One Year Blogiversary

As I was getting ready to write my blog post on Sunday morning, I realized that my one year blogiversary was in two days. How did that creep up on me? So, I changed my planned post to celebrate my little blog and write a personal post on how it all began.

To celebrate I decided to go apple picking. In fact my first blog post was about my favorite fall activity. I shared a delicious mini apple rose tartlet recipe (click here), which was read by my family and a few close friends. It was a good start.

I’ve always loved fashion, food and travel.  But stopped embracing my passionate pursuits after experiencing one of the biggest losses in my life ~ the passing of my dad.  It was a very dark time in my life. I have not publicly shared this because it is still very difficult  to talk about.  Grief runs its course and it comes in stages. There are still times when I break down like it happened yesterday. But with the love and support of my husband, family and friends I find hope that life  goes on.

The act of writing has always been a cathartic one for me and I found blogging to be a powerful healing tool.  My dad’s death has forever changed me and how I look at the world. I wake up early every morning to meditate and  to remember him.  My dad always savored the small things in life like the first sip of his hot tea on a cold morning or the first bite of his peanut butter sandwich, his favorite.   I’ve turned to my memories for comfort.  I am also learning to enjoy the little things and share the beauty of everyday life in the hope of spreading some love, joy and inspiration. That is how Nikki Living Life 2.0 got its name and its start.

I’ve met some pretty awesome blogger babes in this blogging community.  I love how everyone celebrates each others wins, and really just support each other in any way possible.  There is always a willingness to share and help one another. Without community this blog would feel very lonesome, and I would definitely not have learned as much as I did in such a short period of time.

Nikki Living Life has experienced such growth, beyond what I could ever have imagined, and it’s all thanks to you! I am grateful to you for reading, commenting, following, re-posting, sharing and actually coming back week after week (which still blows my mind), you are the reason I get to do this. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I would also like to thank my hubby Andrew who takes all the beautiful photographs for my blog.  Andrew’s photographs have allowed me to tell an ongoing narrative of my evolving personal style and my pursuit for a healthy lifestyle.

Of course no birthday/anniversary/blogiversary is complete without something sweet. I have a great recipe for an apple cider float that I know you will enjoy.

Ingredients:

French Vanilla Ice Cream (or ice cream of your choice)

Apple Cider

Apple Slices

Whipped Cream

Brown Sugar (optional)

Cinnamon

Directions

Add one scoop of ice cream to a mug and pour in the apple cider. Top with whipped cream, a little brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Add slices of apple to the rim as a garnish.

Cheers beauties 

Photo Credit:  Andrew Swaine

All the Bright Moves

Transitioning  my summer wardrobe to fall has been slow.  As I am easing my way to long sleeves and layers I’ve made a conscientious attempt to rock more than just black and gray this fall season . I am wild about hue and I am not afraid to show it 🙂

I am loving this playful and quirky, orange and blue combination which is great for channeling your cheery vibe on the streets.

As a graphic designer and budding fashionista I can always rely on my trusty color wheel. Once again I am using existing pieces from my closet that I mix and match to maximize wear throughout the year.

You too can make the following combos using the color wheel as your guide:

  1. Colors directly next to each other (example: yellow and yellow-orange; or violet and blue-violet)
  2. Colors directly across from each other (example yellow and violet; or blue and orange)
  3. Colors that form right (90 degree) angles with each other (example yellow and red-orange; or green and orange)
  4.  Colors that form an X (example blue, orange, violet-red, and yellow-green)

I see plenty of fabulous color combinations coming this fall beauties. The future is bright.

Photo Credit:  Andrew Swaine

Sunflowers and Maxi’s

As summer slowly retreats Andy and I always try to make our annual trek to the sunflower fields at Colby Farms. The beautiful golden blossoms always add some extra sunshine to our day.

For this trip I decided to wear my flowy and flare maxi from H&M. I have two friends who are pregnant and don’t want to spend a lot of money on maternity wear, so I have been keeping an eye out for pieces that would work for them, too! This super lightweight maxi with an adjustable belt is a great way to dress up growing bumps.

I found this quote which sums up how I feel.

Advice from a Sunflower:

Be Bright, Sunny and Positive.

Spread Seeds of Happiness.

