Thursday, January 31, 2013

on graduating sixth grade, i guess.

via here.
i was recently reading some snark on the internet, and came across an author lambasting someone for throwing a party for her daughter's sixth-grade graduation, "because that's a thing."
but people - it is a thing.
where i grew up, sixth grade was when you left elementary school and went on to middle school. we had a big assembly, they made us t-shirts with our graduating year printed really big on them and it had all of our signatures on it. i think they played pomp and circumstance?
oh, it was most definitely thing (although, to be fair, my parents didn't throw me a party. it was a thing but not that big of a thing).
and so, for me at least, i left the only school i had ever known. i went from the itty bitty age of five to the huge age of eleven in that building. the teachers in that building had known me for the majority of my life (yes, at one point, six years was the majority of my life). and then i went to a whole new school. in a new town. with new teachers. and hundreds of students, all my age. i mean, that is some scary shit right there. life gets real, real quick, when you leave the sixth grade. you start to understand the word "change"in a whole new way.
and so, middle school. can we just, for a minute, talk minute school? damn. i mean, one day i'm one of, let's say sixty eleven-year-olds, and there's five-year-olds and eight-year-olds, playgrounds, snacks. and all of a sudden you walk into a new school where boys pants sag and bells ring and people pass notes and you have a locker and omg some people your age even smoke! cigarettes!
and the tits. boy oh boy, let's not forget those. they. are. everywhere. did you know some people are a c-cup in seventh grade? i know. i saw it with my own two eyes. girls are wearing v-neck shirts and push-up bras and cleavage lines are out the wazoo. if someone asked me to sum up middle school in word, it would be:
tits.
everywhere. all the time. everywhere i looked, except when i looked straight down, naturally.
and to top this all off - all these new kids with new smells and strange hair gels and revealing clothing and painfully obvious different life goals than the ones i was setting - to make it worse, someone comes up with the brilliant idea of making us all change in front of one another every day. i mean, what sick bastard thought of that.
"hey - i know - let's take kids whose bodies are totally changing and on the edge of betrayal at any given moment (i'm looking at you boners), and have them strip down to their skivvies in front of each other. i think they'll really love it and feel totally comfortable with it."
the fuck?! who on god's green earth thought of this? disgusting. i mean, can you imagine being a boy in middle school? don't stand up too fast or look down the hallway suddenly or speak up in class. you are constantly on the verge of getting a boner or having your voice crack. constantly! it's like living with a terrorist in your body - always on guard! red alert at all times!
although, i will say this last thing about the tits: in all of that changing and undressing and redressing i came to realize that many a tit was helped by many a foam pad. and i felt a little bit better about what i was (not) working with. perhaps those sickos realized that to equalize us, to make us see that underneath it all we were really quite similar with insecurities and victories alike, they had to get us in our underwear. kind of like prison guards, or a dictator. because after all that, after seeing how it all shakes out, after knowing that the prettiest girl in school also just got stretch marks on her thighs in seventh (thanks for that one world!), i can sum up middle school in a few more choice words:
tits. or at the very least, the appearance of tits.
so yes. i guess what i'm trying to say is that graduating from sixth grade is a thing. it is very much a thing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

on my weekend in pictures.

this weekend was centered around a quick trip to philadelphia on friday for a friend's wedding from college and it. was. awesome. i started the afternoon out sitting on my college roommate's bed, drinking wine and catching up - far superior to sitting in front of my computer. we danced the night away, ruled at the after-party and made our way home in the winter wonderland the snow had created in philadelphia. the rest of the weekend was spent recovering in brooklyn - lots of episodes of breaking bad and a long walk on sunday into tiny neighborhoods we hadn't visited before. we have, shockingly, few weddings to attend until the end of the year, so i'm proud we did this last one in style. here's to staying warm this week and welcoming in february - one month closer to spring! 
p.s. the wedding took place in an event space a few floors above the philadelphia macy's, and we're pretty sure we found the chair santa sits in some random room/hallway. naturally it made for a for a great photo-op.

