Sunday, December 13, 2009

Have you missed me?

Hello lovelies!

I am terribly sorry that I haven't been active lately. Life has been more than a little crazy and I find myself having difficulty scheduling in "semi-important" things, such as....oh, say...sleeping and eating.

For those of you who don't know (which is probably most of you, since I rarely talk about anything personal) I work full-time and go to school at night. The semester is ending and finals are in progress...bleh. I may have bitten off more than I could chew this semester, but I hate the idea of taking four years to finish what could be done in two. You see, I don't have my Bachelor's degree yet. As per the norm, I started college right after high school and did fairly well at first. However, by my second year I began to flounder and lose direction. Finally, after a few personal incidents, I decided to "take a break", much to the consternation of my loved ones.

Fast-forward a few years and now I am a 26 year old sophomore student at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. For any of you in the NY metro area who are thinking about going back to school, I would definitely recommend checking out their website. They offer on-campus and online classes in a range of fields (I'm an International Business major), and have both degree and non-degree programs. So far, all of my professors have been great. The school is very sensitive to the plight of the working adult, and my classes contain students of all ages and backgrounds. It is a very supportive learning environment and I feel lucky to be able to complete my degree here. If you're interested and have any questions, feel free to send me a message!

So, if all goes well and I don't have a mini-breakdown by next week, I should be back to the normal blogging schedule (and then some) very soon.

Hope everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Astoria Merchant of the Week: krisTEES

Hello Lovelies!

It's (finally) time for the second installment of AMOTW! This week's merchant is none other than local fashion boutique, krisTEES, located on 23rd Avenue at 24th Street and owned by Astoria's own Kristie Foster-Chapman.

krisTEES has been in Astoria for just over three years now and it is loved by both life-long Astoria residents and more recent transplants (like yours truly). I've wandered in a few times and have always encountered friendly, knowledgeable service and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Kristie stocks her store with unique items, encompassing both modern and vintage inspirations, created by herself and a myriad of other local designers. She takes the time to work with her customers, making sure that they are fully satisfied with the quality and fit of their purchases. She is also great about maintaining constant communication, alerting her clientele via email of new collections and special promotions.

One such email caught my attention earlier this week. It advertised a special event called Shine 2009 and it promised to be a great night...

Well, I attended the event this evening and it totally delivered! Shine 2009 was fantastic, featuring not only brand new items for the holiday season, but also providing a venue for local artists and lesser-known designers.

The first thing that caught my eye, before even entering the store, was the elegant and graceful dancing of Hitomi Nozawa, a local singer and dancer. Her movements in the whimsical "Where The Wild Things Are" window display were eye-catching and delightfully unexpected, especially on the quiet, residential street on which krisTEES resides.

Upon entering, I was greeted with warm smiles from all sides and offered some much-needed refreshment. One of the shop attendants, and then Kristie herself, came over to me to walk me through the different displays and introduce me to the designers. Everyone was so friendly and happy to answer any questions I had. I fell in love with a particular coat by Mel en Stel, who may not have been present but was well-represented on the clothing racks. If I am not broke after my holiday shopping, you can bet I will be back to purchase it!

I also met two fantastic bag designers who make everything by hand. Anastasia of ASTRID took me through her creative process, describing how she thought of the unique designs of her handbags which combine fashion and function. I was a particular fan of the Sugi, a small versatile clutch. Her designs are available in an array of great colors (I'm partial to the purple)and provide a funky twist on stylish classics. Stop in at krisTEES to view color swatches in order to customize your very own!

I promised myself that I would only shop for other people. Ha! Those good intentions flew right out the window when I saw the handbags of the second designer, Pamela Kay. All of her creations are one of a kind and absolutely gorgeous. Most of you know that I love all things vintage and vintage inspired, and these purses are no exception. Just check out the little beauty that I treated myself to!

