November 29, 2014

The Gift of Gratitude

We are in the middle of one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year.  I usually skip the craziness of black Friday and this year was no exception.  I really feel like this is our year to skip the craziness of the holidays all together.

It felt amazing to take 48 hours away from my computer to hang out with Justin, my dad and some extended family in southern Maryland.  We had a feast on Thanksgiving, played some games, caught up over a few beers and then had a good old fashion holiday road trip back home yesterday.

This weekend, I will be wrapping up my Christmas shopping, which is a record for us.  We are heading back to Minnesota for an early holiday + work trip.  This means that our Christmas will be quiet and peaceful just like Thanksgiving.  When the holidays aren't jam packed with rushing from one place to another, I feel like I'm embracing the spirit of the season a little more.

In the spirit of gratitude and giving, I put together a gift guide for anyone on your list that is diving into their spiritual/yogi/grateful side this holiday season.  You can also check out the holiday sale at to see the good deals and scoop some of these things up.  Getting into yoga a little more this year has inspired me to add a few comfy, stretchy items to my Christmas list.

Share the attitude of gratitude

Are you shopping at any small businesses this weekend?  Are you a black Friday shopper?  

**I was given a credit for in exchange for writing this post.  All opinions and words are mine.

November 26, 2014


Lots of things have been happening this week in my family and around the country.  It doesn't feel right for me to shout the things I'm grateful for from the mountaintop.  I've spent the last 24 hours trying to avoid social media, because there are just some opinions that I don't care to read.  People are saying hurtful and scary things.  The holidays should be a time of happiness, peace and community.

I spent last year sharing my gratitude on Instagram every day and it was a great experience for me, but this year, I'm doing it a little differently.

This is my year to just be quiet.

My dad is flying in to NJ this afternoon and we are driving to see some family in Maryland.  I will not be listing out the things I'm lucky to have in life on my blog this year.  I encourage everyone this year to not only be thankful with your words, but to radiate some good out into the world.

Share what you have with those around you that may not be so lucky.  I don't mean sharing your opinions or your stance on politics or injustice - I mean sharing a meal, donating some dollars, spending time helping others or just being kind to the people around you that might not have the same things you do to be grateful for this season.


Hope you all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

November 24, 2014

A Near Perfect Weekend

After last weekend's crazy amount of fun, a juice cleanse that ended with a horrible Thursday night headache and a work week jam packed with pre holiday deadlines, we were so excited to have nothing on our calendars this weekend.  This weekend included so many of my favorite things that I am tempted to call it perfect - also, I'm going to recap it for the 2nd week in a row.

Friday night, Justin had a late appointment about 90 minutes north to meet a customer.  I rode with and we stopped at Woodbury Commons Outlets to check off a few Christmas gifts.  If you live anywhere in the NYC area and haven't taken the trip to those outlets, you should.  They have everything.  We also started listening to Serial and have been sucked in to the greatest podcast ever.  We are only 3 episodes in, so no spoilers.

Saturday, I got up and finished the book I was reading.  Then I made cinnamon rolls and mimosas (pretty much undoing the juice cleanse) and we watched Princess & the Frog in bed.  The weather was warm this weekend, so we headed into the city to the holiday market in Union Square and then wandered around the East Village - eating Crif Dogs again, obviously.  The veggie dogs with peanut butter & crushed potato chips are hard to beat.  We finished the evening watching the first 3 episodes of Homeland season 3.  So far this season, we are a little bored, but that never lasts long with this show.

Sunday, I picked up The Andy Cohen Diaries and spent 2 hours wondering why I'm not best friends with him yet.  We met friends for brunch in Hoboken, watched a few minutes of the Vikings vs. Packers game and then headed home to relax the rest of the day.  The apartment got semi-cleaned, our Christmas cards got ordered and we brought some more clothes to the donation bins.

How was your weekend?  Are you sucked into Serial yet?

November 20, 2014

48 Hours of Juice

I am officially halfway through my first juice cleanse that is longer than 24 hours.  We've upgraded this time to 48 hours.  I had a bit of a rough patch yesterday afternoon where I swear my stomach was saying pizza out loud, but I bounced back and finished strong.  They are wise to end the day with the best tasting thing that has ever entered my body... although when you haven't eaten real food all day, anything could taste amazing.

Remember back in the beginning of the year when we bought a juicer?  I shared these tips & thoughts on juicing.  Now we have a juice shop open directly below our apartment... so the juicer sits in the back of a cabinet.  We decided to try their cleanse this time around because it's way less work and the juices are just as fresh.  I think it worked out to be a little more expensive than doing it at home, but we got a good deal on the second day, plus we got that lime green cooler.  It's the details people.

Turns out, I will NEVER like beets.  I've tried and tried, but they are disgusting.  I feel the same way about the juice I start with in the morning which is all green vegetables, zero fruit.  It's like eating a salad with no dressing or nuts or croutons or decorations.  Gross.  The rest of the juices are really good - especially the last one.  It tastes like you're drinking cookie dough.

I've seen the articles saying that juice cleanses are healthy, I've seen articles that say they are horrible.  I will tell you from personal experience that my body is always happy afterwards.  For me, the changing of the seasons is the best time to detox a little - also, after a weekend of eating and drink the best unhealthy stuff NYC has to offer.

Have you ever done a juice cleanse?  Hate it?  Love it?  Tell me about it.

November 19, 2014

A Year Later...

I wrote this post a little over a year ago listing out the 5 things I was scared of and the 5 things I was excited about when it came to our move to the east coast.  I can't believe it's been a year since we were unloading the moving truck and shopping for a brand new couch.

I can't believe I was afraid of driving, finding new favorite places and adjusting to apartment life.  Those have been highlights for me.  Instead there are a few things that I didn't really consider before.

Things I didn't think would bug me, but they do:

Flight prices.  This only seems to be an issue for flights to Minnesota.  They are never cheap.

Our geographical location within our time zone.  Because we are on the eastern side of our time zone, our sunsets are so much earlier than what we were used to in Minnesota.  I hadn't really thought about that.

Having tenants.  Just knowing that someone else is living in a house that I pay for makes me nuts.

Helicopters.  All day they circle around the island of Manhattan.  I'm getting better at tuning them out, but it isn't easy.

The lack of a few Midwest specialities.  First and foremost, a good bloody mary.  I've tried and tried but have been unsuccessful.  Also, pull tabs.  I throwing $20 into the pot and getting pull tabs for the table.  I will tell you though that Steph made my day when she said she was going to make a Tater Tot Hot Dish.

Things I didn't know I would love:

Seasons.  It's like I've never experienced Spring & Fall before.  In Minnesota, those seasons are short and unpredictable - it snowed tons last week when I was back in MN for work.  On the coast, these seasons last 3 months and they are wonderful.

Delivery options.  I can have everything delivered right to my building, and I mean everything.

The People.  There is a bad reputation for people on the east coast where I come from.  So what if people swear a little more here?  I love the honesty, the passion, the energy and the heart of the people we have met.  I love a good Jersey accent.  I also love how many people have stories like us - they come from somewhere else to start an adventure.

Bagels.  I didn't understand how a bagel could be that much different, but it is - and it's so much better.  That is also the case for pizza, seafood and donuts.

Apartment living.  I adore our little 800 sq ft and after being here, I know I could live in any size place with my little family.  We have so much less stuff to deal with, less cleaning to keep up with and if something breaks, someone comes to fix it.


It has been an amazing year and we can't wait to experience another holiday season here.  We have gotten the best advice along the way and we have an amazing support system back in the motherland.  We have made some great friends here that won't be able to get rid of us no matter where we are living.
So tell me, what surprised you about the place you live?  Do you love something about it you didn't know you would?

November 17, 2014

A Weekend with Brian - Play by Play

I'm back and kicking some serious Monday butt.  We had our friend, Brian, in town all weekend, which meant so much eating, walking, drinking and laughing.  Brian made a comment yesterday about how much he wished he would have written down everything that we did so he could remember, so I took the liberty of listing out our last 3 days.  If you are wondering where to find me any night this week, I will be lounging on my couch catching up on my lazy behaviors.

Here is a play by play of our amazing weekend with a few pictures and lots of my favorite NYC establishments.  Sorry in advance for the length.  I haven't blogged in a week, so it just felt right.


9:00 AM - Drank coffee and got a few work things wrapped up so we could enjoy our vacation day.
12:00 PM - Arrived at Chelsea Market and went directly to the Doughnuttery.  Tried a few new flavors and was not disappointed.  That place is amazing.
12:45 - Decided it was time for a vacation day beer.  Started looking for a place.
12:48 - Realized we are in New York City and there is always a place close.  We wondered into the Blind Tiger and enjoyed a beer and a hot lunch.
2:00 - Enjoyed a few minutes of sunshine in Washington Square Park.  Also, spent a few minutes debating the selfie sticks.
2:45 - Wandered into a store called the Little Lebowski and loved the man working there wearing a fabulous sweater and napping throughout our visit.  He must have had a rough bowling night on Thursday.

3:10 - Approached Bleeker Street - you can't pass Bleeker without a beer, so we wandered into the Red Lion and took care of that.
4:00 - Headed South towards TriBeCa and stopped in my favorite spot, Tinys & the Bar Upstairs.
4:55 - Left and went straight to the Ghostbusters firehouse a few blocks away, because when you have guests, it's important for them to see the special sites in the city.
5:10 - Got offered all kinds of handbags and watches walking through Chinatown.
5:30 - Stopped in a bar in Little Italy to have a quick drink and use their restroom.  I swear businesses in the city do so much better because there are no public restrooms.  It's totally fine with me.  The boys had some sort of "shot" that involved a straw and 3 small cups.  I'm glad I opted out.

6:30 - Realized we were still many blocks from our next destination and on a time limit, so we walked incredibly fast.
6:50 - Arrived at Crif Dogs and ordered a Lil' Ma (vegetarian style) - this would be a "not dog" with peanut butter, crushed potato chips and pickles.  BEST THING EVER.
7:20 - Walked into Theater 80 to pick up our will call tickets for Bayside The Musical.
7:28 - Met the super fans sitting in front of us.  I've never met anyone that can recite all the words to every single episode of Saved by the Bell AND carries a Zack Morris cell phone.

7:30 - 9:30 - Watched the single funniest show I have ever seen in my entire life.  Anyone that grew up watching Saved by the Bell would be doing themselves a HUGE favor to check this out.
9:45 - Found our way back to the ferry station and back to Jersey.  Pajamas and bed were my best friend after a day full of walking, eating and drinking.


8:30 AM - Coffee talk with Brian while lounging on the couch and planning out our morning.
8:45 - Read Yelp reviews to find a new brunch spot on the Upper West Side and narrowed down the list.
10:20 - Headed into the city for another day of adventure.
11:15 - Arrived at Fred's for Brunch.
12:00 PM - Took a bite of Justin's Crab Cake Eggs Benedict and spent the rest of brunch wishing I would have ordered that because it was one of the best breakfast items I have ever eaten.
12:30 - Got in line at LeVain's bakery for one of their famous Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies.  The smells coming out of the bakery make that line so much more enjoyable.

1:10 - Wandered into Central Park and spent the next hour enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful fall colors.

2:15 - Fought our way through the crowds on 5th Avenue to get to the MoMA - then fought our way through the crowds inside the museum.
4:00 - Watched Justin get extremely excited because he finally got to see his favorite painting in person.  Is it weird that seeing original pieces in real life feels a bit like seeing a famous person live?  That's what it feels like for me.

5:30 - Decided we needed to sit down, so we made our way a few blocks over to McGee's.  This is the "How I Met Your Mother" bar.  That made me ridiculously excited.  I felt bad for Brian though because he doesn't like the show and we spent the first 20 minutes talking about our favorite moments from the show.
7:45 - Hunger was settling in, so we found a place close.  Yes, we went to a restaurant in Midtown near Times Square, but the food was good and the company was better.  We got a crazy idea that Karaoke was in our future.
9:15 - I found myself walking down a flight of stairs for beg for a key to a private karaoke suite.  They told me that we could be on the calendar for 11:30.  That wasn't happening so I stomped up the stairs.  The doorman felt a little bad for me because I was clearly throwing a temper tantrum, so he directed us to another smaller place a few blocks away.
9:23 - Stood on the street where the doorman sent us because there were so many unmarked doors and no signs that matched the name he gave us.
9:25 - I opened a door and heard Pat Benetar being belted from a flight up, so I knew we had found it.
9:30 - Found ourselves sitting in a private suite with beer and a remote that had lots of non English commands on it.

10:15 - Finished our hour long session with a group sing of Mr. Big and then Sweet Caroline.  To anyone who received snapchats of my husband singing - you are welcome :)

10:32 - Went to the restroom and flushed my metro card down the toilet (accidentally of course).  10:40 - Took a "groupie" outside the karaoke place because it just felt right.  I was secretly wishing I had a selfie stick at that moment - just for a second.  Also, thank you iPhone 4 for having the worst front facing camera ever.

11:00 - Jumped on the ferry back to Jersey.
11:45 - Put my pajamas on and watched a little of Saturday Night Live which disappointed this week.
1:02 AM - Fell into bed and fell asleep immediately.


9:05 AM - Woke up and was extremely proud that I had slept in until after 9.
10:40 - Found ourselves back on the ferry and headed directly to TKTS.
11:10 - Had 3 tickets for the 3:00 show of Kinky Boots and decided to hit a few tourist spots with Brian.
11:35 - Realized the Christmas Market was already set up in Bryant Park, so we helped ourselves to Hot Chocolate and one of the greatest marshmallows I've ever seen and wandered through the shops.

12:20 PM - Entered Grand Central Station and found slices of pizza in the food court in the basement.
12:55 - Watched as the boys whispered things to each other outside the Oyster Bar and gaze at the beautiful ceiling.

1:30 - Made our way slowly through FAO Schwartz stopping to watch people dance on the piano and created a live action figure with Brian's face on it.
2:15 - Enjoyed a little Jacques Torres chocolate since clearly we didn't have enough sugar, plus Brian hadn't been to Rockefeller Center yet.
2:45 - Made our way to the theater and found our seats in the back row.  Watched Kinky Boots and got a little annoyed at the Tom Schwartz look a like in front of us that kept swinging his head so his bangs would flip to the side (I hope you understand the picture I'm painting there.)
6:00 - Found our way back to the ferry station and directly home to order Bareburger, put on pajamas and watch Ghostbusters.

Brian went to the airport early this morning and we already can't wait for our next adventure.

It was a fantastic weekend filled with many of our favorite places and a few new places that we will be adding to our list.  We successfully walked 60,000 steps according to the fit bits and there's a good chance we will be participating in a juice cleanse this week because I haven't eaten like that in a while.  It was all amazing.

So, who is coming to visit?

November 7, 2014

Countdown of Things

We made it to Friday again.  I had a great and productive week.  I've been working hard at fighting the urge to go to sleep at 7:00 PM.  This weekend is going to be pretty busy because I'm jumping on a flight back to the motherland on Sunday for a super quick work trip.  I have no idea if I'll be showing up on my blog next week because my schedule will be a little bit hectic.  I figured I'd show up today and use this little countdown post that I've seen a few places - maybe changed a little bit.

5 Things that are happening this Weekend:

1.  Tonight, we are heading to see American Authors, The Mowglis and Oh Honey in the city.  The tickets were super cheap and it will be fun to get out and see some live music.

2.  Pancake breakfast.  I've been talking about it for weeks and every weekend, it doesn't happen.  We are having pancakes at some point this weekend - NON NEGOTIABLE.

3.  Pulling out my winter clothes because flying to Minnesota means dealing with snow next week.

4.  A drink or two in Hoboken, because why not?

5.  A play date with my Bulldog niece once I land on Sunday.  That comes with wedding talk with my future sister in law and my mom.  Quick trips home for work are hectic, but I love having a little time to hang with the family.

4 Things I liked from the Internet this week:

I made this One-Pot Caprese Pasta Dinner this week and it was AHmazing.
This view of Central Park with the changing leaves.  It's so beautiful.
I read this blog this week about moods and Mondays.  I ended up pinning this quote because I love it.
I loved Amber's List of 22 Not-So-Simple Blog Topics.

3 Things I'd like to own:

One of the vintage trailers featured in this articlethis candle or any from that Etsy shop and another one of these comfy sweatshirts from Old Navy

2 pictures I took this week:

Weird - dog pictures.  They are my favorites.

1 Song that I'm listening to:

Have a great weekend!

November 6, 2014

Maine: Little Towns, Moose and Seafood

We spent the last few days of our fall road trip in Maine.  We obviously didn't explore the entire state and there are a few places that are still on our list to visit.  I would love to come in the summer and spend more time on the coast.  I will share a few of our favorite places with you and dump a few photos on you as well.

Middle of Nowhere

Maine actually has an entire section in the Northern part of the state where there is one person per 100 square miles.  Get off the highway and away from the coast and enjoy the quiet lakes and untouched forests of this beautiful place.

Bar Harbor

This town is a magnet for cruise ships - WATCH OUT - that means lots of people in a little town.  If you catch the downtown area when it's a little slower, it's beautiful.  Tons of little shops, restaurants and a busy little harbor with lots of little islands all around.  We didn't get to spend time at Acadia National Park, but it's on my list when we return.

We took a break and enjoyed a beer from the local brewery called the Leaf Peeper - it was perfect for our adventure.  We had clam chowder and crab cakes and then walked off our lunch.


This is the town we stayed in.  The Lord Camden Inn was fantastic.  We checked in and then walked through the town.  We found a restaurant to have a Lobster dinner and then walked around after sunset.

I recommend hiking to the top of Mt. Battie for an amazing view of the little harbor town (and a decent workout.)  You should get some Chowder here at Cappy's Chowder House.  You should enjoy hot chocolate from the little bakery on Main Street and sit on your balcony of your room at the Inn and watch life happen.  Watch the fishing boats come and go in the harbor.  We had a such a wonderful night in this little town.


Our last stop in Maine was this little town which had lots of beautiful oceanfront mansions and the best food we ate on the entire trip.  It is the home of LL Bean and Tom's.

You HAVE to stop at the Clam Shack and order a lobster roll and a fried clam sandwich.  Check out the Bush's estate while you're there - even better, pull up a seat and watch the awesome tourists trying to get their picture in front of his estate.

Those were our favorites on our quick 2 day trip through Maine.  Like I said, we would love to go back.  It is a beautiful state and there is tons to take in.  Have you ever been?  Any favorites?

November 5, 2014

You can't be good at everything

Nobody is perfect.  I'm not even sure that anyone could explain to me what a perfect human would be like.  Everyone is good at certain things and not so good at others.  Today, I'm sharing a few things that I'm not very good at.  It's good to own your strengths and own your weaknesses, right?

Saying no to donuts.  Why are there so many National Donut Days?

Walking in high heels.

Speaking French - even after 5 years of school.

Exercising.  I do it but sometimes it's quite pathetic how many excuses I make up.

Gardening.  I have a blue thumb (or really any color other than green.)  It's nice to live in an apartment where my biggest responsibility is checking on our succulents.

Watching people learn how to do something.  It is a real struggle to let them work through something new and not just take control.

Drawing - unless it's stick figures.  I'm really good at stick figures.

Training my dogs to behave.  They run my life and I love it.

Baking most things.  I have a few things I can make without a box of mix, but it's very limited.  I'm learning.

Opening gifts in front of people.  I always overthink my reactions.

Talking on the phone.

Pictures.  I tend to make the worst faces for pictures and never know how to stand.  So I post picture like this instead.

Breaking the rules.

Online shopping.  Just kidding, I'm really good at this one, but it's kind of a problem.

Styling my hair.  My hair is either "natural" looking (wavy) or it's in a top knot.

I'm sure I could continue this list for a while, but I'm going to refrain and go make a list of the things I'm good at.  Or maybe I'll just go and buy a donut.  Happy National Donut Day.

November 3, 2014

Right Now - November Edition

It's Turkey Time.  Just kidding.  I'm still a Pescatarian, but it seems like the second that Halloween is over - Christmas/Thanksgiving holiday madness just punches you in the face.  I'm not quite there yet. Let's enjoy the last few warm weeks of the year before the frost sets in.  Trust me - there is plenty of time for stockings, gratitude posts that come every year in November and snow.

Here is what I'm up to right now (not this second, but you get the idea)

Reading my first Bill Bryson book, A Walk in the Woods, which is about the Appalachian Trail.  I'm a big fan of reading about other people's adventures and letting it inspire my own.

Eating less sugar this month.  I'm not a huge sweet tooth, but I love a piece of chocolate or a donut every once in a while.  We bought the book I Quit Sugar which has an 8 week plan to cut down your sugar intake.  We know the holidays are coming, so we are just cutting back from now until Christmas and then we'll cut it out for a while.

Beginning to plot out our travels next year.  It's time to start living on a budget and saving some money.  We have lots of fun things in the future... if we can pay for them.

Missing my friends from home.  It's the year of 30th birthdays and it sucks having to miss out on the celebrations.  I missed a few fun parties in the last month, but I'm sure these ladies were surrounded by lots of love and lots of laughs.

Wishing that I could have a personal chef or enough money to eat out every day.  It took me almost an hour to figure out our meal plan this week.  I need to keep building up my list of recipes that I can execute so this isn't such a daunting task.

Loving my current uniform of sweaters and leggings.  Somedays I wear leggings as pants.  When you work from home and people don't see you all day - it's totally OK.

Drinking red, red wine.  It's that time of year again where the whites go in the fridge and the reds come out of the cabinet.  I'm not totally exclusive with red, but I prefer it when the air gets a little colder.

Listening to my Autumn playlist on Spotify.  Also, I'm annoyed with Taylor Swift because she pulled her music from Spotify.  I think her NY song is annoying and even if I think I would like the rest of her new CD, I won't be buying it on iTunes.

Excited to see what the Freedom Tower looks like at night.  It has finally officially opened and I can't wait to see what the building looks like at night without the construction lights.

Watching the nightly news and hearing about a warming trend that is bringing 70 degree weather to our neck of the woods for the next couple of days.  I love living near the coast.

Proud that I almost blogged every day in October.  I missed 2 days, but I still count that as a huge win.  Thanks for putting up with my consistency.  I know it isn't something you're used to.

What have you been up to lately?