My Superbowl Spread

chili

February. The most hated month of the year. There are really only a couple of bright spots and one of them is Superbowl. Even if you aren’t into football or your team never makes it (goddamn Jets), the Superbowl is more about good food, fun commercials and of course the puppybowl.

My friends had their annual Chili Cook-off last weekend. This is easily one of my favorite parties of the year. These people are from Kansas and take their chili very seriously. They get really creative and always delicious and lucky me I get to be a judge :). This year I am taking my favorites from the Chili Cook-off parties and translating it into the perfect Superbowl menu.

Last year’s chili winner, a White Chili,  is hands down my favorite chili ever (sorry Mom). I am obsessed!!  Kellie kicked it up by using ghost peppers and made it amazingly spicy.  So delicious. Great now I’m hungry.  I’ve been threatening to make this chili for the past year and never got around to it.  This weekend is the perfect time to finally make it and really impress people.

buffalo

 

This year for the party I entered my Buffalo Chicken meatballs in the sides competition.  Buffalo anything is usually a huge crowd pleaser.  These meatballs are no different and they are a healthy and easier version of wings.  That is until you dip the whole thing in ranch.  This is my go to recipe because it has about 3-4 ingredients and takes a little over two hours.  Just make sure to make enough because people love them and 24 meatballs go quick.

 

Now that I have my menu down the only thing to do is decide between Panthers or Broncos.  The Panther colors are much better but I love Peyton! Decisions, decisions.

&t

Girls Night! Russian bath version

nyc

 

Every now and then this city provides one of those fun Sex in the City moments.   I had one last Thursday when my girlfriends and I went to the Russian Turkish Baths in the East Village. Well a much less glamorous and a bit more grimier moment to be specific.

When the idea came up to go I have to say I was a little nervous. I had this picture in my head of a big room filled with old sweating Russian men with towels that were too small. My coworkers definitely made some old balls jokes that did not help. Equipped with my bathing suit and water bottle I made my way to E 10th.

Now this place has a story to it.  Apparently the two Russian families who own the bath had a major falling out years ago and rather than sell to one or the other they decide to run the business on an alternating basis.  Its so old school and for some reason it makes me think the place is more legit.  And I read it on the internet so it has to be true.  Now one thing about this place is that it brought out the OCD in me.  I expected a spa feel to it but when you walk in you kind of feel like its 1977.  The locker room is tiny and old, and besides the anxiety of being in a bikini when I’m this pale and haven’t gone to the gym in weeks, I also had to fight the urge to go get some Clorox cleanup.  Not the best start.  Once we got downstairs we had four rooms to choose from, two steam rooms and two saunas.  First we picked the aroma steam room. After I got acclimated to the heat, around 120 degrees,  I started to get it.  You seriously just sit there and sweat everything out.  I stopped caring about my hair or my butt, its just too hot to.  We all started to relax into it.  We caught up and spoke about recent trips and engagements.  We took much needed breaks in between rooms.  People were walking around in mud treatments and the veterans could tell we were newbies and would give up little tips.  We managed to do all the rooms, some of them twice, but by the two hour mark we were done.

I have to say that shower when I got home was one of the best in my life.  After I washed away the sweat of it all I realized how great I felt. Seriously every pore was clean and my skin felt amazing.  Corny words like revitalized come to mind.  It felt ten times healthier than after I did that stupid juice cleanse.  I get why people are addicted.

