April 19, 2015

Lilly for Target: Why Less is More

Yes, I was one of those suckers who had a big heart encircling the Lilly for Target launch date yesterday. I perused the look book weekly, adding and deleting favorites from my wish list. I set a budget. I asked friend for their opinions on what to keep and what to cut. By some weird burst of adrenaline, I was online at 3am EST when the collection went live. 
Dream come true? Not so much. 
The website wouldn't allow me to actually add anything to my cart, so after fifteen minutes of fruitlessly pushing "refresh" I gave up and went to bed. I got up early, planning to hit up a suburban Target on my way to Montessori training. I arrived at 7:30am to find this snaking around the building:

So I waited. In the rain. I chatted with some lovely people and let one stand with me under my umbrella, thinking it would bring me good Lilly karma. If by "good Lilly karma" I meant no one punched me in the face or stepped on my foot that hard, then it totally worked. 
It.was.crazy. The second the doors opened, people were sprinting across the store, filling up carts with everything they could hold in their arms. I was lucky enough to snag the scarf in Nosie Posie (above: bottom row, middle) before the shelves were completely empty. No joke, the shelves were clear at 8:05. I went ahead and checked out with my scarf in my hand and my dignity intact. 
Because, let's be real: if you're sprinting across a Target for some $12.99 glasses, you need to:

 And get it the hell together. Sure, we were all excited. But running? Honey, not unless I'm being chased. 
Mostly, I'm completely disgusted at the greed of people who got themselves into line first in order to resell their finds on eBay. As of Sunday afternoon, there were more than 8,000 Lilly for Target items listed for sale. Ugh. What's the point of having "affordable" Lilly clothes if people are going to resell a $38 for $100+? Lilly shifts aren't much more than that anyways. 
Lilly Pulitzer may be expensive, but it brings me a lot of joy when I wear it, and I only own a few special pieces that I associate with special memories: graduations, weddings, Easters. I consider myself a savvy Lilly shopper, either hitting up the twice-yearly sales or asking for gift cards for Christmas and birthdays. So maybe it's more than I'm disgusted with myself for participating in this. To me, one of the benefits of buying Lilly is the pleasure of going to the store, seeing all of the beautiful designs, and choosing the perfect piece for what I need. Not exactly the same as watching Tammy Sue from down the street toss fifteen shift dresses in her cart and run over ten people on her way to the home section. 
In retrospect, I'm glad I walked away with only one thing. I can't wear regular Lilly scarves since they're made of silk (i.e., not vegan), so this is truly an item I couldn't buy at full price. And instead of having a pile of clothes I don't need and can't afford, I have one precious piece to treasure and wear as long as it lasts. 
And that, my friends, is how we (real) Lilly girls do it. 

April 10, 2015

Friday Favorites: Staycation Style

I've been in a Spring Break state of mind this week, but here are five things that made this week wonderful. 

1. Easter in Atlanta
Patrick and I headed to Hotlanta last weekend to celebrate Easter with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. My cousin Paige was confirmed the Episcopal church, making it all the more special. Cousin time rocks. (Shout out to my bro in Portland: we missed you!) 
cousin time
2. Whitewater Center x 2
I'm already putting that annual pass to good use. Luckily, a few of my work buddies are also pass holders, which means they also have nothing better to do on a spring break Monday than drink beer and go whitewater rafting (not in that order). Unfortunately, the stranger who I asked to take a pic made it rather blurry...perhaps she had had a few brews herself?

3. Books, books, books
Duh. Waking up with no alarm, then sipping coffee with a great beach read? Done. Mid-day library runs where I get as many books as I can carry? Done and done. 

4. Date night with my man
In the spirit of my New Year's resolutions, I'm trying to break out of my rut. Snagging tickets to the opening night of Charlotte's minor league baseball team is a step in the right direction. It also helped that we ran into a friend who brought us down to his seats right.behind.home.plate. It's all about who you know, people. 

5. Staycationing
No surprise here: I'm a homebody. And after a crazy few months of new job, multiple moves, and Montessori training, it feels great to wake up in my own bed, piddle around my apartment, head down to the pool, and just relax in general. I've met up with friends for walks and coffee, shopped, read, paddleboarded, and napped. And it's been glorious. 

Happy Friday loves! 

