June 29, 2017

Perfect Mornings

I love getting a glimpse into people's normal lives. I think mornings are the most consistent time for most people. My morning routine is pretty locked in - only differing between weekdays and weekends for the most part. This account/hashtag will always be one of my favorite Instagram accounts because I love this glimpse.

Weekday Mornings:

The sun wakes me up in the summer and my alarm wakes me up in the winter. I prefer the sunshine.

This programmable coffee maker helps make life easy. We grind the beans and set up the coffee the night before, so it starts brewing right at 7:00.

There are 2 apps I dive into before starting work. The Skimm is usually first to find out if there's anything big I missed the day before (they have a free weekday newsletter plus an app - click here to sign up.) Next up is the NY Times crossword app to do the daily mini. It's usually less than a minute.

Sometimes I get sucked into all the social media, but some days I'm able to battle it until at least mid morning.

The bathroom routine is fairly simple because I don't go into an office currently. Teeth brushing, weighing myself, contacts in, this magical lotion (which I have an extra bottle of if someone wants to buy it before it is back in stock - let me know) and a spritz of this in my hair.

We trade off walking the dogs in the morning depending on schedules. Quincy is enjoys a longer morning walk so I usually turn on a podcast and enjoy a good stroll. Lola isn't a morning dog and just gets right to business outside. While walking the pups, I listen to either The Daily podcast or Up First from NPR.

Emails for work come next. There are usually a fair amount waiting for me from the night before.

We usually eat after getting catching up on emails in the AM. Weekday breakfast is usually Siggi's yogurt (Coconut is my favorite), a smoothie if there's stuff in the fridge we need to use or possibly a bagel and cream cheese.

Weekend Mornings:

I usually wake up pretty early on weekend mornings. Isn't it crazy how much easier it is to get up early on weekends vs. weekdays?

On Sundays, we grab the NY Times and sort through all the sections and learn weird stuff.

I like taking Quincy for a walk on the weekends. We call it a "choose your own adventure" walk and most of the time, I broadcast them on Instagram stories or Snapchat to entertain myself. I let Quincy pick which direction he'd like to walk. Sometimes, we go in a circle and sometimes, I eventually have to reel him in because I don't want to carry him home.

We use this espresso maker to make our coffee a little fancier since it is the weekend. We make the whole pot and then split it between two giant mugs with almond milk and a drizzle of goat's milk caramel from the Farmer's Market. It's amazing hot or cold.

Eggs are poached and whatever is in our fridge gets added to a sandwich or an omelette - usually it's veggies and cheese. Justin is an expert egg poacher. Maybe I'll get him to share his secret here soon.

While enjoying breakfast and fancy coffees, we either read or we watch "adult cartoons" which is usually just Trevor Noah or John Oliver or funny YouTube videos from the week.

Once all of these things are done, I toy with the idea of working out - sometimes it happens, but most of the time, I plot out our brunch/day drinking plans and take a quick shower.


I hope I'm always a morning person, because there's something so satisfying about having so many of my favorite things done by 10 AM and still realizing that I have a whole day ahead of me.

What's your morning routine? Are you a morning person?

June 27, 2017

Wonder Woman, Eye Cream & Other Recommendations

Here are some things that I've found or talked about in the last month that I need to show a little love on the blog today.

I watched the first few episodes of Handmaid's Tale last night and it is way more intense than I was ready for. I read the book in high school, but I don't remember it at all. I'm hooked now and will probably have the whole season wrapped up by the end of the week.

I purchased these Wonder Woman stamps from Amazon and it makes me want to send mail to everyone. Also, that movie. You should definitely add it to your list to see even if you aren't a super hero person. I laughed out loud, wanted to be an Amazonian bad ass and was thoroughly entertained the whole movie. I have been soooo over the superhero stuff, so I've decided this is the only one that people should see.

I got this After Sun spray and it has become my new favorite. I got a little red this weekend while playing outside and the fact that I could just spray this on and not have to touch my skin was wonderful, plus I woke up the next day with only a tiny pink and it felt much better.

I posted the picture below on Instagram yesterday because it was the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter. I finally dove into the new illustrated versions of the stories. They are releasing one each year. You can get the first one here on sale and the second one here. The Prisoner of Azkaban comes out on Oct 3 and I can't wait to finally own that story again. The illustrations are awesome. 

We made this recipe for Cauliflower Mac & Cheese last week and we ate the leftovers all week. It was a wonderful meal and reheated awesome. Anything that I can cook one day and eat multiple times throughout the week is a winner in my book. I'm working on a round up of our favorites for a meatless Monday post soon.

