Streets of Soho

One trend I'm definitely on board with is the "teddy" jacket/coat. I love how this style mixes cozy fleece material with a stylish silhouette and design elements. While I love styling this teddy jacket I picked up from Nasty Gal with casual pieces like this basic striped top and sneakers, I think it would look great dressed up with a feminine blouse and booties or pointed toe flats/mules. On another note, how adorable is this pup we ran into while shooting in Soho?! He is a Rottweiler/Lab mix and his owner was kind enough to let us do an quick, impromptu photo session with him.

Jacket: Nasty Gal | Shirt: Banana Republic | Jeans: American Eagle | Shoes: Adidas

Ivy League

For quite some time, I really fell into the trap that is fast fashion. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, fast fashion refers to apparel that is made for a very low cost then sold to consumers for a low cost as well. Companies like Forever 21 and Zara are great examples of fast fashion. Producing clothing for such a low cost leads these companies to skimp on quality of fabric and construction processes. Getting an on-trend top for $20 full price seems amazing in the moment but when the seams start ripping and the buttons fall off after 2-3 wears, is it really worth it? 

Since I'm a college kid on a budget, I obviously haven't been shopping for $300 articles of clothing, but I have been trying to shift towards shopping the sale selection of a higher price point. Yes, it's a lot harder, more time consuming and frustrating to shop the sale section. However, I feel much more satisfied knowing I've purchased a quality piece of clothing for a reasonable price that will last a long time rather than something cheap that will last only a few wears. 

There are many pieces in this outfit post that serve as great examples of quality over quantity! Brooks Brothers recently sent me this gorgeous bouclée jacket from their Red Fleece collection and the craftsmanship and detail are impeccable. I know that the timeless style and the quality of the jacket will make it wearable for years to come. Another example is my turtleneck from Madewell. Paying nearly $50 for a pretty basic turtleneck seems somewhat absurd, but the details in the top add such a unique touch and it's a staple piece that matches an endless amount of outfits! In addition, these Ray-Ban's were about $150, but they were one of the best investments ever. I love investing in pieces, like sunglasses, that are worn on an everyday basis. The cheap ones break and wear out so quickly! As summer approaches, I'm planning on investing in an Illesteva pair.

What are your favorite piece you've invested in? Let me know in the comments! 

Jacket: Brooks Brothers | Top: Madewell (similar) | Skirt: Nasty Gal | Shoes: Forever 21 | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

How To Eat Healthy When You Hate Salad

The biggest pitfall to my diet is the fact that I don't like salads. I've heard that your taste buds change every 7 years, which leads to you developing a more mature pallet. Yet, here I am still waiting for the day that I like the "adult food" that is salad. It's not salad as a whole that's my enemy, it's the LETTUCE. I love most veggies, but hate lettuce – taste and texture. Through trial and error, research and following a lot of food bloggers, I've found tricks to making healthy, non-salad meals that don't require you to be a master chef.

1. Healthy alternatives to your fave foods 

What a time to be alive – innovative people in our society have done a great job of creating genius, healthy alternatives to our fave carb-filled, fatty foods that still taste great. There are also so many natural healthy alternatives that don't require buying special, pre-made products. Here are a few of my fave food alternatives. 

Chickpea pasta - I discovered Banza chickpea pasta from a food blogger I followed and bought a few boxes on Amazon. While it's a bit pricier than normal pasta, it's the best alternative I've ever found (quinoa pasta is not good) and totally worth the money. According to Banza, their pasta has nearly half the carbs that normal pasta has. It also has more protein and fiber! 

Ezekiel bread - Ok, Ezekiel bread is still bread but it's basically the most raw, unprocessed bread you can buy. Key example: it's so natural that you have to freeze it or else it gets moldy in a matter of days. It's definitely not as good as a baguette or ciabatta, but it's definitely better for you. Since it's still bread, I eat it in moderation, but don't feel as guilty afterwards.

Cauliflower pizza crust - I have tested this stuff out and it's GOOD. I buy mine from Trader Joe's (I actually don't know any other place that sells it) and prepare it with Trader Joe's Pizza sauce. If you really want to go crazy with the health, you can top it with vegan mozzarella, but I just top it with normal, shredded mozzarella and roasted onions and mushrooms. The crust is made from corn flower and cauliflower and is gluten free. 

Riced cauliflower - This is probably the healthiest thing on the list. It is literally just cauliflower shredded up in a way that imitates rice. It sounds weird, but when stir-fried with salt, pepper and other seasonings, it's amazing! I typically top with a fried egg. You don't have to make it yourself, you can buy it in the frozen foods section of Trader Joe's and most other grocery stores. Trader Joe's also makes a riced cauliflower stir-fry medley, which is very good. 

Veggie Spirals - Veggie spirals are just vegetables, like zucchini and sweet potatoes, shred up in a way that resembles spaghetti! You can make them yourself with a vegetable spiral (you can buy them on Amazon) or buy them pre-made at the grocery store (I typically see this brand in the produce section). They taste great when sautéed with pesto sauce and there are tons of recipes online on how to prepare them. 

Vegan Cream Sauce - I became obsessed with this homemade sauce recipe when I discovered it through one of my fave healthy food blogs, Kale Me, Maybe. It's really simple to make and consists of completely pure and natural ingredients: coconut cream, cashews, garlic, etc. (link to recipe here). If you want to find even more healthy alternatives, I HIGHLY recommend checking out her blog, she's genius.

2. Healthy Pancakes

I make these by blending oats/granola, eggs and bananas and cooking them on the stove in a pan like normal pancakes! I just guestimate the ingredient amounts but you can google "healthy pancakes" and find hundreds of variations of this recipe. They taste so great and I usually cover them in almond butter with a drizzle of honey. I literally eat these for dinner (yes, dinner because they're so easy to make) at least once a week.

3. Smoothies/Acai Bowls

You probably just think about acai bowls in the context of restaurants but you can also make them at home! Lots of grocery stores carry frozen acai packets that you can bring home and blend in your blender. You can add fresh fruit, granola and different types of seeds (chia, pumpkin, etc) on top. 

4. Grain Bowls

These are really popular at trendy restaurants in NYC! And thankfully, very easy and affordable to make at home. It's basically like having a salad, except the base is quinoa, farro (if you don't know what farro is, click here) or whole grain rice instead of icky lettuce. Great things to put in grain bowls are sliced avocado, sweet potato wedges, grilled chicken, roasted brussel sprouts and sauteed onions and mushrooms. Just google "grain bowl recipes" and you'll find tons of different variations of homemade grain bowl recipes!

I hope you guys found this post helpful! I truly believe enjoying food is one of the best ways to enjoy life, so don't get stuck in a cycle of eating food you hate just because it's "healthy"!

Photo courtesy of: The Toasted Pine Nut

Finally Gingham Weather

Wow – it finally feels like spring in NYC! I'm just crossing my fingers that it doesn't cool off too much again (the weather here is so indecisive in the Spring and Fall). I'm celebrating by whipping out my favorite print for warm weather, gingham! I accompanied this perfect spring print with light wash mom jeans and my favorite blush flats. Do you guys think velvet (a traditional winter-only material) is ok to wear in spring/summer if it's in a pretty, light, blush hue? I've been debating whether or not I can get away with wearing these beauties this summer. Let me know in the comments! 

Top: Velvet Hearts | Jeans: Mott & Bow | Shoes: Sole Society | Earrings: Lisi Lerch | Watch: Daniel Wellington

Prepping For Spring

For one day last week, the weather was actually sunny and (moderately) warm, definitely inspiring this outfit. My top and trench here are somewhat old and pieces I've worn a lot, but thought they made the perfect pair together. They especially did a great job of balancing my more "edgy" (as edgy as it gets for me) distressed jeans with feminine, girly touches. 

Trench Coat: Club Monaco (similar) | Top: Moon River | Jeans: Velvet Hearts | Shoes: Kelsi Dagger