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Among Other Things by Among Other Things - 4d ago

Keepin’ it real simple on the style front today: Shades of blush and grey on repeat (until spring).


Real talk, though: Does anyone else regard Daylight Savings Time as an actual calendar holiday?

I do — every single year.

(Sore subject right now though, TBH, but nonetheless…)

Maybe it’s me being delirious from a long and busy week (on top of one less hour of sleep, perhaps?), but it honestly makes me so happy.

(We’re still talking about Daylight Saving’s Time — lol.)

There’s something exciting and fresh and hopeful and — well, I don’t know where I’m going with this whole sunshine’y uplifting holiday thing, exactly…

Whatever. Point being: Having an extra hour of daylight sure makes a girl feel some kinda way. No?

I still haven’t changed my stove or microwave clocks, though — does anyone else take forever to do this for some reason?

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It really is the best feeling to step away from your nine-to-five and see that it isn’t pitch-black out already, isn’t it?

And, hey — on the bright side (lol, get it?), this in-between winter and spring season is generally when cold-weather clothing and cute, cozy sweaters are on sale.

Lots of options marked down 40-60% off from 1.State (via good ‘ol Nordstrom), the brand my sweater is by.

Don’t forget to check out the broader off-the-shoulder sweater section if you’re into today’s look.

Despite my lighter* disposition now that the sun isn’t setting before 5 p.m., (* OMG #UNSUBSCRIBE — okay, I’m seriously done), it’s painfully apparent that these exposed shoulders — and ankles — are in desperate need of some Vitamin D…

Come throuuuuugh, spring!


*Get the look


Grey jeans: Paige ‘Verdugo’ high-waisted ultra skinny jeans (similar for less here)
Off-the-shoulder sweater: 1.State (similar here on sale — also, I love all of 1.State’s clothing/sweaters in particular, but this sweater is at the top of my list)
Point-toe pumps: Schutz (similar for less/on sale here)
Lip color: NARS Satin pencil in ‘Palais Royale
Blush handbag: Alexander Wang

PS, since I’ve been watching it for months — my favorite NARS pencil (“Luxembourg”) is FINALLY back in stock! I have it on in this post and this post.


Iron & Honey Photography

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Among Other Things by Among Other Things - 1w ago

Dating experiments, the perfect one-piece & my most-asked-about sneakers… Among Other Things.

Friday at last, yes!

What’s in store for the weekend, lady loves?

Here’s a quick look back at the peaks & pits of my week:

Peak: Damn, lots to love about the last few days. My dear friend Kate had her baby, for one, and I always love seeing so much girl power online (and IRL) around International Women’s Day.

Major feel-good (kick-ass) vibes heading into the weekend — hence, today’s featured photos. They’re from my friend Ashley’s bachelorette party in Palm Springs a few weeks ago — I’ll share more with you next week, but you can see her recap post here.

Pit: Despite a productive week, my to-do list is still lookin’ a mile long — and my inbox is even more daunting. Same boat for you, too? Here’s hoping this statement is no longer true come Monday… But if it is, that’s the sign of a good weekend, so hey.

Oh, and PS: If you’re Chicago-based, I’m teaching a Beyonce Remixes ride  at Studio Three on Sunday afternoon. Click here for deets/to sign up and — as always — don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. All levels are welcome; hair flips are encouraged.

(Some of you had asked, but if you’re not local I’m happy to share the playlist with you anyway — message me on Instagram!)

Onto this week’s notables — I’m especially excited about the links I have to share with you this week. Lots of gems down there.


Weekly finds, sales & such:

Bought it: Guys, I can’t believe this cute clutch is $25! It’s even cuter in person.

Color-block perfection: This pink-and-red one-piece swimsuit. That is all. (Be still, my heart!)

Cute kicks: Every week, these blush-colored Nike’s are the shoes I’m asked about most often on social media. (Or maybe I just wear them too much? Ha!)

Never enough denim: I’m v into the overall look of these skinny jeans, but especially the color/wash — and the fact that they’re under $100. (There’s a darker version here as well.)

Fiesta, fiesta: I’m off to a wedding in Mexico next weekend (Ashley’s, the bachelorette!), and I’m looking for a dress that’ll match these striped sandals. They’re super cute, but more importantly: Comfortable — thus, dance floor approved.

Au natural: I’m having a major moment with natural woven bags this season — and I love that they’re not just for the beach anymore. Shopbop has an entire section that’s worth browsing — right this way.

FYI, fam: Madwell Insiders get 15% off in stores and online this weekend! (Sign up or log in here.) And if I were you, I’d use that discount on this blue-and-white striped dress — so damn adorable.

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Bookmark-worthy links & the like

The Happiness Project: Six small ways you can train your brain that’ll have a big impact on your emotional outlook.

Whole Paycheck: 10 Whole Foods products that Whole Foods employees purchase, according to one Whole Foods employee. (What a sentence that was, huh?)

It’s Complicated: Here’s what happened when one woman attempted a dating experiment: Llaying out all of her “baggage” upfront/on the first date.

Talk about it: NBA player Kevin Love shares what he learned by having a panic attack — during a game. I loved his message around “talking about it.”

Waterworks: In case you’ve ever wondered, this is what happens to your body when you cry.

Powerful opinion piece: Brian Mast — a Republican Congressman, member of the NRA and 12-year war veteran (who has seen and used assault weapons in combat) — explains why he supports a ban on them.

Click to shop what I’ve been wearing this week:

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Happy Friday! Come hang with me here this weekend: 

Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest Snapchat (@coralsncognacs)

Valorie Darling Photography

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Five key nutrients I’m adding to my regime this spring– and why you should consider them, too.

You know all about the importance of switching up your diet and workout routine in order to see the benefits, but what about your vitamins and supplement regime? Ever wonder if the same “rules” apply?

Admittedly, I hadn’t — until recently.

Not to mention, there are few wellness tasks as confusing as figuring out what vitamins you should take.

