choice

i’m hardly someone who has any business giving advice. i don’t think of myself as expert on really anything. but i do have a few things i have picked up over the years from people more wise than myself. and from these i have held onto some, altered some & formed my own opinions on some.

my advice for marriage. take a look at the partner you’ve chosen. look closely. gather all his (or her) faults. their imperfections. the things you like & don’t like about them. and now magnify them. stop & think about that . . .

if you still find them worthy of marrying, then you’ve found a great partner. because what i can tell you is people do not change. you will not change that person looking back at you. you have to choose to love them, baggage & all. if you take them under the premise that marriage will change them, or kids will change them, you’ll be chasing something your whole life that you won’t ever quite catch up to. make sure you can live in the present, and be happy there. because no one can predict your future.

and marriages aren’t easy. families aren’t easy. but the most important thing to remember is . . . they are worth it. even if you find yourself sitting on the bathroom floor crying because you’re not sure how much more you can handle. they are worth it. and they are good. they are everything. i would re-choose this everytime. even if i knew all the struggles i would face ahead of time. i would do it all over again.

and i know someone is out there like me. who thinks everybody else just really seems to have it all together. but nobody talks about the bad stuff. nobody posts their problems to facebook. nobody tweets that they are hanging on by a thread. instagram posts don’t reflect misfortune. let me tell you though, we all struggle. everyone struggles. and it’s how you react to that struggle that defines you. how you adapt to situations you had never processed before. that you didn’t even know existed. how you learn new things everyday. how you grow. and there will be things you encouter you don’t like. there will be moments when you have to make choices. for yourself and for your family. and those choices will affect not only you anymore, but a collective us. and that us relies on you, to put it first. to nurture it. because us is so very, very fragile. our collectiveness is only tied together by strings of trust & respect. but as strings are plucked away, so is the strength of us. so i can’t stress enough, take care of your us. cradle it. love it. affirm it. every day. because as trying as the us can sometimes be, it is absolutely everything.

i would simply fall apart without us

so i choose love

i choose it over & over again

(and thank you to Sophie for our pictures in astoria park)

the royal treatment

thank you to mimi for the royal treatment at the princess boutique! the girls were so adorable as princesses for teh day and had the best time ever! they had their nails, makeup and hair done before being outfitted in their favorite princess costumes & sprinkled ( well doused ) with glitter. madison has been obsessed with belle lately which is ironic since she’s never seen the movie! if anyone finds it, send it our way & i’ll find a way to send you dollars. it’s back in the “vault” and i can’t find it anywhere!!!

and PS if your little princess is anything like ours then she LOOOOOVES to dress up. here are some of Madison’s favorite dress-up essentials .  .  .

pretend makeup, hair accessory tote, and dress up tiaras

oh and don’t forget the hats!

piggy paint for nails (it’s non toxic, odorless & kid friendly)

disney princess wants – cinderella, rapunzel, aurora and ariel (melissa & doug make cute wands too)

disney princess dress-up trunk

you’ll also need the shoes

beauty bag with curling irons & wands & brushes

and at this point, well you’re going to need a closet for all of your dress up items (another favorite here)

and they’ll want to take pictures all glamed up with their camera (another madison favorite here)

and she’ll model in front of a mirror (a lot) / madison likes to kiss herself in the mirror #nbd

where to eat in NYC

Photo Jul 29, 7 49 27 AM (1)

a lot of people ask me places to eat at when they come to NYC to visit, and i started thinking HMMMM i should keep a list of this somewhere so i can just copy & paste my favesssss. and make it easier to share, so here it goes!! in no particular order, they all amaze me

PS if you live here well, go try some this weekend! and let me know YOUR favorites !!!!!!!!!

italian (the biggest request for visitors in these parts)

bianca – my favorite italian in NYC (soho)

la masseria (theater district)

pepolino (tribeca)

casa nonna (midtown west)

parm (nolita)

vezzo thin crust pizza (murray hill)

adriennes pizza bar (financial district)

