feeling the bite

I am really starting to notice the stinging cold of winter! For me this is usually juuuuust when it starts. It seems to be impossible that spring is only twenty something days away. It is cooldddd. Suddenly I feel as though winter has snapped me into two. Biting cold.

And truthfully, I have not blogged. 

 The past weeks have consisted of Downton Sundays, hot tea, some snow days off, warming up the car before heading out in the morning, going one or two days without washing my hair. I have written a little (not here but elsewhere) which is nice and opening. I've been feeling quiet and hunkered-down now for what seems like forever! 

So, this post isn't really about anything. All is well. Just a check-in.

ciao, xo


spring's a comin'!

1. Street Level reversible tote \\ 2. Tieks \\ 3. j.Crew firefly earrings \\ 4. Anthro tee \\ 5. lime wallet \\ 6. lululemon shiny leggings \\ 7. t3 travel dryer \\ 8. Benefit FakeUp \\ 9. Anthro makeup bag

When you're getting ready to travel somewhere it's always fun to pick up a few treats to make the journey even sweeter! These are currently the items that I want and/or can't get enough of...and they are definitely what I want to be packing for CA in a few short weeks!

1. Street Level reversible tote. I own this beauty and love the versatility of the thin, b&w faux leather. It is super light but can hold stuff like a bucket! Wish it had more pockets, but for easy coming and going, it pretty much goes with anything. 

2. Tieks. I don't own Tieks but have seen them pop up all over my Facebook and other ads, which has sparked my curiosity because they look so darn comfortable and so fitting for travel. These remind me of Gap's city flats which fold up and come with a little baggy. The pastel shades are pretty - this ballerina pink couldn't get any more girlie. They come in pretty much every color under the sun...

3. J. Crew earrings. I lost a pair of loud rhinestone earrings not unlike these while out one night this winter...heartbroken! These are kind of like my old ones, and I am in need of a 'going out' replacement. Adds such a good amount of sparkle under my thick hair.

4. Anthro tee. Obseeeesssed with this shirt! I own it in this gorgeous light heathered grey. It is SO light and drapey. It's not ideal for cold days, but I love the ethereal look of it (even with leggings or jeans!). It is super long in the back too, so it can be worn as a tunic. The v-neck in the front is repeated in the back. Cool details, simple design. Love it and will definitely bring it to CA!

5. Lime wallet. My mom always told me growing up that a lady should have a bright wallet. Why? Because if you're looking in the depths of your bag...you should be looking for something that pops out, not blends in! I need a new wallet desperately but want one that I really love - this Tory Burch wallet is WAY out of my price range but I love the shape and color.

6. Lululemon Shine leggings. I own a pair of these and wish I could order 3,000 more. They are THE BEST. Currently sold out online, I've been unable to find another pair. I can't imagine my weekend without them, put it that way. They are comfortable, slimming, even appropriate for drinks or dinner. I love the high waist fit. 

7. t3 travel dryer. There is still research to be done on these travel dryers, but I have heard really good things about this brand. Travel dryers - especially dual-voltage international hairdryers - have a tendency to break, fizzle out, blow up (ha) with me...I put hairdryers to work. I always buy high wattage and can't seem to find out how much power this t3 packs. Jury's out on this one.

8. Benefit Fake Up. Best. concealer. ever. I am already on my second tube of this miracle stuff. I am not big into concealer, but this serves as a highlighter as well as a cover up. I sampled it first in a birchbox last year - I would definitely figure out your shade before purchasing the whole tube (although it's about $25).

9. Anthro calf hair makeup bag. This makeup bag is so cute. I've realized that I've gotten by in the makeup-bag department by using freebies from Clinique or Estee Lauder - bags where the zippers frequently break, or loose eyeshadow unfortunately explodes whilst traveling - ugh. So I've been hesitant to splurge on a new go-to makeup bag (especially with a tough exterior! calf hair!?) but hey, a girl can dream.



as you can see...the past few weeks have been very sweet! Valentine's Day was amazing, even though it was very low key without S. He found ways to make it the cutest Valentine's ever - roses at work, sneaking the delivery of a little blue box for Valentines' morning...sigh! He is the best. I am so excited to be visiting soon! And I think we could all use a nice warm sunny California breeze...it is SO cold here. Snow has been on the ground for several weeks now and we are all very much settled into that perpetual coziness/laziness of winter.

