Showing posts with label Choose Local. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Choose Local. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

masquerade soiree with e.tittlemouse and co.

the idea of a masquerade party seemed so distant to me.  my only two visions of it were scenes from breakfast at tiffany's and from gossip girl (who DOESN'T remember that episode where lil J gets smooched by nate for looking like serena?!).  i was so excited to go to this party with e.tittlemouse, because it was going to be my first one!

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it's rare for us to show up to an event like this empty-handed, so we (ahem, hung) decided to make meatballs! nowadays we can't make hardly anything without making a vegetarian version (if the dish isn't vegetarian already).  he's been using this recipe from smitten kitchen (modified with beef and baked on 450F for 20 minutes) for the real meatballs, and this recipe from serious eats for the vegetarian ones.  the recipe for the vegetarian ones is supposed to be for veggie burgers, but this is practically the same thing, right? since the veggie ones don't really have to be cooked (well, sort of, the egg I suppose has to be cooked through), he just tossed them in the oven with the real meatballs, just on a different pan. the cook time and temperature isn't SO important for the veggie ones. 

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i couldn't let hung get ALL of the attention though.  after a failed attempt at creating a "super simple nutella stuffed baked wontons" i decided to go with a tried and true recipe for chocolate banana bread (i'm ACTUALLY starting to use the recipes on my pinterest!!).  but for this event, we needed bite-sized everything, so i turned them into chocolate banana mini muffins!  i suppose all 3 dishes were a hit, considering everything was gone exept for one last mini muffin that got splashed in vodka (oops! party foul).

see more party photos after the jump!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Night of Noir - JC Fridays with E. Tittlemouse and Co.

jersey city has seriously been stepping up its game.  and right now, i'd have to say most of it has to do with the residents stepping up their game, coming out to support those small businesses that are popping up all over town right now, and the businesses stepping up either game by hosting community events.  it's been a win-win for everyone.  jc fridays has been a fantastic event in downtown jersey city for a while now, celebrating the works of local artists, getting the community out for a night of fun in the meantime.  although jersey city isn't home to galleries on every block, you can find local art in nearly all downtown restaurants and a lot of specialty stores.  for instance, LITM keeps its walls bare white, with rotating local art on display putting pops of color throughout the minimalist bar.

JC Fridays cupcake
cupcakes from sugar supply

while jc fridays is a great event to store hop/bar hop/art gallery hop, we decided to plant our feet at e.tittlemouse and co. for the night.  napoleon and belinda, the store owners, are huge supporters of local talent beginning to shine.  their theme for friday was "a night of noir" celebrating the upcoming works of john trigonis and lauren clemente, as they will soon launch a new comic book titled "siren's calling," a horror noir comic book based in santa monica in 1947.   lauren is the illustrator for the comic, and her art featuring scenes from the comic were on display (and for sale) at the event, including original sketches of the characters. 

E. Tittlemouse and Co.

Lauren Clemente with Siren's Calling artwork
lauren clemente's artwork from siren's calling.

everyone was encouraged to dress as if they were in the comic, the men donning trench coats and fedoras, skinny ties and suspenders.  ladies played their parts with sultry dresses, red lipstick, and victory rolls, headpieces from local jewelry artist caviar noir, or fascinators in their hair.

while i was excited to attend the entire event (gosh the anticipation leading up to it was intense!), a last minute business trip put me at the store 2 hours late.  hoping to catch the tail end of it, i didn't even change my clothes before coming (lame!), but luckily my partner in crime/husband slipped his way to the event right on time, in costume (looking as adorable as ever), with the camera and all! enjoy his amateur-but-awesome photos below (gosh he's getting good at those photo-taking skills!)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

wedding brunch

our wedding brunch was different than your typical wedding brunch.  normally it's full of tired, stayed-at-the-reception-too-late, drank-too-much crowd eating their last meal before parting their separate ways.

ours? it was practically the opposite! our ceremony was at city hall (during normal city hall hours, of course), which meant we were out the doors by 10:30am... and brunch was immediately after! well, after cheyenne took some family photos of course ;)  brunch was held at our favorite weekend breakfast place in jersey city, sam a.m.   we were greeted with the smell of bacon and coffee and the sound of james brown.  our table was ready, with freshly-squeezed orange juice and chilled champagne we took over the night before.  the bar was lined with fresh summer salad, pastries, and a giant plate of smoked salmon.

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see more after the jump...

