Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Toast to Healthy Snacks

I am such a snacker, which can be the absolute worst when trying to stay healthy. However, I've found that snacking the right way, is the key to feeling less hungry throughout the day and avoiding going overboard on a single meal. 

  Given my small love affair with bread, all I can say is, God bless Sara Lee! That wonderful woman, whoever she may be, is a saint for creating my favorite guilt free bread. At 45 calories a slice, it's my go-to for creating delicious and healthy snacks. Below are my three faves: 

Egg Whites on Toast

This can be perfect for breakfast, but usually I never leave myself enough time in the morning for anything other than oatmeal. So, typically I'll have this snack sometime before lunch or dinner. I'll just toss 2 or 3 egg whites around in a pan with some salt and pepper, before adding it to the toast with some greens and veggies. 

Side Note: I'm a master egg // pancake // everything flipper. Ask my roommates; If it's cooking in a pan, I'm flipping it.

Back on track, this snack is super filling and so delicious. 

Avocado Toast

This is so easy as long as the avocados are ripe, if you're impatient like me and try to do it too soon, it can be rough going. Just mash up the avocado in a bowl and add chopped peppers and onions, before spreading on the toast. Top with a small drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and I promise it will be perfection. Typically I only use about half of the spread per snacking sesh.

Chocolate Chip PB2 Toast

This is my favorite late night snack! It's so great if you have a sweet tooth like me, but don't want to derail your healthy eating plan. I'll mix about 2 tbsp of PB2 in a small bowl with water, then add a tiny handful of about 10 dark or semisweet chocolate chips, finally mixing in a small tbsp of coconut flakes. Spread on toast, it is so delicious and casually stops me from eating a box of cookies at 2:00am. 

Side Note: PB2 is up there with Sara Lee Bread as one of my favorite food related discoveries. It's powdered peanut butter that has 85% less fat calories than regular peanut butter. All you do is mix it with water until you're happy with the consistency. I've been using it for over a year and I can honestly say that I prefer the taste to regular peanut butter, which now tastes just a little too sweet for me. As a bonus, there's also chocolate PB2 which is also amazing. 

Happy snacking! 

P.S. If you have a favorite healthy snack of your own, I'd really love to hear about it! 

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Where to Eat in Denver

As promised in yesterday's post, today's post is all about the amazing food of Colorado. My favorite part of experiencing a new city is always exploring the restaurant scene, and Denver did not disappoint. Every single meal was incredible, but I narrowed it down to my top five just for you!

1. La Taverne
In my last post, I talked about visiting the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. La Taverne is one of their six restaurants, and we had dinner there during our stay. Not only is the food to die for, but we were also able to eat in La Jardin, the beautiful conservatory at the back of the restaurant. 

The incredible chandelier in La Jardin.

I had the House Made Ravioli with white beans, parmesan, brown butter and almonds. I'm hungry again just thinking about it, but I have to say the best dish of our meal was the Sweet Potato Gratin side. It was the perfect consistency and just the right amount of sweet. We were all about the sides at this meal; ordering the sweet potato, creamy spinach, and classic mac and cheese.

Dessert was perfection and consisted a classic carrot cake, ice cream. Aunt Linda and I also split a grasshopper which was so delicious. 

2. Comida 
The Source is a small food market in Denver with a focus on locally sourced products. Given my love of food markets, I was eager to check it out. The market is in a converted warehouse and has a cool urban and airy feel. We chose to have lunch at Comida, a Mexican restaurant famous for their tacos that began as a food truck!

Lunch consisted of guac, chips, and three different kinds of salsa to start, followed by tacos that live up to the hype. 

3. Ocean Prime 
Although Ocean Prime isn't a Denver exclusive eatery, it was still one of my favorite meals of the trip and it's Larimer Square location makes this particular Ocean Prime unique. The view from our table was just as amazing as our meal. 

Also any dinner that ends with chocolate cake is a good meal. 

