For my birthday this year I just wanted to have a “me” day. Isn’t it funny that as we grow older we want to do less and less to celebrate? I had a small birthday dinner with friends on Saturday and then last night went to dinner with my family at Osteria Mozza (review to come). And today was just my day.
My Halloween costume = a cat
The day started with a bowl of my favorite oatmeal eaten in bed. Q told me it is tradition to eat breakfast in bed on his birthday, so I tried it (and I liked it).
It was followed by some cuddling and TV watching in bed with the pups.
And then we took a long walk around the neighborhood. Word to the wise, if you are at all in a rush, do not take dogs on a new path during a walk. It took us an hour and 15 minutes to go 3.5 miles and we were moving at a snail’s pace due to the dogs constantly stopping and sniffing.
Lots of sniffing.
My mom and I went to get a massage and then headed to Chinese food for lunch at Mandrette, a great dive Chinese restaurant on Beverly Blvd. and Orlando in West Hollywood. We got more food than we could possibly eat (veggie mu shu, lemon chicken, fried rice, and shu mai).
Then off to nails. I got Essie Bobbing for Baubles (dark blue even though it looks black here).
This photo looks like I only have 4 fingers, whoops!
And then home where I had my final birthday cupcake for dinner…. YUM I am going to miss these.
And the best part of the day? Getting these delivered from Q. Bentley acted as the protector of the flowers. So cute.
I had such a great day, thanks everyone for all of the birthday wishes!
Top 4 Reasons Why I Love Halloween:
1. Dogs in costumes.
2. Guilt free unlimited candy consumption.
3. It’s my birthday. As a kid this was awesome since trick or treating at the neighbors’ houses resulted in extra treats for the birthday girl. Now, it is an excellent excuse to have a Halloween party.
4. My mom makes me a dessert of my choosing for the big day. This year, I opted for coconut cupcakes (my absolute favorite kind).
My mom makes the BEST cupcakes I’ve ever had. They are fluffy, moist, flavorful and perfectly frosted and covered in sprinkles. This recipe has been one we go back to often since it has never done us wrong. One word of caution with this one: don’t be afraid of the massive quantity of butter used… just close your eyes and pretend it’s healthy.
This year, we decided to make our cupcakes a little Halloweeny by adding some fun sprinkles on top. I got a big case of Halloween sprinkles from Target and went to town. It gave them a fun little touch and ensured that no cupcake looked the same.
Last Halloween thought of the day – in New York, how do kids trick or treat? Apartment door to apartment door? Do they go out to the suburbs? In LA, I used to do a quick trick or treat around my small neighborhood early and then my parents would drive me to Hancock Park to meet up with my friends and do a full 2-hour door-to-door trick or treat marathon.
Halloween Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing
Makes 18 to 20 large cupcakes
- 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut
- Cream Cheese Icing (directions below)
- Sprinkles (optional)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minues. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.
- Line a muffin pan with paper liners. FIll each cup to the top with batter. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely. Frost with cream cheese icing and sprinkle with remaining coconut and sprinkles.
Cream Cheese Icing
For 18 to 20 large cupcakes
- 1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
- 3/4 pound unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.
Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Homemade Halloween/Birthday Cupcakes…check
Recipe for these bad boys coming tomorrow!
I am an extremely loyal person (very good news for Q). I go to the same restaurants, the same gym, the same nail salon for 15 years, and the same hair dresser for 10. I think this goes hand in hand with the fact that I like having a routine. I just like the same things all the time, change scares me. Yesterday, while in New York, I had the opportunity to get highlights from one of the BEST colorists in NY (Rita Hazan), so how could I say no? I didn’t…but I sat with white knuckles and a pale face for 90 minutes while highlights were applied over the highlights I already had. I had a semi-freak out inside since this was a new person in a new place touching my hair and I was nervous…
yup, two blow dryers at once, nervous face.
My hair was in foils, rinsed out, blown out and… GORGEOUS beyond. I couldn’t believe how great it turned out, blonder highlights in all the right places. I sent photos to my friends and my mom for secondary approval and got answers like “WOW, this is great!” and “Is this the new Koko? I LOVE it.”
The new color!
So my trying new things and new places experiment was worth all of the white knuckles and anxiety. Although scary, occasionally trying something new really pays off!
