Monday, February 27, 2012

fashion, food, and surprise diy

The past week as been a random assortment of activities. I enjoy seeing seven days cover such a spread :)

Jenn and I had plans to get together one day this week when I ran across an open invitation from Mara on A Blog About Love to a mini fashion course here in Brooklyn. (Mara and her husband keep the sweetest and most uplifting blog. I highly suggest checking it out!) I was a little intimidated about it being held at a Mormon church (I don't think I've ever been to one!) but everyone there could not have been more welcoming and lovely. Mara (here in the yellow) has got to be the sweetest person ever (and isn't she gorgeous?! I'm dying for her curls!) and made sure we felt right at home.
Plus, we got some awesome fashion tips! Mara invited Marina, a personal shopper from J. Crew, to come share some of her valuable style knowledge with us. She taught us all about her style basics, including scarves and belts and necklaces and even how to roll your sleeves fashionably! I can't wait to try out all her advice. If you are ever in NYC, you should definitely visit Marina at the Rockefeller Center J. Crew. Thanks again, Mara and Marina!

Somehow I completely missed that Mardi Gras was this week :( Where have I been?! Luckily, Jenn and I were able to take part in National Margarita Day instead. After the style event we headed to Pacifico for delicious Blood Orange and Pomegranate Margaritas with Nachos and Quesadillas. Yum.

At work this week I did some running around to different sites around the city. A contractor took us to see some windows at the most gorgeous studio apartment ever. Think I can convince my landlord to install some decorative paneling, slick walnut floors, and steel casement windows in my dinky apartment? Sigh.

Jenn and I also attended a happy hour put on by ENYA at Technogym. If you are ever in need of fancy, Italian workout equipment, give them a look-see.

All in the same day, I received this fun hat from Kurt and this awesome infinity scarf handmade by Jenn's mom. Is someone trying to tell me I am grossly unprepared to live in the Northeast? Too bad winter is pretty much over (or never really showed up?) so these babies might get retired pretty soon. Thank you, Kurt and Mrs. Dunn! 

(Btw, its really hard to take a picture of yourself in the mirror. I feel like a big nerd.)

Kurt has abandoned me for his annual week-long ski trip out west, so Aubie and I were able to fit in lots of study/sleep time this weekend. 

Actually, Aubie's preferred method of studying is completely obscuring anything I am trying to read. Those thumbs are hard to argue with!

Some time months ago when Kurt was booking the aforementioned ski trip, I decided I wanted to makeover his bathroom while they are gone and have this awesome HGTV-esque reveal when they return next Saturday. (Ugh, when you see the before pictures you will see why.) I think I planned this process way before I started studying for my ARE and had lots of free time. Before Kurt left, I tried to break it to him that it might not happen because I was kind of busy. He and his brother seemed really I guess I'm doing a makeover this week! I bought some supplies today and hope I can get it all done by the time they return. There might be an all-nighter on Friday!

I've found a new go-to recipe. (I promises it is more appetizing than it looks.) I love quiches but try to limit how often I make them because the crust is so fattening and full of butter. I've tried going the crustless route, but it just robs the quiche of everything appealing. My mom often sends me little recipe pamphlets and recently forwarded one put out by Bisquick. One night Kurt convinced me to make dinner (which always sends me into a panic) so I turned to this book for ideas. I actually had eggs and milk (which is rare) so I decided to adapt the recipe for Impossibly Easy Bacon Pie. (Of course I don't own Bisquick, so that made it a little less easy, but the internet is swimming with substitutions. I use 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons cold butter for this recipe.) I call it my Pseudo-Quiche. Yes, the recipe still has eggs, milk, and a little butter but I usually omit the bacon and try to stash as many veggies inside as possible. It's really flexible with whatever you have on hand. The flour mixture somehow makes the eggs fluffy and light and delicious. Try it!

Speaking of eating healthier, I'm on a new kick. Believe me, I am not that girl that tries every new fad diet. I'm not even the girl that tries any diet really. However, I am coming to terms with being mindful of the things I put in my body and how they make me feel. I've been reading lots of stuff lately about Apple Cider Vinegar. Some people put it on their face for clear skin. Others drink a little ACV cocktail once or twice a day and rave about the benefits. I'm trying out the latter route. I've been diluting two tablespoons of ACV (make sure you get the one with "the mother" in it....even though it just sounds gross) in a glass of water in the morning and evening. I don't love the taste of vinegar to begin with, so its been not-so-pleasant so far, but I'm hoping to stick with it. I'm only a couple days in, so the results are inconclusive. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

I hope you all have a great (leap) week! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

visitors, a birthday, and lots of food

Weekly wrap-up!

Valentine's Day French Onion Soup and Brie and Cheddar Biscuits crafted by moi.

Drinks at Vu Bar near the Empire State Building.

Delicious Neapolitan pizza at Numero 28 in the West Village.

Dinner at Building on Bond. Birthday boys wear ties.

Birthday celebration for Kurt's brother, Erik. Drinks at 61 Local and flourless chocolate cake by the multi-talented Jenn. I supplied the candles :)

Touring Brooklyn with out of towners. Coffee at Sweet Wolf's followed by a meandering stroll to Brooklyn Bridge Park. If every NYC winter can be this mild, I might never have to leave :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

kurt hearts ohio

And since I heart Kurt, I thought I would whip him up an Ohio themed Valentine's Day gift. I saw this project a while ago on Etsy, but it wasn't until I saw this post from a fellow Auburn alum that I got inspired to try it myself.

I live a few doors down from a custom door and cabinet shop (and a car mechanic in the other direction...needless to say, it's an eclectic neighborhood) and they occasionally put out old project scraps for the taking. I'm always on the lookout for sidewalk trash treasure, so I was thrilled to scoop up a couple wood panels a few months ago for future projects.

This one finally had a use, so I sanded off the glossy finish and painted it with white paint I had lying around.

I printed off a map of Ohio and taped it to my panel.

Then I went to town nailing! I would recommend thin wire nails with broad heads. They hold the string best without overpowering the board. However, make sure you don't get such teeny tiny nails that you can't hold them while nailing. There is a delicate balance :)

I nailed around the state outline (just eyeball the spacing) and put a heart around Columbus, location of Kurt's beloved Ohio State. After I had all the nails in place, I carefully tore out my paper guide and fixed any loose nails.

Then I started looping the string from the center outward. (I'm a math nerd and would recommend doing some calculations to determine how many perimeter nails correspond to the center ones so you get an even array.) You can't really see, but I paired a scarlet and gray thread to continue with the Ohio theme. If I had to do it again, I might have gone with a thicker string (maybe cross stitch floss?) for a bolder effect but I had no idea how much yardage I would need, so, this time, I just used a typical cotton sewing thread.

Ta da! I already have the perfect place picked out for this baby to sit in Kurt's apartment :)

In addition to this string art, I also gifted Kurt the t-shirt version of this poster. I know I shouldn't encourage his out of control t-shirt habit, but in my defense A) it was on sale B) it's not Ohio State and C) it's really cool and the company is in Brooklyn! I almost got myself one :)

Did you guys get/give anything good for Valentine's Day? 

Monday, February 13, 2012

recent happenings

Things from the past week or so....

Jenn was nice enough to invite me as her +1 to the Architecture League's First Friday happy hour at the studios of Architecture Research Office

Stephen had a bunch of people over to his apartment to watch the Super Bowl. We took turns in the living room (some people were more interested in Madonna/commercials and others in the game) and consumed way too much food. (Sorry for the blurry iPhone panoramic. I'm still figuring out my new Photosynth app.)

Since I am the low man on the totem pole in my office, I always get the task of measuring new projects whether I will ultimately work on them or not. Sometimes it is a drag but most of the time it is really interesting and fun. Plus, I feel connected to/knowledgeable of almost every project that goes through the office. Recently, a coworker and I measured two apartments that we plan on combining on the Upper East Side. The apartment the client currently lives in is kind of funky and quirky. There are curved walls and bright colors.

Cute pup! I'm constantly guilty of sneaking a few animal pics into the existing condition records.

While the first, colorful apartment was pretty nice, the one they are annexing is super grubby! I could not get over how awful this fully reflective bathroom is. Practically every surface is covered in mirror (or zebra carpet) including the ceiling! I felt like I was in Poltergeist.

Because I demanded it (and had an expiring coupon) Kurt and I recently had a date night at Apartment 138 in Brooklyn. Kurt likes to cook and we are both cheap, so it is kind of rare that we go out to a nice dinner. We shared a bottle of wine (Tuesday is half price wine bottle night! woot woot!) and a plate of pickles. For dinner, I had some Ricotta Gnocchi (with winter squash, brown butter, and candied pumpkin seeds), and Kurt had the Chicken Pot Pie. Delicious! NYC has so many great restaurants that we never go to! I'm not suggesting we go out all the time (because I would be obese and homeless) but it's a shame to not take advantage of all our great city has to offer. Who's with me?!

The weekend consisted of studying (blah) and TV/movie watching. Friday night we combined wine and pizza while ogling Ryan Gosling in Drive. Kurt and I finally wrapped up our marathon of watching The League. (Yes, it is completely offensive, but I can't get over how hilarious it is and how much I love it. I'm sad we have to wait for the next season now!) Then Kurt suggested a chick flick and I obliged with Morning Glory. The one only good thing about winter is catching up on TV time :) 

How was everyone's weekend?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

friday night birthdays

A couple weeks ago, we had a few friends celebrating their birthdays on the same night. Luckily, they were all having festivities near each other in Brooklyn, so we were able to hop around and send some good birthday wishes everyone's way.

Our first stop was Ocean's 8 in Park Slope. I swear it is Chuck E Cheese for adults.

The basement space spans several buildings and is enormous! There are 40+ pool tables....

....and ping pong (my favorite) along with air hockey, mini bowling, basketball, and countless other arcade games.

While the crowd was not that of our typical hipster Park Slope bars, I had a blast. And it was cheap! I don't think it will be an every weekend hangout but I can definitely see us going back.

Our next party was at Woodwork in Prospect Heights, but while walking to the bar, Jenn and I were overcome by the allure of Ample Hills Creamery. How often can you eat ice cream in January?! We may have underestimated the wind and were freezing by the time we made it to the bar, but it was worth it. I had the Salted Crack Caramel and it was delicious! Beer + pool + ice cream = a great night out!

Friday, February 10, 2012

debbieneedles @ abc home

Last week, Jenn and I went to a talk at ABC Home put on by Apartment Therapy. I've been to this series before and always enjoy it because they serve ample glasses of wine :) This time I was super excited to hear Deborah Needleman speak. She was the founding editor of Domino magazine and is the current editor of the Wall Street Journal Magazine. I've always had this unnatural obsession with magazines and constantly dream of some future involving architecture/design and publishing. Still working on that. 

Anyway, Deborah Needleman was lovely and candid and had some great insight into the world of magazines. I recently bought two of her books: Domino: The Book of Decorating and The Perfectly Imperfect Home. After the talk, Jenn and I stood in line to have them signed and say hello to Ms. Needleman. When it was my turn, she was so sweet and kind and signed my book, but for the life of me, I could not think of anything intelligent to say to her. Luckily, instead of saying something dumb, I said very little. Oh well. When I come to her years later for a publishing job, hopefully she won't remember that mute girl clenching her signed book and smiling awkwardly.

On a less embarrassing note, while standing in line, I ran into a girl who went to Auburn! AUBURN! This is a big deal. The world is rarely this small. She graduated from architecture school two years ahead of me and has lived in NYC ever since. She is currently also studying for her exams and invited me to her study group. Lucky me!
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