Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ice to Ice Cream to Disney World.

We got a lot of snow, when all was said and done, and this morning a squirrel decided to seek refuge on our bedroom window sill. I'm pretty sure it's the same squirrel who's been around all Fall, occasionally stopping by to give Tessie a heart attack, and this morning was no exception. She's been guarding the window zealously since about 8 am, taking breaks once in a while to walk into the living room and meow at us, annoyed that this squirrel won't vacate the premises.

He is a cheeky squirrel. E named him Herbert. I hope Herbert doesn't freeze. He keeps eating snow, which I don't really think is a great idea, but we'll see if sleeping-squirrel-on-our-window-sill becomes dead-squirrel-on-our-window-sill.

In other, totally unrelated news, I stumbled upon a post at The Disney Food Blog about the home made ice cream sandwiches you can get in the Magic Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios (RIP MGM) and Epcot, and now I am craving one like no other. Somehow E and I missed these on our May trip to the World, which is a shame since there are few sweet treats that he loves more than a good ice cream cookie sandwich. And, according to that post, the Main Street Bakery in the MK will let you choose any cookies in the store with which to make the sandwich.

I might have to whip up our own home made ice cream cookie sandwiches tonight, because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to get these off my mind.

I am currently trying to convince my sister that a girls' weekend in Disney World in the Fall would be 10x as awesome as a traditional bachelorette. My idea of a fun night out is a table at a not-too-loud dive bar with a few friends and some beer, and without moving for 4 or 5 hours, so a traditional bar-hopping bachelorette just doesn't really appeal to me. A few days in some Disney, though, with fireworks and good food and rides? Poifect.  We'll see.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow Day

It's been snowing since sometime Wednesday night, and the city is clogged up enough today that E and I both have snow days today! Fun! Unfortunately, I still have a lot to get done today, but it's so hard to make myself buckle down when it's supposed to be an unplanned day off. I think we're going to brave the snow in a bit to get some Chinese food, and then cuddle up with a movie to while away some of the afternoon.

This is actually a photo from the last snowstorm we got a few weeks ago. You know, about a month ago, E and I were talking about how mild and dry our first New York winter had been so far. The snow that's been dumped on us since then sure puts that to rest. I took that picture (with my cell phone -- technology!) on Columbia's campus, which was blanketed in a positively beautiful layer of snow. Unfortunately those brick walkways get pretty slippery when covered in slush, though, and while I didn't fall myself, I got to watch a lot of folks end up on their butts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

They should test sentimental commercials out on schmucks like me.

I am what you might call a sucker. I get sucked into doing things for people because I feel bad, I fall prey to advertising campaigns galore, and you can find me crying on the couch about something or other most days of the week. Commercials, especially, usually leave me with soggy tear ducts. And, lately, I have spent many nights getting weepy over Olympic athletes standing on podiums, getting medals placed around their neck, and beaming with pride as their national anthem plays and their flag is raised. This isn't limited to athletes from my own country, by the way, but anywhere.

This commercial is like a perfect storm of Things That Make Me Cry, and I can hardly think about it without tearing up right now. The kids are absolutely adorable, they're working so hard and look like little tiny grownups (yes, this is part of the equation -- miniature things that look like bigger things), and it's about their moms loving them and always seeing them as lil guys. Cue my overactive emotions.

There's something wrong with me, I think.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Back to the grind.

We pulled back into our neighborhood last night after a rainy, boring, 7-hour drive back from Maine, where E and I attended the memorial service for my grandmother and spent some quality time with family, including my littlest niece, the 18-month old wonder, Avery. She is smart, adorable, and sassy as all get-out. She seriously gives dirty looks better than I do, and I've had more than 2 decades longer than she has to figure it out.

