Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Forever a mess?

This could never be my apartment.
I go more for the "organized chaos chic" look.
Do you ever get to that point of messiness in your home when you look around and are all "good God how did I let this happen!?" I suppose it’s possible that Dr. H and I are just huge slobs, but I suspect more than a few of you know exactly what I’m talking about… you’ve been throwing your shizz on top of the nearest pile thinking "whatever, this place is already a mess" when suddenly you can’t find the birthday check you've been meaning to cash and have vowed to wear only dark tops until your white bra can be located. It is no way to live.

This weekend I hit my limit and spent the better half of Saturday being monstrously productive at home. Though my bedroom is still a hot mess (I see you hiding in the corner weekend-bag-from-4-weekends-ago) my kitchen, living room and bathroom are sparkling and organized. It was a feat of serious determination. When I came home from work yesterday I reveled in my tidiness and vowed never to let it get that bad again. Then I left my shoes by the door and threw the unopened mail on the table. *sigh*

Monday, July 30, 2012

Feed your face at FRANK

Frank Restaurant & Vera Bar
"A Place to Eat"

A few years back Dr. H received a gift certificate to a little Italian place in the East Village. Discretely located off the corner of 5th St on 2nd Ave is FRANK, now one of our absolute favorite burrata/bolognese/vongole/fresh pasta/whatever you order it will be amazing restaurants in the city. Frank is a tiny spot with a cozy atmosphere, ridiculously good dishes (a menu posted on their website and changed daily!) and hearty (but not glutinous) portions. Outdoor seating and a solid bar menu are icing on the cake. 

Holy yum.

Frank is where I discovered burrata, which is essentially your standard fresh mozzarella on crack (and by crack I mean, with cream (and who knows what other awesomeness) added to the inside). Combine with some "where on earth did they grow these!?" tomatoes and Frank's Buratta appetizer has made it hard for me to consider any other options (though the menu has plenty, including a once tried and truly delicious Arugula Salad).

Eat the bolognese. Just do it.
(Full disclosure, this is NOT Frank's dish, but a google-sourced replica
of the ridonky gnocchi bolognese lunch I ate on Saturday)
Squid ink pasta w/ seafood is often a part of "Today's Specials"
FRANK’s amazing daily additions to the standard menu make it nearly impossible to select a main course. Though I’m willing to bet (and stake my restaurant recommending reputation) that the non-pasta entrees are delicious (I was eyeing the meatloaf this weekend and almost went for it) I have only ever ordered pasta at FRANK because it’s too freakin good not to. More than enough to share, but not so much that you can't take a dish down on your own, good luck making it to dessert (homemade tiramisu anyone!?)

Given the massive deliciousness I just mentioned, I suggest dining at FRANK on "off hours" (Dr. H and I popped in around 4pm on Saturday) or planning a little wait-time into your visit (they do take reservations for groups of 8 or more). The only other "know before you go" thing to mention about FRANK is that they are cash only. Though this can be annoying, I promise the meal will be totally worth your trip to the ATM beforehand!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games begin!!

Olympic Fever takes London
(photo credit: AB)
Do you have Olympic fever yet!? Though a healthy dose of Netflix supplied Friday Night Lights has kept Dr. H and I occupied during the summer tv draught (clear eyes!) I am PUMPED to watch swimming, gymnastics, soccer, diving, track and a whole host of other sports I only care about once every four years.  Though a hockey girl at heart, I loooove me some summer games and don’t even GET Dr. H started… he may leave me for Bob Costas and live in an Olympic Village of serenity if I’m not careful. Here to kick off the thirtieth Olympiad (aka, the XXX Olympiadhow sexy!) is some awesome inspiration for the wannabe Olympian in your life. Go USA! 

Love an excuse for a theme party!
Get inspiration HERE (and via Pinterest HERE)

Make your viewing of the Opening Ceremonies tonight a bit more festive. Drinking game suggestions HERE and HEREOr perhaps a game of Olympics BINGO!?

