Tree Lightings in Astoria

It’s that time of year where all the tree lightings happen. The infamous Rockefeller Tree ceremony was this Wednesday. I didn’t watch it this year, but it is a beautiful tree, and I know I’ll visit it eventually.

I want to keep it local this year. Two tree lightings are happening in Astoria tonight at Athens Square Park and on Sunday at Astoria Park. Check them out if you are in the area!

Via 30th Ave Business Association Instagram
Via Central Astoria Local Development Coalition Instagram

Advent Calendars 2021

I didn’t know that advent calendars were a big deal. Last year, I bought a chocolate one for both my mom and me to enjoy the season. I was pregnant, about to pop, and covid restrictions were still in effect, so I thought the calendars could be something we could do together even if we weren’t in the same place. Each night, my mom and I would find time to talk and enjoy our little treat. We loved it!

The chocolate was the same each night, but the quote with it was different.

I loved it so much I kind of went advent calendar crazy this year. I got a calendar for my parents, husband, my baby, my husband’s niece, and nephew, and even the cats have one.

My mom and I love chocolate, so I got a Godiva calendar for us. Dad wanted in, too, so he has his own as well.

I’m excited for this calendar because the chocolates will be different each night.

My husband is really into whisky, so I got him Flaviar’s Whiskies of the Galaxy calendar.

How cool is this box?!?
Fancy!

Maxine is almost one, so I decided to get her a stuffed animal calendar that could go on the Christmas tree.

Isn’t it cute!

The cats will be sharing a Fancy Feast calendar.

Meow

I got Andrew’s three-year-old niece a Disney advent calendar that will have a different story each night.

Andrew’s nephew is ten, so I chose a calendar that is a little more hands-on.

I hope we all enjoy them!!!

Starting the holidays off with Mom

Last year it was hard to get together for the holidays. Not only was I pregnant, but Covid happened. So I’m not surprised that pretty much everyone is jumping on the holiday bandwagon early. I started the holiday season with my Mom at the beginning of November. We did an Ethel M Chocolate tasting and went to a holiday market to benefit The New York Junior League.

On November 5th, we participated in Ethel M Chocolates- Holiday Cactus Garden Lighting Online Tasting Experience. The event came with hot chocolate, a chocolate tasting kit for two, and some paperwork to remember and enhance our experience. This was the first virtual tasting experience for my mom, so I was excited for her.

The event kicked off via Zoom with speeches and the Cactus Garden lighting ceremony. Then our Chief Chocolatier did a hot chocolate demonstration focusing on three ways you could up your hot chocolate game. Lastly, it was chocolate time! We sampled a white chocolate peppermint silk piece, milk chocolate pecan pie, a pumpkin spice piece, dark chocolate egg nog, and then milk and dark chocolate fudge pieces. My mom’s favorite was the white chocolate peppermint silk, and mine was the milk chocolate fudge.

Chief Chocolatier- Mark Mackey
Mom getting into it!

We had the best time! Ethel M has tastings all the time. Check out their website; they should have a holiday and a New Year tasting coming up.

On November 12, Mom and I attended The New York Junior League’s Golden Tree, a shopping event where the vendors give 20% back to the nonprofit. The league’s mission is to promote volunteerism, develop the potential in women, and improve communities. I also volunteer with the league, and this was the first event that I brought my mom.

Here is the gorgeous Astor House
Mom and me

Before we shopped, we enjoyed tea and yummy bites from Kings’ Carriage House.

Check out the spread!

After tea, we enjoyed three floors of vendors.

Isn’t this bag cute!
Original ornament from Christina’s World
Bought a scented candle from Zagara Home
And a elegant necklace from Therese Custom Designs

Golden Tree is done for the year but looking forward to more holiday markets like the Queens Craft Brigade event.

via Queens Craft Brigade’s Instagram
List of vendors for 11/28 via Queens Craft Brigade’s Instagram

What holiday markets and events are you excited for?

Fun in the Catskills

It’s officially Fall, but I’m still reminiscing about summertime. This year I got to enjoy the Catskills twice. The first time, I went camping with friends, and the second time, I stayed in a house with family.

Camping was fun, even with a seven-month baby! We stayed at a Tentrr campsite. Tentrr locations are unique because they provide all the camping material for you, and everything is already set up ready to go. We had a huge canvas tent, chairs, an area for campfires, and an area for eating. Another bonus of Tentrr locations is that they are pretty private. The place we chose is part of an abandoned zoo, and it was great because we were able to explore the area if we wanted to, and even though we were camping, we were able to use some bathroom facilities it had.

Here are some pictures of us camping.

Our Tentrr Tent

While in the area, we enjoyed the local Farmer’s market and ice cream shop, hiked Kaaterskill Falls, and did a tasting at the Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company.

