Month: March 2016

Chocolate, Crawls, and Cravings

Chocology Unlimited

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of taste testing a new fudge flavor from Chocology Unlimited. You may remember that I raved about how amazing their fudge was a few months back (you can read the post here). This new flavor lived up to my every expectation…and then some.

Chocology Unlimited

After chocolate and peanut butter, my second favorite combination is chocolate and mint. Chocology’s new dark chocolate mint fudge was the perfect marriage between the two flavors; it is sweet and subtle, with just a hint of mint. There is an addictive quality in both mint and chocolate. I tried to take only a couple of bites to let the flavor marinate in my mouth. But one bite turned into two, and then four, and then — goodbye fudge. Once you try this flavor, you’ll see why it’s so hard to resist devouring it in one sitting.

Since I was already coming down with Coldmaggedon 2.0 (as I have officially dubbed my second cold of the month!) on Easter, I didn’t get to satisfy my sweet tooth (to the fullest extent). Sure, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs were sufficient. But what could be better than some fudge? So this weekend, I’ll be heading to Port Jefferson, where Chocology is located, and I will treat myself to some belated Easter sweets.

Chocology Unlimited

If you’re on Long Island, this Saturday (April 2nd from 12 pm – 5 pm) is the Port Jefferson Shopping Crawl. The weather should be nice, there’s tons to see and do, and it’s a great way to support local businesses on Long Island. Hey, you might even run into yours truly. If you’re not local, follow me on Snapchat (username: livinginsteil) to see some of my favorite places to shop when I’m in town. You know I’ll be stopping at Chocology!

Thank you for the fudge, Chocology!

Lace-Up Flats for Spring

Lace-Up Flats for Spring

{1//2//3//4//5//6}

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the lace-up trend, especially when it comes to shoes. Flats–you bet! Heels–yes, please! Now that spring has arrived, the days stay lighter longer, and warm weather peeked out of hiding, it’s time to hightail it out of those boots and into something sleeker. Like any one of the lace-up numbers I’ve selected.

How swoon-worthy are the J. Crew floral leather lace-up flats and the pair from Schutz? And while we’re on the subject, I’ll be adding the Aquazzura crystal and denim beauties to my wish list (a girl can dream, can’t she?). Don’t I have a half-year birthday coming up, or something?

Which are your favorite pair of lace-up flats?

Improve Your Health: Four Ways to Stay Healthy Holistically

Improve Your Health:  Four Ways to Stay Healthy Holistically

Somewhere in my travels, I must have angered a health god. I’m sick for the second time this month. Just to give you a little background, I usually get a fall cold and that’s it. Done…finished…finito. I got a cold at the end of October, and it was a doozy. So why have I gotten sick not once, but twice in March?

I am a complete germaphobe. I constantly wash my hands (or use antibacterial sanitizers). I Lysol everything. I drink an Emergen-C Immune Support packet probably more than they recommend. So again, why am I sick?

What began as a slight tickle in my throat on Sunday initially had me convinced it was all in my head. I spent the night in bed alternating between telling myself I felt fine to having a near anxiety attack, fearing that Coldmaggedon had come back with a vengeance. By morning, it was clear that the latter was true.

Since I could no longer stay in denial, I decided to try some holistic remedies to aid my recovery. Here are a few that have helped me feel better:

Gargle with Warm Salt Water: Any time I feel the slightest tingle in my throat I bust out the salt. It soothes it almost immediately, and it cuts down on the time that my throat feels like I’m swallowing glass. Add a teaspoon of salt to warm water and gargle for five minutes. I usually add about a tablespoon of salt and try to gargle three times a day.

Apple Cider Vinegar: I’ve often heard people who drink apple cider vinegar rarely get sick. Who knows if that claim is valid, but there are benefits to drinking a teaspoon of the acidic stuff. This article in Shape magazine touts the seven benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar, one of which is that it may prevent cancer (can I drink the whole bottle, please?). Even if it won’t cure the common cold, it can ease a sore throat. If drinking it isn’t your cup of tea (no pun intended), try mixing it with warm water and gargling.

Improve Your Health:  Four Ways to Stay Healthy Holistically

Healing Tea: I first came across the recipe for this healing tea on Elana’s blog, Elana Lyn, and I thought the post was worth bookmarking. While I am adverse to all spices, turmeric has some serious game as an anti-inflammatory. This potent powder can do everything from delay diabetes to protect against cancer. Guess there’s a reason so many people swear by it! When I first started feeling the effects of Coldmaggedon 2.0 I quickly pulled up Elana’s post and followed the directions to make this healing tea. Hurry, if you head over to my Snapchat (username: livinginsteil) you just might be in time to catch some snaps I made while I was mixing up this concoction! All you need are three simple ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen: turmeric, ground ginger, and black pepper. Add a teaspoon of turmeric to boiling water, and then mix in 1/4 teaspoon each of ground ginger and black pepper. Drink up!

