Friday, June 29, 2012

Geek out / Sneak out.

It's the Peep-les Court.

Sometimes, I wonder if I got into the right profession (law) and then a day like yesterday happens (healthcare) and I remember that I am the Geek Queen of Dork Universe and love analyzing legislation intended for the public welfare under the lens of the U.S. Constitution. I worship SCOTUS. In case you live under a rock, read a bit about the impact of yesterday’s truly historic case HERE, HERE and HERE. No matter where you stand on the issue of universal healthcare, it’s important to be in the know!

And now that we’ve finished our civics lesson for the day… 

...I'm sneakin out of here. Have a swimmy, sunshiney summer weekend! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's better with a theme...

I am a firm believer in the awesomeness of a theme party. Now I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes, but truly... if you select the right theme for your crowd and occasion, a theme can instantly up the enthusiasm of your guests and make your party extra memorable. And lucky for me, themes and stylized celebrations seem to be ALL the rage right now! Thanks to Pinterest and party planning bloggers like Jordan of OhHappyDay (her blog is a never ending source of inspiration) it's easier than ever to become the host or hostess with the mostest. Here for your enjoyment are some merry meri tips for rocking the theme trend at your next party.

* Pick something easy.
"Stripes & Dots" / "Pretty in Pink"
Let your decor serve as inspiration for guest dress.
When throwing a theme party, you've got to know your crowd. How much effort are they going to be willing to make? If it's Halloween, costumes are an easy sell, but come winter, maybe a Wig Party is the perfect compromise. Or what about Glasses & Mustaches and have a pile of accessories for guests to select from at the door?! I recently discovered The TomKat Studio for ideas and supplies - check it out!

* As host, you've got to set the mood.
"Party Animals"
Nobody is going to get into a theme unless you're into it yourself! Sport a party getup that's fit for bragging and have some spare accessories for guests that show up "slightly unprepared" (ex: of course there will be glow jewelry at my Brighter the Better party in case someone leaves their neon at home!) Figure out foods that match the theme and craft (or buy) a few unique decorations to really take it to the next level.

* Get creative (and be personal).
"Fun & Games"
One of my favorite theme parties I've hosted was my Happy Hockey Birthday. I LOVE the sport and seeing my friends decked out in jerseys (and even a faux helmet) totally made my night! Think about things you and your guests love and find inspiration in everything from Cheese & Chocolate to Backyard Fun & Games (20-somethings on a Slip 'n Slide is a sight to be seen!)

* Don't go crazy - parties are supposed to be fun!
"Take a Chill Pill Party"
Not every party has to be a RAGING party. Not every raging party has to be uber-styled and stressful for the host. Know your own limits and make sure you don't plan beyond them. Keep the music pumping (a good playlist is KEY!) and the drinks flowing and your party will be a hit no matter the theme.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

hump day motivation
Get your game face on, it's HUMP DAY!!

I'm feeling a bit spunky today folks! I have an awesome weekend in my rear view and another fabulous one planned for the days ahead so I'm all "let's DO THIS people!" Ahhhh summer. Anyways.... here are some distractions for your hump day enjoyment.
* These images made the Facebook rounds last week, but if you haven't seen them yet, they will warm your heart.
* I'm pretty sure this is one of the greatest gift ideas ever (especially for fans of The Office) 
* Kristen Bell's love of sloths reaches a level you have to see to believe 
* Being safe doesn't mean you have to sacrifice being stylish
* Took this recipe for a test drive with friends last night. Six thumbs up at my dinner table!
* Just ordered one of these beauties with my married name monogram because I just love being Ms. Dr. H:) (baller version here)
* Some parents just weren't cut out for Facebook...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My midday meal slump...

