Monday, June 30, 2014

Have you heard about... Blue Apron.

It's been a while since I've done a "Have you Heard About" post, and never before have I dedicated an entire post to 1 "you-must-know-about-this" item, but guys, this one is that good! So... have you heard about Blue Apron!?

I first read about Blue Apron HERE and then it started popping up on other blogs and in my social media feeds. My curiosity was piqued so when I saw a deal on Gilt City I decided to go for it. Here's the scoop:
- Blue Apron is a delivered-once-a-week subscription service for meals. The delivery you receive includes all the ingredients you need to make 3 meals, already divvied up into the right proportions (e.g., 6 oz salmon, 3 tsp paprika, 1/2 cup rice, etc) plus a colorful, step-by-step recipe card.
- You can order your 3 meals for 2, 4 or 6 people
- The cost of a 2-person Blue Apron delivery is $59.99 per week (aka, $10 per person, per meal)
- There is no additional delivery charge and you set your exact delivery day/time on the BA website (delivery map HERE). The box is insulated/contains ice packs so you have wiggle room before you need to get it into your fridge
- There is no commitment. The service sets you up to receive a box each week, but you can cancel any time before the weekly cut off and you can skip as many weeks in a row as you need.

My first delivery arrived promptly as scheduled and I was amazed at how neat and well labeled everything was:
Life does not come more self-explanatory than this

I cooked on Mon, Tues and Sunday last week. Here are the final results in all their "hellz yeah I made that!" glory:
Beef & Bulger-Stuffed Squash w Caesar Salad

Pan-Seared Salmon over Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous
with Fava Bean-Olive Relish

Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Fennel and Onions
& Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
They even guide you on how to plate everything to make it look extra purdy!! 

So ok, Blue Apron final thoughts:
* Pros
- Delicious! All 3 of our meals were awesome and far more fancy and inventive than anything I typically prepare. 
- The recipes are incredibly easy to follow, plus you get to start a collection of these laminated cards for future re-use.
- Diversity. In 1 week we ate beef, chicken and salmon. Niiiice.
- Everything was fresh and tasted it!
- The portion sizes were perfect. Fills you, but not stuffed, definitely not skimpy

* Cons
- BA definitely cuts down on food waste, but not packaging waste. All the little zip lock baggies and containers had me feeling more than a little bad for the environment.
- You can't select exactly which 3 meals you want from the weekly "On the Menu" page. BA selects 3 and if there's something you don't like, you go to your preferences and say "No fish", then they auto-select a different 3, cutting out the fish. Unfortunately this means you may lose the chance to try another recipe that you did like because BA decides which 3 create the best compliment to one another. My fingers are crossed they change this policy soon.
- It is SUPER easy to follow these recipes, but they are definitely more complex than my usual weeknight meals (more ingredients, more prep, more things to clean after). That said, the food is way tastier/more inventive than my usual fare and I don't think it's more than 20 extra minutes spent (plus Dr. H has been helping more which is fun!)

This is the PERFECT subscription for people who like to cook, but need to make the process as streamlined as possible. From a cost perspective, I would have a hard time doing better at the grocery store buying all these ingredients and from a final product standpoint, I couldn't have been more pleased with myself for preparing 3 delicious meals last week. PLUS, Blue Apron makes an awesome wedding gift (nothing says newlywed like cooking together) or maybe use it when you're planning to host a dinner party? The possibilities are endless, so I highly suggest you get your Blue Apron on today!

Reader's Note: This is not a sponsored post, I just loved me some Blue Apron THAT MUCH!

Friday, June 27, 2014

So this is it.

That quote is currently my cellphone wallpaper and I repeat it to myself every time I see it. The reason, as some of you may have deduced (from subtle hints like THIS and THIS), is that over the past several months I've been in hot pursuit of something both terrifying and amazing and this week I decided to leap. This week I resigned from my current lawyer job to focus fully on my own business which will center around "giving back" and helping others to do the same. Making the world a better place has been my long term goal for as long as I've been long term goal-ing (up until college I actually aspired to be President (of the United States!) because I wanted to help people) so this transition feels like a whole lot of planning and dreaming coming to life.

