The Incredible Nutrition Books That Changed My Life

A few years ago when I decided to make the change to a primarily plant-based diet, I was initially inspired by wanting to become my healthiest self, but also because I randomly stumbled upon Jolene Hart's Eat Pretty, which would soon change my life forever. Eat Pretty was a key tool in my transition because at the time I didn't know much about proper nutrition and the vital nutrients that I would need to make up for after cutting meat and dairy from my life. For me, this transition was a pretty quick one. One morning I literally just woke up turned off by all meats, dairy, and processed food, and reading Eat Pretty got me extra excited to start a lifelong journey of optimal health. I know this may not happen similarly to many people, but it's exactly how this lifestyle began for me.

After feeling and seeing significant changes in my body, skin, mood, and energy, I wanted to learn so much more. I wanted to become as knowledgable as I could on adequate nutrition and health to maintain a long, healthy, lifestyle and continue to feel as good as I did then, everyday. After cutting meats, dairy, processed foods, and most gluten out of my life and replacing them with nourishing ingredients, one thing that I did see a significant change in was the clarity of my skin. Blemishes that once drove me crazy with stress and anxiety started to vanish, and I now notice a glow that is almost completely attributed to my dietary choices.

Whenever I get into something, I get really into it, like maybe a little too much at times… It can be a blessing and a curse, in this case it was a blessing! My personal research on nutrition and health has taken me so far, I've read a lot and I know what works for my body, granted one person's method is not a 'fits all method', so doing your own research is important. To this day I can say with 100% accuracy that before purchasing any product from the grocery store, I check the ingredients, and if an item contains an ingredient that I don't know or know is not good for you, I put it right back on the shelf. Some may say that's a little OCD, but knowing exactly what ingredients I'm putting into my body is an important part of this lifestyle for me. I strive to only put whole, organic, plant ingredients into my body and leave out all of the rest. 

Granted, it would've been a lot harder to get where I am today had I not had the right tools and done an insane amount of research, so I've decided to compile a list of my absolute favorite and necessary reads to achieving a healthy and happy lifestyle for YOU! All of these authors have taught me so much of what I know and their words continue to inspire my lifestyle daily. Eat Pretty changed my life and with that positive change came Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore, Tres Green, Tres Clean, Tres Chic by Rebecca Leffler, and of course Eat Beautiful by the amazing Wendy Rowe. Eat Pretty Every Day by Jolene Hart is my newest obsession which acts as a daily journal and provides new recipes/tips for everyday of the year in addition to Hart's original Eat Pretty. I hope you love these beauty bibles as much as I do!

Enjoy :)

xM

My Top Two Bulletproof Tools to Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety

Over the past few years since college has begun, I've noticeably become a very stressed out and anxious person. College, right? Well I started worrying about everything and little things, which also results in loads of stress and daily anxiety. At some point or another, these feelings come and go for most if not all people, but I've recently been learning more and more ways to properly handle these issues when they arise or at least try to reduce/prevent them, so I thought I would share a few of my own personal tips for those who may have this in common!

A couple weeks ago I started to use the meditation app called Headspace, which is exactly what I needed. I got to a build-up point where my mind was constantly running 1000mph and it was hard for me to focus on the important things happening in the present because my thoughts were dwelling on scenarios that happened years, months, days, and hours ago. It wasn't good for my health at all, I was constantly a stress ball, and high levels of stress can take a huge negative toll on your overall health and wellbeing - I felt that toll head on, so I got to the point where I realized I had to make positive changes and fast. 

I read a little about meditation here and there so I downloaded Headspace in the app store and gave it a shot. After only a few days, I could feel my mind calming down. I wouldn't get as anxious and overwhelmed walking to class when I had nothing to do but think. I started to practice being in the present and being grateful, expressing more gratitude, even if just within my thoughts. The changes within myself were almost immediate and more apparent than I expected, this being only after a few inconsistent days. Now I use the app every morning because it makes me feel good and I can feel progress. My head isn't as foggy (minus the early mornings when I'm rushing to class after only six hours of sleep), and for the most part I've even been sleeping better. I've still got a ways to go, but I'm very proud in my progress and I can only feel it increasing.

The second method that I've always taken to whenever I feel stressed and anxious is reading. I love reading, I can read multiple books at once and be totally content. Even when I have a long list of selections to get through, I'm always shopping for more great books to read for later. Reading definitely calms me and puts my subconscious to rest. I can get into a good book and not move for hours. Reading can be tough, first you want to find something that suits your taste which you can really get into, then you have to find the time to actually pick the book up. Well another thing I've been practicing recently is to not make excuses. There is always going to be a reason not to do something… You're too tired, too busy, it takes too much effort, when really the only thing that's preventing you from picking up that dusty book are excuses, excuses, excuses. Someone can say they don't have time to do something yet then find themselves binge watching Netflix… I'll be the first to admit that I am often that person, but once you break out of that shell and JUST DO IT, (whatever it may be, but in this case reading), you will find that it feels amazing!

Practicing mindfulness and clearing your head daily can result in an increase in happiness, health, and well-being to make room for all of the positive things that life has to offer, so do what you need to take care of your mind and body, whatever that may be!

