so many sales, so little time.


I'm such a sucker for a good sale. There. I said it. I see those four little letters and I go nuts. I've been trying to curb my excitement and only indulge when necessary. Here's a few sales I'm deeming necessary: 

One Love Organics // Starting Sunday night at 8pm, everything is 25% off (so rare!) I'm ready to finally get my hands on this face wash from this beloved brand. Code: MERRY25

Birchbox // 25% off purchases over $35. I'm sure I'll get something off my "favorites" list. Code: FRIDAY25 through Sunday night. 

Tarte // 25% off through Sunday night. I love this line especially because it's really attainable, natural make up. Code: FRIDAY

W3ll People // 20% off on Cyber Monday - no code needed!

Dermstore // 20% off everything through Sunday! This online retailer is great for all kinds of beauty products, especially some of my all-natural faves. Code: HOLIDAY14

Dagne Dover // 20% off through 12/1. This is the first time I've seen them do a sale and they make an amazing bag and clutch. Code: SHOPDANGE

Other old standbys that will continue to have great sales...JCrew, Banana Republic, ASOS, etc. Also, this is a great time to get some of those craft supplies for all those DIY gifts you've been planning to make.  Places like Michael's and Joann's have tons of great coupons on their sites. 

monday musings.


>> After a busy but fun week, it was great to have an unscheduled weekend on the menu. I kicked it off a little early with dinner (consisting of wine and cheese) at August with a friend. C got back from DC late Friday night so we spent some quality time sleeping in and being lazy. 

>> We had a little date night at Painting with a Twist followed up by dinner at Post 154 (the old Westport post office!). Painting was so fun albeit a bit tough to just "let go". For two type A personalities, we are all about following directions. I think both paintings turned out great and it was a really fun experience. 

>> For whatever reason, grilled cheese sounded like the best thing in the world for Sunday night dinner. So we fried up some homemade sweet potato chips and toasted up these delicious grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum!

>> T25 has been kicking our butts. The workouts are every day for 5 days (with two on fridays!). They are HARD! We are legit struggling but it feels good to be moving and it's SUCH an easy workout to do at home. I always have time for it and I honestly don't mind doing it. I'm really curious to see what our results are like in 10 weeks. We'll be bringing the CDs with us to Baltimore! 

>> We're headed to Baltimore to be with C's family for Thanksgiving and it should be a really good trip. It's always such a treat to spend some time with C's family and friends. 

>> We almost have every inch of our Cali trip planned and booked - so excited! Typically, planning can be really stressful for me and I don't always enjoy it but for whatever reason, it's been so fun to plan this trip. Can. not. wait. Also, Caribbean in March. Yes. 

>> I'm dying to take this DSLR and Photoshop class. They make such amazing classes and this is an amazing value. I took one of their blogging classes and it was so so good. 

favorite cookbooks written by bloggers


I've always thought it would be really neat to write a cookbook. I've never really been interested in writing a novel but writing a cookbook seems like so much fun. It's also the perfect combination of some of my favorite things - creating, designing, cooking, photographing. There is one small problem with the whole fantasy of writing a cookbook...I'd have to quit my job and spend all day recipe writing/testing. 

This being said, I'm constantly amazed by the AMAZING cookbooks written by some of my favorite bloggers. If I thought their blogs were a work of art, these books take everything to the next level. They are every bit as enticing, enchanting and mesmerizing as the blogs (and authors) themselves! 

Seriously Delish // Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is
This is my all time favorite food blog. I've been following her blog for several years not and I feel like we are best friends. Her photos are incredible and she writes the most hilarious commentary amongst outrageously delicious recipes. If you only follow one blog and only purchase one book, this is the one. Trust me.

An all-around great cookbook to have on hand. Everything is made from scratch and it's a lot of comfort foods stepped up a notch. Hoping Santa puts this one under the tree this year!

Date Night In // Ashley Rodriguez of Not Without Salt
I've been waiting for this cookbook for a LONG time. Her blog is stunning. The premise of her blog and cookbook is centered around date nights so each section of her book highlights a different date night menu with recipes for each item. This would be such a great gift for a newlywed couple. I've already pre-ordered my copy. Also, by her cookie mix and put one in every stocking.

Dessert For Two // Christina Lane of Dessert for Two
I'm pretty much banned from baking unless it's for an occasion because C feels like he has to eat everything I bake. This blog is adorable and perfect for anyone who just has a liiiiittttle sweet tooth. Her methods are easy and straight-forward because often time a recipe for 24 isn't as simple as cutting it down to 6.

