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easy, cheesy broccoli pasta

Easy. The key word. By that I mean, you pretty much stick everything in a pot of boiling water and you’re done. With a few seasoning steps sprinkled in, this recipe has become a staple in our household because of its convenience, comfort, and fresh ingredients. Takes 20 minutes tops.

Here are your ingredients –

– 5 cups broccoli FIVE CUPS! About two heads. I made the mistake of only getting one head the first round and didn’t have nearly enough. Once it’s all boiled down and chopped up, it’ll won’t look like so much.

– 16 oz of nice pasta Conchiglie is my favorite for this dish

– Parmeasan cheese to taste I highly reccommend going big or going home here. Meaning get the block of parm if you can and grate it

– Two cloves of garlic, minced

– 1 tbsp live oil

– One lemon

– Salt & pepper

3, 2, 1, Go

chopped broccoli in measuring cup and on cutting board

1. First, start by chopping the broccoli into small bite size pieces. About half way through, start heating a large pot of salted water to boil. Rinse the broccoli and set aside

2. Once the water is boiling, toss the pasta and broccoli in together and follow the cooking instructions of the pasta, stirring regularly. Usually about 8 to 9 minutes, but have a taste-test to make sure.

3. Drain the pasta and broccoli together in a strainer, saving about 3/4 cup of the water. Set aside both for a few minutes.

4. Heat the olive oil in the same pot, then add the minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Once it begins to golden, add the juice of a 1/2 lemon. Stir until the garlic is golden brown. Tip: I know there are a handful of people out there who insist on doing things the old fashioned way, but I use this handy garlic chopper to save myself a little sanity. All you have to do is cut the garlic into smallish pieces, and the roller will do the rest. You can find these at most kitchen stores.

garlic cloves and garlic chopper with pieces of garlic in it
broccoli parmesan pasta recipe in a bowl with garlic and pieces of broccoli around it on wooden table

5. Add the pasta, broccoli, and pasta water. Stir until well mixed. Then squeeze in the remaining lemon and add more salt and pepper to taste. Throw the parmesan cheese in, stirring as you go to make sure all the pasta is coated evenly.

6. Serve! Add more parmesan on top for garnish.

So easy. Simple ingredients, simple steps, but a pretty satisfying dish. When we don’t know what to make for dinner, this one usually pops into our heads and we can whip it up within the half hour.

One more Kate-tip: I personally find food-prep incredibly underwhelming, so bring over your laptop and keep yourself entertained with Netflix while chopping. Will make the task go by way faster. Or thrown on ABBA and have a dance party.

Tryyyy this. Worst thing that’ll happen is you end up eating some pasta.

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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back in the office – an explanation

I KNOW I’m not the only one going through major changes these last few months. Quarantine has thrown us into an uncharted territory of isolation, freedom in a sense, and undivided time with our thoughts. I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. Thinking. Learning. Changing. Mediating. Appreciating. Listening.

I don’t want you to think that I gave up on this. I truly didn’t. I think the world just felt so overwhelming to me and I needed to catch my breath. You’d think in quarantine, I’d have all the time in the world to invest in this space. But the truth is, the present state of our world has never affected me more than it is now. It’s too heartbreakingly depressing these days. This year honestly…every day something has come out in the news that sends a ripple of shock through me. This can’t be real, I think. No way. But it is. And it’s felt like getting slapped in the face over and over again after expecting each to be the last. There’s no way it could get any worse. “But ahah!” the universe says. It can, and it shall.

And it did. Some of it snuck up on us. COVID-19, a great example. All of us January 1st: “2020 is our YEAR.” “Big things coming in twenty twentyyyy!” If only we knew what was in store for us. Although, after reading multiple articles in the beginning of it all, it sounds like it didn’t exactly “sneak” up on us – rather, the warning signs just got ignored. And then further mocked by the great leader of the free world.

Australia burning. The Amazon rainforest. I don’t think I have the capacity to throw myself down that rabbit hole today.

Tom Brady and Gronk playing for the Buc’s. Vomit.

And then there have been all the horrible, horrible deaths of Black people at the hands of police -which have been happening for decades – that we have just barely woken up to (from our slumbers of ignorance). Enough was finally enough.

And real quick – here’s the thing – so many people are quick to jump onto the Black Lives Matter train for the sake of being a “good white person”. Voicing your support of the movement is great. It’s wonderful, it’s NEEDED. But please don’t let it end there. There is so much work to be done, and it needs to be done actively for a long period of time. Racism started as a white person problem, is a white person problem, and can only truly be solved by white people. This movement can’t end once the media coverage does. It’s not our fault that racism exists today. But it is on us for maintaining and accepting it. (More of my thoughts to come, if you’d care to read. I just need to thoughtfully articulate them so I don’t come off mistakenly accusatory, which I tend to do when I’m upset.)

I think the vast majority of us just feel confused. How do we go about our lives and pretend to have a sense of normalcy? How do we take a day off and care for ourselves? Is that selfish?

No, it’s necessary. So long as we tap ourselves back in once we’re rested. We can’t care or fight for others when we deprive care to ourselves. We can’t binge watch the news and expect that habit to last. Ever heard of the term “burning out”? Of course you have, it’s our modern society’s go-to coping mechanism. The goal is longevity. We can’t win a marathon by sprinting full speed the whole way.

People I’ve always considered to be updated on current events in my life have stopped watching the news. It’s too much. It’s scary to process. There’s too much sh-t happening right now to be able to watch it and feel okay after. We have to find extra good in our lives to make up for all this extra bad. And it’s strange, because the opposite has happened to me. I’m watching the news more than ever these days. Does it get to be too much? Yes, of course. Is it exhausting? Most definitely. But I don’t feel like I can go on living my life in oblivion to the world’s suffering right now. Our future is up in the air, and I want to have an influence in where the pieces fall.

I definitely need to take breaks. Lately, I’ve been taking my days off from work as my days off. Off call, off guard, offline. It’s necessary. I’m trying to find all that extra good within myself to carry me through the rest of the week and get by. Doing things that make me happy and bring peace – meditating, stretching, reading, sketching, painting. Getting outside.

So I think that’s what it boils down to. I’ve been journalling privately, but I’ve had difficultly publishing anything because it feels selfish and less prioritized in light of world events. Irrelevant. I’m not sure what my voice is right now.

But life goes on, and with it, I must too. I still have these dreams, these goals, and a vision. I’m just trying to find the balance in caring about it all. And contributing to it in the humble ways I can. It’s exhausting, but I think it’s supposed to be.

On the flipside, a lot of self reflection and exploration have been going on these days. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had an insistingly present inner-dialogue. It’s great. Most of the time. Like a therapist that never leaves. I can work through a lot of things myself but it also causes a hyperactive “let me overthink this” drive. So along with the perks, it has its challenges.

I guess that’s where I could use some work. I feel guilty for taking so much time off from here – but I’m kind of happy I did too…I just needed to reconnect with my whole reasoning for starting this thing in the first place. Write like myself. Not worry about impressing whoever. My “spark” has just been a little dimmed lately. It’s hard to feel inspired when you feel like the world is crumbling apart.

This year will be known as a challenging one. No doubt. But it will also be remembered a time of wild growth, too.

I hope.

Okay so that’s my schpeel. I’m back in business here. It’s important to me that this website feels alive again.

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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sustainability in the home

eco-friendly plant based sponges made out cellulose resting on a wooden cutting board next to a small aloe plant

Can I just say – I’m having the best time putting this series together. I feel like I’m becoming a better human through it, like there’s a fire in belly and now I’m going balls to the f–king walls redoing my life. It’s a new passion, what can I say.

Now I want to make eco-friendly gift baskets of this stuff for everyone in my life – a “starter kit” for a sustainable lifestyle. Or just tools to help them keep going with theirs. I’m thinking some produce bags, a cute canvas bag or two, bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws, a pretty tea towel, some new sponges.

Consider this a Home Series part 1. There are a crazy amount of sustainable practices to can take in your home, and these are just a few of the things we’re doing in ours now. I’ve got more plans for the future and things to try. There will be updates.

close up view of eco-friendly plant based sponges made out cellulose resting on a wooden cutting board next to a small aloe plant

in the kitchen

It blows my mind that these aren’t more mainstream than they are now. Am I missing something? I’m like a little kid in a candy store around this stuff. I just found these a few weeks ago hidden on the very bottom shelf and involuntarily did a little happy dance in the aisle. Sponges are something I was always worried about replacing in the name of sustainability. I go through so many in my kitchen and the idea of using a wet, flimsy, washcloth to do my dishes with never sounded appealing or effective. Then I found these and I feel like my dopamine levels will remain peaked for about another week until the high fades out.

They look almost like a normal plastic sponge, except here’s the kicker: they’re completely plant-based. Made 100% off cellulose and loofah, which means they will decompose once I’m through with them. Genius. No chemical dyes. No artificial colors, no glue (they’re hand sewn). I put them to the test, and they passed with flying colors. If you were to close your eyes you couldn’t even tell the difference. They don’t scratch my glasses, which I was worried about. They’re durable, tough on dirt, easy to use, plus they’re pretty, aesthetically. Not gonna lie that makes me happy.

How are these not more common?? They act just like a regular sponge, minus the environmental impact and chemicals. You don’t sacrifice anything by choosing these. $2 each, which is a few cents more than Scotch Brite. Visit your local health store to support your community, but if they don’t have them, find some here. Their website has a ton of other sponge options if these particular ones don’t work for you.

young woman holding up a variety of tea towels with different designs on them

I’ve found an un-relenting love for tea towels through this process. Our local store, Healthy Living has the best ones and they’re always front and center when you walk in the door. Which makes them unimaginably hard for me to resist. I mean I only have three. But I see this becoming an exponential problem.

I’ve set a goal for myself to completely replace the need for paper towels in our household by this time next year. A hefty goal, I know. Trying to break our long-instilled habits of reaching for a quick paper towel to clean up a mess will be a new challenge. Little spill? Tea towel. Drying a dish? Paper towel tea towel.

They’ll get dirty fast, but maybe that’ll be our excuse to finally stay on top of our laundry.

There are tons of other uses for these babies too –

– as potholders or trivets

– napkins/placeholders

– keeping breads and other foods warm from the oven (just cover/wrap – we use them to line our break baskets)

– storing greens or herbs in the fridge

– steaming foods (just create a tight seal on your pot – you can make the fluffiest rice by doing this)

– wrap a gift with one. Sounds cute.

eco-friendly and sustainable bamboo toothbrushes with black bristles

in the powder room

Toothbrushes. Often things we buy without thinking, about every 3 months or so. That’s four plastic toothbrushes a year, per person. There’s 8 billion people on this planet. I’ll let you do the math.

This was the easiest switch of all – bamboo toothbrushes. Fun fact: Bamboo is the fastest growing plant in the world, which makes it a WONDERFUL renewable resource and replacement for disposable plastic products we use everyday. Some bristles are made of nylon so they’re not perfect, but they’re still better than the ones that end up in our landfills every day. 100% biodegradable options are out there too (linked below).

Worried about mixing them up? Most manufactures number these so that doesn’t happen. Don’t worry about swapping spit with your roommate.

We got these off Amazon, which is on my sh-t list right now for reasons like fair worker’s rights, but you can find them at countless other health stores or online too. I’m going to be purchasing from here or here next – about $3 each. So much cheaper than plastic toothbrushes – save your dollars!

To get real one more time – the worldwide use of plastic toothbrushes cannot sustainably continue…they will never biodegrade and our oceans are filled with them. Making this switch is the easiest way to start making a difference right now – plus it’s so much less expensive and won’t disrupt your normal routine. Win-win.

