Monday, April 30, 2012

Destination Newport.

The Cliff Walk - Newport, RI / I heart New England.
Now that the season for chilly weekend getaways has passed us by, it's time to chat about spring/summer destinations (nothing beats the Mondays better than dreaming about a Friday!) Though I'd never visited before last summer, I've been to Newport, Rhode Island three times this year and I'm in lurve. From the stunning and outdoorsy Cliff Walk, to the  ridiculously fresh seafood and bumpin bar scene, Newport is my new favorite mini-adventure!

Plenty of good meals to be eaten at places like The Mooring (go for the lobster, crab and shrimp doughnuts, stay for the excellent martinis), and get your fresh air/"I did something active today" fix by walking (and at times rock hopping) on the infamous Newport Cliff Walk.
The lobster roll (bottom) was tasty, but the lobster grilled cheese
(top) really took me to culinary heaven (eaten on Bowen's Wharf)
You can shop for adorable knickknacks (unsurprisingly, I am a "chachki" junkie), jewelry, and preppy nautical themed apparel for hours (my heaven) or go for a boat cruise around the harbor and coast.
Don't forget your Topsiders!
And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Newport has an awesome drink/dance/party scene. It's a city filled with people chilling (jazz festival) getting fresh air (sailboat racing) or celebrating (bachelorette parties, weddings, reunions) and the restaurants and bars set a perfect scene for everything from sunset cocktails to late night dance parties. Newport is a historical town by the sea that adores cocktails, celebrations, outdoor adventurers and relaxation... are you packing your bags yet?
Love me a good music festival (on the water = even better!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

A milestone.

Celebrate every milestone, no matter how small
Guess what!? This is my 100th blog post! The response to my daily musings has been amazingly positive and flattering so first and foremost, THANK YOU for reading! It makes my day to have someone tell me that they loved a post, related to an emotion or tried a recipe I recommended.  Connecting with people through happy thoughts and writing rocks.
For me, a blog is kind of like a (free!) subscription to a magazine. You pop in to read snippets of something you’ll enjoy, to discover things you might not have known about or just to take a little mental break.  And in truth, I am writing for nearly all the same reasons… Seek to be Merry has me cooking, crafting, writing and sharing the day to day situations which make me laugh.  It is my happy place! The fact that you peeps are actually reading is the icing on my tasty blog (cup)cake.

So where are we headed!? Who knows, but I’ll keep writing and we can journey towards 200 together! Have a merry weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do you dare to bare?

A story:  I’m sitting on a bench in the locker room at the gym and the chick standing next to me (who is in the process of getting dressed) leans over to pick something up. I’m sitting, she’s standing, and now she’s bending over = eye level full moon. Wow. Later that same visit, a woman blow drying her hair topless strikes up conversation with me and I’m all “trying to keep eye contact… but your boobs… so… right… THERE!”

How do you handle yourself in the locker room? Are you always in a towel wiggling your gym clothes up and down or do you strut your stuff without caring who sees? Are there any boundaries or rules we’re supposed to be adhering to?! I am not embarrassed by nudity (and see nothing wrong with baring all in places like locker rooms) but are we chatting nude? Do we bend over and reach up and walk around? I know that these issues are not strictly female either thanks to a male friend who once told me about a sitting (dressed) vs standing (nude) locker room encounter he had with a buddy’s dad (and I thought I had eye contact issues!) I guess we all just have to grin and bare it:)

Image via Pinterest

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

Hump Day indeed.
Another week, another Wednesday... at least there's predicatibility!? Got some funny, yummy, crafty goodies to get you to the other side of the week. Enjoy!
* These have made the facebook rounds already, but they're so awfully hysterical that I had to re-share.
* I think this simple recipe could be a wok'in good time!
* The DIY trend of buying something meh and crafting it into something awesome, curtains edition.
* The most beautiful places to get lost with a good book.
* Nothing better than an awesome cover of an awesome song.
* Remember those adorable sisters? They're back and their Dad is a freakin genius.
* Workin on your fitness doesn't have to be like THIS (unless you're like the lady on the treadmill; she is amazeballs!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sweet Treat.

