WEEKLY WRAP UP/WEEKEND COUNTDOWN

What got me through the week and what I’m looking forward to this weekend!

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Memories from my NYC bachelorette: Lex at The Lex on Lex.

The last month was a whirlwind.  October started off with my bachelorette party in NYC, included visits from my mother who assisted with final wedding preparations and ended with a fun Halloween trolley bar crawl.  It’s hard to believe that it’s November, even harder to believe that the holidays are almost upon us, and the craziest part is that my wedding is in two weeks.  I’m not sure how the last year and a half flew by, but it sure did.  Here’s what’s been helping to keep me distracted from all the pre-wedding chaos.  Have a great weekend!

  1. Best bagels in NYC: It’s no secret I love New York, but my love of bagels is perhaps lesser known.  There’s nothing quite like chomping into the doughy treat, especially in New York (the best city for bagels, hands down) and especially after a night out on the town.  My favorite way to have bagels is with lox and schmear, of course.  The one pictured above is from a hole-in-the-wall spot that delivers quick and tasty bagel sammies and is appropriately named, Bagels and Schmear. Check out this guide to the best places in the city.
  2. Stranger Things 2: I’ve waited over a year for the second season of this beloved sci-fi series and I have to admit, the timing of the new season was greatly appreciated (launching just before Halloween).  We finished it in two days, which included a Halloween night conclusion.  It’s not season one, but it’s still worth the watch. The real question is- what will happen next season?
  3. Mesh and Bone Cidre: My mom and I stumbled upon a tasting of this Chicago based brand at our local Whole Foods a few weeks back.  I’ve been avoiding beer and, by default cider, before my wedding but I took a taste of this and couldn’t resist.  This version, which has a blend of French apples and pears, is not a heavy cidre; in fact, it’s more like a light champagne.  Another variation, blended from grapefruits, tastes like a fizzy rose.  After speaking with the sommelier running the tasting, I discovered Mesh and Bone imports these cidres from France and they’re naturally sweetened, with no added sugar, making them the perfect less-guilt autumn libation.  I’d highly recommend it for your upcoming holiday feasts.
  4. The return of the fanny pack: I hate to admit it, but I’m considering giving into the fanny pack trend.  However, the trend I once hated has been revisioned as a “belt bag” for a sleeker, more utilitarian and minimalist vibe I can get behind.  I’m considering this version for my upcoming honeymoon.

 

Image via two and three.

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Roasted Carrot and Chickpeas with Feta Vinaigrette

Delicious recipes for the curious cook!

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I’m getting married in less than three weeks, which means I’m in the peak of clean eating in preparation for the big day.  My fiance and I are tying the knot two days after Thanksgiving, you know- the binge eating occasion of the year, so we’ve been more conscious than ever of what we’re eating so we can fully enjoy both the holiday and our big day while looking and feeling our best.

I usually try to eat a fairly clean, largely plant based diet, but I’ve been putting extra thought and preparation into our meals as it gets closer to the wedding.  A number of cookbooks have come in handy as sources for a plethora of healthy eating options, among them are Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good and It’s All Easy, Bon Appetit’s The Food Lover’s Cleanse and Mary McCartney’s Food.  One in particular has come in handy and that’s Jessica Seinfeld’s Food Swings, which is filled with a number of recipes on both the virtuous side and those to satisfy some vices.  While there are a ton of options on to satisfy either mood, I’ve been leaning into those of virtue for some healthy inspiration.  

The most recent dish I’ve made, which has made its way onto our dinner plates twice in two weeks, is this roasted carrot and chickpea dish.  I used to hate carrots, but have learned to appreciate them as an adult, especially when roasted and paired with flavors and seasonings that maximize their taste. The slow roasting gives the veggies a carmelized flavor which, paired with the baked chickpeas, makes for hearty dish.  Topped off with some creamy feta and zesty lemon, the flavors in this meal are so, so tasty and there’s nothing to feel guilty about.  

Go ahead, make this now and lick your plate clean!

Y7- The best vinyasa flow I’ve taken

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Post yoga glow

A few weeks back, I had one of the best weekends of my life with some of my best friends in my favorite city.  Some of my best girlfriends (and family) ventured to NYC to throw me the best bachelorette party.  It was filled with endless amounts of rose and champagne (of course), cocktails on rooftops, impromptu sing offs at piano bars on the Upper East Side and late nights at dive bars in the West Village, and topped off with all of my favorite New York foods, including bagels and lox, cannolis and thin crust pizza.  But it was not without one of my favorite (and healthy!) activities- yoga.

My sister-in-law had told me over the summer about one of the best yoga classes she had ever taken at a studio in the city.  We decided to check it out and took a group class at Y7 in Flatiron; and it was honestly one of the best yoga flows I’ve ever experienced.  That might sound exaggerated, but everything from the instructor, to the group, to the music contributed to a challenging, but equally rewarding class.  The hour long flow, called We Flow Hard Vinyasa, is in a room lit only by candle light, has no mirrors so you truly have to rely on your body and trust yourself, and all the while a great soundtrack leads you through your practice, with everything from mellow music to hip hop.  Each flow is repeated three times, with the final round being completed at your own pace while the music is blasted to help you push through.  It’s heated, so you leave class having sweat out all the toxins from the night before and with a post-class glow.

