Friday, January 30, 2015

A love story.

Who knew that googling "I love my printer"
would yield such a perfect image result!?
Last night I realized that I haven't told you all about my newest love affair. Ladies and gentleman.... I am in love with my printer. That's right, my printer. You see, Dr. H and I haven't had a printer in our home for almost 5 years and it's never mattered much because we both had access to one at work. Sure we had occasional "why don't we just buy a printer?" moments, but generally we were fine. Then I decided to work from home.

For nearly 5 months, for reasons I cannot entirely explain (that warped laziness where you're too lazy to do something you know deep down will actually make life easier?) I did not get a printer for my home office. Then, a few weeks ago, I was in the neighborhood of the best photo/video/printer/gadget store on the planet (fo reals) so I marched in there and came out a changed woman. For a price waaaay cheaper than I was anticipating (why did I think printers were like $250!?) I can now print papers and pictures and annnnything I want and I can do it wirelessly and I can even do it from my PHONE! As in I can snap a picture, print it and have it in a frame on my wall in approximately 90 seconds (haven't actually timed this process, but I'm sure it will eventually happen). Plus the printer is so small! When did they figure out how to make printers small!?

Now I'm sure some of you are thinking I'm crazy (I am), because this technology is not exactly new, but I was behind the times in printer world and man how it has changed!! (I imagine I'll have a similar experience when I someday purchase a car, 5+ years since I last owned one... which had a tape deck). So here's to being surprised by the awesomeness of a new gadget and to marveling at how something like a printer can unexpectedly brighten your whole day. (I think I'm going to ironically print this blog post).

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hump Day Distractions

Is this only funny to ppl who come from a family of dentists?
Perfectly timed to break up my vacation recap/photodump, here are some hump day distractions for your reading, viewing, eating and enjoying.

* This first grader's compassion and kind heart is probably going to make you cry (you've been warned!)
* Superbowl food you must eat and decor/theme ideas you're going to love.
* All you need to create these sassy (ikea hack) bookshelves are some thumb tacks and cool fabric (click through the pin to CupOfJo to read exactly how they were created... ps I want to live in that apartment:) 
* In case you were wondering just how much moolah (sp!?) you need to make to officially be a part of the 1% 
* Through the eyes on an NYC toddler
* I am a HUGE Ghostbusters fan, but I'm not sure how I feel about THIS.
* This is one of the best family shows on tv (in my humble opinion!) and I'm really sad to see it go.
* Because every car needs an "insane mode" right!?
* If you are a fan of Humans of New York, you've probably heard about THIS amazing campaign, but if not, you should get up to speed (and maybe make a donation!? No amount is too small)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Wanderlust Part I. - Kakslauttanen, Finland

This is real life (in the Finnish Laplands).
I don't think there could be a more perfect day for sharing these vacation photos than today, a snow day here in NYC. (For the record, snow days are decidedly less awesome when you work from home..!) Since I am a photography-monster (I took nearly 1,000 pictures!) and our trip included 2 distinct parts, I'm going to break this up into 2 posts and hopefully share some wanderlusty images combined with helpful tips. Here goes!!

So to answer your (likely) first question, Dr. H and I decided to travel to northern Finland, in search of the Northern Lights, because of a picture I saw on Pinterest. I sh*t you not. I've always wanted to see the Northern Lights so when I saw THIS picture and was like "I want to go to there" Dr. H said "looks cool" and off I went to plan a trip of winter adventures and magical sky seeking! We settled on the Finnish Laplands, and Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort because of the great accommodations and activities options. The hotel arranged everything we did for us (which was clutch since we were doing our own planning). Our flights were through Helsinki (southern Finland) to Ivalo and then the hotel transferred us to their arctic wonderland about 30 minutes further north. We were there for 3 full days and nights... Ok enough talking... picture time!

There is never a guarantee that you'll see them, but we did,
on night one right outside the main lodge of our hotel!

We stayed in the Traditional House, an almost century old structure. We built
our own fires each day and everything. It was pretty badass.

I cannot describe to you how magical seeing the Aurora is. It reminds me of that
scene in Sleeping Beauty when the 3 fairies are fighting "pink! blue!" and flashes
of colorful light are filling the sky. They move and "dance" They are magic.

For our day 1 activity we did a Husky Safari. It was INSANELY awesome!
Dr. H and I had our own sled and took turns driving these beautiful beasts.

