Sunday, March 30, 2014

Show & Tell Sunday: Stuff I'm Into!

Hey everyone! After yesterday's post about my trip to Cassadaga, I think I've sufficiently (almond) milked my trip to Florida for all it's worth ;) I figured that since today is Show and Tell Sunday AND since it has been forever since I've done a "Fun Friday" style post, I would take today to show you some things I've been into lately :) I love doing these posts, it's always so fun! And you get a little peek into my crazy mind, ha!

My first new obsession is using Argan Oil in my hair. I hadn't heard of it until recently but I was immediately in love with it the first time I used it. I had already stopped using heat in my hair for the most part (I'm trying to give it a break from any harshness I've exposed it to over the years) and I had heard of all of the amazing benefits of using argan oil.  It is moisturizing and nourishing, and makes hair silky, soft and shiny. It is such an easy way to show your hair a little extra love and I can definitely feel the difference when I use it. I basically towel dry my hair as much as possible. I add a few drops of argan oil to my damp hair and comb it through and let it finish air drying. It's as simple as that!

Lately I've been brainstorming ways to earn a little extra money since life just seems to be getting more expensive. Freelance photo shoots are always an option (assuming I can find work) and I'm definitely working on lining up some portrait sessions. I've also been interested in making jewelry for a very long time and decided to give it a try and see what I come up with! I started off very simple with elastic beaded bracelets and I'm pretty happy with how they came out. Above you can see a set of stackable beaded bracelets that look really cute stacked on your wrist.

This one is a simpler, single bracelet with these hilarious skull beads I found. Also, I had no idea how to take a picture of this jewelry and was looking for something to hang it from and I found this guy hanging out on my shelf! He's normally toting a little surfboard but I thought the bracelet was a good accessory as well.

I'm planning on trying to make different kinds of bracelets (especially wrap bracelets!) and I'll keep you posted on my progress. If anything, it's a fun hobby and will be perfect when I need to give a gift (which is exactly what is happening with those stacking bracelets).

Check out this gorgeous cast iron teapot that my friend got me for the holidays this past year! I can't believe I haven't shown you until now. It is such a beautiful piece and steeps up the most delicious tea ever.

As you can see you put your loose tea or herbs/spices or whatever you want to steep into the basket and then fill the pot with boiling water. You let it steep for a few minutes and you have really delicious tea to sip :)

Have you guys ever heard of water marbling? It is a very cool effect for nails and I've watched a million videos on it and still found it to be a daunting process. I tried it for the first time today and was happy that I only did it as an accent nail because it didn't come out as cool as any of the pictures or videos that I've seen. Not a terrible first try but nothing spectacular either. The colors mixed into a silver and light pink but were supposed to be a burgundy, lilac and white. When I get better at it I'll definitely show you :)

That's all I've got for you today! I hope you enjoyed a peek into what I'm digging lately. Next week I'll show you some delicious raw food I've been eating (and drinking) lately. I've been trying to cram as much produce in my face as possible and I've been achieving my goal through smoothies, juices and salads/raw wraps. I'll show you some of that next week!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Nerd Alert! Cassadaga, Crystals & Healing

Hey everyone! I'm back for a Nerd Alert! post. I haven't done too many of these... mostly because the weather has not allowed me to get started on my Gold Coast Mansion series. Hopefully soon though! Anyway, today's post will be about my trip to the town of Cassadaga while I was in Florida. It was a really interesting experience for me because I've always been interested in spiritualism, mediums, psychics and crystal healing. Cassadaga is known for its concentration of psychics and mediums and is known as the "Psychic Capital of the World." It reminds me of a town in NY called Lily Dale which is said to be another town with a high concentration of psychics and mediums but I've never been to.

I had never heard of Cassadaga until my friend and I were sitting outside drinking coffee on his patio and figuring out what we wanted to do on Saturday. He then told me about Cassadaga and I was immediately excited! It worked out perfectly because he (I'll refer to him as G from now on) and his friend (who I'll refer to as C and who I love!) have been wanting to go for a long time as well. So it came together pretty quickly and we ended up making the 45 minute trip on Saturday. It was a hot (85 degrees), beautiful, sunny day and it was perfect for a day trip.

