…is freaking out over the dog food sample that was just sent to us to try out for an upcoming post.
(That’s his “worried Lucy is coming to take some food away” face.)
Vastly more affordable maxi dress finds:
Left: Olsenboye ($24.99) – I actually own this dress and wear it around the house constantly with big hoop earrings. It’s just as comfortable as shorts and a tee…and wayyy more impressive when friends/FedEx dudes randomly stop in.
Right: Eden Maxi Dress ($24.80) – Love the ’70s feel, love the belt, love the straplessness (maybe less so on me lately, but I still love it for you).
Moderately more affordable maxi dress finds:
Left: Anthropologie Flickered Stripes Dress ($198) – Oh, dear. I wish very much that this fell in the “Vastly more affordable” category…because I reallllllly want to buy it.
Right: Ella Moss Maternity Maxi Dress ($215) – Shoot. Ditto.
Last night we were laying in bed, and I felt a weird little popping sensation on the right side of my midsection. I figured it was either more ligament-stretching (whoa, does that ever hurt) or the enormous amount of pizza I’d just had for dinner settling in for the evening, but then remembered that I’m just about at 16 weeks, and that’s when you’re supposed to start feeling kicks…and early kicks feel a lot like digestion/hunger gurgles. But not exactly.
Which is what this felt like.
I told Kendrick to put his hand on my tummy, and he…OK, it was adorable, so I need to give you a visual. It went like this:
“YEAHYEAHYEAHYEAHYEAHYEAHYEAH!!!!” Plus a launch into the air and a few jumps on the bed. And the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, and the guy has quite the smile on a regular day.
So that was exciting. Hey there, kid!
Q. Hi Jordan,
I am going to be in a wedding next January in Texas. Each bridesmaid is responsible for finding her own dress as long is it is a light/bright blue. She wants the dresses to be near our knees, and seeing as I am 5’10″ and fashion “backward” I was going to see if you could help me! Where would you suggest looking for a dress? I want something that is affordable (below $200 if possible).
A. Hey Michelle!
Happy to help. You can always check out the bridesmaids’ dress sections of major retailers like Ann Taylor and J.Crew – they have lots of options specifically geared towards taller bridesmaids, and the dresses come in tons of different colors. And lots of them aren’t bridesmaid-y at all – J. Crew in particular has beautiful options that I’m sure you’ll wear again. Since it’s a winter wedding, go for silver heels and jewelry, and remember a soft cream or white wrap (unless she has something specific in mind for your accessories).
One thing that you should consider: how traditional is the bride? If she’s fairly conservative, you’ll probably want to go for a simple cut with some coverage, like the first three looks, below. If she’s a bit more fashion-y, feel free to add embellishments (like ruffles) or go for something a little sexier or more modern (like the bottom row). In fact, if this is the case I’d highly recommend going for something incredible off of Rent the Runway (more info on the pros/cons here).
Q. Hi Jordan,
I remember you wrote about NYC apartment hunting on a budget awhile back. I passed on the useful info to my boyfriend and his two friends, who are moving to NYC in July. I vaguely remember that you also wrote about different cheap moving options, but I can’t seem to find it on your blog. I’d be so grateful if you can let me know how I can find that post or if you have any recommendations.
Thank you so much,
A. Hey Serena!
I think the apartment-hunting on a budget post you’re referring to is this one – most of my tips were pretty UES-centric, since that’s what I’ve had the most experience with, but there’s lots of great info in the comments if you scroll down.
I don’t recall that I did a post on cheap moving options specifically, unfortunately (“unfortunately” because that’s information I’d really like to have, given that we’re thinking of moving at some point in the next year or so). What I did was hire someone off Craigslist who turned out to be a total rip-off (the Men With A Moving Van turned out to be Man With A Hatchback), so Kendrick and I more or less moved ourselves, with my parents’ help. It was MISERABLE (3 floors down, cross town, then 4 floors up is no fun) – I chatted more about our disastrous moving day (that’s a post-move photo, above) here, if you’re interested.
One thing I did that ended up being a good idea: there were some pieces that simply weren’t going to get up the stairs without help (like a ten zillion pound and highly breakable china cabinet), and at some point I just couldn’t lift one more thing, so towards the end I ended up going into the diner next door and offering a bunch of guys who were just getting off work money to help us. They finished the job in about thirty seconds, which was equal parts embarrassing and fantastic.
