Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Before I head upstate to ring in twenty-ten with my boyfriend and his family, I want to wish everyone a fun & safe NYE celebration. In a time of looking ahead to what's next, I hope that we can all remember the lesson that my snazzy green refridgerator magnet teaches:

"yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift."

The only person that can make the past stop affecting you is YOU. Hold onto the good and let go of the bad. And stop wishing for tomorrow. It's not guaranteed no matter how long you spend planning it. What can you control? How you spend right now. This very moment.

I dare you to not look ahead and set unrealistic resolutions. Instead, set intentions. Good ones.
picture from here
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne...
Perhaps Burns intended to provide a similar message in his poem "Auld Lang Syne" (long long ago) from 1788. It asks if old times should be forgotten, but reminds us to hold on to those friendships from the past. In a time of farewells and new beginnings, intend to enjoy the present.
until next time,


I found this Marie Claire article very insightful in this day and age.

Scha·den·freu·de: \shä-d n-froi-d \n.: taking pleasure in the misfortunes of others—esp. boastful friends, unscrupulous colleagues, billionaire bankers, and celebrities who are famous for no good reason.

Marie first heard the rumors circulating around the industry last spring: Callie's head was on the chopping block. "But it wasn't until the official announcement came that I let myself celebrate," says Marie. Nine months earlier, the 34-year-old New York publicist had been up for a job, and Callie, her best friend and maid of honor designee, stole it out from under her. "I didn't even know she'd interviewed for it. When she said to me, 'It must be upsetting, but we both went for it fair and square—they just liked me better,' something altered in my chemistry." So when she got the news that Callie had been canned, supposedly for incompetence and for abusing her underlings, Marie joined the gleeful e-mail threads. "I shouldn't be proud, but her betrayal had hit me hard, and the news of her dismissal brought an instant wave of relief. A peaceful feeling swept over me. It was blissful."What Marie was experiencing has a name, of course: schadenfreude. A handy word we stole from the Germans, it combines schaden (damage) and freude (joy) to describe the pleasure we take in the misfortunes of others. Think of it as envy inverted: Rather than feeling bad about our neighbor's successes, schadenfreude pays our psyche a happy visit when she fails. The concept isn't new: Aristotle could accept it in moderation. Schopenhauer called it "devilish"—and he was an atheist. Nietzsche thought it was inevitable and would balance out in the end. (Today you're the recipient, tomorrow it will be another's turn and you'll get to enjoy it.) Gore Vidal embodied it: "It is not enough to succeed. Others must fail." But today, as our culture grows ever more competitive and the recession slogs on, we experience schadenfreude's pang almost daily, whether while bonding at the watercooler over a colleague's comeuppance, drinking in the tabloids' latest dose of Jon-and-Kate hate, feeling a rush when the pervy perp is brought to justice on CSI, or gawking at sites like the cathartic micro-confessional to read of others' low moments and vote on whether they had it coming. Schadenfreude has become a go-to descriptor for the all-American pursuit of celebrating the falls from grace of those who probably deserve it. "Bonding isn't the story of this recession," says Dacher Keltner, professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and author of Born to Be Good. "Unlike during the Great Depression, there's more of a recognition of gross financial inequality. When the guy who made $27 million last year running a bank into the ground takes a hit, schadenfreude abounds." John Portmann, Ph.D., author of When Bad Things Happen to Other People, says it's no matter that we're seeing signs of recovery. "We hear about the Goldman bonuses and how JP Morgan is doing great, but as some guys start to rake it in again, most of us would rather focus on the losers," says Portmann, a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. "Their failure was their gift to us, offering us some pleasure in a dark time." Hollywood has been generous in this respect. Who doesn't break into a smile when condescending would-be lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow's perfect marriage is reported to be on the rocks, or Perez Hilton, who has made a career out of being nasty, gets punched in the face after posting one too many attacks on Fergie? "We are at base pack animals, like rats," says Portmann. "We're fascinated by people who pull out in front, but we hate them as well. So if Renée Zellweger is outed for having work done on her face, we feel vindicated. She's brought back down to earth, and we can all feel better about ourselves." At the heart of schadenfreude is comparison; as ultra-social animals, we find our place by looking at others. Thumbing through US Weekly, we find endless opportunities to boost our self-image by drinking in telephoto shots of celebs' cellulite, their unmade-up skin, their poor choice of wardrobe for the grocery store. The theory was supported last year by an MRI study that found that when a person we envy suffers a misfortune, dopamine floods the emotional rewards portion of our brains. "It's the same feeling as when you take drugs, laugh, have sex," says Dean Mobbs, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Cambridge University and a coauthor of the study. "Schadenfreude is our psychological immune system kicking in to make us feel better." Similar studies show, however, that the punishment must fit the crime. So if a young, foolish, and badly parented starlet drives her car off a cliff, we're sympathetic. But if evil Bernie Madoff gets shivved by his cellmate, we'll do the cabbage patch.The greatest targets of our schadenfreude won't be found on the cover of People, however. They're the folks with whom we have the most in common—siblings, friends, and colleagues. The flip side of women's relatively recent social advances is a new sense of cutthroat competition: We're now supposed to own our apartments, make senior VP by 30, maintain wrinkle-free foreheads and 26-inch waists, have a closetful of updated classics, and sponsor a school in Liberia. Oh, and did we mention that unless we land the love of our life and raise three bilingual children, the rest doesn't mean squat? The pressure to achieve can be so great, the competition so stiff, that instead of striving even harder, we just hope for others to fall down a peg. Bad habit, says Keltner, who reminds us that life is not a zero-sum game. "The big resources—affection, trust, respect, appreciation—are available in endless quantities," he says. But even if you're not the type to hug it out, nor should you beat yourself up when schadenfreude strikes. "It was crafted by hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, when resources were limited and cheats had to be punished to preserve the group," he says. And we still need the group to survive..."

