Friday, May 31, 2013

Night Out

Last weekend, we were finally able to visit Murray's Cheese Bar. There couldn't have been a better place to duck into for dinner on a cold, rainy night.

There was no way that I was could possibly eat at this restaurant without ordering a cheese plate.  Anthony wouldn't let me take a photo of the plate before we devoured it but as you can see from the remains, or lack thereof, it was delicious. I even had a bite of the charcuterie selection, which was some kind of thinly-sliced cured ham. I so wish I had written down the names of cheeses that we enjoyed (I so want that slate slab, by the way).

For entrees, we ordered the macaroni and cheese and the grilled cheese which came with a small bowl of tomato soup. I could eat an entire pot of the macaroni and cheese, no joke.

So overall, Murray's Cheese Bar was totally worth the wait. The staff was awesome (one of the dudes even brought over this amazing sriracha-type sauce for us which we tried on everything we ordered), and the vibe was super chill. The best part is that afterward we were able to walk two doors down and visit Murray's Cheese, which is one of my favorite places in the city. I want to buy a pound of every cheese in the cases and a box of every type of crackers on the shelves.

And how could we walk by Amy's Bread without stopping in? My orange sugar cookie was so good that I think it should be the official snack of my summer.

What a great night out, if I do say so myself. xo

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sprawling Art

When in New York, I always try to take a walk through Madison Square Park. I love how many different things are packed into this space.  There's a really cool playground along the north edge and at the south edge, there's always a snaking line for the Shake Shack. In between the two are paved paths, families with toddling children, lots of dogs, plenty of benches and always some kind of art installation. It's just such a friendly patch in the middle of the bustling Flatiron district.

The giant pieces that are display now are so beautiful and cheerful. The artist intricately wove thick painted nautical rope to form giant waves.  Don't they look like they belong in a Dr. Seuss book? So perfect for summer.

Sidenote: Does anyone know what kind of flowers these are? I love that they are basically large pompoms balancing on top of a tall, thin stem. If I'm ever lucky enough to have a yard of my own, I'm definitely planting some. xo


I feel like the last book-lover in the country to go and see The Great Gatsby but seriously, it was worth the wait.  I loved it, although I must admit that I'm partial to Baz Luhrmann's work since his version of Romeo & Juliet from 1996 is one of my favorite movies ever.  I really think Gatsby is one of the best screen adaptations I've ever seen.

Although I wasn't crazy about Tobey Maguire as Nick Carraway (he reminded me of someone I went to high school with, but I'm not going to hold that against him), the casting of Carey Mulligan as Daisy was perfect. Leonardo DiCaprio was able to express the gamut of Gatsby's emotions right to the end. And even though I knew what was coming, I held my breath during the climax and let myself look deep into Gatsby's eyes as the camera closed in on his face before the shot was heard.

Visually, The Great Gatsby is just beautiful. At times, it seemed like the scenes were happening in slow-motion and fast-motion simultaneously, if that makes any sense.  The vibrant, almost saturated color palate and the contemporary soundtrack fit into the story perfectly. Oh, and the party scenes are amazingly jam-packed with hundreds of extras, all gorgeously dressed, singing, drinking and dancing. Luhrmann skillfully used these things to enhance Fitzgerald's story instead of distract from it.

Have you seen the movie? What did you think? Did you want to wear great headbands like Daisy and drive in fast cars after the credits ran or was I the only one? xo

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Reasons to be Happy


When I read that Jenna Fischer was going to be in Neil LaBute's 'Reasons to be Happy' after the Office finished filming, I went online and bought tickets. The play sounded great, and honestly, I'd go and see Ms. Fischer in anything. (Have you watched The Giant Mechanical Man with her and Chris Messina? It's streaming on Netflix right now and so worth it). Plus, the Lucille Lortel Theater is in the West Village so we were able to get an awesome dinner at Murray's Cheese Bar before the show (more on that later).

The theater was tight, but in a good way. We were about ten rows back and I still felt like I could reach out and touch any of the actors on stage. Anthony and I both commented about the Nirvana songs that were playing before the show, and once the show started, we realized that Nirvana was the soundtrack, played only between the scenes and then swiftly clicked off when the lights flashed on. The music really worked perfectly with the storyline.

That mint green retro bike by the theater was adorbs. I almost took it for a ride 
around the block while we waited.

And most importantly, we really enjoyed the play. The acting was wonderful, the story true to life, and the dialogue was extremely realistic. The sets are simple and there are only four characters; at no point are they all on the stage at the same time. Jenna Fischer's character Steph is so unlike her Office role of Pam Beesly so it was really refreshing to see her in this part, complete with lots of obscenities and even a couple of scenes where she goes at her ex-husband arms-swinging.

I'm not a theater buff but I'd recommend 'Reasons to be Happy.' If you've seen it, let me know what you thought! xo

Bonus: the ushers were kind of cranky and when this fancy older couple came in, the wife immediately asked a female usher to direct her to the concession stand. Not the best idea. Apparently, there isn't a concession stand and she wasn't afraid to tell them that. Classic.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer's Kick-Off

For today's barbecue at my parents' house, I made these cinnamon-sugar cookie bars:

This cake tastes just like a giant snickerdoodle cookie. Love. And it looks so much better after my brother plated it like he was at a fancy restaurant. It's fun to have a professional chef in the family to make even the simplest of dishes look elegant.

Also, I came across these awesome seltzers near the checkout at Stop & Shop:

There were a bunch of new flavors but I only bought the Pomegranate Sangria and Mint Mojito. I may be biased since I'm a seltzer-lover but they were amazing, the kind of drinks that are perfect for a warm day, but would also be perfect in a cocktail.

And just like that, it's the end of the long weekend. Summer is here, kind of. xo

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Found: Best Ice Cream Sandwich

As a short reprieve from the sideways rain yesterday, Anthony and I detoured through Madison Square Eats.  The weather deterred people from walking through the temporary food festival tents so we didn't have to fight the crowd to get to the Melt cart.  I had reservations about getting an ice cream sandwich since we were freezing but I cannot describe how delicious it was. The homemade snickerdoodle cookies were super crispy and the cinnamon ice cream was so unbelievably rich but not overly sweet. I want to go back and try all of the other flavors. This is definitely going to be a treat that I try to replicate at home this summer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Umm, I'm Not a Movie Critic but...

We watched Bachelorette tonight and I can't tell you how happy I am that I didn't spend money to see this movie in the theater. I love female comedies, and I truly love funny women. On a good day, I even consider myself to be kind of funny. This movie is not funny. If you can tell me where the humor is in a group of three mean, drug-addled, half-coherent messes who sabotage their friend's wedding because of their own jealousies, I'll force a fake laugh for you.

I can't remember the last movie I've seen that I wanted to turn off after a mere five minutes. I stuck with it though (I'm no quitter) and even though the end wasn't good, it was better than the first half. Shouldn't there be a character or two in a movie with at least one redeeming quality? I'm not talking about purely likable characters, but one that I don't want to strangle would be nice.

I liked Bridesmaids but I don't consider it a true comedy. Kristen Wiig has a legitimate mental breakdown near the end of the movie and because it seemed so real and raw, I don't see how people can laugh and not feel badly. But Bachelorette, in its crudeness and rudeness, left out the comedy and the heart.

Whew, okay, I'm done. Has anyone else seen this movie? I hope I wasn't the only one who was compelled to become a movie critic when the credits started rolling.

P.S. I love you, Kirsten Dunst. Please pick roles you deserve! xo

Random #ThrowbackThursday

I don't normally write #tbt posts, but this is one of my favorite photos. Here's my dad and I in a mall photobooth in 1987:

This is the top photo of the strip; in the second and third pictures, we're smiling normally, and in the last one, I'm looking away from the camera. My father is trying to get me to look forward for the final picture before the flash goes off without success. With my dad's afro and my puffy-sleeved shirt, this can either be a photo from the 1980's or a photo from last week. Fashion trends are cyclical, for real. xo

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Tea Party Time

I went to a bridal shower in New Jersey today for a friend from college.  Per the invitation, I knew that the shower was being held at a tea room so essentially, I was walking into a tea party for grown-ups.  I fretted for days about what to wear; I am totally unprepared wardrobe-wise for an event like this.

But even though I showed up in a regular dress and black cardigan, sans a fascinator, it was a real experience to sip fancy tea and eat scones all afternoon. I don't like cucumber sandwiches but I sure do love jam and clotted cream.  And this was the first time that someone used my married name, although I haven't officially dropped my maiden name yet. (I might hyphenate--any thoughts?) I even won a bottle of wine in a raffle, although to be fair, every attendee won something.

Joyous celebrations always make rainy days better.  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Here's hoping for a great week ahead. xo

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Sweater

I heard this song on the radio today and fell in love. This band, The Neighbourhood, is new to me but it's clear that their single, "Sweater Weather" is going to be everywhere really soon.

It sounds like the soundtrack to my next short story.

Monday, May 13, 2013

One Month


At this time exactly one month ago, I was saying my marriage vows to Anthony in front of a church filled with friends and family.  I actually don't remember as much about the ceremony as I thought I would. Between my dress and shoes, it took a lot of effort not to fall over on the altar, and I was very aware of the group of people in back of me watching my every move.

I was also very aware of Anthony though, so close next to me in his suit with the polka-dot tie that we picked out together. That was just the beginning of a new chapter in our lives; we're not erasing all of the wonderful years that we've already been a couple, we're just adding to those memories.

So, happy one-month anniversary to my husband. I know that time goes by quickly but I promise to try to take advantage of every minute. And as long as we're with one another, I know I'll be forever happy. xo

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Scenes from a Weekend: Mother's Day Edition

Between Mother's Day, the rain showers and tons of blooming flowers, this was the quintessential spring weekend, and it was an extremely busy weekend at that. We were running around like crazy most of the time, but we were able to visit with lots of family and friends and even spend some time outside. It's that time of year when you can wear short-sleeves during the day but still have to wear a sweater in the chilly night air. Just perfect.

Flower beds outside of Anthony's mother's house.

I made five dozen onesie cookies for a baby shower on Saturday.  The icing didn't completely set because of the humid weather but they were so cute that no one seemed to care.

I love this flower topiary of a dog at this fancy Greenwich florist. Honestly, if he wasn't $75, I probably would have bought him for our living room.

Here's Lola, the cutest little fluffball, a.k.a. my brother and sister-in-law's kitty. Anthony is allergic to cats but still cannot stop himself from playing with her and her big brother, Chimi, when we visit.

Baskin Robbins sold these Mother's Day ice cream cakes in the shape of purses this year. We drove 20 minutes out of the way in order to get one for Sunday, embarrassingly enough (fyi, the handles are just straws covered in frosting and therefore, not edible).

I love all of the pink petals that have gathered on the sidewalks. They remind me 
of pink fluffy sprinkles, even when they are wet from the rain.
So things are getting back to normal here, slowly, and the week ahead promises to be a wonderful one. Anthony's graduation is on Friday and we're both really looking forward to celebrating. And I just booked a short trip to New Hampshire for the end of June so if you have any Portsmouth must-sees, send them along. I hope you all had wonderful weekends--I'm going to enjoy the last of my Sunday night by watching Heavyweights, a truly fantastic mid-90's movie. xo

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Push Through

I'm bouncing back from a stomach bug of sorts and am really in need of some motivation to push me through the rest of the week. This peppy Anna Kendrick song is what I've been humming all day. The synchronized cup flipping is beyond impressive. Wishing you all a cheerful Tuesday. xo

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Topping It Off

Weddings cost so much and while we were planning, I found myself really thinking about every purchase that I made. Some things just seemed ridiculously priced ($1,500 for four hours of DJ services when Anthony and I were choosing all of the songs? Does the DJ double as a cardiac surgeon?). Other things I knew I would never use again but still thought they'd make a difference on our actual wedding day, like my beaded headband from Anthropologie. There's no disputing that this has been a very expensive year.

One thing that I am happy that I purchased is this kickass cake topper from Etsy seller Lollipop Workshop. At the time, it seemed silly to buy such an extravagant accessory for a cake that would be on display for mere hours, but this personalized topper is really special to me for some reason.  Maybe it's the care that I know went into creating it especially for us. I already have a place for it on top of a bookcase in our living room.

Thanks so much to the Lollipop Workshop for creating this cake topper in our likeness (seriously, there was a really long form to fill out for all of the minute details, right down to the polka dots on Anthony's tie). We have a wonderful memento that will be on display for years to come. xo