My lunch rarely looks this glam

What are you eating for lunch? I find myself eating the same half dozen or so lunches ad nauseam (hehe) out of a combination of habit, convenience and lack of creativity. I try to make lunch 4 of 5 days every week (though I'd say I average only 3 days) because my homemade lunches are healthier and eating out can be expensive ($8-15 per day adds up fast!!) You'd think that because I am the creator of my lunches, I'd get creative, but the reality is that I throw lunch together in a maximum of 10 minutes before I run out the door each morning (I have no interest in making tomorrow's lunch after making dinner each night) and when I buy lunch, I gravitate to the same handful of places where I order the same handful of foods. Here's what's on the menu:
Homemade: turkey sandwich (occasional variation of turkey type and condiment); tuna sandwich (both on "lite" bread with no lettuce or tomato - too soggy by 1pm); green salad w goat cheese and avocado; "sides" are almost always carrots and hummus, fruit, Popchips/Special K crisps and sugar free pudding snacks (might as well bring a lunchbox with a note from my mom right!?)
When I buy: udon soup; chicken salad sandwich; make your own salad (and I "make" the same exact salad 90% of the time!); veggie dumplings and egg drop soup

Perhaps for some this is a lot of variety, but after years of the same things, I'm looking to mix the routine up a bit. What are your favorite quick/easy/filling lunches? Healthy (specifically PointsPlus friendly) suggestions are welcome (leave a comment! share the tastiness! talk amongst yourselves my hungry, merry readers!) Plus, have you ever tried the "Wheel of Lunch"!? 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Mondays...

Case 'o da Summer Mondays...
Summer Mondays are freakin' brutal! Especially a Monday after a perfectly sunny/not too hot/plenty of fresh air and relaxing type weekend... Am I right!? To help you ease into the week (and feel energized enough to survive to the next sunny Saturday!) here are some goodies from the merry files.

Survive graduation season by gifting cash in this super unique
way (also an excuse to buy and eat several boxes of chocolate?)

Just downloaded some new music after a few weeks of Spotify testing (highly scientific). Let's all listen together: 
* The Lateness of the Hour by Alex Clare (whose song "Too Close" is featured in an Internet Explorer commercial)
* My Head is an Animal by Of Monsters and Men (the track "Little Talks" is what caught my attention)
* Never Trust a Happy Song by Grouplove (thank you Spotify "Top Lists" playlist for this one)
* Megalithic Symphony by AWOLNATION (as heard during SYTYCD auditions and highly endorsed by my sis-in-law)
* Also, Katy Perry's Wide Awake (for when I'm feeling angsty) Gym Class Hero's The Fighter (because it's great for workin out/a very cool music video) and Pitbull's Back in Time from the MIB III soundtrack (which I'm willing to admit I purchased because Mr. Worldwide knows how to throw down a dance jam!)

I think my parents need this on their driveway...
(because I have no driveway of my own to make glow-in-the-dark!)

I hope Dr. H is hungry for some mexican,
because this week I'm firing up the crock pot!

Friday, June 22, 2012

I want it all.

I cannot stop thinking about THIS ARTICLE that I read yesterday in The Atlantic. As I sat at my desk, letting my lunch get cold and my head cloud over with (worry/ sadness/ connection?) I was overwhelmed by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s words. “Finally!” I thought, “a woman admitting that women can’t have everything, women don’t always want to have everything and whatever it is she wants, we need to work for a world which supports her decision.” (The author says this and so much more with eloquence I cannot even pretend to possess. The article is long, but a very worthwhile read).

As I’ve mentioned before, I spend a lot of time angst-ing (I can’t help it, I’m an angst-er) about pursuit of a fulfilling career and family life. Dr. H and I recently found ourselves falling asleep at the dinner table, in a restaurant, at 10pm, on a weeknight (there is so much wrong with that picture) because I INSISTED on spending a meal together that didn’t involve an open laptop, television or couch. Even without children (or the dog I so desperately desire:) at times I feel the balance is already slipping. And I have also noticed, as I develop my professional self, that the work world doesn’t have much interest in the “loves to cook/craft/write” Merry Meri that is ultimately the truest reflection of who I believe I am. Just because I love my hobbies doesn’t mean I don’t love to work; just because I dream of many babies doesn’t mean I’m not going to have a kickass career… sometimes it just feels like the world isn’t ready for a lady who gets to pursue all of those things, however she chooses. To quote Slaughter, “last I checked, he [Thomas Jefferson] did not declare American independence in the name of life, liberty, and professional success. Let us rediscover the pursuit of happiness, and let us start at home.”