Daylight lasts only a few hours this far north this time of year. We took a
walk around 2pm and that's when I snapped this picture. 

Another mid-afternoon sunset shot, because OMG gorgeous right!?

Night time snowmobiling anyone!? Notice how bundled we all are...
it was about -25 degrees outside (pre-windchill!!!) 

During the day you can see how the heavy snow transforms the trees into
"snow monsters" which bend in all sorts of funky directions

That time we went for a "1 km walk" which ended up being about 3 km, all uphill

The week after Christmas, we put the reindeer back to work.

Into the woods...

This photo was taken after about 5 minutes of stunning Northern Lights views.
My camera wouldn't cooperate and I gave up on getting a picture and just soaked
in the beauty. And then I decided to try one more time to get a snap...

REALLY glad that I did.

Back on the snowmobiles by day which was really freakin amazing.
(check out the GoPro placement on the front of Dr. H's helmet)

I cannot even handle this. This is REAL!

The reindeer farm was unexpectedly awesome. 


It is so cold here that the snowflakes fall to earth in perfect fractal form.

A few important things worth sharing:
- There are lots places in the world where you can go to see the Northern Lights. For a list of top locations, click HERE.
- The best time to try to see the Northern Lights in most regions is between late Sept and late March
- Plan in advance (duh): While we did stay at the resort that inspired our trip, the igloos were sold out by the time we made our inquiry (barely 60 days in advance, so I can't be too upset). Since the Northern Lights have a "season", the hotels with optimal viewing book up early. Plan accordingly!
- Pack right: We did not mess around when packing for this trip. We took the forecasted temperatures to heart and purchased new boots, gloves and plenty of "base layer" clothing (We wore Uniqlo HeatTech, cheaper than the EMS-ish/sports brands and SO SO good.) I left the cute clothes and high heels at home. I was packed perfectly and though it was FREEZING, I rarely felt cold.
- Dare to be adventurous: I was pretty nervous about snowmobiling until I tried it. Dr. H doesn't love dogs, except, as it turns out, when they're huskies pulling him in a sled. A trip like this is wild through and through, so once you get there, be brave. 
- Expect the worst (hope for the best): For weeks leading up to the trip, we reminded ourselves that we might not see the Northern Lights and became determined not to let this ruin our trip. Just like any trip that centers around an activity/weather you can't guarantee, go into it prepared to make do without. That way when the sky lights up green on your very first night, your joy and amazement will be immeasurable. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Juno it's snowing right?

current situation (3pm Monday)
Hey-o friends and lovers from snowy snowy NYC! Dr. H and I are hunkered down at home today and probably tomorrow as well (yay home office co-worker!), with a stocked fridge and a fresh supply of sweatpants. We're used to snow here, but not usually feet (plural) so all bets are off on how this goes down (good thing we've got Netflix and HBOGo #essentials). Later this week I've got some awesome winter vacation photos and a recap to finally share, as well as a review of the insane food moment I had at Parm on Saturday night, but until then, here are some essential tools for weathering this winter storm!

Hurry! Go grocery shopping right now and buy all the ingredients you need to make this delicious recipe. A little bit healthy (spinach!) and a lot a bit warm and filling (pasta! cheese!!) I'm excited to try this substitute-greek-yogurt-for-cream pasta dinner. Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

No better time to try out a new hairdo than on a day when you're stuck indoors with time to kill (and nowhere specific to be!) I love this sassy ponytail not just for its effortlessly chic look, but also because it looks truly simple to execute. Give this style a try today (I know you've got nothing else to do!)

Stuck inside with kiddos for the next 48 hours? Click HERE, HERE, HERE (free printables!), HERE (recipes), HERE (snowman snowday party anyone!?) and HERE for some recommendations on how to make the most of/survive your snow day. 

Because you're clearly going to need something for dessert after that spinach artichoke pasta dish and an exhausting day of snow-related crafts, here's a Braided Nutella Bread. Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE. (PS- want to make this idea so easy it's silly? Swap the dough recipe for a Pillsbury pre-made can of crescent rolls or other "bun" dough!!)

PS- I wonder if I'll be able to convince the hubby to head outside and play with me later!?

Friday, January 23, 2015

When in doubt...

