this or that.

this or that.

I do declare, I am all aboard the shawl/poncho train this season. Lucky for me, Target has some amazing deals--the TOMS poncho that comes out on November 16th is $28, while the Faribault version is a respectable $59.99. Decisions, decisions...I might have to get both!


sriracha fried rice egg bowl.

I really love cooking elaborate dinners, but most weeknights, it's not in the cards. By the time I get home from work I'm starving and looking for something quick and easy to make so I can focus on the important things, like reality television.

When I did my sister trip to Chicago last year, Mer and I had a delicious brunch at Sable and I fell in love with their Ginger-Scallion Brown Fried Rice and Eggs. Although my version is slightly different, it makes for a quick, filling (and healthy) option for weeknights.

What you do (super serious directions):

  • If I have them on hand, I'll cut up some sweet potatoes, drizzle them with olive oil/season with salt and pepper and roast at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes (flipping them once halfway). 
  • As they finish baking, I cook up some Trader Joe's frozen vegetable fried rice (adding some ginger) and fry an egg in some butter. 
  • Once everything is hot and ready, I'll assemble the bowl and drizzle sriracha and then...dinner is served!


life lately: fall edition.

I really didn't mean to disappear the last couple of weeks--things have been a little crazy. Between traveling for work and a rather packed social schedule, my creative computer time has been seriously lacking.

{I also have something pretty major (may-juh) in the works--keeping a tight lid for now, but November has the potential for something huge. Are you intrigued? Good.}

So, here's what I've been up to as of late:

{left to right, top to bottom}

  • MET and I spent a lovely, rainy weekend in Kennebunkport. We enjoyed the foggy coastline and copious amounts of beverages.
  • I've completely fallen off the workout train and thought that maybe setting my alarm to "self-shaming" mode would be a motivator. It didn't work.
  • I had a wonderful time in upstate NY with my college friend N--it was so much fun to catch up, and her little ones are an absolute riot.
  • MET and I also ventured to western Mass. for a night at the Red Lion--we were definitely the youngest people in the town (it was a leaf peepers convention of sorts) but we had a great time.
  • I did a quick trip to Maine with my parents--I love it so much in the off season, and the York Reading Room is my favorite spot.  
  • I FINALLY upgraded to the 6 from the 4s. Total game changer.
  • Olive snuggles.
  • I enjoyed the fall foliage from the comfort of my couch. 
So that's that.


on girlfriends.

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Last night I did something I haven't done in forever: I got together with two girlfriends from high school and had dinner.

I'm super lucky that I've had a core friendship base throughout each stage in my life--I keep in touch with friends from elementary school, high school, college, law school and my adult life...but the communications are somewhat sporadic. With everyone starting their own families and cultivating their own relationships it seems as though life in general is busier than ever and it's harder and harder to pin down a date to catch up--especially because I'm not just walking down the hall in a dorm or a block down the street to see someone.

It's become so much more apparent to me how important these relationships with my girlfriends are--I've definitely been a friend that's fallen completely off the radar and put friendships on the back burner as I focused on my own stuff, but I don't think that's done me any favors in the long run (my stuff wasn't that important that I needed to neglect my friends).

But what's awesome about getting together with these ladies is that no matter how long we've gone without talking to each, it's incredibly easy to get back in a groove and catch up. So...why do I wait so long to reach out? It's dumb.

I'm really going to try to be better about keeping in touch--I got together with my law school ladies in September (and will be seeing them again soon in a couple of weeks) and I'll be visiting my dearest friend from college this upcoming weekend after way too long (we're talking, "she has two kids I've never met" too long. I'm the worst). I've decided there's no time like the present to work on reconnecting with these dear lady friends of mine--they mean the world to me and my life will only be better with them playing an active role in it.


on tap.

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I'm so glad it's Friday--it seems like this week was dragging on forever. A plus was that I'm slowly getting back into a workout routine since my surgery: I went horseback riding, did a couple of pure barre classes and am planning on getting a run in tomorrow...and speaking of running:

My sister is running a marathon on Sunday! I'm so incredibly proud of her--she worked so hard all summer and I know she is going to be amazing. I'll be by her side carb loading and celebrating. It's what I do best.

