daily dessert

I spent the afternoon with my friends Daniel and Clayton today. Instead of lunch, we had desserts! I had: part of an oatmeal cookie (which got smudged with a bit of cupcake icing – oh well!), a small piece of chocolate rugelach and half of this red velvet cupcake, of which Daniel ate the remainder. It was from a nearby bakery in Astoria, Bakeway NYC, and it was all very yummy.

And then…

I had this little bag of M&Ms and Skittles, which I collected from a $.25 machine at the movie theater! Candy of this nature definitely contains ingredients that I cannot pronounce, which means I broke my own rule. Actually, I’d carefully chosen a chocolate chip hazelnut biscotti at Whole Foods a few minutes earlier, which I promptly dropped on the sidewalk on the way to the movie theater. Pitiful. Since I wasn’t about to walk back to Whole Foods for another biscotti, it was either this small bag of candy or an entire box of Milk Duds. I think I made the right choice.

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daily dessert

Late tonight I ate, and did not take a proper photo of, a small dish of organic chocolate soy ice cream with a cinnamon graham sandwich cookie sprinkled over it. It was delish and now I’m going to bed. Night!

daily dessert

Dessert tonight? A cupcake from quite possibly my favorite bakery in NYC: Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery. I love their cupcakes. The boyfriend actually surprised me with 28 of these guys for my 28th birthday back in November. I’d invited a bunch of people out to a bar, so we all got to have cupcakes! It might have been the best surprise ever.

I borrowed this photo from their website, where you can also read the story of Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery’s beginning. It’s another tale of two brave friends who built their now-booming business with dedication and a real love for what they do. “Peg & Deb don’t claim to be pastry chefs-just two girls who set out to do their own thing. They wanted to create an atmosphere that’s warm, inviting, fun and remains carefree enough to believe in the “Why Not?”

Love that. So much.

After having had a full, heavy meal already tonight, I sat in their shop with a friend and enjoyed every morsel of my chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream. We walked it off a bit afterwards, though, which felt good. The sweet treat was as delicious as always and very filling.

Now I’m going to fall happily into bed with memories of a lovely Friday evening in the city dancing through my head.

pretties

I have no idea what my daily dessert will be this evening. I skipped dessert after lunch again today so that I could have something yummy later on tonight. We’ll see! The world is my…cherry pie.

In the meantime, I thought we could all stand to look at a few pretty cupcakes on this lovely Friday afternoon. (Photo courtesy of Cupcake Rapture via the blog Shopaholica.)

let’s go!

I made a brilliant decision today. I requested a couple days off from the desk job in July. And they’re the days right after the Fourth of July weekend, which means I’m gonna have a 5 day vacay! YES. I’m not entirely sure what I’ll do with the time off, although I’m secretly hoping it will involve a beach that isn’t in New York. (For the Non-New Yorkers: We have lots of beaches here, did you know that?! They’re very nice, in fact. And very easy to get to from the city. But you know where else is easy to get to from the city? Florida.)

Daniel (my good friend and old roommate) and Kevin and I took a mini-vacation to Florida last year and we had a blast. We stayed at a fancy resort, drove around in a convertible and spent an arm and a leg getting our vacay on. Still, I think I’m gonna have to leave Daniel at home this year. Kevin and Daniel are great friends, but when last year’s resort staff called them both “Mr. Curran”, things got a little confusing…

daily dessert

I’m about to turn in for the night, but I had to post a daily dessert first. I didn’t have real dessert after lunch today. I only had a few bites of dark chocolate for a little something sweet after my salad. But that doesn’t count as real dessert. I was saving my calories because I knew I’d want to indulge later.

This was a slice of 7-layer chocolate cake and it was very good – it wasn’t beyond amazing, but it was a perfectly acceptable sinful dessert. (I’m really critical about desserts, huh? You’ll know for sure when I have something that I think is truly to die for.) My friend Blue and I had a dinner-and-a-yoga-class date tonight and it was so fun! More on that later. We shared this slice of cake while we enjoyed some Cabernet and great conversation. Yum.

