Tag Archives: Lifestyle

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsIf you follow me on Instagram, you know what today is (mostly because I won’t shut up about it!). I’m headed to Maine, y’all! We are packed into a station wagon and headed north with big plans to do as little as possible.

After living in NYC for almost twelve years, I love getting out of town, but I know plenty of you can’t wait to visit this incredible city. Today, I’ve made a list of my favorite places in NYC (mostly Manhattan and Brooklyn), just in case you ever wanted to know what I love about this place and what we’d do if you came to visit me.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

Museums & Popular Attractions

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsCooper Hewitt (Upper East Side)
Inside a beautiful old mansion on Fifth Avenue is this incredible museum dedicated to innovative design & sustainability. Nearly everything there is interactive in some way, and all of it can be “bookmarked” for further investigation by renting a special electronic pen at the front desk. I’d try to explain it, but I’m not that smart.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Upper East Side)
A NYC classic! Go for the permanent collection, or to see Camp before it closes. I’ve also been to the Met Breuer, which is located in the Whitney’s old space. Definitely worth a look.

The Frick Collection (Upper East Side)
Go for the art, go for the stunning mansion it’s housed in.

American Museum of Natural History (Upper West Side)
Another must-see! My beloved Hall of Gems & Minerals is closed, but there are dinosaur bones, a whale, a planetarium, and plenty more things to see.

The Brooklyn Museum (Crown Heights, Brooklyn)
This one is definitely worth the trip across the bridge! This is a beautiful building in a stunning Brooklyn setting, and has recently hosted exhibitions on David Bowie, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kehinde Wiley.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

One World Observatory (Financial District)
I don’t usually recommend paying a bunch of money to take an elevator, but the 360 view and the knowledge of the staff are well worth the cost of admission.

Beaches & Waterside Communities

A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsRed Hook Waterfront (Brooklyn)
Red Hook is probably my favorite neighborhood in Brooklyn. This waterside community has cute shops, excellent restaurants (looking at you, Hometown Barbecue), and an incredible waterfront park. It also happens to be home to the best grocery store in Brooklyn, if not all of NYC. This neighborhood is not convenient to the subway; it’s accessible only by bus, car or ferry (or your own two feet), but it’s worth the minimal effort. I took my parents down there for a lobster roll and an ice cream cone a few weeks ago (more on those below), and I think they’d agree that it’s worth the trip.

Coney Island (Brooklyn)
This neighborhood is home to the famous Luna Park theme park, beach and boardwalk. My favorite thing to do down there is to catch a Brooklyn Cyclones baseball game.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

The Rockaways (Queens)
I’ll admit that I’m not much of a city beach person, but I finally made it out to The Rockaways earlier this summer to see what all the hype is about. I ate an arepa, walked the boardwalk, and got my toes in the surf—no complaints. I highly recommend taking public transit (subway or ferry) to get out there. Don’t drive—parking is a nightmare.

Restaurants

Sole Di Capri (TriBeCa)
This small Italian restaurant is one of my favorites in all of NYC. They have a regular menu, but their specials are plentiful and change constantly. I’ve never has anything that was less than spectacular. My only real recommendation is to get whatever salad has the house-made mozzarella on it. So, so good.

Hot Kitchen (East Village)
My friend, David, introduced me to this Sichuan restaurant and it’s seriously fantastic. Get the cumin lamb!A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsKatz’s Delicatessen and Russ & Daughters (both East Village)
These institutions don’t need my endorsement, but I’m just here to confirm that getting a Katz’s 1/2 pastrami sandwich + matzo ball soup and following it up with a Russ & Daughters raspberry hamantaschen is always a good idea.

Momosan (Midtown)
This is Masaharu Morimoto’s ramen bar. I went with my best friend, Emily, a few weeks ago and we both loved it! Get the tsukemen and the Peking duck tacos.

The Plaza Food Hall (Central Park South)
This is a high-end food court located immediately below the Plaza Hotel. There are many options and all of them are fantastic. Plus, you get to say fancy things like “I’m going to lunch at the Plaza.”

Capizzi (Theatre District/Times Square)
This pizzeria is located just below Times Square near Port Authority. If I am going to the theatre with company, this is almost always my pick. The pizza is good, as is the service, and I’ve never had a problem getting a table.

