Hawaii Part I

This deep freeze that has a hold on most of the country has me craving warmer weather and the arrival of spring.  Heck - as much as I love it,  I’d be happy to skip spring and go right to summer at this point.  Needless to say these are the reasons I’ve been reminiscing about my Hawaii trip last month and dreaming of the sun.  

Since I’ve been pregnant through this fall and winter, I don't have any summer pregnancy clothes nor do I want to buy any, so I tried my best to make do with what I had.   One thing I did buy for my trip is this non-maternity beach cover up from TJ Maxx which is super flowy and will work this summer when I am no longer pregnant as well.  I loved the bright color which just so happened to match my beach bag perfectly.  

While I was away, most mornings consisted of yoga on the beach or a long power walk followed by breakfast in this comfy cover up.  My favorite breakfast spot was the WHALE’S TAIL JUICE HUT, a cute little stand with scrumptious baked goods, fresh pressed juices and a killer view.   

The rest of the day was spent lounging at the pool or catching up on some work followed by dinner with my husband.  One of our favorite dinners was at KA’ANA KITCHEN in the ANDAZ HOTEL.  This open concept restaurant focuses on "shared plates" which highlight the local in season harvest.  They serve a killer breakfast too!  We made a quick stop in the lobby which was so cool and modern I could only imagine how nice the rooms are.  I fell in love with the sleek color palette (which I happened to match) and clean lines so much so that I took lots of pictures I'll keep for inspiration for when we buy a new house.   

Stay tuned for more on my Hawaii trip as well as a full list of my favorites spots to hit in Maui.  In the meantime think warm thoughts.  


The WHALE’S TAIL JUICE HUT (located at the Mariott Wailea) 

The Lobby of the ANDAZ HOTEL

View from the lobby of the Andaz Hotel 

Open Concept at KA’ANA KICTHEN

Look 1: Cover Up: TJ MAXX  in store // Beach Tote: Old Tory Burch Sample Sale (another option HERE or HERE) // Hat: Panama Hat  JCREW last year (THIS YEAR’S OPTION) // Sunglasses : NORDSTROM
Look 2: Top: OLD (Another option HERE and HERE)  // Jeans: DESTINATION MATERNITY  (similar non-maternity HERE ) // Shoes: Nine West Old (Another option HERE and HERE) // Cardigan: TARGET // Bracelets: Old 


Black & Snowy White

One of my favorite color combinations is black and white.  It’s always clean, always polished and always in style.  I love the way the white speckles on this coat mirror the fresh fallen snow.  That hit of snowy white paired with the gold zipper and accents and lush faux fur trimmed hood take this otherwise classic toggle coat up a notch.  It looks perfect over this slightly dressier outfit but could just as easily be thrown over jeans and turtleneck.    

Don’t you just love those multitasking items in your closet? 


Coat: Ellen Tracey @ NORDSTROM  (Similar HERE and HERE ) // Button Down: Gap Maternity (Similar HERE and Similar Non-Maternity HERE ) // Pants: No longer available (Similar Maternity HERE and Non-Maternity HERE) // Bag: Prune - from Argentina (Similar HERE) //Pumps: Old (Similar HERE) //Sunglasses: Ray-Ban @ NORDSTROM // Gloves: Old (Similar HERE )


My Favorite Finds

Hope you are having a relaxing weekend and keeping warm!  Here is a recap of my favorite links, products, articles and more from around the web and beyond.  

  • If you want the scoop on current events and breaking news but are short on time, then join Oprah and about a half million other people and sign up for the The Skimm.  It’s a daily newsletter sent to your inbox with a fresh and reliable overview of the day’s top news stories. 
  • I’m always on the lookout for an effective and affordable dry skin lotion, especially in these frigid temps.  Check out Glitter Guide’s recommendation for the best lotion for dry winter skin.  I’ll be adding this to my shopping cart next time I’m at Target.  
  • I guess you can say that I’m in the “nesting” stage of my pregnancy because I’ve been consumed with decorating projects lately.  I love this slideshow full creative ideas on how to hide those unsightly eyesores around the house.