Holy whoa, that was hefty shizz for a Friday wasn’t it!? How can I make it up to you..?
A witty joke?

um, this is normal: "A sea lion wears a solar viewer during an annular solar eclipse at an aquarium in Tokyo"
A totally rad sea lion?

Streaker by Terry Fan #Illustration #Banana #Streaker #Terry_Fan
Whatevs yo, I'm OUT!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yours, Mine, Ours

Fingers are just like families... stuck together for life.
This past weekend I was in Atlanta with my "new" family. By marrying Dr. H, I acquired not just a fabulous husband, but several older siblings, 2 sets of in-laws, 2 adorable nieces and 1 awesome little nephew (quite the package deal!) After years of knowing "his" family and loving "my" family, we suddenly had "our" family (now I will NEVER remember all the birthdays!)

Though there doesn’t seem to be any way to match the lifetime (literally) I’ve spent with my parents and Sis, I'm amazed by the bond I feel with the family connected to me through my husband. The stereotype of nightmarish siblings and monster-in-laws may exist for a reason, but I want to let you all know that fairytale endings exist too! There's a chance your spouse's family will be just as awesome (and at times lovingly annoying) as your own. As I lounged late night between my completely passed out “new” big brother and sister (I suck at couch sleeping), I felt completely at home, loved and in love. For that I'm very grateful.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

This hump day take it slow and nice and easy (hehe).
Not gonna waste your time with pleasantries this week... let's get straight to the distractions:
* This is the ultimate summer guide for New Yorkers 
* I have a bag of tots in my freezer ready to go at all times...
This commercial will make you smile... 
* will this adorable root beer loving baby!
Melted candle wax is no longer my nemesis.
* Best compliment I've ever received about my writing? That I sound like Carrie Bradshaw
* Some of the best photobombs I've ever seen...
* I mean COME ON you animal loving fools!!!

... And if you're an NYC'er, this is happening tonight. For FREE! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer Shows

"Boob tube".
So... now that The Office and 30 Rock and Mad Men and Dexter are all on hiatus, what are Dr. H and I feeding our tv addiction with you ask? While I admit the dvr is a bit empty these days (and I swear we're getting outside plenty to play) we've got plans to get by on a solid dose of summer shows and onDemand/Netflix options.

So You Think You Can Dance (Fox)
Better than American Idol, X Factor and Dancing With the Stars, combined.
There are some big fans of Nigel, Stacy Tookey and of course Miss Mary Murphy in this household! The only competition show Dr. H and I never miss an episode of, SYTYCD (yes, there is an acronym) is an amazing showcase of the beautiful and exciting art form of dance. Watch and prepare to be amazed by athleticism, grace and sexy shirtless men!

The Newsroom (HBO)
New fuel for my cable tv addiction
How great do the previews for this show look!? Not to get too political or preachy on you, but I am extremely critical of the impact the 24-hour news cycle is having on global affairs and American politics. I am also extremely fond of anything Aaron Sorkin and/or HBO touches. So obviously, I'm pretty confident that Sunday's series premiere is going to be amazeballs (and my inner couch potato is counting on it).

The Wire (HBO via HBOGo app & borrowed DVDs)
I'm overdue to see for myself what the hype is about.
This show is my summer project. Premiering in June 2002 and airing its season finale in March of 2008, I missed The Wire completely on first pass. What I find noteworthy however, is that over four years after the last episode aired, this show is a constant source of conversation for my fellow tv-loving friends. If the hype is legit, I expect Dr. H and I will be going on multiple episode per night binges by mid-July.

