Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Thirtysomething Mommy just had a post about Ikea and it reminded me of living in Paris in the summer of '98 with the Mom, on the eponymous Rue de la Clef.

We had been to Ikea before-- namely the one off exit 13A of the turnpike in Elizabeth. Nothing says touching down at Newark Liberty Airport quite like seeing the giant "13A/IKEA" sign across the runway.

Then, when we were making the drive one day from Paris out to what was then "Eurodisney" and is now "Disneyland Paris" we passed by an IKEA and of course had to stop. It turns out there are now seven IKEAs on the outskirts of Paris, making Paris the city with the most IKEAs anywhere. This might explain why everytime we watch "House Hunters International" it seems that most people in Paris have Ikea furniture.

Out of this trip I ended up buying (i) a gi-normous duvet cover (white, with giant yellow polka dots) which for some reason ended up being far larger than any king size duvet would ever be in the states, (ii) lamps (yes, lamps... which had Euro plugs, which I was convinced the Dad could swap out for american plugs) and the Mom bought a lazy susan and carried it across the Atlantic (despite the fact that the IKEA stores here carry the same thing). (Much like when I insisted on bringing back Nutella from Germany, only realizing later that it was sold at Publix.)

But, not to be out done, at the end of our stay in Paris we took a mini-vacation to Germany. While driving on the Autobahn near Stuttgart we came up over a hill and there, in the distance, called out to us (in the same voice as in The Simpson's theme) was a giant sign that said "IKEA!" And yes, we had to stop there too. I can't remember now what we bought at that IKEA but I'm sure it was something that wasn't necessarily unique to that store and probably something that we could have gotten for the same price in Elizabeth.

I can't quite explain what the draw to IKEA is other than that it is somewhat foreign, yet oddly familiar at the same time. Each store has the same maze-like quaility, goofy product names and questionable swedish meatballs, but still there's just something that draws you in.

And, as an FYI: Check this out... Wikipedia has a whole section on the secret behind Ikea's product naming convention... yes, there is a rhyme and reason to the whole "Ektorp" phenomenon. Who knew!?!


Or more like: "FW-EYES!!"

Which was being shouted from the backseat at the disembodied voice coming from the drive thru speaker as I attempted to place our order.


Apparently, the Antiques Roadshow found its first million dollar item. Sure, had we been able to get tickets for their Atlantic City visit like
Miss Laura I'm sure our Pulp Fiction Kangaroo could have easily beat out some "old" carved jade any day!

Stitch Witchery

Brain cloud alert! So I'm finishing off a dress for Miss B. and I wanted to attach a ribbon trim. I knew I couldn't machine sew it and I hate hand sewing so I decided to try some technology... enter: Stitch Witchery fuseable bonding "for hems, trims and belts!" Presto! Now I have had limited experience with this stuff before and thought that it should kind of look like super-thin fiberglass, or kind of like if you took polyfil and made scotch tape out of it. I just happened to have a roll in my sewing box so I took it out of the package and unrolled some. It came off the roll and looked like plastic wrap.

I was confused. I thought maybe that was just the outer wrapping. I kept unwrapping. More and more plastic wrap. So then I figured, "well, this must be it, maybe it's not the same stuff that I thought."

I then cut a few of the plastic wrap strips and put them between the ribbon and the dress fabric and attempt to melt them together with my iron.

It kind of sticks. Kind of. And my first thought is:

"this is some cheap-ass fusible bonding!"

Yeah, check that package again brainiac.

It was plastic wrap. For some reason there was like five feet of plastic wrap before you actually got to the aforementioned fiberglassy/polyfill tape material.

Needless to say, that stuff actually worked.

Note to self: Let's not do late-night sewing so much, huh?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mail Call

In today's mail I received a postcard from "Media Paradise-- DVD Rental"

Media Paradise is located beside the Apna Bazaar and Millennium salon in the Liberty Mall Plaza.

It features the latest Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali movies!

Bollywood here we come!

Real-time Goofballs

We've got a pick-up truck in front of us in line at McDonald's with a "Boycott France" bumper sticker. Oh, how enlightened!

In other developments, Miss B. just said "Bee-sicka-milk!"

We still have no idea what "bee-sicka-beez" means but she has been using it lately as a modifier, for example, "bee-sicka-mama", "bee-sicka-dada" and now: "bee-sicka-milk!"


on earth are the tree cutting people in front of our house again? They were just here like 3 weeks ago. Trees don't grow that fast! All this is accomplishing is keeping Miss B. from nap time! But, the presence of the giant cherry-picker truck did elicit a "Crazy!" from Miss B.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


One of the Gymboree moms recently met another mom who suggested starting a knitting/crochet circle play group. This with the hope of blending play dates for the kids with knitting time for the moms. Sounds like a good enough idea, right?

An email was circulated to the group and Crazy Mom was one of the first to weigh in:

"Farm camp is over! Kindergarten is over! Dance class and swim class and t-ball are over! This coming week is flexible. Thing 1's first camp is 8:30-11:30 week after next, so 9-11 I'm cool."

