Friday, February 20, 2015

TGIF everyone! Once again it's been a while since I've been on the blog, but I caught the flu from some of my younger cousins and it's been two weeks of hell – I'm still trying to recover from it! It was the worst thing ever, my whole body was aching, I couldn't even lay in bed without pain and I thought I injured my ribs from coughing. Anyways, I've learned my lesson, I'll be making sure to get the flu shot every year from now on! 

So lately, I've been working hard making invitations for my Etsy Shop, (don't forget to check it out if you haven't already) I haven't been able to really cook anything that is time consuming — more than 30 minutes is not happening anytime soon. Plus my husband and I decided to go on a diet, so to speak. I've been eagerly waiting and praying for the day he decides to go on a diet! He's not anywhere near overweight but as he's getting older he's starting to pick up the weight. He eats sooo much and because of him I put on a lot of weight. So thank GOD he finally cut me some slack and has finally decided to watch what he eats. Although we haven't really been the best at dieting because we are constantly looking for something to snack on — which isn't so bad as long as it's healthy. Lately I've been like bugs bunny because I'm obsessed with carrots and I have been making anything and everything with carrots! 

I will be sharing two of my favorite recipes with you; one is an appetizer and the other is a dessert. Please keep in mind that carrots are very healthy! If you are taking vitamin A pills, I'd say ditch them and stick to fresh crunchy carrots because they are a powerfood packed with vitamin A and have amazing health benefits from beautiful skin, cancer prevention and anti-aging. Of course everyone has probably heard that carrots are great for the eyes! They also prevent heart disease and stroke and also cleanse the body! So that said, here is two delicious recipes for you to snack on! 

FYI the first recipe is a Carrot Salad with yogurt. I'm Turkish and I eat plain yogurt with almost everything and I make my own yogurt because I'm picky when it comes to yogurt. I've found the best Organic Yogurt at Whole Foods. It's called White Mountain Organic Bulgarian Yogurt, once you taste this you won't go back to Greek yogurt — I guarantee! So I recommend you make this carrot salad with Bulgarian yogurt, if you can't find it, Plain Greek yogurt is fine.



serves 2 to 3 people 

4 cups of grated carrot
1-2 cups of plain yogurt, preferably whole milk yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 tbsp olive oil
fresh parsley or dill to top off

  • Peel and grate carrots. In a frying pan add in 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the carrots on medium heat for 5-7 minutes till carrots soften. Season with salt. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  • Mince the garlic and combine it with the yogurt, you may need more than one cup of yogurt depending on how much grated carrots you have. You can add a tablespoon at a time, just make sure the consistency is not too watery.
  • Season with salt.
  • Combine the grated carrots with the garlic yogurt sauce. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Refrigerate and serve cold. Enjoy!

  • You may change the amount of garlic depending on how much you like garlic.
  • Some like to add chopped walnuts to the salad, if you like walnuts and don't have any nut allergies feel free to add it to the salad.
  • I always double or triple the recipe, so I can always have some in the fridge plus the longer it is in the fridge the tastier it becomes.
  • Serve as a side dish, dip or just eat it as a snack



1/2 cup carrots (finely grated)
1/2 cup dates(10 dates) or raisins (if using dates, soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes
1/2 cup walnuts(optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger (dried)
1/8 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
1/4 tsp lemon zest (optional)
1/2 cup coconut (unsweetened, shreds, for rolling)

  • Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they are broken up a bit.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients (except the coconut shreds)
  • Process until everything is well combined.
  • Pour coconut into a small bowl.
  • Roll the dough into balls and then dip into the coconut.
  • Place on a wax paper-lined plate and then into the refrigerator to set a bit. Enjoy!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hi everyone! I just want to confess that I am a terrible blogger  for now though! I still have hope in myself and I should be back to blogging on a regular basis in no time. Right now I just have soo much going on. I barely have time for myself BECAUSE I've been doing a lot of favors for others, just because I can't say the simple word NO! Although, as I am getting older and wiser, I am becoming better at it. While I've been super busy with all that other stuff, I totally forgot about my Etsy shop. I initially started making invitations and BOY are they time consuming. In the process of making them, as some of you might know we went to the U.S to open a store at a mall. Meanwhile I was thinking I would just continue making more selections of invitations when I got back home and I would start officially running my shop once I reach a minimum of 50 invitations. While that was the game plan, something unexpected happened I made my first sale! That of course motivated me and ever since I've been working on my shop day and night. I wanted to share some of my newer creations with you and if you would like to show a little LOVE, you can Like my Facebook page HeartsandCouture and/or follow me on Instagram @heartsandcouture, and if you are wondering what my personal Instagram is, it is @insta_bella. Just want to say thank you and I appreciate all the support! xoxo 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

