HAPPY, HEALTHY TREATS FOR YOUR VALENTINE

I love Valentines Day, largely in part because it reminds me of my mom, and that makes me smile. My mom was a total sucker for all "Hallmark holidays" - any reason to celebrate, she was game. My mother was Jewish by religion but she was genuinely appreciative of all holidays, and that's just one of the many things I adored about her. I even got Easter baskets as a kid! (We had to hide them from my religious grandfather, who would've been very less than thrilled to discover I was eating panoramic sugar eggs in honor of Jesus' resurrection.) 

Valentines Day was among her favorite holidays because of everything it represents: love, affection, indulgence, excess, pink and red, hearts and lips. Candy and flowers are just fine, but in my house, we did (and still do) other fun gifts. Here are a few of my favorite this year...

"Kiss Me Like You Mean It" tank // PJ pants // scarf (my absolute fav)

hearts bra // sneakers // Starbucks gift card // "i love coffee" sweatshirt (also here on sale!) 

glitter leggings (also here) //  "Loving" candle // chocolate bar

"xo" earrings // heart water bottle // Chocolate Paleonola

···

I love everything on this list (I eat the Chocolate Paleonola on a near-daily basis) but if I had to pick, I think I may have to treat myself to that sweatshirt and the scarf, which I own (and adore) in another color. That is, if someone else doesn't beat me to the punch... (wink, wink!)

Thank you for reading. Big KISSES to all of you!

MONDAY MOTIVATION: RESOLVING & THE AGE OF AQUARIUS

Rabbit rabbit! Happy February!

Today we get a slew of clean slates and fresh starts... a new week, a new month, and endless opportunity. It is officially the second month of 2016. Be honest - if not me, than with yourself - are you keeping your New Years Resolution(s)?

Yesterday I posed this question to a number of people who crossed my path on the gym floor, and the general response was a resounding "Ehhhhhhhh." If people had made a resolution and hadn't necessarily stuck to it, they sure as hell weren't admitting it. At the same time, not one person said, "YES! I HAVE kept my 2016 resolution." 

"Drink less coffee." = NOT one of my 2016 resolutions.

So I decided to take a re-peek at my own list. Here's how I'm faring...

1. Run more. Ran a little, which is more than nothing! Hoping to do a little more than that this month...

2. Build up a successful personal training business. I'm proud to say that I signed several amazing clients in the month of January!

3. Go somewhere I've never been. Haven't done it yet. 

4. Teach a nutrition workshop. Haven't done it yet. BUT, if you live locally to NYC and would be interested in attending, please let me know! OR, if you don't live locally but would be interested in a virtual nutrition workshop, please let me know as well!

5. Try a new sport. I've decided I want to take up kickboxing, but I haven't done it yet. 

6. Take a road trip. Haven't done it yet. I'm hopeful I/we can tie this in with #3. I'd like to visit Asheville, NC with Ben this year... 

7. Early to bed, early to rise. Success! My sleep has seriously improved, due to several factors: a) I do in fact get into bed much earlier; b) this pillow that I now SWEAR by; c) my diet (I'll talk more about this soon) and d) I love my job but it is exhausting. :)

8. Clean out all of my closets. I've cleaned out our linen closet and my chest of workout clothes. HUGE improvement already!

9. Practice self-care often. I did a few fun self-care things in January. I bought (and am actually using) new eye cream. My sister took me to Paintbox for my birthday. (Loved it! Such a fun experience.) I finally got a massage (I'd been talking about it for months) and decided to sign up for a membership so that I can continue to get one each month!

10. Finish and publish my book! To be continued... :)

Last week, one of my coworkers asked me if I'm a water sign. We were at the pool, and I said, "What made you ask that?" "The way you were looking at the water," he said. I told him that I'm an Aquarius, which is actually - and in my opinion, ironically - an air sign. "How do you feel about the wind?" he then asked. I told him I'm indifferent, that I'm from Florida and I've always felt like a water baby despite what my astrological identity may say. 

I then realized that I don't know all that much about air signs, and it's always a good time to learn a little bit more about how you connect to the universe and to nature.

