Floral Friday

Old Navy Floral Dress

Old Navy Floral Dress

One trend that I’ve been loving for Spring is the floral print. While I may have been a late bloomer adopting prints, I am now obsessed with bold and colorful patterns.

Old Navy Floral Dress

On a recent lunchtime outing (those trips are dangerous, I tell you!), I stopped at Old Navy. The excursion was more for my friend and co-worker who wanted to check out the clearance section for her children, than for me. But of course, I did what I do best and “browsed” the store. Almost immediately I found an array of cute sundresses, and all bets were off. In my head I had already decided that I needed a dress for the Hampton Classic (which isn’t until August, mind you), but had rationalized the purchase by picking one that would work for my upcoming trip to California.

Old Navy Floral Dress

Old Navy Floral Dress

Old Navy Floral Dress

Since trying something on is not my style, I proudly paraded my new love around the store in four different colors until I decided on which one to buy. I chose the while floral dress because it screamed Spring to me, I own practically nothing in white, and it will be classic (and probably get filthy) at the Hampton Classic. Once I managed to try the dress on at home, I was very pleased with my purchase. It will work for countless brunches, day trips, and fancy horse shows…now I just need a hat to complete the look.

Editor’s note: A big thank you to Teresa, my unofficial photographer for the day, who agreed to my crazy idea of having a photo shoot on the beach…in 46 degree weather!

Cherishing Change

Cherishing Change

In case you couldn’t detect this, I am very excited about my trip to California. Not only will the weather be much warmer (LA is 90 degrees at the moment – insert happy face!), but I am looking forward to a change of scenery.

Since graduating college almost six years ago, and taking on a whole slew of responsibilities related to adulthood, I have found myself with less time for, well, myself! There were things out of my control that happened (ahem, thyroid cancer), roles I’ve happily assumed (taking care of my grandmother), and let’s not forget that pesky thing called a 40-hour workweek. Long gone are the leisurely weekend mornings, countless hours spent down at the barn and lazy days in the sun. Some things I knew I would need to forgo as I got older, while others make me wonder why I stayed away so long.

This trip marks my first post-thyroid cancer, and while it is a chance to explore and sightsee, it is also one to reflect and leave all the things that no longer serve me at home. It is an opportunity to focus on myself, where I am going and where I want to be. And for that, I am grateful and excited.

On this little adventure, getaway, sojourn – whatever you want to call it – I am looking forward to hiking in the great outdoors at Runyon Canyon (and maybe squeezing in an early morning yoga class in the park), touring Alcatraz, biking across the Golden Gate Bridge and with any luck, making it to Big Sur. Although time will be at a premium, I want to use as much of it as I can to just soak it all in.

The last few years have been ones filled with changes for me – some have been positive, while others I have learned from. Change is inevitable. It is an important aspect of growth, but sometimes it is just as imperative to stop…reflect…explore…and regroup.

Travel in Style

My West Coast getaway is fast approaching, and after this bizarre weather we’ve been having (really, snow on the first day of Spring?), I’m looking forward to a change in temperature…and scenery. But before I ask myself the dreaded question, “What should I pack?,” I’m reevaluating my luggage options. I, for one, don’t like to feel like a pack mule on vacation. Despite my desire to want an outfit for each day, I have learned to bring a few staples that can create a multitude of looks — and in only one bag. Along with this newfound skill, I’ve also learned how to choose suitable luggage. Long gone are the days of the cumbersome two-wheel bags that you spend more time fighting with through the airport than effortlessly wheeling. A few years ago, I upgraded to a shiny, hardshell, four-wheel suitcase and I have never looked back. My luggage has held up well despite numerous hard landings on baggage carousels, but I seem to have acquired quite the line of large suitcases. To remedy this, I started looking for smaller, durable pieces that would come in handy when taking a short trip rather than a month-long multi-country vacation. Below are some great options to keep you traveling in style!

Travel in Style

Weekender Bag: As the name implies, these bags are perfect for the quick sojourn. And if your travel plans don’t involve a plane (nobody wants their weekender manhandled!), these lightweight bags are ideal for taking along when you only need a few days’ worth of clothes. I have a couple of weekenders for those occasions when I don’t have enough for a small suitcase but have too much to stuff into an over-sized tote bag.

