In My Life

Happy Everything

Holiday Card 2011

A mightily belated Happy Thanksgiving!  And Happy Holidays!  Happy New Year!

I’ve been on what I began referring to as a “holiday hiatus.”  It was completely unplanned, unintentional, but somewhere around Thanksgiving I just stopped checking Twitter.  Before I knew it a week had gone by, and then two.  It felt so good to take a break from all the noise that I just kept going.  I even stopped blogging.

My focus has been elsewhere for the past month or so.  I’ve been thinking about and acting a lot on my health and my self (the spacing there is intentional).  Always a proponent of unapologetically owning who you are and what you believe, I’ve been working on allowing myself certain things that seemed selfish in my brain but, it turns out, make me a better person in real life.

This time has been important and I’ve learned and realized a lot that I may have missed had I spent it plugged-in.  Plus, it’s been really nice not to think in witty, 140-character blurbs (those of you who tweet know what I’m talking about).  I do plan to significantly limit my social media time going forward, but I’m ready to be back here.

We have a lot of catching up to do.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  I hope it was filled with great food, wonderful people, and lots of love.  I’d love to hear about any highlights and any resolutions/intentions/plans you have for the coming year.  2012 is already looking pretty darn great from over here.



Days Like Saturday




And here it is folks.  The sunshine and the roses.

I woke on Saturday morning to find that I had officially lost ten pounds since beginning my weight loss journey several weeks ago.  It felt good.  But even more than that, I felt good.  I felt good enough to pop out of bed and take Nilla for a brisk walk with Chris before even thinking about doing anything else at all.

This may seem simple but it is not how my days typically begin.  Mornings have been difficult, almost painfully so.  Each day, I blink my eyes open, drift back off for another half an hour, and repeat several times before finally lumbering out of bed, feeling achingly far from rested.  I throw down a puppy pad for Nil, put on a pot of coffee, and sink into my day.  Only during the past week has this started to change.


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Small Victories


Gray Light


So this whole weight loss thing?  Turns out it’s really hard.  Humbling, eat-my-words hard.

In case you’re new to the party, I put on twenty pounds after getting married last fall, at which point I was already fifteen from my preferred weight.  And if you slept through elementary school math, that means I recently found myself a solid thirty-five pounds overweight.  Ouch.

I’ve never really had to lose weight before.  This is not to say I’ve been some perfect skinny-mini my whole life.  I’ve struggled with my weight over the years, like ya do, and I have a history of deep-seated body image issues.  I’ve always been curvy and have probably felt truly okay with my body only twice in my life.  Even at my worst, though, I was usually a mere five to ten pounds away from my personal ideal (heck, even fifteen felt manageable).  I’ve never had so far to go to get back to where I want to be.

And before anyone gets all concerned that I’m too focused on the scale, please understand that, as much as this is definitely about wanting to look better (let’s keep it real), it’s also just as much about wanting to be and feel healthier.  And even as I talk about “weight loss”, I do know the importance of muscle as it relates to metabolism and that it weighs more than fat, and I am keeping that in mind as I work toward being healthier.  But I’ve also got to be honest with myself, and I know that my current poundage is not the healthy kind.


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iFind it Funny

My husband is all computer genius-y, so it might stand to reason that I'd have my act together where technology is concerned.  You know, all my devices synched, my computer updated on a regular basis.  Much to his dismay, however, I don't and they are not.  I'm one of those people that hits "Not Now" every time my computer tells me that I have software updates.  I keep a minimum of six tabs open in two different browsers at all times, and, honestly, it's usually closer to fifteen or twenty.  I also regularly maintain several open, unsaved documents, let out an exasperated sigh whenever my computer needs to be restarted and I must save and close said documents, and I only synch my iPhone about twice a year.

Aren't I a gem?

My first annual synch-up was a few weeks ago, and I thought I'd share a few of the photos that came off my phone.  I have a bizarre sense of humor.  Feel free to look away.


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A Fund for Jennie


Empire sunset


I am always finding and being reminded of the reasons why I love what I do, wholly.  These past few weeks have been a beautiful, glowing affirmation of the wonderful community that I entered into when I decided to take on the title of "foodblogger."  As  you know, one of our own suffered an unimaginable loss recently, and we all felt it too.  So did many others.  People from all over the internet, friends as well as those who'd only recently heard of Jennie, offered support via heartfelt Twitter messages, and hundreds of caring individuals rallied together at her call to make a peanut butter pie in honor of her husband Mikey.  We grieved along with her while celebrating his life.

But the harsh reality is that this sort of loss often calls for more than emotional support.  So the blogging community didn't stop at pie.  From Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef:

"As you can imagine, Jennie is overwhelmed not only by her grief, and the sudden responsibility of raising two children by herself, but she is also struggling with this financially. She just learned that she cannot collect widow’s benefits from Social Security because she earns too much money each year. The health insurance for her and her kids runs out in December and she just learned that the total she will have to pay will be more than her mortgage. It’s possible she’ll have to pay off the entire mortgage in one lump sum because the apartment was in his name alone. And more than anything, Mikey wanted Jennie to continue living her dream of being a food writer. And he wanted to make sure his kids were taken care of well. That’s why he worked as hard as he did. So we want to help. And we hope you want to help too."


