Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry & Bright, Happy & Healthy

Here here!
Friends! Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, a Happy Channuka, a Merry Meri(!) Christmas and the start of your most joyful year yet. For this bookend'ed holiday week, Dr. H and I are taking our overdue Anniversary Adventure and this year a winter wonderland excursion of epic proportions is on tap.

Our adventure will include this:
exploring the Finnish Laplands by Husky

and this:
we will be riding in a Sven sleigh and visiting a Sven farm!

and hopefully a little of this:
Fingers & toes crossed for an Aurora Borealis siting!

We'll wrap things up by ringing in the New Year surrounded by this:
A very Copenhagen New Year!

shine bright!
So until next year, here's wishing each and every one of you a Merry & Bright, Happy & Healthy. If you're looking to do some blog reading, check out my Seek to Be Merry Year 3 Recap HERE and just in time for Christmas, there's an amazing reading of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas HERE. See you in 2015!! Xox - Meri

Monday, December 22, 2014

Belated but not forgotten...

On December 9th there was a milestone around here that came and went unacknowledged. I can't believe it, but I totally missed celebrating Seek to be Merry's 3rd birthday (whhhat!?!) That's right, it's been three whole years since this little hobby took off and that's quite an accomplishment if I don't say so myself! 2014 as a blogger was a bit all over the place, much like 2014 was for me as a human. There was a lot of snow and travel and big huge life decisions. I ate well and drank often. I let go of being a 5-day-per-week-without-fail blog post-er and I adopted the hashtag as a form of communication (#EmbraceIt). 2014 was so many things, that I forgot to stop and celebrate my own blog's birthday. Whoa. 

Maybe, like all things as they get older, each passing year becomes less of a "THING" and more of "just another thing". Maybe I'm totally distracted by work and juggling wonderful things going on with family and friends. Maybe I don't need my blog as much as I did in 2011 when I escaped to this corner of the internet with all of you. Who knows. Who cares!? HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOG!!

To celebrate, here are some of my most favorite posts and a roundup of all the goodness we shared: 

Food Glorious Food!

My beloved New York City

Career & Life

Merry Meri Recommendations

Feeling Fashionable

General Ridiculousness

Thursday, December 18, 2014

too hot?

But do you think it's too hot to try?
I am typing this post after sustaining a serious thumb injury. I actually think working through the pain to be here today is pretty hard core by blogger standards. Am I going to survive? Probably. Do I need to tell you the ridiculous short story? Of course... You see, last night I burned myself pretty badly when I intentionally touched something that I knew was going to be hot. Seriously. This is a thing I've noticed I do, and I think (hope!?) I'm not alone, and it's completely ridiculous. I knew the glass of the candle I wanted to pick up was going to be hot, but I didn't know how hot, so I touched it to find out. Answer: scalding hot, the glass was scalding hot. Have you ever done this? When you wonder if the soup is too hot to eat, do you taste it to find out? Do you investigate whether the stove top is cool enough to clean by laying your hand on it? I should touch the straightener to see if it's hot enough to start doing my hair right!? Geez... it is apparently a miracle I have not scorched my hands off. 

And on a completely unrelated note, I know everyone is sharing this today, but if you have been listening to Serial 1) OMG today is the final episode and 2) this is freakin laugh-out-loud hysterical and you must listen. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hump Day Distractions

I find this extremely amusing.
Happy Channuka (Chanukah/Hannuka) my friends! I hope those of you celebrating the festival of lights kicked things off in style last night and that your latkes were extra tasty. Here to help us get one step closer to the weekend (a holiday we all celebrate!) are some goodies from the world wide web. Enjoy!

* For those of you who want to take your latke game up a notch, check these recipes out!
* Looking for the coolest menorah on the block? Some suggestions HERE.
* This super chill piglet yawning will calm your nerves and make you smile.
* So gorgeous. So cool.
* Looks like Pixar has another "hysterical for kids and adults" (maybe even more so for adults!?) movie coming out way!
* Some pretty awesome Christmas movie "did you know?" factoids.
* Sparkle (New Year's Eve is coming. Where can one buy this dress!?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Classifieds: Lonely work-from-homer seeking office-dwelling friend with peppermint bark (or brownies. or cookies).

