Commuting: On the Chic

2015/01/img_9690.jpg

I go to the internet for everything – recipes, music, tutorials, reviews and it’s a sad day when something I search yields no relative results… What was that search you ask?  Chic commuting.

It’s out there, I know it is.  I see woman triumphantly walking to work with their oversized totes going into a day of unknown while still being prepared for virtually anything that may come their way (so maybe it’s out there and no one blogs about it?).

Ok, sooooo there were some results but it was for bike riding commuters… I don’t/am not planning on commuting in such a way #alreadygoinggreenonpublictrans so here’s my attempt at explaining the must haves for a seamless transition from home, to train, to office, to anywhere.


selfiegenblog       It pains me to think of retiring my ultra chic Botkier bag (it’s literally a working woman’s dream, mixed texture leather in a rich burgundy, perfect profile from every angle) but it’s small… Can’t even hold a pair of heels comfortably therefore, not a commute fit.  So my first to do: buy a massive tote and an oversized clutch to stash inside –  (clutch I decided on shown- decent size and it has “selfie” on it, couldn’t resist) – Remember: this will be the new representation of you so think quality not quantity.

Which brings us directly to, commuter purse essentials:

Shoes – or keep them at work.  I keep 2 pairs of flats and a pair of black heels (boots in the winter and sandals in the summer).

Charger & headphones

Lunch

Water bottle

Umbrella

Sunnies

Pen

Makeup – or consider picking up sample sizes of your favs and keeping the set at the office so you don’t have to worry about trying to make room in your clutch when you go out

  • concealer and brush
  • powder and brush
  • MAC’s fix +
  • eye liner and brush
  • palette with an array of shades from highlight to dramatic
  • lipstick of your choice – non-negotiable
  • rich lip balm
  • mascara
  • make-up wipes

Wallet – ID, Debit cards, $20 cash, check book

Ponytails, bobby pins

Floss – saved me too many times.  It’s a must

Nail file

Workout clothes

Have a place to stash your survival kit over the weekend without risking it not being there on Monday morning.  Filing cabinet? Top drawer? Think minimalist with maximum potential. Keep the following things at the office to transition from day to night:

Sassy jacket – no other word to describe it but sassy… think: lace, embellishments, leather, furry, sequins, satin… Not just a normal suit jacket, something you can downplay at the office and vamp-up (by removing a garment?) in the evening

Plain tank – something versatile you can dress up or down 

Ban wipes or baby wipes or whatever the hell kind of wipes.  I don’t know about you but after a day of office building air and enclosed spaces I feel pretty gross…  You can find the ban wipes at Walmart for like $1 for 10

Dry shampoo and hairspray

Deodorant

Comb

Curling iron/straightener – you know the one that’s kinda shitty but just can’t throw away.  I mean it’s still works…

Spare panties

Your perfume, preferably in roll-on form as to not assault the next person to use the restroom.  Also, allergies, just cool it on the spray.

Tweezers

Clear nail polish

Krazy glue

Sewing kit

Snacks & tea – high protein snacks (nuts, granola bars, trail mix)

Toothpaste and toothbrush

Contact/eye solution – if applicable – and maybe a spare pair of contacts…

† Survivalist tip: alcohol pads (rubbing alcohol) or lemon can act as neutralizer for underarms, do this in a pinch as opposed to washing them.

Last thing… When people invite you to go out after work… YOU BETTA GO!  (And maybe we all don’t have the, “no” reflux I’ve developed)  But, don’t hesitate, don’t overthink it, just go. Otherwise, you’ll regret it and suffer mad FOMO.

True story: a guy I was kinda feeling (internet intro so we’d never met before) texted me last minute for drinks.  I was wearing glasses that day so I declined – that and, of course, needed to seem too busy for last minute drinks. Amiright? (future Coral says, “NO, you are wrong” anyway,) so I tell him some lame errands excuse and agree to resched.  Needless to say, it’s been 2 weeks and he hasn’t rescheduled.  And sure, we can go into the whole, well clearly it wasn’t meant to be bullshit and whatever other lies we tell ourselves to feel better but let’s be big girls and realize I was a bitch to say no, glasses or no glasses, last minute or week in advance, just say yes.

Happy Commuting Y’all!

Have some tips of your own?  Share below!

And Now, A Post Dedicated to One of My Fav. Dupes – Hamcon!

 

So first off, what the hell is hamcon?

It’s my mom’s less messy, low fat, po’ man’s answer to bacon.  Now, I’m sure there are going to be focus groups on revolt of the whole notion that you could actually not eat bacon and pretend like it’s as good as bacon but I am here to tell you, you sure can!

Meeting adjourned.

We use the Hillshire Farms brand ultra thin deli meat (it’s gluten-free) and we seriously use it as a bacon substitution in every recipe.  Wrapped jalapeno poppers? Tried it, delicious.  Eggs benedicts? Of course.  With eggs and toast?  You know it.  You also probably get the picture…

Here’s our base recipe:

Cover a tray with a thin layer of ham – try not to overlap

Cook at 350° until it smells delicious and looks crispy.

But it’s virtually greaseless and it is 100x less messy than bacon.  I have no idea what the caloric and fat difference is between the two but again, I can imagine it’s substantial.  So just try it.  Maybe you won’t make the switch full time but it’s a good substitution to have in your back pocket.

Willing to try it?  What did you think?

Fabulous, Fashionable Food – Paillard De Poulet (Chicken Salad) Recipe

20140316-192147.jpgI’m not even going to remotely take credit for this recipe, except that I spotted it in an old issue of Marie Claire magazine and shared it with my mom. We agreed it sounded orgasmic (plus, if a fashion mag is wasting their print space on a recipe, you know it has to be good.) and it has proved to be one in our constant rotation.  A bit labor intensive but definitely worth it.  Also, very impressive for serving to guests.


Paillard De Poulet

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

** Just get whatever quality brands you find at your local grocery store.

  • 4 8 oz trimmed organic chicken breasts
  • 4 basil leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup plus 4 tbsp EVOO
  • 4 lrg heirloom tomatoes
  • ½ cup marinated olives (Niçoise and Castelvetrano)
  • 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 loaf [gluten free/olive] bread
  • 1 cup whole cow’s-milk ricotta (Bellwether Farms Jersey cow ricotta)
  • 1 cup loosely packed arugula
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked ground pepper
Preparations:
For the chicken:

For the marinade place the basil, thyme and garlic in a mortar and pestle.  Add ½ cup olive oil mixture until the fragrance of the herbs and garlic comes out.  Place the chicken in a bowl and cover with the marinade.  This can be done up to 1 day in advance.  (**Coral note: it’s advised to do it the day in advance.  Breaks down the chicken beautifully and you might as well infuse as much flavor as possible since they’re boneless.)

When ready to serve, grill chicken and let rest.  It should be room temperature for the salad.

For the salad:

Cut the tomatoes into large chunks (too small and they lose their intense flavor.)  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Add the olives and season with the remaining olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.  This can be left to marinate for an hour. (Coral note: again, longer the better because it breaks it all down.)

Tear the [gluten-free] bread into big chunks.  In a large sauté pan, fry the bread in olive oil until golden and crispy.  Drain on a kitchen towel.  –OR— We make then by pureeing the left over olive marinate and spreading it over the gf bread chunks and baking them.  350° for about 10 minutes should just about do it.

Assembly:

20140316-192919.jpgDivide the tomatoes and the olives among four plates.  (In the photos shown we added asparagus to the mixture)20140316-192932.jpgScoop an ample serving of ricotta (Coral note: about 2 heaping spoonfuls) onto each plate20140316-193004.jpgLoosely place the arugula on top – not too much, this salad isn’t about the lettuce.20140316-211759.jpgAdd croutons and place the chicken atop the other layers20140316-211810.jpgDrizzle the remaining juice from tomatoes atop

Tip! It’s best if you can build the salad and then let it rest for a while at room temperature, can be up to 4 hours.  It just allows the ricotta to break down and become really creamy.

Bon Appetit!

Farewell 2014, Hello 2015

NYE2014
My mom and I pre-NYE festivities

 Disclaimer: this is going to be a bit of a “brag blog,” if you will, but we’re all entitled to these every once in a while – or every post – whichever is more your style. #noshame

Now cue my cliche intro…

As 2015 begins, I’d like to take the time to reflect on my accomplishments throughout 2014.  I think we all kind of feel helpless and at a plateau at times so it’s important to see that, in fact, you have actually been improving all the while. There was this one metaphor one of my yoga instructors shared during class about bamboo. The anecdote goes that bamboo, even if grown in perfect conditions, grow only 2″ the first year, and again the second, and the third. But the fourth year it grows 80 feet.  

So, like the bamboo, we all are slowly improving.  Maybe we can’t see it, or feel it (which we lose sight of in our instant gratification way of life) but eventually you’ll be able to look back and see your 80 feet of change and growth.

Back to the point, the bragging part.  

2014 Accomplishments:

I jumped in 2 feet first and started over. Finally left a job that was absolutely not working for me (even if that means moving back into my parents for the first time since being 18.  You gotta do what you gotta do)

Got a job that I absolutely love, right where I want to be.  And a raise! 

Quit smoking. Almost 2 months smoke free! (For all you smokers: JUST DO IT ALREADY! The only thing I regret is not doing it sooner)

Started working out – as mentioned here 

And taking better care of my body – drinking the 64+ oz per day, easing off caffeine intake, upping my fruits and veggies intake, saying no to junk food and sweets. Eating better leads to feeling better and limiting the cravings

Started embracing my creative outlet again.

I’ve gotten comfortable being uncomfortable and pushing myself way out of my comfort zone, aka growing up. #22goingon30

My boobs somehow jumped from an A to a D so my body’s a-changing and it’s more important to remember that and to not compare myself with my 18 year old boy body.

Cut off my bullshit spending – no Starbucks or Jimmy John’s for Coral. It was super hard the first week or 2 but when I looked at my bank account, it was worth it.

Started embracing the all-natural beauty products.  Toothpaste, face wash, moisturizer, ect.  I’m planning a post detailing my favorites and why I made the switch.

Went on my first solo vacation.  Which I paid for myself.  Nothing makes you feel like more of an adult as when you can afford to send yourself to Cancun for your co-workers wedding.

As for 2015… There’s nowhere to go but up. NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS:

Start saving for planned and unplanned ventures.

Be more dedicated to my blog and projects. 

Stop with the #nonewfriends mentality, it has got me nowhere. Time for friends! Carpe diem!

Get on that 6 pack.  That means no more chips. Or office treats.

Take less selfies and more group photos.

Wear that lipstick! Try that funky hair trend. It’s just about being comfortable being yourself around strangers.

Be more organized!  Tidy up for 15 min a day

Cut out caffeine and coffee entirely

Embrace your practice and be more patient.

Just have the best year ever! and let it go.

Cheers to our 80 foot year!

What were your 2014 accomplishments? Brag below!

Private Headquarters 101: Living Alone vs. A Roommate

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/e1c/63134335/files/2014/12/img_7107.jpg

       I’ve done both and I definitely have a preference of my own place but I am also extremely independent. At 2 years old I could be found sneaking away from my family at the Ventura, California beach house we always rented for Christmas (it would be my entire extended family, a lot of attention for me, too much attention) in favor of cruising along the beach by myself. There was one person though that was always watching my every move, my dad #daddysgirl (above photo)

Moral of the story, I like my space. But just as with everything, to each our own, and there are pros and cons to both.


But first here are a few general guidelines for moving out:

  • Rent is to be 30% of your monthly salary or less. No exceptions. I don’t care how good of a budgeter you are, you will always resent living in a place you can’t afford. Remember: you’ll get there eventually.
  • At least have one months rent savings, just in case. Don’t touch it. After it’s set aside, it doesn’t exist unless you lose your job or something.
  • If you’re on a budget to get started, buy the necessities first and then the decor.  Believe me, your place will never be finished anyway.
  • If you have to sleep on the floor, don’t move out. I’ve done this too and there’s nothing more depressing than a place with no furniture. No matter how good the view
  • Don’t forget about cleaning supplies! They’re probably a good $100 minimum, even more if your place is carpeted
  • Plan it out. Moving on a whim makes it way more of a burden than it needs to be.
  • Expect to pay about $300 in actual moving costs (hiring movers, renting a truck, pizza and beer if your recruite friends, packing tape, ect)
  • Get boxes at your local grocery store – if you’re a regular, it’s even easier. Just be polite (of course) and ask customer service, usually it’s no biggie. You’ll get a variety of sizes, which is a plus.
  • Pack over a couple weeks – at least 1 week minimum. Though, doing it in 12 hours is possible. I’ve done it twice. Just sayin’
  • Do your due diligence on your potential new home. Walk around the neighborhood in the daytime and the night. Make sure it’s realistic proximity to necessities for your lifestyle, research the commute and every other aspect of your life.
  • Pay attention during your walk through. Don’t be so excited that you overlook significant problems ie: no vent in the bathroom or poor water pressure.  Make sure you have all of your deal breakers and discuss any obvious issues. – ask about painting as well if you plan on doing so.

Living Alone
Pros:

  • Your cleanliness. If you’re a clean person your apartment will be a safe haven.  If you don’t clean up, you look like a slob but either way, it’s on you.
  • No labeling food or risk of someone (aside from guests) using your things.
  • Parties whenever YOU want – even though you may have limited space to throw them
  • Underwear or nakedness. Whenever you want, wherever you want. Just remember to close the drapes!
  • No worrying about having to share the bathroom, or closing the door
  • No fighting over the remote, yelling to turn anything down, preference issues whatsoever
  • Basically, no shame
  • Not having to deal with any one elses decor – which, if you’re like me, is a huge deal
  • No unwanted pets or pet hair (this actually has been an issue for me)
  • No entitlement/ego issues
  • No fighting over who gets the bigger room

Cons:

  • Its expensive, No one to bail you out if you Nicki Minaj it up, “I ain’t paying rent this month, I owe that,” and blow your rent money on shoes (or bottle service.)  But you’re paying for all your own things so there’s no contribution issues.
  • It’s lonely at times
  • You’re never going to come home to a cooked meal – except if you have a crockpot, or an S.O. or maybe your crockpot is you S.O., no one’s judging you, you live alone. With that, buy a crockpot.
  • Drinking alone’s a little weird – but you get used to it.
  • It could be a little scary. There was a time when someone banged on my door (in a 24 hr doorman attended building) in the middle of the night. Never been more terrified – it was nothing, probably a drunk neighbor but still would’ve like to have been able to send an “OMG DID YOU HEAR THAT??” text

Verdict:

Depending on your personality and preferences it could be worth the sacrifices to live alone (like, maybe not being able to afford a place in the ritziest neighborhood) but, hey, it’s worth it if it’s what you really want. It develops character and independence and you’re doing everything by your own schedule.

If saving money is most important to you, then this probably isn’t the best option unless you’re willing to significantly downgrade from your allotted 30% to accommodate for additional savings.

Roommate(s):
Pros:

  • There are 2+ heads figuring out a household problem ie: broken toilet, leaky sink
  • There are 2+ people to clean – or not clean, however you live.
  • There are 2+ people splitting the cost of everything. Internet for $17 per mo vs. $35, along with everything else
  • Best case scenario: you are super compatible and there are no major issues
  • 2+ people furnishing the place
  • Potentially a Friends rent controlled place forever
  • Friends in general. #dreamscenario

Cons:

  • It’s not that easy to move out if you don’t get along
  • Your entire life is going to be lived in front of someone else
  • It’s a huge risk – they could be crazy, kleptos, lazy, messy, rude, loud, smelly, a whole lot of non-favorable traits.
  • 2+ people are having to agree on said apartment
  • Invitations you didn’t consent to but it’s “their place too”
  • Splitting up everything when you move – “did you buy this or did I?”
  • Someone eating/using your stuff likely without permission

Verdict:

You have to set a precedent for how you plan to live your life with your roommate(s). If you’re clean, be tidy from day 1. If you don’t want to share everything, say no in the beginning, as uncomfortable as it may be. Communicate with your roommate(s) and lay down expectations and guidelines before you even move in. Explain your “vision” for the place and listen to theirs to make sure harmony is actually achievable. Make a chore wheel if need be, just do whatever you can to prevent future conflict because your home is really your sanctuary. With that, know that you, too, will have to be flexible and compromise.

First impression: Korres Greek Yoghurt Primer

IMG_7167.JPG

I stumbled upon this when I was Christmas shopping online at
Sephora.com and was eager to try it as I am in an all natural cosmetic phase at the moment.
I read the reviews and the smell was a huge complaint. – I am a big online shopper so going to the store just for a whiff was not going to happen and just my luck a sample was avail. – So I added it and eagerly awaiting its arrival to my doorstep.

I woke up this groggy morning and wanted some excitement so I decided to use it.

Admittedly, I adore the finish of this product and it goes on suuuuper smoothly and a little goes a long way. but the. smell. really is truly off putting. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but it smells familiar, maybe sour milk? But a little perfumey too it’s odd… And, unfortunately, over an hour after application I could still smell it – not ideal bc who wants to walk around smelling rotten milk? – I made my mom smell my face and she insisted it smelt fine but I could smell it … The scent did eventually fade though

Bottom Line:
Nice formula, very easily applied with very little needed and left a dewier finish.
Prevented laugh lines (curses for being smiley) twice as well as any primer I’ve tried.
Smell is noxious at first but I do think it’s something I could get used to
Ultimately, I need to give it more time.

Will you keep posted dolls!

Have you tried it? Share your thoughts below :)

UPDATE 12-21: I wanted to give it enough of a chance because the health benefits of it seemed worth it especially since I’m into all natural these days.
I wore it every day for a week and I have to say probably after day two or three I couldn’t even smell it anymore. I really fell in love with it all around and am likely going to go back for the full size and make the switch – I bought the bareMinerals Prime Time, wanted to go back to it, it’s been a few years and I remember I really liked it. I’m just waiting until Christmas because I know I’m getting a Clarisonic Mia 2 (review to come for that too!) and I want to see how they work together.

Simon and Garfunkle Spice Mix

Introducing… the Simon and Garfunkle mix.  My mom came up with this years ago and it’s been our family’s little secret but the secrets out.  And it’s delicious.

Mix together:

1 part Sage

2 parts Parsley

2 parts Rosemary

1 part Thyme

And store in airtight container.  You can use it in everything.  Seriously.  It has such a cozy, homey flavor and it’s wonderful on anything from homemade breads to roasted vegetables to chicken.

Tidy In a Hurry

tumblr_inline_n7h6a9AWux1sgmxn6I’d love to be one of those “clean-freaks” but the reality is, my floordrobe always gets the best of me.  While it’s not the most unsightly attribute to my domain, it does give the look of clutter and mess whether or not the clothes are clean.  I’m working on getting myself on a tidy-ing routine of taking a handful of minutes everyday to put everything back in it’s place but until then here’s a list of places you should tend to prior to a drop in.

This could be for a “Just in the neighborhood and wanted to stop in” or your first sleepover with your new beau (or bae) so the necessity may vary but overall this is a good guide for a quick clean.

  1. The dishes.  That’s the #1 when you are about to have company, even if that’s all the time you have time for and let this be a lesson to you to do your dishes next time.  Unless you can keep your guests out of a galley kitchen with a door, you’re set, but for the rest of us you’re pretty likely to see the kitchen, and the mess.  Now I’ve heard people hiding the dishes in the stove or bathtub, which is very troubling for me.  And maybe I am a little too Murphy Law focused but what if said guest FINDS THESE DISHES?? wouldn’t it be 10x more disgusting to spot a bathtub of gross dishes than a sink full of them?  Sorry, there’s no life hack for the dishes.  Except, maybe, the dishwasher.
  2. Clean your floors – sweep or vacuum.  Dusty and partical-ly (? however you would describe floors that need a vacuuming) are another give away that your daily upkeep may be at the wayside.  Now, you don’t have to have the perfect stripes in the carpet, this about being in a hurry, hell, you can even use a dustbuster.
  3. Wipe down countertops – bathroom and kitchen.  Keep some lysol wipes under the sink for a quick wipe
  4. Mirrors – another simple but life changing difference, plus your lighting will thank me.
  5. Stack any magazines or books lying around – channel Elle Decor coffee table
  6. Dust like a mad woman – I am a cult swiffer follower, and I still don’t know if it’s the name or the products but any device they produce, I have.  The wand does wonders. Get your TV, pictures, tabletops, bookcases, ect
  7. Clean the toilet – with that being said, change after you’re done cleaning
  8. Replace hand towels and hide laundry
  9. Make your bed – again, varying the level of intimacy with said visitor.  While you’re in there, make sure and hide your diary.  Maybe just lock up the entire top drawer of your nightstand. ;)
  10. Light a candle, fluff some pillows and bust out a bottle of wine or assemble a quick platter to show that you were, indeed, prepared for company

#nailedit

Hot Yoga Tips

sweaty-backAs part of my HOORAY CHANGE actions I joined a hot yoga studio. I’ve done it once before, admittedly a long time ago and I hated it – it was so hot, I was left so dehydrated, and honestly, all the other chicks intimidated the shit out of me in their head-to-toe lululemon get ups (the studio was in a ritzy Chicago neighborhood) with their headstands, it was too much for me to really consider joining. Plus I was smoking, and while it’s not cardio, the heat really loosens up your insides and I’ll spare you the details but – ew.

So, this time around I am living in suburbia full of soccer moms and trendy stay at home dads, and my best friend :)  She suggested we give it a try as an attempt to look SUPER for our Halloween costumes. While our Halloween ended up being a bit of a flop (we cancelled our original downtown plans) we did stick to the yoga and I really dig it.

So, first things first, what is hot yoga? It’s yoga in a 105 degree, 40% humidity room – it can be Bikram where there’s a set program or just yoga you do in a really hot temp (which is what we do). Why I like it so much is I live in Chicago where our temps are constantly “record breaking” – it’s already snowed twice this year – so, for me, being in extreme heat daily and sweating your ass off is amazing. And it burns like 500 calories per class (which I know that’s not yogi at all to speak about but come on! If you want to get toned in a jiffy with yoga, I strongly suggest hot yoga) – not to mention it detoxes your entire body by sweating out all impurities so it’s really just a win all around.

But back to my intention (see what I did there) here are my tips for being a hot-hot yogi:

1. NEVER DRINK ALCOHOL BEFORE CLASS OR GO HUNGOVER – which you would think would be a given, but I have attempted to do this and it never. ends. well. There’s nothing that distracts you more than trying to hold it down. And you smell like booze. Spare everyone and stay home to sober up.

2. Don’t eat directly beforehand but do eat beforehand. Similar to any other type of sport, an empty stomach sucks but too full and you’re an inflexible blob that can’t move out of your child’s pose. Minimum a piece of fruit.

3. Bring a towel or hand grips – your hands will get slippery and it will be terrifying.

4. Bring water – and drink it throughout the day. I usually drink about 1.5 gallons of water a day, which, I understand not everyone has the luxury of being able to accommodate a lot of water consumption but drink as much as you can as often as possible.

5. Try to recruit a friend! More motivation to get your ass to class :) but don’t not go if they don’t go.  You’re still doing this for you!

6. Leave everything at the door when you step into the studio. Yoga is my favorite part of the day because I get to peel off all the experiences and just focus on me. My breath, my body and just let it all go. Even for an hour, it’s so important to have that time to just quiet your mind.  And no judging in class! That’s just not a very zen thing to do.

7. Wear wicking fabrics and you may not feel the most comfortable in shorts due to all the poses that require bending over. I wear capris most of the time – and, if you’re like me you don’t have a ton of wicking clothes because you too started working out like yesterday (Ok, so I’ve been at this for a month now) and constant washing wears away at the fibers but I actually just thoroughly rinse mine while I’m showering after class and just pay extra attention to the implied areas… I get 2 wears out of them, re-wearing it once is still kind-of iffy for me, and then I wash them.

  • Tip-tip: TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are excellent for yoga clothes. You can get nice brands for even cheaper than Target’s C9! And there are a bunch of sites out there that provide outfits too, if you can wait for them ;)

8. Blow your nose, remove your makeup, ect, before class because once you hit that heat… Boy, it’s all coming off and out. I just get the generic make-up wipes from Target and take it all off when I’m on the train home. It’s like $4.99 for 25 which lasts about a month.

  • Unrelated Life Tip: I also keep some by my bed for when I’m feeling lazy (drunk) and don’t wash my face before bed.

9. Bring a towel to wipe your sweat off on – trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Bottom line: (and this applies to any type of workout) You always regret not going but you never regret going.

Keep calm and sweat on!