Friday, October 31, 2008

Witch or Sexy Kitten?

What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Gold star and a bonus cupcake for you if you can name the movie this post title comes from.

Happy Halloween everyone!!!!

How Ellis Marsalis helped bring me back

Last night, I may have been out alone but I got dressed up, did my hair, and took myself out to a concert in New Orleans. It was fantastic. The Ellis Marsalis Quartet was incredible and I had a wonderful time.

Going out last night was really the first time I've done something in the city (besides wander the parks and French Quarter, which I love) and I was transported. I suddenly remembered all the reasons why I wanted to live here and was so happy with the decisions that I've made to get to this point.

The best part? Once I was there, I ran into some people who are in my Spanish class, so I ended up not being alone after all.

Grey's Moment

Hands down, 100% the best line of the night (said by Dr. Bailey):

"That wasn't because of you. That was thanks to ME. And the Chief. And Meredith Grey. And Anatomy Jane."

Miranda Bailey rocks my world. What a rock star. I'm also glad that the characters are evolving this season, learning and growing. Meredith. Derek. Sloan. Alex and Izzie. And of course, Christina. Oh that girl breaks my heart and gives me courage at the same time. She is a wonderful example of deciding what you want, and never never never giving up. I am interested to see what happens with her and Major Hunt.

Read the writer's blog here.

A special shout out to my bestie Liz who picked up my call at 11:00PM and knew just how important it was to talk about haircuts. She's a lifesaver.

Culinary Masterpieces

I know I've been awfully quiet on the blogging (and commenting front--sorry, Mom!) so I'm sorry for that. I've been busy! Busy trying to live this thing called life.

Since the chilly advent of Fall (it's been unacceptably cold at 50 degrees...although I know that I will get no sympathy for this) and Halloween, obviously pumpkins have been on my mind. I found a delicious recipe from Pioneer Woman and decided to try it. Instead of making it as a sheet cake, I made them as mini-cupcakes. The mini has become my trademark. Littler is just cuter and better. Instead of using the homemade whipped cream, I made cream cheese frosting and oh my, my little beauties were a smashing success. I have had multiple requests for the recipe and I hope that each pumpkin chef enjoys great success and much tastiness. And PS--the batter tastes like pumpkin pudding.

People say that necessity is the mother of invention. Wednesday night I arrived home, ravenous, and was in a tizzy over what to eat for dinner. (Why the tizzy? I'm still not sure, considering we had a kitchen with at least 3 easy options but still...I had agita.) I quickly decided on the classy standby of mac & cheese. We (secretly) love this dish and maybe eat it a bit too often but whatever. It's so good. I got started and then sadly realized that our milk had gone bad. But! Also in the fridge was a carton of buttermilk, used last week when we made chocolate peanut butter skull cupcakes. (They were awesome!) I took a whiff of the buttermilk to make sure it was still good and was....surprised. Buttermilk smells really, really tangy. Did you know that? I certainly didn't. And in the back of my mind I could kind of remember reading somewhere that if you don't have buttermilk you can mix regular milk and vinegar together to make the same effect...which alarmed me a little. So nervously, I asked Jessica what she thought and in her typical confident manner she told me to mix in a little water and just try it out. Once the noodlies finished cooking, I mixed some of the buttermilk with water in a mini-bowl (thanks again for the bowl set, Mom!!) and then poured the thick, tangy mixture onto the noodles. I added the butter (maybe a little extra butter), the cheese mix, and mixed away. The cheese mix integrated quickly and creamily, to my suprise. Then as an extra helper, I grated some of our medium Cheddar cheese and mixed that in, letting it get melty and gooey. I dished it up and grated fresh pepper over the top, and took a (small) bite to try it out.

I can never go back to plain Kraft out of the box. It was so sinfully good--a more complex taste but so delicious. Sohpisticated comfort food. I was very impressed with myself.

And then (as if that wasn't enough) I made homemade whipped cream for my hot chocolate. I used my new mixer, which I love. And considering that I count frozen Cool-Whip as one of my favorite foods, I will now commit treason and say that fresh, homemade whipped cream really is way better than Cool-Whip. So sorry.