My sister makes every birthday extra "sweet"...
...she wraps up dessert with ease! (it's my blog, I get to brag:)
I am a foodie. As I've mentioned once or twice before (hehe) I love to eat and cook. Where I fall short in the kitchen however is when it comes to dessert. I'm a lover of ice cream over most baked goods and Betty Crocker I am not. Sis is a marvel when it comes to sweet treats, but I need to keep it simple. I try to select easy recipes that have some sort of "wow" factor to distract you from the fact that the core ingredients probably came out of a box. So here are a few super easy, but sure to impress ideas for your next "I'll bring dessert" moment. 

Bite sized banana splits!
Perfect for a dinner party and so CUTE to serve

From Pillsbury pre-made to blooming beauty

"Awesomeness in a pan"
It's all about the (chocolate, candy, pre-made) ingredients! 

I'll make the cobbler AND bring the ice cream!

Bake (buy!?) cake; cover in candy; tie with a bow...
that's my kinda dessert!
Ed. Note: I discovered ALL of these inspiring eats on Pinterest! Follow me by clicking HERE (and on Twitter HERE, because you know you want more merry in your life).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Puppy love or lack thereof?

I want to hug you and love you and snuggle you silly.
I want a puppy. Like really, seriously want a puppy. I grew up with dogs and when I think of a home and a family, there's always a four-legged buddy in the picture. Dr. H however, has no puppy love. Raised pet-free, Dr. H sees dogs as substantial decisions with little return on investment (silly Dr. H!)

To his credit, hubs has agreed to eventually welcome a dog into our home (and for that I'm very grateful) however when is a constant subject of debate. We both feel very strongly (me = next spring; him = let's talk about this never) and it seems like we've reached a pretty serious stalemate. What do we do!? I respect and appreciate all of his concerns, however I tooooootally disagree! 

How do you not love that face!? Those wrinkles!!!!
How do you and your significant other find compromise in moments of such staunch disagreement? I really want to meet Dr. H (with a dog) in the middle, but we're sitting so far apart! I guess we'll just have to wait and see...

Friday, April 20, 2012

A serious case of The Eats

Talking & Eating. Two of my favorite things!
Do you ever get "The Eats"? The Eats are more than being hungry, The Eats are when you eat and eat and eat... and somehow, you're STILL hungry! This week I gots a serious case of The Eats  (perhaps because I consumed my body weight in delicious dishes last weekend!?) so I'm thinking that a trip to one of my favorite NYC spots might be exactly what I need to calm the beast (aka, my stomach). 

Chat 'n Chew is where you go if you want some down, dirty and delicious home cooking. Located just off Union Square on 16th btw B'way and 5th, the restaurant is awesomely casual, reasonably priced and a great choice for big groups. The vibe is retro-divebar-chic and just when you thought it couldn't get any better... they have outdoor seating!!
There's often a wait; that's what the bar is for!

The worst part about going to Chat n' Chew is actually deciding what to eat. There are SO. MANY. AWESOME. DISHES. and like the glutton that I am, I dig their ridiculously huge portions. MENU highlights include:

The "Quintessential Macaroni & Cheese"
This might be my favorite mac cheese in all of NYC which you know coming from me, means a lot. Crunchy on top, loaded with cheese inside, I struggle to ever order anything else!

Yes, yes that is chicken fried steak.
TV Dinner: Chicken fried steak, green bean casserole & skin-on "smashies" with country gravy. I mean.... 

Cajun Catfish po'boy: warm loaf with lettuce, tomato and 
Old Bay tartar. Not surprisingly, their fries are also epic.
I also love (but can't find images of): Thanksgiving On A Roll (Fresh roast turkey, awesome stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo on ciabatta); Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf (with skin-on smashies with mushroom gravy & garden veggies); and Panchos Nachos Grandito (with all the works). If you aren't actually salivating by now, I'm not sure you're human.

As for sweet treats, I must confess that I have never made it to dessert at Chat n' Chew (if that's not a sign of awesome food, I don't know what is!) but I can tell you from watching them go by, that the menu has plenty to offer.
That'll do it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Time to come clean.

Maybe if my shower were more glam,
I'd hop in more often... (Naaaaah)
Confession time people. I gots to know... how often do you shower? Are you an every single day, sometimes more than once-r, or are you like me, living life on the (slightly!) dirtier side?

