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Emerald Gemini Smoothie

I’m in a state of shock, relief, panic and excitement because May has arrived. For me, this means an entire flux of things – I’m graduating college in less than a month. I’m less than a month away from turning 22. I’m less than a month away from apartment hunting in NYC and starting an awesome full-time job. But also, it’s my birth month. 😉

My fellow fun-loving, multi-tasking, outgoing geminis will tell you all about how important our birthdays are to us. In fact, they’ll find any excuse to – especially if they can sense you’re a gemini as well. This is actually how I met one of my best friends my freshman year of college – she noticed I was wearing an emerald ring and asked when my birthday was. Turns out, we were born less than a day apart.

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All astrological serendipity aside – this smoothie is just as delicious as it looks. The sweetness of the fruit balances out the not-as-pleasing taste of nutrient-packed spirulina, which gives it an extra dose of protein as well.

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Keep reading to see the full recipe for my Emerald Gemini Smoothie.

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Emerald Gemini Smoothie

Serves: 2      Prep Time: 3 Minutes      Cook Time: 2 Minutes      Total Time: 5 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

1 banana
1 apple
1 handful spinach, washed
1/2 cup organic coconut water
1 Tbsp + 1 Tsp spirulina powder

Let’s Get Cooking:

Toss all ingredients into a blender and combine.

Let’s Get Creative:

Add more fruit to this recipe! It’ll boost your nutrient and anti-oxidant levels and will make it taste even better. Note: the color will be less green depending on which fruits you add to it!

Stay Classy! xx

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One Tequila, Two Tequila, Three Tequila…

* I did receive products from el Jimador for this post however, as always, all opinions are my own.

With Cinco de Mayo approaching in a few days, it’s important to pair an appropriate drink with the festivities. Yes, the status of tequila is no longer just that three a.m. bar go-to when you’ve already had more than enough to drink but don’t want to go home. Well for some, I’m sure it still is (guilty). But that’s not all it’s good for.

Tequila shots can be classy. I know, I know – don’t think I can’t already feel you rolling your eyes at me. But hear me out. Pair them with a delicious black bean and corn appetizer, great stories and good company and I’ll promise that you’re going to have a great time. In fact, feel free to leave a note in the comments if you do try this, because I’d love to some of your stories for a change. 😉

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Unlike scotch, I find tequila to be one of the hard alcohols that goes down smoothly—especially when you drink it the right way. Speaking of which, the last time I gathered some friends together to take tequila shots with me before heading out to a bar, some of them needed a little refresher on how to take the shot. So I’m assuming some of you might need one too: 🙂

  1. Lick the side of your left hand (if you’re right handed, or vice versa). Pour salt on that spot.
  2. Lick up the salt, take the shot and then suck on a lime wedge. Repeat! x

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Let’s just say, I’ve never met a tequila I didn’t like. (Or at least if I have, I don’t remember 😉 ). el Jimador is made from 100% blue agave, with no additives. This is important to note because it means that the quality of the alcohol is pure—and that it will go down easily.

Stay Classy! xx

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Book Review – The Girl In The Peach Tree by Michelle Oucharek-Deo

The Girl In The Peach Tree by Michelle Oucharek-Deo   ♥♥♥♥   Retails for $12.99, here. Tea Pairing: Pure Leaf Black Tea with Peach.

Let’s face it. More and more often people are turning to their phones and tablets to pass the time on the subway, their lunch breaks and during that burst of energy we all get right before it’s time for bed (I know you know what I’m talking about here!) But while a game of Candy Crush seems like a good way to ignore the hundreds of other people around you, what it doesn’t do is make you think or slow down time or inspire you to reflect on your life. And if I’m being honest, these are all things that everyone should be doing now more than ever.

So what then will inspire you to take a step back and evaluate where you’re at in your life? What will ask you if you’re truly happy and living a life that’s actually right for you? What will remind you that you are special and deserve everything you want in the world? This. Book.

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The Girl In The Peach Tree is Michelle Oucharek-Deo’s first novel and you can tell–for two reasons. The first, is (unfortunately) because there are typos–yes, grammatical errors and words spelled incorrectly. Unless you’re an editor like me, chances are you won’t even notice them and they won’t take away from the story. There are only six after all (yes, I counted) and for this I blame the publishing company editors who neglected to proofread for one final time.

The second reason is because Oucharek-Deo poured her heart and soul into this novel. And because of that, it truly is beautiful. The story of Maya, a 25 year-old girl who realizes on a whim that she was not happy living her life the way it was and set out on a trip to change that, is captivating. It is a story of the pieces of a person’s life coming together through a puzzle of pain, love, travel, betrayal and friendship.