Amazing pun to start your weekend right.
... just share something funny and amazing right? In case you hadn't guessed by the sparse posting this week, work is in beast mode at the moment, but I shall survive and so shall you. It's Friday B*tches! woo! Here to keep us entertained (without too much thought or effort) is this video, which is freaking hysterical:

Also, THIS IS THE GREATEST NEWS I'VE HEARD IN A VERY LONG TIME!!!!!! (all caps and many exclamation points to clearly convey my insane excitement). I had Freezy Freakies as a kid and I loved them so damn much. I remember them clearly and I also remember how I liked to put them in the freezer sometimes during non-winter months, just so I could see watch them change. 
If you know me and love me, you will buy me a pair of these gloves.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hump Day on Delay...

a very witty Disney store employee
Keepin pretty busy over here but not so busy that I'm going to skip over sharing some of the goodies I've scouted out around the web. Because no matter how crazy your day is, you probably need to see pandas loving going down a slide, a walrus working out and something interesting to skim-read on the toilet. AmIRight!? Happy Thursday everybody!!

* How to outsource your life - everything from at home beauty treatments and personal chefs to someone who will actually run your errands for you!
* Because you've always wanted to see a walrus workout (the leg-lifts at :40 and 1:05 sit ups at are my personal favorites)
* I sure do love you Shel Silverstein.
* I'm a little nervous about this announcement. What about Mary Murphy and the hot tamale train!? 
* GDub love for life (college friends really are such special friends... want to come over and nap!? hehe)
* Well don't you look tasty and healthy!!
* What turning 30 means in three extremely accurate charts.
* These pandas are having pretty much the best day ever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Have a Dream (Bathroom Ed.)

Dare to Dream.
... I have a dream, that some day, I will not be limited to one bathroom in my home. I have a dream that my sink will be separate from my husband's sink and that my mirror shall no longer be spattered with water from his post-shower hair-preening. I have a dream that washing my face will no longer involve standing in a puddle created by someone else who washed their face first. I have a dream of a home with two toilets... a home where my bedtime routine is not delayed for twenty minutes by a husband taking his evening constitutional or endured side by side with his stench. I have a dream of his and hers medicine cabinets, loaded with products, existing together in harmony.

And when this happens, when we allow our home to expand and accommodate the needs of two bathroom users, side by side, in all their individual neat-freak and slovenly glory, the tiles and mirrors and bathmats shall rejoice with me and say "free at last, free at last, Thank God almighty we are free at last!!" 

Ed. Note: This dream may not exactly be on the level of Dr. Martin Luther King (hope you enjoyed his day yesterday!) but it is nevertheless being dreamt.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Life Goal.
Today is one of those Fridays when I feel super excited that it's Friday. Not because this week was particularly trying or bad, just because weekends (especially 3-day weekends!) will always be preferable to work days (no matter how much I love my work, I've recently discovered. Doh!) To send you into the weekend I thought I'd share a few things that have been making me smile recently. Here's to smiles, Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays. xox!

I recently started following the instagram account BABYANMLS, the self-proclaimed "only baby animals page on instagram". It is so adorable I could squeal out loud every time one of their pictures comes up in my feed (and I often do). And of course because my Insta feed is quickly becoming a stream of dog and cute animal images anyway, I am now also following DailyAnmls, their other account.

People's creativity and talents never cease to amaze me and these hand carved Crayola "sculptures", available for sale on Etsy from Hoang Tran of "Wax Nostalgic" are no exception. These guys come in all sorts of characters (they'll even do a custom carving of your dog!) and would make an absolutely adorable gift, framed in a shadow box, or as art work hung perhaps in your kiddos' bedroom!? Check out the store and all Tran's amazing carvings HERE.

Started by one of my favorite bloggers/interiors designers Justina Blakeney, #FacetheFoliage is a collection of amazing collages of flowers and leaves made into faces with expressiveness beyond belief. Search the #FacetheFoliage on Instagram or Twitter for Justina's work and to see the movement she's created. Also check out the time Vogue got in on the trend..!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Hump Day Distractions

So far, so good.
Happy Hump Day my friends! How you livin? Today, is one of those days that Dr. H and I would say is "just a day" as in "how was your day?" "oh you know, just a day. a day in the life." Not bad, not good, just chuggin along. Sometimes we all need "just a day" don't you think? Here to help make this day a little more lively and interesting are some distractions from around the web. Enjoy!