Top with Cinnamon // Izy Hossack of Top with Cinnamon
First things first, Izy is 18....18!!! She's still pursuing her education full time while maintaining her blog and writing a freaking cookbook (and taking all her own pictures). Her book is beautiful and her recipes are wonderful. I could just stare at her pictures all day. Still so amazed that she's only 18...

What are some of your favorite cookbooks? I think a great cookbook makes an awesome gift along with a few handy kitchen gadgets or a monogrammed apron!

in the spirit of giving


I've always wanted to drive through a Starbucks and have the cashier say "The person in front of you paid for your drink!" I would definitely pass it on to the person behind me and I'd totally be wondering how long we could keep it going for. 

As I write this, I'm sort of wondering why I've never just started the trend. In fact, I'm wondering why I don't do more "random acts of kindness" and why I'm always waiting to receive it. 

In the spirit of giving, I'm going to make a little pact with myself to participate in several random acts of kindness as we finish out the month of November. Thanksgiving is around the corner and it is all to easy to forget why we're even giving thanks in the first place. 

monday musings.


>> Insane week and another one this week. Short post this week due to the craziness. We made some time for Yale football, an early Thanksgiving meal, an epic TJs haul, and a delicious meal with friends. Even carved out a little time for a drive up to the top of East Rock.

great netflix documentaries


We got rid of cable tv last spring and in place of my evening binge watching of the Food Network or JGTV, I've been scrolling through Netflix's documentaries section. They have some really interesting options and it's been really fun to learn about something or someone. I wanted to talk about a few I've recently seen that I really enjoyed.

JIG // Irish Step Dancing. It has ALWAYS fascinated me...the steps, the dresses, the boucy, curly wigs. The whole "world" of it is just so intriguing and I found this documentary really, really interesting.

First Position // I can't even tell you how many times I've seen Center Stage but it's at least 30 or 40. I LOVE that movie and I'm mesmerized by the world of ballet so much so that I seriously considered what it would take to become a ballerina at age...oh like 20. HA! This film is crazy showcasing really young kids on their way to ballerina stardom.

Blackfish // I have a confession. A few years ago, I went to Sea World (San Antonio) for the first time. We saw the Orca show and I was so blown away that it brought me to tears. I was struck by how magical and impressive these creatures were but also how inhumane it was that they were in captivity. I simultaneous wanted to become a trainer (I seriously researched it...biology and holding my breath...not my strengths) and set them free all at once. So you can imagine my feelings watching this film. So hard. Tears. I will never visit Sea World again. But that said, watch this film, it's so worth it.

{recipe} butternut squash alfredo pasta bake


I whipped this together the other night totally on a whim and it turned out amazing. C said it was the best thing I've ever made...feeling pretty good about that. 

This recipe is really easy and could totally be adapted based on your dairy needs (go ahead and use almond milk and leave out the yogurt). 

Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta Bake
Time: 45 min
Serves: 6-8

1 lb shell-shaped pasta
1/2 butternut squash, cubed
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter
3-4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
3 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp dried sage
1/2 cup panko style italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded cheese (gruyere, cheddar, fontina)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425. Place squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, salt & pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. 
  2. Meanwhile, cook pasta to package directions but keeping a little bite in the noodles. 
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan and add garlic. Saute for 30 seconds. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and sage, continue to whisk over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and add parmesan cheese and greek yogurt. Stir to combine. 
  4. Using either an immersion blender or regular blender, puree squash with alfredo sauce until smooth. Toss sauce with pasta until well mixed. Pour pasta into greased baking dish and top with shredded cheese and panko. Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes until bubbly and slightly brown. 

book review // A House in the Sky


I struggggggled through this book if I'm being perfectly honest. I picked it up because I saw a lot of buzz about it and figured it would be good. At the time, I didn't know it was a memoir. In fact, I didn't realize it was a memoir until I was about 1/2 way through it. I was already having a tough time feeling motivated to read the book but find out it was a memoir made it worse. I'm just not a huge fan of non-fiction and this story easily frustrated me.

 A House in the Sky is about a girl from Canada who through waitressing, earns enough money to travel all over the world. She ends up getting interested in photojournalism and starts getting reporting gigs which takes her Somalia where she promptly gets kidnapped and held hostage for over one year.

Since it's a memoir, it's written by the "main character" Amanda, so you know she survives. In the end, it was an interesting story by I found myself really skimming to get through it. I hate starting a book and now finishing it so I was determined to get to the end.

If memoirs are your thing and you love travel, you might really like this. It just wasn't for me.

monday musings.


>> So much cooking this past weekend. I made Tyler Florence's Prime Rib Chili on Friday night for some friends and C made Bacon Bourbon Manhattans. The chili was different but good - great if you like an all meat chili. Then I made a birthday cake for my good friend's husband. I LOVE making birthday cakes so this was such a fun treat for me. Sunday night's dinner was an easy Tikka Masala that turned out pretty delicious. Needless to say, C had a lot of dishes to wash.

