Blush Clothing
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What's the one thing that's made you 'blush' the hardest aka your most embarrassing moment? When I was 22, I fell naked in front of HUNDREDS of people by accident. It's a ridiculous story but needless to say, its hard for me to be embarrassed about much after that haha! I'm not someone who gets embarrassed easily but can definitely get bashful. Remember when you were a preteen and little things would embarrass you? I swear I was more embarrassed by my mom bringing my dog to pick me up from middle school one day (why is that embarrassing besides the fact that it wasn't 'the norm'?!) than I was when I was laying on the ground naked in front of all of those people! 

Anyways, in honor of that fun/not so fun little story that made me blush, here are some blush clothing pieces that I'm loving recently. See what I did there?!

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MDW Outfits
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MDW is right around the corner, which means that summer is coming! Last memorial day weekend I was on my bachelorette party in Martha's Vineyard and this year I will be on one of my best friend's bachelorette parties! We are going to be sharing an anniversary weekend so its only fitting to share a bachelorette party anniversary as well! I feel like its good luck to share those anniversaries with a couple whose relationship I majorly respect and love, right?!

We are going to Malibu and I'm so excited. I've been to the surrounding area but have yet to go to Malibu. It'll be such a fun girl's weekend celebrating the amazing bride. I will obviously do a post once I'm back with 'must dos' in the area. I am also going to visit some friends in LA before/after the bach party, which I'm pumped about. 

I've been starting to think about my outfits and make a GP. I thought that you guys may be doing the same so I rounded up all of my favorite items for MDW and other summer weekends to come!

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Making People Feel Loved
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Yesterday my grandma took my hands, looked me in the eyes and said, “You always make me feel so loved. I just KNOW how much you love me.” And while I want to tackle tons of macro level problems in this crazy world and hang my hat on wildly impressive accomplishments...making people feel loved, cared for & seen is sometimes just enough. At the end of the day, if we are making people (from our close friends to our waitress in a restaurant & everyone in between) feel cared for then we’re doing something right. #FromCarlysHeart

Sweet Potato Hash Skillet
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You guys know that one pan meals make my heart happy. My biggest deterrent for cooking is the clean up...anyone else?! That’s why I’ve LOVED my cast iron skillet and legit crockpot (linked at bottom of post). They can both go from stovetop to inside of the oven and the crockpot insert can obviously also go into the crockpot base for slow cooking. 

I’ve been making variations of this sweet potato skillet for breakfast for my guy (I don’t eat straight up eggs) and he LOVES it. It’s all real food and so nutritious. I've also added black beans and ground sausage at various times when I've made variations of this. I also recently swapped the avocado for guacamole and the hot sauce for salsa and it went over really well! Try it out and let me know how you like it! 

INGREDIENTS: 

3 sweet potatoes

1/2 a yellow onion

1 bell pepper  (red is my favorite but do whichever you like best)

1 T olive oil  

6 eggs  

1/2 cup shredded colby cheese  

1/2 an avocado

2 green onions (can easily be omitted) 

Hot sauce for topping  

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Peel the sweet potatoes and then dice them into 1 inch cubes.  

Dice the onion and bell pepper. Slice the avocado into thin slices. Dice the green onion into 1/2 inch circles.

Heat the cast iron skillet over medium heat and place the olive oil, onion, sweet potato and bell pepper in it. Cool until the onions turn translucent. 

Place the cast iron skillet into the oven for 25 minutes (you want the sweet potatoes to get soft enough to eat). 

Remove the skillet from the oven and crack the eggs on top of the vegetables. Then, sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the eggs are no longer runny.  

Remove skillet from the oven and top with avocado slices, green onion and hot sauce. Enjoy!

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TV Shows I've Loved Recently
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Unfortunately, I have to spend a lot of time laying down instead of out doing stuff. Luckily, I don't mind laying on the couch at night with some candles lit, a snack, and a good show on tv though. When Jay is down to massage my feet too, that's the ultimate, but it usually lasts for a solid minute and then he just starts pulling on my toes haha. Who actually likes that?!

