Monday, June 30, 2014

House Card

I made this shape card for a customer who wanted to thank her boyfriend for renting a house for a big birthday gathering with all of her friends. I used the house from the "Just Because" Cricut cartridge, and the bears are from "Teddy Bear Parade."

This was either done before I started getting back in the habit of recording the measurements of all the cut pieces or I just can't find where I have them saved on my computer! Nowadays, I just keep the measurements on the desktop Sticky Notes program so I can copy and paste it when I post the card on my blog. Once that's done, I can just delete those few lines. Oh well! This was clearly a unique card for a special circumstance, so the need to know the sizes because I'll need to redo it is rather unlikely!

I used the shadow feature for the house to use as the base. I cut it out twice and scored the back piece before putting adhesive on it to stick them together. I really like how this card came out, and it's always fun using a Cricut cut I've never used before!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

If We Had to Commute ...

... I'd konk out every Sunday evening right after dinner. 

On the ferry with my best friend.
After Sunday service and Sunday School, there was an important congregational meeting about renewing pastoral contracts. It was a long (and I have to admit, emotional) meeting. Normally, we go to and from church with my parents, but they had to leave to take care of my grandma. Howard and I had to take public transportation home. We waited for the bus to take to the ferry, and then we stood around some more waiting for the ferry to arrive. I felt we were making good time since the meeting ended around 4:20 or so, and we were on the ferry a little after 5pm. But then during the actual ride, the boat's engines had to be stopped because of the sailboats in the water. This made the length of the journey a bit longer than normal, so the two buses we could have taken from the ferry terminal were long gone. We had to stand some more there until the next bus arrived. Then there was the walk home from the stop to our apartment (since we already took the bus in the city, we utilized our transfer already so couldn't take a connecting one). I was so happy to finally be home! Commuting with Howard is definitely a lot easier than commuting alone, of course, but if we had to do this every Sunday, I'd be wiped out for the rest of the night and quite possibly the next day!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

At the Zoo: Then and Now

Back in 2009, Howard and I went to our local zoo on a date. We knew it was really small and weren't expecting too much. It's the kind of zoo that you'd only go to if you lived in the borough. It's definitely a place to take the elementary school kids on an easy field trip because all the animals could be enjoyed within the time frame of a regular school day. But for a Saturday together, it was definitely a memorable date.

A little over 5 years later, Howard and I went back to the zoo and had a blast! They added more animals for us to enjoy! Though it may never be the Bronx Zoo, San Diego Zoo, or Smithsonian National Zoo, I really like that we actually have a zoo just 5 minutes away from our house and free admission thanks to tickets my mom still has saved from when I was a kid. 

We very rarely have date-dates out anymore since married life comes with responsibilities, but it's always nice to have fun days like this. The greatest thing was that because it's a local zoo, we made kind of a last-minute decision this morning to head on over there. Stay tuned for a more detailed blog post (or posts!) of our zoo fun!

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Hi! Back Again?"

In an old sketch on MadTV, these 3 girls working at a shoe store talk about they really need to be honest because they say they're going to do things, but it never actually happens. For some odd reason, Howard and I randomly quote bits and pieces of it. We even say, "Back again?" which is what the main character says when the guy she likes returns to the store. Well, yesterday I ended up hanging out with my mom again because I wanted to get a price adjustment on the candles I bought at Bath & Body Works since they went from half price at $11.25 to $10. I thought it was funny that we were there two days in a row, and I just kept thinking that one of them would say, "Back again?" 

We also went back to the Disney Store too since we were there. None of the Vinylmation in the box actually changed though, so I didn't trade. It's entertaining to me when I go so soon after a recent trip because our werewolf Pluto and vampire Goofy Vinylmation figures are usually still in the box!

My mom made the funniest comment when we passed by the stand of plushies! All of a sudden she goes, "Awww!" She said that it was sad how Piglet had such a small space on the stand! Haha, look at those 2 Piglets in that narrow area compared to Eeyore!

