Saturday, October 10, 2015

One Lucky Girl

Our two year anniversary is coming up in about a week (where has the time gone?!), and what an amazing ride these past two years have been. If you had told me that I'd have packed up shop in NYC, left the job and industry I worked in, got married, moved to England, lived with my in-laws for 8 months, been a full-time housewife, then would start a new job in marketing AND a family in less than 24 months.... what?!?!

No dear, that's not how you eat a pumpkin.
Steve's sultry pumpkin face.

Well, as a little "thank you" from the world's best husband, I came home to a big red gift bag last night. Completely out of the blue, and I had no idea what was inside (though I was hoping it was edible, and chocolate, because, I mean, #preggoproblems).

It was a camera. My first real camera. I've been playing with my P90 bridge for about 3 years now, and I've been wanting a DSLR for a long time. More importantly, this one. My absolute dream come true. He's a keeper, that's for sure. I cried... a lot. Like, my ugly cry face. All night. The pregnancy hormones didn't help that one, that's for sure.

Then, of course, I needed to try it out! So this morning Steve skipped golf and we drove to a pick-your-own farm to go pumpkin picking, because this beautiful October weekend was just begging for activities that screamed autumn.

He found a winner!
Which is bigger: the pumpkin or the bump?

It was picture perfect. It was the best day. It's still the best day. I'm on cloud 9.

I am one lucky girl.

Happy Weekend, everyone.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Apples to Apples

I'm only kind of severely obsessed with fall. Autumn. Whatever you call it, wherever you are. I love it to bits, although nothing will ever compare to the one-of-a-kind vibrant harvest months that I grew up with back in Pennsylvania. 

I've had a hankering for all kinds of autumnal foods (freshly picked apples and sweet corn, to name a few), so this morning Steve took me to this country farm store near where we live. How we've never been before, is a mystery to me. It's reminiscent of so many country and Amish markets from my home; fresh produce, preserves, baked goods, leather goods, local dairy... Basically a country chef's wet dream, and here it was just down the road from our home the whole time! 

I hear the argument all the time, "it's too expensive to shop like that on a regular basis." Well, you're wrong. Sorry. But a major part of changing the way we eat is changing the way we shop, and markets are the way forward. Please, please leave the negativity at the door and give your local one a try. 

The biggest reason is quality. Food that has been grown with care on a smaller scale and picked at the peak of its ripeness tastes leagues above anything you will buy in a supermarket. Try a store-bought apple versus a freshly picked ripe apple any day and you will see the difference instantly. 

Variety is number two. You can get things you'd never see in the supermarket, like heirloom tomatoes (which most stores don't sell because they're not as "visually pleasing" and therefore "less likely to sell"). Heirloom varieties and obscure and unusual fruits and vegetables may only be grown by a hobbyist or small scale farmer, so your local market is the place to find them when your supermarket has the same-old-same-old year round. No one wants a mealy tomato in January. Learn what's in season (or look at prices and what's available at your market; that's usually how you can find out what's fresh right now). Buy local, shop local, and you can ensure that the freshness and variety will continue to be available. 

If you don't go to a supermarket, you don't wander down aisles of prepackaged, processed junk and even non-food items that you don't NEED. We stayed within budget, bought a wider variety of [nicer, locally grown, organic] produce than we could ever get at a supermarket (and nothing was wrapped in plastic! Imagine that). Then a trip to the local butcher on our high street for sausages, a beef joint for roasting, a rack of ribs, and some pork pies, and we STILL came in under our usual grocery budget for the week. Yes, I will probably have to go to a supermarket to pick up laundry detergent later in the week. But everything in the house is fresh and gorgeous, and that quick pit stop in the supermarket will be for the one or two items I need and nothing more. That is how you shop. Buck the trend. Give it a try yourself. You won't be sorry, I promise. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Aside from the initial announcement, I haven't done a real pregnancy-themed post yet. Well, here it is! 20 weeks. We have our anatomy scan tomorrow, and I can't contain my excitement. It's been 6 long weeks since I've last seen our little one, and it seems like an eternity! I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight.

Oh, and this baby is ACTIVE. I was told that maybe I'd feel flutters by 18 weeks. Ish. Maybe.

15 weeks and I felt like popcorn was popping in my stomach. Regularly. Came out of nowhere, and hasn't stopped since. My midwife struggled to get a good count on his/her heartbeat because the little munchkin would not sit still during my last appointment (Let's hope that baby cooperates for the ultrasound tomorrow).