Rise Shine and Hold your Head High

Have a bright and colorful week my beauties

Photo Credit: Andrew Swaine

Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful

Hello Beautiful People

Although the work week was a short one it was definitely busy.  As I collapse on the couch on Friday afternoon, Andy announces, “You received a package from Glossy Box“.  Yaassss, just in time for the weekend.  As I excitedly tear open the package I was ecstatic to receive the CEW Limited Edition GlossyBox  that my fellow Glossy babes have been raving about.

This limited edition box has seven full size products worth $204. Starting with The Heavenly Skin Perfect brush by it Cosmetics. Followed by Matte Liquid Lipstick in Scandal by Bare Minerals.  I honestly can’t get enough of this full-coverage silky formula liquid lipstick.  I need this  in every shade!

Other goodies  in the limited edition box include Paris et Moi eau de Parfum by Jafra Cosmetics International. How did you know I needed this GlossyBox? I enjoyed my visit to Paris and this scent took me back to the beautiful city of love with its enticing blend of juicy Mara strawberry, romantic rose petal macaron, and elegantly enduring creamy silky woods.

If you order this box you will also receive  Shine On Lip Screen by Supergoop,  Drops of Crystal Cashmere Touch Serum by Manuka Doctor and Water Bank Soothing Gel Mask by Laneige.

Last by not least, I was surprised and thrilled to find Sheer Wisdom Nail Tinited Moisturizer in Fair by Butter LONDON just in time for #ManiMonday 🙂 I linked up all the products for you 💕

Are you ready to ORDER your CEW Limited Edition Box? This box worth $204 can be yours for ONLY $40.00 (non-GlossyBox Subscriber) and $35.00 (GlossyBox subscriber). Trust me beauties this box is worth it. 

Wishing you all a fabulous week.  May your makeup game be flawless. 

Photo Credit:  Andrew Swaine

Bye-Bye Summer

I hope you Lovelies had an enjoyable  weekend. Here in the States we had a three day weekend because of the Labor Day holiday.  Andy and I decided to make the most of the long weekend by enjoying a picnic on the beach. We had some good laughs as we reflected on the past few months.

It’s almost time to bid summer adieu. Although summer does not officially end until September 22 we definitely feel the dip in temps here in Boston. I am sad to see summer go. I am sad  about all the summery outfits I didn’t get to wear enough,  the beach vacations and  all the seasonal festivities coming to an end.

I want to send August off in style by sharing a few of my best and favorite summer looks from the season.

I will miss the road trips and singing in the car with the wind in my hair.

What will you miss most about summer? Looking forward to reading your comments.

The tans will fade but the memories will last forever. Cheers to summer!!!

Celebrating Love

There is so much uncertainly in life no matter how many times you think things through, however, the one thing that I was always certain about was getting married to Andrew. In 2007 we decided to take a major step to walk down the isle and defy all social and cultural norms to start our story as a couple.

After we celebrated our first wedding anniversary I said to Andy, “If we make it to ten years, let’s go to Paris”. So, here we are – ten years later, happy and stronger than ever in Paris celebrating love.

We both have grown and learned so much during these ten years.

Lesson One: Love Conquers All

It seems so simple and cliché, but it is true. No matter the issue, big or small, good or bad we commit to getting through it together. LOVE is what we remind ourselves of and use our energies to be grateful for each other.

Lesson Two: Marriage is not a Fairytale

I am a hopeless romantic but learned that each day does not end with roses, rainbows and unicorns. There will be disagreements, challenges, surprises, illness, loss and sometimes life-altering moments. Not always in our relationship but stresses of everyday life. Marriage is real life and we have learned to take on life as a team.

Lesson Three: Communication is Key:

I am definitely a stewer. I prefer having my internal monologues work through what I am thinking and feeling. Usually it is my inability to clearly communicate my expectations that leads me to brood. “Come on Andy, can’t you read my mind!!!”  🙂

Andy cannot stand the cold-shouldering. He is the logical, figure-it-out guy who wants to offer immediate solutions and encourages me to talk it out. Everyone has an off day and I do the same for him when I see a cloud looming. I have learned that having honest and open conversations no matter how difficult it can be (the truth can be scary) has brought us so much closer.

Lesson Four: Being each other’s Health Coach

A healthy couple is a happy couple. Although we are not gym buddies, we enjoy cooking healthy meals together and going for long walks on the beach.

Lesson Five: It is Okay to go to Bed Angry

The best is “Never go to bed angry”. But sometimes it is okay to go to bed with an unresolved issue rather than pushing each other to talk which can lead to someone saying something hurtful. Talking over breakfast after we have had some time to think always works best for us. Our communication skills are always better after we eat.

