1
Reach Your Health Goals in Brooklyn + Fitbit Giveaway!
2
A Look Into My Office, Trying to Work at Home With Cats
3
Dinner In Italy With Michael Voltaggio and S.Pellegrino
4
A Beautiful Farm Wedding in Seattle
5
Tea Swap is Back! Want to join?
6
Take Me Out To The Ball Game… Mets Game!
7
Baby Shower Food, Craft and Gift Ideas
8
We went to Toronto.. and now we’re back!
9
A Stop on The Writing Process Blog Tour
10
Behind The Scenes: V Magazine Fashion Shoot
11
BFG Joins BlogHer, Garden Video Update and Dear Kitten!
12
Cats and Reed + Rader
13
Painting With Cats
14
Pizza Time! Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza Review
15
Lorena Garcia Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Review
16
How to Get Cat Lady Nails
17
A Medieval Times Experience (in New Jersey)
18
I Hate My Bathroom
19
Happy Holidays! + Dancing Snowmen
20
When My House Burned Down & Kitchen Fire Safety

Reach Your Health Goals in Brooklyn + Fitbit Giveaway!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

You guys know I love Brooklyn, right? I mean I really really really love Brooklyn.  I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere besides Brooklyn (well perhaps I could imagine myself upstate on my own Cat Sanctuary/Farm but that’s another story for another time).   You might think Brooklyn is a concrete jungle but it’s actually a beautiful place with some lush green parks and greenways perfect for a stress relieving wellness workout if you know where to look.

Take my hand and let’s checkout some of my favorite Brooklyn places for a great workout!

And make sure to read the entire post as I’m giving away a Fitbit (!!!) to one lucky winner below!

Read More

A Look Into My Office, Trying to Work at Home With Cats

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Sharpie, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #StaplesBTS http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Hi everyone, I thought I’d take today to do a little post to show you where the blog takes place.  You know, not in cyber space, but in reality.  The place where I write the blog posts, take photos of recipes and pin brownies in my pajamas at 2AM because I can’t sleep.  The last one is never a good idea, trust me.

I’m always interested in where other bloggers are inspired by.  Are you writing your recipes as you cook on  your laptop in the kitchen?  Are you doing posts in bed late at night because there’s not enough hours in day?  Or do you have a dedicated work area in your home?

We’ve had a separate studio space for our  R+R work for over a year now and it was a great choice.  We decided to get this space to try to separate work from life.  I’m going to be honest and say it’s hard to separate life, love and work when  your creative partner is also your husband.   Lately I’ve been trying to set up a strong rule that we aren’t allowed to discuss work at home, we can’t work that late and we have to take off 1 day a week.    I break all these rules as does Matthew (he’s worse I promise you).    None of these rules really come into effect with Brooklyn Farm Girl.  As the blog continues to grow, I sometimes find myself overloaded with new posts, sponsored posts and reviews.  Suddenly on top of my day job of being an artist, there’s blog deadlines and blog advertisers to please.   It’s complicated and it’s long hours, but it’s also exciting and I’m a proud mama bear of BFG.    Lately I’ve been trying to split my time in half – half at the studio, half at home with the blog.   The problem here is that the blog is at home which means it’s always on.   I really wish I could have a strict schedule and kick myself off the computer during the evening but I have no self will.   Is anyone else work obsessed?

Read More

Dinner In Italy With Michael Voltaggio and S.Pellegrino


Last week I spent a night in Italy surrounded by fresh flowers, produce stands with the most juicy fruits,  plates full of delicious food for dinner and a jazz band playing softly in the background.     I got to Italy by taking the L train a few stops.   

20140731_000648000_iOS

Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the real Italy (one day!) but this was such a beautiful event that really made you feel like you were really there!

Read More

A Beautiful Farm Wedding in Seattle

Two weeks ago we flew across the country to attend two of our best friends wedding.   These two friends names are William and Lia and they are some of the most lovely people you could know.    A year ago they made the move from Brooklyn to Seattle and this was the first time we saw them since then.    It’s a understatement to say they have been missed here in Brooklyn by us and others.      

The wedding was at beautiful Chaser Farms which is located on Vashon Island.  To get to the Farm you need to take a ferry which is a pretty ride by itself.    Once you get to the Farm you basically want to move in.   It’s pretty much my dream house, one large open modern home with two giant kitchens, a big yard that stares into trees and a farm full of sheep and goats for me to befriend.  And when you look up at the sky, you see stars.   I’m moving in Chaser Farms.  You will be expecting me tomorrow.

Here is a photo journey to Seattle.

Read More

Tea Swap is Back! Want to join?

Tea Swap is back!  I’m so excited.  I hope you are too!

Brooklyn Farm Girl has hosted a few tea swaps in the past, from tea + chocolate, to tea + Halloween, to tea + snowmen to lots of other fun themes.   The last swap was in December and I totally apologize for not setting up a new one since then.   The swaps are something I have lots of fun with and I believe you guys do too so I’m going to really try hard to get these back on a monthly schedule.  

Nothing can keep me away from a hot cup of tea, not even the middle of Summer.  Sure, it’s 90 degrees out but I’m still going to start and end my day with a cup of tea!  There’s something calming about a cup of tea.  Maybe it’s the process of making it and waiting for the leaves to steep, maybe it’s that it is always part of get togethers with friends, maybe it’s just the comfort of a favorite flavor.  I’m not sure what it is but tea is something special to me.   

Read More

Take Me Out To The Ball Game… Mets Game!

Happy mid Week everyone, how are you doing?
How’s the weather where you are?  Is it blistering hot where you are to the point of you’re melting?  That’s me.  Melting away.  Exclaiming every 5 minutes “This is it” and falling on our cement floors.  Have you rode the subway in NYC during the Summer?  It’s probably one of the worst experiences. Everyone is sweaty.  And smelly.  And angry.  And I’m exclaiming “This is it” to the person next to me as I wipe the sweat off my lip for the 8th time in 15 minutes while the stranger nods at me.    Yesterday I walked to the dentist office in the heat, 2 big exciting events to really get your day off to a great start, right?  But then I came home, put the air conditioner on and ate half a cheesecake.  Because that’s exactly what you should do after going to the dentist, drink sweet tea and eat cheesecake.  🙂

This week we went to Citi Field to a Mets vs Braves game.  The Mets won 4-3 in 11 innings. I have never been to a Mets game that didn’t go extra innings.  Once we were there until 2AM.    Citi Field is a great ballpark with yummy food, but more about that in a minute.

Read More

Baby Shower Food, Craft and Gift Ideas

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Playtex, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #RefreshYourNursery  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

The time has come, my friends have started to have babies. It’s kinda wild.  One day they’re just them.  Then suddenly they have a baby.  Again, it’s wild.

