Ringing in the New Year

In 2012 we welcome in the New Year on the beach in Costa Rica

In 2013 we welcomed in the New Year on a yacht in the British Virgin Islands

This year, we welcome 2014 in Jersey. IMG_1082-MOTION

I’d say life is moving in the right direction.

After a few years of pretty intense trips with our friends, we decided to tone it down a bit and stay local. Thankfully, a lot of our friends made the same choice. And our two favorite San Fran natives added the dirty Jerz on their east coast tour, so they were in town to celebrate with us as well.

Matt and I spent December 29th making our own decorations for the party. Needless to say, Matt was thrilled with this idea.

We made a few garlands and added some NYE-themed artwork to our faux “mantel” shelves.

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To make the circle garlands, Matt used a 1.5″ circle punch on gold, silver and black glitter paper. I then broke out my sewing machine to stitch the circles together in one long line. I chose not to put any spacing between each circle but if you want to make a longer garland, you can certainly do so.

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To make the tassel garlands, I followed these instructions (thanks Linen, Lace and Love).

It really doesn’t look like we did a lot, but somehow we were up until 1am making these things…

We ended up having 13 people over our apartment – a good number but one that proved a little challenging for food. It was a small enough group that we needed to provide more than just appetizers/snacks, but a big enough group that a full sit down meal would be a little challenging.

Dun dun da dah — Crock pot to the rescue!

After starting with a few different appetizers: Spinach and Cream Cheese Pastry Puffs, Buffalo Chicken Meatballs and a new Flatbread (this one Matt liked, as compared with this)

Our main menu consisted of the following:

Pulled Pork Sliders w/ creamy coleslaw
Baked Beans
Mac and Cheese Casserole
Cape Cod Potato Chips (regular and salt & vinegar)

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Matt went out the morning of the 31st to pick up a pork butt. He came back with a 6 lb piece of meat. It goes without saying, we will be eating pulled pork for a while. Thankfully they make GREAT leftovers (and Matt will actually eat them)

Starting the year off with leftovers!
Starting the year off with leftovers!

Thank you to all of our friends who helped us ring in 2014 in our new place and in style. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. Can’t wait to see what the new year brings for all of us!

"Family" photo
“Family” photo

Treats for my Niece

Last week, I got inspired to make some homemade dog treats for my niece-puppy Bexley. Yup, I know – I am the world’s best Aunt.

Well, let me clarify a little…

As many of you know, Matt is training for the NYC Ironman in August. (Read more about this here.) As a result, we have been trying to eat a little healthier in preparation. Now, when Matt seeing me pulling out sticks of butter and my KitchenAid mixer in preparation, he gets a little annoyed with me. However, baking is my therapy, so in order to avoid going crazy, I had to come up with a creative solution. Hence, the homemade dog treats!

I found the following recipe on Pinterest and thought it looked easy enough.

Ingredients:
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup low-fat milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In another bowl, mix peanut butter and milk. Add wet mixture to dry, and mix well.

Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness and cut out shapes. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.

And anyone who knows anything about Martha Stewart can tell you how important packaging and presentation are. So my “Super Aunt skills” didn’t stop with the baking.

The night before, I had made Matt and mine’s favorite spaghetti sauce for his pre-triathlon meal. That left me with a 28oz tin can, just asking to be turned into some incredible craft project. Since I had already created enough pencil holders for all of y writing utensils, both at home and work, I decided to turn this can into a container for Bex.

I measured out some cork board (left over from another fun project) and painted the top of the can with black craft paint. Before gluing the cork around the can I stenciled Bexley’s name with a black sharpie. After letting it dry for 24 hours, I put in a cellophane bag of treats tied with a ribbon.

Needless to say, Bexley was thrilled with her personalized homemade treats.

Favorite Things, Mother’s Day Edition

This post was inspired/request/demanded from a loyal blog follower. I was thrilled to received a request for two reasons:

1. It shows that I am becoming a source for trust information (look out Google).
2. It makes blogging much easier as coming up with ideas is 75% of the work.

So here is my list Mother’s Day Edition of My Favorite Things

DIY GIFTS

Candles

I love candles as presents. You really can never have too many because are things that you use up (much like food of bath products). While candles aren’t super expensive, there are a lot of fun and easy DIY candle projects.

Dipped Candles

Tea Cup Candles

Scented Soy Candles

Decoupaged Candles

Diptyque Candles

Totes

A girl can never have too many tote bags, especially if they are cute! And with eco-chic being all the rage, mom can use this for her grocery sopping and farmer market trips.

Cherry Branch Tote

Basic Tote

Minimalist Tote (for the most advanced DIY-er)

Doily Tote (we did something similar for the “welcome bags” at our wedding)

Vases & Pots

Flowers are a solid go-to option, but after a week, there won’t be much gift left. Why not add a little something to your bouquet of flowers with a DIY vase or pot?

 Swirl Vase

Decoupage Pot

Rainbow Drip Pot (good options for kids)

Colored Pencil Vase

Neon Rope Vase

THINGS TO BUY

Nothing like a cute quote to make her smile.

Print (could be a DIY)

Key Chain

Sign

Jewelry is usually a safe bet. Here are a few that celebrate motherhood.

Morse Code Necklace

Fingerprint Charm (perfect for new moms!)

Dogeared

Simple XO Necklace

Name Necklace (another good one for new moms)

Let’s be honest, moms spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Get her something that will make it more enjoyable.

 Agrate Trivate

Mini Colored Colanders

Colored Spatulas

Medallion Table Cloth (DIY? I dare you.)

Recipe Box w/Card Holder

DIY – Dish Cloth

And if you are lucky enough to actually see your dear mother over Mother’s Day, here are a few resources to help you host a Mother’s Day brunch.

 

Mother’s Day Brunch via Cup of Joe, Delish, Real Simple, Epicurious and Martha Stewart (it wouldn’t complete without MS)

And for those of you who break out in a cold sweat at the idea of hosting a brunch, here are NY Mag’s top restaurant picks.

And last, but certainly not least, surprise mom on her special day with a new tattoo!

DIY – Stencil Quote Pillow

A few weeks ago, I spotted this incredible DIY project on Whit & Whistle. Immediately, I knew this was something I wanted to add to my “projects on my to do list” Pinterest board.

I am happy to report that I can now add it to my “projects crossed off my to do list” Pinterest board (yes, I actually have those two boards).

I followed the instructions from Whit & Whistle – except, I had a hard time seeing the pencil outlines so I skipped that step. Well, unfortunately do to my ADD and inability to focus on just one task at a time, I made some “stencil-os”  so I would either keep the stencil step, or have someone read you each word of your chosen quote.

As with many DIY projects, I can’t wait to set up a sweat shop and churn out a few dozen of these bad boys to use as gifts.

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And for those of you who are curious, the quote I used is from the Velveteen Rabbit that was read at our wedding.

Happy DIY-ing!

Late to the Party (Again)

When I was a freshman in college I asked my parents for an MP3 player. However, unlike most people, I didn’t want an iPod. I thought they were overpriced and just a stupid fad. Also I really thought the circular menu “button” was bizarre, I mean, I didn’t really get it. So instead my parents bought me a massive mp3 player that was about the size of a Walkman and was a brand name that I can’t even remember. Instead of calling it an iPod, we called it an iHouse. Needless to say, a few years later, I broke down and bought an iPod.

When UGG boots first arrived on the scene, I thought – “hmm, these look comfortable.” But I couldn’t quite figure out if you were supposed to wear socks with them or not, should they go under or over your pants, and I wasn’t sure if the suede fabric would hold up for long enough. Either way, I was certain that these boots wouldn’t be around for very long. I mean, what shoes, that are comfortable, stay in style? Well, after 3 longstanding seasons, I broke down and put UGGs on my Christmas list. My feet have never been happier. Just ask Tom Brady.

So it is no surprise that I am not jumping on the trend bandwagon late again. Many of my friends have been “pinning” things on this new website, Pintrest, for months but I didn’t fulling embrace this new site. I signed up for an account a few months back and pinned a few pictures and that was about it. Finally, after countless people have said “what? how are YOU not obsessed with pinterest?!?!” I decided to give it another chance.

And while I am still not entirely certain how much I like this site – honestly, it makes me sad that my wedding is over and jealous of people who have these ridiculously awesome apartments and houses, I am not a contributing member to the pintrest society. So please, sign up, follow along and share some of your inspiration!

(If you aren’t sure what pinterest is, please click here to find out)

Chasing Martha

This year for holiday gifts, I decided to make cookies and various treats for our friends. I purchased packaging last night at the Container Store and made customized labels at Erin Condren.

My next step is to figure out what all I want to make. I definitely want to make some of my family’s “go-to” cookies:

Frosted Sugar Cookies
“Boob” Cookies (also know, by some less-vulgar families, as “Peanut Butter Blossoms”)
Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

And then of course, I will make a couple different varieties of “bark” (see post here) and gingerbread snowflakes (see post here) like I did last year.

I have found a couple cute new decorating ideas to try this year – you will have to stay tuned for those! Does anyone have a cookies recipe that I should add to my list? Please let me know in the comments below.

Once I have my list of cookies to tackle, and gather up all of the ingredients, the most challenging part is timing everything. Hopefully I can start things early enough so that I don’t spend all day and night right before Christmas baking, but not too early that my cookies get stale. I am thinking of starting things off this weekend by making some dough and freezing it – then baking things next weekend (Matt – get excited for the next two weekends! You are definitely going to need to be my sous-chef!)

Let’s hope I can live up to the high standard set by Martha.