Given that this is a "safe place," I'm not afraid to admit that I do not always shower daily and I actively try to avoid washing my hair more than four days per week. Are you totally grossed out yet? Allow me explain. First and foremost, I always shower if I'm actually, visibly dirty (and/or stinky). At the end of a hot day, after a workout, after coming into contact with something nasty, a shower is always in order. I do not however, feel that way every day, so once or twice a week I give the tub a break. Not only is hot water incredibly drying for your skin (and over-washing will reek havoc on your dye job) but honestly, showering can be so freakin' annoying!! There's all that washing and rinsing, and it's so cold when you get out, and then you have to lotion and comb and style... grooooan!!! I am 100% certain that the mornings I spend in bed instead of the shower are the far superior use of my time.

Am I your new Josie Grossie? Are you actually wondering if maybe you can smell me through your monitor? I promise, you can't... I wear really nice perfume:)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

Some Wednesdays require wit & sass. This is one of those Wednesdays.
Well hello hello. I'm back from the deserts of California with distractions galore!! How was my weekend at Coachella you ask!? Well...
* I ate one of THESE (and yes I am already tracking their NYC truck for seconds).
* I saw a rapper rise from the dead and he confirmed that life aint nothin but a gangsta party (track at 2:48; beware of some serious thug life language in that link).
* I danced like crazy, but lacked sufficient glow-in-the-dark accessories. Next time I will be more prepared
* Radiohead. YES.
* These pictures do it much more justice than mine ever will (I'm not cool, I don't Instagram).

OR... maybe you're all "I don't care about your stinkin vacation at the stinkin music festival!" 
No worries, I got you covered:
* Baby giraffe and a butterfly. Click it NOW.
* I think I need to check out this store.
* Looksy what I cooked for dinner last night!
* Ever wonder how many shades of grey Barbara Walters likes her men?
* I want to be friends with ALL these people.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...

Just me and a few friends at Coachella 2012
...for one Merry Meri catch up day. Catch up at work, catch up at home, catch up with reality. I'm fighting off the "ho hums" with the pleasant thought that at least it's already Tuesday. Coachella update and a super-sized Hump Day Distractions coming tomorrow (promise).

Monday, April 16, 2012


Cookie with a side of Confucius

...on Mondays, you need a little inspiration to get through the day. So be inspired:

By this,
and this.
Have you found your Great Hill yet?

Just do it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fitter. Happier. More Productive.

Groovy girl.
What better way to kick off your weekend than with some awesome tunes!? Since I'm always thinking of you my merry readers, below are a few (amazeballs) artists I'll be checking out at Coachella this weekend. Some I've been listening to for years and others I just discovered and have been getting familiar with on Spotify. (If you aren't using Spotify, you should be. Anything you want to hear, any time. Free and legal. Check it out!) Have a groovy weekend :)

Radiohead (eclectic, melodic, bizarre, incredible) / Florence & the Machine (a voice like no other; my current musician crush) / The Black Keys (where rock n roll is right now) / We Are Augustines (solid indie rock) / Pulp (british alt rock for when you're feeling funky) / M83 (named after a spiral galaxy, which is somehow a perfect description) / Bon Iver (soulful, soft, haunting, relaxing) / Andrew Bird (guitarist, singer, whistler, awesome) / Girl Talk (like hiring a dj)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

California dreamin...

Peace out homies.
By the time you read this, I will be at 30,000 feet, en route to the Pacific Ocean between my toes and amazing music in my ears. Thanks to awesome friends (who think up awesome wedding gifts) I am headed to the Coachella Music Festival. I get 24 hours in Santa Monica and then 72 hours in the desert rubbing elbows with celebrities while listening to some of my favorite musicians (more on them tomorrow!) It has all the makings of an absolutely perfect weekend getaway.

Even if you aren't on vacation these next few days, that doesn't mean you can't find something awesomely out of the ordinary to do! Here are a few mighty fine suggestions to get your imagination going:
* Get Sporty. Baseball season is underway and you know you've missed your team. Grab some cheap seats and go eat a hot dog OR if you're feeling more like a homebody, the NHL Playoffs kicked off last night and there are ridiculous matchups going on all weekend long (and go "drink from the Cup" in Times Square through Friday!)
* Sing and Dance. Coachella isn't the only show in town... there's live music happening everywhere, all the time, if you know where to look. Sonicliving and Tourfilter are two great sites for finding out about upcoming shows in your area. 
* Get Creative. If you're in the NYC area, I highly recommend checking out the BUST Magazine Craftacular and Food Fair. That's right, crafts AND foods... be still my heart.
* Play Outside. Spring is my favorite season for picnics because the temperature is really perfect - no sweaty cheese or warm wine. Pack up some goodies (Dr. H and I LOVE our picnic backpack) and venture into the great outdoors.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