Now this little dude/dudette is definitely doing all kinds of acrobatics and throwing 1-2 punches. All day every day. No lie. This kid does not sleep, I swear.  What did I expect when both my husband and myself are super energetic people? A sleeper? No. There is a very hyper baby in my belly, and there is no denying it.

I must look like a completely deranged moron, the way I will just be going about any activity at work, on the train, at home, and just stop and smile from ear to ear. Come on, what am I supposed to do when this little one starts bouncing around? Joy has no measure for what I'm feeling. I can't wait to meet this baby fo' real, but I'm beginning to get concerned that my heart might literally explode from loving too much. Is that a thing?

Hunger: it's finally here. I had a really horrendous time towards the beginning, and my body pretty much refused any and all food intake. Coupled with starting a new job which involves at 3/4 mile uphill hike of a commute each day, and I ended up LOSING weight up for quite a while! But I've been eating like a horse for about 6 weeks now and all is good. I definitely, as you can see, have the bump going for me.

Clothing has only just begun to be a struggle. For a while I was really discouraged and insecure, because before the bump was really visible, I just felt fat and frumpy. I had a lot of bloat at the beginning too, so I really felt as horrible as I looked. I wore baggy dresses and tops to hide whatever hint of a belly I had, since I didn't tell my boss/colleagues the news until after we had our 12 week scan (which happened at 14 weeks for me, so they had to wait a while, and it was beginning to become obvious).

Now that I've got this cute little bumpy thing that I am so proud of, I'm trying to wear closer-fitting tops, dresses, and skirts to show it off! Jersey maxi skirts and my maternity leggings from Target are my bff's right now. Seriously, if you're pregnant, buy these leggings. I wish I was still in the States so I could order more. I have already gotten so much wear out of them, as elastic waistbands on everything else were first awkward and uncomfortable, and now are just downright impossible. I've really struggled to find cute maternity-friendly clothes here, since there are 0 high street maternity clothing stores in the UK, and most stores only carry their limited maternity range online. The few stores I've been to (Debenhams, H&M), had really disappointing jeans-and-tshirt options in very poor quality. What's with the horizontal stripes? Why are you making us look wider? Cut it out! And where are the work-appropriate clothes? Mommas-to-be need to go to work, too!

 There's a serious need for maternity clothing in the market here, but I digress.

I'm starting to get sick of hiking skirts up to my bra line and wearing giant sack dresses with a belt, but I'm starting to get the hang of dressing this bump. It's an uphill battle, since my size and shape is constantly changing every week (or every day!). Some days I panic about how much my body is morphing, and I worry that I'll always look like a funhouse mirror. But I'm sure that the motivation to get back into shape will come in spades, and that I'll always have to remember to be patient with myself. After all, it's going to take 9 months to change, so it will probably take a decent chunk of time to go back to "normal". Positivity and patience. It's all worth it for the end result.

Another total lifesaver is my Nutribullet. On those days when I can't be bothered to cook due to exhaustion or a picky palate, I blend up something fruity and green to make sure I'm getting all of the nutrition that baby and I need. We finally bought a transformer (this transformer) to convert several of my American appliances for use here in the UK. It's worked like a charm so far for both my Nutribullet and my Cuisinart ice cream maker, and I'll be using it for my sewing machine too. If you're moving abroad and don't want to have to replace expensive appliances, then I highly recommend it.

Enough rambling for now! I'll talk about this baby and everything associated with it until the cows come home if I don't stop myself.

Monday, August 24, 2015

On my plate: week of August 17-23

I'm hungry. Like, really hungry. An inhuman level of hunger has possessed me. Our meals last week were what I would normally classify as "man food"; the cold rainy weather didn't help either. Here's what I concocted in our kitchen: 

Breakfasts: Homemade oatmeal (porridge) using 1/2cup uncooked oats, a handful of mixed dried fruits, and 1 tsp brown sugar

Lunches: Soup! This is a carrot and coriander soup I whipped up when I picked up a massive bag of carrots on sale. It's not vegetarian because I used chicken stock as the base, then just cooked down carrots, onion, garlic, and the spices (mostly coriander), and hit it with an immersion blender and a splash of cream at the end. Oh, and homemade bread, because it's 1) so super simple that I can just pop a loaf in the oven after work twice a week, and 2) it's cheaper than store bought bread: about 33p (50 cents?) a per loaf. Plus, its delicious and amazing and packaged bread can't hold a candle to it. Here's my recipe


Dinners! I usually cook enough that we both eat leftovers for lunch the next day. First up to the plate (well, bowl) is my chock-full chili. It has all of the southwest chili flavor, but with the added magic of lots of veg and sweet potato to kick it up a notch, a la Emeril.  The sweet potato was one of my genius additions that has proven to be a real crowd pleaser. 


