Manda Cooks: Easter Sunday


Dana, Brett and I woke up way too early this morning (aka 8am) to zip (yes, we are now proud zipcar members) to New Jersey for Easter Sunday at Gram’s with Mom, Barry and a surprise visit from Maya Papaya. We arrived and were promptly ushered back into the car for church at the teeniest tiniest church house you’ve ever seen. After church, it was back to Gram’s for food prep. The ham went in the oven, along with asparagus and butternut squash to roast, while we peeled, sliced and diced other veggies and put together a killer cheese plate.  The ham needed a few hours to cook, so it was a refreshingly relaxed day of cooking, snacking, looking through old photos (found some real gems!) and napping (for some… ie for Brett).


We started off our meal with a round of matzo ball soup that I had made last night and brought with me from New York… not sure how many families celebrate Easter with matzo ball soup, but it was delicious : ) Besides ham, we made another round of scalloped potatoes, plus a Springy panzanella salad and a caprese-inspired salad with butternut squash and avocado. And, of course, Gram’s pickled eggs, which is an Easter tradition in my family. Once we were all sufficiently stuffed, we topped the meal off with brownies and coffee before we had to hit the road back to the city.

A great Easter that I was happy to share with some of my favorite people (and one of my pups!) Hope yours were all equally as enjoyable! Salad recipes after the jump : )

PS the Easter bunny (/my mom) left me Cosmopolitan for Latinas in my Easter basket…wonder what this means?

PPS An Easter throwback photo below for laughs… I am the small child having a meltdown / out of body experience.


[Read more…]

Happy Easter NYC!


With Easter Sunday just around the corner (literally) I thought I’d share these cute NYC Subway-themed easter eggs with you that I saw on The SoHo blog! I won’t get a chance to dye eggs this year, but I’ve seen a bunch of cute ones around the web and Instagram. Heading to New Jersey early tomorrow to spend Easter at Gram’s house : )

Wishing and Hoping and Thinking…

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 8.03.14 PM

Currently crushing on some of the cards and prints over at Rifle Paper Co. Their florals are so good, and I really love the Always and Forever card – would be perfect for a wedding! Also into the Bobby Pin print below – how cute would that be in a bathroom? I might just attempt to re-create that one myself; who’s up for a little DIY??

Screen shot 2013-03-29 at 7.55.26 PM


Introducing Elizabeth Rebecca

photo (38)

Wyatt was born when I was in Milan, so of course Elizabeth decided to arrive on the day I was flying back to Italy. She’s a super baby though, and she must have really wanted to meet me, because I got to meet her whens he was just one hour old (one hour!) and spend a whole fifteen minutes with her (and her parents! and her grandparents!) before I really had to get to JFK. Brett and I spent more time with the little one last weekend once she was settled at home. She is the sweetest little pumpkin, with a head full of dark silky baby hair and the cutest button nose you’ve ever seen. Pretty excited about this little princess. Congrats Erika and Adam!

PS – Wonder what will happen next time I’m jet setting to Europe? Seems to be a catalyst for birth… who’s pregnant?!

Wishing and Hoping and Thinking… Itty Bitty Skully

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 9.39.24 PM

And so my little love affair with gold jewelry continues (though I have yet to purchase anything!) Now would you look at this Itty Bitty Skully Bracelet?! That is the language they use on the site (Iwona Ludyga Design), I’m not joking. But they really mean it! The skull measures 3/16″ long! You can also get it with itty bitty diamond eyes, because it you’re going to wear an itty bitty 3/16″ skully on your wrist, it should probably have diamond eyes. Obsessed.

Image and Bracelet Source

Manda Cooks: Passover Seder with Brett


Last night Brett and I hosted Passover Seder at his apartment and (we think) it was a success! We spent Monday night and Tuesday afternoon prepping the food and pulled the dinner off without a hitch (I’m not counting the part where Adam almost knocked the table over, or the part where the afikomen wasn’t hidden well enough, or the part where we cooked and served dinner for 10 people in a dishwasher-less apartment). However, we could not have pulled it off without the parents Robbins, who drove into New York with extra chairs, brisket and kugel. And who helped us avoid a Seder-disaster by doing a drive-by pick up of Brett’s new Seder plate from my office  – thank you both!!

The best part of hosting? Leftovers! I had our quinoa salad for lunch, just had matzo ball soup and charoset as my after-work-omg-i’m-starving snack, and will probably have roasted carrots and potato gratin when I’m hungry again in about an hour. Because the food is delicious and I like to eat. I know what you’re thinking: What did you serve for dessert and what will you have for dessert tonight?! Obviously I made chocolate chip macaroons and peanut butter ice cream, and obviously one of our guests brought chocolate covered matzo. There are leftovers of all three…but they won’t last long!

Up next: Planning the Easter meal with Dana!


One picture of us with the seder plate after the jump if you’re interested ; )

Chag Sameach and Happy Easter!

[Read more…]

Wishlist: Baby Animals

This post is dedicated to Moriah Robbins, a fellow baby animal lover : )Image

I’m sort of very obsessed with baby animals. Sharon Montrose’s photos are cute enough for a nursery, but sophisticated enough for a more mature setting. I got my mom the baby camel and my sister the baby deer for Christmas this past year, and I might just have to get myself a little critter one of these days. If the babies are a little too cutesy for you, she also has amazing shots of adult animals. I especially like the buffalo – I think it would look great in my boyfriend’s apartment! She does a great job of capturing the babies’ personalities (how cute are the mischievous bear cubs?!) and the adults’ beauty (oh, hey cougar!).


Sharon recently did an interview with Joanna Goddard at A Cup of Jo! You can find it here.


All images from

Introducing Wyatt Lucas


After months of watching little Tuk Tuk grow inside Heather’s belly, Wyatt Lucas made his official debut on March 2. I was in Italy, so I didn’t get to snug him until he was a whole four days old. Now he is a whole three weeks old (crazy!) and Brett and I were lucky enough to hang out with him this morning. He slept through most of the visit, but entertained us with the cutest furrowed brow and the poutiest little lips you’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to watch this little prince grow. Way to go, Arion and Heather, and thanks for giving me a perfect itty bitty baby to play with.


Menswear Dog


I somehow came across this site through one of the blogs I follow and thought it was so funny. What a patient little pup! I wonder how many treats they go through during a shoot…