Thoughts from the Coffee Shop

You can’t run away from your problems, but you can certainly escape reality. And for just for a moment, time will pause and everything will be okay. So, I escaped.

I woke up to waves crashing. Maybe my life isn’t so bad, I thought. The hangover still lingering and the scent of the sea in the air. It was early, and the sun was hot and shining on my skin through the enormous windows in the ceiling, but it’s  hard to be sad when you’re waking up in paradise. What is happiness though?

Ages 1-5: happiness was my mothers arms.
Ages 6-12: happiness was ballet class.
Ages 13-14: happiness was AOL messenger.
Ages 15-17: happiness was being a rebel.
Ages 18-19: happiness was independence.
Ages 20-21: happiness was my friends.
Ages 22-23: happiness was you.
Then it rained… and when it rains it fucking pours.

I no longer felt that light… But something funny happened when I woke up that morning. I felt the spark come back. My happiness had always relied on someone else… something else.
How do you teach yourself to be happy despite your surroundings and circumstances.

It’s such bullshit when people tell you to just look at the bright side… to be happy.
You don’t even notice how depressed you are until you realize you haven’t showered in two days as you lay on the couch watching law & order, ignoring the faint sound of your phone going off.

Depression isn’t crying every day. Sadness isn’t wearing a frown. It’s a feeling deep within you that you try and make go away, but you can’t.

Running away didn’t solve my problems, but escaping reality for a moment helped me reflect on what I wanted, what I had and who I was and was becoming.

Who knew that all I needed was a mental break. Maybe that is what we all need from time to time, and it doesn’t have to be in the form of a weekend vacation. It can be a night alone at a coffee shop with your favorite novel… or indulging in a lavish dinner for one. Mental health is so important, yet so many of us forget this.
I’m still not sure what it was, but I came back lighter, happier, and calmer.
I had been chasing this feeling for so long, not knowing how to reach it. These self-indulgent distractions weren’t my happiness. It wasn’t until I let go of the idea of happiness and what I thought it was that I truly found peace.

Now I stop and observe, I try not to rush life, I look up at the sky a little more and I always take the time to rest my mind. Finding peace with life was better than finding happiness.

To be find happiness in everything, seek happiness in nothing.

-M

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Gin is In

gin

“It’s cheap…It’s gross…It’s for old people…It’s too dry.” You guys have no idea how many times I have heard those statements about my beloved gin. Just ask the bartender at my favorite dive bar and she’ll tell you how near and dear to my heart gin is. While  whiskey and bourbons are all the rage right now, gin should be what you’re ordering at the bar. Unlike it’s fun cousin tequila, gin is a little trickier to drink. You can’t just take a shot and expect to have a good time  (well you can, but I wouldn’t advise it).

    • You can technically take shots of anything, but do not take shots of gin. Gin is meant to be mixed. Some purist gin hipsters might insist you sip on gin like you would a bourbon, but I’ll stick to my gin cocktails.
    • No two gins are alike. While the base of gin is the juniper berry, there are different botanicals added depending on the brand. For example, Hendrick’s will give you a cucumber and rose flavor, while Bombay Sapphire East will have hints of citrus and pepper. Knowing your gin will make for better cocktails.
    • Gin and tonics originated in the British Colonies. The quinine in tonic water helped combat malaria, and gin was added for flavoring and to help combat scurvy. Knowing it was used as “medicine” kind of makes me feel better about drinking 2 gin and tonics on a Wednesday.
    • Bathtub gin originated during prohibition, and that’s how gin gained its negative reputation. Bathtub gin could hardly be considered gin, containing mostly methanol, and consumption of bathtub gin sometimes lead to death and blindness.
    • Martinis are traditionally made with gin, however James Bond popularized the vodka martini.

Sugary drinks and beer make you bloat, this is common knowledge. I may be biased, but g&t’s never give me a hangover, and I hardly feel bloated when I drink (good) gin. This is perfect for a night out when you’re in that tight dress and don’t want to look beer bloated or for anyone on a diet.


My go-to gin cocktails to order at a bar:
– Tom Collins – Negroni – Gin Gimlet – Gin and Tonic – 

If you’ve been reluctant to order gin at a bar, my twist on the classic gin and tonic is the perfect drink to make at home. It’s simple to make, delicious and refreshing.