Side note: I have plans to start experimenting with making our own toothpaste at home, because there’s a lot of plastic packaging that can be avoided that way. Should be fun! I’ll definitely screw up. Write about it later.

variety of colorful bar soaps such as pacha and river soap company in the sunlight amongst greenery

Can I be honest? My whole life I have been anti-bar soap. I couldn’t really tell you why. Just never liked them. Then I found Pacha soap, these little bars of beauty, and suddenly I’m buying them for gifts and looking forward to my showers more than ever.

Guys. These smell so good.

My main focus was reducing the plastic packaging in my shower routine. The easiest place to start was with our body soap since alternatives out there are more common and accessible. I started with Pacha, but it can be a little pricey and I found that a bar didn’t last a super long time. Still love them – but I’ve found more bang for my buck with River Soap Company, about half the price and they last twice as long. There’s a lot of options out there and no matter the company, most are infused with essential oils and natural ingredients that hydrate skin and leave it feeling refreshed and nourished – not the usual tight and dry.

You’ll also only need so little to get a good lather. I never looked forward to using body wash because I felt like I couldn’t get a good wash unless I used boatloads of product which just felt – you guessed it – wasteful. But using these bar soaps is the opposite, and it’s like a little pamper-me moment now. I can’t see myself going back.

That’s it for this session.

Stay tuned for more ideas – I have lots on my radar, and now that this has become a full-on obsession of mine they’ll be coming at you HOT. I’m excited to keep this series going and learn more about how I can reduce my environmental impact. Trying to take less from the limited resources of our planet and protect the ones we have. I feel like there’s a piece of me that can exist more peacefully because of it.

xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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waking up with lemons

I can’t believe I’ve gone my whole life without hot lemon water. Like what the heck. It’s sooo good. I didn’t know all the health benefits that came along with us until just recently – the list is extensive but here are some of my favorites –

– helps regulate digestive health

– rich source of vitamin c, potassium, magnesium, calcium

– cleanses the liver

– anti-inflammatory

– promotes clear skin

– boosts metabolism

After doing some light research, I’ve been regularly making myself a cup or two first thing in the morning, before I’ve eaten anything. That way, their magic goes straight to my gut and I get a nice cleanse. I’ll have a few other glass throughout the day too but the morning is the most important for me. It’s not that I’ve noticed a huge difference since drinking this on the regular, but it’s changed my other daily habits – I don’t feel as hungry throughout the day as I usually do (I’m a heavy enthusiast of boredom snacking) and I feel more productive in general. Maybe that’s all in my head but I’m sure the hydration boost is part of that.

Previous to this discovery, I was awful at drinking enough water.

Peeing so often is annoying and, honestly? Sometimes I’m just too lazy to get myself up in the middle of the day to get a glass. Throwing a couple slices of lemon in there has changed everything – I look forward to making it now and sip it down faster than a glass without them, hence, drinking more water throughout my day.

Tip: Cut your lemon into thin slices perpendicular to the length of the lemon…if that makes sense. It’s less wasteful than cutting wedges and you get more infusion that way. Plus it looks prettier.

That’s it. It’s something so simple and common and incredibly essential in my life now, so I wanted to share it. Still kicking myself for not trying it sooner.

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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sustainability at the store

womans arm with rose tattoo holding a stack of reusable and sustainable produce bags

The grocery store is a hot-spot for waste. Plastic bags, plastic packaging, plastic everywhere. It’s hard to avoid when shopping the shelves finding food for your kitchen. But! There are a few simple, cost-effective ways you can plan ahead to make your trip to the store as waste-less as possible.

the produce section

There are many solutions here. First, source your own reusable produce bags. I’m lucky to have an amazing seamstress as my mother – she made these for me with cheap scrap material she had lying around (and when she gave them to me, she joked that she chopped up my wedding veil). I have a few different sizes, but there are so many similar products available and they’re not going to break the bank. Check out these ($13 for 5), these ($17 for 6), or if you want to be trendy, these ($17 for 2). Whichever ones you find, it’ll be useful to have them somewhat transparent so you can read the PLU codes.

lots of produce like red and green apples grapefruit sweet potatoes and green and red bell peppers shown in reusable and sustainable produce bags on top of a canvas bag with deer antlers

Make a pact with me: no more plastic produce bags. If you forget to bring your reusable ones to store with you, just go without – that works perfectly fine too. You may have to buy less at a time, but it’s worth the one less plastic bag out there. (Especially if everyone adopted that mentality. That’s hundreds of thousands fewer plastic bags.)

If you’re worried about your food coming into contact with whatever’s on the shopping cart, invest ($4) in a good veggie/fruit cleaning brush like this one. I love it because the bristles can clean firm produce like potatoes while also being gentle enough on fruits.

on the shelves

I know it sounds small, but try to buy anything that comes in plastic packaging in bulk to safe waste in the long run. Frozen fruit or veggies, toilet paper, peanut butter, dog food, yogurt, etc. and avoid purchasing products that come with excessive packaging in general. It’ll save you money and extra trips down the road.

Always hunt the shelves for glass or paper packaging instead of plastic where you can. I find there’s the most options with peanut or almond butter, a variety of cooking oils, spices, dressings, milk, orange juice, and even snack bags (there are some really good paper or reusable silicone ones on the market). Just to start. I don’t know what’s in your grocery store, but it’s a great habit to get yourself into. Scan products as if they were already in your kitchen. What are you doing with that packaging once you’re finished? Where’s it going?

“There is no such thing as ‘away’. When we throw anything away, it must go somewhere.” – Annie Leonard

Think about what kinds of companies you’re supporting. Give to the ones that are local when you can. Our community needs us and often times, they are the ones practicing more sustainability down their production line than a lot of big corporate companies you see everywhere. Buy with your heart.

young woman in apartment wearing jeans and a black sweater holding reusable canvas bags

If you can buy in bulk, do it! We have local store here that even gives us a weekly discount for it, so ask if yours does too. And if you can, consider bringing your own container to fill up with.

at check-out

Canvas bags. Canvas bags!!! Collecting them is a love of mine – it’s so fun finding unique bags and often times supporting local businesses while doing it. Common Deer in Burlington has a lot of cute ones, or check out this site (generally ranges around $20) to browse.

Conner and I keep a whole collection of them next to the door (along with the produce bags) for easy grabbing on our way out. We usually have emergency back ups in our cars too, but accidents happen. And when they do, make sure to choose paper over plastic at checkout (sometimes you’ll have to ask), or suck it up and go bag-less. It’s not that bad.

Tip: at most self-checkout kiosks, they are kept underneath where the plastic bags are stored. 

There’s always room for improvement. As I write this, I’m thinking of a million other ways I can reduce my overall waste. It all starts at the store. What you pick up there, you bring into your home, and then it must go somewhere. One of the things that helped me really shift into this sustainability mindset was imagining the waste of a product I used sitting in a landfill somewhere. Or in the ocean. A single piece that, from my perspective I’m just throwing in the trash, amongst all the other acres and acres of waste on this planet.

That really put things into perspective for me.

I think just start by being mindful of your environmental impact and go from there. You can’t be perfect from the start, but I think it’s your end goal that matters. Set goals for yourself. Be a better human.

xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! this is one of my favorites. to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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a work of art

She walked with the grace

of her mother

Spoke purposefully with the conviction

of her father

But when she looked in the mirror

A million shattered fragments of her life

all speckled with color

and uncertainty

Stuck and glued together imperfectly,

Resembled the shape of a girl

waiting to be recognized

by herself.

She was clay

a work of art

Shape-shifting until life felt like hers

All she had to do,

Was embrace the steady permanence

of uncertainty

find comfort and forgiveness in it,

Listen to the colors.

The world cannot be bright

without darkness to define it.

Light blue without navy

is just blue.

She is an evolving masterpiece

The world waits with impatience

for her unveiling

Crowds will gather

Whispers of her beauty

will float in the air.

They have never seen anything

like her

A celebration will commence,

but it will be a party of one.

Once the cracks have been filled

where they’ve been too long neglected

And her vision softens

as her heart turns inwards

It will come.

Maybe she just needs new brushes.

| discovery |
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introduction: a sustainable lifestyle

young vermont woman in her living room with a white rug holding sustainable canvas bags

Living in Vermont, I think a lot of us tend to naturally lead more sustainable and healthy lifestyles. If it was possible, it’d be in our blood. I remember farmers markets when I was young and lessons on how to reduce our family’s waste. We didn’t do everything perfectly of course, and I think it’s something that happens over generations anyways.

But…we don’t have time for that anymore. This sustainability movement has to keep moving forward, and not just with my generation. This falls on all humans existing presently. It makes me numbingly sad to thing about the destruction that’s already happening and will just continue to get worse.

If only the media paid enough attention to it – can you imagine? If the climate crisis got as much news coverage as the world’s politicians! Or the gossip and juicy details surrounding celebrities. Headlines daily. Hour by hour coverage.

It would probably start a global sustainability revolution.

For awhile it felt too big of a problem for me, little Kate, to solve. It’s overwhelming! But like Anne Marie Bonneau, a zero waste chef once said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

I remember a long time ago I watched this video of a woman who reduced her personal waste over the span of a month to fit into a single mason jar.

That blew my mind.

It’s wonderful and admirable and inspiring but it’s also not really within reach for most of us. That would take a major shift in our lifestyles that our upbringings did not prepare us for. We grew up in a fast fashion, plastic everything, convenience-rules-all world and it will take our independent choices as adults to start making a difference. There is a major shift that needs to happen, but it will need to start with small, manageable steps with longevity as the end goal.

Lately, a switch has flipped in my mind. I’ve started to view everything in my life through a sustainability lens. It’s no longer an option. The cheap clothes and furniture I buy to get by. The fake plants I use to decorate my home – they add an air of tranquility but it’s false. They’re plastic and will end up in a landfill. The paper towels I grab through muscle memory to wipe up a small spill on the counter. Buying things in small quantities under the false assumption that I’m saving money. 

It all adds up.

And that’s just me. One person!

So recently I’ve started going down all these rabbit holes of how I can make our lives more sustainable and how I can get the word out there that it’s more achievable and cost-effective than people think.

Start by taking a moment and walk yourself through your normal routines:

| You’re at the grocery store –

– How many of those produce bags are you using?

– What kinds of packaging are you buying products in?

– What kinds of companies are you supporting?

– Did you bring your own grocery bags?

– Could you buy in bulk?

– Could you bring your own containers to fill up on wholesale products?

| You’re at home –

– What are you brushing your teeth with? (and how often are you replacing it with a new one?)

– What are you cleaning messes with? 

– What are you storing food in?

– How much plastic is in your fridge or pantry?

– What are you washing your dishes with?

– What kinds of things are you decorating your home with?

– What kind of soap are you using?

– What are you throwing into the dryer with your clothes?

| You’re out & about –

– What kinds of poo bags do you carry with your dog?

– What are you getting your coffee in?

– Do you need that straw?

red and green bell peppers hanging in a sustainable and reusable grocery produce bag

All together, these questions are overwhelming. So let them act as a starting place to think about which areas are achievable for you right now. Which ones are manageable? Which ones excite you? Go through them one by one. After you squash one, move on to the next.

For me, I started in the home. It’s where I spend the most time and where the most questions arose. I bought us new biodegradable, bamboo toothbrushes, switched our soap, have been experimenting with alternative sponges, and plan on transitioning into more sustainable food storage once the containers I have start falling apart.

We have ONE planet. And if this world-wide quarantine teaches us one thing, I hope it brings to light (in a massive way) how influential humans are in saving or destroying it. When it comes down to it, it’s a concern of want vs. need. And that’s a difficult habit to break. 

The earth is so giving. She gives us a home and beauty and air to breathe. We can’t keep up this rate of taking. 

It’s a choice. Your convenience or your future?

