Sunday, March 29, 2009

Architectural Digest Home Show

The show was really interesting and I really should have taken more pictures. This picture is from the artist's website - these works were on a stainless steel "canvas" with etchings on them - the light did amazing things with them as well. Check out the web site at He does gorgeous work.

This isn't my style at all - it was in a glass medium and all I could think was how quickly those glass arms would shatter...

These stone water falls are so pretty - yes they have been around for a while, but that doesn't make them less beautiful....

This is one design idea I just really like a lot - using a small chandelier and lowering the height to place it where you might have a standing lamp - providing light and saving floor space. Like it!

Also like these fabric squares and extra long shelf creating interest in an uninteresting space (did you see the pictures of the New Joint Empty?)

The shelf is like a built in sofa table, again saving floor space. Like it :)

We spent about 2 hours wandering around the exhibits, generally oo-ing and ah-ing over lots of bath fixtures, kitchen appliances, automated closet organizers, furniture and art. This was a much more enjoyable show than the antique show 2 weeks ago. Some things I wish I had taken pictures of include the new burnt bronze appliance finish offered by Jenn Aire - just beautiful. Also, the huge round stone tub - it must have been 70" in diameter and weighed more than a ton. Over all it was a fun show and we enjoyed it :)

Suzee's Banana Bread

I had 3 small perfectly over-ripe bananas yesterday, and I made the most delicious banana bread with them :) I think I could have added 1 more banana to the mix, but I only ordered 3 from Fresh Direct and Rick didn't eat any of them, so that's what I had on hand. I like to add a 1/2 cup or more of mini chocolate chips to this recipe too sometimes. Rick prefers it without, but if you are looking for a more dessert like recipe, they are really good. Don't use the regular chocolate chips - they totally overwhelm the banana flavor.

Here is the recipe -

1 3/4 C Flour
2t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
8T melted butter
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting the top
2 large eggs
1 C mashed banana (3 medium)
1 C chopped walnuts
Optional - 1/2 C to 1 C mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.
Grease a 9x5 loaf pan (I used a pyrex one which I believe is 8x4 and it was fine).
Stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
Beat sugar and butter until combined.
Beat in eggs, one at a time.
Beat in mashed banana (if bananas are really ripe, no need to mash)
Stir in walnuts, vanilla and if using, chocolate chips
Stir in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, mixing after each addition.

Bake for an hour and check the bread with a toothpick. If the toothpick is doughy and not clean, bake a little longer.

Rick likes it best sliced and grilled with butter :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

March Flowers

Just before our last visit to what will be our new abode, I noticed around the corner was a tree with flower blossoms. YES! SPRING IS COMING!

It's true that street flower vendors do have some seasonal flowers, they almost always look like this year round (except those extra freezing couple of days in winter...).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New Joint Empty

Here is the 625 feet we will be signing for on March 31. We'll have the distict pleasure of paying a mortgage, maintenance fee, taxes, electric and gas :)

Here if our new everything room, and you can peek to the door way on the left, that is the entrance to the kitchen. Around that corner is the bath and bedroom. And we get 4 windows with a strange window seat too. The window seat would be so much nicer if it went from one side all the way to the other, rather than the 2 little sections. Maybe we'll change that.

Here is the kitchen - about half the size of what we have now, but uses space well. It includes the dishwasher and microwave as well as the other applicances, but I think I'm alittle concerned about using the microwave since it's so old. We can always use the stove and oven until we replace the applicances.

Believe it or not, this bathroom is actually bigger than our current one. Don't you love the silver counter tops? They are hot :)

Here is the bedroom - it will hold our king sized bed, but not much else. That closet looks awfully small, but it is a walk-in. I need to start figuring our how we will store all our stuff :) Thank goodness for space bags.

Once we close, I'm planning to paint. A nice khaki color for the living room (actually Devonshire from Ralph Lauren) and a taupe color for the bedroom (Wisp of Mauve from Benjamin Moore). I think the bedroom will look nice with the new chocolate brown bedspread :)
We are planning to live here for a few months before we make other changes - like updating the kitchen and bathroom. Of course, it will also be after I get back to work so we can pay for it!
I'll post a nice picture of the view of the Crysler Building once we move in - the night view is just gorgeous.

Monday, March 23, 2009


I scored free moving boxes on Craigslist! WOO!

Closing Date Set!

Wow - the closing date is set for our new co-op! We are visiting this week to help brainstorm how we want to set everything up, and then a last walk through just before closing. I'm searching craigslist for used moving boxes, and I need to call painters and movers. Also cable/internet/phone and we'll have an electric bill for the first time in a year. Insurance is another change needed. And of course changing our address for all the mail.

We should be able to be all moved by Easter ;) Yay!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Favorite New Accessory

Cocktail rings are very popular now - some thing fun to wear on the right hand - and I'm really enjoying this trend ;) I bought this bauble at one of those inexpensive accessory stores you would see at the mall for $8 and it makes me smile each time I see it ;) Green's my color this spring ;) I did leave it home for the co-op interview we had Thursday. We got great news Friday that we are approved! We'll be setting up a closing date soon.

Rick brought these beautiful roses home Friday. I am a lucky girl ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

NYC St Patrick's Day Parade

I'd never known there was a big St. Patrick's Day parade in Manhattan. It runs up 5th Ave between 44th Street and 86th. I'm thinking - bonus! I can just walk over!
I think that Saint Patrick's Day may have turned into a religious holiday. Depending on your age, and whether you actually are Irish, your experience will vary. Loads of parade viewers were dressed up with all manner of green - hats, sweaters, t-shirts, beads, garland, boas - you name it. Vendors were even selling green cotton candy. I left the apartment at 11:00 thinking that it would take time for the parade to actually get to 86th street. And it took about an hour for the parade to reach the upper east side.

When the parade started, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Londonderry High School marching band had made the trip to NYC for the celebration.
Unfortunately my camera battery died after this so you don't get to see all the gorgeous costumes and kilts and different kinds of plaid. Who knew there were this many people who play bagpipes on the East coast???

I only stayed a little more than an hour. This parade is the largest in NYC, and does not allow floats or vehicals. It lasted past 4:00. On the way home I ended up behind some college kids (was it really THAT long ago that I was that young?) and I think they may have started early in their celebrations. They had t-shirts they made - one girl was pleased to be known as Mc-O'lobe Ultra and very proud of her obvious Irish heritage.
Maybe next year I'll have some visitors that will come for the celebrations, and definitely next year I'll choose something other than alcohol to give up for lent. I'll remember to get some St Patricks Day beads, ties, hats and maybe even a boa ;)

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Monday

Around 5:30 I found myself thinking about using up all the stuff in my pantry so we don't have to move it. Rick had bought one of those Dunkin Hines Dark Chocolate cake mixes, cans of fluffy white frosting, and a pink gel painting gel to make me a birthday cake not long ago. I figured here's an opportunity to make a Happy Monday cake :)

I figured I'd just mix it up by hand - no need to pull out the kitchen-aid mixer. I must say that I haven't mixed a batter by hand for 2 minutes straight in a very long time. It was a second work out for the day.

Rick came home around 6:40 and the cake was still in the oven, smelling all chocolatey :)

He enjoyed dessert :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Antiques and Art Show - Pier 94

Saturday was a nice morning - I decided to head over to a big Antique and Art show over at Pier 94. I took the 6 down to 59th Street and then walked over to 55th and 12th. It was a pretty quick walk, though I probably would head down to 55th earlier than I did.

The show was generally organized in timeframes - old stuff (1800's, turn of the century, mid century, 60's, 70's, 80's up to current) and a whole section for fashion.

I perused the hall - parts were like a very expensive flea market and others were astonishing. There were these antique champagne flutes that were made in a glass factory in East Germany. The factory was closed before WW I and no body went in after WWII. Once the wall came down, these glasses - so finely etched, and with decorative glass strands, and a petite pre-war size - were found. You could buy one for $175. They were beautiful and unique, but I didn't have it :) I did enjoy looking at them, almost like in a museum.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Board Interview!

I just heard that we finally have a board interview! A week from Thursday evening, we will be meeting with the board and finding out a little more about our neighbors-to-be. We may well be able to close before the end of March :) Yay!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Lovely Weekend Ending in Giggles

We are coming to the end of a really nice weekend. The weather was great - it reminded me of the weather we had for our wedding - a glimpse into what Spring has in store for us. We took in the warmth, got some strolling time in, went to the movies and even grabbed one of those infamous Papaya Dogs.

We are relaxing, enjoying the quiet of Sunday night. I was reading through the blogs I like to peruse and I was giggling. Of course Rick wanted in on the comedy. I just finished reading out loud the last 2 entries from Bacchus on the Sex in the Upper East Side blog. We laughed until we had tears in our eyes. Check it out for a saucy Sunday night chuckle :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

One if by Land, Two if by Sea

Yesterday was our 5 year anniversary, and we made reservations via Open Table at what was rated one of the most romantic restaurants in Manhattan, One if by Land, Two if by Sea.

While I was drying my hair and trying to get it to do something reasonable, Rick came home early with a little brown bag - like those used at Bloomingdales. After a welcome home hug and kiss, I opened the bag, and the box inside, and found the most beautiful grey pearls - an opera length strand and matching studs. I felt pretty confident these weren't Tahitian pearls - we are in no position for gifts that grand while we are in the midst of purchasing the co-op, but they have this gorgeous patina, and the presentation was top notch. Rick explained to me later in the evening that they were man made pearls, so the patina will be richer the more that I wear them. It was a grand surprise - I had been considering buying grey costume pearls, and now I won't need to :)

We dressed to go to the restaurant, and left about an hour before our reservation as it was in Greenwich Village, and Friday night traffic can be nasty. We hailed a cab outside our building, and must have tried to explain the location 6 times in the first 2 blocks. Once we got to the Greenwich Village area, the cabbie had to call his dispatch at least 6 more times before he was able to find the street. We decided to just walk at that point.

We got to the restaurant about 10 minutes late, and walked through the bar area to the M'aitre D. The bar area had numerous openings at 8:15 or so, and I was surprised by this. I thought it would be pretty much full up on a Friday night. We were escorted up stairs to a nice 4 top, and the extra place settings were swept away. Restaurant Week has now extended to Restaurant Winter, and the special menu is still available. We ordered the chef's tasting menu along with the wine tasting pairings as it was a celebration night, and tasting many small things is more fun that having 3 more substantial items.

We started with an amuse bouche - it was a citrus jelly with a sweet syrup and topped with cilantro sprouts. I didn't care for the texture - it wasn't quite jello, and this bothered me, kind of like a Halloween spoof. The flavor was unique - the citrus was nice, and not overly sweet, and there was a crunch like coconut that released a second layer of flavor and then the cilantro rolled over your tongue at the end, acting like a spice rather than an herb. It was quite a flavor explosion.

Next came a pan seared scallop, with a dot of foie gras on top. The fish was very fresh and sweet and the foie gras added a richness. On the plate was an artful smear of sunchoke puree - it was sweet and looked like a sabayon cream. And a small group of diced turnips were mild, and added a nice texture. The Prosecco served with it was very light and dry. It was my favorite of all the wines we tasted.

Next was a foie gras slice served with pear puree and a chocolate swirl on the plate. We first tasted the Reisling that was served, and Rick loved this wine. He thought it would be nice on a summer day all by itself. It was too sweet for my taste alone, but it lighted up considerably when paired with the foie gras. The foie gras coated your mouth with richness and flavor, and the pear added a very slight touch of sweet - different than the wine - to the savory of the foie gras.

Next was pan seared red snapper, and I believe it was served with a California Savignon Blanc. I was so thankful they didn't pair it with a Chardonnay - I really dislike Chardonnay. The fish was crispy and coated with what must have been potato shreds (now that I look back on the menu). I saw that the skin was still attached, and there was no way to remove it. I was a little concerned since Rick is pretty much anti-fish, but the skin was crispy and rich, and extremely fresh. With the coating, Rick looked at it as a fish stick, which he happily ate. To me, California whites are usually too powerful and too sweet, but with this rich fish, this wine was delightful.

Next was a Beef Wellington, served with a French red made of 4 different grape varietals I can no longer remember. This was an unfortunate course. I would have ordered this as my entree if we had not done the chef's tasting, and I would have been very disappointed. It was very salty with a strange aftertaste, and the wine served didn't stand up to it at all. The puff pastry was heavy and I left it on my plate. The roasted brussel sprouts served with it were very good, and Rick let me know that I over roast mine. So, note to self, be kinder to the sprouts :)

Next was a palate cleanser - the Pomegranite Granita with the blood orange gelato and pine nuts. I loved the combination of the sweet creamy gelato and the tangy icy granita.

The dessert course was beautiful - it was the Guava Rose Panna Cotta - on one side a small cup of the creamy panna cotta sitting in a guava sauce and topped with a champagne gelee, and on the other a stacking of meringue logs topped with a tiny spoonful of mango sorbet. In the center was a lit birthday candle and written on the plate in chocolate it said "Happy Anniversary". It was a very sweet surprise. The sorbet was bursting with fruit and my favorite part. Rick like the meringues the best. A dessert wine was served, and I just don't care for them, so the server was kind to bring me another taste of the prosecco we started with.

After the desserts were swept away, another plate of tiny tastes was presented - less than a teaspoon each - a lemon shortbread, a chocolate walnut brownie, a prickly pear jelly candy, and nut brittle with dried cranberries. Yes, we tasted all these too. Delicious!

The night was very romantic and it was lots of fun to get dressed up and celebrate something very important to us. During the day I heard from Ann and Kathy and they reminisced about how much fun we had at the wedding. Now we have nice memories of our 5 year anniversary, too.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

I went over to Blooming Nails II for a mani / pedi today to get ready for the Anniversary dinner tonight. Rick usually says I have Hobbit toes (rewatch the Lord of the Rings movie and keep an eye open for a shot of the feet...). So I figured I'd get them all dressed up.
Last night Rick brought be these beautiful roses home, so I've been able to enjoy them all day :)
We have reservations for One if by Land, Two if by Sea tonight.
I'll blog about that tomorrow :)
Happy weekend!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We Got 8 Inches!

The kiosk at the East entrance of Central Park at 90th street - in nicer weather there are flyers about the different programs offered in the park (bird watching, biking, running, etc.). In the background you can see the Guggenheim. These steps lead to the running track which circles the resevoir.

Folks were taking photos - this is the most snow the city has seen in years.

I can't imagine where people store their snow toys. I can see maybe they just buy new sliders each winter, but those cross country skis would be pretty costly to replace on an annual basis. I suppose they could stand in the back of a closet, but that is where I store my vaccuum.

This is the kind of graffiti I especially appreciate.

And when there is still room, I particiate too :)