Every year, I attribute a less-than-stellar “seasonal” state-of-mind that I seem to adopt to Chicago’s brutal winters — Seasonal Affect Disorder, anyone? This year, though, I’ve felt especially sluggish, unmotivated, bloated, tired and not — err, not very sharp.

(Lol. See?)

I started wondering: Should I be taking different supplements?


External factors in your life play a factor in your overall physical and mental wellbeing, obviously — and 2017 wasn’t exactly my #BestYearEver.

That may explain the aforementioned: Between traveling, moving apartments, working, dating, adulting, starting a new fitness gig and trying to balance out life overall, things have felt a bit all over the place the last six months — so no wonder I have, too.

… And, okay.

I’m being honest, I had to fully re-learn how to take care of myself on many foundational levels after SoulCycle.

I just — well, I just kinda stopped.

Eating habits, exercise, vitamins, sleeping patterns, and even just getting my ass up and out of the apartment on some days — you name it. I had to re-establish healthy behaviors and habits around all of these.

That’s a long post for a different day, though — and we’ll have a lil’ heart-to-heart about it this summer (near the end of July). Cool?

(Related post: 50 wellness tips when you’re not sure where to start)

Anyway, as I was saying — when it comes to whether or not you should to be modifying (or upgrading) your supplement intake, it really depends.

But if you’re wondering so about it yourself, now, too; chances are you might.

So I did some research.

… The short answer? Again, it depends.

If you’re supplementing based on a health professional’s advice and it’s working well with your current lifestyle — aka you’re feeling happy and healthy — there’s really no reason to switch up your routine.

Vitamins don’t become less effective over time; but there are certain seasons and reasons where it could be beneficial to add, swap or introduce nutrients into rotation.

(As I sit here typing eating a slice of pizza. #Balance!)

I’ve typically supplemented my active lifestyle and diet by rotating a multivitamin, iron, magnesium, Vitamin C and the occasional Biotin — along with getting plenty of sleep, water and exercise.

“That’s better than nothing, right?”

Sure, I suppose it is; but if you can do more to help your body recover and function at its peak performance, why wouldn’t you?

*Wearing: Alala “Harley” leggings, crop sports bra

I should mention: Not everyone needs supplements, but depending on things like the season (lack of sunshine!), dietary changes, immune deficiencies, physical discomforts and so on, there are a handful of ’em that will make you look and feel better.

(This is when you may want to consult a health professional prior to making any changes.)

Based on these facts and a deep understanding of my body’s performance, I decided to switch up the ‘ol supplement regime for spring — as you’ll read below.

And if you think you’d benefit from doing the same (whether now or in the future), here’s my (non-clinical) advice:

For starters, I’d suggest you having a realistic “goal” or in mind: Energy? Immune support? Weight loss?

Personally, the adjustments I’ve been making have been aimed at boosting my physical and mental health, which — duh,  I know.

But for me, personally, that boils down to strengthening my immune system, supplementing healthy fats and nutrients I haven’t been getting because of travel, helping my body better respond to stress and easing the muscle recovery process.


Here’s the five vitamin supplements I’ve been rotating back into my regime — and why:
ONE // Vitamin D

When: Most days, with a meal
Why: It makes me feel better, quite simply

Three words: Limited sun exposure. (Or one: Winter.)

Vitamin D is a key player for the nervous and immune systems—and studies have shown that low levels can be linked to depression. In additional, you need it for cardiovascular wellness, healthy muscles, bones and teeth.


TWO // Super Stress B-Complex

When: Daily, in the morning
Why: Energy, mood boost, mental health

I’ve been taking B-12 on-and-off for a few years and have always noticed its mood-boosting benefits — increased focus and a natural energy supply.

This season, I’ve been taking this all-in-one supplement solution, since it also has loads of other B vitamins, Vitamin C, Folate and Biotin. In regard to the latter, it’s like the creators behind this baby knew my eyebrows tend to thin out when I’m stressed (which B-Complex helps with)!

Bless you, science.

Folate — or folic acid, also found in this supplement — supports the nervous system and is said to improve things like mood and sleep. (I’ve also read that many people who suffer from depression have folate deficiencies, but again — that’s something you’d want to talk to your doctor about.)

*Wearing: Alala “Harley” leggings, crop sports bra | all Alala activewear


THREE // Probiotics

When: Daily, with a meal
Why: Digestive support; gut brain and heart health

Digestion plays a huge role in how effectively we absorb/utilize nutrients (and supplements), and if you’ve ever been out of the country for an extended period of time, you know the toll that can take.

A few years back when I ate only noodles and rice in Thailand for three weeks? Not pretty (but delicious, as shown below).

Not pret-tay at all.

Anyway, Probiotics maintain the healthy bacteria in your body so that it can go to work for you — so-to-speak.

Probiotics have a number of benefits, but mainly (for me), they help get my digestion and immune system back on track — when supplemented with a healthy diet and exercise, yadda yadda.

This is probably a word you’ve heard before (and not fully understood), but Probiotics are great for you girls on-the-go or anyone under a lot of stress — or those of us who enjoy the occasional processed food. (On that note, I’ve recently discovered that Taco Bell delivers.)

Gut health affects our overall physical and mental health — another reason to keep it in check.


FOUR // Omega-3’s

When: Most days, with breakfast
Why: Cardiovascular health, metabolism, nervous system support/brain health

Our bodies can’t create the fatty acids found in omega-3’s, so they have to be acquired from your diet or a supplement like so.

… I’m not a big fish-eater unless it’s tightly rolled in white rice.

Nutrient-dense omega-3 supplements are said to support brain health, reduce inflammation throughout your body and lower the risk of heart disease and chronic illnesses… Among other things.

These are also great for maintaining an active metabolism, too.


FIVE // Vision Defense Eye Health

When: Most weekdays, with a meal
Why: Eye health

Did you know the average person spends more than 11 hours in front of their devices every day?

I’m not far off myself — especially considering I’m mid-Season Four on Game of Thrones.