As we were leaving the mall via JCPenney, we passed by Claire's. Out of the blue, my mom said she wanted to go in to look around, so after years of not having stepped foot in the store, we were browsing once again! She commented that we used to hit Claire's all the time when I was a teenager. Even when we drove down to Florida and stopped at the outlets, Claire's was at the top of my list! Well, yesterday they were having a sale where EVERY item that was listed as clearance was $2 regardless of the actual price on the sticker. I definitely was excited when browsing, hoping to find a hidden gem. These My Little Pony BFF necklaces weren't THE gem, but I thought it was cute anyway. If we had daughters, I'm sure the little trinkets like this would be super cute in a Christmas stocking if they liked the characters.

These hats, on the other hand, were rather creepy! The images themselves are a little odd to wear atop your head, but the fake hair hanging from the back was a bit much! They were not part of the clearance items.

This Cinderella skirt was though! Again, if we had little girls, I would've scooped that up for just $2! What a cute skirt to wear for dress up with the satin and the tulle!

The clearance stuff required patience though because I had to search every row to actually see everything since there were some items where they only had one. I'm used to just glossing over things really quickly, knowing what I like and don't like. These keychains were things that I bypassed during first and second go around. How cute are they?! I'm sure if you knew how to deal with polymer clay, these things are so easy to make. I admit I've been slightly intrigued by polymer items because of what I've seen on YouTube and Etsy. There are people who would make even cuter versions that the ones found in Claire's! It would definitely mean getting into an entirely different crafting category though. I think it might be fun to try things out when I have kids are they're a little older because they we could have some summer fun!

By the way, recently all I've been saying/thinking is "When I have kids ..." haha. I do realize it. 

I have to say that normally I wouldn't deal with a price adjustment UNLESS it was a big one and I was definitely going to be in the area. However, the BBW price adjustment was TOTALLY worth it since I got $2.72 back, and that ended up paying for the one thing I found at Claire's and grabbed the moment I saw it! I actually mentioned to my mom the day before that I was on the searching for more pillowcases so that I can change them out more often. Plus, I'm not a fan of the cotton ones because they're hot in the summer and not as comfortable. Well, what do I end up finding? A Disney princess pillowcase! It was originally $15, but it was on clearance for just $2!!! Um, I think I might need to check Claire's more often for great finds like this! And in this case, it's a good thing I don't have a daughter yet because I'm happy to have this pillowcase for myself ... hehe.

Clearly, I am still 6 years old although strangely, I never really went through a Disney princess phase! I did, however, like all the Sanrio characters a lot so when I saw this tiny Hello Kitty pail at our next stop, I took a picture of it too. We were at Burlington Coat Factory since I wanted to hit AC Moore, and they're in the same shopping center. 

There are many women out there who have huge collections of designer shoes and handbags. My mom and I are not those women, haha. We do, however, very much enjoy looking at bags even though we don't typically ever purchase designer items. I mean, does it count to say I have two LL Bean tote bags? I mean, that's a good brand, right? Haha. I also have a LeSportsac crossbody (thanks to my students who gave me a check for Christmas one year!) that I use mainly in Disney and usually in the summer. I also have two Disney handbags and one tote too! Uh, do those qualify as designer? Haha, yes, I know that they don't, but we're okay with that! My philosophy is that you can use the same amount of money for ONE designer and get a bunch of different ones for various occasions! I love having options, and I do change my bag out rather often. Howard can attest to that because I have bags EVERYWHERE because I'll change them last minute before I head out, so the previously used one is on the floor. Whoops!

As a sidenote, I used my brown Mickey barrel bag (it basically looks like a Louis Vuitton bag, but it has MM and Mickey heads on it instead) to the 8th grade graduation last week. One of my siblings of a graduate who was one of my students two years ago said, "Of course you have a Mickey bag!" and I replied, "Yup, did you expect anything else?" Haha, my kids know me. 