It is no secret that I'm still struggling a bit with my new daily routine of working by myself, for myself, at home. There are more than a few moments that I'm not exactly proud of, like the time I was so overwhelmed by work that I skipped showering and was caught by Dr. H wearing the same t-shirt 2 days in a row... or when I ate pizza for every meal... for 36 hours straight. (It's amazing what you'll find yourself ok with when you know no one is watching.) Well yesterday I hit a new low (or level of craftiness, depending on your angle). Yesterday at around 5pm I emailed my husband and said "feel free to bring home 
peppermint bark, brownies or a small sampling of any other good treats that have been delivered to your office." And by "feel free" obviously I meant DO IT and by "small sampling" I meant BRING ME ALL THE THINGS. 

I'm not proud that I have resorted to eating other office's seasonal "thank you" deliveries and homemade treats, but really, what choice do I have?! I can't miss out on holiday over-indulgence (and post New Years complaining), but I don't have an amazing admin bringing in her "famous italian cookies", or leftovers from the holiday party or fattening gifts from happy clients and partners (next year!?). I'm just a lonely work-from-homer seeking an office-dwelling friend willing to share his/her peppermint bark. #NoShame.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Cheer!

Holiday Cheer & Charm.
Greetings friends!! This Monday feels particularly momentous because Channuka starts this week and Christmas (including the lovely vacation time that accompanies it) is officially NEXT WEEK! Talk about a reason for holiday cheer!! Here to help you prepare for the holidays are some seasonal eats, treats and crafts I've spotted around the web. Happy (almost) Holidays!
I love this simple and seasonal placeholder which even the less Martha Stewart inclined can definitely pull off! Pin it HERE, full instructions HERE (as well as some other unique place card holder ideas.) 

If Channuka is your holiday, fret not, I've got a simple and sweet centerpiece for you too! These white roses surrounded by golden gelt are the perfect decor idea for serving up your latkes in style. Pin it HERE, (super easy) full instructions HERE. 
What a festive and simple way to bring some snowman cheer to your Christmas tree decor!

As long as we're talking about snowmen... So easy, so cute. Now you just have to hope there aren't any serious Olaf lovers at your dessert table!! Pin it HERE, full instructions (and some other pre-school aged holiday crafts) HERE.

Pomegranate seeds are one of my favorite fall/winter seasonal treats and combining them with cheese clearly takes my love affair to the next level. Add some tasty honey and a cute serving dish and you'll have the holiday appetizer game in the bag. Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Broadway Baby!

If you can make it there...
You know what I just realized!? In all the years I've been blogging, I've never done a post about one of the absolutely greatest and most unique things about NYC - Broadway!! I love going to the theater, whether it's a play or a musical and there is nothing that brings tears to my high school-thespian eyes like curtain call after an amazing performance. Living in NYC means having access to an overwhelming number of shows... from the off broadway find to the celebrity-cast long running favorite, there is a show for you in NYC. 

First of all, you need to know what's playing. is great (and always updated) resource for what's currently open on the Great White Way. HERE is a list of the most popular shows and below or some Merry Meri recommendations and wishlist items:

* Book of Mormon - Crude, hysterical, modern, offensive, amazing.
* The Lion King - Stunning sets and costumes combined with Disney classic tunes will keep even the tiniest tykes engaged (also, the level of decorum in this theater is a bit more kid-friendly thanks to their target audience skewing so young)
* The Phantom of the Opera - A total classic and one of the only shows on Broadway I've seen multiple times. Recently started debating going for round 3.
* Les Miserables - Another classic. Though I haven't seen this latest revival, the music, staging and costumes from my viewing 15+ years ago left a big impression
* Jersey Boys - Saw this last night (hence this post!) and loved it. Songs you know and love telling a story you (probably) never knew about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.
* Motown - Another show filled with radio hits that's sure to have you dancing in your seat. A Dr. H personal favorite
* Cabaret - Love love this iconic show playing at the iconic Studio 54. A limited engagement with the truly fabulous Allan Cummings (and now Emma Stone) this one is not to be missed
* Chicago - Simple Broadway goodness, from the sets to the dancing and songs
* Once - A unique stage setup, simple sets and a stunning score will make this musical memorable for sure (another Dr. H favorite)
* Rock of Ages - Saw this one in the standing room section (yes, you can stand at the back of the orchestra section for some shows) and it felt like a concert. Raunchy broadway rock music fun.

