Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flannel & Pancakes

It seems early to me, but we're already starting to feel a tiny bit of fall in the air here in New York. Fall is absolutely my favorite season, so I'm getting giddy as the temperatures cool off enough to need a cardigan in the evenings.


My friend Shannen shot an engagement session earlier this year that feels just like the weather is starting to—a little autumnal, but with the golden glow of lingering summer. Plus, it sounds like such a dreamy day. They took a road trip out to the bride's family lake house, then woke up early to eat pancakes and listen to Bon Iver on the dock. Perfect, right?




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pretty Irene

A short, pretty video of Tropical Storm Irene hitting a deserted Manhattan. If you need inspiration to make a batch of hurricane cookies.

Irene NYC from Buffalo Picture House on Vimeo.

Hurricane Cookies


When faced with the possibility of a hurricane hitting your beloved city and potentially knocking out power to your refrigerator, it would probably be prudent to cook or bake something that makes use of the food that would spoil if the power goes out. Instead, I made cookies. True, I used up some butter and eggs, but the rest of the ingredients would have weathered the storm just fine. The chocolate especially.

But, having never experienced a hurricane before, I thought more about Hollywood-inspired images of hurricanes and tornados. In the imaginary hurricane in my head, bits and pieces of Manhattan would be swirling past my window. So, I made cookies with lots of bits and pieces of chocolate, pretzels, and candy bars.


Serve on the stack of movies you plan to watch while cooped up for two days, with a glass of the milk you should probably drink before you lose power.

Monday, August 29, 2011

(A Sleepover) Weekend in Pictures

{pre-hurricane swinging in central park}

{i hope josie & cliffy weathered the storm}

Picnik collage
{"this irene character's got a lot of nerve"}

{the city turned most of the garbage cans upside down}

{rhett & scarlett, candles, toilet paper}

{run-of-the-mill rainstorm aftermath}

{downed tree on the upper west side}

{inappropriate footwear}

A weekend spent hunkering down for the hurricane that wasn't. My neighborhood was under a mandatory (though largely ignored, I think) evacuation order, so I went the "better safe than sorry" route and headed to higher ground for an Upper West Side sleepover with friends. We had flashlights, considerably more candles than necessary, a lot of snacks, and Gone With The Wind. After a rainy stroll through Central Park and lunch at still-open Shake Shack, we battened down the hatches (read: found a comfy spot on the couch).

There was rain and there was wind, but thankfully, Hurricane Irene became Tropical Storm Irene before she reached Manhattan. The week of unusual occurrences ended (an earthquake! evacuation! tornado watch! maybe a hurricane!) with some forced-downtime and not much else. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that. Hope your weekend was lovely and weather-induced-panic-free.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Having A Party

I've had this song stuck in my head all week while writing and planning the posts for Party Week, and I tend to get it stuck in my head on the day of a party. It's sort of apt for today too, as New Yorkers are planning hurricane parties for tonight in anticipation of hunkering down to weather Sunday's anticipated brush with Irene. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Party Week as much as I did! I love thinking about parties.

Have a good weekend, friends. And if you're in the Northeast, be safe and stay dry!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Surprise 29th Birthday Party


Apparently, I have very sneaky friends. While we were making plans to surprise our friend Tracey for her birthday, they were busy planning to surprise me for mine. A whole week before my birthday, so I wouldn't suspect anything! But, worried that I wouldn't love the idea of a true surprise (I'm not much for being the center of attention), they decided to tell me.

The night of the party as I walked to meet some friends for drinks, my roommate texted me, "Have fun at drinks! Please don't be too late for your birthday party in the garden. Starts around 7:30." The friends I was meeting for drinks were in on the whole thing! We drank bourbon-spiked Arnold Palmers, then we went back to my place to the party. It was perfect to be surprised by the fact that I was having a party, instead of by people hiding in a dark room. And oh, what a lovely party it was.


I was greeted by a garden full of my favorite friends and pretty sunflowers. Dinner was grilled hot dogs and burgers, followed by a make-your-own ice cream sandwich bar. I've been so obsessed with ice cream sandwiches this summer! There were snickerdoodles, my roommate's famous chocolate peanut butter cookies, vanilla ice cream, and my favorite coffee bean ice cream from Trader Joe's.



It's sort of impossible to put a candle in an ice cream sandwich, so Bethany held a tea light over my dessert while everyone sang "Happy Birthday." I'm sure my cheeks were bright red.

The funniest part of the night was the photo "booth" they put together. All the props were Liz-inspired, made up of my favorite items of clothing: cardigans and scarves. With the addition of some of my roommate's hats and a fur stole, there was enough in the prop box to make for quite a hilarious photo shoot.

Picnik collage

Picnik collage


At the end of the evening, when the sunflowers had taken up semi-permanent residence in my apartment and some folks had already headed home (it was a Monday night, after all) the last few celebrators stuck around to watch me open my present.


One of the lockets I've been coveting all year! I truly have the best friends. That birthday was so great, I think I'll just stay 29 forever.

Paper Party Hats


One of my favorite bits of party planning is thinking of a few special things to set the party apart from a regular old hang out (since my favorite types of parties are regular old hang outs with a little something extra). My plan was to make homemade party hats for Tracey's dino party as the special something, but the "homemade" part of the equation fell through. I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to create my own template and every hat ended up looking like a dunce cap. Oops!

If only I had seen this cute guide to making three types of paper party hats from Kate Spade. These look so simple!

image via weheartit

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sugar Cookies For A Party


If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll know that my go-to party dessert is usually cake. But it's not always easy to make a cake fit into a theme party, without getting all Aces of Cakes on it. Enter the humble sugar cookie.



