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A Weekend of Birthdays

Well, after a weekend of technical difficulties, it’s time to get down to business.  It feels good to be back.

I think the best way to play catch up is to go backwards.  That’s normal right?  Either way, let’s just run with it…


Last weekend, Joe and I headed up to the Catskills to celebrate his birthday and my nanny’s 92nd, as well as have a mini reunion with my mom’s cousins, and meet the baby.  Basically, we were covering a lot of bases here.


Immediately upon arriving, I got to hold baby H.  When I tell you that he was the perfect baby, I am not exaggerating (though I know I may seem biased).  For the seven hours that we were there, baby H cried for a total of two minutes – if that.  The rest of the time, he was just sleeping and snuggling.  Keep in mind, that when my family gets together, we are not quiet.  There is a lot of laughing and talking loudly… but nothing would upset baby H.

Amazing, right?


PS – It doesn’t get better than seeing your nanny holding her first great grandchild.


The weather was beautiful so we decided to walk down to the lake.  It’s a nice walk there, and the lake is very serene (though I refuse to go anymore in because the bottom feels slimy courtesy of the algae).  When we were younger, we used to come here for the 4th of July to watch the firework show that was put on by the people who lived in the giant houses on the other side of the lake.


The entire day was spent relaxing (and eating).  Since we were up in the Catskills, it was actually kind of chilly so I got to break out a fun sweater and my moccasins.  Basically, I’m counting down the days to Fall now.


All in all, it was a wonderful day.  It’s always nice to get together with my mom’s side of the family… and I’m not just saying that because we ended up with five desserts (three of which were yellow cake and chocolate frosting).


And thanks to my mom, the joint birthday cake had a photo of Joe and my nanny – which was from our engagement party.  I know this because my mom casually mentioned that she had to cut me out of the photo since it wasn’t my birthday weekend, too.

Do your family gatherings involve about half a dozen desserts, too?


Posted in Fun, New York | 7 Comments

Cicada Mania

There are cicadas everywhere.

Everywhere except for the area that we live.  Not that I’m complaining!  I just think it’s odd when you think about it because Joe and I live somewhat near a park.  We do hear them and see them when we drive around the island so I can say that they’re here.

About two weeks ago, Joe brought me along to a dinner at his internship boss’ house.  It was nice to finally meet everyone (Joe has been working with them a lot for the past couple of months).  Two of the team members had wanted to try cicadas so they brought two cups worth (one cup was later released back into the wild) and got to cooking.

I’m not going to be sharing this recipe because, well, it’s a little bizarre.  Also, because I wasn’t in the kitchen as they were cooking… I was in the other room with the heebie-jeebies.


Word on the street is that they have a nutty flavor or taste kind of like asparagus.  Joe says they were kind of fishy in terms of texture but they mostly taste like the flavor of what they’re cooked in.  If they hadn’t been cooked in artichoke juice, I think I would’ve tried one.


It’s easy to be brave when there’s no threat of them flying around you.

It’s probably surprising that I requested some wings be saved for me to take home.  It sounds completely bizarre but cicada wings are actually very beautiful –  a detail I remembered from my last experience with them in 2004.  I basically had to sort though a pile of cicada wings and what not before pulling out 9 beauties.

I waited a day before doing anything because I wanted the wings to dry out.  I had an old shadow box Ribba frame from IKEA and decided to use that.  My original idea was to use the Zots Clear Adhesive Dots (Small) that I had used for our wedding invitations.

It was an epic fail.

The wings refused to stick to the zots.  Rather, they would just fall off as soon as I picked up the frame.  I think this had something to do with the texture of the wings or the humidity that night as I was trying this – but whatever the reason, it wasn’t working.  I resorted to using those square foam stickers.  This time, the wings really stuck on (you can see below) and I was a happy lady.


Now, we have the wings all framed up and up on the wall.  It’s a simple project but it’s definitely an interesting piece and I’m happy with how it turned out.  Most people don’t realize they’re wings (so their reactions are funny).

