Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Fashion + Food Roundup!


Can you believe it's December already? It feels like just the other day I was writing my September Roundup! November was a month of gratitude, and it's important to look back and appreciate past adventures, so check out my fashion and food roundup from the last month (Warning: Get ready for a lot of burgundy)!



I searched for the perfect burgundy booties for what felt like forever, and finally found them at White Mountain Shoes for just $61.88! They're so comfortable, I'm obsessed with their color, and I basically can not stop wearing them.

This stunning gold druzy necklace from Hanover Designs is on major repeat too. Hanover combines glamorous metals with lightweight concrete to create incredibly fashion-forward pieces full of personality. Get 10% off with code "chowdownusa"!



I collaborated with Macy's and American Rag to bring your their cozy and trendy fall collection! So obsessed with this burgundy cold shoulder sweater and zipper detail leggings! 



Octer is a cool shopping site that combines all of the major retailers so you can compare them side by side! I got this adorable Dorothy Perkins dress and some LC scallop flats.



Such a huge fan of Oath Craft Pizza, with their unique pizza toppings and gluten free crusts!



No sleep til Brooklyn.



Give me ALL the cozy throws and holiday decorations!




The Kuvée digital wine bottle is the perfect holiday gift for wine lovers! Every Kuvée bottle has a digital touch screen and comes with 4 wine refills, which are inserted into the bottom of the digital bottle. These refills come in a special bottle which stay fresh for 30 days - 10x longer than a regular wine bottle! The touchscreen offers everything from rating your wine, to letting you know how much is left in the bottle, giving you vineyard history and tasting notes, and delivering recommended wines to your door!



My two accessory obsessions at the moment are Daniel Wellington watches and Moonchild Jewelry. As a special treat, be sure to use code CHOWDOWN at checkout for 15% off your entire order at www.DanielWellington.com!



From Michelin starred restaurants to holes in the wall, check out where we dined on our weekend trip to the big apple!



I teamed up with Society of Grownups to show you how I give back, especially this time of year!

It's always great to reflect on your past month, and be grateful for the experiences you had. I always enjoy trips to NYC, and looking back at the food and fashion of this past month I feel especially grateful to be able to blog and document my journey! Hope you enjoyed this month's roundup!

Comment Challenge: What are you grateful for this month?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My Winter Toolkit with Target + Motrin IB


I have received information and materials from Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. This is a sponsored post and all opinions stated are my own. Chow Down USA has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. #WinOverWinter #CollectiveBias

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Between chilly temperatures, winter parties and travelling cross-country for the holidays, the colder months are always fun, but they definitely call for a winter toolkit to save the day if a cold or flu hits! 

I constantly have a packed schedule from work, blogging, holiday parties and travel, and I don't have time to slow down for any pesky winter germs (which I'm sure many of you can relate to)! 

Motrin IB has always been my pain reliever and fever reducer of choice. While it affects everyone differently, for me it works faster and better than anything else I've tried. 

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Target is one of my go-to stores because it offers everything from clothes, to home goods, to pharmacy products like Motrin IB. You can find Motrin in the pain reliever aisle at Target.

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My winter toolkit includes all of the essentials - Motrin IB, butternut squash soup, tissues, chapstick, cozy slipper socks, and of course festive candy canes! The Motrin helps temporarily relieve any pain and fever, the warm soup soothes the throat and soul, tissues are key for any sniffles, chapstick to smooth dry lips, and cozy slipper socks make everything better while keeping your toes warm.


As many of you know, I'm based in Boston but originally from San Francisco, so I fly home cross-country for the holidays. Last year, I woke up the morning of our 7 hour flight with the worst headache and sore throat. The hustle and bustle of work, blog shoots and events, and holiday parties had caught up to me! Luckily, I had my handy Motrin IB at the ready. I took one with breakfast, and within 20 minutes I started to feel much better and ready to take on our big day of travelling! That was a close one, and I don't know what I would have done without my Motrin.

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One Motrin IB every 4-6 hours temporarily reduces fever and relieves minor aches / pains due to the common cold, flu, headache, sore throat, & toothaches. If one pill doesn't work well enough, another can be taken. I suggest taking it with plenty of water and some food as well. For a high fever, nothing works faster or longer compared with other over-the-counter medicines (which I can attest to)! If you have children, there's a kid's formula for those aged 2-11 years old which comes in Bubble Gum, Grape and Berry flavors. 

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Knowing I have my Motrin IB and winter toolkit at the ready, I can focus on the fun parts about winter and the holidays, without worrying about the colds or pain that can come with them!


