Sticky Steamy Summer Sad Face

As you may have deduced from my blog’s name, I live on Long Island. I used to believe that Long Island had an appealing climate. Wintery winters, springy springs, summery summers, you get the picture. After this summer, I’ve changed my mind. Heat wave after heat wave – and the humidity! Ugh. It’s like this evil weather-killer. I take a peek at the week’s temperatures and see low and mid-80s and think, Ok, that’s not so bad. And then I step outside and it easily feels ten degrees hotter and so much stickier.

Remember when summers had cool nights and breezy mornings? When you needed a cardigan or denim jacket if you were headed out to dinner? Not this year. Here are some ways to keep cool.

1. Go to the mall – Not only will you cool off, but you will also forget that it’s even summer. Stores are pumping up the A/C to encourage you to buy fall clothes. We stopped at Roosevelt Field the other day and the stores were easily 60 degrees, with the employees warmly bundled in the latest collections.

PS I want this:

And these:

I also wouldn’t say no these:

Ok, so maybe spending too much time at the mall would be a bad thing.

2. Go to the beach – If you are fortunate enough to have a child who doesn’t enjoy eating sand, the beach is always an option. Nolan enjoys eating sand by the handful. He maintains direct eye contact while he does this because he knows he isn’t supposed to. If you try to give him real food to eat, he will cover it with his favorite condiment, sand.

3. Drink cold drinks – Like these

Or my favorite tasty drink that I wrote about here

Just say yes to a vodka gimlet. If you’re feeling adventurous, try these basil infused ones.

Stay cool, people!

Best Kitchen Gadgets Under $20

The kitchen is a room that is easy to fill with expensive goodies. Appliances (big and small), fancy knives, pots and pans – thousands of dollars spent faster than you can say Crate and Barrel.  The good news is that there are tons of useful, fun tools and gadgets that aren’t pricey but still making cooking easier. Here are some of my favorites:

Microplane Zester ($15.95) – a must-have for zesting citrus fruits, you can also use this for fine shavings of chocolate and cheese.

Citrus Reamer ($3.95) – while it certainly doesn’t have the power of a large electric juicer, this little sucker makes it surprisingly easy to get tons of juice out of citrus fruits. This is a favorite of mine when making cocktails!

Steaming Basket – an easy way to gently cook vegetables and it’s invaluable for making baby food!

Liquid Measuring Cups ($11.95) – did you know that liquid and solid measuring cups aren’t the same? It’s true. One cup in a dry measuring cup is different than one cup in a liquid container.  It makes a big difference when baking because you need precise measurements. This measuring cup from Crate and Barrel is pretty with its green markings, don’t you think? Pyrex and Anchor make sets of these in different sizes for very reasonable prices.

Cookie Dough Scoop ($12.95) – If you bake cookies with any regularity, using a scoop helps keep the cookies a consistent size so everything cooks evenly. It also keeps your hands clean (that is until you start eating cookie dough).

 What about you, fellow home cooks? What low-cost gadgets and tools are invaluable to you?

Baby Splurges

People often complain, “Babies are expensive!”  but I haven’t found that to be the case…yet. I foresee having school-age and (eek!) college-age children much more expensive. For now, I’ve saved money by purchasing diapers online through Amazon Mom, breastfeeding, making baby food, and having very generous friends and family who seriously hooked me up at my baby shower.

I also love a bargain. Carter’s sends me coupons pretty much every day and I have taken advantage of double-stamp Tuesdays for a few $10 certificates. Etsy is a wonderful spot for handmade clothes and toys but the prices aren’t always the cheapest. Still, I’d rather spend an extra few dollars and support an individual than buy another mass-produced, Made in China item at Buy Buy Baby.

Now that the holidays are around the corner HERE, advertisements for beautiful baby goodies abound. Some items make zero sense to me.

This is a baby sweater from J.Crew. It’s $125. And it’s cashmere. I think I find the material more offensive than the price. I don’t know if you know this about babies, but they spit up and drool about a gallon a day. They also have this cool trick where they poop up their backs (or is that just Nolan?). For fear of handing over my paycheck to the dry cleaner, I have had to temporarily “retire” all my wool sweaters so I certainly am not putting one on my baby. But then I try to imagine myself rich. Would it be normal to send my infant’s clothes to the dry cleaner? Would it bother me when my son poop-sploded up his back and into the fine Italian cashmere fibers of this sweater?

And then there is this layette set from Mabo.

It’s $62 which I KNOW is silly. But did you see that little knot hat? And the cute little butt?

It’s details like that that make me want to do crazy things! Like buy baby clothes for $62!

And did I mention they come in stripes?

Etsy is highly addicting (and overwhelming) and I have purchased a few cute mini-splurges for Nolan on there. This flag banner from Sweetbug Studio hangs above Nolan’s crib.

This owl hat from Jojos “Boo”tique is ridiculously cute. It was made to order so it took about a month to receive but it was worth the wait.

With the weather (finally) getting cold, the fleece-y booties from Bison Booties I bought are coming in handy. The seller carries booties in a ton of really adorable fabrics. They arrived pretty quickly so they make a great gift!

We bought this picture to hang in Nolan’s room. I love the old-fashioned style taxi. It reminds me of old New York movies like An Affair to Remember.

Little Alouette makes wooden teethers that are eco and baby friendly. Yes to fewer plastic toys! Fingers crossed Nolan doesn’t read my blog because he has two of these in his stocking.

Grandma Chic

I’ve worn glasses for the past fourteen years (when did that happen??). I started out just wearing them to see the chalkboard in high school, then for movies, then for driving, then the computer screen, and so on and so on. A few years ago I got lazy and pretty much stopped wearing them unless I was driving.  At some point last year I realized that I was magnifying my computer screen to embarassing proportions and that I couldn’t identify who was waving at me from down the hall until he or she was right in front of me. Pregnancy made these problems worse (who knew that pregnancy can affect your vision?) and when I went to the eye doctor a few months ago, he confirmed that my vision was a lot worse than it was just a year ago.

