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Tuesday, September 29, 2020

jessie james decker’s skinny margs

I am one of those crazy, all your friends ask you why, tequila loving gals. If I’m not drinking wine, I’m drinking tequila. Tequila, club, with a lime is my usual go-to. But I love it neat, on the rocks, in a margarita…you name it, I’ll drink it. Tequila is my jam. 

Jessie James Decker has been an idol to my sister and I for years. Not only is she absolutely stunning, but she’s a country singer and clothing boutique owner (Kittenish). She is also a former reality tv star, married to one of the hottest retired NFL players in the game (Eric Decker), and a mother of 3. She is a chocolate chip cookie loving, down-to-earth, “I am who I am” kind of woman—someone worth looking up to. 


She recently released her first cookbook, “Just Feed Me,” filled with simple, delicious recipes that she makes at home with her family. I believe the book is now an Amazon #1 bestseller. Pretty cool.


Anyway, let’s get to her skinny margs— SO good and SO up my alley! In her book, she said these were inspired by a trip to Cabo with her hub. The recipe is simple, made with no bullsh*t ingredients, and just really good. 


The recipe says it makes 4 drinks, but if you’re anything like me, this would be enough for 2 (wink). 



Jessie James Decker’s Skinny Margs 

(from her book Just Feed Me) 


Coarse Salt, for the rims (optional) 

Ice

1/2 cup tequila 

Juice of 2 limes 

1 to 2 teaspoons agave 


Per her book, 


If desired, rim 4 pretty glasses with salt. In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine the tequila, lime juice, and agave and shake it up. Fill the glasses with ice and strain the margaritas into them. Add the squeezed lime to the glass for presentation and that extra “twist.” 



It’s never a bad day when you’re making margaritas to taste test and post on the blog. Will definitely be making and enjoying this simple recipe for my friends and family. 


You can find Jessie’s book on Amazon here.


Cheers, friends! 


Keep on keepin’ on—

XX, Laura

Thursday, September 10, 2020

tomato and burrata salad



It took me 26 years to finally try burrata—and oh my gosh, wow! For those of you who don’t know what burrata is, it’s a soft cow’s milk cheese that’s almost identical to mozzarella. It looks like a ball of mozzarella from the outside, but it’s more delicate and squishy with soft cheese and cream on the inside. It’s mouthwatering and just amazing! 

This dish is so easy to throw together and will really wow guests (or maybe just yourself). 

I started with a bed of arugula and layered tomatoes on top (threw in some cherry tomatoes for aesthetics). Then added the burrata, drizzled with truffle oil (because I was feeling fancy af), balsamic reduction, and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper. Lastly, threw on some fresh basil. 


This was SO good, SO fresh tasting, and SO satisfying. A must try. 



What you’ll need:
  • Arugula
  • Fresh burrata cheese 
  • Heirloom tomatoes 
  • Good quality EVOO (or truffle oil if you’re feeling fancy like me)
  • Balsamic glaze aka balsamic reduction 
  • Fresh basil leaves (a good handful or two)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper

This pairs nicely with:
  • a crisp, dry rosé (rosé)
  • sauvignon blanc (white) 
  • pinot gris (white)
  • pinot grigio (white)
  • pinot noir (red)
  • lighter styled sparking wine or champagne 

Enjoy & Cheers!! XX, Laura 

Friday, September 4, 2020

leaving 26 in the dust

My birthday was about a month ago now on August 7th. I have always loved my birthday, looked forward to it all year long, and have always celebrated the day in larger than life style… and this year, I couldn’t wait for the day to be over. It was just one of those years. 

I’ve written a post about what I’ve learned from each birthday for a few years now. And to be honest, I contemplated skipping this year because it was a less than ideal year for me. However, to not be honest, to not share what I learned...would to not be myself. 

