Things I Don't Want To Live Without, Part 2

Thanks for your sweet words regarding TAA's 2nd birthday!

For today's What About Me Wednesday, I'm back with a regularly scheduled post, bringing you another batch of things that I simply don't want to live without. Enjoy!


My ghd flat iron

It makes my hair look near perfect everytime. It's an investment for sure (though my mom gifted this to me for my birthday a couple of years back), but I would happily recommend it to anyone! After all, can you really put a price on good hair? ;)

click for source

New York City

It's the place I've wanted to be my entire life. Even when I hate you, I still love you, New York. The dirty, peed on streets, wandering lunatics, unique smells and the most disgusting subway system on the planet just doesn't deter my undying love for the culture, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, food, parks, hustle & bustle, music, street food & vendors, performances, shows...the list goes on and on.


Cold drinking water

This goes without saying, but is there anything better than a tall glass of water, filled with ice? It's thirst quenching, hydrating and just about the best thing ever.



I adore a solid slice of New York pizza, or an oversized boardwalk slice that's half the size of my head. Cheesy and saucy, I love diving in and burning my tongue every time. Ah.


Great books

I'm a huge reader (I've been slacking lately, but get ready for a comeback!), and to me, there is really not much in life that is better than getting lost in a great book; one that you simply cannot put down, sneak peaks at during your work day, or stay up late into the night reading while your husband is fast asleep next to you. It's a wonderful thing!

Pillars of the Earth, one of my all time favorite books!

So there you have it. Another 5 things I just don't want to live without!

If you missed Part 1, check out this post!

Question of the Day:

What things do you not want to live without?

My All-Time Favorite Throwback TV Show

It's really no secret that Shaun and I watch a lot of television. On our list right now? Shameless, Castle, Fringe, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, Parenthood, Kourtney & Kim Take New York... (ok the last two are on my own list, not Shaun's...). Not to mention continuing our Sons of Anarchy love on DVD and I keep trying to convince Shaun that it is in fact necessary to catch up on Homeland via On Demand.

Yep. This is why I have no time in my life.

So for today's What About Me Wednesday, I thought it would be fun to talk about my very first TV obsession. When I was a kid, there was one show that I watched over and over. So much so that my parents had multiple VHS recordings of the show that I'd watch on loop. There are stories that they actually had to hide the tapes on me for a while because they were getting a bit concerned. That's not weird, right?

Anyhow, my very first TV love? Fraggle Rock!

I still remember all the characters, the Doozers, the Trash Heap, and definitely all the words to the opening song!


I used to have all of the dolls and I think I still have the full collection of the McDonald's Happy Meal know, the ones that have the characters in little vegetable cars. Yes.

They don't make 'em like this anymore. Just looking back at the opening credits makes me feel such nostalgia for playing downstairs in my parents house as a child, with toys strewn everywhere, wishing I could be Red Fraggle.

Luckily, they do in fact put old shows on DVD and a few Christmases ago, my parents got me the entire box set! So fun. I can't wait to watch it again with my own kiddos someday.

So there you have it. The one that started it all :)

Question of the Day:

What was your favorite TV show as a kid?

Wednesday Things

So I was planning on telling you about marshmallows today. Unfortunately, my computer is still all kinds of messed up and I think (slash I hope) that it will be a simple system upgrade. And even more unfortunately, I tried to do that last night, however, my computer doesn't have enough memory for the upgrade. So I tried to move everything to my external hard drive so I could free up some memory (most of it is on there anyway, but I wanted to confirm before deleting anything...) however, my old as dirt computer now refuses to read my hard drive. So I can not only not upgrade my system, but I can't access my hard drive (and photos) either. Le sigh.

Instead, I'll just do a Wednesday Things post where I tell you all about what I'm happy about, mmmk? I like that idea better anyway ;)

1. I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping! Yippeee! I actually love holiday shopping and gift giving. It's so fun to find great gifts for people I love. I think that means tonight will be a gift wrapping evening...and perhaps I can convince my husband to watch a Christmas movie...I'm eyeing this one...

