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Just a Sliver http://just-a-sliver.com bake.travel.sleep.repeat. Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:31:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 We Moved! (yes, again) http://just-a-sliver.com/we-moved-yes-again/ http://just-a-sliver.com/we-moved-yes-again/#respond Fri, 15 Jul 2016 14:12:47 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4932 People have been asking, “seriously, where are you now?” Huge shocker..we moved..again. Over the last month, I’ve been snapping [my new favorite thing: kellyrstrong] scenes from moving & traveling. We moved but it happened at possibly the busiest time of year hence the snaps from all over the place. But this move is a little different – […]

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Just a Sliver: Toronto IslandPeople have been asking, “seriously, where are you now?” Huge shocker..we moved..again. Over the last month, I’ve been snapping [my new favorite thing: kellyrstrong] scenes from moving & traveling. We moved but it happened at possibly the busiest time of year hence the snaps from all over the place. But this move is a little different – more permanent!

We moved to the Toronto area just over one month ago. We purchased a townhouse and moved everything from our little Connecticut town. Two weeks prior to the move we were in Portugal [photos coming soon!], one week after the move we were at home with my family, two weeks after the move we were in California for a wedding, and three weeks after the move we were at the lake. Which means we still have a relatively empty place with a lot of unpacking left to do. So for now, the plastic bin that serves as our coffee table will have to do.

It was hard to leave Connecticut and life in New England. By far my favorite part about where we lived was the location and how close it was to so many incredible places like Boston, Newport (and the rest of Rhode Island), the Connecticut Shoreline, New York, Vermont, and my family. We moved to that apartment a month after we got married and lived there for just under 2 years which is the longest place we’ve lived since college. It will always be a special place for us!

So now I’m back. And plan on being back to blogging regularly with recipes, travel, and a lot of life. I realize I was stuck for so long this Winter/Spring with “bloggers block” because I thought this space had to have certain content but really, it’s a space for whatever I want it to be. I hope you’ll follow along on this new adventure.

xx

 

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Laguna Beach, CA http://just-a-sliver.com/laguna-beach-ca/ http://just-a-sliver.com/laguna-beach-ca/#respond Fri, 11 Mar 2016 18:44:39 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4855 A couple of weeks ago, my Mom and I escaped the cold weather and went to Laguna Beach for a long weekend. What a place!! No wonder people love Southern California. Seriously. The beauty is simply unbelievable. It makes me want to re-watch the American classic television series “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” – […]

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Just a Sliver: Laguna BeachA couple of weeks ago, my Mom and I escaped the cold weather and went to Laguna Beach for a long weekend. What a place!! No wonder people love Southern California. Seriously. The beauty is simply unbelievable. It makes me want to re-watch the American classic television series “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” – is it on Netflix?! If not, it should be.

My Mom and I stayed one night at the Ranch at Laguna Beach and two nights at Montage Laguna Beach. Two TOTALLY different properties and I loved both. The Ranch is situated in the canyon, has a beautiful golf course and it’s a quick walk to the beach. The food at the restaurant…wow! SO GOOD. Even though it was undergoing a bit of construction, I would go back in a heartbeat. Montage has the most insane views of the Ocean and the view when you walk through the lobby was incredible. Definitely a luxurious property with every amenity imaginable. We went for some beautiful hikes, sat by the pool, did a little shopping (check out Tuvalu– a great home store), and enjoyed a lot of relaxing. Definitely putting LB on the list of destinations to re-visit 🙂

First some pictures of our time at the Ranch and then Montage – there are a lot of pictures, I know. Too many beauties not to share.

Just a Sliver: Laguna Beach

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Valentine’s Day Roundup http://just-a-sliver.com/valentines-day-roundup/ http://just-a-sliver.com/valentines-day-roundup/#respond Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:30:57 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4825 You have a few days left to decide what you’re going to bake for the sweetest people in your life. I’ve said it a million times: Valentine’s Day is my favorite. Why not decorate in pink, red, and white and spread a little extra love?! If you are one of the many that think it’s a […]

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Just a Sliver: Valentine's Day Rice Krispie CupcakesYou have a few days left to decide what you’re going to bake for the sweetest people in your life. I’ve said it a million times: Valentine’s Day is my favorite. Why not decorate in pink, red, and white and spread a little extra love?! If you are one of the many that think it’s a silly Hallmark holiday then I ask you this: why are you ok with  National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, National Hug Day, National Ice Cream Day and you’re not ok with Valentine’s Day? Please. Give V-Day the respect it deserves. Make treats for your family and friends, spread a little lovey. What else is there to do in the Northeast in February?