9-11? First of all, I love to knit but there is no way in hell I'm waking up early enough to get myself and Miss B. anywhere to knit at 9am.

Secondly, what the *)^&? is "Farm Camp"?

Okay, fine. The first meeting coincided with our visit to Mel's house so we had to politely decline. Prior to this first meeting one of the other Gymboree mom's had suggested that maybe the next meeting could be at her house or at my house so the collective group wouldn't have to drive all the way to Pennsylvania (where the first meeting was to take place... so get this, I would theoretically be getting up early enough not only to knit at 9am, but knit at 9am IN PENNSYLVANIA. Yeah, so *not* happening, but I digress).

This suggestion was thrown out while we were at the park. In all honesty I was only really half-listening. It took me a moment or so to realize that she had said that we could have the meeting at *MY* house. Okay, let me process this-- you've just offered up my house?

Fine. So she keeps talking and I say, "okay, whatever, we'll see-- I'm fine with coming to your house or going to Yardley" I really didn't say too much about it because I'm thinking to myself that I'm not going to be able to go to the first meeting so I'm not even going to have met any of the people who are in the group who we don't already know... she can't honestly expect me to host this thing, right?


The day after the knitting group I get a message on Facebook telling me that everybody will be coming over to my house Thursday at 10am! Not only that but Crazy Mom and her kids will be there (at which point I flash back to Thing 2 climbing on my furniture attempting to molest my deer head) and the lady who hosted last time (who I've never met) will not only be bringing her child but will be bringing a friend and their child! All told there will be approximately 5 adults (in addition to myself) and 6 children (in addition to Miss B!)

Let's start lining up the food now. I don't think I could possibly buy enough juice boxes and baloney for this crowd. Yowzers.

I'm one of those people who likes the idea of social gatherings but is inherently anti-social. It's why I forced myself to participate in the Cornell Ambassadors throughout college-- so that I would be required to talk to people. It's why I only will order pizza over the internet (that way I don't have to talk to the Domino's man on the phone). I love the concept of social interaction but when it comes right down to it I don't like people I don't know. Yes, I've said it before, couple all of this with my germaphobe ways and I am very Howard Hughes-esque. Without the fortune, unfortunately.

Moral of the story is, this whole thing is so not happening! I'd love to host an outdoor thing by the pool or whatnot (where the kids could be OUTside of the house, thus messy food and drink would not be of a concern and my taxidermy would remain unharmed).

And, I really don't have an issue with being part of the rotating hosting duties but I'd at least like to meet everybody first!


Miss B. Models Her New Duds.

Give that girl a hand!

Check out that bow!

We love Calder!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Real-Time Fekkai Blogging

So here I am waiting at Fekkai for Misin. I just had my signature Klingon eyebrows tweezed back into something more befitting a homosapien and am now awaiting delivery of a soda. I had been hoping for champagne, but I'll take soda. Okay, for starters who knew that eyebrow plucking could actually be relaxing? Its kind of like reverse accupuncture. Now that my brain is all loosey-goosey I'm ready for shampooing!

I just finished speaking with Misin, after the required Euro-double air kiss.

Okay, now I'm back from being shampooed by Marie Antoinette. Yes, Marie Antoinette. Let them eat cake!

Only at a french hair salon.

Friday, June 26, 2009

To the Person Who Drives a Foreign Motorcycle Up and Down our Street at 2:30am going Approximately 70 MPH

Do you really have to do that? And, could you get louder mufflers? Not to mention, where is it exactly that you're going since after you drive down my street I can still hear your whiny Yamaha/Honda/Mitsubishi Motorcycle Engine revving a few streets away? Did you notice you're in a 40 mph zone? Trust me, no one is going to hire you to be in the next Fast and Furious movie so why not just take it down a notch. Thanks.

Did I invent Hip-Hop?


But I was there.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What a Wonderful Surprise!!!

Today when Miss B. and I got home after early evening errands we opened the mailbox and found a *wonderful* surprise!! Packed inside was a box full of amazing goodies hand made by Ellen at Nouveau Stitch! You've got to check out Ellen's blog, especially if you enjoy sewing! She is a fabulously talented lady and you will be completely inspired!

Miss B. was very excited to open up the box, especially once she saw all of these amazing hairbows!!

Now, Miss B. has quite the head of curly locks and I have to say we have amassed quite the collection of hair accessories, but none as beautiful as these!! We can't decide which to wear first!

Each one is prettier than the next, but I have to say...

This one is my favorite!! I love the button and the printed ribbon. How neat is this?
Then, as if the hair goodies weren't fabulous enough, there was more terrificness in store for us! We unwrapped tissue paper to reveal:

This beautiful hand-made sundress! As if it wasn't lovely enough of Ellen to make this gorgeous dress for Miss B., in an amazing coincidence the fabric is fabric that I had seen at the Pennington Quilt Works!! I loved the "air mail" pattern that is shown on the skirt of the dress and had thought about making Miss B.'s baby quilt with it but couldn't find the coordinating patterns.
(this is the back)

Miss B. was very excited when she saw her new dress-- and just kept saying "Dress! Dress!" So here is a big shout-out of THANK YOU! From both of us to Ellen!! We had planned a special family day in the city for Saturday and Miss B. will be proudly wearing her beautiful new dress-- pictures will follow!!

