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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stuffed from a Stuffed Meal

About a year ago, I cut out a recipe for stuffed zucchini but never got around to making it.  Tonight seemed like as good a time as any, so after work I picked up the ingredients needed for this Mediterranean meal.  I filled roasted zucchini halves with a mixture of rice, lamb, onions, and spices, but it didn't all come together until I added the topping.  A little lemon juice, greek yogurt, and pine nuts and suddenly the dish was whole.  The best part is that I got my protein, veggie, and starch all in one little boat.


Have you noticed that being "up for something" and being "down for something" means the same thing?  Considering up and down are polar opposites, I find this odd.  Never thought about it?  Allow me to demonstrate with two different hypothetical conversations:

1)    J Woww: Do you want to go shopping for animal print dresses that are 2 sizes too small?
       Snookie: I'm totally up for that.  And then we can smush.

2)    Timmy: Hey, do you want some chronic?
       Snoop Dogg: Yea man, I'm down with that.

Just something I was thinking about...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rumble in the Bumble

Hair is a big deal to a girl.  Don't believe me?  Just ask Rapunzel.  Most girls have had a scarring haircut experience that altered them for life.  Mine happened in 7th grade.  With hair at mid-chest length, I went into the salon and asked for a trim - just an inch to an inch and a half off, I said.  I walked out in tears.  She had given me a boy cut with a rat tail.  I vowed to keep my hair shoulder-length or longer forevermore.

That all changed last night when I walked into Bumble and Bumble.  I said I wanted something a little different, but nothing too crazy.  Somehow that turned into a much much shorter 'do.  This time, I didn't walk out crying.  I'm a little scared because I'm not sure how to style it myself, but I'm up to the challenge.  Not to toot my own horn (ok, maybe I'm tooting a little bit), but I'm pretty proud of myself.  I'm not sure what it is about hair, but it is very closely linked to a girl's identity; ergo, I'm a whole new woman now?  I still can't believe I went through with such a big change because I very rarely throw caution to the wind like this.  I celebrated this milestone by grabbing a burger and a drink at PJ Clarkes post-cut.  Check out my transformation below:
With Rennie Curran (former UGA linebacker, current Tennessee Titan), pre-haircut


Monday, January 24, 2011

Spicy Soupy

In case you didn't all get the memo, it's FREEZING.  I think today has a high of 18.  It wasn't much warmer over the weekend, which meant it was soup time.  I needed something hot hot hot - in temperature and spice.  Although I am not well versed in Thai cooking, I found a super easy recipe for spicy thai chicken soup, so I decided to try it out.  So easy and so tasty!  I threw chicken stock, coconut milk, fish sauce, sriracha, ginger, chicken (I just used a rotisserie chicken to make it reeeeally easy), and shitake mushrooms into a pot and simmered until it was warmed through.  At the last minute I tossed in some of those glassy rice noodles.  Since everything was already cooked, it took no time to make, but it still tasted like a composed dish.  It did the job - it warmed me up and for a split second, I forgot how cold it was outside.

Automatic for the People

Once again, Saturday night was girls night.  We went in with a plan: a little champy with Em and Shelby at their apartment and then out to explore the west side.  Typically, Raychel and I are east side gals, but since the West Village is just a hop skip ad jump away from their Chelsea apartment, it just made sense.  Of course, we went to Diablo Royale straight from the apartment.  Emily, Shelby, and their other roomie Diana pretty much live there and are besties with the bartender.  After a michelada and jalapeno tequila shot, we decided to head to the featured bar of the night.

The goal was to try a new bar and although Automatic Slims isn't a new bar, none of us had ever been.  Rachel (different than the first one mentioned) met up with us while at Diablo and convinced us that Automatic Slims was worthy of an appearance, locking up the decision to go.  This tiny bar has red and black checkerboard floors and whitewashed walls, which seems pretty perfect for this Bulldawg.  Also perfect: the music.  They play a good mix of 80s and 90s, with a few top 40 mixed in - just right for a dance party, which is exactly what ensued.  The crowd is also good.  It's a mix of hipsters and preppy types, with the preps probably taking the majority, which suits me just fine.  This place is sort of where you go when you graduate from Dorians, aka: fun.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

At Least I Did Something Today...

