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little things i get excited about

I’m the type of person who always needs something to look forward to, whether it’s an exotic vacation or a brunch reservation. In part of my ongoing journey to happiness/self-love/daily joy etc etc, I’ve taken some time to reflect about the ordinary things in life that make me happy.

restaurants that give you a postcard with the bill

really good nail polish colors (currently obsessed with this one.)

clean sheets after a long day and a hot shower

making someone laugh

wearing new shoes for the first time

leftover foam at the bottom of your cappuccino

holding hands

picking out a perfect candle at Home Goods

popcorn at the movies (with a borderline disgusting amount of butter)

getting mail that isn’t spam or a bill

drinks that come with maraschino cherries

featured gif by Libby VanderPloeg
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eat-a-city, places

eat-a-city: MONTREAL

You guys, I really love Canada. Particularly Montreal. I went there last month for a quick trip, and we also went to Quebec City – food tips to come for there! It was my third time in MTL, and even better than I remembered. It’s so clean, people are super friendly, and there’s a really exciting food scene. Here’s where you should eat and drink in this frenchy Canadian city…and, of course, all of these places have WiFi and are highly Instagrammable.

Tommy

I had bookmarked this cafe on Instagram and after a Google maps search once we were wandering through Montreal, I was happy to see that Tommy was nearby. I mean, look at those hanging plants! We went here twice – the first time, just for a cool drink, somewhere air-conditioned to sit, and free Internet access (oh, international travel woes…). We went back for breakfast the next day, where I got my usual avocado toast and sampled some pastries. I highly recommend the pistachio-chocolate croissant.

SUWU

My friends and I went to this bar the last time we were in Montreal for a bite to eat before exploring the nightlife. This trip, we made it to SUWU in time for happy hour, where the house specialty cocktails were 2-for-1. *Side note: happy hour is a major perk of weekday travel.* We all got different drinks, but they were all loaded with fresh mint, which was amazingly refreshing. We also ordered an assortment of stuff from their snack menu – the fried chicken was to die for (it came with three different sauces!), the burger was tasty, and the French fries came in a sharing size that was great for the four of us.

Bistro-Brasserie Les Soeurs Grises

As someone who has professionally written a lot about beer and breweries, I’m always eager to check out the local craft scene of every city I go to. We went to this one around lunchtime, and chose it because there were lots of positive reviews about the food. We shared salads and some appetizers, which were tasty, but the real highlight was (no surprise here) the beer.

La Finca Cafe

I needed an afternoon pick-me-up, and we stumbled across this cafe while walking back to our car. The exterior is pretty unassuming, but La Finca was beautifully airy, spacious, and welcoming. They have a quiet patio out back, too. I got a tasty iced matcha latte and some chocolate chip cookies to share that were TO DIE FOR. Flaky sea salt and two kinds of chocolate…my idea of heaven.

Terrasse William Gray

What do you do when you want to make the most of a short trip in a new city but also get a glass of wine? Find a rooftop bar. My sister suggested this one, at the top of a hotel in the Old Port. Since it was a weekday afternoon, we were one of the only groups there, and no one seemed to mind that we took our time sipping. We got a great view of the city (including the waterfront ferris wheel!), had some great cocktails, and shared an order of truffle fries that I’m still thinking about.

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how to get out of a slump

I don’t know about you, but every once in a while I hit a slump. Sometimes it’s a productive one, where I can’t focus on anything and feel brain-dead. Sometimes it’s emotional, when my anxiety is at an all-time high and I’m psychoanalyzing things that don’t need to be psychoanalyzed. Here’s how I bring myself back to earth.

Scroll through Tumblr.

I freaking loved Tumblr in high school and my early years of college, but now I mostly use it when I need to relax and regroup. Something about scrolling past photos that appear in no order but still speak to me is very cathartic.

Exercise.

Can’t get a text back from the guy I like? Head to spin class. Feeling stressed or unfocused? Let’s pedal it out. Endorphins are real, you guys.

Shop.

Not online shop, but in-person. Like at Target or Whole Foods, preferably when they’re not crowded. Push a cart through the aisles and breathe in the organized-ness.

Have a snack.

Not an entire pint of Ben & Jerry’s or a whole pizza (trust me, I know it’s hard), but something nourishing that your mom would approve of. Like an apple with peanut butter, or a grilled cheese sandwich. You know – one of the classics.

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diy, the latest

idiot-proof recipes i vouch for

Sometimes, I have a hard time following recipes. If something calls for too many ingredients or takes 3+ hours to make, I’m really not interested. Every once in a while, I stumble across a recipe that is literally impossible to mess up…even if you get easily distracted or like to put your own spin on a dish. Here are some of my favorite idiot-proof ideas.

Winter Crunch Salad (from Bon Appetit)

This recipe makes a great side dish for dinner, then packs up beautifully for tomorrow’s desk lunch. It has all my favorite salad things – brussels sprouts, kale, apple, sunflower seeds, and parmesan – and takes literally 10 minutes to make. Last time, I roasted the sprouts for extra flavor, which took a little longer, and used balsamic vinegar instead of the mustard for the dressing. Still delicious.  salad.jpg


Salted Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookie (from Alison Roman)

You’ve probably seen these cookies all over Instagram. The good news? They’re actually SUPER easy to make. There’s less than 10 ingredients, and they’re a more sophisticated (and slightly salty)  twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie. You won’t be disappointed. cookie.jpg


Mini Asian Crab Cake Bites (from Martha Stewart)

I made these for a dinner party a few years ago, and it was the first time I’d ever worked with crab meat. These were surprisingly easy to make, and the easy addition of coconut milk, lime, ginger, and cilantro give these mini crab cakes fresh, Thai-inspired flavor. You can make and shape them ahead of time, too, then just quickly fry them up before serving. I made a corn salsa (fresh corn, red onion, tomatoes, and garlic quickly sauteed) to go on top!

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Molten Lava Cakes (from Paula Deen

This dessert is a dream if you don’t want any leftovers! And everyone will think you’re an amazing pastry chef, when, in reality, it’s like 5 ingredients. The recipe uses a mix of milk and dark chocolates, and I always skip the orange liqueur because I never have any.