I like my glasses, that’s not the problem, I just hate taking them on and off all day. I have the bad habit of pushing them to the top of my head but that stretches out the frames and pulls my hair. That’s where the glasses chain comes in! So far, everyone I have mentioned this to has balked and called me a grandma, but I think there are some cute options out there.

Like this one I found on Etsy:

This one, also being sold on Etsy, has a delicate jewelry-like feel:

Are there cute options that you’ve seen? I think they’re grandma-chic! Consider all the other grandmotherly accessories we embrace: cardigans, brooches and pins, tissues up your sleeve … oh wait, that’s just me.

Keep your eyes peeled for a fabulous glasses chain and let me know what you find!

Rich People Are Crazy

I ran out to Sephora this morning and parked in the Nordstrom parking lot (FYI: Sephora in Roosevelt Field moved over by Nordstrom). I rarely go in Nordstrom because, although they have lovely items, I’m just not wealthy (or Botoxed) enough to shop there. Every now and then I’ll grab some shoes or makeup, but I don’t even go near the clothing. Spending too much time in there makes me feel inadequate and curiously pale.

On my way back through the store I saw an upper middle-aged couple talking to friends and gently pushing a stroller back and forth. It looked like an expensive stroller, maybe a Maclaren, and I was curious to see the baby inside. As I walked by and stole a peak, I was taken aback to see two Yorkshire Terriers snuggled inside.  I came to the logical conclusion, rich people are crazy.

Shoe Thoughts

I bought a few skirts today that are kind of short but meant to be worn with tights. What do you think about these shoes with them? Would these look cute with tights or am I hitting the crack pipe too hard? They also come in black but I don’t know if I would like black tights with black shoes.

There are also these:

And these:

I saved the best ones for last. These are the ones I really want but they’re $350!!!!!! Not in my budget – thanks for nothing, Marc Jacobs!

$15 well spent

When I was at Target last week I was unable to resist the shoe department’s pull. Every now and then I’ll snag a trendy, inexpensive pair from one of the endcaps and this time was a big score.

At full price, they’re $16.99 but they were on sale for $15:


They’re even cuter on. Don’t be afraid to do a half size smaller than usual; I did (because they didn’t have my size and I NEEDED them) and it was for the best because they stretch a bit. Thanks, Target!

What the…

I’m supposed to receive my fun new shoes from Tom’s today – woohoo! Did you know that for every pair of shoes Tom’s sells, they give a pair to child who would otherwise be barefoot? It’s pretty amazing.


This morning I checked out the UPS tracking info and saw this:

Train derailment?? What the?

Thankfully, the UPS website says I’m still getting my shoes today. They better not be lying or someone at the MTA is going to have me to answer to. And I might make them get me a Starbucks. Or something crazy like that.

Why the Girl Scouts can kiss my ass

In case you’ve never spent more than 30 seconds with me, I love sweets. I love junk food. I love dessert. I rationalize this bad habit of mine by trying to eat real sweets. Instead of Chips Ahoy, I’ll make cookies. Instead of some slow-churned low-fat ice cream, I like the basic Breyers’ flavors because the ingredients are actual foods instead of, say, acesulfame potassium and cellulose gum (actual ingredients in the Edy’s Slow Churned).  I’m not saying the sweets I’m eating are nutritious, because they’re not, but I’d rather have some fat than a little less fat and a million chemicals.

This is a problem when Girl Scout cookie time rolls around. Have you ever read the ingredients on them? It’s not pretty.

Mmmm, partially hydrogenated oils. Just like Grandma used to make!

In different parts of the country they’re not called Do-si-dos but Peanut Butter Sandwiches and they also have three different kinds of high fructose corn syrup.

But there’s good news! Back to Nature, a food company based in Wisconsin that uses pretty sustainable packaging and works with lots of environmental charities, make cookies that are JUST LIKE Girl Scout cookies, but better. You can find them at Whole Foods, but I also saw a pretty big selection in the organic section at Stop & Shop.

For example, their peanut butter cookies are a total (and welcome) rip-off of Girl Scout Do-si-dos with no hydrogenated oil.

Even as “natural cookies” go, these could be healthier. They have enriched flour which isn’t the best and they’re a little fattening, but they make up for it when you dip them in milk. Wow.

I haven’t tried all of Back to Nature’s products, but I’ve tasted a lot of them and been very happy. Their Fudge Mint Cookies (Girl Scout Thin Mints) are amazing, especially if you put them in the fridge.

Happy fattening (but not toxic) snacking!

Brooklyn Flea Market

A few weeks ago my mom and I ventured into that hip, expensive borough known as Brooklyn. I have some Brooklyn roots but Canarsie hasn’t experienced quite the “renewal” other areas have so we stay away from there. Anywho, I was not aware that the day we decided to head to the Brooklyn Flea Market was also the day of the NYC Bike Race. So what should have taken about 30 or 40 minutes, took FOUR AND A HALF HOURS.

Let’s pretend that didn’t happen. The flea market was cute. We went to the indoor one in the old Williamsburg Savings Bank building right across from the Flatbush Avenue LIRR station. Note to self: take the mother-loving train next time. There is also a seasonal market in Fort Greene. All the details are on the website linked above. Cool building, right?

It was less furniture and housewares than I’d hoped, but lots of great jewelry. Outside the bank is a parking lot filled with local food vendors and picnic tables. Maybe the Fort Greene location has more furniture? Not sure.

Hope on the train or grab a sleeping bag and crawl on the BQE and go to the Flea Market some time soon!