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Mary Alexius

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Mini Chicago Trip – Travel Guide (Summer)

It is summer y’all and it is travel time! I am trying to get a few trips in before I start my summer II class. A few weekends ago I was in Chicago visiting family and friends. It was my first time and I can’t wait to go back; it was such a beautiful city. I rounded up a few recommendations for a quick getaway in Chicago. What made me fall in love were the roof top bars. That is definitely a must when visiting the windy city.

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Top: Zara – Cactus Print Shirt // Denim: Articles of Society – Sarah Skinny (Nordstrom) // Shoes: Vince – Warren Slip-On

Top Food Recommendations

Portillo’s Hot Dogs – When in the Chi you must try a Chicago style hot dog and an Italian Beef; it is delicious. Also, with your meal order a Coca-Cola, lol. IT IS SO GOOD HERE! Don’t forget their chocolate cake. I missed it the first time and I was told I was missing out so I went back and got it and I have no regrets.

Pizzeria Uno – I definitely recommend this restaurant for a good deep dish pizza.  For an appetizer, you must try their calamari. I got a regular deep dish with bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, and pepperoni. Of course, when in Chicago you have to try their local IPA, Daisy Cutter.

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Public House – This was one of my favorite Restaurant Bars. I went there twice for dinner and then the next day for drinks. To start with we ordered the housemade pretzels served with cheddar beer fondue; it was so yummy. It was a great pair with beer. For my main course, I ordered the Lemon-Grass Ginger Mussels and it was absolutely delicious and flavorful; I would order it again.

Summer House Santa Monica – This spot is for sure on the top of the list for brunch spots. Their Bloody Mary’s were hands down the best. I asked what the waiter recommended because I was so indecisive since everything sounded amazing. I ordered the breakfast tostadas and it was phenomenal. The salsa was amazing and served with a piece of avocado. While you are there check out their pastries; their cookies are delish.

Blue Door (Lincoln Park) – I stumbled across this cute farm-to-fork restaurant and they were having free food and Rosé samples, I couldn’t turn that offer down. My favorites for the food portion was the kale salad and the grilled cheese. It was game over when I tried their lemon bars, haha! I probably ate five, oops.

Bar Recommendations

Cindy’s Rooftop Bar & Restaurant – This cute spot is located in the heart of Chicago with the best views of Lake Michigan and Millenium Park. I didn’t get to eat at the restaurant because you need to make reservations beforehand. The food looked amazing. For drinks, you must try their Bloody Mary, Grey Garden, Kick in the Daisy, and Western Cape.

The Godfrey Hotel Chicago (Rooftop) // Joy District // Summer House Santa Monica // Public House

Summer Attractions

The Art Insitute of Chicago – I love visiting art museums. I am a huge fan of modern art and getting to see one the 3rd largest collections of art in the country was amazing. Definitely, stop by the cafe they have yummy snacks and espresso.

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Cloud Gate –  Known as, “The Bean” and it is one of the most common attractions in the city.

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Millennium Park

Chicago Lakefront Trail // Lincoln Park // Michigan Ave (shopping)

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I hope I gave you good tips for your getaway to Chicago. I will definitely be back so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

XOXO, Mary Alexius

Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, & Utah in ONE (Travel Guide)

So, I am so excited to finally share my Spring Break with y’all. I have been so busy with school because it is getting close to the end of the semester. This passed break I went on a family road trip and my best friend, Jamie joined us. It was definitely a trip to remember. We decided to drive because there was so much to see; it was for sure an adventure.

Our first stop was “The Big Texan” it is located in Amarillo, Tx.

Of course, we had to stop at this famous restaurant that is known for their 72oz steak challenge. I mean they could be known for their 8oz steak itself because it was amazing. You must try one of their signature items, fried mushrooms with ranch! So good! I had to order two appetizers because everything looked amazing. I also got Smothered Barbeque Steak Fries… I know I am guilty. I actually ate that one quick that I didn’t get to get a picture, oops! I wanted to try a piece of their chocolate or carrot cake but I was way too full and had a long drive ahead of me. This place is so cute and super southern inspired. They have a gift shop inside and a bar full of craft beers.

Next Stop was Utah!!!

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I never thought I would find myself in Utah. I loved everything about Utah! If you are going to visit here you have to go see the arches in Moab! It is quite the hike but definitely worth the workout. Salt Lake City was absolutely beautiful. The city is right in the middle of the mountains and I got to learn about a different culture. Nothing surprising that I went to go visit their Nordstrom, haha!

