My Coffee Favorites and a Recipe

May 28, 2020
Happy Thursday, friends! I haven't talked much about my love for coffee, but I am a Starbucks lover - I would go once a day in the mornings on my way to work and loved my Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew, but after 75 days of being / working from home, my coffee skills have vastly improved. We've done regular coffee, espresso's, iced coffee's and then finally I concocted my new favorite coffee drink.  Before I share the recipe I wanted to share a few of my favorite flavors, coffee utensils and my favorite mugs. 
First things first, the coffee machine! Prior to our Vertuo Plus, we had the original Nespresso machine which only did small espresso's. Since we still had a Keurig at that time, we were fine with just having a small espresso machine. I wanted to save a little counter space so we upgraded to the Vertuo Plus that does both espresso's and larger coffee's. I'm really glad that we kept the milk frother which does both cold and hot milk.  

My ideal organization is this pod organizer that we've ordered and are just seeing if it works in the space, but for now we've been using a clear square vase and it's worked for a couple years now. I like to go through our mugs every few months because somehow these are always accumulating. Between ones we have for sentimental reasons and other's I like to keep because they're "pretty" - they can overwhelm the cabinet! Below are a few of my favorites. 

Now on to the pods themselves! We order directly from Nespresso when we want to have some of their special releases - they also just announced an iced coffee bundle that I cant wait to get. Once Amazon started selling pods it was a game changer - they offer such a great selection of variety packs! Also if you're a coffee in the afternoon lover, the half caff's are the way to go! 

And here's my new go to recipe for the Honey Cinnamon Coffee! 
  • Start with adding honey into the mug before coffee is poured
  • After the coffee is made, add in two to three shakes of the cinnamon
  • Splash of creamer
  • Then do a taste test - if it's sweet enough for you - you're all done. If you like it sweet like me, then add in a little bit more honey! 

This also tastes really good as an iced coffee! Have you created any coffee combinations that you're really loving right now?


May Amazon Haul

May 26, 2020
Happy Tuesday, friends! How was the long weekend for you? We enjoyed plenty of outdoor time with such beautiful weather - really couldn't have asked for a better quarantined weekend! As things start very slowly opening back up here, I'm finding myself wanting to get dressed in things other than athleisure, taking my purse to get a mobile order from Starbucks and just ready for summer! May was a big Amazon month of me, so here's a look at everything that came!

  • Love Bracelet || My apple watch bit the dust and since I'm not sure what I'll be replacing it with, I wanted to dress up my "arm party" with some newer bracelets! 
  • Adjustable Bag Strap || I decided to purchase a few new bag straps to dress up my totes - it's another way to add some flair to my favorite accessory!
  • Closed toe sandals ||  I'm certain that Sophia's shoe collection will rival mine soon - just scooped these adorable genuine leather closed toe sandals for her. I wanted closed toe just in case she trips, I didn't want it to hurt more than necessary!
  • Potty Training essentials || As we embark on potty training this on the go potty came highly recommended. We also have this one that we keep in the bathroom for Sophia. I ordered these two books to generate a little interest for her and now I just have to read a few tips and tricks and we'll get started!
  • Vichy Thermal Water || As the temps start to rise, I love keeping a travel water spray with me for a little refresher. Since we don't have a sprinkler for Sophia to run through, I like to spray this in a fan and she goes nuts for it!
  • Tinted moisturizer || I'll admit that I was on the hunt for a new CC cream and this one is just not quite as powerful as I would have liked. However, it's like a primer with a little color. For my no makeup days, it's actually perfect, but on days when I need a little more coverage I go with my trusty CC Creams!
  • Faucet extender || This is the most handy purchase I've made in a while! You can add this faucet extender on any sink and it makes washing kids hands so easy. Especially since we are washing them so much more now!
  • Folex Spot Cleaner || Game changing product to have if you're prone to spills or if you have a child or pet. This gets rid of stains in an instant!
  • Label Maker || I've already talked about my love for my new label maker and it's safe to say just about everything in our house is labeled now! The reason I liked this one in particular is because it came with three bonus tapes. 
  • Amber spray bottlers & Roller Balls || I wanted a more cohesive look to all my cleaning supplies and especially since I am now making some of my own disinfecting products. I liked this set because it came with additional bottles for roller balls so if you're someone who likes essential oils this would be a great set. 

Another hodge podge of products, but that's what shopping on Amazon is all about! What's one of your favorite recent Amazon purchases?