But as we’ve talked about around here before, spending that much time in front of our devices can expose us to a harmful effect known as “blue light,” which causes digital eye strain and eye fatigue. (And I hate to break it to you, but smartphones and tablets emit the worst of it!)

That damage can add up over time to reek some real havoc on not just our eyes, but our sleeping patterns, too (since it suppresses melatonin).

So, what can we do to reduce the potentially negative outcomes associated with blue light exposure?

Of course, spending less time online is a factor (and here’s a post I wrote about how you can); but surprisingly, your diet can also make a difference.

To counteract the effects of blue light damage, Vision Defense is a supplement I recently earned about that is created by a team of scientists at Swanson Health — a long-time producer of science-backed vitamins and supplements and wellness solutions — and it’s also the reason for the research behind this post.

(Swanson reached out to me last month and invited me to test-drive it, and since I’m well-versed in the affects of blue light, I happily obliged.)

The gel capsules contain a blend of antioxidants as well as two key nutrients known as lutein and zeaxanthin — found mainly in colorful or leafy-green vegetables. Their main purpose is to support healthy retinas so your eyes can stay comfortable and focused each day.

I only very recently started taking this, so I’m eager to see the long-term benefits.

In sum…

Above all else, just listen to your bod — the best gauge of your health is always yourself.

Whether you’re looking to boost your energy, improve mental health, lose weight or ward off diseases, supplements can help your body work efficiently and effectively.

But of course, please remember that all the vitamins and supplements in the world won’t replace a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle — they simply add to it. Supplements are just that — supplementation.

*Get the look:

Alala “Harley” leggings
Alala crop sports bra

all Alala activewear
(I have this sports bra and these high-waist leggings too and LOVE them)
Outdoor Voices is a..

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Alternately titled: Further proof that I don’t get dressed for my doorman. 

I have a story for you behind today’s outfit, gals — and I’ll keep it short, ’cause it’s kind of very embarrassing and I almost didn’t post it to begin with.

Quick links: sweater (sale) | skirt | OTK boots | similar vest (sale)
similar off-white vest (sale) | similar  $25 clutch

Get the look:

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I shot (and wore) this ensemble a month or two ago during a particularly non-eventful afternoon in the middle of the week.

It was a warm(ish) winter days where you ignore the fact that it’s February and push the limit on how cold you’re willing to pretend not to be, so of course, I took advantage — I wasn’t walking too far.


Lol, who am I kidding; I took a cab.

Random side-note: I loathe tights and avoid them at all costs.
That’s why I love these over-the-knee boots. The ‘Nutmeg’ color of them is 55% off, FYI.

Once Melissa (my photog and friend) wrapped up our our mid-day shoot sesh, I hugged her goodbye and walked into my building, greeting my doorman as I passed.

I see him on the reg, mind you.

“Hel-… Oh.”

“Well GOOD AF-TER-NOON.” he said, pausing to look me up-and-down.

[Awkward middle-aged male laughter to follow.]


Now, I don’t know if it was the ferosh red lip, the keyhole in my sweater, or the four inches of leg poking out between my OTK boots and skirt, but homeboy most definitely thought I was just getting home from the night before.

And I’m certain of it, you guys!

… Um, first of all.


And, like, 3 pm.


I have to move.


Kidding, but what do you think — hooker chic or nah?

(Do we think it was the choker? Lol.)

Either way, yeah. Lollll.

That’s why I sat on this one for an extra few weeks prior to posting. But I like the look — and don’t think it’s that bad — at all.

So, hey.

This is why we don’t dress for the dudes (or our doormen) — sometimes they just can’t handle the trendy.

Ever notice that when you’re out at a bar or something? Guys just don’t get it.

And for what it’s worth, I definitely don’t look this put-together when if I’m sauntering in the door the day following a fun night out.

That’s my story for the day. Happpppppppy Tuesday!

A quick PS: In case you missed it, BaubleBar’s big sale ends tomorrow — 25% off almost everything with the code FF25. They only do this twice a year, so it’s a good time to stock up on some new bling for spring. My favesies are these tassel stunnas and these fringe studs.


*Get the look: 


Keyhole sweater with choker: LNA (on sale)
Faux leather skirt: BB Dakota (love this $48 style — and the color of this skirt)
Clutch: Unknown (I love these two styles– this leather one and this $25 one)
Over-the-knee boots: Stuart Weitzman ‘Hiland’ (similar here under $80 in three colors)
Taupe layering vest/jacket: by Malene Birger (similar on sale here in pale blue, here in eggshell and here for $24)


Foundation/skin: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue (my winter go-to)
Lip color: NARS Satin Lip Pencil in ‘Luxembourg
Eye palette: Urban Decay ‘Heat’ Palette


Iron & Honey Photography

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Among Other Things by Among Other Things - 2w ago

“How to be happy,” why you shouldn’t try to be a perfect love, and LOTS of sales to shop… Among Other Things.

Damn, babes. I can’t believe it’s March already, can you?

I held off on publishing this series for awhile since I wasn’t posting regularly (a combination of traveling, needing some time away and a bit of writer’s block — something I’ve been struggling with ever since SoulCycle, to be honest).

And without other posts from day-to-day, this just felt like I was shilling links and products at y’all for the hell of it — friends don’t do that.

But I’m happy to report that our weekly series of web-worthy reads, sales and such is back on a regular basis. Woot!

Let’s get to it!

Peak (of the week): Getting back into my teaching groove at Studio Three (post-vaca in Australia). You ever have a moment where it all just kinda clicks? That happened to me on Thursday. I don’t know how to explain “that” or what “that” is specifically, but it just happened. Does that make sense? Ha.

Pit: Y’all, ugh. Remember how I told you about my identity fraud situation? I had to delete my entire digital footprint and change every username and password — including my router/wifi. The dilemma is that I can’t find my Apple TV remote. Like, I’m convinced I threw it away on accident. So I can’t connect to/reactivate it/live my life. Netflix and iPhone charger over here, man.