Monday, October 27, 2008

How we can learn from others

Today, if you catch yourself wallowing in the Monday blues, or feeling kinda down over your daily nonsense, take 10 minutes and read this series of articles about Stephanie Nielson.

Part I, After fiery plane crash, a sister is held even closer
Part II, Husband, sisters welcome Stephanie back

What a gift this life is. What a gift are our families. What a gift is freedom, and health, and strength, and love, and forgiveness.

I am so grateful to Stephanie and Christian's families, who have shared so much of themselves during this ordeal. I have learned so much from watching them have grace and dignity and love and humor, and showing us how it's done.

I am so happy for them that so many blessing are being poured upon them.

I love them, even though I've never met them. I wish them all the joy in the world.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Yesterday I:

Spent many a merry hour laughing with my family over a recently surfaced photo. Had magical barbeque sauce delivered to my office from Texas. Made amazing pumpkin cupcakes. Did more math and increased my average by 5%!!!!!!!!!

Today I:

Am at work. Voy a la clase de espanol. Will do more math and try to keep the average on the uptick. Will go to bed on time.

A word on dunce caps

Did you know that these old-fashioned relics of stupidity come in a variety of sizes? No? Me either! Until yesterday, when I was enlightened via a very interesting discovery. I always thought they were for forgetful little children in one-room school houses.

No, I was wrong.

They come in child-size (as a relic of times past, only, of course).

Adult size.

And family size.

Who knew?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Required reading

Everyone needs to read this op-ed by Warren Buffett. On CNBC's Power Lunch today, the talking heads were discussing "how right Buffett is". Interestingly, they were interrupted by the breaking news that three Lehman Brothers executives, including Richard Fuld and Erin Callan, had been subpoenaed in relation to Lehman's fall. The heads went wild, saying that "you can't prosecute someone for not knowing that the trouble was so bad" (although the heads admitted that someone in the banking world should have known better) and my favorite, that "the politicians and the regulators should be the ones investigated and cross-examined on national television." (I agree.) Which is so interesting. Last week or so, they were screaming for intervention from Washington and for the bailout package to be passed. Now, they want thier heads, instead of the CEOs. Who is right? Tough to say, but let's circle back to Warren. At least he is putting money into the markets and encouraging others to do so as well. I really do think he is quite brilliant and wish I was in a position to take advantage of some of these bargain stocks. No, the short term picture isn't pretty, but the market will always turn back around. Like so many others, I relish hearing from someone with 1) real business sense (a businessman vs. a politician) and 2) workable solutions instead of political soundbites.

Grey's Moment

Last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy was a joy. We laughed so hard and so often. It was fantastic.

Favorite moments: Bailey's face. There were other things I loved as well but nothing comes close to the magicalness of Bailey's face.

Least favorite moments: George and Lexie on the bench. Because it was sad and kinda lame but also true.

This week's writer's blog is also (in my opinion) kinda lame. Read and decide for yourself. But watch this episode because it is fantastic!!

Through the darkness comes the light

“And there is another feeling that is a great consolation in poverty. I believe everyone who has been hard up has experienced it. It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs—and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it.”
– Down and Out in Paris and London , by George Orwell (1933)

When we are faced with trials, personal, professional, economical, etc., we often are fearful. I am. I am quite the little worrier, although I have made great strides in breaking this behavior. I am quick to fear the unknown, or the dreaded worst-case scenario.

But then that worst-case scenario happens, and the most amazing thing about it is that amidst the rubble of broken hearts and broken dreams and just being broke you are still alive, somehow breathing, and experiencing it in all its horrific and excruciating glory.


When you've finally reached that moment (I believe they refer to it as capitulation in the financial markets), there is a certain freedom that accompanies the despair. A sliver of a silver lining.

Which is the knowledge that whatever has happened didn't crush you, didn't kill you (unfortunately), and that you will (somehow) survive.

You. Will. Survive.

I promise you this.

