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| shirt: halogen| jeans: paige | shoes: tory burch |

 

the city of venice was a concrete human maze.  you get lost with every turn you make. venice is one of many islands built on the marshy lagoons of the adriatic sea. the architects of this charming little town must have previously worked as corn maze masters. you walk down one stone street just to find yet, another, stone street. everything in venice looks the same and is hidden. we spent over an hour rolling suitcases on patchy patches and searching for our hotel. after realizing we were going in circles [and a few complaints from me] we asked for help only to find our hotel right in front of us, go figure.

venice has its own unique beauty about it. to get from place to place you either hop the ferry, or walk it. there’s something kind of refreshing about that. the rialto bridge is hard to miss and quite beautiful. we spent our first night in venice walking the bridge and just looking around while taking everything in. after grabbing a quick bite to eat [the seafood is amazing] we walked around and found a little dock along the grand canal and just hung out. it was late into the evening and the once busy streets had emptied. there was a soothing lull complimented by the night’s breeze. this was probably my favorite moment in venice. the world had stopped spinning and it felt as if we had the whole place to ourselves. then, the world suddenly began spinning again as we headed back towards our hotel and were bombarded by rose salesman… [don’t they sleep!?]

 

the next day was spent admiring doges palace and st. mark’s basilica [which is free to enter!] both were stunningly beautiful masterpieces. st. mark’s basilica had an intimidating line, but it moved surprisingly quick and was worth the wait. after exploring we stopped for lunch then boarded one of the famous venice gondola rides. the romance of venice swept us down the grand canal as we viewed the bridge of sighs and learned about the history of some of the venetian homes we passed. as our ride came to a close we thanked our friendly gondolier and went on our way. we walked around the souvenir shops [which are on every corner] and enjoyed our remaining time in venice.

 

i could have enjoyed an extra day to walk around a little more and eat some delicious food, but truth be told, i was content and ready to explore rome by that point. venice is beautiful and full of charm, but felt very much like a tourist attraction and well, we were tourists and we were attracted but we were ready for some more rich italian culture and history.

 

travel tips for venice:

 

  • locate your hotel prior to arriving. the best way to do this is get directions from the receptionist at the hotel.
  • pack lightly. the streets of venice are very patchy, rolling a suitcase is do-able but rolling multiple would get very tiring very quickly. [i had a suitcase and a backpack]
  • women must cover their shoulders and wear pants or shorts that extend to the knee to enter st. marks basilica. plan accordingly.
  • try the seafood!
 xo jasmine

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top: similar | plaid shirt: similar | pants: lululemon | bracelets: kendra scott | sunnies: ray-ban

i wish i could say i had pizza in pisa but what i did do is more important than what i didn’t do. so no, no pizza in pisa but i did enjoy a delicious cup of espresso [something you can find every where you turn in italy] and  got some great snaps of the leaning tower. rick steves [best europe travel guide series] led me and my group right to where we wanted to be. we lucked out with an amazing parking spot and found the leaning tower with no troubles at all. the leaning tower that has been titling since completion circa 1372 has its very own charm. it is just as it sounds, a leaning tower, but with so much more.  as i am sure many can imagine, it is a hot tourist spot. i took a good moment to just people watch and enjoy my surroundings. everyone, i mean everyone was standing and pretending to hold up the tower while a family member or friend turned into their photographer and directed them where to go. the directions all may have been in various different languages, but what they were saying was easily known.

my stay in pisa consisted of that earlier cup of espresso and a quick walking tour of the leaning tower of pisa, piazza de miracoli and the duomo pisa. from there we drove through tuscany enjoying the sights along the way to florence for a leisurely lunch. florence is filled with stunning structures and flooded with a great amount of history. the beauty of the florence cathedral will take your breath away. we walked all around the square [you do a lot of walking in italy] and worked up an appetite before enjoying a little vino and italian dishes.