You can shop all my Amazon favorites here.

Cleansers I'm Loving Right Now

May 20, 2020
As someone that wears at least a little makeup every day, I have grown to love my cleanser collection. I rounded up some of my current favorites and all that are on rotation every day for me! The key to a great cleanser for me is no skin irritation, a clean beauty product or as close to it as possible and does a really great job at removing makeup without me having to go in with another cleanser to remove anything it may have left behind. These 5 all fit the bill!

  • Summer Fridays Gel Cleanser || I've mentioned my love for Summer Fridays products in the past and the most recent purchase I made was their gel cleanser. All their products are certified clean and do exactly what they say their supposed to do. Two pumps is all you need, but there is no foaming to let you know that it's removing the dirt and grime for your face. My face always feels nice and refreshed right after! 
  • Tatcha Exfoliating Cleanser || This was a spur of the moment check out purchase the last time I was in store in Sephora back in March. The little fruit exfoliants that are in the cleanser are gentle enough that it doesn't irritate your skin like a harsher exfoliator would. I like that Tatcha came out with a smaller travel size that you can try before committing to the more expensive one.
  • Beauty By Earth Citrus Cleanser || I was sent this cleanser a little over three months ago and have loved using it. The smell makes you feel you're on vacation and its one of the best I've ever used at removing all your makeup in the shower, including eye makeup without leaving your eyes rimmed makeup. I have a love for foaming cleanser and am a little sad I only have a little left. 
  • Aveeno Positively Brightening Cleanser || Such a great drug store cleanser that isn't harsh, but I either double cleanse with this one or add in another one in my shower. It's very light and again refreshing on the face!
  • Pond's Cleansing Balm || This is the only balm cleanser that I've used and when you find a drug store product that is this good, you don't need a higher end product! You apply it to a dry face and then just remove the makeup on your face in circular motions. Rinse off with warm water and magically all of your makeup is gone - even pesky mascara!
  • Elemis Facial Wash || One of my favorite UK Youtubers turned me onto Elemis products which feel like you're taking yourself to the spa when you use it. This turns into a foam cleanser and for some reason when a gel turns into a foam it really makes me feel like it's working. Another refreshing winner for your skin to feel clean and smooth!

Have you tried any of these cleansers? What are you currently using?


This and That

May 18, 2020
Happy Monday, friends! Dare I say this past weekend was one of the most rejuivenating ones I've had in a while. It was equal parts relaxing as it was enjoyable and of course the nice weather helped. As we head into week 9 or 10 - honestly I can't remember, of staying at home, I have been reading, watching, ordering and cooking all sorts of things and thought I'd share in a full recap here. 

We enjoyed some fresh air over the weekend at Breakheart Reservation which is just outside the city. It was so nice to enjoy some socially distant family time. Turns out we have quite the little hiker on our hands! Also, when did Sophia grow up and become a teenager?! I can't believe she'll be two in a few months!

Excuse the paper plates, but sometimes I just want to not worry about dishes! We had some left over lobster from Mother's Day, so I decided to try my hand at some homemade lobster rolls without the mayo! It was just butter and garlic and oh so delicious! I also made homemade Big Mac's and let me say - knowing they are a tad healthier than the ones from McDonald's made it that much better. Thousand Island dressing is basically a dupe for the special sauce from McDonald's in case you ever want to make them at home. 

Really grateful for streaming services right now!! Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Apple TV there is no shortage of shows to watch! Most recently binged on:
  • Hollywood on Netflix
  • Defending Jacob on Apple TV 
  • Dead to Me season 2 on Netflix
  • Uploaded on Amazon Prime
  • Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu
  • Outerbanks on Netflix 
  • These two movies were actually pretty decent on Netflix - Extraction and Dangerous Lies

It had been a while since I read a good thriller / suspense book and The Housekeeper was a great return to that genre. Claire hasn't seen Hannah in ten years and unfortunately Hannah's life has turned out much better than Claire's, but that's only because Claire believes Hannah stole that life from her. Claire finds out that Hannah needs a housekeeper and applies for the position under a false name. From the truth about the past to what's really going on in the house is so twisted. There were gone girl vibes, but there was a twist I just didn't see coming.

I finally got my label maker and finished my spice organization. I also wanted to make some of my own homemade cleaning products so I ordered these amber glass spray bottles and started with an easy concotion - a little bleach and water for cleaning the door knobs and lights every day.
I'm still rocking the puff sleeve sweater from H&M and threw on a headband - felt like a new person actually putting effort into my appearance! 

