3 Comments

Girl + Wine: A Love Story

Saatchi Online Artist: Jessica Rae Sommer; Mixed Media, 2012, Painting "Wednesday"

Remember when we talked about how I’m kind of a fitness freak now? Yeap, that happened. And now things are getting even weirder around these parts… I joined a health challenge at work. As in I had to pay $30 to join (the pool is approximately $300, so totally understandable, right?). Whoever loses the most body fat in two months is the winner.

So obviously since I’m “flat-ass broke” as my mom likes to call it (not sure if that’s really a thing but. hi mom!), this is kinda a big deal. Which brings me to the wine. I love the wine. All the wine. But the wine does not mix with this health challenge. And so it’s really putting a damper on my social life. Whether it was just a few glasses of vino at dinner, after-work happy hour, or full-on party mode, drinking was always a big part of socializing. Truthfully, I’m actually loving the whole not-drinking thing. I love, love, looove waking up feeling fantastic and going to a (somewhat) early spin or yoga class on the weekends. But what to do when friends want to spend the night at the bar or go out for dinner and drinks? Have you guys experienced this before? I’d love your advice. : ) xo

PS: BEST.

"Bold" might as well be her middle name.
{illustration via saatchiart.com}


Leave a comment

S U M M E R T I M E

Hi guys! Happy Monday! Is it just me or did we totally skip spring and go right from freezing to so freakin’ humid that I’m already wearing all the summer dresses? New York, ya kill me. I ain’t hatin’ the pretty green trees and blooms everywhere, though. : ) Thought I’d stop in this week and give you guys some recs for summer reading–my favorite season, obvs. So many good books, so little time (#lifemotto).

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This one had been on my list since last summer because it was so popular and because I loved some of Lockhart’s past stuff. This YA sort of-thriller gives a glimpse into the lives of the Sinclairs, a privileged and beautiful family with a vacation home on a private island. The family reconvenes every summer to revel in the sunshine and each other’s company. But we soon realize that all is not well with Cadence, the narrator. After a terrible accident, she is forced to glue the pieces back together in her own way if she wants to find any semblance of the truth about what happened that summer night. The surprising twist at the end is what had everyone talking about this one, but it took so long to get there that it didn’t deliver much satisfaction for me. Definitely intriguing and different, though, with a writing style to match if you’re looking to switch it up.

Read Bottom Up by Neel Shah & Skye Chatham. THIS BOOK. !!! !!! This is the perfect beach read–quick, hilarious, and just the right amount of quirky. I’m such a sucker for slightly unconventional love stories and this is just that–the joys and challenges of dating in our tech-obsessed society. The modern-day love story of Madeline and Elliot is told only through their texts, emails to each other, and emails to each of their best friends. Entirely too relatable and laugh-out-loud funny, you’ll fall in love with every character and ditch everything else for a few hours to read (stalk?) the digital rollercoaster that is a 21st-century relationship.

 

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (out June 4th). She’s back at it again, this time with her first YA novel. And it delivers with Kinsella’s classic humor and wacky characters. This light-hearted read follows young Audrey, our sunglasses-wearing narrator, through the aftermath of a traumatic bullying incident at school. Suffering from anxiety and depression, Audrey struggles to return to her “normal” life but finds even the simplest ways of the world difficult to handle (i.e. eye contact, walking on the sidewalk). When her brother’s friend, Linus, isn’t scared away by her dark glasses and weird antics, she slowly begins to piece herself back together. It sounds dark, but somehow it’s the exact opposite, with an eye-opening view into the “lizard brain” (as Audrey calls it) of someone suffering from mental illness.

 

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. Best for last, OF COURSE. I have been anxiously awaiting her latest for months, and I’m so happy to say that it doesn’t disappoint (unlike The Moon and More, to be honest). As she’s been saying in all the interviews, it is very different from her other books, but in a good way. Sydney has always lived in her brother’s shadow, even more so after he goes to jail for a drunk driving accident. Feeling invisible becomes secondhand nature until she meets the Chatham family–loud, messy, chaotic–everything that Sydney is not. Sydney and Layla form a quick friendship, weathering the highs and lows of high school and the consequences of addiction that have touched both of their families. As they grow closer, Sydney also finds refuge in Layla’s brother’s company, and it is only then that she begins to see herself in a light of her own. Dessen describes with achingly perfect accuracy the butterflies that accompany an evolving crush, the power of female friendship, and the safety of having a second family to come home to.

