Wanderlust Wednesday: Favorite Local Shops


Last week I mentioned that I wanted to focus on kindness in some of these upcoming posts. One easy way to show a little kindness is to shop locally. When you purchase from a mom and pop store you’re keeping money in your community and you’re helping support a small business. I live in NYC so, on the restaurant front, this is easy to do. When it comes to shopping though we have the same chain stores that you’d find at most suburban malls. There’s nothing wrong with shopping at these stores, but I love supporting local businesses when I can. Here are a few of my favorites that are worth checking out next time you’re in the Big Apple.

Book Culture: (Morningside Heights & Upper West Side) I have a list of local bookstores I love, but this one is in walking distance of my apartment so I probably frequent it the most. They have readings and in-store events to appeal to every reader. They also have a great selection of gifts and items for the home. They have an online store too.

Dusty Buttons: (East Village) Most of my friends who live or have visited NYC have some story of me dragging them to go consignment shopping. Dusty Buttons is by far my favorite. They carry vintage and vintage style clothing and have items that are flattering for every figure. Their site looks like they’ll be offering online shopping in the future.

Fishs Eddy: (Union Square) This dish store is a great place to find quirky kitchen items that make fantastic hostess gifts. Aside from their own patterns which are fun they also sell vintage dining sets from old restaurants. If you don’t live in NYC they have shopping available on their website.

Habit: (Carol Gardens & Park Slope) I love this Brooklyn boutique. The prices are reasonable and the clothing is great. One of my favorite purchases is a fall dress with a golden rod floral print.

Hungarian Pastry Shop: (Morningside Heights) The hardest thing about visiting this New York staple will be deciding what to order. Everything from the strudel to the cream horns is to die for. It’s a great place to pick up an amazing dessert if you don’t have time to make one for dinner party.

Myzel Chocolates: (Midtown) These are the best chocolates in the city, but I also love the story of the family who started this store over 25 years ago. They still run it to this day and the recipes are ones they brought over from Eastern Europe. It’s a great place to buy candies for the holidays as gifts but it’s also a great place to duck into to get a little treat for yourself. I’m a huge fan of the fruits such as apricot, orange, pear, and even fresh ginger dipped in milk or dark chocolate.

Pink Penguin: (Greenwich Village) I am obsessed with this clothing and accessories boutique. I can’t go to Washington Square without visiting this store. Some of my favorite clothing items are from here including this amazing red opera coat. You can shop online too.

Serengeti Teas and Spices: (Harlem) I love going to this little cafe to enjoy some tea and read. This is also a great place to buy loose tea. They make it easy to put together a gift box if you’re looking to give a unique present. This is another store that also has an online shop.

Whisk: (Chelsea & Williamsburg) If you like Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table you’ll love this store. In addition to cooking and bakeware products, they also sell food and beverage items from local companies. Yes, you can shop online.

Zabar’s: (Upper West Side) This is so much more than a grocery store. They have an amazing kitchenware section too. If you ever need to order pre-made food for a party or send a gift basket this is also an excellent place. They do have online ordering.




Summer Capsule Wardrobe


If you are a Pinterest junkie like me you’ve probably seen all of these pins on building a capsule wardrobe. So what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? Capsule wardrobes are the idea around minimizing your closet. If you’re like me you suffer from the problem of a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. I’m trying to accomplice a few things with a capsule wardrobe. I’m trying to save money by spending less on clothing every month, simply my day by not having to rummage through my closet to find what I’m going to wear, and feel confident knowing that I love everything in my closet.

When it comes to building a capsule wardrobe I’ve seen anywhere from 15-30 items. Some people who live in a climate where the weather is the same all year may only have 1-2 capsules per year. Since I live in NYC and we have four distinct seasons I’m trying out four capsules. Your capsule wardrobe can also be dictated by your job and other activities. If I were still working in a career where I needed to wear suits or dress in business attire my capsule would look different. Since I work in a creative industry and casual clothing is acceptable in the office so that played into my choices. I went through my old summer clothes and the rule was I had to love it and it had to fit. Items I didn’t care for anymore were donated and I filled in the rest of my items with new clothes that would work well together. The items you chose for your capsule wardrobe should be able to be mixed and matched so you can have different top and bottom combos so choose colors and prints that you love and are versatile. In summer I’m more likely to wear color. My winter wardrobe will probably skew more towards black.

So here’s what I build out for my summer wardrobe: (26 Items Total)

Tops (9 Total)

-1 Tank (green)

-5 Short Sleeve Shirts (white, navy, Tiffany blue, black, and one black and pink print)

-3 3/4 Sleeve Shirts (navy, orange with a floral print, navy and white print)

Bottoms (6 Total)

-1 Pair of Shorts (green)

-2 Pairs of Pants (gray, pink)

-1 Pair of Jeans (boyfriend cut)

-2 Skirts (1 navy midi, 1 black maxi)

Dresses (2 Total)

-1 Casual Floral Printed Sundress

-1 Dressy Tiffany Blue

Outerwear (2 Total)

-2 Open Cardigans (black and gray)

Shoes (7 Total)

-2 Flat (tan ballet, black penny loafers)

-2 Sneakers (gray and green)

-2 Heels (tan t-strap, faux snakeskin)

-1 Sandles (navy and white print)

Most people including myself do not count their workout clothes towards their capsule. I store those separately from my regular clothes including my running shoes. Some people include other accessories in their capsules but I don’t. At some point, I may reduce my jewelry but it has more sentimental value than anything else. We’ll see how this works out and if I can stick with this I’ll report back on my fall wardrobe.



