Category: the friday fifteen!

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!

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.

The Friday Fifteen. September.

It's September!

Well, like I said last week, September snuck up on me. Sure, the tomatoes are still growing on the vines & the weather might still be sticky & hot in most places. But the sun patterns are changing, the air is different, and school has started (or is starting soon). Autumn is my favorite season, hands down. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love summer… and this time of year, this weird funky not-quite-fall-but-not-summer-anymore time is kinda crappy. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the in-between time. I like when the sun looks different & the air isn’t the same as it was a week ago. But the days when you see the Halloween decorations in the store & get excited, only to leave the store & have the hair stick to the sweat on the back of your neck thanks to the crazy humidity? That sucks.

Once full-blown fall starts, I’ll be a happy gal! Pumpkins, baking, etc. Love it.

But this in-between time is for the birds. So for now… here’s my Friday Fifteen: September.

The Friday Fifteen. September.

  1. First thing I wanna tell you about is a giveaway from Milton’s Craft Bakers that I’m hosting. You can win FIVE boxes of these non-GMO, all natural, organic & naturally sweetened crackers, one box of each variety: chocolate, original multi-grain, honey & corn, honey multi-grain & blueberry. So go enter now! The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, 18+ and it ends September 9th.
  2. Last time I posted a Friday Fifteen, I raved about Fatty ‘Cue. That place is still the, but this time I’m gonna rave about Sage Brooklyn (299-301 Graham Ave). Me & Jay stopped in here quite randomly & holy moly! Amazeballs. Fresh, amazing food. The pork & shrimp dumpling appetizer was bananas, so was the garlic chicken I had. And Jay had the roast duck which he loved. It was really nice to sit outside & eat, too. Suffice it to say: Sage is a dope place to eat. If you live nearby & haven’t eaten there yet- you’re doing it wrong.
  3. Since getting tons & tons of gorgeous stone fruit from the Washington State Stone Fruit Commission, I’ve been going bananas making all kinds of stuff. This peach slab pie from Brooklyn Supper is one of them, & it was amazing.
  4. Speaking of peaches, I also made this delicious peaches & cream cake from Chatelaine, and it also was AMAZING. Wanna see? Click here. And if you want to see it on the Chatelaine website, then trot on over here!
  5. My newest obsession: space nails. Or “galaxy nails.” Have you ever done them? They look awesome. I did mine myself (here’s a bad picture) & I literally had checkout people at the store asking me where I got it done. Try it- I did mine just off the top of my head, but there are tons of tutorials on YouTube to help you out if you need it. I’m drawing nebulas like whoa!
  6. Dana from Hot Pink Apron takes on the universe with pie… and so should you. This is the perfect time to start making pies. Peach pie, apple pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, apple cranberry pie, plum pie, coconut cream pie, chocolate cream pie…
  7. And this pie is one that I will definitely be making this fall!
  8. I’m a total history nerd, so I found this (old) episode of History Detectives to be incredibly intriguing. Al Capone, George Washington & a WWII P.O.W. all in one hour!
  9. Speaking of #6, is one of my new favorite things. Thanks to my mom for telling me about it! Great for finding random 1920′s silent movies or for catching up on TV shows.
  10. September is the start of apple season here in NY. Everything is gonna be apples, apples, & more apples nowadays; and starting next month it’ll be pumpkin, pumpkin, pumpkin! If you want a jump on all things apple, here are some of my favorite apple recipes from the blog: rose-apple tartscaramel apple jamcaramel apple “syrup” (long story- read the post), apple hand-pies & of course… apple cider donuts! What’s fall without apple cider donuts?
  11. Speaking of “the season”, it’s also eggplant season. If you’ve got a lot of it & you’re tired of eggplant parm, pickled eggplant or roasted eggplant, then try this.
  12. I’m loving the book ‘As Always, Julia, edited by Joan Reardon. It’s a collection of letters to & from Julia Child & her “pen pal” Avis DeVoto. if you’re a Julia Child fan, you should read it. If you liked the movie Julie & Julia, you should definitely read it. Hell… if you like memoirs & that kind of thing, then you should read it too!
  13. I’m excited for the colder weather to get here so I can make my famous baked potato soup! Maybe I’ll finally post the recipe this fall.
  14. I mentioned last month that I found a jewelry website that I fell in love with. Well, I’ve found another: Trumpet & Horn. Gorgeous rings. Beautiful. Vintage & vintage inspired. One-of-a-kind rings for one-of-a-kind women. If I wasn’t already engaged with my grandmother’s beautiful vintage ring, I’d want the Charleston, the Fairfield, the Alpine, or the Pinehurst. Stunning!
  15. Last, but not least, my grandparent’s anniversary would be this month. On September 28th, they’d be married 73 years. My grandpa was gone 25 years this past March & my grandmother is gone only 2 as of July… I miss them both, but I carry them with me everyday. Both in my heart & on my finger.