When my iMentor event was cancelled today, I decided to take advantage of the extra free time to...stay in bed all day.  By the time the clock struck 5:00 PM and I had caught up on all the tv I had missed this week, I decided it was time to get dressed.  What was the rush, right?!  I looked online and found a couple recipes I wanted to try and headed to Whole Foods to pick up the ingredients.

I thought Sunday evening was supposed to be the big grocery shopping time, but apparently 5:30 PM on Saturday is pretty popular, too.  When I was ready to check out at the Union Square location, the line stretched all the way to the front door.  It was daunting but too late to turn back - I had a great meal to start cooking!

I made a shrimp and artichoke casserole that wasn't specifically Southern, but reminded me of something my Mommy would make.  In the lowcountry, we love our casseroles, and shrimp are part of just about every meal.  This particular casserole didn't take much time to put together, but the ingredients - though few - are all so flavorful.  I matched the creamy casserole with a crunchy side dish: roasted cauliflower and brussels sprouts with orange.  The citrus gave the veggies the necessary pop to compete with the casserole.

I wish the pics came out better, but I was in a rush.  No time to be Ansel Adams when there's a girls night about to go down.  West Village, I am well fed and ready to party.

We're Not Curing Cancer

I love working in Advertising.  I think it's pretty cool that in some small way, we may be affecting consumers.  When you spend 10 hours a day at your desk, you want to know that your work matters.  Did that campaign I just worked so hard on really reach my target in a meaningful way?  That may seem like the most important thing ever; however, at some point, we have to take what we do with a grain of salt, which is why I am a pretty big fan of the blog Things Real People Don't Say About Advertising.

Potlucky II

Tuesday night was Round Two of our quarterly D.I.E.T. potluck party.  It was Deena's turn to host, which meant she picked the theme: Italian:

After making goo goo eyes over Deena's baby girl, Hayden, it was time to get the party started.  Ira was in charge of the appetizer, so he kicked off the evening with a cheese course.  He picked out five cheeses from Murrays, told us about them, and then we made a little game out of picking our favorites.  I am happy to say Ira introduced me to a new preferred fromage, and I know he relished the experience of educating us.
For the main meal, Deena prepared a caesar salad and lasagna.  The lasagna was amazing, but I couldn't figure out what it was that made it so special.  Deena revealed her secret was mixing pesto into the spinach.  This little trick gave the lasagna a whole new personality.  I was on side dish duty and remembered that we had zero green on our plates at the last potluck, so I wanted to bring a vegetable.  I made green beans with a lemony sour cream sauce and fresh shaved pecorino romano.  The sauce was tangy, the green beans were crunchy, and the pecorino was the perfect salty topping.  It isn't really something that can be made in advance, so I to make a quick stop home to assemble before heading to dinner.  No problem - it took me literally 10 minutes, start to finish.

Unfortunately, it looks like the dessert is cursed.  You may recall Deena called in sick during our first potluck.  While Elyse was a great substitution, she wasn't able to bring dessert on such short notice.  This time, it was Emily's turn to bring the sweet treat.  She spent a full day laboring over Magnolia Bakery's signature banana pudding, a recipe that takes hours.  It was perfect...until the snow caused the paper bag she was carrying it in to get wet and fall out from the bottom.  Splat!  Banana pudding all over the 23rd street E stop.  Once again, we settled for ice cream as our dessert.  Minus the dessert debacle, we seem to be settling into a good little potluck groove, which means our next dinner in the Spring will probably be pretty darn close to perfect.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Touch of Grey

My cousin Amy was in town for the weekend and although Matt and I got to hang out with her on Saturday night for a little drunken revelry, we wanted to make sure we got in some sober time.  That led us to an MLK breakfast this morning during our day off work.  I rarely do breakfast.  Brunch all the way, but when I'm told to be somewhere, I show up - even if it is at 10:30 AM.

