Just for Fun
February 1, 2017

Top Three: February 2017

Other than December, February may be my favorite month. It’s a shorter month-good for those of us who detest the cold New England winters. Also, it was full of family birthdays growing up. Read on to see what I am looking forward to most this month:

  1. Birthdays: As I said, this is a month full of birthdays for my family. Mine is February 3, and I was lucky enough to share it with my grandfather growing up. My grandfather and I would get together every year to share a cake and blow out candles together. Truth be told, I wish I was not entering my late twenties this year, but it is still a reason to celebrate. Also, my dad’s birthday is the 16. Birthdays always keep things exciting, and are a great opportunity to show your friends and family how much they are loved. I love to pick out unique cards for people from places like Paper Source and etsy.
  2. Valentine’s Day: Don’t get me wrong; there are some years when I have HATED Valentine’s Day. But, I have realized that Valentine’s Day isn’t necessarily about having a S.O., though that’s cool, too. My parents always gave my sister and me Valentine’s Day cards and little presents growing up-just little ways to remind us that we are loved. Last year, I had a Galentine’s Day party, which was a blast! I hope to get together with some of my Galentines again this year!
  3. February Content: December is a great month for blog content, but with everyone’s busy holiday schedules, it is hard to pack it all in! I have some great content that I plan to post this month, and I hope you enjoy it! To kick it off, I just had a fun shoot with Stephanie Rita!
Feminism
January 31, 2017

Getting Involved In the Fight

I don’t like to talk politics, and along with religion, one really isn’t supposed to mention it at the dinner table…But how can I not when there are protests going on everyday? Unlike 2008, when I joined my school’s College Democrats club in canvassing for Obama, I pretty much stayed clear of this past election. I personally was not a fan of either candidate. I told myself that everything would be fine, no matter the outcome. But now, with everything going on, I REALLY regret that decision. Things are not fine.

I started this blog with a style intent, but have always wanted it to be more than that. I was recently thinking of doing away with my “Feminism” section, but after the Women’s March, I see how much we need to talk about feminism. I didn’t attend the Women’s March, because I was working that day. Looking through the photos of the event has been extremely inspiring. I realized something…I haven’t been doing enough…

I was super involved with Amnesty International in high school, and even wrote my college application essay on it. I majored in Women’s/Gender Studies. I have marched for Planned Parenthood. I spent three years working at a non-profit, specifically housing the homeless.

I mention this, because I am basically saying that there is no reason for me not to be more involved. Really, there is no reason for any of us not to fight.

I wanted to remind everyone that there are little ways for us to all fight for American values.  I certainly am not living lavishly, but I just made a small donation to the ACLU of Massachusetts. Read below for some other ways to get involved:

  1. Host a letter writing campaign party to your elected officials! Here is a list for how to find yours. My friend just texted me that she is hosting letter writing, appetizers and wine gathering this week! Such a great idea!
  2. Continue to empower yourself and fellow females! Attend Just Us Gals’ monthly Ladies Lounge on February 16. The topic? “Women Empowering Women.” How appropriate!
  3. Call your senator. Here is a good comprehensive guide.
  4. I follow Boston Pollen’s Instagram and if her orders are anything like her pics, we are all in for a treat! Kristyn just announced that she will be donating 25% of Valentine’s Day flower proceeds to the ACLU! Catch her at Olives and Grace on Valentine’s Day! Personally, I love buying flowers for myself. So #TREATYOSELF, your Valentine or Galentine!
  5. Drink Starbucks and use Lyft.
  6. Donate to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood.
  7. Get Planned Parenthood or ACLU updates (if you text “STAND WITH PP” to 22422, you can get updates from Planned Parenthood).
  8. Planned Parenthood has a myriad of ways to get involved.
  9. If you can attend even a portion of it, Planned Parenthood is holding Sexual Health Lobby Day TODAY!
  10. Join the 10 Actions in 100 Days Campaign.

If anyone has any other ways that they are fighting against the Immigration Ban, for Women’s Rights or against any of the President’s policies, I would love to hear how! Let’s continue to empower and inspire one another.