(this is the front!)

Here's a close-up of the "air mail" fabric-- isn't it just too adorable? I love the bird sillhouettes!

This collar detail is amazing-- and the little green buttons!!

Check out the adorable bow at the back of the dress!

Thank you, again, Ellen-- you made our day (actually, you made our entire week!!!)
ps. the dress is the *perfect* size, how did you know? :)


I recently found this fun tie-dyed fabric at Jo-Ann's and these great iron-on appliques. I decided to make a fun frilly skirt for Miss B., and I even used a little bit of left over fabric from our quilting experience!

Thrifty Finds!

Here are some of the goodies we got at the Second Chance Thrift Shop in Peapack/Gladstone!

Limoges Candlesticks...

Avon Milk Glass...

Riding Hat!

Fenton Milk Glass "Banana Boat"
9 sandwich or dessert plates from the Soho Pottery in England circa 1913-1930

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Shake Your Body Down to the Ground

So, now every day when we get in the car I hear from the backseat: "Pa-Pa Dance!" (together with some flailing toddler arms). Yes, not surprisingly Miss B.'s favorite song is "Kung Fu Fighting". In addition to that, she also loves to sing the chorus of the Jackson's "Shake Your Body Down to the Ground"-- so whenever Michael Jackson says: "Let's dance, let's shout!" and the Chorus of other Jacksons go "Shout!" I've got a little toddler voice keeping the beat also saying "Shout!"

But keep in mind our musical appreciation is not just limited to when we're in the car. The other day we were in the kitchen and Tropic Thunder was on tv. At the end of the movie, when the Les Grossman character is dancing to "Get Back" by Ludacris, Miss B. was also dancing. Not to mention that she decided to add her own bit of flair to the whole mix by wearing an oven mitt on each arm.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Happy Birthday.

Last month was Miss B.'s birthday. I ordered a cake at Wegman's for the little lady about a week before her party. When I was placing the order there were two girls at the bakery counter-- one that wasn't very glamorous and seemed to be doing all the work, and a gussied up blonde girl who didn't seem to be doing anything besides be-littling the other employee. I ask if I can place an order and the gussied up one says that she'll do it since she's more experienced.

She takes down the simple stuff like name, flavors, etc. and then when she goes to write out the message, she writes it as "Happy Birthday Miss B." Then I ask if I can change it to: "Happy 2nd Birthday Miss B."

Does she cross out the old message and write a new one entirely? Does she just scrap the whole form and do it again? Nope on both counts-- instead she just draws an arrow and puts "2nd".

To steal a phrase from Star Wars, I had a bad feeling about this.

A week goes by and we go to pick up the cake. What does the message say? "Miss B. Happy 2nd Birthday"

I look at this and shake my head and say to the baker that the message is wrong. The baker seemed a bit harried and says to me, rather defensively, "That's what the form says!" And I say, "no, it doesn't-- see the arrow?" Then I see the blonde girl who took my order and I say to the baker: "I'm sorry, but that girl over there took my order and she's just not very bright."

The baker laughed out loud and tells me, "You just made my day, how about I give you the filling for free?" Done! And that's how you get a $35 cake for $27. Make the baker laugh.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Today we had to visit Staten Island. Have you ever been to Staten Island? I guess it's better if I start at the beginning.

On Friday, May 22, 2008, I was driving the venerable wagon out of the city with Miss B. and the Husband in tow. It was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. I was trying to get to the Lincoln Tunnel by going across town on 37th Street. I had been good, at each light I stopped even if it was green if it looked like I would "block the box" if I went out into the intersection. Finally, when I got to the intersection of 37th and 8th, I saw that there was room across the street to fit the car, so I drove into the intersection-- but by the time I got across there was a horde of pedestrians crossing against their light. As I'm getting ready to blow the horn at the pedestrian mob I see a police officer stepping off of the curb into the crowd. Silly me, I think, "Oh, good, he's going to stop the pedestrians and let the cars through!" WRONG! He pulls me over and proceeds to give me a ticket for obstructing the intersection. I asked the officer-- what am I supposed to do if there's room for my car, and I have a green light but I'm blocked by pedestrians? His response-- the pedestrians aren't his responsibility and I should blow the horn. What does this mean to you and me? $115 ticket! But, since it's technically a "parking" ticket and not a moving violation, no points on your license. Basically, this is an incentive to just pay it.

Needless to say I was not happy. But, when I got home I checked out the Department of Finance's website and saw that I could challenge my ticket either by mail or through a hearing via web. I thought the hearing via web sounded like a great option-- but, of course, my ticket wasn't input into the system so I couldn't do the hearing by web. The Department of Finance advised that the tickets are typically input into the system one week from the date of issue. So for the past month I have periodically been checking on the status of the ticket (both by ticket number and by my plate number). I even called 311 to see if they could help. (They couldn't, but they did, quite efficiently, email me a brochure on how to challenge a ticket by mail.)

