4/29/2015

HOME TOUR: A HAMPTONS HAVEN

Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home
My dream summer scenario... Here goes. I would fly from here to JFK airport in NYC, rent a convertible - something fun like a little Mini Cooper - and drive up to my summer rental cottage in the Hamptons. My stay would be for at least a month. At least. Maybe a bit longer. Once I get to town, I would stop at the grocery store, the farmers market, and my favorite little shops downtown to pick up everything I would need to get the cottage in comfortable order. Naturally, the cottage would look something like this one designed by Jenny Wolf Interiors. It would be bright, relaxing, and inviting - yet polished. My first order of business would be to prepare an early dinner that day for Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa). I prefer early dinners as opposed to late night dinners that start at 8PM (that's the honest truth). We're neighbors and good friends, so I can't wait to prepare a fresh seafood salad for us to eat on that gorgeous deck as she fills me in on her latest adventures, recipes, and how she feels about winning her 2015 Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Culinary Series (true and very well deserved). I adore her (that's the honest truth, too). My stay gets off to a good start with that dinner and I spend the remainder of my month, maybe two, hosting brunches and dinners around that dining room table, spending lazy days on the beach, eating copious amounts of fresh seafood, fresh vegetables, and chocolate - and waking up in the mornings in that bright, comfortable bed without the presence of a screaming alarm clock. Pure heaven. One can only dream... 

Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home
Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home
Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home


Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home

Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home
Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home
Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home
Hamptons Cottage by Jenny Wolf Interiors | Savor Home

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4/27/2015

5 OF MY FAVORITE COMMON & UNCOMMON BEAUTY PRODUCTS

Happy Monday!! I have to first say that ya'll are so sweet. So many of you sent me e-mails about Friday's post and a few of you even shared the post on your own blogs. I really, really appreciate it. Being thankful for the small things always turns my attitude around. And I do think about the future of this blog more often than I used to, but I haven't made any decisions yet. When I do, I will certainly let you know! But I'm here today and today I would like to share a few beauty products that I'm loving at the moment. Some of these products are commonly known as a beauty product - and some may not be. Either way, they have really made a difference for me, so I wanted to share them... 


NeilMed Sinus Rinse: Allergies - This is a product that might not really be thought of as a beauty product, but it certainly is for me! Allergy season is in full swing here, so this version of a Neti Pot is something that I've been using daily as of late. When my allergies flare up, my nose constantly runs, my eyes are puffy and red, and I sneeze quite a lot. The pressure in my sinuses from the allergies also triggers migraines. But when I use this, the side effects of my allergies are very minimal. Each night before bed, I fill the bottle up with luke warm bottled water, add the contents of the packet that comes with the bottle, and I squirt half of the liquid in the bottle up each nostril. I'm am always baffled at what comes out of my nose. That may be TMI, but you would honestly be surprised at all of the junk that lives in your nose and sinuses each day. After blowing my nose a few times after the process, I always notice how much easier it is to breath - even when I thought I was breathing comfortably before the process. I typically wake up the next morning breathing clearly - which is totally not the case when I go a few days without using the rinse. When you feel good, you look good in my opinion, so that is a beauty product that I'll be using for quite some time...


Organic Apple Cider Vinegar: Hair - This is another uncommon beauty product that I use and really love. When I was 13, my scalp was badly burned by a perm (the kind that straightens the hair). Dandruff has been a huge problem for me since that day. Last year, I finally found something that combats the flakes! I get my hair washed every week and a half (washing it daily would dry it out). My hair stylist had this genius idea to use organic apple cider vinegar to try and tame the dandruff. She first shampoos my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo. Then she dilutes the vinegar with a little water and sprays it on my scalp using a little spray bottle. She massages it in and lets it sit on my scalp for about 10 minutes. She then rinses it out and shampoos my hair again. The antibacterial and anti-fungal elements of the vinegar have significantly reduced the amount of dandruff that I used to have. My scalp is certainly not as itchy as it used to be either. Apple cider vinegar is also a type of conditioner, so my hair is really shiny after I get it done. After 20 years of dealing with dandruff, I'll forever be grateful to this stuff - and to my amazing stylist who thought to use it... :)


