Simple Pleasures 2

Since my last post on the simple pleasures that brighten my day, I’ve started noticing other little things in my life that make me happier.

Starbucks Caffe Americano:I stumbled upon this by accident the last time I flew home when the coffee kiosk was…out of coffee? The barista offered me Americano as a replacement, which is basically espresso beans brewed over water rather than coffee beans. The result is a strong brew with a smoother texture than coffee. Ooh la la.

Caesar Salads:On Fridays after work my go-to dinner treat is a Caesar salad. I’m not sure exactly but they’re one of my favorite semi-indulgences at the end if the week. Plus with a glass of wine….perfection.

Group Texts:There is something about the quick and witty banter between my friends and I that always makes me laugh and cheers me up. Even though they’re not in New York with me, it’s nice to know I can always count on them when I need it.

A Fresh Manicure:As much as I love getting my nails done, even giving myself a full manicure makes me feel so much better about myself and so much more put together. Clipping, filing, buffing and painting is also a very therapeutic process. And sometimes, when I’m feeling optimistic that maybe spring will eventually come, I paint my toes, too.

Chamomile tea:I have a shelf full of teas in my pantry, one being chamomile. I was semi skeptical a few weeks ago about the tea’s ability to calm me down after a rough day. However, it is perfect. Almost every night a brew a cup and drink it while I read in bed.

Gossip Girl: I’m not sure what drew me to it, but when we subscribed to Netflix, I started watching Gossip Girl. I had read the books when I was younger and I was just…curious. However, now that I’ve started I can’t stop. I’m addicted to the drama, the clothes, the New York City locations. Maybe it’s because I see a lot of myself in control-freak Blair. (Without the scheming, of course). Regardless, I really do enjoy spending mindless hours watching the drama unfold.

An Escape: Through Pictures

Today, I am flying back to Rochester to celebrate Easter with my family.

Saturday, I took a personal day and took myself shopping in SoHo.  I didn’t really need anything, but I needed a day on my own, in a place I really love to just get out and clear my head.

I did a lot of things like buy a lipstick, return that lipstick for another, buy hair salve, poke around Washington Square Park, treat myself to pizza and Starbucks…. You get the picture.

And if you don’t, fear not, here is a photo collection of the highlights of my trip.  (I got the idea to share my day via the pictures I took from a blogger I follow and admire–Amanda.)

By the time I got back, I was not only exhausted, but also very calm and my head was clear.

Side note–I slept like a baby.

Obviously, I had a premonition Friday morning when I made my to-do list, and knew I'd need wine by the end of the dayObviously, I had a premonition Friday morning when I made my to-do list, and knew I’d need wine by the end of the day

I SAW A CORGI IN REAL LIFE.  I didn't even care that its human saw me creepily take this picture.

I SAW A CORGI IN REAL LIFE. I didn’t even care that its human saw me creepily take this picture.

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous

Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous

Bought a springy new lipstick

Bought a springy new lipstick

Central Park. Beautiful as usual.

Central Park. Beautiful as usual.

In a Funk

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I’m not doing Obsession Monday this week because 1. I’m going home tomorrow and I have a ton of work to get done before then and my posts aren’t a top priority, and 2. I had a rough weekend and I’m in a little bit of a rut. I’ll be better soon I swear.

In the meanwhile, here is my latest painting, an assignment on typography, but I ended up really liking the phrases I chose. Because sometimes when you really want to hold onto something, a little voice urges you to let it go.

Enjoy!

 

Rue La La

A few months ago, I joined Rue La La on a whim, curious about what exactly it was.  It turns out, they have a ton of designer goods at heavy discounts.

While I do enjoy their emails and and looking at all of their designer items and seeing how cheap they were, until recently I stuck with texting my mom, telling her what was available on each day, with no success.

However, a few weeks ago, I got an email from them, acknowledging that I hadn’t ordered anything yet. Consequentially, they credited $30 to my account! Immediately I was on the hunt for something I could order at essentially no cost.

I decided on this Gorjana-Griffin bracelet, because even though my jewelry collection is huge, I didn’t think it was huge enough.

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Rue La La is a great concept, and if you’re a fan of designer clothes/shoes/accessories, but on a budget, it’s a great solution. Join here!