Friday, January 25, 2013

on a shoe story: volume v.

let it be on record: i believe in the power of a peep toe.
they can do no wrong in my eyes.
before i graduated college, like many, i had some time on my hands. i had a varied schedule. i went on runs at 10:30 AM and off to the mall at 2 PM (oh the glorious life of a college senior!). my life was an amazing, flexible, do what i want, magical dream. so, naturally, a few weeks before graduation i found myself in the mall right before lunchtime, wandering around looking for a graduation dress and shoes. for the latter i went to see an old and reliable friend, steve madden. it was on this day that i bought my most trusty, well-worn, dare i say, loved, pair of shoes. my black peep toes. a boring purchase, for sure, but a necessary, and still pretty, purchase. a purchase that had miles in it.
i walked through graduation in these shoes. down the aisle, across the stage, with diploma in hand, never daring to trip. i wore them as my scum-of-the-earth ex-boyfriend insulted me as he stood nearby, gleefully taking advantage of the fact that i was in earshot. they supported me as i stood, stoic and silent, pretending i heard nothing. and before my graduation, just a few days before, i stood in them as we put my grandma to rest. i stood, stoic and silent, pretending i hadn't seen my dad's tears fall, as we good irish catholics tend to do.
i wore them to my friend's wedding in atlanta. and to my friend's wedding in pennsylvania. and that wedding in miami. and the other one in rhode island. and one in philly. and to the rehearsal dinner for that other one in new orleans. (as i list these, somewhere, silently, my bank account is weeping). all of these friends, who have given me the privilege of watching them say i do on their wedding days. these shoes have been there for all of them.
i wear them on most thanksgivings. and most christmas eves, come to think of it. i have worn them on countless dates, and danced in them until the wee hours of the morning more times than i can count.
they have been everywhere, they have done everything. my cobbler has only re-heeled them once. in this life, ladies, you truly only need one pair of amazing black peep toes. make it count.
***
and it is through these shoes that i feel i can cite an example of this: the importance of my shoe stories. these stories seem, at times, silly and vapid. i post soliloquies to my shoes as others pour their hearts out to their spouses, children, friends. but it's not really about the shoes, you see? my shoe museum, while beloved, could burn down tomorrow and i wouldn't miss a thing. i would lose nothing.
we own our possessions. they don't own us.
and from my shoes i alone have these memories. they don't own those memories, i do. memories of the miles i've walked. of my graduation, or the weddings of dear friends, or my grandma's burial. or a random, peaceful day that makes up the blissful end of college. i could lose all my shoes, or grow out of them, or give them away tomorrow. but still it would remain - the purpose they served, the fun i had in them, and the memories i created as they chauffeured me around will never leave me. the places they have taken me are worth every penny i've spent on them and then some.
like i said: you only need one pair of amazing black peep toes in this life - make it count.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

on salted caramel frosting.

i'm not a big fan of homemade frosting. or, perhaps i should say i'm not a big fan of my homemade frosting. then again, i'm also not a huge fan of all the chemicals in store-bought frosting (although i do find the actual frosting to be quite delicious). in fact, i've only once found one recipe for homemade frosting that i like, nay, i'll say it - love. i love that recipe (try it!). i often think the problem lies in how much powdered sugar i have to use - it is my least favorite of all the sugars because yes, you can rank your sugars in terms of likability (brown sugar has the number one spot in my heart, obvi). however, when i visited brian at christmas i found a ton of enticing recipes in the christmas edition of "southern living", so he brought it back for me and here we are: salted caramel frosting.
1 c. of firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. butter
1/3 c. heavy cream
4 c. of powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. sea salt
we begin with melting our butter in our brown sugar over medium heat in a saucepan, whisking constantly until we've brought it to a rolling boil. (rolling i say!) which means to say: it is boiling vigorously and cannot be disrupted or stopped by stirring (you heard it here first). remove the pan from the heat, stir in the cream, return back to the heat, then return back to a boil.
after you have brought the mixture back to a boil, pour into the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. gradually beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract until thickened; about seven to ten minutes.
and then - as you do: frost the damn thing, of course. taking great care to sprinkle each layer with a few good shakes of sea salt in order to emphasize the salted part of this salted caramel frosting. i found it didn't really taste salty to me, so i probably used a bit more than the recommended 1/2 tsp. of sea salt.
so - how did a homemade frosting hater like me feel about it? pretty, pretty, pretty good. and the reaction i got from those i served it to was also quite enthusiastic. although i would say they liked it more than i did - the stiffness of homemade frosting, the immense amount of powdered sugar (full disclosure: i didn't use all the powdered sugar, maybe more like 3 1/2 cups) - it's all a little disappointing. but, BUT, this recipe was so easy to make and can be played around with that i know i'm going to be making it a few more times to try and perfect it (perhaps a touch of cream when beating it to make it silkier). and if you have any tips on how to make better homemade frosting, or your favorite recipes, please share below.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

