Wednesday, October 31, 2012


On Monday, while Hurricane Sandy's winds battered against the windows, I realized that Anthony had proposed exactly one year ago during that crazy October snowstorm. It was a sweet thing to remember even if we were in a less than ideal situation. We had to evacuate our apartment early Monday morning due to extreme flooding and spent two days at my brother and sister-in-law's place waiting out the storm in safety. Wise words: when authorities tell you that there are going to be twenty foot storm surges after high tide and that you need to evacuate, just leave.

After watching hours and hours of storm coverage, all I can say is that I'm thankful. Thankful that we had a dry, warm place to stay, thankful that there was minimal damage to our home and my parents' house and my grandparents' home. I keep thinking about New York City just a mere distance away. The flooding, the blackouts, the hospital evacuations--the events from the last few days have been terrifying and I'm sending all of my very best thoughts south to New York.

We're lucky that only our parking lot is flooded, and that we only lost our cable and Internet. And we were lucky to just ride the storm out together. xo

 Our parking lot and the street in front of the parking lot

Our street

Sunday, October 28, 2012


We played a marathon game of Monopoly with friends last night and I won.  I never win at anything and I completely destroyed this game.  Not bad, considering I haven't played Monopoly in about fifteen years. #realestatemogul

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Nashville Is Killing It

Three episodes in and I'm totally hooked on Nashville. It's a modern-day country version of Dynasty, but with fewer shoulder pads and gorgeous actors who do their own singing.  I literally gasped at the end of tonight's episode.  I already cannot wait for next week's episode. xo

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Libraries, Book Love and Party Dresses

One of the things that bothers me most about living in Connecticut is how isolated I feel from the literary world, even though I'm quite close to New York City.  There are so few local readings and signings, so few writer groups.  It's like there's this huge community so close, but yet so far away, and I'm lucky if I can travel in to attend one event per year.

With that, I guess I don't really need to tell you how thrilled I was to learn that Emma Straub was going to be at the Darien Library.  She's the author of one of my favorite short story collections and just came out with a novel that I cannot wait to read called Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures.  The reading was fabulous (Emma read two passages from her new book), and I loved the question-and-answer session at the end.  The questions were thoughtful and interesting, and honestly, Emma was so sweet and nice that I think she would have answered questions all night if people kept asking (you know you like how I'm saying 'Emma' like we're friends, right? ha!).

So at the end when I lined up with all of the extremely beautiful and well-dressed (lots of leopard print in the crowd) Darien ladies (yes, I was wearing corduroys and using a tote bag as a purse, why do you ask?), my shyness ruled and I became an awkward fangirl.  I think I told Emma how much I loved her short story collection.  I think I told her how much I enjoyed her reading. But I didn't tell her which of her short stories were my favorites (Puttanesca and the Franny stories) and I didn't gush about how exciting I think it is that she worked with Lorrie Moore.  I didn't even ask her if she liked writing short or long fiction better.  Social anxiety is no joke, my dears.

What I can say now though is that I had a great time last night listening to wonderful fiction surrounded by people who love books.  Thanks so much to the Darien Library and to Emma Straub for such a wonderful event.  xo

P.S. Emma was rocking an adorable pink party dress and brought a batch of homemade brownies to the reading. I don't think she could have been sweeter.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Mondays

I brought a plate of pumpkin pie streusel bars to work today and put them out in the communal kitchen, where they were eaten very quickly by my co-workers.  Sometimes it's nice to be nice, especially on a Monday.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Autumn, aka Corn Mazes are Kind of Scary

I don't like being scared and I hate dressing up.  Obviously, Halloween is not my favorite day, but I do love fun activities so I was all for a trip with a friend to a giant corn maze last week.

Now I know why scary movies always seem to have people walking around lost in corn fields.  It took about an hour to maneuver through the maze and it was daytime, but I still got a slight panicked feeling when we hit another deadend or when the corn rustled for no reason.  We couldn't see over the stalks so I wound up feeling a bit trapped too.  Spooky.

Also, does anyone know what farmers do with these hay rolls? And how do they get them like that? Do they unroll them for the horses? So many questions about farm life from this city girl. xo

Monday, October 15, 2012

That Trendy Spaghetti Squash

Have you ever had spaghetti squash? I'm not a squash/zucchini person but this fall seems to be the season of the spaghetti squash so I decided to get with the trend. Once I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds and sprinkled with salt and pepper, the only thing left to do is let the squash roast for an hour.  When it's done, I scraped with a fork and wound up with a bowl full of a healthy bizarro version of angel hair pasta. I actually really liked it , although the consistency is odd. Bonus: this is the easiest side dish to make and I believe even the most inexperienced chef can pull it off successfully.

I was also able to use my new apple slicer, which I bought six months ago at a Pampered Chef dem (I didn't know what else to buy; $100 for a terracotta-like sheet pan that I'll never use didn't seem like a logical purchase).  It took me almost a half hour to cut up the apples for my apple crisp but the results were delicious and tasted just like autumn.

Currently, I'm sporting a huge bandage on the top of my right hand due to a mishap involving a hot oven and an even hotter Pyrex casserole dish filled with apple goodness. I'm calling it a battle scar and just patiently waiting until it's healed so I can stop applying neosporin.

How was your weekend? xo

Friday, October 12, 2012

What's for Lunch?

Just a few years ago, New Haven had only two food trucks. Now, there are six to ten that rotate around the city, parking on the streets during lunchtime. I visited the Fryborg truck for the first time today with a co-worker and it was more than worth the trip. 

The menu is simple with Belgium-style french fries, grilled cheese sandwiches, dessert grilled sandwiches and a variety of drinks.  I ordered the special of the day, a Black Forest melt on pumpernickel, which was pretty good but needed more time to cook.  The fries were yummy and you get to pick your own dipping sauces from a large list of choices (the Old Bay mayo ruled).  The real stand-out though was my co-worker's sandwich, which was a combo of warm marshmallow fluff and peanut butter on grilled white bread.  It was so delicious that I think I may actually have to break down and buy a jar of fluff so I can make one for Anthony.

I mean, New Haven's food truck scene isn't as hopping as it is in New York, but it's definitely growing.  Everyone deserves a chance to buy gourmet food from a converted bread delivery truck, right? xo

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Target Finds

A trip to Target is never boring.  Here are some highlights from my last visit:

Halloween = Unicorn costumes for infants and toddlers
("My horn can pierce the sky." --The Office)

Next to the Halloween section was an emerging Christmas section. My favorite item? The glittering, light-up holiday lawn flamingo.

Method sprays and soaps with Orla Kiely-designed packaging were on sale. Irresistible.  I chose a practicable all-purpose cleansing spray with a ginger-pear scent.

Also, I bought a new conditioner that smells like fruit punch and I now find myself craving Hawaiian Punch after every shower.  All in all, good times.  xo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Little Music For a Wednesday Night

Have you ever seen Stranger Than Fiction? Anthony and I saw it a few years ago when it first came out and it's a movie that really stayed with me. As a writer, I'm half in love/half terrified of the theory that the characters I create in my fiction might actually be real.  There's a part that I think about often when Will Ferrell's character brings his love interest, Maggie Gyllenhaal, a box of flours because she's a baker.  Whoever thought that a box of flours would be more romantic than a bouquet of flowers?

P.S. This is a clip of my other favorite part. xo

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's Not Autumn Without a Trip to the Orchard

Every fall, Anthony and I go apple-picking.  It's a trip that I look forward to every year; we take our time walking the rows of trees, fill two large bags with apples, stop off at the farm store for cider doughnuts and then head home so I can make apple crisp, which we usually eat for dinner.

When we woke up on Sunday, it was overcast, but we decided to head to the orchard anyway.  Yeah, that's right. We apple-pick in the rain. 

Yesterday, I had three apples for lunch. And on deck for this weekend: apple pie.  Welcome, October. xo

Monday, October 8, 2012

Movie Mondays: Happy Edition

Happy Columbus Day, everyone! Most people are off today, but I'm scheduled to be in the office. Anthony is out of town for work most of this week, but we had a nice, albeit rainy, weekend before he left.  And with this wonderful crisp weather, it finally feels like October.

Saturdays have become our day to explore Netflix streaming options.  Last week, we watched the first season of Portlandia and this week, we watched the documentary, Happy.  I've been into documentaries lately (thumbs up to Being Elmo and Kings of Pastry, which both made me cry), and after reading that Joanna from A Cup of Jo put Happy on her list of top docs, I was excited to watch.

This documentary is half science, half social science, and explores the feeling of being happy.  Some of the poorest countries in the world rank higher on the "happiness" meter than America; what's bogging us down? Simply put, lots of things contribute to our happiness levels, but we can ultimately make ourselves happier.  People who are driven by intrinsic goals (relationships, personal growth) are generally happier than others who are driven by extrinsic goals (money, image), and supportive friends and family make people happy. 

The clips interspersed between the stats feature people who have had misfortune but still find a way to be happy. The communal living situations in Denmark were so interesting (20 families in one large house by choice!) along with the man who works at the Home for the Dying in India caring for terminally ill people. The film made me feel very human and as the credits rolled, I actually felt a bit happier. It's all about mindset and appreciating what you have, not what you need, and I'll be the first to admit it's easy to forget that sometimes.

What did you do this weekend? See any good movies? xo