5 Napkin Burger (Restaurant Row/Times Square + 2 more)
Another theatre district favorite! This is a great place to get a burger, fries, a sundae, or all three (!) before or after a show. Their onion rings are truly something to behold.

Bar Tabac (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn)
French food in an adorable setting in a neighborhood that I lived in for seven years. Their lone drawback is that they only take cash and AmEx.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
Red Hook Lobster Pound (Red Hook, Brooklyn)
After you go check out the waterfront, stop for a lobster roll and a Maine Root root beer. The crispy brussels sprouts are great too.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
Ample Hills Creamery (Multiple Locations)
A super cute & creative local ice cream chain.

Broadway ShowsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsI’ve gone to a lot of Broadway shows this year and it has been a ball! You don’t need me to tell you to see Hamilton (but like, it lives up to the hype) or The Book of Mormon (also great—saw it twice), and you certainly didn’t ask for my theatre recs, but this is my blog and you’re getting them anyway.

Shows I *love* that are currently running: Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Waitress, Dear Evan Hansen, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Shows I like that are currently running: Come From Away, Beetlejuice, Beautiful, The Lion King.

Shows on my list to see soon: Hadestown, Oklahoma!, The Prom (closes August 11th), Moulin Rouge.

How I get Reasonable Tickets
TodayTix is my go-to for tickets. They have Broadway, Off-Broadway, and specialty shows (looking at you, Golden Girls Live!) all at reasonable prices. Highly recommend!

For the really pricey shows (Hamilton, Hadestown, To Kill a Mockingbird) I like to use GameTime, which is an active marketplace. Prices drop as showtimes get nearer—still regretting not taking a pair of $61 front mezzanine tickets to Hadestown the week after the Tonys. Don’t be like me!

If you’re still at a loss, some shows have standing room tickets ($25-$40) available at the box office. Be prepared to stand for 2-3 hours.

Baseball
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsI love baseball and try to make at least one game a year (ideally when the Texas Rangers play the New York Yankees). I use GameTime to get crazy reasonable seats—seriously love that app.

Favorite Stores

These are the places where I spend my money.

Specialty FoodA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
Zabar’s (Upper West Side)
A NYC institution! Go for the coffee and the babka, or grab a few things at the deli counter and go picnic in nearby Riverside Park.

Sahadi’s (Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn)
This Brooklyn favorite is where I buy all my coffee beans, dried fruit, and cheese. Everything is shockingly reasonable, the staff is sweet, and they make the best hummus, period. I also used to work as a cashier here, and can say that the Sahadi family treats all their employees with the utmost respect. Love that.

Vintage & AntiquesA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsA New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsPippin Vintage (Chelsea)
My favorite store in NYC. Great vintage and antique clothes, furniture, and jewelry (fine and costume), all at reasonable prices. I’ve never brought anyone there who didn’t totally fall in love with it. If nothing else, go to see the store itself, which is a small house set back from the street. It’s only accessible through a hall of antique mirrors!

Yesterday’s News (Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn)
The best vintage and antiques in Brooklyn. I bought my dresser here, as well as countless unique gifts for all my favorite people.

Used Bookstores

Alabaster Bookshop (Union Square)
A hidden gem around the corner from the famous Strand Bookstore.

Mercer Street Books & Records (NoHo)
A great bookstore around the corner from the Angelika. It makes for a wonderful start or end to a movie date.

Unoppressive Non-Imperialist Bargain Books (Greenwich Village)
A left-wing community bookstore with grouchy staff that I love.

Random Free (& Cheap) Things

NYC is full of free things to do. Here is a list of ideas, just off the top of my head:
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGo to the Brooklyn Flea. It costs nothing to browse.

Picnic in any park.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsWalk the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and/or the Brooklyn Bridge.

Explore Green-Wood Cemetery. Seriously.
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGet some soft-serve from a Mister Softee truck.

The Union Square Greenmarket is a great place to spend some time (even if you don’t end up buying anything).A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGo to the Balloon Saloon.

Tour Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace.
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsGo take pictures at the Oculus.

Check out the reading room at the central branch of the New York Public Library.