Something to be aware of.

Something to avoid.

until next time,


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yes, Virginia...

a personal favorite:

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"


"VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. "

Merry Christmas.

until next time,


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Cards

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" more than gobs of glitter.

I'm a fan of cards. I'm a bigger fan of homemade cards. 
All it takes is some paper, a marker, some glue, glitter & ribbon!

the beginning stages of one version of my Christmas cards.

a little bit o' patience, a lotta bit o' glitter & a whole big barrel o' love.

May my cards find my loved ones happy & safe.

until next time,


Monday, December 21, 2009

Not Your Ordinary Christmas Cookie Recipe

I recently posted a sea-salt caramel recipe...but THIS, lady & gents, is a recipe my Nana emailed out.

Just read.

Bacardi Christmas Cookies

1 cup of water
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup of brown sugar
4 cups flour
4 large eggs
1 cup nuts
2 cups of dried fruit
1 liter Bacardi Gold Genuine Puerto Rican rum

Sample the Bacardi to check quality.
Take a large bowl, check the Bacardi again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, pour one level cup and drink.
Turn on the electric mixer.
Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.
Add one peastoon of sugar.
Beat again.
At this point it's best to make sure the gold rum is still ok, try another cup just in case.
Turn off the mixerer thingy.
Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.
Pick the frigging fruit off the floor.
Mix on the turner.
If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaters just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
Sample the Bacardi to check for tonsisticity.
Next, sift two cups of salt, or something.
Who geeves a sheet.
Sheck the Bacardi Pordo Reakin Gole Rum.
Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.
Add one table.
Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.
Greash the oven.
Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
Don't forget to beat off the turner.
Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Bacardi Pordo Reakin Gole rum and make sure to put the stove in the wishdasher.

Cherry Mistmas & Felix Navidad!

until next time,


Thursday, December 17, 2009

New Work Pets!

A broker sent us twenty-six frogs yesterday with a note saying: "thought you might want to watch something besides the stock market jump around."


I would have been happier with a puppy, but hey, amphibians will do!

My co-worker, Nichole, and I are sharing these two.

I named them Kermit & Miss Piggy. Miss Piggy is the fat one. Obviously.

until next time,


Who Knew I Could Make Candy?!

I decided to make sea-salt caramels for my seven bosses this year. Sounds easy enough...right?


I'm sharing the recipe with you so you can have a shot at it! My first attempt didn't go so well. Talk about deeee-saster. Don't be discouraged, though. Keep in mind that I'm working with 4-inches of counter space and zero experience cooking anything that can actually be messed up by someone who is capable of turning the stove/oven to the on and off positions.

First of all, I recommend a pretty deep baking pan. I had the mindset that my too-long/too-shallow one would be a-okay. I got to...well, the first stage in the directions (I mean I made it past buying the ingredients!), which instructs you to line the pan with parchment paper. I cut a large enough piece and attempted to squish it inside and the silly thing just kind of sat there on top. That certainly wasn't going to work since I had to "lightly oil" the parchment paper. (By the way, they need to clarify how "lightly". I suggest a dabble the size of a quarter that you smear around. And no, I did not get this right on my first try.) So what did I do? I did what any other sensible person would do. I pulled out the tape. Where on earth was my regular tape? Who knows. Yes, I resorted to using packaging tape. But leme tell ya - that parchment paper wasn't going anywhere by the time I was done with it!