Good News (Literally)

As a communications major, people are constantly telling me I need to keep up with the news and current events. But thats hard. Last semester I interned with WABC Eyewitness News, where my job was basically to watch the news.  After I left, though, my knowledge of current events fell dramatically.

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However, recently, I discovered The Skimm.  Its a week-daily newsletter that gets sent right to my email every (weekday) morning.  Its written by two twenty-something women, and geared towards the same demographic.  It not only gives you the highlights of the biggest news worldwide, but it also gives you the “why.”  It tells you the significance of the Papal Conclave or of President Obama’s trip to Israel, so you not only know about the news, but so you can speak intelligently about it.

I like having news to read every morning.  It helps me wake up slowly as well as helps me sound like I know what’s going on.  It’s a little sad that I need my news to be delivered and broken down in this fashion, but in a world full of complicated events and tragedies, it’s helpful, too.  It also helps to understand the implications of everything.

Not to mention, these two womens’ story is pretty impressive–starting this newsletter from their apartment and seeing it take off.  It’s inspiring to see two young women finding their niche in this complicated world.

Interested? Sign up here.

Kate Spade Saturday is Here!

I heard about Kate Spade’s sister brand–Saturday months ago.  I immediately signed up for email updates and waited impatiently for its reveal.  And then yesterday, I woke up with an email from Saturday.com, announcing its arrival. Finally. I was not disappointed.

It is a lower price-point brand than Kate Spade, aimed at the younger market, ages 20-30. That’s me. I am in love with everything Kate Spade puts her name on and this collection is no exception.  Its bright prints and playful cuts are just what I’m looking for. Unfortunately, even though the price point is significantly lower than the actual Kate Spade, some things are still a little out of my reach.  But considering the amazing sales KS typically has, I have faith that Saturday will be affordable in the future.

Here are a few things I absolutely love from the inaugural collection:

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1. Ponte Dress || 2. Shift Dress || 3. Sunnies || 4. Bag

5. Bag || 6. Bracelet

7. Satchel || 8. Mug || 9. Jeans

A few notes: I really love the abstract print (obviously). But I also love how well they branded this.  Everything is supposedly something to be worn on weekends (although I would wear it any day of the week) and everything fits this theme. From their customizable weekender bags, to cute sneakers to Saturday morning coffee mugs. A plus, Kate Spade Saturday.

Gettin’ My Tan On. Kinda.

Before I went home for break, I was gung-ho for signing up for a week of tanning at the local salon. I had tanned all through high school for my various formals, and was ready to stop being so god awfully pasty.  I was also a little bitter that I was going home to chilly Rochester where the closest I’d be getting to a beach would be a few shifts at Hollister. Not ideal.

However, the more I thought about tanning the more real it’s dangers felt. Maybe I’m finally, sensible, practical and old, but all I could think of was the threat of skin cancer and wrinkles. Yikes.

So, to replace the rays I could be soaking up in the bed/on a tropical vacation somewhere, I settled on a self tanner. In the past, I have avoided such products like the plague, but I did a ton of research and found that Jergens Brand makes a lotion that enhances your skin tone without making you orange or streaky.  I bought a travel size tube and gave it a go. I figured, worst case scenario, it’s still frigid pants weather, so no one would really see if I had a self-tanner induced disaster.

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really like this product though.  After about two uses it gave my skin an extra kick of color, without being blatantly orange.  I read online that it had a strong odor, but I think they’ve fixed it since the reviews because it really smells kind of nice. Plus, it’s only about $8 at drugstores.

I started by using it twice a day, right after a shower and right before bed, but after about 3 days my legs started to look a little orange, so I calmed it down to every other day.  But I think this is a fantastic product and I will continue to use it until the sun decides to come out and play nice.

Added bonus, now, on the first day of shorts-weather, my legs won’t be pasty enough to blind everyone who sees them!

Disconnecting Here and There

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Believe it or not, I’ve detached myself from my phone, computer, iPad a ton this past year. I used to keep my vibrate on high and sometimes even keep the volume on so I could read my texts right away. Now, though, I’m starting to detach even more, and the more I do, the better it feels.

My newest resolution has been moving my phone’s charging station. While it used to be next to my bed, all of my technology now lives on my desk. Making this move was good for a number of reasons.

