Friday, September 26, 2014

that time I did vegan

I did some holiday cooking this week. I should say I did some baking. Because dessert. My mother-in-law knows my strengths well, and when I ask what I can do to help, she always says she could use more dessert. Who doesn't?!

So I decided to make the desserts vegan. The desserts already have to be parve, so to make them vegan, at least for me, usually just means making sure there are no eggs or honey. Its much more complicated than that, but also simple. So that's what I did.

First up, chocolate pomegranate truffles - inspired by my new favorite over-the-counter chocolate. I used this recipe - but substituted a pomegranate reduction for the raspberry puree. I then rolled the finished product in pomegranate sugar (a few splashes of pomegranate juice and a cup of sugar mushed together in a plastic bag). I had some trouble with one batch of truffles not setting. I think it was too much vegetable oil. I stuck them in the freezer overnight and that seemed to help. Mmmm, and I recommend enjoying with a glass of red wine.

Then, an apple pie tart. The original inspiration recipe called it a pizza and used a pizza crust, but I wanted to use puff pastry, so bingo - a tart. That recipe calls for canned apple pie filling, but I had lots of apples to use up, thanks to a grandparent/grandchild trip to the apple orchard. So I used this recipe to make my own filling.

apples and sugar

I took a pic of the finished product, but it was night time and the picture didn't do it justice, so just imagine a puffy crusted, cinnamon-y, crispy topped, icing-drizzled confection, and there you go. So good. (ps - I think I typed "applie" at least 15 times instead of typing apple pie.)

til the apple peels,

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Helping to Fight the Fight

I've been involved with several charities over the years, but there are a few that are near and dear to my heart. 

HIV/AIDS for my grandmother

Leukemia and Lymphoma for our dear friend Jeff
Muscular Dystrophy for my little cousin Oliver

Crohn's & Colitis for my husband

Whatever cause you get behind, I believe it's so important to find something that you are passionate about, and want to help raise awareness and funds for. 

This October marks the second year I'll be playing in a touch football game at Met Life Stadium to benefit the New Jersey Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). 

It's tough to step out on to that field where the enemy plays (the Giants), but it's for a good cause and it's a really fun day! 

Last year my husband was between surgeries, but still played in the game, ileostomy bag and all. His story and strategic shirt lift during a break in play caught the attention of a reporter for the Star Ledger, and instantly his ileostomy became famous and made the paper the next day. 

In any case, while we'll be spending a fun-filled day at Met Life Stadium in October, the real reason behind hitting the field is to raise awareness and funds for Crohn's & Colitis. There are so many affected by these two diseases and I'm happy to do my part. 

What charity or charities do you get behind? If you're reading this and don't support any charities yet, it's never too late, find one that means something to you and participate in a walk, a run, attend a gala, play in a golf outing or even just head over to the charities website and donate. 

To read more about my husbands journey with Ulcerative Colitis, click here.

I believe Billie Jean King said it best ... "Champions keep playing until they get it right." I will continue to keep fighting for the causes I believe in until one day (hopefully in my lifetime) we can find a cure for these life changing diseases. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

staples and holes

Continuing with Loni's theme - fall has fallen over here. At least into our closets. I've (mostly) completed the semi-annual rotation and organization of childrens clothes. It always seems to be more involved than it should. I won't get into it, but lets just say I spent 2 hours just in Sally's room alone. I will not do anything else fall-related until the autumnal equinox, including ordering my beloved PSL. But you know what else is just as good? Dunkin' Donuts Pumpkin White Chocolate with cream (sorry coffee snobs connoisseurs). So good, and easily $3 cheaper.

I've also begun to rotate out the lightweight, light-colored summer clothing for the darker, heavier tones of fall in my own drawers. I have a few pieces that stay in the dresser through all seasons, but as I get out my fall clothes, its like a little reunion with good friends that I haven't seen in a while. "Oh, long-high-low-hemmed-gray-jersey-shirt, how have you been? Really? You've already been catching up with ankle-length-leggings? You guys get along so well. Now, don't get ahead of yourselves, how would camel-colored-Uggs feel if they knew you guys were hanging out together already." (am I a nerd? yep).

My staple pieces for fall are:
- capri and ankle length black leggings
- a long, loose, shorter-in-front, soft as a bunny gray shirt from Old Navy last year. Had I known how much I would end up wearing it, I would've bought another one to tuck away.
- a striped and polka dotted scarf with all of these colors in it: gray, black, camel brown, cream, and brown brown. I mean hello perfection.
- chambray shirt
- a pea green (yellow almost?) boatneck shirt and a black and cream striped boatneck shirt. And lets face it, about 4 other striped shirts
- camel brown Uggs, dark brown leather slouchy boots, and green Hunter boots
- dark green quilted vest with gold zipper (does not match the Hunter boots, le sigh)
- leopard flats

all of it, please

Noticeable holes in my fall wardrobe
- furry, lined moccasins
- black riding boots
- an excellent pair of skinny jeans for wearing with boots. The pair I have, if I rub my nails along them, my nails turn blue. No good. And I'm constantly pulling up the waistband *pet peeve* 
- hooded, cinch-waist anorak or barn jacket
- a few more shirts that I can wear with leggings. I heart leggings.
- a collared shirt in the black color family, I have the chambray and the navy, but I need one more.

couldn't find source link

What are your staple pieces? Tell me, but know that what you say will end up on my "holes" list, I will copy you, I have no shame. I saw a very nicely dressed woman in Panera with a skirt on that looked exactly like a skirt in one of my pins - I went up to her, in my messy bun and white t-shirt with my 2 food-covered children in tow and asked her where she got it. Its from Ann Taylor, its perfect, its on clearance, and they don't have my size. Grrr.

