Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Monday...

On Monday we checked out of the Inn at the Spanish Steps (which, by the way, had a *fantastic* roof garden/terrace where breakfast and their complimentary evening snacks were served... I don't know why I didn't take a picture of that because it was really beautiful and made you feel like you were at home in the heart of the city) and after being told that the Via Condotti was in a restricted traffic zone, loaded up all of our bags and took a cab up to the Avis on the Via Sardegna.

Originally we had rented a Mercedes A180, but before heading off to Italy we had done some research and came to the realization that in the A180 we had a choice: either (a) our luggage could travel to the Amalfi Coast or (b) we could travel to the Amalfi Coast, but apparently there wouldn't be room enough for all of us. So, we "upgraded" to a Passat Wagon. In theory. When we got to Avis (or should I say when the cab driver dropped us and all of our luggage on the sidewalk *near* Avis) we were given the option for 5 Euro more to "upgrade" further to a Ford Mondeo wagon. Oooooh! And, it was a 6 speed manual transmission! Even better! This thing was the size, and had the handling capacity of, a Boston Whaler. But at least our luggage fit in the trunk. We had also asked for a child seat for Miss B. They had one (and it was brand new), but for "liability" reasons Avis couldn't install it for us so the Husband had to become quickly aquainted with how to install this Chicco car seat. All the while our car had been parked perpendicular to the Avis garage entrance and another American couple were sitting in their rental car, blocked in by ours while I loaded the trunk and the Husband worked on the car seat installation. It was actually quite comical.

Once finally on the road we made really good time since Kilometers, convienently, are shorter than miles.

Our first stop? The Abbey at Montecassino.


Unfortunately, it was closed.

Miss B's answer to that?

Climb the gate!

Afterwards, we elected to lunch at none other than McDonalds!
The Husband informed me that he had never eaten at a McDonalds outside of the Northern Hemisphere. I informed the Husband that I've eaten at McDonald's in France, Italy and Germany! You know how a few years back McD's made a big deal about how now all McNuggets would be made out of white meat? Well, any stockpile of mixed meat McNuggets must have been sent to Europe. In Italy you can still find that dark meat boot shaped McNugget. Oh, and don't forget-- ketchup packets? 20 cents per packet.

After lunch it wasn't too long on the Autostrada to get into Napoli proper and head around Vesuvius towards Salerno.

Nothing like a toll road to make you feel at home!

First stop before hitting up the Costieria Amalfitana proper? Vietri sul Mare!



Where we stocked up on ceramics (because our luggage wasn't heavy enough...)



And then we began the drive. The coast road is pretty amazing and not unlike a roller coaster. It is completely built for driving with a little Alfa-Romeo, or other such sportscar (though noting, not a very large sportscar since around every turn you have the possibility of being face-to-face with a tour bus). The road was designed less with a giant Ford boat in mind. Poor Miss B. tossed her cookies about half way between Vietri and Amalfi thus making the car smell like wild boar sausage and chicken McNuggets for the rest of the trip.

Finally, we arrived at the Hotel Santa Caterina in Amalfi. It is absolutely gorgeous and we got a lovely room with a nice terrace perfect for Miss B. to run around on and enjoy.



Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

So, our first Sunday in Rome was a rainy one. After having lunch/brunch at a local place near the hotel we cabbed it over to the Crypta Balbi and then had dessert at the Ducati Caffe. Afterwards we walked over to the Capitoline Hill and checked out a bit of the forum.

Luckily the weather dried out a bit and we were able to walk from the forum down to the Campo dei Fiori for our dinner reservations at Al Bric. At Al Bric we had a wonderful dinner. We got a selection of Italian goat cheese (which came with various honeys and mustards to sample with the cheeses), fabulous home made bread and grissini, I got arancini as an appetizer and the husband had grilled polenta with baby octopus, then I got a wonderful pasta with a ragu and the Husband got pappardelle with wild boar sausage and we shared osso bucco as the final course. We walked back to the hotel via the Piazza Navona (visiting all three fountains) and had some gelato at Giolitti...




