When Passions Turn into Opportunities

Today was an extremely busy day, and I was thinking of skipping the days post, but I felt like I was abandoning my blog and I've only really been here for a week! I also want to thank everyone, I've reached 300 views yesterday! So anyways, I decided to stay loyal and write today; so here it is. My husband and I moved to Istanbul for work, but luckily, at least on my part we have a lot of free time. My husband is a workaholic and he hates this new work flow, but I don't mind. We've been working together for the past 6 years and actually met at work! We started our own mall business, you know those annoying kiosks at the mall, well those. We didn't sell hand creams, but we had a lot of kiosks, everything from jewelry, animal hats, scarves, pillow pets, air swimmers, helicopter, and more things that I can't even remember! We eventually started opening Christmas Ornament stores, and so we were always very busy. I was doing visual designs and storefront displays for our stores and other peoples stores. We moved to Turkey for a better opportunity, and my husbands brother took over things back in the U.S.

Back when I was 18, I was working as the marketing rep for a gourmet market, and I started doing all the design work, everything from the logo's, menu's, weekly flyers, billboards and even the storefront displays. I taught myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator and actually really really loved my job! After opening our own business, I didn't really get an opportunity besides making the occasional logo or flyers for the kiosks and stores. I'm actually a very visual person and when I was younger, probably around 12-13, I would play a computer game where I would design my own magazines, so I guess I always had a love for design. Over the years with school and working, I never really had time for myself and my passions, and I really am a person that has a passion for a lot of things and there's so many things that interest me and I always want to do it all. When that happens things start getting confusing and in the end I end up doing nothing really.

Two years ago I decided I wanted to paint and took a trip to Michael's, bought myself everything I needed and I started painting. I was always great at drawing, but until then I never actually got into painting. In our old apartment we had a loft area with an extra room, which I made my office and that's where I put all my paint supplies.(I'm going to do a house tour soon, so you'll see all of them.) I imagined it as my studio, just to get into the mood! Ha,ha. Anyways, I would go upstairs to my "studio" and paint, and I really enjoyed it, until one day I saw a huge stink bug! I am such a girl when it comes to bugs; I hate them. They freak me out! You can't squish a stink bug either because it's going to smell, or so that's what my extensive research said. I probably spent 30 minutes searching the internet trying to figure out what kind of bug I was dealing with. After seeing the bug I ran downstairs and waited for my husband to come home. When he got home we went upstairs so he could get it out of the house, and we realized it was already dead. I had those electronic pest repellers all around the house (I like to be prepared), so I'm guessing that was the reason it was dead. But after that day I never really got into the mood again. I would sit on the floor and just paint, and I just couldn't do that again, at least not comfortably. Pathetic right? I am a paranoiac seriously! So I never got to fulfill my passion for painting. I also couldn't enjoy my "studio" the same way again, I went upstairs less frequently. I then decided I wanted to be a interior designer(i'm a marketing major) and was determined that I should apply to FIT. Back when I was in high school, interior design was what I wanted as a major, but my father thought it was a bad idea. He said it's a man's job, and I don't know why, but I listened to him. Anyways, I thought that it's not too late for anything and decided to apply. I missed the first deadline, but I was drafting away. Spending hours getting my portfolio together. So now I have a portfolio but we moved to Istanbul and I never completed my application. To make a long story short, I have so many passions and I try to fulfill them all. Is it a bad thing? I'm not sure. It probably has its advantages and disadvantages, but oh well! I doubt I'll ever change.

Ever since we moved to Istanbul, I've been wanting to do something on the side. I love Etsy so much and I think it's such a great platform and I love shopping there, so I thought why not open up my own shop. I was thinking of selling jewelry because I have experience with it, both selling and making. I think I got into the jewelry making hobby around the age of 14. 
There was a huge Bouji expo here in Istanbul and I tried visiting, but by the time I got there it was over, so that never happened. As I was researching different options that I can buy supplies from and trying to figure out how the postal service here works because everything is harder here. USPS in America is great! When I was selling on Amazon, it was soo easy but I realized it wasn't going to be that easy here and then I found something else I can do! Invitations and Stationery and maybe even prints! The great part is that Etsy let's you sell them digitally, so I don't have to deal with the post office! For the past few days I've been working on making invitations and I set up my shop, Hearts & Couture and I already have 8 invitations. I'm going to share 3 of my designs with you. I still have about 50-60 more to go, so wish me luck! In case you look at my shop, I'm still working on it, learning the best ways to upload the invitations and what not. I realized I missed working on graphic design and hopefully this is what I'll be doing for a while, at least until I find something else that I enjoy more.