On our way to Kaaterskill Falls
Baby’s first hike
Family pic at the falls
Banana flavor
Tasting at Rip Van Winkle Brewing Company

In late August, Andrew and I, with his family, rented a house via Airbnb. The house was by Hunter Mountain. It was simple, but it had plenty of room for us and had a pool and jacuzzi; we didn’t need anything else!

Here are some of my favorite shots.

Shirley House

Sadly enough, this summer just flew by. Before it is officially Fall, I want to recap some of my summer adventures.

I was able to visit my family’s Long Island house in Shirley twice. Once to celebrate my Dad’s birthday and another to have a relaxing week away from the city.

Here is a pic of my Dad.

Looking good for 79!

My Aunt found these gems of my Dad.

My Dad and Grandma ❤️
My Dad and Uncle ❤️

My Aunt and Uncle are really into clamming, so much of what we had eaten was clam-related, but it was delicious. My Aunt and Uncle work wonders in the kitchen.

Clam Chowder
Clam Casino
Clam Rockefeller
Fluke and veggies

During our week away, we enjoyed the house, visited the beach, and even went clamming ourselves. My husband Andrew, friend Patrick and I got to enjoy my Uncle’s boat. I need to come to the Shirley house more often.

Here are my favorite pics of the week.

Enjoying the canal
Exploring with the boat
Clamming time
Just a sample of the clams we got
Our cats PJ and BB lounging
BB exploring
Snuggles with Maxine
Peaceful times at the beach

Getting back to the swing of things

It has been quite some time since I’ve written. 2020 was a mess and motivation is hard to come by these days (especially since it’s taken till April to write this lol) but I’m trying to move past it and so it’s 2020 recap time to cleanse my soul.

Last year, I started January the right way, as queen! I’m half French but this was the first year I celebrated the beginning of the new year with a la galette des rois (king cake). My family never made it a tradition in my household. The dessert is served to celebrate Epiphany (or Three Kings Day). The cake is usually a puff pastry tart and has a single charm hidden inside. The person who finds the trinket becomes king or queen for the day. Here I am proudly showing my trinket and crown.
February was filled with celebrations including my husband’s birthday and my mom’s birthday. For my husband’s birthday we ended up renting a house for a few days in the Poconos. It was a lot of fun. My parents and his parents were all about the local casinos. We enjoyed Kalahari (an indoor waterpark for kids) and went sledding. My mom is a leap year baby so every time we have a leap year I feel like I have to do something for her. I held a little birthday party for her at a Greek restaurant in Astoria called Akrotiri Seafood Tavern. They have amazing seafood and good food in general!
March is when the year turned into sh$t and Covid happened. My last meal before lockdown officially started was at Sugar Freak in Astoria. I got my drink and food on but didn’t know at the time that it would be my last restaurant experience for awhile.
Despite Covid, in April, I got to enjoy cherry blossom season. To get out of the house for awhile I would walk around my neighborhood and enjoy the local cherry blossoms. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden also did a virtual tour of their cherry blossoms so I got to watch and enjoy the lovely view from home.
I have to say last year people got really creative with ways to see each other and experience things virtually. In May, a group of my girlfriends got together to celebrate two birthdays via Zoom. We had a tarot reading experience. Each of us was able to get a reading, it was very interesting!

In June, my husband and I started a little herb garden. We started a little late in the year and a couple of months later all the herbs died but it was a fun experience.

In July, we went camping! We found an amazing abandoned zoo campsite in upstate New York through Tentrr and stayed for a few nights. I wouldn’t normally recommend camping while pregnant but our Tentrr campsite was amazing. It included all the necessary camping equipment, including a canvas tent and bed. A few highlights of the trip was actually exploring the abandoned zoo and enjoying Haines Falls (which is pictured above). The waterfall was really beautiful and has two individual sections you can enjoy. The hike to the waterfall is not bad either but there are a lot of stairs to climb and that was not fun while pregnant.
I ended August enjoying the Queens Drive-in movie theater located in the parking lot of the New York Hall of Science. I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey. The movie was a bit weird but the overall experience was pretty cool. The best part was the food vendors you can order from and it wasn’t the normal movie theater snacks, it was more like real dinner food.
In September, I made the best decision of my life. I bought crawfish from Louisiana Crawfish Co. I was in the mood for crawfish so I did a quick Google search and found this company. They sell a variety of seafood goodies!
I did all the fun fall activities in October. The top two pictures are from Terhune Orchards. I met up with my two cousins and their significant others. This was the first time we got to hang out given the pandemic. The orchard had a beautiful sunflower patch, a cute corn maze we enjoyed and most importantly a wine tasting area. I clearly enjoyed the mocktails. We originally went to this place to go apple picking but that section closed earlier than expected. At least I was able to get some apple donuts. The bottom two pictures are from the Queens County Farm. They had an amazing corn maze! It was quite impressive, it was shaped to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and had an interactive game element that I loved.
November was a blur but one of my favorite moments was my baby shower. I planned it myself and since it was virtual I wanted to include as many people as possible. I ended up hosting a family version and a friend version. I shared all the ultrasound pictures I had, asked everyone to make guesses and predictions, and we played virtual bingo. I sent custom designed oreo cookies to prize winners. It was a good time!
In December, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. It’s been a hard year and at this time my dad was in the hospital for a hip fracture and caught Covid. My mom was in quarantine for visiting my dad but given all that, my husband and I had a lot to celebrate this holiday season. We really kept it simple this year. Just us, no tree, hardly any gifts, we just cherished our new baby girl.

I have many plans for 2021. I’m excited to see what I can make happen.

Goodbye 2019

I’m not going to lie, 2019 was a rough year for me personally and professionally but I had some really great moments with the people I care about. So here is my year in review…

January was a tough month for me but Andrew and I were still able to have a kick ass date night at Secret Summer’s Aquarius party. Here I am with the naughty wolves.

In February, Andrew and I decided to get away from NY for Valentine’s Day and his birthday and headed to The French Manor Inn and Spa in the Poconos.

Early March, I celebrated my Mom’s birthday at one of our favorite restaurants London Lennies.

Enjoyed Cherry Blossom season in DC with my friends Dawn and Christie in April.

Kicked off the summer season with my girls at Jones Beach for Memorial Day Weekend. Got the weirdest tan which I still have till this day.

Andrew and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary in June. We enjoyed a beautiful boat cruise and then a few days later had dinner at our wedding venue. Here is Andrew messing around on the boat cruise.

Got to enjoy my family’s beach house in Shirley Long Island in July. I don’t go there enough. It was beautiful and peaceful.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with trying to hit all 50 states lately. After working on a small puzzle of the US for a team building exercise in August, I bought a bigger one and plotted my next adventure.

My next adventure turned out to be a road trip in South Dakota and Minnesota in September! Here is a picture of us in the Badlands.

October is a very important month because it’s BIRTHDAY month! I did a lot of celebrating but my fav was exploring the Sojo Spa in New Jersey. Multiple floors, hydrotherapy, infinity pool….I can go on and on. Here we are in the heated pool.

I kicked ass for Thanksgiving. I cooked a full menu, cooking a turkey for the first time, which included an apple pie. I really out did myself.

Here is a picture of my turkey pre-oven:

Here is my apple pie:

And lastly, December. I started the year rough and I ended the year rough but being with family this past week has been a god sent. One thing I’m really proud of this month is getting my tree. I’ve never really grown up with a tree so getting one was a big deal to me. I’m sure I’ll collect more ornaments in the future but it was the perfect first tree.

It’s been real 2019 but 2020 I’m coming for ya!

2019 Holiday Season Memories

This holiday season went by so fast, I really can’t believe it’s almost over. It feels like Thanksgiving was yesterday but lo and behold 2020 is just around the corner. Here are some of my favorite memories.

Kicked things off by watching the Rockettes. I started going to the show every year with my Dad not so long ago. This year my Aunt and Uncle came along.

One thing I’m really proud of this year is cooking for Thanksgiving. From turkey to apple pie, I took care of it all.

I also cooked up a storm this past month.

Fried Chicken

Baked wings

Green bean casserole

Really decked out my apartment this year.

This is the first year Andrew and I got a tree!

The cats loved it!

Also, had some great family moments.

My cousin Rosie’s baby shower.

Annual Christmas party with the girls.

Pre-Christmas meal with my family the Saturday before Christmas.Hosted my family’s annual Christmas Eve party.

Winter Lantern Festival

Last week, Andrew and I accompanied my Aunt and Uncle to the Winter Lantern Festival at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden in Staten Island. The holiday light show had over 1000 lanterns of various figures – mostly animals and flowers.

Here are my favs:

It was def. fun as a group. We had a blast.

Halloween 2019

It’s been a minute but I’m back! Life happens and sometimes you just have to keep your head above water.

Celebrating Halloween is usually hit or miss for me. This year, I celebrated by carving pumpkins! I don’t have any memory of doing this when I was younger so I was truly excited. I would have loved to have gotten my pumpkins from an actual farm but it wasn’t in the cards. Got mine at Home Depot.

Here are some pictures of my husband and I having a blast.

The final products:

Mine, the true classic…

My husband brought out the creativity…

So happy how they came out!!

I want this to become a family tradition, even get other family members involved!

We didn’t dress up this year but our cats had no choice.

I was expecting them to fight me on this but they didn’t even meow! I dare say they might have enjoyed it.

Happy Halloween!