L&B spumoni gardens (brooklyn)

crispo (chelsea)

trattoria lincontro (astoria)

supper (east village)

greek

uncle gussy food truck (midtown east) – i’ll go here over any greek restaurant, best fries in the world (i guarantee it)

taverna kyclades (astoria)

mediteranean 

ililis (flatiron)

kashkaval garden (hells kitchen)

spanish / tapas

sala one nine (chelsea)

arepas cafe (astoria)

empanada mama (theater district)

cuba (greenwich village)

caracas arepa bar (east village)

steakhouse

christos (astoria)

peter luger (brooklyn)

maloney & porcelli (midtown east)

comfort food / creole 

the redhead (east village)

sugar freak (astoria)

hill country chicken (flatiron)

queens comfort (astoria)

asian / sushi / thai

watawa (astoria)

china grill (midtown west)

pukk (east village)

hangawi (murray hill)

talent thai (murray hill)

katsu hama (midtown east)

spice market (meatpacking)

mexican

rocking horse cafe (chlesea)

florencia 13 (west village)

pampano (midtown east)

baby bo’s cantina (midtown east)

american

jacobs pickles – my favorite place in all of NYC (upper west)

lillies (union square & times square)

meatball shop (multiple locations)

craft (flatiron)

s’mac (murray hill)

seafood

catch (meatpacking district)

luke’s lobster (multiple locations)

sweets

levain bakery (upper west)  – best cookies i have ever eaten, EVER

momofuku milk bar (east village)

pomme palais (midtown east)

martha’s country bakery (astoria) – my favorite for sweets!! the mississippi mud pie is to die for!

an urban garden

let me preface this with the fact that i know absolutely nothing about gardening. i’ve killed many cacti in my life (which i thought was impossible) and my thumb is the farthest from green it could possibly be. BUT this baby girl wanted a garden. she’s been asking for a watering can for weeks. i could not deny her this, and so…. we are gardeners. urban gardeners. we bought essentially dead plants (because it’s pretty late in the season to be starting a garden) that are apparently perennials and so i was told they will come back to life & live for many seasons. i’m not sure how a fragile plant can withstand all the potential destruction of my gardening knowledge + the drowning that madison will provide each day + the winter & come back, but i guess we will see how they do! if i can keep them alive i want to also try a few fruits & veggies when the seasons comes around, but well, that is a lot to dream about. all that i DO know is madison talks to her sunflower now and says “i love you little sunflower” and that is all i need to know. we will learn to garden.

& i loved the planter boxes we found at home depot (along with everything else, they have a great garden center!)

mommy & me gardening

kids gardening tool kit

bubble bucket

butterfly cart 

garden tool set & tote

floral watering can & bubble bee watering can

adirondack garden chair

my garden book

super cute gardening hat

copper garden thermometer 

silver watering can 

indoor/outdoor bluetooth plant sensor (i’m gonna need this)

Tuesday Treats + Brickyard Buffalo

“mom this cone lost it’s ice cream”

shop this new york is always a good idea + ONE15’s boys have cooties shirts on Brickyard Buffalo this week for a SWEET discount!! Brickyard Buffalo is an online pop-up market that showcases individual companies and their freshest items. we are honored to be featured this week along with so many other amazing shops.

+ a few more sweet treats for you this week…

soft serve ice cream maker (ON SALE NOW, and it’s pink guys…) + the cutest ice cream bowls ever

ice cream spoons for that social you’re planing

ice cream sandwich pan

popsicle romper for baby & popsicle swimmy suit

ice cream starter kit! go make your own

this ring though (or this one, or this one or this one) i need them all

and yup this is true

currently reading / about to start / need this one / sweet book

cupcake bean bag chair, Madison would say “yes please!”

creative cupcake kits here, here and here

cupcake bangle 

eat cake for breakfast mini ipad case

tassle cake topper

cupcakes, vodka, hakuna matata

cake pop baking pans

 

 

 

#growoldnotup (part 2)

how awesome is it that madison gets to grow up knowing a great grandmother, and one that’s still kicking it for that matter!?! betty bette is still a mover & a shaker in town. she works 3 jobs & her own radio show (yes you read that correctly). she even has her own song. this weekend we had a big birthday party to celebrate her 80 years of life. she is another example of growing old but never ever UP, and i hope she always refuses to

it was also my nephew tyler’s 16th birthday! a double whammy and his “sweet” sixteen was another milestone i am so grateful we were able to be apart of. he’s part of the new albany varsity football team & an aspiring pilot – he also does a little beat boxing in his spare time “beat boxes don’t have mouths.” brian enjoys adding a little drum rhythm with him & night rider in the background. overall… it’s absolutely ridiculous!