I'll admit that being in quarantine has made me enjoy a glass of wine more often than normal and it's safe to say that I have found my new summer drink - Rosé Water! It's rosé and seltzer water which is actually something I would do on occasion, so this saves me a step and it comes in a can - I am sold! It's so refreshing and I'm so happy that they were kind enough to send me a pack to try! 

How was your weekend? Have you read or cooked anything great lately?

Coffee Table Books I'm Loving

May 13, 2020
Coffee table books are my weakness. Before having Sophia, my coffee table was actually styled with them, then they moved to a little side table until finally I store them on a bookshelf far away from her little hands - she gets into everything! Now once she's down for the night and we're relaxing, I pull out one of my favorites and read the tips, look at the styling of the pretty homes and find new recipes to try. Here's a few of my favorites and some that have been helping to pass the time and give me some inspiration!  
  • Whiskey in a Teacup || This was a gift from my sister soon after the book came out. She knows what a huge Reese Witherspoon fan I am and knew I'd love it. This type of coffee table book that not only tells a story, but also gives me something in return like a recipe or a new hair style to try, is my favorite. 
  • Cupcakes & Cashmere at Home || Emily Schuman feels like our generation's Martha Stewart. She makes easy to follow recipes, decorates with ease & gives you tips and tricks that you could actually copy. She's partly the reason I wanted to start a lifestyle blog!
  • All in Good Taste || The ultimately party planning book with fun pictures, playlists and ideas that make me want to have a get together with my friends ASAP. 
  • Style Me Pretty Weddings || I actually won this book from Boston Magazine when I was planning my wedding. I have dreams of having this book on a coffee table in my office if I ever open an office for full on bridal planning. The modern guide of what to do while planning a wedding and photos of real weddings for inspiration.
  • The Home Edit || Probably like most of you I have been in organizing mode these last few weeks. From making our spices all uniform, to organizing the fridge - everything needs to have a place and look pretty! I even went so far as to get a label maker - these are crazy times, friends! 
  • Celebrate by Lauren Conrad || I am a huge fan of Lauren Conrad and I think her website always provides really great information. She's taken me from single girl, to married and now to mom with her tips. When she came out with her book Celebrate it was on par with perfect party planning, great menus to put together for any type of get together and of course some design elements to add for a great time.
  • Elements of Family Style || My latest coffee table book purchase is this one by local interior designer Erin Gates. This is actually her second book that I've purchased and I like that she's in the chapter of life as me with a little kid at home, so making spaces look put together while being child friendly are her speciality. 

What are some of your favorite coffee table books? 


My First Experience Getting Botox

May 11, 2020
The day before my 33rd birthday I got Botox! It was something that I had thought about on and off since I turned 30 and started to notice that the lines in my forehead were bugging me a little bit, specifically what's known as the "11's" in between my eye brows. Now that it's been a little over two months and the results have really settled in, I felt like I could give a thorough review of my experience. Fair warning, trying to get facial expressions in a selfie makes for some really interesting photos!
Pre-Botox and showing a lot of expression
About 10 minutes after getting Botox. You can see a little bit of the redness, but it's actually from the ice pack, not the injections. 

I had been approached by a few Med Spa's in the past and never really knew whether to take it as a compliment that they would want to collaborate with me or as a diss because I needed it, but when Dr. Jeffrey Lee, a plastic surgeon reached out about checking out his practice, learning about the procedures he offers and only then if I wanted to move forward with Botox I could collaborate, I felt like it was a natural fit. 
This is the next day and already lines are fading fast!
While a separate consultation isn't necessary prior to getting an injection, since this was the first time I was doing anything like this, I wanted to feel comfortable with Dr. Lee and for him to answer a lot of my questions - many of which I would assume other first timer's would have. 
The next night, so a full 24 hours later, not a bit of pain, no filter and no lines!

Some frequently asked questions:

How long does it typically last?
This is purely dependent on how your body metabolizes the injection. Typically it lasts about 3 months but could be more. 
Does it hurt?
The pain level is very minimal, it feels like pinching. After going through it I will say there is a very strange sound that you hear with the needle going it, like a crunch, but after the pinch it doesn't hurt. You also put an ice pack on right after to minimize any bruising. 
Is there a difference between the types of injections?
There are two commonly known injections, one being Botox and the other being Dysport. Botox happens to be a little more well known and what Dr. Lee uses. Other than that, there aren't many differences, but Botox does have a better reputation. 
Are there any risks with Botox?
Some people may react differently on one side than the other. The other is that it is a toxin, but it's broken down specifically for this purpose and injected into the place that you want to "relax." This is actually why Dr. Lee likes to go a little less and adjust as needed. 
Anything that should be avoided right after getting an injection?
Dr. Lee said he recommends not going to the gym which would increase your chances of bruising and to not use any powdery makeup where the injections were. Other than that, you could carry on with pretty much anything. 
Two days later and the forehead lines are pretty much gone!

What's great about injectables is that it can be scaled, what that means is that it's better to start with less and then increase if needed. For Dr. Lee he likes to see his first time patients 2 weeks after the first injection to make sure you're happy with the results and to make sure that the botox is doing what it's supposed to be doing. For me, I had 16 units in between my brows and 8 across the forehead. It was the perfect dose and I started to "feel" results the next day. It feels a little like your muscles are frozen, not like you can't feel them but when you try to do your normal expressions, they're not quite as pronounced. Which is of course what you're after with botox! 
Exactly two weeks after getting the injections and so very happy with results! Photo taken from InstaStories. 

While I would have loved to go back into the office for my follow-up, COVID-19 took over and we had to FaceTime our session instead. He was able to see the results and had me do a few facial expressions so he could see how it was reacting. 
Two months later and the only lines that have gotten more prominent are around my eyes 😆

I am so incredibly happy with the results and couldn't believe how quickly I could see them. It's been a little over two months since my appointment and I can definitely see myself going back for more. The way Dr. Lee explained getting botox either preventively or to help relax the lines is thinking of it as a piece of paper that you fold. The more times you fold on the same line, the deeper and more pronounced it will get. So if you have a line that's not quite pronounced and you get botox, you're basically stunting it from getting deeper. 

It actually took me longer to get to the office from my house, than the injection itself! Quick, fairly painless and results that I saw the next day! Overall, it's probably no surprise at the end of this post that I would 100% get Botox again. Now instead of using the Beauty Plus app or a smooth filter, the Botox is my filter 😂

Huge thank you to Dr. Jeffrey Lee and his staff which provided me with a free Botox injection in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

10 Feel Good Movies to Watch Now

May 06, 2020
I was flipping through the channels earlier this week and had to stop at one of my all time favorites - My Best Friend's Wedding. It got me thinking about those feel good movies that I will always stop and watch regardless of how many times I've seen them. The beauty of these movies is sometimes they transport me to the first time I watched them, to a good memory I have of watching it or right now, just to help me forget the state of everything. Here are ten of my favorite feel good movies that I will always watch over again. 

Legally Blonde || My number one always, I could watch this movie every single week. Who doesn't love Elle Woods bringing happiness wherever she goes. It also helped me fall in love with Boston!

My Best Friends Wedding || This is an oldie, but such a goodie. The best scene of this entire movie is when they sing at the restaurant and the waiters are waving their little lobster claws - makes me smile every time. 

The Wedding Planner || Pretty sure this movie is the reason why I wanted to plan weddings. When Jennifer's character takes out nail polish remover from her bag and says she has everything you could ever need in there, it's what I think of every time someone at a wedding has a random request and I actually have it in my little "case." 

Sex and the City || I love SATC marathons and the movie is like watching so many episodes at once! I was actually studying abroad in Rome when this movie came out and a group of us went to go see it in the theaters so I will always remember watching it with subtitles!

Sweet Home Alabama || Classic Reese Witherspoon to me! From the Tiffany proposal to the "get down here and give me a divorce" line - it's pretty much a chick flick at it's best! Can't even tell you how many times I've said - "you have a baby, in a bar", when seeing a baby at a bar!

It's Complicated || Meryl Streep in this movie is just WOW! I think her relationship with Alec Baldwin is so fun, but the unsung hero in the movie is John Krasinski. Also, all the kitchen's in Nancy Meyer's movies are dream kitchens!

The Intern || Robert DeNiro is hilarious in this movie and Anne Hathaway plays overworked CEO to a T. I wish a senior citizen Intern program was a real thing because I guarantee we'd all learn something good working with them. 

Bride Wars || You don't have to be planning a wedding to love this movie. I was planning a wedding during the same time as my best friend, but thankfully we didn't want to get married at the same time. We did have the same wedding dress designer so without giving too many details about our dress we had to stealth like deduce that it wasn't the same one! Poor Bride vs. Rich Bride, Nice Bride, Vs. Bridezilla - definitely some funny moments. Also, Bryan Greenberg is one of my favorite actors!

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days || A classic if there ever was one! I'm pretty sure that I know every line in this movie - inflections and all. The way Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey banter is the best and her outfits are my favorite - including the one she wears to deliver the love fern!

Home Again ||  I don't know what it is about Home Again that makes me smile, but I love Reese's character starting over again and starting a new business all while housing 3 wanna be's in LA. Just relearning who she is at 40! Plus, Nancy Meyer's kitchens again!!

After I compiled this list I was reminded of a few other's that I can't get enough of including Because I Said So which reminds me so much of the relationship I have with my mom and sister and honorable mention to Devil Wears Prada that I also love and have seen so many times. Everything about the movie is just ah-mazing, but the clothes and Paris Fashion week are my favorite!

What's your go to movie to watch over and over again?

Recent Quarantine Purchases

May 04, 2020
We were blessed with such a beautiful weather weekend here after days and days of rain! Spent as much time as we could outside being safely socially distant! I shared some Amazon purchases last week, but I have been shopping at other retailers - mostly for Sophia since she's grown out of most of her clothes!

  • Old Navy was having a great sale so I bought the cutest packable spring jacket for Sophia. I needed something in between a warm puffer and a rain jacket so this was perfect. In that same order I bought these cute floral PJ's and this little fit and flare dress!
  • Was I in the market for a new tote bag? Nope definitely not, especially since who really knows when I'll need to wear an actual purse again, but Vince Camuto was having a great sale and I decided to treat myself to a little Mother's Day gift! 
  • We were running out of activities to do on rainy days with Sophia so I stocked up on some new arts and crafts and a new puzzle. The animal I'm most surprised Sophia picked up the easiest was Owl - who would have thought!?
  • Walmart is actually one of the best places I've found for really comfortable kids clothes and you really can't beat the prices. I stocked up on some new pajama's and leggings for Sophia. 
  • I knew that my nude heels at work were on their last leg, so I scooped up these beauties - that are still 60% off! They will just be sitting pretty in my closet until I can go back to work. 
  • I felt like I needed another pair of shorts for that warm weather I'm willing into fruition. I love anything with a tie belt! 
  • I've already mentioned my new H&M puff sleeve sweater, but it's worth mentioning again because it's that cute - comes in 3 colors!

What have you been shopping for recently?


April Learning | A Month of Duolingo

May 01, 2020
Here we are, the first day of May! Honestly, April absolutely flew by to me. You would think with days of not really being in the "routine" we're used to would tend to makes days go slowly, but it's been the opposite having to balance work, Sophia & everything in between.  I am happy to say that this month's challenge of learning /  practicing my Spanish went way better than meditation did for me last month! Side note, these photos have nothing to do with learning Spanish, but it was nice and sunny on Wednesday and I popped out because I decided it was time to get dressed in something other than leggings!
Gary is pretty much fluent in Spanish and tries to speak to Sophia when he can so that she gets that language as well as Russian from me and then of course English. What's worked for us is just using our words and phrases in those three languages and what's been truly amazing to see is how she knows exactly what something is in all three languages. She's a sponge right now and our hope is that she'll be trilingual in the future. 
Duolingo has a free app that you can upgrade to have no ads if you want, but the ads didn't bother me. There are dozens upon dozens of language that you can learn and practice. I think when / if we rebook our trip to Portugal, I'll do a month of Portuguese to get on better there. Would have been smart for me to do this when we went to France a few years ago since they really don't like when you speak in English there - well in Paris we found that to be true. 

The best spring jacket || Wedges (your first pair is only $10) 

I didn't start this out blind, I took 4 years of Spanish in high school that really stuck with me and a lot of this was refresher for me. Out of the 30 days in April, I only missed one day and I think I just forgot about it that day. Other than that I kept up with it, sometimes twice a day and would only take up 10 minutes of my time. 

How do I feel about my Spanish 30 days later - much more confident and sometimes Gary will practice with me so I get more immersion. I'm much better at reading and writing than actually conversing but with more practice I think I'll get there. What I'm really happy about is that I plan on keeping up with Duolingo even now that the month is over! Maybe I wont practice every day, but keeping that "streak" alive keeps me very competitive with myself!

Have you ever tried to pick up another language later in life?