(Disclaimer for new readers: The above photo is from my blackberry because I broke my nice camera. Good photos coming again soon!)

cats and a scary story

These are two of my favorite guys: Kevin the boyfriend and Floyd the big black cat, who actually died the day after this photo was taken in March. I was very glad when it dawned on me that he spent his last full day on earth hanging out in the sun with his dad.

As most of you probably know by now, we also have a beautiful orange cat named Chawser. The two cats were best friends and Chawser became quite lonely when Floyd passed away.

To help him readjust, we adopted a new kitten named Kaia who came home a few weeks after Floyd died. Kaia would rather not be bothered by anyone, especially her annoying parents thankyouverymuch. So she doesn’t get to be part of this story.

Our front door is basically one big window, so we keep the shade drawn at night – you know, to ward off the killers. The other night, as I was walking home after Harvard Sailing Team rehearsal, I saw some movement inside our house through a bottom portion of the window that wasn’t covered by the blinds.  Out of curiosity, and because I’m part killer myself, I crouched down to see what it was. And much to my incredible surprise and dismay, I saw a large black cat sitting squarely on our living room floor, licking his paw and scratching is head. My heart stopped. Floyd?! I even said it out loud – “Floyd?!”

Hundreds of possible scenarios, from the logical to the supernatural, instantly ran through my mind: Kevin is about to surprise me with a new cat who looks just like Floyd; my friends played a trick on me and Floyd isn’t really dead – mean!; I’m sleepwalking; I only imagined that Floyd died in some bizarre dissociation from reality and I might need to be hospitalized; I’ve had a terrible memory lapse; this is a wrinkle in time.

As I crawled closer and closer to the door, my mind struggled to unlock itself, the way it does when you’re looking at a photo of, say, a building and your friend says, “See the building?” but all you can see is a bizarre abstract shape that looks nothing like a building. And even though you intellectually know, because you’ve been told so, that it’s a picture of a building as plain as day, that other weird shape is stuck to your brain’s interpretation like laffy taffy, blocking any and all other possible interpretations, and no matter how hard your logical mind tries to see the building, you’re trapped in a prison of your own visual disorganization.

I knelt down on the stoop in front of our apartment and pressed my nose against the cold glass. Why. The. Hell. Is. There. A. Fat. Black. Cat. In. My. House. And if it really IS Floyd, (oh God, oh God, is it?!) I’m going to squeeze him to death with joyful love when I get in there. I didn’t even know I’d missed him this much until now.

Then I shifted on my knees a little to the left and my perspective suddenly opened up. I saw the building, as it were, and my lovely abstract image disappeared without fanfare. It wasn’t Floyd at all. In fact, it wasn’t even a black cat. It was just sweet Chawser, who’s put on several pounds since Floyd’s passing and has assumed the role of King Cat at our house. He was standing in the exact perfect spot for his bright orange coat to appear *black* when one is looking at him through the distorting beveled glass border of the window.

Sigh. It really did look just like Floyd.

I miss you, Floyd. I wish you were secretly alive and living in the Caribbean somewhere. If you are, please come visit me at least once so I can squeeze you to death with joyful love. Then you can go right back to your pretty ladies and your beach cocktails and I won’t tell a soul.

daily dessert

(Oh, how it pains me to post another ugly blackberry photo. My real camera will be fixed or replaced soon! Bear with me!)

I ate half of this delightful cookie, which wasn’t nearly so blurry in person, after lunch, and another big bite of it just a few minutes ago. Chances are, I’ll gobble up the last piece pretty soon and just have *another* dessert after dinner. Eep!

This is a Harvest Cookie from Pret A Manger. I’m a big fan of Pret. They say it best, so I’ll let them: “Pret creates handmade natural food avoiding the obscure chemicals, additives and preservatives common to so much of the ‘prepared’ and ‘fast’ food on the market today.”

Their Harvest Cookie is one of my very favorite “healthy,” on-the-go desserts and I eat one at least once a week. It’s basically a really dense, chewy oatmeal-type cookie with nuts and dried fruit and it tastes amazing and feels like a little meal. And there are only 180 calories in one cookie! What?!