I ended up forgetting to mail in my ticket and as today was the one-month mark from my ticket date I figured what the heck-- let's go to one of the Department of Finance Business Centers and see if we can get an immediate hearing.

This is what brought us to Staten Island.

The Department of Finance has business centers in each of the boroughs and I mistakenly assumed that heading to SI would be the closest/fastest. Not so much when you factor in Goethals Bridge traffic and just the fact that Staten Island is kind of like driving through Linden, New Jersey but with rush hour Long Island Expressway traffic, even at 1:30 in the afternoon.

My Map Quest directions had me getting off on Todt Hill Road (or thereabouts) and then had me driving through the wilds of this place until I hit the St. George municipal area (which is really no where near the place I exited the highway). The St. George area is on a hilltop and is a warren of one-way streets. My map quest directions were useless and I had to use the force to find this place. Luckily there was a giant municipal parking lot right across from the "Business Center" (which is actually a large, green brick building in the style of Soviet Block Apartment House Chic). I saw a great space that a man in a large pick-up truck was vacating. I pulled in, and as I stepped out of the car to get the stroller, Pick-Up Truck Man rolls down his window and proceeds to tell me that unless I have a special permit I can't park there-- as he did and got an $80 ticket.

Apparently, the large municipal parking lot is intended to give out additional parking tickets to those poor lost souls visiting the municipal building to fight existing parking tickets. Very Existential if you ask me. I think you could also use the phrase "Mayor Bloomberg's Money Making Scheme", but it's up to you.

Then I see a police officer (who just happened to be the man doling out the tickets) and asked where could I park? He said, vaguely, "in the middle". Thanks, that's helpful. So I move the car a bit to what appears to be the "middle" and then I happen upon a girl in a foreign sedan who is waving at me--- then I notice that she's holding out a pre-paid Muni-Meter pass. It turns out she still had an hour paid up and was leaving and was giving it to me! How cool is that? Especially since I had no change and was going to have to try and break a $20 at the Sabrett hotdog stand conveniently placed outside of the parking facility just to be able to actually pay to park.

Once settled in to our parking spot, we headed inside and it was actually quite an orderly and well organized experience. You get in line regardless of whether you plan to pay or contest your ticket and are then routed into another line depending on what you're looking to do. After about 20 minutes or so I got in to see an Administrative Law judge. It was me and Miss B. and the judge all in a small office. Once I started testifying, Miss B. wanted to throw in her two cents (which mostly had to do with Hello Kitty Stickers and the Cookie Monster stuffed animal we had with us).

So, while I'm explaining my side of the story, I'm also talking to Miss B. and alternately sticking small stickers on her, on me and on Cookie.

Happily, after a few minutes the Judge advised that she was persuaded by my testimony and she had decided to dismiss the ticket (Oh, happy day!). After this news I thanked her. And I asked if she wanted a sticker.

She didn't, but she did laugh.

Between the free parking and the dismissed ticket, it seemed to be my lucky day. On top of that when I got home I had a coupon in my mailbox from the folks at Tasty Cake for a free box of Tasty Cake goodies (to make up for the box I had bought that came with the wrong product packed inside!) Score!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bargains Galore!

So yesterday Miss B. and I went to the Second Chance Thrift Shop in Pepack/Gladstone, NJ, at the previous urging of the Mom. One of her blogging friends from the area recommended it. Well, did we ever hit the jackpot! Turns out it was 75% off day at the store as it was getting ready to close up for the summer. The goal, apparently, was to try and clear out as much stock as possible to make room for new thrift finds in the fall. We did our best, arriving just before closing at 4pm. For a whopping $39 we got: 1) a victorian looking mirror and washbasin stand (with wash basin-- all its missing is a pitcher!), 2) a Fenton Milk Glass footed "banana boat" for the Mom (and thanks to the Mom for identifying it!), 3) an Avon milk glass covered jar, 4) a 8 piece set of transferware salad plates from the Soho Pottery in England (which, according to internet research were made sometime between 1913-1930), 5) a pair of plain white Limoges candlesticks (one is has a tiny chip that's been repaired, but they still look great), 6) a vintage brown riding helmet and 7) a beany baby swan (Miss B.'s choice).

