Monday, April 30, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

this weekend could have not been more perfect (except, perhaps, just a smidgen warmer). on saturday we went on a little roadtrip of the hudson valley. i donned red lips, a chambray shirt and striped cardigan, just like a good blogger would do. all that was missing was my topknot. our first stop was golden harvest farms, an apple orchard and vodka distillery. yup, somehow those two go hand in hand. the farm store was full of cider donuts, muffins and pies, a good precursor to a little vodka tasting. there, we learned how to grow an apple in a vodka bottle and that i really, really, don't like vodka. the next stop was a little thrifting in hudson, then a wine tasting at hudson-chatham winery (our second time here, it did not disappoint, the wines are great), and finally, the cherry on top, a blizzard at dairy queen. it was such a wonderful day, helped along with the tunes of billy joel and ray lamontagne. saturday night we had some dinner with friends and used sunday to bake some eggs and recuperate from such a busy day. needless to say, i pretty much want to do the whole thing all over again next time i'm up there. but here's to another five days before the weekend, right?
hudson river white oreo truffles
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golden harvest farms apple picking
harvest spirits distillery core vodka
love hudson church
hudson chatham winery snickers blizzard
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Friday, April 27, 2012

on lessons in friendship.

i met jess, my college roommate, because she lived in my dorm my freshmen year. in the second half of the year, we quickly developed a very close and amazing friendship. i've had a few friendships start like my one with jess did. where you meet and click and can't stop talking and laughing and you just know. but jessica was the first person with whom this happened. the amount of laughter in my last semester of my freshmen year was beyond me. we talked about getting a cat and made up ridiculous stories and said he'd be the ring-bearer in our weddings. in a little tuxedo, naturally. we met some boys and stayed up late and laughed and snuck by the security guards in our dorm. it was perfect.
i love dumbo. she loves disney.
when we came back for our sophomore year we got that cat. we delved more into our majors, our friendships, our relationships. we went on spring break together and threw parties together and did all the things you should do in college. the summer after our sophomore year i went on study abroad and missed jessica and chandler, our cat, an inordinate amount.
dressed as pirates. with our treasure.
but when i came back, my relationship with my boyfriend, which had already been falling apart, was over and done with. it was a hurtful end, and to boot, i was also hurt by one of my friends and roommates in the process, someone jessica had been close with since childhood. our group of friends was in shambles and jessica was one of those, quite squarely, caught in the middle. i was so hurt, upset and angry that i was often blind to what others were going through, what they were struggling with.
life, as it's apt to do, slowly but surely, and painfully, went on. i got better. got happier. moved on. we all did. and throughout it all, jessica carefully balanced my friendship with that of our old roommate. they had known each other a long time, and i worked very hard to be ok with that - jessica was one of my dearest friendships. i didn't want my hurt and anger to consume that too, as it had done to so many other things.
it wasn't until a few years later, as i contemplated dating one of our other friends, that i started to understand what a struggle it all must have been for jessica. one night, seemingly out of nowhere, she got upset in our bedroom, afraid that we'd go through something all over again. a bad break-up. losing friends. the struggle to maintain it all at the same time. it was a smack of reality that i wasn't the only who had been hurt, or struggled to get it back to good.
that night made me think of how jessica had handled what had happened. i realized she demonstrated, in it's most selfless and basic form, what it is to be a friend. because sometimes our friends will disappoint us. they will make decisions and take actions we don't agree with. they will let us down. sometimes, in the process, we will be hurt. but a true friend is steadfast, is constant, is faithful. they have the courage to tell you what you're doing wrong and stand by your side at the same time, ready to be with you when it, inevitably, all comes falling down.
graduation day!
and that is jessica. she is the embodiment of courage, of steadfastness, of a constant. since college i have tired to emulate her more - allowing my friends to stumble, and make mistakes, and be wrong. i am honest about what i think and true to my beliefs, but i don't leave their side. and i expect, and receive, the same from them.
our friends have a lot to teach us if we pay attention. i was lucky early on to receive this lesson from someone who could not have taught me better and who could not have been a better friend.
dreams do come true!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

on my muffin top cookies.