Point is, cozy nights binge watching a show can be awesome. I love binge watching a show because it keeps you hooked. I prefer it to watching movies or watching a show scattered, how about you? Here are the best things that I've watched recently. P.S. Billions isn't on this list because I've been watching it for a while but the newest season just started and if you don't watch it, you should definitely start it from the beggining and catch up!

Game of Thrones

I know I'm late to the game on this one but I started it late this fall and I got hooked. I watched one episode years ago and only understood who was having sex with who so I wrote it off. I have had zero issue following along with the show though since I've been watching it. Still, its easiest to figure out whose sleeping with who haha but its not hard to follow once you understand who everyone is. It's an HBO series...HBO, Showtime and Netflix are kind of my jams. It's definitely dark and on nights I'm in a lot of pain sometimes I'm just not feeling it and want something lighter so I've looped in some of these other ones. 

Grace & Frankie

This was another show that my mom and I binged on Netflix while I was recovering at her house. It's a Netflix series with short episodes and its a very light watch. The target audience is definitely older than me but I thought that it was really funny and cute and lighthearted. It's about 2 women in their 60s whose husbands tell them that they aren't actually just best friends and have actually been lovers for many years and that they want to get divorced form their wives so that they can marry each other. Their adult kids are in it as well, which I like and definitely helps bridge the age demographic I was talking about haha. 

Friends From College

This is another Netflix series that only has one (short) season so far. It's about a group of friends from college who are now in their 30s and living in Manhattan. There's affairs, job qualms, infertility struggles, marriage stuff, and all that jazz. I thought it was really funny in that dry sort of way. I really like the cast, especially Keegan Michael Key! It only has 8 episodes so far so its a really quick watch.

My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

I'm a big fan of Howard Stern's interviews because unlike interviews on talk shows, they really take their time and dive into stuff. This series on Netflix that David Letterman is doing is the same. It feels like there's no agenda of something to promote and they really go deep. It would be such a dream (in the unachievable, I'm not even in a realm of being good enough at it way) to conduct interviews like this. I love how the conversation just takes them wherever it naturally goes and how he asks 'real' questions that provoke 'real' answers. These interviews really allow you into the guests' mind and let you see things from their perspective and hear about their story. It's almost like if therapy only involved the interesting stuff haha. They also talk on worldly topics and important issues but in a way that is far from boring. My favorite episodes that I've watched thus far (I still need to watch more) are Obamas, Jay-Z, and George Clooney. 

Tamborine by Chris Rock

This is Chris Rock's latest Netflix comedy special. I like watching a comedy special on a Saturday night when we are staying in because it feels a little bit like you're out at a comedy show and its different than just watching something else on TV. I didn't love the beginning of this series but then it really picked up. Obviously, it all depends on what topics you like but I was cracking up all of the stuff about men versus women and relationships. He talked about why he got divorced and the things that he wishes he did differently (which I majorly respected and liked) but in a really funny way. The series is named Tamborine because he says that he wanted to be the lead singer in his relationship the whole time and that it doesn't work like that. Sometimes you get to play lead and sometimes you have to "play the tamborine mother fucker." I LOVE comedy because it takes these simple things that other people would just look right past and makes them profound. I love comedy that touches on the obvious in a way that makes you feel like "duh" and is so relatable that it's hilarious. I am not good at science or math, I had to work really hard to get a score that I was really happy with for the SATs and all of that but I am smart in a couple of ways. One of those ways is that I have high emotional intelligence, self awareness, and empathy. Comedians tend to have this kind of intelligence (combined with darkness haha) and I feel like they slam dunk it when they hit on human nature so perfectly or play on their self awareness in such a unique way. I though that he did such a good job at that with this special. I know that Louis C.K. has taken some heat for some creepy sh** that he's done but his specials always hit these things right on the nose as well. 

Brothers & Sisters

I watched this YEARS ago when it was live (and missed a lot of it because I was at college and didn't have DVR). I loved it and was upset when it was canceled. I asked a few months ago what you guys recommended that I watch while I recovered from surgery. My favorite recovery show that I ever watched was Parenthood (so much so that I watched the entire series twice, both during recoveries haha). Someone recommended that I watch Brothers & Sisters but I was like "I've seen that." After trying out multiple shows and not liking any of them, I decided to give it a whirl. Guess what, I remembered close to nothing haha. It was brand new information basically and I loved it. Like Parenthood, its one of those shows that makes you feel like you're a part of the family on the screen. Its more dramatic and extreme than Parenthood though. Its about adult children and their parents (Sally Fields plays the mom and crushes it) and all of the crazy stuff that happens in their family. Needless to say, I miss my brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, I had to purchase the episodes on Apple TV.

