Friday, July 29, 2011

on the touristy spots the locals like.

via here.
last night my company had our summer outing and, much to my chagrin, we took a boat out on the hudson. (you can look at this post to see why i have chagrin, and yes, the shipwreck post is coming soon. get excited). let's just say boats are not my thing.

we sailed down to the tip of manhattan and got right up next to the statue of liberty. when i was intern i used to watch the sun rise and set over lady liberty, and it was the first time in my life i felt like i had "made it". (i was wrong. but hey, i appreciate the memory). the statue of liberty is an amazing engineering feat (i'm an engineer, i have to mention it!) and such a huge symbol to all americans about how diverse and unique our country is. even if america isn't your jam, there's really no other country that came to fruition out of the families of immigrants from every corner of the world. and i think that's pretty cool, myself. so what do you know - when we sailed by her everyone came out on deck to take a pictures. iphones and blackberrys as far as the eye could see. we might be jaded new yorkers, but there are still certain sites that we never tire of either, and lady liberty is one of them. a few more that i think are worthy of the list are:

the brooklyn bridge
top of the rock (see this post for more!)
the met
grand central station
katz's deli

if i had any advice to a tourist, it would be to put those at the top of your list. what about the other former or current new yorkers who read this - what would you add? and for those who have come here, is there something you think i'm missing out  on by pretending i'm too cool to see it?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

on the unseeable show.

as we know from this post, amy winehouse was one of my favorite artists. i can be an old soul when it comes to music (what up nat king cole?!) and i was looking forward to what her career would bring. i never really entertained the idea she wouldn't be around long enough to record more music, even though she slowly but steadily killed herself in front of our very eyes.
via here.
amy was one of the few artists i was hoping beyond hope i'd get to see perform. i couldn't wait for her to tour for america once she got better. i know it was a selfish thought - the focus should have been on her getting better - but her voice was so unique and special. she was born with it and her ability to convey all her emotions through it, not something you can train a singer to do. so along with amy, i thought i'd give you a glimpse at the people i would love to see perform, even though it would be impossible.
amy winehouse
nat king cole
led zeppelin (they've made it clear that they will never reunite)
eva cassidy
notorious b.i.g.
and what about you guys? i am missing someone from my list who you is your must-but-can't-see?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

on a dream job.

pretty pumped i didn't work in the era of smoking in offices. via here.
usually when people ask me how i'm doing or how my day is going, i answer with the same sarcastic barb, "oh, you know. just livin' the dream". but secretly...i kind of am. my current job is my third in the city, fourth if you count my internship. i quit two jobs to get here, both much earlier than i would have liked to. but certain circumstances led to certain decisions, and certain plans i had, well, life just plain old didn't agree with them (imagine that!) but through some hard work and knowing someone, who knows someone, who knows that person, i got to my current job. when i got my offer it was less money, more hours, and i wasn't sure if the job would ruin my work-life balance. but i went with my gut, as they always say to do. it was, most likely, going to be my only chance to have a job like this. with the encouragement of the boy and my parents, i said yes and never looked back. all day i get to analyze, write, form opinions, and talk to people from all over. it's a few of my favorite things wrapped into one. and while i know this may not always be my dream job, when i walk to work early in the morning, one of the few people on the street, and the air is crisp and the sun is shining on the empire state building, i secretly think to myself:
wow. i am living my dream. only took 20+ years to figure it out.
do you work in your dream job? do you even know what your dream job is (the hardest part of it all, figuring it out!)? have you ever gone with your gut? were you right? were you wrong? i'm so interested to know what different walks of life my readers come from.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

on being a hostess.

so the shower went really well and, again, thank you all so much for your comments. i didn't get tons of pictures since i was running around making sure everything was getting done, but i did get one important picture - the cupcakes!
and i of course have to thank my co-host. since my family has moved away from northern virginia she and her mom opened up their home as the party venue, which i can't thank her enough for doing. she also discovered these margaritas, which involve both tequila and champagne. who knew it was possible to improve a margarita?!
and since i got a few questions about it, but they didn't really show up in any pictures taken at the party, my fruit high heels!
i love these shoes so much - i don't get to wear them a lot since they only really work during the summer season (or you know, winter trips to the bahamas - i'm sure i'll go on those one day) - and found them in a random vintage store in philly back during my college days. and on top of all of this fun goodness, i got to go home and see friends who i don't get to see often enough, including the bride from back in march (and her hilarious husband).
that's always the best part of going home again. i hope ya'll had wonderful weekends, too!

