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Obsessed: February
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What kills me about February is the instinctive need to cram everything you would normally do in 30 or 31 days into just 28.  Though, it’s not like the end of the month is finite, where there are no more days continuing after it (although some preppers may say otherwise), but I always feel so insanely rushed in February.  Here’s my attempt at slowing down and enjoying what’s happening around me this month.

loving winter 2013

1.  I am a complete snow-lover.  Blizzard Nemo hit us with a ridiculous amount of snow here a few weeks ago and while our house we *only* got about 2 ft, other towns towards the middle of the state had closer to 40 inches!!  Work was closed for 2 1/2 days (Friday afternoon, Monday, and Tuesday) so the city of New Haven could have a chance to clear the roads and the abandoned cars…and I couldn’t have been happier about being home!  It was like a mini-vacation without having to use my own vacation days.  I did get a chance to go out an play on Saturday and even helped Kyle plow the driveway.  And then I proceeded to hang out inside with some white hot chocolate.  (Photos above clockwise from top left: our driveway after a snow dusting one night, plowing the driveway with the John Deere, our snowbound house – notice the 3+ ft drift on top of the porch roof?, early morning view down our street)

veggies from seed

2.  Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  On the heels of all of this snow, I can’t help but admit that I’m a little excited for spring to get here.  I mentioned to you guys a couple of months ago that we’re going to start raising chickens  this spring and expand our vegetable garden space to approximately 300 square feet.  It will be a huge undertaking for just the two of us – we are DIYers all the way – but we’re both so stinking excited!!  Amidst all of this planning, I ordered a ton of seeds from Baker Creek, a seed company dedicated to preserving heirloom seeds from around the world with the assurance that all of the seeds they sell are non-GMO.  Even with it still be February in New England, we got some of our early-season seeds started this week.  I’ll share more about that later this week and give you a super-fantastic tutorial for starting seeds early in colder climates.

Adam Levine hotness

3. Adam Levine.  I’ve been going through some Adam Levine withdrawal recently.  The unedited version of Payphone has been played no less than 25 times since Friday.  I need The Voice to come back.  March 25th.  Be there.

NY-style bacon egg & cheese
4. Eggs.  In all forms.  I’ve been obsessing over them since the beginning of January and I seriously cannot get enough.  My weekday breakfasts have routinely been egg white sandwiches on high fiber English muffins with a little cheese (whatever is in the fridge) and a squirt of ketchup.  Don’t judge.  The sandwich above happened on Sunday and my weekday breakfasts are the only way I can justify this monster.  What can I say?  You can take the girl out of New York but you can’t take the bacon egg and cheese out of the girl.  Or something like that.

 

Obsessed: January 2013
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TALENTI_SeaSalt_caramel_LG

Talenti Sea Salt Caramel.  You guys know I’m one for making as much as I can at home but I tried Talenti Sea Salt Caramel gelato over the weekend and flipped the heck out.  Martha Stewart Living highlighted it last summer, mentioning the price was $8 which I’d never pay for a store-bought dessert, but I found it in my grocery store for $4.29.  It’s still a little on the pricier side but I swear you won’t care about the price after you dig into this rich, silky smooth salted caramel gelato.  Except when you’re staring at the bottom of the empty container and realize you need more.  Stat.

Chrachel Cooks (Not Safe for Work or Little Ones unless you have ear buds/headphones – the language is a little “heavy” right from the beginning).  I came across this YouTube video a few weeks ago and spent nearly the entire 10 minutes cracking up.  At first I wasn’t sure if I should be horrified or flattered that a couple of college kids with an insanely popular YouTube channel would chose to video themselves making my cupcakes with the title of wtf is cream of tartar?! …but it’s all good.  Actually, it’s pretty darn cool to actually see how other people make and react to my recipes in their own kitchens…and make hand washing look sexy at the same time!!

Williams- Sonoma Goldtouch bakeware

Williams-Sonoma Goldtouch Bakeware.  My absolute favorite baking pans!  And hey!  They’re on sale this week – 20% off!  I’ve had a bunch of half sheet pans for at least 4 years now and even with heavy use, they have never chipped, warped (even in a super hot oven), or scratched.  I’ve added a few other pieces over time (the muffin pans consistently produce perfectly domed muffins and cupcakes) and I just ordered a few new 9″ cake pans yesterday.  I realize there are times when spending a little extra money on a product seems ridiculous when there are much less expensive alternatives available but I swear these pans will never do you wrong.  Just read the reviews.