Happy reading, loves! Talk soon. xo


2 Comments

Good Reads

Helllooooo lovelies. Just popping in to share a couple amazing books that I read recently. The first one is Wild, which I finished a while ago. I bought this on my trip to San Francisco last fall, but it sat on my bookshelf for a couple months before I picked it up. I was hesitant because I thought it was going to be boring. Lesson learned: never underestimate the powerhouse that is Cheryl Strayed. It is the story of Cheryl’s solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada on the West Coast. But more than that, it’s about her journey to find love, acceptance, and peace following the death of her mother and the destruction of her family. What I loved most about it is that Cheryl is such a relatable superwoman, if that makes sense.

There is a part in the very beginning of the book where she packs the bag that she will take with her on the trail. She stuffs it full of everything she thinks she’ll need along the way. When she goes to pick up, she can’t lift it off the ground. It is just too heavy. And she grumbles to herself. She doubts herself, her decision to do the hike in the first place. She wonders how she is going to carry this pack for miles when she can’t even pick it up. But eventually she gets down on the ground and somehow wrestles the pack onto her back, and heads out to start the hike. Because what other choice does she really have?

I love that scene so much. I love her adventure, even if at times I found myself saying, “Cheryl, NOOOOOOO!” You can’t help but admire her broken-hearted carelessness and humility through the lens of her beautiful writing.

The other book I recently finished is If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher. I tell anyone who will listen about her blog, which I’m obsessed with, which is why I ran out to buy this the day it came out (and got to meet her at the author signing *fangirl moment*). This memoir covers everything from friendship to first love to faith to discovering God to depression. When she moves to New York City right out of college, Hannah believes she’s going to change the world. Because life is life, things don’t go as planned and she becomes wrapped up in her loneliness. One day, a woman on the subway catches her eye and something moves inside her–she begins to write that woman a love letter. And nothing from that moment on is the same for her. Hannah now runs More Love Letters, a movement that allows anyone to write love letters to strangers in need. I bookmarked so many lines in this book–the girl just has a way with words that inspires you to make a change in your life as soon as you put the book down.

And that’s it for now! Hoping to be back sooner than later this time around. xo


Leave a comment

tumblr_nj9knqInDF1rarw77o1_500I came across this article yesterday and I wanted to share it with you—not only because it’s so amazingly WONDERFUL, but one part of it really stood out to me. In answering a woman’s question about feeling bitter about men, Polly writes:

“If it helps to map out a life alone—what could make that look better, look ok?—then do it. For me, I needed to think that, if I didn’t find the right man, I’d definitely be pouring my time into crazy interesting things. I would learn to sew my own clothes and paint. I would adopt 15 dogs. I would write poetry on the walls of my dining room. Instead of being afraid of getting ‘weird’ and ‘lonely,’ I needed to believe that I would engage with the world, create things, reveal myself to others as a serious freak without shame, and just generally throw myself into the world with abandon.”

What an interesting change in perspective, right?

+ Another one of my favorite Ask Polly columns here.
+ And if you like her, you must read Tiny Beautiful Things.
+ One of my other favorite writers on being mapless.
+ Can’t get this song out of my head.


1 Comment

Let’s Talk About Fitness

tumblr_nasydzyQ2B1rbn5qpo1_500So today we’re going to get a little personal on the blog (inspired by this little baby right here) . . .

About eight months ago, I went through a breakup. It was right around the time I moved back to New York and started a new job, so I jumped right into having fun with old friends, meeting new ones, and going on lotsa dates. Eventually everything caught up with me, and I began to realize that partying and dating weren’t going to fix any part of me. It was around that time that I made a promise to myself–I wanted to focus on taking care of myself, no matter how lonely or boring it would be compared to the summer.

Part of this promise was that I would start going to the gym regularly. I had been going on and off since August, but often times my social life took first priority and I cancelled classes to go out with friends or on dates or because I was hungover. So sometime in December, I started forcing myself to go.

And . . .

I feel like a new person. Like a hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen, to quote my favoritest and the real queen of all, Cheryl Strayed.