Sangria with a serious American allegiance (pinterest HERE)

Did you know: London has played host to the Olympics twice before – once in 1908 & again in 1948, making London the 1st city to have hosted the modern Games of 3 Olympiads. 

Summer Olympics in a box.
Melanie over at YouAreMyFave, puts my Olympic enthusiasm to shame. Check out some of her AMAZING Olympic-inspired ideas HERE
I must find an excuse to use this
Click HERE for the free printable template!

Looking for the best spots in NYC to get your Olympics on? Check out THESE great options (courtesy of the always awesome Daily Candy). 

Let the games begin!!!
(photo credit: AB)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


The Allman Brothers "At Fillmore East" released in 1971 ranks 
49 among Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
Last night Dr. H and I went to see The Allman Brothers and Carlos Santana perform together at PNC Bank Arts Center and it.freaking.rocked. We went with my parents, aunt and uncle because they are the original cool kids and because I was raised by the four of them on a steady diet of rock legends. Whether it was playing the "quick who sings this?" game while driving and listening to the radio with Dad (it's amazing how many times you can get your kid to fall for "No. WHO sings this song"!) to seeing Quadrophenia at age 12 (now THAT's a birthday present!) my musical taste includes a whole lot of classic rock. In keeping with the merry meri music playlists and new artists suggestions, here are some legendary album suggestions to introduce you to the greats or to remind you just how great they are.

* The Who - Who's Next
My first rock loves.
Known as much for their incredible rock operas "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia" as their transcendent ability to rock so hard you want to smash something, "Who's Next" is a great place for Who beginners to start their education. You'll no doubt recognize Baba O'Reilly (which you probably thought was called "Teenage Wasteland") but lesser known tracks like Bargain (I used its lyrics as a reading at my wedding!) are just as epic.

* Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II & Led Zeppelin IV
Bell bottoms, flowing locks & 1 serious 'stache
I didn't realize it would be impossible to recommend just ONE Zeppelin album to you until I tried. The fact is, their catalogue of music runs so deep that if you pick "IV" for the iconic Stairway to Heaven you're overlooking the epic Ramble On off of "II" or Dazed and Confused off their first album. Zeppelin's sound is often imitated, but I'd argue never surpassed. (Note: Thank You ("II") was the Father/Daughter dance at my wedding. I told you I've got some serious rock love!)

* The Doors - The Doors
I knew we were a match when my college roommate hung Jim on her wall

I love The Doors. Everything from their haunting lyrics to Jim Morrison's sexy voice just lights my fire (I had to). I think "The Doors", their first, self-titled album is a great place to start for this band because as time goes on, their music gets a bit more experimental. If you aren't fired up by Break on Through or Light my Fire, check your pulse.

* The Allman Brothers - At Fillmore East

The only Allman Brothers I've ever known...
The Allman Brothers are why live concerts were invented. Allman Brother jams are meant to be heard live - a loose, carefree and somehow glowing version of their studio incarnation. Though it's tempting to recommend "Brothers and Sisters" which boasts the iconic hits Jessica and Ramblin' Man, I'm sticking with "At Fillmore East" not just because it's live or  that it contains a 22-minute version of my all-time FAVORITE track Whipping Post, but because it's one of the few Allman albums with both founding brothers Duane and Greg, performing together (Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident at age 24 in 1971, shortly after this album was released). In the past 4 decades the Allman brothers have released more live albums than I can possibly keep track of, so grab one and just listen!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

Appropriate Wednesday attitude.
Last night Dr. H and I organized his side of our shared closet (only in Manhattan are women subjected to such cruelty as a shared closet!) AND we finally cleaned out 4 drawers from a piece of furniture that had literally collapsed and been sitting broken in our bedroom for nearly 2 weeks (Ikea, we had a good run). After all that forced productivity, I think I deserve the rest of the week off. Does HR have an attendance code for that? Join me as we hump the hell outta this one:
* I think we need some more honest athletic ads in our lives.
* This two year old has got some serious dance moves.
* Recently purchased THIS amazing hair product (thanks for the recommendation CupofJo) and have to fight the urge to use it every.single.day. 
* Recovered from the demise of TomKat? I'm still reeling (and reading this interesting piece on their relationship).
* And while you're in a reading mood, check out this very thoughtful editorial on a powerful CEO and the impact of her planned maternity leave.
* Duh-dun....  Duh-dun... duh-dun.. duh-dun. I think we're gonna need a bigger bite, errrr boat!
* Today is Wed-nes-day (that's exactly how I say it in my head every time I type that word).