Sales & such

Found: The perfect pair of flat nude summer sandals. (Finally!)

Preppy AF: Bought this gorgeous spring dress during Shopbop’s seasonal sale over the weekend. I love a blue and white stripe situation!

Add to Cart: Speaking of which, Shopbop’s big sale ends today — just an FYI. Their return policy is solid (30 days), so get to it!

Either or: Subtle statement earrings made for the girl who can never decide between silver or gold jewelry.

#LeggingsAsPants: I wore these black leggings on our 17-hour flight to Australia last month — they’re thick (and high-waisted, bless), so they’re perfect as actual pants, too.

JORTS: Can’t wait to live in these high-rise jean shorts this spring.

That blue hue: I’m not sure if it’s the color, the fit or the detailed hemlines, but I love this romper. (Super cute with a white denim jacket, too.)

Sweater weather: Guys, this right here is my perfect spring sweater — lightweight, blush-colored and off-the-shoulder.

Awkward tan lines (#worthit): My favorite black one-piece suit was finally restocked this season — and all sizes are still available. (I have a Medium.)

Swimwear essentials: … But I wear these high-waist bikini bottoms often, too. They’re SO slimming — I hope that swimwear trend sticks around for awhile. (Let’s make a pact?)

Spring Bling: Head’s up, BaubleBar’s Friends & Family sale kicks off on Monday — 25% off almost everything! They only do this twice a year, so it’s a good time to stock up on some new bling for spring. Use FF25 for 25% off (starting 3/5). More of my favorites below:

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I have so many of their statement earrings — these tassel ones, these navy onesthese fringe studs, and the Crispin drops (shown below + on sale for $12 already!) among others — but I don’t have a gold pair, so I’m going to get these.

… And, fine, these — I’m not normally a “hoops” girl, but the shape is gorgeous and they look so much more expensive than they are. (I’ve seen them on a friend!)

Links & the like

Red carpet-ready: Yes! Here’s how to watch the Oscar’s on Sunday, even if you don’t have cable (or a TV).

My kind of coursework: Yale offers a class on How to be Happier (called “Psychology and the Good Life”) — it’s their most popular on campus. Wonder what the homework is like?

Loved this: Why you actually shouldn’t try to be the “perfect lover” in a relationship.

So true: An interesting read on how social media has changed the way we travel.

Work/life balance: Here’s why GoDaddy encourages their employees to have other jobs. Yes!

Night owls: For anyone else who considers themselves nocturnal. (This is me especially after spending nearly three weeks in Australia.)

Mile High Club: If you missed it, here’s a post I did on 10 TSA-friendly beauty finds that are always in my carry-on. More travel stories to share with you soon!


Happy weekend!

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G’day! Meet my suitcase MVP’s: The shirts, (swim)suits and shorts I lived in during summer in Australia.

If you follow me on Instagram (or you’ve dropped by here lately — hi!), you probably know that I just got back from traveling through Australia for nearly three weeks.

I don’t even know where to begin, it was so wonderful. Have you been? Or are you inspired to go now?

While the beaches, food and culture varied throughout the country, there was indeed one consistency: Serious shopping.

One of my favorite things about the Australian style scene is how casual and comfortable it is — very similar to the Aussie culture itself.

The entire lifestyle translates beautifully into amazing swimwear, comfortable jumpsuits and easy denim — more often than not at a really good price point, to.

Australian labels and designers can be often overlooked by us (and our typical go-to retailers) state-side due to it’s geographical location on the other side of the world and the fact that it’s — well, always in the opposite season of what we’re in.

Thankfully, our spring/summer collections had just landed weeks prior to my trip, so I bought a few things from my favorite online retailer I knew I’d wear regularly overseas.

… All at full-price, I might add. Everything listed below is on sale (which is why I wanted to do a mini-packing post of sorts for you this week).

Nevertheless, here’s the ten things I wore most during my time in Australia… All of which are on sale.

(My hand-wash game is very strong!)

*In reverse chronological order: 10. Distressed jean shorts (also love this high-rise version), 9. High-waist black bikini bottoms, 8. Floral dress, 7. White cut-out jumpsuit, 6. Black cut-out one-piece swimsuit, 5. Striped shorts, 4. Black control-top leggings, 3. Dark denim shorts, 2. Similar white dress | 1. Circular rattan bag (not on sale but for under $55); here in black

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To give you an idea how how I dressed when I was overseas:

More often than not, I’d wake up and toss on shredded denim miniskirts, a loose, striped top and — of course — a big-brimmed boater hat to hide the fact that I generally went at least two days without washing my hair. (I love the contrast of this one.)

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In Sydney and Melbourne, I’d style a simple maxi dress with a similarly-colored sweater knotted over top — those were the cities we were often out exploring (shopping, drinking, eating, etc) well past sundown.

More often than not, though, I lived in a bathing suit. My black one-piece suit (that’s on sale!) was one of my most asked-about item of clothing on Instagram last month — hands-down.

For days at a time, I lived in simple leather slides or gold gladiator-style slides (on the beach) and blush-colored pointed-toe mules (in the city).  Occasionally, I’d slip on my block-heeled sandals if the night’s agenda called for it.

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As for my accessories, I kept it simple: Carried a neutral-colored, oversized carry-all tote on the plane with me (in order to have all necessary electronics for a 17-hour flight), but from day-to-day I typically wore this beachy cross-body bag. I bought it on Shopbop months ago (for double what it is now), naturally.

Best of all, I think, was that I really didn’t wear any make-up — plenty of sunnies for that, these black and gold-rimmed aviators being a frequent front-runner.

Damn, I have so much to share… Still — from my last trip, I know!

As mentioned I’ll do a more in-depth packing post for Australia a bit further down the line (and one for the European countries I went to, yes!), I just wanted to share these 10 pieces (and then some) since I love them and they’re all on sale this week — and hopefully still in stock!

As for me, I didn’t allow myself to shop much of the sale this year — I did plenty of that Down Unda*. 