In addition to all of these incredible finds, I was also fortunate to view the work of Asami Hotta. She is an Astoria-based artist who uses antique jewelry to create custom, one-of-a-kind pieces. She does not have a website up yet, but trust me when I say that her work is beautiful. If you're interested, I would suggest stopping in at krisTEES or sending Asami an email.

If you didn't get a chance to attend Shine 2009, there will be another event on December 15th at the Brick Cafe (31st Avenue). Pamela Kay and Asami Hotta will be there, and once I hear further information I will be sure to share. I definitely recommend stopping in to check out some of these beautiful items!

All in all, krisTEES is a fabulous and unique Astoria staple for the fashion-conscious. I look forward to attending more events and seeing what other terrific products Kristie has to offer!

24-01 23rd Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105
T: (718) 204-5031
Store Hours:
Wednesday-Saturday, 12:00PM - 8:00PM
Sunday, 12:00PM - 6:00PM

Monday, November 23, 2009

In Memoriam

Today it has been 7 years since my grandmother passed away. My memories, like photographs, are beginning to fade around the edges, but I will never forget everything that made her beautiful: her laughter, her unconditional love, her fierce loyalty, her strength of character, her ability to put anyone at ease, and her genuine joy in having her loved ones all around her.

I miss you every day, Nanni.

Mira Ann Ritchie
April 7th, 1941 - November 23rd, 2002

Over in Killarney,
Many years ago,
Me mither sang a song to me
In tones so sweet and low.
Just a simple little ditty,
In her good ould Irish way,
And I’d give the world if she could sing
That song to me this day.
Hush, now don’t you cry!
That’s an Irish lullaby.
Oft, in dreams I wander
To that cot again,
I feel her arms a huggin’ me
As when she held me then.
And I hear her voice a humin’
To me as in days or yore,
When she used to rock me fast asleep
Outside the cabin door.
Hush, now don’t you cry!
That’s an Irish lullaby...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Astoria Merchant Of The Week - Salon Tiara

So, I thought I would start a little weekly post that gives kudos to particularly awesome Astoria merchants. There are so many great business around here and I would really like to show my support, in addition to my patronage. :)

This week's AMOTW is Salon Tiara on 31st Street at 23rd Avenue.

Photo Credit: Wikipages

When I first moved here to Astoria, I was saddened to have to give up my usual nail salon back home in Long Island. One Saturday morning I decided to finally journey out in search of a replacement, and lo and behold, I found Salon Tiara.

First of all, the atmosphere is very warm and welcoming. Everyone greets you with a smile as soon as you walk in the door. The walls are painted in soft shades of purple and funky little chandeliers hang from the ceiling. Brightly colored flowers and cutely decorated books detailing the salon's many services adorn the available surfaces.

It is a very feminine place, but not overpoweringly so. Sue, the sweet and helpful owner, is very adamant about promoting a non-judgemental and comfortable atmosphere for both women AND men. In fact, every time I've been there, I have seen men of all ages indulging in massages, manicures, and pedicures, sometimes alone and sometimes with their wives or girlfriends.

The staff is friendly and professional. The space and equipment are clean and they definitely made sure to get the most out of a limited space. The quality of their work is great - trust me, I'm very particular about how my nails are done. They offer a wide range of typical salon services at reasonable prices, as well as a selection of specialty spa pedicures. For my birthday in September, I treated myself to the Tropical Fantasy legs and feet have never felt so soft.

All in all, Salon Tiara is THE place to go if you are in the mood to royally pamper yourself and not break the bank.

Salon Tiara
23-02 31st Street
Astoria, NY 11105
T: (718) 204-1527
Typical Services:
Manicure - $8
Pedicure - $15
15-Minute Chair Massages - $15

Saturday, November 21, 2009

If at first you don't succeed...

...order Thai.

Unfortunately, that was how my first Sunday cooking experiment went. I had meant to post this story a bit earlier, but the past week has been crazy thanks to work and school. The semester is winding down and finals are right around the

I had wanted to cook something that felt like Autumn, so I spent a lot of time looking through various recipe websites and cookbooks before settling on a recipe by Jamie Oliver. I like Jamie, and that accent of his is adorable (which is obviously a reason to pick his recipe), so I figured, "Hey, why not?" and made my shopping list.

