Tuesday, August 30, 2011

After the Storm: Sunshine & Macaroons!

Hope everyone had a good, safe weekend since Hurricane Irene's visit. I headed out of town for a few days, but am back in NYC and the sun is shining on a beautiful, cool day.  And even better about today: Ladurée has opened on Madison Avenue at last!
I saw the mention in the Times today and trotted up to Madison & 71st in these 5" heels.  I reported on Twitter that they were 4", but then came back and measured, yikes!
We make macaroons here in the kitchen at the catering company I work for too.  We start with almond flour.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kinda Speechless

It takes a lot for me to stop talking, but this birthday cake by Cheryl Kleinman from Betty Bakery took my breath away and was an absolutely perfect guest at my party!  I'm so grateful to the family and friends who came out to celebrate and I tried not to get too teary-eyed.  It all started with this invite from Paperless Post, love this site...
Of course the theme was pink & purple:
and Betty Bakery also made these yummy cupcakes that Rachael brought.  The pink ones were strawberry frosted!
There was an abundance of cheese, mmm....one of my favorite foods ever...and lovely duck sausage, pate and rillettes from New Amsterdam Market.  This was only one of the cheese tables!
Gotta have some nice drinks, including a magnum of Veuve Clicquot yellow label Champagne I got as a gift in 2007 and never seemed to get around to opening, lovely local wine and a strawberry sangria that Jenny made.
I attempted a little speech but didn't get too far.  It was just enough to have everyone there with me for the day, eating and happy.  There was much Bonchon Korean fried chicken, pajeon (pancakes), mandu (dumplings), kimchi coleslaw, eggplant parmesan made by my Mom, a strawberry jello mold made by my Aunt Liz (a family favorite), curry rice with chicken made by Ray, california rolls and spam sushi made by Tomoko, dumplings brought by Louise, a gorgeous plum tart made by Eunice and luscious enchiladas made by Eric.  
How I didn't get pics of all of this astounds me, but I guess I was running around a bit in my sparkly heels and pink crown.
And there were party favors!  Stamped paper fans from an idea by Martha Stewart (and the fans were just $1.00 from Pearl River Mart).
Pretty cards, including a few cats of course:
Colorful flowers from Eliot and Robert:
And presents!
Lexi made this ceramic tile: ahhh she knows of my affection for precious, little sheep.
I used Paperless Post again for the Thank You cards.  My friend actually thought this was my handwriting -- I WISH I could write this neatly, but I'm definitely not known for that.  Thanks especially to my setup & cleanup crews, great job, guys!
Today a UPS surprise arrived!  Girly fun by Nars from Niki of B3: Beauty by Brennan
And finally a BLOG surprise!  I noticed more than a usual number of hits yesterday and found out that Teri & Jenny from spoon fork bacon had added me to their "blogs we love" page.  So exciting!  Thanks so much, ladies, the feeling is mutual!
Just another lunch (Thai) and 2 more dinners out (Italian, then Korean BBQ) to finish off this super fun week....really: BEST birthday in years.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bday week fun (& more jam)

[from tarot.com]
Yep, been a great week so far. Even my cat is being nice to me and that's a new development.  And it just keeps on going...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Not Just Any Day

"It's your day. You get a day. Not a week."
-- Miranda in Sex & the City
So said Miranda to Charlotte about her wedding day. Well, I'm not getting married, but it's my birthday tomorrow so I heart this week and am taking my time celebrating: kicked it off last night with a rooftop pizza and wine picnic with a friend and moving on to dinners, drinks, lunches, even a special breakfast, Korean skin scrub at Juvenex, mani pedi, PARKED! Food Truck Festival and throwing myself a party.  Would love to add in the beach and raspberry picking, but that's all very weather-dependent. Thanks to all the friends for the invites out, you're making my heart swell with happiness.  I say this is going to be a good year.  Cheers!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sing To Me

It's somewhat random post time: I'm thoughtful today, grateful, happy. It's been a good day. I had some potentially very good news, personally and professionally at about the same time.  But I also have some friends who are going through some extremely difficult times, unspeakably sad things that no one should have to go through. And they introduced me to some music that is helping me a lot this week, so here are some videos to ponder.  Nice beach scenes too.  Can you believe summer is almost over?...
Tori Amos: Taxi Ride 
("we've all been pushed too far, i guess on days like this 
you know who your friends are")
The Young and Famous: Young Blood
("we're only young and naive still, we require certain skills. 
the mood it changes like the wind, hard to control when it begins. 
the bittersweet between my teeth, trying to find the in-betweens. 
fall back in love eventually.")
Band of Horses: Funeral
("to know you is hard")
Yellowcard: Sing to Me
[no video here, just the song, but the lyrics mean a lot to me right now]
("look at me and listen close so i can tell you how i feel before i go. 
just a year, it's not much time for me to show you i am proud 
that you are mine. 
i wish i had known the future in my heart was just about to start. 
say tomorrow, i can follow you there...
i will hear you, always near you...
every lock on every door, i put them there to try to hide you from the world. and you kicked, you screamed, you never understood 
you're everything to me...
no looking back when i am gone, follow your heart it's never wrong...
out of time, all out of fight, you're the only thing in life that i got right")

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Assorted Happy Things

"Happiness is an attitude. 
We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. 
The amount of work is the same." -- RL Bond
Happy August!  
There's my bookshelf where I keep my little treasures including these souvenirs from my Paris trip: a print of a painted letter by Édouard Manet to Isabelle Lemonnier from the special exhibit at the Musée d'Orsay, the snow globe I had to smuggle into the airport (seriously, did YOU know they were illegal in your carry-on?) and wooden spools with silk from the 1900s I bought at the lovely Parisian flea market we visited.  I'm searching for happiness now and I've heard the theories about finding it already there inside of you, but in the meantime here are some things that have made me smile recently.  Fortunately for me, it's a long list.
This is my favorite sculpture in the entire world: La Valse (The Waltz) by Camille Claudel in the Musée Rodin in Paris.  Camille was Auguste Rodin's much younger student, muse and then mistress.  When he left her she eventually destroyed many of her works and years later died alone in a psychiatric hospital.  A tragic story, but such a beautiful piece, I really feel the tenderness in the pose.  I found the replica below on Amazon and even though I prefer the more rustic quality of the original I want to keep this near because to me it captures what love should feel like.
And Suzanne sent me an inspiration for what love should be.
Here's a glimpse of the Patisserie Pain de Sucre on rue Rambuteau, now my favorite bakery ever.  From the tart with the tiny fraises des bois, the millefeuille, sables, crystallized cilantro and more, we loved everything we tried and went back several times.
More incredible sweets at Ladurée, which gets my award for best packaging ever.  So lovely and so many things to choose from that I'm thrilled that the 1st US location is opening in NYC on Madison Avenue. Does anyone know if the doors are open yet?  Let me know and I'll meet you there immediately.
For my Mom's birthday I brought her some hydrangeas in variegated blues (her favorite color) and a chocolate cake with homemade strawberry jam and cream cheese frosting.
Mila, oh, Mila...she's pretty, but feisty.  I think we're still getting to understand each other, but here was a precious, calm moment.
Tiger, one of the resident cats at the flower market on 28th Street cracked me up with his size and general Garfield-esque demeanor:
and I laughed even harder when I saw this picture of his summer makeover on the Facebook page of G. Page Flowers.
[photo by G. Page Flowers]
There were plenty of sour cherries at the Fulton Stall Market one pretty Sunday morning
for my Sour Cherry Preserves from Canning for a New Generation by Liana Krissoff.  
And I got some tasty pickled strawberries from Anarchy in a Jar at the Smorgasburg the same week my friend Eric brought me Raspberry Red Chile Jam from Heidi's Raspberry Farm in New Mexico.  Yum yum...
And even more yumminess!  Thomas Haas chocolates from Vancouver from Louise.  What great, tasty friends!
And Louise wasn't done, she surprised me one sad day with pretty perfume samples from Bond no. 9, don't they look like little candies?
I love giving presents and it's time to return the favors, so I bought a little kit of Meri Meri baking gift labels from The Brooklyn Kitchen. Don't worry, Eric, I didn't head there without you, they just had a small booth at the Smorgasburg, but not enough canning supplies, so we have to head to the real store soon.
And here's the beginnings of a surprise present: a beautiful Liberty of London craft kit from Purl Soho...oh what will it be...?
I kinda liked the shout-out I did for my July birthday post, so I just want to say thanks to friends who've reminded me to feel extra special lately when I've needed it.  So, hugs to Rachael, Louise, Eric, Aimee, Suzanne, Lee, Seth, Jenny, Meredith, Liz (x 2!), Kerry, and I'm so excited about new friends too!  Vivian, Lisa, Carol (& Carole!), Donna, Stacey & Bill, so nice to meet you all and looking forward to next time.  Most of all, thanks to my Mom for her HOURS of listening to me, supporting me and even staying with me for the past two days, you're amazing and I love you.
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