A Day in the Life

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1. The sunflower booth at the Saturday Morning Market always has a line wrapped around the block. // 2. Homemade salted caramel brownie cookie sandwiches; the cousin to my famous red velvet cookies. // 3. Root beer floats under twinkling lights at Urban Brew & BBQ. // 4. Colorful cocktails overlooking Beach Drive at The Canopy. // 5. Checking out Scarlet Johansson’s newest indie flick “Under the Skin” at the enchanting Tampa Theater. // 6. Ridiculously delicious Nutella banana waffles at Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe. // 7. Lady Gaga in Ft. Lauderdale kicking off the first night of her artRave world tour! // 8. Quiet afternoon underneath the wall of lamps at Mandarin Hide. // 9. French macarons and blood orange mimosas for brunch at Birch + Vine.

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Double Dose of Art

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As a kid, my mom would have to drag me to museums and bribe me with ice cream just so I would sit still. Fast forward a few years and now I am completely infatuated with museums. There’s something so calming about the beautiful portraits hanging from the walls and the stillness of the room. I spent so many Saturday afternoons at The Met when I lived in NYC. I found it to be the perfect escape from bustling city life.

I finally stopped by the Chihuly Collection in downtown St. Pete and was completely blown away by the exquisite blown glass pieces. If you’ve ever been to the Bellagio in Vegas, you’ve seen Chihuly’s colorful glass ceilings inside the lobby of the hotel. The St. Pete exhibit houses the same floral ceiling as well as many other truly stunning pieces.

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Image^^The floral ceilings at the St. Pete collection; identical to the Bellagio hotel exhibit.

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Image^^My favorite part of the exhibit…the ‘blue room.’

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I also stopped by the Warhol “Art. Fame. Mortality” exhibit at The Dali. The traditional Campbell’s Soup prints were on display and black & white Warhol movies were projected onto the white walls. We also got a chance to do a 3-minute screen test captured by a 1960’s camera.

Image^^View from the top of the Dali Museum, overlooking the marina.

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Image^^My favorite downtown spot.

Image^^Even the staircase inside The Dali is a piece of art.

Image^^My Warhol screen test. Sitting still for 3 minutes is next to impossible.

Image^^My favorite shots from the screen test.

Image^^Greetings from Sunny Florida!

Beach Chic

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The first question I usually get living in Florida is “do you go to the beach all the time?” The next question is “why are you so pale?” Hah, but seriously, I get that a lot. Honestly, I’ve never been a big beach person. I’m not a huge fan of baking under the sweltering sun, burning to a crisp, and tracking mass amounts of sand into my car. I spent the day at Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach for my birthday last month and I could really get used to this type of “beach day.” This old time motel was built in 1957 and later turned into a swanky vacation spot complete with beachfront hammocks, colorful books lining the lobby shelves, fish netting dangling from the ceiling, and sunset murals adorning the walls. Talk about the perfect place for a little rest and relaxation.

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Pink Palms

As residents of the Sunshine State, we are so lucky to have January days that look like this. Although we have our chilly nights, most days are full of blue skies and palm trees swaying in the wind. I spent last weekend exploring the historic Vinoy in downtown St. Petersburg. The hotel was unveiled back in the Jazz Age, almost 90 years ago. Something about the mix of modern design and old world charm make the Vinoy quite a site to see.

^^The stunning yellow chandeliers inside the hotel’s lobby.

^^This took my love of lighting fixtures to a whole new level. A one-of-a-kind Chihuly blown glass piece.

^^I loved the delicate detailing on the exterior of the hotel.

^^Sunny day essentials at The Birchwood’s rooftop lounge.

^^Nothing beats a pretty petite pastry from Cassis American Brasserie.

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.

Mimosa Monday

Is there any better way to spend a Monday than at the sweetest Parisian cafe, sitting on the street under colorful umbrellas, indulging in mimosas, stuffed French toast, and a plate of macarons? Summer is officially here and there is something so wonderful about introducing friends to new restaurants, spending your afternoon sipping cocktails on a rooftop, and overlooking the beautiful city that you call home.

Happy July!

Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous

Since it’s finally started feeling like spring I’ve been spending more time outside and exploring. On a Sunday afternoon I decided to stroll over to the Upper East Side and check out the Whitney Museum of American Art. Although I’ve never been well educated when it comes to art, I do enjoy taking time to appreciate the beautiful pieces that people work so hard to create.

Cinco de Mayo is one of my favorite festive “holidays” to spend with friends. The holiday always occurs when the weather is just beginning to really warm up. On the day before Cinco, some friends hosted a “Cuatro de Mayo” party at their apartment. I was pretty excited about the margarita cake I made. We spent most of the night on the rooftop enjoying the cool weather. On Cinco de Mayo a group of my friends got together at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Queens where we spent time playing cards and enjoying another sunny day.

This past weekend Christen invited me out to her family’s house in The Hamptons! The house we stayed in was absolutely beautiful. It was even featured in a New York interior design magazine. Each room of the house was decorated with various colors and designs. The back porch and rectangular-shaped pool was easily my favorite part of the house.

On Saturday afternoon we went to East Hampton and had lunch at quaint little place called Cittanuova. The luxury retail of this area was unbelievable. Of course we had to do a little shopping before lunch. Our next stop was the picturesque Wolffer Estate Vineyard where we spent the afternoon underneath a cloudless sky tasting various wines and cheeses. It was definitely a step away from my usual afternoon in the city!

That night Christen and I had dinner at a trendy Southampton hotspot Redbar. We both had a Filet Mignon and split a chocolate mousse for dessert. After a long day, we decided to spend the evening in the pool. I never have the chance to go swimming in the city so I took full advantage of having a heated pool in the backyard.

On Sunday we had Mother’s Day brunch at a lovely spot called Seasons of Southampton. We spent the entire afternoon at the beach which ended up being completely empty despite the perfect weather. We saw Calvin Klein’s 15,000 square foot house being built right on the beach. We topped off the wonderful day back at the pool with some more white wine. I am so thankful to Christen and her family for allowing me visit for the weekend.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

Ace of Spades

I’ve been on the go for the last three weekends. After a wonderful trip to Philly, I spent the following weekend in Asbury Park, New Jersey with Courtney and her aunt for Easter. We had a relaxing time strolling the beach boardwalk, having brunch at a cute little place named Toast, watching movies at the house, and eating tons of food on Easter afternoon. I’m so grateful when families adopt me for the holidays since I’m so far from mine.

This past weekend Courtney and I took a bus out to Atlantic City and met our friend Alyse and her boyfriend Ryan for a fantastic weekend of great food, gambling, and sight seeing. Atlantic City is a mini version of Vegas except it’s right on the beach. When you walk down the main boardwalk, there’s casinos and hotels on one side and the beach on the other.

We spent our first day gambling and playing slots at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino. Although I only won $3 playing the slots, I won a significant amount more playing blackjack. After some gambling, we headed to Los Amigos for lunch and margaritas and some shopping at the outlet mall. Later in the day we checked into the Borgata and relaxed a bit before our fabulous dinner at Bobby Flay Steak. The food was amazing, as expected, and we spent the rest of the night bar hopping inside the Borgata.

The next morning, we indulged at the brunch buffet in the hotel. After we were sufficiently stuffed, we gambled a bit more and explored the hotel. The lights in the hotel were made of glass and were absolutely beautiful. It was a fun weekend with friends and coming back a bit richer doesn’t hurt either. Good thing there are no blackjack tables near me in the city!

Back in November, I was the Maid of Honor in my friend Kate’s wedding in Florida. We recently received the professional pictures taken by Angel He Photography and I wanted to share them. They came out absolutely beautiful and truly captured the magic of that day!

Out With the Old, In With the New

In the blink of an eye, another year has passed us by. Welcoming a new year is always a perfect time to reflect on the past year. 2011 was an unbelievable year for me and I feel so grateful for all of my blessings and for the unconditional love and support of my family and friends.

Right before I went home for Christmas vacation, one of my best friends Alyse came up to NYC for the weekend. Our first stop was one of my favorite BBQ restaurants, Brother Jimmy’s. We continued our night bar hopping on the Upper West Side and finished off a great weekend at brunch in Chelsea. It’s always fun to play tour guide when friends come to visit.

