My Favorite Summer Appetizer
 
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I love being able to have a go-to summer appetizer recipe and this one is perfect. It’s easy enough that you don’t need to stress, but seems sophisticated because of the perfect combination of ingredients. I started making this one last year after I found it on Half Baked Harvest and it is to such a hit that people have been asking me to make it this year. 

I essentially follow the recipe she created here, but with a few modifications to make it a little easier.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups small cherry tomatoes

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • the rind from 1 lemon, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

  • pinch of flaky sea salt and pepper

  • 8 ounces feta cheese, finely crumbled

  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, roughly chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped

  • 1 loaf of fresh french bread

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Slice french bread into ½ inch thick pieces, drizzle with olive oil, and add salt and pepper. Place into 400 degree oven until golden and toasted.

  2. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, lemon rind and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes just begin to burst and the garlic is fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

  3. Crumble the feta into a serving bowl. Drizzle the tomatoes and oil over the feta. Top with fresh dill. Serve with toasted bread and enjoy!

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summer appetizers, summer appetizers for party easy, appetizers easy dips, appetizers easy healthy
What Not to Eat
 
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The healthy eating topic is an interesting one. A lot of the time if you eat “too” healthily you get judged, but when you eat badly, you feel horrible (for lots of reasons). The past year, I have really been trying to educate myself on what is good vs. what is harmful to my gut health and digestion.

With varying illnesses in my family from diverticulitis to IBS, I’ve always had stomach aches and pains. While the common thing to do these days is just taking a probiotic, which is definitely great for you, but I wanted to do more research instead of relying on a pill to cure all of my stomach issues.

I’ve learned that the best way to make all my stomach pain go away is to eat certain foods while cutting down on others and to drink as much water as I can. There are also specific factors to living a healthier lifestyle that I think some people miss because the information isn’t really available unless you search for it yourself. So, I wanted to share with you the things I look for in my foods:

Do:

Fresh produce:

Basically anything from this part of the grocery store is A-okay with me. I would say try to buy organic, but honestly, you are doing yourself a favor by just staying in this part of the grocery store for a majority of your time. Eating fresh foods means fewer preservatives and random ingredients that you can’t control yourself. I love to snack on veggies and fruit but they can also be used the base of a meal or the side dish.

Clean ingredient list:

You need to be reading the labels of basically everything you eat. Things I try to avoid are natural flavors (literally in everything), dyes of all types (just google it you’ll understand), and that long list of words you legit can’t pronounce. When you start looking at the ingredient list of foods, you start to see all of the random shit they put in the foods you are eating. Add all of that up over time and it honestly freaks me out.

Fish from the counter:

This has honestly changed my life because you can ask for a certain amount and you know that what you are getting is quality fish that hasn’t been sitting in a container for a week. Even the pre-cut salmon they have at the counter I don’t pick up, I’ve tried it and it’s not the same as the fresh stuff.

Don’t:

Processed snacks:

Even at Whole Foods you can run into a lot of processed items. Even when I am there I always try to look for items without a crazy long list and without natural flavors. Some of my favorites are the Simple Mills crackers, Lara bars, and avocado oil chips.

Processed sugar:

We all love some good chocolate after dinner, but even that can be mostly fillers and is something I watch out for. You can find great alternatives that taste just as good at Whole Foods like the Hu kitchen chocolate bars, they are delicious.

Dressings/Dips:

These ones really are the trap, especially salad dressings and hummus. Make sure if you are buying dips and dressings to check for random additions on the labels.

x,

Sarah


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My Top 6 South Beach Restaurants
 
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I think by it’s probably clear to everyone how much Mike and I love going to Miami -- re: millions of pics from there every time we visit. For thrill-seekers it may not be the most adventurous vacation to go on, but if you’re looking to be the most relaxed you have ever been this is the vacation for you. 

Just picture laying on the beach listening to the waves crash all day long while a waiter brings blueberry pancakes yo your lounge chair.

Besides laying out all day one of our favorite things to do in Miami is go out to dinner (can you tell food is always on my mind?). We’ve discovered some amazing spots ranging in both price customer experience. So, I wanted to round up some of my favorites for you to try next time you visit!

Cecconi’s

$$$

Vibe:

Located in the Soho Beach House, Cecconi’s is very romantic with rustic wood beam ceilings, overgrown (in the best way) plants, and tons of glowy candlelight. It’s perfect for a date night, but can also be so fun with a larger group! The service is great and I love how warm and cozy the atmosphere is.

Food:

The food here is Italian and SO good. Mike and I decided to split a pizza and pasta dish, which was the best of both worlds. We also split a bottle of wine which I highly recommend.

Havana 1957, Espanola Way

$$

Vibe:

This restaurant is right on Espanola Way which is the cutest street (and where the picture is from). The atmosphere here is very relaxed and authentic. Think kind of like a Cuban dive bar, but the food is to die for. 

Food:

The food here is Cuban! We wanted to try out something we’ve never had before and the food here was amazing. Even though we ordered a simple main dish of rice, beans, and chicken, something about it tasted so unique and delicious. Also, pro-tip, if you get a large appetizer here, split one of the main entrees with someone else! It’s so much food that you’ll never eat it all.

Azabu

$$$$

Vibe:

As a Michelin Star restaurant, you should come looking a little nicer than if you were going to most other restaurants (think dress not ripped jeans). Miami is pretty relaxed when it comes to what you wear, but it’s nice to be a little dressier at places like this. For being a Michelin Star, it’s not too fancy and the menu isn’t complicated, so don’t be intimidated.

Food:

They serve one of my favorite foods here, sushi! I have found that the sushi in Miami is some of the best i’ve tried because the fish is so fresh! If you decide to visit Azabu I highly recommend the salmon sushi. It’s is out of the world and a meal that I will never forget. 

Blue Ribbon Sushi

$$$

Vibe:

Here you can be super relaxed while still having great food. Don’t worry about wearing jeans here, it’s fairly casual with a super friendly staff and great environment.

Food:

Blue Ribbon is known not only for their sushi, but also for their fried chicken! When eating here obviously order sushi, but for an appetizer think about getting their chicken wings, they are so good and different than most wings.

Prime 112 (any of them)

$$$

Vibe:

Prime 112 is a steakhouse, so think that kinda vibe. White table cloths (that you’ll probably get dirty), low lighting, and a little loud. This is a good place for a larger group, not the most ideal date night spot since it’s not very intimate. 

Food:

The food here is soo yummy. They have a killer tuna tartar, and great steak and fish options. If you come before your reservation, get a drink at the bar because instead of bar nuts they have glasses of freshly made bacon.

Mr. Chow  

$$$

Vibe:

Mr. Chow is nothing but fancy. They have crisp white table cloths and a wait staff that works in a 3 man team. Yeah, I didn’t know what that was either until Mike explained it to me. Basically, it means there is one waiter running the show and the other two to do specific jobs like take your order, pour you water, etc. It’s really the height of luxury. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see one of the men create the famous Mr. Chow noodles by hand, it’s amazing! 

Food:

Mr. Chow is a famous Chinese restaurant all over the world with this one being located in the W Hotel. It has a more family style menu where guests can share plates with a group, so it’s ideal for a larger table. If you are going just the two of you, I would try getting a few appetizers and then splitting an entree. Don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things here! I scallion pancakes.

x,

Sarah 


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Healthy Summer Recipe: Mango Shrimp
 
Easy healthy dinner recipes quick shrimp mango
 

Today I’ll be sharing one of my favorite recipes to make in the summertime. This fresh and flavorful dinner is so easy to whip up and is definitely a crowd pleaser (or you can keep all of it for yourself, like I do). Either way this recipe is a staple for me at this time of year and if you try it you wont be able to live without it. So let’s get into it!

Serving size: 4 people

Ingredients:

  • 3 zucchini

  • 1 lb shrimp

  • ½ lemon

  • Garlic salt

  • Salt + pepper

  • Olive oil

  • Fresh salsa

  • 2 mangos (or 1 big one)

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

  • Slice zucchini however you like (I did long strips), place on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let cook until edges are crisp (around 20-30 mins).

  • While the zucchini is cooking, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and cook frozen cauliflower rice until tender. Should take around 10 minutes. Then remove from pan.

  • Which the zucchini is still cooking, coat raw shrimp with olive oil, pepper, and garlic salt. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and place shrimp with one side down. Let cook on each side for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan.

  • Remove zucchini from oven and let cool for 2 minutes and chop up the mango into cubes.

  • Now you are ready to serve! Place the cauliflower rice as your base, add shrimp, and top with salsa, and mango. Place zucchini on the side.

Tell me if you try the recipe :)

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Recycling Your Glass Container into Vases
 
Modern Farmhouse DIY Project: Recycled Vase
 

Recycling your waste instead of tossing it into a trashcan is a great habit to have! But, often times we forget to choose the blue bin or we can’t even figure out which one it is. We all know that feeling of looking at the 5 trash bins and not knowing where to put our trash from lunch. Even so, everyone knows that recycling is important in order to preserve our environment. I’ve tried to incorporate habits into my daily life that create less waste and have found that this can be fun!


Even if it is just one small action, over time the choices we make accumulate and create a larger impact than we realize. Today I wanted to share one of my favorite creative ways to recycle. Recently I had the idea to turn my used kombucha bottle into a glass vase (see photo above).

Reusing old containers instead of buying new ones is one of the easiest ways to incorporate more recycling into your daily life. All you have to do is remove the label and scrub off that yucky sticky residue (i recommend using hot water, soap, and a super rough scrub brush). I am using a health aid kombucha bottle because I liked the shape. I also have a larger glass jug that is used at a coffee shop here in NYC as a refillable jar for coffee. I didn’t need that in my house, so I turned it into a farm-chic vase.

I hope this post inspires you to find a new purpose for your unwanted items. Even if it’s as simple as a kombucha jar turned vase.



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Styling A Dress As A Shirt
 
Spring outfit ideas, spring outfit 2019, spring outfit casual, spring outfit ideas for women, hacks every girl should know, life hacks, Fashion trends Summer fashion, fashion dresses, fashion tips and tricks, fashion tips for women

 

This idea came about super randomly. When, a few weeks ago, I put this dress overtop my jeans, just so I could have the cute bell sleeve in an Instagram flat-lay. But, I realized, if I just tucked in the dress it makes an amazing boho flowy shirt.

So, this was something I started doing for the in-between weather for Spring. On days where the weather is nice, I can wear this amazing For Love And Lemons dress as a dress, but when the weather gets a little colder (or I want to cover up my pale legs) I can wear this dress as a shirt.

I wanted to share with y’all this tip/idea! If you have a thinner dress that is really flowy, try tucking it in in the front and leaving the back flowy and long. Just make sure you are tucking the fabric in a lot in the front, so as to give yourself a waist and hide the extra fabric. It’s really as easy as that!

Hope that helps you get more milage out of your current wardrobe. I know it will help we wear more pieces different ways and for all types of weather.

xxo,

Sarah

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This idea came about super randomly. When, a few weeks ago, I put this dress overtop my jeans, just
 
My Home Decor Inspiration
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If you follow me on IG you’ll know I’ve been obsessing over Chip & Joanna, Fixer upper, and basically the entire franchise {I even went to the library to get their book}. I honestly have no idea where to start when it comes to interior design and creating a home I want to be in. I am just hoping that interior design is in my blood since my grandma used to own her own interior design business, but if that isn’t the case I want to start educating myself {and educating you!} , hence the book.

The photo above is kind of my inspiration / vibe I want for my apartment (/Mikes apt since we are moving in together at the end of June). I want it to be a mix of woods, natural textures, antiques, and some modern pieces. I’m not exactly sure what “style” I’m going for, but I just want it to be unique to me/mike and not something I copied off of Pinterest.

I’m hoping I can pass along what I learn, share my mistakes, and show you how to design a home/apartment you love. So stay tuned for more blog posts/IG stories on the topic!

DIY: Coconut Body Scrub
 
DIY natural organic body scrub
 

I lovlies! Today I wanted to share a DIY that I have been loving lately. About a month ago I tried making this body scrub and have been addicted ever since. It’s pretty much the easiest DIY ever and you most likely have the ingredients already on hand. Plus, for the container, just use a glass jar from tomato sauce (remove the label to make it look cute).

I love having this ready in the bathroom for when I want to feel super clean and fresh. It’s also great to use before you apply fake tan, going on a beach trip, or just want to be super soft. So ready on below for the easiest DIY of your life.

Oh, and it smells AMAZING.

Ingredients:

  • Coconut oil (at room temp - so it’s liquidy)

  • Granulated sugar (mine was brown, but it can be white too!)

  • Essential oils (optional)

  • Glass jar (Used a Rao’s tomato sauce jar)

Steps:

  1. Pour around 1/2 cup of sugar into your jar.

  2. Add around 2-3 table spoons of coconut oil at room temperature. Add enough to where the mixture sticks together, but not so much that it becomes to much of a liquid. You want it to have some movement, but to still keep it’s form. (Think of the consistency of your favorite lip scrub!)

  3. Add 4-5 drops of your choice of essential oil (which is optional)! I chose lavender and am obsessed with how the smell turned out. If no essential oil is added, it will smell like coconut oil which is fab to.

It’s literally THAT easy! Share if you make some yourself below :)

How To: Cut Down on Screen Time
 
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No, this isn’t another blog post about how phones are ruining our lives. That’s a little dramatic, even for me. I’m here to let you in on a few simple tricks that help me worry less about what’s going on in the world of Instagram and focus more on living my life. These tips keep me from getting distracted 24/7 and help put my phone in the background of my life, not the forefront.

I also want to note that this isn’t a new thing for me; It’s not just empty advice that I don’t even follow myself. I’ve been doing this for as long as I’ve had an iPhone (aka a really long time) and it works.

For my lock screen, I made sure of a few things to help discourage me from always tapping/glancing at my phone.

Turn off “Rise to wake”

This feature honestly bugs the crap out of me. I recently changed phones and it automatically turned on. Basically what it means is if I’m holding my phone while walking or doing literally anything, it lights up every time there is sudden movement. This might sound like a great feature in theory but in reality I was constantly accidentally skipping songs or disabling my phone by accident. I’m not about that so I turned it off and you can too. It’s so easy!

Go to Settings > display & brightness > tap button to turn off rise to wake

Keep your phone on Do Not Disturb

WOW. What a life changer. To activate Do Not Disturb just tap the white moon icon on your drop down menu. When turned on, it stops your phone from lighting up every single time you get a notification.

I find that this helps me keep my attention on what is going on around me because I have to make a conscious decision to click my phone to see what the notifications are. Not being constantly bombarded with notifications and messages also helps me feel less stressed (especially in NYC).

BUT, be sure to put those people whose calls you don’t want to miss on your favorites list because if not they will automatically be sent to voicemail.

Settings > do not disturb > turn on “Do Not Disturb” toggle

Turn off Banner iMessage Notifications

This one may seem extreme because pretty much everyone uses this feature but, trust me, you won’t miss it. This turns off the notification you get at the top of your screen every time you get a text message. I find that with them on, I get so easily distracted and always immediately tap the text message to respond. It’s important to remember that it isn’t a crime not to answer someone right away (or at all) if you don’t want to.

Settings > notifications > messages > unclick “Banners”

I feel like these 3 easy steps have not only helped me stay focused during moments like important conversations and meetings, but have given me the time I need to start learning how to fully live my own life instead of being constantly worried about how others are living theirs. Making checking my phone a conscious decision instead of a mindless habit is a major key to have a little more balance between real life & digital life.

How To Stop Yourself From Buying ALL The Things
budgeting and money management

I recently was talking to someone about how i keep myself from wasting money on unnecessary things. Its something that can be so easy to do, especially with this consumerism culture are are living in today.

You can get caught up in needing the new it bag you see on your favorite influencer or the mask that will make all your skin problems go away. I even find it hard to see an Instagram ad and not want it immediately (IG targeting is SO good these days).

So how do you put the credit card down and not give into what you want?

I’ve come up with a verrry simple method. I make a note in my phone of all of the things I want/need to buy. At a glance iI see what I really need to be spending my money on, and what I probably should be spending on. It gives you a perspective that takes you out of the consumerism mindset and shows you what you really need vs. what you want.

I typically wait 1-2 weeks before buying clothing/makeup/beauty though since I feel like the time helps me see if I really want it or if I was just caught up in thinking I needed it. If an item stays on my list for along time, I probably REALLY want it and can buy it and know I’m not wasting my money.

I hope that helps some of you be better about saving some $$ and ont wasting it on what is trendy at the moment.

xo

Sarah

Easy Tequila Grapefruit HoneyRosemary Cocktail
 
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For the Super Bowl weekend (I know, it’s taken me awhile to get this up!), I made these cocktails to bring to our friends apartment. They are super easy to make and taste so yummy! Would be perfect for any plans you have with your girlfriends for Valentine’s day.

Read below for instructions :)

P.s. I made a modified version of this recipe. I’m not THAT creative.

Ingredients (makes 6 drinks):

  • 1 bottle Jaja Tequila (or any tequila)

  • 3 Izzy grapefruit drinks

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • Bunch of rosemary

How to make: Rosemary honey

Put 1/2 cup of honey into a sauce pan and heat until it starts to bubble. Add 3 sprigs of rosemary (or as much as you want) and let bubble for 1 minute. Turn off heat and let rosemary seep for at least 30 minutes.

How to make: Cocktail

Mix together 1 shot tequila, 1/2 bottle Izzy drinks, and a tablespoon of rosemary honey. Add ice and garnish with a slide of grapefruit and rosemary! It’s THAT easy.

Feel free to adjust to you own taste :)

Sarah GrossComment