Go take a look at Grand Central Station.
A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsWalk into open churches.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsTake advantage of summer street fairs.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of SortsAs you can see, there is literally no excuse to be bored here. That’s why I have to go to Maine.A New Yorker’s NYC Favorites: A Travel Guide of Sorts

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Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

I’m taking a break from recipes today to talk about something important: intentional creative growth, namely my experience doing The Artist’s Way over the last few months.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayIf you’ve never heard of The Artist’s Way, it’s a best-selling book and program by Julia Cameron that is intended to help adults re-capture their own creativity, and to assist people in creative careers to move past artist’s block. I am in recovery in other areas of my life (six years sober last week!), so when my friend, Angela, proposed that we start the year by doing The Artist’s Way, I figured it would be a way of applying that sort of care directly to my career and creative pursuits. You see, for me, baking and blogging are, first and foremost, artistic endeavors. I’ve always thought of myself as an artist of sorts—a creative type, at the very least—so this seemed “on brand” with the sort of life I want to live.

I had heard of The Artist’s Way before and been clued in when various mentors and acquaintances were starting up, but always passed on the opportunity. It seemed like a lot of non-essential work and there were meet-ups and I was intentionally creative everyday in my kitchen and on this blog and I love art (especially theatre and film) and…as you can tell I had about 47 reasons why I did not feel like I needed “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.”Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WaySo, why did I agree when Angela suggested we do this? Well…I blame January and the “New Year, New Me” mentality that I love to hate. That, and feeling a little burnt out and blocked from two solid months of holiday baking. Creating content for this blog is one of the great joys of my life, but even doing the things you love can be exhausting. I needed to get back to basics and The Artist’s Way seemed like a good way to attempt that.

As with anything that I agree to do that is beyond the realm of absolutely essential, remorse quickly followed. I am a hardcore introvert, so being out doing anything social is exhausting, but this required homework too. Hard pass…or at least that was the plan. By the time I got the courage to bail, Angela and our friend, Arnab, had both acquired their books and notebooks and created a group text called “Art Squad,” so I gave in, bought my materials, and told myself I could quit anytime I wanted.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t quit! We didn’t quit!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

How The Artist’s Way Works

First things first: you have to buy the book. The internet will try to convince you that you need a fancy journal too, but you don’t. Any notebook will do—just make sure the pages aren’t too large (you’ll see why later). This will be for your Morning Pages aka daily free-writing. I got a second notebook for tasks outlined at the end of each chapter, but feel free to skip that extra purchase if you’re not as particular as me.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayThe basic format is that you will read a chapter a week for twelve weeks, complete as few or as many tasks as you are able, and then meet up with your fellow creatives to share your feelings and results. All the while, you will complete daily Morning Pages and weekly solo Artist Dates. It seems like a lot, but it comes down to about 15-30 minutes a day, with the exception of the day you read the chapter and the day you do the meet-up.

The Reading & Tasks

The Artist’s Way is organized so that each week is dedicated to unearthing and “recovering” a part of your artistic self. These include safety, identity, power, integrity, possibility, abundance, connection, strength, compassion, self-protection, autonomy, and faith. Each chapter runs about 8-20 pages and is followed by a list of ten or so tasks of varying intensity. Julia Cameron recommends that you begin your week by reading the chapter and then complete the tasks in the days leading up to your next meet-up. I, however, am simply not that organized and therefore did all my reading and tasks in a day, usually the day of the meet-up. This meant that some tasks were not completed on time (there’s a surprising amount of window-gardening, vintage shopping, and cleaning out of closets), but I found myself doing a lot of them of my own volition before the twelve weeks were up.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WaySome of my favorite tasks were making simple lists of things that make me happy, remembering what I was like when I was 8/imagining what I will be like when I am 80 (hint: I want to be in Maine), and planning a solo road trip. It might be obvious, but a large part of artistic recovery is fundamentally reconnecting with yourself.

