Month: December 2014

Ringing in the New Year

Welcome 2015

It’s that time of the year…time to say goodbye to 2014 and welcome 2015! I can’t believe 2014 is coming to a close already. This was one of those years that flew by. But it was a good year. I started this blog in February 2014 and have been enjoying every minute of the creative process, reading all of your comments, and getting to know the blogging community. I am grateful to my readers and for this space — so thank you! This was also my first year post-thyroid cancer. While it was filled with lots of visits to see my endocrinologist, I am happy to report that I have remained in good health. I was fortunate to be introduced to an amazing group of thyroid advocates on Twitter who have offered support to myself and others with thyroid cancer. Recently, I guest posted on Zen Thyroid, a health and wellness blog that focuses on healing, where I shared my thyroid cancer story. I am always touched when someone tells me that my story inspired them.

Here’s a recap of some of my favorite posts from the year:

Confessions of a ‘Recent’ College Graduate

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One Year Out

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Six Things I’ve Learned in Six Months of Blogging

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Opening Day at The Hampton Classic

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Twenty Lessons I Learned in my 20’s

Life Lessons

Designing with Modani

Designing with Modani

I would like to make some new, meaningful resolutions for 2015. At the top of my list is to take better care of myself (as in — eat right!). This has remained on my radar for quite some time now, and always manages to fall by the wayside. But this year, I am determined to make it a priority by choosing healthy recipes and planning out my meals for the week.

Along with a healthy lifestyle comes getting back to practicing yoga regularly. I had joined the gym at work with a workout buddy, and had been going everyday, but these last six months left me with no time (or energy!) to spare. I’d like to make exercise a priority in 2015 (and give SoulCycle a try!).

And, of course, I want to keep creating content for you all to enjoy. Feel free to leave suggestions for posts you would like to see on the blog in 2015 in the comments section!

I’m sure I will think of more things to incorporate into my New Year’s resolution. But for now, having a few straightforward goals is more manageable than having a long list. I hope you all have positive memories from 2014 and are as excited as I am to welcome a New Year!

Happy 2015!

Unwrapping Christmas

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and is enjoying their gifts. It has been great to have some down time after the holiday. I feel like I accomplished a lot these past few days. My home office is completed (finally!), I’ve caught up on emails, and I embraced the unseasonably warm December weather by taking a post-Christmas hike. Today, I will be trading in those near 50 degree days for a trip to Lake Placid, New York to skate on the Olympic speed skating oval, and hopefully experience the bobsled run. Keep up with me on Instagram to see all of the excitement!

Here are some photos from the past week:

J. Crew Pavé Link Bracelet

{Christmas Gift to Myself. J. Crew Pavé Link Bracelet}

Hot Chocolate Soap

{Hot Chocolate Soap. A Gift from Claudia}

Post-Christmas Hike - Connetquot State Park

{Taking in the View – Connetquot State Park}

Post-Christmas Hike - Connetquot State Park

{Hidden Falls – Connetquot State Park}

Post-Christmas Hike - Connetquot State Park

{Post-Christmas Hike – Connetquot State Park}

Working with WeWork

Home Office Reveal

The time has finally come to reveal my my sleek and stylish home office. I promised that this project would be completed by summer’s end (thank you for bearing with me!), but you know how it goes – one busy week turns into another, and before you know it, it’s almost the end of 2014 and that long awaited project is, well, long awaited. Not to worry, after coming across WeWork, a co-working company that offers office space to individuals and teams and then allows them to create their own individualized setting, I felt both inspired and compelled to complete my project. If you haven’t heard of them before, they deserve a look. I think this is a fabulous concept for entrepreneurs or small teams who need an “office” but might not need it every day or at a fixed location. WeWork has many locations to choose from, so if you need to work in San Francisco one day and Amsterdam the next, they’ve got you covered.

So without further ado, here is my newly designed (and upgraded) home office. You can read the initial post about my office, and see what inspired me to create this room.

Home Office Reveal

Home Office Reveal

Home Office Reveal

Home Office Reveal

I am very pleased with the final results, and I look forward to having a designated space that I can enjoy and that reflects my style. The desk is original, but I added the grey patterned rug (from Target), the mirrored cabinet, and the white executives chair (both of which I spotted at Home Goods). My concept was to have a room that was tranquil and airy, something I achieved with the wall color (which I painted in 2010) and metallic accessories. What I love about the room is how well all the pieces work together, but my favorite addition has been the white leather chair. To me, it is the perfect modern chair for the space and is complemented by a throw pillow that says, ‘Good Morning Gorgeous’ in a color that matches the room. It is a great focal point!

