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Resolutions for the Year of the Dragon

4 Jan

According to a random website I googled about Chinese Zodiac signs, 2011 was the year of the rabbit.

2011 was cute, furry and a little gamey. This year it is all about the dragon; a fire-breathing, ass kicking, but hopefully not scaley, dragon.

Last year my resolutions were ok – blog, travel, feel proud of myself, blah blah blah. While I achieved many of these goals, I unfortunately failed to even attempt my most basic resolution which was to learn how to poach an egg. Its ok though, poached eggs were so the year of the rabbit, for the year of the dragon my resolutions are:

  • Workout twice a week (ha, yea right…except I already went to Pilates and just signed up for a non-refundable boot camp so breathe my fire!!!)
  • Do not buy any clothing for the first 3 months of the year
  • Eat more oysters, sushi, and vegetarian dishes
  • Travel, travel, travel. Fingers crossed for a big trip to Greece and Turkey, or to Spain.
  • Update this blog once a week at least. Last year I had a few gaps but definitely an improvement from 2010 (the year of the tiger)

So if you see me in 2012, hopefully I will be wearing the same clothes as last year, looking fit, and slurping down an oyster on the Aegean sea.

Happy New Year!

Niffy’s Nifty Gifty

21 Dec

Since most people do their holiday shopping last minute, why not do a last minute gift guide? Presenting Niffy’s Nifty Gifty…

For Your Sister Who Is Very Beautiful, Smart and Funny

For the smart, funny and beautiful sister I recommend getting her something that you want so that you can borrow and or steal it at a future date. If you are like me and inventoried your sister’s entire wardrobe, then you know the pieces she is missing and the holidays are the perfect time to fill those holes. This year I filled the “everyday day to night black bag” hole.

On sale at Barneys, click to buy

Alternative to the black bag is a Clarisonic (which I got her last year) and she got me this year. See – buy things you want for others and they may come back to you!

Clarisonic Mia in Jaguar, click to purchase

For the Parents Who Have Everything

Shopping for my parents is hard – they always say they don’t want or need anything. Even the most obscure gift, like the oyster shucking knife I was going to buy my dad, is shot down because he already has two. This predicament makes gift giving especially challenging so this year I decided to give them the gift of memories in the form of a holiday calendar filled with old family photos.

Wall calendar from Pinhole Press, click to purchase

Alternative to the old photos calendar is matching pajamas for everyone in my family which I have done in years past. It seems dopey but its actually really fun to sit around all wearing the same outfit, its like a cult!

Pajamas from J.Crew for the whole family, click to purchase

For The Boyfriend Who JUST Signed Up For Gilt Groupe

There comes a point in every girlfriend’s life when she asks herself, “am I willing to date someone who wears mesh shorts in public or am I going to have to buy him some pants?” For me that question came four years ago and now I am dating a consistently fashionable guy. Since I have created this monster, feeding the beast is important in order to consistently reach new sartorially heights. A sporty yet stylish jacket is the perfect gift that harkens back to those mesh short days without actually reverting to them.

Arc'teryx Jacket, click to purchase

Alternative to the spiffy jacket is a re-imagined movie poster of one of his favorite films in an updated style.

Topgun movie poster from Moxie Creative, click to purchase

For The Best Friend That Continues To Abuse The Blue Mercury Samples Policy

Best friends are easy to shop for because you just get them what you want since you are so much alike and bff forevaaaaaaaaa! But seriously there are so many eligible best friend gifts its hard to pin them all down. Below are a smattering of choices for the special gal in your life.

Lip scrub and balm from Blue Mercury, click to purchase

Pom pom beanie that coordinates with her hair color from Calypso, click to purchase

Cuisinart immersion blender for winter soups, click to purchase

For Everyone Else on Your List

Don’t know what to get your landlord/mailman/professor? This apple. Trust me. It is delicious, impressive, inexpensive and all around incredible.  One year (ok every year) I have ordered myself one and its my favorite holiday tradition.