NOW Eve Daily Multivitamin: Body - I mentioned here that I started taking this multivitamin. That was over a month ago, so I now feel qualified to give you some feedback. At the end of last year, I noticed this deep, horizontal ridges in my fingernails. I'd never gotten them before, so I did some Googling (not the best thing to do, but I had to know!), and saw that they could signal a disease or a lack of a certain vitamin. So I looked on the bright side and assumed my body was lacking a vitamin. I researched some vitamins and landed on this one. NOW is the brand that makes my migraine supplement (that really works), so I was a little partial to this vitamin. It's a softgel pill, which makes it easier to swallow and for the body to absorb, is formulated for women, and contains a little green tea and evening primrose oil in addition to more than the daily recommended doses of the essential vitamins like vitamins A, C, and D. My doctor approved it and almost two months later, the ridges in my fingernails are gone, I have a little more energy (it has lots of B-12), my skin is softer, and I think my hair and nails are growing faster! Like I said, when you feel good, you look good - no matter what. That is beauty to me. Oh and I only take one of these a day as opposed to taking the recommended three a day. I was taking this before bed and had a hard time sleeping, so one in the morning it is!


ESPA 24-hr Replenishing Eye Moisturizer: Eyes - Alright friends - I have been at war with these dark circles that are REALLY trying to make a home on my face these days. No matter how much I sleep or how well I eat, they are still there! Sometimes heredity is a bummer... You may remember me mentioning a product in this post that I planned to try. Well after two months of application - no change. So a few weeks ago, my aesthetician recommended this eye moisturizer. I use a serum by ESPA. Even though it works well, I honestly didn't plan on buying any other facial products that cost over $50. I'm a drug store girl at heart, but the older I get, the more I'm realizing that using good quality products is important - and sometimes expensive! This eye cream is $75 bucks and I can honestly say it is WORTH IT! I bought this two weeks ago, have used it twice a day, and my circles have lightened up a bit in just those two weeks. The cream is really light and hydrating. A tiny bit goes a long way. It smells good too. Boy I'm thankful for this stuff and am hoping that it keeps working!

Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Night Cream: Face- As I mentioned, I like to buy products that I can ordinarily buy at the drug store or Target. However, I'm realizing that I need to focus more on better quality products. Before I totally leave the drug store, I wanted to try Neutrogena's Naturals line. I've always loved Neutrogena. I currently use their cream cleanser and moisturizer. I'm trying one product at a time and it was easiest to start with their night cream since they recently discontinued the night cream I was previously using. So far, so good! It's rich, but not too thick, hydrating, and very moisturizing - and a little goes a long way with this, too. It also smells great. I love products that smell great without tons of chemicals.

Are there beauty products - common or uncommon - that you are loving lately? Please share!

Images by me
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4/24/2015

TEN THINGS I'M THANKFUL FOR...



Earlier this week, I had every intention of posting links today. But as I was trying to finish the post yesterday, my heart was just not in it. I know I started the week off with all of the wonderful things that I did last week - so many fun things. But behind every pretty picture and fun circumstance, there is always something going on that I'm dealing with, worried about, anxious about, deciding upon, and losing a little sleep over. There was a lot of that going on this week. I know that I'm no different from you or anyone else. I myself try to keep that in mind when I look at pretty things on blogs and social media these days. Everything isn't always pretty for everybody. When I have moments like these, I whip out my notebook and write down the things I'm thankful for. It always helps ease my anxiety. Always. So I thought I would share what I wrote down with you today. It's what was on my heart and mind...

1. The sun. It decided to come out of hiding a few days this week after almost two weeks of rain. Loved it. 

2. My new job that I'm still loving. A job that I pretty much prayed about for three years. A job that pretty much came to me out of nowhere. Prayer works. 

3. A boss who tells me "thank you" all the time - and means it. I always return the compliment - and mean it. 

4. A former staff of mine who randomly called me this week to tell about her new job and how she credits me for preparing her for it. It's been about 5 years since we worked together and about 3 years since we've last spoken to each other. You just never know who's thinking of you... 

5. The sweet lady at my cable provider (you know a call to a cable provider almost requires a tall glass of wine these days), who sweetly and calmly handled my issue then surprisingly granted me a generous credit on my bill for the next 6 months just for being a "valued customer." If only she knew how much I valued her for doing that for me - this week especially. 

6. This tea. It's been helpful in calming me down before bed a few nights this week. 

7.  My mom, dad, and brother. We are currently planning our summer vacation. It will be our first family vacation in over 20 years. Just the four of us. Can't wait. 

8. The sales associate at J.Crew who asked me for my college ID this week as I was checking out. Bless his heart. My college days are almost 15 years behind me, so my mood was instantly lifted - way more than it would have been if I would have received their student discount (which is 15% by the way). 

