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Frames From The Weekend 12/12/2014 – 12/14/2014

Five more days of work and then I’m on vacation (more like a staycation) for a full week! That’s right, I’m taking the full Christmas week off from work and enjoying every single day with my parents here in wintery Manhattan.

FFTW fall2

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In less exciting news, I’m officially sick. Like my-throat-hurts-and-I-can’t-tame-the-endless-tickle-that-leads-to-coughing-attacks sick. My insomnia has finally disappeared for the most part (rejoice!) but the dry air from my heater makes breathing painful every evening before bed and the following mornings. Life’s way of balancing is interesting, is it not?

Friday

{Friday* a calm work-from-home day * starting a new book, ‘Tiny Beautiful Things‘ by Cheryl Strayed, with a side of chocolate + raisins + almonds * coffee #2 because FRIDAY! * all dressed up and fancy for a date (new animal print top from Loft, old bandage skirt from H&M) * }

Saturday

{Saturday: * starting the morning with a fancy breakfast skillet featuring sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, spinach, avocado, and eggs * skipping Santacon for a short stroll around the UES for some light shopping and a few lovely hours reading at Barnes & Noble * hanging out at home with the best two boys in my life – Ben and Jerry (that entire pint disappeared somehow…#noshame) * starting to clip magazines for my 2015 Inspiration Board while watching ‘What If‘, which was a great movie * }

Sunday

{Sunday: * finally sleeping in but sadly waking up with a sore throat and a side of a crazy cough * enjoying a lovely 3 mile run through Central Park * grocery shopping and stopping for a much needed coffee #2 * finally finishing decorating my lovely Christmas tree * cooking up a storm – carrot cauliflower soup and an entire chicken * }

I have a few friend reunions scheduled this week but nothing majorly exhausting. The main goal is to fight away this cold/flu for good before my parents’ arrival on Sunday!

One final note – I’m so so sorry for failing at commenting and responding to all your lovely comments lately. I’m still actively reading and enjoying everything all you ladies are sharing. December has turned out to be quite a busy month! I’ll return soon with a vengeance, I promise.

What are you currently reading?

What’s your go-to remedy to cure a cold?

♥ Irina

Frames From The Weekend 12/5/2014 – 12/7/2014

I wrote an entire post last Wednesday about my vow to rest this weekend. It featured a full list of tasks I wanted to calmly accomplish with minimal effort, the main things being extensive sleep and absolutely no partying. Well I think we all know how that turned out considering I never even ended up publishing the post…

FFTW fall2

(Link up to ‘Frames From The Weekend’! Read the official “rules” here.)

At least it’s still in draft form so there’s always next weekend! In my defense though, I did stay home on Friday in an attempt to battle out this flu that keeps sneaking its way back. I swear I felt it coming on weeks ago and successfully pushed it away with Airborne, but it keeps trying to return! I almost just wish I would get sick so I can officially fight it off once and for all (famous last words?), grrr….

Christmas tree

{I finally bought a Christmas tree! It’s about my height and cost a fortune (damn NYC prices) but the joy it brings me makes it completely worth it. I made myself stay in on Friday and took time to decorate the tree with the little amount of ornaments & decorations I own. Is there anything better than sitting in a cozy room that’s dimly lit with warm Christmas lights? The answer is nope! I ended Friday night on the couch with plenty of snacks and a movie, 22 Jump Street, which was hilarious!}

Saturday

{I know I mentioned my endless insomnia, but Saturday was proof that it has finally caught up to me. I’m so embarrassed to admit that for the first time since high school (no joke) I slept in until…1 PM!!!! You guys, how insane is that? I can’t even normally sleep past 10AM on nights that I come home with the sunrise. Needless to say, Saturday started off in a confused and sleepy state. Not to mention, I was still battling with the onset of a cold so the combo of a headache + sore throat + runny nose didn’t help either. But enough of the complaints because Saturday night ended up being so much fun! Even though I probably should’ve stayed home, I couldn’t resist meeting up with some ladies and gents in the Lower East Side to celebrate a friend’s birthday. We started the night at Crocodile Lounge, a casual bar with old-school music. This place is so cool! Get this – for every drink you buy you are given your own personal pizza. FOR EVERY DRINK! Let that sink in for a second. I will definitely return, if not for the pizza then for the tasty picklebacks.}

food

{Sunday was the exact opposite of Saturday – I woke up at 7AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. Interestingly enough, my cold/flu seemed to have subsided so I chose to make the most out of the day. After a luxurious breakfast skillet (sweet potatoes + chicken + goat cheese + avocado + egg) with coffee, I headed out to T.J. Maxx where I picked up some amazing vegan caramels. These Amella Caramels are to die for delicious. I must recreate these at home immediately because I ate three and now only have three left…}

We’re quickly approaching mid-December! I’m extremely excited for the rest of this month – this week has some highlights, my parents will arrive for Christmas, and NYE will hopefully turn out as planned. I can’t wait! Let’s just hope I don’t collapse from sleep-deprivation.

Oh and I can’t forget to mention that the one and only William and Kate are here in NYC! And they’re staying only a few blocks away from my apartment! I start stalking today…

♥ Irina

I Don’t Listen to Voicemails

The title of this post is slightly misleading because I do actually listen to voicemails, but hear me out first (no pun intended). I hate voicemails. Hate hate hate! I thought I was an oddball with my feelings but apparently it’s a common theme among our generation. As coincidence would have it, I came across this article the other day and couldn’t resist chatting about it with all you lovely ladies!

