It’s the holidays? Again?

Anyone else as flabbergasted befuddled appalled that it’s already December? Somehow the summer swam by in three seconds and then fall flew in and out (without me consuming nearly enough pumpkin-spiced things) just like that.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of this time of year, even when things get nutty. (P.S. Remember these maple chipotle guys from last year? Made them again, this time for Thanksgiving. The verdict: They’re still inconceivably addictive. Get the recipe here at your own risk.)

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I mostly love it because my need to be cozy wins during wintertime, when my affinity for sweatpants skyrockets and my social calendar subsequently gets a slim-down. Needless to say, I’m nowhere near as on-the-move as this Power Ranger that passed me by during the Thanksgiving Day Parade a few weeks back…

That said, I sometimes leave my bed to do things.

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Among those things, a visit to the illuminated New Museum and its rooftop…

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An early a.m. work event at The Gramercy Park Hotel…

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A granola-baking extravaganza…

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And quality refuels (or should I say refills?) always.

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What are you getting into as the festivities ahead get closer?

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I’d love to hear!

Holiday Things.

The holidays are quickly coming and going and I’m not quite sure how I feel about that. Can’t they last just a little bit longer?

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I guess I’m not ready to say goodbye to ornaments overhead…

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…or roasted nuts on my table. These guys — of the maple chipotle variety — were especially perfect. I found the nourishing recipe on The Crunchy Radish, one of my biggest healthy inspirations. This snack is packed with healthy omega-3 fats and immunity-boosting spices, including ginger and some cayenne (which I subbed for chipotle powder). A dash of fresh rosemary also ups the flavor game on this easy peasy hors d’oeuvres option. Ready, set, roast.

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A Sunday afternoon with family brought me to Brookfield Place, aka the World Financial Center, at the tip of Manhattan. We stopped by for lunch at the complex’s dreamy food court, as well as a quick look at its holiday light show, featured below. Real talk: the lights were cool, but my coconut shrimp sandwich from Num Pang was cooler.

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Other stellar holiday eats included this spread on Christmas Eve, which was spent with close friends. Only a portion of the evening’s beautiful offerings are shown below, but it included a smorgasbord of apps, including purple roasted carrots topped with sunflower seeds; polenta medallions with tomato, mozzarella, and basil; kabocha squash atop kohlrabi and pom seeds; mini goat cheese + caramelized onion pizza rounds; chorizo bites; lamb meatballs; roasted sweet potatoes with creme fraiche; and yogurty chicken kebabs. Can you say variety?

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Though the sights and eats were among my holiday highlights, it has been time with family and friends that has proven most valuable. Here’s to the new year and all it has to offer.

Happy Holidays, lovelies!

Thx.

I really love Thanksgiving. Because taking a second to realize how much one has to be thankful for is just generally a good idea, no? No matter the day, week, or year(s) you’ve had, there is some good, and recognizing it can’t really hurt you in any way.

Here is some of the goodness I stopped to snapshot while home in NYC for a too-brief break.

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‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving and my mama and I found ourselves pj-clad in the kitchen. I chopped up toasted pecans, dried cranberries, and apples as mix-ins for this wild rice stuffing:

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Complete with just one tablespoon of butter for good measure, of course. Above is the “stuffing” in all its flavorful glory (think sage, caramelized onions, and celery), pre-mix.

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Thanksgiving morning began as usual, with a trip to a friend’s perfectly-situated apartment that overlooks the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, as well as the breathtaking Central Park foliage, beyond. Remember it from here? Oh, hi 2013.

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I perched myself on a windowsill with coffee and bagel in hand, thankful not to be swimming somewhere in the crowds below.

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Post-parade festivities always include a trip to my grandmother’s, where my family comes from far and wide (aka New York and New Jersey) to be together. The only rule? Potluck it out. Everyone brings food. And everyone brings tupperware (to fight over the leftovers after the meal). The scene pictured above is just the hors d’oeuvres table, complete with lentil and spinach / feta dips, cheese cubes, fresh-cut veggies, crackers, olives, onion jam, almonds, and roasted / spiced chickpeas.

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Unfortunately no bloggable shots were taken of either the main shabang or dessert, so the colorful table settings — note the chocolate turkeys at each spot — will have to suffice. A micro close-up of my finished wild rice stuffing is the best I could get. (I promise that wasn’t the only thing we ate for dinner…)

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All in all, it was a yummy and relaxed Thanksgiving that gave me the time to reflect on all that I am grateful for in this life. Special thanks to my astounding family + friends, who are the very reasons I feel so deeply fortunate.

Life Lately (7).

Life is surprising. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Yet despite all that, it always goes on. Here’s a sampler of some simpler moments of my Life Lately.

hudson river

I can’t quite tell you what possessed me to walk along the Hudson River when my iPhone’s weather app read “Feels like 24 degrees,” but I did it anyway. At sunset. The only person on the path, I felt as if the clouds were dancing around, arranging themselves just for me on my 4.5-mile walk.

lincoln center

Taken while playing tourist at Lincoln Center, where I went to hear the New York Philharmonic’s holiday concert. ‘Tis the season (for symphonies).

strudel

Generous friends brought my family this serious tea time addition on a recent visit: a hefty hunk of apple / cranberry strudel, generously dusted with powdered sugar. Leftovers? A pipe dream.

supreme court nyc

Who knew the home of the deeply dreaded jury duty was so…supreme? Thankfully I looked up for a hot second on my way to postpone my summons at the N.Y. State Supreme Court (do I sound like an adult yet?).

That’s all, folks.

Check back soon for more Life Lately updates!

All of the Lights.

The holidays are on steroids here in London, and I’m not one bit upset about it.

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I recently took myself for a walk about central London’s art and cultural center, Somerset House, where the delightful decorations are abundant.

As if the massive ice skating rink (featured above) in Somerset’s main plaza isn’t enough to woo, its christmas music that chimes at all hours of the day and night will likely do the trick. (Mind you, I’m someone who avoids New York’s Rockefeller Center like a madwoman during the holiday season, but something about London’s merry spirits has me feeling smitten.)

Somerset has partnered with Fortnum & Mason and packed its rooms with gift shops galore. Each room offers something different. Indeed, I had to see them all. I weaved through the hallways, ducking in and out of each shop, dizzied by the plethora of present possibilities.

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There were rooms “For Her,” and rooms “For Him,” but I was most mesmerized by the sweets — think mince pies on deck — and shiny ornaments.

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christmas in london

christmas in london

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I didn’t even buy anything, but left feeling warm and fuzzy, and readier than ever for the holidays at home.

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So, what’s on my holiday agenda?

Step 1: Bust out the PJs.

Step 2:  Start the fire.

Step 3: Stay put for days.