My Kind of Town- Chicago Weekend Recap Part One

First off my apologies for the recent radio silence. Due to some seriously bad travel karma (re: many flight delays and cancellations) our quick weekend in Chicago was extended by two extra days. I learned quite a bit about coping with travel interruption and am excited to share new travel tips tomorrow!

Although the loooong trip home was stressful, the actual weekend was quite fun. We got to see friends, eat amazing food and even check out the Chicago Green Festival- a green living expo at Navy Pier.

On Friday night we had dinner with friends at Karyn’s on Green, Karyn Calabrese’s fine dining vegan restaurant. I have read about Karyn’s mini vegan empire in Chicago and was very excited to try her crown jewel. As I have mentioned before I am not always the biggest fan of specifically vegan restaurants. Many of them tend to skew towards “faux food” or “vegan junk food. I eat a plant based diet because I adore vegetables, so they last thing I want is a vegetable in disguise as a burger/chicken wing etc. As a rule I stay away from any faux meats, or tofu as they are just too processed for my taste.

At Karyn’s on Green I was able to find a number of simple, vegetable centric dishes that suited my tastes. I also appreciated that on the menu each item was marked (R) raw, (GF) gluten free, (SF) soy free, or (NF) nut/seed free. It certainly saved me a lot of time when deciding what to order!

We started our meal off with an Aged Raw Cheese Plate with wild arugula, white balsamic, and kiwi relish for the table. These nut cheeses were really excellent, and somehow lighter than any nut cheese I have had before.

I always work greens into my meal so for my appetizer I had  the Kale Slaw with red cabbage, apple, cashew, and sesame vinaigrette. It was a lovely, tangy take on a kale salad. I especially liked the addition of cabbage to the mix.

For my entree I had  the Portobello Steak with braised dandelion and a tempranillo reduction. This may have been one of the most flavorful roasted Portobello’s I have ever eaten. The red wine reduction made it incredibly juicy. I have big plans to try this one at home.  

One unexpected item on the menu was a shot of digestive enzymes. I loved how they came served in a champagne flute! Elegant and good for you! Here’s an idea: all restaurants that serve cooked and hard to digest food should offer digestive enzymes on the menu for their guests. Hey, a gal can dream!

Overall I enjoyed my experience at Karyn’s on Green. We were slightly disappointed that due to an earlier power outage in the kitchen most of the desert menu was unavailable. I would have loved to have tried the Sweet Pea ice cream!

Saturday day was spent browsing the Green Festival. There was so much goodness to be had there I am saving it for it’s own post. Stay tuned!

Saturday afternoon my friend Cari, a newly minted Chicago resident, took me to check out Peeled  one of Chicago’s few juice bars. Peeled offers juices and raw foods as well as cleanses. I was hoping to pick up some Norwalk pressed juice to go for the following morning. Sadly, they explained to me that the Norwalk juices are made to order for their cleanse clients. I guess Chicago is not quite New York with it’s the grab-and-go pressed juice options.

I was in the mood for a green smoothie so I ordered the Green Day Live- a blend of greens, celery, green apple juice, avocado, lemon, parsley and a pinch of himalayan sea salt. It was quite tart from the lemon and green apple juice, but I really enjoyed it. I rarely find a green smoothie that I do not like!

Sadly, most of Sunday and Monday were spent at O’Hare trying to get home to New York. However, Tuesday morning I discovered Protein Bar, a “high protein food and drink bar” near our hotel. Most of the items on their menu were not for me. Too much protein powder and “boosts” for my taste. But they had a juice bar!!! I got Doug and I each a Hi-5 and a Market to help us prepare for the journey home.

While making my way out of Protein Bar I noticed this sign on the napkin dispenser. I could not agree more! 100 calories of Oreos and 100 calories of avocado are not created equal at all!

Spring Beauty Trends- Orange Story

I loved orange long before Pantone named Tangerine Tango the Color of the Year. It’s fun, vibrant, happy and poppy. I love it so much that my entire office is orange (with hints of cream, brown, purple and pink), and one of the main decor colors for my wedding was orange. Like I said, I love orange.

