Bâtard Tribeca: Restaurant Review

Happy Monday blog readers!  

I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend!  Mark and I took the opportunity to do a whole lot of nothing- just what we both needed 😉  The weekend prior, we spent the night in Manhattan for dinner and a show.  We both LOVE to eat and one of the things we often do together is go out for dinner.  This dinner was special for both of us as it was our first dining experience at a Michelin Star restaurant.  

For those who may not know what a Michelin Star is, they are a distinction of honor awarded to restaurants with exceptional quality food by the Michelin Guides.  Restaurants can be awarded up to 3 stars, representing the highest quality cooking.  Restaurants can also lose their stars.  I didn’t know about this honor until I started watching the Emmy-nominated Netflix docuseries, Chef’s Table– which by the way I HIGHLY recommend.  It is so so so well done.  Mark and I would love to be able to go to every Michelin star restaurant in NYC- there are currently 72.  So, in honor of our first meal at a Michelin Star restaurant, here are my impressions of Bâtard Tribeca:

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| Location |

Located on West Broadway- which is perpendicular to the most precious side street in Tribeca, White Street- you get a sense for the cool Tribeca vibe.  It’s lined with sweet boutiques, coffee shops, and now-residential historic industrial buildings.

| Atmosphere |

Dimly lit and romantic with minimalist decor- it’s the perfect date night spot.  Although, it would be more than appropriate for dinner with a group of friends or a girl’s night.  Unlike many other fine dining restaurants, Bâtard is a bit more casual- you won’t see the typical white table cloths.  Instead, dark table tops and chairs allow the impeccably plated dishes to take center stage.  The walls are adorned with subtle sculpted tree branch patterns in a soft beige, drawing your attention up.  Two crystal chandeliers add some bling and soft light to the space.  Although Mark and I did not experience this, other reviewers have commented on the heightened noise level during peak times.  AKA, diners at Bâtard like to drink wine and have a good time.  No complaints there!

| Beverages |

The cocktails are on par with standard NYC prices and they are so worth it-  I got the Bramble, which has gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and crème de mûre- a blackberry liqueur.  It was refreshing and delicious- served in a unique glass with a copper straw and garnished with a blackberry.  The copper straw was ice cold and made the drink that much more refreshing. Mark ordered the Sazerac, which has bache-gabrielsen cognac, st. george absinthe, peychaud bitters.  He enjoyed it!  We ordered a delicious bottle of red burgundy to go with dinner- if you have any wine-pairing questions or need a recommendation, the Sommelier is a great resource.

| Food |

The price-fixed menu changes periodically, so check in frequently.  You have the option to order 2 courses for $59, 3 for $79, or 4 for $89.

Leah’s choices:

Madai Crudo, Garganelli, Niman Ranch Dry-Aged Strip Loin, and assorted sorbets for dessert.  Madai is a fish imported from the Pacific, typically Japan.  It has a nice texture and mild, sweet flavor.  It was served raw in a vinaigrette/broth with cucumber, chile, and citrus.  This ended up being my favorite dish of the night.  The Garganelli pasta was the perfect al dente- it was topped with lamb shank ragu and cubed butternut squash.  For salt and crunch, sprinkled on top were almonds crisp lamb bacon.  Although I ordered it, I think this was Mark’s favorite dish of the night.  I ordered my steak cooked medium and it was perfect- a pink center and crispy, perfectly charred crust.  It was juicy and packed with flavor, and paired perfectly with the sweet potato puree, bone barrow, and small serving of kale.  I practically licked my plate clean.  The sorbets were creamy and delicious, without being too filling.  They were sprinkled with what I believe to be cocao nibs.

Mark’s choices:

Octopus “Pastrami”, Seared Fois Gras, Duck Breast, and the Valrhona Chocolate for dessert.  The Octopus pastrami is quite an interesting concept- it’s essentially a “loaf” of naturally congealed octopus with pastrami spices.  The ham hock gave it a hint of salt, and the new potatoes and pommery mustard (whole grain) paired perfectly with the dish.  I was being brave to try this one since I am not a huge fan of Octopus, let alone octopus loaf, but to my surprise- I loved it.  I only had a very small taste of the fois since I am not a big fan at all.  However, it was pretty darn delicious.  Still not something I would order myself at a restaurant but Mark loves it and he couldn’t say enough about how delicious it was here.  I can’t comment on the Duck Breast since I did not try it but the dessert was fantastic!  It was the perfect balance of smooth, crunchy, creamy, hot, and cold.   Who doesn’t love chocolate?

| Service |

The service was excellent.  Our waiter was attentive but not overbearing.  While there, we saw both the head chef and the restaurant owner.  The wait staff were knowledgeable and friendly, offering more bread on multiple occasions (its hard to say no- trust me).  First courses were served quickly but each remaining course was spread out and strategically timed.

| Things to mention |

Reservations accepted.  Jeans are acceptable.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this post and consider dining at Bâtard next time you are in Manhattan.  What are your favorite restaurants?  I hope you all have a beautiful week! xx

 

 

 

 

Change Your Life Through Perspective

Good morning & Happy Monday

Today’s post is one that I am so excited to share with all of you because of the potential it has to make an impact on the quality of your life.  Mental health necessitates maintenance, effort, and attention- just as does physical health.  Take the time to read this post, be intentional about your thoughts and perspectives, and shift the way in which you view the world.

