Do you have a pet?

October 29, 2014


Petunia (pictured above) is our friends’ pet bunny. Isn’t she cute? When we had dinner at their house the other night we met Petunia, Sirius (another bunny) and Don the turtle. Growing up, I always had dogs. I’m definitely a dog person. We had a couple of outside cats when I was really young, and we had a bunny for a very short period but never any reptiles. I’m definitely not a reptile person. Donny is pretty cute for a turtle (and his name makes me think of Don Draper so big points there!), but his head looks very similar to a snake’s head and that just freaks me out. I really don’t like snakes. I have nightmares about snakes–it’s that bad! So I was little jumpy around Donny, but he was harmless (obviously ;).

What type of pets do you have? Anyone have a bunny? How about a guinea pig (they seem fun)?


PS. On having a dog in NYC.

What are you going to be for Halloween?

October 28, 2014

What are your plans for Friday? Anyone doing anything fun for Halloween? We’re going with a group of friends to check out the parade in the village Friday evening (apparently Whoopi Goldberg is the Grand Marshall!). I’ve heard it’s quite the show (have you been?)! Our plans were made last minute (why is it that Halloween plans are always a last minute scramble?) so I don’t have a costume or any ideas for a costume. Any suggestions for an easy, inexpensive, DIY costume? This cotton candy costume is cute and it would be fun to wear a pink wig! The bag of jelly beans seems straightforward, too. Thoughts? What are you wearing?

(Images via.)

Leather Lunch Bags

October 27, 2014

Marie Turnor has designed beautiful clutches inspired by the iconic shape of the brown paper lunch bag. These supple roll-down leather lunch bags come in four different sizes: The Picnic, The Lunch, The Dinner and The Snak. Wouldn’t the laser cut gold metallic clutch be fun to wear on date night? And I love the burgundy diamond patterned one for fall. Which would you choose? See the whole collection and more here.

(Image links to source.)

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes

October 24, 2014

Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes via The City and Us

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been a long one for us and we’re ready for a couple days off.

Here’s an impromptu Vegetarian Chili with Sweet Potatoes recipe I made the other day with ingredients we already had in the kitchen (no grocery shopping!). It was pretty tasty so I thought I’d share, but if you give the recipe a try, use it more as a guide than an actual recipe (e.g. if you have chili powder in your pantry (we are out), I’d add a tablespoon of that and a dollop of sour cream and chopped scallions would taste great on top). Let me know what you think if you try it!


  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium/small red onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 15- to 16-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • sea salt and black pepper
  1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
  2. Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender. (I cooked our’s for about 4 hours on high and the sweet potatoes were cooked through.)
  3. Serve with the pita chips (I love Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips) sour cream, and garnish with scallions (optional).

What are your favorite slow-cooker recipes? Share in the comments, if you’d like! 

What motivates us?

October 23, 2014

Have you  guys seen this animation adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)? It illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. It’s surprising and interesting. If you have 10 minutes to watch it, I’d highly recommend it.

Madewell x Sezane

October 22, 2014


Yesterday, Madewell launched their exclusive collection with cult-favorite Parisian label, Sezane. The collaboration features 14 pieces exclusive to Madewell, and this is the first time that Sezane merchandise is available in the US. I love this lace shirt dress and Diamondflip Scarf combination. And I can already tell the La Superbe sweatshirt is going to be the “it” piece this fall and winter (it’s already backordered!).


sezane_paris Instagram

Check out all the pieces, here, and “Behind the Collaboration” interview, here, if you’re interested.

(Top picture and first La Superbe sweatshirt picture from Sezane’s Instagram account, second sweatshirt picture by Wit & Delight.)

On Setting Goals

October 21, 2014

via The City and Us

Until recently, the process of setting goals wasn’t a conscious effort for me. I’ve always had overarching goals, but the details were vague, blurry around the edges. “Have a successful career.” “Live in a city.” “Be happy.” “Travel.” “Build meaningful relationships.” “Be healthy.” In the past, I rarely set a hard deadline or time frame for my goals or mapped a detailed route to achieving my goals.

Here’s an example:

Shortly after I graduated from college, I worked as a research engineer at a federal research lab in Hanover, New Hampshire. For many engineering graduates, this was a dream position. For me, this job had many appealing elements: the lab was located close to my hometown and near friends and family, I knew and respected the researchers who worked at the lab because I collaborated with many of them during an internship the summer before, high quality of research, networking opportunities, amazing mentors and, of course a regular paycheck and benefits.

Even with all of these positives, something felt off. I can’t pinpoint when exactly I knew this job wasn’t for me, but I felt an uneasiness all along. Imagine you’re rushing out of the door already five minutes late when you realize you forgot something important but you can’t figure out what you left behind. You know that nagging feeling you get when you know you’re really going to need whatever it is you forgot? That’s how I felt.

Despite my apprehension, I needed a positive mindset going into my new job. I told myself (and those close to me) the job was temporary–a stepping stone to my next professional venture. I distinctly remember telling my mom that I would be shocked if I stayed at the lab for more than a year (ha!). That was it–my goal was to leverage this new position and then move onto something new within the next year. In hindsight, I stumbled because I thought my roadmap leading to this obscure, new job was complete after the origin and destination were identified. I hardly gave any thought to the intermediate stops/subgoals along the journey.

