You Deserve a Treat: Easy Frozen Hot Chocolate

Seredipity's Frozen Hot Chocolate

Ever wish for a week to end only for the next one to be just as bad? That has been my past month- or at least it’s felt that way. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m down in the dumps I love to shovel junk food into my mouth as fast as possible. But junk food never was happiness. Chocolate on the other hand, I firmly believe is. Lately my treat of choice has been Serendipity’s Frozen Hot Chocolate.

I love it for so many reasons but mostly because it’s delicious and cool during these months that try their hardest to melt your soul.  And it’s made by the serving so limited indulgence can actually be a reality instead of a broken promise to yourself. Another wonderful thing is you only need a blender, ice, milk, and the mix and at this point, I keep all of those things on hand. This hasn’t changed my life, but it’s helped my day and I thought I’d share it with any of you out there who need a little pick-me-up.

You can pick up a canister at Williams and Sonoma or order it HERE on Amazon.  Hope you’re making it through!

-Katy


Day to Night Summer Outfit

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Popping in during this busy busy week to share a few things on my shopping list that would be perfect for a day at the office or a casual date night. You can leave your accessories at home for a simple and clean look or throw on a statement necklace for a pop of color! The best part about this is that each piece is on sale and that bag is a steal at $32!

Happy hump day!

-Katy


Mid Century Modern Finds from Target

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Every single time I search through Target’s online selection, I’m straight up impressed. I found so many awesome mid century pieces that I thought I’d put together some awesome combinations. Check them them out in greater detail by clicking on the numbers below and don’t forget to use your red card to save 5%! Don’t have one? Don’t worry, click HERE to sign up for their awesome debit card. I love seeing the amount I save on the bottom of each receipt add up throughout the year. My husband on the other hand usually looks in horror as he realizes exactly how much we’ve spent there.

So other Target lovers, what’s your favorite pieces? Weirdly enough, I kinda really want that fox lamp!

If you want to check out more Target mid century finds, check out my other post.


Make a Difference Monday: Keep Your Mondays Meat-less

Meat vs Veggies

 

Meat-less Mondays aren’t a new thing. They’ve been growing in popularity since 2012 and three years later the movement is still going strong. I love this movement for so many reasons, but especially because it normalizes the idea of having a meal not centered around meat. In the past it’s been very un-American to see carrots or beets (or any veggie) taking center stage on your dinner plate, but more and more it’s changing. For about three years my husband and I were vegetarians and going out to eat, inviting friends over for meals, and eating at other people’s homes were often frustrating and sometimes even awkward. Thanks heavens that now it’s pretty widely accepted that having meat-less meals are not only acceptable, they’re healthy.

Save Money

  • The average cost of organic carrots is $2.26 a pound. The average cost of regular beef is $4.10 a pound.

Help the Planet

  • Did you know that for every pound of meat produced in the U.S., it takes 1,850 gallons of water. For a pound of vegetables it’s only 39 gallons. Not an insignificant amount when you think about the drought in California where much of our food in the U.S. is produced.

Help Your Waistline 

  • Limiting your meat intake can help you decrease your chances of cancer. Yes, cancer, the worst “C” word. Even just one additional serving of veggies a day to can also lower your risk of heart disease by 4%.

If you’re nervous about what to cook without throwing chicken into a pan, don’t worry, there are tons of vegetarian options.

Click on the picture or HERE to find awesome French vegetarian recipes. You won’t regret trying even one of these amazing recipes! Want an awesome blog that features a lot of super great veggie recipes? Check out OhSoDelicisioso– they are amazing, especially their vegetarian chili recipe.

Anyone else out there still observe Meat-less Mondays or maybe some of you just avoid meat all together? Any recipes you swear by?

 

 

 

Picture Source, Stats Source

 


10 Unexpected Tips For a Great Paris Trip

Top 10 unexpected Paris tips

Ah, Paris. The “city of light,” the “city of love.” We loved it and for the most part, the city loved us back. But I honestly think it’s because we did tons of research and got a million and one opinions before we left. We didn’t do everything perfectly, but after the trip I realized a few things that made our trip so much more enjoyable and allowed us to bask in the “je ne sais quoi” that Paris is known for. So I’ve made a list of the top 10 things that I think would be the most useful to new travelers.

Paris Park in the Fall

1. Travel in April/May or September

The time of year you go over might be the most important factor separating a good trip from a great one. We went at the end of September and it was wonderful. The lines for almost everything were nonexistent, everything was open (Parisians are famous for shutting up shop for vacation), and it’s easier to dress the part (more on that later). Oh, and did I mention that almost everything is cheaper in the off season? Yeah, it was great. So go right before or right after summer and as you can see from above, it’s still gorgeous weather!

AirBNB Paris Rental

2. Check out AirBNB

This was the view from our balcony. You guys, this saved us so much money and we absolutely loved it. Like saved us thousands kind of money. We used Air BNB for our entire Euro vacation and not only did it save us tons, but we also got to stay in residential areas where other Parisians live and experienced more of what regular Paris is actually like. We went to legit local boulangéries, cafés, markets, etc, and were mere steps away from the Metro because we were able to pick our place based location and not just where hotels have availability. AirBNB made our lives so much easier and while I’d love to say that they were sponsoring this, alas, they’re not. We just loved our experience that much.

Sacre Couer Basilica Paris

3. Make a List

This one seems like a no-brainer but somehow it didn’t even cross my mind until a friend mentioned it a day before we left. I’m so glad we sat down together and planned out the things that we wanted to do. We checked the weather ahead of time to help us decide which days would be museum days and which would be touring days and then filled our day based on the list. We knew that we couldn’t see and do everything in a week so we prioritized and we ended up being able to see and do everything that we really wanted to while keeping a cool Parisian pace.

Paris Fashion for Americans

 

4. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Please don’t be THOSE Americans. I didn’t really understand it until I got there but you have to take your dress up a notch there. People do not wear athletic or lounge wear. If you do, you will look like an annoying American and you will be treated differently. The French take pride in dressing nicely and I have to admit that by the time we left I really appreciated it. So pack some nice footwear, chinos or dark jeans, button downs or dresses and of course, a scarf.

Paris Cuisine via Yelp

 

5. Check out Yelp and Other Review Sites

Chances are you will not be able to perfectly plan every meal and that’s OK because things over there are more go with the flow. While in the midst of your wanderings, you will smell delicious food and want to run into the nearest restaurant thinking that “all French food must be good.” The sad truth is that while much of the food there is good, there are some places that are absolutely disgusting. The only truly awful meal we had in France was when we decided to eat in Montmartre without taking a minute to look it up. Worst. Meal. Ever. Take 5 minutes and use some of that prepaid data to find some of that amazing cuisine they’re known for.

Paris Bridge Tour

 

6. Take an Afternoon Boat Tour

Everyone told us to take a boat tour and while we thought that it would be fun, we had no idea how much we’d love it. The boat tours range in price, accommodations, and times but they all depart from the same approximate location on the Seine near the Louvre. We learned about the amazing bridges in Paris, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and about a dozen other really awesome things along the river. It’s also a great way to see a few tourist destinations and further whittle down your “must see” list while you’re there. And quite a few of their their bridges are amazing and gilded. SO freakin’ chic.

Art From Paris

 

7. Buy Art Along the Seine at the End of the Day

We knew we wanted to buy some original art from along the river but we just couldn’t decide what to buy. After casually looking while on our way to various destinations, we decided to check out some booths towards 5pm. We complimented the artists (always smart) and proceeded to try to narrow down our choices to just a few to purchase. After only 5ish minutes, the artist said if we would pick a few he would give them to us for almost half off since he was ready to go home and enjoy some wine. We happily scooped up our favorites, exchanged Euros, and were on our way. We were happy because we came home with some amazing original work and he got to go home. As Michael Scott might say, win-win-win.

Louvre Courtyard

8. Buy Louvre Tickets Before You get There

The Louvre (pronounced “loov”) is a must see for everyone but especially if you like art, architecture, or culture. Since you’re headed to Paris, I’ll assume you like all three. If you do, you’ll want to optimize your time in the humongously, amazingly large museum. The best way to do this is to avoid the ridiculously long line to buy tickets. Go online that morning before you head out and buy your tickets. It’ll save you half an hour (at minimum) and a whole lot of needless waiting.

Eating a Baguette

 

9. Buy a Baguette and Goodies at the Local Boulangerie

Every morning before we got on the metro, we’d head to the corner boulangerie (bakery) and buy a couple of quiches, a baguette and a few éclairs. We’d sit at a park and eat our quiches and éclairs like uncultured Americans (the French don’t do protein for breakfast) and then save our baguette for dinner/snack. This allowed us the ability to enjoy more of their amazing parks and gave me something to nibble on when we didn’t have time to pop into a café. And yes, that is my husband shoving baguette into his mouth.

Eiffel Tower at Night

 

10. Go to the Eiffel Tower in the Day Time and at Night

The Eiffel Tower is is far more magical than either Nate or I could have imagined. It’s right along the Seine in a beautiful park. During the day, the park filled with people laughing, singing and enjoying picnics. At night the tower lights up and even twinkles at certain times. Both times were magical and were highlights of our trip. Sing along with the accordion player when he plays “La Vie en Rose” every twenty minutes and soak in the ultimate Paris experience.

So after completing this I’ve realized that these aren’t completely unexpected ideas but maybe just unconventional advice. What are your favorite travel tips?

Don’t have time for Paris this year or just want to reminisce? Check out some of my favorite books on the City of Love(they’re waaay cheaper online than in Paris).

If you’re looking for more travel tips, check out my post on Costa Rica! Have a fun weekend!