Friday, July 22, 2011

on what to wear to a fiesta themed party.

this is a variation of what i will be wearing on saturday, and i figure it's a fun outfit for any fiesta themed, margarita-serving party. the red dress is an obvious choice, but to have a little fun with the outfit, i'm wearing a pair of vintage, fruit themed high heels that i have. it's bright, it's fun, and it's easy to wear. can't wait to share the actual event with you guys!
Bridal Shower Outfit
Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

on the bridal shower.

this weekend i'll be traveling to virginia and hosting my best friend's bridal shower. we met on the first day of kindergarten, and it's quite something to see her getting ready for marriage. just like any other maid of honor, i want to throw her a shower she'll always remember. so i want to thank you guys for all of your suggestions. if there's one thing i took away from it, it's to make the day unique to her. so thank you for your ideas, kind words and support. i really appreciate it.
so, without further ado, let's look at some of the things i've purchased to help personalize the shower.
first, we are having a kitchen shower, where guests are asked to give a cooking/kitchen item off one of her registries and a cookbook. i went with these sweet invites from etsy, which come with a matching thank you card.
found here on etsy.
found here on etsy.
next up, decorations. we're having mexican food and margaritas per the bride's request, so i thought guests would enjoy seeing this as they arrived and know that they're in for a good time.
found here on etsy.
then, drinks. i was really able to personalize the straws i got for the bride, and i hope she likes them. one side of the banner says "katey loves rob", and the other side says "prost", as opposed to "cheers", because the bride studied abroad in germany and really fell in love with the country. (in fact, their rehearsal dinner is going to be german food). so i think she'll really enjoy this little touch.
found here on etsy.
when i saw these cupcake toppers, i knew i had to have them. i love dessert, but i'm going to love it even more with these.
found here on etsy.
and finally, my favorite part. this is the only "game" i have planned for the shower, which i got from some random website a long time ago. when each guest arrives, in keeping with the kitchen shower theme, they will write down one "ingredient" to a successful marriage, relationship, life, love. it can be insightful. it can be funny. it can be touching. it can be whatever they want. and then i'll assemble all the ingredients into the bride and groom's own "cookbook" for happiness. i had used this vendor before to make a personalized book, and she did a great job both times.
found here on etsy.
i love that they can keep this book forever and always have it as a memory of when their marriage was all brand new and shiny. and perhaps as time goes on they can add their own ingredients and pass it on to someone when their time comes.
whew. so that's it! i hope she enjoys everything, and thank you again for your help. now all i have to do is figure out what to wear!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

on secret spices.

do you have a spice that really cooks your goose?
sidenote: is there a better phrase than that?
no.  no, there's  not.
well i do. it is cinnamon.
via here.
it is literally magical. my favorite salmon recipe that ya'll ogled over? cinnamon.  my favorite winter-time pasta recipe? cinnamon. my summer pasta recipe? it might need cinnamon. in the past few years that i've discovered it's magic in savory recipes. it adds a slight complexity, in the way that only a spicy, sweet, and savory spice can. to be honest, sometimes i miss it in recipes. i need it. i want it. i craaaaaave it. (i may have a problem).

does anyone else out there have a secret spice they feel is the bombdotcom (as we prefer to call awesome things on this blog)? or share my love for cinnamon? i truly felt like cinnamon used in cooking was a secret kept from me for a long, long time. and if not, apparently i'm a culinary genius for discovering it, at least according to my taste-buds. so if there's something i'm missing out on i'd love to hear about it sooner, rather than later.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

on why.