Happy weekend.


butternut squash lasagna.

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Not my photo, but I swear it looked identical.
With the temps dropping I've had a hankering for all things fall-like, and first on the agenda was butternut squash lasagna. I usually just use the recipe that's on the back of the pasta box, but when I saw the latest Williams-Sonoma catalog, I wanted to replicate theirs...with a couple of changes:

Butternut Squash Lasagna (adapted from Williams-Sonoma's Pumpkin Lasagna with Fontina)

What you need:
1 lb. whole milk ricotta cheese
1 Tbs. julienned fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 jar pumpkin/butternut squash pasta sauce
12 sheets dried ruffle-edged lasagna noodles, cooked until al dente
1 lb. Italian fontina cheese, shredded
Parmesan cheese for topping

What you do:
Preheat an oven to 400°F.

In a bowl, stir together the ricotta, sage, 3 Tbs. of the parsley and the garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

In an oval Dutch oven over medium heat, warm 1 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce in an even layer on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Arrange a single layer of lasagna noodles on top, tearing them as needed to fit. Spread 1/2 cup ricotta mixture on the noodles and scatter a handful of onions on top. Spread 1/2 cup pasta sauce over the vegetables and sprinkle 1 cup fontina on top. Layer the noodles, ricotta, onions, sauce and fontina 3 more times, omitting the sauce and fontina on the last layer. Top with the remaining noodles, sauce and fontina.

Transfer to the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned, 45 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 Tbs. parsley on top. Serve with Parmesan cheese.

The Williams-Sonoma recipes calls for their Pumpkin Parmesan sauce, but I'm partial to Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash sauce--I used that instead. Also, W-S adds summer squash and zucchini but since I'm not a fan I just did onions. I will definitely be making this again: the fontina takes it to the next level and it keeps well for leftovers. I might add some chicken sausage next time to make it even heartier...but this definitely put me in the fall spirit.



I didn't mean to take such a prolonged break from my internet ramblings--life got in the way with a promotion at work (woop woop) and a trip out to the Midwest last week that left me a little drained. I'm sure adding on a boozy weekend with my best gal pals from law school didn't help, but it was so worth it.

So, in pictures:

{ l - r }

  1. I did a spur of the moment chopping of the hair--it was so damaged and needed to be done. I was attempting to channel this pic, but I think my stylist was overzealous with both length and layers. Le sigh. It will grow. 
  2. Sushi Fridays have become a tradition around these parts, and I love it.
  3. I had my Maine weekend with MET*, and there was sailing and lobster and shopping and it was perfect.
  4. Fries, because...have we met?
  5. This past weekend was a law school reunion with my BFFs in CT, and one lady lawyer has a red VW Bug convertible which makes for the best selfies (according to me and my sweet windblown hair).
  6. During my lady lawyer reunion, we hit up Two Roads Brewing Company and take it from me: their Hefeweizen and Pumpkin Ale are mighty tasty (hence, the aforementioned selfies).

So that's what I've been up to--I'm glad fall is upon us and I can start cooking up my favorite comforting recipes. I'm of the position that the cooler temps permit a little extra girth around your middle for warmth and safety. At least that's what I tell myself.

*In the event inquiring minds want to know, MET is my manfriend. We went to high school together and reconnected at the beginning of the summer. He is super cute and nautical and I like him a lot. 


happy weekend.

I'm off to Maine for one last summer hurrah--hoping to squeeze in a chilly sail, a tasty lobster and do a little shopping for some new arrivals (babies are an epidemic, I tell ya).

Have a fabulous weekend!


truffle-y pasta.

