Monday, October 31, 2011

What to Do During October Snow in NYC (or A Bit of Blogger Maintenance)

This past weekend we had snow in NYC:

What month is it again???
Yes, I'm as shocked as you are! I also heard on the news this morning that approximately 1,000 trees where lost in Central Park vs. maybe 100 from rainshower Hurricane Irene. Wow! 

My summer clothes are sitting in a pile in the corner of my bedroom while I keep putting off the seasonal switch out, but now it looks like I really can't wait any longer. 


Anyway, while I sat indoors Saturday watching the wintry mix come down I made a few cosmetic changes to the blog. I'm detailing them here for those of you who blog as well and may want to make similar minor tweaks to your blogs:
  • Imported my old blog posts - I recently found my first blog from 2006 so I went ahead and brought those posts here using this tutorial. You'll now see posts from 2006-2008 on my archive to the left which brings me to the next tweak . . .
  • Reverted back to expandable archive - I've always liked this archive format the best, but took it away cause I couldn't figure out how to bring back the bullets after I did tweaking on the background color a while back to better visually incorporate ads. I finally figured it out! Also, although I have LinkedWithin below each post, I think this archive format helps my readers see more post titles that might catch their eye.
  • Adjusted my sidebar width - ads were getting chopped off. Not a good look for my relationship with advertisers.
  • Fixed/cleaned up buttons - I can't stress enough to fellow bloggers how important it is check your buttons/links from time to time. For example, I had no idea my Picket Fence Blog button was taking readers to another blog I had never heard of. Oops! I also slid the Linked Within buttons down.
  • Added Comment Luv for Blogger - after getting a comment on a recent post that it was difficult to comment I decided to try this out. Let me know how you like it. It only works for new posts or posts with no previous comments. Old posts will have the traditional Blogger commenting format. 
    • The last time there was difficulty posting I removed Captcha - which I think all bloggers should remove as explained here - so I'm hoping this is another great step to #1: making commenting super easy for everyone and #2: making it easier for you to know when I reply to your comments. 
    • I also added a comment indicator at the top of posts courtesy of this tutorial, but I'm still having some problems getting it to sync with Intense Debate to tally properly. I've been searching around the internet and playing with HTML code for hours to no avail so if anyone has any suggestions on how to fix it please let me know! 
  • Added the social media toolbar - this is the one that most bloggers use to make it easier to share posts; I got rid of the Twitter button up above near the post titles. I've seen debates on where to place this for maximized usage, and I'm going to see if the bottom works out better.
I do have a few other major tweaks I'd like to make eventually such as updating my color scheme/template and I still keep debating moving to Wordpress, but for now I'm happy with these minor tweaks.

Let me know what you think or if you have any suggested tweaks I should try and as always this blog is best viewed in Firefox.

Happy reading! 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby Nostalgia

I was over on New Mom in the Windy City and was reminded of a post that I had wanted to write about Nia's "baby nostalgia." The past few months she's been wanting to play with her baby toys and it's so funny! I came up with the term baby nostalgia for the feeling she must be getting when she "asks" me to pull her old toys out so she can play with them (she can even say, "Peaseeee?" now when she wants something; too cute!):

Hard to tell but Mr. Love Bird is hidden under there too!

Yes, she wears clothing sometimes

In her own world

Caught in the act!

Mommy, help me down!
Having fun
So funny how high her head is! She's too big!

Her bear "Baba" is included in the nostalgia

Cuddling Baba

You're not a baby!


Do your kids get baby nostalgia too? 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Few Things

It's rainy here in NYC and I'm catching up on some cleaning and organizing while Lil Love Bird sleeps and just wanted to share some things that could be full blog posts but I don't have enough time to get them out as full posts so here they go . . . 
  • Halloween is coming up and no, we don't celebrate it. I grew up not celebrating it and while Mr. Love Bird did we both agree that we're not going to celebrate it with Nia. #1 it's a pagan holiday and #2 it's waaaay over-hyped so no thanks! Instead we're going to our church's fall festival on Sunday afternoon. Last year we went but Nia was too small to enjoy but I think she'll like it this year. There will be a costume contest but we're just going to put her in her bday tutu and call it a day!
  • I seriously need to think about Thanksgiving! My family is gracious enough to come to NYC although it really is our turn to go to DC this time. I don't want to spend most of the time cooking or make a mess of the kitchen so I'm really leaning towards Whole Foods Catering but making our own turkey. We've catered from there before and it was GREAT!
  • Our trip to Nigeria is coming up soon and we have a few loose ends to tie up. We're attending a wedding while there and I need to connect with my mom about sewing my dress.
  • I am really freaked out by people who tell me they read my blog but never ever comment. I just think it's strange. My opinion!
  • I've been interested in getting Nia into child modeling, but with no luck. I'm noticing the trend for children of color is biracial with big hair so maybe we can try again when Nia's hair grows out. I thought I was the only one who noticed this trend but came across this Clutch article that mentioned the favor towards light skin and loose, curly hair as well.
  • I made Crispy Golden Sauteed Fish for dinner last night after seeing it on Food Network's $10 Dinners. It came out well, but I'll use less oil next time and work more quickly with the butter sauce because it browns so fast. With steamed veggies and a 20 minute pot of bouillon rice it was a very quick and easy meal that I'll definitely be making again. 
So that's what's going on for now!  

