November 30, 2011

Still Smiling

Yes, it is the last day of November, and I am still smiling from our incredible Thanksgiving weekend!

Now that I have my new camera, I am thrilled to have the ability to take as many pictures as possible. Let's just say the Thanksgiving break was the perfect opportunity to really give it a run.

Here are a few of my favorites:

 fall foliage in Park Slope

 our perfect little view of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade


I heart NY.

 Sunday dinner

 in awe of the stained glass at the Green-Wood Chapel

 historic, stunning Green-Wood Cemetery


 just one of the incredible statues at Green-Wood


my joy.

I cannot wait to see what moments, and therefore pictures, December brings! xx JN

November 23, 2011

12-Days of Gratitude: Day 12

I have so thoroughly enjoyed putting together the 12-Days of Gratitude ... a sweet way to lead up to tomorrow's gratitude feast! No matter where you are, who you're with, or how you plan to spend your day, remember that what you bring to the table literally and figuratively is a contribution only you can make. The word is simply not the same without you and your gifts. xx JN

November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Happy Thanksgiving Week! Even though we are already hearing "Jingle Bells" in the background, this really is the ultimate week to celebrate Fall, harvest, abundance and gratitude. (Alright, and pumpkin pie!)

Once the dishes are cleared from the table on Thursday, our entire world will shift to St. Nick, gift receipts and wrapping paper. It becomes a countdown to the end of the year.

But this week, let's remember that without Fall there would be no Winter. Without Fall, there would be no change. Without Fall, there would be no future growth. It is the season of transition. So let's salute it together, and then welcome in the next chapter.

Here's to a very special (short) week!

xx JN

12-Days of Gratitude: Day 10

November 20, 2011

12-Days of Gratitude: Weekend Edition

This weekend edition including Days 8 & 9 of the 12-Days of Gratitude was inspired by one of my favorite artists, Caitlin McGauley. I simply adore her watercolors, and found two of her works perfect for my feelings of gratitude this weekend! You can also get a weekly dose of inspiration from Caitlin's work as part of Watercolor Wednesdays featured on Lonny Magazine's blog. xx JN

November 18, 2011

Fast Friday Dinner

There are simply those nights where you need a delicious, but quick, dinner: and this one is one of my favorites! I'm able to pick these great items up at my local grocery store, and it only takes a few minutes to toss together. Find your favorites, keep them on hand, and when your day is hectic, at least you don't have to sacrifice a great meal. TGIF, my lovelies! xx JN

12-Days of Gratitude: Day 7

November 15, 2011

Smitten for Handwritten

{ image via The Savvy Traveller }

As of late, I have kept my journal in my handbag so I can utilize the times I actually do get a seat on the subway to write.

This afternoon provided a great opportunity to spend my time from 4th Avenue to Broadway/Lafayette putting my thoughts on paper - and as I made my way into Manhattan, the gentleman sitting next to me said, "Do you mind my asking what your opinion is on the difference between a journal and a diary?"

I actually had to take a moment. That was not a question I had ever been asked before.

My first instinct was to think of my Hello Kitty diary that had a lock and key when I was in the first grade. I remember fondly tucking away my "deepest secrets" in that little book ... it had a very special pen that came with it, and I always found it interesting that at the top of each page was a place to jot down the status of the weather.

Writing in a journal seemed far more "grown up" than those days long ago.

What was interesting was the gentleman's take - a journal, to him, was more analytical; a diary, more private and personal.

More importantly, that sweet gentleman said, "I must tell you I am glad to see you putting your thoughts on paper; people just don't write things down anymore. We type. We e-mail. We blog. But no one actually writes by hand. I always loved writing long letters ... but now people just e-mail. There will come a point when people do not know how to actually write things down with a pen and paper. How sad is that? I've always felt that the ink is just an extension of who we are. There is nothing more personal than handwriting your thoughts."

When I got home, I asked Jim his opinion about this new quandry: diary vs. journal - and his reaction was the exact opposite. A journal was about the introspective process we go through on our personal journey; a diary, a written account of the day-to-day.

So it begs the question, do you write your thoughts down in a diary or journal? And if so, what is the difference between the two in your opinion?

xx JN

12-Days of Gratitude: Day 4

November 14, 2011

National Guacamole Day!

{ image via }

I am convinced that avocados are the fruit of the gods.

To celebrate National Guacamole Day, I am happy to share my tried and true guacamole recipe which I can honestly say I have made over a hundred times.  Depending on the size of your crowd and their subsequent obsession with guacamole, you can easily double this recipe.

