Saturday, October 24, 2009


I've been lucky enough to have spent the past week in the most amazing Bolt House, on the inaugural Lithe Escape. I will write more when I get home tomorrow, but wanted to share some of Lauren's photos now. Check them out at on Lauren's blog NOW. Lauren just reminded me that I've worked out 12 hours this week - which is about 12 hours more than usual. I've also worked for 0 hours, which is really amazing. I'm tan, detoxed and I feel stronger. I hope that Jed will be as excited about 1308's new nutrition and exercise regime as I am.

I strongly recommend a trip like this for your 30th birthday.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

AB Made This

A while back, I told you about the party dress I made. I just wore it for the first time to dh's wedding shower. What do you think?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Birthday Present Ideas...

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 30: Enya Kim from the Natural History department at auctioneers Bonhams & Butterfields stands inside one of the world's largest set of shark jaws comprised of about 180 fossil teeth from the prehistoric species, Carcharocles megalodon, which grew to the size of a school bus, at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino September 30, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bonhams & Butterfields hope the fossil will fetch about USD 900,000-1.2 million when it is auctioned off on October 3 at the Venetian as part of their Natural History auction. The centerpiece of the lot of 50 fossils being auctioned is a 66-million-year-old Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton dubbed 'Samson.' The 40-foot-long female dinosaur fossil, excavated in South Dakota in, contains about 170 bones and is said to be the third most complete T. rex skeleton ever unearthed. Bonhams & Butterfields is hoping Samson will fetch more than USD 6 million at the auction. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) (From

Saturday, September 19, 2009

One Night Only! It's back and better than ever!

Please join us on Friday, October 2 at Luxe Home for a very special party to benefit Women's Medical Fund. Your ticket includes drinks, delicious food and the promise of a great evening.

Did you know that women on Medicaid are not covered by their federal policy for abortions?
Did you know that any woman receiving medical benefits through the federal government is ineligible to access funding for their own reproductive choice? That includes all federal employees, all soldiers, all women using Peace Corps insurance.

Healthcare reform is very complex and we've all heard the debates about a public option and the unfortunate truth that the people who have the least to loose fight the loudest. I am am terrified that women and children are being left out of the reform debate because they are not represented by powerful, wealthy lobbying groups. Believe what you will about the future of our country's healthcare services, but know that it is a FACT that women will be negatively effected disproportionately than men; and poor women will be hit hardest. WMF believes that reproductive choice is essential, but recognizes that without access, choice is meaningless. By providing direct financial assistance to low-income women, they equalize the playing field, giving poor females the same options that have always been available to their better-heeled peers.

Supporting WMF is an easy act of activism. The money you donate will go directly to the organization. It will not be used in national marketing campaigns and you will not see any specially colored products at the store claiming to raise awareness about this cause. I am asking you, as one who has previously fundraised for another major event in October, honor me and my "survivorness" by making a donation to WMF. Sadly, the money you donate to Komen next month (or any month) will not do as much good as claimed in protecting young women from getting breast cancer. The money you donate to WMF will literally change a woman's life IN YOUR COMMUNITY. This is your chance. And all you have to do is buy a ticket to a really fun party.

Can't come on Oct. 2? No problem. You can buy raffle tickets for $10 each and take your shot at winning 1 of the 3 amazing grand prizes:
  • Luxe Home package that includes a sofa valued at $2,500 and design consultation session
  • 2-night stay (with dinner) at the Hotel Du Village in New Hope
  • Moore Brothers Wine Company "Tutored Tasting" for 24-36 people to be held at your home (or another suitable location)
Check out this awesome article about WMF. Hope to see you on Oct. 2.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

garden revisited

every day when i come home from work i check on my tomatoes. finally, after waiting almost a month, these two beauties made their debut. they are the first two to ripen, but i know their appearance is the beginning of an onslaught of tomato goodness.

