Monday, April 13, 2015

Music Motivation

I did not run all winter. As in, not at all. I think there was one day it went above 35 and I attempted a run and wanted to cry after running an 11 minute mile. I was more into the hot yoga this winter... or the Netflix and wine in yoga pants since this winter was fucking awful and so cold for ridiculously long amounts of time on end. 

I'm not good with easing into things - I promised myself that once it started hitting 40 degrees and above on a regular basis, I'd start running again. It's been an ugly start to the running season, with slower times than I'd like, but I'm also learning that I need to get more comfortable with distance versus worrying about timing the entire time.

I'm currently working on more interval runs to build speed, and will then go back into some tempo paced (when you're pushing harder than your average pace, not sprinting though) runs.

The biggest necessity to me getting back into running is an awesome playlist, so being inspired by the 72 degrees and sunny weather we're currently experiencing, these are some of my go-tos to get me up and moving! 

Outside - Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding
So good - allows you to ease into the run and go for alternating a jog with a tempo run (I wait for the beat to kick up and increase my pace to match the flow of the song, dropping back down to a jog when it slows down).

Hot N**** - Bobby Shmurda

I love the beat of this song. It helps me to maintain a really steady pace while running.

Love is Gone - David Guetta (ft. Chris Willis)

Guetta can do no wrong in my book. This is another one that's great for maintaining a solid pace and keep you motivated to keep going. So, so good. The version with Fergie is also pretty awesome and just shows the diversity of one of my favorite French DJs. 

Runaway (U and I) (Kaskade Remix) - Galantis

Ugh, this song. It's perfect. Perfect for driving, perfect for one of the hot yoga/pilates sessions I went to where we had to do core workouts to the full duration of this song (it literally hurt to laugh after), and perfect for interval running because Kaskade is perfect and knows how to play with the tempo. One of my favorites of 2014 that is continuing to be a 2015 go-to.

Raise Your Weapon (Madeon Remix) - DeadMau5

Mau5 on his own is fantastic and brings incredible beats, so when Madeon remixes it makes for a perfect tempo run song.

Scream and Shout - and Brit Brit

This randomly came on today during my two-miler, and I almost said out loud, "I forgot how catchy this song is."

Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix) - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

THIS SONG is basically everything. I love it. It never fails to make me happy whenever I hear it on any type of mix or embedded in a DJ's podcast. It makes me happy, and therefore, makes me run faster, so it's a win on all levels.

S + M - Rihanna

Another one that I hear it and remember how much I love it. Plus, no matter what you're into, it will inspire you to look better naked.

Party it Up - DMX

I do not even believe you can listen to the first 4 seconds without getting amped.
Sorry for the lame YouTube video, but the real one was edited and I need my hip hop dirty when I'm working out.
They played this at a wedding the other night, and shit got REAL. I have never seen so many white people (myself included, who knows all the words to this) going HAM for DMX. Bring that same motivation to your workout, and it's a wrap.

Timber - Pitbull ft. Ke$ha

Another one that I hear and remember that I love. Say what you want about Pitbull, he can make a sick beat.

Straight Outta Compton - NWA

I don't know where my love of NWA came from and I don't want to know (can I also tell you how many bad remixes I had to listen to in order to find this real version?). This is a great one to practice sprints - I always pick a point in the distance and sprint there, then jog to recover, pick another point and go from there for a full song. This one does it for me, others need a heavier BPM.

What do you listen to when you work out? I get so tired of music so welcome suggestions and favorites! : )

Hope all is well - hoping to get back in the blogging groove now that winter depression is hopefully at its endpoint! xox

Going Natural with Influenster - #wipeforwater

A month or so ago, I went for an organic facial at a salon in town (after my Aveda facialist of a few years unexpectedly quit the business and completely destroyed my little heart. As I went in, I explained to the facialist that I suffer from adult acne, particularly around the jawline, and also expressed my frustration with the fact that cutting caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy for any extended period of time didn't seem to make a difference. I'm already meat-free and soy-free, was trying elimination diets, tried almost every mask on the market, but to no clear results. 