It's that time of year again: Our Anniversary! I have no idea what to get my husband! This happens twice a year, on our anniversary and his birthday and I go crazy trying to find a perfect gift. He's not a guy with a lot of interests or hobbies, so it makes buying a gift 10x harder. I always try to go for something different rather than the usual cologne or a watch, and honestly he's the last person to care; if I gave him flowers, I'm sure he would even appreciate that, but I always try to make it special because he always gets it right, right off of my wish list! 

For his 25th Birthday, I did something different and I decided to buy him 25 gifts! Don't think I'm crazy because I didn't go and buy him 25 very expensive gifts. I thought it was a cute idea and he really loved it. Who wouldn't? I sure would like the same for my upcoming 25th birthday. I should give him a hint. Anyways, that was the only year where he actually needed some new clothes and shoes. So, I bought him a couple pairs of shirts, some jeans, a pair of shoes, a cologne and then I bought him small gifts that I thought he would like, things like a wallet, gloves, scarf, an iPhone case, a business card holder and a personalized money clip with his name engraved, a mug, a facial set, lip balm, some clorox wipes for his car, because he really was in need of some! I also bought him his favorite chocolate and just small things that he needed or I thought he would like, you know little knick-knacks and I put it all together very nicely and that was his gift. Buying gifts according to the age number doesn't have to be something that will cost a lot, you can set a budget for yourself and buy gifts within a certain price range. Of course, you would want to buy your husband, boyfriend, father, brother or any other man in your life something special and you might want to spend that money on one special gift, but this is just a cute idea when you don't know what you can buy or you just want to do something extra special. In the end it's the thought that counts. 

My husband is going to turn 30 this year and he is starting to feel old, and I know that he wants me to update his wardrobe and make him feel younger, funny right? Although that's what he wants, I'm still not sure what I'm going to buy him. For our last anniversary, I bought him the Charboil Patio Bistro Electric grill from Brookstone. For this year I've done a lot of research and still am and I've put together some of my favorite gift options that you can get for a guy. If your looking for a gift for men and have no idea what to buy, or the yearly routine has put you out of different options, here are some ideas.

1. H by Hudson Cruise Suede Chukka Boots Reg: $245 Sale:$171.50 (ends 11/21)
2. Sun Mark Studio/Etsy 15" Handcrafted Genuine Leather Briefcase $119
3. Mancornas/Etsy Steampunk Handmade Cufflinks Set $26.35
5. Rochester Shoe Tree Company Leather Shoe Care Kit $110
6. The Art Of Shaving Lexington Collection with Black Pure Brush $285
8. Brookstone Nap Massaging Bed Rest $99.99


With Halloween right around the corner, pumpkins are everywhere! Forget the canned pumpkins, if the best thing about fall isn't cooking with fresh pumpkin, I don't know what is. So, consider making this sweet treat with just a couple of easy steps. Besides ditch the extra calories and carbs of pumpkin pie and feast your eyes and your mouth, because this dessert is pumpkinlicious! 


  • 2 pounds pumpkin
  • 2 cups sugar (brown sugar for healthier alternative)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts(optional and can be substituted to taste)
  • Mascarpone, whipped cream or ice cream can be a nice topping for this dessert


1.  Peel the pumpkin, cut it into big chunks.
2. Arrange the pumpkin pieces on the bottom of a wide shallow pan and dust with sugar.
3. Repeat the layers of pumpkin and sugar.
4. Add the water.
5. Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is tender and the liquid is absorbed. 
6. Cover and cool.
7. Serve the pumpkin with sprinkled walnuts or shredded coconut. It can be topped with mascarpone, whipped cream or ice cream. ENJOY!