Oh and I have plenty of great reading recommendations if anyone needs any!

Enjoy :)

x Michaela

The ULTIMATE Plant Based Lasagna

GUYS this might be my favorite meal that I've ever created, it's insane! So I've been plant-based for almost three years now, eating mainly vegetarian/vegan plant-based meals… Over the course of my journey there have definitely been a handful of times where I've gone out to dinner and ordered a cheesy pasta dish, although I've mainly stayed away from dairy for the most part, but it wasn't until recently that I officially gave up eggs in particular. Anyways, the moral of the story is that even after eating primarily vegan for quite some time now, especially within the past year, I still remember the taste of cheesy meals. 

Now whenever I'm craving pasta I always create a plant-based, whole ingredient dish at home, and tonight I was inspired to cook up some CHEEZY LASAGNA, cashew cheese that is… So I did exactly that, it was absolutely AMAZING and tasted like real cheesy, not-so-healthy, but get this - IT WAS PACKED WITH FIBER, PROTEIN, whole plant ingredients, zero gluten, and zero dairy! Totally nutritious and delicious!

Okay so here's how I did it:

  • You'll need a cup full of cashews, soaked in water for a few hours
  • Minced garlic or pure garlic powder, I use Simply Organic Pure Garlic Powder
  • Plant-based pasta of your choice, I used Explore Cuisine's Organic Red Lentil Penne
  • Marinara of choice, my favorite is Mezzetta Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil, made in Italy with whole tomatoes, organic olive oil, whole garlic cloves (literally in the sauce), and organic whole basic leaves
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt for taste
  • Vital Proteins Collagen (optional, no flavor, just added benefits)
  1. In a pot, boil one cup of red lentil penne for 10 minutes or so
  2. In a blender add, soaked cashews, a couple splashes of almond milk, little bit of nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and Himalayan sea salt for taste - blend until smooth, hummus like consistency
  3. Once your pasta is done boiling, strain, and add to a baking dish, then cover the top in "cashew cheese" followed by marinara on top - bake for about 10-15 minutes and VOILA, the tastiest and healthiest Vegan lasagna on the block!

I'm still in shock at how much the cashew cheese tasted like real cheese… The perfect comfort food dish without the guilt!

Oh and just to clarify, because I know I will get some spectacle about this, while I do consider myself Vegan, I also still take fish oil pills for extra omegas and use Vital Proteins Marine Collagen in a lot of my mixtures, so I guess I'm technically a pescatarian? Zero chance I'll ever again put any meat/dairy in my body, but I'm also not super into labels, do what works for you and makes your body happy!

x Michaela

 

Leaving Those Sunday Blues In 2016

Every Sunday around 5pm that wave of anxiety and pre-work week stress rolls around, hitting us all harder than a Law & Order: SVU marathon… Am I right? You've spent the past eight hours or so in a deep technology hole, whether it be catching up on your IG feed or binge watching Scream Queens. Fortunately, you managed to squeeze a face mask inbetween those sessions so at least your skin is one less worry… Well in my opinion, Sundays are meant for complete relaxation and self-indulging - sans panic. In honor of not chalking Sundays up to a complete loss, I've compiled a list of ways to stay relaxed and accomplished before our espresso-induced weeks begin: Start the morning off right with a healthy and hearty breakfast

  • I personally believe that there is no better way to start each day than with a healthy, filling breakfast. After all breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the main key to that vital jolt of energy you need to kickstart your morning - without the caffeine hangover. I usually opt for fresh and warm breakfast scrambles with sweet potatoes, loads of veggies, greens, and lots of spice. There's nothing I can't tackle once I've had a proper breakfast, but talk to me anytime before then and it's a whole different story.

Declutter and clean up your environment

  • My best friend (and college roommate for three years) knows that I can't accomplish anything unless my room is clean and tidy… literally. Much like brushing my teeth and cleansing my face, I absolutely cannot rest well until everything is perfectly organized in my personal area. Weird right? Well it actually helps to give me a sense of clarity and accomplishment. In fact, I recently read a Vogue article written by contributor Kate Donnelly, in which she informed readers that just 15 minutes of tidying up your space can result in a great sense of accomplishment. Believe me when I say this is fact!

Get lost in a novel, or three

  • If there's one thing that truly eases my mind on Sundays, it's diving into my personal library and losing track of time for hours on end. For me there's nothing quite as relaxing as a good book that you can't put down but don't want to end. I tend to jump around a little and read multiple selections at once, so Sundays are usually reserved for catching up on one, or three of my favorite titles.

Breakout your planner

  • I'm 100% a list kind of gal… I absolutely have to make lists for everything otherwise I will never remember to get anything done! There's also something about writing all of my errands down and physically checking them off that gives me a sense of relief and major accomplishment… Every Sunday I go through my to-do lists, adding tasks and checking some off, as well as skimming through my upcoming meetings and due dates. It definitely calms me down before going into a long week.