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A stinky situation.

Where is a clothes pin when ya need one?
Warning: I'm about to get a bit un-ladylike up in here so if you can't handle a bit of "bathroom talk", time to make a swift exit. 

Still reading? Well, welcome to my stinky space where I need to "air out" my feelings about the public faux pas (x 1,000,000) that I've encountered not once, but twice in the past 10 days... farting in elevators. When you live and work in NYC, elevators are a part of daily life and though we don't usually discuss it, so are farts (books like THIS don't lie). However throwing a fart in an elevator, when there are other riders on board, has got to be one of the worst public offenses around (right up there with spitting gum on the sidewalk). Everyone is in this tiny space all "whooooa that stinks" and trying not to cringe (or laugh, because no matter how old you get, farts are pretty funny) and wondering "did you really have to fart so bad that you couldn't wait 20 seconds?" I mean what's the longest elevator ride you've ever taken? Short of a gastrointestinal emergency (I am willing to concede, they happen) I'm thinking that your emissions can wait to be released until you are in a less confined air space.

HOLY WOW MID-POST REVELATION: As I'm proof-reading this post out loud Dr. H chimes in "sometimes I fart in elevators. I do it on purpose. I want to see people squirm."

I'm speechless. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

These things happen...

Beauty & the Beach.
Sometimes it's 9pm-ish on a Sunday night and your waiter is telling you that "martinis are like boobs: one is not enough, two is just right and three is one too many." I'm proud to say that I stopped at "just right," but "just right" is still a lot for a Sunday. So forgive me if all I've got for you is this adorable hedgehog getting a bath:


And perhaps a brilliant idea like THIS:
citrus mint ice cubes: so ready for this summery treat

This kinda creepy yet totally adorable baby panda just wants
to remind you to stop and smile, even though it's Monday

So don't forget to cook something yummy this week, maybe THIS:
Avocado Mac Cheese, recipe HERE
(there is no better mer/dr. h dish alive)

And of course, remember THIS:
Until tomorrow... :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

What we've been eating...

"It's chow time b*tches!" 
Happy Friday my merry friends!!! To send you into the weekend I thought I would share a bit about how Dr. H and I have been feeding our faces lately. It's been a glorious mix of cooking and Restaurant Week adventuring, with a little Citi Field deliciousness headed our way tonight. I think your belly wants to get in on the good times! Happy eating:)
Get on a roll... a Shrimp Roll!
I took THIS recipe for a test run the other night and was pretty pumped about the results. I followed the recipe almost exactly, only adding a bit of Old Bay for some extra kick (we like it spicy:) Quick, barely any ingredients and a thumbs up from Dr. H? Doesn't get much better than that.
Cheese makes everything better (even
your veggies!)
Confession - I need to try this recipe again. I overcooked the green beans by about 10 minutes (I never said I was a focused chef!) and they got a bit too well done. That said, the potential for greatness was definitely there and it's a quick and easy way to get tasty greens on your plate, so it's in the queue for another shot.

Taboon - 10th Ave. at 53rd St.
For our first Restaurant Week night on the town Dr. H and I hit up Taboon. A 15 minute walk from our apartment, we'd never been before, but I promise you we'll be going back! Not only was their prix fixe menu AWESOME, but there were so many other tasty options that it was hard not to deviate from the original prix fixe plan (which we did... nothing wrong with a little Sambuska and sauteed calamari on top of your three-course meal right!?)