On my list: Hedgwig and the Angry Inch; Kinky Boots; Aladdin; Matilda; If/Then

"But what about the cost!?" you ask? While I do not deny that Broadway tickets are super pricey these days, there are some great ways to score deeply discounted seats:
TKTS - This discount box office has 3 locations in the city, one right in the heart of Times Square and the others at South Street Seaport and in downtown Brooklyn. These box offices post shows with available tickets daily and individuals waiting on line can score tickets at up to 50% off their original price. Same-day and next day performance limitations apply and don't get your heart set on a certain show (since it may not be "up" on the board) but TKTS is an amazing way to get a last minute deal for some of the best Broadway has to offer. To learn more, click HERE.
* Goldstar - Simple as can be, no membership fee required, Goldstar is a discount website which allows individuals with an account (just sign up, it's free) to score discounted tickets to Broadway shows (sports events, concerts, exhibits and more). I check Goldstar frequently just to see what performances are available and to learn about cool events happening in the city. Check it out HERE.
TDF - The Theater Development Fund is an amazing non-profit membership organization which allows select groups (teachers, students, military, retirees, etc) to purchase deeply discounted tickets for Broadway shows in advance of the actual performance date. Though you cannot guarantee what shows will be listed or where your seats are, I can personally vouch for the amazing selection and seats consistently available through TDF which make the membership fee more than worthwhile. To learn more, click HERE.
* Rush Tickets - Every theater has a different policy for "rush tickets", but most have some sort of opportunity to score amazing unsold seats at deeply discounted prices, on the day of the actual performance. Ranging from waiting on line at 10am to putting your name in a lottery, I recommend calling the theater box office for that "show you just can't get tickets to" (particularly helpful with limited engagement celebrity casts) and seeing if they have a Rush Tickets policy. Scoring a hard to get ticket at a discounted price? Doesn't get much better than that!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hump Day Distractions

So true.
Hellllooo out there from blustery, soggy NYC! For grey day number 2 here in the city the weather gods have at least given us snow flurries instead of steady rain and for that I'm grateful (#desperate). Here to help you over the hump and through this gloomy weather are some goodies from around the web. Enjoy!

* Looking forward to more stunning snowy days ahead, like THIS.
* I want YOU. I want you so baaaaaad babe.
* For my fellow yogis
* What you and your kiddos should not miss this holiday season in NYC.
* Adding this to the dinner queue
* Because everyone knows someone who is always complaining that they're cold.
* A nifty little tool for anyone who uses Google on multiple devices. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Your Annual Gift Guide Guide!

Tis the season for trees on the street & shopping!
Every year my favorite bloggers scour the web for the chicest, most thoughtful and unique gifts for everyone on your list. Every year instead of doing the same, I collect their lists and share a list of my own... Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Seek to Be Merry Gift Guide Guide, a guide to some of the greatest gift idea lists on the web. So whether your looking for Mom, Sis, husband, girlfriend, co-worker or kiddos, there's inspiration here for you. Happy shopping!

* For the Ladies (Mom, Sis, Friends, etc)
List 3 (for a cozy, Nordic loving gal)
List 4 (for the organic lover in your life)
List 5 and List 5.5 (both for your jetsetter)
List 10 (for a gadget loving gal)
List 11 (all under $100, mostly under $30!)

* For the Gentlemen (Dad, Hubby, buddy)

* For the Kiddos
List 3 (for babies and mamas!)

