Friday, September 30, 2011

on a built in friend.

via here.
this past week one of my best friends moved to town. we met up last night for a little wine, a little pasta and lots of catching up. we'll be going out again this weekend and basically picking up where we left off. having her be here permanently, and not for vacation, is starting to really sink in. to say the least, i am thrilled. living by one of my closest friends again is like a dream come true. it's true what they say - it never really matters where you are, it matters who you're with. and i am pumped to be with her again.
so - if you could move somewhere to be close to a friend again, where would you go?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

on simple is as simple does.

lately i've seen a new chocolate chip cookie recipe starting to make it's way around the internets. it's for the best chocolate chip cookies evah. you make the dough, then refrigerate it, then blend it again, then freeze it, then sprinkle gold on it.
you get my drift.
but to me, making chocolate chip cookies is supposed to be simple, and in the same token, delicious. it's one of the first recipes you learn when growing up because it's basically foolproof and tasty. i'm just a simple girl, with simple tastes like that.
one of my first, and favorite, baking memories is from making chocolate chip cookies.
it was the first time my mom was letting me completely do it by myself. turning on the oven, working the mixer - all that jazz, as she and my sister hung out in the living room. i was ten. double digits. i was a big  deal, in case you can't tell.
it was snowing. nat king cole was on (obvi). i was being so careful and particular. i really wanted to show my family just how well i could make a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
i tasted the batter and we were good to go. i popped those suckers in the oven, waited an anxious nine minutes, and when the timer dinged i ran into the kitchen.
there sat my cookies in the oven. completely uncooked. nothin' doin'.
i waited another nine minutes.
and then another nine.
and then another nine.
i finally ran to my mother and tearfully told her i had somehow broken the oven. after breaking the microwave at thanksgiving, like literally day of, she was a little fed up with me. i was, what you call, a precocious child.
so into the kitchen we went to assess the damage and lo and behold, wouldn't you know it, i had never  even turned the oven on.
like i said people, i'm a simple girl. except for my taste in louboutins, of course.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

on menswear.

so i've never really been that keen on the whole menswear trend. there are certain woman who pull it off very nicely. they are usually tall, thin and have a touch of tomboy to them. funny how those women seem to pull off every look, huh? but the one menswear trend i love is a tuxedo, tailored to a woman's figure. particularly the coat.
those stain lapels. oh, those satin lapels.
if i wore this in real life i would probably only wear the blazer. i think with the pants it looks as if you may be trying too hard - unless, of course, you're like the woman i mentioned above. but if you went all the way, paired with a red lip and pin thin leopard stilettos that just wouldn't quit - i think it would be perfect, with those accents adding the perfect tongue in cheek effect to the look. after all - while we may be able to wear men's clothing, there's no reason we can't wear our louboutins along with it (not that i have any, but you know, one day.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

on the yearly countdown.

guys. christmas is less than three months away.
nat king cole will be on 24-7 in my apartment.
i will buy a two foot christmas tree and think it's grand.
my oven will constantly be baking.
i will wear red, somehow, someway, everyday.
new york city will sparkle.
and, if we're really lucky, snow will fall softly in the park sometime in the month of december.
oh, and by "three months" i mean after halloween. hate all you want.
so in honor of baby jesus, my favorite jesus, tell me your favorite christmas traditions below. maybe i can use them as my own if they're good enough.

Monday, September 26, 2011

on the aftermath.

if you're reading this post in my voice right now, it's a whisper. because i no longer have a voice. i left it at a club in the meatpacking district. but i do have a few good photos for you to look at from our fun weekend. and no, none of my outfits worked out because it was eighty degrees all weekend. oh well.
the bride and her sister at brunch.
the girls from high school.
starting the night!
engagement cupcakes for the engaged girl.
and while i have a few pictures of us dancing, perhaps it's better if the internets not see them. hope your weekend was a blast, too.

