December 31, 2012

Happy New Year's Eve

Pin It now! May all your dreams come true tonight, whether it's out partying like a rock star or at home watching the ball drop on tv in your new pajamas you got for Christmas.  See you on the other side.

December 26, 2012

Feast of the Seven Fishes

Pin It now! For Christmas Eve this year, Michael cooked us a feast, literally.  As an Italian tradition, Christmas Eve is all about fish and seafood and a lot of families make a big feast of fish stew, baccala, stuffed clams, etc.  Michael made EVERYTHING (and I made the salad - yeah, I helped!).
Bacon-wrapped scallops
Mini crab cakes
Steamer Clams
Lobster and Fish Cakes
Shrimp Cocktail
Soup & Salad
Fish Stew
Mixed Green Salad with Apples and Candied Walnuts
Main Course
Crab Stuffed Halibut
Lobster Ravioli with Lobster Wine Sauce

There were only six of us and there were certainly more than seven fishes, but we ate everything (even though the meal lasted over five hours) and were beyond full.  We ended the night with a mouth-watering raspberry and chocolate mousse cake from Martha's Country Bakery.  I liked how Christmas was quieter this year with less traveling.  It gave us more time to drink, talk, eat, and be merry. 


December 24, 2012

Christmas Cookies & Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Pin It now! This holiday season, I think we did well trying to stretch it out as long as could.  We started by making Christmas cookies - my Mom and I have been trying to make this an annual tradition.  We used the same gingerbread cookie recipe from a couple of years ago, and after a disastrous first attempt at sugar cookies (which turned into giant cookie the size of a sheet pan), we went back to basics and used Alton Brown's recipe.  My favorite was the gingerbread, but it seemed like the linzer-like sandwich cookies were the hit this year.

Michael and I also hosted an ugly Christmas sweater party this year at a bar down the street.  It was hilarious and some people were really creative (uh, pinning Santas where you don't usually pin Santas), while others borrowed sweaters from their mother-in-laws.  We held a contest where the bar staff chose their favorite - Justin's grossly oversized snowman sweater won, with Greg's original 1980's Pierre Cardin sweater coming in second.  Everyone was a little surprised Trish's homemade, Christmas-lit, music-playing, ornament-adorned sweater didn't win, but there's always next year.  There were a lot more funny and funky sweaters, but I don't think I got all of them.  Again, next year.

December 20, 2012

As my heart is pierced, Oh my soul is now exposed...

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So let your heart hold fast
For this too shall pass
There's another hill ahead

They played this Fort Atlantic song at the end of How I Met Your Mother this week and it was for a happy and joyous scene, but the moment I heard it, I couldn't help thinking how appropriate it is to describe the tragedy that happened last week in Newtown. It's an amazing song, but I cried like a baby after listening to it again and all my heart hurts remembering all the faces of the children that were taken way too early. Since it's almost Christmas, go out and squeeze your loved ones, especially your babies, really close.

December 12, 2012


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Today's date and it's distinctness won't happen again in our lifetimes - the next time the stars align will be Jan. 1, 2101.  So hopefully you're enjoying this fab day (and watching the 12.12.12 Concert for Sandy tonight!) and don't take it for granted.  Just like last year, here are 12 random and wonderful things that come to mind to remind me how special today (and every other day) is.   In no particular order...
  1. Breakfast for dinner.
  2. Discovering how Elf on a Shelf works (and thinking it's a little creepy) but still completely fascinated even though I don't have kids.
  3. Taco truck crawl and the fact that you can do that in my gentrified neighborhood.
  4. Hurricane Sandy - just remembering how devastating a storm can be but reminiscing how wonderful this city and the Jersey shore can be too, growing up and today as people rebuild.
  5. My Mom becoming emotional after my brother, sister and I each sent her a photo of our Christmas trees this year.  She was so happy we each are keeping up with her Christmas spirit and tradition, even if it's only a small bit of what she's done.
  6. The Happiness Project. (Just do it)
  7. Songs you hear again that bring you back to where you first heard them.  This one plays on the radio all the time and brings me back to our Dominican Republic trip earlier this year (they played it all day long and all I imagine are sun, beach and pina coladas).
  8. Zombies and disaster preparedness. 
  9. How amazed I always become at this fabulous city.  Staring out my 37th floor office kitchen pantry and looking north to see the entire island of Manhattan, Staten Island, and my apartment building in Brooklyn (pretty cool).  Jason Mraz's comment at his concert the other night that he was in MSG - even fab artists are proud to perform in NYC's MSG for the first time.
  10. Navigating the challenges in being myself while moving out of my comfort zone at my new job.  
  11. Hearing a full stadium chant "Brook-lyn, Brook-lyn" at the new Barclays Center for the new Brooklyn Nets.  How does a team become cool by simply crossing the river?
  12. The Hipsterbread Couple made me giggle today.
photo source

