March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites: Flamingos & Masks

Happy Friday friends! Spring has arrived and although it didn't feel like it this week, it's supposed to be in the 60's tomorrow. CAN'T WAIT. Here's a random round up of some of my favorite things this week.

Flamingos on my desk. It makes me feel better about not being somewhere warm. I got this colorful wireless mouse thanks to Steph pointing it out. Also, this wonderful light sits on the shelf above my desk. I can't get enough of it. Eventually I'll share pictures of our whole apartment... until then, you'll just have to trust me that my desk is a happy corner.

Tacos are always a welcome meal option in our house. We have been making Cauliflower & Corn tacos using this ridiculous easy recipe lately. They make amazing leftovers too. In case you are new here, one of my 2017 goals is to cook every recipe in this cookbook and it's been pretty much perfection so far (except persimmons - we don't love those.)

Athleta is making a bunch of their clothes out of recycled polyester. This is big news. Every piece of plastic ever made is still on the Earth in some form (except that which is burned.) Buying recycled is SO IMPORTANT. Plus, Athleta makes good stuff and it lasts. Try these pants or these pants. Love them.

I've been diving into the posts and blogs that have been submitted from the community project I shared here. I'm so excited to start sharing these. I'll be putting together a weekly share of what people have submitted. If you haven't submitted a post that you love yet, it's not too late. Share - it's an awesome way to spread the word about someone that you think is awesome.

Shameless. If you haven't watched it yet, what are you waiting for? We had it recommended to us from a few different people before we finally sat down to check it out. I can't get enough of it now. OBSESSED.

Last, but not least, I got to try out one of the new Beautycounter masks this week. It was from the Plumping collection that targets fine lines and wrinkles and it smells like Peonies. I'm obsessed with it. If you're interested, you can try the whole set here. I'm going to try the brightening collection next.

If you want more info on Beautycounter, sign up for my monthly newsletter below. I swear - it's just a monthly recap of awesome stuff and giveaways (hint, hint - one is coming in April.)

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March 23, 2017

Love Letters to New York City

I don't know if I say it enough on this blog, but I love New York City. I wanted to start documenting some of the things I love the most so that if I'm ever forced to leave this wonderful place, I'll be able to jump back into these memories a little easier.

Pigeons - I don't really love these birds, but I love how much Lola loves them. On our morning walk today, she almost caught one and she was so fired up about it. They make for pretty easy targets because some of them are so fat, they can barely fly away, but it never gets old for Lola to lunge at them. Pure entertainment for an apartment dog.

Variety of Cuisine - We went to dinner last weekend with friends and we picked one tiny little neighborhood. When we had to determine the restaurant, I was able to send her my favorite Italian, Mediterranean, Mexican, Fancy Place and Japanese within those few blocks without even trying. I had to take a step back and appreciate our fortune. In case you were wondering, we settled on Sauce - an Italian restaurant. We had an amazing server that had a heavy pour on the red wine and amazing food.

Rooftops - I love the view from above. We don't get it often being on the second floor of a small apartment in Brooklyn, but when we are in Manhattan and find ourselves on a higher floor - I never miss the chance to just stare for a while. It really feels like you are on top of the world.

The Man Downstairs - We have a bodega crawling distance from our front door. I don't buy too much there because I would be poor if I got all the necessities, but I do stop in there for a 6 pack every once in a while or a pint of ice cream. The guy that works there is fantastic. He taught me to use the credit card reader so I could check myself out if he's busy.

Spray Paint Wizards - The amazing art on the walls around every corner are amazing. This picture was from Bushwick (you can see more photos here) but there are buildings like this in every neighborhood. I can't get enough. It's such a cool talent. I can't even draw stick figures, so for now, I'll just appreciate others' talents.

Cleanly - I already raved about this service in my post about making life easier in NYC, but I can't say enough about it. The fact that I don't have to drag my ass to the laundromat is amazing and I will give up quite a bit to be able to pay someone to help with this.

Those are my love letters this week. I'll have more, especially when spring decides to bloom all over this city. Have you ever been here? Do you love it?

March 20, 2017

Spring Bucket List

I love the changing of seasons although this one always seems to be the most confusing. In the same week, it will snow and it will be 70 degrees. Usually New York City is gradual and kind, but this year has not been that way. I successfully checked everything off my winter list except for ice skating. I'll count it as a win.

Travel to Europe - We have finally decided on our next international adventure. We are heading to Europe, specifically Germany, Austria & Switzerland. I'm so excited. I just want mountains and castles and a week of adventuring.

See the Cherry Blossoms in Prospect Park - I wanted to do this last year, but we never made it to Brooklyn during the few weeks they were blooming. This year, it's less than a mile walk, so I'm definitely going to visit multiple times. It's not DC, but I've heard that they have quite a few trees in the park.

Use our balcony - This was the last part of our apartment to get furnished. I used the 30% sale at Target to order some chairs & outdoor pillows. They are in the corner of our bedroom right now ready to go outside when it gets warmer. I also have some pots to plant things in. I'll share pictures of the tiny space we have once it's being used.

Full spring clean - This is something I actually get excited for. Scrubbing every corner of this apartment, reorganizing closets, decluttering and purging clothes and things. I ordered more of my favorite cleaning products from Amazon and i just need to pick up a few candles and I'm set.

Sunday stroll in 3 new neighborhoods - We are bringing back the Sunday stroll full force this spring. We've both enjoyed the recharge you get from winter, but there's definitely a little cabin fever happening. There are definitely some places in Brooklyn that we are excited to check out.

Keep up the library trips & cooking - I've been staying on track with my yearly goals, but that will get harder as more thing are happening. Farmer's Markets will be back soon and we will start getting some new vegetables and fruit to rotate in. We've been trying to use as much in season as we can, but it becomes repetitive.

Enjoy a few quick weekend trips out of the city - I'm going to a bachelorette party in Asheville in April and I'm hoping to sneak back north for a weekend sometime this spring.

What about you? What plans do you have?

March 15, 2017

5 Ways to Make Life Easier in NYC

Whoa. How has it been almost six months since we've moved to Brooklyn. Already, I've realized that living in a giant city can make some things way easier and others way more difficult. We have discovered a few things that have helped us get things accomplished. I think the term is "life hack." I thought I'd save someone else the trouble of learning the hard way and share them with you.

Cleanly - This app has saved me from having to get rolls of quarters and roll my laundry down the street to the laundromat each week. Yes, that's right. I have an app that does the laundry for me. You log in and select a one hour time window for someone to come and pick up your laundry and then you schedule a drop off time 24 hours later. Your laundry is returned washed and folded and all you have to do is put it away. Brilliant. They also take care of dry cleaning and pressing Justin's dress shirts. They charge you by the pound and offer discounts and promo codes at least once a month.

If you want to try it, use STEPHG11 to get $10 off your first order. The website is here and you can find the app in the app store. Do it.

Seamless - This is my favorite food delivery app because I think it has the most options. But, if you need more options, you can also download Try Caviar and Doordash. We have tried at least 10 different pizza places since we moved in and there are still about 50 more that are within delivery distance. Some of our favorites in this neighborhood are Thaiholic, Da Nonna Rosa, Maya Taqueria, Black Swan and Castro's Restaurant.

Amazon Prime - Duh. I use this for everything. During the winter, I like using Prime Fresh for groceries. I make our meal plan for the week and then order the groceries. It saves me money because I'm not seeing good looking food and randomly throwing things in the cart. Plus, they stopped using plastic bags in our deliveries and that makes me love them more. I also order some essentials using Prime because they are cheaper and we order in bulk like dog poop bags and stamps. If you aren't already a prime member, you get a free 30 day trial by clicking here. Use it.

Smoothpark - If you have a car in NYC or you rent a car while visiting, this app is a life saver. Well, a money saver at least. Every street has different rules on parking and you will get tickets if you don't know the rules. This app shows you where parking is allowed for any time frame you log. You can mark your parking spot and set reminders when you need to the move the car. We are lucky to be in an area that only does street sweeping one day a week. This app helps us remember where the car is parked and when we need to move it. You can download the app here.

Taskrabbit - Ever buy Ikea furniture and then cry while you put it together? This app/website allows you to find help for random tasks like assembling furniture or hanging pictures. If you live in the city and have zero tools, sometimes you just need a quick hand with this. I haven't used this app yet, but have lots of friends who swear by it. I thought about having someone wait in line for that cookie dough for me, but then I realized how pathetic that would be... but also awesome. It's still an internal struggle. Check it out here.

What am I missing from this list? Is there an app or service that you use often to make life easier? Are you rolling your eyes that someone does our laundry for us? I'm pretty sure it will be impossible for me to move out of New York City because I'm spoiled now.

March 13, 2017

Weekend of Awesome

This weekend was cold, shorter than all others in the year (thanks to daylight savings time) and flew by, BUT it was also awesome. Here were the five things that made my heart so happy:

Friday after work, we headed into Manhattan to meet some special out of town guests. Justin's aunt, uncle and cousin were in town and we got to hang out with them for a few hours in the cold. We had some good Mexican food and lots of laughs. After dinner, we headed to Do to wait in line in the freezing cold to get our hands on the cookie dough that is made to eat raw and not harm you.

Having some family time in our city even for just a few hours refills the heart. It's nice to be able to catch up. Plus, we would not have waited in line for cookie dough on our own, but the experience was so fun and worth the cold.

Later Friday night, we saw Dawes for the fourth time. They played at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side. They didn't have an opening act. They started right at 8:05 - amazing. They played for three hours (with just a 15 minute break.) There were songs from each album and it was all amazing. They had a simple stage set up and just played good music. I usually say it's a good concert if there were songs that I was indifferent about before the show, but loved after seeing it live. Judging off that alone, it was an amazing show.

Saturday morning involved productivity. We started our spring cleaning, even though the wind outside was horribly cold. The dogs got groomed and the balcony furniture was assembled. After getting all that done, we headed to NJ to visit our friends and their adorable little baby girl. We had homemade pizza, wine and a little spiked ice cream for dessert. It's nice to just have a couple of hours to sit around and catch up.

Sunday AM, we forced ourselves to leave the apartment and get some fresh air. We met friends for brunch in Tribeca. We ended up meeting outside of Edwards and even though we had no plans on where to meet, I'm so happy we ended up choosing this restaurant. I was finally able to find a bloody mary that I'm excited about and really good food. We made some plans for a bachelor/bachelorette party since our friends are getting married in less than 2 months.

We finished off our Sunday enjoying our clean apartment, clean dogs and binge watching Shameless on Netflix. I got the meal planning for the week done, all of our grocery shopping done on Amazon, ordered some new clothes from Gap with taking advantage of the 40% discounts, confirmed my dentist appointment and scheduled our laundry pick up for the week. That's all adulting, right?

So, now we are all prepped for this blizzard that's supposed to slam into NYC tomorrow. What was the most awesome thing you did this weekend?