Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review - The Passion of Artemisia

The Passion of Artemisia: A NovelThe Passion of Artemisia: A Novel by Susan Vreeland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Historical Fiction is quickly becoming one of my favorite genres. This book did not disappoint. The book is told from the perspective of Artemesia Gentileschi beginning with the trial of her rapist, through her struggles and triumphs as a daughter, wife, mother, and woman artist. The characters and relationships are strong as are the scenic descriptions. This is a beautifully written novel. I highly recommend it.

View all my reviews on Goodreads

 Do you like historical fiction?

 Don't forget to enter the book giveaway! Only one week left.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Engagement Shoot

Mike and I had our engagement photo session with the wonderfully talented Jessica Guadagno in May of 2011, six months after we became engaged and four months before our wedding, in my hometown of Southampton. We had booked Jessica for our wedding just two days before our e-session, which was entirely her concoction. I'm so glad we did the session because it gave us a chance to get to know Jessica and we captured some breathtaking photos!

Today, a few photos from our engagement session were featured on the Well Wed Hamptons blog! SO COOL! Please click the link to see the photo collage and also to read our advice to couples for their own e-sessions. 

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a few of my personal favorites from the shoot.

This one the one we included with our invitations and also have framed in our apartment in a lovely frame that my friend Inga got us.

Mike's favorite!

We also have this one in b&w framed in our apartment.

I hope you enjoyed!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

New Banner

I consider myself an artist but graphic design is not my strongest style. I'm always inspired by my brother Shane who is great with computer graphics and my bestie Jill who is a bona fide graphic designer and art director here in NYC. That being said, I was inspired by our recent trip over the Brooklyn Bridge and the pictures I took to create a new banner for Mrs. Brooklyn Life. 

What do you think of the new banner? I think it's kinda hot.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Yankees Opening Weekend

Yesterday was a busy Sunday for us! In the afternoon we went for a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge and at night we went to the Yankee game!

One of the reasons Mike fell in love with me is because I am a Yankee fan. Mike and I met in the fall right around the end of the Yankees regular season and were able to score tickets to a post-season game. Unfortunately, the game we had tickets for was never played. A few months later, for Mike's birthday, I bought a partial season ticket plan so that we could go to many games together. We've renewed the tickets every year and are celebrating our seventh season of being ticket holders. 

The booklet of tickets!

We have a 16 Game Sunday plan which has tickets to 14 Sunday games and two mid-week games. We really lucked out with our plan this year with tickets to two games against rivals The Red Sox and a game against The Mets. Other teams we have tickets to are the Rays, Rangres, Athletics, Orioles, White Sox, Mariners, Reds, and Angels.

Last night's tickets

The game yesterday against the LA Angels was great! Even though the game lasted three and a half hours, there was a lot going on on the field. The Yankees beat the Angels 11-5 with Derek Jeter and Raul Ibanez hitting home runs. In honor of Jackie Robinson day, all players wore number 42 and Jackie Robinson's daughters were there with the Jackie Robinson Foundation.

The view from our seats, you can see everything!

All in all, it was a great night of baseball!

What's your favorite sports team?

Brooklyn Bridge

I thought having lived in Brooklyn for eight months and never walking over the Brooklyn Bridge was pretty sorry. My husband, who has lived in Brooklyn his entire life had never walked over the bridge, which is even more sorry! On this gorgeous Sunday afternoon we decided to get our lazy butts off the couch, put on our walking shoes, and walk the Brooklyn Bridge once and for all.

The most famous view of all!

Brooklyn Bridge Shirts on the Brooklyn Bridge

Flyers and graffiti

Sign on the Manhattan side

"Welcome to Brooklyn"

These old ladies looked so cute consulting the Downtown Brooklyn map

Love this painted building in Brooklyn on Boerum Place and Livingston St.

Hubs' glasses: Ray Ban
Hubs' shirt: designed by Carl Eton
Hat: H&M
Glasses: Cole Haan
Shirt: Target

I'm so glad we finally took the time to be tourists in our own city! The BK Bridge is truly a spectacular sight.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

I'm Back!

