached about a healthy chop a few days ago but I am feeling so awkward with my shorter hair. The worst part is I know I am the only one that notices the difference - but I feel so dramatically different. 

7. oh! another phone one! this one is kind of stupid - but auto correct all of a sudden stopped. I say dumb things now through texts. I speed through, and inevitably hit the wrong key - but i guess my phone is so used to my errors now that they ignore them too. well...whateveeeer.

 - - -

just a few things that have made me kiiiinda frustrated lately.
somehow I feel slightly better now that I have vented on ya. ;)
ok - your turn! feel free to vent away.

ciao! xooo


cozy, dressed up

scarf lululemon | maxi skirt american eagle (old) | tank wal-mart (!!) | watch kate spade 

So, I mentioned earlier in the week briefly all of the birthday swag (which I feel awful about, because I hate the idea of even sounding like bragging) but I was just too excited to hold this one in. So excited in fact, that I rushed my photographer (ie. my brother) out the door to take impromptu outfit pictures. Trying to capture an effortless look, I decided to use my new lululemon vinyasa scarf as a shawl AND wear a new statement necklace that may or may not be competing with the whole effortless-kind-of-look. Mayyybe won't pair them again in real life. Ah, retrospect. But, anyway, I loved the idea of a neutral, lounge-y look that exudes comfort and coziness. Cue: maxi skirts. Cannot get enough, will not get enough - and I think I am going to need one in every color for my weekend uniform.

Anyway - back to the scarf -  did you know that there are ten (and obviously COUNTLESS more) ways to tie it up? i think my favorite is #7, the shirt. anyway, this is one brilliant garment. Who knew that a super-cozy and soft square of fabric could bring so much joy.

thank you for the gifts, J :)

ciao! xooooo.


scenes from my {birthday} weekend

This weekend was fantastic. Why?

1. The amazing, amazing people I get to surround myself with. I have the kindest and most fun friends and family.
2. Flowers. Flowers in every shape, size, color - all in bloom. Buttercups that line the road to sprouts of tulips...all of it triumphantly announcing spring's long-awaited arrival.
3. It was 75 and 80 degrees this weekend - perfect for walks with Scout, gardening outside, and iced tea. It felt like (and even smelled like) summer time.
4. Mother-daughter bonding time was perfect; kicked off the weekend with pedicures and ended it on Sunday night over a new episode of Cosmos!
5. Birthday cake! And a cookie cake! And trick candles!
6. Dreaming up future plans for travel, bucket lists, and other little things to get excited about.
7. Being SO excited over the new watch S gave me - the lululemon scarf from my best friend (outfit post this week!), the trench coat of my dreams, and a real coffee diary from my sister! eeeek!
8. Everything moved sloooow. For once it didn't seem like the weekend flew by.
9. Fresh baked banana bread and tea after a few rounds of spring cleaning.

Productivity and fun don't normally coexist in one weekend for me but somehow this weekend did. I cleaned, got stuff done, and happened to actually do everything I wanted to - you know, that imaginary picture in your head of what you want your weekend to look like. This well-blended weekend happened to include probably the nicest weather of the year, which made it even harder to stay inside and glued to one task. The only thing I didn't do was stick to my lower-carb "diet"...oops.

More on that later. I know everyone says this but I cannot imagine being more lucky. I am beyond blessed, to have the family I do, to be surrounded by the coolest and nicest and most generous friends in the world. You know who you are. :) I loveeee them! And they are pretty much the reason why this weekend rocked. It's gonna be tough to top this one. :)

Okay, Monday, I'm ready for you...

ciao, xo!