Brooklyn Fever

Well, its back. Matt and I have Brooklyn fever again. And all it took was one trip to Williamsburg, brunch at Two Door Tavern and some oysters and Smorgasburg. Damn, we are suckers.

Yummy maple lemonade from Vermont.
Yummy maple lemonade from Vermont.
Two of our favorite things, Brooklyn and oysters!
Two of our favorite things, Brooklyn and oysters!
It is an oyster party!
It is an oyster party!
I'm not sure if this is Matt's tough guy face, or his "I just sucked down an oyster" face
I’m not sure if this is Matt’s tough guy face, or his “I just sucked down an oyster” face
Just relaxing at the beach
Just relaxing at the beach
Manhattan in the background
Manhattan in the background

Our lease is up in August… is it too soon to look for an apartment in Williamsburg?

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!

CrossFit and Bloodies, The Perfect Combo

Matt and I have started to settle into a 2012 weekend routine. And I like it.

Since I started participated in CrossFit with Matt, we now make a weekend activity out of it. We go to one of the morning workouts on either Saturday or Sunday and then enjoy a delicious brunch at one of the local restaurants n Williamsburg. This tradition is something that I now look forward too – especially if it involves a bloody mary!

This weekend, after our workout, we went to a new restaurant, Diner. I heard about this place from a co-worker (I think their cousin may own it, but I am not really sure) and after researching it a little more on Yelp, I decided this would be a good post-workout spot. Well, let me tell you, we were not disappointed.

Williamsburg is known as being a popular location with hispters, and The Diner certainly appeals to that character type. From the red, shack-like appearance, to the menu scribbled on a piece of paper, to our waiter who looked like he was a 70s gym teacher – it was amazing. We split a stick bun (diet, what diet?), and I got eggs and toast while Matt indulged himself with the country breakfast. The bloody mary was good, but it didn’t live up to the bloodies at Daddy-O’s, we favorite spot in the West Village. All in all it was a great experience.

We also spent some time this weekend celebrating some of our favorite friends. Saturday night started off with an engagement party for one of our favorite couples Jen and Nate. We are so thrilled for them and can not wait to hear more about the wedding planning process. I was particularly excited because I clued Jen into the wonderful world of pinterest – I hope she will spending hours on their looking for inspiration!

Afterwards, we met up with a lot of our friends to celebrate Mike Smeets’ birthday. It was quite a night filled with dancing, cupcakes, and a bar the promised “more fun” – Thanks for including us in the festivities!

The Great Brooklyn Debate

So Matt and I are thinking about moving to Brooklyn. We like the idea of having a bit more space, an actual neighborhood and hopefully an outdoor area where we can set up a sick grill. And while our lease isn’t up until next July, we decided to start scoping out neighborhoods since we don’t know much about Brooklyn.

This weekend we crossed the river for a delicious brunch at The Roebling Tea Room. And while there were a lot (and by a lot oI mean, basically everyone in the restaurant except me and Matt) of hipsters, the food was awesome. I got the baked pancake, which was incredible while Matt got the baked eggs and grits. YUM!

 

After brunch we stopped by Blue Bottle, an amazing coffee shop that we originally visited during our trip to San Fran last year. We have been obsessed since (more with the trendiness of the brand than the actual coffee) so when we found out that there was a Blue Bottle shop located in Brooklyn we thought “yes, another reason to move to Brooklyn!”

Then we proceeded to walk around Williamsburg for a while, looking at apartment buildings that we could see ourselves living in. I took down addresses for about 10 places so that I could look them up later and hopefully by-pass any broker fees. Eventually we found a building where the rental office was open and they showed us three model units. The first two were nice, but even though they were two bedrooms, the living space was much smaller than our current apartment. But the last apartment they showed us was amazing. It was a duplex with two bedrooms, a lofted office space, two full bathrooms, a staircase and tons of storage. There was a balcony that had views of the river and a park right next door. I was in love!

 

I thought it might be a little out of our price range but not entirely out of the possibility. With new buildings you can often negotiate great concessions like a month or two free.  After the tour, we went back into the office, only to have our dreams shattered… these weren’t apartments available for rent; they were condos available for purchase – and the asking price of my lovely duplex was 1.7 million dollars. Just slightly out of our price range…

Sadly, we rode subway back to Manhattan with a little less bounce in our step. Who knew the outer boroughs could be so cruel. This whole apartment/neighborhood/new lifestyle search might be a little more difficult that we anticipated.

But hey, at least we got our Blue Bottle Coffee!

A Valentine’s Day Tradition

I have never really been into the whole Valentine’s Day thing. While I certainly enjoy receiving candy hearts and making homemade valentine’s cards out of red and white paper doilies, I never felt the need to expect boxes of chocolate, a dozen red roses and expensive jewelry. Matt agrees with me on this and we originally celebrated by going out to dinner.

The first year after college, I was working as a consultant, traveling to Princeton,  NJ a fair amount. On Valentine’s Day, I had a 10am flight out to NJ so I wasn’t going to be able to do dinner with Matt. Instead, he suggested that we get brunch at the Four Season before work. It seemed like a good solution, so I went along with it. At 7am in the morning, we sat down to eat and enjoyed a delicious breakfast in a room with a breath-taking view of Boston Common.

There was something nice about going out to breakfast on a week day and in a hotel where the wait staff treats you incredibly nice. I am not sure if it is because they assume you are a guest of the hotel or not, but there was certainly something in the interactions that make you feel really special. Matt and I decided to continue this tradition of celebration Valentine’s Day with a breakfast in various hotel restaurants.

This morning, Matt surprised me by taking me to Norma’s, located in the Parker Meridien. He got the idea from an episode of Gossip Girl, when Nate first met Juliette. So not only did Matt take me out to breakfast, but he was aiming to be as smooth as Nate Archibald – pretty impressive after more than nine years.

Breakfast was amazing. Matt and I both enjoyed ourselves fully and left completely stuffed. It was the best way to start my day and I wouldn’t have wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day any other way.

Brunch

I am a huge Brunch fan. If there was a contest for the best meal, brunch would win by a landslide in my book. Not only are you allowed to sleep in, but you can do so and not miss all of the wonderful delicious breakfast options. However, if you want to wake up early and eat a small breakfast first, that is ok because there are lunch options at brunch too! And if you want to just go crazy and have two breakfasts, GO FOR IT! You can start out with a nice cup of coffee followed up with Bloody Marys and Mimosas. You can eat brunch at 10am (Upper West Side family crowd), 12pm (Midtown and tourists) or 3pm (West Villagiates). There are no rules at brunch.

I, first and foremost, love breakfast food. Growing up, family dinners were a nightly occurence in our house. Most of the time my mom did the cooking, but we were expected to help out with the planning. I was a VERY picky eater growing up, which my parents learned very quickly. So instead of constantly fighting with me to eat the food put in front of me, my mom came up with a better solution. Every week before we did the grocery shopping, we all had to suggest 1-2 meals that we wanted to have for dinner. I had 3 “go tos”: spaghetti, hamburger helper and waffles. Breakfast was great in the morning, but breakfast for dinner – as a kid it doesn’t get any better than that (well maybe ice cream for dinner, but that, as we all know,  is an anomaly). Working in a school, I have the “benefit” of eating lunch in the cafeteria for free. It is funny because the most dreaded day of school lunches for our office is “breakfast for lunch” day. Clearly, as a kid, I would have loved that. Another sad reminder that I am old!

In college, brunch changed from being all about the food, to all about the company. Sitting around the dining hall tables with my best friends, we would catch up on the gossip from the night before. We could make brunch last for hours – especially if we had a paper to write or a test to study for. I miss my college friends the most when Sunday mornings roll around.

Living in New York, you have the opportunity to eat at amazing restaurants. While I certainly eat our for other meals, eating out for brunch is my all-time favorite. Just like a band’s performance of the song “Don’t Stop Believing” is my way of judging their ability level, a restaurant’s brunch menu (and the quality of those dishes) is the best way to rate a restaurant.

On Sunday Matt and I visited Sarahbeth’s on the Upper West Side. I had been there once before with my parents and Abby, but it was Matt’s first time. The menu has a great selection and I was torn on what to order. Last time I ordered the eggs benedict, so I decided to change things up a bit and I ordered the lemon and ricotta pancakes.

Being fron New Hampshire, I am a complete maple syrup snob. While I love pancakes, french toast and waffles, I hardly ever order them at restaurants because they always come with Aunt Jemima or some other nasty immitation syrup. When I was younger I used to bring a small jar of pure maple syrup to sleepovers so that I was prepared for whatever food came my way at breakfast. (Yes, I was THAT kid.) Sarahbeth’s serves all of their “sweet breakfast” dishes with organic maple  syrup. Score one in my book!

The food was great and the atmosphere almost made you forget you were in New York City. I highly recommend this restaurant for anyone looking for a good brunch spot in NYC. Just remember to make revervations because the Upper West Side crowd certainly gets after it early on Sundays.

And if you aren’t planning on visiting the Big Apple anytime soon, don’t worry! They have a location in Key West Florida and an online store: http://www.sarabeth.com/ Sarahbeth’s for all!