Lesson six: Supporting each other’s Dreams

We each have our own dreams and ideas of what we want to do with our lives, but we make it a priority to share and support each other to help make our dreams a reality.

Lesson Seven: Never forget to Cuddle

At the beginning or sometimes at the end of each day, we just lay in each other’s arms and not say a word. When I snuggle against him I feel a sense of peace. He is here. I am here. Everything is going to be alright.

Lesson Eight: Laughing Together

He can always make me laugh even at inappropriate times. Life is tough and having a sense of humor helps us see the lighter side of things.

Lesson Nine: Opposites attract 

We have come to realize over the years that we are more different than we thought.  We don’t always enjoy the same things.   Andy does not share my passion for travel and adventure and I don’t share his love for F1 and bicycle racing.  However, we appreciate each other’s differences. He is the anchor that keeps my feet on the ground and I am the wings that keeps his heart in the clouds.

Lesson Ten: Take lots of Pictures Together

“We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time’s forever frozen still” – ED Sheeran

Make memories and capture those precious moments. We would like to thank our talented Paris Photographer Fran Boloni who captured our unforgettable anniversary celebration  so beautifully. We love your passion for the art Fran.  Merci beaucoup, monsieur 

Please feel free to comment on your relationship lessons below. Wishing you all a week full of love and light

One day in Paris

Our one-week trip to Paris was an unforgettable experience filled with fun exhibitions, great outings and delicious food. After our trip Andy asked me if I had only one day in Paris how would I spend it. Only one day in a city as big and as diverse as Paris is an impossible task I said to him.

Later that day a friend asked me the same question.  She wanted to know what I would recommend to someone who only had one day to spend in Paris. So it got me thinking. If I could squeeze all of my favorite Paris experiences into just one day, this is how I would tackle it.  I would begin in the first arrondissement. This posh district  in the heart of Paris is where you will find the Louvre and all the impressive buildings that go with it.

Morning

Definitely start the day with a flaky croissant or perhaps two. We were fortunate to have our pick of amazing patisseries. Before window-shopping along the rue Saint Honoré, or raiding the fresh food markets on the rue Montorgueil. Enjoy breakfast at Claus – La Table du Petit-Déjeuner, which is nestled in a narrow shopfront with a plush upstairs area. The food is delicious, the service is excellent and the prices are affordable.

After a delicious breakfast walk down Rue Saint-Honoré where Luxury boutiques line the street. Every major fashion house has a store on Rue Saint-Honoré. Even if you can’t afford shopping here, the window displays are fabulous and a lot of fun to window shop.

You can also catch a glimpse of the famous Place Vendôme.

If you are a chocolate aficionado like me, you cannot skip Angelina. Stop here to refuel.

This famous tearoom “built a reputation as a place of sophistication and indulgence”. It also has the reputation of serving the best hot chocolate in Paris and it definitely lives up to it. If there is a line outside take my advice and get the hot chocolate and pastry to go.

If you have more than one day in Paris I would highly recommend having breakfast here at least once. You have to try the truffle omelet, smoked salmon benedict or the French toast with caramel syrup. Simply delish. Remember calories don’t count on vacay. Eating at Angelina costs a pretty penny. But as you can tell from the smile on my face it is worth the once in a lifetime experience.

Don’t forget to buy a bottle of hot chocolate to take home. You will regret it if you don’t.

Sip your heavenly hot chocolate and enjoy your walk to Rue Montorgueil in the 2nd arrondissement.  Rue Montorgueil is a few blocks away from Les Halles — the former wholesale food market for all of Paris. Paris is a fantasy food destination. It’s many markets are a key source for fresh ingredients and a stamping ground for the country’s finest producers.

If you are tired of walking rent a bicycle. Renting a bicycle is easy and they are available everywhere including hotels. There are designated bicycle lanes and I felt safe riding on the streets. 

Afternoon

Be warned the sights and smells in the market will make you hungry. So grab a picnic and head to the most picturesque spot in the city – Jardin des Tuileries. Enjoy your picnic in this beautifully manicured formal garden that was created by Catherine de Medici in 1564.

Jardin des Tuileries stretches all the way from Concorde to the Louvre. It’s also where a lot of the shows during Paris Fashion Week take place.