I've been back in the U.S for the past month and have been staying at hotels ever since. Thanks to Priceline I can stay at nice 4 star hotels, but no matter what star it is, hotels are at the top of my list of things that I HATE! For some it might be relaxing, but for me it's nothing but a hassle and my OCD+Paranoia always kick in. I can't sleep thinking about all the germs that are lingering around the room. I'm counting down the days till I go back to my extra sanitized home! Until then I will keep doing what I have to do to make sure I eliminate the germs in the hotel rooms as much as I can. 

After checking in, the first thing that I do is put out the Do Not Disturb sign and that stays on the door for the remainder of my trip. That sign probably has all sorts of germs on it too. I think hotel rooms are germ hotspots and I don't think the housekeeping staff really do any deep cleaning, which is a reason why I wouldn't want them coming into the room everyday and doing a quick picker upper because I don't consider that cleaning; that might just be making it worse. Plus I don't feel comfortable with strangers in my room. 

Hotels are definitely not my HOME AWAY FROM HOME and one reason for this — I can't stand the site of the carpeting. Thank GOD the hotel we are staying in is in the process of changing all of its carpets and our room has new ones, so that makes me feel a little better. Throughout my whole life, I've never gone in my house with my shoes on. It's a hotel, you obviously have no other choice but we pack our slippers and don't walk barefoot or in our outside shoes around the room. I'm going to go off topic a little bit, but for those who go into their homes with shoes that they have worn outside, they should really reconsider it. You walk into public restrooms and the filthy streets with your shoes and you bring everything you've stepped on into your home; it's really not hygienic. If you are worried about it being rude for guests, just keep some disposable overshoes (think blue plastic/doctors office) by the entrance and guests could just easily slip them on if they don't feel comfortable taking their shoes off. If you have pets that go outside, you can just wipe their paws with wet wipes before letting them back into the house; this way your house is more hygienic! 


One thing that is a key factor for the reason that I HATE hotels is: the chance of catching some beg bugs! I'm terrified that I'm going to run into bed bugs one day, so the first thing I do is check the room for any bed bugs. Don't think yeah right, it's a 1 in a million chance because it's not! My brother in law found bed bugs twice and he had to check into another hotel in the middle of the night. So I always do a complete check before I start unpacking. I take out my iPhone, turn on the camera light and pull up the sheets and then I check to see if any bedbugs are hanging out around the mattress. I do this by lifting the sheets off the mattress and check around the corners and I check the headboard too. Hopefully you don't but if you do happen to come across some bed bugs, grab your stuff and run! JK, you don't have to run but take your stuff and ask for a new room and it's always good to take photos for proof. If you don't feel comfortable staying in that hotel, you can always ask for a refund and they shouldn't have a problem giving you a refund. And don't forget to post a review on the hotel to give other travelers a heads up!

I then pull off everything from the bed and I usually pack my own sheets, if not I make a quick run to TJ Maxx or somewhere similiar and purchase some sheets. If I don't do this I just can't sleep at night thinking about all the germs I'm sleeping on. I've had a few encounters where the sheets were not clean. But If you aren't as obsessive as I am, you should still take off the decor pillows, the comforter/blanket and just leave the bottom fitted sheet and the sheet over that. I've done a lot of research with a lot of reliable sources that note that those other things aren't washed daily and I doubt those decor pillows are ever washed. Initially, my husband thought I was crazy but now he's gotten use to this and without me even telling him, he throws everything off the bed as soon as we get into the hotel room. Talk about team work! 


Anyways, back to hotels. I always pack clorox travel wipes with me and as soon as I check for bedbugs, I'm ready to settle in. So I wipe everything that I will be touching  door handles, light switches, faucets, shower door, toilet flusher, toilet seat, fridge, safe buttons, thermometer and whatever else I will be in contact with. I wipe the toilet seat with the wipes but I still cover the seat with the tissues that they always have by the sink; 8 tissues usually does the job. I use to wipe down the remote control, until I read an article that said the remote control in hotel rooms had the most germs and a bunch of bacteria that can make you sick. So to be safe, I pack ziploc with me and I put the remote controller in ziploc and I don't need to worry about getting sick! 

