¡salud! Red wine sangria recipe

¡salud! Red wine sangria recipe

Its almost time! We are leaving for Spain in less than 48 hours. Our bags are almost packed and I am finishing up last minute items on my checklist. To get in the spirit for our trip, I decided to make a red wine sangria. This is one of my favorite drinks, no matter what time of year it is. Also, it doubles as a snack in the early evening…

I know we will definitely have our fill of sangria in Spain but I just couldn’t resist. We are spending the first half of our trip in Madrid, where we will be seeing all of the most important sites and then some. We also have plans to attend a Real Madrid game! Halfway through our time in Spain, we are taking the train to Barcelona. We have lots of plans in Barcelona, including dinner at a hot restaurant called Bodega 1900.

In college, I studied Spanish literature so, I am beyond excited to see some of the places I learned so much about.  I can’t wait to check back in once we arrive and have an authentic glass of sangria in hand but for now, enjoy the recipe!

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You will need red wine (something cheap!), soda (either club or anything lemon-lime), brandy (also cheap) and fruit (I prefer citrus and apples).

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Uncork the red wine.

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Add the red wine, brandy (1.5 oz per bottle of wine), soda (2 cups per bottle of wine) to a large pitcher.

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Cut fruit into small pieces and add to the red wine mixture.

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Serve immediately over ice or chill in the fridge.

Red Wine Sangria Recipe

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 2 cups of soda (club soda or lemon-lime)
  • 1.5 oz of brandy
  • 2 cups of fruit

My favorite app for staying active while traveling

My favorite app for staying active while traveling

The countdown is officially on! We are leaving for Spain in 3 days and I am getting more and more excited each day. Whenever I travel, there is always one thing that gives me a little bit of anxiety. That is, how and what am I going to do to workout.

Exercise has been a coping mechanism for me ever since I was in high school. When I was a freshman in high school, I had an eating disorder. There was so much going on in my life, limiting how much I ate and exercising were the only things I felt I had control over. So, I started to lose weight and exercise excessively. Even with all of my weight loss, I was never satisfied with how I looked. I couldn’t see the harm I was causing my body.

When I left for college, I gained the “freshman 15” and I slowly began to realize the damage I was doing not only to my physical self, but also my mental self. Although I was feeling ashamed for gaining this weight, gaining this weight forced me to take a step back and change how I treat my body.

It took me about 4 years to change my behavior. I forced myself to stop counting calories and stepping on the scale each day. I have also become better about not making myself feel guilty for skipping a day at the gym. To this day, I am working on training my mind to enjoy exercise and movement for the way it makes me feel, not the weight it can allow me to lose.

A year ago I discovered a fitness app, called Aaptiv. This app has really helped me change the way I think about working out. There are so many different types of workouts, such as, yoga, stretching, treadmill, strength training and stairclimber, it is almost impossible not to mix it up. Before I would spend all of my time on the treadmill. Now, with Aaptiv, I can easily try new things, even when I am traveling.

 

One of my favorite categories is yoga. I have been practicing yoga on and off for many years. The movement of yoga always makes me feel centered. There is something so calming about just lying on your yoga mat. For me, it is a safe place. I rarely judge myself on my abilities on the mat, rather I feel proud of what my body can accomplish.

The app allows you to tailor each workout to your ability, music preference and duration. I love being able to unroll my mat at home or on the go and take a 20 minute yoga class.

Since graduating college, moving to a new city, and starting to work full time, there have been very few times when I have genuinely felt calm. This past year has been filled with chaos and starting to practice yoga again has helped me find just a few minutes of stillness.

Using Aaptiv while I am traveling has been a major game changer. Since I can take it anywhere with me, I can worry less about how I am going to fit a workout in and focus more on enjoying our trip.

Namaste!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing a few things on my to-do list

Sharing a few things on my to-do list

We just got home from Florida this afternoon and I am taking some time to organize myself for the coming weeks. We have a ton going on! Besides unwinding and unpacking from our trip to Florida for Rosh Hashanah, we are also getting ready to leave for our big trip to Spain and the start of my new job. Whenever I have a lot happening, I always take a few minutes to make a list with everything that needs to get done.

To be honest, I never go anywhere or do anything without a list. Its a habit I started in middle school when my teachers would make us write down all our homework and I have continued it ever since. Creating a list helps me de-stress and organize no matter what the situation is.

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Spending the long weekend in Florida was a perfect transition from my old job and the tough time I was having to a new start. As I have grown up, I cherish my time in Florida with my family more and more. Each time, it gets harder and harder to leave. I know this is a good feeling and there probably aren’t a lot of 20 year olds who feel the same way.