* Rejoice! Science finally supports my theory that showering daily is bananas (or at least a tad unnecessary).
* Was recently reminded of THIS post and took comfort in the planetary explanation for last year's wild ride.
* Two of my favorite things, Downton Abbey and Cards Against Humanity, combined.
* This is a real thing and it's so f*kcing amazing I can't STAND it. I am going to buy this. You've all been put on notice.
* I really liked this post from Justina.
* A must have piece of clothing for fans of the Poo Emoji.
* So what you're saying is that Matthew McConaughey has been exactly the same for over 2 decades now? Nice.
* Up your breakfast game while still keeping it under 400 calories.
* Life changing "surgery" for a tortoise, thanks to Legos

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Juices. And foods. (Obviously)

Mmmm. Tastes so good.
This week, in an effort to jumpstart some healthier eating and weight loss, I'm doing a psuedo-cleanse. It's "psuedo" because when I realized I didn't have a single week without work lunches or dinner plans in the foreseeable future, I decided to do a cleanse that involved juices combined with eating 1 sensible meal a day. #MakingItWork  This time around I'm trying a new brand for my juicing, Kaeng Raeng which I learned about through Lauren Conrad's blog. Kaeng Raeng is WAY cheaper than fresh juices, largely because it's powders (all the nutrition is HERE) which you blend into smoothies using fresh fruit, water, ice and/or non-dairy milk. If you're sticking to just cleansing (as opposed to my "psudeo" style) Kaeng Raeng also "allows" raw fruits, veggies and nuts in addition to your 3 smoothies. It's definitely the most friendly cleanse I've ever tried and because you make your own smoothies, you can dump in however much fresh fruit/water/almond milk it takes to enjoy the taste! I've only used strawberries, bananas and water so far and these shakes ain't too shabby. Just sayin'.

So now that I've talked about my 66.666% fruit and powder diet, I thought I'd also share some of the recipes I've been salivating over for the 33.333% of my day that I'm enjoying solid foods. Also, here's hoping that unlike last night's dinner out, tonight I manage to have the willpower to say no to wine!!

Chicken Pasta with Spinach and Artichoke. Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

I freaking love spaghetti squash and I LOVE making spaghetti squash "boats" stuffed with tasty ingredients. Click HERE for 9 stuffed squash recipes or Pin it HERE.

Quinoa Quesadillas with black beans and sweet potato. Yum. Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

Avocado Pasta. Tastes creamy, but is actually healthy? I'm in!! Pin it HERE, full recipe HERE.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Globe Me.

Yes Ladies. (Wish we saw more of you last night!)
Yaaaaay for awards show season and for last night's Golden Globes to 1) ease my case of the Sundays 2) give me some guidance on movies I must see/shows I should be watching and 3) judge celebrities based on their fashion sense. Overall I thought the Golden Globes were standard awards show fare, though Amy and Tiny seemed seriously underutilized. Maybe because the show ran long some of their bits got cut? I thought George Clooney's sappy tribute to his new/true love Amal was adorable,  Gina Rodriguez (from Jane the Virgin) gave the most shocked/sincere speech of the evening (or maybe it was a tie with the amazing Joanne Froggatt from Downton Abbey?) and Jeremy Renner's reference to co-presenter J. Lo's "globes" scored the best candid laugh. Now on to the important stuff...
* The Movies
Because I am an award's show season movies junkie, I have already seen and loved Boyhood, Grand Budapest HotelWild, Selma and The Imitation Game. All of them were excellent (and the 1st 3 extremely unique) and I highly recommend them. Previously on my list and now confirmed as must see are Birdman, Theory of Everything and Inherent Vice. And thanks to the Globes, I've added Big Eyes(Amy Adams for the win!) Foxcatcher (Steve Carrell is that you!?) and Cake (who knew Jennifer Aniston had range!?). Also, if you haven't seen the HBO movie The Normal Heart (staring Golden Globe winner (and eternally sexy) Matthew Bomer) grab a box of tissues and hit up your HBOGo. It's Powerful and Wonderful.
* The Shows
Last night introduced a few shows I'm (somehow) not watching and maybe should be. The first is The Affair on Showtime. I have been intrigued by the commercials for this show, but it looked heavy and emotional so I passed. May have to rethink that and get my OnDemand on!! Jane the Virgin was cute when I watched the series premiere, but then I kinda forgot about it. Hello Netflix!? And finally, I suppose we need to say Hello Amazon because their original show Transparent was all over the place last night, including wins for Best Comedy (whoa) and Best Actor for the amazingly talented Jeffrey Tambor who apparently plays a trans character on the show. I am intrigued!
* The Fashion
There's always WAY more fashion than I can cover in a reasonable length post, but here are some of the big hits and misses from last night according to yours truly:
This look, for me, is flawless. It's unique and risky while remaining classy and chic. Julianne Moore has a body a woman of any age can be jealous of and she knows how to dress it. Kuddos for combining metallic, ombre and feathers and making it look good!!