Then I had one of those really naughty down-home comfort food cravings, and resorted to linguine with broccoli and chicken in a pesto cream sauce. (A little note: When I poach chicken for recipes like this, I use the "stock" leftover as a base for soups!) We effectively committed carbicide that day. Don't judge the preggo. 


These sausages were picked up at our local farmer's market. They're venison and red currant sausauges, which I browned and braised in a fresh tomato sauce with some peppers and onions and served over creamy parmesan polenta. Rainy day food at its finest. This was actually a small side plate, not even a large dinner plate. It was that filling.     


Veggie night (we try to do this at least twice a week): Spinach and ricotta canneloni! With fresh spinach and tomatoes in a really light, fresh sauce. Ok, I was craving Italian this week. At least I mixed it up a little bit. This photo was before baking, because they lasted all of 3 minutes once they came out of the oven. This was the hub's favorite meal last week, if I'm not mistaken. 


And that's all the photos I've got! I was inspired to do another post in this series today as I caught up on some much loved blog reading this weekend. Comment below if you'd like me to post any of the recipes (on the blog or by email!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Proper Use and Appreciation of Scented Candles: Summer is Over

I'm obsessed with candles. Specifically, scented candles. The kind that stank up your house like you've been running a bakery or making professional floral arrangements out of your home. I just do. And I like my candles to be seasonally specific. I'm actually kind of insane about it. Fun fact. 

Consider this my version of a public service announcement, which I feel like my new surroundings warrant more than ever. Pregnancy hormones coupled with homesickness and general me-style rage have ended in a rampage through every known possible retailer and purveyor of scented wax in the country.

 I've been writing these little blurbs seasonally for years because it's a particular personal passion of mine, and a joke between myself and a friend. I cannot understand, for instance, how anyone - ANYONE - could see the logic in burning a peach scented candle in the middle of January, or a Japanese cherry blossom wax melt in October. It baffles me. Also, "Amber"? That's not a smell, it's a rock. Come on, enough with the generic scents that make your bedroom smell like a middle aged men's clothing store.

Since relocating internationally, I have massively struggled to find ANY scents that are seasonally specific, because apparently "that's not a thing here". Do you know what is a thing? Ridiculously expensive imported Yankee Candles. And I cannot support my habit if I have to resort to them. So let me enlighten everyone that I possibly can, and maybe we can all avoid nasally offending each other this year. 

They apply to everyone, and I mean everyone, so please, for my sanity, follow these recommendations. It's basic logic. Don't let me down.

So, here are the guidelines for this particular time of year, which I typed up in... lemme have a look here... 2010? You need to know.

August-September Transition

This is probably the second most highly anticipated candle season, next to waiting for it to be pine-sap-on-my-shoe season.

Let us highlight the key acceptable transition scents until September 15th, beginning on August 15th:

-Hazlenut, Hazlenut cream, and all variations of nut scents that do not involve cinnamon or clove notes.
-Warm vanilla, Vanilla Sugar, Buttercream Icing. *Sugar cookie is not acceptable*
-Dark Berry Pie Scents
-Caramel-Pecan and Pecan Pie
-Peach Cobbler (peaches ripen late in summer, so this scent is acceptable. Springy peach scents that resemble a Bath & Body works fragrance from the early 1990's are not acceptable)
-Banana Nut Bread (although this scent will undermine all diet plans. This is a fact)
-Cinnamon Bun
-Black Cherry
-Coffee scents

 It is time to retire the following until after the holidays:
-Beach scents
-Anything white that is not vanilla
-Green scents that resemble a mixture of cut grass and laundry detergent 
-Country Breeze, Country Linen, and anything else with a picture of laundry on a clothesline on the sticker. I'm sorry if you have a half-burnt Fresh Linen jar on the table, but just think, it's almost pumpkin time!

If you, like myself, are stranded in the UK with no sign of anything nasally pleasing in sight, adopt my new strategy: to buy candles on clearance a year in advance, per season. My husband is going to love that I'm accumulating more crap. But I digress...

Here are a few examples of some candles on my shopping list this month:
This will be like, my payday treat if I get it, and I won't be allowed to buy any more candles for a month.

