Books On My Radar

I love to read, but lately I have been having trouble really getting into a good book. It seems like it takes me 150 pages to finally dive into a book these days, and by then I’ve lost interest. So I decided to make a list of some books that have been on my radar that I think I will actually be able to indulge myself in. Nothing beats a great summer read by the pool or beachside. What are some of your summer reads?

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1.) The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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2.) The Vacationers by Emma Straub

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3.) Looking for Alaska by John Green

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4.) Friendship by Emily Gould

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5.) A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

Be sure to check out these great links I’ve stumbled upon this week, too:

1.) Nothing beats some southern comfort food – this article hits the spot.

2.) Love this article on how Late Night TV needs to step up and get some women!

3.) This is so true!

4.) I’ve got to make these for breakfast, ASAP!

Weekend Wonders

This past weekend my parents were in town visiting and we enjoyed a packed full three days of explorations and cannolis. Lexington itself is home to some top-notch restaurants, such as my go-to, Vine Brook Tavern. But it’s also home to some of America’s first historical sites, some of them just around the corner from my apartment. I love stumbling upon monuments I remember learning about in my high school American History class, like Paul Revere’s capture site.

Concord is the next town over and is home to Henry David Thoreau’s famous cabin on Walden Pond. We were able to spend an afternoon wandering through the quaint downtown area and seeing some of the attractions for ourselves. They have some great shopping for such a tiny town – my favorite being a nautical/beach store, Jack + Toba (makes me feel like I’m back home on a Florida beach!). We also ate dinner at a delicious farm to table restaurant called 80 Thoreau. My favorite course was dessert, as per usual, which was a lemon soufflé with pistachio ice cream.

If it isn’t already obvious, my favorite part of the weekend was exploring new dining options with my parents. We’re lucky enough to have a connection to one of the authentic Italian restaurants in the North End. My dad’s cousin, Ann, owns Dino’s Cafe on the corner of Salem & Prince Street. We were lucky enough to be able to stop by and try some of the delicious food for ourselves. I chose the lobster ravioli and my parents split a mouth-watering veal parmesan sub. The food was beyond anything you could ever imagine, so authentic and flavorful I felt like I was studying abroad in Italy all over again!

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The best veal parmesan sub this side of the Atlantic!

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Fresh lobster ravioli in a cream sauce.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Ann over cappuccinos and gelato in a classic Italian cafe around the corner from Dino’s called, Vittoria Caffe. The best cappuccino I’ve had in a while! It was so wonderful to be able to meet up with family and feel at home in the big city. Ann even has a photo of the Grieff family hanging up in Dino’s and my grandfather is pictured in the back top left corner, how’s that for an authentic family restaurant!

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Of course, we couldn’t leave the North End without heading over to the world famous, Mike’s Pastry shop to get not one, but three cannolis. As the Godfather would say, “leave the gun, take the cannoli”.

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An espresso chocolate chip cannoli – words can’t do it justice!

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You know you’re in the North End when all signs lead to Rome!

All in all, it was a great weekend spent with family exploring the city some more. It’s always great to have some tender love and care!

Scrumptious Blueberry Muffins

Nothing beats dessert for breakfast, am I right? Pastries, muffins, and any breakfast food with the slightest bit of chocolate in it is one of my biggest weaknesses. I love waking up knowing I can have a warm croissant or fresh muffin to go with my daily cup of coffee.

This weekend my parents are in town visiting and I wanted to make something easy for us to take on the road for breakfast as I’m sure we’ll be doing lots of sightseeing and fun activities throughout Boston. I’ve made these blueberry muffins in the past, courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, Cupcakes and Cashmere and they were a huge hit so I thought, why not make them again!

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The recipe itself is from Ina Garten and makes plenty of batter for at least 16 scrumptious muffins. I like to add streusel on top of mine so I used a basic brown sugar streusel topping, which can be found here.

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Be sure to put the streusel on top of the batter before placing the muffins in the oven for a crisp topping.

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I alternated between using a regular sized muffin pan and a mini muffin pan for those who wanted a bite-size portion to go with their breakfast.

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Bon appétit!

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Face the Fear and Do It Anyway.

Growing up, I was always pretty shy and quiet around other kids my age (around the house I was as loud as can be – two older brothers taught me I had to have a strong voice early on). Of course, around my closest friends I was my outgoing, goofy self, but around teachers, classmates, and people who I had just met you would think I was the shyest girl in the grade. It wasn’t until about senior year of high school that I started to fully come out of my shell and just well, be me.

I also learned early on from my Dad that one of the most important, yet challenging things in life is to take risks. Never settle. Keep striving for what you want and if you try hard enough, you just might get it. Coincidentally, my first “big risk” was applying to college – would I stay in-state so I could be close to home, or would I go out of state where the only easy way home was a long flight and I knew absolutely no one?

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Next up came studying abroad – should I live across the world for three months meaning it would be my first Thanksgiving spent away from home (eating a kebab at midnight in Prague, nonetheless)?

After a lot of uncertainty and challenging times, I realized choosing the easy way out is never the option. Through all of these experiences where I put myself outside of my comfort zone, I grew.

