Thursday, February 25, 2016

bloom with me (on a budget!)

Here in NYC, despite a mean streak of rainy days, the temperatures have been unseasonably warm and the air is filled with a faint but lovely smell of spring. Though I don't trust Mother Nature not to hurl another blizzard our way (it is only February 25th!), it's been nice to shed some layers and consider the possibility that the dark and cold winter is ending.

These spring vibes go perfectly with the arrival of spring blooms at all the bodegas and sidewalk flower shops (a favorite NYC-ism of mine!) and even my beloved Trader Joe's is looking spring-ified! Since we all know that fresh flowers improve your mood, I thought I'd share some of my tips and tricks for always having beautiful blooms on a budget!
* Keep it healthy
Since the reason grocery store and bodega flowers are usually cheaper presumably has something to do with their freshness and quality, you've got to put in a little extra effort to make them last. This isn't foolproof, but some of my best tips are:
- always cut each stem after you buy it and before you place it in a vase
- change the water frequently or at least don't forget to add fresh water every day or two
- put a penny in it! Seriously, if you want your tulips to stay standing for longer and bloom more boldly, put a penny in the bottom of the vase. I don't know why, but it works!
* Arrange it!
It's tempting to purchase prearranged bouquets, but I find that you often see a decrease in the quality of bloom (because they may not all be equally fresh) or you end up with something that isn't quite what you were hoping for. Often you can create your own arrangement for less than the pre-made ones and they come out even more lovely. HERE, HERE and HERE are some great tips for making your own arrangements, but some of my biggest suggestions:
- think about a variety of size, color and texture, even if you're only buying 2 blooms to combine. If you're buying different flowers, mix big and bold with something small and soft. 
- cut them at different lengths; this allows the arrangement to look more dynamic
- remove the leaves; I learned this one online and it works like a charm... when you strip off most of the greenery on each stem the arrangement instantly looks more professional
- consider an unusual vessel. It doesn't always have to be a vase, maybe it's a cool jar or 2 or 3 small vessels placed next to one another in an "arrangement of arrangements". 
* Think long term
Though it's tempting to purchase a bundle of flowers that's in full bloom, unless you are in need of a pretty display immediately, resist the urge. Buying flowers that are mostly unbloomed means they are fresher and if well cared for will literally blossom before your eyes. Not only is it fun to watch the flowers "perform" but it means they'll stay lovely on your table for a few days longer than if they were already in full bloom when you bought them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Want to make your next road trip WAY more awesome?

Relax Morgan, this time you can sit in the passenger seat!
How about you bring Morgan Freeman along for the ride!? The dream of having your ultimate co-pilot guide you through traffic and all the twists and turns of your journey can finally be a reality thanks to the newest Waze app voice feature.

That's right, you can now set your Waze GPS to "Morgan Freeman mode". This brilliant integration into Google owned navigation app (which in my opinion is the best out there, including the most up to the minute route guidance, warnings about speed traps and cops and great "what's near you now" info) is a promotion of Freeman's new movie so he actually navigates to you as if you're the President of the United States (#dreamsdocometrue).
To have Freeman dictate your driving directions all you have to do is is open up Waze and click Settings>Sound>Voice Language>Morgan Freeman! Best of luck my happy travelers, tell Morgan I sent you :) 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Hump Day Distractions

I know we cruised right through my beloved President's Day and didn't even give mention to the always lovely (hehe) Valentine's Day, but here we are at hump day and I've got some goodies to share so I'm sharing them!! Enjoy!

* Shut the F up Cadbury, this is insane!!! Who's coming with me to London!?
* I'm taking this quote from the always wise T. Swift to heart...
* When you live in NYC, having your kids share a room is pretty common. Some think of it as a negative to city living, but if this is what it could look like, I'm all for it!!
* This is a really thought provoking article on the importance of in-person "quality time" with friends and family.
* Infatuation is the outstanding restaurant reviewer and locator website/app you've been waiting for (available for NYC, LA, San Fran and Chicago last I checked!) 
* I love puns so much it's ridiculous.
* This is the most horrifyingly hysterical thing you will see all week.