2. There's still time to enter the homemade holiday goodies giveaway! I've been collecting some fun stuff to send the winner (not to mention lots of homemade goods), so if you haven't entered to win yet, you have until midnight!

3. Last night Shaun and I stumbled upon a special about Yellowstone National Park on Planet Green, which we happily watched. We had visited the park last summer and it was one of the best trips I've ever been on. I had no idea what to expect before we went, and it was truly an amazing place. One spot is more beautiful than the next...and the animals are like nothing I'd ever seen before in person.


4. Yesterday, I geeked out at Butter Lane Bake Shop. They named me their blogger of the week, so of course I had to go and buy some cupcakes see my name in lights chalk. Such a cute place and their cupcakes are heavenly. My good friend Lauren was kind enough to accompany me, play photographer and of course, add a frosting shot to our coffee (apparently that's their idea of 'creamer'...and if that's wrong, I don't want to be right).

5. I'm thinking of running a virtual bake sale/auction after the holidays. My cousin Jessica, who is just 22-years-old, was recently diagnosed with leukemia a few weeks ago and we are all doing what we can to support her and raise some money for her medical bills. Would you be interested in baking something for a potential sale? Or buying from a sale? You wouldn't have to be a blogger...just a kind and willing person who could make a batch of baked goods and be willing to ship them to your highest bidder...please let me know! If I get enough people, I'd love to make this happen! I know the holidays are incredibly busy, but perhaps in January? Jess needs our help!


6. I'm trying to get into drinking herbal tea. Thoughts on this?

7. Who is watching American Horror Story? Anyone? I am finally caught up on this season and am loving every second of this show! I cannot believe that it will come to a close next week. Please don't post any spoilers in the comments, but I'll open up a discussion on the Facebook page if you want to discuss. My mind, for one, was blown. I even just love the opening credits. To me, good opening credits are of huge importance. The music alone gives me the heebee jeebs.


8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo comes out next week. I'm so beyond down with this that I can't even tell you. Every time a trailer comes on for it, I make Shaun stop the fast forward button so I can watch it. (I promise, it hasnt gotten old for him ;)) It looks remarkably dark, which is just how it should be. Ah I can't wait!


9. I'm thinking of making this as my main dish for Friday evening. Perhaps served over orzo? I like.

10. I need coffee stat. I think today = Dunkin' Donuts coffee day!

So that's what's happening with me on this Wednesday.

Questions of the Day:

What are your Wednesday things?

Did you enter the giveaway yet? Thanks to those who did! It's turning out to be the most entries ever for a giveaway I've hosted! Keep 'em coming!!


What About Me Wednesday: Monogram Love

Hi, my name is Rachel and I have a small obsession with monograms.

Call me weird, but show me anything emblazoned with an R or an H and I will simply have to have it. I'm not sure what it is, but I simply love anything personalized like that. Perhaps it's because I feel like they were made just for me? (were they not? ;))My love for the monogram is evidenced by my extensive collection of all things lettered, and for today's What About Me Wednesday, I'm giving you a glimpse into my obsession...

Number one on my list: my Helen Ficalora gold initial charm necklaces.


I love these so very much. I gave these as bridesmaids gifts from my wedding and then my mom gifted me with one of my own...a nice, shiny R. To my delighted surprise, Shaun added to my collection with an H charm on our wedding day to signify my new last name. You may see these in many a photo of me (because I wear them all the time!) and even in my profile photo on the side bar.



I have a thin gold bracelet with a cursive R on it...a piece that all of the women in my family own (with their own initial, of course). This is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry and it always feels so special to wear because I feel like I'm somehow connected to my mom, sisters, aunts and cousins.


Our wedding cake topper was a giant, crystal studded H atop our whimsical blue polka dot cake. Purdy.


I dig my Anthro Misses tea cup! It's just cute and makes me want to drink tea all the time.