I felt like some of the tasks were corny. Like, I am not going to mail myself a letter; I don’t mail anybody letters. I *loathe* the post office. I was also very resistant to a worry box aka a “God Box” aka a vessel in which you put slips of paper with your worries written on them, but I have warmed to the idea. It’s nice to have a tangible way to “let go” of some anxieties. I went to my favorite antique store looking for a little box, but didn’t find anything I loved. Instead, I am using a vase that has sat empty on my bedside table for years. Now it has purpose.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Meet-Ups

These are simple enough: meet up once a week with others doing The Artist’s Way to discuss your progress as it pertains to the reading and tasks, Morning Pages, Artist Dates, and how you are exercising your creativity. You can, of course, do this alone, but it’s nice to have the support and accountability of a group.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WayFor the Art Squad, meet-ups were on a weeknight at one of our apartments so that we could include Lulu and Dottie, Arnab and Angela’s respective perfect dogs. The usual format was to spend an hour going through the list of tasks for that week, pointing out any insights we had on the chapter, and sharing our Artist Dates and the number of days we did our Morning Pages. We are all in different fields and have different artistic pursuits—Angela is an art director and Arnab is a photographer—so while we did The Artist’s Way as a group, our experiences were all different.

The most important thing about the meet-ups? They must be judgment-free zones. Personal information comes up as you work through The Artist’s Way and the meet-ups serve as a safe place for those feelings and insights. This is greatly helped by choosing to do this program with fellow artists who are also trusted friends.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WayWhile it was a bit of a pain to fit an extra commitment into the week, the meet-ups didn’t take much time and they had the benefits of friends, dogs, and creative progress, so I can’t complain. We have discussed keeping these up on a monthly basis, but we shall see. Either way, we celebrated finishing Week 12 by sharing a slice of Butter & Scotch’s famous Birthday Cake. We all agree: it lives up to the hype.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Morning Pages

Morning Pages are one of the pillars of The Artist’s Way. They were the part of this process that I was dreading the most because they are a daily requirement so, of course, they are the part that I value the most. The idea behind these is simple: write three full pages of whatever you want everyday, preferably first thing in the morning.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayFor those of you who are not morning people 🙋‍♀️, you can write these any time of day. Julia Cameron recommends the morning simply because your brain is usually less cluttered by the outside world first thing after waking up, but I have benefited from writing Morning Pages at many times of day, including an hour before bed. The point is to write them, period. Inevitably, you will miss some days (I have missed three since I started on 1/13/2019), but forgive yourself and go back when you remember. It’s worth it.

I hated the uncertainty of Morning Pages at first—what would I write? I started out with what I had done the day before and my plans for the day to come. As I began to become more comfortable sitting down to three blank pages, my Morning Pages evolved. On blog-writing days, I’d spend the second page writing about whatever recipe I needed to post, and then followed it up by jumping into blogging. This practice frequently resulted in a faster writing process and a clearer, more concise blog. My current Morning Pages don’t have any sort of set “plan,” but I feel like they are still beneficial. If nothing else, they serve as a way of confronting my own anxiety, depression, and artist’s/baker’s/writer’s block, and as a place to put my ideas. There comes a point in the chapter tasks where you go back and read your pages—it’s amazing how many blog ideas I had written down without even noticing!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayJulia Cameron recommends addressing “blurts,” aka negative statements about yourself, as they come up in your daily writing. One that I noticed is that I write that I will “maybe” do things a lot. I have made an effort to write in more decisive statements because this is my life and my creative journey and I deserve to have decisive feelings about it all.

She also recommends using positive affirmations as part of your Morning Pages. I started with a couple that she recommends verbatim (“Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong” and “I have a genuine talent”), and have expanded the list to include eight more that are increasingly specific to me. I write them everyday in the last half-page of my Morning Pages. I should mention that I have always thought affirmations were a bit silly (and I still do), but I am open to them and taking a minute to write a list everyday certainly isn’t harmful.

A few tips for Morning Pages success:

• Remember how I said to keep the notebook small? It’s because the larger the page size, the longer writing your Morning Pages will take. I use relatively small notebooks, so my Morning Pages take about fifteen minutes.
• Speaking of time, write as fast as you can. Not only will this cut down on how long your Morning Pages take, but it will get out more of the things cluttering your mind. I’ve been listening to a lot of You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes lately and artists of all kinds say it in almost every episode: write as fast as you can and worry about perfecting it later. I do this with both my Morning Pages and my blogging and have mostly liked the results so far.
• Keep your notebook near your bed or desk or favorite chair—wherever you spend the most time. This way you can just grab it and write whenever the mood strikes.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Artist Dates

