Women Supporting Women { 12.23.13 }

23 Dec

Two weeks ago I hosted the last Women Supporting Women party of the year and thus fulfilled my 2013 New Year’s Resolution.

It’s always hard getting folks together around the holidays so extra thanks to everyone who squeezed this in amid the holiday madness. It was a fun night where we chatted weddings, pet behaviors with our resident vet and best of all weird (or welcomed in some cases) masseuse experiences. The whole reason behind the night of course was to raise money for a good cause. We got over $400 for Sanctuary for Families. Sanctuary for Families provides domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims and their children with a range of services. With nine office and shelter locations in NYC they provide women with clinical services (counseling), legal services, shelter refuge (crisis shelters and transitional shelters), children’s programs, community outreach to raise awareness and empowerment programs. After learning about SFF I thought the goals and mission of their organization aligned with ours perfectly. Their program is doing a great service in reaching the women and their families affected by domestic violence. SFF seems to provide a comprehensive approach to helping these women to a path towards a brighter future.

My 2013 resolution was Women Supporting Women – specifically to have a group of women over 3 times this year, donate to charities doing something great for other women and enjoy ourselves in the process. This was the first year I made a resolution, stuck to it and saw it through to the end. Special thanks to the ladies who supported this and helped me with my resolution.

kitchen: counter { 11.21.13 }

21 Nov

What’s that you say — a crisp, clean new, countertop. BOOM! IMG_4126 IMG_4127 IMG_4128

The faucet won’t really look like it’s broken and falling into the sink, still needs to be installed!

IMG_4129 IMG_4130Plus – a cutie little cookbook nook!IMG_4120

 

kitchen: installation { 11.12.13 }

12 Nov

This room actually looks like a real kitchen now. Here’s how it looks after 5 days of building & installation, thankfully not done by us! Now just need a counter, sink and backsplash, getting close!IMG_4011 IMG_4016 IMG_4017 IMG_4018 IMG_4006 IMG_4007 IMG_4009 IMG_4010 IMG_4012 IMG_4014 IMG_4015 IMG_4019 IMG_4020 IMG_4022

kitchen: demolition { 10.25.13 }

25 Oct

Joel’s been working fast and furiously on Operation Kitchen Demolition for the past few weeks to get it ready for the installation that starts on MONDAY!

Started with tearing out the cabinets.IMG_5013 IMG_6470

No more stove top.IMG_5420-3

No more clunky dishwasher that didn’t work anyway.IMG_3016

No more oven on the wall.IMG_9192

And look who we found…a prehistoric mouse. Gross!IMG_9932

Just the sink left standing…IMG_4025

But not for long! Now just gobs of contractor bags filled with cabinets broken down “shawshank-style”.IMG_4074

No more white tiles but found a decent wood floor underneath.IMG_8409

Well, almost decent.IMG_4215

Decided to cover that up and go with a grey tile. But first, the green stuff goes down.IMG_4294

And then the green stuff gets a coat of the white stuff.IMG_4291

Then a trip to Jersey City Lowe’s for the tile purchase. Someone sure is happy to be at a huge, massive Lowe’s pushing around 80 square feet of tile and looking for other cool stuff!IMG_3907

Fresh coat of white paint for the room.IMG_0041-2

And then the new tile starts to go down!IMG_5062 IMG_4314 IMG_4349 IMG_4369

New plumbing and gas that Joel just loved. #renovationpornIMG_1337-2IMG_9870

IKEA delivered about 150 boxes the other day so we’re just about ready to get those suckers built and installed – all happening next week, not by either one of us (thank the lord!).IMG_3934 IMG_3935

audra’s engagement shower

7 Oct

Yesterday some friends and I had a surprise engagement lunch for our sweet friend Audra who’s getting married next year.  We transformed my renovation-in-progress apartment into a real life Pinterest board with balloons, treats and flowers. Here are a few pics from the fun afternoon!

Ceiling balloons make anything feel fun and festive!

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I saw these DIY fringed paper lanterns here and knew it would be a perfect decoration.

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Tablescaping with flowers, cake & cookies with their wedding date.

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Cape Cod tote bags filled with candy!10

We were getting giddy waiting for Audra’s arrival!

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SURPRISE!