So, here it goes:


1. Storms will come, but it never rains forever

Lord have mercy. You name the “weather,” it came my way full force this year. I had more change in my life in these past 12+ months than I’ve had in my lifetime. Everything I knew to be true, real and “safe,” was pulled from beneath me…and rather quickly. Sometimes the things that you think will never happen to you, happen to you. So what do you do when you’re caught in the middle of a never ending storm? You learn how to survive. That’s the best way I could describe this past year for me.


2. Tough times never last, tough people d

My family was the subject of some half-assed, one-sided, political-biased, uninformed news this past year. Headlined on the web, local news stations, local newspapers, and social media. Not once, not twice, but three times. The rest of my family isn’t big on social media, but I’m on and off it more than them. I did what everyone tells you not to do—I read through every comment, I looked through all the “likes,” and I looked at every profile that shared the articles (all over a 7 month span while this went on). To see people you know, people you exchange Christmas cards with, the moms of friends I went to high school with, men my brother-in-law play golf with, people in my hometown…commenting some not so nice things was disheartening to say the least. Not to mention, people talking about my parents' marriage, posting our home address, things people “think” they know about your life (which ironically, had absolutely nothing to do with the news). 


To be honest, it was a bit traumatizing. 


When the news had blown over and all was said and done…I was struggling. Imagine the feeling of questioning everyone and everything in your life. Who’s really got my back? Who really knows me? Who is actually for me? Who’s not secretly talking shit behind my back? I ended up having a conversation with my dad last fall that I’ll never forget. I called him absolutely bawling—asking him what’s the point of being a nice person if people are still going to be so mean. After a long phone call, he ended with (for lack of better words), “You have two choices, Laura—you can toughen up or you can pack your bags and move.” 


That was all I needed to hear. I’m not a weak person. I never back down to anything that I strongly believe in, and I certainly wasn’t going to let some low-life, nothing better to do, losers on the internet change that about me. 


The happy ending? I got through it and I am a better person for it.


3. Keep your circle small 

Living through what I’ve lived through, and knowing what I know now, the security and value that comes with keeping a small circle is everything. I can count on one hand the amount of people I consider real, true, trust with my life, tell-anything-to friends. Thankfully, I also have a lot of really wonderful acquaintances, which are great too. But I learned the hard way, there’s a difference, not everyone is your friend. Keep your circle right and tight. It’s been one of the most invaluable lessons of my life. 


4. Integrity is everything 

What does it mean to have integrity? According to The Random House Dictionary, “Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. The state of being whole, entire or undiminished. A sound, unimpaired or perfect condition.” With all the social issues going on in the world, this was the first time in my life that I learned I was a person of integrity. My beliefs, my values, my morals were very unpopular compared to the masses. I lost a lot of friends and a lot of followers those first few weeks when everything first went on. I was sad about it at first, but I asked myself, would I change what I believed in to be accepted or loved? Would I change my values and morals to fit in with the majority? Would I compromise who I am to keep certain people in my life? The answer was a hard no. That didn’t mean it’d be easy, but it meant that I would be living true to me. Don’t be afraid to stand alone and stand tall, no matter what you believe in. “A man is only as good as his word.” 


5. Never change who you are because of how someone treated you

I think this is pretty self-explanatory, but don’t ever let the actions, behaviors, or words of others change who you are. If you are warm and loving, don’t let the cold and bitterness of others let you lose that warm fire. 99.99% of the time, the actions and words of others have more to do with the other person than you. People who are content and secure don’t want to hurt others, even if they don’t agree with them. Stay true to you.


6. What you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in a while

Whatever you want to do or become in life, what you do everyday far out weighs whatever you do every once in a while. Such a simple concept, but so true. I tend to be really hard on myself, so this is a great reminder. 


7. Take the time to travel 

I know, you hear this all the time…but I cannot reiterate enough how travel has changed my life. Visiting new places and new countries, learning about different ways of life, spending time with people from other countries who don’t speak my language… it completely changed how I view life and the world—everything from how I spend my time, how and what I cook and eat, my conversations, enjoying the simpler things in life—like a good bottle of wine, enjoying a day in the sun, or reading a book. Travel is the best education you will ever get. 