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The way in which the story is written is what makes it so special. Oucarek-Deo has figured out a form of writing that can turn minutes into hours and show us the purest form of narrative. The story is full of occurrences of serendipity, which at first made the logistical side of me angry that the story was not relatable to real life. But as the pages went on the story showed me that what I had been thinking was wrong, and my life was more relatable to that of the main character than I thought.

This story has touched me in a way that could only nudge me in a positive direction. Life is a beautiful experience and it is more so when we remember to be grateful for all we are blessed with. The Girl In The Peach Tree reflects a similar style of writing to A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (my absolute favorite novel). As Oucharek-Deo continues her writing career I look forward to following along, and am hopeful that there will be a sequel to this book. x

Stay Classy! xx

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Working Out Barefoot Can Help Your Posture—And Your Sex Life

Since you could walk you’ve been told about the miasma of benefits that come from working out. Being in shape equates to both physical and mental strength, which carry over to positively affect other areas of our lives, i.e. you’re less stressed and more likely to eat healthier. But unless you’re referring to yoga, when you think of working out you’re most likely thinking about doing so in your typical gym “uniform”— tank top, sports bra, shorts or leggings and sneakers.

But what if you’ve been missing out on additional workout benefits just because you’ve been wearing shoes?

World-renowned podiatrist Dr. Emily Splichal gave me the scoop on why targeting your nervous system during a workout with bare feet will give you the #gains you’ve been looking for all along.

 

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“If you can do a barefoot practice twice a week then you’re going to be getting prolonged benefits from your practice,” Dr. Emily explains to me after leading a short vinyasa at Pure Yoga on her new Naboso Barefoot Technology yoga mat. “To really reap the benefits you need to be working out on the right surface. Both hardwood floor and a special mat will stimulate your feet, unlike carpet or thick cushioned yoga mats.”

The Naboso mat is different than other yoga mats, because it is slightly bumpy so that it can target the nervous system through your feet, hands and even forehead while you’re resting in child’s pose. Clearly practicing what she preaches, Dr. Emily explains (with perfect posture) that “Working out barefoot is very much helping your posture. You’re not depending on other surfaces to find your balance, it’s up to you to find it in your core.”

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Photo: Naboso Technology

And of course, what comes along with strengthening the core is strengthening the pelvic floor. “The pelvic floor is your sex muscle and strengthening it can help your sex life. It’s not a kegel but it connects to your glutes,” Dr. Emily adds, “but don’t hold your breath or push your stomach down and pelvic floor out. Make sure your practice goes smoothly and that you’re holding a straight posture the entire time.”

The Naboso Barefoot Technology mat retails for $110 and can be purchased on Amazon. It’s pricier than a normal mat, but it’s the same price as a new pair of sneakers… which you’ll no longer be needing. 😉

Stay Classy! xx

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Method’s Limited Edition Subtle + Serene Collection Will Help You Relax This Spring

* I did receive products from Method for this post however, as always, all opinions are my own.

With another rainy April weekend in the books, I’m ready for those May flowers to start blooming and for the sun to come out. Spring has undeniably arrived and the weather has (finally!) warmed enough enough for me to justify stuffing my winter coat at the bottom of my closet, where I hopefully won’t run into it again until next year.

With spring has come the subtle + serene collection from Method. If you’re a seasonal decorator and healthy home product junkie like me, then get ready to celebrate because Method’s latest collection is both pretty and created with all-natural eco-friendly ingredients.

Method products are designed for maximum sustainability with a mission to create products that are natural and not harmful to humans or the environment. Each of the subtle + serene nature-inspired scents will help you cleanse and relax, knowing that you’re using something that’s good for you.

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The calming fragrances were designed in bottles inspired by a minimalist decor approach. The hand wash collection is available in the following scents; ocean waves, chamomile lavender, white rose and ginger tea. Each scent is accentuated with essential oils and naturally derived ingredients.

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The collection is available in bulk on Amazon and individually at Target. The products come in both foaming and gel formats—they are limited edition, so be sure to get them before they’re sold out! x

If you’re looking for an all-natural organic cleaner, this buzzy brand has what you’re looking for. And if you want to start making the switch to clean beauty, trying these all-natural shampoos and conditioners is a great place to start. 

Stay Classy! xx

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Almond Cookies with Blood Orange Frosting

*I received products from Limoneira and Nielsen Massey to create this post however, as always, all opinions are my own.

All it takes is one out-of-the-ordinary ingredient to get my kitchen creativity stirring (and mixing, whisking… you get the picture.) So when a box of the most beautiful blood oranges I’ve ever come across landed into my hands, I knew I had to make something worthy of them.