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Congratulations, Audra!

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Thanks for all the help Tricia, Lindsey, Jenn, Greg and Joel!

ps – you can see the kitchen tarp in all the pics, ha!

stowe, vermont { 9.25.13 }

25 Sep
IMG_3845

The other weekend Joel & I attended a friend’s lovely wedding in Stowe, Vermont. It was my first time ever in the state. As soon as we crossed the state line entering Vermont everything got better – roads were smoother, traffic was lighter and the surroundings were greener. This was a good sign. Likewise, as soon a we crossed the county line into Stowe we were both smitten. Even at night I could tell this town was a charming little gem and immediately wished I had more time to do everything on my “Stowe To-Do List”. We packed as much in as we could in a short amount of time. After checking into our awesome hotel, Stowe Mountain Lodge, we headed for a late dinner at Crop Bistro and feasted on a local cheese plate and other yummies. Saturday, we had time for breakfast at Green Goddess Cafe, a stroll through town and a drive up Smuggler’s Notch before the afternoon ceremony. Driving up the steep, narrow and windy road through the notch was a highlight, looked like something out of a fairy tale with the mountain mist in the air. (Dear Smuggler’s Notch, I’m coming back with boots and a camera to hike you!) We had a couple hours to kill post-ceremony and before the reception so stopped by the Cold Hollow Cider Mill for well, some cider donuts, and then to the Cabot store to stock up on some local Vermont cheddar to bring home with us – added bonus: they have about 20 kinds of cheddar for free sampling (hello lunch)! Then it was off to a fabulous wedding reception. The lush green mountains served as our backdrop during the cocktail hour followed by a couple hours on the dance floor! (Congrats to Yvonne and Ryan!!!) We left just enough time Sunday morning for a gondola ride up Mt. Mansfield, the highest mountain in Vermont, for lunch at the Cliff House while enjoying the scenic view overlooking the area. I decided next time I’m going to hike up for lunch and take the gondola down.

Like a dummy, I forgot my nice camera but I snapped a few pics on my iPhone.

We’re already planning another Fall hiking trip and Winter ski trip!

IMG_3765 IMG_3847 IMG_3787 IMG_3846 IMG_3812 IMG_3798

set the date, set the date! { 8.28.13 }

28 Aug

There’s a scene in Sex and the City where Charlotte York, totally exasperated with her fiancé Harry’s reluctance to confirm their wedding date, loses it and maniacally screams at him to: “Set the date, SET. THE. DATE“. That 30 seconds of TV history pretty much sums up how I’ve been feeling about the kitchen renovation project. Said kitchen has been emptied out and relocated to our bedroom since, oh ya know, MARCH. Not one to really let things go or linger longer than I think they have to, I’ve been in a perpetual state of wanting to get ‘er done! Note that I said longer than I think they have to, so I’ll point out that I haven’t the first clue of how involved the overall process is/was (there Joel, I admitted it). Now, I’m not saying we’ve been sitting around being lazy bums since March, just the opposite. Joel’s been quite busy but that doesn’t change the fact that when I turn on the AC I have to reach behind a spring-form pan to access the darn thing. So it’s with much glee that I get to say we finally SET THE DATE! The cabinets, sink and countertop are already purchased from Ikea and the installation date is SET for the end of October.

Seems like we’ll have a new kitchen just in time for Holiday entertaining:)

new york city, i heart you { 8.21.13 }

21 Aug

There was never a question of where I’d live after college; I always knew it would be New York City.

When I was a senior in high school considering my college options part of me wanted to go to NYU but the realistic part of me knew I didn’t have a chance in hell of getting accepted. I happily enrolled in East Carolina University knowing full well I’d just move to NYC after graduation. And that I did! When I first moved here people I met would say things like “oh you’ll get used to it”…what did they mean though? I never really knew what it was to get used to; I felt totally at ease the second I stepped out of the U-Haul. I knew my way around downtown, had no trouble with the subways or the walking or the crowds, it was home – albeit, a very small and at times mouse-infested home…but home nonetheless!

