A surprising engagement ring trend

I was always drawn to engagement ring styles that were compact and elegant, not overly loaded with stones or metal or get caught on your sweater. Which is why I’m drawn to the latest engagement ring trend: According to The Zoe Report, baguette-style rings– which originate from the Art Deco era of the 1920s, and whose stones are named for their long, slender baguette-like shape– are currently having a moment. Would you wear this style?

Above: Mociun’s Arcade Ring, $8,500.

How do you get organized?

I love Marie Kondo’s book just as much as everyone else, but how does one organize the non-physical aspects of life? Her book, while helpful in sorting through your physical belongings by identifying what brings you joy and what doesn’t, deals with only the tangible: clothes, books, photos, furniture, bric-a-brac. For everything else, I recommend a book I found in my parent’s house ten years ago, which seems to not be as well known: it’s called Getting Things Done, by David Allen, who shares a simple, effective method for getting organized and capturing all the loose ends in your life. He breaks it into five steps (Capture, Clarify, Organize, Reflect, and Engage) but for me, the game-changer came when I started writing everything down. Some people have diaries, I have my list. This is an incredibly cathartic exercise, where you write down everything on your mind and later, decide next steps with each item. I have been doing this the past few weeks and already see an improvement in my productivity. You don’t need any special tools, just a simple pad or your phone’s notebook. Best of all, with this list in hand, you can fill small pockets of time by either working on the list, or completing items on the list– and feel great about it! No more boring commutes, endless waiting room visits, or not knowing what to do with free time. The result leaves you relaxed, observant and feeling in control. Would you try this?

Above: Jackson Pollack’s Untitled, 1948–49

Valentine’s Flowers

To all my friends, family and loved ones, happy Valentine’s! Remember writing Valentines to each person in your class as a kid? That was so fun, getting all those cards (Snoopy-themed) and candy (chalky, pastel “BE MINE” hearts). I love this gorgeous bouquet from Urban Stems, which features colorful ranunculus, roses, and mini calla lilies for some sweet Valentine’s vibes.

Also love this Valentine’s bouquet my boyfriend sent me last night 🙂

Winter Weekend in Woodstock

For Rob’s birthday this past weekend, we drove to Woodstock, NY for a snowy adventure.  Our Airbnb cabin was surrounded by woods and featured a baby grand piano and a roaring fireplace- the perfect backdrop for a winter weekend away!  On Saturday, we snowshoed up Balsam Lake Mountain, followed by Graham Mountain, together a 9-miler of snowy trails, woods and breathtaking views.

Balsam Lake Firetower View
Here’s a picture from the windy top of Balsam Lake Mountain’s firetower, featuring 360-degrees of Catskill views.

On Sunday, we tackled Blackhead Mountain, a woodsy 5-mile loop, using our microspikes the whole way and climbing over frozen waterfalls– in some places incredibly steep terrain.  Being active outdoors all day, followed by a restful evening in front of the fireplace with those close to me, is my favorite kind of weekend! Would you try this getaway?

Icy frozen waterfalls, on the way down Blackhead

Our shadows blending in the trees, heading down Graham

Rob walking through a massive frozen waterfall

In front of the cozy fireplace

Sick Day

Cherry Blossoms in Central Park

I woke up this morning with a red, sore throat and a voice so raspy it sounds like a lawn mower. After a visit to the doctor, I’m now on meds that should have me feeling better by tomorrow. Until then, all I can do is look outside at the gorgeous, sunny spring day and colorful flowering trees, hoping to feel better so I can enjoy the season. What are some of your favorite home remedies when you’re sick?

An Active Weekend in Bucks County, PA

Urban living is fast-paced and exciting, but can take its toll: a lack of trees and nature, being bombarded with crowded/claustrophobic situations all day long (subways, elevators, cubicles), and general noise and chaos can result in urban fatigue. Which is why I was so excited when Visit Bucks County and fitness getaway expert Ketanga Fitness Retreats teamed up to offer an epic two-and-a-half day adventure along with a mix of awesome travel and fitness writers, to try new routines, challenge our fitness capabilities and have a great time. Who could resist that challenge, and this view?

Delaware River, c/o Bucks County.

Driving over the bridge into New Hope, PA always welcomes with serene river views. It’s one of the northeast’s most fun towns to visit, with restaurants, coffee houses and Revolutionary-era landmarks. We arrived at our hotel, the 22-room Hotel Du Ville, a cozy, French country estate-style hotel (with a wonderful backyard fire pit).