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from florence we headed to verona. verona wasn’t originally on our itinerary but we somehow squeezed it in. verona is best known for being the home of one of shakespeare’s most well known plays, romeo and juliet. for as long as i can remember i have always loved shakespeare [yes i am that person, i can nerd out with the best of them]. so naturally, i was beyond excited for this little venture.

in the heart of verona you can find juliet’s home and legendary balcony [which is much smaller than i imagined]. it is a very crowded little courtyard filled with tourists and people lining up to rub the breast of the bronze juliet statue found beneath the balcony. myth has it that whomever rubs the breast of juliet will have good luck in love. however, the statue that stands there today is a mere replica. one breast rubbing tourist too many caused the original statue damage. it was removed and is now housed in the museum castelvecchio where is has been restored and is on display. the story of romeo and juliet is fictional, so there aren’t really any montagues and capulets battling it out to death, but the experience was very enjoyable and i soaked in every second of it.

aside from romanticizing about the star struck lovers and gazing at the colosseum look a-like opera theatre in verona, the ponte pietra bridge offers a beautiful and picturesque view. the bridge was built in 100bc making it verona’s oldest. you will encounter a number of tourists stopping to take a picture, but wait around for your turn and enjoy the moment. the view is worth it.

i had a very adventure-filled day filled with incredible sights and scenery. there was plenty that i did not get to see, but am very thankful for the glimpses i did catch. train is the easiest way to travel through italy [and not very costly either]. we had a group of four on this day which made a rental car well worth it and gave us the ability to travel from place to place so quickly. gas is rather pricey in italy but if you have a larger group, splitting the cost and being able to travel on your own time is a hands-down winner in my book.
 xo jasmine

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shopbop friends and family sale
 
 
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it’s finally here. i may have been counting down the days because this is one of my favorite sales of the year! shopbop friends and family is going on now. use code ‘inthefam25‘ at checkout to receive 25% of your entire purchase. [this includes sale items and has just a few exclusions
 
above are some of my fall picks for this year. lots of blacks and neutrals so you can wear them over and over or pair them with a fun statement piece. wildfox sweaters are one of the most comfortable pieces i own and shopbop has plenty to choose from! ripped jeans are back and a good pair can run a little pricey, 25% off can go a long way with these. shopbop has some of my favorite designers such as tory burch and kate spade. you can never go wrong with either.
 
i’m all about a good sale and apparently so are many others. the sale lasts for 3 days but sizes go quickly so snag up your favorites. shopbop ships quickly [and is free] and arrives in 3 days [sometimes even less], 2 days for amazon prime users. can’t complain about that! happy fall shopping!
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cinque terre was the next stop on our list. this place is incredible. cinque terre is a gorgeous view of five vibrant villages that are centuries old. each village clings to the steep sides of hills above the coast line. no matter which way you turn, the view is stunning.


to get from village to village you must hike. prior to arriving, we referred to our trusty rick steves cinque terre book. if you’re traveling through europe and have not heard of the man, the myth, the legend that is rick steves, you gotta jump on board. [i’ll explain more about him later]. we unanimously decided to hike the longest hike. it took about an hour and 15 minutes to get from the village of vernazza to
 monterosso. the hike is a hike. if you plan on doing it, wear comfortable shoes [i wore nike frees, because they’re easy to pack and comfortable} and plan a good hour plus to get from one village to the other. 


along our hike we passed many hikers as we neared our finish line asking “how much further” and “are we close to the other village?” no. the answer was no. they had merely just begun their journey. so do know what you are getting yourself into ahead of time. however, the hike is well worth the climb. the surrounding views get better and better with each step you take. not to mention with all the gelato and pasta in italy, a little activity wouldn’t hurt.



these beautiful villages and their pathways are filled with tourists. you will hear a multitude of languages and have to dodge people stopping to take pictures along the way. don’t complain– you’ll be doing the same. and truth be told, dodging the photogs is much easier than dodging the selfie stick selling salesmen. 

near the end of our hike a kind italian man was selling fresh squeezed lemonade. it was refreshing and delicious. we rewarded ourselves and bought some. once we got into the village of monterosso we walked around while there just so happened to be an anchovy festival taking place. these people take their anchovies seriously. i passed on them but enjoyed two too many helpings of a scrumptious seafood risotto at a restaurant located within the city. after waking out of my content food coma i topped it off with gelato and i wasn’t even mad about it. i wouldn’t change a thing. we then browsed through the street shops where you can find any souvenir imaginable. both villages we visited had similar goods for sale. inexpensive wines, lemon soaps and pasta everywhere you turned.



night fell quickly as we were gazing out into the beautiful waters and the magical village of monterosso transformed from its’ quiet tourist-filled streets to a techno-like rave. music filled the main square as the younger crowd slowly trickled out onto the streets. before calling it a night and heading back to the train station, i showed off some of sweet dance moves, the washing machine included.


the views i witnessed here were incredible. i enjoy outdoor activities and anywhere there is a body of water, i feel at home. cinque terre is a place i highly recommend and do wish i got to spend a little more time exploring. the little time i did spend was priceless. the hike was more than enjoyable, the company was irreplaceable and the food was so satisfying. 