Some tips.
-Water is essential.  I was never so happy to have my $35 S’Well water bottle because it really did keep my water ice cold even in that crazy heat.  They don’t have a refilling station but everyone uses a sink that tasted fine.  They do sell water.
-Make sure to bring your own flip flops.  I didn’t and they have free sandals there but they were dingy.
-A change of clothes to go home.  We all came directly from work so changing back into my tights and skirt was less than comfortable.
-Bring a plastic bag to transport your bikini home in.  You were just sweating in it for hours and you don’t want in touching everything else.
-Read the yelp reviews.  They will give you a good idea of what you’re walking into

Usually when we go out for a girls night there is a lot of wine involved and the next day I have a massive headache.  Not only did this feel awesome after, it was really fun to mix it up.  But I think my favorite part was getting out of my comfort zone with my friends, definitely.  I know I’m getting corny again.  I’m not sure if I’m going to become a regular but I am definitely going to do it again.  Next time I’m getting a mud bath 🙂

&t

 

January’s goal-done and done

oil pnt2

Resolutions. It just about the time that we all start forgetting about them.  I always had the same generic ones, lose weight, find a boyfriend, no more french fries.  However a couple years ago I switched my focus from practical resolutions to fun ones.  One year it was to teach myself how to cook, the next year was to make sure I visited a city I never had before. Even though last years was a bit of a failure (the guitar is still sitting in the box) I am going to make sure I have fun with 2016.

This year I’ve decided I will try and do something I’ve never done each month.  The inspiration for January came in the form of an email from my friend Maggie.  She has been taking an oil painting class that her friend teaches and wanted to know if I were interested.  Oil painting?  Well I kicked ass at Paint Nite so how hard could it be right?  Um wrong.  Its really hard.  It will be my third week this Wednesday and although my painting looks like a big brown blob right now, I love the class.  I’ve never done anything like it.  I’m still just grasping (using that word generously) the basics of shading and mixing but its three hours of focused meditation that doesn’t allow for any distractions.  I’m trying to get over the fact that Maggie’s painting already looks like a pretty pastel fairy land.

oil pnt
I love this resolution!  I probably never would have signed up for this class if I didn’t have this resolution in mind.  And I don’t love it because I’m good (I’m not) but I love it because its new and different and takes me out of my routine.  Now I’m really excited for February.  Rock climbing maybe?  If only I could give up those french fries.

&t

ps- for any New Yorkers that are interested, the classes I take are at the Manny Cantor Center on East Broadway right by the F stop.  Its a great class for beginners.  Let me know if you want more info!

Lets Craft!

sparklescrop

I’m not sure if you’ve heard fellow east coasters but our first snowmageddon of the season is upon us.  And its hitting us right for the weekend.  Time to hibernate, shop for way too many groceries, and in my case, craft.

My last big project was a homemade Guess Who game.  It was a huge hit.  The fun part about this project is choosing the people that go in it.  I did need some help from my photoshop-talented coworker Joe (it cost me a lunch) for the pictures but I’m sure that I could have figured it out in Paint.  Now I’m not one of those people that can just see something on Pinterest and figure it out.  I need step by step instructions and a list of supplies. I found this from one of my favorite crafters, and her instructions are always really detailed. One suggestion I will give is that there was a lot of drying time between the painting and the gluing.  Do not make my mistake of trying to rush it.

IMG_0051

 

As for this weekend’s project I have some gold leaf paper that I can work with.  Below are some of my favorite craft bloggers so you can get inspired too.  And please don’t judge too harshly on the PB teen blog, I’m a sucker for glitter.

http://www.almostmakesperfect.com/

http://www.auntpeaches.com/

http://www.homeyohmy.com/

http://blog.potterybarn.com/pbteen/

&t

 

 

 

my screenless saturday

 

DeathtoStock_Wired7

On Friday morning I picked up my phone and somehow it landed in the toilet. For someone with the worst aim it seemed pretty intentional.  I’ll blame the lack of caffeine.  After six hours and a Ziploc bag of ruined rice, I abandoned hope and ordered a new phone. Thank god for insurance. The claim was going to take a couple of hours to process and it was Friday afternoon so I was looking at Monday for a replacement. Wait. MONDAY?! No seriously how can I function until Monday without a phone.  No texts for the whole weekend? I was screwed. Once I had my freak out (sorry #tnaacc) and processed I decided to make a challenge out of it.

