Things have been very even and quiet. Nothing monumentally exciting since my birthday post. These days, I’m happy to say, that although there are a few bored days, sad days have declined dramatically, which is completely awesome. Is it because I’m not stressing over any guys anymore? I wonder. As usual, I always try to find happiness where it’s available. I try to relish those those things and immerse myself in them as best I can . Here are some things making me happy at the moment…

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My MacBook Pro. This is my first post written from my very own computer. Although I have yet to get comfortable with all the features, I am loving my new laptop. I was told by a coworker (who used to work at Apple), that what I bought was way too sophisticated for my needs. Whatever dear, whatever. I like knowing that I have the best. It’s a big purchase, so I prefer knowing that by spending extra, I have future proofed my new toy. This little lovely ain’t goin’ nowhere. One of the coolest features is the little strip above the keyboard, the touch bar. Looks the freakin’ business even if I don’t know how to use it too well.

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Retail therapy: yeah, so on that note I do love spending a bit of money. When I’m down, my two go to’s are eating and retail therapy. I get that from my mom. Well hey, at least I’m not smoking crack with Satan, eh? I’m just ringing up charges at Anthropologie. They have some super cute stuff fright now. I got these adoreable chinos for work (which I’ve already worn), plus I bought a dress I liked. I’m waiting for it to arrive in the mail. I hope it fits right. Don’t ask me where I’m going to wear it, that’s irrelevant LOL. Originally it was $228 and I got it on sale for about $80. I adore the cute fish print.

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Rubios fish tacos: speaking of fish, I positively adore the fried fish tacos at Rubio’s. I’d say I’m becoming a regular. Yeah, it’s a chain, but what can I say, when it’s right, it’s right. The Fish Taco Especial? Sooooooooo right. I love the hot and crispy deep fried shell that surrounds the flaky pollock, I love the coolness of the avocado and the sauces they use. I love it how they make everything on the spot and everything is super fresh. Sure, grilled is healthier, and they do that too, but life is short. This is one of my go to’s when I am in need of a delicious treat meal. AND it’s cheap. These are $2 each on Taco Tuesday (though I usually save this for the weekend). These tacos are so much better than what I’ve had in much pricier restaurants. Get these tacos in your belly if this chain exists in your neck of the woods. These really are amazing!!!

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Nail Envy by OPI: I’ve never been one to really care about my nails. I’ve only gotten a manicure once in my life, and probably wouldn’t bother again. I keep my nails kind of short. I wear contact lenses, so it’s not really conducive for putting them in and taking them out. On occasions when I have tried to grow my nails, I haven’t been successful. They aren’t that strong and usually tear when I’m in the shower. Lately, however, I’ve been trying to focus a bit more on self care, and doing my fingernails and toenails is part of that. And you know what? This stuff actually works! It’s not terribly cheap ($18), but this product is definitely worth it. It gives a bit of shine, and my nails have never been stronger or healthier. I don’t intend to grow them long or paint them any colors (I’m not a fan of that look), but they do look very well groomed and kind of elegant. That makes me happy.

Yesterday I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor, a beautiful documentary about Fred Rodgers (aka Mr. Rogers), a man whose footsteps of love will echo into time. What an incredibly beautiful soul.  There is a saying I like, “The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of all kinds.” Mr. Rogers was all of those things. His message touched me deeply. I actually cried several times. Despite that,  watching this movie made my heart feel lighter. I was inspired, and I was encouraged by the simple goodness that we all have inside of us. I know we all want to appear all worldly and cool, but if you think of it, isn’t simplicity and love the highest form of sophistication? Isn’t it the paired down, minimalistic truth of what we supposed to be as humans? I think so. I leave you today with my favorite Mr. Rogers quotes. Reading them makes my heart feel giant, happy, and hopeful.