This is probably the most fun part of The Artist’s Way. An Artist Date is a weekly excuse to take your inner artist out for an adventure. This can be anything from a long walk with a decaf cappuccino to taking a day trip upstate—anything that inspires and rejuvenates you spiritually and creatively. The only rule is that it should be a solo venture.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayOne of my pre-The Artist’s Way goals for 2019 was to see more live performances, so that has played a major role in my Artist Dates. I have seen eight Broadway and Off-Broadway shows so far this year, and five of them were a direct result of The Artist’s Way giving me permission. For those of you thinking I am made of money, know that I am *very* not. I buy only the cheapest tickets and frequently sit last row-center, but I am thrilled to be in the room. I have seen more theatre this year than any other I’ve been in New York, and it’s only May!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayI also took myself to see Elton John on a whim—I bought shockingly cheap resale tickets the day of his last show at Madison Square Garden. I never would have done that without encouragement from this program, and I am so incredibly glad that I took the chance. I will never regret spending that money or having that experience.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WayA slightly-less-pricey way I have incorporated Artist Dates? I have started watching the 2007 AFI Top 100 Movies with the Unspooled podcast and participating in the associated Facebook discussion. I went to film school and am a lifelong movie nerd, so I have already seen many of the films, but I am really enjoying watching some classics for the first time (Double Indemnity is a new favorite) and rewatching some that I haven’t seen in a while (I was blown away by my recent viewing of All the President’s Men).Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayThe last and probably most obvious way I do Artist Dates is by allowing myself to play in the kitchen. Baking just because I like to and I can, not because I need a new blog post or because someone wants a birthday cake. This practice has resulted in some of my favorite recipes so far this year: Neapolitan Cake and Chocolate Banana Bread!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Results

I am so glad to have done The Artist’s Way. I’d be lying if I said I weren’t relieved to be done with the weekly reading and tasks, but I have kept up with the Morning Pages and Artist Dates so far. They’ve been so beneficial in keeping me inspired and disciplined when it comes to this blog and my other creative pursuits that I can’t imagine willingly parting with them.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayI also feel like the weekly meet-ups really helped to deepen friendships that I already valued. I knew Arnab and Angela before we began The Artist’s Way, but working (and complaining) through this together has been so much more important to me than I had imagined.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayPositive results of The Artist’s Way:

• Morning Pages have made me a better writer. By blogging immediately after writing my pages, I am already in a headspace to write about recipes. Where composing the body of a post used to take anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours, I now spend an hour or two writing initially and then edit a couple of times before posting.
• I go to bed earlier because I don’t stay up too late fighting writer’s block while trying to blog. Instead, my posts are usually complete at least twelve hours before they go live. This is very new to me, and I am really enjoying having more of my evenings back.
• Since I am going to bed earlier, I am waking up earlier and getting more done during the day.
• I am now running three to four blog posts ahead, whereas I used to run one to two ahead. This has allowed me time to say yes to more social engagements, opportunities, and theatre tickets that I might have declined a few months ago in the name of last-minute blogging.
• Playing in the kitchen has reminded me why I love to bake and has lead to more inspired content. I have so many great recipes coming over the next few months, and they may never have existed if I hadn’t taken this time to nurture my own creativity.
• I really love the quality of the recipes, photos, and content I have created since January. In the last month, my work has been featured by four brands on social media and I am gaining new readers all the time (hi new readers 👋💗). I am proud of the direction this blog is going.
• I have taken more pride in self-care. My meals are more nutritious and my weekends are more restful, even when they are full of plans. I do things with intention instead of doing them because I have to, and that has made a huge difference.
• I have fallen in love with film and theatre again. While I don’t necessarily see my creative dreams going in those directions at this moment, I’m loving the inspiration I’ve gotten from my Artist Dates.
• I cleaned out my closet and donated five huge bags of clothing. For a while, I had been feeling like I had too many clothes and nothing to wear. Now I have fewer clothes, but I like all of them. Never underestimate the power of feeling cute everyday.
• I’m braver and more confident. I am more likely to do things alone than not do them at all.Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayNegative results of The Artist’s Way:

• I have become attached and am going to have to make more distinct plans to see Lulu and Dottie every week…?Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s WaySo, yes, The Artist’s Way gets two thumbs up from this baker/blogger/recipe developer! If you are looking for a way to access your own creativity, I can’t recommend this method enough. I look forward to doing it again in the not-so-distant future and seeing how much further I can go as a self-avowed artist…er, creative type.

Have you ever done The Artist’s Way? Did you like your results? Let me know in the comments!Baking & Blogging The Artist’s WayBaking & Blogging The Artist’s Way

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2

Hey y’all! We’ve been having some repairs done in our apartment for the last couple of weeks, so baking has been less frequent than I’d like. I don’t have a new recipe for you today, and while I could have gone and written a Friday Favorites post, I thought I’d get a little crazy and write about myself instead 😉

I have posted more than 250 recipes in the last two and a half years, and while a lot has changed (my photos are sooooo much better now), my About Me page has basically stayed the same since day one! For those of you that don’t know me personally, I thought I’d take the liberty of giving you a few fast facts. Or 30 of them.

Let’s start off with the basics, shall we?Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I’m from Fort Worth, Texas, and have an amazing family. I’m the middle child.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I’ve lived in New York for 10.5 years. The honeymoon is definitely over and sometimes I hate the NYC grind, but just when I’m ready to give up on this city, I fall back in love with it.

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Hershey loves asparagus and me, in that order.

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Cocoa’s disdain for me is equivalent to my love for her.

I have always considered myself a dog person, but I am obsessed with my day job work cats, Hershey and Cocoa. #secretcatladyBeyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I am not athletic, but I love to watch baseball. I am a diehard Texas Rangers fan, even when they are terrible. Two of my biggest “bucket list” items are going to games at Wrigley Field and Dodgers Stadium. I crossed Fenway Park off the list last fall.

My favorite word is “pocket.” My least favorite word is “veggies.” They’re vegetables.

I don’t know how to ride a bike.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I love musical theatre. I got to see Hamilton last year–totally lives up to the hype.

My heroes are Nora Ephron, Ruth Reichl, and Martin Scorsese.

My favorite movie is GoodFellas. When I’m having a bad day, my comfort movie is You’ve Got Mail. I will not apologize for loving 1990s Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movies.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2I collect cookbooks (shocker!), and love finding them at thrift stores and on stoops. My best find so far is a near-pristine copy of The Gourmet Cookbook that I found in Beacon, NY.

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2

With Sally McKenney Quinn of Sally’s Baking Addiction.

I first got interested in baking while reading Sally’s Baking Addiction. I got to meet Sally just a week or two after I started my own baking blog!

Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2

With Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.

My favorite food blog that isn’t this one is Smitten Kitchen. Deb Perelman is a queen, and just as delightful in person as she is online. Orangette is my second favorite. Molly Wizenberg doesn’t blog much these days, but her Instagram and podcast are amazing.

Speaking of podcasts, one of my favorites is WTF with Marc Maron—it’s great background noise for baking the day away. I actually saw Marc Maron on the Highline last summer and immediately burst into tears like he was a Beatle or 1997 Leonardo DiCaprio or something. Luckily he didn’t see me!Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2If I could up and move anywhere, it would be Maine.

My greatest accomplishment is quitting drinking almost five years ago. I also quit smoking nine months ago.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2The best job I ever had was working at Sahadi’s. It’s still my favorite store.

My dream day job is to open a cooking school for children. I even know where it would be and what the classes would entail.

I wish I knew anything about coding. I’d love to streamline this site.

I have never worked in a restaurant and have little desire to own a bakery. One day, I’d like to be a legitimate food writer.Beyond Baking: Getting to Know E2My current favorite recipe on this site is Overnight Yeast-Raised Doughnuts. They’re as delicious as they are beautiful.img_1645The thing I am most excited to make in the coming months is a wedding cake!img_3210My goals for the next year are to be happy and do meaningful work with food.

In five years, I hope to be making at least half of my income from writing. I’d also like to find someone great and settle down. And I’d like to have a dog…or a cat.

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Poor furious Cocoa.

Now that you know more about me, tell me about you! What’s your favorite movie? Least favorite word? Favorite podcast? Inquiring bakers want to know! You can ask me something, too ❤

Have a great weekend, y’all!

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

Disclaimer: I sat down to write a Friday Favorites post and this is what came out. If posts about mental health and self-care aren’t for you, don’t fret–I’ve got some new recipes coming your way next week. Oh, and you should make these this weekend.

When I started this blog nearly two years ago, I decided to post three times a week. It was a lot of work for someone who had no experience with this sort of thing, but I figured that if I was going to have a blog, I was going to take it seriously. With limited exception, I posted three times a week for the first fourteen months of this blog’s existence. 

That all changed last Christmas. I think I got burnt out from all my extra holiday work and then totally thrown off by an extended visit with my family in Texas. To put it simply, I got out of my regular routine and I’ve never quite gotten back into it.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

Breakfast time on Swans Island.

Since returning to Brooklyn in January, I’ve had a few weeks where I’ve managed to get three posts up, but those have been few and far between. This summer, I somewhat intentionally put E2 Bakes on the back burner and only posted once a week. I had a lot going on–besides work, I quit smoking (three months off nicotine this week 🙌🏻). I also muddled through the end of a truly gnarly 18-month bout of depression. Maybe that’s too personal for a food blog, but it’s what happened. When my brain fog finally (finally) started to clear in the middle of August, I made some changes in the name of self-care.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

View from the Red Hook Waterfront.

First, I switched grocery stores. Bet you weren’t expecting that. That may sound minor and totally out of left field, but if you’ve been around here long enough, you know that I think grocery shopping is a blast. Since I returned from Maine, I’ve made time every weekend to take the fifty minute walk down to Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s a good way for me to clear my head (especially once I get to the benches near the waterfront), and I can’t help but be inspired by the quantity and quality of goods at that market. I still buy my coffee beans at Sahadi’s and hop over to Trader Joe’s and Key Food for things here and there, but I do the vast majority of my shopping at Fairway. With so many great options in my neighborhood, my new ritual might seem ridiculous to some, but I shop so frequently for others that this simple act of shopping just for me and at my favorite grocery store qualifies as radical self-care. Oh, and for those of you wondering, I take the bus home. <–I’m asked about this all the time.

In conjunction with my new grocery shopping ritual, I’ve also started taking better physical care of myself. I’ve written before about my weight and how I try to practice something like mindful eating. I’d love to tell you that I have a perfect, balanced relationship with food, but like a lot of people, I struggled after I quit smoking. It all came to a head when I made the mistake of stepping on the scale for the first time in years on the night before I left for a beach vacation. <–tip: don’t do that.

Since then, I’ve concentrated more on my meals and nutrition. Given the amount of baking and recipe testing I do every week, strict diets aren’t for me right now. Instead, I’ve spent time planning meals that are heavy on nutrients and limiting my snacking to fruits and vegetables. I’ve also spent more time consciously exercising; this is definitely helped by the smoking cessation. I still bake and eat sugar (obviously!) and have no intention of stopping, but I try to limit my consumption to once a day. So far, so good.

As a result of all these changes, I’ve got some new meal-time recipes to share with y’all over the coming weeks and months. Please consider this photo of a recent batch of Sausages with Roasted Grapes as a teaser.

On Self-Care & Food BloggingSo, why exactly am I telling you all this? Because another part of my new-and-improved self-care regimen has been to get back to regular posting. Blogging makes me happy; if I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t do it. I have no plans to go back to three posts a week–with a day job and a social life, that is just too demanding. Two posts per week, however, has proven to be doable. You may not have noticed, but I have stepped up my posting since the beginning of September. With the exception of one Friday where most of Brooklyn lost internet access, I’ve posted twice a week since Labor Day.

My posting is not on an exact schedule right now, but I am headed in that direction again. For now, I am trying to post on Tuesday or Wednesday and Friday, all at around 1pm Eastern Time. I am planning to start posting earlier in the day soon, but as each post requires about 12-15 hours of my time, I’m deciding to concentrate on creating quality content for now and worry about timely publishing later. In addition, I’ll be debuting a more streamlined Recipe Index by the beginning of next week.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

New favorite chocolate chip cookies. Coming at you soon.

If any of you have any recipe requests or ways that you think I could improve this little corner of the internet, I’d love to hear them. Feel free to reach out to me via email or on any of my social media accounts. Your feedback is always appreciated.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

Out of the fog.

It feels good to be back on a blogging regimen these past few weeks. After all, this blog was originally created by me for me. I wanted a food blog for six years before I got brave and crazy enough to hit “publish.” The fact that any of you come here to read my ramblings and make my recipes is just icing on the not-so-proverbial cake. Thanks for reading.

On Self-Care & Food Blogging

On Gratitude

Thanksgiving is almost here. In the last few weeks, I’ve posted three new pie recipes, my “ideal” stuffing, and even a couple of holiday breakfast recommendations. I toiled over cranberry sauce this past weekend in a last ditch effort to give you another recipe for your turkey dinners, but realized that you had likely nailed down your menus already.

So today, I have no recipe to share or any pie-making tips. No, today I have something much more important: gratitude. That’s what this holiday is really about anyway. The big meal is nice and all, but it’s not what makes Thanksgiving…well, Thanksgiving.

I’ve mentioned before that 2016 has been a rough year for me. It started off with the amicable end to a meaningful romantic relationship and has been a wild ride ever since. I moved. I switched careers (again). I worked entirely too much. I mourned.

When things don’t go your way, it’s easy to get sullen and nasty. You think too hard about the state of your life and all the things you don’t have instead of the things you do, and suddenly you’re miserable. And people should be allowed to be miserable without explanation. But the thing about misery is that it doesn’t hurt anyone else–it only hurts the person feeling it.

I won’t say that I haven’t been a miserable wreck at all this year. That simply isn’t true. But I have made a point of looking for the good, even if the only decent thing that happened that week is that my bodega finally started carrying the 12-ounce cans of Sugar-Free Red Bull.* If, every night, I can think of one good thing that happened that day, then I must be doing alright. But I have a lot more than one thing for which to be grateful.

*This hasn’t actually happened, but a girl can dream.

On Gratitude

1. I am grateful for my family. I have not always been the best sister or daughter. I have put my family through a lot in the last 31 years. But they have always stood up for me and sometimes done things that seemed impossible, and for that I am thankful. This year, my mom came up to New York to help me move. I called to ask in January, and before I could even finish the sentence, she said “I’ll book a ticket.” I had barely packed and it was absolutely freezing, but she never complained once. My parents gave me the best birthday gift ever–they partially funded my girls’ trip to Swans Island, Maine. I really needed that week with my friends. My sisters are my heroes. They have taken more than their fair share of crazy phone calls. Our running text chain is my favorite thing on earth. How lucky that we were all born with the same sense of humor. Bottom line: I won the lottery on families. I have no idea how I got so lucky.On GratitudeOn Gratitude

2. I have the best friends in the world. When your life falls apart, it’s your friends who help you put it back together. I could elaborate, but there are too many things to say. And so, I’ll just say thank you.On Gratitude

3. I get to cook and bake all day everyday. When I started really getting into baking, I was working as a nanny. While every family I’ve worked for has allowed me to do some cooking for them, I haven’t really had my heart in full-time childcare in years. When I was feeling stuck professionally earlier this year, a personal chef job seemingly fell out of the sky just when I needed it most. Now, I bake at home in the mornings and cook for a family of four in the afternoons. It’s definitely exhausting, but my heart is in it.

4. I live in New York. I have literally always wanted to live here. I had an idea nine years ago that being a New Yorker would be glamorous, and it is sometimes. The rest of the time, it’s crazy. If you really want to live in New York, prepare to work all the time, pay way too much rent for a tiny apartment, and constantly be hustling. Nothing is easy here. But, nine years in, I feel like I sort of know what I’m doing.

5. I have everything that I need. There is money in my bank account–not a ton, but enough. I have clean, nice clothes. There is always food in my refrigerator. I have a roof over my head.On Gratitude

6. I am grateful for this excellent schnauzer. Her name is Stella. She smells like Fritos and dirt, and she is perfect.On Gratitude

7. I’m grateful for this little corner of the Internet. When I clicked “publish” last year, I had no idea what E2 Bakes would become. It’s a lot of work running a blog: recipe testing, writing into the wee hours, spending money on ingredients. And then there’s the agonizing over whether anyone will read the post I’ve spent 12 hours creating. Thank you to each and every one of you for reading, commenting, liking, sharing, and (most importantly) making these recipes in your kitchens. Nothing makes me happier than hearing how my recipes are working for you.

I may have had a rough year, but as you can see, I have plenty of goodness in my life. I hope you do too! What are you thankful for? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving!