Booyah’s Favorite Things

Happy Friday, all! It’s finally here. WHEW. It has been a long, tough week for me, getting back into my regularly scheduled workout routine. I am SORE. Yeow. All I kept thinking when I’ve been working out this week is that these muscles are the ones that will be lifting my couch up three flights of stairs when I move in 17 days…let’s strengthen these babies UP!

Enough about that. I am maybe 46% excited that it’s the holiday season (most of my excitement is being directed toward grad school). I know we are already smack-dab in the middle of Hanukkah, and Christmas is quickly approaching, but I thought I’d share a few of my recent faves that might be the perfect little something for someone on your holiday gift list. Without further ado…

  1. Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve

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This seamless running shirt is cute enough to wear in real life! The fabric is light, soft, sweat-wicking, non-chafing and of course has thumb holes. The perfect shirt for chilly winter runs and wearing to get coffee afterwards too. It has outstanding reviews and is sure to inspire you to lace up your sneaks and get out there. Find it here: Oiselle Flyte Long Sleeve.

2. Runner Box

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The Runnerbox is filled with all things having to do with running, perfect for your marathoner friends and family: gels, chews, protein shakes, snacks, personal care, running accessories and discounts. Boxes are sent out every two months and cost between $20 and $25, depending on how many months you choose to subscribe. Hi, who doesn’t want a fun gift to open every two months?! Runnerbox also has boxes devoted to cyclists and triathletes.

3. Reach for the Moon Pendant

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This is so CUTE! I randomly came across this collection of necklaces (reasonably priced at around $55 each) with each one having a different meaning. I think it’s such a cute way to wear as a reminder to set your goals high, with a blue moonstone for happiness, blue topaz for joy, love, luck and health; and iolite to open the mind. Adorbs. You can find it at Uncommon Goods.

4. GRID Mini Foam Roller

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I have a serious love affair with my foam roller – it hurts so good! The Grid Mini Foam Roller ($25) loosens tight muscles and helps prevent injuries; it’s a great tool after any workout. This small, travel-friendly roller is easy to store and bring to roll out your legs after you attempt to run off your Chrismukkah feast. It makes the perfect gift for the ones you love. 🙂

5. Garden Jar

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This Garden Jar, although back ordered because it snagged a spot on Oprah’s Favorite Things list, is such a sweet gift idea. It contains three self-watering jars containing basil, parsley and mint. You can grow the herbs indoors in a sunny window and you’ll have fresh herbs on hand when it’s time to throw them in your favorite dishes. SO AWESOME. Find it here: Garden Jar 3-pack.

I hope that you guys all have a fabulous Friday and weekend! The name of the game for me is a) pack it up and b) see friends, so I will be doing that all weekend long. What are you guys up to this weekend? Tell me all about it in the comments.

With warmth,

L

Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies

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Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies fresh outta the oven.

It’s the most wonderful tiiiiiime of the yeaaaaar! Why, it’s time for vegan holiday cookies! This recipe for vegan ginger molasses cookies is one of my favorites, I love the spiciness of these cookies (which, if you’ve ever seen any of the breakfast foods I post on Instagram, you’d notice a pattern of adding very friendly shakes of cinnamon, cloves and cardamom to pretty much everything – smoothies, overnight oats, muesli, pancakes, life in general…). This baby is another great “make ahead” recipe – and you bet your bippy that I made this ahead. It’s currently residing in a cooler in the trunk of the Marshmallow Mobile for transport to CT later today (make sure you give me a honk on Waze to say hi if you’re on I-84 today). This cookie dough can be made up to a week in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for a month. Also, I ALWAYS use blackstrap molasses in place of the other kinds of molasses, because it’s a sweetener that actually has some nutritional value (unlike refined sugar or corn syrup, which has been processed and stripped of all its nutrients except simple carbohydrates). The nutrients found in blackstrap molasses include manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium. Bonus!! Okaaaaay, so that doesn’t exactly make these cookies “healthy” enough to eat the whole batch in one sitting, but a few of these holiday treats won’t kill ya. 😉 Without further ado….

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All the ingredients for Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies: flour, vegan marg, baking soda, baking powder, spices, blackstrap molasses, organic and coconut sugar.