i threw some radish seeds in the ground about a month ago and after seeing the worms had gotten to the leaves, pretty much gave up on them. to my surprise, when i was weeding this afternoon i saw the top of a radish poking out of the ground. i probably could have waited for them to get a bit bigger, but in my excitement, i pulled them all. some of them are pretty small but considering i had written them off, i would call it a success.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Party Dress

I did it!! Thanks to Cathy, an amazing teacher at Spool, I sewed a dress from a pattern!  I took the 4 week Party Dress class and learned so much about darts, zippers, lining and skirt gathering.  I met some awesome women, including a fellow CHOP worker.  I learned that I cannot just decide which aspects of a pattern I want to include in my finished product and I learned that being mindful when I cut a pattern is key. 

As you may imagine from my gorgeous model above, the dress doesn't exactly fit me like a glove (granted, it is NOT zippered on jed).   It looks much cuter with a belt, and I just might wear it to one of the 7 wedding related parties i have in the next 3 months.  Or maybe i'll sew myself up something that fits better.  Either way, I am a proud as a peacock and can't wait to keep up the (better) work. 

Monday, August 3, 2009

weekend recap

basil, squash, sage and thyme from my garden. my laziness in not harvesting the dill resulted in some beautiful flowers for my table. sometimes laziness does pay off.

fresh smoothies for breakfast. strawberry, cherry, blueberry, banana with some trader joe's organic vanilla yogurt (which has now edged out stoneyfield farms as my fave)

photo shoot with the Shuka. she's been staying with us for the past month but she's going home to her mom soon. she pretends she doesn't like us, but i know the truth.

potato samosas for a party i went to on saturday night. a little more effort than i usually make but oh so worth it.

went to fallen fruit's annual Fruit Jam, where you bring home-grown or found fruit (i cheated and bought oranges at the farmers market) and everyone gathers together and makes jam. i am now the proud owner of four jars of mixed berry jam. delish.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

simple salads

image courtesy of the New York Times

Wednesday is my favorite day of the work week. Ok, just kidding, Friday is obviously my favorite day, but Wednesdays aren’t so bad for me either, mostly because it is the day that the New York Times updates its Dining and Wine section (and now that I am a West Coast gal, I love me some LA Times Food section as well). I usually snag 3 or 4 new recipes to store in my “Things I want to Make One Day” folder which probably should be called my “Things I Will Probably Never Have Time to Make but OMG They Look So Good” folder. I love when I see articles like Mark Bittman’s recent “101 Simple Salads for the Season". I love salad, especially during the summer, but I tend to fall into a rut and make the same salad over and over again, which, don't get me wrong, is totally delish, but can get boring. Hopefully this will help me out expand my salad horizons. Also, there are links to a bunch of homemade salad dressings. If you haven’t jumped on the homemade salad dressing bandwagon you just don’t know what you are missing.

I can’t wait to try:

39. Yucatecan street food as salad: Roast fresh corn kernels in a pan with a little oil; toss with cayenne or minced chilis, lime juice and a little queso fresco. Cherry tomatoes are optional.

76. Slice fresh figs — many, if you live where they grow — and top with crumbled bacon, balsamic vinegar (the best you have) and crumbled blue cheese.

99. Toss cooked quinoa with fresh sliced apricots, cherries, pecans, and enough lemon and black pepper to make the whole thing savory.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

eat well guide

Want to find a farmers market near you or a baker that uses local organic ingredients? Or maybe you are going on a road trip and want to avoid the mostly fast food options out on the road? Try the Eat Well Guide. I found a baker near my house that I hadn't known about, a few more smaller farmers markets in the area to supplement my big Sunday trip, as well as a ton of restaurants to add to my to-try list. After a little browsing, I found using the city, state as a search term instead of the zip code gave me more results.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


first harvest of patty pan squash from the garden. cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, radishes and beets on the way. my mind is already on expansion of quantity and variety for next summer. stir-fry on the menu for tonight. there is nothing quite like growing your own food.