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things that are still good about america

I read this piece on Man Repeller last summer, and was inspired to do my own version in honor of Independence Day 2018…especially since it’s getting increasingly harder to love America.

Beer.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a frosty Heineken…but there’s something about cracking open a tallboy of PBR or Narragansett that feels so freakin’ American.

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National parks.

I spent A LOT of my time growing up going on family vacations to America’s national parks. Places like the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park are great reminders of how unique the USA is, and they make me feel lucky to live here.

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Libraries.

I think this quote sums it up.

“It was my 2nd week in America and I was nervous when I was checking out 4 books at the local public library. I love libraries and where I come from you can normally checkout 3 books. I thought this being America I could try my luck and add another book. The nice checkout girl proceeded my order, out of curiosity I asked her how many books could I checkout in one go. Her answer: 75. This to me symbolized what America stood for.”


Planned Parenthood.

It’s pretty cool to me that even if you don’t have health insurance or any money you can go to PP for everything from a routine physical to a pregnancy test. I think it’s still pretty crazy that it’s 2018 and people are unable to afford basic medical care, so I’m glad that organizations like Planned Parenthood provide literally any health service a woman would need. P.S. Did you know that men are welcome, too?

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State slogans.

Idk about you, but I think it’s pretty cute that every state in America has their own thing going on. I especially enjoy the state slogans on license plates. Like Florida, the “Sunshine State.” Wyoming, “Forever West.” Montana, “Big Sky Country.” Something that’s really great about the US of A is that different parts of the country are SO different, whether in terms of climate, terrain, language, or cuisine. Frozen custard? Give it to me in Wisconsin or not at all. King crab? Not Alaskan, not going in my belly.

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pin-spiration

pin-spiration: kitchen

It’s no secret that I love food. I’ve also grown to love cooking and baking, especially when I get to share the finished product with my family and friends. I love the way food brings people together, and I think that the kitchen is the most important shared space in any home.

In my dream kitchen, there’s lots of light, a farmhouse sink, and plenty of space for people to gather. Here are some photos inspiring my future culinary space.

What’s a must-have for your dream kitchen? 

 

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my mental happy place

I’ve written before about my sleep struggles and frequent anxiety. These are two of my least favorite things about myself, and when they join forces at midnight, I know I’m in for a night of laying flat on my back trying to slow a racing heart, or scrolling through the “Discover” section of Instagram wondering why everyone else has a better life than I do.

I was at a Girl Scout sleep-away camp once, years ago, and felt ill-at-ease among the overly assertive counselors and cliquey girls. One of said counselors, who had nicknamed herself “Willow,” did her best to help me sleep, asking me to close my eyes and picture lovely things like waterfalls and open meadows. It helped.

Later, in high school, I occasionally went to a stress reducing/teen-focused yoga class after school. After going through the motions, we’d end class by laying flat on our backs, palms upward, lavender pillows over our eyes (still my favorite smell). Our instructor, Alison, would narrate some lovely meditation that pretty instantly made me fall asleep.

This can’t be a coincidence. Though I prefer to ease my anxiety during the daytime hours with more realistic, rational solutions, bedtime is for dreaming. Over the last decade, I’ve really honed in on my happy place – the dream world I create in my head, a life I fantasize about. It’s not exotic or anything special, really, but it’s something I continue to come back to, and for whatever reason, it makes drifting off to sleep so much easier.

I live in a small house by myself, in the woods, but walking distance from town. I bake a lot of bread and go to the farmer’s market often. I don’t have a computer. I read and paint a lot. I mainly wear dresses and silk nightgowns. I have a garden filled with plants I’ve managed not to kill. Sometimes it’s raining and I plop myself in front of a fireplace or in the giant clawfoot bathtub. (As I’m writing this, I feel kind of pathetic because most of these things are totally doable. We’ll see.)

Every once in a while I’ll scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest and see a photo that instantly transports me to my constructed happy place. Here are a few of those.

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places

travel vignettes: SAN FRANCISCO

chocolate
sea lions
shin splints
sourdough
pastel
pride
color
trolleys
golden gate
lombard

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what i think about during spin class

Are these leggings see-through?

Is it rude to ask the instructor to turn the fans on?

I should’ve brought a bigger water bottle.

Would it KILL her to play some reggaeton?

If she plays Taylor Swift again, I’m leaving.

I thought this was a 45 minute class, not an hour?!?!

Why do 2-pound weights literally feel like the heaviest things on earth?

Next time, I’m doubling up on sports bras.

Is it weird if I get off my bike and go to the bathroom?

I wonder if I’ll be too sweaty to get a bagel after this.

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five summer footwear staples

It shouldn’t be a secret that I love shoes. Especially of the open-toe variety. So, I pretty much live for warm-weather footwear. I really think women’s shoes have been having a renaissance, and these are some styles I’m lusting after this season.

White Leather

Something about smooth white sandals is just so appealing this time of year. These would look just as great with a t-shirt dress as a pair of cut-off denim shorts.

hot, hot, heat. SCAMP in white patent. ☁️

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Feminine Flair

Brother Vellies makes a similar shoe (the Burkina sandals) and I love the understated femininity of gathered fabric in a pastel color.

Block Heel

Ah, a style I will NEVER tire of. I own so many sandals and shoes with a block heel, and I adore them all. It’s the chicest and most comfortable way to add an inch or two to your height.

Pink Jardin Heels

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Woven Elements

If you’re over espadrilles, take a gander at summer shoes that incorporate raffia/straw or something else that looks like a picnic basket for your feet.

Something See-Through

Channel your inner Kardashian and find a sandal with some kind of plastic-y element. Tip: these Who What Wear shoes are literally $30 at Target. They have a higher-heeled version, too.

Basket bag ✔ Sunglasses ✔ @whowhatwearcollection Piper Sandals ✔

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pin-spiration

pin-spiration: tile

I LOVE TILE. When I was in Morocco I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the tiled doorways and gardens. So beautiful, so thoughtful, so precisely laid. From simple subway tile to colorful mosaics, I’m constantly inspired by images like these ones.

Photos sourced from Pinterest. 