Shaun and I even own a pair of MTA beanie bears (signifying the NYC subway lines) in yellow R and gray S from way back in the day. We bought these one day while strolling the streets of NYC when we were in college. I have these tucked away in a box somewhere, but it will be fun to pull them out someday when we have a baby, and maybe even add to the collection with a new initial.


And now, I'm seriously crushing on this monogrammed ring from Laurel Treasures' Etsy Shop (which just so happen to be stacked as my initials backwards)...


So that's the tale of my monogram love. I'm sure there are others around this place that I'm forgetting, but these are the ones that stand out to me! Call me crazy but there's nothing like a solid letter to make my day.

Questions of the Day:

Do you own anything monogrammed? Spill it! Maybe I'll add it to my wish list :)

Do you gravitate toward any particular style, pattern or color?

Wednesday Things

1. Today I have a half day at work, and then it's on to a 4 day weekend! Yipeeeee!

2. Yesterday, we had a delicious Thanksgiving pot luck lunch at work. Everyone brought A-mazing dishes, including turkey & gravy, macaroni & cheese, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, butternut squash salad, soft peanut butter cookies and cranberry bars. It was such a fun afternoon and a special treat during this holiday week. Though we were all in a food-induced coma for the remainder of the afternoon...

3. It kind of makes me sick to my stomach a little bit when I see that retailers are starting their sales at 9pm on Thanksgiving. Does greed know no bounds?

4. I definitely want to see The Muppets this weekend at some point! Muppets Take Manhattan was one of my favorite movies growing up.

5. I will also be watching the Macy's parade tomorrow morning, in my pajamas! I plan to get all of my cooking done this afternoon so that tomorrow I can bask in balloon and lip syncing action like I'm 8 again.

6. Tomorrow evening officially marks the start of holiday music. I have been itching for some over the last week but made myself hold out until it's appropriate. I can't wait to get my Bing, Dean, Burl & Buble on!


7. I am ordering this DVD pack. I'm hanging my head in shame that I don't already own them. Throw in Home Alone and I'm set for the year.

8. I'm trying to decide what to wear tomorrow. Dress? Pants? Stretchy pants?

9. Tomorrow culminates the 50 Days of the Little Things! Did anyone else do this challenge? I'll publish all 50 of mine on Thanksgiving morning. I can't wait to share them with all of you!

10. I started reading A Clash of Kings (from the Game of Thrones series). I was so into the show that I decided to give the books a whirl. I skipped the first one since I watched the first season. It's definitely a long one (and a long series!). Has anyone else read these books?

11. I have to go get ready for work. Here's to hoping that the rain holds out for a while!


Questions of the Day:

What are you looking forward to this holiday weekened?

What are your Wednesday things?

Movies I Can't Not Watch

Shaun always laughs when he finds me watching the same movies over and over again. Somehow, I never tire of a solid romantic comedy and find myself getting sucked into certain films {way} beyond a normal number of viewings. When Lauren mentioned possibly writing about my favorite movies for What About Me Wednesday, I thought it was a great idea, but decided to give it a twist. These aren't necessarily my favorite movies of all time (though some of them are!), but ones that I simply can't say no to...

You've Got Mail

"Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan...they get mail and stuff..." {Friends}

This is probably my number one go-to romantic comedy and one that I cannot even count how many times I've seen over the years. I love so many things about it. First of all, Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks. Secondly, the fact that it is set and filmed in New York City at all iconic Upper West Side spots. It has some of my favorite quotes ever (including, "Don't you love New York in the Fall? it makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils, if I knew your name and address." --I love school supplies :)) It's funny. It's charming. It's sweet. It's whimsical. It's highly unrealistic, and that's why I love it. Ok, you can call me a dork now.

Father of the Bride

This movie just makes me happy. An all-star cast of Steve Martin, Diane Keaton, and Martin Short make this one a classic. Not to mention the timeless story of Dad seeing his little girl grow up and get married. It gets me every single time. I especially love Steve Martin's freak out in the grocery store, because I think it's something everyone can relate to! Not that my dad did that or anything, but there may have been some freaking out when I tied the knot.

