Category: the friday fifteen!

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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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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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.
  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
  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!