September 24, 2013

Fruits in the form of tea

Some people obsess over fashion. Others like their coffees or shoes. Some people are hooked on crack (okay - those are two polar examples). But me? I love me some tea.  I like hoarding collecting tea so much, that I moved around my cookbooks on the shelf to accommodate my tea containers.  I think what I like so much about them is that there are SO many types, and there are fancy smancy containers.  There are even restaurants dedicated to their cause! There was even a party in the 1700s. I'm sure it was great!

For my birthday, I received an awesome mix of iced teas.  In this gift box, there were 6 types of teas in containers, and a pound of rock sugar.

Berry Mint Cassis and Rasberry Riot Lemon Mate

Pineapple Kona and Wild Orange Blossom 

Not Pictured: Blueberry Bliss and Watermelon Mint Chiller

This rock sugar will last a REALLY long time since I am not trying to use sugar all that much.  

This was after making Blueberry Bliss, as the tea started to settle.  How cool to watch the water change! It was delightfully delicious!  We didn't add additional sugar, but if you wanted it sweeter - you can add the rock sugar when the water's warm.  

*My only concern about the Teavanna teas is the amount of sugar, hidden in the teas.  I have a serious addiction (I kid....only sorta).  Anyone know of the best COMPLETELY sugar free tea? 


September 02, 2013

Road Trip to VA

We just got back from our road trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. On our way down, my IPhone was an intricate part of our ride down. After NINE long hours of sitting in the car, I wanted to kiss my phone for provided entertainment in many ways.
Let's look at the check list:

Waze App: This not only provided our route, but also alerted us when there was traffic, accidents, and road blocks.  The whole app runs off of client participation, so the more you post, the more points you get.  It's updated each time a person posts about the map, and it will reroute you once it recognizes too much traffic. 

Over: LOVE this app! Not only can you take pictures with it, but you can change the picture through this program and write captions on the photo. I spent hours captioning all our family photos on the way home.  For a limited time, you can download free in-house purchases that change the font and add clever phrases.

Untapped: This is the most under-rated app around.  Sometimes it freezes, but with the different and unique beers I drank throughout the week, it was great to log what I had.  Oftentimes, I have something and forget what if I enjoyed it or not, so with this app, I can write down my thoughts! I can even take pictures, make comments, and write down the location of the brew.  So fun!

Gas Buddy: Oh gas buddy. I am old enough to know say I remember when gas was only 80 cents when I first got my license. Now? It's 3.59 on a good day.  Gas Buddy helps me find a deal nearby.

Road Trippers: Though we didn't use this app on our way to Virginia, it was fun to see what crazy sites were on the way to our final destination. This is hands down one of my favorite apps because I can create any list and tailor the destinations.  If we are only driving up the Northeast coast, then I can create a route that hits the places on the way.  So fun! It gives you a little history and links you to any websites or articles about the places.  

Field Trip: This app alerts you of any locations worthy of a field trip - museums, historical sites, battle sites (right up our alley in Wlliamsburg!) You can customize your route based on "thumbs up" or "thumbs down." There's also an option to read the description aloud like as if you were on a guided tour!

All these apps are available for the Iphone, not so sure about other devices.  Thanks Apple for making our journey chalk-full of info! 

August 25, 2013

Drinks on me!

I'm a little behind in posting about our mail, and when I put it like that, it doesn't sound very fun at all.    BeSpoke Post caters to men, (but I say pshh), and allows the subscriber to pick from 2-3 types of themes each month.  They select one hip box, and at the end of the month,it is mailed to your doorstep.  I kinda fell in love with this after seeing some of the previous boxes.

This box, Slate, I sadly missed. But it came with a giant piece of slate to use as a cutting board, a knife, and some mustards and dips.  
Roast pretty much had Mr's name written all over it.  I knew I had to order this box for us (him, I meant him.)

Last month's shipment was entitled "Agave." Inspired by a classic drink, this box contains everything from the glasses, ice cube tray, lemon squeezer, and shaker. 

I'm not much of a mixed drinker, but I couldn't help but fall in love with the ice ball molds.  They are like mini baseball ice cubes.  And for someone who LOVES ice in drinks, I snatched these up and stuck them immediately in the freezer.  

After taking a peek at the merch, I love the embossed glasses the best.  Don Julio, premium tequila, put their logo on the bottom, but I think it adds something to it. 

Also included in this set: Juicer, Boston shaker, julep strainer, and a jigger. Jigga what? I think that's all a true gentleman needs - oh yeah, that and some actual liquor.  I guess shipping liquor through the mail would cost more than $45 of awesome. But regardless, we are loving our box! Till next month! 


