dad’s birthday

candles

Last weekend was probably the busiest since Juliette was born! Friday night, Bob and I celebrated Valentine’s Day early with a delicious dinner at DeStefano’s. I can’t say it enough: they are simply the best. The food and service are always always always on point. They could probably screw up my order and spill a drink on me and I’d still think, Nope they’re still the best! Needless to say, we left stuffed and happy. The next night, we went out for a friend’s birthday at Virage, now known as Bar Virage. For whatever reason, they rebranded and changed their menu and we were so not impressed. Virage was an old favorite and a restaurant we frequented many years ago, but they rid their menu of all their best dishes (R.I.P. spinach fettucine and bacon-wrapped figs!) and now it just seems…less special. I was disappointed with the food, although there is something to be said for accommodating service. We had a fun time with our fun group, which ended with a few rounds of beers at McSorley’s. I haven’t hung out like that in a long time, so the next day I was extra tired and achy (read: a little hungover). But we still made it out for an early birthday dinner for my dad, however exhausted we felt. We were a smaller group without my brother and his kids, but it worked out just as well. It was low-key and perfect.

We started with dinner and dessert at an Italian restaurant.

bros burrata jules and grandma

dessert

Mason’s beautiful birthday card to Dad. In left to right order: Jules, Jax, Mase and Dad!

bday card dad and mase

tre

Then, we came back to the house for a second dessert – birthday cake! This year, mom baked it.

cake

Jules had a teeny tiny taste of frosting.

jules has cake

Her silly cousins love her and it is just the cutest!

jules and mase

Tequila down the hatch!

shotsshots2

Spoiler alert: dad hates tequila.

shots3

Oh and check out my total mom fail…

jules

Didn’t even realize that her dress came with briefs. They were still attached to the dress with the plastic tags! Insert facepalm meme here.

picking for apples and pumpkins

pumpkin

I was terribly excited to go pumpkin picking at Battleview Orchards in Freehold, NJ this year. Partly because it would be Juliette’s first time, partly because I was indisposed all summer and now I’m finally getting out a little more regularly. At last!pumpkins

We always have a great time during our annual family pumpkin picking festivities, but I especially loved it this year because we got to pick for apples too. And there’s something about picking fruit straight from the tree that makes it extra special. We also had some hot cider with freshly-baked apple cider doughnuts because if you’re going to be a fall cliché, you might as well embrace it. The doughnuts were warm, pillowy and just the right amount of sweet. In other words, so sooooo good. I’m still dreaming of them days later.

Now, a preview of Juliette’s Halloween costume. She’s going to be an ewok. And the most adorable one at that.

juliettekaren and bob

family

Bob and I kept reminding ourselves to take a picture with Jules on a pumpkin (because pumpkins + baby = can’t even handle that cuteness), but unfortunately she fell asleep against Bob in the carrier. Picking is hard work!

juliette sleeping

That little face! She’s the sweetest.

There were two main patches of pumpkins, but there were rows and rows of various types of apple trees: Winesaps, Fujis, Empires, Granny Smiths and Braeburns to name a few. The abundance of colorful apples were a gorgeous sight. Some were rich red, some bright green and some a lovely mixture of both.

fallen applesjaney and masebitten apple

All were absolutely delicious, by the way.

sisters

jax

jaxie

mase

janey and karenjaney and mase2green

 

oh hey!

me and bob

It’s been a while.

Things have been better since I last updated you. Actually, they got worse before they got better. Let me explain.

We had a mouse in our house.

A MOUSE. In our house.I was feeling miserable about it. Not only was I still adjusting to my new surroundings, but now I had to deal with this. And see, I don’t like mice. To me, they are filthy little creatures that carry diseases and they give me the creeps. Nothing is more uncomfortable when you’re walking on eggshells in your house, expecting a rodent to pop out at you any moment (Bob tells me they don’t “pop out”, rather they scurry away. But still). Any little sound or squeak inside the house and I jumped. And this mouse was sharp! He bypassed multiple types of traps set up around the house. I would have been impressed if I weren’t so disgusted. We finally had pest control come in to set traps and fill up some of the holes around the house with a filling that’s supposed to block rodents and insects from entering. Since then, we haven’t had any mouse sightings, thank goodness. Of course, then his grandmother who lives downstairs started seeing mouse droppings on her countertop shortly after. I did feel bad about that. A few days later, when his grandmother found the mouse dead by her front door (from natural causes?), a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Sorry to say it, but it’s true.

