Chocolate Buttons

My favorite chocolate bar is the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate bar. It reminds me of childhood trips to Europe. So this past week, I was craving a fruit and nut chocolate bar, but didn’t know where to get one. So instead, I made little chocolate buttons with fruit and nuts in them. While you can’t go wrong with your fruit/nut choices, I used cranberries, raisins, almonds, and hazelnuts.

 

A new and improved version of the Cadbury Fruit and Nut Chocolate Bar.

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Dr. Whitney Bowe & The Beauty of Dirty Skin

Last summer, I had the privilege of interviewing good friend and dermatologist Dr. Whitney Bowe on the blog. And now, my ever so smart, charming, and oh-so-beautiful friend just wrote a book called “The Beauty of Dirty Skin” available in bookstores and on Amazon. As a fan (and friend) of Dr. Bowe, I was super excited to get the book and read it. It is educational with great resources and information on nutrition, skin care, and aging.  Read below for a behind the scenes interview with Dr. Bowe!

 

The newly released book: The Beauty of Dirty Skin

 

One chapter of your book is on “the secret to great skin”. Can you give us a quick summary?

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Grapefruit Beer

I haven’t drunk a beer since college when I would chug them, so I was pleasantly surprised to try a grapefruit beer and actually like it. Love it, to be honest. It is girlie, refreshing, and tastes like grapefruit soda with a hint of beer. So you lose a little edge but still hydrate — win win!

 

I have actually had two different kinds of grapefruit beer: from a can (as pictured) or from a bottle. Equally good and crisp!

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To-Do-Spring Wish List NYC 2018

Despite the fact that it still feels like winter in New York, it actually *is* Spring. Since I love planning new adventures and outings each season, here is what I am currently hoping to do this Spring in New York! Take a look!

 

1. See Hamilton again….because it has been two years since I first (and last) saw this magical performance.

 

I had the opportunity to see the original cast in April 2016 and it was truly one of the highlights of my year. I am still listening to the music nonstop and can’t wait to go back….

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Theo Chocolate Tour

Over Spring Break in Seattle, we had the privilege of visiting Theo Chocolate Factory and going on a tour (my beloved Gwyneth is the one who told me about it). It was fun, tasty, interesting, and a unique experience. Definitely worth going to — but probably best to do it AFTER lunch and not before. Cough, cough, we were the idiots who went with five kids at 10:30 am and ate ten chocolate bars before lunch.

 

Classic beautiful warehouse (an old brewery) in which the factory is housed.

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Royce’ Chocolate

In the past month, we have been gifted Royce’ Chocolate by two different couples. I had never heard about it before and now I am a fan. Made in Japan, this chocolate is unique, beautiful, and delicious. Definitely different than a normal chocolate bar — more special and rich, making it a great hostess gift.

 

This one is one of their specialties: Ghana bitter.

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Angel-ed Eggs

As discussed last week, one of my favorite new cookbooks is The Wellness Mama Cookbook. This week, I took on my first recipe: “Angel-ed Eggs” — avocado deviled eggs. Although I love deviled eggs, I have actually never made them myself…so I loved this take on deviled eggs with a healthy angle of avocado in them (good fat). They were super easy to make and uber delicious:

 

And who doesn’t love green?

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Taj Mahal 2018

As I mentioned on Monday, after our full two days in Rajasthan, we went on a pilgrimage to see the Taj Mahal. It was quite the trek — a full 5 hour drive from Rajasthan, and then 4 hours back to Delhi, but when in Rome…. How could we not see the Taj Mahal? Although it was an incredibly long day (on no sleep as the wedding was the night before), it was pure magic.

 

It was quite the racket to even get IN to the Taj Mahal. First of all, we had to be dropped off by our car 2 kilometers away and walk to the gates. We had not eaten a thing that day (we left before breakfast and street food was not happening for us), so the walk felt like miles and miles……but once we got through the ticket purchasing, the security, and all the lines, we saw this. MAGIC.

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Indian Wedding – Part 2 – The Details

Hello! I am back from a whirlwind 4 day trip to India. Currently, I don’t know the difference between up and down, India vs. USA, where I am, and what time zone I am in, but HEY, all worth it. It was a *once in a lifetime* trip and I am so glad that I went and experienced it all. I am sure I am going to have a serious whoop-a$$-kicking-week with work / kids / life / reality, but all worth it….YOLO (you only live once). Here are some pictures of my trip — sorry in advance for the number — I couldn’t help myself!