on my weekend in pictures.

oh three day weekends. are they not the best? why, oh why, when they invented calendars and the working world, did they not make weekends three days instead of two days? a missed opportunity, i say.
the star of this weekend was nyc, for sure. from friday morning onwards, the city seemed to sparkle and grow more luminescent with each sunrise and sunset. and while i've lived in different places and come to see that every place has something to offer, something unique, it doesn't really matter if you don't take advantage of it. so on monday night we found ourselves at the upright citizen's brigade theater (the house that amy built!), and saw colin quinn for $5 as he tested out new material for a new off-broadway comedy show he's working on. i love colin quinn - he is quintessential new york to me, and although he's not as famous as some other SNL alums, i was beyond thrilled we'd get to see him up close and personal. naturally, we grabbed some pizza from patsy's beforehand and as the lights dimmed i thought - yes. this is why i live in new york city. and when it's all said and done and i have to go on to my next adventure, i won't be kicking myself for opportunities squandered. after a weekend where it seemed to shine, it was a great way to end it - thanks for everything nyc.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

on possibly maybe kind of ending my sunglasses hiatus.

when i first moved to nyc, i didn't have a pair of sunglasses. you see, over the course of two years preceding the move, i had bought two pairs of nice sunglasses and over that same course of those two years, i had lost or broken them. it was decided, by me and only me, that i could not handle nice things. and if i could not handle nice things than i couldn't have nice things.
yes, i must myself in time-out. sunglasses time-out.
and when i arrived in the city i went straight to target, picked out a nice pair for ten dollars, and told myself not to get attached to them because i'm sure they would be lost by christmas.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand fast forward about four years and, shocker, they are alive and well. these sunglasses just won't die. i couldn't lose them if i tried guys. it seems as though i can't handle nice things - but the cheap stuff? yeah, i'm fine with that.
so i was thinking maybe - just maybe - i could get a second pair of sunglasses and end my sunglasses time-out. a big maybe.
here are some i'm loving. 
for starters, prada is killing it - i repeat killing it, in the sunglasses department you guys. like i can't even. which is fine. because my wallet can't even either. so it's alllllllllllll good. and while i wax poetic on prada, yes, lest you worry, of course i included a pair of fendi sunglasses. which, can we have a moment with these fendi sunglasses? (of course we can! it's mah blog yo). do you notice the two different, subtle colors on the frame? or the "f" that graces the side, leaving all other garish logos behind? go follow the link (it's number 6). look closer. there's a reason fendi makes me curse under my breath. they know good design people, and they think of everything. they are gods among men. gods who protect their eyes quite fashionably.
all these pairs are pretty expensive, (three's ok), but technically i've been saving for years for this moment, right? ;)
Sunglasses for Spring
first row: 1/2/3
second row: 4/5/6

Monday, January 14, 2013

on my weekend in pictures.