Friday, August 8, 2014

custom wedding earrings from nuda designs

considering i purchased my wedding dress for a whopping $98, i figured i could splurge on the details.  when i told hung i wanted to do custom wedding earrings, i could tell his brain was on a tight rope. "um, sure babe, anything you want", but i know in his head he was thinking "omg, how much is THIS going to cost us!?"

it's not as bad as you think! i mean, i am the bargain shopper of our duo, and i'm happy to say that i got my wedding dress, shoes, custom earrings, and custom wedding band each for under $100. 

i'm no stranger to jewelry from nuda designs, as e.tittlemouse always has nuda jewelry for sale.  i was in love with these earrings, but i wanted a bit more sparkle. 

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luckily for me, gale is super easy to work with, and was happy to modify her design for my special vision! i have a ring i wear almost daily that's labradorite.  i randomly picked it out in a jewelry store in chinatown while on a friends trip to san francisco, unaware of the name of the stone. i just liked that it was a fairly neutral color (mostly gray) with iridescent hints of blue (little did i know hung's friends were onto something when the store was "sizing" my finger for the silly ring i wanted , sneaky girls!!!)

gale quickly sourced teardrop-shaped labradorite stones and went to work!  every few days i'd get an update on the progress (we certainly didn't get that service with the custom wedding bands we ordered on etsy, but we'll leave that story for another post...) when the earrings were finished, she dropped them off at e.tittlemouse for me, so i didn't have to wait for them in the mail.  obviously i picked them up RIGHT after work that same day, opened the box IN THE STORE, tried them on IN THE STORE, and skipped all the way home (ok i'm kidding about the last part, but still, i was excited). i tried them on AGAIN when i got home, AGAIN when hung got home, then i instagrammed them.

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while i wanted to choose a local artist to make my earrings, the good thing about jewelry, is that you can buy it from anywhere! check out the nuda designs website for more of her work, purchase it on sewbie.com, or contact her for a custom design.  obviously i'd recommend her to anyone ;)

the closer we get to getting married the more giddy i get (don't all brides feel that way?)

cheers, and happy friday!
jenn

Monday, July 21, 2014

hamilton park picnic

"if i didn't move here, i would probably never do anything like this."
      - the words of my fiancé, who repeatedly tells me that he's so grateful to live such a fulfilling life in a smile-worthy place. 

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yesterday we set out for a picnic in hamilton park, casually organized by napoleon and belinda of e.tittlemouse and marinell and chadner of eighty magazine.  we packed up the picnic basket, filled with dinnerware, cloth napkins, box wine, seltzer water, and (of course) some homemade goodies.  we packed the blanket, the camera, and walked a whole 5 blocks to the picnic!

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our well-received contribution to the food spread was corn, goat cheese, and quinoa hand pies! as much as we would like to take credit for the final product, it was just a mix of the filling from the sween corn and goat cheese stuffed peppers recipe from thekitchn.com and the pie crust from the infinite kitchen sink hand pie from lady and pups.

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a surprise visit from milk sugar love and a generous hand-delivered bucket of ice cream, and everyone went crazy.  phones and cameras came out like paparazzi, everyone cheered.  i guess that's the sort of entrance you live for when you own an ice cream business ;)

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when we got there, we were greeted with wine, endless food options (mostly filipino), and a community of jersey-city-loving new friends.  what a group to get you inspired! a lot of the people there were entrepreneurs, designers, and creatives, all with a passion for their business and art.  nearly every sunday lately we've spent meals with friends, but this was a new and fun idea of bringing together those with a common bond (food) in a place we love (hamilton park) to form new friendships (and put faces to instagrammers i already stalk) and have a great time.

while living in such an urban environment, especially so close to big, scary new york city, i never would have thought that i would have found such neighborhood pride, so many local connections, such a small-town feel.  it's events like this that really make us feel like we made the right choice to plant our roots in jersey city.  we felt honored to even be invited to such an event with so many talented people, and can't wait for the next one!

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cheers to monday!
jenn


p.s. go check out these new-to-me local artists/entrepreneurs/creatives from jersey city:

eightymag
chicpeajc
sewbie
caviar noir
e.tittlemouse (not-so-new to us :P)
joan michel
eat and be mary
downtown natch
modest mind clothing
deen boutique
chadner navarro

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

urban sanctuary

have you found your urban sanctuary?

is it that big patch of grass in a park where no pets are allowed?

is it that spot that says "no trespassing" but you do anyways and you get away with it?

is it that cliff that's so high that the sounds of city life disappear?

is it smack in the middle of times square where the sounds are so loud, but strangely comforting?

last weekend we found "our spot". and it's just a short bike ride away.  we rode our bikes up (and up and up, literally) to the jersey city heights neighborhood where there's a sunday morning farmers market in riverview fisk park.  while the ride to get there was pretty intense with the steep hill and the incredibly hot and humid weather, the destination was worth it.  we picked up some cold brew iced coffees from mod cup coffee, perused the vendors at the farmers market in the park, picked up fresh vegetables for the week (including the biggest bunch of basil i've seen, purchased for just $2), snagged some stuffed croissants and perched ourselves up on a weird concrete platform overlooking the NYC skyline. 