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We stayed at Moab Valley RV Resort & Campground and we loved the cute little cabin we stayed in! The environment here is awesome and it was definitely clean. I loved waking up and seeing the mountains in every direction, very relaxing. There is life size chess, swimming pool, and a playground for the kids on site.  I rate this place five stars for sure.

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Pictures do not do this place justice. It is literally the most beautiful place I’ve seen yet. It is about a 5-6 mile hike to the arch in Moab, it was breathtaking. I want to go back! If you ever do this hike make sure you go prepared. I did not bring enough water when I went but luckily I made it. I would say it took us about 45 minutes to finally get to the top.

Our first night in Moab, Utah we went to this delicious Italian restaurant, Pasta Jay’s. It was a late night after our hike and everything closes early and Pasta Jay’s happened to be open. We checked it out and we found ourselves back there again. Their food tasted fresh and very filling. I got the Ravioli and Minestrone soup.

Next morning, we brunched it up at Peace Tree Juice Cafe. It was the perfect brunch spot to have a latte or mimosa with your meal. I started my day with an Acai Bowl. My mom had the green eggs and ham and Greg got a chicken sandwich. If you are looking for an energy boosting meal you need to come here.

Next stop, Park City, Utah!!!

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Yay, so this is Jamie, she was featured in one of my previous blogs. She arrived a few days later after the trip in Salt Lake City, Utah. We stayed at the Newpark Resort and Hotel in Park City, Utah. We were surrounded by a bunch of shops and restaurants.

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Meet Tina, my beautiful mother. We were like The Three Musketeers the whole trip.

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Top things to do in Park City is skiing, ride the Alpine Slide (make sure you follow instructions on the slide because I did not, haha), the art galleries, and the horse sleigh ride. Also, visit Salt Lake City… the outside mall is amazing.

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Ok, I am obsessed with ramen I had to try it in Park City. Jamie and I went to Sushi Blue for a late night dinner after an all-day adventure. We also got a spicy tuna roll and it was amazing and made right in front of us. I recommend this place for sure. They have a very exotic sushi menu, which is why I love this place.

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If you happen to be in Park City you have to go to Atticus Coffee, Books & Tea House on Main St. They have the best lavender latte I have ever tried. I had a yummy quiche on the side. I loved it because I was a bookstore/ hole in the wall coffee shop. It definitely had that urban feel.

Our next destination, Durango, Colorado!!!

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On Main Ave in Durango, there were the cutest little boutiques. There is so much to do and so many restaurants to choose from. One of my favorite stores on the strip was The Urban Market. They literally have everything and I found the best hand cream there.

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An employee at The Urban Market recommended The Bookcase and Barber to us for a casual girls night out. It is a speakeasy that is a barbershop during the day. In order to get in you must know the password (they will let you in any way). The password that night was, “where can you find a blind pig?”. Clever, huh? They had the best Raspberry infused vodka drink with sprinkled chocolate on top. It was a specialty drink that was not on the menu that the bartender recommended.

Off to New Mexico we go!!!

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White Sands National Park is gorgeous. It is located in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This stop made this whole trip worth driving since it was on our way back to Dallas. Funny Story, the first picture of me and Jamie where Jamie is throwing the sand in the air was the only shot we took because all of the sand ended up on my face after it was thrown in the air and that was not a great feeling, haha good times.

Finally, back in Texas!!!

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I’ve always wanted to visit the Prada Marfa in Valentine, Tx. It was a little out of our way but worth the experience. The Prada Marfa is a sculpture and was created in 2005 by artists, Elmgreen and Dragset. If you visit Valentine, Tx bring a lock with you to leave a memory on the fence behind the sculpture.

This road trip was none stop adventures and I loved every bit of it. I was having so much fun putting all of my photos together for this blog I decided to make a vlog as well (on my Instagram). If you ever go to Colorado or Utah I hope I helped with a few destinations along the way if you are up for the drive. I had a blast! I can’t wait to share my next trip with y’all.

xoxo, Mary Alexius

The Vineyard Travel Guide

Has anyone ever seen the show,”The Vineyard”? It is a docusoap series that premiered on ABC Family. Eleven young adults reside in a house for the summer on a beautiful island called Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts and worked at the Black Dog Tavern. That is what inspired me to take this mini-vacay to the island this past August during my stay in Rhode Island.