Multiple friends right now have either just become a mom (a human mom, not to be confused with a cat mom) or are about to become a mom.  They are excited and scared.  I am excited and scared for them.   I’m also extremely happy and proud and know how much of a awesome mom they are going to be.  I also know this baby is going to be amazingly dressed because all the Moms have amazing style. This is also very exciting to me because now I have real reasons to buy dinosaur printed onesies that I see.  Before I just held those little pieces of clothing in my hands and swooned, but now I can actually buy them!  I  once bought a baby pumpkin costume because it was the cutest thing I ever saw.  I don’t have a kid so I dressed up a stuffed animal.  The stuffed frog is still dressed up as a pumpkin.  The cutest pumpkin ever.

Read More

We went to Toronto.. and now we’re back!

Well this post is well overdue!  We visited Toronto and I have been meaning to post it! It’s been at the top of my notebook for weeks, but somehow Pancakes,  Jelly Donuts and Twix Popcorn got posted first.  Can you tell my stomach decides the order of posts? 😉 

But first I wanted to alert you guys that during this weekend Brooklyn Farm Girl will be going through some design changes.  I’m hoping on Monday you’ll see a all new pretty design but with that comes the fun of switching themes and making everything look good.  The site will still be up over the weekend if you need to find any garden details or recipes but it just might not look very pretty.  Wish me luck!

Read More

A Stop on The Writing Process Blog Tour

Today we’re going to take a minute and talk about blog identity and process writing on a stop on The Writing Process Blog Tour.  The lovely and talented Shashi made her post and then nominated Brooklyn Farm Girl to continue the tour.  I’d like to thank Shashi and all her amazing recipes and inspirational posts she makes.  Plus I really want to thank her for her No-Bake Mocha Protein Bars because seriously… look at them! 

Brooklyn Farm Girl was created a year ago.  Prior to that I was blogging on a personal blog where I think 5 other people knew about for many years.  Prior to that I always had a blog in some capacity since I got my first computer when I was 13 years old. I’ve always loved sharing information with others and building relationships online with people that shared similar interests.   Towards the end of my previous blog I started to really enjoy posting about our garden and recipes so I decided to create a blog that went full force into that world.   Brooklyn Farm Girl started…. and here we are.

Read More

Behind The Scenes: V Magazine Fashion Shoot

I’ve been promising to start posting more of what I do outside of gardening and cooking, so here I am with a Behind The Scenes of a recent project we did.    If you guys dig this new feature, let me know  in the comments as I’d love to start documenting and sharing more of our work!

For this post here we’re going to look at a recent fashion shoot we did for V Magazine.    You can see the final project on our website as well as V Magazine’s website

We’ve been working with V Magazine for years now and they were one of the first believers in showing moving images and videos for fashion content.  They really let us do our thing and be creative so it’s always fun working on a project for them.    For this shoot our goal was to do a project that focused on 3D scans.  We wanted to shoot the model as is on a regular background and then have her avatar, a 3D scan of herself, next to her.   After some testing on ourselves we figured out what was the best software to use along side the Microsoft Kinect which we’d be using for scanning.

Read More

BFG Joins BlogHer, Garden Video Update and Dear Kitten!

Happy Monday everyone!
I hope you had a great weekend and got to spend some time getting your nails dirty in some soil!   
I wanted to take care of some changes that you might see around Brooklyn Farm Girl in today’s post. 

First you might have noticed the BlogHer banner to the right.  I was so happy to receive word that I’m now part of the BlogHer Network!  This is something I was hoping to be a part of almost since Brooklyn Farm Girl started so I’m happy to see it here!   With it comes some advertising banner changes that I had to make.  I had to remove some ads to work with their terms, but in the long run I hope this is a good idea.  I’ll be monitoring this through the next few months to make sure it’s the best fit for the blog.   I’m honored to be part of such a great group of bloggers so I’m hoping everything works out here!

Second,  I have  been wanting to show you guys this video that the fine folks at Miracle Gro and Home Depot made of me in the garden.   It’s only a few minutes now and I hope it doesn’t bore you too much! 😉  Welcome to our garden!  By the way, don’t you love the thumbnail for this video? I’m either gardening or burying bodies on the roof.

Lastly, I wanted to share some new features I created in the Garden section here at Brooklyn Farm Girl.  When you visit the Garden part you’ll notice a few new sections.
garden-update

What are all these about? Let me explain!

Posts – This is where all the garden posts will live.  Basically anything garden related from how to’s and harvests will be archived here.

Recipes – This is where all recipes will be archived that focus on garden recipes.  If we grow it and I use it in a recipe, it will be here.   Eventually I am going to have a ingredients picker here so it’ll be more specific to what you’re looking for.  Example:  You just grew a bunch of lettuce and don’t want to search through a bunch of recipes, you  just want the lettuce recipes.   So you’ll click lettuce and all those recipes will be listed.  I’m working with a designer now to get some pretty graphics for this!

Garden Yield Chart – This year we are tracking the weight of all the vegetables we harvest.  We’ve been meaning to do this for years but finally got around to doing this.  This chart will be updated every single time we pick something so keep checking back.   Already we’re close to 25 pounds! High 5’s!

How to Store Vegetables – This is a long list of directions on how to store vegetables and fruits.  It lists how to store each to make them long as possible.  It also gives instructions if you can freeze it or not.  I pretty much visit this page myself whenever I need to know what to do.

Seed Calendar – This lists the dates for every seed we have planted for the past few years.   This is a good way for us to keep track of our seed schedule so we can compare with past years.  It’s basically the list we live by in regards to knowing when to plant and when to transplant.  If you’re in a similar zone as us I hope this helps you.

Our Garden – This is a little about section dedicated to the garden.

When I first started the blog I had a section called “Peeking” where I visited other people’s gardens.  It was a way for me to show other people’s spaces for inspiration and just to really appreciate what others were doing.  This section got pushed to the side a bit, but it’s always been something I wish I did more of, so I’m bringing it back.    This week I’ll have a new Peeking feature so look out for it… it’s a good one!

So that’s some Monday cleanup here on the blog.

I hope you guys like the changes and I hope you are digging (hahaha) the garden section being expanded.    If you ever have any suggestions for future garden posts, or need info on a how to, let me know! 

And to leave you with, my current cat video I’m obsessed with.  Everytime I watch it I have to hold my stomach because I’m laughing so hard. There’s so much truth in this.  

Happy Monday guys… see you tomorrow with a tomato based recipe!

Cats and Reed + Rader

I’m totally going to shock you here… but I love cats! Ok maybe that’s not shocking at all, but it was reason to just yell out “I love cats!”.  I love the entire population of cats! 

We were shooting the entire past weekend and unfortunately there was no cats on set.  You know how much this breaks my heart but don’t worry, there was plenty of cat gushing with friends that we work with!   The shoot was a fashion project we’re working on and that got me thinking about cats in fashion.  You all know I’m already obsessed with cat clothes, but how about we go a step further and investigate cats that roam fashion sets and end up in the final pictures?

Matthew and my own work  features plenty of cats! We’ve done plenty of gifs, videos and interactive projects that put our cat love on full display. Here’s just a few that I’d love to show you guys!  Being inspired by cats is totally my daily fancy!