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Okay, so yeah, I have written about visiting NYC maaaaaany many times. Maybe you even got your barf bag ready, cause here Caroline goes again. But whateva, cause the place is just so beyond fabulous, dollies. I will never get sick of it, I will never stop going, and I’ll never stop writing about it. It is a constantly evolving city, and there are always new and wonderful things to eat, see, explore, and do. Still, I’m going to be easy on you and just share the highlights.

Pancakes. As per usual, I gorged myself on all manner of goodies, from my Levain cookies, to Grom gelato,  to the deservedly infamous lobster roll at Pearl Oyster Bar, and I finally managed to try the incredible pineapple linzer cookies at Te Company. But what completely blew my mind (or belly) into the cosmos was two delicious types of pancakes I discovered for the first time.

  • Exhibit A: The blubbery calfoutis at Le Coucou. Le Coucou is a very fancy French restaurant in the downtown area. I’d love to have dinner there but I’d feel a little self conscious going on my own for a larger meal — I’ll get over that, but CrazyKat, we have a date, okay? That, and Lobster Rumble,  girlie. The restaurant itself is stunning and sumptuous. It requires you to get a bit dressed up (but I imagine breakfast is more casual than dinner, and also you don’t have to make a reservation then). I sat my fat ass down on a velvet tuffet as the most beautiful pancake ever was set before my beady little eyes.  Oh, and do you know dollies, it was just as delicious as it looked. I loved the added touches of the cream quenelle dusted in lime zest.

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  • Exhibit B: The pancakes at Chez Ma Tante were completely the opposite. The didn’t win the pancake beauty contest like the one at Le Coucou, as they were much more rustic looking, but ooooooooh. And oooooooooooh. Okay so these had the most incredible texture for a pancake that I have yet to encounter (and yes, I did try the ones at Cinton Street Baking Company… good, but meh in comparison). These were crunchy on the outsides, fluffy on the inside, with the faintest hint of lemon, covered in maple syrup and a healthy pat of buttah (it’s good for the skin dont’cha know). And it happened to be just DEVINE. Yep, totally freaking swoon-worthy. Okay, so I should mention that technically these are in Williamsburg, not NYC, but go. Gooooooooooooo!

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Seeing an artist at work. As you know I love street art. I happened to be in Williamsburg while the Moniker Art Fair was in progress (which I went to). In conjunction with the fair, a very famous street artist known as D*Face was finishing up a piece, and I happened to see him action, which was very special for me.

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Speaking of art, another highlight of my trip was taking part in an exhibit by Candy Chang. I am a huge fan of hers, I have been ever since I saw her Ted Talk. I always wanted to write on one of her “Before I Die” walls, but I have never encountered one in my travels thus far. This, however, was just as cool, if not cooler. The exhibit was at a lesser known NYC museum, The Rubin Museum of Art. The exhibit was called “A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful.” There were two walls. On one wall people were invited to write  one of their hopes and include it with the other contributors. On the other wall, visitors wrote their anxieties. What people wrote ran the gamut from funny to very deep and real. It struck a very personal cord with me. I loved being able to share my own and be a tiny part of this beautiful collective.

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I love knowing that somewhere in this picture, is one of my own.

Treating myself. Well, the truth is, all of my vacations are about indulgence in some way. Food, art, and sometimes (but not always) there are goodies involved. I’m not really one to collect souvenirs, but I did see something quite special at Bergdorf Goodman that I could not resist. It was a bit of an extravagance, but you only live once. I am a great believer in treating oneself to the finer things, when and if it is possible, because we are the only one we can truly count on at the end of the day.  My mom always says, “I buy myself flowers, because if I have to wait for a man to do it, I might grow a beard.” Yeah well, I bought myself the moon, and strung it along my neck. I have always wanted a pretty moon necklace. I’m a Cancer, so it’s my sign. The moon is also supposed to be a representation of feminine energy/power. Who would have guessed? Me, Caroline, that’s who.

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Hurricane Irma passed us, and I am happy to say, that despite what it looks like on the news, and aside from some fallen trees, we are unscathed. In fact, here where I live, we did not experience one power outage. My biggest complaint about Irma was that I was completely and utterly bored. I tried to fill the time by filling myself up with little brain goodies (and belly goodies too LOL, there goes my awesome weight loss progress).