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The homes in Martha’s Vineyard are unbelievable. They are so artsy and unique. I enjoyed walking through the cottage museum (Gingerbread Houses). When walking through the neighborhood you get a 19th-century feel. They are painted in such vivid colors and each home has its own personality. I loved them so much I even stayed in a beautiful home through Air BnB in Vineyard Haven. If you do travel to Martha’s Vineyard I recommend staying in Oak Bluffs because that is where all of the popular attractions are.

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On the island, The Flying Carousel was created in 1876 and is nation’s oldest platform carousel. It was first created in Coney Island, NY then moved to Oak Bluff’s Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

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If some of you didn’t know the movie “Jaws” was filmed on the island. This is the scene of “The Bridge” which bordered Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. It became a big attraction since the movie and you are actually not supposed to jump off the bridge but everyone does it anyway. It is a 20 ft fall and it is so much fun! I jumped twice and it seems like nothing but it is pretty high. I still can’t go underwater without holding my nose so that is what freaked me out the most.

The Aquinnah cliffs are a must. They are so beautiful but quite a drive. The Vineyard now has Uber and Lyft which helped a lot. If you rent mopeds you cannot take them to Aquinnah. You can see the cliffs from up top or walk along the beach and get great pictures. Although, pictures does not do this place justice, it is absolutely much more breathtaking in person.

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The Black Dog is a restaurant and tavern in Vineyard Haven. It was founded in 1971 and also shown on the show The Vineyard. They are known for their souvenirs and of course, I had to get a Tee. The Tavern has amazing brews and really good burgers. Right before Jet Skiing I went to the black dog cafe and got an iced latte and I definitely recommend their breakfast burritos.

Places To Eat & Nightlife

Back Door Donuts – If you want amazing donuts and apple fritters go here! Everything was so yummy! Make sure you go early because there is always a line.

The Barn & Barrel Bistro – This is a bowling alley but also a restaurant and for it being a bowling place the food is so good! I really recommend the Seafood Aglia E Olio. For cocktails, I got The MV Mule and The Raspberry Caipirinha.

Offshore Ale Co – For sure wings and Lobster rolls! This restaurant has a pub feel and they have a lot of brews to choose from. They also give you peanuts while you wait for your food.

Lookout Tavern – I had my first sauteed lobster roll here and it was life changing, haha. Usually, you get it with mayo and it is served cold. Now, I prefer it sauteed because it is served warm. I was so shocked that they serve micheladas I was excited about that. You must try their sushi as well; you can’t really go wrong with anything at this place because everything is delicious.

Giordano’s Restaurant – I didn’t actually eat at the restaurant but they have a take out window for super yummy late night pizza. I am guilty, I ate there more than one night, haha. I could say it is the best pizza I’ve had, yet.

The Aquinnah Shop Restaraunt – While visiting the cliffs we stopped by this restaurant for a mid-day snack and ordered clam cakes and chowder along with quahog and I recommend it. Anywhere in New England, you can go wrong with that.

L8FT (playground for adults) – This bar is so much fun! They have a DJ playing and you can play pool, shuffle board, and many other games. It is a big place and they just opened this past summer. There is always a good crowd.

I cannot wait to come back here again! I hope I inspired you to take a trip to The Vineyard. If you do please share your pictures with me.

xoxo, Mary Alexius

Stay Matte

Hello beauties, today is going to be a little different from fashion, food, and travel. I am really excited that I found a foundation that fits perfect for my skin. I have switched from foundation to foundation and I finally found a match. This is NARS ‘Velvet Matte Skin Tint’ with an SPF of 30.

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Many of you probably use a brush or sponge to apply foundation but I don’t. I bought this one because it applies so easily with your fingertips, just like lotion. I noticed a difference when I started using this product because I stopped breaking out. Even though I clean my brushes my face always felt dirty. This product is a tint but can also be applied to full coverage with a lightweight feel, which is why I love it.

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You get instant gratification with effortless application. Protects and perfects with a soft-matte finish. I normally have dry and oily skin and this works for me. Before applying the foundation I put a Neutrogena daily mask on to help with my acne and it keeps me from getting oily. Then I apply an oil-free acne moisturizer by Neutrogena mixed with a facial serum from Trader Joes and apply them together. My next step, I apply Color Science even up clinical pigment protector to help even out my skin tone. Finally, I apply the foundation and get a glamorous look. I promise it is life changing. If you do go out and get it please tell me how it worked out for you.

To shop the post text “stay matte” to (214) 935-2894

xoxo, Mary Alexius

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Hello dolls, so today I decided to experiment and make Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana. It is definitely starting to look a lot like winter for us here in Texas. Why not make a soup to warm up my night? Every time I visit Olive Garden I must have this soup and I am so excited that I know how to make it now, but I am even more excited to share it with y’all.

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I was not a big fan of Italian sausage until I moved to Rhode Island for six months. In Boston/ Providence, there was Italian Sausage everywhere and it was very authentic and delicious. I wish we had that here in Texas. I got mine at Trader Joes along with the rest of my ingredients. I got spicy sausage because if you know me I don’t eat my food without some kind of spice in it.

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Prepping for the Zuppa Toscana is very simple and that is why it is my favorite. I never have time to cook anymore because of work. There are very few ingredients that are called for. I’ve always wanted to make a soup that calls for kale. My choice was to use the organic Tuscan kale. It has Vitamin A and C along with Calcium and Iron. It is a good addition to your diet. If you have leftovers and you want to save it for later you can refrigerate for five days. I am definitely looking forward to the next couple of days. I really hope you enjoy it and if you do make it please share it with me or comment and let me know how it turned out.

xoxo, Mary Alexius

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Recipe

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 Hour

Servings: 4-6

Ingredients

1lb of Italian Hot Sausage

1/4 Tbsp of crushed red pepper

8 Ounces of chicken broth

1 Quart of water

1 Large onion, chopped

6 Red potatoes sliced

3 Garlic cloves

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Cups of Kale

1 Cup of heavy whipping cream

Grated Parmesan Cheese, for serving


Instructions

1. In medium soup pot brown Italian sausage with crushed red pepper, then drain.

2. Add Chicken broth and water into pot and stir.

3. Place garlic, onions, and chopped potatoes into the pot.

4. Cook on medium until potatoes are done.

5. Add salt and pepper to taste

6. Simmer for another 10 minutes

7. Turn on low heat

8. Add kale and cream

9. Heat through and serve

Source: Get In My Belly

Turkey Chili For This Gloomy Day

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This is one of my favorite recipes for a gloomy and rainy day. It is super easy and very flavorful. I made this recipe for the first time when I was living in Rhode Island and Justin fell in love with it. He actually made it this past weekend and it looked so yummy I decided to make it again.

I made this today for my family and they absolutely loved it and I wanted to share it with y’all.

 You can find the recipe below. I bought all of the ingredients at Trader Joes except the “Slap ya Momma” seasoning.


Turkey Chili

1 pound of organic Ground Turkey (I used 99% fat free)

2 cups of water

15 oz of organic pinto beans

15 oz of organic kidney beans

15 oz of organic corn

15 oz of roasted diced tomatoes with organic green chili peppers

8 oz of organic tomato sauce

12 oz of organic tomato paste (for thickening)

1/4 cup of organic bell pepper

1/4 cup of organic celery

2 tsp of organic garlic powder

1/2 cup of diced yellow onion

1/2 tsp of oregano

1 tsp of black pepper

1 tsp of sugar in the raw

3 tsp of chili powder

1 tsp of cayenne pepper

3 tsp of organic ground cumin

1 tsp of smoked paprika

3 tsp of slap ya momma seasoning

 Garnish

organic lime

organic avocado

lite Mexican cheese

Salt

organic white corn tortilla chips

 2-4 Servings


Directions

1. Brown the ground turkey then drain.

2. Add water to a big pot at medium.

3. Place ground turkey in pot with all ingredients.

4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1-2 hours stirring every 20 minutes.

Adventures in Albany, NH

Never did I think I would visit Albany/ North Conway. During my stay in Rhode Island, I went for a spontaneous mini-vacation to hike The White Mountains. I could say it is the most beautiful/ cutest place I have ever seen. It is definitely a whole other world at least for me since I grew up in the city. There is hardly any signal but who needs electronics when you can look at the spectacular views? I recommend the boulder trail if you are ever in the area or want to hike. One thing I learned is hiking in New Hampshire is nothing like our “hiking trails” in Texas. I regret not hiking earlier in the day to enjoy the view. Justin and I rushed down the mountains before dark but I got great pictures.

After our long hike, we went for dinner and drinks at Sea Dog Tavern and that is where I experienced my first Shipyard, Pumpkin Head. I immediately fell in love because I love pumpkin everything! 

The next morning, Justin and I found this cute artsy cafe called, “The Met” in North Conway, a cute little town. They have an art gallery with amazing lattes and breakfast sandwiches. If you visit you must try, “the saco.”

 I hope y’all get a chance to visit. It is definitely worth going. 

 xoxo, Mary Alexius

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