And, miraculously (it truly is a miracle) one day you wake up and things are ever so slightly better. And you keep waking up everyday and bit by bit, you become whole and healed and happy again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

J'adore Paris!

Anyone want to take a quick trip to Paris? The New York Times puts together great mini trips, and the latest is 36 hours in Paris.

Paris in the winter would be freezing but oh-so-fun and dreamy!

Kind of like the Olympics, but with headbands and drivers instead of leotards and judges

Gossip Girl plus Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin??!?!

I am so freaking excited for this!!!!!

These roadies are funny to me

Tonight is the last debate. I think there is political overkill happening right now. I have watched the others, followed the commentaries, and generall enjoyed learning about the candidates, but I gotta admit--I'm tired of this. (And to think I only starting paying attention this August! You poor souls who've been invested in this since 2006. Yeesh.)

I think I'll DVR it, maybe watch a few minutes. I mean, tonight is the Project Runway FINALE.

A girl's got to have priorities.

I heart satin headbands

I know it's a day late and the picture is small, but I really did enjoy Monday night's episode of Gossip Girl. Yes, it's lame that mysteriously all the kids now want to attend Yale and very funny that I can pick out the spots on Columbia's campus that they are trying to double for Yale (they look nothing alike! Take a day trip to New Haven!!) but some nuggets of goodness came through anyways.

I love how hard Blair works for the things she wants. She is a dreamer and then has the goods to back up those dreams. I'm working on getting the goods to back up my dreams. She is human, and fumbles every now and then, but picks herself up and finds another way in. She's a smart one, that Blair. Ew for Marc Jacobs naming a bag after Serena, I seriously doubt that would ever happen. Although maybe if it did, it would be a cuter bag than the one Sofia Coppola designed. Love Sofia, but this bag is boring, not a classic, and not worth the $2900 pricetag.

Check out the recap. One of the recappers actually attended Yale, which leads to much snark in the reality department.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My heart is breaking today, just a little

My heart is breaking today because a dear friend is gravely ill and having critical and risky surgery tomorrow. My heart is breaking because I don't live there anymore and can't do more to help. My heart is breaking because it is still so hard for me to understand how I got from there to here. My heart is breaking because I wish so much it had been different. And, in moments when I want to be really honest, my heart is breaking because when I hear his voice (no matter that it's a voicemail regarding the lease break for our apartment where we broke up) I cry. Because I miss him. Because I loved him so much. Because I regret with all my heart what happened. And there is nothing that can be done about it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

One of my besties from New York, who I miss terribly, Miss Jessica Ruiz, texted me this afternoon to tell me that she heard Christmas music on the radio today! So exciting! I am a huge fan of Christmas and all that comes with it. (Including Christmas china. It's a must-have!) I am excited to see what sort of Southern Christmas magic I can find this year. I've always gone to see the tree lighting at Rockefellar and the lights up Park Avenue. I can't wait to make new traditions down here.

One thing that will never change, however, is going home for Christmas. Home is where the heart is, they say, and home for me is wherever my family is. They are my heart, my true loves, and I can't wait to come home! I bought my plane ticket today so it's official:

I'll be home for Christmas!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Starry, starry night

I hear that it has started to get chilly up there in the north, in New York. As I have mentioned before, one of the things I miss (among the many) about New York is Fall. Fall. Sigh. I miss those New York Fall weekends, where you wander the farmer's market, the flea market, the shops, Central Park, the museums....but that's all old news. What I failed to mention earlier is that Fall in New York is a cultural mecca. All the new plays, new books, new museum exhibitions--it is a treasure trove of beauty and intoxicating to the artistic soul.

So, for all you lucky ducks who are in New York and looking for a way to while away a lovely and chilly Saturday, go to MOMA to see their Van Gogh exhibit.

When I visited Amsterdam, I spent an afternoon at the Van Gogh museum and was completely captivated by his works. Such passion, such boldness and such colors. What a wonderful opportunity to see these pieces in the states.

Someone, please go and tell me all about it!!


I am so happy it is Friday! It's been a fantastic week and I always love the fun of weekends.