Vegan Ginger Molasses Cookies

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened
3/4 cup coconut sugar*, plus extra for rolling
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1 -2 tablespoons water

*This time I actually used half organic sugar, half coconut sugar, but use whatever you’d like/you have. 🙂

Directions

Step One: Cream the butter and sugar together, using a stand or hand mixer. Slowly add the molasses and water and mix until well combined.
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Adding molasses to the butter and sugar. YUM!

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After the molasses has been added and mixed in, and before the addition of the flour mixture. It was smelling divine!

Step Two: In a medium to large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves. If any one of those smell particularly good to you (like for me, the cloves!) add an extra shake or two. Can’t hurt. 😉
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Flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices in a large bowl, ready to be whipped into shape.

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The homogeneous mixture after mixing (sorry, you can’t take the Chemistry out of this gal sometimes).

Step Three: Turn the mixing speed to low (see my note on Antiquing yourself in Vegan Christmas Cookies – Part One) and slowly add the flour mixture in small portions. Make sure you do a little Holiday jig while you wait for each portion to be combined.
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Action shot! Slowly adding the flour in so it doesn’t end up all over YOU. 😉

Step Four: Once the flour mixture has all been combined, you can stop here and transfer your dough to an airtight container for storage in the fridge up to a week (which is what I did). If you’re just rarin’ to go, proceed to step five.
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The finished dough! Ready either to be made into cookies, or transferred to an airtight container.

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As in my previous post, I simply transferred my dough into an airtight container, wrote out the directions on an index card and taped it right on the lid of the container.

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So pumped to make these! Woohooo!!

Step Five: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two to three large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat liners. Roll the dough into balls (about 1 rounded tablespoon at a time) then dip the top half in a shallow dish filled with sugar. Place them on the cookie sheet and bake for 10 to 12 miles, allowing them to cool directly on the pan.
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Roll the dough into small balls, and then roll in the balls in sugar. YUMMM. Try not to eat all the batter like my sister did when I was rolling these.

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Place the rolled cookies onto a baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper – it makes it a breeze to remove them once they are baked.

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As you can see, my family got to these cookies before I could take a picture of all of them baked. This recipe makes about 40 cookies.

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I wish you could smell these through your computer screen because DAMN they are good! They were gone in two days.

Yum!! These are literally the best. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family! We chowed them in less than two days, I think they were everyone’s favorite. Woohoo, Christmas!

Sending you all lots of love and holiday cheer today, yippeeeeee!!

xoxox,

L ❤

Vegan Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

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Holy sugar plums batman, it’s ALMOST CHRISTMAS!! Three days! Woooo woooo!! Instead of braving the crowd of people at the malls scooping up their last gifts before the big day, I spent the weekend a) relaxing before the madness (/recovering from a wicked cold, which through tea and hot yoga has been vanquished) and b) prepping food for transport to my sister’s house in CT. I made two types of vegan cookies, both of which have dough that is okay for “make ahead” and can be refrigerated up to one week before you bake it. And because baking cookies as a family is fun, and they taste best when they are hot out of the oven, and because I own zero cookie cutters and my mom has about 5689 in fun holiday shapes, I decided this was a great candidate for “make ahead and bring”. Also, I want to spend Christmas Day playing with my nephew, not standing in front of a KitchenAid.

First things first – what is Christmas without decorating sugar cookies as a family? Um, not one that I would like to participate in. Decorating cookies has always been a holiday tradition in my house, and we still are down for it, especially since the traditional recipe has been replaced with a new, improved vegan version that is way more delicious (and better for you, and the earth!). The best thing about these vegan cut-out sugar cookies is that they are guilt-free – they have less than half the amount of calories in the traditional cut-out cookies, are yummy and soft (no one want cardboard-textured ANYTHING), and DAMN good – even without the frosting. The second best thing? There are no eggs in this recipe, so you can eat as much raw batter as you’d like without getting whacked with a wooden spoon. YES LIFE. Without further ado…

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All the ingredients for Mom’s Vegan Sugar Cookies! So simple: powdered sugar, flour, flaxmeal, vanilla extract, almond extract, vegan margarine. So easy! 🙂

Mom’s Vegan Sugar Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

For cookies:
2 tablespoon ground flaxseed (or flaxmeal – same diff)
6 tablespoons (warm) water
1 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance is my fave)
1 cup organic powdered sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling

For frosting*:
2 cups powdered sugar
8 -10 teaspoons vanilla soy milk
Sprinkles or colored sugar crystals

*Mom and I also added 2 Tbsp of soy butter to our frosting to make it more like butter cream and less like a glaze. YUM!