After a little research, I learned the following about Aquarius and air signs:

· Lucky talisman of the Aquarius are the key and the owl. (My sorority's two symbols! I never knew this.)

· Positive qualities of Aquarius include just, curiosity, an affectionate personality and imaginative. 

· Aquarius tend suffer from insomnia and restlessness. (YUP.)

· Aquarius are conscious about fitness but need constant motivation. 

· Air signs can be optimistic, enthusiastic and active (me) as well as light-hearted, charismatic and risk-taking (Ben). At their worst, they can be careless and restless (me) and cynical (don't tell him I said that). 

Today, I challenge you to do two things. First, take a look at your resolution(s), if you made any, and see where you are. Didn't make any? Think about one thing you'd like to accomplish this week, this month or even this year. Set yourself up for success now. Don't wait another day! Second, I encourage you to learn a little bit more about your sign and element. Even though I still find it ridiculous that the AQUArius sign is air and not water, learning a little bit more about the element was eye-opening. Especially since I never really thought about the fact that I married another air person (until now)!

If you're an Aquarius like me, remember that this is our time to shine! I don't know about you, but I fully plan on taking the February bull by the horns. This month I will be doing tons of reading, writing, learning and hustling. You should too! 

And because I always love bringing in a little fashion element (no pun intended) whenever I can... sharing a few of my favorite Aquarius jewelry pieces below.

Happy Monday! Thank you for reading!

JANUARY OOTDs

Happy Friday! Who's looking forward to the weekend?! JK. That's a rhetorical question. 

A few things to mention today:

1. Thank you SO much for your love regarding Wednesday's post. I continue to relive each incredible moment of our wedding day, and sharing it with all of you is an honor. 

2. If you are a Gloria Estefan fan in any capacity, you MUST go see "On Your Feet!" on Broadway. My dad took me to see it last Friday and it was hands down my favorite show of all time. Her story is incredibly inspiring and of course the music is fantastic. Not that I ever need a reminder, but it definitely reinforced why I'm so proud to be from Miami. And if you need someone to go with, I'm actually dying to see it again!

3. Take a peek at my newly updated PERSONAL TRAINING & NUTRITION COACHING page. Also, some exciting news: I'm getting my Pre & Post Natal certification next month! So whether you're looking to stay in shape while you're pregnant or want to get back into the fitness game after giving birth... I'm your gal! Yay!

4. Sharing some of my favorite outfits from this month below. Some are gym clothes, some are "real" clothes, but all are items that I love and wear often.

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

cowl neck  (40% off here!) // leggings c/o // leg warmers // sneakers

sweater {similar - mine's old} // best leggings ever // boots c/o // bag

jacket (perfect for short torsos! and make sure you look at the back!!!) // favorite tank // best leggings

thank you Perri for the amazing birthday gift! // apologies to everyone else for the extreme close up :)

THE BEST DAY EVER - 10.10.2015

It is incredibly surreal for me to be sharing these photos with you. When I stared my blog, it was built on the premise of me being a single girl lost in New York. To have essentially gone through the full journey with you, and to be able to share it with you in this way, is just incredibly meaningful. October 10, 2015 was the best day of my life. I want to thank my father for making my dream wedding into a reality. To do this without my mother was incredibly bittersweet and at times so hard that we would just stop what we were doing, sit together and cry. But I know we made her proud, and I know she'd have loved every minute. I can only hope our guests remember this day, this weekend, and this moment in time half as fondly as I do. I'm so grateful to everyone who was a part of it. 

I thought about writing captions to go along with the images you see below, but honestly, it's not needed. These photos tell the story all on their own. Instead I have included all of our vendor and song information at the bottom of this post.

I hope you enjoy these photos, and I thank you for reading and allowing me to share this piece of my life with all of you. 

Ben, you are my everything and I'm so honored to be your wife.