((Not to be dramatic or anything. <diva emoji>))

I’ve never been a gym person. I was athletic in high school, but sort of fell off the bandwagon once college hit. But something about this gym was different. I fell in love with the instructors and their music, the gym itself, and the classes. Every day at work I find myself looking forward to the minute I’ll be on the bike or about to begin a round of circuits. Weird, right? I know. Because once I’m there, it’s a totally different story. I start to climb the first hill or get through a round of lunges and the thoughts are like a stampede: icantdoitimnotgoingtomakeitisthisalmostovermakeitstop. And then just when I think I can’t take it anymore, the tide shifts. I change directions, muscles, speeds, and get ready to do it all over again. Because I can. And because I am strong. Stronger than I know. And I surprise myself with that every time. And maybe that is the reason I crave a class at the end of the day–to show myself that I am stronger than every one of my excuses. Maybe it’s the soreness in my muscles that lets me know I worked hard. Or maybe it’s the fact that I don’t feel as bad about that afternoon cookie. But mostly I think it’s because I don’t think of anything other than the challenge in front of me when I’m in that room for 50 minutes–everything falls away for a blissful, sweat-filled hour until I walk back out the door.

And it is healing me. One of my favorite instructors said something a while ago during class that I haven’t been able to get out of my mind. During the middle of the hardest hill of class, she said, “Where does your mind go right now? Instead of I can’t do it, you should be thinking, I’m fucking killing it right now.” I think this is true for life, too. I’ve talked about self-love and seeing love before, and putting it into practice is the real thang, man. It’s making a choice to look at something differently and think about it differently and believe it with your whole heart. It’s realizing that your life is full of love, with or without a boyfriend. It’s realizing that time is an odd and precious thing, and the greatest gift of all is choosing how to spend it. And I’m so thankful for this crazy fitness thing for teaching me so many things that I never knew I needed.

So here’s to sweat, thoughts of summer, and girl power. Love you guys!


2 Comments

Currently Loving . . .

. . .

Just checking in to share a few things that I’m loving lately. : )

These 2015 calendars by 1canoe2 are absolutely beautiful. We teamed up with them at work to produce a few 2016 calendars (such an amazing experience working with them and see the calendars come to life!), so look for those coming in mid-2015. For now, I’m obsessed with this one and this one.

My mom and I stopped in my favorite coffee shop last weekend when she came to visit, and they were offering granola tastings from a little shop in Hoboken called Bounty. We were easily convinced to purchase the Dark Chocolate kind and it is delicious. Never been a granola girl, but now I am.

I always enjoy reading Cup of Jo, especially Caroline’s posts, so when they posted Caroline’s beauty uniform, I immediately bookmarked and wishlisted almost every product she mentioned (and bought the hot air brush!).

Nashville started up again recently and it made me fall in love with Lennon & Maisy all over again (that song at the wedding rehearsal!?!!?). Then I saw this on Facebook and it is now currently on repeat. Also loving Ecstasy by Calvin Harris and Love Yourz by J. Cole.

Still reading Wild and loving it, but I’m excited to read fiction/YA next. Considering Althea & Oliver, All the Bright Places, or Funny Girl (which everyone is talking about).

Good words, good vibes.

This makes me laugh EVERY SINGLE TIME.

And on the beauty front, my good friend Leanna had a few recommendations of her own . . .

  • This sexy scent, with notes of fruit and sandalwood and grapefruit wood. Heavenly.
  • These yummy chips for a healthier afternoon snack.
  • This multi-purpose kit for all the skin issues that winter brings.
  • And a new body wash to try next time you run out.

Have a great week, my loves!

 


2 Comments

Three Little Words

A wildly beautiful thing happened to me the other night. A while ago I became very interested in the art of self-care (read this, this, and this). Every night before bed, I started saying “I love you” to myself. It felt so weird at first. I didn’t say it out loud, but just thinking it in my head still felt uncomfortable. Like, why was I doing this? Did it even mean anything? Would it ever affect anything at all? Eventually it became somewhat of a habit, a tiny nighttime ritual. I also started saying “thank you” to my body after every workout.

On Wednesday night, I had just finished a particularly hard workout–I pushed myself extra hard and felt very grateful to be there. As we began the cool down, a little voice popped out of nowhere. “I’m so proud of you,” she said. It was so surprising, yet completely empowering. Do you guys think I’m crazy now? Haha! Just a little reminder to always be kind to yourself. xo

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 578 other followers