Brooklyn Botanic Garden

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Beauty.  Natural light.  Vibrant color.  Fresh blooms.  Sweet smells.  Tranquility.  These are some of the things that come to mind when I think about our trip to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Spring is here, and I couldn’t be happier.  Coming off a harsh winter, there is nothing nicer than walking around in the sunshine without a heavy coat.  Taking in the views of the tiny buds coming to new life in a new year reminds me why this change of seasons is important.  It forces you to pay attention.  To appreciate the nature that surrounds you and the warmer, happier months ahead.  At least, I think they are happier.  I’m sure there is someone out there who loves the snow.  To be bundled up, cozy and toasty by the fireplace with a good book and a hot chocolate.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do enjoy those moments for what they are worth.  And those moments get me through the winter season.  But I am much happier outside in the sunshine and warmth.  I enjoy taking long walks, picnicking in the park, riding my bike, hiking through the woods, jumping into the ocean, sipping a pina colada, and everything else that comes with these warmer seasons ahead.  The blooming flowers at the Botanic Garden give me the sense as if this is the real start of the new year.  And it makes me excited for the adventures of what’s to come for this little family of mine.

After an exceptionally gorgeous three days we just experienced here in Brooklyn…today I don’t even mind the rain.  Cheers to spring, and everything it brings.

XO,

Gina

{23} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin.  I am two chapters in, and I’m already thinking about what I could do to be happier.  I am totally with Gretchen in the fact that I am already happy…but I agree that there is no reason to not be the happiest you can possibly be.  So far, it’s been pretty thought provoking, and I’ve already thought about so many little changes I could make that would add up to a big difference.

writing  RSVP’s.  Wedding and baby shower season has officially begun.

listening  I’m guessing this will be the “song of the summer” – #SELFIE by the Chainsmokers

thinking  It will be strange to celebrate Easter without my Uncle this year…at the same time, I am excited to celebrate another 1st holiday for my little man, Nico.  Thoughts on painting Easter eggs vs. dyeing them this year?

smelling  Garlic and onions and a sweet smelling tomato sauce.  Mmm.

watching  Dallas Buyer’s Club.  So happy I finally got to see this Oscar Nominated film.  I can’t believe how far Mathew McConoughey has come in his career.  Bravo.

wishing  A Happy Birthday to my {might as well be} brother-in-law, Adam.  Hope you and your Mama had a great time celebrating yesterday!

hoping  That my child will learn to take a nap in his crib.  He’s starting to sit up in and grow out of the swing (I know, we were able to use this a lot longer than most, and it has served us well).  It’s starting to get to the point where he will only nap in the stroller, and that isn’t always an option!

wearing  Dresses!  It’s now warm enough that I don’t have to bundle in pants every day.  I love wearing free flowing dresses in the spring and summer seasons, and I am particularly loving these daytime dresses from Free People.

loving  The amazing weather that we had over the weekend!  We went on multiple walks, enjoyed the Brooklyn Smorgasbord, had a night out at the beer garden, and relished in the sunshine.  Nico also had his first adventure in a swings last weekend, which was a ton of fun!

laughing  At Nico’s current method of transportation.  After a few failed attempts at crawling, he has resorted to scooting while sitting up.  It’s hysterical.  

wanting  A pedicure.  It’s almost flip flop season people, and these puppies are not ready for open-toed shoes.

needing  To baby proof our apartment.  You don’t realize the potential dangers of your home until you have a little one almost on the move.  We ordered a few things from Amazon including thesethese, and these.  If anyone has any suggestions in this department, they are welcome!

feeling  Very behind at photo editing.  Between keeping up with work, a baby, this blog, mealtimes, and an attempted social life, my personal photos have been severely neglected.  I still have to edit our family Christmas photos and ones from Nico’s Baptism.  I keep setting time slots to do it, and something “more important” and time sensitive arrises.

craving  Coconut sorbet.  I have been cutting back a bit on dairy currently, because I think it might be having a slight impact on my babe’s digestion.  I tried out almond milk for the first time, which is surprisingly decent, and coconut sorbet has become my new best friend (because a girl has to satisfy that sweet tooth).

clicking  Over on the Merch website.  Love these stamped necklaces, and would love to get one that says “Ditmas Park.”

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What have you been up to lately?

Also, congratulations to readers, Rachel and Joyce!  You have each won a $35 credit to Stella & Dot jewelry for shopping the trunk show!  You have also won an additional piece at 50% off.  Check your e-mail later today for details.

Hope you all have a great week!

Love,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.

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Flower Child

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 Flowing Floral Pants: Forever 21 / Top: Target / Jean Jacket: American Eagle – similar / Flower Crown Headband: Urban Outfitters – similar / Shoes: Nine West – similar / Earrings: Baublebar – similar / Medallion: old / Sunglasses: Vintage / Bag: Rebecca Minkoff – also like it in silver / Chevron Rings: Baublebar (sold out, but like these sets as well) / Bracelet: cara New York – similar / Watch: Michael Kors / Lip: MAC Snob

I’m not usually one for a wide leg pant, but I could not resist this vibrant floral pair from Forever 21.  If you are looking for a pair of pants as comfortable as pajamas but acceptable to wear outside of the house, then these are definitely the pants for you!  I wore these last weekend on a long walk to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, and they were both flowy and light.  I was clearly excited that spring had arrived as you can see from the multitude of florals in my attire.  We had a great time exploring and seeing the new buds coming up showing the first signs of the season.  I am definitely planning on going back here again toward the end of the month when things are in full bloom.  I took a few more photos of our trip to the botanical gardens, so stay tuned next week!

Happy Friday!

XO,

Gina

Chicken Mole Poblano

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Latin food is one of my favorite genres to both cook and eat, and this dish is on the top of my list.  I originally got this chicken mole poblano recipe from Top Chef Season 5 contestant, Carla Hall, when she was featured in Health Magazine.  I made it a few years ago and loved it, so I decided it was time to break this recipe out again this past week.  I’m not going to lie though, Carla would have been disappointed with the amount of “love” I put into this dish.  In the beginning of the week, I couldn’t wait to make it, and then reality set in.  I got home from work late, I was tired due to lack of sleep the night before, and the last thing I wanted to do was try to make a recipe I hadn’t done in three years.  I had planned on creating this post, but then I was in such a funk that I scrapped taking photos and glumly resumed my wifely/motherly duties with a sour look on my face.  I had promised my husband (and he was super excited) to make this delicious meal, but I just didn’t feel like it!  However, I knew it was the right thing to do to by making it.  You know those days when you really just don’t want to go to the gym or work out?  But then you do anyway…and you feel SO much better afterward???  Well, this is how cooking this meal went.  I really was not in the mood to cook in the beginning, and was super cranky about it (sorry dear husband).  But as I got into it, I started getting excited (more than likely because I was going to get to eat it)…and then after it was done, I was extremely proud of how it turned out.  I then rushed to grab the camera and take a photo of the final product.  I got back on board with doing a blog post about it, and wished I hadn’t been such a grouch in the beginning.  It’s amazing how making a little meal can uplift your spirits and shift your mood.  I’m still blaming certain mood swings on the hormones. ;-)

As for this recipe, I think you will also find it delicious.  And it’s even better when you make it with a little love.  As usual, I made a few changes to my own liking (especially with the chicken – I tend to prefer white meat over dark), but for the most part, the sauce is the same.

Hope you enjoy!

What you need:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1.5 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

.5 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles

1 teaspoon tahini (I omitted this, because I couldn’t find it at the store)

3 oz dark chocolate chopped

1 tablespoon cilantro chopped

Carla used an already cooked rotisserie chicken, divided into 6 pieces and warmed – I used uncooked chicken breasts instead covered in cumin and cinnamon to taste and white cooking wine

1/2 avocado, pitted and sliced

1 tomato, diced

How to Make it Happen:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place uncooked chicken breasts covered in cumin, cinnamon, and white wine into a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake the chicken for approximately 35 minutes (will depend on thickness of the chicken and how your oven cooks, so make sure to check it early to avoid overcooking!)

While the chicken is baking, heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.  Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until translucent.  Add garlic, and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in cumin, cinnamon, sale, and pepper; cook for 1 minute.

Add canned diced tomatoes and chiles to saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Stir in tahini and chocolate until melted.  Stir in chopped cilantro.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Put sauce in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Spoon as much sauce as you like over the chicken.  Serve with avocado and tomato.

I also decided to serve it with some black beans and rice, which really completed the meal for me.  The cheese on top of the beans is cotija.

Happy to say, we blended everything all together to serve to our little guy as well, and he happily ate it as well!

Hope you are all having a great week!

XO,

Gina

Pastel Pop

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Mint Coat: Goodnight Macaroon (runs small – now on sale!) / Polka Dot Sweater: H&M / Pink Tank: Old Navy / Denim: Rag & Bone / Sparkly Loafer: Seychelles (on sale!) / Necklace: Flair Accessories / Sunnies: Vintage / Watch: Michael Kors / Bracelet: Henri Bendel / Lip: MAC Snob

Pastels are all the rage this spring, but it can be tough to pull off the look without looking like an Easter egg.  My strategy here was all about balance!  (or maybe you do think I look like an Easter egg in which case, I have failed miserably).  The mint coat is a bold pastel statement, so I paired it with a darker hue & polka dot print to balance out the look.  As always, I also like to add some fun accessories to the mix.

What is your strategy for wearing pastels this spring?  Totally avoiding it, or jumping on this trend?

Hope this week is treating you all well.  I am enjoying the sunshine and warmer weather!

XO,

Gina

Oxfords & Brights

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Dress: Forever 21 / Jacket: Vintage / Tights: Target / Oxfords: CA by Carrini via Hautelook (similar here) / Hat: Habit Boutique / Bag: T.J. Maxx / Locket: Vintage / Watch: Betsey Johnson / Beaded Bracelets: Guilty Jean / Leather Buckle-Up Bracelet: Wanderlust + Co. / Nails: Essie Ladylike / Lips: MAC Up the Amp

Don’t let the rain get you down!  Although it’s dark and gray outside, your outfit doesn’t have to follow suit.  Brighten up this rainy day gloom with some color in your wardrobe.  I scored these amazing oxfords on Hautelook for only $16!  Yes, you read that right.  I paired them with a tribal print dress and some colorful tights to bright up my mood over the weekend as I headed to the sunglass convention to see my friends at Waveborn.  We had a lot of fun trying on all their new styles for spring, and Nico enjoyed trying on the Babiators as well.  Isn’t he the cutest?

Nico Geek Chic

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and wishing you a great week ahead!

XO,

Gina

{22} Lately…

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Lately I’ve been…

reading  I finally finished seventh and final Harry Potter book!  It took me a long time to finish the series, but it was definitely worth it, and I’m so glad I caught up with the rest of the universe.  I’m currently reading a few magazines, and next on my book list is The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin.  This book has been on my list for a long time, and I’m excited to see what it’s all about.    

writing  Cards. Birthdays and Babies galore!

listening  I know this song has been out for awhile, but I’ve been playing Lorde’s Royals on repeat lately.

thinking  Moda Operandi has taken emoticons to a whole new level.  Poo on a shoe?!?!  I’m shocked.  Yet, I kind of think this new loafer line will sell like crazy.

smelling  Pasta fagioli.  I decided to make it again this year since it continues to be so cold, and we have been eating it all week.  If you are interested, here is the recipe I posted from last year.

watching  If you haven’t seen Resurrection yet, you must go to abc.com and watch it ASAP!  I caught up on the first three episodes this week, and I am totally hooked.  It reminds me a bit of The 4400, which is an old favorite of mine, and I cannot wait to see how the season progresses.

wishing  My grandmother a Happy 93rd Birthday!  She gained another year this past Tuesday, and she is just as spunky as ever.  Love you Granny!

hoping  My father-in-law has a speedy recovery from his surgery this past week. He recently broke his ankle, leading to his second surgery in a short amount of time.  Poor guy.  He and my mother-in-law were supposed to come visit this weekend, but we are going to have to postpone until he is feeling a bit better.

wearing  Lots of layers…still.  I’m ready to rid of some layers.  Hopefully soon.

loving  My current work and home balance.  At times it is tough to be pulled in different directions, and it can feel like you I am not doing well enough at either “job”, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way right now.  I think I have a great balance of adult time v. quality time with Nico.  I am able to get dressed for the day, have adult conversations, and feel like I am making a contribution to both my company and financially at home, all while witnessing Nico’s latest achievements, taking him to music class, enjoying playdates, and watching him grow.

laughing  At these 25 Absurd Texts from Mom

wanting  More sleep!  While Nico typically sleeps through the night (lucky us), he’s been waking up in the night recently for unknown reasons.  Thinking it could possibly be teething (although I have seen nothing thus far) or just developmental changes.  Regardless of the reason, the entire family is a bit lacking in the sleep department this past week.

needing  To hang up the family photos that I just got and framed.  I can’t believe how tiny Nico was!

feeling  A very bad pain in my thumb that has migrated to part of my hand as well.  I think I may have something called trigger thumb most likely due to texting.  How embarrassing.  Basically my thumb gets stuck in a certain position, and the only way to “unstick” it is an extremely painful POP.  My joint has also changed dramatically into a painfully hard knot.  I thought if I tried resting it, it may get better, but it’s only getting worse and getting in the way of normal daily activities, so I think it’s time I saw a doctor ASAP.

craving  A midi skirt.  I know I probably have no business wearing a midi skirt at my height, because it will probably just make me appear even shorter, but they are just so darn cute!  I love this one and this one and this one…oh and this one too.

clicking  Through dessert recipes to find something I can make for a party this weekend.  I enjoy this cupcake recipe, but I don’t know if I am ambitious or skilled enough to take this one on, considering my last baked good came out of a box.  Please let me know if you have any easy good dessert recipe ideas to pass along!

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What have you been up to lately?

This weekend I am planning on seeing my friends at Waveborn (yes that’s me on their website rockin’ their sweet shades!) to preview their new line of sunglasses.  I am super excited they will be in town and that they have included me as a guest to their trade show.  We also have a possible baby/family playdate for Sunday in the mix.

Also, a quick reminder that there are two days left to shop my Stella & Dot trunk show!  Shoppers will be entered to win free jewelry and pieces at 50% off.

Hope you all have a Happy Weekend!

Love,

Gina

***I was inspired by Tina of Like Ordinary Life to create this post, and she was inspired by Lauren of siddathornton, who started The Sunday Currently.

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Popcorn Picks + Online Trunk Show

Popcorn Picks {Stella & Dot Jewelry & Accessories}
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All items – Stella & Dot
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Well, friends, it’s Friday!  It’s also the perfect day for a quick little lunch hour shopping spree.  My online trunk show for Stella & Dot is still going, and I thought I would create a little wish list of picks for inspiration!  These are some of my favorite pieces from the line; some edgy, some bright, some fun, and some classic.  There is still time to shop and win a chance to score your favorite piece for free or at 50% off!   While I would love to own every one of these pieces for myself, Stella & Dot also makes a great gift for a birthday, bridal shower, anniversary, or Mother’s Day.  This is just a small peek into what they have to offer, so be sure to check out the site and browse around at the rest of their goodies.  In case you missed my earlier posts, you can also check out the shoot I did with Stella & Dot to see what some of their items look like in action (look 1 / look 2).  If you have any questions about the line, you can ask me or stylist, Jessica Sigler.  We are happy to help!
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Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
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XO,
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Gina

San Fran Style

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Photos by: Zack Notes / Edited by: Myself

On me: Dress: Free People (old) / Blouse: Forever 21 (sold out) / Bow Tie: ASOS – similar / Sunglasses: ModCloth / Ankle Boots: H&M / Lip: MAC Heartless / Nails: Essie Sexy Divide

On Nico: Shirt & Bow Tie: Koala Baby via Babies “R” Us  / Jeans: Baby GAP (sold out) – also like these / Shoe Socks: Trumpette

The hubby had a conference/speaking engagement in San Francisco a few weeks ago, so Nico and I flew out to join him for a quick family trip across the country.  In retrospect, I am kind of asking myself what the hell was I thinking (re: A 3 hour time difference doesn’t mean anything to a baby, and 6 hours on a plane by myself? Why did I think this was a good idea?).  Waking up a 3am was a daily occurrence, and sitting in the hotel room at 5pm with the curtains drawn, trying to be quiet while eating take-out pho was a bit difficult as well.  However, at the end of the day, I kind of think it is hysterical, and I am really glad we made the trip.  I realized how much I can do on my own with a baby…I mean, I’m always up for a challenge right?  My current challenges have just migrated from Tough Mudder races to “what can this mom accomplish today” type challenges haha.  We were able to see a lot of friends and family, and we explored a bit in a much warmer climate for a few days, so I cannot complain!  On the day these photos were taken, we got dressed up for a lovely outdoor brunch with a wonderful group of people.  We followed it up with a beautiful walk on the water in Marina and in Ft. Mason Park.  I love seeing Nico’s face as he sees a new part of the world for the first time.  He just takes it all in, and I can tell he is going to enjoy traveling just like his parents.

We had a nice Brooklyn weekend here in the city.  The hubs got a new iPhone for his birthday.  We met our friend’s new 4 week old baby for the first time, who was absolutely adorable! (You forget how little they once were!)  We also hosted a little Babies & Bagel’s St. Paddy’s Day brunch with our local parent/baby group in our neighborhood.

To all my fellow Irish out there…and all of those celebrating…Happy St. Paddy’s Day, and have a wonderful week!

XO,

Gina

Spring Statements {Stella & Dot Series #2}

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Dress: Forever 21 / Trench: H&M / Leopard Pumps: Liz Claiborne / Sunglasses: ModCloth / Lip: Lancome Fearless / Nails: Essie Mink Muffs / Norah Pendant Necklace, Norah Cuff, Nancy Studs, & Tia Crossbody: All on loan from Stella & Dot

Here is Part 2 of the Stella & Dot spring shoot featuring their new line of jewelry and accessories!  How amazing is that Norah Pendant?!?!  I love how it sparkles and compliments the blue from my dress.  Versatility is a big trend this season, and the Tia Crossbody is a great example.  Notice how I am not wearing it as a crossbody?  The removable strap turns it instantly into a clutch.  It photographed a bit pink here, but the true color is more of a coral.  I am also a fan of their Sutton Necklace (not pictured) that you can wear 5 different ways.

Shop the shoot here at my online trunk show that I will be hosting for the next three weeks, and view the rest of this fabulous collection!  Shoppers will be entered to win free jewelry and pieces at 50% off.

Hope you East Coasters are enjoying this week’s surprisingly warmer weather!  Last night, I played in my first soccer game in over a year with 60 degree weather…and we won…and I didn’t suck too terribly.  I couldn’t have asked for a better first night back!

XO,

Gina