Bits and Pieces.

I had a few crazy freakouts this week. Anxiety is an issue I deal with. How about you? I know better, but sometimes I let emotions get the best of me. Soooo I'm trying to take one day at a time! Time is going too fast, however! How can it almost be March?! Holy Moley! Let's slow down, calm down and focus on something new. Bits and Pieces features my latest favorite products from books to movies, skin care to foods. So...deep breath...let's go! 

This vintage (and wonderfully lived-in) KISS shirt

I'm a HUGE t-shirt and jeans gal. I feel most comfortable in this favorite shirt Aaron gave to me. I have been a KISS fan since high-school. Totally in love with this shirt, which has a rare glimpse of them without their stage makeup. Love! 

Boxed water.

Where to begin? Aaron and I were going to see the movie "Lion" (a really good movie, by the way) and needed water that didn't cost an arm and a leg. We grabbed some Boxed water because it looked cool. Well….now this water is my go-to. I take this little guy to the gym and it’s a desk essential. Basically, Boxed water is always in my bag.

Sunday Riley’s Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil and Good Genes

Sunday Riley is a one of my favorite skincare lines. Their products give me unparalleled results. My recent favorite is their Juno Face Oil. These drops make my skin look luminous and deliciously glowy. I only have to use three drops at night. When I wake up my face looks bright and refreshed. Juno Face Oil also lasts forever. 

Another favorite is Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment. This product works great even on my uber sensitive skin. Good Genes exfoliates dead skin cells to help reveal fresher-looking skin. How can anyone resist that? I normally smooth on Good Genes in the morning and let it do its thing for about 15 minutes. Then I rinse it off and I smooth on my Juno face oil. I tend to use Good Genes as a mask, but you can also use it as a serum. I have seen huge results after using this project. Good Genes makes my skin look toned, radiant and baby soft! 

Stranded Dry Shampoo

My dear friend Lauren Scruggs (who is inspiring and amazing - more on her here) just developed this awesome dry shampoo! It not only smells amazing, but it's also free of dyes, sulfates, paraben and even gluten. Three cheers for healthy beauty products! This dry shampoo is a loose powder (similar to baby powder). What’s rad about Stranded is it's formulated for blondes, brunettes, and red heads! You buy the shampoo based on your hair color. This dry shampoo is so light. I take it in my gym bag for when I need extra oomph in the hair. Love it! 

Vintage Books 

I'll do a guide to Upstate New York soon. In this feature, I'll reveal where Aaron and I get our vintage books. The price is always right! I love picking up books about loads of things: from Marilyn Monroe to ice storms! We recently picked up these two. Can’t wait to dive in!

P.S-Aaron and I recently discovered Homeland, a gem of a show. I find I'm thinking about this storyline when I shouldn't be. It’s always in my head! Dang! If you don’t know about Homeland, it's basically an edge-of-your-seat (not kidding!) thriller/drama show. Claire Danes plays a pretty BOSS (with a capital B!) CIA agent who is also bipolar. She is fearless and risks everything for truth. I really love her stamina. I recommend you watch an episode (Best to start with the first one). I promise you'll be hooked. Also, this show is highly binge-appropriate, especially if you have Hulu! 

Vermont Travel Guide

Vermont is one of our favorite weekend escapes. It feels so quaint and earthy. Vermonters focus on all things homemade and healthy.  We adore this, of course!

Outdoor activities are huge. Hiking and camping are easy in Vermont. There's so much open space! Aaron and I have loved getting to know the West Townshend area, which is featured in this Vermont guide.

Watch for more from Vermont as we continue exploring, but, in the mean time, enjoy West Townshend.

 

Where to stay:

We stayed in one the most magical places in the world: The Windham Hill Inn. We've been to the Inn three times because we're simply in love with the place!

The Windham Hill Inn was originally a farmhouse built in 1825. It's been converted to a charming Bed & Breakfast. The owners kept much of the traditional farmhouse decor. You can channel another era with all the modern conveniences. I loved the amazing bathtub.

