Aurora, New York

Day after day of stress leads to overwhelm, which ultimately can lead to burnout. Burnout is a real thing, and can cause many issues- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. A few months back, I had reached the burnout zone. I started doing my own research on the topic, listening to podcasts and reading books on how to reduce daily stressors and quite frankly – find help for myself. I have a good outlook on life, and am able to compartmentalize and prioritize, so feeling out of sorts for me was concerning. I approached Evan and told him I needed some time to be alone and get myself back in sync. I felt unbalanced, that was the best way I could describe it. I needed some Eat, Pray, Love in my life to shift things back and recover my equilibrium. It was a terrible feeling that I knew I could not shake without doing some real work. Evan, being the great supportive husband he is, said let’s do it, but he is coming with me. He made a great observation by saying my life was not going to simply change with one weekend away – it was not going to fix whatever was in me that was unbalanced. And while he was correct, I knew it would give me the time and space I needed to get back up on my feet and determine how to best move forward. I posted Instagram pictures that made it seem like a nice little getaway, which it was, but I was secretly referring to it as my burnout retreat.

Evan and I are good vacationers – we like to have fun, mix sightseeing with cocktails and activities and be surrounded by people. However, I made it clear that this “vacation” was going to be different. I did not want the focus to be on cocktails and fun (in fact, I considered having a dry weekend altogether, but then came to my senses..). I wanted this weekend to focus on nature, mindfulness and peace. We looked at quite a few resorts and finally landed on the Inns of Aurora in Aurora, New York. Aurora is part of the Finger Lakes, located on Cayuga Lake in Upstate NY.

The whole town of Aurora was recently part of a village-wide restoration project led by Pleasant Rowland, who attended nearby Wells College and created the American Girl Dolls, dumping an incredible fortune into this charming village, and creating the most gorgeous, charming cottages, shops, and restaurants overlooking the lake. Each house features private porches and fireplaces, where they offer coffee, tea, and homemade granola bars in the morning, wine and cheese at cocktail hour, and s’mores makings at night, as well as an innkeeper at the house 24/7 to help with any needs. The accommodations and service far exceeded expectation – and were so comforting.

The night we arrived after a long six hour drive, we joined locals down at the lakeside patio for live music and brews before heading to dinner across at street at a casual restaurant, Fargo.

We woke the next morning ready to decompress and start our healing journey. We started our morning with a cup of coffee in the living room of our Zabriskie House, with one of their homemade granola bars (so incredible!). We then grabbed yoga mats and headed to the most intense yoga session I have ever attended! Wearing a mask made it even more challenging, but it was a great way to start the day.

Next, we headed to the spa for the day. We arrived two hours before our couples massage was scheduled for so we could enjoy the hydrotherapy pools, steam and sauna, and meditation rooms.

Hydrotherapy is a thermal cycle of moving between hot water, cold water and rest. Water can be profoundly healing on an emotional level; for many people, water treatments are deeply soothing in a way that transcends their physical benefits, though it does have many physical benefits, too. Water therapy is almost unparalleled as a means of bringing the body back into equilibrium, just what I needed. We used all of these wellness treatments and felt rejuvenated even before getting our duet massage. We followed our spa treatment with tea and a healthy, complimentary lunch from the Spa’s café.

The spa at the Inns of Aurora was simply incredible, and by far the nicest spa I have been to. I would highly recommend that if you ever visit the Inns of Aurora, do not skip out on the spa. It is expensive but worth it, and you can spend the entire day there if you’d like.

Following the spa experience, Evan and I both got our tarot cards read. This was the first time for both of us, and I learned that it is really more so about how you interpret the cards and what they mean for you, rather than just the luck of the draw. I did feel connected to the cards I was drawn, and it made me consider a different perspective.

We then had a glass of wine and cheese by the firepit before heading to dinner at 1833 Kitchen and Bar, then closing the night with some s’mores back by the fire pit.

The next morning, I woke up and grabbed my coffee and granola bar to enjoy on the porch overlooking the lake and spent some time being present, and reflecting.

