road trip: arizona & utah

IMG_7097 {At Bryce National Park: wearing Forever 21 sports bra and tank, SOLOW pants, Nikes}

Last week I was lucky enough to spend my spring break out west with my hubby.  I can’t even describe how much fun we had and how beautiful it was.  I’d been to Utah once before to ski, so I knew it was a beautiful state, but had never done any of the National parks and never been to Arizona.  We drove over 1200 miles, visited 3 national parks, and saw 12 different kinds of animals.  Even though we were busy and active the whole time it still felt like one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever taken.

DSC_0011{Grand Canyon: wearing SOLOW leggings, Nikes, Ray-bans, and a Banana Republic tee}

We started off in Arizona, flying into Phoenix and driving straight to Sedona.  Even though we only had half a day in Sedona we made the most of it.  It’s such a beautiful little city, and we had a great dinner at Elote Cafe.

IMG_6956{Red rocks in Sedona: wearing Lulu’s dress, Free People bandeau}

The next day we headed straight to the Grand Canyon.  My husband had been before when he was younger, but I’d never gone.  When you first drive in it looks like your just driving through any old forest and then all of a sudden this huge canyon appears seemingly out of nowhere.  It is an absolutely beautiful sight.  If you’ve never been, go on your next trip.

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IMG_7052{At Zion National Park: wearing Lulu Lemon sports top, Forever 21 leggings, Nikes}

DSC_0105IMG_7075{On the grounds of the resort: wearing Splendid pants and Gypsy05 top via Marshalls}

From there we headed to Southern Utah, to the Red Mountain Resort and Spa.  We stayed there for three days so we could hike Bryce and Zion National parks (breathtaking), and enjoy the resort.  It was unlike any place I’d ever stayed before, right in the middle of the red mountains with nothing else around.  It was such a peaceful and beautiful spot. I loved sitting outside at sunset drinking wine.

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IMG_7107{The pool at the resort}DSC_0121On our last few days we took the long drive from Utah back down into Arizona to stay in Scottsdale.  Even though the drive was about seven hours long I didn’t mind being in the car at all because it was the prettiest drive.  There were stretches when we wouldn’t see another car for miles.  And it didn’t hurt that we drove through Vegas and made a stop at In-N-Out Burger.

IMG_7134DSC_0117DSC_0101During our last two days in Scottsdale we just lounged by the pool, and enjoyed the perfect weather.  We also ate (and ate, and ate).  There were lots of good restaurants and I already want to go back to eat at all the places we didn’t get too.  We loved the drinks at Citizen’s Public House and  I’ve already tried to recreate their famous chopped salad at home.

IMG_7131{Quick stop at the Hoover Damn while we drove down to Scottsdale: necklace from Target}

IMG_7170Overall it was one of the most amazing trips we’ve ever taken, right up there with our honeymoon.  Sorry for the overload of pictures, and I’m even sorrier that my photographs don’t even do the trip justice.  You’ll have to just go for yourself to check it out.  These places are not to be missed! xo

 

put a spring in your step

Spring in your step by Sweetest SomethingsOutfit 1: Free People Sweater, Max Studio skirt c/o Marshalls, Wedges c/o Marshalls, Gap clutch, Ray-ban sunglasses (Take 25% off your order with the code SPRING25)

It is finally, finally starting to feel a little like spring.  It has been a long hard winter in NY, and I am not sad at all to see the seasons change.  It can be so frustrating to get dressed up in the winter and I feel relieved that I’ll finally be able revamp my style and shop with excitement in the warm weather.  I’m also so happy to have my blog back after some (extreme) technical difficulties.  Spring + fixing up my blog means lots of new outfits and recipes coming your way.

Spring in your step by Sweetest Somethings

Outfit 2: Splendid pants c/o Marshalls, Gypsy05 top c/o Marshalls, Sneakers c/o Marshalls, Nordstrom bag, Gap denim jacket

The thing that I could not wait to shed the most is my winter boots.  I have been living in boots for the past few months and I’m so happy to slip into some lighter footwear.  Whenever the seasons change I always want to completely restock my shoe collection.  Shoes can really make your whole outfit and I feel like having lots of options in the spring and summer is a must.

