Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Brunch in Brooklyn

On Monday I gathered with an amazing group of ladies to celebrate our friend before she gets married this Saturday.
Isn't she a doll? She loved the floral crown and told me that she plans on going as Frida Kahlo for Halloween this year.
There was a lot of prep beforehand but there was so much help to get the party ready. A friend of mine had sent me home from Ohio with some coffee from her company and it was incredible. It also provided a much needed boost of caffeine to keep the party going and to give us all some extra energy to help with some wedding crafts. 
I'm so excited to see my friends get married this Saturday and am thankful that we could give my friend a stress free and fun afternoon.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Baking for the Bride-To-Be

I can hardly believe it but I managed to bake three delicious desserts for the bachelorette brunch and amazingly enough they came out perfectly. But you guys - SO. MUCH. BUTTER. Yikes.
Pictured above is a strawberry filled layer cake. I make the layers using a recipe for something called Lightning Cake. The recipe made a cake that was the ideal size for one layer so I ended up making three. I made some strawberry filling (just crushed strawberries, sugar and cornstarch boiled on the stove for about four minutes), whipped up some strawberry buttercream icing and put that cake together. The icing job is admittedly amateur but the cake is going to be delicious.
I used Smitten Kitchen's Blueberry Crumb Bar recipe but ended up using less butter for the recipe because I ran out. I don't think anyone is going to be able tell the difference. This beautiful thing is sitting on my stove cooling as I type this. As soon as it's set I'm going to cut that sucker up and yes, wrap the individual pieces in wax paper as suggested. 
Not pictured is an obscenely heavy Three Cities of Spain Cheesecake that is chilling in the fridge. This is the first time I've actually used my springform pan and I finally understand what that thing is used for.
It's been fun planning and baking for this event. I used to bake quite a bit when I was younger. In high school I was the baker in the family and would often make muffins and cookies and even constructed a crazy layered Black Forest Cake. I distinctly remember a feeling of panic when the thing started to lean to the right because there was too much stuff layered up in that cake. It ended up being kind of a mess but no one cared. It was still delicious. I also went through a phase of cookie baking for the holidays but eventually I stopped baking. After a few years of living by myself it never made sense to me to bake a full batch of anything because it was just me. This weekend it's been really enjoyable baking all of this for the party. I'm done with the baking for now but it's nice to know that after all these years I haven't lost my touch.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Week 21

Today we've been doing a bunch of chores including laundry. Hence the drying rack in the living room. The medicine ball? I think Jon just remembered that feats of strength are among my favorite things.

Jon and I are taking a portrait a week for a year. You can view our entire set of portraits here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Floral Crown

My girlfriend and I are hosting a bachelorette brunch this weekend for one of our dearest friends. We decided that in lieu of the usual tiara, the bride-to-be should be gifted with a floral crown (this is more her style anyhow). I stopped by one of the dollar stores on the way home and found these bright red-orange blooms, just $1 a stem. I ended up buying three stems which gave me nine large blooms in total.

I took the flowers off of their plastic stems and pulled some floral wire strung with a pearl bead through the center.
I attached the first bloom in the center of a headband by wrapping the wire around to secure it. From there I went through the same process, adding blooms equally on each side until they were all attached to the headband.

And that's it! It took very little time to finish and because I had all the supplies except for the flowers this entire project only cost $3. I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Epic Saturday

Warmer weather brings countless festivals, both big and small, to the city. This past Saturday, Jon and I left the house for an 8 hour adventure on our bikes with a very ambitious itinerary.

We biked over the Williamsburg Bridge into the Lower East Side to meet up with some friends for this year's Dance Parade. We stopped by the annual Ukrainian Festival for some lunch and happened upon a toddler sized kewpie doll. Jon was sufficiently creeped out.

We parked our bikes and walked a few blocks to our friends and watched group after group dance by, undeterred by the on and off drizzle of rain.
I also got to meet Jimmy "The Rent Is Too Damn High" McMillan. Highlight of my day!
We then spent a good hour in Tompkins Square Park dancing our butts off until it was time to get back on the bikes to ride over the Manhattan Bridge and on to Prospect Park for The Great Googamooga. We went on Friday night and Jon got to see The Flaming Lips perform for the first time. I was bummed out because this set was a lot more chill and slow-paced then when I had seen them in the past. But hey, the weather was gorgeous, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs were amazing and the food was delicious.
For our second day we rode into the park, used the very handy bike corral and caught Matt and Kim's set. They were amazing live! So much energy and pure joy in being able to perform in their hometown and at the location of their second date. (Apologies for the crappy Instagram picture!)
The lines were shorter and the festival was less crowded than it had been on Friday. We were able to eat the food that we were scoping out the night before and left right when the set was finished. We biked all the way back to Greenpoint and spent the rest of the evening relaxing. 

So, to recap:

16.55 miles ridden
2 bridges crossed
3 festivals attended
Too much delicious food eaten
Lots of good memories for the start of our summer. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Week 20

We had the day off so we headed over to Madison Square Park to check out Orly Genger's installation, Red, Yellow and Blue

We also tried Shake Shack for the first time. My advice - skip the burger and fries (yuck - too greasy and not anything special) and go straight for the shakes. The half hour wait to order was almost worth it for the strawberry shake.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Week 18

We snuck away for a minute on Saturday to take last week's self-portrait. We had to prop our little point and shoot camera on the windshield wiper of a large parked van in lieu of a tripod to take this picture. Spending this weekend riding bikes and in the company of good friends is exactly what we both wanted. I want to soak in as much of this perfect spring weather as possible before summer hits New York and the city starts to resemble one of the outer circles of hell, only in temperature and extreme humidity of course.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

What I Saw: The New Museum's Ideas City Street Fair

Saturday was the perfect day for an afternoon of biking with friends. A few of us met up at the base of the Williamsburg Bridge to ride into the city and check out the New Museum's Ideas City street fair

Excited and ready to bike.
Most of the gang - waiting on a couple friends. 

We saw some cool things at the festival. We sat in a public park that was inside a trailer.

We listened to music on a gramophone.

We hung out in a huge plastic bubble.

We were introduced to a lot of great art, concepts and organizations that are contributing their innovative ideas to the culture of the city. After a few hours we biked back to the Williamsburg Bridge and headed back to Brooklyn.

I always enjoy biking with a group. It allows for greater visibility on the busy streets of New York and, in my opinion, for a safer and less stressful ride. Biking in the city is one of my favorite things to do. This was the first ride of the year. I'm definitely looking forward to many more in the coming months. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Girl Crush: Savages

Holy crap, I haven't been this excited about a band in a really long time. Meet Savages. Dark, intricate post-punk that hits me in just the right way.

Take a listen. You won't regret it.

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Weekend

I've been feeling antsy the last few days. I'm not quite sure what it's about. I've been thinking about what the next few years are going to hold for this little family of mine and it's making me feel, I don't know - Uncentered? Uncertain? I feel like I go through this every year and there's always a bit of soul searching involved. Redundant, yes, but necessary in order to be mindful and strategic in having some kind of loose plan in place, if only to serve as a motivating factor to continue to push forward and to grow.

In the meantime, bike rides and other outdoor activities are planned for this weekend to take full advantage of this glorious spring weather. More soon.