So when we got to town we parked and headed right to the bookstore and information center. I suspect it is the first stop for most visitors because it had a really amazing store with tons of books and crystals and gorgeous jewelry and lots of information about the town. There was also a large board with the names of all of the mediums in the town with their phone numbers so you can call and schedule a reading. I've been curious about readings for a long long time but we all decided to forego the reading for this trip. We decided to just explore the town by foot and check out a couple of the stores.

We spent a while in the Bookstore/Information Center checking everything out. I made my first purchase then because it was the only one that I saw in the exact style/color I wanted and didn't want to miss out on it so I bought it on the spot. It was really interesting too because C walked up to me with it and said that he knew it was perfect for me as soon as he saw it and I absolutely loved it.

This is my amazing Tree of Life necklace that I love so much. I'm not a big jewelry person and I'm certainly not a big, chunky jewelry kind of gal but I loved it the minute I saw it. I love that it is a tree of life which symbolizes wisdom, strength, protection, beauty, bounty and redemption. Buddhists call it the "Tree of Enlightenment" and in Judaism it is said to sustain and nourish life. These are all things that I want to manifest in my life so this necklace definitely came to me for a reason.

When I was young I had a massive gem/mineral/rock collection. This should be no surprise considering my love of geology and my current obsession with prospecting. I don't know what happened to it... my guess is that my rocks never made it when we moved from Queens to Long Island when I was 13. Interesting side story... my rock collection started as a reward for doing well in speech therapy when I was really young. I have NO IDEA why I was in speech therapy (my mom doesn't even remember that I was in speech therapy, ha!) but I specifically remember my mom buying me beautiful gems and minerals as my reward. Anyway, the memories of that collection came back when I was in that store, looking at all of the healing crystals that they had. I knew that I would be starting a rock collection again and this time I would use them for healing.

I asked G and C if we could go back for the crystals and they said no problem. We walked around the town and saw more shops with more crystals, jewelry and things of that nature. We walked down to the park and trail that I discussed in my post on Monday and enjoyed some time outside and soaked up some natural vitamin D. Before heading home we went back to the Bookstore/Info Center so I could pick up some rocks.

Before I show you what I got I should point out that the town is really big on encouraging you to tap into your intuition. They say you should let your intuition guide you when choosing your medium and I let my intuition guide me in my crystal selection. It was really interesting as I was drawn to crystals that make you feel grounded and help with anxiety, depression, and self esteem issues (all huge problems that I have). 

So here is the start of my new crystal collection!

Aragonite Cluster

I am OBSESSED with this crystal. I think it is one of the most gorgeous stones I've ever seen. I love the color, the formation and the overall look and this was the very first stone I was drawn to. When I read the description I was floored because my "intuition" drew me to this crystal that aids with self esteem and confidence... traits that I lack and have been especially challenged with over the past few years. It is also meant to alleviate stress, anxiety and other negative feelings you may have.


This gorgeous multi colored crystal is called fluorite. It is said to help bring order to chaos and to alleviate pain from issues such as arthritis and nervous system related pain. Pain relief is also something that I've been seeking for years as my neck and shoulders just continue to cause more problems and become more stiff... my neck has been "in spasm" consistently for months if not the past year. 


Labradorite is said to help you find your true path in life. It is also said to help you find balance, wisdom and patience (a virtue that I lost a long time ago!) and also is said to help with you deal with fear and insecurity. It also helps with physical ailments such as colds and "menstrual stress." Ladies, you know any help with that is welcome.


Jet is known for it's protection against violence and sickness. It also eases anxiety and depression and is most known for helping to deal with grief.


This gorgeous stone is called sodalite. This stone is meant to calm the mind, encourage rational thought, and encourage self esteem, self trust and self acceptance. It's also thought to calm panic attacks and balance emotions as well as boost the immune system and relieve insomnia. These issues are a pretty good summary of the ailments that have been plaguing me the past few years. I think I want to try and find a piece of sodalite jewelry to wear so I can have this healing energy on me while I'm out and about ;) Plus it's gorgeous!

