Category: the friday fifteen!

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).

Friday Fifteen: COLD.

Snowy railings in New York.

Sheesh. It’s only January 17th, and we’ve already been hit with a pretty big  “first snowstorm” of the year. It’s also been pretty damn cold, I mean 25° F for the daily HIGH has been considered a good day! Actually no, the best day so far was last Saturday; 50° and pouring rain. But its winter, right? What else do we expect? Especially here in the Northeast.

And so here we have the newest Friday Fifteen, aptly titled “COLD.” Filled with tons of warming & comforting things… so take a look!

Friday Fifteen: COLD

  1. When it’s really cold, and you don’t want to leave the warmth of your bed in the morning… sometimes you need something like Guinness ginger cake to boost your morning routine. What? The alcohol burns off… *wink*
  2. Hand-knit socks. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
  3. I love this easy one-pot stove top mac ‘n’ cheese recipe from White on Rice Couple. Really quick & no baking needed! Throw away those boxes of Velveeta & Kraft- this is just as easy, and better.
  4. For me, winter is bread making time. I want to bake something every day, probably because any excuse to have the oven on is welcome, and the best thing to make frequently is bread (because it’s eaten almost every day!). My favorite bread to make is either a simple no-knead bread or beer bread, although I love me some sourdough too. If you’re into putting in a bit more effort, try making a French bread, basic Levain or rosemary & olive oil Levain bread this winter, you’ll see it’s not as hard as it looks! (and also pardon my old blog photography *cringe*)
  5. I’m really into baking with spent brewing grain again, lately. Thanks to the Brooklyn Brew Shop‘s Spent Grain Chef for the inspiration.
  6. I want to make a rug like this for our bathroom! In dark blue, black, light gray and white, I think, since that’s our scheme. It’s so cute.
  7. Salted Rocky Road fudge from Shutterbean. Uhm… yes please!
  8. I’m into listening to really old school country & folk music lately. Foreverly, Norah Jones & Billie Joe Armstrong’s take on the Everly Brothers Songs Our Daddy Taught Us is awesome.
  9. Spice infused milk, kind of a homemade coffee creamer, is great to have on cold winter mornings. It’s easy to make, stores pretty well and you can customize it 100%! I think you could probably use a light or heavy cream as well.
  10. If that isn’t your thing, how about homemade chai?
  11. Joy the Baker‘s French onion puff pastries are a must this winter, especially for Jay, who loves French onion soup!
  12. And in other mini-pie or pastry news, how about Well Preserved‘s apple hand pies with maple syrup, whiskey and sour cream? Whoa.
  13. I know its a long way off… but rumor is the new American Horror Story theme is “Circus.” CAN’T WAIT!
  14. I LOVE blood oranges! And the best way to use up all those oranges is marmalade. Thanks to Love & Olive Oil, you can make blood orange marmalade: three ways.
  15. Since the season of love is upon us, open your heart to a shelter pet! And if you can, maybe a special needs pet. Get some inspiration from The Remi Project.

Also… if you’re reading this, and you AREN’T a fan of Cupcake Rehab on Facebook… WHY NOT? Be sure to click like, and then click ‘get notifications.’ That way you won’t miss out on anything.

Holiday Friday Fifteen!

By now you should all know the deal with the Friday Fifteen. If not, then here it is in a nutshell: every few weeks (or whenever the mood strikes) I make a list of fifteen things that I’m currently into/are seasonal/I find interesting/etc. I do it on Fridays, hence the name: Friday Fifteen.

This is the first one of December & the last one before Christmas, so it’s the holiday edition!

The Friday Fifteen: Merry Christmas!