The first order of business when I got to the apartment was to cook something delicious. We left Saturday afternoon, and kicked the trip off with a visit to Burger King's drive through. The next 3 days were a whirlwind of fast food pit stops, gluttonous hors d'oeuvres spreads, and dinners out with family -- all delicious, very little nutritious. It had gotten so bad that my body was shouting "GIVE ME GREENS!" to my brain from about noon Sunday til we got home. I raided the fridge for whatever salvageable produce was left, and made a veggie stirfry that soothed the craving a bit, but at this point I'll be happy if I never see the inside of a McDonald's again.

Either way, it's good to be home. The cat has probably never been happier to see us. She's the only cat I know whose owners can disappear for days on end and she doesn't even try to pretend to be mad at them when they return. She's been on our laps any time one of us stops moving, and was getting kicked around at our feet as we slept all night. Poor lonely, codependent kitty.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Housekeeping (new hosting & wedding venue)

The other night I decided to buy a domain/hosting and go big with my blog, especially since I currently also have a wedding blog in the works. I made a selection, purchased it, set it up, installed Wordpress, and now I have hit a wall. The truth is, I kind of don't feeeel like redoing a layout (or relearning CSS, since it's been a long time since I've worked with it), transferring all my existing content over, and getting used to a new interface. Okay, so the setup is what's really holding me back, whatever.

In short, I may or may not have a new URL for you guys in the next week or so, but I'll keep you posted. Good thing I decided to only get the 3-month hosting package for now.

In other news, E and I just sealed the envelope to mail out our wedding venue contract and deposit! It's official, there's no backing out now!


...Only with snow. That's right kids, a January wedding in New England! So maybe we're crazy, but whatever. The inside of that 1896 mansion is full of Victorian charm, and will be perfect for the cozy vibe we're attempting. And, in a true piece of nerdery, it is a replica of the Connecticut building from the 1896 World's Fair (No, really. Bottom right.). E and I are both pretty excited, and hopefully over the next few months the other big-ticket items (caterer, muzak, etc.) will fall into place and then we can get to the part I'm most looking forward to, PAPER GOODS! I am seriously having dreams of invitations and save-the-dates and day-of paper tidbits. And the wedding website... if I ever get around to it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Proposal, Girl Style.

In my last post, I mentioned that I proposed to E over the weekend, and that he said yes (unsurprisingly, since he had already proposed to little old me). This reverse-proposal was something we talked about before we ever got engaged, mostly in the context of him wearing an engagement ring. The tentative plan is for him to have a thicker engagement ring and then a thin little wedding band and wear them as a set, but that might change because he's nervous that two rings will feel weird on his man-hands. So, while he's known the ring was coming since we got engaged (I am just a lazy, indecisive sod who couldn't pick one out), I decided to formalize it a bit and pop the question myself.

Enter this book. I decided to make a secret-compartment book to put the ring in, which then evolved into a plan to decorate the pages up to the big reveal with reasons why I think he's a cool dude. With Valentine's Day fast approaching, it would seem innocuous enough, right?

The weather didn't really cooperate with my plans to finish the book in secret -- E came home around noon on Wednesday because of snow, which was supposed to be the day I'd get a lot of it done. I was stuck getting up really early to work on it before he got up for the day and encouraging him to take naps -- which I would then "forget" to wake him up from -- so I could rush through it.

I managed to keep the project a secret until Saturday afternoon, when E came out of the bedroom suddenly and unexpectedly and I had to squawk at him not to move and to close his eyes for a second, confirming his mounting suspicion that I was up to something. So close! 

I stuck mostly to relatively generic statements, just because I figure this will probably sit on our bookshelf for a long time and I don't really want strangers or our future children to read things like "I love you because you never hold my head under the blankets when you fart in bed," no matter how true it is.

I painted over the pages with a wash of acrylic paint, freehanded the numbers, and then doodled with black pen. I found my metallic pen, too, at which point all bets were off and things got sparkly. I'm a glitter kind of gal.

