The Edith Chair

My husband Joe and I have been talking about getting a new couch for ages. Actually he’s been talking about it. I’ve been avoiding the talk. Not because I don’t want a new couch, I’ve been avoiding it because I know what one piece of new furniture means. It’s a slippery slope. It’s also not that I’m frugal and I don’t want to spend the money, it’s just that I’m fine with it all. Yeah the sofa wasn’t perfect, but wasn’t horrible. It didn’t smell. It didn’t have visable stains. Was it comfortable? No. But I got over that like 5 years ago.

In the end, we went down the slope and got a new coach and a new rug, lamps, a new recliner for him and a chair for me. And an ottoman. A small one.

Years ago, shopping with him for anything new in the house would be an experience full of all the emotions. Laughter, sadness, tears, yelling, forgiveness, and finally reconciliation. Joe’s got opinions. Lots of them. My girlfriend April and I talk about this all the time. Her husband Pat has opinions too. We dream of husbands who don’t give a shit about furniture, wall colors, curtains, etc. I know men like that exist. The kind that just show up one day and see a whole new living room and say,” nice” and then go back to their football game.

In our house, we have discussions before I pick up a new spatula. No joke.

But! (this is where I back track) He’s gotten better. Mellow(ish).

This time around it was pleasant, easy, dare I say…fun.

Or maybe we’ve just both gotten older and decided to bend. A little.

We knocked it all out in about a week. In addition to what we knew we’d have to buy – Joe found a chair for me. He calls it the Edith chair. Are you old enough to know what I’m talking about? As in Archie and Edith? As in All in the Family? Google it.

Anyway I finally have a chair of my own. But that’s not the best part. The best part is that we situated it, by chance I swear, right across from a window. Do you know what that means?

It means that on the weekends I can sit there with my coffee and watch the neighborhood go by. I can see all the dog walkers and joggers.  I can also see the teens getting off the bus with their huge backpacks slugging their way home. Seems boring to you? Not me. I love it.

Here’s a shot of my view in my chair (working from home and daydreaming out the window) and my chair. Sorry I said “my chair” like a hundred times. I’m excited. About my chair.



Mise En Place Life

We spent the majority of our Saturday with some of my favorite people. Other than you, ofcourse. We rode up to an unexpected part of the Bronx, right on the Hudson River. I’ve known her for almost two decades so what I found at her house shouldn’t have surprised me. I’ve been to her apartment and I’ve seen what she can do with a space. I’ve been to her office and marvelled at the thoughtfulness and creativity. And I know her. She’s meticulous. She has good taste. She used to be my boss and drive me crazy with her good taste. Many a night were spent in the office catering to that meticulous, some would say obsessive, nature. It’s no wonder she found the perfect house for her and her family. I’d even seen some photos.

But it was bananas.

The view. The layout. The pool. The elevator. Bananas.

As I said to her when we toured her master bathroom (with a view of two bridges and jet propelled hot tub), “I’m filled with equal amounts of happiness and bitterness for you.”

Jokes aside, I was all happy for her. Because as careful and nutty as she is – she’s the most generous person I have ever met. Generous not just with materials, but with time. You have an idea for a business/wedding/event/dinner/party/dog/job whatever – she’s all in with you. She’ll spend hours talking with you about every detail. But she’s crazy. No doubt.

Back to the house. I didn’t take a ton of photos of the rooms because: a) I was too busy gawking with my mouth open to remember to take pics and b) I wasn’t alone. Sometimes other people (menfolk in particular) tend to get annoyed while I take 30 shots of each thing I like. Here’s the view from almost every room.

Let me preface this by saying that I am very blessed. I have a wonderful home that I love. A family that I adore. And a cat that I live with. I can’t remember the last time I got jealous. Like…jealous. In the true sense of the word. Biblical coveting of thy neighbor’s stuff kinda thing. I have wanderlust sometimes. I get dreamy about certain things I that I want to do, or places that I want to see,  but I’m not a shopper. I don’t get off on the newest, shiniest shoe or purse. When you say the word Cayenne to me I think of a pepper, not a car. You get the idea.

So imagine my surprise when we do the tour and see…her catering closet. Which would be normal if she was a caterer! And can I just point out that it’s not exactly a closet. It’s more like a mini room. Do you see my green monster coming out? Again, if I was alone I would have spent twice as much time looking at it. But because I was in public and not invisible, I nodded politely and moved along.