The next night was our friend Flo’s birthday party. It’s always cool to get a big group together and go out in the city. We started our night at Barramundi, this cozy little dive bar in the heart of the Lower East Side. After hanging out there for a few drinks, we headed over to a new bar in the area called Interstate Food & Liquor. We had the entire loft reserved for our group. It was a wonderful night full of great friends, dancing, and celebrating!

The weekend before I headed back to Florida was a busy one! My friends Alyssa came into the city for the afternoon. Even though I only got to see her for a short time, it’s always nice to spend time with her!

My friend Dana who I met at the NYC Pi Phi Alumni Club (she also went to FSU) hosted a Christmas party at her Upper West Side apartment that evening. She always throws lovely parties, spending the entire day baking and making her apartment smell like a quaint little bakery. I was surprised to see my first real Christmas tree inside a New York apartment. It was much more impressive than the little two foot tree I bought inside Penn Station.

After her party, I met my friend Arielle at Webster Hall to see one of our favorite bands, The Rocket Summer. I’ve loved this band since high school and it sure was a flashback to hear them sing all of the songs I used to love in 2006.

I was really looking forward to being able to spend two weeks in Florida over the holidays. I left dreary, cold New York for warm, sunny Florida. It was so wonderful to see the ocean, palm trees, and sunshine- all things I took for granted while living in the Sunshine State.

I spent my first few days back home prepping for Christmas. My days consisted of Christmas shopping with my brother, holiday parties, wrapping gifts while my cats stuck their noses into everything, consuming massive amounts of my Mom’s famous Christmas cookies, and one of my most cherished traditions- driving around looking at Christmas lights with my family.

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day traditions are pretty standard for us. We spend our Christmas Eve at an Italian dinner followed by the Candlelight Service at church. It’s always a memorable evening with family and remembering the real reason for the season.

Christmas morning is a bit different from when my brother and I were kids. Tyler and I don’t seem to wake up before 10am even though we know the stockings and gifts await us. Once we finally woke up, we spent the morning opening gifts and enjoying our favorite homemade coffee cake and peanut butter fudge given to us by our family friend. It’s a tradition for my brother and I to receive scratch off lottery tickets in our stockings. He usually wins more money than I do but this year I hit the jackpot and won $120! Santa must have put me on the good list this year.

After spending the afternoon indulging in our Christmas feast, I looked back at my gifts and felt so thankful for everything I had received. My favorite gift was a Nikon D40 SLR camera that I’ve been wanting for a while. You can expect a whole bunch of beautiful pictures in the new year.

And really, what’s better than shorts and sunshine on a Florida Christmas day…

The day after Christmas is meant for gift returns, taking down the decorations, and thinking about the diet you need to go on after eating all of that food the day before. Instead of doing any of those things, I spent the afternoon outside in the beautiful weather. Tyler and I went down to the Dunedin Causeway at sunset and captured some stunning shots of the beach while the sun dipped below the horizon. Being out on the beach is so peaceful and reminds me what I love about being home.

My Annual Christmas Party is one of my favorite things about the holiday season! It’s always so wonderful to catch up with all of my high school friends and of course, participating in the gift exchange, which seems to more intense every year! It makes me so happy to know I’ve been able to stay in touch with many of my friends from home after we’ve all scattered around the country.

As my trip came to a close, I spent my last few afternoons with my Mom out on the water. One day was spent out at the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs lunching on Greek salad and perusing the shops. On my last day, we went out to Clearwater Beach to soak up the sun. The day started off in the high 70’s and was clear and sunny. After a few hours, it turned windy and cold and needless to say, we were forced to put on jackets and retreat from the beach.

I feel so lucky to have grown up in such a scenic town! There’s nothing like Palm Harbor, Florida!

I look forward to this new year; not a new beginning but a continuation of the beautiful life I’m so lucky to already have.

Cheers To One Year

This has been one of the craziest weeks since I’ve moved to NYC. On Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting in my room when I felt my bed begin to shake. All of a sudden, pictures on my walls started to move and it felt like the entire apartment began to tremble. I was on the phone with my friend Laura (who lives about 50 blocks away) and she claimed that her entire apartment was shaking too. It only took us a few seconds to realize what was going on..EARTHQUAKE! I didn’t even think earthquakes could happen on the east coast!

After the excitement of the earthquake, we were warned that Hurricane Irene was making her way to the North. We are now under a “State of Emergency” and a large part of the city has to evacuate this weekend. Heading out tomorrow to stock up on food and water. I leave Florida yet all of the crazy weather follows me…

A few weeks ago my friend Melinda came from DC to visit Courtney and I in the city. We met Melinda when we went to visit our friend Steven in DC a few months ago. We ended up becoming quick friends and invited her to come stay with us for a weekend!

Her first afternoon here, we made our way over to The Met to see the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” exhibit. We waited in line for close to 2 hours but it was totally worth it. It was unlike any exhibit I had ever seen. Every item of clothing was a piece of artwork. The dim lighting and eerie music really set the fantastic atmosphere for the exhibit. By the time the exhibit closed in August, close to 600,000 people had seen McQueen’s beautiful creations.

“There is no way back for me now. I am going to take you on journeys you’ve never dreamed were possible.” -Alexander McQueen

Despite the weekend being the hottest temperatures the city has seen in 20 years, we made the most out of Melinda’s visit. Since it was Restaurant Week, we took full advantage of eating at a fabulous five star restaurant. Ever since I fell in love with Gossip Girl a few years ago, I’ve wanted to eat at Butter, just like Blair Waldorf. I also found out the executive chef at the restaurant is Alex Guarnaschelli, one of the judges from the Food Network show “Chopped.” We had a fantastic three course meal complete with a bottle of white wine. Our dinner lasted well past midnight and it was one of those meals I will never forget.

We spent the next day walking around the Lower East Side, exploring little boutiques, indulging in gelato, and having lunch at a fantastic Greek restaurant that made you feel like you were truly dining on a Greek island. To conclude our fabulous weekend, we had Sunday brunch on the rooftop of 230 Fifth. It’s a popular celebrity hotspot but I think we fit in just perfectly.

I’ve become involved with the NYC Pi Phi Alumni Club up here. I found that it’s a great way to meet girls from all over the country and go on some fun outings! Since I hadn’t been to the beach all summer, except when I was home in Florida, I decided to go on the day trip to Fire Island. It took us 2 hours to get there..train, bus ride, and ferry to the island. Nothing like Florida where we would drive 15 minutes and be on the sand! The island was beautiful though. Reminded me of something out of a Nicholas Spark’s novel. I was walking around the island and a deer just appeared in front of me on the path. Quaint little beach houses were scattered all over the island, it looked like a postcard.

Steven popped into the city two weeks ago! I only got to see him briefly so we spent our time together exploring the High Line, drinking apple pie milkshakes from the milk bar at Chelsea Market, and at my favorite bar in the East Village, Angels & Kings. It’s always so fun to have my old friends from home come to visit.

That week, Alyssa also came to visit me for an evening. It was her friend’s birthday and they took a limo into the city so of course they invited me to tag along for a fun night out!

I made a quick trip to the West Village one afternoon with some friends to see Carrie Bradshaw’s stoop from Sex & the City! The apartment is now a private residence but it’s one of the hottest tourist attractions in the city..well for females at least!

Last Thursday night was a dream come true for me. After being a fan of Lady Gaga for almost 4 years now, I finally had the chance to meet her…all thanks to MTV! I was selected to be featured on another Lady Gaga MTV special. After waiting in line for an hour with 100 other people dressed as Gaga, they finally let us into the old TRL studio.

Within a few minutes, Gaga herself appeared behind shimmering gold curtains. She looked absolutely stunning, obnoxiously large hat and all. This MTV special was to premiere Gaga’s new music video for her song “Yoü And I.” While the video premiered on MTV, we watched Gaga sing and dance to the song, only a few feet away. She was then interviewed by MTV’s Sway for the next half hour before she departed for the night. Everything about being in her presence seemed surreal and it was a truly magical night.


On August 15, I celebrated my one year anniversary with New York City. It has been one of the most incredible years of my life. I’ve made new friends, adjusted to city life, spent time traveling around the north, and made some memories that will last a lifetime.

Cheers to one year and many more to come!