I was absolutely horrified (and wanting to kick myself) when she explained to me that I wasn't suffering from acne - I was suffering from extremely clogged pores, due to not properly cleansing. This was definitely news to me - I was always careful to wash my face before bed (even when drinking!), steamed my face before putting on masks, and thought all the scrubbing was doing the trick. Turns out, I wasn't properly removing all the makeup and was then just really laying product on top of makeup. She recommended different products and also suggested that with the amount of working out that I do, I find myself a really good cleansing wipe to use immediately following a workout. 

Luckily, Influenster must have seen my invisible bat signal for good cleansing wipes, because I was selected for a complimentary package of the Neutrogena Naturals cleansing wipes. 

The whole premise and hashtag of the #WipeforWater movement is pretty cool, especially in honor of Earth Month. Neutrogena parterned with The Nature Conservancy to save water - Influensters are encouraged to make a pledge to not wash their face, and only use the cleansing wipes for three days to save water. For every pledge, Neutrogena Naturals contributes $1 to The Nature Conservancy to support water conservation, up to $50,000. Especially with all of my work travels to California with their horrific drought, this is a cause so vital and one I've been happy to partake in. 

Not only that, but I started noticing a difference in my skin after 7 days of using the cleansing wipes. 

Hotel traveling essentials - these worked perfectly to refresh while I was on my three plane rides within a four day span! 

I took the "makeup free" to a whole new level. This is four days using the
NeutrogenaNaturals wipes - which came in handy while traveling to Texas for work! 
Semi makeup free (wearing mascara, eyebrows slightly filled, concealer around nose and under eyes).

All in all, I was super impressed with the mission of water conservation as well as the effectiveness of the product. While the product was received gratis, my reviews are honest and open. 

Do you search for natural products when buying skincare? What are your favorites? 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

On Getting it Together

My life right now is pretty fantastic. 

Work is tough, but it's going really well and I feel like I've finally found my niche within the company (and I know what most of the acronyms they spit out regularly stand for... I got you, UDAAP). I'm working on a specialized pilot program with an engagement ring company based out of California, which has added some pretty significant travel into my routine (more on that to come!). The hours are long, but I love my coworkers and feel confident about my direction in the company.

After almost eight official months together, I still have no complaints about things between Anthony and I. I love our time together (weekday nights are now a regular routine, so that time is constantly increasing), I love our time with friends, I love our time with his family (and could not be happier that I've formed a strong relationship with them, because I know how rare that is too), I love that we continue to grow together and what's in store. 

I love that every weekend is jam-packed with activities and new experiences (more posts on that coming too!).

The only thing missing from all the happiness I have going on is more regular blogging - 
I spent my Saturday night with dear blogger friends B and M from The Sequin Notebook, celebrating B's birthday, and it made me really reflect on how much I miss blogging and my blogger friends. 
Image stolen from the Sequin Notebook hotties! Sidenote - I totally forgot I drank vodka seltzers with you girls, which explains my beautiful hangover the next day. 

I'm honestly so impressed by how all of you juggle SO much and blog so routinely. I'm constantly treading water on it, but just want you to know that I value each and every one of you and will be working on posts more regularly, and more importantly, visiting all of your blogs to see into your lives more consistently (thankful for Instagram, since I get a peek into the happenings during my blogging hiatus!). 

With that said, here's to all of you, who inspire me, make me want to continue with it, and who I miss when I don't get to see into your lives via blog! 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mid February: 2015 Recapping.

As per usual, I've been way behind on catch up posts - I'm honestly so impressed by all of you who balance work, family, social lives, and social media along with blogging; I legitimately can't seem to get it together no matter how much I determine myself that I'll post more regularly, upload pictures more quickly, etc. So seriously - I'm in awe and can't wait for they day that I stop doing these way late and ridiculously long catch up posts!

New year, same me.
I say this considering that I never even posted about New Year's Eve, which was a low key, but amazing celebration with Anthony, his brother, and his sister and her husband. We first went out to dinner in Hoboken, then back to his sister and her husband's apartment for (too much) prosecco, wine, Clicquot toasts at midnight, and drunken dancing. It was the perfect way to bring in 2015, though I woke up the next morning with a slight case of food poisoning (initially thought to be a hangover due to the copious amounts of drinks and beautiful dance moves). This was cured by House of Cards, and being taken care of by a very sweet boyfriend who braved the cold to buy me ginger ale, Saltines, and chicken noodle soup (which he had, since he forgot chicken noodle soup is not vegetarian friendly).