What are brain goodies you ask? Things that make me feel good on the inside, happy and empowering quotes and pictures, uplifting stuff on YouTube, cheerful songs, and I downloaded Gabrielle Bernstien’s Spirit Junkies on Audible. Going to listen to that after I finish this post. I am a hippie at heart. So maybe it does sound a little flaky fairy when I tell you I’m working on raising my vibration, but that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Below I have made a collage of just a few of my little brain goodies. It’s stuff I collected on Instagram and Pinterest. Just little snippets that I browse when I need a little pick me up. Chocolate cake works too.

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I got back from Scottsdale last night. Two weeks worth of training. It was a wonderful experience, but oh, I am so glad to be home. Flying over Ft Lauderdale Airport, looking down and seeing the place I now recognize as my home … yep, it feels so good to be back in familiar territory.

My trip to Arizona had loads of firsts. Among them was my first time seeing a real live cactus, the first time traveling for work, and also the first time traveling with a group who were not my family. One thing I leaned about traveling in a group is that there are times when you have to go with the flow and be accommodating towards others (meh, so overrated). If you don’t want to come across as a total A-hole, you have to take an interest in what others want to do and be open and willing to take part. For this reason, I didn’t always have the time or the ability to do everything that I had hoped … but I didn’t do too bad either. Below is a rundown of my Scottsdale adventures:

I went to Sprinkles cupcakes where I encountered the coolest invention ever: the cupcake ATM, and I ate the most delicious cupcake of my life so far. It was their famous strawberry flavor. Superb! These cupcakes aren’t just cute, they are certifiably awesome.

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I walked around Fashion Square, a high end shopping mall. It was very pleasant, but the stores aren’t anything unique. Pretty much every store can be found in my own neck of the woods.  That’s not to say you can’t buy a ton of lovely stuff though. I also enjoyed browsing around Kierland Commons.  I did happen to drop a hefty portion of my per diem allotment on the most beautiful black dress from Anthropologie while I was there. That money is supposed to be for food … but things happen (and as you will see, I did not starve). If you need a little retail therapy, these places are great, but they are nothing you probably wouldn’t find in your own area.

I had some incredibly delicious chicken tacos at a place I didn’t expect to like at all: Restaurant Mexico. It was kind of a dated looking hole-in-the-wall sort of place, but I went along with my coworkers out of a sense of duty. I’m glad I did. The tacos weren’t much to look at, but they were so good and so fresh. I never had homemade taco shells before. They were still hot from the fryer. Tacos will never be the same.

I went on an art walk. Apparently Scottsdale is where the art walk was invented. What is an art walk? It’s when a collective of art galleries stay open late, open their doors, and sometimes dish out free nibbles. If you are intimidated by the arty farty factor, this is a great time to get your feet wet. In Scottsdale this can be experienced every Thursday evening from 7 to 9. So how was it? In all honesty, I didn’t see that much original artwork, but there were a few nice pieces. It’s in a lovely historical part of Old Scottsdale, and it’s worth going to if you are in the area, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for this one.

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I had my first ever visit to In-N-Out, and I went all out with the double double animal style burger (an off-the-menu item that includes a few covetable extras). It was good, but my mind wasn’t blown. I have wanted to try this burger for years, so I’m so glad I finally got this morsel into my belly, but now I can say “been there, done that.” The burger was was fun, the service was good, but I recommend skipping the fries. I also tried a burger at Rehab Burger Therapy, which is more of a gourmet burger than a fast food one. It was good, but I will forever be spoiled by beloved Emperor Burger at Charm City Burger Company. It’s going to be pretty freaking hard to top that — maybe even impossible.

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My favorite Scottsdale find was a 1950’s luncheonette/ice cream parlor called The Sugar Bowl. It’s a pink and pretty girly paradise. I could totally imagine Dita VonTeese here, having a cheeky treat. All the 50s fixtures are still intact, and the sundaes are fabulous. I decided to go with the build your own banana split. THIS was why I came to Scottsdale … I fell in love a little. This is the sort of stuff that makes me forget why I ever wanted a man. I can not recommend this place highly enough. In fact, I loved it so much that I needed to make one last visit before I left.

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By the way, in case you are wondering if I ever do anything besides eat and spend money, let me inform you that I am indeed multi-talented. Behold: a picture of the moon over Scottsdale.

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You see, I can appreciate natural beauty, but honestly… can you eat a sunset? Now this, on the other hand…

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Okay, so my fat ass needed a bit more padding for the 8 hour journey home. Don’t hate.

I also had the opportunity to do a little exploration outside of Scottsdale. I will save that for my next post. For now I’m just happy to be home. Unfortunately, I must now begin operation detox. I can barely put my jeans on. Whatevaaaa… so worth it!

Woo hoo… It’s Friday. I’ve made it through my last day of work in financial aid. I’ve decided to take only one week off before starting my career as a claims adjuster. I could use the extra weeks worth of pay (besides, when I’m not working I tend spend a ton of money). Anyway I’m really looking forward to the quiet before the storm. Here are three other things I’m thankful for:

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Getting rid of dead weight: There has been more drama between BS and I. It was unpleasant to say the least. You guys warned me that BS was a narcissist and that I should keep my distance. I didn’t listen. BS finally convinced me to meet up, where I ended up being called both “bitch” and “looser.” I am a looser actually. That day I lost a huge piece of crap 😜. The truth is I was in tears, but as I write this the sting is gone. These sorts of people don’t deserve the satisfaction of disturbing our peace. To ensure this doesn’t happen again, BS’s phone number has been well and truly blocked. No more contact. Moral of the story: if someone makes you feel bad, and you are constantly on the  defensive when you are in their company, they are not actually your friend, despite what they may tell you.  People who care for you will never treat you that way. Kick that turd waffle to the curb and don’t look back (you aren’t going that way)!

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With the extra week’s pay in my pocket I decided to treat myself to a little luxury. Back when I lived in England I had the most lovely Bose noise canceling headphones. I ended up flogging it on eBay before coming to America. This week I have replaced them with the wireless version.  I got them in grey to match my beloved iPhone, this way I can be all color coordinated and shit. Although they aren’t cheap, they are pretty freaking fabulous. Aside from the typical headphone function, they can be used to drown out background noise. Instant peace and quiet. I think Bose should rename the product “The Bitch Be Gone Wireless” LOL. I simply adore them. We should all own a pair. It’s times like these where I wish I was Oprah rich so that I could give all my readers one. Why doesn’t God issue these things when we are born?

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Another thing that makes me forget about people I don’t like: food. Lately I’ve been loving my little visits to Paul Bakery. In Paris they are as common as McDonalds, and there are quite a few in London too. Visiting brings back some very beautiful memories for me. I often order the choquettes and a pot of tea. Chouquetts are a popular snack in France. I remember reading somewhere that French children flock to their  local bakery after school and munch on these on their way home.  I don’t know any other place where you can buy these things except Paul. I love them. They are basically choux pastry topped in crunchy pearl sugar. I find it a very comforting snack. I really want to be able to recreate these lovelies at home… maybe I shall try my hand at it this week.

I am looking forward to the week ahead. I don’t have any plans as of yet, but it will be nice to wake up with the day all to myself. I do hope there is just the teeniest bit of shenanigans ahead. I do enjoy a bit of fuckery every now and again. I like to keep my skills fresh. What are your plans?

No reason to hate me because I'm beautiful. Today I'm going to share my  beauty secrets!
No reason to hate me because I’m beautiful. Today I’m going to share my beauty secrets!

Today I wanted to talk about something that has nothing to do with men. Sometimes they just aren’t worth talking about LOL… geez, what a headache! Someone once interviewed a lady who lived to be in her 100s, and she said the secret to her longevity was realizing that men just weren’t worth it… I got to say, all the tears of frustration we cry over men, they sure can age a girl. Not good.

Today I want to talk about something fun and girly: beauty. I am big into skin care, much more so than makeup. If you have good skin, you don’t need tons of makeup. And loads of makeup, while it can look amazing from far, is not that pretty on close inspection. I only really wear makeup when I want to impress someone. Other than that, I’d just rather skip it. I prefer to be natural.

Since I moved to Florida, my skin isn’t as in great shape as it was when I left England. My normally smooth skin is erupting most unpleasantly LOL. I think partly it’s the huge change in climate, also I haven’t been eating as healthy now that I don’t have my own kitchen anymore or shop for my own food, and some of it may have to do with stress *cough* (code word for men).

I don’t have loads of money to spend these days, but I refuse to use cheap stuff on my face, after all, I’ve only got one. Invest a little money daaahlings, its better than wrinkles and saggy skin later on. I do buy the good stuff despite my craptastic paycheck.  I just have a very pared down beauty regime, my holy trinity. These are the three products I would not want to be with out. They are worth their pricetag.

For lovely pale and wrinkle free skin... just like the beautiful Dita Von Teese.
For lovely pale and wrinkle free skin… just like the beautiful Dita Von Teese.

So, in my opinion, the best thing a girl can do for her skin is to protect it. Before heading out for the day, it is crucial to shield our gorgeous faces from the harmful effects of of UVA and UVB rays. The problem is that most of the stuff out there is just so damned uncomfortable. It’s either super greasy, heavy feeling, or leaves a bit of a film on the skin. I was lucky to stumble across Kiehl’s Since 1851 Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+. The super high protection factor is great for my pale skin, but I also love it  because it dries so completely matte and non-greasy. You don’t feel like you are wearing anything. It is a pleasure to wear… now all I have to do is to remember to wear it more often!

Catherine de Medici was a fan of Santa Maria Novella, one of the world's oldest pharmacies... not to mention Moi.
Aside from my good self, Catherine de Medici was also a fan of Santa Maria Novella, one of the world’s oldest pharmacies.

Now this next item I’m going to tell you about, is my special secret: Santa Maria Novella’s Rose Water.  I adore it. It is a pain in the rear to get ahold of, but I would not be without it. I know this is going to sound a little silly, but using it reminds me that I’m me, that inside me, lives a Little Miss Fancy Pants with an unbreakable spirt that no Dr ManWhore (or anyone else for that matter) can ever extinguish.  The scent, unlike most overpowering rosewater products, is simply lovely.  I love swiping it across my face to freshen myself up when I wake up and before bed. Now I’ve got to be honest, I don’t think it does anything super miraculous, I just like how I feel when I use it. Maybe it’s a sentimental thing, but it’s something that will always be in my repertoire.

I doubt there is more effective and gentle makeup remover available than this one.
I doubt there is more effective and gentle makeup remover available than this one.

Though I don’t wear much makeup, there are times where a girl wants to impress. I find makeup around the eyes particularly difficult to remove. My eyes are sensitive and I don’t like to rub them too much. There is no more gentle, pleasant, and effective remover than the cleansing oils made by Shu Umera. I love the way the oil makes your mascara practically “melt” right off.

Shu Umeura was a Tokyo makeup artist in 1950s Hollywood. His cleansing oil was a favorite with one of my all-time hall of fame beauties: Marilyn Monroe. When you try this, you will understand why. I am currently using Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil—Marilyn used the original formula (which is classic for a reason).

So there you have it my lovelies, my beauty secrets revealed. Yeah, you aren’t going to find these goodies in any discount stores, but don’t be cheap with yourself. You are worth it! And you know what? It’s better to buy a couple of really awesome expensive things than loads of junky cheap stuff that ends up costing you the same.

What are your skin must haves? Don’t be stingy, its time to share with the class ;).