I had heard of this screenless sunday idea making the rounds on the internet. Usually a family activity, the whole concept is to turn off the cellphone, computer and tv and just exist a whole day without being glued to the screen. It appealed to me but in a very abstract, maybe someday, never gonna happen sort of a way.  What the hell do you do with all of that time? Now that my phone was taken out of the equation, I was determined to try it out.

the morning
So the day started out as most of my Sat or Sun mornings do. I woke up, read,  and started on breakfast.  I decide to swap out my basic weekend clean up for a major spring cleaning like session. I turned up my music and put on my rubber gloves. My apt now shines, all four rooms of it.

the afternoon
Okay now what. Hmm.  I went to the gym and for the purpose of killing time I did a couple more machines than I usually do.  Took down the bread machine and made an awesome banana chocolate chip loaf that negated anything I did at the gym.  While I waited for the bread I gave myself a much needed mani/pedi. Huh. Okay now what.

the evening
I tried I really did!  I rounded out the day by cooking dinner but once I sat down to eat I folded.  Netflix has a strong hold my friends.

A couple comments.  I probably needed to prepare a bit more than I had.  If I had gone to a museum or made dinner plans  I think it could have made it the whole day.  Especially for a single girl living alone, there are a lot of hours to fill.  But that brings me to my next and main point, did I really need to make it the whole day?  I folded around 7 but it was a really productive day.  I didn’t care about my Facebook or Instagram feed because they were off the table.  Netflix never asked if I was still there.  I really enjoyed my time and filling it with all the out of the norm chores and activities I could come up with.

I get why people try it and and get hooked, it was liberating.  It might not be an every weekend rule but I’m going to try and work it in.  Now that I have my new phone I’m going to have to watch my Dots obsession.

&t

classpass

marilyn_monroe_working_out_by_nocnisvet-d5tc725

Riding on the resolution wave I’m writing about my current fitness obsession, Classpass.  I first got into Classpass after I moved to Hell’s Kitchen and there was no gym within a 5 block radius. Danielle has been raving about it for the past year so I decided to give it try and sign up. Six months later and the love is still going strong.

Classpass is a monthly membership to fitness classes and gyms around the country. The deal is you get unlimited* access to classes and studios affiliated with Classpass.  Some of the more well known studios are Pure Barre, Billys Bootcamp, Flywheel and Exhale.  Even though there is not a limit on classes, there is a limitation of three visits per studio in a month or pay cycle.

the pros
The variety is crazy amazing. You’re never going to get bored and you get to choose whatever class fits your mood that day. I get to take my cycling class at Flywheel in Tribeca, my barre class at Exhale in Soho and my bikram two blocks from my apt. I’ve taken a class where I jump on trampolines the whole time (make sure to use the ladies room before this one), a dance class, and a boot camp. They also have “gym time” at certain gyms, which is where you get to use the machines or free weights for an hour or so.

One of my favorite parts is taking classes with other Classpassers. Since Danielle has it we can meet somewhere in the middle of HK and BK and take a class together.  Its our healthy version of happy hour.  Danielle was even able to drag me to a class when we went to San Francisco last month.

Also the app for the iPhone is very convenient.  It has all my favorite studios stored and makes it a little too easy to reserve a spot in a class.

danielle yoga

the cons
The 3 visit limit on studios makes me crazy. My favorite class is the 5:30 Flywheel class in Tribeca.  I love Flywheel.  Free water, shoes and towels.  The bikes are stadium seating style, the music is awesome and the instructor is the most upbeat non annoying instructor I’ve ever had. I get a little Kimmy Schmidt about missing this class. But one Monday a month I have to choose another class. Not a deal breaker just super annoying.

The real con of Classpass is the price.  They recently raised it from $99 to $125 for NYC and with sales tax the total is $130.63 a month.  It’s a lot.  I rationalize that if I take 3 classes a week its about $10 per class.  Not too bad, just don’t have a lazy week.  Motivation, right?  Also gyms around me are around 85-95 a month so it is competitive.  Like I said, rationalizations.