If there was ever a reason to get out of bed early, Grey Dog is it.  They serve breakfast until 3 PM, so even if you can't manage to get out of bed as early as we did (I say this like a true New Yorker, as if anything before noon is the crack of dawn), you can still enjoy morning goodies.  They also start serving lunch early, so if you're craving a chicken sandwich at 10:30 in the morning, go for it.

Before the food, let me describe the atmosphere: The restaurant is small, so expect to squeeze your plates onto tiny two-tops.  Local artwork takes up half of the exposed brick wall, the other half of which is covered by huge chalkboards, crammed with the many breakfast, sandwich, soup, and daily special options.  A picket fence lines the counter where you place your order for a cute touch of country in the city.  The silverware and coffee fixins fill an armoire so you can get your place setting ready while you wait for the server to bring your food, which I'll get to now...

First things first: get a cup of coffee.  Their particularly good brew is a bottomless cup, so don't forget to take your mug to the counter before you leave so they can fill up one last cup to-go.  Matt was pushing the muffins hardcore, so we decided to split a pumpkin one between the three of us.  I admit, I was leery of the vegan label, but ended up picking the crumbs off the plate.  To my surprise, it was decidedly non-veganlike.  That was a nice little starter, but the entrees really got my day off to a good start.  Amy got literally the largest tuna melt I have ever seen.  She estimates she ate two full tunas.  Matt and I both got the breakfast quesadilla - him with sausage, me with bacon.  The roasted bell pepper, onion, and honey-wheat tortilla combined with the salty bacon, egg, and cheese to make it breakfast to lunch transition-friendly.  The portions are ample, which makes the fact that the most expensive dish is only $14 even better.

I must admit, it was nice to be up and about so early.  By 1:30, I had already eaten breakfast, walked around two stores (making the truly exciting purchase of a picture hanger), and popped the final Mad Men Season 1 disc into my DVD player.  Those early birds are onto something.


For years I've been talking a big game about how I am going to take full advantage of all the cool lectures that happen in NYC but for all my talk, I haven't done much.  That all changed on Thursday when I attended a chat with Diane Von Furstenberg, DVF herself, at the 92nd Street Y.  92Y always brings in top talent, but it usually sells out before I have a chance to get my [reasonably priced $35] ticket.

In fact, that was the case for this lecture, too, but it just so happened that a magazine I work with was the event sponsor, and they had an extra ticket lying around.  They also had access to a small pre-event cocktail reception that DVF actually attended.  And, man, does that woman know how to make an entrance!  She completely busted on her way down the stairs.  I turned around to find the fashion phenom on her ass.  Stars, they're just like us.  Ever the classy lady, the 64-year-old (her b-day was on New Years Eve) got right up onto her 4.5 inch heels and started mingling.

The talk itself was great.  DVF was an incredibly dynamic speaker, which must be due in large part to her background.  Her mother was a Holocaust survivor who emerged from the concentration camp weighing a mere 49 lbs and was told she shouldn't have children.  Thank goodness she didn't listen.  DVF claims her fierce desire to become an independent woman is rooted in her mother's no-fear-allowed attitude.  While bopping around Europe, the royal socialite (she married a legit German prince) made connections and popped out a couple of kids...all while building her empire by age 24.

Her approach to fashion and the iconic wrap dress have revolutionized the way women dress.  All this must be a result of the humor and smarts I was able to see firsthand.  DVF was funny, honest, and intelligent.  She had no problem speaking about the difficulties of watching her brand saturate the market and having to give it a second life or to the state of advertising in publishing and its effect on the fashion industry.  She clearly has her finger on the pulse of the business world.  It was a pleasure sitting in the auditorium, soaking up her experiences as she related them.

If you've never looked into the events at the 92nd Street Y, I encourage you to do so.  Their roster of speakers is impressive.  If you plan early enough, you may just get the chance to spend an hour listening to one of the greats.

