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P&S Lifestyle

Easter Weekend

April 7, 2015

I have a theory that calories don’t count when you’re at home. Part of this theory comes from the fact that by the time I make it home to New Jersey I’m so starving from my lack of cooking ability that I need to eat every good (or bad) thing in sight. Another side of the theory is that you’re never more comfortable than you are at home; no one is going to say a thing to you when you eat a quarter of an Easter Bread loaf by yourself.

My Feature Writing professor always says that food is the texture of a culture. He has a point. Food is an anchor to tradition. Passing down a recipe through the generations of a family is as much a connection as a bloodline. While, I’m not great in the kitchen and the running joke of the family is that eating is the only work I really do, I love to be there watching a tradition run deeper into our family with each passing year.

This year Kitty missed Easter Bread so I had to take on a bit more responsibility: pouring all the pre-measured flour, sugar and spices was all on me.

Then Katie came home and the whole family got together on Easter morning for eggs, easter bread and coffee in white tea cups.

P&S Easter 1

P&S Easter 5

P&S Easter 2

P&S Easter 3

P&S Easter 7

P&S Easter 6

P&S Easter 8


Easter Day

P&S Easter 9

P&S Easter 10

P&S Easter 11

P&S Easter 12

Stewing Over Stew

January 29, 2015

I am a winter nester. Always have been. Being a winter nester away from home though mandates that all the stew and hot cocoa that you want must be made by, well, you. Right away that presents me with a problem. Sure, I can make eggs and mix a packet of Swiss Miss into hot water, but real winter nester food, that’s a whole different story.

Yesterday, as I was getting home from work in the frigid chill of another January sunset, I decided that I would try my first winter dish. My mom’s Barley Stew (better known as the barley stew recipe on the back of the Goya bag).

Thus begins another kitchen adventure:

I got to TJ’s in search of barley, beef stock, oregano and bay leaves. In true TJs form they had coconut flour and dried lima beans but no barley. So, in an ironic twist of fate for all grocery store market competition, I trekked below Washington Circle to Whole Foods.

Surely Whole Foods would have bags of barley! This was, of course, only partially true. The barley was loose in a pull-the-lever-measure-with-your-eye-then-weigh-it kind of a deal. In this moment I learned two things: 1. I do not have an eye for what one pound of pearl barley looks like 2. while my love for Whole Foods is immense, I would at some points, do absolutely anything for a Shop Rite that sold bags of GOYA products.

I got home, simmered, boiled, browned and prayed to the food gods that the mish-mash in my pot would come resemble anything that could possibly be mistaken for a stew.

I think it went over well. The Boy in the Polo Hat went for seconds.


Barley Stew Ingredients


Eating Barley Stew

The Last Minute Gift-Giving Guide

December 19, 2014

This advice comes from the lips of the last minute gift-buyer. Because, seriously, when did it become December 19th? Am I so self-involved panicking about job-searching and finishing my 800 page book that I forgot what it was that I was home for? The answer is, of course, yes. Can I get a #PSHoliday anyone? This absent-mindedness mingled with the state of my bank account has made gift-giving a pretty ominous prospect this Christmas season. Since I know that’s not the mentality I should have, I’ve just had to remind myself how great it is to find the perfect gift for that special person. Although I didn’t understand it when I was younger, it sometimes feels better to give than receive (I said sometimes). 

Here are some guides for shaking that gift-giving pressure and remembering that a good gift can give you the warm and fuzzies. All of these can make it to your door by the night of the 24th if you order by the 21st or the 22nd! Check them out:

ps collage copy


styleboard MOM copy








Gifts for Boy



Happy shopping! And remember these little things make people BIG,



Homemade Holiday Cards (with a how-to)

December 16, 2014

Not many people write things down anymore. When was the last time you sat down with a pen and paper to write out a letter, a note, your thoughts? For many people, taking time to write things down is far and few between. As for me though, I relish in writing the old fashioned way. My mother instilled in me at an early age a love for notecards, holiday cards, thank you note’s; anything with a pretty design and room to write just what it is you’re thinking. So, this year Kitty and I decided we would craft our own holiday cards to spread our own holiday cheer (with a little help from Martha Stewart of course).

Holiday Card

Our family never sent around printed pictures of us at the beach or in front of the Eiffel Tower (although these cards are one of my favorite parts of the holiday season). My mother, instead, would pick an array of different holiday cards and pen a message in them, wishing people from New Hampshire to Michigan right down to Florida “Merry Christmas.” When I was young this bothered me. What about the pictures? Why didn’t people want to see that I was still 1/4 of an inch taller than Kitty? Didn’t they want to know that I would be graduating 8th grade in June?

Now though, I’m appreciative that my mother imparted to me her love of handwritten notes. They’re more cozy, more intimate, more you. I’m hoping that these notes will help spread the love, spread the cheer, and give a little of that P&S potential to all who receive them! The Christmas countdown is on, but its never too late to drop somebody a line.

How-to can be found below the photos!

Holiday Card





Now for a little how-to:

the buck silhouette

1. find a silhouette that you like and print it out! Mine came from Pinterest.