Winter is on its way so make sure you and your skin are ready! I really dread winter, I have a special condition called Cold Urticaria, any guesses what it might be? It's an allergy to the COLD! Funny and ridiculous right? But it's very real. When you are exposed to cold temperatures it causes redness, itching, swelling and hives on the skin that has been in contact with the cold. So when I'm out in the cold for more than 20 minutes, I start to get hives on my legs and all the other symptoms above. I was even prescribed an Epipen just in case I go into anaphylactic shock. Luckily, I hate winter and I try to stay indoors as much as possible and in and out of the car keeps me from getting too cold.

Along with my cold allergy, I have very sensitive skin that get's extremely dry and itchy in the winter. For some people including myself, I get more that just a tight dry feeling, my skin gets so dry that it starts flaking, cracking and I might even have eczema. I've become a PRO at keeping my skin hydrated and itch free! With a few simple steps and a couple of miracle products, you too can be a winter beauty! 


STAY HYDRATED We all know that drinking eight glasses of water works wonders for our overall health. Water is an essential beauty product and it's practically free! What more can you want? Drinking water keeps your skin cleansed and hydrated, boosting clear and fresh skin. By drinking water you flush out toxins and eliminate the dirt that clogs the pores of your skin, giving you a healthier glow and helping your body maintain its fluid balance and it even helps us keep our skin rejuvenated. If you don't like drinking water like me, try adding a lemon to give it a little flavor.

STAY MOISTURIZED Restoring moisture to your skin is very important and it's an essential for the winter, especially when we lose moisture with the heat on at home. I found a moisturizer that I absolutely can't live without. I use it year round and I've recommended it to soo many people, even ones with eczema and other skin conditions and it really works wonders. It's First Aid Beautys Ultra Repair Cream. The 6 oz tub is $28, a little pricey but I think everyone needs to have this at home and I promise it goes a long way. It also comes in a 2 oz bottle which is $12 and its perfect to throw in your purse and great to test it out before buying the full size.

BUY A HUMIDIFIER Adding moisture to your room can make a big difference in how you look and feel. A humidifier is another thing that is an essential in my home. If you don't know what it does, it puts moisture back in the air. The device emits water vapor in to the room which increases the level of humidity. It helps ease dry skin, chapped lips, nose bleeds and other conditions that increase with the cold weather. If you feel stuffy in the winter because of the central heating system or space heaters, you need a humidifier. For me it goes beyond this, I also use it as a white noise, which I need in order to sleep. But don't worry humidifiers aren't that noisy, I happen to find it soothing. A great thing is that there are many options on the market that suite all budgets.

SPINACH STEW: with or without ground beef

I have been juicing for a while now, trying to get rid of the many many extra pounds that I have gained since I got married. Thank god my husband gained weight too!! I’m Turkish and we eat a lot of vegetable stews, all sorts and although I was born and raised in America, my husband is Turkish straight from Turkey and I’ve taught him to like burgers, tacos and macaroni and cheese but he still likes a healthy Turkish meal every once in a while and I’m not going to lie, so do I. I'm trying to cut out all the bad processed foods from my life, so I drink juice twice a day and for dinner I try to cook something healthy. I love kale, but I just don’t like the taste of raw spinach juiced and I don’t like it in salads either. If you hate spinach like I do, this recipe might be the deal breaker! If you already love spinach, you will LOVE it even more! 

This recipe is great because you can also make it vegetarian, all you have to do is eliminate the ground beef.


Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)

2 tablespoon vegetable oil
300 grams ground beef (optional)
1 small onion, diced
3 tablespoons tomato paste or 1 cup tomato puree
1 lb/500 grams spinach, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons rice
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 cups hot water (plus more, if necessary)

Plain yogurt, for serving. (Sour cream can be substituted)

FYI plain yogurt can be found in many supermarkets, just make sure you don’t grab a flavored one. It’s super healthy and it makes the spinach taste 10x better, it truly complements the spinach beautifully. If you like garlic and don’t mind the smell, mince a clove of garlic into the yogurt and sprinkle some salt and it’s mouth watering!