 

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Evernote.  This app is my life saver!  It’s a virtual note-taking tool that allows you to create endless amounts of notebooks that you can clip ideas to – in text and with links, full web pages, photos, or voice recordings.  I’ve been using it for almost a year now and have been keeping those little jots of recipe ingredients and instructions as I make dishes (instead of scraps of paper that I always lose), ideas for blog posts, party and holiday menus, weekend to-do lists, shopping lists, and plans for our vegetable garden this year.  The app can be downloaded to PC or Mac and is available on Apple, Android, or Windows-based phones and tablets.  The BEST thing about the app is that it will automatically sync your notebooks between all of your devices that use the app.  It’s amazing!!  And free!!!

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and I have no affiliations with any of the companies mentioned here.

Obsessed: December
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I hope you all have been enjoying your holidays seasons!  No matter which holiday you may celebrate, this is a time to reflect and rejoice with your families and I know I’m looking forward to a few days off for some time to do this.   As I’m sure so many of you are in the midst of running around like headless chickens, just like me, I’m going to be pithy here today.  Here’s what I’m obsessing about this December…

Boston Pops Christmas Party album.  I am completely in love with Christmas music performed by orchestras!  At any given point during this time of year, you can catch me bopping along to “Sleigh Ride” in my car – I especially love the sounds of the horses clopping along!!  As I was creating a playlist for Christmas Day (we’re hosting!), I came across this album with some of the Boston Pops Orchestra’s best music and for $5.99 on iTunes, I couldn’t pass it up.  Since I’m still looking for some more great music to add, what are must-plays at Christmas?

 

10 Best Holiday movies.  Many of you told me what your favorite holiday movie is earlier this week and you overwhelmingly told me that Elf is #1.  I’m actually really surprised by this!!  Though I’m not sure I’ve ever watched this one in its entirety, this list sums up my Top 10 favorites with near perfect precision.  (Bad Santa isn’t one that I would ever consider on my list, however.)  Any list that includes The Muppet Christmas Carol, The Santa Clause, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and Love, Actually together on one list could have been written by me!

Sparkle Pleated Skirt.  I am so far from being a girly-girl (i.e. I wear a skirt maybe once a year) but I just can’t stop thinking about this skirt!  I’m planning to wear on Christmas paired with some tights and cute suede flats (the top has yet TBD) and I seriously cannot wait to “dress up” this year.   And just so you know, until Saturday shipping is only $8 and orders are guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve!

Downtown Abbey.  Season 3 starts January 6th!!  Here is another example of “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it” and if you’ve not yet watched Seasons 1 and 2, clear your schedule the week after Christmas because this show is totally addictive.  Available on both Netflix and Amazon Instant you’ll want to get caught up on a storyline that revolves around the “upstairs and downstairs” lives at Downton Abbey, the divide between a lord’s family and the house staff.  It’s set in England in the early to mid-1910s on the cusp of the Victorian Age ending and the beginning of the women’s rights movement and continuing through WWI.  I’ve already added a reminder to my calendar to set the DVR to record the whole series…I’m itching with anticipation!!

Obsessed: November
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Printstagram.  Honesty time: I’m not “crafty” and Pinterest is often an anxiety-provoking experience for me when I mosey off the Food & Drink category to Home Decor or DIY & Crafts.  So many great projects!  So little time.  So little talent.  lol  But when I came across this Pin a few weeks ago, I knew I could do it – heck, I already had an unopened, never-used bottle of Mod Podge.  What can I say – I’m ambitious.  I then found Printstagram could print out my Instagram photos into nice and neat little 4 x 4-inch prints and I took an hour this past weekend to put together two collages for our wall.  I can see this being a dangerous obsession with more ways than one to incorporate these fun on-the-fly photos into our home.

