Read the rest of my thoughts and how outdoor workouts helped 6 other women at WomensHealthMag.com.
I've been running outside since I was in high school—I had a brief cross-country stint in 6th grade, dabbled in it a bit after graduating college, and my husband introduced me to trail running a few years ago—but it wasn't until we started hiking that I really fell in love with exercising outdoors. When I'm running, I'm often focused on keeping a consistent pace, getting the miles logged, or let's be honest, what I'm going to eat as soon as I'm done. But with hiking, it isn't about my pace—it's about the journey and what I'm able to discover while I'm out there. Kind of like life. There's something really peaceful about that.
Read the rest of my thoughts and how outdoor workouts helped 6 other women at WomensHealthMag.com.
On Christmas Day, I revealed a sneak peek of our #mermaidlife engagement shoot with Romi Burianova. How did we come up with this crazy idea, you say? I grew up on an island, I'm a little weird, and my fiance graciously agreed to go along with my underwater vision.
After three hours of bobbing up and down, gasping for air, and briefly wearing a weight belt, we got some really great shots. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
A close friend of mine wrote this piece for Refinery29 about us (in a round up of other awesome underwater shots) that lead to lots of other news outlets covering the story. See them all in the link roundup below:
I can't wait to share the rest of the stunning images with you guys! What do you think? Please let me know in the comments!
First of all, if this post is relevant to you — CONGRATS!! You've got a long road of wedding planning ahead (cue evil Maleficent cackle), but asking your bridesmaids is definitely one of the more fun items on the to-do list.
As a newly engaged lady, I scoured Pinterest (what else?) for creative ways to ask the fabulous gals in my life if they'd join me at the altar. I saw lots of great stuff— hello cute wine labels — yet none of it felt totally right until I came across the idea of a "bridesmaid box." A bridesmaid box is perfect because you can personalize each one, while also pampering the girls who have been by your side through it all.
With just five items, you're not only conveying how much you love this gal, but you're also including relevant wedding info she'll need for the coming months.
You've got enough on your plate when it comes to wedding planning, stressing over how to ask your bridesmaids shouldn't add to the burden. Once you decide the five items you'd like to include, these boxes are a cinch to make (and super easy to mail if you don't live nearby).
The Crescent City is truly home to some of the country's best dishes. Fried, fresh-caught, or covered in powdered sugar, the list of must-haves could go on forever. I hadn't visited since a football road trip in college—where we basically just drank breakfast, lunch, and dinner—so trying as much food as possible was the name of the game this time around.
By the way, these are listed in no particular order.
1. Soft-Shell Crab Pappardelle
My handsome husband-to-be used to live in New Orleans, so he already had a few spots in mind when we started planning this trip. Irene's Cuisine was an old favorite of his that we knew would be on the list. After driving furiously, we miraculously made it to Irene's in time for our 9:45 p.m. reservation. The restaurant graciously provides a rustic bruschetta starter, which I proceeded to devour in seconds. While the Oysters Irene (baked oysters with pancetta, Romano, and shrimp) were scrumptious, the real star is the Soft-Shell Crab Pappardelle. I know people fall on either side of the fence when it comes to soft-shell crab, but trust me when I say you will absolutely love this dish. Deep fried and left intact, the crab sits atop an enormous bowl of buttery, fresh-made pappardelle that I'm sure is still making its way through my arteries right now. Definitely make a reservation, because this place gets packed with locals and tourists alike.
2. Catfish with Pickled Greens + Chili Broth
Absolutely everything at Pêche is fantastic. I promise I'm practicing such restraint by including only two dishes on this list. Full disclosure: If we'd had time to go back again, I definitely would have. Not only is all of the seafood extremely fresh, but it's also treated with the utmost care. You won't see any heavy sauces or flavor-masking ingredients here. My entree was healthy grilled tuna, so obviously our appetizer needed to be fried (it's all about balance, people). Even though the catfish is served sitting in a bowl of broth, the fried coating stays perfectly crisp (is it magic? possibly). And those pickled greens? Good LAWD. Each bite had the exact right amount of vinegar.