To Un-Friend or not to Un-Friend

Do you have any of these Facebook "friends" who are constantly playing one of those goofy facebook games (like "Mafia!" or whatever) or filling out those "five favorite" list things or otherwise clogging your status list with information you really don't care about especially since this particular person is not anyone you actually ever considered a friend but someone you know (from high school, or the like) who friended you and you're not sure why and you accepted their "friending" because you were unsure of the etiquette of ignoring the friend request?

Now what the hell do I do?

Can I unfriend? Is that bad? Is it bad Facebook karma?

Can I change my settings so I never see an update from this particular individual again unless they do something interesting like cure the Swine Flu or win the Nobel Prize?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day Two!!

On Day Two we visited the Vatican Museum... we had gone online and ordered our tickets in advance, which allowed us to skip the line for tickets. (Apparently, that line can be quite long, and on the day we visited it looked to be very long, so it was nice to be able to breeze through)... Note to self, however, the walk from the Spanish Steps to the Vatican Museum is long.... take a cab! ;)




Once we got there we were told that we had missed our guided tour and that the next one wasn't until 2pm, but we could, if we wanted to, walk around by ourselves. Done! No waiting in line and not having to be on the guided tour-- works for us!

Now, the next funny thing is all throughout the Vatican Museums there are billboards with pictures of the Sistine Chapel and information about it. Not just a few, there were at least twenty or thirty of these scattered about the premises. Each one would have a tour group in front of it and a tour guide describing the chapel. The Husband said this was happening because the chapel was so small there wouldn't be room enough for any of the describing to take place inside the chapel. Ironically, one of the tour guides was telling his group the reason that they were discussing the chapel outside of the chapel was because it is still used as a chapel and one needs to be quiet once you're inside. Yeah, okay.

FYI, here's a picture of the Vatican Gift Shop. I just thought it was funny.

















So, we walked around and around looking for the Egyptian wing and the infamous chapel (you'll recall from my earlier post that the museum doesn't give you a map...) and we walked through the pine cone courtyard about seventeen times.





















The Husband asked a security guard whether there was any way that we could get to the chapel without going up any stairs since we had the Maclaren in tow... we were quickly re-directed to walk through the exhibits backwards. We passed lots and lots of people. They all looked a little miffed. The Husband said that it was sure proof that these folks had all already seen the Sistine Chapel.

We get there. Finally. It was PACKED! And about the size of our family room (with higher ceilings, of course). There was no way that the tour guides were explaining the ceiling outside of the chapel because it's "still used", no, the people had to describe the chapel outside of the chapel because there's no room to breathe, let alone hold a seminar on Michaelangelo! I managed to step into the center of the room and quickly take a couple of pictures, right before a security guard said: "No Photos", "NO Photos!"


Why no photos? Because the poster of this photo is 10 euros out in the gift shop!












Afterwards we had some scary pizza in the cafe in the basement of the Vatican, visited the Vatican post office for some commemorative stamps and had to walk back through the courtyard to get to the damn Egyptian rooms!

Here's a neat picture of a fellow photographer in the courtyard...




















Check this out.... hieroglyphs!














Neat statue... (but it could use some dry cleaning)...




















We tried to take the stroller down here but were quickly directed to the "ascensore"...




















Afterwards we walked from the Vatican City to the Gianicolo... there are nuns everywhere!




















Once there, we went to the botanical gardens... a bit shabby, but still pretty neat, and we found a really cool lookout point in a bamboo forest that looked out over the Roman cityscape...















Then we walked through the Trastevere... and back across the Tiber.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

We're Back!

So, we've returned from Italy and what a trip it was!



















After we left the Inn at the Spanish Steps our internet access was spotty, so we're going to have to do recapping after the fact.

Here was the view from our hotel window... later in the week the Spanish Steps were covered with blooming flowers!




