Prep Time: 5 minutes 
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • Heat the vegetable oil in the pot. Add the diced onions and ground beef. Breaking up the ground beef and mixing it with onion, saute it over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent and ground beef is no longer pink.
  • Add the tomato paste and 1 cup hot water; mix lightly to dissolve the paste in water.
  • Add the spinach, pepper, salt, and rice. Add the rest of the hot water and stir to combine.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat; then lower the heat and simmer until the spinach and rice are cooked (the spinach turns from bright dark green to yellowish dark green and rice grains become longer and completely soft to the bite). Add more water along the way, if necessary, to prevent the stew from drying, and depending on how thick vs. soupy you like your stew.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Plant a Lemon Tree!

So, lemons are my obsession. It might be the one thing that I always have in my house! It's very weird but I never use to drink water, it wouldn't go beyond 2 sips because it just makes me nauseous, I just don't like the taste. So, I decided that it was very crucial and I needed to start drinking water. I started experimenting, making all sorts of flavored waters. I added strawberries, oranges, and they did taste great but then I realized all I needed was lemon! Now, I drink water all the time, I cut a lemon in half and just squeeze it into my water bottle, I prefer to drink water is a bottle, why? I'm just weird.  If you want you can spice things up and make it fancy. Slice some lemons, add a cucumber, throw in some mint or basil, whichever is your preference and VOILA! Delicious and eye pleasing water!

Considering my lemon obsession, it wouldn't be any surprise that I fell in love with the potted lemon trees I first saw in a mall in Istanbul! They were used as decor for the mall and those lemon trees seriously changed the whole feel of the malls lounge area. I then started seeing them in other places and now I have to buy myself a lemon tree. Luckily here they sell them potted, so I can just pick it up and transfer it to a cute pot. We live on the top floor of our apartment so we have an amazing terrace that I am still working on. I will do a Before and After post once I am done with it. I'll have to wait till March to do anything since it'll be a long and dreadful winter! 


The photo above is from Lee Kleinhelter's gorgeous Atlanta home. You can see that the lemon trees contrast beautifully with her walls, adding so much color to the space! Aside from the terrace, I might have to put a lemon tree inside too!


My husband and I love herbal teas. Whenever we go grocery shopping we pick up a new tea and add it to our huge tea collection. We usually spend our evenings watching a movie or show and always drink herbal tea. It has so many benefits and it's delicious and soothing, a perfect way to wrap up the day. For my love of tea, I made a mix of my own winter tea. If you love citrus and spice, this tea is perfect for you! Feel free to add or eliminate for your own taste.



Who doesn't love Gold? I never really liked gold when I was younger, but with time I just started to like it and now as you can tell from my blog scheme, I LOVE IT! For some reason most of the colors around my house turned out to be of Gray's, Aubergine, White and Black. I slowly started incorporating Gold to my bedroom and walk in closet and with time it'll be all around the house. For those who are moving into a new place, re-doing there place or just want to add a pop of Goldness to their home, here are some examples of gorgeous Gold accents.

1. CB2 Alchemy Shiny Brass Bed - $599-$699
2. Nate Berkus Serpent Bowl - $19.99
3. Jonathon Adler Maxime Dining Chair - $1,400
4. One Kings Lane Bamboo Float Glass Coffee Table - $299
5. H&M Home Large Glass Vase - $14.95
6. Kate Spade Scented Candle - $40
7. LEIF Brass Spice Spoon - $12
8. Serene & Lily Savile Side Table - $895
9. Z Gallerie Acropolis Bookends - $69.95
10. H&M Home 2-Pack Tealight Holders - $5.95

A Chic Console For Your Home

Z GALLERIE Sequoia Console Table $999

Since we live in a rental, I never really get to paint the walls, and color would definitely add so much character to the home. Unfortunately that isn't an option so I always try to accent with signature pieces that are eye catching and change the mood of the home. I LOVE home decor shopping and definitely prefer it over retail therapy. I think the entryway is one of the most important places of my house and I have been looking for a piece that was just going to change the whole ambiance of my home. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                Photo Source

I actually saw this at a Z Gallerie store last year while I was in Virginia and fell in love! It's natural looking yet so chic with the silver leafing finish. It can easily be used in the entryway and in the dining room. Below is a perfect example of how amazing the console changes the whole feel of your home.

