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Caviar and Quarters
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Guest Post: Sofia of Quarters and Caviar

My name is Sofia and I thought I would help Maddy out while she is on vacation in Paris. It's all April showers here in the Midwest and a spring break is exactly what I need. However with a few weddings coming up later this year, I don't have the cash handy to spend on getting away for a few days. That doesn't mean that I can't relax. I am planning a staycation of my own, so I can re-energize before the buzz of busy summer schedules kick in. I thought I would include a few helpful sites, which might make trip planning easier or save you some cash.

• Try to plan for a vacation so you are traveling in the off season. For example, I have been to Provincetown, MA for a relaxing getaway a few times and it's always been in March, October or beginning of September when tourist season is winding down. Prices drop dramatically when it's not peak tourist season. The same room I have stayed in, is usually $145 during peak season, but I have only paid $45- $65/night because I have planned my trip during the off season. Yes it's not as hoppin and warm during the fall or winter, but I still had a great time and saved over $100/night on a play to stay. Sometimes Paris in the springtime is just what you need, so this isn’t always the best option for everyone.

• Also take a look at Airbnb if you are adventurous and want a different experience altogether like Maddy did.

• Bring your travel accessories with you. A neck pillow can be a life saver, but you don't need to pay $25 at the airport gift shop for one. At Target you can buy one for $12.99.
• Check out sites like Kayak and Airfarewatchdog so get the best airfare deals. Try to wiat until Tuesday or Wednesday for the lowest deals. Also remember to clear out your history cache before researching deals as well.

• Sign up for coupon sites for the location you are traveling to well in advance. Sites like Travelzoo, LivingSocial or Groupon have local deals and just because you aren't a local doesn't mean you can't take advantage of them. I went snorkeling for $18 in Catalina Island last year by using this idea. It would have cost $38/person for a guided tour including a waterproof camera and gear, which for 4 people adds up, but by purchasing this deal, we were able to afford it for the same price as a movie might cost. Just remember to read the fine print and the expiration date before buying. Also call the vendor directly to make sure they have availability during the time you are planning on using the deal.

• If you are staying in the US and renting a car, Gasbuddy is a great site, which allows you to compare nearby gas prices before driving up to the pump. this is also helpful, when you need directions to the nearest gas station. It's a free app you can use on your phone or on your computer.
• If you are traveling overseas, visit Oanda to get the skinny of the currency exchange rate, so you get more bang for your peso
• If you can’t afford to travel right now, but just need a break from the monotony. See if there is a local hotel with spa services nearby or even included in their amenities. You could book a night and not have to worry about making your bed, get a mani/pedi or some spa services like a body scrub or massage and a nice brunch. 24 hours off line and some nice alone time is sometimes that all you may need, without having to travel.

Hope you have a great time on vacation where ever you end up going.

Caviar and Quarters

Thank you so much Sofia!! I am having a little trouble with some links but should have it fixed shortly!

Bon Voyage!

Unknown source

See you all in a week! Unless I see you in Paris!

Madewell Dress

I really hope this dress ends up in my luggage. It's even called the Bistro Dress. Just saying.

From Madewell

That's what she said

Do you speak another language? Did you have to take it in school? If I could have worked harder and paid more attention in one class it would have been French. I actually took it in school for a number of years but I still only know the SUPER basics. And while I have been trying to practice this week, I am realizing how dumb I sound. But you know what, it's ok, I am just going to try my hardest and sound like a fool! Because no matter how badly it sounds, French is a language that sounds magnific!

Blogger seems to be having some trouble uploading pictures right now, but I will update when I can! 

Pack it up, pack it in

Confession. I don't own roller luggage. I sometimes see the convenience of it but often times it doesn't come 
in a cute pattern or style. And I only roll in style. Ha! But then I started looking around and there are some pretty cute, patterned and bright bags. Here are a few of my favorites. What about you? How do you roll...when it comes to luggage? 

Missoni for Bric's seen here
I saw this on Gilt a long time ago and pinned it. Any help?