i found a vegan recipe for chocolate chip cookies at the end of grad school, and with some extra time on my hands i decided to give it a whirl. but let's make one thing clear:
i do not condone veganism.
i could go on, but we like to make this a fairly happy place where we talk about shoes and contemplate the meaning of death. so let's move on.
i changed the recipe so that it's no longer vegan. we use milk from a cow's udder and chocolate here. if you want to keep it vegan, you know what to do.
the real amazingness of this recipe is how low it is in fat and how high it is in awesomeness. no butter. no eggs. a little amount of sugar. so why would i call this healthy version of a chocolate chip cookie a muffin top cookie? nope - not because it gives you a muffin top, but because it has the consistency of a muffin top. for reals. these cookies are something special. kind of healthy and they have the springy feeling of a muffin top? it's just too much.
try these out and you'll be pleasantly surprised. i make these much more than regular chocolate chip cookies when i get a sweet tooth craving. my skinny jeans always thank me.
alright, so since this is a bit of an invention, the exact ingredients:
1 c. flour
3/4 c. oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1/3 c. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 overly ripe banana
1/2+ c. of chocolate chips
mash that ripe banana up real well, and add in all of the other ingredients. if you want this to be healthier or vegan-ier, try whole wheat flour, soy milk, raw sugar or stevia. also, be fast and loose with the amount of chocolate chips you use. 1/2 c. is just a guideline.
added bonus - there's no fear of getting sick with salmonella from eating raw batter. this is a must when you stress out after realizing you let someone borrow your cooling racks and don't have any. and stress calls for a bite (or four) of raw batter.
when you spoon them onto the sheet they'll feel, what i like to call, loosey goosey (a technical term). this batter is nowhere near as thick as regular cookie dough. you'll question it a bit. but don't worry. loosey goosey is just fine for this batter.
be sure to use parchment paper, wax paper or silicone baking mats if you have them. i rarely cover my cookie sheets when making cookies but these puppies are sticky. very sticky. if you don't cover your cookie sheets, trust me - these cookies will be ruined.
bake the cookies at 350 for 12 minutes and rotate the cookie sheet halfway through. these cookies are temperamental to the oven they cook in though, so when you check them at six minutes you may want to decrease the baking time.
this should make about two dozen cookies. two, wonderful, dozen cookies with the consistency of a muffin top that won't give you a muffin top. enjoy. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

on why i'm here.

via here.
a coworker from a different office was recently in town, and as we wandered home one night she asked me,
"are you glad you live in new york? is this what you always wanted?"
it's not a strange question, really. and by that i mean, it's not a strange question to ask someone who lives in new york. many, many people come to new york because they innately feel as if they must. it's not the first time i've been asked it, it certainly won't be the last. but this question is unique to new york. when i lived in philadelphia and then nashville, no one ever asked me that. no one ever asked me if i was realizing my dreams by just living in that city.
and the answer? well for me, it is no. this is not what i've always wanted. i never dreamed about living in new york. i never wanted it. i never needed it.
that's not to say i don't like it, or appreciate it, or think it's wonderful. but the love affair i began with new york as a little girl, when i would come here for the holidays and to visit family throughout the year, was really just the spark for my love affair with cities. without a doubt, my early visits to nyc planted that seed. from a young age, i didn't dream about living in nyc, i dreamt about living in a city. when i began to look at colleges, all i really cared about was going to school in a city. any city. when all was said and done, the best place for me to study was in philadelphia. quite rightly, philadelphia holds that place in my heart for being the first place where my childhood dream of living in a city was realized. i still have a vivid memory of waking up in my dorm early on, hopping out of bed and walking to the gym down the street. there i was on 34th street thinking,
"you live here! this is your home!"
it's really those moments that have made me love the cities i have lived in, along with cultivating a unique relationship with each one.
for me, and for new york, those moments are particularly centered on my family history in the city. my first job in the city was across the street from ground zero, where the world trade center once stood, and where my grandfather worked for most of his career. last summer, i was able to join my dad in going into brooklyn to visit the house my grandma grew up in. and i recently found the address of one of my great-grandfather's first places of work. he went on to become a dressmaker on the lower east side, and one of his first jobs in the city was for a company called "dancetime frocks". the address for the company is in brooklyn and i got it from a registration card he filled out to keep his immigrant status updated. i'm hoping this summer to visit that place, too.
so no, living in nyc was not a dream a mine, and there is no fulfillment in simply just being here. philadelphia made that happen a long time ago. but the unique knowledge of knowing that many others in my family have walked these streets and worked hard in this city is something altogether different than any other place i have lived. it's something i really cherish, and didn't realize i would, until i got to call nyc home.