I'm comin to eat with YOU Mr. Met!!
Fact: I have actually dined with Mr. Met (so what if I was the oldest "kid" at "Brunch with Mr. Met"? My Sis sure know how to nail a birthday present!) Tonight when Dr. H and I head to Citi Field (go Mets!) I'm going to bypass the new, fancy Shake Shack and Blue Smoke for a Shea Stadium classic that survived the trip to Citi - Mama's of Corona. Tucked into the World's Fair Market by section 109, I promise a Mama's italian sub will knock your socks off. Don't forget to add the mushrooms!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012


I must read and go and see and do!
Last night I announced to Dr. H that I am going to make a conscious effort to plan less in August. With July shaping up to be a travelling /celebrating /plans-on-top-of-plans whirlwind, I'm back to having a plan to plan less (oy!) because I need at least some of my summer to just chilllll baby! Living in NYC means that there's no shortage of tempting activities to participate in (concerts, free events (like all of THESE), shows, baseball games, dining al fresco) and we love to travel to see family and friends for long weekends while our work schedules are a bit lighter. BUT, all this fun has meant sacrificing things like relaxed nights cooking together or waking up on a Saturday and letting the day take shape organically (also, cleaning, laundry? naaahhh.) I'm always so torn between my love of "doing" and my desire to relax and just "be". 

How do you balance your adventures with "me time" (or "we time" as it may be)? Is it weird to try to try not to do things that you really kinda want to do (go to ALL of these and these for example)? I think it's essential for my energy (and sanity) to let some potential activities pass me by, but I have such Fear of Missing Out (aka "FOMO"; best acronym ever right!?) that it's tough to decline an invitation or skip a trip to somewhere that I know will be a great time. Maybe I can overcome my FOMO with a heavy dose of chill pills... I will let you know!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

Do not surrender! We're halfway there!!
Welcome to Wednesday my merry friends! It's all kinds of toasty here in NYC so I suggest we turn up the AC and hump this week out together.
* Pluto hasn't been a planet in over five years (and other things that will make you feel OLD!)
* Obviously I taste as I go (who doesn't do that!?) but I'm making a ton of these common cooking mistakes... until now!
* A great read about the relationships we form with our Nannies (of the caregiver, not grandmother variety)
* "I think it's a book about a haunted theme park and it stars a magical magic guy and he's good and evil and he's trying to get rid of the ghosts" - a 6 year old's guess as to the plot of The Great Gatsby based on the cover art.
* Take me to the dollar store, I have dishes to make! (Has anyone ever tried this? Does it really work!?)
* Looking for fifteen friends to take a bike ride in Des Moines, Iowa with me. (via IowaGirlEats)
* When it's time to sleep, it's time to sleep (doggy style).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Time to eat (out)!

Illustration by Craig & Karl for NYC Restaurant Week
Be still my food-loving heart... NYC Restaurant Week has arrived! It's that time of year when prices drop and Manhattan foodies venture to places new and long lusted after in search of the tastiest prix fixe meal. From July 16 through August 10 some of the city's tastiest restaurants are serving up 3 course lunches ($24.07) and dinners ($35) for our tummy's enjoyment which means it's the perfect time to try somewhere new, get a great deal at your favorite spot or enjoy eats normally out of your budget (also, how often do you go out to a 3-course lunch?! DO IT!) As I consider myself a food fiend and restaurant lover (with a specialty in NYC dining) here are a few tips for making the most of Restaurant Week 2012.

* Tip #1: Be sure to check the menu in advance! Many restaurant week participants put together a very limited selection for their prix fixe menu and it's not worth the $ (even if it is a great deal) if they aren't serving up options you'll enjoy. Most menus are available online (HERE) so do your research in advance.
* Tip #2: Make sure to plan your culinary adventures wisely. Restaurant week menus are not available on Saturdays, are only available at some locations on Sundays and a few locations participate for lunch only (I'm lookin at you Il Mulino) so know before you go!!
* Tip #3: Reservations are key. Many people (eghm..!) wait all year for a chance to indulge in high end eats for cheap (A Voce; Blue Water Grill; Fig and Olive; The Hurricane Club; Lure Fishbar; Mercer Kitchen; Spice Market; Tao; and Tribeca Grill are all Meri tested and Meri approved in case you were wondering) so plan way in advance or risk getting closed out of prime dining hours (NYC'ers take their meals very seriously:)

Happy eating my friends! (PS- restaurant recommendations welcome in the comments section!)

