Friday Faves!

It’s Fri-yay! Woohoo! I have been a busy, busy bee this week and I’m glad the weekend is in sight. I had a wonderfully butt-kicking workout in spin class this morning and I am ready to take this Friday by storm. I cannot believe how fast time is flying now that the countdown to moving is within 6 weeks! I will be soaking up all of my favorite parts of Boston this weekend and cross a few items off my list of “Must Do”s before I head out. It’s all happening so fast!

Let’s get right into what I’ve been feeling this week:

  1. Drinking Champagne Regularly Could Improve Memorychampagne-01.jpg

…Because we all needed another reason to drink more bubbles. A study published in  2013 in the Antioxidants & Redox Signaling journal found a link between drinking Champagne and preventing memory loss. According to the study, Champagne’s phenolic compounds can actually improve spatial memory — the part of memory associated with one’s environment or ability to navigate — which typically deteriorates in old age. The authors studied three groups of eight rats that completed a maze at the beginning of the study, and then six weeks later after daily champagne consumption (can I sign up for that study?). Interestingly enough, the rats showed a higher success rate after the six weeks, showing that the compounds in Champagne may help combat neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Obviously, the authors did not endorse drinking champagne on a daily basis, but felt imbibing one to two glasses a week may still be effective. CHEERS!

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Bubbles and Booyah Hint: If you’d like a great bottle of bubbles for under $15 (but doesn’t taste like it), try Vueve de Vernay. It’s typically Blanc de Blanc, a white wine made exclusively from white grapes, and it is a Brut (dry) sparkling wine with a touch of fruitness. It’s not vintage dated, to allow the winemaker the flexibility of including wines from other vintages for balance and consistency (and also keeps the price point low). It’s delightful and I found a bottle at my neighborhood liquor store for $11.99!

2. There are still good people in this world.

After falling 200 yards from the finish line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Savannah, GA, this man (see video below) almost gave up finishing his half marathon, but Sgt. John Cain of the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department rushed to help.

The runner, Robert McCoy, kept whispering, “I’ve got to finish this race.” Sgt. Cain helped him to his feet, and supported him until he crossed the finish line. It turns out that Robert, himself a cancer survivor, was running the half marathon in honor of his father, who died of cancer that past April. As a gesture of appreciation, Robert swung by the police station that Monday to give Sgt. Cain his medal. “He deserved it more than I did, because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have finished the race for my dad. He’s the real hero.” But Sgt. Cain called Robert the real hero: “Just his motivation, his dedication, his drive to that race made him a hero in my book.”

Are you crying yet?

After all the horrible things that have happened this past week in Paris, this story gave me a little shred of hope – and reminded me that there is still a lot of goodness in the world. ❤ ❤ ❤

3. Athleta Space Dye Strength Hoodie

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Friend and trainer Sarah did an awesome boot camp last Sunday morning at Athleta, with the store being open to her friends for shopping afterwards. We all fell in love with this unbelievably soft and cozy hoodie, which is sweat wicking and comes in super fun colors. I was the hoodie pusher (the Athleta manager told me I should work there) because I told everyone to try it on because it was just soooo cozy. So we all did. And then, eleven of us bought the hoodie, so now we all match in class together. 🙂 It is really soft, and really cute, and on sale! You can also use your Gap Cash to purchase it. You can find it here.

4. Theo Salted Almond Dark Chocolate

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I love Theo chocolate anyway, but this dark chocolate bar is out of this flippin’ world: it combines 70% dark chocolate with almonds and a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s sweet and salty and has amazing crunch. All of my favorite things in one bar! It’s completely vegan, kosher and soy free. I may have eaten an entire bar for dessert last night. Whoops! Also, these bars were on sale at Stop N’Shop, so if you live in the Boston area and are jonesing for one, check there for a great price.

5. Gardein Crispy Tenders

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These guys are a magical meatless product for when you just don’t feel like cooking. They crisp to perfection in the toaster oven (texture is a big thing for me – they aren’t mushy!) and they taste really good. I personally think these ones are better than the Trader Joe’s version. I ate a whole bunch last night for dinner – six tenders clock in at 300 calories and 24 grams of protein. You can find them in the vegetarian freezer section – I highly encourage you to check them out. YUM!

