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,


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...