Tuesday, January 31, 2012

on a thought.

this post was also inspired by this interview. it will probably break your heart a little, as the author says. worth the read.
via here.
"And when everything else is gone, you can be rich in loss."

on the morning of christmas eve, i woke at the crack of dawn and went with my parents to the airport to fly back to nyc. i realize this might sound awful to many of you, but i have travelled on christmas or christmas eve for as long as i can remember. so to me, it seems quite natural. and the airports, the roads, the trains - they are mostly quiet and uncrowded. everyone is already home for the holidays. it's really quite nice, relatively speaking. i found myself that early morning in potbelly's, a favorite of mine, getting some breakfast, when i saw her. from the back i wasn't quite sure it was her, and it took me a few moments to convince myself that i was right. the last time i had seen mrs. miller was about a year and a half ago at her daughter's funeral, who was a good friend of mine from high school. by the time i ran into her at the airport, she had also lost her other daughter in yet another random, and tragic accident.

i stood there waiting for my sandwich, watching people slowly pass her by, making their way to their flight. since debbie and her sister died, i have thought about their mother a lot. it has been impossible for me to understand, and fruitless to try, i know, why one woman has been given so much to mourn. all of her children have passed away before her. her marriage ended a long time ago, and he left his fatherly duties behind with the marriage. she has parents, and siblings, and friends, but the family she deliberately created no longer exists.

and perhaps that's why her i think of her so much. i'm at a point in my life, a precipice, as are many of my friends where we are wishing these things, planning these things, counting on these things. we see mostly long, happy marriages. perhaps we see children - always healthy, always happy. maybe we can think as far ahead as to our future children being teenagers, or going on that trip for our 15th anniversary. and it's only natural to assume that these things will mostly go this way. that they will come to us eventually. we worked hard in school, and we got good grades. we worked hard at our relationships, and we have good friends. we worked hard to eat well and exercise, and we're healthy. we worked hard at our jobs, and we got good reviews. along the way life hasn't been perfect - we've learned hard lessons, watched some loved ones fall ill, had a broken heart, grown up. but with some luck, guidance, and hard work, we got everything we were told over and over again that we'd get. so what exactly does one do when that all disappears? how exactly does one look back on their 20-year-old self, and break the news to them? i don't think the word naive covers it. and i certainly don't think i have any idea how it feels.

as i paid for my sandwich i finally realized that i think there are stereotypes in life - hundreds, thousands, maybe - and i think we all fill one, even a little. the person who always seems to light up the room. the person who's always flown under the radar. the person whose happiness seems innate. the person who seems fated to suffer more loss, to be more haunted than the rest of us. really, there are hundreds. and i think in some way they exist. and that we're kind of just born into them. that we've been them all along. that it may take us a long time to figure out which one we may be. that we may never figure it out. that it doesn't really matter if we figure it out. but as i see people live their lives more, i find that i can put them into rough categories. and they were always a part of that category. they were always destined to kind of be that way, to kind of be that stereotype. at least, for now, this thought makes sense to me. for now, it makes me feel like i can comprehend life a little better, rightly or wrongly.

we talked for a few minutes before i walked back to my gate. i wondered, as i walked away, if she thought why i was the one walking back to my parents. why i was the one spending christmas with my family, as opposed to her daughters. i wondered it, because i know i was thinking it too.

' "Do you think there was part of you that imagined the two of you would somehow end up together?"
"No," she says. "I said it would make me too sad to answer but it's also..." - and she nods even as her voice breaks once more with tears - "...one of my favorite things to imagine." And through the tears, a beaming, almost beatific smile stretches room-wide across her face. "It's actually one of my favorite places to visit." '

Monday, January 30, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

oh boy. boy, oh boy did i have big plans for this weekend. ice skating in central park! dinner at a new restaurant in the east village! friends visiting from out of town! it was going to be great. i was going to have so many great pictures to show you.
and then i got the 24-hour flu. it was awesome. so awesome i decided to spare you pictures of it.
but. but. let's not harp on what could have been. i did go to central park, right at the half hour during, which they shut the icerink down to clean it. i did go to the secret, and therefore packed with tourists, burger joint, and only managed a few fries as i was "starting to feel funny." i did go to dinner. i left early and had two bites of rice. i did try a new flu medicine that knocks you out in one powerful punch. that was kind of fun. and today i ate ten pretzels and drank a cup of ginegerale. to make up for me, though, nyc was on fire this weekend. the old girl looked mighty nice, as you can see below.
so, what did you do?
the happy face of someone who doesn't know what's coming.