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On Doing


Classic Liberty


The past couple weeks have been good for me.  I spent some time reconnecting with friends, reconnecting with family, and reconnecting with my city.  I’ve been so busy going and doing that I haven’t had time to stop and think, and, in a weird way, I feel like this has exposed a major flaw in how I approach things.  So I've decided to make some changes, to try and create more balance in my life.

Ah balance.  This is something I have a very hard time with (I know I'm not alone).  When I go into something, it's often in a head-first, all-or-nothing manner.  If I’m focusing on working out and eating better, I go at it to such an extreme that the majority of my day is spent planning, recording, sweating at the gym, and cooking six separate small meals from scratch every two to three hours.  The cleanliness of the house and my work suffer.  If I’ve decided the apartment needs to be cleaned, I spend a couple whole days on my feet, scrubbing, wiping, sweeping, folding, vacuuming, mopping.  At the end of it all, I want nothing to do with cooking and my sciatica is acting up so badly that I can hardly walk, let alone hop up on a stepladder and bend over to take photos of food.  If it’s my work that I’m committing to, well, then you see more yummy recipes while the dishes pile up and my jeans get tighter.

The nice thing about getting caught up in my work, however, is that it leaves me feeling fulfilled.  That is, until something comes up.  I could be content to live my whole life holed up in this apartment, cooking, writing, and taking pictures.  I know that probably sounds sad (and, admittedly, it’s a bit of an exaggeration), but I love what I do and I’ve always been the kind of person that enjoys solitude.  That way of living, though—if one truly is living—isn’t sustainable.  Friends reach out to make plans, some even get married, and others do incredible things like have babies.  Being a part of any of that requires getting dressed in normal people clothes and opening up the front door.

And this is where that feeling of fulfillment lapses.


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Like There’s No Tomorrow


Chocolate & peanuts


I'm sure those of you who follow me through Twitter or Facebook are aware that this week is unfolding in the aftermath of something tragic.  I apologize for inundating you all with messages and re-tweets about this for the past few days, but, quite honestly, I haven't known what else to do.  I had posts scheduled for this week, but every time I sat down to to write, I couldn't.  It felt so trivial to talk about pasta.

If you don't already know Jennifer Perillo, you should.  She and I met through our blogs and through Twitter.  She's a smart, endeavoring woman, always making things from scratch, and she shares her heart as openly as she shares her recipes and kitchen tips.  I've admired her since I very first found her words.  As we started getting to know each other better online, one of us would occasionally throw out a "We should meet!" or a "Seriously, we should get together!"  It's always easier to say and feel it than to make actual plans.

About two weeks ago Shauna was in town, swinging through NYC on her way to Big Summer Potluck 2.  On the day she arrived in the city, she gathered a group together in Central Park for a picnic to celebrate Danny's birthday.  Chris and I were there.  In the days leading up, I was so hoping Jennie would be there too.  She was, with those signature sunglasses perched atop her head.  We met and hugged, happily, finally.  I met her two girls and was nothing less than impressed.  Not only were they every bit as pretty as their mama, but these two kids are a couple of the smartest and most outgoing children I've ever met.  They were an utter joy to talk to.


Peanut butter pie


Halfway through the picnic, Jennie's husband Mike joined us.  We all said hi when he arrived and then settled back into snacking and chatting.  The evening was comfortable and easy.  It was so good to see everyone and to meet many people for the first time.

The picnic wound down naturally and we all said our good-byes.  There were talks of "the next time you're in town" and meeting up "sometime soon for coffee".  Next time.  Sometime.


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Mini Kitchen Makeover




This is (was) our kitchen.

It's a good kitchen.  It's open to the living area, has a gas range and a garbage disposal, granite counters, and one of those faucets that pulls out and turns into a sprayer.  But it's also been a frustrating kitchen for me--because of its size.  Now, I know all too well that we have what is considered a good-sized kitchen by New York City standards, and I am grateful for that.  It's just that I do a lot of cooking and there are very few items in my kitchen that aren't used on a regular basis, which means that I have to unload an entire cabinet to access something almost daily.  It's exhausting and the juggle often results in things getting broken.  I've completely lost track of how many times in just the past six months I've stood in our kitchen in frustrated tears looking at shards of glass mixed with garlic powder/chickpeas/whathaveyou on the floor around me.


Old spice arrangement
Yikes! Someone grab that cinnamon before it falls out!



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Dorks on a Train

Chris and I traveled up to Westchester this weekend to get together with his family for a belated celebration of his grandmother's 80th birthday.  On the way home, we were practicing his "camera smile".  It quickly devolved into this:



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Print It!

Just a quick update to let you know that recipes are now printable!  I've also reformatted all of the posts on GF in the City.  So, if you've been poking around since the new site was launched and noticed that the formatting was a little crazy on some of the older posts, they're all better now.

As always, if you find any issues or if there's anything that you feel like you'd like to see, don't hesitate to drop me a line.  We'll still be making tweaks over the next couple weeks to improve things, but this one gets a post because it was kind of a biggie and something that I know at least a couple of you have been waiting very patiently for.  Thanks for hanging in there.  Now go print yourselves some recipes!

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