Wellegance

Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose


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Weekly Wellegant Find: Snarky Teas

How would you like to start your day with a hot cup of tea? Oh, not just any cup of tea…I’m talking about a steaming cup of “Wake the Fck Up” or “Fierce Btch”. Or maybe we need some tough love and opt, instead, for some “Get Your Sh*t Together”. Quite a way to start the day, right?

You can imagine my delight (and hysteria!?) when I was recently gifted with a big box of Snarky Teas. The special person who sent these to me knew that I was going through a stressful time and needed a little “Calm the F*ck Down” tea and, maybe a nightly cup of “Get Your *ss in Bed.” I don’t know how she found these teas but they absolutely hit the spot (the flavor blends are really nice!) and brought just the comic relief I needed. I promptly ordered a bunch so that I could gift a few friends with some and pass on the love. Keep in mind that you can purchase a “bouquet” of teas (an assortment that includes the teas described above) or individual teas, each in their own pretty tin)

We all know the comfort that a cup of tea brings. Now, imagine comfort AND deep belly laughs with close friends. In my opinion, the Snarky Tea Company is absolutely genius (and extremely Wellegant)!

Enjoy, my friends,

Karen

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Recipe: Grilled Steak with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa (GF)

I love avocados and can pretty much eat them with anything. Breakfast often consists of avocado toast or eggs with avocado on the side. At lunchtime, they’re almost always on my salad or I’ll fill the avocado with tuna salad or something. And dinner…well, this is a great salsa to make as a topping for almost any grilled meat or fish.

One particular evening last week, I grilled a steak and topped it with this  salsa – a refreshing blend of avocado, cucumber, scallion and cilantro, dressed in a lime vinaigrette.

This salsa is so good on its own that, the next day, I had it with tortilla chips – kind of like a chunky guacamole. But be warned…it’s totally addictive!?

Now, go fire up that grill…

Buon Appetit,

Karen

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Grilled Steak with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill to high.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the avocado, cucumber, cilantro, garlic, olive oil and lime juice. Set aside.
  3. Rub the steak with olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Grill steak over high heat for approximately 4 minutes per side (for medium rare).
  4. Let rest for 5 minutes, then slice.
  5. Spoon the avocado salsa over top and serve.

Recipe Notes

Serves 4.

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Building a Capsule Wardrobe

Almost every conversation I have about clothing/fashion lately, revolves around the concept of a “capsule wardrobe.” It’s a hot topic, reflective of the fact that the appeal of the “Carrie Bradshaw closet” has worn thin and that many women (myself included!) are experiencing an intense desire to simplify – our closets, as well as our homes, finances, diets, fitness routines, etc.

In a world that promotes excess, our souls long to scale back. I discussed this at length with NYC Stylist, Tiffani Rogers, in our recent interview (you can listen to it here) and, following that interview, I received so many questions from readers of the blog that I thought I’d dive a bit deeper into this topic and share with you a bit about the process that I’m using to create my own capsule wardrobe.

(I must say, the very thought of eliminating closet clutter and limiting my outfit choices is like a big ol’ shot of endorphins. I can feel the stress melting away as I write!)

Let’s start by defining what a capsule wardrobe is…

The term capsule wardrobe generally refers to a collection of stylish and practical wardrobe “essentials”. These items work together and combine to create a variety of looks. The idea behind the capsule wardrobe is that, due to the fact that (a) these items are quality pieces and (b) they’re not “trendy” but, rather, classic pieces, they can be worn for several seasons and will result in fewer (but better) articles of clothing and fewer (but better) clothing purchases over time.

Some people prefer to limit their capsule wardrobe to a set number of items for each season (for example 10-15 items). This is purely a personal preference, in some cases dictated by closet space. The number you choose (or IF you choose a number at all) isn’t important. What’s important is your desire to simplify and make your wardrobe more versatile and efficient. Let that be your goal and in time, I believe you’ll arrive at the appropriate number of articles to suit your lifestyle and budget.

So, what does a capsule wardrobe include? Generally, a capsule wardrobe consists of tops, bottoms, dresses and jumpsuits. It does not include coats/outerwear, activewear/workout clothes, shoes, formal wear, lingerie, jewelry and accessories.

Perhaps your curiosity is piqued and you’re anxious to create your own capsule wardrobe. Before you begin, here are a few of the mindset shifts that helped me begin this process. These principles will guide you as you excavate your unique style, sort through your wardrobe, decide what to keep and what to let go, and ultimately curate a collection of items that make you look and feel beautiful.