Anyway, we browsed in the bag section at Burlington, and I spotted this adorable bag. It looks so perfect for summer and has a nautical look to it. At only $14.99 (compared to $30), I was rather tempted, but I recently purchased a bag for the summer months from Kohl's. I haven't used it yet though because I keep forgetting to bring it to my mom's house because I need to use Scotchgard on it since it has a lot of white on it. I don't want it to get dirty! The Scotchgard is supposed to be done outdoors, and when you're in an apartment, there is necessarily an outdoors unless I want to go outside in the parking lot and hang around my car ...

The only downside to the bag above is that it isn't one that you can wear on your shoulder. For me, that would limit the amount of places I would be comfortable using it because it would definitely not be the kind of bag I'd bring when running errands. The Lily Bloom bags below would be though! They're so bright and cheerful! They were only $12.98 (compared to $40). If I didn't have my bag from Kohl's, I definitely would have purchased one of these. It's definitely similar to LeSportsac in terms of the bright patterns, but I think the Lily Bloom ones as a whole are nicer. The construction of the bag also reminds me of all the Relic ones I've seen at Kohl's. There was another one I saw down the aisle that had a bicycle print on it, but I didn't take a picture of it. I found the print on Zulily here. When I did the search for Lily Bloom items, I realized it was Zulily where I originally heard of the brand.

We left the handbag section empty handed. Though there were a bunch of cute finds, we didn't need any of them. I said to my mom that it's okay to have a bunch of different bags as long as there's a use for each one and it's not replacing the use of one you already have. Alas, the ones I saw would've been replacements. But that's why I do take pictures of them because they're pretty there too! 

I wanted to go to the kitchen housewares section because there are always fun finds there if you're patient enough to look. While mom was looking at the snapware-type containers, I had fun with some oven mitts because as I've stated above, I'm apparently 6 years old.

They actually had a ton of lunch box options! Many of them were the Fit & Fresh brand, so along with the actual lunch box, they included the food containers and icepaks inside too. That ended up making them even better deals! My mom was searching for a new one that was a little bigger than the one she's been using since she's actually a healthy lunch packer with the fruit and all that, haha. Instead of doing that, I have a big Pyrex container of carbs or something, haha. But the two in the picture were the ones that we narrowed it down to, and eventually she chose the one on the left to better suit her needs. If I hadn't just purchased my lunch bag two years ago AND if I hadn't just placed a rather large order with Thirty-One, I could easily have been lured into buying a new one myself! I loved how they opened fairly large so that there'd be no need to maneuver the Pyrex container in them. I don't need mine to be fancy with room for ice packs though since I have the benefit of sticking the whole bag into the refrigerator at work.

We moved on to the baby section in the back, and it was like hitting the jackpot! Well, except for the fact that we have no babies on the way ... oh well! There were a TON of diaper bag options, and they were all so nice! I initially thought I'd go with an LL Bean bag as a diaper bag when the time came because of the fact that it could function as a diaper bag but not actually look like one. Then it could be used thereafter as just another bag. But then when I saw these Mickey ones, I totally changed my mind! When else would we be able to use a bag like that? My favorite was definitely the one on the left in the picture below. For $40, it'd make a great diaper bag! Of course, it would make more sense than the Minnie ones since even if you have a daughter first, who knows if the next kid is going to be a boy or girl?

As we walked down that aisle, every few seconds, one of us was picking out a new Disney one! I did love them all, but that first one really was the best. This one looks very much like a LeSportsac tote bag. I think the profile view of Mickey is absolutely adorable!

There was even a "mini diaper bag" that kind of looked like a cooler, but I don't think it was actually thermal-lined. It's probably more so for the quick things on the go.

You can see that it coordinates with this larger diaper bag. Ahhh, the choices! They're all so cute and perfect for a Disney-loving family.

Before we left the baby section and then looked at the dresses really quickly, I got this picture of superhero sheets for a toddler bed. Haha, I liked how the superheroes were made to look cute!

