Month: May 2016

A Stroll Through Nature

Target Rock Wildlife Preserve

I hope you all enjoyed the long weekend and feel ready to tackle the (short!) week ahead. I have to admit, the last few weeks have not been the best for me. I’ve felt anxious, overwhelmed, and just not like myself lately. So, when a friend suggested taking some time out to get lost in a nature preserve for a while I was all ears.

Target Rock Wildlife Preserve

I’ve talked about Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge on the blog before, but if you live on Long Island, you should check it out. The preserve is one of my favorites to stroll through. It’s so peaceful to walk along the trails, take a rest at one of the benches or overlooks, and eventually make your way down to the beach.

Target Rock Wildlife Preserve

Target Rock Wildlife Preserve

On this day in particular, it was just what I needed. The sounds of nature were calming — we came across lots of chipmunks crossing our path, and the oppressive heat seemed to melt away once we were under the cover of the trees. By the time we made it down to the beach, it was much cooler and there was a slight breeze. I brought a towel along with me so that I could take a nap by the water — and that was just what I did.

A warm summer-like day, the sound of the waves against the rocks, and the company of a good friend made this a very relaxing journey.

Where do you find peace when you need to unwind?

Memorial Day Weekend Must-Haves

Memorial Day Weekend Must-Haves

I don’t know about you, but I’m super excited for the long weekend. The weather is supposed to be perfect (read: hitting the beach), there are tons of fun events happening on Long Island, and it’s a long weekend that marks the (unofficial) start of summer. So, what could be better?

Summer starts for me when I have a coral shade of polish on my nails (my favorite is Hot & Spicy from OPI), break out the rompers, and start living in sandals. Check, check, and check!

If you’re looking for wardrobe ideas for the weekend, the simple pieces above can elevate any look. And if you will be hitting the beach, remember to pack the sunblock. Nobody wants to start the summer off with a nasty burn!

I hope you all enjoy the long weekend. I’ll be back on Tuesday, May 31st with a new post!

A Mid-Week Beach Day

A Mid-Week Beach Day

In an effort to take more time for myself during the week, I shut down the computer and hit the beach yesterday. It was the first time I have been to the beach all season, but the 89 degree temperature made it feel more like summer than spring. The warm weather is supposed to last for the rest of the week, but if you haven’t been able to leave your office to enjoy it, here are some snaps from my much needed beach day!

A Mid-Week Beach Day

A Mid-Week Beach Day

A Mid-Week Beach Day

A Mid-Week Beach Day

The Off-the-Shoulder Trend

If you’ve perused your favorite stores, flipped through some magazines, or visited fashion blogs lately, you know that the off-the-shoulder trend is having a major moment right now. And I can’t say that I’m too upset about it. Since my closet is currently lacking this wardrobe staple, I thought I would round-up a few stylish options to share with you.

The Off-the-Shoulder Trend

Are you loving the OTS trend? Which look is your favorite?

Relaxing and Recapping

We got lucky with a few rather warm days in May recently. Of course, I’ve taken full advantage of the nice weather, debuted my white jeans (as if I needed an excuse), and sipped on cool iced coffees. If the weather keeps up like this, it will feel like summer before we know it!

Here’s a round-up of my favorite recent snaps:


{Hello, beauties!}

Starbucks Iced Coffee

{My summer go-to from Starbucks}


{Not a bad sunset to see on your drive home}

Jimmy Choo Glasses

{How fab are these Jimmy Choo glasses?}

Chocolate Chip Pancakes at IHOP

{Started off the week with chocolate chip pancakes from IHOP}

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Monday Mantra: Remember to Hit Pause

Monday Mantra:  Remember to Hit Pause

Here we are again. Doesn’t it feel like it was Friday a mere five minutes ago? It does for me. As I sit down to write this post after a whirlwind weekend, I’m struck by how fast time has gone. And I’m not talking about the past week or so. It seems like just yesterday I was making my New Year’s resolutions, and now here we are at the end of May.

Rather than saying I need time itself to slow down, which I say a lot (and it doesn’t seem to be working for me), what about if we made a conscious effort to hit the pause button every now and then? Life can get busy between school, work, social events, friends, family, and let’s not even talk about all those chores that come with being an adult. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

So, what can we do about it? I spend lots of time watching dates pass on the calendar, yet I remember precious little of what my week actually consisted of. My weeks can get busy making sure that everything on my to-do list is crossed off and that others are taken care of, and often I forget to make time for myself. Before I know it, we are at the end of the week or beginning a new one…and the cycle continues.

When I came across the quote for today’s Monday Mantra, it reminded me of the importance of hitting the figurative pause button in our mind. Life, by nature, is fast-paced. But only we can truly control our time — and how we spend it. If we move through our busy days with blinders — solely focused on what we have to do and what’s in front of us, we will inevitably miss those precious moments that make up our lives.