 Ingredients:
-Hendrick’s gin (Hendrick’s works best with the cucumber flavor)
-1 cucumber (peeled and sliced)

-tonic water  (Q tonic water is my personal favorite)
-lime wedges
-ice
Place a few cucumber slices in your glass and muddle with a muddle stick or spoon. Combine 1 part gin with 3 parts tonic water in a glass with ice cubes. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a squeeze of lime juice.  Enjoy. 

Vodka is out, gin is in.

-M

2016

Growing up I had always heard people say that the older you get the faster time flies. I’m finally beginning to see that it’s true. Now I normally don’t do New Years resolutions, but this year I told myself that my only goal would be to take better care of myself emotionally and physically.

This meant getting rid of toxic people, focusing on school, following my passion for writing, working out, eating cleaner and drinking less…all while working a full-time job.

In the mood to quit the bad habits cold turkey, I kicked off the year by participating in dry January. A whole month with absolutely no booze. I don’t crave a drink everyday, but I did find myself getting off of work stressed and craving my go-to gin and tonic quite a bit more during January.  By the end of my dry January run I didn’t notice a significant difference health wise or energy wise, which was kind of disappointing. However, I did save a good amount of money and my liver was probably happy. On February 1 I had two Hendrick’s gin and tonics. January taught me that (almost) everything is fine in moderation.

“I love Jesus, but I drink a little”. – Gladys Hardy

February was the month that I focused on my emotional health, which directly tied into every other aspect of my life. Having had gone through a tough breakup at the end of 2014, I felt somewhat lonely, lost and unhealthy. Determined to make a change I kicked my horrible eating habits to the curb. Working 30+ hours a week and going to school made it easy for me to grab fast food during my daily breaks, eliminating the stress of having to grocery shop and cook. This horrible habit was making me look and feel like shit, but the thought of cooking terrified me. Through trial and error I eventually learned how to make quick and healthy meals. I found it so much more satisfying to eat a meal that I prepared myself with quality ingredients over processed drive-thru garbage. As a result I was beginning to look and feel healthier.

I will never be the girl who wakes up at 5 am to go for a run followed by a cold pressed juice. It’s just not who I am. Once upon a time I thought it would be a great idea to run 2.5 miles to a juice shop near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and run back after I had finished my delicious juice by the beach. It was early and the scorching sun was beaming down on me with every miserable step I took. By the time I reached the juice shop I felt like I was going to die.  I ordered something called a hangover helper and took an Uber black back. As I sat in my air conditioned Uber with my juice realizing that running was NOT my thing, AND THAT WAS OKAY. Find ways to stay healthy that make you happy.

I will also never be that girl who snapchats her daily gym sessions and shows up in a matching sports bra and yoga pants, hair perfectly done in two French braids. Just like cooking, finding a workout routine that worked for me took a lot of trial and error. I tried a plethora of classes and routines, but I hated them all. I went through a personal trainer and two different gym memberships, hating it all. Then I discovered the magic of yoga and YouTube. Most of my workouts consist of me dancing along to a YouTube choreography video or following 45 minutes of yoga in my living room. This works for me because I can roll out of bed and make a fool of myself in my oversized mens t-shirt and sweats without anyone watching me. Just because you hate going to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t workout or be fit. Try different things and find what works for you.

In the last 2-ish months I have almost become a new person. I wasn’t afraid to go after what I wanted and I was beginning to regain my confidence back. What helped me the most was that I FINALLY stopped focusing on what I DIDN’T want and started focusing on what I DID want. It’s so easy for us to focus on our problems which in return end up attracting more negativity. While eating healthy and working out are great for you, a positive attitude is the key to overall happiness and emotional/physical health. Cheers to a positive 2016 for anyone reading this and remember to smile at strangers, be nice to people and focus on the good.

-M

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Robert M. Drake

Copper & Marble

I have been drooling over the combination of copper + rose gold + marble for some time now and it’s beginning to take over my life. Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration,  but the ever classic marble paired with copper and rose gold is  completely lust-worthy. My favorite shade to pair this combo with is none other than one of Pantone’s 2016 Color of the Year – Rose Quartz. Below I’ve curated a list of some of my favorite pieces  following the copper + rose gold + marble trend. Enjoy!

