Miami Inspiration

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I was in Miami for work last week and had the opportunity to stay at a very nice hotel, The Confidante. It is a boutique-y hotel located in Miami Beach and the art deco decor inspired me to (almost) finish planning my outdoor space in NY. I love art deco and I love Miami. Since we moved in to my apartment, I wanted my outdoor space in NY to look as trendy as a Miami club/restaurant but with a relaxing, garden vibe. This past summer we bought only some furniture and storage. My entire 600 square foot outdoor space needs to be designed and definitely needs color.

My room at the hotel was beautiful and I loved the use of colors and prints in the design. For my outdoor space, I am definitely getting palm print pillows. The print has an old-world Florida or California feel and pops as a print.

Pillow links: Here, here, and here 

I currently have a black and off-white striped rug which would definitely work with this print. A matching umbrella and black lanterns with colorful candles inside would also tie in the space.

Umbrella link, lanterns, rug

For pops of color, I am definitely going to utilize garden stools, outdoor trays, and flowers. I think green, blue, or even bright pink accents would look great with the palm print.

Garden stool 1, 2 (under $50!! that is rare!), 3, 4

I also love the idea of a small sitting area broken away from my larger sitting area space. These bright blue chairs would be beautiful for that little corner.

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This is all I have for now! I’d definitely love to find an outdoor bar I love and I am really interested in finding an outdoor mirror. I will definitely keep you all updated on my outdoor space. This snowstorm that has hit the Northeast is making time sitting outside in the sun seems a thing of the past…

Thank you for reading!

Why you should adopt your next pet & our story

I love animals and I grew up always having dogs. When my boyfriend (Nick) and I moved in together after college, his 2 year old cat (Bear) also became my new roommate. I never really liked cats but after living with Bear, I fell in love. She is so sweet and gentle. Nick and his college roommate got her off the street from a neighbor when a stray had a litter. She has never taken out her claws on a human and she is a bit of a scaredy-cat. She is so easy to have. She just sleeps and cuddles and occasionally plays fetch with a bottle cap. 🙂

Last year we adopted another cat and named him Ollie. We got him through Anjellicle Cats Rescue in NYC. Ollie was 6 months old when we adopted him. He lost his right eye when he was rescued off the kill list as a 3 month old kitty to some kind of infection. Ollie quickly became the dominant pet and is a bit of an odd-ball. While Bear is so easy-going and quiet (half the time I need to check that she is still here), Ollie talks a lot and follows us around. He soon learned how to open the bedroom and bathroom doors in our house. He craves attention and he is the exact opposite of Bear in that he is very adventurous and will wear anything around his necl (bowties!). Sometimes he would bully Bear by chasing her so we had to keep an eye on him. But now his mischievousness nature is pre-occupied with another: our new adopted dog.

We recently “foster-failed” Willy. We had filled out numerous applications for dogs at adoption agencies. We were already approved for a few local ones in NYC. We decided to go to an adoption event to just look at some of the dogs. We had went to one before where we were basically directed to fill out an application before doing anything. The process, at least in NYC, is to get your application in, then look at the dogs. We were at this adoption event, TO PURELY LOOK. We were going to LA for a long weekend and didn’t want to commit to a dog yet. The event was held in the basement of a pet store. The adoption agency, In Our Hands Rescue, does not have a shelter. It has a system of foster parents that foster the rescue dogs. They have weekly events where foster parents bring the dogs to. At this event, there was about ten dogs ranging from babies to a few years old. It was a bit chaotic, all the dogs were running around in one room. There was a beautiful and friendly pit bull mix that kept getting aggravated by all the younger dogs. She was so sweet to humans but it was obvious she was irritated by other dogs. My heart broke for her since she had been hit in the head with a 2 by 4 and had a large gash in her skull and a blurry red eye. I would have taken her in a heartbeat if I didn’t think she would have issues with our cats, the same way she had with the dogs. I can’t believe how evil a person could be to do that to an innocent animal. Thank God organizations exist that help these poor babies.

We were having a great time with all the lovely babies and Nick pointed to one that seemed to be getting along really well with all the other dogs. The dog was also letting us pick him up and he was so chill and relaxed. He just kept giving us kisses.

We asked one of the volunteers if we could speak to this dog’s foster parent. The volunteer let us know that the foster parent actually just left for a trip so he needs a new one. We then decided to take him, at least for the week, and we’d have Nick’s brother watch him when we were in LA. We already had an approved application with this agency so they let us take him after checking.

Honestly that same night, we decided to keep him. His personality was perfect for our home. He tried to play with Ollie and Bear but would just give up when they hissed at him. He didn’t attack them or try to chase him. He is only about 6-8 months and was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Miami. They think he is part Chihuahua, part Whippet and we love him. He is about 15lbs so a great size for an apartment. We named him William (Willy) and gave him the name Carlos as his middle name. He’s almost fully potty-trained and he is so friendly. He says hi to all the dogs and all the people in the dog park and loves to run and play. He loves belly rubs and he is slowly bonding with Ollie. Bear is a little scared of him so she avoids him. But Ollie will sleep right by him and even play with him.

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He is an amazing addition to our family and makes our home all the more sweeter.  I know not all dogs so seamlessly transition to a new home. We are SO lucky. But I can’t even imagine this little guy being in a kill shelter. He has brought nothing but happiness, joy, and love to our lives and it has only been a few short weeks. All of our pets were rescued in some way and I feel like they have made my life infinitely better. I look forward to coming home to be with them and I feel their love the instant I wake up and see them.

I know you can get the same love from buying a pet but I urge you to visit the adoption events or shelters before you choose to do so. There are so many amazing animals that have had it rough and deserve nothing but all the happiness you can give. Everyone says how lucky rescue animals are to find their “forever home” but the lucky ones are actually the owners.

Anyways, now I am a crazy cat lady and could probably have 4 more dogs if I didn’t live in a 1 bedroom apartment. I think I will always turn to adoption first when looking for a pet and I am so thankful for the babies in my life. 20170214_221839.jpg

 

 

If you love them, buy them a roach.

img_20170214_190409_648The Bronx Zoo had a great Valentines Day campaign going on the past few months: you could name a Madagascar hissing cockroach after someone for a small donation to the zoo. Seeing as I thought it was hilarious, love the zoo, and Nick and I both met in the Bronx at college, it seemed only natural to give him the gift a cockroach named after him for Valentines Day. I guess I am a romantic…

[Link here]

I donated to the zoo and in return I received a plush img_20170214_190659_623cockroach and pretty card explaining the naming of our newest family member, Nick Junior, in a rather funny way (ie, “hissing together”). I was able to write a little blurb to him (Nick, not Nick Jr.) as well. Please disregard the one year. I originally googled the life span of cockroaches and saw one year but Madagascar hissing cockroaches can live up to five years!

The recipient of the roach can also go online and say thanks by sending funny e-cards. All in all, I think this was a spectacular marketing campaign. I, personally, thought it was a funny gift and Nick seemed to think so too. Happy Valentines day to my few readers out there. Love to you all!

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Awesome Housewarming Gifts

A few people in my circle of friends have moved into new homes recently. This allowed me to search for the perfect housewarming gifts. See below for a great list with varying prices.

This warm leopard print fleece throw from Zara Home. $49.50 

People want comfort in their new home. It is a place to call their own and for them to relax and unwind. A warm blanket or throw is the perfect gift for any new homeowner. If you are not sure of their color scheme, a muted color will do! If you want to spend less money, TJ Maxx and Home Goods have ones from around $15 and up.

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Moscow Mule Mugs! Find them here for $35.99

A friend got these for us when we moved into our new place and I really love them. We make Moscow Mules in them but you can use them for various drinks. They look great on bar carts. Just don’t put them in the dishwasher!

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An essential Oil diffuser! Here for $19.95 and here for $45.99

I am obsessed with mine. I now have 2. I have the wood grain one for $45.99 out in my living room and it lasts for hours and looks great. I love relaxing on the couch with it on and I have a smaller one in my bedroom that I got as a gift from a friend. My favorite oils are lavender and eucalyptus mixed together. The best places to buy the essential oils are at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods. Although I do love candles, oil diffusers last longer and are safer.

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Love is Art Kit, found here at $60+

This gift is both pricey and spicy (lol). Basically, you give this gift to a couple. The couple does the deed on the canvas with some special paint and creates a new piece of art for their home. The kit comes with a plastic mat, plastic slippers, and a buddy scrubber.

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Cutlery, found here for $41

The idea of gifting people knives may seem boring or scary (depending on the people), but these knives are so cool looking, they are practically art. The truth is, there are a lot of kitchen items people just have to buy and knives are one of them. You may as well go ahead and buy them for your friend and buy the coolest ones possible.

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Framebridge custom framed photo for $39, here.

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I recently ordered a Framebridge and I couldn’t stop thinking about how great a gift it would be. All you need is someones Instagram and you can select an Instagram photo to be custom framed. The frames are really beautiful and there are many different styles. The packaging it is delivered in makes it look like the gift was worth more than $40. You can get $15 off your first frame now.

How to make a burrito costume for about $10

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I wanted to be  a burrito for my work party. I already had my Halloween costume but I wanted a different one for work. I decided to make one and did so for about $10! See below for a step-by-step guide on how to make one for yourself.

Please note, I did not include the cost of tools such as scissors and glue gun in my pricing as I already had these items. I wish I got more photos of the step-by-step process but I made it the night before the work party and it took about an hour or so.

Supplies Needed:

  • Old tee shirt preferably green or brown: $0
  • Glue Gun: $0 (if you already have one like me)
  • Scissors: $0 (if you already have a pair)
  • Felt sheets (15 cents each at my local craft store): $2.50
  • Tan Pillowcase, found here: 2 for $4
  • Chipotle logo print out: $0
  • Safety Pin: $0
  • Space Blanket, found here: $2 + $4.20 shipping cost

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Directions:

  1. Cut your felt into various burrito ingredients. I cut strips of greens for lettuce, some brown squares for meet, some small red rectangles for pico de gallo, and yellow small strips for cheese… Be creative and do what you want.
  2. Cut your pillowcase open on the side that is closed so that it is open on both ends.
  3. Glue gun one side of the open pillow case to the mid-top of your teeshirt. This will be your burrito. You may need to cut the bottom so it is not too tight on you when you wear it. No worries at all as the bottom will eventually be covered.                                                    20170129_144742
  4. Glue the felt burrito ingredients to your teeshirt on the area above the top of the pillowcase. It is important to layer them and not glue some pieces entirely down. For example, I only glued my “lettuce” from the bottom so that they would hang down (see pics).
  5. Once you are done glueing your tee, put it on and take out your space blanket.
  6. Wrap the space blanket around your lower half so that the top of your “burrito wrap” pillowcase is showing. This is the foil that a burrito comes with. I secured mine with a safety pin.
  7. Optional, print out a logo from Chipotle or your favorite burrito place and tape it on to the space blanket.

Homemade bathroom cleaner

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I have two cats and my cat Ollie loves to get in the tub after we shower and lick the tub. This made me nervous because I usually clean my bathroom with bleach. So I decided to look into more natural bathroom products. I went through a few store-bought natural cleaners that didn’t work that well. I really need a clean bathroom, especially my shower. It is the one thing that I am OCD about. The place I get clean, needs to be clean! I did some more research on products and actually read a lot of positive reviews about a homemade cleaner. Since I had the ingredients available, I decided to give it a try and was very satisfied with the results. Finally, I found a homemade cleaner you can make with just a few ingredients that ACTUALLY works.

I found it here and honestly, I followed the directions loosely. AKA: I didn’t heat the vinegar. But it still works so well. I highly recommend. The ingredients are so simple. All the solution is made of is white vinegar and Dawn dish soap.

It took off all my soap scum, some of which has been in the tub since a few cleans ago. The only down side I can see is that your bathroom smells of vinegar. But that does’t bother me one bit. I took a video of it taking of it working in action since I was honestly so amazed. I hope you can see it removing the soap scum. Sorry for the  quality if not. It literally looks so easy but I promise you I have used natural store-bought cleaners that only scraped the surface of that soap scum.

Watch the Video Here

In the video, I am using the ScrubDaddy Sponge which I also highly recommend. The sponges come in 4 different colors so you don’t cross-contaminate. The blue sponge is for the bathroom, although I am using the orange one since my blue one is MIA and I hadn’t used the orange one yet. (I am moving in a week and my stuff is in boxes…) The Scrubdaddy sponge is two sided and the harder side is great for getting rid of the soap scum that accumulates in your tub. It is also scratch-resistant so you do not need to worry about how hard you scrub. You can buy the sponges here. I also use the sponges in my kitchen and to clean my outdoor furniture.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Have a fabulous day!

 

 

Organizing your space

Organization is key especially for smaller spaces. I live in an apartment in NY so I really need good organization tips. Before organizing your items, you should go through them and see what you really need. If it is nothing special and you haven’t used it in 6 months- 1 year, throw it out, donate it, or give it to a friend. I recently did this in my bathroom and found loads of free samples I’ll never use and almost-empty shampoo bottles. I thew out some items and also put some items aside for friends or family that I know would actually use them. For example, all the lipsticks I have bought that I never wear went to my sisters who actually wear lipstick regularly.