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|| Practice gratitude, everyday ||

I know I have said it before, but this is E V E R Y T H I N G.  There is always something to be thankful for- intact vision and access to the internet are two factors that facilitate your reading this post, both of which are not guaranteed in this world.  Take time every single day to reflect on the reasons you have to be grateful and I promise you, your life will change.  I just ordered The Five Minute Journal, which will force me to take 5 minutes every morning and night to record my reflections.  However, you do NOT need a journal like this to practice gratitude.  Take time on your morning commute or while you drink your first cup of coffee to be intentional about gratitude.  Challenge yourself to reframe your perspective on the aspects of your life that you may feel pretty shitty about- do you hate your job?  Learn to be thankful that you have a job and money to pay the bills.

|| Search for the lesson ||

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  After hearing this phrase throughout my life, the gravity of it’s meaning is finally settling in.  Not a single person in this world has a perfect life- negativity and misfortune are inevitable- but the way you choose to react to situations will impact the trajectory of your future.  We are all human- we make mistakes, we fail, the outcomes we expect don’t always pan out.  I challenge you to search for the lesson in those failures and frame your attitude to be thankful for your new knowledge.  This new knowledge will help you cultivate more meaningful relationships, the qualities to be a better employee, brother, mother, sister, girlfriend; and open the door for new opportunities.   Life is rich with lessons: Make light of the dark.

|| Limit negative self talk ||

Believe in yourself.  Even if you don’t, start to tell yourself that you do and eventually you will.  When you set goals for yourself, have every intention of achieving them and take action.  This is definitely one that I am working on- my goals are so big they scare me sometimes.  Once in a while, an unwelcome voice enters my mental dialogue.  It’s the voice that says “you can’t, you’re being unrealistic, there are a million other people in this world that want what you do, you don’t have the money, you don’t have the means, you aren’t smart enough,” etc.  I am learning to pay this voice no attention.  When you actively focus on your positive qualities and intentions, the empty space that could be occupied with self-deprecating thoughts will narrow in time.

|| Consider the situation of others || 

sonder
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

I LOVE this word and the gravity of its meaning.  Although it can be hard to wrap your head around, every single person in this world has their own story- their own set of struggles and misfortunes.  Everyone is brought up in different environments under different circumstances- some of us were raised by parents that love us.  Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky- they may have been exposed to trauma and abuse.  Some people do not have the means to feed themselves or their families.  Others are caring for a parent or spouse that is undergoing cancer treatments.  Unless you ask, you will likely not know what each person you interact with is going through.  Keep this in perspective and never lose sight of it, even when it’s not easy.  Next time you feel tempted to judge another for their actions, consider the situation they are in and send them light.

|| Stop comparing yourself to everyone else ||

This cuts down on that ugly, negative, energy-consuming, jealousy.  Unless you look to others purely as a source of inspiration, it is not healthy to compare yourself to anyone but the person you were yesterday.  If someone has something you want- a degree, a car, a slim figure, a salary, a family, a handbag, etc.- make an intentional choice to forego those feelings of jealousy, and channel your energy towards achieving a goal.  To compare yourself to the person that has something you want is not only unfair to you, but it consumes your thoughts with negativity and self-pity.  Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday, last month, last year, 5 years ago- what have you achieved?  What have you learned?  Use your accomplishments as fuel to continue achieving the goals you set for yourself.

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Be thankful for the big things and the small things.  Take time every day to remind yourself of these blessings.  Allow yourself to be human and make mistakes but learn from those mistakes and use those lessons as motivation to achieve.  Consider the factors that influence others’ behavior.  Love yourself and be patient with yourself.  Set goals and achieve them.  Then set more goals.  Be intentional and present.  Always be the best version of you. Cheers to being positive and living your best life! xx 

Lifestyle Changes For A Healthier You

Good morning blog readers!  

It’s the second Monday of the new year and there’s no better day to start making your dreams come true.  How many of us make a general new year’s resolution to lose weight or be healthier?  This was me for countless years, only to fall off the healthy bandwagon a few months after starting.  The key to success in maintaining a healthy body type is to make lifestyle changes.  Disclaimer: I am by no means a nutritionist or dietician but I am happy to share what has worked for me.  These are a few of the lifestyle changes I have implemented since losing roughly 15 pounds and keeping it off since my chunkier high school days.

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1 | Be smart about beverage choices

Making mindful choices about what liquids you put in your body can make a substantial difference in your ability to lose weight or maintain a healthy physique.  I am breaking down this category into three main subcategories: coffee, alcohol, and soda.

coffee: my daily order used to be a medium hot coffee with mocha or pumpkin (seasonally) and whole milk or cream.  I often had two of these daily.  These flavored syrups are packed with sugar and empty calories.  A medium hot coffee with mocha and cream from Dunkin Donuts has 260 calories, 9 grams of fat, and a whopping 34 grams of sugar.  As you probably know, this is not a healthy choice and sneaks up on us in the form of decreased energy, increased inches, and weight gain.