Hit the gym

  • Working out never fails to relieve stress and breaking a Sunday sweat is exactly what is needed to cleanse the body from a cocktail filled weekend with girl friends, trust me. Your mind and body will thank you after a sweaty gym sesh to open the pores, followed by a steamy shower to flush out any toxins you're holding onto!

These are just a few of my usual Sunday-stress-relief methods to keep me from imploding at the thought of a Monday, enjoy x

Beautifying Valentine's Day Treats

Let me start by saying HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY LOVAS, whether you participate in the celebration of love or not. Now, I definitely don't have anything against February 14th, in fact I love scrolling through Instagram or my Vogue feed and reading Valentine's themed memes… On that note I am also a firm believer in that we do not need a designated day of the year to show both ourselves and those in our lives extra love. Besides the fact that I splurged and ate half a box of pink frosted sugar cookies (ooopps), today is no different or better a day than tomorrow to be kind to yourself - but if you absolutely need a reason to indulge, then by all means commence Valentine's Day!

As for my February 14th plans, I've got a hot date with my rose scented Voluspa candle, bath tub, and the fabulous skincare products pictured above - all of which are focused on achieving moisturized, baby soft, hydrated skin for a night of complete relaxation.

First, I'm going to cleanse my skin and then layer on Glossier's Moisturizing Moon MaskAfter 10-20 minutes I'll rinse off the mask and apply Glossier'sSuper Bounce Serumwhich contains hyaluronic acid that plumps skin up with moisture and Vitamin B5 for added elasticity, resulting in an extra soft complexion. Next I'll layer Glossier's Priming Moisturizer Rich - AKA an EXTRA luxurious and soft moisturizer that acts as an Anti-Redness Complex and an Oxygenating Agent. Finally I'll spritz the Soothing Face Mist all over, so my face not only smells like roses, but is extra hydrated from the rosewater and aloe mixture.

Oh and since it is Valentine's Day I thought I would include the perfect routine for extra kissable lips to end the night:

  1. Apply Sephora's Rose Lip Mask to prep
  2. Follow with Gossier's Balm Dot Com for an extra hydrated and soft canvas
  3. Finish with Glossier's Generation G Matte Lipstick (I chose Zip) and/or lipgloss

Voila!

Now you have the ultimate guide to achieving both a relaxing Valentine's evening and extra moisturized skin, because it all starts with the perfect canvas am I right?

WAIT there's more! You can also shop my Glossier page for 20% off all products pictured (except the candle and Sephora lip mask, of course) at Glossier.com/reps/michaelabreaux , so treat yoself - and if you're feeling extra kind then treat a loved one too xox

Face Mask Gold Mine - Literally

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Face Masking is a crucial part of both my skin care/beauty routine (and sanity) to be honest - it's my sacred time to relax. Multiple days a week you can find me holed up in the bath or my bed with a book to my face and a mask on it! Aside from the relaxing benefits, face masking is vital for that glowing skin we all long for. As any skincare and beauty enthusiast may know, there is a mask for literally everything on the horizon, which can make it tough and overwhelming to choose the perfect selection… Anti-aging, hydration, brighten, acne, firm, detox - you name it and there's a mask to treat it, so to help make your selection a tad easier I've compiled a few of my favorite, tried and true masks that I will forever swear by!

DETOX Bobbi Brown Instant Detox

  • This Hawaiin Sea Water and Amazonian White Clay mask is heaven sent, I swear. I've been using it for a little under a year now and it's a major skin saver, especially if you live in a large city where pollution is relevant. When I lived in Paris I would apply it two to three times a week after long days running around the city and it kept my skin constantly refreshed and unphased by the air pollution. Big city or not, our skin can always use a little detox and this is hands down my go to. (I'm also dying to try Bobbi's Skin Nourish mask so if any of you are familiar with it let me know what you think :) )

HYDRATE/MOISTURIZE - Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask

  • One word. Glossier. That's it… There's not a single Glossier product that seizes to amaze me and exceed all expectations, fortunately their masks are nothing less! The Moisturizing Moon Mask is extra hydrating and soothing, aka the secret to GLOWING skin perfection. Glossier, GLOW, Glossier, GLO, GLOSSIER? It's all the same to me when we're talking Glossier. (P.S. The Mega Greens Galaxy Pack is also a dream, obvi.) OH and the next best part is that you can shop my page glossier.com/reps/michaelabreaux for 20% off all products :)

ANTI-AGING - Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask

  • You're never too young to start utilizing those mythical anti-aging products that *pause for dramatic effect* ACTUALLY WORK - this one included! I know I want to look young forever and lucky for me that youthful, babyfaced look is in. Plus, what better way to channel your inner Cleopatra or greek goddess than indulging in a luxe 24k Gold infused mask? This Gold Mine (literally, HAHA) of a face mask is meant to lift, firm, revitalize, and smooth your skin - oh and even if it doesn't literally keep us young forever, at least we'll look like gold trying!

ACNE - GlamGlow Supermud Clearing Treatment

  • Full disclosure THIS IS NOT an ad, prank, or any form of black magic… With that said I will need your full, undivided attention when I tell you that this face mask HONESTLY helps to rid of any breakouts that may arise! Crazy, right? Well GlamGlow is now a cult staple in my skincare cabinet as both a clearing facemask and a spot treatment, it dries out those unwanted volcano-on-my-forehead pimples almost instantly.

