the loveliest thanksgiving!

 he's home! home! home!

Thanksgiving this year was as simple as could be. No frills, no crazy snafus in the kitchen - just us decking the halls and patiently waiting the year's most awaited meal. Actually I couldn't wait and I snuck in to steal stuffing and turkey pieces quite frequently! I lurked around as we watched Trains, Planes and Automobiles (what a classic!) and set a fire in the fireplace early in the morning. It created such a sense of relaxation and coziness that is making me SO excited for the upcoming few weeks. I love seeing all the lights on the houses nearby, smelling the scent of pine, and imagining all the snow that will fall {hopefully a white Christmas!}

Undoubtedly the best part of Thanksgiving was that S came home! Seeing him and going on aimless drives, going to our favorite restaurant, and crossing things off our must do list was just so nice and even nourishing. One of my favorites moments was Black Friday - which could not have been less stressful. We went to a cozy little cafè and sipped coffee as its flurried outside..magical. Note to self: handle Black Friday the same way next year!

I've been so off the grid lately - my computer is acting up which I am pretty disappointed about. Last year I got a MacBook air and looooved it, no problems until now - the fan is acting up and I'm going to have to take it to the Apple store a second time - frustrating. I am hoping we can resolve it but it's this little worry in the back of my head...

Tomorrow we put S on a plane back for California but it will be a short trip back because he will arrive back home for Christmas in just a few weeks. I can't even explain how I am looking forward to this break! Four days off for Thanksgiving was absolutely perfect, I can't imagine how it will be topped!



Happy Monday!
I am feeling so refreshed after a busy but much needed weekend.
First thing is first...S is HOME! I am so happy. 
It has been the most FUN few days and I am really looking forward to what is next.
I guess I've forgotten how exciting this week prior to Thanksgiving is..
so many friends reunions, everyone is home, 
Starbucks red cups, unconventional work schedules, 
a (maybe too chilly) chill in the air, 
and of course the MEAL that is coming so so soon.
It is going to be amazing.

Some things I've been enjoying as of late (seen through my phone photos)...
heaping bundles of firewood and red apples,
shades of crimson everywhere,
giddiness to be with S, and of course braving the well-below average temperatures...
I cannot believe that this time next week it will be december. And then poof, 2014 is over.
Blows. my. mind.

ciao! happy monday! xo


dear yoga,

Since we met in the summer, you are the best thing that has happened to me. I go once a week or so, sometimes alone, sometimes with Mom, sometimes during the week, sometimes on quiet sunday nights to mentally prepare for what is ahead. And every single time, you do no wrong.

You are kind to me. I don't have to worry about what I am good at or what i look like. I do not need to impress anyone. At today's class people were standing on their heads. I kind of stopped what I was doing and watched in awe - but I didn't feel intimidated or jealous or less-worthy of a person because I couldn't do a handstand. The pressure is off. It is a reset. A recharge. I stretch and feel like I am getting longer, taller, stronger. I feel the "earth" under where I sit. It's a lovely feeling to know that the 1hr or so that I am there is all about me. Selfish, maybe. But I can dedicate it to whomever, I can do it all for myself. Up to ME.

It's funny how simple you are: breathe. feel. stretch. hold. breathe. And yet none of us actually think about doing this on a day-to-day basis. We don't play with our pose, we don't fill our lungs with air with the intention of filling ourselves with health and good and light.

do you do yoga? does it work for you? i'm curious!
thanks! ciao, xo 


breaking the rules

skirt banana republic (old) / leggings lululemon / booties banana republic (old) / hoodie freeloader / bag street level / necklace j.crew factory

This unorthodox outfit was originally a lazy-saturday morning getup; black leggings with this ridiculously comfortable hoodie from the beach. Hair half towel-dried and in a knot, mismatching socks, and no makeup was the forecast for the day. And it was cold! A sharp chill in the air for sure. Except my day went from cozy-indoors to day of busy family outings, including a birthday lunch for my sisters (yay) and sending my brother off to a high school dance. But I was not changing out of my comfy weekend uniform. So I broke some cardinal fashion rules.