I did have a Shopbop merchandise credit from an old return, though, so I welcomed the excuse to buy two things I’d been eyeing for spring — this blue-and-white striped dress and the cutest little crop top.

Please fit. Please fit. Please fit!

*No one calls it that, FYI. I just liked the way it sounded. 

… I was gonna end this with a countdown to spring/summer, but let’s not get ourselves worked up, lol. How about… Daylight Saving’s Time is SO SOON, bitches!

Then, it’s basically spring. Right?

(Have a) G’day!

Related: The Three Things I Wore Most in Europe


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These photography essentials are always in my suitcase.

Hello there (G’day), friends!

I’m home from Australia finally feeling back in the swing of things, thanks to a variety of routine tasks over the weekend: Unpacking, teaching Cycle at Studio Three and naps on naps to overcome a bit of jetlag.

And laundry — lots of laundry.

So as we dive into the travel content I plan to share with you (from both Australia and Europe), I wanted to first write about the photography and tech equipment I use during trips.

Every day during my time abroad, I received questions about the gear and photography equipment I was using to share my experiences across social media. And while I am by no means a professional photographer, I do love capturing my experiences sharing travel stories through beautiful photos and videos.

Let’s do it:

Tech Essentials: 1. Zhiyun wireless handheld gimbal/video stabilizer

Must-have for: Having great videos

Probably my favorite purchase of the year — already — and it was less than $100. This powerful little product is actually what inspired me to write this post, since I got tons of questions about my videos from you guys on Instagram.

Real quick: WTF is a gimbal?

A gimbal is a video stabilizer, which is what I used to obtain those professional-looking, smooth videos during my Australia trip — all on my iPhone.

Yes, my phone! You can see the videos in the highlights portion of my Instagram page.

It’s affordable, easy to master (with a bit of practice) and not too difficult to tote around — that’s what I’m holding in my left hand, below.

Almost every other worthwhile gimbal on the market is at least twice as expensive and three times as bulky.

Even if you’re not a current or aspiring vlogger, this affordable gadget is awesome for capturing great photos and videos — period — on your phone.

It doubles as a selfie stick, too, if that’s something you’re into. Just sayin’.


2. Canon G7X Mark II

Must-have for: Taking great photos wherever you go

I can’t say enough good things about the Canon G7x Mark II digital camera. But I’ll try anyway:

The Canon G7X Mark II takes high-quality images during day or night — the latter of which was one of the selling points on it when I bought it. They’re sharp, in-focus and require minimal (if any) editing.

But my favorite thing about it is that it’s WiFi enabled — meaning you can transfer your photos and videos on-the-go (to your phone, computer, whatever). So clutch!

It’s small enough to fit in your purse, too (as you can see above).

Gone are the days of lugging my DSLR around each and every day during a trip or vacation — this small-but-mighty digital camera does everything I need to capture high-quality photos without the bulk or weight of a professional-grade camera.

As for video, it shoots in a full HD format — but what makes it so valuable for vlogging is the camera’s preview screen; it’s able to tilt up to 180 degrees so you can always see your frame, even when you’re selfie’ing or filming yourself.

The best cameras for blogging will also be the best cameras for anyone who wants to capture amazing photos — travel-related or not.

Accesory-wise, this vintage leather carrying case is really cute — and I couldn’t believe it was under $18! I love the lightly distressed cognac color.

Oh, and don’t forget to get an SD memory card, too — my reco would be the 32 GB.


3. Fugetek table-top Tripod

Must-have for: Solo travelers

This tripod is small, lightweight, portable and compatible with most smartphones, GoPros, DSLR and compact cameras. (See photo below, on the right.) It’s less than $10, too!

Personally, I use this tripod with my Canon EOS DSLR camera as well as the video stabilizer and Canon G7X Mark II camera I recommended above. It’s ideal for filming time-lapses, action photography or capturing stable images in general.

More often than not, I keep it attached to my camera and carry it around that way — it acts as a decent hand-held video stabilizer, too; but again, I’d recommend the above for those purposes.

It comes with a phone mount for smartphone compatibility, but most of your camera/film devices have a screw on the bottom for this very purpose.

As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s perfect for solo travelers — that’s how I captured all of my outfit photos during last year’s month-long trip to Europe (using a self-timer).

Here’s two photos I’ve snapped using the tripod and a self-timer on my Canon Camera — both shown with zero editing.

The first is from my most recent trip to Australia; the second from last year’s solo travel through Europe.

Click here to read more about my 10 favorite memories from Europe — plus, a list of my must-do’s for you as you plan your next trip abroad.

(And for help doing that, click here to read “how to plan an international trip.”)


4. Mophie external charger

Must-have for: Never finding yourself at at 1%

Whether it’s at music festival, on a long flight or for a vacation abroad, I am never without my mophie.

This powerful portable charger often makes its way into my handbag on very busy days, too. I have yet to find a better external charger for my iPhone (this one lasts around 3 days with multiple charges — without needing re-charged itself), but if you have suggestions, give me a holler in the comments!


5. Hard drive

Must-have for: Peace of mind (photo/video storage)

Not as fun to talk about, but important nonetheless. If you’ve captured lots of beautiful travel content (or even just love to take pictures on the reg), it’s imperative to back-up your photos.

Computers crash, cell phones disappear, and so on — I back-up all of my files on an external hard drive to avoid the fear of being without them should that happen. (As it did in Australia — the WiFi hardware on my computer disappeared for a week. WTF?!)

I also automatically back-up photos on iCloud, but I’m old school and like to have peace of mind, which is why I do it twice — for reasons such as the above.. Nerd alert!


Bonus: Nice-to-have’s

6. Fujifilm Instax Smartphone Printer

Must-have for: Memory-making

This portable printer syncs to your smartphone through an app so you can print Polaroid-style photos of your favorite iPhone snaps and memories. So cool, right?

Not only is this little gadget something I use regularly, it’s one of the gifts I most love gifting to friends & family, too.

Don’t forget to grab this camera film as well.