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Love Birds Enjoy Harlem Tavern's 1st Oktoberfest

When I go crosstown to visit my sister and a few other friends who live on the east side I stand across from Harlem Tavern while waiting for the bus. It's a beer garden, and while I don't drink, I've heard good things about it and was excited to visit as I like supporting local establishments. 
My view of Harlem Tavern while waiting for the bus
Love Birds at Harlem Tavern
This past weekend their Oktoberfest was the perfect occasion! Mr. Love Bird and I dropped Nia off at my sister's that morning then went to a self-publishing book expo (one of the many multiple profit centers we're exploring) then on the way back she brought Nia to Harlem Tavern to meet us there. Our friend Kendra came too as did a few more of Ariane's friends. Mr. Love Bird's friends were on their way, but they were delayed and it started getting cold so we had to go. We found out later that they won a snowboard when they arrived! How random is that?!

Dandy Wellington and his Band provided tunes
Anyway, when we walked up to Harlem Tavern they were playing a polka version of Usher's Love In This Club! At first I didn't recognize but when I did I was in shock. It was hilarious! It was so funny to see the faces of the passers-by as they realized the song that was being played! One man dressed in his Alpha gear even stopped to tell us that he believed Harlem was being "occupied." Hmmmm. I just looked at him. I didn't feel like engaging him, but if he really wanted to get into it I would've explained how Harlem has changed hands over the generations so it does not "belong" to one particular ethnic group. That is indeed an entire blog post unto itself . . . 

Spending time with Aunt Ariane
For $10 admission we were given tickets to use for drinks or food. I used mine to get hot pretzels and a bratwurst. It wasn't very flavorful, but I tried Mr. Love Bird's kilbasa and raw oysters which were much better. There were several other kids there too and Nia had fun dancing around to the live music, blowing kisses and saying hi.

Nia gnawed on her salt-less pretzel
We even ended up on Harlem Tavern's Facebook wall!

Source: Harlem Tavern's Facebook Wall
I'd definitely like to go back with just Mr. Love Bird for a date night in the near future. I wish there were more places like this in Harlem especially up near us. Harlem's definitely changing so I'm sure it will happen soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holiday Shopping Preview: Z Gallerie

A couple weeks ago I was reminded of Z Gallerie courtesy of a giveaway that I entered over on Centsational Girl. I had happened into this store in Soho when it used to be opened (it since closed - BOOOO!), but I'm happy to know you can still shop online.

With Christmas coming up (crazy, right?!) I wanted to share a few of my favorite finds:

Alphabet folders - I'm a sucker for cute office supplies!
Acanthus votive holders - these would look cute on a side table
Transit NYC - classic!
Harper Round Frames - these neutral frames would warm up a room with their natural texture
Rectangular Jeweled Trays - super affordable and super festive

What's your go to shop for the holidays? 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Playdate at Fort Tryon Park

A couple days ago Nia and I met up with our church friends Ruby and her son Emilio for a play date at Fort Tryon Park. It's a few short stops north of us and is also home to the Cloisters. I had heard so much about it and now that I've gone I can't believe it's taken me this long. 

It was absolutely gorgeous! 

View of the Hudson River and George Washington Bridge
Reminds me of my alma mater, Wellesley; my friend explained carriages used to travel here
A breathtaking view
Nia gives Emilio the side-eye at the playground!
While it was a hike to get up there (we took the windy paths up), it was definitely worth it and a good workout. If I go with Mr. Love Bird maybe we can take the shorter route next time (and he can carry the stroller!).

We spent over an hour walking and exploring and Ruby who's lived in the area for many many years was such a great hostess showing me all the views and nuances of the park.

I will definitely be returning!

Any fun play dates in the near future for my readers?

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Heart Boden

I came across Boden while attending Wellesley, and I adore their whimsical, European styles. Take a look at these pics for my (mythical!) fall wardrobe:

Lavish Tunic

Flower Hem Mini
Effortless Cable Cardigan
Shimmering Wool Coat
Patent Wedge Boots
Where are you shopping this fall?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Harlem Brownstone Love Strikes Again!

Perfect timing for another post about Harlem brownstones as the WSJ just published this article about Harlem real estate picking up. 

{I found out about these on Harlem Bepsoke}

Brownstone 1

Not too sure about the paint color, but that can be changed. Love the tray ceiling though!

LOVE the windowed kitchen! A rarity in NYC

The antique fireplace in this bedroom is uber-romantic.

Photo credit
 Brownstone 2

Lusting after the dark wood floors!

That shower is definitely high enough for Mr. Love Bird! Double sinks are awesome too.

Adore the light/dark contrast!

Love the bay windows AND fireplace in this kitchen.

Brownstone 3

What a dramatic entryway!
A bit too rustic for my taste but a great space to work with.

Exposed brick, beams and dark wood floors are a decor trifecta.

Light colored ceiling beams open up the room


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