Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

the city that never sleeps

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October 12th, 2015 · Print Print

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The stars aligned this month for a quick trip to NYC for me — a quiet week at work coincided with an invitation to two events that I didn’t want to miss in the city, so before I could second-guess the decision, I booked a flight. 

{Side note: I’m still trying to figure out when my idea of a “Can’t Miss” event became a fundraising dinner with the dean of my law school…  When did I become such a grown-up?!}

But I was overdue for a trip and this was a great excuse, so I kissed Bear and Chad good-bye for a couple of days and hopped on a plane. 

And oh my gosh, you guys.  New York.  Sometimes I still miss it so much

Every time I go back, it takes me a little bit of time to adjust.  For the first day or so, you have to get used to all the buildings, all the people, all the rushing and hustling and nonstop motion of the city.  It’s a little overwhelming.  It’s also completely amazing.

A while back, I wrote about our decision to leave New York — it was a really hard one for me, because I knew that I wanted the life that we could only have outside the city, but I wasn’t sure I wanted it just yet.  I kept wanting “one ore year” of our life the way it was, our cozy one-bedroom in Greenwich Village where I could walk to my favorite gelato shop or all the way to my office in midtown on a sunny day.  I loved the diversity and the culture and the food and all the amazing things that only emerge when you pack about a million people into a few square miles. 

Yes, it was expensive and exhausting and challenging every day.  No, I didn’t mind one bit. 

But if there’s one thing that’s almost as good as living in New York, it’s this: visiting New York as a former New Yorker. 

It’s amazing because you can experience the city any way you want.  You can see friends and visit favorite spots and remember exactly what your life was like.  You can walk by your old apartment door or the place you met your husband (ahem, ahem).  New York changes every day, but no matter how long you’re gone, there’s always somewhere to come home to.

But on the flip side, you can also do something else.  You can experience it as a tourist.  And in the four years since we left, that’s the part I’d been missing.  I’ve gone back frequently, but I’ve always had an insane schedule that left me running around from morning till night. 

This time?  I had a whole afternoon off.  A very rare luxury for me, so I wanted to make the most of it.

So I experienced New York as a visitor.  I shopped at Saks and spent too much on sunglasses.  I went to a museum, just to look around.  And then I took myself out for a glass of champagne at the Rainbow Room, which is a bar on the top of Rockefeller Center that’s been around since the 30’s.  It probably the most touristy, vacation-er, guidebook-hyped spot in the entire city. 

No native New Yorker would ever show their face there. 

But, you know what?  Although sometimes it makes me a little sad to admit it, I’m not a New Yorker anymore.  And as a visitor, sometimes those tourist-y, guidebook-hyped spots are exactly what you’re craving. 

Sometimes you just want to sit back, and enjoy the view. 

And so I did.

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healthy snacks for busy families!

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October 5th, 2015 · Print Print

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More often than not, I beat Chad home from work. Because I’m always starving the minute I walk in the door, I’ve come up with the following snacks that enable me to wait to eat until a normal, non-toddler dinner-time. They’re light enough that they don’t kill my appetite but take the edge off enough that I don’t kill my husband. (Hanger is real!)

Try Balanced Carbs!
Bread gets a bad “wrap” (yes, I went there!) but whole-grain bread is a terrific option for healthy snacking. I love to buy fresh bread from the grocery store and toast it, then spread some Alouette Le Petite Fromage on it, and top with a sliced cucumber. (Le Petite Fromage cheese come in four different flavors but I like the Cucumber & Dill version for this. All spreads are just 40 calories per serving!)

Portable and Nutrient-Packed
When I’m craving gummy bears in the afternoon, dried fruit can often get me my fix. Dried mango or apricots, for example, are equally sweet and chewy but without the sugar. (Assuming you buy the right brands – always check the label!) Fellow Texans, HEB’s in-house dried mango is my favorite!

Homemade Veggie Trays
Veggie trays in the pre-made food section always look good — but most of the time, they’re not as healthy as they appear! Ranch dip is totally delicious, but there are healthy swaps that taste just as good — I love adding hummus or a spreadable cheese! Instead of a pre-made tray, I pick up some baby carrots, bell peppers, or even celery. I love to pair cut veggies with Le Petite Fromage cheeses, and bon appetit!

Do you guys have a go-to snack that I need to add to my repertoire? Let me know in the comments!

This post was created in partnership with Alouette Cheese. As always, all opinions are my own!

Photo Credit: Kate Robinson

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the best piece of wedding advice i received

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September 30th, 2015 · Print Print

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Yes, yes, I know, there’s a lot of wedding advice on the internet.  From favors to registries to dress and decor, the internet is chock full of ideas for making your wedding day incredible.

But the best piece of advice I received had nothing to do with my dress or the ceremony.  It wasn’t about the prettiest invitations or the perfect Pinterest-worthy shots for our photographer to capture.

It was this.

The day of our wedding, one of my best girlfriends told me to focus on remembering the day.  To take in the experience, the way that it feels as you live it. 

It sounds really silly, but six years after our wedding, sometimes it’s hard to separate my actual memories from the photographs.  The photographs are mementos that I look through every few months: I could tell you every shot, from the one above (my favorite) to me walking down the aisle with my dad, to the wide-angle scene of our brightly lit tent against the night sky.  The photographs are easy to recall anytime I want; they are permanent.

My memories, though.  Those I worked to capture. 

Everyone always says that your wedding day goes by in a blur, but I worked hard to slow down that blur.  To focus on the moment I was in, instead of getting wrapped up in the excitement of trying to experience everything at once.

Do you know what my favorite memory of our wedding is?

For our first dance, Chad and I picked a slow, romantic song.  We planned to dance by ourselves to that song, and then invite everyone up for the next (faster) song, to get the party going. 

But somehow there was a miscommunication between us and the band, and midway through our slow song, the band invited all our guests to join us on the dance floor in the middle of our first song.  That special moment that was supposed to be just ours?  Suddenly we were packed onto a dance floor with well-wishing guests, following the band’s instructions.

And then, in between the first dance and the next song, while the band took a short break, apparently, someone told them that they’d made a mistake. 

So they decided to fix it. 

By starting the second song (a fast, rock song) and telling our guests not to come onto the dance floor, because Chad and I wanted to dance by ourselves.

Yes, seriously.  In front of a hundred and fifty of our closest friends and family, our band told everyone to stay off the dance floor so Chad and I could dance to a rock song.  By ourselves.

I can’t even type this story without feeling a little mortified.  Chad and I are not dancers — sure, we have fun in big groups and we goof around in the privacy of our own home, but having a hundred and fifty people watch us bop around is the stuff that nightmares are made of. 

But what choice did we have?  We were already standing in the middle of the dance floor.  As the music started, we frantically gestured for everyone to come join us.  The guests were (rightly) confused and stayed firmly in their seats. 

After what felt like an eternity (while I, in my wedding dress, tried to bust out some dance moves), a table of my college friends joined us on the dance floor.  Once they did, the rest of the party followed, and the moment was over.  It turned into a memory, right then and there.

And you want to hear something crazy?  That was the biggest snafu of our wedding: it was both mortifying and completely, unpredictably random.  And it is one of my favorite memories from the whole day.  I can’t tell the story now without cracking up — when one of us is in a bad mood, Chad or I can bring up our first dance and we both fall apart laughing. 

It was mortifying. 

It was amazing. 

It was one of the moments in this life that I’ll never, ever forget.

So, good or bad, my wedding day advice is to remember the experience itself.  To focus on the experience, instead of whether everything is perfect. 

Because, who knows? The imperfections just may become your favorite memories of all.

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