6. ATTENTION, ATTENTION: MISSY ELLIOT HAS A NEW MUSIC VIDEO!

This is not a drill. I’ve already added this to my running playlist for this weekend’s long run. 😀

Well, I hope that you all have a super booyah-filled weekend! I’ll be romping around Boston soaking it all in. I’ll be hitting the gym for Sweaturday tomorrow to get my sweat on, and I’m looking forward to catching up with my fave Saturday gym gals (the Real Housewives of Medford). What are you guys up to this weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments section.
With warmth,

L

 

Champagne & White Peach Sangria

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Bubbles and Booyah Signature Summer Cocktail: Champagne & White Peach Sangria

Just in time for Thirsty Thursday, I bring you the best damn sangria recipe EVER. Literally, EVER. As you know, I love champagne  – just in case you were wondering how much, please see the name of my blog 😉 – so I decided it was high time to create a signature Bubbles and Booyah cocktail before summer ended. Last night was the perfect opportunity to let the creative juices flow: I had friends over for a dinner party, where I made Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto over Zood-Noods and Spicy Tempeh.

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Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto over Zood-Noods with Spicy Tempeh and topped with Vegan Parmesan Cheeze plate-scape from last night. Thankfully my friends don’t judge me too much for snapping pictures of all of my food to share with you guys 🙂

It was the perfect summer evening: sunny, a little breezy, warm. I figured that a light, refreshing cocktail that featured some fresh, local produce would fit the bill and my menu perfectly. But I was torn: I really, really wanted sangria but I also really, really wanted a champagne cocktail. Then I thought, “What is stopping me from making sangria with champs?” Answer: NOTHING!

I combined fresh, perfectly ripe white peaches (they are in season!), lemon and Cointreau with a nice crisp Brut Champagne. The result was cocktail perfection. And the best part was eating those champagne soaked peaches out of the bottom of your glass. Without further ado:

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Everything you need for the Champs & White Peach Sangria! Champagne (that Veuve de Vernay was $12 a bottle and DELICIOUS), Triple Sec, 1 lemon and 3 – 4 peaches.

Champagne & White Peach Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 750-mL bottle of Brut Champagne
  • 1/4 cup of Triple Sec
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 – 4 white peaches, diced into cubes
  • Ice

Directions:

Step One: Dice your peaches into small cubes, and put them at the bottom of your pitcher. Pour the freshly squeezed lemon juice and Triple Sec over the peaches.
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I diced the peaches into small cubes to better release the peach flavor into the champagne.

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I juiced a lemon into a small bowl so I could scoop all the seeds out before adding to the peach mixture at the bottom of my pitcher.

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I only used three peaches, because mine were massive.

Step Two: Add champagne and stir.
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Add the champagne. Don’t mind the mess in the background – I had everything ready to go for the zood-noods 🙂

Step Three: Serve immediately over ice in a wine glass.

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This is literally the easiest cocktail ever. SO simple, but tastes delicious and special, and looks so fancy! If you are making this for a crowd, I would double the recipe and pack the pitcher with ice to keep it perfectly chilled – we just split the pitcher between the three of us because…YOLO. There were tons of peaches leftover in the bottom of the pitcher, so you would probably only need 5 peaches for a double recipe (or I mean, you don’t have to attempt to pour the entire pitcher into three glasses like I did). It tastes best when it’s very chilled, so chilling your champagne before your guests arrive (or grabbing one out of the refrigerated section at the liquor store on your way home from work) and packing the glasses with ice is key.

I am a Brut Champagne snob, but you can in theory make this with Prosecco or Cava. 😉 😉 I’m sure it would be equally delicious!

Some additional ideas if you want to get fancy:

  • Garnish glasses with a lemon slice
  • Add lemon slices/wedges to float in the cocktail
  • Garnish the glass with a twist of basil or mint
  • Top glasses with sparkling water for a less boozy drink (more of a wine spritzer vibe)

Also to note: wearing an apron while making this cocktail is highly recommended: 😉

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Not that anyone would notice this but me, but as soon as I walked in the door I ditched my work shoes for flip flops. And they even matched my outfit. Reefs FTW! 😉 😛 Just another day in Booyahville!

I hope that you guys enjoy this cocktail as much as we did! My friends gave it two thumbs up and agreed that the boozy peaches at the bottom of the glass was a stellar finish to the sangria. 😀 😀 😀

Happy Thirsty Thursday everyone! Cheers!

With warmth (minus your frosty bev),

L

L’s Beauty Faves

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Hi gorgies! Today I wanted to share some of my beauty faves/getting ready essentials. Just like there are people that are foodies and obsessed with all things food (guilty), there is also an equivalent for beauty products. Yes, I’ve been known to get my rocks off finding the perfect mascara that makes your lashes POP or the perf lip color shade for my skin tone. I’ve searched high and low for the best of the best in products since I was allowed to start wearing makeup (I won’t say how long ago that was, but long enough to know some sh*t). I am also really into making at home-beauty treatments (which I will save for another post) and boy oh boy did I have some beauty adventures/disasters (try washing a homemade mashed banana moisture mask out of long, curly hair). Along the way, I’ve learned some stuff and wanted to share the products I swear by (hand on Chanel).