{right together, left together... if you got that reference, i love you for life}

TEDDI SET WED 26.jpg
TEDDI SET WED 30.jpg
RECEPTION 30.jpg

···

Venue: The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove, Florida

Photographer: Jessica Lorren

Florals/Chuppah: Bayfront Floral & Event Design

Planner: Lori Kelly Weddings

Hair & Makeup: GLAMSQUAD

Music: Mike Sipe Entertainment

Officiant: Cantor Rachelle Nelson of Temple Beth Am in Miami, Florida

Bridal Gown: Monique Lhuillier

Bridal Shoes: Brian Atwood

My Wedding Band: Cartier

Groom's Tuxedo: Theory

Groom's/Groomsmen Shoes: Converse

Father of the Bride's Tuxedo & Shoes: Prada

Bridesmaid Dresses: Monique Lhuillier via Bella Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids Gift: SHY by SE "love" bracelet

Bride & Groom Champagne Glasses: Kate Spade

Invitations: Spark Letterpress

Escort Cards: Meri Meri

···

CEREMONY MUSIC:

Bridal party procession:

Canon in D Major by Johann Pachelbel

Bride's procession: 

Human Nature by Michael Jackson (instrumental, inspired by 2CELLOS)

Recession:

Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours) by Stevie Wonder

···

RECEPTION MUSIC:

Reception entrance songs (guests):

Party Time by Gloria Estefan and Only In Miami by Bette Midler

Reception entrance song (bride & groom):

Oh What A Night by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Bride and groom first dance:

I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos

(snippets of our first dance are here and here)

Father/Daughter dance:

Wind Beneath My Wings by Bette Midler

Mother/Groom dance:

In My Life by The Beatles

Bride's song for the Groom:

Remember The Time by Michael Jackson

Groom's song for the Bride:

Good Life by Kanye West

Closing song:

Last Dance by Donna Sommers

MY 31 BEST BUYS OF 2015

In honor of my 31st birthday (today!) I thought it'd be fun to share the 31 best things I got last year. Some were gifts and some I bought for myself, but all are items I adore and use often! Enjoy and thank you for reading today and every day! I'll see you later this week with our regularly scheduled programming. (P.S. This is the salted pretzel cake from Milk Bar and it was incredible. Back to grain-free and gluten-free eating tomorrow...)

This purifying hand treatment that kills two birds (sanitizing and moisturizing) with one stone.

This pretty lipstick that brightens a smile.

A bronze brush that makes contouring a cinch. 

Bronzer that's soft and natural-looking.

Shampoo and intensive conditioner that brought life back to my sad, stressed out tresses.

Teeth whitening at home.

Easy-to-use brow gel.

Natural foam shave that works really well (and lasts for a long time).

A blender that makes my kitchen dreams come true.

A pillow that has improved my sleep and cured my neck discomfort.

A cookbook that opened my eyes to a new way of eating.

A water bottle that has two openings for easy cleaning.

Leggings that are comfy, flattering and stay in place.

Leggings that feel like I'm not wearing anything at all.

A classic workout tank with an insanely flattering cut. 

No-show socks that don't silp.

Statement earrings that look like Baublebar but cost a fraction of the price.

The daintiest ring to wear with (or instead of) my engagement ring.

A backpack to wear on days I'm running around the city and don't want a heavy tote to unevenly exhaust my shoulders.

A lightweight tote that's great for travel.

Insanely comfortable sneakers that look cute on.

Statement heels that don't hurt.

Wire-free bras that are pretty and comfortable.

Undies that strike the perfect balance of "sexy" and "get the job done."

Vegan leather leggings that look and feel great.

The perfect vest and fleece combo.

A cute sweater that looks great with jeans or leggings. 

A cozy hoodie that's perfect over any workout top.

The best party dress.

WHAT I ATE WEDNESDAY: PAPER PLATES & THAT GRAIN FREE LIFE (#PALEOISH CONT'D)

Good morning pretty people, and happy Wednesday! How is everyone's week going?

This week I decided to document my day of eats on Monday. I normally snap pics of my meals on Tuesday to then share with you on Wednesday, but I had a weird feeling that Tuesday was going to be a doozie and that I'd barely have enough time to chew my food, let alone photograph it. 