7. UE Wonderboom Portable Waterproof Wireless Speaker

… Say that one five times fast.

Must have for: Jams

You know I love my music, so I’m all about a bluetooth-enabled speaker that’s small enough for a suitcase.

This mini barrel-shaped music speaker is compact, easy to transport and — GUYS — is even waterproof. Like, it floats! As a(nother) bonus, it comes in six cute colors — that cashmere pink situation is bound to be the crowd favorite, no?

The entire UE speaker series has great sound — I have the UE Boom 2 but chose to feature the waterproof style because, well, I NEED.


8. LuMee Duo LED phone case

Must have for: Keeping your selfie game strong

The OG of selfie-essential smartphone cases — and I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I was way late to the LuMee game.

How, I’m not sure — the duo-lit rose gold version is what I’ve been rockin’ for the last month, but there are lots of pretty patterned styles available here ($70 or less).

Here’s the deets: LuMee’s latest duo model offers back- and front-facing LED lighting, which makes for consistently soft, warm lighting in every photo. I love that it comes the ability to dim the brightness a few levels, too. Brilliant!

Oh, and I can tell you from experience that the case itself is indeed quite durable. That’s a must for me, ’cause you know my middle name ain’t Grace, so-to-speak.

Side-note: Am I the last person to know that LuMee makes LED selfie sticks, by the way?


9. Disposable camera

Must have for: Fun!

Last but not least, team, and yeah — I’m goin’ old school on this one. But, like:

Don’t you remember that feeling of picking up the photos from a freshly developed disposable camera back in the day?

That was it, man. Right up there with hearing your AIM messenger ding.

And also, those were the longest one-hour stretches ever.

Anywho, I’ve been bringing these back for birthdays, weddings, travel, girls’ trips, going away parties and the like, and they are so much fun to use and then sort through — especially if/when you’re in a post-vaca (or post par-tay) slump.

Try it — trust me!

Last time I bought one, by the way, I had to have an employee in Target’s tech section unlock them for me. LOLLLLL.

In terms of upcoming travel content, here’s what I’ve been developing to write and share with you:

  • Photos + videos (yay!)
  • Advice for traveling solo
  • How to find cheap flights
  • Tips for surviving flights
  • Packing tips — both in general and for certain cities/destinations
  • Booking tips, plus advice for every other step of the trip planning process

… Among other things.

Please feel free to share what else you’d like to see on the blog. I’m all-ears for you, as always!


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How (and why) I prefer to stand out in all-black err’thang.

*Get the look: Black t-shirt: | similar earrings | grey jeans | blush/nude pumps | sunglasses | lip color (Palais Royale)

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While last week’s retail rotation-of-the-moment remains to by my mainstay uniform this month (seemingly), an ensemble of all black err’thang is never far behind.

… When the day requires things beyond the likes of sports bras and spandex, that is.

… Hold up, though!

But while we’re on the topic, quick side-note: I should inform you that Nike’s sale section is an additional 25% off this week — and it just launched, so most sizes are still in stock (for now)!

I bought a few pairs of their workout leggings: The high-waisted “Legendary” pant is my favorite pair of workout leggings to wear crop-style tops or sports bras — it comes in a capri-length too. I also got two dark grey pairs — these and these.

And as an FYI: Anytime I purchase Nike Pro (which usually aren’t mid- or high-waist) or any type of patterned/colored workout leggings, I go up a size (S to M). That way, the style is a bit more forgiving all-around.


I don’t shy away from bold colors, but on weekends or for anything similar on the social calendar, it’s usually an all-black outfit — even down to the sunnies, which are my all-time faves, for the record (under $90, too).


You just can’t go wrong with black-on-black, can you?

… Well actually, I’m sure you can, but I’ll weave in a few of my favorite styling tips below just in case you’re on the fence there.

I’d like to think this is a habit born from the years I spent living in New York — but really, I think it’s because it’s the least likely to show dirt and stains and such.

Make-up stains.

Wine stains.

Pit stains…

You get it.

Ultimately, an all-black outfit is the lazy girl’s guide to getting dressed — and I’m speaking from seasoned experience in that department.

I mean, if you strip away my accessories, I’m really just wearing a simple black t-shirt, grey jeans and a blazer.

Easy peasy.

Layering and proportions are important to bear in mind, but the beauty of an all-black outfit is in the accents. Whether it’s a gold belt or colorful pair of statement earrings, these pieces will easily stand out against a simple black backdrop.

And since I am not elegantly French or remotely tall, I had to lengthen my legs with skin-tone pumps. Always a must.

Can’t win ’em all, huh?

This black-and-gold Gucci belt is sold out everywhere I’ve looked, but here are similar styles — in (1) calfskin brown with a gold buckle, (2) black with a silver buckle, and (3) a pretty pink/blush tone. (I have a size 80.)

*Get the look:


Black t-shirt: Madewell (I have two, they’re under $20!)
Blazer with faux-leather sleeves: Zara (old, similar on sale here and here)
Earrings: Anthropologie (old/sold out, BaubleBar has two cute similar styles here and here)
Grey jeans: Paige ultra-skinny “Hoxton” high-rise jeans (available here in classic blue denim)
Black and gold belt: Gucci (size 80)
Blush-colored pumps: Schutz ‘Thaynara’
Matte aviator sunglasses: Le Specs “ThePrince”
Bag: Thrifted


Foundation/skin: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue (my winter go-to)
Lip color: NARS Satin Lip Pencil in ‘Palais Royale


Iron & Honey Photography

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When’s the last time you set aside time to do nothing?

Hey there, my friends! How’s it going this week?

I know, I know.

But if you’re wondering why it’s been a bit quiet ’round here the last week, today’s outfit should offer as good an explanation as any.

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*Shop: jacket (on sale) | high-waist leggings | sneakers | suede & leather tote | similar white hat

Lately, most of my days have been spent running around town, teaching/riding/training at my new cycling studio (Studio Three) or standing at my make-shift DJ booth — aka kitchen counter — in a comfortable pair of kicks (all-white Nike’s for me at the moment).