Tosh.O (Comedy Central)
I've got a serious Daniel Tosh crush
Warning: this show has been known to make me (a) gag; (b) cringe; and (c) fall over laughing. Tosh.O is a collection of internet video gems, expertly discovered and strung together with socially inappropriate (and very often totally offensive) jokes. Dr. H and I love Tosh's ability to amuse, disgust and insult people of all races, creeds, sexualities and genders in his 30 minute time-slot. 

Are we missing something!? Help Dr. H and I fill our tv time by leaving a comment below!

Monday, June 18, 2012

based on the novel.

I heart a good book.
Growing up, my mom had a rule that I could not see a movie that was based on a book unless I read the book first. I don't know where she got this rule, or what made her decide to stick to it so staunchly, but I'll never forget seeing The Little Princess movie (based on a favorite childhood book) and being FURIOUS at what a terrible adaptation it was. Things were changed, important details were overlooked and it just generally did not do the author's fine work justice. 

I mention this because right now I am reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky and I freaking LOVE it (if you are like me and somehow overlooked this book as a 90s teenager, get it now).  I suppose I could be embarassed that the reason I am finally reading this book is that it's been made into a movie which Hermoine Granger (aka, Emma Watson:) is starring in (so obviously I plan to see it), but I'm not. Whatever it takes to make the time to read a good book is fine with me. Whether it's because the books are almost always better, or because reading is wonderful... Mom was totally right (doesn't it always work out that way!?)

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's the freakin weekend...

#celebratecolorfully bring balloons
Party shoes and pink balloons!!
... baby Ima 'bout to have me some fuuuuun (you like that R. Kelly reference right there!?) I've been on a bit of a Pinterest binge lately so I thought I would send you into the weekend with a few pieces of my recently mined internet treasure. Happy browsing, baking, crafting, laughing and most importantly, happy Friday!

please don't leave rug. so cute! $18
I think I need this for my house.

Put shower rings on a hanger to hold all of your scarves. CLEVER!
Hook shower rings onto a hanger to hold your scarves.

I will try my best to live by this.

Warning: cake batter rice crispy treats. You will probably never make regular rice crispy treats again.3 Tbsp. butter  1 (10 oz.) bag of mini-marshmallows  1/4 cup yellow cake mix (the dry cake mix, not prepared into a batter!)  6 cups crispy rice cereal  1 (1.75 oz.) container of sprinkles  Method:    Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, adding in (dry) cake mix one spoonful at a time so its combined. Stir in cereal and let setfor...
Cake batter rice krispie treats. Get in my belly! (Recipe HERE)

Enter the dimensions of your room and the things you want to put in it. It helps you come up with ways to arrange it.
I haven't taken THIS for a test-run yet, but if it works,
it could be totally awesome.

Adios my friends!!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Daddy's Girl (always).

Do something quintessentially "Dad & me" - time together is an awesome gift.
Dudes and dudettes, Father's Day is THIS SUNDAY!! It feels like we were just standing in the greeting card aisle lamenting the awful selection of Mother's Day cards doesn't it? And for me, there's something about Father's Day that's much more difficult to nail than Mother's Day. Maybe it's because I'm a daughter, or because Dads so often just buy themselves the things they need/want, but to quote one of my girlfriends, "how many polo shirts can I buy him!?" So in preparation for this Father's Day, I thought I would help you think outside the box - find a way to tell your Dad he rocks without falling victim to the Hallmark-i-ness of the holiday. Because if your Dad is anything like my Dad, he is awesome. Luv you D ;)

What could be better than cheese delivered to Dad's doorstep?
Cheese delivered to Dad's doorstep EVERY MONTH!!!
Last year Sis and I got my Dad a cheese-of-the-month club membership and he LOVED it. "Of-the-month" clubs are an awesome way to gift a favorite item (wine, beer, hot sauce, jerky, PIZZA!) and introduce your Dad to a variety you might not have otherwise been brave enough to purchase. I've had great experiences with and love their fun variety (maybe your Dad needs a "Sirloin of the Month"!?)