Directions

Step One: Make the flaxmeal “eggs” by placing 1 Tbsp flaxmeal into a small bowl, then adding 3 Tbsp warm water. Give it a good stir, and allow the flaxmeal “eggs” to stand for about 15 minutes, until they have an “egg-like” consistency. You can grind your own flax seeds up to make the flaxmeal, or you can just buy Bob’s Red Mill Brand like I did (let’s make this easy as possible, shall we?).
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Allow your flaxseed “eggs” to chill for a little bit. Do a dance. Make yourself a cup of tea. Stretch out in dancer’s pose. Whatev. You’ve got 15 or minutes to do YOU. 😉

Step Two: If your butter is coming straight out of the fridge, or if you just pulled it off the shelf in Stop N’Shop, place into a microwave safe bowl and give a good nuke to soften it (15 – 20 seconds should do it). Pour into the a stand-alone mixer or large bowl, and add the powdered sugar. Cream the butter and sugar using the mixer (whatever kind you like to use).
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Whooopsie! I forgot and added vanilla and almond extract before I took a picture of the creamed butter. Welp, my vegan marg was pretty much completely melted – but that’s ok because you put the whole dang thing in the fridge and let it chill for an hour or more. It’ll stiffen right up to where it needs to be after that, so it’s okay if your butter/sugar looks a little melty.

Step Three: Add the vanilla and almond extract and the flaxmeal “eggs”, beat well until combined.
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Vegan marg, sugar, flaxmeal “eggs” and vanilla/almond extract mixed in. If you don’t love the flax seed chunks, tough nuggets. Just kidding – you can just grind them down to a finer powder. Also, I think golden flaxmeal exists too, maybe try that? I’m not really offended by it so I just go with the flow, man.

Step Four: Turn the mixing speed to low and slowly add the flour in small portions (trust me, you do not want to dump it all in at once, or you will antique yourself – if you have no idea what I’m talking about, YouTube “Antiquing Flour Prank” and you’ll get a nice giggle. Otherwise you’ll look like the president of the frat diagonally across from my sorority house who once upon a time was antiqued in a very epic and elaborate fashion – you know who you are.)
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I slowly scoop my flour into the mixer using a big spoon, let it completely fold into the dough, then add some more. It takes a hot minute, so put on some good tunes and jam while you patiently add the flour.

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Here’s what my dough looked like at the end. It was still pretty flexible, which will be fixed by chilling it in the fridge for at least an hour before rolling.

Step Five: Once all the ingredients are happily mixed, knead the dough to combine and roll it into a bowl. Place that sucker into an airtight container (or plastic ziploc) and put it into the fridge for at least an hour to chill. I personally stopped here – the rolling and cookie cutting will be done on Christmas Eve in Southern Connecticut!
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Since I’m only semi Vegan Betty Crocker, instead of baking these cookies, I just scooped all that gorgeous vegan cookie dough right into an airtight container. To make my life that much easier, I wrote the remaining directions right out on an index card and taped it to the top of the container. And done.

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Step Six: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two cookie sheets with sil-pat liners or parchment paper, or really roll the dice and spray with nonstick spray and set them aside. Knead 1/2 of the dough for 10 seconds or so to make it more pliable (really get in there – use those muscles!!). With a rolling pin, roll it flat onto a clean, floured surface until it’s 1/4 inch-ish in thickness. (The flour is key so that your cookie dough doesn’t stick to the counter and turn you into a sad panda).
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L’s Mom in action rolling out the dough. We split our cookie dough in sections, and kept the sections we weren’t working on the in the freezer. The colder the dough was, we found the easier to roll it and cut out shapes. Once the dough warms up, it gets really pliable and difficult to work with.

