Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Manhattan Skyline from the Staten Island Ferry
My whole entire life I have wanted to go to New York City. Twenty-eight years later I finally did it. Matt and I had a very action packed three days in the city. We came home very tired, very sore, and most importantly having made the absolute most of our time there. Here are some highlights and some pictures of the weekend!

We left Friday after work and took the Megabus from Union Station in DC to Penn Station in NYC. I, being anxious and always early, was first in line to claim my coveted front row, top deck, seat in order to not throw up on the way there. I was successful. The ride was fine and we quickly navigated the subway to stay at Columbia with Matt's good friend Nick on Friday night.

Times Square
We started early Saturday morning with a quick tour of the Columbia campus and a trip to Grant's Tomb just a few blocks from Nick's apartment. Something I had obviously been wanting to see my whole life...or it might have been Matt's NYC be the judge. After all that we took the subway back downtown to the Times Square neighborhood where we were staying for the night. We promptly walked over to Times Square after dropping our bags at the hotel. After some quick exploration and full out tourist picture taking we picked up our bus tour tickets. Matt had taken the hop on, hop off bus tour previously and thought we should do it again. I would say this was sort of the biggest regret I have about the trip. We didn't have a
Central Park
good guide and I thought it was a little bit of a waste of time. We did the downtown loop which took about 2.5 hours. The one good thing was that we decided not to get off at all and just go around once. This worked out well because we saw a little bit of everything and then we could talk later about places we wanted to go back to. We got off at Rockefeller Center so I could see where they do my fave the Today show. Then walked back to our hotel and got some NY pizza on the way. It was delicious. For dinner we walked a little bit back uptown for dinner at Bar Americain, Bobby Flay's restaurant. I had the grouper and Matt had the lamb. We both loved our meals. I would highly recommend this spot. Most of this day was brought to you my my sister and my brother-in-law. They gave us hotel points and a Bar Americain gift card for Christmas! After dinner Matt got a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery and we walked around Times Square again because I wanted to see it at night.

We had another early morning on Sunday...taking the subway uptown to the middle of Central Park. We walked from the middle all the way down through the park to the Upper East Side. It was great to find myself among the rich. I danced on the big piano in FAO Schwartz and found out Matt has never seen Big. Horribly unfortunate. I loved walking past all the stores and we even got stopped on the sidewalk while they filmed a movie. We decided to walk all the way back to our hotel instead of taking the subway. Once we got back we picked up our bags and went down to the Financial District to where we were staying Sunday night. We took a quick walk down Wall Street and we also made reservations for the 9/11 Memorial that afternoon. The 9/11 Memorial was another favorite part. We talked to a volunteer for a long time about what the site will eventually look like and what just the history in general of New York City. Matt was loving it! We decided to go to a restaurant called Bianca for dinner in Greenwich Village. It was very authentic Italian and a tiny little place.

Survivor Tree
Bull on Wall Street

Monday morning we walked from our hotel down to Battery Park where you could see the Statue of Liberty. We also decided to take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Another great choice of activities. Its a completely free ride and you get great views of the statue, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. I would highly suggest everyone do this. After this it was time to start our trek back home. And really we both were ready.

 So this is already the longest post ever, but here is my summation. New York is not for me. Would I go back? Yes. I would like to see a play, go to Ellis Island, and go to the 9/11 museum once it's open. Am I dying to go back? No. I think New York smells bad and there's too much of it. I was pleasantly surprised about how nice people were and the reliability of the subway (which was much more easy to navigate than expected). All that my book DC > NYC. Walking from Union Station through Capitol Hill to get back to Matt's car was just so beautiful and peaceful in comparison.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cable-Less in the Nation's Capital

I posted on Facebook earlier this week about how Matt was canceling my cable. Tragic, I know. The comments on my post were like someone had died. My sister offered to buy me cable for my bridal shower because she couldn't stand the thought. And after much deliberation, and the occasional panic attack involving thoughts like "oh my more Today show while getting ready for work" and "what's life going to be like without Bethenny Frankel reading my mind and having a reality show detailing it," Matt made the official call on Friday morning.

