Piece O’ NYC: Internet Groceries and Meals

Do you have a favorite local grocery store? We don’t… In fact, we hate our grocery stores. We live close to Central Park, which inevitably means that a lot of people venture to our larger (and more preferred) grocery store to get picnic supplies and various other things. The other stores around us are great for different things, but never produce or meat, so we’re limited and/or make many stops. My husband is a superhero. Since we have to navigate the mass crowds, Jeff wakes up early on the weekends and battles through them to get us weekly supplies. After fighting through the crowds for years, even Jeff has had enough. So, now we order things from the internet. Not often, but often enough. Even that’s not perfect – online produce is often not good, you guys – but it’s a major improvement. And besides, hauling up cat litter boxes along with other heavy groceries by myself at peak elevator traffic time isn’t my favorite pastime.

FullSizeRenderWe get delivery from restaurants every once in a while (Seamless and Grubhub are decent resources), but we also order ready-to-make meals from Blue Apron. I’m not an avid spokesperson for this company (nor do I always like their recipes), but for those of you who hate thinking about what to make and/or can’t come to terms with your local stores, I recommend it. Jeff and I used to get into really silly arguments about what to make for dinner (we’re both indecisive) and this helped us avoid that sort of thing. The delivery box comes with ice packets to help keep your items chilled and we have a standard delivery time every Tuesday. Also, our groceries are atrociously high in the city, this is shockingly cheaper for us to use…



The back of the recipe cards have step by step instructions with images!

DSC_0024DSC_0026In a perfect world (or back home with my Momma), I could peruse aisles of groceries and enjoy a visit to a store (give me a Wegmans! Give me a Krogers! I don’t care, I used to love grocery shopping!), but not anymore. The times are a’changing and now we eat internet foods.


Love and happiness in the kitchen always makes a recipe extra delicious :P!

I’m tidy!

Have you read ‘the life-changing magic of tidying up‘ by Marie Kondo yet? It’s a best seller, and for good reason. Ms. Kondo has been tidying since she was 5. In her book, she writes clearly about all of the systems she has tried over the years and the insights that she has had. It’s a small and tidy book—a quick read. She does repeat herself a little but that’s OK. By the time I was finished I was motivated to tidy.

I have always considered myself to be a tidy person and in the past several years I have weeded out my possessions several times. But I still was aware of an underlying sensation that there was just too much stuff around me. I read this book and realized that I have always gone about the weeding out process the wrong way. Rather than deciding what to make go away, it works better to consciously decide what to keep.

She recommends starting with your clothes. Take everything out of the closet, out of your drawers. Pile them on the floor or bed. Don’t do this room by room. If you can’t tackle all of your clothes at once, work in categories: pants, shirts, dresses, etc. I decided to tidy all of my clothes at once. I share a small-ish closet with Steve (who was not remotely interested in tidying his clothes). You can see my empty shelves…


And the empty rod. There’s another empty rod on the other side of the closet. I get/need more closet space than Steve**.


Here’s almost everything on the bed. I emptied drawers from the dresser onto the bed after I took this photo.


One of the best parts of the book is the way the author makes you understand that you really only want to keep what gives you joy. Those clothes that I bought and maybe only wore once gave me joy back in the day, but not any more. Holding onto them is not doing me (or the clothes) any good at all. Once you accept that and get the hang of deciding, it actually goes very quickly.

She also explains the logic of how to fold and place your clothes in drawers. I was skeptical until I tried it. I am now a true believer and will never fold and stack clothes in a pile again. I promise.


Ms. Kondo likes storing things, standing up (not stacked) in simple boxes on shelves.


I have a lot fewer clothes in my closet. No more hanging t-shirts, they are all folded now. I realized that what remains is truly what I was wearing all the time. The rest was just in the way.


It took me about 6 hours to tidy my clothes, fewer hours than I thought it would take. Everything was touched and either bagged to go away, folded neatly to go into a drawer, or rehung and placed in the closet. After the clothes I moved on to purses and bags, shoes, books, and bathroom stuff. As I said earlier, I have been un-cluttering for the last few years and that helped this process go faster.

I still have categories of things to tidy but I’m taking a short break. What I can tell you is that I feel mentally lighter. I am finding it easier to concentrate. If you are feeling a similar urge to tidy, I strongly recommend this book. Everyone I know who has read it, has the same feelings about it.

**I did try to encourage Steve to read the book. He is beyond not interested—and he gave me a look that make me think that I was perhaps going overboard with the tidying ideas. That got me to thinking.

I realized (again) that our house is full of my stuff (that his salary helped to buy). Steve has never been a shopper, or a collector of stuff. He is interested in tools, but only the tools he needs. He has to be forced to buy clothes. He is not into knick-knacks. He is particular about what goes into the kitchen but he does not over-stock it.

He likes the way our house looks and functions, and he likes it tidy, but he doesn’t feel the weight of our possessions in the same way I do. So I have given up trying to get him to read the book and am instead being thankful that he has always loved me enough to put up with my acquisition, and de-acquisition, of things.

Piece O’ NYC: Getting Away

We follow a serious trend among city dwellers: we leave. We get away from the city at least once a year. We used to do this for vacation and fun, but now we travel because we really need to separate ourselves from the stress of NYC. (We’ve also gotten incredibly lucky with various opportunities and have collectively visited ten different countries and all but two continents.)

That said, I am PETRIFIED of flying. I don’t know what changed — for years I was ok and swell with flying, but now I have to take panic attack pills… So, the flights I take have to be non-stop to help reduce opportunities for me to freak out. Fortunately, due to the three large airports around us, we have a lot of non-stop flight options. And this year we’re enjoying Turks and Caicos (yes, there’s a non-stop flight to this tiny island! YIPPEEE!!!).


FullSizeRender 3


If you visit, please go to Da Conch Shack. I fell in love with conch because of this place.

FullSizeRender 2

FullSizeRender 4

Colorful doors always make me think of Becky.

FullSizeRender 5

If you stay at the Grace Bay Club, ask about the Beach Buffets. Jeff had five servings of food and I had to roll him off of the sand…he was so happy.


Jeff and I have been having fun with hobie cats and the crystal clear water. We’re staying at the Grace Bay Club and I really don’t want to ever go home. Next year’s trip is already planned too, and it’s going to be super memorable. Jeff and I are ‘surprising’ Becky and Steve with a trip. They know it’s coming, but they don’t know the destination or details ;p. Help them guess! We’re not revealing it until Christmas.

This and that…

First, let me say thank you to all of you who sent kind thoughts my way over the loss of Emma (our cat, in case you missed my last post). We miss her, but life does go on.

I am leaving today to visit the Parker County Quilt Guild in Weatherford, TX. It’s close enough to drive which is nice. Before leaving I thought I ‘d leave you with this. I ran across it on facebook the other day and it made me laugh out loud. It’s not a new video so you may have seen it before. Either way, it is definitely grin-inducing…

And now there are two…

Our eldest cat, Emma, went to heaven this morning. At least, I expect that she did. She was, after all, a meek and mild cat, hardly ever mean.

Emma is in the middle between Belle (front) and Dave (back).

Emma is in the middle between Belle (front) and Dave (back).

I think I’ve written before that Belle (in front) showed up starving and sweet-tempered. As she got stronger, she changed and ended up chasing the other cats out of the house.

Emma decided to live the back yard. Truthfully, the space has a pool with growies around it, rather than being a ‘yard’, but Emma had a very nice set-up in the shed. She loved lying in the pool chairs, moving with the sun. I think she enjoyed her 1 1/2 years of being the primary owner of the space.

About 2 weeks ago I noticed that she was very thin. We took her to the vet who ran tests but at the $400 mark the best he could say was she probably had cancer and it was a toss-up as to what he could do from there. I didn’t think that Emma was up for extensive cancer treatments so we took her home with extra-special food and did what we could to make her happy. Since Emma ‘happy’ looks like Emma napping, it was not hard to do. She was still a little perky then, looking happy to be alive.

I got home Sunday from California and Emma had lost more weight, she had not been eating at all, and she no longer looked perky. So, this morning, Steve and I took her in to have her… put to sleep? euthanized? killed? The words are tricky.

I’m not one for dressing up words for death. We all die, and that’s the word I usually use. It is to be hoped that we end up in a happy place, but that happens after we do the dying part. However, with that thought in mind, the phrase ‘passed on’ makes more sense. I’ve never particularly liked it, but that sums up what happened with Emma today. She passed on from this existence to the next.

We got a little teary-eyed but Dr. Locke assured us that we did the right thing. A mass had grown on her back in the space of a week and he said that whatever she had, he would not have been able to stop it. She never seemed to be in pain and the process went very smoothly. She seemed happy—or at least not unhappy. There are so many worse ways to go.

Emma is now planted in the front yard near Spike and Walter. I miss seeing her at the back door but she will live on in our memories.

Now it’s Dave’s who has a problem. It’s not a lethal problem, but he’s losing the hair on his face. Dr. Locke thinks it’s an allergic dermatitis. If Dave could see himself, he’d be very unhappy—but he can’t see himself! There are times when it’s nice to be blissfully unaware of circumstances you cannot change, don’t you think?

Piece O’ NYC: An afternoon in Brooklyn and Resources!

Jeff and I spent a little time in Brooklyn last Saturday. I had an event with iMentor (which I highly recommend you join or share with your friends to join) and met with Jeff afterwards to kill a little of the afternoon at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

an afternoon in Brooklyn 1

Click on all the pictures for greater detail (and quality!).

an afternoon in Brooklyn 2

an afternoon in Brooklyn 3

This is the face of a man who did not want his picture taken :P.

an afternoon in Brooklyn 4

an afternoon in Brooklyn

If you’re traveling with kids, take them to Jane’s Carousel.

Jeff and I rarely visit Brooklyn. I generally only venture out that far for meetings and this really ended up being the second time for me to explore this borough. The last time we were there though, we visited Smorgasburg...which if you’re a foodie you must go to too! Definitely the easier way to get to the park is to take the A/C to High Street. Once you get out of the station, walk towards the bridge – it’s really that simple. While we were walking around, Jeff and I were honestly stunned. Brooklyn is like a different planet! The sidewalks are wide, the restaurants are much bigger than those here in Manhattan, and even the people are friendlier. We walked around feeling weird and oddly foreign. The weather was amazing though. It was windy enough sail boats got great wind and the kids with their families were roaming around. There was also a neat water art exhibit on display at the park, Jeff had a really great time with it ;p. If you’re in town and you want to catch a site of the bridge and East River, go to the Brooklyn Bridge Park!

an afternoon in Brooklyn 5

an afternoon in Brooklyn 6

The park is also a great location to catch a glimpse of this lady!

an afternoon in Brooklyn 7

This is the face of ‘mischief.’

Also, I mentioned resources in this post’s title. Many people reach out to me to ask how to do this or that in the city. And below are some resources I usually share. I hope they help you too and encourage you to visit the city soon!!!

  • A Google map that Jeff and I constantly add things to. We’ve been to a lot of the restaurants pinned on it and it has helpful information about airports.
  • I’ve found this NYC Guide to be both cute and informative about different neighborhoods.
  • Each neighborhood seems to have their own blogs or sites with relevant news and information. I follow the West Side Rag since I live in the UWS. It has good information about the Thanksgiving Parade too.
  • Bicycle rental! Rent one and ride along one of the many bike paths in Central Park!
  • Also, I really encourage the use of Uber or Lyft when you’re in a transportation bind. It’s more costly, but at least it’s often a quick fix.
  • If you know you’re going to take subways or buses while you’re visiting, be sure to look at the maps and schedules on the MTA website. The fares for a metrocard is also listed on it so you know how much to charge your card. The weekend schedules are different than the weekday and holidays usually operate on a Sunday schedule.