Step Seven: The best part, woohoo!! Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes, and place cookies on the parchment paper.
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Go to town cutting shapes out! It helps if you dip your cookie cutters into a little pile of flour to help them come out of the dough easier (that’s a Tip from Mom right there – she’s the cookie cutting master!!).

Step Eight: Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (keep your eye on the ball – watch carefully to make sure the edges don’t brown). Allow them to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before attempting to remove them (it helps prevent them from breaking apart).
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It depends on your oven and how “done” you like your sugar cookies, we baked ours for eight minutes. Also to note, we had no trouble getting them off cookie sheets that were plain – no baking spray, no Silpat or parchment paper. As long as your cookie sheets are in good shape, it should be a piece of cake to remove them! 🙂

Step Nine: Allow to cool completely, and try not to eat them all before you can frost them. 😉
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After the sugar cookies have cooled for a few minutes on the cookie sheet, transfer to a wire rack to allow them to cool completely before frosting.

Step Ten: Mix together the ingredients for the icing to your desired consistency, and decorate however you want! Obviously, adjust the soymilk/powdered sugar ratios until it’s just right for you. Personally, we divide the frosting in a few smaller bowls and add food coloring (I’m sure there is natural food coloring and sprinkles that exist, but I just use the kind you find in the baking aisle). You can even make this super fun and “healthy” by adding coconut flakes, raw cacao nibs – whatever you’d like in addition or instead of sprinkles. What the hell – why not throw some chia seeds on there? Experiment, and most importantly, have FUN! 😀
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The best part: have fun decorating! Here my sister and bro-in-law are modeling our efforts. 😀 😀 Get creative and crazy!! 😀

These are seriously some of my favorite things to make for Christmas! I truly hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does, and I hope that I’ve inspired you guys to be easy on yourselves this holiday. Make stuff ahead. Don’t stress. We are all superwoman/superman (duhhh), but it doesn’t all have to be perfect all the time. You’ll never remember that stuff anyway. You WILL remember hugging your mom, or playing with your nephew, or laughing with your sister over a glass of wine. If it’s not perfect, who cares. Your family loves you just the way you are! 😀 K I’m off my soapbox now. But you guys are truly great, and I’m just here to remind you every now and then. 😀

Sending Christmas/Holiday/Hanukkah Spirit your way today! Happy Monday, too!

With warmth,

L

xox ❤

Friday Faaaaves!

photo-1It’s Friday! It’s Friday! And even better, it’s the last Friday before Christmas. Thus, this edition of Friday Faves will combine my fave ever gifts to give (and get).

1. A really nice bottle of booze.

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Aka, the namesake of this blog. But obvs pick one YOU like – bourbon, gin, scotch, champs, Merlot – you name it. It’s never a bad idea. 😉

2. A super sexy cozy flannel.

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Make sure you find a hunky Lumbersexual man to give it to. Or just keep it for yourself. Because the 90’s are NEVER over.

3. A race!

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Race registration fees add up over time (tell me about it, especially when you **need** a new cute running outfit for each one), and it’s the perf gift to give to those you love. You can train together and celebrate afterwards as well (maybs you can even crack open that bubbly you got in celebration)! 😀

4.  A gift certificate to the spa.

spaBecause, let’s face it, we are all busy and prob have something better to spend $100 on than getting wrapped up like a burrito after a rub down. But it’s amazing, stress-relieving and just gosh-dang INDULGENT. And that, my friends, is a perfect gift (unless you’re insanely ticklish like I am, it’s pretty amazing to get a full body rub down, or pedi, or facial – whatever you’re into).

5. A super delicious meal.

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Cook for your people. Crack open a bottle of wine. Put your phones away and sit around the table and LAUGH. Savor the meal slowly over candlelight. Enjoy life.  It’s the little things. We (it’s a royal “we” –  I’m including all of you in this but it’s a very serious L prob) don’t make time for these things. Life is busy, we are busy, but it makes you (/me) enjoy life so much more when you take your time to appreciate those little things with the people you really, really care about. That’s what it’s all about.

Here are just a few delicious ideas to get your creative cooking juices flowin’…

Yummm…I just got SO hungry looking through the recipes I’ve posted!! Is it lunch time yet? 😛

I hope you guys are all feeling inspired, warm, fuzzy and holiday-ish on the inside now. I certainly am! I am ready for the weekend. It’s a long run weekend, and I’m ready to bundle up and get my lil rear out there running along the trails. LOVING. IT.

Falalalalaaaaaaaaa!!

With love,

L

xo ❤

PS: Did I say Happy Friday yet?! HAPPY FRIDAY, MY B&B LOVES! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 😀 😀 😀

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Doesn’t Boston look so pretty dressed up for the holidays? I’m just not over it yet. 😉

L’s Goin’ CRAZ-AY!

Fear not all, I have not actually fallen off the face of the earth. Life got crazy, crazy busy – I haven’t bought groceries in two weeks (I’ve been living on smoothies and toast, thank you very much) and I have a trillion Holiday engagements this week (one of which includes getting my brows waxed and then finishing my holiday shopping on Newbs with scary red blotches around my brows – I may terrify some small children). I didn’t forget about you all – I’m sending you lots of love and happy Christmukkah thoughts your way (maybe it’s due to the current level of crazy I’m experiencing, but I just picture this as sending red and green wavy lines from my fingertips into the blog-o-sphere – I’m looooosing it!). 😉

So to re-cap:

1. Work is crazy (this is what happens when you have the best, relaxing day of your life on your day off and then come back to a mountain of work taller than you on your desk).

2. I have no food in my house (and I can’t stop eating all the holiday treats everyone is bringing into work – aaah!).

3.I haven’t had a decent workout since Monday (but it’s happening today. It’s on like Donkey Kong, or I really just MAY go off the deep end).

4. I’m kind of losing my mind (see 1, 2, 3 above).

5. I miss you guys, and all your comments on the usually bomb food I make. I promise not to let you down! This weekend and early next week I will be cranking away in my kitchen making food, and sharing the deliciousness that I dream up. I’m SO excited to eat quinoa and kale and tofu again, you have no idea. I’ve been missing all the super crunchy food that my diet is usually composed of (i.e. not the stuff I’ve been eating out of take-out containers, or a crinkly bag, or off a tray of treats that Accounting brought in).

I hope that all of you have been experience productive, mellow, and harmonious pre-holiday-ness (aka pretty much the exact opposite of what I’ve been experiencing here). I am sending you all lots of love and once I am able to iron out the cray wrinkles in my schedule I’ll be back with tons of recipes and deliciousness. Have no fear, L is here! 😀

I’ll leave you with some pics of my city all dressed up for the holidays!

photo 1 photo 3With warmth,

L

xo ❤

Life Update!

Good morning good morning!! I’m writing to you not from my desk but from my kitchen table! I am taking today off to spend time with my little sister (from my sorority) who I haven’t seen in what feels like a billion years. When I landed on Friday night from New Mexico, there she was! We have had such an amazing weekend. It’s been sooooo much fun to drag her all over Boston (and the surrounding towns of course) and show her all of my fave haunts. We went to one of my fave spots EVER Highland Kitchen in Somerville, MA and got amazinggg food and drinks.
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Yesterday we ran in the Jingle Bell 5K with 7,000 of our closest friends. People were DECKED OUT. It was pretty fantastic. I did “okaaaay” for me and ran it in about 26 minutes. It was not a PR but at least I was faster than 8:30 min/mile. 😉

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I made a pretty stellar muesli with apples, cranberries and spices cooked right in for our pre race breakfast. Don’t worry, recipes to come. It’s kinda tricky writing posts from your phone, so check back later on. I topped the muesli with banana, pomegranate, cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, coconut and almond butter. It was one of the best combos I’ve ever made! Amazingggg.

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Today we are going to get to so my dream day off – gym (check, already done), a mellow morning yoga class and then shopping on Newbury Street and romping all over Boston to see my fave city all snazzed up for the Holidays.

Welp, I’m off to have my holiday filled day! I hope you all had great weekends and have a great Monday today!!

With warmth,

L