This all might seem so complex and time consuming but I promise it's not as hard as it seems and it usually only takes about 5 minutes to clear the room before you can start enjoying it. If you are bummed about not having room service everyday; do you really need your sheets changed everyday? I doubt many people change their sheets at home daily; I change mine weekly. If you need toilet paper or fresh towels, just stick your head out the door and room service is always out in the hallway. I've been cooped up in a hotel room for the past month, so I just wanted to share some of my tips with everyone. Think I'm crazy? That's totally fine, you'll thank me later! JK 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

If you missed my last post, I've been cooped up in a hotel room for the past month; I'm soo homesick! Not having a kitchen makes staying at a hotel 10x worse than it already is. We've been eating out for the past month and it's so unhealthy and gross! I'm all for cooking at home! Since home cooking is not an option right now, thank GOD for Whole Foods! I can pick up a fresh green juice and I even started making delicious fresh salads in my hotel room! I'll share the quick and easy salad recipe later. 

I miss having breakfast the most and I can say Turkish breakfasts are the best! Normally my husband and I love going all out for breakfast during the weekend and one of our favorite things to eat is Menemen, which is scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes and peppers. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Menemen is delicious and very easy to make! Matter of fact it's soo easy my husband can even make it and he can't even cook! Since I can't make it till I'm back home in my kitchen, I would like everyone to enjoy this for me over the weekend!

Total time:20 minutes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced (about 3/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly or minced
3/4 cup finely diced sweet green long/bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh ripe peeled tomatoes 
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon hot paprika (optional)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish (optional


1. Heat olive oil in a pan and continue by adding the onions and garlic cloves, stirring occasionally, cook for about 4-5 minutes. Then add diced sweet and/or hot peppers, chopped ripe tomatoes and spices. Turn the heat up to medium-high, cover and cook until the mixture begins to thicken, for about 5-8 minutes.

2. Turn down the heat, take the lid off. Crack the eggs into a bowl, stir with a fork to break them up and add to pan. Lightly stir in with a spatula while the heat from the mixture cooks the eggs slowly, for about 2 minutes.

3. Turn off the heat. Add the crumbled feta cheese, give it another stir, cover and let the cheese soften for a minute. 
4. Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives if you would like to add a little garnish.

5. The result is a light, juicy version of scrambled eggs and vegetables that's great for dipping bread. Bon Appétit!

  • If you love butter, you can substitute all or half of the olive oil with butter.
  • I like to experiment with different kinds of peppers, both hot and sweet. 
  • Make sure your tomatoes are good quality and nicely ripened.If good tomatoes are out of season, you can substitute canned diced tomatoes. 
  • When you serve menemen, make sure you have slices of crusty bread for dipping in the buttery juice.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE! Unfortunately, I don't have any plans this year. It's also the reason that I have been m.i.a. You know how things just don't turn out the way you expect them to and there isn't anything you can do about it? Well that is exactly the situation I am in right now. I came to Nashville last month to help my brother-in-law start a new business; I came thinking I would be here for a week and I was completely wrong! A month later— I'm still here! For a person who has no intention to sign a record, Nashville aka Music City is not the place to be! Matter of fact, this place is soo boring (no offense to anyone from Nashville) we drove to New Orleans for one weekend, Atlanta and Orlando for the other weekends. Hopefully by next weekend we'll be back in New Jersey! If you are wondering why it's taking so long, it's because it is a store in the mall and it has a lot of paperwork; design proofs, insurance, the zoning department, fire department and a bunch of other long procedures! So even if I had plans for New Years I doubt I would have any energy for it! 

The main purpose of this trip was for the store in Nashville but like I mentioned all the little things that are required before starting any construction, even if it's very minor, all adds up and so we've been in Nashville for a month. My husband feels bad for dragging me along but the contractor that they initially made a deal with wanted $75k to do the store and I said are you out of your mind? The store has these great built in shelves that you can totally work with a nice paint job and some minor changes to it; the contractor wanted to demolish the whole store and start over! Maybe when we are a franchise! So I did the whole design for the store and need to be here during construction and that's how I got involved in this whole thing. These things always happen to the innocent nice guy just trying to help! I came to NJ to spend time with my aunt and I couldn't even see her and I ended up in Nashville. I'm not going to keep complaining; whatever happened happened and we are here. 

