I’m a pretty lucky girl in that my husband does most of the cooking in our house. Occasionally, if he’s stressed with work or I’m craving something really specific, I’ll dust off my rusty culinary skills and whip up a little something, but in general, the kitchen is his domain.
Sometimes, though, neither of us is in the mood to do anything after work except to flop on the couch and have someone hand us a meal. That usually results in a sizable Seamless order, but recently we learned about a new option.
I’d like to introduce you to Kitchensurfing, an on-demand personal chef service where you can have a professional chef come to your home, prepare a meal, and clean up before you even sit down to eat. The result? A healthy, often locally sourced dinner in about 30 minutes time, cooked entirely to order.
Our chef, Claire, was delightful. She arrived promptly (even getting there a few minutes before we did), and quickly set up and started cooking. Joey and I sat at the table nearby and caught up on our days while the aroma of steak started to fill the kitchen.
Before we knew it, Claire was done, the kitchen was cleaned up, and dinner was served. And, you guys? It was gorgeous.
We had the Rosemary Beef Tagliata with Seared Polenta Cakes and an arugula salad with baby artichokes and a balsamic dressing. It was totally delicious.
The most amazing part of this service to us was that, besides being super quick and delicious, it’s not even insanely outside our price-range — at least as an occasional luxury. Weekly pricing (one meal per week) for couples is $59, for a young family is $79, and for a family of four is $95. If you consider what you would spend on an evening out with friends, it’s not that different (and you can do this in your pajamas!). Joey and I could also see using the service again for an anniversary or other special occasion.
Interested in trying it out for yourself? Click here to learn more.
Have you already tried Kitchensurfing? Can YOU think of anything fancier than having a personal chef for the night?
[Disclosure: All Kitchensurfing links used above are affiliate links.]
Are y’all okay if I spew a little mush on the blog today?
Seriously…just a bit? A tiny bit?
Oh wait. This is my blog. I DO WHAT I WANT.
About a month ago, Joey and I decided that not only did we want to take a “babymoon” before our little lady’s imminent arrival, we needed to.
Think about it: A baby is forever. After she’s born, it will never be just the two of us again. Sure, one day she’ll grow up and move out and get a job and her own life and whatever. But really, it will never, ever be the same as it has been for the last four years.
So, even though we are in super-saver mode these days, we ponied up the cash for two tickets to my grandparents’ condo in Florida. Of course, we weren’t being totally reckless. Staying at my grandparents’ place is significantly cheaper than booking a hotel or an all-inclusive resort (the dream), and we would have our own kitchen, meaning we could save on at least a dinner or two and all of our breakfasts and most lunches. And while we would have loved to take a 10-day trip, we opted to extend our Memorial Day weekend an extra day to preserve my precious few vacation days.
Though I will admit that I sprung for the slightly more expensive plane tickets that would give us direct flights to the most convenient airports in both locations. Because what’s the point of taking a relaxing vacation if the trip home is going to get you just as rattled as you were before?
The result of our plans? I don’t want to overstate this, but the trip was, in a word, perfect.
I’m always a little irked by those people who put #blessed in their Instagram captions because, to me, it seems like a fairly overt humblebrag. But after that trip with my husband, I have a hard time describing my feelings any other way. I’m so humbled by the way my husband loves me. I’m so grateful that we have the opportunity and the means to get away from regular life now and then to reconnect. I’m filled with awe by this tiny life growing inside me.
God is so, so good to us, and I hope I can hold onto these feelings even when things aren’t going so smoothly. Because while I don’t feel #blessed, I do feel blessed to live the life I do with the people I love.
So now it’s back to “real” life, with jobs and bills and schedules that don’t include things like “morning swim in the pool” and “leisurely lunch by the ocean whenever we feel like walking to the restaurant”. But you know what? The trips to the beach may be over and my tan has probably already begun to fade, but I think this fullness in my heart will last a while longer.
I felt my baby kick for the first time last night.
That’s a pretty quick sentence, so imma give you a minute to let it soak in. I know I needed a minute even after it happened.
We were at our weekly meeting, and it was the last talk. I had been feeling especially pregnant because my belly had officially started popping out pretty much that day. (Having a uterus the size of a cantaloupe will do that to a girl.)
In fact, just that morning I had been thinking about how stereotypical my other symptoms had been (mild nausea until exactly 12 weeks, exhaustion until 14 weeks, etc.) and wondering if the kicking would be the same. (I’m supposed to start feeling it anytime during or after the 18th week.
So there I am, sitting quietly with my hands on my belly as they often are these days, when suddenly it dawns on me that I feel a little poke — and it’s different from digestion or indigestion or anything I’ve ever felt before. I knew immediately this was something that was not, well, me. I may have stopped breathing for a second. I pressed down with my hands a bit more…and was rewarded with a second little poke.
Here are eight things that go through your brain the first time you feel your baby kick:
1. Hmmm what should I have for dinner? I’m so hungry and — wait a second, what was that?!
2. Relax a second, are we sure that wasn’t just gas?
3. It didn’t feel like gas.
4. Oh my goodness, do that again!
5. …please? Please, one more time?
6. Maybe it was just gas.
7. OH MY GOODNESS IT HAPPENED AGAIN!
I managed to not actually cry (dang hormones), but I could barely contain my excitement. Later, after eating dinner, I could feel a few more tiny movements, but unfortunately nothing strong enough for Joey to feel yet.
But…you guys. Just when I think I’m done being amazed at this whole pregnancy thing, the little bean has a new bag of tricks to throw at me.
I can’t wait to see what he/she thinks up next.
It’s supposed to be marginally warmer today, so I’m trying to think all the spring thoughts I can.
And that means dreaming about our new patio! I mentioned yesterday that the patio/yard is one of the best features of our new apartment, and Joey and I are both excited about the possibilities of barbecues, al fresco dinners, and not having to walk Bogey down four flights of stairs every time he needs to pee.
Naturally, we’ve both started thinking about what we would like to do with the space. Here are a few of our initial ideas.
I’d love to turn half of the patio into a seating/dining area with storage benches and a table we can seat at least six around when company comes over. I’d also like to grow a few of our own herbs (a project I undertook a few years ago indoors with…questionable results)(bugs, they spawned bugs), possibly from hanging planters on the chain link fence.
Joey almost immediately started pricing small grills on Craigslist, a project I fully endorse since we have more than enough room and burgers are delicious.
Finally, I’d move our string lights (currently hanging from our curtain rod in the living room) outdoors whenever we wanted a little mood lighting.
The real question is what to do with the dirt patch side of the yard. Ideally, I’d like at least part of it to be grass for the Boges, but that leads to the question of maintenance — we’re not buying a lawn mower. So maybe…mulch? Rocks? I’d like a couple tomato plants on the other half of the dirt, and maybe some other easy-to-grow-and-hard-to-kill veggies. I’m open to suggestions!
Fraaaaands! First, I want to formally apologize for being such a Grumpy Gus the last few posts. Ugh, stress. But in a weirdly-unlike-me-because-things-rarely-just-work-out-for-me twist, I had two of my major stresses resolve last Friday. One had to do with work (blah blah blah) and the other had to do with our apartment situation.
WE FOUND A PLACE!
Even better, we found a place that, while I would be a dirty liar if I said it was actually perfect, is pretty great for a lot of reasons.
Reason #1: It has an extra room, SIX closets, and THREE additional storage areas (a boiler room, a closed off staircase, and an unfinished back room that will henceforth be known as the garage). It’s actually ridiculous how much storage space we have. The bedrooms are actually probably a tiny bit too small, but because we now only have to put a bed and a dresser in it, it really doesn’t matter that much.
Reason #2: It has a YARD. Not a big yard, but half of it is a cement patio (helloooo, summer shindigs) and the other half is dirt that we can do whatever we want with. I would love to make some of it grass for the Boges and the rest a couple tomato plants or something, but I’ll keep you posted.
Reason #3: It’s the basement of a house, but because the door opens in the back to the yard, we have our own private entrance. I am quite over buildings, y’all.
Reason #4: Our landlords are the sweetest little Italian couple you could possibly imagine. A few of the first things they said to us were, “You can stay as long as you want, we will never raise your rent” and “If you need anything, you call me and I run! You see how close I am? I run!” It’s like having our grandparents live a few houses away.
Reason #5: It’s only $25 a month more than what we were paying before, meaning we might actually be able to build up a respectable savings account over the next couple of years.
I’m going to be totally honest: It’s a little…er…cozy apartment. We’ll have to keep it neat to keep it from feeling cramped. But I’m thinking those NINE storage areas will probably help.
Anyway, I am very excited. AND I realized there’s one space I still need to plan — the patio! Stay tuned for updates.
This morning has been supremely irritating, so I’m using this blog post to deliberating only think about things that make me happy.
For example, something irritating: My apartment hasn’t had heat or hot water for over 12 hours (on top of the regularly spotty heat we normally enjoy). Now, I could pitch a fit, but I already did that in the email and phone call I had with our building owners.
But instead of continuing to rant and rave, I’m redirecting this burst of fiery anger energy into something fun. Like thinking about how I’ll decorate our NEW (and hopefully properly regulated) apartment! Yay!
Now, we don’t have the exact place yet, so everything I’m saying here is subject to change based on layout, etc. But, in general, here’s what I’m thinking.
This last year was the first time I felt like I successfully decorated the bedroom, at least to a degree. It was never perfect, but I have been plans for the new apartment. I was extremely inspire by this mood board I found on Pinterest:
It’s not wildly different from the color palette we have going on already — the main difference I would make would be to swap out the mint for a richer navy to match our current bedding. I’m hoping to sell our current bed (here on Craigslist if you’re in the Greater NYC area!) and purchase a bed frame with an upholstered headboard that I have my eye on from Joss & Main. Then I’d like to use this tutorial to create a nightstand/dresser for Joey. A few framed pictures and a navy lamp or two, and we’ll be in business.
Our Living Room
Honestly, I really like how our living room ended up before we left, so I’ll probably leave this much as is.
The only change I would make? Painting the walls a light gray, and updating our desk to something a bit sturdier, like this option from IKEA:
Our Kitchen/Dining Area
A rental kitchen is always a bit of a crapshoot, so I really can’t make too many plans without seeing ours. One thing I know I would like to do if possible, though? Add a chalkboard wall.
I feel like the dark walls even off-set those ugly oak cabinets everyone seems to install (for unknown reasons…I’m assuming you can get them somewhere for free or something). Depending on the current kitchen and how much we are paying, I would also consider installing some sort of temporary backsplash. Home Depot sells a peel-and-stick version that is apparently easy to remove later, and if it makes me happier to be in my kitchen every day, that could be worth the cost to me.
As for the dining area, this will only work if I can find a way to combine it with the living room (or if the kitchen is magically huge). But if that works out, I’d like some kind of rustic wooden table with our existing white chairs on all but one side where I would but a wooden (preferable storage) bench.
So that’s what I’ve got rolling around in my brain these days. Obviously this doesn’t cover every room, but I feel better having a good handle on the spaces where we spend most of our lives.
Here’s hoping for a smooth move (preferably to an apartment with heat and hot water).