The Proposal

This movie is so over the top ridiculous and I heart it. I've always loved Sandra Bullock and I totes have a thing for Ryan Reynolds (not to mention the fact that he's shirtless in multiple scenes). Oh and did I mention Betty White? I can never get enough of her. She is just so funny and adorable. So yep...anytime I flip on the TV and see this I just.can'

Toy Story 1, 2 or 3

Yup, when I see this on TV, it's happening. I'm getting my Disney watch on! I absolutely love these movies. I can't not watch. They make me laugh (and make me cry...every.single.time). These movies are just simply ingenius in their storylines, creativity and creative innovation. And I'm pretty sure this is the one film series on the list that Shaun will agree with me on :)

Holiday Movies

I can't wait to get into watching holiday movies this season! I have a rule to not watch any holiday movies or listen to holiday music until the night of Thanksgiving (when I force Shaun to listen to Christmas carols on our way home from my aunt's house) since it kicks off the season. I'm planning a full post about my must-see holiday movies that I simply can't go without every year, but just know that I can never say no to them.

So there you have it. Just a small sampling of movies I can't turn down. I wish they were more existential and made me seem smarter, but the reality is that I like watching mindless, happy movies that just make me feel good afterwards! I'm sure this could be a two part series, so if I think of others, I'll be sure to do a Part 2 post :) Have a great day!

Questions of the Day:

What movies can you simply not say no to?

What movie have you seen the most times?

Chocolate Caramel Apple Bars + Why I Love Blogging

Do you like chocolate, caramel and apple?

Who doesn't?

Today I'm writing all about these gooey bars on Keep it Sweet! Ooey gooey apple and caramel scattered atop a layer of semisweet chocolate, then sandwiched between crumbly oat goodness and topped with even more sticky caramel sauce is what these bars are all about. Be sure to head over to Keep it Sweet to get the recipe! And if you aren't reading Lauren's blog, you really need to get on that because her dessert recipes are absolutely mouth watering and she is just the sweetest (no pun intended :))

So today is Wednesday and you know what that's What About Me Wednesday! Every week I do a more personal write up about myself, my life or just random tidbits. If you have a question or an idea for a topic, please send it my way! Today, I want to talk about something super important to love of blogging.

I started blogging in 2009 at Between JC and Manhattan. After a year, I totally revamped my blog, my direction and my look with The Avid Appetite. It's become a part of who I am, how people know me, and I never knew what it would lead to when I started.

Why I Love Blogging

It fulfills a passion.

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. Be it in a personal journal, {terrible} short stories as a tween, or editor of my high school newspaper, I always knew that I wanted to do something where I could write. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I'd be writing a cooking and food blog, I probably would have fallen out of my chair with laughter. HA! Little did I know that my blog would fulfill 2 passions...writing and my love for cooking and sharing food.

It gives me motivation to be better at everything I do.

I'm always trying to improve my blog, my writing, my cooking, my social media and more. Knowing that people will be reading or interacting with my blog in some way makes me want it to be the best it can possibly be...and I find this motivating me to give everything my all.

Because of You! - Making blogger friends.

This is a huge part of my love for blogging, and I'd say the least expected part. When I started blogging, I had no idea of this amazing community that exists where people are just so nice. I started my blog as a way to write and to possibly help me find a new job, not because I had been reading other blogs and wanted my own. Through blogging, I've not only found amazing blogs that I'm addicted to reading each and every day, but real, friendly people who organize meet ups, send each other foodie gifts, dedicatingly comment on each other's blogs, give amazing feedback and even more motivation to put out great content. Blogger friends, I heart you!!

Because of You! - Making reader friends.

