May 30, 2014

Across the Pond

To see more photos and details of what Shelby is up to in London make sure you go check out her blog here. Make sure you stay tuned for more adventures...she's off to Paris tomorrow for the day. I'm thinking about braving the long line at the newly opened Dairy Queen in Manhattan. You know, because that's just as exciting as having a picnic under the Eiffel Tower, ha ha.

Until Next Time

May 28, 2014

Photo A Day | Week 21

This week was filled with sightseeing, haircuts, and many trips to the park.

Day 140: Shelby's in London less than 24 hours and she's already managed to buy a t-shirt with her imaginary boyfriend's face on it. 
 Day 141: Shelby's flatmates in London. They are all students at FIT and are each interning in London this summer
Day 142: Pixie finally got a haircut! Now she's all ready for summer
 Day 143: Shelby and some pigeons sitting by the Thames River in London
Day 144: Sitting on a bench overlooking the East River reading a book and people watching. Perfect Sunday.
Day 145: Taking advantage of the beautiful spring weather I've been trying to take a walk by the river every day. This was early morning on Memorial Day where I stop and took a moment to reflect on the day.
 Day 146: We recently discovered our favorite neighborhood pizza place, Gotham Pizza, delivers slices. I need to forget I know this information.

Until Next Time
Ashley & Shelby

May 21, 2014

Photo A Day | Week 20

This week was pizza, packing, some more pizza, and some more packing. 
 Day 133: Got my tall wellies in the mail today. Prepping for my summer vacation in the rainiest countries ever
 Day 134: Made homemade pizza from Blue Apron. It was SO good but took FOREVER to make. 
 Day 135: TGIF
 Day 136: Helping Shelby pack for her European adventure. You can see what she's up to by following along here
 Day 137: Pix got in on the packing fun by using Shelby's neck pillow as what looks like a fuzzy pool float. She sat like this for awhile. It was hysterical. 
 Day 138: Pizza party, last minute Europe planning, and The Bachelorette. Perfect Monday night.
Day 139: The packing is complete! Shelby is off to London bright and early Wednesday morning. 

Until Next Time
Ashley & Shelby

May 16, 2014

Living Out My Dreams

The word DREAM has always been my favorite word. I was taught at a very young age to always follow my heart and dreams. This is a principal that has been instilled in me since day one and I truly believe that I am fulfilling my dreams. As a young girl I always dreamed about traveling the world, falling in love with people and places, graduating from university, and starting a career. I have accomplished bits and pieces of these dreams so far.

My favorite childhood photo

I knew right from the start of high school that I wanted to move to New York and pursue a career in fashion. From my first sight of the New York Skyline I just knew that this was the next chapter of my life. I feel very lucky to have decided what path I wanted to take at such a young age. After applying to my dream school, I was accepted and was ready to take on this new amazing experience. Almost 7 years later I am still completely happy with my decision! Yay, way to go me! High Five!

Horrendous picture, but you get the point

When I graduated high school my sister and my mom took me to England for the first time. Ashley had spent a summer abroad there a few years before and she absolutely loved it. I didn't know much about England, but  I was excited for my first trip out of the country. My mind was so occupied with moving to New York City in a few months for school that I didn't really have any expectations of the trip. I never in a million years thought that I could fall more in love with a place than New York. Boy was I wrong. 

First trip to London in 2011
I spent my first two years of university pining and dreaming after a life in London. Yes, I was thankful for all of the experiences I was having in NYC, but i was definitely lusting over the beautiful country of England. I knew I had to get back over there as soon as possible, so I worked hard and applied for a summer program at school that took 16 people to London, Paris, and Florence! I mean come on, dream trip! It was on this week and half that I was in London for the second time that my lust turned into love. I spent every day daydreaming about the job and friends I could have over here. A life very different from what I was living now, but something I knew I would make happen no matter what.

Yes, I was crying in this picture.