I piled on unexpected (and perhaps unfitting) layers. A skirt, booties, and a set of new J.Crew baubles to dress it up a bit. In the mirror this seemed to look pretty darn good but in the sunlight the leggings are kind of off - definitely not hose, you know? But I kind of like it. Paired with the hoodie, it is sporty - but the skirt and the necklace make it fit for a sit-down dinner. Comfortable, warm, and clever ''table dressing." I am thinking this (modified, of course) is going to be my thanksgiving dinner outfit! If only I had fabulous suede black knee-high boots to wear with this buffalo plaid.

Would you dare to mix yoga pants with a more dressy piece? What are you willing to do, or not do, when it comes to breaking some rules?

ciao! xo! and happy monday!



The wind outside is howling and although it is bright and sunny, the cold makes it feel stark and raw outside. It would pretty much be the perfect day for a fresh manicure, a white Olivia Pope-esque white coat, and a cozy turtleneck to frame a head of freshly-trimmed tresses.

I love this design - it's not new - but its a classic favorite of mine because I love the white, clean look of the toggle coat with the dark and wintry background. Can you seriously go wrong with a look like this? The idea of a white coat is so appealing, yet there are so many things that could go wrong...fuzzballs, coffee stains, and dog hair come to mind.

Anyway...my 'creative' page is newly revamped. I don't have much time these days to shamelessly promote my illustrations but I'm really excited to give you peek at most of my collection. I have this lovely gal on a notepad and its just the cutest little way to scribble down a memo (not to mention, the chicest).

happy weekend, stay warm! ciao, xo


november goals

Ah, November! 
The month of chilliness, coziness, family, and turkey.
A new month bringing a new set of goals.

+ Go to yoga 1x/week and continue running - I've sort of stopped. It has just gotten far too cold! I am going to have to start up spin classes or something to keep the movement up, but I'd like to suck it up and run 1x/week as well. A nice 'long' 3 miler or so should do it.

+S comes home! So naturally we have a MILLION things to do on our bucket list in the short 10-day window he is home. That is a separate post in and of itself! Involving lots of fun friend reunions, coffee dates, a turkey bowl, and more. Wishing him a safe and effortless trip home!

+ Shoot another outfit post

+ Bake my annual apple pie(s)

+ Try a new recipe; I'm thinking a soup. Butternut squash or pumpkin chipotle (inspired from this)

+ Stay sane on Black Friday. I usually hate shopping and avoid it at all costs on this day. But I'm being a little selfish this year as there are a lot of things I actually want to buy for myself (hello, Blue Mercury!). I'm almost embarrassed to say that I am really considering splurging on La Mer moisturizer.

+ Stick to my spending plan. See my 4 tips to make your 20-something yuppie wallet a little happier. Not that I know what I'm doing, or anything...

+ Get the ball rolling on grad school. Does waiting back take forever, or does it take forever!? I feel like I missed something...

+ Go somewhere new (or a place I haven't been in a loonggg time). Maybe Boston, NYC, or even a more local spot...

+ Since we have 4 birthdays this month in the family, it'd be nice to have a big family dinner. Perhaps I can organize that at a place we can all agree on.

What are your November goals!?
Ciao, xo!


4 tips to save money (in my humble opinion)

Lately I've been challenged by the concept of saving. My grandmom used to always tell me, save at least half of your paycheck! It is something that always stuck in my head. But these days even doing that seems out of the question. There have been months that I've saved less than 20% of my paycheck and when I realize what I've done, I get such a depressing and sinking feeling. (Keep in mind that I am writing this post with: 3+ birthdays coming up in the next week, the holiday season is approaching, I want to buy myself new goodies on Black Friday, my car payment is due, and I just got home from J.Crew factory). It is kind of impossible to keep up with everything: the new iPhone, the next student loan payment, filling up gas in your car AAAAND having cute clothes. So do a little at a time. Patience, discipline and practicality are key.

That being said, I am no expert on finance. I have, however, tried a few things to change my usual habits when it comes to shopping and expenses. So, in my humble opinion...I'll offer up some of the not-so-new methods I've used lately.

