Category: I love…

Joyeux anniversaire!

Kiss me! (celebrating our 1-year wedding anniversary)

A year ago this coming Sunday, April 3rd, I got all dressed up in a black dress, went to Manhattan City Hall and married one of my favorite guys. Then we ate a fantastic dinner with our families & close friends and partied it up to the wee hours of the morning.

I actually can’t believe it’s been a year– time flew by. Of course, it feels like we’ve been together forever because we have… it’ll be 13 years together (total) this July. It’s a crazy ride we’ve been on, from meeting as 19 year old “kids” to getting married & buying our first home. From my mother’s cancer diagnosis, to adopting our Indy boy, to my nana Agnes’s passing away, and then his grandma Dotty’s passing away, from my hyperthyroid illness to my hypothyroid state and it’s current bullshit, all the drama in-between, and all the good things like our engagement, anniversaries, birthdays, trips, concerts, European world tours, promotions, job successes, and of course, our marriage. And the day-to-day life isn’t so bad with this guy, either.

I love you, Jay. And its been a privilege and an honor to share my life with you the past (almost) 13 years. And this one year of marriage, even more so. I look forward to many more.

Rings on our invite.

And since I’ve shared so much of our lives with you, my readers, in the past couple (okay, not really a couple… more like over NINE YEARS!), I feel like we’re all family. So thank you all for being the best, and for always being so cool. I love you guys, too.

If you’re a new reader or if you just want to take a trip down memory lane with us, click the picture below to read the original wedding post from last year. Now that we’re a year out from it, I’m happier now than I was then about how we did it our way. I vehemently believe weddings are personal; no one should tell you how yours should be. Each one should be unique and true to who and what you are as a couple.

Click here to read all about our wedding | April 3, 2015

Authentic Irish soda bread with not-so-authentic whiskey butter.

Dutch oven irish soda bread.

I LOVE Irish soda bread. Love it. Actually, let me rephrase that: I love homemade Irish soda bread. The kind my mother and I make. I hate to break it to you: the raisins and caraway seeds in “Irish soda bread” are an American addition. I don’t find them too offensive; corned beef and cabbage is an American-Irish tradition as well, and my family has eaten it every St. Patricks Day since we’ve been in this country. However, that said, when I make my own bread I do not include them. I have occasionally, for fun, but on the regular I skip them. Probably because I don’t like raisins.

Most people make their soda bread on a baking sheet or sometimes in a cake pan. Traditionally, Irish soda bread was baked in a bastible, which is essentially a cast iron Dutch oven. It was made over hot coals or a fire, hanging in this bastible. So today, the recipe I’m sharing with you is made in just that: a Dutch oven. My Dutch oven is quite large- 7.25 qt. If you have a smaller one it will do just fine. I probably wouldn’t recommend going under 3.5/4 quarts, however.

Dutch oven irish soda bread.

Dutch oven irish soda bread.

And yes- if you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can use a cake pan, a pie plate or a baking dish and skip alla dis.

Irish soda bread is the EASIEST bread to make. It usually has super minimal ingredients, can be “kneaded” without much more than just a wooden spoon, it has no “rise” and it really is supposed to be rustic and rough looking. So it makes a perfect bread for beginners. If you’ve never made bread, this might be a really easy intro for you.

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All I want for Christmas, the 2015 blogger version.

Every year I know some of you are struggling to find the perfect gift for someone. So I thought I’d take a break from the baking to ask some blogger friends- with varied interests- to make lists of what they’re wishing for this year, to give you some ideas. From foodies to photographers, to people who love to sew and folks who love to travel and back again, there’s something unique on one of their lists to help you out, for sure. And of course, I added some of my own.

Yes, there’s like, barely 2 weeks to go and Hanukkah is over. But Kwanzaa doesn’t start until the 26th, and for the rest, you’re still better late than never!

Marilla, Cupcake Rehab

Hey Santa! Or whoever is looking to buy me gifts…

This year, I want an Eyefi Mobi, so that I don’t have to remove and re-plug my SD card into my Macbook every time I want to edit my Canon T4i photos. Which is A LOT- hello? I’m a blogger! This way, I can use the Eyefi Cloud and transfer my photos wirelessly onto both my iPhone and Macbook.

I totally love online shopping- but I especially love shopping on Etsy. It’s the best ever! I think I purchased 80-90% of my wedding stuff online, and out of that, probably 60% of it was from Etsy! Lately, I’m especially loving ParlorTattooPrints– most especially the Johnny Cash and Beetlejuice prints. Great for fans of art, movies, and music alike, as well as people who are just fans of old school tattoo flash.

If we wanna get really crazy, and talk about my dream wishlist, then I have to add Smeg to it. Smeg refrigerators, stand mixers, kettles, you name it.

While it will never replace the fun of making jam and jelly the old-fashioned way, I’m itching to try the Ball® FreshTECH Automatic Jam & Jelly Maker. I can imagine taking the guesswork out of the timing of tricky homemade jellies might be pretty cool. Jams are fairly easy on their own, but for low sugar jam that has to cook a bit longer or requires added pectin, and for jelly, I’d definitely use it!

I love old rings. Old cocktail or engagement rings, old bands, anything. They intrigue me, and I always wonder about who owned it originally or who had it made. As if this isn’t evidenced by my own vintage engagement ring! Anyway, I’d love a “right hand ring” like this one called Upminster from Trumpet & Horn. Circa 1915, with onyx and crazy detail? I’m sold.

Ariana, 3twentysix

No disrespect to those who pray or those that are spiritual but these candles are freaking gold!! I’m not much into praying but the idea of having the characters from Bob’s Burgers on a candle like this cracks me up. I probably won’t ever light them up but the idea of having them would light up my day!

I love my city! I may not have been born in Houston, but it’s raised me to be the proud southern that I am. Having this specific print in blue, my favorite color, showing neighborhoods and streets of my city makes me happy in so many ways. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I have any prints on my wall reppin’ for my city. What kind of aficionado am I? Haha!

I’ve always been a fan of big hoop earrings, but they’re annoying as hell, haha! I’ve been looking for hoops that cup my ear lobe and these look just right for my small lobes. Sterling Silver would definitely be the way to go for me!

I’m not as big as a book worm as I’d like to be but who can say no to this sweet Alice In Wonderland bookmark? I know folks are all into ebooks these days but nothing compares to turning the page on a book. Oh, and the smell of the paper!!

I’ve taken up bike riding with the husband and even though I’ve been majorly slacking (mostly because of the weather), I’ve been srsly thinking of getting myself a fannypack. It might sound a bit cheesy but I like them. I’m not sure when they became nerdy or uncool. I think it would be perfect for my cell, wallet and peanut M&M’s!

Mucho thank yous, Santa!

 Dana, Hot Pink Apron

This holiday season I am all about baking and cocktails. OK, let’s face it, I’m almost always all about baking and cocktails but there’s just something about Bing Crosby crooning and trips to an overpopulated mall that help justify my completely indulgent obsessions.

The biggest ask on my Wish List this year is a new food processor. After a heart breaking tumble off the countertop, my dear old food processor was forced into retirement. Cuisinart seems to have a few well-reviewed options but it’s the Braun 12-Cup Food Processor Ultra Quiet Powerful European that’s topping my list.

I also reeally, REALLY want an authentic ‘made in France’ Silpat silicone baking mat. As a food blogger, there is just something oh so sexy about photographing a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie against a golden threaded Silpat backdrop. Sure, parchment paper works but it is no Silpat… And for my fellow perfectionist, there is a Silpat Perfect Collection with visual guides for cookies, pretzels and scrumptious macarons.

Also, what avid cook would ever complain about getting fancy spices?? I’d love a pantry stocked saffron, dried lavender, gourmet sea salts, rubs, and vanilla pods. Anything to assist in creating luxurious foods but just fancy enough (i.e. costly enough) that I hardly ever buy them myself.

Now, to wash down all of the delicious homemade goodies of my future bakes, let’s talk cocktails. I am currently obsessed with bitters. Angostura bitters is pretty popular thanks to classic cocktails such as the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned but I’ve been exploring the world of concentrated flavourings since buying the book Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All with Cocktails, Recipes and Formulas. A bottle of rye or whiskey paired with an unusual bitters or cordial from Fee Brothers to play with would make a lovely gift.

I recently had a cocktail from New York’s Death & Company that featured a curry bitters, it was indeed unusual… and totally inspiring. The speakeasy styled bar released a cocktail recipe book last year that is absolutely topping my Wish List this year since it’s been classified ‘The definitive guide to the contemporary craft cocktail movement.’ by some pretty respectable amateur and professional bartender.

So, there you have it, Santa. You bring me the baking and boozy goods and I’ll upgrade your milk and cookies. Cheers! xo

 Yoyo, topstitch

I’ve been looking for a point and shoot camera for a while, then I saw this awesome red Canon PowerShot SX610 at Target. Favorite feature is the built in wi-fi connectivity.

I recently used this trimmer while visiting a friend. I instantly fell in love and it’s a must have for every crafter out there.

From recipes to DIY and everything in between. I love reading All You magazine every month.

Scones and coffee for breakfast and cornbread and chill for lunch! How perfect is this Nordicware pan! I love Nordicware.

I love sending postcards, so this Polaroid ZIP mobile printer is perfect for when I travel. I can send postcards right away. Imagine that!

A big thank you to my fellow bloggers who contributed to this little blurb! I hope it helps you get those last minute gifts, or even gives you an idea what to spend all your holiday money or gift cards on.

Now, we shall commence with the foodery!

Friday Fifteen time! November stuff to love.

It’s been like, a thousand years since I’ve done a Friday Fifteen. Or maybe just a year. Last November’s was the last post I made before getting really sick and ending up in the hospital, so that’s not really the best Friday Fifteen memory to leave everyone with. In case you aren’t aware, Friday Fifteen is a thing I do where a few Fridays a year I list 15 things I’m loving on the internet. Funny things, recipes, crafts, etc. Sometimes it’s stuff I post myself, most of the time however it’s from other blogs, websites, etc. And it’s always seasonally appropriate, of course.

So this year since I’m 100% better (or at least 98%), I’m going to continue moving forward with Friday Fifteen; but only when I find things I deem worthy. I won’t oversaturate you with it. That said, here we go…

Friday Fifteen: November stuff.

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This is Halloween!

Well I do sincerely hope you’re all decorated and ready for tomorrow. I hope you have your costumes, your candy and treats, and scary movies ready. And I also hope you’ve carved your jack-o-lanterns too! Don’t disappoint me, people.

My jack-o-lanterns are all carved up. See?

Trick or.... treat.

the 2015 jack-o-lanterns!

Every year I try and do something new or unique; last year I did Oogie Boogie & a dapper pipe-smoking pumpkin man in a fedora, the year before I did a cat and Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas, and the year before I did Edgar Allan Poe. And before that I did the Bride of Frankenstein and more (sadly the photos were shit because my old camera wasn’t the best). Some of those just can’t be topped, really, so this year I decided on doing just text, or typography. They came out pretty cool, I think.

I especially like the background effect of the “trick or treat” pumpkin. How did I do it? I carved “trick or” backwards on the top of the back of the hollowed-out pumpkin- after carving “treat” on the front. Ta-da! Instant pumpkin magic. Just be careful, measure carefully. You don’t want to see the back text through the cut-outs in the front.

In case you’re also in desperate need of some last minute edible inspiration, I’m here to help. Halloween party? I got you. Just lookin’ for some treats for the kids? Gotcha. A more adult take on Halloween? Yep. That too. Take a peek:

Have a (safe and) spooky night tomorrow. In the spirit of such, here’s my mother and I in the early 90’s… the original Hocus Pocus?

My mom and I in the early 90's- the original Hocus Pocus!

Another year older (and deeper in debt) …plus donuts.

Happy birthday to me! So, I am officially 34 years old! Holy balls. Time fucking flies, man. All you youngin’s out there, take heed. The years begin to move by so quickly you won’t have time to even comprehend it. Yes- another year has passed, and what a year it was! As the song says “Another year (day) older and deeper in debt…”

We faced illness and overcame it. We got married, and we bought a house. Here’s Lola (one of my favorite birthday gifts ever) at home, in her natural habitat: the kitchen.

Lola the mixer, at home.(Painting by the lovely and talented Mrs. Christine Comis-Villareal)

 

Lots of things can happen in one year, clearly. Lots of good, maybe some bad. But it all balances out in the end. I decided to skip the “Life List” this year, because honestly? After all the bullshit this year I’m just glad to be here- literally and figuratively. I’m thankful for so many things & people, thankful that I’m healthy and here to celebrate another birthday.

I’m also thankful for donuts.

Baked chocolate donuts with pink icing!

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“A little party never killed nobody…” (whoa- I’m married!)

Marilla + Jason | Pixel Perfect Photography | New York City Hall wedding #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides

Union by Robert Fulghum

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Holy crap. Yes, we’re married. I’m a Mrs.

First kiss as a married couple! | A New York City Hall wedding (Photo by Janai McNeil of Pixel Perfect Photography) #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides #nycbrides

We finally did it. After almost 12 years together, knowing each other for almost 15 and with  almost 2 of those years being engaged, we tied the knot/jumped the broom/took the plunge/bought the cow/hooked up the ball & chain/got hitched on Friday, April 3, 2015. And what a beautiful day it was.

Not so much weather wise. It was definitely still a mixture of “March” & early April (April showers & all that) in New York City weather time. And so it was rainy, but not heavy, just an annoying off-and-on drizzle that made NYC look even moodier than usual. It was gray, but it wasn’t even that cold (around 60° F), despite getting snow less than 2 weeks before. I didn’t so much mind the weather, to tell the truth. No one did. I actually quite liked it.

Dancing in the streets | A New York City Hall wedding (Photo by Janai McNeil of Pixel Perfect Photography) #bridesinblack #offbeatbrides #nycbrides

We planned this wedding in roughly 2 1/2 months. A little less. That’s it. Granted; I had already bought my dress a year before and we basically knew exactly what we wanted. But after I was so sick in December & hospitalized for two days, I realized we were stupid to wait any more. I mean, why? Add to that the deaths of the two NYPD police officers on December 20th, combined with the fact that the doctor told us about a patient with what I was close to- a thyroid storm- going into cardiac arrest and being resuscitated, I thought, WE ARE STUPID FOR WAITING. Why the hell didn’t we just do it right after we got engaged? No clue.

But we did it.

And we did it our way. Click on through to read EVERYTHING! And I do mean everything, so be prepared- there are a LOT of pictures here… A LOT. So here goes: my big fat wedding post!

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