Hard Grove Cafe- Jersey City, NJ

Breakfast Tostada: scrambled eggs, avocado, black beans w/ Veggie Steak and Red potatoes

I had brunch Jersey City's popular Hard Grove Cafe last weekend for the first time. I always thought they specialized in heavy Mexican food which I wasn't too excited about. My friend, who has lived in Jersey City for a while, informed me that the Hard Grove served some of the best Cuban food in the area.

Cuban Skillet: Scrambled eggs w/ red potatoes, veggie sausage, peppers and cilantro sauce

The breakfast was tasty! They serve "veggie" steak and sausage as an option. Health smoothies with and without alcohol were available. They have outdoor seating in the summer time and a full bar. The restaurant's decor has a cuban flair and might easily fit in among restaurants on Miami's famed Collins Avenue. Without a beverage meals are priced at $10-$12 a plate.

I tend to feel that Dinner and even Brunch are the meals that can define a restaurant.  I'm looking forward to sampling the dinner menu next time!

UPDATE: Desk Search-The Solution DIY Style

A few weeks ago I posted a blog piece about my search to find a new desk for my small space living room of my one bedroom apartment. I wanted something with generous table top space with out taking up too much real estate in the living room.

Here's what I came up with:

I'm really happy with this desk. It brings a masculine, industrial feel into the room. It provides ample workspace without look very "heavy" within the small space. For those who may wonder why I passed on a Glass top-I do projects, sketches and diy craft projects that could damage and scratch glass. I plan to but up the cork board and get a mini set of drawers for under storage.

  • 2 Saw Horses - these will be the legs of desk, I purchased a pk of 2 by Task Force at Lowe's for $29.94
  • 1- 30" Interior Hollow Core Door ( I had a store employee trim this down to the specs needed for my space- 30" x 56") $23.00
 The cost for the desk is less than $60!

Set up was easy.  I just opened out the saw horse legs and placed the a few feet apart from each other. Gently, place the door on top of the saw horses, making sure saw horse legs are at least 5 inches in from the outer edge of the desk top. That's it. It's done! Just place your office items on top or begin your project!


Looks & Ideas: Jackets, Capes and Blazers

Blazers, capes, and jackets in varying shapes, textures, fabrics, and colors are trending for Fall 2010. Dressed up for day and more relaxed and casual, these pieces are a chic way to top off a look. I did a little digging and came up with some my inspiration for next season's shopping.
Blazers/ Capes/ Jackets


$738 - thecorner.com
Knit cardigan »

Velvet knitwear LIGHT BROWN
105 GBP - matchesfashion.com
Velvet tops »

Nappa-leather biker jacket
$662 - theoutnet.com
Summer jacket »

Boucle Jacket
$1,975 - kirnazabete.com
Cropped jacket »

Military Wool Cape
$1,570 - matthewwilliamson.com
Military coat »

Msgm jackets GREY
575 GBP - matchesfashion.com
Grey jacket »

Terrace House Jacket
$128 - anthropologie.com
Jackets »

Shoulder Detail Crop Jacket
$110 - topshop.com
TopShop »


Check Your Shoes @ The Door


Do you remove your shoes when you enter your home? Do you get the "side eye" glances, frowns, and moans when arriving guests find out they must part from what is sometimes the often the highlight of their ensemble before even making an entrance?

I am a big advocate for shoe removal in my home and while I know it can be a hassles, but it's the little things that can bring lots of comfort in a home! Living in the city my daily adventures take me above and below ground. I walk through and around things that makes my skin crawl! While I know that there is dirt everywhere and you can never truly live dirt free, (outside of a bubble anyway) I take solace in knowing I am doing what I can to lessen the contaminants and pollutants in my abode.

Did you know that in Japan shoes are left outdoors as a symbol of the conscious desire to leave the outside world outside? I love NYC but I definitely wouldn't walk the streets barefoot. For me this is the equivalent of wearing shoes indoors. 

Aside from the benefit of added cleanliness (wearing shoes indoors can track dust, dirt, mold, feces and more throughout your home) removing shoes has added benefits:

  • Socks, bare feet, and "house shoes" or indoor only slippers help to lessen the wear and tear on hardwood floors and keep rugs cleaner
  •  If there are small children in the home who like to play and roll around the floor, removing shoes can keep your home healthier
  • For those that enjoy bare feet at home clean floors are definitely a bonus
  •  Floors may have to be cleaned less frequently

Invest in some extra socks and slippers for house guests.
These are from NJUTA slippers can be purchased at Ikea for $2.49
 Hanes Men's Socks will fit most and won't break the bank. 10 pairs-$10.00. Available at Walmart, Target, or Kmart.

And if you're like me and thinking "How will I keep all of these shoes from cluttering the front door?" Check out these entry way "shoe keepers." These are from Target.


"The whole world as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color" -Hans Hoffman

                                           Jerri Kunz Design from ApartmentTherapy.com

                                             Pink Carnations from Lespiritsudmagazine.com

Rug I love from Overstock.com A lovely, relatively easy way  color way to infuse color into space.

Purple tones create drama and highlight architectural detail in this room. (I want to live here!)

                                           NY home of model Jessica Stam from Elle Decor

Speaking of drama, this glam chandelier is available at Home Depot. It's on sale now for $79.

Black Chandelier, also by Roxy-Black is a color too!


Everyone Loves A Good Deal: Clogs

Fell in love with these Dolce Vita Peep-toe clogs this weekend...

  •  Brand: Dolce Vita
  •  Height: 5 inches (but with a 1 inch platform you barely notice)
  •  Fabrication: Leather
  •  Comfort: On a scale of 1-10 they're about an 9.

 BONUS: they're on sale now at Macy's for $69.99-unfortunately they're not available on line. :-(


Trader Joe's Refresh Citrus Body Wash

 It is with sincere and utter trepidation that try new Over The Counter (OTC) make-up and skin care products. Last week, while at Trader Joe's, one of my fave places to shop, I purchased "Trader Joe's Refresh Citrus Body Wash." I've been using it for a week now and I'm pleased with the results.

I have very sensitive skin. Now, when I say "very," that's probably an understatement.  "Uber-sensitive" or "extremely sensitive" would better describe my status.

I have Eczema. I've dealt with this inconvenient, moisture-defying skin ailment since birth. There's no cure and hundreds of triggers, i.e caffeine, chocolate, lanolin, nickel, etc. As part of my self-imposed "treatment" I rarely wear perfume, try only to use skin care products that contain ingredients I am familiar with, and never use bar soap as a cleanser. I can honestly by maintaining a healthy diet, along with moderate exercise has played a large role in my ability to manage this condition.

Not being a fan heavy, perfume-y smells, I really like the light refreshing citrus aroma, which can be really exhilarating in the morning.  Refresh, a great cleanser and doesn't produce a large amount of lather or leave skin feeling tight, dry or filmy. Even after my ritual "loofah scrub" my skin felt soft and nourished.  It contains "feel good" ingredients like, Echinacea. Ginger, Ginseng, and Chamomile. The 16 Fl oz. bottle was only $3.99, which is saving considering the $7- $9 I usually spend on body washes like Dove and Oil of Olay. It's also cruelty free, and the bottle is 100% biodegradable! I can't say that I always think about both of those things when making purchases but I always feel better when I can make purchases that support agendas that matter to me.


Color is the "Spirit" of the Space

If you've ever taken a class on Color Theory you know that there is deep psychology associated with color. Color can in a space can induce or conjure up a variety of feelings, moods, and desires depending on the way they are used. For example, have you ever noticed the how often the color Red is used in relation to food? Red, can promotes passion, physical energy and of course, hunger.


When choosing a color for your space it is important to think about what will work aesthetically, but it's also helpful to take into account the evocative nature of the color you choose. You may want to paint your office a soothing blue, for it's relaxing traits, but too much blue in a space can be depressing. So to compliment the blue in a space and add balance it might be good to add a Pop color like Yellow, which promotes hope and intellectual focus.

Feng Shui, an Eastern methodology, which deals with the interaction of a person and his or her space. I refer to feng shui for tips to achieve the desired energy in my space or when I am trying to reach a certain goal in my life or in a relationship. Feng Shui offers insight into colors, their energy and the impact colors can make in a space and in your activities. I recommend the book, Feng Shui with What You Have, if you're new to the method and  interested in using Feng Shui concepts in your home or office space.

Here's a little insight on color according to the Feng Shui tradition:

Blue:         Soothing, relaxing, decreases appetite
Red:         Stimulates, motivates, increases appetite
Orange:    Warm and welcoming, promotes interaction
Yellow:      Promotes cheerfulness, hope, compassion
Green:       Soothing, healing, and peaceful
Purple:      Color of spirituality, lends to creativity and higher consciousness
Brown:       Represents security, groundedness, status quo
Black:        Seen as sophisticated, mysterious, powerful
White:         Signifies cleanliness, order

Color can completely alter the spirit of the space not only when used in paint color but in the selection of accessories and decor of a space.





A few of my personal faves from Sex in the City: The Movie 2...




Put Your [dreams, desires, wishes, fantasies, goals] On Paper

"If  you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it." -William Arthur Ward

Do you believe that words have power? 
What type of lifestyle do you want for your future? 

Can you see your self achieving all  your dreams? 
Do you speak about the things you want in your life? 

What can you do to make things happen in your life?
What are you doing to create the reality you want?

When I get off track and begin to feel discouraged about how fast I am moving towards my goals or whether I will achieve them at all I think about these questions. On an average day I really do believe that I am the captain of my destiny, and the master of my fate. I try to speak words of love and positivity because I understand that words along with thoughts will manifest in my life. I try to meditate regularly to center myself, envisioning and connecting with my true self, but there are times that I let fear in. 

I start to believe in, and almost accept, self doubt. There are times when, nearly suffocated by fear, and anxiety I literally loose touch with "my self." I forget about my connection to the infinite divine. My vision gets cloudy and I get stuck. 

These  are times when I need inspiration the most. Creativity and love can not exist where in the presence of fear. So, to get back on track I meditate. I write. I read. I try to focus on areas in my life where I can affect change now:
  • Career
  • Spiritual Growth
  • Educational Growth
  • Financial Stability
  • Maintainence of healthy relationships
  • Love
The small changes and solutions I make in the Now help not only to empower and rebuild confidence but also to re-energize my vision with passion and commitment.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Cuelho, which I've enjoyed reading a number of times, discusses a concept that I have for some time adopted as my own personal motto: When you decide and know what you want, all the universe conspires to help you achieve your destiny.

It's important to write about your vision, which sends out a higher level of commitment to the universe, and it's also important and helpful to have constant visual reminders of what are, for now, dreams. A Vision or Inspiration board is a simple, inexpensive way to create a place for your wishes, fantasies, desires, and goals to live, and grow. I've created one that I plan to, frame and place in an area of high visibility so I am conscious thoughts, words, and actions that are shaping my reality.

Here's what you'll need to create your Vision Board:

-Poster Board (size and color are based on your preference-if you plan on framing keep frame size in mind when choosing board)
-Elmors Glue
-10 (at least) magazines (different titles)
-Frame (optional)

 Next Step: Put your dreams on Paper!
Get creative about your vision. There are no rules for what it your vision board should look like. As long as it contains things that inspire to you and that you value it's perfect.

I made this one last weekend. I'll try to remember to get a final pic once I find the right frame.