Pictures to follow once I get a new CompactFlash card for the ye old Nikon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dinner, plus One

Last night we had an easy fun favorite-- Gyros! I served them with two kinds of Alexa potato products... seasoned red potatoes and we also tried a bag of their new Sweet Potato French Fries (the unseasoned ones-- they also have ones with a chipotle seasoning). The Alexa oven roasters and the french fries are great products and an easy baked substitute for traditional deep-fried fries. I tossed each in a bit of olive oil and seasoned with a touch of salt and pepper and in 18-22 minutes, Voila! Starch! :) I also made a homemade tzatziki and I used the new Greek style yogurt from Stonyfield Farm. I have to say, I wasn't crazy about it. The yogurt itself tasted a bit chalky. I prefer using regular plain yogurt, or if you want to use Greek yogurt use Fage. For the filing of the gyros I sauteed chicken breast pieces in olive oil with some sliced shallot and capers. I also added in a bit of white wine and some oregano, salt and pepper. Usually I serve feta with Gyros as a topping, but when we were at WF I couldn't find feta crumbles so I picked up some goat cheese crumbles instead. It's a less authentically Greek taste, but it was very good. The goat cheese was tangy and got a bit soft and melty with the hot chicken. Served up with fresh diced tomatoes on fresh pita-- Yum!

Then, for tonight I tried to recreate one of the best meals I've ever had-- Coquilles St. Jacques from the Restaurant le Christine in Paris. When we were in Paris last, we ordered in from the Restaurant le Christine (a great feature of staying at the Relais Christine is that you can order in-room dining from the restaurant next door!) and I got the Coquilles St. Jacques and it was completely amazing. The scallops were cooked to perfection, super fresh and in the most wonderful sauce. Not to mention the amazing mashed potatoes that they were delicately placed atop. Scrumptious! Anyway, two years have passed and I hadn't yet tried my hand at this dish, though I'd been meaning to. This week I decided it was finally going to happen. Sadly, neither Martha Stewart's encyclopedia of cooking nor Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris had a recipe, so I went to Epicurious. On the website I found a recipe from Gourmet Magazine's March 2001 issue. I decided to serve it with mashed potatoes (for which I used California golden potatoes) and green beans sauteed in olive oil with garlic and cashews. I pretty much stuck to the recipe (though I did dredge the scallops in flour before sauteing them). Can I just say! The burre blanc was terrific! The tarragon only gave the slightest hint of licorice, and all in all it was just really tasty. While mine wasn't as amazingly outstanding as that in Paris, it was pretty good, especially for my first time making scallops. Yum!

Also, for a little history lesson in the Christian symbolism of the scallop shell and it's relation to St. James, check out this link on Wikipedia. Mark Bittman and Claudia Bassols discussed this connection while walking a part of the Pilgrim's Walk on one of the episodes of Spain on the Road Again!

Today's Customer Service Complaint Call...

was made to FedEx Kinkos thanks to J.B. at our local branch.

J.B. spent a good twenty minutes trying to pick up "Michelle" the customer who he waited on ahead of me (despite my being in line at the FedEx station before Michelle walked up to the general registers...)

J.B. stood there, starry eyed and chatting up Michelle in his best Barry White voice while she wrote out her father's day cards, weighed a gift bag on the Fed Ex scale (not sure why), filled out all of her paperwork and then packaged the gift bag. (All the while, the FedEx truck driver was loading up his hand truck, and I'm sitting there thinking, "great! my packages aren't getting out until tomorrow at this pace".)

Anyway, I guess J.B.'s charms worked, because at the end of the transaction-- after he had to circle the Fedex tracking number on her reciept (and try for a touch of her hand) she passed a piece of paper across the counter to him, with her name and number. Right about then is when I lost all patience and called for a manager! I'm all for this guy making a love connection, but can we try and limit the pick-ups to packages and not customers?

Jeopardy! has hit a new low...

One of the categories in Double Jeopardy this evening was "Wrath of Caan". Yes, the entire category had to do with James Caan. Wrath of Caan shared the board with "Upton Sinclair", surely, Mr. Sinclair is rolling over in his grave somewhere.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Class with the Countess!

Yesterday, we visited the city with Thisbe and the Wee Kraken. We had a lovely tea at Alice's Tea Cup on the Upper East Side and then we hit up Bloomingdale's. Bloomie's, in conjunction with Lilly Pulitzer was hosting a book signing of Countess LuAnn de Lesseps' book Class with the Countess. As frequent readers will know, I'm a big fan of the Real Housewives of NYC, and I love Lilly, so this was a double dose of excitement (not to mention that champagne and cupcakes were also involved...!) Thanks to Thisbe who not only indulged in my Countess meeting, but also was the official photographer for the event, getting a great picture of Miss B. and I with the Countess. I, of course, had to lend my own flair to the event by accidentally knocking over the Countess' champagne with the edge of my Gucci Jackie Hobo bag. Do you think there's a chapter in the book that deals with such a faux pas?

Google Maps!

Today we saw one of the Google Map cars!

Apparently, Google Mapping vehicles must be "in season" as
Melissa Morris spotted one in Manhattan today too!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Disco Abs!

I just saw a commercial for Cheryl Burke's "Disco Abs". It's like an updated version of sweatin' to the oldies, or Lester Wilson's Disco Dance school. Is it me or is that just plain silly?

Craft Mania, part deux

Do you ever have one of those days when you find yourself kind of acting like Magda from "There's Something About Mary" when she's cleaning Mary's apartment as if she's on speed? Well, today was one of those days.