For this spring beauty look green beauty goddess Rebecca Casciano showed me how you can use one color palette on eyes, cheeks and lips without being monotone or boring. I love how this look really made my eyes and lips pop! I can see myself recreating it (it’s so easy) on many a spring and summer day.

Our runway inspiration:

Orange Story

Get the Look 

Using your finger tips or a foundation brush, apply foundation (RMS beauty Un-Cover Up) to the face and blend evenly. For under eye discoloration, apply a small amount of concealer (Tarte Dark Circle Defense) directly to the area with your finger tip or a concealer brush. Powder (with Alima Pure Satin Finishing Powder) to set and minimize shine, if desired.

Fill in your existing brow shape lightly with a brow pencil (Shoba Brow Pencil). Choose a shade or two lighter than your brow color. Using a brow groomer, brush through color to soften.

Apply a neutral eyeshadow like Nvey Eco Organic Eye Shadow 168 as a base all over the lid, from lash line to brow bone.

With a fluffy blending brush, add a peachy eyeshadow such as Nvey Eco Organic Eye Shadow 169 to the crease of the eyelid.

Curl lashes with a lash curler and add a few coats of black mascara (100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara) to top and bottom lashes.

Using clean fingertips or a foundation brush, apply a cream blush like Revolution Organics Freedom Beauty Balm in Sun-Kissed, to the cheekbone and blend to soften.

For longer wear, apply a light dusting of a powder blush in a similar shade, such as 100% Pure Blush in Mimosa.

On lips, go for a rich, poppy color like Nvey Eco Advanced Care Lip Color in 360 or Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip Stain in Jive.

Colors used on Sara: RMS beauty Un-Cover Up in 22Tarte Dark Circle Defense in LightShoba Brow Pencil in EarthNvey Eco Organic Eye Shadow 168 and 169, 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea, Revolution Organics Freedom Beauty Balm in Sun-KissedNvey Eco Advanced Care Lip Color in 360.

New Video- How to Make Almond Milk

Did you know that almond milk sales in the U.S hit $281.7 million dollars last year? That’s a lot of nuts!

I am thrilled that America is getting away from hormone and antibiotic laden, mucus forming dairy milk. However, I have to say I am not entirely thrilled with the almond milk options found at most stores. Drinking almond and other alternative milks is meant to be a step towards good health. That step becomes very small when mass produced, commercial almond milk is pasteurized and made with processed sugars, stabilizers and preservatives that render it virtually nutrition-less. It’s still far better than cow’s milk though. That stuff is for baby cow’s, not adult people!

Recently, I have found one amazing, organic, preservative free nut milk on the market. It’s called OMilk and it is the best! Creamy, slightly sweet, and made with zero gross ingredients. I love it so much that I am hosting an OMilk tasting party with the founders Julie and Greg in a few weeks. Stay tuned for a recap and interview! For now, OMilk is only available in NYC via delivery or at Dean and Deluca. Great for me, not so great for the rest of the country. If you are in the NYC area I encourage you to try some OMilk YESTERDAY. You will thank me.

Until OMilk takes the nut-milk drinking world by storm I wanted to share with you an easy way to make your own almond milk at home. This recipe is very basic. I left it unflavored and un-sweetened so it could be used in both sweet and savory recipes. If you plan on drinking your almond milk straight from a glass I highly suggest adding a little liquid stevia and cinnamon for flavor. Or keep it as is and use it to make my favorite everyday smoothie!

Click here for my latest video, How To Make Almond Milk.

 

Luxury on the Riviera Maya- Our Wedding in CeciStyle

My friend Ceci Johnson is a true artist. As the founder of Ceci New York, a luxury invitation and design company she lends her inspired hand to everything she touches. I was lucky enough to work with Ceci while planning our wedding last February. She designed our fun Save the Dates (featuring a photo Doug took), our stunning invitation suite, our wedding programs and more. She also created a beautiful and meaningful ketubah for us that now hangs in our bedroom.