Prosecco in goblets.

Birthdays was the worst days...
Next up (after many game nights, time with family and friends, and nights in - specifically finishing up House of Cards), was my 27th birthday.
I've never been a fan of celebrating my birthday, probably because I haven't had a good birthday celebration in years - it always turned into a headache where I spent more time trying to appease what everyone else wanted to do versus actually celebrate as I would want.

This year though, after I was kind of bummed about planning it (by bummed I mean super mopey and not into planning at all), and Ant completely stepped up. Not only did he find the perfect restaurant for he and I to go to, but the restaurant had the most gorgeous rooftop bar where friends were invited to join us.

On my actual birthday, my mom, dad, brother, Ant, and I headed to a restaurant/lounge near me for Fig Moscow Mules (my dad ordered a Raging Bitch instead - I think just so he could say it while giving my mom  a side eye), delicious food, and then headed back to my parents house for this gorgeous cake my mom made me (I bought her cake decorating classes from Carlo's Bakery for Christmas, and she used what she learned to make this for me, in my favorite color!).

The following Saturday, I headed to the Manhattan Vintage show with Anthony's sister, where we spent hours perusing the different booths, buying vintage odds and ends, and just having some quality girl time. It was a really fun and special time (and she was totally accurate in her recommendation for me to only bring the amount of cash I was prepared to spend - I easily could have spent my mortgage payments there).

After returning from round one of the city, Ant and I got dressed up and headed to Print (it's located in the Ink hotel in Hell's Kitchen - it's kind of adorable, Ink hotel, Print restaurant, and Press Lounge), where we had one of the most incredible meals ever (seriously, so worth the visit if you're in the city). Everything is farm to table, they were accommodating with the fact that I didn't eat meat (put the pancetta on the side of our gnocchi appetizer so that he could still enjoy it and I could feast on gnocchi), and the drinks were fabulous. The service was also some of the best I've ever had.

From there, we headed upstairs to the Press Lounge, which has the most incredible city views (this will have to be a repeat summer visit since they open up the entire balcony that wraps around the perimeter) and amazing drinks (I had Old Fashioneds all night that were perfectly made). The NYE crowd from Ant's family was there, as well as a handful of other friends that made the trek in (or from the Upper East, which is a considerable hike) on the cold day. It was one of the best birthday celebrations I've ever had - and I got to wear my new jumpsuit which I was crazy excited about.

The best looking, most thoughtful boyfriend ever. 

On the Sunday following my birthday, I headed to Anthony's parents house, where his family made me dinner, which included his mom's vodka sauce (which now beats Carmine's for best vodka sauce EVER), and a salted caramel chocolate tart handmade by his dad. It was a fabulous time, and featured more amazing and incredibly personal gifts.

Valentine's Day.
I think that every girl (I know it's a generalization) at some point, totally romanticizes Valentine's Day. We long for that guy who loves us to show up with flowers, tell us we're beautiful, plan surprises, etc. and somewhere along the way, after these things never quite happening, we kind of give up on the notion that those kind of scenarios exist in real life.

I was there too until a few days ago.

Ant and I had planned to go to the Catskills to a bed and breakfast we had gone to after Thanksgiving for a blissful and completely relaxing three nights away. Relaxing and being pretty secluded sounded like the perfect way to spend Valentine's Day, so we booked in December, and had been looking forward to it for months. Ant showed up on Thursday, chocolate and red roses in hand - my first Valentine's flowers of my entire life (besides from like, my dad and grandpa), which was already more than enough.

We headed up to the Catskills the Friday before Vday, and got to our bed and breakfast with the perfect amount of time to relax, drink the complimentary champagne they had given us, and take in the sunset. It was an absolutely perfect night (made even better when I kicked his ass in Phase 10).

On Valentine's Day, we set alarms and woke up for breakfast (the breakfast really cannot be missed at the lodge - it is unreal), and as we sat waiting for our breakfast, Anthony remembered he'd left his wallet upstairs, and had no money to leave a tip. Upon coming back, we devoured our pancakes and then headed back up to the room to exchange gifts - it didn't take something like this for me to know that I have the best possible boyfriend in the entire world, but I'm telling you, he continues to blow me away. We walked into the room, where I found the reason for his trip upstairs.