Friday, September 23, 2011

on a bachelorette weekend wardrobe.

for a lot of the past wedding festivities i've organized, i asked you guys for help  in planning. this one, i did not. i know how to have a little fun in new york city. and, as you can see from the events i've planned below, we're going to just that. but now, let's take a look at what i'll probably wear to them (please note how the party dress strategically covers up my wounded right tit. wouldn't worry about it.) and yes, this time i tried to keep some of the clothing affordable-ish. but what's the fun in building dream outfits if you can't splurge a little?
Bachelorette Weekend
1. Vero Moda Very leather blouse - €50 -
2. Cheap Monday grey jeans - $35 -
3. 2 Lips Too black heels - $50 -
4. J Crew dolman dress - $140 -
5. Forever21 layered chain necklace - $8.80 -
7. Cocktail party dress - $180 -
8. High heel pumps - $110 -

Thursday, September 22, 2011

on freedom.

via here.
i am a hosting a bachelorette party for my oldest friend this weekend. we have known one another for 22 years.
twenty. two. years.
like before i knew how to read. yikes.
her wedding is in a couple of weeks, and as her maid of honor, i've been pondering this friendship factoid over in my head as i've been writing my reception speech.
sidenote: i know what you're thinking.
but...colleen - you were just in a wedding.
if this becoming a wedding blog?
and my answer to that, is
or, alternatively,
we could call it:
the most expensive month
of colleen's life blog.
your choice.
you see the first wedding i went to this year, i had quite the conversation with my cab driver at five'o'clock in the morning. it was about marriage. and, if you haven't had a conversation about marriage with a new york city cab driver at that hour, trust me - you are missing out. he told me that he would never get married again - when you are married, you lose your freedom.
you lose your freedom. sound the alarm.
now, this is not a unique point of view. perhaps men say it more, but we hear it everywhere. i mean, we call our partner the old ball and chain. not very free sounding.
so i've been thinking about those 22 years she and i have spent together.
82% of my life.
it is, truly, a lifetime.
and in that time katey has given me the confidence to do more things. to try out for the softball team in high school. to take the position of catcher, even when i was fourteen years old and had never done it before. i've tried out for sports teams, auditioned for plays, participated in classes - all things i never would have done had she not been by my side.
katey has been social beacon. many, many, many, times during my childhood and teen years, i was asked if katey was attending the event at hand. if katey went, i went. if katey didn't go, my chances were much slimmer. i met countless other people and forged countless other friendships because katey was there.
katey has been my partner in crime. we have staged many, many, many lies that our parents fell for, particularly in our senior year of high school. one distinct memory is the two of us on the phone with our parents, listening to what the other said before parroting it back to our respective parent on the other end. without katey, i never would have had the teenage thrill of breaking a few rules for the sake of a good time.
in case you can't tell, the list goes on (seriously, i deleted like half the post. it was too much.) i have spent a lifetime with her, and in that time i have done, seen and tried more than if i had ever been on my own. spending a lifetime with someone isn't about losing your freedom - it's about gaining it. with them by your side you are free to do all the things you never would have before, and some that you couldn't have thought up on your own. and for me, katey has helped me do just that.
and now, i believe, i have just written my speech.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

on healthy pasta.

