Six tips to totally own this Thanksgiving

1. Properly prep your tummy. You might be thinking it's a good idea to skip breakfast and save space for all that Thanksgiving deliciousness that is about to come. You're wrong. Dead wrong. While it might seem counter-intuitive, you're going to want to eat a hearty breakfast when you wake up. This is going to give your stomach the proper stretching and digestion time it needs to be ready for the big game (and I'm not talking about football.)

2. Your attire selection is of utmost importance. It is perfectly acceptable to wear your dad jeans with the elastic waistband at Thanksgiving, or make a trip to the storage unit for your old maternity pants. Thanksgiving is not a time to be a fashionista, it's a time to go HAM and give your food-pit a proper beating. I'm not saying you should look like a slob, but underneath your nice blouse or sweater vest, you can be hiding the most heinous of strechy waist-band pants. For goodness sake, you're about to be carrying a 10-lb food baby, give that puppy room to grow! 

3. Portion control - no bigger than a golf ball! Don't make the rookie mistake of stocking up on mashed potatoes, turkey and stuffing and then realize that you still have 10 more things to add to your plate but only 2 sq. inches of space left. Stick to the golf ball rule, everything on your plate should be a portion no larger than a golf ball. I mean, I know green beans aren't the star of Thanksgiving but you owe it to yourself (and your host) to try a little of everything! After you finish your first plate of food go back for the things you loved and throw the golf ball rule out the window. 

4. Lend a helping hand in your own way. We're not all master chefs, and that's okay. If you have no place in a kitchen, stay out of the kitchen. In fact, I advise everyone stay out of the kitchen except the host until clean up time (otherwise you're just going to get in the way.) But, you can still offer a helping hand in other ways -- offer to bring ice or pies from your neighborhood bakery, play bartender, help to clear plates after the meal, buy a flower arrangement or nice candle for your host. Just don't be a waste of space. 

5. Adhere to a schedule. You might have a few different obligations on Thanksgiving. You may have to spend some time with the in-laws, eat dinner with your own family, and potentially drop by to see some old friends that are in town for the holiday... make a schedule for your day and stick to it like an Army Ranger on a special ops mission. My schedule will go something like this (I'm still ironing out some of the details) 

  • 9:00 a.m. - arise to the aroma of herbs and turkey in the air
  • 9:30 a.m. - indulge in a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast - consider eating a piece of fruit but go back for more bacon instead. (see tip 1 above) 
  • 10:00 a.m. - watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV while helping to prep food
  • 12:00 p.m. - watch the beginning of The National Dog Show and pick out your favorite dog, continue to help mom prep appetizers and sides
  • 12:30 p.m. - shower and put on real clothes (see tip 2 above)
  • 1:50 p.m. - catch end of dog show, see if your dog won. 
  • 2:00 p.m. - drive to in-laws' house (limit yourself to 3-4 bites of appetizers, nothing enters your "pie hole" at in-laws after 3:00 p.m.) 
  • 3:30 p.m. - head back to parent's house, call and make sure they don't have any last minute grocery/errand needs
  • 4:00 p.m. - indulge in some more appetizers 
  • 4:45 p.m. - help to put out food and get everyone seated, say grace and go around the table so everyone can share what they are thankful for
  • 5:00 p.m. - begin to load up first plate of 2014 Thanksgiving meal (see tip 3 above)
  • 5:20 p.m. - think about going back for seconds - pick one or two things you really want just a little more of and put them on your plate (panic because you realize you might not have room for dessert if you eat any more mashed potatoes but say, "eff it, I'll throw up if needed to make room for pie)
  • 5:30 p.m. - enjoy the silence at the table and the sound of loosening belts
  • 5:45 p.m. - remark how crazy it is that you cook for two full days but manage to eat in less than an hour
  • 5:50 p.m. - help to clear the table and set out dessert. 
  • 6:00 p.m. - eat dessert
  • 6:10 p.m. - men exit table and plop on the couch to watch football - women chit-chat and then clear rest of the table and start to clean up kitchen 
  • 6:30 p.m. - uncle starts snoring loudly while sitting on couch 
  • 7:00 p.m. - guests start to exit, you finally snag a seat on the couch
  • 8:00 p.m. - change into pajamas
  • 8:05 p.m. - pull out a game to play with family
  • 9:00 p.m. - go to bed

6. Remember the big picture. Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and expression of gratitude. I know it can be stressful to be around your crazy family. I know your mom is bugging out because so and so is bringing a date and didn't tell her until the last minute and there's no room at the table. Just remember, no matter your life situation, you're luckier and more blessed than someone else out there. You have food to eat, a roof over your head, friends/family/acquaintances/frenemies to eat with. Hell,  I think you're doing pretty good. Let Thanksgiving set the stage for your holiday season, keep your composure and try to stay worry-free and most importantly, thankful!