August 19, 2013

Let's Take a Stroll

 On July 10, 2009 I married my best friend. On our first anniversary, we went to Maine (beautiful!), but I don't honestly remember if we did anything at all 2nd and 3rd year.  This year, we rang in our day of wedded bliss under the bright lights of New York City. Our first night we went to see Annie on Broadway (absolutely loved it!) The song "Maybe" has been stuck in my head ever since :)

 The next day, after eating at the SaraBeth's by Central Park, and indulging in the best eggs benedict. we navigated the curvy paths of Central Park. We had no set plan, but decided we would go wherever the roads took us. Half way through the day both of our cell phones died, which was kind of nice because it was just us.   Anything we wanted to do, we had to search :)  It was an adventure. And I love adventures!

We stumbled upon tables for chess and checkers, and after declaring myself Queen of Checkers, Mr. and I played about 6 games to test my title.  Needless to say, I still have my invisible crown :)

  As we walked through the beautiful paths of Central Park, we stopped at a vendor table - Michelle Han.  Her hand cut stamps and prints were simple and fantastic. We found a pretty sweet Christmas gift for my brother-in-law, and then decided to get something to mark our trip.  The one we picked was the 8x10 adventure print.

As we drove home, Mr. and I debated on what it was she made a stamp of - a cliff or ship? I think it's interesting that we both immediately saw a completely different image.  I saw this and thought "A boat! An Adventure across the seas! Love it!" Mr. saw it and thought, "A Cliff. " Please note the lack of exclamation marks because something has to be REALLY sock-knocking to have him be super pumped. He is pretty mellow, which balances out my excitement for everything. I still say it's the tip of a ship, with a rock on it (okay - when I saw that out loud, it doesn't make sense - but does life?).

What a wonderful day with a wonderful guy!


August 18, 2013

Stand up and grill

There's something thrilling when the cardboard box arrives on our doorstep, and even if I know what it's it- I still feel a bit of a rush as I peel back the lid.  This month we received a fantastic box from BeSpokePost  which advertises as a box of awesome, and awesome it is!
After getting my own box of fun last month, I thought it was time that Mister got something!

Last month's box marketed Himalayan Salt plate - and really, what is more awesome!? This block of salt goes on the grill, or open gas oven (which we don't have).  You can cook fish, steak, veggies, chicken - pretty much anything! The salt naturally seasons the item, making it super tasty. 

In addition to the salt block, the package also came with two rubs/seasonings and a spatula. The price of the box per month is $45.00.  After looking up the prices of the items, the box was clearly worth it!

Cant't wait to make more, as right now it's just a thing of beauty.  Salt blocks are ideal not only for cooking food, but also for serving.  Raw fish, like sushi, picks up the saltiness of the block.  Put the block in the fridge for about two hours, and arrange tomatoes and cheese, or watermelon, mint and feta.  If you let it sit for 20 minutes or so, the salt will totally pop!

After some searching, I found Salt Block Cooking by Mark Bitterman.  The recipes in here looking A-mazing!  My favorite is the apple onion tart with blue cheese.  

I can't wait to get cooking on this!  

July 07, 2013

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay Watching the Tide

This summer, one of my role models will turn 80. Appearances alone will tell you age ain't nothing but a number, because she is nothing like how I picture 80 year old women.  She is lively, funny, and has the kindest heart I know of any person in the world. It is her impeccable handwriting, that I will forever have on my arm as a reminder how to live life. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.  That is exactly what she does - goes everywhere with her heart.

The season that most reminds me of my grandmother is summer. The salty sea breeze, the warm sand between my toes, and the ocean lapping at my feet remind me of my summers spent at the beach with my entire family - specifically my grandmother.  Her love of the shore was apparent as she often was only a tiny blip in the ocean as she bobbed along the waves for hours.  Even as a kid, I knew I wanted to be her when I grew up.

She will turn 80 in August, our family decided to put together a scrapbook.  Each person gets to design a page dedicated to this woman who brought seven children into this bright and beautiful world, which subsequently brought us, the grandchildren, into the same life.

I have two weeks to think of a way to write my heart on a page, but words don't seem to be enough. How do you wrap up how much you love and respect someone on a single scrapbooking page? How can I let her know how much she has taught me - not just how to play Backgammon, but how to love fearlessly, how to love heartily, and how to laugh even when it seems difficult. She seems to see the good in most, and when she doesn't, her humor takes over.  She comes from a generation of where women take the backseat to men - but she stands on her own. Independent and lively, she takes yoga, line dancing, and meets with her ladies to play tennis. Even through hardship and trials, these moments have not taken her spirit - but perhaps made it stronger.   She is who I continue to want to be.

Happy Birthday Grandma - a little early because you deserve the happiness.


July 05, 2013

Grilled Chicken with pineapple

Holy Heavens! I had the best meal today. We bought a giant pineapple and a ridiculous amount of chicken.  On the grill, we mixed the two and made a wonderful dinner baby.