We then headed to Cayuga Lake and took out paddleboards, which turned out to be a comical mistake. It was a very choppy day on the lake, and took a lot of strength to navigate the paddleboard where we wanted them to go. We spent about 15 minutes out there, and I decided I am truly an ocean girl and navigated back to shore. We then headed back to 1833 Kitchen and Bar for a delicious brunch, followed by a hike and birdwatching, with a pit stop for an archery session. Evan and I both did better than I thought we would at archery, I was impressed with us!

Finally, we got back in the car for the first time since arriving as everything in the village is in walking distance – yoga, the restaurants, village market, the lake – everything!

We jumped in the car to drive an hour south to Ithaca to hike Taughannock Falls, which was incredible! The hike was easy, and really more of a path, but the waterfall was just stunning.

On the way back, we happened to drive by Cornell University, so we drove through to check it out – what a beautiful (yet hilly) campus! On our way back to Aurora, we stopped by Treleaven Vineyard for live music, local wine from the Finger Lakes, and some food.

The next morning, after coffee and meditation, we checked out and headed home to reunite with the Bunga. We still had a full weekend ahead of us to enjoy with him.

Our “vacation” was not the type of week away we typically aim for, but it was everything I needed. Spending so much time in nature, and with the help of mindfulness, relaxation and Hydrotherapy, it was the restorative break I truly needed. While Evan is correct that one weekend away won’t save your soul, it did allow me the space I needed to restore my energy and spirit, and that has helped pick me back up and enable me to fill my cup back up in a meaningful, lasting way.

A few things I committed to after my burnout retreat:

  • Meditation before bed
  • Gratitude in the morning – I do some breathe work now and say three things I am grateful for in that moment, before getting out of bed
  • Adding mindfulness throughout the day when stress creeps in (often)
  • Getting some outdoor time as often as I can throughout the week, even if that just means taking a meeting during a walk outside
  • I bought the coffee mugs that the Inns of Aurora used, I just loved them (lol) and also took home their granola bar recipe and have made it once so far, but it will definitely become a staple in our home (SO good – I will share the recipe here soon).

Stress will come, and stress will go, but I am truly grateful. It didn’t take one weekend for me to realize how fortunate we are (I’ve known that all along), but it did take a weekend to allow me to step back, take a nice big breath of fresh air, and appreciate it.

Cheers xo

Hello darkness, my old friend

I recently went back and read my old blog posts and was so pleased with my past self for being so strong, resilient and grounded. It is kind of funny and maybe even hubris to feel that way but life has changed so much for me in the past few years, that I feel far removed from the girl writing about love, bathrooms and happiness.

My days today are filled with diapers, 12 hours of meetings, stress, and sippy cups. I hardly get the opportunity to wash my hair (thank goodness for working from home) and I cannot respond to a text message in a reasonable amount of time.

And yet I am still the same girl who cares about love, bathrooms, and happiness (and champagne, sorry I couldn’t just leave that part out). When I created this space, I gave it the tagline Cultivate happiness through chaos, and yet somewhere along the way I left happiness out of it and quite simply allowed chaos to take over, turn into stress which quickly led to burnout. Burnout and recovery is a story for another day, but today I just wanted to spend some time happy-typing. I am on my laptop all day long, far too long for one human but at the end of the day what makes me happy is writing. Writing = rest for me, more so than crawling onto the couch and watching TV (though DO NOT snooze on Ted Lasso), or even sleeping. It restores my energy and makes me happy.

I had thought about it of course, that I missed writing. But it wasn’t until this week when two separate people told me I need to keep writing did I really stop to think about why I had stopped in the first place. The way it was said to me in both scenarios mattered, and made me reflect on why it mattered at all. I feel so grateful to have finally found my voice after searching for so long. I have to take my own advice from 2017 me, who said right here on this very channel “Never allow yourself to be in the passenger seat of your journey. It is yours, remain an active participant. It is kind to please others but never in the dispense of yourself.” And while I never did dispense myself, I certainly put her in the trunk for a bit. But she’s found a way to crawl right back into the driver’s seat.

Cheers xx

The Shop

The latest cafe I explored was The Shop in Fox Point, Providence. We went there early in the morning, but there were several people in there already enjoying their morning. As soon as we walked in we felt welcomed. We had to get going soon, but someone sitting there with his young daughter urged us to stay and enjoy our morning before the chaos of the day begins. We took his advice, and were so glad we did – it was such a relaxing and inviting atmosphere.

The Shop was the type of place that treats everyone like family. Each person who walked through the door received an extremely warm welcome, they even knew many of the patrons by name – something you don’t tend to see very often in New England.

I got a latte and E got an espresso. We were both in Heaven as we sat there sipping our morning coffee to Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel by Townes Van Zandt. Yes, I asked Siri what the song was because it was adding to the good vibes.

Since we decided to stay for a bit, we grabbed breakfast as well. They offer many different options of toast, from ricotta, honey and pepper toast, to avocado toast, but I stuck with the OG: salted butter and local jam. It was delicious and did not disappoint. Evan got an onion and mushroom quiche, which he also loved. I was eyeing a spinach and feta quiche that I will definitely be trying next time I come by The Shop.

The atmosphere, food and coffee was everything I was hoping for and it definitely started our day on a high note. I was grateful to the man who urged us to take a moment to slow down and enjoy our morning, and will definitely find myself sitting in this cozy spot very soon.


Good morning Providence

This year has been nothing short of amazing. From finishing the Boston Marathon (…in a monsoon…), to our wedding and honeymoon, we now just recently moved to Rhode Island! I am loving the opportunity to re-explore Providence and surrounding towns. There are so many new restaurants, local shops, cafes, and areas to explore.

A few months back, Evan and I went on a cafe tour of Massachusetts. Every Sunday morning, we chose a new cafe to head to for coffee and maybe (definitely) a bakery treat. It was a missed opportunity to not capture that here on my Cuppa Charm – so I plan to take you along for the ride on my tour of Rhode Island.

Of course, I am partial to the Ocean State. As my hometown, I have many places here that I love so very much. I will share those places, too, but this will mainly focus on places new to me as I enter this new chapter.

I’ll start with a cafe I went to on a whim recently, Dave’s Coffee, on South Main Street in Providence.

I stopped by Dave’s quickly one morning to pick up a coffee milk latte for me (I know, so Rhode Island), and a cortado for E.

Coffee milk latte

I regretfully  didn’t get any food – but they had homemade donuts, muffins, and other treats displayed, the trendy avocado toast, and their breakfast sandwiches sounded glorious. I am a sucker for a good breakfast sandwich, so I will surely be back soon to get my hands on one of those. Also – so I’ve heard – their daily scratch-made sea salt chocolate chip cookies sell out every day.


Marathon training for the non-marathon runner

Let’s talk about what it takes to train for a marathon, when you’re NO professional runner. Some people train like it’s their day job (for some people, it actually is their day job..), but for us “regulars” – this sh!ts tough.

Backup a few months, I was scrolling through IG, and I stumbled upon an old classmate who posted about an organization looking for charity runners to run the Boston Marathon. I jumped in and applied, because.. why not? It had always been a goal of mine, I just had never had the opportunity, and after all it was just an application. Next thing, I got a phone call thanking me for applying and they set me up with a phone interview. I had my interview where I told them I had done some fundraising in the past, have run a few half marathons, have never been injured, etc. etc. Then a few weeks later, I got the CONGRATULATIONS- you’re in! OMG. wut. how? What do I do?! I guess I should start running.

And so it began.

I started training right around Thanksgiving – which is earlier than norm for Boston. More experienced runners really don’t need to start until mid-December, but I needed all the time I had to begin building my base-mileage and strength. It started slow and fine… 4 miles here, 6 there.

Come January, things really ramped up and I felt myself more challenged than I ever had been before. As I mentioned, I had run a few half marathons in the past, so I wasn’t too intimidated with 9 miles.. 11 miles.. However, once I passed that 13 mile mark, my little world started to panic. Knowing I had a 14, then 16, then 18 mile runs coming up on weekends, had me feeling uneasy all week. And those distances were all smack in the middle of winter, so it would be 10 degrees, and I’d layer up and run 14 miles, it was just ridiculous. I would wear a scarf over my face so that my lungs wouldn’t freeze, and no matter how many layers I wore, my skin would still be discolored when I was finished. That was tough to get through. I didn’t realize then, though, that those runs were building mental toughness that I would desperately need in just a few weeks.