The Windham Hill Inn sits on 160 acres of beautiful meadows and lush forests. I love the thoughtful touches throughout. Everything from tea time (with home baked cookies) to cheese plates in the lobby keep the "hangries" away!

Visiting the Windham Hill Inn has become a tradition for us. When YOU visit, be sure to sign the guestbook and look for our entries-haha!

 

Where to eat:

The Windham Hill Inn actually serves breakfast, picnic lunches and dinner in the house! It's so wonderful to stay and enjoy a B&B without having to search for meals elsewhere!

Imagine jumping in a hot bath RIGHT after dinner…or breakfast…or maybe lunch! That's what I’m talking about!

It also helps to have dinner at the B&B in case you get snowed in. That's what happened to us!

Seriously, the food Windham Hill Inn serves is all farm-to-table and delicious. Even if you don’t stay at the Inn, you can eat breakfast or dinner there and enjoy the gorgeous scenery. Their breakfast is delicious with everything from oatmeal, to pancakes, to delicious Vermont cheese omelets and Eggs Benedict. For dinner, I loved the ravioli. Aaron loved the chicken.

If you want something more casual for breakfast or lunch, we really enjoyed the Townshend Dam Diner. It’s definitely not fancy, but there's so much character and charm in the decorations. It's also a great spot to people watch.

If you’re looking for something that's casual, but possibly less diner-direct, go to the West Townshend Country Store. It’s actually at the bottom of Windham Hill Road. They have some basic breakfast food options which are all very tasty and fresh.

While you’re waiting for your food, take a stroll around the vintage shop upstairs! Also, every Friday night in warmer months the Country Store serves wood-fired pizza outside! This is fantastic! I’d highly recommend the experience. Pizza night outside provides such a local small town atmosphere. We love it! 

There's one more food option we loved: a burger joint called Honeypie. This restaurant looks like they totally renovated an old gas station and turned it into a hip little burger stop.

There are many obscure burger options. Aaron got a burger called “Bring It" which even included organic kimchi as a garnish. It also included bacon. How can you go wrong? You can even request to get your burger wrapped in lettuce if you're on a gluten-free diet. Oh, and their fries are gluten free. Yay!

Along with their burgers, Honeypie Is also known for sausages. They have everything from lamb to pork to beef sausages. Just like the burgers, they also offer plenty of obscure toppings.

 

What to do:

Vermont is a great place for outdoor activities, even in the middle of winter. One of our favorite activities was dog sledding at Vermont Husky Works. This adventure is run by a young husband and wife. Their family has over 200 acres of land transformed into dog sledding trails.

Aaron and I didn’t know what to expect at all, so we just went with the flow! We arrived, literally, in the middle of a snow storm. We brought our ski goggles and bundled up. Once we arrived, they introduced us to all of their huskies (over 30 of them) and told us about how they care for their dogs and a bit of history of their property and business. It was great getting to see how much they care for their dogs.

After teaching us about their business, they bundled us into sleds and we were off! The sledding explores about five miles of pathways throughout their property. There were so many snowy gorgeous sites to see!

Half way through, the leaders made a quick stop at a small cabin they built in the woods. The view was breathtaking! They even treated us to hot chocolate and homemade chocolate chip cookies. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience! We can’t wait to go back next year!

If you want to hike instead of sled, Vermont is also a great place for snow-shoeing. Last year I surprised Aaron with snow shoes. This was our first time to take them out and put them to the test. They worked great! We were able to traverse through rough snow with ease.

We meandered around the Windham Hill property (primarily because we were snowed in). You can find many trails and nature preserves all over Vermont, however.  If you’ve never been snow-shoeing, be sure to try it out!

If you’re in town during the summer, a good old fashioned hike is always a good idea. We explored Hamilton Falls, but, beware, this hike can be dangerous! There is a very large waterfall that weaves throughout the rocks. The rocks are extra smooth and slippery. Towards the top of the waterfall, there's a large swimming hole. It even has a ladder to help you easily enter the swimming hole. What an exhilarating experience!

