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Monday, November 25, 2013

i'm ready, let's go.

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this place might be quiet for a few days, due to something that looks like that photo above.

(thanks, jenna, for posting this photo (sans words) to facebook before i get to paradise, while i'm still in this "feels-like-9-degrees" weather we're having up here in joisey)

we won't be celebrating thanksgiving this year, but instead celebrating the marriage of two wonderful people on a beautiful island with beautiful people surrounding us.

check back here on monday if you survive the next few days of storms, the gluttony of thanksgiving, and the insanely cold weather... i'll be sure to brighten your day with photos of our adventure.

cheers, and happy thanksgiving!
jenn

p.s. last year's thanksgiving, the year before, and friendsgiving.

Friday, November 22, 2013

happy weekend.

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is it just me or is this week dragging on like crazy?  i shouldn't be complaining, my life seems to flash by me these days...  maybe it's the fact that i've only got 1 more day of work standing between me and a much-needed vacation.  maybe it's because i pushed myself really hard working out (i ran 23 miles in 5 days and went to 3 kickboxing classes).

either way, i'm really looking forward to this weekend.  maybe we'll get to savor the last few moments of fall before a real winter comes upon us. or maybe we'll stay inside and snuggle on the couch while mr p makes me watch another episode of once upon a time (which i'm totally ok with, I've made him watch SOO many episodes of parenthood, so we're even) maybe (hopefully) we'll eat healthier than the past few weekends. maybe we'll actually get to watch the episode of bizarre foods that featured jersey city restaurants (since comcast doesn't provide the travel channel, extra lame).

our only obligation this weekend is having dinner with mr p's coworkers (which i think we're both pretty excited for)... but the rest of the weekend we can sort of fly by the seat of our pants...

....or... lay on the couch.  gosh i'm exhausted.

what are your plans this weekend?
i hope whatever you do (or don't do) puts a smile on your face, that's all that matters anyways, right?

cheers!
jenn

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

italians do it right


warning: food porn

i left that house sunday night feeling like i ate an entire cow.  whatever our friend put in that meal made me turn into a total glutton.  however, i would expect no less from an italian serving spaghetti and meatballs. 

although i'll probably never get the exact recipe out of him for the meatballs or sauce, i can give you our favorite dill dressing (see this blog post), and tell you it was served on a salad with walnuts, grapes, tomatoes, and onions.  i'm convinced that dill and grapes were meant for each other (as crazy that THAT sounds). the garlic bread was toasted with garlicky herbed butter (butter with garlic, parsley, and salt) and topped with shredded mozzarella for the last few minutes of toasting in the oven.

i hope you're not eating a salad right now, because these photos will make you want to trash it and go eat some REAL food. (i say this as i eat just that, a salad... after THAT kind of weekend i'm due for it)

bon appetit!

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oh, that lil guy at the end?  that's an itty bitty hindu god carved in a itty bitty tusk.  that museum house is full of little treasures like this... that was the treasure of choice for that evening, haha.

cheers!
jenn

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

irresistible ice cream, 40 years in the making

make that 45 years in the making...

45 years of delicious, homemade ice cream.  jersey city wasn't always a "happening" place.  luckily for us, there are tons of businesses helping to revive it to a family-friendly, art-centric, destination location just a 7-minute, $2.50 train ride from manhattan.

some of these businesses are new and hot (read: razza, thirty acres, kanibal home, sam a. m., jc made, and smith and chang are my latest faves), but some have stuck it through the hard times, and having revivals of their own. torico ice cream is of the latter.  after going through a major renovation within the past few years, it's right back to booming with the rest of the community.

we're lucky enough to live close enough that through out living room windows, we get sniffs of waffle cones being freshly made on a breezy summer day.  i've tried practically every flavor they have to offer, but most of the time i stick to a vanilla cone with sprinkles or my usual ginger ice cream (i figure the ginger eases my stomach after this lactose-intolerant girl eats all that ice cream)

but i guess all those times i do the "try a few flavors, but still get ginger" scene, i never tried butterscotch.  hellllooooo new favorite! i love butterscotch, but i didn't think it could be that great in ice cream.  i mean, when you have so many great flavors to choose from, butterscotch seemed about as inventive as vanilla.

to my surprise, it's more creamy than any of the other flavors in the case, it's sweeter, and it hits the spot.  mr p always gets a scoop each of pumpkin pie and cinnamon, and even this time he settled for a scoop of butterscotch.