I started drinking my daily 2-3 cups of coffee with a splash of 2% milk and organic stevia (a natural zero calorie sweetener).  This has 0 grams of sugar and roughly 30 calories per cup. I make it at home, which saves me money and allows me to have more control over what I put in my body.  When I want a treat (a holiday latte from Starbucks for example), I order my drink with no whipped cream and only one pump of flavor.  For reference, baristas typically use 4-5 pumps for a grande or medium.  My usual coffee order at a coffee shop is a cappuccino- I do not add sugar so the calories are mostly coming from the milk.

alcohol: alcoholic beverages are yet another source of empty calories, but some drinks are worse than others.  Instead of sugary mixed drinks with fruit juices and other crap, I opt for more simple cocktails with fresh squeezed lemon or lime.  My go-to when I am out with friends is a vodka soda with extra lime.  The calories are all coming from the vodka since seltzer and lime are calorie-free.  I love wine as well, and I have recently swapped more red blends for white- Pinot Grigio is my fav.  Red wine has less sugar and other properties such as antioxidants that are actually healthy.  Here is an article that goes over the benefits of drinking red wine.

soda: my rule is not to buy soda for your home- only buy it out in moderation.  However, I think if you can cut out soda entirely, you are much better off.  My weakness is coca-cola.  I used to order it every time I went to a restaurant but I stopped doing that and now order water with lemon instead.  The only time I will get a coke is at McDonalds because everyone know theirs is exceptionally delicious- it’s worth the treat 😉  If you love the carbonation and want something with a little flavor, try flavored seltzer water.  Most are flavored naturally with no sweeteners and therefore no calories.  My favorite brands are La Croix and Perrier 🙂

2 | Drink a bottle of water before having seconds 

Overeating can be engrained in us from a young age, especially those of us raised in America.  Who was told they had to finish a meal before being excused from the table?  I still struggle with this, especially when the food tastes delicious 😉  This is a solution I have found to be effective- Serve yourself a reasonable portion of food- maybe a bit smaller than you typically do.  Finish that initial portion, then drink a full bottle of water to help your body digest.  If you are still hungry after drinking the water, help yourself to a second, smaller portion.  If you are full, simply stop eating.  Sometimes the receptors in our digestive system require additional time to communicate with the center of our brain that give us the signal for “full.” By taking the time to drink a bottle of water, we allow our brain to catch up with our belly and prevent overeating.

3 | Find a method of exercise that you love

This is so important.  I used to belong to a gym that did not offer classes so it was up to me to be self-disciplined enough to hit all of the muscle groups and research effective and safe exercises to do on the machines.  In the beginning I was motivated and feeling good, but after a few months I got bored of the treadmill and elliptical and started dreading my workouts.  It actually got to a point that I once drove all the way to the gym, sat in the car for 20 minutes, then drove back home.  Kudos to those of you that are disciplined and self-motivated enough to work out like this.  It just wasn’t for me.

My whole perception of exercise transformed when I started taking group exercise classes.  My favorites are barre, hot yoga, and pilates.  I also mix in cycling and kickboxing every now and then.  I love that an instructor tells me exactly what to do which takes the guess work out of it, and I love the motivation I get from exercising with other people.  Some of you might enjoy taking classes, and some of you might not- thats okay.  The point here is to trial different things and find what works best for you.  Exercise is a life long commitment so it’s so important to keep it fun!  Make a list of options you may be interested in, look up studios or gyms near you using a simple google search or the MINDBODY app, and call them for more information!  Most studios and gyms will allow you to do a free trial class for your first time.

4 | Go to the grocery store after working out

Although I understand this situation is not always possible- because, life- I have noticed that when I do my grocery shopping after a workout, I make significantly better choices.  Just try it 😉

5 | Don’t deprive yourself

Guys, do NOT, and I repeat DO NOT deprive yourself of the foods you love.  Life is meant to enjoy, and if food gives you as much joy as it does me, why would you ever restrict yourself?  Life is all about balance and food is no exception.  If you ate chick-fil-a for dinner last night, get a work out in today and skip the dessert.  If you know you are going out for dinner tonight, eat a light breakfast and lunch with protein to hold you over.  Make intentional choices everyday about the foods you eat and I promise you, your body will thank you.

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Be kind to yourself.  Recognize your body for the good it does.  Take it one step at a time.  Praise yourself when you earn it.  Forgive yourself when you fu*k up.  Enjoy food- it’s meant to be enjoyed.  Eat chocolate and cheese and wine and pasta.  But also eat vegetables.  Cheers beautiful people. xx

A Year In Review: 2017

Happy Monday & HAPPY NEW YEAR

It’s officially 2018 and I couldn’t be more excited for the wonderful things in store. This year I will graduate with my Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy- something I have put so much of my time, money, and energy towards. I can’t wait to see it all pay off and start my dream career. 2018 is also the year I finally move out of my parent’s house and move in with my boyfriend of 8 years (it’s about time).

As we close out 2017, I wanted to take the time to reflect on the year I’ve had. I posted one photo from each month during 2017. Each photo captures something special about that month. I chose make this a blog post because I would like to make it an annual tradition and have the opportunity to look back on previous years.   If you choose to do a recap of your year, use the hash tag #rosecoloredrecap2017 so I can follow along and read about all of your journeys in 2017!  

