Friday, January 31

fun things

The theme of this week has unintentionally been "reviews" and "lists of things" so I thought today, maybe we would change things up a bit. Here are some things that made me laugh this week. (Another list! Yay!)

The most fun weather forecast, brought to you by a shiba inu with bad grammar.
It's so cute and funny that you almost forget that Minnesota was cancelled on Monday.
And finally, Jimmy Fallon got sung to sleep, Full House style.
I'll admit it, this is a weird post, but it's Friday and after a long week a little laughter couldn't hurt.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 30

movies i liked better the second time around

Sure, New York is beautiful in the snow, but the thought of that icy wind coming off of the river is enough to make you want to stay inside until spring. Since this winter has been much colder than usual, JD and I have done a lot more warm and cozy indoor movie watching in our downtime.

Earlier this week we settled in to watch "The Bachelorette" starring Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst, and Isla Fisher. I had seen the movie before, more than once. JD had not. It's a darker comedy. I didn't laugh at all the first time around, but there was something that made me keep me thinking about it. So I watched it again and found it hilarious. That got me thinking about other, similar movies that I didn't like so much upon first viewing. By the way, JD said it was funny.

And so I present to you...

Five Movies I Liked Better the Second Time Around.


Bachelorette tells the story of a three high school friends leading up to the wedding of a forth that I'm not all too convinced they like very much. Upon first glance, the characters are unlikable, mean girls out for themselves and devastated that their less attractive friend has made it to the alter before them. You most likely have encountered these girls in your life. Over the course a drunken, drug fueled evening it is revealed that they actually do care about things other than themselves. The dialogue is hilarious, as well as their antics. 

Having seen this film a couple of times now, I really do like it, and would recommend giving it a second chance, or a regular old first chance if you haven't seen it. Just beware, it's dark.

Friends With Kids

The story of two single best friends who decide to have a child together so they can avoid all of the messy things that come with marriage and relationships. Their friends disapprove, but it works out fairly well for a little while. In the meantime their friends struggle in their marriages. Then the inevitable happens, one falls for the other and things get messy. 

The first time I watched this movie I hated it. It wasn't what I was expecting. The trailer made it look much less sad and it was disappointing to see Kristen Wiig play such a sad character. After talking with JD I decided to give it a second chance and found it much more entertaining the second time around. It is by no means a happy, feel good movie, but it was funnier than I remembered. 

This is 40

The "sort of sequel to Knocked Up" picks up a few years down the road for Debbie and Pete and their family. Things aren't perfect, they're struggling to keep it all together, and they're turning 40, which no one is particularly thrilled about. 

I initially thought this movie was just depressing, and still do. It was like watching a sad reality play out. Things got worse without getting better, there was no magic "everything is fixed and can be perfect again" moment. I didn't plan to watch it a second time, but it was on one day when I was flipping through channels and I got sucked in. I even laughed a few times. 

Save the Date

Save the Date tells the story of Sarah, a girl with some complicated intimacy issues. After turning down her boyfriend's marriage proposal she moves into a new apartment and begins dating a guy she met at the bookstore she works at. Things get serious quickly, complications arise, and Sarah is left sort out her life.

I really liked this film the first time, but didn't realize it was meant to be a comedy until I watched it again, which was mostly to try and figure out the ambiguous ending. I just wanted to know what happened, and I did get my answer, but I won't spoil it for you. Yes, this movie is a little dark, slow, and sad, but it's worth watching at least once. 

Drinking Buddies

Kate and Luke are both in relationships with other people. Their friendship is flirty, which makes for a lot of awkward and uncomfortable moments. Are they, or aren't they? And what about their real relationships? Things get messy and complicated as is to be expected. 

I liked a lot of things about this movie, in particular, that fact the script was mostly improvised, the cast, and the story. I just needed to take a step back to enjoy the humor, where as JD thought it was funny all along. 

What do you think? What movies did you need to give a second chance?

Wednesday, January 29

currently loving, beauty edition

Absolutely no one asks me what kind of makeup I wear, mostly because I hardly ever post photos of myself. But I do in fact have a face, and enjoy makeup. I'm working on taking more photos of myself. I realize that is important in blogland, having actual photos of yourself without sunglasses on your blog so that people can put a face to your name, I just usually prefer to be on the other end of the camera. Anyway, here are some of my current favorite beauty products.

1. Kiehl's Rosa Arctica Lightweight Cream 
2. Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado 
3. NARS blush in "mata hari"  
4. NARS bronzer in "laguna" 

I have been using these two moisturizers from Kiehl's for over a year and love them. The face cream is light enough to use year round but really does an excellent job at prevent my skin from drying out in the cold. And the eye cream is just wonderful at brightening and eliminating puffiness.

Lately I have been obsessed with NARS blush in "mata hari". It looks really bright in the compact but is much more subtle on. It's one of those colors that you can build on if you like a more dramatic look. The "laguna" bronzer has been a year round staple in my makeup bag for what feels like forever. What I love most about it is that it suits my skin tone with a bit of a tan in the summer and when I match the snow in the winter.

