Friday, December 31, 2010

I have never seen so much snow!

Thankfully, I have made it back to Brooklyn. I was worried that the blizzard which dumped about 18 inches of snow on New York City the day after Christmas would severely disrupt my flight back. I was one of the lucky ones and flew out of Nashville with only a slight delay. The terminal at Newark Airport was packed with people when I arrived. I can't imagine having your flight cancelled and being stranded for so long! Hopefully things have been straightened out for all those travelers!

I really had no idea what to expect when I arrived home. We had been watching the news stories in Alabama about the snow and poor plowing but it didn't really click until I was trudging from the subway to my apartment. Most of the streets in my neighborhood had been plowed but huge banks of snow had piled up along the sidewalks, making it super tricky to cross at intersections. Then there are deceivingly deep puddles filled with slush and freezing water that you don't see until you are ankle deep in them. And this was 3 days after the storm! I can't imagine what it was like early in the week. If I had been around, I think Aubie and I would have buckled down and not left the apartment for days.

Here are some photos I took around the neighborhood on Thursday, December 30th. I don't think this snow is going anywhere soon!!

I think I know why Puerto Rico does it better...just a guess.

Snow piled up as high as street signs!

Meadow in Prospect Park and sledders!

Slushy mess! I could do without this "winter" thing!

What to do when it is a snowy mess outside? Make food, of course! I have been cooking up a storm the last day and a half. Check the fruits of my labor out here, here, and here.

Happy New Year!

Perfect Red Nail Polish

I don't go shopping a ton (because I am a poor little architect living in a super pricey city) but when I do, I usually like to hit up Forever 21 for cute and cheap dresses and tops. I feel like it is an art form to sort through their more risqué club items to find work appropriate pieces that aren't too trendy. However, because the stores here in NYC get so much traffic, they are usually disheveled and make it near impossible to find things easily. While visiting my family in Alabama for the holidays, it was a relief to find the Huntsville store clean, tidy, and organized. Even their jewelry and beauty items were pristine! Amazing!
I've been on the hunt for a good red nail polish. It needs to have a tinge of orange to it (I feel like the true reds look too matronly). No matter how many times I visited Target's beauty department, I couldn't will them to carry my ideal shade. I finally found it in Forever 21's neatly organized nail polish bin! It's called Coral and looks great (I have it on my fingers and toes at the moment)! Plus, it's less than $3. Hard to beat.

Since I was on a roll, I also decided to pick up this gold glitter polish called Gold Rush. It's nice and shimmery without being too over the top. It also reminds me of this much pricier version I was lusting after a few months ago.

And of course, while trying to buy last minute Christmas presents for other people, I found the most adorable dress for me! Orange and blue! It's going to be the perfect Auburn dress to wear to watch the National Championship Game in January! I can't find it on the website but is very similar to this one. Oh, Forever 21, keep up the good work!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hyperventilating (with glass of wine in hand)

I was just subscribing to a new online magazine (I'll let you know how it is when I get my first issue) and realized that come January 1st, I will be exiting the 18-24 age bracket. Eeeek! In reasonable moments I know 25 is young, but it feels like a whole new ball game. I don't foresee a quarter life crisis stemming from my upcoming birthday, but it may inspire some reflection on the past few years and newfound excitement about the next few. In the spirit of monumental birthdays and New Year's resolutions, I was inspired by this poster found here. Some good tips for now and always!

A poster of Ghandi's "Top 10 Fundamentals" offered for free here!

Speaking of inspiration, I recently came across a blog called Project 29 to 30, where Stephanie has vowed to do something she has never done before everyday during her 29th year. That seems a little ambitious for me. Once a week (or maybe even less frequently) seems more my speed. I am now accepting suggestions for new experiences :)

I'm currently sitting at home, enjoying my last few hours in Alabama, praying that my flight to NYC will take off tomorrow (all flights from Nashville to Newark were cancelled today). I had a last supper with my parents, my sister, and her new boyfriend (who unfortunately is not the best photographer) tonight at a local Mexican restaurant in Huntsville. I've thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the South, but keep your fingers crossed I make it back to Brooklyn tomorrow!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Opryland Hotel

My mom and I recently took a short day trip up to Nashville, Tennessee and visited the Opryland Hotel. It's always fun to go there around Christmastime to see the decorations. 

Nashville had experienced some pretty bad floods in May, but the hotel was able to repair all their damages and reopen in time for the holidays. Unfortunately, Opry Mills, the outlet mall down the road, was not so lucky and is still closed for renovations. We had to search out some post-Christmas deals elsewhere!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Yearly Movie Quota

Somehow we managed to overcome the great Christmas blizzard and make it out of the house to see a movie on Christmas Day. It continued snowing into the 26th and I still went out with an old high school friend (thanks to Ashlea for driving in her huge truck!) to see another movie. Two movies in two days! Unheard of!

There weren't many great movies out in our local theaters this year, so my parents and I went to see the Black Swan on Christmas Day. I was worried it might be too racy for my parents. They expressed interest on their own, so I wasn't going to feel so bad if it was inappropriate. In the end I liked it. My parents did not. Was it a feel good, uplifting Christmas movie? No. But it was beautiful and well made, and I was a little shaky at the end because it was all so intense. It is definitely not a movie for the faint of heart.

Natalie Portman was outstanding. Her character is mentally troubled but very outwardly controlled. She played both sides so well. It was difficult to discern reality from her delusions. She did most of the dancing herself and was excellent. In a supporting role, Mila Kunis did most of her own dancing too. I've only ever seen her on That 70's Show and the voice of Meg in Family Guy, so it was interesting to see her in a different role. The movie was weird and depressing and nerve racking but also really good. You have to be in the mood, but I would definitely recommend it!

Plus, I am a sucker for a good ballet movie. Center Stage, anyone?! (From which, this guy is on my very short celebrity sightings list.) I can't wait to get back to NYC and get tickets to see a performance sometime!

My friend, Ashlea, and I made plans to get together while I was home for the holidays. There isn't much to do in Huntsville, so we settled on a movie. She suggested Life as We Know It at the newly converted dollar theater (I'm starting to feel old because I remember when they built the theater several years ago. It must have traveled through its entire life cycle as a full price theater and was now outdated and demoted to carry older movies which have been out for several months. Regardless of their sustainability model, it was nice to pay just $1 as opposed to 10 or 12 in NYC).

Anyway, I really enjoyed it! It was definitely an uplifting change from yesterday's movie! I used to be such a fan of romantic comedies but feel like there haven't been good ones in the past several years (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is the gold standard). I was skeptical going in but Life as We Know It was really sweet and thoughtful. It was sad at times (of course I cried) but hilarious in others. Katherine Heigl plays her typical neurotic self but does it so well. It should be out on DVD shortly, so I would definitely recommend watching it too! You might need a sweet pick me up after the Black Swan :)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays!

It snowed in Alabama!! It hardly ever snows in Alabama!!! This was the scene we woke up to Christmas morning:

Of course this means the state is at a standstill today. After a blizzard and extended power outage many years ago, my family has adopted the tradition of going to a movie on Christmas day, but I'm not sure we'll even be able to make it to town! I was hoping to see the Black Swan too :(

We enjoyed some delicious waffles this morning (my mom's strawberry specialty), my expertly mixed mimosas (I'm hoping they will become a new Christmas family tradition), and opened some presents with the family. We'll be digging out (from under about 2") the rest of the day and enjoying this rare white Christmas. I hope you enjoy yours too!

Scenes from Huntsville

While doing some last minute shopping:

Some Auburn (and Cam) support at our local sporting goods store. (I used to work there!)

Getting wrapped up in a suburban shopping center.

A NYC touch here in Alabama: they have a huge Murray's Cheese outpost at a new Kroger. Go figure :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Train to Newark

I'm blogging on location from Ardmore, Alabama these days (with a cat over my shoulder and one at my feet). I flew down yesterday to spend a week in the South for the holidays. It was the first time I had traveled alone in a while and my first experience flying out of Newark Airport. Everything went pretty smoothly except we were delayed for a couple hours. My 6:30pm flight didn't end up leaving until closer to 9. Thankfully I had a direct flight into Nashville, but it was still a long day of travelling. With so much time to kill, I'm over halfway through the book (Christmas present from Kurt) that is supposed to last me all week. I'm sure I will find something else to entertain myself with while on vacation...TV watching and blog catching up are quickly climbing the list.

Off to finish some last minute Christmas shopping with my mom! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010


After all this week's parties, I was pretty wiped out. Thankfully, I had to sit at home for most of the day on Saturday waiting for an Auburn friend to arrive via China. Matt has been living and working in Beijing for the last year and is lucky enough to spend a few days on my couch before heading down to Alabama for Christmas :) My time at home allowed for some intense cleaning, laundry, Christmas card starting (and finishing!), and wrapping Kurt's Christmas presents. So much for resting...

Once Matt arrived, I drug him on a little walking tour of Fort Greene. An architect himself, I knew Matt would love taking a visit to the Brooklyn Flea. In the winter, the flea market is housed in the Williamsburg Bank Tower. I guess the developer calls it Skylight One Hanson now, but it is this amazing old bank on the ground floor of a really iconic Brooklyn building. The space is beautiful and it is always fun to go downstairs to see the former bank vault. The doors will blow your mind.

Eric, Ashley, Aimee, Matt, Maria, Me (Photographer Extraordinaire: Kurt)

We eventually made it into the city for dinner with all the out of towners. It's always a challenge to eat in Manhattan. I'm such a lame-o and hardly ever leave Brooklyn and don't know good, cheap places to go. Plus, an entourage of folks are rarely welcome in tiny New York establishments. I wanted to go have arepas, but they would not seat a party our size. Then I thought German food and beer would be good for a cold evening. Packed too. We finally ended up at Life Cafe near Tompkins Square Park. It was pretty deserted. I had chicken and waffles--apparently a Southern thing that I had never heard of until moving to NYC. After dinner, we stopped in Viselka for coffee, hot chocolate, and dessert. Matt was happy to have anything other than Chinese food, so I think it was a success!

(Nerdy sidenote: while searching for a worthy dinner spot, we passed by an Italian restaurant called Via della Pace. During college, I did a study abroad in Rome with my architecture class. Jen and I were assigned to study a tiny church called Santa Maria della Pace tucked away in the middle of the city. Apart from a traumatic paper writing incident, I have fond memories of that little street. Mrs. Fante, if you ever decide to visit my fine city, we will have to stop by Via della Pace, sip some wine, and reminisce about our days in Rome.)

Now, I will admit I had no hand in this part of the weekend but it is such an amazing transformation, I have to mention it. Kurt recently finished a courtyard renovation at an apartment building here in Brooklyn (Jay-Z used to live there!) and the project had a bunch of leftover bricks. The contractor was nice enough to offer Kurt the leftover supplies AND offer to help him lay them in the tiny 731 backyard. Don't ever let anyone tell you New Yorkers aren't nice.




Doesn't it look amazing?! They ran out of bricks and weren't able to completely finish but they are well on their way to having a high class patio! I can't wait to have parties out there next summer. Kurt and his brother are even considering asking their landlord for a rent reduction for all the improvements they are making to the place. Nice work, guys!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Skyline Party

Friday night, Kurt and I went to a holiday party thrown by contractors that Kurt works with. Skyline Restoration is a predominantly Greek business and always hold their party at Kellari Taverna, a Greek restaurant in midtown. It's a huge space and a great place to hold a party.

Kurt and I also went last year when Skyline hosted a sit down dinner. This time they opted for hors d'oeuvres and a buffet. I've never had such good food! It was all incredibly delicious! Eliminating all the tables allowed more people to attend and was a lot more laid back. They had a band the whole night and some people even did some dancing towards the end of the night. An open bar doesn't hurt either :)

It wasn't by choice, but Kurt and I ended up passing through Times Square on our way to and from the party. I've met my quota for the year! Sadly, you will not see us there for New Year's Eve. We are still trying to drum up some plans for the night (help!), but I am positive I do not want to ring in 2011 cramped next to millions of strangers in sub-freezing temperatures.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Parties (cont'd)

Phew! I'm tired already! Is it time for my vacation yet? :)

Last night was AFHny's annual Holiday Party. I've had a good time the past couple years and this one was no exception. Architecture for Humanity was able to have wine donated and lots of gourmet hors d'oeuvres were passed around through the evening.

The space was great for a party too. GD Cucine in Chelsea was kind enough to offer their kitchen showroom for the evening. (Those orange cabinets are pretty crazy, right?! Reminds me of this place too. Who puts these kitchens in their homes?! Certainly not our clients.) 

It was a fun party with a short presentation of all the good things AFHny has been doing through the year. I hope it will inspire more people to get involved in 2011! I've pledged some time to helping out on a grant writing team so we can start acquiring funds for new projects. Wish me luck!

Some Auburn connections are in town (1 Brit, 2 Canadians, and 1 architecture classmate), so we all decided to crash Christian's office party :) It was technically over but we were still able to partake in some free food and rose margaritas. I also didn't turn down a couple glasses of champagne when the Prince (long story) was buying bottles.

Their party was in the upper floor of Casa Mezcal in the Lower East Side. The downstairs part of the restaurant was absolute madness but the party space was nice and homey. It was a fun way to wind down the night. Thanks, Christian!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I finally won something!

I read quite a few blogs in my spare time (or when I am bored at work), and it's amazing how many of them have giveaways. I guess companies donate their products for some free publicity. (Note to companies: feel free to send me free things anytime.) If the prize is remotely interesting I will usually enter. One of my favorite sites is the Pioneer Woman. She gives away incredible things like stand mixers, sets of dishes, ipads, and nice cameras, to name a few. Unfortunately, me and about fifty thousand (not exaggerating) other people are vying for these prizes. I still enter but never win a thing. Well, my persistence finally paid off and I won these adorable recipe cards!

I read this new online magazine called Southern Flourish (very fun, I highly recommend it) and they have been doing a string of giveaways for the holidays on their blog. I'm not sure how popular the magazine is yet but I think the key factor in my winning was a small pool of entries. Regardless, I can't wait to get my cards in the mail! I'm planning out recipes for them already! Kurt has promised me his 3 favorite pasta recipes to begin with :)

In other news, my holiday party whirlwind began last night when Kurt and I attended my office party at my boss's apartment down the street from our office. I don't know why I expected it to be lousy but it was actually a lot of fun. We had some good conversation and my boss made a delicious dinner. I had my fair share of prosecco (which is quickly becoming my favorite new drink) and Kurt had his first taste of pecan pie. We all got a nice Christmas bonus (although sadly not our full salary back) and had a lovely evening. Thanks, Kate and Hope!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...