While Miss B. was sleeping, I decided to finish work on the "carpetbag" that I have been making for the Mom. Thisbe is aware of this, since we were on the phone while I was attempting to figure out what the ^*$*$!?! was wrong with my machine... alas a few re-threadings of the needle and resetting the bobbin later, and Voila!

Here's the bag in all its glory... it started out its life as a throw rug from IKEA. They had them on sale for $1.99 and some of the patterns were just so neat I thought I could make bags out of them! Sure, that was about six months ago, but hey, at least I finally got around to it, right?

The contrasting polka dot fabric shown here is actually an interior pocket inside the bag!

I got strap fabric at JoAnn's and used clear nylon thread...

The bag is really big, I think it will make a great beach tote!

Then it was time to move on to my next craft! I've been wanting to make a sweater quilt for a while and now that I know the basics of quilting I thought I would give it a try. I had felted a bunch of old sweaters this past winter and they had just been hanging around in the craft closet waiting for something to do! The other day I cut up a beige fisherman's sweater and a navy blue cashmere sweater into 5 inch blocks and arranged them in a checkerboard pattern which I thought would be perfect for a stroller blanket for Miss B. Today I worked on sewing together each of the squares to make my strips. Now that's done, but alas, my machine can't handle sewing the strips together as the felted sweaters are just too thick... I'm hoping maybe I can use a machine at the Pennington Quilt works to finish the project!

Not being able to finish the quilt in one sitting, I then had to move on to my next craft! (What else is one expected to do when the only thing on TV is "I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here"?) So, I made another iron-on t-shirt for Miss B. Check that out!

And, finally, before putting away the sewing machine I hemmed a pair of jeans.
Ah, the accomplishment!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Subway Series Sunday!

Today we went to see the Yankees and the Mets play at the new Yankee Stadium!

The Husband got tickets for us and when we first arrived we weren't quite sure whether we were in regular seats, or a box, or whatnot. Upon heading to the will-call window we were informed that there were no tickets waiting for us, but that we should check with the concierge at the Suite Entrance on the other side of Gate 4.

We actually had tickets to be in the Legends Suite! How cool is that? We didn't really know at first what this meant, but the Legends Suite is filled with nice people to show you around and make you comfortable! There was a concierge the minute we walked in who offered to check our stroller! The Legends Suite includes a two-floor restaurant/lounge area with a full complimentary buffet (including a made-to-order pasta bar, carving station, cuban food station, hot dogs and other stadium fare, dessert station, etc., etc.) and giant flat screen tvs everywhere and a huge bar. Can I tell you, they even have tvs in the bathroom (which were really cool because they were flat screens behind the mirror so the game just seemed to be floating above the sinks!) On our way out of the club area to our seats there was a giant table with cracker jack, peanuts, twizzler and all other candy goodies and giant ice chests with bottled water and other drinks for the taking. (Oh, and let's not forget that as we were sitting and enjoying our meal, a woman came around with a *giant* tray of chocolate chip cookies and presented one to Miss B.!!)

Then it was time to head out to our seats! And what seats they were! We were in the fourth row right at the third base line, right behind the Met's dugout! The seats were big and comfy and leather (or at least something that looked like leather!). And, ladies were coming around the seats with more food (there was a hot dog lady, a man with cotton candy!) and there was also a nice woman assigned to our section who would come by every inning or so and ask if there was anything she could get for us. About midway through the game I had noticed that folks a few rows ahead of us had french fries, so the next time our server came by we asked what was available-- what's available? She provided us with in-seat dining menus! The Husband ordered a sausage and pepper hoagie and I got chicken fingers and french fries! (Note, this was after we had already shared a lovely raspberry sorbet... in a mini Yankees cap... with Miss B!) All I can say is it was totally amazing! It was like being in the first class lounge at the airport, only better! The last time I've seen such a diverse and amazing assortment of food was at Thisbe's wedding! Giant Kudos to the Yankee's organization for putting together a really lovely place for people to enjoy the game. Everyone in the Legends Suite Club and Legends seating area were super nice and really made our experience a terrific one!

As for the game-- it was great! The minute we took our seats the Yanks scored a home run (let's not even discuss the final score-- sorry, Mets fans)... And, there was a blimp, which Miss B. loved! It would make its rounds above the stadium and each time she saw it she would get so excited!! (Not to mention that she also got very into the music, clapping and other baseball game traditions). She just did fabulous!!

Derek J!
Enjoying Hot Dog #2

The view from our seats...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

So the other night...

I found myself eating a tuna sandwich and watching "The International" at two a.m.


Today we visited Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, aka "Amish Country" as part of our visit to see Thomas the Tank Engine.

I took a lot of pictures of the Amish and Mennonite in the area while we were driving around, including the picture above of some of the men working on building an addition to a farmhouse. It wasn't until we got home and looked at the pictures that the Husband noticed that the Amish man in question appears to be using a DeWalt power tool (he can spot that trademark yellow anywhere!). There also appears to be some sort of airnailer next to the guy on the roof (and that's to say nothing of the whole use of the "house wrap" from 84 Lumber). Now, I understand that the Amish have some strange rules about what "technology" can be used and can't be, but geesh! If you're going to use power tools, why not get a car while you're at it? Not to mention that we saw quite a few Amish girls on scooters (non-motorized scooters) and none of them had on shoes!?! Out in the fields, operating these scooters with one foot on the ground like something out of the Flintstones. In the immortal words of the former Cornell Law School Dean Russell Osgood: "Aren't you concerned about ringworm?" Someone, get these poor girls Pedicures, Stat!

But alas, the main reason for our visit:

the Illustrious Thomas the Tank Engine!

Needless to say, Miss B. got a big kick out of it!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Island Time in Sodor.

So, we're all getting ready for our big Day Out with Thomas on the Strasburg Railroad! Pictures to follow!

Kudos to Gwynnie

This week's post at Goop is all about Cookies! Everybody loves cookies, and in the immortal words of Snoopy: "Have a cookie. It will make you feel better."

Attack of the Prep

Years ago, when I was a kid, I picked up a copy of The Official Preppy Handbook at the Atlanta Library Book Sale.

I know it's a satire, but I took it to heart. I've always liked LL Bean, whale prints and the like. When it comes to a formative building of my true fashion sense, this tome is like the bible.

Thus, when I came across a pair of Brooks Brothers madras patchwork pants recently (Similar to the photo below...), I couldn't help myself. (Now, let it be known that I've owned madras patchwork pants before, having bought a pair in college. Unfortunately these pants, much like the Tommy Hilfiger Lobster Print Pants which were also a college purchase were technically a bit too small but which I could usually manage to squeeze myself into a couple of times a season... ah to being a fashion victim, in more ways than one).

I also scored a Vineyard Vines Susie Fit Navy polo shirt. Paring this combo with my Miss Trish of Capri sandals and I'm ready for summer! (And, will also probably be able to be seen by the Hubble Telescope, because face it, the pants are a bit LOUD).

Let's also not forget that Miss B. received some lovely Lilly Pulitzer togs for her recent birthday (shout out of thank-yous to Miss Melanie and Miss Emily), so we're on our way to passing on the prepdom tradition. Can little penny loafers be far behind?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thoughts on Tonight's TV Viewing

Okay, Wipeout? On ABC? Have you seen this show? I know it was on last summer too, but it still amazes me that it's been renewed. Not to mention that, but at least tonight's episode seemed to be longer than an hour. What on earth has happened to prime-time television? I know it's summer, but still! How many times can you watch people being knocked off of poles by a giant swinging arm? And the double entendres are just too hokey. If ABC is really this desperate for programming, why not bring back Battle of the Network Stars?? Now, this was tried in 2003 but without a good cast. You need a good cast-- just think the cast of Heroes try to beat out the cast of Lost at tug-of-war... but if that proves too expensive I would even be entertained just watching re-runs of the originals. Shattner (circa T.J. Hooker), Billy Crystal, Lou Ferrigno, Larry Hagman, LeVar Burton, the cast of Happy Days (i.e. Ron Howard before the ye old directing career) most importantly Howard Cosell!

Fine. Don't take my advice, programming bigwigs.

In other matters, we did watch Top Chef Masters. I have to say, it wasn't the same without Padma. Mostly I was distracted thinking-- where's Padma?

After sitting through two hours of that since it really couldn't hold my attention at any stretch long enough for me to see what was going on... I flipped around our movie channels and found a long time favorite on Flix: A Room with a View. What a great cast! Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter (to name a few) and of course, Daniel Day Lewis. Well, at least this makes up for Wipeout!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Everybody Loves iTunes

I know I'm like a broken record on this point (and no out-of-date pun intended) but I continue to be fascinated by the sheer randomness of my iTunes purchases. Tonight's bill of fare? Enigma, music from La Dolce Vita, and of course, the Black Eyed Peas.

All I can say is Boom Boom Pow!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Storm King!

A type of garage door?

A storm door brand, surely?

Try again! A 500 acre sculpture park in Orange County, NY. The Dad left a copy of "Forbes' Life" magazine and it had a neat article about Storm King. I had heard of it before, but hadn't realized it was just up the road from one of our favorite haunts: Woodbury Commons Outlet Mall. Nothing says culture like hitting up the outlet village after going to the sculpture park! Regardless, I think a visit will be in our near future!


Today Miss B. and I went to Bobby's Burger Palace in Paramus with the Mom and Dad. I had seen it at the infamous Bergen Town Center before, but had never been and the Dad has always been a bit of a Bobby Flay fan (years ago we went to the Mesa Grill and the Mom and Dad are still talking about how I ordered an at the time completely foreign looking Chile Relleno) so we figured what the heck.

I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised! I think Mr. Bobby still has to work on his concept a bit, as the interior and the "is-it self-service/is-it-waiter-service" asthetic is a little confusing, but the food was great! I got a lemonade and an LA Burger which came with Avocado relish, watercress, cheddar cheese and tomato. The Mom and Dad split a Philadelphia Burger (provolone, sauteed onions, hold the hot peppers). Miss B. got a grilled cheese (american, swiss and tomato). We shared regular fries and sweet potato fries (tasty!) and had a strawberry milkshake. Ironically, the milkshake is priced at $5. This reminded me of the famed "$5 milkshake" at Jack Rabbit Slims in Pulp Fiction. To quote Vincent Vega: "That's a pretty f**king good milkshake. I don't know if it's worth five dollars but it's pretty f**king good."

Most importantly though were the sauces. I love a good sauce. It's one of the reasons why I've always had a special place in my heart for Arby's (love that Horsey Sauce). At BBP there is a little condiment wheel on your table with ketchup, chipotle ketchup, Bobby's Burger Sauce (which got a sour-pickle sort of face out of Miss B. when she tried it on a french fry), jalepeno sauce (hot, but so tasty with the sweet potato fries!). The fries come with a special fry sauce and the sweet potato fries come with a delish honey mustard horseradish sauce. Yum!

So far there are BBP's in Paramus, Eatontown, NJ and Lake Grove, NY. If you're a burger and fries fan and you're in the area you should totally check it out!

Monday, June 08, 2009


Not too long ago, Laura at the Shore House took us all on a quilting adventure thanks to the 2-hour baby quilt class at M Avery Designs in Hoboken.

I've always wanted to quilt and despite the Mom having given me a whole boatload of quilter's supplies for last year's birthday (and the Husband even setting me up with a quilt kit from Pennington Quilt Works) I hadn't been ready to take the plunge.

What can I say, I looked at the quilt kit and the instructions seemed like reading a stereo manual. It just made no sense. Not to mention that I was actually afraid to start cutting the quilt fabric. What if I didn't make each square square? What if they were different sizes? How could I make my measurements precise enough? Oh, the self-doubt! While Terry Zeigler was known around the yearbook staff and newspaper staff rooms in High School as having the talent to be able to cut a straight line no matter what, I'm not so good with the straight lines.
When I saw Laura's post I thought, this is too good to be true! Look at this fabulous quilt! Knowing that the Mom was scheduled to be in town I thought, "we've got to try this!" So, we signed up, I visited the good ladies in Pennington and got some great quilt fabric and the whole week leading up to the class I was completely incredulous and kept saying how I couldn't believe we'd actually finish a quilt by classes' end. The Mom agreed.

When we arrived in Hoboken (which is notorious for having NO parking) we managed to snag a spot in front of the store! We arrived at the class and it was just us and another quilting beginner. Our instructor handed us out pattern blocks and off we were! The concept of a two hour baby quilt class is really a great way to get your feet wet. You essentially have to throw out the window all of your OCD or type A tendencies and treat it as an Amazing Race style challenge, as Laura suggested. (One vestige, however, of my control-freak nature was that I did, indeed, bring my own scissors). I cut out my squares, proceeded to pin and sew. Not all of my lines were straight, but somehow most of my seams are straight. So my quilt may be more of a rhombus than a perfect square, I'm still pretty darn happy. I have to say, I now, thanks to M Avery Designs, have a basic understanding of how quilts work. Now that I know what I can do in a mere two hours, I know that if I put my mind to it, actually use an iron and perhaps my rotary cutter and lucite squares I can totally do this again.
My next challenge will be to work on the Pennington Quilt Works kit (which involves monkey fabric!) Oh, and let's not forget that we're going back to Hoboken later this month to do a handbag class with Miss Leda!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Americans In Paris

I just saw a story about Michelle Obama and the girls visiting the Eiffel Tower. So much for those Jackie Kennedy fashion comparisons. And "private vacation" or no private vacation, can we not have the kids dressed a little bit better, mom???

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Movie Time

Its that time again, the Mom and Dad are visiting and thus we have babysitting services! So far we've seen Angels & Demons and Star Trek!!

A&D was okay, not as good as the Code, but it did have the same music (plus), did have lots of Roman scenery (which we are now familiar with) and did feature Ewan!

Then, last night the Husband, Dad and I visited the Princeton Garden Theater and saw Star Trek! I have to say-- it was pretty darn good. Sylar as Spock? Fine choice. Surprisingly even better than that-- Karl Urban as Bones McCoy! Who knew the New Zealander could do it! Great story, great character development, all in all a great way to reinvigorate the franchise. Did anyone else notice the crack about Admiral Archer's beloved Beagle? At least they threw something in there for those six of us who actually watched "Enterprise" with Scott Bakula.

More Moms...

flex their shopping muscle by Blogging, says MSNBC....

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Why I love the Macro function


Since the birthday, we have been working with Miss B. on saying how old she is. We'll ask: "How old are you?" and she'll go "Two!" with two little crossed fingers.

Today the Mom and I were in the car with the Dad, Granddad and Miss B. The Dad and Granddad were engrossed in conversation and us three ladies were packed in the backseat of the wagon.

At one point, Granddad was talking about one of his friend's adult children, and the Dad asked Granddad: "How old are they?"

And Miss B. shouted out: "TWO!"