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Mixing It Up

17 Jan

Yesterday at lunch I had the wonderful chance to meet up with my friend Amanda from Rome, who is back in the DMV area to see her family. Long time readers may remember her from when I last saw her over the summer. She is finishing up school in Rome and caught me up on all the latest news from Italy. Massive Romesickness aside, it was great to see her and catch up! I just wish our visits were more frequent than bi-yearly.

We went to Chop’t for lunch, dubbed by Amanda as the “Coldstone of salads”, which is so true. For those of you who have never frequented the restaurant, it is basically a massive salad bar, where you tell the people behind the counter what you want in your salad, they throw it all together, and go at it with a mezzaluna. The result is a very finely chopped salad with all sorts of delicious ingredients inside.

When I make my salads for lunch at work, it almost always goes like this:

  • 1/2 bag of TJ’s baby spinach
  • 1 chopped Roma tomato
  • 1 Persian cucumber
  • A sprinkle of feta cheese
  • Drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those salads just fine. I am a person of routine and rather enjoy eating the same foods ad nauseum. During my last trip to Trader Joe’s, I was walking down the canned foods aisle and decided to mix my salads up by adding some extra goodies to them. Last night’s dinner was one of my “upgraded” salads and it was so delicious.

IMG_1873[1]Along with the usual ingredients, I also added some cannellini beans, chopped dill pickle, and canned artichoke hearts. It’s amazing what a difference it made! These simple additions turned the salad from a usual humdrum meal to one with all sorts of unexpected flavors. The tang of the dill pickle and the texture of the artichoke really amped it up. Let that be a lesson to you (and me) that it doesn’t take drastic change to spice up something ordinary!

My ipsy package also came in the mail!

IMG_1870[1]Can’t get enough of their bright pink packaging.

Does anybody love packages in the mail as much as I do?

IMG_1871[1]This month’s bag included:

  • Josie Maran’s argan oil (retailed for $14 at Sephora – more than the cost of one entire Ipsy bag!)
  • Big Sexy Hair hairspray ($6 on Ulta)
  • Nailtini Straight Up Color in Bloody Mary ($13 on Nailtini)
  • SoHo crease brush ($8.99 on Soho Beauty)
  • Pacifica Blood Orange body butter ($7 on Pacifica Perfume)

If I had purchased all of these products individually, the package (that also comes with a cute little bag) would have been almost $50! How ridiculous is that? I love this because it means I get to try out different products without spending huge amounts of money. If I find a product I like, then I’m free to buy more it on my own.

One product I had never heard of was argan oil, so I looked into it before I put it on my body (the package says it can be used on your cuticles, your face, your hair, or your body – talk about versatile!).



Sephora had this to say:

“This 100% Pure Argan Oil is a legendary oil that’s rich in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, and grown organically in Morocco. With its multitasking benefits, Argan Oil can be used for many areas including hydrating and nourishing skin, as a daily moisturizer, skin treatment, treating spilt ends, and softening cuticles. It’s gentle enough to use on all skin types and is believed to help with skin conditions including acne. Argan Oil easily absorbs into skin to give you a youthful, dewy glow, and has astonishing healing, conditioning, and antiaging properties to keep your skin and hair nourished and revitalized and to keep you looking beautiful from head to toe.”

You learn something new every day!

I am totally a nude-colors girl when it comes to my nail polish, so I was pretty surprised to open the Nailtini box and find a bright red color.

IMG_1872[1]I am envious of my friend Allison, who received a nude color in her bag. I tend to stick with neutral colors just because they match everything, but this might force me to switch things up and wear some bright colors or maybe I will re-gift it to somebody.

On the books today is a lunch workout! I have really been digging this Cardio and Tone class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Not only do I get a huge wave of energy post-workout to power me through the afternoon, it leaves the evening open for anything that may come up. Today’s is my roommate’s 25th birthday, so we’re going out to dinner to celebrate! It’s nice to have that flexibility during the week, especially since early morning workouts don’t really seem to be on the horizon for me.

Wishing you a fabulous last couple of days leading into the weekend!