                                                                                                                                                    Photo Source
A nice mirror or large painting would look beautiful over it and you can dress it up with picture frames and a vase or flower, anything really.


1. Burt's Bees Lip Crayon
7. Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat - Radiant Touch
9. Benefit The Porefessional
10. Yves Saint Laurent Terre Saharienne Bronzing Powder

These are my favorite beauty products that I use daily and would strongly recommend. I use to wear more make-up when I was younger and with time and experience I started learning the proper way to wear make-up. I'm a Sephora VIB Rouge, and almost have my own beauty department at home. Since I'm stressed out over the smallest things I break out a lot. I've tried many beauty products on the market and just realized, no stress=beautiful skin and that isn't happening anytime soon. I tried almost every single foundation out there except for the Giorgio Armani and Burberry foundations which are on my list. 

I try to keep my makeup simple and after cleansing and moisturizing with Murad Dynamic Ultimate Mositure, which is the best one i've yet to find for my skin, I use to use Clinique but the Murad is so much better for my skin, I use Guerlains Meteorite Primer and it's just wonderful. I've tried so many other primers and I have very sensitive skin and seemed to always get some sort of allergic reaction but this primer works wonders and it smells sooo good! To me Benefits Porefessional is kinda like a primer so sometimes I use it without the primer, and other times I use it with it. I do have large pores and when I'm going somewhere where I have to be outside in the sun with other people I do make sure to use the Porefessional and it really does a great job concealing the pores. I then use Guerlains foundation and both the Parure De Lumiere and Lingerie de Peau are both great. The Lingerie de Peau is a lighter foundation that I prefer to use during the day time but when I need it to last the whole day I use the Parure De Lumiere. 

I use to always use a sponge to apply foundation and it was always a mess and after leaving the house I would realize my foundation wasn't evenly blended. After switching to a foundation brush, the Marc Jacobs the Face II is my favorite. After applying my foundation I use Yves Saint Laurents Touche Eclat, which I discovered last year. I don't really have bags under my eyes, I just use it even my complexion and lighten under my eyes. I then use the Diorskin Forever compact powder and I think it covers what the foundation doesn't and gives a nice final touch. I use to cover my whole face in bronzer when I was younger, what a disaster! I'm very pale and I do have a red undertone so I don't really use blush and instead I apply the YSL bronzer to my cheeks, I'm still in the process of learning to highlight correctly.

I am on my second eyelash curler from Tarte, my first one finally gave out after 4 years and I replaced it with the same one. The nice thing is Tarte offers cute sets that are like a couple more dollars and you get another product with the curler, so that was nice and I didn't feel so awful for having to buy the same thing again. I use my eyelash curler every single day, so I think 4 years is a decent time. The Tarte curler also comes with an extra head (I couldn't even think of what it was called, I hope you know what I am talking about). I am so happy with the curler that I never even looked for an alternative unlike other beauty products. I usually never leave the house without eyeliner because people think I'm sick or tired if I don't have any on. The Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner is amazing! I only started using liquid eyeliner for a couple of years now and have tried a lot of liquid eyeliners because it look me forever to get the perfect wing and the Stila eyeliner is my number one choice! Last but not least, my favorite favorite beauty product that I have just recently found is the Burts Bees Lip Crayon. I love it sooo much! I have the Nars ones which I also love but this is like a lip balm that gives a beautiful color and it's not too dark, it's just perfect! I can use it whenever I'm going out without looking like I'm going to party.


We moved to Istanbul last January and I'm still trying to get use to a lot of things here. It's a big city with lot's of people, traffic and the risk of earthquakes. My husband actually lived through the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shook Turkey in 1999, killing 17,000 people. Anyways, living in the U.S we've never had earthquake drills, so I've never really experienced an earthquake and have no idea what to do?