But really…voicemails are the bane of my existence. It takes me days upon days to actually listen to ones left even by my closest friends. I’ve given this so much thought before and seriously cannot figure out why I feel this way! Sure, it’s “time consuming” to an extent, but 30 seconds out of my day is nothing in the grand scale of things.

iPhone

(shoutout to my old iPhone, Pinkie)

So I obviously have no valid reason to ignore voice messages. They’re great in theory, right?! You get to hear the voice of your best friend or parent, and it’s one step closer to meeting face-to-face (because we all know text messages/emails will be the downfall of future generations). I also always leave my friends super long birthday voicemails and have fun doing so.

However, if the tables were turned and I was faced with a 2 minute long message, I doubt I would be able to handle it. And I have been faced with it, which led to many days of pure ignorance. Perhaps it’s just the dreaded feeling of not knowing what you’re going to hear, although the messages are positive 99% of the time. Or it’s simply an acquired habit of our generation, which seems to thrive off of avoiding human interaction. Or maybe it’s just a negative outcome of my introverted personality. Whatever the reason, the truth remains – I don’t like voicemails!

Do you love or hate voicemails? Or are you simply indifferent towards them?

♥ Irina

Thanksgiving {2014}

There’s usually so much anticipation built up before Thanksgiving but this year the day sort of came and went without that grand finale feeling. I think it’s mainly because I was so busy all week and barely spent any time just relaxing at home.

Needless to say, we had no planned menu for Thanksgiving. Instead, we basically ended up winging the food and came up with a few classic staples:

turkey (organic, free-range, and delicious)
mom’s classic mashed potatoes with homemade gravy
sweet potato casserole
butternut squash soup (we’ve been making this soup for years and continue to love it)
spinach salad
baked brie cheese (appetizer – similar recipe here)
stuffing (pre-made from Whole Foods)
cranberry sauce
desserts – pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate ice cream, cookies (all store-bought)

The day started early with a filling breakfast of smoked salmon and poached eggs over avocado toast. Oh and coffee, always coffee.

Thanksgiving breakfast

I hung out with my precious fuzzball for a bit…

Dashka

…and then we got to cooking. I was out with my friends the night before (shame on me I know) so my mom & sister graciously prepped foods that could be made ahead of time – cranberry sauce, butternut squash soup, baked sweet potatoes, and gravy.

cranberry sauce

This was the first year we actually added dried cranberries into the cranberry sauce, and the difference in texture was astounding in the best way possible. The sauce was thick, tart, and delicious!

Our yearly tradition is to feast early, leave the house for a movie, and return home for round two. This year was no exception. To keep our growing appetites at bay, my sister put together a simple yet luxurious appetizer featuring brie cheese nestled in pastry dough, topped with jam and almonds, and baked until golden + melty inside.

brie cheese

This appetizer was everything and more…

brie cheese

We all couldn’t get enough!

brie cheese

brie cheese

Cutting into the brie wheel released a gooey stream of decadent melted cheese held back only by the flaky pastry shell surrounding it.

brie cheese

We scrambled to stop the lava flow with small pieces of bread because it was the right thing to do.

brie cheese

After recharging with all the cheese, I whipped together a simple spinach salad loaded up with many veggies while my mom warmed up our favorite butternut squash soup.

spinach salad

And finally, we all sat down at the dinner lunch table and began our decadent feast!

butternut squash soup

Out came the potatoes, stuffing, and a gorgeous turkey straight from the oven.

Thanksgiving

Before diving into more food, we went around the table and expressed everything we’ve been grateful for this past year. This has always been one of my favorite components of Thanksgiving and one that I hope to continue for many years to come!

turkey

I know many people don’t enjoy turkey thanks to its dry texture, but I happen to love it with cranberry sauce and gravy. Plus, leftovers make for an excellent salad topping.

turkey

Stuffing is probably my favorite Thanksgiving dish ever. Once upon a time I attempted to make my own stuffing but failed miserably, so this year we purchased a pre-made version from Whole Foods. You simply throw it into the oven for 30 minutes and serve!

stuffing

Dare I say it was delicious?! It definitely tasted much better than the bagged versions many stores sell, at least in my opinion. But this year my favorite dish was the sweet potato casserole.

sweet potato

We’ve been making this dish for the past few years, but this year I quadrupled the topping amounts. So much sweet and crunchy goodness! I couldn’t resist secretly reaching into the dish to pick out lonely topping pieces, shhh…

Thanksgiving

We filled and refilled our plates multiple times before finally calling it quits. After an hour or so of rest and conversation, we moved on to dessert. I clearly failed at creating a homemade dessert (I ran out of time to make vegan chocolate pumpkin pie) but the store-bought replacements weren’t too bad.

pumpkin cheesecake

Of course my mom purchased cheesecake, her favorite dessert, but I was surprisingly able to tolerate it thanks to the prominent pumpkin flavor. Although one bite was enough for me, and I went with chocolate ice cream topped with cookies instead.

cookies

And then it was time for one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions – movie night! We all piled into the car and drove to the movie theater to see the 3rd Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay. The theater was all ours! At least for a few minutes…

movie theater

I didn’t love the movie as much as I thought I would, but it kept my full attention so I can’t complain. The best part was arguably when we all returned home and had Thanksgiving dinner round two!

Thanksgiving sisters

And so concludes our wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. I can’t help but continue expressing love and gratitude for my incredible family and their endless support. We may all live far away from each other (at least I live far from them) but distance makes the heart grow fonder and feel infinitely blessed. I’m one lucky girl!

One more moment of appreciation before we part – thank you to everyone who continues to read this pointless little old blog of mine. Words can’t express how grateful I am for all my readers and commenters!

♥ Irina