April 2, 2015

21 Days of Food Babe, Day 2: Be a Lean, Green, Drinking Machine

A healthy habit that involves eating? Sign me up. 

For real, y'all. 

For Day 2 of The Food Babe Way, Vani's instructions are simple: whip up a smoothie or juice made primarily of greens, with a little fruit and protein thrown in for fun. (By "fun" I mean "so it doesn't taste like you're downing straight kale".)

Since a juicer isn't in my budget, I chose the smoothie route. I tend to be good about making these during the months when fresh fruit abounds, but tend to get bored by the end of the season.  Food Babe helped remind me why they're so important: besides giving you a mega dose of antioxidants and other nutrients, they also help to detox the body, regulate body weight, and make the skin glow. 

Again, I get this from eating? Holla. 

Around the time I was starting this habit, vegan protein company Sunwarrior sent me a few of their products to review. Among them were the Classic Protein Powders in Chocolate and Vanilla, Warrior Blend Protein in Chocolate and Vanilla, and Ormus Super Greens.


get on my insta

My daily smoothie has been similar to the one above, with only slight changes in the fruit based on what's on sale that week (ka-ching!). The basics are this: vegan protein, a handful of organic kale or spinach, frozen berries, a banana, a splash of almond milk, and go. 

As someone who's tried a fair share of vegan protein powders, I can honestly say Sunwarrior's compete for top placement. Not too sweet, no chalky texture, no weird aftertaste. And it kept me full past lunchtime. Check, check, double check. Patrick loved it as well and even stole a few packets for his morning protein shakes. (Rude.) 

 Note: this smoothie was not made with chocolate milk and/or protein powder. That would have made it purple. Vanilla all the way here.

I've found that these smoothies keep me satiated through the morning, and are great to enjoy whether I'm kicking back or on the go. Win win, people.

For more information about the benefits of green smoothies and juices, check out The Food Babe Way !

21 Days of Food Babe Checklist
I drank my morning green drink 

Note: I was sent products from Sunwarrior in exchange for a review, but opinions are my own. I am not affiliated with the Food Babe, but just think her book is awesome and want to share the wealth. 

April 1, 2015

21 Days of Food Babe: Day 1

Reading The Food Babe Way has significantly changed many of my eating and lifestyle habits in a short period of time. By the end of winter, we all probably feel bloated, sluggish, and generally icky and I was no different. I figured I had nothing to lose by adopting a few of the habits she recommends, and boy was I right. (I love that feeling.)

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so here we are. Day 1, Step 1: Cleanse each morning with lemon water. 

I've posted previously about this lemon-cayenne concoction, but this is the first time I've stuck with the habit for more than a week or so. The basics are this: I wake up each morning, cut up an organic lemon, juice it in that pretty little stainless steel juicer you see in the picture, then pour it into a glass of filtered water. Then goes two shakes of cayenne, and a stir with a reusable straw and I'm good to go. 

Besides being simply refreshing, lemon water is touting for its ability to alkalinize the body, give the body a hefty dose of vitamin C, and improve digestion. I grew up drinking water with a squeeze of lemon for the flavor, so it also just tastes great. Food Babe also claims that it begins a super detox of your liver, which I obviously after mucho margarita consumption. Since being a teacher doesn't exactly lend itself to drinking water (aka you never sit down or go to the bathroom), I've really appreciated how this has started off my day with a little hydration. On the days I workout in the mornings, I mix this up in my Klean Kanteen and sip it on my drive to the studio. I figure lemon water + barre/yoga is just like a liver detox party, right? 


Let's recap: Drink this every morning, enjoy it, feel great. 

Would you make it a habit to drink lemon water every morning? 

21 Days of Food Babe Checklist: 
 I drank my morning lemon water

Further reading: 

I am not affiliated with the Food Babe, but just think her book is awesome and want to share the wealth. 

March 27, 2015

Friday Favorites

1. Birthday

This one's probably pretty obvious. But it felt great to have a birthday roll around where my life finally feels settled. I have a job and man that I love, friends I adore, and a dream apartment. Life is great. 

2. Lilly for Target Lookbook

I just...can't even. All the things, please and thank you. 

3. Starbucks...whenever I want it. 

Patrick and I stumbled upon this gem the other day in our apartment's clubroom. It's a Starbucks coffee machine that grinds your cup fresh. For free. Whenever you want it. Looks like my eternal goal to reduce caffeine will have to wait for 2016. 