cupcakescupcakes2

Bob and I celebrated our birthday in a  low-key fashion this year. We went out to eat, just the two of us, at Bobby Flay’s semi-new restaurant Gato.  The life-changing scrambled eggs appetizer made my night! It was easily the best thing I’ve eaten in months. It was spicy and wonderful and had the consistency similar to a soft cheese spread. Second best thing? The berry crostata dessert. It was such a nice night and the first time we were able to slow down and enjoy each other’s company in weeks (which we’re trying to do more of before the baby arrives). The seemingly never-ending move really took up a lot of our weekend free time. I’m hoping the baby doesn’t come too early so we can have a few weeks of calm before she’s due to arrive later in the month.

eggs

My sister’s wedding was last weekend! I took very few pictures and they were only of the bride getting ready at the gorgeous NU Hotel in Brooklyn. No time to snap pics when you’re the maid of honor! But I would eventually like to post the pictures once I have the professional ones. A full photo of the bride’s dress (along with other beautiful moments from the wedding) needs to be shown off because…duh. Plus, there’s this video of my nephew Mason tearin’ it up with his dance moves that my dad has yet to send me. The kid is seriously so good. I’ve never seen anyone just feel that music and let loose like he does. I hope he never loses that!

getting readybouquet

I’d gotten to the point where I legitimately had NOTHING to wear. The weather warmed up considerably and I thought I’d get away with wearing my old summer dresses once that happened. As it turned out, I’d gained more weight than I realized and those dresses made me feel like sausages in casings. When I told my mom, she asked me, “Why did you think you’d be able to fit in your old dresses?”. Good question! I think part naïveté and part wishful thinking. I had held out for as long as I could on the maternity wear, but I had to give in last Monday. I went to Target on my lunch break and bought over $100 in dresses and one pair of comfy pants.

Okay and one eye shadow too because I have no self control in the beauty section. No regrets!

nice shoes

Things are going to start to quiet down within the next couple of weeks (here’s hoping), so I’d like to start picking up my DSLR regularly again. I miss taking pictures. I miss blogging too. And you guys, of course. How are you?

the adjustment period

new kitchen

The new kitchen (as seen on Instagram)

While I don’t necessarily subscribe to the belief in zodiac signs, I have to say the personality traits of my sign are completely accurate. I’m a Taurus and I’m down-to-earth and extremely patient, but I’m also stubborn and very uncomfortable with change.

We moved in to the new apartment this weekend. It went well, for the most part. I say “for the most part” because, while the actual moving was quick,  the day was exhausting. We had a goal of unpacking pretty much everything that night, but unfortunately that just wasn’t possible. It was late and I was hungry, tired and cranky and our bedroom was cluttered with bags, boxes and loose shelves on the floor. What is that they say about your home reflecting your state of mind? It’s true because I went to bed that night feeling like the apartment looked—messy, frazzled and generally not in the right space.

old living room2

Our old living room, almost all packed.

But the next day I was feeling more energetic as was Bob, so we knocked out some more boxes and the place was starting to look less like a warehouse and more like a home. Even with that said, I was feeling very homesick, which was completely unexpected, especially since I’d been so ready to be done with our Astoria apartment just a few days prior. I was missing the old place and my routines. I missed knowing where everything was and feeling familiar with my surroundings.

And I can’t seem to find my hair brush anywhere. This bugs me.

But I know I’m just getting used to all of it. It’s an adjustment and it takes time. I know this. But I just need that time to sulk a bit. I need to get it out of my system. A stage of grief to go through, if you will.

old living room3

Next is the part where I break out of my Taurus bull-headed ways and make the best with what we do have: a bright and sunny kitchen to cook in, a normal-size refrigerator (for once!), a new car (thanks to a very very very generous family member on Bob’s side) among a dozen other things I’m grateful for (See? Maybe my stage of acceptance isn’t too far off. Progress).  I’ll have to take after the Aquarians out there and learn to be a little more flexible. Although my dad is an Aquarius and he is probably one of the least flexible people I know, so…there’s that. I probably take after him. After all, we do have a baby on the way and that will be another huge change that I’ll have to adjust to. Maybe this is all just preparing for me a different kind of life. After years of routine and order, it’s time for a little chaos.

