All Posts Tagged ‘Quick Tip


eight quick things.

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Hey there kiddies, I hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Easter was pretty low key over here in my corner of Brooklyn, but it was nice to take some time for reflection and to enjoy the burgeoning, almost, pretty close to, just about Spring weather. Hey, if I don’t have to suit up in my head to toe Winter garb, it’s a win.

I’m headed all the way over to Idaho to see the parents this weekend, so there’ll be lots of cooking and recipes and pretty pictures of good food in the near future, but in the mean time, I thought I’d share a few things that are keeping me entertained these days. Some food-related, some not, but all good things that I want to share with all of you good people. Enjoy and feel free to add to the list!


1. This food delivery service: yes, this is overly specific to my life of (sometimes) excess in a major metropolitan area, but I. LOVE. MUNCHERY. At it’s core, it’s basically a fancy on-demand food delivery service, but it’s also a great way to try new dishes that you may not want to cook yourself. Everything I’ve ordered has been fantastic, and I dig the business model (and their snazzy packaging). If you live in New York or San Francisco and want to give ‘em a try, use this referral code and both of us will get $20 off!

2. This revolutionary change to grocery shopping: INSTACART! Where have you been all my life. I choose my store (from the likes of Whole Foods, Fairway, and my local favorite, The Green Grape), enter in my list, and someone goes and does the shopping for me, then delivers it to my door at the time of my choosing. Excessive? Most likely. But you talk to me after you’ve lugged too many bags of groceries up and down the stairs of the L train and then tell me if it’s excessive. I’d rather use the term ‘exceedingly convenient’ or perhaps, ‘one of life’s core necessities’.

3. This English Muffin recipe: when my coworker told me about Model Bakery English Muffins, I was a little skeptical. English muffins are already great, how much better could these be? And then I found the recipe online and I thought, why not? Let’s see what’s what. And HOOOOO BOY, are they good. Yes it takes two days to make them, but they are bonkers good and totally worth the elbow grease. They’re also huge. English muffins on really delicious steroids.

4. This cooking vacation in the Loire Valley in France: currently sitting in the #1 position on my bucket list. It sounds simply magical and I will make this happen soon (fingers crossed).


5. This Instagram account: Commander Scott Kelly is spending a year living on the International Space Station and documenting his time there via his very entertaining Instagram account. I mean, who doesn’t want to see what Australia looks like from space?!

6. This story about a guy, his stolen cell phone, and how he became a minor celebrity in China. Nuff said.

7. This app: Duolingo is SO much fun! Whether you’re a casual language learner or looking to seriously up your game, this is a great way to learn. And it’s free! I’m currently using it to brush up my French for an upcoming business trip to Paris. ‘Il n’y a rien dans ce sac,’ I say (that means ‘there’s nothing in this bag’ and I find it hilarious that, a) I know how to say this very random thing, and b) it’s the thing I remember most clearly so far).

8. This documentary: if you’re even remotely curious about religion (whether you choose to adopt a belief system or not), HBO’s documentary ‘Going Clear’ is a fascinating and unsettling picture of modern Scientology. Like a ‘jaw on the floor, can this actually be real’ picture. Well worth the cost of an HBO subscription. Well worth it (especially with today’s release of HBO Now).


quick tip: exfoliate your lips with two simple ingredients.

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Y’all know I love lipstick. Like LOVE love it. If I had the space and the disposable income, I’d have an entire closet just dedicated to lipstick that contained every shade ever and a lipstick tracking system that paired the perfect shade with my outfit, Cher Horowitz-style. Sigh. A girl can dream.

But. If there’s one thing that kills a great lippy look, it’s lips that are…unkempt, shall we say. Dryness and flakiness are things that can happen to any lady about town and they can be brought on by a variety of things — the seasons changing or your bodily chemistry or by lipstick itself. And while I love the lip scrubs on the market that are meant to rid you of these woes, like this one or this one, I have a really hard time paying $20 for something that is essentially sugar in a jar.

As it turns out, you don’t need any of those fancy, highfalutin products — you just need two things you probably already have around the house — cane sugar and coconut oil. Mix the two using a 1:1 ratio and you have all you need to scrub away any unsightly flakies. You can make it in small batches to use in the moment, or make a larger batch and store in an airtight container for later use. Heck, make a bunch of it, make it cute, add a ribbon and gift it to all your friends. You do you, girlfriend.

And using it is just as easy peasy as making it. Apply a small amount to your lips, scrub in a circular motion with your finger until appropriately exfoliated, and remove with a damp washcloth. Moisturize your lips after exfoliating, either with your favorite lip balm or a touch of coconut oil. Let your lips absorb the balm or oil, and after just a few minutes, you’ll be all set with the perfect foundation for any lip look you choose. I try to exfoliate approximately once a week, but you can really use this whenever or how often you need it.

So go out there and conquer the world with your perfect pink (or red or orange or coral or crimson or plum or whatever color you love) pout, assured that your kisser is also flake-free. Enjoy!


quick tip: the importance of the reset button.

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I had the best of intentions yesterday. Woke before my alarm went off, was having an unusually great hair day, trains were running on time, the weather was perfect. I was checking all the boxes and I knew it. It was going to be a good day. I arrived at my office, breezed through the doors with a self-assured smile…and was promptly clocked straight in the face (in the metaphorical sense, of course). My ‘perfect’ day, the one I was supposed to conquer with my great hair and my on-time train, was reduced to a series of meetings and conversations and emails, all seemingly asking, and in some cases, demanding, answers that I didn’t have. I couldn’t please or satisfy even one person. For 10 straight hours, I was off my game and it stung. By the time 7pm rolled around, I was a tired, cranky mess; trudging around the office with a scowl (I have never had a good poker face), just trying to get shit done and get home.

It was as I was shutting my computer down for the night that I realized I needed to do something to rectify this day. Illegitimus non carborundum, my father always tells me. Don’t let the bastards get you down. I needed a reset button. Something to ensure that I would leave the crap weighing me down behind, that I wouldn’t carry it with me into the next day. So, in a moment of spontaneity, I decided to go to a movie. A quick goodbye to my coworkers and I was off to the theater around the corner.

It turns out that was the best decision I made all day. I got to escape my life for two hours, to forget about the proverbial ‘FAIL’ I had stamped on my forehead, to put into perspective that one bad day is just that. It’s one bad day. You’re going to be fine, Tina, stop being such a drama queen. I left the movie theater (after a good Disney-movie induced ugly cry) feeling lighter. I took the long way to the subway, enjoying the cool night air and the buzz of the city. My train home was perfectly on time. I felt like myself again.

On days like these, everyone needs a reset button (as Liz Lemon says, ‘Don’t go to sleep with a frown in your pocket.’). It’s one of my big adult lessons that I carry with me and share as often as I can with others. You have to find what works for you — whether it be running it out on the treadmill or grabbing dinner with friends or watching a silly YouTube video or carving out fifteen minutes of your day to read a great article (like this, this, this or this). Whatever works for you, whatever snaps you out of your funk and gives you the energy you need to press on, cherish that. Nurture it. And make time for it. Sometimes it’s the only thing that saves you. It’s the thing that picks you back up, dusts you off, and with a swift kick in the ass, sends you back out into the world to conquer tomorrow (which surely will be another great hair day).


quick tip: my new favorite things.

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My brain is all over the place this week and all of a sudden it’s Wednesday. Seriously, what is going on? Maybe I’m excited that it’s finally starting to feel like Spring, maybe I’m overloading my brain with too many to-dos, maybe I’m just a crazy person. Whatever it is, in the spirit of scattered thoughts, now seems like the perfect time to do a bit of a round up of my favorite things of late. Ranging from food to beauty to tech, these are the products/services/activities that I’m excited to talk about with others.

Primp: Dior Nail Glow

dior nail glowAs much as I would love to have a live-in manicurist who tended to my every cuticle need, I am a normal human being who has neither the space nor the bankroll to have a ‘staff’ (yet, people, YET). I do my best to squeeze in bi-weekly manicures, but when my schedule is a-hoppin’ and I’m in a bind, I head straight for my Dior Nail Glow. This was a recommendation from a friend at work (thanks Amy!) and I was in love with it from the very first coat. It gives your nails this gorgeous natural sheen and is somehow totally better than plain ol’ top coat. The shine also lasts a good amount of time, so I don’t feel the need to reapply. A great bridge product between manis or if you’re looking for a slightly enhanced natural nail.

Cook: Plated

platedGrocery shopping in New York City can be, shall we say, a challenging activity. It’s not like I can fire up my station wagon and head to the supermarket down the way. Everything has to fit in one bag that I can carry over my shoulder on a packed subway car. Preferably, it also doesn’t weigh 97 pounds (#citylifeproblems). This is where Plated (or its business model cousin, Blue Apron) comes in handy. You log in to their site, choose the menu options you’d like to eat, and everything is delivered to you in the exact portions you need it — they even throw in a step by step recipe card to help you pull it all together. They offer a wide variety of dishes that change regularly and have a good balance of meat/fish/vegetarian cuisine. Everything that I’ve cooked so far has been fresh and delicious and it’s been a really fun way to try new recipes without having to buy a ton of new ingredients.

Play: Classpass

classpassI don’t know about you, but sometimes my workout routine gets to be so boring. This is a major problem motivation-wise because then all of a sudden a House of Cards marathon on my couch with my best friend ice cream sounds real nice. This is why Classpass (a recommendation from my very talented friend, Jaime, over at The Prepary) is genius. For $99 per month, I can take up to 10 classes at gyms and studios across the city. If I feel like yoga one day and spin the next, I can do that. And I can also do weight training and pilates and pure barre…they have it all. I also love the flexibility of being able to take a class near my office in the city during the week but sticking to Brooklyn locations on the weekend. So far so good, and it keeps me excited about my workout, which in turn keeps me away from the ice cream (most of the time).

Create: VSCO Cam

vscoIf you like creating pretty pictures as much as I do, VSCO Cam is your jam. This isn’t really ‘new’ to me, as I’ve been using this very slick app for about a year now, but I find myself relying on it more and more as I develop my photography skills for the blog. This app makes it so easy to turn out really beautiful, high quality pictures and enables you to get as obsessive, or not, about your edits. You can either choose from their pre-designed filters or you can edit and tweak using their standard tools…or both. The app itself is well-designed (I like my apps pretty, what can I say?) and it has easy integration with all of the relevant social platforms.

What are your favorite new things of late? Do you have a product or service that you’re excited about? Share in the comments below. 


quick tip: weeknight pasta.

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Since I didn’t do a Sunday Dinner post this week, I thought I could smoosh a food-related post into a quick tip and no one would notice (or you would and you’d be like, whatever, she’s cooky, and you’d move on with your life). The truth is, however, this really is one of the fastest meals you can pull together and it’s deeeee-licious. It’s also great for a weeknight because you probably have a lot of these ingredients in your pantry already so it requires minimal shopping, and you can tailor it to what you like (or what you have on hand) quite easily. I’ve been cooking this since I was in college, so even those of you with minimal cooking ability can pull this off with aplomb.

Here we go.

Weeknight Mediterranean Pasta

You will need:

pasta (I used pappardelle because it’s what I had, but you could use practically any kind of pasta)
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
red chili flakes

Plus any combination of the below ingredients:

artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
tomatoes, chopped
black, green or kalamata olives, sliced
sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
fresh arugula or spinach

Top with one of the following:

goat cheese

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water per the package directions, strain and set aside. While the pasta is cooking, sauté the garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes (you want it to soften slightly but not brown). Add the rest of the ingredients you’re using to the pan (except the arugula, spinach, and/or basil) and sauté until warmed through, stirring often. Add one swirl of the balsamic vinegar around the pan and sprinkle in the red chili flakes to your taste.

When the ‘sauce’ is warmed through, add the pasta to the pan and stir to coat. Just before you’re ready to serve, add the arugula, spinach and/or basil so it just has time to wilt.

Dish into bowls, top with the cheese of your choice and voilà! A delectable Mediterranean pasta in under ten minutes. Enjoy!

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quick tip: what to wear when you travel.

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Vacation! Huzzah. It’s about gosh darn time. I’m heading out to see the parents (affectionately referred to as Barb and HTRP — Hal the Retired Plumber) in North Idaho for a full week of relaxation in the wilderness. Idaho is the anti-Manhattan in the best possible way. The air is clear and there are no taxis honking wildly and a ‘traffic jam’ is only ever like five cars slowing down because there’s a moose in the road. It’s a glorious adventure in great sleep and days spent in the kitchen and dinners at the picnic table in the back yard. I. Can’t. Wait. I love me some city but I’m a country girl at my core.

Getting from New York to Idaho, as you can imagine, is a bit of a trek. Multiple flights and a significant drive are par for the course, which is why when it comes to my travel wardrobe; comfort, longevity and multi-purpose use are at the top of my list. No one needs to look like a total schlub when they’re traveling (don’t even get me started with the people who wear their pajamas to the airport), but your wardrobe should be thoughtfully selected — this isn’t the time for a ball gown either. You can meet the needs of your travels and do it stylishly with a few simple tips.

A few things to consider:

Planes and airports are dirty places. Like really dirty. Choose an outfit that can handle that. Stick to dark colors and durable fabrics in case your seat mate decides that some of their red wine would look really great on your jeans. Leave your whites and pastels at home.

Temperatures tend to fluctuate greatly during travel. Who hasn’t been on a flight that was stifling one minute and freezing the next? Come prepared with layers to ensure you’re equipped for whatever temps come your way. Stick to natural fabrics that are breathable and are less prone to wrinkles. And factor in the weather at your destination — do you need to bring a jacket? Does your outfit translate easily to different climates? Don’t forget your sunglasses!

You carry a bunch of shit with you when you travel. You know you do, so invest in a stylish yet durable travel tote. Don’t bring your entire apartment with you, but have a bag big enough that it can easily carry your wallet, a bag of travel-sized toiletries, your laptop/tablet, a snack for the plane, and anything you’re taking to entertain yourself during your flight or layover.

You’re basically going to get naked going through security. With security protocol the way it is these days, keeping it simple is key. I’m loving the gladiator sandal trend for spring, but if I can’t slip my shoes on and off with ease, they’re not my day-of travel choice. This applies to clothing as well — choose pieces that are easy to take on and off and limit the amount of accessories you wear. This will save you time getting through security and will limit the serious side eye you’ll get from other travelers when it takes you 20 minutes just to disrobe.

Below are a few favorites from my travel wardrobe (incidentally also what I’m wearing today, minus the Givenchy tote — but isn’t she pretty?). These get me from Point A to Point B with ease, and I look good doing it. Onward to Idaho!

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quick tip: how to find what you need wherever you are.

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Having lived in my current neighborhood for several years now, I’ve got a pretty good handle on my local resources. I have my grocery store, I have my nail salon, I have my Duane Reade. However, given that I don’t confine my life to the six-block radius surrounding my apartment (oh, if wishing made it so), I sometimes find myself in neighborhoods and/or cities where I’m not as hip to what local resources are available and how to find them.

photo 1Enter the Around Me app.

I discovered this app quite awhile ago when I had first moved to California, and it was an absolutely invaluable resource for orienting me to my new San Francisco neighborhood. Using your current location, it shows you resources that are located close to you in list, map, or visual form (similar to Yelp’s Monocle feature) — anything from ATMs to restaurants to hospitals. The app is organized into categories so you can narrow your search focus, or you can use the search function if you have a specific location in mind. Google Maps and Foursquare are also integrated into the app, so once you find the place you’re looking for, you can quickly access directions to get from here to there and see any Foursquare tips related to that location.

Pretty neat, huh? It’s definitely helped me several times (mostly when I’m in dire need of either cash or coffee), and it’s a great tool to use when traveling to a new city.

Around Me is available for iPhone for free in the App Store; an ad-free premium version is available for $2.99.


quick tip: find the best seat on the plane.

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OK, let’s rank the things I care about deeply based on how much I talk about them with my friends:

1. Beauty products and how to get the most out of them (this one’s just obvious, isn’t it?)
2. Simple and delicious food (here, there and everywhere)
3. Comfortable and efficient travel (oh Lordy, do I have a novel’s worth of commentary on this one)

That third one is a subject I have yet to tackle here on the blog, so let’s get into it, shall we? I’ve been fortunate enough to see quite a bit of the world in my 33 short years (being the daughter of a plumber who also happened to have his pilot’s license), and over time I have curated quite a list of particulars when it comes to how I like to travel. I am a loyalty program enthusiast mostly so I don’t have to wait in long lines. I have a very specific and limited ‘day of flight wardrobe’. I don’t check a bag, ever.

And very high up on that list? I am (SUPER) picky about my seat on the plane. I like a window seat. I like sitting in the front of the plane. I like as much leg room as possible even though I’m only 5’4″. And since I don’t have endless disposable income that would allow me to sit in First Class for every flight, I rely on one simple thing to ensure I choose the cream of the airline seat crop — SeatGuru.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 11.08.37 PMI don’t even remember how I discovered SeatGuru, but it has changed the way I travel. It’s so simple: you enter your flight information into their system, and it returns with a map of the plane, a list of in-flight amenities (wifi, entertainment systems, meals, and the like), and best of all — it shows you which seats are the best seats on the plane (and which are the worst). You can follow the easy red/yellow/green color coding system for a quick view or you can mouse over the seats for more details. Pull this up as you’re booking your ticket and selecting your seats, and even if the best seats on the plane are taken, it will at least help you avoid the dreaded ‘red seats’ (usually seats with no window, no ability to recline, or those with close proximity to the bathroom). You will know what it feels like to be an informed traveler and your flying experience will be better for it.

So check out SeatGuru the next time you’re booking a flight. It won’t save you from the overly chatty seat mate who isn’t picking up on any of your ‘I just want to read my book in peace’ signals, but is there any way to avoid that when traveling? (Seriously, is there? Because I seem to be a magnet for over-sharers. Build me a website to deal with that.)


quick tip: poncho personalized weather forecast.

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Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 9.28.46 PMAsk me what my new favorite thing is lately and I’ll tell you it’s Poncho. Poncho is a new service available for residents of NYC (with ambition to expand to other cities) that provides personalized weather information to you at different times throughout the day. Through a series of simple questions like what time you wake up, how you commute to work, do you have pets, etc., it creates a weather forecast that is either texted or emailed to you at times you specify. The interface is slick and pretty, and it never feels bothersome or intrusive since it only notifies you when you want it to about the things you want to know about.

Right now, I have Poncho set to text me when I wake up in the morning and just before I leave work at night. It’s simple, it’s witty, and it’s saved me several times when I was about to not be prepared for what’s happening out of doors. It’s like having a really thoughtful friend who knows your schedule and is obsessed with the weather and just wants to make sure you wear your warmer coat because it feels like 10 degrees outside.

I’m a big fan of supporting start ups that exist to make life easier, so check ’em out over at With the type of winter we’re experiencing in the Northeast (dear God, when is Spring coming), it never hurts to be prepared!