rupdate (i think i just created a new word)

What a week of ups and downs! And some realizations. Get ready for a big rupdate, people (running update).

This was me Monday: I had just finished a run, and felt super disappointed. It was 86 degrees out, hot and sticky and awfully muggy. Week 7 since I have started. And I couldn't even do a mile. I quit shortly, and this is what bugs me the most. I chose to quit!

So the rest of the week I vowed to just do it. And I was out there, doing it, feeling much better. This week (7) has been SO different because I have started work, and it's just a taste of what a challenge it will be when it comes to balancing out my work responsibilities and personal health goals. I am going to start small and really strive to devote 20-25 minutes of straight cardio running on the daily.

Another big and powerful new addition to my week: YOGA. Holy. om. shanti. This has been amazing; I am so glad I started, and wish I began sooner. Already I have done three sessions this week, and it is such a good complement to everything with work and my yo-yo progress with running. I feel stronger. I breathe. I am noticing good changes in strength and balance. Plus it gave me an excuse to buy lululemon pants (they were on clearance but it still hurt to purchase them).

so, there! your weekly rupdate.
week 8 begins sunday. get it, get it!

ciao, xo


Untitled #256

Lately I am having some BIG time home inspo.
In the last couple of weeks, I have been to:
The Container Store.
Ikea. Target. Home Goods.
Bed Bath and Beyond.

Safe to say I have added a couple of things to my home/apartment wish list.
ps. i still live at home. as in with my 'rents.

I am in this weird, atypical-for-me homeyness phase. I want an apartment!
Just to decorate! And drink coffee in! And make nutribullet smoothies! sigh.
Lately I am into throw pillows (I bought a grand total of two for my ultra-small bed)
vintage globes, baskets for organization
and light, nothing too over-the-top, geometric prints.
I think another thing fueling this sudden urge to decorate everything is from spending a week in S's apartment....
not very many girly things. actually, none.
it's like I needed to get it out of my system.
no flowers?! no...white furniture?! no throw pillows with a geometric pattern that don't match but still work!?
I applaud his minimalist lifestyle but I can't wait to go crazy with my own space someday!
someday, someday.

ciao, xo
and happy thurs!


lucky, lucky, lucky me

So, if you have been reading this summer you probably know that S has moved temporarily to Los Angeles - and I am all the way in Philadelphia! It's not the first time we have done long distance, and I know we can do it - but I miss him SO much. I went to visit a few weeks ago and now that I have spent that time with him, I miss him even more. I've been really missing talking about our days, being together (and in the same time zone!), and hearing his jokes that make me laugh like a goof. During the trip it was all that and more. I've had to come back down to reality a bit since my trip...school started yesterday! It was a really great day, fresh with new beginnings and all the anticipation and potential that comes with September. Despite this amazing feeling of starting anew, I always feel incredibly sad to see summer go - it is a bittersweet thing to voluntary let it go, only to have it come back again in a year.

When I got home yesterday, there was a package from S addressed to me. Which is pretty fun to come home to! S surprised me with the sweetest, sweetest gifts. He knows that I love these two things - a bouquet of flowers and anything Harry Potter - it was such a pick-me-up and made me feel just so happy. I don't know how I got so lucky. These gifts - all the way from LA! - are from the Warner Bros. studio. He was on tour and sweet enough to think of all the things that I love. I am quite lucky one, and feeling so so appreciative and undeserving. S, I love you, and simply cannot wait to see you. Soon! :)

ciao, loves! xo


can't go wrong with...

Love, friends and coffee! Seems to be the theme of the last couple of days...and it is something I want to continue - especially the first two parts! 

Summer is kind of over, which breaks my heart a little. I have been practicing balance (and little ways to hang on to the happy things of summer).  Through friends, through running, and I even signed up for a month of yoga. I am not feeling that doomsday "I CANNOT BELIEVE SUMMER IS OVER" feeling. Actually, I am feeling pretty content and happy with myself. Going to chase that feeling. Summer will inevitably slip away, but it will inevitably blossom back.

The weekend was beautiful. I spent it all with people near and dear to my heart! Lots of laughs, walking around the city, a sushi date, rainy day drives, photo raids at Ray-Ban, mimosas at brunch, an impulse buy here, and of course coffees to end it all. I am brimming with excitement still over it all. I'm realizing how lucky I am because whenever I spend  a day like that, I feel inspired and refreshed and yet, comforted. It's allll good. Just what I needed to kick start the school year.

ciao! xo


hey! smoothie time

Lately I have been obsessed with pinning fresh fruit smoothie recipes on pinterest...
and while I never stick to recipes when it comes to this type of thing, 
I thought I'd share a concoction I made over the weekend that was deeeelightful.
when it comes to making smoothies, I am a huge fan of the nutribullet! 
I always feel this mad rush this time of year, as if I am losing precious time when it comes to using fresh in-season fruit. (ugh)
So, to simplify things, I've broken down my little "recipe" to only 7 ingredients.
This smoothie, although it is green, was honest-to-goodness delicious.
Don't let the color scare you.