Mike and I returned from our fabulous vacation to Costa Rica yesterday at 3:00am. The air sure smells different here! Our trip was fantabulous and much needed, I was feeling so burnt out from school and Mike definitely needed a break from work. You can read my daily posts from Costa Rica on my travel blog and add it to your blog reel.

Quick Summary:
We took surfing lessons every morning, read by the pool, went for long walks on the beach, ate some food, ate some more, zip lined, and relaxed. What a week!

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the trip in no particular order.

Playa Guiones

Live music at Casa Tucan

Zip-lining with Miss Sky tours in Nosara

View of the ocean from the top of the zip-line


Going out to dinner and matching

The jungle path from our hotel to the beach

Our surf instructor Oscar getting the boards ready for our lesson

A totally awesome tree on the beach

Our hotel, Casa Romantica

Surfboard storage at the hotel

Sunset from Playa Guiones north side

Playa Guiones from the North

Sunset from La Luna in Playa Palada

Twilight from La Luna in Playa Palada

View from Nature Air flight to Nosara

With our surf instructor, Oscar, from Coconut Harry's

Heading out for some waves

Me catching a serious wave

This was my fourth time to Costa Rica and I already can't wait to go back!

Pura Vida!!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Bon Voyage!

Mike and I are headed to Nosara, Costa Rica tomorrow! 

On the globe

From point A to point B

Taken May 2011 the last time we were in Costa Rica - My 3rd time, Mike's 1st

On the Itinerary:
1. Morning surf lessons with Coconut Harry's
2. An ATV ride through the monkey, sloth, lizard, and butterfly filled Jungle
3. Zip lining through the treetops like Tarzan in the Jungle
4. Snorkeling in the pristine blue waters
5. Getting massages (much needed!)
6. Relaxing and reading on the beach

I will be updating daily on my travel blog. Keep track of our adventures we are away.

Where was the last place you went on vacation? Where do you want to go on vacation?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Book Review: The Queen's Fool

The first Philippa Gregory book I read was The Constant Princess. Mike and I were on our way home from a lovely vacation in Dominican Republic and I had finished all four books I brought with me so I had nothing to read on the flight home. The DR airport did not have much of a selection of books in English and I thought The Constant Princess would be the most enjoyable out of my choices. My expectations for the book were not high at all. Of course, I ended up loving the book which spurned my buying two more Philippa Gregory novels. The most recent one that I read is also in her Tudor series called The Queen's Fool.

I enjoyed this book as well. Something about Gregory's writing style just pulls the reader in! What I love most about her style is that she makes European history interesting! While reading a fictitious story, I learned a lot about the Tudor period and ended up doing some research of the time to learn more. I am currently taking a graduate class that emphasizes arts integration and these books are a great example of integrating the art form with historical knowledge. Ahhh, I love a good historical novel. 

The novel follows Hannah Verde, also known through the novel as Hannah Green, Hannah Carpenter, and The Queen's Fool, a young Jewish woman who escaped to England with her father from the Spanish Inquisition. Hannah gets begged into service as a Royal Fool for ill King Edward VI and subsequently serves his half sisters Queen Mary I and Queen Elizabeth I. She finds herself enmeshed in the plots of the Royal Court of England. A headstrong, independent, smart girl, Hannah struggles with her various loyalties, to the Royals, her first master, her betrothed, her father, and herself. 

What was the last great book you read? Have you read any Philippa Gregory novels?

Nature's Grill Smoothie

Mobile bogging! How cool is this?

I am running errands around the neighborhood today and stopped into Nature's Grill on Court and Pacific Streets and got a hole punch on my smoothie card, buy five get one free!

This is the perfect afternoon snack. What do you like in your smoothies?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More Spring Flowers

Tulips and daffodils on a Hill
Cherry Blossoms and a Wispy Cloud on a Blue Sky

My mom is a total flower child and while I can't grow things as well as she can, I certainly can appreciate all things flowery!

Polka Dots and Color

One of my favorite things about Spring is that I get to wear skirts without being freezing cold. Yesterday was lovely outside and I had to teach a class in Harlem so I had to dress appropriately for the weather and for the classroom.