 

Best Tulip Fields to Visit
Holland Ridge Farms, NJ (Image by Rachel Ellentuck Photography)
Holland Ridge Farms in NJ image via Rachel Ellentuck Photography

What are some of your travel bucket list items? One of mine is to visit some flower festivals around the world. I went to Amsterdam and LOVED the city (I still think it was the friendliest city I've ever been to) but I went in February. I am dying to go back to the Netherlands in the Spring when the tulips are in bloom! Until then, this tulip field in NJ (pictured above) will have to do. Below are the top tulip festivals in the world!

Contact me if you have similar aspirations and would like to visit some tulip fields next Spring! or I love helping my travel clients cross items off of their bucket lists! Fill out the contact form for Cozy Traveler or shoot me an email at Carly.Robinson@Smartflyer.com. 

Netherlands: Keukenhof, Nordoospolder, Amsterdam, Lisse, Noordwijkerhout 

Noordoostpolder Tulip Festival (Google Images)
Nordoospolder Festival via Google Images

Canada: Agassiz Tulip Festival in British Columbia& Abbordsford Tulip Festival in British Columbia

Abbordsford Tulip Festival in British Columbia, Canada (Google Images)
Abbordsfod Tulip Festival via Google Images

USA: Skagit Valley in Washington, Wooden Shoe Farm & VanderZanden Farms in Oregon & Dutch Hollow Farms in California

Skagit Valley in Washington State (Google Images)
Skagit Valley Tulip Festival via Google Images
Margaritas with Vita Coco
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You know I love getting festive for a holiday and the obvious choice for Cinco de Mayo is Margaritas!! These margaritas are not so obvious though. They have a twist but still remain pretty classic tasting. They are made with fresh, real ingredients, which helps keep the sugary taste to a minimum. I used Peach & Mango flavored Vita Coco water not only because it tastes good but also to help avoid a hangover for everyone who is throwing these back. Coconut water is really hydrating so it helps counterbalance the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Get your tacos ready...

Recipe

Ingredients:

3 ounces fresh lime juice

4 ounces Peach & Mango Vita Coco coconut water

4 ounces silver tequila

1/2 teaspoon agave

Directions:

Juice your limes. Combine all of the ingredients in a shaker and shake to combine. Stir the agave with a spoon if necessary. Pour over ice and enjoy!

 

Thinking About Invisible Illnesses After Having a Sinus Infection
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I have a sinus infection and it’s been such a reminder of the downsides of “invisible illnesses/pain” that I face everyday with my back issues. The huge piles of tissues, cough, etc have elicited a generous amount of empathy from the people around me. It’s such a simple label and has symptoms that people can see and hear.

Jay is perpetually sweet and the MOST supportive partner through all of my pain ALWAYS but he has been so extra attentive because I think he can relate to how I feel this time. He knows what it feels like to have a sinus infection + can see it with his eyes so empathy is just free flowing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful. It just keeps making me think about how if THIS is the type of reaction I’m getting from a dumb sinus infection from people, imagine what kind of response I would get to my suffering with my back pain that’s on a much larger scale (don’t get me wrong the combo of being sick and in pain puts my past my maximum tolerance and I’m currently v unhappy haha).

I’ve found that the moments when I’ve been on crutches have been easier in a specific way in that they served as a message to the world. I can’t take subways for multiple reasons with my back but one of them is that I’ve been stuck too many times without a seat because I look like a healthy 28 year old. I’ve wanted to wear a shirt that reads “please be patient when I walk slowly, I was hit by a car” many times. I think that the most challenging part of having an invisible illness/injury is suffering in silence to a large degree. In a way I think it’s a great thing because I want to come off as “normal”, I want to maintain as much normalcy in my life as possible, I don’t want my pain to run the show all the time, etc. In fact, I keep my voice quiet a lot with the people in my life because I don’t even want them to know how bad it truly is. But that invisibility sets you up for a lot of lonely feelings in your suffering. It’s natural to understand what we’ve personally experienced but if we haven’t experienced it, it’s at least easier to understand if we can SEE it. It’s such an important lesson that you never know what pain (emotional or physical) someone is walking around it and how you really can’t judge a book by its cover (as cliche as that is).