P.S. I’ve decided that I’m going to throw annual Valentine’s Day parties..who’s coming?!
Just a Sliver: Valentine's Day Roundup

Rice Krispie CupcakesRed || Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting || Heart Brownies with Raspberry Filling || Nutella Heart Pastries

And the most recent festive recipe: Valentine’s Day M&M Cookies

Just a Sliver: M&M Cookies

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New Orleans http://just-a-sliver.com/new-orleans/ http://just-a-sliver.com/new-orleans/#respond Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:30:30 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4808 A few weeks ago I was in New Orleans for work. With a little bit of free time, I ubered to the French Quarter to explore. It was a perfectly sunny day for walking around. My first stop was Cafe du Monde (of course) for some beignets and cafe au lait. They certainly lived up to […]

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Just a Sliver: New OrleansA few weeks ago I was in New Orleans for work. With a little bit of free time, I ubered to the French Quarter to explore. It was a perfectly sunny day for walking around. My first stop was Cafe du Monde (of course) for some beignets and cafe au lait. They certainly lived up to the hype…it was hard to just eat two of the three…and maybe I should have had only one? Yea right. The city is beautiful with so much to see and do.  I definitely didn’t have time to see enough so I’ll be revisiting at some point. What I did do was a lot of eating! Here are some of the spots we checked out and enjoyed…

  • Carousel Bar & Criollo– have you hear about the Carousel bar that spins as you sit at the bar? A must see. After the bar, check out Criollo for traditional creole fare. It was incredible!
  • Compare Lapin – recently opened by Nina Compton of Top Chef. Really great atmosphere, awesome food.
  • Palace Cafe – more on the touristy side but my pecan catfish was delicious and the bananas foster didn’t disappoint.
  • Johnny Sanchez – a little weird to eat Mexican in New Orleans but the atmosphere was really fun and the cauliflower tacos were awesome.
  • Swizzle Stick Bar – at the Loews hotel. Fun signature cocktails and shrimp corn dogs (oh yea) and gumbo.

P.S. Louisiana is my 30th State on the Bucket List!

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Valentine’s Day M&M Cookies http://just-a-sliver.com/mm-cookies/ http://just-a-sliver.com/mm-cookies/#respond Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:30:43 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4829 Everyone needs a good M&M cookie recipe. M&M cookies are always a crowd pleaser and I love how they can be used for any holiday. Use the Christmas M&M’s, Valentine’s M&M’s, or Easter M&M’s. Need a cute gift idea? Tie a few up in a clear baggie and you have a perfect mini-gift for all […]

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Just a Sliver: M&M CookiesEveryone needs a good M&M cookie recipe. M&M cookies are always a crowd pleaser and I love how they can be used for any holiday. Use the Christmas M&M’s, Valentine’s M&M’s, or Easter M&M’s. Need a cute gift idea? Tie a few up in a clear baggie and you have a perfect mini-gift for all of your Valentines. I love this recipe because it’s simple. They’re easy to make in the evening after a long day of work. You could make these AND make dinner – they’re that simple! If you’re like me, I feel a MAJOR sense of accomplishment when I can make dinner and a homemade dessert in one night. Kind of like SuperWoman.

I hope you have plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day with all of your loved ones this weekend. If you don’t, start by making these treats! Happy Heart Week to all!Just a Sliver: M&M Cookies Just a Sliver: M&M Cookies

Valentine’s Day M&M Cookies

Yield: 18-24 medium cookies

Ingredients

    Please find original recipe on No.2 Pencil
  • 1 ½ stick + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (13 tablespoons total)
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1 ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup M&M’s + more for topping each cookie (1 regular size bag of M&M’s)
  1. Melt butter and allow it to cool completely. It helps if you melt the butter in one bowl and then transfer the melted butter to another bowl (a regular, room temperature bowl)
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (don’t skip this step!)
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking soda.
  4. In a large bowl, combine cooled butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat with electric/stand mixer for at least 2 minutes.
  5. Add egg and egg yolk.
  6. Gradually add flour/baking soda, mix until combine.
  7. Fold in chocolate chips and M&M’s.
  8. Using a medium cookie scoop, place cookie dough on baking sheet. Top each cookie with a few M&M’s.
  9. Bake 8-9 minutes – until edges are slightly golden. Do not overbake, you want the cookies to look a little under done.
  10. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for a couple of minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
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Game Changers for the New Year http://just-a-sliver.com/game-changers/ http://just-a-sliver.com/game-changers/#comments Tue, 05 Jan 2016 17:55:01 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4765 Whether you like setting resolutions or not, there is  something about the clean slate of the New Year that kicks motivation into higher gear. You’re ready to form new habits and excited to get back on track – mentally and physically. And honestly, I need to focus on something to get me through this first Winter […]

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Just a Sliver: Game Changers for the New YearWhether you like setting resolutions or not, there is  something about the clean slate of the New Year that kicks motivation into higher gear. You’re ready to form new habits and excited to get back on track – mentally and physically. And honestly, I need to focus on something to get me through this first Winter month. My focus this month is getting back to a structured routine which includes early mornings, consistent workouts, and positive habits throughout the workday and evening. Here are 13 (unlucky or the luckiest?) of my favorite products, apps, books, and tips for starting this year off with a bang.

Just a Sliver: Game Changers for the New Year

 

  1. First and Foremost the Sunrise Alarm Clock. Hooked. From day 1. I know it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone but I absolutely love it. You set it for the time you want to wake up and then 20 minutes prior to that time, the orb gradually turns from a deep red to a bright sunrise. Then at the set time, a noise will also gradually get louder start (for us, it’s birds chirping.) It is supposed to wake your body up more naturally than being startled by a loud alarm clock which makes you feel more awake/refreshed at that time. It also helps that I’ve set it across the room – have to get out of bed to turn it off!
  2. Waking up and working out (consistently) Using the sunrise alarm clock, I started working out at 6:00am – get it over in the morning and the most “dreadful” task of my day off my to -do list. It’s especially important for me because I really don’t like working out after work…which really means I never do…ever.
  3. Speaking of working out: two things have made my workout a million times better… 1. Powerbeats 2 Wireless Headphones (thanks, D!) and 2. JUSTIN BIEBER. The headphones are such a luxury – no distractions with the wild bouncing cord, no swatting my phone off the elliptical (causing a scene), no excuse to not do burpees (damn it.) and Justin Bieber’s Purpose…need I say more?
  4. Apps!
    • Podcasts are my jam.  While I did listen to Serial, it wasn’t my favorite (you heard me) – here are some of my go-to’s: The Lively Show, So Money with Farnoosh Torabi, The James Altucher Show, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin.
      • Speaking of Happier with Gretchen Rubin – check out Better Than Before. This is her newest book on creating habits based on your personal tendencies. Perfect read when you’re trying to cultivate new habits. (The Happiness Project is another favorite by Gretchen.)
    • Sweat with Kayla: I did Kayla Itsines’ Bikini Body Guide before our wedding and now it’s in an even more convenient app form! It’s $19.99/month and worth every penny because it’s the best workout ever.
    • SoundCloud: Kygo all day, every day. I listen to playlists made by other people and they make everything better #trophouse
    • Headspace: get your om on. Guided meditation that starts with a free 10-day trial.
  5. Starbucks Cold Cup: this 24oz. monster sits on my desks and encourages me to drink more water than I ever have before. It’s fantastic!
  6. Squats on bathroom breaks: related to the amount of water consumed (above), I take advantage of my multiple bathroom breaks throughout the day by doing 15-20 squats while I’m there. This feels great and also wakes you up, breaking up a full day of sitting.
  7. Dry Shampoo: Why am I the last person to the dry shampoo party? Now that I have Batiste Medium Brown (no chalky looking hair for me) it’s a no-brainer.
  8. Honest Beauty: I’ve finally woken up to all the chemicals that were in the makeup I was using each day. No thank you! I’ve had two bundles delivered so far and love all six of the products I’ve used. I’m also just as hooked on Honest’s Essential Bundles. Who doesn’t love home delivery? Less errands = more time.
  9. The Miracle Morning: read this book, loved this book. Read my series of posts on this topic here. Confession: December was a rough month for me, but I’ve made some changes to my morning schedule and am getting myself back on track. The morning is the only time you can really control, take advantage!
  10. Siestas: while I wish I was able to take the Italian Siesta’s we used to, now this means getting up and out for a walk during the day. I’ll get out of the office, walk, read, sometimes get a coffee. I come back refreshed and many times with great ideas.
  11. Lavender Sleep Spray: I have a new appreciation for the perfectly calming scent it fills the bedroom with right before bed. So relaxing! I’m also considering swapping this spray out for an essential oil diffuser – any recommendations??
  12. Leaving my phone away from my nightstand: after I spritz my sheets, I put my phone in the bathroom on top of my workout clothes. I can’t stand wasting so much time scrolling thru my phone before bed and in the morning. Nonsensical. Such a waste of time. So see ya later, phone.
  13. Lemon Witch Hazel: this does wonders for my skin. Used once a week or so, it removes any excess makeup/dirt/whatever else that can clog pores. Before bed, wash your face with a gentle cleanser and then apply with a cotton round – don’t put any lotion on after!

So there you go, some game changers to kick you into high gear this New Year. Hopefully they’ll make you feel better, sleep better, workout better, and enjoy each day a little bit more. And this is the longest post I have ever written…alright alrriiigghhht.

xo.Kelly

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Christmas Gifts: For the Baker http://just-a-sliver.com/christmas-gifts-for-the-baker/ http://just-a-sliver.com/christmas-gifts-for-the-baker/#respond Wed, 02 Dec 2015 19:52:34 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4767 1. You can never have too many cake stands ||  Silver Pedestal & Glass 2. Every baker should have a beautiful slab to work. Rolling dough with a matching rolling-pin is even better|| Crate & Barrel French Kitchen Marble Pastry Slab  & Marble Rolling Pin with Stand 3. Williams-Sonoma Baking Sheets – non-stick and so easy to clean || Non-Stick Quarter […]

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Just a Sliver: Gift Ideas for the Baker1. You can never have too many cake stands ||  Silver Pedestal & Glass

2. Every baker should have a beautiful slab to work. Rolling dough with a matching rolling-pin is even better|| Crate & Barrel French Kitchen Marble Pastry Slab  & Marble Rolling Pin with Stand

3. Williams-Sonoma Baking Sheets – non-stick and so easy to clean || Non-Stick Quarter Sheet Set of 2 or 3-Piece Cookie Bakeware Set

4. Making baking life magical || Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer

5. Paper Eskimo Baking Cups || they stand along on a regular baking sheet and create the perfect size cupcake. Tie a few sets together with a cute holiday spatula for a thoughtful gift.

6. Because why not? Especially cute for a hostess gift || Reindeer Server

 

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Charleston, SC http://just-a-sliver.com/charleston-sc/ http://just-a-sliver.com/charleston-sc/#respond Thu, 22 Oct 2015 12:00:28 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4724 A late post BUT I finally made it through the busiest two weeks of work…phewf! Flashing back a couple of weeks, we spent Columbus Day weekend [i.e. Canadian Thanksgiving] in Charleston, South Carolina – a city that has been on my list to visit for a few years. And it definitely did not disappoint!! The architecture, history, […]

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Just a Sliver: Charlesteon, SCA late post BUT I finally made it through the busiest two weeks of work…phewf! Flashing back a couple of weeks, we spent Columbus Day weekend [i.e. Canadian Thanksgiving] in Charleston, South Carolina – a city that has been on my list to visit for a few years. And it definitely did not disappoint!! The architecture, history, warm weather, shopping, & food were just incredible. We had some of the best food over the weekend. We’re lucky to have an inside source who gave us really great recommendations on what to see and where to eat while there. One that stands out is Trattoria Lucca – small corner Italian restaurant with really unbelievable food. No kidding. Everything was amazing. We also visited Kudu Coffee Shop & Craft Beer …two times. I loved it so much on Saturday morning, we went back on Sunday morning. Such a great atmosphere, a big, shaded patio and the iced mocha’s were soo good. We also stumbled upon 82 Queen for lunch. We were wandering the streets and a small alley caught my eye. We ventured down the alley into a courtyard for a traditional Southern brunch – great atmosphere, really great food.