“A catering closet…um hmm..totally normal. You and Ina. Great.”

And then there was this cabinet….I think she called it the mise en place cabinet. I wanted to cry. I wanted it more than I’ve wanted anything. A cabinet full of little things to literally “put in place”.

You can keep your Blahniks and your Fendis. I want a mise en place cabinet. Actually, I want a mise en place life.

But of all the things I saw that day – there was one thing that rocked my world. No, not the pool on the Hudson River. Not the view at night when the bridge(s) lit up. Not even the Molten Brown products in the first floor bathroom. When she handed us our drinks, I looked down to see the most perfectly sized square ice cubes. (Yes Howard, I’m writing about ice cubes) Have you ever envied ice cubes? Sadly this isn’t my first time. There’s been a focus on ice cubes lately for cocktail drinks, you haven’t noticed? I have.  And these were the best. The were sized perfectly for the glass. They lasted for hours…ok…an hour. They were awesome. I know I need help. I sense you judging my sanity. And I don’t care.   

 I’m going to go now and make peace with my very un mise en place life. And with my stupid stupid ice cubes. Because that’s my lot in life. Some people have catering closets. I have a messy pantry full of open cereal boxes. But as Scarlett O’Hara said, “as God is my witness, one day I will have those ice cubes!”. Or something like that.

Here’s what my world looks like… This is an actual cabinet. Now you know you me.  

I rest my jealous case.


Our table runneth over

I don’t stress Thanksgiving anymore. Mainly because I do the exact same things year after year. I don’t experiment, I don’t jump at new fangled trends. I’ll never deep fry a turkey. I’m sure it’s great but it took me years to figure out how to cook it the normal way. You want your stuffing gluten free and made with kale? Sorry, no can do. Anyway – I’m good. I’ve got people bringing things – which is a huge help, and the past two years our youngest cousin has taken over the ricing of 20 pounds of potatoes! Done!
My point is. I don’t stress. Except when figuring out how to fit everyone at the table.
Here’s where I’m stuck. 15 people at one table is what I’m aiming for. But I have all the wrong tables and all the wrong chairs to make it happen.

This is my original table. Isn’t it beautiful? Beautifully unfit for 15 people. But the other table is oddly shaped. And the chairs are too big.

It’ll all work out.
As I was whining about the chairs and the table and the mismatch-hotmess of it all – I realized something and immediately stopped. I don’t ever want to have enough seats. I hope that every year our table gets bigger and bigger.

It’s like a slap in Thanksgiving’s face


It’s sad when you pine for a blow-up turkey on the lawn. This is a house in a nearby ‘hood.
Can we take it one holiday at a time people? Can we? Please? Put up a light of two, but don’t break out snowmen.

I’m riding my pumpkins out until the very last day of November. Whether my pumpkins like it or not.



It’s 10:38pm and I’m finally done with work. I’m not complaining. Just giving you the facts.

I’m a little fried. Lots of balls in the air – a few dropped here or there.

Sometimes I end these crappy days with a reality show, or a glass of wine, or by just crawling into bed early. Other days I surf the net randomly for things I think are interesting. Like – the perfect flat sandal (a little ethnic and a little modern), or I ask the great internet Gods the big questions – what’s really the difference between flan and panna cotta? Is it possible to eat carbs and still go to heaven?

But on some really exhausting days when I cannot even muster the energy to google something, I go to my all time favorite respite. The site that is more picture than words.

It starts with a P but it does not end in “orn”.


Which I called PinINterest for almost a year.

I haven’t figured out how to post cool things yet. Note to self, do or own cool things to post.

But I love going on and typing things like – funky desserts, DIY paint projects, DIY furniture. Anything you can imagine is on there. It’s magic.

Tonight I typed in my go-to. My standard. But the genius of Pinterest is that you could type in the same subject every day and get different connections.

Here’s what I’ll be forgetting my sorrows with tonight: home decor.

It keeps me off the streets.

On Not Being a Grownup at Christmas – GUEST POST!