For four and half years I worked at the lab as a research engineer. For four and a half years I had that unsettling feeling that I forgot something important but I was already running late. For four and half years I felt stuck. Yes, I’m shocked that I stayed that long. But I know now that big goals–the destinations–take time to reach. Holy smokes, they take forever to reach, don’t they!? I didn’t factor in the stop to get out and stretch my legs and look around, or the stops for gas and snacks. I didn’t think about the detours. My roadmap didn’t have clearly marked, intermediate goals, but it needed them–lots of them. It needed alternate routes too; it needed flexibility to explore other opportunities. My roadmap needed to guide me get out of ruts and help me prepare for “What next?” and “Where to next?”

Naturally, I wish I had pulled out my box of sharpies and color coded that dang map; I wish I had marked it up and planned for the detours. Because if I had mapped it out and set a plan, I might have made changes quicker and it might have been easier to alter my route and notice new opportunities. But I didn’t and that’s okay. Life isn’t about knowing all of the tricks or making the “right” decisions at the beginning. It’s about having the tools and awareness to get me to my next step or destination, right?

via The City and Us

Instead of simply identifying my overarching goals, I’m using these three (new-to-me) ideas to sharpen the focus of my route to achieve my goals–to help bring the details into focus:

  1. Always move forward. There is no way to plan for all of the unknowns; adjust to whatever comes my way and then onward and upward!
  2. Write it down. If I’m passionate about a specific subgoal (e.g., train for a half marathon as part of my overarching goal to “Be healthy.”), write it down–put it on the map! I can be flexible about the details, but it must be in the plan.
  3. Ask myself: Where are the opportunities and how can I capitalize on them? This requires creativity and flexibility, but there are openings/opportunities everywhere. If I can identify them and be ready (and open) to seize them then good things will follow.

And a reminder: Enjoy the journey!

John Lennon via The City and Us

What about you? How do you set goals for yourself? Any tricks or tips? Also, what didn’t work for you when it came to setting goals?

What goals are you working towards these days? Do you break them down into subgoals? What are your subgoals? I’d really love to hear!


PS. “It’s OK to be sad.” because sometimes the journey can be bumpy.

Fall TV Shows

October 20, 2014

What TV shows are you watching this fall? Dan and I love The Walking Dead and Homeland and the first few episodes of both shows have been great. Have you guys been watching The Walking Dead or Homeland? We binge watched the first two seasons of Homeland and were hooked immediately, and last season, we watched it week-by-week. It’s fun when you have all of the episodes and you can binge watch a season, but it’s also nice to have a week to process an episode–especially for Homeland, since it can be intense.


Recently, we started watching The Americans and HBO’s Girls. Do you watch either of these series? Both are great. Girls is about four twenty-somethings living in Brooklyn and navigating romance, career, friendship and the struggle to “make it” in NYC. It’s hilarious. The Americans is about two Soviet KGB officers posing as an American married couple living in Virginia during the Cold War. Interestingly, the drama series was created and produced by a former CIA officer.

What other shows are you watching these days? We’re always looking for new series to get hooked on. Share below…


(Photos from Business Insider.)

Scratch-Off Art in NYC Subways

October 15, 2014

Subway Mosaic 1

This article in the New York Times shared some interesting photos by photographer Kevin Shea Adams of print advertisements in NYC subway stations. Layers and layers of old advertisements exist behind the current ads and when scratched-off curious, collage-like art is produced. Here are a few images from the article that caught my interest and an excerpt:


To subway riders feeling impatient, restless or a little destructive, the print advertisements lining the walls of a station can make irresistible targets. Kevin Shea Adams, a photographer, began taking iPhone shots of ads in various states of decay and modification about four years ago. When layered on top of one another, the ads produce collage like art, as strips are peeled away to reveal underlying images. “They’re participatory, they’re public, they’re sort of chaotic and random,” he says. Because Adams commutes between Bushwick and Greenpoint, most of the stations he has frequented are in Brooklyn, where they tend to be less well maintained. “The ads are very tactile,” he says. “When you’re standing waiting for a train, bored out of your mind, you just want to pull them.” Julie Bosman

Subway Mosaic 3

Subway Mosaic 2

(Photos by Kevin Shea Adams.)

Have a great weekend

October 10, 2014

Brooklyn, NY

What are your plans this weekend? Tomorrow, we’re going to “bottomless brunch” (brunch is the thing to do on the weekends in NYC) with a few friends. I’m mostly excited about bottomless these. Hope you have a good weekend, and here are a few links from around the web…


A letter to New York by Zadie Smith: Find Your Beach.

Flannel shirts.

Renters: 10 temporary and removable products you should know about including temporary wallpaper!

Easy DIY Halloween glassware decals with cute copper mugs.

I wear these regularly (normcore in Vermont and New Hampshire) and am stopped at least three times a week for details on where to buy them. Ha.

How Madewell Bought and Sold my Family’s History. (Interesting.)

EVERY school should have a Read and Ride room!

This maple cornbread looks delicious.

The 1924 shop is stocked full of amazing vintage finds. Their instagram feed is one of my new favorites.

The Sheila Maid takes air drying laundry to the next level. It’s now on my wish list.


And, thank you to everyone who visited the blog this week! I love having you here. xo


(Sheila Media found via Erin Boyle. Madewell article found via Lauren in the Afternoon.)

Blogmilk | Brandi Bernoskie