We had discussed this before, but never actually got all the information about basic cable vs. what we have now vs. canceling everything. Matt really wanted to get Netflix instead of continuing with cable so we could watch shows we like (but never watch, or haven't seen from the start of the series) from the beginning to the current season. There is also the point that you can watch almost everything online. So after making sure Dance Moms and 16 and Pregnant are available online, I caved.

Thus far living without cable is awesome. Let me tell you why. We somehow still have most cable channels. I don't think it's illegal. I wish I would have done this like a year ago. I'm not totally sure what's going on, but we called to make sure we no longer have cable, we returned our cable box and remote, but if you plug the TV into the wall the cable still works. I'm waiting for my world to come crashing down at any given moment. I wonder if it's because we live in close quarters in the condo building and somehow we still pick up the signal? No idea. But for now, I'll take it.

Netflix also has it's benefits. We started watching Weeds this evening. Pretty good. We are also very pumped to watch all episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Mad Men. Friends, I am telling you, you should try adopting this cable-less lifestyle. I promise you I'm not going all hipster. I still plan on wearing deodorant and eating some meat, and I'm not going to Occupy DC anytime soon. Just cross your fingers I'm still getting Bravo and such while cable-less.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recipe of the Week!

Buffalo chicken Enchiladas
I had high hopes for this recipe, and to be honest, I was let down. I did stray from the original recipe I found, but still...I don't think enchiladas are my thing. I was definitely in a terrible mood when I made these too. Ugh...writing this is bringing back bad memories. I left work way too late, we had no food, I had planned to go to the grocery store, I was starving. Disaster. I think by the time we finally ate it was like 9:30. Next time I'm just going to buy my rotisserie chicken and eat it with some broccoli. Done. Here is the recipe anyway cause I'm sure you are going to make it after my rave reviews.

Also this makes A LOT of enchiladas because I use the little corn tortillas instead of the those big flour ones (I really do not like flour tortillas). I'm such a bowl of sunshine today.


package of corn tortillas tortillas
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I used Rotisserie to make it easier)
28 ounce can red enchilada sauce
1/2 cup buffalo wing sauce (+ more depending on your tastebuds)
1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
4 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
***I also used some left over black beans with the chicken/green onion/cheese mixture!


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour enchilada sauce in a bowl and begin by whisking in 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce. Taste and adjust according to your desired level of heat – I added in 1/2 cup total. Set aside. Add shredded chicken to a bowl with chopped onions and 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese. Pour in about a 1/2 cup of enchilada/buffalo sauce mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir until mixture comes together. Pour a drizzle of enchilada/buffalo sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Take each tortilla and fill it with a few heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture. Roll each up and set it in the baking dish, seam side down. Pour another 1/2 cup or more of enchilada/buffalo sauce on top of tortillas and add remaining monterey jack cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Immediately after taking enchiladas out of the oven, add crumbled gorgonzola on top. Garnish with the remaining onions and cilantro and serve. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wonderful Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend marked three months until the big day. My fabulous coworkers threw Matt and I a shower. It was the perfect way to mark the occasion. Everything was so nice. The food, the company, and the generous gifts. Matt was also a total trooper. It was supposed to me a boy-girl shower, but I knew a lot of guys wouldn't be there, so I tried to let him out of it. He still came. He did a great job for his first ever bridal shower. I'm pretty sure he might not go to another one, though. 

My mom also came for the event. It was a very busy weekend. Part of the reason she came was so we could go to Tyson's and find her a dress for the wedding. We were successful! Also...after a small wedding dress and dress fitting appointment fiasco, I got to try on my dress! My mom brought it down from Pennsylvania so I could try it on. It was an almost perfect fit. Obviously the hem will need done and some areas will need taken in, but overall it fit very well. Definitely a relief. 

And most surprisingly I bought a new car on Friday afternoon. I will spare you the long, boring story on that one. You would think I might be excited, but I'm really not. I'm just glad a decision was made and hopefully I won't have to worry about that for a number of years to come. 

I think that's all my major news for now. Just one more thank you to all of my awesome BES friends for a wonderful shower. It was the best and I had so much fun!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Ok so one of my favorite food blogs is running a contest. They are looking for a guest poster. What you have to do is submit your recipe, a picture, and a 500 word story about your recipe. I so want to enter, I don't really have time to come up with something new for this right now, so I have to use a recipe I posted on here in the last year or so. Which one should I choose?!?!