Buy your Dad the car of his dreams!
Just because he's a Dad, doesn't mean he won't love a good toy. Most Dad's flip for gadgets, electronics, planes, trains and automobiles, so consider that remote controlled car you know he'll have a blast crashing around the driveway or maybe a classy dart board? The less practical, the better.

Get tickets to the game and wrap them thematically to take
the presentation up a notch from "hey Dad, here's an envelope"!
There's something so "Dad" about going to a game together. Even my Dad who isn't a huge sports fan, seems to love sitting in the stadium with his girls, enjoying hot dogs and a few hours of conversation. Pick an event you know your Dad loves and grab some tickets. Time together and live sports? It's a home run (hehe).

When in doubt, turn to music
What band did your Dad love as a teenager? Who is on that ratty concert t-shirt that he refuses to throw away? Check out who is touring this summer (Jones Beach has an awesome lineup) for a musical take on the gift above, or maybe buy a vinyl? If he doesn't have a record player, that might be a funky gift or consider professionally framing the album cover, turning it into a keepsake/piece of art.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hump Day Distractions

hump day
Obviously humpback whales think Wednesday Rules.
Well hello there Wednesday, nice to see you again!! I'm feeling very merry this week and I'm grateful for the exchange of major ho hums for some of life's beachy/bachelorette-y/family filled/wedding-y/niece-playdate-y fabulosity. When things are good we must appreciate:) And speaking of good, I think these distractions will have you smiling while you hump the day. Get it.   

* Though I'm more of an English girl, this tuckered out Frenchie brought a big smile to my face.
* The perfect DIY for the MVP at my next theme party
* Grab your (wo)man and make it a date night
* All Dr. H tested, Dr. H approved (though he discovered he is not a spaghetti squash man)
* This season of Mad Men may be over, but here are some fabulous factoids to keep Sterling Cooper Draper Price on your mind (via CupofJo)
* Some cutesy, crafty printables for your next BBQ

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A bad good habit?

Not mentioned, SWEATY.
I recently started taking spin classes here in NYC. Four months post-op on my knee, I’m not quite strong enough to run which SUCKS for a girlie who uses running not just for fitness, but also for mental clarity. So I have taken up spinning, checking out classes at Pedal NYC (literally IN my apt bldg!) and at the awesomely awesome (and super trendy) Soul Cycle. So you’re all “she’s exercising, great what’s the big deal?” The big deal is that spin is no deal at all… at $30-34 per class, this is my worst “good” habit since discovering sashimi (how many $3 strips of raw fish does it take to fill YOU up!?)

Is there such a thing as a bad good habit? How do we pick which eco-friendly/healthy/fit expenses are worth the price!? I pay almost double for organic berries and who knows how much for bottled water and Brita filters, so why not round out my “healthy Meri monthly bill” by paying out the butt for an amazing workout that I really enjoy? I mean, I think my butt deserves a nice candle-lit bike ride every once in while! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

The sand, the sea and me

Not my (beach) bum.
Have I ever mentioned my love affair with the beach? How there is nothing that soothes me, delights me and brings a smile to my face more than the smell of the sea and the feel of the sand beneath my toes? Maybe once or twice:) Since I cut "summer week" short by a day (and I've got serious beach brain after an amazing seaside weekend!) I thought I would share some of my favorite beach getaways (Note: I could go on FOREVER about this topic, so the list is by no means comprehensive!!!) 

* Fire Island, NY
New York, a world away from the Empire State Building
Located across the Great South Bay from the southern shore of Long Island, I spent my childhood weekends soaking up sun on Fire Island. The car-less island is filled with lots of different "towns" each with their own feel and scene from boaters with families to post-college co-eds looking to revisit the young life. And most importantly, the beach is a stunna.

* Santa Monica, CA
Beauty by the pier.
One of my favorite girlies lives a short walk from this west coast beauty and I don't think it gets much better than that! An awesome combination of seashore, delicious dining and entertainment, the beach in Santa Monica (and the stroll from there to nearby Venice) is one of my favorites I've ever visited. 