Health
January 17, 2017

Boston Marathon 2017 Runner Spotlight: Mel Cybriwsky

One of my bucket list items is to run a marathon.  I am always amazed by the dedication, athleticism and endurance of Boston Marathon runners.  Now, I am trying to be more optimistic in 2017, but given my health (hip) issues, my marathon dream probably isn’t going to happen.

In the meantime, I will live vicariously through my friend Mel Cybriwsky, who is running her first Boston Marathon this year! This is Mel’s first Boston Marathon, and second marathon; she ran her first in Cape Cod this past October.

Mel first got into running post-college, when she needed to get into a consistent exercise routine. She began running with the Marathon Sports Run Groups. One of her friends encouraged/forced her to sign up for a bunch of local races, and after a Thanksgiving 5K, she was “hooked.”

In addition to marathons, Mel completes triathlons. Her most recent one was the Timberman 70.3, which included a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. This July, she will be competing in the Ironman Lake Placid, which consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run. That’s insane!

Mel is running the Boston Marathon for the organization, YES (Youth Enrichment Services). Mel explains, YES “has a variety of youth mentoring programs, but their flagship program teaches children from underserved communities how to ski. I’ve both skied and been a youth mentor for many years; I believe its really beneficial for youth to experience the outdoors and appreciate nature.” Two of our other friends volunteer with the organization and that is how Mel became involved.

Though training has its challenges (especially in the New England weather), Mel stays on point with with the national organization, Endurance Nation, whose coaches answer all of her questions and create her a tailored training schedule. Mel fits in training whenever and wherever she can; if she has to run an errand (no pun intended), she will try to run there. She also makes time for Prana Power Yoga (my FAV) to stretch out her muscles and avoid injury.

Everyone wants to look #onfleek while they’re working out, and Mel does it wearing apparel from Greater Than Sports, for which she serves as an ambassador. Greater than Sports apparel is ethically designed and produced in Saratoga Springs, New York (one of my favorite places on earth!). If you join the e-mail list, you can enjoy 15% off your first order, and all orders over $75, come with free shipping!

If you are free this Thursday, January 19, and also want to contribute to a cause that counts, Mel is hosting a fundraiser at Market Lounge at 8 PM. There will be Celtic tickets, yoga classes,  and athletic apparel (yes, please!) raffled off! The $10 suggested cover goes straight to YES.

Health/ Just for Fun/ Life Lessons
January 5, 2017

Top Three (New Year’s Resolutions): January 2016

Welcome 2017! I hope that you had a great holiday season! As I have stated before, I prefer short-term goals over long-term ones. However, I do think the new year is a great opportunity to set some new goals for oneself. I have actually been thinking about making a vision board! Has anyone tried that?

I try to do a Top Three list about what I am looking forward to the most every month. But this month, given that it is a new year, I figured that it would make the most sense for me to list my Top Three (New Year’s Resolutions) instead:

  1. Health: I feel like everyone has this as a New Year’s resolution, right? Whenever I say that I am going to make it to the gym more, it doesn’t happen. It is best to have concrete, measurable goals. My specific goals in terms of my health for 2017 are to work on my core exercises 6X a week (necessary for my hip recovery), do cardio 4X a week, start doing upper body training 2X a week (gotta start somewhere!), find a new primary care physician and keep a food journal for one week. I never support calorie counting or restricting (it will legit drive you crazy), but just writing down what I eat will allow me to identify what nutrients I am missing/what I need to work on for my diet. Improving my diet will probably mean meal prepping days in advance, as well.
  2. Blogging: I admit it; I totally slacked on blogging the last quarter of 2016! For 2017, I hope to post at least twice a week.  This means using my days off to plan out, schedule and execute my posts. The first step is getting organized! Also, I am  long overdue for a new photo session with Stephanie Rita! I have met some really cool people through blogging (it is actually how I found my current rooming situation!), and hope to continue to network and build more relationships!
  3. Socialize: I was just talking to my friend Erin, and we were saying that we have both had so much going on in our lives lately, that we haven’t been as social. In addition to blogging, I let my social life fall to the wayside the last few months of 2016. My changing schedule often makes it hard to plan ahead with friends, as well, so it is not as easy as it used to be. However, I do feel like my changing schedule gives me specific openings of free time that I probably didn’t have before-allowing me to reconnect with my friends with non 9-5 jobs. I would love to have a Galentine’s Day gathering like I did last year, as well!
Just for Fun
December 31, 2016