In sum: I refuse to move again until I have some extra cash laying around to bribe friends (because pizza doesn’t cut it when you’re talking about that many flights of stairs) and/or hire for-real movers. In NYC, unfortunately, no one has a car and people are so desperate for moving help that those Man With A Van dudes can basically name their price.
But I’m sure that there are some great ideas out there, which is why I’m posting your question here – does anyone have suggestions for how to move in NYC on the cheap?
Once, when I was working as an administrator, I managed to up and lose the health insurance policy for the entire company. And by “lose” I don’t mean “oh jeez, where’d I put that booklet?”…I mean gone. Cancelled. Over. Because I had given the premium check to someone to mail without mentioning that it had to be sent via FedEx, and there was no return receipt…and…anyway, long story. But my point is this: I was never particularly worried. Sort of hysterical, yes…but not worried.
Because even though this was pretty much the worst thing I could possibly do in my capacity as an administrator, I had faith that everything would work out. Because it simply had to; there was no alternative. I got the health insurance company on the phone and told them, in essence, that we could either take a long time sorting out the issue and end up with it fixed, or we could go straight to getting it fixed…but either way, it was getting fixed, so it was just up to them how many hours they wanted to spend on the phone with an increasingly un-fun girl. And you know what they did? Fixed it.
There is nothing that cannot be made better; it is always just about finding a solution to the problem and making it happen, no matter what.
And this same philosophy applies nicely to cakes.
How pretty does that look? It might surprise you to learn that five minutes before this shot was taken, the cake looked like this:
Not so pretty.
On Sunday, while fussing around online in search of a great Easter-ish dessert to bring over to Mom and Dad’s, I came across a beautiful Martha Stewart recipe and thought I’d give it a shot, with a little twist or two. As you can see, things didn’t exactly go smoothly, but the cake turned out so delicious that it was completely gone within 24 hours (Francesca and I finished off the leftovers straight out of the Tupperware, forks in hand, the next afternoon).
What I did wrong with this cake was that I didn’t have parchment paper, so when I tried to turn out the cakes after they were baked, I discovered that they were cemented to the pan despite the fact that I had greased and floured them within an inch of their life. I ended up using a spatula to free them from their little prisons, and then patched up the sad spots with some extra whipped cream and heavy-handed strawberry-decorating. (Alternative fix: use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes and then top each with whipped cream and a whole strawberry, making little cakelets.)
So: if you make this cake, just go ahead and use that parchment paper. Martha sometimes (usually) does know best.
EASTER STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE (recipe via)
What you need:
What you do:
1. First, preheat the oven to 350F. Then butter the bottom of an 8″ pan and – this is key – line it with parchment paper. (I actually used two 8″ pans and divided the batter between them so I didn’t have to slice the cake in half later; that’s up to you, but adjust your baking time accordingly). Butter and flour the sides.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the butter and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating thoroughly between each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
4. With the mixer on low, slowly incorporate the flour mixture and the milk, alternating between the two but beginning and ending with the flour. (I folded in a little lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice at this point, as well.) Spread the batter into the prepared pan (or pans) and bake 30-35 minutes (less if using two pans; use the toothpick test to check for doneness).
5. Let the cakes cool 10 min, then turn out onto a plate and let cool thoroughly before slicing the cake in half horizontally if you just used one pan. Place one half, cut side up, on a cake plate.
6. Now, the topping. In a small bowl, combine your thinly sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar (I also added a little squeeze of lemon). Set aside.
7. Place 2 tbsp cold water in a small saucepan. Add the gelatin and let sit to soften 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
8. Use an electric mixer to beat together the heavy cream and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until very soft peaks form. Gradually add the gelatin and beat until very soft peaks form.
9. Arrange half of the strawberries over the bottom cake layer (I put a thin layer of whipped cream on first to fill in the patchy bits), and then spread whipped cream over the top, leaving a 1″ border. Top with second cake, cut side down, and spread over the rest of the whipped cream, leaving a 1″ border. At this point, you can either top with the rest the strawberries and serve right away, or refrigerate for a bit sans strawberries on top and then spoon them over just before you’re ready to eat.
P.S. Can you tell that I’m slowly turning into a strawberry?
I don’t know what it is; I just can’t get enough of them.