Warning: the photos in this blog post are painfully boring because a) I ate all of my meals at home and b) our sink is broken and we're using all paper plates and plastic flatware to avoid using the kitchen sink and dishwasher. Hoping to get it fixed today! I'm still going strong on my #Paleoish streak; I continue to eliminate all grains and focus on proteins, fresh produce and healthy fats.

Anywho! Monday is quickly becoming my day to sleep in. No complaints here! I woke up and fell back asleep a zillion times and finally crawled out of bed at about 9:30am. I put together a bowl of vanilla Chobani yogurt, blueberries and Paleonola.

The other day at work I was eating my Paleokrunch and someone politely asked if he could try it. I obliged, and then he politely asked for another handful. I gotta tell you...I don't like sharing food. Like at all. I know some of you hate me right now but I like to imagine a few of you are rapidly nodding your head in agreement. You could be the nicest guy in the world...doesn't mean I want to share my super pricey diet-specific snack with you. No siree. (Paleokrunch is amazing and I don't blame anyone for wanting to try it, for the record. I'm just a selfish nut.)

Midmorning "snack" was a whole milk latte from Starbucks. Dairy is one of the reasons I can never (I know, never say never, but...never) go full-blown Paleo. It was 23 degrees out but felt like 10 according to weather.com. That latte disappeared far too quickly. 

For lunch, I reheated Sunday's brunch leftovers: maple chicken sausage and home fries. Sunday brunch at The Smith rocks. You get a complimentary cocktail with any brunch entree and the apple champagne cocktail is deeeee-lish.

After a meeting at work, I did some grocery shopping and came home to do some more work. I snacked on a few dark chocolate-covered cashews (AMAZING) and later on, a sliced organic Golden Delicious apple with almond butter.

I decided I wanted to bake something for the week and put a spin on that grain-free banana bread I mentioned last week. I used applesauce instead of banana; added a few big shakes of cinnamon; I made it in a larger baking dish (cuz that's all that was clean) and I made a quick crumble to toss on top. After that was out of the oven, I threw together a chopped salad for dinner.

Dessert was taste-testing the apple cinnamon bread. It's good, not as good as the banana. The crumble was a solid idea though. Would be amazing with chocolate chips on top of the banana bread. I ate a little too much and went to bed with a slight stomachache. Whoops!

That's all folks. Time to go work on some client programming. Have a wonderful Wednesday and thank you as always for reading!

P.S. I CANNOT believe I forgot to include this in my birthday wish list post!!! And this. And this!

BIRTHDAY WISH LIST

Good morning and happy Monday! How was everyone's weekend? If you have the day off today, I hope you're enjoying it. I'm working but was able to sleep past 6am for the first time in a week. So that's awesome. We had a fun weekend between a cocktail party at my dad's on Friday night and the SNL dress rehearsal on Saturday night. Yesterday I met with a client in the morning, got in my own workout in and went to brunch with Ben. Afterward came lots of errands, laundry, etc. 

Usually I like to talk about motivation on Mondays but I'm making a special exception today. I can't believe my birthday is in one week! This past year has been so life-changing and I know that 31 will continue to challenge me in countless ways. And it wouldn't be my birthday if I didn't share some wishes here on the ol' blog! :)  I was actually surprised with an early birthday gift over the weekend, but I like to treat myself to something each year...  So here are a few things on my list.

TRX home gym // necklace // nail lacquer // phone case // leggings // earring{s}

zip coin case // sandals // bracelet // foundation // makeup brush

For the first time in a long time, I am genuinely, passionately LOVING the Panetone Colors of the Year. Absolutely gorgeous! You can expect to see an abundance of blush pinks and light blues here in the coming months. 

My past two birthdays were the hardest of my life  but I'm actually looking forward to this year. We're having dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant with our families on Saturday. Perri is taking me out to lunch and manicures on Monday and then Ben and I have a date night that night. 

Alrighty! Lots to get done so I can't be a chitty chatty kitty catty. Have a marvelous Monday and thank you, as always, for reading!