In recent years, my sister’s favorite place to celebrate her birthday has been at Pane E Vino. It’s this Italian restaurant in downtown Brooklyn, where the back patio is covered by glass, so you get the effect of eating outside in the sunshine without any of those pesky outdoor elements like chilly wind or bugs. It’s gorgeous. Also, it was at Pane E Vino, around this time last year, that she announced a date for the wedding. So it was only fitting that her shower be held at a favorite and meaningful place. I’d say she was pretty pleased with the choice.
If the shower was any indication as to how the wedding will be, then it will probably be a super fun and lively wedding. I actually texted Bob mid-shower, “We are probably the rowdiest bridal shower brunch this place has ever seen!”
We even had a few curious onlookers join us for a dance.
- After trying spaghetti squash as a sub for pasta noodles and not liking it, I’ve been hesitant to jump on the “zoodle” bandwagon. But this actually looks good enough to try. And since we’re on the topic of healthy food, this lighter take on mac and cheese is a winner. Tried it for dinner this past week and really liked it!
- If you’ve ever been online job-hunting, then you know the struggle.
This post was written yesterday morning:
It’s 4:11 am. I feel unusually alert, extremely exhausted and slightly delirious. I’ve been up since 1:30am. Funnily enough, so has Bebop who’s been kicking, elbowing and doing the twist in my belly ALL NIGHT.
(Humor me while I become one of those people on Facebook you hate that’s always complaining about how tired they are. I know, I know.)
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not angry at the fact that she’s moving this much. How could I be? I’m grateful to know she’s energetic and healthy in there. I’m one of those lucky pregnant women that don’t have to worry about whether there’s something wrong because I didn’t feel her move in the last hour or two. No, there’s no need for counting kicks with this one. She is always keeping me on my toes.
But I am annoyed with myself. Because I just want to sleep, but my overactive mind and body won’t let me. I’ve slept through her movements before, but she’s also getting stronger by the week. This baby is jabbing me in the same spot over and over and it seems like what she really wants to do is break through my skin (ew). My legs are restless. I have to pee. My pajamas suddenly feel tight and itchy so I peel them off to get some relief. But then (wouldn’t you know it?), the blankets are now making me itch. When did my skin start being so sensitive? Note to self: have body lotion handy for times like this. I’ve got “All My Life” by KC & Jojo stuck in my head because…who knows? I haven’t heard that song since like 1999 or whenever it came out. To counteract that, I start humming a JLo song that I’ve only heard about 5 seconds of, so then I’ve got that 5-second loop stuck in my head, which is still better than that awful KC & Jojo song. Then I start poking my squishy belly button that is an outie at the moment. The baby is pressed up against it right now but when she retreats, it goes back to its normal innie self. At this point, it’s too late for me to get a proper amount of sleep, so I start toying with the idea of calling out of work. Although I hate calling out when I’m not actually sick. I always think that if I do it, I’ll get really sick the next week and have to call out again, at which point they may start to question whether I’m being truthful. I’m going to just suck it up and go in. Yes ma’am! I turn over, which feels like the 100th time in one hour. I just can’t seem to get comfortable. Turn over again. That makes 101. On the other hand, maybe I should call out of work…for my sanity? No, no. I’m a glutton for punishment (or just really responsible! ha) and finally decide, I’m not sick, I’m going in. When I sit up, I look over at Bob who is peacefully sleeping. I’m really going to regret not calling out.
So here I am. Sitting on the couch with my laptop writing this post and dreading the day ahead. I have to start getting dressed soon. I know in a little while, I’ll transform into a cranky zombie until I come back home which is TOO MANY HOURS away.
There is no effing way I’m cooking dinner tonight.
I think I’m just being prepped for the no-sleep stages of motherhood. At this rate, I’ll be the expert of running on fumes when the baby arrives.
An iced vanilla decaf latte that tasted like Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream. Good thing about a sweet drink like this is that you don’t even notice the difference between regular and decaf.
Bob is so “in the zone” when it comes to packing. He’s been doing a little bit every day and that makes me happy because the house is looking a little emptier now. I’m getting a taste for what minimalism is and I think I like it.
I squeezed in a few sets of squats and a long walk. I hear squats are supposed to make labor easier. Whether or not that’s true, my butt will at least look good by the end of it.
I worked from home today and just so you know I’m firmly in the “pajamas all day” camp.
I started jotting down a list of all the places in Astoria we have to go to before we move. Right now, it’s just “try that Italian place around the corner finally”. You’d think we’re moving across the country, but no we’re basically moving 15 minutes away. But I do love making lists, and so this bucket list is happening.
The light went out in the kitchen and I refuse to replace it because now that it stays light outside, I just open the shades and let the remaining sunlight in. I’m so chill about it and that’s very unlike me. Hey! Learning to live with less, is the moral of this story. Either that or my laziness has reached new levels.
After determining that Bob and I are going to be much too busy the weekend of our birthdays to do anything big or elaborate, we decided that we’re going to celebrate with dinner at Gato (just the two of us), which I’ve been dying to go to since it opened. I love Bobby Flay’s other restaurant, Bar Americain (get the bacon and caramelized onion pizza appetizer!) so I have high hopes for Gato.
A freshly-opened Dove bar soap. Nothing smells quite as good as soap fresh from the box.
In years of wearing and experimenting with different types and brands of makeup, I’ve learned the trick to looking polished in a very short amount of time is to simplify: find your best, most beloved products and really know how to make them work for you. Find your best products and leave all the other stuff for another day. Sure, I love a strong red lip or a fun electric blue liner (not together, of course), but when I have only so much time to look put together, I reach for the products I know are easy to work with and are going to flatter my face the most. These are the products I use pretty much every day and some you might have heard me rave about a few of these before:
New York Color Classic Eyebrow and Eyeliner Pencil: Above all else, EYEBROWS. It’s the first thing I do. Because in the event I have to run out of the house for whatever reason, at least my eyebrows are done and that’s crucial in my book. As a person who wears glasses almost everyday, eyebrows need to be on point. I use this cheapie brow liner in Sable just to fill in the sparse spots. I prefer a brow pencil over powders or gels because the formula is slightly waxy which is ideal for taming and keeping brow hairs in place. Pencils are also much quicker to work with.
Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer with a Beautyblender: I dot my problem areas (undereye area, eyelids and a few blemishes, if any) with concealer and then blend out with a damp blender. The beautyblender is a godsend! If you don’t have it and you wear face products, you need to GET. IT. Since I’ve started using it, it’s cut my concealer-applying time in half, yet delivers this flawless finish that you just can not get with a brush or your fingers. Bonus: if it’s early in the morning, you might find the cool dampness on your face refreshing (I do). I skip foundation as I’ve found that after years of wearing it, I didn’t actually need it and that spot-concealing did a much more effective job for way less time and effort. BUT. If you do sport foundation, the beautyblender is awesome for blending that out too.
Milani Multitasking Face Powder in 03 Medium: Dip a soft, fluffy brush in matte face powder and lightly pat the concealed areas to set and keep the makeup long-lasting. Seven seconds tops!
CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara: Like my brows, the lashes are another part of my face that makes a huge difference when enhanced. I’m recently become a CoverGirl mascara convert. So far, I’ve found that Clump Crusher and Lashblast Fusion are both fantastic at lengthening, volumizing and separating lashes with zero clumps, which is what I look for in a mascara. Fusion is a tad better at volumizing, if I’m being honest. You’re definitely not going to get a dramatic false-lash look with this mascara, but for everyday purposes, you don’t need to. I think it makes lashes look amazing! The formula is on the dryer side so it’s much easier to handle than wet, clumpy mascaras.
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed: Blush is the key to brightening up a dull complexion. Tarte’s Exposed is what I see as a universally flattering shade (See for yourself!). I’ve been using it for months and still harbor the same adoration for it as I did when I first started using it. I apply to the apples of my cheeks and lightly dust it over the tip of my nose for a more flushed effect. I was never a blush-wearer until I found Peaches by Mac—my first love! Then suddenly it was like, Wow my skin looks like it’s glowing from within. Game-changer! Matte blushes are my favorite and are great for achieving that natural “I woke up like this” look.
Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Pretty Natural: I always save the lips for last because it’s the easiest thing to apply on the go, if that’s what it comes to. For these purposes, I like to stick to shades that are more muted because they’re more forgiving than bold colors (no lip liner necessary!). Lately I’ve been loving this creamy, warm mid-toned pink Milani lipstick in Pretty Natural, but something glossy always looks youthful and fresh. Depending on my mood, I’ll go for either or both.
View of the Eiffel from Montmartre
- As if I needed more reasons to want to visit Bali.
- I’m the type of person that if I ever got a professional massage, I’d be stressing over what the proper etiquette is (How much should I tip? Do they expect me to make small talk? Am I expected to go completely nude under this towel?) so I definitely appreciated this article.
- Teachers dish on witnessing their students’ awkward and awesome romantic encounters.
Getting my ingredients ready for the Palak Paneer.
On Sunday, Bob and I went into a deep spring cleaning mode in the kitchen. We learned that we were hoarders of delivery ketchup packets, instant coffee samples, years-old spices, freezer-burnt pie crusts and for some odd reason (one that I can’t seem to remember) a boatload of raw sesame seeds. Needless to say, there’s a lot more room in our cabinets and refrigerator and the kitchen looks a little less crowded now. It’s nice to see it clean and organized for a change! So this week’s dinners are all about using what I have already. Of course, we bought a few grocery items over the weekend to round it out, but for the most part, I’m trying to use what’s here. We want to make sure that when we finally move next month, there’s as little as possible to bring to the new place.
Sunday: Homemade Kentucky Fried Chicken Famous Bowl. I attempted those delicious mashed potato bowls from KFC and they were yummy, except I forgot the gravy, which in my opinion, is an absolutely essential part of the bowl. Luckily, it was still good without it. Here are the layers: mashed potatoes, sweet corn, crispy baked chicken nuggets and a light sprinkling of cheddar. That’s when the gravy would come in. Though if I remember correctly, KFC actually puts the gravy after the potatoes, not over the entire bowl. I’d prefer the latter. Gravy over EVERYTHING or nothing at all. It’s definitely healthier without, but the bowl begs to be smothered in beefy brown sauce.
Monday: Palak Paneer, which is very similar to the Saag Paneer I usually make. Made this for the first time last week and loved it. I wanted to perfect it, so I gave it another go this week. I generally find most recipes lean kind of bland, so I always up the amount of spices considerably. I subbed the Paneer with halloumi, added way more garlic and a pinch of the powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric. The fire-roasted tomatoes add a great flavor to the dish as well.
Tuesday: Sweet Potato Bisque and grilled cheese tonight! It’s a regular in this household and if you’ve been following this blog for some time, then you know I’ve mentioned this soup once or twice (possiby more than that) before. It’s easy, quick and nutritious. Grilled cheese because what is a soup without grilled cheese? Sad is the answer to that.
Wednesday: BLT Grilled Chicken and Avocado Salad* with homemade croutons. One thing I’ve been obsessed with lately? Making my own croutons. HEAPS above the store-bought kind, let me tell you. Can I even go back to the standard stuff? Begrudgingly, I probably will in a pinch. But ever since I started toasting French bread, turning them into crumbs in the food processor and then sauteeing those crumbs in butter, garlic and salt there has been no turning back for me. It’s freakin’ delicious. And once you make the croutons, they last for a couple of weeks which I appreciate since we can’t polish off a whole loaf of crotuons in one sitting (well, we could if we wanted to, but…). This salad is BOMB. I mean, we’re talking salad with bits of bacon on it, so…obviously. It’s got tons of flavor and filling enough for dinner, thanks to the protein from the chicken and the healthy fats from the avocado. I prefer to use my own lemon-oil-dijon mustard dressing concoction, but Bob’s not a fan (he’s weird) so he uses a balsamic vinaigrette instead. I love my salad dressing so much that I practically inhale it like it’s going out of style. I just might post the recipe for that one soon.
Thursday: As usual, it’s cleaning out the fridge/leftovers day. This might involve an omelette with random ingredients or a simple pasta with one or more veggies.
*No recipe for this one as I thought the name was pretty explanatory, but I can always post at a later time, if requested!