Tumi Voyager seen here

Hiccups in Paris

On Saturday morning, I woke up to this email:

Just to refresh you, we leave on Friday for our trip. Sure, I knew I needed to work on making a pack list, and a few more plans for later in the week but finding a new place to stay  wasn't on my to do list. But then it went straight to the top. We knew that we still wanted to stay in the Marias area and while picking the apartment, I had made a list of a few other options. Since the trip was only a week away, those were all snapped up so I had to keep searched. I had few requirements. I wanted a place that had great reviews and in our price range....and if it could be charming and cute, well even better. I stayed calm until I got an email saying that we didn't get another apartment we had tried to get.  With what felt like slim options, I did something that I have never done. I approached one of the apartments that was out of price range (and incredibly cute) and asked if she would be willing to bargain. I figured that a less money is still more than nothing. And she was totally game. She asked what our max budget was (I just used what we had paid for the origianl apartment) and she accepted.

Now I wouldn't recommend waiting until the last minute to find a place to stay, especially those who like to sleep at night instead of worry if it will work out, but it is good to know that it can be done, and for a deal!

What about you? And last minute problems that turned out for the best?

TGI-Cape Cod Potato Chip

Maybe it's because my heart and mind is in Boston today (Amy, I really hope you can still come this weekend)  I snagged a bag of reduced fat Cape Cod Potato chips during lunch. Makes me so excited for summer and snacking on these at the beach. Simply the best there is!

Have a great weekend!

News on News

Big stack of Sunday papers from here
I have a question for you guys....Where do you guy your news from? With all that has happened in the past few days, getting information has made me wondering if I am doing it the best way possible. Here is my rundown. First NYTimes. Then NYMag. Then Twitter. Followed by CNN. Then Facebook. And then People.  And repeat. On my way passing a newsstand, I will then look at the back pages of the Post and Daily News. I watch PTI for Sports news and sometimes E! in support of my home-girl Guiana. On the weekends, I like my newspapers read to me a la New York One.

What about you? How do you get your news? Is there something I should be checking out? Do you have a daily read?

The Bike Share Is Coming! The Bike Share Is Coming!

Where I will be picking up my bike!
On my walk home last night, I was so pumped to see the early stages of the Citi Bike sharing system getting put into place....on the corner by our house! For those of you who don't know much about this program, here is the low down.
You can either purchase a 24-hour, 7 Day or yearly membership (all for a pretty reasonable price). Once you purchase your share, you will get either a three-digit code or a key for annual members that unlocks your bike. And off you go, using the bike for however long you have allotted yourself, returning the bike to any of the stations around the city. With the weather getting warmer by the day, this could not come a better time. Time to pick out a badass helmet!
A map of all the stations. Initial roll-out is a much smaller group. Seen here

An MIT Building For Boston

Seen here

Keys Please

A few months ago I lost my keys. I did all the usual steps, retracing my steps, emptying every pocket, calling Madison Square Garden since I swore I had them at the Knick game. But alas, I never found them. And it irks me today. I have made do, getting a new cute key chain but in all honestly, never loving it. And then I saw there. How funny and cool are these old school style key tags that also make it super easy finding you keys in an over-stuffed bag? Have you ever lost your keys? Did I ever tell you that I once threw away my wallet? I then searched and searched for it all day. I woke up in the middle of the night and said THE TRASH! I went outside and boom, there it was. Pretty lucky.
Seen on 3 Potato Four

TGI- Bruno Mars Valerie Tribute to Amy Winehouse at the VMA

One night when my younger sister Rachael and I lived together, we totally got sucked into watching the MTV Music Awards. We basically just ripped on everyones outfits and made somewhat rude comments about the evening events. And then came Bruno Mars. It was the year that Amy Winehouse passed away and he was to do the tribute for her. Initially we were reluctant (Rachael had cried when Amy died) but the longer that it went one, the more Bruno won our hearts. We both ended up crying and laughing, loving everyone moment of his performance. It's the type of video I back for seconds and seemed like the perfect way to wrap up the week. Enjoy!

Quick Dinner Suggestion

Image and Recipe from Stacey Snacks
Growing up in Northern New Jersey, we were exposed to some pretty amazing food. I had never even heard of Papa John's until I went to college, just assuming that every town had multiple pizzerias where you could stop in to grab a slice for $1.25 from Dinos...or Naunas..or Enzos. I could go on. But to me, a real New Jersey classic is Chicken Savoy from either Belmont Tavern or  Stretches, depending on your preference. They are both pretty epic.  This heavy handed vinegary chicken dish is not only comforting and delicious but also super simple, in fact, you probably have the ingredients on hand. When I told my sister Maya I was making it, she decided to make it too, its just that good.

