Category: I love…

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


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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Friday Fifteen: we’re back, and it’s SPRINGTIME!

Pink African violet in the sunshine.

Time to dust off all the old pots and fill ’em with new soil! Get those seeds ready! And break out the f*&!#in’ lemonade… It’s SPRING! And I am so excited.

This year I’m starting the year off with my garden bed all ready, and my yard all resodded. Is that a word? Anyway, yes, the garden. My little babes are growing like weeds. So far we have: Globe tomatoes, Pickler’s Hybrid and Pickling cucumbers, Baby Leaf Catalina Spinach, sugar snap peas, jalapeño, and Wild Arugula as well as chives, chocolate mint, sweet mint, and lemon balm. We’re currently  planning our garden bed extension, which will be to the left of the current one and will hold just as much, but be a different shape. You’ll just have to wait & see it! Also we will be creating a separate area for our cucumbers, since last year they got just a lil bit cray cray. Just a lil.

I haven’t done one of these since November, so I thought it was time.

Friday Fifteen: Spring | Sunny screened-in back porch.


1. As you (most likely) know, I got married April 3rd of this year! So I am currently celebrating one month and five days of being married… plus 12 years, 9 months and 27 days of being together. Ha. So on that note, I LOVE these invites/thank you’s from Royal Steamline. I loved my invites, and I still think they’re the coolest ever, but these are pretty freakin’ cool. Speaking of which, pictures to come, I swear!
2. My sister-in-law and her boyfriend bought us a ton of awesome stuff of our Crate & Barrel registry, including a bunch of barbecue items, like this corn griller basket. I can’t wait to make this grilled corn with chili butter recipe using it!
3. I want these spring rolls. Now, plz.
4. Being that the image above is of the potting bench Jay made me last year, I think it’s fitting that I link to a how-to on making a shed to house your garden tools.
5. And, in that same vein, here’s a how-to on starting a garden from seed, and a link explaining how to save the seeds from vegetables. Awesome instructionals!
6. If you, too, are growing cucumbers, then you’re going to need to browse the ‘pickles’ category. And if it’s your first time growing them- trust me.
7. I’m seriously into browsing vintage and antique rings lately; mainly the settings and details because of a project I’m planning for my mother’s engagement ring (that she gave me when I turned 21). The best inspiration can be found at Trumpet & Horn and Leigh Jay Nacht.
8. I love DIY projects, and I love a good cocktail… so why not make some fancy tumblers?
9. I found this awesome tutorial for a glowing table, and now I want one! But my question is: does the glowing powder come in a color other than blue?
10. Cilantro-Chile vinaigrette. All day.
12. I’m in loooooove with this Anthropologie dress. Oh, man. So spring-y and girly yet the black gives it a little edge and oomph.
13. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea (which is also why I’m putting it towards the end on our list), but Ask A Mortician on YouTube is incredibly interesting, funny and thought-provoking. So I’m throwing it out there… because really, its something we should all just face & come to terms with… and yes, maybe sometimes laugh at. Caitlin Doughty is very good at what she does and definitely manages to make it accessible and less scary-morbid.
14. I love these cedar planters. LOVE THEM. Now I need some (maybe brightly painted ?) wooden planters… *cough*Jay*cough*
15. And don’t forget- Sunday, May 10th is Mother’s Day here in the U.S.! Here’s a few pictures of the cupcakes I made for my mom. “Paris” cupcake liners & toppers by Meri Meri (they no longer make this one). In case you didn’t know, she’s a huuuuge Francophile! 

Mother's Day "Paris" cupcakes.Mother's Day "Paris" cupcakes.Mother's Day "Paris" cupcakes!Paris-themed Mother's Day cupcakes.(photo edit/HB1 filter by VSCOCAM, gold-rimmed plate- vintage Pyrex “flamingo” dinnerware)


Je T’aime, Momma Dukes, and to my new mother-in-law, and to all you lovely ladies who have procreated. And thank you on behalf of your (perhaps sometimes ungrateful) children.

A Novemberish Friday Fifteen.

Wow. It was a month ago that I last posted. Crazy, right? I apologize. First,  I had a water leaking issue in my kitchen that caused most of my upper cabinets to be ripped down (along with the walls behind them and ceiling above, etc), then for over two weeks I was very sick, and then when I recovered my cat got sick. $2,500 dollars later she’s finally better. Life throws you curveballs! So the blog had to take a backseat for a while.


But I’m back!

And I’m back with a Friday  Fifteen. Chock full of amazing fall/Thanksgiving/whatever awesomeness.

A Novemberish Friday Fifteen

1. Some of my favorite Thanksgiving-y pies: bourbon sweet potato pumpkin, black-bottom oatmeal, shoo-fly pie, salty honey pie, and winter squash pie with brandy whipped cream. You won’t be sorry if you stick with ANY of them.

2. Speaking of pie- 5 ways to prevent soggy pie crusts!

3. Here in New York, November has a tendency to be really rainy. I was desperately in need of new rain boots since ever single pair I had cracked and the rubber rotted. So I needed rubber rain boots (and snow boots too, so I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg on the rain boots- no Hunter’s this year) and so I got a pair of Sporto Nova’sLOVE THEM. The built-in gray “sock top” keeps cold air and rain from getting in the boots and they’re lined in a fleecy fabric. Great purchase! I highly recommend them. Plus they’re “cheap” enough that when the and if the rubber cracks, I won’t lament the cost. Now for snow boots, I’m thinking Sorel. We can get a lot of snow!

4. Want the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail? Apple snap cocktails from Joy the Baker win at life.

5. The two-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy came and went. Thankfully we’re safe from hurricanes this year! Or maybe I should hold my breath until December 1st?

6. In terms of coats for the upcoming season, I’m in love with this tipped peacoat, the stadium cloth boulevard trench in ‘neptune green, and the bow coat in ‘vibrant fuschia’, all from J. Crew.

7. I think I want some awesome Mason Jar lighting in my new kitchen.

8. Into the Woods! Into the Woods! I can’t wait. Check out the moving posters!

9. Delicious light meal for the fall/winter, this is it: Rainbow chard & roasted pear salad from Brooklyn Supper.

10. For a not-so-light side dish: bourbon glazed sweet potatoes from Kleio’s Greasy Spoon.

11. Now that my hair is finally getting longer, and it’s a pretty bright red now, I can plan on doing something like this with it.

12. My new beverage obsession: Trader Joe’s organic tea and lemonade. Yum. Like summer in a bottle.

13. As we’re thinking about getting married SOON- aka this winter, this shoot drew me in. Lovely. More traditional than I’m going for, but still.


15. I think I need to order like 6,000 pairs of these for the winter. $8 bucks a pop!

The Friday Fifteen: Summer’s “swan song.”

The beautiful restored carousel at Keansburg, NJ.The beautifully restored carousel at Keansburg, NJ


Two days before my birthday this year, my parents, Jay & I took a trip down to Keansburg, NJ. It was so much fun- I hadn’t been to the Jersey Shore in over 11 years, and I hadn’t been to Keansburg in over 15, so it was great to be back. Especially after Superstorm Sandy kicked the crap out of them two years ago, it was amazing to see how they’ve rebuilt! My family has been going to Keansburg for about 100 years; we used to own/rent homes down there & they spent the entire summer there. This photo is of my grandpa Butch (middle, with the cigarette) with (from left to right) Eugene, Marilyn, and Joey, my grandma Agnes’ siblings. And one of the Torpey boys being creepy in the door!

Grandpa Butch with Eugene, Marilyn & Joey at Keansburg, NJ, 1942.

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