3. Salted Caramel Cake
Yup, this one is from Pêche too, #sorrynotsorry. We had every intention of skipping dessert, but what can I say, I'm easily swayed by salted caramel. You would think seven layers of cake would come out dense and thick, however, this slice was the exact opposite. So light, so fluffy, and so damn good, I turned away to order another glass of champagne and Will basically devoured the entire thing. With any dessert, I normally regret not getting something chocolate-y, but not this time around. This cake's mix of salty-sweet did the trick.
4. Cauliflower Paella
As a Cuban, I understand it's semi-sacreligious to eat paella without heaps of shrimp, yellow rice, and chorizo, but hear me out: Cane & Table's vegetarian version packed with maitake mushrooms, crispy brussels sprouts, and capers is the perfect dish to start a night full of drinking. You won't feel overly stuffed and your stomach will thank you for giving it some sustenance before you punish it with alcohol. Not to mention, the texture of the shredded cauliflower will seriously trick your brain into thinking it's rice.
6. Pecan-Crusted Gulf Fish
Commander's Palace is another spot where everything on the menu was absolutely delicious. My Louisiana blue crab appetizer (upper left) was mind-blowingly good, but since it's only a seasonal item, I won't tease you with all the details. The Pecan-Crusted Gulf Fish, however, is a dish you can—and should—get year-round. This top-seller is served over crushed corn with Prosecco poached blue crab. Smooth, buttery, and full of flavor, we both couldn't resist ordering it for our main meal.
7. Creole Bread Pudding Soufflé
This decadent dessert is a true New Orleans classic. Although it is also from Commander's, it deserves its own listing—yes, it's that good. The dessert is so popular, in fact, Commander's has an employee whose sole job is to make these puppies. The light-yet-moist pudding has hints of nutmeg, vanilla and cinnamon, but the whiskey sauce is the real gem of this dish. It's poured into the center of the soufflé tableside, and it is life-changing. I dare you not to slurp it up and ask for seconds.
8. Oyster + Shrimp Po' Boy
You absolutely can't leave New Orleans without a po' boy of some sort. Personally, I'm all about oysters, but Mother's Restaurant has po' boys of all kinds. Not a seafood fan? Get the roast beef piled high with debris and gravy aka all of the yummy parts at the bottom of the pan. Either way, dip your choice in any of Mother's homemade sauces for even more zing in every bite. This place doesn't go through 175,000 pounds of roast beef and 1,500 gallons of Creole mustard a year for nothing.
Did I miss one of your favorite spots? Tell me about it in the comments!
Redoing our kitchen and decorating the "blank canvas of a house," as my sweetheart likes to call it, has really brought out the DIY-maven in me. I now read Good Housekeeping magazine, I watch endless amounts of Property Brothers and my bookmarks are old paint swatches. That means I'm a domestic goddess now, right? RIGHT!?
Who the hell am I kidding?
I like pretty things, but I don't necessarily create said beautiful things. My one attempt at a DIY project pretty much consisted of me buying stain for our antique vanity and then never doing anything with it. My mom and grandmother, however, now those are two crafty ladies. They came to visit and magically my porch now has Halloween decorations, pumpkins AND beautiful flowers. That sure as hell wouldn't have happened if you'd left me to do it. Lucky for me, their visit also coincided with the one weekend in October the Scott Antique Market was open in Atlanta.
The world's largest indoor antique show is only open the second weekend of every month, but it's well worth scheduling a visit for. Open on a Thursday at 12:45 p.m., the market is full of pretty much anything you could ever want (and quite a few things you didn't even know existed).
We drove over Saturday morning and spent $5 per person to park all day. Getting around is super easy thanks to buses that loop through the North and South building parking lots. Definitely take the time to make a game plan for the day. Not only are the buildings filled to the brim, but there are also outside sidewalk and courtyard vendors the second you get on property. Arriving pretty early on Saturday, these photos are just a fraction of the cool stuff we saw.
