Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cashed In

For the first time in a very long time, I bought a new wallet. After reading this article by Gala Darling about doing a little Feng Shui action on your wallet, I realized that my wallet was, quite frankly, busted. As you can see in the photo below, the cheap-o fake python wallet that I bought at Urban Outfitters as a freshman in college served its duty admirably. But once that faux python started peeling away from the edges of the wallet, exposing the foam padding underneath, I knew it was time to part ways — my hard-earned cash deserved better!

I took Gala’s advice and did a thorough cleaning-out before transferring my things into the new wallet. Gone are the unused rewards cards, gift cards with $.01 left on them, and crumpled old receipts. I even took the leap and endured a painfully long trip to the DMV to have my license switched over to New York (something I was supposed to do, ohhh… 3 years ago?). I can’t say that I’m ready to make my license picture my new profile pic, but at least it’s over and done with! And most importantly, I feel good about housing my funds in a nicer home.

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Filed under Random, Shopping

Something Old, Something New {Friday}

I’ve been trying to think of a little feature that I could do on a weekly basis that would keep me thinking and writing. I think I’ve come up with a good one, and I’m going to attempt to implement it starting today! Each Friday, I’ll share two things that happened during my week: one “old” and one “new.” The Something Old could be anything from catching up with an old friend to making a classic family recipe for dinner — think the kind of “old” that gives you warm fuzzies, not back pain! My Something New will run the gamut from something new that I learned that week to a new place I’d never been to before. The point of all this is to end the week on a happy and optimistic note! So, here we go…

{Something Old}

I had the pleasure of getting together with one of my best friends from college early this week for a bottle of wine after work! M and I are both Francophiles, and you may remember that she and I ran around France together for a week last year. We met up at The Bourgeois Pig, a great little wine bar in the East Village that offers a superb 1/2 price bottle night on Monday and Tuesday. I always enjoy my time with M because she’s one of those people with a contagious laugh who is so easy to hang out with. Sometimes there is nothing better than spending a few hours with an old friend!

{Something New}

I tried a Barre method class at my gym for the first time — and hoooooo baby were my muscles burning afterward! The class I took is called vBarre, and it combines ballet methods which are done at the barre with some Pilates-esque moves. The toughest part was using the glide board, which is a slippery plastic board about the length of a yoga mat. It looked like so much fun in the videos I saw online, but it’s really hard to do at first! Once you get the hang of it, you can get going pretty fast. I’m definitely looking forward to my next class!

Happy weekend, everyone! What made you happy this week?

Top photo by arvindgrover via Flickr

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Filed under Random, Something Old Something New

Teaching and Learning with Skillshare

I’ve mentioned here before that I occasionally teach macaron classes on Skillshare. It has become one of my favorite things to do in my spare time — teaching others about something that you are passionate about is not only rewarding but a lot of fun too! I’ve been fortunate to have many students who are excited and enthusiastic about learning, which makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

Just before my class last month, I was approached by Skillshare and asked if they could send a camera to film the class for a video TED was doing about their CEO, Michael Karnjanaprakorn. Of course I agreed, and conducted the class feeling geekily like a Food Network chef all mic’d up!

The end result is the video below, which I think is fantastic. These classes really are a great way for people to share their passions, learn about new ideas, and be inspired to create and foster collaboration. Take a look (and see if you can spy some pretty macarons being baked!)

I don’t have any classes on the schedule for next month yet, but if you are interested in joining the next class be sure to follow me on Skillshare so that you’ll know when registration opens!

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Filed under Food, Random

Recipe: Apple Tarte Tatin

The kitchen in our new apartment has taken some warming up to. It took a few weeks for our landlord to get everything set up and ready to go for us (there were some old appliances that needed to be taken out), which delayed my bonding time with the new space. Even though we have much more counter space, a larger oven, and more lighting than my previous kitchen, I still had to take it slow and get to know it before I dove in headfirst to a new project.

Last night, I finally took on a pretty big task: simultaneously making a homecooked meal and trying out a new baking recipe. With plenty of counter space to use, I’m happy to report that it was a success! In honor of this past weekend’s French holiday (Bastille Day), I thought it was appropriate to try out a class apple tarte tatin, using this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

The process was less scary than I imagined it would be — the caramel came together quite nicely, and the apples cooked down beautifully. I ended up cooking the caramel and apples on the stove top for just over 15 minutes rather than the 20 to 25 recommended — if I’d gone any longer I have a feeling that the caramel would have quickly burned.

Although everything came out of the pan nice and easy, I think I’ll make one change next time — since the original recipe didn’t specify how much puff pastry to use, I only used one sheet out of a 17.3oz package. This resulted in a thinner crust, which was fine but slightly unbalanced to the amount of caramel. Ah, well… it’s an easy enough fix for next time. And my official taste tester (aka boyfriend) says there absolutely should be a next time!

I strongly encourage you to try this one out for yourself. The ingredients are so simple, but the sweetness from the apples and the buttery caramel are so outrageously good!

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Filed under Food, Recipes

10 Reasons to Kiss and Make Up with NYC

A view of the city from the Empire State Building

Well, it had to happen sometime… it was just a matter of when. After more than 6 years of bliss, I’m having my first fight with New York City. We are just not getting along this week. I’m blaming it on the poor timing of terrible weather — back to back days of sweltering heat after spending a week up north with beautiful weather hasn’t exactly given me the chance to cool down (literally). It’s no secret that this city can be tough to live in. It keeps running at warp speed, whether you have the energy to keep up with it or not! In an attempt to kiss and make up, here is a list of great reasons why New York is totally worth it.

  1. The people. Endless types of people! If you can’t think of anything else to do in New York, you are guaranteed great people-watching — any day.
  2. The green spaces. As much as people may complain about the lack of nature on the grid, you can’t argue with the fact that it is pretty easy to get to a green space from pretty much anywhere in the city. I can practically roll out my front door and into Central Park, but there are plenty of smaller parks to chill out in too!
  3. The food. I don’t know if another place exists where food is not only so diverse, but so accessible all the time. Feel like eating Thai food for dinner and then French pastries for dessert? Chances are those two menu items are within walking distance of each other. Don’t even feel like leaving your apartment? Order it in.
  4. Free creative vibes! All it takes is a quick walk down the street to be inspired by something. You’ll always find an inspiring piece of street art, a crazy outfit, or a totally bizarre street performer to get your own creative gears turning.
  5. Easy day trips. Sometimes finding the balance while living in the city is leaving it once in a while. Two of my favorite day trips are to Governor’s Island (totally free!) and to Long Beach. If you need a (cheap) weekend getaway, buses leave frequently for Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Boston.

Magnolias at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden

6. Amazing shopping. You don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money to get some really good shopping in, and the sales at boutiques and department stores are fantastic if you keep an eye out for them. I also love those stores that have quirky things you probably can’t find anywhere else in the country. Some of my favorites are Pearl River Market for cheap home goods, and Kiosk for the most random assortment of gadgets and gifts from all around the world.
7. The best public transportation. Even though commuters may complain about the subways and buses, you have to admit that our system is pretty darn good. It’s relatively inexpensive, runs all the time, and covers a lot of ground. All in all, I’m impressed
8. Easy to make friends. New York might not always be associated with the words “friendly” or “welcoming,” but if you want to make friends here, it isn’t too difficult. I know so many people (myself included!) who have made friends out of people who they met on a night out, in a Meetup group, on an intramural sports team, or through a language exchange website. If you have an interest, there is a good chance that someone else shares it and would love to have someone to share it with!
9. Easy to be alone. There are definitely days when you just want to tune out and be by yourself — a difficult task, one would think, in a city of more than 8 million people. But it’s really not. Pop in your headphones, head to your favorite park or neighborhood, and just get lost in the crowd. It’s easier than you think!
10. Being a New Yorker. For every time that someone has shoved past me on the sidewalk or let a door slam in my face, there are twice as many times that a total stranger has offered to help me with a heavy suitcase on the subway stairs or even held their umbrella over my head when I forgot mine at home as we crossed the street together (yes, this really happened and I have seen it happen to others as well!). These little mutual understandings of community are really what binds this city together, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

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July 9, 2012 · 6:00 am