Enjoy!

GLOSSIER GOODS

Hi guys! So, I'm excited to announce that I am officially a Glossier Rep! As you may know from my previous post, Glossier is a skincare and makeup company dedicated to empowering badass women and enhancing your natural beauty… AKA the ultimate package :) Literally… their product packaging is the ULTIMATE! Below you can watch my welcome video and click the link to shop my page for 20% off ALL Glossier products and free shipping on all orders over $30, as well as check out my favorite Glossier goodies!

www.glossier.com/reps/michaelabreaux

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Beauty Spotlight

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So as you can all tell I've been MIA for quite some time - apologies are in order - but you'll be happy to know I'm back with a highlight on my favorite new skincare and makeup line, one that you won't want to miss! 

Glossier is a magical skincare and makeup line made for ladies looking to effortlessly enhance their natural beauty! Simple, fun, real, and PINK are just a few words to describe this incredible company. Glossier focuses on the basics such as radiating beauty from within, after all, dewy skin is IN. The second I read that Glossier emphasized the importance of skincare I was immediately sold, we all know skincare is my main aesthetic - oh and not to mention the to die for pink glossy vibes! Above are the products that I've recently invested in (and am totally obsessed with)!

To start, I purchased the Super Packwhich is a trio of skin enhancing serums to save the day in any crisis! Also available for individual purchase, this trio includes Super Glow, Super Bounce, and Super Pure - each designed to energize dull skin, target stressed and breakout prone skin, then last but not least ease tight, dehydrated skin. What more could a girl want?!

Next, queue the Priming Moisturizer,which has been an absolute savior in my cabinet. During the winter months when my natural tan has faded and my skin is borderline snow-white, it tends to get inflamed and irritated really easy, and that's where the Priming Moisturizer has become my best friend! This magical primer is soothing, redness reducing, oxygenating, and buildable. I apply it upon post-super pack, clean skin before any tinted moisturizer and voila! - glowing, dewy skin it is.

Now we're onto two of the products that I officially can't leave home without! The one and only Glossier Boy Browand the most iconic pink Glossier lipgloss. When I say I've tried a handful of brow sculpting gels, pencils, powders, etc - I mean a very large handful - and when I say this is without a doubt the best brow gel I have ever come across I mean it! For awhile I started to think brows just weren't my thing, that is until I came across THE product. Boy Brow thickens, fills in, and grooms your brows all in one so you don't have to fuss with added pencils and powders! I swear this wand is magic. Add a little lipgloss and your Sunday skin perfection is finito!

Stay tuned for more on my latest addiction, Glossier, because I promise I'm not finished with this amazing line!

Weekly Grocery Hall

So as promised last week, I've decided to show you guys what my weekly grocery hall looks like! I usually hit more than one store, which includes Trader Joe's for the majority of my fruits and veggies, then either Whole Foods or Natural Grocery for my snacks, juices, yogurt, etc.

As you can see fruits and vegetables are a large majority of my diet. I'm always snacking on fruits and greens. I don't drink or eat dairy so I'll usually pick up some vegan cheese, like the Daya provolone slices pictured at the bottom, or a different brand like the one featured in my previous post incase I'm craving something savory. I always grab multiple to-go cups of almond milk or coconut milk yogurt - Kite Hill and the So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt cup in this week's hall are my go to favorites.

Homemade veggie soup is one of my quick and easy meals for a simple dinner, which is where the veggie broth comes in! The Pacific brand featured is my favorite because the ingredients are simple, natural, and low sodium. I also tend to stay away from gluten so I'll usually pick up a loaf of GF, naturally sprouted bread or bagels like the Simple Hills Sprouted Bagels for when I want something easy but filling.

I still have some frozen wild and sustainably caught salmon and cod from last week, as well as tofu for vegetarian protein. Seafood, tofu, and lentils are my primary sources of protein. I always have wild caught frozen seafood in my freezer, as well as tofu.

Eating clean is just as easy and fun as it looks, even if you aren't plant-based, and trust me when I say I'm a huge flavor-foodie so my meals are never dull - just extra delicious and nutritious!

Vegan Goods of the Week

Let me start by saying I am not a licensed nutritionist or a health expert of any kind… I've done my research on nutrition and continue to keep myself educated on the facts, but above all I know what works best for me and my lifestyle, sharing my tips is just a bonus! Many people think that transitioning to a vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based lifestyle means giving up all of your favorite goodies from sweets to cheeses, well I'm here to reassure you that's completely inaccurate!

Fortunately for all of the animal loving, vegan, vegetarian foodies like myself - the science of nutrition is constantly evolving which means that we health nuts don't have to miss out on anything! The biggest misconception about cleaning up your diet is that you have to give up all of the comfort foods you hold so near and dear to your heart, and while that may mean cutting out ingredients such as sugar, flour, dairy, etc., I can promise you there are so many healthy alternatives which nourish your body rather than slow it down!