Displaying WL PP C.jpg
This sounds like exactly what I need, except its £4 for a tiny little bathroom-sized tin. In a pinch, and on sale, I bet it would satisfy my baked goods scent craving if nothing else can be found.

Buy Voluspa Clove Pomander Tin Scented Candle Online at
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to. I feel like that should be the name of all Voluspa candles. If I win the lottery someday, my home will be full of them, and you'll know it from about a mile away. I don't even know what this scent actually is, I just love them all and I'm guessing it will be OK for this time of year, based on the color alone.

That's pretty much all I've found so far. I know of a store or two that imports Village Candles, and that's an option, but once again import = expensive. I might as well splurge on Yankee. I just can't wrap my head around it. Last year, Febreeze released a few seasonal scents around Thanksgiving/Christmas time, so I'm crossing my fingers that they pop up again. They're quite small, though, so they don't hold up for long when they're burnt every day, but they definitely pack a smell factor, in the best possible way. 

If you're a UK candle lover and you know where to go for (cheaper) seasonal scented candles, please drop me a line in the comments below! I'm desperate over here!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015


 Fit has hit the shan, in the best possible way.

We made a tiny human. 

I know I've been absent on here for a long time, and I have a few good reasons for that (keep reading). Lately I've been honestly and truly feeling like blogging was missing from my life, and now that I actually have something semi-interesting to talk about, voila! Here I am. 

I apologize in advance for all of the photos being taken/edited on my phone. But you know what? We just can't afford my Adobe subscription for Photoshop right now, and I've got no shame in saying that I know what the essentials are, and Photoshop isn't one of them. Food is. Lots and lots of food. My appetite is playing catch-up for the 6 weeks of constant round-the-clock nausea I endured. Things that the budget still includes: this waterfront lunch of tapas when we spent the other Saturday chilling down in the sunshine in Portsmouth. I got fed AND bought new shoes. Priorities. Photoshop can wait. 

Anywho... It's 3:32 am. I have this hip pain thing going on, and although my midwife assures me that it is totally normal, it also makes sleeping in just about any position wildly uncomfortable (and standing up 10x worse). Seriously? I'm only just in my second trimester this week; I feel like I shouldn't be uncomfortable yet. But I'll still go around smiling ear to ear like a complete fool because I can't stop looking down at this tiny little bump-in-progress. 

Yes, it was kind of a total surprise. Two days before I had to get on an international flight, alone, I might add. But then again, we were kind of lax in our preventative methods because we both were open to (and secretly hoping for) this outcome. So there's your first question answered.  Honestly in all its glory. Sorry for the details, mom. I know you'll keep chalking it up to immaculate conception for the rest of your/my life. 

So, as a FTM (that's "first time mom", because I'm totally a nerdy What To Expect message board addict at the moment), I'm all ears for you more well-rounded mothering sorts. Particularly the ones of my own generation (again, sorry mom) so that I can have a little insight on what really is the low down these days. Tricks and tips for anything and everything, except "morning" sickness (total misnomer), which I have only recently managed to escape the hellish grasps of, are greatly welcomed. I'm kind of doubly deer-in-the-headlights when it comes to knowing/recognizing anything to do with baby brands over here in the UK, too, so if you live on this side of the pond, [please] help me out. 

On the non-preggo front, here is the rest of the news: 

I started a new job, at which I immediately had to tell them I'd be going on maternity leave in about 6 months. So that's fun. But it's a beautiful castle (literally) of a school and it's filled with really wonderful people. I'm quite happy there and they've been really great about the whole "tadaa! I'm pregnant!" thing. Then again, as Steve would say, "it's a Catholic school; they have to be." Lol. 

We've been in our flat for about 3 1/2 months now (the first month or so of which was spent without Internet, the second of which I was in America for, hence my absence), and of course we immediately now need something bigger. We're the poster children for Murphy's Law. So we're thinking of moving in November, but with our current lease we can leave anytime after 6 months if we give enough notice, so it wasn't that much of a "hurry up and panic" situation.

Well my friends, it's 3:51. I'm wide awake because I was so gosh-darned-tired that I fell asleep at 8:45. Ish. I don't know what to do to get myself comfortable enough to go back to sleep, so I'll probably just read, since, for the moment, I've run out of things to write. 

Much love. 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Life at the Pond

It's been a month, and unfortunately it's also been a month of radio silence, since that's apparently how long it takes BT to fix the internet wiring for our building. But before I go off on a rant, let's focus on the happy fact: It's been a month in our new home, and it's wonderful.

Not having any access to the outside world was kind of a blessing. There's been a lot to do before the space inside these walls felt like a home, and it's helped me to get out and embrace the beautiful town that I can call my own. Alton is a beautiful place. Our flat is a cozy place. And the pond is a glorious place. I already feel so affectionately for Kings Pond, which I have dubbed, "my pond," despite its obvious public location and use; and I have spent many an afternoon seated at its sides, watching the ducks, geese, and swans while indulging in a book.

 I hadn't read a book in ages, which is so unlike me, but with the lack of internet and incredible used book store just around the corner, I've been in binge mode. It's been a relief, really. I felt like life was so less hectic when I didn't have to worry about updates and emails and notifications, and I kinda liked it. It was a bit irritating to have to stand outside of coffee shops stealing wifi and trying not to look suspicious when I really needed to send an email, but it happened and we move on none the worse. Maybe for the better. Maybe it will inspire me a little to put the iPhone away more, to focus on what's around me more than what's supposed to be constantly entertaining me. And I'm hopeful that it does.

For more updates on Instagram, check out my hashtag #LifeAtThePond

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Moving Tips

You can take it from me, because I'm kind of a pro by now; tomorrow will be the 6th time I've moved in the last 8 years. I'm a pack rat, too, so these aren't going to be unrealistic tips for minimalists and men who have three drawers full of clothing and nothing else to pack.

My last move from Brooklyn, NY to the UK was by far the biggest deal of all moves I've ever made, and it was also my first time packing unassisted. All of those moves in my college days had the handy dandy help of family and friends, but in New York I didn't have those luxuries during the packing stage, and I also had a lot more to pack as a post-grad working, living human.

I've only been here for 8 months so far (Only! Lol.), but even I was surprised at how much stuff we already had - whether shipped over from the U.S., or purchased for our new flat. But I was still able to do the packing single-handedly, and here's how I kept it all together for a smooth move this time around:

1. LABEL THINGS. There's nothing worse than A) trying to unpack and not knowing which box you need, and B) unloading a moving truck/van/vehicle and not knowing which room to place boxes in. Just grab a Sharpie and label that shiz, yo. Just the word, "KITCHEN" is sufficient, or you can get super ridiculous and make inventory sheets for each box, with a corresponding numbering system. I know, I know, it makes me sound insane, but when moving abroad, you have to have an inventory for EVERY item in EVERY box you pack for customs purposes, so you'd better organize yourself from the get-go. And it's really handy when you're unpacking, too; "Oh, can you grab me the mandolin? It's in box #12." Also, the numerical inventory list system works great when you're putting things into storage, i.e., "I have to grab box # 2 because it contains the Christmas decorations."

2. PLAN AHEAD. If you know you're moving in the semi-near future, you can start packing NOW. There's no way you need to use everything you own, all the time. Extra sets of dishes, sheets, out-of-season clothing, and your DVD collection can all be boxed up (and labeled!) way in advance. It saves a lot of time and stress as the days count down to your move.

3. FILTER. Embracce this opportunity to downsize a little (or a lot). It's less that you have to pack, so look at it on the bright side! I got rid of TEN MASSIVE BAGS of clothing in my last move, and packing this time around, I still have a ton of clothing. It was hard to let go at first, but it's so liberating. Even if you have every September Issue of Vogue for the last 20 years... when was the last time you looked at any of them? Magazines are heavy. Do yourself a favor and recycle or donate to charity. You won't miss them. I promise.

4. MAKE A LIST for the morning of your move. There are some things you can't pack in advance (i.e. toiletries, refrigerated items, the cat) and you want to make sure that you can simply breeze down a checklist in the AM and be on your way. There's nothing worse than forgetting something behind. Trust me.

Have any more tips for moving? Leave them in the comments below!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

On My Plate: Week of March 15th

I haven't been that exciting this week with my eating. I haven't been in the kitchen as much while packing up to move to the new flat, so there's lots of fresh fruits and salads and lemon tea, but not my usual ton of cooking going on.

I made a big batch of yellow split peas (aka mung beans I guess?) curried up with some celery, carrots, and peas, and I've been having that with salad for my lunches. It's not very photogenic though, and kind of looks like something you'd find in a diaper (as most curries tend to do), so I didn't take any pictures of it. It's yummy and flavorful, though, and I've enjoyed it.

Here are a few other highlights:

Kiwi! I got some kiwis on sale (half price, yo!) on Monday, and I've been nomming on them since. I haven't had kiwi in ages, and it's one of my favorite fruits. So that's what I've been having as snacks and sometimes breakfasts.

Dark chocolate with hazlenuts! Oh man, this is good. It's a massive bar, too, and it was only like £1.50. It's pretty good, too, for store-brand chocolate, and it's been keeping my sweet tooth at bay this week. It's been really effective at helping me to resist the urge to bake chocolate chip cookie bars or something equally horrifically caloric.

Pret latte! I haven't been to Pret in, like, months. So a short trip into Windsor on Tuesday meant that I got to indulge in one of my favorite places to get a latte. This used to be a Friday tradition for me, since there's a Pret A Manger on like every corner in Midtown, and I kind of miss it. A lot. Not pictured here: the egg & spinach 'protein pot' I had for breakfast with it.

I brought back a classic lunch favorite this week: eggplant (aubergine) "pizza", Here's a link to the recipe - it's grain free and tastes JUST like pizza.

Lastly, this was the only time I cooked dinner this week: Pork roulade stuffed with apples, caramelized onions, garlic & rosemary. Da bomb dot com. There was a really thick, delicious sauce that had the addition of some balsamic vinegar and rosé wine, but I took the photo before adding it because, come on, that roulade is pretty. 

Spring, please.

I am really desperate for springtime. I feel so motivated  this year, and I want to embrace the season that I so often overlooked while living in a city. Yesterday when the weather warmed up, I took a much-needed long hike/walk off the beaten path in search of anything and everything that showed any sign of spring and new life.

Thanks to Pinterest, I have a newfound obsession with foraging, and I would really love to get my hands on a field guide so that I can put my theoretical new passion into practice. A mushroom guide would be amazing, too. I love mushrooms, and I have really fond childhood memories of going mushroom picking in the woods near my grandmother's house, with a giant mushroom encyclopedia in tow. I'm pretty sure that most of the mushroom season is in the fall, but I'd love to get my hands on some wild chanterelles or morels at this time of year.

So, back to reality: we move into our new flat in... (I literally have to go count on my fingers now)... 8 days! Well, kind of. We're getting the keys and moving in some boxes on the Friday, and doing our first grocery shop to stock the place up, but then returning back to stay one final night in our current room at my in-laws' house. The furniture will be loaded into a moving van early the following morning, and then we're out of here for good, supressing the overwhelming urge to sing "So Long, Farewell" in unison. If it were up to me, I'd sleep on the floor the first night, but in the interest of saving money on fuel, it's out of my hands.

Speaking of saving money, I'm going super saver all up in this joint. It's no secret that money has been a tough and tender topic while I'm sitting here waiting to get my visa so that I can go to work, but I've learned a few lessons about what 'necessities' really are in the process. Plus, I've always been the "make it yourself" type when it comes to everything from cleaning products to repurposing objects and containers, so expect some handy DIY type posts in the near future.

That's all, folks!

Friday, March 13, 2015

On My Plate: Week of March 8th

So, this is the second post in my "On My Plate" series. You can catch the first one here if you missed it.

This week was pretty awesome, in terms of deliciousness. I mastered the gluten free sweet potato gnocchi, and I've incorporated it into 3 meals so far. I also came up with a fantastic recipe for balsamic glazed chicken, and it was such a hit that I'll be doing a recipe post for it soon. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos of it at the moment. It was one of those meals that was eaten too quickly to photograph.

I haven't had bubble tea since leaving New York, so I was thrilled to see a bubble tea stand when Steve and I were out & about. It was a nice little treat (and a splurge that I wouldn't usually spend money on) that brought back a lot of fond memories of my former home, and my beloved Chinatown.

Speaking of foods that remind me of home, I made a classic "mom's cooking" favorite: pickled eggs & beets. If you're not from Pennsylvania Dutch country, you're probably not going to understand why anyone would enjoy eating stinky, pickled purple eggs, but trust me: they're incredible. And I love them. And as soon as the weather starts to turn warm, I can't get them out of my head. Well, pickled eggs and deviled eggs... basically, any eggs that you would find served at a picnic potluck. Which is ironic, because they're probably the last foods that you'd want to eat after they'd been left out in the sun. But I digress...

Then I experimented today with my classic tomato sauce. Since it's a Lenten Friday and I won't be partaking in meat today, I made a tuna tomato sauce (served with the last of my sweet potato gnocchi) with fresh spinach & basil. I was a bit skeptical at first, but the flavors are a match made in heaven. I'm even playing around with the idea of a tuna meatball recipe, just for kicks.

