hello!

photo credit: josh benoit

My name is Darraugh and I started this blog to share my health and wellness experiences - and how those have changed the way I view life. Wonderfully, it has grown to be a place where I share what inspires me and awakens my senses. I believe in honest, simple food. I love traveling  - and dreaming of new places. I'm a design enthusiast with a love for vintage treasures. I believe in sustainable living, and work to learn more and be better every day. I enjoy documenting life through photographs. And I'm forever in love with a place I once called home - New York City. I'm a professionally trained pastry chef with a MBA in International Business, and the spirit of an entrepreneur. I write from sunny Florida St. Louis with two kittens, and one handsome boyfriend...and dream of the loft on Broome.

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cookbook love
  • Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
    Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life
    by Jamie Oliver

    Jamie is a rock star. I'm a huge fan. The colors, photos, and illustrations are lovely.

  • My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness
    My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness
    by Gwyneth Paltrow

    Gwyneth is awesome. I'm not sure why there's such a nasty fuss about her. I'm a Daddy's girl too, so this book speaks to my heart. I made Lalo's Cookies- easy and delicious.

  • Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look
    Organic and Chic: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets That Taste as Good as They Look
    by Sarah Magid

    I love these beautiful cakes using organic ingredients. I only wish we could make natural food dyes that are worth a toot.

  • If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons
    If It Makes You Healthy: More Than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons
    by Sheryl Crow, Chuck White, Mary Goodbody

    I love this book! Great, healthy recipes that look delicious. I can't wait to try them.

  • Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
    Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
    by Heidi Swanson

    Heidi's recipes are pure, natural, and encourage you to experience ingredients and combinations that are both delicious and unique. The photographs are stunning.

great reads
  • The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
    The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
    by Eckhart Tolle

    This book was a huge aha moment for me. I practice every day to be an observer of my mind and to fully appreciate this very moment.

  • Me Talk Pretty One Day
    Me Talk Pretty One Day
    by David Sedaris

    If David Sedaris wrote the owner's manual to my car I would read it cover to cover. He's brilliant and makes me laugh out loud in public places.

  • The Help
    The Help
    by Kathryn Stockett

    I started this 450-page book on Friday evening and finished it Monday night. I couldn't put it down.

  • Bossypants
    Bossypants
    by Tina Fey

    Tina Fey is a funny, fearless, female powerhouse. Did I mention, funny?

  • Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
    Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
    by Larry Levin

    I want to meet this dog, more than I want to meet certain people (except George Clooney).

  • Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You
    Eat Naked: Unprocessed, Unpolluted, and Undressed Eating for a Healthier, Sexier You
    by Margaret Floyd

    A wealth of amazing information in this book. I'm confident you will walk away learning new things and seeing food differently.

  • Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
    Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit
    by Barry Estabrook

    We need to bring dignity back to farming; not just in quality of food, but how we treat those who feed us. This book focuses on the tomato industry and you will be astonished at what goes on in our own country. Plus, you will learn why tomatoes taste like absolutely nothing.

  • The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!
    The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now!
    by Mark Hyman

    Everybody needs to read this. Everybody.

  • The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet, Second Edition: An Innovative Program that Detoxifies Your Body's Acidic Waste to Prevent Disease and Restore Overall Health
    The Acid Alkaline Balance Diet, Second Edition: An Innovative Program that Detoxifies Your Body's Acidic Waste to Prevent Disease and Restore Overall Health
    by Felicia Kliment

    This book has so many great nuggets of information. I cannot recommend this book enough!

myTunes
  • 21
    21
    by Adele

    I loved her first album, and this one might be better. Amazing voice for a 21 year old.

  • Be Ok
    Be Ok
    Cabin 24 Records

    Ingrid's music is amazing. All of her albums get heavy play in my house.

  • Easy Wonderful
    Easy Wonderful
    by Guster

    Our great friends introduced us to this group and we recently saw them live. Awesome. This is my favorite album of theirs (well, today anyway).

  • Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates
    Very Best of Daryl Hall & John Oates
    by Hall & Oates

    I am a child of the 80s and I love it! I also love Hall & Oates and recently bought this album. I forgot just how much I love their songs. Classic.

  • Gossip in the Grain
    Gossip in the Grain
    by Ray LaMontagne

    This man has a gorgeous soulful voice and his songs will take you back to another era.

  • Mission Bell
    Mission Bell
    by Amos Lee

    Amos Lee is burning up my iPod. This is really good music.

  • Backatown
    Backatown
    by Trombone Shorty

    Trombone Shorty is a twentysomething trombone player from New Orleans. Great horns with a side of funk and New Orleans Dixie.

  • The Ultimate Collection
    The Ultimate Collection
    by Sade

    Masterful.

  • Brothers
    Brothers
    by The Black Keys

    I love these guys - great music. And I've got a crush on the one with glasses.

  • Radio Music Society [Deluxe Edition CD/DVD]
    Radio Music Society [Deluxe Edition CD/DVD]
    by Esperanza Spalding

    I loved her performance at the Oscars. I'm intrigued by any person who plays bass - especially a female - and with a beautiful voice.

  • Little Voice
    Little Voice
    Epic

    I'm a big fan of her music. It's simple and pure.