  1. The Sound of Music is traditional Christmas movie fare ’round these here parts. I can still remember being little & watching it while baking in my new E-Z-Bake oven. While Carrie Underwood did an admirable job with a (LIVE) iconic role last week, & I do love me some Stephen Moyer, but for me, there’s only ONE Maria & ONE Capt. Georg Von Trapp: Dame Julie Andrews & Christopher Plummer.
  2. If you’ve got some bad-asses on your Christmas list this year, then you should make them some “Lump of Coal” cookies! They’re a super dark chocolatey cookie that you crumple up to mimic coal. Much better to get THAT in your stocking, right?
  3. Or… maybe some polka dot cupcakes & homemade hot cocoa? Who doesn’t like hot cocoa?
  4. My new favorite blog: Fabric Paper Glue. I’m in LOVE with her dark navy living room, and I can so relate to her most prized possession post; especially because it’s very similar to mine. It’s a blog that’s full of amazing inspiration & tons of character. I’m glad I found it!
  5. Gingerbread houses!
  6. The smell of my fresh cut tree & white pine roping is making me deliriously happy. If you don’t have real cut evergreens in your house, may I suggest Yankee Candle’s “Mistletoe” scented candle & Slatkin & Co.’s “Fresh Balsam” air spray? They’re both clean, fresh, crisp & embody the perfect Christmas smell.
  7. If you can this season, open your heart & your home to a shelter pet. I’ve rescued more pets in my life so far than I can count, and each & every one was worth it. Every town has at least one local shelter, but if you don’t know of any there’s always Petfinder.com.
  8. 7-layer magic bars are one of my favorite Christmas treats. They’re also really easy to make & since they’re so rich, a little goes a long way! I think they might deserve a re-do on the blog this year.
  9. Downton Abbey comes back January 5th! I cannot wait!
  10. I’m in love with these pinecone Christmas trees from Scissors and Spoons. Definitely on my “must make” list.
  11. Another one of my favorite movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is in heavy rotation right now… which means this t-shirt is much needed for Christmas.
  12. I always wanted a little vintage pink tinsel Christmas tree.
  13. This paper tree DIY from A Spoonful of Sugar is extremely appropriate for me. Don’t you think?
  14. Now that it’s cold I’m once again obsessed with cowls & scoodies. What winter accessories are you into?
  15. I posted these DIY painted wooden spoons months ago, but they’re a really great idea for a handmade gift or stocking stuffer. You can even make them to match a really easy-to-sew handmade apron! (paint colors shown below: “Scallion” & “Florentine Gold”)

DIY painted-handle wooden spoons!

A turkey-themed Friday Fifteen.

Whoa, you guys. All of a sudden both Halloween & Dia de Los Muertos are over and its time to get ready for… Thanksgiving? (Or Christmas, if you believe the stores. Put the stockings away, people. It’s NOT time for that yet! It’s time for TURKEY!)

WOW. Where did the time go? Tomatoes & peaches turned into gourds & pumpkins before I had time to even realize it. And now Halloween is over!

Doesn't everyone match their pumpkins to their walls?

It’s still time for pumpkins though; no matter what the retail establishments say. I don’t know, call me crazy, but I kinda like having Thanksgiving be Thanksgiving. No Christmas lights yet, no trees. Just a lot of food! And I also kinda like the coordinated pumpkin thing going on in that picture there. First time I’ve ever bought a pumpkin that matched my walls… but it works! I likey. Oh, and pardon my 20-year-old busted up Converse there. It is a hallway/foyer/entryway, after all. I already showed you the front door/chalkboard last month.

Okay so, suffice it to say this Friday Fifteen isn’t really all about turkey, per se. But it is about Turkey Day, or Thanksgiving. Close enough. Enjoy!

 

A turkey-themed Friday Fifteen!

  1. This story isn’t really funny… but yet it kinda is in a twisted way. More so it’s one of those “I can’t believe it” kind of stories, and since it involved a turkey I felt the need to share it. A few months back, a wild turkey crashed into a woman’s house in New Jersey, causing over $7,000 in damages. You can read about it on CNN. I bet that family needed a couple of bottles of Wild Turkey after hearing that their insurance wasn’t paying to fix anything.
  2. Cranberries are a must this time of year. And cranberry sauce is a staple for Thanksgiving. I’ve got three different varieties on the blog: amaretto cranberry sauce, Chinese apple-sauce (pomegranate sauce with whole cranberries) and New England cranberry compote with walnuts & orange peel. All of which are stellar accompaniments for ANY turkey day meal- be it vegetarian, vegan or otherwise.
  3. If you prefer your cranberries in baked goods, how about a lemon-cranberry shortbread crumble? Cranberry-orange scones? Or cranberry orange pound cake with orange butter rum sauce? Or… crustless cranberry pie?
  4. And if you prefer your cranberries in something sweeter to spread on toast… then what about these apple-cranberry preserves with a smidgen of ginger?
  5. Okay… so you aren’t a cranberry person. That’s cool. How about pumpkin bread? Do you like that? Ugh, you’re so difficult to please.
  6. Well if none of that does anything for you… maybe cornbread? How about this Boston Market cornbread rip-off recipe from A Pretty Cool Life?
  7. Move over Paul Simon. Here’s twenty-five ways to cook a turkey, via Saveur.
  8. And (maybe more importantly) 10 tips to avoid Thanksgiving stress.
  9. Being that I painted my living room a dark gray & my great-grandfathers nickname was “The Duke”, I am obsessed with this Duke armchair from Joss & Main.
  10. Speaking of paint: I’ve been painting A LOT lately. 3 large rooms, a ceiling and a hallway as of this minute. And the best paint I ever used in my entire life is Martha Stewart’s paint (from Glidden at Home Depot). Paint + primer, excellent colors, amazing coverage. If you’re thinking about painting, try it. You will not be sorry!
  11. It’s most definitely still pie season. And if you’re not a baker, or you’ve never made a pie before, you might be a bit unsure about tackling that pumpkin pie. So you might want to take a peek at this link… 15 best tips for making pies. Read it, keep it in mind, and come back in here in a week or so to check out the MIND-BLOWING pie I have planned for you!
  12. The holidays can be a rough time for a lot of people. Reach out to elderly neighbors or neighbors who live alone. Or, who just lost someone that was crucial to their happiness in this season of love & family. You never know who has no one, and who’ll appreciate a jar of preserves, a freshly baked pie, an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner or even just a simple “how are you?”
  13. If you want something new & different to serve at Thanksgiving dinner this year, how about pumpkin applesauce? The recipe is right here.
  14. Roast pumpkin with honey, feta, balsamic & sesame seeds from Not Quite Nigella. That should probably be on your Thanksgiving menu. Or if not Thanksgiving, then sometime soon.
  15. My name is Marilla, & I’m a mug-o-holic. It can be bad. I have a literal box full in the closet of older mugs that are “out of rotation” since I’ve acquired newer ones. I don’t discriminate- I love ALL mugs. Big, small, tall, short. Souvenir mugs, etc. Recently, I had a discussion on Facebook & came to a conclusion: I am not alone in my mug obsession. Inspired, and perhaps a bit prompted by Joel (& Dana!) of Well Preserved & this post, I decided to show off my favorite:

Anthropologie M mug.

This is probably my absolute favorite of all my mugs. It’s THE mug. MY mug. My main mug. Chances are, if I’m drinking hot cocoa or tea or coffee I’m doing it out of this mug. It’s MASSIVE- I can use the 12 ounce option on my Keurig & still have plenty of room for milk. Its from Anthropologie. I got it about 7 years ago; they still have the monogram mugs, but they’re a bit smaller & the letters are a tad different. I adore this mug so much that it’s even got a chip in the bottom from being used & carried everywhere- even outside to do gardening. Ginnifer Goodwin’s character Mary Margaret/Snow White on Once Upon a Time has the same mug. Same letter, too.

What’s YOUR favorite mug?

The Friday Fifteen: Halloween Monster Mash!

They did the mash... they did the MONSTER MASH...

Really, I wasn’t planning on doing more than one Friday Fifteen this month. But the way it worked out, I just had to. There’s so much going on!

So let’s all get down & do the Monster Mash with Frankenstein & his bride…

The Friday Fifteen: Halloween Monster Mash!

  1. Look at these STUNNING Halloween macarons! Such intricate work. Some of the most beautiful decorating I’ve ever seen. And so small.
  2. I haven’t carved my jack-o-lantern yet, it’s a smidgen too early (I usually wait until the 25th or 26th at the earliest). But I’m getting inspired. Maybe I’ll go with something simple like this (via Martha Moments). Or perhaps something spookier… like this (via Miller Creative Designs).
  3. Speaking of spooky: blood spatter cupcakes, anyone? Paging Dexter Morgan. Your Halloween cupcakes have arrived. Ugh. Now I’m sad Dexter is over… but NO I HAVE NOT SEEN THE ENDING YET SO SHUT UP.
  4. If you, like me, have an obsession with all things Day of the Dead, then you’ll have to make these black velvet cupcakes with marigold colored frosting. Seriously. The hand-painted white chocolate sugar skulls aren’t mandatory… but they sure are fun.
  5. I have a recipe for Pan de Muerto as well.
  6. And of course, tres leches coconut cupcakes.
  7. You all know by now that not only is Halloween my favorite holiday, but I love decorating for it. And I love this spider pillow from parismarketplace on Etsy. It’s not too over the top but it still screams Halloween!
  8. But if you’re interested in Halloween decor that’s a bit more… *ahem* straightforward… then how about this coffin couch via VonErickson? Now that definitely screams Halloween. Or, alternative lifestyle choice. Whichever. Either way it’s pretty awesome.
  9. And while we’re talking about Etsy, since I’m currently figuring out & deciding what kind of “wedding” (if any) we’re going to have, this Hallowedding blog piece by Amy Lynn Harvey got me really excited. Now I’m thinking October is a great time of year to get hitched.
  10. For years now, I’ve been wanting to make Martha’s black candy apples. Maybe this will finally be the year!
  11. Sweater pumpkins
  12. American Horror Story: Coven. Dudes. DUDES.
  13. These free printable Halloween cupcake toppers by Johanna Parker Design are insanely awesome! Very retro-looking.
  14. Three words- Black Magic cocktails. I don’t think I need to say more.
  15. My last favorite thing for this week? My chalkboard door…

My chalkboard front door!