Overflowing jewelry bins are a common occurrence. From gaudy costume gems to real diamonds the size of small rocks, each vendor prides itself on uniqueness. And they don't want to have to carry all of this stuff back with them, so pretend you're in Chinatown and negotiate! One of my mom's first purchases was given to her at 30% off, and that only started our day of good savings.
Even the handmade furniture was pretty well priced. And the wide array of vanities, cabinets, side tables and chairs sparked new ideas for future decorating. Who knew I liked worn-wood bathroom vanities with double sinks?
Now obviously some of the market does contain junk. Like that pile of gold stuff on the left. I have no idea what it is, but there were THREE TABLES worth of it. And I'm not exactly comfortable purchasing moth-ridden rugs (of which there were many), but who am I to judge what some other person deems valuable? And I saw so many letters of varying shapes and sizes, I might actually be convinced they are a good addition to our living room.
After hours of walking around, you're most likely going to get hungry. Not a problem. Popcorn, ice cream, BBQ, salads and sandwiches abound. The chicken gyro I ate upon arrival was filling enough to last me until our afternoon popcorn break. And the bowl of butter pecan and chocolate brownie ice cream with three spoons was the perfect way to wait while my grandmother's new vintage ring was sized. What? Shopping works up an appetite.
In the end, we each only left with a few baubles (or a few hundred dollars poorer if you're my grandfather), but it was cool to spend a day perusing through the "old shit." I wasn't quite ready for any big purchases this trip, but I've got my eye on a new headboard for next time.
Every Southern gal worth her salt should be able to whip up easy meals in minutes. No time for that nonsense, you say? I call bullshit. This sandwich is super-easy to put together and can be customized any way you like. I love to add both a touch of honey and balsamic vinegar, but you're welcome to leave 'em off if you don't want to get sticky. I always go for Cuban bread at the store, but feel free to mix things up with sourdough or even a whole-wheat baguette. Want to use cheddar and apples instead of peaches and brie? Be my guest.
Peach, Brie and Ham Sandwich
Makes 1 sandwich
5 slices of Maple Ham
4 slices of Brie (cut from a wedge)
1 Peach, sliced
Optional: Honey + Balsamic Vinegar
Cut yourself whatever size piece of Cuban bread you'd like.
Lay two slices of Brie on one side of the sandwich and two slices on the other side.
Pile on the ham!
Place three to four peach slices on top of the ham (depends on how large your sandwich is).
Drizzle with honey and balsamic.
Close it up and place on the panini press for four minutes or until flattened.
Slice in half and serve.
Just in time for Target's Altuzarra collaboration, I teamed up with some of my favorite fashion bloggers for the ultimate basic bitch giveaway. (I kid, but we all know that basics — myself included — love Target + Instagram.)
You’ll have the chance to win a $100 Target gift card, plus follow some awesome bloggers on Instagram. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back everyday because there are daily entries available. Good luck!
P.S. Check the Rafflecopter for the link to another $100 Target Giveaway for even MORE chances to win!
Prizes: $100 Target Gift Card
Organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!
Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 10/7 and is open worldwide.
Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!
Image via Unsplash
This moist, chocolate-studded banana bread is slowly becoming a staple at my house. My aunt passed along the recipe a few weeks ago, and three loaves have come and gone in my kitchen since then. The key: Ghirardelli chocolate. I'm a sucker for the milk chocolate, but the dark is equally good. Also, take the time to separate the ingredients as the recipe instructs. I've tried it both ways, and it makes all the difference.
Jeanette's Chocolate Chip-Banana Bread
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 large ripe bananas)
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick), softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease 9" by 5" metal loaf pan. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In small bowl, stir together bananas, milk, and vanilla until blended.
In a large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, scraping bowl occasionally.
Add chocolate chips. Stir a few times.
Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 1 hour 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Makes 1 loaf, 16 slices.
I'm a digital + social maven for Cinnabon and Moe's Southwest Grill.
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