Monday, September 30, 2013

Peels Please

Over the weekend, as I was diving into a tasty Peels tuna salad sandwich, I realized that it's been a while since I did a restaurant review over here and man oh man is Peels worthy of a mention! I discovered Peels, located at 325 Bowery St. (btw E 2nd & 3rd) thanks to a favorite fellow blogger, Rebecca over at The Daily Muse. Always looking to expand my restaurant repertoire, Dr. H and I eventually made a visit of our own and Peels lived up to expectations!

The first thing to love about Peels is the decor. The gorgeous exposed brick, tin ceilings, wood bar, green booths and crown moldings are so beautiful, I wouldn't mind one day having a home that feels just like Peels inside. Peels also has a solid amount of outdoor seating which is great for sunny Sunday morning brunching. Then of course, there is the food:

Tuna Salad Sandwich image via Foodspotting
Though I have only been to Peels for brunch/lunch (served all day!), my love affair with their cuisine is so strong that I'm going to guess dinner is a home run too. I've tested all matter of their eggs, their salads are made with greens so fresh you can taste the healthiness and their pastries, from biscuits and bread to muffins and donuts are straight up killa. But for the Peels pièce de résistance, one absolutely must order the "Build a Biscuit"....

"Build-a-Biscuit" image via Foodspotting
The Peels Build-a-Biscuit invites you to pile on to a (super tasty) buttermilk biscuit any (or all!) of the following: eggs, bacon, sausage, fried chicken, country ham, avocado, cheese and gravy. When the bartender (awesome bloody mary's in case you were wondering) proposed I order his personal favorite of scrambled eggs, fried chicken, bacon, pimento (or was it jalapeno?) cheese and gravy, I couldn't say no (and was thrilled that I didn't!) Gluttony well spent, my biscuit was hands down one of the best breakfasts I've ever eaten.

With large upstairs and down stairs dining rooms (plus outdoor seating), a basic menu which gets manageably adventurous while sticking to a reasonable price point and truly delicious food, Peels is an awesome spot for brunch, lunch (and I'm sure dinner!) with friends. (PS- they also deliver!)

Note: Unless otherwise attributed, all images shown are the work of Rebecca Baust, The Daily Muse. She is an amazing photographer <-- click here to see more.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Tick tock tick tock...

Hug it out.
I am literally watching the clock today. I check it just about every 15 minutes... I am 193% (official count) ready for a crisp fall weekend out and about in my most favorite city. Got some girl friend plans, tickets to a sa-weeeet outdoor concert and a trip to Chinatown for some dim sum all on the agenda. Hellz yes. But...

...before you leave, you must click HERE.
Also, I dare you not to completely melt reading every single one of THESE. (via Peppermint Bliss!)
Here's the reason I will never purchase Barilla pasta again.
So true. SO true.

"Feed Your Football Face" Recipe of the Week: Mini Loaded Potato Footballs*
* brought to you by The Curvy Carrot
Are you SERIOUS!? I mean it doesn't get much easier, or much event-specific-perfect than these mini football-esque treats.

20 small red potatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Toppings:  sour cream, cheese, chives, vegetarian bacon, etc.
Instructions1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, olive oil and salt together until coated thoroughly.
3. Place the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, bake for 20 minutes or until soft.
4. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
5. Once cool enough to touch, cut a small slit in the top of each potato and gently scoop out a small portion of the flesh, discarding it.
6. Top each potato with your desired toppings and serve while still warm.  (*I used a small piping bag fitted with a tiny pastry tip and piped sour cream directly into each potato for simplicity and ease.)
Click HERE for the full recipe post or HERE to pin on Pinterest.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Want to see something amazing!?

Facing south in the 86th St. cavern (where the station will be)
Little known fact - I am an absolute geek for mass transit systems, especially NYC's. I actually love riding the subway each day (save for a few sardine-in-a-can rush hour mornings) and find cruising on a city bus to be a genuinely relaxing way to get around town (such good people watching!) Given this love affair, you can imagine my excitement about the city's current major construction project - the building of a brand spankin' new subway line! Planned and occasionally worked on since 1929 (!) "The Line That Time Forgot" has been a mythical promise to the subway-less east side of Manhattan for decades (even getting mentioned as a real estate perk in this past season of Mad Men!)

This is happening under 86th street... right NOW!
This week, the MTA, led members of the press 160 feet below street level for a tour of portions of the Second Avenue Subway, which led to these amazing photos of the 65-foot-tall cavern that will become the 86th Street station.

