what to pack + 1 week countdown

CA bound
Just one week to go until I board my plane for LA! I really loved hearing your comments and recommendations last time, so thank you for that. With any upcoming trip, there is always anticipation (!!!) and of course, dreams of gorgeous jetsetter outfits. My plan for the plane is easy and breezy; layers, perhaps my favorite lululemon vinyasa scarf, and leggings. For CA, I am so excited to experience everyday low humidity and daily beach access. I have picked up some new pieces for the trip but I'm particularly looking forward to maybe splurging on a new piece; perhaps a big floppy hat for the beach or a nice pair of jeans for back home.

I'll be staying in Hermosa Beach and could not be more excited to travel and explore around Southern California with S. I'll be doing a bucket "wish" list in the next few days, so if there is anything I absolutely must do, or anywhere I should visit, let me know! I am kind of winging it here :)

ciao, xo


strong start

As I type this, I am freaking out - freaking freaking freaking out.
Today is the GRE.

And just so we are all on the same page, this is definitely not the nutritious brain-boosting breakfast I am eating today...
it's from a few days ago...
and today I'll probably be in the city somewhere eating a bagel and a coffee.
Then nervously chomping on my fingernails before the exam starts.
not exactly the breakfast of champions.
I'm not sure why I feel at ease typing this here - you know, all of my worries and anxieties - 
but it feels kind of nice to let it all out. suck it, GRE - cannot wait to get this over with.
five hours of torture.
at least i can look forward to this afterwards.
maybe I'll instagram a pretty drink for you.

ciao, xo

ps. wish me luck! send me some good vibes. PLEASE


health kick update

blue tank GAP | running shorts  GAP | sports bras GAP (old) | sneakers Nike Free 5.0 | red tank Nike

I checked in last week about some small victories with my eating clean + daily cardio workouts. Just as last time, the resounding conclusion I've made is that each time I exercise, I feel so much better. By the time I am all cooled down and feeling accomplished, I vow to myself that I've gotta do it again tomorrow. And now, it's been two weeks straight without much temptation to break the habit. They say it takes three weeks to really get into a new habit, so this week will be the week. One unlikely (or not) motivation I am finding is the workout gear itself.

There must be a study out there somewhere that is looking into the correlation between "bright colored workout gear" and "motivation to work out." I swear there is a link because it definitely keeps me going. I am finding that my go-to favorite for good quality and great price is GAP, whose styles even rival some of the other items on my wish list from lululemon or nike. The thing is, when I am shopping for these kinds of clothes, I tell myself that I HAVE to work out if I buy it. It is an absolute must. No workout, no new clothes. And it has to be a good workout. Gross and sweaty and well-deserved. This ongoing inner dialogue seems to be working.

A-ha's: I have this little route I do that I never could have done before. I've not quite mastered it, but the other day I went non-stop and felt SO good about it. Each day, adding a little more. The confidence I am feeling is one of the best rewards. I'm also pretty sure that I run better in the early AM, but lately rising that early is becoming a harder thing to do!

Worries: My schedule is inevitably going to change with the school year approaching and I am dreeeeading that. I refuse to lose the hard work that I've put in over the past couple of weeks because it slowly builds, but I know me, and I know that after a 9 hr workday the last thing I am going to want to do is go and run.

ciao! xo


about my camera

Over the past few months, I have gotten questions about the type of camera I use, so I thought I'd set up a post devoted to explaining the specs behind my trusty Nikon :)

Inspired by my photographer extraordinaire mother, an avid Nikon user, I decided too to join the Nikon team with my dslr, a Nikon D3100. As of late, I have been using an 18-270 mm lens by Tamron. I have come to love this camera more than any other piece of equipment or technology I own - I count it as one of my best investments. Consequently, my blog has evolved to be more of a photo-based diary, which I truly love. I also shoot little videos using my Nikon. Capturing a great photo gives me a rush as if I just discovered, gained, or found a valuable treasure.