Last, but not least, I finally used up the Kiehl's eye cream we've used for the last two years and started on the Beautycounter Rejuvenating eye cream. I'm pretty loyal to my favorites, so I forget how noticeable it is when you try something new. I'm loving this stuff. 

For the next 3 Beautycounter orders over $75.00 placed using this link, I'm going to send you a free Protect Stick Sunscreen ($18 value). Email me if you have any questions.

That's it for today. I'm working on another round of Eurotrip vacation photos, so come back soon.

June 26, 2017

Summer Weekends in the City

I miss the days of weekend recaps. I would still do them every week, but I've been kind of bad about taking photos. Also, I'm a little out of habit of blogging on a consistent basis. The bummer about not doing it is that I have no way of documenting it. Here are some awesome weekend things that have happened recently:

Our favorite place has 16 oz beers to go now. That doesn't sound awesome, except that this bar has beers you can't really find anywhere and sometimes, you just want to be home in your pajamas drinking.

Drinking while shopping is always a great idea. We found the Chubbies store and the boys shopped for swim trunks while we drank beers and supervised. The amount of flamingos in that store made me happy.

I ate chicken & waffles at Sweet Chick. I always thought that would be impossible while not eating meat, but Sweet Chick has a Tempeh "chicken" so I got to dive in. Maybe it didn't taste like chicken, but it's been so long and it tasted so good. Plus, I'm a sucker for flavored butters.

We had some MN friends in town last weekend and they allowed us to follow them around for a whole day. We did a little Brooklyn eating and drinking and then a littles sight seeing. I had my first Momofuku Milk Bar experience. I love cereal in every dessert. I'm excited because we have a few more visitors on the calendar this summer which means more excuses to eat desserts.

We have been trying new places as much as possible. We play "pick a neighborhood and then try new places" game every weekend. It's the easiest game there is, but it's my favorite. The place above was called Pizza Beach which seems like a magical place. We had some good people watching from our patio spot - apparently we found the place people get rowdy during the day.

On Saturday, the rain went away late morning and we made the trek to Governor's Island - FINALLY. I've wanted to do this for years, but it always seemed hard to get to. Well, I regret not doing this sooner. It's such a cool place. You just jump on a $2 ferry from Wall Street and in 10 minutes, you are somewhere that seems so far from the city. With food trucks, beer gardens, big fields of grass and tons to do, it's the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon. We threw the frisbee and ran around in the grass barefoot - it was magical. We finally used this gem - totally worth the money and the confusion on how to blow it up.

Add all of that in with three weeks of no travel, late night Mac & Cheese, early AM coffee walks with the dogs and a few successful greenmarket trips and I would say this summer in the city is off to a pretty good start.

Have you ever visited New York in the summer? It can get a bad reputation of smelling bad, but there are so many redeeming qualities.

June 23, 2017

Summertime To-Do's

Summer has arrived. That means work is busy, I'm jealous of other people's "summer homes" and I'm in a constant conflict of loving summer and hating the concrete jungle heat of NYC. I've done this list for the last few years (2015 and 2016) and I've been about 80% successful.

1. Go to a Mets game

2. Visit at least 3 new brunch places. I have a list of awesome places in Brooklyn that are worth trying, so I'll have no problem coming up with ideas.

3. Play mini golf

4. Head to Coney Island for a day of fun

5. Get Vegetarian Chicken & Waffles from Sweet Chick. I know they exist thanks to this lovely blogger and I need them in my life ASAP.

6. An Epic Road Trip

7. Spend as much time on our tiny balcony as possible. The good news is that I'm writing this on the balcony.

8. US Open with my dad again. But this year, we are adding my godfather and my husband to the crew.

9. Outdoor concerts and movies. I want to take advantage of the millions of things to do outside in NYC in the Summer.

10. Make a West Coast appearance.

11. Enjoy some amazing summer desserts. Tipsy Scoop, Steve's Key Lime Pie, you know... the hot weather classics.

12. Visit at least one new brewery or winery. I've learned about so many small breweries in NYC that I was not aware of before.

13. Governor's Island. I'm putting this on the list for the 3rd year in a row, but this is optional. It would be a bonus.

So that's it for the big items. I also want to write down that I want my summer to include phone free weekends, sunsets on the rooftop, watermelon, popsicles, sparklers, rainy afternoons and checking books off the list. Also, Game of Thrones comes back mid July, so... winter will be upon us soon.