Tonight, Jessica and I are going to see The Duchess. We saw the previews for this film early this summer, and have waited and waited for it to come out! One of the things I took for granted in New York was film release dates. I never realized that many films open in New York several weeks before they open nationwide. I have become painfully aware of this fact, as The Duchess came out in NYC in the middle of September!! Jess and I have been waiting and waiting for it to open here and the day is finally upon us. We are so excited! The previews look amazing, the reviews have been pretty good (but I don't always agree with the reviewers, so I'm hoping to give The Duchess a rave), and it's got Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes and big pouffy dresses. All the fixings for a masterpiece.

Tonight, after the movie, all day tomorrow, and probably most of the day Sunday (after church of course) will be spent doing this:
and trying to remember how to do it all, and reteaching myself what I've forgotten (or maybe never really learned how to do correctly in the first place), and then heading to class. It's been so great for me to remember how much I love math and that I am actually good at it!

Grey's Moment

So a tiny part of me thought the whole "the hospital is flooding" was a bit overworked and overly dramatic. The previews were so sensationalistic and I just really wanted to wrinkle my nose at the whole thing.

I still feel the same way, and absolutely could have done without the flooding, but to be fair, the episode didn't really suffer. The flood was used as a device to move several storylines along and some quite movingly. Alex. Ahhhh. I just know he has it in him to be a good guy!

Other favorite moments include little Lexie coming into her own a bit, George clutching the pencils, Christina and her evaluation of the shrink (so freaking funny), and the very interesting Callie/Erica/Mark Sloan friend dynamic. Meredith with her patient. The headache man. And Izzy on the swing. That made my heart break because I feel the same way sometimes.

I didn't particularly appreciate the Chief's prolonged insistence at not admitting to needing help-this manifested in the previous episode and is clearly going to be the Chief's arc, which is too bad because I really like Richard but find this behavior to be tiresome, childish, egocentric and dull.

Check out the writer's blog and enjoy!

Do your patriotic duty

Did you remember to register to vote? Both Jessica and I have registered to vote absentee, to help out our home state of Ohio go red.

Either way, whoever you vote for, be like Nike and just do it. It's important to participate in civic activities, and especially as ladies, to exercise a right that was not a given right, but one that was fought for and earned. Don't let the suffragettes' struggles be for naught; be a modern girl and vote!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Yay for today!!!

Today is my birthday! Hooray for today! Thank you to everyone for all the happy wishes, in phone calls, cards, e-cards, Facebook love and text messages--I love them all and it means the world to me to be thought of. I miss you and love all of you!!!!

My lovely coworker Rebecca made delicious chocolate cupcakes for me this morning! We've been snacking on them all morning. Nothing says birthday breakfast better than cupcakes. Truly, cupcakes are one of my favorite foods.

The birthday weekend was amazing and so much fun. A total blast. (In our house, we like to extend the celebration of the birthday both before and after the actual day.)

The weekend started off Friday night, watching my new DVD, the SATC movie. It's so fun and reminds me of New York and going to see the film in Detroit with my friend Chris. It completely makes me homesick for New York but in the very best way possible.

Saturday was spent at Tad Gormely Stadium for the Tulane Homecoming Football game. There was a parade and pom poms and lots of fun in the sun. Pictures to follow soon!

Sunday morning, the Birthday Eve, Jessica took me to the Ritz for brunch. It was so lady-like and luxurious! Everything we ate was amazing. The piano player sang Happy Birthday to me, which was wonderful, and the chef made me a special birthday treat, Toffee Pudding Cake with vanilla ice cream. Oh my loveliness, it was divine.

Jessica gave me her presents at brunch--a Saints tshirt and tickets to a game!! A total surprise and so much fun! The game is tonight, so after my Spanish class I'll vamos home, change into some gold and black and head to the Superdome. I can't wait!!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hola, como estas?