Echinacea: Another helpful little herb, Echinacea can be found at your local health food store and is a great first line of defense against an oncoming cold. It can also be taken once you develop symptoms to shorten the duration of your cold. Echinacea has many beneficial uses, covering everything from the common cold and flu to anxiety and dizziness.

You should consult your doctor or health care provider before starting on a holistic regimen.

Do you have any holistic remedies to share?

Philly Photos

Happy Monday! I hope that you all had a good Easter and the Easter bunny treated you well. I happily indulged in my favorite treat, Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, and am thrilled to report that the pack of six lasted just about 24 hours.

This week I’ll be sharing a full recap of my trip to Philadelphia, including my tour of the Eastern State Penitentiary. Stay tuned!

Here are a few of my favorite shots from my trip:

Philadelphia

{Exploring Philadelphia}

Spring Blooms

{Spring Blooms}

Horses of Philadelphia

{Horses of Philadelphia}

Philly Street Art

{Street Art}

Philadelphia Sunrise

{Good Morning, Philly!}

Philly Style

Merona Tunic

The weather in Philadelphia this week has run the gamut from being cold and windy one day to 70 degrees and spring-like the next. I’m glad I brought a mix of clothing — and remembered to pack a scarf, gloves, and my trusty earbags, at the last minute. Needless to say, this tunic came in handy. You may remember that on Monday I talked about bringing this piece along, but today I thought I would share how I like to style it.

Merona Tunic

This Merona tunic from Target has been on major repeat since I purchased it, and I love how effortless it is to pair with leggings, while still looking chic. I’ve tried wearing it with skinny jeans, but I think these Mossimo leggings give the outfit a sleeker vibe. This was the perfect ensemble to keep me warm during a windy day of sightseeing in Philly — and it didn’t take up much room in my one and only bag!

Merona Tunic

Merona Tunic

Merona Tunic

Stealing the Spotlight: Natural Deodorant

Stealing the Spotlight: Natural Deodorant

In an effort to use more natural products after having thyroid cancer, I’ve long been on the hunt for a good deodorant. As in, one that works. Perhaps you, too, have searched for a natural deodorant, and know how hard it can be to find a product that is to your liking. After having tried lots of different brands, I can’t say I’ve had much success with any. While they smell nice, they usually fail to do what I need, and end up living out their days on a shelf in my bathroom.

So here are two new-to-me natural deodorants that I will be testing out. I hope to be able to give you a full report within the next few weeks. And with any luck, one (or both) of these products will make me a convert.

Have you tried any natural deodorants? Are there any brands you recommend?

The One Thing You Need for Spring

OPI Nail Polish

{Left: OPI Dulce de Leche || Right: OPI You Don’t Know Jacques}

A nude nail polish shade, but of course! Before leaving for Philadelphia earlier in the week, I stopped at Ulta for a new nail polish (because I can’t leave home without a manicure). I often have to go through my polish arsenal to make sure I don’t buy duplicates of similar hues. But this time, I knew the color I was searching for, or so I thought…

OPI Dulce de Leche

I quickly spotted the dark taupe shade I was seeking, aptly named You Don’t Know Jacques. But before I purchased it, I glanced over the other shades that OPI offered. That’s when I saw it — a nude polish that I found hard to resist. Dulce de Leche was the perfect shade for spring. If you’re looking for a neutral color with a hint of pinky beige, this one is for you. I can see wearing this shade all through the spring and summer, and it’s ideal for a professional setting.

What’s your favorite nail polish color for spring?

Spring Snaps

Now that it is officially spring I have high expectations when it comes to weather. I’m more than ready to ditch the winter coat and live in a blazer until the really hot days arrive in June. But Mother Nature foiled my plans this week, as she delivered snow on the first day of spring. Fortunately, I’m in Philadelphia, where the high tomorrow might reach 70 degrees. So at least for the rest of the week, I will get my wish.

Weekend Workout

{Weekend Workout}

Horses

{A nice way to spend an afternoon}

Pizza

{When you just can’t decide if you want to be good or not…}

First Day of Spring

{Hello, Spring!}

Philadelphia

{Greetings from Philadelphia}

What’s in My Bag for a Short Getaway

What's in my Bag

{Jeans//Boots//Blazer (similar here)//Flats (similar here)//Tunic}

I love quick getaways. And this week I’ll be spending time in good old Philadelphia. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of content on the blog this week, and you can follow my journey on Snapchat (username: livinginsteil), and on Instagram. If you have any coffee shops (you know how much I appreciate a good cup of joe) or restaurants I need to try, please leave them in the comments below.