My top contenders:
Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Cookies
Whole Wheat Pancakes

I have a lot of favorites that didn't make my top list, but this is stressful because I feel like the picture of the food matters a lot. I also feel like since it's about to be summer that matters too. Pumpkin cookies for a post that will make it's appearance in June...probably not going to happen. So I think I am leaning toward the eggplant or pancakes. I think I could make the best story for the cinnamon rolls, but I don't know how summery those are. Ugh...the life of a wannabe food blogger...HELP!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wedding Brain

I think I am diagnosing myself with a severe case of wedding brain. Well, really it's not severe, but it's a case nonetheless. I have crazy wedding dreams on the regular these days. Mostly no one comes to the reception after they have RSVPed that they will. Last night I went to try on my dress and they ordered the wrong one and my hair was a hot mess. The top dream is about cupcakes. Cupcakes and cupcake display options are constantly on my brain.

You may remember from this post that I thought I had all our cake decisions figured out. Well there were problems. Although I kept it a secret in that post, we had decided to do cupcakes instead of a big tiered cake. When we decided we were going to do cupcakes I really wanted my cousin-in-law to make them, but my mom said she was already doing a wedding the day before mine and it probably wouldn't work, so I emailed the bakery we got cake samples from to make them. To make a long story short...the bakery we thought we were using would not get back to me. After perusing a few options a miracle occurred...Kelsey (the cousin-in-law) said she could do them! YAY!

To understand why I have crazy recurring dreams about cupcakes you might need to know that I am not a huge fan of cupcakes as a wedding cake. So then why would I do it? Well I don't really like cake that much to begin with and when I do like cake it's a weird flavor. So by doing cupcakes you can have a lot of flavors so that everyone can find something they like, and I can have my fun flavors. My main source of worry is the cupcake display. I really don't like that whole tiered, I'm trying to make this look like a cake, display. Don't like in this case really means despise. So currently I am constantly thinking of an interesting way to display cupcakes. Any thoughts, pictures, ideas are appreciated! Anyone else have crazy wedding dreams?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Recipe of the Week!

Sausage and Pea Risotto
I had always wanted to make risotto, but heard it was difficult and tedious. A while ago one of the blogs I stalk posted this recipe so I decided to try it. It really wasn't bad. The worst part was that I made the fatal mistake of trying to get arborio rice at Safeway instead of driving to Wegmans. Being a far inferior grocery store, Safeway didn't sell arborio rice, so I was in the aisle googling a a substitute and bought barley instead of rice. I think this made my recipe healthier and it still tasted good. So overall risotto making is pretty easy, maybe just a little time consuming. Enjoy!

1 package of pre-cooked italian sausage, sliced crosswise into 1/4″ thick pieces
3/4 cu frozen peas
1 cu risotto rice (arborio)...I substituted barley
2 cu chicken broth
1 cu dry white wine (nothing too terribly sweet, I used a chardonnay)
1/2 lg onion, chopped
1/2 cu grated parmesan cheese

In a large pot brown sausage slices over med-hi heat with a tablespoon or so of extra virgin olive oil. Set aside browned sausage slices on a paper towel lined plate to drain off fat. In the same pot add more olive oil & saute chopped onion until translucent. Add your rice to the onion & continue to cook over med-hi heat while stirring to lightly toast the rice. Add a cup of wine & turn down heat to medium, stirring well & cook until wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes. Next add a cup of chicken broth & repeat the process…adding chicken broth a cup or so at a time, letting it cook down & then adding more. You’ll do this for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Once the rice is cooked add in frozen peas & a bit more liquid if it seems dry & cook for another 2 minutes. Return sausage to pot as well as the parmesan cheese & season well with salt & pepper.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Summer Reading

Hi Friends! I know I haven't posted in's been a busy week. My plan is to give you some wedding updates and a new recipe this weekend. In the meantime...I want to know if you have any good reading suggestions! I have been meaning to read Jodi Picoult's newest book all spring and I am also going to read the book she co-authored with her daughter. I have been hearing a lot about this alleged "Shades of Grey"trilogy. Any thoughts or reviews on that? Send me your suggestions!!!