It's almost been a year since I have been in London, but I have spent every day since listening to BBC Radio 1, watching The Only Way Is Essex, and keeping up with all of the gossip happening around England. Back in October I applied to another program at school that takes 24 people to London for 5 weeks to intern and attend school. So right now, at the age of 21 I am fulfilling my dream of working in London, England. Words can't express how happy and proud I am of myself for this accomplishment.

As I am beginning to pack I wanted to share with all of you that this upcoming Wednesday I am off to London for 5 weeks, then taking two weeks to travel around Europe with my mom, sister, and my best friend Allix who is also interning in London at the same company! How in the world did that happen!? Well it is fate that The Daily Mirror chose both of us!

Allix and I are both interning at the Fashion Desk at The Daily Mirror, one of the UK's best newspaper/tabloids.

Allix and I will also be keeping up with a blog during our time in Europe. Here is the link so you can follow along on the journey with us.

I'm so thankful for all of the opportunities I have had, and I can't wait to see where this summer leads me. When I graduate FIT in a year I hope to return to England. I just want to say a massive thank you to my parents for always supporting my dreams even though it takes me so far away! 

Chip Chip Cheerio! See you all in London!


May 14, 2014

Photo A Day | Week 19

This week was filled with lots of sickness, a concert, and some surprises in the mail

Day 126: Ashley's intern caught sleeping on the job again. 
Day 127: Shelby attended a concert by one of her favorite bands- The 1975
Day 128: Sick Selfie #1. Both of us seemed to have come down with some sort of virus that must be terribly contagious because everyone we have come in contact with over the past few days is experiencing the same symptoms. Good times. 
Day 129: Sick Selfie #2. We drug ourselves out of bed to go see a movie which we thought would be a relaxing activity. Turns out both of us had trouble making it back home without passing out from exhaustion. Deciding that anything but our beds was to taxing of an experience we spent the rest of the day sleeping in hopes of this terrible sickness going away. 
Day 130: It was a BEAUTIFUL day so we drug ourselves out of bed long enough to go enjoy brunch outside at Bocca down the street from us. Turns out sunglasses and lipstick are great tools to hide the fact you feel like crap. After brunch it was back to bed. Ugh, whatever this flu like thing is needs to go away, like now. 
Day 131: Ashley's Birchbox came in the mail today which is always a happy day. If you're interested in learning more about Birchbox click here
Day 132: The coffee fairy delivered lots of coffee today. Just in time to as we finished the last of our supply off this morning. (Thanks Dad!!)

Until Next Time
Ashley & Shelby

Blue Apron: Crispy Tofu Steaks & Roasted Broccoli

"Tofu has long been a staple of vegetarian entrees. Though it originated in Asia, we've come up with a refreshing rendition using traditional French techniques. A tangy, smooth Champagne vinegar-Dijon vinaigrette and rustic smashed purple potatoes put a new spin on this classic ingredient."

2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 14 oz package extra firm tofu
1 bunch parsley
1 head broccoli
1 pound purple potatoes
1 shallot
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Makes 2 servings
About 545 Calories per serving

Prepare the ingredients: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Drain the tofu. Slice in half once horizontally, then once lengthwise to create 4 steaks. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems. Cut the broccoli into large florets. Cut the potatoes into 1 inch pices. Peel and mince the shallot and place in a bowl with the champagne vinegar. 

Roast the broccoli: Place the broccoli on a sheet pan, toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. arrange the broccoli in a single layer and roast, stirring halfway through, 15 to 17 minutes, or until browned. Remove from the oven and set aside. 
Make the potatoes: While the broccoli roasts, add the potatoes to the boiling water. Cook 15 to 17 minutes, or until very tender when pierced with a fork. Drain the cooked potatoes thoroughly and return to the pot. Add a drizzle of olive oil and, using a fork, mash the potatoes to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and se aside in a warm place. 
Make the mustard vinaigrette: While the potatoes cook, add the Dijon mustard to the shallot-vinegar mixture and season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until well combined. Set aside as you continue cooking. 
Cook the tofu: While the potatoes continue to cook, in a large pan, heat a 1/4 inch layer of oil on medium-high until hot. In a large bowl, season the tofu with salt and pepper and toss with the rice flour and garlic powder until thoroughly coated, shaking off any excess. Once the oil is hot enough that the tofu sizzles immediately when added to the pan, add the coated tofu and cook 8 to 10 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer the cooked tofu to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt and pepper immediately. 
Plate your dish: Divide the cooked tofu, smashed potatoes and roasted broccoli between two plates. Top with a few spoonfuls of mustard vinaigrette and garnish with the parsley. 

This was my favorite of the three meals. I had never cooked tofu before. I eat it all the time at restaurants or in my take-out but I'd never actually cooked it. I was happily full after one of the tofu steaks so you could easily turn this into four meals. I excluded the parsley garnish since I don't care for parsley. I really liked the mustard vinaigrette but I would use way less shallot in the dressing next time. I also used a little truffle oil on the smashed potatoes to finish instead of olive oil which gave the dish a little extra something. 

Until Next Time

May 13, 2014

Blue Apron: Spring Minestrone

"Fava beans are one of the oldest crops known to man, with evidence of cultivation dating back to 6,000 B. C. Many Italians believe that these beans saved the population of Sicily from starvation in the Middle Ages when all other crops failed. Superstition says that if you keep a dried roasted fava bean in your pantry, there will always be food in your kitchen."

3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
1 bunch parsley
1 carrot
1 lemon
1 yellow onion
1/2 bunch asparagus
1/2 pound fresh fava beans
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
6 ounces ditalini pasta
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Makes 2 Servings
About 580 Calories Per Serving
Prepare the ingredients: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a small pot of water to boiling on high. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Small dice the celery. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems. Peel and small dice the carrot and onion. Zest the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and discard the seeds. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus, cut the asparagus on an angle into 1 inch pieces. Shell the fava beans. 
Start cooking the vegetables: In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. 
Make the soup: Stir the vegetable brouth, lemon zest, tomatoes and 3 cups of water into the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil on high then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 4 to 6 minutes, or until slightly reduced in volume. 

Blanch the fava beans: While the soup simmers, add the fava beans to the small pot of boliing water and cook 1 minute. Drain thoroughly and rinse the blanched beans under cold water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Using your fingertips, break off the tip of each fava bean and squeeze the bean out of the outer skin; discard the skins. set the prepared beans aside.
Add the pasta and asparagus: Add the ditalini pasta to the soup and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add the asparagus, half of the parmesan and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and the cheese is thoroughly incorporated. Remove from heat. Stir in the juice of the lemon. 

Plate your dish: Divide your soup into bowls and top each with the peeled fava beans. Garnish with the remaining parsley and parmesan cheese. 

I really liked this recipe. I had never cooked with fava beans before so that was a new expereince. I don't particularly care for the taste of parsley so I would leave that out if I made again. What makes this feel like "spring" minestrone is the lemon but the lemon flavor was a little to strong for my palatte. I cut it by adding another cup or so of water to the pot...which in turn increased the serving size. You could also just use half a lemon. I had some toasted croutons on hand I served on the side but you could easily make your own with a baguette. With the added water I ended up getting about 4 yummy servings out of this recipe. 

Until Next Time

May 12, 2014

Blue Apron: Spring Herb & Vegetable Lo Mein

"In this lighting fast recipe for a take-out classic, you'll use fresh, seasonal ingredients like asparagus and yellow squash along with aromatic, peppery Thai basil and mint, The secret to making the smooth, glossy stir fry sauce is the simple addition of cornstarch, which thickens the sauce and intensifies the flavors."