Monday, February 8, 2016

All Hail Queen B (again)

I'm not sure that I've ever (intentionally) blogged about the same topic twice, but when Beyonce is concerned, it is apparently warranted. Because honestly, we need to talk about how insanely fierce this woman is... again.

Beyonce dropped a surprise single and music video on Saturday (bam!) and then played that single, essentially debuting it (since many missed the "breaking news" on Saturday) at the Super Bowl on Sunday followed immediately by a commercial announcing a world tour (BAM!BAM!!) Aside from the fact that literally no other artist has the chops to rock millions of people with a song they've never heard before, Beyonce outperformed the other halftime show musicians by a landslide while not-so-subtly serving up a hot slice of political pie. That's because Beyonce's new song, Formation, is a racially-charged anthem which evokes the long forgotten era when outstanding music was also a voice for expressing outrage over social and political issues.
The video for Formation has already been viewed over 12.9 million times on YouTube as of my writing this. As always, Beyonce looks damn sexy, her lyrics are ridiculously witty, the choreography off the hook and most impressively, she is conveying a serious message. Beyonce is declaring the importance of her heritage and her race... she is challenging us to think hard about the state of these things in our country through music and imagery.

As The Daily Beast noted, BeyoncĂ© and husband Jay-Z have paid to bail out protesters in Baltimore and Ferguson. Tidal, a music service Jay-Z started that BeyoncĂ© partly owns, announced a $1.5 million donation to the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice groups. Beyonce is a babe, but she is also an activist and she tricked us all into listening by shouting it out at the Super Bowl while dancing like the sexiest woman on earth (black panther salute and all).

So all hail Queen B for somehow taking our worship to another level. Just when we thought she couldn't get any more more sexy, any more empowering, any more popular, she showed us all her Formation.*

* Read more about the stir created by Formation HERE.
* PS, Gaga had her Whitney moment with that anthem. Slay it girl!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

A groundbreaking scientific discovery!

Are you ready for it!? Big butts are good for your health! That's right people... if you have big butts then I cannot lie - that booty is probably making you a healthier, smarter woman. #CanIGetaWoopWoop!?

I'm just finding this out now, but apparently back in 2013 scientists from the University of Oxford released results from a study that said that women with larger than average butts are not only increasingly intelligent, but also very resistant to chronic illnesses. And according to ABC News, results from the 16,000 woman study found that women with bigger backsides tend to have lower cholesterol and are more likely to produce hormones to metabolize sugar. So what does this mean for my fellow bootylicious ladies? Feast your eyes on these findings:

* Having a big butt requires an excess of Omega 3 fats, which have been proven to catalyze brain development.

* Children born to women with wider hips are intellectually superior to the children of slimmer, less curvy mothers. (#HellzYesFutureMerryMeriOffspring!)
* One researcher also cites similar studies conducted by universities inCalifornia andPittsburgh not too long ago that discovered that women with bigger butts, wide hips and smaller waists may even live longer as well. (#bigbootyforthewin!)

So to all my fellow fat bottomed girls, cheers to us... may we live long, healthy, bootylicious lives.

Friday, January 22, 2016

There's a blizzard coming, let's talk about ice cream...

Fact: It is never too cold for ice cream.
It may be barely 30 degrees outside with snow pummeling parts of the country and headed NYC's way, but that hasn't stopped my ice cream love affair from blossoming. That's right folks, even in the dead of winter with the snow flakes falling, I spend my evenings snuggled up on the couch with a bowl of Haagen Dazs Limited Edition Peppermint Bark ice cream.

It's LIMITED EDITION!!! Hurry people. HURRY!!!
Forever a fan of peppermint bark (yup), I discovered this seasonal delight back in November when I was visiting the neighborhood Haagen Dazs to purchase an ice cream cake (two important take aways there: I live 2 blocks from a Haagen Dazs and they make PHENOMENAL ice cream cakes). When I spotted the peppermint bark signage, like a moth to the flame I had a sample in my mouth and then a quart in my hand. Fast forward 2 months to when I realized that the "season" was ending and this is what my freezer currently looks like:
I would have bought more, but I felt a little embarrassed to take my bulk purchase further than two. With diligent rationing, I think this stash should last me through March and then it will be just 6 months until the flavor is back!! #AdvancePlanningfortheWin 

Even though production is limited to Oct-Dec, my local scoopers told me that supplies actually last until what they have in their freezer is gone. So do not delay! Go get your limited edition peppermint bark ice cream today (and uh, good luck with the blizzard and stuff:)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hump Day Distractions

Hey Humpy, what day is it!?
This is one of those fabulous weeks that arrives at Hump Day sooner than expected because Monday was part of a 3-day holiday weekend #ThankYouMLK. With just 2 days left until the blizzard... errr weekend, here are some delightful distractions from around the web to pass the time. Enjoy!