This will be a new series of mine! I will not be perfect by any means, but I’ll share what works for me and bust the myth that an eco-friendly lifestyle is expensive. Quite the opposite. Hope you join along xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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paris

newlywed couple on their honeymoon kissing in front of the eiffel tower in paris, france

Ahhh Paris. I didn’t write during my visit…and I don’t really have an excuse besides I didn’t really want to. And that’s okay! Paris felt so big to me – I mean how can a city have that many incredible landmarks and museums? I wanted to spend every second soaking it all in.

We didn’t make it far beyond the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, but hey, I’d say we did pretty well with the time we had. The best thing that happened to us there: scooters. Scooter everywhere. Two people, one scooter: scooter hack (what Conner would yell at oncoming people). We could get up to 20km/hr on these babies and would surf between the sidewalk and the road, often times stopping for food or pictures, or both. Coming from Italy, we didn’t know what was in store for us.

riding into paris france on a bus after a long travel day

We rode the bus into the city at 1am down Champs d’Elyse (holy shit – the stores are incredible) and as we neared the end of it, the Eiffel Tower emerged into our view. I felt an instant pull, and couldn’t help the huge smile that grew and took up all the room on my face. The sort of doe-like wonder stare that comes with such an iconic landmark. I didn’t necessarily want to have this reaction – so typical of tourists – but I AM a tourist! SO WHAT. I succumbed to Paris and already let it swallow me up and I didn’t care if people thought I was nuts. This tower deserved my insanity. It hit me harder than I honestly thought it would.

Our first morning in Paris, we slept until about noon and finally ventured out for breakfast an hour later. There are so many adorable corner cafes that they all started to blend together and we couldn’t decide on a place to pick. After a (crazy fun) half hour going back and forth, we ended up at one of the very first places we passed. Cause that’s how life works.

All the seats were clustered close together and faced outwards towards the street. We tried to adapt and squeeze in without saying a word to each other. As the waiter came over to greet us, I was reeling with excitement to practice my french. “Bonjour, ca va?” I tried. He quickly and irritably responded, “Ca va” and then, speaking in English, asked us what we would like to order. 

It’s fine, I’m fine…the French were supposed to like that, I thought. My effort was good, respectable, even!

Spoke english for the rest of the meal.

Conner’s meal came – delicious. Ham quiche. After meticulously removing the meat parts for me (I married well), he let me try a bite and oh my GOD, this quiche. I quickly batted away his suggestion that it was better than my mom’s but…it was pretty damn good. It was rich and layered with flavor, the medley of cheese and the soft crust…just mmmm. 

Let me reiterate. It was not better, just different. Mom, if you’re reading this, don’t worry. I still love your quiche. 

My meal? I’m not going to lie, I wish I had better news to report back. I think I could have gotten an identical meal at any major restaurant chain in the states. Like Friendly’s. It was disappointing for my first meal in France. I don’t even remember what I got. Moving on.

a fruit display at a market on the streets of paris france

This was the day I had dreamed of since the start of planning this whole honeymoon: picnicking in front of the Eiffel Tower as if time didn’t exist while consuming bread and fruit and wine. We buy the baguette, the macarons, a pain au chocolat (all ordered in French! Woo), some tangerines (they follow us everywhere we go) and of course the liquid gold. It was a perfect dream. At one point Conner launched some bread at a crow we named Albert, who got so excited he brought all his friends back for more. But besides getting swarmed by birds (a somewhat terrifying experience) it was perfect. We got back to the apartment early that night, both so tired from travelling and hoping to watch the games back home. The 1 o’clock games began at 7pm Parisian time. So we stopped at a market on the way, picked up some snacks and beer, met an older man who seemed to genuinely enjoy helping us learn a little more French, and then passed out in the bed of our Airbnb.

Oh wait. I haven’t even told you about this bed.

I’ll keep this short: The pillow-bed-comforter combo must have been drafted up in some sort of sleep-city utopia and in my opinion is Paris’s best kept secret. That’s right, in the whole dang city. The bed was made of dough and the pillows gave me a genuine high. The comforter was cool on the skin but enveloping and comforting. When they all came together it was like this euphoric cocoon of pure blissful weightlessness. Real magic.

So anyways. We slept until about noon every day.

After a failed attempt at watching the games, we found a new series to binge on Netflix and drifted off into our sleep utopias. 

newlywed male eating creme bruelle at a cafe on rue de bucci in paris france

New day. New scooter. This time it took us to an adorable little area where cafes are lined all up and down a narrow street – Rue de Bucci I believe. Like, the street is dedicated to cafes, and people crowd the road until a rare scooter tries to make its way through. Each one is different than the rest, each has its own little charm. One looks vintage, with wicker chairs and tables outside. The one next door has a pink neon sign with botanical table sets and greenery flowing out of every corner (like the one in this pic times 100). But they look perfectly at home next to each other. Not remotely out of place. And so does the next. 

I ended up eating the second salad on this trip that I’ve audibly moaned over. I don’t know what it is with these European salads. I like ‘em. Conner got his burger (we were on a burger mission that day) and we split a creme brûlée for a midday dessert, cause you know, vacation.  

Scoot scoot to the Louvre and wow I didn’t know the place was this massive! Tourists were everywhere, so Conner and I tried to find a place behind the main entrance where it was less crowded to take it all in. I was left speechless by each of the statues that towered over us from the building (palace?). I don’t know who they are but there were so many and they all had so much character. Each one had such incredible detail and artistry, it was just mind-blowing to think of how much time and dedication went into making them all. When I come back to Paris I will attempt to learn some of their names. I also want to make it into the actual museum next time. Whoops.

After we meandered through the Garden of Tuileries, very tired and very content, we walked along the Seine – dreaming of living in a house boat and raising our fictional children, Pierre and Marie. The ride back on the scooter was so beautiful. Just long quiet stretches of bike path lined with trees starting to turn. Yellow and orange leaves falling and framing the sidewalk, Conner and I passing flirtatious and silly commentary back and forth into each other’s ears. A surreal rom-com moment.

This one time we abruptly ran into a curb and it was one of the best moments of our whole trip. It was on a quieter street, but there were still enough people around where we should have been embarrassed. There was a puddle. And not enough speed, so the scooter stopped dead as soon as we hit the incline, launched both of us and we fell over. Not gonna lie, it hurt, but our first reaction was just to start laughing hysterically. Straight out of that rom-com movie. I’m one lucky gal…

small replica of the eiffel tower held in the sky with the real eiffel tower in the distance in paris france

I honestly don’t remember what happened next. What I do remember is Conner asking me if I wanted to go for a late night Mc D’s run and I surprised him with my answer: Yes.

So there we were, trying to figure out this touch screen, order-it-yourself operation at this busy McDonald’s, and I ended up just getting fries (shocker) and splitting an Oreo McFlurry with strawberry drizzle on top. It both pleases and embarrasses me how many times I just used the term “Mc” in the last few sentences. But bigger news: it wasn’t even the only McDonalds we stopped at on this whole trip. Conner had the best McBurger of his life at the Mc D’s in Napoli.

I loved getting out on these scooters and exploring the city. I’m saying it again: they were one of our favorite parts of the honeymoon. They made this visit to Paris for us. It was fun figuring it out together and coasting around, exploring so much more than we would have if we just walked. And they’re so much cheaper than most forms of transportation. Ridiculously entertaining.

I wish we had more time in Paris, but I know we’ll be back and I also wouldn’t change a single thing. We were very very homesick at that point and just went easy on ourselves, letting the city take us in instead of the other way around. It felt nice that way. We’ll reserve all the sight-seeing for next time, hopefully with our families.

This city is so beautiful. It has so much charm, so much history. But we also didn’t feel like we had to try too hard to fit in. We truly just had the time of our lives and didn’t care who witnessed it. I guess that’s what Paris is supposed to do to you.

xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! this is one of my favorites. to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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a lost passion

The other day I decided to do my hair, take two shots, have a dance party of one, and take some photos. I pulled everything out of the corner, swept it clean, blasted some Rolling Stones, and asked Conner to be my hype man for a bit.

A lot of these photos I actually took with a self-timer. I’m not sure why it came over me so suddenly. I think this is an itch that just hasn’t been scratched in awhile. I love fashion photography, or just portrait photography in general, but haven’t done a shoot in so long. And no models on hand with this lockdown.

Maybe I’m just bored as hell.

So I became my own model and had a great time doing it.

It was a creative release. Getting to see my vision come to life on both sides of the camera was exciting.

But beyond the creativity, it was just kind of fun to throw myself I photoshoot. This is why:

I have become way more comfortable in my skin in the last six months than in my entire life. I have ways to go. But I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

I have felt societal pressures starting to slip.

I have been putting my mental health and well-being at the forefront of my daily routine.

I have been living for my own opinion of myself, not others.

I have been giving less f-cks to things that aren’t as important to me. I still give some f-cks. But not as many.

I’m still young – but I feel like I’m falling into place as I should. My mind feels more aligned with my heart than it ever has. Mushy stuff.

I’ve always wanted balance and to me that meant peace and not bothering anyone. But that’s not balance. That’s incredibly tilted. Balance is feeling my whole spectrum of feelings.

Currently, I’m not doing that. But I feel like I’ve woken up and am ready to live vividly. Like in these photos.

So I came. I posed. I laughed. & it was hella fun.

I suggest you do the same and throw yourself a friggen photo shoot.

That’s all. xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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italy: chapter 3

This one’s dedicated to the pizza.

Naples was sandwiched between two days of stressful traveling and I just didn’t find the space to want to write about it. But Naples holds one of the most special memories of our whole honeymoon and I will always remember it for that.

It’s because of our AirBnb. It’s this little penthouse studio apartment in a nice area of the city. The surrounding buildings were beautiful…exactly what you think of when you think of European architecture. The room itself was tiny, about the size of the bed, but the terrace…was HUGE. And private. And perfect. There were lots of lounging areas but my favorite part was the ping pong table. Little did we know, it would be our entertainment for the night.

But first, Conner needed food and I specifically needed pizza.

male walking down a pretty street on airbnb in naples italy

A quick google search led us to a small restaurant literally across the street. We were desperate. We walked in, there were business men with suits taking up the entire place. I was wearing leggings with a hoodie wrapped around my waist, lookin all sweaty, and I don’t remember what Conner was wearing. But I’m willing to put money on the fact that he had some sort of baseball hat on.

Just smile and nod…

We were seated within direct view of where the pizza was made – which made me very happy. Our waiter was nice and did his best to communicate with us.

[Edit: this is something I want to improve upon before our next trip. I want to really make the effort to learn languages and cultural customs. I hate imposing our American-ness onto foreigners in their own countries. I don’t want to travel ignorantly.] 

Who knew.

That this little place hid the best pizza in the whole entire world. 

We had plans to visit the actual “best pizza in the world” the next day…but honestly I didn’t need to. The secret was hidden somewhere in the tomatoes and olive oil…it was so juicy and to me tasted like pizza was supposed to taste. Pizza back home will never be the same for me again.

I had a little moment where the waiter led me into the prestige dessert room and I got to pick one out for Conner and I to share. I don’t remember what I chose but it was probably delicious and I miss it anyways. Then we did our usual: stopped at a market on the way back, stocked up with wine/champagne, orange juice, fruit, Oreos, and breadsticks.

Then we made mimosas and a drinking game out of ping pong, while listening to John Mayer’s Where the Light Is Live album (our all-time fav) and teaching each other magic card tricks & playing go-fish. As we watched the sunset and city fall asleep around us.

Such a perfect night.

The next day we ventured out to the infamous Pizzeria da Michele – known as the best pizza in the entire world. The place Liz Gilbert made famous: “…given that the best pizza in Italy is from Naples, and the best pizza in the world is from Italy, [that] means that this pizzeria must offer…I’m almost too superstitious to say it…the best pizza in the world?” So predictably, there were hundreds of people in line waiting for it. 

