Monday, August 24, 2015

Around Town: Pure Chocolate by Jinji






Hello everyone, long time no post. I am making my absence up to you by telling you about the greatest chocolate on Earth. Yes, seriously, pictured above is the GREATEST chocolate on Earth! It can be purchased at BELVEDERE SQUARE at PURE CHOCOLATE BY JINJI. The small store offers an array of healthy chocolate treats made from nutrient dense raw ingredients. The flavors of the items are bold, intricate, and very distinctive. I've tried many of their offerings and liked them all, but I'm particularly fond of the pots de creme. You must try it! For those of you in the DMV, visit Jinji's website to see where you can purchase her products in your area.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Around (Another) Town: Frugal in New York City


The other weekend the bungalow clan packed up and headed for a weekend trip to New York City. It's about a 3 hour ride from Baltimore, making it an ideal distance for a short stay. I've found in the past, even for a short trip though,  NYC can be very pricey. So I challenged myself to come up with ways to have frugal fun while there. We all had a great time....so I'm passing along a few budget friendly recommendations to you.

1) Eat at VIETNAAM. The hubs is an ardent lover of pho, so I suggested we give the Upper East Side restaurant VIETNAAM a try. The food and drinks (they have fantastic mocktails!) were absolutely delicious and extremely affordable. We will be back in the future for sure.
























2) Visit Central Park. If you are looking for something romantic or family friendly to do, visit Central Park. The park is gorgeous and if you haven't seen it before you'll be thoroughly impressed. Try to catch some jazz in the park while you are there and grab some street food. If you have little ones, there's a nice play area just for toddlers.























3) Go thrifting. New York is a fabulous city filled with artsy, fashion forward, all around well-styled people. This makes for excellent thrifting. My personal favorite favorite place to thrift is HOUSING WORKS. They have multiple stores scattered throughout NYC, and offer a well curated selection of clothing, accessories, and housewares.























I like to visit multiple locations when possible. On this trip I went to four stores. Here are a few of the items I picked up:





There's lots more to do while on a budget in New York, but unfortunately we only had two days to explore, and spent much of our time visiting with friends. I can't wait to come back soon and visit the museums and see what other fun I can drum up. Do you have any recommendations for affordable things to do while in the Big Apple?

Friday, July 31, 2015

What I've Learned About Marriage


             Photo: JERMIL SADLER

The other day the hubs and I celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary. It got me thinking a lot about marriage....what mistakes I've made.....and what lessons I've learned. I thought I'd share a few lessons with you below. Feel free to chime in if you any marital wisdom of your own in the comments section.

1.) Kids make marriage sweeter. Words cannot express the satisfaction that comes from producing a baby with the person you love. To see a little person who looks just like my spouse crawling around the house, spontaneously takes my breath away. It allows me to see my husband in an entirely new vulnerable light and is a very joyous thing. I try to be present and grateful in our day-to-day life, and always remember the privilege I've been given.

2.) It's important to pay attention, and act accordingly. Though having a baby is absolutely awesome, it's also extremely exhausting.  There are moments where I feel at my wits end, and my husband swoops in like superman and offers to take the baby off my hands for a little while. That's called, paying attention. Paying attention is very valuable. It makes the other person feel seen and cared for. I try to pay attention as much as I can.

3.) It's important to fight fair. Over the course of a marriage you're bound to find yourself in the midst of an occasional heated argument. How you handle these moments can determine the difference between whether a dispute strengthens or weakens your marriage. It's easy to get upset in the moment and raise your voice or use unkind words, but such treatment can lead to resentment and exacerbation of the issue at hand. I've learned it's important to stay calm, kind, and open to a differing perspective when there is a disagreement. Since learning how to "fight fair" I've been amazed at how much more quickly our disputes are settled, and how we both seem to feel much better after an issue has been resolved.

To learn what others have learned visit CHATTING AT THE SKY.

"Marriage is not a noun; it's a verb. It isn't something you get. It's something you do. It's the way you love your partner every day." ~Barbara de Angelis

Monday, July 20, 2015

Won't You Be My Neighbor?: 6109 Ready Ave., Baltimore, MD 21212

A lovely new victorian home just hit the market in Lake Walker. Nestled on one of my favorite blocks in the neighborhood, it gives you small town charm mixed with urban amenities. With four bedrooms and two full baths it provides plenty of room for growing families. Come take a look around.


I adore the dining room's chandelier. Believe it or not it's even more appealing in-person.

The bench in front of the bay window provides a nice place to curl up and read a book. 

 The kitchen is newly renovated with high-end appliances and an open view.


One of two full baths is on the first level. 

 The home features gorgeous original hardwood floors, including in the bedrooms.


The bay window in the master bedroom provides a quaint green view.


 The property has been wonderfully landscaped, and offers beautiful pops of color that vary by season.

 Can't you see yourself relaxing sipping tea on the wrap around porch?

