Travel | Paradise Found in the Amalfi Coast

At last, we have reached the last portion of our 3 part honeymoon in Italy! We’ve experienced the art, cuisine and wine of Florence + Tuscany and made our way down to Rome – the beautiful and historic old city. But now…we’ve saved the best for last (and it happened to be the last place we stayed prior to heading back to the U.S.).

Let’s be honest, you probably cannot go wrong with anywhere you visit in Italy. It all depends on the experience you wish to have. But if you know Sean and me, we do not like to do anything in moderation and wanted to have it all…is that really so wrong? When deciding on a final location, we wanted it to be somewhere that was not only relaxing but ridiculously breathtaking as well. Going into this, we knew that we were going to be exhausted from traveling and bouncing around from city to city. Not to mention, everyone else typically chooses somewhere calm and serene for a honeymoon destination and we did not want to miss out on that aspect. We saved the peaceful and “real honeymoon” portion of our vacation in Italy for the end – and I have to say, I am so glad we did because had we started with this place, I would have never wanted to leave…and the feeling was quite mutual. To put it bluntly, Sean and i fell madly in love here and even began brainstorming ways to relocate permanently. From a surf shop to a bar…we exhausted all options. Before you ask – no, I am not joking – if there was a place that I would describe as “perfection”, this place nailed it.

The location I speak of? Positano which is a village in the Amalfi Coast. Now, I’ve heard people rant and rave about the Amalfi Coast all of my life. It’s one of those places you have to see before you die from a bucket list perspective. There were several areas within the Amalfi Coast that were appealing and I do not think you can go wrong with any. However, I did quite a bit of research before booking our trip and Positano was always described as the most picturesque town in the Amalfi Coast where the rich and famous vacation. This was one of those once in a lifetime opportunities and we just couldn’t pass it up.

Before you scroll down to see some of our highlights of our 3 day stay in Positano, I am going to go ahead and warn you: after seeing this, you will want to move there. Like, tonight. You will also probably dislike your current place of residence – even if you live in the most beautiful of cities. So there’s your notice – now let’s keep it moving.

We took a train from Rome (business class again, of course) to Naples. We were told that we would then need a driver to take us about 45 minutes from the train station to the Amalfi Coast – which is basically the only way to get there. We called our resort while we were in Rome and they set us up with a private driver. We heard this was the way to go because a.) Naples isn’t exactly the safest place and tourists can be easy targets and b.) it was much better to get a driver that provided an up front cost versus a cab driver who could end up taking advantage of us financially.

We budgeted appropriately for our hotels in Florence and Rome but definitely splurged here. We stayed at Hotel Marincanto, which was ranked #7 of all of the Positano hotels on Trip Advisor. It was more than I could have ever imagined – wow, just wow.

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{ The lobby of our hotel. }

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{ We were greeted with prosecco + treats while we waited on our room. }

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{ Lemons are a big deal in Positano – the resort had lemon trees everywhere. }

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{ Anddd this was our view from our hotel terrace as we waited on our room. }

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{ Fresh squeezed lemon juice from the hotel’s lemon trees. }

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{ The view from our room – ahhhmazing. }

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{ And the sun goes down on our first day in Positano. }

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{ This sunset: unreal. }

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{ A gourmet breakfast with the best view in the world. }

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{ Forgive me – but did I mention how amazing the view was? }

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{ Beauty. }

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{ Exploring Positano. }

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{ Our hotel sat high on a cliff. }

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{The best part: you can sunbathe and look out into the ocean. }

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{ Dinner out at a lovely restaurant that sat on a cliff – our view was ridiculous. }

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{ Fresh seafood – oh ya know, caught just moments before. }

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{ Homemade panna cotta drizzled with chocolate sauce. }

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{ Beautiful passageway during one of our walks. }

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{ *Le sigh* }

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{ I can never get enough of this. }

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{ The freshest bruschetta we’ve ever had. }

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{ Nomzzz for days – fresh orange juice + fresh seafood = match made in heaven. }

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{ Our last sunset in Positano – but not forever! We will be back one day soon! }

This was the most unbelievably surreal experience I’ve ever had. Not one complaint. All I can do is rant and rave about how perfect Positano was. If you ever have the opportunity to go, do not, I repeat, do not hesitate. If you are planning a trip to Italy – this is not a place you want to miss out on.