* For Co-Workers
List 2 (for when you want to be thoughtful without spending too much)

* For your Holiday Hostess

* For Everybody Else...
Pinterest has a great curated list of every sort of person and every sort of gift they'd enjoy. Check it out HERE.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Strange and Sad Times

Grand Central Station on Wednesday 12/3/2014
The past 48 hours in NYC have been... interesting. After following along during the Michael Brown case and subsequent riots in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday the racial tension between minority Americans and the police force came to our backyard when a grand jury failed to indict a white police officer in the choke-hold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man. Garner's death was completely captured on video tape (watch HERE and prepare to be horrified), ruled a homicide by the coroner and he perished while clearly stating repeatedly that he could not breath... Nevertheless, the officer will not be charged.

Thankfully, NYC has not reacted with riots or violence, but it has reacted. As I walk around my neighborhood, I note the increased police presence surrounding my apartment and nearby protestor gathering spots like Union Square. There have been continuous helicopters overhead for 2 nights. I've seen gatherings and marches up and down major streets and blocking tunnels and tourist attractions. Jon Stewart, who filmed on Wednesday shortly after the grand jury decision was released, captured the horror of this entire situation quite poignantly:

This is not a political blog and I don't want to point fingers, but I do want to say that I'm horrified and saddened. I want to talk about it because change only happens when a critical mass starts shouting loudly and persistently for however long it takes. I'm not optimistic, but I'm hopeful. In a nation that was built on racial segregation, one which has never successfully viewed all men and women as equal, I hope that people continue to protest and talk and one by one be the change themselves so that our next generation will have it just a little bit better than the last. Just a little something to think about this weekend...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Hump Day on Delay

I didn't realize others also employed this strategy.
I'm here, I'm here!! This week is flyin by, but not so fast that we couldn't use a few distractions... Here are some eats, treats and excellent reads from around the web. Enjoy!

* There is such thing as a latke chicken finger and I must have it ASAP (thank goodness Sticky's is down the street!)
* It is no longer true that the US divorce rate is rising or that 50% of marriages end in divorce. This interesting NY Times article breaks down the stats and explains the positive shift.
* Adorable puns never stop making me smile.
* I've got some little humans in my life who just might need this book for the holidays!
* Congrats to the Gross-Pantti families (and other truly unfortunately name combinations)
* Currently accepting invitations to any party which necessitates my purchasing THESE.
* 'tis the season for slow cookin.
* Disney princes like you've absolutely positively never seen them before (100% NSFW and possibly offensive, or if you're me, gross but mostly hysterical. You've been warned!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pull it (like "Push it" but much tastier)

An affliction so well known, there are eCards for it.
Recently I've noticed a trend on my Pinterest feed and it isn't just an explosion of red, green and glitter (#seasonalpinning) - it's "Pull-Apart Bread" creations. Now maybe I'm behind the times, but I'd never heard of pull-apart bread until recently and I've certainly never made one. That said, I've also never come across a carb I didn't love and when you stuff a carb with cheese, I pretty much lose my shizz. Plus, the recipes I'm spying usually involve pre-made dough so my complete lack of patience for baking shouldn't be an issue. Here for your "bulking up for winter" pleasure are some simple, tasty pull-apart bread recipes perfect for holiday entertaining!

Pepperoni Pizza Rolls (so cute and tasty!)
Pin it HERE, Full recipe HERE.

Grilled Cheese Pull-Apart Rolls (yeeeeessss!)
Pin it HERE, Full recipe HERE.

Breakfast Pull-Apart Bread (there's bacon!)
Pin it HERE, Full Recipe HERE.

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Monkey Bread (bc sugar is an excellent substitute for cheese)
Pin it HERE, Full Recipe HERE.

Plus, here are 16 more Pull-Apart Bread Recipes for you to salivate over.

Monday, December 1, 2014

On working from home...

Maybe Someday...!?
This month will mark 4 months since I left my midtown corporate lawyer gig for self-employment out of my 1 bedroom apartment. I'm amazed to realize that it's already been 1/3 of a year because as the saying goes, the days are long, but the weeks and months are short. I could write a novel on working from home, but instead thought I'd share some of the top tips, lessons learned and rules I've made for myself so far. 