Monday, April 23, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

this past weekend was spent in philadelphia for the wedding of my college roommate. the wedding was amazing - beautiful day, delicious food, and lots of dancing. in addition to being able to celebrate with her and the rest of my friends from college, i was also able to spend time with my childhood friend who now lives in philly, along with friends from grad school who recently moved there. my meals outside of the wedding were nothing short of fabulous, and i can recommend mercato for dinner (especially their short rib gnocchi) along with honey's for brunch (their bacon was amazing along with their maple grits). i felt so lucky to have a weekend filled with so many good friends from the different parts of my life - a reminder of how much i've been given and how much i have. i'm looking forward to going back to philadelphia and doing it all over again sooner rather than later.
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Friday, April 20, 2012

on the best thing on the internet ever.

i had a whole post planned for today. someone asked me a question a few days ago and i was like - yes! that will make a great post.
well, it will have to wait until next week. i recently discovered this website and thought it might be a better way to head into the weekend. i laughed until i could laugh no more.
this one has really captured my heart.
and this one. truly amazing.
enjoy and have a happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

on lately.

oh my friends. my friends, my friends. it's getting to be that season. that season where i work longer hours. it comes four times a year. just like all the other seasons. and here are the things that are keeping me getting through the day.
1. using my bounty from the farmer's market to make pesto.
via here.
2. blue bottle's new orleans iced coffee.
the location that opened in rock center is rocking my world.
i get one of these every friday. if you have a blue bottle near you, or are visiting nyc, get one immediately. it's like a coffee milkshake. a life-changing coffee milkshake.
via here.
3. rediscovering nickel creek. i missed them.
via here.
4. ending the night with a few squares of dark chocolate. and...why was i not doing this before?
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5. pretending i own these incredibly weird, incredibly awesome, incredibly badass shoes. i know they're not for everyone, but damn. i love a good pair of weird shoes.
side note: i still spell weird wrong.
after all these years.
plain and simple - i've just never gotten it.
kind of weird.
yeah. bad pun.
and you?

Monday, April 16, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

i'm calling it - this weekend was one of the best, perhaps the best, in 2012 (so far). the weather was perfect in nyc all weekend, and saturday provided a gorgeous day to pick up some things at the farmer's market before going home to take a nap with the windows open and the birds chirping. saturday night we celebrated our anniversary - we went to the same exact restaurant as last year, and i wore the same outfit, and it was just as good as it had been the year before. a fitting way to celebrate another great year with the same great person. sunday was really the cherry on top. i found a new restaurant that i love, and got to share the morning with some friends, including molly and anna, who i was meeting for the first time. we laughed and talked and drank mimosas and before we knew it three hours had passed. we ended brunch with milkshakes and i spent the rest of my afternoon finishing up the hunger games (to the third book, all i have to say is: damn. you were cruel.) and enjoying having my windows open for a second time. so onto another week, more good weather, and the anticipation of another weekend just ahead.
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