These were the types of shenanigans that were occurring in my kitchen Sunday afternoon after a splendid day in Central Park.
We had such a blissful relaxing day that I wanted to keep the relaxed mood going. I fancy myself a martini kind of gal but every now and then I like to change things up and go a little tropical. As my husband watched baseball, I meandered into the kitchen, took out the blender, and proceeded to blend together a few things that I luckily had in my refrigerator , bar and pantry. I threw in some bananas, some pineapple, some mango nectar, some Bacardi Rum, ice, and some homemade sour mix.
It was delightful…a little island hop if you will. This is adapted from The Barefoot Contessa’s Mango Daiquiri recipe. She uses fresh mangoes (..of course she does). My little concoction uses mango nectar (which you can find in most grocery stores) and fresh pieces of pineapple. While I would like to be as perfect as Ina Garten, I worked with what I had and Jeffrey…er…my husband was very pleased.
Mango Pineapple Banana Daiquiris
My freezer has been seducing me for the last couple of days. Every night it beckons me: Ciao Bella, Hello Beautiful and I willingly succumb to its advances. Who can resist being called beautiful, right? When I open the freezer door I’m met with the happiest, most colorful pint of pure decadence – Ciao Bella Gelato and Sorbets.
I had been meaning to try this brand of gelato’s and sorbets for quite some time, so when I saw a sale in the Sunday circular, I sent my husband to the supermarket to “Scoop” some up (yes, I know- pun intended). I knew I definitely wanted to try the Blood Orange sorbet because I’ve found blood orange anything to be absolutely amazing. (Years ago when I lived in Italy I used to drink the freshest blood orange juice for breakfast and the memory still brings tears of pure joy to my eyes). I let my husband choose the other flavor (because the key to a happy marriage is compromise – of course) and he decided on the Pistachio gelato. We had the best of both worlds: a refreshing sorbet of Sicilian Blood Orange and a creamy gelato with salted Pistachios to really sweep us off our feet.
While I have traditionalist tendencies – who can resist some good ‘ol chocolate and vanilla ice cream – I love taking my tastebuds to another level with “out of the box” flavors. The Ciao Bella brand of gelato’s and sorbets have an assortment of creative flavor to choose from and they do not disappoint in quality. I’ve just perused their website and Chocolate Jalapeño, Belgian Chocolate and Peaches & Cream are next on my must try flavor list–Yum! Check out their blog as well for some really creative recipes to incorporate their gelato’s and sorbets into cocktails and smoothies.
Ciao Bella, Hello Beautiful
Ciao Bella's Pistachio Gelato and Blood Orange Sorbet
I had a wonderful weekend. My weekend schedule did not have an appointment or commitment in sight. It was simply LOVELY. Don’t get me wrong-it’s nice to have plans. It’s great to have weekends filled with activities with families and friends, but sometimes it’s also nice to have nothing to do – to have the weekend all to yourself. Don’t you just love those weekends?!
This past weekend the husband and I decided to venture out of our downtown area to the Upper East Side – Upper Madison Ave to be exact.. I’ve been living in downtown New York since my college days. Downtown is great but sometimes I forget that there is so much I love about this city that doesn’t reside in my 5 block radius. Despite the energy in this city, it’s actually quite easy to get stuck in one’s neighborhood . Sometimes I forget that in mere minutes, via bus, taxi, or subway, I can be discovering the charms of another neighborhood. The Upper East Side has amazing stores (in my case – amazing store windows to press your nose against and dream about) but aside from the stores it also has amazing architecture. We took the bus all the way uptown and then walked all the way back downtown. Taking a bus Uptown is a great way to have a “sneak preview” of what you’ll be sightseeing on your way back Downtown. We walked, we window shopped and we enjoyed a great FREE Picasso exhibit at The Gagosian Gallery. We capped it off with a lovely lunch by the fountain in front of The Plaza. I took the time to enjoy it and take it all in, and really…I loved every single minute of it. Whether you live in New York City, another big city OR any small town, it’s important to venture out of your “comfort zone” and appreciate your surroundings. You’ll be surprised at what it teaches you. My weekend neighborhood jaunt confirmed that I’m not quite ready to leave this city just yet… there is still so much to do, see, and discover.
Yep, I love NY too!
Idyllic Side Street just off of Madison Ave
Window shopping on Madison
New York City Architectural Beauty
It has been no secret that I am on the quest for beautiful “like butter” skin. (You’ll recall one of my issues here). As a teen, I was (thankfully) able to avoid the dreaded bout of acne that plagues high schoolers around the world. Remember the early 90′s jingle “Your Face Belongs to Noxema”-well mine didn’t. I was lucky. I didn’t need any of those face washes, cream or acne medication. Then somewhere around my late 20′s the universe decided to get even with me and settle the score. Between adult acne, dark spots, and the ever popular, of the moment , contact dermatitis (usually in the cheek area and caused from keeping your face/cheek pressed against your cellphone), I am in a constant battle with my face.
