Why You Need a Vacation and How to get the Most from it! Part 3

I’ve had this thing ever since I was little and I’d go to camp. I’d have fun for the first couple of days, but once I was past the midpoint of the trip I’d start to get anxiety. I knew in a few days I’d have to go home and there was a lot of stress at home and I felt so GOOD being away from home! This mindset has followed me into adulthood, and my trip to Australia was no exception. About halfway through I started to wonder how I could live in Australia, and not go back to Boston. Honestly. I started thinking how could I make money, and live right here in a little apartment right on Coogee beach? The truth is, home, no matter where I live has been a problem for me because HOME IS A MINDSET! The saying “Home is where your heart is” isn’t too far off actually. The problem was my heart had been hurt a lot at my home in Boston…and I knew very well I couldn’t live at Coogee beach…So I had to start thinking of what I could do to take some of what I was learning back home with me.

In this post, I’m going to be talking about the things you can bring back with you that are going to be more life-changing than anything you can fit into your suitcase!

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Are Marimo’s the Next Big Thing?

Growing up, I spent $30 of my Christmas money, on a Bonsai. I loved it. It was so cute and it gave my “Asian Themed” bedroom (because I was really into martial arts at the time) the perfect touch. However, in Florida, we have these horrible little creatures called sugar ants that seem to find their way into homes every summer to escape the heat. They don’t sting like fire ants, but they are really annoying and seem to get into everything…which is exactly what they did to my poor Bonsai. Overnight it became infested with these little ants. I was young and didn’t know how else to handle an infestation of this manner except to spray my Bonsai quite heavily with an ant killer and it worked! er…kind of. While the ants did die, my Bonsai died too and that was my first introduction to having an indoor house plant.

Social media (like my Instagram) usually shows beautifully styled homes with lush green houseplants everywhere, but more often than not, I hear people complaining about them online. They die, they turn weird colors, remembering to water them seems to be a constant ongoing war and I’m left with the impression that perhaps a houseplant is something you give to someone like a frenemy. The idea seems nice at first, “Oh look at this cute little plant I got you!” but then GAWD FORBID they kill it, and then they’re “the ones who killed the pretty plant you gave them” and even if you don’t say anything, that plant will be hanging like an albatross from around their neck. Trust me, if I give you a houseplant, chances are I’m openly telling you that I don’t like you and I want to give you a really inconvenient gift that now you are responsible for keeping alive.

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How to Make Ukrainian Easter Eggs

One of my favorite childhood memories was coloring Easter eggs with my sister in the backyard under our maple tree which was much smaller back then. I remember my mother setting up little-colored plastic cups, and filling them with water and vinegar and then we’d watch as the little fizzy color tabs would dye the water. I’d scribble flowers, hearts, and lines on my little egg and then pop it into one of the six colors. Eventually, though, all the eggs seemed to end up the same kind of greenish khaki color from being dipped in too many additional colors. We would then put stickers on them of bunnies, chicks, and flowers and present them proudly to our mother who would say how pretty they are. She would politely ignore multicolor dyed hands of her children in favor of our smiles, and she would dutifully clean up the mess of spilled dye and leftover sticker remnants on the little table outside. As an adult, the smell of vinegar still reminds me of those days.

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Penna Alla Vodka to make You Look like a Pro

My husband and I got a book called “The Gourmet Cookbook” by Ruth Reichl. We got it mostly for the really interesting (and expensive) recipes, because, well it’s fun to read about how to cook escargot.

In the pasta section, there was an affordable gem that Amin and I now make regularly. It’s called Penne Alla Vodka and I swear you’ll never go back to eating jarred pasta again once to see how crazy easy it is to make and how absolutely pro chef it tastes. Below, not only will I walk you through it, but I’ll give you a video to watch to see how it’s done first hand!

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My Self-Love for Valentines

Valentines can be tough. There’s a huge focus on Love and being in a relationship. In my personal opinion, if you live in America it’s just another holiday that’s been ruined by companies pressuring you to buy stuff to be happy. I think we’ve really lost sight of love. To be honest, it’s so hard and so “Not Special” going to a restaurant on Valentines, that my husband and I have actually moved the date to the first weekend after.

