This weekend we were Upstate (have you heard about our new adventure?) working hard. On Sunday morning we were on the land bright and early and it was 27 degrees. I saw ice on the land. I shivered and shook as I dove into my work clothes. Then I immediately grabbed my cup of tea that I made 30 minutes before at the motel. I knew this would warm me up over the next few hours.
No matter if it’s cold or hot outside I always start my morning off with tea. During the Winter it’s a hot cup of Oolong. During the Summer it’s a cold cup of Green Jasmine. When I walk to work in the Winter I carry my tea in my hands just in case I need a quick drink to warm me up while waiting for the Walk sign. It helps a lot!
So with a Pumpkin bagel in one hand and Contigo’s Travel Mug in another, I was ready to get dirty and work all day long.
In the What I LOVE series, I’m sharing current things that I love. Maybe it’s cats, maybe it’s a new restaurant, maybe it’s a new cookie, maybe it’s… anything!
So it’s finally the rush to the Holidays. Have you begun shopping yet? I haven’t, but I will begin soon. I’m not a Black Friday shopper because usually I’m too impatient and too picky. What I love is finding that special gift for a friend or loved one that fits them perfectly. You know that friend who is obsessed with donuts (that’s me!) then why not get her a donut clutch handbag so she can never be too far from her beloved sweets?
When I was flipping through the pages of Marie Claire I started to get some ideas for my fashion forward and sweet tooth friends. I love browsing magazines for ideas but I usually don’t love those price tags that come with it. You know it’s not going to be good when the price says “Price upon request”. So below are some of my favorite trends without those giant price tags.
Reach for the stars with these cutting-edge items with a futuristic bent.
I am so in love with that dress along with the clear bag that I’m seeing hearts in my own eyes. Maybe Matthew is reading this…. Hello lovely! Oh and that Robot bag, I can’t stand how cute it is.
I’ve been so excited to tell you…. we bought land!
Did you notice the new menu category up above called “P+M Upstate Adventure“? Well if not I’m here to tell you about it! Our new adventure we’ll be starting is the journey of starting a once in a while getaway in Upstate New York. This is somewhere we’ll escape the hustle and bustle of NY, where we can expand our garden and eventually build a small home and maybe even a pond! We won’t be leaving NYC, this will be a place we run away to maybe 30 days out of the year, some place to call our own for the first time.
We’ve lived in a big city since we were 18 years old and sometimes you grow tired of all the rules and not being to do what you want. Plus there’s the issue of space, does anyone know of 7 acres of open land we can buy in Brooklyn? Unfortunately Prospect Park won’t sell us any.
We have the garden on the rooftop and that’s awesome (and we’ll be keeping it) but in the past years our building has gotten stricter and in reality any day they could tell us we can’t garden on the roof anymore and it would be gone. So we set out to see if we could purchase land that we would be able to do all sorts of things with that we wouldn’t be able to in the city.
I will be posting every step of the journey, from buying the land (below) to building to figuring out how the heck we’re going to build things and make it all work. We will be trying to do everything ourselves, but thankfully Matthew is Mr. Handy Man!
We are first time land owners so this will be full of ups and downs. I hope you enjoy the ride and I hope if you’re visiting the page for the first time and are in the same situation you’ll find some helpful info.
What we wanted:
-At least 5 acres
-A section of open meadows
-About 3 hours max drive from NYC
-In the Catskills
A large garden full of fruits and vegetables
Fruit trees along with pine trees
A modern shipping container home with deck with full view of Catskills
A place for friends to stay when visiting
A basketball court (I can dream!)
Lots of animals (I can dream!)
I think it was in late August that we seriously started to think about buying property. We’ve always tossed it around but not seriously because at the time we couldn’t afford it. Plus it seemed far fetched.. we could own land?
This is something that many people own all over the world but living in a city often erases that possibility from your mind. We looked at our finances, figured out our max budget, named our wishlist, drew a map of where we’d want to settle and then started to look at endless listings of land online.
I think it’s fitting that before Thanksgiving this is a post saying thanks and helping out others. I found out about the Birthday Gift Project from looking on the Create the Good website. The website allows you to enter your zip code and gives you ways to give back to your Community from searching in your area, in your state or doing work from home. Honestly, I haven’t done much charity work in person. It makes me feel like an awful person. I always look at those people who volunteer 2 times a week with such envy. I’ve always wanted to volunteer at an animal shelter but I know deep down inside I wouldn’t be strong enough. Maybe you can handle that, or maybe you’re good at talking to seniors, or maybe you’d do great at a phone bank for getting food donations, or maybe you’d be great at helping make a kid smile at a distance or providing a school a new dictionary.