My husband felt bad for keeping me stranded here; it wouldn't have been soo bad if we were busy but everyday we think we are going to start the construction and something else comes up. Since we had some extra time, but not enough time to goto NJ and come back, we decided to take short road trips every time we got the exciting news that more paperwork is required. 

In a total of 1 month we have been in 2 countries, 12 states and soo many hotels that I've lost count! I'm soo sorry for not blogging for so long, but it's been so hectic constantly being on the road and checking in and out of hotels and running to the mall and back and trying to keep up with our own work. I've also got the holiday blues and I need to get my motivation back up! Hopefully I'll be back to blogging full time again once I'm back at home, which I miss oh so much! I'm going to share some photos that I've took during the 1 month! They were taken with my iPhone; sorry in advance for the photo quality! If you want to see my daily photographs, you can follow me on Instagram. I'll also be sharing a very exciting place that I got to goto: WALT DISNEY WORLD!





Tuesday, December 2, 2014

With the Holidays coming up, most of you will be hitting the road; I’m already on the road, as I happen to be blogging in the car. The wonders of technology! Traveling doesn’t have to be dreaded when you can JETSET in style and comfort and comfort doesn’t necessarily mean wearing your most comfiest sweats and looking your absolute worst! Whether you’re booking a flight for a fun getaway or making plans for a visit, you can definitely do it with style! I’ve been on the hunt for the best fashionable and travel friendly essentials for every budget with the exception of one or two splurges! I’m always on the go and I have everything from dry skin, to aero-sinusitis (most painful thing in the world), so I have everyone covered!
1. NICOLE MILLER Taylor Collection 28-Inch Spinner $81.99
I have this in hot pink with gold hardware and I don't even have the heart to check it in because it's soo beautiful and check baggage gets ruined! Luckily, it is very affordable!

This passport holder is great because it isn't a cover for the passport, which is what I originally had and TSA makes you take it out of the holder every time. This has a slot for your passport, which you can just slide right out and it includes a penholder and several slots for cards, it’s a stylish, convenient way to stay organized while traveling.

3. REBECCA MINKOFF Luggage Tag with Studs $65.00
How cute and stylish is this luggage tag? It's the best one I was able to find and I am in LOVE with it! Since I live in Istanbul, everytime I travel to the U.S, which is very often, I leave with 4-5 huge luggages! So, I definetely can't buy 4-5 of these but this is great for my domestic travels and hopefully for my Europe tour, which I hope to go on after the New Years.

Can headphones get anymore gorgeous? Anything gold is beautiful, so you definitely can't go wrong with these and the best part is — they aren't bulky!

5. MIU MIU Cat's-Eye Sunglasses $415.00
Bring out your inner Miranda Kerr with these beauties! I've been lusting on these for a while and I finally splurged and they are BEAUTIFUL! Who travels without sunglasses anyway? It's definitely an essential! If you think these leopards are too catty for you, they come in other colors!

6. BURBERRY Check Print Sneaker $265.00
Who says sneakers have to be ugly? These are stylish and comfortable and the best part is they match with almost any color! You can also dress down or dress up these beauties with almost any outfit! These sneakers are the perfect travel sneaker for the stylish jetsetter!

7. LILLY PULITZER 'Jungle Tumble' iPhone Charger $34.00
This is handy for anyone because we all have times when our battery hits 10%. This portable charger is cute and not bulky at all like all the other chargers! For those who don't have an iPhone, make the switch already!

8. FLIGHT 001 'Sorry, We're Closed' Sleep Mask $16.00
This is a soft, cushy eye mask that blocks light so you can sleep on long flights or car rides while making it clear that you don't want to be bothered!

9. BOSCHIA Green Tea Blotting Linens $10.00
These sheets are simply a miracle and I always have them in my purse. They are essential for the longer flights or car rides, they absorb the excess oil perfectly without smearing or smudging your makeup. 

10. SEPHORA COLLECTION Luxe Combo Travel Brush $15.00
Don't be deceived by its size! This brush works wonders even on long hair! I throw this in my bag and it doesn't even take up any space and when I'm traveling I don't even bother packing my large brush! 