And yes, I couldn’t stop taking pictures because I liked it so much. The highlights are subtle, yet are perfect for my coloring and face shape. And I don’t plan on washing out this blow out for at least 4 days (dry shampoo to the rescue!).
Hello from cloudy New York and Happy Wednesday!
Since I am on the go this week for work, food has been more carb and treat-heavy than I normally like it to be. But since I am indulging, I am enjoying every bite instead of feeling guilty (no point in beating yourself up after the fact).
Breakfast – 8:30AM
My breakfast was granola and greek yogurt (hooray for being different!), but I went through the morning thinking it was Thursday and totally did not snap a pic! So instead, a little breakfast collage of recent eats.
Lunch – 12:30PM
Lunch was at Fred’s (located inside Barney’s NY). I loved this menu – a huge selection of delicious salads (chopped, shrimp, tuna, etc.) and also a mix of great American food (chicken, pizza, fish, burgers, etc.). I got the Nice Guy pizza to share (sausage and red peppers) and the Palm Beach Shrimp Salad (shrimp, hearts of palm, avocado, tomato and hard boiled egg) for my main course. Both were delicious. The pizza is so fresh you can taste it and the salad was a great filling lunch and I loved the green goddess dressing they used.
Dinner – 7:30PM
I was starving by the time dinner rolled around, but was happy to go to Morandi, a restaurant I had wanted to try when I was in New York in July. It is rustic Italian cuisine and I thought the food was great although the restaurant was about a thousand degrees inside. I got the Insalata di caolini di Bruxelles (shaved raw Brussels sprouts with percorino & hazelnut dressing) and the Linguine alle vongole (pasta with clams, white wine & green garlic). Both were delicious, but the Brussels sprout salad was something truly unique that I had never had before- crunchy, nutty, light and refreshing. I would go back to this restaurant and order that salad over and over again.
Hope everyone is having a good week!
1. My Marc Jacobs bag which I thought was going to be too big, but is just right for travel (it fits all the essentials plus an iPad).
2. Homeland: I think it is the best new show on TV (and not just because it is military). Acting is superb, plot line keeps you guessing, just perfect. I am saving it on the TiVo for Q when he gets back since I know he is going to love it too.
3. Sweater weather and enjoying NY during the Fall: I love being just a little chilly, not Alaska -10 degrees chilly, but the perfect 55 degree cloudy NY day chilly.
4. My new Missoni for Target skirt – I was late to the game on buying up all the Missoni for Target goodies, so when I went 3 weeks after everything had been on sale and found this skirt in colors and a shape I would actually wear, it was fate.
5. Halloween cookies and candy – no explanation needed!
6. Finally finding a pillow that supports my neck. I recently switched from side sleeping to stomach sleeping and my neck has been killing me (ask anyone around me, my complaining was at an all time high). So I researched a little on Amazon and found the perfect one. (Q told me to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond, but who has the time… Amazon pulled through remarkably well). I am finally sleeping like a baby again and I love it.
You can’t hide that smile. I seriously love my new pillow so much that I took a picture with it.
We are finally at the half way mark, time seriously flies by. I know I say this a lot, but it is hard to believe Q has been gone 6 months already. It feels like just yesterday that we were saying the final “I love you’s” and “goodbyes.”
Feelings: I am actually really excited! We can finally count down the days until Q comes home for his 2 week R&R (rest and relaxation). We have a date that he should be home at the end of November and we have already planned a trip to DC to visit some friends and one of his soldiers. Knowing how soon we get to see each other makes everyday go by quicker. This has been the easiest part of deployment by far because of the upcoming trip. I think the hardest part will be once he leaves and goes back after his R&R…
Communication: Once Q moved into his new area, they set up phones and internet right away and we were able to get back to our twice a day phone calls and Skype a few times a week. It’s so fun to actually talk to each other face to face (even with a 5 second time delay) and laugh a lot. (Is it bad that I am jealous of his sweet tan?).
Care Packages Sent So Far: 25 (approximately)
Favorite Care Packages Sent: The last 3 which were filled with Halloween candy/toys/costumes. Halloween is my favorite holiday (not only because it is my birthday), but because of how much fun it is. I sent Q bags of candy corn, fake fangs, gooey eyeballs and black and orange cookies to celebrate.
Number of Birthdays Missed Because of Army Stuff: The past 3.
Number of Ways He is Going to Make it Up to Me: TBD. Pressure is on.
Filed under Army, Deployment