Kiwi, Banana & Spinach Smoothie

Sometimes it’s hard to get all your servings of fresh fruit in during the cold winter months.  I find myself getting bored of the winter selection and veer towards the frozen aisle.  Enter the often forgotten super fruit called Kiwi.  This fuzzy little fruit is not only low in calories but chock full of vitamins, minerals and flavor.  It’s particulary high in Vitamin C and fiber which make it a great choice for adding to smoothies.  

I love having smoothies as a late morning or mid-afternoon snack and have been throwing this one together when I need a little energy.  It’s full of fiber from the apple, chia seeds, spinach and kiwi, while the yogurt provides some protein which should be eaten at every meal/snack.  The banana, apple and kiwi really do provide enough sweetness but I added some honey since I was making this for my husband who has a pretty big sweet tooth. 

I'm curious to experiment with kiwi and see what other recipes I can add it to.  Do you have any favorite kiwi recipes? I’d love to hear! 

Serves 2

1 banana
2 kiwi, peeled
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp chia seeds
heaping 1/2 cup yogurt (I used 2% Greek)
1 apple, cored
large handful spinach
1/4 cup water
ice to taste (I like my smoothie very cold)

Mix all ingredients together and blend till smooth.  Add more or less water to reach desired consistency.


Staying Warm and Comfy

No matter where you live, I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the North East is experiencing some of the coldest temps it’s seen in 20 years.  As a result winter’s must have item is a down coat, puffer, parka, anorak or whatever you choose to call it.  Regardless of the name, the key is warmth and comfort.  

At 31 weeks pregnant, I sized out of my current puffer and opted to buy a regular coat and size up as opposed to buying a maternity style.  I loved this RALPH LAUREN  one as soon as I saw it last week at LORD & TAYLOR- it was just my size and on super sale.  It’s still listed as full price online but in store I got it for more than 50% off.  My hope is that next year I can cinch the draw string waist and still be able to wear it. 

In keeping with the comfort theme, I can’t get enough of these Gap Maternity SUPER SOFT TEE’S.  They are just the right length and thickness and... surprise, super soft.  I’m sure the NON-MATERNITY version is just as comfy. 

Besides the tee, I am wearing two more of my current wardrobe favorites.  These SAM EDELMAN “PETTY” BOOTIES have been my go to since the beginning of fall.   They are comfortable and look super cute with  practically anything from dresses to jeans and ankle length pants.  I have them in Black Suede and this Deep Saddle and plan to purchase them in Putty for Spring.  You’ve seen me wear a large tote more than once.  I find them to be the perfect bag for Winter since they are roomy enough to hold your gloves, scarves and hats when you are inside.  I bought this one which is sold out at J.CREW a couple of months ago, but they have this DEEP RED one still on sale. 

For as many puffers as you see out on the streets you'll hear a complaint about the snow and cold.  I myself am guilty as charged.  It’s nice though to remember to get out there every so often and enjoy the snow covered scenery and have a little fun which is precisely what Roman and I did this past weekend.  And it’s definitely best enjoyed when you are comfy and warm.  


Anorak: Lauren Ralph Lauren @ LORD & TAYLOR // Top: GAP MATERNITY  Similar Non-Maternity HERE and HERE // Jeans: JESSICA SIMPSON MATERNITY, Similar Non-Maternity HERE // Tote:  JCrew SIMILAR HERE // Shoes: Sam Edelman @ NORDSTROM // Sunglasses: RayBan @NORDSTROM


Valentine’s Day Inspired Deals


I’m usually not one to wear red on Valentine’s Day, but there are more subtle ways to get into the spirit of the holiday.  The color blush is having a moment now and pinks in general will continue to be a strong trend for Spring 15.  This ultra feminine color looks great paired with neutrals by day but by night I like to turn it up with some edgy black pieces.

Everyone of these items can be worn now and well into Spring.  The best part is that they are all currently on sale!  If I had to chose, my favorites and probably the best deals are THIS SWING SKIRT  from J.CREW on sale plus an additional 40% off and THESE EARRINGS and THIS CUFF from BANANA REPUBLIC also on sale plus an additional 40% off.  And how about THIS TOP from PIPERLIME?  It doesn’t get much more romantic than pink florals.

