Archive | October, 2010

All Hallows Eve

31 Oct

I was supposed to be housesitting for my cousins this weekend, but they got sick and had to cancel at the last minute. While it would have been nice to have a little extra cash in my pocket, not being stuck here this weekend meant I could go down to Melody’s Halloween party. I haven’t been to a proper Halloween party in several years, and it was lots of fun. Definitely worth the last-minute drive down.

Deciding to attend a Halloween party at the last minute doesn’t leave you many costume options. I had thought it would be really funny, and very easy, to be Sue Sylvester. All you need is a track suit, tennis shoes, and a bull horn. Maybe a short blonde wig, but it would be more about the attitude than anything. I’d also been considering a Rachel Berry costume, because I’ve recently bought several items of clothing, on separate occasions, that would combine into a great costume for her. However, I really, really wanted to wear my fur more than anything, but was at a loss for a costume idea. Melody suggested I be Lucille Bluth, from Arrested Development. Perfect excuse to wear the fur and walk around with a martini glass, right? Absolutely. I also had the entire makings of a costume in my wardrobe – black skirt, suit jacket, pearls, flashy earrings and bracelets, low heels. I even printed out an Annyong paper doll, and was good to go. Melody did my hair when I got down there, and I have to say, it turned out pretty well. I’m quite proud of it, and even more because I didn’t spend a single penny on it. Well, at least not this weekend…

To contribute my share to the party, I made S’mores Cupcakes, which were absolutely delicious. I’ll post the recipe soon – I basically made it up, based on several versions I found around the internet. I’ll definitely have to keep that one in mind, because it was so easy to do, and they were a big hit. Really, anytime you put chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers together, it’s going to be good.

Melody had even gotten me a cute little birthday present, which was such a surprise, and so nice! She had really decorated her house up cute. It’s adorable and retro-looking anyway, but Halloween really brought out her decorating spirit. She used several ideas from the October issue of Martha Stewart’s magazine. She’d covered her furniture with white sheets like an old abandoned house and hung gauze strips from the windows like old cobwebs and ratty curtains. There were also cut-out bats hanging from doorways and mice near the floorboards, as well as candles everywhere. She’d found some great glasses and plates at Ross and the dollar store, so it looked very festive. She and Wes had even set up a boiling cauldron of dry ice outside on the porch. You have to admit – Halloween decorations are super fun.

The food was all delicious, too. Between Martha and InStyle, Melody had found some great party foods for the occasion. She made little vienna sausages wrapped in crescent roll dough like mummies, pumpkin spice chicken tacos with pico de gallo, special guacamole dip with bacon and blue cheese, Halloween-themed tortilla chips that we made using soft tortillas and cookie cutters, and her friend Kacie made graham cracker pralines. Not to mention that there was, um, quite a bit of booze. It’s Halloween for adults. We’re not exactly sitting around eating candy, now are we?

Several groups of people stopped by throughout the night, so I got to meet people from many different groups of people in Melody’s life. There were some pretty interesting and fun people there – it’s amazing how much more comfortable you can be around strangeres when you’ve felt shy your entire life.

Being on the ridiculous sleeping schedule that I am, I went to bed around 4 and woke up at 7:30. I kind of napped for a bit, but was mostly awake until Wes and Melody woke up later. We had a late lunch at Fuddrucker’s, which was great hangover food. I just wish I had been somewhere with Anthony Bourdain, having amazing street food in one of the exotic locations where he travels. If only weekends were 3 days long. I think I’d be quite productive, and still have time to have a little fun. Too bad Halloween only comes around once a year…although it is a really fun time of year to have a birthday!

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This is What my Heart Looks Like:

29 Oct

The best holiday all year is this weekend. How are you celebrating? Hopefully you’re playing lots of tricks and getting lots of treats!

Orange You Glad?

28 Oct

Nothing like a birthday to make your Facebook wall blow up with love. I always feel so special – as everyone should – on their birthday.

