Let’s be serious. I would absolutely crush it on this show. Especially if I had Abby as my “craft assistant.”
What do you think? Should we apply?
See more here: Craft Wars
Let’s be serious. I would absolutely crush it on this show. Especially if I had Abby as my “craft assistant.”
What do you think? Should we apply?
See more here: Craft Wars
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
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.
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.
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?
Rainbow Drip Pot (good options for kids)
THINGS TO BUY
Nothing like a cute quote to make her smile.
Print (could be a DIY)
Jewelry is usually a safe bet. Here are a few that celebrate motherhood.
Fingerprint Charm (perfect for new moms!)
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.
Medallion Table Cloth (DIY? I dare you.)
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.
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!
Growing up, my sister gave me a lot of advice. It started with simple stuff. Wear your backpack on one shoulder, not both. Tight roll your stone washed jeans. Don’t buy hot lunch at school. As we got older it progressed into more practical advice. Which classes to take in high school. Run for Class Officer not Student Council. Park in “the pit” not on the streets. And now as we have entered our adult lives, and I’m married while Abby is living the single life, the advice comes, but maybe not as often and not as serious. Find a job you love. Watch My Red Neck Wedding (clearly we have the same appreciation for trashy reality tv). And texts saying “Turn on the Today Show! Now!”
But one thing that I rarely receive from Abby is baking advice. I have appointment myself as the baking guru of our family so, typically, I am the one making things and sending pictures to my family. However, ever since Abby moved to Virginia and started “nesting” things have started to change. She has started to encroach on my Martha Stewart talent and I am not sure I like it. I’m not going to lie – I feel threatened. And there’s nothing more threatening than the combination of peanut butter, chocolate and banana.
Pinterest has given Abby the ammunition she needs to over take my talents. She made chocolate covered pretzles during Christmas that she found on Pinterest. I think they were most popular than the Oreo truffles Matt and I brought to the table. She made a super cute paint chip banner, melted crayon art and don’t even get me started on the Birthday party she threw for her dog Bexley. But now, she went to far – she made these delicious banana bites and wouldn’t stop talking about just how good they were. Naturally, I had to make them myself.
I started by following the receipe –
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup peanut butter
While I melted them together I cut 3 bananas into bite size pieces.
Then I dipped the banans into the chocolate/peanut butter mixture and placed them on parchment paper. Now here’s where I took things to a whole new level.
I added sea salt to the tops. YUM!
Molly 1, Abby 0. And all feels right in the world.
Wikipedia defines a guilty pleasure as, “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it. The guilt involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes. Fashion, video games, music,movies and junk food can be examples of guilty pleasures.” I define it as something I like and get enjoyment out of, but would probably be judged for it and therefore, I don’t go around broadcasting it to the world…
or do I?
5. Rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher at work
I’m not going to lie, we have a pretty crappy dishwasher at work. The “spokes” of the rack are spaced much too closely together and we have rather large/thick dishes in our kitchen. People are forced to shove their dishes into place and the spokes become bent creating even more inefficiency. Regardless of the technical flaws with the machine, people just pile their dishes into the dish washer, not really taking into consideration proper dish placement, an art form that I have definitely mastered. As a result, I spend approximately 5-10 minutes, probably every day, rearranging the dishes in the dishwasher. Honestly, it is really embarrassing when someone catches me doing this – I try my best to conceal. But the thrill of seeing all the dishes lined up properly, as well as the creation of more usable space, it really quite exhilarating. I know, working with me is pretty much a
nightmare dream come true.
4. Refolding, sorting and color coding my clothing
Every five or six weeks I tackle the project of reorganizing my closet. Most of the time when I begin this project my closet is pretty neat and organized. Or at least that is what most people would think, but not me. I begin by piling everything onto my bed and begin folding, sorting, and organizing before putting it all back in place. The entire process can take a few hours. In the end, my goal is to have my closet look like the shelves and racks of a high-end designer boutique. I want all of my sweaters to be folder perfectly with a piece of tissue paper inside. I need matching coat hangers – at least within each “section” of my closets (i.e. dresses, skirts, blouses, tank tops, etc). And ideally things should be color coded. Basically, I want my closet to mimic that of Ms. Martha Stewart herself. When Matt and I moved in together this goal became much more challenging as I lost roughly half of the hanging space and now have to deal with his disorganized system, which includes metal hangers and shirts in plastic bags from the dry cleaners. I’ve yet to include his clothing in this re-org project, but I am not too sure how much longer I can hold off. Although Matt would probably be furious with me, the idea of having our entire closet organized is just too tempting.
3. Buying things on sale and bragging about it
I love a good sale. The thrill of getting something at a discounted price is definitely a high for me. Even though there is typically a huge retail mark up, I think that because I am not paying full price, somehow I have “won”. After nearly every shopping trip where I have saved something, be in 5% off or 75% off, I need to brag about my accomplishments. Typically I call either my mom or my sister – they are the most likely to be impressed and make me feel good about my purchases. Sometimes, if I have purchased a really practical item, I will call my dad. I NEVER call Matt because he always makes me feel guilty about spending money – no matter how much I have saved (major buzz kill – I guess it is something about perceived savings…) Just last week I called my mom to tell her about the great articles of clothing I got at the Gap, all at ridiculously discounted prices. She was appropriately impressed and even thought about making a trip to her local Gap store as well. Unfortunately in my haste to score a deal, I didn’t try on anything and ended up returning half of the things I purchased this afternoon. Sad. But hey, returning clothes is essentially like making money, right?
Toddlers and Tiaras. Extreme Couponing.
John and Kate Plus Eight. 19 Kids and Counting. Say Yes to the Dress. Sister Wives. Hoarding: Buried Alive. Sarah Palin’s Alaskan Adventure (I know, I just threw up in my mouth a little). You name it – I’ve probably seen it.
I’ve got nothing here – I just like trashy, low quality tv. John Hamm – please don’t hate me. I still love Don Draper.
1. Tween Music
It began when I was a tween – New Kids on the Block, Spice Girls Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Back Street Boys and 98°. It then progressed to Hanson, Mandy Moore and Jessica Simpson. Lindsay Lohan, Jesse McCartney and Hilary Duff rounded things out as I ended the teenage chapter of my life and entered my 20s. Unfortunately, my love of the tween pop sensation stayed with me. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, the Cast of High School Musical, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber all make regular appearances on my iPod.
And now, there’s Carly Rae.
Please don’t judge me.
Everything Martha Stewart touches turns to gold. And I am really starting to get a little sick of it.
She has, hands down, the best craft room
And now, even her dog is deemed perfect. Yesterday, Martha Stewart’s 2-year-old Chow Chow, Ghenghis Khan, won best of breed at the Westminster Dog Show .
So what’s the first stop for an award-winning dog – why, the Today Show of course.
Honestly, I am not sure how much more of this I can take. Thank goodness there was this little blip on Ms. Stewart’s record… without it I might actually die of jealousy.
At Robin Hood, you never really know who is going to show up at our offices (since I started the following folks have walked through the doors at the hood: Christy Turlington, Admiral Mullen, the Chairman to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all his secret service offices, Mayor Bloomberg and countless billionaire hedge fund managers), how much money we will bring in during one day (in 2011, we raised over 160 million dollars, which is over 400,000 dollars each day), or what artist has signed on to perform a concert to benefit Robin Hood (just last year we had Lady Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and Sting – just to name a few!) But those are the big things, and this blog is about the little things.
Well yesterday there were a couple little things to celebrate.
I received an email mid-morning letting me know that I had a delivery upstairs. I wasn’t expecting anything and my mom had just sent some cookies, so I couldn’t imagine what it could be. Well, needless to say I was SUPER excited to open the packaging to reveal this:
I spent the rest of the morning looking at all of the wonderful organization solutions that Martha and her team came up with for all the various areas of your home. I LOVE having a friend “on the inside.”
Then, as the afternoon “slump” set in, we received a floor wide email alerting us of delicious baked goods someone brought in from Chelsea Market. Instantly, a herd of people (including myself) ran over to the designated table. We sampled brownies, rugelach, and sugar cookies. YUMMY. After devouring nearly every treat, we decided to use our creative artistic abilities to capture this afternoon fun. You’re welcome for that.
Clearly it was a slow day in the hood. But sometimes, that is just what you need.
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
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.
Last week I made a few things using the apples that Matt and I picked last weekend. Two recipes stood out and I can not recommend them enough: Martha Stewart’s Classic Applesauce and an Apple and Butternut Squash soup. And I made this while wearing my sweet new apron that my family-in-law bought for me when they were in Martha’s Vineyard. What’s better than one family? TWO!
Martha’s Classic Applesauce:
When I was younger, applesauce was a staple in my diet. I could not get enough of this food, especially when my mom made it from scratch and served it warm. This recipe is a little more work that most recipes, but it is definitely worth it!
18 McIntosh apples (about 6 pounds), peeled, cored and quartered (I used Golden Delicious)
1 cup apple cider (I substituted apple juice)
1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 tbs vanilla bean paste
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground mace
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
1. Combine apples, apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla bean paste, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, sugar and lemon juice in a large heavy-bottomed wide sauce pan.
2. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until the apples are broken down and saucy, 50 to 60 minutes. Mash any large pieces of apple with a large wooden spoon to help them break down. Season with more sugar and spices. Remove the apple mixture from heat and discard the cinnamon stick. (At this point, I used an immersion blender to thin the sauce, but the recipe didn’t call for it).
Makes 7 cups (I only made half and it seemed like a lot). The apple sauce can be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Apple and Butternut Squash Soup:
Typically I try to avoid making cream-based soups, but this looked too good to pass up. Man, am I happy I embraced the heavy cream – this soup is RIDICULOUSLY good. It is so good that I served it to Matt last night for the second time in a week and he didn’t even bat an eye. And for a kid who typically refuses to eat left-overs (yes, he thinks he is a prince) that is a BIG deal. The original recipe called for pumpkin but I substituted butternut squash.
1 tbs canola oil
1 tbs butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbs ginger paste or minced fresh ginger (I used ground ginger)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb pumpkin, peeled and finely chopped (I used butternut squash)
1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (I used Jonagold apples)
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbs finely grated orange rind (I omitted this)
1/2 cup crushed, shelled pumpkin seeds, for garnish (I omitted this)
1. In a large heavy-based sauce pan heat oil and butter over medium heat until butter melts. Add onion, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg and saute for 3 minutes or until onion is transparent.
2. Add pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples and soup stock; season with salt and pepper. Increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, or until vegetables and apples are tender. Remove from heat; stir in cream and orange rind, and let cool.
3. Transfer soup to a food processor or blender (I used an immersion blender), and blend until smooth. Pour soup in clean sauce pan and heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Transfer to individual bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds before serving.
Since Matt and I got engaged, I have become obsessed with weddings. Not only the process of planning my own wedding, but reading about other weddings, wedding vendors and looking at countless photographs. The main “feeders” of my addiction are wedding blogs: Once Wed, Snippet and Ink, and 100 Layer Cake. These are far and away the best wedding blogs out there. I also purchases a lot of bridal magazines when we first started the planning process, but now I limit my reading to the Martha Stewart Wedding magazine that arrives in my mail box every month.
While my father certainly sees this as an addiction, I see it more an informal research. Who knows when this will come in handy again. Knowing when it is appropriate to mail out save the dates (roughly six – seven months before the wedding), how many people to invite to your shower (only people who are invited to the wedding should be considered) and what are the Best Man’s responsibilities (throw the bachelor party, carry the rings – unless there is a ring bearer, and make sure the Groom actually shows up on time)! These are all crucial things that everyone should probably know.
In addition, I have learned that as a wedding guest you never wear white, always show up on time, don’t take pictures during the ceremony, RSVP promptly and send gifts either before or after the wedding – don’t bring it to the wedding. And while my list of “wedding guest skills” doesn’t include amazing dance moves, it does include, “amazing gift giver.”
As I wrote about earlier (see previous post) I have a talent for finding deals, especially when it comes to wedding presents. I am happy, yet slightly embarrassed to say, that I put these skills to use yesterday.
Conversation with Jamie (one of my bridesmaids):
Me: I am the best wedding guest ever.
Me: Because I find deals and buy sick wedding presents.
Jamie: That does make you a good wedding guest. I can’t wait to invite you to my wedding.
Me: Yes, agreed. I am happy I invited myself to my own wedding. And I just bought myself two of my place settings as a gift.
Jamie: Umm, what?
Me: They were on sale at Macy’s… buy one place setting, get another free! That is just too good to pass up.
Jamie: That is a good deal, but I think the whole point of a wedding registry is to have OTHER people buy you presents.
Me: It is? Interesting…
Thank you Macy’s for randomly deciding the carry a limited amount of my china, at an incredible discount.
And for those of you who hate shopping and never know what to get off the registry, my services are available on a consultation basis.
I have been a delinquent blogger of late. My last post nearly two weeks ago, and even before that post, I wasn’t hitting my 4-5 posts per week goal. I really don’t have a good excuse. I guess I can say I have been busy at my new job learning all about the world of development, but mostly, I just don’t want to look bad by blogging all day long.
Well, this past weekend, I had something happen in my life that was blog worthy. On Saturday, naturally, I was celebrating National Marquette Day with some of my favorite people. I was texting with my sister, as per usual, when she suddenly seemed a bit more anxious than usual to know what I was doing. Text flooded into my phone: “what are you doing? what are you doing later? how long are you going to be doing that for?” It was like I had my very own stalker. Soon enough, Abby revealed to me that she herself was in New York City! She decided to come up for the weekend and thought it would be fun to surprise.
While I was slightly sad to cut my celebration of National Marquette Day short, I will basically drop ANYTHING for my sister. So we decided to meet for some shopping and a mani. We didn’t buy much, put the few hours of sister time was priceless. And while our time together was brief, the memories will last forever and the sweet manicures we got lasted well into the week.
When Matt purposed, I was impressed with how much though he put into the actual proposal. A private sailboat at sunset – it doesn’t get much more “straight out of a movie” than that. But what really impressed me was Matt’s choice in ring. It was stunning, so much more than I deserved and fit perfectly. More than that, it was super sparkly. And anyone who knows me, knows I love sparkle. Whether it is on a “work appropriate tiara” (aka headband), a poster cheering on HWSD or announcing my candidacy for class officer, or a jar of Martha Stewart glitter, I love it. And this ring sparkles!
Well, my sweet manicure might actually down play the ring. As Abby described it, “it is like a disco ball on your fingers.”
Thank goodness for sisters, bling, and sparkly nail polish!