During the talk, DVF described how her famous advertising campaign - the one that started it all - evolved from a whim. The whim worked:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler! Part III

Time for the big day!  We only had time for lunch and a little relaxation before time to get ready and be downstairs for pictures so my Daddy chose another famed New Orleans restaurant, Acme Oyster House, for lunch.  Sure, I'd had some oysters on top of my fish on Friday night, but I hadn't come close to getting my fill of this Nola fave.  I got a half and half plate: fried oyster po' boy and jambalaya.  Tasty, but the round of applause goes to the house specialty: chargrilled oysters.  My Daddy ordered this for his meal and I snuck a few.  They toss oysters on the grill and top with parmesan cheese and garlic butter that gets nice and bubbly.  While Daddy picked off oysters, I soaked up the cheesy liquor with bread.  A Steve Zahn sighting after lunch made the afternoon.

Finally!  Time for the main event!  Everyone was ecstatic to party at Greg and Susan's Boogie on the Bayou.  The wedding was beautiful.  Susan wore her mother and grandmother's gorgeous dress for the ceremony and then switched into a sexy lil number halfway through the reception.  Greg, of course, looked nice and dapper.  The band was great and within three minutes, everyone was dancing.  Like the rest of the weekend, the food at the reception was amazing.  Us Southerners do wedding a little differently than you Yankees.  We get all the speeches out of the way at the sit-down rehearsal dinner.  The wedding reception is all about being up and dancing.  Of course, we don't forget about the food, but it's more like a pick-up and perch sorta thing.  That doesn't mean we skimp on the food, it just means we don't sit in assigned seats while we eat it.  There was a salad bar, a station with gumbo, rice, and jambalaya, a carving station (roast beef, lamb chops, turkey, and sauces), and made-to-order shrimp and grits with a tasso cream sauce.  As expected, everyone went nuts at the wedding.  So much so, that the afterparty in the hospitality suite and The Famous Door bar on Bourbon Street didn't last too long before we were ready to pass out.

I was nice and hungover on Monday morning, but not so much that I would miss out on the last New Orleans food item on my list, the muffuletta.  The most famous place to get a muffaletta is Central Grocery, but it's closed on Sunday and Monday, so that was out of the question.  The hotel doorman seemed like a local in-the-know, so I asked him and the old almost-bum he was talking to where they would go.  They directed me to Napolean House, a restaurant and bar a few blocks away.  It's one of those cracked-paint, dark corners type place.  It's not a sandwich to-go kinda place, but I trusted the doorman.  Unfamiliar with the muffaletta process, I ordered a whole, not knowing that a whole is meant for two people.  It was massive.  Luckily Craig was on my plane, so I had a buddy to split it with.  The ham, salami, cheese, and olive spread makes for a salty sandwich.  The muffuletta is one of a kind.  I'm glad I didn't miss out on this last Nola tradition and happy my doorman friend pointed me in the right direction.

Basically, I did it all.  The only thing I missed was Magazine Street, but that just gives me a reason to go back (not that I really needed one).  I am officially obsessed with the culture of New Orleans.  I have always loved France, and this combines their culture with my beloved South.  Savannah may have the market cornered on hospitality, but New Orleans has created its own niche - the perfect marriage of French and Southern language, food, and lifestyle.  I'm so glad Greg and Susan planned this fabulous wedding weekend so I could experience it all, and I am even happier that I was able to be there as the new Mr. and Mrs. Greenberg tied the knot.  Congratulations!!!!

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler! Part II

I woke up on Saturday (day two in New Orleans) a little tired but still ready to go.  I got dressed and met the group downstairs to head to the wedding jazz brunch.  The brunch was held at The Court of Two Sisters, a beautiful spot.  The all white and wrought iron restaurant had huge windows so we could look at the beautiful, secret garden-esque courtyard.  I made sure to touch the gates (wrought in Spain) on my way both in and out of the restaurant, as they are supposed to bring you luck.  I didn't so much touch as I did grasp for dear life.