9. Those of you who have sent me e-mails about how much you've enjoyed this blog. You guys have been on a roll lately- a time when I'm starting to think about how much longer I'll blog. 

10. The weekend... Of course. :)

Happy weekend friends...

Image via
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4/22/2015

A ONE POT WEEKNIGHT MEAL: CHICKEN STEW

Weeknight Meal: One Pot Chicken Stew
So last week while I was on my little break, I spent lots of time in the kitchen. But I certainly wasn't making anything complicated. I wanted simple, fresh meals that would serve as a little detox after a few weeks of hard work. So there were lots of massaged kale salads, rice & quinoa bowls, lots of fresh vegetables, smoothies - ya know - simple things. I also made that really hearty stew you see there. I saw Giada de Laurentiis make it on the Today Show last week. She said it was a good weeknight meal - but I don't know of many good hearty stews that take less than an hour to make. Well now I do...

This stew is so good friends... It honestly does taste like it simmered on the stove for hours and it only took about 45 minutes from prep to the table to make. The vegetables are so tender and really flavorful. I often worry about cooking chicken in dishes like this because of its tendency to get dry, but I could literally cut the chicken with a fork alone after it cooked in this stew. The stew is totally customizable, too. I used fire roasted tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes for a little spice, and added white beans instead of the kidney beans used in the original recipe. I served it over my brown rice and topped it off with freshly grated Parmesan cheese (so good!!), but it can be served alone with a side of crusty bread, or on top of egg noodles. It's just a really good, simple, healthy, one-pot recipe that really is perfect for a weeknight dinner - and even better for lunch the next day!

Weeknight Meal: One Pot Chicken Stew

Here  is what you need and what to do (serves 4 to 6 people):

2 tablespoons olive oil (I used regular olive oil)
2 stalks celery, cut into small pieces
2 carrots, cut into small pieces
1 onion, cut, chopped
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 14.5 oz can diced regular or fire roasted tomatoes
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 chicken breasts, bone-in with the skin on (organic is best- it's more tender)
1 14.5 oz can beans (kidney beans, white beans, black beans), rinsed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)

1. Add the olive oil to a 10 in pan over medium heat. Add the celery, carrots, and onion. Season the vegetables with a little salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until they are slightly softened.

2. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, tomato paste, bay leaf, and thyme to the pan. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. Add the chicken, skin side down. Try to submerge the chicken in the liquid as much as possible. Bring the mixture to a simmer, put the lid on the pan, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, flipping the chicken about halfway through.

3. Once the chicken is cooked (it should be very tender, but not dry), remove it from the pot and set aside to cool. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cook for another 10 minutes until the stew has slightly reduced.

4. Once the chicken has cooled, remove the skin and bones from the chicken. Shred it or dice it and add it to the stew along with the peas. Let the stew simmer for a few minutes, then top it with the fresh basil. Ladle the stew into bowls and top with the Parmesan cheese if using. Serve over brown rice, egg noodles, or simply with a side of crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Images by me

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4/20/2015

NEW TO ME & NOTEWORTHY...

Hi!! Are you still there?? I needed a little break friends... I had a busy week of work followed by a few days off and I decided to take extra full advantage of those days. I met friends for dinner, deep-cleaned my house, read a whole book in two days, took more than a few naps (no surprise there I assume...), did a spa day, watched movies and trash TV in the middle of the day, worked out, rehydrated, cooked lots - and just relaxed. I feel quite revived... Here are a few more things I did, learned, and loved during my time off... 

I mentioned here that I planned to read The Girl On The Train soon - and I did just that last week. I read it almost nonstop for two days. LOVED IT! I have to say that it is honestly one of the best books I've ever read. Paula Hawkins's writing just sucked me right in down to the very last swipe as I read it on my iPad. The mix of characters their issues made for the best- and ruthless I might add- thriller. It's quite the mystery that is just so very good. They hype about this book is real - and I honestly think that it's SO much better than Gone Girl. The characters were better and the slightly unexpected ending was definitely better. If you need a good read, this is it!

The purchased my last pair of nude strappy heels about ten years ago and they were looking more than ten years old. So I purchased these during Shopbop's sale a few weeks ago and BOY did I get a deal. Not only were they on sale, but I promise you that they are some of the most comfortable heels I own. The bottom of the sandal is well padded, but you can't tell by looking at it. The older I get, the more I totally respect a heel that is both cute AND comfortable -  and I have mad respect for these... 

I used my last drop of perfume a few weeks ago, so I shopped for more during my break. I'm not one of those girls who has an abundance of perfume sitting on her dresser to choose from each day. To avoid making yet another decision in a day, I like to just stick to one perfume at a time. I've worn Tocca fragrances for several years and had every intention to try something totally different. That was until I smelled Tocca's Liliana. It's a mix of Italian Bergamot, White Peony, Peach, and a little Sandlewood. It smelled so fresh and clean when I sampled it - so Tocca again it is... :)

I linked to these espadrilles in this post and now that I'd have them, I can tell you that this was yet another successful online purchase. My old black espadrilles saw their final day last summer, so I got this classic pair of espadrilles during one of Banana Republic's 40% off sales (which they have often). These are yet another pair of shoes that I have a lot of respect for. Cute and super comfy! They pair perfectly with anything from dresses, to shorts, to flared jeans (which I'm so happy they are back!). 

If you follow me on Instagram, then you might assume that Porter magazine is one of my favorite magazines. If so, your assumption is correct. I love the photography and the amazing stories of great women. But the last page of the magazine is always my favorite. I love the "Golden Rules" column - a column where influential women tell their ten golden rules for life. I watch Ellen's show every single day, so I was thrilled to see that she was featured. I thought every rule she had was so true - especially #3 and #4 (obviously). Of course #10 was no surprise... :)

And... this week's flowers. :)

Images by me

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4/06/2015

LINKS FOR THE WEEK!!



Hi there!! I hope you had a great Easter weekend! Sorry for the silence on Friday. I was preparing for a big deadline at work that I have this week and my eyelids were just too heavy at the end of last week to put a post together. I have a feeling that this week will be much of the same as I near the finish line with work. I get so much good feedback on my links posts (thank you so much!), so what I thought I would do today is share 25 links that you can peruse at your leisure this week while I work, eat, and sleep on repeat! I hope you enjoy them! Have a wonderful week!


GOOD READS
I could SO relate to this post - except that sometimes I am covered in cat hair...
Good advice and pretty spaces of great creatives...
One of my favorite new places for inspiration...
In case spring cleaning is on your to-do list...
One thing that keeps your brain young...
Six good reading options...
Seven tips for success...


GOOD SPACES
Can't wait to see what she does for the One Room Challenge!
Loving this before & after. California living at it's finest.
I LOVE their work, so I can't wait to get this...
A lovely location for this celebration of love...
Clean, lofty living... 


GOOD EATS
Probably the most creative food blog I've ever seen!
I had this for my Easter dinner and it was SO SO good!!
S'mores smashed between two chocolate chip cookies... Yum.
Found this blog last week. It's now a daily read. Beautiful it is.
"Magical" is how I would describe the photography on this blog...
An "ingenious" way to pack and eat your lunch...
Perfect for a summer brunch...


GOOD THINGS
For those really cold nights next winter. And I mean cold!
Bless her heart for doing this post... Brave and informative.
What to do with those loose receipts that you need to keep!
Loving the style of this. It's creative and looks comfy!
Stylish, classic, and perfect for summer travel...
And I think this dress is perfect for work...


Image by me. Pictured are West Elm Glass Shadow Boxes (love them!), West Elm Large Rectangle Lacquer Tray



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4/01/2015

SIX READS ON MY CURRENT RADAR...


So I'm still working at accomplishing my goal of reading more this year and it is working out quite well!  I used to be a "read one book at a time" kind of girl, but I am learning that in order to read something daily or nightly, I need to read something that is of interest to me at that particular moment.  That could be novel, a magazine, an article that I printed off earlier in the day, a cookbook, or a nonfiction book about something really interesting to me. Here are few books that I plan to add - or have recently added- to my growing stack of options that are currently on my nightstand...

1. Food 52 Genius Recipes: The Genius Recipe column of the Food 52 website is one of my favorite reads, so I have a feeling that this cookbook will be one of my favorites as well. The column as well as the cookbook features 100 typical recipes that are not-so-typical because of the unique way they are made or what they are actually made with. Think "Roasted Waffles," "Red Salad," "Potato Dominos," and "Caramelized White Chocolate." Roasted waffles - gosh that just sounds delish to me...

2.  The Sprouted Kitchen Bowl & Spoon: This book is not honestly not on my radar. It's sitting right here next to me on my nightstand as I write this post. It arrived on Monday (the release date) and I've had my nose stuck in it since then. This is the second cookbook by Sara Forte, the food blogger behind the lovely blog, "The Sprouted Kitchen." I adore her take on whole and healthy foods, but I especially love her take on this book. All of the recipes in this book are not only healthy and whole, but they are made for bowls. That got me. I eat most of my meals out of bowls. Bowls make eating anywhere other than the table much more comfortable and it's an easy way to control portions. Plus, I love mixing my food together. My grandmother used to eat her meals out of bowls, too, so perhaps I get my love of it from her. Eating healthy requires creativity to avoid boredom, and Sara's recipes are far from boring in my opinion. They are all made from a mix of ingredients that are colorful and go extremely well together. Most importantly, they all look simple to make. Her recipes for Double Chocolate Pudding, Strawberry Tabbouleh, Cauliflower Gratin, and Key Lime Eton Mess are certainly on my list of things to make. Oh and Sara's husband, Hugh Forte, should get some kind of special award for his food photography in the book. It's so, so, so pretty. You can see Sara and Hugh's beautiful introduction to the book here.

3. The Girl On The Train: I've been seeing this book EVERYWHERE and this past weekend I found out why. I was in Costco and had some time to waste until meeting a friend for dinner. I saw the book as I walked past the book section. I backed up, picked up the book (because I just had to know WHY I kept seeing it everywhere) and I opened it to Chapter 1. Well - I was almost late for dinner. I literally stood there in the book section of Costco and read the first few chapters of the book  - totally oblivious to anything around me - and as if Costco was a library. The book sucked me right in and I immediately downloaded the book to my Kindle when I got home. From what I read in Costco, it is about a girl who rides the train to and from her job in London every day. She pretty much sees the same things outside the window of the train each day - until one day. She sees something different that day - something not so good - and everything changes. She's got a lot going on in her personal life too that seems quite interesting. It's been compared to Gone Girl, but I can't and won't confirm that comparison until I read the whole book! I'm currently finishing up the sequel to this book, so I'll be reading it soon after I finish!

4. What Katie Ate On The Weekend: Katie Davies received a James Beard award for her stunning food photography in her first cookbook, so.... naturally I'm a lover of her work. Her blog "What Katie Ate" has been on my blogroll since my early days of blogging and I adore it. In her second cookbook, she features more of her inspirational photography of simple recipes that can be shared with friends during weekend dinner parties or brunch. She also offers tips on how to make the most of your time enjoying those friends as opposed to spending that time in the kitchen. You know I love cooking on the weekends, especially for others, so this book is certainly on my list...

5.  Deliciously Ella: I think Ella Woodward is such a charm. I've seen her really good-looking food on Pinterest and have linked to her recipes a few times. But I spent a little more time on her blog as I was doing research for this post and I have to say that she is a new favorite of mine. She developed Postural Tachycardia Syndrome about four years ago, which lead her to her current diet that is a whole-foods, gluten-free, plant-based diet. She credits that diet to healing her, putting her illness into remission, and teaching her how to cook things other than eggs and pasta! Ella finds really creative ways to make not-so-good for you foods out of simple and unprocessed ingredients. I'm so interested to know how she has used those ingredients to create her Classic Carrot Cake, Cinnamon Pecan Granola, and Sweet Potato Brownies. I also love her YouTube channel. It's so informative and I just might love her British even more...

6. The Body Book: This book is another book that is actually sitting on my nightstand as I write this. This book has been out for over a year, but I am just now hip to the game. Learning more about health, body, and food and how all three of them relate to each other has become a huge interest to me - as you may be able to tell from some recent blog posts and cookbook selections here. I am getting older - like 5 years away from 40 and I'm starting see and feel differences in my body. Overall I feel great and I want to keep feeling that way as long as possible. In the book, Cameron Diaz really breaks down- in layman's terms- how nutrition, fitness, and the mind can all work together to create the most optimal level of health - specifically for women. Yes, Cameron is an actress, not a health professional, but she talks about what she's learned from her experiences with food and fitness and I quite frankly believe her and find her journey to be so interesting. In the book, she presents good facts about healthy food and goes into detail about how the food provides for the body. She also talks about how the body should actually work in general, how to know when it's not working properly, and how the way we think has a huge effect on the body. I often put the book down at night wanting to treat my body even better the next day. That to me is a good read.

What are you reading??
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