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| JANUARY |

A trip to Dallas, TX to visit my best friend. Cocktails, shopping, a Brothers Osborne concert, and a visit to the Magnolia Market in Waco.

| FEBRUARY |

Back to Dallas, TX for another visit. More cocktails, more shopping, and this time- a visit to Houston to work at the Superbowl. One dead car key, an Uber ride to AutoZone for a replacement battery, a failed attempt to start the car with the new battery, many calls to AAA, many more failed attempts to start the car, an airport rental car, and a four hour drive back to Dallas to catch our flights the next day.

A bridesmaids dress purchase, a friend’s birthday brunch, Mark’s birthday.

| MARCH |

A trip to Philadelphia for the AOTA Annual Conference and celebration of 100 years of Occupational Therapy. A grad school friend’s baby shower. My first glass of rosé for the season.

| APRIL |

Spring. So many flowers. Easter brunch with Mark and my family. A friend’s birthday celebration in Jersey City. Dinner and Anastasia on Broadway for my best friend’s birthday.

| MAY |

Charleston, SC with Mark. So much food, fun, cocktails, and exploration of this beautiful city. A few favorites: Charlestowne Tobacco and Wine for a classy spot to people watch and sip on a glass. Paw Paw’s for fried chicken and frozé. Fleet Landing for seafood and cocktails- peel and eat shrimp, crab cakes, softshell crab sandwiches, margaritas, and mojitos. The Vendue rooftop for a great view, delicious food, and drinks.

Bucks County Designer Show House with my mom followed by drinks at the Swan Bar in Lambertville. Memorial Day celebrations at my bestie’s parents’ house.

| JUNE |

An overnight getaway to Cape May, NJ with mom. Lots of cocktails, a tutorial on snapchat and lots of laughs, a peaceful walk on the beach, shopping, and stops at two of our favorite places: Congress Hall and Virginia Hotel.

Passed my pre-fieldwork clinical evaluations at school and celebrated the end of the didactic portion of OT school with my class in Manayunk, PA. Celebrated my birthday with both my mom and Mark at the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse, NJ, and again with two of my best friends at Nektar in New Hope, PA.

| JULY |

My best friend moved to LA- I was there a week after she moved. West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, LACMA, Malibu, Santa Monica, Catalina Island, a hike to the Hollywood sign, and Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice. Laughter, tears, cocktails, shopping, sightseeing, hiking, electric bike riding, FUN.

Toasted to one of my best friends and her boyfriend on their purchase of a house, and helped them put together a new vacuum 😉 Started construction in my parents’ house.   Long Beach Island for rooftop cocktails at Daddy-O’s, ice-cream cones at Ben & Jerry’s, and amusement park rides at Fantasy Island.

| AUGUST |

Nearly had a mental break down from anxiety about starting fieldwork. Started my blog! Showed my two girlfriends from grad school and their precious babies around my new town, New Hope, PA. Many day trips to the beach. Notably- Ocean Grove, NJ.

| SEPTEMBER |

Crossed off one of my mom’s bucket list items with her- attended a dinner hosted by Outstanding In The Field in Pipersville, PA. Went to Unionville Vineyards on a rainy Friday with Mark’s mom for a tour and wine pairing. Apple picking.

Hurricane Irma. Cancelled flights to Charleston for my bestie’s bachelorette weekend. New trip booked in record time. Destination: Southampton, NY. Beachfront views, Soul Cycle, limo tour of the vineyards, dinners, drinks, pool, selfie sticks, glitter, floppy hats, Howard Stern spotting, dancing, and champagne.

| OCTOBER |

A lavish dinner at the Ryland Inn. A bridal shower at the Chart House in Weehawken, NJ. Pumpkin picking with the kids I used to babysit that have become family. Adoration of the Halloween decorations in Lambertville , NJ. An award ceremony honoring one of the busiest and most selfless women I know.

| NOVEMBER |

A day in Princeton with my mom for lunch at Mistral and shopping.   Thanksgiving appetizers and cocktails with my family, then dinner at Lambertville Station with Mark’s family.

| DECEMBER |

The end of my first level II fieldwork. A holiday dinner party with close friends in Jersey City, NJ. Peddlers Village, PA with mom for a dose of holiday cheer. My best friend’s BEAUTIFUL wedding at the Ryland Inn. A day of pampering, photos, champagne, laughter, tears, flowers, macaroni and cheese, and true happiness.

My bestie visited from LA and we went hit a few of my favorite spots- the Swan bar in Lambertville for French martinis and pizza. Nektar in New Hope for cheese, wine, bruschetta, and a candy bar sundae. The night ended at my new favorite spot in New Hope- The Salt House.  Brunch at Lovin’ Oven and shopping in Frenchtown, NJ the following day.

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I had a wonderful year and my heart is so happy after taking the time to revisit to memories I made during 2017.  Cheers to a prosperous, adventure-filled, and healthy 2018! xx

5 Simple Ways To Be More Productive In 2018

 || HAPPY FRIDAY ||

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday with your friends and families.  This will be my last blog post for 2017 and I am focusing on setting positive intentions for the new year.  Take some time to reflect on the past twelve months and give yourself credit for your accomplishments.  Also- use whatever lessons you have learned to fuel growth and positive change in 2018.

