Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

My go-to salad lately has been arugula topped with Mediterranean veggies and quinoa for some plant-based protein that keeps me feeling full & satisfied. It comes together quickly and tastes delicious - especially with a drizzle of my homemade dressing.


Salad 

Ingredients

1 cup arugula

1 cup cooked quinoa

3 cherry tomatoes, sliced

6 kalamata olives, chopped

1/4 cucumber, peeled & cut into quartered slices

2 tbsp crumbled feta

shake of Mediterranean seasoning blend (basil, thyme, oregano, etc)


Directions

Layer all ingredients in a large bowl and top with dressing. 


Dressing 

Ingredients

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp dijon mustard

salt & pepper to taste


Directions

Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. Keep remaining prepared dressing in the refrigerator in a tightly closed container, such as a mason jar.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

New Hobby + Book Recs


Before this year on my lunch break at work, I would go for a 20 minute walk, then catch up on a show while I ate at my desk. But in February I was looking for a shift - something I could do that would be productive and relaxing during that time rather than watching mindless tv. To be fair, I still have a time and place for that, and watch an episode of one of the numerous shows I'm in the middle of each night, but the swap to reading during my lunch break has been so fulfilling. 

 I was never into reading for pleasure before this year, and preferred more short-form writing such as blogs, articles, etc. on topics I'm interested in like motherhood, wellness, fashion & beauty. But I dipped my toe into reading fiction for fun, and started it off with a bang with the highly talked about Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, which I plowed through in 5 days. I'm loving this new hobby and often find myself picking up my kindle (best Mother's Day gift!) to read a few pages while waiting at the doctor's office rather than scrolling social media. I have also found myself gravitating toward reading before bed as well vs. turning on a re-run of New Girl to doze off to.

So far this year, I've read:

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo - Taylor Jenkins Reid
LOVED this one! Could not recommend it enough. Netflix is making it into a movie - can't wait to see the cast.

Malibu Rising - Taylor Jenkins Reid
I enjoyed the family dynamics of this one and there is a crossover character from Seven Husbands.

Daisy Jones and the Six - Taylor Jenkins Reid
Interesting style with more of an interview format with band members recalling details and events in their own point of view.

Where The Crawdads Sing - Delia Owens
Good read, however the ending felt a bit rushed compared to the incredibly detailed beginning.

It Ends With Us - Colleen Hoover
This one came highly recommended, and it was okay, but the domestic violence and sexual assault themes were hard to read at times.

Book Lovers - Emily Henry
Started this before my Cabo trip and enjoyed the light, fun and romantic plot while traveling and lounging poolside with a margarita while on vacation.

People We Meet on Vacation - Emily Henry
Cute rom-com with a story line that jumps between years of summer vacations. Love the banter and dialogue of the will-they/won't-they.

Things We Never Got Over - Lucy Score
Took about a quarter of it for me to really get into the characters, but had an enjoyable (and a bit cheesy) storyline. A lot of cursing in the dialogue and detailed sex scenes, which I didn't mind - but if you're sensitive to those, skip this one.

Reminders of Him - Colleen Hoover
Loved this one and finished it in less than a week - painfully beautiful. Some similarities to "Things We Never Got Over," like each chapter flipping between the main characters' POV which adds an extra element to the narrative.

Beach Read - Emily Henry
Honestly, this was my least favorite of the three of her novels I've read. It's not bad by any means but it didn't live up to the hype in my opinion.

I'm still finding my niche in terms of which authors and subjects I like, so I'm open to any recommendations for novels you have read and loved - fiction or non-fiction. Please share your favorites!

Friday, June 10, 2022

Cabo Girls Trip

Last month I visited Mexico with my two best friends for the ultimate girls trip! Emilee, Ali and I spent 4 nights in Cabo San Lucas and had the time of our lives. Below I'm sharing the details - the all-inclusive resort we stayed at, the restaurants we went to and all the fun activities in between.

I made an itinerary for our trip with the places and times we had reservations, and then left some room open each day to go with the flow. This also helped me plan my outfits, although I overpacked anyways. We had a good mix of relaxing, some activities & adventures, over half of our meals at the resort which made our all-inclusive upgrade totally worth it, and checked out the hot spots around town. Overall, we felt super safe in Cabo. The staff at the resort wouldn't let us into an Uber until they double-checked the license plate as well, and always logged us in or out. The service at all the restaurants was impeccable. I was worried about having to get a negative covid test to fly back to the U.S. but it wasn't an issue thankfully.