From now on I'm going to start sharing my grocery halls because at the beginning of each week I stock up on loads of fruits, veggies, nut milks, spices, grains, healthy snacks, and dairy alternatives such as plant-based cheeses.

It's a little late in the week to show you guys what I pick up on my main weekly grocery run, but this morning I went to Natural Grocery and picked up a few extra ingredients that I'm super excited to share!

Pictured above are Califia Farms Unsweetened Almond Milk, Califia Farms Cold Brew Pumpkin Spice Coffee with Almond Milk, Kite Hill Almond Milk Chive Cream Cheese, and Miyoko's Sundried Tomato Garlic Cashew Cheese. These are a few examples of how I incorporate my favorite comfort food goodies into my plant-based lifestyle, without all of the chemical additives and sugars.

I don't drink or eat dairy, so nut milks and nut cheeses are my go to alternatives. I love almond and coconut milks, always all natural and unsweetened. I'm super excited about the Califia Farms Cold Brew Pumpkin Spice Coffee with Almond Milk because I'm a major sucker for a hot Pumpkin Spice Latte during the holidays, but unfortunately coffee irritates my skin so on the rare occasion that I do drink it I go for cold brew with almond or coconut milk and this brand has got my name written all over it!

This will be my first time trying the Kite Hill Almond Milk Chive Cream Cheese and this brand of cashew cheese: Miyoko's Sundried Tomato Garlic Cashew Cheese, but I'm stoked! Both brands are all natural, plant-based, simple ingredients with no added sugars, chemicals or dairy. I've tried a handful of different plant-based cheese brands and there are tons out there so don't be afraid to experiment until you find one that suits your tastebuds! The best part is they taste the same - if not better than actual cheese, the only difference is the added health benefits ;)

Next week I'll be sharing my full grocery hall! Enjoy x

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SOS: Keeping Your Skin Moist and Dewy During the Dry Winter Months

Don't get me wrong, I love everything about Fall - the leaves change colors and illuminate the side walks with bright shades of red and yellow, notes of pumpkin spice fill coffee shops, and the air turns crisp and chilly over night - I mean what's not to love? Well for many, the chilly months of Fall and Winter can also mean dull, lack luster, dry skin - a major faux pas - and who has time for that when there's pumpkin carving and delicious baking to be done? Skip the worrying about dry, irritated skin with a few easy tips that will do wonders for your complexion when the season changes won't:

No matter what, hydration is always number one key! Water is your best friend and major skin saver for the harsh winter months ahead. A hydrated complexion is a glowing complexion so drink up, and in my opinion, a glowing complexion is your best accessory!

Next you're going to want to lock in that hydration, so I also recommend a day and night moisturizer. My favorite is LaMer, it's definitely an investment, but no doubt an absolute savior! Facial oils are also big in my cabinet, but definitely a little trickier because certain oils can clog the pores. It's important to stay educated and know what your skin reacts to. Below I've compiled a list of my favorite moisturizers to help keep your face glowing when the going gets tough - all cruelty, paraben, sulfate free of course and courtesy of Sephora!

Drunk Elephant B Hydra™ Intensive Hydration Gel

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My PFW Inside Scoop

So I'm officially back from Paris - after five months of interning, traveling, incredible shopping, and of course lots of amazing food! Leaving Europe was bittersweet to say the least… even though there were times when I wanted nothing more than to be back with my friends and family, Paris still feels like a second home. The jetlag is definitely real, but I figured it was about time I slipped out of my funk to give you all my personal Paris Fashion Week inside scoop!

For starters, I was offered a second internship in Paris working with a Fashion Consulting company for London, Milan, and Paris Fashion Weeks - which was easily the best month of my life. A consulting company consults magazine editors, bloggers, celebrities, social media reps and more on the fashion shows they should attend and then contacts the fashion houses directly to have them all seated.

My bosses were hands down two of the coolest and most hard working women around and it was overall just the most insane experience. I learned so much and words couldn't even begin to describe the fun I had. Even the most hectic and stressful of days left me with a smile on my face! The experience without a doubt got me even more fired up for my future.

Now that I'm back getting into my normal routine and even more inspired than ever, I have tons of awesome new ideas I'll be sharing on the blog from fashion, to health, and even some more about the city of lights, Paris - so stay tuned x

Italy Travel Diaries

Ciao! So for the past week I've been traveling around Italy and just got back to Paris last night, right in time for fashion week on Monday. My time in Italy was absolutely incredible, as usual, and I'm so stoked to share all of the dets on my trip with you. Italy is easily my favorite country that I've been to. I'm in love with everything from the food, to the culture, language, history, and architecture - not to mention the out of this world scenery! Beautiful is truly an understatement. On my most recent trip I went to Florence, Capri, Positano, Amalfi, Atrani, and Cinque Terre - it was the most magical week. Positano was an absolute dream, I could live there for ever and ever!

So not to long ago I was reading a Vogue interview with Diane Von Furstenberg on all of the things a woman should do before turning 30, going on a trip by yourself was one of them. Now this was after I had already begun planning my next trip to Italy, but reading it just gave me all of the reassurance I needed to follow my heart and go forth to my favorite country!