But even good change is scary and I have to confess, I'm definitely scared. I have worked at the same company for 5 years and as an intern for a year and a half before that. My job has been a place to grow, learn and form relationships that have shaped every inch of the professional I've become. The people I work with, people I spend far more waking hours with each week than even my own husband(!!) are wonderful humans who I will miss sitting beside each day. And on top of all that, I've recently realized that it's quite easy to dream, but having the courage to make your dream real is a whole different beast.

So this is it. This is the beginning of a new beginning. I'm going to study all my inspirational quote Pins and be brave and remember that "doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will" because I think that's all we can do right? We can't live life wondering if we could have accomplished something, we've got to actually try to accomplish it and take reality from there. It's like (the amazing) Tina Fey once said...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

World Cup Roundup

Brazilian Beauty.
With Team USA's big game at noon, I thought today was the perfect time to get into the World Cup spirit. Every 4 years I am amazed by the cultural pride that explodes across the 5 boroughs as our melting pot of a city celebrates each country's attempt to be crowned the king of soccer (working 1 block from "Little Brazil" has led to especially good people watching!) So here for your futbol loving, U-S-A chanting pleasure are some goodies of the World Cup variety. Now let's go for the GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!

The World Cup has sports marketers at their best and there have been tons of great commercials airing during the games while longer ads (like Nike's very cool 5 minute animated spot) make their way around the web. HERE is a great roundup of commercials from brands like ADIDAS, Beats by Dre and Nike. But I think my personal favorite is the "obviously knows how to make fun of himself" EA Sports commercial from the guy team USA left behind, Landon Donovan.

I was going to save this kick ass (and easy to make!) Patriotic Trifle Treat link for a 4th of July post, but if Team USA manages to advance after today's game, I think you might be needing this recipe for your viewing party of their next match up. Full tutorial from PS I Made this HERE.

And in case you're still trying to figure out how the USA can advance even if they lose, there's this "oh so simple" infographic courtesy of the NY Post:

* I love THIS playlist from Spotify entitled "The World's Game" or
you can check out the official FIFA 2014 World Cup Playlist HERE *

Whether it's on the sticks of rock candy, lollipops, cake pops or even just cocktail straws, your viewing party probably needs the flags of the countries in the match up you're watching incorporated like this:

And finally, you may need THIS to get out and watch today's game:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hump Day Distractions

Can you even handle this cuteness!?
I've been looking forward to this post all week because not to over-hype, but I've got some seriously awesome internet gems to share with you!! So let's not dawdle, let's get to the distracting!

* As a glasses wearer, NYC enthusiast and admirer of creative people's work... I love THESE.
* Looks like Sis got it right with the whole Dentist thing... 
* I didn't even know that it was happening but given my full blown OBSESSION with Wet Hot American Summer, I'll be seeing this movie asap.
* 8 interesting facts about Rose wine.
* I want to say my friends and I would never have done something like this, but... Poor kid.
* Must return to Morocco. Must go to HERE.
* As a collector of cards for every occasion, this is a great roundup to have on hand. 
* Way to go Barbie (and way to go Mattel!)
* This banned commercial is so freakin funny. 
* And finally, this guy is my hero... for how he handled the whole ordeal, how he managed to get it on film, how he endured that death stare and how he celebrated his victory. Way to go guy!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Zara Sale

Quite possibly one of my favorite words!
This morning I went on a bit of a binge at thanks to their always fabulous sale section (free shipping for purchases over $50!). Zara is the perfect place to find affordable, chic clothing, in particular stylish work apparel and trendy date/girls night out pieces. They carry everything from shoes and accessories to some of my favorite dresses in my closet. Generally priced on par with Ann Taylor Loft (another closet/sale shopping staple of mine) I go to Zara when I want to have a little more fun. 

Since there's nothing better than scoring something fun/practical/sexy from a good sale, here are a few Merry Meri purchases, near purchases and temptations from Happy Shopping!!

