Wednesday, March 23, 2011

kids say the darnedest things

In addition to being ridiculously adorable, my nephew also happens to be one of the funniest individuals I've ever had the privilege of knowing. I thought I would dedicate this blog to some his latest antics.

1) He really adores pop music. I don't know if it's the basic 90's house music beats or remedial writing, but Ryan Seacrest's Top 20 countdown is really something Hayden can sink his 4 yr. old chops into. Case in point: My sister is taking him to school. Katy Perry's 'Firework' comes on. (sidenote-this is probably the worst song ever written. the lyrics are atrocious. it's also annoyingly 'catchy'). Hayden says, from his car-seat, 'Oh, turn it up!' and proceeds to sing, word for word, the ENTIRE song. While I was not there to bear witness, it is my understanding that this performance was nothing short of Grammy-worthy. Not only was he pitch-perfect, but employed the use of the ever-so-effective 'closed-eyes-clinched-fist' technique. The song ended, he let out a 'whew...', and sat there in his car-seat, exhausted from the morning's performance.

2) He really adores buffets. This child EATS...a lot. So my sister or mother has no choice but to sometime succumb to his constant, burning question : 'Can I got to Golden Corral today?' This happened last week. My mom and Hillary broke down and took him to the G.C. where he took down platefuls of fried okra and popcorn shrimp. Healthy. I know. My mom said, 'Hayden, in just a few months okra will be in season and we can go to the farmers market and buy as much as you want. And SuSu will make you HER fried okra from scratch!'(my mom's fried okra is the bomb, p.s.) To which Hayden replied, 'SuSu, don't be silly. Okra doesn't come from the market. It comes from the Golden Corral.' Right now, my sister and mother are working with him on basic horticulture...once he's clear on the matter, they may be able to say goodbye to the Corral forever.

Showing off those muscles...

3) He's apparently so moved by music that if my sister plays her alarm clock while he's sleeping, he will his sleep.

4) I received a text from my mother last night. She was keeping Hayden. He's pretty hilarious when he goes over to her house. Upon arrival he always does the following: takes his shoes off (got to get comfortable), ask her to 'Spray his beets' (this means 'feet'...he likes to spray them with her peppermint oil??), he says 'hello' to a frog and angel (??), and then heads straight for the candy bowl. His go-to are the peanut butter m&m's and he tries to sneak as many as possible with those chubby little fingers. Last night, he arrived in his Batman t-shirt and cape. They were playing outside. He was carrying around a stick, using it as a wand, and he said, "I'm ready for Morner to come home so she can play Harry Potter with me. You know, I'm going to be Harry Potter when I grow up." Then he paused for a moment, kind of laughed and said, "oooooh, Morner...She's Ron." Thanks, Hayden.

5) Imagination. Apparently, last night he was pretending he had to deliver a package. He was using some of my mom's lipstick that he had tied together with a rubber band as said package. My mom said he was giving very detailed instructions to his employee when he stopped in mid-sentence, jaw-dropped, looking into the eyes of this imaginary playmate who was obviously giving him some pretty serious attitude. He then said, "I will NEVER eat a breakfast burrito with you AGAIN!" He quietly moved on to the next game...

6)He's an artist. He recently asked SuSu to look at his drawing. He said, "I drew my parents." Only he had drawn just about everyone he knows. He then started naming off folks out of the sea of people. He started with his Mommy and Daddy and Taylor and Morner and Cadey-bug and then he said, "and SuSu, that's you ,with the one eye, and there's Dave, in the corner with the big head!" ahhhhh, from the mouths of babes...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breakdancing Leprechauns, Stomach bugs, American Idols, and a new no particular order

So for starters, I realized that I haven't really done a 'work update'. Nothing ground-breaking to report but there are a few recent developments that I have neglected to share. For those of you who haven't heard, Sanjaya (from American Idol) joined our cast a month ago. Because of this, we're now getting little blurbs on TMZ, Perez, E!, etc. My mom called me the other night, and said she was watching 'Chelsea Lately' and E! News was plugging our show. ha!
However, I was really hoping for the following:
1) overwhelming swarms of paparazzi (I've perfected my 'guys just let me through-but still trying to give a good pic' walk and have recently acquired a pretty rocking new pair of Ray Ban's)
2) for this girl to be there every show

I'm still waiting on both.

