Wednesday, January 27

Apt Improvement Project 2: painted mirrors from Housing Works


I’m a big fan of thrift store/flea market furniture purchases..and New York is a great place to hunt around for fun used items.

I try to hit up the Brooklyn Flea every 6 weeks or so, and always pop in to the Housing Works store in Brooklyn Heights when I’m in that part of the neighborhood.

Last week I found these little mirrors at Housing Works. They were only $3/each, so I snagged the entire stack.

I figured that they would be a perfect project for the weekend, and for some of the leftover teal paint from the prep carts.

Here is an in-the-middle picture:

I added the teal paint, and then decided that it needed something more.

So I just added a medium that creates a crackle effect, and then dabbed on some silver metallic paint.

I think it looks really pretty! Picture of the finished item to come soon!

Tuesday, January 26

The Apartment Improvement Project Continues..


I really love our apartment. It’s nice sized (even by NYC standards), is in a great neighborhood, and is really close to several subway lines.

The only thing I do not like is the lack of decoration! We opted not to paint when we moved in, and the walls are all very white. We’re lucky that we have a really nice fireplace and mantel, but other than that portion of the living room the space is pretty sparse.

We’ve hung a few pictures and curtains on most windows, but it still seems too sterile. It’s great that we have so much wall space, but it makes me feel like we need to fill it with color etc.

We also somehow ended up with a lot of wood and leather—which I love—but it contributes to a kind of rigid decorating sense.

So for the past few weekends I have been creating projects for myself to add spice/pizzazz/color/fun to our house!

2 (or maybe 3?) weekends ago I tackled the 1st project: our prep carts.
A previous tenant left these black prep carts in the apartment when they moved. The landlord offered to remove them for us, or gave us the option of using/keeping them. Since we do not have an abundance of counter space, we opted to keep them.
They ended up, however, sitting right in plain site in the nook in between our living room and kitchen. They’re visible from most of the apartment, and I really hated the black color.

Here is the before picture:

And here is the after:

A little bit of primer, some teal paint and a few hours of work= a bright splash of color in our apartment!

Monday, January 25

What happens when the animal rescue van parks across the street..

..Or the story of how we found ourselves the owners of 2 cats instead of 1 in 15 minutes flat!

I’m such a sucker for sob stories! And kittens!

When you add sob story+ kitten together you = new addition to the family.

B walked in the house yesterday afternoon and mentioned that one of the local animal shelters had a big van/RV parked right across the street.

It was already almost 5 in the afternoon and I needed to go grocery shopping, but we decided to just pop in to snuggle with a few cats.

We were there for literally 2 minutes when we noticed Bibi/Bea/Beavis (my name idea, our joint agreed upon nickname, and B’s name idea).

After a few minutes of holding her (and a lot of cooing on my end), the shelter staff started in with the sob story.

Poor little Bibi is blind in one eye, and some other (heartless) couple decided not to adopt her because she’s a little weird looking with one glazed cloudy eye.

Also, although Bibi was rescued from a kill shelter, their difficulty in finding her a permanent home over the past few months has meant that other kittens have been killed due to lack of open space.

Poor Bibi! And poor other cats!

We spent maybe 15 minutes total in the RV and then walked out with our newest family member. She’s very snuggly, loves to pur, and has already settled in nicely. Poor Layla does not seem thrilled with the addition, but she’ll just have to survive.

Moral of the story: B should not let me near animal adoption vans

Sunday, January 17

Just a few short months away from getting a few extra letters

I can't wait to graduate in May!
I'll have my masters degree and will (hopefully?!) have something figured out in terms of a job.

Before that happens, however, I need to write my thesis and present to the department.

As of now I have figured out my essay topic and have started to create the outline.
Since the department approved my petition to remain in NYC, I'm going to use some of the work I've been doing as the basis for my paper.

I'm going to do some sort of policy paper/legislative statement about the need for better sexual violence data, and the ways in which current collection methods could be improved.

More to come as I think this through and move forward..

Saturday, January 16

Met the it's time to try his food!


Tried DBGB a few weeks ago with a large group of friends.

Shared the (small) plate of mussels and the Yankee burger with cheese.
The mussels were delicious!
Tender and spicy, and the curry sauce was so good we asked for extra bread and sopped it up.

The Yankee burger with cheese was also very tasty, and cooked nicely medium rare (as ordered). The fries were also tasty, although my sharing partner did not enjoy the bucket (pretentious!). I thought it was kind of cute..but was voted down.

Also tried a bite of the boyfriend's Frenchie which was rich and amazingly delicious. A tiny bit jealous I didn't order that, but not sure I could have finished an entire one.

Shared 2 types of sundaes (bourbon coffee & apple cider) for dessert, and left underwhelmed. Ice cream was homemade and tasted good, but I thought the cider flavor in the second sundae was a little too overpowering and tart. Coffee sundae was tasty, but nothing that special.
Next time I'd go for a different type of dessert and see if those are a little more interesting.

Overall though, a great meal!

Thanks Daniel!

Friday, January 15

Foodie outing @ Brasserie Les Halles

After reading Kitchen Confidential a few years ago--Anthony Bourdain's cooking memoir of sorts--I always wondered if the food at Les Halles was as good as it sounded.

Thanks to some good news on the job front (B had a great review @ work) we decided it was time to try it out.

I'm so glad we had the chance to try the food.. but seems that Les Halles was kind of the "Goldilocks" of dining experiences.

Everything was 'almost'...
As in, the wait was almost so long that we were annoyed that we bothered to make a reservation.
And our waiter was almost attentive enough.
And the food was almost good enough to warrant 5 stars.

Boyfriend ordered the hanger steak and I tried the mussels (Portuguese style).
The hanger steak was tasty, as were the fries.
The mussels were very good--but they had not been mixed well into the broth. The top layer were really lacking in flavor, which was a shame since the broth was delicious.

Dessert was also very good, although the rum poured on top of my rum cake was almost a little too strong! B's creme brule was tasty but nothing unusual.

Overall, it's kind of a sad that they were so overwhelmed and the waitstaff was was less than attentive. I think it might have been a 5 star night otherwise!

Thursday, January 7

A new take on rugelach: AKA how the pinwheel saved an old favorite

The last few weeks have gone by in some sort of sugar-coma induced haze!

First I spent a Sunday not too long ago making home-made cinnamon rolls, chocolate covered pretzels, and cake truffles (aka the famous cake balls) with M & A.

Then just this past weekend I decided that I absolutely had to try a recipe I found on smittenkitchen for rugelach pinwheels.

No real reason, I just felt that it was necessary.

And so I spent the last few days covered in sugar, blackberry jam and a fine dusting of ground walnuts.

It has been a totally worthwhile experience, however, as the rugelach pinwheels might be the tastiest little cookies ever.

Imagine rugelach.

Sweet, a little crunchy, a little fruit taste.

Then think about the things you (or just maybe I?) don’t like:

A little too much crunch, a tendency to dry out.

I don’t know what it is about the pinwheel shape, but it basically sails in the saves the day!

Still have a little crunch, but there is NO drying out at all. It’s basically jam filled and sugar covered perfection.

If you want to recipe, check out Deb’s site (see above).

I tweaked the recipe somewhat and nixed the raisins for purely practical reasons (couldn’t find a single one in the apt).

The first batch also included chocolate chips, but B and I decided that they were actually an unnecessary distraction.

The best combo seemed to be just warm blackberry jam spread onto the dough with a liberal coating of the white sugar/brown sugar/crushed walnut mix suggested by Deb.

We now have 2 tupperware containers full of the tasty little if you live nearby, please come over and eat!

Wednesday, January 6

Field Trip Report: QUEENS

Last weekend B and I decided to explore a new part of the city.

After several days of staying inside (and out of the cold) we decided to brave the elements and take a field trip out to Long Island City.

Not to be confused with Long Island, Long Island City is in the part of Queens that is almost due north of where we live in Brooklyn.

B poked around online and found a few fun places to try in the area, and off we went on the G.

After 40 or so minutes, we arrived @ our destination and found..that EVERYTHING in the area was closed!

Or almost everything.

We walked around in the freezing cold for at least ½ an hour before deciding that the Thai Express place looked the best place to get food/warm up.

After a quick lunch we then headed over to the only other thing in the area that was open (and I think, most of the reason why B chose that part of Queens to explore): PS 1.

PS 1 is the Queens outpost of MOMA, and has lots of very modern art work.

Although it was a bit of a schlep, PS 1 is definitely worth a visit.

I loved the ‘pool’ installation and the photographs by Robert Bergman. (See B "swimming" !?)

I wasn’t a huge fan of the top floor though—it was filled with video installations, which I find kind of overwhelming/nausea inducing in such large numbers.

Overall, a great field trip..and we’ll definitely be back to check out the area again to see if it’s a little more lively at another time!