My grandmother, showing off her engagement ring in a Photomatic photo from the late 1930's.. and then her actual ring, which is now mine.

Friday Fifteen: Late summer sunset edition.

Beautiful Bayville, NY sunset.Beautiful sunset off the coast of Bayville, NY

I don’t really know if August 9th can be considered late summer. As far as I’m concerned, summer goes on for a while after Labor Day, though, and maybe even long after mid-September depending on weather. I wear my flip flops into October… so I’m probably not the best person to make these types of decisions. Technically the “Back-to-School” stuff has been in the stores since my birthday (which is a travesty, really), so I guess this really is late summer. Or close to it.

Which sucks, I know. But there’s still time! Don’t fret. There are a few weeks of glorious summer to go, so cram in those beach days or fishing trips or barbecues. Wear those shorts! Make a cobbler. Make pickles. Bask in the sun, and admire those beautiful summer sunsets. Like I said before… summer is fleeting. Enjoy it while you can. Winter is long.

Anyway, here’s the latest Friday Fifteen. Enjoy!

Friday Fifteen: Late summer sunset edition.

  1. Pickling season is in high gear now as all the pickling cucumbers are poppin’ up. I love this time of year for that reason! Get some pickle recipes here, including ones for pickles other than just cucumber.
  2. I’ve been into making gold polka dot jars lately. They make awesome vases or even pen holders. Tie a gold ribbon around the top & use it as a vehicle to give someone a gift. It looks so pretty! I feel like there might be a post coming…
  3. When I was a kid, I used to do little embroidery projects. I’ve been wanting to get back into it & now that I’ve found House of Miranda on Etsy, I think I have to! This store is one of my new favorites, & I think some of you will love it too. As a matter of fact, I love just about every single thing she has for sale. The R. Kelly towel? Love.
  4. Speaking of cool housewares & such, how about a little D.I.Y.? Those painted wooden spoons I posted have been getting tons of hits, and it’s no surprise. I highly suggest you make some & see just how fun it can be to spruce up those old wooden spoons- or new ones.
  5. Fatty ‘Cue is one of my newest obsessions, & so I have to tell you about it here. Back when me & Jay first became engaged, two friends of ours (Matt & Melanie- whom you might remember from this post) took us to Beecher’s for cocktails & a charcuterie platter & then took us to Fatty ‘Cue on Carmine St. for dinner. The food was amazing! Dragon bread, smoked Bobo chicken, Bao chicken bao bao, smoked Brandt beef brisket, 1/2 pound deep fried bacon with salsa verde… HOLY DELICIOUSNESS BATMAN. Not to mention the cocktails- I personally recommend the Dark & Stormy, Smokin’ Bone, Drewish Princess & the Lower West. They have two locations: West Village & Brooklyn, as well as two other restaurants: Pig & Khao and Fatty Crab. If you’re a New Yorker or planning a trip to NY, pay them a visit. You will NOT regret it.
  6. Do you put Old Bay seasoning on your corn on the cob? No? ‘Cause you really should.
  7. I must make this recipe for pickled carrots with mint from Food & Wine. I can’t attest to the flavor yet but it’s going on this list because it sounds amazing.
  8. I’m still listening to The Great Gatsby soundtrack endlessly.
  9. Because I’m eventually planning on having a custom wedding band made (with diamonds that are in another ring of my grandmother’s), lately I’ve been researching vintage-looking wedding bands… I found a website for a jeweler in NYC, Leigh Jay Nacht Inc., that has amazing replicas & vintage originals. I’ve got tons of inspiration now! And maybe, if you need some, you do too.
  10. This rabbit container with a cork top is so cute & offbeat. Imagine it on a counter among your other canisters? Adorable.
  11. In terms of new favorite edibles? Cabot Vintage Choice cheddar cheese. Ohhh so good. We gobble it up paired with red wine & popcorn, but hey, do as you will.
  12. And new(ish) blog faves? Skunkboy blog for sure. Love her style.
  13. Thrifting! It’s nice on a hot day to go roam around some secondhand or thrift stores, killing time in the A/C, looking for cool stuff. I’ve been finding some excellent things lately, and I’m writing a post all about it. So look out for that. Soon!
  14. I found taco pasta on Pinterest (where else?!) and HELLO… it sounds like the best thing ever. Which brings me to…
  15. Finally, one of my favorite things to make (& eat) when it’s too hot to cook.. after a long day outside gardening, or at the pool or beach: veggie taco salads. A mix of different lettuces, red cabbage, salsa AND pico de gallo, shredded sharp cheddar or queso fresco, tortilla strips, black beans (cooked & drained, but then brought to room temp), sliced avocado or guacamole & maybe some sliced radish all piled in a big bowl. You can also add seasoned shredded chicken or taco beef if you like… but I keep it veg. If you’ve never made it, try it & you’ll see- it’s amazing! And much less work than taco pasta- although that WILL happen!