Skirt: Forever 21
Tank Top: H&M
Cardigan: Express
Scarf: H&M
Boots: Frye

I am loving polka dots this season and color and I have always been friends. I added the boots to keep the look more casual (and to keep my legs warm) and the scarf because, well, who doesn't love a fantastic scarf? What do you think about my outfit?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No Boys Allowed

On Saturday night I kicked my darling husband out of the apartment and hosted a "No Boys Allowed" girls' night  and invited lots of girlfriends over! There was lots of food, drinks, and good times. Jill brought tomato and lemon pastry (yum!), Tammy made AMAZING shoe cupcakes, Ashley brought delicious brownies, Sarah brought cheese and bread, and the rest of the lovely ladies all brought bottles. I myself made entirely too much food, but no worries, Mike devoured most of the leftovers! 

On the Menu:
Endive and Ricotta Bites
Cantaloupe wrapped in Prosciutto di Parma
Honey Goat Cheese, Brie, and Olive Tapenade with French Baguette slices
Red Grapes
Spinach and Artichoke dip with Pita Chips
Caprese Salad Bites
Pastry with Tomato and Lemon

I didn't get a picture of the signature cocktail I made, buy you can sort of see it in the below picture in the upper left hand corner next to the pita chips.

No Boys Allowed Cocktail
2oz. Raspberry Vodka
3oz. Pineapple Juice (not from concentrate)
1oz. Club Soda
Poured over Ice
Add a raspberry and/or pineapple slice for garnish!

Spinach and Artichoke Dip was a huge hit!

Endive and Ricotta bites with Almonds, Golden Raisins, and Scallions is always a party pleaser!

Caprese Salad Bites are so easy to make and so delicious to eat!

Jill's appetizer was yummy!

Tammy's chocolate with cream cheese frosting cupcakes were a smash hit! How cute are they?!

Thankfully a neighbor lent me folding chairs so there was seating for the eight of us! I love a good girls' night! 

What I learned about girls' night:
1. Girls don't eat as much as boys (duh, right?)
2. Girls love cheese
3. Girls love chocolate (unless they're allergic)
4. Girls are very helpful in the kitchen with food and drinks!

How do you like to spent time with your friends? Are you pining for recipes and how to's for the food?

Tulips in Brooklyn

April Showers bring May flowers... but these gorgeous pink tulips that I found in on a road divider in Boerum Hill are already here! Love Spring flowers!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dine In Brooklyn - Hibino

Where We Went: Hibino for Dine in Brooklyn with my best friend Jill and her husband

What We Ate: The Dine In Brooklyn price fix menu was really great here. Between the four of us we ordered a variety of appetizers including Seaweed Salad, Tuna Tataki, and Agadeshi Tofu, all which were great. The Seaweed Salad was a mixture of six different kinds of seaweed, most of which I'd never had before. The Agadeshi Tofu was phenomenal. The tofu was perfectly cooked and the broth it was served in was so tasty. We all ordered the same entree option which was Kyoto Style Futomaki with six pieces assorted sushi. Having the assorted sushi picked for me meant I had to try pieces I'd never had before such as mackerel, squid, and red snapper which I have fallen in love with.

What We Saw: Like most sushi joints, this place didn't have much by way of decor, but we did get seated at a lovely table right by the window.

What We Thought: The fish was very fresh and delicious, though definitely more expensive than other sushi joints in the neighborhood. The Agadeshi Tofu is enough to make me return, though. Unfortunately this place does not take reservations so there was a long wait and no where to wait so we simply went next door to Henry Public for a pre-dinner drink.

Spring Scarves and Sunglasses

After the first week of Spring being out of whack warm, the weather has finally returned to my favorite kind of spring. The kind where I can wear a light jacket and a silk scarf without being chilly. The kind where I can wear my sunglasses well into the afternoon. The kind where the light green leaf buds start to pop out of the trees and shed color on the streets of Brooklyn once again.

Scarf by H&M
Sunglasses by Cole Haan
Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Infinite Rose