Mindful Monday: 21 Day Goddess Workout


So in the past, I’ve talked about my struggles with weight and body image. I eventually had lap band surgery and that along with exercise worked well for me. I wrote that I had some complications at the end of last year which resulted in having to have my lap band removed.

These past almost six months have been a real struggle for me. I had gained some weight prior to my lap band being removed and gained some more after my second surgery. I really want to get to a place where the number on the scale and the size on the pair of jeans don’t matter. It really shouldn’t. What should matter is being healthy and feeling good. Mid spring I wasn’t there. I was feeling sluggish and tired and wasn’t in a good head space at all.

For me, food and weight is a slippery slope. I have the tendency to obsess about everything I eat and sometimes undereat because I feel like I need to “discipline” myself. I wish the concept of just eat what you feel like worked for me but it really doesn’t. I needed to find a plan that worked for me.

That’s how I discovered the 21 Day Goddess Workout through Daily Om. The program which was developed by Jannie Murry is part fitness, part nutrition plan, and part mindfulness. For me, this was exactly what I needed it is a three-week low sugar, low carb, and alcohol-free plan. These are all foods I know are triggers for me. The exercise plan is cardio and yoga focused.

I lost weight and inches which I’ve managed to keep off so far but more importantly, I am starting to feel more energy and pep again. I liked this program so much that I am now starting Jannie Murry’s 8 Week Body Makeover which is also through Daily Om. It’s a similar program but has more complex carbs included in the nutrition plan and strength training/toning exercises. I’m not where I want to be physically or mindset wise yet, but I’m getting there slowly.

365 Project: Recipes 91-105


Reaching the 100 recipe mark seems like a milestone, but I still have over 250 recipes to finish by the end of the year. I’m still pumped about this project and excited to see what the next 100 recipes will be. Here is the latest batch of 15 recipes.

91. Blistered Shishito Peppers


Source: Original

Notes: I’ve made this before in the broiler but made these in a saute pan on the stove top which is much better on a hot day. Just through them in hot oil till they blister and cover with sea salt to serve.

Rating: LOVED

92. Berries and Greens Protein Shake


Source: Original

Notes: I don’t mind green juice by itself but sometimes you want a little sweetness to your morning shake. This was half a cup of mixed red berries with celery, spirulina, cucumber, and kale.

Rating: Liked

93. Goddess Salad


Source: 21 Day Goddess Workout

Notes: This recipe was part of an amazing 21-day fitness and meal program I recently completed. I’ll be publishing a post about this program next week.

Rating: Liked

94. Cauliflower and Egg Crust Pizza


Source: 21 Day Goddess Workout

Notes: I’ve posted about other low carb pizza crust options in the past. This one is different. It has more eggs and you cook it on the stovetop like a pancake before putting on the toppings and baking it in the broiler.

Rating: LOVED

95. Raw Protein Balls


Source: Original

Notes: I had some extra golden lakanto (monk fruit sweetener) and cocoa mixture from another recipe that I rolled into balls and rolled flax seeds over. This was my first time using golden lakanto instead of sugar and I do find it very sweet so I would try this again but halve the amount of sweetener. For a better texture, I’d use hemp seeds next time too.

Rating: Okay

96. Protein Brownies


Source: 21 Day Goddess Workout

Notes: Again next time I’d cut the sweetener in half on this one but I did like this.

Rating: Liked

97. Vegan Bolognese


Source: My Year in the Kitchen

Notes: I tweaked this recipe from Ruth Reichel by using ground seitan instead of meat. I also replaced the butter with oil to make this vegan. This has a nice kick to it thanks to the red pepper flakes.

Rating: Liked

98. Green Goddess Salad


Source: Original

Notes: I blanched asparagus and cooked edamame. I added raw cucumbers, avocado, celery, and hemp seeds. I used a homemade balsamic vinegarette for the dressing.

Rating: LOVED

99. Three Ingredient Nut Butter Cookies


Source: Original

Notes: I used half a cup of natural peanut butter, 1/3 a cup of golden lakanto, and an egg. I formed these into 1 inch balls and baked at 350 for about 10 minutes. This makes about 15 cookies.

Rating: Liked

100. Smoked Salmon Sushi with Cauliflower Rice


Source: 21 Day Goddess Workout

Notes: This was such an easy lunch to make for work.

Rating: LOVED

101. Avocado Protein Pudding


Source: 21 Day Goddess Workout

Notes: This was an easy, sugar-free dessert. I blended this in my Nuetrabullet.

Rating: Liked

102. Loaded Baked Sweet Potato


Source: 21 Day Goddess Workout

Notes: This is a great flavor combo if you like something that’s both savory and sweet.