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my new "get fit" endeavor might be severely challenged if i continue to cave into this indulgence!

but hey... it's better than plopping on the couch and eating a pint of ben and jerry's, at least this place is local ;)

have you been to torico yet? better stop by soon! but, i don't think they will be leaving the neighborhood anytime soon, they still have a line out the door on some weekend nights! (in november, people!!)

cheers.
jenn

Monday, November 18, 2013

november date

mr p and i had our november date night friday night, and this is how it went:

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1. come home and put date night clothes on.
2. take the train to manhattan.
3. enjoy pre-dinner truffle-cheddar pretzels from sigmund's at broadway bites.
4. walk through midtown hand-in-hand.
5. get to tabata ramen, take a seat at the "bar".
6. order drinks, appetizers, and ramen.
7. scarf down delicious pickles, spring rolls, tonkatsu ramen and black sesame ramen.
8. walk hand-in-hand around midtown manhattan.
9. take the train home.
10. put on pj's and relax.

FINALLY.
a night just the two of us.
no reservations.
no timeline.
no worries.

why can't every night be date night?

cheers, my friends.
jenn

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p.s. took a stroll through "the" macy's.  sometimes i like to just go all the way up the escalator and all the way down just so i can ride the old wooden escalator. i'm a child, i know, don't judge.

Friday, November 15, 2013

instant "get fit" motivation

buy new workout clothes.

yes, it sounds silly, because pretty much ALL new clothes put a smile on my face.  but lets get real, friends.  great fitting compression pants and a figure-flattering top will make you want to go to the gym more than your cotton capris that always fall down, your 2-for-$8 sports bras from Wal-Mart that chafe your chest, and your baggy shirt from high school with the holes in the armpits.

last weekend mr p and i purged.  and i mean PURGED.  we got rid of so much stuff that i took 10 trash bags of donate-able stuff to salvation army.  with that, though, i got rid of a lot of clothes i used to wear to the gym with the intention of getting stuff i actually enjoy wearing.  i went through my drawer of "these are the ones i like" workout pants, picked out my favorite style, and vowed to get 3 more pairs. 

off to old navy i went!  although i can't always high five the quality of their normal clothes, i'll definitely high five the quality of their workout clothes.  the compression pants are pretty darn amazing.  i wish i would have taken a photo of myself in the fitting room.  if i was with my mom it would have been one of those laugh-so-hard-i-can't-breathe moments. i put on the pants, bent over with my butt towards the mirror, and tried my HARDEST to stretch them enough to see my undies.  i got into all kinds of funny positions just to make them stretch more, and it just didn't happen.  the pants priced at just $22.94 were NOT see-through, not matter how hard i tried.  move over lululemon, old navy is kicking your butt, and they DO accommodate "larger" sizes, for a fraction of the price. 

after feeling good about the pants, i decided to try on their compression tanks that were sports-bra-like on the top, loose on the bottom... perfect for this girl with non-washboard-abs!! i mean, come on, am i the only one not comfortable wearing a skin-tight tank when i work out!? this shirt is the best of both worlds. tight on top, loose on the bottom.


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awesome new shirt, awesome new pants, instant motivation.

case in point: yesterday i get to the gym at 5:45am, 30 minutes from home, doors down from the office... as i grab my things to go inside and run my butt off, i realize i forgot a shirt. as in i don't have a shirt for work.  i had to make a choice.  go back home and get the shirt, and NOT work out, or suck it up, make do, and run...  this girl did NOT go home! she ran 4 miles and wore her coat all day at work.  BOOM.  new clothes = motivation.


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what gives you instant motivation to get fit?  tell me about it! maybe i'll think about it next time there's bagels in the office (read: today) or the office buys me qdoba for lunch (read: today)

cheers to the weekend!
(maybe with all this extra motivation i'll actually work out instead of eating fried pickles at LB Burger Bar)

-jenn


p.s. since monday i've put in 8 workouts including running 15 miles and going to 4 kickboxing classes at JCTKD. does that mean it's ok to eat authentic japanese ramen for dinner? no? i'm doing it anyways, because it's date night tonight!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

i hope they frame this one day

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just call this the week of cheesiness (see here, and here if that's yo thang)

i couldn't help but snag this photo on our walk to the water after breakfast at sam a m on sunday.  these two... newly-engaged, looking adorbs, walking hand-in-hand in the brownstone-filled paulus hook neighborhood with manhattan's financial district ever-so-close in the beyond.

the iphone is a wonderful thing sometimes ;)
(edited with my favorite new app, a beautiful mess!)

congrats, you lovebirds!

cheers.
jenn

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

for my fellow fat-calved friends

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for someone unhappy with her size, you'd think I would be very excited to cover up this mess with some layers.   well, not this girl.  layers means pants that fit the waist (ugh), shirts that fit in the arms (ugh), and boots that fit the calves (double UGH).

i've had quite the troubles finding boots that fit my seemingly disproportionate calves.  when i look at myself in the mirror, i don't see fat calves.  but when mr p has to help me get my vince camuto boots on and off (thanks, babe), and when i go to umpteen stores to try on oodles of boots that just don't 'quite' zip up all the way... i know i have fat calves. or maybe designers just want skinny people with skinny calves to wear their boots.  it's all a conspiracy, i think (maybe like lululemon?). or sort of like Abercrombie. in high school i was a cool medium at most stores, but couldn't fit into the XL at that perfume-gagging store. some boot-makers make 'plus size boots' under the 'politically correct' term 'wide calf', but lets face it.... just because i don't fit into your tiny 'normal' calf boots doesn't mean you need to go double the circumference on me....

so that's been my predicament.  i'm too 'fat' for normal boots, but my legs swim in those wide calf ones.

WHAT GIVES!!??

luckily, after no luck finding boots that fit, i needed something to make me feel good, so i went into Francesca's for some sure-to-please accessories instead.  then, there it was... an unexpected display of boots.  one last try? it doesn't hurt, right? i slipped one boot on, zipped it up (ALL the way up), and still had room for about a finger or two, just enough for some leggings or skinnies.

lemme tell you, i felt like Cinderella putting on that glass slipper!! "it zipped!!" i screamed to mr p. "i'm getting them".  i didn't look at the price, i didn't check it they were real leather, i just took them to the register in pure joy.  they actually aren't real leather, but hey, even though they won't look as nice at least i don't have to weather-proof them ;) 

(they are the route 66 red zipper boot, FYI)

now that i've waited so long to find a good pair of tall boots, i've started wearing my combats more often. that's ok though, i hear booties and short boots are 'in' this year.  at least that's what my pinterest feed says.

am i the only one with this issue? the issue of fitting into normal-sized clothes but NOT normal sized boots???

i guess the smart thing to do would be to measure my calves at the widest part with a flexible measuring tape, the kind used for sewing, and do some zappos.com shopping.  they have this great tool on the side where you can pick the calf circumference (genius!!)  but for now, i guess i will just enjoy what i've got: one classic pair of well-fitting boots.  i'll take it.

cheers.
jenn

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

sam a. m.... again

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ok ok, so if you didn't get enough cheeseballness from yesterday, here's some more.

but really though.  the brisket at sam a. m. is pretty mouth-watering. pickled onions are pretty much my favorite food group these days, put those suckers on anything and it's an appetizing meal.  pair the tangy onions with tangy-sweet bbq sauce and it's a match made in heaven.  and seriously, why would someone serve a messy sammich on ciabatta bread that thin?  these guys, i swear...  they apparently know i think sammiches almost always have too much bread and not enough "stuff".  i used to think jimmy johns got it right by scooping out the middle, but why waste? start with less in the first place!

go there for yourself.  if you can't find it by going to paulus hook and sniffing for coffee and bacon, i'll help you out: it's on morris and warren.  go try it. and sit at the bar so you can watch them make it.

(but I have a vegetarian boyfriend/wife/child/mother/friend)

so what, order the fruits of the earth sammich.  it lands itself a close second. AND it's vegetarian.  boom. done.

cheers.
jenn

Monday, November 11, 2013

jc is my home, boy.

the day i found this website, is the day i found this shirt, is the day i bought 2 of them.... so mr p and i could be matchy matchy of course :P

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since college, my stash of comfy, worn-in, silk-screened t-shirts has dwindled.  that's partially due to the fact that mr p cringes whenever he sees me wear "that orange one with the words peeling off and paint stains", partially due to the fact that i'm ruining my poorly-made malm dresser because i'm such a pack rat.  i've acquired exactly 2 t-shirts since college (4 years ago!), and ALL of them are pretty unacceptable wear anywhere outside of my 400-SF apartment.