>> I'm reading The Confidence Code along with my team at work and it's so fascinating. I'm shocked by how much of it makes total sense but I'm also hoping that I get some tips and tricks for how to improve. If you like these types of non-fiction books, you should definitely check it out and take the quiz!

>> After feeling like I was in a mascara rut, I picked up this cult drugstore fave to give it a try. Verdict? I like it! It packs a punch, doesn't feel crunchy or flake off, and I like that it's build-able. Pick up a tube!

>> Even though it's been getting cooler up here, the weather has still been nice enough for a comfy afternoon walk. I met up with a friend for a nice long 4.5 mile walk all around East Rock. I was so amazed that we walked so far especially because it did  not feel like a long time. We had plenty to chat about so that definitely made the time fly!

>> I'm super jealous of people who are able to make all of their Christmas gifts. I'm totally at a loss for almost everyone I need to buy for this year and I just wish I could come up with really awesome homemade ideas. Do you have any?

>> Feeling pretty flattered that One Love used one of my images on their Instagram! Check it out!

>> We ordered T25 from ebay and I'm pretty pumped about starting it but also pretty nervous. Have you done it?

>> Starbucks red cups. That's all. 

no passport stamps in china


I really do like to travel and I feel very fortunate to have taken some great vacations over the years. However, there are definitely a few places that people seem to love to go for travel but I don't have any interest in visiting...the #1 place I can think of is China. 

I'm sure there are wonderful places in China, great food, absolutely beautiful historical sites, but for whatever reason, China doesn't not interest me. I'm not really set on visiting many countries in Asia but China seems to typically rank first as the last place I'd like to vacation.

It's kind of funny because this image is from a list called "10 Fascinating Places to Visit One Day". Probs not going to happen...

Have you ever been to China? What did you think?
the great wall // via

this is not my day job


Let's have a little chat about this space and maybe even the blogging world in general. As I mentioned before, I didn't start blogging to earn an income or make it my job. I was simply interested in sharing bits and pieces of my world, especially recipes. Then I started reading more blogs and realized that many of the "famous" bloggers considered their blogs their full-time job. In fact, they were making enough money to have totally respectable salaries, all coming from their blog. 

After a few years at this, I'm pretty sure I told C I wanted to be a "professional blogger". I was miserable in my day job and spent a lot of "work time" working on this space. I figured if I really dedicated time to it, got a bunch of ads, started working with brands, I could actually make a living. 

Clearly, that dream was short-lived. News flash, I am NOT a professional blogger. I don't really have ads, except Google AdSense and I sometimes use Amazon Affiliate links when I post about products I love. I have probably made all of $5 through this blog over the last 4 years. 

There is nothing wrong with professional bloggers. In fact, I read a ton of blogs written by lovely people who do this full time. I'm totally inspired and encouraged by them...and I mean, who doesn't want free stuff in exchange for writing a blog post! 

However, I do think the professional blog space is somewhat out of control. I've read posts about $3,000 purses and the blogger who owns them is living in a 400 sq ft apartment in NYC and has never worked a "real" job. So I take a lot of it with a grain of salt. Blogs are informative, entertaining, and really interesting. But they often do not portray real life - many bloggers have admitted this themselves on their blogs. 

If you were to scroll through my instagram feed, you'd see a perfectly curated slice of my life - beautiful, positive, organized. The same is true for my blog. I'm not going to take pictures of my messy kitchen or rant about something that went wrong - who wants to read about that! So instead, each post is carefully crafted to reflect something that is me, but the organized, put together, all my ducks in a row me. 

For what it's worth, I love blogging and I love reading blogs. As soon as a blog becomes too un-relatable though, I delete it from my feed. If I want to read about a fake life, I'll pick up a Shopaholic novel

I'm really excited to participating in my first NaBloPoMo month! From what I understand, this is a spin off of National Novel Writing Month for November - but the blog version! I'm make a commitment to post every day and I'm using the BlogHer prompts to help me out. Here's a list of bloggers who are also participating! I hope you enjoy this little writing challenge! 
Feel free to leave comments about what you'd like to see my write about this month.

finding my virtual voice


"Wanna have a chat?" Pretty much my party line for "stop running around, pay attention to me!" C is so wonderful and tolerant of me.