House Blend Family posted that they made my blueberry basil preserves, and so did Taste A Little of the Summer!

A summertime Friday Fifteen.

Today is the first official day of summer! FINALLY. Time to hear those waves crashing on the shore, walk barefoot on the sand, have a picnic, go fishing, revel in the air conditioning, feel the hot sun on your face… and end up with a bright red, painful, peel-y back. Oh well. It’s all worth it. And it’s only here for a brief, fleeting moment. And this is the first beach season since Superstorm Sandy, so all you New Yorkers/New Jersians/etc: you ALL have to go and support your local businesses & beaches on the shore. They need you! Help them rebuild by frequenting them! It’s a short season, many of these stores desperately need to get back on their feet this year.

Summer only comes once a year and it’s over in the blink of an eye.

So anyway to celebrate us all making it through a Superstorm, a Nor’easter & yet another winter, here’s a brand spankin’ new list of fun summery stuff, chock full of excellent links for you to click on… THE FRIDAY FIFTEEN!

  1. First, I have to link to these cupcakes I made last year- they’re perfect for the first day of summer with little sugar seashells & saltwater taffy buttercream.
  2. Second, in the spirit of summery recipes, I have to link to my post from last summer about sun tea & cold brewed iced tea. You’ve gotta make these! They are SUPER refreshing & delicious. And crazy easy. Oh, and sun tea is pretty fun if you have kids.
  3. Thirdly, very cherry berry cobbler. Need I say more? Newp.
  4. Fourthly (?), blackberry lime jam and of course, blackberry lime jam cupcakes. Great for a summer birthday. You’re welcome.
  5. And now for one final recipe (that actually isn’t from me!): this roasted shrimp & orzo from Ina Garten via Siriously Delicious sounds so good. Must make.
  6. This wreath is so pretty, and simple. Which is really what summer is, isn’t it?
  7. Everyone needs a cocktail shaker. Why not a custom made one by woodeyeglass.
  8. And these napkins by stemstallkids are so summery & so Mad Men I can’t even deal! Love ‘em.
  9. True Blood & Dexter both come (or have already come) back this month. Lucky us! However, sad face because it’s the last season of Dexter. You guys know how much I love my Dexter… *sigh*
  10. I turn 32 in just one month & 9 days. What I’d like for my birthday (aside from an iPad & for my hair to skip the awkward growing-out stage) is a set of Falcon Enamelware in Pigeon Grey. I mentioned them before, I know, but I’m obsessed. I don’t think these three things are asking too much. Especially for a poor pathetic soon-to-be 32-year-old chick like myself. (Ouch.)
  11. Summertime means that the 4th of July is quickly rearing it’s flag-draped head. Which means patriotic, dinnerware, housewares, clothing, everything! Or, in this case, drinkware: in the form of vintage American Eagle drinking glasses from SouthernWhimsicality.
  12. Amendment to #10 on my list! I want four things for my birthday, not three. Someone needs to buy me this IMMEDIATELY. My birthday is in a little over a month, guys. Don’t make me cry. I want need this jumbo die-cut pink mixer from Everyday is a Holiday. It’s Lola! MUST HAVE!
  13. It’s jam-making time. Get your jars ready, read this post and then start making some jam from all that beautiful summer fruit.
  14. You all know my apron obsession, right? Well look at how cute this pin-up apron from Sourpuss Clothing is! Super cute. And summery.
  15. My new favorite blog: Also known as, I Married an Irish Farmer. Beautiful blog with great stories & photos. And the old post about Irish Artisan cheeses has my mouth watering.

