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Archive for February, 2012

celebrating life

I disagree with Biggie Smalls when he says

Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip champagne when we thirstay

Yes, I absolutely sipped champagne on my birthday thanks to loved ones and friends, but no way are they the worst! A birthday is such a special day, regardless of my chores/errands/happenings before the celebration. They make me smile, they give that extra glow that makes work ‘fun’ and dinner plans just that much more exciting and who doesn’t love looking forward to cake & wishes? I must say, for those who know me, it doesn’t have to be confetti and fireworks, although that’d be the icing on the cake if you will, for me to have the BEST birth-day/weekend/week & these day month, ever. 🙂 So, thanks to mom for blessing the world 24 years ago, & I am greatful for all who celebrated and wished me well on my special day! Everyone deserves it.

Enough about me, and more about my recommendations for birthday dinner and fun! My first recommendation is short: #1, the city. Just go! People watching, delicious food, entertainment for any age and vibe you crave on your special day. I chose the following and could not have been happier: #2 Pulino’s, [Soho] absolutely to die for. If you like brick oven pizza, among other Italian delicacies, you have to try this place! The service, the timing, the offerings, all delectable! Also, they are open basically ALL the time so for brunch, or late night munchies, they never seem to disappoint. We tried basically one of each pie, among appies and desert and my compliments to the chef on the kale/squash pizza and s’mores sundae specifically. Mmm mmm mm!

Oh Happy Birthday indeed.

<3jb

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So I’m sorry for the delayed inspiration, but I can’t help but share the love, pun intended? This valentine’s I tried to combine enjoyable craft and baking therapy, with the elements of sweetness and surprise to give my loved ones a little something special. At least with my delay, I can tell you it was a success, and this idea is indeed a cost-effective and fun way to sweeten up anyone’s V-day!

So the roommate and I made our own little valentines, with homemade envelopes, messy confetti that annoys and hopeful embarrasses everyone when received at work ;), but ultimately wins over anyone with a big heart! So, on that note here is the WHOLE WHEAT sugar cookie recipe and craft directions! Thank you to TheFrugalGirls!

Ingredients You’ll Need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp. fat free milk
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 egg
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
These 2 ingredients are for rolling the cookies in:

2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl combine the first 6 ingredients until blended well. In another bowl combine the next 5 ingredient (sift). Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, until blended completely.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls; then roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Place parchment paper on cookie sheets, and place cookie balls 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly.
Bake 8 – 10 minutes, until light golden brown. (cookies will be soft in center).
Yield 2-3 dozen.

..& just a note, I am sure you, like me, have a lot of friends and a sweet tooth to boot, but do not double the recipe, trust me there is plenty here!


Whilst the cookies bake, grab some card paper, red ribbon, heart confetti and decorations of your choosing and go to town! Making an envelope is somewhat of an origami skill i acquired through trial and error the with the lives of many trees, so I suggest purchasing! I also used some brown paper bags for a classic look, so have fun with it!

❤ happy love day.

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Consignment. A beautiful thing indeed. So to start the year, it’s important to cleans! Rid yourself of the ‘stuff’ that clutters and make a precious home for the things you’ll keep. Not only will it help Zen your living space, but you’ll feel good about your donations and rid yourself of the items you frankly just don’t and haven’t needed in some time.

{this is not to say I don’t have faith in you and your (as well as my own) New Year’s Resolution to lose those last few “lbs” and make those jeans work like they did 5 years ago, but let’s just cut our losses and keep the ones that fit 3 years ago hmm?}

Anyway, things to think about when ‘getting rid of’ old stuff are: consignment, goodwill, and family! Not necessarily in that order, but if your immediate family doesn’t want it, and you accidentally still have the tags on (guilty) but it’s obviously something you don’t want, get a buck for it! Heck even if it’s been worn once or twice, why not replenish the retail funds, then pass it on to your neighbor or better yet those truly in need. My new love for consignment can be attributed to the following philosophy:

You loved it, so you bought it. You somehow or another didn’t end up wearing it, or wore it 1/2x and loved it then but you’re over it. OR it’s not in style anymore and not to be ‘vain’ but you just don’t feel good in it – SO consign it. If you enjoyed it once, it did it’s job, you feel good about cleaning, feel good about ‘donating’ or selling it off in good condition to a place where someone else will benefit from it so that feels good, then you get a couple bucks that were unexpected (another win) and head to ‘treat yourself’ to another top because heck, this is unexpected income right?

The way I see it, the cycle continues, and all stages lead to your happiness, so at the end of the day – win or lose a few bucks – you are happy and the loss can be attributed to an enjoyable and cleansing experience all around.

Am I right, or am I right? These are a few of my favorite shops to consign/buy on a low budget!

1 – The Attic, Bethlehem, PA

2 – Backward Glances, Red Bank, NJ

3 – Summit Antiques, Summit, NJ

4 – GreenFlea Market, Manhattan, NY

Consignments, Antiques, & Markets are my loves! If I had a ‘dream destination(s)’ that kept me within the country, I’d say these are about accurate:

Nearby…Golden Nugget Antique Market
Not so nearby…New England area Flea Markets
Definitely not nearby…Countrywide Antique Tour
The things you find at these places are not only unique items that may or may not have taught you how to haggle, but they tell a story! It’s been proven that keeping sentimental items around as the decor for your home or picking up useful items on such trips, can lead to happiness for life as your Zen continues to feed off of itself and your memories. Forget the scrapbook photos you check out once in a blue moon: How about that mortar and pestle you picked up in Puerto Rican at a market? Or that silly suitcase you found at an estate sale in your hometown that you just so happen to actually use to head into the city <>. You catch my drift, happy thrifting!

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eclectic photo sources

<3jb

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