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when scouting for a spot to eat our goods, we spotted what looked like the remnants of a really cool building. there's nothing left but just the foundation a few steps up from ground level.  do we go up there? it's so cool, why isn't anyone up there if we're allowed up there? is it going to fall apart if we go up there? my engineer mind said "lets do it! if its been here this long, 2 people aren't going to break it!"  in reality, just the edges were a bit worn out, and it was quite the nice hideaway.  hung likes sitting in the grass, but hates the bugs.  this was the perfect compromise! a picnic on the concrete :P  we had the best views though, so it really was a great spot.  it was quiet, there was a breeze, we felt alone.

yeah, we'll be heading back.  if not for the spot, definitely for the coffee, THE BASIL, and the spinach-and-cheese-stuffed croissants.

jersey city, you win my heart again.

cheers.
jenn

Thursday, July 10, 2014

well hello summer!

somewhere between moving to a new position at work and jersey city having the BEST weather this summer, a whole month has flown by since my last post! it's not that we haven't been doing anything fun, it's actually quite the opposite.  our home is now dinner-party-friendly, visitor-friendly, and project-free (for now).  the weather is great for evening walks, sundays at the beach, and bike rides in the city.  hung and i spent the majority of last summer traveling, so we're trying to fully take advantage of being at home this summer.

a few weeks ago my dad and stepmom visited from florida.  they were the first family to see the new house, and what a blast it was! while hung and I are used to being on the go and walking til our legs fall off, it's pretty typical that visitors who don't live in a city get pretty zonked by the end of the first day.  it was sort of nice to be able to come home around dinner time, eat food at home, relax for the evening (instead of staying out until the wee hours of the morning) and sleeping in.  we still got to enjoy the best hours of the day and do everything on the list.  

we took a trip on the circle line for the very first time for all of us! surprisingly, this super-touristy-but-must-do adventure turned out to be pretty awesome.  i don't think i'll be doing it again, but i'm glad we did it! who knew that the northern-most end of manhattan was so forest-like? and that there are so many islands around it? i mean, really, most of the time you even forget that manhattan itself is an island!

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for lunch we headed over to brooklyn to eat outside at surf bar's back patio/garden.  you might as well call it a beach without the water, because the floor is sand, even in the inside part! what a perfect setting for one of the most beautiful days of summer.

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on the way home we walked to milk sugar love, my first time eating it! first of many, i mean.  we've been there a few times since, and are never disappointed (how CAN you be with THOSE flavors!?) i'm so in love with that place, and the idea that now i can get it any day of the week, not just on the days they are at the farmer's markets :) :) :)  they are located right on hamilton park in jersey city, what a perfect spot to grab a cone and stroll through the park!

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the next day we headed to pier 13 in hoboken, where we enjoyed gorgeous views of manhattan, the hoboken waterfront, and ate brick-oven pizza from a food truck (practically hung's dream).

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the rest of the time was spent cooking at home and re-watching the entire first season of orange is the new black (now i've got THEM hooked on it too!) because i needed a good refresher before i started in on the second season (who's finished with it!? omg the last episode was good!)

of course when family visits they can never stay long enough, but at least we get to see them again in august.

cheers.
jenn

p.s. can you tell we got a new camera lens!? we're loving the low aperture if you haven't noticed already :P

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

reduce reuse recycle

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just a friendly reminder of how precious this fragile world of ours is, and that finding clever ways to reduce your consumption, reuse goods and packaging, and recycle everything you can make a bigger impact that you will ever know...

bouquets and baskets flower shop has two of these beauties lining their corner store front, and i'm in love with them!  instead of sending that big chunk of metal to the scrap yard, junk yard, or worse, the landfill, these claw foot tubs were recycled and repurposed for a beautiful, fitting-for-the-brownstone-filled-neighborhood sidewalk garden (that dogs CAN'T relieve themselves in and kill the flowers).  and hey, it makes the neighborhood pretty too and gives someone a reason to smile when they walk past :)

cheers.
jenn

Monday, June 9, 2014

supper club date night

june is an action-packed month for us, with no more weekend time to ourselves.  a few months ago i planned a DAY date exploring williamsburg and we loved it.  although I wanted to plan another adventure date, this month just wasn't going to give us the chance.  last tuesday i saw sam a.m. cafe's supper club menu posted for thursday (see it on their instagram, twitter, or facebook), and the lightbulb turned on in my head... supper club it is!

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last week's menu included lamb ragu. two of hung's favorite foods in 1 dish: slow-roasted lamb and pasta, so i knew it would be a win.  what i didn't know was how good the REST of the meal was going to be! lamb ragu was just the fourth course of FIVE.  i thought that because there would be 5 courses, the portions would be itsy bitsy.  hung ate a sammich before we left the house, and i had a few bites too.  i could have been rolled out of the place that night i ate so much.  normally i feel zero guilt asking for a box to take food home, but for some reason (i.e. the food was so good) i couldn't leave anything left on the plate.  i even consulted hung to take up the last bites when he knew i looked miserable but still eating.  first world problems? absolutely. 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

january date

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since the day union republic opened in our neighborhood 9 weeks ago, mr p had his mind set on going there for our january date.  i got a little worried when halfway through the month we had not picked a day to go.

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"hey babe, we should pick a day to go on our date."
"why not Friday?"
"ok sure!" 
....then we agreed to show a friend of a friend around town friday night.
"oops, ok we'll go saturday then."
"perfect!" 
...then we remembered our friend from ohio was visiting for the weekend. 
"shit. let's try to go the next sunday so we won't double-book."
"well, unless we go after he leaves on sunday, there aren't any sundays left in january." 
....hmmm...
"wanna go tonight?"
"let's do it!"

ok ok ok... so it didn't exactly go as planned, but that didn't stop us from having a good time last thursday! we were instantly happy the moment we walked in those big glass doors.  it was so cold outside i think if i had walked a step farther my ears would have frozen off! gosh it was so cold out there.  perfect for a warm bowl of soup, i say!

we weren't sure if union republic was a byob place, so we thought we would sneak in a bottle of wine in my bag. if it, indeed, was a byob, we were well-stocked.  we walked inside and i immediately went to use the ladies' room, and when i came back there were two wine glasses on the table ready to be filled! score....

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(greeted with an unexpected dose of baba ganoush and hummus)

while i really was in the mood for some good hearty, silky, brothy ramen, i knew that's what mr p was going to get, and there were so many other things to try on the menu for us BOTH to get ramen! we shared a "ramen burger" for an appetizer (i could have eaten 5 of them, as they were topped with my favorite pickled onions, but it was totally not was i had expected), and i ended up getting the ratatouille (the place practically encompasses all ethnic foods in one restaurant)

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though the veggies in the ratatouille were tasty, the flavor combination was so much better when i snagged a bite with some of the walnut pesto. i kept telling our waiter i NEED to make the walnut pesto at home! i could seriously put that stuff on just about anything!

mr p's ramen hit the spot too.  i think the noodles are the best i've had in the fancy, non-instant kind of ramen.  some people go for the perfect broth, some people go for the perfect noodles and goodies.  i go for good noodles and goodies, and this one certainly topped my tastebuds for the noodles and soft-boiled egg part.  why is that such a good thing for union republic? you can buy the noodles!! they come in a package, sort of like instant ramen, with sauce packets to make the broth, but the noodles are fresh! and for just $5 it would be worth it to at least try it one day!

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union republic wasn't just an eatery, though.  with a grocery section, a "bar" area where you can grab a seat and watch the cooks do their magic, a lounge area, and a byob policy, this place can truly be the ultimate hang-out spot.

...and hang out, we did! we still had half of our bottle of wine to go, and a set of interview questions to answer (remember yesterday's post??), so our waiter talked us into getting the banana bread chocolate bread pudding.  yes, that's right, chocolate bread pudding made out of pieces of banana bread (don't worry, our minds were blown too).  it's no secret i have an obsession with the lemon bars at thirty acres (see this post and this post for proof), and this dessert is giving those lemon bars a run for their money for my favorite sweet treat.  i'm usually not one for desserts, but this bread pudding might have to be a must-have every time we go.  i might even just order an appetizer and the bread pudding so i make sure to save room!  as of last thursday, the desserts weren't on the menu. so in case your waiter forgets to mention the bread pudding, you better ask!!!!

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(ahhh chocolate overload!  a chocolate overload that i'll eat again, and again, and again, and....)

now it's your time to venture a few blocks further from grove street down newark ave and experience union republic for yourself.  your tastebuds (and your wallet!) will thank you.

cheers.
jenn

p.s. high five to jersey city for snagging yet another great restaurant!! keep 'em coming!