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11.24.2013

Favorite TV Shows


One of the things I love most about fall and winter is the return of my favorite TV shows.* With this holiday break I'm looking forward to going into hibernation and channeling my inner Julia Child,cooking up some of what I find to be the most comforting flavors of the season. I really can't wait to light all the candles around the house, sit on my couch cuddling with the hubby in a soft flannel plaid shirt (I really love this one), pilates pants, along with my new buttery soft ultra moisturizing socks (part of a gift bag from a friend) and munching on our favorite snacks. We've fallen behind on some favorite shows that are sitting on our DVR waiting for us - it's a perfect time and excuse to catch up. I know I have a stockpile of at least 25 LIVE!WithKellyAndMichael shows, which will kick off my lazy days on a good foot. How about you? What are you looking forward to doing the most during your holiday break?

Here's a short list of some of my favorite shows not necessarily in this particular order...

1. LIVE!With Kelly and Michael

2. The Parenthood

3. Million Dollar Listing: NY/Beverly Hills/California

4. Million Dollar Decorators

5. The Rachel Zoe Project

6. RHONY# and RHOBH

7. The Mentalist

8. It's a Brad Brad World#

9. Design Star

10. Dear Genevieve

*So bummed that so many of the TV shows that used to give me something to look forward to at the end of hard working days are no longer on such as, Divine design, Color splash (with David Bromstad) and Smash. Brothers and Sisters was another favorite and it abruptly stopped airing. It didn't even finish the story line for crying out loud! What happened? Were these shows not violent enough to capture enough audience? Nothing worthwhile really makes the cut these days.*Sigh..*

#When are these shows coming back on? Any idea?

Well, my dear readers, my lazy day starts... Now. Time for a good well-needed period of rest. I'll be back posting again next week. Thank you so much for reading. Enjoy your time off.

Xo,
Rebecca



11.22.2013

Grateful Moments

{Unexpected gifts from friends are the best kind}

This has been a week filled with a healthy dose of great conversations and many deep seated laughs talking to some good friends that are more like family back in NY. Moments like these make you feel so grateful for having real genuine people in your life. Even more exciting is knowing that in a few weeks the hubby and I will have our home full of these friends visiting us, which really makes my homesickness a little less biting. So I've been mentally preparing a menu for the days we will be dining in and planning an itinerary as we play tour guides. Happy weekend!

{This cowhide zebra chair is just plain amazing}

{Natural elements in a home design is what makes a house a home }

{My pretty cool finds from our last day trip}

{A sweet treat after midday shopping at the farmers market - organic pistachio ice cream}



11.21.2013

Leather Leggings


I have never owned any leather pants, jeans, leggings or jeggings for many obvious reasons. The dreaded fear of them sticking to my skin, making my legs sweat and giving me a hot crotch, are all a Fashionista's worst nightmare. But I love the level of toughness and edge they bring, not to mention I wouldn't mind firing up my street style this fall and winter season by adding a little runway style into my rather conservative wardrobe. As much as I'm drooling over the Joseph's stretch-leather leggings, I think the Blank denim pussy cat vegan pair would be a more sensible purchase for a first try at leather bottoms, and the bonus: I've heard that vegan doesn't stick to your skin. So it's a win win situation.

Do you own leather jeans and/or leggings? What are the pros and cons? Please share.

Other favorites on my wish list...








11.20.2013

Ten Ways To Give Stress A Good Kick In The Butt

After sharing my recent excursion with you (one of the many things that I/we do to break life's crazy cycle), I thought I'd share some of my other tips on how to de-stress. Here are some practical suggestions that have helped me when I can't take a day trip:

1. A Daily Planner - helps manage stress by keeping you organized and up-to-date on everything that you need to do. That way, you never fall behind, and it will also help you keep your schedule from becoming too full. It will make it much easier to politely and honestly decline other commitments based on the amount of free time that you have.


2. Watch What You Eat - this is nothing new, (but thanks to being a much more educated society than our forefathers who didn't have Dr. Oz., Oprah, WebMD, google, many health and fitness books/magazines, and now the juicing mania that's sweeping the nation one group at a time) we have no excuse for not knowing how to have a healthy diet that includes proteins, fruits, vegetables, cereals and other grains. Although dairy products are important food groups, for those who are lactose intolerant like I am - there are now non-dairy products that are just as tasty and much healthier for you (minus soy by the way- just a side note.) Things to avoid: refined white flour and saturated fats. Watch your intake of salt, refined sugar, alcohol (which is always a hard one for me on occasions;), and caffeine believe it or not. I'm not a coffee drinker, so it's not really a big deal for me, but for people like my hubby that's a big challenge. But, not totally impossible!


