12/30/11

Gusington "Gassy Gussy" Walker

Yesterday, husband and I drove out to an Amish farm in Pennsylvania and picked up the newest member of the Walker family, Gusington. He is the sweetest, gentlest English Bulldog you ever did see. And we're so happy to have him home, just in time for second Christmas.
We love you already, chubby little one! 

12/28/11

Don't even try to tell me that Christmas is over.

Because it's not.
Not until 8am on January 3rd, a date I don't even want to think about right now. 
Due to my sister and brother-in-law's absence on the real Christmas Eve, we begin the Bittner celebration on Friday. 
Which is perfect, because we may have a little surprise coming tomorrow.
Filling our days with oreo truffles 
gingerbread candles
"It's a Wonderful Life" at Long Wharf Theatre
lunch with friends
and gift wrapping. 
(and maybe a little bit of work. or a little bit more than a little bit of work.)

Merry Christmas! Still.

12/26/11

Ghost of Christmas Past.

A few of the wonderful things about Christmas:
its traditions call to mind memories of younger years
family will remind you of any hilarious (their words) or embarrassing (yours) stories that you've spent years repressing
and there is no shortage of awkward photos from past years to decorate the tree that stands in your living room, in all of its glory. 
I found this beaut yesterday, front and center, for visitors and family members alike to admire. 
And, oh gosh, it's just too delightful for me not to share. 
The glasses. The sweater. The turtleneck. The beanie baby that I insisted on holding. 
And had I never seen a brush before? 
That one I'm blaming on you, Mom. 
Heaven help the awkward stages of our poor future children. If past experience dictates future performance, there are a lot of awesome Christmas cards to come. 

12/25/11

Walker Christmas

With my sister and her husband visiting family in Wisconsin, we delayed the Bittner celebration and B and I spent the last two days with the Walkers. And, after twenty-one years of traditional Christmases scheduled almost to the hour, it was different. In a good way - I love experiencing husband's family traditions and enjoying his family. Plus, I'm all for spreading celebrations through the whole week.

The Bittner Christmas will be on Friday, when sister and her husband return. 

Hope you had a lovely holiday, surrounded by joy and reminded of the reason why we celebrate this day! 

12/22/11

Writing my out of office.

We're headed home for Christmas tomorrow. 
And as much as I enjoy eating Lean Cuisine for every meal
having Christmas cookie swaps
and discussing a coworker's obsession with Will & Kate...
I'm ready to go home. 

12/19/11

Chocolate Caramel Cookies with Sea Salt

At work this week, a few of us are doing a cookie swap and gift exchange. 
In preparation, I made chocolate caramel cookies with sea salt. 
You want the recipe.
Yes, you do. 
Recipe from the blog that I'm currently obsessed with: Two Peas & Their Pod.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons cocoa (I used Ghirardelli)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
soft caramel, rolled into little balls
sea salt

Check out Two Peas for directions! 

12/17/11

Lately.

stopping at Macy's for some Christmas shopping. 
grabbing a (giant) cookie from Levain's before church.
loving our perfect little tree. 
spending Saturday mornings with husband and Dunkin Donuts on our living room floor.  
having brunch with my wonderful friend, Heather. 
enjoying the emptiness of the Mall in Central Park on colder days. 
walking through the Central Park Zoo. 
eating these by the dozen to get rid of my persistent cold.

12/16/11

It Must Be December

How do I know? Because so many exciting things are happening, I'm finding it difficult to focus on homework, mealtimes, or the ever-increasing list of to-be-returned work emails. At 3PM I reviewed what I had eaten today: 1 gingerbread poptart. Well done, Stevie - kudos on healthy choices.

For starters, I received a card in the mail from my best friend, Rachel Hogue. Rachel has been my other half since before I knew that souls came as counterparts. We met at 9 months old, spent every waking moment together until we were 18, and still communicate in some medium multiple times a week. When her family decided to move to Montana three years ago, a part of my heart went with them. That was when we instated the "little girl cards"; periodically, we send each other greeting cards, always with two little girls on the front. I probably have twenty cards from Rachel. They always make my day.

Second, I put Christmas decorations up yesterday. Instant mood-enhancer.

Third, Rachel Strasner got ENGAGED yesterday on her 22nd birthday! I'm so happy for her and I know that she will be an absolutely beautiful bride!