Once you do a clean sweep on your items, there are loads of more efficient ways to store them that free up space and make your life easier. Here are some storage solutions I use and highly recommend. As well as some others I have recently found and plan on using when I move to my new apartment next week!

Beer Hangers

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These magnetic beer hangers can be found here and are something guests always ask about when they open my fridge. The magnetic strips hold your beers securely and allow for food to be stored underneath them.

Fridge Organizers

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These things really help!  I know most fridges come with compartments for storage of specific types of food but you can go a step further. These help compartmentalize everything and allow for easier viewing of the content of your fridge. These really help you not let food go to waste. I can’t tell you how many times the large milk container and 2L soda bottles are blocking a bag of spinach or my leftovers from yesterday’s lunch and I forget about them. Then one day my fridge smells and I move some things around, only to find my food has gone bad because it was hidden out of site. Find them here and here.

Under Bed Storage

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There is so much unused space under our freaken beds! And storage is needed or else things seem to disappear under there into a black hole! Plastic bins like these help so much. These pull out as drawers and are great for storing winter clothes during the summertime, shoes, purses, or items that you don’t wear regularly. I currently use plastic bins under my bed to hold my off-season shoes and clothes.

Bathroom Jars

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Glass jars for the bathroom are something on my list for my new apartment. They make your bathroom look elegant and also serve a purpose. I am constantly looking under my sink for my eye makeup cotton pads and they are always spilling out of the bag and everywhere. I want storage for the items I use every day and storing them in glass jars gives your bathroom that “hotel-look”. Find them here.

Iris Airtight Pet Food Container Combo Kit

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Finding this was the inspiration for this post. I NEED this for my new apartment. Right now our dry cat food is in one small container in the kitchen and a big bag in the closet. The wet food cans are in a drawer in my kitchen with other canned foods. It would be great to have everything together and easy to get to. I am definitely purchasing the Iris kit, found here. I love that it is on wheels and comes in different colors. I plan on putting this in my  kitchen closet and wheeling it out when I need to refill their food bowl or feed them breakfast and dinner.

 

Thanks for reading. I hope you liked my post. Have a fabulous day!

Make Up Eraser Review

I used to use Neutrogena Make Up Remover Wipes to take off my make up but over the past year, my skin changed and I developed an allergic reaction to the wipes. I now only use them to fix my crooked eyeliner. I moved on to the Neutrogena Oil Free Make Up Remover and cotton pads. Then I heard about the Make Up Eraser. I watched some YouTube review videos and was really intrigued. The Make Up Eraser is simply a small towel that is chemical-free and claims to take off your make up with just water.

Last week while waiting on line at Sephora, I spotted it and quickly grabbed it. It was only $19.99 and the box claims it lasts up to one thousand washes. I rushed home to try it out. The directions first ask you to wash the cloth on gentle and dry on tumble-dry low. I think it is very important to do this as I have read negative reviews where people said the Make Up Eraser leaves pieces of cloth on their face. Often when I get a new towel, I have to wash it first or else that happens to me.

I used it to take off my waterproof eyeliner and mascara that I usually wear and it worked! You just wet it with warm water and scrub your make up away. The other side of the cloth can be used to exfoliate. I took some photos below. Excuse the lighting… like I said, I was excited to use this so I opened it when I was home later that night…

 

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I shot a quick video of me taking off my waterproof eye make up and Bare Minerals foundation. The cloth is really gentle even though it looks like I am pulling my skin in every which way. I wetted the cloth with warm water and started rubbing off my make up.

Make Up Eraser Quick Video

Bottom line: I’d encourage you to purchase the Make Up Eraser. I use it every night before bed to gently take off my make up. I wear a lot of waterproof make up and I sometimes still wake up with black under my eyes. I could use the Make Up Eraser to get this off but it is quicker and easier for me to use my Neutrogena make up remover. That being said, I feel like the Make Up Eraser is good for every night use. The Make Up Eraser definitely takes off enough of your make up to go to bed happy and you will definitely be using A LOT less of any other make up remover you may have. It is also a lot better for your skin!