The biggest news, is that I was offered the permanent on-stage position for my favorite role in the show. I will be playing Jane/Mother/Teacher 9 times a week. It's a tough role b/c I'm playing 3 different people throughout the show. So when I'm not onstage as one character, I'm slapping on a new wig to play another one. I get to play a nerdy 7 yr. old who is obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe and tries to move things with her mind. I love this role. I love that I'm getting to play against my 'type'. That's this annoying label casting directors put on you to make their job easier. Just so happens, it leaves little room for the imagination and initially very little concern for ability. Since I'm blonde, light-eyed, and somewhat attractive, they see ingenue/girl next door and not quirky, funny character. So, to have this opportunity is a real blessing. Hopefully, a great start in getting folks to see that I have range. Very grateful. So excited and relieved to be able to focus on my show and not have to worry about 'Ok, who am I playing today?' Sorry to toot my own horn here but I'm excited and proud. I've worked really hard for this opportunity and it feels really great to know that by the end of this run I will have played all the principal female characters and made one of them my own completely.

Moving on, for the first time since elementary school perhaps, I had a lovely 24 hour stomach bug that wreaked havoc on my day off yesterday. NOT. COOL. I'm just now starting to feel somewhat normal. Still shaky and a little woozie, but, after spending the day yesterday on the brink of death, I'm determined to leave the apartment.

Dave and I are heading to the premiere of 'The Restaurateur', a new documentary film by Roger Sherman about Danny Meyer (Dave's boss). It follows him as he opens two restaurants simultaneously: Eleven Madison Park and Tabla. I'm really looking forward to this. Dave and I toss around the idea of ownership quite often so it will interesting to see this candid look into how one of the country's most successful restaurateur does it. Plus it's a fabulous excuse to get all dolled up and rub elbows with some big culinary names. The event is at MoMA this evening. I'm still waffling between a few different dresses. We'll see what I end up with...or maybe I'll use this as another excuse to go shopping. Seriously, I have a problem. No. No, I'm not shopping today b/c I'm shopping on Thursday. For what, you ask? For my vintage gown that I'm wearing to my Mad Men themed birthday soiree, of course! Heading to this new vintage shop in Chelsea with my fabulous gal pal, Julia. Click here for the link to an article about this fabulous place. I will be sure to keep you posted about what I find.

And finally, let's talk about St. Paddy's Day. Remember my fabulous gal pal, Julia? Well, she and I hit the ground running last Thursday, in our finest green no less, around 11:30 a.m. Seriously, Julia looked amazing. She managed to find the trashiest/cutsiest green striped 'top' at a Thrift Store. You know the kind, fitted but with TONS of ruffles and a built-in padded's a wardrobe treasure. I, on the other hand realized that I don't own a lot of green so I needed to accessorize. After hitting up a bagel store to start the day off right with an egg and cheese sandwich on a toasted everything bagel we were ready for leprechauns, green beer, and celtic music. That's when I learned that my friend Mearsie was bartending at 'The Irish Rogue'. On the menu that day: BREAK-DANCING LEPRECHAUNS AND BAGPIPES. She didn't have to tell us twice.

We stopped in a Sephora and applied more lime green eyeshadow then should EVER be available in-stores, and then headed to the bar. Mearsie greeted us with green beer, foam top hats (sporting a huge Miller Lite logo across the forehead...nothing but class), beads, and t-shirts. Accessories: check. Then something wonderful happened: the local news came. Obviously, there were drunk idiots yelling at the camera, but Julia and I took a bold approach and decided to pull-out our best set of manners and sat very prim and proper drinking our green beer, using napkins to constantly wipe away the frothy head of the beer, putting on that annoyingly girlish giggle when nothing is funny, waving at the camera demurely and saying things like, "We wish we had known you were coming..." or "Well, this is such a surprise!" or "How did you know where to find us?" He filmed us for an uncomfortable amount of time (only a few minutes, but that feels like a really long time when you are acting like a retard--to be pronounced 'ruh-tard, please) and by the end we had accumulated a small audience. The fact that we were wearing copious amounts of the brightest green eyeshadow I've ever had the privilege of seeing in-person and gigantic foam top hats is really the cherry-on-top to what I'm sure made a fantastic evening news story for the folks down at Channel 2.

Oh, hiiiiiiiiiiiiii!



Reason for excitement:


Then our friends Kimiko, Sean, and Sanjaya joined us. We hit up Shake Shack, were I had my go-to 'Shack-a-go Dog', an order of cheese fries, an order of Irish fries, a toffee milkshake, and a Diet Coke. No judgment, please. We then ventured down to the LES and hung out on Julia's rooftop until the sun set and it started getting a little chilly. SUCH a lovely time.


I would also like you to know that I wore a sleeveless top on Friday. YES, it was THAT warm. Never mind the fact that it's supposed to snow tomorrow. I'll take what little bit of Spring I can get. Enjoy some photos of Andrew and I being famous (kidding) at work after having played in the sun all day...

Until next time, friends...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

word up.

Well, here I am, drinking coffee and watching Suze Orman yell at me for frivolous spending. I'm not sure this is the best way to start my day; however, I can't stop laughing at her antics sooooo I'm gonna call this a win. And before I move on, let me answer the question that's on all of your minds: today's jacket is yellow.

I'm procrastinating cleaning my apartment. I know I sound like a broken record, but I. am. worn. out. Words cannot adequately express my excitement as I count down the days to my vacation from the show :) 27 days...

So, Meghan and I had lunch on Friday at one of our favorite neighborhood spots, Egg. The owners have a farm up-state which provides the restaurant with most of the produce, eggs, dairy, etc. Their breakfast is awesome but lunch proved to be equally as delicious. I had the duck sandwich: seared duck breast on french baguette with duck liver mousse, whole grain mustard, red onion jam, and local greens. YUM. Meghan had a fried chicken sandwich that looked awesome, and we couldn't resist sharing some homemade hush-puppies with a spicy aioli. Wash that down with a grapefruit mimosa and you've got two satisfied young ladies. Having indulged midday, we decided to continue this theme and walked around the corner to 'Primp and Polish'. Awesome manicures fo' cheap! And...I GOT THE GEL MANICURE, which is supposed to last 2 weeks at least. And let me tell you, this polish ain't going anyhere, ladies. I've already done countless loads of dishes, cooked, shopped, opened boxes/mail, and it still looks good as new! And they have TONS of colors in the gel. Definitely going to try this again for my sister's wedding. I'm horrible w/ manis. They chip within days and then I just pick them off, so for me to be this enthusiastic about it is pretty major. I'm now only engaging in activities that showcase/feature my hands. I can't help but think that this qualifies as some of that frivolous spending Suze keeps ranting about...oh, well. I care not.

I've also started watching some daytime t.v. on my days off. It's been so rainy and gross lately that I haven't wanted to brave the elements. Wendy Williams and Dr. Oz have been keeping me company most mornings, and let me say this: I never gave Wendy Williams a chance, because I watch Talk Soup and Joel McHale constantly makes fun of her inability to read a teleprompter and speak in complete, coherent sentences. BUT I kind of enjoy her show. She kind of cracks me up. Today when she mentioned that the best part of her day is when she takes her wig off, puts her robe on, and uses one of those scalp massagers, I almost died. The visual of that...I can't get over it. Dr. Oz just kind of annoys me, BUT the guests in his studio audience are the real gem here. Apparently, he likes to use a lot of audience particiaption. These woman come running down like they are on 'The Price Is Right'. One lady kissed him, after talking about her persistent problem with dry mouth and bad breath. ummmmm, ok.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: It's my adorable nugget-of-a-nephew's birthday today!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAYDEN!!

On another note, please enjoy Jessie J. My friends and I have been watching her YouTube vids for a year+ now. So glad she's well on her way to taking over the 'pop world'. The first video is 'Big White Room'. This is what started my obsession with her crazy vocal ability. Enjoy, please.

And this one too...

ta ta, friends!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Food and Art...

the driving forces in my life. And love. Let's not forget about love. But for the sake of this post, let's talk about food and art. And to me, they are one in the same...Who's excited? ME.

So Valentine's Day is long-gone, I know this, but I cannot stop thinking about how Dave and I spent the evening. He surprised me with a reservation at Eleven Madison Park. For those of you who aren't city dwellers, this is one of the best fine dining establishments in New York, if not the country. The executive chef recently decided to elevate the experience by taking 30+ seats out of the dining room and restructuring the menu to create a more interactive, personalized, thoughtful meal/experience. There are no longer descriptions of the dishes. The menu simply states the main ingredient that is showcased in the dish, you choose based on your taste. They inquire into any food allergies you may have, likes or dislikes you may have in regards to other ingredients, and inform you that no single ingredient/preparation will be repeated throughout the course of the evening. Then the staff scurries off to design YOUR menu. I still think it's so fabulous that we could both order the 'chevre' as our first course and get a completely different dish (this is just an example...I did not order the chevre, but I'll get to that later). The amount of thought and care that goes into the experience amazes me. I'm in awe that they can custom-create meals on the spot and still efficiently maintain this busy busy restaurant.

Ok, now let's get down to the nitty gritty: After much waffling, we finally settled on the Four Course Menu as opposed to the 10 course tasting menu (my waistline was not conducive to that kind of eating. Now, had I known what was in-store, I would have found something with elastic...). After looking at what was one of the largest wine lists I've EVER seen, we decided to let the Head Sommelier take care of our pairings with each course. I highly encourage this, unless you see something on the list you are just dying to have. This list was so extensive and so thoughtfully assembled, and their were so many beautiful wines--obscure, off-the-beaten path--that to navigate it alone would have been a sin.

SO, now that we've got that out of the way let's dive right into the food. Thank the lord we only did the 4 courses, because the kitchen graciously sent us out 5 or 6 amuse courses, before our first course ever arrived. Did I mention I love the perks of my husband's position?
Here are a few of our fav amuses:

Amuse 1. 'Halibut Tea', steeped with a sachet of kelp and served with nori crackers. This was such a mild and delicate broth. Warming and delicious. And Dave couldn't stop eating the crackers

Amuse 2. Red King Crab and Sunchoke with caviar

Amuse 3. Sturgeon Sabayon served in an eggshell. Light, airy, probably one of our favorites.

Amuse 4. Truffle Beignets with a garlic and chive aioli. HELLO!

As for our actual meal:
Chevre: roasted butternut squash with a chevre mousse, radicchio tardivo and pumpkin seeds
Wine pairing: 2009 Meroi from Friuli
Foie Gras: Foie Gras torchon with cocoa and quince (heaven...)
Wine Pairing: 1985 Huet Vouvray

Black Truffle: Celery root puree, goat cheese and potato sabayon, and shaved black truffles
Wine pairing: 2005 Marc Sorrel Hermitage Blanc
Lobster: poached lobster with pickled daikon radish, dehydrated citrus and edamame
Wine pairing: 2009 Laurent Tribut Premier Cru Chablis

Beef: sous vide beef tenderloin and braised veal cheek with celery root puree and truffles. The chef used such a different technique in the preparation that, while he realized this dish had a few of the same ingredients as his previous course, Dave said it tasted like completely different ingredients...
Wine pairing: 1997 Rocche dei Manzoni Barolo
Pork: braised pork belly and sous vide rack chop with mustard, spaetzle, and apple cider
Wine pairing: 2009 Clos Marie Pic Saint Loup from Languedoc

Chocolate with cremeux, banana, and black sesame
Wine Pairing: 20 year Quinta do Noval Tawny Port
Hobelchas (a hard cheese) served four ways (grated, shaved, aged, etc) with rye crisps. **give me cheese and I'm a happy happy girl**
Wine Pairing: 2008 Grosjean Vallee d'Aoste from Italy

After our last plates were cleared, we were asked if we would like a tour of the kitchen. We, of course, said yes. And waiting for us, facing the 'line', was a standing high top table and the pastry chef who proceeded to make us frozen Old Fashioned using liquid nitrogen. The perfect refreshment for watching all the action in a hot kitchen...Then, as if we could eat anymore, we were taken to the 'Flatiron Lounge' were they had a plate of violet macaroons and thai bon bons for us, as well as a complimentary bottle of Cognac. To say we were satiated would be an understatement. They sent us home with fond memories of an amazing night and two mason jars of homemade cereal!

Now that we've digested that meal, we are gearing up for my birthday dinner at Marea!! They just received their 2nd Michelin Star....Should be another fabulous evening.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mad Men and Dirty Old Men

Dear friends,

I've finally jumped on the Mad Men bandwagon. I know, I know, it's about time. BUT in all fairness, I watch very very little television UNLESS I can watch back-to-back to seasons thanks to Netflix or half-price box sets at Best Buy. In this case, I have the latter to thank for this recent obsession. So obviously the show is a visual feast. Everyone is gorgeous and the clothes are to die for. I. Want. To Be. On. That. Show. Really irritated that I missed the boat on that one.

Moving on, had a bizarre run-in with an old man yesterday. Let me tell you about; it's a thrilling tale. So, Dave went to pick-up the rental car and I ran to the bodega to grab a couple of sodas for our road-trip. I love this bodega. The store is clean, well-stocked and the staff is always so friendly, particularly the cashier/part-owner. Most days he's singing along to late 90's pop radio REALLY LOUDLY with little regard to customers. Clearly, I enjoy this man. Anywho, I make my purchases; we have our normal conversation about work, the weather, etc., say our goodbye's and then I head outside to wait for Dave. I'm standing under the awning, when this older man comes shuffling around the corner in his black suit and black hat (covered in a plastic bag to protect it from the rain). He seems nice...and harmless. I smile and go back to my iPhone. He says in a thick Yiddish accent, 'You are a very pretty young lady.' I say, 'Thank you,' and, again, go back to my iPhone. He says, 'Do you speak Yiddish?' I respond, 'No, I don't.' He says, 'Are you Jewish?' I say, 'No, I'm not.' Then he starts getting alarmingly close to me and says, 'But you are so pretty...' Then he tries to push me against the window, give me a full-body hug and let his hands roam. I was so caught off-guard. I didn't expect this 70 something year old man to be a perv. I'm of course trying to push him away when my favorite bodega employee and another customer come running outside and tell him to get his hands off and never come back. My bodega cashier stayed with me until Dave showed up and made sure I made it into the car safely. Grateful that those guys were looking out for me. Sheesh. I don't know what makes someone think they can TOUCH another person. And I'm sorry, but a polite smile or 'thank you' does NOT give you the right to make inappropriate advances. Granted, I'm pretty sure he was crazy. He wandered in the middle of the street for a solid minute after the guys ran him off, and then tried to stop a car to talk to the girl inside. However, it still royally pisses me off. I also came to the realization that I should probably carry mace or something...maybe a taser. ha!

And that was my Thursday morning....disgusting.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

At last...

Well, to say that I've been beside myself since losing our dear old laptop to a fried video drive would be an understatement. After 3 1/2 looooong weeks, the computer is finally back and good as new! Naturally, one of the first things I wanted to do was update the ole blog. So much time has past that I feel like I've got loads to report. So, here goes!

After one long year, I will finally be making my return to the 'ham! The big occasion: Hillary's wedding. I've never seen her so happy. She deserves every ounce of joy that has come her way in the last year-and-a-half and I'm just bursting at the seams with anticipation. I'll be home for the entire week. Dave's coming down for the latter half so we'll have a solid 4 1/2 days together back home. Since I haven't seen my sister OR Hayden since last March, I will be a bit psychotic about the amount of time I need with both of them. So, Hillary, if you are reading this-brace yourself.

Also looking forward to heading back down South in May for my friend, Meggie's, bachelorette party in New Orleans. This will be a reunion of epic proportions, people. Epic. Kara, Cristin, Katers, Tracy, Meghan (obviously)...I don't know if I can contain myself.

I'm trying to take more time for myself, which has been difficult with the show. I'm really buckling down in regards to my other "aspirations". **I think most of you know that I would love nothing more than to plan and host parties/bring style, creativity, and food&wine knowledge to the masses** Anywho, I'm working on a few different ways of making this happen. We shall see...

Dave and I have also started planning our anniversary vacay. Last year, we had planned to head to visit Montreal for the week but then I booked Smokey Joe's so we spent our anniversary in the fair city of Little Rock. Seriously, it was lovely and I could care less where we spend it as long as we are together. But since we've both busted our fannies for the last year-and-a-half; we decided we deserve a little vacation. Right now, it's looking like wine country! French vs. California? Obviously, France wins, but we are both agreed that we'll give ourselves a few more years to save for that one. Soooo, West Coast it is! Dave's using his connections to get us into all the greatest restaurants, vineyards, etc. I have to tell you, the idea of being surrounded by gorgeous landscape, and doing nothing but eating and drinking wine sounds like heaven! Not to mention a lovely departure from hectic city life...

Speaking of a departure from city life, I've gotta scoot. Dave and I have rented an adorable Mini Cooper and are taking a day trip out to Long Island. Later gator's...