Where do you buy shirts that are good for legging usage? What are you finding are the missing pieces in your closet? Do tell, do tell. 

til the pillow talks,

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Falling into Fall

While I'm a beach bum through and through I do enjoy the flowers blooming as we usher in spring and the crisp, clean air that blows fall to the region.

I'm excited to break out my boot collection and scarves, sip on some pumpkin spiced coffee and apple cider, go pumpkin picking, and decorate the outside of my house with mums. These things represent fall to me.

Decorating my house last week helped make the fact that the sun is rising later and setting earlier, the fact that I have to wear a jacket in the morning and put the heavy comforter on our bed the other night a bit more bearable.

Thanks to Pinterest I've found some more fall things I want to try ... starting with these 10 drinks you can make in a crock pot. Or how about these mums in a pumpkin (so adorable!)

Or maybe this awesome table setting for Thanksgiving?

How do you embrace and welcome fall? Whatever it is I hope you're enjoying the change of season as much as I am. I certainly don't welcome winter with such open arms, so I'm going to hold on to fall for as long as possible. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

getting into the zone

Bags. We have so many bags. "School"bags. Swim lesson bags. Dance class bags. Return-to-Target bags. Keep-children-happy-while-out-to-eat bags. Give-this-to-your-friend-the-next-time-you-see-them bags. And they were all in a pile by the back door. Yay. Oh, and shoes too. Yay.

Not anymore. I've started working on creating a drop zone at the door from the garage into the house. Praise the house-hunting gods that we found an affordable house with an attached garage. I've got a small metal shelving unit, a crate turned on its side, and a striped rug. So far so good. The design (I use that term loosely, as this is after all, just a spot for bags and shoes) was inspired by these pins. Probably because they both have actual objects in them that I own. Weird.

The little boots, the shelves, the hooks

the green boots, the crates

Also necessary is a place for hats and gloves. We have a coat rack inside, and I don't want to keep coats out in the garage, because brrrr. So I got a long, shallow basket that clips onto the side of the wire shelves and that's where hats and such will go. You know, I tried to link to the basket that I got, but Target's website is the worst and I couldn't find it. So no linky, sorry.

I need to find hooks that will work. I'm worried about weight limits! Did I mention all the bags?

If its picture-worthy, I'll share an "after" shot with y'all when its done. I have a couple cute little "art" decor things that I might hang. I also reeeeeeeallllllly want to paint the door - maybe black? 

And just for fun, I think a DIY version of this will find its way in front of the inside door...

 til the car tunes,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A True Misconception

I'm a Public Relations professional, and not many people really know what that means or what I do. This has been the story of my life since I graduated college. The below image best sums up the misconception of what a PR professional truly does. 

I can't even tell you how many times I have told someone I'm in PR and they immediately reply back, "oh you're in marketing," or "oh you're in advertising." No dotto brain, I said public relations. 

The technical definition for each are:
Marketing: The process of promoting, selling or distributing a product or service; the work of moving goods from producer to purchaser. 
Public Relations: Encouraging public understanding and goodwill towards a particular company and its products or services.

In layman's terms:

It's paid (marketing) vs free (public relations)

One of the most gratifying feelings as a PR professional is hitting that perfect PR home run and securing a major placement for your client. 

This of course doesn't just happen by wiggling your nose and snapping your fingers, a lot of hard work and effort goes into public relations and media relations. You need to become a source of information, a resource to journalists and you have to do this very tactfully.

What I love about what I do is the challenge ... the challenge of crafting that perfectly written press release or pitch, sending it to your developed and targeted media list, following up on your efforts and hopefully, if you've done everything right and sparked the interest of a journalist - securing a placement! 

That's a good day in my book! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

tis the season!

Today brings the beginning of a new football season, and the beginning of a new adventure for me - as a kindergarten Hebrew school teacher. I'm really excited slash riddled with anxiety. Also, its my first Sunday as the possessor of a ladle, thanks to yellow label. I just love her. And the awesomeness of Amazon Prime (and the people who use it to send things to friends) just keeps proving itself again and again.

During the game, we'll be eating this dip to usher in the dip season to end all dip seasons. I can't wait. I've been wanting a melty cheese something for quite some time and I think this will do, indeed. Do you have a go-to dip recipe?

I've been brushing up on my Hebrew and gettin crafty, so fingers crossed for the first day of school today. 

Any new adventures starting for you?

til the paper cuts,

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Some of the Best Memories Are Made In Flip Flops"

And that's a wrap ... Good bye to the summer of 2014! 

As Labor Day has come and gone, the carefree days of summer have come to an end. It's bitter sweet to say good bye to the flip flops, tank tops, bikinis, sun dresses, dinners out on the deck, day light until 8:30/9:00. But like all good things, they must come to an end ... and my countdown to next summer has already begun (262 days in case you were wondering). 

This was certainly a better summer than last when my husband was sick. We were finally able to enjoy and do what we wanted to do. Day trips to the beach, nights rolling the dice in Atlantic City, days spent lounging on the boat down on the Chesapeake or nights out with friends. 

Now as the days get shorter, the nights get cooler, the leaves start turning I will cherish the good times and memories made this summer. Did you have a good summer?

While I'm never ready to welcome the fall, I am looking forward to Wawa's pumpkin spiced coffee, baked apple pie scented candles and decorating for the season. 

I look forward to falling into fall with you.