Wednesday, August 24, 2011

South Florida trip

June was a busy month for me. After Matt and I went to NYC, my sister, Katie and I went to south Florida for a few days. Specifically Sarasota and Siesta Key. Both are gorgeous. I definitely plan on going back. We did a lot and we had a wonderful time. Here are some of the pictures that were taken during our trip...

I love Sarasota

Siesta Key is one of my favorite places. The beach is paradise and the sand is the texture of powdered sugar. No joke.

We had a great lunch at a really fun oyster bar called, Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB). The oysters were really good.

So pretty.

I love this tree.

We walked and shopped all around downtown Sarasota, which is one of the cutest places ever. I loved this really cute store called Shore.

While we were downtown, we went into this adorable little French macaron shop called Le Macaron. I adore French macarons, they're so cute & colorful.

Later we had dinner in downtown Sarasota and I fell in love with all the pretty Bougainvillea growing everywhere.

There are Banyan trees everywhere as well, and I love them. I think they're really interesting.

We had such a great time!


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Making Me Smile...

Here are a couple of things that have currently been making me smile...

Cute popsicle dish towels that I picked up from Crate&Barrel at the end of this spring.

So, I made this take on chocolate covered pretzels a few weeks ago and Matt and I loved them - they're the perfect amount of salty + sweet and they're so easy to make. I call them Chocolate Pretzel Twists, but you can call them whatever you would like...
The ingredient round-up

Place a chocolate kiss in the center of each pretzel and then bake for a few minutes.

After baking for 2-3 minutes at 275 degrees, they'll come out with the chocolate all shiny and melted like this.

Next, place an M&M in the center of the chocolate on each one

And once they're cooled, they will look like this. Ready to taste!

These are soooo simple to put together! I made my own variation of these cute little things, but here is the "recipe" I very casually followed.

This is a super easy treat to make and there are so many varieties to make. I used tiny twist pretzels, but just use whatever you like or have around. You don't have to make any certain amount, just make however many you would like to! I just filled up my baking sheet. I did not grease my baking sheet (that did not sound like the best idea to me), I just lined mine with parchment paper and they turned out perfect.

I chose to use dark chocolate Hershey Kisses, but you can use any variety. I also, used a combination of regular milk chocolate M&M's as well as peanut butter M&M's. The peanut butter were our favorite. The combination of the pretzel, dark chocolate and peanut butter was perfection! After assembling them, I let mine cool for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator before trying them. We really liked them straight out of the refrigerator, so we continued to store them in there in a sealed container and they were delicious! Mmmm!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NYC Fun!

So, back in June Matt and I went to NYC for a long weekend. One of Matt's best high school friends got married in NJ and he was in the wedding. We definitely made the most of the trip and spent a lot of time in the city. We did a lot of shopping, ate a lot of great food, explored tons of great places, saw plenty (but not enough, if that makes sense!), and obviously walked a bunch. Both of us had been to NYC in the past, but this was our first visit together. We had the best time and of course, we can't wait until the next visit! We took many, many pictures and believe it or not this is only a handful of them. Hold on, this is a long post...

We walked through Rockefeller Center
Matt was looking at this Lego sign as I stood there waiting for him to finish eyeballing all of the Lego's that put it together (he loved Lego's as a child and I'd be willing to bet that he would play with some now if we ever happen to have a little boy)! The next thing I know is a random guy is asking us if we would like him to take our picture. I really would have preferred a prettier and/or less juvenile background, but I did not want to trouble the nice man, so here you have it, the lovely picture of Matt and I in Rockefeller Center.

We later ate lunch at Bergdorf Goodman's BG Restaurant which is designed by the fabulous Kelly Wearstler. Definitely a great spot for lunch with girlfriends, but I have been wanting to go for a long time and since we were there, Matt was sweet to go with me. We sat in one of those first tables to the left which overlooks Central Park. It goes without saying, it is gorgeous in there and I loved it! I did not take any pictures while we were there, but here is one from their website...

After lunch I took my time walking around Bergdorf's home furnishing floor and I wanted to set up camp until they asked me to leave, especially in here...
I mean, all of those fabulous colors?! Yes please!
That chair! That lamp! Oh, and I was drooling over that neon pink snail on the floor there!
I was also having a really hard time leaving that blue crab as well as the green garden stool he had taken seat on!
And there I was, in Kelly Wearstler heaven!
Matt basically had to pry me away from here ;)

After all that eye candy, we decided to stroll across the street to FAO Schwarz. Matt had never been in there, so I insisted that I take his can't tell, but he was not thrilled about that.

Blurry picture of us at the rehearsal dinner

We made the absolute most of the next day as well, we did not have a lot of time though because this was the day of the wedding. We started with brunch at Pulino's. I have thought of Pulino's often since then, it was delicious...
So, here we have a Nutella + Hazelnut Fat Baby. I can't makeup that name. Matt and I split one. So so good.
Look at the Nutella goodness in there!
And please do not judge, but I followed that with a Nutella Breakfast Pizza, yes that's right, more Nutella. I figured I should order what I wanted...I am not sure when I will get to go again! It was the best breakfast pizza I have ever had and in my opinion Nutella and sea salt should be paired together more often. Mmmmmmm!
Us after our fantastic meal.