 

All in all I believe its worth it. The different classes make me look forward to working out and I need that, especially in the winter.  Maybe I’ll try and be brave and take that Krav Maga class this week. Anyone want to be my new Classpass friend?

&t

Good wine is a good familiar creature, if it be well used

William Shakespeare. Portrait of William Shakespeare 1564-1616. Chromolithography after Hombres y Mujeres celebres 1877, Barcelona Spain

If you have read my past posts then you know that I love Goldstar, a site offering deals on various shows around town. For a while now they have been featuring Drunk Shakespeare. At first I dismissed it as a little ridiculous but after reading the reviews and seeing the price I finally dragged Danielle and I down there.

I shouldn’t say down there because it was a block away from Port Authority right in the middle of every tourist in NYC. We walked through the people and the rain to a nondescript building and up the four floors. After walking down the stuffy hallway I was starting to get nervous about what I got us into. Gotta love the unpredictability of Off-Broadway. This is when the fun started. They greet you with a shot of the cosmo variety and guide you to your seat. I shelled out the $6 extra bucks for the stage side seating ($35) but its so small that I’m sure mezzanine ($29) is just as fun.  As soon as you sit down they are entertaining you.

The gist is that one actor has to take a crazy (maybe 5) number of shots (Whiskey, gross) at the very beginning of the show.  The play that these very young and talented actors loosely portrayed was Macbeth.  Its not about watching some drunk person try to do a monologue in perfect iambic pentameter.  Its a comedy and parody of the whole thing.  Somewhere between the Matthew Mcconaughey accent and the Michael Jackson dance off we had the best time.

In short go see it.  Its perfect for girls nights, date nights and even fun with the parents (warning there are some PG-13 sex jokes).  You will not be disappointed.

&t

the 11th hour

ornaments1
Um how is Christmas on Friday?! I’ve always had a talent for procrastinating but this year it really snuck up on me.  I have two nights to get my cards out and buy my gifts.  The plan- avoid the touristy holiday fairs and crazy midtown stores and focus on some of my favorites.

First up, I’ll head to Union Square for the ringers. I’ll start at Fresh on 18th St and Broadway.  I know my biggest problem will be wanting to pull a selfish santa.  I love EVERYTHING in this store. Focus.  Their famous Sugar Lip treatments are always a hit and they’re the perfect stocking stuffer.  They have these beautiful bar soaps (my fav is the cucumber baie) and face masks and perfumes that anyone will love and you can either go cheap or splurge.

One block up and across the street is Fish’s Eddy. This is a house ware shop that you can find a gift for almost everyone.  Its usually cluttered and a little messy but this is the best place to find those cute little salt and pepper shakers that no one will have and your sister will adore.  The best part about this place is they have quality pieces at really good prices.  I love getting people things for the kitchen but not when it costs half of my monthly rent, and that is why I come here.

Down in Tribeca, Seasonal Whispers on Murray and W Broadway is a little boutique selling handmade jewelry. It can get a little pricey but their stuff is pretty, delicate and they have a big enough variety that I’ll be walking out with something.  My favorites are the bracelets, and once you know about them you end up seeing them on everyone.

Staying on W Broadway headed towards Duane is Balloon Saloon. This store is known for their amazing balloons, but that is not why I’m going. This place has the quirkiest whozits and whatzits. I’ll be able to find that thing I didn’t know I needed to get.

Now if those stores don’t work I will go to my tried and true back up plan.  Ticketmaster.  I can gripe for a full ten uninterrupted minutes about how corrupt this site is and after my recent Adele angst I’m not sure I’m ready to go back. However, one of my life mantras is experiences over possessions and Ticketmaster does have access to it all.  My trick is to search by venue, not artist.  That way you find smaller shows.  If you’re flexible it also has decent 2 for 1 deals.  That way maybe I can work some selfish santa in there after all 🙂

&t

Daily mail drama

I’m not sure about you but my personal inbox is a mess.  Between online shopping and random subscriptions, I spend more time deleting unwanted emails than reading good ones. Last Monday morning I had so many from the weekend that I had to bite the bullet and spend the time unsubscribing.  Trust me, do it.  My savings account will benefit (I get it Express, you always have an amazing sale) and it will make the time to open the emails I actually want to.  Now that I have quality over quantity I want to share some of my favorites.  Below is my must subscribe  email list.