8. The first part to understanding people is understanding that they’re not you 

One of the biggest mistakes we make is assuming that other people think the way we think. They don’t. Understand that and your life will be a lot simpler. 


9. You can’t save him. You won’t change him. 

All you can do is love them—sometimes, from afar. 


10. Choose the right partner 

Perhaps the nerdiest thing about me is that I study psychology, philosophy, the science of attraction and relationships…for fun. I’ll have to write a whole post about this someday, but for the love of God, choose the right partner like your life depends on it. Because it kind of does. Warren Buffet once said, “Who you marry, which is the ultimate partnership, is enormously important in determining the happiness in your life and your success."


11. It’s okay to not be like everyone else

This has been a struggle for me, my whole life. I grew up kind of quickly and experienced a lot at a young age. I also spent a lot of time with adults, even as a child. Not to mention, I’ve always had fun parents, so I spent a lot of time with them growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything in the world, but it certainly hasn’t helped me relate to people my own age. I’ve always kind of been down on myself about this, feeling like I don’t fit in but I’m “suppose” to be with people my own age. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned—who says? Who says I have to surround myself with twenty-somethings, just because I’m a twenty-something. Thankfully, I do have “young” people in my life that I have a great time with, but I do find myself drawn to older people…and men (lol). But I’ve learned that that’s okay. There are no rules. 


12. Learn your love language and attachment style 

This has been soooo tremendously helpful to me. Love languages are ways of expressing and receiving love. There’s a whole book written by Dr. Gary Chapman that explains it in depth, there’s also a test you can take online. Learning your love language and sharing it with the people in your life will make things a whole lot easier. 


Attachment styles are kind of how we react and form relationships in our life. For years, I have had a repeating pattern of abruptly breaking up with guys (like completely out of the blue), and I finally had an “aha” moment like hmmm…maybe this isn’t normal, maybe this is a problem. Learning my attachment style, why I have it, and doing the work to heal it, has been SO beneficial for myself moving forward. 


13. Be timeless, not trendy 

Karl Lagerfeld (who is well known for his work with Chanel), once said, “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” I have always felt that trends are for followers (whoops, sorry if I offended you). Be yourself. Don’t try to be like somebody else. 


14. Pay attention to energy 

The more you pay attention, the more you’ll recognize how others make you feel when you’re in their presence. You’ll know when you’re vibing with someone and when you’re not. You can feel good energy reciprocation and you can also feel when it’s not there. I relate it to the feeling of not liking someone, even though you don’t know why you don’t like them. Or have you ever found yourself saying, “I just didn’t get a good vibe from them.” Yep. Follow that. That doesn’t necessarily make them bad people, but not people God has in mind for you. 


15. Never forget the people who took time to check up on you

This follows up with my #2 above. When you’re going through hard times in your life, you will never (and I mean never) forget those who took the time to check in with you. I always remind myself to be this kind of person as well. Whether it’s a quick text, a phone call, a Facebook or Instagram message…anything helps. When I was dealing with everything going on in my life, the messages from people in my life meant more than they’ll ever know. 


16. Don’t be afraid to say I love you 

Mark Sloan from Grey’s Anatomy (aka ultimate heartthrob) once said, “I want you to promise me something. If you love someone, you tell them. Even if you're scared that it's not the right thing. Even if you're scared that it will cause problems. Even if you're scared it will burn your life to the ground. You say it, and you say it loud. And then you go from there....” 


17. Unfollow anyone on social media that doesn’t make you feel good

And if they’re not nice to you, block them. 


18. Don’t take anything personally 

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: don’t take anything personally. I wish I could say this to some of the people in my own life when I’ve been distant or MIA—it had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with me. If you can look at/understand life that way and know that, what others say and do is because of them, you’ll protect yourself from a whole slew of hurt feelings. 