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Shopping at Marshalls makes it possible to feel like you can buy a whole new shoe collection on a reasonable budget.  They have a ton of cute spring styles and everything is so well priced that you don’t have to feel guilty if you leave with one (or two!) extra pairs.  I recently left with these casual sneakers and comfy wedges to add a little pep into my spring step.  I’m no stranger to a dressy pump, but I love that both of these pairs of shoes can be worn all day with no achy feet.  The slip on sneakers are similar to my favorite leopard ones from last year, so I know I’ll get a ton of use out of them.

What’s your favorite type of spring shoe?  Don’t forget to stop by Marshalls to see their all their warm weather options! xo

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banana chia seed pancakes

DSC_0069March is here!  Even though I’m sitting home as the snow falls steadily outside, I know (or am just hoping and praying), that spring is around the corner.  It has to be, because I can’t take much more of the bone chilling temperatures and the slush.  In a few more weeks I know the snow will melt and it will be warm enough to actually enjoy going outside again on the weekends.  And that leads me to my most favorite weekend activity: brunch.  All the delicious options at brunch can be overwhelming.  I usually can’t decide what to order until my husband caves and agrees to split several dishes with me.  I also love making brunch at home (see here and here and here) as examples.

DSC_0067Brunch confections can be on the unhealthy side, so I like to experiment at home with healthier, tasty options.  I recently made these greek yogurt, chia seed pancakes that are gluten and refined sugar free.  They’re made with ripe bananas and chia seeds for extra fiber and protein.  I’m a huge proponent that meal planning and prepping leads to a healthier life style.  I love to make a big batch of these on Sundays and have them to grab as a quick breakfast during the week.  Heat them up (or not!), spread a little nut butter or a top with sliced strawberries and you’re good to go.  Recipe is below, enjoy! xo

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Banana – Chia Seed Pancakes (gluten and sugar free): 

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (gluten free)
  • 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • 1 container 0% plain greek yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbspn chia seeds

Instructions:

Add the oats to a food processor and pulse until they are a ground, flour like consistency.  Add the next 7 ingredients and blend until combine.  Put the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the chia seeds.  Heat a skillet over medium heat and add fat of choice (I used coconut oil but you could also use ghee or regular butter).  Pour the mixture into rounds and cook for 2-3 minutes on both sides.  The batter will bubble when the pancake is ready to be flipped.  Top with fresh fruit, more yogurt, nut butter, or real maple syrup.  So yummy!  Enjoy.

jewels & discount codes with Rocksbox and The Shopping Bag

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Necklace and double gold bangle c/o Rocksbox, spike cuff c/o The Shopping bag, Rebecca Minkoff stackable rings 

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Gorjana earrings c/o Rocksbox 

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I’m excited to share some great accessories and coupon codes with you guys today!  It’s been absolutely freezing outside and I’ve been living in the same three chunky sweaters and my oversized puffy coat.  The only way I’ve felt like varying my outfits is through fun, statement accessories.  Have you guys heard of Rocksbox yet?  It’s a monthly subscription for jewels and sends you a new, fun box of accessories each month.  You guys can sign up to get a month free using the code SWEETESTSOMETHINGSXOXO.  

DSC_0095DSC_0104I’m also obsessed with my new spike cuff.  Cuffs are always too big on me and this one fits my wrist perfectly and is the perfect item to stack with other bracelets.  There are so many great accessories over at The Shopping Bag, and you can use the code SWEETESTSOMETHINGS for 25% off your order!

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The coupon codes are good for one month from today, so get shopping!  How do you guys change up you look in the colder months? xo

 

arugula, brie, & purple potato salad

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Brrr!  It’s freezing lately in NY and all I’ve wanted to do is hibernate inside, watch movies, and make delicious things to eat.  Between the weather and our move (we moved three weeks ago into a new place and town), I’ve been so busy and completely forgetting to blog.  However, I have been cooking a lot in our new home since I finally unpacked all of our wedding gifts, most of which were kitchen items.  Even though I’ve been cooking a ton I’m  usually halfway through the meal when I mumble to my myself that I wish I would have blogged the recipe because it’s so good.

I knew in advance that this salad would be a winner so I planned some time to make it for lunch and take some semi-decent photos to entice you guys to make it.  And make it you should, because it is one of the most delicious salad combos I’ve ever had.  It’s actually a recreation of a salad I had in a pub in the city a few weeks back.  It was such a tasty and interesting combination of ingredients I knew I had to make it at home.  I made a huge bowl of it thinking I would snack on leftovers but my husband and I devoured the entire thing in one sitting.  Recipe and instructions are below.  Enjoy!