What is this? A subway station for ANTS?
The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway is slated to open in December of 2016 with a projected daily ridership of 200,000. These people will all be coming over from NYC's current 4, 5, and 6 trains, which FYI have a daily ridership greater than Chicago and Boston's subways combined!!!

Northbound tunnel between 72nd and 86th (as seen from 86th)
The 96th Street cavern
The total cost of the 8.5-mile 2nd avenue line is expected to be over $17 billion (NYC doesn't mess around). If you want to geek out a little harder, visit THIS great Gothamist article for more pictures and information.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hump Day Distractions

All smiles on Hump Day!
Hellllllo Wednesday!! How are we holding up this week? I'm draggin a bit, but clinging to the glorious, sunny weekend the weatherman is promising is just a few days away (funny how we selectively choose to trust the forecast huh!?). Here to help pass the time are some distractions from around the web. Enjoy!

* This is, indeed, the saddest party foul ever (someone get me a straw!)
* Do you live in the W. Village area of NYC? If so, you should know about THIS.
* Before they were stars... thank goodness George Clooney changed his hairstylist.
* These burgundy beauties are heading right onto my Channuka list.
* Hey ladies! Stop apologizing, always saying yes, body-snarking, holding onto regret and other rotten girlish habits we all should banish!
* Well it's about damn time THIS happened.
* A thought provoking piece on rocking the body you've got.
* Louis CK brilliantly discusses the toxic addiction young people have to smartphones.
* #justintimberlake #jimmyfallon #brilliant #hashtagobsessed 
* If you want it, you might as well ask for it creatively :)
* Now THAT is an apology!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Shakin' things up (in the kitchen)

*chef Meri image not to scale
I love to cook. Even though it often leads to 9pm dinners and the occasional "I'm doing too many things at once" burned broccoli,  I love coming home from work and unwinding by whipping up something delicious for Dr. H and I to eat. Though we have our standard favorites (THIS salad, pasta bolognese, chicken feta burgers from HERE with spinach and orzo...) I'm always looking for ways to vary the menu or use seasonal items. Enter squash and basil. Right now I have something just short of a basil forest growing on my terrace and Saturday's trip to the Union Square farmer's market (LOVE that place) presented squash of all varieties. I decided it was time to go adventuring in spaghetti squash creations and homemade pesto. 

Last night I made the above spaghetti squash deliciousness and it earned 4 thumbs up in my household. Even Dr. H, somewhat wary of the sweetness of squash, loved it. I followed the recipe to a tee (used the microwave for cooking the squash (which saved a bunch of time), but the oven for end of recipe cheese melting) and we each eat ate "1 boat" (since you cut the squash in half, 1 squash yields 2 boats). In the end we were completely stuffed and very pleasantly surprised. 100% repeating this one! 
Full recipe HERE (via the always brilliant; Pinterest HERE

For my next adventure in spaghetti squashing I plan to try out this Mexican style dish, another basic "stuff that thing with awesomeness" recipe which can be made as written here (vegetarian style), or go right ahead and add some ground taco seasoned beef or turkey! Will let you know how it turns out :)
Full recipe HERE (via Caty's corner); Pinterest HERE

Lastly, thanks to a successful first attempt at urban terrace gardening, I've got a thriving basil plant desperate for a good dish. Everyone always says that making your own pesto is just "the easiest thing!" so I'm planning to go for it on Wednesday night. The thing is, every recipe seems to have a slight variation.

Seems easy enough!
2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed) 
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese 
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted 
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or to taste) 
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- juice from half a lemon
- salt & pepper

I know a lot of this is personal preference, but if any of you out there have the the mac daddy of all pesto recipes, I'd love to hear it because when I bust out my (adorable/rarely used) mini food processor for our first homemade pesto party, it's gotta be a winner.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Healthy Habit of the Month IX.

This post is the ninth installment of SeektobeMerry's "Healthy Habit of the Month" series. Sourced from my bff's at Weight Watchers, online articles and my own efforts to keep fit and trim, throughout 2013, I will attempt to integrate one new healthy habit into my life each month. Join me!

How are we doing my fitter, healthier, more productive friends? I am going to come right out with it and confess that this past month was not exactly the definition of health for me. My Jawbone Up band broke (it's been replaced, but those tracker-less weeks were weird!) and lots of travelling rocked healthy habits from my weekly work outs to packing snacks and filling up on fruits and veggies. Don't even get me started on sleep... Thankfully last week I had time to do a bit of a reboot and instead of letting it all go to hell, now I'm feeling empowered to get back to healthy living (with the occasional chili cheese fries of course). Every day is a new day to make good decisions right? And speaking of good decisions...