And then I got hurt. Couldn’t walk for five days kind of hurt. After 2-3 days of not being able to put any weight on my foot, I went to the doctor and learned I sprained my peroneal tendon, which is one of the tendons that connects your ankle to your foot (I had rolled my ankle). I had to take two weeks off of training – right in the middle of February. This crushed my spirit, but instead of letting it defeat me, I began to treat my injury like it was my sport. I babied my foot – I iced often, I tried to stay off it as much as I could, I bought new, supportive shoes and stopped wearing heels, I did strengthening exercises, and began going to physical therapy three times a week. It worked. I got through that (I still go to PT, twice a week now, just to keep it in check).

I have learned through this process how incredibly resilient our bodies are. I have learned to respect my body in a way I never had before. Your head will tell you to quit way before your legs will ever give in.

So what do I actually do? Here’s what my typical week looks like (in peak training):

Monday – shorter, faster run. Usually about 6 miles

Tuesday – spin, weights

Wednesday – off

Thursday – hill repeats. This is v important for Boston. Find a hill (not TOO steep) that it takes you about 1 minute to run up. Hill repeats anywhere from 4-10 times

Friday – easy day – light stretching, yoga

Saturday – LONG run. anywhere from 10-20 miles. followed by 5-7 minute ice bath for miles longer than 14

Sunday – off. try to go for a walk to help recovery

Every day- foam roll, drink LOTS of water, eat balanced meals of carbs/protein.

Before I started training, I thought that marathon training consisted of running 5x a week. It doesn’t. Elite runners can withstand that, but it actually just creates a higher risk of injury for an intermediate or beginner runners. For Boston, the long run is the most important workout of the week, followed by the hill intervals.

Another thing I didn’t realize, it is important to eat and drink during your long runs, I had no idea people actually eat during runs. Luckily, training on the course for Boston, there are so many other runners out that the charities actually have water stops for Saturday morning long runs. I try to switch off between Gatorade/water every other stop, and I have 1-2 Swedish fish every few miles. I tried all kinds of gels like GU, I just couldn’t get past the texture, but I like the Cliff energy gels, I will be bringing those with me on the marathon. The long runs are a good time to try out different snacks and drinks to find what works best for you for the big day.

This past weekend I completed the Mother of All Runs – 20 miles. Now begins the taper. It will have changed my life. I’m not there yet, so I’m hoping in the best of ways but either way, it will have changed my life because I will have done something that I NEVER thought I was capable of doing. I get emotional just thinking about the finish line. The day that has always only been a dream, is almost here, I can see it.

I have all of my plans in place, where and when to pick up my bib, what time I need to get on the bus that’ll take me out to Hopkinton. My focus now is rest, recovery, and staying healthy. My training has peaked, and I survived it, now I just need to trust in my training, and get to the start line.


This is only the title because today is Saturday. Self love should be practiced E.V.E.R.Y. (damn) D.A.Y.

2018 is going to be a crazy, hectic, beautiful, AWESOME year. But there’s a LOT going on. I am trying to make it a priority to take care of myself, mentally, physically, emotionally. I’ve been looking into *simple* ways to practice self-love and self-care. I don’t want to add to my list of things to do, so I’m really keeping this simplistic. I will create another post about some of what else I’m incorporating into my routine, but I wanted to first tell you about this one because I’m obsessedddddd….

I bought fresh eucalyptus, from my local Trader Joe’s ($2.99), and hung it in the shower. Walking out of the store I couldn’t help but keep leaning into the bag for a few sniffs – this plant is heavenly! I used twine – 2 pieces: one to tie the bundle together, and the second to hang it in our shower. Try to hang it just behind the shower head, out of the way of the water flow. It should stay good for 1-2 weeks. On top of the benefits, it adds a “spa-like” feel to your home.


+The heat and steam help to activate the herb’s essential oils which can ease congestion

+Anti-inflammatory elements

+Natural de-stressor

And here was E’s reaction to coming home to a plant hanging from the shower head: “I don’t hate it [several seconds later]…. I definitely don’t hate it.”

(I think that means he likes it.)