In other news, it’s Orange Day. If you’re not wearing orange today, you should, in support of the greatest Converse tradition ever. Full Moon, here’s to being the prankiest, most badass organization ever!

I’ve Got the Power

27 Oct

Ever since I got back home on Monday night, it’s been an adventure. Apparently while I was flying back from Boston, my neighborhood got hit with a massive storm. Or tornado. Not sure exactly which, seeing as I was gone. Anyway, the wind was powerful enough to blow down some large branches and limbs from the trees in our front yard. And strong enough that these limbs took down the power lines. Not just the power lines out by the street, but the ones connected to our house. Just ripped them right out of the house, leaving us without power, cable, internet, or phone lines. This was all on Monday morning, leaving us without power until this morning. Wednesday. I’m kind of glad I missed all the excitement, although it does seem to happen only when I’m gone.

Driving back on Monday I could tell the power was out in some places. There were no street lights, or house lights, or anything – not even on the interstate, when I got close to my neighborhood. Driving around the next day in the daylight, there were tons of trees knocked over, or huge limbs lying on the ground. I saw a pretty beat-up trampoline, too. I got home about 8:30, but it was already dark and everyone was asleep already except my dad. Nothing much else to do when it’s dark and you can’t even read, I guess.

The last two days without power have been interesting, for sure. It’s funny how much you rely on electricity for everything. You have to rely on other things to occupy your time, other than TV or the internet and other such things. The most annoying thing about it is having to reset all the clocks once the power comes back on. We’ve been going to bed really early because it’s been too dark to do anything. Thank goodness for my handy and fashionable headlamp, because it allows me to walk hands-free through the house and see everything around me.

Of course, having no electricity also means that there’s no hot water. How do we solve that problem? Well, if you just so happen to have a gym membership, you can use the showers at the gym. Nevermind going to actually work out. My mom and I went last night solely for the purpose of taking a hot shower. I’m sure it looked funny to anyone who was paying attention to us – walking in with large bags, heading straight downstairs, and coming back up 20 minutes later wearing different clothes. Hey, waste not, want not. We might finally have power, but the trees are still out in the middle of the road. We can only get to our driveway from one direction – earlier it was because of the live wires and tree branches running across the road, now it’s just due to the trees. Not sure when those are getting taken up, but it’s been quite challenging, to say the least.

It was quite an exciting birthday surprise to come home to. Of course, with the power out, that meant no one could bake me a birthday cake. Being a master baker myself, I tend to be picky about bakery and grocery store cakes. Luckily, we had dinner at Cootie Brown’s, where they make the most delicious key lime pie on the face of the Earth. A miniature version came home with us and was adorned with birthday candles, so that more than made up for not having the homemade version. It doesn’t feel any different to be 24, although just saying it sounds more mature than 23. Weird how that happens. 23 was really a great year – I just hope this next one can be equally as wonderful. Or even more so.

Stuff I Want Wednesday

27 Oct

Today’s SIWW isn’t so much things I want as things I just bought for myself. If you didn’t know, today is my birthday, so happy birthday to me! I consider my Boston trip to be my birthday present to myself this year, along with all the goodies I found there. Following is what amazingly fit into my suitcase, in addition to everything I’d already packed.

Clockwise, from top left.

Knitted socks with a tree pattern. I found these at the clogs/boots/socks/tights store in Cambridge. Because life’s too short to wear boring socks.

Shirt from Anthropologie. This is a navy blue tank top with velvet and silk appliques and metallic and jeweled accents. Can’t go wrong with some sparkle!

Evergreen air freshener. I bought three of these at Nomad, because they were just so delicious. I love anything that smells like Christmas trees, but these were without a doubt the best ones I’d ever smelled. They had candles and reed diffusers, also, but I thought these air fresheners would be safest to take back on the plane. I have one in my car right now, so my car will smell like a forest for quite some time.

Printed scarf. I found this at Nomad, as well. It was handmade in India and is just gorgeous. I realized I don’t have that many printed scarves, so of course this one had to come home with me.

Vintage mink stole. Without a doubt, the greatest find ever. It was just casually hanging in the store with a dress. I tried it on for fun – that ruffle is what initially drew me to it – and it was so soft and warm I just couldn’t take it off. I walked around stroking its gorgeous fur for so long, I knew I was hooked. No idea why I need it, but it’s mine now. What’s the fun in being a girl if you can’t enjoy those kinds of benefits?

Vintage coral necklace. Also bought from the vintage store in Salem. I’m so in love with this – I think it will look great with my lacy white and coral Anthro dress. Or maybe one day a wedding gown…

Mismatching socks. Such fun, bright colors. I also got a pair for my mom in yellow, purple, and green. Extremely warm, too.

Block colored socks. Again with the fun sock trend. I don’t care what Stacy and Clinton say. Sometimes you just need fun, colorful socks. That doesn’t make them juvenile necessarily.

Red cardigan from Anthropologie. I wore this today, and it’s so cozy! Just the right amount of warmth, with that unexpected silk inlay at the shoulders. Something a little more fun, and the perfect addition to my Rachel Berry costume. (Still haven’t decided if that’s happening, but I think that would complete the look.)

Fig perfume. This is a small rollerball perfume, and it’s just lovely. I kept smelling this in Anthropologie, and I just didn’t want it to fade. The perfect solution? Taking it home!

Paris calendar. This little calendar has twelve vintage prints of Paris locations – mostly the Eiffel Tower. It’s going to eventually get taken apart and framed in a little wall collage. So cute.

Knitted llama hat. I found this in a store in Salem, with lots of other knitted items. I think the people who owned it were either Ecuadorean or Peruvian. How could I resist a hat with llamas on it?

Yellow shirt from Anthropologie. This fabric feels almost like gauze – so soft and floaty! I love the applique detail at the shoulders. And again with my new favorite color – mustard yellow.

Seal and sealing wax. I found these at Paper Source. It’s a cute little “L” shaped seal with some read and gold sealing wax. All my letters from now on will be sealed this way. Such a fun, unique way to finish them off, don’t you think?

Ten Things Tuesday – October 26

26 Oct

Killing two birds with one stone today. I’m recounting my Boston adventures in the form of a TTT list. Enjoy!

1. I drove down to Melody’s house after work on Thursday. After such a crazy day at work – I literally did not stop moving the entire day – I was definitely ready to just sit down and RELAX for a bit! My mom was nice enough to make me a sandwich to eat on my drive down, which was delicious after a long day. Melody and I ventured out to Mexico Lindo – now under a different name, apparently – for a second dinner. We didn’t stay up very late, because I had to wake up at 3:30 in the morning! That’s right. I said 3:30, which is a very small number. But that’s the price you pay for a very cheap airline ticket ($98 roundtrip? Heck YES!). So anyway, I napped for a few hours, got up in the wee hours of the morning, loaded my stuff in the car, and drove off to Charlotte. I got there with plenty of time and was off to my stop in Newark.

2. I was amazed at how many amazing stores there were in the Newark airport, which makes me sound very small-town, I’m sure. But they had the most amazing selection of souvenir shops – even a Metropolitan Museum of Art store! I was so tempted to buy something in there, but unfortunately they didn’t have the Klimt-print scarf I really want. I must have looked around their store for a good 30 minutes, waiting on my second flight. During my layover, I also had a pretzel-covered hot dog. For breakfast. I mean, it was like 10 in the morning, but I’d already been up for over 6 hours. It was way more like lunch to me, anyway. The other amazing thing about Newark is that you can sit at the airport gates and see the Empire State Building. Yes, I know it’s literally across the water from New York, but I guess I just thought it was further. Or something like that. Anyway, I felt like I was spending my morning in New York – we even flew over the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Very, very cool.