Limoneira prides itself in creating the most gorgeous fruit on the market, and from personal experience I can attest that this is not an exaggeration. Plus, their fruit tastes as good as they look – meaning, really lip smacking mouthwatering good.

Putting this recipe together gave me reinstated faith in my culinary skills. I’ve been SO busy the last month and a half (working my day job(s), trying to finish college, trying to find the perfect full time post-graduate job, you know the drill) that I’ve barely managed to cook for myself, let alone bake. Gaining a few moments in the kitchen over spring break reminded me that this is what I love to do, and it’s a great stress reliever too.

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I try to use the most natural and organic ingredients I can find when creating my recipes (and I link to the products I love in the ingredient list below!). Whether it is food or beauty products, my goal is to come in contact with all that is natural, non-toxic and not doused with chemicals, preservatives and all of the bad-for-you things that the FDA shouldn’t allow in our food… sigh.

This is pretty difficult at times, but hey, at least for this recipe (and all of the recipes on my site!) I did the hard work for you – all you have to do is click and buy via Amazon and the ingredients will be at your doorstep in 2-3 days. Voila, sometimes the Internet is magical.

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These cookies bring out the citrusy nutty flavors that remind me how great it is to be Italian. The combination of blood orange, almond and sugar will have you reaching for another and another with a big hot cup of herbal tea (no caffeine FTW!) They come out soft and almost fluffy, making them fun to frost and even more fun to eat. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. x

Keep reading to see the full recipe for my Almond Cookies with Limoneira Blood Orange Frosting.

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Almond Cookies with Limoneira Blood Orange Frosting (Yield: 25 cookies)

Prep Time: 20 Minutes  Cook Time: 3 Hrs 10 Minutes  Total Time: 3 Hrs 30 Minutes 

Let’s Get Started:

for the cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp blood orange zest
1/2 cup sugar (you can sub this out for monkfruit for a healthier option!)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp blood orange juice
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 large egg

for the frosting

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 Tbsp blood orange juice
1/8 tsp pure almond extract

Let’s Get Cooking:

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Place blood orange zest and white sugar in a food processor (a blender works similarly well) and pulse for 1 minute. Beat blood orange sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Add blood orange juice, almond extract and egg; beat until just combined. Gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined.

Transfer dough to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. (If cookie dough has chilled overnight, let stand for 20 minutes before baking.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form 1 1/4 inch balls of dough and place a few inches apart on baking sheets, flatten mounds slightly. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden.

For the frosting: whisk together powdered sugar, salt, melted butter, blood orange juice, and almond extract in a small bowl until smooth and spreadable. Frost cookies and let set before serving. Enjoy!
Let’s Get Creative:

You can play around with the amounts of blood orange juice that go into the frosting mixture to change the color of the frosting! Some blood oranges are more purple than pink, and that translates to frosting colors as well.

In a baking mood? These Cinnamon Crackle Cookies are great to make (and eat) for any season. And this buzzy service will send you gourmet ingredients and recipes to bake up easy and delicious desserts.

Enjoy & Stay Classy! xx

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Nest Cookies

Nothing gets me in the mood to bake more than a combination of stress (baking is definitely one of my biggest stress relievers!) and an upcoming holiday. I grew up in a house where we bake for every holiday and these nest cookies are just the beginning of the dessert menu this year! I am blessed to spend the week visiting with my family and decided to surprise them by making Oatmeal Crème Pies with Homemade Whipped Crème.

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Yet after a glass of wine and quick trip to grocery store, I realized that Oatmeal Crème Pies weren’t going to cut it with my creativity. So I melted some chocolate, broke out the coconut and Cadbury Crème Eggs and turned my would-have-been oatmeal crème pies into some adorable little Easter nests. They were a hit with my boyfriend and I know my family will love them as well! Of course, I saved a few cookies to make the oatmeal crème pies that I had originally intended to create, so this recipe includes the decorating ideas for those as well! xx


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Let’s Get Started:

For the cookies:

1 cup butter (about 16 Tablespoons), softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda (or 3 teaspoons baking powder)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups oats

For the whipped crème:
1 cup whipping crème
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

For decorating:
Baking Chocolate
Shredded Coconut
Sprinkles
Cadbury Crème Eggs

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with non-stick parchment paper. Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing until combined. Add in oats and mix until incorporated in the batter. Bake larger cookies in oven for 13-15 minutes and smaller cookies for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown (my oven tends to get quite hot so 7 minutes was plenty of time).

For the homemade whipped crème, pour whipping crème into a medium size bowl with granulated sugar. Whip until fluffy and peaks begin to form.