That’s a bargain.

daily dessert

Looks like I missed a few days in a row after announcing the new daily dessert feature on Saturday. Apologies. Sunday night found my friend Daniel and me walking for literal miles around Astoria, Queens looking for an appropriate sweet treat. We’re both very picky, Daniel and I, about our sweets and when we discovered that a favorite nearby bakery was already closed for the night, we decided to walk (as far as our legs would carry us) to find another suitable option. Not only did we come up empty handed after we foolishly turned down several viable dessert possibilities (because we were certain something better would come along), we actually ended up back where we started our quest hours earlier, one block from his apartment. At a Coldstone Cremery. Ugh. It’s a yummy place but it’s still a chain and we’d been searching for something original. Alas, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Anyway, by the time we finally sat down with our fro-yo, I was too exhausted and hungry from the night’s journey to bother taking a photo.

And yesterday, Memorial Day, was drunken. Enough said.

Now that we’re caught up, let’s move on to today’s dessert. As you can imagine, the lack of a good camera (after having broken mine) is driving me nuts. My daydream that this new blog feature would be packed with beautiful, rich dessert photography hasn’t exactly come true. The terrible photo above of today’s daily dessert is courtesy of my trusty blackberry: After lunch I bought  a Toblerone mini, which I’ve already consumed, and it was sufficiently tasty, and a Walnut Baby Brownie made by Fat Witch Bakery right here in New York. (They specialize in brownies and they make very yummy ones – not my favorite ever, but still very good.) I’m saving that little Walnut Baby for after dinner. I hope I can wait that long! In the interest of full disclosure, you should know I’ll probably have it over a little chocolate soy ice cream. Yum!

And here’s a reminder of what non-blackberry dessert photography looks like:

a self-refocus

I’m not sure when it started, or why, but I haven’t been terribly kind to my body for the last week or two. So much of my attention has been devoted to other stuff, like my relationship and my career path, which are important too. But it’s essential for me to have good “self” habits in place. Generally, those habits tend to be strong in my life. Sometimes though, they slip, and they’ve been slipping lately. All that means is that it’s time to refocus.

I exercised a lot this past week. I took a handful of yoga classes, went on a few jogs, ran some stairs and did some light pilates. Even though I put in that effort, my heart wasn’t really in it and most of them weren’t particularly exciting workouts. I certainly don’t think that a week of exercise is anything to scoff at – I’m always proud of myself for working out, but I know myself and I know I was just going through the motions last week.

I also paid very little attention to my food choices, overeating to the point of feeling uncomfortable on several occasions. To do that once in a while is totally natural, especially on a holiday weekend. To notice myself doing it a few times over the course of a few days is something to wonder about.

And I’ve also noticed I’m more into drinking alcohol lately. I’ve never been a very big drinker and I’ve gone long stretches without being interested in it at all. But I’ve recently been reaching for a couple glasses of wine, a few margaritas or a beer when it normally wouldn’t even cross my mind. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with drinking in moderation (or even occasionally to excess). But, again, I know myself and I know that my wanting to drink more often than usual is something to notice. Maybe I’m bored? Maybe I’m battling a mild depression? Maybe I just want to ring in the summer with some liquid relaxation? It’s not something I’m upset about, but it is something I wonder about. Because when I drink more often, I have trouble sleeping, I end up eating crappy food and I’m grouchier. And none of that stuff feels good.

These things are not a big deal by any means. And trust me, I employ the cut-myself-some-slack option on the regular. I’m not a marathon runner, I’m not a nun, and I like to enjoy life’s pleasures, so I do. Plus I’m young and I don’t have kids – now is certainly the time to live it up. Still, I know that overeating, drinking more than usual and phoning in my workouts is uncommon for me. And doing those things too often, rather than on special occasions, keeps me from feeling my happiest.

I had a great time this weekend. As mentioned, I ate, drank and merried. It was lovely and relaxing. Kevin and I cleaned the apartment and spent a lot of quality time together. We also hung out with some good friends and really enjoyed the warm weather. Springy summer is finally here and despite my complaints about being indoors at the desk job, I’m happy. And I don’t need a huge plate of nachos to reinforce that.

Now that a new week is upon us, I’m eager to refocus with some healthy, fresh food choices, some top notch workouts and a few sober nights.