Friday, December 18, 2009

New Line Alert for the Preppies

es Preppies, there's a new line! Or maybe it's old and I just found out about it now. Regardless, Lands End has added a new line to their more traditional one and I've got to say, I'm diggin' it. The prices are very reasonable and the style and fit seem to almost rival (dare I say?) J.Crew's unique and fashionable pieces. I'm really loving J.Crew's womenswear lately but I have to say, with the economy being the way it is I just can't justify spending $90 on a shirt. Admittedly, there aren't a ton of selections on the Lands End Canvas site, and not everything works, but it's still a great alternative that shouldn't be overlooked!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If Only...

f I could do December all over again I'd make one of these:

{Courtesy of Sweet Paul. Instructions here}

Homemade Pizza--The Healthy Version

inner last week was Homemade Pizza Day, the first of many Homemade Pizza Days to come, and I decided to go a healthier route and bake a whole wheat crust. Let's just say....I won't make THAT mistake again! Maybe when I have kids and I want them to believe that whole wheat is the only type of carbohydrate that exists, but until then...whole wheat pizza is not really for me. I love whole wheat bread and most whole wheat foods but there are a couple of things that I can't seem to budge on. Such as cookies, pasta, and now pizza dough. I think the farthest I'll go (and probably will do the next time I make pizza dough) is mix half white and half wheat flours. I used a recipe from All
I started off with my ingredients: 1 pack (.25 ounce) of active, dry yeast, 2 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 cup of warm water (110 degrees), 1 tsp salt, 2 tbsp olive oil, and 2 tsp white sugar. I dissolved the yeast in the warm water and let it stand until creamy (about 10 minutes). I have to apologize in advance for my photos, it was a dark night.

Next, I combined all the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and stirred until I created a well mixed and stiff dough (no dry spots).

I covered the dough with a wet paper towel and left it alone for about 30 minutes (should double in size). During this time I preheated my oven to 350 degrees.

While waiting for the dough to rise I went to work on the topping. I was going to make an arugula topped pizza but I had a lot of random things in the fridge to use up before they went bad. A block of bleu cheese from Thanksgiving, shredded chicken from a roasted chicken, mushrooms, onions, and cherry tomatoes. Oh and the arugula. I knew each of these things had only about 2 days left in them and I hated to see them at the bottom of my trash can. So I made a
I chopped thin rings out of the onions and thin slices of mushrooms and carmelized. Then I sliced the cherry tomatoes in half. Once the dough was ready I rolled it out into a rectangular shape to fit my baking sheet. I laid out a pizza sauce I bought at Trader Joe's for $1.60, topped it with bleu cheese and added the rest of my mix. Into the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and voila! Pizza! (not the greatest photo, I know, but I was really hungry by then). I also ended up using only half the dough for my pie and froze the rest.

The great thing about this recipe is that it's really easy, requires minimal ingredients, and the dough does not need to be refrigerated overnight. This doesn't make the best dough in town but it definitely does the job. Next time I think I'll leave it in the oven for a little longer to get a crispier center! It's a great dish to pour your leftovers on and it's also a creative way for kids to get involved in what they're eating. You can pre-make the dough and store in the fridge for emergency use. Bon appetit!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lovin' Me Some Interior Design

. Thought I'd start the post off with the letter Z since it's so infrequently used but is filled with character. The Boyfriend, Canadian bred and all, says "Zed" as opposed to the all American "Z". I prefer the "Z". And no, I'm not biased. Not at all.

I was looking through some blogs and ran across some pics of great interior designs that caught my eye. I love love interior decorating and had I chosen another career, I might have gone with interior design. Below are a few of my favs with great color schemes!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Brooklyn Craft Fairs!

ello all! This weekend is going to be an exciting weekend because a friend of mine, Pink Mist Industry, will be tabling at a local brooklyn craft fair this weekend! She makes beautiful, handcrafted and hand embroidered cards for every occasion. I'm so so envious of her skill. I've tried this craft many times and have failed miserably. Perhaps Pink Mist will tutor me if I stalk her enough...

The fair is the 3rd Ward Handmade Holiday Craft Fair held from noon to 6pm on December 12. Stop by and make a purchase for a loved (or not so loved) one from Pink Mist Industry!
{Goodies from Pink Mist}

In other fair news, below are a list of fairs happening this weekend and next. I'm a fair lover, ESPECIALLY an arts and crafts fair!