3-4 perfectly ripe avocados
2-3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
Kosher salt & ground pepper
1/2 Serrano pepper, seeds removed and finely chopped OR several dashes of green Tabasco sauce
1 large handful of fresh cilantro, stems removed, and roughly chopped
1-2 fresh limes

Peel and pit the avocados and scoop them into a large bowl. With a large fork, begin to mash the avocados into large chunks. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the avocados, starting first with a half of a lime and adding more juice to get the desired consistency.

Add the fresh garlic, cilantro, Serrano pepper (or Tabasco) and continue to mash with a large fork. Add the kosher salt & pepper to taste.

Serve with corn chips and try not to eat the entire bowl at once.

Suffice to say, this can prove to be difficult.

xx JN

12-Days of Gratitude: Day 3

November 13, 2011

12-Days of Gratitude: Day 2


Baby, It's Cold Inside

The tickle in the nose.

The dry spot in the back of the throat.

That feeling of cotton balls filling your head.

Yep. Cold season.

My symptoms started yesterday morning ... and immediately I broke out my tried and true ultimate cold remedy:

It starts with a good ol' flush of the sinuses with my Ancient Secrets Neti Pot. Do not be afraid. I can fully promise you: it will change your life. The ceramic neti pot is key - do not fall for the plastic knock-offs. Please. Stick with the ceramic and you will sing its praises. Go with the plastic and you might curse my name when you're attempting to flush out the snotties.

Allegra-D. With all the leaves falling and winds-a-blowing, my allergies are already flared up. Allegra-D is my favorite allergy medication of all time. And, yes, my loves, I have tried them ALL. The key is the "D" (aka - decongestant).

Oh, Mucinex. I have been taking Mucinex since the late 90's when it was still by prescription only and named Humibid. Mucinex comes in many forms and compounds over the counter. I'm a fan all around, but, the latest formula just hitting the market is the new Mucinex Fast Max. Awwww yeah! If you need to get instant relief of your symptoms and you don't mind drinking your meds (that are supposed to taste like blue raspberry, but instead taste like wiper fluid), then you should embrace Mucinex Fast Max.

Now that you've downed meds and flushed out your sinuses, take a moment to have a little treat. Nothing will cool that hot feeling in the back of your throat better than some delicious Talenti Gelato. I just so happened to have some Double Dark Chocolate in the freezer, but I am confident that no matter what your flavor persuasion happens to be, you will find a friend in any of Talenti's many gelato and sorbetto flavors. Talenti has it down to a gourmet science, and if I hadn't already had some, it would have been on the "Things to Purchase ASAP Before Cold Craze Takes Over" list my hubby made yesterday morning.

Emergen-C. Miracle in a packet. Remember "Fizzy Lifting Drinks" in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Yeah, Emergen-C is today's modern version. I am convinced it will cure anything. Drink it, folks. Feeling a little tired from a long day? Drink it. Cold's coming on and you want to nip it? Drink it. Overworked from a day in the garden and feeling uber-thirsty? Drink it. The new-and-improved Raspberry flavor is flawless. (And, yes, I have tried all the flavors.)

Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque was exactly what the doctor ordered. Now that I'm vegetarian and cannot partake in my husband's infamous homemade chicken soup, I requested Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque. Colds cannot live in an acidic environment, so it was even more reason to devour this delicious hot soup. Not only are their soups awesome, but you can't go wrong with any of their products!

Now with all of that, lots of rest, and fluids to boot - I woke up feeling better this morning. I will continue to repeat the regiment until there is no sign of a cold remaining!

'Tis the season to stave off what shall not ail you!

xx JN

Note: I am not a medical professional, and my opinions should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. However, as a professional singer, I rely on remedies that are friendly and safe for the voice. If I were prepping for a performance, I would substitute the gelato for sorbet to make it non-dairy to keep from adding any additional phlegm. Always consult your doctor before trying new medications.

November 9, 2011

12 Days of Gratitude

November is one of my favorite months of the year as it brings with each day a constant reminder of the importance of gratitude.

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I will be spending these next 12-days noting the things I am most grateful for. Gratitude cannot be overrated - it is the fuel that propels us.

Join my 12-Days of Gratitude Feast by e-mailing, tweeting (#gratitudefeast) and tumbling your gratitude statements, thoughts & pictures. Is there really any better of a dish to serve on Thanksgiving than a huge helping of gratitude?

No matter where we are on our personal journey, there is always something to be grateful for ... sometimes it starts with a simple, "I am grateful."

xx JN

November 2, 2011

Lady in Waiting

There are just certain necessities in life when you have stories to tell through food & pictures ... and I feel so uber-lucky to say that I'm on pins & needles waiting for these two gems to arrive:


For the record, the "to-do" list I have for these two is already a mile long!

xx JN