This week, our wedding is the subject and inspiration of Ceci New York’s CeciStyle magazine. Each week, CeciStyle shares Ceci’s latest passions and discoveries, not just in invitations, but also in the worlds of art and design, entertaining, fashion, beauty, home décor, travel and more—as well as expert advice and insights—via visually compelling editorial features, inspiration boards, and Q&A’s.

Click here to take a look at this week’s issue all about luxury on the Riviera Maya. You will even see a recipe by your’s truly!

If you love all things style and design like I do I highly encourage you to subscribe to CeciStyle. Your inbox will thank me!





04/30
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Coconut Lime Mousse

Over the weekend I was inundated by thoughts of citrus-y desserts. First, a girlfriend of mine texted asking if I had ever attempted “my version” of a lemon bar. I replied “not yet”  and then spent a great deal of saturday and sunday formulating a plan of attack for said bars. Notes were taken, lists were made, wheels were set in motion. Stay tuned.

Then, on Saturday evening I was at Organic Avenue and picked up a slice of Rockin Raw’s Key Lime Pie. It was creamy, sweet, tart and not too dense. Sadly I devoured it long before I could snap a picture. Soo good!

While my vegan, sugar free, grain free lemon bars are still a work in progress I did manage to create this quick and easy Coconut Lime Mousse. I like to think of it as a mini, crustless key-lime pie. Sadly, I could not find actual key limes anywhere but regular limes did the job just fine. This sweet treat is not only delicious but is loaded with good for you healthy fats! I made mine in small ramekins but they would also look gorgeous in wine glasses as the final course of a dinner party!

Coconut Lime Mousse

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp coconut butter
  • 1 tsp liquid stevia
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • unsweetened shredded coconut
  1. Combine all ingredients except the shredded coconut in a Vitamix or high speed blender until smooth
  2. Divide the mousse between four ramekins or small dishes
  3. Top with shredded coconut
  4. Place in fridge for about 30 minutes to chill and set

 

04/27
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Miso Roasted Asparagus

While today’s chilly weather is deceiving, spring is definitely here. Local, organic apples and pears are nowhere to be found and are starting to be replaced (slowly) with asparagus, fiddleheads, rhubarb, and the coveted ramps. While I adore my kale salads and roasted root veggies, I am excited to start adding some lighter, springy produce into my menu rotation. Before you know it will be blueberry season. Yes! Note: I have been known to eat a pint of blueberries a day in July and August.

This week I have been lucky enough to spend several nights at home making dinner. As much as I love socializing with friends sometimes nothing makes me happier than a simple meal that I can eat in my sweats while watching my newest TV obsession, Revenge. Have you seen it? All I can say is that I must be doing something wrong when I am in the Hamptons. My summers are NEVER that dramatic! Who has time for drama when their are blueberries to be eaten?!

Last night for dinner I experimented with a new asparagus dish that is now certain to go into heavy rotation in my kitchen. The sweet, garlicky miso marinade is delicious when roasted. Enjoy!

Miso Roasted Asparagus

  •  1 bunch asparagus ( about 12 spears)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T sweet miso paste
  • 1T tamari or nama shoyu
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T water
  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Snap ends off of asparagus
  3. Place asparagus on a baking sheet lined with foil
  4. In a Vitamix or high speed blender combine the garlic, miso, tamari, sesame oil and water
  5. Drizzle the marinade over the asparagus. Toss asparagus on baking sheet so all spears are evenly coated.
  6. Roast for 30 mins or until tips are just crispy and asparagus browns slightly
Spring Beauty Trends

In my office there is always a small (ish) stack of dog-eared fashion magazines. I love reading up on the seasons latest trends. Neons! Pastels! Color blocking! Florals! Oh my.

However, the back pages of these magazine where the makeup and beauty trends live usually remain fold free. When it comes to my makeup I have a pretty basic and quick daily routine. Light foundation, under eye concealer, blush, mascara, lipgloss. Done. If I want to get fancy I will add an eyeliner and shadow for nighttime but that is about the extent of it.