Rating: Liked

103. Cherry Almond Protein Shake


Source: Original

Notes: I blended half a cup of cherries, 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract, Chocolate Plant Power Protein, and hemp milk.

Rating: Liked

104. Vegan Mac and Cheese


Source: 21 Day Goddess Workout

Notes: I was shocked how yummy this was.

Rating: LOVED

105. Mexican Pizza


Source: Original

Notes: I made a cauliflower crust and baked. On the stove top, I mixed red enchilada sauce with ground tofu and tomato paste. I poured that on top of the crust and sprinkled with vegan cheddar, olives, and mushrooms, and baked for 10 minutes at 375.

Rating: LOVED

Bath Time


Yesterday I kicked off this kindness series and wanted to start off with a small act of self-love. Self-care and attention seem to be the last thing that many of us focus on when it should really be the first. When we so ourselves a little kindness and compassion it opens us up to giving that to others too.

One little thing I’ve been doing for myself lately is a nightly ritual of taking a bath and doing a little restorative yoga before bed. I spend less than thirty minutes on this little act but it winds down my day and quiets my hyperactive mind so I can sleep better. This little act feels luxurious because I use bath salts with different fragrances. Epson and mineral salts are great for soothing the body. Here are a few of my favorites depending on my mood.

Balancing Soak by Soothing Touch: This blend of oils is great for clarity and mental focus. I like using this the night before a big meeting. It’s probably just a placebo effect, but it makes me feel good so who cares.

Eucalyptus by Aura Cacia Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus is refreshing and soothing. It’s a great oil to use for hand and foot massages too.

Namaste by Botania: This blend is spicy and citrusy. I discovered this company on a trip to the farmers market in Montreal. Their website is opening an online store in the near future so hopefully, I’ll be able to stock up before my next trip to Canada.

Nighty Night by EO: Nothing gets you ready for bed like chamomile and lavender. This is perfect after a particularly stressful day. If bathing salts aren’t your thing they also have the same fragrance in bubble bath form.

Sweet Honey Almond Froth Bomb by Pacha Soap Company: This is pure lux and my skin feels so silky smooth after a bath. I don’t get this often because it’s a little pricey, but when I feel like treating myself it’s a great reward.

Do you have a self-care ritual you love?

Mindful Monday: Kindness


Kindness is such a simple concept yet when you read the news or tune into what is happening in politics it feels absent. I think kindness is something everyone could use a little more of and it doesn’t have to be in the form of grand or mass gestures. Think about it if we just spent a little more time on being kinder to ourselves, others, and this planet those little acts of individual love could snowball into something a lot bigger and more impactful.

You can accuse me of being a Pollyanna, but be honest when you see a friend or stranger in an act of pure kindness doesn’t fill your heart and inspire you to do the same? For the next couple of weeks, I have a number of posts coming up centered around kindness because I think we’re all wanting a lot more of it at this particular time.

Mindful Mondays: Healing Teas


Admittedly I’ve always been a coffee girl, but over the years I’ve found an appreciation for the other hot beverage…tea.  Tea offers a bit more variety when it comes to taste and flavor compared to java.  Another benefit to tea is the health perks.  Here are some I’ve discovered over the years:

Acid Reducer: I used to suffer from acid reflux and when I’d have a flare-up certain things I loved like chocolate and coffee were off limits because they end up making me feel worse. Many people with reflux or GERD find that tea also upsets them, but when I was dealing with this ailment I found that low caffeine tea was easy on my stomach and prevented me from having caffeine withdraw headaches. I still drink low caffeine teas in the afternoon and evenings when I’m looking for a little pick me up but don’t want something that will keep me up all night. 

My favorite low caffeine teas are:  Zen by Tazo, Ginger Peach by Republic of Tea, Monkey Picked White by The Tea Spot

Cramp Relief: Mint tea is great when it comes to cramp relief. During my cycle, I always have it on hand. In the winter months, I sip on hot peppermint tea throughout the day. Once the temperature rises I make pitchers of iced Moroccan mint tea. 

Mint teas I love: Peppermint by Celestial Seasonings, Mint Verbena by Harley and Sons, Armenian Mint by Argo

Sore Throat Aid:  There are a variety of teas I drink when I’m suffering from a cough or have lost my voice. Black tea with honey and lemon is the standby. However, there are a number of herbal teas that are also great aids when under the weather.  

My go to’s for a sore throat are: Throat Comfort by Yogi, Liquorice and Mint by Teapigs, and Red Rose Original by Red Rose

Stress Reducer:  An afternoon cup of herbal tea is a great stress reliever. Several months ago I purchased a cast iron teapot for the meditation area in my bedroom. I’ve made enjoying some tea at the end of a yoga practice or when I’m curled up in my reading chair a ritual.  I gravitate towards floral fragrances I love. I also look for caffeine-free or low caffeine varieties when it comes to sipping for stress reduction.  

Stress relief teas I adore include: Earl Grey Lavender by Adagio, Pure Camomile by Twinings, and Jasmine Blossom by Stash