My Top 10 Places to Visit in Puerto Rico!

Hey guys!

I’ve been back at home for about two weeks now following my short break between summer classes and fall classes at Syracuse University! No matter how many times I’ve been back home, Puerto Rico never ceases to induce butterflies in my stomach and make me feel like a little girl at a candy shop. There can never be too much beach, or sun, or shopping, or dancing!

I typically visit every holiday season and sometime during the summer. Traveling to Puerto Rico is pretty inexpensive (we are not considered international, after all!) so I always make it my excuse that I just need to spend time with family, which is true! But let’s be real, I certainly enjoy the warm weather, the food, the coffee, and salsa music, too!

I don’t get to see all my favorite spots every time I come (some are farther away from the metropolitan area, where I live, than others!), but I certainly always come with the intention. Regardless, here are my favorite spots to hang out in when I come! I definitely encourage you to make us the host of your next family vacation, honeymoon, or whatever! ;)

Old San Juan

Isla Verde Beach

Cueva Ventana

Cafe Cuatro Sombras

Hotel El Conquistador

Club Brava in El San Juan Hotel

El Morro

Plaza Las Americas

El Yunque Rainforest


Where can you picture yourself at?!



Images: 1 /  2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Join me at the Coterie Retreat!

This year has been one of amazing professional growth. From speaking at Alt Summit, sharing my story at XeroCon, and even filming a series of branding videos with Astrobrights, I’ve been putting myself out in the public eye, and out of my comfort zone. Sharing how I got started, how I run my business, and how to stay fresh and relevant in this ever-changing world of branding and design. But I must admit that I’m most excited (and proud) of an event coming up in just under four months – The Coterie Retreat!

The Coterie Retreat is a luxury business summit for wedding and lifestyle experts to connect and grow both professionally and personally. Imagine 3 days of powerful speakers (Mindy Weiss! Mark Ingram! Diann Valentine!), workshops, panels, parties, and plenty of networking with industry peers.  If you’re looking to take your creative business to new heights, this is the conference to be at. Did I also mention it’s in Barbados??? mmm, yeah.

Coterie Retreat

My dear friend and SEO powerhouse Myrna Daramy and I will be speaking on How to Create, Market & Manage Your Digital Brand. With over 15 years in the wedding and lifestyle industries, we are honest and clear about what’s working for your brand…and what’s not, providing branding and SEO direction with tailored expertise. Together, we find out what you can do better – from design to development and every pixel in-between. Our panel is sure to get you motivated to improve your digital brand!

Unable to attend Coterie? No problem…you can still get the help you need by contacting us with our new consulting business – Your Digital Stylists. If you’re interested in learning about our affordable and highly effective consulting packages – please let us know! The YDS website will be launching VERY soon.

And if you’re interested in attending the Coterie Retreat – register here. Final registration ends THIS WEEK!

See you in Barbados!

The Table Diaries: Best End-of-Summer Recipes!

Whether we like it or not, the end of summer is approaching fast and we better spend it well, filling our hands with the produce that will only get more expensive and harder to find once fall rolls around! Make this the perfect excuse to host a dinner outdoors and invite friends and family!

1. Oven-Roasted Ratatouille by Chocolate & Zucchini


As squash begins to become in-season, this dish is the perfect reason why you should throw in all end-of-summer vegetables and let them mingle with the in-season ones! There’s little better than the throw-and-go kind of dinner. ;)

2. Summer Garden Pasta by Barefoot Contessa

The best way to take full advantage of end-of-season tomatoes is by roasting a bunch and throwing them with some linguine pasta! I’m always surprised at how flavorful they are when cooked.

3. One-Pot Lemon Orzo Shrimp by Damn Delicious

Lemon Orzo Shrimp

There’s little better than a one-pot-wonder! You can take advantage and throw in all your favorite vegetables in there.

4. Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes by Skinny Taste


For those of you that don’t really like to clean, this one’s for you. Lean Italian chicken sausage with summer bell peppers and zucchini sauteed with baby red potatoes and fresh herbs.

5. Herby Chicken Chili Pot by Land O’ Lakes

Herby Chicken

If you have an herb garden on your backyard, this dish will take full advantage. The dish is a chockfull of fresh veggies found at the end of summer.

Which of these will you be serving?



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For the Love of Wallpaper

Over the past few years, wallpaper has had quite the resurgence. Yes, the obvious geometrics and stereotypical granny prints have been around forever. However lately, my pinterest board has been exploding with the lushest of florals, the softest of ombre watercolors, rorschach-inspired designs, and illustrations so unique you’d think someone snuck into your house to paint them. In short, I’m talking works of art.