Friday, January 27, 2012

on crazy times.

you guys. this has not been the week for my blog. i was traveling, i was getting home late, i was working late, i was working early.
seriously. happy friday. i have to be at work at 6 am. what?!
so i haven't had a lot of good stuff to add to our growing internet relationship. and for that, i am sorry. i'm going to try and plan better next week. so now, let's look at an awesome picture (an oldie but a goodie), wish each other a happy weekend, and hope this day ends quickly. can't wait to catch up on your blogs this weekend!
you knew my awesome picture was going to involve hot dogs, right?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

on a new city.

i was talking with a friend who is currently in the middle of rotations for medical school, and her rotations are taking her everywhere: vermont, west palm beach, maine. and after my weekend in new orleans, i got to thinking about living in new and different places. if i could live anywhere - anywhere in the us and the world, no matter how impractical - where would i go? for america the answer came pretty easily to me - savannah or charleston. both of these cities and their deep south cultures fascinate me, along with the fact that the people who live there provide very colorful entertainment. i probably wouldn't be able to get a job i liked there, or i might have trouble fitting in, but whatever - this experiment is about impracticality. if you could live somewhere and make it work financially and all that good stuff, where would it be. i love nyc, and i'd love to live in nashville again, but i'm just saying - it would be beyond cool to try my hand at charleston or savannah.
via here.
outside of america it's a bit harder. while living on the coast of italy sounds amazing and relaxing and delicious, i do think i'd get a bit bored after while. then i thought i could go with a place in asia - i think i'd really be pushing myself to try something new - and tokyo sprung to mind. the fashion, creativity, food (holy sushi!) would be so different and provide so many new experiences - but i've never been there. i'd like to wet my toes before jumping in the pool, ya know?
therefore, i'm going with madrid.

i went to madrid the summer after graduation and fell head over heels with that city. the rest of spain that i saw also won my heart. in madrid i could have amazing food and a completely different culture, and would discover completely new parts of the country, too, with weekend sojourns.
isn't day dreaming fun? i just went from savoring a bowl of shrimp and grits in charleston to taking a siesta in spain. what about you - where would you like to live?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

on nola.

sorry for missing a post on monday, but i was incredibly tired after a weekend in new orleans for a bridal shower and bachelorette party for this little lady. the weekend was amazing - lots of laughter, lots of girl time, lots of champagne, a massage and a pedicure, and a crazy night out on the town (and that's all i'll say about that). i can't wait to go back in a few weeks for the wedding and share more of this amazing city with you.
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Friday, January 20, 2012

on chocolate soup.

usually we post about our cooking successes on blogs. and make it look effortless. so. let's get real and talk about some not so great experiences.
to start, that picture is not of something i made. obviously.
but, like most people, i love chocolate lava cake. dark chocolate torte. chocolate cake with a gooey center. whatever you call it, i love it. it is, to me, the ultimate chocolate dessert. and when i was in college, i learned that it's not too hard to make. you know - melt some chocolate, mix in some flour, there's probably butter in there somewhere, bake in a little ramekin for fifteen minutes. it sounded very, very doable when i was 19. so i went through all the steps, i did exactly what the recipe said, and into the oven my ramekins went. oh my friends and i were so excited.
chocolate lava cake! gooey centers! oh boy!
after fifteen minutes in the oven i checked them, but they were still pretty much liquid.
"hmmm," i thought. "strange. recipe always work, right?"
so young. so naiive. those were the days.
i checked after 30 minutes. nothin' doin'. i checked after 45 minutes. a little crust had formed. maybe. and somewhere between one and two hours in the oven i came to grips with the fact that no, we would not be eating chocolate lava cake that night. but we did have very warm chocolate soup for dessert.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

on loyalty.

martin luther king jr. via here.
oh loyalty. it is a very dear subject to me, and something i have consciously avoided talking about here because i'm not quite sure if i can put into words what i want to say. it is, above all other qualities we can possess, the most important to me. while i still don't know how i want to approach the subject, and i know this won't be the first time we talk about it, i do know where to start.
on monday, in america, we observed the a holiday in observance of martin luther king jr. an inspirational civil right leaders, and amazing orator, he said my favorite quote of all time.
"In the end, we remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -- MLK Jr.
you see, when i first read this it made me realize that loyalty is not just staying true to someone. not cheating on a significant other, not talking about a good friend behind their back, not betraying your parents' trust - yes, those things make you loyal. but sometimes loyalty isn't just the act of not doing something, it's actually doing something. it's saying something back to the person who makes a joke at your friend's expense. it's telling our friend's spouse that the affair they're having is wrong. sometimes loyalty is just as much about taking action as opposed to not taking any at all. and i remember, after coming upon this quote, feeling so oblivious that i never really realized, or really understood that concept before. when people attack us, when people hurt us, when people betray us, and our friends look away because it's not their problem, because they're not the ones hurting us, because they don't want to get mixed up in it, well, that's even worse then the offender. and i know, and try, to be the friend who realizes that and takes action when it's called for. i don't want to be the silent friend.
what does loyalty mean to you?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

this weekend was filled with lots of warm food as the temperatures in upstate ny dropped below zero. and i learned quite quickly that negative five degrees is not the kind of weather you can wear flats in. so i braved the cold, i was lucky to have someone make me dinner and breakfast, go on a date where that special someone got a burger with in a knife in it (that means business), go out dancing, watch quite a bit of friday night lights, make this amazing chicken recipe for dinner and stay warm on the couch before leaving in snowfall on the train. all aboard the polar express!
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Friday, January 13, 2012

on a perfect nyc bagel.

my preference is sesame. now you know.
we've talked here before that to be a new yorker you need to find three things: your sandwich spot, your pizza spot, and your bagel spot. and you have to proclaim them as the best in all of nyc. because their yours, in your hood. and that's the way it goes. and today we talk about the second holy grail:
the bagel.
bagels are second only to pizza in the arguments they inspire about what is the best in the city. here's what i know: the best bagels are warm - if you don't get it toasted, it's still warm from the oven. it is fresh to death. next, it's fairly doughy. the outside is crisp, but the inside is filled with pockets of air and dough that's a touch undercooked - a product of coming fresh out of the oven. if you disagree with anything i just wrote, there is a very good chance you are a communist. or a fascit. or canadian.
sidenote: totally kidding.
communisits and canadians
are welcome at this blog,
as is everyone else.
but seriously, canadians.
your montreal bagels worry me.
i told you this was a polarizing subject.
now, what you want to put on your bagel? free game. what's your favorite type of bagel? free game. the boy loves egg and bacon on a cinnamon-raisin bagel. i know - kind of weird. but let me tell you - also delicious. try it sometime. so have it any way you want. have it your way, in fact. that does not mean you should get your bagels from mcdonald's, though.
my two recommendations for great bagels in the city are, one - ess-a-bagel. this is not my favorite shop, but there are a few locations in the city. as a tourist visiting and staying in who knows what part of the city, see if a location is close to you. and then go get a bagel. be forever changed. they're fabulous, but not quite as good as my second, and real, close to my heart recommendation. gramercy bagel. it's a random, small, bagel shop near me. i went there because it was close by and i promptly fell in love. the bagels are heavenly. they toast them until they're super hot. they give little kids free cookies. it's just awesome. it's tasty. it's new york. i love it.
and now you know all about the perfect nyc bagel. next time in how to be a new yorker, pizza...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

on a few new things.

at the end of the year i decided to finally take the plunge and try moroccan oil for my hair. i realize this is all very 2007 to the rest of you, but when i find a product i like, i tend to stick with it. and since i don't like a lot of different products laying around, particularly in my oh so teeny tiny bathroom, that holds even more true. and i had hair products that i liked. but after always wondering if this would work, i decided to order the smallest bottle i could and try it out. i've been using it for over a month now, the bottle isn't halfway done, and i'm a total believer. my hair is absolutely softer and healthier. 2007 - you were right. this product is the bomb.
i got mine here on amazon.
next is a new mascara i've been using - when i went to visit the boy for new year's eve i conveniently forgot my bag of make-up behind. i mean, who wears make-up on new year's eve? so overrated. but, aiming to not look like a scrub on the holiday, i headed down to the local Price Chopper (yes, that's the name of the grocery store), and decided on this mascara.
via here.
a friend recently gifted me with a maybelline mascara from their volume express line (still in that forgotten bag of make-up sitting in my apartment), so i decided to do a little comparison and buy a different version from the line. and i love this one. the first couple of times it's a bit much (one coat will do the trick), but from there on out it's smooth sailing. and yes, it really does do a good job of separating your lashes - the best i've ever seen so far. i normally wear dior mascara - i bought it with a gift certificate from sephora in high school and was hooked - but this is clearly a more affordable option. we'll see if i go back.
any new discoveries to share in the new year readers? beauty, or otherwise, i'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

on a bowl of soup.

in the winter, as it get cold and you get your first cold, all you want is a bowl of soup. so, i decided to make soup for the first time, one of my favorites - creamy leek and potato soup. no surprise, it's another food and wine recipe. i am just loving that magazine lately. best of all, it was a fairly simple recipe, too. i mean, just look at the ingredients.
aaaaand chicken stock. that's it! not too bad. i halved the recipe since i'd be the only one eating it. long distance relationships are fun!
after sautéing the leeks, you add in the potatoes and chicken, bring to a boil, then simmer. and then comes the good part - adding in the cream.
after simmering for about ten more minutes, you puree the soup in a food processor and there you have it - a creamy bowl of soup. a good way to stay warm on a winter night.

Monday, January 9, 2012

on my weekend in pictures.

the weekend started off well - an amazing brunch in brooklyn, where every bite was more delicious than the last. i made this recipe for lamp chops on saturday night, before heading out for a grad school reunion at one of nyc's oldest bars before moving onto my favorite bar in the city. there was late night dancing and getting to hear a quintessential love story from a quintessential new york couple we met there, before heading home in the wee hours of the morning. sunday called for breakfast in bed and my favorite milkshake before finally seeing "the girl with the dragon tattoo".
not too bad. not too bad at all.

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Thursday, January 5, 2012

on cooking and love.

slow cooker meatballs and sauce. easy to make and beyond delicious. recipe found here.
new year's weekend i was able to cook a lot. the boy went to work and i slaved over the oven like a good little housewife in training.
just joshing, kids. we all know he's gonna stay at home.
but it got to me to thinking about cooking for someone. spouse. kids. friends. family. many times during the week we make food that can be abbreviated. that is quick. that requires little thought. that gets the job of filling and nutritious done. there's not really a lot of joy in it. and that's ok. jobs and families can be tiring. not every experience with the oven needs to be blissful.
but, it still remains, that the act of cooking for someone else, can bring a lot of joy to oneself. it's a simple act - a necessary act to be precise. you've got to eat. even if someone else wasn't there, you'd be cooking. it's not like you're really doing anything that special. and yet...it is. it's like a small gift you can give to someone each day. birthdays, anniversaries, christmas. these are all well and good, but they are few and far between. a meal can be bestowed upon a loved one quite frequently. it shows effort. it shows time. it shows care. it shows love.
we make meals for ourselves everyday, and we don't think much of the time and effort we spend on it. we're just spending it on ourselves, nothing out of the ordinary. but the minute we make a meal others will partake in - it's much more satisfying. it's nice to spend time on the people you love, even though something as basic as a meal.
the connection between food, love, family, friends, a sense of togetherness. it's hard to put into words. but i am sure glad it's there.

on one more thing.

my company has an office in boston, and therefore, many of my co-workers have lived and worked in the boston area. for months - months - one of my co-workers would not stop raving about the cinnamon buns at flour bakery in boston. he even made us watch a video that demonstrated how they make them in a twelve-hour process. have you ever seen a grown man go that crazy over cinnamon buns? neither have i. and i freakin' love cinnamon buns. so i knew i had to go and try them out. and like a dutiful little co-worker, i even brought one back for him. everything was amazing at this bakery - i strongly recommend you go if you're in the boston area. they also serve amazing looking sandwiches, soups and salads. i'll definitely be back the next i'm in boston.

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