Step 1: Gather your ingredients. The bulk of your smoothie should be fresh fruit and veggies. I like to do this all in one shot, rather than scurrying around the kitchen to find everything as I go. It makes cleanup easier and to be honest, it's fun to watch the nutribullet just eviscerate your kale. The fruit that I used in this smoothie are orange, frozen banana, blueberries, frozen strawberries, and of course, some kale. You want to use the greenest, darkest, fluffiest, most frilly beautiful kale you can find.

Step 2: Choose a power up (optional).  I like to throw in flax seed, coconut oil or protein to get a boost from my smoothie. In the smoothie I made, I used both coconut oil and flax seed (ground). It adds zero taste. The coconut oil (which I picked up at Costco) has really great health benefits and can even be used on your skin and hair. Flax seed, for some reason, makes me feel fuller and simulates what protein does in that regard. On days when you're not in the mood for these boosts, you can always throw in sugar free Hershey's chocolate powder too :) the smoothie predominantly has a banana flavor, so with the added chocolate, it tastes like a chocolate covered banana. Um, yes.

Step 3: Add a little milk. Milk is my 7th ingredient! Be sure to add in a little milk before your initial blend so that the blades can really crush the ingredients - somehow the moisture seems to help. In the photo above, you might be able to tell that I used some frozen banana and strawberries - this is a great way to preserve fruit that you buy. The nutribullet slices the frozen fruit pretty well, and its adds an icy texture. One thing I've heard is that you don't want to put whole ice cubes in your nutribullet.

Step 4: Pour, garnish, and enjoy.  The finished product is definitely green - I didn't add or take away any kale that I originally pictured in step 1. I garnished my smoothie with blueberries and some sliced almonds for the visual, but if you're like me on any other day you just stick a straw in it and slurp away. The banana flavor was definitely most dominant, so it didn't taste "green" or have an odd clashing of flavors. I think it's really hard to mess this one up. This is my favorite to enjoy as a supplement to a light lunch, or a post-run energizer. The natural ingredients make me feel healthier and better, and I was pretty full for a good 1-2 hours after this. 
let me know if you decide to try!
ciao, xo


so much blue! | palos verdes

point vincente light - first ever west coast lighthouse!

It's crazy to me to believe that one week ago exactly, I was with S taking a scenic drive up the rocky coast of Palos Verdes to catch these never-ending glimpses of blue. Since then I have been back at home, slowly working on getting some grad school applications in! I am feeling pretty accomplished but have worked at SUCH a glacial pace that I haven't been doing much besides that. Next week school starts again...and it's going to kick my butt!

These photos - and all that blue! - are therapeutic for my eyes, I think. I love seeing a new place with fresh eyes, and this brought on that sort of experience for me. S and I had both never traveled to Palos  Verdes (at least with the sole intention to sightsee) so these dramatic, orange cliffs stole my breath away. The contrast again the sea made me gasp. Another thing that made me gasp: the signs along the way that read "Caution: Constant Land Movement" (!!!)

Yes, we made it snappy. And no, we didn't experience an earthquake. But it was enough to put a little spring in our step!

One thing I loved, and didn't anticipate, was the Point Vincente lighthouse. I have a thing for lighthouses but for some reason, only associated them with the east coast (i.e. the Outer Banks) and the treacherous Atlantic. The view of Point Vincente was stunning - we could even see the far-off and fog-engulfed Catalina Island, which is almost always out of sight from Hermosa. We also caught views of downtown LA, which is apparently unheard of because of the thick fog that usually surrounds the area. So it was pretty much spontaneous and perfect!

Not that you asked....but if you want to read more about my week in Hermosa...
>> I added to the Coffee Diaries
>> My favorites in Hermosa
>> A getaway to Santa Monica
>> Pier street style
and more!

ciao, xo


easy at-home froyo dots

I can't say that this is my own...it is an old, old Pinterest find! But it is OH so much fun to make, and even more fun to eat: frozen yogurt dots!

It is the perfect light summery snack - even a delightful dessert - that makes you feel 100% like a kid again. I used three common Yoplait flavors (strawberry banana, blueberry, and cherry) for the various colors. And I have to say, they kind of turned out beautiful! This is so fun to do with your children, on a date, and on a budget! Think about it: most of these things are probably in your kitchen already.  And the idea can be modified as a cute seasonal treat...like hearts for Valentine's Day or (if you're careful) letters/numbers for a personalized touch.

you will need:

- 3 little containers of yogurt (I used Yoplait Original, but you have endless possibilities here - fruit on the bottom, Greek yogurt, whatever!)
- a cookie sheet
- freezer (20 mins)
- ziploc bag
- spoon
- scissors


Place cookie sheet into freezer for about 10-15 minutes before you prepare your fro-yo dots. In the meantime, open yogurt and spoon contents into a ziploc bag. Once you have your cookie sheet ready, cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners of the ziploc bag to create a makeshift icing dispenser. Squeeze little quarter-sized "dots," or circles onto your cookie sheet. Space them out about 1/2 inch or whatever seems to look right! Put cookie sheet back in the freezer, and make sure it is laying flat (you don't want that yogurt to run off!). I'd check back in about 20-30 minutes - depending on the size of your froyo dots, they may freeze quicker! They should peel off quite easily, just use your fingers or a spoon.