We all have the same number of hours within a day, but where we differ is how we choose to spend those hours.  How many of us come home from work and park it on the couch to binge watch a Netflix series with a glass of wine and a bowl of popcorn (obviously channeling our inner Olivia Pope)?  I am definitely guilty of this on occasion, and don’t get me wrong- those days can be so valuable for our mental health- but it’s important to evaluate whether your day-to-day actions align with your goals and intentions.  The following tips are some of my tried and true methods for getting more value out of each day.

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1 | Set measurable goals with a time frame

In order to assess whether or not your actions align with the goals or intentions you set for yourself, you need to begin by creating them.   The easiest way to hold yourself accountable for these goals is to write them down- so grab a pen and paper (or open a word document on your computer).  I like to start with my larger goals to frame a general picture of the year ahead, then work my way down and fill in smaller objectives to help me achieve the bigger goals.  For example, if your big goal is to purchase a house in 2018, begin by assessing whether or not it is a realistic goal.  If it is, then you can begin writing smaller objectives to help you achieve this- such as, saving x amount of dollars per paycheck to contribute towards a down payment, identifying the town you want to purchase the home in, getting prequalified for a mortgage, etc.  The biggest kicker, set specific time frames to achieve each goal and objective- my best advice is to actually look at a calendar and set dates.  The more specific you make your goals, the more likely you are to accomplish them.

2 | Prioritize what is most important to you and build routines to support them

I would be willing to bet that most of my readers are in different stages of their life, so it is important to internalize this piece of advice and make it specific to you.  Begin by asking yourself, what is important to me? Do you want to spend more time with your child or children?  Do you want to pay off your student debt?  Do you want to lose weight?  Do you want to be more present when spending time with the people you love?  Now, assess what daily actions would support these priorities.  If your priority is to lose weight, begin by thinking about what behaviors would help you achieve this goal, and incorporate them into your daily routines.   For example, drink a bottle of water every morning when you wake up to get your metabolism and digestive system moving.  As this becomes embedded into your morning routine, incorporate a new action into one of your routines- when you get home from work, immediately change into exercise clothes so you are more likely to go to the gym then park it on the couch.  Gradually embedding these small actions into routine is a very effective way to make lasting changes in your life.

3 | Make lists

One important aspect of being productive is juggling different roles and the responsibilities associated with them- sometimes the amount of “to-do’s” can be overwhelming.  My simplest piece of advice is to write them down as they pop into your head.  I like to use the notes app on my iPhone to quickly get my thoughts down as they emerge (which always seems to be around bedtime).  It’s such a simple way to ensure you don’t forget to complete something important, and boy does it feel good to check each one off as you complete it.

4 | “Tidy” everyday at the end of the day

Taking time each day to ensure everything is in it’s place saves you a whole lot of time doing massive cleaning binges when the little messes add up to big messes.  Before I go to bed every night, I make sure dirty clothes are in the hamper, bags from the weekend are put away, new purchases are hung up and receipts are in their home, towels are hung back up after a shower, etc.  Although I am only responsible for my bedroom and bathroom at my parents house right now, any time I babysit I ensure the dishes are put away or in the dishwasher, and the toys that the kids played with are back where they belong.  There is something to be said for tidiness- I fully understand not everyone has the time or energy to do a full clean of their house at the end of the night, but when you take time to make sure everything is put away, your life feels less cluttered and you have a better handle on home management.

5 | Designate one day/week to “reset”

Pick one day each week in which you set aside time to get things done- run errands, do homework, grade papers, grocery shop, treatment plan, etc.  Whatever it is you choose to do on this day will be unique to you, and will likely fluctuate depending on the plans for that week or time of year.  The point to highlight is that you schedule this time for yourself.  When you don’t leave yourself enough time to recharge and take care of business, you end up feeling overwhelmed, burnt-out, and sleep deprived because you are playing a constant game of catch-up.   Historically, Sunday has been my “reset” day- during the academic portion of grad school I would map out what assignments I had to do on each day of that week.  Now that I am in fieldwork, I use Sunday’s to treatment plan, do laundry, grocery shop, and prep my meals for the work week.  This time has been so valuable in maintaining my sanity during a busy time in my life, and helps me refocus my mindset.

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I hope these tips are helpful to you in setting intentions for 2018.  Cheers to a happy and healthy new year! xx

December Favorites

|| HAPPY MONDAY ||

 How is Christmas only one week from today?!  The months are flying by.  Since I will be celebrating the holiday with my family next Monday, I will not be posting until later in the week  but I wanted to make sure I posted my monthly favorites!  A few of these items will be familiar to you as I posted them in my gift guides, but I had to share a few items that I absolutely love and think you will too 🙂

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

1 | Hearth & Hand Teakwood Currant Candle

I posted this in my Gift Guide For The Host/Hostess after picking it up myself at Target.  The smell is so festive, yet not overpowering.  It burns beautifully and love the way the red jar adds a touch of red for the holidays.  Another plus- it has a lid.  Am I the only one who doesn’t like the look of melted candle wax and a charred wick when it’s not burning?