Health Habit of the Month #9: Drink Up!
Did you know that about 40% of Americans drink less than half of recommended amounts of water each day!? Recently, the First Lady launched a new campaign urging people to make an effort to choose water over sugary and caffeinated drinks and to generally increase their water intake. Though the campaign has received some criticism, most resources out there agree that drinking water is real good for us! Water is credited with maintaining a healthy internal balance (bodily fluids are involved in digestion, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature), aiding with weight control (drink a little more and you'll likely eat a little less!), maintaining high energy levels (water helps replenish muscles) and fresh, healthy looking skin (dehydration leads to drying and cracking). This month, commit to drinking enough water every day ("enough" should be more than a couple glasses - so that you aren't thirsty and your potty trips are "mostly clear") and help make that happen by keeping a favorite water bottle nearby. If it's there, I bet you'll drink it! And if water isn't your favorite, investing in a Sodastream and making your own seltzer is another great way to get the H20 you need! Happy drinking :)

Be sure to check out past "Healthy Habit of the Month" posts here: 
Month 1: Adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal
Month 2: Schedule a workout
Month 3: Find an accountability buddy
Month 4: Keep track (of your movement)
Month 5: Challenge yourself
Month 6: 1 Perfect Week
Month 7: Sleep on it
- Month 8: Pack a Snack

Friday, September 20, 2013

Are you ready for some football (food)?

The sun is shining. The day is Friday. I am happy.
One thing I've noticed (via my obsession with reviewing the Google Analytics for this site... #BlogGeek) is that you guys loooove a good recipe. Given this excitement for eating (you are my people!) it's not surprising that one of the all time most popular posts I've ever had was THIS; because we all know that football food is the tastiest food, in all it's gooey, bite-sized, beer-complimenting glory. SO, given that I live to serve (you and your bellies) I've decided that every Friday for the rest of football season I'm gonna serve up a "Feed Your Football Face" Recipe of the Week. So without further adieu let's kick-off (hehe!) this new Friday tradition!!

"Feed Your Football Face" Recipe of the Week: Jalapeno Popper Dip*
* brought to you by Closet Cooking
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1 (4 ounce) can sliced jalapenos (pickled), drained
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, parmigiano reggiano and jalapenos in a bowl and pour into a baking dish.- Mix the panko bread crumbs and parmigiano reggiano and sprinkle over the dip.- Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.
Tip: Add crumbled bacon for the bacon wrapped jalapeno popper version!

Click HERE for link to recipe (which includes a printer friendly option) 

And because I don't plan* to use these recipe posts as an excuse to not deliver other awesome content on Fridays (*I hereby reserve all rights to use these recipe posts as an excuse to not deliver other awesome content on Fridays, should the need arise #LawyerGeek) please head into the weekend by checking out THIS. "BatDad" is 100% my new hero and truly one awesome dude (be sure to wait for the Vines to fully load and listen to each with sound. It's worth it!) Have a great weekend!!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What's for dinner?

What's cookin?
This post brought to you by the fabulous 

I wish I was the one asking that question instead of answering it - but like many of us who have succumbed to adulthood, we are now in charge of feeding ourselves (and in many cases, one or multiple other people!)

So what to make? I have found that waiting until 5pm to answer that question only results in something like chicken fingers or Bisquick pancakes. Good, but not good, ifyouknowwhatImean.

So some advance planning is required, like (you might want to write this down) if I want to have broccoli with chicken, I have to remember to buy both the broccoli and the chicken when I go to the grocery store. Amazingly, I have managed to not buy that stuff, instead thinking that somehow the fall-colored double stuff Oreos will transform into the nutritious, balanced dinner my body needs in order to function (but honestly, we all need fall-colored double stuff Oreos to be productive human beings).

I've recently started working on getting to a higher level of planning, like, figuring out what to make each day of week - before 5pm on that actual day! I did a meal plan on Sunday (so, literally recently) and I'm feeling pretty good about it. Now, I'm not going to go out and buy a chalkboard day-of-the-week calendar to hang in my kitchen with "what's cookin good-lookin" scrolled across the top...but maybe a girl can dream.

We're all in this dinner-cooking-thing together - so I'll tell you my favorite go-to recipes if you tell me yours!