Friday, July 17, 2009


The August issue of Gourmet was in today's mail. The cover recipe is the most delicious looking photograph I have ever seen. I want to eat the page. Lemon Ice Cream Sandwiches with Blueberry Swirl.

Jessica Mae, when you come to visit NEXT MONTH, will you puhleese collaborate with RKM and make these for me???

I'll be your bestie.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

images from the weekend, on wednesday

another attempt at making bread. not totally successful, but i think i am on the right track.

baby radish leaf, from a bunch of radishes from the farmers market. the realization that you can eat the radish greens made me sad for all the previous bunches that were tossed.

the perfect summer lunch. discovered my new favorite tomato, the red zebra. it's red with orange stripes. almost too pretty to eat. almost.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

it's offical. it's summer.

The first batch of the season, a delicious and creamy mint chocolate chip from my hero Alice Water's book The Art of Simple Food. I made a special trip to the store to get ice cream cones for Pete, my guess is they will be gone by the end of the week. What flavor to do next? Coffee or buttermilk?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Holler at our Girl

Rach was just featured for her amazing "Better for You" desserts in Philadelphia magazine's Health & Wellness section.

I'm blowing up her spot because she would never do it herself. In fact, our ABB readers likely don't know that RKM is the brains (and muscle and baker) behind Sweet Pea Nourishment's baked goods/desserts. Way to go Rach!

Carrot-Ginger Oat Cookies
From Rachel Myers, Sweet Pea Nourishment
Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt, fine grain
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup carrots, shredded
1/2 cup real maple syrup, room temperature
1/2 cup unrefined (fragrant) coconut oil, warmed until just melted
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and oats in a large bowl. Add the nuts and carrots.
3. In a smaller bowl, whisk to combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, and grated ginger. Add this to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
4. Drop cookie batter onto prepared baking sheets, one tablespoon at a time, leaving 2 or so inches between each cookie. Bake in the top third of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until cookies are golden on top and bottom.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I love granola, but I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to the crunchy stuff. I'm like Goldilocks (this one, not this one) in that my granola has to be just right, which means not too sweet, not too dry, not to boring. Metropolitian's is the indisputable best, followed by Grocery's. However, paying $8-10/lb for oats and dried fruit is a little tough for me to justify.

I consulted several cookbooks to find a recipe with a combination of oil and sweetener that felt right to me. Some recipes call for butter or oil in varying amounts. Ultimately, I loosely followed the Joy of Cooking recipe, using ingredients from my pantry. Results are amazing. I've been eating it plain, sprinkling it on my morning oatmeal and dreaming about putting it on yogurt. The best thing about the recipe is that you can use what you have, in the quantities that make sense for you. Love dried cherries? Add more! Hate walnuts? Leave them out!

This is definitely a permanent addition to the Bronstein catalogue of tricks. Maybe it will even be this year's holiday gift.

Granola, adapted from Joy of Cooking
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 cups old fashioned oats (not quick cooking - hint, buy from the bulk section of Whole Foods or other store)
1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted salted almond, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
In a saucepan, heat oil and syrup on low heat, for about 5 minutes. Stir in brown sugar until dissolved.
Pour warm liquid mixture into mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Spread evenly on large cookie tray/baking sheet. Use 2 if necessary.
After 20 minutes of baking, check on granola every 5-10 min. You are looking for toasting and browning of all ingredients.
*Note, this recipe will not form a single "granola bar." Do not wait for that to form - if you do, the mixture will burn.
Store granola in air-tight container until you finish it and need to make a new batch, about 5 days.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cold Brewed Iced Coffee, or the best thing to happen this summer

Sometimes, in the evening, do you ever sit on the couch and think that you should get up and program your coffee maker so you have fresh coffee in the a.m., but the thought of actually getting up and grinding the coffee and measuring the water and probably cleaning out the old filter, is just way too much for you? Happens to me all the time. Last night was one of those nights. I knew I was going to want a.m. coffee, but since it's iced coffee time, I debated making a pot at night and then just sticking the carafe in the fridge so that it would be ready for me when I was running out of the house.