I also used elements from the book in the composition -- the photo of the thinking man on reason #10 (where I just realized there is a massive, panic-over-spacing-induced spelling error that I have to fix haha), the seated crowd on #7, and, my favorite, this Japanese mask on #2. Seriously, it's too perfect, I had to.

Ta-Da!! And then the big moment. He turned the page and saw a love letter on the left and my super-awesome-secret-agent ring compartment on the right. It reminded me of the terrible movie Troop Beverly Hills when the pushover sidekick woman has a camera hidden in a book to report on the awesome red-headed troop leader's misadventures with her spoiled scouts. I think I'm the only person in history who's seen that movie. 

Anyway, I was surprisingly nervous, given that we already have a wedding date set and venue booked, that he'd say no. I was probably more nervous, however, that he'd be mad I destroyed this old encyclopedia volume and that he couldn't read it. Luckily neither of those events transpired and we are happily engaged-engaged. Double engaged? Re-engaged? In any case, it was a lot of fun pulling this off, and he liked it a lot, even if he wasn't surprised because I left the website where I ordered the ring open on my computer. Still good!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Wild Valentine's Day

So, I had made a pretty adorable Happy-Valentine's-Day graphic to post here, but Photoshop just crashed on me and I don't feel like redoing the whole thing, so I'm just going to ask you to imagine a really shiny awesome graphic at the start of this entry wishing you a happy Valentine's Day.

It's been an alternately strange/awesome 48 hours around here, culminating in some festive red velvet cupcakes and pairs figure skating (if the Winter Olympics could be my Valentine, it would happen). A friend who lives down south sent me a box-mix for red velvet cupcakes, since I can't find it around here. It came with a mix for cream cheese frosting, but I didn't feel like getting out my giant standing mixer, so instead I decorated with some cut-out hearts and confectioner's sugar.

The mix made 5 cupcakes, and even though it wasn't quite as delicious as the queen's recipe, I will take the ease and smaller portions of the mix any random Sunday night when I just want a sweet fix.

After a lot of debate about what to do this Valentine's Day, we ended up having a low key but delightful weekend. Last night I completed the circle by asking E to marry me (yes, you read that right -- more details forthcoming), and he said yes, not unexpectedly. We made a delicious dinner and actually cleared off the dining table and ate there, WITH lit candles, instead of hanging out on the couch and watching an episode of whatever TV show we're trying to catch up with at the moment (right now it's Modern Family).

This morning we got up and went to brunch at a bar down the street, and everything was amazing. The entrees were the perfect breakfast/lunch and traditional/edgy mix, and the mimosa I had was great. E got an egg and cilantro sandwich that he cannot stop talking about, so that's usually a good sign. After brunch we headed into Manhattan to enjoy the nice weather (it was around 40 and not windy!) at the Central Park Zoo. I hadn't ever been to the CPZ before, so I was pretty excited. I was impressed by the enclosures and the animals that were on view, and the way the original zoo structures have been adapted was pretty cool. I think the polar bears were the stars of the day, but the birds in the rainforest house were a very close second.

They also had Snow Leopards on view that were stunningly beautiful (except for when one relieved itself in front of us), and we got to see a sea lion feeding as well! There were quite a few other folks enjoying a day outside in the brisk air, and I am excited to go back when the weather warms up.

Unfortunately the rest of the day wasn't as exciting. When we got back out here, we went to shovel out the car from the snowstorm we had this week, and luckily found that the sun had done about 90% of our work for us. It pays to procrastinate, kids! Then we went to Target spontaneously, along with everyone else in Queens, and ate our Chinese food leftovers when we got home. Throw in some more Olympics coverage, and we're back to where we began -- cupcakes!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy VD! It wasn't a monster truck rally, but we had a lot of fun, and the stuff we did suited us just perfectly, so I am completely content.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fun Things Around the Internet

Quiet day today, so I'm just going to post some interesting links I've come across in the last few days.
And, because that list is really just a collection of distractions from what's really on my mind, I want to take a moment to remember my grandmother, who died late last night. She was, as E said this morning, the sassiest woman I've ever known, and I can only hope that I live as long and love life as much as she did. Here she is at my great aunt's 75th birthday party a few years ago. She loved those novelty sunglasses (and animal print and faux fur, haha).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Happy Nails!