* whole grain pasta with ground turkey meat sauce and peas
* chicken sautéed with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic, with brown rice or couscous and green beans
* slow cooker shredded BBQ chicken (did you know they sell bag liners for slow cookers? total life-changer...)
* chicken or beef fried rice
* meatballs (beef or turkey)
* noodles with peanut sauce and chicken or beef (recipe)
* white chili (I've adapted this recipe in the past) 
* a slightly adapted version of this recipe for mustard-tarragon chicken 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hump Day Distractions

Did ya catch that?
Hello crisp fall Wednesday, thank you for reminding me that this is a time of year when no matter how I get dressed in the morning, I will be either too hot or too cold, always in search of Goldilocks' elusive "just right". (Am I the only one that finds getting dressed in early fall and early spring impossible!?) While I attempt to shed layers and regulate my temperature, here are some delightful distractions from around the web for you. Enjoy!

* Completely unnecessary yet totally freaking awesome.
* A truly hysterical voicemail (gets especially good starting at :45)
* Some super handy info about storing your fruits and veggies for maximum freshness.
* I'm totally dating myself with this link, but you know you'd have followed Cher (from Clueless) on Instagram!
* The nature girl in me says "I want to go to THERE".
* You know what's torture on day 3 of a juice cleanse? THIS mac cheese insanity spotted on Pinterest (direct link HERE) I'm so ready for my return to solids:)
* For those of you with a black tie affair coming up and $7,000 to spare. So glam.
* These two are pretty freakin adorable together
* Yes, yes I desperately want to know the back story behind each of THESE.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

For the Kiddos

Tiny & Sweet
It's been a while since my last "For the Kiddos" post (HERE), so I'm excited to share some of the latest awesome, adorable and miniature(!) goodies I've collected around the web!! From clothing and gifts for new mamas to nursery decor, here's a merry meri dose of kiddo excellence for you.

Rock the ridiculous leggings
With cooler temps comes a chance to rock some of the coolest leggings! We adults may not be able to get away with mustached legs or rows of animals, but our favorite little ones certainly can. Check out the awesome mustache pair above from Seed Heritage HERE and find the adorable animal print (and so many other hipster baby prints like THIS and adorable apparel items like THIS) from Fable Baby HERE

Nothing cuter than babies in bathrobes
Perfect as a gift (totally unisex!) or for the little cutie you get to share bath time with each night, this hippo robe is sure to be a hit every time it gets put on. Super affordable via, get your Hippo HERE, or the equally adorable shark HERE.

Beary good breakfast idea!
So simple. So freaking cute.

Makes saying goodbye more fun!!
Never met a little kid that didn't love a silly rhyme.

I can't think of a better way to kid-ify a room than with wall decals. Quirky, cute and completely not permanent, you can indulge your daughter's love of pink hearts or your son's obsession with space ships without worrying about the cost of re-doing the room when they grow out of it. Check out the awesome collection from Ferm Living HERE (I'd even consider those dots and triangles for quirky adult decor!)

Simple & Sweet.
And since it can't all be about the bambinos, how about this beautiful bracelet for mom? A recent awesome Etsy find, shopLUCA will personalize each bracelet in tiny font with the new baby's name and birth date. Dainty and sweet, these bracelets are the perfect way to add some pretty to a new mom's day and remind her of her bundle of joy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall into a few new things...

Killer fall look
Yesterday Mom, Sis and I ventured to the Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, Long Island. 5.5 hours and 1 entire trunk full of purchases later (we don't mess around!) I think I am ready to talk Fall 2013 fashion (click HERE for Fall 2012). Just like last year, I'll try to focus on balancing the "need it now" with "use it always" and even have a few "on a budget" suggestions for your shopping enjoyment!

* Chambray & Plaid (the more the better)
90s chic
Are you ready to regret everything you threw out after 1999? Denim shirts ("chambray") and plaid flannels appear to be back with avengeance and everything I've seen in magazines and stores indicates that all combinations (tucked in and under a blazer for work!?) and colors (are we really doing denim on denim!?) are fair game. It looks like every store under the sun is carrying these fall staples (from Forever 21 to Gap and Bloomingdales) so you shouldn't have any problem finding one at your preferred price point.

