Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Food Tuesday

Though I’m in denial, the weather is changing and there is a crisp chill in the breeze morning and night. Though it’s not my favorite season, I thought I’d usher in fall with a hearty, cozy recipe. If you follow the blog, you know I am a fan of mild curry recipes (like this one from my old blog). There is something special about the peppery sweetness of the cloves, cinnamon, and coriander when mixed with the heat of cayenne and curry powder. I round out the flavors with coconut milk, turmeric, roasted garlic and of course, salt.

The vegetables/legumes you choose don’t  matter as long as they can hold up to a 30 minute + simmer. In the past, I’ve used chickpeas, sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and lentils (not in the same dish). This week, I decided to use eggplant, tomato and brussels sprouts since that is what I had on hand. I served the curry of farro, which is my grain of the moment. I needed to step out of the brown rice and quinoa box. The meal was delicious and I made enough for leftovers, which saved me money on lunch. Win. The recipe is below.

Eggplant and Sprout Curry

1 tbsp. avocado oil
2 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
3 baby eggplant, largely diced
2 cups brussels sprouts*
1 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1 15 ounce can coconut milk
1/2 large red onion, diced
2 cloves of roasted garlic (for garlic roasting instructions, click here)
1 tbsp. curry powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4-6 cloves
1-2 tsp. sea salt (more to taste if desired)

Heat the oil in the bottom of a large pot or a deep skillet. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes. Stir in garlic and stir. Add remaining ingredients, stirring after the addition of each spice. Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. While the curry is cooking, cook your choice of grain or starch in a separate pot.

Suggestions: Farro, Quinoa, Brown Rice, Buckwheat, Barley, Polenta or Pureed Sweet Potatoes

* If you like a crunchier texture to your sprouts, use fresh ones. If you like a softer sprout, use the steamer bag of frozen spouts and steam them for half the recommended time before adding to the curry. 

Monday, September 21, 2015


I just saw Lady Gaga's new video for Til It Happens To You. The song is part of the soundtrack to The Hunting Ground, which is an exposé of sexual assault on "U.S. [college] campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families." The video is jarring and honest in its approach to what has become an epidemic among female college students. As of today, one in every five college women is sexually assaulted while in college. That will persist unless something changes.

While the film and the video are important to the ongoing discourse about rape/sexual assault in this country, I want to broaden the lens just a bit. RAINN reports the following statistics as of today:

Every 107 seconds, another sexual assault occurs.

There is an average of 293K instances of sexual assault (victims 12 and older) each year.

44% of victims are under 18; 80 are under 30. 

68% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. 

47% of rapists are a friend or acquaintance to the victim. 


Something has to change. Having worked with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and having dealt with it in my own life, I can honestly say something has to change but that's a song we've been singing for hundreds of years. I remain hopeful that projects like The Hunting Ground can achieve change little by little, but it has to be people outside of the choir picking up the song and passing on its importance. Victim blaming, cover-ups to protect college brands, etc. should have no place in this society or any other. Every ounce of advocacy you can muster towards stronger sentences and prevention is needed.  

The video for Til It Happens To You and the trailer for The Hunting Ground are below:



Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Playlist: Artist Spotlight

I've loved Andra Day since the first note I heard out of her mouth. She speaks to the bluesy soul music lover in me. She is getting a lot of comparisons to people I love like Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday, Adele and Eartha Kitt but I honestly think she stands alone.

Her fist big exposure was on YouTube through her viral covers of Muse, Jessie J, Eminem and Amy Winehouse songs. Post signing, she released Rise Up, which has become a powerful anthem that I seem to hear everywhere these days. I can't wait to see more from this rising star!!

Check out her debut album, Cheers to the Fall and then buy it/stream it for yourself. Happy listening and happy Friday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Love List

1. I first found Scott Dinsmore's TED Talk through an article highlighting the 5 TED Talks you must see in your lifetime. I was so struck by it, I signed up for Live Your Legend and started reading the blog. I was shocked to learn he passed away while climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro during a trip around the world with his wife. It's a tragedy to lose his light but his teachings remain and should be an inspiration for all of us. Whether you've seen Scott's TED talk or not, I encourage you to watch/re-watch and spread the inspiration. (TED)