To me, Valentine's Day can be overrated because it seems like so much emphasis is put onto one singular day. However, it was that much more meaningful to me since I have someone in my life who treats me with so much love, thoughtfulness, and respect every single day that it's easy to see a holiday like Valentine's Day as an extension of how everything typically is.

It was a snowy day in the Catskills, so we decided to cancel our dinner reservations at a French restaurant 17 miles away, down a very serpentine road, and instead, called a local pub to order pick up, and ended up walking in a snowstorm (with me wearing two layers of pants, three layers of sweaters, fur earmuffs, and Uggs) to get it before eating it in the lodge's dining room.

It ended up being the perfect Valentine's dinner, where we opened a bottle of wine, sat by the fire, and just talked. I honestly could not have asked for more, and think this night completely trumped anything else we could have done. It breaks it back down to the fact that it's not what you do, it's who you're with when you're sharing things. It was definitely a perfect weekend (and so hard to leave!) and one where I continued to pinch myself wondering what I could have done in life to get so lucky and have such a wonderful boyfriend.

Vday burger, soup, and wine (unsure of why the photo quality is so grainy, but that's okay).


Anyway, that is my mid-February status update on 2015 so far - here's to hoping I get it together (and order a new computer since mine is officially dead and the work computer doesn't quite cut it) and don't take forever for more status updates.

I hope you all had beautiful Valentine's Days, and whether you're a fan or not, I hope you know that you're loved by so very many people. xox

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

27 for 27.

My birthday falls a little over a month (one month, two days, so let's round down) after New Year's Day, so it seems slightly redundant to do a post where I reflect upon the prior year, since I most likely had just completed one.

However this year is a different one, and one that I'm really proud of (though I feel like I continue to say that each year, which I'll take as progress, which I'm not going to complain about). It's been a year of growth, of painful lessons that I know will just propel me to be more positive in the future, of loving myself, of connecting with fantastic new people and forming strong bonds with those who have remained in my life, of huge life changes, and of constantly striving for more good while not letting the negative bring me down.

I believe that every single day brings opportunity, and that weight shouldn't necessarily be placed on "new year, new me," or whatever cliche is applicable. However, I do place weight on setting goals/vision boards for what you want from your life, to try to keep reflecting.

So, now that I am officially a 27 year old, these are my goals and ambitions for this year, to at least reflect on and continue to work on.

1. Travel more. 
So far lined up for 2015 is a trip to the Catskills for Valentine's Day, a trip to Maine in late April, and Anthony and I are currently planning a California trip for the summer. Bring it on! I want to see more, experience more, and try new things, especially with someone I love and who shares the love of traveling and seeing everything.

2. Spend more responsibly. 
I love to shop, I really do (see #3, as my closets are bursting at the seams with all aforementioned purchases), but I definitely need to start being smarter about what I spend my money on. I've kept the majority of my money in my checking account, and definitely want to be better at sinking some of that into savings, since the down payment for my house definitely wiped a lot of that away.
There really is no reason for me to own two pairs of the same exact Cole Haan boot, so I need to think better about what I'm buying.

3. Declutter.
I've started sorting through my closets to downsize a bit and to weed out some of the cheaper things I've bought over the years in order to make room for that "capsule" wardrobe and pieces that will last forever. I've also started taking advantage of the salary bump to get rid of pieces of furniture I had bought for about $0 from Ikea to invest in better Pottery Barn pieces - one thing at a time, so that I can have more forever pieces.

4. Allow myself to be more vulnerable.
I mentioned last post that I'm not great at allowing others to see my vulnerability. I don't want to ever wear my heart on my sleeve for everyone I encounter, but I should be able to get more comfortable with those who I love, trust, and know love me. I need to work on owning my emotions instead of apologizing for them, and letting people see me where I may not necessarily be at my prettiest.

5. Juice.
I want to try to have least 5 green juices per week (or any type of cold pressed juice). It makes me feel better when I'm healthier, and it's equally good for my skin.