And of course the inevitable graduation day – what would come after May 10, 2014? Was I supposed to know before I made it across that stage what I’m meant to do for the rest of my life? The answer is no, I wasn’t. That’s what so great about life – being able to take risks, change your life, and figure it all out along the way.

On a lighter note, here are some of my favorite links of the week, share yours below in the comment section!

1.) I have got to make this ASAP – queso dip from the Homesick Texan cookbook.

2.) I recently bought this maxi dress in coral and it is so comfortable and light – perfect for hot summer days.

3.) I’ve always wanted to make homemade ice cream and I think this may be the perfect flavor.

4.) Four Layer Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie – a must!

5.) A good article on why we should standup for women’s magazines.

6.) Comparison is the thief of joy – this blog post says it like it is.

Spiced Up Shrimp Tacos

Mexican food is something I crave on a regular basis – there’s no better way to end a long day than with a cup of queso shared with friends and an ice cold margarita, especially in the summer heat! This past weekend, I was definitely feeling the craving come on and knew I would have to find an easy way to satisfy it. Being from Florida, I’m also a huge seafood fanatic, therefore when I came across this recipe for shrimp tacos with cilantro-lime sour cream, I knew it was the best of both worlds.

It’s a super easy, no mess recipe that can be fixed up quickly on even the busiest of nights. It took me about 30 minutes maximum from start to finish.

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The blend of spices mixed in with the shrimp glaze made the dish turn out top notch!

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The sliced avocado and cilantro-lime sour cream made this dish refreshing for a summer meal.

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Serve with a margarita on the rocks and you have yourself a meal!

What’s your favorite go-to Mexican dish?

The Working Girl’s Handbag

It seems as though there’s not one handbag out there that’s big enough or stable enough to carry all the items I need on a day to day basis during the week. Never enough compartments, the straps are uncomfortable, or the bag can’t hold a lot of weight. So I have set out on a mission to find the top 5 best (and most stylish) handbags for working girls, or recent college grads searching for a sleek, professional bag to show up to interviews with. Which one is your favorite?

#1 This Halogen Graphic Tote – loving this print!

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#2 This simple, yet professional Kate Spade bag

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#3 This brown leather carry-all courtesy of Michael Kors

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#4 This Phillip Lim bag – if you’re really looking to splurge (and my personal fave)

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# 5 This classic Tory Burch triangle bag

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Also, be sure to check out my favorite links of the week and be sure to share some of your favorites!

1.) These choco tacos look too good to be true.

2.) This is still my dream job – interview with a travel writer.

3.) I need to have a rom-com viewing party soon with some of the ones of this top 25 list.

4.) A great networking guide for introverts.

5.) Inspiring story of an entrepreneur and her amazing high-class, boutique candy store.

Have a great weekend and see you next week with some exciting new content!

Oceanside

I’ve been away from home a little under 2 months now and I’m already missing the salt water sea breeze on a summer afternoon.

Growing up in Naples, FL summer days were spent camped out on the beach until the afternoon thunderstorms rolled in, forcing you to finally seek refuge inside. I miss those careless days spent splashing around in the ocean with friends or just indulging in a good book for endless hours oceanside. While surfing through Pinterest and seeing all the new swimsuit styles I became nostalgic, lusting for my past summers spent with my toes in the sand.

I’ve got my fingers crossed to make it down to the Cape eventually this summer to finally satisfy my beach craving. Until then, I’ll have to make a list of all the fashionable beach finds I want to test out this summer and let that suffice!

beach hatsLove these DIY beach hats from Stephanie Sterjovski’s blog!

*EXCLUSIVE* **NO WEB** Lupita Nyong'o shows off her Bikini Body in Hawaii  **USA ONLY** *MUST CALL FOR PRICING*

Scalloped bathing suits are in this summer, love this look on Lupita!

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Mara Hoffman‘s bathing suits always have the most unique/colorful prints for some fun in the sun.

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Olivia Palermo rocking a chic cover-up.

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I’m a huge fan of this new bathing suit style – I just don’t know if I have the guts to try it!

What are some of your favorite beachside fashion staples?

All Things NYC

This afternoon, I’m heading to South Station to hop on the Amtrack and head to the Big Apple. I always love visiting New York City to take in all it has to offer: the people, the food, the sites, the culture, and the fact that your bucket list is always never-ending -there’s always something new and exciting you haven’t done just yet.

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Isn’t this view enough to make you want to go visit?!

Ever since graduating from high school (was it really only four years ago!?), I’ve had my mind made up on setting my sights towards getting to New York City for the long run. Only time will tell, so for now I’ll have to settle on spending a few days there to celebrate my friend Danielle’s 22nd birthday by seeing Beyonce & Jay-Z in concert (yes, dreams DO come true!).

For those of you making a trip to NYC or just in the process of thinking about it, I’ve made a list of some of my favorite things to do/see/eat/and much, much more in the city that never sleeps:

–  Smorgasburg, the most awesome flea market you will ever attend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Tons of food trucks/carts, craft jewelry, artwork, vintage finds. A hipster’s playground!

