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Though we rang in the new year almost two weeks ago, I’m just now getting organized and settled into 2017. I make a list of new years resolutions every year and there are some I’ve stuck to and others that I’ve abandoned by Valentine’s Day. Usually my resolutions are more along the lines of “do yoga every day” or “eat clean 80%, indulge 20%” but this year feels different and more reflective. Here is what I’m striving for in 2017.

  1. Focus on being truly happy. While this may seem elementary, I’ve come to notice how unhappy I’ve been. I find myself always wishing for more perfection, more clothes, more shoes, more likes on Instagram… and well, its become exhausting. Despite a tumultuous 2016, I have millions of reasons to be happy. I want to be able to simply be in 2017: to wake up and count my lucky stars for all I’ve been given, all I’ve worked for, and all the wonderful family, friends, and opportunities I’ve been blessed with.
  2. Embrace change without being anxious. I’ve gone through changes in the past. Graduating high school and going to a college far from home where I knew no one was difficult, but I did it. Living in New York City and Italy were big changes, but they ended up being some of the best decisions I ever made because of the memories and friendships that blossomed along the way. Now I face possibly the biggest change in my 20’s: I’m graduating college, starting a job somewhere, and possibly moving to a new city. While it’s exciting, my gut reaction is immediately anxiety and stress. While I accept that I am naturally a nervous person, my goal for 2017 is to embrace these life changes head-on with positivity, gratitude, and a smile.
  3. Don’t be so hard on myself. I have been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. I don’t enjoy it, but I can’t imagine myself any other way. While it’s gotten better over the years, I still have a ways to go. I need to stop being so hard on myself for mistakes, problems and confusions. These mishaps are part of life and help us learn and grow.
  4. Recognize the need for rest. This past semester, I woke up every day at 7am to run four miles before classes, homework, and club meetings. While running helped my anxiety about everything that was happening, I was running myself -quite literally- into the ground. I barely slept, stayed up late studying and worrying, and didn’t nourish myself properly with enough food to fuel the amount of exercise I was doing each week. I came home for winter break feeling as though I hadn’t slept in a year. While I gained leg muscle, I felt weak in my brain, arms, and soul. I love to work out, but I’ve realized that my body needs rest- and lots of it.
  5. Take my time. We are all guilty of rushing through life. I am constantly counting down the minutes left in a class, the days until the weekend, and the months until a special occasion or holiday. In 2017, I hope to take my time in conversations, moments, meals, walking to class, spending time with friends and family- the list goes on. Life is too short to count down the days. I want to appreciate every minute of my last semester, of this year, and every year to come.

xx, Laina


Winter Skin Savers

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‘Tis the season for sub-zero temperatures and brisk wind that leaves skin dry and chapped. The winter months in Syracuse are brutal, but I’m fully armed this year with my favorite soft skin products that work to hydrate, moisturize and brighten all at once.

  1. Dolce & Gabbana Cleansing Milk: This micro-emulsion serum is much thicker than most face lotions and face creams. I put it on before bed to keep my face moisturized.
  2. Philosophy Hands of Hope: Even though I wear gloves outdoors, my hands still suffer and become so dry and crackled. This hand and cuticle cream rescues dry hands, leaving them smooth and soft.
  3. Hydrating Face Mask: I am obsessed with face masks. Find one at Sephora or Target that restores, moisturizes, and brightens your face.
  4. Gucci Body Lotion: I put lotion on my legs, knees, arms, elbows, and hands in the morning, after I shower, and before bed to combat dry skin.

Evening Relaxation


My #1 new years resolution for 2016 was to learn how to relax and take time for myself. Before making this a priority, I let my stress take over my life from the moment I woke up until my body finally gave in to sleep (around 2 or 3am). Over the past year, I’ve developed a few relaxation rituals that really help me get into cozy chill mode and I’ve listed five essentials below. What helps you relax?