The Birthday Giving Project is designed to give kids a birthday party that their families might not be able to afford. These boxes go to children in need, including a large amount going to kids in battered women shelters. The idea is to put in the box party supplies for them to celebrate a small party as well as a little gift to make them smile. Then you wrap it up and send it to the Charity who forwards it to the kid who has a birthday soon. You will help these families by providing a small “party in a box” for a child in need and at the same time gives children with “more” the opportunity to learn empathy in a concrete way by helping another child.
As soon as I heard about this opportunity I went out on the same day and got my box supplies ready. I mixed and matched the party supplies to try to make it as colorful and festive as possible. A little goes a long way here and everything counts. If you can only buy $10 worth the supplies, that’s totally amazing and you’re awesome. If you can buy $25 worth of supplies and gifts, you’re equally amazing.
Have you heard of Escape The Room adventures? They’re getting popular in big cities. The basis is that you get locked in a room for usually an hour (sometimes more) and you have to figure out a bunch of different puzzles for the door to unlock win the mission. The room isn’t scary at all, it’s usually Detective or Space themed. The puzzles aren’t easy and they take alot of brain power and team work. They also make you work quick. Weirdly enough it’s a good stress reliever because while you’re in the room, you think of nothing else. It’s like this escape into another dimension. It’s awesome.
This was us after our first Escape The Room experience, look at how excited we still are. Also that camera flashed totally didn’t work with my shirt… ooops!
With the holidays coming up you might be thinking about what to get your boy. There’s video games, new gadgets, the never ending pairs of socks and the other usual items on a male’s Christmas list. But you know what I think is some of the best gifts? Experiences. For example, last year for Christmas, the last gift I opened was tickets to see Aladdin, the Broadway musical, in just a few days. It was a present where we got to get dressed up for, go to a new place, enjoy a few hours together and then chat about it after. Right now I am all about date nights. I’ve been trying to set something up for once every two weeks as it’s really easy to fall into a routine with home life. Over the past few weeks I took Matthew to Escape The Room and then a few days ago we went to see the Ghost In The Shell movie (only in theaters for 3 days) and ate at Malaysian restuarant that we never tried. Oh and then we got cake truffles from Milk Bar which always makes me think “How can something be so delicious?”.
One night when Matthew got home I gave him a piece of paper with a smile. With a raised eyebrow he opened it up.
Wobbert brings all the boys to the yard.. and the girls… and the yard is my house.. and Wobbert has treats in his belly.. and this isn’t exactly a Kelis song but the beginning of this post was too good for me to pass up. La la-la la la.
You guys, Wobbert. Life is all about Wobbert right now.
Remember when Tickle Me Elmo was huge and your parents stood in line for 8 hours for you so you didn’t cry on Christmas morning? I feel like if your cats find out about Wobbert, it’s going to be like that. This is honestly one of our cats favorite toys ever. How much does Toes, FiFi Bofinkles, Goblin, Brother and Xanadu love him? I made a video so you can see.
Here were the first impressions:
Toes – a master at food in general. Took her only a few minutes and she was throwing it down and eating up those treats.
Bofinkles – thought she could headbutt Wobbert down but eventually she got it. She really likes eating the ears.
Goblin – rather confused by this all, didn’t really like anyone watching him, but gave it a try. Brother, Xanadu – they were sleepy, so they were upset that Mom was dragging them out of their bed to try Wobbert.
Thanksgiving is just a few days away… are you excited? Are you prepared? Do you have the menu ready to go? So many questions, I know. The holidays are fun but sometimes stressful so I hope this recipe filled Holiday post will help you with some last minute decisions. Read More
Avocados filled with Corn Salad make the perfect party appetizer! These are easy to make! I love this Corn Salad Avocado Party Appetizer recipe!
Avocado, you beautiful thing. Want to know a surprising fact? I had my first avocado in my 20’s. As a kid we would never have them in the house and I never tasted guacamole. Then I slowly started to eat them as a sliced topping on my favorite tortilla soup. Now today, I’m licking clean (TMI?) the guacamole bowl. So yeah, I love you avocado, I’m sorry it took me so long to realize this.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner I’m starting to think about parties. I love a good potluck where all your friends gather together and bring all types of food to enjoy. So I got to thinking about avocados…what could I do besides the usual guacamole? And what I could do fun with them? Then one afternoon it hit me, Avocado Sailboats! And even better they’re filled with my favorite Mexican Corn Salad.
The Best Avocado Appetizer!
These are simple to make. You can easily make a few dozen of these Avocado Sailboats in less than 15 minutes. I love that they’re full of fresh ingredients unlike some other fried finger foods that might make its way to the table. I hope you give these a try!
You’ll need 12 avocados which will make 24 sailboats. If you want to scale it up or down, then do the math accordingly. Or you can just follow the recipe exactly and if you have leftover salsa eat it with a spoon, it’s that good.
Corn Salad Avocado Party Appetizer Recipe Read More
EASY MEXICAN Cheddar Cheese Dip made with 1 bag of shredded cheese, milk and other simple ingredients. This delicious dip can be served with tortilla chips, crackers, vegetables or on top of nachos! It’s always the hit of the party!
You either love it or you love it. Have you ever met a person who doesn’t love it? Once I met a person who doesn’t like pizza and I ran away from them.
Cheese dip is one of those things that I love, no matter what time of the year or where I’m at. You’ll find cheese dips at pot lucks, friends dinner parties or fancy art openings. No matter what the event, you’ll find me at the snacks table swimming in that cheese sauce (not literally, the bowl isn’t big enough).
Recently my husband asked if I could stop including cheese in some of our dinners. I looked at him and said “What type of monster are you?”. To satisfy him I added some broccoli along with the cheese. See, I can compromise.
With a craving for a cheesy snack during a movie night I threw this together in minutes and served it with various foods to dip. You have your typical tortilla chips and crackers but you also have your vegetables for those wanting a fresh option.
Because nothing says delicious more than a piece of cauliflower smothered in cheese, right?
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that me and my FiFi Bofinkles have a special relationship, some even say romantic because we kiss so much. Yeah, we really love each other.
Bofinkles is my babydoll and this month she will officially be with us for 6 years. We adopted Bofinkles when she was already a senior cat at 9 years. Now she’ll be turning 15, some might call that a old lady, but Bofinkles would swat you if she ever heard you say that. Bofinkles story is interesting. She was born in South Carolina, so she’s a Southern Belle with drama. Ask Matthew, he can’t touch her without her biting me. But me? Oh no, I can do anything to her and she will drool happily. We’re BFFs.
I know it’s only the second week of November, but Christmas is in the air. I went into a store yesterday and they had a life size Santa Claus dancing to a beat. Ok first of all, I have no idea how tall Santa would be to be life size but I would imagine he’s “average”. Also the dancing Santa was a bit creepy, especially because his eyes followed you. But that’s besides the point. I’m really excited for the holidays and I can’t wait to start decorating, so enter the planning phase.
I’ve given you peeks into our home here and here. We live in a loft with 12 foot ceilings and a wide open living area. When it’s Christmas we get a giant tree (that always is a adventure getting it out of here) and decorate our hearts out. We love color, we love kitsch but we also love modern lines. That’s why when it comes to decorating I like to do a mixture to bring the worlds of smiling snowmen and sleek trees and lighting together.
Here’s our home sweet home.
I love our home, but my dream list is a bath tub (I know – 10 years without one!) and a updated kitchen. Have you seen GE Café™ Series? Gosh, I want all of their appliances! Looking at them just makes me cry with jealousy and happiness. Maybe Santa will read this and know I’ve been a very good girl for Christmas. Can we take a minute and marvel at how great these would look in our place? Imagine the sweet smell of cookies and savory casseroles that I could make with these.
This weekend was a chilly one. Last week I was saying how confusing the weather was and this stayed true. Over the weekend I was in Upstate NY where the temperature was in the 40’s and I was spending much of my time outside. With a Ninja style face scarf on, double pants and a pocket full of Kleenex Facial Tissues, I was ready to brace the cold.
I’ve been lucky the last few years without getting sick in the Winter. Last year Matthew didn’t get his flu shot and long and behold, he got hit with the flu mid Season. The things I can never control in Winter though is a runny nose and dry skin. When I think back to being a kid my Mom would have tissues stocked and ready to go everywhere, how did she always have one within grabbing distance? As a I grow up I’ve turned into that… anyone need a tissue? I got your back.
What else do I love with my tissues? Like everything else in our home, I need a cute tissue holder. So let me introduce you to Mr. Whale.
Matthew and I teamed up on a weekend project a few weeks ago to make him. Not to brag, but I got myself a handy man. I told him I wanted a tissue box and it was cut and put together in about 2 hours. So by “teaming up” with him I mean telling him I want a whale box and picking out the color. Any ideas for complicated projects I can give him next to test him?
Directions on how to throw a Inside Out Party on a budget! This provides tableware, menu, games and more!
Guys, have you seen Inside Out? Isn’t it AMAZING? Kids love it but adults really love it. When I first saw it I think there was more adults smiling in the crowd than kids. I was one of them.
Well now it’s time to bring the fun into your home as Inside Out just came out on DVD last week! Who’s ready for a party?
If you haven’t seen Inside Out, it’s a 3D animated film made by the always amazing Pixar. The film is set in the mind of a young girl, Riley. Throughout her life there are 5 emotions that try to help her out in life problems, especially when moving to a new city. The emotions are Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. I’m not going to tell you more because you have to watch it.
How to Throw a Inside Out Party!
