So long 2021

My 2021 wasn’t terrible. I became a Mom, and I celebrated and enjoyed life as much as possible. I explored and pushed myself to try new things. I got creative with ways to motivate myself, and I continue to move forward. It sucks that I’m spending the last day taking care of a sick baby, but such is life.

Below is my picture recap of the year. I choose one picture to sum up each month.

January- I became a Mom! I gave birth to Maxine Amelia on Dec 19, 2020. My first month as a mom was rough and full of learning moments, but I’m thankful every day for my munchkin.
February- My mom turned 77 this year. With the pandemic, it was tough to see her and our family. This amazing picture (of three generations) was taken at my Aunt’s house. We celebrated my Mom’s birthday, and family members finally met Maxine.
March- With a new baby, it’s hard to get out, and it was tough to have time just for my husband and me. I signed us up for a beer and cheese virtual tasting as a date night. It was a lot of fun and informative.
April- I did many fun things in April, including an oyster shucking class and a cooking class with Daniel Boulud, but nothing can beat my Dad finally coming home from rehab after fracturing his hip. December 2020, my father fractured his hip, had to have surgery, and caught covid and pneumonia in the hospital. At the beginning of the year, my father was moved to a long-term care facility in Jersey first and finally placed in a rehab facility in Queens soon after. It was a challenging situation, mainly because of covid and I couldn’t see him. He finally came home at the end of April, and he got to meet his granddaughter for the first time.
May- I decided to sign-up for a flower CSA from May to October. It was a bit pricey, if I’m going to be honest, but so worth it! I picked up flowers every week; it was very refreshing. I even tried my hand at arranging the flowers. It was fun and relaxing.
June- Andrew and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by attending a virtual magic show by Dan White. It was AMAZING and blew our minds.
July- We celebrated Dad, who turned 79! My family has a house in Long Island that we share by the beach. My dad rarely visits, but my Aunt and Uncle threw him a little party, and he enjoyed the day and area.
August- We had a family vacation in the Catskills at the end of August. We rented a house with a pool and jacuzzi; it was amazing and much needed. I don’t have many pictures of my husband smiling, so I’m taking advantage and showing his beautiful smile.
September- Self-care became tricky during the pandemic. I finally decided enough was enough with my hair and chopped it off. Quite liberating if I say so myself.
October- I turned the big 4*0* this month. We decided to head over to Crystal Springs Resort for a few days and enjoy the fall season. The resort was fantastic with great food, and I took advantage of the spa. We went apple picking, pumpkin picking, went through a corn maze, and enjoyed wine and spirit tastings in the area. It was very low-key and chill.
November- Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I appreciate the time with family and the overall idea of gratitude. I shared my journal of things I’m grateful for already in another post. My husband had to work on Thanksgiving, but I still enjoyed the day, reflected on everything I’m thankful for, and cooked a feast.
December- This month was filled with friend and family activities, but I couldn’t help picking the time decorating the gingerbread house as my picture for the month. It gets harder and harder to find activities that my parents are willing to do and be a part of. Next year, I will continue to brainstorm ideas.

It was great to reflect on the year. I hope you had some time for reflection as well.

Cheers to 2022!

Enjoying the holidays

Recapping my year is a must, but first I want to share how I spent my holidays. This year looked and felt different, but I was determined to make the most of it.

Tree watching:

I kept it local and virtual. I watched the tree lightings virtually for Athens Square Park and Astoria Park.

Astoria decorations:

I honestly didn’t venture around the neighborhood as much as I wanted, but I still got to see some beautiful decorations.

Home decorations:

I didn’t do much this year. I confess I didn’t even open up my Christmas boxes. I went with simple and familiar. Each year, I do a tree of Christmas cards, and for a tree, I got a tiny one this year so that we could enjoy the stuffed toys from my daughter’s advent calendar.

Christmas parties:

I’m fortunate that I could celebrate with my groups of girls. Both parties weren’t fancy, but I had a great time, and most importantly, everyone got to meet my daughter, Maxine.

Family activities:

A big hit this year was the gingerbread houses! Two were made with my husband’s niece and nephew, and one was made with my parents.

The advent calendars were also an obvious favorite. We all enjoyed our own. Andrew had a whiskey one, Maxine had a stuffed toy one, PJ and BB shared a fancy feast one, and my parents and I had a chocolate one.

I had low-key family parties with great food, but I’m pretty proud of my Christmas Eve dishes. I went all out with a seven-fishes-themed spread. We had raw oysters, crab, salmon slices, mussels and clams in a white wine, fried shrimp, and baked fish. We also had steak, brussel sprouts, and mashed potatoes. For dessert, I made brownies.

Christmas outfits:

I was so excited to dress Maxine up this year for parties and PJs. I couldn’t help myself.

Christmas cards and gifts:

I went with both personal cards and virtual cards. I sent many of my older family members cards with personal notes and sent a virtual card with pictures to all my online family members.

I gave many food-related gifts and personal touch gifts this year. Below are some of my favorites.

Overall I had a great holiday, and I hope you did as well.

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?

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.

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.

Last minute trip to paradise

Andrew and I decided to get out of New York for a few days and booked a last-minute trip to the Dominican Republic. We’ve been twice before, and it has always been super relaxing and chill. This time around we stayed at the Luxury Bahia Principe Bouganville.  I highly recommend it. We did all-inclusive and stayed in the adult only section, as the Grand Bahia Principe La Romana was right next door. It was perfect! We had access to two private pools, a private section on the beach and adult only restaurants but still had the opportunity to explore the family areas as well.

Here is the suite we stayed in, had a jacuzzi and outdoor patio area too =). The hallways had these amazing gate like pieces that made the place feel like you were walking in a castle.
hotel-room
One of my favorite things about the resort was the sculptures. They were everywhere and each pretty unique. I would say a nice blend of European and Modern.

sculptures

The pools were spacious, and there were plenty of spots. We didn’t have to reserve any chairs. Andrew and I even found a spot where he could smoke his cigar without it being an issue.

pool
The beach was beautiful. Pretty much all the seating had a cabana/hut feel, and there was plenty of space. The water wasn’t crystal blue but still a sight to be seen, and the sunsets were gorgeous. We took advantage of a free hour of kayaking on our last day.

beach

The food was pretty good, the best all-inclusive buffet experience I’ve had! On Friday, Andrew’s birthday, they had a seafood buffet with grilled lobster which was yummy. We also got to try their signature restaurant, Don Pablo, which had an AMAZING foie gras appetizer (we had two!) and their Brazilian restaurant.

food
The trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the spa. We got massages two days in a row and took advantage of their sauna and jacuzzi sections because why the hell not!

spa

Overall I had a great time. It’s been a while since I traveled to a country that doesn’t predominately speak English. It was a bit refreshing to have to try to speak and learn something else. This trip has reminded me how much I love to travel and to explore. Need to pick my next travel destination soon!

5th Anniversary @ Maze

Andrew and I recently celebrated our fifth anniversary at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant, Maze, at The London hotel in the city. Andrew and I are big foodies and are a big fan of his British show, The F Word, so it seemed like a good place for us to check out.

The space was amazing with beautiful chandeliers at the bar and blue seating everywhere. I also loved the bathroom area, which is basically a corridor of  individual bathrooms that include your own personal sink with a great selection of lotions.

The food was also amazing. Yes it was small portions and it was expensive but I knew that going in. I truly enjoyed everything I ate and the portions were good enough for us to share. We got the foie gras, spicy shrimp toast and scallops for appetizers. The foie gras was a bit messy to eat and the shrimp toast wasn’t really spicy but we didn’t mind one bit, they were all delicious. Andrew got the NY strip steak and I got the branzino. We also tried the brussel sprouts and the wild mushroom sides. If I could’ve licked the brussel sprout plate, I probably would have. To top it off we got complimentary dessert because they had to move us to another table to accommodate another party. It wasn’t really a big deal since our plates were already cleared when they asked but I gladly ordered and finished the apple tart and the chocolate mouse.

We spent easily around $250 but I’m worth it =). I would absolutely go back and maybe hang out at the bar before enjoying my meal next time.

Figuring out what to get

Figuring out what to get

scallops, the foie gras and the shrimp toast

scallops, the foie gras and the shrimp toast

very excited for my branzino and brussel sprouts...

very excited for my branzino and brussel sprouts…

wine and dessert

wine and dessert