it’s not often we get to spend birthdays together with everyone scattered across the country so this was such a wonderful weekend for me. i wish i could have woken up again today with all of them there. there’s no place in the world that feels like home quite like that. i’m also grateful brian & madison get to know the country – i think brian could get used to it, the crickets & the porch swings, he seemed hooked. only 12 more years :)

i also can’t stop staring at madison lately. i’m being that mom who pulls her in for a million hugs & kisses a day because i just simply can’t believe how big she is getting so fast. i savor bedtime when i get to hold her in my arms and kiss the top of her head. she smells like ice cream & wet grass. like summer. like endless fun. like the most wonderful thing in the world. i want to bottle it up. so i can remember it years from now when she’s all skinny jeans & perfume. i want to remember these skinned knees & messy faces. i want to remember wild hair & wet clothes & reckless abandon. i want to remember how she runs over & clings to me for no reason & tells me she loves me. i want to remember the look on her face when she accomplishes something & yells “i doing it mommy” / i don’t want to forget any of this. and so i stare and watch, and attempt to memorize. and my goal for the rest of the year is to simply let her be little more often. be a little less hard on her & a let her have a little more fun. because she won’t be like for this long. i am starting to realize that. and it makes me so sad to think she will ever be anything but this sweet, hilarious little baby of mine.

for sipping dranks on the porch (mens version here)

more favorite tanks for summer here, here and here

the greatest doormat for your home (baseball lover or not!)

new favorite runner sneakers, in every single color!

favorite summer sandal (on sale now!)

sneakers i need for fall

my all time favorite leather studded bracelet is on sale this week only for $19 / very close second favorite here 

THIS bag in green, le sigh

and this tote for work

v-becks knows how to block the sun

but a more realistic new pair here 

currently reading (and about to start this)

#GrowOldNotUp

this weekend was the 8th birthday we have celebrated together … and although times have changed our friends sure haven’t. #growoldnotup has been the theme of the year & we are embracing all the changes in our life for the better. our relationship & our friendships have only grown stronger as we roll through more and more of life together. and i couldn’t be happier to have this guy by my side through each new step of life… he doesn’t look a day over 29 :)

thank you to friends & family who made it over saturday to celebrate, we love you all

and if you want to know the beers you tried… baby daddy session IPA, narragansett del’s shandyithaca apricot wheatsinglecut a life of ease juniper kolsch, troegs perpetual IPA, gnomegang blonde ale, sovereign crisp & dry cider, abita save our shoreleinenkugel’s summer shandy, smuttynose robust porter, crabbie’s ginger beer, victory saison du buff, abita purple haze

best tabletop beverage tubs for beer tasting parties (or any old reason) here

happy birthday metallic party balloons or create your own words here 

also you can find my dress here (on sale now!)

favorite summer rompers/jumpsuits for toddlers here, here, here & here (OH and here too)

and don’t be like the rest of them darling 

madison learns to fist pump

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AT THE JERSEY SHORE!! Madison took her first trip down the shore this weekend to “Jackie’s Beach” as we will know call it from now on. the house is on the bay with a beautiful deck where we spent most of our time. we brought the blow up pool (this one is a great size for toddlers), set her up with some blow up flamingos thanks to Jackie and she was all set / I also want THIS pool for when we have a bigger back yard someday. highlights of the trip ** madison holding a sand crab that delia caught her ** playing a game of never ending war with jackie while drinking wine out of to go cups ** breakfast on the beach with my little squish ** getting madison out in the bay in a tube after a lot of protesting only to hear her afterward ask to go again and say “we’re not scared” (favorite life jacket for toddlers here) ** tried a new great beer ** watching madison splash & giggle the entire time was priceless. i’m glad she loves to be outdoors & to play. we certainly know how to play! and I am so grateful we have best friends who love our baby so much they let her come everywhere with us (and catch her sand crabs, and sit in kiddie pools, and let her splash them for hours) #lucky

madison’s pink swimsuit is old but you can still get it on ebay here! and the blue heart suit here.

her pink chair is from target, along with her banana romper

my favorite water bottle for toddlers

my ruffled swimsuit is joe fresh / jackie’s is mara hoffman

son of a beach shirt 

d&g sunnies / pink framed ray bans 

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favorite summer rompers here, here, here & here

best summer sandals here and here and finally a cute pair of fit flops!!

PS you can also monogram at kate spade now (YIPPEEE)