* Start your day with a routine, or a meeting, or something
For me, the hardest part of working from home is getting the day started. Without an office to report to I often sleep later or sit down to my laptop in pajamas and suddenly realize it's 2pm and I haven't brushed my teeth or eaten a thing. Having to get up and go to work forces you into a routine that working from home makes easy to skip. DO NOT SKIP this routine! After 2 months of disastrous days at home (and Dr. H questioning my basic sanitation) I made a rule to always get up, clean up and get dressed, even if it's into comfy clothing. I also try to schedule breakfasts and morning meetings that get me up and out of the house. 

* Be ok with having a weird schedule (and use it to your advantage)
Sometimes I'll have an entire morning without anything urgent to do or a crazy day that suddenly opens up at 3pm. And though you'd think I'd be all "awesome, free time!" more often I'm like "crap, I need to find more work to do because this is "work time"". It's ridiculous. One of the best things about working from home is how efficient you can be with your day, placing appointments, errands, meetings and breaks where you want them to be, instead of outside 9 to 5 or during lunch. Don't feel guilty about a 9:30am workout if it isn't going to impact your day's overall productivity. If you finish everything you need to do early, shut the laptop and relax... we're often our own toughest critics so you'll know deep down the difference between slacking and taking advantage of a good thing:)

* Get out of the house
As we barrel towards the cold, dark, winter months, I've found it increasingly important to leave the warm cocoon of my apartment and work elsewhere. Not only did staying home every day make me miss all my (awesome) work outfits, but it made me lonely and probably a little depressed. Now I work from coffee shops, restaurants, Dr. H's office, anywhere with other humans, at least once or twice per week. It's made a world of difference for my mood and overall enjoyment of working "from home".

* Have a physically separate work space in your home (if possible)
Earlier this fall Dr. H and I decided not to move to a larger apartment and while I don't regret that decision at all, I do see why moving next year to a place where I'll have an actual office will be a huge upgrade. Right now, my desk is in the living room and it's led to a variety of issues like difficulty disconnecting at night, lack of focus when Dr. H gets home early on nights when I need to work late and a desperation to "get out" on weekends instead of home feeling like a haven. If you can, have your office be its own space with a door you can open and close so that you can enter and leave work without entering and leaving your house!!

If you're a fellow work-from-home'er, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how you handle the overlap, isolation and lack of supervision... what are your tips and tricks!?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Season of Plenty.

Liza Minnelli, 1948

Marilyn Monroe, 1958

Sigourney Weaver, 1983

Sofia Loren, 1954
Nothing says Thanksgiving like beautiful women stuffing their faces
Wishing you and yours a plentiful, tasty, health and happy holiday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I am the bag lady.

An alternative to draping them across chairs...
This morning I looked around my living room and noticed something a tad alarming. Seven (7!) different bags, in various states of packed/unpacked, hanging on the chair backs in the room. There were 2 purses, 1 gym bag and 4 different tote bags strewn across my desk chair, two kitchen chairs and the corner of the couch. I am the bag lady.

City living is definitely partially to blame for this situation. Without a car, I'm like my own personal sherpa, toting (literally!) everything I need each day in various bags, from my laptop and wallet, to bike shoes and what I picked up at the grocery store (don't hate me because I'm green!) What I can't really blame on anyone but myself is how the bags end up hanging and abandoned once I get home, remnant packs of tissues and gum, the hand sanitizer I'm always looking for and occasionally an iPod or favorite lipstick buried within them. I'm like Goldilocks with my purses, always changing to the one that's "just right" and if one more event hands out a free "perfect for your groceries" tote bag, I'm tote-ally screwed. (hehe) Tomorrow is slated to be a home cleanup/organize day... wish me luck getting the invasion of the bags under control!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hear it, Read it, Make it, Love it.

Looking out.
Welcome my friends to one of the most wonderfully weird weeks of the year where Monday feels like a Monday, but Tuesday feels like a Thursday and Wednesday feels like a Friday, but a summer Friday because you know you're cuttin out of work early Wednesday aren't you!? So even though it's Monday, we're all "I can conquer the planet if the planet only requires conquering for 2.5 days!" AmIRight!? To kick off the weirdo holiday week, I thought I'd deliver a long overdue Hear it, Read it, Make it, Love it for your enjoyment. Because you didn't really want to get any work done today anyway:)

* Hear It
Country girl legit takin hold of NYC.
I think it is time for us all to admit it out loud- Taylor Swift is awesome. There. I said it. I like Taylor Swift because her music is insanely catchy, she has mastered the power of reinvention and unlike so many other young musicians of her generation, T. Swift's talent is next level. The writing and instrument playing and now even sassy performing? On point Swifty. So stop being in denial and download a copy of her latest album 1989 today.