These shoes had me at hello (thanks CapHillStyle!). 100% an unnecessary purchase, I was able to imagine several outfits where this sassy pop of red will wow (including an upcoming milestone birthday celebration:) Will have to see how they look in person (could be too sassy red) but you never know unless you try right!? Buy em HERE.
These didn't make it into my shopping bag (my wedge needs are currently satisfied) but at $69.99 they're begging for someone to take them home! Buy em HERE.
$35.99 and the prettiest pale blue you ever did see. Buy em HERE (and check out other honorable mentions from the shoe dept HERE and HERE, full shoe sale HERE).

This pastel printed dress exudes easy, breezy, beautiful. It was a finalist that didn't ultimately make it into my shopping bag, but I'm already having second thoughts. Sunday brunch with flat sandals (see above!) or dinner with your babe in heels, this one's a winner (and the flowy cut will be so flattering!) Buy it HERE.
I purchased this dress back in March (at full price, doh!) and I get a bajillion compliments every time I wear it. Perfect for work in spring and fall and transitions great from day to night... You should wear it too:) Buy it HERE. And since the embellished neckline and ruffled hem are working for me, I bought THIS to give a whirl.
There were a ton of gorgeous white dresses in the sale section that made me wish I was a bride looking for the perfect engagement party/shower/rehearsal dinner dress again. The dress above is HERE, or there's THIS and THIS for simple, bridal-esque beauty (was super tempted by that last asymmetrical hem dress, but it didn't make the final cut... but flowy white... with a tan... hmmm :)
Not sure how this is going to fit, but at $39.99 with free returns I just had to give it a shot. I love the bright color and unique cut outs. We shall see!! Buy it HERE (and check out other honorable mentions from the dress section HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE)

My shopping cart runneth over before I made it to the Tops section, but that doesn't mean I didn't look and how great is that Tri-Color top!? I could see it with tailored pants for work or shorts for weekend play. Buy it HERE.
Sexy Saturday night shirt anyone? I love the rhinestone detailing on this shirt and think the thin straps and crossover cut are the ultimate in feminine beauty. Buy it HERE.
This flowy pastel beauty could be worn for any occasion with pretty much anything on the bottom. Plus pale yellow is going to make those of you with tans absolutely glow. Buy it HERE (and check out other honorable mentions from the dress section HERE, HERE and HERE).

Monday, June 23, 2014

no middle ground.

This is probably what my brain looks like.
I have no middle ground. Over the weekend I realized that I do nearly everything in my life at 1 of 2 speeds - balls to the wall intense or barely registering a pulse lazy. And in case you don't believe this to be true, I will share the yin and yang occasions that brought me to this realization: This morning at 6am, when I was sprinting around the park in a group fitness class making a mental note to order my 3-day juice cleanse before the coupon expires (let's get healthy!) vs. yesterday when I decided to unpack a suitcase of clean laundry from last weekend only to get bored of the task 3/4 of the way through, leaving a small pile of clean/folded clothing on my bedroom floor (do they really need to be put away if I'm just going to wear them again!?) It's all in or why bother for me!

So I started to wonder (somewhere between planking in the park and selecting a work shirt from the floor pile) whether this approach, an obsession with totally doing or not doing things, is the key to my constant energy supply - when I get in the zone I feel invincible and I*t.done. whereas zoning out when I don't need to be "on" is how I mentally and physically recharge. It might not be the most efficient overall, but it's what works for me. And while functioning somewhere in the middle does sound like a lovely idea (a slow and steady pace, following pre-planned steps and taking a measured approach to accomplishing tasks) I'm just not sure I could pull it off. So I'm curious, which approach works best for you?

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Nom nom nom.
Today is a hungry day. I woke up hungry and I've been hungry ever since despite eating breakfast and a mid-morning snack (and a ridonky delicious bite of apple fritter that my colleague brought in all the way from HERE... I swear just a bite!) Annnnyways, since the best cure for the eats (that isn't actually eating) is thinking about eating... here are some recipes I've stumbled upon lately that have me salivating as we speak. Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Carbonara. YES ma'am!!! Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

Or maybe a classic Spaghetti Carbonara is more your style? I've never done it, but it looks pretty easy!
Pin it
HERE, full recipe HERE.