 





 





 



cinque terre travel tips:


  • most everyone you encounter speaks english, you’ll be good on this one
  • if you have a car, park at la spezia and take the train in. you can also train into la spezia if you are taking the trains around europe
  • there is a walking trail that connects each village, or you can opt for a ferry to see all villages [i believe with the exception of corniglia].
  • if time permits, allot 2 or even 3 days for cinque terre. spend one day hiking then spend the next day in your favorite village relaxing and soaking up some sun on the beach after shopping in their local stores
  • see all 5 villages [i only got to experience 2 but wish i could have squeezed all 5 in]
  • if you can’t see all 5 villages look them up and read about them before going so you will be able to best choose which ones to see. all are aesthetically pleasing [so i hear] but each village has its own uniqueness.
travel makes one modest. you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

gustave flaubert


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after an overnight layover in london [that’s what you get when you book a trip to europe on airline points] my italy excursion finally began. i arrived midday and started the trip off properly with some vino and pizza. it was quite possibly the best pizza i have had to date. arugula and prosciutto pizza is my favorite. it could have been due to the overwhelming sense of excitement of being in italy or simply the fact that italians know pizza. the afternoon flew by and it was night before i knew it. i checked into my airbnb and threw on some running clothes and hit the streets of milan.

adrenaline must have taken over because i felt as if i could run for days on end. i ran past the amazingly structured milan cathedral, through the incredible shopping center and well, all of milan. i stopped to take in most of the sights only to be bombarded by salesmen. selfie sticks were everywhere i turned and roses were being handed out left and right. at one moment, i was taking in my scenery and the next thing i knew a man was tying a friendship bracelet around my wrist. as he started speaking over the bracelets in a language i could not understand, i quickly tried informing him i had no means of paying for his unwanted gift. i literally had no means. i was out for a run. after giving us the run around [my boyfriend got a bestie band too] he finally believed that we had no money on us and kindly told us to enjoy the bracelets and walked away.

 

next up was a very assertive and complimentary rose salesman who referred to me as shakira. he filled my head with flattery and for a moment, i enjoyed it. as we turned him away all flattery left with him as he filled the next girls head with the same compliments. thanks buddy. the salesmen in italy are relentless. a part of me wanted to purchase what they had to sell because they were so persistent. another part of me was just annoyed.

when i returned from my run i showered and got ready for a night on the town. my boyfriend and i were joined by his brother and his brother’s lovely wife. we wined and dined and enjoyed the milan nightlife which is a sight to see. nightlife in milan, from what i saw, was very much a hang out. anywhere there was open space, people were hanging out. everyone seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves and getting along. it was great. we shut the restaurant down and got a good nights’ rest before visiting the duomo the next day. the architecture on this stunning cathedral is indescribable. it’s definitely a must see. milan was a quick stop on our european adventure but it was the perfect way to kick it off.

from the duomo we loaded up our rental car and headed to our next stop. below are a few of pictures from milan and even more below are a couple of milan travel tips:)


it’s just as beautiful at night


duomo sweaty selfie


this guy got suckered into buying a rose for his ‘shakira’


 
 
 
the incredible duomo


these guys



milan travel tips:


  • most everyone you encounter speaks english, you’ll be good on this one
  • there are buses that take you straight from the airport to wherever you need to go. use these.
  • you must see the piazza del duomo
  • there’s no need to be mean to the salesmen. they’re pesky and i’ll agree it gets annoying, but they’re just trying to make a living. if you are uninterested in whatever they are selling, just say no, avoid eye contact and proceed with whatever you were doing.
  • have a glass of wine, do a little shopping and enjoy yourself.
  • don’t feel the need to buy expensive bottles of wine in italy. the house wine every where you go tastes great. pick a night and splurge a little, but don’t feel like you have to every night. your bank account will thank you. 
“though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”

ralph waldo emereson
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the general rule of packing for a trip on the move is if you pack it, you’re carrying it. if you’re anything like me, packing light consists of a back up outfit for every outfit you bring. outfit options are a girls best friend, right? turns out they are a girls worst enemy when on the move. i guess we can call them a frenemy. [hah]

okay, but really. when i travel somewhere new i want to see as much as i can. climb every mountain, search high and low, follow every byway, every path you know.[sorry. i couldn’t help myself]. seeing different sites and exploring nearby cities means lots of moving around and being on-the-go. for trips like this, limiting yourself to one carry-on suitcase and a backpack is the way to go. if you’re prepared and pack smart, it will be more space than you’ll actually need.