Somewhere in the cobwebs of my brain, I remembered that last year, jessica mae was very excited about CBIC and since she screened my call, I turned to the interwebs for answers. I wasn't surprised when I found what I was looking for on Smitten Kitchen.

Seriously, you guys, this COULDN'T BE EASIER. And so delicious and really better than hot-coffee-chilled-in-the-fridge. And I get to use my own beans. And it requires NO cleaning out the filter. And I am still going after leaving my house at 6.15 a.m. and working all day and going to yoga.

Cold-brewed iced coffee (from Smitten Kitchen) - Makes 2 16 oz servings
8 tbs ground coffee (or 2/3 cup)
4 cups of water

Pour could water into 4 cup measuring cup. Add ground coffee. Put measuring cup in the fridge over night. In the morning, strain the liquid gold and enjoy over ice, with CSA milk and VT maple syrup. Drink with a straw. Be thankful that you won't have to clean out another coffee filter this summer.

*image of delicious looking coffee comes from a blog that you totally want to check out

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

things i am loving

*limeade with mint. so easy to make and so refreshing, this is definitely my new summer beverage. it tastes even better when you drink it while you read in the backyard with the sun shining down on you.

*driving to work. not necessarily the driving part, but the whole being able to listen to npr part.

*stone fruit at the farmers market. the sadness of losing cherries is tempered by the arrival of plums, peaches, and pluots. i had never heard of a pluot until i moved to california, but now i am smitten.

*the fact that in one week i will be in puerto rico!

Friday, June 19, 2009


This is my new bike. The pictures in the last bike post were the ones we traded to get the new bikes. Jed rode to work today. Excited to spend time riding around this weekend.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

cherries jubilee

i finished the last of these beauties last night. there's only a few more weeks of cherry season left, and i'm feeling the need to make the most of it. i think a visit to a pick your own needs to be on the agenda for the weekend. i have visions of making jam and other assorted delish pastries, but i know most of them will end up in my belly. could be worse.

Monday, June 15, 2009

images from the weekend

consumed the perfect hangover cure after seeing the most amazing band down on venice pier

rode bikes to our new favorite breakfast spot then continued down the bike path to the beach

visited the garden center where we saw this guy with about nine million pounds of pollen on his legs and looking like he wasn't done any time soon.

strung the lights over our work in progress patio. it's well on it's way to becoming our lush garden oasis.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Before & After - Kitchen Shelves



The kitchen looks better after every weekend. Loving the way the orange looks with the walls and counter tops. I have one more project up my sleeves for this week, and then I'm pretty sure I'll focus on sewing.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Details Confuse Me Too

Old bikes out of our basesment, traded for newer bikes. The balance for the new bikes paid from the insureance money of our stolen bikes. Long story short, we will finally have appropriate city bikes that will hopefully stick around for much longer than a month. I will be so happy if the new bikes are all tuned up and ready for their new home today. Bike ride anyone?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

some sweets for your thursday

Last night I baked brownies from what has become our new go-to brownie recipe. I used vanilla extract that I made last year and I am afraid I can never go back to store bought. Three vanilla beans, split and stuffed into a bottle, fill it up to the top with vodka, store it in a dark place and 6 months later, deliciousness.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

wednesday, i wish you were friday

checking out at whole foods, the cashier looks up at me, sighs, then says "it's wednesday, it's all downhill from here". then he went back to scanning my mangos. guess he's ready for the weekend too.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stellar Tuesday

My day began with the earliest of early meetings, but I was able to watch the most amazing 8a.m. thunder storm from the 14th floor of my building. Also included in said day: excellent conversations, checks off my to-do list, yoga, delicious homemade dinner.