all of that combined led me to the impulse buy of our new "jc is my home, boy" shirts. (meaning "jersey city", of course, what else were YOU thinking?)  they are hipster nice enough to throw on with a cardigan and head over to barcade, comfy enough to sweat it out at JCTKD, and hey, who are we kidding, i'm GOING to wear it to bed too.  it might even be cool enough to get a #ootd on my instagram one day (read: today).

do you, too, live in this awesome place called jersey city? (business insider, business insider, and new york times think it's pretty awesome too, btw).  if so, you might want to go buy this shirt too!

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("hey babe, you need to open up your jacket so we can see what your shirt says")

cheers.
jenn

Friday, November 8, 2013

hello weekend.

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it's the weekend!
 
and because I get to have my friends come to ME this time, with no solid plans, no alarms to be set... i'm in seventh heaven.
 
because i was away from home 95% of the days from february through august, i'm in the mood to be a tourist in my own city.  i want to grab a drink at bars i've never been to, order food at restaurants i've never been to, peruse the racks of boutiques i've only window-shopped.....
 
when our friends come into town tonight, i plan to take them ONLY to bars i've never tried (9th and coles, left bank burger bar, Brightside tavern, golden cicada, and park & sixth gastropub are tops on my list right now) maybe we'll share an appetizer at each, or who knows, we could just wait and end the night with our (i-don't-know-why-it's-our-) favorite hollywood fried chicken (oops, that won't be good for the "my november is your january plan, i can't run off THAT many calories!!)
 
it's just going to be a great weekend....
i can FEEL it!
 
 also, when the path trains are on an even MORE limited schedule this weekend than the normal weekend limited schedule, it makes me just want to stay close to home and enjoy everything nearby :)
 
 what about you?
what are you looking forward to this weekend?
 
cheers!
jenn

Thursday, November 7, 2013

my november is your january

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remember in january when all you see on tv is commercials for fitness stuff?  weirdo expensive diet plans, gym discounts, new home gym gadgets, weight loss supplements.... that's what i think about when i think of january.  i, too, have fallen into the trap a few times after packing on the pounds after the holidays (gosh we're surrounded by such great cooks and bakers!)

i want this year to be different, i want to get a head start on the fitness crunch before the holidays so maybe i'll already be in "dropping pounds" mode and won't go for that extra cookie (or 2 or 3)  ....so, i declare that my november is your January.

when i came home from working in boston, i knew i had to make a change.  mr p and i were more diligent about going to kickboxing after work, but it wasn't enough for my goals. i joined another gym, i've been running an extra 10-15 miles a week, and i've been guzzling down goopy green smoothies and eating salads at lunch. 

i'm still pretty terrible on the weekends, eating more than i should, working out less than i should (aka not at all), and drinking precisely zero glasses of water.  i'll be the first to admit that I have no boundaries when we travel.  i'll still choose that Redd's Strawberry Ale over a light beer (or no alcohol at all), and it's tough to say no to delicious home-cooked meals that you don't get everyday (mr p's mom is a pretty awesome cook, so is he, but their styles are so different)

so, i push myself so hard during the week, many days getting in 2 workouts a day, and slurge on the weekends. with the exception of a mini jersey city bar crawl this weekend with friends from philly, i hope to stay a little bit more on track.

how do you stay on track on the weekends? do you work out? do you eat better? where does your motivation come from? i'm struggling here!

if you saw the above picture on instagram, you know that my recent motivation/inspiration is joy johnson.  yes, she passed away, but she also ran the new york city marathon 25 times AFTER turning 59.  with that said, no excuse is a good excuse to not find time to work out or eat healthy on the weekends....

regardless, i'm 6 pounds down... i gotta keep it up!

cheers.
jenn

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

knitting isn't my favorite, but....

I really WANT to enjoy knitting... but it just doesn't do it for me. 

mr p probably cringes at that statement considering how many skeins of yarn I have stuffed in baskets in the living room...  but it's the truth.  it makes my arms tired, and I work so hard for so long to produce so little progress on the darn things I make.

however, I do it anyways. I put myself through the boring nights knitting in the living room while watching jeopardy (no, i'm not 80 years old, i'm 26), knitting at the laundromat (hoping I don't see anyone I know), and knitting in the car on roadtrips (annoying mr p with the light on the whole time). 

but why?

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I love GIVING handmade things.  anyone can pick a gift off a registry (not ragging on you, they made the registry for a reason, right?), but giving something that's handmade is just a little more sentimental.  I know that when someone puts in the time and effort to give something handmade, it means more to me, so I want to do the same for others.  I once made a whole, adult-sized blanket for someone (then vowed never to do it again, it was the worst misery ever!), but now I stick to baby booties, slippers, and the occasional scarf (but only if I use fat yarn on giant needles so it goes super fast).

last weekend we went to a baby shower, and I whipped up some adorable, TINY baby booties while waiting on my laundry a few weekends ago (they literally only took me an hour a piece, start to finish, find the pattern here!).  i always bought yarn at ac moore or Michael's, or some other "big box" store, but this time i wanted to "choose local" after spotting a yarn shop in jersey city.  mr p and i went into 2 stix and a string after breakfast at sam a.m. one weekend.  feeling a bit overwhelmed, the owner welcomed us into the store and helped us find the perfect shade of purple for baby gabbie!  the yarn is certainly more expensive than your average "red heart" brand, but hey, it's handmade, the store is a small business, and now i know i'll use EVERY LAST INCH of the stuff knowing the investment i put into it, so i didn't mind paying a little more ;)

we've only got a "few" babies coming into the world in the near future.  i might be able to make a dent into the rest of the yarn stash if i'm lucky!!

cheers.
jenn

Monday, November 4, 2013

baby's breath for a baby shower

too cheesy?  no? didn't think so.  plus i'm pretty sure they are the best-looking flowers in vintage blue ball jars.  i just wish i would have bought a bouquet for each jar instead of splitting one bouquet between two jars.

last weekend we did our 14th drive to ohio this year alone.  this time though, it was for something that brings many smiles, a baby shower! mr p has a great group of friends that have known each other since kindergarten.  we visit with them when we can, but now that practically everyone lives at all corners of the country, it's tough to see each other all together.   as one of them brought to our attention this weekend, this will be the last time for a long time that everyone will get to see each other as a group, so it was an especially sentimental occasion...

we had so much food, it was practically an early "friendsgiving" with just a few baby gifts thrown in! no complaining from this side though, we've got some pretty awesome cooks on our hands ;) mr p and i contributed by bringing a fresh salad with our favorite dill dressing, and mr p made a pork loin with tzatziki sauce.

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a few years ago, mr p and i bought a sesame street bedtime story book for my nephew that was a "record-a-story" book.  it was so fun recording it, and made us feel good that he could hear our voices during his bedtime story (plus mr p does a pretty hilarious batty bat voice).  i thought it would be a great idea to do the same for baby Gabbie, because everyone lives so far away and won't get to see the her as much as we would like to.  i picked up the ugly duckling from barnes and noble, and we gathered together on the floor and read away!



we can't wait for Gabbie to make her debut in just a few weeks!  congrats to the lucky parents :)

driving 8 hours for a baby shower might seem extreme to some people, but this weekend was just a nice weekend away, seeing friends and family and enjoying the beautiful pennsylvania autumn leaves on the way home.

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cheers.
jenn

Friday, November 1, 2013

happy weekend

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(dinner from last night, steak with chimichurri sauce, i swear i could be like that lady on the frank's Red Hot commercials and say "i put that shit on everything". every bite of my dinner last night got dunked in that stuff, broccoli and all)

wow these past few days have been quite the busy ones!! between driving all around the state for my day job, waking up WELL before dawn to get in good runs, going to kickboxing after work, and prepping for a baby shower this weekend, i'm pretty much exhausted!!  i just wanted to stop in and say i wish i could slow down to finish writing so many of the posts i started this week, but it just didn't happen.... can we just have a week of 48-hour days?  i'd like that.

halloween FLEW by this year, but if you follow me on instagram, you know that mr p and i dressed up as minions! and ever since i discovered the "banana song" while in a panic search for learning how to "speak minion" before the party, i've had it stuck in my head...  it's just so darn catchy and adorable!!



thank me (or smack me) for that 50-second gem later ;)

cheers to the weekend!
only 16 hours of driving ahead of us, we're obviously not slowing down anytime soon...

what are your plans?!

jenn
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