Spring lovin’

(grapefruit and sage mimosas)

(a small get together starring grapefruit and sage mimosas)

There’s no question that this time of year feels very inspiring to me … but I can’t put my finger on exactly what it is. The most obvious conclusion is the beautiful weather outside (yes, even in New York City it has been almost perfect). But maybe it’s more about the anticipation … the small tastes of Summer fun we get mid-May …  dinner on the patio … planning weekend getaways … slipping on open toed shoes … the list goes on.

It’s been a whirlwind since I last posted … I had a very rewarding experience in Sochi, Russia working the Winter Olympics … I danced all night at two of my best friends weddings … watched my (not so) little brother graduate … ate two of the best meals of my life  … cut 6 inches off my hair … finally skied the Rockies … ran around the streets of Chicago with some of my oldest friends … and realized again and again, it’s always about the people you surround yourself with during these times that make them the most memorable.

(a calm morning in Olympic Park)

(a calm morning in Olympic Park)

 

(halfpipe in Sochi under the lights)

(halfpipe in Sochi under the lights)

(Jane and Pat ... Hudson, NY)

(Jane and Pat … Hudson, NY)

(Carly and Mark ... Philadelphia, PA)

(Carly and Mark … Philadelphia, PA)

The Bee Sting from Robertas

(A very memorable bite … the Bee Sting from Roberta’s)

(Another amazing bite ... Lobster Lasagna from Le Bernardin)

(And another… Lobster Lasagna from Le Bernardin)

(Chicago nights with my high school gals)

(Chicago nights with my high school gals)

(congrats bud!)

(congrats bud!)

(chopped!)

(chopped!)

(Auntie Jackie's pilaf)

(Auntie Jackie’s pilaf … the best! sorry mom 🙂 )

(Beaver Creek shredding with Linds)

(Beaver Creek shredding with Linds)

(Hogwaii 3.0 at The Hudson Hotel)

(Hogwaii 3.0 <3)

(Easter in Michigan)

(Easter in Michigan)

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Summer Celebrations

IMG_0561Over the next few weeks two of my closest friends will be getting married … it is very, very exciting (to say the least!). A few getaways this Summer invovled their bachelorette parties and showers. My camera obviously traveled with me for these occasions so this post is dedicated to these incredible celebrations. Before my first, I had been told bachelorette parties are an absolute blast … and as you will see, both exceeded my expectations. I can’t believe the big day is almost here for Jane and Carly … they are going to be tremendous fun. I can’t wait!

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(Celebrating Jane at Greenvale Vineyards in Newport)

(Bloody Mary bar designed by Kara in Newport)

(Bloody Mary bar designed by Kara in Newport)

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(mojito jello shots)

(mojito jello shots)

(beautiful Avalon beach)

(beautiful Avalon beach)

(out in Avalon celebrating Carly)

(buddakan dinner in AC)

(buddakan dinner in AC)

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Summer Wrap: Part 2

(an end of summer gathering)

(an end of summer gathering)

I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt so reluctant to move on from Summer and into Fall. Don’t get me wrong, Fall is probably my all-around favorite season … just thinking about hot apple cider makes me so happy. But since it has been such a great Summer I don’t want to let it go. Here’s a few more to fill you all in. By the way … Some of these are repeats from my Instagram @marissaani … Don’t be a stranger 😉

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(double rainbows in CT)

 

(a fab night with some of my fav gals)

(a fab night with some of my fav gals)

 

(being a kid again in Harbor Springs, Michigan)

(being a kid again in Harbor Springs, Michigan)

(summer rooftop drinks at the Wythe Hotel in Williamburg)

(summer rooftop drinks at the Wythe Hotel in Williamburg)

 

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Summer Wrap: Part 1

(almost sunset in the city)

(almost sunset in the city)

I can’t even come up with a good enough excuse as to why it took me so long to blog again … yes like everyone else my summer was busy, however, I can’t believe I abandoned Urban Corduroy for as long as I did … for the next few posts I hope to catch you all up on the great summer I had … and I promise it will never (ever, ever) be this long again.

PS to those of you who asked me about UC and new posts, it is INCREDIBLY meaningful … big, big hugs to you.

