Best Online Reads

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. How to make room in a tight budget for charitable donations via Huffington Post.

2. Could binge watching be bad for you via Well+Good.

3. The one wine you need this holiday season via Real Simple.

Weekend Dispatch

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

If last weekend was totally low-key and relaxing, this weekend is going to be the complete opposite. It's the weekend before my birthday (which, BTW, is Monday), so we have lots of plans and lots going on this weekend. So, let's not waste anytime getting to it.


Currently Craving: Plaid

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There's something about the holiday season that makes me want to surround myself in plaid. From clothing and accessories to household items like mugs and blankets, give me all the plaid. This time of year, the classic tartan plaid is most popular. I've selected a few of my favorite tartan plaid items that can work right now and well beyond the holidays.

Gift Guide: Harper's Wish List

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Every year since they were able to write, my daughters have put together Christmas lists. They've been helpful to "Santa" as well as to family members looking for gift ideas. As the years have passed, the lists have evolved. They started out as short lists of scribbled misspelled toys and have now become elaborate lists of printed photos and URLs.

And I might add that as my girls have gotten older, the items on the wish lists have become fewer but more expensive. Gone are the days of the $20 art kits and $5.00 books. Now it's expensive electronics and brand name clothing.

For today's gift guide feature, I'm sharing what's on Harper's holiday wish list. It's short, sweet, and age-appropriate for an 11-year old.

Ways To Give Back on #GivingTuesday

Monday, November 27, 2017

Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, a day dedicated to giving back to make a positive impact in our communities and our world.

Since 2014, we have been supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in hope of a cure for our daughter Harper who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February 2014.

Millions of people with T1D—and the families who love them—are hoping for a cure. Advances funded by JDRF, such as the artificial pancreas system and encapsulated cell replacement therapy, are bringing us closer to the day when we can defeat this terrible disease. You can learn more about advances being made in the quest for a cure for type 1 diabetes at

This holiday season, as you embrace the season of gift giving, consider giving to your favorite charity. The smallest gift can make the biggest impact for someone suffering from a disease or illness or someone without a home or food.

It can be a challenge deciding which causes and charitable organizations to support. There are so many that are worthy of our time and contributions. Sifting through them can be overwhelming. In addition to JDRF, here are a few charities that I support on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year.

Gift Guide: Under $25

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Whether you need a gift for a secret "Santa", a teacher, a bus driver, or a frequent delivery person, showing you appreciate their efforts with a small token is a must. These gifts under $25 are the perfect way to give a gift that's meaningful but won't break the bank.

Nordstrom Black Friday Sale

Friday, November 24, 2017

Nordstrom is infamous for its epic sales. From the half-yearly to the anniversary sale, Nordstrom offers some of the best markdowns in the retail industry. I'm happy to report that the Nordstrom Black Friday Sale is no different. Huge markdowns. Great selection. What are you waiting for? Get after it!

Here are a few of the items I plan to pick up during this sale (which ends 11/28 - so don't procrastinate!!)


Best Online Reads

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 25 best inventions of 2017 via Time.

2. The worst guests Oprah Winfrey has ever interviewed via E!

3. The one huge mistake we make in hotel rooms via Condé Nast Traveler.

Gift Guide: Rosé All Day

Monday, November 20, 2017
I have to say that this is probably my favorite gift guide I've ever created! Gift guides aren't a favorite amongst bloggers. They are time consuming and you never know what the return on your investment will be. Since most of my readers are always asking for gift ideas, I like to put together a few gift guides each holiday season.

If you have a rosé enthusiast on your list (hi, raising my hand over here!), any item on this guide is a good bet. It my book, it's rosé season all year round, and I'd love to receive any or all of these pretty pink gifts.


The Importance of Unplugging During A Vacation

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I know it's a bit of an oxymoron since I am writing this post as I am on vacation. However, stay with me and hear me out.

Two weeks ago as I was preparing for a two-week vacation in Florida, I was completely overwhelmed. I had so much work to do for clients in preparation of my vacation that I had little to no time to prepare posts for my own blog. I felt guilty that I couldn't get my act together enough to write even a single post and schedule it to go live while I was away. Not one post.

I resigned myself to accepting that I did everything I needed to do for clients before my vacation began and nothing for my own blog. But I still felt guilty. I have NEVER gone on vacation and ignored my personal blog. I have either pre-written posts or I have written them while away when I had a few free moments. But this time it's been different.

I've used this vacation as a chance to unplug and stay in the moment. Since I know I don't do either of those things well when I am at home, I made every effort to do them well while I was away. That's not to say I haven't posted on Instagram, Instagram Stories, and Snapchat. I mean, I can't lose all contact with the social world, right?