whenever i visit the boy, i always get a magazine. i suppose i could read a book, but after a long week at work, a mindless magazine is much better. one day, when i had exhausted the fashion magazine selection, i decided to go with food and wine. while the magazine looked a little pretentious, i figured that i liked food and i liked wine, so it couldn't be that bad. since then it's become staple for me - they have a knack for consistently producing recipes that look fancier than they are - a great way to impress guests, or hell, even yourself at the end of a long day. once thanksgiving rolls around i can share the stuffing recipe i used from their thanksgiving issue - stuffing that everyone loved. the best aspect about all of their recipes is that it's always easier than it looks (and your guests can't tell the difference). without further ado i present...
broken lasagna with walnut pesto. (even sounds fancy!)
first, the walnuts.
toasting these suckers in the oven made my apartment smell divine. i just might make this again for that reason alone. as my walnuts toasted i chopped up some arugula and garlic - yes, the recipe has you toss arugula in with the pasta at the end. if that's not an easy way to get vegetables into your diet, i don't know what is.
as i got my food processor up and running for the pesto, i started to cook my broken lasagna. this is not the first recipe i've featured where you get to crush or break your food, and i find it a highly satisfying way to make a meal.
once everything is ready to go, do not forget to reserve a 1/2 cup of water before draining the pasta, as the recipe states (although you don't need it all - add little by little until it's where you want it). many recipes tell you to do this, and usually you don't need to. but the walnut pesto is a bit thick, and using this water helps the pesto coat the noodles. the water that pasta cooks in contains a lot of the starch the pasta releases as it cooks, and that starch can then help other ingredients stick to the noodle, which is why it's important to add some of that water back for this recipe. fun fact of the day for ya'll.
and here we are - left with a delicious dinner!
since i cook for just myself most days, pasta is something i turn to a lot. being able to have my carbs be whole wheat, my pesto contain less fat (walnuts are better than pine nuts), and get a serving of vegetables all in one fell swoop, makes it a great dinner. in addition, you can use the leftover pesto for dinner the next night and not have as much prep - just chop your arugula, cook your noodles and you're done! another great recipe from food and wine - a source you should definitely turn to when looking for a tasty new meal. what are some of your favorite sources for new recipes?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

on taking a walk.

this past sunday my friend amy came to visit for the day. seeing as how she is soon moving away from the area, she requested a walk across the brooklyn bridge - a chance to take in the scenery and the beautiful day.
as i've mentioned before, i love walking across the bridge. it's free and it gives you amazing views of new york's skyline. it was a nice reminder to take advantage of the area i love in - to get out more and do the things i say i love but rarely do. and, after our saturday of exploring a completely different part of the city, i was convinced of this even more. perhaps with all of the events i've had to attend recently i felt i wasn't doing this enough, but i'm hoping in the coming weekends this can be rectified.
do you feel like you explore the city/town/region you live in? how do you try to take advantage of everything it has to offer?

Monday, September 19, 2011

on red hook.

this past weekend, the boy and i ventured into the depths of brooklyn for a bakery. i suppose this is what happens when you date someone who loves baked goods. they read something, somewhere, and can't rest until they've had it. so, as one last hurrah for my birthday, we went to go have a sweet and salty cupcake - basically dark chocolate and caramel made with sea salt. but, seeing as how we had to take a boat to get there - yes, a boat, no subways are open in this part of brooklyn - we'd thought we'd stay awhile and have some brunch too.

old school drip coffee. manual drip.
dutch pancake.
 this place had cold fried chicken on their menu. served with oysters and bacon. it's not for everyone, but it's definitely for me.

the magical cupcake.

spilled cupcake - muppet face.
we had a great time on our grand adventure, even if that part of brooklyn was obviously too cool for us. all in all, it was nice to have a day where we just wandered about, doing whatever we wanted, eating cupcakes. i hope your weekend was just as wonderful.

Friday, September 16, 2011

on familial support.

i love having a big family. my grandparents on both sides loved to pro-create, bless their hearts. we've got doctors, lawyers, businessmen, teachers, black sheep. we have it all. and my big family comes in handy.
you see, this past weekend at the wedding, we said good-bye to the bride and groom with sparklers. i have always felt wary of this new tradition that has seemed to developed. a bunch of drunk people, crammed together, waving sticks on fire. what could be a better idea? and i've always gone along with it, telling myself i'll be fine. apparently i forgot that i'm the girl who goes on spring break and gets in shipwrecks. because, you know. luck of the irish and all that.
so, naturally, this past saturday someone dropped a sparkler on my chest and burned me. badly. like, my skin was black. it's not a first-degree burn. it's not a third-degree burn. it's somewhere in the middle. to say the least, the situation kind of stinks.
i came back to new york after a nurse treated me at the wedding, saw my normal doctor and attempted to get an appointment with a plastic surgeon (yes, the scar is going to bad. real bad. maybe i need surgery to not look like an alien bad.) lo and behold, the surgeon was booked until the end of october. crazy. who knew people got plastic surgery in new york?!
i had called this doctor because he was a friend of my uncle's, but figured i could find another. i mean, we have quite a few plastic surgeons in this little town i call home. but with a little phone call from my uncle, the doctor decided to quickly see me a few days ago during his lunch break.
and, the visit was awesome. i was taught how to deal with my burn and to care for my wound properly. i was told to come back in a few weeks to get medicine to control the scar. it was amazing. and to top it off, the doctor charged me nothing. you know, just a friend dropping by with a burn wound on their tit. like any other day.
and that, my friends, is why i love families. siblings, kids, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents. we look out for each other. we have one another's backs. we take care of one another. my family in new york has helped me out many times before, but this time i was genuinely scared about my well-being, and with their help i really feel like everything is going to be ok. it's a good feeling. i feel safe. i feel healthy.
so i've got to say thanks to my uncle john. i appreciate everything.
me and my right tit.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