That list should have been the first warning sign that things wouldn't go as planned. First item on the list: leeks. Now I vaguely remembered having eaten leeks before, but hell if I knew what they were. So, first order of business was looking up pictures via Google, and instructions on how to prepare them. Easy enough to find, I thought. Look for the long green things with the white thingy on the bottom.


Anyway, I made the rest of the list without looking up anything else, which would later come back to bite me in the gluteus maximus, grabbed my my little red grocery cart and was out the door.

Oh, did I mention that it was already about 5PM by the time I left the apartment? Yeah, not very smart of me. Apparently my time management for anything to do with my personal life just stinks.

I went to Key Foods on 31st Street, where I figured I could find most of the ingredients on my list. First up was the fruit and veggie section. What I want to know is why leeks have to look so much like dandelion greens? I mean, come on, really? Finally, I asked an associate to help me verify that I had selected the right leafy green thing before moving on. The poultry section has been picked over pretty well, but I managed to find a nice pack of skinless, boneless breasts...which, Boyfriend later told me, were the wrong ones. I also needed shelled and roasted chestnuts to fold into the puff pastry for the topping, but could not find them and instead thought that I could just sub in crushed walnuts.

Finally, it was time to look for creme fraiche. I would like to point out that this is a VERY misleading name, for what it actually is. Now, every time I've had it, it has been with a dessert. So...naturally, I used my method of reasoning and decided that it had to be in the whipped cream family...only, I couldn't find it. The clock was winding down, and I wanted to get back home and start cooking before Boyfriend arrived home from work, so I became desperate. Seeing no other options that seemed rational (to me, anyway) I grabbed the first thing I could think of...Cool Whip.

No, I'm not joking. It's okay, I'll pause while you laugh. I heard that little snort of yours. Go on.

Is it out of your system yet? Good.

Yes, I grabbed a container of Cool Whip, paid, and headed home to get started. Just as I was prepping the kitchen to cook, Boyfriend called to see how things were going. I told him about my "hunting" expedition and what my plans were, sounding slightly shrill and quite stressed, since at this point it was almost 7PM. I casually mentioned how I couldn't find proper creme fraiche and a decided to use Cool Whip instead. There was silence on the phone. "You're joking, right?" was the response. I told him that I wasn't joking, and why did he ask?

There was a clatter on the other end of the line, and then a loud, whooping laughter.

He came back on the line and, in a very choked voice, proceeded to tell me that creme fraiche was actually related to sour cream.


Well, I bucked up, thanked him very stiffly for the information (what can I say, I'm not a good sport when I'm embarrassed) and decided to see if I could just make the dish without the creme fraiche.

I put everything together, began combining ingredients...only to discover that I had completely forgotten the turkey meat at the grocery store.

All I can say is....thank goodness for Wave Thai.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Lovelies, this is a departure from my usual subject matter. I welcome any further discussion, comments, and insight.

I was going through old MySpace posts, saving into Word the ones I wanted to keep and deleting the rest. Most of them are just collections of quotes or small little blurbs about random things I barely remember. However, one post in particular struck me. It was about Toxic-Niceness and how being "too nice" can be detrimental to your own happiness and well-being. It's something that I find myself still struggling with on a day-to-day basis. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, but there is a vast difference between being nice and being a doormat. Every day I find myself apologizing to someone who doesn't deserve it, many times people I don't even know. For instance, today while walking along the subway platform I was shoulder-checked by a hurried Wall Street-looking stereotype, and what did I do? I said, "Oops, I'm sorry." The guy didn't even give me a backward glance and my shoulder still hurts, hours later.

You all know that I adore all things vintage, but the nice thing about being born towards the end of the 20th century is that I get to pick and choose which aspects of the prior generations' culture that I want to retain.

I choose: the style, the fashion, the classiness, the femininity

I do not choose: the chauvinism, the ideal of a "seen-and-not-heard" woman, the automatic female response to shut up and smile

I fully believe that I can embrace my femininity and still say what's on my mind. The two are not mutually exclusive!

This is a promise to myself; one that I hope you have made/will make for yourselves, as well.

I. Refuse. To. Be. Toxic-Nice.

Old Post:

My sister got me this great book for my birthday. It's called "Getting In Touch With Your Inner Bitch." Sort of along the lines of "Kiss My Tiara." I love it. It has a great collection of stories and quotes and it really makes a woman stop and think. I realized I needed something like that after noticing how many times people slam into me in the subway and I am the one to apologize. Today was prime example. WHY was I so scared to tell my employers that I was accepting a better offer? I'm always apologizing for everything, always worrying about other people's feelings, never asking for what I want and trying not to be a bother. It's exhausting. So...fuck it. I'm not doing it anymore. I don't want to be Toxic-Nice anymore. I can still be friendly and generally nice, but I'm done with being timid and apologetic. If you don't make yourself happy, no one else is going to do it for you.

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

"A young lady is a female child who has just done something dreadful." ~Judith Martin

"Remember that always dressing in understated good taste is the same as playing dead." ~Susan Catherine

"She was a perfect lady - just sat in her seat and stared." ~Eudora Welty

"I didn't want to be a boy, ever, but I was outraged that his height and intelligence were graces for him and gaucheries for me." ~Jane Rule

"I got desperate and went to one of those expensive matchmakers. She was so romantic: 'You've got to get a guy on the hook. You reel him in slowly.' I asked, 'When do I fillet him?' I don't know much more about relationships, but I can run a fish and chips shop." ~Maura Kennedy

"The word 'lady': most often used to describe someone you wouldn't want to talk to for even five minutes." ~Fran Lebowitz

"I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass." ~Maya Angelou

"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got." ~Anonymous

"No woman is all sweetness." ~Mme. Recamier

"After a while, Toxic Niceness begins to feel like that slightly too-tight pair of jeans we sometimes insist on wearing - it might look great to everyone else, but it's hard to sit in for an entire day." ~Elizabeth Hilts

"If you only try to please others, you're going to resent those people you're trying to please, the ones who are often closest to you. If you choose a patht hat you yourself want to take, then you're going to be much kinder to the people in your life." ~Sarah McLachlan

"The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says 'It's a girl.'" ~Shirley Chisholm

"Show me a woman who doesn't feel guilty and I'll show you a man." ~Erica Jong

"If you're saddled by the need to know the outcome before you set out, you limit your possibilities." ~Janet Carlson Freed

"Nobody's interested in sweetness and light." ~Hedda Hopper

"I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific." ~Lily Tomlin

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap." ~Cynthia Heimel

"There have been women in the past far more daring than we would need to be now, who ventured all and gained a little, but survived after all." ~Germaine Greer

"Toxic Niceness asks, 'Do you like me?' The Inner Bitch asks, 'Do I like you?'" ~Elizabeth Hilts

"Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get." ~George Bernard Shaw

"I feel there are two people inside me - me and my intuition. If I go against her, she'll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely." ~Kim Basinger

"Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of somebody else." ~Judy Garland

"Being a sex symbol has more to do with attitude, not looks. Most men think it's looks, most women know otherwise." ~Kathleen Turner

"You only start being called bitch when you become successful." ~Judith Regan

"Life's a bitch and then they call you one." ~Mary Frances Connelly

"Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-groomed and unaggressive." ~Leslie McIntyre

"We're our own worst enemy a lot of the time, but I still blame men." ~Janeane Garofalo

"When I was eighteen, nineteen, twenty, I would see a woman baking cookies, or toting around a bunch of kids, or wearing lipstick and a tight dress, and I'd think, 'Oh please, baby - liberate yourself." I've come to realize...who am I to decide what women's liberation looks or smells like?" ~Ani DiFranco

"Women complain about PMS, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself." ~Roseanne Barr

"Love me in full being." ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

"If sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities, it's because they lead to the knowledge that you own your own body (and with it your own voice), and that's the most revolutionary insight of all." ~Erica Jong

"Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We're not inherently anything but human." ~Robin Morgan

"There's a study in Maine that found if you marry someone who doesn't appreciate you, tries to control you, and always has to be right, you may be unhappy. They also discovered that going without water for long periods of time makes you thirsty." ~Caroline Rhea

"Don't fake orgasms. It's completely ill-spent use of your energy, particularly if you ever want to have a real one." ~Elizabeth Hilts

"The effect of eating too much lettuce is soporific." ~Beatrix Potter

"Nobody's last words are 'I wish I'd eaten more rice cakes.'" ~Amy Krouse Rosenthal

"When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying somethiing, I say it." ~Madonna

"God made a very obvious choice when he made me voluptuous; why would I go against what he decided for me? My limbs work, so I'm not going to complain about the way my body is shaped." ~Drew Barrymore

"Oh honey, I would....but I don't want to." Karen Walker, Will and Grace

"In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman." ~Margaret Thatcher

"Sex and race, because they are easy visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups, and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends." ~Gloria Steinem

"Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting." ~Katharine Hepburn

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." ~Bill Cosby

"I've had the same goal ever since I was a girl: I want to rule the world." ~Madonna

"I was raised to believe that excellence is the best deterrent to racism or sexism. And that's how I operate my life." ~Oprah Winfrey

"Sure God created man before creating woman. But then you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece." ~Anonymous

Thursday, November 12, 2009

An Italian State of Mind

Please pardon the title. I've been listening to a LOT of Billy Joel lately. I guess it's my Long Island blood manifesting itself.

So, Boyfriend and I were talking about films a few days ago and it came out that I had never seen any of "The Godfather" movies. You'd think he would have known that already, considering that we've been in a relationship for almost NINE YEARS, but apparently not. He was shocked and demanded that we watch the first movie as soon as possible...which turned out to be last night.

I guess it goes without saying that it's a fantastic movie. I mean, wow...intense much? I don't think I've ever felt my Italian/Sicilian roots (25%) so keenly. However, I do have to admit that, thanks to pop culture (a.k.a. Family Guy, You've Got Mail), I pretty much knew the entire plot of the movie, plus the all key quotes. Still, I enjoyed it thoroughly and am looking forward to watching Part II.

I guess all the talk about finally watching "The Godfather" trilogy put Boyfriend and I in the mood for Italian food. We had it three times in the last two days, and for a gal who has been eating nothing but salad all week, it was AMAZING!

On Friday night, we hit up Vesta (30th Avenue at 21st Street). I really love that place, but I wish the location was a little more convenient. Like Tournesol, the seating area is a little small, so be prepared for a wait if your party is larger than two people. Being a wine bar, it is definitely a night scene and the volume gets loud after about 9:00PM. I wouldn't recommend it as a quiet, romantic setting, but it's a great, laid-back place to go with friends and the food is fantastic.

We started with a bottle of Vermentino "Costamolino" 2007. I had the Roasted Butternut & Acorn Squash Soup (delicious!), followed by the Free Bird Half Roasted Chicken with Maitake mushrooms & olive oil mashed potatoes. The chicken was a little salty, which was necessary to give the skin a nice, crunchy crust, but unfortunately the saltiness carried over to the mushrooms. To be fair, this is probably a one-time thing, because friends of mine who have had the same dish before have not complained. It was still a great dish overall and the leftovers reheated nicely later that night.

Please excuse the quality of the pictures. I'm saving up for a better camera!

Butternut Squash Soup

Free Bird Half Roasted Chicken

I *should* have documented Boyfriend's meal, but I had tunnel vision after having nothing but rabbit food for days on end. It's lucky that I even had the presence of mind to photograph my own food...presence of mind that went clear out the window when it was time for dessert. I had read rave reviews about the La Torta del Piccolo Bambino Gesu Christo, a.k.a. "The Baby Jesus Cake."