Anyways, my trip began in Florence. I had been dying to see the Karl Lagerfeld Photography Exhibition at the Pitti Palace, so of course that was my first stop. The photos were stunning and I was so excited to check the exhibit off of my bucket list! I was initially supposed to stay in Florence until Monday morning, but spontaneously decided to catch a train down to the Amalfi coast Sunday afternoon and ended up in Capri. If you know me, you probably know I'm not big on making plans, I kind of just like to go where the wind takes me, and in this case it took me to one of the most insane islands on the map.

I spent my second morning getting lost in the gorgeous mountains of Capri and checking out the piercing blue grottos the island is known for, I even made friends with a few of the locals before boating off to Positano - where my heart remains. I can't really explain what it is about Positano, but it's the most enchanting and mesmerising city I've ever been to. Everyone is so kind and laid back, the architecture and colors which surrounded me were breathtaking, the pasta mouthwatering, the wine delicious, and the ocean of course was magnificent. I stayed in the most charming Airbnb, Il Canneto, in the perfect location with an incredible view. I could live in that magical city for the rest of my life and be more than happy.

In Amalfi, I had THE BEST homemade, fresh frozen yogurt and lemon sorbet ever! The Amalfi Coast is well known for their giant lemons grown in Sorrento, a symbol of the region, so lemon sorbet and frozen yogurt are an exceedingly refreshing must try.

If we're being honest, you can't really go wrong with food in Italy. Amazing always fresh seafood, mouthwatering handmade pastas, pizza that speaks for itself, buffala mozzarella caprese salads that are to die for, and the freshest seasonal fruit all within grasp - I mean if that's not heaven than I don't know what is.

Vernazza, Cinque Terre was also a dream. This super tiny, insanely gorgeous, 1/5 of the Cinque Terre in northwestern Italy was absolutely wonderful! I had super tasty pesto pasta, steamed spinach, white wine, and fresh pressed juices there - 1000000% my aesthetic.

With all of that said, I had the most unbelievably enchanted week of my life chasing trains, boats, islands, pasta, and getting lost in a few of the most magical places this world has to offer. I have never been more in love than I am with this country and I have yet again left my heart there! Be sure to check my IG for more travel photos and favorite moments from my latest trip x

SUNDAY FUNDAY

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In honor of my favorite day of the week, I thought I would dedicate a post specifically to BRUNCH - because everyone knows Sundays are reserved for catching up on beauty sleep and mouth watering mimosas with a side of waffles. Here in Paris we definitely know how to brunch, and while many places are closed on Sundays in the city, there are those hidden gems that know my favorite meal like the back of their hand. I'm even including a € as a price estimate (one being the lowest).

Bespoke is a crowned favorite of mine. I'm a sucker for avocado toast topped with an egg over easy (go ahead, call me basic) - and their's is nothing less than délicieux. All of their ingredients are farm to table fresh so it's best to arrive early and avoid missing out on a great dish because someone else got the last egg of the day! The bloodymarys are truly one of a kind (I don't know what it is but they are insanely yummy) and I have on good authority that the breakfast sliders are just as decadent! 

Bob's Kitchen is perfect for the health conscious foodie like myself. I love this little joint because they have fresh pressed to order juices, along with an assortment of veggie and vegan options alike! 

The Rose Bakery was actually one of my first finds in Paris upon searching high and low for the tastiest vegetarian options in the city, and I am so stoked to have found this charming place! Their carrot cake is one of the many prized baked goods everyone raves about, and it really does live up to the standard. Everything is super fresh with a range of treats to choose from. I'm obsessed with their cakes and quiches! €

If you're gluten free then Chambelland is your one stop shop! Chambelland is a gluten free boulangerie with the most amazing breads, pastries, soups, sandwiches and more baked goodies - all GF and totally fresh! €€

Enjoy and stay tuned! I have a handful of new brunch places on my list to try in the upcoming weeks so check back soon for more of my favorite places to spend Sunday Funday.

Kombucha: Full Disclosure

For those of you who don't know, Kombucha is fermented tea with loads of amazing health benefits! Anyone who knows me even a little could tell you that I'm obsessed with kombucha and drink it regularly (regular meaning multiple times a day, *insert wide-eyed emoji* oops). I personally enjoy the taste, whether it be original or naturally flavored - it's all the same to me and the benefits are just a huge bonus… but for many people it's definitely an acquired taste. Two of my favorite brands include Clearly Kombucha and GT's Kombucha Synergy, both of which have a wide range of super incredible flavors that I literally can't live without. GT's Synergy Chia drink in grape is my absolute favorite, I could easily put down a gallon of it and not think twice if we're being honest... Here are just a few of the many reasons why I love kombucha and why you should too!!

  • Kombucha is a natural probiotic (healthy bacteria), meaning it detoxifies the gut and liver for healthier insides - and healthier insides = glowing skin which we love
  • Improves digestion
  • Natural energizer - can help reduce fatigue (big one for me because I'm always on the go and always in need of a nap)
  • High in antioxidants which can destroy free radicals that cause cancer
  • Aids in healthy cell regeneration

Remember, one small step towards a healthy lifestyle is a milestone in the long run so go grab a bottle or two and drink up!

