Archives for category: LIFE


Things are looking VERY gorgeous around here. the leaves, the air, the smell – It’s my absolute favorite month.

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!



Hi all! Go like The Financial Diet on Facebook if you can! It’s a passion project that my friend Chelsea and I started and it would mean a lot =)

Everyone have a fantastic weekend!


Hello all!

I can FINALLY share a project with you all that has been in the works for a few months now. I recently collaborated on a website redesign with Chelsea Fagan an enormously talented writer, blogger, style guru and all-around awesome person. I present the new & improved, The Financial Diet!

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A screenshot of The Financial Diet homepage.


Monogram lock up for The Financial Diet.

TFD is a space where we all can talk honestly about finances and the art of saving $$$ where we can, in a humorous yet informative manner. Chelsea describes it in a nutshell by saying, “when you become smarter about money, everything gets better.”

The design of the site had to be clean, minimalist and stately while still feeling warm and inclusive. We chose a gender neutral palette that incorporated a crisp dark blue, light grey and white. For the logo up top, we paired a fancy script typeface with a very thin sans serif, which mixes nicely and balances out the header. Finally, we added decorative page borders to ground it all in a pretty embellished package. The site is a really neat platform to discuss everything from cooking at home on a budget, to fashion staples and DIY nails tips.


Workin’ all day getting the blog ready to launch


Workin’ all night. (with champagne & macaroons to toast our triumphs, of course)

Hope you enjoy the site! We have a Facebook page and a Pinterest page! Go check it out!

Thanks for reading,


CONFESSION TIME ~*ALERT*~  I returned from a trip to Portugal 3.5 weeks ago, and have yet to do a full on, detailed post about how amazing the country, people, food, weather, architecture etc. etc, is. I know it’s terrible considering how much joy that trip brought me and how much I chewed everyone’s ear off back home about it. BUT, I had a lot to catch up on at work and some personal freelance projects that are taking up nearly every minute of my “spare” time… Check out some picture below!

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I traveled with 3 other lovely ladies who I was reunited with after having originally met while studying abroad in college. In short I can say that it was a trip for the books. We laughed and talked a lot, ate A CHEESEBOARD IN EVERY ESTABLISHMENT, no joke. We drank port and wine and sipped lots of espressos and devoured Portuguese custard pastries, called Pastéis de Nata, which I will be recreating in the kitchen come winter. We spent 5 days in the south of the country visiting the Algarve, which is lovely because it’s all beaches, cliffs and winding roads through the countryside. Then we trekked back up North to Lisbon, where we spent the remaining 4 days.

Lisbon is easily one of my favorite cities in the world, that I have seen thus far. The concentration of bars is one of the highest in the world, which made for memorable nights running bar hoping in the trendy Barrio Alto neighborhood. The city is a mix of old and new and feels quintessentially shabby chic European. We sat outside as the sun went down, over a table full of wine, cheese and bread and watched the orangey red roofs of the city glow and fade out with the last light of day. I have plenty more pictures to share for my Part 2, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading, as always.



Today we welcomed a 5lb welsh corgi named Sierra (after Sierra Nevada beer), into the family. Damn she is cute. No happiness quite like puppy happiness ❤️🐶

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it was difficult to get crisp photos that weren’t blurry :/ She moves a lot


Hi all!

I did a guest post on a friend’s blog this AM, on The Financial Diet – go check it out to read the full post! I make this stuff all the time and you should too. It’s that good.


bootiessuede booties make their first appearance

Homemade ganolagranola action shot! with cinnamon + almond milk + honey

apple picking applesbounty from the first apple picking of the season, compliments of my sister

fall outfitall black everything + a WNYC tote + a floral scarf

With the temperature clocking in a cool 58 degrees this morning (yikes), the first true feels of Autumn hit me hard. As my favorite season approaches, I’m embracing darker palettes for my wardrobe and cooking with my favorite things: oats, nuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, apples & pumpkin.

I whipped up a super sized batch of Minimalist Baker’s Nut And Honey Coconut Granola, which I have now eaten for the 5th consecutive morning, with almond milk and ahem, more honey on top. Fall usually slips away far too quickly and I’m left scratching my head come December, looking around at the snow and my freezing chapped hands, thinking sad thoughts of crisp mornings and vibrant leaves that have all but disappeared.

Here’s to taking it one day at a time, reaching end-of-the-indian-summer goals, and planning out some October challenges, which I will be finalizing plans for and posting next week! Stay tuned! -Lauren


Well howdy. I seem to have inflicted another LONG pause in blogging upon everyone. It was completely unintended but, there it is. This summer I wanted to focus on after-hours personal design work and really enjoy all the things that the Spring and Summer season brought: picnics, weekend trips, gardening, vacations, dinners with friends, and time away from the computer where I could find it. I longed for paperback books and conversations over cocktails, uninterrupted by texts, tweets and uploads. This Summer saw a promotion at work, a best friend engaged, an trip to Aruba with friends & family, the tending of my very first box bed garden, training for runs and devouring cookbooks.

Truth be told, I have struggled in what I envision for this blog and of the surety of my own voice. Sometimes I want a space to post recipes, sometimes I want a space to post informative design critiques and sometimes I want to post about accessible, everyday fashion. I don’t want to limit myself or the themes of any post by slapping on any one identity for the sake of creating a succinct Design Spell “brand”, and having to adhere to it. However, it sometimes seems that an open direction can feel like no direction and I do not wish this blog to become visual stream of consciousness, (only my pre-morning coffee brain should be subject to that!)

So instead, I am recommitted to focusing on sharing in a visual way, my outlook on everyday life and the way I respond to it. I want to strengthen a mentality where I look out on this world with a sense of gratitude and awe, and not take any of the beautiful little things around me for granted. Of this, I am sure and am fully committed. I want people to come into this space and expect to see an assortment of topics, laid out and presented beautifully, with my own personal voice ringing clear through all of it.

So please, bear with me and let’s do this thing right! Expect consistent, visual, delightful and engaging content from here on out! Thanks everyone =)


out of focus flowers


Sometimes , you just need to hit the reset button. This past weekend spent up in Vermont, was just the thing I needed after a couple of very wintry & stressful weeks in NJ. During our travels throughout Vermont, we hit up the towns of Waterbury, Burlington, Essex, Stowe & Greensboro. Yes, I know. A ton of driving. We logged about 18 hrs of it in total. Although, looking out the window at the surrounding farmland, old stone barns, the ice topped beauty of Lake Champlain & rolling green and blue mountains – it’s hard to complain. It was 3 days spent trying out the fare at local restaurants, like lunch at The Prohibition Pig, brunch at the Gables Inn, dinner at Farmhouse Tap and Grill, drinks at the Hourglass bar at Stowe Mountain Lodge and brunch at Sneakers Bistro (i’m still dreaming about the divine Veggie Hash & Eggs I ordered!) We sampled local cheese at the Cabot Creamery and beer at the Hill Farmstead Brewery (tastiest beer in the world!) We popped into general stores to sneak away with bags of sweets weighed in antique iron scales and marveled at toys with old fashioned retro packaging. We slept on our friend’s couch in Burlington, in true college-days fashion & loved every minute spent trekking around this gorgeous state. Oh yeah, AND our car got stuck in the snow going uphill. But fear not! Friendly passers-by equipped with man power & bags of sand, helped us break free. Or rather, roll backwards, free.

Stowe VT

Stowe mountainGazing skyward at the skiers on the Stowe Mountain trails

Stowe church

photo 5Stowe Mountain Lodge at the mountain’s base.

photo 5-4Bear ice sculpture!

trees covered

ridley's spring toy

photo 4-3Love the fun retro packaging of Ridley’s toys

photo 5-3Beautiful vintage French inspired bathroom goodies by Barr-Co.

Black cap coffee cafeI love the red houses + white trim theme, all throughout the state of VT/upstate NY.

photo 1-7Rose de Gambrinus beer from Cantillon Brewery in Belgium, flavored with raspberries!

apple sausage cheese omeletteThe apple + sharp cheddar + maple sausage omelette from the Gables Inn. holy yum.

Overall, the scenery and relaxed atmosphere of the town &  people was refreshing and surprisingly, the extra snow we got while we were up there, didn’t bother me one. little. bit. Probably because I didn’t have to shovel it!

Until next time! =)

The weather this month on the East Coast has been brutal and we’ve been pummeled with a couple of pretty bad snow storms. The storms have already dumped more snow in these last two months, than we normally get in an entire season. Multiple snow days have left me stuck inside the house and itching to get into the kitchen to prepare healthy & simple meals, that keep me fueled for working at home and shoveling out massive amounts of snow. Some of my favorites have been homemade greek fries, spinach, chickpea, & feta parcels and  green monster smoothies. Take a peek below!

snow day copybeautiful post-snow storm, morning drive

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snow day

snowed in carmy car buried under a TON of ice and snow =(  2+ hours of shoveling

photo 1-5healthy bowl of sautéed broccoli, garlic, cannellini beans and cooked wheat berries

breakfastsimple breakfast. avocado + salt & pepper + latte


Green monster smoothie. Spinach, almond milk, banana, chia seeds, almond butter & ginger

photo 3-5Homemade greek food feast! the baked french fries I made, were to die for.
Here’s the recipe:

spinach pieWe also made Jamie Oliver’s spinach, chickpea & feta parcels.
Recipe can be found here

snow day latte

bailee 1Bailee snoozing the afternoon away as usual

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Have a warm and safe night! See you back here soon =)