Although I am not a professional, I love taking my camera out for photography "dates" and adventures. I enjoy doing freelance work such as portraits, style, travel, and food photography. My camera has been to 5 countries (and counting). :)

let me know if you have questions!

ciao, xo

*I treasure my photos with all of my heart. All photos on the blog are my own unless otherwise noted. Please contact me if you are interested in purchasing any image you see on the blog as a print; please do not use my images without permission. Also see my art + photo page above for purchasing information! :) Thank you kindly.



Dear July, you have been lovely.
Full of glorious sunsets, sundresses,
sips of hibiscus tea, mornings on the roof top deck,
daisies and lavender, penne arrabiata (my favorite),
coffee runs and wine nights. This is what july is all about.

follow my instagram feed here @tmango77
ciao xxxxxxo!


jacquard dress

dress LOFT | florence leather jacket massimo | scarf wink boutique | shoes Nine West (similar) | rings various | bag old navy (old)

Over the weekend, S and I had dinner at my favorite BYOB. Looking back, it was probably was one of my favorite nights of the summer because it was so simple. We shared a tasty French wine we never had, and I ordered my go to  'Taylor Special' dish (I always order the same thing, and I think the wait staff definitely notices). During dinner we vowed that we wouldn't be lazy after dinner, and we would go for a walk with the dogs or something, just anything to not be sedentary! And we did. Such a pretty, pretty night. The temperature and humidity fell, and not only was it the most comfortable weather to be outside, but it was motivation to look cute and put a little 'oomph in my routine.

some phone shots:

Some notes on the outfit details: I picked up this leopard print jacquard dress from LOFT a bit ago (50% off, too!) and immediately knew it would be a staple for cooler weather. It is a lightweight piece overall, but the fabric design is intricately made and raised, making it a bit heavier and perfect for a day where there's a breeze in the air. I paired it with a new eternity scarf I got from one of my favorite beach boutiques, Wink. The bright color of this scarf is what attracted me to it in the first place, and it adds a nice splash of color to an otherwise toned-down, neutral look. My trusty leather jacket adds a bit of edge, but for work I'll probably wear it with a cardigan or blazer. And that's a cinch! 

ciao, xo


achievements + eating cleaner

Happy Monday! I am feeling SO good lately. All of it is mostly due to an almost unnaturally consistent workout/cleanse I've been kind of sort of doing. Over the last week, I magically gained some miraculous ability to practice hardcore discipline and self-control: I've ran and actually pushed myself every day of the week, and since I did that and felt so good about it, eating healthier and cleaner kind of came naturally. I don't know what has come over me, or who knocked some sense into my head, because I was never this motivated. But I am loving it. This week will be a little harder, because the temps are going to soar and I am sure running will be brutal; on top of GRE practice, this is the week to see if I really have the discipline. 

I keep in mind a little axiom that haunts me whenever I open the pantry doors: getting in shape is 20% exercise and 70% what you eat. Hmmmpf. While Doritos would be an excellent, almost barbaric gratification after a hard exercise, I have learned to restrain. Why undo all of that misery hard work? So, I made myself a salad. My little indulgence is the pecorino cheese. That in and of itself is the most precious reward. If you have never tried it, stop right now, book a trip to Florence. Sign yourself up for a wine/cheese tasting in the ancient hills of Montepulciano. The spicy sharp fresh pecorino cheese - oh my word. Fireworks, jubilation, ecstasy. 

Ok...back to what I was talking about...the salad!

- baby kale mix
- grilled chicken (seasoned with sea salt, pepper)
- sliced almonds
- grated pecorino cheese
- raspberry vinaigrette dressing 

If you really want to be clean, you might choose to opt out of the dressing. In retrospect, I may switch out the raspberry vinaigrette for a poppyseed dressing or even some classic balsamic. The sweet flavors do a nice job of balancing the bitter kale.

