Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

Welcome to my world!

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Four Things Friday

{i made this santa hat cake for our family christmas party last weekend & it was a hit!}


We're in the home stretch to Christmas and I couldn't be more excited. I have 98% of my gifts purchased, about 65% wrapped and a free weekend ahead to enjoy the simple pleasures of Christmas that sometimes pass me be in the flurry of holiday prep. On tap for this weekend:

  • watch Scrooged & Elf (we did Christmas Vacation last night, but it may make another appearance)
  • build a gingerbread house with Penelope
  • drink hot cocoa by the Christmas tree
  • finish wrapping gifts
  • take Penelope to the Turtle Back Zoo for Frozen weekend
  • wear my mistletoads pajamas
  • sneak away for a viewing of The Family Stone, if I can make it happen
  • possibly get to the park, if the weather permits
  • partake in some holiday baking therapy

I hope you all have a great weekend and soak up the holiday time! I'll be on blogging sporadically next week, and certainly before signing off for Christmas.

What are your weekend plans?


{simple teacher gifts: a sweet mug filled w/hershey kisses + a gift card}


{the sweetest/most amazing baby shower cake!}


{my favorite holiday album this year; it's sweet, soulful, subtle and simply christmasy}


Nothing formal this week for links, just a few things I'm digging:

how cute is this snowman cheeseball?

while we're on the subject of cheese, i'm dying over this epic cheese board

i need this red velvet hot cocoa

on this weekend's baking list: these christmas funfetti truffles! adorable!

also these creamy eggnog cookie bars. #whyiseggnogsoawesome

seriously? this christmas candy cheesecake is food porn at its finest

one of my favorites: eggnog crumble crunch cake. yum.

and since it's unlikely that anything i make will resemble the beautiful photos in the above links, check out these holiday baking/cooking disasters which had me laughing out loud.


and in non-food related news:

this article about how jersey city is the new arts & food powerhouse made me happy

an honest look at those flawless family holiday cards {ours is a photo of P that took over 100 shots to get just 1 that was good enough}

did you have your office holiday party yet? did any of these awkward moments happen? our office is tiny and we had a really nice, low key and special dinner at blue ribbon bakery & kitchen

'tis the season: 27 things you might not know about Christmas Vacation

and 20 facts you probably didn't know about A Christmas Story {one of my family's all-time favorites}

i haven't talked about it here yet, but entertainment weekly recaps Sons of Anarchy's final episode.





Are you guys listening to Serial?

After my sister Christine and my friend Allie raved about their obsession with it, I had to give it a try.

I was hooked within the first 5 minutes.

Serial is a podcast featuring one story, told episodically week by week. Season 1 follows the story of a 1999 murder case in Maryland. In 1999, a high school senior, Hae Min Lee, was murdered and her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was convicted of the crime...but with so many inconsistencies and questions around the case, can we really be sure that he did it? When reporter Sarah Koenig (also the narrator of the story) was asked to look into this closed case by a family friend of Adnan, she quickly became fascinated with the case and developed what I will call an obsession. She befriended Syed, poured through case files, recreated timelines of the day the murder occurred, turned the investigation into a podcast and now shares it with the world.  A spin-off of NPR's This American Life, Serial is all the rage this days.

I've never been one to listen to podcasts, e-books or even the radio because I find that my mind wanders. With Serial, I look forward to my commute everyday so that I can listen! I only have 2 episodes left and man will I be bummed when it's done.

Have you listened to Serial? Are you as obsessed with it as I am?

What other podcasts or ebooks would you recommend?


Kiddo Christmas Clothes

{girls: rosette dress/reindeer pj's/sparkle & spice pj's/sweater dress/silver sparkle shoes/boots}

{boys: plaid shirt & tie/bulldog pj's/santa pj's/sweater vest/hat/sneakers}


One of my favorite things about having a child at Christmas time is the clothes!

Oh Lord, there are so many unbelievably adorable clothing options to help celebrate the holidays (tutus! sparkles! sweater vests...oh the sweater vests!). I try to restrain myself...but it's really tough. I pulled together some adorable holiday clothing that I love, above. We don't have all of these things, but we do have the rosette dress, both girls pajama sets, and more that's not even pictured here.

This past weekend was Penelope's Christmas pageant at school and while she refused to stand for a good photo, I did manage to snap the above. I had originally bought this pretty Carter's velvety dress months ago to save for Christmas (seems to be out of stock now, though). Then, I found the rosette dress (pictured in the collage) which was just too darling for words. On the morning of her pageant, as I scrambled to get her dressed and ready, she was super excited to wear this dress. She is just getting to the point of being a little excited about wearing certain things and this dress got a pretty strong reaction. Unfortunately, while I had previously tried the dress on with P standing, she had not sat down in the dress. When she did, it became clear that the dress was just too tight across the mid-section. Why would they make a dress for a toddler with no give whatsoever? P immediately started crying from the pain and I thanked my lucky stars for being too lazy to return the original red velvet dress, which fit perfectly. #momwinning

Also white tights + black patent leather shoes = cutest thing ever.

{an elf's four main food groups/christmas is coming}

Some of you have also commented on some of Penelope's cute pop culture t-shirts that she's been sporting. I actually bought both of these shirts from a zulily sale way back in August when I was shopping for her Halloween treat bag. I saw them and had to snap them up immediately because I knew I'd never find them again. Unfortunately, I can't seem to track them down and no company was listed on the order email or on the neck labels. They aren't officially licensed (don't tell my office about that!), and so it's hard to track down the original source. If anyone can find these, please let me know as I've had lots of people asking!

Lastly, this past weekend we celebrated Christmas with my dad's side of the family and we tried to match the kiddos in their pajamas! If you recall, we also did this last year:

I hope we can get the kids to agree to this every year because really...how cute is this?!

So that's the holiday goods we are loving this season!

Do you buy special holiday outfits for your kids? Pajamas? Dresses? Suits?

What are some of your favorites this year?