Rainbow Moonstone

The rainbow moonstone is a stone for inner growth and strength. It is also known as the traveler's stone and is supposed to protect you in your travels. It is said to help with many physical ailments as well, such as swelling, menstrual issues, digestive issues and helps align vertebrae.

So now that I've described the healing properties of each rock you can see that my intuition led me to exactly what I needed. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around all of t

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday - The Orlando Edition

As promised, I'm back to show you all of the yummy food I ate while in Florida! I think there was a good mix of healthy and a little bit naughty... some good vacation balance I think ;)

Check out the eats!

Up first is a tradition that we have which is a trip to Loving Hut! Every time I go I say I'm going to have something different but every time I get the same meal. This is the "Combo #1" which consists of rice, summer rolls, tofu and vegetables. As you can see I almost forgot to take a pic this time and dug in before I remembered! ;) It was delicious as always.

I also baked on Friday which is also tradition. This trip I decided to make some vegan chocolate chunk brownies from Party Vegan. They were delicious but a little crumbly... a problem that can be fixed in only one way...

Heating and topping with ice cream. This is a piece of blondie heated for a few seconds and topped with So Delicious chocolate ice cream. So delicious it was.

This snack plate is courtesy of a friend of my friend (who I've gotten to know over the past few years and love!)! He made us a lovely snack plate of mini pitas, sliced tomato and cucumber and on the side is sun dried tomato hummus. He did a great job! 

So I saw his veggie snack plate and raised him a fruit snack plate. Grapes, strawberries and the rest of the vegan chocolate chunks from the blondies melted on the side for dipping. The three of us didn't even make a dent in this huge plate, ha!

It is also tradition for me to cook a dinner and this time I decided to go kind of simple and make a pasta dish. This is my friend's plate (do you see the random heart in the sliced garlic?! How cute!)... I used a salad sized plate for my serving, ate about 2/3 of it and wanted to die, ha! I've never been a big pasta eater and when I do eat it a little goes a long way... it just feels like a heavy meal in my tummy. Anyway, this pasta dish was SO SIMPLE but also so delicious! It is tricolor pasta with steamed broccoli in a garlic and olive oil sauce. It was so flavorful despite the short ingredient list. I'll definitely be making this again in very small portions ;)

As I mentioned on Monday, we went for a walk around Lake Baldwin on Sunday evening then enjoyed a lovely Mexican dinner overlooking the lake. I started with a (strong!!) frozen strawberry margarita. It was so good.

I ordered the veggie fajitas which in this case (since I asked for no bell peppers) was a sizzling plate of mushrooms and onions.

On the side was some guacamole, pico de gallo, rice and black beans. I asked for them to leave off the dairy. It also came with tortillas for wrapping. Very delicious meal! Also ate about half before being totally stuffed.

On Monday we went for lunch at Ethos Vegan Kitchen! We normally go for brunch but decided to try it out for lunch this time. It was amazing, as always. We had an adorable waitress who was so sweet!

We started by splitting an order of garlic knots between the three of us. They were DELICIOUS, the best I've ever had! They were piping hot and super fresh, sprinkled with vegan parm and served with a garlic butter dipping sauce.

I chose the Crispy Chickun Salad. It has baby spinach and mixed spring greens topped with crispy chickun, tomatoes, cheddar cheese (presumably Daiya), cucumbers, carrots and red onions (which I left off). You can choose ranch or agave mustard dressing and I went for the agave mustard dressing. It was so delicious! Definitely recommend this salad.

And there you have it, the meals I enjoyed in Orlando! I definitely ate well on this trip and had such a great time! I'm also looking forward to talking a little bit more about our day trip to Cassadaga, which I will do in my Nerd Alert! post this Saturday. 

I hope you have all been enjoying these recap posts! Stay warm all of my chilly friends here in the Northeast!

Monday, March 24, 2014

This Week In... Orlando!