I've connected with, and reconnected with, the wonderful people who read my blog. I'm being 100% sincere when I say that anyone who tells me they read my blog makes me blush (let alone if they say they like it). Comments, e-mails, Facebook messages, Tweets, or even in-person mentions are just about the best thing I could ever ask for. To know that people read my blog...and might even be disappointed if I stopped writing a wonderful feeling. I adore connecting with readers who also love to cook, love to eat, have recently developed a love of cooking, or who don't do any of the above, but enjoy reading about it.  I love having the outlet to share recipes, restaurants and ideas. It's definitely at the top of my list of favorite blog things that I never knew existed B.B. (Before Blogging). So thank you :)

I can do whatever I want - this blog is mine, all mine! Muahahaha!

I love having my own outlet to be creative and make this blog whatever I want it to be. Of course, I want it to be what you want it to be too! It's fun to have this just for's not related to my day job or to any obligations in my life. If I want to write about the best thing I've ever made, I can. If I want to write about the fact that I shot an entire can of tomato sauce all over my kitchen while Shaun was away on business, I can (true story). If I want to write about sitting around in my pajamas, I can. I hope it doesn't come to that last one, but you get what I mean :)

So those are just a few reasons in a long list of why I love blogging. Perhaps this is just part 1 of a series!

Questions of the Day:

If you are a blogger, what do you love about blogging?

If you aren't a blogger, what do you love about reading blogs?

What About Me Wednesday: What I Do

I have to say, I think I'm more jet lagged after returning from New Mexico than after I returned from Spain in May. I just cannot seem to get enough sleep or simply get it together! Saturday morning, I hope you arrive soon! :) Meanwhile, I'm downing lots of this...

A few days ago, I received a question from reader Sherri, asking me what I do for a living. I thought this was a great question for What About Me Wednesday!

I like to say that my career has been accidental in that I never knew about the industry I work in, until I got a temp job almost 6 years ago. I landed in brand licensing. You are probably thinking...what does that mean? I was too.

Let me start from the beginning.

I graduated from NYU with a degree in Communications. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I wanted to work in some sort of television or media. At that time, I still had a passion somewhere inside me for writing, but I had no idea how to acknowledge it.

throwback of Dad & me at a pre-graduation event

As graduation approached, my parents really pushed me to explore going to grad school full-time. I decided to continue at NYU and I worked toward a degree in Media Ecology. I did toy with the idea of continuing on for a PhD, but realized that it simply wasn't for me. I wanted to be a business woman! ...err...or something like that.

When I had only a few classes left, I realized that I could start working full time. Scary!

So a-job hunting I went. It was still hard to find a job then for a recent grad, even though I guess the economy was in a much better place. I applied for everything and anything I could find that was semi-applicable. Then one day, I got a call from Sesame Workshop (Sesame Street) in response to my application for a temp job. The job was as an assistant in global toys. Though I didn't want a temp job (at all), I couldn't help being intrigued by global toys at Sesame Street.

The temp job was actually an open position and I was hired quickly after. My career in brand licensing was born! After a year, I moved to another position in toys, where I got to work on product development. For those of you who don't understand brand licensing (as I didn't), a brand like Sesame Street does not manufacture its own products that consumers buy for their children. They instead license the brand to a top tier toy company (or any other of the 700 companies they work with) who manufactures products. The team works hand in hand to ensure that the products are all on-brand, aligning with Sesame's mission and doing many, many checks to ensure that Cookie Monster's pupils are properly googly. (I'm seriously simplifying it here, but you get the idea). It was a great place to work.

After 4 years, I moved on from Sesame and got a job at a small brand licensing agency in lower Manhattan. I've been a brand manager here for over 2 years now. It's essentially the same concept as what I did at Sesame, but we represent many brands and work with them to create a full licensing program...products beyond their core business. I do many other things beyond product development at my current job, including a lot of writing. I love working for a small company because I get to work on lots of projects and everyday is different!

So that's how I 'fell' into my career thus far. I like to think that my blog is my other job since I spend so much time working on it, writing articles, planning recipes and telling anyone within earshot about it (and the fact that I love it so much :) ). Someday down the road, my dream is to own a business or be self-employed somehow!

So there you have it. A not-so-quick description of how I pay the bills these days. I hope I didn't put you to sleep :)

Questions of the Day:

What do you do for a living?

What is your dream job?