Bulgari was right across the street!















Here was our local nut man! ;)













On our first day, we wandered around the eternal city, starting out with a trip over to the Vatican (in preparation, of course, for viewing Angeli e Demoni, out in theaters 13 Maggio!) I have to say, St. Peter's is so large that in person it looks like a two dimensional movie set. I think Ron Howard has something to do with that.














Later on, we walked around in the tridente area and had a lovely lunch (with some really tasty bruschetta misto)....



















After our wandering, it was time to check in to the hotel proper. Once we were cleaned up and ready to roll around town we hit up the Antica Cafe Grecco for a caffeine and chocolate ice cream infusion...














and then walked over to the Trevi Fountain.









Sunday, April 19, 2009

Oggi!

Today we started out strong by sleeping in!

Then we went to a quick lunch locally (at a place kind of like le pain quotidien) and then over to the Crypte Balbi (which is a museum of Roman history and has an tour of excavated ruins). Then (since we were in the neighborhood aka right across the street) we went back to the Ducati Cafe and had a really great dessert treat... molten chocolate cake with pistachio gelato and creme englais.

Then we walked over to the Capitoline Hill and walked through a bit of the forum. Then we walked through to the Campo di Fiori and finally stopped for our dinner at Al Bica on the Via Pellegrino. The food was fantastic (thank goodness!) Then we took a long walk back to the hotel via the Piazza Navona, the Tiber and finally up the via Condotti.

More stories to come for tomorrow!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Oh, One More Thing...

Apparently, in the Vatican City toilet seats are a needless formality. As are maps of the Vatican Museum. You know, have you ever been to the Louvre (or virtually any other museum on the planet) and you can have your choice of the map of the building in any one of five different languages? Not at the Vatican! You can purchase a rather thick guide book for 10 Euro, but a map? Not so much.

Italia 2009, part due

We made it to Italy and have been hanging out in Rome since yesterday morning. So far we've managed to pack in a lot of sight seeing. Our hotel (the Inn at te Spanish Steps) has a great location (wedged happily between Prada and Damiani on the Via Condotti) and its entry way actually opens into the Cafe Antica Greco (one of the famous tea rooms...)

Yesterday we walked all around, including walking up to the Piazza del Popolo, over to the vatican, up the Quirinal hill. We shopped and ate. Today? Today we went to the Vatican Museum (and skipped to the head of the line by having bought our tickets in advance over the internet... and then skipped ahead to get to the Sistine Chapel because we had a stroller.... they let us go in through the back entrance, which shaved off quite a bit of time!) Then we went to the botanical gardens, walked through the Ghetto and the Campo Dei Fiori, ate at the Ducati Cafe (yes, as in Brad and Angelina motorcycle Ducati), had gelato at Giolliti, went to the La Riscinte department store, walked around the Pantheon and generally did a lot...

Tomorrow? Its supposed to rain so we are planning to go to the museums like the Crypte Balbi and the Ara Pacis. Buona Sera!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wowee-wow, wow!

So, it's that time of year again. Time to pack our bags and head out on a trip! The Mom and Dad have been kind enough again to be our head airport chauffers and cat-sitters in residence and we are (mostly) all packed and ready to go! More details to come!!!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Party Dress!

Here is the party dress, in action!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Style Files from Goop!

Check out this week's Goop newsletter for some fashion stylings by Miss Gwyneth...

Thank you!

I just wanted to say thanks to everybody who has come out to support my photographic endeavors this past week! Thanks to everyone who visited the Pen & Brush and my show here locally! (Its not every day that you get to show your stuff in the Big City, or by itself... even if it's just in a local coffee shop!) It really means a lot to me to have your support!!! Yay!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Italia 2009!

So, it's that time of year again. I've been suited up with anti-anxiety meds (aka the equivilent of a horse tranquilizer) and we'll soon be taking flight! This time we'll be in Rome and the Costeria Amalfitana! With side trips to Pompeii, Paestum and the Isle of Capri!

The first few days of our adventure will be spent in Rome where we'll be calling the Inn at the Spanish Steps home. We've already booked our Vatican tickets, so here's to hoping we'll be able to avoid the lines. On Monday (when things in Rome tend to be closed...) We'll be driving down to Amalfi. Originally we had reserved a Mercedes A180 for the trip, but after seeing some bitingly realistic reviews of said car, its luggage capacity and exactly what Avis Italia may consider an "intermediate" sized vehicle we "upgraded" to a Passat wagon. I'm sure we'll end up getting the wagon wedged between a stone wall and a vespa or passenger bus somewhere along the coast drive, but that's what the collision damage waiver is all about!

Once in Amalfi we'll be at the Hotel Santa Caterina. Sadly, it appeared that neither the le Sirenuse or the Il San Pietro would permit children Miss B's age, so we'll have to leave those for another visit (sad as that may be since Town and Country Travel had said it was a fave of Hugh Grant!) While in Amalfi we're planning to visit Pompeii, take a boat to Capri and make the drive to Paestum, past Salerno. I'm hoping that we'll also get to stop in at Vietri (home of Vietri pottery) as nothing says "Italian vacation" like bringing home breakable ceramics in your carry on bags!

Then it will be back to Rome, where we'll have moved to accomodations at the Villa Spalleti Trivelli. Free minibar, people! It will be all the $5.00 jars of nuts and bottled water we can consume! While in Rome, we've booked a private tour of the Collesseum and Roman forum through Context Tours. They've confirmed that our guide will be an actual archeologist... How cool is that? I'll only be happy, however, if I can call him "Dr. Jones" in a German accent!

On our last Saturday we haven't finalized our plans, leaving it open to take the high speed train to Florence, if we're feeling adventurous.

Productive....

So today is one of those rare and exciting days where I feel like I have been productive! I've already managed to:

1) Schedule Miss Kitty's "Spa" appointment (okay, it's just the grooming salon at Petsmart, but we'll try to make her feel special, they do, after all, put a pink bow in her fur when they're finished);

2) Upgraded cable with Verizon. When we first signed up for Verizon Fios we got *all* the channels (with the exception of Cinemax)... then over the past year they started adding new HD channels and we weren't getting any of them. And not exciting "subscription only" channels, but things like Fox News in HD and the Biography channel-- which, by the way, we already get in regular definition... so, I called and got us a new box for our guest room and got us an upgrade, which included Cinemax. We'll see how this all works out.

3) Called LL Bean and replaced Miss B.'s Fitness Fleece pull-over. I just bought one of these the other week and it had become a fast favorite of the whole fam. It's awfully cute, light weight and nice fleece and Miss B. loves her fleece. Well, unfortunately, I washed it and failed to notice that a big sticker from the doctor's office was still on the front of it and lo and behold it melted to the fleece. I'm sure it will come off eventually, but not in time for our trip! I visited the LL Bean website and the item had mysteriously disappeared (as things on that website are wont to do) so the Mom suggested I call them back and ask to reference my old order. It was perfect! They checked my old order, ordered us a new one and it is set to arrive on Tuesday or Wednesday!

4) Booked a hotel! We've been invited to a wedding in Newport in the fall and I called up today to get us our hotel room... I even got us an upgrade (at a discount!)

Let's see if we can keep this productivity up! (I'm sure it will be all down hill from here!) :)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Red Box!

So when we visited the city last weekend and saw 410e9th he asked for more Redbox stories! Last night's Redbox selection was "The Day The Earth Stood Still". Okay Hollywood, just by putting Keanu Reeves in a black suit with some sunglasses on does not mean you will have a blockbuster of Matrix proportions. See: Johnny Mnemonic.

In other Redbox news, for some reason, the Husband has a curse with the Redbox. I've been telling him and telling him how easy it is to use. So, the Husband thought he would give it a try. The first time he tried to rent, the machine was broken. The second time he went to use a Redbox, he was returning a video and again, that box was broken (different location). The third time the Husband merely accompanied me while I was going to pick a Redbox and I got stuck behind a woman who looked through all 17 pages of Redbox titles. Then, the other night, I was planning to return a movie (as it was getting close to the witching hour of 9pm) and the Husband offered to drive me, after dinner. Well, as we're ready to go to the car, Husband goes to pick up Miss B. and she throws up. Now she hasn't thrown up since she was a year old (which we refer to as "the sweet potato incident in nighttime"). Clearly it is the Husband Redbox curse. Of course, this may have been triggered by the Husband permitting Miss B. to eat some raw onions (it was Taco Night), but still. We think it's the curse.

Crazy Lunch

Yesterday, after Gymboree, we had lunch with the ladies including Crazy Mom and all three of her children. For the most part things were pretty calm, which was good since Hippie Mom and Normal Mom (who are both pregnant with their second children) were both headache-y/having tired pregnant days and could have used some calm. Then Thing #2 starts talking about her caterpillars. Crazy Mom bought Thing #2 a Butterfly House at Christmas time on sale and apparently, much like sea monkees, when you're ready to have your little menagerie you can mail away to get some caterpillars and eventually, with love and care they will become Butterflies (or at least that's the hope). Thing #2 was very excited about this prospect and very proud that she is now a "Mommy" too. In an odd twist of fate this mirrored that morning's Barney episode where Baby Bop "lost" her pet caterpillar, Monty, but in fact, he had actually just become a butterfly. I don't know how I feel about being able to recount the plot line of an episode of Barney.

Thing #1 was also there and he had brought with him a stuffed bear, which was sitting, rather forlornly, on our dining table. Miss B., once she caught sight of it, starts saying "Bah!, Baahhh!" "Bah!"

This leads Crazy Mom, who was seated next to Miss B. to say: "What do you want, honey?, Bottle? Egg? What are you saying?"

Now, to be fair, Miss B. is kind of like those Masai Bushmen in Africa who speak with the click languages-- the phrase "Ba" can have many meanings, among them: "bagel", "banana", "bug" and for some reason, inexplicably, the driver's seat of the car. It can also mean "bear"!

I'm thinking, come, on, Crazy Mom, you've got three kids! Surely, you know she's not asking for part of your hardboiled egg-- you've got a big stuffed BEAR sitting right in front of you!

Alas, after Bear-gate, our next bit of excitement came when Thing #1 decided it was time to leave lunch and he opened the door from the food court out to the outside letting out Bingo and Hippie Mom's daughter in the process. Nothing says panic like having a 6 year old organize a prison break for some toddlers.

We've got another birthday party this weekend, so we'll see what adventures we have then.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Big Debut!

There I am-- in the corner behind the guy with the red hat! It's me in profile. Not looking my best, but hey, it was an overnight shoot in a subway car in summer. What do you want?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Give Me Back That Filet-O-Fish, Give Me That Fish!

Check out this article about the talking fish Filet-o-Fish commercial. The Husband and I have already found ourselves singing the song involuntarily. Then, not only did the Husband hear people singing it one day on the train, but three kids were singing it while I was waiting to pay for parking after the circus. Sadly, I think none of this will increase Filet-O-Fish sales, because nothing could actually make a Filet-O-Fish edible, but that tune is awfully catchy!

More Art!!

Today we got to install some of our photos at our solo exhibit!

Miss B. was my design helper extraordinaire and all it cost me was a giant chocolate chip cookie. Good deal, no?




Monday, April 06, 2009

How Do You KNow You Have The Cutest Toddler Ever...

She falls asleep in the back of the car with a chicken nugget in her hand. When you get home, she wakes up in the garage, nugget still in hand and takes a bite, like the nap never even happened.

The Unusuals!

Spoiler-Alert!!!

The Unusuals premiers on ABC on Wednesday, April 8th at 10pm. I'm pretty sure that the episode I was an extra in is the premier episode, so do watch and keep an eye out for me!! If I'm there I'll be in the scene in the subway right before the geeky bad guy gets tasered. I'm right there next to Harold Perrineau! I'm sure that if I appear at all my head will be cutoff, but you'll know me by my orange handbag!

Woo-hoo!

Art Today!

It is a rainy day here and at the end of today's episode of Barney there were little drawn stick people on paper doing something or another. This lead Miss B. to want to draw! She loves her easel that Grandma bought her and last weekend we did some drawing in the kitchen using our high chair as an improptu art studio. So, Miss B. is telling me "Zraw!!! ZRAAAAW!!" And at first I wasn't quite sure what she meant, so I get her out of the high chair and then she goes into the utility room.

Still saying "ZRAAAAW! Zrawww!" I go in to the utility room and see that Miss Kitty has tossed her breakfast. I say to Miss B, "Oh, you wanted to let me know that the cat threw up, thank you!" Nope, Mom, you're too dense. That's not why I'm in here, she's thinking.... so, again "ZRAAAWW!" But this time Miss B. points animatedly up to our craft tub up on the shelf. Finally, it hits me-- she wants to DRAW! (I'm a little slow this morning, what can I say).

So, we pull out our art bucket and we start with crayons on construction paper. Then we move to decorating the giant foam easter eggs (with crayons, stick on foam shapes, glitter glue and pompoms) and now we've moved on to dark purple Play-Doh! I personally love that written on the play-doh container it clearly says "Fun to play with but not to eat." I'll keep that in mind.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Birthday Parties and Other Such Things...

After our visit to the reception at P&B, we headed straight back to the local nabe for a birthday party at The Little Gym for one of Miss B.'s friends. This party was technically for one of Miss B.'s longest running "friends", having originally met the birthday girl in our "Babies" class at Music Together when the ladies were but wee babies of about 6 months. Ah, much has changed!

Now, hitting the ripe old age of two, we are truly in the ranks of official kid-dom with real birthday parties. If you've never been to a Little Gym, it's an interesting experience. It's more gymnastics focused than Gymboree (even having uneven bars and rings) which for a person like me just screams "mom-unapproved acrobatic activity". Luckily we ended up getting to the party about a half an hour late so we missed much of the acrobatics and instead Miss B. made a bee-line for the giant yellow physioball which she then proceeded to push around the floor even though it was practically as big as she is.

Yup, Miss B. was loving that giant ball, right up until Thing #1 came and ushered her out of the way to start playing with it himself. Yes, that's right, Crazy Mom and her brood were at the party! Not only was her youngest, Bingo there, but so were here other two children: Thing #1 (a six year old boy) and Thing #2 (her four year old daughter). That being the same four year old daughter who climbed on top of one of our armchairs during a play date in an attempt to scale a wall to reach our stuffed deer head. We hadn't had the pleasure of meeting Thing #1 before, we had only heard about him and how he was so excited about getting a trampoline to play with in Crazy Mom's family room.

Not only was Crazy Mom there, but so was her Husband. I wasn't actually properly introduced to Crazy Husband, but in a funny twist of fate I had already heard quite a bit about him. A week ago in our Gymboree Art class some of the other moms were talking about Crazy Mom, her kids and her Husband. (I felt very much like one of the cast members of The Real Housewives as our little coffee klatch was suddenly turning and dishing on one of our own). Turns out I'm not the only one who thinks that Crazy Mom's kids are a bit high strung (specifically, everyone agrees that Thing #2 just can not stop talking. Ever. Not even a little bit. So, I don't know if that means I'm not a bad person because it's not just me who thinks that the kids are crazy, or if we're all bad people... at least we all think alike) and it also turns out that the rest of the group already decided that Crazy Mom's husband is a jerk. Based on how Crazy Husband just basically allowed Thing #1 to steal the Physioball from a two year old and after a few moments of Miss B. chasing after the ball and crying "Mama! Mama!" ever more anxiously, as if to say "that big kid took my toy!" finally, Crazy Husband had a half-hearted, "give her the ball back, she had it first". Gee. Thanks. Your kid is like 4 years older than mine. In fact, he wasn't really invited to this party, he's just here so you didn't have to stay home alone with him.

After that little incident it was time for pizza in the party room. The Little Gym folks made it clear that while it is absolutely verboten to wear shoes in the play area, it is equally verboten to *not* wear shoes in the pizza area. Once everyone had put their foot wear back on it was into the room with little chairs and tables for kid pizza! There were sandwiches and chips for the parents and as the Husband pointed out the kids ate their food in a more civilized fashion than the adults. The parents acted like they were the castaways on Survivor and they hadn't seen real food in a month. We hung out with Miss B. and one of her other friends (and the Crazy family). At one point, because Thing #1 and Thing #2 had pushed their chairs away from the table, Crazy Husband pulled the entire table back towards them, rather than pushing in their individual chairs. This was unique given that now, on the other side of the table, Miss B. and the girl next to her were suddenly no longer anywhere near their plates. Nice.

Also attending the party was another former Music Together student, whose Dad just happens to be a State Trooper. I wouldn't have known this but for the fact that he came to the party straight from work and still had on his State Trooper garb. If you've ever seen a New Jersey Trooper you'll know their outfits are a bit intense. Kind of like something out of the Hitler Youth-- they even have one of those leather bandolier straps across their chest and big riding boots. I have to say, it was a bit intimidating. I mentioned to one of the other moms that it made me a bit nervous because I have to have my car inspected, I also felt like I needed to be worried that he might come up to me and ask to see my license and registration. She countered with not feeling comfortable that he had a loaded gun in a room full of toddlers. I noted that if anybody in the room could disarm him it would be Thing #1.

After pizza, it was a cake explosion! The Little Gym people cut the cake into slabs in sizes equivalent to the kids' noggins. I have to say, while the cake was exceptionally tasty, I don't think any of those children needed pieces that large. I think the size of the cake pieces were directly correlated to the speed with which the party ended right after cake was served. Once you've given that many kids that much sugar, its time to hand them back over to their parents with a balloon and godspeed.

Miss B. did great though, and after the party we headed over to Chick Fil-A for a proper fast-food dinner. Next week we have another birthday party on Saturday. We're hoping the weather will be warm enough that Miss B. can wear her new party dress. We're also trying to come up with excuses around not having to invite Crazy Mom and her brood to Miss B.'s birthday party, but I think it is inevitable.

Art Show Today and a Big Shout Out of Thank You!!!


There's my photo! Hanging on the wall at the Pen and Brush Gallery. The gallery space is really neat-- it is the garden and parlor floors of a brownstone on 10th Street between Fifth Avenue and University Place down in the village.
The reception was lovely and a big giant shout out to 410e9th and MsMcDizzle for coming to the show!
Sadly, we ended up getting there an *hour* late thanks to a half hour delay at the Holland Tunnel and then insane traffic from the Tunnel up to the village (which is saying a lot since it's not that far!) so we missed Miss M. but we say a big THANK YOU! for coming and it was fun to hang with 410, especially in his old 'hood.
There were tons of people at the reception and the good folks at the Pen and Brush even had light refreshments! The other art in the show is really amazing-- there are photographs, sculpture, oil paintings, etchings, even embroidery. The other neat thing about the Pen and Brush is that it is a women's only organization... girl power in the art world... woo-hoo!
Also, Miss B. wore her ribbon hat and got many compliments. Unfortunately, our stay in the big city was shortlived as Miss B. had a prior engagement, namely a birthday party at our local "Little Gym". See post above for more details.

Crafting!

So, I really like making outfits for Miss B. but I always get hung up with the whole "fasteners" concept. I'm too lazy to re-learn how to use the button hole maker on the sewing machine and I've never put a zipper in anything before. This makes it difficult to make more than pants with elastic waistbands. Until today! Miss B. has a couple of dresses which looked like they were made from t-shirts with skirts sewn on... so I figured I'd give it a try myself!





















Target has great t-shirts for kids and they're only $5.99. I picked out one in navy blue because it matched some really cool batik-type fabric I had bought as a remnant at JoAnn for $2.59. To add some pizzaz and to make this a potential outfit for the birthday party that Miss B. has plans to attend this weekend, I added a tulle skirt (total cost $2.99). Then I added a ribbon trim to hide the seaming and tied on some coordinating ribbon as contrast. (Note that the ribbon tie at the back is off-center intentionally! It's a design element ;)






















The finishing touch? A matching hair accessory! Check that out!




















I started the project this afternoon during naptime and finished it off this evening. Next I'm going to try the same thing but the base shirt is going to be a hot pink tank top and the skirt material is a pastel paisley/floral. I'm hoping it will be super cute for spring/summer!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Hmpf.

Today's find? A Paul Frank two piece bathing suit for $14.99. (It's pink and green and has monkeys on it. It's Julius the Monkey and he's wearing sunglasses!) Of course, I did buy it in the children's department at Marshall's. This is not unlike when Ana bought shoes in the children's department at Target. Alas, how long before I'll be sharing clothes with Miss B? She already can wear my hats and headbands. Not to mention, at the rate she's growing she'll be taller than me by next week!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Working from Home?

Here's an article about moms who work from home on MSNBC.com.

Recessionista

I saw the New York Magazine and the Times Style Section using this phrase a little bit ago (though I'm sure someone else thought of it first) as a new way to describe the Fashionista during these hard economic times. So, what is a reformed suburban psuedo-fashionista do these days? Why find good deals at the Filene's Basement going out of business sale! Case in point: A Malo 100% cashmere short-sleeved crewneck sweater, the original tag was marked $650. Yes, for a short-sleeved sweater (god only knows what it would have cost if it actually had long sleeves or a turtleneck!) FYI-- For fans of The Real Housewives of New York you'll recall from two episodes ago that it was Malo where the Countess and Crazy Kelly were trying on outfits to wear at NY Fashion Week... so, $650, right? How about trying $14.00 on for size! $14.00. Now, that being said, there was a small problem. In that the neckband was coming away from the sweater in three places. But, upon closer inspection I saw that there were no actual holes, just unraveled knitting. A lot of unravelled knitting. Knitting which would have been done by incredibly tiny Italian elves (or clearly by machine). But this did not look to me like enough "damage" to cause a price drop of approximately $636.00. So, I figured I could take it to the reweaver.

Flash forward a few weeks wherein $14.00 sweater has been sitting in my closet and I've started thinking about how much a reweaver will charge to reattach the neckband. Then I decide to visit Joann Fabrics (where you can buy 19 different items and still end up with a bill of $8.22). Lo and behlod, $1.05 later and I have one spool of Gutterman thread in the exact color to match the sweater.

Next: I'm spending an hour and a half (yes, an hour and a half) reweaving the neckband with one very tiny needle and some thread. I hate handsewing and I'm no pro believe me. You can certainly tell upon close inspection that something terrible befell this sweater, but if you wear it with a cardigan (namely my Prada silk and cashmere cardigan $20 at the Annual Prada Sample Sale circa 2005) and an Hermes Scarf (sorry, no discounts there) you're not noticing it. So, for $15.05 I got my $650 sweater. Even if you factor in the hour and a half of labor it's still a bargain. Let's not even discuss the See by Chloe blouse I also scored at Filene's which required me to sew back on nine buttons.

The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Has anybody else watched this on HBO yet? Thoughts? I haven't read the book series but it seemed interesting and the pilot episode was very well done (what do you expect from the late Anthony Minghella) though I couldn't always figure out what was being said...