3 cloves garlic
1 1-inch piece ginger
1 bunch mint
1 bunch Thai basil
1 red onion
1 yellow squash
1/2 bunch asparagus
6 ounzes lo mein noodles
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Makes 2 servings
About 515 Calories Per Serving
Prepare the ingredients. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Peel and mine the garlic and ginger. Pick the basil and mint leaves off the stems. Cut the squash lengthwise into quarters, then, on an angle into slices. Snap off and discard the touch, woody ends of the asparagus stems. Cut the asparagus on an angle into 1 inch pieces. Peel and thinly slice the onion. 
Cook the noodles: Once the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until al dente. Drain the cooked noodles thoroughly and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Set aside as you continue cooking. 
Make the stir fry sauce: While the boodle cook, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and 1/2 cup of water until smooth. 
Cook the vegetables: In a large pan heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium high until hot. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until softened. Add the asparagus and squash and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and the squash is slightly softened. 

Add the sauce: Add the stir fry sauce to the pan of vegetables and bring to a simmer. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until slightly reduced and thickened. 
Finish the low mein & plate your dish: Rinse the cooked noodles under water once more to loosen them. Add the rinsed noodles to the pan along with 3/4 cup of water, half the basil, and half of the mint. Cook, tossing to coat, 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through and combined. Plate your dish and garnish with the remaining basil and mint. 

This was the least favorite of the 3 meals I made. I had never cooked with fresh ginger before so that was new for me. I learned I don't like ginger. I liked the flavor of the sauce but if I were to make again I would leave out the mint. It gave the noodles a confusing flavor profile that I didn't care for. It would be easy to trade our the veggies to whatever you had on hand or was in season. 

Until Next Time

May 11, 2014

Blue Apron

A few weeks ago I decided to try Blue Apron. Have you heard of it? In short, it's a meal delivery service that delivers fresh ingredients for specified meals once a week. Blue Apron delivers complete meals that take an average of 35 minutes to prepare with pre-portioned ingredients, and easy to follow recipes. All ingredients are fresh and sometimes include specialty ingredients you can't find on your own. Specific meals are recommended each week based on your dietary preferences. All plans have no commitments and you can skip a week any time. Costs start at $9.99 per person per meal. There is free delivery and the items arrive carefully packaged in a refrigerated box so the food stays fresh even if you're not home. 

Over the next few days I'm going to share my thoughts on the 3 yummy recipes I got to try. I really enjoyed getting to try a few ingredients that I probably would never have chosen on my own including a few things I'd never tried before. All the ingredients were super fresh and having everything pre-portioned made cooking a breeze. 

Until Next Time

*Blue Apron has no idea who I am. I just truly love the service. 

May 9, 2014

Parent's Weekend

This is way after the fact but we're trying to get caught up on updates :)
Our parents came to visit the last weekend in March which also happened to be Ethan's birthday weekend. We all met up near our parents hotel at a whisky bar to catch up.

The next day was Ethan's birthday and we all met up for brunch at Sebastian's on the Lower East Side
Happy Birthday Bubba!

After brunch, the girls went shopping! Because, duh. :)
Mom was on a hunt for a new jacket for our upcoming Europe trip. She found exactly what she was looking for at Zara, isn't she cute?
That night was Ethan's birthday party at the martini bar where he works- Simone

It's a great place and was a fun night
The next morning we set off to try brunch at the new Laduree in SoHo
The food was good but the service wasn't as good as one would expect

After brunch we walked over to the Alex and Ani store to show Mom some bracelets we thought she would like. 
Then we continued our shopping trip uptown to the new H&M in Times Square. My initial instinct is that location would be crazy busy and very unorganized but it's similar to the Forever 21 in Times Square...they have so much staff that it's actually way more organized than many of their other locations. Dad found a chair and asked me to take his picture with Elmo (the red dot in the background on the street below)
That afternoon we went to see Cabaret with Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams at Studio 54. Sadly, Alan Cumming was sick so we saw his understudy (who was great!) and Michelle Williams was fabulous as far as her acting but the vocal solos didn't blow us away.

Family Selfie!
After the show we grabbed an early dinner at Dos Caminos which is one of the only decent Mexican restaurants in the city. 
This was the world's most expensive bowl of guacamole...but worth every bite. Apparently we didn't like it.....

And that was our weekend! Thanks to the parental units for coming and playing with us.

Until Next Time