 And this month, just because it’s summer & I love summer… I have one more thing to share…

1920's bathing beauties!

Aren’t these three 1920′s beach bunnies adorable? I wonder who they are, or where this photo was taken. I’d love to know any and all stories behind it. I love that ukelele player! They look like they’re having a blast- total jubilation. And isn’t that what summer is all about? Just good old fashioned fun.

Happy Summer!

Friday Fifteen. BAM.

You got it. It’s that time again. Time for a list of things that are giving me life right now. And you know, sometimes it’s really hard to find 15 awesome things. Mainly because there’s so much cool stuff out there, but also there’s a lot of absolute crap, and that makes me kind of pissed off. But alas, that’s a story for another day. Today is all about GOOD things. Awesome things. Things that make me happy.

This is also one of the first Friday Fifteen’s that isn’t themed. No holidays coming up! Not until Mother’s Day/Memorial Day, at any rate. AHHH- that means I CAN BREATHE! And I mean that both literally and physically, now that I’m no longer sick. Although allergies are starting, so stay tuned for my possible future nasal tales of woe. But that’s okay.. because it’s spring! And spring being here means summer isn’t too far away.

Make no mistake about it; I am a tried & true summer baby. Autumn may very well be my favorite season- but summer is in my blood. If you didn’t know I was born on July 30th, you’d know it as soon as the summer rolls around. I could spend all day, every day, at the beach. And in the water no less. I like to garden, dig in the dirt & spend time in the outdoors (however not camping, mind you). I love the sun coming up early & going down late, the fire pits & s’mores and the fresh air. The fresh herbs, the vegetables, the flowers. Outdoor dining. Long walks at night. Ever since I was a baby the summer has been my thing. As long as it isn’t 90 (or over) and obscenely humid, I’m in my glory.

Not to mention the fact that any relationship I’ve ever been in has always started during the summer. I think it’s because I’m just at my best then… but maybe that’s me being a conceited Leo. Either way, summer is awesome.

But despite all that, there’s something to be said about spring. As a matter of fact, in many ways it’s better than summer. It’s cooler, not as humid, and there are more opportunities to wear cute rain boots. Plus if it weren’t for spring rain, those summer flowers wouldn’t be as beautiful as they are.

Am I off my soapbox yet? Okay… let’s get down to business.

  1. First things first: those flowers above. I am in love with them! They’re so beautiful, and they last forever. I’ve had them almost a month now, no joke. (In that picture, they’re in a brand new blue Ball anniversary edition jar full of water with two of my vintage Ball jars, on a vintage tea towel. It’s actually a shame you can’t see it in the photo but the towel is embroidered with two little people playing leapfrog and it says ‘Wednesday.’ I’ve got one for every day of the week)
  2. Number two this time around is my new favorite food blog: Thug Kitchen. I posted it on my Facebook page last month after Xenia showed it to me & it slayed everyone. Best freakin’ blog ever. If you’re not into four letter words & thugly gangsta shit, I suggest you not bother visiting it.
  3. Falcon Enamelware is my new obsession. It looks so vintage, I’m totally in love. You all know how I feel about vintage stuff… not only that, but it’s durable. And proven to be so; they’ve been around since 1920. Companies don’t stick around that long unless they’re delivering good products. My great-grandmother used all enamelware to cook with back in the day, and I’ve always loved it. It’s just so hard to find here unless you buy vintage. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but you’ve just gotta be careful with quality. So anyway basically I’d like the baking set in Pigeon Grey, and a set of plates & two mugs to match, plz & thx.
  4. Since going there in January, I’ve been craving a white chocolate mocha latte from this adorable little coffee place in Mystic called The Green Marble Coffee House. Jay loved the chocolate Hammerhead so much, we randomly just talk about it. You haven’t lived ’til you’ve had a coffee at this place. Talk about amazing- no chain coffee place can touch it. You think your Starbucks white chocolate mocha latte is good? Pfft. I’d hitchhike to CT just to get another one of these. Oh, and for some pizza, too. I know I live in New York & New York pizza is the best, but Mystic Pizza is damn delicious. If you live nearby, you should definitely check out the Green Marble Coffee House: 8 Steamboat Wharf, Mystic, CT 06355.
  5. Copper mugs for making Moscow Mules. Must. Get. Them. Now.
  6. I kinda love this pinwheel necklace & this scissors necklace from JewelryDeli.
  7. Now that the weather is steadily getting warmer, and I realized my cookie dough isn’t getting any less sticky in the warm weather, I finally decided to get myself a marble rolling pin. I got a $10 coupon/credit thingy for Sur la Table in the mail, & so I went in & saw they had ones with a little marble cradle for a mere $25.00! With my little credit, that brought my purchase to a whopping $15.00. I had been lusting after marble rolling pins forever, and they were always so expensive. But now I can roll pie crust & cookie dough in hot weather to my heart’s content & have no problem with dough sticking everywhere. Begone, ye wooden rolling pin! However… is it bad that I recently found a black marble version & I want that, too?
  8. Bath & Body Works has a new fragrance, Beautiful Day, and I love it. Despite it sharing a name with the worst U2 song in existence, it’s an amazing smell. And it’s really affordable! $14.00 for a bottle that lasts forever. If you’re looking for a really nice summer fragrance that won’t cost an arm & a leg, this is it. I’m constantly getting compliments on it. (did this turn into a beauty blog? NO. I swear.)
  9. Iced coffee season is here! Hurray! Time for some cold-brewed coffee in a jar in the fridge, and Thai iced coffee too. Noms. And let’s not forget sun tea!
  10. Things I love on TV news: Mad Men is back! I will always love Don Draper. Always & forever. I don’t care if he’s a womanizing creep… and I love me some Joan Harris too! And wait… there’s more… True Blood season 6 is coming June 16th. I can’t wait to use the True Blood cookbook I bought last year to create some deliciousness for the premiere. It’s true, waiting sucks, so I’m glad the wait is almost over. *sigh* Ohhh, TV. You make it so hard to be productive when you give me shows like these! *shakes fist*
  11. Rhubarb vanilla bean curd is a must this season. How unique is that? I think maybe my mother would like a jar or two for Mother’s Day…
  12. These coasters are so bright & cheery for the spring & summer.
  13. These heirloom “Moon & Stars” watermelon seeds make me want to grow watermelon DESPERATELY. They’re so Van Gogh-looking! As a matter of fact, just about everything sold by HEIRLOOMS R US SEEDS on Etsy makes me want to be a suburban farmer. I’ve already got the overalls & the green thumb.
  14. Srsly? Is this recipe for real? It sounds… magical. Milk pudding? Fairy floss? I’m in. Sounds like some Harry Potter type shit. I’m so down.
  15. Last… but not least…. THE GREAT GATSBY, FUTHAMUCKAS. IT’S COMING. MAY 10TH. *does the Harlem Shake*

Springtime; Friday Fifteen style.

Whew. Could the holidays rush me any more than they are? I mean, there was over a month between Valentine’s Day & St. Patrick’s Day, but now both Easter & Passover are like, five minutes away. Sheesh. But on the plus side, it’s officially spring! As of two days ago, winter is officially OVER.

Pretty good stuff, right? Well, yeah, but when you live on the East Coast, particularly New York and north of that, you learn that the official dates of seasons don’t mean a whole lot. It can be 90-something degrees on Halloween, and it can snow on Easter. So the words “spring” and “winter” don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. Hell, it just snowed a fair amount here on March 7th. Well, actually it snowed two nights ago, and a little more yesterday, but no accumulation.

But I have high hopes. I have high hopes that spring is here, or at least soon-to-be. So here’s the springtime Friday Fifteen!

  1. Big changes that are coming. Not really to the blog, per se. But for me. Although I guess that affects the blog, too, right? Anyway… more on that another time… for now you can just keep guessing as to what it may be *wink*
  2. I love this white feather Easter wreath. I actually made one myself, and it’s supercrazyadorable, however mine has bunny ears on top, a pink bow at the bottom, and small glittery eggs hanging off it. It’s a great spin on the typical flowery or green spring wreath.
  3. The fact that Grimm finally came back to my TV on March 8th. Took them long enough! It was supposed to come back in January. Grrr…
  4. Not everybody lives in a house, or rather I should say, regardless of whether or not they live in a house, not everybody has a yard or outdoor space in which to grow herbs in the spring or summer. And for that reason I love The Tasteful Garden’s herb planting kits. While they’re perfect for windowsills or kitchen counters, they look just as nice outside too. So whether you have a lot of outdoor space, not so much outdoor space or no outdoor space at all- there’s no excuse! You can still grow fresh herbs!
  5. Chocolate cupcakes for two. Love it.
  6. I love this felt Easter garland from GingerSweetCrafts on Etsy. It’s really simple & colorful, not too over-the-top, & easy… if you’re not into much decorating. I am, however, and I still love it.
  8. Now that the sun is out longer & stronger, even if just a LITTLE bit… that means the days of heavy meals like potato soup or baked macaroni & cheese are coming to a close, and the days of salads & light meals are right around the corner. Which is good. As much as I adore me some macaroni & cheese with bacon, I have a serious hankering for fresh vegetables in my life. And that includes fresh, light tomato sauces with fresh basil from the garden. Ahh, I can’t wait. It’s almost garden time!
  9. Dying eggs with Kool-Aid & RIT dye?! Gold dipped Easter eggs? Really? Interesting.
  10. Rugelach is traditionally served for Hanukkah, but I love it, so I think it can work for Passover too. I’m a rule-breaker. This recipe is easy & can be customized. Go nuts! And pssst… apricot jam can be used as apricot filling.
  11. The gorgeous Ball 100th anniversary re-issue blue jars! So awesome. I pre-ordered mine, and I got them a few days later despite the initial shipping date of the 22nd. I wonder what the next item will be that they’ll re-issue?
  12. Need more Easter baking ideas? I got your back, yo. Check out the Easter category! It’s chock full of cute ideas & recipes.
  13. I wish I’d thought of this speckled cake idea. Dammit!
  14. These DIY bunny-topped jars are very adorable. I wanna make some! Remember my DIY candy jars? I wish I’d done some with little bunnies or animals on top. I think I have to now. I used to have some little plastic kitties, I wonder where they went?
  15. And finally…I love my brand new, beautiful, amazing Cassis Le Creuset 7.25 qt round French oven! I love this thing more than you can possibly imagine. Seriously. I love the color… but I still really wish they sold it in pink in the U.S., though. What’s wrong with us in the U.S. that we can’t have pink Le Creuset? *sad face* Well either way, I love my new baby. And in case you didn’t see it, I used her already this week! Three times, as a matter of fact. This isn’t the best photo of it… but it doesn’t matter ’cause it’s gorgeous in person!