Though we were there for a while, the only purchase that was made was my mom's new lunch bag. We were going to walk over to AC Moore, but a HUGE truck was parked next to my car, so I decided to move it. It was kind of annoying considering I usually park farther from other cars just so I don't have to deal with backing out of tight spots. The fact that the truck parked right next to me was irritating. It didn't help that we had to hop in the car where it showed the temperature to be 100 degrees! And yes, I'm aware the "Check Engine" light is on. It seems to do that with the extreme heat, and then it goes away.

The last stop was AC Moore. My intention was to pick up some 6x6 paper pads because I want to do a sunburst/starburst card where it would look better if all the papers were from the same stack so that it would coordinate. I knew there would be a lot of nice choices there as opposed to Michaels, so I specifically wanted to go there. But as you can see in the picture, each little stack would have been $3.58 whereas the bigger 12x12's were $8.99. It didn't make sense to get the little stacks although I do wish that they had the larger stack of the American Crafts "Summer" stack, which is the second stack from the left of the last full pictured row on the bottom.

I was able to find 2 of the smaller stacks in the 12x12, so that made me happy! As you can see in the pricing underneath, it stated that some were $8.99 and some were $6.88. I couldn't tell what the original price was, so I brought 4 that I liked to the register. I already knew in my mind which ones I'd choose if they all ended up being $8.99. Of course, they all were, so I chose not to buy one stack. I was going to just pick up two, but the last one was one I L-O-V-E-D. 

It's kind of crazy because I have NEVER done that with paper. I buy the value stacks at Michaels because you get so much bang for your buck, but in terms of patterns, it's definitely clear as to why these stacks cost more. I don't remember seeing them at Michaels, so that's why I was okay picking them up at AC Moore. I would have bought the smaller pads anyway, so I might as well get the ones that are more worth it. When I brought it home, I definitely thought that Howard would be like, "More paper?" But thankfully, he doesn't seem to mind it because he knows I'm not the kind of person who buys things on a whim. Even so, I thought it'd be somewhat appropriate to post these things I saw on's Instagram!


Since I purposely bought those stacks to cut, I know they won't just sit around and remain unused like the few DCWV stacks I purchased on sale from Marshall's and TJ Maxx. However, I think I'll at least wait until the next week starts before I make those first few cuts, haha. Now it's time to stop having adventures in stores and have more adventures at home!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Adventures with Momsicles

Yesterday I really had to run to the stores to pick up groceries since I haven't purchased the basics in a while. I was in desperate need of milk, eggs, and bread. We didn't have ANY of those things in the house; can you believe it? Most of the items I had to get were actually purchased at Target because my mom gave me a $5 off $30 grocery coupon. Of course, I also try to get the necessities from Target since my Swagbucks gift cards mean I can get all of it for FREE. Woohoo! I will never get over how awesome Swagbucks is. Even when things are cheaper elsewhere, I still will get things there anyway because it costs nothing out of pocket. 

Anyway, my mom came along with me so that she could pick up a few things herself and because we could finally just spend time together without worrying about rushing home! Since my mom is done with the school year, there's no strict schedule or fatigue like there was before. I'm planning on helping my mom organize the upstairs bedrooms this summer since I never fully moved all my things out when I got married, so we'll be able to have some more relaxing time during these next 2 months. I definitely had to keep reminding myself yesterday that it was the summer, and we didn't have to constantly check our watches all the time.

I just took a few pictures while we were out and about at the mall, Target, and Stop & Shop. The first one was a pair of adorable Nemo slip-ons at the Disney Store! They only had one pair, and believe me, if I were having a baby any time soon, I would've scooped these up! They were $9.99, which seems really expensive to me considering I don't pay that much more for my own shoes on sale that I won't outgrow, haha.

As we were leaving the mall through JCPenney, I saw this amazing necklace and earrings set. I'm joking, of course, haha. But I just had to take a picture just cuz it'd be funny if I wore an H for Howard.