I love this dress. It is simple and high class, but the shade of teal and fabric detailing make it just interesting enough to stand out. Plus, Felicity Jones (Theory of Everything) picked the perfect hairstyle and jewelry to complete the look.

Another less is more look for the win! Ava DuVernay (Director, Selma) chose a perfectly curve hugging navy gown which had a cape/train along the back from the shoulders. It looks so classy, the color pops against boring black and her accessories and hair are perfection.

It ain't easy for a man to make the best dressed list because the gents don't exactly have a ton of options, but Matthew Bomer managed to make his tuxedo look unique and stylish without seeming garish or showy. Tailored to perfection and the perfect shade of navy, Matt crushed it last night! (Runner up = Eddie Redmayne who also dared to be different and did it well!)
I want to cut Rosemund Pike (Gone Girl) some slack because the woman had a baby just 5 weeks ago and looks AMAZING, but why this dress? Why something that almost creates love handles and is giving you no boob support!?

Keira Knightley's Chanel birds and butterflies gown could have been weird and beautiful, but that neckline/hemline combo is just killing me. It's a doily explosion from another era. I also hate when a starlet's outfit make me wonder if she's pregnant but with tiny Kira and that poufy waistline, I'm wondering... 

Jane Fonda, we know you have an incredible body, especially for a woman your age, but what on earth were you thinking? The tacky cutout, the strange blood spatter on your sleeve..? Darlin, no thank you.

I love the show, but as has become the norm, I hate their fashion. I thought the entire cast of Girls wasn't looking their best last night from Lena's ill-fitting bizarre hemline, to Zozia' beige/pink color clash and Allison's overly busy Christmas outfit. No thanks.

Misc fashion commentary:
- I though Melissa McCarthy nailed dressing her figure in black tie for the first time (ever?)
- No no no. Yes yes yes.
Jennifer Aniston's hair did nothing for her not-all-that-interesting look.
- Kate Hudson you are so hot, but you should consider a classier, more fabric-inclusive look
- Katherine Heigl looked hungry
- It's not easy to stand next to George, but Amal did a great job except those white gloves which could have been amazingly old Hollywood, but instead looked baggy and cheap party store.
- I can't decide if I love or hate this look on Sienna.

For a full list of the 2015 Golden Globes winners, click HERE.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Owning It (inside and out).

Easier said than done!
Today I am confessing, out loud and to all of you, that I am a fraud... I am not the Merry Meri that I seem. You see, when I got down to thinking about my new year's resolution, I wanted to go deeper than "lose weight" or "learn spanish" (neither of which were successful in 2014 might I add). I wanted to think about a piece of me I could really try to improve upon for my own mental health and wellness... so this year I resolve to stop being a fraud; I resolve to be more confident and at the same time more vulnerable, inside and out.

Being cheery, loud and proud is kind of my MO. I am Merry Meri with crazy ideas, a giving heart and boundless energy. I love that people see me this way and I love seeing myself as this person... but I've recently realized that defining yourself in any one way, picking a box you should "fit in", can be dangerous. It doesn't leave room for you to evolve or struggle without feeling like somehow you've failed, like you are not yourself and the person people expect you to be. This leaves you struggling on the inside and faking it on the outside and what does that accomplish? Nada. And it's exhausting. What I think we need is to be confident in whatever version of ourselves we're capable of being in a particular moment, and when that self is not your favorite you, be ok with it and with showing it. Allow people to see that you're not just 1 kind of person (and that that is a-ok!)

In 2015, I am going to start owning it on the inside and out. When I receive a compliment, I am going to try harder to take it to heart and allow it to fuel my confidence and quiet my self-doubt. When I'm feeling insecure or overwhelmed, I'm going to try not to hide it, but instead let the people around me who know me see that I need their support and uplifting. I'm going to stop letting my crazy mind think that this behavior is weakness or failure. It's not. It's human. Cheers to 2015 and allowing ourselves to be human!