Recently I have felt the desire to branch out with my makeup looks. So, I had my friend green beauty goddess Rebecca Casciano come over to play with some spring beauty trends. Using all green, natural products we re-created some of the hottest looks from the runways. Being me, I made her promise to keep it simple so I could handle it myself when she was not there to get me glam.

The first look we played with was a bold brow paired with a sporty cheek as inspired by these runway shots:


Rebecca shared step by step tips and product recommendations on how to get this look yourself. It is fun, fresh, and super simple!

Stay tuned for more spring beauty trend how to’s in the coming weeks!

Bold Brow paired with Sporty Cheek

Get The Look

Using your finger tips or a foundation brush, apply RMS beauty Un-Cover Up to the face and blend evenly. For under eye discoloration, apply a small amount of Tarte Dark Circle Defense directly to the area with your finger tip or a concealer brush. Powder with Alima Pure Satin Finishing Powder to set and minimize shine, if desired.

Fill in existing brow shape, or make it bold by lining just outside your existing shape with a Shoba Brow Pencil. Using a brow groomer, brush through color to soften. Make your own brow setting gel with a bit of aloe vera gel on a clean mascara wand. Brush through to keep brow hairs in line.

Using a pencil brush, define eyes with a earth-toned eyeshadow by Jane Iredale across the top and lower lash line. Curl lashes with a lash curler (highly recommend Shu Uemura) and add a few coats of 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara to top and bottom lashes.

For the “sporty” cheek, apply Living Nature Bronze Pressed Powder on cheekbones and blend towards hairline with a soft, fluffy blush brush. The idea is to create a sun-kissed, slightly contoured look.

On lips, apply a Fruit Pigmented Lip Creamstick from 100 Percent Pure  for a subtle, semi-matte look.

Colors used on Sara: RMS beauty Un-Cover Up in 22, Tarte Dark Circle Defense in Light, Shoba Brow Pencil in Earth, Jane Iredale Eyeshadow in Antique Gold, 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Blueberry, Living Nature Bronze Pressed Powder, 100% Pure Lip Creamstick in Pretty Naked Pink.

04/24
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My love for Mexico is nothing new. The food, the beach, the tequila, it truly is my favorite vacation spot. This past weekend, for a girlfriends bachelorette, I experienced the west coast of Mexico (namely Cabo) for the first time. Being in NYC it is much easier and faster to get to the Riviera Maya than Baja. While the trip west was long I was so glad I went! The desert meets ocean topography is stunning, so different from the caves and mangrove lagoons I am used to. Also, the air is much drier making for better hair weather!

While east and west coast Mexico vary in many ways, one thing remains the same. It is as easy to get clean, healthy food in Cabo as it is along the Mayan Riviera.

At dinner the first night there were coconuts on the table as centerpieces. We asked them to crack them open for us so we could drink the fresh coconut water!

As usual I traveled with frozen green juice. There is no better way to start the morning than with a green juice and fresh coconut water by the pool.

The kitchen was kind enough to cut up the coconut meat and bring it out for me to snack on. With a squeeze of lime and a little tejun (mexican spice and salt mix) it was heavenly. 

To take a break from the bachelorette fun I treated myself to a massage at the spa. In the women’s changing room there was the most delicious Digestive Tea. 

The spa also had chilled Chlorophyll Water. Chlorophyll is incredibly alkalizing and hydrating so it was great to have post massage (and pre margaritas). 

No part of the coconut was wasted in the taking and eating of this photograph. 

My idea of the perfect lunch. Cucumber and jicama slices with lime and tejun. 

Wait, don’t forget the guac and pico de gallo. Now, it’s the perfect lunch.

The suite we stayed in had an incredibly stocked kitchen. Every afternoon I made the girls green smoothies from the produce I found in our fridge. Recipe to come!

The last night we were treated to a cooking lesson in the resort’s kitchen. Here the chef teaches us how to make their amazing ceviche. 

Really, this may have been the best ceviche ever. 

Coconut water in the shade makes SJM a happy girl! 