19. We’re all bad in someone’s story 

I’ll be the first to admit—at times, I’ve broken hearts, I’ve been a bad friend, I’ve been a bad daughter, I’ve been a bad sister. Maybe you flipped someone off in traffic this week, forgot someone’s birthday, or lied to someone you love. There’s no way on heaven’s earth that we could be good 100% of the time. We won’t always please everyone, we won’t always make the best decisions, we’ll probably hurt someone’s feelings…but that’s life. None of us are perfect. All we can do is learn and try to do better next time. 


20. We all need people 

My family has always called me a porcupine (true story). I tend to act really tough on the outside (especially when I’m hurting), but one poke and it’s all over. I melt like ice cream on a hot day. I’m little Miss Independent who can get through her days without needing anyone, but life’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable when you’re able to let people in. What is life without relationships?


21. Your parents are people too 

They’re more than just “mom” and “dad.” They’re more than just your parents. They’ve got feelings, thoughts, and lives to live, just as much as you do. 


22. Sometimes you just have to jump

There’s a lot of things in life you’re not going to ready for—college, jobs, relationships, moving, opportunities, to say what you want to say, to start that business, the list goes on. I know from experience that you can spend years standing on the edge of the diving board, wasting time while the fear continues to build…or, you can just jump. 


23. Most people never tell you how they actually feel 

My dad has always said that alcohol is a “truth serum.” And he’s right. You want to know how someone really feels about you? Go out and get drunk together. Then, you’ll know. Or wait a couple a years and then they’ll have the courage to tell you. 


24. You can never love people as much as you can miss them


25. Always give to the homeless 

I always give to the homeless. I also always talk to them. I always make sure I have money in my wallet just in case I ever come across somebody who’s homeless. I don’t do this to make myself feel better, I don’t do this for bragging rights, I don’t do it for any other reason than I want them to know that someone believes in them. I don’t know what it feels like to be homeless, but I’ve been at rock bottom. I know what it feels like to be depressed, to be hopeless, to feel desperate. People have said to me over the years, “Laura, how do you know they’re not going to use that money to buy drugs or alcohol?” I don’t. I have absolutely no idea. But even if they do, if that’s what gets them through until the next day. Then I’m okay with that. More than anything, people need to know that they’re not worthless…that they matter. That’s why it’s so important to me. 


26. Time passes quicker than you’d like

I had a friend say to me this winter while we were pregaming before going out to the bars, “I wish we could do this forever.” It was a moment for me that was like wow, she’s right. We won’t be doing this forever. Although kind of embarrassing, 26 was the first year that I realized I was getting older (lol). I have fine lines from spending too much time in the sun, most of my friends are settling down, my parents are aging, my sister had a baby and I’m officially an aunt… I mean, I always knew these days would come and I’ve been present watching them unfold, but when you actually take a moment and think, damn, they’re here. Time passes and it passes quickly. Appreciate the moments, the good days, the bad days. Appreciate good people, remember the good times…because that’s all we have. One day you’re turning 21 excited to go out to the bars, the next you’re wondering how the hell you got to 27. Enjoy every moment.


Life’s one heck of a journey, but it’s definitely worth the ride. 

Looking forward to leaving 26 in the dust and propelling into 27. 


Keep on keepin’ on—

XX, Laura

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

plant-based breakfast ideas

Hi, friends! It is crazy to think that the last time I wrote a post was before corona craziness. I was on Long Island with no idea what would transpire only a few weeks later. Now, here we are… months later, with a half-opened country. Crazy times. 


Anyway, happy summer! I don’t know where you live, but where I am in the Northeast we have had the most gorgeous and hot weather. We tend to be prone to quite a bit of rain, but this summer, we have lucked out. We deserve it after being cooped up for months! 


Today I thought I’d share with you some of my easy, go-to, plant-based breakfast meals that I eat in rotation every week. I am a big believer of fruit in the morning so that’s always the focal point of my recipes. 



Banana Blueberry Protein Smoothie 

This is my current favorite at the moment. It is SO good. 


1-2 (depending on the day) *frozen bananas

3/4 cup *frozen blueberries 

1 scoop **Vega Chocolate Plant-based protein powder 

1 handful spinach 

Sprinkle of chia seeds 

Sprinkle of hemp seeds 

Dash of almond milk

Water  


*I prefer using frozen bananas as I think they give the smoothie a great texture, same goes with blueberries 

**You can use whatever protein you like, but Vega is my go-to brand and I think chocolate tastes the best in this smoothie 



Coconut Oatmeal topped with Pineapple 

I am a huge coconut lover. I wouldn’t normally think to put pineapple on oatmeal, but actually got this idea from a hotel I stayed at in Denver, CO a few years ago.

1 pouch of Nature’s Path Qía Superfood Creamy Coconut Instant Oatmeal 

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh pineapple 


Voilà—easy, peasy, done! 


Oatmeal Topped with Berries and Walnuts 

Nothing fancy or complicated about this, just a good ol’ bowl of oatmeal with berries topped with some healthy fat.


1 packet of Glutenfreeda Instant Oatmeal

Mixture of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (or whatever I have on hand)

1-2 tablespoons of chopped walnuts

Lots of cinnamon 



Enjoy!

XX, Laura

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

don’t be so afraid of life that you forget to live

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in The Hamptons/Montauk—
I say both, because where I’m staying is smack dab in the middle. I’ve wanted to come here for as long as I can remember, particularly in the summer, but this week the occasion arose…and here I am. Did I mention I brought my dog?

 So, after five hours in the car, here we are in a cozy Airbnb in The Hamptons. 

As soon as we were all checked in, I poured a glass of wine and off to the ocean we went. I have never been on a beach where there was no other human in sight. I was able to let Peanut off his leash and man did he run wild. He rolled around in the sand like it was snow (that was fun when we got back to the house).

Have you ever had a real pull to be near the ocean? To see it? To hear it? To touch it? That’s kind of what inspired this trip. Many people say the ocean is healing for them and I totally relate to that. Some of the best memories of my life involve the ocean in some capacity or another. 

Someone once quoted, “The person you think of when you stand in front of the ocean. That’s the person you’re in love with.” This morning at 7am, back out on the beach, with no makeup and my natural curly-cue hair…I thought about that, I thought about a few people, and I thought about myself. I am attracted to the raw, real, unfiltered, unguarded, messy versions of other people, but sometimes I have a hard time accepting that about myself. I am a social butterfly, talk-to-anyone, make small talk with a stranger kind of person, but when it comes to letting people truly “in,” I’d rather go swimming with sharks. I tell people just enough, but never too much. An arm’s length away is where I tend to keep people. I am so open to love, yet terrified of it at the same time. Ironically, the very thing that I want most is the very thing that I’m afraid of—to be accepted, to be loved, to be seen.

From experience, I’ve learned that the more people know, the more they can hurt you. And even worse? The possibility that they leave. That’s my biggest fear—getting close to someone and then watching them leave. However, as I get older, I’m realizing that living life with fear is really no life at all. Fear paralyzes you. Fear steals your joy. Fear takes away anything meaningful. Fear takes away possibility. 

As I walked along the beach this morning, I looked at all of the shells that had washed up on shore during low tide. Some big beautiful shells, still in tact. Some with missing pieces. Some scratched and worn looking. Some with other shells and seaweed stuck to them… each shell so uniquely different, each shell beautiful in their own way. However, when I go back this afternoon during high tide, they’ll all be gone. Collected back into the ocean for another go around—a lot like life. 

We are all here on earth, so completely different from one another, thrown into the game of life. Each one of us has a different story, a different “scratch,” all sorts of baggage stuck to us. Just like the ocean, the tides of our life will always rise and fall—we’ll be sucked in, only to wash up on shore once again—but no matter what, the water keeps moving. 

Sometimes I need that reminder—that life keeps moving whether you’re living it or not. 

I am slowly learning how to embrace my fears. It’s certainly not easy, and at times, it can be painful… but nothing is as painful as missing out on the joys of life, simply because you’re afraid. 

Don’t be so afraid of life that you forget to live.
XX, Laura

Friday, February 28, 2020

1 month without social media

This weekend marks 1 whole month without social media (Instagram and Facebook). It’s not the first time I’ve deactivated my accounts, but it’s the first time I’ve ever gone a full 30 days. It feels like just yesterday I decided to take a break. Now, here I am, 4 weeks later. 

I’m not going to lie, the first week was hard. Not hard in the sense like, “OMG I miss social media,” but hard in the sense that I didn’t realize what a habit social media was. Bored—check social media. Wake up in the morning—check social media. Laying in bed at night—check social media. A free minute to spare—check social media. After not having it for 4 weeks, I look back and think holy f, that’s a lot of time spent on social media. 

So what’s been the takeaway from 30 days without social media?

Wasted time 
Damn, I think we’re all guilty of this, but I think we all waste a lot of precious time on social media. I started to think about how much of my everyday life is spent scrolling through these little cyber worlds that, for all intents and purposes, are not real life. When you think about it, are we ever going to look back and think, “Wow, I really enjoyed all those hours I spent on social media.” Of course not! I will admit, social media does have its perks. I’ve actually learned a lot about health and fitness, nutrition, psychology, fashion, business, etc. from some of the accounts I follow… but it still doesn’t substitute for real life. Without social media, I’ve been more apt to pick up a book, get out of the house to do something new, and honestly, I’ve slept more soundly not checking social media right before I go to bed. As much as I hate to admit it, social media is a lot of wasted time. 

Knowing Less
Two couples I know got engaged, someone else announced a pregnancy, and a few others posted wedding pics and baby pics…and I knew nothing, because I saw nothing. I found out by word of mouth (like the old fashioned way) through my sister and friends. Honestly, this was the most refreshing thing about taking a break from social media. Knowing less about everyone else. Sometimes I think about the fact that I’m up to date on peoples’ everyday lives that I have not seen since I graduated high school. Let me say that again, I keep up with people that I have not physically seen in 9 years. 9 friggin’ years!! That sounds crazy, because well, it kind of is (lol)! Knowing less about everyone else has felt freeing. It’s honestly kind of refreshing to see my friends and not know what they’ve been doing (or eating, drinking, etc.) since the last time I saw them. And it’s damn well refreshing not to know what everyone I’m not in contact with (including insta strangers I don’t know personally) are up to. Sometimes, less is best. 

Mystery 
This social media break was inspired by a guy I met this winter out at the bars. Attractive, outgoing, and a bad boy (totally my type). When I went to look him up on social media to see what he was about, he was no where to be found. He has no Facebook. No Instagram. No Snapchat. No social media. No anything. Some might find that weird, but to me, that’s hella attractive. It only made him more interesting and appealing in my eyes. I got to thinking that we as humans, are intrigued by those in which we know nothing about. Anyone and anything we don't know too much about, are always more fascinating. Mystery is sexy.

Dreams
Without social media (aka keeping up with everyone else), I started to think more about me. What do I want? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? Sometimes you can see/think/hear more clearly without the influence of millions of other people. I started making a bucket list based on what I think is cool, based on what’s important to me, based on what I want to look back on and be proud that I did. Some of it may be far fetched, some of it may be nerdy, some of it may be crazy…but you know what, it’s me. It’s what I dream about and that’s what matters.

End of the Comparison Game
We are so overly consumed with the lives, or should I say highlight reels, of everyone else…that we compare our lives, our bodies, our finances, our goals, our families, our whatever…to everyone and everything else that isn’t reality. Taking a break from social media put that in perspective for me. Like most girls my age, I am so hard on myself and my body. Social media creates so many thoughts that would have never been there in the first place—“If I don’t look like an Instagram model, then I must not be attractive,” “If I’m not traveling the world, I’m not living a cool life,” “If I’m not making millions, my job must not matter,” “If I’m not married with 2 kids by now, I’m a loser and a reject.” The list goes on. The more time I’ve spent away from social media, the more content I feel with my life. I’m not comparing my life to others, nor am I putting my life out there to be viewed or judged. It’s been freeing as f*ck. 

No Negativity 
Holy mother of pearl. This was the main reason I decided to take a break from social media, nega-f*cking-tivity. I hate negativity. I hate negative posts. I have negative people. I hate hateful people. I hate fake people. I hate fake news. I’ve learned to unfriend and unfollow the f*ck out of anyone that’s not uplifting. Anything negative, I like to live without. My world is brighter and more positive without it. Just like I like it. The less negativity, the better. Sometimes, the less social media in my life, the happier I am. 

1 month without social media and I can’t say that I’ve really missed it. I’m sure I’ll get it back at one point or antoher— could be next week, a month from now, or maybe never. But what I’ve learned after 30 days (also what I’ve known for a while), I’m an old fashioned gal, who prefers the old fashioned way of life. The simplicity of I'll see you when I see you. 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

whatever you’re holding on to is holding you back

I am in one of those transitional times of my life again where I find myself questioning—am I happy where I’m at? Am I happy where I’m living? Am I inspired? Am I challenged? Am I having fun? Am I who I want to be? Am I doing what I want to be doing? The list goes on… 

I kind of lived in reverse from most people my age. I tried going away to college, wasn’t my thing. I came home, got my 2 year degree at a community college in my hometown. I went to work for our family business. I had my own home at age 22. I partied occasionally, went out every few months (literally once, every few months). Took a few years to soul search and figure out who I was. I spent some time in other states—a westward road trip to Colorado, ski bumming in Utah, beach bumming in Florida. Realized I hated owning a home, eventually sold it. Got my first apartment in a small city. At 26 years old, I started to party every weekend. Meanwhile, most of my friends started to settle down—engagements (if they’re not already married), buying homes, having children (if they don’t already have one or two)—and I could not be happier for them—however, that is sooooo not where I’m at. 

I am in a wild phase of my life. I know it, my parents know it, and I’m pretty sure some of my friends know it. I’ve done things this past year that I’ve never done before—including living like I just don’t give a f. Questionable decisions, questionable moments, questionable people. I threw my cell phone number around like it was a coupon. I stayed out until 3 in the morning more times than I care to admit. I spent too much time in the sun. I drank way too much wine. Threw back a few too many tequila shots. I might have gained a wrinkle or two, lost some sleep, overloaded my liver with alcohol, and spent the most money I’ve ever spent on travel…but I can happily say, I have no regrets. 

My dad taught me a lot growing up, but something that always stuck with me was, “Pay attention.” Those two, simple words, pay attention—and pay attention I did. I am always observing people around me, people I’ve known forever, people I’ve known for 5 minutes, people in the news, acquaintances in my hometown, people I observe from afar. I’ve paid attention to marriages, friendships, people in their careers, level of happiness, etc. I’ve also studied language and body language. I’ve learned a lot by observing—a lot of good, a lot of not so good. I’m never going to judge another’s life (because I haven’t lived it), but I can observe what I see (and take note) and decide that that’s never going to be me. 

I am 26 years old and all I want to do is have the time of my life. 

I am not interested in settling down, getting married (anytime soon at least), having kids, owning a home, and most importantly, I am not interested in letting the fun stop anytime soon. I realize that that's not the norm for most women my age.