This place was nuts. There was a separate line for takeouts, equally as long. There was a pizza bouncer. Sunshine. Lots of people sipping their beers while waiting to be called in. The occasional scooter or tiny-car honked its way through the crowd. Very cool, very suave. I mean, we obviously had to partake in the beer sipping, but it didn’t end up passing the time like we hoped.

When our number was finally called (two hours later…no further comment) we shared a table with another couple because I guess that’s just what you do there. If you’ve ever wanted to see the real life definition of limited-seating…go here. The restaurant was filled with people sitting with strangers from all over the world. Such a cool thing to witness and be apart of. That’s a reason why I want to travel. To find what brings people joy from all over the world. Pizza did that.

julia roberts from the movie eat pray love eating pizza at pizzeria da michele in naples italy

I felt especially lucky because I got to sit in the same seat Julia Roberts did in the movie version of EPL. Right in front of the kitchen. Boom. Luckiest gal in the joint.

So you get two options: Margarita or Marinera. Conner and I got a full margherita pie. Each.

I wish I took pictures but honestly we were so hungry and delirious that I only regained consciousness once the pizza was gone. But I can still remember the taste. I’ve decided that the secret to Italian pizza is the TOMATOES. They are so juicy. Reminder: I don’t like tomatoes. But combined in perfect balance with the olive oil & lightness of the dough & the fresh cheese, I forgot. I fell in love with tomatoes thanks to this pizza. I won’t ever find one like that around here, ever, and I’ll probably be subtly shading any pizza I come across in the meantime.

I won’t recap any of the travelling, because we definitely messed up a lot. But if you are planning a trip to Europe or any other place where you’re not familiar with public transit systems, get the app Moovit. Just do it. It will save you time and all of your sanity. We only discovered this towards the end of our trip but still was extremely helpful.

So that was Naples. I loved this leg of the trip. First time around, not as nice. But I’d like to come back and give it the fair shot it deserves.

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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ridiculously delicious and easy-to-make smoothies

I must confess. I have been a bit of smoothie addict lately. It wasn’t on purpose – it was actually out of pure laziness. I found myself with negative 12 minutes in the mornings to make a meal but didn’t want to sacrifice the nutrition I knew was missing in my diet. And as much as I try to cook new recipes and broaden my food knowledge to fill that void, it doesn’t come as second nature to me. That’s how smoothies crept into my life. I know the array of nutritional benefits of certain ingredients, but working them into a meal? I don’t know. Saying f–k it and blending them all together? Yes. That’s on my level.

different kinds of smoothies green peach berry strawberry rolled oats

Before I knew it, I was making smoothies every morning, relying on them for my daily dose of greens, and buying bananas every three days. (Tip: buy in bulk, and chop/freeze the ones that might go bad before you use them. Sounds like common sense but I just caught on. Also adds some frothiness to those future smoothies. Or a healthy dessert if you’re that type.) Most of these are simple, common ingredient smoothies that you can whip up in five minutes or less. I didn’t include measurements because who measures smoothies? But everything’s listed from what I use the most of to least – besides liquids which just depends on how thick of a smoothie you want.

different kinds of smoothies green peach berry strawberry rolled oats
deconstructed mango banana peanut butter cherry chia seeds hemp hearts

And I’m going to be transparent with you: balancing the logistics of six different smoothies that consist of frozen foods, while fighting off hungry pets and trying the get “the shot” over and over again was a true challenge. I burned a lot of calories frantically running around the apartment.

I’ve compiled six of my recent go-to smoothies: Strawberry Apple Spinach, Peanut Butter Berry, Mango Banana Carrot, Cinnamon Maple Oat, Cherry Strawberry Banana, and Honey Mango Spinach. Yes – there are TWO green smoothies on this list. Both are delicious.

different kinds of smoothies green spinach strawberry
deconstructed banana hemp hearts

smoothie #1

strawberry apple spinach

– lots of spinach

– frozen banana

– a couple frozen strawberries (like 3-4)

– hemp hearts

– apple juice

– orange juice

I’ve found that 1 part orange juice and 2 parts apple juice hits the spot. Sometimes I’ll use a little more of both to make it like a juice rather than a smoothie. Tip: Definitely shove the spinach down into the blender. It takes up a lot of room before you blend but after you do, it’ll take up half as much. I always end up adding more after the initial blend (partially for color).

different kinds of smoothies deconstructed mixed berries peanut butter chia seeds oat soy milk

smoothie #2

peanut butter berry

– frozen mixed berries (I use blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)

– banana

– peanut butter

– chia seeds

– your choice of milk

This is probably the one I make the most often. I can’t over how delicious the peanut butter-berry combo is and I love that it fills me up more so than a typical fruit smoothie would. I had a pb-acai smoothie a few years ago somewhere and this is how I recreated it at home. SO GOOD. One of my all-time favorites.

different kinds of smoothies deconstructed carrots banana mango flax seeds

smoothie #3

mango banana

– shredded carrots

– frozen mango

– frozen banana

– golden flaxseeds

– orange juice

So many carrots and you wouldn’t have a clue. The mango sweetens the tartness of them and the banana adds a reliable, creamy base to fuse it all together. We add flaxseeds of course, to keep ourselves regular.

When Conner tried this he said “I feel spontaneously healthier.” He may have been pumping my tires but I call that a win.

different kinds of smoothies deconstructed banana rolled oats peanut butter maple syrup honey cinnamon vanilla extract blueberries

smoothie #4

cinnamon maple oat

– frozen banana

– rolled oats

– peanut butter

– maple syrup or honey (I actually used both whoops)

– cinnamon (your preference)

– dash of vanilla extract

Cozy up. This one has more ingredients than the rest but it’s WORTH IT. I’ll even make this for dessert sometimes or a base for a fruit bowl. Adding blueberries in the mix would be delicious too – blueberry pie vibes.

different kinds of smoothies deconstructed banana strawberry cherry oat soy almond milk

smoothie #5

cherry strawberry banana

– banana

– frozen strawberries

– frozen cherries

– chia seeds

– your choice of milk

When done right, this one tastes just like strawberry ice cream. My God. I don’t know if it’s nostalgia or the little 6 year old in me that put this smoothie on the list but it’s delish. It’s mostly just a strawberry-banana smoothie but the cherries add some richness and sweetness that take it to the next level.

different kinds of smoothies deconstructed banana honey mango spinach hemp hearts orange juice apple

smoothie #6

honey mango spinach

– (lots of) spinach

– frozen mango

– frozen banana

– honey

– hemp hearts

– orange juice

I loooove this smoothie. The flavor is so unexpected from the vibrant green – something about the way the honey pairs with the mango and banana. Again, use lots of spinach. Your daily dose is covered in one glass.

And voila! I had a lot of fun putting this together and taste testing as I went along. This blog is truly an amazing creative outlet for me – a delicious one in some cases.

I’ve never been a fan of writing a lot in recipes to fill space, so I’ll just leave it at that. You don’t care anyways right? Let me know what you try and if you have any favs xx

different kinds of smoothies green peach berry strawberry rolled oats
smoothie ingredients deconstructed strawberrt berry cherry spinach mango rolled oats

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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italy: chapter 2

The following is a revised copy of a journal that I kept on our honeymoon 10.1.2019-10.16.2019

october 11. 2019

According to Liz Gilbert’s Italian friend, every city has a word. Positano’s is beauty. Everywhere, every corner: filled with it. I am stunned speechless this morning. We took the bus (for free – oops!) from Positano to Sorrento. This place has every flower, shrub, and tree imaginable from seemingly all reaches of the world. Cacti, stone pines, ferns, lush greenery like cherry laurel, palms, endless blooming bushes and vines…These huge, majestic trees that look (at least) over a century old, amongst thriving fruit trees clustered along the cliff sides. The city has grown around them and I have never seen man and earth blend together so seamlessly and beautifully. 

screenshot of a bus ride from positano to sorrento italy

I was in such shock on this bus ride that I couldn’t take any pictures but I did take a screenshot of where we were along the trip so that I could make sure to come back.

Every street is picturesque and charming. Every building has terraces all around and every terrace is draped in more greenery and beauty. In between buildings there are these surprising little sanctuaries of wildlife- actually wait. Let me paint a better picture. If I were to take a photo of one of these areas and crop the buildings out, you would believe it was taken in a wild forest or jungle.

You’d be confused and in shock when I told you I took it in the middle of Sorrento.

This beautiful city. 

(Most of these pics are still from Positano where we spent the most time)

If I could design a dream place it would be here. Wouldn’t change a thing. Except I’d learn Italian. I just can’t get over it. All the shops here have such charm complimenting all the cobblestone streets, the orange trees growing in the middle of the sidewalk. That bus ride was one of my favorite parts of this whole trip. And it was free. Take that, $300 taxi ride.

So now we are sitting on a bench in Sorrento killing some time before we leave for Naples. After my last entry, we beach bummed our bums off. My legs actually got some color! Conservatively. An Italian tan at its bare minimum. I got to live out my dream and eat lemon sorbet…out of a lemon. Would have bought 10 more. 5 for now, 5 for the road. Conner, being the voice of reason, said no. 

Also I didn’t know pistachios where such a thing in Positano. They were everywhere. I went in on the pistachio cannolis (from Colina’s bakery – also has some amazing pizza and that lemon sorbet in the lemon).

One of the beach days, a drum duo treated us to genuinely relaxing beats over some soothing, vacation-esque electric music. If you could imagine that. Really just a nice cherry on top to the day. 

Remember that restaurant we ate at the first night? Maybe I didn’t tell you. [Edit: I definitely didn’t tell you] Conner had one of his favorite burgers there and was dying to go back. It was also the place where I audibly moaned eating a salad probably for the first time in my life so I wasn’t going to argue. It’s the kind of place though where there are like 8 tables on the side of the road and if they’re all taken, you’re sh-t out of luck.

Our first walk-by, no dice.

So we strolled down to Positano’s waterfront and explored in all it’s nighttime glory. It’s very different from its daytime glory because A: There are way less people around and B: there are way less people around. It shocked me. And there was nowhere else we wanted to eat. Were we being picky? It was just kind of sad and dark down there.

After a while we made our way back up the hill. If there were still no seats, we’d probably end up back in our room eating leftover breadsticks and fruit. Sad. But that’s the kind of toll a $300 taxi ride can inflict.

The stars aligned for us though and a table opened up just as we were walking back. I mean, they were grabbing the bill, but same thing? Queue Conner’s excitement, me trying tomatoes for the billionth time in my life but this time actually liking them, two rounds of bread that we smuggled half of into my bag, and two free limoncello shots. Was a great night. 

lemon slushy ingredients from valenti positano on a terrace in the amalfi coast of italy

Valenti Posistano. If you, the reader, are reading this you should probably pack up and just go now. Or place an order if you’re a big lemon fan and want to taste some of the best lemon products in the world. I didn’t know I was such a big lemon fan myself until visiting this place. It is the sweetest small family business, and we felt so welcomed, which didn’t happen often as tourists. Their brand label is one of their little kid’s drawings……I mean. CUTE. They make delicious house-made oils, jams, liqueurs, limoncello, lemon slushies…thy even gave us some ingredients to take back to our hotel – on the house. Needless to say, we found our favorite little market in Positano, unlike the one up the street who tried swindling us. Oh yea. This lady.

When I asked if she had a credit card machine:

“Yes, 20 euro minimum”. 