Monday, June 8, 2009

making mondays more awesome

pete got a new bike, so we rode to the park, played a game of tennis (i am pretty much the next serena williams) and had a picnic dinner. chicken sandwiches on whole grain bread, salad with apples and maple balsamic vinaigrette and for dessert, cherries from the farmers market and dark chocolate. not bad for a monday.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

saturday morning

i have a new early saturday morning routine. out the door by 9am, pick up a coffee and hit the yard sales. discovered that it really is better to get to there early. 4 light green pyrex bowls for 2 dollars, 2 tennis rackets for 10 bucks and a new purse for 50 cents.

Friday, June 5, 2009

dr. pepper on the rocks

we went to this LA institution called the Apple Pan for their famous hickoryburger. burger was fab, but the best part was they serve their soda in a can with a paper cone of ice and this neat little metal cone holder.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Before and After - Kitchen

A few weeks ago, after a rant about me wanting to paint my kitchen, Jessica Mae reminded me that i've been talking about painting our kitchen for about a year. She was right and last week, Jed and I made big moves. We made 2 trips to Home Depot to buy a total of 5 color samples.
It was a hard decision, with the red counter tops and black and white tiled floors (neither of our choosing).
I would love a whole new kitchen, but they are expensive and take more planning than 2 trips to Home Depot. We chose Sea Life with Carrot Stick accents. I think the paint works amazingly. Totally transforms the space and makes me happy when I look into the kitchen from the living room. What do you think?

Before - with 3 colors that didn't make the cut

Orange accents are fun (see "Laundry Room" for more details)

After - with the light and curtains.

Jed doing prep work for pulled pork

Jessica Mae, this is was for you...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


My brother recently traveled to Peru.  He took this photo.  How amazing??

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I've been thinking of milestones lately. 
April was 3 years since cancer diagnosis.  
May is 3 years from getting my MSW and from loosing my breasts. 
This weekend, Jed and I are celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary!  
July is 21 years since my heart surgery. 
August will be a year since Erin passed away. 

The funny thing about the harder milestones is that I am very aware they are around the corner, but then i seem to forget about them while they are happening.   The summer 5 years after heart surgery, I was in Texas visiting the Coopers.  That surgery effed my head up for a long time (it took 19 years for me to realize that it was just preparing me for something way bigger) and I remember being 13 and kind of thinking that I should feel something (I didn't really) or should be celebrated or something (I think Carol baked me a cake).  Now each July, I just acknowledge how long ago it was and remark that it was my first experience at CHOP.  

This April was hard.  I still remember every single thing about the day I went to the doctor after discovering my lump.  I remember going to the bathroom of my internship too often and touching it and KNOWING it wasn't right.  I thought about those memories this year.  A few weeks ago, I helped my friend Lauren promote her Lithe Pink classes designed specifically for post-op breast cancer ladies.  I was interviewed and then me and a bunch of others participated in a mock class for the cameras.  I was AMAZED that I started Litheing 3 months after one of my major surgeries.  I mean, I was doubting I could do the exercises in the mock class...I couldn't remember how hard they must have been for me so soon after surgery.  I talked to Lauren about it after the class and we both agreed that I was hellbent on not being held back.  I haven't taken a Lithe class in almost a year and honestly, I'm scared I couldn't do it.  Thinking about the milestone and being physically back where I was 2 years ago put me in a funk that I didn't recognize for a few weeks.  I think each year gets easier, but not easy enough. 

I am already preparing for a difficult August, but I also know that I can't prepare enough.  It will sneak up on me and I'll only realize that i was surrounded by fog after it lifts.  I'm putting it out here now in advance - please cut me slack if i lack social skills in early August.  

Jed and I are off to the shore for a long weekend to celebrate.  This is the best milestone I have going.  All of the others are bearable and  manageable because of Jed.  Bring it.  I can take it.   


