Year in Review.

So everyone’s rehashing 2014 and I’m starting to feel left out. I think it’s only fair that I too take a second to reflect on the past 365 days. Because one of my resolutions is to be more positive (+) this year, I’m harking back to some of my happiest moments from 2014. Who’s in?

stone barns

A personal tour of Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture from a friend who worked at the nonprofit farm and education center during the summer.

mohonk mountain house

Breezy summer afternoons spent in rocking chairs at Mohonk Mountain House.

w south beach

Escaping frosty New York temps for sunset runs along the boardwalk in Miami last winter.

east river ferry nyc

Playing tourist on the East River Ferry post-Grimaldi’s pizza party with my cousins.

midtown nyc

Emerging from a hot yoga class to stop in my tracks and appreciate the cityscape one summer evening.

weekend style

Settling into comfy clothes for a Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn.

eat clean

Eating the rainbow.

blast 900 atlanta

Sweating it out at Blast 900 in Buckhead, Atlanta.

the meatball shop

Sipping sangria after one of the hardest weeks of the year.

healthy breakfast

Breakfasting like a champ…

smoothie bowl

….again

healthy beakfast

…and again.

london calling

And living abroad for three months. That wasn’t half bad, I guess.

the eye london

From London

prague

…to Prague

kew gardens

…to Cambridge

gaudi barcelona

…to Barcelona

amsterdam appreciations

…and Amsterdam.

Not to mention all the eats in between (some healthier than others).

notes london

EAT london

carluccio's london

borough market

loving hut prague

timberyard london

hampstead heath

the grilling greek food truck

blend and press london

flax & kale

tom's deli somerset house

And so I’ll start 2015 well-traveled, with a satisfied belly, and the deepest sense of utter gratitude at my core.

Endless thank you’s go to those who were there for these miraculous moments, as well as the less miraculous ones.

Onwards.

London’s Healthy Eats

So The Week’s Healthy Eats series fell to the wayside during my semester abroad. Big time. That doesn’t mean I haven’t eaten anything green in the last three months, though. Between typical British bites — yes, I tried cottage pie, mince pie, Christmas pudding, and fish n’ chips — I managed to consume some nutritious and delicious fare in London. Care to recap?

timberyard london

TIMBERYARD. A friend and I devoured this breakfast fit for queens from the cozy coffee shop in the Seven Dials neighborhood: porridge (note: there’s no such thing as ‘oatmeal’ in the UK) topped with banana coins, a yogurt parfait, a thick slice of banana bread for sharing, and a pot of tea. Beyond breakfast, the two-story café is worth settling in for a long, rainy day. Soups, salads, and sandwiches are also prepared daily, so you might as well stay for lunch and dinner.

blend & press london

BLEND & PRESS. A baby “clean lean smoothie” enjoyed amidst an autumnal display back in October. Head over to Neal’s Yard to find this little juice haven.

le pain quotidien

LE PAIN QUOTIDIENNot that I needed to go to London for this lentil & avocado salad, but eats like these from my favorite chain are always appreciated. Can you tell I like my greens piled high?

mojo london

mojo london

mojo london

MOJO JUICE BAR & CAFE. This corner spot in Soho became a fast favorite for me, no matter the meal.

Breakfast: a kale / banana / date smoothie and a crunchy, nutty vegan energy bar.

Lunch: a whole lotta mixed salads full of nutritious staples like edamame, carrots, sprouts, cabbage, raddichio, chickpeas, and quinoa, all topped off with a generous serving of fish.

Dinner: hummus and sesame crusted chicken breast, a beet / walnut / goat cheese salad, and a kale / dried cranberry salad.

Bonus: the price is right at Mojo — stop by for a meal deal that gets you a lunch and/or dinner plate like the ones above, plus a pressed juice, for less than 7 pounds.

beach blanket babylon

BEACH BLANKET BABYLON. Pop over to this Shoreditch eatery for a dressy Saturday night out. I went for a friend’s birthday dinner, ordered the salmon, and was pleased. The end.

healthy london eats

TOSSED. The quickie option. I often tracked down a Tossed or Vital Ingredient in between classes, where I always opted for the large size of my favorite make-your-own combo: mixed greens, roasted sweet potatoes, salmon, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette. Taste the rainbow?

tom's deli london

tom's deli london

tom's deli london

 TOM’S KITCHEN DELI. Saved the last dance for this gem of a (poorly labeled) ‘deli’ located in Somerset House. Tom’s buffet of high quality eats changes daily, but lean proteins, quiches, and seasonal salads can always be expected. Recent favorites included the dishes featured above: roasted salmon, caramelized butternut squash and parmesan, and an arugula / broccoli / blue cheese salad. Can I play those on repeat?

Check back soon for more posts in The Week’s Healthy Eats series!

All of the Lights.

The holidays are on steroids here in London, and I’m not one bit upset about it.

somerset house london

I recently took myself for a walk about central London’s art and cultural center, Somerset House, where the delightful decorations are abundant.

As if the massive ice skating rink (featured above) in Somerset’s main plaza isn’t enough to woo, its christmas music that chimes at all hours of the day and night will likely do the trick. (Mind you, I’m someone who avoids New York’s Rockefeller Center like a madwoman during the holiday season, but something about London’s merry spirits has me feeling smitten.)

Somerset has partnered with Fortnum & Mason and packed its rooms with gift shops galore. Each room offers something different. Indeed, I had to see them all. I weaved through the hallways, ducking in and out of each shop, dizzied by the plethora of present possibilities.

somerset house london

There were rooms “For Her,” and rooms “For Him,” but I was most mesmerized by the sweets — think mince pies on deck — and shiny ornaments.

christmas sweets london

christmas sweets london

christmas sweets london

christmas in london

christmas in london

christmas in london

I didn’t even buy anything, but left feeling warm and fuzzy, and readier than ever for the holidays at home.

christmas in london

So, what’s on my holiday agenda?

Step 1: Bust out the PJs.

Step 2:  Start the fire.

Step 3: Stay put for days.

(Not So) Grey Gardens

I happened upon a bit of green amidst London’s interminable grey this weekend. Cue Kew Gardens. Confused? Kew Gardens is a public botanical research and education institution some 45 minutes away from central London. It looks a little bit like this:

kew gardens

Despite touring the gardens in mid-November, we still managed to see a whole lot of beautiful.

kew gardens

Most of the showstoppers were located inside the massive greenhouses that sit on the premises…

kew gardens

kew gardens

kew gardens

kew gardens

kew gardens

kew gardens

…Though the grounds outside weren’t too shabby, either, and this glimpse of sunlight made my heart skip a quick beat.

kew gardens

My curry chicken / mango chutney / baby arugula sandwich at Kew’s lovely café provided me with just enough sustenance to pay a lengthy visit to the center’s gift shop, post-plant oggling, of course.

Though the options were endless, I settled on a few perfect picks for some people I love back home. I don’t want to give too much away, but a few lucky ones may be sipping on some hot-spiced mulled wine in the very near future…!

Check back soon for a whole lotta holiday love. Hint: London’s Christmas game is strong.