Belmont Tavern Chicken Savoy: (adapted from Saveur)

1 3–4-lb. chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic
1⁄3 cup finely grated pecorino
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 cup red wine vinegar

Heat oven to 500F˚. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

In a small food processor, finely chop together garlic along with pecorino, 3 tbsp. of the olive oil, oregano, and thyme. Set herb paste aside.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp. of oil in a 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until golden brown, 6–8 minutes. Turn chicken pieces over with tongs.

Using a spoon, smear the chicken skin with the herb paste.

Transfer skillet to oven and cook until well browned and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Remove skillet from oven; pour out fat. Add vinegar while the pan is still hot; spoon vinegar sauce over chicken. Transfer chicken to a platter and pour vinegar sauce over it.


Gut check

HUBBA HUBBA. Plus they design and build AMAZING kitchen. Image seen here

If you ever come over to our house, snuggle on the couch and turn on the TV, I would bet good money that the last channel to be on would be one of the following. ESPN. Food Channel. Bravo. And my personal love, HGTV. Oh boy, do I have it bad for HGTV. My #1 celebrity crushes are no joke, The Kitchen Cousins. I can throw down for hours with some House Hunters, Income Property, Love It or List It, you get the gist. I have now moved on to dreaming about buying a run down place and fixing it up (with the help of Kitchen Cousins for course) to the point where I scroll Trulia. But as Paul points out, part of my problem is that all the work on these shoes is neatly finished in a 1/2 TV show. Sure they show some bumps but I often have no clue what that means.

Until I came across Renovation Dairy on Apartment Therapy. This series follows 4 couples, in various states,  as they renovate their kitchens. It breaks down each couples inspiration, budget, demos and progress. I have come to live vicariously through them and also feel like when I do ever find a run down mess in the need of love, this does provide a little more knowledge. What about you? Have you ever done home renovation? How did it go? Is anyone else out there totally into HGTV?

Prime Time

As I have mentioned here in the past, my 9-5 has had a few changes recently. All really good things and I am enjoying myself so far. Since it is a new role, I have been coming in a little earlier and working a little later than usually (Don't feel badly, I still have a great schedule). But last Friday, I was wrapping up and caught a glimpses of myself in the mirror. Ugh. I could have sworn that I put make-up on in the morning but I really couldn't see a trace of it by 6:45. So being that it was Friday, with no plans, I treated myself to a make up counter. I love my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer so I went there and explained my problem. After going through my routine, they directed me to the Foundation Primer Radiance explaining that this would go on first and pre-treat my skin so it would hold on to the foundation, hence the name Primer (like you prime the walls beforehand). I had always thought that primers were just a make-up scam but guys, light bulb moment...it works. By the end of the day, my dark circles and overall winter drabness seem to be covered up. Just in time for those after work drinks to celebrate this weather.
Do you use a primer? Do you think it's a scam?

Sorry for the totally girly post! 

Spring Has Sprung...

My plants on there other hand need some work. This weekend here in New York, you could really for the first time feel the change it weather. Was it warm out? No. But-- it wasn't cold either. And the sun beamed, in a way like it was telling you, hold on a little longer, we are getting there kid. And when we do get there, I want to be ready with my window box. Here is it's current state. YIKES!

Ok, so I know that this is a scary image but in my defense, I haven't touched this thing since last year. And our Jade plant is thriving so it isn't as though I have a completely black thumb, I would more call it, pale green. I just need a little help and direction. I have done basil and rosemary in the past which did fine and I did use it when I could but I wouldn't mind stepping out of my comfort zone. I am not sure how many varieties I should try considering this box isn't the largest in the world. So readers, any of you have any ideas? When should I start planting? Or am I late?


A few weeks ago, Dolly Parton launched her official Tumblr page and I cannot get enough of this woman. Below are some of my favorite images but I really recommend you checking out this site. She is such a special woman that just seems to radiate love. Also have you ever heard of the Dolly Parton Imagination Libary? My sister Maya told me about it after she signed my nephew Jake up for this free book subscription and I think it is amazing. As the website explains:

 " Dolly's vision was to foster a love of reading among her county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could insure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income. Dolly’s Imagination Library became so popular that in the year 2000 she announced that she would make the program available for replication to any community that was willing to partner with her to support it locally. Since the initial program launch in the United States, Dolly Parton's Imagination Library has gone from just a few dozen books to nearly 40,000,000 books mailed to children in the United States, into Canada and across the proverbial pond into the United Kingdom!"

What a woman! 

An incredibly moving performance after the jump!