Holy Cake, Batman!

Boyfriend is lucky he got a bite. It was unbelievably good. The top was sweet and crisp, the inside warm and moist. There was fresh whipped cream on the side and warm butterscotch sauce drizzled all over the heavenly slice. The wine, food, and atmosphere is enough to keep me going back again and again, but I'd be a liar if I didn't admit that the Baby Jesus Cake will be the main reason.

To continue with the Italian trend, we went to Il Bambino
(31st Avenue at 34th Street). Technically the café is influenced by both Italian and Spanish tradition, but it suits my purposes. It's a warm, casual place with a nice wine menu and delicious food options. Those of you that are following me on Twitter may have read my tweet raving about their prosciutto, gorgonzola dolce, and fig spread panini. It was a joy to eat. Boyfriend had the speck panini with apricot butter and taleggio. Both were perfect antidotes for the cold, rainy day. I didn't have wine (though I will be exploring their list on my next visit), but I did try their hot chocolate (yum!). The café has a nice array of baked goods, which are displayed at the front in a tantalizing manner.

Finally, Boyfriend and I have been looking for a favorite pizza place in the area. We absolutely love Sac's over on Broadway. Their coal oven pizza is fantastic and I'm particularly partial to their cheese pie with sautéed Portobello mushrooms in white wine. However, the problem is that their delivery is inconsistent. Last time I order, I waited an hour and a half and received cold pizza. Sac's is a place I will definitely frequent for great food, but I have removed it from my Delivery list. Last night, Boyfriend and I tried Alba's Pizza. A friend recommended it and I was pleasantly surprised. You can order online, for those of you who, like me, are adverse to picking up a phone. The food was here in less than 20 minutes and it tasted like good, solid, NY pizza place food. It was just what we needed to enjoy "The Godfather", in all its Italian glory.

Well, lovelies, I'm off to finish my errands for the day and finish the grocery shopping. Tonight is my first "Practice Sunday Dinner" and I still need to figure out what a leek is, let alone what one looks like. Do you feel sorry for Boyfriend yet?

Monday, November 9, 2009

T.G.I.M.! Oh, wait...

Hello Lovelies! Happy Monday!

Well, as you may have guessed, I survived that housewarming party on Saturday night. It was a close call, but I actually managed to get everything on my list finished. I hung the last framed picture about 10 minutes before the first guest showed, but that still counts, right? And, best of all, a cohesive theme seems to have emerged out of my decorating! I don't know what to call it exactly, but's a theme!

I even threw together some nifty flower arrangements, which was incredibely easy. It was really just a matter of picking the colors I wanted and the right "filler" (ex. Baby's Breath). I went to Astoria Flower Mart on 31st Street at 23rd Avenue, right under the NW tracks. The owners are very nice people and extremely helpful, but it was definitely more money than I anticipated for loose flowers. I think I'll stick to using them for more special occasions. If you're in the area, I'd suggest going over to 30th Avenue. There are a few markets that sell very pretty and inexpensive bouqets that can easily be taken apart, trimmed, and re-arranged.

This one was my favorite, but the daisies are beginning to wilt already. I'm trying to prolong them by refrshing the water every day, so we'll see how long they last.I just love the yellow and red colors; they really pop against the blue of my living room walls!

For this vase, I had originally wanted sunflowers. The bookshelf is at the top of my staircase and I have yet to find a piece of art to go above it. Until then, I like to get tall stalks to really make a statement. I think these worked out well. Plus, I love the purple-blue color!

When I eventually get married, this is what I want my bridal bouqet to look like. I love the Autumn look of roses and leaves. The orange makes a nice contrast with the green table, which actually happens to be a refurbished sewing table that I found at an antique shop in the Poconos last summer.