With our big trip to Spain approaching, I have been having all different types of feelings. First and foremost, this is the first trip abroad Daniel and I will have taken together. So, this is a real test! We have planned this trip together from beginning to end. Now, we just have to take it. I never realized how much time and planning goes into a trip like this. Maybe part of it was because we had never planned anything like this before, but it was definitely a little bit of a stressful experience. In my head, I felt so much pressure to do and see everything that our friends recommended. I was trying to cram as many activities into our days as possible but what I was forgetting was that our trip would be incredible no matter how many churches or museums we stepped foot into. All that is important is that we enjoy ourselves.

There is definitely more to come on Taking Back Taylor about our trip to Spain…what we did (and didn’t) do, where we ate, where we stayed and all other recommendations.

I am also excited to share my first day at my new job and tell you more about the next steps in my career. Here’s to a wonderful week. 🙂

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The start of a new year

The start of a new year

This is a special time of year for me. With the Jewish High Holidays upon us, there comes an opportunity for more time with my family. I am never happier than when we are all together and the dinner table (and our glasses) is full. Tonight was one of those nights.

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. We spent the morning at synagogue. I don’t attend services very often but I thoroughly enjoy being a part of the community. During the service, our rabbi spoke about letting go of the past and not holding onto grudges. She encouraged us to think about finding ways to move on from our past mistakes or failures and look to the future. She questioned us to stop asking ourselves “shoulda, coulda, woulda.” Should I have done something differently? Could I have done something differently? Why would’ve that person done that?

Instead of spending our new year dwelling on the past, let’s spend this time focusing on the now and the future. Let’s focus on using our past to grow for the our future, instead of holding onto the guilt which haunts us.

Tonight we had a “typical” family dinner, filled with lots of delicious food and drinks at my grandma’s house. My heart and my belly are so full. These are the days that make life so sweet. Shana Tova!

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3 Tips for tackling that feeling of being stuck in life

3 Tips for tackling that feeling of being stuck in life

 

 

 

A lot of what I have been talking about on Taking Back Taylor has to do with me and my personal growth. Today I wanted to switch my focus and talk about other people’s growth. Since I have graduated from college, watching other people grow, whether it be in their personal life or professional career has been a struggle for me. I always feel as though my life is standing still, while other’s lives are charging full speed ahead. I feel that I have encountered numerous road blocks along this journey called adulthood, while other’s have seamlessly transitioned in their new roles.

I constantly feel stuck and honestly, sometimes I can’t feel proud and happy for my friends or family members who are achieving great things. I am just too discouraged. I can’t find the energy within me to congratulate them or wish them good luck. This feeling right here is one that I hate most of all. A cloud of guilt comes over me when I can’t show support to the people who love me most.

One example of this has been evident in the past few weeks of my life. Daniel and I have lived together for over two years and have gone through a ton, like most couples have. Surviving college and moving across the country has been nothing compared to the last couple months. I have been stuck in a rut, while Daniel has been soaring, specifically in his career. He has grown tremendously in his position and has taken on so many new and exciting responsibilities. Now I know I should be feeling excited and proud but, this has not been the case. All of these great changes Daniel is experiencing has left me feeling more scared and filled with anxiety than ever before.

The hardest part about this situation is that this is not how I want to feel. I don’t want to feel scared or anxious. I want to feel excited and proud. Recently, I have been working on creating this change. Although I don’t have the quick fix for this problem, here are a few tips that have been working for me:

  1. Saying the words, “I am proud of you” to my friend or family member. Even though this is sometimes almost impossible for me to get out, I know this is how I truly feel underneath all of my negative thoughts.
  2. Acting kindly and politely to everyone I come in contact with. When things aren’t going the way I had hoped, I try to take a step back and reflect on my actions. I ask myself, have I been putting out positive energy? Usually, the answer is no. My fix is to be a little nicer to the people around me. Smile to the person in the elevator next to you, hold the door for the person behind you, or offer a hand to someone. If I don’t give off positive energy than how can I expect it in return?
  3. Realizing that this is a part of your journey. You will not be here forever. This last part is the hardest for me. When I feel stuck, I convince myself that I will be here forever. In times like these, I tell myself the following: I got myself here so I can get myself out of here.