3. The flight from Newark to Boston is short – about 40 minutes. Just enough time for me to get in a little reading and peruse the SkyMall catalogue. I don’t know why, but I love looking at that stuff. Most of it you’re just like, “Really? Why does anyone need this many gadgets?” But some of the time, you can find some great gift ideas. I’ve already found something perfect for Melody’s Christmas present… So once I got to Boston, I bought a T (subway) ticket and hopped on the train to Cambridge. It’s about an hour from the airport, so plenty of time for me to see some of the city and figure out where the heck I was going once I got off the transit. I have excellent navigation and spatial skills, so I wasn’t ever lost. Katy had sent me directions to her apartment, so I had no trouble finding it on my own. On my train ride out of the city, I did a litte catch-up reading in Paul is Undead (which, I have to admit, I saved for this specific trip, hoping to start conversations with strangers). It worked, totally. Several people on the train from the airport asked me about it. I wish I’d been more eloquent about it, but I think my enthusiasm wore off. I’m glad to share this special knowledge with others, both near and far.

4. Like I said before, finding Katy’s apartment was no trouble. It was quite windy once I got out from underground, but that of course didn’t stop me. The neighborhood is so cute – very New England-y and homey. Katy still had a couple of hours at her internship that afternoon, so I hung around and talked to her roommates while we waited for her. They both seem really cool – Jen is from western Massachusetts, and Kendall is from Virginia. They all see very different from each other, but get along well. They’re both students with Katy in the art therapy program, so we all had that in common. It was nice to be able to talk to them about their experience and their classes, coming from the same background. It’s been so long since I’ve been in that “art therapy world” that it was nice to get back into it for a while. Their apartment is just adorable – exactly what you’d want to be living in during grad school. Katy’s room is very bohemian and colorful and eclectic – exactly what you’d expect it to look like. Even though I love my own room, I’m slightly jealous. When I first got there, a new window was being installed in the bathroom, to replace the apparently old one letting in cold air. This was a huge help, because it was COLD up there! They spent most of the weekend trying to get the radiators turned on, which they finally succeeded in doing on Sunday. When Katy got home, she was so excited to see me, and gave me the tightest hug I think I’ve ever gotten! It was so great to see her after so long – we hadn’t seen each other since graduation! She took me to an early dinner at one of her favorite places – O’Sullivan’s, for some of the biggest, most incredible burgers anywhere. Seriously, I don’t know how I fit that in my mouth (that’s what she said!). The burger was so delicious, and along with the enormous fries and tasty onion rings was just the thing I needed to prepare myself for the cold New England night. Living somewhere with amazing restaurants all the time definitely has its advantages…

5. After dinner at O’Sullivan’s, we headed back to the apartment to get ready for an Art and Wine party that one of Katy’s friends was having. It’s apparently a regular thing they do on the weekends, and that suited me just fine. On our way back to the apartment we stopped at a grocery store so Katy could get some ingredients for crostini, which ended up being delicious. When we left the apartment again for the party, Jen and Kendall in tow, we stopped by a different store to pick up some wine. Mine and Katy’s choices ended up being very popular, because our bottles were empty before we left! (Mine was, of course, albarino.) The art and wine party was fun – we basically sat around drinking wine and eating litte appetizers, which of course I was too full to really appreciate, and doing art. Katy’s friend, Bethany, whose house we were at, had laid out a sheet and various art supplies in the living room, so we basically had an art picnic. Katy and her roommates had all brought some supplies and things they’d been working on. It was so nice to just relax and work on something creative. It’s been so long since I’ve done that! I’ve seriously got to get back into the groove of making art again, if just for the sake of keeping my sanity! One of the girls that lived in the apartment has a dog – a little white chihuahua, named Potato. Why he’s named that, I have no idea. But it was really funny to hear everyone talking to a Potato. So random. Everyone at the party was a student in the art therapy program I really enjoyed getting to meet all of them and see how Katy has fit into that dynamic up there. She really seems to be loving it. Because I’d had a long day of traveling, we didn’t stay out too late. It was freezing on the way home, which woke me up a little bit. It was so nice to get into Katy’s warm bed and sleep for an entire night.

