A Month in the Life

September 18, 2018

Image via A Cozy Kitchen

If you know me personally (or have me on social media), you probably know that I recently made a pretty big life change: I quit the job I was at for almost three years and moved out of Orlando, which had been my home for the past eight years, all to try and pursue a lifelong dream of mine: acting. I'm now living back home at my parent's house in South Florida - where I honestly never thought I'd be living again after high school - so that I can get my toes wet in the industry while living rent free. While I'm already missing living in the heart of Orlando and the friends I left behind a lot, I'm incredibly grateful to have a family who's supporting me on this crazy journey.

Needless to say, this change hasn't been easy; but at the end of the day, it's important - and comforting - to remind myself of all the blessings in my life: my family, friends near and far, having all my pets under one roof (mornings kisses from a dog + 5 kitties is the best), and personal things, like this blog, which I started in Orlando but can thankfully follow up with anywhere. As I begin this new adventure and we say hello to a new season, I figure it's an ideal time to reflect on and share all the things I'm currently loving.

Here are some of my favorite things right now:

More Mustard, Please 
Image via American Eagle
As fall approaches each year, I find myself being drawn to the exact same colors: military green and rust. While I’ll always think of them as autumn wardrobe staples – I’d even call them the season's neutrals – I’ve been newly gravitating toward one color nonstop: mustard. I’m seeing it in every magazine, blog and store, in the form of topsouterwear, jeans, shoes, bags ... even flared corduroy pants and nail polish. It's a universally flattering shade that somehow always manages to stand out. Also in this season? Leopard print. More on that next month. ;) 

Cravings Hungry for More
Image via Target
I'm not one of those crazed Chrissy Teigen fans, but I'll say this: the girl is killing it in the kitchen (and on Twitter, too). Her first cookbook, Cravings, is filled with mouthwatering, seemingly hard-to-top recipes (the mac and cheese and scalloped potatoes are game changers); and yet, her second cookbook, Cravings Hungry for More, has me even more impressed. I'm currently drooling over her breakfast recipes, like the Everything Bagel Cream Cheese Breakfast Bake and French Toast with Whipped Honey Ricotta Topping, as well as her Pad Thai Carbonara and, well, basically everything on every page. Head to Target, purchase Chrissy's book, go home, cook/bake and eat your feelings. 
Repeat last two steps as desired. 

Variety's "Remote Controlled" Podcast 
Image via Variety 
It's no secret that there's an abundance of fantastic podcasts covering news, politics, business and crime (both true crime and fiction); but once in a while, you want to hear something a bit on the lighter side - something that features the people who help you escape today's overwhelming and oftentimes dark reality. Enter Variety Magazine's podcast, Remote Controlled with Debra Birnbaum. The host interviews entertainers, directors, writers and more from some of the most popular and highly-anticipated films, television series and Broadway shows. My favorite episode right now has to be Milo Ventimiglia's. I've fallen more in love with him - and his legendary This Is Us character, Jack Pearson - when I didn't think that was possible. Listen at your own risk, though: the episode includes spoilers for seasons one and two. ONE MORE WEEK, GUYS. 

The Body Shop 
Image via The Body Shop
My sister dragged me into The Body Shop a few weeks ago and while I was skeptical of the hype behind their products, I'm a sucker for a good sale - which they just happened to have going on while we were there. My sister has beautiful skin and is product-obsessed, so after getting some of her recommendations - as well as recommendations from the employees in the store - I walked out with three of my new favorite beauty products: the Vitamin E Refreshing Eyes Cube (I swear my under eye lines have become less visible), Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil and Vitamin C Glow Revealing Liquid Peel (together, the two have made my skin much softer and more radiant).  

Shake Shack Burger Copycat Recipe (!!!) 
Image via A Cozy Kitchen
Prepare to roll your eyes at me: one of the most difficult parts about my recent move from Orlando to my South Florida suburban hometown is that now, rather than being less than 15 minutes away, Shake Shack is a 45 minute drive away. The. Struggle. Is. Real. Shake Shack burgers are, without a doubt, my favorite. Maybe it's because I get instantly overwhelmed by a burger that's ridiculously full (in my opinion, Shake Shack's burgers are the perfect size), or maybe it's their juicy, crispy-edged, hand-smashed patties, or buttery burger buns, or delicious Shack Sauce ... but, case in point: I'm a woman in love. It's only a matter of time before I make the embarrassing 45 minute trek just to pick up a burger, but in the meantime, I plan on making this detailed copycat recipe from Adriana Adarme of A Cozy Kitchen (God bless you, girl).