December 12 & 13

Task Trunk Holiday Sale, 100 N. 3rd St., December 12 and 13, noon to 7
-Collaborative trunk show
-Cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery

3rd Ward’s Handmade Holiday Craft Fair, 195 Morgan Ave., December 12, noon to 6
-Live music from Raya Brass Band and free coffee from Gimme!
-First 300 guests to arrive will receive free tote bags by local artist Fernanda Cohen full of vendor swag
-Free demos and workshops including Making Old Jewelry New and How to Make Your Own Textiles

Brooklyn Indie Market, Smith & Union St., December 12 and 13, 11-7
-Designers donate 10-15% of sales to benefit Brooklyn Community Housing and service

Bull and Bear Market, Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen St., December 13th, starts at noon
-2 people dressed as the stock market’s Bull and Bear will compete in games
-Check out the Recession Art Benefit dinner at 6 PM: $28 in advance, $30 at door covers dinner, booze, and the Bull and Bear games

NY Creates Craft Fair, Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St., at Clinton, December 11 to 16, weekdays 11 to 7, weekends 12 to 5
-ceramics, jewelry, apparel, plush toys, organic cosmetics, glass works, photo art to home goods – all at affordable prices

December 19 & 20

Brooklyn Lyceum Holiday Craft Market, 227 4th Ave., December 19 and 20, 11-7
- 60 + local vendors including food by Luscious Brooklyn, Mogador Falafels, and Brooklyn Brine

Shiny Squirrel and It’s Ok my Dear Shopping Event, 246 Grand St., December 19 and 20
-Cupcakes, drinks, music

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Working Out--ugh

o I've been trying to get a little more work out into my life, as per doctor's recommendations. But the problem is that I really hate working out. I just do! It's really difficult for me to drag myself to the gym and want to exhaust myself running on a treadmill that leads to nowhere. I can think of other things I would like to do with my time say, blogging! Or reading! Or cooking! Alas, my doctor says that working out is a necessary part of life and that I must do it to strengthen my body and to de-stress. Honestly, working out does not de-stress me. I don't get that endorphin high that people love. I've tried yoga as well and wasn't really in love with it. Point is, I think one must "buy in" to these healthy lifestyles in order to really believe in their benefits and want to do more. I am not there yet. However, I AM into eating healthy. I'm not a super health nut, I don't eat organic or take lots of vitamins. But I definitely try to put in healthy alternatives into my diet when I can. Which brings me to this post. Self magazine has a list of 100 of the healthiest cities for women based on working out, food, etc. NYC is not even within that top 100 list. That's very sad. Find your city here to check your stats.

On a happier note, I found a list of 5 stress fighting super foods which may be helpful to us all.
1) Spinach: Contains magnesium, a mineral that blunts stress's effects on the body by stopping blood pressure from spiking.
2) Oranges: Tension can influence your immune system but vitamin C in citrus bolsters your body's cold fighters!
3) Chocolate: Contains pacifying powers. Cocoa boosts your body's levels of neurochemicals, which act on parts of the brain to help produce a sense of happiness.
4) Fish: Omega 3 Fatty acids can help quell anxiety. Halts surges of stress hormones when faced with stressful situations
5) Oatmeal: B vitamins in oats can stimulate production of serotonin, a key neutrotransmitter that sends soothing signals to your brain. You body digests oatmeal slowly so you absorb serotonin steadily.

Definitely going to keep this list for when I start work!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Short Love Story

his is a short clip of a very beautiful love story.

Perpetual Paris

tsy update. I couldn't help but post about this beautiful and creative calendar created by one of my favorite bloggers, Little Brown Pen. This calendar is made up of photos taken by LBP herself during her stay in Paris. You can switch around the photos to match any month and post it on your wall for a beautiful collage! Find it here.

Book and Blogger

ookbook author and chef Molly Wizenberg is also a blogger! I know, some of you may be thinking...wha?? I've been reading her cookbook a little bit at a time whenever I'm stopping over at Barnes and now I've discovered her blog! Completely unintentionally too which makes for a double celebration of coincidences. I love coincidences, I thrive on them. It makes me feel connected with the world and my surroundings. As if things were meant to be. Anyway, her book is very readable as it tells a lot of stories that go along with her recipes. Exactly the type of cookbook I enjoy and hope to one day create. Check her out!

Long Strolls and What Happens on Them...

ntil recently, I have not been one for strolls. They sound lovely and peaceful but I'm a very goal oriented person and living in NYC, if I'm walking I'm usually headed somewhere. I do enjoy the occasional strolling around and window shopping, taking a nice hike, etc but those are far and few in between (except the window shopping). I will say that I am a big walker partly because I live in the city and partly because I detest subways. I'd rather walk the 20 blocks if I have the time than to take the train. I also enjoy walking through parks and seeing the foliage, summer strolls along the promenade and attending fairs. But again, this is far and few in between and thus, am a non stroller.