Happy Thanksgiving homies!


For the love of olive oil

If my first love is butter, my second love is olive oil. Nothing beats a good quality olive oil -- you can dip bread in it, drizzle it on your cream soups, use it to dress your favorite salad, cook with it and even bake with it. And outside of the kitchen, sometimes I even use it on my chapped lips or dry hair. The key to a good experience with olive oil is investing in a quality product. I know, I know, it's expensive! But I recently learned of a reasonably priced olive oil that tastes like a million bucks. So today, I've got two recipes that showcase this most special of ingredients.


DIY Pom Pom Baby Mobile

As you may recall from my nursery inspiration post a while back, there was a mobile on there that looked very similar to the one pictured above. Well the thing about that mobile is that it cost $160 dollars!? For that price, I expect it to not only entertain my infant for hours at a time, but to also feed and diaper the baby as well... But honestly, there are thousands of mobiles out there, surely I'd be able to find something I like for a more reasonable price. The thing is, I just couldn't get the stinking pom pom mobile out of my head. It was perfect -- the gender neutral colors, the softness, the playfulness --I had to have it. 

So, I channeled my inner Martha Stewart and took to the internet to order my supplies and watch tutorials on making your own pom poms. For under $40, I was able to create a close-enough version that I'm really happy with and I'm sure Baby W will love it too! Get full instructions and details below.  


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes a chewy, gooey, classic chocolate chip cookie is exactly what you need to brighten your day. I make desserts all the time in varying shapes and sizes, but when I had to bring something to a friend's house recently I thought, why not stick to the original crowd pleaser! In case you're too lazy to Google the recipe yourself, or look on the back of your oatmeal container... get the full recipe below. 


Guest Post: 10 Tips for Survival (When Living With a Pregnant Woman)

It's time for another guest post friends! BryGuy imparts some wisdom for expectant fathers-to-be and demonstrates his love of gifs. 
Congrats...you are the father! That beautiful woman you are so in love with is now the host of your seed and the miracle of childbirth is forthcoming. Don't panic. Be cool brotha, because it is a beautiful thing. Yeah, right! It is easy for me to say that now, but I wasn't so cool when we found out. Of course, over the last 6-7 months my tune has changed and I am pumped to meet this little human of mine.

My response went from this:

To this:
I'm the man!
With that and 28 weeks in, I would like to impart some wisdom. There are some things you should know about living with a pregnant woman, so here we go. (Note: I am writing this before the actual birth to ensure no details of the birthing process are divulged. I'll let Marissa lead that discussion)


Family fun day at Highland Orchards

Do you ever dream/fantasize about certain life situations? For instance, I always had this future vision of myself renting out a big beach house with a group of friends and partying all week in the sun and surf. Well, I sort of got to live out that dream this summer when we headed to Ocean City for the Fourth of July weekend. Unfortunately, I didn't get to do much partying seeing as though I was 10 weeks pregnant... but whatevs, not all fantasies can be played out perfectly. 

I've also always had this dream idea of heading to an apple orchard with a group of friends and their kids on a crisp fall day and picking apples, climbing trees, eating cider donuts and selecting the best pumpkin from the pumpkin patch for carving. Ding, ding, ding! Daydreams are coming alive here people! Last weekend, we drove out to Highland Orchards in West Chester with a big group of friends and kiddos and had a great time! Check out photos from the day below. 


Apples & Salted Caramel Bridal Shower Favors

One of my co-workers is getting married this weekend so we wanted to put together a little bridal shower before her big day. We gathered for a nice luncheon and I was in charge of putting together favors for the occasion. I immediately turned to the interwebs for some inspiration. Since it's fall and all I thought an autumn-themed gift would be appropriate and I personally like favors that are edible. That landed me on this cute idea, and apple with a little jar of homemade caramel. You would think that caramel would be too tricky to make at home, but believe me, it's really easy (no candy thermometer needed) and probably tastes better than anything you can buy in a store! Get the full recipe for the homemade salted caramel plus links to make the favors below. 


Ten happy moments of the last two weeks

Image credit: Found on Pinterest, original source unknown. If you know the original source of this image or own rights to it, please let me know and I’ll credit/remove as appropriate.

Two posts in one day? What is the world coming to? It's called playing catch-up my friends... so here my ten happy moments from the last two weeks. 

1. Feeling Bugsy (that's the baby's name in utero) kick and move around like crazy this week. He/she is a dancin' machine just like his/her papa. 

2. A super fun birthday celebration with friends and my love. 

3. Feeling better after a week or so of feeling sick with a respiratory infection. That was no fun, but I'm finally able to sleep without hacking up a lung, so yay! 

4. An impromptu Sunday Funday two weekends back which meant delicious bbq and a house full of friends and kids, and I loved every minute of it!

5. The smell of fallen leaves. You wouldn't think it'd be a great smell, but it's one of the best smells!

6. Free coffee from DD after an Eagles' victory. I'm not an Eagles fan, but I sure as hell appreciate the free cup of coffee. 

7. The lobster roll from Oyster House. I mean this thing is just lobster roll perfection and totally worth every penny (although work paid for this one.) 

8. Seeing the movie Chef finally. This movie has been on my list, and honestly it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Plus, it made me really, really want a Cuban sandwich. 

9. I'm so happy with how the favors I made for a co-workers bridal shower luncheon turned out. I'll be sharing them with you on the blog next week so I won't spoil the surprise today. 

10. Getting to spend quality time with friends and family last weekend for a camping trip and Oktoberfest party

Camping and Oktoberfest 2015

This post is coming a little late, but I thought I'd share some photos of our fun camping trip and Oktoberfest party from last weekend. We headed up to New York for the Columbus Day Weekend and spent one night in the Adirondacks freezing our butts off and the second night we spent at my parent's annual Oktoberfest party. 

Camping was gorgeous despite the chilly weather, but we knew what to expect so we packed our winter clothes accordingly. We sat around the fire for the day and shared a lot of laughs and a few sing-a-longs as well. As the sun dipped down we warmed our bellies with s'mores (or adult beverages for some) and looked into the clear sky for a spectacular view of the stars. 

The following day was spent eating German fare, playing hammerschlagen and then watching the Giant's play a pitiful game of football.


German Potato Salad

My parents hosted their annual Oktoberfest party last weekend (more photos coming soon) and it seemed fitting to make a giant vat of potato salad to go with the brats and sauerkraut. Check out the recipe below, it's best when served at room temperature. 

German Potato Salad
(serves 10-14)
Recipe adapted from Five Heart Home

5 lbs red potatoes, cleaned and cut into 2 inch cubes (approximately)
1 tablespoon kosher salt (for boiling potatoes)
1 package bacon, diced
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/4 cup, finely sliced red onion
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic, minced 

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Gently add potato chunks to the boiling water and reduce heat and simmer potatoes for 10 minutes or until they are tender when stabbed with a fork. Drain water and run potatoes under cold water to cool slightly. 

Set a large saute pan over medium heat and add bacon. Cook bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Reduce heat to medium and use a slotted spoon to remove bacon to a paper towel while leaving bacon grease in the pan.

Add vinegar, sugar, dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to the bacon grease in the pan. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and stir for a couple of minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant. Remove the pan from heat and gently toss the potatoes and dressing together in a large mixing bowl. Carefully fold in the cooked bacon pieces and chopped parsley. Serve at room temperature and refrigerate any leftovers. 


A Birthday World Tour

It was a birthday to be remembered, it started in France, made a quick stop in Italy, spent the afternoon in England, and headed to Morocco for dinner. Okay, okay, so all of those "visits" occurred within the confines of the City of Philadelphia, but it was wonderful nonetheless! I'm not big on birthdays, I always feel a little embarrassed when there's a fuss made about me on that day. Typically, birthdays just involved a quiet dinner with Bry and some drinks or a rented movie after. 

Well since 28 was a hell of a year, and 29 is going to be life changing, I figured that I would take one day to do some things that have been sitting on my bucket list waiting to be checked off. We started off with a visit to the Rodin Museum (which we have been meaning to visit forever) then as our bellies started to grumble, we headed to Pizzeria Vetri for a little snack. After that, we took advantage of the gorgeous fall weather and strolled along the Ben Franklin Parkway until we landed at The Four Seasons where we were scheduled for afternoon tea. After our bellies were full of sugary treats we went home and relaxed a bit and then got ready for an evening with friends at our favorite Moroccan restaurant. Check out lots of photos from our fun day.  


The Best Way to Preserve Your Wedding Gown

UPDATE: Blushing Bride is offering a $10 discount for all Marissa says... readers that place an order in October! Be sure to mention this blog when you place your order! 

Have you ever wondered what people do with their wedding dresses after the wedding day? Let me tell you. They pay an insane amount of money for it to be cleaned, like hundreds of dollars... and then it gets bagged up and hung in a closet somewhere only to be pulled out someday when their daughter asks about it. Where's mine, you ask? Sitting in said closet, in said bag.

I know, I know some ladies pay an arm and a leg to have their dresses preserved, and where do those sit? In a closet or attic in their preservation boxes. If you're really crazy, you might do something like this. But honestly, that's a bit much. 

Well, I have a treat for you. Whether you're a bride who wants to remember her beautiful wedding day, or a special friend of a bride-to-be looking for a unique gift, these beautiful artistic creations from Brushing Bride are the perfect solution to capture your wedding dress in a timeless (and space-saving) way. I had the opportunity to talk to Krystina, owner and artist behind Brushing Bride and learn about how she started her business and what she loves most about creating these beautiful works of art. 


New York state of mind

What do you do when the temperatures start to drop? Unpack your flannel shirts and sweaters, take a drive up to New York and binge on apples, pies, and cider donuts. Well... at least that's what I do. There's no autumn quite like an upstate New York autumn. The air smells of earthy leaves, the colors take your breath away, the crisp air makes you want to lace up your riding boots and drape a super soft scarf around your neck. Check out photos from last weekend.


Ten happy moments of the week

Image credit: Found on Pinterest, original source unknown. If you know the original source of this image or own rights to it, please let me know and I’ll credit/remove as appropriate.

1. We took a quick weekend trip to Boston last weekend and got to catch up with friends that we haven't seen in forever! We had so many laughs and so many fun things to celebrate together.

2. Meeting a sweet and beautiful baby for the first time (of said friends in Boston.)

3. I cooked one of my favorite meals in the whole world this week and it was awesome -- roast chicken with lemon and potatoes and a loaf of Italian bread to dip in all the chicken fat/lemon/garlic sauciness on to bottom of the roasting pan. Hells yes.

4. A relaxing drive back to New York.

5. My best buddy is in town from Egypt and I can't wait to see her beautiful face!!!

6. A kale salad that was so tasty and easy to make, plus it lasted two days in the fridge already dressed!

7. The easiest and most pleasant trip to the DMV in the history of the world. I was in and out in 10 minutes and everyone there was so nice, is this real life?!

8. Feeling baby kicks and movement much more frequently these days. Baby is a morning person right now, so unlike his/her mama.

9. The Giants finally deciding to show up and play some football these past two weeks :)

10. Welcome home greetings from the best brown dog in all the land.


Guest Post: Shmokin' Ribs

It's time for another BryGuy blog takeover. So without further ado...

Ah, and this time I have some deliciousness to share with you guys and gals, so gather 'round so Papa B can drop some knowledge bombs of epic and irresistibly tasty proportions. This post is about BARBECUE. If you don't like barbecue, go apply to Mars One because this world doesn't need you.

My mom purchased me a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker for my birthday and I have been holding off on using it for months. Barbecue takes time and the summer was just too darn full of fun to find a day to smoke. My mom was also on my tail about using it, so I decided to break this bad boy in.


Mount Airy Street Fare

Last week, Bry and I made the spontaneous decision to check out the Mt. Airy Street Fare. It was possibly the most gorgeous night for a food truck festival and Germantown Ave. was packed with people, children, strollers, delicious smelling food trucks and the sounds of live music. We did one full lap of the street to check out all of our food options, Bry grabbed a beer and then we made our first stop for food. 


Ten happy moments of the week

Photo by Fridas Fina

1. Last night, Bry suggested that we skip the gym and head to the Mt. Airy Street Fare. It was a beautiful night and I was crazy sore from the last two days at the gym so I figure, what the heck? It turned out to be a really fun time. We ate some delicious food, listened to some good music and got a taste of how cool Mt. Airy is. Stay tuned for a separate post on the event next week. 

2. Dan dan noodles from Han Dynasty - hot or cold they are amazing. 

3. Not having to run the air conditioner in our bedroom at night anymore. While I love a nice chilly room to sleep in, I cannot stand the noise of a running window AC unit. I'm so happy these nights are cooler and it's been comfortable enough to just sleep with the ceiling fan going. 

4. Cappuccino and a chocolate croissant. Once a week I splurge on a frothy cappuccino and a chocolate croissant from the bakery across the street from my office. I take my time eating that flaky pastry and sipping my delicious drink and I feel transported back to Italy for just a few moments. 

5. A rainy day that turned into a less rainy day for our annual Phillies tailgate with folks from the gym. 

6. No more hangovers. While I'll admit that I miss the social aspect of drinking with friends, I don't miss the debilitating morning headaches. 