 Day 1

We arrived in Cabo in the afternoon and had arranged a shuttle through the resort to pick us up from the airport and get us safely to the hotel.

We stayed at Garza Blanca and loved it! This was my first time at an all-inclusive and it was amazing! 24-hour room service, 5 restaurants with unlimited drinks and food, multiple pools (including a rooftop adult-only infinity pool!), a hammock on every balcony, beautiful and clean rooms, beach cabanas, various activities and excursions included - pretty much everything we could want. 

We arrived at the resort and were greeted with champagne to kick vacation off on the right note. We immediately changed into our bikinis and headed to the rooftop for margaritas, and spent hours laying by the pool. Night one, we made reservations at Hiroshi, the sushi restaurant at the resort, followed by drinks at the hotel bar.








Day 2

We started each morning with room service iced coffees, fruit and pastries. We ventured out for brunch at The Office, which is located right in the sand on Medano Beach and overlooks El Arco, the famous arch. The food and service was amazing - the veggie omelet was seriously the best I've ever had. We enjoyed drinking mimosas while beach vendors approached our table and we all shopped for various souvenirs. I really wanted a beautiful Mexican blanket for my home, as well as one for my parents as a thank you for helping watch Jack while I was gone - I found the two perfect colors to match our respective decor, and managed to haggle the price down!

One of the vendors on the beach was trying to sell us a 30-minute private cruise on a glass bottom boat. We had tickets for a sunset catamaran the last night, but decided to be spontaneous and it ended up being one of our favorite memories of the trip! The restaurant sent us off with another bottle of champagne on ice and we frolicked through the sand, jumped on a boat and the guide took us right up to the arch - and we snapped a few pictures with no other boats in the background which is pretty rare! Glass bottom was quite the stretch...it was a cloudy plastic rectangle on the bottom of the boat and we could not see anything haha, but we had a blast nonetheless!

When we got back to the resort, we spent hours laying out on the rooftop and pool-hopped a bit. We had dinner at Edith's and then a night out dancing at El Squid Roe. Ali reserved us a table with bottle service and we danced all night!











Day 3

Brunch at Flora Farms was everything I dreamed of - a beautiful farm-to-table restaurant with unique cocktails and boutique shops. The cinnamon bun french toast was next level, and their signature Farmarita (heirloom carrot margarita) was delicious.

We went to Mango Deck in the afternoon, which was very entertaining. It's right on the beach, next to The Office, but has a different vibe. They have a stage with a host doing contests like girls booty-shaking contest, which guy can do the most push-ups, etc. We spent a few hours there for happy hour + fresh guacamole.

For dinner, we went to Bagatelle which was so beautiful. It's right on the water in the marina and the ambience was dreamy. Super boho and inviting. The waiters offered us cashmere blankets since who knew it was cold in Cabo in May?! A magician did an elaborate card trick while we waited for our food and it honestly blew our minds! He was incredible. 

The truffle pizza at Bagatelle is a must-order! Every 20 minutes, the DJ blasts the music for one song with the lights going and it's so fun! Emilee and I jumped up on the ledge to dance. While we ate dinner, there was a firework show off in the distance - so magical. The girls headed out to El Squid Roe to club-hop again, while I went back to the hotel for some much-needed sleep.








Day 4

We started the morning bright and early to make it to the secret hike at Land's End. From what I read, you have to go through private property to get to the trail and the only way to access it is to meet a dog trainer named Enrique at the dog training camp across from the marina at 7:45am. He opens the gate at 8am and anyone is welcome to join his daily hike to the summit. There were about 30 of us tourists + 6 dogs on the hike. 

 It was challenging - the first half was a normal hike and the second half was legitimately rock climbing, but this was by far my favorite part of the trip. The views at the top were breathtakingly beautiful! 360 views of the marina, Land's End, and the surrounding ocean with nothing but blue skies. 

When we got back to the hotel, we took our covid tests (all negative!) and refueled at the breakfast buffet in the resort. We then promptly changed into our bikinis to head to the pool. We lounged for hours - reading, napping and grabbing a pool-side lunch - before getting ready for the sunset catamaran cruise

The catamaran was a bit different than we were expecting - watered down drinks, not a lot of photo-ops and we were freezing despite wearing jackets. Despite that, we had a good time, but we were all so glad we took that spontaneous boat ride to the arch earlier in the trip! We had dinner at Bocados Steak House at the resort that night so we could go to bed early before our travel day. 

The following morning, we ordered our typical room service iced coffees and had breakfast at the buffet with a table by the water. We went for a quick walk on the beach before packing up. Sad to leave but ready to go home to hug Jack!