Tonight I start my Spanish class. I am muy, muy excited to go. I took 3.5 years of Spanish in high school, and really regret not continuing with my classes as well as not keeping it up. I have a built-in conversation buddy, my Dad! He served his mission in Argentina and is still fluent. Remarkable, yes? I think so. He also is proficient in French and at a point was working on Mandarin Chinese. I would love to do the same. As I begin to look toward my future and which direction I may point myself, career-wise, it is clear to me that language proficiency is a wonderful addition to one's resume. Plus, I love to travel, and speaking the language always makes the experience more fun.

So off I go. It is Fall, after all, and what says Fall more than Back-to-School?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I love the smell of Raid in the morning

This blue can is full of goodness. This blue can releases toxic perfume that keeps the cockroaches away. We have a plan for this blue can.

When I moved down here to the South, I was ignorant of such simple gifts. I was beguiled by the sun and the palm trees and the beignets and the jazz. I loved (and still love) our little white apartment.

Then I was introduced to the nasty bug known as the cockroach. They exist everywhere, in all the homes, nice, new, old, in-between, you name it, a cockroach will go there. They are no respectors of persons. And curiously, my sister Jessica, who has for our entire lives been known as the "stronger, tougher, more capable" of the two of us, completely melts down in the presence of the bugs. It's the strangest thing. And now I, the sister-formerly-known-as-the-weaker-and-wimpier, have found my inner bada$$. I have become a cockroach murderess.

Quite the claim to fame, I know.

As I've posted before, we are very vigilent in our pursuit of keeping the apartment a cockroach-free zone. It is our top priority. (You know, along with world peace and making it to the celestial kingdon.) Just two days ago, I mentioned to Jessica that we were nearly due for another Raid-a-thon. She answered that we should spray again on October 3.

It's like they know. It's like they can tell that the toxic Raid defenses are getting low and now is the moment to seize the day and penetrate the Fortress of the Clean. Because this morning, shortly after my shower but well before I'd arrived at full alertness, I had a close encounter with the insect kind. And it was not ok. Dealing with humvee-sized cockroaches is never ok, but especially not at 6:55 in the morning.

He was just laying there, on his back, next the garbage can, feet in the air. I nearly made a rookie mistake and assumed he was dead, given his position. But Jessica has taught me well, and I've learned that no matter the state of the dead bug, whether it's newly dead or clearly reached the dusty potpourri stage, you give it a good smash to ensure that you are not picking up a live cockroach. My angle was bad this morning for smashing, so I decided to spray the cockroach with a nice soothing mist of Raid to ensure his timely demise.

He was not dead. Far from it. Apparently he had simply been napping and when the Raid starting raining down on him, he fought to get away. This morning could be known as the Battle for the Kitchen. For a moment it looked at though the cockroach's retreat would work, but then the brute force of the garbage can slamming down on him ended his rally.

I picked him up, tried not to vomit in my mouth (he was a juicy guy, full of grey and green guts) and primly deposited him in his final resting place: the toilet, where he was flushed away to his watery grave.

When dealing with these vermin, you must take a very Zen approach:

See the Raid. Use the Raid. Be the Raid. Otherwise....they know.

My Birthday Month!

The other great thing about October is that it is my birthday month!!!!!!!! YAY!!!!!!

My birthday is in 6 short days. I love that my day of birth is on one of the gorgeous single digit days of the month.

I'm not sure yet what I will be doing to celebrate, but I know it will involve making many delicious cupcakes to share with friends. So if you're around, please come have some and make a celebratory toast to the birthday girl, me!!!

Happiness for birthdays!!!!!

October 1

Today is October 1. A new month, a new beginning, and the beginning of Fall. I love Fall--the colors, the crispness in the air and getting hot apple cider at the Farmer's Market.

Fall is my favorite season.

Down here in the South, we do not have Fall. We do not have crisp mornings, the leaves do not change color, and you most definately want your apple cider served cold. We have other things, like a balmy 75 degree walk home from work past a promenade of palm trees. Which is very lovely and I love it.

I just sometimes miss those fiery, flaming tree branches. However, we have spotted pumpkins at the stores and markets, so come Halloween time, we'll be carving up a great Jack-O-Lantern.

Enjoy these beautiful images of Fall and find the beauty of wherever you are.