 

  1. Redefine what a great wardrobe looks like. It’s NOT a closet stuffed with clothes, nor is it a wardrobe that enables us to never repeat an outfit. A great wardrobe is one that is well used and enjoyed. I like to think of my clothing in terms of cost per wear: the more I wear something, the more I’m willing to spend on it. For example, if I invest $200 on a great pair of skinny jeans and I wear those jeans at least 200 times over the course of a year – a reasonable estimate – then the cost per wear is about $1. Conversely, if I buy a cheaper pair for $50 that doesn’t fit quite right and doesn’t feel comfortable, and I only wear that pair 10 times, the cost per wear is $5. The $200 pair, while more expensive, is clearly the better wardrobe investment. Not to mention, I’m not using precious closet space to store something that isn’t useful and enjoyable to me.
  2. Choose style over “fashion”.  In other words, choose what looks good on you and expresses your unique personality/preferences, rather than what the fashion industry tells us to like. For a more complete definition and discussion of both terms, listen in here.
  3. Think in terms of separates that work together to create a variety of looks. Rule of thumb: Each item should pair well with at least 3 other things in your closet.
  4. Let go of the idea that you must have all of the pieces right now. Give yourself time to grow/curate your wardrobe. A bit of patience is required, but you’ll be rewarded with a truly beautiful, versatile, well-made, confidence-inspiring wardrobe!
  5. Value quality in all items. Again, consider “cost per wear” when making purchasing decisions. Demand that your clothing investments be high quality fabrics that are well-designed (for your unique body) and well made. Good craftsmanship matters and you’re worth it.
  6. Become an educated consumer. Rather than purchasing things on impulse, plan your purchases and consider how each item will work with he other items in your closet. Learn which styles and designers best suit your body and make you feel great and stick with what you know works well. Keep an eye out for sales (the best sales are generally held in December/January and June/July).
  7. Stop trying to place yourself in one particular style category (bohemian, edgy, classic, etc.) and, instead, identify your unique “signature style”. Simply observe which outfits make you feel the most confident and radiant and consider why that is. Do you prefer tops that are loose and colorful? Do you gravitate toward form fitting skirts? Wide leg jeans or skinny? Consider (a) what you’re most comfortable wearing and (b) what looks best on your body. Over time, you’ll come to truly understand your style and this information will help guide you as you build your capsule wardrobe.
  8. Select a color palette and (for the most part) stay within that scheme to ensure that your pieces work together. When doing this, consider your complexion (note: Although many women tend to gravitate toward black clothing, not everyone looks best in black. In fact, people with fair complexions often look “washed out” and might be better off with different shades of brown or gray). Use your accessories to incorporate colorful accents.
  9. Get really honest with yourself about your lifestyle, personality and the image you’d like to present to the world. I love the idea of dressing the next incarnation of you. In other words, dress the woman you’d like to evolve into, not the woman you were in the past. So many of us hang onto to clothing that simply doesn’t fit who we are now or who we’d like to be in the future. Why cling to an old identity? Get excited about who you’re blossoming into and allow your wardrobe to reflect that.
  10. Approach this with a spirit of play. This kind of self-reflection and planning can often become a chore. Instead, view it as an adventure in which you (a) really get to know yourself and (b) design a wardrobe that reflects the incredible woman you are – your talents, gifts, hobbies, interests, body, lifestyle and unique spirit. I can think of few things that are more exciting than that!

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on my progress, as I strive to create my own capsule wardrobe and I, of course, welcome your comments and suggestions below.

Be true to yourself and be Wellegant!

Karen

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DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

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It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

 

 


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Weekly Wellegant Find: Balsamic Glaze

For me, the presentation of the food I’m eating is almost as important as the taste. I get excited about food that looks beautiful on the plate (and despite a total lack of scientific proof, I maintain that it actually does make the food taste better!?). Presentation can be enhanced in a number of ways – lovely plates/serving pieces, garnishes, and my personal favorite…the balsamic glaze.

You know when you’re in a restaurant and the outside of the dinner plate is drizzled with a dark syrup? That’s a balsamic glaze, which is nothing more than balsamic vinegar that’s been reduced down to a syrup. It’s sweet and tangy and lends just the right pop of flavor to the dish. Not to mention, it looks SO pretty!

In the summertime, I love to drizzle a balsamic glaze over grilled meats, veggies and even fruit (it’s especially divine with strawberries and peaches!). There are several brands that can usually be found in the vinegar section of the supermarket. If all else fails, Amazon stocks it, as well. Here’s one that I like a lot. I hope you enjoy!

 

Buon Appetit,

Karen

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Recipe: Potato Salad with Radishes and Capers in a Dijon Vinaigrette (GF)

Potato Salad is one of those “old standby recipes” that has been adapted in a million ways over the years. The traditional version, loaded with mayonnaise, while tasty, just doesn’t appeal to many people, as it’s heavy and laden with fat. Those who prefer to eat lighter, are often drawn to recipes such as this one which replaces the rich mayonnaise with a tangy vinaigrette and brightens up the flavor and texture a bit.

While we continue to enjoy potatoes in a cold salad, this recipe, unlike the more traditional one, provides a lot of freshness, flavor and crunch, through the addition of crisp and peppery radishes, bright parsley leaves, salty capers and the “pop” of a quality Dijon mustard.

For a lighter alternative to traditional potato salad, try this version at your next picnic or grill-fest. I have a feeling you’ll never go back!

Buon Appetit!