* This imagining of the Disney princesses' designer shoes is adorable and pretty spot on!
* Even though I love an inventive salad, I rarely mix it up when making them at home. Hopefully this list of winter salad recipes will inspire me to change that!
* I could never be so brave, but if you are, here are some tips for cutting your own hair.
* "reasons my wife is crying" sounds cruel but is actually hysterical.
* A Heart Day playlist for those with an indie music inclination.
* How to perfectly crack an egg - so simple.
* Turns out drunk you is very kind and very smart!!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Are you ready to fall in love..?

...because I think it's high time y'all met the one and only Dugans!!! (Pronunciation="Dooogans") #DuganstheDoggie made Dr. H and I a family of three on November 3, 2015 (born on August 30th) and he's been melting our hearts with his cuteness ever since.
Welcome to Brooklyn Dugans!

Being a puppy is exhausting
Long time blog readers may recall THIS post (from early 2012!) where I lamented Dr. H's resistance to getting a dog... those who know me IRL know that this four-legged addition has been 10 years of begging my man in the making. Well all's well that ends well because I ended up with the most perfect pup at the most perfect time and place in my life (while working from home and living in a 1st floor apartment!)

He lives in NYC, of course he rides the subway!
And the funny thing is, I was never really a dog obsessed person until Mr. Doogie arrived, but the other night when I was taking a bath (as you know I love to do) and Dugans leaned his adorable one-brown ear'ed head over the edge of the tub and maniacally licked my hair and face (at which point I actually debated letting him climb in with me (I did not, but I thought about it!)), I realized I have gone full force over the crazy dog lady cliff (a realization which maybe should have happened when I toted him with me to the hairdresser.... or on an airplane to Atlanta?!)
Who wouldn't want company in the bathroom?
Come fly with me...
You didn't take your dog to meet Santa? How rude!
Anyways, Dugans is the bestest and the most fantastic company when I work long hours home alone or when I need a snuggle or an excuse to drag my booty out of the house for a walk (though preferably not in the middle of the night, hoping those days are behind us!) 
Follow Dugans' adventures HERE and doggonit have a great weekend!! 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hump Day Distractions

Chugging along... Friday I see you!
With my return to blogging comes a return to your weekly dose of Hump Day Distractions!!! Even though I don't spend as much time perusing the internet as I used to, I still manage to scrounge up plenty of great content from my browsing adventures (which allows me to classify my internet addiction as productive right!?) Happy Hump day my friends, may you find these distractions delightful.

* If you're watching Making a Murderer on Netflix (hint: you should be), check out these lesser known facts about the documentary (the 1st 5 of which are not spoilers!) 
* SmallThingsBlog has the best hair tutorial videos, including this one for the always sexy (and dirty hair day lifesaving) messy bun!
* I love these punjammies and the entire Sudara collection made by women working to stay out of the sex trade and poverty in India (cute clothing + social justice = win for all)
* Dr. H has a strange obsession with deer. He'd probably love to join this family.
* Winner of the most spirited and funny interview after a fire devastates your apartment complex right HERE (ps- she has received tons of donations and support as a result of this video going viral!)
* Why you should be more ok with your body (like actual sciencey reasons!)
* And finally, for your daily dose of awww, here are a ton of animals sleeping in hysterical locations and positions.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

"Diets That Work"

As has become tradition, my early January Us Weekly magazines have been touting tight celebrity bodies alongside diet tricks and workout tips that are going to give me "new body confidence" through "speedy workouts" just like my favorite celebs. I always eye roll at these stories because celebs have insurmountable unfair advantages when it comes to their appearance... setting aside wealth, their job description pretty much includes looking good in pictures meaning they can reasonably dedicate a LOT of time to working out and call it part of their day job (just like me and you right!?) 

As I was sitting on "the throne" reading my latest issue (is there any other place people read Us Weekly!?) I found the latest article suggesting that I try some of the stars' stay slim tricks particularly laughable and I had to share.

Celeb: Taraji P Henson
Diet Secret: "En route to daily workouts with pro trainer... the 2- hour jogging and core-focused sessions, along with a clean diet..." 
Merry Meri takeaway: Excellent. I've always wondered how to look hot like her and turns out all it will take is clearing out 14 hours of my week to exercise with a private trainer. Why did I never think of that!?

Celeb: Kate Hudson
Diet Secret: "...bounces between hot yoga, cycling, dance classes and Pilates.. while her diet remains steady: no meat, dairy or gluten."
Merry Meri takeaway: Eliminate 80% of what you eat and try every fitness trend out there and you'll look like Kate in no time. Piece of cake (errr, celery, that's gluten free right!?)

Celeb: Demi Lovato
Diet Secret: "on her 2015 tour Demi brought along a SoulCycle instructor, a stationary bike and another fitness pro. She did SoulCycle classes twice a day and worked out with the trainer... she followed a high-protein, low carb diet... Her hard work paid off, she tells Us: I feel more confident than ever."
Merry Meri takeaway: Want to feel more confident than ever? Bring the workout you can barely afford with you everywhere and spend several hours, 7 days per week, doing it. Thank goodness they published this secret so we can all get confident like Demi!

Celeb: Khloe Kardashian
Diet Secret: "'I don't eat dairy'... also endures hourlong squat-heavy sessions with [trainer] 5 times per week. Gluten is also banned."
Merry Meri takeaway: Another celeb finally sharing weightloss's best kept secret - cut out a ton of what you eat and spend several days a week with a personal trainer. How ever did they figure out these secrets to looking fit and trim!?

Friday, January 8, 2016

And the award for most awesome celeb couple goes to...

Channing Tatum & Jenna Dewan-Tatum. I mean, they were pretty high on my list with the whole "so hot, so supportive, met making a Step Up movie" thing, but this pretty much seals the deal don't you think!?

That is all. Happy Friday friends!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Things I've learned... (I'm back b*tches)

Friends, lovers and blog enthusiasts, I have returned. Last night, after an extended one-sided (but very adorable) conversation with my dog (that's right folks I GOT A DOG while I was gone!!!) I realized that this little bloggy space was a very necessary outlet in my life and that it was high time I return to it. But before I dive right in, allow me to explain how we got here...

The sense that I might need to get back to blogging started about a week ago when I was walking down the street and had a desperate need to rant to someone about the absurdity of the "season of dead trees" (aka the 2 weeks after Christmas in NYC when everyone literally kicks their tree to the curb. Oh the humanity!) Then as I was basically making love to the seasonal ice cream I discovered at my neighborhood Haagen Daz (I have a neighborhood Haagen Daz!) I realized "I need to tell people about this sh*t!!" (big reveal coming soon). And then there is Dugans. Dugans, the 4 month old cavapoo puppy that has stolen my heart and made a mush of the man formerly know as "No Dogs Dr. H". I've got so much to tell you about Dugans... So basically, the creative voices in my brain that had grown quiet and lazy were ready to get typing again and now, here I am.

And why I disappeared in the first place is not all that difficult to explain, but it was hard for me to understand while it was happening. You see, turns out things being awesome is often synonymous with things being really hard. And maybe you're wiser than me, but I was under the illusion that when people said "I'm great, things are awesome, my life is wonderful right now" that they were coasting through their days all easy breezy wonder girl. But no. Turns out, really awesome is often still really hard and for me, between moving and "building" a new home, growing my business and welcoming a puppy, I just didn't have the energy leftover to blog about restaurants, pinterest finds or the importance of peppermint bark (#IHaveaThingforSeasonalSweets). The good news is that the (happy) haze seems to have lifted and I think I've got some blogger mojo built up and ready. We'll see. Because lord knows I have plenty to say and hopefully some of you are still listening :) It's good to be back. xox, m