Because I was excited for the film to come out and I had many friends (and Matthew!) who haven’t seen it I decided to throw a rainbow filled party to celebrate the release and get everyone to think about their feelings. No, don’t worry, we’re not getting psychological deep here where we’re going to sit around and talk about our darkest hours, but instead it’s a time to celebrate joy but also totally be ok with sadness and fear too.
Supplies for a Inside Out Party
Throwing a Inside Out party is pretty easy because it’s all about color. For not much money you can have a entire party zone set up. You want to keep in the colors of Yellow, Blue, Red, Greenand Purple.
Things you’ll need: Inside Out DVD (to have a viewing party or to play throughout the entire party) Inside Out Toys
Crafts section – colorful markers and paper
Tablecloths – to be used on tables and walls
Napkins, Plates, Cups
Food! Have a good selection of vegetables, hand food, sweets (cake, muffins, cupcakes, popcorn balls (see below)), and then something easy like pizza or sandwiches.
Remember when I said a few weeks ago it was going to frost shortly? Well it didn’t. I’m kicking myself for picking all those green tomatoes but it’s better safe than to be sorry. After all, they are turning red in their shoe boxes beautifully. So with yesterday almost reaching 80 degrees and the previous weekend requiring a Winter hat, it’s a little confusing. I assume this is how the garden feels too, confused. Should I grow? Should I not grow? Should I call for Mom to harvest me? Should I keep Mom away from us because she keeps doing weird dance moves?
With a basket in hand I made it to the garden this week to pick some final vegetables of the season. The plants are winding down and I really believe this is it (minus the kale). I picked a nice selection of green beans, peppers (bells and jalapenos), soybeans that I’ll be picking out their pods forever (anyone want to help?), tomatillos and the final red tomatoes.
This weekend we’ll start working on a new garden project that’s exciting but you’ll have to wait to hear more about it this month. I can’t wait to get to work on it so I can share it with you!
For now though… let’s look at what I picked!
A nice selection of veggies..
Green beans for days. I’ve been freezing them so it looks like we have alot of green bean soup ahead of us for the Winter.
Almost 6 years ago to the day Matthew rode the subway to the last step in the Bronx. It’s a long ride there, but there was a treasure there waiting to be brought home. We were about to adopt Brother and give him a forever home. We first saw Brother online on a adoption site and fell in love with him. It didn’t take much persuading to quickly make this a 3 cat home (at that time it was only Essy and Xanadu). With vet papers in hand, pink carrier in the other (sorry Brother!), Matthew took the subway back home to Brooklyn where I was waiting for him at the door like the super excited cat lady you all would imagine.
First funny story, the Vet papers called him MIKE. Seriously, a cat named Mike. That’s hilarious and horrifying at the same time. Everytime I look at his papers I laugh. Mike! Unbelievable. Thankfully Brother agreed that his name was horrible so he happily approved of Brother (or Brother Bear for his Mom and Dad to call him).
EASY Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches that you can make ahead! This easy recipe makes a ricotta garlic mixture to spread on the bread! Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in the bread – perfect for a afternoon tea party or baby shower!
There’s something about a afternoon get together with mini sandwiches that makes me happy. Can you imagine a brunch with friends and there’s heart shaped delicious sandwiches waiting for you on the table? Doesn’t that scream love and yum at the same time? In this super easy to put together recipe we’re going to make Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches that you can whip up in just a few minutes.
Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwich Ingredients
You only need a few ingredients for this recipe: bread, ricotta/garlic/basil mixture, diced tomatoes, and more basil. You’ll also need some adorable cookie cutters where you can be creative. I used hearts here because I love you guys, but stars and festive shapes like pumpkins for Thanksgiving would be super cute too. Also, cat cookie cutters are always a good idea. Anything cat is always a good idea. Trust me.
Perfect for Afternoon Tea Parties!
You can use any type of bread, I used whole wheat because that’s always something I have in my refrigerator. Grab a bunch of pieces of bread and start cutting your shapes out.
This Stovetop 15 Minute Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese is made with 1 pot and 3 ingredients Grab your pasta, Velveeta cheese and broccoli and make this easy creamy homemade mac and cheese recipe for dinner soon! Kids will love how delicious it is! Adults will love how simple it is to make!
You guys, you’re going to love this Broccoli Macaroni and Cheese. It’s a real 1 pot, 3 ingredient, 15 minute meal and it’s one of my favorite cheesy pasta dishes.
1 pot – seriously.
3 ingredients – Noodles, cheese and broccoli. Boom, easy.
15 minutes – A real 15 minute meal. Not 15 minutes plus prep time. You might even finish in 13 minutes!
So Broccoli and Macaroni and Cheese was the only way to go. But with comfort food, I want it quick. That way I don’t have to get out of my warm blanket for more time. I could wear my pink house robe while cooking to stay warm, but trust me, noone wants to see that.