Art Supplies

Paul and I are lucky enough to have a second bedroom in our apartment. It's a really nice size room but since no one lives in there...except for my shoes, it can sometimes look a little dull. As I was looking for ways to spruce it up (on a pretty tight budget) I came across the website Land of Nod. You all might know them already since they are the little sister of Crate and Barrel and have some seriously cute bedding for any size bed. But guys, they also have really great art! And for pretty reasonable prices. Here are a few of my favorites.How do you pick art for your house? When I was little I desperately wanted my parents to have professional pictures of us all around the house like I would see in other homes. They never went for it, instead opting for art. Some of it I have really come to love....except for the tapestry in Rachaels room. I hate you.

What do you think? What do you hang on your walls? Where do you buy art?


Seen on All Is Pretty

How to quit you.

Ok so I hear you. Some of you are telling me that we need to donate these clothes. And trust me, just this weekend Paul and I made a run to Housing Works to get our Spring Clean on. But there is another way. A way that I think you can get down with. Ladies and gentleman, I introduce to you...The Clothing Swap. My sister, and her sister-in-law have hosted at least a half a dozen swaps over the past few years. Here is how it works. PS, I am assuming that this is a girl thing. Most guys I tell about this seem to get turned off by the idea of trading clothes with their friends. But guys-- it's the bomb and you should go for it.

1. Invite a lot of people and encourage them to bring their friends. Eye someones style that you like? Ask them too.  In this case, it really should be the more the merrier. That way you get a great range of both stuff and sizes.
2. Lay out a few rules. Gym clothes? Lets skip them! Bring at least 4 things? Whatever you are comfortable with.
3. Set a date and send out invites. For the host, make sure to have a few snacks and drinks. You can always assign this task to some of your guests. 
4. Once everyone arrives, designate different areas/rooms for different pieces. Tops in one section, bottoms in another. Even shoes and accessories in another! Just keep it organized.
5. With the final head count, have everyone draw a number 1-how many people are there, lets say 10. You are creating the draft here.1 gets the first pick (lucky) with 10 being the last. But then, twist, 10 goes again and this time you go backwards. Does this make sense? It works for the NFL, it will work for you.
6.  While picking numbers, allow for time for everyone to scout out of the goods. Try ons are totally cool, just make sure you set a time limit on this otherwise it can last all day.
7. Get swapping!

Honestly, I have picked up some of my most favorite items at past clothing swaps. One persons junk jeans are another mans treasure. Over a dress, bring it on.

Have you ever been to a swap? What did you get? Would you guys like to have a swap sponsored by MPDaily?

I can't quit you

Maybe an extra pair of jeans wouldn't be a problem if our closets were two stories. Dang! Seen here
A friend of mine Nell recently shot me an email that I totally connected with. She was telling me about her Spring Cleaning process and the dilemma that arose. After going through her closet, editing out what she did and didn't wear, she was stuck staring at two pairs of Seven Jeans.  Had she paid a lot of money for them? Yes. Were they in style now? No. Had she worn then in years? No. But still, the idea of getting rid of them was foreign. And totally relate-able. I graduated college in 2004 (no shame in 30) and lived in at least 6 different apartments since then. You know what else has lived in those 6 apartments-all with limited storage space? My- painfully expensive- Diesel Jeans that I got as a senior in college. Why? I don't know, 100% of me knows that I will never ever wear them again, but there they are. Tucked away in a drawer like my old report cards and diaries. Maybe one day I will say mercy and donate them, but for now, I will keep them.

Do you have anything else that you keep even though you don't wear it? Is it often based on how much you spent on it? I am wondering since both Nell and my picks were on the more expensive side of things.

I actually might have a solution for this...stay tuned.

Dinner Tonight

This is no April Fools. I am just ready to make dinner. And tonight we are having Grilled Shrimp with Cilantro (which in this dish I love), lime and peanuts. I have made this before and when I saw shrimp on sale yesterday, I immediately thought of this dish. Thank you Martha for the recipe! What's for dinner in your house tonight?

April Foolery

Seen on Scotches and Scones

Happy April Fools Day! Is that something people say? Probably not.  Last night when we were getting ready for bed, Paul suggested that tomorrow he calls my sister Maya to tell her that we are engaged and then yell April Fools! My look alone I think put the kibosh on that idea. I would still really like to trick him but I haven't come up with anything good yet.  Did you play any good tricks?
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