The owner's are asking $349,000. You can learn more about the listing HERE.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sale Alert: Cheap Tickets to Europe from Baltimore

Hello neighbors! I just wanted to let you all know about a fantastic sale going on for travel to Europe from Baltimore through WOW AIR. You can fly one-way for as low as $99. Yep, $99 that's no typo. Hurry, and check it out while tickets last. The sale also applies to flights out of Boston, for any Boston readers.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Work as a Gift


Many of us hate our work. Whether it be our 9 to 5 (or more like 9 to 9 for some of us), or household duties, work is something many people resent. I must admit, I used to be in the aforementioned camp, particularly when it came to running errands and cleaning up around the house. I felt like housework was tedious and never ending, not to mention thankless. I mean how often do you hear your spouse or kid say, "Thanks so much for scrubbing the toilet spotless, or I really appreciate you paying that medical bill on time"?

Recently,  I've begun to look at work differently. I recognize the importance of housework in maintaining an efficient, safe, and peaceful household. Now instead of resenting doing work around the house, I am thankful for it.

I use the time I do chores to be consciously grateful. I remember to be thankful for the financial ability to pay bills, for the physical ability to clean up, for a great family to clean up after, and for the mental capacity to organize.

On days when I am particularly fortunate, I get a moment to quietly sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. Like the other day when I had a chance to stop and look at my first ever homegrown floral arrangement. It's amazing how something so small, can feel so big. Hard work and gratitude will do that for ya.

What about you do you enjoy your work?

"In everything, give thanks." ~1 Thessalonians 5:17

Friday, June 26, 2015

Around (Another Town): Ocean City & Berlin, MD



The hubs and I have been super busy lately. It's only so long you can work long hours before it really starts to catch up with you. So I decided to plan a small getaway for the family to celebrate Father's Day and take a break. 

We headed to Maryland's eastern shore to spend some time at the beach. We got to see the beautiful wild beach ponies at ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, and took a fun CRUISE in Ocean City that let us further explore the area's rich wildlife. You can see all types of animals from spider crabs to bald eagles in their natural habitat.


 This was Baby Z's first time at the beach. She did not like the sand, but did enjoy gazing out at the water.


We stayed at the quaint and historic ATLANTIC HOTEL in Berlin, MD. If you are a lover of Victorian decor, then this place is definitely for you. The accommodations were pretty nice and reasonably priced. The hotel is situated on the town's main street which is filled with antique shops, bakeries, restaurants, and other mom and pop shops.








While visiting Ocean City, we happened upon a lovely little waterfront restaurant called SHARK ON THE HARBOR. The restaurant's chef Travis takes food very seriously, and it shows in the creativity of his dishes. Most of the food is sourced locally by the farmers and fishermen in the area, and as a result the menu is fresh and changes daily.




We enjoyed the food so much we visited multiple times while on our trip! A few items of note were the house salad (made with a delicious one-of-a-kind dressing), Santa Fe steak wrap, cod sandwich, lobster mashed potatoes, and the house bread (man this bread was sooo good).  As an added bonus they have several vegan options, and offer a daily lunch special that is a steal of a           deal!




While vacationing we also visited RACKLIFFE HOUSE, a restored coastal plantation near Assateague Park. The house has a guided tour and exhibit that describes what life was like at the home during the 18th century. The exhibit also sheds light one some of the history of the ASSATEAGUE INDIANS, the tribe indigenous to the area.





I hope this mini travel guide helps those of you considering visiting the area. Planning can be such a burden sometimes, so I thought I'd share a few resources.

"As you grow older, you learn a few things. One of them is to actually take the time you've allotted for vacation." ~John Battelle

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!
























Dear "Dad",

Today is a day where Baby Z and I would like to take the time out to say thank you. Thank you for getting up in the middle of the night to change dirty diapers, for doing the dishes even when you are exhausted, for taking out the trash in the rain, and for working long days and nights to provide a comfortable material existence. Thanks for tickling when you are tired, lugging around heavy baby equipment, and going through the torture that is traveling with a baby so we can see out-of-town family. Also, thank you for giving up fight nights and expensive coffee drinks to help ease our budget. Thank you, Dad. We love you more than anything in this world, and are privileged to have you as our rock. Happy Father's Day, we look forward to many many more.

Love,

Wife & Baby

Monday, June 8, 2015

In the Kitchen: Soft Shell Crab Sandwich Recipe



















It's spring, which in Baltimore means the beginning of crab season!!! How could I be a good Baltimore blogger without giving you at least one good crab recipe? So here it is folks....my yummy crab sandwich creation:

  • Saute chopped onion in pan on medium heat with butter, and season to taste with coriander and ginger. Add a splash of lemon juice and set aside.
  • Cover soft shell crab in fish fry (I like to use ZATARAIN'S), and fry on medium heat in frying pan.
  • Toast brioche bun and add cooked crab, onion jam, mustard, mayo, tomato, and lettuce. Sprinkle sandwich with Old Bay to taste (note: Old Bay is critical to sandwich's deliciousness).
Enjoy!

FREE & SALE ALERT

Hi locals, I have a few sales and free things to tell you about.

Mambo Combo Performance - Baltimore based Latin music band Mambo Combo will be performing Friday 6/20 from 6-9pm asa part of Belvedere Square's FREE SUMMER CONCERT SERIES.

Lake Walker Garage Sale - Our neighborhood's annual garage sale will be held Saturday 6/13 at 9 am.  Come out and grab yourself some deals!

Hampton National Historic Site - Hampton Historic Site is a preserved plantation where you can go to learn about Maryland's history. It's located just past Towson Mall. They are offering a FREE COOKING CLASS Sunday 6/14, where they will teach participants how to make recipes from the past.