That's a cold cold stare Ms. Wednesday
Today may be your Wednesday, but it's MY Friday. I gots a little vacation coming up starting tomorrow - so close I can taste it. Distract yourself from the injustice here:

* I see faces everywhere I look...
* I would love an all-expenses-paid trip around the world (even if it has to be in 10 days!)
* In all likelihood, I would still run late.
* A map, cool brochure or even a concert poster would make this photo-centric craft an awesome keepsake. 
* Before there were the 50 shades of grey, there were all these other shades to contend with.
* Are the streets of your city where the good food is at?
* Love you Madam Secretary. You are AWESOME.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Looking for tips...

Does anyone else feel totally clueless about “the art” of tipping? For me, tipping is one of the most confusing and stressful transactions that I have to face on a regular basis. When to tip someone and how much is appropriate are mysteries which I have yet to solve and it makes me BONKERS! No matter how many manicures I go for, I always have a momentary panic as I stare at the bill and try to determine an adequate tip on the $8 service. And what about the guy who comes to fix your cable or the cab driver who got you to the airport ($50) in the same amount of time it took the last cabbie to get you downtown during rush hour ($15)? I’m grateful for set rules in places like restaurants because everything else seems like a discretionary free for all! I’m more than happy to tip well for exemplary service, but how do I figure out what “tipping well” is!?

Do you have any tricks (or tips!?) for determining when and how much when it comes to tipping? Do you agree with THESE suggestions? Until someone gives me a rule, the chick who washes my hair at the salon will continue making a mint off my visits… but honestly, those scalp massages might just be worth it :)

Image via Google

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Great Hill.

My bike was not this chic,  but it was a champion
Yesterday was a beautiful spring day in NYC. Dr. H announced that he wanted to go for a run in the park and I immediately decided to grab a bike and do some outdoor exercise as well. Though we once circled Central Park running together, it's been (only?!) eight weeks since my knee reconstruction and biking is all I'm "up to". Determined to enjoy the spring air, I took off on the 6 mile loop, including The Great Hill in the park's northwest corner. Initially nervous to leave the security of a timed ride on a stationary bike behind, I'm happy to report that I hauled my booty up that hill and have lived to tell the tale.

For me, yesterday was a mini-milestone. It's not that riding a bike up The Great Hill was particularly remarkable (just ask the people whisking past me!), but it was a small goal and a small victory and achieving it rocked. So, take a moment this week to find your own Great Hill and celebrate (with Tasti D-light?!) when you reach the top of it. It doesn't matter if anyone else thinks the milestone is a big deal, all that matters is how the accomplishment feels to you. Happy riding!

Friday, April 6, 2012

We're in a pickle (and we like it).

The cucumber's sexier cousin
Confession: Dr. H and I are addicted to pickles. And this isn't just a favorite snack or passing fad... we eat So. Many. Pickles. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, last weekend we went to the farmer's market on the upper west side (awesome stuff, check it out) and this happened:
Ooooh yeah.
The reason we needed two tubs was (a) these were actually purchased from two different pickle vendors; and (b) all pickle connoisseurs know that you cannot mix your sours with your half sours. It's a pickle juice thing.

We think pickles are great for lots of reasons: they are flavorful, healthy, cheap and can serve as a delightful snack or awesome side dish. Dr. H and I rock a little pre-dinner pickle while we cook (or wait for takeout!) nearly every night because its the perfect light nosh to hold you over until chow time. Most people either love pickles or hate them, but we no doubt  are lovers. So happy weekend, happy holidays and happy pickles to all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Matzah, eggs, brunch and bunnies...