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make a list:


for my italia trip i started with a list. i wrote everything i would need — plus a little extra, again.. i couldn’t help myself. i wrote my list about 2 days before actually packing and added to it as things popped in my head. this helped me think of any last minute things i would need such as travel toothpaste, an umbrella, etc.. it also ensured i packed only what was needed. think about where you’ll be going, what you’ll be doing and always take into account what the weather will be like.


remember, if it’s not on the list, it’s not invited on the trip. 


| s t e p : 2 | 

try it on:


this step can be fun. make the most of it. turn on some music and have your very own fashion show with a girlfriend and enjoy yourself. trying on all of your clothes and outfits before packing them will help prevent you from packing something you won’t wear. if you aren’t feeling those skinny jeans a couple days before you leave, chances are you won’t be feeling them on your trip. so ditch them and bring something you will wear and confidently rock. once you have all of your outfits chosen, fold them up nicely and lay everything out.

outfit tips:


go for more neutrals that you can mix and match. for example, a black tank that you can wear with a pair of shorts or throw it on with a pair of jeans and a jacket and you have an entirely new outfit. if it’s warm, i love packing summer dresses. they take up minimal luggage space and are comfortable to walk around in. i’ve linked some great options below.




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pack it:

i am a huge fan of space saver bags. i love them. first of all, they save space. second of all, they keep your clean clothes clean and lock in any odors from your dirty clothes. this really ends up being a life saver if you’re staying at hotels and don’t have any access to a washing machine.
pack your whole outfit as a group into your space saver bag, so when reaching for the outfit you only need to open one bag, maybe two. this will save you time getting ready and eliminate the need to constantly re-pack your bags. bring along an extra empty bag so you can load all dirty clothes into it and keep them separate from clean ones.


for ease of traveling, i pack all of my clothes on one side of my suite case and shoes on the other. my electronics, valuables and make up bag go wherever i go in my backpack.

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get ready to go:

once everything is packed, clothes, shoes, toiletries, electronics, etc.. cross it all off your list. throw on some comfy clothes, i go for leggings, a loose tank and a sweater. now all you have to do is say a prayer for safe travels and enjoy your trip!

t i p s:

* if you’re staying at an airbnb read the listing to see if there is a washing machine available. take full advantage of the chance to carry around clean clothes instead of dirty ones if there is.

* stick a dryer sheet in your bag to keep everything smelling fresh. just one will do it. two can be overkill.

*pack shoes that don’t take up much space. [of course i’ll always pack at least on pair of wedges] sandals are always a great option and so are bendable flats. i’ve linked some great options for these above.

*if you’re staying at a hotel, skip out on a bringing a hair dryer. if you’re staying at an airbnb type location, message them before hand so you’ll be fully prepared.

*if you’re traveling overseas consider purchasing a cheap hair dryer/straightening iron from the country you will be traveling to. if you can go with out, then power to you– go without it! there are many horror stories of blown out fuses and fried, damaged hair. don’t become a statistic. when you factor in the cost of an adapter and converter [which still runs a risk of ruining your flat iron] plus the valuable luggage space for it all, buying one from a local convenient store may just be the way to go.


*when packing toiletries pack everything in travel sizes. i save up all of my sample perfumes, lotions, etc. and keep them in a bag. they are the best to take when traveling! they take up minimal space and can be thrown away after being used. [they’re also great to keep in a guest bedroom.]




the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

lao tzu





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the quaint little town of fredericksburg, tx was such a delight. i was there for less than 24 hours, but they were hours thoroughly enjoyed celebrating a blushing bride-to-be. fredericksburg and all its’ beauty was the perfect place for this group of gals to get together for our beautiful friends’ bachelorette weekend. we wined and dined, chatted endlessly and danced the night away.

fredericksburg is truly one of texas’ best little secrets. there are about 15 different wineries in the area. we visited two, becker and grape creek vineyards.  we started at becker vineyards after brunching and having a limo dance party. we had a group tasting, then toured the winery and awed at its beauty. the staff here were incredible and so knowledgable. half of us walked away with a bottle from the vineyard and all of us got to keep a souvenir wine glass that is now one of my favorites.