Bowl-less Avocado Pudding

 

I consider myself a very good traveler. I am an organized packer. I always make sure I have healthy snacks for the journey. Most importantly, wherever my destination I find a way to maintain my clean, healthy lifestyle whilst away from home. After all, you are meant to come back from vacation feeling better than when you left, not worse!

Tomorrow morning I am getting on a plane bound for Mexico to celebrate the final days of single-dom for a girlfriend of mine. Mexico is one of my all time favorite places to visit and I am very much looking forward to the sun, sand, and margaritas.

The last time I was south of the border was a little over a year ago for our wedding. On that visit I came up with what is now my favorite travel friendly snack/breakfast. I ate this avocado pudding every morning to help fill me with energy without making me feel too full and bloated. I had to be seen by all my wedding guests in a bathing suit after all!!

While making this pudding right in the avocado shell is fun, it is certainly not a deal breaker. If you are at a hotel and do not have access to a whole avocado, simply order a bowl of avocado slices and some cinnamon and mash away!

Bowl-less Avocado Pudding

  • 1 avocado
  • cinnamon to taste
  • liquid stevia to taste
  1. Open the avocado
  2. Using a fork mash cinnamon and liquid stevia to taste into each half of the avocado until throughly mixed
  3. Eat immediately

Serves 2

Me and My Deodorant

With the recent increase in temperature here in NYC (hello mid 80’s) it feels as if we may skip over spring and head right into summer. I am not sure I am mentally prepared for this. Yesterday I left my house in a very “springy” outfit that I had been excited to break out. This outfit was completed  by a thin, pale pink jacket that I just adore and couldn’t wait to wear. The hot NYC weather clearly had other plans. Within two blocks I had taken my jacket off and was wearing just a sleeveless top! In April!

With the hot, sleeveless shirt weather comes the ever-pressing question: is my deodorant up to the challenge? Nothing is worse than running around all day in the heat while smelling like the back of a dirty taxi cab (no offense to all the cab drivers out there- but you know what I am talking about).

I am extremely adamant about keeping my beauty routine as clean and green as possible. No parabens, phalates, “fragrance”, or SLS for this girl. Our skin is the biggest organ we have and what we put on it gets absorbed faster than tequila shots at a bachelorette party!

Deodorant is no exception to my clean, green beauty rule. To clarify, deodorants and anti-perspirants are very different. Anti-perspirants actually stop your body from sweating. We need to sweat! Sweat is your body releasing toxins. Ever notice how you reek of stale booze the morning after a “big night out?” That is your body detoxing all that liquor, and it ain’t pretty. Same goes for a pizza and ice cream bender. If we don’t sweat we don’t release toxins through our pores and all the bad stuff stays on the inside. As the gateway to the lymphatic system your underarms job is to fight infection. If they can’t do their job you are more likely to get sick. So, please don’t plug them up with antiperspirants! Use a deodorant instead.

I spent a long time trying to find a natural, chemical free deodorant that actually worked. Trust me, there are tons out there that just don’t cut it.

Enter Soapwalla Deodorant Cream. This all-natural little jar of armpit goodness is the best! It is made from superfine vegetable powders, clays and lavender, peppermint and tea tree essential oils. It absorbs moisture, inhibits bacteria and is very long lasting. To apply, you scoop up a little of the thick frosting-like cream and gently rub it in. It absorbs fast enough that you could put some on and then shimmy a tight dress over your head with no dreaded smudges or marks getting on the dress!

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream is free from harmful chemicals found in traditional deodorants such as petroleum and aluminum. Did you know aluminum has been linked to alzheimer’s and breast cancer? Given the close proximity of your armpit to your breast tissue, I highly suggest steering clear of aluminum in that region. In fact, steer clear of it in every region!

Soapwalla Deodorant Cream does an excellent job of keeping you feeling dry, and smelling great without plugging your pores up. Really this stuff is incredible. Magical even.

I have put my Soapwalla to the test in many very hot tropical climates and it always stands up. We are venturing to Mexico together on Thursday and I know it won’t let me down, even in the hot sun!