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places

travel vignettes: PARIS

baguette
kinderbueno
versailles
nutella
pasta
sacre coeur
moulin rouge
light
flea market
marais
metropolitan

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instagrammable food orders

I post a lot of food photos on Instagram. You may or may not know that I LOVE to eat, and I really enjoy checking out new restaurants and hunting down trendy foods. When I go out to eat with other people, I like to coordinate orders with them so we get a good spread – both for budget/taste practicalities AND Instagram reasons.

Here are some of the prettiest and most photogenic foods to order at any eatery.

Avocado toast

I know, I know. So basic. So overdone. But SO DELICIOUS. And so pretty. You literally can’t go wrong.


A gooey cookie.

Something with melty chocolate, ideally.


Pizza.

The love I have for pizza is truly endless, but I love the stuff even more when the pie is particularly instagrammable. Ask one of your friends to hand model for extra depth.


A smoothie bowl.

Another trendy brunch item that I just can’t seem to quit. Big fan of this one, with candied orange slices and perfectly arranged toppings.


 

Ice cream.

It’s a lucky coincidence that my favorite ice cream flavor is M&M, which almost always has a colorful, tie-dyed look. Perfect for the ‘gram, and my belly.

Follow me on Instagram for more!

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pin-spiration

pin-spiration: tacos

Birds are chirping! Flowers are blooming! I am sneezing!

In short…warm weather is here. As temperatures heat up, literally all I want to eat is Mexican food, preferably outdoors, accompanied by a margarita (or three). So this installation of pin-spiration is all about tacos. Spicy chicken. Crispy fish. Lime wedges. Homemade salsa. You get it.

Follow me on Pinterest for more!

images sourced from pinterest. 

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places

travel vignettes: THE BRONX

mugz
pizza
BYOB
white castle
botanical
reggaeton
arthur avenue
lime-a-ritas
cigars
estrellitas
bliss

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illustration by Marilena Perelli

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the latest

an official unoffical ranking of the best cookie flavors

I’m aware that the opportunities for cookie innovation are pretty endless, so in this round-up, I’m sticking with the most classic and typical homemade varieties.

Chocolate Chip

It just doesn’t get better. Buttery batter, melty chocolate, and flakes of sea salt on top…sigh. I love my mom’s classic recipe, but lately I’ve been super into this trendy shortbread version.

Frosted Sugar Cookies

The frosting is key. Also, A LOT of vanilla. Bonus points for crisp sprinkles and bright colors.

Cowboy

Not everyone has the same definition of Cowboy cookies, but in my book, they’re oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips, too.

Snicker Doodle

Another standby of my mom’s. I tend to favor chocolate in cookies, but these guys are one of the exceptions. I used to bring Snicker Doodles into elementary school all the time and my classmates went nuts.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Do these have an official name? This is what I’m choosing to call them, but I’m betting you’ve tried these before. They come in last of my favorite cookies because unwrapping all the Hershey’s kisses is extremely annoying, and though they taste AMAZING, they’re awkward to eat in public.

Bonus: Stroopwafels

Not sure if these are technically a cookie, but they’re delicious and I wanted more than one photo for this blog post.

ATTENTION: I am raising money for a bike ride that raises money for Alzheimer’s research. If you donate more than $20, I will personally bake you a dozen of any of these cookies. Click here for more info!

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things i spend too much money on

Boutique exercise classes.

Mostly spin. I actually own a stationary spin bike, but I feel like I get a better workout when someone is yelling at me. Plus…your health is your wealth!

Coffee.

I’m a sucker for a really, really good espresso drink. My go-to is a simple soy latte, but I also love iced mochas and anything caramel-flavored.

Footwear.

Actually, I think I spend just the right amount of money on shoes…but admittedly, a large portion of my disposable income goes in this direction.

My hair.

Getting highlights six times a year is definitely an unnecessary expense, but it’s become worth it to me. The maintenance for lightened hair is also pricy – I spend an insane amount of money on purple shampoo and color-protective masks.

Skincare.

Lately, I’ve been really into skincare. When I worked at magazines in the past, I got a lot of free samples, which was great…except it got me hooked on boutique beauty brands.

What about you guys? What’s your biggest indulgence??

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tax day: a nightmare IRL

Though it’s a great creative outlet and gives me some extra cash for luxurious things (like traveling, new shoes, and manicures), freelancing isn’t always a breeze. Cue: taxes.

I consider myself to be pretty financially responsible. I have a retirement savings plan, invest in the stock market, pay my credit card bill in full every month, and thrive at department store clearance racks. But taxes are a whole other game.

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Luckily, my trusty accountant (known to me as “Dad”) has been Turbo Tax-ing for me for the last few years. I’ve previously gotten sizable refunds, so this year, I was shocked to find out I’d be getting nothing…and instead, owed the government a good chunk of change. I’d been planning to upgrade my computer with the return I expected, but, alas, I wrote checks to the IRS.

As a freelancer, I got a stack of 1099s in the mail, chronicling my earnings for the various media outlets I write for. I started putting money aside last year to pay my 2017 taxes, and ended up transferring those funds to a high yield savings account. I earned about $100 in interest in a year, so I highly recommend it. (I used American Express.)

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I feel like financial security is something that’s often overlooked, especially by millennials. My parents grew up pinching pennies, so they’ve always been frugal, a practice that has rubbed off on me a little. I have expensive taste and don’t think twice about the occasional splurge, but I get most of my wardrobe from low-brow retailers like Zara, bring my lunch to work 90% of the time, and have drastically cut back on fancy coffees.

Anyway, I guess the lesson here is that I should start saving for next year’s taxes right now. Sigh.

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pin-spiration

pin-spiration: balloons

Does it get better than balloons? Something about shiny, colorful balloons reminds me of birthday parties and all kinds of good celebrations. Last spring, Maman (a coffee shop in NYC) teamed up with Anthropologie’s bridal brand, BHLDN, to create a helium-filled display that was all over Instagram. And Geronimo is crafting balloon installations all over L.A. – check out their Insta page.