Hey everyone!! I'm baaaaaaaaaack! The cold 32 degree weather was kind of a punch in the gut coming back from the gorgeous 85 degree Florida weather but that's the way it goes I suppose. Anyway, I just got home about an hour ago and I couldn't wait to show you guys some pictures from my trip! You'll have to wait until Wednesday to see the yummy food I had down there though ;) Such a tease, I know.

I know you're probably wondering why the hell I took a pic of my "allergy kit." Well, it's because I was going to be sharing a space with...

This handsome guy!! He is so freaking cute I can't stand it. Here he is resting on the very top level of his kitty mansion that his grandma got for him ;) You can see he can't be bothered by my nosiness.

So on Friday we ran our usual errands that we run when I visit (Whole Foods, grocery store, wine store, etc.) and after that we settled in to catch up and...

Have a glass of wine with Kathie Lee and Hoda... those lushes, hahahaha! He loves them and I find them amusing, especially their love of daydrinking so we decided to join them for a glass of wine. And this was when I found out that wine makes me soooooooo sleepy.

Here is an obligatory photo of a silhouette of a palm tree. When in Florida, take photos of palm trees.

On Saturday we took a little day trip to a town about 40 minutes away from my friend called Cassadaga. It is a spiritualist community and is known for the amount of mediums and psychics that inhabit the town. We walked around and checked out the shops and it was really interesting. I purchased a few things but I'll hold off until Saturday to tell you about that ;) I'm full of teases in this post!

It was hard to get a clear pic of the building but this is the Cassadaga Hotel. The building was so incredibly beautiful, this photo doesn't do it justice.

There was also a park and a short nature trail in the town. It is so hard to describe but the air smelled sweet! When we were walking the trail the air smelled amazing and sweet and I *think* it may be because there were orange trees around there? I thought I saw a sign for it but I didn't see any oranges. Lots of little lizards running around too.

On Sunday we had a lazy day and watched some movies before going out for an evening walk around Lake Baldwin (the same lake from the pictures last year) followed by dinner (and a margarita) on the patio of a Mexican Restaurant.

Here is the gorgeous view from our table at the restaurant. It happened to be sunset too so we were treated to a blue and pink sky. It was a gorgeous evening. (Note - I darkened this picture on purpose so you can't really see the faces of the other diners. I feel weird showing people without permission!)

Today we were slow waking up but then got ourselves together and went to a vegan restaurant for breakfast (actually lunch since it was noon when we got there) and then just hung out until it was time for me to leave.

The flight home was ok and I was treated to some gorgeous sunset views. Naturally I captured them for you, my friends.

Beautiful, colorful sunset!

Sunset over NY. So pretty, the colors were so stunning. 

When I walked outside at the airport here in NY I was greeted by bitter cold temperatures. It's crazy what a different a thousand miles makes ;)

So there is the overview of my trip! Stay tuned for Wednesday to see what delicious meals I ate (and cooked) while I was there. I'll do my best to catch up with all of your posts too!

Monday, March 17, 2014

This Week In Instagram

Hey everyone! Hope you had a good Monday and a Happy St. Patrick's Day! I haven't really had a ton of green food but I made a discovery that will drastically increase  my green consumption and I'm excited about that! More to come on that later this week ;)

So I have a few random Instagram pictures to show you this week. The excitement level of this post is down close to nonexistent but I figured I'd still post them anyway. This is how un-exciting my life is... until this weekend that is. Just two more work days until vacation and I definitely can't wait. That means that hopefully next week's photo wrap up will be far more exciting (and full of wine and margaritas, ha!).

So here are my photos from the past week:

I don't know about you guys but I'm kind of obsessed with Bed Bath & Beyond. We got this catalog last week and not only did I love the aesthetics of it but I wanted one of everything on the cover... which meant that I'd probably want everything inside as well. Which I pretty much did. These marketing people were smart because you know everyone loves a mason jar.

I took this screen shot of the weather app in my phone last Tuesday. It was a GORGEOUS day and definitely one of the first true spring like days we've had. Of course it didn't last long but I made sure to get out and take a walk on my break so I could at least enjoy it a little. I even drove around a bit after work to enjoy the fresh air. There is nothing better than driving on a beautiful day with the windows down and nowhere to be. 