12/15/11

New York through an antique lens.

I love the Financial District. 
It's in my top three favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan. 
And husband loves it, too.
Especially after I point out that certain alleys look like that one in the Harry Potter movies. 
Diagon Alley? Second photo? Anyone? 
You know it's true. 

12/13/11

We celebrated.

(the six hired this summer)

Today marks the six month anniversary of my first day at the agency. The first real conversations that I had with the people who I now spend 70% of my waking hours with. The first time I met my wonderful managers and was introduced to the accounts that I'm completely invested in. It's been a terrific ride.

And it's also our year and a half anniversary. So we'll need to celebrate that when I'm not blowing my nose enough to develop a rash and popping DayQuil every four hours, as instructed.

Here's to the months and years ahead!

12/11/11

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

It's my favorite time of year. In New York, it's simply perfect. The Christmas trees on every other corner, the lights on fire escapes, the window displays along 5th... sigh. Thanks for being beautiful, New York. You should stay Christmassy all year round.
Here's what made this weekend awesome:
- Seeing the opera, Cendrillon, at NYU on Friday. B's college friend was a stellar Cinderella.
- Eating at Patsy's with old friends.
- Christmas shopping in the Village.
- Baking cookies, wrapping gifts and addressing Christmas cards.
- Bootcamp Calorie Burn (Kendell and I have been spending a lot of time together).
- Sunday brunch at Isabella's with my small group.
- Redeemer.
- Cooking up some Raffetto's and watching made-for-TV movies. Bless your heart, Kathy Ireland. Once Upon a Christmas might have sounded better than it actually played out.

Hope you had a great weekend!

12/9/11

Holidays at the Gansevoort.

After walking in heels over cobblestones in the rain, running before work and dancing at our company holiday party last night, my feet are throbbing. But it's a small price to pay to take part in the celebrations of the season. And we're enjoying every minute of it - the window displays, the trees lined up on every corner, the lights in every shop down 9th Ave. 

Happy Weekend! 

12/7/11

Brooklyn Heights

A few weekends ago, B took me out to Brooklyn Heights for dinner at a quiet little pizza restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge. We watched a woman take fifteen minutes to parallel park, listened to the slow hum of the restaurant's heater, and commented on how beautiful the lights of Manhattan looked.
Poetic. Delicious. Romantic. Everything a date should be. And we really need to get out to Brooklyn more often. All the cool kids are doing it.

12/5/11

Healthy Holiday Cookies

This afternoon I grabbed SHAPE magazine from a newsstand to see if one of our placements ran, and stumbled upon their healthy (relatively) holiday cookies. Which I'm in full support of.
PB&J Thumbprints
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1 medium banana, mashed
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg white
1/4 cup all-fruit raspberry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, banana, sugar, and egg white until smooth with a wooden spoon. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
4. Form dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet 1 inch apart, and make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and jam is just starting to bubble. Let cool 5 minutes on sheet; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Nutrition score: 90 calories, 3g fat, 14g carbs, 3g protein, 2g fiber, 13mg calcium, 1mg iron, 38mg sodium.

12/4/11

A Saturday in Boston.

I took a Greyhound up to Boston yesterday for brunch with one friend and a birthday celebration for another. On the drive up, I thought about how I hadn't seen these girls (or the greater Boston area) in over five months. Which is just far too long.

Heather and I had brunch at Elephant & Castle, but talked so much that I forgot to take any photos. Which happens with Heather. If left to ourselves, we could talk for days. The friend that I had an immediate connection with over a study date in college. 

I then met up with Rachel, Susanna and Hannah to celebrate Rachel's 23rd birthday. We wandered Newbury Street, hit up the MFA to see the temporary Degas exhibit (phenomenal) and made our way back to Faneuil Hall for dinner at Bertucci's.  
I can't even tell you how wonderful it was to see my girlfriends in a city that holds so many memories. And so hard to leave them. 

But always nice to return to husband and a Sunday in the city that is now home. 

12/2/11

The Wish List.

1. ASOS Parka


These are a few pretty things that have been catching my eye recently. 
I've had a few family members and close friends asking. 
(please notice that I didn't include an english bulldog on this list. but I wanted to. husband, you must know that I wanted to.)

Enjoy this December weekend!