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the latest

elements of a dream job, according to me

It’s been kind of weird realizing that work is, in fact, “work” and isn’t always fun. As I spend more time in the workforce and have gotten to peek in to various office environments, I’ve started keeping a mental list of everything there would be in my dreamy perfect corporate environment (though I doubt I’ll ever find a job with these elements). What’s on the top of your workplace wish list

An office dog.

I once worked in a dog-friendly office building and seeing pups in the elevator every day made me so happy.

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Somewhere to take a nap.

Or at least a daily nap-time allotment. Being an adult is exhausting, ok?!??

Diet Coke on tap.

Or seltzer. Along with plenty of ice. One place I previously worked had a whole soda fountain available for free…but it was disappointingly stocked with Pepsi products.

The ability to do my nails at my desk without feeling self-conscious.

When I was an intern, the girl who sat next to me used to do this and I always thought it was ballsy AF. Honestly, I’d probably do this now if someone would invent scent-free nail polish.

An expense account.

Remember that Seinfeld episode when Elaine goes a little nuts with her corporate card? That’s what I have in mind.

 

 

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places

travel vignettes: stockholm

licorice
blonde
skansen
kanelbullar (cinnamon buns!)
reindeer
krona
monteliusvägen
fries
smørrebrød
IKEA

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picture by Anna Berger

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eat-a-city

eat-a-city: REYKJAVIK

I recently checked something off my things-to-do-before-I-turn-30 list: going to Iceland! I went with my friend Klaudia for a long weekend in March, and we had a great time. I’d been wanting to go for so long, and when we were able to score a round trip flight for under $300 (!!!) we just had to go.

As is true with any city I visit, I was eager to hunt out the best foodie spots. I got some great tips from friends who had already been to Reykjavik, as well as questionable recommendations from co-workers who encouraged me to try the whale (I didn’t). I also browsed Instagram for recommendations, and we managed to have a lot of yummy meals.

Sandholt

This was our first meal after arriving on a red-eye. We had time to kill before we could check in to our Airbnb, and this was one of the few eateries open before 9am (so un-American). We settled in for a leisurely breakfast, and enjoyed super flaky croissants, fruit, coffee, and chia pudding.

Flatey Pizza

Neapolitan pizza? In Iceland?? Yes, it’s possible! I did a quick Yelp search for pizza in Reykjavik, since it’s an expensive city and pizza is filling and usually affordable, and when I saw photos of the pizza here, I was sold. It tasted as good as it looked! Mine had pickled peppers, pepperoni, and honey on top.

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Brauð & Co

Two different people recommended the cinnamon rolls at this bakery to me. I was skeptical when I saw them since they didn’t have any icing, but the insane amount of cinnamon made up for it.

Reykjavik Roasters

We stumbled across this cute coffee shop on our way to Hallgrímskirkja, the beautiful church. Teeny iced lattes and a chocolate croissant kept our bellies happy until dinnertime.

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Bergsson Mathús

This was my favorite eatery we went to in Reykjavik, mostly for the aesthetics. The restaurant was sooo cute, and the food was affordable and delicious. We actually went here two other times, just for coffee. We had a simple brunch here one day of Icelandic yogurt, soft-boiled eggs, fresh bread, cheese, and prosciutto.

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my favorite words

I make a living playing with words, whether it’s writing an advertisement or describing various types of food and drink. These are some of my very favorite words (in alphabetical order), along with images that remind me of them.

Demure.

A teacher once described me as “demure” and it sounds so much nicer than “quiet.”

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Effervescent.

The only thing better than “eternal.”

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Grace.

Jealous of anyone named this.

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Quintessential.

Because why would you say “essential” when you could say “quintessential?”

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Sparkle.

Clothes, eyes, smiles, sunlight…everything sparkles.

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Summer.

It just makes me happy, especially when used as a verb.

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Wander.

Like “travel,” but more wistful.

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pin-spiration

pin-spiration: SPRING

Spring has sprung! Well, kind of. And Happy Easter to everyone who’s participating! I’m so excited to celebrate the end of Lent by getting to eat ICE CREAM again. Since warmer weather is in the (hopefully) near future, I wanted to round up some colorful, spring-y images that are keeping my winter spirits up.

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calories worth consuming

It’s no secret that I love to eat. I appreciate all kinds of food, whether it’s a super fancy pizza or an old standby, like a vanilla cone from Dairy Queen. A lot of times, I’d rather skip a snack or wait for something better instead of “wasting” calories on a food item not worth its value in flavor.

I gave up “sweets” for Lent, and though I’ve had a few pieces of banana bread (technically a breakfast food!!) and some dark chocolate (to scare off starvation in Iceland!), it’s been a challenge. I usually end each day with something sweet – often a scoop of frozen yogurt (Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food is a go-to) or something dipped in chocolate hummus. It’s gotten me thinking about the foods that are worth eating, no matter how much fat or sugar it contains. Here’s my definitive list.

Ice cream.

I only buy frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream to keep at home, so when I go “out” for ice cream, I want the good stuff. Full fat. Maybe a waffle cone. Maybe a sundae if I’m feeling famished.

the best things in life are pistachio-flavored 🍦

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Wine.

Especially rosé. Especially in warm weather.

Necessary. #humpday #rosé #repost @quaintrellebyab

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Pizza.

Again…the good stuff. Stringy mozz. Not-too-sweet tomato sauce. Lots of fresh basil. Maybe some kind of spicy pork product. Mike’s Hot Honey if you have it.

weekends are a lifestyle 🍕 #thisisfall #franklinave #fiordilatte @barboncinopizza

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Doughnuts.

I probably have four doughnuts a year, so they need to be good to be worth eating. One of this allotment is reserved for an apple cider doughnut each fall. In January, I had a doughnut from Kane’s, a Boston icon that lived up to the hype.

preferred breakfast spread 🍩 #sweets via @glitterguide @caitlinkruse

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Brunch.

Belgian waffles, pancakes, and allll the whipped cream. Plus maple syrup. And fresh berries. Nothing like a midday sugar high.

new post is up…spoiler: boys scientifically don't really hate brunch. #linkinbio

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Good bread.

I told you I’m obsessed with carbs. Not sandwich bread, or pita bread, but real, crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside bread. Preferably with lots of Kate’s butter and a little salt on top.