2 | J. Crew Ribbed Beanie

When I posted my Gift Guide For Her Under $50, I bought a few goodies from the list for myself and this was one of them.  I am in love with this hat.  Its super soft and warm, it doesn’t ruin your hair when you take it off, and it looks cute with everything I own.  The only color that isn’t backordered until January is the black, but I say buy the color you want and wait it out.  You will get use out of it for the rest of the winter and future winters to come!

3 | LipSense Moisturizing Lip Balm

This is a must have for cold weather.  It has completely prevented my lips from transforming into the painful, dry, cracked lips that usually emerge come December.  I put it on throughout the day and most importantly, before I go to sleep at night.  It is colorless and tasteless- perfect for your kids, your husbands, or yourself!  Give this a try one time and I promise you will be hooked.  The best part is- its entirely natural.  The ingredients are right on the tube- no harmful chemicals to hide.

4 | Pottery Barn Faux Fur Throw

This is the best blanket.  I picked it up two winters ago and it has been a staple for the colder months ever since.  There are multiple sizes and colors so you can choose what works best for your home.  I have the color “Caramel Ombre,” which is a bit darker but works great with the warmer neutral tones- ivory, tan, beige, or white.

5 | Tarte Cosmetics Eye Shadow Palette 

This was another one from the Gift Guide For Her Under $50 that I had to purchase for myself.  This palette comes with 12 beautiful neutral colors that are highly pigmented and blendable.  Some are matte and some have a touch of sparkle.  If you had to choose only one palette, I would highly recommend it- so many options and the price is fair, considering the use you will get out of it.

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Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season.  I hope you all have a chance to spend time with the people you love! xx

Favorite Coffee Shops

H A P P Y    M O N D A Y

Grab a cup of coffee and continue reading to hear about a few of my favorite coffee shops 🙂  If you live in or near NJ, or plan to visit, check out these spots for a delicious cup and instagrammable aesthetics.  

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Early Bird Espresso & Mercantile | Frenchtown, NJ

Frenchtown is a quaint New Jersey river town, across the bridge from Pennsylvania.  There’s one main street- Bridge Street- with restaurants, boutiques, and this precious coffee shop.  A vase of fresh flowers on every table, chalkboard style menu, delicious baked goods, and a cappuccino design that never disappoints.  My favorite spot is next to the window.

Scout’s Coffee Bar + Mercantile | Highbridge, NJ

The name of this shop and the logo are inspired by the adorable pup of the couple who owns it.  The shop is so cozy- leather couches, a variety of vintage board and card games, a fabulous navy and floral feature wall, strung-up lights, and an assortment of handmade items (candles, cards, gifts, etc.).  The cappuccinos are delicious but every time I go I have to get a latte.  They use real, fresh ingredients to make the flavors- my favorites are pumpkin spice and maple.  They also have delicious pastries, paninis, salads, and breakfast bowls .  One of my favorite trails is right down the road- the Columbia Trail.  Walk a few miles and work up an appetite before you stop here for a snack!

Factory Fuel Co. | Flemington, NJ

I love this spot and the coffee they serve-  I can attest to how delicious their cappuccinos and lattes are.  Right in the center of the shop is an old kiln with a circular bench around the perimeter of the inside and a bar height counter with stools around the outside.  The cozy spot inside the kiln is perfect if you need a distraction-free workspace.  The shop also has a case with pastries and other tasty baked goods.  Right next door is one of my favorite restaurants, Bluefish Grill.  My boyfriend and I are frequent flyers there- delicious food for a fair price and BYOB.

The Stone Bean at Riverside Coffee and Tea | Clinton, NJ

 This spot is really special because of its location- right on the edge of the river.  I love to grab my coffee and sit outside at a table- its so serene.  In the Spring I love to watch the ducks and their little ducklings.  I get my usual cappuccino here, which is delicious.  If coffee isn’t your thing they have an ice section of teas as well.

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Hope you guys enjoyed this post and have the opportunity to check out these spots.  Virtual coffee cheers! xx

Holiday Gift Guide For the Guys

happy monday & HAPPY DECEMBER

If you haven’t started already, the gift giving marathon month has officially begun.  This is the last of my gift guides and it’s for the men in your life.  The numbers below the photo collage and the title of each product include hyperlinks to the direct websites for purchase.  Happy shopping!

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11

1 | Beer of the month club

For the beer lovers in your life, this is such a fun gift!  You can customize your club membership in so many ways.  As the gifter, you can choose to pay in full or pay each month.  There are options for  shipment every 3 months, seasonally (4 months), 6 months, or 12 months.  Each shipment includes 12 full-sized craft beers with 4 different varieties (3 bottles each) from breweries across the country.  Each month is guaranteed to include an award winning beer.  This is the gift that keeps giving!

2 | Cole Haan Dress Socks 4-Pack

Among the suit-wearing gentlemen, apparently funky dress socks are all the rage!  I love the blue patterns and the fact that these aren’t too flashy.  Maybe cool dress socks are the female equivalent to pretty undergarments?

3 | Patagonia Zip Fleece

This fleece zip up looks so cozy and I know first hand the quality of the Patagonia brand.  My boyfriend, Mark, has a few of the vests that he gets so much use out of and they wear well over time.  There are so many color options too!

4 | Restaurant Gift Card

I am the queen of gifting restaurant gift certificates.  I have gifted them to Mark, his parents, and my parents for years because I think there’s something special about sharing an experience together.  Although any restaurant you love would be perfect, I linked the website for Landmark Hospitality.  They own a few restaurants in NJ and PA but Mark and I absolutely love the Ryland Inn in Whitehouse, NJ.

5 | Cuyana Leather Dopp Kit

This beautiful leather toiletry kit would be the perfect gift for any man in your life.  A beautiful quality leather bag for all of a man’s travel essentials.  I love how simple it is, and compared to a lot of other options, this is an affordable option for the quality!

6 | Corckcicle Chillsner 2-Pack

No one likes a warm beer- these are the solution!  Keep them in your freezer and use in bottled beers to keep them as chilled as when they were first opened.  You can drink through the top so you your sip remains unobstructed.

7 | Bric’s Rolling Duffle

This is the perfect gift for the men in your life that travel frequently.  It’s a classic, high quality, carry on size duffle that also rolls on wheels for ease of transport.  It’s currently on sale for 50% off!  In addition to the already reduced sale price, you can get another 25% off with code FRIENDS.

8 | Me Undies Boxer Briefs 3-Pack

Mark swears by these underwear because they are buttery soft and so comfortable.  I now have a pair myself and I have to agree- they are very cozy.  They have solid colors or fun prints, membership options, and different styles depending on your man’s preferences.

9 | Mercanti Fiorentini Loafers

This is the same brand as the red loafers I absolutely love.  The navy and leather color combo is very stylish, and if they are anything like the female version, they will be incredibly comfortable.

10 | Tile Mate

Although this definitely isn’t just men, I know Mark has a tendency to lose things like his keys, wallet, and phone.  The Tile is the perfect solution.  You download an app on your phone and sync it with as many tiles as you need, then attach those tiles to the things you lose.  With bluetooth tracking, you can find all of those items with a simple click of a button.  My mom actually gifted this to Mark last Christmas and it has been suer helpful!

11 | Dollar Shave Club Subscription

For the men in your life that shave, this gift is a no-brainer.  Mark vouched for the quality of these razors and the monthly membership saves a trip to the store.  A starter kit costs $5 then each month after is $9 for replacement cartridges.

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I hope this gift guide and the others I posted are helpful to you as you shop for your loved ones.  Enjoy your week everyone! xx

Holiday Gift Guide For Her Under $50

Good morning!  

Per popular demand on Instagram story polls, I put together this gift guide for the girls- with gift options all under $50.   These would make perfect gifts for the stylish ladies in your life- girlfriends, wives, aunts, cousins, sisters, friends- you name it!  I included some of the items I own and love, and some that would be on my wish list if I had one 😉  If you want to read a little about each item, I included short descriptions below.  If you’d prefer, you can just click the corresponding numbers under the photo collage to get to each website address.  Happy shopping my loves!

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1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 1011 |12 | 1314

1 |  J. Crew Striped Cape Scarf

I just ordered this in navy and I can’t wait until it comes in!  It’s versatile, chic, and looks so cozy- any excuse to basically wear a blanket in public right?  Being that it’s one size fits all (aka no guess work on sizing), this would make the perfect gift for the girls in your life- your bestie, your girlfriend or wife, aunts or cousins, even grandma! It’s a classic and timeless piece that transcends age.

2 | Anthropologie Candle

This candle is not only beautiful but it smells amazing.  Candles have such a special way of making any space feel warm and inviting.

3 | J. Crew Ribbed Beanie

I also just ordered this in the color vintage champagne.  It looks like that color sold out online but they still have it in heather graphite and black.  I love the ribbed knitting and cute faux fur pom pom detail!  Who doesn’t love a cute beanie to stay warm in the winter?

4 | Gold Hair Tie Bracelet

This bracelet prevents hair ties from leaving that uncomfortable mark around your wrist and transforms them into a stylish bracelet!  I love the gold color and I would pair it with a black hair tie.  You can also get it custom engraved for an extra $10.  This would make the best stocking stuffer!

5 | 25 oz. Swell Bottle

I absolutely love my swell bottle!  Two of my best friends gifted it to me for my birthday and I use it every day now.  I mostly use it to keep my drinks cold (24 hours of cold!!) but it keeps drinks hot as well.  Bonus- the 25 oz. will hold an entire bottle of wine 😉  Think- happy hour beverages on the beach in the Summer.  Cheers!

6 | J. Crew Tortoise Hoop Earrings

I own and love these earrings.  They are the perfect neutral accessory that pair well with any outfit. If you want try the statement earring trend but are a little nervous if it’s for you, these are a great start.

7 | 2018 Monthly Planner

This is the perfect holiday gift.  The person receiving this will be able to start organizing and planning for the new year ahead in a stylish, minimalist planner.  Great for high school or college students, or your type-A friends and family members!  I could also see this being a great gift for teachers.

8 | Anthropologie Monogram Mug

One of my girlfriends gifted me this mug a few years ago and I probably use it the most out of any I own.  The shape is perfect- my mom and I fight over it.  Not to mention the patterns are so cute, it’s personalized, and it’s on sale for only $5.00!  Such a steal.

9 | Converse Sneakers

These sneakers are the best.  They pair well with any casual outfit and the elastic ankle makes them easy to slip on an off.  I love mine and wear them all the time!

10 | Tarte Cosmetics Eyeshadow Palette 

I ordered this palette during Tarte’s Cyber Monday deal and I am so excited for it to come in!  I currently use Urban Decay’s Naked Palette (which I love) but I’m ready for a change.  This has a nice variety of matte and shimmery neutral colors.  You can’t go wrong gifting this to the girls in your life!

11 | Grey Joggers

If you guys aren’t yet convinced that these are the best pants you’ll ever own, here it goes.  They are as soft as butter, available in all sizes in two colors, and are under $17!  I own them in grey and I sized up to a medium because I mostly wear them to lounge and sleep in so I wanted them to be loose and cozy.  I wear them so much that my boyfriend Mark asked if I ever wash them- the answer by the way is yes, but I have considered ordering a second pair to have on backup while the others are in the wash.  Yes, they are that good.

12 | Dogeared Linked Ring Necklace

I love this simple, delicate, necklace.  It’s gold, which I love, and comes on a card with a positive message.  It would make a perfect, thoughtful gift for your girlfriend or bestie!

13 | LipSense Starter Kit

You guys have heard me rave about these products before on the blog.  I just ordered 2 new colors and a gloss to gift to myself- treat yourself ladies.  Check my LipSense blog post for a more detailed review of the product if you’re interested!  Although a starter kit retails for $52, this option is under $50 if you use my code ROSECOLORED15 at time of purchase!

14 | Essie’s Gel Couture Kit

This is another product you’ve heard me talk about before.  I posted the details in my October favorites post if you’re interested in learning more!  I love this option for a gift because you get the color and the topcoat together- it’s cheaper than if you were to buy them separate.  My favorite colors are fairy tailor (pinkish nude) and gala-vanting (wine red).

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I hope you guys found this post helpful and feel inspired to treat yourself or the people you love.  I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! xx

November Favorites

Good morning everyone!  I can’t believe it’s almost December- I am fully embracing all of the holiday feels and I hope you are too!  It’s such a cheerful and cozy time of year.  This week I am sharing my favorite products for the month of November- hope you enjoy! xoxo

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1 | J. Crew Puffer Jacket

I have owned this jacket for two seasons now and every year during the colder months, I am so thankful I purchased it.  It’s a classic style and has a super flattering fit- hits mid thigh or right above the knee for shorter girls like me (I’m 5’3″), and a tie belt that cinches your waist in the midst of all if its puffy glory.  The gold buttons and zipper are super chic against the black- which hides a multitude of sins.  I used to buy white down coats and I would get so fed up with how dirty they got by the end of the season that I would buy a new one every year- crazy I know.

2 | It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara

I can’t take the credit for the discovery of this amazing mascara.  One of my favorite bloggers, Courtney Shields, of Bring Your Own Beauty, has been raving about this mascara on her blog posts and Instagram stories.  Like me, she used to layer two mascaras to get the look she wanted but she said this mascara is so good, she uses it alone.  Naturally, I had to try it.  I am so glad I did- it’s super lengthening and gives volume without the clumps.  The brush helps you comb the perfect amount of product onto your lashes, making them look long and gorgeous.

3 | Beauty Counter Charcoal Face Mask 

I know I’m not the only one who loves a good face mask.  This one is definitely the best I have ever tried.  First and foremost, it’s from Beauty Counter, which is a brand that banned a long list of harmful chemicals commonly found in many household beauty products.  It gives me peace of mind knowing that I’m putting a safe product on my skin and inspires me to continue making more mindful and healthy choices.  This charcoal-based mask makes my skin feel smooth and exfoliated.  Charcoal is known to help draw out impurities, and when you put this mask on, you can actually see the process in real time.  I was hooked after one try so I ordered my own!

4 | Lexi and Abbie Over the Knee Boots

I picked up these boots at Lord and Taylor’s Veteran’s Day Sale and I’m so happy with my purchase. I wanted to try the over-the-knee boot trend without committing to a high end pair and these were perfect for what I needed.  They are more casual than a heeled version but dressy enough to wear to a more formal gathering.  I love that they have a tie in the back to make them more customizable to any shape leg, and they have a low profile black zipper on the inner ankle area of each boot.  They are super comfortable too!

5 | Naturalizer Dallas Bootie 

I can’t say enough about these boots.  I purchased them in black and brown during the same sale I got the over-the-knee boots because I knew they were keepers.  They are such a classic style and are  insanely comfortable-  They have a memory foam padding in the arch of the boot- making them my new favorite shoes to wear.  They elongate the legs and hit right above the ankle- perfect to tuck jeans or leggings into without having to roll them.

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I would love to hear what you guys use and love to get you through the colder months in style!  Take advantage of some of the holiday sales and treat yourself or get a head start on Christmas shopping for the ones you love.  Hope your week is filled with kindness, festive lattes, and Christmas music. xx

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