Reflecting Back on 2016…My Trip to NOLA

Reflecting back on 2016, I am thankful for a lot of things. The majority of this year was quite challenging, as I spent eight months of it on crutches (for a total of ten months). Because of this, things felt very stagnant to me. Oftentimes I felt like everyone around me was progressing, while I was stuck. One positive of being on medical leave is that it finally gave me the time to establish this blog. For so long I had had the idea in my head, but didn’t have the time, and my two months off finally gave me that opportunity.

Jackson Square in NOLA

One of the highlights of my year would have to be my trip to New Orleans in October with my friend Emmet. Obviously, traveling was off the table while I was on crutches. I was itching to get out and explore, so when my friend Emmet invited me as his plus one to a friend’s wedding in NOLA, I jumped at the chance. Wedding AND a trip?!? I AM IN.

The central part of the trip mostly took place in the French Quarter, as our hotel was there (we also stayed at two different Air BnBs-my first time!) and the wedding reception. A perhaps more authentic, less touristy version of the French Quarter is Frenchman Street, where we took in a local jazz show. We rode the picturesque trolleys, had the pleasure of hanging with Emmet’s friends, snapped many pics and enjoyed the local cuisine. I often TRY to eat healthy (TRY being the key word), but decided to indulge since we were on vacation. I wanted to make sure that I tried alligator before we left (“when in Rome”), and as cliche as it sounds, it tasted like chicken. Also enjoyed some Po-boys (basically just a sandwich) and gumbo. NOLA is a great destination if you’re into spicy food.

A couple of activities that I wish we had time to do were to take a ghost tour (especially since we were there in October), as well as a tour of the Garden District. Most of the pictures in this post are from the Garden District; while Emmet slept in, I took an early morning walk around the Garden District, and, honestly, wanted to snap every house! It would have been great to learn more about what I was seeing.

Emmet and I spent three nights in NOLA, which, honestly wasn’t nearly enough. Even though I had been there before on a service trip in college, being there as a tourist, there are so many different things to do-besides just the French Quarter. I totally understand the appeal and charm of the NOLA and the South after our trip.

What were some of your 2016 highlights?

Just for Fun/ Style & Beauty
December 13, 2016

My Christmas Wish List

Looking back on 2016, I have a lot to be thankful for; a new job, health (particularly being cleared off crutches and being able to work out again), my family’s support, new apartment and more. Thus, I am not asking for much this Christmas, but I am asking for a few things! I can’t believe it is less than two weeks away!

Here is what I am hoping Santa brings me this year: 1: I love how this moisturizes my lips. I already have the “Rosé” color but want to try it in “Tulip.” It is one of Leigha’s beauty favorites as well!          2: Because my ears are so tiny/my piercings are so low, I can only wear studs.            3: Because I am always losing gloves!           4: The perfect stocking stuffer; I am often exhausted and just want to easily take off my makeup in one swipe          5: My current weekender has a shoe compartment, which is great, but that also means compromising size. I have my eye on this one. Perfect for quick trips down the Cape!          6: I always love a good tote bag, and I recently had to throw my Longchamp tote away due to wear and tear. This one is currently down to $116 from $145.            7: Because I think I lose these more than gloves. And this one benefits different charities.           8: I am very particular about my planners. I like them to be on the smaller side, but still detailed. I am looking to switch it up from the Lilly Pulitzer one I had last year.           9:This is a necklace I could wear with almost anything. Use code LOVE30 for 30% off! Also, free shipping!            10: Looks J.Crew, but actually Old Navy. Great contender for Christmas dinner outfit (and on sale for $18).

In addition to these items, I am asking for a lot of gift cards (and I will gladly accept checks!): Whole Foods (because I am seriously addicted to that place), Trader Joe’s (now that my new schedule allows me to avoid the weekend mayhem there), Sip and Script (co-organized by my awesome blog logo designer, Julie of Posh+Prep), Pure Barre (my doctor recommended this to build up my core strength), Miniluxe, and yoga (either my neighborhood spot Acorn Yoga, CorePower Yoga or Prana Power Yoga).