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all that glitters is…silver?

Lately, I’ve been trying to step up my accessory game. My closet is literally overflowing with clothes, so instead of adding to that inventory, I’m making an effort to style forgotten pieces of clothing with new jewelry.

That’s why I was PUMPED when I learned more about Rocksbox, a jewelry subscription that lets you try out all kinds of designer jewelry before you commit to buying it. I’m always hesitant to order earrings online because it’s hard to tell how big they are, and whether or not they’ll be too heavy for my ears…so this experience has been amazing so far.

I almost exclusively wear silver jewelry, so I listed that as a preference when I took the initial style quiz. They have products from some of my favorite labels like Kate Spade, Gorjana, Kendra Scott, and House of Harlow 1960, so there was tons of stuff I immediately added to my wish list. Can you tell I’m a sucker for statement earrings?

I’m not a salesperson, but this is a subscription box that I’d seen on Instagram and heard good things about…so it’s been super exciting for me to be a part of Rocksbox.

You can also apply the $21 monthly fee as a credit towards a purchase from your box, so it’s a win-win situation. Not to mention that they have a ton of insanely cute stuff that’s up to 40% off the retail price.

If you wanna check it out, click here and get a free month! You can be an #RBItGirl, too.

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Rocksbox.

Unlimited Jewelry? Yes Please!

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binge-worthy shows

I love TV. Like, a lot. Whether it’s a seven-season sitcom or drama mini-series, if it’s quality television, I’m there. I guess “quality TV” is kind of subjective. There are shows that I like to watch (like Law & Order: SVU) that I realize aren’t in the canon of critically exceptional TV, but I appreciate them for what they are and consider them binge-worthy. Here are some others.

The Honorable Woman

Ok, I haven’t finished watching yet, but HOW HAD I NEVER HEARD OF THIS?! I’ve never been a big fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal, but this eight-part series is sooooo good. Everything from the cast to the script to the cinematography to the story. I promise you won’t hate it.

This Is Us

I hate cliffhangers and having to wait a week for a new episode, so this is a show that I have to binge-watch. I find Mandy Moore pretty annoying in this show, but there are so many other A+ characters that I’ve been a devout watcher.

The Handmaid’s Tale

If you haven’t watched the first season, do it now. I’ve been waiting for literally a year for the second season to come out, and this show deserves all the hype and awards it’s received. Television like this is a reminder of how powerful the medium can be.

Broad City

On a lighter note, Broad City is one of my favorite comedy series, and the short episodes (around 22 minutes) make for perfect bingeing. I don’t have cable, so I have to wait til these guys come out on Hulu to watch…which just means I can stream a whole season in one day.

Mindhunter

I love Criminal Minds and SVU, so this show was a no-brainer binge-watcher for me. I’m not a huge fan of the casting choice for the main character, but I appreciate the production value of this series. Plus, it’s fascinating to see how behavior analysis began at the FBI.

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pin-spiration: PASTA

Just thought I’d follow up my ode to carbohydrates with a wheat-filled pin-spiration post. I love marinara, but only my mom’s, so these are all pictures for buttery, cheesy, herb-y pasta dishes that are literally making my mouth water.

What’s your favorite kind of noodle?

 

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an ode to carbs

I’m willing to try almost any diet trend. I was a vegetarian for years. I’d LOVE to go eat at a vegan restaurant. I’ve drastically cut back on dairy, save for frozen yogurt and cheese indulgences. But one thing I’ll never quit? Carbs.

I don’t know why anyone would voluntarily decide to be gluten-free. If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, it would probably be pizza. Or pasta. Or really crusty French bread with well-salted butter. Or a perfectly made BLT…I love a sandwich. Even freakin’ God said we’re supposed to eat “daily bread.” (Ok, that might be a stretch.)

For Lent this year, I gave up sweets. I realize that “sweets” is a pretty general categorization, and I haven’t 100% followed my sacrifice, but it hasn’t been too bad. (Though I’m not particularly religious, I usually give up some kind of food or drink for Lent every year since by this point I’ve fallen off my “new year, new body” kick.)

But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully quit bread. Why would you give up something that tastes so good? That’s so filling? So cheap??? When you’re at a restaurant, isn’t pizza or pasta usually the most inexpensive thing on the menu? Move over, filet mignon. I’ll take a loaf of bread over you any day.

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travel vignettes: BROOKLYN

prospect park
pizza
summer
jewish
brownstones
barbecue
IKEA
backyard
bodega
bagels
wonder wheel
mckibbin
flea market
eastern parkway
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photo via allthebuildingsinnewyork.com

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things to do while you’re waiting for a text back

I don’t know if they’re abandonment or attention issues, but something is definitely wrong with me. My thoughts always shoot to the worst-case scenario, and this has negatively affected many past relationshipsIf he’s not texting me back, he’s probably on a date with someone else. Maybe he’s ghosting me. Why’s there a weird emoji next to his name on Snapchat? Did he unfollow me on Instagram?

Aaaaaand that’s just a little taste of how psycho I am. Here’s what I do to come back to normal.

1. Write a blog post.

2. Do some squats.

3. Browse through Tumblr.

4. Call my mom.

5. Go grocery shopping.

6. Knock out some freelance work.

7. Slap on a face mask.

8. Play Words with Friends.

9. Make a cup of coffee.

10. Go on Pinterest and look at wedding photos.

11. Eat a spoonful of Phish Food.

12. Read your entire text history and wonder where you went wrong.

 

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my favorite podcasts


Since graduating from college two years ago and entering the workforce, I’ve spent A LOT of time sitting at desks and commuting, and needed something besides Pandora and coffee to keep me from falling asleep. Enter: podcasts.

Like so many others, my introduction to podcasts started with Serial. SO GOOD. Like, Law & Order SVU for your ears. I binge-listened to the whole thing on the train ride to work in, like, one week (should’ve paced myself), and then started to branch out to other podcasts.

As a fan of the aforementioned SVU franchise as well as Making A Murderer, I love a true crime story – so those are most of what I listened to in my early podcasting days. Since then, I’ve ventured into other genres and have truly found some gems. These are my favorites.

2 Dope Queens

This one makes me literally LOL in silent subway cars and at my desk. So many good guest stars. Also, big fan of The Incredible Jessica James (on Netflix!) which stars one of the 2 Dope Queens, Jessica Williams.

OMG. This dope AF #fanart from @bpeppersart has us LIVING over here. THANK YOU!

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Locked Up Abroad

You’ll be gripping the edge of your seat! So dramatic, and so attention-captivating – a must for my short attention span.

Join us on Sunday's at 9PM for all new episodes of #LockedUpAbroad #LUA

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S-Town

This is from the producers of Serial, and is SO. GOOD. It came out one episode at a time last summer, but now you can binge the whole thing.

The beautiful #STown artwork is by @ValeroDoval.

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This American Life

In my world, ‘This American Life’ is like, the forefather of podcasts. Something about Ira Glass’s voice soothes me, and I feel so smart when I’m listening to one of the episodes.

Inktober Podcast Challenge: 31 Podcasts in 31 Days Oct 1: This American Life – Ira Glass When I was in art school, I picked up a great tip from my classmates- podcasts are great for listening to while you draw! The first podcast I listened to was This American Life, featuring different stories on a theme from a stable of regular contributors. It's also the only podcast I ever caught up on. I spent hours and hours on a very detailed painting around 2011, and listened to TAL for most of that time. Now I've let myself lapse but I still dip in every now and then. Production Value: High Familiarity: Comforting Key Feature: Torey Malatia sign-off #podcast #podcasts #thisamericanlife #thisamericanlifepodcast #iraglass #inktober #inktober2017 #podcastchallenge

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Radiolab

This isn’t a serial-style podcast (each one is different), but there are lots of incredible documentary episodes that have restored my faith in humans.

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people, the latest

a woman’s place is in…wherever she chooses

You might have noticed that yesterday was International Women’s Day. While I think women should be celebrated, respected, and appreciated every day of the year, it’s nice that there’s a day devoted to US.

It took me a long time to realize that it’s ok for me to take up space in the world – that I shouldn’t have to shrink or dumb myself down. I am so grateful that I’m a woman in this generation. So many things have happened in the last few years to unite women of all ages and races, and I’m inspired daily by amazing ladies who are doing the most in the world. Here are some female-driven platforms and brands that continuously amaze me.

Man Repeller

I love Man Repeller. It is my dream to write for them or work for them. I’d literally live in my car and intern for free – seriously. I have so much respect for the platform that Leandra Medine has built from the ground up. Though the site started as a fashion blog, MR covers all kinds of pop culture and political issues, and features personal narratives and comical round-ups. Seeing how much MR has grown is what inspires me to keep blogging and creating content.

Hill House Home

I started following Nell Diamond on Instagram after I saw a feature about her on Man Repeller. She started Hill House Home, a luxury bedding company (those custom pillowcases are high on my wishlist), and though her personal and brand styles are highly feminine, she’s definitely a badass.

Nightcap? // Chancery Grey x Waverly Dusty Pink #hhhmonos #hillhousehome

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Rudy Jude

This organic children’s clothing brand is another Instagram find, and I follow founder Julie O’Rourke. She lives a beautifully rustic life on an island in Maine, and I love seeing the photos of her travels and family. She’s expanding the Rudy Jude collection to adult sizes soon!!

Dear Frances

Shoes I dream about. Literally. In addition to being designed by women and made from sustainable materials, Dear Frances donates a pair of shoes to someone in need for every pair sold.

Fawn SPIRIT Boots | dearfrances.com

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pin-spiration: plants

Nor’easters aside, spring is in the air!! Tulips and daffodils have appeared at the grocery store! March is an “official” spring month, right? I love plants all year round, but since my birthday bouquet has finally kicked the bucket, I’m getting ready to bring some new greenery into my life.

I’m a sucker for succulents (see what I did there), potted aloe, and any other leafy green things. What are your favorite plants?

Follow me on Pinterest.

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travel vignettes: MARRAKECH

riad
orange juice
mint tea
camels
tile
garden
palms
doors
prayer
dirham
medina

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photo via apartment therapy

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the best travel souvenirs

One of my favorite things to do when I travel…is shop! Well, I love to shop all the time, but especially when I’m in a new place. Whether it’s a specialty food store or a cute boutique, traveling is a great opportunity pick up a new pair of shoes or a jar of local jam that nobody back home will have. I’ve also come to resist purchasing knick-knacks, though sometimes I’m tempted.

After living in a string of teeny New York apartments, it’s hard to bring non-practical items into a small space, knowing that you’ll probably have to pack it up and move in the near future. So, I’ve tried to condition myself to only buy souvenirs that I can use in everyday life. Here are some of my go-to items.

Reusable shopping bags.

When I studied abroad, I bought one of these at a supermarket in almost every city I went to. They only cost a dollar or two, and I still use them when I go grocery shopping. Plus, having canvas bags with writing in Dutch, French, etc. makes me feel cultured AF. This one is similar to the one I bought at Dille & Kamille, one of my favorite stores in Amsterdam.

Health and beauty products.

Whether it’s a bottle of sunscreen or locally made lotion you fell in love with, every time you use it, you’ll be instantly transported to the city where you bought it. I can pretty much guarantee this. I was OBSESSED with salt scrub when I went to Key West (our B&B had jars in the bathroom) and I had to buy some to bring back.

Candles.

One of my souvenirs from my recent trip to Savannah was a small candle, scented “magic, mystery, and Spanish moss.” It was tiny enough to stash in my purse since I didn’t check a bag, and whenever I light it, I’m reminded of the Spanish moss-draped streets of this sweet Southern city.

Something edible.

When I was in Spain this past summer, I didn’t have time to do a ton of shopping – and space in my suitcase was pretty limited. I bought a canvas bag in Barcelona per my reusable shopping bag rule, and also a small tin of olive oil. Budget-friendly and TSA-approved. And once I use it all, I can turn the tin into a fridge magnet or use it as a miniature flower vase.

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links i loved this month

Has February been flying by or what?? I know it’s the shortest month of the year, but it felt ESPECIALLY brief this year. I think the worst part of getting older has been realizing how quickly time goes by…I guess my parents were right about that!

Anyway, if you’re having a slow Monday at work, here’s some entertainment from around the internet.

This Man Repeller piece I literally LOL’ed at.

Videos of Adam Rippon skating. I want so badly to be his friend.

Refinery29’s tour of this lofted Bushwick AirBnb.

Anine Bing’s advice on designing your dream job.

A beautiful article about my favorite artist, James Turrell.

Julie O’Rourke’s photo tour of a Portugal summer.

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my reading bucket list

When I was growing up, I read books like they were going out of style. I used to get overwhelmed by how many books there were at the library, taking out a dozen at a time and begging my mom to let me stay up an hour (or three) after my bedtime to I could keep consuming literature.

Then in high school, I stopped reading for fun. I had so much reading to do for school that I didn’t have time to read for pleasure…and reading became a dreaded assignment instead of a hobby. Recently, I’ve been pushing myself to pick up a book every once in a while, and I’ve begun to remember why I enjoyed reading so much. One of my favorite sites, Man Repeller, has put out a lot of great book round-ups, so kudos to them for the literary inspo.

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pin-spiration: millennial pink

Millennial pink has been “in” for a while now, but I don’t think it’s going anywhere. From iPhones to water bottles, I take every opportunity I get to make a purchase in this color. Here’s some pastel inspo from Pinterest.

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eat-a-city: SAVANNAH

In celebration of my birthday, I took a long weekend trip to Savannah, GA. It seems like kind of a random place to go, but I’d heard good things about the food and the scenery, and with a round-trip flight under $200, my sister (Diana) and I were game. We brought our mom, too. In the weeks leading up to the trip, we scoured Instagram and Yelp to compile a bucket-list of places to eat. These were my favorites.

The Collins Quarter

This place is brunch HEAVEN (and reminded me a lot of Two Hands in NYC). I got my go-to: avocado toast. Was not disappointed. My mom ordered a prosciutto eggs bene, and my sister got some kind of short rib/hash brown combination that was extremely tasty. In an ironic move, cold brew coffee from Brooklyn was served here.

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Leopold’s Ice Cream

Another frequently recommended place. We were in Savannah for three nights, and I had a scoop of this stuff every night. The peppermint stick was my favorite.

The Paris Market

To be fair, we didn’t dine here – but in addition to a sweet coffee and pastry shop, The Paris Market is an expansive shop with all kinds of home decor and odds and ends. It’s an Anthropologie lover’s dream.

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The Olde Pink House

This iconic restaurant came up on every “must eat Savannah” list I read, but the dinner entrees were on the pricy side. We went for appetizers (blue crab beignets and buffalo shrimp) and drinks, and I was surprised that the food lived up to the hype.

Little Duck Diner

Another brunch spot. Had a breakfast sandwich the size of my face and bites of my sister’s crispy-cheesy-polenta thing. We HAD to get an on-brand cocktail that looks a lot better than it tasted (too much lavender for me!). The decor in here was to die for.

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Sandfly BBQ at the Streamliner

I have no clue how Diana heard about this place since it was a little far from the city center (we took an Uber), but it was SO cheap and SO good. I had a pulled brisket sandwich, and we shared slaw, sweet potato fries, regular fries, and mac and cheese. It’s in this retro diner car, and we could watch the sunset from our window seat.

The Coffee Fox

Solid coffee place. Cute decor and outdoor seating.

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B. Matthew’s

We sort of stumbled across this place on the first night, and ended up going back later. Great service, and even better kale salad! Seriously…I’m still thinking about it.

Mirabelle Cafe

Popped in here for an afternoon coffee (I got a dirty chai) and enjoyed the BEAUTIFUL atmosphere. So pretty. Right across the street from Savannah’s iconic cathedral, too.

Bonus eat: Giant Cinnamon Roll from the Farmers Market in Forsyth Park

I think the photo speaks for itself. We shared it three ways, and it was more than enough.

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All photos by me, 2018.

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romantic comedies to watch alone this valentine’s day

In my world, a movie earns the genre of “romantic comedy” if it meets three criteria: 1) it makes me laugh; 2) one of the major plot lines involves romance; and 3) the ending is (somewhat) predictable.

So, here are a few of my favorite rom coms that never go out of style. Love ’em all. Seen ’em all. Will continue to watch them all forever. Probably with a pint of frozen yogurt and a glass or four of wine.

13 Going On 30

I could literally watch this movie forever. And ever.

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The Princess Diaries

Surprisingly, this movie wasn’t on any of the “top romantic comedy” lists I googled, but Mia Thermopolis has it all. (Also, can we talk about the queen and Joe’s romance???)

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Serendipity

I kick myself everyday for living in NYC for 5+ years and still not making it to this iconic frozen hot chocolate spot. Sigh. Someday.

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Love Actually

Feel like I’ve talked about this a lot. Another movie I’ll never get sick of. Liam Neeson? Colin Firth? Young love? LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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You’ve Got Mail

Does it get better than Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan??

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Sleepless in Seattle

(See above comment.)

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Say Anything

Still waiting for the day a boy will hold a jukebox (wireless speaker?? iPhone X???) outside my bedroom window.

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Bridget Jones’s Diary

I didn’t watch this growing up, but finally bought into the hype when sequels started coming out and actually loved it.

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10 Things I Hate About You

Young Heath Ledger singing a Frankie Valli classic in a high school stadium? I’m sold.

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pin-spiration: valentine’s day

I’ve yet to be in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, but I still enjoy a lot of parts about the holiday. Chocolate? Yep. All-pink everything? Sure. Romantic comedies? DUH! Champagne? Why not?!

I’m planning to bring in some festive, heart-shaped sugar cookies for my coworkers today…and will definitely be hitting the clearance candy rack at CVS tomorrow. Do you guys celebrate V-Day?

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iconic hollywood dad bods

I’m many things, including a dad bod enthusiast. I have never been into super ripped guys…like, why do you have so much time to work out? Do you have a job? A social life outside the gym? Do you eat anything besides protein shakes and steak??

Anyway, I’m glad that there’s been a renaissance of the “dad bod” in Hollywood. Here are some of the most iconic ones, according to me.