Tired of hiking? How about riding a horse? Aaron and I love horses. In the summertime, we took horses on a trail at Adam’s Farm. In the winter, they also provide sleigh rides with their horses through the snow. They also give out hot chocolate for the ride :) I'd definitely recommend horseback riding anytime.

Finally, Vermont is wonderful for skiing. Windham Hill Inn is surrounded by a couple of ski villages. We didn’t actually go skiing in the area, but everyone we talked to seemed to love the skiing.

Vermont can be so fun whether you have an adventurous spirit or just need to relax for a few days. It’s amazing to know something so beautiful and unique is so close to NYC.

I hope this guide helps you have a great time. Good luck exploring!

Valentine's Day Q&A

It’s that time of year, folks!

Yes: It’s a question and answer game all about LOVE (and yada yada yada!)

Let’s get this awkward ball rolling. To be fair, love and personal relationships are never easy to talk about. You've sent me some questions about my relationship with Aaron. Some questions are light. Some are heavy.

I'll answer a few now.

Let me start with a little disclaimer: I am not perfect. Aaron is not perfect. Our relationship and marriage are far from perfect. There. I just wanted to get all that jazz out there before hand.

Now, let’s get on with the love-n-stuff:

 

1. How did you and Aaron meet?

Technically, we met at a rooftop barbecue in Brooklyn. I know, right: cue the hipster card. I was at a very funny time in my life when I wasn't looking for anything serious. Ok...so, I was in a bit of a crazy phase.

We met and Aaron gave me his number. He didn't hear from me for a month. What was going on for that month? I was busy working at two jobs and juggling NYC night life. On one of those wild nights, I accidentally left my phone in a taxi.

Phone-less and a bit upset, I suddenly recalled the man I met on the rooftop. He had said he could show me some cool record stores in Brooklyn. Facebook messaging was my only option. I asked him if he wanted to hang.

When I was with Aaron, adventures felt different in a crazy way...a good way...a forever way. Two years later we were engaged. The rest is history.

2. What made you guys want to have your wedding in Iceland?

Goodness. That was a rather last minute decision. Honestly, the whole kitten caboodle of planning a wedding really got to me. We got engaged in Paris. I put off wedding planning for a long time because it scared the heck out of me.

Sure, I wanted to marry Aaron, but I wasn't so keen on all the extra jazz. I started planning something that didn't feel much like me. One day, we just decided to throw the idea of a traditional wedding out.

We loved Iceland. Why not get married there? For the first time we felt truly content and joyful about wedding planning. The spontaneity felt like us.

3. How do you resolve conflicts after fighting?

Apologizing to the party you hurt is always a must. I love to write a note to Aaron when I’ve done something wrong. Notes and letters are truly a lost art in marriage.

When there's conflict or disagreement, I find you often just have to step back and say: It’s not all about me. It’s about us. We need to get centered again. It's not always about winning or being right.

I say do anything to get your relationship back on track: write a special note, give an extra kiss right on the smakaroo or maybe even dance a sexy dance (haha!). It’s all worth it in the end and (did I mention?) all this can lead to laughter and fun?! Laughter is important to a relationship.

4. What’s your favorite attribute of each other:

Aaron’s for Brynn: I love how Brynn loves her family. It’s been great getting to see how she interacts with her mom, dad, sisters, grandparents, and everyone else. I know that if she loves me even half as much as she loves them, then I’m in good hands.

Brynn’s for Aaron: Aaron has the greatest optimism and coolness under pressure. Sometimes, when I feel like things are falling apart, Aaron analyzes the situation and can almost always fix it! I tend to sometimes freeze under pressure, but I know Aaron always has everything under control. I don’t know what I would do without his optimism and wisdom!

5. Did you guys have a song? And, if so, what is it?

Yes, we do! "All The Way" by Frank Sinatra. This song really speaks about depths in our relationship. The first time I heard it, I cried. It made me think of us. I love the lyrics:

“Who knows where the road will lead us?

Only a fool would say

But if you'll let me love you

It's for sure I'm gonna love you

All the way”