How I Accidentally Became A Vegetarian

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sometimes things happen, and you never realize it has happened until someone brings it to your attention. A few months ago while out to dinner with The Hubs, I was poring over the menu when he casually mentioned that he hadn't seen me eat meat in quite a while. It was then that I realized I had made a (somewhat) unconscious decision to stop eating meat.

While I've never been a big meat eater, I would occasionally eat chicken and enjoy a burger on the grill in the summer. I didn't, however, eat pork, lamb, veal, or any wild game (deer, bison, etc.). At the beginning of this year, I found myself switching to turkey based meats like pepperoni and bacon in an effort to cut some unhealthy fats from my diet.

I didn't set out to become a vegetarian. By the way, I am a pescatarian as I do eat fish and seafood. But I don't eat lobster. They mate for life, and I don't want to be the one who eats someone else's "lobster". :-(  Becoming a pescatarian was something that just happened, a sort of dietary evolution.

A vegetarian is a person who doesn't eat meat and sometimes other animal products, especially for moral, religious, or health reasons. A vegetarian is different from a vegan in that vegetarians may consume dairy products and eggs (I, personally, do not eat eggs but do indulge in dairy products. Hello, cheese!). Vegans generally do not eat any products derived from animals or any living thing with eyes (fish, shellfish, etc.).

And I want to point out that I became a pescatarian for health reasons, not necessarily for ethical reasons. But watching both Forks Over Knives and Live and Let Live did partially influence my dietary evolution, but these documentaries were not the driving factors behind my decision to go pescatarian. It was a decision that was right for me, my health, and my lifestyle. Vegetarianism is not right choice for everyone. If you love meat and can't imagine eating a meal that doesn't include it, a vegetarian diet isn't going to work for you.

Shortly after I became a vegetarian/pescatarian, I consulted my cardiologist (I suffer from both high cholesterol and high blood pressure) to discuss how the absence of meat in my diet would affect me. Here are a few of the ways he said I would benefit from eliminating meat from my diet.

  • Reduce your fat intake - When you switch to a plant-based diet, you cut a lot of fat that's derived from animal flesh from your diet. Vegetables, fruits, and beans have significantly less fat than meat. By cutting out meat, you'll be reducing the amount of bad fats you eat. He stressed that in his line of work, he has seen that vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and hypertension.
  • Aid in weight loss - Being vegetarian doesn't necessarily guarantee that you'll eat a healthier diet. After all, a vegetarian could exist solely on French fries, pizza, soda, and chocolate cake. However, in most cases, vegetarians hardly fit this profile. Most eat healthy diets full of vegetables, whole grains, fish, and beans, which contain healthy fats.
  • Reduce the suffering of animals - The meat industry does not have a reputation for being kind. Most animals that are raised for food have a long history of suffering even before they are slaughtered. Becoming a vegetarian reduces your involvement in that.
If you are interested in becoming a vegetarian (or even just trying it for a week), here are a few of my recommendations.

1. Do your research
Before you dive in, do your research. Know what a vegetarian is and what foods are permitted/prohibited from this type of diet. Understand exactly what going vegetarian means. Eliminating meat from your diet means that a primary protein source has been cut off. Know what are suitable and healthy substitutes for protein and be sure you are taking any necessary supplements (primarily iron).

2. Have good reasons
If your best friend has just made the switch to a vegetarian diet, and you want to be just like her, it's probably not going to cut it. You need to have solid health or ethical reasons for making such a drastic change in your diet. Otherwise, it will not work.

3. Be prepared with good recipes
One of the reasons people fail from making a switch to any kind of new diet is that they are not armed with the proper foods and recipes. Have a few go-to vegetarian recipes that are quick, easy, and require few ingredients. This way, you won't be tempted to run out for a fast food burger. I sauté chick peas and kale, spinach, and collard greens in olive oil and add some salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. I add that mixture to white or brown rice. It's delicious, full of protein, filling, and so simple.

4. Reserve judgement
Don't expect everyone to embrace your new diet. Many may be critical of it. Know that it's right for you, but may not be right for others. By the same token, don't be judgmental of those who choose to eat meat. It's a personal decision, much like politics and religion.

Best Online Reads

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The ten stories from around the web that I am loving this week:

1. The 30 best music videos of all time via PureWow.

2. Unhealthy foods that most people think are healthy via The List.

3. I need this 3-ingredient wine fudge in my life via Babble.

Weekend Dispatch

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

We are leaving for a 12-day vacation in Florida next week, so this weekend will be spent preparing and packing. But I am hoping to squeeze in a few fun things this weekend, which will be a nice distraction from getting ready to head out for almost 2 weeks.

Here's what happening this weekend.