In case you don't have panicked Northeasterners anywhere in the far reaches of your social circle, we're expecting a bit of snow around these parts. Last I checked the forecast, they were promising 10-18 inches over the course of tomorrow, which is fun. I was really not looking forward to heading out in the snow tomorrow, especially since my last good pair of boots apparently got destroyed when I tripped over my feet and fell in the middle of Union Square the other weekend. Holes in the toes, yes.

Lucky for me, my internship supervisor emailed me a couple hours ago to let me know that everyone in the office has the option of working from home tomorrow, and she's taking advantage of it, so I didn't have to go in if I didn't want to! And, given that she is going to be home, I'm not going in. Instead, I am sitting here watching The Little Couple and painting my nails.

In the last year or 2, I have gotten really into doing my nails, and keep them painted more often than not. I also have come to hate having chipped or damaged nail polish, so I repaint my nails about twice a week most weeks. Yeah, it's kind of an addiction. Coupled with my recent forays into "fancy" nail polish, it's become a pretty serious investment, too. Nine or ten or fifteen bucks a bottle is srs bzns.

I've also become very picky about what nail polish I wear. In fact, a couple months ago I started documenting my nail polishing exploits with my webcam.

Now, I have an archive of what every color looks like on my hand. My nerd side is completely stoked about this, and when I am wondering what color to use next, I can just scroll through photos of my nails in the past. It's like having paint swatches for my fingers. I kind of love it.

And so, I will sit here and allow my nails to dry before I go to sleep and get up to apply to a bunch of jobs. Huuuuuzzahhhh.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lazy Sundays + Valentine's Day

New layout for the big gushy romance-fest coming up next weekend! E and I went to a Monster Truck Rally last year for Valentine's Day, and it was pretty awesome. It was my first ever, and there was a heart drawn in the dirt in the arena before the show started, which was pretty hilarious. Also, there was a Kermit the Frog puppet on a remote controlled mini monster truck, which was pretty awesome as well. Click for larger images.

We haven't figured out a way to top it this year (and really, can it be done?!). We thought about going to a Harlem Globe Trotters game on the big VD (hehehehe), but Ticketmaster charges TEN DOLLARS PER TICKET in service charges, which changes worth-it-for-the-lols ticket prices into okay-so-not-worth-it ticket prices. So, we'll probably get some beer and play a few games of rummy or something, because our activities of choice seem to alternate between those meant for the very young and for the very old.

Following last weekend's ridiculousness, this weekend has been very quiet. We've cleaned, we've cooked, and we've watched not one, but TWO Netflix movies that have been sitting around for a while. I love Netflix -- since joining a year and a half ago, I've hawked it to everyone who mentions being interested and given gift subscriptions, etc. -- but they definitely know what they're doing. We have the 2-DVDs-at-a-time plan, which in theory should mean that at any given time there is at least one movie/TV show that we'd like to watch in our household, but there are still times when they just sit on our TV console, waiting to be watched for weeks on end. We had Letters from Iwo Jima for 3 1/2 months last spring before we finally just mailed it back and put it back on our queue. We try not to let it get that bad anymore.

And now it's Sunday and E and I both have some homework to get done, laundry to wash, and other little things to do around the apartment, but there is something about Sunday mornings that makes me not want to disturb the quiet, as if the day is in a little cocoon of sleepy a.m.'s and restful p.m.'s. That's our cat, Tessie, up there, and she's definitely got the right idea. But cats usually do, I've found.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

LOST: What's on Your TV

There are very few shows that I watch regularly. Sadly, many of them belong in the "daytime-TLC" category due to my status as a student with weird time off during the weekday. If anyone ever needs advice on how to raise 400 children at once or plan a deliciously tacky wedding, let me know. However, there are a few primetime shows that hold my attention, and LOST is one of them.