So we grabbed what we thought was 20 euro worth and brought it up to the counter. She was busy so her son (? we guess) helped us out. It ended up being nowhere near 20 euros but he literally did not give a sh-t. She was all flustered and embarrassed but YAY US.

happy male wearing a hat holding beer in a grocery market in positano on the amalfi coast of italy

In our intentions to reach her “20 euro minimum” we bought tortellini to make the next day which we actually did (surprisingly), finished with a delicious olive oil, paired with wine, and enjoyed on our terrace, per ussch. 

Positano has brought out a different side in us that I really love, and the place has been so good to us. Easy. Vermont is beautiful and I feel eternally grateful for growing up in such a perfect state, but the Amalfi coast is beautiful – and speaks directly to my soul. I feel so at home here, maybe reunited with a past life of mine. Hopefully. I want to be that cool.

Anyways, I’m probably rambling at this point and despite my efforts, no words, not even from the best writers, could do this place justice. We’re off to Naples. I’ll be back with news of the best pizza in the world. xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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the best brussels sprouts

(my official recipe)

sauté in olive oil until turning dark brown on edge 

when pan dries up a little, add a glob of olive butter

let cook

add salt and pepper, lemon juice (more than you’d think, like a good amount, and then generously all over the pan again)

realize you forgot the garlic and mince quickly, throw in pan (on medium to high heat)

hurriedly open a bottle of white wine and pour 1/2 cup in

continue cooking until golden brown, and wine *stains* the sprouts, stirring every once in awhile but let’s be honest you’re cooking three other things so they could sit

done

i want to be known for these brussels sprouts 

“accident sprouts”

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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italy: chapter 1

The following is a revised copy of a journal that I kept on our honeymoon 10.1.2019-10.16.2019

october 9. 2019

 Well hello again. It’s been awhile since I’ve written to you. A lot has transpired since – it’s our third and second to last full day in Positano. We’ve had great pizza but I am still on the hunt for some amazing pasta…hopefully I’ll have some good news soon.

Honestly. I think I had to take a break to recover from the worst travel day I’ve ever experienced: getting from Santorini to Positano. I will not document it here, because I really don’t mind forgetting it, but I would like to note that I had an actual breakdown over the phone with an Italian driver – like, falling to my knees and crying into my hands at a train station kind of breakdown. Then once we were finally (finally!) in said taxi driver’s car (the right one this time…we narrowly escaped a kidnapping) “In My Head” by Jason Derulo starting playing. 

I mean.

Come on.

I started hysterically laughing. Literally. I don’t know how Conner stayed sane. The bizarreness, displacement, and weirdness of such a nostalgic song playing all the way over here in this random dude’s taxi, in this random city…as an end to this horrific day. I may have even cried honestly because I found it so funny. Somehow it just washed me clean of my stress. I was tired, but not too tired to appreciate a good moment. Then I passed out and here I am three days later (just woke up), barely ready to talk about it. Well sort of.

young woman looking out towards the view from la sirenuse in positano italy

Positano is one of the most beautiful places. Heaven on Earth. We have this terrace off our hotel room with the most gorgeous views and a cute little cafe table set. So, our favorite past time these days has been to sit here and soak it all in. We’ll buy ourselves a bottle of cheap (but delicious) wine or beer, and drink it together out here while reading and watching the sun go up and down. There is this magic light that casts over the city as the skyline melts into a pastel spectrum of color. Don’t worry, I’m making fun of myself for you – but that’s the only way I can describe it. And then all the lights start to come alive and twinkle from all the little buildings in the cliffside. You just start to realize what a truly spectacular, tiny place this is. We could hear the waves crashing down on the beach below in darkness. The folks in the building next door would occasionally come out and soak it all in too. Wish I could say I picked up some Italian from them. 

Anyways. It’s truly magical here.

I finally finished Eat Pray Love. I say “finally” because I started reading it months ago in hopes that it would get me into the right mindset for this trip. We all know that didn’t happen, and couldn’t have happened because I am a notorious book-starter-not-finisher kind of gal. But I’m very proud of myself because I read over half that book over the course of just this last week! And honestly I am happy I read it on this trip instead of at home. It has truly changed my life. And reading it here, I was far enough removed from my daily stresses that I could absorb it more fully. Be truly present with it. 

Near the end of the book, Liz talks about this week of solitude she gave herself on a remote island in Indonesia, including one memorable meditation in particular: she sat on the beach in solitude, dug into the deepest places of her mind and pulled out each moment of sadness, anger, and (the hardest one) shame. One by one, she listened to, then forgave them, letting each into her heart with the kindest self-compassion I have ever heard or read about. 

She was able to do this two whole years before her time at the Ashram in India, which just put into perspective the weight of her entire spiritual journey. I would love to really give myself the time and space to dive into my own, but honestly I’m scared to. It’s difficult and terrifying, facing all those deep parts of ourselves and finding true peace with them. Nevertheless I have learned practices from Elizabeth Gilbert, Ketut Liyer, Swamiji, Richard from Texas, the plumber from New Zealand, all these different and very real people who were connected across the world by one common search; love. I should probably reread this book. A few times. Because I don’t want to forget a single lesson, they mean so much to me.

I have not written about a book since high school. And even then, I don’t think I actually “read” the book, if you know what I mean. So let’s say I haven’t written about a book I’ve really read since middle school. I am in such a beautiful place right now and I should be talking more about that, but this book got me good. It’s like this big, quiet thing I have to get off my chest. 

There. It’s done. Let’s talk about Positano. 

a view of positano italy
a young male eating pizza on a terrace looking out the view of positano italy

I already feel so used to certain European things – the tiny cars winding around these tiny streets. Well, one street. Maybe two. They somehow dodge all the pedestrians walking on the – let me stress this again – tiny streets. We have sidewalks back home? And two lanes? Drivers here have to honk before going around a corner to warn oncoming traffic. There’s a turn every, like 30 seconds. The anxiety.

But it’s all normal to me now. Ha.

You know how to tell when you’ve got it good? When your hotel sits on one of the few roads in Positano, one where so many tourists stop their cars to get out and take pictures of the view. Our view. We get to look at this all day, baby.

I desperately want to get out and just roam around this place. Time is not a restriction for us and it’s just in my nature to do that…I can feel it in my bones. But Conner may have broken his foot. And you can’t argue with that. Remember in Santorini when he accidentally broke Ion’s table? The whole thing landed on the top of his foot and it’s all swollen and looks weird now. So I’m not sure how much walking we can do. It will just have to be my excuse to come here again some day.

Note: He broke a wine glass here in Positano too. So watch out, Naples.

The weather here is perfect. Like if I could dream up the perfect weather, it’s Positano in mid-October weather. Although I heard some Positano regulars talking about how it was unusually warm for this time of year and I feel like maybe the stars aligned for the short visit we’re here.

a beach picnic in the amalfi coast of italy including fresh strawberries, plums, and potato chips with dolce vita sandals in the background

We spent yesterday sleeping in and then wandered down to the beach after finding this amazing, picturesque little market with delicious fruit. And a working credit card machine! I had saved a picture of this place years ago along with other bucket list things so it shocked me when we practically ran into it by accident. Funny how life works out that way. 

We stocked up on plums, tangerines, apples, and potato chips. I was telling Conner: I have eaten more potato chips in the last week than I have in the past year. Maybe even two. He agreed.

Then we swam in the Mediterranean. 

A short creative excerpt:

I gave into the current and just let myself float. The waves wanted to pull me in, and I let them, closing my eyes and dragging my hands through the broken earth below. The sound shimmied through my body and danced in my ears. It felt like millions of small champagne bubbles bursting under my soft touch and each would send a ripple all throughout my body, exiting through my breath. Like I was the instrument and it was the music.

End of excerpt. I had to. That’s exactly what it felt like.

And the water itself…wow. I only believed that this color existed in photo-enhanced versions of tropical islands but nope. Here it is. And I am existing in it.

Yesterday we Facetimed our kids, which, honestly I was worried about. I thought it would make me even more homesick, but hearing what they’ve been up to and that they’re being taken good care of just had the opposite effect on me. Thank you Thomas for staying with them. I still miss them so much though. I want to bury my face in Remi.

I am going to go wake up my hubby now. We have things to see and lemon sorbet to eat. I feel like we’re not experiencing Positano to our fullest potential yet so that is my mission over these next few days. Minus the broken foot. 

Ciao xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! this is one of my favorites. to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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my skincare ritual (and other thoughts)

basket skincare products high quality

Buckle up. This is a long one, folks. I’ve been a bit of a skincare geek for awhile now. I guess it all began something like 8 years ago from reading a magazine – probably Seventeen – and how some celebrity girl crush I had shared with us her Golden Rule of skincare: Never, ever, go to bed with makeup on. Ever since – the makeup has come off at night. No matter what.

It haunts me.

Even at maximum tiredness, I always force myself to pull out a make up wipe and scrub my face clean. Sure, I probably definitely don’t get everything but it’s not as damaging as if I did nothing. I am weirdly, religiously strict with myself about it.

I agree that it’s the Golden Rule for anyone who wants to get serious about their skincare. When your skin’s clean, you can really listen to it and start to learn what it needs.

Skip to: AM Routine, Cleansing, Masking, Serums, Moisturizing

Another Golden Rule I stick to: cruelty-free skincare and makeup. Rule of thumb: if it’s sold in China (where animal testing is literally required by law), it’s not cruelty-free. And because China is a multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry, a lot of companies choose to overlook the immorality of animal testing for the sake of getting rich.

Animal testing isn’t accurate or even necessary nowadays. Technologies exist that can examine the safety and effectiveness of a product without torturing helpless, intelligent animals. I do and don’t encourage you to look up articles and videos…the reality of it is eye-opening and so cruel. Truly horrifying.

My vanity will never be more important than that.

Cruelty-free products are becoming more and more widely available and as they do, the excuse not to use them grows smaller and smaller. We have so much influence in the quick, seemingly small decisions we make throughout our lives, without even thinking about it. Every purchase, in this case, is a reassurance to big companies like Neutrogena, Garnier, MAC, (could go on) that animal testing is okay. As long as they have buyers, they have no reason to change their current practices. Why would they? It’s working for them.

Imagine if we all suddenly became more conscious of it. Imagine if the whole world boycotted Loreal until they stopped animal testing. They’d be forced to comply if they wanted to stay as powerful as they are. We truly have all the power. Spread the news!

I will be the first to say that I am no skincare expert. What works for me may not work for you. Our skin is all so different and a big chunk if it just comes down to genetics. So in noo way am I qualified to advise you on that. I think the important piece of it is to decide what kind of cosmetics consumer you want to be and develop a ritual for yourself.

My household may not be as crazy as other’s – I totally get that. No kids here. But even trying to work in 2-3 minutes to wash your face with some quality skincare that’s doing good things for you – it’ll make a difference, even if it seems small. It gives you space to breathe and focus on yourself after a long day worrying about countless other things. It’s a time to reset and reconnect with that person in the mirror. A time to ground yourself. It’s a small collection of moments that have the potential to change your mindset in a big way.

Just for reference – my skin would be described as “normal” on the spectrum of oily to dry. It’s neither in excess. It can become dry if I don’t pay attention to it, but overall it’s pretty tame. My skin is sensitive though so I try to minimize fragrance. I’ve lucked out in the genetics department as far as clear skin goes – besides the inevitable hormonal break outs. My main goal when choosing skincare products is to keep it clear, promote hydration & evenness, and reduce texture. Everyone has their own skincare journey so I’ve also included lots of insight from my experiences working with all types of clients – tips that can help anyone no matter what their end goal is.

Ready?

Everything’s listed in the order I use it in.

lineup.

quality skincare products makeup body creme ouai supergoop josie maran milk cosmetics bareminerals farmacy tacha abh anastasia beverly hills

morning routine

It always starts with sunscreen.