* Read It
Love this cover art.
I picked up a copy of Amy Poehler's Yes Please in hard copy last week and I've been enjoying every minute of my time with it. Well worth the investment over an eReader copy (there are cool pictures and graphics that just won't translate) this book is filled with stories of Amy discovering her comedic power, surviving a divorce and juggling a wild life (which she deeply appreciates while finding exhausting). The book has more advice and anecdotes than I expected and though  not outstanding or insanely laugh out loud funny (a la her buddy Tina's Bossypants), reading it makes me smile and I picked it over turning on the tv several times this weekend (and that's definitely saying something:) Go for it. (ps, OMGeeee I just learned while googling Amy for this post that her middle name is Meredith. How awesome!?!)

* Make It
May-jah Day after the Feast Nomnoms.
Because the only thing better than your Thanksgiving feast is the feast you get to have again the next day (and the next) with all those leftovers. I've got some serious leftovers inspiration for ya here, 50 recipes to be exact, sorted by item (e.g., cranberry sauce, turkey etc). A few of these recipes look so good you might be stowing away food for Friday on purpose!!

* Love It
Yes. Just so much YES!!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Gobble Gobble

Can you guys believe that next week is Thanksgiving? I literally cannot wrap my head around how quickly yet another month has passed us by! It feels like just yesterday I was bemoaning the end of August and 10 seconds ago I was picking out a Halloween costume... whoa. Thankfully, because my dining room table ("dining room" used interchangeably with "only food-eating-height" table) seats just four people, it is not my responsibility to host Turkey Day. I am one of the lucky ones that gets to sleep in, watch the parade on tv and then show up with a bottle of wine in hand and eat until I pass out on my cousin's couch (#murica) But this complete lack of responsibility hasn't stopped me from collecting a TON of awesome Thanksgiving recipes and ideas from around the web for all of you to enjoy... 

So, with 1 weekend left to shop, here's everything you need to be declared Queen of the Pilgrims at your Thanksgiving Feast.

Even though people love their classic Thanksgiving side dishes, if you think your crew is willing to live on the wild side (literally hehe), these 12 Classic Thanksgiving Sides with a Twist like Buttermilk Biscuit Stuffing, Fully Loaded Smashed Potatoes and Sriracha Green Beans with Candied Bacon (good lawd YES!) are sure to be a hit.

If you are ready to channel your inner baking Goddess this Thanksgiving, these Sweet Potato Pumpkin Rolls with adorable little "gratitude scrolls" inside are for you! The recipe sounds absolutely delicious, the finished product looks wonderful and when guests crack open their rolls to find a little parchment paper note of gratitude (or some other message... know your audience:) inside, everyone will be blown away by your craftiness for sure!

Nothing welcomes guests like a home that smells of holiday sweetness. Whip up some of this Thanksgiving Stovetop Potpourri if you've got a stovetop burner to spare next Thursday!

Holiday eating doesn't have to be horrible for your waist line to be delicious (they claim) which is why I was excited to stumble upon this collection of Ten Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes including that delicious looking Farro, Cranberry and Goat Cheese Salad or maybe a Pumpkin Cheesecake Bite is more your "healthy" style!?

Thanksgiving inspires a lot of great crafting ideas, from the food, to the colors to the theme of thankfulness. Click HERE for an awesome list of "Best Ever Thanksgiving DIYs" from Style Me Pretty Living (my personal favorites are the leftover pie slice printables and the gourd candles (above)) and click HERE for 30 table-decor specific ideas. 

Finally, pick one of the many takes on Turkey Cupcakes and wow your guests with an easy to make dessert that will be (almost) too adorable to eat. Options HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.