6. The next morning, we laid around and had kind of a lazy start to the day. Jen woke up about the same time we did, and offered to make pancakes for breakfast. Katy had some eggs and some delicious Portuguese sausage, the name of which escapes me at the moment, so that rounded out a delicious breakfast. Oh, did I mention we had REAL maply syrup, from actual Vermont, with our pancakes? Yeah, New Englanders don’t mess around with that stuff. No Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworth’s for them! You can’t get much better than the real stuff. After our leisurely breakfast, Katy and I got ready for my surprise. I still had no clue what we were doing, but I was of course up for anything. We went into the city, and all the way down to the harbor. Because, surprise! We were taking the ferry up to Salem…as in witch trials. The hour-long ferry ride was gorgeous – we stayed inside, though, out of the wind! It was a nice view of the harbor and the city skyline. One of the crew members gave a little tour and historical info about the stuff we were passing on shore, which Katy said doesn’t usually happen. It was neat to hear about the lighthouses and all the extremely wealthy suburbs we were passing. Actually being in Salem was amazing. Every October, apparently, they have a big Halloween festival on the weekends, where people dress up in costumes and local vendors sell food and homemade goods. It was really a lot of fun. There weren’t tons of vendors out that day – Katy said it must be an off-weekend, but there were tons of people walking around in costumes! Apparently it’s too dangerous for the kids up there to actually trick-or-treat on Halloween, so they do it the weekend before. We saw plenty of that going on, as well as the hordes of people walking through the graveyard where all the hanged witches are buried. It was such an eerie feeling being up there. But what’s Halloween without a little creepiness? Salem was also amazing because of the shopping. There are tons of little shops up there, so we window-shopped for a while. We went into one vintage store, Modern Millie, that was just adorable. I walked out of there with two of the most fabulous purchases ever – a vintage coral necklace that is just gorgeous, and a vintage mink stole. Yep. You heard me. Vintage. Mink. Stole. I didn’t intend to get it, but it was just calling me from the rack where it was hung nonchalantly with a dress. I put it on and just walked around the store with it, stroking the soft fur covering my arms and shielding me from the cold. I didn’t take it off, so I pretty much knew at that point it was coming home with me. I don’t know what I was thinking, because I have absolutely nowhere to wear it at the moment. But should I ever be invited somewhere super fancy, I’m ready. Not to mention it might look amazing in bridal portraits one day…definitely my something old! Needless to say, Salem was a huge hit. Definitely a good call on that one, Katy!

7. The other part of our Salem trip that was so amazing truly deserved its own item on this list. Our dinner that night was without a doubt what I want to eat as my dying meal. We went down the street to this loca pub, called In a Pig’s Eye, which is a pretty well-known establishment in Salem. We had to wait a little bit – we got there right as it got busy for dinner, so we timed it well. We were waiting for a table, but then snatched up two seats at the bar when those people finally got their table. We got really lucky – we didn’t have lots of time before we had to catch our return ferry to the city! We were luckily able to order at the bar. I ordered my go-to, Blue Moon, which never disappoints. For dinner, I had the baked scallops with green beans and roasted red potatoes. Oh. My. God. I cannot describe in the least just how amazing this was. Seriously, if I could, I’d never eat anything else in my life. The scallops were huge – bigger than any I’ve ever had before. And so juicy and tender. Definitely fresh, not at all frozen. The green beans were so crunchy and good. And the potatoes. Oh man. I don’t know what they put on them, but they were soooooo good! Whatever blend of butter and spices they used is a definite winner. I’m drooling just thinking about it. Take my word for it, should you ever find yourself in Salem on a chilly fall night, or at any point, really, order the scallops. They won’t disappoint you. And bring me some back, while you’re at it. Hands down the best thing I ever ate. Ever.