This was a night time stop sign shot I took on the way home from work on Wednesday (so it was just after 9:00 pm). I just thought the neighborhood looked nice and I love when the lights look all flare-y and whatnot.

So I made this side by side view because I was looking through my photos and found both of them and thought it would be interesting to show you what I saw out of my window after Hurricane Sandy hit. On the left you have the typical view and you can see that there are tons of houses in the neighborhood. After the hurricane hit and the power was out for 11 days all I could see in my neighborhood after sunset (which was early, around 5:30 since the hurricane hit so late!) was the moon. I remember how eerie it was and how words couldn't describe what I was seeing. I also remember taking this picture maybe 2 or 3 days after the storm hit and thinking it was crazy that the neighborhood was completely black. I know it is a weird and random thing to think about now but the old photos made me think about it.

That's all for today. I'm not sure if I'll have a post on Wednesday but I'll definitely post a Throwback Thursday recipe before I leave for Florida. I'll also be scheduling a a review post for Sunday while I'm away :)

I hope you all have a great few days! 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Show & Tell Sunday: A Year Later

Hey everyone! I hope that you have all had a great weekend :) The weather has been so amazing here over the past two or three days and I've definitely been enjoying it. Today was a special day because I did a first birthday/cake smash photo shoot for my friend's son. I photographed him when he was 3-4 weeks old and then again over the holidays and now for his first birthday. It is so amazing how he has grown into a beautiful little man. I thought it would be fun to show some pictures of him when he was a little peanut in his very first photo shoot and what he looks like now, a year later! It's always so fun to watch them grow and I can't believe it has already been a year.

Baby Dean's First Photo Shoot (1 Month)

He's been a happy baby from day 1! Such a sweet boy.

I just love this picture. His tiny little feet next to the stuffed animal's foot. So cute.

Baby Dean's First Birthday/Cake Smash (1 Year)

Look at how much he's grown up!

He is such a little man!

I love this picture!

Cake everywhere!

This one is too cute. I love his tongue sticking out! :)

Isn't it crazy how much of a difference a year can make?! Delilah loves him so much too :) They are good family friends and the sweetest people ever and it has made me so happy that I can capture these memories for them. There are a lot more from the shoot but these are just a few of my favorites :)

That's all for this Show and Tell Sunday! Next week I'm going to have another review for you (I'll schedule the post so it still goes up even though I'll be away). I am so excited, just two more days of work until vacation!

That's all for today! Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday... on Friday

Hey everyone! I told you I'd make up for my missed Wednesday post :) I hope you enjoyed yesterday's Throwback Thursday post with the snack recipes. Today I have a few pictures of food I enjoyed over the week. I only have a few but it's better than the zero I've been posting recently. I just feel like I'm rushing around all the time and just forget to take them but sometimes I remember just in time.

Here's what I've been eating over the past week:

Meal from the salad bar. Lots of carrots, some dolmas, roasted potatoes (very oily, only ate a few of them) and a cucumber and tomato salad (also a bit too oily).

A beautiful container of really sweet fresh fruit. This one has cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberry, orange and kiwi.

I drank many smoothies like this one. I had this one at work and it was to the very top of my large mason jar. I used my glass straw too which I love so much. This one is my favorite combo of banana, strawberry and pineapple.

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to breakfast with a friend on Wednesday. In addition to the great conversation and catch up, I had a really delicious breakfast of steel cut oats, cinnamon topping, fresh strawberries and pecans. It was from Panera and it was really good. I definitely recommend it if you are going to be there for breakfast.

So there was another meal I was going to post that I've been eating a lot this week but I'm going to save it for Sunday when I review the cookbook it came from :) I'm also getting really excited because in less than a week I'll be soaking up some sun and some best friend time and it can't come soon enough!

Hope you all had a great week. I still haven't been able to get to a mansion because of weather (and it's supposed to snow AGAIN on Monday, ugh!) but I'll get you the first post of my Gold Coast Mansion series as soon as I can.

See you Sunday!