While I L-O-V-E beauty products and am willing to try it all, I’m not looking to spend a fortune for my daily cleansing routine. When I saw a print ad in one of the beauty magazines for a brand of skincare called SIMPLE I was highly intrigued. Quite frankly all I really want out of my facial cleansing routine is simplicity and this ad drew me in. The simplicity of the name, the simplicity of the colors, the simplicity of the product packaging were…you guessed it..Simple. But this was not simple in a boring, vanilla kind of way. This was simple in an every woman kind of way: affordable and available to the masses. My mind was made up. I had to try it…and try it I did.
Simple Skincare's Smoothing Scrub and Night Cream
I started out with the night cream which left my face feeling dewy and plump. I like dewy and plump…it makes me feel like I’m 19 again (sigh). Since it was a night cream I applied sparingly on my face before Read more →
I’m obsessed with candles, particularly scented ones. They add a touch of elegance and ambience to any room and are also great for creating a relaxing environment. I tend to gravitate towards clean and citrusy scents but I also find that my attraction to a scent usually has to do with the mood I’m in.
I recently became obsessed with two intoxicating candle scents that I just had to share with you. The first is one that I had contemplated buying for months. I finally bit the bullet and purchased it this past weekend. Williams-Sonoma’s English Cucumber candle is a clean fresh scent perfect for this time of year. The smell is light but an instant pick me up! I actually have it burning now and I feel, well…as cool as a cucumber. I’m dying to get this entire English Cucumber set–I’m talking the hand soap, lotion, dish soap and diffuser but for now I’m thoroughly enjoying the candle, which by the by is on sale!
Williams-Sonoma English Cucumber Candle
English Cucumber candle from Williams-Sonoma
I stumbled upon my next scented candle obsession while enjoying a morning spa treatment at the Setai Club and Spa down in the Wall Street area. (I highly recommend this spa for a day of personal pampering). Upon arriving and changing into my spa robe and comfy slippers (best darn slippers I must say) I was taken to the relaxation room. The relaxation room was a darkly lit room with tranquil spa music, appetizers and books. I’m not what you would call a “Zen” person (the urban jungle will do that to you). I rarely find time to relax and enjoy pure solitude and even when I do, my mind is always at a level 1000. But with my cell phone in the locker room and with really no other option in sight, I decided to close my eyes, take in the moment and R-E-L-A-X. Mission accomplished. It was lovely and it was made even lovelier by the most soothing and pleasurable aroma wafting throughout the spa. When I was finally taken to my treatment room I couldn’t help but ask the spa attendee the name of the candle and she told me it was Read more →
Despite the hot summer temps we’ve experienced here in NYC the last few days, it is actually still Spring and thus still completely okay for me to begin my Spring cleaning. Scrubbing, sweeping, dusting and organizing my home allows me to focus more clearly on my personal and professional goals. When my apartment is in disarray I feel like my life is in disarray, so around this time of year I like to regroup and de-clutter.
I once heard someone say (and it was probably some organizational guru on Oprah) that the key to organization is to “Have a place for everything and everything in its place.” The minute I start to accumulate stuff I repeat that motto over and over in my head and it really does work. In a small NYC apartment it’s hard to stay clutter free. Over the course of the almost 6 years that my husband and I have been married and living in our in our NYC abode (our anniversary is next week!) I’ve accumulated a lot of things that I can’t and don’t want to give up or put in storage (Storage being mom and dad’s basement of course). As a result, I’m going to make a concerted effort to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place. I’m not going to lie, the limited apartment space is a bummer, but I’m hoping to find a way to keep everything tidy and organized. Below are 3 things helping me in this process. These are simple and inexpensive things but they make me feel good about this de-cluttering process of my life. Hope these can work for you too and any organization tips that you may have are always welcome!
Look good while you Clean: Okay, okay so i’m not advocating cleaning in your Sunday best, but something as simple as these bright and fun cleaning gloves make scrubbing tiles a little more bearable.
Shoe Boxes: I’ve always wanted to be that girl that had a perfectly maintained closet ( think Cher Horowitz’s closet from Clueless). I know in my current place it will NEVER happen. The size and setup of the closet will just not allow it. In order to alleviate this problem somewhat, I purchased clear shoe boxes from The Container Store. You don’t know how many times I walked right past these thinking it was just not worth it but then my husband suggested I try it and I caved. I can’t tell you how great it looks. Having the same clear boxes uniformly lined up just makes my shoe shelf look polished! You can purchase a set of 20 clear boxes for $34. I plan on taking photos of my shoes and attaching them to each box to make it even more pristine!
Clear Storage Boxes from The Container Store
Recycling Magazines: This is probably my biggest clutter problem but also the one I am most proud of when I finally get to cleaning. I love magazines–plain and simple. Long before there was Pinterest and even to this day, I still can’t resist a good old fashion magazine tear or an “I’m going to try this” dog eared page. But I clearly have a problem with letting go of my mags. Before I do a massive purge I always have to be very honest with myself and accept the fact that I will not read every magazine article. I will not make every recipe. I will not try every product shown. I just don’t have the time. So if a magazine is more than 6 months old (cut me some slack–it used to be a year) it’s going to be recycled.
So long old friends