8. Our eventful day in Salem definitely set the bar for the rest of the trip. Luckily, it was just as fun. We spent the day walking around Cambridge and shopping at the loca stores. We had breakfast at a really good bakery, called Rosie’s, where we stuffed ourselves with cinnamon rolls, omelette sandwiches, and a delicious brownie concoction called a chocolate orgasm. The name pretty much says it all. Of course Katy knew all the really fun stores to take me it. We went to a cute little store that sells just socks, tights, and shoes. There’s nothing like fun, cute socks to make you feel fun and cheery on a gloomy day. I bought several pairs, including one of yellow, green, and purple yarn for my mom. There were several other boutiques in the area that we wandered into. I love looking through those unique gift stores and finding ideas for gifts, both for myself and for others. One of my favorite stores, and Katy’s, is a store called Nomad that sells lots of eclectic things. They have very expensive but gorgeous clothes, jewelry of every metal and stone, scarves in every color, knick knacks and mirrors and frames, mittens and books and candles. It was like a treasure trove. I don’t know how I managed to walk out of there with my wallet mostly intact… Another great store was Paper Source. I wish we had one here, because they are far superior to anything Michael’s could ever remotely dream of becoming. They have paper of all colors and patterns, and tons of stamps, embossing powders, stickers, and other various gifts. I bought myself a cute little “L” shaped seal, along with some red and gold sealing wax. From now on, all my letters will be sealed this way. My only two requests of the entire trip were to hit up Anthropologie and H&M. We only made it as far as Anthro, because we just ran out of time! We ended the day about an hour away from H&M, so by the time we made it down there, they would have been closing. No big deal, though. I definitely don’t feel cheated, because in the meantime I made some excellent discoveries of my own. Anthropologie, of course, did not disappoint. And it was made even better by the fact that I had brought my little birthday discount, to take even more off my pretty sale items. I really hit it right on that one.

9. Katy took me up to see where she has classes at Lesley during our shopping excursion. It was so fun to see where she spends so much of her days. We initally went in to use the bathroom and escape the light rain that lasted just a few minutes. Their studio space looks really cool. It definitely made me want to get back there myself!

10. I’m pretty sure we would have shopped the entire day, had it not been for the fact that the stores eventually had to close, and we were meeting Katy’s roommates for dinner at their favorite dive bar. It’s their weekend tradition, be it Saturday or Sunday, to hang out at Newtowne and watch football games. In true Southern form, Katy prefers college football, while Jen, a tried-and-true New Englander, loves the NFL. They find a happy medium in the fact they’re drinking beer and eating bar food. I had some amazing lobster mac and cheese for dinner that night. I also picked at some of Jen’s leftover nachos, and tried a mozzarella stick Katy saved me. Really, how can you go wrong with these things? I’m going to try to come up with my own version of lobster mac and cheese, because it was delicious. Carbs. Cheese. Seafood. What more could you ask for? It was a highly successful day. I found lots of goodies while shopping (look for them tomorrow!), ate delicious food, sat around with some good people, and the Patriots, Jen’s favorite team, won their game. The perfect end to a great trip. Too bad I couldn’t stay longer!

So as you can see from what is without a doubt the longest TTT list or post in general of my career, I had a wonderful time. The food was amazing, the company superb, the shopping excellent. It was hard to drag myself out of bed and to the airport yesterday morning. Of course, Katy came with me to send me off, which was so nice of her! I’ll really miss her. We need to plan our next trip to see Stacy in Santa Fe now! I just need to make a career out of traveling around the country. Wouldn’t that be nice?

This is What my Heart Looks Like:

22 Oct

The best place to view a sunrise is from the air. Strangely, it always makes me feel more connected to the Earth. Like in that cosmic way where you realize how you’re a part of everything going on around you.