the gorgeous bachelorette


feeling good, we all continued our limo dance party and headed to grapecreek vineyards. we tasted and toured then headed outside for live music and entertainment. the wines were spectacular and best of all the views were breathtaking. at one point it seemed as if the heaven’s were going to open up and dump rain on us, but we got lucky and got a spectacular view and skipped out on the brewing rainstorm above. in the meantime, we had our own vineyard photo shoot!

go frogs, always


after our winery escapades we went back to our adorable airbnb to freshen up and get ready for an evening on the town. we quickly learned an evening on the town in fredericksburg texas consists of wranglers and cowboy boots. we stood out like sore thumbs in our dresses and wedges but lived up every second of it. we ended our night at a little bar called crossroads that featured an amazing cover band that brought back every 90s and 2000s song we knew and loved. it was the perfect ending to a fabulous day.


you can find yourself a cowboy here

a quick glimpse of our night 😉


one last picture before calling it a night [ sorry it’s so blurry! ] 

life is a celebration, enjoy it well.

uruj shahid
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the tory burch private sale is going on now through friday, august 15th. but don’t wait, this sale sells out fast! tory’s pieces are timeless and so well made. many are staples in my wardrobe. in fact most pieces i have to talk myself out of buying them in at least 3 colors [i can be tough to bargain with]. below are some of my favorites from the sale. many pieces are up to 70% off [#amen] you can enter the sale here. you’ll have to enter your e-mail address, then you’ll gain access. shoot me an e-mail if you have any troubles! happy shopping:)
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music. whether it gets you through your day, workout, a tough break up, or simply takes you away, we all love it. we all love it for different reasons, but we all love it. 

it’s hard for me to specify just one genre of music as my ‘favorite’ because i listen to music all the time and for all purposes.

the moment i hear frank sinatra’s wondrous voice, my mind flies me to the moon and plays among the stars. then there’s the charming pharell williams who never ceases to make me smile and clap along, because i too, am happy. and of course, the ever-so-popular t-swift whom i never want bad blood with. each unique and each brilliantly talented in their own way.



music plays a large role in all of ours lives. it’s a gift and we should embrace it. so, i’ve teamed up with the one and only fitista to bring you a playlist that we hope brightens your day. she’s a blessing of a friend that i met years ago in high school. thefitista is on an incredible fitness journey and is one of the most positive and energetic people that i know. her positive attitude and passion towards a healthy lifestyle is inspirational to all. music helps keep this energizer bunny going and we hope it does the same for you.


we’re giving away a $100 itunes giftcard to one lucky music-loving follower. *head on over to instagram to see all official rules and enter in the contest.



get to know the beautiful girl behind thefitista: 



1. I am 25 years young!

2. Born in Russia, raised in Sugar Land, Texas.

3. Yes, I speak Russian fluently! I throw in the occasional YALL  into the mix!

4. My hobbies include dance, working out and traveling.

5. I am happily taken by the love of my life, Carlos.

6. Sushi anytime, anywhere!

7. My favorite color is yellow. It is so bright! I love it!

8. By day I work as an Oil & Gas Negotiator and by night I am TheFITista!

9. My motto is YOUCAN&YOUWILL.


10. My goal in life is to make an impact in the community through  

 health & fitness.

follow her journey here: http://www.thefitista.com/


                   


music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.

plato


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below are my go-to make up products for everyday wear. these six items are all i need on the go.

| bobbi brown | creamy concealer | $25 | 

i recently picked up this little miracle worker and now can’t go without it. it’s referred to as “bobbi’s secret to the universe” and i am so thankful to be in on that secret.

i use a small amount on my pointer finger to conceal darkness underneath the eye. i stroke from the inner eye and trace my finger under my eye, then blend. it’s the simplest way to freshen up a look. best thing about it? one compact lasts for months and if you put it on in the morning it will still be there in the evening.

| bobbi brown | longwear even finish foundation | $48 | 

i prefer light foundations that don’t leave my face feeling sticky and heavy. this foundation is a medium to full, oil free coverage. 

i use one pump on a foundation brush and stroke from each
cheekbone up, then blend all around my face. it provides a natural look that’s long lasting and leaves my skin feeling light and airy.