5. NARS eyeliner in "carpates"
6. Tarte Gifted mascara 
7. Chantecaille Lip Chic in "geranium" 
8. Rosebud Perfume Co. Rosebud Salve

Again with NARS, I really love their products. I'm horrible at applying liquid eyeliner but love the look. This pen makes it so easy to apply and control the thickness. It's a dream. 

This Tarte mascara has been my go to since I first discovered it years ago. It doesn't dry out my lashes and never flakes.

I just love Chantecaille's Lip Chic. It smells so wonderful and keeps lips moisturized. 

Rosebud Salve has been a lifesaver. I primarily use it on my lips but it's great on cuticles as well. 

9. Kèrastase Elixir Ultime 
10. Miss Jessie's Detangling Comb 

Since making the decision to keep my hair long, I have made a conscious effort to take the best care of it possible. I now understand why Kèrastase's Elixir Ultime is referred to as "liquid gold". It has made my hair so much more manageable and less frizzy, even on humid or rainy days. It is expensive, but does last a long time and if you have them, you can use your birch box points to save a few dollars, which is what I try to do. 

A wide tooth comb (any one will do) has been equally as helpful for me in preventing breakage and hair loss in the wet hair detangling process. I don't know how, but my hair manages to get massive, seemingly indestructible knots and I was getting frustrated with my hair breaking off as I tried to sort it out. Carefully using a wide tooth comb has made a world of difference. 

And that's it! What are your favorite beauty products?

Monday, January 27

life after life

A while back, over the summer I believe, I came across a book called "Life After Life", written by Kate Atkinson. I read the description in the New York Times and was immediately drawn in. I found the idea of the main character being reborn again and again captivating and was very curious to see how it would all play out.

The story is told in pieces. The life of Ursula Todd begins and ends, then begins again, and again, and so on. While some of Ursula's lives are very similar, others go in completely different directions, each of them equally believable. Without spoiling anything, the resolution is stated clearly, Ursula must prevent certain events from happening, but it takes her a long time to understand what exactly that means and what must be done. 

Now I'd advise you not to read any further if you don't want the book spoiled.

There are a lot of little things throughout the book that Ursula must change, some take more effort than others. Birth and the Spanish Flu proved to be major challenges. A few lives in she begins to remember her past ones, and it is hinted at that her Aunt Izzie also remembers being reborn again and again, though it's never said. I don't know about you, but I spent most of the book thinking that the baby Izzie gave up was going to be Hitler. But that wasn't what the story really was about, was it? I think it was about preserving her family, her favorite brother, Teddy. Though, the ending would have you believe it could be something else, with Sylvie pulling out the surgical scissors and saying "practice makes perfect".

This book had a lot going on, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, though parts were very sad, that's life.

Have you read the book? If so, what did you think?

Friday, January 24

tortola, part two

Tortola, the iPhone edition, because after this week, I (and most likely anyone in the northeastern US) could use a little warmth. Please forgive any repeats you may have previously seen on instagram. 
 View from the villa on Apple Bay.
 A rainbow!
 A pre-dinner "selfie", if you will. I still don't approve of that word.
Dinner on the water.
On Apple Bay.
 More Apple Bay, at sunset.
 The Baths at Virgin Gorda.

This year we made an effort to visit Virgin Gorda for a longer period of time. A couple of years ago we took a ferry over and spent part of the day. Last year we only visited for an hour by boat, which wasn't enough time to thoroughly explore the caves and walk to a further beach. This year, JD and I planned a day trip, though we found the island in a much different state than previous years. Two cruise ships were docked at the port, resulting in a long, slow moving line that snaked down to the beach. If the line was that long, we couldn't imagine what the tiny strip of sand at the bottom must look like. So at 11:30am we sat at the restaurant at the top of the hill and ordered lunch first, which was a lucky thing to do because not long after we placed our order the restaurant filled to brim with cruisers. My cousin, Alex, joked that the island should be called only Gorda now that it was so crowded. After lunch we took a longer, back route to Devil's Bay and set up on a rock in an empty area and enjoyed the afternoon.

On a side note, I think this post has more photos of myself than all other posts combined.

Enjoy your Friday, and your weekend, and thank you for reading!

Wednesday, January 22

chocolate espresso pots de creme

I know, I know. I said I have been trying to eat healthier and now my second recipe of the year can be filed under chocolatey desserts. This one however, is a tiny little treat, made to fit in an espresso cup. The moment I saw this recipe I thought of JD and it was tacked onto my list. That boy has a sweet tooth, and a love of espresso. 

This recipe is adapted from Coastal Living. Shopping for quality chocolate in Manhattan can get expensive very quickly and after much trial and error with truffles and tarts, we have come to prefer Ghiradelli chocolate for kitchen experiments. The recipe called for bittersweet chocolate, but the grocery store only had semisweet, so that is what I used. 

3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
8 ounces of semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or chips
1 .7 - .11 ounce packet of instant coffee

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and sugar over medium-low heat until hot.