Rolling Luggage: These four-wheel babies have been a game-changer. They make weaving in and out of airport crowds a breeze and their hard exterior ensures that your luggage arrives in one piece…despite drops and tosses! I’ve exclusively used the larger options since I find it more convenient to take one bag along, but the time has come to invest in its smaller cousin for when the larger size is too cumbersome!

Messenger Bag: When lugging your tote is not ideal, these over-the-shoulder bags come in handy. I love that they are slender, yet have lots of pockets for storage. The best part is that they are easy to take along, and you can store it in your tote when you don’t need it. My Prada messenger has been an essential travel buddy that has yet to disappoint.

Tote Bag: I’m all for multi-tasking on vacation…with my luggage, that is! An over-sized tote bag is one of those items that can pull double-duty. Use it as your everyday bag. Or for a day at the beach. It can eliminate the need for double packing.

I’d love to hear which luggage pieces you prefer to travel with. And, if you have any recommendations for places to stay, eat or see in California (LA/SF) please leave them in the comments!

March Musings

Can you believe it? Spring is officially here. And to welcome its arrival, we will be building…snowmen! Yes, it may be Spring, but someone forgot to tell Winter that his job is done (the Northeast is bracing for a storm, with Long Island getting between 2-4 inches). As I prepare to breakout the snow boots, ice scraper and heavier coat (again) can we just acknowledge how close we came to actually being able to wear lighter layers? The past few weeks have been mild, and a few days qualified as sans tights and light coat weather in my book. I love seeing the days grow longer and the remnants of grass slowly begin to emerge from the snow. But, that all may change by this afternoon as we get what we may hope will be the last round of snow dumped on us!

So, welcome Spring! I am eagerly awaiting warmer weather, stunning sunsets and beautiful bouquets.

Enjoy Today

{New Tech Wallpaper from Graham & Co.}

Nutella Stuffed French Toast - Parlay Gastropub

{Nutella Stuffed French Toast – Parlay Gastropub, Rockville Centre}

Phillip Lim Skirt

{Top: Mossimo || Skirt: Phillip Lim}

A Quote from my Dentist

{Humor…Courtesy of my Dentist}

Good Health on a Getaway

Good Health on a Getaway

I am getting ready for my trip to California in a couple of weeks (can we say, excited?!). Of course, I will be sharing with you what I am packing in a later post (there will be plenty of cute sundresses, swimsuits and darling loungewear for you to be excited about), but for now, it’s all about how to stay healthy while traveling.

Since I am a self-diagnosed germaphobe, I can’t leave home without a few essentials that boost my immunity and put my mind at ease. Ever since my thyroid surgery nearly two years ago, I have incorporated supplements into my daily routine – especially during cold and flu season (Disclaimer: consult your physician before trying any dietary supplements).

These tried-and-true tactics have worked for me, and they will accompany me on my West Coast getaway.

1. Emergen-C: I have been stocking up on this fizzy stuff since college. The convenient packets make it easy to keep them in your bag, desk drawer or car. All you need is a packet and some water and you are good to go. I swear that these babies give me added energy to get through busy days. They come in multiple flavors (I prefer the citrus immune plus with some extra zinc) and only contain 5 grams of sugar per packet. With lots of Vitamin C (1,000 mg), and a slew of B vitamins (B6, B12 and Niacin), these packets are great for immune support and to keep you healthy overall.

2. Anti-Bacterial Hand Sanitizer: What kind of germaphobe would I be if I didn’t have this on the list? You can be sure that I am always equipped with hand sanitizer in one of my bags. I love Bath and Body Works products, and frequently get my hand sanitizer from them. My signature fragrance is the Japanese cherry blossom, which is not too over-powering but has a distinct floral aroma. The best part is that it doesn’t leave your hands sticky or dry after using.

3. Sunkist Zinc Throat Lozenges: When I run out of Emergen-C, or don’t have water handy, these convenient lozenges are the next best thing. They come in cherry, orange and honey lemon and can be taken on-the-go. I usually take two per day if I am feeling run-down. Be sure to let the lozenge dissolve rather than chew it for maximum effectiveness!

