As Featured on “Pretty Young Professional”

7 Tips to Relocation Bliss

Relocation.  Most of us have done it a couple of times already: whether it’s going off to college, studying abroad, or moving to the big city for your first job.

Still, it can be scary.  Regardless of how often we do it, moving never gets any easier. However, the more prepared you are, the less stressful it will seem.  Here are some starter tips for a smooth transition to a new city:

1. Finances

Moving isn’t just stressful—it’s expensive.  One of the most important things to do before you go is to get your finances in order.  Make sure you’ve budgeted for a deposit on a new apartment, a couple months of expenses, and an emergency stash as you wait for those first new paychecks to come in.

Also, make sure that you’ve updated your banks, health plan, credit cards, and cell phone provider with your new billing address.  It’s easy for these things to fall through the cracks, and the next thing you know, your phone’s been turned off!
2. Old Friends, New Friends

Ten years ago, saying good-bye to friends when moving was hard.  Now we have Facebook, text message, Skype, and cheap cross-country airfare.  So, as hard as it is to leave your best friend behind, know that they’re just a phone call or email away.

One way to ease the pain is to set up a scheduled call with a close friend.  In a new city, knowing that you can call home every Thursday afternoon at 5:00pm will be a comfort.
3. Packing it up

As obnoxious as packing can be, this is also a great time to go through your belongings to decide what you need and what’s weighing you down.  Donate extra clothes and furniture to friends, or even better, the Salvation Army.  Go through your papers and decide what you need to keep and what to trash.

When you’ve finished sorting through everything, box it up and label—in detail.  You don’t want to show up exhausted to your new place and not know which box your sheets are in!  If you don’t have a permanent place yet in your new city, put things in storage until you do—no need to move twice.

If you have signed a long-term lease on a new place, decide whether you are going to fly or drive and whether you need to hire movers.  For a cross-country move, movers may be necessary but if you’re moving to a city only a couple hours away, consider renting a U-Haul or borrowing a friend’s car.
4. Finding an apartment

This can be tricky, especially if you don’t know the city that well or it’s particularly far away.  But this is also going to be the one place you spend most of your time.

Call around—ask friends who know the area for recommendations and read up on up-and-coming neighborhoods. Most major cities have great local magazines that frequently feature areas of their cities, like New York magazine or LA Weekly.

This is a good time to think about what’s important to you:  Do you like to go out?  If so, aim for a neighborhood with a young demographic, with a lively bar and restaurant scene. Would you rather have a backyard or do you have a car that needs a garage, or at least space on the street?  Consider living in a quieter neighbor closer to the edge of the city, or right outside.

It’s best if you’re able to be in the city while looking for a place.  That way when you do find a great place, you’ll feel confident about your decision, knowing the city just a little bit better.  If you can, find somewhere temporary while you get your bearings.

If you need to find a permanent place right away, make sure you do it in person, or send a trusted friend in your stead.  There’s nothing worse than showing up at your new home and realizing it looked much better in the pictures.

For more tips on getting your bearings, tapping into existing networks and using hobbies to settle in, check out the full article on PYP.


The Wednesday Chef

“Authors in the Kitchen” is going strong–so strong in fact, that the site now has its own content.  Once a week, I’m going to be posting another interview with a food blogger or author that I’m a big fan of.  This week, its Luisa of The Wednesday Chef.   Check it out on the www.authorsinthekitchen.com homepage.  She has some delicious things to say!

And stay tuned for more to come.


Today is the day!

And yes, that is the reason why I am still up at 1:00 AM… because there were so many things that I forgot to do.  Authors in the Kitchen (the website) is launching as we speak (slowly but surely) and then hopefully if I ever get to sleep, by the time I wake up, the series will be available for download on DailyLit!

At least, thats the plan.

So spread the word.  The culmination of months of work (and teaching myself php.  I hate php).  So I am redirecting you to www.authorsinthekitchen.com since in just an hour (cross your fingers!) I will be taking down the placeholder…

And then when this thing is finally launched, I’m going to come right back here and share with you all my new favorite way to eat eggplant (fried, of course) and a bottle or two of cheap champagne, if you live in Brooklyn.


Seriously, still here!

Now, I know it might be hard to trust me again, after my unannounced absence, but it will be worth it, I promise (especially after next Tuesday when all of my hard work becomes public).  But I’m here again this morning, with another recipe and some ideas on weekend post possibilities… I think Megalie might expand into cocktails.  So if you have requests (or recipes to share!), let me know!

Last night A and I cooked up a really simple, but really delicious, Italian dinner.  Its finally fall, so comfort food is back, and in a big way.  No more silly salads for me!  This also means I am back to my regular gym schedule, and for good reason.  Must fight off all of that heavy cream that I simply can’t resist.

This recipe grew out out of Bon Appetit article this month, for a sausage and white kidney bean dish.  We improvised on it a bit (and have some suggestions that might make yours a tiny bit better than ours), but you can find the original recipe (with quantities… Mom) on Epicurious if you want to stick to the letter of the law.

Sweet Italian Sausage and White Beans

White Kidney Beans
Sweet Italian Sausages
Garlic Cloves
Canned Plum tomatoes (peeled)
Olive Oil
(See, told you it was simple)

Mince the garlic, chop the peeled tomatoes, and slice the sausage.  I might recommend removing the casing first and then slicing, although if you do this you have to be very careful when you cook the sausages, so they don’t just fall apart.  Heat up some olive oil and add the garlic to the pot (we used 5 cloves I think?  We love garlic).  Then add the sliced sausages – don’t move them around too much, you just want to brown them on each side.  Then add the tomatoes (WITH the sauce from the can) and kidney beans (which you have drained the liquid from).  At this point, you can also add oregano, basil, and salt and pepper.  Simmer this for anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, until the sauce is at the thickness you prefer.  Dig in!

Note: the ratios are all up to you.  We had tons of sausage and tomtoes, and less beans.  Just a matter of preference.


It’s Official: I’m Back!

Sorry about the unannounced hiatus–I just really need a month to recover from a work-and-stress-filled August.  But this time, I promise I won’t disappear again (and randomly resurface for air, igniting false hope).  But I’m here with good news and a fairly easy welcome-to-fall recipe.

First, the good news (and all of you will most likely get this in a mass email later, since I’m pretty sure my readers are A, my mom, and my grandma–hi all!).

We have set a launch date for Authors in the Kitchen–finally!  Next Tuesday, October 6, Authors in the Kitchen will go live on DailyLit!  So spread the word and mark your calendars.  It has been edited, formatted, copyedited, and gone over so many times that I don’t want to see it again.  But you all will love it!  I’ll be reminding everyone I know and their mother next week, but in case for some reason I forget about my own launch, keep an eye out!

Also, there will be a launch party dinner that evening as well–all are invited (for some of you, its mandatory).  There will be cheap champagne.  I just love popping those corks.  Yum.

And the recipe–the reason this blog exists in the first place!  Last night (girls night for Gossip Girl), me, J, N, and C (is this too many letters? yes.) cooked up a delicious soup that we could slurp while crammed on the couch catching up with our virtual television friends who have just started at NYU–our alma mater! How exciting!  And in our CSA, we got a pumpkin.  Instead of carving it, J gutted it (literally, while discussing how pumpkin guts were similar to human innards… we might have been a bit tipsy? almost?) and then N and C picked all of the little pumpkin seeds out for roasting, while J continued to demolish and then nicely cube the pumpkin meat.

The recipe? Easy–once you chop the pumpkin.
[Note: all of the quantities are for my mother, who has complained that I don’t use them.  Which I don’t.  So take these with a grain of salt–I’m guessing.]

1 (sugar) pumpkin
1 large onion (or 1 and 1/2 small ones)
garlic (maybe 4-6 cloves, depending on preference)
1 tsp sage (fresh if you have it)
1 tsp thyme (again, fresh if you have it)
heavy cream (I think I used a pint?)
2 tsps (ish) sugar (I used raw)
chicken broth
*this is tricky: I think we used 2 cans and then whatever was leftover in the fridge… so here is my note on this one: when adding the broth, make sure there is enough so that it covers the chopped pumpkin bits.

To start: chop onions and mince garlic.  Saute them in a good quantity of butter until soft and translucent.  Then add the pumpkin, sage, thyme, and chicken broth.  Bring the broth to a boil, then cover and simmer until the pumpkin is soft (15-20 minutes, depending on how thick your pumpkin chunks are.)

When the pumpkin is soft, transfer to a food processor (we use a blender because our food processor is too tiny) and puree.  Add back to the pot.  Pour in the cream, add the sugar, heat to a nice hot temperature, and enjoy!

See, wasn’t that easy?

[Also, make sure you get a big pumpkin.  We thought our soup could have been a little bit thicker, but the flavor was all there!]


Corruption Tactics I Support, part I


Yes, thats right, you heard me correctly.  I am a big fan of the bribe.  I find that it becomes handy in a variety of situations and at all stages of life.  In high school, a small sibling (Z, I’m looking at you) can be convinced to keep a secret with a small offering from your babysitting money; in college, a well-placed bottle of liquor can keep the same sibling quiet when he catches you sneaking into the house at odd hours of the morning.  And now, that I’m a supposedly grown, responsible adult?  Well, lets just say, these things still work.

In fact, as I type, J is transcribing my final interview. As I’ve complained before, while I’m a master at whining, I’m not a master at transcription.  But with a few conveniently poured glasses of wine and the promise of dessert, my favorite roommate of the evening (sorry T, but you’re not home) is sitting behind her interview, listening to my cackling voice over her ipod, putting words to paper.  And I am sitting pretty.  Finishing the rest of that bottle of wine (and making sure not to burn the thus promised dessert).  Which, dear reader, I will taunt you with here:

Blackberry Peach Crisp


(In all honesty, I’m not sure why this alone doesn’t qualify as dessert: I think chopped butter, oats, sugar and flour tastes delicious on its own.  Is it just me?  Its just me, isn’t it.)


(Step 2: fruit chopping.  This is probably more acceptable to eat on one’s own.  Less judgement all around.)


(This picture only reinforces my cooking philosophy: its not cooking if some doesn’t end up on the counter.)

Oh right, and then I put it in the oven, baked it, and me and J devoured them before I remembered the camera.  Oops.  Until next time!