Category: I love…

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

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

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)

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)

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.
11. And HOMEMADE SAMOAS?!? ARE YOU SERIOUS???
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.

*sigh*

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.

14. MUST GO TO NUTERIA!

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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Friday Fifteen: Summer love.

Old bottles filled with flowers on the porch table, mixed with Ball jars & candles. Classic.

Wow, it’s been forever since I did a Friday Fifteen! As a matter of fact, it was about 6 months ago. Sorry about that, guys. Bad blogger. But I’m back in action now… and I’ve got some sweet stuff to share! Tomorrow is the first official day of summer, so let’s run with that. SUMMER TIME, AND THE LIVIN’S EASY.

(Ten points to you if you immediately began rapping “And Bradley’s on the microphone with Ras M.G.” An extra 10 points if you then began thinking of Porgy & Bess. Zero points awarded to you if no song went through your head at all after reading that.)

But however many points you have in this little game, it doesn’t matter. Because it is, indeed, summertime. Or at least it will be in two days.

Friday Fifteen: Summer love.

  1. Tea lights in mason jars & flowers in old soda bottles. Like you see above, it’s just classic for summer nights. Add a traditional red gingham tablecloth and you’re set. Plus, it’s a really cheap but beautiful way to decorate for a summer party.
  2. Uhm YOU GUYS. Speaking of parties- I bought my WEDDING DRESS(!!). It’ll only be a year on June 20th that we’ve been engaged… figured I should get around to doing some planning now. Haha. And I also started looking at venues! I might actually get married sometime this decade. EXCITING.
  3. Now that the weather is warm, I’m DYING for fresh bruschetta. Bring on tomato season, already, please. PLEASE.
  4. It’s also now seafood season. On Long Island, where I live, were surrounded by beautiful water so there’s always lots of fish to be eaten. Which makes me crave some Southern pickled shrimp; and don’t worry- it’s not what you think! There’s no vinegar involved.
  5. Speaking of shellfish: how does a Connecticut-style lobster roll sound? Pretty damn good, right?
  6. One of the coolest ideas ever… a BUNDT PAN HANGING FLOWERPOT. I have to do this with the copper bundt pan that belonged to grandma Dotty, ’cause seriously it’s this exact one.
  7. STRAWBERRY LAVENDER CARAMEL. Yes.
  8. If you’re a salsa lover, I highly recommend Gustavo’s Salsa. It’s a local business (based out of Brooklyn, NY). If you like smoky flavor & a versatile salsa that can just as easily be used as a marinade then this is for you. Make the effort to order some- it’s made in small batches & well worth the shipping fee. Seriously. Buy some.
  9. If you’re in or around the NYC area, think about taking a trip to the Queens County Farm Museum (especially if you have kids). I wrote all about it last year, and I think it’s a really enjoyable way to spend a day! Plus, if you purchase eggs or flowers from them, you’re supporting their efforts. You can also go to their website & “fund a farm animal“!
  10. Theres a chunky salsa I buy in my local market that’s made by them on premises, & it has cucumber & jalapeño in it. I love it! The cool cucumber and the heat of the jalapeño combined with the tomatoes & onion makes it extra special. So this watermelon salsa intrigues me.
  11. If you’re looking for the perfect easy summer cocktail, no muddling, no mixing & no complicated ingredients… then this is the one for you: a Woodchuck Shandy. Two ingredients, plus a slice of lemon.
  12. And if you have kids, here’s a kid friendly drink: sun tea! You can brew it right outside your front door on a crazy hot day & watch it brew! Or… you can make some cold-brew tea in your fridge on a rainy day. Get the directions here.
  13. I am loving Penny Dreadful on Showtime. Creepy, gory, summer-TV-show goodness.
  14. My new favorite coffee: Native Roaster‘s NYC Diesel. Amazing coffee by another local (this time Queens-based) company. Gotta support our local businesses! And when they’re this good, it’s easy to do. I’ve been making myself a full French press of it a few times a week, and saving half for iced coffee. You might’ve seen this photo of it on my Instagram.
  15. I’m super psyched because I get to use this awesome DIY potting bench Jay made for me on the regular. From transplanting herbs, rooting seedlings and planting new plants, to clipping & sorting fresh flowers to make arrangements, and even as an outdoor buffet table when we eat outside. It’s been so convenient! And it took him ONE DAY to make! If you have Kreg tools & want to make your own, here are the instructions.

DIY potting bench using a Kreg jig (link for instructions).

Amish baking at it’s best… Shoo-fly pie.

Amish Shoo-fly pie.

Shoo-fly pie is one of those extremely interesting pies that’s really nothing more than sugar. It’s a goo-pie, really. Made with sticky molasses & sugar. And a little flour, and baking soda. But mostly sugar.

Obviously, it’s one of my favorite things.

So back when Jay surprised me with a new cook book, I was pleased to find out that it was this one!

The Amish Cook's Baking Book (and a recipe for shoo-fly pie!)

It’s filled with amazing pies & cakes & cookies & Amish stories. The first thing I wanted to make was the shoo-fly pie.

However, truth be told, I was hesitant to try to make a shoo-fly pie. See, Dutch Haven in Lancaster, PA makes THE BEST shoo-fly pie, ever, and I’ve eaten enough of it to know. Most shoo-fly pies aren’t as sweet as theirs, and that’s what I love about it. It’s a lot to live up to. Trust me, I know this well. Jay & I once went in three times in one day to sample it (they offer everyone who enters a sample!). We bought three to take home. And ate them. In like a week. So yes, I know all too well the high standard of shoo-fly pie.

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Sad news, pickled asparagus & such.

Before I start getting into recipes, I’m sorry to say it’s been a difficult few days for us- Jay’s grandma Dotty passed away on Saturday. We’re all really torn up, we adored her. She was an amazing cook & an amazing grandma. She wasn’t my grandma by blood but I couldn’t have loved her more if she was. What a beautiful soul, inside & out (as you can see). I’m sorry that I won’t be making her her much-requested apricot or strawberry sugar-free jam this year… she’ll be missed terribly.

My heart hurts.

Grandma Dorothy Liff October 2, 1923 - March 29, 2014.Dorothy Liff ¤ October 2, 1923 – March 29, 2014

 

This recipe was written up last week, ready to go, & Grandma Dotty was big into cooking (which I’ll be writing more about very soon). She’d have wanted to hear more about all my recipes, or what I was making, so here it is. There’s no segue into this… and I feel weird doing so… but away we go.

We’re all patiently waiting for spring, right? I mean it technically IS spring. But we’re all waiting for it to get more spring-y. So spring veggies are a good sign, no? Now, let me just say: I don’t like asparagus. Not one bit. That said, it’s everywhere in the springtime, rearing its weird little pointy kinda flowery little  heads all over the place.

Pickled asparagus recipe!

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