Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lemon and Ricotta Muffins

Last week, we were having brunch and I saw lemon and herb muffins on the menu and for fear of eating too much (not that that has stopped me before), I did not order one. Then while eating, I saw a fresh tray of them come out and I became obsessed. I thought aloud about ordering one to take home and Jon advised against it (again, out of character for me, I listened to him) and decided immediately that I had to create a batch myself. 

A quick Pinterest searched provided me with with this recipe. With my ingredient list in my phone, I headed straight from brunch to Trader Joes to grab my lemons and accoutrement and spent my Sunday afternoon baking them. 

I am SO glad that I made them. At first I was a bit concerned, I've never been a person that is overly into Lemon, but they just sounded so damn good, so I went for it.  

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wednesday Words

I'm working on all of the above. I've been drinking coffee, so that one is checked off the list. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Desk Stash-TLC Tuesdays

My research has taught me that most women have a "desk stash" of health and beauty care items tucked into a drawer or filing cabinet at work. I will admit that I actually have 2 makeup bags in addition to an entire filing cabinet that houses snacks. One coworker of mine has a filing cabinet filled with shoes and another has a whole drawer dedicated to different teas.

I try harder to be flawless in the office than I do anywhere else, just because I want to appear to have my life completely in order, even though this has never been the case. I've been known to joke that it takes me about an hour and a half to look mediocre, so you can imagine what a feat this is for me. That being said, I have an arsenal of products at work incase I need a midday touch up or an incident occurs. 

After re-reading the below list, I've determined that if I would probably be able to spend the night in my office with very little inconvenience (this may be an issue, I'm still deciding). 

I thought it would be fun to share my stash with you all, I'd love to know what you can't live without, I really mean it, I'm so nosy!

Personal Care and First Aid
  • Bandaids (all sizes)
  • Tylenol
  • Tampons and panty liners
  • Mouth wash
  • Tooth brush/Tooth Paste/Floss
  • Saline solution and contact case
  • Extra contacts
  • Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Travel First Aid Kit
  • Bandaid blister block
  • Individual alcohol wipes (so handy if you put on too much perfume)
  • Hair ties/bobbi pins
  • Lint Roller

This is where having a ton of samples from subscription boxes comes in really handy! I don't want you to think that I have a full stash of makeup at my desk. 
  • Cooling eye gel (more useful than you think)
  • Chapstick/lip balm (I recommend at least 3, just to be safe)
  • Neutral/clear lipgloss
  • Sample sizes of your favorite perfume (or a new one to try)
  • Hair spray
  • Illuminator
  • Black eyeliner
  • Clear nail polish (Again, more useful than you think)
  • Stick blush (doubles as lip color/eye shadow)
  • Tweezers/Safety Pins/Cuticle Clippers
    • I know these tools sound excessive, but I promise you that they come in handy. If like me, you are a cuticle biter, these clippers let me take care of whatever is bothering me quickly and keeps my fingers out of my mouth. Also, several coworkers have removed splinters with the tweezers in my kit!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Brunch at Back Forty West

I have never found a restaurant that I've discovered for the first time and returned to within 3 weeks. If I were to say that again, I'd be lying. Back Forty West entered my conscious sometime in late January while planning a dinner date with friends. Fast forward to last week and Jon and I were making our plan for Valentine's Day.

Pulled pork hash with kale, eggs, fingerling potatoes, and mustard seeds. 

We've never been the type of couple that enjoys going out to dinner at a packed restaurant to choose a meal from a prix fixe menu. So we chose to make dinner at home (squid ink pasta with garlic and oil, and roasted vegetables) on Saturday and head to Back Forty West for brunch on Sunday morning.  Jon could tell you that I spent our entire drive into the city waxing poetic about this restaurant and luckily my efforts were rewarded with another amazing meal. 

Mushrooms, arugula, and eggs on perfectly toasted bread. 

Jon is a tough critic, and in general his tastes are very different from mine, so the fact that he cleaned his plate and admitting to liking this place is a huge deal for me. I won't lie, their killer classic rock playlist definitely worked in my favor. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

On Repeat

As always, major thanks to my best friend for introducing me to Haim, in addition to Toblerone, Urban Decay, and everything ever. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

My [Current] Favorite Lip Products

I think it's pretty obvious that I am prone to obsession and that my tastes change with the seasons. Lately, my lips have been dry due to frigid temperatures and everytime I take a close look at my skin I wonder if I've ever seen the sun. That being said, I've had a few products on heavy rotation for the past couple months and thought I'd share them here just in time for Valentine's Day! Bonus: all products are cruelty free and pretty reasonably priced! 

  1. Nars Semi Matte Lipstick - Fire Down Below- This brick red lipstick is great for a light pop of color as well as for building a really strong red lip.
  2. French Girl Organics Lip Tint - Cerise - First of all, I love that this is called French Girl. Second, I love the natural color of this tint. Even though it's named is Cerise, the color is light and super wearable. I often swipe it on and wear it to the office. 
  3. Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush lipgloss- These lip glosses are affordable, available in a ton of colors, taste great, and are the perfect balance of texture between sticky and smooth. I'm a huge fan and have at least 5 different shades/flavors. Bonus: you can usually find sets that contain multiple shades!
  4. Bonne Belle Smackers -These flavored lip smackers are just classic. They're tasty, hydrating, easily found in stores, and cheap! I go through lip balms like they're socks, so the fact that I can easily replace these is very important to me. 
  5. Gressa Lip Boost - Bare - I could not speak highly enough about this Lip Boost. The color is very natural and nude, its really an enhanced version of my own lip color and it feels so silky and smooth on my lips.
  6. Naked by Urban Decay Ultra Nourishing Lip Gloss- Liar - (not pictured)- This gloss glides on super smoothly, is not sticky, and provides just a subtle touch of color and shine. I'm sold and have been reaching for it it regularly! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Urban Broad

My love for Urban Broad began as a new twitter friendship and conversation in the late fall of last year. After checking out their website, I asked if they were cruelty-free, to which they prompted responded, "yes". I was so excited and immediately placed an order for their handmade soaps and I am SO glad that I did! 

I went with two of their seasonal scents, Autumn Wreath and Rural Bounty, and I was not disappointed. Both scents were lovely and the bars lasted for so long. They left my skin feeling soft, hydrated, and very lightly scented. 

Their bars are extremely affordable at $1.99 for a sample to $16.99 for a "Double" bar and they offer $5 flat rate same day shipping within the US. All bars are vegetarian and most are vegan-a great mission that results in great products? I'm so in. 

I'm sure you guys already know this, but the way to my heart is through my puppies. The team at Urban Broad was kind enough to send treats and a hand written note and it really touched me. The pups LOVED their treats and send all of their pug hugs and kisses to the Urban Broad team for their thoughtful and delicious gesture1

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Back Forty West

A couple weeks ago, I had a random day off and met two of my favorite friends for dinner at Back Forty West. I'm not usually the type of person that emails her friends 3 different restaurant options, with quotes about the restaurant and estimates of how long it would take them to arrive from their offices. But for some reason I did that this time. I went in to my little experiment planning to convince them to eat with me at Jack's Wife Freda because I've been wanting to go so badly, based solely on blog posts I've read about the two owners. After further research, I found that they didn't have a ton of pescetarian options for your truly and instead I made a reservation at Back Forty West (though I still want to try Jack's).

I really lucked out, because Back Forty West was absolutely amazing. Housed in a brownstone on the corner of Prince St and Crosby, the restaurant boasts a delicious farm-to-table menu in addition to an inviting, homey atmosphere with a fireplace; which was EXACTLY what we needed on a frigid night in NYC. We were seated upstairs, which really felt like we were in the home of friends or family and we were very luckily placed right next to the fireplace, so it was all the cozier.

Each of us had an appetizer, entree, and we shared 2 desserts. I can tell you in complete honesty that everything that hit that rustic wooden table was delicious. We shared "fireplace creme brûlée" for dessert and we were not disappointed at all. If you're wondering like we were what exactly that entails, the answer is this; our waitress brought out an unfinished brûlée and instead of using a flame to caramelize the top of it, she took a branding iron that resembled a hockey puck directly from the fireplace and stamped the top of the brûlée to create a smoky/crunchy topping.

Keep in mind that what you see below may not be available when you visit as their menu changes frequently based on what is in season and available to them.

Rosemary and sea salt fries, beat and ricotta salad, and roasted brussels sprouts with bacon. 

Farrow risotto with butternut squash and mushrooms (Cremini, I believe).

This was without a doubt the best brûlée I've ever had. It was sweet and smoky at the same time, like a grown up version of s'mores. 

Exterior Image

Monday, February 2, 2015

Rosemary Parmesan Pancakes

Let me set the scene for you on where this recipe came from. I spent my day off last week sleeping in, taking yoga, washing my comforter, and baking rosemary shortbread cookies. I had wanted to make these damn cookies for weeks and never found the right day to make it happen. So, I embarked on this cookie journey which wound up consuming 3 hours of my day and left me with no remaining sunlight to shoot them. GREAT. So, I threw half the batter out and hightailed to to the nail salon for a 6pm pedicure to cap off  my day. Whilst sitting in the chair, being pampered by a lovely earth angel known only to me as "Maria", I began to ponder other ways to ingest rosemary.

I've been on a complete rosemary kick. In my previous 25+ years, I never gave it much thought, and then suddenly I was in love. I made those devil cookies (though tasty, I won't be giving it another go) and I had been planning to make these rosemary almonds. I had the rosemary and now I just needed a way to eat more of it. I thought about rosemary infused homemade pasta, but I don't make homemade pasta without my husband (I technically don't make it at all) and he was at school. A thought came to me.

Take rosemary and add it to pancakes. done. Also, add some parm cheese for shits and giggles. double done.

Once my toes were dry and my eyebrows had been waxed within an inch of their lives (these women never understand when I ask for, "thick but cleaned up"), I went home to break out the Aunt Jemima's. I have the Aunt Jemima "Complete" mix that requires only water and mix, so that is what you'll find in the below recipe.

Please be sure to pour yourself a generous serving of Chardonnay and sit down to really enjoy these delicious cakes.

Recipe (makes about 4 full sized pancakes):

  • 1 cup of Aunt Jemima Complete pancake mix
  • 3/4 cup of water (add more as needed in intervals of 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon of freshly chopped rosemary (measure to your preference)

  1. Combine pancake mix, cheese, and rosemary
  2. Make a well in the center and add water
  3. Whisk until combined, adding more water as needed until batter is the consistency of gravy
  4. Use a ladle to pour batter into a buttered, warmed skillet-I had mine on medium-low heat
I like to use a ton of butter in my skillet to ensure crispiness on the edges of the pancakes, but this is totally up to your preference. I also like to add another pat of butter to the pan once I flip the cakes. Clearly, I have no concern for my cholesterol-check back in 10-15 years.