A stop at Target definitely means a quick browse through the Dollar Spot. For some reason, I don't seem to find anything good at our store. It's always so bare. Maybe people really do buy a lot there compared to the one by school! This dry erase board caught my eye though just because I thought it was cute that it looked like looseleaf. I have plenty of dry erase boards for $1 each that I've used at school. Mine are made by the Board Dudes, so I love the quality.

Lastly, before we walked into Stop & Shop, we saw these planters right outside the entrance. They're so funny-looking and actually a little creepy! I wonder how many people bought these. I guess there have to be people who buy things like this or they wouldn't make things like this!

Here's to many more summer adventures with Momsicles!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cupcake Fun

During one of my recent stops at the Disney Store, I came across this cupcake playset. Isn't it adorable? I snapped a quick picture because it reminded me of my Disney friend Emma at "A Pinch of Pixie Dust" who loves cupcakes at WDW!

I have to say that seeing all these toys makes me want to have a daughter so that I have a reason to buy these things for myself! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Saturday Morning Alarm

I'm used to always setting an alarm in the morning even on Saturdays because I hate feeling as if I've wasted time sleeping. I'd much rather get up early and then take a nap later in the afternoon. Even so, I don't set it too early on Saturdays because it is definitely our day to sleep in a little bit. However, this upcoming Saturday requires an earlier alarm and NO snoozing! Why is that?

Yay for $1 flip flops at Old Navy! I went last year to try to get them, but I was way too late as there were only a few left in size 10 or so. Howard was able to get two pairs, but I was left with nothing. So sad. This year, I'm not missing out! My black pair is now a bit concave, and it's like stepping into a ditch. My back-up pair is gray, but that is now my home slippers, so I need new ones badly! I would actually buy them regular price if I had to since I get so much use out of them, but I'm not passing up on this sale. If possible, I'm going to be picking up the maximum of 5! Here's hoping all the Old Navy cardholders don't buy them out the day before!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Candles Galore

A recent peek in the Bath & Body Works store made me drool as it usually does. It's the time of the semi-annual sale, and I've avoided going for quite some time. However, I've been burning my Pomelo Grapefruit candle lately and think it is my FAVORITE spring/summer candle whereas Sparkling Icicles is awesome for the fall/winter. While I have backups of Sparkling Icicles, I only have the one of the Pomelo Grapefruit! I was telling myself that they probably don't have any left at the store, and if not, I'd get some nice ones when the Summer Sips line comes out in early July. 

I browsed and sniffed some of the ones I had never seen before including the summer ones that came back for SAS and the ones from the Fresh Picked line. Then when I moved over to the next set of shelves, I saw them! There are still some Pomelo Grapefruit left at my store! I didn't purchase any just yet since it was a quick trip, and I feel as if I need to work out a good deal with the coupon I have. I think it'll work out since starting today, the aromatherapy line went on sale. My mom wanted that lotion, so I'll be able to combine it with my purchases to use the $10 off $40.

I really never thought I'd be the kind of girl who liked candles especially since it's such a luxury item and completely unnecessary to some degree. But once we moved to our apartment where sometimes the smells from the hallway waft into our apartment by way of the little gap under our door, it made a lot more sense. Because our studio apt is so small, many of the scents also fill the space pretty quickly too! Thankfully, Swagbucks does offer BBW gift cards so at least that will pay for a good portion of it!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

"Home Church" Away from "Home Church"

Since my parents spent the majority of the day in the hospital with my grandma, we didn't go to Chinatown for church today. Instead, Howard and I along with my younger brother went to the local church for Sunday service. It's the church where hubs and I actually got married, so when we go there, I always have a mix of emotions (if you've been reading my blog, you know that I would've preferred to just have a small destination wedding to avoid being stared at all day!).

I just snapped this quick picture near the end of service around the time of the collection of offering because I still love just how beautiful the wood ceiling looks! I wanted to get married there because it was where I went to worship for 6 months a few years ago when I was taking a breather from my home church, but that ceiling definitely was an added plus!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Love Card

A friend recently requested a custom engagement card. Since I didn't have any information about the couple, I chose to do a clean and simple look since I wouldn't have to be very specific. I knew I was going to use some silhouettes from the "Sweethearts" cartridge, so I decided to use a 4 in by 9 in card base.

The couple was cut at 5 inches while the balloon was cut at 1.5 inches from the Sweethearts cartridge. The "LOVE" sentiment was cut at 3 inches from the "Simply Sweet" cartridge. To make it a bit more interesting look, I cut the "LOVE" sentiment in black and in red and trimmed the heart portion to glue on top. I posted this picture last week or so.

Even though I knew the card was going to be primarily black and white, I still wanted it to be a little bit more colorful so I added eyelets using my Crop-A-Dile through the top white and black layers of the card. The last touch was using a bottle of red Stickles to outline the balloon.

I thought it was pretty cool that I was able to incorporate eyelets and Stickles since I haven't used either of those things in ages. Though the card as a whole is fairly simple, I really enjoyed putting it together!

Friday, June 20, 2014

"Too Many Feels"

I've mentioned it before, but I am definitely not all up on the current lingo. I have, however, seen how some younger folk (haha) use the phrase "too many feels" to express a lot of emotions or feelings. Well, today was a day where I could totally use those three words even though I would sound completely ridiculous if I said it out loud to anyone but Howard, haha.

I was a bit nervous this morning before the 8th grade graduation since I feel weird at times knowing I'm just a sub at the school and not a full-time teacher. I knew I'd be seeing some students' parents I haven't seen in a while. In actuality, I wasn't really feeling the greatest either, and I knew I'd have to drive all the way to and from school. That compounded the anxiety I was already having.

Then the graduation itself was bittersweet. The montage video of pictures is always touching because the last song used is usually a slower, more meaningful one whereas the beginning ones are more upbeat. When the graduates' picture are shown on the projector, it definitely makes my eyes fill with a few tears. But it gets worse when the class stands up and turns their tassels while facing the audience! Since I still sat in the staff row directly behind the kids, I was right there as two of the girls turned around with tears in their eyes. Then to make it worse, the mom of one of the students was asked to end the ceremony with a prayer, and she was already bawling from the slideshow!

After the ceremony itself, I went to the luncheon. I love getting to spend time with my former colleagues. I sat next to the wife of one of the other teachers who is also the oldest sister of one of my former students. She's currently pregnant with her second child and is due very soon. We got to talking about why I left teaching along with the importance of raising children. I definitely felt a ton of emotions then when I was explaining to her why the job I had at the end of last summer just didn't work out for me. It's really intense when I think or talk about it because it's as if I can make myself experience all the anxiety and tension all over again.

Lastly, when I left school, I stopped by my parents' house to get my mom so that we could visit my grandmother who isn't doing very well. It was a brief visit, but it was so hard seeing her the way she was. With everything that had already occurred in the morning, I was so close to just getting in my car and crying all the way home.

All these "feels" definitely made me a tired girl tonight, and I'm looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow morning without any alarms! Good night all! Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

School Bus Card

This school bus card was made for a custom order. The customer wanted cards to thank her students and parents who gave her gifts at the end of the school year. The only guidance I was given was that they had to be thank you cards, so it was very open for interpretation. I decided to do something school-related, of course, especially since I very rarely use my cartridges that have those images on them! In fact, I actually had to add "Cartridge: Locker Talk" to my list of labels since apparently I never used it before (at least on something that I posted on my blog since I know I used it once before).

I thought the back of the school bus was very fitting for the end of the year. The image was cut from "Locker Talk" (one of my first few cartridges!) at 3.75 inches. I have to say that this was a rather frustrating image to use! A lot of the older cartridges have all the pieces cut as one layer, so that means you'd have to cut out the yellow part, the red part, and the gray part in EVERY color. Thankfully, with the Gypsy or with Cricut Craft Room, you can hide certain cuts to separate them. It also makes it easier to mass produce. Unfortunately, even though I hid certain cuts, not all of them showed as an option to hide, so they cut anyway as you can see in the picture below. 

