Life, Lately

I’ve been absent from my blog for almost half of a year now, just as I was getting back into the swing of blogging during all of 2013.  I’ve felt completely void of creativity, tapped out of meaningful (or even just fun) conversation topics, and I’ve been avoiding my own head.

You see, my sister died on the first of February, suddenly and without any warning, and every second of my days since has been eclipsed by the loss.

Some of my long-time readers may remember when I shared about the loss of my brother when I was barely a teenager.  My last phone conversation with my sister was just a week or two prior to her passing when we had our yearly chat/cry over how much we missed our brother on the anniversary of his death.  We also chatted about planning a family trip to Florida, maybe in the spring, so I could spend time with my three little nieces. To say that the grief I am currently feeling is complicated would be an understatement.

Sleep, work, eat, repeat. The daily grind occupies my mind and keeps me busy enough.  It wouldn’t be fair to claim there haven’t been any good times since Morgan’s passing.  I have amazingly supportive family, friends and coworkers.  My spouse and I still travel and enjoy little things like going out to eat.  My friends made sure my birthday this year was extra fun and special. I am very much looking forward to a summer full of weddings and vacations. I get up in the morning and manage to smile, and mean it most of the time.

But it still hurts like hell. Perhaps the worst part of already having lost a sibling a decade and a half ago is the knowledge of the magnitude of the pain that it brings (a fuck load, excuse my language) and how long this hurt will last (forever).  I have to accept these basic facts all over again.  What is the process of grieving really, if not to accept and understand these two truths?

I’m not ready to talk about the circumstances of her death, or truly dive into my feelings here.  I hope that soon I will be able to come back to my little blog and share the day to day pleasantries that I used to.  I hope that you will all continue to be patient with me, visit again soon, and be well in your daily lives. I wish you all nothing but health and happiness.

The Best of the Best of 2013

9946570672aa76dbcc6e897c214e65ae via

As we wind down 2013, we’re all being bombarded with the “Best of”, “Worst of”, and “[Just wish it would go away already]” 2013 lists that always come around this time of year.  Many, however, are at least mildly entertaining, useful, or otherwise worth the read.  Here are a few lists that I’ve deemed the “Best of the Best of 2013″:

Wishing a happy and healthy New Year to you all! I hope you’ll come back to visit in 2014! xo

Cranberry Walnut Cookies

DSC02529 2I spent a very snowy Saturday afternoon baking these white chocolate,  cranberry and walnut cookies for two holiday parties.  My mom often makes a similar recipe this time of year, so there is something about cranberries and white chocolate that always reminds me of Christmas. Walnuts or macadamia nuts (your choice) add the perfect amount of texture and savory to this recipe.  The below recipe yields roughly 2 dozen cookies. I doubled it, and highly recommend baking a larger batch if you can bring them to work or another event, as they go fast!

DSC02511

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts, chopped
  • parchment paper

DSC02500

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until smooth. Add the vanilla and egg, mixing well.

3.  Sift together the flour and baking soda. Spoon the flour mixture gradually into the creamed sugar mixture.

DSC025244.  Stir in the cranberries, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. Drop by heaping spoonfuls, about 2 tablespoons, onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

DSC025265.  Bake until lightly golden on top and the edges are set, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on the sheet about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

6.  Eat and enjoy! If baking ahead of time, be sure to store cookies in an airtight container or bag.

DSC02536

Happy Holiday Baking! xo

*Recipe adapted from Food Network

Weekly Recap: Bring on Christmas

Happy Saturday every lovely body! What are you up to this weekend? Josh and I have casual plans to get our Christmas tree today, celebrate a couple friends’ birthdays tonight in Brooklyn, then see the Magritte exhibit at the MoMA tomorrow with my in-laws.  I hope you all get to enjoy some time with family and friends this weekend!

703817dd5b82c356a0e84fc9d32e2c27Herbin, Auguste (1882-1960) – 1902 The Roofs of Paris in the Snow

Worth checking out:

 

 

My Rent the Runway Review

This past weekend, Josh and I headed to Philadelphia to attend the wedding of one of his close childhood friends.  The invitation noted “black tie invited”  so naturally I seized the opportunity for a bit of dress up! Josh rented a tux, and I debated on buying a gown.  Having heard of Rent the Runway, I went to browse the site for some suitable options as a possible substitute for actually purchasing a full length gown, one that I would probably only wear once (especially if pictures were taken since us girls can only be photographed in something once ;-) )

My first impressions of the site were positive – it allowed me to search dresses based on my size and body type (hour-glass).  Each dress has numerous user reviews that provide their measurements and size worn with pictures, which made it easy for me to gauge whether a dress would work on my body type or not. (Read: If it looked great on a 5’9″ size 2 with 32A boobs, it was probably not the dress for me. On the other hand, 5’3″ and 36D? Now we’re talking…)

Having narrowed down some potentials, and not being able to try anything on immediately, I quickly sent out an email blast to many of my trusted gays and gals to get their opinions on which to order.  Based on their feedback, I was able to decide on the below two:

RTRErin Fetherston / Badgley Mischka

So here’s one of the best things that helps ease your mind a bit about whether the dress will fit or not – you get to choose 2 sizes in your “main” dress, and then the second dress rental is only $40 more instead of the full price (so your package arrives with three dresses total).  Most dresses range in price from about $100 to $500 to rent, and you can rent them for 4 or 8 days.  Because the wedding was over a holiday weekend and the dress could not be shipped over Thanksgiving, I had to do an 8 day rental in order to receive it before the event.  However, the price increase for the longer rental time wasn’t that bad, and I almost felt better getting it a few days prior to the wedding in case I had to make an emergency trip to Bloomingdales for a suitable alternative! Another side note – if none of the dresses fit or work for you, you can put them back in the mail immediately and receive a full refund!

When the dresses arrived, both were perfectly clean and in beautiful condition.  Also, both fit! There was a small debate among the female members of my family on which dress, but we settled on the black Erin Fetherston for a few reasons (1. It was an evening wedding in November so the black was more seasonably appropriate, 2. I didn’t know that many people attending the wedding and didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself, and 3. It was a really stunning black dress – hard to tell from the picture but the lace is almost an iridescent gold and green).

So, here we are, Josh in his tux and Erin in her Erin gown!:

1422404_10101745631986370_1417892238_nQuite the good looking pair, aren’t we?

When finished, I just returned in the provided UPS shipping package that came with the dresses, already paid for! It was a nice and easy return policy, which was much needed after all the travel and hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving week. I will without a doubt be using Rent the Runway again for my next formal event!

Wishing you all a lovely week! xo

**Please note: This post was in no way paid for or promoted by Rent the Runway.  I simply wanted to share my experience, as I had many friends ask me about it afterward!