Egg for Easter = somehow associated with "hunting" (and a bunny?)
Egg for Passover = the only thing at seder I know I will eat
The spring time religious holidays have arrived and though they don't seem to garner the same excitement or fanfare as their winter counterparts (how come December is the "holiday season"?) that doesn't mean we can't have a little Passover/Easter merriment around here! Before you relax with your [4 cups of wine, marshmallow twists and Charlton Heston] OR [bunnies, baskets of chocolate and egg dying] check out these holiday inspired links:

A recipe for "k for p" potato gnocchi HERE
And check out the sweet potato version HERE

THIS recipe is for those looking to up their "matzah pizza" game
(Might be tasty with meat if you're like me and "keep" Passover but don't keep kosher!) 
Come day three of Passover, not only am I'm making "crumby" holiday jokes (you know what I'm talking about fellow matzah eaters!) but I'm also thoroughly stumped as to what to cook. It's not that I eat SO much bread, pasta and corn normally, it's that forbidding them suddenly presents an extra challenge. This year "lasagna" and gnocchi are definitely going to be on the menu.

Everything is better when it glows in the dark
In college I helped my roommate's parents set up an Easter Egg Hunt in our dorm room, but beyond that, my participation in this tradition has been fairly limited. So while I don't claim to be an expert, I'm fairly certain that adding a glow-in-the-dark element would be pretttttty fantastic.

I mean... this is just a great presentation idea

These little bunnies are Easter-awesome
and also baby shower/kid birthday party approved
No matter what you're celebrating this weekend, I recommend you start the day with this delicious (and totally genius!) breakfast idea.
How have I never thought to do THIS?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

This cracks me up big time

Wednesday has arrived and your distractions await:
* The art of "photobombing", mastered
* This is why you should never tease a frog
* Definitely having flashbacks of my "Braids and Bows" book circa 1990 
* Sexy and he knows it (and you thought YOU wasted a lot of time on the computer!) 
* Why yes, I'd love to eat nachos and cheeseburgers at the SAME TIME!  
* The ballerina in me is amazed (and wishes she'd gotten the chance to perform to Radiohead). 
* Hump Day can be rough... THIS will make it all better 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

First comes love, then comes marriage...

It seems that once a woman gets married, people immediately want to know when she’s going to start a family. I’m amazed by how many people have followed their marital congratulations with “when are you planning to have children?” The (extremely personal!) topic explodes in your face mere seconds after the volume on “what color are your bridesmaids dresses?” is turned down. Sometimes I just want to yell “WHOA there! One life milestone at a time please!!”

What’s really weird about my reaction to this question is that I actually think about having children all the time; but not in the “ohman I want one RIGHT NOW” sort of way (stay calm Dr. H), more like “someday when I do this baby makin’ thing it is totally gonna rock!” I love imagining what Dr. H and I will be like as parents: I love envisioning our little family adventuring in NYC and knowing I’ll have the perfect excuse to indulge in all the “little kid” activities I find so entertaining (arts and crafts, circuses, playgrounds!) I love the idea of being a mom. But I’m also well versed in known “lesser joys” of parenting - the exhaustion, deciding whether or not to leave the city I love and navigating how to be a career rock-star like my Dad AND a supermama like my stay-at-home Mom (can it be done!?) In the see-saw of my mind, couples getaways and date nights are still far more appealing than having any tiny 3rd parties join us. Is this normal? Is there a normal? I keep imagining some day I will wake up and magically “be ready”. Until then however, I will smile politely through the Baby Inquisition while mentally planning bicycling trips in France, boozy Tuesday nights and awesome Saturdays where I hide in bed with Dr. H until noon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just another manic Monday.

Well this was bound to happen sooner or later. It's Sunday night and I'm staring at my computer screen all "uuuuuuhhh, what should I write about!?" Four months and eighty posts into my merry adventure, I am feeling a touch of writer's block (or maybe it's just my burning desire to watch SO MUCH tv? Frozen Planet, Mad Men, Family Guy, Shameless... my DVR is calling!)

I could remind you how much I love turtles and show you funny pictures I've found of them:
Like this.
And this.
Or I could tell you about this great new trick I play on myself to realize I'm not that busy and I do have time to get "undesirable" things done. (Instead of saying "I don't have time to _____." I say "It's not a priority to _____." and if that doesn't sit well, snap to action. I swear it works! I finally got my teeth cleaned!!) Read my full inspiration HERE.

Speaking of inspiration:
I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
Is this cheating? 
Something about this lunch is bugging me (hehe)

Probably, but thankfully the internet is here to distract and amuse you while I go watch tv :) Until tomorrow!