Let me know in the comments if you'd like me to post any of the above recipes!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Passive Aggressive

There are some things about marriage that no one tells you about. They don't have to necessarily be good or bad, but they exist, and at some point, they make you laugh or scream. I'm going to be the one to point out the elephant in the room. Our bathroom, to be a little more specific.

Since the day my darling husband moved into my apartment in Brooklyn, to the bathroom we share now, we have been in this passive aggressive war over the placement of the shower head. No one talks about it, but every day when each of us showers, we move it back to where we want it. Sometimes, it's moved into an exaggerated position, to make a point, but we never speak about it. Not a word. Not once. 

I'm 5'3" and I don't wash my hair every day (as most women don't), so I like the shower head to be pointed pretty much directly downward and hit me somewhere below the shoulder blades. This way, no wet hair, but clean Dani. I mean, who showers with water in their face, anyway? How does one breathe? Or see what you're doing? Being constantly pummeled in the face with hot water is somewhere between being cooked alive and waterboarded at the same time. No thank you. 

Steve likes to stand with his head under the hot water for 10 minutes "thinking" before he actually washes himself. How he functions with his head under the water is a mystery; I just assume he's sprouted gills. Why he can't think before entering the shower, I don't know.  He's not a morning person, let's put it that way. So the shower is aimed directly at my eyeballs when I turn it on, if I don't adjust it first. 

And it happens again and again, day after day. 

And I have to laugh, because if I didn't, I'd probably die of frustration. 

And that's what it's like to be married.

All found images.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

On My Plate: Week of March 1st

Optional title for this post: "How to eat Mexican food every day for a week: The Dani Robinson story". Sounds like a Lifetime movie akin to a documentary about the morbidly obese, but I digress:

This is a new little feature that I'd like to get into, because I know I've taken some time off from food and recipe blogging on Street Cred until we move into our new flat. But as someone who is obsessed with cooking, I figured that some of my readers might be wondering what I actually eat. And it's usually pretty healthy, so if there's enough interest in any particular recipe or meal, I'd be more than happy to post it.

First up: Taco-lasagna. I know, this is not the prettiest meal you've ever seen. It's a total weeknight casserole type of thing. But we do "Taco Tuesday" in this house on a pretty regular basis, so this week I mixed it up with all of our favorite taco fixin's in a big lasagna-style presentation. The verdict? Less mess and cleanup, and leftovers were consumed for breakfast the next day (they didn't even make it until lunch, is the point I'm getting at here).

Basically, the taco meat (w/ added crushed tomatoes) was layered with sauteed onions and peppers, cheese, and tortillas replaced the pasta in this lasagna assembly. Then once it came out of the oven, the whole thing was topped with lettuce and tomatoes, and individuals could garnish their portion with salsa, sour cream, guac, etc.

Next up: Leftover pork chops turned burrito bowl. I thinly sliced the pork, added it to onions and peppers, and cooked it up with garlic, chili powder, and cumin. Then I threw it on top of some rice and topped it with homemade salsa, some guac, and greek yogurt (instead of sour cream). It was a great lunch in a pinch, and only took all of 10 minutes to make. On a larger scale, it could make a pretty filling dinner.

Souper: (that's a pun between "soup" and "supper", by the way)
I cooked up some black beans the other night, so I used what was left to whip up a quick black bean soup for lunch. About 1 cup of homemade chicken stock, some onions and peppers (are you sensing a theme yet?), garlic, frozen sweet corn, cumin, chili powder, kale and fresh cilantro (coriander) all cooked up in another 10-minute lunch. A great filling and healthy vegetarian option if you use vegetable stock i/o chicken, and it's perfect on a deceptively chilly day.

The week isn't even over yet! I wonder if I'll end up with a quesadilla tonight...

I've Got Nothing to Wear a wedding! My brother-in-law is getting married this June, so I've already begun thinking about what I'm going to be wearing (and getting in shape to wear it!). I love any excuse to get all dolled up, so forgive me for turning it into a bit of a production. These details can sneak up on you if you're not careful, and I don't want to be caught at the last minute without a dress.

Luckily, I got an email the other day from Victoria's Dress, asking me to check out their new collection. They've got everything in stock from wedding gowns to flirty prom dresses, and I thought it would be the perfect place to have a browse for a formal dress for the wedding I'll be attending.

I started off in their bridesmaid dress section, believe it or not - because bridesmaid dresses tend to be simple, classic styles that are pretty universally figure-flattering, and you really can't go wrong with the prices. I'm still debating whether I want a long or knee-length dress, but I definitely want something that's light and flowy so that I'm not sweating in my Spanx (flashback to my own June wedding).

