Life

I Heart NY

Although I call suburbia home, I am a city girl at heart. I lived in NYC for 11 years (including 4 during college) and I always welcome spending a free day there.

And yesterday I did just that. I hopped on a train and met a friend for brunch in SoHo,  visiting a few old and new favorite spots along the way.

First stop – Dean and Deluca. This shop holds a special place in my heart. When I had my first internship, I stopped here every morning for a coffee and treat. The space also has great people-watching potential with its large windows facing out to Broadway. May I recommend their coffee and a Doughnut Plant donut if you’re ever in the neighborhood.

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Dean and Deluca, on the corner of Broadway and Prince St. 

I strolled over to the Little Prince for a nice meal and catch-up with a friend and then we did some shopping. We popped into Artists and Fleas, a makers market selling everything from jewelry and vintage coats to home decor and baby items. We also hit up the new it-bakery everyone is talking about – Flour Shop. It’s a cute, rainbow-filled space brimming with unicorn cakes and gold-dusted cake pops. But yesterday’s visit was strictly for browsing. 😉

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Little Prince is a cozy spot to relax

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The interior of Flour Shop

Finally, Harney and Sons . I love this little tea shop and cafe. Not only does it have some of my favorite teas around, but if you’re looking for a quirky mug or interesting candle, this is your place. I needed to pick up some more Valentine’s Tea – it’s a blend of chocolate and rose that’s seriously tasty.

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Harney and Sons, located on Broome Street

 

Then it was time to head to Grand Central and take the train back to the ‘burbs. But getting in a few hours of city time always seems to revive and inspire me, getting my creativity flowing and raising my spirits. Even on a gloomy, rainy day.

 

Images via Pinterest

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Looking Ahead

  
2016 was a very good year – it was the year we had a son, became a family of four and actually survived to tell the tale! We even took a week-long vacation which was great. I had some fears about handling two kids but so far they’ve all been pretty unfounded!
I’m really looking forward to the new year – watching my kids learn new things each day is so exciting. But of course, I’m also looking forward to making strides for myself too. This year I would like to focus more on wellness through eating right, exercising, clearing my mind daily and also coming up with a better skincare routine.

I know it’s easier to say these things than to actually do them but I am really going to make a conscious effort this year because if not now, when? Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017. Hoping the new year brings you joy and peace. Just remember while you’re doing so much for others, to take a little time to do something special for yourself too.

 

Images via Pinterest

Game Changer: Sunday Sauce

Growing up in an Italian household, a pot of meatballs and sauce simmering on the stovetop was an almost weekly occurrence. Meatballs cooked directly in the tomato sauce are insanely delicious and super tender, but having to babysit and constantly stir the pot for 4 hours can be quite time consuming.

So when I saw this Skinny Taste recipe for meatballs and sauce made in the crockpot, I knew I had to try it. My own version has a few slight modifications to fit our tastes, and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised on how it all turned out. Even my parents loved it and that’s saying a lot! I’ll definitely continue making the old-school stovetop version, but this crockpot one is great for when you just want to “set it and forget it” (with a few quick stirs along the way). Serve over your favorite pasta with a salad and some crusty bread. Enjoy!


Crockpot Sunday Sauce

For the sauce:
2 cans crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 small onion finely chopped

Crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning to taste

Pinch of sugar (to offset acidity of tomatoes)

For the meatballs:
1.5-2 lbs ground turkey or beef

1/2 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs

1-2 cloves crushed garlic

1 egg

Italian seasoning to taste

Sauté onion and garlic in oil until browned – about 5 minutes


Add onion mixture and tomatoes into pot


Add seasonings and stir well

Mix together meat, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg and seasonings


Form golf ball-sized meatballs and gently place in sauce


Cover and cook on high for one hour
Turn down to low and cook 4-5 hours stirring occasionally


Serve with your favorite pasta
Makes 4-6 servings

Back to School

If you’re anything like me, back-to-school time makes you a bit giddy. It’s not because the kids are going back to school (well, maybe a little) but it’s the feeling that you can have a fresh start, an organizational overhaul and get back into a routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve LOVED having the husband home all summer – it’s been a ton of fun. But I’m also looking forward to getting back into the swing of preschool, dance class, play dates and the like. And on a personal level, I’m looking forward to doing more writing work and organizing myself better.

Here are some of my must-have items for creating a personal office space that’s both functional and a little bit fancy. Sound familiar? 😉

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Pineapple pencil holder, Moleskine notebooks, File folders, Wall calendar, Coffee mug, Desk lamp, Storage boxes, Sticky notes

What are some of your back-to-school must-haves?

Happy New Year!

 

Happy New Year’s Eve! Wishing you all the best in 2015. 2014 was a good year for me  – the biggest change was we bought and moved into our new home. Of course it wasn’t without it annoyances, but every new home comes with some challenges.

I’m looking forward to a very productive 2015 both personally and professionally. I have a lot that I want to accomplish in the new year so I am excited to get going and stop procrastinating!!!

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As for this evening, we plan to ring in 2015 in NYC with some friends. Whatever you do, have a safe evening and let’s get 2015 started already!

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Where I Work

I was recently contacted by the folks at WeWork, a co-working company, to show off my workspace. Well, it just so happens that I recently got a new one that I’m really enjoying. As you probably know, we recently moved into our new house. But last week we also got a new computer (hallelujah!) So it makes working that much more enjoyable.

I am a freelance writer and since I’m at home with my two-year old, I don’t have much time to work during the day. So it is at night when I go to my own space and get my creativity flowing. I usually like to have a cup of coffee or tea and light a candle to help get me focused. At my desk, I keep pictures of those that inspire me – my husband and daughter, as well as a cute calendar my husband got me one Christmas.

I knew I wanted an inspiration board in my office – somewhere I can post images and words that catch my eye, inspire my writing, home or goals I want to accomplish. So I find it apropos that we installed it once the new computer came. Since I’m so Type-A, it’s also important to me that my workspace is neat and clean. My husband uses it too, so it doesn’t always look like this (haha) but I maintain it as best I can for my own sanity!

I love that our office looks out onto an expanse of trees from a local nature preserve (it’s really beautiful in the fall) and it’s such a great view. Our bookcase is next to the desk where I work and contains lots of favorite titles, family photos and trinkets from trips we’ve taken to places like Paris, London and San Francisco. Truth be told – there’s also a Pack-n-play in here for when I need to leave my daughter alone for a bit, and it’s the place we like to come to color and build with blocks. Hey – life isn’t a magazine spread, I’m just keeping things real!

Hope you’ve enjoyed my workspace tour, it’s a work-in-progress, but it’s a process I’m really enjoying. Where do you work and what inspires you?

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On Location Tours – Giveaway!

The night after Thanksgiving, The Husband and I had the opportunity to take a holiday lights tour around NYC. The On Location Tours Holiday Lights & Movie Sites Tour was a really fun way to kickoff the holiday season and get into the spirit.

We started off at Columbus Circle and rode a very comfy coach bus to a variety of top holiday sites including Bloomingdale’s, Barneys, Lord & Taylor and Macy’s where we got to marvel at all of the brightly-decorated windows. In addition, we rode through Central Park, down Fifth Avenue and all around town to see places where many famous holiday movies have been filmed. During the tour, our guide told us some tid-bits and trivia from a host of different movies and even played some film clips. It helped remind me of all of the movies I’d like to watch this season including Elf, Scrooged, Serendipity and Home Alone 2. It was definitely a fun time!

 

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The NYC skyline at Bloomingdale’s windows

 

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A futuristic owl recites Madonna’s Holiday at Barneys

 

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Marionette dancers at Lord and Taylor

 

And now, On Location Tours is giving away two tickets to one lucky Fancy Function reader for a tour of their choosing! In addition to the holiday tour, the company hosts a wide selection of tours including Sex and the City Hotspots, TMZ Tour and TCM Classic Films, in New York and Boston Movie Mile in Boston. And now here’s your chance to experience one firsthand! It’s easy to enter, just leave a comment below stating what tour you’d most like to take (and remember to leave your email address). You can gain additional entries by doing the following:

Subscribe to the Fancy Function blog

Like On Location Tours on Facebook

Follow On Location Tours on Instagram

Follow On Location Tours on Twitter

Just click the link below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c72a25c61/

The winner will be selected at random on December 4th. Good luck!

 

*On Location Tours provided me with two complimentary tickets for the Holiday Lights and Movies Sites Tour. Winner must be able to attend a tour in either New York City or Boston.