The most known one is a video we made for Vice Magazine.  The film is called “I Hate Kitties” but don’t get the idea that we hate kitties, that’s not true at all.  The video was done in good spirits but expresses that feeling when cats wake you up at 6AM with a meow to be fed, you get out of bed and run into the wall while stubbing your toe, feed your cat and then head back to bed. Then the cat appears on your belly with a look that says “I didn’t want food. Sucker.”.  

Last year we were approached by the fine folks at Snapple to create a video about cats.  The video was based on their under the lid facts. The fact for our project was Snapple Real Fact #685: Dogs can make about 10 sounds, cats make about 100.  So we decided to go right in and show how brilliant cats are with our spelling bee.    

Don’t you love a behind the scenes look at our Snapple video too featuring Brother Bear?
brother snapple

For Christmas we did a GIF story for Flair Magazine. One of the shots included a grumpy cat lady.
flairxmas04

Then we did a V MAN / Marc Jacobs story that featured some cat rubbing. Don’t be terrified, the cats are happy.
cats

For a interactive piece last year we projection mapped colors on a 3D cat that we created.  The final result was a installation piece called CAT GOD. Meow.  Here’s a look at it during the day when it’s not lit up.. with me on Matthew’s shoulders (he made me do it, I was scared!).
WP_20130303_05320130303151003.jpg

Finally, even a talk we gave in Toronto in April had cats in the title.  Cats, Cats, Cats! Love, Love, Love.
FITC Toronto 2014_47

And what would be a post with our projects be without some snapshots of our cats behind the scenes?  Being loved on set is their daily fancy.  Kitties love lots of attention… especially Xanadu! I really love all the models who have shown Xanadu love over the years…. she tends to always want to jump into the shots!
101_1983

101_2002

100_3052

100_4039

101_7372

0145

0386

Hope you guys liked taking a look behind the scenes of our cat happy work! 
4447032106_a3ec8cd070_o

What’s your daily fancy? Follow Fancy Feast’s new Tumblr to read the #DailyFancies of fancy cats and passionate cat owners. I’m really loving the interviews they are doing with cat loving bloggers so check it out!

And check out my other cat related post I made today about painting with cats!  It’s cat day Wednesday! 

Painting With Cats

Have you ever tried to paint a wall alongside a cat? How about 4 cats? So the journey begins..

For the past few years we have had a wall unpainted that sits behind my desk. It’s called the bike wall as it houses the bikes on it.  The wall was supposed to be painted right after construction but for some reason that never happened so I have just been looking at a ugly wall for quite some time.  Because I could not put up with it anymore I told myself in May that wall would be painted!  I was pretty excited to do this and thought it would be simple.. but then some furry critters entered the painting day.

First up I wanted to tell you about the paint I chose.  I’ve heard great things about BEHR’s Marquee Interior Paint and Primer as it’s a one coat color that gets results quickly.  It’s paint + primer in one so it means no waiting around.. quick quick quick! What’s even more quicker? It has low VOC in it that allows the paint to dry faster which means you could paint and entertain a room in the same weekend.  Because I knew this was the bike wall I needed a paint that would be able to handle mud and wet stains that bike tires could cause.  With this paint it’s scrubbable which is perfect for the project at hand.  This paint was found at my local Home Depot and you can check your store availability here if you’re interested.  There’s 372 colors to pick from so they pretty much have every shade you are looking for.  We went with Siberian Ice Eggshell which is a icy blue shade.  I have to say that it was pretty dead on perfect with the swatch which is a great positive.  Did you ever buy a paint and it looks nothing like the swatch?  Terrible, I know.  A gallon retails at around $40 which I do find pricey for normal paint but since it has the primer mixed in and is quick drying, the results pay for themselves.  If you don’t need a gallon they also have 8 oz samples.  The paints come in matte, eggshame enamel and semi-gloss enamel.  What I’m saying is this paint rules!  Do-it-yourselfers can visit behr.com/marquee to learn more about the product and access robust how-to information.  

So now on to painting with the cats!
This was the wall to begin with.  It’s color was “natural” as it was never painted. Also I know the Grumpy Cat poster is a great touch.
Painting With Cats

In the same afternoon with only one coat of paint I was able to have a already transformed looking wall!
Painting With Cats_4

I really love that color is subtle and not overwhelming.  With my purple wall I wanted something that wouldn’t outdo it.  As the day goes on the shadows get darker in our loft the color gets slightly darker making the icy blue stand out.
Painting With Cats_5

I also painted a canvas with this color to see how it would work with crafts.  We used this canvas for a backdrop for a upcoming project and the color really stuck well to the canvas.   Canvas really soaks up paint so it goes quicker in this way but the color was spot on.
Painting With Cats_6

Now on to the painting…

The afternoon started with some paint and a roller.  I thought everything was going to be great…
Painting With Cats_3

Then I got the ladder out and I knew this was going to be a adventure.  Hi Goblin.. one cat shows up.
Painting With Cats_1

And then once the cats realized there was plastic on the floor Wrestlemania began with the boys.  In this picture Brother and Goblin are both on the plastic while Xanadu lives on her ladder as the referee.  The boys love to roll around and wrestle on the plastic. It’s madness.   They also love seeing how their nails can rip the plastic.  It’s great fun for everyone except me.
Planned on painting but I have bad helpers.  1 wont get off the ladder and the other 2 are wrapped in plastic. #goblin #cats #cat #persiancat #Persian #fluffy #fluffball #kitten #furry #catsofinstagram  #siamesecat #mainecoon #home #diy #painting #design

Finally I got them to calm down a bit and they napped on a box.
painting cats_3

Then Xanadu decided that while the paint was drying she was going to head back to the top of the ladder again.  Xanadu has always been a fan of ladders.  She often sleeps on top of them when they are out.
painting cats_4

In the past few weeks Goblin has really been investigating Xanadu’s methods of play.  Xanadu is very active and smart and generally gets into everything so Goblin is very curious about how she does it.  When the moment came where I saw Goblin thinking about climbing the ladder I knew this was going to go bad.  She was teaching him all her tricks.
Xany Goblin

So after a bit of figuring out how to get on top of the ladder, Goblin climbed slowly to the top.  Xanadu was not pleased at all and tried to bite his ear off.  After all, it is her ladder.
WP_20140519_002 (1)

But finally Xanadu gave up because Goblin would just not let go of the ladder.  She jumped down and Goblin stayed hanging onto the ladder for the next 3 hours because he has no idea how to get down.  Eventually we had to save him.  Good job Goblin.
Congrats Goblin, you finally climbed to the top of the ladder… but how are you going to get down?  #goblin #cats #cat #persiancat #Persian #fluffy #fluffball #kitten #furry #catsofinstagram #ilovemycat #grey

Are your cats curious too?  Tell me stories in the comments!

And check out my other cat related post I made today about cats in our work!  It’s cat day Wednesday! 

Pizza Time! Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza Review

The answer to “Hey, want to grab some pizza?” is always yes!  So when Fratelli Brick Over Pizza and Wine Bar invited me for dinner the answer was one giant yes!  Take my hand and let’s jump on the subway, we’re about to take a trip uptown! That’s right, I’m going past 23rd Street to the Upper East Side… but it’s worth it for this pizza.