2. H&M premiered a new ad campaign for its clothes recycling initiative (Close the Loop) and it is one of the most diverse campaigns I've ever seen. It's beautiful!! Check it out here and make sure to recycle your unwanted clothes as you cleaning out your closet in preparation for fall. (H&M)

3. I love the strength behind Sonali Khatun's story and fully support MBBCDS's work to end child marriage and empower marginalized women and girls. (Refinery 29/Grassroots Girls Initiative)

4. I love the beautiful geometric appeal of the Bao Bao bag by Issey Miyake and its back in metallics and jewel tones. (Issey Miyake)

5. Do you remember paper dolls? I was obsessed with them and all of their little paper fashions. Dior is revamping that childhood love with new beauty sticker books for adults. (The Cut)

6. When I was younger, I loved X-Men for the cool, powerful female characters. I don't get into it much anymore but an art series by Chris Panda has rekindled my love in a different way. Mixing power and fashion? I'm all for it. Check out Chris Panda's X-Women Fashion Serie here. (Chris Panda Tumblr)

7. Google is collecting donations to help with the refugee and migrant crisis and they are matching what people give up to €10 million. The funds will go to Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and UN High Commissioner for Refugees. (Google)

8. I first found Postsecret when I was still in law school. I was stressed and going through a lot and reading the post cards gave me a sense of calm. I've supported the project since then and consider it amazing that what was a small project became a huge life saving tool in so many lives. (Postsecret)

9. Ash and I love to drive around looking at beautiful homes and dreaming of our own "perfect" house. This collection of the Prettiest Homes in America takes that dreaming to a new level. I've been to some of them and would like the opportunity to visit each one on the list. (PureWow)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Food Tuesday

Last night, I was craving something light and relatively easy to make. I am also trying to revamp my recipe collection. I’ve been taking inspiration from various restaurants and food truck creations all summer. I’m actually working my way through a list of favorites. I scanned it for a light bite and settled on ceviche. As much as I love it, I’ve never made it at home. Woo-hoo! Food adventure.

My inspiration was a dish called Ceviche Mariquitas from Union Restaurant in Haverstraw, New York. It is a shrimp ceviche with avocado and tomato served with house made plantain chips (mariquitas). I started doing recipe research and settled on a mix of the two recipes below. I liked the mix of citrus and the addition of avocado in the Emeril recipe but felt like the pre-poaching step in the recipe would result in tougher shrimp. I liked the cooking notes for “cooking” the shrimp in Marcela’s recipe for that reason. Both recipes are below.

Shrimp Ceviche (Food Network/Marcela Valladolid)

Shrimp Ceviche (Eating Well/Emeril Lagasse)

I couldn’t find long sturdy plantain chips (I searched 2 stores and could only file the small round slices) so I decided to bake some fresh plantains instead. I served the ceviche with sea salt rice chips. The meal was delicious.

Check in with Food Tuesday each week to see where my taste buds take me next. If you have healthy recipe suggestions you’d like me to try, let me know in the comments! Happy eating!!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday Quotable

For the last few years, I’ve been faithfully scouting quotes that make me happy in hopes that they add some encouragement or inspiration to your week as well. Some days, the right quote just jumps out. Other days—like today—I feel like I’ve seen or posted every optimistic, calendar worthy quote that ever existed. On those days, I want to start doing something a little different. Don’t worry. It’s not drastic but it’s a twist on what I’ve been doing that I hope will spread hope and love in a broader way. Look out for that next week.

Until then, let’s get into this week’s quote. It’s really not about anything but my mood. Ash and I are in a great place these days and as I looked through my stash of quotes, this is the only one that jumped out. Of course it is about love. I love it for its simplicity. It’s not some huge declaration meant to be screamed from the mountaintops. It feels personal and honest and perfect. It can also apply to so much—children, friendship, parents, siblings, passions…anything really.

I do acknowledge that it could be read differently. Having just seen The Perfect Guy it could be the perfect obsession script BUT I hope you don’t read it that way. If you do, maybe you should see someone…no judgment.

So that’s it. No big epiphany or life altering moment. Just a lovely little sentiment about my favorite feeling. Happy Monday! 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Book Club: September Selection

This month, I'm digging back in the archives of my ever growing list of books to read. The book is almost 20 years old so you may have read it. If so, read on for some alternatives to try this month.

Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible is a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil. What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa. (source)

If you read this month's book years ago, consider a re-read. If you're not up for that, I suggest a couple of quick reads like: 

One More Thing by B. Novak 

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero 

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works--A True Story by Dan Harris. 

