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A Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

26 May

midtown, girl, walking
Hello SLH readers! I wanted to pop in before the weekend and say a quick hi.

Memorial Day is the official start for summer and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Normally I’m a fan of fall/winter but I’ve changed my tune! I’m ready for sunny days, warm weather, beach vacations, and most of all, plenty of time with close friends and family.

Speaking of which, I’m actually jetting out of town tonight to spend this holiday with my lovelies in California.

On my agenda: parking it on the beach, late-night drinks with friends, time with my family, and lots of guacamole & chips. Oh, and I fully plan on putting my camera to good use so get ready!

I hope you all have a splendid weekend… See you next Tuesday :)

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Many loves for today

14 Feb

My current loves:
Cinnamon-spiced coffee with a touch of cream
the new Kings of Leon cd
My leopard-print ballet flats
Pink donuts with white sprinkles from the local donut shop
Nearby friends
Faraway friends
Pretzel M&M’s
My new gorgeous necklaces from this magical shop
Never Let Me Go
Romantic dresses from the Elie Saab Spring 2011 Couture show
This, always and forever

I don’t care if you are married, pregnant, single, divorced, dating, desperately single, or none of the above. I hope you take a minute on this overly pink/red holiday and know that you are loved.

Happy Valentines Day! Go eat some cake :)

Winter Pie

18 Jan

The month after Christmas is always the hardest. Sugar has lots its appeal as your jeans have gotten tighter. The sky, once bright blue, has turned gray. Piles of slushy snow sit on the curb, with litter and cigarette butts scattered all over. Leaving your bed has become an everyday struggle.

However, life goes on and soon you start realizing the beauty of winter. The way it makes you more motivated to plow through your library pile. The way it makes you crave hearty soups and piping hot tea. The way the lights twinkle amidst the falling snow. And, last but not least, the way the kitchen and oven become the center of your house.

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Happy New Years!

1 Jan

Happy New Years!

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Wishes for 2011

29 Dec

Dear 2011,

I look forward to meeting you so soon. To be honest, I couldn’t believe you were coming but there you are, smack dab on my calendar. I’m not sure if you know this, but 2010 was a pretty big year. HUGE. I don’t mean to put pressure on you but I don’t think you can compete. Hence this letter. I’d like to give you some of my wishes and maybe you can outmatch 2010. What do you think? Here goes…

I’ve been working on my career, pushing myself to be what others want me to be. Stronger, faster, wiser. All those things delivered with a happy smile. But am I getting anywhere? I am not sure. I thought I had found a good place but things change and life points you to go down a different path. I’m happy with the choices I’ve made because I have met some truly remarkable women. However, I have my moments of fear. If you could send some confidence or reassurance my way, I’m sure it could help.

Family and friends have always been extremely important to me. Living 3,000 miles away has been a struggle and I haven’t kept my end of the bargain with maintaining those relationships. I need more help in that area. Maybe we can work together on this? Like giving me the patience for the telephone, which is a device I absolutely hate. Because these people play such big roles in my life and I don’t want to miss anything.

I’ve been pretty patient but I think its time for that some special to come in my life, don’t you think? I know things happen for a reason but I would really like them to happen now. If you can make him tall, nerdy, and full of laughter that would be exceptional. I need a good laugh.

Lastly, let’s talk about this New York City adventure I’m on. I want to maintain my positive attitude in a rather rough city that can suck the life out of you. Can you help with that? Sometimes I get so worked up, walking up and down these crowded streets, bumping in to cold strangers. If you could show me how to relax when I get home, to ignore the simple maladies that spring up, I’d really appreciate it.

xoxo Amanda

Christmas Confessions

27 Dec

I must confess my Christmas sins.

Instead of logging in the appropriate running miles, I slovenly sat on the couch. All weekend.

I may have watched six (SIX!) movies in two days. (Nightmare Before Christmas, The Fighter, The Town, Easy A, Nine, Salt)

I plowed through Dexter Season 5 in less than 24 hours.

That tasty gravy for the potatoes? FROM A CAN.

I had at least 4 servings of that Grand Raspberry Trifle I made.

My breakfast for the past three days has consisted of cookies.

I asked and received the latest Twilight movie. DON’T JUDGE ME.

I didn’t feel guilty at all for soaking up the mild California winter while my NYC mates are digging themselves outta snow.

Phew, I feel all better.

