Mini Blueberry Message Pies for Thanksgiving



Yes. It’s true. I made mini “Happy Thanksgiving” pies and it’s a good week-and-a-half before the actual holiday. Either I’m already abusing my newfound blogger powers, or I’m just a crazy person.

Don’t dwell on that too long. Instead, direct your attention at the super cute message pies in question. They’re one of those seemingly over-the-top, ultra-impressive desserts that are actually semi-homemade (and in all honesty, that “homemade” part is a little too flattering for what happened in my kitchen tonight. I’m looking at you, frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe’s).

You can dress them down by nixing the leaf garnishes, you can dress them up with some from-scratch pate brisee and faux lattice work, or you can simply leave them as is. Honestly, the possibilities are endless once you’ve you’ve got the basic “mini pie” shtick down to a science.

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100 Disappointment-Proof Gifts for Guys



You know what? Shopping for guys just isn’t that hard. We’re practically swimming in G.G.G. (Guy Gift Gold) these days, from the never-ending onslaught of new tech gadgets to newfangled foodie tools. Subscription boxes have become increasingly gender-neutral in their offerings, too. Even the hardest-to-please, already-has-everything set is fun to shop for (who doesn’t love a challenge?).

When all else fails, there’s the ubiquitous tie and sock pairing.  But for the purposes of this post, let’s try to keep things interesting and think outside the J. Crew box.

I’ve rounded up by favorite 100 (one hundred!) smart, sweet, and/or one-of-a-kind gifts for all the guys in your life. For the perfect white tee-shirt to bourbon-flavored marshmallows to the one-blade razor of his dreams, look no further. You want thingamabobs? I got twenty.

Get gifting!

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How to Host an Almost Stress-Free Election Night Party



The way I see it, you’ve got a few different options when it comes to avoiding the stress of this complicated, drama-packed election cycle’s finale. You can A) curl up in the fetal position, B) stress-eat a ton of candy, C) have an election night watch party, or D) — the best of all possible worlds — have a candy-filled watch party where curling up in the fetal position is encouraged.

Here’s how I’ve set up mine for tomorrow’s big day. I hope it inspires you to create a festive, nonpartisan atmosphere of your own. Suffice it to say, watching the votes pour in is a heck of a lot easier if you’re surrounded by friends.

And now back to my regularly scheduled freaking out about the fate of our country. Make sure to get out and vote if you haven’t already.

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Decor / DIY

DIY Gilded Leaf Garland



The fact of the matter is that I cannot be trusted with inanimate objects of any kind. If there’s something in my vicinity that’s even close to DIY-able, I will find it and I will take a hot glue gun to it until it no longer resembles itself.

Case in point: I rode the F train down to Prospect Park yesterday evening to take a stroll with my boyfriend, and after marveling at the gorgeous autumn colors, that must-decoupage-right-now feeling took ahold of my bod. And frankly, there was nothing I could do to stop it. So I picked up some of the fallen leaves, made a little bouquet out of them, and carried them around for the remainder of our walk. It wasn’t until later that I figured out what I wanted to do with them.

(If you’re curious…my boyfriend, bless his heart, had nothing substantial to say about the pile of dirty leaves I was clutching. He’s used to this kind of behavior.)

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How to Host Friendsgiving: A Checklist and Planner



For the uninitiated, “Friendsgiving” is a separate, additional, and somewhat unorthodox Thanksgiving dinner with friends that’s generally hosted earlier in the month than its namesake. Beyond those parameters, it’s pretty loosely defined.

I used to be one of its biggest and staunchest opponents. Why have Thanksgiving twice? Wouldn’t that deplete some of the magic of the real thing? It seemed like having two birthday parties — one with your college friends and one with your cousins. WEIRD.

But over time, and likely under the influence of something I drank at Friendsgiving, I not only got used to the idea; I realized that it was kind of genius. I also realized that anyone who didn’t enjoy Friendsgiving was simply doing it wrong…including me. The truth is, you don’t have to go all out with a turkey if you don’t want to. And you don’t have to make your mom’s favorite stuffing recipe if that feels in any way sacrilegious. In fact, in my opinion, it’s probably better that you don’t. Given that you’ll be eating those same foods again just a few days later, and maintaining that there is something sacred about the dysfunction of a family Thanksgiving, why not take the best of what Friendsgiving has to offer — friends, alcohol, sweater weather — and make it your own?