First up, let’s talk about this awesome homemade sundried tomato dip and bread that they brought out after we placed our orders. This sauce is so good they actually sell it in jars at the restaurant.  Get this.. the sauce is made with anchovies, olives, sun-dried tomatoes and olive oil.  Did you hear me? Anchovies! And here I thought they were gross my entire life but not in this sauce!  
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza

I love surprising Matthew with things like “this sauce has anchovies in it!” because I know how much anchovies scare him too.  The bread and sauce was a big hit.  I’m guilty of eating too much bread before the main course, anyone else?
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_1

Next up was the Antipasto Contadino which is an assortment of cheeses, sopressata, dry sausage and tomato.  This was a appetizer but it was HUGE.   We both nibbled on all the delicious meats and cheeses while throwing on the yummy assortment of peppers and beans that were soaked in a spicy marinade in the middle. 
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_2

While digging into the vegetables in the middle we found a piece of cauliflower that both made us cheer with excitement.  You guys know how much we love our cauliflower so this was a happy surprise at the bottom. 
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_3

Now baby, it’s pizza time!

They serve 12″ and 16″ pizzas that can be made whole wheat or gluten if you’d like. They have the traditional Margherita but then they also have special pizzas like:
Pizza Girasole homemade mozzarella cheese, prociutto and sun-dried tomatoes.
Pizza Importante roasted shrimp, fresh arugula and mozzarella.
Pizza Quattro Formaggi gorganzola, fontina, mozzarella and reggiano.
Pizza Spring pineapple, roasted red peppers and grilled chicken in a light tomato sauce.

I got the Mamma Fratelli’s Classic which was diced tomatoes, ricotta, fresh mozzarella and garlic. Ricotta and mozzarella? Yes please! And on top of that I added some of my favorite prosciutto and mushrooms.
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_5

Doesn’t it look delicious? And it was! I always love pizza covered in ricotta cheese on top so this was a big winner to my taste buds.
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_6

Matthew got the Margherita Pizza which is fresh homemade mozzarella, basil, grated cheese and tomato sauce.  He topped it with mushrooms, pepperoni and sausage.  Matthew is a giant pizza lover (kinda crazy about it) so to hear him say “This is real good” I knew that this pizza passed the test.  To be honest we don’t leave Brooklyn often for pizza, but this pizza here holds up with the best of them so A+!
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_4

And now dessert..

I read great things about the White Chocolate Polenta Cake so I went with that.  It tasted like warm corn bread covered in sweetness.  It was simply magical. 
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_8

Matthew got the cannoli which I think was the star of the dessert menu. Even though my Polenta Cake was delicious this cannoli was on the scale of “holy heck this is delicious”.  Matthew only gave me one bite because he is mean and wouldn’t share but the one bite I took was simply amazing. Next time I go I’ll definitely treat myself to the cannoli (and not share with Matthew!).
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_9

A funny moment that happened during dinner was when a ambulance parked outside the restaurant, lights on, for about 15 minutes.  It was like watching a light show on Matthew’s face.   
Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza_7

Verdict? Delicious! Their pizza can battle with the best of them, their serving sizes are generous and they had the kindest wait staff that was always refilling our glasses and making sure we were good.  It was a great dinner and we’ll definitely be back!  If you’re in NYC I’d recommend this for your next restaurant to try!

Fratelli Brick Oven Pizza is located at 1317 1st Avenue (between 71st St & 70th St) on the Upper East Side in NYC.

Lorena Garcia Ceramic Nonstick Cookware Review

You know what makes recipes even more pretty?  Colorful cookware turns a simple pasta dish into a work of art with a simple pop of color!

Recently we were in the market to get some new cookware and being a blogger who tends to post recipes, I knew I wanted to get something that was more fun than my regular silver and black pots that I was used to. When I was given the chance to review the  Lorena Garcia Technolon Ceramic Cookware  in a beautiful “French Blue” shade I was pretty excited!  The Lorena Garica collection is part of HSN Cooks which pairs up culinary experts with foodie products. 

 The first thing I noticed right out of the box is the cookware was SO LIGHT!  I have incredibly weak arms (it’s often a joke about truly how weak I am) so sometimes trying to drain a big pot of pasta while keeping everything in the pot, while not being burned, is quite a challenge.    This cookware is so light making picking up pots and pans so much easier. When I first used it I cooked a big pot of noodles and I just amazed by how easy it was to pick up and drain.  If you aren’t weak, then you probably don’t know what it’s like, but this was life changing, I’m a light cookware user for life now!   The pots and pan are made out of cast aluminum. 
Ceramic Cookware Review HSN_1

The cookware is a 6 piece set coming with a 2 pt soup pot, 3.5 qt soup pot, 9.5″ frying pan, whisk and 2 lids.  What I like about this is that it’s not a giant set.   Have you ever got a 20 piece set of anything and wondered 1) Where am I going to store this? 2)  Will I ever need 7 frying pans at the same time for a 4 burner stove?.  This is a great basic set that pretty much covers all my cooking needs.  Quality over Quantity in this case definitely! 

Ceramic Cookware Review HSN

I love that I can cook these pots on the stovetop and then transfer to the oven up to 550 degrees.  The lids are safe up to 420 degrees, making a casserole so much more enjoyable when you only need to clean 1 pot! The pan is not oven proof as it has a soft grip handle. 

What else makes for easy cleanup?  Ceramic technolon nonstick interiors!  Have you ever made pasta, let the pot sit and then you have that pasta that’s stuck to the inside and you need to scrub it out to so hard you work up a sweat? I hear you sister.  I let the big pot sit overnight and the next morning the pasta just came off with one little scrub.   The pan was just as great, making greasy oils and butters easy to clean out. 

Ceramic Cookware Review HSN_2

The only negative thing to mention is that the pots handles get very hot.  Thankfully I read a review of these before hand to know better, but if I didn’t, I would have reached for the handles and quickly backed away while muttering bad words.   That means that removing the pot (not the pan) from the stove requires a mitt on the hands.  This isn’t a deal breaker for me, but I do wish they didn’t get as hot. 

Ceramic Cookware Review HSN_3

The set comes in French Blue (pictured here), Lorena Green, Perfect Purple, Rich Cream and Rio Red.  The whisk you get with the set is rainbow color and perfect for mixing funfetti treats!  
13271774465_f10f5d2c99_z

Overall: I love these and they’re now a permanent addition to dinner cooking every night!  

What color is your cookware?  
Do you have weak arms like me and have to battle draining a pot of pasta? 

This Lorena Garcia cookware set is now on HSN.com. Lorena is the face of Taco Bell’s “Cantina Bell” menu, Lorena is also a chef, TV personality and cookbook author.    Note: I wasn’t paid for this review, they just kindly sent me the cookware to try!

How to Get Cat Lady Nails

I have a thing for cats and colorful nails, so I’m happy to say these worlds can be combined!