Got any confessions? Go ahead and spill. Trust me, your secret is safe with me :)

Comfort + Joy

22 Dec

Signing off for the holiday. I hope you all have a lovely holiday full of laughter, food, and warmth.

Xoxo Amanda

Home is good for the heart

20 Dec

I was on edge all day last Thursday. An antsy traveler, I couldn’t wait to get on the plane and be home. Although, if I may be fair, I was a little sad to leave New York. In only a few months, my heart has opened to New York, to all its little folies and fun quirks. Especially now, during the holidays and chilly weather, the city is bursting with energy. However, with my bags packed, I boarded my JetBlue flight, cocktail in hand, ready to grace my hometown.

I can’t put in to words how happy I was driving through my little neighborhood. Even though the weather was gloomy, everything looked bright and luminous to me. The first thing I did was collapse on my GIANT queen bed, fully clothed and observed the silence. Not one horn, siren, or angry shout could be heard. And it was lovely. The next thing I did was smother my oven in kisses. Crazy, yes, but true.

After a deep and refreshing night’s sleep, I woke up with a sudden craving for biscuits. Humble and savory, it made for a good partner with my steaming cup of coffee. I am not a traditional biscuit gal; I prefer muffins or scones. But, on this morning, I couldn’t quell my desire for a buttery biscuit.

I chose this baking powder biscuit recipe from my beloved “Baking Handbook” by Martha Stewart. Instead of the traditional whole milk, I used buttermilk as it provided a little tang with each bite. Without yeast, they aren’t as fluffy as I’d like but that was to be expected. If you are still planning your Christmas menu, I would recommend these biscuits because of their basic ingredients and quick preparation. Next time, I’d add some rosemary or perhaps cheddar cheese. Nothing like some cheesy goodness!

You can find the original recipe here.

Christmas Treats

16 Dec

In the past, this little space of mine becomes decked out with the Christmas sweets. Cookies in every shape and flavor are featured on every page. Pies, oh the pies! Let’s not forget about the cakes too. Sadly, as you can see, I’ve posted NADA on Christmas sweets. However, I’d like to take a trip down memory lane and maybe give you some ideas for your holiday parties.

Chocolate bread pudding.

This would be a smart dish to make for a party since it can be made the night before hand and requires almost no day-of prepping. Use old eggy bread, soak it in the chocolate custard overnight, and bake it the day off.

Mini Lemon Curd Cheesecakes

For that big party you have planned, give these mini cheesecakes a shot. You can make them the night before, chill them overnight, and bring them to room temperature before your party starts. Plus, I guarantee your partygoers will be happy to see some citrus on the overly chocolate buffet table.

Millionaire’s Shortbread

Dark chocolate, sweet condensed milk, and lots of butter. From the geniuses behind the famed Baked bakery, I present to you an addicting bar cookie.

Triple Chocolate Scones

Scones are a lovely way to start your morning. Why not kick it up a notch by adding in three different kinds of chocolate? I totally just made you drool, didn’t I?

Icebox Butter Cookies

Nothing says Merry Christmas like butter cookies, especially those dipped in festive sprinkles. What I love the most about this recipe is how easy it is. Slice and bake. It can’t be any easier, right?

Hope these Christmas treats help you out! They are some of my favorite recipes and have helped me in a pinch. Are there other recipes that you turn to annually? I’m curious to hear about your holiday staples.

Christmas in the City

14 Dec

Last Thursday, I ventured out with a friend to see the giant tree at Rockefeller Center. Seeing the sparkling lights and pretty snowflakes made me feel like a little kid. I’m such a sucker, I know but on this chilly night, I could feel the Christmas spirit. Actually, it would be nearly impossible to not feel festive in the city. New York is practically aglow with the holidays. Sure holiday shopping can be a pain and the subways are more packed than ever.

But I decided at the start of December to remember what Christmas is all about. Family, love, friends, health, and peace.

Lights in Chelsea Market

Some big things have happened n the past couple of weeks. I’ve (almost) completed my first semester of grad school, left my beloved job, found another one, and m gearing up for a trip home. Yes, I leave for California on Thursday and CAN. NOT.WAIT. I’m literally jumping for joy. I’ve got friends to catch up, cakes to bake, and christmas carols to sing. Ok, I’m kidding about that last one unless you count singing in the shower. I just need these next three days to pass FAST!

How are you all doing? Hanging in there? Scrambling to find your last minute gifts? Overdosing on eggnog?

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