Admittedly, my return to teaching after an unanticipated five month hiatus resulted in a self-imposed mess of stress at the turn of the New Year. Rightfully so, I guess, considering I spent much of that time solo, unmotivated, depressed, far away from my music library, and, well, not exercising.

(I’ll get into the post-Soul story in a few weeks — going to keep it light today.)

Seemingly, there’s always this feeling that you’re never doing enough. You know? Especially in January with the heightened pressure of resolutions and whatnot.

Oh, that lovely comparison game. Who’s guilty?

[*Raises hand.*]

But like, why? Why do we do that?

*Get the look: Nike jacket (on sale) | ALO Yoga leggings | Nike ‘Thea’ sneakers | rag & bone tote | similar hat

With so many changes and new chapters on the horizon, I gave myself permission to pump the brakes, get in a groove and set some new-to-me balance boundaries.

On the blog front, my focus shifted to goal-setting and bigger-picture thinking about the type of content I want to continue creating. (Post series that are consistent, story-centric, useful and meaningful.)

And with teaching, I just explored my “new normal” — playlisting, cross-training, taking other instructors’ classes, cross-training and so on.

I also spent some time de-cluttering my space and fixing up my apartment, but that’s a post for a different day.

Hashtag, priorities. Annoying, yet necessary nonetheless.

If there’s anything I learned in the last year, it’s that if you try to do everything and be “on” all the time, the only thing you’re likely going to achieve is burnout.

… Or mixed-bag of feeling bat-shit crazy.

I’ve encountered a bit of that blogger burnout before, and when it hits, I know I just ain’t got shit to say.

And since one of my biggest blogging “commandments” is authenticity, I opted to stifle my blog-guilt (which wasn’t easy) and instead, just spend a few days away from my desk to reinstate that ever-allusive art of balance.

Plus, taking a break tends to be when my best ideas come.

Or as I’ve always liked to say…

Taking time to do nothing often brings everything else into perspective.

See you back here tomorrow, babes.

*Get the look

Sneakers: Nike Air Max Thea (go one half size up)
Windbreaker jacket: Nike Sportswear (on sale in two colors)
High-waist leggings: Alo Yoga (in three colors, also love this style in six colors)
Suede and leather tote: rag & bone (also available in all-black here)
White hat: Y7 Studio in NYC, similar here


Iron & Honey Photography

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. The opinions and text are all mine (and not that of a licensed professional).

Do you guys remember when I spent a few weeks in Europe last summer?

Or more accurately, when I spent a few weeks eating my way through Europe last summer?

That trip was everything and more on so many levels, and that’s in large part because I didn’t deprive or guilt myself out of any experience — especially on the food front.

My little Eat, Pray, Carb-load set me back a lot in terms of clothes-that-still-fit… But it was so worth it.

I’m not kidding. I had either pizza or pasta (and wine — and bread) for dinner every single night during my time in Italy.

… We’ll get to that, though — I’ll be resuming all my travel content/posts in a week or two. I decided to hold off in December because of the holidays, but exciting stuff to come!

In the meantime, here’s two posts to read now or pin for later: (1) The top 10 things I did traveling Europe for six weeks and (2) How to plan your next (or first) international trip.  

My “diet” has never even come close to perfect, but that’s actually how I prefer it.


Just before the holidays, Atkins reached out and asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing their latest book, “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less.”

Sounds like a cookbook, right?

Nope. It’s not — or not entirely, since it does feature easy-to-replicate recipes. And considering I’m not really a great cook, I can accurately say that the book actually actually has a little something for everyone.

Admittedly, I used to think of Atkins as a four- letter word — diet — so I wasn’t initially sold on the ‘ol book review since diets don’t work for me. Never have.

I know all about Atkins and the science behind their low-carb programs (as I’m sure you do), but I’ve never actually tried to pursue a low-carb lifestyle. Or what’s even worse: I didn’t realize just how many carbs I was eating on a daily basis.



Damn. Okay, I’m in.

In the name of research and resolutions, let’s see what I can learn (and share).

*Just in case you haven’t heard of Atkins, it’s a science-based nutritional lifestyle that focuses on low sugar and carb consumption (with optimal protein and good fats), which I’m going to break down below. (Low, not “no” — yay!)

Allegedly, it’s what Kim K. did to lose all that baby weight she gained during her second pregnancy. The team informed me that she used to do it during her college years with her dad, too!

… Say what you want, but the girl looks good.


I read their book — “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less” — in full over Christmas break. Like, highlighter-in-hand style. I’ve even (successfully) recreated some of their tasty low-carb recipes since.

Here’s what I thought…

Review: My Honest Opinion

I will tell you up-front, I didn’t agree to read through Atkins’ newest book because I don’t want to eat carbs… I do. Especially on days when I teach or work out, I need them.

I wasn’t hoping it would launch me into some sort of “New Year, New Me, No Carbs!” mindset either.

That initial realization of not being more familiar and mindful of what I was putting in my body was the inspiration. We could all stand to be a little better to ourselves, yeah?

As for the outcome, I’m really glad I read it — and I’m not just saying that because this is a sponsor post.

I’ll explain why — along with eight good-to-know facts I from the book — but I can honestly say that educating myself on the benefits of being (even slightly more) carb-conscious actually made me want make a habit of it as well.

And best of all — like I actually could, too.

Summary: What’s it about?

“Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less” is an educational, illustrative guidebook for anyone who wants to better understand the many benefits of living a low-carb and low-sugar lifestyle.

It’s written by Colette Heimowitz, a nutritionist who has 25-plus years of experience helping people with nutritional issues. (She’s also the brand’s VP of Nutrition and Education.)

The book itself is beautiful to flip through — lots of full-page, mouth-watering illustrations. It’s broken down in two sections — “Eat Right, Not Less” and “Let’s Get Cooking,” the latter of which features 100 healthy, whole food recipes.