6. Get more facials.
My skin is my #1 insecurity, and I really want this year to be the year that I stop stressing about it and obsessing so much. So this may sound like a superficial goal, but sometimes I don't schedule regular facials because I make excuses for not having time, etc. and then feel like shit about myself - having that love for yourself and confidence within your own skin is so vital.

7. Set a new PR.
This is the beauty of running - setting goals. I want to set a new personal record, whether it be for distance or speed. I work very well with goals, and think this will definitely fuel me to push harder.

8. Learn to really use my camera.
I almost never use my very expensive dSLR because I'm not confident with it. I need to play around (and having a boyfriend who is an extremely talented photographer is such a great and untapped resource with getting help) so I can use it more.

9.  Read at least one book a month.
And document vocabulary words that I don't know so that I can keep learning.

10. Take more pictures. 
Of whatever I want. Without worrying about how it's cliche or silly, but because I want to keep looking back and having memories I can look at whenever I want.

11. Plan more dates.
I don't tend to be highly opinionated when it comes to dates, so I get into that "I don't care, whatever you want to do" mode. I don't want to be just a boring tagalong, so definitely want to find fun things to do with Anthony in our area so that I'm a contributor to the relationship instead of just going with it. (So any fun date ideas are welcomed!).

12.  More blates!
I need more blog dates in my life because you ladies are fantastic and so much fun. So if you're in the NYC area, let's get together more often!

13. Renew my passport.
This NEEDS to be done before May, so it is an easy and necessary goal that I'm writing down because I get into the beautiful habit of pushing things off until the last minute, and this one isn't something that I can wait until the day before and expect a realistic turnaround time.

14. Go to a concert.
I had so much fun at the Prydz concert that I definitely want to go to another this year (waiting on Hardwell or R3hab to post tour schedules, because YES).

15. Try more new recipes.
I spent a lot of age 26 eating a shitload of salad, which is healthy, but not very original or showcasing any culinary skill. I definitely want to try more vegetarian, healthy recipes, as well as build up a repertoire of Anthony-friendly (read: meat) recipes so we don't have to order out due to my insecurity about cooking meat for him.

16. Make macarons.
I'm terrified to attempt them, but got all the supplies to make my own for Christmas, so I want to at least try it before I give up on myself.

17. Host a game night.
I did this last year and had so much fun, so a repeat is definitely necessary.

18. Let go of toxic people and don't regret it.
Last year was a biggie for this, but sometimes I still have my regrets over it (more so as I start to plan my birthday party and realize that I don't have that many of "my" people anymore to invite), so I need to realize how good I feel now that I've cut out people who only brought me down. I love the people in my life (and need to stop compartmentalizing them as "Anthony's people" vs. my people because I've made solid connections on my own), and want to continue to appreciate and love those people with all I've got - so there's no room for negativity!

19. Stick with regular workouts.
I feel better after, so I want to do at least 3 nights a week of working out just for me.

20. Attend a couples' class.
Whether a cooking class, art class (preferably a BYOB one, because wine and art go together very well), wine class, whatever - this is kind of in conjunction with #12, but is on a different level where we can learn something together while having fun.

21. Be kind to myself.
I'm my own worst critic. I overanalyze and can really pick at myself. I've gotten better, and want to continue to inch forward to giving myself a break and taking pride in the good, while forgiving myself when I mess up.

22. Drink more water.
And to coincide, less booze. I've basically eliminated drinking from my weekday routine (with some exceptions, obviously), but definitely need to up my water intake - especially on days when I don't do hot yoga, as that becomes a huge motivator.

23.  Moisturize.
All the time. I'm getting old now, so need to start before it starts to really show.

24. Do some outfit posts.
I am so self conscious about doing this - like, ridiculously self conscious. So I want to bite the bullet and at least attempt it, if for nothing else, to do it just for myself to get over myself a little.

25. Laugh more often.
Since I'll be moisturizing more, it's okay I'll get some smile wrinkles.

26. Give more genuine compliments.
To coworkers (even ones I don't like when they do a good job on something), to my friends for all of their amazing accomplishments, to Anthony for the same reasons, to my family for being pretty kick ass - whatever it is, if it's genuine, I don't want to hold back from potentially making someone's day a little bit brighter.