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Takeout Fakeout: How to Beautify Your Seamless Order



I like to imagine that one day, my Sunday night suppers will feature fresh bread and fine linens and sparkling chandeliers and all of my children singing “The Hills are Alive” in 17-part harmony while my husband, Miles Teller, accompanies them on the viola.

Alas, that day is not today.

Today, Sunday night features takeout Chinese food, some of my best girlfriends, and a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” marathon. Now, don’t get me wrong; there are few things I love more than my best friends, especially when Larry David and dumplings are involved. Still, I see no reason not to try and make the night a little less, um, plastic. I’m of the firm belief that sugary, MSG-laden, artery-clogging takeout not only looks better when you plate it nicely and spruce it up with a few garnishes, it also tastes better. And there’s something almost — dare I say it? — chic about eating General Tso’s chicken off of a wooden skewer.

Here are my tips for turning your next Seamless order into a could-be catered meal.

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Kale Salad with Apples, Cranberries, and Toasted Pecans



If posting a kale salad recipe on Halloweekend isn’t the height of nonchalance, I don’t know what is.

Promise I’m not a grinch. Nor am I seasonally confused. It’s just that by the time October 31st rolls around, I’ve already consumed more orange-and-black brownies and pretzel witches’ brooms and batty cupcakes than a girl should, in her lifetime, consume. I needed a quick, one-day, noncommittal break from all things spooky.

Enter: this salad. If there’s one food that can’t be dressed up like a mummy or slathered in chocolate, it’s kale. (I think. I hope?) Plus, this one happens to be particularly good. It’s been my go-to for the last month or so. I first found the recipe on Cookie and Kate, where it’s attributed to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. Naturally, my first thought as a newly-minted blogger was, “How can I make this my own?” followed by a few disastrous extra ingredient additions. Like…paprika. Very unnecessary.

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On my Bookshelf: “Celebrate Everything” by Darcy Miller


output_aabsbdOne of the things I’m most excited about in this new blog is being able to spread a little literary love every now and then. (Also, being able to make gifs whenever I please. I can’t stop watching that one up there. HELP.) I studied writing in college and am now a writer by trade, so I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that I love, love, love books. Thick ones, thin ones, gorgeous coffee table ones, big serious ones…you name it. I’ve decided to start a weekly series called “On my Bookshelf” where I’ll let you in on the latest cover to grace my nightstand (and, as is just as often the case: my dining table, my dresser, a very dusty spot under my bed, my closet, my kitchen counter…you get it).

This week’s book was an easy choice: Darcy Miller’s new book, “Celebrate Everything! Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life.” I pre-ordered it months ago and it just arrived in my mailbox today. And I’m in love. In love. While it’s true that I’ve been known to fall prey to the allure of a beautiful coffee table book every now and again — okay, every single time I step into Anthropologie — I am pretty discerning about the particularly special ones I choose to recommend to friends and family. And you.

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Salted Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats


ricecrispytreats-5 I can’t be the only one who strolls through the cereal aisle and pauses at each box to consider its crispy treat potential. I mean, Cinnamon Toast Crunch crispy treats? Yes. Just yes. Those are definitely happening sometime soon. And don’t get me started on the Reese’s Puffs possibilities because I will have heart palpitations and I will keel over.  Also, oh my gosh, Cookie Crunch. YOU GUYS.

What I really need is to be left alone for a day in a giant laboratory with a large pot of melting marshmallows and a katrillion bowls filled with different crunchy cereals. To experiment. FOR SCIENCE.


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Mason jar graveyard cakes for Halloween


graveyard-cakes-14If you haven’t had one of those little store-bought pudding containers since you were a little kid, then by all means, RUN, don’t walk, to your nearest supermarket. And after you revel in the glory of that first bite, make these. Because the only thing better than store-bought pudding is store-bought pudding mixed with Oreo crumbles.

…Yes, it’s fair of you to assume I was channeling my inner Sandra Lee when it came to developing this recipe. The ol’ “semi-homemade” shtick just seemed the only way to go this week. After all, it’s been a long one. Reeeeally long. I’ve had some friends in from out of town, a few big projects at work, and a slew of EVENTS.

While I didn’t quite have it in me to go all the way out and bake the day away, I did want to spend some time getting my hands dirty in the kitchen to take a break from everything. And I figured if I could do something with minimized portions minimize the portion sizes and buy all the ingredients ready-made, I’d have a fun food craft on my hands.

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