I would share the photo of the frame hung but I’m planning on unveiling the living room this week (finally) and I don’t want any spoilers.


Have you filled shadow boxes or DIY art from unexpected items?  Any one out there brave enough to try a cicada?  Were you lucky enough to escape them this year?

Posted in Art We Heart, Freebies, Nature, New York | 8 Comments

Life’s a Picnic

This weekend was beautiful so Joe and I decided to take advantage of that and have a picnic in the park.  It was the best idea ever.

Actually, it was 100% his idea… so I sort of married a genius.


On Friday afternoon, we brainstormed what we would like to have at our picnic.  We decided out menu should include sandwiches (mine was hummus, lettuce, tomato, and avocado while Joe had a Cuban sandwich), triscuits, black bean hummus, and strawberries.  For beverages, we brought along lemonade and water.

Everything was picked up on Friday night while Saturday morning was spent preparing everything.  Nothing was a major time commitment so it was all easy peasy.  In fact, all of the food – and the blanket! – fit in two reusable shopping bags.  I am now on the hunt for a picnic basket because I’d like to picnic every weekend.

Aside from it being sunny and wonderful on Saturday – seriously, not a cloud in the sky! – it was still cool enough that there were no bugs anywhere.  Basically, it was my favorite type of weather.  Is there a place where it’s in the upper 60′s – mid 70′s, sunny, and no bugs?  If there is, I want to live there.



After scouting out the perfect place, Joe and I settled in.  We wore sneakers for the walk to the park but took our shoes and socks off as soon as we put the blanket down.  This was not shoe weather.  It’s the kind of weather where you let your toes feel the grass…

…Or the weather where you paint your nails outside (that’s how I roll).


In years past, because of my allergies, I sometimes forget how awesome Spring can be.  This year, thanks to what felt like an endless Winter, I’m completely on board with Spring – even if I have to take a Zyrtec and use an inhaler every day.

Totally worth it.



If I could have, I would have frozen time in that moment because it was so relaxing.  With Joe taking classes and my crazy commute, we haven’t had a lot of time together.  The picnic was the perfect remedy for that and we spent a good three hours outside soaking up the sun.  Joe even got a little red!

I also like to think that the park was sad to see us go as we clearly left our mark…


What did you do this weekend?  Was it nice by you?  If it was, did you take advantage of the nice weather?  Any fellow picnic-lovers out there?

Posted in Fun, Nature, New York, Spring, Staten Island | 12 Comments

A Day in the Life

Over the past two years, I’ve shared bits and pieces about commuting and how I break up my day but today I’m going to share what a typical day looks like for me.  Below is my Tuesday.  I apologize for being incredibly vague about what I do at work – it’s not because it’s super confidential or anything, but because I really like keeping it separate from the blog.


5:57 am

Alarm #1 on phone goes off; I hit snooze.

5:59 am

Alarm #2 on phone goes off; I hit snooze. Again.

6:04 am

Alarm #3 on my phone goes off.  It’s a crazy sound so I finally get out of bed.


6:05 – 6:50 am

I get ready for work – which basically means I take over the bathroom.  My routine is pretty standard – pop in my contacts, fix my hair, put on make up, and brush my teeth.  You know, standard stuff so I don’t go out in public looking like a hot mess.  Then I go to the bedroom and try on at least 3 outfits – tossing the losing items onto the bed or dresser – before finally settling on something I like.  I end up choosing a dress I bought at TopShop (when Joe and I were on our honeymoon), a cardigan with a teal belt, leggings and my tall boots.  I’m seriously pushing the boundaries for business casual but I’m okay with this decision.  The photo above was taken at work because the shots I took in the AM were all blurry.


6:50 am

Time to head out!  I lock the door to our apartment and start walking to my bus stop.  Today I got lucky and caught the express bus!  It is crazy bright out this morning.

7:10 am

The bus pulls into ferry terminal.  I hop off, thank the bus driver, and walk down to the waiting area.  Thankfully, the doors to the ferry are already open so I can just walk right on.