This photo is from earlier in the month (obviously). I had some Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint left over from a few projects & last month I decided to paint the back of my front door with it. I had already painted the front of it black with a different regular latex paint (also Rust-Oleum), and I had been planning on painting the back of it black since I painted the rest of the doors off of the hallway black. But once I thought of using the chalkboard paint & looked on Pinterest to see how other people did it (the whole door vs. a framed-out chalkboard), it was over. I’m kinda sorta obsessed with chalkboard paint anyway, but this takes it to a new level! So far, it’s mainly a running to-do list for house stuff. But once that’s done it’ll be whatever we want it to be! There will probably ALWAYS be a quote… I love quotes.

If you’re thinking about doing this, I say DO IT. It’s fun & awesome.

 

Friday Fifteen: Autumn love.

Well, not only is it officially fall… summer is really but a distant memory at this point. Gone are the bright citrus colors of summer, the only colors you seem to find now are dark ones; rich chocolate browns, deep pumpkin oranges, burgundies & wines. Pumpkin Spice lattes & hot apple cider have replaced lemonade & iced coffee. It might not be that cold, yet, but it’s coming. It’s time for boots & sweaters & thinking about Halloween costumes.

Plus, the fall wreath I made has been hanging for almost a month! It’s time. Next up: halloween wreath. But first… the Friday Fifteen: Autumn love.

The Friday Fifteen: autumn love.

  1. First off, for me autumn is perfect candle burning weather. My favorites for this time of year are Yankee Candle‘s Witches Brew & Pumpkin Wreath, 1803 Candle‘s The Weathered Crow & Wood Stove PieAkeewakee Candle‘s Cedar Cinnamon Leaves (which I’m afraid was a gift a few years ago, and now I can’t find it anywhere on the internet) and two I got from Anthropologie: Vetiver Cedar & Golden Patchouli. There is nothing better than reading a book at night with one of these burning. And maybe a hot cup of tea.
  2. Okay, guys, you know what October is. It’s PUMPKIN TIME! Here are five of my favorite pumpkin-y baked goods: pumpkin cupcakes with a stabilized whipped cream frosting, streusel pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing, pumpkin cheesecake cupcakes, maple pumpkin pasties, pumpkin muffins made from the cut-out jack-o-lantern pieces & double chocolate pumpkin cupcakes.
  3. And of course… here’s a pumpkin spice latte mix you can make at home. Easy peasy.
  4. Annnnnd one more thing; maple pumpkin butter.
  5. Coincidentally, my very FIRST Friday Fifteen ever was posted almost exactly a year ago! Well, it’ll be a year ago tomorrow. Time flies.
  6. Save all that beautiful squash you have! Especially butternut squash or other “winter squash.” If you have too much to use now, freeze it. Because you’re going to want to make a winter squash pie with brandy whipped cream. Yes, you are.
  7. I love these old photographs of women from the turn of the century in London/Paris. The original “street fashion”! Movie over, Elle & the Sartorialist. I think the Gibson girls here have you beat.
  8. I’m almost-but-not-quite embarrassed to admit that I enjoy reading Carson Daly’s girlfriend’s cooking blog.
  9. Pears are also in season now. If you’re a pear lover, try these pear & pumpkin ale preserves from Local Kitchen
  10. … Or my pear-sauce with cardamom.
  11. And if you’re a pear lover whose more into desserts than things in mason jars- how about easy honeyed pear tarts?.
  12. Fried pumpkin hand pies? YES. YES. YES!
  13. My new favorite thing: putting tealights in brioche tins. It’s insanely simple, but it looks so beautiful on a table. Romantical lighting, foodie style! I suggest using bright silver-toned tins, not the darker non-stick variety (save those for actual baking). I got mine at Sur la Table.
  14. These spiced apple rings are on my “must make” list for the fall.
  15. Okay… last but DEFINITELY NOT LEAST: if you remember my last thrifting post, you’ll remember that I’m constantly on the look out for Pyrex “Spring Blossom” (or “Crazy Daisy”) patterned items as well as any pink/turquoise/black Pyrex items. Well, I’ve gotten some AMAZING finds! First a pair of 1950′s pink “Gooseberry” Cinderella Bake-Serve-Store casseroles; 1 qt. & 1 pt. Price? $3.00! Then, I got the final item to complete my mom’s “Spring Blossom” set: the smaller white bowl for $1.99. So now my mother’s set is finally “complete” & I got my very first pink Pyrex. Thanks again to Pyrex Love for all the education. Now, I’m still looking for more Spring Blossom, Butterprint & Gooseberry. I still want any & all pink/turquoise/black & white Pyrex I can get. But I’m really searching for the holy grails of Pyrex (to me anyway): Barbed Wire, (black) Snowflake, Duchess, Balloons, Medallion & Starburst.

Pyrex pink Gooseberry casseroles; thrifted for $3.00.

Small 1 1/2 qt. Pyrex Spring Blossom bowl.

Pyrex Spring Blossom bowls.