The most important step in making the caramel is the ol' "cold water trick" described below. On my first try, I waited much too long to check the consistency. I envisioned mixing some tough substance and watching my wooden spoon break from being too weak to stir. In hindsight I realize the mixture was, in fact, 248 degrees and obviously much softer than in its cooled-version. I tossed a dollup of the mix into cold water and watched as a scary spidery piece formed into a rock-like statue. I followed through with the rest of the directions, in denial that my candy had been ruined, and was left with a sheet of caramel rock.

To be honest, this is still sitting in the bottom of my fridge. I am in the process of accepting the fact that I must throw it in the garbage. ~Sigh~

But, yes, attempt numero dos was a success! Woohoo! By checking the consistency early into the process, I was able to make soft & chewy caramel. I put the candies in brown lunch bags and punched a hole in the top for a festive red ribbon. Makes for a snazzy gift!

Here's what you need & what you do:


* 1 cup heavy cream

* 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

* 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling on top. Sea salt is found in specialty food stores under the name "fleur de sel."

* 1 1/2 cups sugar

* 1/4 cup light corn syrup

* 1/4 cup water


* 8" square baking pan

* Parchment paper

* Candy thermometer (or a deep-fat thermometer)

* Wax paper for wrapping or paper candy cups

Yield: About 40 caramels.


* Line the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper.

* Bring the cream, butter and sea salt to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and set aside.

* Boil the sugar, corn syrup, and water in a heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, without stirring but gently swirling pan; then cook without stirring until the mixture reaches 248°F, the firm-ball stage.

* Carefully stir in the cream mixture—the mixture will bubble up. Simmer, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes. The temperature should not go higher than 250°F.

* CANDYMAKER TIP: To get the caramel consistency you want, test by dropping a spoonful of caramel into a bowl of cold water. It will form a ball, which you can test with your fingers. Stop cooking when the ball is the consistency that you want.

* Pour the mixture into the baking pan and cool 2 hours.

* OPTIONAL: You can enrobe your caramels in tempered melted chocolate; sprinkle the top with some grains of sea salt (pretty salts make a difference); or press in some culinary lavender buds.* Cut into 1-inch pieces, then wrap each piece in a 4-inch square of wax paper, folding ends or twisting to close like taffy.

Eat & Enjoy!

I found this recipe here.

until next time,


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Decorations Gone Awry

Well hello, readers.
Just so ya know, it's time for a good laugh.

until next time,


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hate Moment Part II

As the weekend comes to a close, I'd like to provide an addendum to my last post.

It didn't take long for that eensy weensy teeny tiny little screw to fail me. After a hellish day at the office on Friday, I came home to quickly tidy up the apartment before company arrived. I was on the phone with my mom, discussing the bad luck that had already stomped all over my day, when all of a sudden I heard it. Yep, I heard an ever-so-daunting *kerplunk*. Actually it was more like *KERPLUNK!!!!!*

"Yeahhhh, I'm gonna need to call you back...."

I must apologize to my company (i.e. my boyfriend) who, in hindsight, probably wishes he chose a different night to visit. The closet breaking and the lack of room to store my clothes in the meantime made for a not-so-happy little lady. He, being the trooper that he is, helped me find my sanity --- one cocktail dress at a time.

Thank you, "Supah' Marrrrio", for recognizing the fact that with my shopping habits I need metal-rod supporters instead of plastic. And as much as I hate to admit it, your handyman work totally trumps mine.

At least all is now well in the land of closets.

May this week bring better luck.

until next time,

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hate Moment

Howdy, folks.

Sorry it's been a while - had to walk off all those Turkey Day calories that my last post so pleasantly reminded me of...

I got back to the city late Monday afternoon and greeted an empty nest. No boyfriend. No food. No nothin'. Just lil ol' me and seven intact helium birthday balloons staring at me and bobbing around like they were excited for my return. (We started off with 8, but the whole game of hearing-your-chipmunk-voice was too hard for this kid at heart to pass up.) 

So what do ya do when you get home from being on the train for 6 and a 1/2 hours and you're pooped and kinda sad and all you want to do is curl up and watch TV? You CLEAN. Or at least I do. I promptly ordered an assortment of sushi rolls a la Seamless Web (gotta love NYC delivery) and put on my tool belt. 

No, I'm not kidding. It's cream-colored. 

See, I quickly remembered when I started to unpack that my closet's hanging rod was literally hanging by one eensy weensy teeny tiny little screw. I had been sitting in bed for weeks waiting for the inevitable *kerplunk* and I needed to put an end to my fretting. Thus, I decided to play "tool girl".  I first piled all of my clothes into one big heap on my bed.