4. Cafe Mochas

Little people presents on Christmas and birthdays are the best. Especially homemade, super thoughtful gifts like this one from my third-grader Bella:

Chocolate for my coffee? The girl knows me too well. 

5. Vegan cooking class with my man.

In an attempt to break out of the rut, Patrick was sweet enough to buy us a cooking class from Beverly's Gourmet Foods here in Charlotte. Besides being something new and different, the food was absolutely delicious and I walked away with a bunch of new tips and tricks for vegan cooking. (More to come in another post!)

I could have posted a hundred things to love about this week, but these were certainly the highlights. Hope yours was lovely as well. 

Cheers to Friday! 

March 26, 2015

29 and Feelin' Fine

I celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday on Monday, with smashing success. My kiddos at school had been begging for a pajama day (literally just a day when you wear your pjs to school) since Christmas break, but I wasn't about to let them do something like that before any sort of major holiday. Special events + breaks in routine = my sweet angels morphing into wild beasts intent to destroy me.

You think I'm kidding. 

But on a random Monday in March? Why the heck not. Plus, waking up on Monday and asking yourself which sweatpants you're going to wear is pretty sweet. Birthday-level sweet, in my opinion. (Also sweet? When a lovely third grader brings you pink vegan cupcakes she made…from one of your Pinterest boards. Real life.)

 my pint-sized coworkers
Being the smart man that he is, Patrick made me a great dinner, then gifted me with a Lilly gift card, which I literally spent the next day: 

captiva tunic in get spotted

pink + lions = phi mu heaven
#done. Since one of my 2015 Resolutions was to get outside, I asked for (and got!) an annual pass to the U.S. National Whitewater Center, which means I'll be spending my summer paddleboarding, hiking, zip lining, and white water rafting. Holla.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Cheers to 29!

March 18, 2015

Vegan Travel: Airport Survival

I wish I could tell you that my travel bag was impossibly glamorous and full of things like Evian water "for hydrating" my skin, but let's be real. Ain't nobody got time for that. After years of being a complete idiot when it comes to traveling, I may be getting the hang of this whole airport thing. Rather than shell out a ton of cash for things I could easily bring myself, I've figured out a system that will get me to my destination hydrated, full, and with happy feet. Below are the five things I was smart enough to bring on my recent trip to Watercolor that helped me arrive "stunning and impossibly fresh-looking", a la Carrie Bradshaw. 

almond butter // klean kanteen

   nakd bars // layla sneaker

Those little packets of pretzels flight attendants hand out may feed a supermodel for the day, but they sure ain't gonna tide me over. Since few restaurant options (if there are any) offer vegan protein sources, I toss an apple and a pack of almond butter into my backpack for insurance. While I'm not the biggest fan of just squeezing almond butter into my mouth, desperate times call for desperate measures (unless you want to try to get a knife through TSA, which could significantly slow your progress). 

Seriously the best purchase I've ever made. On my recent trip to Watercolor, I poured my morning smoothie into it to sip on the way to the airport. Once there, I rinsed it out in a restroom sink, carried it empty through TSA, then filled it at these handy dandy water bottle refill stations that are everywhere in the Charlotte and Atlanta airports. I've never been so hydrated on a trip, and I could definitely tell an improvement in my energy when I go off the plane in Florida. Added bonus: no plastic water bottles heading towards landfills. #winning.

I tossed a few of these nakd bars in my Louis Vuitton backpack in case my stomach started grumbling at 30,000 feet. Since I'm also trying to cut down on junk food consumption, I skipped the chips and pretzels from fast food places and had these as a nice after-meal treat instead. 

Leopard print + comfort. What more could I ask for? Since scoring these at Target a few weeks ago I've worn them to work everyday (literally), and they easily slipped on and off for TSA screenings. They were also super cushy as I walked all over the Atlanta airport trying to find vegan options for lunch. And since airplanes always seem to blast icy air right on my feet, they kept me warm and cozy en route. Catch them while they're still on sale for $13.49!

I was also able to scope out a rather healthy airport restaurant in the Atlanta airport:

They had veggie wraps with hummus on the menu, and were super nice when I asked for no cheese. 


What are your travel essentials?


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