 

 

 

 

Affordable Ways to Relax the Mind & Body during the Winter

It is kind of hard to write this post since it is so beautiful outside in NY today. Spring is definitely right around the corner but the ever-changing weather we have been having reminds us that is it still winter. And during winter time, we spend almost all of our time indoors. The days get dark early, it is cold, and sometimes that can bring on the “winter blues.” But there are many ways to relax both your mind and body during the winter months to allow for a positive outlook on the cold days ahead. You don’t even need to spend hundreds of dollars at the spa!

Exercise

Exercise honestly does make you feel good. As someone who suffers from anxiety, exercise is my go-to aid. Going to the gym, even for just a quick half-hour, not only makes my body feel good but I am also just generally happier when I am working out regularly. I really find it relaxing. Don’t get me wrong, during my workouts I am counting down the seconds until I can leave the gym but it is the after-effect that I love. I feel a spurt of energy and I am proud that I got off my butt and went. I also sleep better the nights that I exercise.

I think it is better to walk into the gym with a plan so I use various guides for workouts.  Exercise guides I use:

Anna Victoria FIT

Kayla Itsines

Alexa Jean Fitness

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These workouts are all downloads so I actually put some of them in my own binders after printing them. It keeps them organized.

Essential Oils

A friend of mine recently bought me an essential oil diffuser and I am pretty obsessed with it. I am basically buying them for everyone I know. Not only can its scent replace constantly  having to burn candles, but it is extremely relaxing. I purchased some oils off of Amazon and use the different oils (like lavender) for calming down before bed. I like to put eucalyptus in it during the day and I swear my apartment smells like a spa now. All you do is fill it up with water and put a few drops in and turn it on. Mine even changes colors.

Diffuser: $23.68 ForPro Harmony Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser

Essential Oils: $14.99 Peace & Harmony Blends Set 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil Kit – 3/10mL (Love, Hope, and Zen)

 

Baths

Everyone loves bubble baths but they are especially good for dry winter skin. Like many people, I love the bath bombs from Lush. Sex Bomb is one of my favorites. It has Soya milk in it which makes your skin smooth. Just throw it in your bath and soak. The Avobath Bomb is made with real avocados so it is a great moisturizer. Lush bath bombs range from about $3-$9.

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Face Masks

Sometimes it is just nice to sit on the couch looking like a crazy person with mud on your face. I love face masks. I’ve used the sheet masks from Sephora and more expensive mask lotions but right now I am really into this cheap face mask you can find at CVS. I see a dermatologist and use Onexton on my face so my skin can be sensitive to certain lotions. However, these CVS masks make my skin feel great and I -personally- have had no irritation after using them. They are the kind of face masks that you wash off once they dry. My favorite is the Avocado Oatmeal. A full bottle is like $6.99 at my local CVS. You can also buy the individual sample packs to see what you like.

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It appears the actual bottle is way cheaper online than in my local NYC CVS- Buy it here.

Books

Reading can take you anywhere. I used to read constantly as a kid. Now that I have work, weekend plans, and Netflix, I found myself reading a lot less. My commute to work is only 20 minutes and I usually listen to podcasts. So I have been trying to make the effort to set aside time for reading more. All you need to do is read one good book to remember the amazing feeling reading brings. It is so satisfying to finish a good story. It is also relaxing as you are able to escape the daily stresses of your own life to be taken somewhere else. Even if you didn’t have a stressful day at work or school, reading for an hour a night is so rewarding. It is just a different form of entertainment than binge watching TV.

Tea

I love tea. I have always loved tea but now I have taken it to a whole other level. I used to just drink Irish or English Breakfast Tea. Now, I am trying teas I normally never would have. Oddly enough, my non-tea drinking boyfriend got me into David’s Tea. They have David’s Tea at his office and he started drinking it as a coffee alternative. David’s Tea is loose leaf tea and they have hundreds of flavors. You can buy a strainer and make it or just scoop it into tea bags. We started off buying the David’s Top 12 Sampler. It is their 12 most popular teas. The box comes with 12 tins and each tin makes about 2-3 cups of hot tea or 1 cup of iced tea. Like a box of chocolates, the names and information of each tea is on the inside lid of the box. Honestly, they are all delicious. There are flavors like “Birthday Cake” and “Chocolate Macaroon.” And there are some great teas for winter like “Detox” and “Cold 911.” My favorite is actually “Forever Nuts.” I thought that would be my least favorite as I really don’t like the taste of nuts but its so good!

Buy it here for $26 (that gives you around 36 cups of hot tea!)

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Birthday Cake tea — with actual sprinkles!