I like to pack light when I travel. My rule of thumb when it comes to luggage is if I can’t comfortably carry it, it won’t be coming with me. There is no worse feeling than having to schlep heavy bags along on your trip — and battle sore muscles as a result. This is even truer when I’m going on a getaway totaling fewer than five days.

Here’s what made the cut for my trip to Philadelphia (following my self-imposed one bag limit):

LOFT skinny jeans: All of the jeans in my closet are from LOFT. I love how they fit, and the best part is that I don’t need to shorten them. I own many pairs in different colors and washes, and they look just as good now as they did when I first bought them. They’re easy to pair with flats or riding boots, and dress-up nicely.

Riding boots: My Franco Sarto riding boots were probably one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Whether I’m running to a kickboxing class (yes, I wear them with my leggings until I get to the studio), or walking around New York City, these boots are an easy choice. They’re comfortable to walk in all day, and the gold accent pieces add just the right touch. And even though it’s officially spring, this weather has been so unpredictable that boots may be a necessity during this trip.

Blazer: There may be snow in New York, but I’m hoping to catch some warmer weather in Philadelphia and ditch the winter coat. My navy H&M blazer will be perfect for those days in the 60’s that are supposedly on the horizon.

Flats: Just in case the weather turns out to be too warm for boots, my Adrienne Vittadini flats don’t take up much space and can add just the right amount of bling to any look.

Tunic: I own one, and only one tunic. But after shopping at Target recently and spotting this beauty from Merona, I may be a convert. It’s so cozy, and the perfect piece to wear with leggings — or while stuck in a car for three hours.

Basic layering pieces: Since it’s still sweater weather–at least it was when I left New York–I packed along a few long-sleeves that would work under a blazer, and with a light coat. I opted to leave the dark hues at home, and broke out my baby blues and blushes to welcome the start of spring.

What are your must-have items for a getaway?

Curl Up With Irresistible Me

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

Don’t you just wish you were born with perfect hair? That you could wake up, and with minimal effort, look like you (and your hair) were ready for your close-up? I know I do. Ironically, as a child I had pin-straight hair, and I always envied the girls in my class who had curls. Now, years later, my once straight hair has morphed into wavy, and often times unruly, locks. Needless to say, I’ve spent the last ten years flat ironing my hair every day.

I know my hair takes daily abuse, and I more than put it through the wringer (sorry, hair). So I’m always on the hunt for tools that can make my life easier and make my hair like me a little bit more. When I first learned of Irresistible Me, I thought they were all about hair extensions. And since my hair has some serious length to it, I figured “Well, that’s nice, but not something I need.” But when I found out they also carried a whole line of hair tools, I was intrigued.

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

Despite loving how my hair looks straight, there are times when I just need to change it up. That’s when I grab the curling iron and attempt to get those sleek little rings. But past attempts with curling irons have left me more inclined to stick to my straightener. I’m sure we’ve all used the kind that’s heavy, takes forever to achieve the desired result, and leaves our arms tired.

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

Well, Irresistible Me has the perfect solution — meet Ruby, the two-way auto-rotating curler. Long gone are the days of twisting the curling iron, this baby does all of the heavy lifting for you. Simply use the clip and wrap small sections of hair around the wand, select the right or left button option to choose the direction, and voilĂ . Watch as the curling iron effortlessly moves up to the hairline, saving your wrists and precious time.

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

I curled my hair as these photos were being taken, while sitting on a bar stool in front of a mirror. It was a far cry from the days were I would break a sweat curling each piece of hair. Even getting the small strands in the back were a cinch with this. And did I mention the best part? This curling iron is a serious lightweight. Its size is deceptive; it might look big. But it’s easy to use and handle — which are two things you want in a hair tool.

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

This tool took my hair completely by surprise. After years of flat ironing, I’m not sure my hair knows how to curl anymore. And it definitely requires substantial heat to do so. This curling iron only heats up to 410 degrees, which is still extremely hot, but not high enough to get those tight curls on my hair. Personally, I like the loose wavy look, so it works for me.

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

The Ruby auto-rotating curler is the perfect iron to have on hand for those days where I want to add some volume to my hair. Even the box that it came in was chic, sturdy, and perfect for protecting the iron when it’s not in use.

Ruby Curler - Irresistible Me

If you’re in the market for new hair tools, Irresistible Me will have the product for you!

*Curling iron courtesy of Irresistible Me
Photography by Vlad Polchaninoff