Gothamist 

This website has everything and anything that locals need to know.  Subway updates, events around town and anything news worthy affecting NYC.  Their sarcastic reporting and sometimes blatant hatred of certain topics makes it feel like it’s actually New Yorkers writing for New Yorkers.  Look out for my favorite column Ask a Native New Yorker.

gothamist

 

Goldstar goldstar

I’m a creature of habit.  I feel like the biggest downside of that is that I never fully take advantage of living in the city.  Same bar, same restaurant in the same neighborhood.  Goldstar helps by offering the best deals on show tickets.  It features mostly plays but will also have sporting events or parties.

New Yorkled 

newyorkled

A New York exclusive.  This website will send you a weekly email informing you of any outdoor street fairs, concert, sometimes even fireworks.  In the spring and summer this email is one of my favorites.  There is nothing I love more on a summer weekend is walking through a street fair.  Except for maybe brunch, which brings me to . . .

 

 

 

pulsd 

The real reason I keep this subscription is Friday’s “The Brunch Bunch”.  Brunch is practically a religion with New Yorkers and this list contains a bevy of beautiful brunch deals.  It tells you the price neighborhood and the most important detail which is whether its unlimited or not 🙂  Happy brunching

Urban Daddy urbandaddy

Every now and then this website pops an email into your inbox informing you of a new bar or restaurant that you must go to.  I usually stock pile them until I need inspiration on a night out destination.

the skint 

The skint means being broke in British slang.  This daily email lets you know all the free or cheap events going on around town either same day or a couple days in advance.  Very helpful for me since most of the time I spend way too much money on fun and need all the cheap I can get.

PS- If you were wondering where “bite the bullet” comes from according to wikipedia . . .

It is often stated that it is derived historically from the practice of having a patient clench a bullet in his or her teeth as a way to cope with the extreme pain of a surgical procedure without anesthetic, though evidence for biting a bullet rather than a leather strap during surgery is sparse.[1] It has been speculated to have evolved from the British empire expression “to bite the cartridge“, which dates to the Indian Rebellion of 1857, but the phrase “chew a bullet”, with a similar meaning, dates to at least 1796

 

&t

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prose and Hos(e) – not your mamas book club

prose

I’m a reader.  Always have been.  Ever since Little House on the Prairie I’ve been hooked.  This was the preface to the conversation I had with Danielle about this time last year.  Always looking for recommendations and recognizing her good taste, I asked what she was currently reading.  In a tapas restaurant over some good wine and even better cheese is where Prose and Hos(e) was born.

We both agreed the idea of a book club is great.  Friends coming together to compare opinions and ideas about one common book.  The problem with most book clubs is the execution.  It is usually either too casual, talking about the book for only five minutes in the beginning, or people take it way too seriously, please do not ask me to answer questions from an outline.

Convinced we could solve these problems with good people and good books we set out our plan.  We wanted to choose people we know that love to read.  Of course we wanted to involve all of our favorites but this was for book lovers only.  We decided to switch up the locations between Manhattan and Brooklyn for accessibility and our only other priority was to make sure the takeout was good.  Throw in the occasional theme, a bottle of wine and the monthly debate of Mr. Darcy versus Jamie Fraser and you have Prose and Hos(e).  Still going strong one year later.

Our book this month is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  So read along and I will make sure to update with all of our thoughts and opinions.  I just finished it and I won’t give anything away but to say that if you ever join Prose and Hos(e) this will be the month you want to do it.