Friday, May 28, 2010

Jewlery "Art"?

I've been struggling with how to store/display my jewlery since I lived in NYC. When you have very little space you have to determine the best way to do everything! Not long ago I saw a framed jewlery option on a blog and I thought "I can do that!". So last weekend I gathered all the necessary things and put it all together:

I haven't quite figured out what color I want my room to be....but it will include soft colors, so I snagged this material from my mama.

I like having all my jewlery somewhere I can grab it or easily see something that matches what I'm throwing on in the morning. Not sure I like the overall look. For me it seems a bit cluttered. And yes, I do wear most of what you some point.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Diana, A Celebration

Or rip-off.... I really wanted to see this while it was in Atlanta. So Sunday morning off I went! I thought I'd save money by buying my ticket there (as opposed to online from Ticketmaster). Imagine my surprise when there was a $1 surcharge added to all tickets bought at the ticket window.....?

The Exhibit is 4 large rooms and 4 little (ie. 1-2 cases on display). I read everything (except 1 case of childhood "stuffs" that was causing a bottleneck) took me 45 minutes to get through.

I'll save you $20 and tell you to read all the tabs on the above web-site.

Some highlights (cause I HAVE to find something good in it!):
Wedding dress - it was pretty cool to see in person. I overheard one couple discussing in the room prior to the dress.
Woman: "Did you see the dress"
Man: "yes"
Woman: "How did it look?"
Man: "old"
That made me chuckle! It did look old (lets face it, 1981 style is not "in" currently!), but it also had hints of antique features which I found interesting.
There was an umbrella to match ("in case of rain") and that made me laugh because have you seen the train on that dress? No umbrella was going to keep it dry! Interesting fact about the dress: Diana's mother paid $1,900 for the wedding dress AND all the bridesmaid/flower girl dresses...for some reason I expected that number to be a LOT higher!

The dresses gallery - I did enjoy this. Checking out hemlines and whether I thought her waist stayed the same or got smaller. There was a description about each dress and who made/where she wore it. I remembered a lot of them from photos. I also met a guy in there who had seen Diana in one of the dresses on display. It was neat to hear his story.

Overall = disappointment. But at least 10% of the profit is going to the Princess' Charity. I guess that's slightly redeeming (although I bet if they put a collection box in the exhibit they'd make bank!). The gift shop was also disappointing. Not sure if they don't have the rights to do much with her name, but everything was related to her childhood home (Althorp, where her brother currently resides). And they were out of stock on most things. One thing I thought interesting was the lack of mention of her boys. I saw 2 pictures total of them (there might have been a glimpse of them in 2 videos). Maybe it is the family respecting the pledge given at her funeral to try to let the boys be normal. But if that woman really loved those boys as much as everyone says, wouldn't it be natural to make them a prominant part of this exhibit?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting NYC this summer

Loved this article!

People on the streets of Manhattan can be easily divided into two groups: New Yorkers who want to get from point A to point B as fast as possible, and tourists taking a leisurely stroll through the city. New York is overrun with out-of-towners year-round, of course, but it gets worse every spring and summer with throngs of people coming to check out the big buildings and go to M&M World. And while we want visitors to NYC to have a wonderful and comfortable time here, spend lots of money, and tell their friends to come too, we also want them to get out of our way and not make our lives a living hell.

If you're planning to visit New York over the next few months, here are a few simple lessons you should keep in mind so you don't run the risk of accidentally pissing off a New Yorker.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
It's Called a Sidewalk

That's right, not a side-"stand there and look at a map" or a side-"slow down and look at the pretty buildings." If you come to a full stop on the sidewalk, you're going to interrupt the regular flow of traffic, which means people will run into you or be forced to go into the street to get around you. So just don't stop. If you really must, do it someplace out of the way, like next to a lamppost or bus stop or some other structure that pedestrians are going to have to avoid anyway.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Two at a Time

Now that we've got you moving along at a clip, please don't walk more than two abreast at any given time. On small sidewalks, there is no other option, but even in areas with huge walkways, large groups of slowly moving people are a bitch to get around. Please don't make us play a game of reverse Red Rover.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Right Is Right

Just like the tourist lane crafted by that creative prankster, it's important to always stay out of our way. The easiest way to do that is remember that slow traffic should stick to the right—it's just like those giant freeways running through your yard. Follow the same rule when walking up subway stairs, when confronted with another person coming at you, when arguing with Jo-Dean about whether or not she should buy that top she saw in the window at Express. Always stay to the right. This is part of the unwritten contract that all city dwellers have to abide by. We're letting you in on it. You're welcome.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Know Your Place

We want tourists to experience as much of the city as possible. But you also need to leave some of it for us. All of Midtown, especially between 42nd and 59th Streets between Fifth and Eight Avenues is yours. Enjoy it. There are lots of fun (overpriced) things to do. But stay away from Ninth Avenue. The people who live there need places to eat, too. The South Street Seaport? It's all yours. So is the Statue of Liberty. And Ellis Island. You also get the line in front of stupid Magnolia Bakery and anything else associated with Sex and the City tours. Go wild! You can have all of Soho—but only west of Broadway and east of West Broadway. Clog the Apple Store, window shop at Prada, get a cute pair of earrings from one of the ladies on the street. However, leave the boutiques to the east of that—like in Nolita—to us. We like to shop and you are only making it harder. We're going to have to share Uniqlo, but going on Saturday is idiotic, so you can have fun waiting 30 minutes to try on a puce polo shirt. We can also all share Central Park. It's large enough for everyone. As for Brooklyn, don't even try it unless you have a native guide. That place even confounds Manhattanites, so you'll be totally lost.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Ask for Directions

Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers are quite nice and we don't want you to get lost. (Nor do we want you hogging the sidewalk to look at a map—see above.) So ask for directions and you'll find that usually the person you ask will hook you up. Even on the subway people will tell you which line to take and which stop to use, and they're usually a lot easier to understand than whatever garbled nonsense comes out of the mouths of the MTA robots housed in those little kiosks. It's a sense of pride for New Yorkers to know the best way to get everywhere, and they don't mind sharing. But don't ask for recommendations. That's what a hotel concierge is for and we're not letting you spoil our favorite spots.

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Get to the Show Early

Anyone who lives here who enjoys theater knows that any show, especially of the Broadway variety, is going to be packed with people who just got their stubs at the TKTS booth earlier that afternoon. We're glad that you're culturing yourselves. However, we suggest you get to the show like an hour early and stand in line. People who live here know you can just breeze in 15 minutes before the curtain, but we're not going to tell you that. The reason we can stay a little bit longer at dinner or work is because you all get there so early so the line isn't too bad when we want to show up. This is one "ugh, tourists" behavior that is actually great for New Yorkers so keep it up!

A Few Rules for Tourists Visiting New York City This Summer
Don't Bother with Ground Zero

We know you want to pay your respects and that's nice, but the museum isn't built yet and the whole area is just a giant pit full of a bunch of cranes. It's not much to look at and taking pictures of yourself there is a little bit creepy. So don't go out of your way. But if you want to poke your head in on your way to Century 21, go ahead. God knows we always do.

Left-over Saturday

I'm getting into the groove of cooking during the week and then eating the leftovers for work lunches and to get through the weekend. Tonight I'm eating this:

Chicken with Israeli Couscous, Spinach, and Feta

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 (6 to 8 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper
3 Tbs. olive oil
3/4 cup Israeli couscous (or orzo)
1 shallot, minced (about 3 Tbs.)
3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 Tbs.)
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest plus 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
6 oz baby spinach (about 6 cups)
2 oz feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

1. Season chicken with salt and pepper; dredge with flour, shaking off the excess.

2. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well-browned on the first side, about 6 to 8 minutes. Flip the chicken, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook until the thickest part of the breast registers 160 to 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer (6 to 8 minutes longer).

3. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Add 1 tbs more oil and the couscous to the skillet; toast over medium heat until light golden (about 2 minutes). Stir in shallot, 2 tsp. of the garlic, 1/4 tsp. of the lemon zest, and 1/8 tsp. of the red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

4. Stir in the broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often, until liquid is absorbed and couscous is al dente (8 to 10 minutes).

5. Meanwhile, whisk together 1 Tbs. of the lemon juice and remaining olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl.

6. Stir in the spinach, one handful at a time, into the skillet and cook until wilted (about 5 minutes). Off the heat, stir in the feta and remaining lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide couscous between two plates, top with chicken, drizzle with lemon juice mixture, and serve.

Makes 2 servings

And it is sooooo yummy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dinner tonight!

This was so yummy that I have to share even if I have no pictures (sigh). The camera is charging for the trip home to visit my 1 month old niece!

Mom’s Baked Chicken & Spinach Pasta
1 lb. pasta (I used whole wheat shells)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs.), diced
1/4 cup olive oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
5 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°. Set a large pot of water to boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil, salt it and cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain.
While the pasta is cooking, set a large skillet over medium heat. Once it’s hot, heat the olive oil then add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides – about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and simmer with the chicken until it’s fragrant and begins to turn golden – about 3 minutes.
Add the salt. spinach and white wine to the skillet and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, or until the spinach begins to wilt. Toss the contents of the skillet with the pasta and place in a casserole dish. Cover with cheese and bake for 25 minutes.
Makes about 8 servings.

I added some diced tomatoes - cause I had leftovers. It was juicy and probably wouldn't have been without the tomatoes (meaning just like I like my pasta!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who you honkin at?

About a week ago I got honked at and almost chased down by a Canadian goose. I was just walking to my car at work...the bird started after me at FULL SPEED. I jumped in the car and waited for it to calm down. On Monday I knew why:

Can you see the little babies on this side of the fence?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tamale Pie

In celebration of Cinco de Mayo - I made a crock pot recipe of tamale pie. Unfortunately I was so hungry that you only get to see a picture of the leftovers (it doesn't look as pretty as it actually did when I made it!).

Tamale Pie

Cornbread topping:
-3/4 cup cornmeal
-1 1/4 cup flour
-1 cup milk
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1 t baking powder
-1 chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)

The Filling.

-1 lbs ground & browned meat (optional)
-2 can drained and rinsed black beans
-1 can fire roasted tomatoes
-1 can drained corn
-1 T chili powder
-1 t cumin
-1/2 t paprika
-1/4 cup diced onion
-1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

The Directions.

Spray your crockpot with cooking spray. Dump in the filling ingredients--cheese, too!-- and stir well to distribute the spices. You will not be able to stir this again, so please check to see that the spices aren't in a clump anywhere.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cornbread topping. When finished, pour evenly over the filling, spreading with a spatula if needed.

Cover and cook on low for 4-7 hours or on high for 2-4.

Makes 8 servings

I made this with just the beans. I DID forget to put the cheese in with all the goodness and put it on top of the cornbread. Made the cornbread a bit mushy. Next time I'll put the cheese where it belongs! I'll also add some jalapeno peppers to the cornbread batter.

Churches + vounteering with kids = win/win?

I ran across this article in the Cincinnati paper last week: I don't know if I feel stronger about the article or the comments that follow. But given that I feel like I "know" the kind of folks that leave comments on sites like that, I'll focus on the article.

1st - the writer notes that out of the 130 letters that were sent out, 30 people showed up to listen to what was said. That's 23%. I know that's not great in the business world, but have to tried to start anything in a church/non-profit setting with just volunteers responding to a form letter? Not too shabby in my opinion.

2nd - "There are few formulas for helping the youth of this or any other city that do not rely on churches, temples and mosques to be part of the solution." I find this to be an interesting observation/statement. Maybe I'm just jadded from my recent city dwelling, but I rarely hear anyone saying that the solution to problems in the inner-city will require help from the faith community.

The statement above really excites me if it is the true belief of those doing good works in our inner-cities. But it also scares me - will the church step up and help? Sometimes it's easier to just do a once a month event than to invest in the daily life of someone else. I think that this woman has a point when saying that she thinks there are people that want to help, but don't know how. But maybe she should walk to one side of the city and talk to my buddy Roger and talk to him about how his ministry could partner with hers to impact the city AND draw in those from faith communities.

Oh and faith folks, don't go in expecting to convert someone. Build the relationship, help folks where they are now. Don't hide your faith, but don't make it front and center - most of these folks are struggling with how to live on either a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Once you help them start figuring that stuff out - you've already developed a relationship that will lead to other conversations.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saw this video today:

"Sunday's Coming" Movie Trailer from North Point Media on Vimeo.

Which if you haven't seen this:

- it's what they copied.

This is interesting to me - because who is the target audience? Do you show this in a service (and then match what you've just made fun of?) Do you show it and hope that visitors find it funny and not just downright confusing? Nice production - but this gets a "boo" and "why?" from me. (I might change those things if I find out who the audience is and that the church didn't waste budget money on making it.....)

Friday, May 7, 2010

We're in!

G and I are both moved into our respective "new" houses and both have our bathrooms on a separate floor than our bedrooms (hey, that's how it was on Lockwood Hill for most of my life - we're used to that!)

I'm swimming with ideas on how to decorate, what to paint, where to hang which piece of art, etc. And it doesn't help that now with the blogging world everyone can put their cute projects up for me to see! I got a sewing machine from E-bay this week, so I'm sure that will play a part in the decorating (as soon as I'm done with H's baby gift!). Struggling with "need" to fill the house and make it homey and trying not to "fill" the house...I miss the Borrow Group from Church!

Need to get my driver's license (which appears to be nice and consumer friendly) and new tags (which does 7:30am - 4:30pm week days).

Also traveling the next 2 out of 3 weekends (so watch out NKY, Philly & NYC!)

Gotta get back to actually sticking to my budget.... Glad that my commute is mostly interstate miles.....

Job is going well...even if my boss is from Jersey. Everyday he makes me chuckle to myself.

Praying for Will...