All in all, I would like this to be the most epic summer yet. Cheers.

Check out more Summer goals by clicking below:

Life According to Steph

June 20, 2017

Some Favorite Spring Moments

I created a Spring Bucket List and then never checked it after hitting publish. The funny thing about that is I didn't put anything on the list that wasn't already in my head, so I'm happy to report that we ended at 100%.

We saw the Cherry Blossoms in Prospect Park. We were also lucky enough to see them in our neighborhood. Clinton Hill is absolutely beautiful in the Springtime.

We strolled through Bed-Stuy, Bushwick and Boerum Hill exploring new fun spots and eating everything we found. We even wore matching outfits for our latest date night.

We went to Europe.

I had the best time in Asheville for Meredith's bachelorette party. We didn't sneak away any more, but at least we checked one thing off the list. Read the full recap here.

We spent many nights enjoying our balcony and also the rooftop.

I went to the library at least every other week and checked lots of new recipes off the list - plus we had some pretty hilarious at home date nights.

Plus, we watched two of our best friends get married, we hung out with some new friends, we saw the Yankees play the Red Sox, we went to the TriBeCa film festival and had one of my best friends come and visit.

And because I'm somehow on top of my game this time around, here is the collection of our Spring moments from this year.

If you've missed any of the previous seasons, you can subscribe to the Insert Classy Here channel on YouTube where you can also find our travel videos and maybe some other gems.

What was on your Spring Bucket List? Are you like me where you made a list and then never checked in on yourself? 

June 19, 2017

Band of Beauty Perks & a Special Deal

Beautycounter has a program called Band of Beauty which is a yearly membership. By joining, you receive deals on certain products, a free gift for joining, product credit and free shipping on orders over $100.  Today, I wanted to explain the program a little bit because they are doing something extra awesome this week.

Becoming a Band of Beauty member costs $29.00 for one year. When you sign up, you receive a free gift. Plus, every purchase you make in that year translates into 15% product credit. On top of that, you receive free shipping on any order over $100. It's a pretty good deal if you buy things 2-3 times a year because that product credit adds up.

The current deal they are running is the usual goods PLUS a huge discount on one of the best sellers, the Cleansing Balm. I've written about my love for that product here - it's good for a face cleanser, overnight treatment, makeup remover and sunburn treatment.

Today, you purchase $150.00 in product and add the membership $29.00, you will receive the free gift of Calendula Lip Conditioner (a $20 value).  Plus, if you add the membership to your cart, you will also receive the offer of the Cleansing Balm (normally $80) for $48 - it can be included in the $150 you spend. On top of the free gift and the great discount on one of the best sellers, you will also receive free shipping and 15% product credit on your next purchase.

I currently have $107 in my cart. I'm restocking on the Navy Color Outline Pencil, my favorite Color Shade Eye Duo of Pearl & Champagne, another bottle of the Protect All Over Sunscreen and the super popular (and back in stock) Protect Stick Sunscreen (for the face.)

Sign up to be a member here and start shopping.

Let me know if you have any questions. The deal on the cleansing balm is good until Friday unless the demand is extremely high.

Also, I was going to share the new Countermatch product that launched last week with Beautycounter, but they sold out in one day. I have one extra bottle if anyone is interested in getting their hands on it now. Also, if you want to try it first, I'm sending out samples this week. They are working to get the next batch prepared, but it might not be available until August. I used it yesterday and today and I'm already sold, but I'd love to send you some to try out. Just comment below!!

Tomorrow, I'm back with more shenanigans from life and maybe even a video.

June 15, 2017

Thursday Ramblings

Happy Thursday. Here's a random collection of things. 

1. I got a little carried away on my library holds again and I have a serious backlog. I need to probably spend about 8 hours reading tonight to catch up. That said, I'm almost done with this book and I wish I had a book club to discuss this with in person. I'm also reading this book at the same time because it's mostly just facts and I like reading non fiction and fiction at the same time. It gives me a little variety.

2. I ordered two more of these candles this week - this time we went with The Shire and Winterfell. They last for a long time and they are all book themed. Plus, they are made by a small shop in Minnesota. I'm a huge fan.

3. It's Beautycounter new product launch day. They are continuing to expand their offerings and this new product is definitely innovative. It's called Countermatch and it adjust hydration levels throughout the day using a Bio-Mimic technology - plus it doesn't have the silicones and synthetic polymers that many lotions have. You can purchase it right here. If you are interested in sampling it first, let me know. I'm heading to the post office tomorrow and I'm sending out some sample kits. 