Tickle My Francey

21 Dec

The day is finally here! I only have to get through one more work day until I get to hop on a plane and go back to Seattle!!! I am really having a hard time containing my excitement, at this point. Before that though, Stef and I are meeting up with his cousin and girlfriend to go out to dinner and then go to Zoo Lights at Woodley Park Zoo. We are going to Medium Rare, which is supposedly a steakhouse that keeps bringing you steak. Um, what? The first thing my roommate said was, “you and Stef are going to do some serious damage at that place.”

He knows us well. Maybe it was because he watched me eat an army’s worth of roasted sweet potato medallions last night.


While those were baking, I made up a mini pizza with a piece of lavash bread. I topped it with some leftover pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese, then added artichokes and sun dried tomatoes for my own personal pizza.


Remember the cinnamon apple chips from the other night? I brought them in a Ziploc bag for lunch yesterday, along with a hummus vegetable wrap and lots of red grapes.

IMG_1667[1]It was a pretty tasty lunch and the wrap looked super fancy because I took the extra time to wrap it in parchment paper and aluminum foil, just like real food places do. I am really moving on up in the culinary world. It was funny how good it was, given that it was just my usual salad in wrap form. Still, nice change!

IMG_1669[1]I ate lunch at rapid speed and had time left over to walk over to a nearby salon and get a much-needed manicure. Most of the time I either paint my nails myself or, more commonly, not paint them at all, but they were very long and I panicked and didn’t know what to do with them, so I enlisted the help of a professional. It would have been awesome, had she not realized she had a waxing appointment with someone halfway through and left me to fend for myself. Seriously. All was going well until her appointment arrived and then she sped through the rest of my manicure, not even trimming my cuticles or bothering with any of the lotion on my hands. Then she turned on the fan, told me to dry my nails, and then left. What? $25 later, I think it’s worth contacting the salon. I’m not a confrontational person and I never complain about service anywhere, but I feel like it’s justified in this case.


Upside: the nail color I picked out is amaaaaazing! I love the color and the name, Tickle My Francey by OPI. I might have to buy it myself, which would bring my nail polish collection up to three. I’m so ladylike.


hours left until I am on a plane! I am definitely planning on unplugging when I am at home so you’ll have to excuse me if my posts are few and far between. No doubt, most of you will be spending time with your families and will be more removed from technology than usual, too. On that note, I want to wish everybody a very happy holiday! If you’re traveling, I hope you have a very safe trip. If you’re driving, please be careful! I know the storm is making the roads a little hard to navigate. Wishing you and all your loved ones a peaceful and blessed holiday. Much love from over here

Ipsy Glam Bags

12 Dec

When I got home from the gym last night, I was greeted by a bright pink package at my door.

IMG_1612[1]If you’re a regular reader, you know how excited I am about receiving mail and yesterday was no exception. Double excitement goes for the super cute packaging. The package was from a company called Ipsy, which is sort of like Birch Box. Ipsy is a beauty website, founded by Michelle Phan, a star in the beauty tutorial world on YouTube. She created Ipsy’s Glam Bags and each month, subscribers receive a Glam Bag filled with samples and full-sized beauty products that have been selected by Michelle and other Ipsy stylists. Members can watch and learn to apply the samples with Ipsy stylists online, who are using the same products that they are using.


The subscription is only $10/month and I was very curious, so I decided to sign up (you can cancel anytime!). I tore the package open when it arrived and inside a cute grey makeup bag were the following:

  • Mai Couture highlight papier
  • Be a Bombshell lip gloss
  • NYX loose pearl eyeshadow in sky pink pearl
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in black
  • Mirabella primer for face and eyes

Since the Urban Decay eye pencil is normally $19 (!) at normal retail price, this bag is a total money-saver for people who want to try out new makeup products. I will be honest with you – I don’t wear a lot of makeup, ever. My daily routine is eyeliner and mascara and on weekends, I don’t even manage that. I am hoping that getting these fun new things in the mail will encourage me to try something new and pretty myself up for a change!

I was not given free products for review or compensated in any way for this post – I just thought it might be a fun thing for people to try and wanted to let you know what my initial thoughts are!


Food For Thought: What is your makeup routine? Are there any beauty trends you have always wanted to try?

My goal is to master the daytime smokey eye. I’ve got it pretty well figured out for a more dramatic, night-time look, but I can’t seem to achieve a daytime palette. Any tips?

Happy Wednesday!

This has been on repeat for me all morning – enjoy, fellow boy band die-hards!

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