Because my unwavering love for carbs does occasionally extend beyond pasta (occasionally!) here's a mighty tasty Broccoli Cheddar and Wild Rice casserole. Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

And now back to pasta (Mmmm) with this light, simple and well seasoned Garlic Butter Spaghetti with Herbs (perfect for a week night perhaps paired with grilled chicken or fish!?) Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Hump Day Distractions

Hello and welcome to the hump my merry friends! I'm ready to hustle right through to the other side of this week so check out these goodies from around the web and then let's get to it! 

* One of my favorite week night desserts is some Fat Free Cool Whip and fresh strawberries with sprinkles (for a little crunch!). THIS recipe is like the grown up, not healthy version of that!
* Or ya know maybe it's ok to occasionally miss a call or text?! THIS just seems a bit much to me.
* Jim Carrey nails it.
* Once upon a time, they were babes...
* Ready to tear up watching a commercial aimed at Dads?
* And while we're talking about Dads, this one is the man!
* These pots crack me up, think I just might have to make em.
* Get ready to have your Disney Princess loving mind BLOWN.
* This guy is Dr. H's idol. I think he's mine too. Way to go guy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Up a creek... literally (a story).

Once upon a time, long long ago, Merry Meri and her family resided on the awesomely named street of Captains Walk. After over two decades at number 1 Captains Walk, the family decided to relocate to a house along the water and it was agreed that a small memento of their previous address would fit in perfectly at their new waterfront abode... 

[Imagine what you will, but let's just say cilantro isn't the only thing my family has "helped itself to"]

Fast forward to this weekend, when Merry Meri and Dad decided to tackle the final phase of project "Captains Walk Memento": hanging said memento on the dock by the creek in the backyard ("Captains Walk" is the dock where you park your boat!? How witty!!) The project was moving along swimmingly (foreshadowing) when Meri noticed a little creature making its way up the creek, a muskrat lovingly named by the family "Muskrat Sally" (our wit knows no ends!) "Look Dad there's Muskrat Sally!"... followed moments later by a splash as distracted Dad dropped our sign into the creek. Sh*t.

Meri and Dad immediately reached for the fishing net and dangled themselves off the edge of the dock and boat attempting to recover the sign now undoubtedly sunk into the murky, muddy bottom of the creek. Eventually Mom, noting that "too long had gone by for this little project" made her way down to the dock only to find both of her determined DIY'ers hanging upside down pulling various items out of the creek (including the step stool which was knocked overboard in the chaos and a large wood plank which was discovered during the search and rescue mission).

"I have to get in!" Meri exclaimed bravely, "we cannot abandon that sign!!!" and as Mom and Dad looked (and laughed) on, armed with a pool float and boogie board, Merry Meri entered the (never willingly swam-in) creek. Squealing in equal parts over the cold temperature and the feel of the brown, goopy creek bottom, Merry Meri located the sign and used all her foot strength to begin pulling it out of the mud... Undeterred by being ankle deep in slimy creek muck and a momentary confusion of the boogie board strap for an approaching muskrat (actual screaming may have occurred), Meri pulled the sign above the surface. Once their hysterical laughter had subsided, Mom and Dad shared in the victory celebration and Dad confessed to being proud and impressed "I wouldn't have gone in there without a full wet suit!"

After several years, one questionable "relocation of town property" and a swim in the creek later, operation Captains Walk Memento is now complete. Way to go Fam :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pin there, done that Vol. 2

This post brought to you by the fabulous 

When I last left you with Pinterest project updates, one project's fate hung in the balance. I'm happy to report that it turned out great.

Pinspiration hereMy result:

Playing-with-cars-while-scratching-dads-back Fathers Day gift was also a pin-success.

A #fail were these oven-baked "matzah"rella sticks. I've seen the breadcrumb version pinned all over the dang place, and decided to give it try with matzah during Passover. Obviously, no. (blame the chef and matzah, not the recipe)

A combination of a win and a whomp whomp is my DIY upholstered headboard, pinspired by this post and this post. When I made it 2 years ago, the fabric covered buttons just did not cooperate to make the tufts. So I left it alone with just the fabric and I love it, win! (very squishy and great place to rest your head while reading). But, just a week ago, we moved our bed and headboard to make room for a new area rug, and the screwed-on legs broke off. Whomp whomp. So we'll remount it directly to the wall with no legs, and it should be all better.