Home Office Reveal

Home Office Reveal

Home Office Reveal

Home Office Reveal

Finding a proper piece of furniture for storage was a challenge. I wanted something that could hold all of my papers and keep me organized, but didn’t have the look of a stale filing cabinet. The mirrored cabinet from Home Goods was exactly what I wanted. If I could add an element to make this my dream office, my wish list would include a chandelier. Aside from being a great light source, it is also a glamorous statement piece.

Home Office Reveal

I am excited to start creating in this beautiful space, and I thank WeWork for showcasing clever designs that aided my vision for my own office.

Season’s Greetings

Happy Holidays from Living in Steil

I hope all of my Living in Steil readers have a wonderful holiday! I finally got my shopping done (as in, I Ieft it all for Saturday and spent way too many hours in the mall), and now I’m ready to relax and unwind. I’m excited about a couple of upcoming projects that I will be sharing on the blog. Make sure you visit on Friday, December 26th to see my long awaited home office reveal. I’ve found some great pieces to complete my office and I can’t wait to share the finished look with you all.

Gift Guide: ThyCa Spirit Items

ThyCa Spirit Items

As this gift guide series comes to a close, I had to add a few items from ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association that would make great gifts for any thyroid patient, survivor or caregiver. I have many of their spirit items, including the key chain, bracelet, Run Walk Crawl t-shirt, racerback tank top, suncatcher, tote bag, and pill cases! Some of these I’ve kept for myself, while others I have given out to promote thyroid cancer awareness amongst my friends and family. The best part is that all proceeds go towards supporting ThyCa’s services and promoting thyroid cancer research. For many thyroid cancer patients, myself included, ThyCa is an invaluable resource.

If you are still looking for last-minute stocking stuffers, visit ThyCa Spirit Items and order today!

Weekly Musings

With six days left until Christmas I still have plenty to do, but it is an exciting time filled with holiday parties, good food and great friends. This weekend I am going to try to knock a few things off my to-do list (like buying gifts!), and wrap up the weekend with a trip to Aveda for some pampering.

Here are some highlights from the week:

Dinner at Danfords Hotel and Marina - Port Jefferson, N.Y.

{Holiday Décor at Danfords Hotel and Marina – Port Jefferson, New York}

Nutella Cheesecake - Danfords Hotel and Marina

{Nutella Cheesecake at Danfords Hotel and Marina – Port Jefferson, New York}

Well Traveled Chocolate

{Well Traveled Chocolate. A Gift from Trader Joe’s}

DSW

{Lunchtime Find at DSW}

Celebrating on the Water

{Christmas on the Water – Kings Park, New York}

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with all of my musings!

Haute Off The Hanger

Haute Off The Hanger

With about a week until Christmas, you should have your gifts wrapped and all of the ingredients for your holiday meal. Right? Well, not in my world. If you are still struggling to find the perfect gift for your hard-to-please friend or guy who has EVERYTHING, you are not alone (check out my gift guides for some inspiration!). Each year I promise myself that next year I will start shopping earlier. Then next year comes around and I am busy with all sorts of things leading up to the holidays, and before you know it the first week of December turns into the third and then you realize Christmas is only a few short days away. It happens every year!

Hopefully you have planned for these such occasions – and the only thing left on your to-do list is picking your outfit for the myriad of holiday parties you have been invited to attend. Whether you are keeping it casual this year, or stopping at the office party straight from work, you can’t go wrong with metallic or red hues. And if you need some outfit help for your guy, head over to my friend Christina’s blog, Musings of a Mom,{Esq.}, for some great picks that are sure to keep him looking stylish from head to toe!

How to Prepare Lobster for The Holidays

How to Make Lobster Quesadillas

If there is one dish I truly love it is lobster. When I was growing up, Surf and Turf was a favorite holiday meal and always a real treat. And since the holidays are upon us, I thought I would try my hand at making lobster…but not just any lobster dish. Lobster quesadillas make great appetizers and are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

You’ll be happy to hear that cooking a lobster is not as challenging as it might seem. By following a few simple steps, your lobster can taste as good as those served in restaurants.

Ingredients
* Defrosted lobster tail (you can cook it frozen, but it will take longer)
* Butter
* Salt
* Garlic Powder
* Lemon

I chose to broil my lobster in the oven, but you could grill or boil it if you prefer. Before preparing your lobster, preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Next, melt butter and add salt, lemon, and garlic powder to your liking in a small bowl.

To Prepare the Lobster:

1. Cut the back of the lobster shell down the right and left side all the way to the bottom. Once at the bottom, cut across and remove that part the shell.

How to Prepare Lobster

2. Rinse the lobster to remove any remaining shell fragments.

3. Once the lobster is dry, drizzle the melted butter, salt, lemon, and garlic powder onto the lobster meat. *Make sure you have enough liquid on the lobster to prevent it from drying out, and re-apply as needed.

How to Prepare Lobster

4. Depending on the size of your lobster (and whether it was frozen), it will need about one minute of cooking per ounce. My lobster tail was small (about 4 ounces), but it was not completely defrosted and took about 10 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on your lobster and check the internal temperature regularly. Once it reaches 145 degrees it is done. Be careful not to over-cook the lobster or it will become rubbery.

I added the melted butter, garlic powder, lemon, and salt mixture every time I checked the lobster. It helped keep it moist and gave it flavor. After your lobster is cooked, you can serve it as Surf and Turf or you can make quesadillas.

To Make Lobster Quesadillas:

I posted my chicken quesadillas recipe on the blog in March 2014, but for a refresher, here is what you will need.

Ingredients
* Flour tortilla (make sure it is large enough to stuff and fold in half)
* Cooked Lobster
* Shredded Cheese
* Scallions (optional)

What I enjoy about quesadillas is that you can add any ingredients you like and make the dish your own. At Del Fuego, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants on Long Island, they make their lobster quesadillas with local corn and Chipotle-honey butter.

1. In a large pan, add a drop of oil and lightly warm both sides of the tortilla. I start off on high heat and keep it at a medium level once the tortilla is in the pan. A minute on both sides should be all you need.

2. Next, add your lobster, cheese and vegetables to one side of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half and gently flip to cook the other side. I usually cook it about 3 minutes per side or until the cheese melts.

How to Prepare Lobster Quesadillas

3. Once the tortilla is golden brown on both sides it is ready to serve and enjoy!

How to Prepare Lobster Quesadillas

So, if you find yourself needing an appetizer or even a main dish for your holiday party, you can’t go wrong with either the Surf and Turf option or lobster quesadillas!

Holiday Décor

Holiday Decor

Even though there are officially ten more days until the start of winter, I feel like it has arrived on Long Island (so, you don’t mind if I declare it winter already, do you?). I have seen snowflakes, driven through a mini-blizzard, spent precious time in the morning freeing my car of snow, and had to break out my hardcore winter coat. So yes, my friends, winter is here. Is it too early to begin the countdown to summer?

This past week, after vacillating daily about whether or not to put a tree up this year, I decided that it just wouldn’t be the holidays without one. In my adult life, I have been putting up a tree for the last six holiday seasons. And while I don’t enjoy the physical aspect of going to select a tree (I always pick the coldest, rainiest, or snowiest days!), I do enjoy the smell of a real tree and the ornaments, some of which are from my childhood. Spending a day listening to random songs on my Ipod while first layering the lights and garland, and then moving on to the ornaments is always enjoyable.

Now that the tree is up, I hope I will feel inspired to start my holiday shopping. Still have ladies, gentlemen and co-workers on your list who are present-less? Well, I’ve curated a few gift guides to help you out!

Happy Friday!

Under $25 Gift Guide: For Co-Workers

The holiday guide is wrapping up, but not without a few gift ideas for your co-workers. This year my office is having a White Elephant gift exchange. Ever hear of it? The premise is that you buy a silly gift — something you wouldn’t ordinarily give someone. Then you pick a number. The lowest number goes first and selects an anonymous gift. Then another person picks a gift and they can either keep it or steal someone else’s. It continues like this until all of the presents are opened. For my gift, I opted for something that was slightly trivial, but also useful.

But for this guide, I curated items that you would actually want to give your co-workers (and receive!). And the best part is that all of the gifts on the list are under $25!

Under $25 Gift Guide: For Co-Workers