Karen

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Potato Salad with Radishes and Capers in a Dijon Vinaigrette

Potato Salad is one of those “old standby recipes” that has been adapted in a million ways over the years. The traditional version, loaded with mayonnaise, while tasty, just doesn’t appeal to many people, as it’s heavy and laden with fat. Those who prefer to eat lighter, are often drawn to recipes such as this one which replaces the rich mayonnaise with a tangy vinaigrette and brightens up the flavor and texture a bit.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Yukon Gold Potatoes I used the smaller, fingerling ones, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 3 radishes thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup parsley leaves roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a pot, place potatoes and cover with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 8 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, Dijon mustard and lemon juice.
  3. Once potatoes are cool, lay them onto a platter and pour half of the dressing over them (they will absorb the dressing rather quickly). Top the potatoes with the radishes and parsley leaves, then pour the remaining dressing over top.
  4. Finish by adding a sprinkling of the capers, If desired, salt and pepper may be added, to taste.

Recipe Notes

Serves 4-6.

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Easy Outdoor Entertaining

Seating themselves on the greensward, they eat while the corks fly and there is talk, laughter and merriment, and perfect freedom, for the universe is their drawing room and the sun their lamp. Besides, they have appetite, Nature’s special gift, which lends to such a meal a vivacity unknown indoors, however beautiful the surroundings.”
-Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

It’s that time of year when longer days and warmer temperatures make dining “al fresco” possible, and what a joy that is! I absolutely love preparing a meal (usually on the grill), then sitting down to enjoy it outdoors, among the breeze, sights and sounds of summer. It seems to be an instant stress reliever and a beautiful opportunity to be present and enjoy the many gifts of this incredible season.

The best part is, outdoor entertaining can be surprisingly fuss-free. And we all know that the simpler things are, the more likely we are to do them. Here are some tips for hosting an intimate outdoor dinner party:

  1. Keep the menu simple: a salad, protein and a couple of sides are all that’s needed for a lovely dinner. Dessert can be as simple as some cut berries and ice cream/gelato.

  2. Build your menu around whatever is seasonal. Summer’s bounty gives us LOTS of healthy and delicious options.

  3. Include side dishes that can be served cold or at room temperature. Less time spent cooking means more time spent with your guests.

  4. Prep most of the meal ahead of time. Even grilled vegetables can be done in advance and served at room temperature (I love to add a drizzle of balsamic reduction right before serving to “fancy” them up!).

  5. Serve at least one course that you can purchase, rather than prepare yourself. This might be a cheese/charcuterie board, fois gras with crackers, cocktail shrimp, a hummus platter, etc. Certainly, a wonderful dessert may be purchased from the pastry shop. The point is…don’t feel that you need to make everything yourself. Choose how and where to invest your (limited) time and energy, so that you can have fun preparing for the party and not feel overextended and drained.

  6. If using the grill, make sure that it’s in working order and that you have enough gas/charcoal.

  7. Limit beverage choices; a fully stocked bar is not necessary. Still or sparkling water with slices of citrus fruit and a nice wine will satisfy most guests.

  8. Create a cozy outdoor space (click here for some inspiration).

  9. Use real china, stemware and cutlery (as opposed to paper/plastic) to create a more elegant meal. And if you want to add an extra elegant touch, bring your linens out (napkins and/or tablecloth).

  10. Include a couple of small bouquets of flowers, rather than one larger arrangement. If you’re lucky enough to have a flower garden, a few cut flowers and a few sprigs of greens will be perfect.

  11. Make sure to bring outside all of the the kitchen tools/equipment that you need (like tongs, spatula, etc.) ahead of time.

  12. Linger over the meal. Summer seems to beckon us to slow down and savor what’s going on around us. Savor the meal, the setting, the company, the warm weather, the night sky, etc. Enjoy every moment of your very Wellegant gathering!

I hope that these ideas have inspired to partake of this simple summer pleasure. In the words of Savarin, may you enjoy “laughter and merriment and perfect freedom.”

xo,

Karen

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Weekly Wellegant Find: NARS Copacabana Illuminator

One of the things that characterizes youthful skin is a dewy glow. Yet, we all have those days when, despite our best efforts to eat well, drink lots of water and moisturize our skin, it remains a bit lackluster. That’s when a highlighter or illuminator comes in very handy.

They generally come is liquid or powder form, however, I find that powder tends to settle in fine lines and dry out my skin, so I prefer the liquid variety. I recently found this Copacabana Illuminator by NARS and it’s quickly become one of my favorite beauty products.

A little goes a long way and I use it as follows: I put a tiny dab on my forefinger then rub my fingers together. I then pat my fingers over the tops of my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and the center of my forehead. I even press a bit into the inner corner of my eyelids (very eye-opening!). Then, I take a big fluffy brush and go over my entire face to blend it in and voila…that youthful, dewy glow!

Have a lovely week, my Wellegant ladies!

xo,

Karen

DID YOU GET YOUR GIFT YET ?  CLICK HERE to Grab your (FREE) guide –

Wellegant™ Mind, Body, Life: Nourish Your Body and Feed Your Soul

It contains my best healthy living tips, recipes and other resources to help you live your most Wellegant life. Enjoy!

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