Monday, August 17, 2015

My hands are small, I know, but they're not yours they are my own

Guys, I just quoted Jewel, I think. That fact alone should make up for my long absence from this blog world. The truth is, I've been waiting for something worthy of a post. I started a new job in June which is actually pretty great, but it's kind of all-consuming and I've been struggling to find the balance so not much noteworthy has been going on lately. 

The other day something happened though, and I can't stop thinking about it so I thought I'd share. 

I was on an uptown 6 train from Soho to Grand Central during rush hour and by some miracle of miracles I got a seat! That alone is blog worthy but not what has my mind occupied. I was sitting with my bag in my lap with my hands crossed resting on top and I looked down and staring up at me where my mom's hands! Ordinarily I keep my nails polished and short but for whatever reason that week took the polish off and had no time to reapply or trim, and there they were...her hands. 

As I get older, I see my mom more and more in my reflection, or in photographs. We have the same high forehead, the same slightly crooked and thin-lipped smile, and the same slightly turned down corners of our mouths when we're resting. My face is starting to get tiny lines in the same places I recognize from photos of her in her 30s but for some reason her hands really threw me. 

Her spirit and goodness is the one I most try to emulate. She is the definition of kindness and love and I hope one day someone says the same about me. There is no better compliment. 

These hands have lifted me up, soothed me, and nursed me and so many others back to health over the years are now blossoming at the end of my arms and it makes me so proud. I couldn't take my eyes off of them the whole subway ride. I nearly missed my stop and I lost my unlimited metro card somewhere in the watery-eyed scramble from the subway to Grand Central. 

I can't wait to use these hands to pat future baby (future) to sleep, to rub my toddler's (future) back when they have a nightmare, feed my children (future) chicken noodle soup on a cold rainy day, or roll out endless amounts of cookie dough with them and my mom as we making Christmas cookies. Even though she lives so far away I feel so grateful to have this reminder of her just when I needed it most. 

Oh the things you'll see...

In New York there is never a shortage of things to see. It is one of my favorite parts of this city. Nothing is ever the same. 

The other day I saw one of the saddest things ever, two people (probably in their mid 20s) begging for money while the man injected the woman with a hypodermic needle. It was heartbreaking and I walked by wishing there was something I could do. There wasn't. 

Today I saw the other end of the spectrum and wishes I could jump in and get a graffiti lesson! I wasn't invited, but wouldn't that have been a cool story? If I said, and then one guy handed me a paint can?!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day (belatedly)!

I used to not care about Valentine's Day, but then I was single.  Haha.  Not saying I go crazy about it now, but it is fun to get a little caught up in the red hearts, the roses, and the roses glow.  I started the day with a home-grown Valentine's manicure.  It turned out great, and then I put on a top coat and my cute red hearts ran...don't look closely. 
Then I was trying to figure out what valentine to make J.  Last year I made him one with candy nerds that teased him for being Nerdy, but this year he's on a health kick so I decided to do something non-candy related.  I had this foam dragon from a project with the kids I babysit, and I thought it was too cute to not incorporate.  Initially I was trying to think of a pun with the word "dragon/dragging" but there's nothing romantic with the word I went for the slightly non-sensical message. 

J  brought me amazing roses, and a card! I was actually most impressed by the card because he doesn't believe in them.  Haha.  We've had many a discussion about how cards are important, while he contends, they're just a way to give hallmark money.  I love cards though, especially knowing how much he was going against his principals to buy the card. It's the little things.

We don't have a single vase in our house so I took the label off a nearly empty salsa jar and washed it out.  Necessity is truly the mother of invention.

I said I didn't want to do anything crazy, and J didn't think about making reservations early anyway, so on Friday afternoon he found a 5:30 reservation for a seafood restaurant.  lol.  It was fine with me, and they ended up having a special Valentine's menu, plus complimentary photo, and a rose.  We took the train and walked to the restaurant in the snow and it was quite romantic. 
We we got there the photographer came to the table just as we were unbundling and I joked about how I had hat head, to which she replied, "should I come back?" I laughed and told her it wasn't going to get any better and she could take the picture.  I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome though, there is only one weird hair bump on top of my head.
I think we were the only ones who noticed the typo in their template...this picture is now on our fridge and it makes me smile whenever I see it. 

Solo date

Earlier this month J was having a "guys night," and I was going to have a "girls night," but my plans fell through.  Ordinarily, I would shrug and put on the comfy couch clothes and watch a movie J wouldn't want to watch, but I decided to go out solo and had such a great time!
One of my favorite things about New York City is that when you look around, you never know what you'll see.  Maybe it's a street performer, street art, a restaurant you forgot about, or a frozen ball field. 
Here are some of my pics from my solo date:
In New York most of the schools have these outdoor "fields." All of the kids funnel out for recess and scream and shout and bounce off the chain-link fences, but because of all of the snow and ice I discovered this one was completely covered in ice.  The ball field is now an ice rink!

Street Art! Amor Fati roughly translates to love of fate.
I was a late arrival to the Breaking Bad party, but after finishing the series right after Christmas, I'm still obsessed.  A custom t-shirt shop in the village had this gem on display.

Is there anything better than Pho on a cold day? In Seattle Pho shops are everywhere you look.  Almost as pervasive as Starbucks (maybe a stretch, but there are a lot).  Here, there are only a few, and I think Saigon Shack in the village is probably the best of them.  Where else can you get a hearty meal in NYC for $8?

We desperately need everything for our apartment.  Seriously, everything.  Before I moved in J's brother lived with him, and the two of them didn't decorate anything.  I hit up Home Depot in Chelsea and saw this mirror on display (on the floor), and thought it was a funny way to display a mirror.  I was considering this as a front runner for our entry way, but J vetoed it on the grounds that it "looked like something you'd find in a west village bathroom."  I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, but the search for the perfect entry way mirror continues.

And finally, I leave you with the "Beyond" from Bed Bath & Beyond...chipless cookies.  My dream. 

Snowy New Year

Somehow it's nearing the end of February, and I feel like it was just Christmas.  In fact, as I sit here typing this, I have Elf on in the background.  J is teaching tonight (a make-up class for all of these snow days he's had this semester), and something about freezing weather just makes me want to curl up on the couch and watch a Christmas movie!

Also, in defense of my Friday night laziness, I slipped and fell on some ice this morning, and throughout the day I've been discovering more and more aches and started with a skinned knee and hand, and a sore wrist.  The list of aches now includes, lower back, left ankle, mid-upper back, neck, and right shoulder.  I am such an old person. It was really inevitable, we've had so much snow and ice and I hadn't fallen once. 

I think this white manicure might be my favorite of the year! It's so crisp, and seasonally appropriate. Looking at this makes me want to go paint my nails again. I used Essie 'Blanc' which somehow is a bright white without looking like you painted your nails with white-out. I think it's meant for French manicures, but why not go all out?

Speaking of snow & ice, here's how my New Year has been going so far... 

January 18th - Ice Storm-y anniversary, January 24th - Snow, January 26th - Blizzard, January 30th - more snow, February 1st - Seahawks loss, February 2nd - Groundhog Day snow (again), Feb 14th - Valentine's Day snow, February 17th - Snow...You get the picture.  I'm pretty sure I missed some snow days, but those were the biggies.  

I have to admit, I'm not a complete snow Grinch yet.  Last year was worse I think, it's been colder this year, but I don't have to shovel a stoop this year, I think that makes a big difference.

It hasn't all been snow.  We've had some great date nights, I'm employed (though just with my old job who decided they couldn't let me go quite yet) and still interviewing like crazy, we got a new fish, and I've been desperately dreaming about decorating our blank slate of an apartment!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ice storm Anniversary

Sunday was J and my official anniversary and I had big plans to make this big fancy dinner.  I planned the menu, placed a big grocery delivery from fresh direct...then the sky opened up and dropped frozen rain over our entire area and didn't stop.

It was impossible to walk anywhere, sidewalks, streets, trees, mailboxes all covered in a thick shiny layer of ice.  It was kind of pretty and if you were able to slide your way somewhere it was silent out and so peaceful.

All of this peace and quiet could also be attributed to the fresh direct truck's noisy absence.  We had almost no groceries, so our fancy dinner became thawed meat sauce that I made  too much of a couple months ago, some penne from the cupboard, and a salad made from questionably old spring mix. 

It was a far cry from delicious but it was kind of a nice way to mark a year.  It was a night that was a quiet reminder of  the day to day greatness that we enjoy even when we're not having a lavish dinner or trip to the opera.

Espresso Brownies

I know I'm all about the New Year's Resolution but we went to a friend's house for dinner and I was craving chocolate so I made these delicious Espresso Brownies. And they did not disappoint. 

I didn't have espresso powder on-hand so I used finely ground beans that I brewed coffee from then dried.  The grains were as small as I could get them and for the most part fine, but I do wish I could have gotten the icing a little more smooth.  
  • Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 (19.8-ounce) box brownie mix (recommended: Duncan Hines)
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk 1/3 cup of water, oil, eggs, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in a large bowl to blend. Add the brownie mix. Stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool completely.

Meanwhile, dissolve the remaining 2 teaspoons of espresso powder in the remaining 2 tablespoons of water in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vanilla. Add the powdered sugar and butter and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze over the brownies. Refrigerate until the glaze is set. Cut into bite-size pieces. Arrange the brownies on a platter and serve.