  1. Candles: Something about lighting candles makes all my worries go away. I love sandalwood and amber aromas from Bath&Body Works and Anthropologie.
  2. Face Masks: The soothing feeling of using a spa-like facial mask transports me to a place of total serenity. I love SK-II sheet masks and Lush fresh face masks.
  3. Tea: I have been obsessed with tea since middle school. The soothing aroma and warmth help my body calm down. My favorites are Tazo chai tea and blueberry herbal tea.
  4. Cozy blankets + Pillows: There is no better feeling than sinking into a soft bed and wrapping a knitted blanked around your shoulders as you lay your head down on silk and fur pillowcases. You don’t need to break the bank to achieve this luxurious feeling-most of my softest pillows and throws were purchased for less than $20 at Target and T.J.Maxx.
  5. Yoga: My mom taught me yoga sequences at an young age, and I was doing bedtime yoga as early as 11 years old. Now I practice almost daily because it has tremendously helped my anxiety. I recommend a restorative yoga sequence or these nighttime yoga poses to help you relax come bedtime.

xx, Laina

Easy + Healthy College Meals

Since switching from a dorm to a full college apartment, I have really fallen in love with cooking. It’s my stress reliever after class, and I like knowing exactly what goes into my body. I follow a mostly vegan diet (with the exception of eggs- could never give those up!) and the occasional portion of chicken for dinner. I try to eat as many vegetables as possible and minimize processed food (doing this made my acne clear up as well.)

Cooking and grocery shopping can be very time-consuming, so I research healthy recipes on Pinterest and utilize the Yummly app to determine what ingredients I will need for that week’s meals. Below are some of my go-to healthy recipes that won’t take more than 20 minutes to make. Enjoy!

xx, Laina


Avocado Toast: 1/2 an avocado on Ezekiel bread + 1 egg with garlic zucchini noodles topped with goat cheese crumbles, onions, and tomatoes


Smoothie Bowl: 1 cup of spinach + 1 tbsp organic peanut butter + 1 banana topped with pomegranate seeds, blueberries, strawberries, hemp seeds, coconut, and a fig bar



Spinach + Veggie Salad: Fresh spinach with olive oil dressing topped with carrots, cucumbers, Hilary Eats Well veggie bites, peppers, onions, goat cheese crumbles, and sunflower seeds


Greek Buddha Bowl: Taboule, olives, falafel balls, 1 tbsp olive tapenade hummus, cucumbers, and tomatoes



Beet Noodles: Spiralized beets with roasted cranberry + goat cheese brussel sprouts, Hilary Eats Well veggie bites, 1 tbsp of roasted red pepper hummus


Warmed Whole Grain Salad: Quinoa + whole grain rice blend mixed with spinach, butternut squash, red onion, pomegranate seeds, and bits of soy bacon


Go-to Vegetable Medley: Roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, carrots, red onion, and cranberries all marinated in olive oil and sprinkled with smoked paprika


Winter Break Highlights

It’s been a long time since I last posted on the blog. First and foremost, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and enjoyed their new year celebrations. I rushed out of last semester, managing to take my final exams early to get home to my family sooner. Since coming home for break, I’ve truly spent every free moment with my family, whether it’s curled up around the fire watching movies, poking fun, or having dinner. We had a tough year, and we really needed this month to relax and spend time together.

I have a lot to be grateful for, but recently my worries and anxiety about the future have prevented me from being present and being happy. I’m looking forward to 2017 because fresh starts are always exciting. However, the thought of graduating college, finding a job, and starting a new life somewhere is extremely daunting. Throw in a tumultuous history of anxiety and a family member battling cancer and you have yourself a lot of ups and downs. All of this aside, I really want to be more positive this year, maintain my friendships after graduation (and my friends are scattered across the country), and try to focus on being present.

Here are some highlights from my winter break.

xx, Laina

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{meet my siblings!}

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{carefully wrapped gifts for all my loved ones}

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{favorite holiday pastime: baking cookies}

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{you can find me curled up by the fireplace in my J.Crew camp socks, J.Crew slippers and Anthropologie mug, sipping a chai tea latte}

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{too obsessed with my pup}

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{Banana Republic poncho, Subdued scarf, Zara jeans, Sam Edelman booties}

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{I love sending surprise Christmas cards with Starbucks gift cards- a simple gesture that goes a long way}

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{so obsessed with this stunning ring}

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{new year’s eve drink of choice: a pomegranate moscow mule}