Our bike ride along the Delaware River on the left, and canal on the right. The canal was created in the 1830s as a way to transport goods between NYC and Philly.

We began our active adventure with a 14-mile bike ride with Encore Rides, whose owner, Rick James (who promised he was not actually the singer of Super Freak) lead us through New Hope’s back streets until entering the longest path of our journey along the peaceful Delaware River. River views, glimpses of impressive homes and woodsy charm made for a rewarding ride. I also built some serious strength in my legs.

Taken from our bike ride on Washington Crossing Bridge.

The next morning we were jolted awake with hip-hop boxing in-place with martial-arts trainer Steve Feinberg, no coffee needed. I was surprised how fun- and intense- simply doing moves with good instruction can be (and without any machinery or special gear.) We enjoyed an intense afternoon pilates-and-pinot session, (i.e. working out next to grapes growing at Buckingham Valley Vineyards) with expert Jenna Muller, followed by a tasting of wines made on site. Both were amazing athletes and instructors- my arms were on fire, in a good way!

Our SUP adventure. Photo c/o Cassie Hepler, instagram.com/Explore_Philly.

At nearby Falls Township Lake, we spent our last morning stand-up paddle-boarding with Driftwood Water Adventures owned by Bobby Moyer, SUP guru (and sometime high school science teacher.)  Paddling out to the middle of the lake was a thrill, and the cool breeze invigorating. SUP is surprisingly a good workout and helps improve balance.

I returned home feeling energized and fit. Our short but intense adventure had all the ingredients of a great fitness getaway: a medley of activities, amazing company and a gorgeous, nature-filled/history-rich location as a backdrop. Thank you so much, Bucks County and Ketanga Fitness; I had so much fun!

S’mores station at Hotel du Village

Happy Fall!

Fall 2003, Amherst, MA.

Today is the first day of fall! (or spring for our friends in the southern hemisphere.) At 4:02pm EST, the sun will cross over the equator: the autumnal equinox.

The cooler temperature in the air is refreshing, but I’m most looking forward to the explosive red, yellow and orange colors of the changing leaves to come- perfect for a weekend getaway outside the city. Plus: not sweating profusely on the walk to work every day; cute/cozy fall sweaters and scarves; pumpkin-spice everything; hay rides with my friends’ kids; and stacks of chrysanthemums relentlessly appearing at every farmer’s market and townhouse steps, from Chelsea to Clinton Hill.

I hope you have “A September to remember. An October full of splendor. A November to treasure.”-La Prevenchere.

Three Fall Lip Colors Under $20

I loved trying on my grandma’s lipsticks when I was young; the vibrant red and bright pink shades thrilled me more than any toy. But when I’d try them on- usually painting completely outside my lip line resulting in a clown-like appearance- the taste was always soapy/perfumey and had a heavy feel I hated. Thankfully, lip products have come a long way since then (and hopefully so have my application skills.) The three I’ll be trying on today don’t smell or taste like anything, last a long time (#3 lasted the entire day plus a shower), and are all under $20. Which one is your favorite?#1: Mac Lipglass Clear, $17.  This is the perfect touch of shine for day and night. I typically will wear this for a night on the town with friends, an event/party, even for a date or special occasion: but it’s still neutral enough to wear at work. I first wore this legendary product in college when it smelled/tasted a bit like cotton candy and was super sticky (admittedly, I kind of loved both of those attributes). But the current formula is a touch more smooth, has great staying power, and is fragrance-free. The best part about this product is that it stays super shiny for long periods of time.  I love the way it adds a glass-like 3D effect.

#2: Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Catfight, $10 on sale. This is a long-lasting, very creamy product and the color is divine: hot-pink mixed with cherry red. Highly pigmented like many Urban Decay products, you only need one coat of this lipstick to make a stunning statement. And the bold shade makes your teeth look whiter!With all the black and dark colors I wear (New York native I am), I love knowing this deep pink can add a feminine touch to any work outfit or overly-corporate looking ensemble.

#3: Wet & Wild’s Megalast in Purty Persimmon (2.49). I picked up this burst of orange-red at Duane Reade while waiting for my train in Penn Station. The color immediately caught my eye, and for the price, I couldn’t resist. I was shocked how long this shade lasted (8+ hours), how good it felt (weightless) and looked (bright). This color is the perfect gateway into bold colors.What lip products have you tried lately? What are your favorites?