I have always had a taste for sci-fi, probably because my mother raised me with Star Trek: The Next Generation playing in the background of basically every memory I have. Since then, I've cycled through a few sci-fi fandoms, the longest lasting being, of course, X-Files. I don't think Harry Potter counts as sci-fi, but that was big, too. LOST is its own monster, though, as it seems to have been written SOLELY to fuck with viewers' minds. And so, for the last 5 seasons, the writers have engaged in all sorts of trickery and obstruction, and all without reruns (No, seriously, they don't play reruns because it enrages the fans. We're rabid.).

Tuesday night began the FINAL. SEASON. of the show, a season that was probably outlined long before much of what we've already seen. There was the usual hour-long recap show, and then a 2 hour season premiere that definitely delivered. Last season was frustrating -- it seemed they spent most of the episodes traipsing through the jungle without revealing anything new for much of it -- but if this season continues as the premiere did? I bow at your feet, LOST writers.

LOST is a nerdy-cool sci-fi show. To be really absorbed in it, you've got to be letting your geek flag fly. However, it's still cool enough that most of your friends probably turn off their cell phones from 9-10 on Tuesday nights. And yet, the fandom is ridiculous enough that a quick Google search will turn up all kinds of recipes, crafts, and more conspiracy and theory web sites than you could ever, EVER need, all related to the show and its characters.

It is in that spirit of supreme geekdom that I decided to make some celebratory themed food for the premier: FISH BISCUITS. Fish biscuits were food for the missing Polar Bears on the island a few seasons ago (if you don't watch the show and you're wondering why there are Polar Bears on a tropical island, WATCH THE SHOW) and the became food for humans as well. I wasn't really in the mood for fish-flavored cookies, so I made sugar cookies and put some food coloring in them to get the right coloring.

I freehanded them with a butter knife and a chopstick, but if you want a template, check this out. I used this recipe plus a bit of vanilla for sugar cookies, and added a glob each of red and yellow gel food coloring to the batter.

They came out lookin like the real thing (okay, so using a template and a sharper knife is advisable) but undoubtedly taste much better. I think for the finale I'm gonna cover the labels on beer bottles with Dharma Initiative labels! Woooo Dharma Booze!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Well, this post is all over the place.

First and foremost, we've been breaking out the champagne here at Generally Fabulous, because my pal Ren at Wind on My Back is officially engaged as of this past Saturday! I have to admit that I knew it was coming thanks to some advice sought from me by her now-fiance, so I was anxiously awaiting the phone call Saturday night when they were doing dinner and a Broadway show for their anniversary. I am so excited for Ren and her fiance, and I know they'll have a lifetime of happiness together.

However, that champagne? Not literal champagne. I am still trying to stomach (no pun intended) the very idea of any alcohol after a night out gone very, very wrong this past weekend. After lots of cheap beer and margaritas, I threw up in a cab and then got in the shower fully clothed, with my cell phone in my pocket. Not a fun night, and Saturday was probably the worst hangover of my life. So it'll be a few weeks months before you catch me in a bar, I think. We'll see, though.

Staying out of bars for a bit might be an okay thing, though, since we need to officially kick the wedding savings plan into high gear. On Friday, before my catastrophic night out, E and I ventured into the beautiful town of Ridgefield, Connecticut, to look at a wedding venue that we have absolutely fallen in love with, and put a hold on a date. January 7, 2011, folks! Mark your calendars! I am actually in the process of trying to peer pressure Ren into starting a wedding planning blog with me, so I can move my wedding ruminations elsewhere, but we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I am going to let her bask in the glow of being newly engaged, and stick her big toe tentatively into the world of wedding planning. It's kind of a very terrifying place, if I may say so myself. I'm going to go back to daydreaming about color schemes and hors d'oeuvres menus, if you don't mind.