If you follow me on Instagram, it's no secret that I'm an absolute truffle fiend: I never met a truffle I didn't like. So when I found myself at Williams-Sonoma recently, I was immediately drawn to this:

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Despite my pure and utter love for truffles, $19 a package is a little pricey in the grand scheme of all things dried pasta. However, when your shopping expedition is accompanied by copious amounts of wine, it's that much easier to open up your wallet.

The pasta came home with me.

I decided to let the flavors of the pasta do most of the talking when I concocted this dish, so I sauteed some garlic and mushrooms in a bit of oil and balsamic vinegar and then made a Béchamel (butter, flour and milk) that resulted in a Mornay sauce (I added some Parmesan cheese to the Béchamel). I finished with a drizzle of this truffle oil, and added more cheese and a dash of parsley.

The result? Deliciousness. What certainly had the potential to be a drunken regret turned into a delicious dinner, and if you're in the market for some pricey pasta--go the truffle route. It does not disappoint.


horsing around.

I haven't been able to go horseback riding since June, and I can't wait to be back in the saddle in the next two weeks.

In the meantime, the internet has had a plethora of equestrian-related items for my perusal (and purchasing needs).

It's kind of the same. (Except, it's not).

horsing around.

  1. / 2. / 3. 4. / 5. / 6. 


the end of summer.

the most perfect day sailing

I definitely tried to cram as much as I could into the weeks leading up to Labor Day, but I'm pretty bummed summer is over--it absolutely flew by. Despite my end of summer sads, I'm totally looking forward to cooler (not freezing) temps and less frizzy hair. For my end of summer send-off, I...

{ l - r }

top: my Rosé on pretty hard. So refreshing and delicious.
middle: ...spent some quality time with Piper (the newest addition to the C family), snoozed with Olive, and perfected my baking skills.
bottom: ...enjoyed some street meat after a late night out, chowed on Nordstrom's version of the Cronut (which did not disappoint) and stuffed my face with fries, as per usual. 

I have to say, I'm ready to be back in a bit of a routine. This summer was a doozy, and I'm hoping the fall brings more stability and more good things.

I'm pretty optimistic.


love lock.

I'm extremely fortunate to have the most wonderful boss ever. She's supportive, understanding and pushes me to grow in ways I didn't know I could.

And she gives the best presents.

This past spring, she and her husband were planning a trip to Paris. We talked about all of the must-see places they had to visit, and I mentioned the Pont des Arts bridge (also know as the "Love Locks Bridge"). As controversial as the practice of attaching a lock to a bridge and throwing away the key to the river below is, I'm of the position that it's a romantic gesture.*

Upon their return from Paris, I was presented with my own set of keys. They had given me a love lock of my own:

Yes, it's a love lock with my dog. But is there a truer love than the love you have for your pet? Methinks not. I found it so thoughtful and sweet (albeit a little unconventional) and it makes me happy that there's a little piece of me and my French Bulldog in Paris. They framed the photos for me and I have them hanging in my bedroom with the keys included.

*Romance aside, I totally get why there is an anti-lock crusade--architecturally and aesthetically it doesn't really fly.

But I still love it.


what the heck, summer.

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I feel like this summer totally got away from me--how are we already almost halfway through August? I had all of these grandiose plans of playing tons of tennis and lounging by the pool and I didn't do either of those things once. This was partly due to the fact that July had me traveling nonstop for work--I spent one night in my apartment the entire month and was going back and forth to the midwest every week.

I also had to deal with a bit of a health issue--it came to my attention at the start of the summer, and it seems like I was going to doctor's appointments every time I was back on the east coast. I had surgery on the1st of this month and I'm very relieved that everything is fine and I'm on the mend. (sidenote: the female body is a very strange thing.)

So now I'm faced with packing an entire summer into the next couple of weekends--I have some Maine time planned, and I also plan to increase my corn and ice cream intake exponentially.

If you're still reading this, thanks for sticking around. I'll be back posting a little more frequently now that life has settled down...I hope.


life lately.

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Yikes, I can't believe it's June--where has the time gone? I didn't mean to take such a hiatus from my little blog--I've just been super busy traveling to exotic tropical locations with my newly acquired lover.*

*That is a lie. I have been super busy traveling to Chicago every other week for work. Living out of a suitcase blows.

This has been life as of late:

L-R, Top-Bottom

  1. One plus to my frequent Chicago trips? Hitting up the Garrett Popcorn stand at the airport. SO GOOD.
  2. I went to my sister's house for dinner and shot a BB gun. The kick gave me a bruise on my brow bone. 
  3. Olive loves staying with my parents while I'm gone, and she also loves to give me dirty looks when I get back.
  4. I had a little too much fun recently and took a nap...on dining room chairs.
  5. My mom, sister and I did the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill 5k/10k--this was obviously pre-race...but I'm loving my tank from lululemon.
  6. I've been on a huge avocado toast kick for lunch at work--with a little Alouette cheese it keeps me full until dinner.


nail glow.

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I've been trying to be a lot better about doing my nails myself, but I suck at it--I will never be someone who walks out the door with an at-home manicure and have it pass for the real thing. I had become really frustrated with the whole process, until I found Dior's Nail Glow.

Admittedly, this stuff is pretty pricey as far as nail polishes are concerned, but I think it's worth it--it dries fast, it gives my nails a shiny, lightly pink sheen, and if it chips it's not noticeable. It's definitely my new favorite polish.


weekend recap.

This weekend...

  • my mom slept over my apartment Friday night, and it was fabulous: we ate sushi, drank wine, and watched "Her" which was rather depressing. It definitely made be question the merits of checking my phone constantly and entering into a relationship with an operating system.
  • Saturday I did a lot of lounging in my parents' Adirondack chairs--the weather was gorgeous and I soaked up every minute of it--the night was capped off with turkey burgers, butter crunch ice cream and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty"--so great.
  • Yesterday my mom and I did a Target run for exciting things like dish soap and Flair pens, and then stuffed our faces at suburbia's finest dining establishment (hint: baby back ribs). I spent the remainder of the day bracing myself for the week: I'm headed to the midwest for what will surely be a crazy workweek--happy Monday!



to the weekend.

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Might have to make these. Immediately.
Is it just me, or did this week drag on forever? I'm really looking forward to taking the next two days to rest and recharge before hitting the ground running on Monday. Hopefully the weekend drags, too--although we all know that's never the case. Le sigh.


this or that.

this or that.

$528 / $99

I'm definitely not in the market for new dining room chairs, but during my internet travels this weekend I fell in love (again) with the Herman Miller Eames side chair. (There's no doubt my love for Herman Miller is genetic: my grandmother has a bright orange vintage set that graces her kitchen table and it is fab.u.lous.)

While I'm all for making an investment when it comes to quality pieces, at this stage of my life the price for the original is too steep (we're talking $3,168 for a party of six to plop down for a dinner party. And that doesn't even include booze.)

So, I was rather pleased to stumble across the much more affordable replica--it achieves the look at a fraction of the price.

I'd love to know: when it comes to furniture, do you hold out for the investment pieces or do you make do with faux?


my office wall is complete.

Thanks to my birthday, I was finally able to expand my little gallery wall around my office area. I bought the Rifle Paper print (on the left) at the cutest paper store in Portsmouth, NH: Gus and Ruby Letterpress. I had wanted it for a while, so when I saw it I knew it was meant to be. You just can't screw around with fate, especially when it's in printed form.

The second addition might be my most favorite piece of art I own. A while ago, I read all about Carter Kustera on A Piece of Toast. He's a famous silhouette artist based in NYC and his work has been exhibited throughout the world (it also can be found in numerous Jonathan Adler stores). If you provide digital silhouettes of man or beast, he will transform them into a collectable piece of art. Of course, I decided I needed one of my beloved four-legged friend, and my darling sister and her husband made it happen.

What I like most about his Carter's work is that he does the silhouette and then he adds a sassy saying underneath...and I especially love what is written under Olive:

The absolute best.


happy weekend.

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Jeez. I must admit, I'm very glad it's Friday--I am totally zonked. I feel like my mind is going a mile a minute and I have been consistently waking up at 2:00 in the morning in order to continue my deep thoughts--this is completely out of character for me because I am a lady who loves to sleep. I rarely have any trouble with it. Woof.

Anyway, it's supposed to be in the upper 70s this weekend (!!!) and I am very excited to see my dear friend L and finally meet her mini-me: we're a year overdue for this introduction. Then, I have some family time planned and will be raising a glass (or two) to my mother dearest. Wire hangers optional.

Happy Weekend!


gelato fiasco.

I went up to Maine this past weekend and my mom and I hit up our favorite spots, including When Pigs Fly Bakery. We enjoyed a fantastic pizza at the restaurant and then sauntered over to the bakery because I had a hankering for a cookie. I was immediately drawn to the freezer (because I love salivating over all of their varieties of butter) and was delighted to find gelato:

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Gelato Fiasco was started by two friends right out of college in Brunswick, Maine, and it is by far the most delicious gelato I have ever had in my entire life. Oh. My. God. We bought the Sea Salt Caramel Gelato and the Ripe Mango Sorbetto and it seriously is a game changer in the world of gelato: so creamy, so decadent and rich--I had to stop myself from going back and buying every flavor they had.

You can buy this delicious dessert at Whole Foods throughout Massachusetts, so I beg of you: try it. You won't be sorry.



a girl can never have too much agate.


butternut squash galette.

Spring has finally sprung around these parts, but it has been a long time coming. Last week was especially un-Spring-like: it was raw and rainy and it had me craving comfort food. So, I busted out my favorite cookbook and made a decidedly fall-like dish, but it absolutely hit the spot:

Original recipe here:

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

For the filling:
1 small butternut squash (about one pound)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 tablespoons butter (if you have only non-stick, the smaller amount will do)
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced in half-moons
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
3/4 cup fontina cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces), grated or cut into small bits
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves

1. Make pastry: In a bowl, combine the flour and salt. Place the butter in another bowl. Place both bowls in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove the bowls from the freezer and make a well in the center of the flour. Add the butter to the well and, using a pastry blender, cut it in until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Make another well in the center. In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice and water and add half of this mixture to the well. With your fingertips, mix in the liquid until large lumps form. Remove the large lumps and repeat with the remaining liquid and flour-butter mixture. Pat the lumps into a ball; do not overwork the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Prepare squash: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Peel squash, then halve and scoop out seeds. Cut into a 1/2-inch dice. Toss pieces with olive oil and a half-teaspoon of the salt and roast on foil lined (for neatness sake) sheet for 30 minutes or until pieces are tender, turning it midway if your oven bakes unevenly. Set aside to cool slightly.

3. Caramelize onions: While squash is roasting, melt butter in a heavy skillet and cook onion over low heat with the remaining half-teaspoon of salt and pinch of sugar, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir in cayenne.

4. Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Mix squash, caramelized onions, cheese and herbs together in a bowl.

5. Assemble galette: On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a 12-inch round. Transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Spread squash, onions, cheese and herb mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border. Fold the border over the squash, onion and cheese mixture, pleating the edge to make it fit. The center will be open.

6. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then slide the galette onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.

These were super easy and super tasty. I halved the recipe and ate the leftovers cold for lunch throughout the week-- and I really can't wait to try some variations on this: I'm thinking of doing a spinach and artichoke filling, and maybe a tomato-mozz version for summer. Yum.



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The past couple of years have been...trying. And the past couple of weeks have been especially tough, as I've finally had to face a couple of difficult issues head on. It's so, so easy to put the tough stuff aside, but I've come to the very basic realization that this doesn't solve problems: it just prolongs the inevitable. So, I sucked it up, put everything on the line, and I dealt with them.

And it totally sucked.

But I also feel as though a weight has been lifted, and while I know that my life is certainly not perfect, it's still pretty friggin great--trials and all.