My first apartment was a 3-bedroom 6th floor walk up in Greenwich Village that was smaller than my current 1-bedroom apartment (and I don’t have a large apartment now) that actually housed 4 people for several months. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It even had a balcony (well, fire escape). My second apartment, again a 6th floor walk up, didn’t have closets in the bedroom. Instead we had 3 rickety wooden things that the management company was calling armoires. The hinges on one of them fell off and we closed it shut somehow using a highlighter. I still thought I was in heaven.

I’ve never lived like the ladies on Sex in the City with their fancy Sunday brunches showing off new stilettos recently purchased from a Bergdorf binge. I haven’t had my pulse on the chic gallery scene and am not a member of any of the exclusive social clubs in my neighborhood (despite the attempts to convince my Dad he should join the SoHo House). I don’t go to Broadway shows once a week, who can afford that and still make the rent.

My New York is considerably less fabulous than the glitz and glamour on the big screen. So then what keeps me here, states away from my family, where I grew up and in a place where the word savings doesn’t really exist? The city’s spirit has a pull…with its color, culture, diversity, opportunity, acceptance, grit and character. It’s intoxicating and invigorating. I don’t have a backyard, but I have my Hudson River Park (people, it’s totally acceptable to don a bikini in the park that’s just a few feet from the highway). I don’t have the Blue Ridge Parkway but I have my MoMa membership. I don’t have a sprawling grocery store the carries every brand known to man but I have my Green Market right outside my door. I don’t have too many neighbors that know my name but I have the old man on the corner of Bedford & Carmine that says hello to me every time I walk by. I don’t have a car but I have my feet that carry me past an art house movie theatre on my way to work. I don’t have my family here but I have my small, exceptional group of friends. In between the concrete I have inspiration and beauty all around me.

Every time I talk to my grandmother on the phone she asks “what’s it going to take to get you back down South”. I don’t have the heart to answer the question truthfully so I just laugh it off. But then again, never say never…it’s not a coincidence that I’m writing this in the summer while the sun is shining.

I only heard recently that apparently a lot of people say “make it work” is the New York mantra. I suppose it’s true. You make the smaller than normal living space work; you make the higher than normal expenses work; you make the walking with heavy grocery bags home and then up the stairs work; you make the crowded 6 train in rush hour with the guy behind you getting too close for comfort work (well actually you don’t make that work, you sternly tell him to back the eff off); you make a washer & dryer not only not in your building but not on your block work; you make 2 stolen bikes work; you even make living with tiny little rodents work. Though for me it never feels like work, it just feels like living.

beach week { 7.30.13 }

30 Jul

Just getting settled in again after the Garrett-Pendleton-Minor-Lancaster 2013 Beach Week extravaganza. Our highest headcount during the week was 26 people, making that 3 generations, 8 children (under 10 years old), 12 rooms, 1 roof….all adding up to 1 fun-filled week. Although we were missing quite a few people this year we managed to carry on without them. This beach trip is so much better than any Senior Beach Week, no one gets arrested (yet) and everyone stays sober enough to remember all the fun. As per usual, it was filled with good food, sun, friends, lots of laughter..and a couple of antics.

Lots of cute little ones and twins times two!IMG_3605

There were just a few games of checkers played during the week. -4 (5)Image 47

Crown making for the winner of the royal baby name contest.Image 21Image 45

Jill found some massage assistants.Image 43

Doesn’t every family have a smoothest-nail-blind-test after dinner?-2 (1)

Post dinner charades anyone?IMG_3616

It wouldn’t be a beach trip unless someone dressed up in wigs, dresses….or zebra pajamas!IMG_3611 -2 (4)Image 9 Image 10IMG_3623

Cheers to another fabulous year…bring on 2014!

rain room { 7.17.13 }

17 Jul

A couple of weekends ago Joel and I went to check out the much talked about Rain Room at MoMa. We got on line around 9am for the Members Early Hours and  ended up in the room around 11:45am, felt like Disney World minus the funnel cakes and cotton candy. It’s an interactive exhibit with a constant downpour of water in a rectangular space. Electronic sensors overhead trigger the water flow to stop in any area of movement allowing you to walk through the space surrounded by the stream of water while never actually getting wet. The coolest part was the first step in, crossing over the line from the dry room into the rain room! Photography is encouraged.IMG_3514 IMG_3522 IMG_3525 IMG_3526 IMG_3531 IMG_3536 IMG_3539 IMG_3542

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