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a. This trend is totally wearable with this marble copper stone ring. This ring is dainty enough to pair with other classic pieces from your jewelry collection, such as a gold Cartier Love bracelet (or a faux gold chain bracelet, holla broke college students).You can get this ring here.

b. If you’re going to burn your money you might as well make it look pretty. This candle contains a coconut soy wax blend in the fragrance of your choice. When the wax is all burned you can totally reuse it, giving the marble container and copper lid life again. Purchase here.

c. For all of your DIY needs, marble contact paper is perfect for giving everything from an old dresser to a journal a makeover. I love this site, because you can order a sample for  $5.99. Available here

d. This is probably my favorite find, because it’s so beautiful. This cloth make-up bag has copper hardware and is perfect to keep in your purse/travel bag. It comes in two sizes and has the option of black or white marble print. Check it out here

e. I normally hate iPhone cases that aren’t a solid color, but i can’t help but love this marble and rose quartz themed case. Available in shiny or matte, at under 20 dollar, it’s an absolutely steal. Purchase here.

-M

 

 

 

July Favorites

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July was a crazy month for me. I felt like I was all over the place, and slept a total of 20 hours all month. Between running around Santa Monica, running late to work, and gallivanting through Vegas, these were my July favs.

Felix Cartal Weekend Workout
I have been on a fitness kick all month-long, surprisingly. I am trying to get back to my goal weight, change my eating habits, and workout more. I do a lot of cardio, and I’m on the treadmill for up to an hour or more. Being the clutz that I am, I avoid messing with my phone as much as I can. My trying to tweet or search songs on Spotify always results in my phone falling and flying 7 feet into the row behind me. I like to have a gym playlist ready, but I get so sick of the same songs week after week. Felix Cartal’s Weekend Workout is the perfect length and vibe for my morning or late night gym sessions. Nine times out of ten, the latest mix is playing on my phone, and it always puts me in the best mood. This is also a great way to discover some dope tracks. His Weekend Workout is available for listening/download via his soundcloud.


Starbucks Iced Coffee: Lightly Sweetened 
I absolutely do NOT have the time to sit in a 15 minute drive-thru for Starbucks before work. I have absolutely NO desire to put on pants and go to Starbucks on a hung over Wednesday Saturday morning. Always running late, per usual, Starbucks pre made Iced Coffee (lightly sweetened) is a lifesaver. This isn’t for the coffee purist. This is for the 20-30 something in a rush with a need for a caffeine fix. I like mine with plenty of ice and a splash of unsweetened coconut milk. It’s not too sweet, and a container will last me about 5 days. The average price I’ve paid is about $4.99. This is actually a steal considering a venti iced coffee usually runs around $3.00.


Mirrored Metal-Frame Sunglasses Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 8.58.00 PM
You have no idea how many compliments I have received on these sunglasses. I’ve grown so fond of them that I have 3 backup pairs. These aren’t the best quality, obvi Forever 21, but they look great. I was drawn to these immediately because they reminded me of a pair I had remembered seeing in Alberta Ferretti Spring/Summer 2014 (pictured to the right). The blue-tinted lens is completely opaque, which is perfect to hide my late night/early morning eye bags. These are especially great for Vegas pool parties. Wear them worry free to Encore Beach Club without the fear of losing your favorite designer pair. They wear comfortably for hours, and for the price, you’d be crazy not to buy a pair…or three.


Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Moisturizer
Ole Henriksen is one of my favorite skin care lines, and this moisturizer doesn’t disappoint. Some things I’ve noticed after using this moisturizer the whole month of July are a visibly brighter skin tone and a more even complexion.The texture is similar to Clinique’s Dramatically Different moisturizer without the oily feel of the Clinique DDM. My sensitive skin reacted perfectly to this moisturizer, and I have had no problems with any breakouts all of July. One of my favorite things about the Ole Henriksen line is the availability of different sizes for all of their products. I hate spending $40 plus on a product and hating it. While Sephora has a great return policy, it’s just a pain in the a$$ having to return anything. For $14 you can the .5 ounce size moisturizer and see how it works for you. I 100% plan to integrate this product into my regular skin care regimen.


Honorable Mention: Gel Manicure. Honestly, who has the time to sit and paint their nails, and let them dry? Not me. I’m rough on my hands, and not having to worry about chipped nail polish for 10-14 days for under $20 is ideal. Where have you been all of my life gel manis?

-M

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