I couldn't have come to this place without my parents: they are without a doubt, the most generous, understanding, loving, incredible people I have ever known, and the fact that they have my back no matter what sort of life obstacle I present to them speaks volumes of their character. To have their support means the absolute world to me, and I hope one day I will be able to repay them. (Although I'm not sure I ever will.)

I love you, Mom and Dad. You are the best.


the birk is back.

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I'm really not sure how I feel about this: the Birkenstock is back (in J.Crew, no less). Now, on one hand, I'm all for nostalgia: I rocked Birkenstocks in my quasi-"skater" stage back in the mid-90's (both the sandal and clog version) and there is no doubt they were beyond comfortable.

However, would I rock them today? I am completely on the fence (a fair-weather Birkenstock-wearer, if you will). They honestly might be too hippy-dippy for my current wardrobe.

I'm very interested to know: would you wear Birkenstocks in 2014?


weekend recap {in bullets}.

I took zero pictures this weekend, so I implore you: use your imagination.

  • Friday night was my usual sushi extravaganza, and it was divine. After eating said sushi, I suffered from an intense and glamorous allergy attack which resulted in an early bedtime (however, since I am now 32, I've decided that what might be considered "embarrassingly early" is now"age-appropriate" so I went with it. And also, let's be serious: I don't care and sleep is my favorite.)

  • Saturday included a haircut, some couch time, and a comfort-food related dinner plus "The Dark Knight Rises"--yes, I am two years late. But, Christian Bale is timeless (#newsiesforever #patrickbatemaniloveyouaslongasyoudontkillme).

  • Sunday included a trip to IKEA with my mom, a wine/tear filled lunch (because I can't contain my emotions in public places) and an absolutely divine (yet seasonably inappropriate) dinner. The recipe is coming your way later this week.

  • Here's to a fabulous Monday.



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I seriously had the best time this weekend, and I have all sorts of fabulous things to say about it, but work is crazy. My boss is on vacation, I have added responsibilities (in addition to the temporary, vacation-related responsibilities) and by the time I get home all I want to do is watch Bravo for an hour and go to bed ridiculously early with my small four-legged companion.

Olive doesn't mind: she's wiped, too (no doubt sleeping all day creates its own special form of exhaustion).

Substance and a birthday recap will follow.


happy {long and birthday} weekend to me.

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I have tomorrow off from work and I'm heading up to Maine to run a 10k--followed by ushering in the big 3-2 with my family and celebrating Easter.

Wishing you the happiest of weekends!


sleeping cute.


I'm slowly trying to rid my dresser drawers of the old boxers and t-shirts I usually sleep in and incorporate some cuter pieces. Pants are completely out of the question because I get so hot when I sleep. It's gross. Surprisingly, I've had a ton of luck finding cute sleepwear like the items above from...Target! I'm a big fan of the Gilligan & O'Malley line. I was able to get the tank, chemise, and shorts for under $50--very Anthro-esque for a fraction of the price.


baby on board.

Don't fret, the baby is not growing in my womb--it's in my sister-in-law's! This will be the first grandchild/baby for the family, so we are all aflutter and ready to spoil this baby rotten upon its arrival in August. Here's what's on my baby radar (my babe-dar, if you will):

baby on board.

1. / 2. 3. / 4.  / 5. / 6. / 7.  


life lately.

"Oh Joy" for Target cake topper for a certain someone's birthday on Saturday.
Yes, that certain someone is me.

Olive refuses to/can't go down the stairs at my parents' house. After an unusual period of silence while I was sitting at the kitchen table, I found her at the top waiting for someone to transport her down.

Looking forward to reading this while I'm flying to the Midwest for work today.


highlight of my week.

This week, for the first time since last November, I was finally able to go horseback riding outside. The snow has melted in the outdoor arena, and while it was a little bit chilly and windy up on the hill, it made such a difference. I think the horses were happier, my fellow riders and I were finally able to do a little jumping, and I didn't leave my lesson covered in dust from the indoor. It was definitely a high point, and I can't wait for this warmer weather to continue.