November 23, 2012

Happy Black Friday

Pin It now! I planned on waking up "early" today and will do a little shopping before heading into work. Wish me luck! Go stimulate the economy!

November 7, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Pin It now! It's been over a week since Sandy came through the area and although things are starting to get back to normal, there's a whole lot of devastation.  There's really no other way of describing all the destruction, ruin, tears, lives lost and lives displaced.  My office (of my new job!) is now downtown (and I'll leave how dearly I miss Midtown for another time) and because of the flooding and blackout, I was out of work for over a week.  Most of my time was spent watching the endless TV coverage of the storm.  It was like a car accident - I wanted to turn it off, but couldn't stop watching.  I felt like I had to tweet and FB all the updates I saw to others who didn't have power (or a house anymore) and send through messages of how massive the lost and destruction was.  Our building luckily was spared and didn't lose power, but it was still scary and surreal Monday night when the East River surged and sent water all the way to Kent Ave.  The next morning there was an actual rainbow over Manhattan.  I don't really get Mother Nature's sense of humor.

I'm particularly sad about how the Jersey shore is no more.  It's sad to see the places where you spent your youth completely gone.  I know that they'll rebuild, but when you see the entire Seaside boardwalk gone, it's hard for me not to reminiscence about spending the weekend after junior prom there or all the times Jenn and I went out there in high school during our Friday nights.

 (A neighbor's photos of the Rockaways and Staten Island)

There was a little levity in all of this though.  SNL had a hilarious sketch showing Mr. Robotic Bloomberg and his now-famous signer, along with Christie and a Jersey equivalent.  Yeah, sometimes you gotta laugh a little bit.

Oh, and there was an election.  All I can say is Yes!

October 23, 2012

Philly, Pats v. Geno's, Terror Behind the Walls

Pin It now! An all-in-one-day trip.  Pat's won over Geno's.  Annie got to see the Liberty Bell for the first time.  We made a pit stop at the Reading Terminal, but I missed the Amish pickles again. The ladies were left behind in the haunted prison hallway while the guys ran ahead. 


October 8, 2012

Our Weekends....Lately

Pin It now! Driving under gorgeous skies to NJ to celebrate Pete's 40th birthday. His sister added a few signs on his lawn to make sure everyone knew it was his birthday.

The dumpling eating contest was in our hood this year.  The men's winner ate 74 and the women's 46.  Gross! 

Bellydancing with neighbors.  Neighbors opening a new Italian cafe with coffee and delicious pastries.  It was a soft opening this weekend and the official opening day is coming really soon.

Spending a beautiful afternoon brunching and shopping with my sister.


September 27, 2012

Affordable Balloon Photography Prints

Pin It now! I've been trying to find some art to go over our console in the living room.  Right now it's a couple of frames with decorative paper.  It's ok, but a little too small - it would be better if the scale of the piece was correct.  I've been struggling with what I want exactly, but I think I might have found something that I might like for more than two seconds.  I saw this photo print by Youngna Park in 20x200, but a larger print is $1,200!

WAY out of budget.  I found a few alternatives from though that might just work.  My favorite so far is the first one, but which one do you like best?
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