I am a big fan of Breast Cancer Action, an organization that "challenges assumptions and inspires change to end the breast cancer epidemic."  Their Think Before You Pink campaign is responsible for Yoplait's decision to go rBHG free by the end of August and Dannon following suit by the end of 2009.  As you may know, Yoplait is a MAJOR benefactor of Susan G. Koman for the Cure, donating $0.10 per pink lid mailed in by buyers.  Which means, instead of donating money to an organization that directly benefits breast cancer research, american consumers were buying $2 artificial yogurt filled with rBHG hormone, which is LINKED to the development of breast cancer, because the company would donate to Koman.  

BC Action's newest campaign is partnering with Food and Water Watch to eliminate rBGH milk from school meal programs.   We already know that most school meal programs feed children food high in fat, sugar and empty calories.  Milk may be the only nutritious food kids receive during the day.  The least we can do is make sure they aren't being exposed to hormones that are linked to breast cancer.  Take action and tell Congress to allow schools to purchase artificial hormone-free and organic milk.   Now.  Please. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Live Poultry for Sale on Spring Garden

Yesterday, I noticed Q and Q Live Poultry store on Spring Garden, between 11th and Ridge.  This morning, I googled it and came across this amazing video.  

Although the cages the birds are kept in do not fit into my mental image of humanely treated animals, they all come from local farms (PA, NJ and NY).  I have to believe that eating birds killed the day you want to eat it tastes better than any other alternative.  I don't think I'm ready to give up buying my poultry from Greensgrow, Headhouse Sq or the Terminal, but maybe one day I'll give Q and Q a try.  Would you??

Monday, May 4, 2009

Backyard, Before & After

A sneak peek

Jed will claim it is still a work in progress, but i'm pretty sure we have the best backyard in Fishtown.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Know How I Know It's Spring?

Stone colored khaki pants!

Hi Spring - missed you and your April showers. Glad you came back. Hope you decide to stick around for a few weeks. Don't let Summer bully you into leaving early. xoxo

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Don't Shoot the Messenger

Most of the philly folks I know LOVE Brown Betty cupcakes. The boutique bakery is doing so well that it recently opened a cupcake-only shop in Rittenhouse. I liked them so much that I hired them to make our wedding cakes.

After consuming many BB cupcakes, in every flavor, I realized that I am over BB cupcakes. They are kept refrigerated, which makes immediate enjoyment significantly less. The cake is too dense, the frosting too sweet. And the size. My goodness, each cupcake is easily cut into 3 manageable portions. The 3 people who live in my mother-in-law's house love these cupcakes, so I will keep buying them for those 3 people, whom I love very much. But they are not for me anymore. Nope, i've found something new.

The cupcakes from Grocery are more than a bit better. O.M.G. I had my first, a coco loco - coconut cake, cream cheese frosting, toasted coconut, on Tuesday. (Jed bought it for me as a surprise and left it at my hair salon. Seriously, my husband is great, but that's not what this post is about. ) These are how cupcakes should be - small enough for 1; moist, soft cake; icing that doesn't send you straight into an insulin overdose. The next time you find yourself on or near 13th Street (like at the Wanamaker building for a meeting with the webteam or finance), treat yourself to a delish cupcake. I'm pretty sure the beauties will make you reconsider your allegiances.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Postcard From My Momma

About a year ago, I learned about the website Postcards from your momma, and instantly became hooked. When I started reading the site, I was a few months from my wedding and my mom was sending me amazing emails about planning and ideas and flowers and spanx. So i did what many readers did - I submitted one of lo's better emails.

DO NOT GET SPANX. they stop circulation. It could cause fainting spells. Really they are only for the very, very skinny who have nothing to push up or down or around. Get something comfortable and not tight that will just smoth you up and down.

Love the picture. thanks

I rsvp's to the Kick-off lol

This is email gold - it's got it all...the all caps yelling effect, the bizarre rant about an object of underwear, and the lol.

Long story short, the website became a book (duh) and the owners/authors (what are they called? they started the website, but what did they write?) wanted to include lois' email in said book. I am excited to say that Love, Mom is now available and it was great seeing my momma's email on pg. 63.