 

We arrived at 12 am Monday night — basically Tuesday morning. And had to wake up and drive 5 hours to the wedding site, which was located in Rajasthan. This is a picture of us on the roadside on our way to the wedding. We saw monkeys on the side of the freeway and couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity.

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Instagram Follows: Jill Wagner @JillMarjeanWagner

Greetings from India!  Ken and I are at a friend’s YOLO wedding in Rajasthan, four hours north of Delhi.  We are having a blast (more to come), but in the meantime, check out the below interview with one of my favorite accounts to follow on Insta- @JillMarjeanWagner .  Think awesome travel photos and engaging/hysterical comments/questions.  Definitely worth the follow!  Check out more on Jill below (including a bunch of things we have in common)… enjoy!

 

 

 

How did you decide to start your IG account? Is it mostly a product of your love of travel?

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Domino Magazine Spread

Our apartment was recently featured in Domino Magazine in an interview with our interior designer, Ali Tick. We are so thrilled with it and love the fact that we will always have these images of our “forever home.” As you may know, we went through a major renovation for 8 months, during which we put together our dream interiors and designs. We love our home — so so much — as it truly represents us…  comfortable, clean, modern, and cheerful. To take a look at the full article, go here. Thanks to Domino and thanks to Ali for working with us on so many different projects (remember this in Lonny years ago?) and thanks to you all for letting me indulge in sharing this article! Thank you! (All photos by Cody Guilfoyle for Domino)

 

This is our “formal” living room. I love the colors and the chairs.

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Leblum Flowers

I love having fresh flowers in our apartment. I range from buying them at the corner bodega to having a florist put together nice bouquets. The problem is that although the corner bodega flowers are cheap and don’t last long, and the florist flowers are always gorgeous but way too expensive. So, when I found out about Leblum, I flipped!

 

Nothing makes me happier than flowers. Even more than chocolate. Or TV. Or a new gorgeous outfit.

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Currently Loving January 2018

Maybe it’s because my kids didn’t go back to school until January 8th, but it feels CRAZY and BIZARRE that here we are in MID JANUARY. How in the world did that happen? I can’t believe how fast time flies these days. So here is what I am currently loving January 2018! And as always, do share with me (as so many of you do) what are you are currently loving.

 

1. Super Soul Sunday Podcast

 

 

Turned on to me by my biffle, I have not been able to do anything BESIDES listen to Oprah and her podcasts. They are perfect while I wait at the doctors office, walk the 30 blocks to school pick up, or just listen to as I prepare meals. In any case, each episode has been inspiring with huge takeaways. I cannot recommend them enough and am so thankful that Amy told me that they changed her life (they are changing my life — dramatic or not). A must listen to.

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Carrie Pinkstaff Calendars

One of the random things I love about the New Year is having new calendars. I am still old school and carry around a calendar planner in my purse (along with an electronic copy on my phone / computer). I also have a pretty calendar displayed on my desk. For the past 2 years, my “pretty desk” calendar has been created and illustrated by the childhood best friend of my sister, Carrie Pinkstaff.

 

Carrie groups the months by seasons and has pretty, whimsical and fun pictures to go along. Last year, the seasons had a floral theme.

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Tiny Animal Speakers – Oprah

I am guilty of loving the Oprah magazine…..a loyal reader for more than a decade! This past issue, she featured little animal speakers that connect via bluetooth to your phone. I decided to get them for the kids for the holidays, but of course had to check them out myself. And it is magic! Such a tiny little animal that makes such a good loud sound!

 

Look how cute!

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Welcome back to reality of school / work / routine / the busy life before the holidays…..I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I had a great long weekend with my family and enjoyed every minute — so much to be thankful and grateful for. Although it was super low key and we didn’t do anything too out of the ordinary, each day we did something fun and exciting (more on that later). We were quite active, spent a lot of time outdoors, visited best friends, and had an overall great holiday. One of the highlights was the Macy’s Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning. We are good friends with the Macy’s Executive Chairman and so this time around, we were treated like true VIPs and celebrities (we had a detective escort us to our seats)! The one and only time that this will happen to us — and we loved every minute!

 

It was super cold Thanksgiving morning, and we knew that we were going to be sitting for several hours.  We had vests, double layered pants, and long underwear UNDER our jackets. Thank goodness, because we were still cold.