Cat Nails_4

Want to know something?  I never have had a professional manicure.  I’ve always been more of a girl who does her own nails with a drawer full of every color of the rainbow nail polish alongside every glitter option!    Ever since I was little I always had a collection of nail polishes stashed somewhere in my room.    I’ve also never really been subtle in the nail polish category. I don’t really do nudes or soft pinks, I’m more of a neon orange and glitter girl.  I love bright colors, big sparkles and plenty of design!   For a while now I’ve stayed away from painting nail designs because I can’t draw very well, but when NCLA sent me these Melody Ehsani nail wraps, I was beyond pumped to try to get some design action happening on my fingers!  Note: I wasn’t paid for this review, they just kindly sent me the nail wraps to try!

The nails wraps come in all types of patterns and colors.  I happened to get sent a cat style which made me giggle like a school girl. It’s like I like cats or something.
Cat Nails

Here you’ll see all the beautiful cats.  I showed my cats this package and they all nodded in approval.  (I’m lying, they rolled over and went back to sleep before asking me to stop annoying them with my silly questions).  
Cat Nails_1

I was curious how hard the nail wraps would be to put on.   I watched a tutorial video first to get a idea and it seemed easy enough.   What you do is just pick the size of the wrap based on your nail size.  I have small fingers and nails so I couldn’t use many of the larger nail wraps.  I do think I could easily modify some of the larger ones with a pair of scissors and they’d work well. 

All you do is peel off the wrap from the pack and stick onto your nail.  Then you rub the wrap to get all the air bubbles out.  You’ll see the nail wrap is way too long though.
Cat Nails_2

Then you take a nail file and just file away at the extra parts.  Just a few swipes and the excess wrap will fall right off.   
Cat Nails_3

Then you’ll do this for all your nails, matching a wrap to a nail and filing down.  Once you do a few, you’ll start to get in a pattern and it’ll be done much sooner than expected.  After you finish you put some clear nail polish on top.  I had to add a little glitter too.

Cat Nails_5

Let’s chat. 
Do you regularly paint your nails? If so, what’s your current favorite color?
Have you ever used nail wraps?

 cat-nail-file

A Medieval Times Experience (in New Jersey)

Have you found yourself recently shouting at a man you didn’t know “KILL HIM” or “DIE!”?  No?  Oh.  Well let’s change that.

A few weeks ago we found ourselves in a Medieval Castle wearing crowns enjoying jousting while eating meat with our bare hands.  If this doesn’t sound like the most fun ever, then I think you should change your definition of fun.

Medieval Times is a 11th century dinner theater restaurant.  Their motto is “Step back in time with epic battles, jousting tournaments, royal feasts, knights and romance.”.    There’s 9 of them located across the United States and Canada, and we happen to have one nearby in New Jersey.  Matthew and I have never been to a Medieval Times before so we were both pretty pumped.  Actually I should say we were never inside of a Medieval Times Castle but once Matthew in his teenage years stopped at this same one (!) when he drove from Ohio to New York City and took a picture of the castle in the parking lot.   So you can say we have been excited for over a decade.    Originally I planned on taking us to this for our anniversary (what doesn’t say I love you more than a royal feast?), but unfortunately a snow storm happened and a knight from the castle called me to tell me the castle would be closed that night. Bummer. So once the snow storm was gone, we made our way there the following week.

You will spot the Medieval castle a few roads away. At that time, no matter what your age, you will shout “I SEE THE CASTLE”.  
WP_20140227_033

Speaking of age, there’s people who visit Medieval Times from all ages.  There’s plenty of young kids there, yes, but there’s also plenty of adults and couples there on date night. In fact I know some adults who rented party buses to Medieval Times.  These are the types of friends we all need.  I would say there’s equal adults to kids ratio, but I might even lean to say there was more adults than kids there on that night. It doesn’t really matter, we all want to see knights joust.

LORD RADER
When you arrive you receive your table row which is where you will sit.   I upgraded us to a Royalty package so we sat in the first row.  Honestly though, there is no bad seat in the castle.  Also you’ll see it says “black and white section”.  That means we will be rooting for the black and white knight!  *CHEERS*.

#king and #queen.  WE AT MEDIEVAL TIMES.
Then of course we had to have our picture taken immediately as king and queen.  There’s a option to spend a few bucks and dress up in costumes if you’d like to. I wonder if they would let us bring our own costumes next time because we have plenty of knight helmets and cloaks at home.

 WP_20140227_036
I just want to show you the adorable ladies room.  All night long you will be referred to as “My Lady” if you are a lady or “My Lord” if you are a man. I would love to be referred to as “My Lady” for the rest of my life, please.  

WP_20140227_060
So once you’re in the castle, you’ll be seated by your waiter, either a Wench or a Serf.    Ours was a young guy and he was just the nicest.    Then you’ll be told your Bill of Fare. You will receive EVERYTHING off to the right.  I have to say, I was kind of blown away by how good the food was.  I was unsure of how it would be, but it was so delicious!    I can see why people come here a few times, because if I could I would just order that Tomato Bisque soup over and over and over again.  Also want to note that if you are a vegetarian, you’re ok.  Your Serf will ask you, so just tell them and you’re good to go.. but it’s not as much fun.. more about that later.

Medieval Times New Jersey_2
This guy was the host through the night, of course he had fabulous long hair.   The majority of everyone had amazing long beautiful hair in Medieval Times.  He will introduce the King and Princess and walk us through the medieval tournament, featuring horse dressage, a variety of skill games, and jousting.

Medieval Times New Jersey
When the show begins each knight for each section will be introduced.  You will cheer your knight like he is your brother and heckle all the others like they are a enemy.  I have to say right up front, our knight didn’t have long hair.  I should have known this was a bad omen from the beginning.  

Medieval Times New Jersey_5
Here are all the knights lined up, receiving applause from the audience while being told about the tournament.

Medieval Times New Jersey_4
At this time your soup will arrive to start the feast.  Here’s the best part, there are no utensils here; everyone eats with their bare hands! I have to just tell you how much fun this is for a night.  Don’t think about  it, just dive in. All the food is pretty finger friendly, and things like soup have a handle, but it’s really fun!  If you are vegetarian I believe they give you lasagna for your main course instead of meat, but with that comes A FORK! The horror.  I say be brave and make them take your fork away and eat it with your hands!  Now about this Tomato Bisque soup, it was amazing.  Nothing else to say, but I wanted 10x the amount.  Matthew doesn’t like tomato soup and afterwards he asked me if I could make this tomato bisque soup.. so it’s that good.

Medieval Times New Jersey_6
I’m having lots of fun!   They give you a crown to wear and a flag to wave.  Often I found myself with roasted chicken in one hand, flag in another, yelling things like “KILL HIM!” or “MAKE HIM DIE!”.    Just have fun, this is a adventure, yell things that you never would.  Get out all your frustrations.  You will find that everyone is yelling ridiculous things.  I had a man a few rows behind me who kept yelling “YOU SUCK KNIGHT!”.  It was beautiful.  Be proud of your knight, root for him!  

Medieval Times New Jersey_18
This is the face of fun.

Medieval Times New Jersey_7
Then your castle bread will come which is just Texas Toast really.  It’s delicious because when isn’t garlic bread?  Just gobble it up.

Medieval Times New Jersey_8
Here’s your roasted chicken and oh boy this was good!  Just pick it up and start biting away.

Medieval Times New Jersey_9
It’s so moist and juicy, you will love every minute of it.  (For those really scared, they do give you warm wet napkins after the show). 

Medieval Times New Jersey_10
Then comes your BBQ Square Rib, delicious too.  By the end of the show, you will only want to eat with your hands for the rest of your life.  

Medieval Times New Jersey_11
And your herb roasted potato is next.  The way they serve the food s is your serf/wench will just go row by row with a big container, throwing each person one item on their plate.   They are pretty good on timing to know when the next food item should come out, everything is warm too. 

Medieval Times New Jersey_13
While I was feasting, knights were going through different events in front of me.   For a large section of the tournament they do roll down nets in front of the audience to both prevent dirt to be kicked up by the horses onto your food, and also to prevent a sword from cutting off your arm.  The swords are real, you will see sparks fly off them.   To be a knight, you actually need to train, first starting off as a squire and then working your way up.  I read a article that discussed that if a knight becomes sick, they will find another in the country and fly them out for the show, so it’s a select group of trained knights.  

Medieval Times New Jersey_12
Watching knights joust while eating my chicken to the bone?  It doesn’t get more romantic than this on date night! 

Medieval Times New Jersey_17
Then the jousting will turn serious! Helmets will be put on!  Men will be dramatically thrown off horses! 

Medieval Times New Jersey_1
It will turn dark and dangerous, where only one knight will win.  I think by this time in the picture my knight was already defeated (possibly first, I blocked it out in my mind as I was so distraught) so I decided to root for the blue knight because look at how amazing him and the horse looks?   Nearly all their 400 horses are raised at their 241 acre Medieval Times’ Chapel Creek Ranch in Sanger, Texas. Per their website: “Training begins early. As weanlings, Medieval Times horses are introduced to lead ropes and halters. Saddles come at age 2. Long reins and simple exercises such as lunging follow. At age 3, the horses move to their new homes — one of our nine North American Castles — where they learn advanced-level dressage from a master horse trainer. Then life as a pampered performer begins. After a few years in the spotlight, the Medieval Times horses move back to the Chapel Creek Ranch. In the serene setting, we make sure our horses live out their lives in royal treatment.” From what I read online from multiple articles it seems like the horses are taken care of with utmost priority, so just want to throw that in there as a animal lover.

Medieval Times New Jersey_16
GO BLUE KNIGHT/HORSE!  The blue knight didn’t win.  Unfortunately the red knight won which caused our section to boo and yell things that I wont’ repeat here.

Medieval Times New Jersey_14
I don’t want to spoil the plot, but this will happen too.  You just have to go and find out why.

Medieval Times New Jersey_15
Before it ends you will be treated to dessert, a apple pastry, which like everything else, was delicious.

WP_20140227_067
This was really fun and I recommend that if you are near one, or ever visit a city that has a Medieval Times, you should go too!  

Have you ever been to a Medieval Times? Tell me about it!

I Hate My Bathroom

I’m going to repeat the title, I hate my bathroom. 

If you’re a friend you might have received a text or Facebook message from me in the past few days exclaiming my bathroom hatred.  If you follow me on Pinterest you might have seen my inspiration photos coming in at fast speeds.  If you follow me on Twitter you might have read a few bathroom requests for hope and help.  If you’re my husband you have received about 88 texts from me saying we need a new cabinet, a shower door, a new floor and really tell me the truth, do you feel ok with white towels?

 In this post I’m going to tell you all about the things I don’t like our bathroom.  I’m going to tell you what I want in our bathroom. I’m going to post unrealistic photos but still dream about them.  I hope you can give me some guidance, tips or just a nod that says “You are going to be ok”.

We have lived in our apartment for 9 years now.  Honestly not a whole lot has changed in those 9 years.  A new shower curtain, a new bath mat, towels, a toilet seat cover, but nothing dramatic.  No big furniture pieces, no changing of the floor, I didn’t even paint the walls.  And it’s been 9 years. I need a change. 

Here are the problems with our bathroom that causes my heart to break at every glance into that unavoidable room.

-There is no bath tub. I have lived without a bath tub for 9 years.  Can I get some type of spa reward for this?  Honestly, this just sucks.  I’m a girl. I like to just spend ridiculous amounts of time in hot water reading, listening to music, drinking ginger ale with a straw and just doing nothing.   Whenever we go on trips I never get to experience those new cities because I’m too busy spending all my free time using the hotels bath tubs.   When we stayed at the Soho House in Berlin this was our bath tub.  Do you really think I was going to do anything but close my eyes and lay in there? I mean it came with it’s own Rubber Ducky and a cup of tea.  

-I hate the floor.  It’s black and white checkered title (it looks like this).  You might think it’s charming at first but try living with it for over 3,000 days and you won’t be able to take it anymore. It’s overwhelming and I hate to use this word, but I think it’s ugly.   Plus there’s this one tile that is starting to come loose that really bugs me and throws me off the deep end. 

-My bathroom has 2 doors and it drives me insane.  My apartment is a loft space that was converted out of a old factory (used to be a toy factory).  So what was one big factory is now individual apartment spaces.  I am unsure why each apartment has 2 doors but each one does.  There’s the actual front door and then a door that goes from the hallway into the bathroom (I’ve never seen anyone actually use this door to their apartment).  So that means that hypothetically I could install a lock and have 2 front doors, one for the main entrance and one right into the bathroom if you really have to go real bad and can’t take those 8 extra steps from front door to the bathroom.    What this means with the bathroom is there are 2 doors there: the bathroom door and this strange hallway door.  I need to find a way to block this visually as the door frame around it along with the knob just makes me shake my head and ask myself “Why?”

-There is no window in my bathroom.  Like many apartments the bathrooms are usually on the opposite side of your windows which means no natural light. This means my bathroom feels like a cave.  I asked Matthew to move the bathroom to the other side of the room but he acted like I didn’t say anything at all.  Do you think he was ignoring me?

 -Because it is the bathroom, I believe we all should do our business in here, furry cats included.  So the litter box is also in the bathroom.  It’s design has been changed multiple times due to helping a older cat, but now we can go back to something nicer.  What’s happening there now is a eyesore. Also FiFi Bofinkles is a stinky cat, just so you know.  How’s a adorable girl like her do that?  I’ll never know.

 -There isn’t much storage.  

-It’s boring.

Things I already am thinking of changing, or have:

-On Tuesday I woke up and rushed to Home Depot. I had one thing in mind, the bathroom needed color.  The bathroom has 5 walls but I didn’t want to paint them all so I painted 2 of them with Behr’s “Beachside Drive M460-2”.   Here’s the color featured with my hideous floor.

The walls that remained white will be touched up as they’re kinda not the prettiest right now after years of neglect.

-We have a small black cabinet under the sink now but it’s tiny and low to the ground.  I’m really against all dark colors right now so we are going to either build (Matthew prefers to custom build everything) or buy (I prefer to have things right away) a larger cabinet to house the sink with lots of storage underneath.  We really can’t have many (or any) shelves on the wall because we have a crazy Siamese cat so cabinets work best.  We are thinking it will be white or a softer color like a antique white or pale yellow.
I’m not sure if I want to go modern or more shabby chic cottage. I am leaning towards more weathered in this case but I am already feeling the glares coming from Matthew.

-I don’t want a medicine cabinet mirror anymore. I just want a mirror flat on the wall. Everything inside of the medicine cabinet now can go below in the cabinet drawers. Something simple but again I like slightly weathered.

-The whole bathtub is a dream.  Not saying we couldn’t get one installed, but it’s a investment in a home that we’ll never have the option to buy so I don’t know if its honestly worth it.  Will we stay here for another 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?  I don’t know if we’re ready to make a solid commitment (ok “we” is really “me”) so I was thinking if I can’t get a bath tub why can’t we at least make the shower feel a bit more like a spa with a nice glass door instead of a shower curtain.   I think frosted might be better because I’m a horrible shower cleaner and would like to hide my guilt when friends visit. 🙂
(PS.  I just bought that bamboo shower mat as well).

 -I want simple accessories such as mason jars, white towels and flowers.  Flowers in the bathroom are such a simple and calming touch, but I don’t think I ever had flowers in my bathroom.  With no windows I have to find a happy in between for flowers that won’t break the bank but I have some ideas already.  White towels have been ordered to replace my current mismatched ones, a Antique White double light cover is being shipped from Etsy, art work is being sorted to frame for the walls, hooks have been placed on the door and I have plenty of mason jars so this step is being worked on.  I also asked Matthew to build me a simple (light color) wood tissue box cover.

 

Inspiration:
These are some of my favorite inspiration images I have saved this week, the majority being not really possible with my space, but I think I can take elements from all of them.

I love the color of everything here.

I love the idea of having concrete counters.

I would never leave this tub.

If I had a window, I’d have plenty of greens growing.

I really love the blue and white contrast with the tiles here.   Since I already painted the walls blue I think a softer palette like this would brighten the space up.

 

So help me:
The bathroom size is 6 feet wide by 9 feet to put into perspective, with a shower wall already in place that separates the toilet from the shower.  I really want a bathroom that is calming and makes me feel happy to be in there.   

What should I do with the double door situation? How do I block the one door completely – do I put something in front of it and if so, what? 

What should I do with the floor tiles?  I need ideas for tile replacement that is economical as this is a rental apartment.  I think something light would be nice.

Can I borrow your bath tub? Just once a week? Please.

 

 

Happy Holidays! + Dancing Snowmen

Hi Friends,

I hope you all have a lovely holiday full of family, friends, cat whiskers, smiles, treats, hugs… and a good gift (or two) because I know you’ve been good this year.

Here’s a video Matthew and I made for the holidays, hopefully it will put you in a good holiday mood.

See you after Christmas!

Big hugs,

Pamela

When My House Burned Down & Kitchen Fire Safety

Fire.  That word alone is the most terrifying thought in the world to me. 

Fire safety has been a issue to me for the past few years but it wasn’t until a few nights ago when our apartment building’s fire alarm system went off 5 times during 1:30-3:00AM that left my hands shaking, heart beating quickly and pacing our loft (with kitties in arms) that I knew this had to be a post.  When I spoke with Matthew the next morning discussing the best fire practices for our living space, what to do, when to stop and get out of there, etc that he said “You should do a post about this”.  And that was a brilliant idea.  When a fire hits, we tend to panic.   We will stop.  We will fill up with fear.  We might even freeze.  We all need to be prepared incase of a fire to protect ourselves, our family, our homes and our neighbors. 

Hearing about a fire is pretty awful, but it wasn’t until it touched me personally that I knew how heart breaking and life shattering a fire can be.  Let me take you back to January, 2011. I was asleep when my phone rang during the middle of the night.  When you look at the phone and see it’s a family member calling you at 4AM, you know this will not be good.  The phone call went like this:
“Hello?”
“Pamela, it’s your brother.”
“What’s wrong?”
“Don’t freak out, Dad is OK, but the house burned down.”
Enter tears, the tugging of the heart and Matthew’s arms immediately wrapping around me as I sobbed in bed.  

Immediately the phone calls started coming in from my sister and my mother while all I could think about was getting to hear my father’s voice.  Everyone told me it was all over the news so immediately I jumped on the TV stations from Central/Northern Pennsylvania and saw this on the front page:
3626324138
My heart sunk.  The fire was coming out from my brother’s bedroom that I spent so many years in listening to the Beastie Boys while shooting nerf basketballs at him. The hours we played Nintendo in this bedroom was unimaginable.  But there it was. 

167367_1607483105347_1184277521_31361849_4252890_n
Next came this photo and that’s probably where I really lost it.  Not only is the house on fire, but the truck now outside is.  My brother took this photo right when the fire departments arrived.  

 

download
Later scene on the front of the newspaper, the next morning.  That’s my brother in the picture.  

That was my house.  That was truly my house.  I might have moved away and moved around but the only house to date that was ever “mine” was that one.  I lived in that house from the time I was born to the time I went to college.   The phone number of that house will always be the most remembered digits in my head.

 So what happened?  During the middle of the night the house next door to mine lit on fire, it started in the kitchen.  Then it quickly spread.  It left 5 houses homeless.  It spread quickly because they are row homes and because it was in the single digits that January night so firefighters were battling ice.   My dad who doesn’t have the best hearing was asleep when he finally woke up from the blaze.  Everyone from the other houses were already out wondering when my dad was going to come out of the front door.  He later told me that as he left his bedroom, down the steep stairs of the house,  around the middle room and finally out the front door where someone was waiting to grab him and pull him out, fire was blazing on the walls.  He saw fire on the walls in his house that all his children were raised in.  To this day every time I imagine my dad in that situation it breaks my heart and my throat tightens up.

After they pulled my dad from the house, with nothing left, he couldn’t even grab his cane, they rushed him up the street and someone threw a winter coat on him.  

 I was finally able to speak to my dad on the telephone after the good people at the Red Cross and neighbors supplied him slippers, a coat and a gift card for a few nights at a local hotel.   As soon as we heard each others voices we both started crying.  I just wanted to grab him through the telephone and give him a great big hug.  And that’s what I did a few hours later after I immediately ran to Port Authority, jumped on a bus and made my trip back.   I found my dad at the hotel, sitting, not having any of his own belongings.  And I just wrapped my arms around my dad, one of my best friends for life and just told him I loved him. 