1. Dior DiorShow Waterproof Mascara

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This mascara is the queen of all mascaras. It really gives your lashes a fuller look without looking fake, Kardashian-esque or clumpy. It doesn’t flake off as the day goes on and decorate your under-eye area with black chunks, and it stays put. It’s lasted full-blown teary melt downs, getting thrown into a pool, and stand-up paddle boarding (to name a few). I swear by this mascara, and have bought it for years! It is the one beauty product I will not leave the house without – #redheadproblems include having red/blonde eyelashes that don’t really pop without assistance. The. Best. It really allows you to put your best lashes forward and get your flirt on. 😉 And, (B will attest to this), I frequently send snapchats with the sole purpose of sharing the fact that I’m having a great mascara day (you may laugh at this, but my eye makeup game is on fleek).

2. Bobbi Brown Longwear Gel Eyeliner

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The second product I won’t leave home without is this eyeliner. When my sister saw my eyeliner routine (sometimes I go back for a second round if one side is darker than the other – hello, it’s got to be even!) she laughed and said, “You’re such a Paisan!” – um, I obviously need to make these Italian eyes pop like a boss. This eyeliner should be the DiorShow mascara’s Ride or Die b*tch, because it stays put nearly as long. There have been nights of me going out (not as frequent as they once were!) where I fall asleep without washing my face, don’t sprawl around all that much, and my eye makeup is still perfectly applied with limited smudging the next morning (if you don’t believe me, ask the Medford Housewives – they’ve seen it in action at 7:30 am Saturday morning).

3. Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer

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I am pretty fair, and I’ve got a ton of freckles, and finding a tinted moisturizer light enough for my complexion is a challenge. Obv, walking around in life with your face a remarkably different color than your neck/chest is a “no” on the highest level (you would def be a Glamour “Don’t”). This tinted moisturizer is light and sheer, but still has enough pigment that it evens out your skin tone to a gorgie make-up-free-and-fabulous look. I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t irritate my super sensitive skin or cause breakouts (I mean, they usually just happen sometimes). It also has SPF 20 which is a plus (everyone should wear at least SPF 15 on their face/neck everyday – no exceptions!), and is hydrating to boot. Pretty much a winner all around.

4. Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve

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The stand-by classic. I always have a tin of this in my purse. It gives just the most subtle touch of rosy color and shine, and keeps your look natural and low maintenance (I love that we as women – prepare yourself for a broad generalization that may or may not apply to you – spend time and money to look like we just rolled out of bed and #wokeuplikethis – but really, it does take some effort and time to make yourself presentable on a daily basis/maybe only if you have a hot date and want to look nice. Idk. I hope you know what I saying here – it definitely takes a few key products to achieve the fresh-faced look I want to present to the world). This really is a great product; it conditions your lips and makes them look very kissable.

5. Alba Botanica Hawaiian Hand & Body Lotion in Replenishing Cocoa Butter

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I was walking around the gym last week and someone looked up from their locker and exclaimed, “Someone smells like chocolate! Like chocolate brownies!” …It was me. 🙂 I love this lotion, because not only does it smell amazing (cocoa butter-based lotion has been my Go-To since I’ve been shaving my legs), but it is thick, creamy, super hydrating and moisturizing for my sensitive, dry skin. It feels like a special treat every morning when I do the post-shower lotion application, and my skin is still smooth and moisturized when I’m putting on my comfy pants at the end of the day. It’s a must have. And, out of all of these products, it has 100% vegetarian ingredients and is cruelty-free (score!).

6. Chanel Chance

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Ever since this perfume was introduced in 2003, I have owned a bottle. I am obsessed (I had a semi-meltdown when my roommate’s cat stealthily broke into my bedroom, climbed on my bookcase and up-ended my bottle all over the floor in college. But then I wasn’t that mad because my room smelled ever-so-slightly like Chance for the rest of the year). I am a Chanel fan regardless (Coco is a bamf, obv) and when this scent came out I ran, not walked, to Sephora and scooped one up. The scent is a lovely mix of freshness meets flowery notes upon first spritz, and then mellows to a sensual spicy composition. The best part is that there are now two additional Chance spin-offs, both of which are fantastic and I also own. I rotate between them based on my mood, what I’m feeling for the day and the season. I own other perfumes too, but this is the one I keep coming back to. It’s like the Mr. Big of perfumes (So is it the best? Abso-f***ing-lutely).