Current favorites (from left to right):

How about this navy A-line style? It's got some unique character, and it's a fit that I know looks great on my body shape. I think it would be a dress that I would definitely wear more than once. (Side note: I just noticed that it's available in a longer length, too! Now I'm definitely  leaning toward this one, if I decide to go with a full-length dress!)

This little purple party number (it's a color that I love, and I know looks great on my skin tone) could easily be paired with a wrap, for church appropriateness, or if I get a little bit chilly in an air conditioned building. Plus, I can totally picture myself dancing the night away in this one.

This is a little more formal than the others, but this long emerald green gown is beautiful, albeit not the most practical choice for this particular occasion. But then again, when has practicality ever stopped me?

Which one is your favorite?

I am happy to say that this is a sponsored post. All of the ideas, thoughts, and writing are my own creation. 
Please help to support the businesses that help to support me by visiting my sponsor's website.
All images are property of Victoria's Dress.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What Disowned is, was, and what it's going to be.

With my 4-year blogiversary coming up in May, I thought it's be a good time to look back on its brief history. I'm still sort of amazed.

It's been four years now since I first came up with the name "Disowned Clothing" and purchased the domain for my then vintage clothing store, and, consequently, this blog came into existence. Everything was pink and a lot of retro, and this was mainly a place for highlighting new additions to the shop, and maybe doing an outfit post once in a while. Maybe a "how to style it" type of thing.

One of our first photo shoots in Philadelphia
Taylor and her beloved kitty, Ludwig
I had a business partner in the beginning; Taylor lived in Philadelphia, and I commuted back and forth from NYC for shopping trips and photoshoots. She's the one with the camera and the real photography skills, of which I had none, so she was always a really crucial component in the shop's existence. But eventually, long story short, it became one of those long-distance relationships that just became a hassle instead of fun, so we decided to part ways on the business and I took it over. You can find her now over at Girl on a Rope, when she's not off climbing one of the world's largest mountains.

And then it morphed a little in the spring of 2013, I got a "new" (read: cheap and refurbished, already outdated) camera (which I still use, by the way, for everything), and went nuts. I loved learning to use that camera, and it's like a permanent extra appendage on me every time I leave the house. I'm in the process of making yet another homemade camera strap, because I keep wearing them out.  So this became a lifestyle blog where I shared my daily goings-on and what have you. I moved the shop to Etsy, because it was cheaper and generated more traffic, and actually sold a LOT of vintage that year. It was really fun, and I became really passionate about my little business.

And then in October of 2013, I went even more nuts and got married. By the way, Taylor was the photographer for that, too. So long story short, I then  had other things on my mind/someone to come home to, and I didn't have time to do interesting things as much as I used to. The shop slowed down a bit, but I still blogged my heart out, and did a decent amount of sales to cover my expenses (and thrifting addiction).

Then I like, went broke. I lost my job due to downsizing, I was unemployed for three months and had to work in - *gag* - retail over the holidays, then I took a pay cut and finally began working again in January of 2014. By July, I was on a plane to England to start a new life. So stuff got crazy, and here I am. The shop... isn't open anymore. I'm sad about it, but I still have most of the inventory that I was able to keep (read: that fits me), and I wear it all the time. In fact, I'm wearing a killer pink 50's dress as I write this. But I don't feel like setting up my tripod, so here's a photo of Brittani Kline wearing it at an old photo shoot, instead.

I miss vintage buying trips, and photo shoots, and sending off all of my gems to faraway places. But it's just not feasible here; things here in the UK don't work the same, vintage is harder to come by, and less affordable, which means I'd be one of THOSE Etsy shops with ludicrously overpriced items.
I still do it on a much more scaled-down version for myself, because:
1) I freaking love it, and
2) I'd rather buy used/vintage than new stuff, thus helping to dream of ending the cycle of fast fashion and cheap overseas factory goods. Quality over quantity, folks. I'm not proud of the industry I used to work in.

Then this was a semi-food blog for a while, before I launched my baby, Street Cred. So now it's a little bit of everything. A little me, a little vintage, a little food, a little of my amateur photography, and sometimes some travel or something that's actually interesting. And I love doing it, so I'm not going to stop. But if you're a new/recent reader, and you want to know where this blog came from, or how it's evolved, or where the name/url came from, there you go.

Oh, and a little foreshadowing: I'm going to have a lot more to talk about next month, when we [finally] move into our new flat!!!

PS- the dress is white and black.