The gardens separate the Louvre from the Place de la Concorde. This is a cultural walking place and picnic area for Parisians and tourists. You can also admire the works of Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie, which is located in the west corner of the Tuileries Gardens next to the Place de la Concorde.

In June and August you can enjoy candy floss (cotton candy), rides and thrills at the Fête des Tuileries.

Evening

After visiting the  Louvre, enjoy dinner in the Palais Royal neighborhood.

Dine at Chef Yannick Lahopgnou’s latest restaurant Zébulon, where you can enjoy exotic flavor combinations in a boutique setting OR try Verjus. You will love the cheese course and wine pairing at Verjus is excellent. This restaurant owned by ex-pats boasts a delicious seasonal tasting menu that will not break the bank. We regret not taking any food pictures. We could not restrain ourselves from digging in as soon as our meals appeared.

I would end the evening at the Eiffel Tower. Call me romantic, but the Eiffel Tower melts even the most cynical of hearts.

Paris is  divided into twenty arrondissements. If you only have one day in Paris explore four  surrounding arrondissements because you don’t want to spend a lot of time traveling from one area to the next.  You will just have to make another trip to explore more of this beautiful city of love.

Paris jetaime

Photo Credit: Andrew Swaine

Bold Moves

“Her messy hair a visible attribute of her stubborn spirit. As she shakes it free, she smiles knowing  wild is her favorite color” ~  J. Iron Word

As the saying goes colors speak louder than words.  I will let my all time favorite Summer dress by my all time favorite designer Sheela Mehrotra do all the talking 😉So much love and respect for this talented and beautiful #BossBabe  

Thank you all for reading and for your continued love and support.

Hair & Makeup: Kerri Herlihy

Dressed and Styled by: Sheela Mehrotra

Photo Credit:  Andrew Swaine

Blue Skies & White Jeans

White denim is the quintessential Summer jean. This versatile and staple piece is always in heavy rotation during the season for me. The reason why I love my signature white skinny jean so much is because it serves as a blank slate for any top. From a statement-making blue ruffle top or a fun t-shirt paired with eye-catching heels, achieving style perfection is not difficult with a pair of white skinnies.

A few tips when shopping for your perfect pair of white skinnies.

  • Get the size right. Pick a pair that is not too tight or clingy. White jeans should not be mistaken for leggings. They should not be too loose either, especially around the hip. The right pair should flatter and highlight your natural shape. Look for styles that are labeled “straight leg” or “boyfriend.” I am wearing the high-waisted slim fit by American Apparel.
  • Pay attention to the fabric. Plain stiff cotton with a little bit of stretch is the best choice. The fabric should also be on the thicker side and not see through. Again, it should not resemble leggings.
  • Color of the stitching. I prefer my white jean with white stitching, so the color combinations I can create are endless. If the stitching is another color make sure that it is harmonious with other color pieces in your closet.

Oh, and one last thing: toss the silly rule regarding “No White after Labor Day”. Although white denim jeans are most popular during the Spring & Summer months, they look equally as fabulous during the colder seasons. So investing in a pair of white jeans is so worthwhile.

Photo Credit: Andrew Swaine

All Dressed Up

Summer is in full swing and I hope you all are keeping your cool in this hot and humid weather. To beat the heat I am gravitating towards easy, breezy dresses that are cool and comfortable because that is just what the meteorologist ordered  Dresses for work and play by Metisu have been receiving rave reviews so I thought I’d share these two looks and links so you can find them and add them to your personal collection. The good news: they are on sale!

This white dress with lace panels was a perfect choice for me for work. It tends to be on the cooler side at the office because of the AC so I went with the long sleeves. The crew neck and floral lace details are so elegant. I really like the fit and the length of the dress as well. If you have a similar AC type situation at the office like me, then this dress is for you because you will not need a cardigan

Although you’re working hard to achieve your #goals, don’t forget that Summer is the best time for a balance of work and play. This embroidered sweet and delicate dress is perfect for play!

I love the bright colorful flowers. This dress can amp up anyones summer style. The fabric is soft and super comfy and I should also mention that it is double lined. So no worrying about it being see-through or having to use a slip. This is always a big plus when it comes to buying white or off-white dresses!

Hope you all enjoyed these looks as much as I do! Special shout out to my hubby for braving the insane Boston heat to shoot this look at the carousel / merry go-round…he’s a gem!!!

SHOP THE LOOK

                                                            

Photo Credit:  Andrew Swaine