This week, I challenge you to do something special that makes you want to stop and look around. It could be taking a walk in the park on a summer-like day in May or grabbing a mid-week coffee at your favorite spot. When the week is over and you are reflecting, think of that moment and allow it to bring a smile to your face.

Happy Monday!

How do you hit the pause button in your own life?

My Summer Picks

I know. I know. It’s a bit early to start buying new pieces for summer (especially when the current temps feel more like fall some days). But I can’t help myself. With that said, here are a few items that I will be welcoming to my closet in the near future!

My Summer Picks

Stealing the Spotlight: BareMinerals Bare Beauty

bareMinerals Bare Beauty

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know how much I love my Stila products. Well, fear not. Nothing has changed. But with the summer months approaching, and much clearer skin happening lately, I thought I would opt for makeup that was a little lighter.

With hot days ahead, time spent by the pool and at the beach, and lots of hours outdoors, who wants to have their skin feel like it is smothered under heavy makeup? If that effortless no-makeup, made-up look is what you’re after, bareMinerals Bare Beauty is your answer.

I’ve never tried anything from bareMinerals before, but I’ve heard lots of good things about their products. So when I saw Ulta had a 7-piece kit from the collection on sale for $48, I had to scoop it up. FYI — the kit is a $129 value.

Granted, these are not full-size items. But for a starter kit, it has everything I need. The kit includes:

– Correcting Concealer Broad Spectrum SPF 20
– Bareskin Pure Brightening Serum Foundation and Perfecting Brush
– Stroke of Light Eye Brightener
– Bareskin Perfecting Veil Sheer Boost and Soft Focus Face Brush
– Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara

Ulta also threw in a Mini Marvelous Moxie Lipstick and Deluxe Bareskin Serum Bronzer with any $40 bareMinerals purchase.

While I haven’t had a chance to try these products yet, I’m excited to see how my skin reacts to a lighter foundation that will keep it looking flawless. You can expect to see a full review of these products on the blog soon!

Have you tried bareMinerals?

Getting in Shape: My Kickboxing-versary


Thanks to Facebook, I will never forget a memory — or in this case, my kickboxing-versary. That’s right. It has been a year since I took up kickboxing. As a former equestrian, with no prior martial arts experience, I never thought I would enjoy kickboxing as much as I have. The class has challenged me both mentally and physically — and the results speak for themselves.

The workout: In one word — intense. Even though I have been taking the class on a weekly basis, there are still some days when the workout just wipes me out. The warmup consists of either indoor running or shadow boxing, push-ups, and jumping jacks. By the time I get through the warmup, I’ve already gone through half of my water! Next, it’s time for some actual kickboxing — usually with a sequence of punches (jab, cross, hook, and uppercut) and then kicks (front kick, side kick, and roundhouse). And just when you think you’re done, it’s time to partner up for some relay sprints, sit-ups, and of course, more push-ups.

The benefits: I couldn’t do a single push-up when I started the class. Now, even though I hate them with a passion, I can get through a few sets of push-ups (before I need to cheat and drop to my knees). I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my overall stamina as well. I used to have to take frequent breaks between exercises, but now I can make it though the hour class without them. And my muscles are no longer sore for days afterwards. Last week, I attended two kickboxing classes. A first for me!

Kickboxing Results

The results: I love taking my weekly Saturday morning selfie. But more than having an Instagram-worthy image to post, it’s helped me document my progress. My biceps are much stronger than they’ve ever been. And now that it is almost time to hit the beach, I am really proud of how far my abs and core have come.

The takeaway: Trying a new workout can be intimidating. There have been plenty of times during the year that I’ve wanted to quit (and some months where I was less disciplined than others). But by sticking with this workout, I’ve tested my body and my mind. While I don’t always love waking up early on a Saturday morning, having a workout buddy has made it more enjoyable (thanks, Fran!). So, if there’s a workout you’ve been wanting to try, I say go for it. And bring a friend along. It just might become what you look forward to all week long!

Have you tried any new workouts recently?

The Insta Index

This past weekend made me want to countdown the days until the official start of summer. But by Monday, it felt like fall had returned (and I had to pull out an additional layer to run errands). Here’s hoping that this wacky weather realizes that it is mid-May, and summer should be on its way soon.

In the meantime, here’s a quick Instagram round-up:

Kendra Scott Earrings

{Seeing blue with these Kendra Scott beauties}

May Sunset

{A Fiery Sunset}

Nutella Milkshake

{Nutella milkshake from Go Burger}

Countdown to summer

{Summer Countdown}

Barn Day

{Let me in…I know you have treats in there!}

Follow me on Instagram and Snapchat (username: livinginsteil) to keep up with all of my musings!