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The base was a combo of baby arugula, watercress, and shaved brussels sprout.  Such an unexpected but delicious base.

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The tasty add ins: cooked purple potatoes, chopped dried figs, and goat brie cheese (amazing).

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Creamy shallot vinaigrette made with greek yogurt & champagne vinegar.

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The finished product…

DSC_0041Arugula, Brie, and Purple Potato Salad with Creamy Vinaigrette: 

For the salad-

  • A base of baby arugula, watercress, and shaved (or really thinly sliced) brussels sprouts.
  • 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 package sliced goat brie
  • 1 cup (about 7 large dried figs), chopped
  • 7-8 small purple potatoes, cooked and sliced

For the dressing-

  • 1/2 cup 0% fat greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and papper to taste

Steps & Notes:

Mix all your greens in a large bowl.  Top with the remaining 4 salad ingredients.  When you are cooking the potatoes make sure they don’t get too done.  You don’t want them to be mashing consistency, just soft enough to slice, so they still have some bite to them.  I just boiled them but you could also roast them.  Allow them to cool before tossing them into the salad.  Also, if you can’t find goat brie regular brie would work just fine.  Something about the goat brie was so delicious though I would take an extra glance around the cheese counter to try and find it.  For the dressing, add the first 5 ingredients to the food processor and turn on, drizzling in the olive oil.  When the dressing reaches your desired consistency turn off the food processor and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the salad with the dressing and enjoy!

 

bundled for a blizzard

DSC_0006Banana Republic shirt, Gap sweater, DKNY jacket, Paige denim, Converse sneakers, Tory Burch bag, H&M scarf, Rayban sunglasses

A lot of you asked me about the shirt I’m wearing (available in navy here) on instagram, so I thought I would throw it on and take some pics over the weekend.  Same shirt, different day, pretty much the story of my winter.  Between moving and the blizzard, the only thing I’ve wanted to wear is yoga pants and oversized sweaters, and usually they don’t even match.  Who can feel creative about outfits when it feels like 2 degrees outside?  I’ve already started eyeing some spring pieces online, but don’t want to kid myself.  I know we have a lot of winter left in front of us.  Until then you can find me in some kind of version of this look with layers varying accordingly.

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the best of Astoria (and goodbye!)

image1I’ve lived in Astoria for the past six and a half years and loved every minute of it.  Well maybe not every single minute, (parking can be tough) but besides that it has been an amazing home.  I lived with my girlfriends and then my now husband and have made so many wonderful memories here.  I’ve also been so lucky to live near some of the best places to eat, hang out, and play (more or less).  I thought as a fun little goodbye to Astoria I would do a round up of all of my favorite places.  If you live in the area make sure you check these out, you will not regret it.  Thanks for the memories Astoria… onto the next chapter. xo

Best seafood place: Taverna Kyclades.  Amazing, fresh seafood and they give you free dessert (enough said).

Best way to spend a Saturday: At the Astoria/ LIC food & flea market.  There are so many new foods to try and lots of little shops and cute stands.

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Best way to spend a Saturday night: At the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden.  Great place for groups and hanging out outside in the spring/ summer/ fall.

Best inexpensive dinner: Il Bambino. Half price bottles of wine on Mondays and delicious paninis, crostinis, and salads.

Best brunch: Sage General Store.  They have fresh, frothy coffees the size of your head.

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Best sushi: Watawa Sushi.  A close second is Pink Nori.

Best juice place: Ginger Organic.  This place opened just a few months ago, and I’ll miss their fresh juices.

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Best coffee: Best overall coffee/tea spot would have to be Sweet Leaf, but my favorite individual cup will always be the hazelnut iced coffee from Brooklyn Bagel.

Best yoga studio: Yoga Agora.  No membership, $5 classes, and amazing instructors.  It simply can not be beat.

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Best burger: Bareburger.  Lots of healthy, vegetarian options too.

Best Grocery Store: Food Cellar.  Lots and lots of organic produce, right up my alley.

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Best Dessert: Vesta Trattoria & wine bar.  Order the baby Jesus cake and thank me later.

Best Hair Salon: Natura Spa.  I always go to Telmo, he is indisputably the best.

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Best view: Now I may be biased, but we had such an amazing view from the rooftop of our building.  I’ll miss it so much!

sweetest somethins best of astoria 1* All pictures are from my instagram.  Thanks for following along!

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