Later that day we went to the beautiful wedding...
Here we are enjoying the cocktail hour between the ceremony and the reception

Our last day began with brunch at Peels...
I love it there! I had the Spa Eggs along with a Classic Buttermilk Biscuit...which was amazing and everything that I hoped for! Matt had the Farmer's Breakfast which comes with their house-smoked bacon. I heard about that bacon for the rest of the day and I still hear chatter about it from him sometimes. Matt. loved. the. bacon.

Next we headed over to John Derian. I have been wanting to go for sooo long and am so glad I had the opportunity...
And i took in all of the gorgeous glass trays

After more walking and shopping we walked our way to Amorino for a little gelato...
Look at all the amazing flavors
So many to chose from
You can mix as many flavors as you choose, and of course once I saw that they had Nutella, I chose that (definitely noticing an unintentional Nutella theme going on! Clearly i hate the stuff!) along with pistachio. Matt had vanilla + dark chocolate almond. Both of ours were exceptionally great.
Also, they arrange the gelato so that it looks like a flower inside the cone, really! Too cute! So insanely good. I have tasted a lot of gelato and this is absolutely, no question, hands down the best gelato I have ever tasted. Ever.

Later we headed back uptown and quickly walked through The Plaza Hotel

Then we walked right over to Central Park

And after a lot more walking and shopping and looking we made it to our final stop, Serendipity 3...
Their menus are enormous
Matt and I split a Frozen Hot Chocolate. We could not even eat half of it, but it was really good.

Can't wait to go back!


*Image via, all other images courtesy of me :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sunscreen(ing) Sun Care

With all of the sunscreen options out there, the choices can be very overwhelming. Since I do have a history of melanoma, I am serious about my sunscreen selections. I feel like many of the best options are the least publicized. Have you ever searched for sunscreen on any online retailer? If so, you may have noticed that there are about 1,598,734 companies to chose from (well that's how i feel anyway!). According to an article by the Environmental Working Group three out of five sunscreens in the U.S. would not even be acceptable in Europe due to their inadequate UVA protection. UVA protection is the most important factor of a sunscreen. Click here to jump to a link that I have found to be very helpful when selecting a sunscreen to purchase for my family and maybe you will too. The EWG link provides an Overall Score of some sunscreens as well as a rating for SPF, UVA protection, UVA/UVB Balance, Sunscreen Stability, Health Concern and Other Concerns. There is a Hall of Shame list for some sunscreens to watch out for and lots and lots of great tips on sun safety as well as other helpful information.

As i have mentioned numerous times before, I adore the beach, and I love spending time there. So, after I was diagnosed with melanoma, I was petrified that if I went to the beach that would be "frowned upon". I go to the beach because I love it there, not to lay out and get sun (although I have in the past). After discussing this with my dermatologists, I was told that as long as I am careful and wear sunscreen there is no reason that I should avoid the beach. I value my doctor's opinions and it was reassuring for me to hear that I should continue to live my life as I normally would while taking extra precautions.

So, here are some of my favorite sun care products...

Both of these sunscreens are great for the body. I have really sensitive skin, so I tend to reach for the sensitive or baby formulas for my own personal use

Another fantastic body sunscreen

Here is a great body sunscreen in the wipe-on form...I know some people are not big fans of the cream formulas

Don't forget lip sunscreen! The skin on your lips is very thin and therefore highly susceptible to sun damage

Here are two great options for the face. I love both of them. Baby formulas are normally much better and usually contain less harmful chemicals.

This is a wonderful everyday face moisturizer with added sun protection

This is the makeup I use, it's SPF 12, but that is on top of my moisturizer.

So, we all want a glow, right?! Here is an amazing self-tanning line that I first discovered about four years towelette form! The top product is a 3-in-one (exfoliator, buffer, and moisturizer) and the second is the actual self tanning product. I think it works very well and it's easy to apply, which is always good.

I used to be a fan of the spray-on sunscreens, because they're easy and fast to apply, but I have learned that a lot of the time the spray is ingested and that it is really harmful to the lungs because of nano-particles found in the sunscreen (don't ask me what those are :)).

Now, don't be scared of the sun! It provides vitamin D which is really important to your overall health. I think the sun is a wonderful thing, but we should all be careful and try to take very good care of ourselves! So, go out and enjoy the sun with some good sunscreen on! ;)


*Image via, Blue Lizard sensitive skin, Blue Lizard Baby, Vanicream, Supergoop, Beyond Coastal lip balm, Mustela, Aveeno Baby, Elta MD moisturizer, Bobbi Brown foundation, Tan Towel