4. The House of Commons
Knowing my love of all things British, my Aunt Linda surprised us with a lunch trip to Denver's British Tea Room, The House of Commons. To me, you can go wrong with afternoon tea, and the House of Common's serves theirs with classic finger sandwiches, home made Petits Fours, Scottish shortbread, and miniature scones with jam, lemon curd and Devonshire cream. Perfection! 

5. Williams & Graham
Williams & Graham is the coolest, not-so-secret speakeasy in Denver's Highlands. The sign outside says "booksellers," but inside, a bookcase opens to reveal a dark, old fashioned bar. While it's great for drinks, they also have a wonderful, albeit short, food menu and we ordered a few delicious small plates with our drinks. The cauliflower and brussel sprouts with currents and pumpkin seeds was particularly delectable. 

While my entire Denver trip was amazing, I feel as though I only scratched the surface of all the city has to offer. I already can't wait to plan a return trip to my Aunt's! Until then, I'll just be on the East Coast, dreaming of the mountains and La Taverne sweet potatoes.  
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Saturday, March 21, 2015

What to do in Denver

After taking a little (spring) break from blogging, I'm excited to be back and to share with you what I did this past week! While some spent the small hiatus on the beach or abroad, I flew west to towards the mountains to spend some quality time with family in Denver.

I've never been to Colorado before, so for 5 days, my amazing godmother and younger cousin showed me all of the city's finest. Denver is so beautiful and I had the best time exploring, relaxing, and, of course, eating! My aunt is the itinerary queen, so my trip to-do list was packed. I can't wait to share, but since there was so much, I've decided to break it up into two posts: one for "activities" and one for "food!" 

For now, here are a few of my new favorite places in and around Denver.

1. The Broadmoor Hotel  

Not far from Denver, set against the mountains of Colorado Springs is quite possibly the most incredible hotel I have ever visited. The Broadmoor is so beautiful, luxurious and historic, that it was tough to leave after our one night stay, although, we certainly made the most of it! We had the best time exploring the buildings, swimming in the pool, and having dinner in La Taverne.

It's definitely worth a visit, and, on your way, be sure to drive through the Garden of the Gods to see an incredible national landmark. 

The stunning view from our room of the mountains and the Broadmoor West building. 

My cousin, Matthew is such a little model.

Side Note: In every hotel, you should always spend some time taking mirror pics and playing in the curtains. 

2. Pikes Peak Cog Railway

At 14,115 feet above sea level, Pikes Peak mountain is a sight to behold. You can travel up the mountain in small train for stunning views of Colorado and I'm told that at the summit there are donuts! Given the recent snow, however, we were only able to make it 3/4 of the way up. It was still fun and so beautiful, though, and reaching the summit just gives me a reason to go back!

[Anthropologie Sunglasses, similar] [Loft Sweater] [Loft Necklace

The incredible view. 
Side Note: I love pictures of people taking pictures

3. Union Station

Denver's recently remodeled Union Station is a marvel, perfect for shopping, snacking and I'm sure traveling. The interior architecture is truly dazzling and at 100 years old, it's a beautiful blend of modern and historic. 

Be sure to stop at the Milkbox in Union Station for some delicious ice cream from local Denver shop Little Man. The milkshakes were incredible and they even do boozy blends. I had Espresso Ice cream with Baileys and it was beyond amazing!  

4. Hammond's Candy Factory Tour 

If you're a dessert lover like me, this tour is a must. Hammond's is a Denver based national gourmet candy brand that is still hand-crafting its products, today. A short tour shows you how they do it and what better way to end a tour than in a gift shop full of delicious candy and chocolate?

Also, you get these super cool hats. #bonus

5. Colorado State Capitol  

I loved our trip to the State Capitol in Denver. With its gold dome and white columns, the exterior is beautifully reminiscent of the United States capitol, with the interior being equally impressive. There's also a fun detail on the steps leading up to main doors, where the 15th is marked as exactly one mile above sea level. 

[Old Navy Pixie Ankle Pants] [Via Spiga boots, similar]

Even just writing this makes me miss Colorado. Somehow driving just doesn't feel the same on the East Coast without seeing the mountains to the west! 