So what am I interested in right now? Living my life to the fullest, based on what I want that to be. Living life to the fullest looks different to everybody, but to me…that means going after my dreams, which includes having a successful blog, a lot of traveling (my first love), a lot of good food and wine, trying fun restaurants, exploring new cities, fun parties and events, snorkeling in Fiji (or Bora Bora, the Maldives, the Great Barrier Reef), going back to Monaco to witness the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, going back to Italy to take a cooking class, going back to Greece (and hopefully on my honeymoon someday), visiting Ireland, Scotland, Germany, London (+sooo many other European counties), visiting every state in the US that I possibly can, eventually becoming a philanthropist, being the healthiest version of myself… (my long, long list goes on).

My point is, everyone has a different way of living their life. Society has a way of telling you, “this is what’s important,” but I’m telling you, f*ck society. You have to go with your heart. Go with your gut. What is it that you can’t stop thinking about? What do you want to do with your life? What’s most important? What are you afraid to do? What will make you happiest? Figure it out and find a way.

I had an hour (plus) conversation on the phone with my sister tonight and I told her my thoughts about where I’m at and what I want. She thinks I’m bat shit crazy…and I understand her point of view, but I don’t feel the same way. I never want to look back on my life and think, “I could have tried that,” or “I could have done that.” I joked with her that every crazy idea I’ve ever had, I did. Every place I wanted to move, I did. I am truly a girl with no regrets. Shit, not everything worked out in my favor… but I went for it, I tried. More often than not, I hear people say, “I always wanted to…but I never did.” In my humble, 26 year old, what does she know advice… don’t let that be you. Just f*cking go for it. Go against the odds. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If you can deal with that consequence, then go balls to the wall with your decision. 

I’m going to end this post with a quote from my favorite bartender in Naples, Florida:
 “Whatever you’re holding onto, is holding you back.” 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

a whirlwind trip to washington, d.c.

This past weekend, the opportunity arose to take a last minute (literally down to the last minute) get out of town trip—and I went for it. I packed my bags, boarded my dog, and hit the road for 6.5 hours to head down to Washington, D.C. 

I had been to D.C. once before with my family when my sister and I were little, but I didn't remember too much. I do remember going to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and being in awe! I was at an age when this was the first I had ever learned about The Holocaust. Other than that, I remember we stayed at the iconic InterContinental, The Willard Hotel- located just two blocks from The White House. 

This time around, I stayed at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave. I have had the pleasure of staying in many luxury hotels in my lifetime, but this one quickly became one of my favorites. Not only is it a beautiful hotel, but it was actually the Old Post Office of Washington, D.C. completed in 1899. Everything about the hotel was absolutely stunning, down to every detail—including the crystal chandeliers, beautiful (and heavenly comfortable) beds, marble bathrooms, the top shelf liquor and snacks in the room, and even the room keys (!!). Not to mention, the staff was so friendly (and happy), accommodating, and so appreciative. 


The bar in the lobby was my absolute favorite—and filled with interesting people, which always makes for an interesting night. 

The hotel was in a perfect location in downtown which made for easy exploring. Aside from walking around, on Sunday I opted to do a private guided tour of all the famous monuments and landmarks. It cost me a pretty penny, but was soooooo worth my while. You learn so much more when you’re with someone who knows all the history. We visited many of the main sights: The Capitol, Washington Monument, National Mall, Lincoln Memorial (including the reflecting pool), The White House, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (which was so moving), Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the National Archives Museum to name a few. In my hotel itself was the Old Post Office’s Clock Tower in which you ride up a glass elevator to panoramic views of the city. It was spectacular. I had the best day. The older I get, the more I appreciate history and learning about our ancestors. 

I honestly had the most amazing time in Washington, D.C. My time there flew by so quickly, I hated to leave. Here are a few other takeaways from my weekend away:

From an older French man at the hotel bar, “If you have good weed, you don’t need expensive champagne.” 

—People remember people who are kind to them (you might even get free wine)

—The president needs an invitation to enter The Capitol building (I did not know this) 

—Get out of town, gain perspective 

—Sometimes the best therapy is a long drive and good music

—“Humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will.” 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura