Can we real talk for a second, guys? I have to admit… it’s been a rough few weeks. I have a few behind the scenes life things going on that are making the day to day of normal life really hard. I’m not quite in a place yet where I can share much beyond that (hopefully soon, though). In some ways blogging has been a helpful because it drives me to focus on the positive, and in other ways it’s been incredibly hard (especially since this was one of my blogging goals for the year). But I wanted to at least make mention of the fact that life has been less than cheery as of late in order to keep this space authentic. I say this not to complain, but simply to remind you that if you’re facing a wintery rough patch, too, know (really know) you’re not alone.

The most powerful thing these last few weeks have taught me is that we as humans can really withstand a lot. Life may feel so terribly impossible at times, but it does, often very slowly, get better. So wherever you are and whatever you’re facing right now, I hope you’re taking really good care of yourself. Thank you so much for reading this week! Here are a few fun links for your weekend…. xoxo.

Yep, hummus is just as good for you as you always told yourself it was.

Top looks from the other side of the pond: Paris Fashion Week

How to contour and highlight.

21 Types of Best Friends Everyone Has 

Surprising places you can find a Starbucks.

This totally makes me regret my Fitbit purchase.

12 simple decorating projects you can knock out in a day.

Pothole art.

10 ways to up your productiveness at work (and the first one is drinking beer)

Ben & Jerry’s new “Core” ice cream flavors. #drooling

Are we all over Facebook?

Who knew how precious watching a pelican  learn to fly could be?

Outdoor wallpaper.

The first lady does #TBT. Amazing

Image Source: Bryce Covey


Two things that will forever be true: I will never be able to resist a classic cupcake or piece of cake, and if it’s slathered in homemade buttery frosting (bonus points of it’s pink), then hand it over. Those two truths combined make up just some a few of the reasons why Billy’s Bakery is one of my favorite sweet spots in all of NYC. I’ve actually been visiting their shop for well over 10 years, since they opened back in 2003! Growing up my brother and I found ourselves in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan (now most famous for its proximity to The High Line), quite often because our Dad had a place there. I vividly remember making a pilgrimage with my Dad and brother to sample all their sweet cakes and cupcakes when the shop first opened opened.

Though they’ve opened numerous locations since then, the Chelsea spot still carries such nostalgia. I was absolutely thrilled that they allowed us to take an inside peak of this space a few weeks back! From the pastel yellow and green branding, to the 1940s style bake shop décor, Billy’s consistently steals my heart. And we haven’t even talked about the baked goods! Just the most heavenly creations you can ever imagine… from classic cupcakes and layer cakes to pies, brownies, cookies, and even some savory items.

Click through to view all their tantalizing baked goods and find out which shop is closest to you in the city…

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Making my own tortilla chips has been an absolute game changer. Do you guys do it? It’s the easiest thing in the world, and makes such a difference! I should preface this by saying, I ain’t making the dough from scratch. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips at the store, I’ll grab a bag of corn tortillas. I’ll then cut up the tortillas into strips or triangles, brush them with a little olive oil, and sprinkle them with a liberal amount of salt. Into the oven they go at 400° for 10-12 minutes, and voila, you have really fresh tasting homemade chips!

Thse chips can really elevate a gaucomole or store bought salsa appetizer, but also do the same for this tortilla soup. I’ve been making the chicken or bean variety of tortilla soup for years, but a few weeks back decided to try chorizo with the one lonely link I had left in my fridge. It’s amazing how far that little amount of meat went in flavoring this soup! Add in the pickled jalapeno, and you have one of the best pantry throw together dishes in my mind.

Chorizo Tortilla Soup
Serves 4

  • 1 large link chorizo sausage, casing removed
  • 2 cups large dice red peppers (yellow, red, or orange will work- you’ll need about 1.5-2 peppers)
  • 1 small onion or half a medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 32 oz (4 cups) low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced pickled jalapenos (can add more if desired)
  • Spices: 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • juice of half a lime
  • For serving: chives, sour cream or greek yogurt, extra jalapenos, tortilla chips, lime wedges, avocado

Set a heavy bottomed pot to medium heat. Add in your sausage, and cook for 5-7 minutes until fully cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon as you go. Once cooked, move the sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.

With the fat in the pan, add in the diced onion and peppers. Cook for 8-10 minutes until softened. Monitor the heat, you may need to bring it closer to medium low. If the pan feels dry, add in a little bit of olive oil. Once the peppers and onions are cooked, add in the garlic and cook for one more minute until softened. Add in all spices, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine.

Next add in the tomatoes, beans, broth, and pickled jalapenos. Bring to a boil, working the chorizo bits off the bottom of the pan. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes until flavors have melded. Add in the juice of the lime and return chorizo to the pan. Taste for seasonings- you may need more salt, lime, or pepper. You may also add more jalapeno if you like it spicier.

Ladles soup until bowls and serve topped with chives, sour cream/greek yogurt, tortilla chips, and avocado. Soup can be stored in an air tight container up to one week in the fridge.

Makes the chips: Preheat your oven to 400° and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Cut your tortillas into strips and place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes until tortillas are golden brown and slightly crisped. Remove from oven and let cool on pan (they will crisp up a bit more as they cool). Serve immediately or store in an air tight container for up to 5 days.


Yesterday I threw on my pink sunnies as I was jetting to and from places (err more like schlepping… always), but it felt oh so good. Sunshine! Finally! The fact that my body wasn’t chilled to the bone the instant I walked outside was such a treat. We’ve still got March but with trips to California and Mexico on the horizon, I think I can make it to spring! Who’s with me?

I’m off to DC to spend the weekend throwing my bestie’s baby shower and visiting with dear old friends. After a week of mountains of monotous paperwork and business tasks (hello taxes), I’m so ready to focus on things completely unrelated to work for the next few days. We’ve been plotting and planning the shower menu for weeks so I’m beyond excited to hit the store tomorrow suburban style, spend Friday night prepping food, and bring the whole thing together on Saturday. A version of this salad and these treats will be in the mix. Here are a few fun links…. have a good one! xx

Healthy-fy your favorite comfort foods.

Work-friendly makeup looks

Weekend menu inspo: Gumbo!

SATC 3???

Manicures of New York Fashion Week.

Jimmy Fallon‘s barbershop quartet twist of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix).”

“I found a life, in paper.” — Olivia Judson, from part 4 of her beautiful 8-part series on dealing with grief.

Photography Crush: the female biker gangs of Marrakech.

12 Things You Could Do Instead of Worrying.

Would you stay at one of these hip new hotels from the folks at Radisson?

20 stars, 20 fantastic red lipsticks.

Buzzfeed’s roundup of truly charming travel locations.

Image Source: Frankly Esoteric

Over the course of this blog (from Channeling Contessa to Clara Persis), I’ve featured numerous freelancers, business owners, and fellow entrepeneurs. I love doing these features because, somewhat selfishly, they give a really valuable behind the scenes look at what it’s truly like to work for yourself. The advice, real talk, and sentiments are crucial if you’re either thinking about or trying to make it on your own. One of my blog goals for 2014 was not only to keep those features consistent, but make sure they got at the good stuff. The questions that are always swimming around in my head like how exactly did you make the jump?  How did you afford it? Did you leverage your corporate job in any way?

These are not only my questions, but the questions I receive most frequently from you all. And while I have my own personal answers that I’ve shared, I thought what better way to spread the knowledge and support than garnering up multiple people’s answers? So, with that in mind, each month moving forward I’ll be featuring one to two freelancers or entrepeneurs across a wide variety of fields.  Each feature will provide an in depth look at their career and clarify the steps to how they got to where they are. To kick things off, I’m beyond thrilled to take you behind the scenes with Sas of Sasithon Photography, the wildly talented girl who does all our NYC Eats shoots.  Click through to learn how within a matter of a few years, the girl has built a bustling wedding, travel, and lifestyle photography business….  Read more »