 Be sure to check back tomorrow, when I'll be sharing all of food related favorites from the trip.
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Friday, March 13, 2015

Pack a Carry On like a Pro

Spring Break begins tomorrow and like everyone else, I am so ready for a little time away from school. I'll be spending the first part of my break in Colorado visiting my Aunt, Uncle and cousin, and the last few days enjoying some time at home in Pittsburgh. Tonight I'm flying into Denver and the excitement is real. I've never been to Denver before and I can't wait to relax with family and explore a new city! 

The flight from NYC to Colorado is about 4.5 hours, which is not bad at all, in my opinion. Also, with the exception of going through security, I really love airports. I think it's so interesting to see a city's pride and culture reflected in its airport, which is why I especially love seeing new ones. Also, I tend to associate them with the general feeling of excitement and adventure! 

In case, like me, you'll be doing some jet setting of your own in the near future, I've included a guide to help you pack the perfect airport carry on. While, packing in general is always a struggle for me (I pack very neatly, but always inevitably bring more than necessary), I will say that I have the carry on packing pretty much down to a science at this point. 

[Reading Material] Air Travel is the perfect place to catch up on reading. I am so looking forward to diving back into My Life in France. I'll also probably pick up a few magazines in the airport.

[Journal] Often I'll use plane time to collect my thoughts by making mental to do lists or just reflecting on the day. For this reason, I alway make a point of bringing my adorable Kate Spade journal. P.S. Don't forget a pen! 

[Hand Cream] Often, I find the air on planes to be rough on skin, which is why bringing hand cream never hurts. Just make sure it's under 3.4 ounces. 

[Lip Scrub] I feel like I'm always talking about this edible lip scrub by Lush (see here and here), but I'm just so obsessed that I want everyone to own one. I honestly take it everywhere.

[Water] A no brainer, but be sure to buy it once you're past security! 

[Charging Phone Case] My Mophie case is a life saver! It doubles the battery life of my iPhone and is perfect for travel when there's no outlet to charge. 

[Lip Balm] The perfect companion to my Mint Julips scrub. Definitely try Burt's Bees in Coconut Pear

[Hand Sanitizer] Hand Sanitizer is always a good idea for travel, especially when you're going to be in close proximity to a lot of people. 

[Snacks] I always get hungry on planes. Lately I've been craving Kind Bars. Their Almond Cashew and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew flavors are especially delicious. 

[Headphones] Always necessary. 

[Gum] Definitely great for the inevitable need for ear popping. I'm a child because my gum of choice is Big Red

[Airborne] I'm terrified of getting sick on planes, so I drink Airborne before for a healthy dose of vitamins and a boast to my immune system. (wow, I'm sorry for how much that sounded like an infomercial). 

Just a small note: for longer flights, I would add a neck pillow and an eye mask to this list for sure! 
Happy and Safe Travels!  
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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Springtime & Teatime

Yesterday was wonderful for two reasons:
1. I had perfect lunch plans in Greenwich with my friend Raffi 
and 2. It was the first day that actually felt like Spring in NYC this year!

The picture below accurately conveyed my excitement. 

Raffi and I studied abroad in London together in the Fall of 2013 and we're still not over it. So we decided there was no better place for a lunch date than Tea and Sympathy, an tiny tea shop in the West Village serving up quintessential British meals. You'll find everything on the menu from Steak & Guinness Pie to Sticky Toffee Pudding, and of course over 30 different kinds of tea. 

We started with cream tea, which is tea and scones with jam and clotted cream. The list of tea options was overwhelming, but we decided on classic Earl Gray which was the best choice. #noregrets

For our meals, Raffi ordered a special: a chicken avocado sandwich. I kept my meal pretty light with the chicken house salad (basically because I already had my eye on dessert). 

This is Raffi, she's adorable and hilarious and perfect! ... I realize that I tend to say that about most of my friends, but I promise it's always 100% true. 

After watching this video on Tea & Sympathy's website, I was dying to try the restaurant's famous Victorian Sponge Cake, and it did not disappoint. Raffi and I split an enormous slice, and it was everything I imagined and more. 