Have you finished your holiday shopping? What are you hoping for this year?

Just for Fun
December 5, 2016

Top Three: December 2016

psi-card-2

You might have noticed that I have been very MIA over here recently, in terms of both blogging and social media. I mentioned in one of my posts that things felt stagnant when I was on crutches, but it has been quite the opposite lately! My goal for the last month of 2016 is to dedicate more time to blogging; ironically, the busiest month of the year.

This month, my Top Three revolve around the holidays! Given today was the first snowfall in Boston, I am feeling particularly festive! Here are the Top Three things that I am looking forward to this holiday season!

  1. Holiday treats: I am not much of a cook or baker, but this time of year makes me all the more motivated to get into the kitchen! Clean eating can wait until January (though Blair is always inspiring me with her healthy food Instagram snaps!) We always made cookie-cutter sugar cookies growing up around the holidays, and would be sure to leave them out for Santa on Christmas Eve ;-). One of the items on my list this year? This homemade take on Starbucks cranberry bliss bars.
  2. Holiday parties: I have been invited to a few holiday parties this year (though I am still waiting on an invite for an ugly sweater party-I have an AMAZING authentic ugly sweater, courtesy of my aunt in the 80s), and I am really looking forward to them! As I mentioned, this fall has been a whirlwind (mostly good changes), and my constantly changing schedule means that I don’t get to see many of my friends as often as I used to. The holidays are a great time to catch up with both friends and family. Oh, and I am looking forward to hopefully stopping by Best Dressed Charlestown in their new Southie location prior to one of my holiday events!
  3. Christmas movies/music: In years past, whenever I have lacked in Christmas spirit, listening to a Christmas song or watching a Christmas movie has quickly turned my mood around. My favorite Christmas movies include comedies, (my mom loves “It’s a Wonderful Life” but it is just too sad for me!) like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “The Grinch,” (with Jim Carrey) and “Elf.” I also just discovered Leona Lewis’s Christmas album from a few years ago, and am loving her song, “One More Sleep.” I can only listen to “All I Want for Christmas is You” so many times.

*The header in this post is a painting by Joann Vitali. Faneuil Hall is beautiful around Christmas, and I can’t wait to check out the tree this year. If you have not ordered your holiday cards yet, consider choosing from one of four winter card scenes from the Boston’s Pine Street Inn. Originally a homeless shelter, PSI now offers a myriad of resources for Boston’s homeless population.

What are you looking forward to about the holidays?

Style & Beauty
November 12, 2016

Forty Winks

I always really respect female business owners; we need more #girlbosses out there, and we should always be out there supporting one another. There are some great events and organizations promoting female entrepreneurship, like Just Us Gal’s monthly summits and Boston Business Women.

I wrote about Vicki and Nikoleta of Best Dressed Charlestown (who just opened their second location) this summer, and I recently spoke with the owners of Forty Winks Lingerie Boutique to learn more about their lingerie boutique in Harvard Square.

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Forty Winks owners Meredith and Rachel garnered retail experience working at one of my favorite area boutiques, Mint Julep. The women came up with the premise for Forty Winks, because they often struggled to find lingerie that was both comfortable and beautiful. Their goal was to open a shop where they or their friends would feel comfortable shopping. No such establishment existed yet, and these ambitious women saw an opportunity.

The shop is bright and open. I was on the hunt for a basic tee shirt bra, and I had no idea what bra size I was, and the salesgirls were more than happy to help me find the right fit and style. I went with this Calvin Klein number. It is by far, my favorite bra. Forty Winks also carries designers Cosabella, Hanky Panky, Heidi Klum Intimates, Commando, Chantelle, Stella McCartney, and many more.

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Last month, Forty Winks launched a Lookbook titled, “The Middle Layer,” and I am in love with the concept! The campaign features women of all shapes and sizes modeling lingerie in their everyday activities; yoga class, waiting for the bus, biking, gardening, working on the computer, walking the dog. Shot by Jordan Jennings, the models feature Boston locals @jolielavie, @porcelaindalya, @eraese91 and @dahlia_strack.