Lately I've been walking to the hospital a lot since my increased visits at the doctor's and I'm forced to walk because parking is horrendous. I walk along Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights and what I had cast off as a busy street with nothing to see I now adore and enjoy my visits. The street is filled with charming little shops with lots of unique goods. I always stop off at Trader Joe's (I know, not so unique but still special) and get suckered into buying things to try on new recipes. Today I also visited the Atlantic Bookshop where I purchased several used books, including one for the Boyfriend. Afterwards I stopped off at Sahadi's, a gourmet food store with a wide variety of foods from all over the world. I picked up a fresh baked multi grain bread that brought out the comfort side of food when toasted and buttered. I also checked on the cost of peppermint extract for a friend who is making peppermint bark for the Holidays. I also spotted a great little store that I will make a point to stop off at next time I'm around, a shop called Two for the Pot. From what I've read on Yelp, they have a great selection of teas and coffees with a very knowledgeable owner. I'm really excited to stop by and put my new teaposy pot to use!

All in all it was a nice, peaceful, and fulfilling day. The Boyfriend and I are making more of an attempt to re-connect and I know for me, a restful but productive day with lots of small discoveries and adventures makes me a happier person and that is helpful. Especially when he has stressful days full of some incorrigible kids (like how I used "incorrigible"? Sound of music reference!)
{photo courtesy of Livia Patta, All the Things We Do are Pin-Up Sweet}

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Leisure Reading

've been reading Julia Child's My Life in France, an account of her time spent in Paris and Marseille where her adventures and career in cooking first began. So far I am very much loving this book! Julia has such a charming, innocent, and playful way with her words and her journey to become one of America's most beloved French chefs is admirable. Her diligence and ambition to learn everything about French cuisine as well as the language and lifestyle is very inspirational. Julia discovered her passion for cooking around her mid 30s and exercised much gusto and courage to reach the height of her skill. Reading this book has been so much fun and motivates me to delve into my own passions with much more umph! I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves cooking, france, and is looking for an easy and light read!
Click here for a great NYT article on the book.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Mayhem!

ow. Black Friday and Cyber Monday completely wiped me out! I told myself that I would NOT go shopping this weekend, especially not at a mall. But I was in New Jersey heading to work and the Boyfriend and I had a lot of time to kill so....long story short we ended up at Garden State Plaza, one of the largest malls in the area. Boy was it chaotic in there! But I did get some amazing deals and pretty much finished all of my Christmas shopping! I always end up buying and returning because things always seem to goes on sale the day after I buy them or I find something else I like better. This season was no exception. I already have boxes from Bloomingdales and Ann Taylor in my house and I'm about to stop by Ann's tomorrow to return some things. I DID, however, make some purchases for myself. I can't resist the sales....they're too good to pass up!

Here are some Holiday Shopping Tips:
1) Always keep your purchases stowed away in a safe spot, and keep ALL of your receipts. Sales keep happening and what you thought was a good deal is likely to become a better one and you may qualify for a price adjustment!
2) Again, keep your receipts! There are always bigger sales happening closer to Christmas so you might find a better and more affordable present.
3) Order online if you can. I say this to help you preserve your sanity. There are a lot of Free Shipping deals, take advantage!
4) If shopping online make sure you first google for any promotion/coupon codes. I always do that and I pretty much always find a coupon of some sort! (I got $10 off my new boots!)
5) If purchasing online make sure you go through "ebates". Ebates is basically an online discount site. You log onto, then search for the store you are looking for, and click on the store's site. MAKE SURE you click on the store through ebates so that they can track you. Ebates provides at least a 2%-10% discount on each purchase. Hey...every penny counts and you get $$ for signing up! Leave me a comment if you want to get referred!
6) Buy boxes, gift bags, and tissue paper well in advance. Go to a craft shop like AC Moore to get a better and prettier deal!
7) Buy lots of gifts for people! What I mean is....everyone loves opening multiple gifts. If you can afford to do so, buy everyone at least 3 gifts! Even if they are small things that cost $.50, everyone loves to open lots of gifts!