I've known Emilee & Ali forever and we had the absolute best trip making lifelong memories! Can't wait for our next unforgettable trip together.










Full Itinerary
original plans + our spontaneous adventures

Day 1



Day 2



Day 3



Day 4



Day 5

Monday, May 2, 2022

Spicy Margarita


My fave summer cocktail is a spicy margarita. This recipe is super simple and the perfect drink to sip by the pool on a hot day. Make a batch for Cindo de Mayo festivities coming up this week!

ingredients
3 shots of tequila - I prefer a blanco such as Patron Silver
1 shot of triple sec
1 shot of Rose's lime juice
1 japaleno, sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
tajin seasoning

directions
{1}
In a cocktail shaker or pitcher, combine tequila, triple sec and Rose's lime juice. 
{2}
To rim your glass with tajin, rub the edge with a lime wedge then flip upside down on a plate covered in seasoning and coat the rim.
{3}
Fill your glass with ice and pour in the margarita mixture.
{4}
Garnish with 1-2 jalapeno rounds. I like to remove the seeds to reduce the heat a bit, and not get seeds in my teeth!
{5}
Enjoy with a friend - this recipe makes 2 spicy margs!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Seasonal Scents

Scent is such a powerful sense that evokes memories and nostalgia. I like to rotate my fragrance throughout the year to follow the seasons - with florals in the spring and rich, warm scents in the fall.

 I've slowly been making swaps to cleaner beauty products over the last couple years. One in particular that I've loved is the switch to natural deodorant. Traditional formulas have aluminum & parabens, which is the last thing I want to put directly on my lymph nodes.

I've been using Native for a while now and really like it, especially the fact that I can find it at Target and Walgreens. I've paired three scents with my go-to perfumes to match the season.

Spring

{January - April}

Chloe Eau de Parfum + Vanilla & Sandalwood


Summer

{May - August}

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue + Eucalyptus & Mint


Fall/Winter

{September - December}

Maison Margiela Coffee Break + Oat Milk Latte

Monday, March 7, 2022

Plantbased Quesadillas

 I have been eating more plantbased meals for about two years, and follow the 80/20 rule - 80% whole foods such as fruits, veggies, and whole grains, and 20% soul foods like pizza, cookies and wine, which I enjoy completely guilt-free.

Since my husband does not necessarily follow a plantbased diet (but enjoys many of the vegetarian/vegan dishes I create!), I often make us the same dinner but with variations. For example, when I cook quesadillas, Greg's will have grilled chicken, cheese, and veggies. I'll use the same veggies but substitute hummus for cheese and eliminate the meat.

The hummus lends a creamy flavor, especially when heated, and offers protein. I load up on veggies - peppers, onion, mushrooms and chopped spinach. The end result is delicious, filling and I honestly don't even miss the cheese! Give it a try if you're looking for a healthier version of a quesadilla for lunch or dinner. I eat it as described below, but you could also add your favorite dips - like salsa or a homemade guacamole with smashed avocado & lime juice.


Ingredients

2 whole grain tortillas

hummus, any flavor

1 green pepper, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 of an onion, thinly sliced

handful of baby bella mushrooms, sliced

handful of spinach, chopped

cumin, to taste

chili powder, to taste


Directions

{1}

In a large skillet on high heat, saute peppers, onions and mushrooms in olive oil. Add cumin and chili powder. Cook until softened and slightly browned. 

{2}

Spread a thin layer of hummus on both tortillas. In another large pan, drizzle a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Add one tortilla, hummus side up.

{3}

Top the tortilla with the peppers, onions and mushrooms. Sprinkle spinach all over the veggies. Top with the second tortilla, hummus side down.

{4}

Flip the quesadilla until both sides are golden brown. Slice into triangles, serve & enjoy!




Thursday, February 3, 2022

Currently Obsessed


I love when something old becomes new and "cool" again. Case in point: fanny packs (although I prefer the term "belt bag" or "bum bag"). The modern way to wear them is as a crossbody, which is perfect for keeping my essentials close when I'm out with Jack - so I'm totally hands-free whether I'm chasing him around the park, running errands or holding his tiny hand as we cross the street together.

 This bag holds a surprising amount of stuff. Mine is currently carrying my phone, card wallet, sunglasses, keys, hand sanitizer, mask and two lipsticks, with a little room to spare. I found this leather version on Etsy. The stone color matches virtually everything in my closet, and I adore the personalization with my initials.