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Sotte le Stelle

Last weekend, we went on a family adventure to Queens to visit the Queens Museum. As we decided we wanted to have dinner on the way back, I researched hip but kid-friendly restaurants for an early dinner. We landed on Sotte le Stelle, which had rave reviews on Eater as the #3 hot spot in Queens.  And… pizza.  The new restaurant was DELICIOUS.

 

The restaurant only has 30 seats and is super small and cute. All of the waiters and staff are Italian, and super nice and friendly.

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Utah- Via Ferrata Climbing

Ken and I went to Utah this past weekend for a belated 10th anniversary celebration. And what a weekend it was — can’t rave enough about the extraordinary experience we had during our stay. It was to date, one of my favorite vacations and involved everything I love: adventure, exercise, beautiful sunny weather, nature, great food, and relaxing. One of my favorite activities was a climb in the mesas of the Canyon Valley of Southern Utah. The type of climb we did is called a Via Ferrata which involves steel rods / climbing ladders, and a steel cable that you are connected to. So yeah, JV type of climbing, but so fun and scary nonetheless!

 

This activity involved a guide, and I told the guide that we were both in good shape (#humblebrag) and wanted the hardest via ferrata climb that they had…..so look at the mesa we climbed. OY.

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September 2017 Running Playlist

Since my next marathon is 11 days away (but who is counting?), I am compiling motivational songs to help my runs and overall energy. Here is my latest running playlist. Enjoy!

 

Me running, or pretending to run. Looks like I am on Mars, but I am in Utah. We just returned from a short belated 10th Anniversary celebration.  Stay tuned for full details!

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Mexican Corn Quinoa Salad

Last week, I had a Mexican themed dinner and made the most delicious corn quinoa salad! It was cheese-less, oil-less, but full of flavor, spunk, color, and taste. You must make it — even if you don’t like quinoa or corn, make it! (I served it along with a green salad, kale-chicken enchiladas, and salsa….yum!)

 

When I cook, I am a mess. But then I clean up. And hello tequila in the background. You must serve tequila when eating Mexican food.

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Casey 2 Cook – TV Chef

Today we go behind the scenes with a TV chef (one of my favorite types of TV). Casey (aka, Casey2Cook) is a successful chef who won a season of Cooks vs. Cons! (BTW, that is my biggest nightmare — being quick and fast in the kitchen). Such an inspiration and I learned so much from the interview. Thanks so much, Casey! And FYI, her partner Steven is Natori’s E-Commerce Shipping manager!

 

Talented and beautiful, too! Thanks, Casey for this interview and inspiration for all of us.

____

 

How did you start cooking? What inspired you to become a chef?

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Bathroom Shark Painting

One of my friends, Scarlett Baily, is a talented artist based in Mexico City. She is young, fun, stylish, and oh-so-cool, painting mainly caricatures of people and animals for different events and companies. Scarlett also has painted two portraits for us that are my favorite two pieces of art in our house — they make me so happy and give such a fun flair to the playroom. So when she texted me this summer that she was coming to NYC, I came up with the idea of having her paint a shark in the kids’ bathroom. You see, Cruzzie is obsessed with sharks and loves everything about them. They are his go-to stuffed animals, his favorite books.. and he can basically name every shark in existence. So I wanted something special in the kids’ bathroom to reflect his love for the animal (and yes, first child’s love is overlooked by second kid’s interests. oops). Here they are, I love the final Sharkie! It is so different, special, and unique. It brightens up the bathroom and looks fresh and young!

 

Mr. Sharkie!

Mr. Sharkie!

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Wine in a Can – Union Wine / Underwood

My love of Oregon runs deep; as I am a sucker for anything that comes from Oregon or looks like it is FROM Oregon. So I am giddy that Union Wine (an Oregon company) is now sold all over the country. Union Wine (Underwood) has been selling wine in a can for quite some time and has always been my go-to-dinner-party-gift, but now they sell SPARKLING WINE and RIESLING in a can, and I can’t control my happiness. Last week when visiting my sister in Portland, I visited a grocery store (truly, my favorite hobby) and I came across these new cans and I am sold. Pretty! And you can order them online, here.

 

I think these are the prettiest cans I have ever seen. SO SO pretty and feminine and fun.

I think these are the prettiest cans I have ever seen. SO SO pretty and feminine and fun.

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