I hope that you guys enjoyed reading about my hands-down faves. Hope you all have a beautiful Thursday! 😀 😀

With warmth,

L

xoxox

Girls’ Niiiiiiiight! (woo woo)

PicFrame (2)Last night I hung up my comfy pants and oven mitts and got ready to give my cheers-ing arm a workout. In the words of my girl R, “The only thing better than boozing tonight was removing my nylons when I got home from work.” Amen, sister. 😉 (The second best thing was my military-precision execution of breakfast/lunch/gym bag packing last night after gettin’ toasty, so I was organized and ready to rumble when my alarm went off at 5 am, and rolled out of bed like a boss even though it was rainy and cold outside and I was exceptionally warm under the covers: L – 1, Bed – 0: winning!).

Last night, we went to River Bar at Assembly Row in Somerville (a brand spankin’ new dining/retail hot spot along the Mystic River with a newly build T stop, a gigantic movie theater, apartments, etc etc. Three years ago, there were empty lots of gravel and weeds in its place, a really sad looking Kmart and the busiest Home Depot ever – I cannot get over how much is there now!). I had never been before but River Bar’s menu included “elevated street food” (questionable) and an extensive drinks menu. The big draw is their 2,600 square foot outdoor patio with fire pits, couches and heat lamps. Sad for us, it decided to randomly snow (!!) which then turned into pouring rain last night so we were relegated to the much smaller inside dining space.

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I’m a chemist not a photographer, and my iPhone camera is limited, but this image captures the pretty stellar patio area of River Bar that is heated (!), has fire pits (marshmallows anyone?) and couches/lounge-y seating areas! Due to the deluge we were experiencing, we didn’t get to partake in any of its merriment.

Obviously to get things started, we ordered some drinks off their cocktail menu to refresh our palates. Round one: cocktails for all! 😀

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River Bar’s cocktail menu

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Cocktails, round one (from top left): Rose Tyler (R), Prosecco w/Chamboard (A) & Jungle Cat (L)

The first round of cocktails were pretty delicious, but not perfection. I really liked the spiciness of the rum with the tartness of the lime in my “Jungle Cat” – a combo I will definitely be experimenting with in L’s Test Kitchen. 😉 R said that her cocktail tasted like a cough drop at first but was good once you got past that (hence why we all ordered something else for round two, except A who was on the right track all along). As per usual, we were all starving so we ordered some food. There were slim pickings for vegetarian options, but I ordered the Grilled and Sauteed Vegetables (baby eggplant, greens, roasted shallot jelly and fried wontons).

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L’s meal: Grilled and Sauteed Vegetables (baby eggplant, greens, roasted shallot jelly and fried wontons)

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R & A ordered small plates to share: fried sweet potato (with pomegranate molasses and scallions), corned beef and cabbage dumplings (rye dipping sauce) and chicken and brie terrine (picked apples).

Frankly, the best thing we ate were the fried sweet potatoes – that pomegranate molasses was AMAZING, and I will definitely be making my own version in the near future (it was the perfect balance between tart, sweet and bold). Round two of cocktails we all decided to go with B&B’s namesake cocktail: Bubbles!! The gals ordered Prima Perla Prosecco, Veneto, and I ordered a glass of Louis de Grenelle Cremant de Loire ‘Platine’, France. The bubbles were AMAZING and made me immediately regret ordering a cocktail off the drink menu. Bubbles all the way!! *ding*

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Bubbles: The. Best. Ever. *clink!*

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The fairly impressive bar of River Bar. I was such a tourist/creeper taking phots while people were enjoying their frosty bevs – I just wanted to share with you guys! 😀

All in all, a fabulous time with the girls. Next door to River Bar is amazing ice cream place (that has PHENOMENAL dairy-free ice cream choices!), J.P. Licks – they are a Boston-area staple. A little dessert was calling our name so we headed over there after our cocktails to assess the dessert situation (/we were all still at starvation station).

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The menu at JP Licks – look at all those vegan options!! Hoorayyyy!! 😀

I was really stoked on the dairy free scene at JP Licks, and I literally had a sample of every single one of the DF ice cream flavors (I’m pretty sure the guy behind the counter may have wanted to shank me). I ended up choosing half coconut almond and half maple walnut and was exceptionally pumped about life. They were AMAZING – no regrets there. Not gonna lie, I would have been totes happy with champagne and ice cream only for girls night – those were the highlights of my evening! 😀

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Vegan Ice Cream – YES PLEASE.

All in all, we had a pretty fantastic time out gabbing it up and getting some much needed girl time in. It’s really the company that matters more than anything, and spending time with my girls made up for the sad, miniature dinners we all ate and the “meh” cocktails. We were by far the loudest group in there – sometimes you just need laughter for your ab workout of the day 😉

I hope all of your had exceptionally special and fantastic evenings last night, too! Happy Humpday! We made it halfway! Woo woo!!

xo,

L ❤