S.

Stay Positive, Stay Confident

I will admit, the past couple of weeks have been very exhausting. Between work and everything else in between, it seems like it has just been non-stop. I’ve found that at times, like a normal human, you start to get down, focus all of the ‘wrong,’ and lose the reason why you do the things you do.

People with anxiety tend to always think in the future and look to the current situation as being caged in.

But here’s the thing, you’re not caged in. The current moment, the troubles and obstacles in your way right now aren’t forever– they’re temporary. Sure it’s hard when you’re going through it, but it’s important to realize that it’s in the present moment and that things will get better and work themselves out.

You need to stay positive. Breathe in the fresh air and let the frustrations out. It helps you regain yourself, it helps you understand that you *are* in control. Getting back your confidence is important and that’s what’s going to propel you to continue on through the difficult and take you to the better.

I welcome you to take a deep, long breath right now through your nose. C’mon, right now. Breathe in. Pause. Hold it for a couple of seconds. A couple more. Hold all of that bad mojo within you. And SLOWLY go ahead and start to RELEASE it on out through your nose. Slowly.

That feeling at the end, that’s positivity. That’s confidence. That’s you telling you that you’ve got this.

Girl, you’ve got this.

xx,
signalorenii

What I’m wearing:
Look 1:
Harlyn Zip Up Moto Jumpsuit c/o Tobi ; Layer On Me Lariat Necklace c/o Tobi ; Paradiso Oversized Sunglasses, Quay ; Booties, old, see similar here

Look 2:
Daydreams Wide Leg Jumpsuit c/o Tobi ; Material Girl Motto Jacket, old, see similar here ; Lace up sandals, old, see similar here ; fringe bag, old, see updated style here

S.

Shop Now: Cute Spring Dresses!

I absolutely fell in love with some of the maxi dresses I saw during NYFW this past week, including some personal favorites from designers like Verdad and Leanne Marshall. All in all, the shows had me super excited for the spring season and had me searching for cute dresses every night!

Wedding season and those it’s-finally-sunny-let’s-do-an-outdoor-brunch gatherings are coming upon us soon, so be prepared by starting to look for outfits now, in a timely manner, and you will save yourself the rush and headaches later!

Below you will find some of my favorite picks that I found out in the digital world (I’ve already ordered a few! ;)). Look to infuse your wardrobes with some key fashion pieces you can wear throughout the spring and into the summer that will give your closet a little bit of a ‘pop’ and ‘romance.’  Happy shopping! :).

xx,
signalorenii

O.

Outside of Theme Parks, A Hidden Gem in Orlando: Winter Park, FL

orlando hotel alfond inn tourism vacation itinerary

Ever had one of those moments where you just had a good hunch about something and, without saying anything, someone confirms it for you? Yep, that was me in Winter Park.

As my husband and I were having breakfast one morning, two girls were at the table behind us chatting when, all of a sudden, one exclaimed, “This is great, no one knows about this place, you’d never think this was in Orlando!” I couldn’t help but smile.

I mean, in my research to bring you, my lovely readers, the next hidden treasure of a city, Winter Park was so promising that I booked a flight from NYC, got on a plane, rented a car and came to explore the beautiful city for myself. And, boy, oh boy, how I was quite impressed! Keep reading for some highlights and tips for your next stay!

Winter Park Florida Alfond Inn Itinerary
Winter Park Florida Alfond Inn Itinerary
Winter Park Florida Orlando Alfond Inn
winter park orlando florida alfond inn itinerary
winter park orlando florida itinerary fashion

Winter Park was founded by two northern entrepreneurs in the late 19th/early 20th century, who wanted to create a ‘getaway community’ for fellow northerners who preferred a warmer winter. Interestingly enough, tale has it that it was actually one of their doctors that initially ordered them to fly down south. Goes to show you that you should always follow doctor’s orders ;).

The city is home to Rollins College, rated the #2 top college in the south, houses one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses, and is actually the alma mater to Mr. Rogers! We, literally, were spending time in what used to be Mr. Roger’s neighborhood (dreams do come true!). With lots of fun shops, museums, restaurants, parks, beautiful homes and lakes, Winter Park is the perfect destination to indulge in the beauty of nature and retreat at a very calm, yet inspiring, pace.

Where To Stay

The Alfond Inn: A very sophisticated, comfortable and inspiring hotel; you can take a dip in their rooftop pool, exercise in their state of the art gym, or just roam the hallways on every floor for your very own museum tour. No, really, the hotel is actually an extension of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum that houses around 300 pieces of rotating fine art! It is walking distance from the very popular Park Avenue, has the friendliest (and most knowledgeable) staff, and is pet-friendly. We were graciously hosted by the property and wouldn’t think twice about staying here when back in town! Not only was the property modern and beautiful, boasting a well-maintained outdoor area, inclusive of a firepit for those chillier nights, but the best part is that your stay at the Alfond Inn helps send someone to college. Yes, you read that right. All net profits made by the hotel go towards helping award selected students at Rollins College with full scholarships. It is one of the most philanthropic things for the education sector that I have ever seen a hotel do! They also host exciting events like jazz under the stars and have fun packages & specials that are sure to make your stay pleasant and worthwhile. Did I mention they’re pet friendly?! :).

winter park florida travel must do itinerary the alfond inn
the alfond inn winter park orlando florida travel itinerary chic boutique hotel
alfond inn orlando winter park hotel
the alfond inn museum art

Where To Eat

Let me tell you, there is no shortage of places to catch a bite or sweet around here! While we didn’t get a chance to experience all of what Winter Park had to offer, below you will find some of our picks:

Mon Petit Chéri: Great spot for some French pastries (you know the Francophile in me is always seeking them out!). Enjoy them out back in their outdoor patio, complete with greenery, sunshine and light French music to set the mood.

Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen: We went in for brunch and were very happy with our meal. The avocado toast (because how could I not?) was delicious and my husband had some very tasty tacos (picture below!). Of course their coffee was good and they had a nice assortment of baked goods, too. With seating both indoor and out, you’ll be sure to enjoy your meal in a relaxing environment.

Rome’s Flavours: The receptionist at the hotel actually suggested this restaurant and we made sure we didn’t leave Winter Park without trying it- it was her favorite in town, after all ;). Rome’s Flavours is, truly, an Italian restaurant; especially since all of their ingredients are imported from Italy– we were told that even the water was imported! My husband, Italian, could spot the difference as soon as our pasta order came out as he said, “Yup, this looks really good, you can tell by the texture.” The pizza we ordered came with the fluffiest crust I have ever seen. All in all, the food was delicious. So thankful for the recommend!

Hillstone: For a nice treat, we went out to Hillstone for dinner. This restaurant is nestled right along the lake for some really nice waterfront views. Walk in and put yourself down on the waiting list to dine outdoors– it is worth the wait. Really hungry? Have your meal indoors and then after dinner grab a cocktail and retreat to one of their seating areas outdoors. My husband is quite the food critic and said that their steak ranked top 2 on his list of all-time. Great service and great quality food.

Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine: While we actually didn’t get a chance to eat here, there was a pretty large crowd whenever we walked by; had we more time we definitely would have popped in! If you make it in, please let us know how it was!

food winter park florida restaurant tacos
winter park food pizza italian florida

What To Do

Museums:
The Cornell Museum of Fine Arts is situated on the beautiful, beautiful, beautiful campus of Rollins College (remember, an extension of the museum’s collection is located at the Alfond Inn). Through a generous donation to the school, the admission is free to the public and has some collections. We saw the museum’s art offering in just under an hour, which is great, because you can fit in another great museum into your itinerary, too! Definitely check it out.

The Morse Museum: If you love the Tiffany stained glass works at the MET in NYC, then you’ll love this museum as it is home to a very large and comprehensive collection of Tiffany’s stained glass artwork, including other pieces such as jewelry, paintings and pottery. They also hold other American works of art. Check out their site for current exhibitions! 


Sightseeing:

Scenic Boat Tour: Start on Lake Osceola and traverse multiple local lakes while on an open-air boat as you go through beautiful canals, covered with greenery and Spanish moss hanging to serve as beautiful décor, all by mother nature. The tour is about an hour long and not only will you learn about Winter Park’s history and spot some wildlife along the way, you will also learn about the beautiful lakeside homes and their past/present owners, such as the families of Mr. Walgreens and Mr. Rogers. You cannot visit Winter Park without taking this tour!


Taking it Easy:

Grab a sweet treat like a macaron or gelato and head to Central Park. Take a seat on a bench and just take in all of the birds chirping and people-watch. Alternatively, you can head into the beautiful Kraft Azalea Gardens and reminisce alongside the lake, while capturing some gorgeous photography.


Shopping:

Park Avenue is where it’s at. There are so many cute boutiques that carry some high-end designers, great market brands you will recognize from back home, as well as some hidden gems (like an all olive oil and balsamic store!) just a curious left -turn-into-an-alleyway away. Check out their directory or surprise yourself as you stroll along the street aimlessly :).

winter park orlando itinerary must do florida bird nature
winter park orlando itinerary must do florida
winter park florida shopping intinerary
winter park florida shopping itinerary
winter park florida shopping intinerary
winter park florida shopping itinerary
winter park florida travel must do itinerary
winter park florida travel must do itinerary

xx,
signalorenii

winter park florida travel must do itinerary

Special thanks to the Alfond Inn for hosting me. All opinions are my own.
Please feel free to leave your comments/questions below!

F.

France’s Favorite Cake Celebration!

After ringing in the new year with the ball dropping in Times Square, the new year celebration continued in NYC on January 12th, but this time at the French Institute:Alliance Française (FI:AF) on the Upper East Side. A traditional French pastry, la Galette Des Rois (Three Kings Cake), is the center of the Epiphany celebration that the French (and francophiles alike, like me!) look forward to every January. Good company, food, wine and a delicious cake — what’s not to love?!

The evening was hosted in their beautiful Skyroom (top floor of the building with a beautiful glass accented wall that doubles as part of the roof). Wine and cider, along with a delicious spread from Le District (found near Battery Park) hit the palette of those in attendance, along with the king of desserts itself, provided by Financier Patisserie, la Galette Des Rois.

galette french fiaf

Truly massive, it was the center of attention and we even learned from the pastry chef himself that the first Galette Des Rois was actually filled with almond paste and mashed potatoes! Today, it is filled with delicious almond paste- simple but still oh-so-delicious! The added fun in this is ‘la fève’ (or ‘lucky charm’) that can be found inside select pieces of cake! Find one and you are crowned king for the night– those gold crowns are highly covetable, you know ;). The rest of the evening included a photo booth station where you were entered to win tickets to a comedy show, complimented with great networking opportunities and fun conversations with friends. If you ever wanted to put your French language skills to the test (no matter your level), this is the place to be! This was just one of the many exciting cultural events that FI:AF holds throughout the year. Want to try your own slice of galette heaven? Head on over to your local Financier Patisserie, but hurry(!), this cake is gone after January!

FI:AF is a non-profit organization that was founded back in the late 1800s to help educate and spread the French culture to the community. Also worth mentioning is that FIAF holds the largest French library in the whole USA- how cool is that? For more information on workshops, classes (I actually just ended a semester of French courses here myself!), or events (art viewings, theatre, etc.), you can visit www.fiaf.org.

Thank you to FIAF for hosting me at this event. All opinions are my own.

xx,
signalorenii

5.

5 Books For A More Beautiful You

beauty books

Today I want to share with you 5 books that can help guide you to eating cleaner, healthier, smarter or, as it’s more commonly known every January 1st: “eating better.” What started as a resolution back in 2014 for me has quickly turned into a lifestyle. It’s really important to know the benefits of good, clean food as it helps us make better decisions about what we put into our bodies for maximum health (and beauty!) potential. Remember, beauty starts from within! Scroll down to see why these are at the top of my list this month!

 

oh-she-glows

 

1. I LOVE Angela Liddon. She started with blogging and sharing her very inspirational story of battling with food and eating disorders for many years. Today, she is a well-known chef who is always coming up with a new creation in her kitchen that she cannot wait to share with the world! This is her second published book in her series and her recipes are always fool proof. Vegan? No problem, this book is for you. Not vegan? This book is still great! Angela focuses on making sure you glow from the outside in. Some of my favorite recipes have become my husband’s, too! Top of my list. I highly recommend.
Amazon, $15.69

 

clean-slate

2. As the cover mentions, this book is brought to you from the editors of Martha Stewart Living. Now, I didn’t really think the DIY queen of delicious baked goods would be able to have her team come up with delicious clean recipes, but can I say WOW?! I was blown away. The first part of the book is all about the golden rules of creating a lifestyle, how to purchase fresh fruits and legumes, and much more! I always reach for this book when I am in the mood for one of my favorite recipes: Almond-Crusted Chicken Breast with Spinach. Yum, right?!

Amazon, $16.29

 

 

eating-clean


3.
 Just like ‘Clean Slate,’ ‘Eating Clean’ is just as educational as it is inspiring. One day, Annie (the author), found out she was feeling terribly sick. Worried, her mother took her to get tested. No doctor could find what was wrong; they basically gave her 24 hours to live as no XRAYs, CAT Scans, MRIs, etc could tell what was wrong. Trying one last doctor in New York, they found that Annie was over-toxified with mercury and other things that were causing her ailment. Detoxing and eating cleaner was her way to survival. She followed her doctor’s orders, survived and wrote this book in hopes to teach others how to feel ‘better’ and healthier! Her fuel-up bars are great for breakfasts on the go!
Amazon, $14.88

essential-edible-pharmacy

 

4. While the title can be a little misleading (this isn’t a holistic book to help aid certain ailments: (i.e- upset stomach, have some ginger tea, etc.)), it is still a pretty nice book. I have come to find that our Aussie friends from down under really do understand food and its health benefits a little better than some of us here in the States. With that said, Sophie makes sure to talk to you about the benefits of certain basic foods, such as: root vegetables, leafy greens, nuts & seeds, and some other ones, too. After explaining their benefits, she gives you a wonderful recipe. Her Spinach, Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa burgers are sure to be a hit during dinner and can also be reheated for a tasty, healthy lunch! Amazon, $20.05

eat-pretty

 

5. ‘Eat Pretty’ is one of those books that you can come to for reference! The author, Jolene, uncovers how that extra cup of caffeine may be giving you wrinkles, how dairy can be to blame for spotty skin, how to eat better seasonally and what beauty benefits you gain from knowing the nutrients found in your food. For example, you can support healthy hair thanks to the sulfur found in arugula! This book is as pretty on the outside as it is going to help make you feel on the inside :).
Amazon, $12.31

Cheers!
signalorenii