This summer while we were at a friends house a smaller earthquake shook Istanbul and I just stood there trying to understand what was happening. It was like someone was just rocking us back and forth. So that was my first encounter and I've been paranoid ever since to the point where I sleep dressed, ready to fly out the house if I have to and always have my glasses by my bedside and I wear contacts and never wear my glasses.

I've always thought in my head and scared myself about being home alone and an earthquake happening. Yesterday, my husband went out at night and I was home alone. I was just laying on the couch watching something on the laptop and I felt it shaking. First thing I thought was earthquake and jumped off the couch with my phone in my hand and ran under the living rooms door frame. I looked up at my pendant lights and they too were shaking. It wasn't extreme and nothing fell down but I wasn't dressed to fly out the door so I thought that I should get dressed ASAP in case it gets worse.

My walk in closet has the large Pax wardrobe that's not mounted on the wall so I ran in and just grabbed whatever and changed in the hallway and put on my contacts. I called my husband freaked out and he said he doubts that it was an earthquake because he didn't feel anything. I told him I was scared and he said even if it was an earthquake it won't be stronger then the first one and the aftershocks will be smaller. I got off the phone and checked the internet and indeed it was a 4.5 magnitude earthquake. My husband told me to use the stairs incase I need to evacuate the building, but we live on the 9th floor and I would be freaked out to use the stairs during an earthquake and obviously wouldn't use the elevator.

Fortunately, we live in the penthouse so there aren't anymore floors over us besides the terrace. Anyways, I realized that being paranoid isn't going to help the reality of an earthquake in anyway and I'm not prepared and have no idea whats so ever of what to do during one.

NO MORE DIETS! Juice away those extra pounds!

I'm not very good at following diets because my life is hectic and I always have something going on. As much as I love being home and I can go a week without leaving the house, my husband absolutely hates it. So, whenever we have any free time he makes us go out, even if we don't really have anywhere to go. I guess you can say that we aren't really settled down and probably won't be until we have kids. Until then, I probably won't be able to go on any real diets, but I did find something that works for me and it actually makes me feel better, refreshed.

Juicing, as everyone knows has been quite popular these days. I was actually introduced with juicing about more then 10 years ago. My mother was always a health freak, forcing us to eat spinach and every other green vegetable that young kids really don't want to eat. My brother and I absolutely hated it and didn't think there was anything worse than eating vegetables, until she introduced us with green juice. Back then she had the original Jack Lalanne Power Juicer, she juiced anything she thought was healthy and put it in front of us, waiting until we chugged it down our throats. It literally tasted like we were drinking grass. If that wasn't bad enough, till this day she still does this and swears by it, raw ginger juice. She takes a large piece of ginger and puts it in the juicer and makes us drink it whenever we have a cold. It's as if she's trying to torture us.

Everyone in my family hates ginger, if we are lucky and she's in a good mood she will mix it with orange juice, but we're usually not that lucky. She swears that it's the natural way to get rid of the cold in just a few days, but I don't know, either way ginger does have a lot of health benefits and it is added to a lot of the popular juice recipes.

So, that is how I was first introduced with juicing, right now it's very popular and there are many different and suprisingly very delicious recipes, ones that don't taste like grass. With all the hype on juicing, there are all different kinds of juicers on the market. I have the Breville Ikon Juice Fountain that was priced for $249 back in 2011 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. You can currently buy it on sale at Crate and Barrel for $159.95

Here is my favorite green juice that I always like to drink. If you want, you can go on a 3 day detox or if you want you can substitute this juice for a meal throughout the day. I do this and when I want to, I do a full day of just juice. You don't really have to follow the exact recipe and can adjust it to your personal taste, which is what I like to do. 


Mean Green Juice

  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2 apples
  • 6-8 leaves kale
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp ginger

  1. Wash all the produce
  2. Peel the lemon
  3. Juice
  4. Bon apetite!

I don't like ice, so I recommend refrigerating the produce before juicing it, this way your juice will be cold after juicing.