Overall, our honeymoon was more than I could have ever possibly imagined. It was the perfect mix of art, culture, history, cuisine and serenity. This country will forever have a piece of me. Arrivederci, Italy. We will meet again one day soon.

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Travel | When in Rome…

So my very first travel post was about Florence which was Part 1 of 3 of our honeymoon back in October. As mentioned, Sean and I had decided to take on Italy for our first adventure as a married couple. Since there were so many places to choose between, we each picked a city that we were dying to visit and then one that we agreed on together. There was a method to our madness regarding our itinerary – we started up north and worked our way down south. Florence was our first stop (my choice) and next was Sean’s choice – Rome! I have to be completely honest here, I was very skeptical about Rome. Not that I didn’t think it would be fabulous, but there were other cities in Italy that were further up on my list of places to see. However, we made a deal and if Rome was where Sean wanted to go, that’s where we would go!

After two incredible days in Florence, we caught a train and traveled down to Rome. Prior to leaving for our honeymoon, I remember my dear friend, Amy, telling me how amazing the train experience alone is. In fact, one of her most vivid memories while traveling in Italy was looking out the windows of the train and taking in all of the beauty around her as all five senses were ignited. Ever since she described this to me, I longed for that same experience. Sean and I booked two “business class” tickets to Rome which provided us with comfortable leather seats and some extra room. The pungent aroma of coffee beans lingered throughout the cabin and the train attendants came around to pour us a fresh cup of joe while serving up delicious, crisp biscuits (a fancy term for cookies).

As I sipped my warm cup of coffee in my cozy leather chair, I gazed out the window of the train as beautiful Italian hillsides passed us by. I remember looking across the little table that Sean and I shared and took a few minutes to take this moment in. Here I was, someone who was constantly wrapped up in my own world back at home – between my career, school, social life, bills, pleasing people…all of these things began to seem so insignificant. Sure, it’s a part of our every day lives and how can we not get immersed in the monotonous day-to-day rituals and responsibilities we have? But having this moment to breath, collect myself, see the beauty of the world around us and actually look at this man sitting across from me, my new husband whom I was sharing this adventure with as I enjoyed my delicious cup of coffee, I was suddenly reminded of why I work so hard in life. It was to enjoy moments like these. It sounds cliché but it’s the little things I live for. And I knew at this very instant that this would be an irreplaceable memory forever engrained in my mind.

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{ An adventure in itself – the train ride on the way to Rome. }

We arrived in Rome in the early afternoon. We took a cab to our adorable little Bed and Breakfast, Navona Governo Vecchio, which was centrally located in the city and in an apartment building. This was a really neat concept because we were able to immerse ourselves in the life of a local. Rome was the longest leg of our trip (5 days) and goodness did they fly by! However, we were able to do a great deal of exploring (especially our first evening there when we decided to get lost on purpose and wander around with no map). I have to admit, I was extremely impressed and enjoyed it so much more than I had initially anticipated. I mean…wow.

First and foremost, Rome is an incredibly lively place. It had the hustle and bustle of NYC but in a very historic and beautiful old city. There was a hodgepodge of people – all ages, shapes and sizes, ethnicities, backgrounds – truly a melting pot of cultural wonder.

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{ A man at one of the piazzas playing the violin. }

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{ An endless assortment of fresh flowers for sale at a piazza. }

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{ Our first dinner in Rome at a vibrant hookah bar and lounge in one of the piazzas. Our appetizer: fresh prosciutto + buffalo mozzarella. }

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{ A fresh seafood pizza pie. }

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{ Enjoying some vino + brown butter/sage ravioli. }

Our next few days we did so much exploring (and walking). The best part about this was that we were able to work off everything we ate! So many incredible sites to see and take in. Since we photographed so many moments, below are just some highlights from our 5 day stay in Rome.

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{ The door to our room at the Bed & Breakfast – so very Rome. }

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{ This is what we woke up to every morning – fresh croissants and bread, cappuccino, tea, orange juice and yogurt. }

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{ We decided to visit the Jewish Ghetto – and the hubs had to point out the “accident” a few birds had that flew over him. He doesn’t have the best of luck but it made for a good laugh! }

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{ Walking around the Jewish Ghetto. }

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{ Doing some exploring! }

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{ So ornate and beautiful – the picture doesn’t do it justice. }

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{ Absolutely incredible – ancient ruins. }

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{ The Roman Forum – it’s hard to believe things like this still exist in the world. }

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{ Antipasto pit stop – someone was happy. }

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{ Oh, the interesting things you will see in Rome – all while eating at a street cafe! }

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{ Colosseum | Take I }

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{ Colosseum | Take II }

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{ Roman aqueducts }

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{ *le sigh* – this sunset + the Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius }

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{ The famous Trevi Fountain }

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{ The Pantheon }

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{ We made it to Vatican City! }

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{ Amazing to see in person – there are no words. }

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{ You will never realize how small you are until you visit the Vatican. }

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{ Wowza! }

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{ One of the immense statues inside of the Vatican. }

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{ This incredible pergola. }

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{ We were able to witness the changing of the guards. }

What an enriching experience this was. We enjoyed every moment of our time in this incredible place. From the lively people, to the adorable piazzas, to the boisterous markets and quaint street cafes, to the delicious gelato and cuisine and of course, the refreshing vino…we had the time of our lives. Beyond all of this, being able to walk the old city with my new husband made it that much more beautiful. I will forever hold a place in my heart for Rome. Our last stop in Italy is coming up on the blog next and it was hands down our favorite place we’ve ever visited (ever). Stay tuned! Ciao!

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Home Office Inspiration | { His + Her }

The hubs and I are preparing for a move in a few weeks to an adorable little bungalow in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, NC. The house has two bedrooms, one bathroom and one room that is perfect for an office. We both need a functional working area and need to utilize the space to the best of our ability in order to suit both of our needs. Between Sean working on a start-up business with my brother and all of his side projects and my blog, work and grad school homework, it can all become slightly overwhelming if we’re not careful. My life is in complete shambles even if I’m in a little bit of disarray so in our new home, it is critical for us to stay organized. In an effort to do so, I wanted to create both a personalized and inspiring {his + her} office space. I started gathering ideas and came up with two inspiration boards that truly encompasses each of us.

For this blog post, I was initially going to focus solely on a feminine work area until Sean mentioned how he wished I would post more about things the male demographic can relate to and get inspired with. I am all about taking constructive criticism. In fact, I welcome it with open arms. Why? I have always believed that there is always room for improvement and feedback is totally necessary in order to grow and flourish. With that said, I decided to take a shot at the ideal male office space in addition to my own.

First and foremost, I took each of our interests, likes and dislikes into consideration before creating the perfect office for each of us. I am as girly as they come, adore soft colors, flowers, quotes, anything vintage, eclectic and woodland-inspired, fun patterns and desire an aesthetically pleasing area that will make me feel energized. Sean on the other hand is a tech junkie. He would love more of a masculine space with funky gadgets, harder lines and the perfect blend of both a contemporary and industrial/vintage feel.

Alright, so enough about my method behind the madness – I’m not going to make you wait a second longer! Below are my {his + her} work space creations with a shopping guide for those of you who are also looking to gain some work space inspiration. Enjoy!

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Office F

1. Inspiring Prints (from first to last): Start Each Day with a Grateful Heart {Etsy}, Gold Foil 2014 Print {Etsy}, The World is Your Oyster Print {Etsy}  2. Red Coral Vintage Book Collection {Etsy}  3. Gold Antler Coat Rack {Etsy}  4. Tassle Garland {Etsy}  5. Distressed Inspiration Board {Etsy}  6. 13″ Peonies in Vase {One Kings Lane}  7. Monogram Mug {Anthropologie}  8. Gold Zag Tray {Etsy}  9. Emily + Merritt Brass Bunny Table Lamp, {PB Teen}  10. Shag Rug, Ivory {One Kings Lane}  11. LexMod Ghost Chair {Amazon}  12. Vintage Desk Mail Organizer {Etsy}  13. White and Gold Desk {Worlds Away

Office M

1. Work Hard Print {Etsy}  2. Industrial Faux Metal Letters {Etsy}  3. Vintage Pull Down Style Map {Etsy}  4. Mojave Rug, Aqua {One Kings Lane}  5. LED Binary Clock {from ThinkGeek}  6. Subway Sign, Charlotte, NC {Etsy}  7. Wood Block Bulb Lamp {West Elm}  8. Scape Magazine Holder {CB2}  9. Mesh Silver Bulletin Board {Crate and Barrel}  10. Delilah Desk, Natural Finish {One Kings Lane}  11. Coup Office Chair {CB2

Trending for Spring 2014: Time Travel

Be sure to scroll to the bottom to check out the trend style guide – everything is under $100!

We are now on week five of my favorite Spring 2014 trends. Last week was “Sheer Bliss” which showcased gauzy fabrics that add a touch of romance and femininity to any wardrobe. So what is my final Spring 2014 trend that I will be highlighting? Let’s put it this way – it was something I was super excited about sharing because it brought back some serious nostalgia.

Two words: Time Travel. For all of you who grew up in the 80s and 90s, we are going to be channeling our inner young girl. The “Time Travel” trend takes us back to when things were totally awesome.

When checking out the Spring 2014 runway shows, I saw a few trends that really stood out to me: crop tops, denim on denim, overalls, neon and yes – even jelly shoes or “Jellies”. After reflecting on the research I conducted, I came to the conclusion that each of these components have a common denominator. These trends are all reminiscent of the late 20th century.

Now don’t fret – I cannot imagine frosted tips or stick-on earrings will come back around anytime soon! But make a statement with neon colors, rock your crop top and throw on some overalls – because this Spring we are in for a radical ride!

Below are some of my favorite looks from the Spring 2014 runway.

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DKNY RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Giambattista Valli RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Balenciaga RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Marissa Webb RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Ground Zero RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Ralph Lauren RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

Love these looks! I am especially a sucker for anything neon – the brighter the better! Below is a shopping guide of some fun pieces I found while doing some “virtual window shopping”. Everything is under $100 so you can achieve the runway look for less. Enjoy!

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1. Half Sleeve Strip Breton Top, $64 {from TopShop}  2. Knitted Lace Hem Cropped Jumper, $68 {from TopShop}  3. Cornelli Crop Top, $80 {from TopShop}  4. Miss Me Lace Overlay Top, $54 {from Buckle}  5. Dark Wash Denim Overalls, $60 {from River Island}  6. Beni Tassel Clutch {from Accessorize}  7. Pink Glitter Watch, $48 {from Pree Brulee}  8. Iconic Tribal Wedge Sandal, $49.95 {from Victoria’s Secret}  9. Multicolor Statement Gem Stone Necklace, $70 {from River Island}  10. Body Glove Flounce Crop Top, $52.90 {from Delias}  11. Neon Yellow Scroll Trim Bud Skirt, $35.91 {from Chicwish}  12. Neon A-line Midi Skirt, $39.90 {from Chicwish}  13. JuJu Footwear Petra Pastel Jelly Sandal, $39 {from Urban Outfitters}  14. JuJu Footwear Babe Jelly Heeled Sandal {from Urban Outfitters}

Recipe Box | Fish with Mango-Avocado Salsa + Cauliflower Mash

So I’ve been really trying to eat on the lighter side and cooking with only fresh ingredients in an effort to eat clean. But I have to be honest, preparing some sort of lean protein and a random veggie just sounds…well, boring. My husband and I are both big foodies and love to take our palettes on an adventure. Not saying that all funky food is bad for you but what I am saying is that eating healthy takes a lot of thought and effort and you have to be careful with what you choose to consume.

After speaking with a couple of coworker girlfriends – I found a way to slightly reinvent the wheel. I was inspired by one of their suggestions which was doing a mashed cauliflower as a starch replacement. This is something I had seen on Pinterest before but had never heard of anyone actually trying it and let me just tell you, she raved about how good it was. As mentioned, I’m super valiant when it comes to food so I figured, why not give it a go?

I decided to accompany the cauliflower mash with fish as the main attraction. My husband and I both love seafood and knowing how good it is for you just makes it that much more satisfying. I had envisioned making a mango-avocado salsa to add on top of the fish so I wanted to find a tasty white fish. I went to the grocery store looking for something that was on special. To my surprise, I saw some beautiful swordfish filets that were relatively inexpensive. I love swordfish and it is not often that I come across it. I picked up the rest of my ingredients and managed to escape the store for around $30.

To make a long story short, dinner turned out just lovely and although Sean was a little skeptical about the cauliflower mash (he loves his potatoes), he was extremely impressed with how it turned out and tasted. Check out the recipe below – I would highly recommend it! Keep in mind, this delicious salsa mixture I created would be fantastic on chicken as well for those of you who don’t do fish. I baked the fish in the oven so you could do the same with the chicken although it would need a bit longer which will vary on the part of the chicken you decide to make.

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For the Fish:

I picked up two swordfish filets but you can use any white fish

For the Mango-Avocado Salsa:

2 medium-sized mangos

3 small-medium avocados

1/2 of a medium-large red onion

1/3 cup of fresh, chopped cilantro (you can add more if you like)

salt + pepper to taste

For the Cauliflower Mash:

1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

3/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives or green onion (garnish)

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Heat a dutch oven on the stove with a water depth of 1/4 inch.
  • Prep the cauliflower head and chop into florets.
  • Put the florets into the dutch oven and cook covered for 7-10 minutes over medium-high heat.
  • While the oven is heating up and the cauliflower florets are cooking, prep all of the ingredients for the mango-avocado salsa. Chop everything up and combine it all in a medium bowl. You want everything to be mixed together so that it is all distributed evenly but not mashed (as we all know – avocado is very soft and delicate). Once this is complete, go ahead and cover the bowl and put it in the fridge to stay cold.
  • Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Once the oven is heated, lightly salt and pepper the fish (on both sides) and then put them on the baking sheet. Stick the baking sheet in the oven and let the fish cook for 15 minutes.
  • Once the 15 minutes is up, take out the fish and turn them over. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • While the fish is baking, drain the water from the cauliflower florets and put them in a food processor along with the Greek yogurt, salt and pepper for about 1 minute or until smooth. You may need to stop the food processor to scrape the sides as needed.
  • Place the blended cauliflower into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Put this to the side.
  • Once the fish has cooked for the additional 10 minutes, take it out of the oven to cool.
  • Put the bowl of cauliflower mash in the microwave to head up for about 1 1/2 minutes on high (stirring about halfway through).
  • Arrange fish on on a plate, spoon the mango-avocado salsa on top of it. Add a lime wedge to the plate for some extra flavor. Add the cauliflower mash and garnish with the chives or green onion (if desired). Serve immediately.

This is a very simple dinner that is both delicious and healthy! You could even take the cauliflower mash a step further and make some brown butter on the stove to pour over it – it’s something I’m definitely going to be trying next time! If you’ve never given cauliflower mash a try before, I would highly recommend doing so (even if you are a little scared to step out of your comfort zone). Enjoy!

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Travel | Cooking, Art + Wine – Florence, Italy

When choosing a honeymoon destination last year, my husband and I decided that we wanted to go in a different direction than most which is your typical tropical vacation. Not knocking it at all – if anyone loves relaxing by the ocean with their toes in the sand, it’s us. However, we wanted to go somewhere ridiculously enchanting. Somewhere lively with incredible food and a unique atmosphere. In other words, we wanted an adventure. I like to consider myself pretty worldly – I’m open to any experience and am more than willing to try anything at least once. Sean is even more worldly – he’s been to many different places and felt that I needed to experience Europe. He had been to London before and although he was open to visiting again, I wanted us to go somewhere that we would both be experiencing for the first time. After all, a honeymoon is a very special thing two people share – right?

We had originally decided on Paris and a few stops in Italy and we had 10 days allocated for our honeymoon (including travel). But after doing quite a bit of research, we discovered that it would require more traveling than what we had initially anticipated. We didn’t mind moving from city to city, however, we wanted to at least have a few days in each place so we could actually take it all in and enjoy. I mean really…I didn’t want to live out of my suitcase the entire trip. We agreed that we should make Paris it’s own vacation as there is a lot to see and do there and we decided to zero in on Italy…check! Now the next tough decision to make – where do we go? After all, Italy is rather large and there are so many beautiful places to visit. How could we possibly narrow it down? We decided the fairest way to figure this out was to each choose a city that we had been dying to go to and then a third city that we could both agree on. Now, when I say it was really difficult to make this choice – I mean that with the utmost sincerity. I have a hard enough time picking out what I’m going to wear each day much less, choosing an international destination.

Finally we hammered it down – we would start north and move our way down south. First stop: Florence (my choice), second stop: Rome (Sean’s choice) and third stop: The Amalfi Coast (our choice).

I wanted to visit Florence because I am an art nut. Not to mention we both love love love (did I mention love?) food and wine. We decided to throw in Tuscany into the mix as it’s always been on the top of my bucket list.

After several plane rides – we arrived on Wednesday, October 23rd just a few days after our wedding (October 19th – best. day. ever.). We took a bus from the Florence airport to a stop near our hotel. We lugged our suitcases for a few blocks (aye yi yi). But wow…what a culture shock. I could barely focus on walking because all I wanted to do was look around and take in all of the hustle and bustle of the city. So many beautiful people, so much architecture, so many little street cafes, gelaterias, boutiques…you name it. After settling into our hotel, we decided to start exploring immediately.

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{ We went to a little street cafe and shared a bottle of delicious red wine. NOM! }

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{ Happy hubby }

After enjoying some vino and fresh pasta, we called it a night because we were exhausted from traveling (dang time zone change) and had a very busy itinerary the following day. We booked a really incredible day that included a cooking class followed by a wine tasting in Tuscany which entailed getting picked up by a private van from the cooking school and transferred to wine country. I had done a substantial amount of research to find the perfect excursion and had decided on the cooking class/wine tasting combination with an organization called Vanarium. We were able to choose a menu from an assortment that Vanarium provided and decided on the seafood option. 

The following morning we woke up very early to meet our chef at a local market. Her name was Ingrid and she was just the sweetest woman with a wealth of knowledge. Originally from Switzerland, she moved to Italy and met her husband, an Italian man who was actually our wine tour guide. He would be picking us up later that day. Ingrid took us around the local market that was never really visited by tourists as it was off the beaten path. It was such an experience to be immersed in the day-to-day life of a local.

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{ Fresh fruit from the local market. }

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{ Forget grocery stores, fresh vegetables and fruit at the local market is the place to go. }

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{ Our chef, Ingrid, picking out our seafood from the local fish market. }

After we gathered all of our fresh ingredients, Ingrid took us to the local cooking school where we would be preparing our decadent four course meal.

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{ Our menu for the day – mussel balls, a cuttlefish soup, black ink risotto and cuttlefish and a panna cotta with chocolate sauce. }

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{ Prep station and a little table where we dined after we cooked our meal. }

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{ Fresh, traditional, Tuscan bread – it was delicious and crusty but had no salt in it because you salt the olive oil that you dip it in. }

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{ Sean cooking up a storm – Ingrid taught him well. }

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{ Oh ya know, just stirring some risotto! }

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{ Finished product #1 | Mussel Balls }

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{ Finished product #2 | English Pea Soup with Cuttlefish }

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{ Finished product #3 | Black Ink Risotto with Cuttlefish }

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{ Finished product #4 | Panna Cotta with Chocolate Sauce }

What an experience! I truly learned so much from Ingrid and the food was absolutely incredible. Everything was so fresh and tasty. I definitely learned how labor intensive a four course meal was but was excited to find out how easy homemade panna cotta is! I was super intimidated but it turned out remarkably.

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{ Cheers to our first homemade meal as husband + wife. }

After our extremely filling meal, our wine tour guide picked us up in a private van. He told us about a part of Florence that you could look out from a very high point and see the entire city. He asked us if we wanted to check it out before we drove 40 minutes to Tuscany and of course, we were ecstatic and accepted his offer.

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{ NO words. Completely in awe over this view. }

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{ It was even more incredible in person. }

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{ At the lookout point was an exact replica of Michelangelo’s Statue of David – apparently this was where the original was located before being moved to the Accademia Gallery. It was replaced with this one. }

After our pit stop, we drove through beautiful hillsides to get to our final destination. Our first stop was Casaloste in Chianti Classico. We tried several different wines, learned about them and the entire wine making process as well as the vineyard’s history.

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{ This view: ridiculously amazing. }

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{ Tuscany is truly a dream. }

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{ Grapes growing in the vineyard. }

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{ Delicious wine tasting at Casaloste. }

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{ A few of the different wines we tasted. }

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{ Learning about all of the different wines Casaloste cultivates. }

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{ The hubby enjoying some vino with our new Canadian friends we made in the background. }

After Casaloste, our guide drove us to another winery and vineyard called Montagliari.

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{ Outside of Montagliari. )

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{ Beautiful weather, beautiful place. }

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( Sean exploring the winery. }

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{ The beautiful outdoor area where you enjoy the wine + view. }

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{ Newlyweds }

After we left Montagliari, our guide drove us to a little part of town in Tuscany that was truly a hidden gem. It was an area that was transformed into little apartments. It was indescribable and the views were surreal.

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*Le sigh*. What magical places Florence and Tuscany were. The views…magnificent. The people…warm and friendly. The food and wine…rich and delectable. If I could have a second home anywhere, it would be between here and the Amalfi Coast. I could not imagine being anywhere as naturally serene and interesting as this. Perfection. It was a wonderful adventure but it was time for the next leg of our trip: Rome. So for now, arrivederci, Florence and Tuscany! I’ll be writing about our travels to Rome next. Ciao!

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Trending for Spring 2014: Sheer Bliss

Be sure to scroll to the bottom to check out the trend style guide – everything is under $100!

We are now on week four of my favorite Spring 2014 trends. Last week was “In Bloom” which were beautiful, secret garden-esque florals which is a trend that is popping up everywhere. So what else is in store for this wonderful season?

This week, we are going to focus less on colors and prints and more on fabric. We’re talking about “Sheer Bliss”. It’s all over the runways – pretty sheer detailing, sheer panels, sheer articles of clothing paired with fun prints and solid colored fabrics…it truly transforms an outfit by adding soft, translucent and feminine features.

This Spring, whether you choose a sheer blouse, a scuba skirt with sheer detail or a dress with sheer sleeves, you are adding a touch of elegance to your wardrobe. The look I am currently swooning over is a full, midi skirt paired with a soft sheer blouse – very reminiscent of the 1950’s.

Below are some of my favorite looks from the Spring 2014 runway.

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Giambattista Valli RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Oscar de la Renta RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Burberry Prorsum RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Fendi RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

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Narciso Rodriguez RTW Collection Spring 2014 Runway Show – Photo Credit: NYmag.com

What a soft and sweet look one can achieve with just some gauzy fabric. Below is a shopping guide of some lovely sheer and sheer paneled items I found while doing some “virtual window shopping”. Everything is under $100. Enjoy!

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1. Embroidered Top with Kimono Sleeves, $59.90 {from Zara}  2. Common Thread Crochet Skirt, $42.99 {from ShopRuche}  3. ASOS Blouse with Sheer & Solid Panels and Zip Detail, $60.22 {from ASOS}  4. Lace Motorcycle Jacket, $62 {from Spool72}  5. Seaside Chateau Dress, $94.99 {from Modcloth}  6. Dress to the Nines Lace Dress, $48.99 {from ShopRuche)  7. Blush Midi Tulle Skirt, $36 {from TopShop}  8. Sheer Stripe Jumper, $72 {from TopShop}  9. Tella Lace Cropped Tee, $39 {from Urban Outfitters}  10. Mint Skater Dress, $55 {from Dorothy Perkins}