I was not taught a lot about self-care or self-love…In fact, I’d venture to say that I haven’t really started learning about “myself” until very recently, and learning about yourself is different than loving yourself. You can learn about yourself and hate who you are.

Love is something that is cultivated over time, and I’d like to preface this post with saying that no matter how many bubble baths you take, no matter how many times you do your nails or have facials, it’s not going to matter unless you cultivate a real heart love for yourself and that will take time. That said, as you do these activities, remember to remind yourself over and over that you are deserving of these things, and that you are being kind to yourself because you deserve it!

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6 Dinner Ideas for Your Valentine!

February may be a cold month (at least for this ex-southerner) but it’s got a heartwarming holiday to look forward to! While a box of chocolates and a rose are great classic ideas, I’ve sifted through the internet to find some really special meals that are a little more out of the box. Hopefully, this inspires you to try something a little different for that special someone! If you do something cool that isn’t listed and you’d like me to check it out, please tell me about it in the comments!

There is nothing wrong with taking your sweetie out for something sweet to eat, but there’s something special about having your S/O cook for you. I usually cook at home, but when Amin cooks for me, especially if it’s something he knew I would like (seafood or pasta instead of chicken) it’s an easy way to make me swoon. I get to chill out and relax or just talk to him and watch him run around the kitchen (extra points if he cleans up the kitchen after). P.S. It doesn’t have to be valentines for this to happen…just sayn’ but if you’re low on ideas, here are some valentines themed recipes that look as good as they taste!

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My TOP Valentine Manicure Ideas!

I love to do my own nails which you probably already know if you’ve seen my “End of Summer Nails” and my “How to do a Manicure at Home” posts. I really try to make it a self-care ritual, by buffing, letting them soak, doing my own hand massage with some nice lotion and giving them a nice fresh coat of paint. Within the last year though, I have started investing in some nail stamps by a company called Mo-You London. Their stamps seem to work really well, and they’re reusable and can work with your own polish so long as it’s heavily pigmented like OPI’s stuff.

There are so many options for Valentines nails, but for me personally, I love how pink looks and considering how cold it is up here in Massachusetts during February I wanted to use the MoYou London Nail Stamp Called “Festive #06”. It has two really cure heart stamps that look like they should be on a sweater!

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How I Survive New England Winters

8 years ago my husband and I (with our two cats) all jammed into our car and made the long drive from Tampa Florida to Boston Massachusetts to start a new life. We arrived a week before Christmas and our Christmas tree was one of the first things we unpacked. Several days later we experienced our first Blizzard (the first of four that came by in a row). We were not very well prepared. I can remember shoveling our car in jeans and sneakers. I had grown up in Florida from the age of two and anything under 50 degrees seemed unbearably cold, so that first winter really put the fear of winter in me.

So, how am I doing 8 years later? Better. Much better. Here is what I do to Survive the New England Winters.

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End of Summer Nails

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While technically October is the month that begins fall, I find that people often think of August as their chance to really enjoy true summer since school starts back up in September.

So I decided to do a really fun nail tutorial! Teal is close to my heart because it was my wedding color, and dark blue has always been my husbands favorite color. So I decided to use both of them to creative this fun, ocean like ombre nail. It may take some practice, but these nails will definitely get you noticed! Read more

How to do a Manicure at Home

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You can get a cheap manicure at the mall, but then you run the risk of some nasty health issues if you go to a less than tidy place. You can actually do a really nice manicure in the comfort of your own home, and you might find it even more relaxing, not to mention more cost effective. I have never done fake nails, and have no intentions of trying them since they tend to ruin your natural nails. In this “How To” I’ll give you tips on how to grow strong natural nails and do a really nice manicure at home. Set aside some time to do this. You’d have to take some time if you were having them done by a pro, and this is suppose to be relaxing so take this time for yourself. Read more