Some recent pick-me-ups: spring-hued tulips, homemade acai bowls (see recipe), starbucks finally rolling out flat whites, sundays (aka downton!).

ciao! xo


to seven years!

S and I are celebrating a big one :) I am so excited and proud of us. It is so cool to me that I've known this boy for so long. Since high school! And now, bi-coastally we are doing it. I love you.

ciao, xo


valentine's red

top LOFT (old) | pants banana republic | trench banana republic (old) | heels Vera Wang for Kohls (old) | hat Brixton (sold out!) | watch Kate Spade | wristlet Coach (old)

I've got my red on for Valentine's day, do you?!

It may not seem it, but for me the focal point of this outfit is the draped pants from Banana republic! I first posted about them here, literally bought them the very same day in store, and have fallen in love with the way that they fit/wear. I love that they are work appropriate with a bit of an edge (the gathered bottom is definitely the difference from a normal pair of pants). Paired with a blouse and a little tuck-in, it feels and looks great!

What is everyone doing for Valentine's? If nothing, I hope you are treating yourself. I'm feeling a bubble bath or something. You may know from reading that S and I are kickin' it long distance right now - so of course we are missing each other loads - but I am seeing him in just a few short weeks in sunny California! Can't wait. And I'll definitely be bringing the pants.

ciao! xo


easy acai bowl

The simplicity of this acai bowl makes it THE perfect mid-winter breakfast or snack - I can't wait to share it with you! First, a little rationale behind this post:

I am 'teaming up' with April and Mary, two old blog friends, this February, for a sort of kick-start health initiative. In other words - we are cheering each other on to be healthier. Eating, exercising - and it translates into thinking, I swear! Anyway, with that in mind, I am so excited about this easy acai bowl I whipped up last Sunday. I know I gush a lot on here but this recipe is PERFECT, if you are into smoothies/juicing/overall health foods. It is not only simple but so surprisingly flavorful. So I'm pretty sure this is going to be my breakfast for the next few weeks!

The ingredients (serves 2): 

Prep your ingredients. Once you have your fruits, cut them in fine slices on a cutting board. Some of these will be your garnish. This is close to the exact amount of fruit I used and even had some leftovers. You can also freeze the fruit to make your acai bowl colder or even icier. Luckily, I had some frozen banana in the freezer and it was the perfect touch to the acai mix.

Use one cup of the Sambazon acai mix, add a banana, and 1/2 cup of fruit. I use a NutriBullet but a typical blender is fine - your acai should look dark, rich and thick once it is blended. I love the deep maroon color of the acai - it made me want to use a clear bowl just for the show of it :)

Lastly, add your garnish.

I drizzled a teeeny bit of honey and flax seed (not pictured) on the top for a little extra sweetness. It really makes a minimal difference, so depending on your goals you can substitute whatever you'd like. Some other ideas that I'd like to try in the future: sliced almonds, chai seeds, quinoa, even nibs of chocolate :) 

This is my second ever acai bowl - the first time I ever had one was in California (and it was beautiful!) but I actually think mine was better :) It is just so flavorful, and honestly the only mildly unhealthy thing is the honey. It is the kind of snack that leaves you with a satisfied 'full but light' feeling. I love the possibilities and the combinations you can do. Let me know if you decide to use it and what types of adjustments you make on the recipe :) Hope this little taste of summer brightens your February!

ciao! xo


blogging: plan or publish?

aren't these gorgeous? it's from this etsy shop!

Blogging is a tricky business when it comes to posting, timing, and reaching your peak audience. I find that lately I have been planning posts and scheduling ahead of time, but back in the day when I first started blogging in 2010 I never used to do that, and I had much more readership. So, I want to open up this platform to your thoughts/opinions on this!

I sometimes feel that "life and style" blogs are so ubiquitous nowadays and it is hard to come up with original content. When I do post something that I feel is quality (usually on the photography end), I tend to save it for the perfect moment.  I love scheduling posts for this reason. I can take my time on writing, actually stay focused in the process, and have a result that I feel prouder about. I don't necessarily plan my posts by the month or write it down in a planner (above), but I know of some bloggers that do and they have reached a lot of success that way. Because blogging is not my full time job, or my 'job' at all, I am much more casual and laid back with what I post and when I post. However, scheduling can so often produce the opposite effect.