There's something about grilling and a the little bit of charred that makes the food taste so much better! 
Pineapple Coconut Kebobs
pound of cubed chicken
fresh pineapple cubed
can of cream of coconut

We pretty much did the follow: diced the chicken and threw it in a bowl filled with cream of coconut milk overnight.
We like to buy whole pineapples - pretty much it's more bang for your buck and it's almost always super juicy. I am a little intimidated cutting it - but Mr. doesn't seem to have a problem. 

After cutting up the pineapple and cubing it, we then alternating sticking chicken and pineapple on skewers.  We only used half of the pineapple, and saved the other half for a sweet treat later in the day.
A pound of chicken and half of pineapple with 6-7 pieces each on a skewer made about 22.

We let them sit on the grill and flipped them every few minutes.  The pineapple juice ran a bit into the chicken so it was extra flavorful. 

It was a perfect quick (sorta quick) lunch and it was ultra healthy.
Happy 4th of July weekend!!

Ring a Ding Ding

With my wicker basket and my tomato bike bell, I feel like me and my baby blue bike can do anything. However, I recently took my bike out of the shed after a long winter, and realized the cute bell I would ring for no reason, didn't work. Instead of alerting people of my comings and goings, or getting Mr's attention, it now makes a sickening click....non-effective!

With one thing on my brain - I found a slew of different bells that would take the place of my tomato. Which is the cutest? You decide.

Flamingo Bike Bell - $8

Lief! bell - This is only sold in UK, and seriously is as cute as a button.

Bird Bike Bell - $30 (This is also a light which is great if you are coming home as it's getting dark!)

There are too many to chose from, but at least I know there are ones out there to replace my now dudded tomato bell. A moment of silence for the ol' chap.

Which one would you pick? 

Signed Sealed Delivered

There's something about opening up your mailbox and seeing a cardboard box with your name on it - which I guess that 's better than seeing someone else's name. What a disappointment that would be! You are all psyched because you see an BIG box, and your mind starts going - gee what did I order? Did someone send a gift? And then you  pull it out, and it doesn't even have your name on it - it's the lady two doors down who has a solid obsession with the home shopping network.
To prevent the potential theft of my neighbor's  Mighty Flexible Sealer (this IS a product on HSN. Don't ask.), I found the company Birch Box. I love surprises, mail, and samples. This company combines all three in one inexpensive box.

I signed up for this program last week, and already received my box for June.
The company, BirchBox, sends you beauty and health samples every month depending on your profile. You have the option of then buying the full size product on the website. Each month has a different theme and June focuses on traveling - "Wanderlust".

Once I received this box, I ran up the steps and thew down all the other mail. Ripping open the container, I found a nice little selection of items. 

2. Wanderlust ColorClub Nail polish - Mod for Manhattan

Today was the first day I used this lotion and I have to tell you it was light weight , non greasy and didn't make my face shine like the sun. I put it on mid-day then spent the rest of my afternoon outdoors, and when I came in for the evening, I didn't have any redness.

Before I even received the June box, I bought the colors off the website because I LOVED the four colors. Unfortunately, the one they sent was my least favorite. They are smaller bottles, but they don't clump.  The colors are fun and summery.

3. Twistband Hair Ties
4. Wanderlust postcards
5. Couture La La sample perfume
The postcards came with 6 different universal "Hello" greetings.  These will be super cute to mail out when we are away for a few days, or want to send a quick hey to someone!

These hair ties were hands or hairs down my favorite product.  So much, in fact, that I bought the whole set online.  They are sold out right now - but I would continue to check in to see if you can order them.  The patterns are fun and nautical (great for the summer), and the company prides themselves on the fact that using these ties will not leave a crease in your hair. Awesome! I often have a few hairbands around my wrist for "just in case" moments, and these serve not only as functional but fashionable. Love love!

The perfume is sweet smelling, but not over powering.  I liked it but probably wouldn't spend the $90 a bottle. 

6. Eyeko Skinny Liquid eyeliner
7. Amika Hair mask

One of the neatest products was the skinny eyeliner. Mostly because I would never purchase this myself, but I found it fun and easy to use.  In addition to sending a full size liner, the company also sends you a youtube video through your email on how to actually use it the "correct" way - and by that I mean not turning out like a raccoon or a prostitute.

I have no picture of the hair creme because simply - I used it all. The sample got me through three hair washings, and I LOVED the citrus smell. I forced A to use it this weekend, as I raved about how smooth and silky my hair felt. I could have been a  walking flipping advertisement. I can't say enough good things, only I wished our time together lasted more than a weekend. The jar is mucho expensive, and at $40 a pop, I probably won't be buying it anytime soon -but I thoroughly enjoyed the samples.

Overall, I loved this month's selection and I can.not.wait. till July's box!!