After I saw my dad my sister took me to see the damages.  The fire trucks were still there the following evening as little blazes would come here or there.   As soon as we arrived on the hill where I spent 18 years of my life rolling Matchboxes down the pavement, playing kickball that left all neighbors angry at us kicking balls at their cars and organizing neighborhood kids bingo games I saw what was left of the house.  And then I smelled the fire.   That smell will stick with me forever.  Whenever I smell anything remotely to burning, I become paranoid.   Is someone outside barbecuing or is that a fire?  I have to check it out.  

photo 2.JPG

When walking down that icy sidewalk to look at my past home this was laying in the street.  I wish I could have grabbed it and removed the smell.  That was my couch’s pillow.  That couch was a highlight when my parents bought it one year.  It was bold red plaid and it matched nothing in the home, but it was gorgeous and we all loved it.

The next day I ventured back to the house to look at it during the day time, see old neighbors who all had that look of pity on their faces and see if I could possibly savage anything alongside my brother.   I think it’s therapeutic to talk about things like this so I wanted to share these pictures with you.  Days after these pictures were taken the houses were leveled to the ground where now nothing exists but grass. 
photo 5.JPG
First, that’s my bedroom.  Even though it no longer exists, I still call it mine.   My bedroom had all my treasures down to my Hawaiian girl sheets, family photos and notebooks full of my first 18 years of my life.   All now gone. 

photo 4.JPG
You can see the roof no longer exists in my brother’s bedroom.

photo 1.JPG
A eerie curtain hangs from my dad’s bedroom. 

photo 3.JPG
The kitchen where I made sugar cookies every Christmas and halupkies a few times a month with my mom. 

photo 4.JPG
The kitchen sink and stove.

photo 3.JPG
The ceiling of the first floor or what was left.

photo 2.JPG
Ice hanging off the existing ceiling pieces.

photo 4.JPG
My front house window that no longer existed.

photo 3.JPG
My living room that I tried to learn how to ride a bicycle in but fell off and hit my head making my babysitter panic and call my parents on their date night. 

photo 5.JPG
Me standing on a wall that used to exist.

photo 4.JPG
The middle room of the house.  Above this is the upstairs which I wasn’t allowed to see.

photo 2.JPG
All my baby photos and books are gone, family photo albums gone forever, but somehow this pin of my Kindergarten picture made it out.   I owe it to the stylish bow-tie that a 6 year old wore decided to wear for picture day and unfortunately messed up her own bangs right before the photo was taken. 

photo 5.JPG
Also this cat garden sign survived.  I got this custom made for my Father one year because he’s in love with Xanadu (and vice versa) and even though Xanadu didn’t live there, in his heart Xanadu ruled his home.

The experience was life changing and gloomy for quite some time.  Many families lost their homes that night but thankfully noone was seriously injured.  The Red Cross, the Community, family and firefighters were extra nice to my dad and I thank them for that. I sent the firefighters Junior’s NYC cheesecake weeks later as a well deserved thank you.   

The heart warming part of this story? After my dad lived in a hotel for 8 months (!) while home owners insurance finally settled, my father was able to buy a home he always wanted.   One that had a great big yard where he could grow his massive amounts of tomatoes and peppers and that had a garage that he could wash his car outside of.  Car washing was one of my dads hobbies I remember not enjoying as a kid as I was always selected  to help him pull the hose up from the basement which happened somehow every Saturday morning while I was trying to eat cinnamon rolls and watch Save By The Bell.

And guess what exists in his front yard now? Yup, the Xanadu cat sign.  She pretty much has a shrine in one the front yard beds.

 In this yard he’s able to put as many santa wearing bears and cats and disco balls as he wishes now.   Many people ask where I get my creativity from? My dad.

So with that, let’s talk fire safety.  The fire started next door in the kitchen.  Who knows the real cause, but we know it came from the stove in some way.   Fires start in the kitchen more than any other place in the home.  Although fires can’t be prevented completely we can minimize fire risks to keep our families safe.   Two out of three reported home-cooking fires start with the range or stove.  Let’s be prepared in case we ever have to face that moment.

Prevention Tips:

Install a smoke detector.  Make sure it isn’t installed somewhere where it always is going to go off during cooking but close enough.  Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms.  Test it, make sure it’s working. Replace your batteries.   

Have a fire extinguisher nearby. I keep mine right next to the stove in a bottom cabinet.  I can get to it within 1 second (trust me, I practice).   Replace your extinguisher immediately if needed.  Learn how to work it, learn the PASS system – pull, aim, squeeze and sweep. I learned that as a kid and I will never forget it. Educate your kids about this.  If you contact your local fire department they will even show you how to use a fire extinguisher.  

Unplug electric appliances when not in use. Toaster ovens, mixers, coffee makers, and so on, continue to draw electricity even when they’re not turned on. So if the wiring is old or faulty, or if the thermostat overheats, a fire could break out.

Use caution when lighting the pilot light or burner on a gas stove.

Don’t use metal in the microwave.  Ever.

Don’t overfill pots or pans with oil or grease. They can splatter and cause a fire.

Always roll up long sleeves and tie back long hair when cooking.   Need to reach to the cabinet above the stove?  Be careful.  Make sure your apron isn’t even close to a burner that is on.  

Keep dish towels, pot holders, and paper towels away from the stove. Also curtains, paper bags, food packaging, wooden utensils.   If your burner is left on by accident, these can light on fire.

Keep your stovetop, burners and oven clean.  

Plug it directly in.  Plug microwave ovens and other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, it can cause a fire by overloading the circuit. 

Never leave cooking food unattended.  Ever.   Get a phone call during making dinner?  Don’t risk it, shut it off if you need to leave the kitchen.

Use a Timer.   Incase you were to forget you are broiling something, the timer will remind you. I have 5 different timers in my kitchen incase I am cooking multiple things.

Check it.  Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.  Matthew and I have a mental checklist that we check before leaving the house.  If you leave the house and aren’t sure if you turned it off, return home to be extra safe.  

Talk to your Family.  What happens if the kitchen is on fire? Where is the nearest exit?  In general, kitchen or not, have a exit plan.   Everyone in the family should know their part of the escape plan, even the dogs and cats should have their carrier readily available if needed.    Be prepared.   Sparky is a great resource for children. 

If there is a fire:

Smother the Flames.  Always keep an oven mitt and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. (Make sure you are wearing the oven mitt.) Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.  Never use water or flour or pick up a burning pan to put into the sink. Smother it with a lid and remove that oxygen.   

Turn off the heat.  In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing. 

Keep The Door Closed.  If a fire starts in your microwave or toaster oven, turn the appliance off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet. 

Exit.  Fire too much? Leave immediately.  Your life and your families are much more important then your Le Creuset cookware.  Call 911 immediately. 

Stop, Drop and Roll. We all learn this as a kid but remember it.   Don’t run if your clothing catches fire , stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll,

 

Thanks for sticking with me through this post because honestly I had to stop and cry a few times.   Thankfully memories last forever.   I hope the safety tips are helpful to you and your family.
Now, a group hug.

For more information contact Pamela at pamela@pamelareed.com.    |     Privacy Policy    

Do you want donut recipes sent to your inbox?

I think you do. Sign up for the Brooklyn Farm Girl newsletter and I will send you my newest recipes, gardening tips and other updates.

You can also follow me on Facebook for daily recipe updates!

This information will never be shared.