4. Pomegranate White Tea: Another one of my staples is the pomegranate white tea from Trader Joe’s. I’m not much of a tea drinker, but this tea infused with organic white tea leaves, hibiscus flowers and lemongrass, has been a favorite for a while. It’s not bitter like some teas, and has lots of antioxidants to keep you going. Add some agave for sweetness, or drink it chilled — this white tea is full of flavor.

5. Clorox To-Go Sanitizing Wipes: Since I can’t lug my usual container of Clorox wipes with me when I travel, I opt for these. At work, I usually wipe my desk down at least twice a week. It is a Monday ritual for me to start my workweek off with a clean (and disinfected!) desk. The same goes for when I travel – I wipe everything down from plane seats to waiting room tables. I realize it is a bit much, but if I am going to be spending a significant amount of time on a plane, or in a waiting area, I would like to be as comfortable (and germ-free) as possible.

Layered Looks

During my latest visit to H&M in NYC last weekend, I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of new looks for Spring…not that that is a bad thing! But what excited me most was the array of layered necklaces, chunky chokers and sparkly accessories. I mentioned in a recent post that I have been swooning over gold jewelry this season — rose gold has become a new favorite as well — so I was delighted to see all of these beauties arranged in one place. Even with my arms full of clothing…in a crowded store…with the music blasting, I managed to pull necklaces that would work for the office, but still be casual enough for the day-to-day look.

Exhibit A:

Braided Statement Necklace - H&M

This braided statement necklace was love at first sight and it has fast been integrated into many workday outfits. Since I have yet to swap out my dark winter hues with more Spring-like colors, this edgy necklace (which can be worn at varying lengths) complements my attire and adds some warmth to my look. Even though the necklace is a bit heavy, the multiple strands intricately braided together make this a fun and fresh piece for Spring.

Exhibit B:

Long Layered Necklace - H&M

I’m going to congratulate myself on finally buying a long necklace that can easily be combined with other pieces for a more layered look. I don’t particularly love the lengths of some of the longer necklaces, which often make me question how they should be worn (should I wear it as a single strand or was it meant to be doubled?), but this one is perfect. It’s simple, effortless and has become that when-in-doubt-wear-this go-to. I spent the majority of last week incorporating it with my dresses, and since it goes with everything it’s a great way to accessorize a work outfit.

So, there you have it. My latest obsession with gold jewelry appears to be in full swing! And in the interest of full disclosure, there is a third gold necklace that accompanied this purchase, but it has yet to see the light of day (as in, I haven’t had a chance to wear it!).

The Best of the Brunch

If there is one thing I love about weekends, it is that skipping breakfast and heading straight to brunch is perfectly acceptable. Personally, I could forgo lunch and dinner and be perfectly content eating waffles, pancakes, and crêpes all day. So when I have the time for a leisurely Sunday you can be sure that a good brunch is on the menu. Last weekend I took my grandmother to brunch for her birthday. It was starting to feel like spring in these parts so I thought a nice morning in Port Jefferson would be enjoyable. We went to the Fifth Season, where I’ve had brunch and dinner before, and snagged a table with water views.

Here are my recommendations for brunch if you should find yourself on Long Island:

Sweet n Savory - Port Jefferson, NY

Sweet ‘n’ Savory: I’ve posted about this place in Port Jefferson before, but it really is one of my favorite little spots to grab a sweet treat. The sassy decor will certainly keep your mind off the calories you are consuming, but hey, you only live once! Order one of their sweet crêpes–my personal favorites are the Cinnabon, cannoli and broken Oreo crêpes. And yes, they are as decadent as they sound, so I would advise you to go hungry. This is a great spot for an informal brunch. It’s a small space, so seating can be a bit tight during breakfast hours. If you happen to go when the weather is nice they have a patio out front – a great vantage point for people watching.

The Fifth Season - Port Jefferson, NY

{Snickerdoodle Pancakes – Fifth Season}

Fifth Season: For a fancier brunch experience, head across the street to the Fifth Season. Go upstairs if you can, and overlook the harbor. This spacious restaurant is the ideal brunch spot and offers both an à la carte and prix fixed menu. The prix fixed comes with a first and a second course (and a complimentary drink!), plenty of food for brunch, while their regular menu has a nice mix of both breakfast and lunch fares. Make a reservation if you are heading to Port Jefferson in the busy season (basically anytime the weather is nice). After brunch, stroll through the Village and enjoy some shops off the beaten path.