  • Born and Raised
    Born and Raised
    Columbia

    We are John Mayer fans. I don't know if I get him as a person (who he dates and all that nonsense), but his music is always so easy to like.

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Tuesday
Mar292011

on the road: washington d.c. and virginia

Seeing as how the Cherry Blossoms are in bloom just in time for the annual festival in D.C., I began reminiscing about the times I spent there visiting my boyfriend when he was working there. He was so busy working that we loved getting out to explore when I would visit. We loved this area. So much to see and do...and THE FOOD. He lived in Alexandria, Virginia, so this was our stomping ground. I even recommend that if you take a trip you should stay in Alexandria and take the METRO into D.C. for exploring. Our favorite hotel is the Lorien Hotel and Spa on King Street, Alexandria's main street. We had the opportunity to stay here prior to him moving in and it is lovely. A relaxing, refreshing place to stay. Also, it's right down the block from the King Street METRO station for easy hopping into the city.

  lorien hotel and spa

  lorien hotel and spa

lorien hotel and spa

The bonus here is that there are two fantastic restaurants and one gourmet market as part of this establishment. We would come to these restaurants every time I visited. Brabo is the place to get a fine meal, have a business dinner,  or go for a special occasion. Try the pork shank. I'm sharing a personal pic here from my birthday dinner. See, you can wear jeans and a nice top or a business suit here and the prices are fair for such great food.

Our regular spot was Brabo Tasting Room next door. A casual neighborhood spot with a wood fired oven. I would go here just for the delicious bread and butter with pink salt. The mussels are to die for, as are the soups, salads, and wood grilled pizzas (tarts).       

There is also a gourmet market next door called The Butcher's Block. Pop in here for great wine, cheese, artisan meats, or the makings of a picnic. A couple of times my boyfriend stopped here and picked up some of their delicious pork shanks already cooked and in their sauce, individually vacuum sealed with ice and brought them on the plane to see me in Florida. We just heated them in boiling water, cut open the bag, plated and served with a nice side dish for a fantastic meal at home (in another state!).

photo credit: darraugh

Alexandria is a beautiful, historic place. Grab some good walking shoes and go up and down the streets and see the architecture. Take one of the many guided historical walking tours. If you are there in the Spring, look at all of the beautiful trees and flowers in bloom.

photo credit: darraugh

photo credit: darraugh

Another favorite place to eat is a local chain, Austin Grill, that serves up great casual Tex-Mex. We usually went here for brunch on the weekend. I love Tex-Mex, Mexican and everything in between. So, that combined with my favorite meal of the day, breakfast, and I'm a happy girl. There are several locations, but we always visited the one on King Street.

photo credit: darraugh

The D.C. area has great public transportation and is very bike friendly. If you don't have your own bike, as I didn't, you can rent bikes in many places. Occasionally, we would rent bikes near the water on King Street and ride them along the Mount Vernon Trail. This is an 18-mile trail that runs along the Potomac River. You can ride out to see historic Mount Vernon, George Washington's home, or ride into Georgetown and park your bike while you explore. There are some great spots to stop along the way, including one park where you are perfectly lined up with the runway at Reagan National Airport and you can watch the planes take off right above your head. 

Georgetown is must-see and fun place to explore. It can get very crowded, so be prepared. Some favorite spots are Georgetown Cupcake for great cupcakes, and the line out the door to prove it.

 georgetown cupcake

Also, Sweetgreen is a great healthy salad and fro-yo shop started by some Georgetown students. It's become very popular with multiple locations and a mobile truck that roams the city. This company is committed to sustainability and being earth-friendly. It's evident from the design of their spaces to the packaging.

photo credit: greenspacetoday.com

Another great place not too far from Georgetown is 2Amys, a true Neapolitan pizzeria. You know you have stepped into someplace good when you walk in the door. This place is always busy, great pizza, great desserts, and a great artisan beer selection. Try the oven roasted olives for an appetizer.

 2amys

On a visit to D.C. for the 4th of July, which I highly recommend, we were looking for a place to get a good steak for our visiting Italian friend. We didn't want to go to the traditional steakhouses. So, we took a gamble on a place we read about, Bucks Fishing and Camping, and we were not disappointed. They made their own cottage cheese, the onion rings were made from sweet Walla Walla onions, and the steak was delicious. The atmosphere here was so charming, we couldn't get enough.

 

buck's fishing and camping

Of course, the museums in D.C. are world class, and the monuments are breathtaking. Go to the places that interest you. I had to visit Julia Child's kitchen at the Smithsonian. And there are so many places I haven't had the chance to see yet. A great idea, as I mentioned before is renting bicycles, but especially as a way to see the monuments and museums, because you could walk yourself to death. Grab a bike and ride from one to the other. (Or, if you're more adventurous, take one of the many Segway tours offered. We did a night tour for my birthday. A neat way to see the city at night when it's lit up.) Especially if you visit during the summer, it's hot. I mean, it's really hot. Take lots of water. But if you can go once during the 4th of July and see the fireworks, you won't forget it. There's nothing more patriotic than sitting outside the White House on the lawn and celebrating our nation's birthday.

photo credit: darraugh

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