Happy Valentine’s Day

XO Michele 


Hello 2015

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to tag along with my husband on a work trip to Hawaii.  As far as work trip locations go, you really can’t beat Hawaii, so even though I would be spending most days alone as he worked, I couldn’t pass this one up.  We also decided to take advantage of the fact that as I neared 7months into my pregnancy this would probably be our last trip sans baby (due in April).

While he worked, I spent my days wisely - relaxing, recharging, and reflecting.   And honestly, it’s just what I needed because besides being pregnant, the tail end of 2014 was somewhat of a doozie for me.  We were so happy and blessed to find out we were pregnant back in August but with that news came exhaustion, what I like to call “all day” sickness for 3 months straight, weight gain, heartburn and all the fun changes that can be a little intimidating for a first time momma.  Then at the beginning of October came the unexpected passing of my father, which truly rocked my world.  Although my dad was 84, he was in near perfect health for a man his age and still unstoppable.  I consider it both a blessing and a burden that I was with him the day he suffered a massive stroke.  On one end, I hope I was able to bring him some comfort, but at the same time I keep thinking that there should have been more that I did or said in those final moments.

It’s been for the latter that I’ve been somewhat stuck back in 2014 not quite wanting to move on to this new year or do much of anything, which explains the long pause on the blog.  I’m not one to make a big deal of New Year’s Eve celebrations but I typically relish in the idea of starting a new year with a clean slate and lots of positive energy.  My Januarys have always been filled with a cheery outlook accompanied by ambitious goal setting, resolutions, and to-do lists.  This year though I wish I could rewind the clock and stay in 2014...sometime before October.

But as the old saying goes, life goes on and so it must, and in this case life will literally come in April with the birth of my baby boy.  I was again blessed to have had the opportunity to share the good news of my pregnancy with my dad right before he passed.  He was excited beyond words and if nothing else I know my son will have a special angel watching over him.

So this year instead of setting goals I want to focus on improving the qualities in myself that I admired in my father and that he lived by example everyday of his life.  I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to a man that meant so much to me.

1. Loyalty to Family.  My house wasn’t full of hugs and I love you’s growing up, but my sisters and I knew my parents were always there for us.  There was never a doubt in my mind about my dad’s love and loyalty to his family and it was clear from his words and his actions.  Although we lived halfway around the world from his and my mother’s families, he had a very close relationship with his parents, sisters and brothers because he took the time to write letters, call and bring us to Italy every summer he could.  Because of this, I am closer to some of my cousins in Italy than some people are to family members that live in the same state.  He always instilled in me and my sisters that we’re family and no matter how much we fight, family should always be there for each other.

2. Hard Work.  Hard worker is an understatement and probably one of the first words that anyone who knew my father would use to describe him.  He came to this country with nothing.  He took every job that came his way no matter how big or small and never complained.   He was always happy to have the opportunity to work and be able to provide for his family.  My mother and he worked as a team and made sure that we had everything we needed.

3. Kindness, Generosity and Gratitude.  I always thought that my dad became more generous as he got older and more comfortable financially.   After his passing though, I discovered (through stories told by friends and family) that these were virtues he possessed from a young age.  His sisters told me that he would come home after months working at sea full of gifts and foods for the family.  My Aunt asked him once why he didn’t save more for himself since he was looking to get married and start a family.  He replied that God had already been good to him and he felt it was his duty to pay it forward.

4.  Faith and Spirituality.  My father taught me the importance of having a moral compass in your life.  We went to church as a family every Sunday morning even when he had worked the night shift and was probably exhausted.  He often read the Bible and highlighted passages that brought him comfort even in the toughest moments of his life, like the death of his parents and two younger brothers.

My Dad has taught me so much more that I can write in one blog post.  As I head in to 2015 (albeit a little late), I hope that by focusing on these values and trying to incorporate each one of them into my life everyday as a woman, wife, mother, and friend I can be a better person and make him proud.