When I first started blogging in May of 2010, I thought I was just going to write a bunch of recipes and post about my life, pretty much like a journal with food. I wasn't much of a blog reader at the time and didn't really understand the world outside of my trusty Live Journal I had back in High School. 

what I would do to be curled up in front of that fire right now // via

Now, several years later, I think I'm just starting to find my "voice" on the internet. My goal is simple: I want my blog to sound like me. If you met me in person, I'd want you to say "Oh my gosh, she's exactly the same as she is on her blog!" Which is why I take great care to write in a more casual, conversational tone. I try to be funny and silly, like I (think) am in real life. 

Here's something to consider, though. Have you ever tried to "be yourself" or sound witty, or make a joke via email? It's REALLY hard and it usually results in a misinterpretation of what you're trying to say. I feel this tension often with writing this blog. I'm trying to be goofy and witty and engaging all at the same time while making you FEEL that through words, super tricky.

Additionally, it kind of drives me crazy when I read a blog that is written using words we'd never really use in conversation. It feels forced and too polished for my taste. While I'm pretty careful to avoid blatant typos or grammatical errors, I want my "virtual voice" to have a certain conversational flow when you read it. I want it to feel natural and easy, like if we were having a coffee chat. 

The other part of "finding my voice" that I continue to struggle with is how MUCH of my voice I should share out here on this public forum. I try to tow a fine line between being authentic, engaging, and real without divulging into super personal details that feel too invading. 

This is definitely always a learning process but something tells me that if you're still reading at this point, you're sticking around for a reason, and for that, I'm sincerely flattered. Thanks for stopping by!

I'm really excited to participating in my first NaBloPoMo month! From what I understand, this is a spin off of National Novel Writing Month for November - but the blog version! I'm make a commitment to post every day and I'm using the BlogHer prompts to help me out. Here's a list of bloggers who are also participating! I hope you enjoy this little writing challenge! 
Feel free to leave comments about what you'd like to see my write about this month.

the switch to {mostly} all-natural makeup

If you've been hanging around here for awhile, you've probably heard me talk about my new fascination with all things all-natural. After a rude (skin) awakening this summer, I've been on a mission to pay closer attention to what I'm putting on my skin. 

I previously wrote about my favorite all-natural skincare products and hopefully you got inspired to look through your bathroom cabinet black holes and do a little cleaning. Not only have I adapted my skincare routine, but I've also overhauled my makeup regimen. Most of you can probably guess how "dirty" many mainstream make-up brands are - I mean, I was a die-hard Bobbi Brown fan (um her tinted moisturizer? heaven) but I've since stashed all these products to the back of my closet while I experiment with good-for-you products. 

So today, I'm finally letting you in on a little secret - you CAN wear all-natural makeup that DOES actually work. 

I mentioned this brand a few months ago and was pretty sure it was love at first sight. I've since expanded my collection of W3LL PEOPLE products and had plenty of time to give them a true test drive. 

So let's walk through my daily makeup application so you can get a feel for how all these products work together. Also, side note, I've never used mineral makeup before and didn't own a single loose powder so this process was entirely new to me. I'm happy to say, I'm a convert! 

So here's my routine:

monday musings.


>> We went to yoga for the first time in probably 1 month last Monday and it felt. so. good. I forgot how much I love yoga and I really need to prioritize making time for it.

>> California!! We finally booked our trip to Cali for Christmas and I'm honestly pumped. We're headed out just after Christmas to visit my Aunt/Uncle in San Diego and then we'll road trip it up to SF and Napa. New Year's Eve in San Fran? I'm not complaining. If you have any recs (restaurants, places to stay, wineries, hikes) let me know!!!

>> During a round of errands on rainy Saturday, we stopped into one of our favorite stores, Terrain, for a quick coffee pick me up and do a little meal planning. The store is so cozy and already getting prepped for the holidays. As I walked the store browsing all the beautiful items, the warmest, coziest feeling washed over me. I just love this time of year, about mid-Oct. through Dec 31st. I love when stores start putting out all the cozy decorations and fires are blazing. So. freaking. cozy.

>> New favorite Starbucks beverage: caffe misto with 1-2 pumps of pumpkin spice. Delicious and not as sweet as a regular pumpkin spice latte. 

>> I'm hosting my first Instagram closet we'll see how that goes. If you're interested, follow along here.

>> We cooked up a feast on Saturday night for my mom and it turned out great - C even did most of the cooking! He made Maple-Glazed Pork Tenderloin, Mashed Sweet Potatoes (omg tried this SUPER easy method...will post soon), and Garlic Roasted Green Beans.I made Apple Crisp for dessert and we even had a Prosseco-Cider punch cocktail. #fancy

>> I still haven't updated my phone with the new software yet because everyone keeps complaining about it. Did you do it? Are you having issues? I currently have a little notification telling me that I have 70 apps to update and it's killing me!

>> Notice how we're not talking about Halloween? I could really care less about the holiday. Except for the candy. All the candy. 
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