The Importance of A Signature Fragrance

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For me the perfect scent is everything! I mean, who doesn't want to smell like paradise? A woman or man's choice of fragrance can have more of an effect than you would think. A lot of the time my friends will say to me "this smells like you" and it's completely true that I douse all of my clothing and many belongings in my signature scent, because smell is a very powerful sense and if it's how I'm going to be remembered it better be like a drop of damn heaven. Think about it, every woman loves a guy who smells phenomenal. We love men's cologne and how it smells on your shirts and sweatshirts, sometimes it even leaves the impression that you've got your shit together - even though we know that's probably not true - but that's the point right? A person's scent can say a lot about them.

I personally have two fragrances that I rotate based on my mood or maybe even the occasion. My signature scent is the one that I spray on all of my belongings and am constantly stocked up on, I eat/sleep/breathe this scent because I'm so obsessed with it and have been for years, so for that I keep it a secret. My second favorite perfume is Chanel N°5 - which is said to be recognized as one of the most iconic fragrances of all time. Mademoiselle Coco Chanel once proclaimed: "A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future," and the perfect scent truly does create a lasting impression. Aside from that there is a certain confidence in knowing that you smell fabulous - and confidence is key so there you have it!

Post shower, anytime I'm leaving the house, and even before bed - one thing I never ever forget is a spritz of perfume… It makes me feel like I have my life in order, even when I don't.

How I Stay in Shape While Traveling

Athletics and staying active have always been a huge part of my life! My body feels way cleaner, I have more energy, I'm happier, and much less stressed whenever I work out daily. Not to mention, getting your daily sweat on is major beneficial for the pores and helps to release toxins from within which is more than enough to get me moving. Working out while traveling can definitely pose as a challenge - but it's not impossible, and your body will certainly thank you! Anyways, a little challenge never hurt anyone so don't let that stop you Finding the perfect gym to hit in Paris can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you're new to the city, so here are a few of my current-fav spots to sweat it out:

Lululemon- Need I say more? Aside from my favorite athletic wear, Lululemon offers free Yoga and different types of body sculpting classes every weekend. Lululemon Marais offers a free hour long class every Friday evening at 5:30PM and one every Saturday morning at 10AM. The classes can range from relaxation yoga, to more intense types and there are new instructors every weekend - all of which who rock! There's also a second Lululemon location which recently opened near Musée du Louvre, I have yet to make it to one of their classes but I've heard great reviews

Let's Ride- Let's Ride is a Soulcycle studio that I recently discovered and am totally in love with! Let's Ride is open seven days a week with class schedules posted on Letsride.fr every Monday. The staff is super cool and the vibes are great! I seriously advise stopping in for a killer workout even if you are only in town for a short period of time, they even sell locally cold pressed juices and have a section of cute workout clothes for sale so you can kill two birds with one stone!

CMG Sports Club- In my experience, traditional gyms in Paris are either a hit or miss… Call me high maintenance but I live for workout classes and a sauna is absolutely vital for my happiness - so CMG is perfect for me! They offer a wide range of fitness classes (including boxing, okay SOLD) and it's a totally clean, friendly environment. It's a little on the expensive side, but when it comes to gyms in Paris you honestly get what you pay for which is something to keep in mind.

Aside from yoga classes, cycling, and the gym, another one of my favorite ways to stay in shape is by walking everywhere! I don't take the metro in Paris at all anymore and the only time I uber is if I'm coming home super late and don't want to walk or bike. Aside from then, I love walking and biking around this city! It's the perfect way to get some extra exercise, take in Paris, meet new people, and just be outdoors - plus walking/biking around the city is very Parisian! :)

Paris Style Essentials

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Paris is the ultimate when it comes to effortlessly chic style. If you're traveling to Paris anytime soon you probably already know that the capital is the birthplace of majorly iconic fashion houses like Chanel, Saint Laurent, and Givenchy; all of which who revolutionised the industry. You also probably know that you want to look your absolute best and really channel that inner chic French girl, but you may not know that navigating this large city via foot is the easiest (and prettiest) way to get around - meaning comfort is key. I'm all for comfort and super into basics. I love to dress a low-key outfit up with one piece that really stands out like a sick pair of shoes, belt, or some necklaces.

Here I've narrowed down some of my absolutely necessary Paris Style Essentials:

  • The perfect long trench coat is an absolute must! Even if you're here during the midst of a hotter than hell summer, it tends to cool down at night, and a great coat can easily define an outfit.
  • I basically live in crop tops, I always have. No matter what the weather - you can probably catch me in a spaghetti strap tank or teeny tiny crop! If it's chilly out, you can always up your outfit game with the perfect pair of jeans, a crop top, and a cute coat to keep warm.
  • A cute pair of flats are definitely a necessity if you want to survive in Paris. Odds are you will probably be doing a bit of walking, even if you're in town for a short period of time, it's usually just the quickest way to get where you need to go. I'm obsessed with athleisure - a fresh pair of tennis shoes can look equally as tasteful and comfy for on the go style.
  • It's always important to have at least one pair of black or nude heels with you (preferably ones that you can walk in) - you honestly never know when you're going to need to dress up a casual outfit for a business affair, day to night look, or throw them on with the perfect dress for an event.