jackie kennedy and her sister, lee radziwell. back when they were still bouviers. image here.
"what really raises one indignation against suffering is not suffering intrinsically, but the senselessness of suffering." -- frederich nietzsche

i told you some time ago that last year a friend from high school passed away. her death raised a lot of questions for me, or rather, made questions that have always lingered inside of me much more real and pertinent. questions about about death. about my faith. about where i was going and what i was doing with this life i've been given. but the biggest question i asked, and i feel it's almost instinct for a human being to ask, was why. why her. why did the accident happen. why did it take so long to get her to the hospital. why did it happen in africa. why. why. why. i just wanted to know why. yet out of all my questions, these seemed to be the hardest to answer.
before she died, debbie was planning on climbing mount kilimanjaro. to honor this unfulfilled dream, her ashes will be scattered at the top of the mountain by a small group of friends and family who will make the climb at the end of the summer. the trip involves a lot of training. a lot of dedication.
so when i found out over the fourth of july that her sister, in a freak accident on a training hike in colorado, was crushed by a boulder that came loose during a storm, i didn't ask why. because i just didn't have it in me anymore. i feel over the past few years that life has made it very clear that there are those to whom it is crueler, in an almost perverse way. life is not fair to any who pass who through it, but to a select few it seems to place burdens and losses upon them that no one should have to bear. that no one is capable of bearing. i've always heard that the worst loss and tragedy in life is the death of a child. so what, exactly, do we call it when a mother loses all of her children?
in the past few weeks i've thought a lot about these sisters. i wonder why they both were led to such tragic and untimely fates. fate, of course, seeming to be just another word we create to help us understand. because sometimes things happen. and sometimes we can't ask why anymore. because there can be no answer for this. no way to rationalize this. but for all our thirst for knowledge, there are things that we'll never know. and this, i suppose, may well be my number one.
in her last few moments, her sister asked her hiking partner to pray for her soul and told him she was going to be with debbie. her ashes, too, will be scattered at the top of the mountain in august. and perhaps there's some comfort to take in knowing these sisters, who were almost inseparable during their time among us, will be together once again.

"or maybe it's because i finally understand. there are things we don't want to happen, but we have to accept; things we don't want to know, but we have to learn, and people we can't live without, but have to let go." -- jennifer jareau

Monday, July 18, 2011

on a fun recipe.

usually in my quest for a new recipe i'll head back to old faithful - the food network. i usually check out their healthy recipe section, and i found this, which i made last night.
food network version.
it was very easy to make and definitely one i will repeat. i know some people might find it a bit odd to put a can of tuna in pasta, but another classic pasta recipe that i love calls for the same thing. (the key is to get the tuna in olive oil, not water, as the recipe states, too). on study abroad i made many friends from italy who were also studying in denmark, and they always cooked recipes similar to these, so i fully trust dishes that call for this ingredient. (hey, the natives do it!) 
my favorite thing about this recipe, though? that they tell you to crush the tomatoes with your hands into the pan. i know it's a bit silly, but when was the last time you got to play with your food and for a good reason? perhaps i'm easily amused, but i had a grand old time getting to crush them all up.
below is my version.

i love how different the stuff i cook looks from the pictures that accompany recipes. it always tastes good though, and that's what counts!

Friday, July 15, 2011

on an award.

so. i was given this award by truffles n' ruffles a bit ago, and now it's time to honor it and pass it on. (and a huge thank you to erin for giving me it - go visit her blog today, you won't be sorry you did). so without further ado, let's get to know ten random things about me.
1. the only place i've lived abroad is denmark.
2. my favorite thing to buy, hands down, are shoes.
3. when i was a junior in college i got into a shipwreck, was washed overboard and rescued by the coast guard. it's a good story. kind of scary. i should probably tell it to you one day.
4. the only language i know is english. kind of a bummer.
5. i have an older sister.
6. i am definitely a morning person. i like that i have to be at work at 7 AM, because the city that early in the morning feels like it only belongs to me and no one else.
7. i used to work an insane job with insane hours. as an intern, i worked 72 hours in a row. within those 72 hours i slept for about 20 - 40 minutes each day. it's one of my greatest and worst accomplishments.
8. if i could be a teacher, i would teach chemistry, my favorite subject.
9. after i as born, on my third day home from the hospital, i slept through the night. my mom made my dad go into my room and put a mirror under my nose to see if i was breathing or if i had died, because she couldn't bear finding it out herself. i wasn't dead, just lazy, fat, and sleepy. not too different today.
10. i didn't walk until i was two years old, and was brought to tons of neurologists to figure out if i had cerebral palsy. again, the verdict was that i was lazy, fat, and sleepy. at least i'm consistent.

and there you have it! i pass this award along to those blogs listed to your left. i updated the list last night to reflect the smaller blogs i follow and those i'd love for you to discover, too. thanks for stopping by and have a grrrrrreat weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

on accidents.

so today's post was going to be deep. verrrrrrrrrrrry deep. like something i struggled with in the sense of - should write about this? should i make this a thing? a post? and i said, after a few weeks - yes i would. and so last night night was going to be the night i wrote it. and then i met up with a friend for dinner and a *glass* of sauvignon blanc. you guess what happened. (remember the post where i accidentally stayed out to 1 am? same culprit).
who knows where i found this. but it speaks volumes.
true story - i love big glasses with very thin stems. i basically ordered a version of the glass on the right from target one time. it was half the size of my head. shockingly, it did not fit in my new york city kitchen cabinets, which i'm pretty sure are modeled off of the seven dwarfs' kitchen. and back to the store they went.

so, i don't have much to share. but tell me. do you have something to share?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

on suggestions.

always breathtaking. grace kelly, via here.
so next weekend i am hosting a bridal shower in my first turn as a maid of honor. and really, truly, it is an honor. the bride and i met on the first day of kindergarten and we never looked back. so to be such a big part of this event is very special. but oh, my friends, has it had it's low points. i'm sure any of you former maids would agree with me. goodness knows what it's like to be the bride!

therefore, i have some uneasiness leading up to next week when i throw her a bridal shower. i have a post all planned to tell you about the ideas i am bringing to her shower, but they are mostly (and by that i mean exclusively) from etsy. so, to all of you who have been a bride -  what was the highlight of your shower? what did you love? what couldn't you do without? what could you do without? if you did it all over again, what would you keep and what would you change?

the same questions apply to you bridal shower veterans. i've only been to one bridal shower in my life (thank you jesus!) so i would really love to hear everyone's ideas. while bridal showers may not be my favorite activity, i'd love to give her a wonderful day. although i'm sure the margaritas we're serving will help.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

on stopping to smell the roses.

one of my favorite things about new york city is walking everywhere. there's something new to see everyday, people to observe, and (at least in the mornings) fresh air to take in. while visiting the boy this weekend we decided to walk to go get our hot dogs since he lives in a pretty walkable town / city. even though most nights when we go out to dinner we'll walk, as often happens when it's available, we'll take a car to go a mile down the road. so we decided - hey, let's walk! like it was a novel idea no one had ever had before. we were quite proud of ourselves.
so off we went in search of hot dogs, and, being as it is the summer time, we ran into a lemonade stand right away (where friendship bracelets and beanie babies were also being sold. quite the little entrepreneur, that one). being the big spender he is, the boy paid for our dollar worth of lemonade with a ten spot. and left a dollar tip. as we walked away we heard the little girl whisper "guys, guys, that man gave me A TEN DOLLAR BILL". that's right. the boy is considered a man by some people. and, yes, a ten dollar bill can still impress some people out there, particularly those in the under-10 set.
so - off we went again! we found our hot dogs, as you know from the previous post, and started to head back home to the air conditioning. along our way we came across those amazing gardenias, pictured above. they are one of my favorite flowers - so colorful and big and floppy. i just love them. and then we turned the corner, and saw this.
a baby bunny rabbit! i cannot remember the last time i saw a baby bunny. it was beyond adorable.
so, all in all, we got hot dogs, some sun, some fresh air, came across beautiful flowers, a baby bunny, and the little girl down the street pretty much thinks i'm dating p. diddy. so yeah. now we'll be walking more often.

Monday, July 11, 2011

on a day date.

we had a pretty low-key weekend. no plans, no reservations, no parties. our biggest plan was to make pulled pork (a huge success, thanks to sherri at life of a wife and her easy recipe - check it out!) other than that we watched some television, ate some pizza, sat on a friend's porch and enjoyed some wine, but my favorite part was going on a lunch date for a hot dog at my insistence.
and what made it awesome was cooking the hot dogs in a smoker. soooooo. freakin'. good.
that's a lot of meat. that's what she said.
it's pretty fun to have day where you don't do much of anything at all. and delicious, too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

on aversions.

death. destruction. water!!!!!
have you ever given a cat a bath? well, i have. (they don't come out of the pound smelling like roses, i'll tell you that much.) and let me say, there's nothing like seeing a cat react to water. it's innate to them, their aversion to water. you would think it was lava, as opposed to being one of the essential elements to life. but you can't begrudge cats their strong dislike for water, because we all have one, or a few, as well. mine, off the top of my head are quite simple:

1. cheese. (complicated, but mostly i hate the stuff. mozzarella and parm are as far as i'll go.
2. furniture i have to build and put together (i have put together a bookcase crying before. it happened.)
3. hot dogs that have cheese in the middle of them. (in my opinion, these hots dogs have been raped and pillaged.)
4. tiny sunglasses. (i only know how to be fabulous. sorry.)
5. bridal showers (i know everyone has them. but sitting around cooing over a cupcake pan is not my jam. i'm the one in the back with the glass of whiskey, sunglasses still on, wondering when we get to eat.)

so there's a little trip into my mind for you. i find strong dislikes to be so unique to each person - i mean, where do some of these come from? do you have any big dislikes that are unique to yourself?
i definitely don't look this cute after overcoming my dislikes. but i do look that traumatized.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

on local wine.

ok - disclaimer: i promise this is the las time i talk about virginia like it's the land of milk and honey. for realz. until i go back, of course.
alright, moving on! one of my favorite activities to partake in when i visit my parents is wine tasting. virginia has some amazing wine in the region we live in, and if you're on the east coast and hankering for a trip to california or oregon's wine countries but it won't fit into your budget, i strongly encourage you to consider a trip to virginia. i've found that most wine regions i've gone to are beautiful and attract tasty restaurants, which makes for a perfect trip. virginia's is no different.
virginia vineyards.
the monticello wine trail is a good source of information to start, and lists all of the nearby vineyards, some of my favorites being: king family vineyards, cardinal point, keswick vineyards and pollak vineyards.
the cardinal point vineyards' cat. the soundest sleeper i've ever come across in my days.
of course it would be easier to believe my bias if you could try some virginia wine in your home before making the trip there, and it irks me that it's so hard to find. i finally asked one of the vineyard owners why this is, and the explanation is quite simple - states have laws against importing wines from other states. there are vineyards in every state (every one! i'm looking at you iowa!) and they want to promote their states' wine for obvious tax and revenue reasons.
sidenote: maryland just repealed this law.
keep your eyes out for wines from all sorts of states marylandites!
if that's even what you're called.
ok, i mused, but why all the wine from california and oregon then, right? i mean, that's in almost all wine stores now. and it was further explained to me that those states wine industries have been around much longer, have very powerful lobbyists, and are able to find their way onto your grocery or liquor store shelves. ok, great, i love those states' wine, but with all my trips to virginia, i wonder what else i could be missing out on.
ready to eat with a glass of wine at the ready.
since virginia's vineyards only started getting serious in the 90's, well, they've got some way to go in order to reach prominence, but not in taste. the region is known for it's cabernet francs, but i love the pinot gris and red blends, too. every single vineyard i've been to has made wine that i would, and have, bought after tasting. new york's wine on the other hand, i wouldn't really recommend. i admit, i haven't been to the finger lakes region where the cream of the crop is supposed to exist, but my day trip wine tour on long island was very disappointing (however, i still managed to get a little frisky. so it's not that bad). and this vineyard by the boy was good, but this one was probably the worst i've ever been to (nice people, bad wine).
truer words have never been spoken.
what i'm trying to say is - i don't really think i'm that biased (because i love new york, too, just not it's wine). virginia wine, and the region i specifically visit, will rock your face off. and if you want to get away without paying for the ticket to california, then come on down to sweet virginia. and drink up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

on virginia.

as was expected, the weekend was wonderful. i've been busy catching up on work and doing laundry tonight, so this will mostly be a pictures post. however, i know you guys love those anyway. shall we take a look at the highlights?!
we shall! 
beautiful virginia fields.
a picnic with cold baked "fried" chicken
a perfect wine tasting partner.
an american breakfast, both in colors and what was served.
margaritas by the pool.
along with a true american beer.
a popsicle on a warm summer day. red, white and blue, of course.
an impromptu smore making session.
my favorite summer dessert. 
i hope ya'll had a wonderful weekend and were able to enjoy all the summer has to offer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

on a summer crush.

my biggest summer fashion crush were, hands down, these shoes. it took me four zara stores to find them. and they only had two pairs left. (also, it's slightly ridiculous there at least four zara stores in this city). this outfit is a variation on the favorite outfit that i pair them with, i.e. the one i have worn way too much this season. have you had a summer fashion crush that you got to snag this season?

  Zara Shoe Love

1. Oasis scoop neck tank top - £12 -

2. J Brand skinny leg jeans - $160 -

3. Zara wooden heels - $80 -

4. Betty Jackson Black gold bracelet - £5 -

5. Marc by Marc Jacobs resin jewelry - $45 -

Monday, July 4, 2011

on the fourth of july

i hope you guys are all having a wonderful weekend and enjoying the holiday!
via here.
down here in virginia we're headed to the pool, drinking margaritas and seeing the fireworks from the top of a mountain tonight. we are celebrating america's birthday right! hope ya'll have a wonderful and safe holiday!

Friday, July 1, 2011

on going home again.

they say you can't go home again. and i suppose there's some truth to that. but i think what it really means is that you can't go back to your childhood. that simple things that once gave you joy can be harder to appreciate. that once a sense of our innocence leaves us, it never quite comes back. that things still go on while you're gone. places change and grow just as much as you do in your time away. but home can take on multiple meanings and feelings, and be a lot of different places. when i fly into la guardia and see the skyline, i feel safe. i feel at home. when the amazing green of tennessee comes into view and we descend into nashville, i feel a sense of relief. i feel at home. when i'd go back to denmark, the country i studied abroad in, from whatever weekend adventure i had been on, i felt at home. i mean, at least i was going back to hearing an unfamiliar language i had gotten used to hearing.
but my first home, and the place that is first in my heart, is virginia. i. love. virginia. and yes, i think it's the best state in the union. there, i said it, it's out there. yes, i think my state is better than yours.
and i bet you think yours is better than mine and we can agree to disagree.
and swap local restaurant recommendations.
please and thank you.
my parents moved when i was in college, so i don't technically go to my childhood home, but they moved within virginia. and all of virginia feels like home to me. so my excitement has been building for a few weeks now.
wine-filled nights.
afternoons by the pool.
visits to vineyards.
stopping by my favorite restaurants.
virginia or bust, kids.
what are you doing with your holiday weekend? 
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