But if I could only find that hair brush, maybe, just maybe, life would feel a little less unsettled right now.

old living room

janey’s bridal shower

ladies

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.

cake

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!”

minglingaida

We even had a few curious onlookers join us for a dance.

guys2 guys

cake2selfies

sistersgifts

janey and magieribbon hattable

out with the old…

tying up the rug

We’re going to be leaving our Astoria apartment—assuming everything goes according to plan—by the end of the April. And since the apartment that we’ll be moving into hasn’t been lived in for a good amount of years, we’ve been spending our weekends at our future place, throwing out old furniture, posters and anything that Bob left when he moved out about 4 years ago. It’s an old apartment and we won’t be changing all that much to it, but the things that we will be changing, like the color of the walls and replacing some small furnishings, are going to make it feel fresh. We’re also going to hire people to give the place a deep scrubbing before we move in and this pleases me to no end. Moving into a squeaky clean home is going to feel so good.

transformers poster

Bob says I was way too happy to be throwing out his old posters. He was right.

sin city posterdoors poster

In the meantime, we did a pretty good job getting the place into shape and figuring out what was staying, going or heading into the basement for storage.

toys

nintendo

I started out really strong initially. I was going through old drawers and shelves, while asking Bob “Keep or trash?” It was mostly trash which I was thankful for, especially since Bob has a tendency to hold on to things that, in my opinion, aren’t worth holding on to. Then I started taking pictures of myself in a new pink lipstick that I’ve been wearing every day since I’ve bought it. I LOVE the color and how it really helps to liven up my face a little bit, especially when paired with my favorite Tarte blush (A bit off-topic here, but I kinda’ love giving out makeup recs). Then a few minutes later, my mid-afternoon nap because, you know…pregnancy. I crashed on his mother’s couch next door and woke up to find that Bob already did most of the work. Sweet.

booksBob’s old office and soon-to-be Bebop’s room. Before it was his office, it was his cousin’s room, whom at the time was just a baby, hence the baby blue walls and pastel accents. We’ll be leaving this room as is. UPDATE 03-13-15: we WILL be painting this room after all (which I’m terribly relieved about, if we’re being honest)!

But I came back with a renewed sense of energy and was ready for discussing my favorite topic – paint swatches! Shockingly, Bob and I quickly came to an agreement on colors. Now if we can just agree on a name for the baby…

swatches

We’ve made a lot of progress with the new place, but there’s still so much to do in the next few weeks. We’ve got piles of books and clothes for donations and garage sales. We have a perfectly good desk that Bob is dying to give away and a few other smaller things. But like I’ve said in previous post, it feels so freeing to start getting rid of stuff. Of course, we’ll acquire a bunch of new things with the baby, but we can at least enjoy a few weeks of our new home, clean and junk-free!

valentine’s day 2015

flowers

Valentine’s Day usually isn’t usually a big to do around here, but I have to admit I’ve come around to liking this holiday more and more each year. Not only is it yet another day to celebrate the love in our lives, but also… flowers! Even after all these years of being together, Bob still gets me the most gorgeous arrangement of flowers. It can sound generic to those who are generally loatheful of all things V-day, but I love the gesture. The flowers are always different from the usual red roses (which I’m not a big fan of anyway. Pretty, but too typical) and arranged in some cool way. Last year, I got creepy-beautiful branches in my arrangement and this year I got ombre roses in test tubes. So cool! We go out to eat almost every weekend, so for a special night, I decided to buy us some thick steaks, potatoes and brussels sprouts and make it a night-in dinner. Peanut butter brownies for dessert. Bob seasoned the steaks because he insisted on his own spice blend. I handled the rest. And it was a great night because dinner came out so delicious and we didn’t have to brave the below zero wind chills outside.

Side note: Seriously, the weather in New York right now is ridiculous. I’m honestly angry about it.

seasoning

Big portion for a big guy.dinner

I omitted the sprouts on mine since pregnancy has made me averse to it. But I had a nice big salad to make up for my lack of greens. Also, a ramekin for my ketchup because I hate when it touches my other my food.
dinner2

My amateur swirl skills.peanut butter brownies

I made sure to plan some super healthy dinners to make up for a super-indulgent weekend. It’s all about the balance :)

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