With the popularity of super skinny supermodels Kendell Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Martha Hunt and Karlie Kloss (no offense to these ladies), it is refreshing to see women modeling lingerie, that we can relate to. Because let’s be honest; none of us have the luxury of a team of personal assistants, personal chefs or personal trainers. The rest of us need functional and comfortable (but pretty) undergarments.

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In addition to their shop in Harvard Square, Forty Wink’s has an impressive online store. They offer free shipping and returns on domestic orders. Be sure to sign up for Forty Wink’s Birthday Club to get 15% off during your birthday month! Happy shopping!

Just for Fun/ Style & Beauty
October 18, 2016

Top Three: Fall 2016

Fall

Ah, you guys! The last month has been CRAY CRAY, as my friend, Sergio, would say! This is the longest that I have gone without blogging! As I shared in my last post, I have a new gig-also a longer commute. And since I had a pre-scheduled trip to NOLA planned, I had to stack up my work hours.

Anyways, here’s to turning a new leaf (get it?)! You may remember that I often list the Top Three things that I look forward to every month. Due to my hiatus, I decided to write a Top Three for the entire fall/autumn season (which word do you prefer to use?).

  1. Pumpkin (and apple) spice and everything nice: I am writing this with a box of Pumpkin Joe-Joe’s sitting next to me, and it is taking restraint to not eat one. Tis’ the season for PSLs and apple crisp, my friends. I try to only indulge from time to time on delicious pumpkin and apple treats. Luckily, there are some healthier options, too. I recently scored some siggi’s pumpkin and spice flavored yogurt. What are you favorite fall treats?
  2. Halloween: I have never been able to watch scary movies, but I have always loved October 31. It is just such a fun holiday! Even though Halloween is on a Monday this year, I hope to do something fun for the holiday, because I was recovering from surgery last year and sick the year prior. There are always great Halloween recipes, DIYs and party ideas on blogs! Oh, and my annual viewing of “Hocus Pocus.”
  3. Fall Fashion: As sad as I always am to see summer go, I am always excited to be able to pull out my fall boots! In fact, I believe that I am due for a new pair. Along with boots, I am loving fall hats and….OBSESSED with blanket scarves. I finally got my hands on the scarf (see above) that was sold out everywhere last year! In terms of colors, I am loving burgundy for this season. I hope to do a fall photo shoot ASAP!

What do you love most about fall?

 

Just for Fun/ Life Lessons
September 20, 2016

Ch…Ch…Changes

I can’t believe how long it has been since I last posted! I attended the Boston Bloggers meet-up the other night, and the #girlbosses always inspire me to get on my game!

I always loved the F.Scott Fitzgerald quote, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” And I certainly have started over again/experienced many changes lately. Coincidentally, I have had three major changes, somewhat in line with my Top Three series that I often do at the beginning of every month.

First of all, I AM OFF CRUTCHES!!!! What was supposed to be three-four months on crutches after my PAO surgery, turned into ten months. October 8 with mark my one year anniversary of my surgery. I am in physical therapy for a  hamstring issues (learn from my mistakes: be careful of rushing back into exercise after a surgery/injury), but the pain that I would have constantly in my hip/groin is gone.

Also, after almost three years working in the non-profit sector, I completely changed industries and am now in a retail management training program. Out of all of my experiences in the fashion industry (which i was very fortunate to have), I always liked retail; something about the customer interaction and working closely with the product.

Along with a new job, I have a new residence! I had lived right near Boston College for two years . In June, my landlord informed me that the rent was skyrocketing , and I knew that I had no choice but to move. Being on crutches at the time made the whole process quite daunting. Luckily, a friend of mine, Katie, informed me that two of her friends were looking for a third roommate. I moved in September 1 (still haven’t completely unpacked), and am really liking the change in scenery, along with my roommates- however the proximity to the Brighton Whole Foods is dangerous.

During my ten months on crutches, things felt stagnant. Everything was so much harder. I never would have realized how simple tasks like grocery shopping (thank you Instacart) and social gatherings are so much more difficult when you aren’t able to walk. The amount of freedom I have now mainly accounts for why I have been so busy! The change in residence and job would probably not happened had I still been on those crutches.

Are you experiencing any major changes in your life?

 

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