Happy weekend!


truffle mac and cheese.

To know me is to know my obsession with truffles. Recently, another one of my obsessions, Stonewall Kitchen, launched a line of truffle-related products and during my last trip to Maine I scooped up the truffle marinara (to die for), truffle aioli (I haven't opened this yet because I know I will eat the entire jar in one sitting) and of course, truffle oil.

And everyone knows when life hands you truffle oil, you make truffle mac and cheese, so that's exactly what I did:

I used this recipe, with a couple of tweaks in italics:

What you need:
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 lb. elbow macaroni
2 tsp. truffle oil* (um, what is this, amateur hour? there is such a thing as not enough truffles, and I think 2 teaspoons is it: I added 3 tablespoons for truffle-licious flavor. No regrets.)
4 Tbs. butter, plus more for greasing
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. sweet paprika* (I used regular paprika)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese* (not enough cheese)
1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese* (again, not enough--I think you need more for sprinkling on top)
2 Tbs. minced chives
* I also added breadcrumbs to the top before baking (Italian, but I think panko would be delish)

What you do:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, until not quite al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. While the pasta is still warm, drizzle with the truffle oil and stir well.

Add the butter to the saucepan and melt it over medium-high heat. Add the flour, paprika and mustard and cook, stirring well, until no visible flour remains, 1-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk, half-and-half, and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer, whisking frequently to smooth out any lumps, for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add a pinch of pepper and 1 cup each of the Gruyere and Cheddar. Stir until smooth.

Pour the cheese sauce onto the macaroni, add the chives and mix well. Transfer to the prepared dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake until the top is lightly browned and the sauce is bubbly, 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

It was delicious, and I would totally make it again.


guest post: my sister, mer.

Everyone, I would like to introduce you to my younger (and wiser) sister, Mer. Mer, take it away!

This is Mer on her wedding day last year in Jamaica. 

Thanks, HMC. I was so excited when my sister asked me to write a guest post on her fabulous blog. I knew she wouldn't just let me take the reins and chat about anything I want (in which case I would probably just show pics of my dogs and cocktails) and so I'm going to let you in on a significant lifestyle change I have recently made: becoming a vegetarian (pescetarian).

Right around Ash Wednesday, I was shown some very disturbing videos about the conditions of many 'farms' from around the country. This, paired with my discovery of Esther the Wonder Pig, made me decide to stop eating meat for Lent. Now, I'm barely a practicing Episcopalian so everyone thought it was pretty funny that I even wanted to give anything up-- and it's well known that I LOVE bacon. However, I made a decision and I wanted to stick with it despite the naysayers. It has turned out to be so much easier than I ever could have imagined! Not only am I eating more of the things that I already knew I loved, like avocados and portobellos and other veggies, I am so much more aware of what I'm putting into my body and the nutrients I need which I was previously getting from meat. I've never been one to drink a cup of milk, but I've discovered almond milk and have been enjoying several servings a day. I'm also eating more tofu and fish, and have even started taking vitamins (the adult gummy kind, of course).

{ via Esther's Instagram}

I hadn't really missed meat until this past weekend, when my sister got wings that looked absolutely delicious and when I was (slightly) hungover Sunday morning and knew bacon would help solve the problem. That said, this whole lifestyle shift will definitely go way beyond Easter. I will never try to push this on anyone and I can be around people who are eating meat. I also don't think I'm 'clean-eating' and still love diet coke and nachos and other things that I should probably stay away from. I've been following a gluten-free diet for almost 8 years since the unfortunate discovery of a wheat allergy, so I'm used to having to pay attention to the ingredients of everything I eat-- but this has somehow made me realize that as I get older (30 this year womp womp), I need to take better care of myself and this one body I have. I consider myself a runner and have even noticed that I feel stronger and healthier when I'm hitting the pavement.

I'm not saying I'll never have meat again, but if I do, it will only from known sources, like the local farms near my home. And that's all for now.

Good job, Mer Mer!