Happy clean eating, and enjoy your week!
ciao, xo


real-life closet inspo + a renewal

ta-da! It's meeee! (ha)
But seriously, I have this outfit in real life. The leather jacket from Florence,
the siren red-orange pencil skirt, the sunnies, and the coffee cup is usually accurate.
The only thing that isn't true are those long limbs (I wish)
and that teal clutch inspired from this.
The shoes kind of count because I once had them, and who knows where they are now.

Anyway - I have been getting into my sketches again lately and it is making me SO happy. 
Not only have I been renewing old designs (this one is an oldie included!)
but I am selling stationery at my etsy shop. It has been two years (!???!!!?), where did the time go?
Take a look at some of my designs - click on the image to get directed to the item!

 'floral wreath' / these are personalizable! well, pretty much everything is. :)
'london' for the anglophile in your life!

- - -

there is much more to come, but in the meantime,
happy browsing! thank you for supporting my little shop.
you can visit it here: anticipation designs

ciao, xo!


the next step

me, as a wee little babe, in '12

I just did something really stupid. I scheduled myself to take the GRE two weeks from now.

"Undecided" is still the option I choose from the scroll-down bar when applications ask me what degree I'd like to pursue for my masters! ah! I somehow feel more of a commitment-phobe this time around as opposed to my undergrad (education and history). Do I want education? History? Or international relations and diplomacy?! I just can't pick. Oh, and besides that, how, how how am I going to practice and study in time to score high on the GRE...in two weeks?!


ciao, xo


barnegat, part two.

{we were treated to a full moon. lucky us}.

If I were a boy and if I lived by the sea I would crew a boat.  I am romanticizing and idealizing and fantasizing, but oh how wonderful it would be to learn how to dock a boat, tie a real fishermen's knot, prepare for a midnight voyage, slog around in rubber boots, and smell in that smell. I could hang out the marina for hours, finding something different (or the same) each time to pique my interest. I think the guys that were working on the docks thought I was a real weirdo because I kind of just lingered and photographed and sighed and had all of that sea-lust in my eyes.

Now. Onto some glories of the seashore. One is the hydrangeas that simply, with beyond any doubt, thrive. There must be the perfect amount of sand in the earth and salt in the air. These bountiful plumes of pink and blue flourish and provide the most picturesque adornment to any cedar house. Two: cedar. If I had a beach house, it would be sided with weathered cedar, with a bright front door, with a big white deck and big hydrangea bushes decorating the yard. Three is the linens and flax-colored fabrics that I would so wear, the clothes that are sold in charming little beach boutiques, that make so much sense at the time to wear, but only really work in that context. Four is the fog. Five is that never ending hour between four and seven, where the only thing you really need to do is take a shower, but the time luxuriously drags on and on. You may think, what's for dinner? Hmm, what should I do later? The rest of the day flies, but those comfortable hours inside when you've hosed off the salt and tan, are the slowest, thankfully.

see you in september. ciao, xo


barnegat, part one.

{we named him frasier}.
{every morning the inlet would be blanketed with fog}.
{crab corpses littered our roof. poor guys}.
{great minds think alike}.

{used in the filming of this movie}.

My life, my health, and my entire sense of inner contentment would be enhanced if I lived in walking distance to a cafe. This, my friends, I am convinced.

A charming, perfect, cedar-sided cafe now resides a mere stone throw's away from the marina of my childhood memories. It is small, with a occupancy limit of 17, but even I question that 17 would fit. A little loft apartment where the world's luckiest person lives sits on atop, undoubtedly with the best views of the sunset on the bay. What combination could be better...the taste of freshly brewed coffee, with a hint of sea salt and fish grime in the air? (ps. I have a weird love for the fishy smells at the marina).