Palm Leaf Print
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How much does a palm print bathing suit make you want to lay under a palm tree with a coconut drink in your hand?! What's your favorite season? Mine is summer by far! I LOVE the sunshine and feel like my best self in the warm weather. I live for the beach and feeling the sand between my toes. I have SO many plans this summer and I'm worried about not getting enough of that chill summer feeling. They are fun, happy things for the most part though so I can't complain. I will need some cute bathing suits and dresses for a lot of the plans so I thought that palm print would be a fun way to mix it up. These just scream SUMMER and SUNSHINE, don't they?!

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Mother's Day 2018 Gift Guide
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Mother's Day is only a couple of weeks away so it's time to prepare and get the gifts ready! I know that there is no object that I can buy that can repay my mom for all that she has done and continues to do for me but the gesture is always appreciated. She's the first person to give everything and ask for nothing and holidays like this are the perfect times to get her something nice. I also always value a good hand written note in a card, so I linked some of my favorites at the bottom of this post as well. I separated out the items into 2 sections: items under $100 and items over $100. 

In celebration of Mother's Day, here are 3 of my (many) favorite things about my mom...

She is infinitely selfless. If I compliment her on a necklace she will literally take it off and hand it to me. She puts all of us before herself without even blinking an eye. I say that she is selfless to a fault but it's such an admirable quality.

She is the definition of maternal warmth. She just has a kind heart and loads of affection. She always makes me feel safe, supported and loved. Every stranger in the grocery store line ends up telling her their life story because she just radiates loving energy. 

She is a 'forever student,' who is constantly growing and learning new things. She follows her heart and is a jack of many trades. In fact, she was a Social Worker for years, an interior designer and is now a talented photographer and the woman behind most of the images that I'm in. Check out some of her work here

Gifts Under $100

Gifts over $100

Cards

Sephora Spring Sale
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Guys....the Sephora Spring sale is here!!! It's one of my favorite sales of the year and I like to load up on all of my favorite beauty products while I can get a good deal. You can get 10-15% off, depending on your Sephora status. VIB members get 15% off with code YAYVIB and Rogue members get 15% off with code YAYROGUE. Beauty Insider Members get 10% off with code YAYINSIDER. 

I love skincare and am passionate about it. We only get one face for the rest of our lives so I'm trying to be better about taking care of mine NOW! These are my tried and true FAVORITES, many of which you may have seen me rave about (Kiehls daytime oil and night time oil, along with the Sunday Riley Toner are ones I've talked about in my stories a few times)! I loaded up on a bunch of these sunscreen products in anticipation of the sunshine that's supposedly coming our way while they were on sale because they are AWESOME! The Supergood products, like this one, are AWESOME and don't leave your greasy and gross (the oil is the only oily one) and are natural. This setting mist saved the day every time I was wearing makeup last summer but needed a refresh with my SPF. 

I also linked all of my favorite makeup products that I wouldn't survive without some of these! I especially have been loving my Tarte products (I've always been a huge fan of the lipsticks but have recently branched out and am obsessed with the powder and liquid foundations too). If you're looking for some new hair products, those are also linked at the bottom of this post! My favorite is the dryspun finish spray because it gives you volume (which I always desperately need) and finishes off your hair but doesn't make it hard like hairspray would. 

Skincare

 Makeup

Hair

Straw Bags
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I can't get enough of the straw bag trend! I LOVE them for the Spring and Summer and think they are especially perfect any time I'm near a beach. I'm not one to spend a ton of money on handbags. I think that these are SO fun and they're perfect to take from day to night in most occasions. I packed my straw clutch for every trip last year because it's so lightweight and perfect for travel. Plus, who doesn't love a straw beach bag?! These totes are perfect to take as your carry on for travel and then turn into your beach bag on vacation.