In a bowl, separate eggs and whisk yolks together until smooth.

Once the milk, cream, sugar mixture is hot, gradually whisk about half a cup of  it into the bowl with the yolks. Then slowly whisk the egg mixture into the milk, cream, sugar mixture. 

Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly, about ten minutes.

Add chocolate and coffee and stir until smooth.

Pour into little espresso cups or bowls and refrigerate for two hours, or overnight before serving.

Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans if you like!

Tuesday, January 21

black and wine

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Black on black seems to be the outfit of choice of just about everyone in Manhattan during the winter. When the weather gets cold, it's all you see. Don't get me wrong, everyone looks very stylish, but it can get a bit boring after a while. I fall victim to it myself. My outfit yesterday consisted of a dark gray top with black pants and boots, very monochrome. In efforts to keep myself from looking like a black and white photograph, I like to add a little color every now and then. 

Lately I have been seeing plaid coats everywhere, I even have a red and black on myself now, thank you JD! I think they're so interesting and different. I love this Zara toggle coat, it may be a little hard to tell, but that coat is actually blue and green plaid with faux leather sleeves. I would pair it with this lovely wine colored top from Madewell, black jeans, and white Converse, a nice contrast from an otherwise dark ensemble. 

I can't help it. Cold weather = dark wardrobe. 

Monday, January 20

sunday afternoon

Yesterday afternoon we set out for brunch and a haircut. The haircut was for JD, not me. I desperately need a trim and will happily share that little bit of information, but will continue to chicken out until the end of time, or at least until I find a hairdresser that understands units of measurement. I've had my fair share of bad experiences in the salon chair, most recently a quarter of an inch that turned into three. Right, so we went to brunch at Elephant and Castle, an old favorite spot of ours, there is just something about a bowl of hot chocolate on a cold winter day, and then JD got a haircut. After said haircut we wandered over to Union Square and then up to the Neue Galerie  We had been meaning to get up there for such a long time and yesterday seemed like the perfect day to take in a little German and Austrian art, and desserts. 

Our main draw to the Neue Galerie was the wonderful little cafe, Cafe Sabarksy, filled with Austrian and German pastries and cuisine. Of course, we enjoyed the art as well, and the architecture, what a beautiful building it's located in. JD and I shared a table with another couple and ordered chocolatey desserts and coffee.  I highly recommend paying a visit should you find yourself in the area. 
the rehruecken
Afterwards, we walked across Central Park as the sun set and hoped on a train back downtown. 

Friday, January 17

friday things

It's a three day weekend, this one and I am personally, very excited to get to spend an extra full day with JD. We've both been so busy since returning from Tortola, and though we're here, it feels like we haven't spent much time in the city, doing fun city things like going to brunch. We were however woken up at 4am last night by the poltergeist upstairs. I believe they had a herd of elephants over for some bowling. Fun city things.

Speaking of fun things.. I came across this way back sometime last week, and laughed a little too long, so since it's Friday, I decided to share.
Thanks for reading and enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, January 16

cucumber yogurt sauce

Lately I have been making a conscious effort to change my diet and eat more healthy, whole foods.  It can be difficult to find the time to cook, or the will to after a long day. Keeping healthy options around acts as a good deterrent and helps me stay on track. I usually eat pretty well and try to avoid processed foods as much as I can, but I do have a sandwich addiction and share far more desserts than dinners on this blog. So instead of a recipe for some kind of chocolatey dessert, today I'm sharing a simple and easy recipe for my favorite part of a falafel, the cucumber yogurt sauce! It makes a great snack, paired with carrots, celery, and/or crackers, and even an alternative to salad dressing (over grilled chicken and arugula). 

This recipe is an adaption of one that Mary Helen Bowers shares in her wonderful book, Ballet Beautiful, and your standard tzatziki sauce.

1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro or herbs of your choice*

Measure out yogurt and place in a bowl.
Finely chop the cucumber, garlic, and fresh herbs and add to bowl with yogurt.
Add lemon juice and stir until filled mixed.
Add salt to taste.

*I love cilantro, so I use when I make this dip. A lot of people don't, so please feel free to use whatever herbs you like best!

Wednesday, January 15

tortola, part one

I've been putting off going through my pictures from Tortola. Every time I open the folder and begin to scroll through and then I just don't want to. I'd much rather be back there, sitting on the beach, soaking up the salt water and sun. 

This year, I made a conscious effort to take "different photographs" since we visit the same beaches and do the same things each year. Who wants to see the same pictures year after year? I imagine anyone's reaction to viewing them as, "Oh look, there's that rock again... wonderful", followed by snoring. As a result, we took far fewer photographs than usual.

This is part one, the "real camera" edition, featuring views from the villa, a giant lizard, behind the scenes footage of the Tortola video, and a Smuggler's beach chicken.
 We were wondering why those dogs were barking like madmen, then we noticed the giant lizard.
New Years Eve dinner accessories. 
 Behind the scenes footage.

Part two, the iPhone edition, coming soon.