Aerial Yoga
Hangin' out (hehe) at Elevate Yoga Center in Orlando

A few months ago, I decided to try yoga for the first time after coming across a Groupon for a studio in Orlando. Better yet, the studio, Elevate Yoga Center offered aerial yoga - a practice I've always found beautiful albeit intimidating. Signing up for a month of these classes was one of the best decisions I ever made. I left each class feeling stronger and more relaxed than I had in months, and I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to pick up aerial and silks. It was a great reminder that oftentimes, things appear more difficult than they actually are. I'm now a firm believer that if everyone on the planet practiced yoga every day, the world would be a happier and more peaceful place. 

Alllllll the Movies
Image via IMDb
Fact: the end of summer/start of fall has been a movie gold mine. Last month, I fell in love with the Netflix film To All the Boys I've Loved Before, an adorable high school rom-com (Netflix is basically recreating the '80s with its own Brat Pack) featuring a really fun and talented cast (helllllo, Noah Cinteneo). Just a few days after repeatedly watching the film, I fell even more in love with Crazy Rich Asians. This film has it all: entertaining and funny, yet touching and, quite honestly, important. The cast could not have been more perfect (in addition to Noah Cinteneo, I'm now crushing hard on Henry Golding) and the film has a story line that left me feeling allll the emotions. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and I forgave. You know it's a good story when you can experience all of those feelings in just a couple hours.

Yesterday, I saw A Simple Favor and loved how twisted, mysterious and wickedly funny (yes, funny) it was. As for the film I can't wait to see? Life Itself, written and directed by Dan Fogelman (AKA the man behind This Is Us) comes out this week. Shoot me a text if you want to shamelessly sob in the theatre with me on Thursday night. 

*Can we give a round of applause for not just more diversity, but more representation (yes, there's a difference) in the film industry?! Keep it up, peeps.

Throwback Trends  
Image via Forever 21
It's been over a month since the movie was first released in theatres, and I still haven’t been able to stop thinking about the outfits worn by young Donna (played by Lily James) in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again. In my opinion, her effortlessly cool late-‘70s boho/funky disco wardrobe was the highlight of the film. My sister and I recently walked into Forever 21 for the first time in, well, forever, after noticing an impressive array of ‘70s and even ‘60s-inspired pieces in their window displays and put it this way: we did some damage. From flared jeans, corduroy, multicolored stripes and hoop details to retro ankle boots, jumpsuits, drape-y, flow-y pieces and all the denim you can imagine, I can't get enough of the fashion from these decades. Also in? '80s inspired jumpsuits, a la Blake Lively in the aforementioned A Simple Favor.  

Trader Joe's Just Mango Slices
Image via Trader Joe's
Earlier this year, Jess and I went to Denver to visit her longtime friend, Carissa (who's now one of my favorite people on Earth). Of course, no trip to Colorado is complete without a hike. We hiked Devil's Head and just before we had to climb what looked like the Stairway to Heaven to access the highest lookout, Carissa pulled these Trader Joe's Mango Slices out of her backpack for us to snack on. They're dried mango strips with just the right amount of natural sweetness, and it only takes a couple to leave you feeling satisfied. I'm hooked and never leave Trader Joe's without them.    

Claire Wineland's TED Talks 
Image via Claire's Place Foundation
Like the millions of people who watched and listened to her honest and inspirational videos, I'm deeply saddened by the passing of philanthropist Claire Wineland, the 21 year-old who won the world over via social media and public speaking panels where she openly discussed her terminal illness (Cystic Fibrosis), her feelings about mortality, how her disease affected her, and how it wouldn't affect her all the same. I wish I could have met her, but I'm grateful she left this world with so many beautiful messages of strength, hope, love and courage. Listen to her TED Talks (there are a few, but this is her most recent one) and honor her by being kind, being brave, giving back, and creating a life you're proud of. 

Lemon Ginger Tea
Image via Bigelow/Amazon
A couple months ago, my friend Erin and I went to a spa to get massages and as we were waiting, the employee at the front desk brought us some hot lemon ginger tea. After just one sip, I had to ask him what brand of tea it was. Turns out it was Bigelow, which you can buy at just about any grocery store. I've had several Bigelow teas over the years, but this one is hands down my favorite. I always have packets of it in my pantry and reach for a cup whether I'm trying to prevent a brewing cold or simply want to feel more relaxed.