I use the serum from Supergoop because it’s the very first step and therefore impossible to forget. It’s light and I can still moisturize after. Whichever one you pick, make sure there’s SPF and PA protection. The latter protects you from UVA rays – the ones that cause premature aging, wrinkles, sun damage, and skin cancer. Most people think their skin avoids damage unless they burn (UVB rays). That ain’t the case.

UVA = will cause Aging

UVB = will cause Burning

About 95% of the sun’s rays that reach you are UVA.

So if you’re burning, imagine what’s going on unseen. Not to mention all the blue light we’re exposed to daily. EEK. Please protect your skin!

Another one of my longtime fav’s has been Josie Maran’s Argan Daily Tinted Moisturizer, with a little added boost of SPF. I love this stuff because it gives my skin a long lasting glow and the perfect amount of coverage to even things out. I’ll use this or rotate in either Farmacy’s Honey Drop or Tatcha’s Water Cream – both in my PM routine. Deets to follow below.

My makeup routine is pretty minimalistic these days, and I love it like that.

BareMinerals owns the most real estate here with Complexion Rescue (tinted gel cream), bareSkin serum concealer, and a pressed bronzer (that I use on my eyes as well). I swear by all these products – but especially the concealer. I’ve had the opportunity to try all kinds of formulas throughout my experience working in cosmetics but this, by far, is the most hydrating, full coverage, and long lasting one I’ve come across. It was my go-to for clients of all skin types and ages. 10/10.

In Brow Land I use Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz & Clear Brow Gel. The wiz gets things defined with a precise pencil and spoolie while the clear gel keeps everything in place.

I’ve also been hooked on lash extensions lately – it’s dangerous. They make my life so eassyyyy. But if I were using a mascara right now it’d be Too Faced’s Better Than Sex. Same deal with the concealer. Tried ’em all. This one’s the best. A competitor would be Lash Paint from Tarte.

I recently started up my love affair with Milk’s Face Gloss again because it’s the perfect formula to give dew but not the sparkle. It looks more natural if you’re going for that no-makeup-makeup look. Tip: don’t apply until you’ve dried/styled your hair. It’s sticky. I go in with a dampened Beauty Blender to set it. [Edit: upon trying to hyperlink, I’ve realized this product was discontinued. I’m going to try this one next]

About that body cream? I don’t put it on every day. That’s unrealistic though I wish. It’s really once a week if I’m lucky. But for the sake of the blog, let’s say I actually have the time and regularly include this in my skincare routine. I love anything Jen Atkin and swear by her hair products (Ouai) so I figured I’d give this one a try. In the past I’ve loved Josie Maran’s Whipped Argan Body Butter – it’s SO good. You can’t go wrong there and a tub lasts forever.

the wind down.

quality skincare products korres cleaners josie maran exfoliator farmacy green clean tatcha tata harper trish mcevoy

the double cleanse

The double cleanse has forever changed my skin -as I recently re-learned when I brought it back into my life just about a month ago. When I worked in cosmetics, I was really consistent with it – it was kind of my job – and wowww did I notice results. It’s not always the most convenient, I know. It’s a whole other product, a whole other step.

But think about it this way: when you cleanse your face at night, if you wear makeup, you’re mostly just wiping off the layers of product that sat on your skin all day. You can’t truly get all the oil, dirt, and bacteria out in one swoop. Your skin has pores and bumps and cracks where all sorts of things hide! Toxins lurking. It’s especially less productive if you use a treatment cleanser – you don’t want to be wasting all those good ingredients on makeup that gets washed down the drain anyways!

Instead, use a true “makeup remover” (oil, balm, or a simple cleanser) first and save that treatment product for the next step when your face is really clean – it’ll be 10x* as effective and you’ll see actual results with it.

*not at all scientific

So! Products. I’ve been using Farmacy’s Green Clean for a while now and I swear by it. And somehow still look forward to using it years later. Out of all the makeup removers I’ve come across, this one gets the most makeup off (by practically dissolving it on dry skin) with the least amount of effort. It’s gentle and effective, a tub lasts a long time and doesn’t totally break the bank. I love this stuff.

Next is the micellar water (I use Trish McEvoy but any micellar water works, it’s really all the same) – especially if my skin is really feeling stuffed up. I just use it on a cotton round and it acts like magnet water that attracts and sucks up any left over makeup/dirt, etc. I also use it on my eyes because I’m a freak with lash extensions.

The double to my double cleanse – Korres Greek Yoghurt Cleanser. This is also the most gentle thing in the world and so moisturizing. It’s smell is subtle but soothing and feels so cooling on my skin. I’ll follow up with it after using Green Clean to drag any leftovers out of my pores, then add the smallest bit of water to foam it all up. Like a bath for my skin. Ugh. So good.

(In desperate times, I skip all these steps and reach for my Ogee face wipes. They’re not stripping and still leave my skin feeling moisturized.)

A couple times a week I exfoliate which is also a Game. Changer. If a daily cleanse is like the vacuum cleaner, exfoliating is like the professional carpet cleaner.

I prefer to use a powder from Josie Maran that can mix with a variety of things: water, argan oil, or a cleanser. I love it because I can control the amount of grit I want based on how my skin is feeling. Most of the time, I’ll pair it with a cleanser so that while I’m digging deep and (gently) cleaning out my pores, the ingredients from the cleanser can swoop in and be their most effective.

Other products pictured that I rotate in –

Tatcha – The Deep Cleanse & Tata Harper – Regenerating Cleanser. Both are wonderful.

You don’t have to use these products. The important thing for me was just integrating these steps into my routine. I’ve experimented with lots of products over the years until I found the right fits for my skin, and I’ll still be trying new things. Use whatever is convenient and effective for you.

Phew. That was a long section. You still with me?

quality skincare products farmacy honey mask tata harper resurfacing mask

the cherries on top

So many masks out there. So many options. These are two of my favorites. I don’t think masking is a crucial step in a skincare routine, but an added bonus. They just give us a little boost to whatever else is going on and provide us with a moment to breathe and relax.

Farmacy – Honey Potion. Conner’s personal fav. He sports this more often than I do sometimes. (Which makes me a very proud wife)

This mask has all sorts of good things wrapped into one, thanks to its major contributor: honey. It’s soothing, antioxidant-rich, and a natural humectant, so it leaves my skin nourished and ~glowing~. I use this probably two times a week as a little detox. Free radicals are everywhere so I’ll take a little boost of antioxidants wherever I can. I like to use it after I exfoliate and get my skin all nice ‘n clean.

I also treat myself to Farmacy’s coconut brightening/hydrating sheet masks every once in awhile. A good sheet mask is like a shot of water delivered straight to your skin – the “sheet” holds the product and moisture in which allows it to absorb instead of just evaporating off your skin. Whichever mask you choose, try to find one without cetyl alcohol. It’s an incredibly common ingredient that acts as a preservative to prolong shelf life. It does nothing for your skin but cause inflammation, irritation, and dryness. It’s usually one of the first few ingredients listed.

Next up: Tata Harper – Resurfacing Mask. This is a goodie. Lots of AHAs & BHAs to exfoliate the skin and leave you feeling like you just got a facial. If you ever see those terms and get confused: don’t. They’re just fancy words for exfoliation – one works above the skin (AHAs) and the other works below (BHAs). AHAs include things like fruit enzymes to work at “polishing” your skin and BHAs include common treatment ingredients like sulfur, willow bark extract, and salicylic acid to dig in and pull out all the gross sh-t. It’s good to have a mix of both.

I love Tata Harper products. Not just because they’re made in Vermont, but because of the company’s commitment to putting ethics first in skincare. No toxins, no fillers, no parabens, no sulfates, no GMOs, no artificials, etc., etc. NONE of the bad stuff. It’s the most pure and potent line of skincare. In my opinion. Justifiably, it comes with a heftier price tag so I sprinkle in products here and there. The cleansers and eye creams are amazing too…absolutely worth every penny.

So anyways. You really can’t screw up with either of these masks. They won’t burn, and if you forget to take them off it’s completely safe and fine. Sleep in em.

quality skincare sunday riley juno oil cbd serum

the muscle

Here’s one of the things I’ve learned about serums: half of them are amazing products that work and the other half are well-marketed bottles of “water”.

Serums are where to funnel most of your skincare budget. Quality makes all the difference here.

If you want to see targeted results in your skincare routine, you’ll need a serum. It’s the most potent product in your lineup and the one that can go deepest into your skin. It’s your treatment step!

Example: If you’re trying to fight breakouts, having a clarifying cleanser in your routine unfortunately won’t be enough to clear your skin. It can’t have a high enough potency trying to do two things at once, and later just gets washed off the face! Instead of trying to spread out a treatment across multiple products, it’s so much more effective to place that responsibility in a product dedicated to just that. Then you can work in other beneficial ingredients in other areas of your routine. Your skin needs balance to function properly.

Sunday Riley’s Juno Oil – I loooove this stuff. I’ve used some Sunday Riley products over the years and have loved every single one. Their clay cleanser was my go-to for awhile. They have an incredible Vitamin C line, a magical face-clarifying night oil, and their famed latic acid treatment: Good Genes. I might actually need to save up and snag that one next…

Literally every product I’ve tried from the brand has Shown. Up.

So anyways, this oil. I just started using it here and there a couple weeks ago but I can already tell it’s gonna stick with me. I don’t know all the deets or have a lot of experience with it yet. And I am kind of using it in place of a real serum (serum’s aren’t usually oils) but it’s so packed-full of superfoods that it still delivers the results I want.

Example A: I put a considerable layer on around 1pm today, went for an hour walk outside in the cold, frigid air along the waterfront, sat around etc. It is now 8:30pm and my face is still “damp”. In the best way though. I don’t really know how to describe it. You know how with some creams/products meant to hydrate your skin, it just feels dry an hour later? It’s been seven hours with this guy. My skin doesn’t feel sticky, just soft and thoroughly hydrated.

[Edit: I’ve been working on this piece for a few weeks and wrote different parts of it at different times. But y’all. I officially fell in love with this stuff today. I haven’t seen my skin look like this since my skincare collection was massive (and free). It’s revived…the pores are gone. Complexion is even. My skin just looks so…healthy. Just took about a week of consistent use to really kick in for me. Extremely recommend this]

I’ve also been using a CBD serum occasionally. I’ve heard that CBD is supposed to have lots of skincare benefits – I don’t know if it’s a marketing scheme or not with it being a big trend right now. The difference I’ve seen so far is that it’s helpedl the overall evenness of my skin. Reduces redness – which makes sense! I usually use it when my skin is needing a little less hydration or when I’m using a heavier moisturizer along with it.

quality skincare products josie maran argan oil farmacy honey drop moisturizer tatcha water cream

the comforters

I love facial oils. They’re so powerful and get straight to the point. No extra stuff. But I can’t use them on my face every night for the same reason – I’ll turn into a 24/7 grease ball. That’s why I like to keep a small assortment of moisturizers on deck. My skin has moods.

Josie Maran’s 100% Pure Argan Oil will be in my routine forever. FOR-EVER. It’s sourced so well and heals and nourishes…there’s no fragrance, it’s not suffocatingly heavy, it’s anti-aging, it’s perfect. I usually just use facial oils at night since they stay shiny on the skin for awhile, but this particular one has a sister version with a matte finish. It’s perfect for blending into foundation for a hydrated look – always my go-to.

Also I love Josie Maran’s story. This post is already too long so I’ll let ya google it.

Next place in the lineup is Farmacy’s Honey Drop moisturizer. My most frequent. I feel like it does everything for my skin. Revisiting honey here – a powerhouse ingredient. Helps keep my skin clear, hydrated, and even-toned. It’s a soother while also keeping things supple and glowy. My skin feels its best after a night of this stuff.

I use their Honey Savior salve on my hands too – I have some sort of eczema thing going on – and it’s the only thing that works. No more itching. No more dryness. It’s helping with my scars. And I tried everything – even the various Josie Maran argan oil products I have around. Nothing works like this. Seriously. If I could only use one main ingredient on my skin the rest of my life, it’s honey.

If I could only have two moisturizers, I’d be happy with these guys. But I’ve been known to switch things up here and there, hence the Tatcha Water Cream pictured. I’m just rotating it in every once in awhile but it’s great stuff and perfect when I want something light on the skin. It absorbs fast so it works well for a daytime cream under makeup, too.

_______________________________________________

Skin works the best when it’s hydrated. Healthy turnover happens. The skin heals, it regenerates, and it breathes. All the products you’re investing in are suddenly more effective. It’s kind of like the offensive line in football – it’s necessary so that your star players (serums, masks, cleansers) can shine through and make big plays.

Hydrated skin = productive skin

Anyways, if I were to recommend two areas our your routine to bring under the microscope first, I’d say the cleanser and moisturizer. They can really make or break your entire routine. Good stuff only.

I’ll spare you a long conclusion. You’ve made it this far! But generally that’s what’s happening on my face day to night. Please reach out and tell me if this helped you or you’ve learned something. I love this kind of stuff. Working with and talking to people about skincare is something I really miss.

If you couldn’t tell.

xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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feelings (p.1)

Not gonna lie, I have a major case of writer’s block. I prepped a lot of content/posts before I launched this thing, and since then have worked on several more. Excited for them. But I’m just not feeling it right now. And that’s okay. 

I told myself when I started this that I’m going to really stick to my values and not let the pressure of it push me around. I’ll post when I’m ready. I’ll be transparent. I’ll work on things when my body has had rest. I’ll stop when it’s no longer fun.

It’s hard to remember all that sometimes. Especially when I’m trying so hard to look inwards and create on my own. It’s difficult with the abundance of content creators nowadays. I know I just started this but it’s easy to compare myself to others and feel like what I’m doing isn’t enough. I should post more, I should stop recycling old photos and videos (even though they tell the very story that got me started on all of this). I should keep things happy and light to read. It’s hard to get rid of the feeling of not being enough. But

I am enough.

This is enough.

This is something that I love doing and creating.

That is enough.

I wish we could all be each other’s cheerleaders more often. Imagine that. If we just reached out, just for the purpose of telling another woman that they’re great at what they’re doing. Or that we admire their courage. Just because. Imagine how far that could go. I don’t think we’d be as scared to pursue so many things in life.

This is scary. Just gonna say it again. I’m sure I make up a lot of the pressure inside my head but it’s still too heavy to ignore. I’m staying committed to pushing through it though. Nothing extraordinary has ever happened inside a comfort zone. 

Keeping it real. Today is not one of my best days. And there shouldn’t be any reason to be ashamed or embarrassed about it. I’m showing up. For those who love me, for my future, and for myself. Push yourself where there’s give. Hug yourself when there’s not. That’s the best (and all) you can do.

xx kate

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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santorini: chapter 2

The following is a revised copy of a journal that I kept on our honeymoon 10.1.2019-10.16.2019

october 4. 2019

Tomorrow is our last full day in Santorini. I’m sad about it. These days have felt so long but have simultaneously flown by so I’m trying to pause and soak up everything I can about this place. It seems like every morning we are wondering what to fill our days with but by the time we figure it out, the sun is already setting. Gah. This place is stunningly gorgeous. Let me reflect…

After my first entry I quickly got lost in sleep and passed out till noon. Room service woke us up by breaking into our apartment. We took that as our wake up call lol. I blame it on the jet lag!

santorini greece car rental travel honeymoon winery tour

Around 2 we finally ventured out to go rent a car. We set our hearts out for the convertible mini cooper the night before, but all their mini coopers were gone. So we went with the Mazda RX5 instead – King of the 90’s, or so Conner says. We found some Greek tracks in the glovebox and blasted them as we drove away from our little Oia bubble and adventured into what existed on the rest of the island. 

First was Akrotiri at the very bottom, which boasts an impressive ancient ruin site. I felt desperate to understand some of the history behind this place but left feeling a little more clueless that I’d care to admit. We should’ve just joined a tour because although the site was incredible to take in, the best understanding I could get was from Conner’s offer that “this was where the first rave ever took place”. 

We later found a cool spot for wine tasting on the beach where we tried four white wines. I didn’t mind the first three (Conner and I are red wine folks) but the last – the dessert wine – was gross. I think I’d get kicked off this island if I said that out loud. 8 euros per person. 

Kamari beach…ahhh it has stolen my heart. In my humble opinion, it’s what Pacific Beach is to San Diego. It’s far enough away from the big touristy areas and where more of the locals seem to reside. There’s a tiny school yard right in the middle of town and this cute pedestrian street that runs parallel to the beach. Restaurants on either side, day beds to go with them. Gelato stands, fruit everywhere. Cats everywhere. It’s definitely still a little touristy but way less packed and way more laid back. We tried to sneak on a day bed and were welcomed to the beach by a huge, gorgeous white dog. WAIT – I forgot to tell you:

Loaf of bread

Two carrots

Water (tall)

Chocolate

Total: 3 euros

!!!!!!

kamari beach santorini greece travel honeymoon

The look on our faces – I mean we were trying to remain calm and avoid looking like we were getting away with theft. I simultaneously felt like we won the lottery and also wasted all our money up until that point.

So,

anyways.

Not mad.

It was cold on the beach so we just took some time to decompress and snack for a bit. There were men fishing right off the beach (impressive) while we sat and played with rocks. Each one was so different and I had never been more interested in geology than I was in those very moments. How did they all end up on the same beach?!

oia santorini sunrise airbnb

The night ended with lots of wine and YouTube in our hot tub. Once our first bottle ran out, Conner volunteered to head out and grab us another, only to come back and surprise me with Pringles and chocolate too. Best. Husband. Ever.

This new wine was gross too – which I really hate to say because I’ve tried a variety of wines on this trip so far and have surprised myself with how many I’ve liked. I didn’t think I was a wine gal! But this wine was so bad we were committed to taking shots of it to get it down…so. Just imagine that I guess. And the hangover. I learned that I may not have liked it because it was soaked in Oak barrels vs…..the traditional? Barrels? Wine lovers reading this are hating me right now.

Our party was later crashed by a new cat, Garfunkle, who we thought would make the perfect duo to Simon, who we met in Kamari Beach. Oh Simon.

Garfunkle wandered right into our private little alcove and loves sour cream Pringles. Safe to say no street food will taste the same to him ever again.

It was a pretty perfect day – the worst part was hiccuping myself into (drunken) sleep. 

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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sweet potato brunch tacos

recipe soundtrack: Rebelution

taco burrito ingredients sweet potato black beans onion salt garlic tortilla jalapeno lime

I wish I could say I came up with this delicious recipe, but I don’t want to lie to you. Conner and I started making these once or a twice a week on the reg, and they instantly flew to the top of my favorite-meals-ever list. They still deserve a spot on the blog.

We’ve been in a bit of a dinner funk lately, getting pretty lazy with our cooking. But this recipe’s effort-to-taste ratio is stellar. I consider myself intermediate in the kitchen? Like I could go on the cooking version of Nailed It and do a pretty decent job. But Gordon Ramsay might be disgusted with me. I’m easing myself into more complex meals but never tire of the simpler ones. So this checks all the boxes.

The great thing about having a husband that loves you is that you can dump all the prep work on him. He’ll do the chopping while I wait to swoop in and take over all the fun parts.

Definitely get a head start on the potatoes, they’ll take the longest, about 35 minutes. I’ll usually start the beans about 15 minutes into that while Conner whips up the avocado spread. He also does the tortillas. You’d think that’s the easiest part but I burn them every time.

I’ve never loved a taco or burrito more. The jalapeno and cilantro is balanced with the softness of the feta. And the creamy avocado. The sweet potato fills you up but doesn’t leave you feeling like you ate too much. Leftovers are easy to make. And because this is an easy recipe to split up, it makes for a fun at-home date night. Just add the wine.

That’s about it. This is a no-fail recipe that makes you feel like a champ. And it’s so healthy and easy. Takes about 40 minutes to make, start to finish. Hopefully you won’t get as much dog hair in yours but let me know if you give these a try! Seriously. Recipe is linked at the top.

Enjoy with your fav Netflix show. We’re enjoying a lot of stand-up right now.

xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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santorini: chapter 1

The following is a revised copy of a journal that I kept on our honeymoon 10.1.2019-10.16.2019

october 3. 2019

oia santorini view airbnb

Now go easy on me…I haven’t really done this before. I guess I want to do this because I’m on the trip of a lifetime and don’t want to forget a single thing.

Right now I am sitting on our deck (that doesn’t sound right – patio?) watching the sun rise for the second time on our second morning here in Santorini. Conner is sleeping. It’s 68 degrees and I feel perfectly wrapped up in the humidity. It’s comforting, not suffocating.

Five days ago we got married! It was the best night of our lives but it also went by so quickly…that’s cliché. But for a good reason because it’s very very true. I can see how people get addicted to weddings (Ross).

Surrounded by our closest friends and family, we broke down and professed our vows to each other. We’ve been together a long time, so I’ve been planning this day out for years, but there were a few surprises that came my way:

  1. We did a first look and then forgot the whole purpose: to privately share our vows! It’s all good though, it got the nerves out.
  2. So I thought. False alarm. The recession began and I LOST it. We were standing just outside the venue and I was (unsuccessfully) trying not to cry, listening to my dad tell me to breathe. I was just overcome by joy and reality smacking me in the face as I walked down the aisle. The only person who gave me clarity was Conner standing at the end. He was everything I wanted. I had an emotional blackout and all I really remember was being pulled to my soon-to-be-husband and losing control over my face. 
  3. Seeing my dad’s expression as Conner was giving his vows. It was a millisecond glance because that was all I could handle but I hope I never forget it.
  4. My current boss, past neighbors, and old coworker totally hitting it off and already planning a dinner together. There should be a Hall of Fame for seating charts. And I should get inducted.
  5. The next day for clean up. Nick arrived at 8:30am to clean up his urinal vomit from the night before. Our amazing friends from Salve also showed up – Sam, Devin, and JP – I mean who does that? We have such amazing people in our lives.
  6. My new in-laws exchanging numbers with my aunt and uncle from Arizona to plan a trip. That was another holy sh-t moment for me. 

More on the wedding in a little bit. I think it just requires an entirely different entry. I’m in Greece with my husband, it’s getting lighter outside and I need to talk about this beautiful place.

First of all, the people are so sweet. And patient. Conner and I want to submerge ourselves into the culture as best we can so we’ve been going around to all the little shops and restaurants sharing our awful Greek. It’s been fun though. When we catch each other practicing and muttering phrases under our breath, I’m reminded of how lucky I am that I married this guy. 

The ones we’re best at:

Efcharistó (ef-ha-ree-sto) — Thank you

Geiá sou (hya-su) — Hello, singluar

Geia sas (hya-sas) — Hello, plural

Antío sou (a-di-o-su) — Goodbye, singular

Antío sas (a-di-o-sas) — Goodbye, plural

Naí (nay) — Yes

We are trying to speak Greek wherever we go and pick up a new word or phrase as often as we can. 

Yesterday, we were the first patrons of this delicious, cliffside breakfast cafe. We sat through the most beautiful golden hour I’ve ever witnessed, and shared our meal (just a little) with a friendly cat. He f–king loved my cuddles. But alas, they could not fill his belly so he eventually moved on. Golden hour, Santorini, freshly squeezed orange juice, a yogurt-fruit parfait, my new husband, and a cat who loved me?! That was a real moment.

After that we went back to our Airbnb to get ready for the day and then just ended up reading on our terrace (that’s the word!) for a few hours, then napped a few more. We woke up for dinner – wait, wait, wait – I forgot Conner’s broke our host’s table. It shattered into dust and landed on C’s foot. See him for the official story, but “allegedly” he just touched it and it fell. An hour or two later, Ion (our host) came to check on us and we had to fess up. This guy was not the least bit upset. His smile didn’t waver for a second and he immediately cleaned it all up and replaced the whole thing. Ion’s only warning was “Now, just be careful” and “Oh, also if you need a guitar just let me know”. Thank you, Ion. 

travel journal

We had dinner and watched the sunset at this gorgeous, rooftop restaurant, and Conner almost had rabbit stew. For those who don’t know, my 8th-grade Social Studies teacher, who is an apparent expert in the German language, once told me that my last name, Haas, means rabbit stew. (It doesn’t. Rabbit stew in German is Karnickeleintopf.) Naturally, it’s been an ongoing joke ever since. We thought it was fate but they happened to be fresh out of stew. Although I’m not entirely sure that’s true because we couldn’t hear anything our waiter was saying. Just went off smiles and nods. I actually have no clue what we ate.

I don’t usually like jewelry, but vacation-me likes jewelry and so I bought some. I also had the realization that some of these cats we were petting everywhere might have fleas…which made me stop and think for a (fleeting) moment. I pet another on the way back. We stopped at the Atlantis bookstore (where I bought this journal) for a short visit, but I hope to be back because that place houses some amazing stories…

And then here we are. Today’s plans are: ruins, winery, beach. We’ll see what happens. I’m excited. We leave for Italy on Sunday and have three more full days here. It is so breathtaking and I still don’t think it’s fully sunken in that I am here right now. This place only exists in dreams…

I’m trying not to think of Cali and Remi. I miss Cali, but I also really miss my sweet boy. He’s so sensitive. I can’t wait to cuddle him.

I am going to go crawl back into bed with my hubby. Just got a text from June with the Bernie campaign. Lol. I am so content. Not sure how to end this, I’ll get better with some time.

xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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santorini: chapter 3

The following is a revised copy of a journal that I kept on our honeymoon 10.1.2019-10.16.2019

october 5. 2019

This morning Conner was up at 4am watching the NFL games. Rams lost, despite Gurley and Kupp racking up points for me in fantasy. This time Connita watched the sunrise and I supported him completely from bed. 

We hit up the breakfast spot from our first morning in Santorini, except this time it was ridiculously windy so after a laughable approach of sitting outside, we ended up on the small bar facing the empty street. It was early so we didn’t see a single soul, just the mannequins in the boutique across the road (4 feet away). Also I think fruit and honey are one of my new favorite things now. Definitely Top 3 breakfasts for me.

We headed out to Kamari again – this time with the intention of actually enjoying the beach and sun… But the waves were huge and it wasn’t exactly hot, so we just enjoyed the beach. Conner said we could body surf really well if we wanted to though.

After poking around for a bit we found a place offering daybeds for free (!) and we jumped on them. Literally. First row, books out, perfect temp, light breeze, gorgeous view – exactly where I wanted to be.

oia santorini blooming flowers

I’m at the place in Eat Pray Love where we’re praying. We’re in India learning the history and significance of mediation and yoga practice. Elements I want to incorporate into my own life – except I’m not ready to live in an Ashram in India yet. I’m trying to take lessons from Liz and apply them to my own life. One of my biggest “ah-ha’s” was the struggle your ego faces when met with meditation. The ego always needs a presence in your life, though the point of mediation is to find meaning without it. That’s why your mind wanders when trying to meditate – because your ego feels threatened and is trying to stay relevant. It convinces you that it’s doing therapeutic work so the mind stays busy instead of resting. It’s a display of survival. To squash it, you need to open your heart to light and love which you can only do once the ego is gone. Sounds cheesy, but people won’t get it until they’ve had a taste of it. And then spend years trying to master.

I’ve learned that there’s a difference between “reflecting” and “meditating”, the latter involving the mind in its truly present state. I have so much more to learn but I feel good about where my spiritual (never felt like I belonged to that word) journey (this one, too) is headed. If you feel like I butchered that explanation, you’re probably right, so you should just pick up a copy and read it for yourself. It’s worth it, trust me.

Suddenly we were interrupted by this man who pointed out that Conner is reading the same book that changed his life: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. After reading it (a book that shatters finance myths and breaks things down into achievable steps), this guy quit working Wall Street last April, started his business as a life coach and is now traveling the world, living his life to the fullest. The interaction was quick, brief, and he vanished before we could get any other information. It was one of those moments in life where it just felt like the universe was speaking directly to us. Just saying “Yup, don’t worry, you’re on the right path. Keep going.” Nudged us along. Felt like a sign. We needed that.

We decided to stop at a Supermarket on the way back that we’ve driven by a few times. (Side note – I feel like I am living out some movie, driving around the Greek countryside with a scarf wrapped around my hair, tassel earrings, large black sunnies in place, with my new husband. I mean come onnnn).

This one’s definitely a local’s market. I didn’t notice a single tourist, and the workers didn’t look thrilled to have to pull out their English for us.

kamari beach santorini grocery market store

This trip:

5 apples

1 pear

5-6 carrots

4 cucumbers

1 bag of chips

1 Toblerone

1 safe-for-Conner chocolate bar

1 large water

Total: 6 euros!!!

Are you f–king kidding me.

So worth all the annoyed looks shot our way. Although we humbly still tried our best Greek and had one friendly exchange with a local. I’d go back.

travel journal

We had some mixups on the way back to Oia, and not gonna lie, some road rage kicked in. But I could not stop staring at all the islands that surrounded Santorini. Mystical is the first word that comes to mind, like out of some children’s fantasy book. These huge mountains look as if they arose out of mist and continued up to kiss the clouds, to blend seamlessly into the sky. Imagine your favorite Bob Ross painting and then put this scene above it. They say that the Lost City of Atlantis existed here – and I believe it. It won’t truly make sense until you’ve seen this view in person. Truly one of the most beautiful things I have ever laid eyes on. Besides Conner’s blue eyes. They looked especially beautiful today.

So now I am back, sitting on our ~terrace~ and Conner is taking a much needed nap. I am actually really impressed with how well he drove us around to all these places (don’t tell him I said that). These streets are not easy to navigate.

I’m going to go eat an apple now. Until next time.

Oh. Wait I forgot about this con-artist cat.

When napping earlier (with the door open) all of a sudden we woke up to this loud “meow” that came from within the room. Oh. My. God. I got excited (naturally) but as this cat walked up to us, we could tell something was off. The cat looked older, its eyes were a little red, and it walked a little too confidently up to our bed. Like it’s done this before. Then flopped on its side, rolled onto its back, and tried to look all cute for us. He succeeded. But after a minute or two of us not knowing what the f–k to do, he finally broke character and waltzed out like he was too good for us anyways. Before leaving for good, he had a drink from our hot tub just to really stick it to us. It wasn’t until then that I realized we almost got swindled by a Greek cat. A whole other breed. He obviously knows the game. Not quite the con-artist I pictured running into in Europe.

It made me sad but also, these strays are so smart. On Day 2 we saw this dog navigating the busy streets of Oia by himself as if he owned the place (he probably did in dog world). They were his stomping grounds, he just blended in so perfectly and harmoniously amongst all the people. All the busyness. Just sums up the effortlessly cool essence of this island.

xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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avocado power smoothie

secret ingredient: dog hair

“Greens?! In a smoothie?!” Ummmm yea! Queue Conner’s new addiction and claiming it was his idea in three months. I’ll be back to report.

So this really is your POWER smoothie. You’ve got the antioxidants, the omegas, the fiber, the magnesium, the energy boost – it’s brain food times 10. And a lot of these ingredients are common things you’d find in your fridge anyways.

It’s obvious that greens are good for the body but most of us don’t get nearly enough of them. Besides being powerhouses of vitamins and minerals that help your body absorb protein (hellooo fellow vegetarians), they’ll also help you out with that skincare regimen you’re on and feed the healthy bacteria in your gut. I won’t usually turn down a salad, but I definitely wouldn’t protest getting my greens this way instead.

avocado blueberry smoothie
A few simple ingredients:
avocado blueberry smoothie

– banana

– avocado

– your choice of milk (we use soy)

– handful of leafy greens and purples

– frozen blueberries

Optional:

– chia seeds (power-packed superfood)

– hemp hearts (another superfood)

To save your blender, put your liquids in last if it’s a NutriBullet, NinjaBullet, etc., and put them in first if you use a traditional one. Just helps the blades last longer.

Because you have a lot of ingredients taking up space and not necessarily flavor, make sure to save room for extra blueberries. Purple equals tasty.

I always like to add a frozen ingredient to the mix because it adds a bit of frothiness. If you’re not getting the consistency that you want, just keep adding some water as you go.

And that’s about it! Top off with some berries if you care to. Not going to bore you by talking about how this smoothie changed my life and made me a better person and geawjklrb – you came here for the recipe. I refer to this one as the catfish smoothie because you can hardly taste the greens in it. If you can, you’re definitely looking for them. Let me know if you try this out for yourself! I want to hear some of your other favorites.

We have become a smoothie household over here so I’ll have more ~blends~ coming your way soon. In the meantime, enjoy this one and reap the health benefits! Go ahead and brag about it.

avocado blueberry smoothie dog

Yes, Cali got a couple berries.

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!

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why i started a blog

Just like everyone else, there are parts of my vulnerability that I keep a tight lid on. It’s a funny thing. Because I am so sensitive about my writing, but it’s the only place where I’ve really found my voice. In here. Been able to express myself in a way where I can’t trip up on words, can’t be fearful of immediate judgement. It’s the only place where I’m unfiltered. My stream of consciousness. It’s just plain me, the me that I know. It’s intimate. It’s exposed. It’s scary as f–k.

Being vulnerable is really a beautiful thing. In our world of social media and highlight reels (which just about sums up my online presence until now) it’s so hard to decipher what’s real and what’s not. It’s easy to believe that we all live perfect, photoshopped lives. I write about things that make me happy, not sad. Things that make me proud, never embarrassed. I’ll open up (in detail) about the positive aspects of my relationships, self-growth, and well-being. I just do it because it feels like the most natural way to express myself.

Some of it – yes, I do believe stays private. No question. But there are many things that so many of us experience that I believe should get talked about more – depression, anxiety, self-help, finding balance, motivation, the effects of hormones…and how we’re supposed to suppress them. As long as these things stay private and there remains a stigma over talking about them openly, we’ll feel ashamed of them even though they’re so common and normal. 

I’m starting a blog and I don’t know how many people will read it. I’m kind of just putting this out there. If nothing else, I aim to become a better person from it. Unapologetic.

I’ve held out on myself a long time. I’ve never wanted to admit that I like writing – you’re supposed to hate it in school, and maybe I did. Book reports aren’t my thing. But I like writing. It’s a form of therapy for me. Meditation, self-reflection, all those things. I want to write about the things that make me happy – my travels, my husband, design, new recipes…I also want to open up about things that make me sad. Because that’s the truth. It’s all a journey and portraying a life of “ups” just feels phony to me. If not to anyone else, to myself. 

So HI. It’s me, Kate. I’m trying something new and taking a risk on myself. I’ve never really known what I want to do in life, just had interests, so I’m pushing myself to finally figure it out. I have a good feeling about this.

Here I go! Wish me luck, xx

oh hey beautiful. thanks for reading my blog post! how was it? to get in contact find me on IG: katerosehayes or shoot me a message katerosehayes@gmail.com. I’d love to be in touch!