That's all I got for now. But let me show you my most recent purchase (gift from the Boyfriend):

{Nine West Takedown Boots, 30% off plus $10 off coupon plus free shipping!}

Monday, November 23, 2009

Pears, Pears, and more Pears!

ello all. Its me with yet another post on pears. I can't help it, they seem to be showing up wherever I am! Today I woke up ready to trek to the hospital in Brooklyn Heights for my EEG. Stupid me, my appointment is actually next Monday and not today. But all was not lost as I made my way to the charming Montague Street to make a quick stop at Garden of Eden, one of my favorite grocery stores. They have a wonderful variety of fruits and veggies and the best cheese counter short of Murray's! With all that said, I wasn't surprised with the variety of pears they had to offer and had to indulge in a couple. I picked up a D'Anjou, Bartlett and a Forelle as well as a block of me and the Boyfriend's cheese of the moment, the Monte Veronese. So far I am loving the Bartlett -- it's sweet, it's soft, it's very juicy and has that "pear-ish" scent that you imagine proper pears to have. I urge you to go out and pick up a couple of pears to taste. I lugged 6 pears and a bunch of bananas home in my tote and I don't regret it at all!

Click here for a very informative site on Pears.

{Bartlett is the one cut, Forelle is the slightly orange/reddish one in front and on top, and the D'Anjou is the green one hiding in the back}

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Coco Before Chanel

esterday the Boyfriend kept true to his word and took me to The Paris Theater in Midtown to see the movie "Coco Before Chanel." I won't give too much away but I love Audrey Tatou and thought she played the part very well. The story is actually quite moving and I'm still thinking about it today. I highly recommend it to any girl who has dreamed of Chanel and would suggest you watch it at The Paris Theater. It's so clean and set up like a real theater, complete with heavy curtain drops and a mezzanine!

Oh and thank you to the Boyfriend who endured 2 hours of girly film for me and who, without a second thought and in one swift movement, bought me a new cup of apple cider after I dropped my almost full one all over him.

This one is another version of the story that I watched previously.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Latest Find: Fragrant Pears

'm fully aware that this post may not be the most exciting but I just had to write about my recent discovery. I was at the market today, shopping for groceries long overdue, when I ran across a somewhat familiar sounding fruit, the Fragrant Pear. I vaguely remembered a friend telling me that his friend from China would always look for Fragrant Pears and buy them by the bunch whenever found. Out of curiosity I put a couple in my cart and mosey'd on. Little did I know the wonders of this fruit! The Fragrant Pear has only been imported into the U.S. in the last couple of years and are grown in a small region of China. This fruit bears a strong resemblance to the Asian Pear is but much sweeter and juicier. I'm not a huge fan of the Asian Pear (I know, my fellow Koreans are gasping as they read this) but the Fragrant Pear provides a satisfying taste for this non convert. Unlike the Asian Pear you don't have to peel the skin as its soft and thin exterior makes it easy to bite into. It's also crispy, juicy, and sweet and I think I'm in love! This is the perfect fruit for a snack or for desserts.

Click here for a very informative NYT article about this fruit.

{Photo courtesy of Rasa Malaysia}

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Oh How I Love You Martha

hristmas is near and my bank account and wallet are shaking in fear of what is to come. I love buying gifts but this year I'm going to have to budget wiser and keep the purse strings drawn just a bit tighter. In lieu of purchasing gifts, this was sent to me from Tasha over at New Beautiful. We've decided to handmake each other gifts for Christmas this year and seriously, those people over at Martha's workshop are geniuses. Here are a few of my favorites:

{Hard Flower Barrettes}

{Leather Planner}

{Felt Slippers}

{Button Necklace}

And my absolute favorite: The No Sew Tote. Watch the video here and you will be just as amazed as I am!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Photographs of the Moment

{Astoria Bridge by Sacred Lotus}

Recipes of the Week!

ust when I thought I was finally catching up with my life I take a look at the calendar and see that there is only one week until Thanksgiving! I can't believe it, time sure flew by! November has been quite a busy month for me. I volunteer 2 days a week for a couple of hours at a non profit organization in Brooklyn and I tutor a 7th grader in New Jersey. The commute alone is very long and eats up a large chunk of my days. Plus, the boyfriend and I have had 3 groups of visitors within a month (2 back to back for a total of 10 days) and we also went to Puerto Rico less than a month ago! Whew!
One of the ways I regroup is by cooking. I won't have a chance to do any of that until this weekend but I'm looking forward to trying some new recipes. I want to try a new pumpkin bread recipe, the Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread, and stock up on some jars of my own marinara. This time, I'm going to take a stab at incorporating this recipe with my own.
But til then, take a look at Heart of Light's post on making your own pasta. It sounds so amazing!

{Photograph from Heart of Light}