After a wild night on Friday, we may have walked into the restaurant a little groggy, but the live jazz band was the perfect pick-me-up.  The buffet was brunch on steroids.  There was a station for made-to-order omelettes and eggs benedict, crawfish and shrimp with remoulade sauce, salad bar, eggs, bacon, sausage, creamed spinach, hash browns, catfish roulade, bread pudding, bananas foster, and much more.  If you left this place hungry, you're an idiot.

After brunch, I went to Jackson Square with my parents.  Inside the square, you'll find a lush park.  In the general vicinity, you'll see restaurants and shops, but the best part of the square is the artists who prop their wares against the gates.  There must be 100 vendors, all with beautiful work that is in the classic New Orleans style.  I had spied some paintings I liked the day before but wanted to wait til Saturday to buy since I knew that's when all the artists would be out there.  I also knew I needed to bring Jerome with me because my Daddy is a great haggler and had successfully negotiated a great price for a set of three paintings from SoHo for me that are now hanging above my couch.  Just like I anticipated, my father knocked $50 off the price of a beautiful oil painting depicting a home on Bourbon Street.  Even if you're not shopping for art, Jackson Square is a great place to walk around.  Just watch out for the crackheads that tend to camp out on one side.

Once I had my painting (with a fresh, personalized note written by the artist on the back), we had to rush back to the hotel for a couple reasons: I had to get ready for the wedding rehearsal and my parents had to figure out their flight since they were thwarted by an impending snow storm.  After the rehearsal, we went to Antoine's, one of New Orlean's most famous restaurants, for the rehearsal dinner.  At Greg's request, there was a live jazz band during the cocktail hour to set the night off right.  Antoine's is incredibly historic, which created a great ambiance for our four course meal (salad, fried fish with creamed spinach, steak with mushrooms and asparagus, and baked alaska).  We ate, we drank, we laughed, we cried.  It was a great meal with great speeches that got me extremely pumped for the next day's wedding.  But let's not jump the gun - there was still fun to be had after the rehearsal dinner.

We went to the Carousel Bar in Hotel Monteleone for a few drinks.  A little swankier than the bars on Bourbon Street, Carousel Bar has a piano player and seats that revolve around the bar itself.  After a few drinks, however, we needed to go to bed so we could be nice and rested for the big day.

Laissez les Bons Temps Rouler! Part I

Major plane probs caused me to arrive in New Orleans for Greg and Susan's wedding 12 hours late, which meant that once I actually made it there last Friday morning, I was go go go.  I'll be recapping the ridiculously awesome wedding weekend day by day, starting here with day numero uno:

I arrived at the Royal Sonesta Hotel - wait wait, before going any further, I must give them props for choosing an amazing hotel right smack dab in the center of Bourbon Street.  We were right in the heart of the booby shakin, bead throwing action.  Anyway, I got to the hotel, dropped off my bags, and headed straight to lunch with my parents.  My brother has been to NOLA plenty of times and told us we had to go to Mother's and we HAD to get the debris po' boy.  Mark was a little busy with the groom, but he made the place sound so good, that we couldn't wait for him to be ready and told him we would just meet him there.  I'm glad we didn't wait for him because that would mean longer before I got to try the debris.  Debris is the juicy bits of roast beef that falls into the pan gravy while it's cooking.  They scoop it all up, and serve it on a soft hoagie with shredded cabbage, mayo, creole and yellow mustard.  It is my new favorite sloppy joe.  My daddy and I split the po' boy and an order of crawfish etouffee (the New Orleans dish I was most excited to try).  The etouffee was very good (especially with a little hot sauce).  It means "smothered" in French, and I could be smothered in this stew.  But that debris was great.  Mother's should definitely be a stop on your next N'awlins trip.  Don't be scared by the line that wraps around the block.  It moves fast and just reaffirms the fact that everyone wants a piece of this delicious joint.


After lunch I had to try Cafe du Monde for beignets and coffee with chicory.  Touristy?  Yes.  Worth the hype?  100%  The beignets are a cross between doughnuts and funnel cake, topped with a mountain of powdered sugar.  One is the perfect size - ultimately satisfying.  Wash down the super sweet snack with some of the cafe au lait.  The chicory adds a unique, very roasty flavor.  Don't miss this stop.  You'll feel extremely relaxed sipping your coffee, dusting powdered sugar off your clothes, and gazing at Jackson Square across the way.  And if you're trying to do New Orleans on a budget, this one certainly won't set you back.  Four of us split an order of three beignets with three coffees and I think our bill was about $9.

After Cafe du Monde, we moseyed around the French Quarter for a bit and then headed back to the hotel to get ready for happy hour with the rest of the crew.  After a drink or two, it was supper time.  I went with my parents and grandmothers to Bon Ton Cafe for a nice family dinner.  My father talked to the concierge to make sure he made a reservation at an authentic, non-touristy, New Orleans spot.  Of course, he still needed a second opinion, and Susan's father confirmed that it is indeed a locals' place which was enough to convince my discerning Daddy.  I had gulf fish topped with oysters and (the oils of which made a great sauce for bread sopping) and for my side, I chose creamed cauliflower.  I figured, I like creamed spinach and I like cauliflower; what could be bad.  Wow.  Cheesy and delicious.  We all split bread pudding with whisky sauce for dessert - my La La actually ordered a smaller dinner when she saw this on the menu for dessert.  The sauce had a strong whisky flavor - a little kick at the end of supper.  All that was more than pleasing to the tongue, but the best was the appetizer my Daddy and I shared: turtle soup.  I'd never tried this creole specialty before and now I'm in love.  I particularly liked that there was a little bottle of sherry on the table so you could add as much or as little as you like.  You may be able to find some versions of gumbo or etouffee in other places around the country, but it seems like turtle soup is strictly a New Orleans thing and seems to me to be enough of a reason to go back.

When we got back to the hotel, everyone had congregated in the hospitality suite.  Let me remind you that Greg and Susan are dear friends from home and college (and now just a few blocks away in NYC), but that Greg also happens to be my first cousin.  That means that a slew of college friends plus my entire extended family had decided to take over the French Quarter.  Thankfully, the hospitality suite had three rooms and a balcony because everyone was out and ready to party...including my Mom, who gave me a wad of cash and told me to walk downstairs to Bourbon Street and get her a hurricane.  I am a loving daughter so of course, I obliged and picked up a hand grenade for myself while I was at it.  It was my first time ever in New Orleans so a hand grenade was compulsory for me.  Later, we hit up the Absinthe House on Bourbon Street for some drinks.  By the time I looked around the bar and realized I had stolen my brother's styrofoam cup of frozen something or other and had been coerced into doing a Jager bomb, I knew it was time to go to bed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Review: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

I flew through this book.  It is a bittersweet coming of age story, and I loved watching the main character, Rose, grow into herself since it is easy to relate to her growing pains.  Navigating friendships, family, and boys is hard on all of us, even those that can’t taste feelings in food.  As a foodie to the core, I would be traumatized if my precious flavors were invaded by the feelings of the cook.  However, as we all must, Rose learns to embrace what makes her different, and I only hope I can learn to do the same.  My only reader wish: I would like to have seen the father/daughter relationship progress a little more because it seemed like those two were on the verge of something special.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Keeping the Resolutions in Check

One of my new years resolutions was to try at least one new restaurant and one new recipe each week.  I haven't gotten to the restaurant yet this week, but I anticipate I'll cross that off when I arrive in New Orleans in TWO DAYS.  The recipe, however, I took care of tonight.  I'm trying to eat up most of the food in my fridge before leaving for Greg and Susan's wedding in two days so I started dinner by throwing something together.  It started out as breakfast for dinner and then it grew...

I made a scramble with spicy sausage, bell pepper, and avocado and served it next to an english muffin (sorry that the picture is not properly oriented...I'm not savvy enough to figure out how to rotate it).  Though I've never made this particular combo before, I don't consider it a new recipe since I often throw scrambles together - this one was delicious, nonetheless.  The new recipe was dish #2: pumpkin and goat cheese soup.  It was smooth, creamy, and fantastically fall.  I will divulge the super simple recipe here:

  1. Saute chopped onion in soup pot
  2. Add 4 cups chicken broth and 1 can pumpkin
  3. Stir in 4 oz goat cheese
  4. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg
  5. Crumble pita chips on top
The best part is that I got to use my new, favorite kitchen tool, the immersion blender - I confess, buying this gadget was one of my proudest shopping moments.  I only had a small taste (don't forget the scramble) and reserved the rest for lunch tomorrow and my freezer for a rainy day.  Week one of my New Years resolutions is off to a good start!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

New Years News

I spent the majority of my two-week break from work doing absolutely nothing.  The one exception was my trip to DC to visit some of the coolest girls I know: my roommates from college.  Aside from the fact that I was suffering from a debilitating hangover for the entire bus ride there due to some serious partying at the Artist Formerly Known as Prince concert, the trip was amazing from start to finish.  You know you're with great, true friends when you can pick up exactly where you left off, which is exactly how it is with these girls.

Once we moved past the hangovers, we headed to Georgetown to meet up with Alex, reminisce about college, and grab a few drinks.  Liz had chosen The Tombs as the meeting spot.  It was the perfect, casual, saloon-y place.  The drinks were cheap and the atmosphere fun, so although we went with the intention of just having one or two drinks, the next thing you knew, we were singing along with whatever the dj was spinning and closing down the bar.

Relaxation was the name of the game on New Years Eve day in order to prepare ourselves for the night ahead.  We started the evening with apps, drinks, and a drinking game set to the game Apples to Apples.  If you've never played Apples to Apples, I encourage you to do so.  And trust me when I tell you it is more fun if you've got a little buzz goin.  Then it was off to the Westin for a few hours of open bar only to leave us shocked upon realizing that last call in DC is 1:30 AM, much earlier than the 4 AM I've grown accustomed to in NYC or even the 2 AM we know in Georgia.  The Westin was fun, but I think we all agreed we're over the all inclusive hotel/bar thing.  It's all about the apartment party.  What can I say, we've turned into big kids.

I found DC to be cute, clean, and an all around perfect place to spend New Years.  Welcome to 2011, everyone!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Book Review: How Did You Get This Number

I had read Sloane Crosley's first collection of essays, I Was Told There'd Be Cake, and loved her writing style.  Her biting Manhattan sarcasm seeps into every word about killing a bear cub, stealing furniture, and her crazy roommate.  However, I feel the endings sometimes fall slightly flat.  The build-up is amazing, but the finale is a little less so.  Her writing seems to have matured a bit in this second attempt.  Best of all, this is a super quick read.  Give it two sittings and you'll be done.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Peace Out 2010. It Was Nice Knowing You...Not.

2010, you were simply ok.  Sure, we had some good times, but there were moments when you pretty much blew (and here, I'm talking about that pesky little breakup we had to endure).  So you know what, I'm not all that upset to say goodbye to you.  2011, I am trusting you'll make 2010 your bitch.  To get you started on the right track, here are my new year's resolutions:
  1. Cook one new recipe per week and cross one restaurant off my list each week.
  2. Use up more of my vacation days.  It's silly to just let them rot.  At the very least, I pledge to take one or two random days off each month to just relax, run errands, and maintain my sanity.
  3. Finish decorating my apartment.  I mean, I've only been there for two and a half years, what's the rush?
  4. Write a book.  Gotta put one lofty goal on the list.
  5. Big shocker: go to the gym more.  Betcha never heard that one before.
So there we go.  Nothing too crazy on the agenda.  2011, I look forward to making your acquaintance.


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