 

 


A Southern Opinion on ‘Go Set a Watchman’ (No Spoilers)

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Guys, I wasn’t sure that I was going to read this book and then I ended up finishing it in one night. I’m sure most of you already know that I love Harper Lee, her book To Kill a Mockingbirdand most things Southern but after hearing somewhat negative reviews on the book I wasn’t sure if I could let my view of Harper Lee’s near-sainthood be tainted. And Atticus Finch. Oh, Atticus. How I envisioned you (looking like Gregory Peck, of course) standing for all truth and righteousness despite the cost. Maybe even in spite of the cost. And knowing that he would be racist in this book made it hard to pick up.

But I did read it and even liked it. Is it as good as To Kill a Mockingbird? Nowhere close, in my opinion. But is it worth reading? Absolutely. First, despite it’s unedited state, Harper Lee is a woman who can tell a story. She gets a little long-winded sometimes in this book, but it usually adds depth to the story and she ends up rerouting us to her point eventually. Second, and probably most importantly, this book gives you a look into the complexity of the South, her history and why her future will be painful. I love the South and I’m dyed in the wool of Dixie (or should I say dyed in the cotton) but explaining why I love this conflicted place is only slightly harder than trying to explain why she is the way she is. This book ambitiously takes on that task and humanizes the people living there while doing it.

Go Set a Watchman is as relevant today as it was when it was written. I know that it’s a strong statement, but with all of the recent racial turmoil we’ve had, it’s fitting that this was published now. Harper Lee swore up and down she’d never publish again and many are still questioning “why now?” I can’t speak for Ms. Lee but I’d like to hope that she saw what was going on around her and decided we needed it. And we do. We need to understand the past so we can more clearly see the present and better shape the future. Ms. Lee was our watchman in 1964 and her voice still clearly rings out to us today.

If you want to read more about the controversy surrounding the publication, check it out HERE.


Help me out: Picking Out a New Kate Spade

My Broken Kate Spade Bag

UPDATE: After seeing all of the options in person, I settled on #1! It ended up being the perfect size, and had the prettiest leather! Thanks for all of your input! 🙂

Let’s start this post with a funny story. Picture me in a small art gallery, looking at beautiful oil paintings and talking to the artist. Then picture my purse strap breaking and the strap hitting me in the mouth and my purse falling to the floor. It was awesome. And by awesome, I mean totally embarrassing. The sweet artist made sure I was OK and then asked what type of bag would break like that? Sadly, it was my beloved Kate Spade.

Fortunately, my bag has a handle and I carried it out in a somewhat dignified fashion. Unfortunately, when I contacted their customer service, they let me know they no longer carried that bag but that I’d receive a full credit of the original purchase to pick out another one. I’m pretty much a one purse gal, so I’m really glad that they were so fast to offer the replacement credit as shoulder straps are far more convenient for day to day life.

So here’s where all of you come in. I’ve checked out the site and I’ve come up with several potential options. I’d love to hear your opinion on which one you’d choose.

Kate Spade Bag Options

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Don’t you just love the flamingo? I really like it but I’m not sure I could continue to use it every day so I think I’m leaning towards something a bit more practical. Leave a comment with the number of the one you think is the most fabulous. Thanks in advance 🙂


Talk About It Tuesday: Netflix or Hulu Plus?

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So today I thought I’d bring up a huge current controversy: Hulu or Netflix? Everyone has an opinion on this, except probably if you’re my sweet granny. She doesn’t have internet. But for the 98% of us who subscribe to streaming content (cable is so 1980’s), there is a real divide. So I thought I’d highlight five main areas that they compete to decide the winner.

Content

  • Netflix: Over 100,000 movies and TV shows -WINNER
  • Hulu: Around 5,000 with access to Showtime for additional $7.99

Availability

  • Netflix: 41 Countries- WINNER
  • Hulu: US and Japan

Subscribers

  • Netflix: 62 Million (as of 4/15)- WINNER
  • Hulu: 6 Million (as of 2014)

Cost

  • Netflix: $8 a month for basic streaming- TIED
  • Hulu: $7.99 a month for basic streaming- TIED

Commercials 

  • Netflix: Nada- WINNER
  • Hulu: Over 10 commercials within a 30 minute show

Content Availability

  • Netflix: TV shows available after season is finished
  • Hulu:  TV shows available almost immediately after airing- WINNER

So the score reads 5-2 in favor of Netflix which is not surprising. Netflix has a full decade on Hulu and will always win in my book because of the lack of commercials. Even still, I have both because Brooklyn 99 is the funniest show on TV and worth the extra $8 and commercial breaks. Do you have one or the other or even both? Which one do you think is better?


A Peek at My Dining Room

Peony Dining Room

Lately I’ve been really frustrated about the paint color on my walls. Like really frustrated. Why are they still painting walls beige??  But the other day, I was walking out the door and caught a glimpse of my dining room and thought “this room is still beautiful.” Even when conditions are less than perfect,which is real life (especially for renters), you can still create a gorgeous space that reflects your style. Here’s a break down of some of my favorite pieces in my dining room:

 

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So what do you love or hate about my dining room decor? Anyone else living with beige? If so, how are you dealing with it? Are you embracing the earth tones or decorating around it like me?