Let’s Get Creative:

To decorate the Chocolate Coconut Easter Nest Cookies I melted pieces of baking chocolate and drizzled it on top of the cookies. Then I used desiccated coconut to create the base for the nests. On some cookies I placed a dollop of whipped crème atop the coconut and set the eggs in that for a fluffier and sweeter creation. Then I sprinkled small pink sugar crystals. You can totally play with the coconut strands and use food coloring to dye them fun colors as well!

For the Oatmeal Crème Pies, I selected cookies around the same size and filled them with homemade whipped crème. I then put the remaining crème into a plastic bag, cutting a small hole out of one corner and scalloped the crème around the edges of the crème pies. I then sprinkled the pink sugar crystals around this crème and voila!

Enjoy & Happy Easter!

Stay Classy! xx

True Religion FW17 Collection Preview Party

Last week Milk Studios hosted the Fall/Winter 2017 collection preview party for iconic American brand, True Religion. Up in the loft, guests who included photographers, bloggers, magazine editors and influencers – including the brand’s newly selected ambassadors, Justine Skye and Black Atlas, mingled with the easy flow of open bar wine, beer and prosecco.

Images from the FW17 collection could be viewed on videos and slideshow played on the wall projector, as well as on the models that were walking throughout the event. What stuck out to me the most about the collection was how strikingly simple and comfortable the clothing and overall looks are. I took home a “whoa” sweatshirt from the new True Religion collection that though it’s a small, is at least two sizes too big on me and features stylishly ripped aspects by the color, lower right bottom and the back where the tag would usually be.

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Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PMC

One of my favorite pieces from the collection is the subtly quilted and studded light green bomber jacket pictured below. Even though this is part of the men’s collection, this is definitely something that I would love to wear on a crisp fall day.

The color palette was pretty neutral – accented with beautiful leather sneakers. This is what should be expected of the women’s collection as well, except the accent is on comfort and a balance of loose and tight fitting pieces to create the chic casual look.

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And of course, True Religion’s FW17 collection wouldn’t be complete without its iconic line of jeans. In this collection we saw faded blue jeans embellished with acid marks and patches, including a patch that says “RE-BELLE” – a sexy addition to the worthy cause of #nastywomen. The collection also expanded to include sweats and joggers – and being an athleisure addict, I am SO excited about this.

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Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PMC

You can check out more photos of the event on my Instagram page – and next time be sure to follow along on my Instagram stories, as I’ll be posting live photos and videos during events. x

Want more FW17 fashion inspiration? Check out the trends I saw at the Zang Toi Runway Show. And of course, don’t forget to check out the FW17 hair trends as well!


Shop My Outfit (Above Center):

Miss Selfridge Long Sleeve Black Top, $30; Zara Sweater Vest, $43 (linking to a similar one by BCBG); Joe’s Jeans Black Metallic Jeans, $168; Donald J. Pliner Chunky Embellished Heels, $228 (linking to a similar style!)

Stay Classy! xx

 

 

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Tie Dye Unicorn Popsicles

Unicorn food is the food trend right now. In fact, all things unicorn are the new thing. Whether you’re trekking down to Brooklyn to get your $9 unicorn latte fix or walking into a Forever 21 during your lunch break to check out the new unicorn athleisure wear and bathing suits and unicorn pool floats – unicorns are everywhere!

Thanks to a combination of the weather *~finally~* warming up and my obsession with all things fruit, (I have a natural sugar sweet tooth to the extreme) I knew that I needed to create an easy-to-make recipe that could satisfy my cravings for healthy dessert and fresh fruit… unicorn popsicles seemed like the only logical answer! 😉

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For something that comes out looking so beautiful and delicious, these ice pops really take no time at all to make – you just need enough patience to wait a day for them to freeze properly. I used the fruits I had in my house and next time I’ll definitely be adding more. More fruit = more flavor, more color and more nutrients! If you’re looking for a simple summer treat that is refreshing, hydrating and totally natural you’re going to want to try the recipe below! x

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Let’s Get Started:

1 cup organic coconut water (I used the one from Trader Joe’s below and loved it)
1 peach, peeled and sliced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
2 strawberries, sliced
Fresh watermelon, cubed and sliced

Popsicle mold

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Let’s Get Cooking:

Place fruit into the molds – use a toothpick to arrange the fruits the way you want them to look. Pour in coconut water and place the cover or Popsicle stick into the mixture. Freeze overnight.

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Let’s Get Creative:

Increasing the amount of various fruits in your pops will also increase their colors! I used what I had on hand, but virtually any fruit should work with these ice pops.

Stay Classy! xx