Next door to Tea & Sympathy is Carry On Tea & Sympathy; a small shop where the walls are jam packed with british groceries. I actually died when I saw they had Marvellous Creations cadbury chocolate easter eggs (see a previous post about my obsession here). Of course, I bought it and immediately texted my friend in England with my joy, who proceeded to send me the picture below.

 I added all of the arrows because I think they accurately capture my initial outrage at spending more than £4. I got over it though, because the chocolate is just too delicious. #noregrets
 Instead, I just added it to the already long list of reasons why I will eventually move back to England. 

Now let's just talk style for a hot second. Yesterday I wanted to match the day by wearing a nice winter to spring transition outfit with some british inspiration (I know this is a little crazy but just pretend it's not for me). I settled on a tweed blazer, statement necklace, jeans and rain boots that are perfect for splashing through all the melting snow! 

I received these boots from my parent's for Christmas, and words can't express how much I love them. They are made by the British company Joules. The black and brown color combination makes them so versatile and the bows are such a fun and feminine detail.  

And of course, I'm all about the details! [You might remember this Loft necklace from my previous post!]

[H&M Blazer, old] [Loft blouse, old] [Loft necklace] [Loft jeans, similar] [Joules Wellies] [Mac Lipstick in Ruby Woo]

Here's to more Spring weather and tea in all of our futures! 
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Insta Obsession: Accounts to Follow

A few weeks ago, I published a post on 5 of my favorite Instagram accounts to follow, and today I want to share 5 more with you. Instagram continues to give me life and I'll try to share a few of my fave accounts every so often! 
Run by: Francesca Marie Hemsey
Type: Food, Blogger

Francesca combines her personal musings with some incredible cooking on her blog Pensive Foodie. The photos on her Instagram are always stunningly rustic and completely mouthwatering. Everything about her posts seems so picturesque but authentic. I honestly just want to have a conversation with her over coffee and some of her homemade cinnamon rolls

Run by: Rachel Parcell
Type: Blogger

Rachel runs the fashion and lifestyle blog Pink Peonies  and her Instagram is so beautifully bright and girly. She posts amazing style pictures along with adorable family pics of her husband and dog, Dash. Her posts never fail to brighten up my newsfeed, and the fact that she's currently pregnant just makes everything that much more adorable. 

Run by: Burberry
Type: Brand
Burberry runs an on point Instagram in terms of branding. During shows and fashion weeks, expect to find a lot of runway and red carpet shots, but my personal favorite posts are of the streets of London. The company does a lot to remind followers that they are quintessentially British, and this includes perfect shots of London with captions like "Clouds gathering over St James's Park in London this afternoon." Having both lived and studied abroad in England, it's all very whimsical and nostalgic for me. 

Run by: Jenna Rae & Ashley Nicole
Type: Food, Brand
These ladies never fail to impress with their beautiful creations for their Canadian bakery. Everything is just so creative and incredible. "Blueberry pancake," "birthday cake gems," "lucky charms," "cinnamon bun," and "london fog" are just a few examples of their ever changing macaron flavors. The icing on the cake (get it)? Jenna Rae is apparently a "self taught cake artist!" It still blows my mind. If I ever make it to Winnipeg, I know where I'm stopping first. 
Happy gramming! 
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Friday, March 6, 2015

Currently Coveting: Statement Necklaces

While yesterday's snow day made it clear that winter is not ending anytime soon, that won't stop me from daydreaming about spring and warmer days. I'm especially looking forward to spring style, which, to me, is all about light layers, bright colors, and fun florals (however cliche that may be). 

I always feel like winter to spring is one of the more awkward transitional periods when it comes to style, so I like to start introducing spring accents into my outfits through accessories first. Statement Necklaces are perfect for this. Below are a few of my favorites for the upcoming season. I especially love this year's J. Crew spring jewelry collection. Their exciting vibrant colors are so on point. 

Fingers crossed that weather as beautiful as these necklaces is just around the corner. 
But until then, keep warm and stay positive. 
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