on nashville scenery.

just wanted to share a few shots of our hotel and the city this past weekend. we absolutely loved our hotel. they were very well prepared, professional, accommodating to the bride, etc. also, it used to be an old train station, making it super-cool. even if you don't stay here, it could be a fun place to checkout the next time you're in town.
part of the lobby.

nashville skyline.
batman building.

old train schedule behind the front desk.
the exterior  of the hotel.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

on an ode to my city.

i can't remember the first time i came to new york. i've been coming here since i was a baby to visit family, so it's always been a part of me. i do know that i've always loved it, and that it made me more of a city girl than a country girl. living here has only deepened my relationship with the city.
the summer i worked in new york was a hectic one. i worked long hours - most days until 3 AM, sometimes 5 AM. one night, in a quiet moment, i wandered the floor i worked on. i walked over to the west side of the building and stared down into ground zero, lit up at night, quiet and deserted. i walked past ground zero every morning, pondering how big and how small it seemed all at the same time. i always wondered what i would have gone through had i worked here during 9/11, not truly being able to comprehend what it must have been like. as i stared down from 21 floors up, i thought of the amount of debris that fell into that hole, all in a matter of 12 seconds. of the streets of downtown manhattan, the oldest and narrowest in the city, flooded with a wave of steel and glass. of just how many people worked downtown, and what it meant to try and evacuate them in the one to two hours it took the towers to fall. it was brief, this glimpse of horror i created for myself.
and just like that, i snapped back to the moment at hand.
the late night turning into early morning. the printers whirring away. i turned and walked down to the other end of the floor, where she was waiting for me, the sun peeking it's way around her. i loved looking at the statue of liberty when i was tired and nearing exhaustion from work. she reminded me of the hard work from those who came before me, trying to make this a better country. how 100 years earlier my ancestors had sailed past her into ellis island. how working in this skyscraper in this big city was not just a fruition of my hard work, but theirs, too. she reminded me to keep on going.
there are a lot of people who have opinions about new york. some people aren't city people, and that's fine. some people come to work for a few days and stay in times square, go to the office in midtown, think they have it all figured out. some come during the holidays and think new york is always packed to the gills. and when they hear you live in new york they want to tell you that, after visiting for a few days, they hated it and they could just never live in such a place.
they tell me it's dirty.
they tell me it smells.
they tell me the people aren't friendly.
they tell me it's loud.
they tell me it's expensive.
they are basically telling me they don't know a damn thing about this city. they tell me they have completely missed the point of this city. it's easy to think those things of new york, it requires no thought and no effort. new york is a complicated place, but the things it is capable of - the way it can make you feel, the choices and opportunities it gives to you, the places and food and people and culture to discover - make those detriments obsolete.
i smile and shrug at those people, i try to bite my tongue. i wish i could have them stand next to me that night. looking out over ground zero, then over towards the statue of liberty. i think then they could see past the smells and prices and sounds to the resilience and spirit of new york. who she really is. what she's overcome. where she started. where she came from. perhaps then they could understand how this city, whether they could live here or not, is a great one. one that will continually move forward, upward, and over whatever someone might put in it's away.
new york. it's a hell of a town.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

on the next adventure.

i was talking to my mom last night and she had just finished looking at an "about me" book i made in second grade, at the age of seven. it had all sorts of fun facts in it, including the answer to the question: what two places do you want to go to the most?
hawaii and korea.
um...what? korea? where the hell do kids come up with this shit? what in god's name did i know about korea at the age of 7? i can understand hawaii - it's super pretty, part of america (which means i'm familiar with it), and my dad had just gone on a trip there. korea is one i can't quite figure out.
but as of today, if i could go somewhere with money/time/safety not being an issue, it would be...
egypt fascinates me, particularly ancient egypt. i would love to go and see the history of this country. explore cairo, sail down the nile, learn more about cleopatra in alexandria. it would be amazing.
so what about you? if there was one place you could go to today, where would it be?

Monday, September 12, 2011

on nashville wedding weekends.

it was a long and wonderful weekend and i loved celebrating with one of my dearest friends. below are some of my favorite shots from the weekend.
rehearsal dinner.
getting ready.
the bride. 
off to get married.
my favorite part - the cake.
i don't have much to say as i'm dead tired, but it was truly a wonderful weekend. filled with love, reunions with good friends and many champagne toasts in a city i love dearly. i hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Friday, September 9, 2011

on seeing your besties.

i flew down to nashville last night for a wedding i'm in on saturday. all of my friends from graduate school are coming back to nashville for the event - to say we're excited would be an understatement. i got in early for some quality time with one of my besties.
she's moving to nyc in a few weeks. i am pumped. but here's how you really know we're besties.
i kind of think i look like a muppet. thoughts on this are welcome.
also, have an awesome weekend. expect picture heavy posts next week.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

on wedges.

wedges are probably one of favorite style of shoes. when i want to be a little more interesting than just a boring pair of flats on the weekends, i turn to wedges. i can wear them all day long with nary a complaint from my feet. that's also why i think wedges are a great way to experiment with your look. when you wear something new and different - perhaps something a little more out there and unique - you have to carry yourself confidently, otherwise it won't work. and this is the same for anything you may wear - confidence betrays to the onlooker that you believe in what you're wear and you feel good about it.
sidenote: you may not actually look good.
i often fall into this category.
but i'll be darned if i'm not having fun
wearing whatever it may be.
that to me is why wedges are such a great fashion risk to take. you're not stumbling around in them like a pair of stilettos, but striding off to your next great adventure (read: brunch). below are some of my favorite wedges, which allow you to be a little different and confident all at the same time. and, of course, my favorite is pair number 10, since i own them. i was a bit scared to wear them when i first got them but let me tell you, they are awesome to wear here, there and everywhere. i encourage you to do the same. 
1. Theyskens' theory wedge shoes - $465 -
2. Trouve wrap sandals - $66 -
3. Zara leather wedge boots - $129 -
4. Mark James by Badgley Mischka leather wedge - $265 -
5. High heel shoes - $1,645 -
6. Rachel Zoe wood wedge - $395 -
7. Yves Saint Laurent high heel boots - $939 -
8. Luichiny suede pumps - $155 -
9. Maurie and Eve platform booties - $310 -
10. Jeffrey campbell boots - £130 -

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

on bad news blogging.

via here.
to say it rained yesterday in new york would be an understatement. even with my umbrella i was soaked by the time i got home. it was one of those rainy days where all the new york city dogs are gussied up in their finest rain slickers and rubber boots, and as you walk by you catch their eyes and see the sarcastic look only a new york city dog can muster. the look that says "this idiot knows i'm a dog, right?"
apparently not.
now, my faithful readers know what i do on rainy days. in fact, it's one of my more popular posts. i suppose hanging out in my sweatpants on my couch really fascinates people. so, out came the wine, into the oven went the brownies, and on went the real housewives. for those of you that are above watching such drivel, or don't live in america, the real housewives of beverly hills is having a very different season than most, as one of the cast members committed suicide shortly before the second season premiered. and while we could get into the merits of watching the season, bravo still airing the season, what this means for the ethics of reality tv - the reason i bring it up is because of the connection it has with blogging. at it's core, reality tv is like blogging. it is based on the premise of showing the viewer the life of another person - and whether that person is richer, or poorer, fat or thin - at the end of the day they deal with the same problems, and celebrate the same joys, as any other would. sometimes on a grander scale, and sometimes on a smaller scale, but they are problems and joys that illict relatable emotions all the same.
i think this is also why we're drawn to reading one another's blogs. we love reading about the discovery of a good recipe, the happiness they find with their significant other, the joy they get from being a parent, the job they love going to or the perfect pair of heels they found for half off. we revel in their joys, we enjoy listening to their stories, we love looking at their pictures. for some reason, we like the connection we feel with the person we hardly know. but if we blog long enough, the posts about the great brunch, or the perfect date, or the happy vacations won't always be there. because in sharing our lives with each other, we can't just share the good things. eventually, something will happen. someone will get hurt. a relationship will fall apart. a job may disappear. now, most don't write about something as small as a good conversation they had with a friend, and i'm not talking about writing about a big fight we may have had either. airing your dirty laundry is not what most bloggers are about. but if we blog long enough, if we keep this gig up and running for a while, something significant is bound to happen. we share those everyday joys if only because we know how painful life can also be, and those joys are to be cherished. so the show had me thinking. what exactly does one do when they approach their computer in the morning, knowing that daily readers will be taken aback when they hear about something bad that happened? something a little more tangible than yesterday's delicious french toast. will they stick around to hear you out? or will they go off in search for lighter topics that day, wanting blogs to still be their escape into the simple and light-hearted parts of life.
have you ever thought about how you would approach this? how you would approach a loss or change in lifestyle that you have to address, something that readers would eventually notice?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

on the next best thing.

we can't help ourselves here in new york. we're always looking for a new restaurant, a new play, a new store, a new club. so off we went yesterday morning, trekking into brooklyn for brunch at a place i had been dying to try. now, don't get me wrong, it was tasty.
eggs. grits. kale.
but all in all, it's just another restaurant we can check off the list.
toast. eggs. bacon. hash brown.
you see, my favorite thing about our morning really had nothing to do with the restaurant, or the food, or the atmosphere. it had to do with the game of hangman we played on our paper table with the crayons they provided. it must have been years since i played the game.
the word i picked is one of our favorites - said by michael scott in a favorite episode of the office. the boy and i say it often to one another, always followed by a laugh. and there, at this restaurant with it's trendy brooklyn comfort food and waitresses who couldn't be bothered to actually serve us, the next best thing reminded me that often times it's the free and simple things in life that keep it fun and interesting, and perhaps i should focus on those a little bit more. although a side of well-made grits to my game of hangman doesn't hurt.

Friday, September 2, 2011

on last year's labor day.

so. the end of summer is this weekend. and judging from all the posts i've seen the past few weeks, you biatches are peeing yourselves over all of the pumpkin spice lattes you're about to consume.
well, not me.
so let's re-live last year's labor day, shall we? because it was amazing. i went to jackson hole, wyoming to visit my best friend from study abroad. as she knows, i am a city girl through and through. and i am true to that. i'm not going to show up to the ranch and ask how i can help you milk the cows. i am more than happy to help you organize your closet while you're out tilling the fields, though. i know who i am. and she knows that. and we're both ok with that. so we realized this trip would be a little bit country, a little bit city.
first things first, jackson is beautiful. absolutely breathtaking. it amazes me that after a four hour plane ride from a concrete jungle filled with 8 million people i was standing next to mountains like these. america is pretty kick ass sometimes. sorry haters.
the next day we decided to raft down the snake river. katie's friends are all guides or ski patrols or sushi chefs or any other service industry profession you can think of, and one of them was kind enough to help us navigate the river along with a few others. so off to the snake river we went. i wore a bikini, a cover-up with rhinestones, and my hair was curled. because that's how i roll.
this was also, apparently, the first time our guide had gone rafting with bottles of champagne. weird.
anyhoo, to deal with the natural elements, i brought my favorite tube of pink lipstick, and the resulting picture basically sums up anything you need to know about me, ever. this portrait captures it all perfectly.
and that, dear readers, was the best labor day i ever did have. i sincerely hope your long weekend is just as good as mine was last year, and lord knows i'll do my best to top it this year.
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