11. FIRST AID BEAUTY Ultra Repair Cream $12.00
First of all, whether you are traveling or not, everyone should have one of these handy! When I am traveling especially on the 11 hour flight from Istanbul to NY, my skin dries up and this is my life saver! No carry-on bag should be with-out this travel sized tube of hand cream!

12. FLIGHT 001 Go Clean Laundry Bag $22.00
Don't know where to put your dirty laundry when traveling? Now you do! This is made to keep your dirty laundry away from your clean clothes while you travel, the heavyweight nylon material bag helps to prevent the spread of dirt and odor in your suitcase.

13. EVIAN Mineral Water Spray Duo To Go $14.00
When I first purchased these, I was on a huge line in Sephora and it was one of those items that they put by the lines and I just grabbed it because I thought it might be useful; didn't really know what it was for. Terrible right? Well it turned out that it was a great buy! This is TSA approved and it is a perfect spritz of freshness! I use it during my flights when my skin starts drying up this leaves your skin hydrated and refreshed. Also, a quick beauty secret of mine; I spritz it on my foundation brush and my foundation just glides right on my skin, resulting in a smooth and uneven face!

14. EARPLANES Flight Earplugs $4.99
I have something called aero-sinusitis aka barotrauma and it is the most painful thing ever! If you are wondering what it is, it is a painful inflammation and sometimes bleeding of the membrane of the paranasul sinus cavities, normally the frontal sinus. It is caused by a difference in air pressure  inside and outside the cavities. When I first experienced it I thought I was having a brain haemorrhage, because I had no idea what was happening to me. It always happens when the airplane starts descending for initial landing. It feels like my eye is getting poked with a hundred needles, literally! I didn't have to goto the doctor thanks to the wonders of GOOGLE and I figured out what I had and with extensive research I found myself a temporary cure, I don't really think there is a permanent one because I have chronic sinusitis. These earplanes really work and hopefully you don't have anything extreme like I do, but if you have ear discomfort, clogging and popping during your flight, these earplanes can alleviate these symptoms. Now, if you have a cold or sinuses or are feeling stuffy, I recommend you goto the pharmacy and get yourself some Sudafed because the earplanes alone will not help you, together they block all symptoms of aero-sinusitis!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Staying cozy during winter doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish, you can warm up in style with something as simple as a scarf! Embrace the season’s must-have oversized scarves for extra warmth this winter. I’ve been looking for some cute oversized scarves and the only place I was able to find cute and affordable scarves was ASOS. All of the scarves I picked out are under $40! Great deal right? Unfortunately, I couldn’t decide on a few, and fell in LOVE with 8 of them. Maybe I should buy a couple of them and add the rest to my wishlist! Which one is your favorite?


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I've always loved banana pudding, well I love bananas in general. Believe it or not, I started making Magnolia Bakery's banana pudding before I even tasted it. I originally found a recipe on Allrecipes.com and then I later found a easier one which is the one I have below except this time I added some strawberries because who doesn't love bananas and strawberries? Later on when I finally tried Magnolia Bakery's pudding, it was no better than the one I have been making for years! Now I usually make it every other week and my husband eats the whole thing in one day because it is that good! Don't wait till you are in NYC to eat this because you will be missing out on a little piece of heaven! I'm currently trying to make this recipe from scratch, however I still haven't been able to find an easy way to make condensed milk, it takes a lot of effort to make it. So, until then I will keep making it the simple way and when I say simple it is really easier than a piece of cake!

Our neighbor brought me and my husband some Noah's Ark Pudding, you can read about it here in case you missed my previous post on it. In Turkish culture, when you are given a dish you need to fill it with something when you are returning the empty dish. So, I decided that Magnolia Pudding would be the best thing to make in return and share with my neighbor. 


  • 16 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups ice cold water
  • Small box (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • Box of vanilla wafers preferably Nilla Wafers
  • 1 pack of sliced strawberries
  • 3-4 sliced bananas
  1. In a large deep bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk and water for about a minute. Add the pudding mix and beat for about two more minutes. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight. You want the mixture to be extremely firm.
  2. In a large bowl whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the pudding mixture until fully combined and no streaks of pudding are visible.
  3. In a bowl or bowls of choice, layer wafers, strawberries and bananas, and pudding. Ideally, you want three layers but if you go with a larger baking dish you might only have two. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 8 hours before serving. Feel free to crush the wafers and layer the top of the pudding.