Cookie cutters come in all shapes and sizes, making it easy to tailor the dessert to your party's theme. For the dinosaur party last week, my friends and I found some dino cookie cutters at whisk (they were the inspiration for the whole party!). I used my mom's trusted sugar cookie recipe and frosted them in dino-inspired colors. There were blue dinosaurs, right?

Party Budget


In her first post as a blogger with the Real Simple Simply Stated blog, Jordan Ferney shared one of her favorite secrets to planning a great party. You can read it here. But what stuck with me is something she mentioned off-hand, that she and her husband have a column in their monthly budget for parties.

What a great idea! Very practical if you find yourself hosting often or attending gift-giving occasions frequently. But it's even more fun to think about the months where there's less celebrating and you end up with a little bit extra. Would you save it up for a few months and do something big? Or throw a random little get-together, just because? I'm totally adding this into my monthly budget.

image via Jordan Ferney for Oh Happy Day.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dino Surprise Party


How to throw a dinosaur-themed surprise party:

1. Have best friends who like to talk about dinosaurs a lot. In particular, one whose name starts with T, so you can call her t-rex. Make sure she's born within a few days of Jurassic Park being shown on the Intrepid.

2. Plan to surprise her with a small, low-key birthday gathering on the deck of the Intrepid, just before the movie starts.

3. Assemble a bag of party supplies. Disguise it as a bag of movie snacks (after you take a picture of it for your blog). Make sure it includes party hats, noisemakers, dino cookies, dino temporary tattoos, a few dino-themed presents, and flowers, because even a portable party should be pretty.



4. Check the weather report. Assume that a 40% chance of rain is not a serious chance of rain.

5. While in line for the movie, watch lightning rip across the sky. Be informed by the lovely staff of the Intrepid that the ship is one giant lightning rod and the movie is canceled.

6. Do not be discouraged! Move the party indoors. This will involve quickly hailing a cab, returning to your apartment, renting Jurassic Park, and frantically texting/calling the birthday girl to tell her that the party, er, movie has been moved. Frantically text and email her fiance to ensure her arrival.

7. Get your apartment into party mode in record time. Order people around, then apologize. The sky outside will be turning greenish-black, illuminated occasionally by lightning.



8. Confirm that the birthday girl is still coming, despite the greenish-black sky. Wait by the door with a party hat.


9. Surprise her.


10. Make sure everyone has a dino tattoo before the movie begins.



11. Watch Jurassic Park while insane amounts of rain fall outside. Laugh at 1993's version of state-of-the-art technology, scream when the one person in the room who hasn't seen the movie screams, and realize that those dinosaurs are still really, really cool looking.

Party Week!


I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that I totally slacked on pictures of this weekend, so I have no Weekend In Pictures to share (you're heartbroken, I know). But the good news is, I took lots of pictures of a surprise party we threw for a friend on Friday night. And while planning that surprise party, there was apparently another one in the works for Monday night...for me!

So, since I have so many parties to show you, I've decided this week is Party Week on somewhere north. Break out the streamers!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Zombie Engagement Photos

You read that right. An engagement session, with a zombie.

Screen shot 2011-08-17 at 6.16.02 PM

Screen shot 2011-08-17 at 6.16.02 PM

Screen shot 2011-08-17 at 6.16.02 PM

Screen shot 2011-08-17 at 6.16.02 PM

Screen shot 2011-08-17 at 6.16.02 PM

Hilarious! You can bet their wedding will be fun. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when they're showing the kids their wedding album one day... There's more zombie photos to see on Juliana Park and Benjamin Lee's wedding website.

via laughingsquid

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On August

Screen shot 2011-08-17 at 6.16.02 PM

When August rolls around I always end up thinking about this old Slate article about how nothing good ever happens in August. There are no holidays in August, wars have started in August, and Elvis died in August.

Ok, so perhaps it doesn't have the best historical or political track record. In spite of that, August has the happy task of beginning the transition from summer to fall. Some might argue that that happens in September, but I think it's August that is simultaneously full of the last joys of summer and the first glimmers of fall. So, to make use of the last of the year's warm, sunny days, here's what I'm looking forward to for the rest of August.

tomato rainbow

Tomatoes. When I was a kid, my Dad's tomato plants took over our garden every summer. My favorites were the yellow lightbulb-shaped ones that my sister (who called them "tom-a-tah-moes") and I would steal, warmed by the sun, right off the vine, and sneakily pop into our mouths while outside playing.

tomato rainbow

Frozen treats. Not that I don't love a good ice cream cone in winter (I do), but there's something decidedly summer about racing the drip of ice cream down your cone and winning.

tomato rainbow

Summer reading. Some books just have to be read in the summer, preferably outdoors. I've already mentioned my habit of rereading Gatsby in the summer, and I'm told the book I've just started (A Tree Grows In Brooklyn) is prime summer reading material.

tomato rainbow

Eating outside. Picnics, BBQs, park benches, or even the sidewalk. Bugs, schmugs.

tomato rainbow

Last swims. So far I've taking a dip in the ocean, two rivers, and a friend's kiddie pool. I want to do each one once more before my bathing suit gets retired.

Did I miss anything? What are you looking forward to in the final weeks before fall?

Images via: Diary Of A Daydreamerskinnylaminx on flickr, Katie at Simple Bites, Harris Tweed, Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day, and Quin Bisset.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Twitter For Moms

Screen shot 2011-08-16 at 3.16.06 PM

Screen shot 2011-08-16 at 3.08.35 PM

The always amazing Jessica Hische created this awesome and funny guide to explain Twitter to non-users and newbies (like your mom). She explains how tweets work between people you know, people who follow you, and people you don't know at all. And also (something I've always struggled to accurately explain) the many uses of hashtags.

The more you know, right?
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