#omgdessertgoals: nyc dessert fest 2017

dessertfest.jpgso many #omgdessertgoals were met this weekend at nyc’s 2nd annual dessert fest held at the dobbin street event space in williamsburg, brooklyn. my friend lily and i knew checking out this party was a must, and we spent the entire time gorging ourselves on various gourmet sweets. Continue reading “#omgdessertgoals: nyc dessert fest 2017”

d.i.y: top o’ the mornin lucky charms pancakes

in honor of my irish roots (25% represent!) i decided to share a fun d.i.y recipe that i followed from betty crocker! the hubby and i had a snow day this week and promised we wouldn’t order chinese food……. so i figured making green st. patty’s day pancakes was still technically following our rule. i even went a step further and replaced regular bisquick with 10 grain pancake & waffle mix by bob’s red mill to up the nutrition factor. see? i’m trying here….. check out my step by step and the (deliciously festive) finished product below!

these pancakes are super easy. they require one cup of mix, one egg, a tablespoon of oil, a cup of water (i used 1% milk for extra fluff), and green food coloring. of course, it also requires your desired amount of lucky charm marshmallows added at the end.

step one is to combine your mix, egg, oil, and milk in a large bowl.

onto the fun part: once everything is mixed together, add between 1/2 to a 1 full tablespoon of green food coloring, and be careful not to stain your fingers like i did!

lightly grease your pan and you’re ready to fry these up! i like to do three “silver dollar” size pancakes at once. this was a super easy recipe, and they come out so cute! this would be great to do with kids – or if you’re hosting a st. patrick’s day brunch. garnish with marshmallows and some (sugar free!) maple syrup and voilà! let the festivities commence!

will you be trying these on st. patty’s day? don’t forget to follow me on instagram and facebook to stay in the loop!

clay trays for days: how a trip to michael’s inspired my latest d.i.y.

i recently decided to try a d.i.y. project featured on hgtv.com, fueled by the colorful and abundant clay aisle at michael’s. i wanted to work on something that wasn’t too daunting, but would keep me out of the cold for a few hours…. and who couldn’t always use a cute catch-all (or three) to display around the house?

welcome to my teeny tiny brooklyn kitchen, where  a williams sonoma marble cutting board acts as “additional counter space” to display my materials. i chose three pyrex items of various sizes (two bowls and a measuring cup) and three different neutral-toned clays. the first was a metallic copper, the second was a true terra-cotta, and the third was a grayish/marbled textured clay. i also purchased some basic sculpey modeling tools for less than $10… a small price to pay to not have to use my own knives!

the steps are super easy. first i rolled the clays out so that they were about 1/8 of an inch thick. think the size of a  ‘standard corn taco tortilla’ – yes everything comes back to tacos. next, i used one of my sculpey tools to cut my rolled clay into perfect circles, tracing around the pyrex bowls for symmetry:

step three is where the hilarity ensues. i stretched out a bobby pin and etched designs into two out of the three flattened clay ‘tortillas’ (the third, i wanted to keep super simple – i rolled three small bits of clay into tiny balls and fashioned them to the back as mini ‘legs’ so that the bowl doesn’t sit directly on the table but is instead propped a bit higher than the rest.) i digress, back to the designs: full disclosure – i thought they were super cute and i was excited that they’d be a part of my finished product… but in true trial-and-error fashion, i baked them wrong-side-up, so now my catch-all dishes have secret designs on the bottoms that are unseen unless you turn them upside down. #diyfail. there’s always next time?

fourth, i placed my three ‘tortillas’ of clay onto the backs of my pyrex bowls. i pinched the edges of the two largest dishes to create a ripple effect. then, i baked them on 275 degrees for about 30 minutes, and left them out to cool and harden for the rest of the day.

and voilá! the finished product. these nesting dishes would be a great (and personalized) hostess gift, conversation coffee table piece, or even a fun activity to do with kids!

i had a blast working on this, and i’m pretty excited to do it a second time so i can get it right! check us out on instagram and facebook for more inspo, and comment below with some of your own great d.i.y. ideas!

why 2017 is the year to actually keep your resolutions

resolutions are made to be broken, right? every december we make them and every february we break them. it’s this weird cycle that we almost get enjoyment out of. sometimes i feel like we make new year’s resolutions simply so we can talk about them for two months over brunch. i think we can all agree that 2016 was a wonky year. no matter who you are, there was a collective “hurry up and get the rest of this year overwith” happening everywhere i turned. new years’ eve was spent lamenting and ruminating. we’ve practically lunged head (and heart) first into 2017 with high hopes of it being ‘better’ than the year before.

now from my perspective, i had an amazing year. i planned my dream wedding and said i do to my best friend and partner in crime… went on an incredible honeymoon to turkey and greece, lost nearly 30 pounds, and put plans into motion to launch this very blog…. but i sympathize with the masses who felt last year was particularly rough. i get it, it makes sense, and were it not for the things i listed above i’d probably be right there with you.

so what do i do when i’m faced with doubt/challenge/bad vibes? i go above and beyond to outshine them. i guess it’s the competitive side to being a gemini. because frankly i’d rather have plenty of #humblebrags ready to fire off at all those springtime brunches than filling my winter ones with empty promises.

in a nutshell, this is why i think 2017 is the year to actually keep our resolutions. if we are going to lunge head (and heart) first with the highest of hopes…. we need to put in the work on the back end to create positive, long-lasting memories, achievements, and milestones that we’ll still be talking about as we’re ringing in 2018. memories, achievements, and milestones that are so great, they’ll take precedence over anything you’ll see on the news.  if you want next new years’ eve to feel very different than this last one – full of joy, reminiscing on the days that have passed – then the good times and good vibes necessary to fill these 365 days start now.

my resolutions: 1. keep the weight off – maintain – don’t get complacent, because the pounds come back way faster than they went. and 2. when the blogging gets tough and the content’s not flowing the way it needs to, keep the faith and find the post hidden in every one of life’s experiences.

one way i’m attempting to stick to my guns is by actively writing in a planner. usually i opt for calendars that can fit easily into my purse, but this year i’ve added an “at-home” planner to the mix. (get one of your own, and all the extra accessories, at michael’s) the “at-home” planner allows me to write down full thoughts, store extra paperwork, and really keep track of what i’ve done before which will keep this blog from being redundant. fresh is the key! feeling like i have a place to brainstorm, schedule and structure indigo heights gives me motivation to continue filling the pages of the planner – and the site – as we get further into this soft launch. if you have any 2017 goals that you’re working toward, adding some (really cute) structure to your scheduling – with room to map it all out as you go along – is a huge recommendation of mine.

if you’re like me and you’re looking to keep weight off and maintain a healthy lifestyle, there are many day to day things you can be doing to keep this resolution going strong all year long. weekly weigh-ins are a super effective option that is much healthier than checking the scale every single day. friday is my favorite weigh-day, because on saturday – if all goes as planned – i can reward myself! nothing better than going into a weekend with positive vibes, feelings of achievement, and chinese food. another out-of-the-box way to keep this resolution? plan a trip! nothing motivates me more than knowing i’ll be donning a swimsuit. personally, this tip does double duty for me, as planning a trip also means instant new, blogworthy experiences.

are you trying to be more kind to people?

have you finally committed to running that 10k?

do you want to spend less and save more?

put your phone away at the dinner table?

whatever the goal, the temptation to quit is not welcome in 2017.

what are your resolutions? comment below! i’d love to hear how you plan to keep them.

shop this post: sweatshirt – aerie // track shorts – old navy // headphones – beats by dre // socks – sweaty betty // gym bag fragrance – ralph lauren tender romance // planner & accessories – michael’s

cactus-in-a-box: the world’s cutest, prickliest, entry-level d.i.y

ever want to do a d.i.y project but, like, not really? enter cactus-in-a-box.

after an amazing tour of the desert botanical garden in phoenix, i had to stop into the garden shop and get a commemorative trinket. i wound up buying two really pretty mugs (one of which i gave up to my mom)… and i really wanted to bring home some sort of succulent to add to my collection, but i wasn’t sure how they’d travel (or if i’d even be allowed onto the plane with it). so to be safe, i purchased this convenient, easy and adorable do-it-yourself kit. as expected, planting my own miniature cacti was a breeze! so breezy, it may not even be a true d.i.y….. check out my step by step photo documentation below!

step one: unbox!

step two: use about 2/3 of the provided soil to create a base for your new prickly friends!

step three: gently position your cactuses where you’d like them to ‘live’. for the brave bunch, a light grip on your plant won’t really hurt, but to go the safe route – a pair of kitchen tongs makes for easy placement!

steps four and five: use the remaining 1/3 of your soil to anchor your succulents, patting and packing the dirt in with your fingers until the plants feel secure. then, insert the provided decorative pick into the soil to add a finishing touch to your fresh pot!

to purchase your own similar kit, check out arizona gifts!

new year, new hair: eco-chic artistry at z(ed) new york

i knew i loved gina ribando from the moment i laid eyes on her instagram. carefully curated, with expertly crafted hair coming at you frame after frame. i contacted her blindly, and we met in early 2016 to discuss my wedding #hairgoals. we connected as friends, and she’s been doing my hair ever since. though she works primarily as a l’oreal educator, traveling the country teaching salons how to be as awesome as she is, this past july gina also became a member of the team at z(ed) new york, a tiny upper east side salon that packs a big downtown punch – and i knew it was only a matter of time before i had to check it out.

z(ed) is owned and operated by carly quist, a canada native. (doesn’t the name z(ed) make so much more sense now!?) it’s long and narrow structure is modern and minimalist, with clean lines and metallic details throughout. it has an intimate feel, which i instantly find appealing. this isn’t another hair factory churning out appointments…. this is community. for their loyal clients, this is home away from home. diving deeper into the details with carly and gina, i learned that z(ed) is a green circle salon. these salons are the most eco-friendly in the industry, recycling everything they possibly can – down to the hair on the floor! did you know that recycled hair is used to aide in cleaning up oil spills?

i love the perk of this place being super green… and i really love the fact that this is a team derived of educators. in addition to gina, carly is a kerastase educator, and the other members of the team are all working their way towards the same title. after discussing the game plan at gina’s station, she led me back to get washed and conditioned. at z(ed) they are firm believers in the scalp massage, which promotes blood flow and hair growth and, of course, relaxation. this was the best hair wash ever. gina used kerastase fusio dose (a combo of “density” and “strength”) to amp up my wash and add extra, long-lasting hair benefits before taking me over to get the cut started.

upon my return to gina’s station, i was presented with a hefty glass of red wine which was a really nice touch. my goal was to come out of there keeping most of the length i worked so hard to grow out – but adding tons of choppy, beachy layers to amplify my hair’s volume and to give it some much-needed shape. my inspiration: camila cabello, minus the pop-star extensions. gina gave me exactly that. she used several lightweight kerastase products, but my favorite (which i couldn’t leave without purchasing) was l’incroyable blowdrya couture heat styling protectant that uses microwax technology, allowing you to “re-activate” your blow-out. basically: if one day you’ve used a flat iron, and the next day you want to use a curling wand, your hair will reactivate and allow you to change the texture just like that. what?!?! 

after all was said and done, i left incredibly happy with my new look and the z(ed) experience. if you’re looking for a sweet spot to try out a new ‘do, this is your place. the girls are all so knowledgable, you’ll leave feeling gorgeous and having learned a thing or two about your hair! follow z(ed) new york on instagram and be sure to book them for your next hair change-up.

shop the looks: studded skull sweatshirt – aqua, via bloomingdales // coated leggings – athleta (similar) // boots – toms // yellow faux-suede blouse – design lab for lord & taylor

#hairgoals: you’re closer than you think

serums, shampoos, straight up biotin, monthly trims, no trims, less heat, air-drying, oils……. you name it, i’ve likely used it in an attempt to grow out my hair. i’ve even tried mane n’ tail. but nothing had been successful in truly freeing me of my 2013 epic “long bob” fail until now.

between 2013 and 2016, i had only seen about six inches of hair growth with minimal trims in between, which is a sad and sorry situation. just weeks before my wedding, the ‘lob’ was finally gone – but my #mermaidhairgoals were far from achieved. i got married in may of 2016 and i wound up wearing extensions (as many brides do). i took them out in june, and by july, i decided to see an endocrinologist & nutritionist to find out if i had any vitamin deficiencies that were preventing me from achieving my ultimate beauty goals. turns out, my folic acid was low and my b-12 was even lower. my gut flora was all out of whack. it was no wonder i couldn’t shed the pounds, grow the hair, or clear the skin in time for my big day.

don’t get me wrong…. i still felt amazing as a bride, but after visiting dr. shira eytan at park avenue endocrinology & nutrition, i knew i had to start a religious vitamin routine so that my constant wellness efforts would actually be fruitful.

  • first i wound up with nature’s bounty b-12, which helps turn the food you eat into energy for your body. vitamin b-12 also helps to create dna, which is the genetic material in all cells – including the ones that grow your hair! i mean… if i’m going to eat the ramen, i might as well have it working in my favor – rather than sitting useless on my gut, am i right?
  • speaking of gut: next in my shopping cart was renew life women’s ultimate flora probiotic which is meant to restore balance in your gut, boost your immune system, and also aids in turning food into energy. the added perk of this specific probiotic? it also benefits your lady parts. check out this helpful article for more info on how gut bacteria affect your health.
  • next deficiency to tackle was folic acid, which helps your body produce and maintain new cells…and dr. eytan informed me that the best way to boost those levels was actually by taking a prenatal vitamin. i chose naturemade‘s version, which adds dha, a promoter of brain health. keeps you thinking sharp, keeps your spirits up… sounds fine by me!
  • the last product i added to my routine was an impulse buy… once again i was suckered in by a sleek, vibrant and fun marketing campaign. enter olly’s “undeniable beauty” gummies, effectively dubbed ‘grapefruit glam’. these delicious mini-snacks are packed full of borage oil, biotin, vitamins c & e to promote hair, skin & nail health. i loved the packaging so much, i even convinced my husband to try their men’s multivitamin!

after using these four products every day from july until january, my hair has grown nearly six full inches in six months. i paired them with a daily protein shake and a pretty vigorous diet & exercise regimen, but i truly feel that getting my deficiencies up and leveled out is what has helped my body to kickstart, awaken from it’s sluggish slumber, and start working for me again.

side note – i’m even able to (finally) cut my hair into a fun style without panicking about the length, which is why this weekend i’ll be paying a visit to gina ribando at ze(d) salon on the upper east side in nyc. after all the nurturing these locks have had, they’re ready to be shaped & coiffed for 2017! stay tuned for a blog post about my experience at ze(d) and gina’s expert hair care opinion.

so no…. this post isn’t necessarily a promotion of my specific regimen. but if you feel you’ve been waiting too long (months? years?) of honest trying without seeing body progress: whether it be weight related, mystery bloat, hair growth, acne, etc. – some simple tests might be the answer you’ve been waiting for. moral of the story: your body is your temple… and if your temple’s got plumbing issues, the property value goes down and there’s no way you’ll be able to do the renovation until it’s fixed. second moral: i watch way too much hgtv.