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i also love tips from the everygirl (website photographed above, too.)

1. Use cash. We all know that using cash as opposed to a card gives us a very different feeling at the cash register. Feeling the money slip out of your hands seems much more literal. I've been dependent on cards for far too long now. I began to stop depending on it so much when more and more big businesses kept getting cyber-"hacked" and the risk of losing all of my personal bank info. was much more likely. If that's not a wakeup call, I don't know what is! Cash is safe and harder to spend. And it will save you a ton of online-banking worries.

2. Stock up on groceries one time per week. I love my weekly trip to Wegman's. I make a little outing of it - I get all my lunch supplies, and now and then a fun splurge item that I know I can definitely use later in the week for dinner. This week's treat: butternut squash ravioli. MMM! I also like Wegman's because you can knock out a dinner there, and while its a little pricier than other stores the selection is great and the options are healthier.

3. Cut out the take-out. This is probably my hardest one to admit: I am a take-out food fiend. I depend on it. I am lazy. I don't cook much at all and when I do it is on the weekend when I have plenty of free time and rest. Take-out food is delicious and fattening and expensive and all it will do is drain your wallet (and plump up your waistline). Ahh, this is a hard habit to break (and I still break it all the time!) but I really do try to limit myself to take-out 1x/week**. I know if I have a stressful day/late night at work, I plan ahead and try to make that my night for ordering out. I plan ahead by sticking to plan #2 - purchasing guilt-free and semi-easy ingredients to cook at home such as soups, veggies, even sushi or gyoza as a little treat.

**As for restauranting (yes, a verb) I love trying new trendy places in the city and that little hobby makes money magically disappear. If I have plans with a friend to go to out to eat, of course I don't deny myself, but I do make sure I am disciplined and plan for the rest of the week accordingly. If possible, I stick to byobs, splitting appetizers, skipping dessert. If possible, plan for a lunch, where the same entrees are probably available and definitely cheaper. But like I said, I don't forgo my dates with friends often because I do think it is something important and "worth" the money.

4. Be selective about full-price purchases. I have about a year of retail experience under my belt and after working that job, I vowed to myself: never buy any clothing full price. Like I said, I just got home from a J.Crew trip and I am so proud of myself because I put back EVERYTHING that was full-price and only spent $12 (on a super cute necklace, btw). There are so many ways to take advantage of sales and promotions going on in stores; one easy way is to sign up for emails (yes, annoying, but effective) announcing deals. I don't go to extreme lengths, but I also make sure I sign up for any non-credit card club membership (ie. teacher discounts or rewards systems) to get coupons in the mail. Some of my favorites that don't require any sort of credit card: American Eagle, DSW, Banana Republic.

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No breakthroughs or amazing innovative ideas here, but they are helpful and have worked for me. Do you have any other tips? Do you agree or disagree with mine? I'm open to recommendations as well as suggestions! Money talk is boring, so thanks for putting up with me :)

ciao! xo



What an amazing past couple weeks (if you're into the golden hues of fall like I am)! It's been gorgeous, although now that we're in November and it's freezing, it seems like the past couple of weekends were too good to be true. The tastes and smells and sights of October were so appealing to all of my senses.

Honestly - last week was a doozy. It was horribly stressful, and the work bled into the weekend. Trips to Whole Foods + fuzzy slippers + instagram distractions + milk duds leftover from Halloween + November bucket list dreaming became the perfect blend of distraction. But now this pile of papers glaring at me needs to be attended to...ugh.

Another random thought for you: last month I sort of neglected yoga. I got back into it and realized just how much I missed it! The studio itself is so enchanting and tranquil - just stepping in there calms me down.  Yoga is truly a blessing. I need to keep going. It's expensive but seriously such a source of nourishment; I've somehow not gone over the last month to any classes (except one!) and realized that can't go on any further! Some of my favorite classes are 'restorative,' which is more focused on gentle stretching and calming your body; I also love vinyasa flow which is more of a workout depending on the instructor. Gotta get back into it more routinely - I love it! Do you ever do yoga?

you can check out more instas @tmango77!
ciao, xo!