Monday, July 16, 2012


The cat came back, the very next day...

Around 9am last Friday, Mom emails me and asks "Where's your blog today? It's Fri the 13th!" I looked at my desk calendar and realized "HOLY CRAP today is Friday the 13th!" (Moms can be so wise:) Now I am not one of those super superstitious people, but I am just superstitious enough to be wary of Friday the 13th, avoid walking under ladders (safety first!) and generally steer clear of black cats (also, all cats. I'm really allergic). What my mom's email made me realize however, is that superstitions are really super silly - I hadn't even noticed it was a bad luck day until she mentioned it, but once I knew, I was all kinds of worried about how my day's plans would turn out. 

Now I know that I am quirky, but I can't figure out why I care about Friday the 13th, but I work on the 13th floor of a skyscraper and don't think twice about it (Did you know that many buildings in NYC don't even have a 13th floor!?) Superstitious, super silly or not, I guess I'll just have to hope that luck is on my side!

PS - did you catch my Raffi reference!?   

Friday, July 13, 2012

Coming undone...

Owl not be embarrassed!
So yesterday, after a fairly "high level" meeting at work, I returned to my desk to discover that the middle button on my button down shirt was undone. Undone as in "hey meri, your shirt is wide open and your bra is on display" kind of undone. Instant panic set in: "how long has my shirt been like this?" "Did it happen at the meeting? after?" "Did anyone see my boobs!?" I squirmed and turned red at my desk realizing that I would never know the answers to my questions and I cursed the button for failing me in a time of need (aka, all the hours of the day I'm expected to have my clothing fully ON).

Isn't it crazy how embarrassing things like this can be? An unzipped fly or undone button can make you feel like a tooootal nincompoop (always wanted to use that word in print) and I can't decide if someone alerting you to the faux pas makes you feel better or worse! Last week when I spotted a girl at a bar with toilet paper on her shoe and wanted to tell her, Dr. H got all "mer, you're bein a weirdo, don't do it" and I just kept thinking that if someone let me keep walking around with half a port-a-potty on my foot I'd be mortified!! (Note: I did not approach her and I'm still disappointed in myself about it.) So here's to all those quiet awkward moments when you realize you've been strutting a slightly undone version of yourself... to whomever sees, I hope they enjoyed the show:)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Go ahead, stay the night.

Do you think the Pink Ladies stopped having slumber parties
when they left Rydell High behind?
Grown ups need to have more sleepovers. I've given this a lot of thought and I see no reason why adults don't have more slumber parties. As children, all the coolest parties are sleepovers, college is basically four years of continuous sleepovers and then suddenly, just because we all have the option of "going home at the end of the night" we stop acting like extending our good time late into the night and on to tomorrow isn't totally awesome!

Now, is your friend's futon, pullout couch or air mattress as cozy as your own bed? Not a chance, but there's something irreplaceable about late night antics, snuggled up chats in sweatpants and sharing a lazy breakfast. More than the obvious bonuses (go ahead and have another drink; don't bother with a hotel) I think that sometimes the best time with friends is just "being" with friends. No planning, hosting or activities, just being together for no reason other than that being together makes you happy.

So next time you and your crew are hanging out on a Saturday night, don't call it quits and head for your house, pack up your pillow and toothbrush and offer to bring bagels for the next morning.

Ed. Note: I recognize that seeing "no reason" why adults don't have more slumber parties is a bit of an overstatement (especially for those of you with kiddos!), but sometimes tossing reason(s) aside is good for the soul:)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

Happy Hump Day!!!!
Frogs need to get through Hump Day too!
You know what's great about taking a vacation day on Monday!? (other than a VACATION day of course.) You get to Wednesday 1 day earlier than expected!! Just in case you aren't cruisin through the week all vacation --> birthday lovin --> hump day like I am, here are some distractions to move the time right along!

* This can be filed in the "Duh! Why didn't I
think of that!?" file (via CupofJo)
* Way to go Washington D.C., and New York City - apparently I have mighty fine taste when it comes to city living!
* Celebrity twinsies.
* Survive wedding / bridal shower season with this adorable (and easy!) gift idea
* A brand new take on a classic appetizer... bring on the buffalo mozzarella!
* Supposedly these are the Best Albums of 2012 (so far). Do you agree?
* 16 amazing displays of laziness that will make you seem active by comparison.  

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A merry day...

Hopping Hedgehogs Having a Happy (Birthday) Hootinanny
There are lots of reasons why I think that birthdays are wonderful: Birthdays are a chance to bring together people you love (no better way to get loved ones to clear their calendar than playin the birthday card!); Birthdays are a chance to indulge (I firmly believe in a little birthday treat!); and Birthdays are a chance to start a new year (and vow to make it your best one yet).
Cake and hearts, 2 of my favorite things!
Though many people dread their birthday, or the idea of a date which reminds us that we're getting older, I advocate for embracing the day!! On your next birthday, celebrate your you-ness and remember that older can also mean happier. 

Buds for life (like me & Dr. H!)
Pursue something new that you love or just celebrate with someone who makes you smile (also, eat some ice cream?!). 

throw a mad tea party?!
Wishing you all a very merry un-birthday (unless today is your special day too!? :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Vacation Day

Do not be bored (or boring).
Merry Meri is takin a vacation day. She's with Dr. H and her college girlies reliving the glory days. To hold you over while she's gone, she SERIOUSLY suggests you drink THIS:

A Beergarita. The REAL DEAL
of summer tastiness. (Recipe HERE)

Friday, July 6, 2012

I'm here to distract you (a hump delay).

Chill babe.
Since we were all busy gettin our independence on this past Wednesday, I thought I'd give you a dose of distraction today, just in time to carry you into the weekend. Here for your clicking, reading, laughing, eating, humping pleasure... Happy Friday!!
* Are you really that busy? (This one is a worthwhile read)
* Sometimes you just need to sing some Seal to your cat...
* Might I suggest a book for your beach bag!?
* Whole pie or just a slice? The debate continues...
* Taking personalized cakes to a very special place...
* Just a little more ice cream for your fantasies. 
* Click HERE if you LOVE baby pandas on a slide (and if you didn't just click, I just don't know what's wrong with you).
* I've been thinking that I need to improve my rubber stamp collection
* "Did you mean to cut off that much [of your sister's] hair?" (be sure to turn up your volume for this one!)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Uhhh... back to work?

Chocolate Covered Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich
I feel like someone gave me an amazing chocolate covered brownie ice cream sandwich, let me take a big 'ol bite, and then just took it away!! After a day of sleeping in, egg sandwiches for breakfast (you KNOW how I feel about egg sandwiches) a little beach/pool/Dr. H/sunshine action and FIREWORKS(!!!) somehow, I am back at work. On the bright side however, a holiday on a Wednesday kinda makes it seem like this week has three weekends. I can live with that outlook! To welcome you back to the weirdest week ever, I thought I would dedicate this post to ice cream. Because I love ice cream (to the moon and back).

Tasty treat treasure trove right on the streets of NYC!
Soft serve is far and away my FAVORITE kind of ice cream (though there are a few homemade scoop flavors that rival it (I'm lookin at you Ice Cream Cottage Chocolate Overdose)). Mr. Softee trucks are a quintessential sign of summer here in NYC and block after block I have to ask myself "do I want a chocolate dip cone?" or "how about a swirl with sprinkles"? The answer: Yes and yes.

Never doubt the power of an amazing chocolate milkshake

This one requires an ice cream maker (which obvi I own) but
you could definitely just buy the flavor and start from there...

And finally, I saved the ice cream world's pièce de résistance for last. If you ever find yourself outside a Ghirardelli's Chocolate Shop, do not hesitate. Enter. Sit down. Order something RIDICULOUS from their ice cream menu (sample HERE).
The experience will start like this...

...and end like THIS!