Comment Challenge: What would you put in your winter toolkit? Learn more about Motrin IB at Target here!


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Monday, November 28, 2016

Society of Grownups: Grownup Gratitude

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*Note: This post is sponsored by Society of Grownups, a Brookline-based company offering online classes and financial advice to help navigate being a grownup and encourage conversations about money, happiness, adventure, and personal values. Check out their classes and more here.

The winter season takes us on a roller coaster of experiences and feelings. Sure, we have fun holiday parties, shopping sprees, giant feasts, and glittering festive decorations. Yet it is also a time of reflection, connecting with family and friends, and giving back. 

You may recall my past posts with Society of Grownups, including learning when to spend and save, as well as how SoG helped to teach me how to be a financially responsible adult after moving across the country

This time of year reminds me that part of being an adult is learning to not only be grateful for what you have, but to give back to others who do not have as much as you do. 

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Growing up, my mom taught me to be grateful and give back. She told me that while a lot of life is about hard work and dedication, some of it is straight out luck - the country, city, and neighborhood you are born into can give you a head start or extreme challenges in life.

She would routinely take me to the local family homeless shelter (Hamilton Family Shelter) to donate clothes, and would volunteer to drive for Meals on Wheels, a service which provides meals to those who cannot leave their homes due to illness. Sometimes we would volunteer together at the local soup kitchen as well. Volunteering and giving back was normalized for me. 

In high school I would sometimes spend time helping out at the SF Food Bank with my friends, whether it was sorting fruits and veggies or preparing meal kits for the less fortunate. 

As a grownup, I strive to continue this tradition. I still send donations to that same women & children's shelter every year, and this season I'm participating in a program which provides brand new stuffed bears to children in need. The program provides the bears, and participants dress each bear with baby clothes before donating them to the children. I went to Target on Black Friday and got the cutest striped onesie with a lion on the front. See my bear below:




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Just as my personal values dictate how I should save and spend money, so do they drive how I choose to give back. I believe that everyone deserves life's basic necessities, be it food, shelter, or comforting toys. Whether I'm contributing financially to a cause I believe in, or donating my time to volunteer, it always feels good to help others. 

Society of Grownups makes it easy to transition to adulthood. Be sure to check out their online class "You're A Grownup, Don't Panic." I took this course in June and it was life-changing! They break it down into easy steps on how to get a good financial plan for yourself - long and short-term. You get a high-level overview of financial planning, including tips to getting a good credit score, how to strategize the best retirement plan, and general best practices for budgeting. This class is great for everyone who wants to make sound financial decisions in simple, easy-to-understand language!

Comment Challenge: How do you give back?

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Perfect Holiday Accessories: Moonchild & Daniel Wellington

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Note: This is a sponsored post; all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting those who support Chow Down USA! Photos by Icy Li Photography.

Fun fact: I didn't use to be an accessories gal, but I've recently come to the unwavering conclusion that these finishing touches are entirely underrated and can really pull an outfit together (not to mention they're super shiny and fun to look at). Anyone can throw on a top, bottom, and pair of shoes, but accessorizing is a true art form.

Jewelry and watches are especially personal, as each piece is completely unique to your personal taste on any given day. I'm excited to share with you two of my go-to accessory brands: Moonchild Jewelry and Daniel Wellington Watches!


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Nothing goes together like a great watch and complementary jewelry - they really give pb&j a run for its money! The rings and bracelet are from Moonchild - how incredible is this collection? Each piece is absolutely unique and speaks to various facets of my personality, which is fitting since the definition of a Moonchild is: 

"A unique individual whose style depends on the mood they are in."

The edgy silver hook ring really swings up and down, which makes it interactive and fun. The dainty rose gold triangle ring and silver circle ring are chic daily staples, and the gold CZ bar ring makes for a glam statement. I forever love the subtle and lightweight rose gold circle bracelet. It goes with every watch and outfit imaginable!

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Daniel Wellington is a high-quality watch brand from Sweden which has the most gorgeous, classic designs like this black and rose gold style. It's an investment piece that will last years and class up every outfit, every time. I love the classic black style because it will literally go with everything and carries a timeless, sophisticated style. As a special treat, be sure to use code CHOWDOWN at checkout for 15% off your entire order at www.DanielWellington.com!

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A Daniel Wellington Watch and Moonchild Jewelry would be the perfect gift to treat yourself or a loved one to this holiday season. Don't forget to use code CHOWDOWN at checkout for 15% off your entire order at www.DanielWellington.com, even on top of all other sales on the site!

Comment Challenge: How do you accessorize?

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Where to Eat in NYC: Weekend Roundup

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From Michelin-starred restaurants to late night pizza joints, NYC is one of the top cities in the world for delicious food of all varieties. See where we dined on our recent weekend trip to the big apple (and catch the NYC recap here)!

Tanner Smith's

We headed to Tanner Smith's in Midtown on Thursday night for a late dinner, and I instantly fell in love with the place. It's a trendy, local and spacious spot with a bar in the front and food tables in the back. Its exposed brick walls are adored with rustic mirrors, and they didn't bat an eye when I asked for a fried egg on my tacos (which were delicious, by the way)! 

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Marea 

Where do I begin to describe Marea? Marea has forever spoiled us on mere mortal food. This Columbus Circle venue not only holds two Michelin stars, but they offer gluten-free dishes and specialize in pasta and seafood.

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Crudo al Taglio
Top: Passera (Long Island fluke, radish, mint, sea urchin sugo)
Bottom: Branzino (wild striped bass, sturgeon caviar, mussel vinaigrette)

The salty caviar and mussel vinaigrette was so amazing against the perfectly fresh crudo!

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The pasta fatta in casa (house-made pastas) were unbelievably good (not to mention gluten-free)! 

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I ordered the gramigna, with squid ink, housemade pork sausage, and lobster. I'm such a fan of pasta, pork, and lobster, and this was the best of all three ingredients! It was kind of like a gourmet surf & turf, going between the pork and the lobster in alternating bites - or even better to combine them! This is my new answer for when people ask, "If you were stranded on a dessert island and had to eat the same thing for every meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?"

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Gluten-free gnocchetti with ruby red shrimp, chilies, and rosemary. This one was so delicious as well. The ingredients were fresh and stood out on their own with nothing fancy, just bold flavor.

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Secondi di Pesce 
Above is the Spigola Nera, with wild black bass, spinach, black trumpets, potato, and crosnes.

The bass was the best we've had of course - completely buttery and perfectly cooked. The spinach was amazing as well and melted in your mouth.

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For my secondi di pesce, I ordered the capesante - seared sea scallops, cauliflower, endive, pearl onion, and walnuts. Scallops are one of my favorites, and these were incredible and buttery. The cauliflower was delicious as well, and I normally don't even like onions but these were like candy!

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Speaking of candy, this bring us to dessert. We ordered the semifreddo al torroncino and assiago di tre sorbetti o gelati (3 gelato or sorbets).

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The semifreddo was made with espresso, nougat, lemon, hazelut, and dulcey. They poured the sauce on top and it froze almost instantly!

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I ordered the bourbon pecan gelati, and two sorbetti: white grape prosecco and pear amaretto. My favorites were the pecan and prosecco, they were so flavorful!

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These reminded me of the apple sauce bites at Cafe Art Science in Cambridge!

Freddie & Peppers

Freddie & Peppers is a classic late-night NYC pizza joint in the Upper West Side that has been around for years AND offers gluten-free personal pizzas!

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Bea 

Bea is a fun, trendy brunch spot in Hell's Kitchen. They offer live jazz and some of the best small plates I've had! Each dish is $10, or you can have unlimited plates brought out for $45. We split 4 plates and were happy campers.

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From the top: Bacon, pork, potatoes and eggs. Best tasting pork I've ever had, hands down!

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The egg boat - with scrambled eggs, red peppers, onions, jalepeno, and gouda.

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Potatoes with cheese = best comfort food on a chilly morning!

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Best pork ever - it looks oily but the flavor was ridiculous! It came with kidney beans and pineapple sauce.

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Candied thick-cut bacon with brown sugar, maple, and chipotle. Yum!

Emporio

Emporio is a rustic Italian spot in Nolita (Northern Little Italy - such a cute area with high-end boutiques), which has gluten-free pizzas and pastas. We met up with my old college roommate from UCLA to catch up here. I'm so proud of her - she's graduating from Medical School soon and will be a doctor! 

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Margherita gluten-free pizza - so fresh!

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Gluten-free truffle pasta.

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Regular truffle pasta. Look at those noodles!

Schmackary's

Got an almond PSL, some gluten-free cookies and the cutest cookie monster mug at this local bakery! We came at just the right time, because when we were leaving there was a line out the door and around the block!

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There you have my roundup for where to eat in NYC on a weekend trip! Don't forget to check out my full NYC recap, and our summer trip to the big apple as well!

Comment Challenge: Have you been to NYC? What's your fave restaurant there?
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