4. I need to be talked out of ordering these ice cube trays. I mean, flamingos + rubber ice cube trays (which are SO MUCH BETTER THAN PLASTIC).

5. Things we googled last night: Hasidic Judaism, Dog Ice Cream, Christopher Guest and Equador. Whenever we take long walks, we tend to have some pretty random conversation topics. The good news is that we learn a ton of random information.

6. If you are dying to see more vacation pictures, I posted Munich in One Day on the Tumbling Nomad and you can check it out. I love Germany.

That's all I got today. My brain is stuffed full of work. Hope you have a wonderful day.

June 14, 2017

Some Confessions and Tacos

The hot, smelly weather has arrived. Work has never been busier. I have to fight the pissy mood more than usual. I figured I should probably confess some things and lighten my load.

We ate tacos 4 times last week. We had chickpea tacos, cauliflower tacos, tacos from Habana Outpost and fish tacos from an awesome place in Bed Stuy. Also, we ate cheese quesadillas one night. Not sorry. I'm already planning my next taco meal.

As a proper follow up to the first one, I have gained some weight over the last few weeks. I'm blaming vacation and all the fondue and beer... but also the summer weather that brings patio drinking, all the outdoor food markets and laziness. I showed my face in the gym yesterday for the first time in weeks and we meal planned this week again. As long as I'm aware of the crap I'm eating, I'm able to keep it in check. I've just ignored it all the last few weeks.

I get mad every day when I don't get picked for the Hamilton Lottery. I know the chances are slight, but it always feels like my day.

My desk is extremely messy and out of control right now. It makes me mad every day when I'm looking for things, but I haven't taken the time to sit down and clean it out. I know some people say "messy" and you roll your eyes, but I can't even open the drawer of my IKEA desk without things falling out the back. It's a disaster. Reminder: I work from home so having a messy desk is just escalating my pissy attitude.

We listen to the Moana soundtrack more than two adults should.

I ordered a wine delivery. I always said I wouldn't cave, but after enough flyers in the mail with discount codes, I figured I would restock using one of them. Holy crap. The nice young man showed up at my door 35 minutes later with a bunch of wine and it was cheaper than the wine store (only because of the discount.) Now, I'm tempted to see what other discounts I've been passing up.

My husband has been scolding every person that isn't using the brown composting bins correctly in our neighborhood and I just stand back and giggle.

We spent three hours last night working on a puzzle of our own faces we got for our birthdays, drinking wine and having a full on dance party. Nights like these happen often in our house and I love it.

I have been kind of sucking it up on my Beautycounter business recently. I love sharing things, but I haven't really done any reach out. They do have an amazing new product launching this week, so I'll be sharing that here. If anyone is interested in earning some free and half off products, let me know and we can set you up with a social. We can do a spa night with samples or an easy online event that you can share with anyone. Just email me or comment below. Also, if there's anything you want to try, I'm happy to send out some samples. I'm doing a post office run on Friday, so let me know before then.

We are keeping a secret from the internet and it feels dirty. I'll share soon and no, I'm not pregnant because that seems like the one thing everyone will assume.

I already need another vacation and it's only been three weeks.

Also, a blogger I've followed since the beginning of time shared this post yesterday which inspired me to add funny random photos of tacos and confess things. I miss old blogging. I miss reading random shit people just want to put out into the universe. I'm going to try and do more of it. Plus, a while back, there was a google form on this blog and I have the most awesome list of bloggers that I still haven't shared. It's coming. Go fill it out if you haven't done so already by clicking here because why not? It's free press for you AND you get to pimp out one of your favorite blogs.

Send help in the form of tacos, sangria and vacation days. Also, tell me what you have to confess.

June 13, 2017

Stepping into a Fairytale

People have been asking since we returned what my favorite part of the trip was, but that's always hard to answer. I will say that this town is one I will never forget and I'm so happy that we made the last minute add (thanks Helene for your vote for this town.) This is a collection of pictures from our one night in Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber (which means Red Fortress above the Tauber) is located on the Romantic Road in Bavaria. We flew into Munich and the next afternoon, we drove about 2 hours to this little town. Driving in not encouraged once inside the town walls, so we were extremely pleased that our hotel offered to take care of our car for us. 