A big thank you to my little bitty sister for this great post! And look at those jazzy handmade stockings. Show off.
Last week, while lamenting to my colleagues that I had no idea what to get my boyfriend for Christmas, we ended up having a long conversation about the family present exchange. That’s when I realized that, shockingly, I have some pretty strong opinions on the topic. So here is my Family Present Exchange Philosophy
In our family, Christmas is about the presents. Once I explain, you’ll realize that that wasn’t the saddest sentence ever to grace this blog.
Our family – cousins, aunts, uncles, significant others – gets together all the time. We celebrate every little thing with a big family get-together, and for the most part, it’s great (tis the season to overlook the drama). American holidays, Indian holidays, Hindu holidays, Christian holidays: it’s all fair game. Next year there’s even talk of getting a menorah (we’re equal opportunity around here). And there’s always food, fun, and more food.
But there generally aren’t presents. Indians are all about the benjamins, which is practical and smart, just like we are. That’s why Christmas is so great (here comes my FPEP); to me, unlike gifts of cash, Christmas presents represent the time and thoughtfulness of the giver. I don’t really care if I’m getting another fondue pot or something from the Dollar Store. Cheesy at it sounds, it really is the thought that counts to me. This person went out of her way to think about what I might like, spent hard-earned money on it, and then wrapped it in pretty paper (Here my colleague, the globetrotting poet I share an office with, disagreed. She wished her big Irish Catholic family would just give her money, instead of the “crap I’ll never use” they usually give.)
But it’s not just the stuff. It’s the entire experience. I love opening presents. I love that we all move away from the TV and sit around the tree. I love the anticipation of finding out what’s under the wrapping, and heck, I love the wrapping too. I spend way too much time thinking about how I wrap my presents, and I like giving my family the presents I’ve spent my time making beautiful.
During this conversation at work, another colleague recommended that my boyfriend and I get something for our apartment – a shared gift. He and I had considered this option, but we decided it was far too grown up for us. We wanted the presents, however small and inexpensive, but full of thoughtfulness and love.

It’s the most Amish time of the year

Every year, for the past 5 years, we’ve been invited by a favorite aunt to the middle of Amish Country for a Christmas get together.  It’s hokey, it’s cheesy, it’s exactly what you need to kick off the holiday season. It’s like a mini reunion in December – and it’s perfect. Here’s the cast of characters this year – as you can tell by our faces, a good time was had by all! Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you get laughed at – that’s what our family is all about!


That’s our cousin Dennis over to the right, there will be a whole post about him and his amazing momma. Jazzy xmas sweater Den!

We also put our tree up – inspired by everyone else’s beautiful trees on Facebook. I know loads of people don’t like FB, they think it’s evil, and it might be. But where else can you see everyone’s Christmas tree? Or everyone’s turkey? Or everyone’s summer vacation pics? For a nosey rosie like me, it’s perfect.  What were talking about?

Christmas trees. They are all beautiful. Every single one. Fake, real, tall, short, it doesn’t matter.  And every ornament tells a little story (even if the story is that you walked into Pier One and got it for 60% off).  Here’s some ornaments from our tree and the stories that go with it.


Almost 10 years ago, our very dear friends gave us this beautiful wooden angel that they picked up in Italy.  It’s one piece of wood, hand carved and I wish my pictures could do it justice.  I’m obsessed with the little feet, and the little toes. Don’t judge.


This ornament was waiting in our mailbox when we moved into our very first home. It was the week after Christmas and we didn’t even have a tree that year, but we kept the ornament hanging in the kitchen until March.  It’s no coincidence that it’s from the same favorite aunt that organizes the get togethers every year.


And ofcourse we have some handmade ornaments on the tree – this one was made by my burly husband when he was a little wee tot. I asked him where he made it and how and why and what was his most precious memory of this ornament but all I got was,” I have to run to Home Depot”.


This little ornament breaks my heart every time we put it on the tree. I worked right down the road from the World Trade Centers, where they’d have a holiday fair every year, I’d go but never really buy anything – except this little ornament.


Two years ago, my husband and I were in the living room watching TV (shocker!) and as if in slow motion, we saw our entire tree come crashing down. We both tried to save it, but it was too late.  It was like a an ornament crime scene. Broken glass and cracked ceramic everywhere.  Sad right? Thought you should know.

So here’s the tree in its glory. We still believe in Santa in this house so there aren’t any gifts under the tree until Christmas morning (which also gives me until Christmas Eve to run around like a lunatic and buy presents).


Hope you are all getting into the spirit of whatever holiday you celebrate or don’t celebrate.

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