Although the cut was a little frustrating, I still was happy with the image as a whole because of how detailed it was. This is how the first black layer looked.

The "thanks" sentiment was cut from the "Wild Card" cartridge at 0.667 inches. It seems like an odd measurement, but it's in proportion to the other images on the page since each page is supposed to have all the elements for one card. It's kind of interesting how I cut out a lot more sentiments now instead of automatically stamping them. I think that with some cards, it makes it more complete. For this one, I cut it out in red and then in black and just created a shadow with the black layer since there was no option for a shadow cut on the cartridge.

I thought the back needed a little extra something, so I used Stickles to fill in one of the circles! I'm sure it would've been more interesting to add the glitter glue to more of the circles, but it actually used up a lot of my small bottle so I kept it as is.

Lately, I've also been using an extra black mat in my layering before I put the patterned paper on the card. I think it looks better that way even though it is an extra step.

The picture shows 5 cards, but it was a complete set of 6. I consider 6 a set because I can get all the patterned paper layers from one sheet of 12x12 paper. I'm rather happy with how this card turned out and am happy I got to use what might be an otherwise obscure image!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Celebrating Father's Day

Celebrating holidays usually means making plans with Howard's family and with my family. Since we postponed Father's Day celebrations with my dad, we didn't have our official dinner yet. We did go out to church on Sunday with my parents as always, and then after service and Sunday School, we joined them for lunch.

We went to a Shanghai restaurant on Mott St (can't quite remember the name), and my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Emma were there too. It was a surprise seeing them since my uncle is back in NY for a bit. Though it's bad saying I have favorites, I can't help it! Haha, they're my favorite aunt and uncle out of my dad's side because they live next door to my parents, so that means I grew up with them always there. My older brother Jonathan and I would just leave the house through the kitchen sliding door, walk in the backyard, and then let ourselves into their house to play with our cousin Stephen. Steve did the same thing and came over all the time too. Then when I was older, I used to hop in their car to get dropped off for high school since I didn't mind getting there early and my cousin had to go for jazz band during 0 period (my brother took the bus later for 1st pd). Nowadays, they're helping Howard and me because we're renting our apartment from them, so it's always nice having meals with them.

We split a bunch of dishes including noodles and then three different orders of dumplings including pan fried dumplings of which I ate one (oo, living life on the edge!).

The xiao long bao (or soup dumplings) were more my speed. I didn't have any soup spillage as I nibbled off the top portion to slurp the soup.

We unfortunately had to sit in traffic on the way home from church, so we didn't have as much time at home as I had anticipated. It worked out though. We headed back out to Howard's parents' house and all 6 of us (yay, almost 7 because my sister-in-law is due at the end of July!) hopped in the van to go to a restaurant in Brooklyn called Marietta. I was happy to see that we were able to park right across the street! I love when it works out like that. The decor when we first walked in was interesting. I said to Howard that I liked the place already because they decorated with potatoes, haha.

We sat at the end of the restaurant by the windows where we could see people from the neighborhood just lounging on the street with their lawn chairs. This, however, was the view I had since my back was to the window. There were a few other people in there, so I took this picture after they left. I liked the country-esque feel to the place.

We split the Charcuterie Plate ($16), which included "Brown Jam, Cheek, Mousse, Ham" as listed on the menu. It was a sampling of all the items that could have been ordered individually. 

At the top of the plate is the country ham, which the waitress said was their version of prosciutto. On top was their homemade shaved sesame butter (pretty sure that's what it was, and I just asked hubs for comfirmation). I didn't try any of that because I'm not a fan of prosciutto or those types of cured or salty meats other than pepperoni on pizza or salami in a sandwich every once in a while. I think everyone like it though.

My favorite was the chicken and foie gras mousse, but I couldn't detect how it was any different than regular chicken liver other than the fact that it had a stronger liver taste. Of course, it was incredibly smooth compared to chopped liver. That was paired with the cherry marmalade. 

Below that you can see the little brown patty, which was the seared pork cheek. I don't really know how to describe it other than it was like pork, haha. The whole grain mustard that was served with it was really good though. I would put that mustard on EVERYTHING. I like the Gulden's spicy brown mustard, but this totally trumps it.

Lastly, the stuff in the little jar was the Tennessee brown jam, which is "whipped pork shoulder." It definitely had a kick to it and had a smoked flavor to it. I tried it and said to Howard, "Do you know what this tastes like? Spaceship Earth." That really was the best way to describe it because the smokiness reminded me of the smell during the scene where they show the burning of Rome! It was so exact! Later when I had some more, Spaceship Earth was still the first thought that popped into my head. This was my second favorite on the platter.

We were given grilled country bread to eat with it. When we got this plate, I said to Howard that they could've given us 6 pieces instead of the 5 since there was 6 of us! Haha, I mean, I get that 5 was probably the serving, but it would've been a nice gesture. When she came back later on, she asked if we wanted more bread to finish the charcuterie plate since we still had a little bit of stuff left, but we said it was okay. We just ate it with the remainder of bread or just ate it plain. As Howard and I looked up the menu just now to get the item descriptions and prices, I saw that the grilled country bread was $2. I wonder if we would have been charged if we had said yes to the bread.

The other appetizer we got to share was the Roasted Beets ($11). This was delicious! But then again, I love roasted beets in any form. It is served with black quinoa, lemon ricotta, and lamb's leaf lettuce. The quinoa gave the dish some texture. I admit I probably could have just eaten this whole dish as an entree, and I definitely would have been satisfied. When we were leaving the restaurant, we passed by two girls who were sharing it as well, and I would've reached over and grabbed some if the thought of eating other people's food wasn't so disgusting. Oh, and if it weren't rude and against all proper rules in a civilized society.

For the entrees, Howard ordered the Rib and Tail ($23), which is seared ribeye, lime, red chile, fresh herbs, and oxtail sauce. He said that one of the herbs had an intense flavor and was also a little spicy. I think he enjoyed it more when everything was put together in one bite. They didn't ask how he wanted the steak cooked, but it was kind of thin and served medium.

I ordered the Long Island Whiting sandwich ($13) that came with red cabbage slaw and "Comeback" sauce. Though I tasted the sauce in the larger bottle, I ended up eating it without it because the waitress said they were spicy. I was already pushing it by having fried food. For me, it definitely didn't need the sauce anyway. It was really crispy, and the fish wasn't at all overcooked. Since they piled on so many fillets of fish on the bread, I didn't actually eat it as a sandwich. I used my fork and knife to eat it and didn't finish all the bread either because that was grilled as well. Haha, that's why bread can be so good in terms of taste when you eat out, but in terms of what I should and should not eat, I like plain ol' bread. With so many foods that I should avoid because of my health issues, if I'm going to eat things that might upset my stomach, I'm going to be picky about it. So I enjoyed the fish a lot and just had about half of the bread instead. The slaw had some tang to them too, so it worked well with the fish. I should have eaten more bites of both of the things together.

My mother-in-law had Crispy Skin Arctic Char ($21), my father-in-law and sister-in-law had Extra Fancy Memphis Fried Chicken ($16), and my sister-in-law's husband had Blue Crab Spaghetti ($18). An appetizer of the Ham and Cheese Heirloom Grits was also ordered for the table though I didn't try that since I didn't want to push it trying something rich. I didn't take pictures of any of their dishes, haha. They did take pictures of their own though as you can see below!

Dinner was really delicious, and because it was Father's Day and not Mother's Day, we didn't have to deal with heavy crowds at restaurants. We were able to get home fairly early in comparison to other dinners, so it was a pleasant day!