| bobbi brown | skin foundation mineral makeup | $42 | 

this mineral powder evens out skin tone and leaves a natural finish. it doesn’t cake and never looks masky.

some days i skip the the liquid foundation and just use the mineral powder. most days, i use both. i apply the mineral powder all over my face with a face brush after the liquid foundation above. this too, is a very light feeling make up.

| covergirl | perfect point plus eyeliner | ~$6 | 

this eye liner pencil requires no sharpening and gives excellent control. i’ve tried many different brands and types and always come back to easy breezy cover girl. the dark color makes eyes really pop. on the opposite end of the eyeliner there is a smudging tip that can also soften the look.

i use black eyeliner on top and bottom. i trace the pencil along my top lash line and lightly trace the bottom outer corners of my lower lash line. i then use the smudge tool on my bottom lash line from the outer eye to the inner eye. 

| lancome | hypnose drama | $27.50 | 

the dramatic black color of this mascara is my favorite. i have been using it for years and it is still my go-to. one coat gives my lashes a full and luscious look. two coats and i have big, battable, flirty eyes.

i apply two coats of this mascara making sure every lash gets a coat. i use one side of the wand for the first coat then flip it around to use the other side for the second coat. this gives me the best look and most lash coverage. i do this on both my top and bottom lashes.

| clinique | blushing blush | $21 |  

this is another product that i have been using for years. i love it so much that i’m hesitant to even try other brands. (i’m sure there are plenty of amazing ones out there). it’s an oil free, long-wearing blush.

i apply using the blush brush provided in the compact stroking from along my cheekbone. for a more natural look, i use my foundation powder brush to blend the blush in.







these products are what you will always find in my make-up bag. for a more glam look i spice things up a bit. but for everyday, this is what you will find me using! 

bobbi brown, lancome and clinique offer a 10-15% discount off your first purchase after joining their mailing club. all offer samples with purchases and other great steals. the samples are a great way to try new products, or as i use them, keep them around for easy travel or store in a jar for overnight guests to use.

the beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. it is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she knows.

audrey hepburn
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| pineapple | flowers |


| step 1 |

  gather all ingredients and kitchenware 
     
     pineapple
     flowers (any floral arrangement will work)
     cutting board
     knife


| step 2 |


  remove the top leafy part of the pineapple. you want to extend 
  the cut to about a half inch below the start of the leaf line.


| step 3 |



  carefully remove the fruit inside of the pineapple. you can do 
  this by cutting in a circle around the edges, then make four   
  boxes using one horizontal and one vertical cut (as shown 
  below). next, carefully hold the pineapple while cutting out the 
  inside. this can easily be done by holding the knife
  diagonally. you can use a spoon to scoop out any remaining fruit.

  
  the fruit does not have to come out in pretty chunks. please be 
  careful when removing. because i hacked away at the inside fruit, 
  i stored it in the freezer to use in smoothies later. (recipes to 
  come)

| step 4 |


  once only the skin of the pineapple remains, place flowers 
  inside. 


  * you may need to cut the stems to fit, depending on pineapple   
  and flower stem size.

  * do not add water to the pineapple, it will leak through. if you 
  are planning to have these flowers sit in the pineapple vase for 
  an extended period of time, please purchase a small vase that 
  fits inside the pineapple to properly contain the water. 

  * i placed stems and leaves from my bouquet around the centerpiece   for a more tropical feel.

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chi city, contrary to my debate, pronounced ‘shy-city’ is one of my favorite places to visit. [ i may be a bit biased because one of my favorite people to visit lives in this amazing city.] 

i was living in this sweater and these cut offs

| sweater: wildfox | shorts: oneteaspoon |

spur of the moment weekend trips are always best. i originally had planned to take on miami with some girlfriends. those plans ended up falling through and God had other plans for me, plans to visit chicago and catch up with my old college roomie. 

i started my day with soul cycle. if you haven’t been, it’s a dance party on a bicycle with an overly enthused instructor and i highly recommend it. despite its steep cost, you will leave grooving to the loud music that lingers in your head and feeling better about your day. 

after the dance party i went straight to the beach. the beach is easily one of my favorite places to be. the sand beneath my toes, sun shining on my skin and peaceful noises of the waves swaying back and forth… what could be better? i could have stayed in the sand soaking up vitamin d all day long. with all the rain texas has gotten in the month of may, vitamin d has been greatly missed.