Planned posts can sometimes be very easy to distinguish rather than spontaneous - if you plan too ahead of time, your post may clearly sound like it has been written in the past. It can sound boring, monotonous, and more importantly, it can lack that 'bite' of fresh new content. While spontaneous posts seem to be more genuine, they are also shorter, more photo-oriented, and prone to being scatterbrained!! 

This is how I roll: I usually bring my camera with me, whether or not I plan to take photos. Recently we did an outfit shoot and a day trip to New Hope so I brought my camera, and got two posts out of it: here (style post) and here (scenes from my weekend).

I dug through the archives for some recent examples.

                              2. golden light (style post)
                              3. hermosa: fog, shrimp, and fajitas

Spontaneous Posts: 1. white slush
                                  2. when it doubt, look up.
                                  3. blurry scenes from a winter drive

Tell me, what are your thoughts on publishing a post spontaneously vs. planning ahead? What works with your schedule and life?
ciao! xo

*ps. this is a planned post :)


february goals

Can you believe February is almost here?! Already into chapter 2 of 2015...amazing. I am looking forward to a lot this month, including a lot of health goals I am setting for myself. This winter I am finding (much to my liking!) that I have a lot of me time. I am being responsible with balancing work and being 'productive,' plus a few fun things here and there. January was great - lots of yoga, spending smart, the Downton premiere, a day trip, plus some new interior changes which have felt like a breath of fresh air!

february goals

  • top priority: running 3x a week and other small workouts in between, including vinyasa classes and maybe barre. I am almost ashamed of how relaxed I have been when it comes to working out. If I were to get together with myself now and a me back from September, the September-me would disapprove of my hiatus from running. SO - in the spirit of starting fresh, April & Mary and I (two blog friends from years back!) are going to be cheering each other on as we work on our personal health goals.
  • Devote more time branching out with blogging. I want to get in touch with so many new or recent bloggers I've discovered - gotta get the emails rollin!
  • Shoot a few more wintry-themed style posts while I can! I'll aim for 3-4 more between February and March. Expect one very soon, actually! 
  • Save $$. I am in the process of planning a trip in April and I want to save up, keeping this big trip in mind. I want to limit purchases to cash...when possible. 
  • Stick to the skin routine. I have posted about it before, and I still feel a little self conscious about this - but my skin went through a lot in 2014! I have been SO happy and comfortable "in my own skin," not to be cliche. But I am. I have established a much better and healthier routine to help this, and I want to keep it up. 
  • Limit the take out and ordering out for dinner to once a week. I have gotten better in January about making dinners at home. HOWEVER, I usually just fall back on the easiest and most delicious thing I can make: pasta. Penne with pesto, chicken noodle soup, gnocchi...sigh. It is all so delicious (see next bullet*). I want to be a little more creative in the cooking department, without spending too much money and definitely without relying on take out like I have done in the past. Some ideas I have in mind already: chicken fajitas, breakfast for dinner, spinach soup, salads (ugh) and maaaaaybe even veggie bowls, I don't know. I just need to back off the pasta.
  • Pasta only 1x per week. Deal with it. Plan accordingly.*

what are some goals you're setting yourself for February!?
Ciao e buon Febbraio!! xo


happy downton day!

My lady crush - Lady Mary Crawley! I meant to publish this happy little piece weeks ago when season 5 of Downton premiered. I suppose creating a whole watercolor on Lady Mary/Downton is a bit obsessive...but I loooooove it!!! So far the four episodes in season 5 have been stellar - they are such a treat for Sundays and make the end of the weekend so much better. I love the clever writing, the careful details, all of it. Sunday nights have actually seemed to turn into a holiday around here..

Okay, first and foremost - I want to be Lady Mary. Scandalous, rebellious characteristics aside, she always holds herself with such an air of grace and decorum. And her dresses!? Absolutely lovely. This particular one is from the Christmas episode when Mary and Matthew got engaged in the snow. That scene breaks my heart every time!! I loved them together...

Do you like Downton!? Better question is, do you like Lady Mary? Who's your favorite?

ciao, xo!