Please note that eucalyptus oil is toxic to dogs. Don’t leave your dog around this plant if he/she may try to chew it. 

Do something for yourself today. And tomorrow. Do something for yourself every (damn) day.


Anybody still here?

Hello? Helllloo?? Oh, it was ME that was gone. I have said in the past that when I’ve gone ghost on writing, it means my zen is off. Well, kinda. I have just been the BUSIEST EVER. But without writing, my zen is still thrown off anyway because this is my outlet. So hi hello here I am.

I’ve been training a few people lately on WordPress, blogging, how to/when to, etc. etc. and my biggest piece of advice to them when starting their own blog is be consistent! And then I felt hypocritical for leaving you during the holidays. Cupping season, so in, and yet here I am throwing it off.

I have so much good stuff coming up this year, and I want to include you in it ALL. And so I will. My goal this year = get a few collaborations going so that YOU can start getting rewarded for reading my writing. 😉 Stay tuned on that.

Happy (long!) weekend –


Let’s talk: New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week started last Wednesday, and goes all the way through this week. Phew. I followed along via Instagram Live from a few of my favorite pop culture and fashion moguls: Eva Chen, Virginia Nam, Kristie Dash (my spirit animal), and BryanBoy. Trying to feel luxury via my phone isn’t the best, but I am still able to see the celebs, the runway models, the venues, the drink (and snack) offerings, and most importantly – what’s trending.

After catching shows such as Calvin Klein, Tory Burch, Carolina Herrera, Prabal Gurung, Tom Ford, Alexander Wang, and Victoria Beckham, I’ve added a lot to my “want” list.

Here are some trends that I’ve observed from 220 miles away:

So fluffy I could die

Eva Chen

OK so these are Eva’s personal shoes, and she has several fluffy shoes that make me the ultimate jealous – including a new line from Birkenstock. Eva also showcased the fluff on the runway throughout the week – both heels and flats alike.

I also noticed quite a few anklets – but not enough for me to think it’s a definite in. Are they coming back?!



We saw a lot of this on the runway – layered fringe. Every single show had fridge pieces scattered throughout. It was almost as if the more fringe, the better.

Tiny sunnies

E! News

Itty-bitty sunglasses are coming back in just as quickly as they went out in the early 2000s. Here, sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid show off their tiny sunglasses, after finishing walking in a NYFW show.

And I just got rid of my little Ray Bans, sigh.

Messy hair, DC

Kristie Dash

I’m happy that runway hair gets messier by the year. I still feel though that fashion’s version of ‘untamed’ would still take major prep-work. I’m on the air-dry then pretend it looks messy on purpose wagon.

Also, check those ying-yang hoops.


Virginia Nam

This is a cultural thing for us right now that came directly after election season. Feminism isn’t going anywhere. You will see it evolve; however, it will be more obvious and universal.

Friday finds

We made it!!!! It’s Friday, after a short week. Let’s talk skincare. I have always had great skin, which I was forever thankful for. But as good alwayssss comes with bad – my skin right now is literally so bad. The good: I have been off of Prednisone (steroids) for THREE MONTHS!!!! I had been on and off of it for three years now, but this is the longest I’ve been off and I’m feeling GOOD. What I didn’t realize, though, is that I was going to go through withdrawals. My skin has taken the brunt of it. I have been trying everything under the sun (with SPF on, of course) to get my normal skin complexion back. I was so excited when I received this product* from Lancer Skincare. It is a three-step process: Polish, Cleanse, Nourish. They also added in an eye lifting cream.

Step One: Polish. Apply this to clean (makeup free), damp skin. This comes out like an exfoliant. Your rub it all over your face and then rinse it off.

Step Two: Cleanse. Apply this to damp skin. This comes out like a gel, massage it onto your face until it turns white and then rinse off.

Step Three: Nourish. I think this is probably the most important part. This is just a lotion that you want to apply to dry skin.

These products have definitely helped my skin recover, and I am continuing to use it every night. You can find this product at Sephora for $89.00.

Note: I did the process before putting makeup on last week, and it left my face looking shiny with makeup. So I am sticking to doing this before bed only.


*I received this product free for testing purposes, but would not be writing about it if I didn’t love it. I keep it real.