after a few hours of people watching, reading magazines, having an impromptu photoshoot [this is natural when you’re with your best friend, right?], watching an 80+ yr old man jog along the beach at a 2mph pace proudly wearing a medallion and joking around and snacking on watermelon, we decided it was time make some moves. our ‘moves’ led us right back to the beach, this time on bikes. with wind blowing through my hair i cruised along the beach and soaked up every ounce of fresh air i could. during my beach ride all i could think about was how grateful i was to have friends who love to explore and be outdoors with me and how beautiful chicago is in the summer. also– how much my legs were burning after soul cycle, beach play and bike rides. ouch.


i was living in this sweater and these cut offs
| sweater: wildfox | shorts: oneteaspoon |


the rest of the day was spent wining and dining with old college friends followed by games (my favorite) and dancing the night away like old times. unfortunately the texas rain followed me to chicago the next day and it was storming. but rain or shine, we had a great time. i didn’t get a classic bean picture this go around– do go see it if you have never been. instead, i enjoyed a tasty brunch at the cutest spot named ‘summerhouse’ and a great evening watching the blackhawks win. being a texas girl, hockey isn’t my go-to sport, but on this night it was. chicago really loves their hockey and being able to cheer on their team with such an enthusiastic bunch, was a blast.


the best part about this trip was everything was carefree. some of our plans such as an alumni event at the cubs game were cancelled due to weather, but even with that there wasn’t a single worry about anything. we just went with the flow. the beach always has a way of restoring my carefree attitude and bringing me a sense of peace. i was able to set aside all life struggles, we all have them, and fully enjoy the moment and the wonderful company surrounding me. sometimes we take them for granted, but best friends are such a true blessing. 



love this beautiful goof!


later chi!


two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. but pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up

ecclesiastes 4: 9-10


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| chicken | pickles | celery | salt | pepper | mayonnaise | onion |

  
  serving size: 3-6
  preparation time: 10 minutes
  cook time: 0 minutes


| step 1 |

  gather all ingredients and kitchenware 
     
     ingredients
     2 chicken breasts (pre-made, store bought rotisserie)
     6-8 dill pickles (mt olive kosher baby dills with sea salt*)
     3 celery stalks (fresh store or farmers market bought)
     1 tsp pepper (mccormick’s black peppercorn)
     1 tsp salt (morton’s course kosher*)
     1/4 onion (pre-chopped)
     2 tbsp mayonaise (kraft mayo with olive oil*)
     prosecco (for moral support, this is optional)
     
     kitchenware
     cutting board
     knife
     food processor
     bowl, large
     tbsp
     tsp
     mixing spoon


 
  

     

| step 2 |

  preparation

  remove skin, drumsticks and wings from the rotisserie chicken.  
  peel all visible white meat off of the bone and place on a     
  separate plate. this does not have to look pretty, it will soon   
  go into the processor to be chopped.

  remove 3 celery stalks from bundle and wash thoroughly. place  
  aside.

  measure out 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. place aside.

  peel outer coating of onion and discard. cut 1/4th of onion and   
  place aside. 

     

| step 3 |

  chop the food

  place torn chicken breasts into processor and press start. hold   
  chop button for 3 seconds and assess. if chicken needs to be 
  chopped more, repeat. the chicken should be chopped into very 
  small pieces without any visible chunks. depending on your food 
  processor’s speed and capabilities, be sure to not over chop.





  repeat the above process with the onion, celery and dill pickles. 
  chop each ingredient separately and in 3 second increments. pay   
  attention to the food pieces in the processor. you do not want to 
  over chop. with celery in particular, over chopping can cause a 
  build up of moisture and result in mushy celery. this can easily 
  be avoided by only chopping your food in no more than 3 second 
  intervals.

| step 4 |

  mixing

  add salt, pepper, chopped chicken, chopped onion, chopped celery   
  and chopped pickle into large sized bowl. mix evenly.

 

  once mixture looks even, add 2 tbsp of mayo* and continue to mix 
  evenly. 

| step 5 |

  serve

   pour 3-4 heaping table spoons per serving and garnish with celery 
   stalk. enjoy your easily made lazy girl’s skinny chicken salad.   
   

  

 * these ingredients can be swapped out for other name brands.
 * salt and pepper can be added to taste.
 * for a creamier chicken salad, add extra mayo. add in no more than  
   1/2 tbsp increments for best results. 
 * for additional flavor options, red onion, crushed walnuts or 
   sliced grapes can be added.

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