Unfortunately, I do not have any food pictures to show off...mainly because I was banned from the kitchen. I swear, my cooking isn't that bad! Boyfriend developed a menu and he is a bit of a Kitchen Nazi...meaning there was no time or room for me to bake the cookies I had finally settled on. Maybe that's for the best...hmm.

In other news, I received a FABULOUS delivery in the mail today!

My vintage Salt & Pepper shakers from By The Tire Swing! I had the AMAZING honor of having the first purchase on their Etsy boutique. I received a lovely little thank you note, and the shakers were wrapped so nicely! These ladies are defnitely a class act and I would recommend checking them out for your holiday shopping. Kudos to Harlow Monroe for alerting me to this fantastic find via Twitter!

The shakers now have a lovely new home!

Last but not least (for this post anyway), I wanted to express my gratitude for those of you who have been sending me such kind words of support and motivation. You have no idea how much it means to me! So...

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

That's all for now! Have a wonderful night!

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Our greatest weakness is giving up."

Oh yeah, Thomas Edison?

Well something tells me that you didn't spend two and half hours of your life taking an online midterm for MacroEconomics, only to have the whole thing lost when you clicked "submit".

Okay, so maybe I'm not giving up exactly, but I sure am indulging in the fantasy. I did manage to retake the whole test, thanks to notepad full of scribbled calculations from the first round. Seriously, though...what kind of system administers a timed exam without an autosave feature, while logging you out due to inactivity? Not cool.

Okay, I'm done whining, I promise. I've just been letting the stress of school and work get to me. This blog is supposed to be my escape!

I hope everyone had a fantastic Halloween! Mine was rather quiet, but nice. Boyfriend got out of work early, so we took a nice walk around Ditmars Blvd and saw some great costumes. Apparently all the trick-or-treaters were skipping houses and heading right to the businesses. That's where the REAL loot is!

We ended up hitting Watawa (3310 Ditmars Blvd, Astoria, at 34th Street) for dinner, which never fails to impress me. There are probably about 4 or 5 sushi places within three block radius, but Watawa definitely surpasses them. They always have the freshest ingredients and their menu has a pretty wide selection. Their prices are about mid-range as far as sushi places go, but atleast I know I won't get food poisoning! If you live in the Astoria/LIC area, I would definitely recommend stopping by. They have a nice atmosphere for dining in, and they also do take-out and delivery.

Sunday was a bit more hectic, but I decided it would be the perfect time to finally use my crockpot. I've had it for a few years now and I'm pretty sure Boyfriend has used it once or twice, but I tend to shy away from anything that combines technology and cooking. Bad things are bound to follow.

So, I pulled the evil-looking contraption down, washed off the cake of dust, and proceeded to check the internet for crockpot recipes. I found this great, simple one for Chicken Marsala and figured I could do it with no problem. So, I journied out to Key Foods and picked up all the ingredients. When I got home, I threw everything together, browned the chicken...maybe a little too much...and tossed it in the crockpot. Finally, it was time to add the Marsala wine. I eyed the enormous jug I picked up at my local WIne & Spirits store and retrieved my old friend, the corkscrew. I figured I wouldn't bother with the crazy wrapping covering the bottle, instead deciding the just stick the screw in the top and go to town. one told me that Marsala wine bottles don't have corks. I was a bit surprised when the corkscrew went through so easily, but when it came right out (sans cork) during retraction, I began to grow suspicious. It was then that I made the brilliant decision to unwrap the bottle.

Oh boy. Well, the bottle was a manner of speaking. It was then that I realized I would have to make the enormous sacrifice to drink bottle of wine with a screw cap to replace the damaged cap on the Marsala. It was a tough job, but someone would have to do it. Luckily I had picked up a bottle of Pacific Rim Dry Riesling! Mmmmm...

All the ingredients were finally combined, but it was already nearing 3:30pm. The recipe called for six hours of slow cooking on Low, which would NOT work for me since Boyfriend was due home at 8pm and I wanted to appear all domestic in my apron with dinner waiting on the table. I decided, in a moment of pure genius, to cook the chicken on High for three hours. Who needs directions from more experienced people? Not I! Live dangerously!

Except that living dangerously means your sauce never quite attains the right consistency and your chicken breast dries out ever so slightly. It was still edible, but definitely not what I wanted to present on my first try. I guess you live and learn, but I definitely won't be making any executive decisions in the kitchen for a while.


On a lighter note, I just bought the greatest vintage 1960's suitcase from the Harlow Monroe Vintage Boutique on Etsy. Kudos to NodToModVintage for alerting me via Twitter! I owe you one! It reminds me of the one my grandmother had in the 1960's and I can't wait to receive it. I'll share pics when it arrives. It has definitely set the mood to daydream about classy, cruise outfits. ;) Maybe in April...

Well, Blogosphere, it's time for me to go crash and burn. Sweet dreams to all!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, Blogosphere!

I wish that I could get trick-or-treaters. I live in an upstairs apartment with no doorbell or intercom, so all of the adorable little candy-munchers are dependant on my downstairs neighbor. Poor kids.

So last night was date night with Boyfriend. It's pretty sad that we see eachother less, now that we're living together, than we did when we lived with our parents. I work full-time and attend classes at night, and he is at the mercy of restaurant industry hours. Friday night has become the "do-not-make-other-plans-or-suffer-the-silent-treatment" night, aka date night.

We went to Tournesol on Vernon Blvd in LIC. It's the second time we've been there, and I absolutely love it. It's usually pretty packed, so if you go in with a party larger than 2, you may have a little bit of a wait....but the food is well worth it. We shared the Homemade Terrine of Duck Liver appetizer and a bottle of Bourgogne Pinot Noir Antonin Rodet 2006. Boyfriend had the Hanger Steak, which looked and tasted incredible, and I had the Beef Bourguignon special (a-ma-zing). Of course I , being the sugar addict that I am, saved plenty of room for dessert: the Creme Brulee with Tahitian Vanilla Beans. I felt like I died and went to French-food heaven. Seriously, if my wallet and waistline would permit, I'd eat there every night. Boo to not being independantly wealthy with a crazy fast metabolism.

I also got to strut my stuff last night in new shoes from ModCloth.

Library Stacks Heels, $37.99
They were very comfortable, and the heel was the perfect height. I'm not a girl who can walk around normally in sky high shoes with super-skinny heels...I'd break my ankle in a heartbeat.

ModCloth is fast becoming one of my favorite websites to shop. The prices are reasonable, the designs are great, and then run fantastic deals and sales. I also received two more pairs of shoes I had ordered (pictured below) and I am dying to test them out.

Candy Apple Heels, $42.99

Proud Mary Janes in Tina, $34.99

I'll let you know what I think of them. I'm so excited!

Well, I must be off. I have to run some lovely errands (drycleaners, pharmacy) and I've procrastinated enough. Later, I'm giving myself homework: pouring through every cookbook I have in my house to figure out what I'm making for next week's housewarming/cocktail party. As always, recommendations are welcome.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Greetings, World!

I've wanted to write a blog for such a long time, but there were always (mental) road blocks. I could never figure out a cohesive theme and I often wondered if anyone would actually want to read what I have to say. So, I put it on the back burner...until today.

I was sitting in my office, worrying over the impending first party at the new apartment and thinking about how I am so not prepared, when I started wishing I could just vent my concerns and get some feedback. Does that sound narcissistic? I mean, what is a blog but a journal that can be shared? So, I created an account with Blogger and here I am! I am eager so see where this goes. With any luck, I'll meet some interesting people and share/receive some interesting stories and advice!

The ongoing joke in my family is that I'm domestically disabled. In fact, the first Anne Taintor (I'm a big fan) item I was ever given was the "Domestically Disabled" mug.

I guess it just clicked. My life is an ongoing misadventure of domestic mishaps.
Looking forward to sharing. :)