7. Cuddle sessions with some of my favorite babies this week. I spent some time on Friday and Sunday with my main man Leo and the beautiful Violet, then I got in some good bonding time on Wednesday night with Julia (aka The Chubbiest Baby on the Block.) 

8. Girls night game night. As you can imagine, we didn't get much game playing done because we were busy talking and laughing but it was still so much fun. 

9. Feeling a little motivation to get moving on the baby nursery. I posted my inspiration items yesterday and think that over the next few weeks I'll start to pick up some things and start the clean-out process. Is this called nesting? 

10. Ribs. BryGuy used his smoker for the first time last weekend and made some really delicious ribs. I think he'll be doing a little guest blog here next week about the process, stay tuned. 


Nursery Inspiration

Nursery Inspiration

So I'm pulling together a post with a pregnancy status update, but honestly, it's still kind of boring. In the meantime, I thought I'd spice things up a bit and share a little inspiration for the nursery. While I'm crazy excited to have a little baby that I can call my very own, at the same time I am grieving because it means my dressing room will no longer be my dressing room. My bright, cheery, feminine and most importantly "mine and only mine" room will be cleared out to make room for toys and diapers and books and little miniature clothing.

Despite my mixed emotions about the room, I figured I should start planning it out. We're not finding out if Baby W is a he or she, but even if we were, I think I'd want the color scheme to be white, grey and, wood tones. Partially because the room is already painted white and the drapes are already grey and white, but also because I think it's so crisp, clean and ethereal... you know, just how I imagine parenting to be (ha!)

My white dresser that was previously in the room will stay and will house the changing pad. Unfortunately, my gallery wall will have to be relocated. The floor will get a soft new carpet and of course, we need a crib! I'm still deciding about a rocker/glider chair but think that I have space to make it work if I can find one I like that doesn't cost an obscene amount of money. Also, I have a little plan up my sleeve for some additional wall decor and a fun mobile substitution. 

What do you think? Think Baby W will enjoy it? I love the idea of a big basket to house blankets, toys, stuffed animals or just the crap that's lying around that you need to hide quickly. 


Happy anniversary my love!

This guy. Will you just look at him? How handsome is he?

Where did the past two years go? Scratch that... where did the past eight years go? It's been a wild ride and I'm so happy that we're on it together. And something is telling me that this next year is going to be our most exciting year yet :) 

Thank you for always strengthening my faith and reminding me to stay humble. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me and I’m so blessed that we get to spend the rest of our lives together. Happy anniversary my love. 

Wedding related posts:


Ten happy moments of the week

Photo by Kevin van der Leek

1. Surviving the Made in America festival for the third year. Of course when we purchased our tickets, I didn't know that I'd be all kinds of pregnant come the festival. But I was determined to go for my third and final year. It was a slightly different experience being stone cold sober, but I'm proud to report that I made it through two days of craziness, and had some fun in the process. 

2. A beautiful day of stand up paddle boarding and a picnic with friends for Labor Day. Plus, we discovered an awesome park with some gorgeous camping sites a big pool and a lake for activities. I have a feeling we will be back next year!

3. Enjoying some delicious sandwiches and crepes from Cafe L'Aube, if you've never been, I highly recommend that you try it. The staff is wonderful and the food is awesome - must order: croque monsieur deluxe.

4. Getting to the gym this week. Sometimes it's so easy to make excuses not to go, especially when I'm hot and tired but going always makes me feel good and gives me a boost of energy. 

5. Short work weeks. Summer is over in my mind (I know, the calendar says it's not over until Sept 21 or whatever) but for me, summer runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, that's just how it is. So, this week was particularly hard because it means that my life will no longer consist of weekends at the beach. But luckily, every year we get blessed with a four day week to ring in the new season. 

6. Hearing the excitement from my parents as they both start their final school year before retirement. Although personally, they've been living like retirees for years, boating, vacationing, partying on the regular, come June, it will all be official. No more bratty kids (except the ones you gave birth to.) 

7. The start of football. While I'm not particularly happy that sports commentary seems to be all Bry wants to watch on TV and listen to on the radio these days, I am excited for epic Sunday Fundays with friends per our annual football season tradition. 

8. Maternity pants. I bit the bullet. I bought some pants with a wonderful elastic waistband and my life is forever changed. I can still fit into my pre-preggo pants, but they are definitely not feeling the most comfortable on my stomach these days. So, I figured it was time to find some pants that I could wear to work without cutting off my circulation. They are amazing, I might never go back. 

9. Getting to see a lot of friends in one place at one time. There were a bunch of folks in town last weekend for MIA and it was just so nice to get together with everyone and catch up. 

10. Having a glutenous lunch date with my lover boy. Happy Friday!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...