David Harbour

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Chris Pratt

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Seth Rogen

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Alec Baldwin

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Matt LeBlanc

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travel vignettes: AUSTIN

tacos
lake
neon
amy’s ice cream
vintage
puppies
bikes
avodaco toast
waffle house
music

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things that are ruined for me because i shared them with boys

The best and worst part of dating someone is sharing your favorite things and places with them, thus building memories. But when the relationship ends, these moments aren’t so happy anymore and going to your favorite pizza place or watching something on Netflix just reminds you of them and makes you sad. Well, it makes ME sad.

“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

Used to be my favorite song to play while I was driving in the summer in convertible mode (all the windows down, sunroof open) in my high school car. Not anymore. Sigh.

My favorite restaurant (Lil’ Frankie’s)

My favorite place in the world. My late-night spot, my hangover helper, my joie de vivre. Carbohydrate Capital of NYC. I love you. I don’t love that I shared you with someone who didn’t love me.

My favorite TV show (The Office)

I’ve loved you for so long…why did I watch you with boys who didn’t text me back? I hate that we compared our favorite characters (Dwight, Meredith & Creed), preferred episodes (all the Christmas ones), and the cutest Jim & Pam moments.

My favorite tacos (Tacombi)

Yeah, there’s a lot of food on this list. But what can I say? I know how to eat.

 

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songs i love right now

Do you ever feel like a song is calling to you? Like, no matter how many times you listen to it you’re compelled to turn the volume up all the way and open the windows of your ten-year-old car even if it’s freezing outside? That’s how these songs make me feel. Some of them are old. Others are new, or at least new to me. Maybe new to you. Listen to ’em if you need a pick me up.

Lay It On Me // Vance Joy

Valerie // Mark Ronson ft. Amy Winehouse

It’s You // BORNS

MIDNIGHT

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Best Friend // Sofi Tukker

HOME 😍🌇 📸@soundcloud

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Last Nite // The Strokes

Tompkins Square Park // Mumford & Sons

Seaside Heights Stopover, June 2015 📷: @MarcusHaney

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No Roots // Alice Merton

Dropped by the office @columbiafrance #repost #polacolumbia #france

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Ends of the Earth // Lord Huron

6.3.2016 // New York, NY // @govballnyc #tbt Photo by @lithophyte

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Peaches // In the Valley Below

🌓From our summer tour @dougfirlounge pic @thisisbroseph #Portland

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You Worry Me // Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats

Post Protest Set @newportfolkfest with @nickofferman . 📸 @rettrogers

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pin-spiration: color

Even though my wardrobe is mostly made up of neutrals (there’s a lot of navy blue, black, and gray in my closet), I love unexpected pops of color and pattern, whether a pair of bright sandals, flashy earrings, or jewel-tone nail polish.

This week, I wanted to share some of the cheery and colorful images I have pinned to my “color” board on Pinterest.

How do you work color into your daily life?

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travel vignettes: AMSTERDAM

Well, around this time three years ago (!!!) I was getting ready to spend a semester abroad in the most perfect wonderful beautiful heavenly place on the planet. Miss you and your $1 Heinekens, billions of bikes, cheap-ass groceries, scenic-as-fuck canals, and lovely lovely giant people.

poffertjes
albert heijn
omafiets
gezellig!
stroopwafel
rembrandt
dille & kamille
bruno mars
the nine streets
koenigsday
orange
tulips
FEBO
hagelslag

Need a new board just for vintage maps and posters.  Places I may never go but love the cartoons.

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24 things i want for my 24th birthday

I shared my general holiday/birthday wish list with you guys around Christmastime, but here is an updated version featuring TWENTYFOUR things (material and hypothetic) in honor of my 24th birthday on January 31.

1. Better sleep quality.

2. REALLY REALLY REALLY good Neapolitan-style pizza.

3. These Brother Vellies boots.

4. A massage.

5. La Mer face cream.

6. This way-too-trendy Chloe bag that I can’t stop thinking about.

7. To stay at The Plaza Hotel for one night.

8. Tickets to Hamilton.

9. Doughnuts from Kane’s.

10. To see James Turrell’s Roden Crater.

11. Those shiny number balloons that every basic bitch takes a pic with on her birthday.

12. Love Style Life by Garance Doré.

13. Rose gold Birkenstocks.

14. Flowers.

15. Lunch with Mindy Kaling.

16. A custom necklace from Smith + Mara.

Monday chill pill 👌🏼 #pills #monday #intials #custom #diamonds

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17. A Kale Caesar salad from sweetgreen.

18. Warm weather.

19. A bath in a clawfoot tub.

20. Chocolate cake. (I’m going to make this one.)

21. A jacket exactly like this but with my last name on it.

22. I Hope You Find Me: The Love Poems of craigslist’s Missed Connections by Alan Feuer.

23. A Moroccan wedding blanket. (I regret not buying one of these when I was in Marrakech every. damn. day.)

24. A weighted blanket, which was marketed to me once as “Advil PM for your whole body” and now I’m going to die if I don’t get one.

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the great british baking show is the feel-good type of tv we all need

You guys, I’m obsessed with this show. I’ve never been particularly enamored with Great Britain (other than the Royal Family and Downton Abbey), but this show warms my pessimistic heart.

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The hosts? Witty. The judges? Playful. The contestants? LOVELY. This is the type of reality TV show that would never happen in America. Contestants aren’t sequestered to a house for weeks and stripped of technology/social media/the internet – they just take a train each weekend to a giant tent in the British countryside. No need to take time off from school or work.

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Though there’s appropriately over-dramatic music as the clock runs out, this is not a catty competition environment. If one baker is finished and another one could use a hand, he’ll pop over and help out. If another contestant starts to have a meltdown because her Italian meringue cracks, one of the cheery hosts will soothe her. This is very much a no-drama zone.

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Furthermore, they don’t even win anything…other than an engraved glass cake plate and the first place title. No money, no car, no speedboat, no trip for two to Aruba. And they’re not even mad about it! These people just LOVE to bake!!

Anyway, it’s literally the third best show on television – it’s on Netflix, actually – and it comes with my highest recommendation.

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