And last but not least (because it's one of my favorite pin-to-real-life projects) is this "monster door" that I did for my baby boy's Halloween-themed First Birthday party. I saved all the components and plan to use it every year for Halloween decor. 

What pinteresting things have you been up to lately? Any successes we absolutely must know about?

For all things fabulously (parent)thetically speaking, click HERE. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Funnies for your Friday!

So yesterday the universe shined 20 minutes of spare time at the computer upon me so I paid a visit to my long lost lover Pinterest for some delightful pinning. The results are hysterical and the perfect way to head into the weekend. Enjoy!!

Best. Graffiti. Ever.

Particularly funny for this former sheepdog owner :)


Tru dat Barb
And for your final funny of the day - I'm nearly 30 years old and travelling home tonight with a rolling suitcase containing nothing but a Father's Day Gift and dirty laundry.
#NevertooOldtoUseMomandDadsFreeWasher #HappyFathersDay!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Tid bits from my crazy mind.

Good for a laugh (I hope!)
* For as long as I can remember, I have had random in-the-moment daydreams about socially horrifying scenarios like tripping down the stairs of the auditorium stage at my elementary school graduation or an accidental fart in a meeting with important colleagues. I don't know why my imagination wanders to these potentially embarrassing moments, but it happens ALL THE TIME.

* I have a serious problem with vocabulary in that I frequently make up words (and insist with conviction that they have actual definitions and are real). I also, often (boldly) mispronounce things (e.g., the college "Ole Miss" is pronounced 'Ol Miss not "Ole" as in bring me some more salsa for my tacos. Oops.)

* Probably close to 20 years ago, my best friend and I developed a system for secretly communicating to one another in public that we had snot hanging out of our nose. The system we invented? Bologna = You have something hanging out of your nose; Cheese = All clear (alternatively you could say "Bologna?" as a question if you're curious how your nose is doing and need someone to cheese you). Super discrete right?

* Last week I stole a sprig of cilantro from the grocery store. My dinner recipe called for just a tablespoon and the idea of buying a whole bundle seemed so ridiculous that I snapped off a few leaves and bolted out of the veggie aisle. The guilt has been weighing on me... I had to confess.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hump Day Distractions

Hey there buddy!
Hello my merry friends and happiest of hump days to you! This week NYC is experiencing endless cloudiness (seriously) which though generally gloomy is quite preferable to a gloomy weekend. So here's hoping that as we get over the hump, so does the sun and we'll all be basking in the glory of 5pm Friday together soon!

* Some essential summer party supplies (like flamingo candles. of course).
* In case there was any remaining doubt about how wrinkly too much sun makes you.
* I may not be into the gold polka dots, but I love pretty much everything else about THIS quirky Brooklyn abode.
* Go mama bear go!
* Once upon a time you could say "banana oil!" and mean "that's doubtful". This and other slang from the 1920s that we really ought to consider bringing back!
* I want to go to there.
* A brilliant ponytail trick that I absolutely plan to try out.
* I love THIS.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Father's Day Gift Guide Guide

As has come to be my specialty, instead of curating a gift guide for this weekend's upcoming "day of Dads" I thought I would share the best gift guides and craft ideas that I've stumbled on across the web. Because we all know there's more to Father's Day than a new power tool, fishing reel or beer of the month club (though let's be honest, those are pretty great options!)

* 20 Gift Ideas that Dad will love from SMP Living HERE.
* A Father's Day Gift Guide from Lauren Conrad's blog HERE.
* 4 mouth watering food inspired gifts from Cup of Jo HERE.
* Some crazy, cool and unique gadgets and ideas from Esquire HERE.
* DIY gifts with varying levels of creativity required from Oh Happy Day HERE. (LOVE the skrinky dink pins!)

And if DIY is more your style, we've got goodies ...

Click HERE for the free printable from Catch My Party.

Awesome homemade card inspiration from Sassy Dealz HERE.

For this and 9 other great Father's Day printables (cards, gift labels, etc) from Babble, click HERE.

And don't overlook the value of the thing your Dad would probably love most this Father's Day... which is time with YOU!! So buy two tickets to the game, make a dinner reservation at the local steakhouse or whatever it is that will give you and Dad some time to share the love!