The cafe was actually a long walk away. I would say 30 minutes one way. But oh, it was worth it. I jogged it once but by the time I was there I was so hot that I had to settle for an iced coffee (2nd choice to my usual hot coffee, which I took during the week - the only week of the year - with sugar in the raw). It would be even more picturesque with a bike. Put me on top of a little mint beach cruiser, like the perfect one above, it would take 15 minutes, tops. Oh, and how my life would be so, so good.

Living near the marina, the lighthouse, and the inlet was pretty awesome. I could go and stand on that jetty for days and never be bored. How could one be bored? Sailboats, seagulls, crabs, sea urchins, bugs, fishermen, speedboats, fishing charters, storms, fog, rain, sunsets and sunrises and the fish would all keep me truly entertained. Just watching. Each little crevice of the jetty has its own story. On our first night, we met a crane named Frasier by the rocks. He was just chilling, gingerly stepping from rock to rock, searching for food or just posing for us.

Other days, pretty much every day, we were treated to front row seats to the crab gallows. Watching a crab get slaughtered is a solemn, yet gladiatorial, affair. Instead of the colosseum we were on the flat, sunbleached rooftop deck. Seagulls would glide on over and land with a  feisty, gutsy little blue-claw in-beak. Then, it would poke the life out of it - literally. It was awful and fascinating. Crab legs littered our roof. The boys played hockey with them, ugh.

Before the vacation, I looked forward to wine on the deck in the evenings, watching the sun sink below the bay. But I have to admit that my favorite parts were, without second thought, in the mornings. When the fog would blanket the inlet heavily, so that only the masts of the fishing charters glided in the dim shadows of the morning. When we would walk (or run) to the cafe. When I would wake up at 7am, fearing to death that it was actually 10am, then, in a relieved excitement, go about my morning routine.

more tomorrow! ciao, xo.



romper LOFT | cardigan converse {on sale!}  | hat sienese flea market | crossbody bag coach (old) | sunnies ray ban

I learned a new Italian word through a book I read over the last week - solleone. It means 'lion sun,' the fiercest, hottest, most ferocious sun that there is.  Italian words like this make me swoon.  That word comes to mind when I see the soft, golden light in these photos - the evening leftovers of an intensely sunny day.

Anyone who worships the sun during the summer knows that the initial days of sunbathing can be the toughest on skin. I dabbed on this spf (highly, highly, highly recommend) and luckily didn't suffer any sunburn casualties this year! I was able to dress in light layers, the perfect amount of fabric on a freshly tanned and sea-salted body. My style changes so dramatically with the summer,  compared to other seasons - I go all bohemian and refuse to wear anything with pant legs (EXCEPT this romper!). As for accessories, the Siena hat comes out, closed-toes shoes are banished, and mismatched beads and golds and silvers  are united. I simplify. Life is good.

Anyway, playing with the golden light of the pre-twilight hours is always a fun time. The light casts an ethereal glow on anything that moves - a twinkle, a sparkle, a glisten of golden. Any other time of year, to me, this sun is harsh. The summer diffuses it somehow and makes it just right. Can't wait to see you again, solleone.

ciao, xo


a quick view at our vacation

Few things on earth beat the feeling of a cool outdoor shower. Getting doused in water, with the addition of a stray sea breeze, feeling the heat from the day pour off you, brings me a sense of calm and sheer contentment. There's a certain thrill knowing that the rickety wooden door has a really rusty, weathered hinge - and that is all that separates you from the outdoors and who-knows-what in the scrubby pines by the jetty. I wasn't even skeeved by the little snail watching me from a nearby puddle.

That, vanilla soft-serve ice cream, family polaroids, 8:30pm night cruises, this book, the Inlet deli, the  marina, the ability to get a deep tan without ever leaving the house, wine on the roof at sundown, boutiquing (spellcheck says that isn't a word), and late night thunderstorms all made the past week utterly perfect. I had to consciously try to shed off my stresses, one by one, but it happened. I did it! And now, I am thriving in summer.

check back for more thorough photo entries/posts on the trip. :) will be posting more daily. ciao! xo