 2. on the back of the printed image, use a pencil to color where the lines are like so:

step 1 os

3. on a folded piece of kraft cardstock, use a pen to trace the outline of the buck

step 2 ps

 4. fill in the outlined space with a thin layer of Elmer’s glue

5. sprinkle glitter onto the glue

6. when dry, shake excess glitter off and stare in awe at the adorable holiday card you’ve just made. Then share it online using the hashtag, #psholiday. I can’t wait to see what you all come up with!



8 Ways Find Holiday Cheer Away From Home

December 11, 2014

Holidays are hard to get into when you’re not surrounded by tradition. My first year away from home I was surprised by the way Christmas crept up on me; finals and papers held me captive until well into the second week of December. Suddenly, the Christmas season was only two weeks long. What had once felt like an eternity from Thanksgiving to the 24th, slipped by without much notice.  This year though, I’m trying to tap into the holiday spirit even before I head home for break. Here are some ideas how:

1. Buy the cinnamon pine cones

Smell is attached to memory is attached to tradition is attached to that warm fuzzy feeling that everyone wants to feel. The scent of warm cinnamon always reminds me of a Sunday night at home, fire burning (cliche but its cold in the woods) as my family is piled on the couch. So don some plaid PJ’s and let the cinnamon fill your room with a little scent of home. They’re $5.99 at TJ’s. Abstain from one sweet green salad and let your nose get festive.


2. Decorate Resourcefully

This year, because I’m ballin’ on a budget, I decided to use good old fashioned tape, scissors and spray paint to make decorations out of a Trader Joe’s grocery bags.  The bags, to begin with, are adorably Americana holiday rustic, so why not use them? Here’ what I did:

1. Cut out individual ornaments, sprigs, birds from the bag


2. Spray paint what’s left of the bag GOLD


3. Paste cut-outs to spray painted bags, cut again to make a gold border


Wa-lá,  beautiful TJ’s inspired Christmas scene anywhere in your apartment


3. Get an Advent Calendar

Each year The Boy in the Polo Hat’s mother sends us back to the District from Thanksgiving with Advent Calendars. This is one of my favorite traditions at school. The Advent Calendar is something that links me back to my childhood tangibly; who doesn’t remember racing home from school to get the chocolate? Not only does it dispense candy, but its numbers are a built in reminder of  a countdown to the fat man. What more could you ask for?


4. Host/Attend an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

There is nothing like channeling your inner Aunt than wearing a sweater with a dancing penguin on it. I would feel like an impostor of my mother attempting to throw an actual Christmas party with hors d’oeuvres, so downgrade (or upgrade) by making it themed. There’s still an excuse to drink eggnog while staying true to your college roots: dressing in costume for a party (when does this end by the way?). Get in the Christmas cheer while having a good laugh.

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5. Secret Santa with your Friends

No they’re not going to get you that Rebecca Minkoff purse you want, but they will make you laugh, and they will make you feel special. Plus, its fun strategizing how to dupe the people you know so well. Your friends at college are a little family unit anyways; don’t let finals distract you from sharing good Holiday memories with them too!

xmas tag

6. Listen to Michael Bublé Christmas on Spotify

There is a Christmas angel available to anyone who has WiFi. Light a candle and listen to this sweet man serenade you with ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You,’ and you won’t even need presents anymore. It may not be ‘Dominic the Donkey’ floating through the radio in your mom’s car, but Michael will surely get you singing the tunes of the season.

7.Eat the Holiday Goodies

Eat the gingerbread man. Eat it.


P&S Lifestyle

November 7, 2014

Welcome to Lifestyle! Here you’ll see my apartment walls and see my attempts at cooking. Below is one of the newest editions to my room, compliments of Society6. Check back for more of my take on decor and dessert!

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October Scones

November 4, 2014

Ok, ok, admittedly this was written the first week of October and its November now, but the memory of these scones live on. So read on:

I always get homesick this time of year. In North Jersey the leaves are already turning, the air is brisk and sweaters are a viable option.  In DC, though fall takes it sweet time getting here. The humidity hangs around longer.  When I should be picking apples and eating cider donuts, I’m still wearing shorts and drinking iced coffee. cornmeal-plum-scones

Its the air that gets me the most. I crave the crisp smell, taste, touch, feel of October air. When it tastes like backyard trees and feels like the first breath you’ve taken since summer. So, this year, on this first weekend of October I made fall come to me:

By making plum scones courtesy of a recipe by The New York Times.

Making scones isn’t something I’ve done every October with my mother since I was 7. In fact, I’ve never made them before.  But when I woke up to the first semi-chill filtering through my bedroom window I was inspired to take on the task, to create a new tradition.

Two grocery stores (blame the elusive cornmeal) and one pit stop for pumpkin beer later I was cubing plums and making sophisticated things like “glazes.”

Even though I have a tendency to rush through a recipe, impatient to be DONE with cooking, I took my time with this one. It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon wishing for apple picking and the cinnamon pine cones my mom puts out on the kitchen table.

As for taste testing, my little took the plunge. We sat at my kitchen table eating scones and drinking tea. It was one of those good mood moments that imprints on a season; fall in the district will always be synonymous with homemade scones with my little.