7:15 – 7:45 am

Today I’m on the John F. Kennedy, which is my least favorite boat because the seats are not the most comfortable.  Regardless, I find a seat towards the front of the boat and spend a few minutes catching up on Twitter and approving any comments from the blog on my phone.  Then I spend the remaining time napping.  On the days I don’t sleep, I’ll use this time to read, crochet, or write things down in my planner.  It really depends on how I’m feeling and my mood.

7:45 – 7:50 am

When we pass Governor’s Island, I wake up (thanks to an announcement over the loudspeaker) and head to the lower level of the boat.  It feels like the ferry takes forever to dock, but eventually it does and then I’m caught in a stampede of people.  Imagine cattle being herded because that’s exactly what it looks like during rush hour.

7:51 – 7:59 am

I catch the R train and take it uptown to my stop while trying not to take another nap.  Since it’s so early, the train travels much quicker than normal.


8:00 – 9:00 am

I usually get to work anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour earlier than I should.  I typically have a full plate when it comes to my work load and I’ve found that it’s easier to tackle it when no one is in.  If I’m able to get the big tasks done, I proofread the day’s post for the last time before it goes live and try to catch up with blogs.

9:01 am – 12:30 pm

The mornings tend to go by quickly because I’m typically so busy.  I start by touching base with the coordinator on my team on what’s the plan for the day.  Our IT consultant stops by my desk and we talk about an issue, resolve another problem, and update my boss on the status.  At the same time, I’m doing a lot of paperwork and data entry (so much data entry).

12:30 – 1:30 pm

For my lunch hour, I quickly eat some left over noodle soup that I brought in and then head out to the local library.  I have to return two books and check out four more.  It’s nice to get outside and get a change of scenery so I spend the whole hour walking around, even if it is a little chilly out.

1:30 – 5:00 pm

Sadly, nothing glamorous – just more work.


5:01 – 5:30 pm

I power walk to the subway and wait for the next train which pulls into the station after a minute or so.  My train is too slow so I have to wait for a few minutes before I can transfer to the 4/5.  Today I just miss the 5:15 ferry so I end up having to wait until the 5:30.  It’s not a total loss because I end up getting the Barberi, which is one of my favorite boats.  There may be no outside seating, but it’s warm in the Winter and the seats are the most comfortable.

5:30 – 6:00 pm

During my ferry ride, I spend my time reading one of my new books, but in the past, I have also used this time to nap, write down ideas for posts, and play games on my phone.  Like Doodle Jump (which is an amazing game if you don’t already have it).


6:00 – 6:20 pm

Back in Staten Island, I hop on the bus and jump off a few blocks before my street.  It’s finally nice out so I’m excited to walk home.  This is a pretty uneventful part of day but worth mentioning because it’s one of my favorites.

6:21 – 6:22 pm

As soon as I get home, I immediately drop my bags, hang up my coat, and throw on sweats.  The whole process usually takes less than a minute.  Not that I’m planning on working out or anything… business casual is just too restricting and I’m ready to be cozy.

6:23 – 7:30 pm

Since Joe gets home so much earlier than me, he’s just about finishing making dinner at this point (we’re having salmon, broccoli, and black beans – all delicious).  We usually spend this time catching up with each other to see how the other’s day was, eating dinner, and watching How I Met Your Mother reruns.

7:30 – 11:00 pm

I hunker down on the couch and usually start working on the next day’s post while Joe is busy working on school stuff.

11:00 pm – 12:00 am

Now that my post is ready for the next day, I jump in the shower and get ready for bed.  I’m very happy to curl into bed and fall asleep very quickly.


Alright – now that I’ve spilled the details of my day, I’m curious about what your days look like.  Do you have seriously long commutes?  Does your commute involve mass transit or do you drive or walk in?  Anyone able to sleep past 7:00 am?  8:00 am (if so, I am forever jealous of you)?

Posted in Blogiversary, New York, Staten Island | 34 Comments
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