3. Exercise - moderate (not to the point of killing yourself like I almost did here - I suppose, I'd rather die trying than letting stress consume me;) but consistent exercise. It's recommended to work out at least three times a week which will strengthen the heart, improve circulation, lower cholesterol, and a big one - reduce your chances of a heart attack. More than that, exercise promotes a sense of well-being, likely because of the endorphins that are released during strenuous activity.


4. Get Sufficient Sleep - lack of sleep leads to exhaustion (I'm guilty of this one...it's a work in progress for me...just too many things on the brain) and decreases your ability to manage stress. If you have trouble sleeping, try keeping to a regular schedule for going to bed (another hard one for me) and getting up. Some recommend that naps be limited to 30 minutes (at times mine last up to 3 hrs - yikes!) so that they do not interfere with a good night's sleep. In my case, I still fall asleep after long hours of napping. I'd like to think I'm catching up on sleep, but I'm sure we can all agree once you lose sleep, there's no such thing as catching up on sleep. So we all must work on getting our beauty sleep.


5. Get organized - people who manage their time are much better able to cope with stress. To get organized, first determine which responsibilities deserve priority. Next, make a schedule so that these will not be neglected. Tip-get a daily planner as noted in #1 earlier. Tried and true!


6. Maintain Healthy Relationships - by resolving conflicts quickly. The wisdom of quickly settling differences rather than harboring anger is shown in a study of 929 heart-attack survivors. Those with high hostility rates were three times more likely to die of cardiac arrest within ten years (which goes quickly these days) of the first attack than their mild-tempered counterparts. The authors of the study point out that while anger seems to be the strongest factor, any intense negative emotions that sends strong surges of stress hormones through the body can have the same effect. Jealousy is one of those major factors.


7. Build True Friendships - finding that one true friend in whom to confide in can make a world of difference. During stressful times those true genuine friends are the ones that you find by your side to give you support and a measure of protection. Steps on how to build a true friendship...


8. Make Time For Family - results in a bond that promotes family solidarity - something that is truly lacking today (I've never had a good family life, so I know how important it can be because I've experienced the sad consequences of not having had it). One study revealed that some working couples spend an average of just 3.5 minutes playing with their children each day. Yet, your family can be a tremendous resource when you face stress. “Family gives you an unconditional charter membership in an emotional support group that really knows you for who you are and likes you anyway,” says one book on stress. So family teamwork is one of the best means of reducing stress. Cherish your family!


9. Create Balance in Your Life - by being reasonable. A person who constantly pushes himself to the limit physically and emotionally is a prime candidate for burnout and possibly for depression. Balance is the key. Learn to say no to demands that exceed what you can reasonably handle (see #1). Do not compare yourself with someone else. Each person has their own ability and strength to be used within their own circumstances and limits.


10. Make Time for Relaxation - proper relaxation that rejuvenates is beneficial. Balanced pleasures can refresh the body and help to offset stress. Any type of relaxation or vacation that leaves you exhausted is counterproductive and may cause you to burn out quicker.


*Image: 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10



11.19.2013

Favorite Links


1. Imagining the 20 ultimate things to do in NYC, besides all the other endless attractions there are to revel in, leaves me to believe that this is the best city in the world! 

2. Did you realize that many on Twitter are just silent? I was flabbergasted with this survey!

3. I've been daring with a little bit of makeup the last two days (which is really putting on mascara for me), so this chart of the right eye shadow for your eye color is just brilliant, and was found at the right time.

4. Anything that is stylishly chic and offers a positive message - I'm all all over it like white on rice, and these glass magnets are no different. They make such perfect gifts. Now you know what I want {*wink, wink*}. 

5. Gilded pumpkins like these are just glam-tastic! A must- DIY for next fall for sure!  

*Image 2: via



11.18.2013

Wide Leg Pants + An Asymmetrical Haircut

Larry Levine black palazzo pants (oldie but goodie - similar), Vintage lace top (totally loving this), Suede pumps (similar - I so want this pair),  Bebe fold over snake clutch (an oldie -got my eye on this one),

This was such a busy day running around from one meeting to the next, totally felt like I was on a New York city pace. We had a client luncheon and a slew of errands from one end of the earth to the next and with traffic here, everything seems to take twice the time. Finally made it home by the skin of my teeth, refreshed a bit, and got picked up by a girlfriend for our ladies night out.



On another note: About over a month ago, after being fed up with dealing with a salon that charges you a different price every time you go, to do the same thing (only to leave my hair all snapped up), I decided to ask a couple of friends if they knew a good hair salon where I could go for a basic wash, blow-dry and a trim. A friend told me 'I found a great place for you, my son and husband have been going to her, and she swears she's done everyone's hair including, "famous people."' I got excited thinking yay, this is one less stressful thing that I have to contend with in this new town. I quickly made an appointment.

I arrived at her salon (which happened to be in her home), and she seemed really sweet. We chatted away about all kinds of things while she washed my hair, blow dried it and then proceeded to give me the most horrific haircut that I have ever gotten. Mind you, that's after I asked her so many times if she knew how to give a good 1/4 inch trim straight, not in layers.  She assured me, "of course!" and I ended up with an asymmetrical hair cut as you've probably already noticed in the pictures. Seeing my hair in these photos made me realize how much worse the cut looks. Normally, I curl my hair so it's not so noticeable, but this day, I had no time. I know they usually say to go back to the salon to have someone else fix it. In this case, that wasn't an option and I would never let that lady ever touch my hair again. I think she might be a serial killer of hair and should be arrested. She was not only bad at giving a basic trim, but she didn't properly wash out the conditioner from my hair. Recently I found a much better place that I'm happy with. Thank goodness for that, cause as you ladies know - it's all about the hair, right?




Now onto what I'm wearing: I think the pants was one of my first purchases when I started a corporate job at 18 years old on wall street, acquired through an internship program at BMCC college. I felt so grown up then, and felt even better when I put those pants on for the way they feel. They make you forget you're wearing anything. As I went down memory lane donning those on last week, after a few minutes wearing them, it dawned on me why they still look brand new - they are a lint magnet, but they're such a favorite, that I can't part with them just yet. The soft stretch knit, low sating trim waist, button detail front and elegant wide flared legs offer a flattering look - putting them in the essential trousers category.



Meandering Through Big Bear

{Half way through the drive via Instagram}

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I hope it was a rejuvenating one. This past weekend, I totally checked out and used it to decompress a little. After my week ended, I found it very difficult maintaining a measure of serenity. Many factors played into making this a very mentally and emotionally draining week, which ultimately induced stress. Granted, in itself stress is not bad. It can gear us up to meet challenge. In life-threatening situations, stress has enabled people to perform feats they would never have believed they were capable of. On many occasions, I've had certain assignments when stress generated a surge of adrenaline that enabled me to carry out the task on time and efficiently (Kudos to  me...gotta do it, cause no one else will.) The downside to stress however, is when it becomes an unrelenting feeling where the mind/body fail to relax - that's when I know it's time to take action to remedy the situation before it becomes overwhelming. You see, unharnessed stress is the number one threat to our health and well-being if left unchecked. I've never been one to allow myself to get to a breaking point before I do something. "A wise person is one who sees the calamity and runs from it..." So to avoid getting to that state, the hubby and I took a nice long drive in the opposite direction of crazy gridlock traffic, to a place that's been on our bucket list to visit for many years - Big Bear mountain. Naturally, we took a load of pictures. Please indulge me as I relive the day by sharing some of the photos with you. Really, what choice do you have? {giggles}...






As we drove away from the L.A. noise and chaos, I immediately felt at peace. Cruising around twisty,snakelike roads through the misty mountains, climbing through the clouds up to 7000 feet above sea level seemed to decompress my soul and melt away my stress. Even when I lost phone service, it was such a liberating feeling; I was completely detached from the anxiety of the outside world. And then I thought, ummm, what if there's a bear and we need help?!?!?. These thoughts always seem to run through my mind every time we're in the midst of these majestic mountains of California. The great thing was, as we drove through these mountains, lots of fond memories of familiar places flooded my mind. When we broke through the cloud on the top of the mountain closer to the lake - the tall pine trees and jagged mountains graced with cabin like houses perched on those high slopes reminded us of Mount Charleston, NV....







All the little quaint antique stores/thrift shops added to the sweet memories of being back home on the East Coast - specifically South Hampton (which is part of NY state called Long Island and not NYC). I just love the feel of small quaint towns and villages. They bring me such a level of comfort that just makes my heart swell with joy. And of course, I picked up some treasures up there. I'll share those in my grateful moments post on Friday, so check back soon.





The benefit of taking time to observe nature always helps me to appreciate the awesomeness (a word that takes on a real meaning when describing the creator of it all) of its creator who gives us such beauty for our pleasure. So many don't care about him and are not thankful, yet he allows it all to still exist despite the masses that curse him, despise him and say he doesn't exist. Such self-control on his part teaches me two things: that (1) even if I'm viewed as "unimportant" in the eyes of others, that God (who is the most powerful being in the universe), he too, is considered unimportant in the eyes of many, and (2) that no matter how unkind others are, it doesn't give me an excuse to be unkind. Eventually, it will all pay off in the end!

Also, as I was writing this, I thought: 'but how about you - my readers?' What can you do to relieve stress? In order to keep this post from being more ginormous than it already is, I decided it would be best to write an entire post on some of my other tips on how to de-stress - ten of them to be exact, that I'll post this week. Don't forget to subscribe to my blog so you can get them immediately as I post them. Thank you for reading.

Xo,
Rebecca



11.15.2013

Grateful Moments

{My guilty pleasure: a favorite beverage on a beautiful sunny day eating Al fresco}

" The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice." George Eliot

Adjusting to a new environment is a challenge; more so if you've left the comforts of familiar places and faces behind for the pursuit of growth, which is something I know all too well. The stress of moving to a new locale and adjusting to different people, circumstances, and customs, as well as the pressure of trying to make new friends is exhausting and can send you into a downward spiral of negative thinking. Granted, making adjustments can be considerably difficult and even paralyzing to some. The solution? Personally, I find the key is (one): to give yourself time to get adjusted to the environment, through exploring the town, eating at the local restaurants, shopping, visiting local attractions and being observant. (Two): seek out new friends that you have a lot in common with, as this makes adjusting much easier. Of course, you'll never find friends by moping or isolating yourself. So the choice is up to us to do our part by taking the initiative.  First of all, by having a positive attitude - smiling and looking happy - you will draw people to talk to you and start conversations. I have found that to be the case, but then again, I'm a people person and by no means an introvert. Don't be a prickly porcupine!  People will only be drawn to us if we have a friendly smile and a cheerful disposition. Also patience (not my strong point) is very important as any friendship takes time to build.

{The unending sight of flower buckets at farmers markets makes my heart rejoice within my inward parts}

{Staggered hanging lanterns are one of my favorite accessorizing obsessions in decorating}

{I enjoy occasional stormy skies and gloomy days as I find them calming...it's like "serenity now...serenity now..."}

{A sign in LA that hits it right on! Couldn't have said it any better}



11.13.2013

Baked Mini Meatballs With Spicy Sauce


The hubby and I are such habitual entertainers that it's almost impossible not to find me cooking up some fun appetizers or concocting a favorite cocktail in our house for friends. While I do my thing in the kitchen, part of his tasks is usually turning on all the candles in every room, and making sure the music of choice for the evening is ready, although while I'm cooking and setting the table, I've already got music playing to keep me jovial and party ready. But five minutes before our guests arrive, that's when the hubby changes the genre of music, tailoring it for the theme of the evening and lowering the volume so that it becomes background music that allows our guests to speak without having to shout to hear each other.

Being that it's the season where people spend more time entertaining. I thought these brilliantly scrumptious baked meatball pops would make an ideal appetizer for either game night, cocktail night, or just girls night in. I'm more of an appetizer than an entree kind of gal, so to me anything that is a one or two-biter is a winner in my book. And what's nice about this recipe is that the meatballs can be made ahead of time and be kept frozen.

Ingredients

1 lb. turkey (I only use turkey in this recipe to keep it light and figure friendly since they're for appetizers)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3 slices of bread (soak bread in milk - make sure to wring the milk out of bread very well)
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped parsley (or 2 tbsp dried parsley)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt (seasoned salt is great in this recipe)
3/4 black pepper

Direction

* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1. In a large bowl mix together all ingredients except the meat. Then add the turkey (or ground meat of choice) and stir to combine everything well without overworking the meat.

2.Using your hands, shape the meat into round balls (whatever size you want) I usually make them bite-size for appetizers - that's why I call them pops, cause you can just pop them in your mouth.

3. Spray your cooling rack. Place the meatballs on the cooling rack set in the baking sheet (so they can cook evenly all around).

4. Bake uncovered for 18 - 22  minutes until golden brown and no longer pink in center.


Marinara Sauce* (or you can always use a favorite)

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup red wine (Chianti is a good choice)
1(28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes or plum tomatoes in puree, chopped
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 dried bay leaf
2 pinches of red pepper flakes (optional)
Salt to taste

Direction

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions, garlic and saute until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook on high heat, scrapping all the brown bits, until all the liquid evaporates about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, parsley, bay leaf and red pepper flakes (if necessary: add more salt and pepper to taste). Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes.


Tip: This is another recipe that can be made a day ahead, which makes it even tastier since it gives all the flavors time to all marinate.


*Most of the time, I opt for fresh homemade marinara sauce by usually roasting a mix of fresh plum and roma tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, oregano, pinch of salt and pepper. Then in a skillet, I saute onion, fresh garlic adding the roasted tomatoes, chopped parsley cooking it for about 12-15 minutes before blending it into a great homemade sauce finished with a sprinkle of grated Romano cheese. But believe it or not, according to the experts, canned roma tomatoes are fresher than the ones at your local grocery store.



11.12.2013

The Old Fashion Cape Coat


No matter how many coats I possess, there's one style that remains a favorite that I cannot resist from buying - it's the good'ol fashion cape coat. Something about being draped in one that just makes you feel so good...maybe because subconsciously it makes me believe that I could fly like Superwoman or something. This particular style in vibrant green has me green with envy. Doesn't this coat put you in a good mood? Very Mad Men-ish. I'm all about a classy tailored look.

...just some other favorites on my list:





11.11.2013

Broken Zipper

Express button down shirt (old), Polka-dot skirt (also old - I'm really loving this one), Baby Phat blue and silver pumps (ancient), Aldo checkered clutch, Starburst crystal earring (similar), Mixed bangles, Peter Pan collar 

Have you ever been gripped by that humiliating feeling of embarrassment? Maybe I'm the only one. This is one of my last outfits for the summer that I threw on for a busy day of meetings and running errands. At the end this particularly long day, the hubby and I wanted to indulge in some guacamole and chips with margarita, so we headed to a Mexican restaurant in Beverly Hills with outdoor seating where we could take in the nice weather while enjoying our food. As we sat down and were served our humongous salted rim goblets of margaritas, another couple came with a friend and sat next to our table, laughing and having a good time. They occasionally glanced at me with a big smile to which I thought, 'wow, these folks are really friendly...' then again, they did have a couple of drinks. After sitting there a while drinking and chatting with hubby, I got up to use the restroom and came back, sat down to converse some more, but by this time the lady at the table next to us was standing right next to me talking to her friends at the table while smiling at me. Eventually, the time came for us to leave and we walked for a good five minutes or so to where we parked, got in the car and drove home. As we arrived home, the hubby dropped me off at the door and as I was getting out of the car he said - wait for it, "hey! is your zipper broken?" I looked down at my skirt's zipper and it was totally ripped (I mean mouth wide open) open from my waist all the way down to my hip showing my undergarment. By this point, I was mortified and all kinds of crazy thoughts flooded my head: thinking OMGoodness, when did the zipper break? Was it after I went to the restroom? Eek, did everyone in the restaurant see my undergarment as I walked past them to go back outside from the bathroom? Was that why the lady at the table next to us was laughing (at me) the whole time? How many passersby in their cars in Beverly Hills did I torment seeing my rather unsightly broken zipper exposing things that ought not be exposed? For a while there, I was thinking I never want to walk the streets again cause people have seen all my jiggly bits.


After my initial shock of being mortified, I spent the whole rest of the evening thinking the worst. Finally, I had to remember suffering embarrassment is an unavoidable part of life. True, you should do your best to avoid unfortunate things like that from happening. But it goes to show that in spite of your most strenuous efforts, embarrassing situations do occur from time to time. Instead of wallowing in what I considered was one of my most embarrassing moments to-date, I had to make a conscious decision not to keep beating myself up about something that I had no control over. Sometimes we all judge ourselves much too harshly.


How, though, should you handle those moments when you wish you could jump into the bowels of the earth? One practical way is: Don't take yourself too seriously. Attaching too much significance to a minor error is just a form of thinking more of oneself than is necessary. Do you imagine that every time people see you, they’ll think of a certain incident? Does your little slipup really occupy such an important place in the minds of others? Not likely. So it's really best to simply forget about minor mishaps and move on. Needless to say, I have since had the zipper replaced because there's absolutely nothing wrong with the skirt.


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