Happy Reading! 

Book Club: The Interestings (Discussion)


Despite how much she wants to, Jules cannot make herself fall in love with Ethan. Do you wish she were able to? Do you think Jules wishes she could? What about Ethan?

I think there are moments throughout the book when Jules wished she’d fallen in love with Ethan but I don’t think it had anything to do with her heart. They are clearly great as friends and I think she liked it that way except in moments when the financial disparity between them pushed her to wish she’d fallen in love with him. It was also more emphasized when she needed him—with the apartment purchase and during Dennis’ depression. However, in moments when things didn’t seem so rosy (when Ethan and Ash’s son was diagnosed with Autism and Ethan wasn’t strong enough to go to the appointment, when Ash and Ethan got divorced, when Ethan found out about Goodman staying connected to the family, etc.). As for Ethan, I think he’d have loved to end up with Jules. He always loved her and cherished her opinion. I’m glad the book didn’t end with Jules and Ethan getting together. I loved their friendship and the book was so good is how realistic it was. Love is unrequited all the time. Things are rarely tied up in a neat package and I love that the book showcases that.

Despite the well–quoted sentiment that “you can’t go home again,” Jules tries to return to the place that felt like her spiritual, emotional, and artistic home. Are there circumstances in life in which you can go home again successfully? Is Jules foolish to give up her current life for something much more uncertain? What positive changes does the experience bring?

I got so excited when Jules decided to give up everything to go back to Spirit in the Woods. It spoke to a part of me that wants to escape the daily grind to go do something I am passionate about. I was let down when it didn’t work out for her but I got it. She wasn’t passionate about the camp. She was fondly remembering a simpler time in her life when she felt happy, supported and accepted. It also helps her realize that she has acceptance and more importantly, love right in front of her. It also helps her to stop romanticizing the experience so she can appreciate her husband and daughter rather than constantly comparing her life the lives of her friends.

I do think you can go home again but you can’t do it hoping it will cure all of your issues. We often remember home—whatever it may be—as greater than it was. In going back, you have to let go of expectation and be completely open to whatever the experience may bring.

What did you think of Dennis and of his relationship with Jules? Was it good? Did you sympathize more with him or with her?

I think they’re marriage had a good foundation but suffered in the face of Jules’ obsession with a few of The Interestings. She constantly obsessed over the differences in their lives and the rich/successful lives of her friends. Then, when Dennis fell back into depression, she felt bad but turned to friends more than she tried to sort through things with Dennis. I definitely sympathized with Dennis more. He had to deal with the weight of her jealously knowing he couldn’t give her the life Ethan could have. He also had to deal with constantly hanging out with Ethan and Ash knowing that Ethan was pining away for Jules after so many years.

The biggest secret in The Interestings is that Goodman is still alive and in contact with his family. Why do you think Ash never told Ethan? Do you think he would have reacted differently to finding out if Ash had been honest with him?

I think Ash genuinely believed Ethan would have turned Goodman in without hesitation. He believes in doing what’s right and the only time he ever wavered was when he lied to get out of his son’s diagnostic appointment. I don’t think he would have been as angry if Ash told him from the beginning. However, I don’t think his reaction would have been much less severe if she told him when Jules did. The point was she’d been holding a secret for years and didn’t trust him with the information.

What did you think of Ethan's giving financial help to Jules and Dennis? Was that an appropriate expression of friendship? How can friends navigate very different financial realities?

I think it was a very kind thing to do but I understand why Jules and Dennis didn’t want to accept it at first. I’m not sure it’s an appropriate expression of friendship because it takes away the equity in the relationship. From that point forward, there is always the potential for one person to feel like they owe a debt to the other—even if the giving friend doesn’t feel that way. I think navigating different financial realities can be really challenging when it comes to travelling together, going out to restaurants, etc. The effort just has to be to meet in the middle where possible. When its not, the richer friend may want to take care of things to the extent possible (i.e, rent a house for vacation and take care of everything but airfare so the friend can pay for something and not feel like a burden).

Food Tuesday: Restaurant Spotlight

Photo Source: BTH

Ash and I try to spend the whole summer dining outside. There are times when a restaurant looks cute but I save it for fall because it only has indoor tables. I might sound crazy but when you live in New York, warm, sunny months seem to fly by so quickly. Why sit inside? This weekend, we were exploring and happened upon a restaurant that doesn't have outdoor seating but has an open wall. We took the empty table for two right by the open wall as a sign. We walked away with BTH (By the Hudson) on our list of waterfront places to try with friends.

Location: 712 W. 125th Street, New York, NY 10027. It faces the water and it's entrance is steps from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.

Photo Source: BTH

Atmosphere: Relaxed lounge vibe with turn up potential. We were there late afternoon/early evening so it was chill. I hear it becomes more like a nightclub at night. There is a DJ playing current Pop, Hip Hop and R&B hits. A group was having a party while we were there but it wasn't so loud that we couldn't hear each other. Sitting by the open wall adds an element of escape because of the Hudson River view. That said, the one lane road between the restaurant and the park along the Hudson is pretty busy. It added a bit of noise but the DJ balanced it out.

Service: The staff was extremely friendly and attentive. My only complaint was that our initial drink order took about 10-15 minutes from order to table. The restaurant wasn't crowded but there was a large party ordering drinks around the same time. We ordered before them but no biggie. The waiter was apologetic and was on point after that.

Price Point: $$$ The drinks are pretty pricey at $13 a pop. For dinner, appetizers range from $11-$18 and entrees range from $18-$29. They also have a good brunch menu and an option to upgrade to a bottomless experience for the mimosa lover in your crew. 

The Firecracker (Photo Source: BTH)

Cocktails: They have a good selection of crafted cocktails, wines and craft beers. I tried the Harlem Blues (a mix of Jack Daniels honey whiskey, fresh blackberries and mint) and Ash tried the Firecracker (a mix of Tito's vodka, fresh basil, watermelon juice and cayenne pepper). We also shared the Down South (a mix of sweet tea vodka and lemonade). Actually, Ash ordered and I took a large sip. I also sampled his hot and spicy Firecracker. I liked all of the cocktails but the Harlem Blues was my fave. I'll definitely recreate it for guests. The only drawback was they ran out of honey whiskey so I lost the option for the Harlem Blues early in the evening.

Deals: Happy Hour is Monday-Friday from 4:00 tp 8:00. They also have a $35.95 brunch option which will get you one brunch entree and unlimited mimosas for 1.5 hours.

Our Meal: We only stopped in for drinks and appetizers so we haven't sampled the whole menu but we liked what we got. We ate the sweet chili calamari, the seared tuna sashimi and the beet salad. The calamari and tuna have a spicy, peppery bite but the goat cheese in the beet salad was the perfect balance for me (not a huge fan of spicy food). Ash opted for the avocado puree that was served with the sashimi. Overall we were pleased with the food. The presentation was lovely as was the taste.

Cons: The bar ran out of honey whiskey and the first drink took 15 minutes from order to table. Otherwise, we had a great experience.

Final Recommendation: This is a great place for a date or a day catching up with friends. It is a beautiful, chic space and totally unexpected when you're walking to what feels like the end of the city. The food is good. The cocktails are better. Overall I give BTH an A-.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Monday Quotable

Happy (unofficial) fall. It’s that weird time of year when we sadly say goodbye to summer days by the pool but it’s still hot enough for tanks and outdoor dining. I’ve never been a fan of the cold months so I’m motivated to hold on to the spirit of summer until the last possible moment. Speaking of motivation (see what I did there?????), I’m working to find mine. I could say I took some time off from blogging during the last two weeks because my career gobbled me up. Technically, that is a true statement but the real truth is I knew it was coming but lacked the discipline to prepare so the blog could keep moving despite me being busy doing other things. What else is new?

That lack of discipline derailed my fitness goals, my balanced diet, my writing and a lofty home organization project. Everything is on the “To Do” list but nothing has been crossed off. I even took to putting some things in my calendar. Guys, I have literally been pressing snooze on a project in 2 hour increments for 2 weeks. No joke.

I figure there is no time like a new season to recommit to being motivated and disciplined. I’m using a mantra to kick off the fall.

The time is now.

And it is for literally everything in our lives. Thinking of starting a new business? The time is now. Want to lose 30 pounds? The time is now. Want to write a book? The time is now.

Life moves quickly. Before you know it, a year can pass and all that has grown in your life is your “To Do” list. Why not get serious and start crossing things off?