… Recipes that are so easy to follow that the Non-Kitchen Queens among us can even make them. (Me!) Meals like cinnamon waffles, hearty buddha bowls, egg-and-avocado concoctions and almond butter smoothie bowls — just to name a few.

The appendix also makes it really easy to search by recipe, ingredient and so on.

You can learn more about “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less” here, including where you can pick up a copy for yourself.


… Now, onto the good stuff!

Book Review: 8 Things I Learned

1. You’re eating more carbs than you realize. 

I’m going to risk sounding ignorant in admitting this, but did you know there’s carbohydrates in pretty much everything? Apples? Garlic? … Even carrots and kale? 

I did not — or I suppose I’ve never paid much attention to it.
Atkins’ suggests getting much of your daily carbohydrate intake from vegetables — and of course, carrots and kale are better than most other snack alternatives.

Mortified by this, I started food journaling a bit, scanning food levels to tally and track what I was eating. Some days, my carb intake was well over 250 g — even on days I wasn’t working out!

I read that the average American adult consumes around 300g a day, too — or well above their suggested daily intake (based on lifestyle, natch).

If you’re in the same boat (and are interested in making small changes in your lifestyle in order to be healthier), I’d suggest following my lead: Keep a food journal and learn how to read food labels, first-and-foremost.

I know, sounds tedious. But once you get into it, it’s kiiiinda weirdly and obsessively fun. (Anyone with me on this?)

2. Sugar often plays charades. 

Sugar is often disguised as some other ingredient on food labels, so it’s important to know how to identify different types of it. Look for words like maltrose, dextrose, corn syrup and so on.

The book educates you on carbs that contain “hidden sugars” – carbs and foods we may think are healthy (or “fat free”) that actually turn into “bad” sugar when digested.

What happens next? Your body scrambles to convert sugar to energy and “put it away” during digestion. Or “queue it up,” that make sense?

Essentially, our bods’ can only absorb sugar and convert it to energy when it’s broken down into Glucose (good sugar) and relatively simple sugars — it’s the reined stuff — the “hidden sugars” — that you need to watch out for first-and-foremost.

I apologize in advance for this next part, okay?


Did you know a store-bought bagel has the same impact on your blood sugar as if you gulped eight teaspoons of granulated sugar?


I do now — and I’m honestly still recovering.

Thank the lawd I didn’t know this in my New York days… (Or maybe that would have been a good thing.) I miss my Bodega guy…

3. You’ve got options — and “no carbs” isn’t one of them. (Yay!)

“On” Atkins, there’s lots of resources and recipes to ensure you’re meeting your goals, getting nutrients and feeling satisfied — from meat and veggies to pasta and potatoes (yes, really!).

I say “on” – but you’re not actually on a program – it’s more about learning to eat to better-fuel your body (and lifestyle). Atkins allows for a flexible, fits-for-you approach to lowering your carb and sugar intake. That’s all. It’s not about following a program explicitly —it’s about becoming more carb-conscious.

Personally, I don’t care for “programs.” My schedule is too unpredictable for me to stick to a program explicitly (and I just know myself and my eating habits), and this book is helpful as a general reference/guide. In particular, the grocery shopping lists are really helpful.

About Atkins’ more modernized eating approaches:

The initial phase is called Induction, or Atkins 20 — meaning you’re aiming to consume 20 grams of net carbs (Total Carbohydrates – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols/Glycerin (if applicable)) each day. There’s also Atkins 40 and Atkins 100 for those wanting a less restrictive plan. You can compare each plan via their website.

(FYI: It is suggested that those wanting to lower their carbohydrate consumption for weight loss should start with Atkins 20 if the desired result is 40+ pounds; or with Atkins 40 if less than 40, respectively.)

Note: I know that there are many other factors to consider when it comes to nutrition; but for the sake of accurately reviewing Atkins’ new book, I’m keeping this post as it relates to carbohydrates and sugar.

4. Small changes really do make a big difference..

Once you get in the habit of treating carb consumption as it works with your lifestyle, you’ll know how your favorite foods, snacks, meals better fit into your days and weeks.

It’ll become easier and more natural to grocery shop, make small substitutions and meal prep — and a result, meet your nutrition and weight goals.

That’s how this becomes a lifestyle.

Okay, let’s talk specifics, huh?

5. It’s a numbers game.

The key point to monitor is your net-carb intake with Atkins — or the total amount of carbs you’re aiming to consume each day — 20g, 40g, 100+g, etc. This can be calculated by adding up (or planning out) your meals each day.

It’s easy, promise: Net Carbs = Total Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohols/Glycerin (if applicable)

Since not all foods come with labels (like fruit), you’ll want to do your research. For example: there’s actually quite a few fresh foods that contain high carbohydrate and sugar counts, like grapes and bananas (around 12g and 19g, respectively).

In addition to Atkins’ new book, website and app (and other resources), you can use apps/sites such as My Fitness Pal to look up nutritional information.

You can (should) also check out the resources I’ve gathered together on Pinteres for ya, too; like these handy carb-counting charts — data on those apps are often user-submitted so they can be inaccurate at times.

I’ve learned to make lots of smart food swaps throughout my weight-loss journey, some of which are below:

Net Carbohydrate Totals (approximate, in grams)

Starbucks Turkey Bacon breakfast sandwich: 24 g 
swap with: Three egg-white omelet (0 g) with 1/2 avocado (2 g) and salsa (3 g): 5 g

Grilled chicken breast (0 g) with one cup brussels sprouts (5 g) and one medium-sized sweet potato (22 g): 27 g 
swap with: Grilled chicken breast (0 g) with one cups steamed broccoli (3 g),  & 1/2 sweet potato (11 g): 15 g 

Deli chicken sandwich on whole wheat bagel with honey mustard, mayo (o g!), lettuce, tomato and 1/2 avocado (2 g): 32 g
swap with:  Deli turkey wrapped in lettuce with cheddar, tomato, sprouts and 1/2 mashed avocado: 4 g

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