Sidenote: these are, of course, the moments when you find your long lost top. You're initially thrilled to be reunited, but then you go to put it back on a hanger and you realize your perpetual hate for said top. It doesn't matter what fancy hanger you use, it's always going to fall off. It's also conveniently made of such material that wrinkles easily if you fold it and since folding it, at least in NYC, means stuffing it in a drawer or in your under-bed-storage, you opt to awkwardly hangitupsuperfast and hold your breath...stepping away slowly. 

Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about. 

Anyhoo, so there I was. After I got my second wind from a delicious spicy tuna roll (and after I scrubbed the kitchen, bathroom & toilet room. What can I say? Easily sidetracked.) I removed the hanging rod and old screws and plastered up the holes. After letting it dry (and after cleaning the rest of the apartment), I got out my power drill a little before 9:00PM. 

Sorry, neighbors. heh. 

I drilled the screws in until everything seemed amazingly secure. I was so proud! I paced the short length of my apartment desperately wanting to give someone a high-five. My super Mario (could he possibly have a better name? idunTHINKso) even stopped by my apartment since I had initially called for his help. And even he, mister handyman, was impressed. I happily put back my clothes, organizing by occasion and season (my mother in me) and went to bed.

Early Tuesday morning I was bopping to Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" while putting on my mascara when I slid my closet doors open to make my daily decision of what to wear. 

And then I saw it.

I regret to inform you that my closet hanging rod has fallen loose and it's once again hanging on one eensy.weensy.teeny.tiny.little.screw. 

You know how I mention my love/hate relationship with my apartment in my "about me" section? 
This was a hate moment.

until next time,


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving Calorie Calculator lists an article in their health section on how far you'll have to walk in order to "walk off" your Thanksgiving dinner.

Yes, I agree, such a mean little game.

It divides all the traditional food one might consume on Turkey Day into the following categories: Drinks, Snacks, Salads, Main Course, Dessert, and even Leftovers.

Click here to see the damage you're gonna do.

...........................................................................................................Gym, anyone?!

until next time,


Monday, November 23, 2009

Ailments & Goodies

Before I begin with what I actually intend to blog about, I need to tell you about my bug bite.

Yes, my bug bite.

At some point over the course of this past weekend, a bug bit me. (ouch, Chawlie!) And we're not talking about a nice little baby bug. We're talking about a monstrous, grutesque and MEAN bug. It attacked the top of my left wrist leaving it red, incredibly swollen and itchy beyond belief. The redness even extended up my arm to my neck and face last night. (what the hell did this critter inject?)

So here I sit...dragging the metal inside of my stapler across my hand.


This, of course, occurred immediately after my pulled neck muscle started to get better. Note to self: even if you are looking for a fabulous birthday-girl outfit, there is no hope in trying anything on when you cannot move your neck.

I found this out the hard way.
In Loehmann's....ahem, in Loehmann's communal dressing room.

All I have to say is that it is a very humbling experience to have a complete stranger help you emerge from the neck-hole of a top -- as opposed to the sleeve in which I was stuck. And seeing as the top was two-sizes-too-small, I can now regretfully empathize with the Orca whales that get tangled in fishermen's nets.

~clearing my throat~

So now that you're caught up on my recent ailments, I'd like to share a super easy last-minute recipe. With Thanksgiving later this week (yowza!), you may find yourself in a pickle when it comes to having enough dessert for everyone. This is a good alternative to the traditional desserts and you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry! I plan on making this tonight as a farewell to the BF who's been staying with me the past two months and is moving out on Thursday.

............Okay, okay - you caught me. Farewell, schmarewell. It's totally comfort food for this little lady. I'll just say that goodbyes are not my forte.

Alas, bring on the sugah'!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
1 graham cracker pie crust (or Oreo, if you're feelin' extra fancy)
1 cup confectioners sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (i'm a Jif fan)
1 box chocolate pudding (not instant, must be cooked)
Cool "wHip"
Mix peanut butter and sugar until crumbly and pour into pie crust.
Pack it down with spoon or spatula.
Leave 1 tablespoon aside for garnish.
Cook pudding according to directions on box and pour over peanut butter mixture.
Refridgerate immediately.
When cooled, top with Cool Whip and garnish with remaining peanut butter mixture.


until next time,


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me

** a little birthday fun that will surely make you smile. **

until next time,


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

'Excited' is an Understatement

I just purchased my ticket to see New Moon this Saturday.
(YES, that's my birthday and NO, I cannot think of a better present to myself!)
If you need to see Mister Edward Cullen once more in preparation, click here.
Pshhh, you didn't think I'd leave you with just one preview, now did you? Here's another.
Now go wipe the drool off your face.
until next time,


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Time to Deck the Halls.

Christmas is 45 days away.


Ok, let's all have a little freak-out session together. SCREAM!

Feel better? Yeah me neither.

Maybe this will help. Real Simple Magazine offers a Holiday Savings Plan in attempt to keep us all from spazzing out too much. Here are some of their/my/others' ideas:

1. Make a list. (lists are your friend, remember?)

2. Set dollar limits.

3. Don't forget about all the nongift expenses. (such as entertaining, a festive new top for holiday pictures,....booze....)

4. Coordinate group trips for holiday travel to cut back on expenses.

5. Avoid booking fees by purchasing flights on actual airline websites.

6. If you need a rental, do a little research and rent a car from a local agency for a better price.

7. Use ca$h. According to, consumers spend 30% more on purchases they charge than if they use cash.

8. Check out for online coupons. The website offers you cash back via PayPal when you make purchases with listed vendors.

9. Magically regift. If you have an unused giftcard collecting dust in your wallet and you want to exchange it for another store (Grandpa Joe miiiiight not know what to do with $20 at American Eagle), go to and put your giftcard towards another retailer for only a $4 fee.

10. Get one big family gift. Are you a parent? Feeling the pressure to buy out Toys"R"Us? In lieu of a bunch of little gifts, get one big gift like a vacation for the upcoming year. You can even get the kids excited by getting them something to use on the trip.

11. Have a bunch of unused frequent-flyer miles? But not enough to actually treat someone to a trip? Bump them up to first class for a leg of their already-booked upcoming travel.

12. Group gifts. Let's say your best friends/relatives have a family of five and they want to go to the Bronx Zoo. That's $63 for ONE visit. You can buy them an annual membership that includes 16 passes plus store/restaurant discounts for $120.

13. Not sure the cheapest way to mail those large cumbersome boxes to your relatives in Timbuktu? Check out which compares prices for FedEx, DHL, UPS, and the post office.

14. Make sure you're up-to-date on all your reimbursements. Is that work expense report from July still lying around? Send it in and use that money towards buying gifts!

15. Homemade gifts. (I would share what I've been up to, but my gift-recipients might be reading. Y'all are just gonna have to wait!) Do you have a ton of pictures from events this past year? Put them to use! My coworker, Nichole, makes yearly calendars for her family members on Shutterfly. You can also use Kodak's website. Each month in the upcoming year will feature a great family photo. Now that's pretty darn cute.

16. Decorate cheaply. Fill jars with holiday candy. You can even string popcorn and cranberries (my contribution as a wonder I can sit for hours and hours working on tedious projects). Take glass canisters and punch bowls and fill them with glass balls from your ornament collection. (I'll give my mother credit for that one.) I suggest purchasing a spray-can of gold paint. Go to town on some pine cones from the yard to make a fabulous centerpiece! Sadly, I don't have a yard let alone a neighboring pinetree. Hmph.

17. Wrap-it-up! Hit up that neighborhood restaurant or bar for their free coasters and use them as gift tags. Get the kiddies involved. Wrap presents in white poster paper and give 'em some Crayolas.

18. Having a "shoot-she-got-me-a-present-and-I-got-nada-for-her" moment? Try The recipient can choose where to use the gift. I always think nice candles or homemade jams/jellies are nice gifts too. Maybe stock up on a couple of these "suitable-for-many" gifts just in case you forget someone on your Nice list this year.

19. Get someone a magazine subscription. What's better than a gift that keeps on giving? 12 times?! Real Simple is currently offering a 2-for-1 gift special. Get 2 subscriptions with 12 issues each for you and a loved-one for only $23.88!

20. Have fun with it. Giving should be the best part of the season.

Oh and if you're thinking about dragging your beau along for a little holiday shopping, read this. You might reconsider.

Why o' why does this sound like something my fella would do? Wink.
Happy Holiday Preparations!
.......And yes, I realize I kinda just skipped over Thankgiving all-together. To be honest, I can't really relate to a normal Thanksgiving since ours involves over twenty people, a talent show and perhaps even an award ceremony. Yes.

until next time,

Thursday, November 5, 2009

No. 27

...just another reason to love living in NYC.

"The Yankees won. The world is right again."
- team president, Randy Levine.

until next time,

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Breathtaking Talent

First of all, I must give credit to Joanna Goddard for blogging about this first in her delightful "A Cup of Jo". I just couldn't resist sharing this with you!

Stephen Wiltshire, an autistic artist from London, has one very special talent: he draws cityscapes from memory. Wiltshire didn't completely learn how to talk until he was nine years old. He was diagnosed with autisim when he was three and until the age of five, he was completely mute. It was not until his teachers took away his art utensils as a way to encourage communication did Wiltshire speak. His first word? "Paper". Wiltshire, who is now thirty-five, recently took a helicopter ride over Manhattan that lasted only a matter of minutes. Afterwards, he sketched the entire NYC skyline completely from memory, proportionately drawing every building with a pen; this was his ninth panoramic work of a cityscape. The twenty feet of meticulous detailing, all from what he remembers, proves to be nothing short of an amazing & breathtaking talent. It is a gift that has earned him the title of the "leading architectural artist of the world".
images from Wiltshire's online gallery
As reported this morning in a Reuters news article, Wiltshire smiles and recalls the city as "the noises, the bright lights on Broadway". His personal website suggests that New York is his "spiritual home".
"I'm going to live in New York.
I've designed my penthouse on Park Avenue."
- Stephen Wiltshire
until next time,

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Today was bittersweet.

Today was the NYC Marathon -- and I was supposed to be running.

I have never really been the athletic type; I played field hockey at boarding school and it was probably the only time my family has ever seen me sweat (well, other than when I'm outlet shopping). Nonetheless, I decided to challenge myself to run the marathon with my work's charity team. I watched the race in '08 - if people with prosthetic legs could run it and if a blind man holding on a string attached to his friend could run it, then I could finish it.

BUT the big guy had another plan. I have something called genu recurvatum where my knees naturally hyperextend. I was approaching the sixth mile of a Saturday run when my knee completely gave way. I'm pretty sure my (lack of) leg muscles weren't used to the demand and my legs had been hyperextending for a mile or two. After my knee gave out I could barely walk. I hobbled at snail-speed and had to push myself up and down the subway stairs by the disgusting handrails I usually refuse to touch. (sidenote: I will never be angry at the slow-walkers again). I irritated the tendons on the inside of my knee and my doctor told me I either needed a cortisone shot or I couldn't run for six weeks. I asked for the shot - annnnd he refused to give it to me. It had to do with something about me being too young and not competing in the Superbowl the following day; I stopped listening when reality kicked in.

I rested, iced, compressed, elevated and repeated.
And repeated again.
To no immediate avail.

After a good amount of pouting and denial, I deferred my entry to next year. One of the hardest lessons to learn in life is realizing that things are out of your control. We set out and make plans for a week, a month, a year and even a lifetime and more often then not things happen in ways we don't ever imagine - let alone plan. So, yes, today was bittersweet. I loved watching the enthusiasm at mile 20 and cheering for my co-workers and friends. I loved high-fiving strangers and seeing children cheer on their parents with colorful posters. I loved the motivation that lifted my spirits for next year and with a tear that filled my eye (that I completely blame on the cold weather), I fell in love with this city all over again.

Congratulations to team Robinhood for finishing with great times and for raising over $25,000 to fight poverty in NYC!! I am so proud of you.

until next time (and until next year, mister marathon),


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let Me See That PUMPKIN Roll

Although I'm obviously somewhat of New Yorker now (own a Yankees tee and all), my roots are pure Southern. Where I come from, we use three main ingredients in our cooking: cheese, sugar, and buttah'. Lots and lots o' buttah'.

Here is a fam-favorite recipe that combines all three! It makes a perfect dessert for any holiday.

pumpkin roll

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

to do:
in large bowl, combine eggs and sugar, beating with an electric mixer until thick and light yellow in color. add pumpkin and lemon juice, mixing until blended.

in separate bow, combine flour, baking powder, spices and salt. add egg to mixture, mixing well. spread butter into greased and waxed-paper lined 10-by-15-inch jelly-roll pain.

bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. remove from oven. cool for 15 minutes. place cake on clean tea towel sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar. cool 10 minutes longer. from 10-inch side roll cake up in towel. set aside.

while cake is cooling in towel, prepare filling. beat together cream cheese and butter; stir in powdered sugar and vanilla and blend until smooth.

unroll cake. evenly spread filling over cake. roll up cake (without the towel). wrap in plastic wrap. cover and chill at least 1 hour. slice before serving. keep leftover slices refrigerated...if you have any leftovers, that is. enjoy!

until next time.

recipe from diana rattray

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Festivities

Here are some ideas for the little kids AND big kids for celebrating Halloween this year --
New York City style, of course:
If you're looking for a place to take the munchkins, check out "Halloween with the Dinosaurs" on October 31st from 2PM to 5PM at the American Museum of Natural History, located at 79th Street and Central Park West. Admission is $10 per person ($9 for museum members). Over thirty of the halls inside the museum will open for pumpkin carving, crafts & trick-or-treating. Plus, there will be live band performances and characters such as Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog. (Gosh, I'm happy that kids still know who those two are!)

If you prefer to venture out Friday night, take the kiddies to the Children's Museum located at 212 West 83rd Street near Broadway for their Halloween party. Regular admission applies.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum will have their Halloween "Spooktacular" on both Saturday the 31st and Sunday the 1st. Stilt walkers and interactive scarecrows ( greet you at the door. Face painting is from 11:00AM to 4:00PM and the magic shows (wait. magic shows?) are from 12:00PM to 2:00PM. Kids can also enjoy a haunted house and a pumpkin patch. As posted on their website, the first 100 kids who arrive on Oct 31st & Nov 1st will get a free trick-or-treat goody bag. RUN! Regular admission applies there as well.

So if you're a big kid and you want to attend something that will make you purchase a Hello Kitty nightlight in order to sleep, check out the tour of the Merchant's House Museum, built in 1832, located at 29 East 4th Street between Lafayette and the Bowery. It is the sole 19th century house in the city that is completely preserved - a landmark home to ninety percent of its original furnishings. According to their website, if you happen to have an "experience" with any ghosts during the tour, they ask that you please share it with the staff so they can add your tale to their collection. So, ya know, if you happen to get in a long political debate with a see-through person, write it down.

If you're up for a little candy corn-clubbin', click here for the long list of parties. Looks like many celebrities will be hosting this year including Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon, Real Housewives Kelly Bensimon & Jill Zarin, 30 Rock's Katrina Bowden, Tyson Beckford (sign me up!), O'Neal McKnight and DJ Josh Madden.

And finally, you can always watch the Halloween parade that goes up 6th Ave from Spring Street to 21st Street.

I lived in the village during the past two parades and I warn you, anything goes. (insert smiley face with BIG eyes). If you prefer to watch from a distance, it will also be broadcasted on NY 1 from 8-9:30PM.

May everyone have a fun and safe Halloween this weekend!

postscript: if you missed the nation's biggest dog parade in Tompkins Square Park last weekend, you can click here to see the guaranteed-to-put-a-grin-on-your-face photos.

until next time.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Have an Agenda Problem

Nope, I don't have trouble getting things done and keeping track of my agenda. Heck, that's my job - keeping the business agendas of my seven bosses straight. Yes, I said seven. You can call me Snow White.

Nope, I don't have bad intentions or any hidden agendas.

I have a problem when it comes to the tangible object called an agenda - otherwise known as a planner, datebook, diary, Filofax, calendar, myentirelifeinanotebook.
One of the many things I inherited from my mother is the need to make lists. Lots and lots of lists. For everything. I was the child that sat at the kitchen table and made up to-do's, including but not limited to: "figure out how to draw a giraffe, find a t-shirt to put on Baby Louie (my oversized-Himalayan-inbred-monster-of-a-cat. please note that I had more than one cat named Baby Louie as a child.), ask Mom if she can make cookies, brush Baby Louie, ***4pm - Home Improvement!" Little did I know that later in life the actual task of making such lists wouldn't be so fun since they involved things like paying bills and buying toilet paper (ya know, to put in the toilet room. heh.) Once life consisted of such responsibility I found myself on the constant search for the perfect system of organizing my life.
If I didn't write it down, I would... forget! *shudder*

Some people keep everything stored in their blackberrys, iphones, some type of PDA device -- totally not for me. Somewhere down the line I racked up quite a bit of bad karma with technology (I really need to stop cursing at the printer) and thus, the second I rely completely on any gadget to store my life it will completely die and everything will be lost forever including my sanity. So, I stick to some form of paper calendar - but how do you choose? Some are so gi-normous that you end up being the big oaf lugging around a planner that can't even fit in your purse. What's worse? A tiny planner. Like what the hell is THAT going to do? I see women pull out these itty bitty leather squares from their purses as if they're about to perform a magic trick ("watch it disappear between my fingers!"); they force the pages open and attempt to write their list in a miniature box . They can't even fit their palm on the page to hold it down and their fingers crumple up in pain in attempt to write "need milk". Yeah, it's cute. Yeah, it can fit in the inside pocket of your purse. But, can you actually read what you write down? That's what I thought.

After years of ditching datebooks & calendars only a few months into a year because they just weren't cutting it, I have finally found one that has made me happy all-the-livelong-year. Voila!

Look at all the pretty colors!
You can find these at Kate's Paperie. 9.25"x7"

In addition to monthly views, the planner also shows each week at-a-glance and provides pages for addresses/personal records/expenses and so much more. With plenty of room to keep straight all the million little details life contains, you simply can't go wrong.

You can also "snazz" it up by purchasing Henri Bendel's special edition of the agenda sold at their store.

(Okay, the one on top = tiny planner = dumb purchase that will give you carpel tunnel syndrome. I'm talking about the one on the bottom.) For 2010, they have patent red, a cream patent with a Bendel scene --- and a fabulous black sparkly version - that I may or may not have already purchased. Wink.
Agenda problem solved. Crisis averted.
until next time,
*pictures by glamour and kate's paperie

Monday, October 19, 2009

New York Cares, Do You?

This past Saturday was New York Cares Day. Volunteers all over the city came together to enhance one hundred and seventeen public schools by painting, cleaning, organizing & decorating. My friend, Anne, forwarded me information a couple months ago indicating that NY Cares was still looking for mural artists. I promptly sent in my registration, excited
to find a volunteer project that combined my love for art and my love for kids & education.
I must admit that I ended up putting forth much more time and effort into this project than I had anticipated. I spent many evenings reworking sketches for a principal that had a "fun technology-infused vision" he couldn't necessarily articulate. Despite that frustration and the five hours spent on a lonely Friday night sketching out images on walls whilst dangling from a ladder, I must also admit that this was one of the most rewarding experiences I've had in the city. (Okay, perhaps it's tied with the time a little ol' lady asked if I could hold her arm and walk with her 5 blocks, after which she insisted on giving me a lollipop that may or may not have been from 1972.)

After prepping the rooms/mixing colors early Saturday morning, a group of ten other volunteers helped me paint the two classrooms and by mid-afternoon the murals were complete.

Yes, it was a lot of work, but the simple fact that over 88,000 kids in New York City arrived at school this morning to find updated and cheerful learning spaces makes all of our efforts so very worth it. The herds of eager volunteers throughout that particular school - and throughout the entire city - proves just how much New York cares.

To learn more about New York Cares and how you can contribute, please go to

until next time,

Friday, October 16, 2009

I Hate My Radiator

First of all, welcome to my blog! I graduated from college in 2007 and am in the process of learning what it's like to be a grown-up, a triumph I highly recommend avoiding for as long as possible. I do not necessarily know all that I intend for this blog, but I hope it can at least provide a sort of "inside scoop" on my life as a young woman in New York City -- or better said, a little lady in the Big Apple.

Now on to more important things -- like how much I hate my radiator.

There comes a time each Fall in NYC when your landlord or superintendent deems the temperature cold enough to turn on the heat. On such day, you wake up circa 4:00AM to a very loud and disturbing noise. In your delirious state, you search your shoebox-size-of-a-room for the intruder you're certain has stolen your trusty tool bag (a gift you received from a concerned relative after you confessed you used a hot pink stiletto as a hammer), emptied its contents and gone to town with smacking every object in your vicinity in hopes of terrifying you before actually killing you.

If this is your first cold season in your city apartment, then it may take longer for you to realize that there is no actual intruder.

Good luck with that.

If this a repeated offense, it will soon dawn on you what is actually making that horrid noise.
Yep, it's that makeshift surface you've been using all summer as a strategic storage space.
Yep, it's that object under which you will never be able to keep clean no matter how hard you try.
Yep, it's located way too close to where you sleep.
Yep, it's your radiator.

In addition to the clanking and hissing radiator, you must also now avoid the few hot water pipes that run floor-to-ceiling in various nooks of your apartment. Normally, they are tucked away in places you don't usually go -- like that corner of the kitchen that has the weird smell you can never quite identify.

Or if you're like me, you may not be so lucky.

I recently moved into my own tiny apartment on the border of Chelsea and the West Village and although this is my third winter in NYC, it's my first in my new place. I really do love my apartment, but I do have to endure a bit of "quirkiness" in lieu of paying even more of a fortune for rent. One such quirk is the fact that I have a room with a purpose entirely dedicated to the toilet. Not surprisingly, I call this room "the toilet room". The bathroom, a completely separate room on the other side of the apartment, contains the shower and sink. The toilet room contains the toilet --- oh and four walls, one of which my legs are forced up against --- oh and suitably, a hot water pipe. Perhaps they (not really sure who they are, but someone had to do this to me) could have placed the hot water pipe behind the toilet or maybe they could have realized that the 2x3 foot room may not be the prime spot for a heat source. Undoubtedly they decided it would be more fun to think of us all roasting while using the loo. It's a surprise the landlord didn't advertise the layout as having a "toilet room and sauna all-in-one"! The hot water pipe runs inches from the built-in toilet paper dispenser, located directly next to where you already have to somehow position your legs. Not only do I now have to stumble up the two stairs and back in to the coffin-sized room every morning, I have to do so carefully so as not to burn myself on the scalding hot water pipe! You better not grab for the toilet paper too fast, ladies and gents, because that innocent-looking fixture WILL burn you. And with me being a "little lady", it's even more of a sight to see my 6'3" giant-of-a-boyfriend make such attempt.

So yes, I hate my clanking/banging/hissing/clicking radiator. And yes, I hate the not-so-conveniently placed hot water pipes. And if you're unfamiliar with anything other than central heating, you guessed it - I hate you too.

until next time,
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