this weekend was a good one. i'm finally feeling better, i went out in public, i ate a hot dog. all signs point to a full recovery.
i started out the weekend volunteering at a soup kitchen, and the man who ran it said something that has been running through my mind. before the doors opened, he reminded us about respect for those we were about to meet and serve. that if we found a twenty dollar bill on the street, dirty and tattered, it would still be worth twenty dollars. that even if we washed it off and made it sparkle like new, it would still be worth twenty dollars. that those who were about to come in may be poor, or dirty, or struggling, they are no different from us. they are still human beings. their worth does not differ from ours. and i've been struggling lately with my worth. not bad struggling just - just you know, trying to figure things out. things that come up every few years and make you think and hem and haw about it all. and it is good to remind oneself that while many things go into who we are, how we define ourselves, what we are worth - the simpler details, the act of just being, just participating, at the end of the day can speak much louder than the thoughts that constantly cloud our heads.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

on some rambles.

hello my little cherubs. i have been quite sick the past two weeks, particularly dealing with a bad cough, which is the story of my life whenever i get a cold, hence the no posting. last night brian told me he's looking forward to going out in public with me again, so that's kind of what i'm dealing with over here. i thought i'd talk a little about books today, since that's all i got going for me these days.
i figured i'd go with my most controversial review first. before we begin - yes, read this book, ok? however, unlike a lot of other people, i was just kind of "meh" about the book. i don't know if it was a bit too hyped or if i have a touch of a psychopath in me, but i found it very easy to know what was coming next in the book and saw the ending coming from like five miles away. maybe six. i will say this though - the author has done an amazing job of crafting a very detailed and layered story. in the last, say, thirty pages of the book though, it was almost like she was exhausted from how meticulous she had been up to that point, or thought readers would be tired from following every twist and turn, and before you knew it - bada bing, bada boom, it ended. and i just found the ending to be a little too  contrived, neat, and, like i said, at least for me, a big yawn-fest since i knew it was going to happen. it's hard to go into detail on this one since i don't want to give anything away, but these are just my two cents. but i do think you should read it. and i do think i may have a tiny psychopath living in me. hopefully none of y'all ever wrong me! i kid, i kid. (or am i?) 
the other book i have read during my time of illness is the book thief. i very much enjoy reading about history, and historical fiction falls into the same boat. i found this to be one of the most innovative books i've read in a long time, as the story is told to us by a narrator, and that narrator is death. it takes place in nazi germany during WW2 and tells the story of a young german girl and her family. the book has been on my mind since i finished it, and i expect it to stay with me for a long time. it encourages thoughts on humanity, friendship, love and, of course, death. there are also some parts of the book i just can't seem to shake and that keep going through my mind. it really is a book that stays with you. i highly recommend this.
lastly, to keep the depressing streak going, i want to highlight a book that i haven't read recently, but that i classify as my favorite book. it's been about five years since i read it, and i think i'm going to re-read it this year. the genocide in rwanda happened when i was too young to really know it was going on, and as i got older and realized i knew nothing about it and it seemed to be an important historical event i should know about, so i got this book. the first part of the book is, quite honestly, horrifying ad graphic, but when is genocide not? this book tells the story of what happened in rwanda and the world's efforts to eventually stop it, and while it's an incredibly compelling read, to be honest it left me hopeless about many things. humanity, africa, the UN, charity, religion. i hope to read it again this year and garner another perspective. but i bring this book up because NO ONE has read it and i really want to talk to someone about it. so if someone could read it and then give me a call, i'd really appreciate it.

finally - please leave a book recommendation in the comments! i may have to continue my shut-in life this weekend.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

on my holidays.

i gotta admit, the 2012 holiday season was good to me. while i love christmas, i would think most people love this time of the year. everything slows down, work is quiet, and it's ok to have just *one* more cookie.
i kicked off my christmas celebration by heading home to virginia for a few days, where i hung out with my parents, visited brian's family and enjoyed the twinkling christmas lights that cut through the dark country nights. my whole family headed back to new york on christmas eve to visit, and my sister stayed with me in my tiny studio apartment for four whole nights where we had nary a fight. it was truly a christmas miracle - thanks baby jesus! we went to our favorite italian restaurant, church on christmas morning and ate the same quiche as last year along with some babka and rugelach from a local jewish bakery that stays open on christmas - thanks for the diversity new york! we closed out christmas day on long island as we always do, filled with family and lots (and lots) of food.
we had a few quiet days leading up to new year's, including brian and i sharing dinner at his apartment where we sat in new chairs that only took us three months of arguing to buy. truly, truly grand - thanks overstock.com!
and finally, new year's, in which we ladies curled our hair, wore our tightest dresses and affixed our longest fake eyelashes as is required by the holiday's standards. we hosted a low-key gathering at my apartment followed by ringing in the new year at a local wine bar that wasn't too crowded, sabered a few champagne bottles for the crowd and gave us matching fake tattoos as we welcomed 2013 into our lives. it was a pretty darn perfect NYE. who knows - maybe that means we'll have a pretty darn perfect 2013, too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