* Colored Jeans (the "fall palette")
I am absolutely thrilled to see the trend of colored pants continuing to rock retail and for this fall it seems that "fall shades" like burgundy, mustard, and evergreen are all the rage. A nice update from mint green and bold blue, these rich, almost regal colors can be professional or Sunday brunch fresh. It's also great that every "basic" color from grey, black and white to brown, peach or navy all serve as a perfect "up top" compliment. 
Budget Suggestions: Ann Taylor Loft, H&M
Splurge(ish): J Crew, NYMJ 

* Ankle Booties surprise find!
Even though ankle height booties have been fashionable for some time, this season they (along with fyi, the "opposite end of the spectrum" above the knee boots) seem particularly popular for fall (must be all those colorful skinny jeans). Though I'd resisted the trend in the past for fear of having stumpy-cut-at-the-ankle legs, I tried on the cute pair above and had an immediate change of heart. Whether in classic black or brown or a more adventurous print or suede, invest in some ankle booties and never worry about thick calves not fitting in boots again!
Budget Suggestions: American Eagle, Aldo, Forever 21, Payless
Splurge: everywhere else!

* Leather anything
Last month when I splurged on a faux leather cocktail dress, I should have seen the trend coming, but now that fall is here, there's no denying that leather everything is a trend of the moment. Whether full apparel pieces (like pants or dresses) or as accents (like pockets or stripes), leather or faux will take you from fall all the way through winter in style.
Budget Suggestions: H&M, TopShop, Forever 21
Splurge: Michael Kors, Anthropologie, Vince

* Sticking around: Back from seasons past and still going strong are Peter Pan collars,  leggings as pants and classic trench coats. Also still seeing a lot of overalls (blllegh) and polka dots (yay!)

And if you'd like to check out what the pros are saying is hot for fall, click HERE and HERE

Friday, September 13, 2013

Back on track!

Sounds about right...
Do you ever find yourself in a mental place where you can just feel that change is on the horizon? There's been something of a slow build for Dr. H and I lately, tons of moving parts, aspirations, travel and juggling and I just have this sense that the winds of change are set to start blowin... I wonder? Oh fall, you are so transitional and contemplative!!!

Anywaysss, since I've been a bit distant from you all lately, I thought I'd take today to catch you up on some very important things:
1) I made a haircut appointment for the end of this month and I'm planning to go for something kinda like THIS cut in THESE colors (no pink this time!). Or do I get brave and chop straight to THIS!?
2) I have been the worstest healthy habit keeper on the planet. I don't think I've made my own lunch in like 2 weeks and I'm not doing much better when it comes to dinner. Time to get back to the basics am I right? Looking forward to cooking THIS and THIS soon.
3) From Pinterest, to the website, coming soon to my closet (all on my phone!) I'm envisioning it with army green skinny jeans and ankle booties.
4) Just how "off" are things? There's been no toilet paper or paper towels in my apartment for the past 24 hours. Let's just say it was a tissue-ful morning for me and the Mister.
5) I think you need to stop everything you're doing and make THESE right now.
6) Today is Friday the 13th!!! Be careful out there my friends!!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Oh brother!!!
... this week I'm really struggling to juggle real life with blog life. Something had to give. I hope these laughter inducing pictures will convince you to forgive me.

I knew it!

need some SPACE. HAA!!!


Taco humor

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today we pause...

NYCity I love.

We reflect, pay tribute and resolve to be a force for good, never evil, in this world.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Sultry for September
As seems to be "the way of things" on Pinterest, with the shift from summer to fall has come a deluge of new outfit images filled with this season's trends and gorgeous (see also: unaffordable) designer pieces. But even when the look is outside my budget...

Loeffler Randall Quinnie
 $295 via Zappos Couture

Burberry leather trim blanket wrap jacket
Price unknown (never a good sign)
I still allow myself to lust after the items...
Freda Salvador - $365

Sweater, sunnies, purse. I want it all.
I mean, how else am I going to find us the best off-brand copies!? When I find them, I will share.... (after I've purchased my own of course:) 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Frozen in motion.

Helllllllo Monday! How's it going out there!? Sorry for crapping out early on you last week, but I've been doing a crazy-pants (official terminology) amount of moving around lately. With all the time I've spent in motion on planes, trains and automobiles the past few days, I found it amusingly ironic that I stumbled upon these amazing images last week. A combination of two deep loves, photography and dance, these stunning pictures take the quickest of movements and freeze them for our viewing pleasure. 

If you ask me... they're pretty freaking awesome.

Check out more from the incredibly talented Jordan Matter HERE and I'll do my best to freeze in motion and share some good stuff with you again tomorrow!!