(compo cove ... barefoot all weekend)

(compo cove … barefoot all weekend)

(just one of many summer drinks ... grapefruit martini)

(just one of many summer drinks … grapefruit martini)

(yankees game with the babes)

(yankees game with the babes)

 

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Exciting Weekends

(tissue tassel garland made by the master, Jane)

(tissue tassel garland made by the master, Jane)


I’ve spent the last two weekends in really nice, smaller than New York, cleaner than New York, cities … Chicago and Boston.

My older brother moved to Chicago a few weeks back so my family and I met him there for his birthday celelbration. As always, it was so nice to see my family, PLUS I got to spend time with some of my oldest friends who have lived there for as long as I’ve been in New York. It was really great to catch up with them.

And this past weekend one of my closest friends got engaged! It was a very exciting and very fun weekend. I’m so happy I was in Boston to celebrate the amazing couple … congrats again Kara and Ross!

(Kara and Ross at the Boston Calling concert)

(Kara and Ross at the Boston Calling concert, photo by Jane)


(delish bloody mary on a sunny Chicago day)

(delish bloody mary on a sunny Chicago day)


(celebrating Kara)

(celebrating Kara and Ross)


(a walk through Boston Common)

(a walk through Boston Common)

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Part 2 of Playing Catch Up

(a walk around Breezy Point)

(a walk around Breezy Point)

It’s certainly been a few fun weeks here in the city. I’ve made quite the effort to spend every free minute outside. Since the weather is finally starting to get nice, I find it such a treat to snag an outdoor table at a great restaurant, take a sunset run in the park or cram into a a small terrace with pals just to enjoy the fresh air.

I spent a Saturday recently doing some Hurricane Sandy cleanup at a church in The Rockaways. Afterwards, we took a walk around the area and made it out to Breezy Point. I was in complete shock at what I saw … although it’s been six months since Sandy, there is still so much devestation there. On the upside, some progress has been made, many residents spoke of plans to rebuild and those who can help have been coming there in a steady stream since October. Let’s keep up the good work.

(the cutest cookie jar at a church in The Rockaways)

(the cutest cookie jar at a church in The Rockaways)

(some pre-going out snacks)

(some pre going out snacks)

(a celebratory night with my amazing co-workers)

(a celebratory night with my amazing co-workers)

(Breakfast pancakes for dinner from Chez Sardine)

(Breakfast pancakes for dinner from Chez Sardine)

(night stroll on the Upper West)

(night stroll on the Upper West)

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Playing Catch Up

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I know I’ve said it before but I can’t believe I’ve been such a slacker. Yes, a lot has been going on but that is still no excuse! With that, I’m very excited to play some catch up so here we go!

I spent an AMAZING long weekend with my family in Palm Beach a few weeks back. Full disclosure, I did nothing but eat and relax … I guess those go hand in hand? I had some very fun weekends in New York and then was off to LA for work. This was the first time in quite a while that I’ve spent more than a few days out there and I have to say, it was great. As much as I consider myself an East Coaster (with midwestern roots 🙂 ) I definitely enjoyed the vibe out there. The weather and the people I got to work with were clearly highlights … but I think the biggest highlight was the food, meaning the food in its most simple form. For example … fresh avocados were readily available during every meal,  the orange juice is literally freshly squeezed and they LOVE their desserts out there … isn’t that the way it should be?!

(morning latte in Palm Beach)

(morning latte in Palm Beach)

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(playing dressup on set)

(playing dress up on set)

(every morning in LA mmm)

(every morning in LA mmm)

(great drinks, food and fun at Ink)

(great drinks, food and fun at Ink)

(delish salted caramel donut from Fonuts)

(delish salted caramel donut from Fonuts)

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Weekend Wrap

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It’s finally getting a little warmer outside and I can’t begin to express how happy that makes me. Saturday was particualrly nice in the city to the point where I almost shed my jacket for the day. The morning started with a nice walk down Broadway and ended in line at The Carnegie Deli. Yes, I joined the (what appeared to be) massive line full of tourists to experience THE Carnegie Deli for the first time. I’ve avoided going for years now, mostly because of the line and the tourists, but I will say:  a) the line moved quickly; and b) I really enjoyed talking to some of the visitors about how great of a time they’re having in NYC … it was very refreshing.  And the obvious plus of this New York landmark is the food. The sandwiches are huge, salty and are perfectly complimented by the bottomless pickles(mmmm…).  And beyond the sandwiches, I was really into the Matzo Ball soup. We took home everything we couldn’t eat, which left me enough food for a few days. The rest of the weekend was, or should have been, spent at the gym.

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(Momofuku ice cream cookie sandwiches and sparklers for Ella's birthday)

(Momofuku ice cream cookie sandwiches and sparklers for Ella’s birthday)

(new blog journal)

(new blog journal)

(of course there's a 16 Handles across the street from MY gym)

(of course, there’s a 16 Handles across the street from MY gym)

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Lemon Bars

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More and more, I seem to have quite the routine when I go to the grocery store … unless I’m there shopping for a specific recipe (this rarely happens), I find myself seeking out the same foods … yes, yes this is something I hope to change. But for now Greek yorgurt, olives and hummus never fail to make it into my cart. Oh and lemons … lemon (along with garlic) is an ingredient found in many Armenian recipes, and therefore, my mother always had them on hand … I seem to take after her in this sense. The other day I had so many laying around that I figured I’d make these lemon bars. The only alteration I made was I put in less lemon juice and zest than originally called for so that the bars were more sweet than tart.

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Foodie and the Blowfish

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When I started Urban Corduroy I wasn’t exactly sure what its focus would be … and actually, I was completely comfortable with that … it made it exciting for me. I also knew that this would be a great avenue for me to further explore my passions as well as share them. With that, I write about restaurants not because I’m a food critic (or even close!) but because it was an area that stuck out to me … mostly because my friends and family often ask me “where should I eat for (fill in the occasion)?” To me, it is the sweetest form of flattery.

I didn’t arrive in NYC knowing who Mario Batali is or how to prepare ceviche. I would actually be fibbing if I told you I was familiar with the word foodie (while I’m not sure I love that term, I’ll go with it), and I know I’m not alone … it’s absolutely amazing the way food has become such a large part of the overall culture in New York, to the point where it’s the norm to be a “foodie.” What’s even more incredible, maybe even on the fence of insanity, is the amount of time people will wait for a table (think Mission Chinese), how much people will spend on a meal (I’ve been saving up for dinner at Brooklyn Fare for way too long now) and how often we talk about food (it doesn’t matter what we start talking about at dinner, we always end with food). For those who love food you can probably relate, and for those who enjoy going out for a meal without all the frills, I imagine you loathe the idea of a “foodie.” Regardless, if the ultimate result (meaning from the restaurant to the kitchen) of this niche culture expansion is that people are more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies, I’m all for it.

I owe much of my food knowledge to two people: my mother, for making my sandwiches on whole wheat bread (even though I always begged for Wonder Bread) while endlessly pushing me over the years to be comfortable in the kitchen, plus she also took me to my first Hootie and the Blowfish concert; and one of my first and now best friends in NYC, Simon. Without them I’d still be a borderline vegetarian and broke from constantly ordering takeout. I still have so much to learn, so much to try and way too much to attempt at in the kitchen … hopefully Urban Corduroy will get me there.

Anyways, I went on this rant so to explain where my restaurant suggestions come from. They come from the texts, the emails and the gchats that look something like … “EMERGENCY my girlfriends birthday is tomorrow and I totally forgot, where can I get a reservation?” Or,  “my parents are coming in town next week where should I go?” Or one of my favorites, “I have to plan the date tonight … he always picks a good spot … HELP!” I’m not sure when this started, or why I’ve been trusted, but I really love answering these. I find myself taking mental notes while I’m eating out … for instance, this would be perfect for x, y or z. You get the point.

Like many New Yorkers, I discover most restaurants by reading a ton … it’s funny how you can read about food almost anywhere now. I took a look at my history before I wrote this and it seems like these are the places I frequent: the Times Dining Section, Immaculate Infatuation, and like many others, I usually trust New York Magazine. And more than anything, almost five years later, I still go to Simon before I try any new restaurant … actually, him along with two of my restaurant PR gals are usually telling me where to go … maybe they should be writing this blog?!

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