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Take Back Tuesday (one day late…)

Take Back Tuesday (one day late…)

What I am about to tell you is proof that timing is everything, seriously EVERYTHING! Right before I had left my job a few weeks ago, I reached out to someone on LinkedIn about about a job that I was interested  in. Networking on LinkedIn is a technique I learned from Daniel (that’s how he got the job he has today). The lady responded the next day and said she would love to set-up time for an interview. From there, I spoke with the rest of the team. All of this happened in a matter of about a week and things could not have gone better. Following the final round of interviews two weeks ago, communication from my contact quickly dropped off. I felt confused and discouraged. I didn’t understand how I could go from constant communication and feeling as though I was the right fit to nothing at all.

The last two weeks, I have been on edge and extremely anxious. I was so hurt by how things were going. It took me about 10 days to even be able to start to think about moving on. I now had to force myself to look at other positions and give up on the one I wanted so badly. I came up with a plan and decided to start studying for the GRE. I have always played with the idea of going back to school to get my masters in education and this would be a great time to start. I began looking at schools and preparing for the application process. I never felt sure that I was making the right decision but I knew I had to move on.

Yesterday marked two weeks since my last interview and I had truly given up all hope that landing this position was in my future.

Now for the reason why this post is a day late: It was 3 o’clock in the afternoon yesterday and I was lying on the sofa, talking to my dad on the phone. We were discussing my options and what steps I should start to think about taking. The position I interviewed for came up in discussion, as I still couldn’t shake it and he said to me, “Look at it this way – if you get the position now timing will be so much better than if you had received an offer two weeks ago.” He was right. We are going to Spain in two weeks and starting a new job a week ago wouldn’t have been great timing. I hung up the phone, not thinking twice about what he said, and got ready to run some errands. Within three minutes, my phone rang. It was them. I grabbed my notebook and answered the call. I GOT THE JOB!

These last two weeks have proved the importance of timing. I have the most difficult time accepting this idea. I always want things to happen on my timeline but what I have to learn is that maybe my timeline isn’t always right. I don’t know about you but I believe that everything in life happens for a reason, even when I don’t want to. Its what makes you you and me me. Having to wait two weeks for an answer was part of my plan and it has helped shape the person that I am today. Cheers to the future!

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Honey Deuce cocktail & the US Open

Honey Deuce cocktail & the US Open

My first Thirsty for Thought Thursday post! I created this segment of the blog to be a little different than the rest. Thirsty for Thought will be my opportunity to share light-hearted, fun content, as well as, yummy drink (and sometimes food) recipes.

I’ve decided that we are starting a new tradition! Since moving to NYC just over a year ago, we have attended the US Open both times and I want to continue each year! Before last year, I had never gone but my boyfriend, Daniel, used to go all of the time as a child.

It is always a great time! The tennis is AMAZING, of course, and the food and the drinks are right on up there. Last year, we attended a day and a night session. Since this was my first experience, I didn’t know what to expect. After just a few minutes, I was hooked. It is so much fun to walk around to all the different courts and watch the matches.

This year, we attended a night session. This wasn’t the original plan. We wanted to attend a day session. It so lovely being outside and watching the matches all day. Daniel bought what he thought were day session tickets so we woke up, got dressed, and grabbed the tickets. Luckily, Daniel pulled them out of the envelope to double check AND…the tickets were for the day before. OOPS! If you’ve ever attended the US Open, you know how difficulty and pricey it can be to get tickets, especially as the semifinals and finals begin. We quickly hopped on the internet and snatched up two tickets to the evening session the following day.

We ended up having the best time and got to see incredible tennis in Arthur Ashe Stadium! Daniel’s brother met us for dinner and we sipped on my favorite drink at the US Open, the Honey Deuce. They come in special cups, which have a list of all the winners on it. I decided we are going to collect a cup from each year for our imaginary pool house (which will never exist) when we buy a house.

Thanks to the US Open, I now have a new favorite cocktail and I am sharing the recipe (with my twist) below:

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You will need lemonade, melon, Chambord and vodka.

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Fill a high ball glass 3/4 of the way with ice.

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Add 1.5 oz of vodka to each glass. The original recipe calls for Grey Goose but I prefer Absolut (thanks Grandma!).

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Add 3 oz of lemonade and .5 oz of Chambord to each glass.

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Give it a stir.

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The melon balls are used as a garnish. To create them, I used a 1 tbsp measuring spoon since I don’t have a melon baller. They are more like semi circles but they taste just as delicious!

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Sip and enjoy!

Honey Deuce Recipe (serves 2)

  • 6 oz of lemonade
  • 3 oz of vodka
  • 1 oz of chambord
  • 6 melon balls
  • Ice