For one, because the outlet next to my bed is right above the heater, I have a sneaking suspicion that its been overheating my chargers, because all of them have stopped working this year. I’ve gone through at least 4 different cables. So, my desk seemed like a cooler, safer place.

Second, my alarms are all set on my phone, so now when it goes off in the morning, I have to physically get out of bed to snooze. No, its not that far, but ripping myself from under the covers is literally the biggest struggle every morning, and having to get up, if only for a few seconds, helps get the ball rolling.

Finally, having my phone more than a foot away from my head helps me sleep better. Instead of me waking up every time I get a text or email, or someone tweets at me or likes my Instagram, my phone is far, far away, and I don’t have to deal with any of that nonsense.

In a world where we can, and are constantly connected, I would like to think that I can be detached when I’m sleeping. I know how important sleep is and I value every minute I get. Keeping my phone and other screens away from me during this time helps me relax faster and sleep better.

This world makes it hard to want to disconnect, but once I did I knew it was for the better.

Spring Break 2k13 Recap

I didn’t go on a Spring Break trip. I went home, to Rochester, for ten days, and even though I would have preferred warm weather and a beach, I did a lot of things while I was home and took some big steps.

To begin with, Friday I picked Bridget up from school and we went to Dunkin so I could experience my first croissant. I wasn’t allergic, but to be honest, it wasn’t as delicious as I had expected. Nevertheless, I made progress with trying new things.

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That night, I drove up to Buffalo to surprise Andrew. Funny story–he didn’t know I was in my way and stayed at the gym extra long because he thought I was running late, and I was stuck on his front porch for about 30 minutes. Oops.

Since I have been begging to go to Niagara Falls since about 10th grade, Andrew took me for a day trip on Saturday. It was so nice to see it up close. It is really pretty, after all.

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On Sunday when I came home, I went to Trader Joe’s with my mom and picked up–among other things–sunflower seed butter. As I posted about before, this was a major milestone for me, and has now become a major obsession.

Monday, Tuesday and Friday I worked a few shifts at Hollister. Not so fun. But, since I will be getting paid next week, it was a little bit worth it.

Tuesday I went to the dentist by myself–major milestone, and got my hair chopped off. (Not really, just an inch of damaged ends, but it felt like a lot).

Friday night, after an emotional heart to heart with my mom and sister, we went out to eat at Dinosaur BBQ to celebrate Bridget deciding on her first choice college–LeMoyne!

Saturday, my mom and sister and I had a semi-ladies day, where we shopped, got our eyebrows waxed and went to the liquor store (lol). I also tried sushi with fish in it (salmon and tuna–my usual used to just be a cucumber roll). And I lived! And liked it!

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Saturday night, my dad made a Mario Batali short rib recipe that I’m obsessed with now. But honestly, I’d eat anything if it was from a Mario cookbook.

Also on Saturday, I sucked it up and let my mom highlight my hair. She does her own every month, and my super picky sister trusts her, and I was so desperate to lighten up my locks I agreed. And now they’re all better and not so drab-looking.

Although I didn’t go away, this break was great for a lot of reasons. I got to spend a whole weekend with Andrew, which was wonderful. I got to make money which was great. I got to relax sand catch up on sleep, which I desperately needed. But I also stepped out of my comfort zone a bunch of times, and I’m really proud of myself for that. I know they’re just baby steps, but they were 20 year old fears that had to be dealt with. And the best part? Nothing went terribly wrong. I sucked it up and made it through, discovering new things I love along the way.

Obsession: Painting

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I’m finally back in the Bronx–if only for a little over a week (perks of going to a Jesuit school)–just in time for my Visual Thinking midterm review. As much as I am not a fan of my professors teaching/critiquing style, I have always really loved painting. It’s pretty therapeutic to me, even when I happen to be doing it for five hours straight on a Saturday night.

It’s always relaxed me; last summer when I was having a really rough and stressful time, my mom bought me a few canvasses and a set of water colors, and it really helped take my mind off of my stressful experiences, as well as relax me for hours on end.

So, here are a few of my favorites, some that I’ve done for class, and some that I did on my own, just for fun. :)

For class:

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Just for fun:

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**The corgi is actually a card I made Andrew for Valentine’s day. He has it hanging on the wall in his room now at school haha :)