–  Momofuku, literally one of my favorite NYC restaurants. You definitely need a reservation, but if you go late enough at night with a small group you can sit at the bar. My favorite dish: the steamed buns (soooo good!)

–  Big Gay Ice Cream, craving ice cream on a hot summer day? This is the place to go whether you’re a nutella-lover, chocolate & sea salt fan, or just want something different in the realm of ice cream, it’s a MUST have!

–  The High Line, for the best view of the sunset head to the High Line and take a sunset stroll before catching dinner. Along the path you’ll come across native art such as this neat mural:

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–  The Met, for some history & art head here. The building itself is a force to be reckoned with and it houses some of the world’s most famous art pieces as well as really innovative exhibitions. Oh and be sure to make it up to the roof top for the most serene view of the city looking over Central Park.

–  Think Coffee, rumor has it Ryan Gosling hangs out here when he’s in town. Coffee lovers unite here for a welcoming atmosphere where you can enjoy a warm pastry and espresso while people watching in the Village.

Nizza, the best spaghetti & meatballs in the city hands down! Located in the heart of Hell’s Kitchen.

Juliette, a quaint, quiet French restaurant tucked away in Brooklyn with a rooftop seating area perfect for a July summer night. They have delicious sangria!

Lincoln Center, whether you come here to see a show or just to walk through the courtyard it’s a beautiful area to take in the scenery. You may even stumble upon an impromptu, free outdoor performance!

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Washington Square Park, after a long day it’s always nice to walk through this park and people watch or grab a spot on the grass for a good read.

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The Smith, craving a hearty brunch with a bloody mary in hand? Head here!

Grey Dog Cafe, for a low-key brunch with a big ‘ole cup of joe, this is the place to go.

As Sinatra said, “start spreading the news, I’m leaving today. I want to be a part of it, New York, New York!”

Wednesday Wonders

As you can probably tell from reading my posts, I am a huge foodie. This past weekend was a holiday AND it was my 23rd birthday, so naturally I allowed myself to indulge in as many delicacies as wanted. To kickoff my birthday this past Saturday, my good friend Brianna and I went to brunch at The Beehive, known for having live music during brunch time.

I was super excited to go since the previous weekend I had brunch at their sister restaurant, the Beat Hotel in Harvard Square. The wildflower honey & lemon pancakes I had there were delicious, so I knew my meal at the Beehive would be top-notch.

As expected, the Beehive didn’t disappoint – we were even given the “best seat in the house” according to the hostess, who told us Jimmy Kimmel had sat at our table the weekend before (starstruck!). We had a great view of the live jazz band on stage while sipping on sparkling cocktails and enjoying the eggs shakshuka, a Moroccan twist on the traditional eggs benedict dish.

BeehiveeThe “Bohmeian Style” Eggs Shakshuka dish.

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Our stellar view of the live jazz band (+cocktails).

After such a delicious brunch, we walked it off touring the Freedom Trail and walking through Boston Common on a beautiful July afternoon. We even got some selfies with famous statues of our Founding Fathers!

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Just hanging out with George Washington.

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Nothing beats a view of blue skies in the Public Garden.

Hope you all are having a great week and catching up on some much needed rest after the long holiday weekend. Below you’ll find some of my favorite links this week:

1.) A stark look at the reality of the perception we have towards photoshop in America.

2.) I have been craving breakfast tacos lately and this recipe is the perfect cure!

3.) These look so good – the perfect summer treat!

4.) A great new travel blog I stumbled upon the other day.

5.) Love this article T-swift wrote on the future of music for Wall Street Journal’s 125th anniversary edition.

6.) A hilarious, short satire written by one of my favorites, David Sedaris.

7.) 7 friends every woman needs – so true!

8.) What Southern City Are You? I got Charleston!

 

Chili Cook-Off!

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July Weekend! Hopefully Hurricane Arthur didn’t rain on too many people’s Independence Day Parades.

This past weekend was full of fun here in Boston – I celebrated America and my 23rd birthday with a good friend from home (thanks for making the trip up here, Brianna!). But after a long weekend of celebrating, by the time Sunday rolled around I was ready to relax in my apartment and watch chick-flick after chick-flick on the couch. By the time dinner rolled around I was craving some home-cooked comfort food. For me, nothing satisfies that craving better than a bowl of chili!

I made a chili recipe from one of my all time favorite bloggers, Emily Schuman from Cupcakes & Cashmere. Her recipe uses ground turkey instead of beef, so it’s not as heavy as most other chili recipes – however, I find it just as hearty. It takes just under an hour to make from start to finish! I also made the jalapeño and cheddar cornbread Emily recommends to go along with it (I opted out of putting the jalapeños into it, since I’m not too fond of them).

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All of the ingredients needed for the mouth-watering cornbread.

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The cornbread can be cooked for 30-35 minutes while you cook the chili!

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You know what smells good? Fresh out of the oven cornbread!

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The finished product! For a variation, you can serve the chili atop rice or spaghetti noodles – I prefer dipping the cornbread into the chili, personally.