While my sister and brother-in-law were in town, I made my mom's chili recipe. 
It always brings me back to weekends at home.

1/4 yellow onion
1 green pepper

2-3 lbs ground beef (drain fat)
3 tbsp chili powder
salt & pepper
1 can tomato soup (condensed)
1 can diced tomatoes (with pepper & onion)

Drain twice and add:
2 cans of black beans
1 can of small pink beans


Weekend in Vermont.

It was a restful weekend
complete with mornings by the fire
walks in the snow
talks with my small group
cookie baking
poetry reading
and nights in the hot tub. 
But it's wonderful to be home
with husband and pup
and a couch just right for two.


The Ace.

This week, I was staffing a client event at The Ace Hotel at 29th and Broadway. It's a charming old hotel with a Twilight Zone vibe. So if you're planning a visit to NYC in the near future, definitely check it out. And while you're at it, check out Stumptown Coffee Roasters (where I got my coffee this morning) and the Breslin (where we ate dinner last night). The Breslin is an experience, for sure. But don't order the whole pig. Some things just go too far. 
I'm off to "ski" (read: sit by the fire/in a hot tub with a book) with some girlfriends this weekend. 

Hope your weekend is looking to be a wonderful one! 



It snowed this weekend. A perfect Saturday morning snow. And, aside from the dusting that we got when we picked up Gus about a month ago, this was our pup's first snow. First snow! Scrapbook material!

We watched the snow fall on our fire escape, took Gus outside to play and picked up some Starbucks on the corner. It was lovely. So I guess what I'm saying is, even though it was a balmy 50 degrees in Manhattan today, I'd be okay with another snow. At least one.


Meeting Rachel.

Today Gus met Auntie Rachel via gchat. And, despite his obvious confusion with/fear of all things digital, I'm pretty sure they hit it off.

Think I talk about my dog a lot? Me too. He somehow comes up in every conversation. He's just so darn lovable, guys. Maybe it's the first time dog ownership talking, but I'm starting to feel like I belong on Best in Show. Don't let me become that person.

If I'm still like this in two months, my family and friends will stage an intervention.



Husband is one of the UConn men's basketball team's biggest fans. 
I've become a fan by extension. 
And Gus?
Well, let's just say if they were the Bulldogs instead of the Huskies, Gus would be the team's mascot. 
"Don't mess with UConn." 



In honor of restaurant week here in New York, tonight I went out to Butter with a few of the girls from work. Because we like to feel classy. And we want to keep our romance with this city alive. Completely justified.

Appetizer: Cavatappi pasta with spicy lamb sausage.
Entree: Salmon with lentils, turnips and watercress.
Dessert: Toffee pudding with whipped sour cream, pecans and milk jam.
How many times can I say that something was delicious? Well, it was. And on my classy scale, I'd say I'm somewhere between Audrey Hepburn and Pippa Middleton right now.



What made this weekend wonderful...
- date night at McGee's. 
- Friday night boot camp. 
- walks and naps with Gus. 
- a How I Met Your Mother marathon. 
- a visit from my sister and her husband. 
- homemade chili and biscuits.
- Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit at the Discovery Museum. 
- our weekly Levain stop before church. 
- a great marriage sermon from Tim Keller
- brunch at Riposo 46. 
-  talking on the roof at sunset.

Hope you had a restful weekend. 
And, in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr Day, check out this article from the Baltimore Sun


Thoughts from Gus.

Dog bloggers are becomming the new thing.
Or, really, bloggers who "allow" their dogs to guest blog.
Some of my favorites? Here and here.
And since Gus "talks to us" on a daily basis here at home, we're joining the trend.
Hi there.
I'm Gus. Or Gassy Gussy, Chunka Chunk, Wigglebum, Gusington Churchill... you can call me whatever you want, as long as you rub my belly.

There are a few things that you should know about me right off the bat.
1. I will not tolerate being alone. I hate it, hate it, hate it. To make that clear to mom and dad, I did my business while left alone in my cage the other day. I think it's working.
2. I'm happiest while eating, playing with other dogs (Pugs, especially. They're just the best.), chewing on my squeeky toys and licking feet.
3. I love my wrinkles. Other people seem to, also. I get stopped on the street all the time. They're one of my favorite things about myself. Well, my wrinkles and my curly tail. It wiggles when I'm really excited, which is probably adorable.
4. Things I enjoy sniffing: bags (plastic, not paper), food (any kind), people, shoes.
5. Things I run away from: road work (soo noisy!), the vacuum (a.k.a. "The Yellow Terror"), rain.
6. Did I mention that I love belly rubs?
7. Oh, and a good nap. Or two or three or four. 


Spiced Orange Popovers

Last weekend, I made Spiced Orange Popovers.
To quote husband, they were "the best things ever." 
And he doesn't offer baking compliments very often. 
So yeah, I'm putting that one in the scrapbook as one of my greatest lifetime accomplishments. 
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 teaspoons vegetable oil

(for the orange cinnamon clove sugar top)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- pinch kosher salt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted 

You can find the directions on Shutterbean.


My grandmother's quilt.

Each year at Christmas, my grandmother has a quilt raffle. The winner receives one of her latest masterpieces. It's a pretty big deal. 
This year, husband and I won. 
Today my grandparents stopped by our apartment to drop the quilt off, complete with an inscription. 
Gosh, I wish I'd inherited more of this family's creative genes. 


Chunka Chunk makes friends.

With 50 degree temperatures in the city today, husband and I took Gus to a dog park a few blocks away. We quickly realized that, for a 50 lb. tank, our pup is kind of a wimp.

For the first fifteen minutes, Gus sat at our feet and climbed under a bench any time another dog ventured toward us. But he soon warmed up to the idea and made friends with some of the smaller dogs. We were so proud. Belly-rubbing, high-pitched-words-of-encouragement kind of proud.
We've realized that having a dog in the city is the best way to make friends. People love Gus. And we're pretty crazy about him, too. 



(in no particular order)

Be a loving wife. Give more hugs, kisses and encouraging words. Appreciate quiet moments. Keep up weekly dates. Listen.
Be an active believer. Read through the Bible with my small group. Spend more time in prayer. Become more involved in our church.
Be a responsible mama (to the pup, of course). Take long walks and give belly rubs. Be patient. Take pictures. Celebrate his birthday with pupcakes. Dress him ridiculously.
Be a good daughter, sister and friend. Call more often. Write letters. Plan visits. Make time for new friends. Make it home for birthdays.
Be an informed professional. Read at least five books about the industry. Come in early, but don't stay too late. Invest in relationships with coworkers, clients and media. Don't sweat the small stuff.
Be a healthy woman. Maintain my regular workout schedule. Take three new dance classes. Eat healthy dinners. Try energy shakes and smoothies. Stretch.
Be a conscientious learner. Bake thirty new recipes. Make it halfway through my book list. Study languages.
Be a caring neighbor. Volunteer with Blake. Take time to write notes for our sponsored child. Smile at strangers. See the need.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012, full of met resolutions. 


Bittner Christmas

After a lovely second Christmas with my family in Connecticut,
we're back in the city adjusting to the old routine with our new addition. 
He's been great so far - making friends with our neighbors, going to the bathroom on the sidewalk, climbing the stairs like a champ. 

I'm missing family, but it's good to be home.