Cooperage Inn: Looking to make a day out of brunch? Then the Cooperage Inn is a great choice. Nestled on the East End of Long Island, this quaint restaurant has a buffet that could keep you satisfied all day. With more options than you could ever eat, this place offers a buffet style brunch with everything from eggs benedict to pancakes to a carving station and much more. It’s a great spot to hit if your day later includes a wine tasting, antique shopping, or just trekking around Baiting Hollow. The brunch (which was voted “Best Brunch” by Dan’s Paper) costs $26.95 per person and is worth every penny.

Rothmann’s Steakhouse: When I was growing up this was one of my favorite places to go for Sunday brunch. The building dates back to the 1820’s, although it did not become Rothmann’s until 1907 when Charles and Franziska Rothmann purchased it and opened their doors. Franziska initially did all of the cooking at the restaurant, and it became so well known for its food and ambience that President Theodore Roosevelt would ride over on horseback for a meal. Later, it was nicknamed “The House of Eats.” Today, this restaurant, which was once owned by the famous composer Burt Bacharach in the 1970’s, is still known for its food and historic charm. Located in East Norwich, it’s a great option for a formal affair, and brunch is a real treat. My family would always go for holidays and special occasions and I remember the buffet being truly spectacular. While it’s not cheap (brunch will set you back $49.95 per person), this is definitely a great place to savor food with friends and family.

Swooning Over Swimwear

Swooning Over Swimwear

I realize it’s a bit early to start planning for summer. But after my recent experience at Topshop (I’m still thinking about those one-piece suits I didn’t buy!), and with a looming trip to sunny California in the not-too-distant future, I decided to put together some of my favorite one-piece looks. A new adventure calls for a new suit, right? For those of you who still have a few more months before you welcome warmth, there’s no better time than the present to start working on those wish lists.

Since I have Topshop on the brain, I had to include those darling one-piece suits that stole my heart. The floral suit (similar shown above) with removable straps screams summer. I love the cut and lines of the suit, and paired with the black belt I’m sure it looks just as flattering while you are basking on the beach as it does under a cute cover-up. The other show-stopper I spotted in the store was the black and cream suit with double scallop detailing. The contrasting colors and texture will make this a classy suit for many summers to come.

Aside from my obvious favorites, I am feeling the floral prints for summer, and of course, I can’t resist some combination of black and white. Perhaps I’ll splurge on a polka dot suit?

Which is your favorite swimsuit style?

Escapades and the City

This past weekend was an exciting one! Despite living in the shadow of one of the greatest cities in the world, I rarely make my way into New York City (with the exception of follow-ups with my surgeon, of course!). But I was delighted when Elana, whom I became acquainted with through blogging, invited me to have coffee with her and meet in person. Elana writes the career advice and lifestyle blog, Elana Lyn, and like me, she attended college in D.C. Her blog is a great resource for both millennials and seasoned professionals, as she offers valuable advice for any career stage, and she keeps her content fresh with her weekly career profile series (which I live for!).

Elana and I met at Macaron Cafe near Penn Station. It’s a cozy place filled with vibrant colored macaroons (notice the variation in spelling!) and other light breakfast offerings. Since it’s in NYC, space is a premium, but it was a great place for a first introduction. From Elana’s blog I knew we had a lot in common, and I enjoyed meeting her in person.

Macaron Cafe - NYC

Next up on my NYC adventure was some shopping (unintended, naturally). I made a bee line when I saw the bright red lights welcoming me to H&M. What started out as a “quick” browse through three levels of clothing, turned into a full-on shopping escapade. It was hard to resist spending the entire weekend in that H&M, and made me seriously question why the two H&M’s on Long Island don’t look anything like those in NYC. After a workout just to make it to the dressing room, and numerous trips up and around the three-levels, I decided that I had enough. The line to pay pushed me over the edge, and I was suddenly grateful that the H&M’s on Long Island looked nothing like this. Two dresses, one peplum top, and three necklaces later, I had turned a five minute shopping pit stop into a lengthy endeavor. Not to fear, all of my purchases will make their way onto the blog sooner or later!

After some more walking, I found myself at Rockefeller Plaza. I’ve always wanted to skate there, but I was not quite dressed warm enough for outdoor ice skating with the wind chill. It was, however, a great place to take photos of the rink and admire those braving the cold.

Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink - NYC

Nearby was the Lego store, which had a small replica of Atlas holding up the world — just a few feet from the actual statue.

Atlas holding up the world - NYC

Continuing on, I took another slight detour, and was at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. This church is simply majestic. The high ceilings and stained glass windows were exquisite.

St. Patrick's Cathedral - NYC

St. Patrick's Cathedral - NYC

St. Patrick's Cathedral - NYC

St. Patrick's Cathedral - NYC

St. Patrick's Cathedral

And while I was in the area, taking a peek at the store windows was a must. Saks Fifth Avenue had the most stunning window display — and the Valentino heels weren’t bad either!

Gucci Window Display - New York City

{Gucci Window Display}

Sake Fifth Avenue Window Display - New York City

{Saks Fifth Avenue Window}

My last bit of excitement for the day was spotting an actual Topshop store. I was beginning to think they were an urban myth, and that I would have to buy online or through Nordstrom. Walking into the palatial store and seeing all of the perfectly curated clothes made my eyes light up. The highlight was finding their makeup display and purchasing a red lipstick that I have been eyeing for months at a great price. Too bad I also saw two swoon-worthy one-piece suits that I didn’t buy and haven’t been able to get off my mind since. Another trip to NYC, perhaps?

It was a beautiful but cool night to walk around the City. But no trip would be complete without a stop at the Magnolia Bakery. They have the best cupcakes…and are worth the wait on line! Try the red velvet–you won’t be disappointed.

Magnolia Bakery - New York City

On the way back to Penn Station I stopped at Bryant Park. The fountain was frozen and made for a great shot against the dimly lit buildings behind it.

Bryant Park Frozen Fountain - NYC

And so, I bid adieu to the City that never sleeps, and headed home to Long Island to go to sleep.

New York City at Night

Learning to Live in the Moment

Learning to Live in the Moment

After doing a little self-reflection this past week, I gave some thought about what it really means to live in the moment. I fully admit that I am not an expert on the subject, but certain circumstances in my life have forced me to reevaluate this concept.

As you may know, when I started this blog I had just undergone a thyroidectomy and spent a considerable amount of time doing research on thyroid cancer and learning to live without a thyroid. When I was first diagnosed I was overcome with a rush of emotions, many of which revolved around fear. Most of my fears were about things that were either out of my control, or may not even happen. It was after my recovery period that I decided from that time on I would live in the moment…and not dwell on the future.

With that said, here are some of my thoughts on being more present in your life:

1. Be open to new opportunities: I am not a gregarious person by nature, nor am I someone who is comfortable with change (things I am trying to work on!), but part of getting where you want to be in life is being at the right place at the right time. Sometimes when you are too focused on the end result, you miss all the steps it takes to get there. This is something I have been guilty of. Pay attention to the options and the people around you. You will eventually get where you need to be if you have an open and engaged mind.

2. Check in with your feelings: If you are feeling a certain way about something, write it down, or talk to a friend. Just the simple act of acknowledging your emotions can help you move forward.

3. Be spontaneous: Living in the moment involves being present in the here and now. Always wanted to take a mid-week yoga class? Then go do it! Want to travel, but don’t have people to go with you? Make plans for a solo trip. There is no better time to do something you want to do than right now.

4. Focus on yourself: This may sound selfish, but I think self-improvement and learning about yourself is important for all aspects of your life, from your career to relationships. Trying different hobbies, learning a new skill (I took a class in HTML), or just taking some time to do whatever you like each week can have a positive impact on your happiness and productivity.

5. Seek positivity: Yet another thing I am working on, but training yourself to think positively and see the good in a situation is a great way to live in the moment. During my thyroid cancer diagnosis there were days where it was harder than others to be positive and optimistic. But in reality, where did those negative thoughts get me? Yoga (and my wonderful yoga teacher!) have definitely helped me embrace a positive mindset and allowed me to release negative thoughts that no longer serve me. I think surrounding yourself with positive, upbeat people is a great way to improve your own outlook…and yourself!

How do you embrace living in the moment? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.