King Arthur Flour. Seriously, do I need to continue to sing praises of the King Arthur Flour company?  Sometimes I feel like I’m working for them (I’m not) but I seriously love KAF’s products so so much.  My newest thing has been these parchment paper rounds that are complete lifesavers in the kitchen.  Forget about awkward rolls of parchment paper that never cut where you want them to.  Forget about folding squares to make circles or tracing the bottom of your cake pan.  Save yourself the aggravation and invest in these rounds.  And P.S. – the sheets that fit your baking sheets?  Pure genius.

Gossip Girl.  Gossip Girl here.  Ha!  Have I been living under a rock during the past 5 years?  How is it that I went from being completely obsessed with Dawson’s Creek, Felicity, and Gilmore Girls in my hey-day 20s to barely knowing this show existed.  Is The History Channel what happens to you in your 30s?  Gossip Girl is “young adult” drama (based on a book) about the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite adolescent Upper East Siders as told from the 3rd person perspective of a gossip blogger.  And if you’re also living under a rock but adore the shows the WB/CW has put out over the past 15 years, the first 5 seasons are on Netflix and the 6th is airing right now.  Excuse me – I’ve got some catching up to do.  xoxo

Philosophy Holiday Cookbook Body Wash Collection.  Ever since my friend Kristin introduced me to Philosophy last Christmas (again, rock anyone?), Sephora and Ulta have made quite a bit of money off of me.  And as much as I love the enormous and ever-changing selection of lip glosses (Peppermint is awesome but it’s in limited supply!), I adore the Philosophy body wash collection.  A 3-in-1 product (body wash, shampoo, and bubble bath)?  Perfection.  I’ve tried out all 3 uses – they all work beautifully – and I especially love that when I travel, I don’t need to bring my honking shampoo bottle!  This Cookbook sampler just might be my favorite gift to myself this Christmas!

Obsessed: October
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The iPhone 5.  The 5 may not be a life-changer for many iPhone users but when you’re upgrading from the iPhone 3G (like me), it’s pretty much heaven.  When I finally decided to buy it, I was pissed about having to wait 3-4 weeks for it to be shipped and my local Apple Store told me they don’t have any in stock.  So if you’re as impatient as I am, here’s a tip: Every night at 10pm, Apple releases phones on the Apple Store to be ordered and picked-up in-store the next day. They go insanely fast online so have your phone ready to be ordered when you get to page where you can choose the store for pick-up before 10pm.  It took me two nights to get this right but when I walked into my Apple Store the next morning to pick up my pretty new phone and there was a line of people asking if it was in-stock (it wasn’t), I was all the happier.

Cheese.  I have no less than 8 different types of cheese in my fridge right now.  It’s scary.  Two of them come from a local dairy farm, Cato Corner Farm, where I visited recently with Annie for a cheese tasting…more to come on this soon.  If you’re always struggling to put together a really nice cheese plate,  A Cup of Jo has some great tips.  Man, I’d kill to live just blocks away from Murray’s in NYC.  My hips, however, would rebel.

OPI You Don’t Know Jacques!  I’m a barely-there nailpolish kind of girl and my go-to color for YEARS has been OPI Bubble Bath.  But I was in line at Ulta a few weeks ago and [damn those impulse-buy racks near the register] came across You Don’t Know Jacques!  I’d like to think the name is referring to Jacques Pépin because the color is rich and almost chocolaty.  (The Daily Varnish has a great description here.)  I’m head over heels for it!

Frankenstorm.  Batten down the hatches, people, because we’re in for a major storm this week.  I do realize how easy it is for the media to over-hype storms but this morning they are saying that the effects of Sandy could be worse than Irene and Gloria…and if you’re an East Coaster, you should know to take that seriously.  Major to extreme coastal flooding is expected along the shoreline of Connecticut, winds gusting from 70-80 mph could last as long as 36 hours, and it’s possibly we could be without power for over a week. (Thank goodness for our generator – about which Kyle freaked out this morning when he decided he needed more gas cans.  Good luck trying to find them today, honey.)   This is not a storm to take lightly but we are ready and The Weather Channel has been on nonstop during the day for the past 1 1/2 days.  I’m a little weather-crazy.  And thanks to “Snowtober” last year on the exact same day (tomorrow) where we got nearly 2 feet of snow, our anniversary tomorrow will be spent hunkered down in the midst of a freak storm.

Girlfriends.  What more can I say than I love these girls dearly?  More to come on this as well…