It was the perfect activity to do before a Saturday bachelorette brunch.  I can’t wait to return for another class- or two- the next time I’m in NYC.  If you have a Y7 close by, or if you ever visit NY or LA, I highly encourage you to check it out!

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Part of the weekend fuel

Fall Staples

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I’m truly a seasonal person; I love the newness that comes with each change in weather. The shift in focus to new foods, the change of activities,and the rotation of clothes are all things I look forward to at the start of each season. Autumn has always brought a particular happiness to me and my wardrobe changes. I look forward to retiring my breezy, summer dresses and sandals in favor of breaking out my chunky sweaters and riding boots.

There are certain staples I always reach for in the fall- dark colors and accents of leopard are just a few. During the beginning of the season, when it’s slightly cooler but it yet time to turn to turtlenecks and parkas, pieces like a classic black crewneck and boyfriend jeans feel right and easy, especially when paired with leopard loafers. After all, leopard is a neutral, especially in the fall!

 

Fashion note: I’m wearing Levi’s jeans (similar here), a J.Crew sweater,Steve Madden leopard oxfords (similar here) and a vintage bag.

 

Target’s JoyLab

Motivation to get you through hump day!

Target JoyLab

Target has always been known for its collection of private label brands and exclusive designer collaborations.  But recently, they announced plans to revamp their beloved brands, retiring some older labels to make room for new ones.  Their latest launch is a new activewear line called JoyLab, which touts itself as a collection designed to take you from “crunches to brunches” with styles made to withstand a yoga class or morning run, but cute enough to carry on with the rest of your day with no change of clothes required.

I’ve always been a little hesitant to purchase too many clothes from Target.  As cute (and affordable) as their clothes are, they’re often not the best quality and can quickly wear down, forcing you to have to retire them sooner than expected.  But I’ve always been a fan of their sportswear and activewear collections.  I own a number of active items from Target, from sports bras to running pants, some of which I’ve had for years and are still in good shape.  That’s why I’m especially excited for JoyLab, which looks extremely stylish and functional, and I’ve already eyed a number of items I plan to purchase (I’m currently coveting the set in the above picture).  The line launched in-stores and online this week and is available in a range of sizes and prices (sports bras start at $14.99!).

Will you check it out?

 

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Keeping It Classic

Inspiration for the new week!

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of year, for many reasons, one of which is the amount of sartorial choices one can make, at least early on in the season.  It’s cool enough that you can layer, playing with textures, like leather, and you can give your sandals a rest and break out your fall weather footwear, like loafers and boots.  Plus, it’s not so cold yet that you need to bundle every inch of your body, making it easy to transition from day to night and work to play, which is exactly what I did with this outfit.

It took me awhile to realize that less is more and basic doesn’t mean boring.  I’ve now fully embraced a more simple, minimalistic look in my wardrobe- in palette and styles.  This outfit is no exception and it makes the case for classic being cool.  The colors are simple- black, navy- but dimensional thanks to layers and textures and the pop of color from the lipstick and necklace, which keep it from feeling boring.  The masculine blazer and loafers are softened by little details, like leather (faux), stripes, scalloping and the fact that the loafers are backless.  The addition of the backpack keeps this functional but playful, making it the perfect, effortless outfit for a day at the office followed by cocktails on the deck.

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Fashion note: I’m wearing Gap pants (similar here), a Banana Republic top (similar here), an old blazer, Topshop loafer mules (similar here) and a Nordstrom backpack (similar here).

An argument for barre

Motivation to get you through hump day!

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I recently discovered a podcast (called A Few Things) by the Of A Kind founders, in which they discuss some of the things they love or are currently getting into.  After a binge-listening afternoon, I heard an episode which I really connected to, which was a discussion with one of The Bar Method’s franchise owners in New York.  While I don’t practice at that particular studio, I have been participating in barre classes for the last 3 years and I absolutely love it.  

When I first started practicing, back in the New York area, I couldn’t believe how difficult the workout was, yet it was something I could still manage.  Perhaps it was the many years I spent dancing (although I hadn’t been in a class for ten years), but I was also likely drawn to it because of the environment.  There were only women, which was refreshing, of all shapes and sizes including pregnant women, and a challenging yet not intimidating atmosphere.  I had always hated fitness classes because I hated the intense, strict vibes they seemed to promote.  But barre was different; there was no instructor yelling at you and no competitive peers.  In fact, it seemed more like the yoga practice I had recently begun and loved.  

When I moved to Chicago, I kept up with my beloved yoga, but unfortunately my barre practice fell to the wayside.  After getting settled in my new city, I decided to revisit barre and am so glad I did.  I found a studio I love, one that I genuinely look forward to going to not only because of the environment, but because I have now seen the benefits of a consistent barre practice.  I highly encourage anyone who is unfamiliar or uncertain of practicing barre to give this podcast episode a listen to get a better understanding of what you stand to gain from a consistent barre practice.

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