Put in bowl, and pop em in. So, so fun and so, so delicious. Guilt free, too :)

happy froyo-ing. ciao, xo


week 5 (and 6?) update

(and boy does my hair need a touchup! yikes) // tank and shorts nike

I lost track of time! I can't believe I just started week 6!
I am procrastinating on my morning run as I write this...
don't worry, I'll get out there. tee hee
Week 5 was definitely my "ah, I'll go easy on myself" week.
Which I kind of feel majorly  guilty about.
I was in California, taking breaks, also procrastinating,
and I may have lost some gains that I made in weeks 3-4.
So this week - week 6 - I am going to try to get it back to what it was.

I am not measuring how long I run, in terms of minutes.
I don't measure heart rate. Or calories burned.
I only measure miles.
I don't want to complicate things...
because I just want to say I got out there and did it.

a ha's: running alongside the Pacific was pretty awesome.
and i get more out of my workout in the morning.
still motivated to eat a bit healthier - new favorite: acai bowls!
backless tanks like the one above are my favorite for beating the heat.
(re: see my post on bright colored workout gear and the psychology behind it)

hates: Running in the California sun, and because I procrastinate,
and mmmman does it get sunny and hot out there during the day.

okay. going to grab my sneakers.

ciao! xo


catch you on the flip side

Helloooo! Happy Monday!
I am back, nestled and safe at home on the east coast.
What a week of newness and beautiful views I got to experience. I am so blessed.
Even more so because I got to spend it with S.
(he certainly picked a not-so-bad new place to call home).

For my last night in Hermosa 
we watched the sun go down over the Pacific.
There is something about watching that happen - watching the sun slide out of sight - 
that makes you feel very small and insignificant and lucky to be alive.
So it was, of course, a lovely way to say goodbye to the Pacific for a while. And S for that part.
I'll head back out sometime soon, but I am staying put for now.

I forgot how much I LOOOOVE red eye flights
(holy god)
and the nap that inevitably follows and chews up 75% of your day.

Anyway, the photos above pretty much highlight the best last glimpse of my time in SoCal!
A breakfast date (we both got the belgian waffles - they were too good),
walks along the Strand to the pier for dinner,
discovering my newfound fondness for photographing sea birds (huh),
and capturing the most intense rays of sun flickering on the water.
I get why CA is the Golden State :)

- - - 

thank you for sticking with me and my California photo dump!
If you've loved it then you're in luck, because we have one more post lined up...
but that's it! after that, done, I promise.

so...California, catch you on the flip side. 
or as i like to say, ciao! xo


spotted on pier avenue

The styles seen by the pier are so diverse. All sorts of people come out in the midday sun, to surf, grab a bite, walk their dogs, or go for a rollerskate. I have been kind of inspired to do a Sartorialist-esque street style post, but this has such a different feel. Sunwashed vibes. It's fun to explore with portraits.

It's making me realize that I packed entirely all the wrong things except for my running tanks and shorts. Besides that, I should have brought my Vans, some high-waisted denim shorts, and RayBan aviators. It's not that people here look overly materialistic, but there is this edgy coolness all over the streets here. Now I'm craving some seriously destroyed denim jeans and a skateboard.

ciao, xo


coffee diaries | the source cafe

Since landing in Los Angeles I have been carefully mapping out local cafes, in pursuit of my very first West Coast edition of the coffee diaries. There are still a few cafes to go, but my inaugural California flat white was at The Source Cafe in Hermosa Beach  - a dream to photograph with its breezy, open ambience. The menu looked divine, too - can't say I tried it, though. I was a little intimidated and scared off when the woman before me spent $59 on a bunch of cold-pressed juices. I had my eye on the 'morning glory' breakfast bowl, a definite for next time...the food is presented beautifully, all fresh options with an emphasis on health.

I don't think I am alone in thinking it is a destination. It was brimming with customers of all kinds - couples with little babies ordering vegan, girls on catch-up coffee dates, slender lululemon-clad women fresh out the yoga studio for a post-bikram juice stop. I was delighted with the bright, airy al-fresco seating. Each table was topped with a fresh hydrangea clipping - the perfect touch. I ordered an 8oz latte with skim milk; for not having coffee all week, it left me feeling absolutely rejuvenated and energized. Moreover, the staff was superb; I like to make a note of barista talent and man, did the gentleman behind this latte go above and beyond or what!? Gorgeous. If only this place was on the East Coast. In other words, I mightttt be back here tomorrow.

notes from the coffee diary:
- dark notes (especially in the foam)
- appealing linger
- a touch of spice
- serious smoky undertones; dark
- Brazilian, Ethiopian, Indonesian blend
- 8 oz left me feeling energized, not jittery
- incredibly talented staff; cool, relaxed, sunny vibes inside.

509 Pier Ave
Hermosa Beach, CA