Below, shop a few of my favorite Parisian Style Essentials (click to purchase):

Topshop Wool Slouch Coat
Topshop Wool Slouch Coat
AYAI Elodie Velvet Bra Top
AYAI Elodie Velvet Bra Top
Kendall+Kylie Pointy Toe Ghillie Flat
Kendall+Kylie Pointy Toe Ghillie Flat
Stuart Weitzman Nudist
Stuart Weitzman Nudist

EAT PRETTY

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Anyone who knows me could tell you that I am a total health nut obsessed with fresh juices, smoothies, superfoods, vegetables - basically anything with nutritional value. The fresher the food, the tastier and healthier! Eating clean makes me feel better in every aspect, I'm more energetic, less moody, my skin is clear, and my body just feels great in general. I rarely rarely rarely ever resort to processed, sugary meals and snacks because they leave my body feeling gross, sluggish and have long term effects on your appearance and overall health! Whenever I go grocery shopping (which is quite often given the circumstances), I always opt for fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, and ingredients opposed to anything boxed or made with additives. If I'm buying something boxed, it's usually power bars or healthy snacks for on the go, and I don't buy anything that contains unnatural additives - or ingredients I don't understand for that matter. If i'm putting something in my body, I like to know exactly what it is and how it can benefit my health.

Growing up I was never an unhealthy child, my family was always fairly health conscious so I wasn't constantly snacking on junk food, and there's not a fruit or vegetable that I dislike - but, it wasn't until a little over a year and a half ago that I officially transitioned to primarily vegetarian and 100% cut out all chicken, beef, and pork from my diet. I still eat seafood every now and then (I grew up eating tons and tons of seafood so I'm way too obsessed to cut it all out), but when I do it's either fresh and wild caught, or sustainably caught with no additives. Cutting meat from my diet was a personal choice based on my own research and truly just loss of appetite for it all. If you eat meat, like most people, that's great - but it's important to be educated on the meat you're purchasing. Large production companies pack their animals with chemicals, hormones, etc which have extremely negative impacts on the body, so I recommend purchasing meat from a local farmer or looking for organic, grass fed options from the grocery store.

Prior to my official transition into a vegetarian, I did my fare amount of research to make sure it was still possible to get all of the protein and nutrients necessary for daily functioning. I bought tons of nutrition books, to which I still refer back to today - including my favorite which I can honestly say changed my life for the better: Eat Pretty by Jolene Hart, aka the food lovers bible. Eat Pretty is all about fruits, vegetables, etc which are good for your body and why - hence "eat pretty foods," and I highly recommend checking it out if you have any interest in nutrition whatsoever.

One myth that I would like to put to rest is the correlation between my choice of diet and size which are in no way affiliated. I'm naturally a very petite person, I always have been. Quite often people have associated my size with the fact that I don't eat meat - or that I just don't eat at all, and I can't help but laugh because anyone within my family and friends could testify to the fact that I am like a human vacuum with endless capacity and probably eat more than most, the only difference is I choose to put ingredients in my body that will nourish it rather than harm it. Trust me, vegetarians eat and we eat a lot!

With all of that said, there's nothing wrong in treating yourself every now and then! I'm a dessert fiend... I love dark chocolate, macarons, crème brûlée and sweets of all sorts - trust me I would live off of dessert if I could. There's no harm in a few guilty pleasures, just make sure they don't become bad habits!

I'll be posting more on nutrition, my favorite ways to eat clean during long school weeks and travel, guilty pleasures and more. Let me know if you there's something specific you would like to read about! Hope you enjoyed this for now

72 Enchanted Hours in Venice

Earlier this summer, I took my first ever trip to Italy, Venice to be exact - and naturally it was love at first sight. Although packed with tourists, the island of Venice is one you absolutely can't miss! Everything about this city stole my heart, from the kind and welcoming local Italians, to the most mouth watering meals and incredible views of ancient wildly colored brick buildings, bridges, gondolas, and piercing green water. Everyone in Venice was refreshingly friendly and the vibes were exceptionally homey, which was just icing on the cake. Within the maze-like alleys behind the Canal Grande and Piazza San Marco were floral decorated window seals, restaurants who's aroma of margarita pizza, hand crafted pasta and fresh seafood could be detected from a mile away, and notes of Sicilian folk songs which romantically filled the air day to night. You don't have to be an expert to know that Venice is a city filled with rich history and culture - in fact, you can feel it in the air, which is perhaps what makes it so unique.

Somewhere in between shoveling more pizza, pasta, and tiramisu in my mouth than my stomach could handle, endless glasses of wine, and getting lost for hours on end at 1am - I could feel the abundance of history and essence of the Italian culture that is captured by this charming city. It was undoubtedly the most enchanting 72 hours of my life and I can't wait to be back in Italy.

Up next Rome, Florence, and the Amalfi Coast - but until then, a few of my favorite moments in Venice: