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7.31.2015

Top Five From Nordstrom Sale

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Summer 2015

The Nordstrom sale has been so exceptionally good this year, I decided to share my top five picks that I'm looking to snatch up since this is the last weekend of the #NSale in lieu of today's grateful moments post. I can't remember the last time that I've started my fall shopping this early. I guess for that I'm grateful as it afforded me the opportunity to shop for things that have been on my wish list for the longest time. These discounted prices aren't only on chic outfits, boots, sunglasses and wedges, but also not to be overlooked are the sales on all home and gift items.


How about you - did these sales kick start your fall shopping as well?





7.29.2015

Simple Classic Whiskey Sour Cocktail

Easy Whiskey Sour Cocktail Recipe

One of the things I love about entertaining is playing mixologist extraordinaire when we have friends over. Naturally, I keep a bar stocked with all kinds of spirits {including some of what I consider the stiff ones - whiskey included;-} to please the taste of any of our guests when they come over. However, one cocktail that was never on my radar or that I ever thought I would be shaking up at home is a whiskey sour, until a friend whom the hubby invited for a jam session in early spring came over (along with one of his favorite bottles of whiskey) and asked me if I knew how to make one. Of course, being the kind of host that aims to please anyone that steps inside our home, I took up the challenge by researching a few different recipes and then tweaked it to make it my own. The bonus: he said it was one of the best whiskey sours he's had and the hubby and I who used to make yucky faces about whiskey find this cocktail to be one of our go-to's as of late. Here's how I've been making it ever since:

Ingredients

2 oz. michter's straight rye whiskey {any whiskey will do}
1/2 oz. light agave syrup {healthier choice without the sugar spike afterwards}
1/2 oz. juice of lemon and lime mixed* {which cuts down the tartness and makes the drink smoother}

Directions

Shake all ingredients well in a cocktail shaker with ice {about 30 seconds}. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass {with ice or not} garnish with a maraschino cherry/cherries.

*For best results with any cocktail that requires lime or lemon juice, you can never beat freshly squeezed juices. I always have a half gallon of fresh lime and lemon juice mix in my fridge at the ready. Trust me, it is worth the effort. For instance, start with making just a cup of the lemon and lime mix by squeezing and mixing together:

1/2 cup lemon juice {about 3 lemons}
1/2 cup lime juice {about 4 limes}
1/2 oz. agave syrup

Tip: sweetening the citrus juices with the agave, saves you time and allows you to skip one extra ingredient so you can whip up more whiskey sours quicker, because I'm sure there will be more requests after they sample the first one. Just mix the whiskey and lemon/lime juice, shake, pour and garnish.

But of course, I strongly believe the key to tasty drinks and foods is from the touch of the hands incited by the heart and love that goes into it.


P.S. Have you ever wondered what the difference between bourbon and whiskey is? Find out here.




7.28.2015

Chillin' Music


Accoustic Guitar Keychain

How's your Tuesday going so far? I'm still trying to regain consciousness from a very busy looong weekend.  All I feel like doing today is just to chill. Who's with me? Since music speaks straight to the heart and has the power to move and inspire, I opted to play one of my playlists on Spotify entitled "chillin'" for a positive distraction to help me get through my work day. How about you - other than coffee, what helps to invigorate you when you're having an unmotivated day?

Chillin'


* Image via



7.22.2015

WORDS OF WISDOM WEDNESDAY


I recently came across this quote that I fully appreciate. The truthfulness of this message caused me to file it immediately under my 'self reminders quotes' folder. WHO of us has not felt overwhelmed by life’s challenges and problems? At times, it may seem that there is no one who can truly grasp the struggles we face or the deep pain we feel. On those occasions, instead of adding to one's anxiety by exerting limited energy trying to explain to people who won't ever understand nor are sensitive to those feelings - it's important to recognize the need in that moment to conserve energy by accepting the fact that there are agonizing difficulties that sometimes we must face alone with a lot of prayer.



7.21.2015

Office Shelves Shelfie How-To


Though moving is a stressful process because it completely discombobulates your entire life for a time, the opportunity it affords to purge is one of the most freeing feelings. It's like being given a second chance to start over again. Every time I've moved, it's helped me to take an honest evaluation of my inventory, detox and rid myself of things that no longer enrich our home. As in the case of these bookshelves. Even though our previous mahogany ones served us well for over seven years and even received a slight makeover to brighten them up, they eventually didn't thrill us anymore in our home office because of their cavernous color. But when we decided to move from our Beverly Hills apartment back to NY, it afforded us the opportunity to purge ourselves of them (we sold them to someone who appreciated them just as much as we did when we first bought them).

7.20.2015

Off-Duty Olive Green Jumpsuit








Personally, I find jumpsuits to be my favorite pieces to invest in due to their effortless chic and easy-to-wear versatility. I'm always looking for them in different styles and colors. As soon as my eyes landed on this military khaki jumpsuit, I had to have it. Although I do plan on doing some alterations to it - from the olive green color and side pockets down to the lightweight fabric, wide legs and buttons details, it had me at hello! Their all-in-one style make them a perfect day-to-night dress alternative requiring very little time and accessorizing to look put-together in a cinch. For contrast and interest, I teamed up mine with a pair of perforated grey ankle booties, a soft mint green wrislet clutch and a pair of gold disc drop earrings and retro sunglasses, for our double-date night out.

Kakhi jumpsuit {now on sale} | Ankle Booties {similar} | Earrings {similar} | Kate Spade Saturday Wristlet {really like this one} | Retro Sunnies {similar here and here}



7.16.2015

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale {Fall Wish List}

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Don't forget the Nordstrom sale is finally here tomorrow you guys! Since I'm not a Nordstrom rewards member (womp womp),  I didn't get to take advantage of their early access sale. But I used that time to peruse their mark-down items and rounded up a few favorites, including pieces that are on my 'must-incorporate into my wardrobe this fall' list - like a trench coat, flare jeans, leather skinnies and some delicate open cuffs (also comes in 8 other colors, but my two favorites are the Amethyst Quartz and the Gold/Peach). And last but not least, of course is cashmere sweaters.

I'm curious - what pieces are you eyeing to buy?



7.15.2015

Ikea Glass Tumblers DIY

DIY.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses.after

I've honed a few specialty cocktail recipes over the years that have my guests requesting them over and over again. However, despite the innumerable amount of glasses that I have in my cabinets, I somehow never seem to have enough tumblers when I craft cocktails. I think part of the problem is either I haven't been able to find the right style of glasses that I like, or the ones that I do like are often way overpriced (like these, these and these). A while back, I was browsing Ikea and found myself darting to these glasses. Their textural diamond pattern design and their inexpensive price point made them even more attractive and satisfactorily painless to purchase. Once I brought them into the environment of my home, I saw them in a different light and knew they had potential to be more sassy. I decided to paint those diamond recesses with gold paint using a fine artist brush. Here are the steps to this simple diy.

DIY.Supplies.Needed.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses.after

DIY.Steps.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses

And start painting away...

DIY.Painting.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses

Make sure to allow the first coat of paint to dry for an hour before applying the second coat and have some cotton balls soaked in alcohol to wipe off any mistakes made with the paint. Or follow the instructions on the paint bottle to ensure proper application.

DIY.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses.Painted and ready to bake

Air dry paint an hour first. Then place in cool oven and heat to 350 degrees. Bake 30 minutes, then cool in oven; remove. Top-rack dishwasher safe when cured.

DIY.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses.After

DIY.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses.After.on bar cart

Painted. DIY.Ikea.old.fashioned.glasses.After

I'm of the firm belief that a beautiful presentation makes everything taste better, and what more suitable way to take these humble Ikea glass tumblers from ordinary to extraordinary, then with a simple touch of gold. Now, not only do they shine even more brilliantly on my bar cart, but they also make every cocktail shine bright like a diamond.



7.14.2015

Show Stopping Striped Culottes





Bar III blouse (similar here), Zara Striped Culottes (similar), Zara Royal Blue Crisscross Heels (also loving this style), Yellow clutch (old - similar here and here)

I was sick and out for the count all last week. I'm slowly getting back to feeling like myself again. But before I found myself mired in the slump of sickness, I wore these wide-leg show stopping striped culottes that I'd like to think of as the midi skirt's cooler sister - paired with a favorite easy breezy loosely fitted textured crop top accented with a pop of yellow accessories. This ensemble was as practical as it was comfortable with its modern contemporary vibe on one of those days that started out mildly cool then stealthily turned into a sultry day where you could feel each drop of perspiration being drawn out of your skin.



7.13.2015

Nordstrom 2015 Anniversary Sale

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

Although I have several special favorite stores where I like to shop (mostly online), Nordstrom has always been my ultimate go-to store from the time I started earning my own cash. It is one of those retailers where I always find the right wardrobe pieces that I reach for time and again, even after many years. I've been excitingly anticipating their Anniversary Sale, which has already started for cardholders and will open up to the rest of us this Friday. Their free shipping and returns on all orders alleviates the fear of online shopping as it makes the shopping experience at Nordstrom.com  a much more fun and easy process. So don't fret if you don't have the time to drive to one nor have a store near you. Just pull up into a store on your computer/laptop. Think of shopping their online store as if you were Oprah who had the store shut down just to yourself - free of crowds. Ahh, the thought of that is oh, so divine. Items like this cool motorcycle boot, this Sam Edelman pump, and this pair of jet grey ankle skinny jeans have me so enthused about this year's sale, I have already rounded up my list of favorites for fall.

From Left To Right: Kate Spade New York Teardrop Earrings| 3.1 Philipp Lim Fringe Long Wool Vest| Rebecca Minkoff Leather Tote| Gwen Stefani Stripe Pumps| House of Harlow Aztec Bangle

Other Favorites:
How about you? Have you already been taking advantage of the sales yet or are you patiently waiting your turn as I am to shop your favorites this Friday?



7.07.2015

Favorite Links Around The Web

7.06.2015

Rough Day {Sweat It Out}



I think we can all agree that for the majority of us, working out is a drudgery. Despite good intentions and set goals, the motivation just isn't there after dealing with the hectic rat race schedule that this life entangles us with. Sometimes, just the basic simple act of getting started usually is the hardest part. I personally find the trick is to put on music with the right kind of beat that has me energized and going in no time. This works whether you have the luxury of working at home or have to go to an office job. The key is to always plan ahead by putting your headset in your work bag and instead of sitting the whole hour for your lunch break, why not try using 15 or 20 minutes out of that hour to do some brisk walking around outside in the fresh air. Imagine the benefit of that - feeling more alert after lunch instead of the sluggish/sleepy feeling that inevitably overtakes you as soon as you get back to your desk after that noon break. I'm always amazed of the power music has to uplift ones spirits no matter how awful you may feel - provided of course, you're listening to the right type of music. The ideal tunes would be those that uplift the heart, excite the soul and get the body moving. So go ahead, put on some happy tunes. Not sure what to put on? How about starting out with my "Sweat It Out" playlist. The beats will have you shaking your head in no time. Go ahead, shake it off.

1. "Blow" by Ke$ha
2. "Jai Ho!" by A.R. Rahman and The Pussycat Dolls
3. "Titanium" by David Guetta, Sia
4. "Latin dance workout: Ya Tu Sabes" by Workout Dance
5. "Work It" by Fergie
6. "My Loving" by Mary J. Blige
7. "When Love Takes Over" by David Guetta 
8. "Faith" by Blaster Jaxx
9. "Tear The Roof Up" by Alesso
10. "Standing on the Sun Remix" by Beyonce

Or you can listen to the entire playlist hereI hope this post inspires you to start a new fun routine. And if you have some favorite tunes of your own, please share them in the comment box below.

*Image via




7.03.2015

Around The Terrace Lately

Amazon Boy and Water Pump Fountain with LED Light
~Can't stop smiling seeing these guys dead center on the terrace while I'm at my desk~

My goal for this week was to catch up on the things that I couldn't get done at all last week while I was on a constant run with some special out of town visitors. Yet, I just could not get into the working frame of mind for the life of me until midweek. Ugh, don't you hate when that happens? Needless to say, seeing that it's Friday already is kind of a bummer for me as I did not get to accomplish nearly as much as I'd hoped. As much as I hate to let work spill into my weekends, I'm afraid I might have to-assuring the pile doesn't snowball out of control, just so I can alleviate feelings of frustration next week.  In the meantime, here are some things that have been keeping me smiling and grateful around here lately.

Penthouse Terrace String Lights
~Sitting under these string lights on breezy evenings has a way of melting away any anxiety of the day.~

Terrace Hydrangea Blooms
~Having a vision is one thing but seeing the end result is the most satisfying.~

Terrace Climbing Roses in bloom
~My dream of having that black railing covered in pink and red climbing roses is slowly coming to fruition.~

3 Different Creeping Fig Plants - Terrarium & Fairy Garden Plants
~These little vines have grown a lot quicker than expected. Can't wait to have a lush green wall of vines~

You can see more of the updates on my Instagram feed as well. How about you? How did your week go? Any fun plans for this weekend?



7.01.2015

Affordable Alternative {Nude Sandals}

Affordable.Alternative.Steve.Madden.Stuart.Weitzman.Nude.Sandals

Since the aim of my 'Brands Vs. Sense' series is to help my readers find affordably-priced alternatives of similar fashion items, I decided to change the title to "Affordable Alternative" instead. I find that I become more creative and get inspired when I can pull together an outfit using less expensive fashion items causing onlookers to think and swear that the look costs way more than it actually is. As in the case of these two nude sandals. Other than the need to feel fancy or knowing you're wearing expensive shoes, I find the Steven Madden 'Stecy' sandal would make the feet look just as classically stylish as the Stuart Weitzman's nudist sandal. Bottom line, they both do the same job of elegantly elongating the feet.

Some more other budget-friendly options:

My frugal shoppers, don't you agree with me?