Since U Been Gone

It has been a bit since my last post. They say “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I’ve filled the last few months with plane tickets and passport stamps. I ended 2014 “the year of travel” by spending an incredible 10 days in London, Paris, and Brussels. As soon as 2015 arrived, I headed up to North Carolina to visit family then on to Las Vegas and sunny Los Angeles. Now that my life has settled down a bit before my next big adventure, I thought it would be the perfect time to play catch up.

IMG_7617^^Colorful blooms at the Columbia Road Flower Market in London.

IMG_7074^^Taking a quick snap inside the photobooth at Giada’s new Vegas eatery!

IMG_8736^^Every single building in Paris is so simply beautiful.

IMG_7011^^A carousel constructed entirely of fresh flowers inside the Wynn Vegas.

DSC_4472^^The incredible Jeff Koons exhibit at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset^^A casual baguette lunch across from The Louvre in the Tuileries Garden.

IMG_8168^^It wouldn’t be a trip to Belgium without a Belgian waffle!

IMG_9517^^A collection of the old Vegas neon signs at the Neon Museum boneyard.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset^^A ridiculously good chocolate hazelnut cookie at Sycamore Kitchen in LA.

Paris is Always a Good Idea

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Paris is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever had the chance to visit. The decadent pastries, the charming cafes, the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, the high fashion pieces adorning the windows of the Champs-Élysées…so many of my favorite things in one place. While I was in NYC last month, I stopped by the new Ladurée tea house in Soho modeled after the Paris location. Rose petal tea, French Toast, and macarons while dining under a crystal chandelier is my idea of the perfect breakfast.

Then it was out for a quick stroll around snowy Central Park, Fifth Avenue shopping, and a stop by the always stunning Bergdorf window displays. I suppose NYC is a pretty good substitute for Paris but there sure is nothing like the City of Lights.

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A Day in the Life

1. The bookstore inside Oxford Exchange is so romantic, I could spend all afternoon in there. // 2. I Love the ‘Burg‘s downtown St. Pete ‘Bougie Brunch’ at Everything Dolce. A Sunday full of champagne + cannolis. // 3. Oversized chandeliers at the new Charming Charlie store, my jewelry mecca. // 4. Beautiful makeup courtesy of MAC Cosmetics. Sporting my new favorite lip color Candy Yum Yum. // 5. Champagne in front of the fireplace on the rooftop of The Birchwood. // 6. The most amazing Christmas present I could have ever hoped for- a pink KitchenAid Pro 600 Stand Mixer. A baker’s dream come true! // 7. Tater tots + lemon basil crème fraîche at Anise Global Gastrobar in downtown Tampa. One of the coolest spots I’ve found. // 8. It was a very Kate Spade New Year’s Eve – Pop Fizz Clink! // 9. My LC Lauren Conrad baker’s necklace. I even got a tweet from Lauren Conrad herself after posting this photo!

Fruit Tart

Ever since visiting Paris when I was 18, I have always been fascinated by miniature French pastries. The little fruit tarts always appealed to me the most…something about the dainty fruit underneath the shiny glaze made them almost too pretty to eat. I was hosting my now sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and decided to make this full size Fruit Tart. I mean, what screams “bachelorette” more than this classy dessert? Hah, kidding of course….but it sure went well with our neverending glasses of wine and the girls seemed to gobble it up!

A Day in the Life {Halloween Edition}

1. All of my favorite things about autumn- scarves, lattes, sweaters, and shopping (which I love doing in any season). // 2. The cutest jack-o-lantern cookies. // 3. Homemade Chai Lattes on Halloween morning. The recipe will be posted soon! // 4. I’m a sucker for candy corn but only the mix with the little pumpkins in it. // 5. Autumn-inspired flowers and plaid table runners at my brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner. // 6. My favorite part about Halloween…pumpkins! // 7. I can never visit enough pumpkin patches during the month of October. // 8. There’s something so magical about twinkling lights on a cool night. // 9. The spookiest desserts on set at HSN.

Halloween Compost Cookies

Since I consider Halloween to be the season of sugar, I felt it only necessary to do a little baking. I first found this recipe for Halloween Compost Cookies on Glitter Guide last October and it has quickly become a yearly tradition to whip up these salty + sweet cookies inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC. Who knew potato chips, M&M’s, and caramel rice cakes could make for the most amazing cookies?

A Day in the Life

1. Beautiful glass stars overhead at Red Mesa Cantina. // 2. Celebrating the start of “autumn” with rooftop drinks at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach. // 3. First cool morning so I took full advantage of reading + morning coffee on the porch. // 4. Spontaneous afternoon at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino for a little blackjack. // 5. The best orange margaritas at Casa Tina’s in Dunedin. // 6. My favorite Ladurée macarons shipped straight from NYC. // 7. Fancy dessert night at the Bern’s Dessert Room. // 8. Giuliana Rancic celebrating her one year anniversary at HSN. // 9. The most perfect Florida sunset. The sky looked like it was on fire.

A Day in the Life

1. Pumpkin spice coffee and a raspberry cronut from Piquant on a stormy morning. // 2. My first professional photography project for Luxxe Bands live on Fab.com. // 3. Mimosas at one of my favorite brunch spots in town. // 4. Chocolate cannoli from Lucky Dill Deli. Almost as good as the ones at Ferrara in NYC. // 5. Beautiful chandeliers inside the newly renovated Ritz Ybor. Fun night with Icona Pop! // 6. My first attempt at royal icing. Engagement ring cookies in honor of my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower. // 7. The most amazing dry ice martini at Ocean Prime. // 8. Spent two days with Giuliana Rancic on set at HSN for her fall launch of G by Giuliana Rancic. // 9. Strawberry donut and my new photo book by Elsie + Emma of A Beautiful Mess.

A Day in the Life

1. Spent the day by the pool with cold drinks + homemade guacamole. // 2. The wall of Pantone colors at Lowe’s. One of these days I’m going to paint stripes on my walls. // 3. My first cronut + cold brew coffee from Dough. // 4. Betsey Johnson at the HSN studios kicking off her new collection. // 5. A frosted mug filled with root beer at Woody’s Root Beer Stand in Ohio. // 6. Lena Dunham made the front page of the Tampa Bay Times for her comment about how all of the artsy people are leaving NYC for Tampa. // 7. The most amazing spinach salad + caprese sandwich at Alesia in St. Pete. // 8. My new autumn scent: Trish McEvoy’s Sexy No. 9 // 9. A massive raspberry mousse-filled macaron from Dough to celebrate Pretty Little Liars night.

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A Day in the Life

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1. Homemade caramel corn since I’ve been constantly dreaming about autumn. // 2. Makeup + jewelry purchases from a recent shopping trip (obsessed with Dr. Jart’s BB Cream). // 3. “The Bramble” at Tryst Gastro Lounge– blackberries, mint + champagne. // 4. Weekend trip to Sarasota, view from brunch at Shore Diner. // 5. Berry crumble in a cast iron skillet at Boca Hyde Park. // 6. Shades, magazines + homemade peach mojitos by the pool. // 7. Posing with the obnoxiously large bath loofahs that looked like French baguettes at the Sponge Docks. // 8. Movie night + colorful ice cream sandwiches. // 9. “Outfit change.”

For more updates follow me on Instagram {username: lifeisaredcarpet} or become a fan on Facebook.