Friday Faves

Happy Friday, everyone! I don’t know about you, but I am done with Winter. The last couple of weeks have been absolutely frigid and worse, have left my thyroid-less body with zero energy. Good news though, there are 20 days left until Spring! I can’t wait to break out the pretty sun dresses and see something other than snow on the ground. How will you welcome the start of Spring?

Hope you all have a great weekend…and stay warm!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from the past week:

Cinnabon Crêpe

{Cinnabon Crêpe from Sweet ‘n’ Savory}

Port Jefferson Harbor

{Welcome to Long ICE-land}

Baublebar

{A Colorful Delivery from BaubleBar}

February Sunset

{February Sunset}

Talentedly Feature

{A Quote From My Feature in Talentedly’s Profile Series, The Talent Pool}

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Bold in Blue

Bold in Blue

You remember my Spring wish list from the other day, right? If not, here is a refresher. While the weather still hasn’t made me feel like Spring is in the air, there was one bright and bold item from that collection that immediately put a smile on my face (and had me running to the store to buy it!). Any ideas which one it may have been?

Bold in Blue

{Front & Back}

After spotting this Mossimo tote on Polyvore, I knew I needed it for Spring. The color-blocked bag was love at first sight. Although the more neutral version with a hint of pink was nice, the blue was striking. The perfect tote for work or play, this sleek bag with its zippered top and convenient pockets inside for your phone and other essentials will easily become an everyday staple…and a great accessory to any outfit. Did I mention the leopard interior?

For $40, yes, really $40, you can’t go wrong with this bag. The only decision to make is whether you should buy two and have a winter version as well.

Spring Style

Spring Style

I think we all can agree that Spring needs to hurry up and arrive. Friday’s temperatures on the East Coast were in the single digits (it was one degree when I woke up!). Add in the windchill, and it felt more like we were in the negative numbers. I am not a huge fan of having to bundle up and wear multiple layers. I relish the day when I can ditch the winter coat and swap the dark hues for more bright and spring-like tones. But until then, I’ll be counting down the days to when I can wear the bold prints, opened-toe shoes and sunny dresses. And, of course, I’ll be adding to my wish list, which now includes that gorgeous color-blocked tote from Mossimo and the pretty floral brocade skirt shown above.

How to Start Blogging

How to Start Blogging

Creating this blog was the best thing I ever did. I have received so much joy from writing and creating content – that I wish I had done it sooner. Here are some of my tips if you have been thinking about starting a blog.

1. Think about what you know: Make a list of all the things you are passionate about: sports, hobbies, career advice, fashion, and more. Ask yourself what you would like the theme of your blog to be. Do you want it to be a lifestyle blog, a food blog, or something else? You can add categories to your blog as you go along, but having a general idea in the beginning will help you get started and allow your readers to identify what your blog is about.

2. Create a catchy title: Once I decided on a lifestyle theme, I knew I would use the title Living in Steil. Amongst my friends, my last name was always a cute play on words. If we were wishing someone a happy birthday, we would sign-off with ‘Celebrate in Steil.’ I have always believed that a life lived with style was a life lived well, and I couldn’t think of a better title to introduce my blog.

3. Research blogging platforms: I spent some time looking at other blogs on WordPress and Blogger. I ultimately decided on using WordPress because I liked that I could control what my blog looked like with some basic HTML and that they had helpful techs to answer my questions. Also, it had the feel of a website, which I liked. Take a look at other blogs and see if there is anything you like about one platform more than the other.

4. Have an ‘About’ page: Before you even write your first post, be sure to have a well-crafted paragraph introducing yourself. This was something I added to my site later on, but I wish it had been one of the things I did from the beginning. When I visit someone’s blog, I like to read more about the author. Sometimes it helps me connect to their writing, other times I find that we have the same alma mater. This is a great place to share your goals for the blog and let your readers get to know you.

5. Practice writing: Now it is time to write your first post! Don’t worry in the beginning about who is reading your blog. Write about topics that appeal to you and that you think your target audience would want to read. I know when I first started I was obsessively checking my stats, when I could have been working on my writing. The more posts you write, the better your writing will get…and people will notice your blog. Most importantly, blogging should be fun. So enjoy the creative process!

I am so excited to share with you my feature in Talentedly’s profile series, The Talent Pool. Head over to read about how I found my passion through blogging, what’s my favorite piece of career advice, and how you can live in the moment.

Winter Essentials: Black and Grey

Loft Cardigan and Mossimo Leggings

Loft Cardigan and Mossimo Leggings

Loft Cardigan and Mossimo Leggings

Loft Cardigan and Mossimo Leggings

I know I promised to share with you my first purchase of the New Year from the Loft a while ago. But it has been so cold these past few months, coupled with never-ending snowstorms, that my thyroid-less body has had little enthusiasm for standing outside to shoot outfit posts. But, fearing that this winter will never end, I braved the cold and snow to bring you one of my favorite new looks that has been on repeat more times than I would like to admit.

Right after the New Year debuted I visited the Loft to stock up on some warm weather essentials. I immediately headed to the petite section and spotted a long grey cardigan. I cannot tell you how much I love oversized sweaters and chunky cardigans, so when I saw this beauty, complete with its fleece-like, but still fashionable look, I knew I had to have it. Yes, I completely disregarded the fact that this was one item not being marked down.

Recently, I stopped at Target and made the fatal mistake of spending a few minutes browsing the store. There was a whole section of sweaters, leggings, and long sleeve tees from Mossimo. I snagged an awesome pair of textured leggings that would work for a yoga class, but I found them way too stylish to use solely for that purpose.

Loft Cardigan and Mossimo Leggings

And voilà, this outfit was born! The Mossimo leggings go nicely with riding boots and can actually pass for office wear (if you don’t work in the corporate world). I can’t say enough about this cardigan from the Loft. I have practically been living in it since I purchased it. It’s warm and cozy, and the hood is a great addition. Pair it with leggings as I have for this outfit, or for a more formal look with black pants or a skirt, and this versatile beauty was well worth its price.

Living in Steil Turns One

Living in Steil Turns One

This Valentine’s Day was extra special as Living in Steil turned one! In honor of this, here is a look back at my first post. When I started this blog I thought it would be a fun creative venture after recovering from thyroid cancer. I never considered that it would spark my love of writing and would be instrumental in helping me find my passion. One year later, I am so touched by all of you who have commented on my posts, followed this blog, and offered advice and guidance as I navigated the blogging world.

As I embark on the second year with Living in Steil, I am looking forward to incorporating guest posts and collaborating with other bloggers. You will still find my musings, fashion, and lifestyle posts, but I will also have some posts geared towards millennials navigating the post-college world and more on healthy eating and easy recipes to make after a workday.

I hope you will join me in celebrating another stylish year! If there are any topics you would like to see covered, please leave a comment below.

Thank you for all of your support!

Weekly Wanderings

Happy Friday, everyone! Valentine’s Day is almost here. If you’re still in need of a last-minute gift, check out some of the items I’ve curated to put a smile on your Valentine’s face.

I can almost guarantee that I will indulge in something sweet on Valentine’s Day (sorry, sugar detox). How could I not when going to XO Restaurant – Wine & Chocolate Lounge (home of the best chocolate covered strawberries!) for dinner? I promise, I will eat responsibly and be right back on my detox come Sunday.

I hope you all have fun plans for Valentine’s Day!

Snow Day Cinnamon Buns

{Snow Day Cinnamon Buns}

Inspirational Background

{Inspirational Background from Design Love Fest}

Weekday Yoga

{Getting my Om on bright and early}

Leopard Flats from DSW

{Breaking in my Adrienne Vittadini Leopard Flats from DSW}

Mossimo Dress from Target

{Another Lunchtime Find – Mossimo Dress from Target}

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Yoga 101

Yoga 101

Yoga has long been practiced for its restorative effects on the body – increased flexibility, clarity, focus and stamina, to name a few benefits. But I still hear people say that they don’t like yoga or they find it hard to enjoy. I used to be one of them. As an equestrian I gave yoga a try time and time again, hoping to increase my flexibility and build long, lean muscles. It never quite worked for me. I was too restless to relax and focus on my breathing. Fast-forward a number of years, and after undergoing a thyroidectomy and looking for a way to stay in shape, I attended a beach yoga class courtesy of Lululemon. Although the participants were way more advanced than I was, I finally could strike that balance between working out and finding peace within my body. Since 2013 I’ve practiced yoga regularly through complimentary classes at Lululemon and classes that my gym offered. It was through the latter that I found the most amazing yoga teacher who always seeks to educate her students on the benefits of certain poses and varies the class to give you a real workout.

If you are interested in trying yoga here are some tips to get you started:

1. Try taking a class through your gym: This is a great way to try yoga and see if you like it before committing to a series of classes. The gym will likely have different instructors and offer vinyasa, hatha and hot yoga.

2. Take advantage of community or complimentary yoga classes: I credit Lululemon with getting me hooked on yoga. I enjoyed waking up early on the weekends and heading into a quiet, peaceful yoga studio before I started my day. And after you get your Om on, you can shop for new yoga gear.

3. Download an app: Not sure you want to try yoga in a class setting? Yoga Studio is a great app to have on you Ipad or Iphone. I love that they offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes for either 30 minutes or an hour. The instruction is very clear and you can go at your own pace. It is also a great option if you are looking to supplement your weekly yoga routine and would like to do so from the comfort of your own home.

4. Treat yoga as a workout: Yoga isn’t just all mat-work and stretching. It can be intense and requires not just physical strength, but also mental composure. Some yoga classes I have attended have been as hard, if not harder, than an hour cycling class.

5. Give it a chance: It takes about six weeks to see an improvement in your flexibility, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results. Stick with yoga – try different teachers and classes. Eventually you will find something that works for you.

I am so glad that I have been able to incorporate yoga in to my life and I have seen an improvement in my strength and flexibility. It has also helped me combat my anxiety through breathing exercises and taught me to handle stress better. I look at yoga as doing something good for my mind and body.

Namaste!

For Your Valentine

For Your Valentine

Ladies (and gentlemen), we are getting down to the wire. Valentine’s Day is less than a week away now. Do you know what you are getting your sweetie? Well, fear not, I’ve selected a few items that any guy or gal is sure to love.

Sayonara Sugar – One Month Mark

Sayonara Sugar - One Month Mark

I wanted to give you all an update on how I am doing with my sugar detox. It has been one full month since I swore off sugar. I feel like this is a huge accomplishment and I am proud of myself for exercising such control and keeping my New Year’s resolution.

Overall, I have seen an improvement in the quality of my skin. It feels smoother and less prone to breakouts. But I have not noticed much difference in energy levels. My cravings for snacks have diminished and I am satisfied just eating three regular meals a day. I have been making an effort to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet and relying on walnuts, oatmeal, bananas, apples, tangerines and granola bars to tide me over when I get hungry.

This detox has had its challenging times. The recent snowstorms have tested my willpower and I must admit that all my efforts to avoid baking the last box of Ghirardelli brownies I had in the house were in vain. Even though I had a couple of “cheat” days, I learned that I can eat sweets in moderation. Once the brownies were finished I was concerned that I would return to my old bad habits. But, fortunately, that was not the case.

Aside from a few days with a sugar headache when I began this journey, it seems that my body has adjusted just fine to life with a modified sugar intake. So here are a few things I have learned from doing a sugar detox.

The best part about doing a sugar detox?

I love how my skin looks! It is almost to a point where I could leave the house without makeup and not be self-conscious. I feel healthier overall and have noticed an improvement in the quality of my sleep. I also don’t feel as hungry suddenly as I used to after a sugar crash.

The hardest part?

I’ve found it difficult to resist unnecessary snacking when I am home (or bored). The snowstorms were particularly hard because I stocked up on a few items that made avoiding snacking virtually impossible (take that Trader Joe’s white cheddar popcorn!). Also, having to decline freshly baked cookies and cakes at work has been somewhat torturous depending on the day.

What have I learned about myself?

I am incredibly proud of how far I have come. The last time I tried to do a sugar detox it was awful and I barely made it 3 weeks before caving in to sweets. This time around I am committed to making a change and I realize that it is a permanent lifestyle adjustment. When I first made the brownies I felt guilty. But afterwards, I realized that it showed I can handle sugar in moderation. I noticed an immediate difference in how I felt after eating the brownie and it made me acknowledge that I really didn’t need or want sweets. Since then I’ve gotten back to my regular eating habits and haven’t had any sugar cravings. I used to say that I had no willpower and was powerless to resist sweets, but I’ve learned that when I really want to make a change, I can, and that is a great feeling.

What advice would I give to someone who wants to try a sugar detox?

Go for it and do what feels right to you! I’ve read that you should wean yourself off of sugar slowly, or that you should indulge when you feel you need to, but the strategy I adopted was to cut out sugar cold-turkey. Obviously, there is sugar in most products, so eliminating it 100% is difficult, but I make every effort to compare products and incorporate the ones with the least amount of sugar possible. Whichever strategy you find works for you is great, and of course, there will be days where it is harder than others to stick to it and days when you have to have sweets. That is okay — acknowledge how you are feeling on that day and remember, tomorrow is another day to get back on track.