Since I’m perpetually on the hunt for patterns, texture and illustration inspiration, I thought you might be too! Are these a commitment of time and money? Absolutely. Is it for the faint of heart? Of course not. But if you’re a rebel (or a Spitfiregirl), I suggest taking a look and start planning your own wall of heaven.


wallpaper-Carl collection 2013




PS: Even renters have options – though, I’ve not tested any of these myself. Apartment Therapy created a list of 10 resources for removable wallpaper here.


Sources above:

1  /   2   /   3   /   4 – Anyone know the original source of this???   /   5

Creative Crush: Maya Hayuk

Last night my husband was flipping thru the latest Architectural Record and asked me my opinion on the newest Frank Gehry project, the Facebook Building (also know as MPK20). While I’m a fan of most of the venerable architect’s work, what really got me excited was the massively scaled mural of a seemingly liquid rainbow. Hello! this is Both freeform and symmetrical, and full of eye-popping colors. I definitely wanted to know more. Maya Hayuk is the visual mastermind responsible.

I did a little research, and her bio states “With their symmetrical compositions, intricate patterns, and lush colors, Maya Hayuk’s paintings and massively scaled murals recall views of outer space, traditional Ukrainian crafts, airbrushed manicures, and mandalas. Hayuk weaves visual information from her immediate surroundings into her elaborate abstractions, creating an engaging mix of referents from popular culture and advanced painting practices alike while connecting to the ongoing pursuit of psychedelic experience in visual form. She has painted her iconic outdoor murals all over the world and, when not traveling, maintains an active studio in Brooklyn, sketching in paint to inform the large-scale works. She sees her studio painting practice and mural making as both inversely relational and symbiotic.”

Traditional Ukrainian crafts, airbrushed manicures and mandalas? Cool.

Her work is basically a photoshoot dream:

In addition to her large scale paintings and murals, you might also recognize her work from your midday pick-me-up.

If you’re looking for visual inspiration, or just a little rainbow love to make your day, be sure to check out our Designer Crush, Maya Hayuk.

You can see our other Designer Crushes here, here, here, here, here



Facebook   /  Murals  /  Starbucks

The Importance of Kicking Procrastination to The Curb

Stay Focused

I wrote that headline about two hours ago. Then, I proceeded to sit down in my desk and surf around the web looking at funny Bustle articles, and snap my friend funny pictures of my face. A little while later, I received a text message from another friend that said ” I have done ZERO work since I got home tonight”. To which I replied, “Girl, I’m currently stuffing my face and poking around aimlessly”. That which then turned into a back and forth about how we’re not accomplishing anything with our lives tonight. Guys, this is a serious problem. Let’s put an end to this sh*t. So I’m writing these words.

For many reasons:

1. It’s exhausting.

How many times have you made a conscious decision about how you’re to tackle a task, to then totally fall of the bandwagon and do something else? All the time, right? Then there’s you feeling ashamed and a little demoralized at your job because you’re-supposed-to-be-able-to-handle-all-these-duties-and-be-OK. And you’re probably not OK because you shouldn’t be. Putting things off is exhausting, more than gratifying. The constant reminder you need to be giving yourself puts a damper on the enjoyment of whatever activity you’re currently engaged in.

2. Your work suffers.

Call it what you will, but people that work more quickly under pressure don’t necessarily do stellar jobs for a reason. When you leave things to the last moment you can’t focus on all the little things; you have to prioritize and forget about the minuscule things to get the bulk of the work done in order to make it out alive. Which means, there will always be things you overlooked; there will always be things you could’ve improved. And who’s to blame? You already know the answer to this one.

3. There is less time for play.

Because you’re constantly thinking that there’s work that needs to be done, (although then you get home and turn on Netflix) you’ probably say “no” to a lot of things. Think about it: Your best friend invites your for drinks later tonight, but you decline because you anticipate the time you’ll be writing for assignment to be about five hours. But that’s five hours where half are spent having little dance parties between every sentence you write. It might been fun, but it’s probably something you could stormed through in two hours.

And because time is the only thing we truly have, we better value it, and we better be good stewards of it. How will you be kicking procrastination to the curb next week? 

Image Via 




Inspired by: Valentino

While we’re still in the midst of summer, all the stores are gearing for back to school. I always get annoyed by this, since I like to hold on to the last glimmer of sun and warmth as long as possible. So you’ll have to forgive me for doing a 180 and talking about Fall. Though it’s been many months since some of the world’s best designers shared their collections for Fall 2015, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by one in particular. Valentino.

It all started with this dress. Isn’t this ethereal? The hand-painted quality and feather-like texture is exquisite. And the dress shape is both lady-like and totally fresh. I can see this inspiring some new textural designs for my work this year.


Any couture designers that inspire you, beyond just your closet?

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