* South Beach, FL
Retro glam Miami
Turquoise water, soft white sand, a row of palm trees and then a retro chic strip of amazing shops and restaurants... that's what coming ashore in Miami will get you. There's the sexy bar scene, the cultural flavor and sunshine for days. Just a quick flight from NYC, I hope to spend more time in Miami in the years to come.

* Southampton, NY
I'm a biased long island girl - our beaches really are the tops.
At the end of Dune Road's incomparable strip of beach houses is (in my humble, but beach loving opinion) long island's most awesome beach. Cupsogue Beach is beautiful and it has a great beachy bar and seafood stand to keep you going all day long. Though it may be missing Miami's palm trees, the endless sand and fresh summer scene will have you coming back for more.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Funnies for your Friday

I'm kind of a big dill
Pickle girl 4 eva.
Hey-o. No better way to kick off the weekend than with a smile, so enjoy these witty images and then grab a beer and head for the beach (that's what I'm doing!!) See ya on the other side!

What is love? baby don't herd me...
Herd love.

Oh no!
That party will be out of this world:)

Say, Ernie, would you like some ice cream? Sherbert
I love ice cream and Sesame Street.

Chocolate Milk Shake
So glad that they met.

Have a great weekend! Go bananas!!
All of this silly courtesy of time spent (wasted?!) on Pinterest. Click here to follow me on my creative (procrastinating!?) adventures!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm in love with Joe.

Grocery shopping bag
In my fantasy world, ALL my groceries fit in 1 tote bag
and I look this chic traveling home from the store.
(Reality = 3 bags and 5 "stop and rests" en route)
We've never met; I don't know what exactly he "trades"; but I am in love with Trader Joe. Trader Joe's is my absolute favorite place to grocery shop because it is impossibly cheap (I live in fear of some sort of child labor expose) and though Dr. H and I love to cook, life doesn't always allow time for following recipes, no matter how few ingredients.  Also, their employees are clearly taking some sort of happy pills and they pack your bags with Tetris like precision. So here are some Merry Meri & Dr. H approved favorites for your next trip to the happiest grocery store on earth (and check out THIS great site for more ideas).

Trader Joe's refrigerated and frozen sections are filled with packaged foods which will give you the satisfaction of a "home cooked" meal in a fraction of the time. 

We love ALL the pre-marinated chicken breasts
(found in the refrigerated section)

Pinned Image
We ALWAYS have a bag of these guys
in our freezer. So easy, so tasty.

Recommended by one of my girlies, this is now a staple
in our freezer for "I don't know what to make" nights.

AWESOME side dish for an otherwise homemade italian
dinner (or ya know, pasta with turkey meatballs!)
A few other AWESOME "TJ-sponsored" meal ideas: Vegetable or Shrimp Fried Rice and a few types of dumplings and shu mai (all found in the frozen foods section); Keep some pizza dough in the freezer for an impromptu make-your-own pizza night; Reduced Guilt Mac Cheese (small portion, but so tasty I pretty much lick the container clean); frozen Linguine with Clam Sauce (one of the only non-takeout meals Dr. H will feed himself if I'm not home for dinner); Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange (because I still haven't figured out how to cook quinoa flavorfully).

The broccoli florets are another favorite.
I also like to keep some frozen vegetables from TJ's in our freezer. Though they aren't nearly as tasty as their fresh counterparts, it's nice to know that I can always get my greens into a meal without stopping at the grocery store on the way home from work.

And of course, my friend Joe has you covered for sweet treats as well:
The perfect tart and sweet snack when you're
craving "just a taste". Get them. Get them now.

Be careful. Studies show that it is impossible to keep these
in your home without eating them all within 72 hours ("studies")

Are you a fan of Trader Joe's? Do you have any favorites which I should add to my next grocery list? Leave a comment - share the deliciousness!