We spent the evening walking through the narrow streets, eating amazing food, drinking cold beers and taking in the scenes. During the day, lots of tour buses roll into town and the streets are quite busy, but once 5:00 rolls around, they will leave and you will have a much quieter town to explore. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows was filmed here and they say that Pinocchio was inspired by this town.

We found the famous "crooked house" and the beautiful town square. We dined on the beautiful patio at Der Reichsk├╝chenmeister. We enjoyed local beers, a special flatbread pizza and some amazing pesto pasta. We spent the golden hour walking around the town and enjoying the quiet streets. We stopped in an Inn near the town square for a couple pints of local beer and met some wonderful people. Our server was from Scotland and was teaching us the main phrases we would need to get us through the next week - the things they don't teach you in high school language class. It was great.

We got up early the next morning to explore the town before the buses returned. It was just us and it was magical. We climbed the town wall and got a rooftop shot. We walked the perimeter of the city and discovered the Castle Gardens - which SHOULD NOT be missed. The views were unbelievable.

We stayed at the Romantic Hotel Markusturm and we loved it. They upgraded us to a room on the top floor. It's a smaller hotel with tons of history. The staff was amazing. We loved that we were up so early to walk around that we had to lock the door behind us. It's just so different from anything we've ever stayed in back in the US. We loved it.

Have you ever been to a fairy tale town? Tell me about it because I want to visit all of them.

June 6, 2017

Love Letters to NYC: Vol 3

After a wonderful sunny weekend, I'm back with another round of love letters to this magical place - even though the weather is chilly again and the clouds are back.

Rose bushes - I didn't think anything could be better than the tulips and the spring blossoms and then the roses bloomed all over the place. They are every different color and they are wonderful.

Smorgasburg - Just the variety of food available at this weekend festival is insanely impressive. I ate more of the pasta donuts because duh. There was also pupusas from El Salvador, tacos and brunch on a stick.

Tiny cocktail bars - We had a date night Friday night in our neighborhood and we were finally able to try The Mayflower. If you are looking for a great cocktail, this bartender delivers. She just asked what kind of cocktails we usually like and then she mixed up different things that were amazing. Plus, she lit things on fire while pouring cocktails so it was entertaining on top of the good tastes.

Clinton Hill - Our neighborhood is just wonderful. The amount of small restaurants and cocktail bars in our neighborhood is perfect. The places are each so different. The place pictured below is inside an old drug store. The wine lists are printed on wine bottles, the food was good, the dessert was mind blowing and the service was fantastic. We had a gift card from my parents from Christmas, so we were so excited to finally check it out. So many of these places are on our list to check out.

Constant reminders of happy - When Quincy and I take our long walks on weekend mornings, I am always on the lookout for new little words of encouragement and happiness. I loved this one from our Monday morning walk. This effort is beautiful. I can't get enough of them.

Breakfast delivery - Not sure if anyone saw my Instagram story on Sunday, but I woke up really hungry but didn't want to get out of my pajamas. For some reason, all I wanted was french toast and a smoothie. I opened Seamless and the VERY first restaurant I looked at had both of those things (and the avocado egg sandwich we split). I was so proud of myself all day long.

Buildings - After being in Europe, it's hard not to pay more attention to the buildings around you. Our country isn't as old as the countries in Europe, so the architecture is so different in certain areas. As beautiful as I think the old towns were in the Alps, I also found myself more in love with the brownstones in Brooklyn and uptown and the beautiful apartments in downtown Manhattan.

The Skyline - Another thing I noticed in Europe was the definite lack of tall buildings in the cities we visited. I love that they have restrictions on those things - especially in Munich where the two domed towers will always be at the top. But, I also love the ever growing skyline of the city. It's best viewed from the plane when you are landing.

Two Hour Unlimited Drinks - This really shouldn't be a thing. I've watched grown men be carried out of restaurants at 1 PM thanks to the unlimited drinks, but as long as you're a responsible adult (and classy like myself), you just view this as a good deal and don't take advantage of your liver. We enjoyed brunch on a rooftop last weekend and got a really good deal on the drinks. I love a good deal.

Mayors & Governors in the US Climate Alliance - Thankfully, our city and state have joined this bipartisan group of leaders around the country to uphold their parts of the Paris Agreement. If yours hasn't done the same, make sure to reach out. If you are still trying to figure out what the Paris Agreement is, check out this post that Justin wrote to help outline just what it is.

That's all for this week. We have so many fun NYC things planned in the next few weeks, so I'm already looking forward to writing Volume 4. Tell me one thing you love about your city.