We arrived a week after the major storm but thankfully downtown had dried up. We had a bit of a rainy day on Saturday but the skies cleared for Sunday so we enjoyed a full day of walking around the Historic District..giving me time to take lots of pictures [probably too many] of the beautiful sites.

If you’re visiting, here are some additional recommendations to check out: Stars Rooftop & Grill Room [great rooftop, fun atmosphere] || The Rarebit [Southern] || Coast [Seafood] || The Cocktail Club || Closed for BusinessJust a Sliver: Charlesteon, SC Just a Sliver: Charlesteon, SC

Just a Sliver: Charlesteon, SC

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Chicago Surprise http://just-a-sliver.com/chicago-surprise/ http://just-a-sliver.com/chicago-surprise/#respond Tue, 06 Oct 2015 19:00:34 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4708 Last weekend was my brother’s 30th Birthday! As a surprise, our family went out to spend the weekend in Chicago. On Friday afternoon my sister and her boyfriend surprised him, then his friends surprised him at dinner, and then we arrived at 8:30am Saturday morning for the third and final surprise. It was such a fun […]

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Just a Sliver: Chicago Surprise Last weekend was my brother’s 30th Birthday! As a surprise, our family went out to spend the weekend in Chicago. On Friday afternoon my sister and her boyfriend surprised him, then his friends surprised him at dinner, and then we arrived at 8:30am Saturday morning for the third and final surprise. It was such a fun weekend made even better because he had no idea what to expect. Happy 30th T! One for the record books. P.S. Chicago is the best. Seriously.Just a Sliver: Chicago SurpriseJust a Sliver: Chicago SurpriseJust a Sliver: Chicago SurpriseJust a Sliver: Chicago SurpriseJust a Sliver: Chicago Surprise

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Manchester, VT http://just-a-sliver.com/manchester-vt/ http://just-a-sliver.com/manchester-vt/#respond Fri, 02 Oct 2015 14:40:32 +0000 http://just-a-sliver.com/?p=4688 Last weekend we had a family weekend in Manchester, Vermont.  The last time we were in Manchester was for my cousin’s wedding at Hildene. If you haven’t visited Hildene, add it to your list of things to do! Especially in late May/Early June when the gardens are in full bloom. Hildene is the Lincoln Family Home […]

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Just a Sliver: Manchester, VTLast weekend we had a family weekend in Manchester, Vermont.  The last time we were in Manchester was for my cousin’s wedding at Hildene. If you haven’t visited Hildene, add it to your list of things to do! Especially in late May/Early June when the gardens are in full bloom. Hildene is the Lincoln Family Home built by Abraham Lincoln’s son, Todd, in 1905. It is such a beautiful property and a really incredible wedding venue! Manchester is such a beautiful Vermont town, especially as the season changes from Summer to Fall.

On Saturday we all went skeet shooting through the Orvis School in Manchester. While I was pretty terrible to start, through some very wise coaching I wasn’t too bad towards the end! I finished off hitting three in a row and walked away pretty pleased. Sunday morning we went up to the Equinox Pond for Fly Fishing lessons! It was the most beautiful, clear, crisp Vermont morning. The Equinox Pond is where my cousin held their rehearsal dinner and my gosh, it was just beautiful. They bring you up the mountain and then leave you to follow a grassy path, lit with candles – all of a sudden you come around the bend and there is the pond, with Equinox mountain towering above, and a perfect little venue on the water. This place is some kind of magic. If you’re in the area, check out the walking trails that go around the pond – you won’t be disappointed! Speaking of the Equinox, one of the best hotels [ever] is the Equinox Hotel in Manchester. A must see and a must stay if possible. As you can probably tell, I’m a huge fan of Manchester…who am I kidding, I love everything Vermont.

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