on 2012.

happy new year! i hope you rang out 2012 in style - i had a perfect one with friends and family from afar and even ate a few pigs in a blanket. what more could a girl like me need?
as i thought about looking back on 2012 (one of my favorite things about blogging - it's all there for you to remember!) - i decided to do it a bit different than last year. this time i'm gonna go over a few of my favorite posts, recipes and pictures. and that first part is important because i really want it to be a thank you. you guys are the best readers. and your responses and the conversations we've had through this blog have been amazing and so affirming. i really, truly, heart you guys big time. if you're ever in the big apple, don't be shy.
so, shall we?
1. this post was the hardest to write this year, in the sense that i still am not sure if i said what i wanted to say. and yet, i still come back to it. to read it and understand it. i had one friend who told me she read it a few times that day and she thought it was beautiful. and it meant a lot.
2. this post and this post still make me laugh. the latter post was a lot of fun to share with you guys as it was, shall we say, a different way of passing a recipe on to you. brian also had a lot of fun seeing your comments. i think we need another recipe from him soon.
3. this post. wow. this confirmed for me i have the best readers, hands down. i was nervous writing this post but i really wanted to have a conversation with other women about how we were talking about reproductive rights...without talking about reproductive rights. not only am i sure we all have different opinions, but it's one of the most sensitive and personal political conversations you can have. however, i went ahead and posted it and the comments were respectful, thoughtful and created a meaningful conversation. i have all of you to thank for that, so - thank you. it was an amazing moment on this little blog as the bickering and partisanship continued around us.
4. dudes. i went to italy! 2012 - get outta here! my favorite post from that time was our day in portofino,  where i reflected on a friend i had lost and how i wanted to live my life. it's been one i have turned back to a lot through the year.
5. this little post that evolved out of a stolen moment on the subway was another affirmation of why i love blogging and it's ability to force you to reflect. i loved your responses and hearing about your own growing pains and time as a teenager.
6. my shoe museum! i'm not a big d.i.y. person, but i couldn't say no to this. i had so much fun sharing this with you guys and the comments from this led to the shoe stories series. i can't wait to see what shoes 2013 brings us ;)
7. this post was my most personal one, hands down. i was nervous and scared but i wanted to get it off my chest. and this was the post where some long-time readers, who never comment, commented on and shared their own frustrations and struggles. it was humbling to say the least. again, best readers ever, hands down.
8. the shoe stories started and this is my favorite so far. as they continue into 2013 i need to reach out to readers and ask them to submit one, as i'd love to hear them. i've already reached out to one little lady so let's hope she puts pen to paper soon (you know who you are!)

as for the best recipes i've posted this year? these are the tired and true, the ones i've made over and over again. you can't miss...
1. this meatloaf i've made since college. it's the bombdotcom. for reals.
2. i treat myself to this twice a year. it will fill your arteries...with deliciousness!
3. on my weeknights i turn to this recipe and this recipe. both take one pan. both are healthy. both are delicious. make it happen people.
4. and for after dinner, this simple and amazing summer pie i look forward to making again while these healthier chocolate chip cookies are always in rotation - my favorite recipe that i shared with you guys.

and now, let's close this out with some of my favorite pictures of 2012 in no particular order (of which there are far too many). i travelled to great places, i ate some great food and shucks if i didn't do it in great shoes ;) thank you for another amazing year guys, i think 2013 will bring us some pretty special things. call it a hunch ;)
 

 
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