27. Listen instead of always feeling the need to speak.
I've seen relationships (friendships and romantic relationships) fall apart when one person is only waiting for their turn to talk, versus actually and proactively listening to what someone has to say. Sometimes I interrupt, and sometimes I don't give my full attention, which I definitely want to work on.

So these are my goals of things I can work on and try to grow from for this new year.
Until then, I'll be braving the cold, having dinner with my parents, brother, and Ant tonight at a fun lounge, then pushing through the week until the weekend for dinner at a lounge with Ant and then celebrating with some of my favorite people at a rooftop bar.

How do you like to celebrate your birthday? 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy Girls are the Prettiest.

In case you don't know, I am an enormous Audrey Hepburn fan. Not only was she flawlessly beautiful and a complete class act, but she said the most lovely things that have shaped so many Pinterest boards and mantras.

Generationally, we're in a completely different place from where Audrey was; a generation where Kim Kardashian is publishing a book of 300+ selfies (all in which she'll look absolutely perfect, thanks to genetics and airbrushing), or where we're inundated with images of various standards of beauty, so the war with self can just continue to grow and grow as we can easily compare ourselves to everyone with a Facebook or Instagram account. With all of these images or expectations of beauty slapping us in the face, it can be so easy to forget what really makes each and every one of us so beautiful.

So in case you need a reminder, here are some things you can do so that you will always be at your most gorgeous and continue to hold your head up high...

Really big and genuinely, whenever you can. Seriously - a real smile makes ANYONE so much more gorgeous.

Take responsibility for your actions. 
Seriously, if you can own up and admit when you've messed up, it shows that you're confident enough in yourself to be humble, which is such an attractive quality.

Be vulnerable.
Okay so confession - last week, I lost my shit for the first time and broke down crying in front of Anthony. This is NOT my default, because I don't like people to see the emotional side of me (I don't know why, I guess I just prefer being seen as a cold bitch versus someone with human emotions), however it ended up being such a bonding experience for us, and one where he said he loves me even more now.

When you're vulnerable, you're being truly you, and it's raw and you might not think it's pretty, but the people who love you will continue to love you and will appreciate that total honesty.

Say please and thank you.
Your parents taught you write - politeness really is a beautiful thing, especially in a time where we're all in a rush. It takes literally 1.25 seconds to say "thank you" to someone, and it goes a LONG way.

Get enough sleep. 
For real. The less sleep I get, the worse my skin looks, the worse I feel about myself. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night, if that's possible for you... if you can do less than that and look radiant, I hate you a little.

Not even to be "skinny," but to be healthy and treat your body with respect. Because you're gorgeous and you deserve to feel good, even if your version of exercise is twerking in front of your mirror to Nicki Minaj (sorry, am I alone in this?).

Treat yo self. 
Indulge - get a facial, drink really good wine, buy that outfit. Treat yourself well (within your budget) because you love yourself and you deserve.

Demand respect.
Don't ask for it - you DESERVE respect. Those who know their worth radiate that and it's ridiculously appealing.

Drink water.
A shit ton of it (that's a real measurement). My mother always told me to drink as much water as I could, and it really does make me feel so much better and get glowy.

Let go of shitty, succubus people.
When you keep negative people in your life, it takes a toll on you. This toll shows physically after a while - so seriously, when you can let go of those who drag you down, it really shows in your overall demeanor (which affects how you appear physically).

Anchor yourself to those who love you.
Unconditionally, no matter what you're wearing or how you're feeling. Surround yourself with positive people who see the beauty of life, and it makes you more beautiful by default.

Loudly, whenever you can, without shame. Because you are adorable when you laugh (I try to convince myself that even my snort laugh makes me that much more beautiful).

Improve your vocabulary, stay up to date on current events, read a book.
Intelligence is sexy.

Get a hobby.
Something you love, that makes you happy, that you light up when you speak about because it's yours and where you find your inspiration.

Don't listen to negativity from people who don't matter.
The world is tough - people can be cruel. Know who you are, listen to how the people who love you feel about you, and forget the rest of the noise of bitter people trying to knock you down. Insecurity tries to snatch your security from you - don't let it in.

And never apologize for it.

What do you think makes someone the most beautiful? And what makes YOU feel the most gorgeous?

Currently: Watching The Wolf of Wall Street, while charging every single electronic device that I own just in case of the impending blizzard and potential power outages.