Giant caramel apple from Williams Sonoma, click to purchase

Hope everyone has a very happy holiday season and enjoy all your gifts both material and immaterial!

This Is Why I’m Hot

25 Jul

It is quite warm in DC and over the past few days there has been little respite from soaring temperatures. For the most part I have stayed indoors except when I have had to go outside for necessities, ie food.

Graffiti artist creating a mural in the middle of the DC Dance Festival in Chinatown

The rising mercury has made me a smidge cranky and I have adapted MIM’s classic song “This is Why I’m Hot” to vent:

I’m hot cause I went to the movies to see Friends with Benefits to cool off and the theater was boiling hot and the movie sucked

I’m hot cause a busboy projectile sweated on me at Stoney’s and he smelled funky

I’m hot cause I spent an hour at the Dupont Farmer’s market looking for the perfect eggplant for my mom’s eggplant parmesan recipe

This is why, this is why, this is why I’m hot!

I’m also hot because after the movie yesterday I came upon an impromptu rap concert by Doug E. Fresh as part of the DC Dance Festival in Chinatown.

Doug E. Fresh

Although it was over 100 degrees, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to sweat it out with my fellow Washingtonians and dance to some classic hip hop.  This little guy was dancing right next to me…his wave at the end was well worth the heat!

Best of Summer So Far

18 Jul

This is my obligatory – I-haven’t-posted-in-awhile-sorry-you-guys-I-have-just-been-sooooooooooooooo-busy post.

But in all honesty I was quite swamped and have missed the creative outlet this blog has given me. Plus I am feeling terribly guilty for breaking my New Year’s resolution to post once a week, I guess quitting reading Perez Hilton still remains my most dominant resolution.

Oh well, can’t win them all! Without further ado, here are some highlights from my summer thus far…

I turned 25…

Pregaming with some crabs from the Wharf

Joint birthday celebration with Nick at American Ice Company

All you can eat and drink birthday brunch at Masa 14

Cape Cod for 4th of July

Enjoying some sun before the start of a weekend long Olympiad

A trip to the Squire is a must

Football with Buckley, the weekend’s mascot

Catching a Chatham A's game

Bastille Day at L’Enfant

Nothing commemorates storming the Bastille like a fire dancer!

Masquerade dance party with Andrea and Beck

Already the summer is half over, but I still have a few things on my summer bucket list:

  • Seeing an outdoor movie
  • Attending a summer music festival (heading to Outside Lands in August)
  • Going to an Nationals game
  • Checking out my sister’s stomping grounds in Brooklyn
  • Eating at Graffiato
  • Finding a Summer book I really enjoy
  • Grilling everything I can get my hands on

I feel so much better now that I am caught up, thanks for reading!

 

Way Too Early Royal Wedding Extravaganza

28 Apr

As much as I have resisted I have decided to get up a bit early to watch the Royal Wedding hoopla. Please join me for an early bird Royal Wedding Extravaganza, I plan on watching ABC, starting at 5:00am.

Below is a link to a live blog, not really sure if this will work but if you are awake and feel like gabbing about the carriage, the hair, the dress and everything else, hop on!

Royal Wedding Extravaganza Live Blog

I Went Vegan for Oprah

8 Feb

Recently I joined the 21st century and sprang for DVR. Besides the realization that it only costs a few bucks a month, there was one driving factor in my decision to get it – Oprah. As soon as I heard it was Oprah’s last season I knew I wanted to record the magic. I had been a peripheral fan for years, but in this final year I anticipated that day after day she would be doing something spectacular and I did not want to miss it!

Man did she not disappoint – Oprah’s favorite things, a new sister, everyone is going to Austraaaaaaaaaliaa and Barbara Streisand’s insane house tour are just some of the highlights of what is sure to be the best $7.50/month I ever spent.

Oprah, looking green and leafy, with Veganist author, Kathy Freston

So last week after a particularly stressful day, I began to watch “Oprah’s Vegan Challenge,” what I assumed to be a lighthearted episode where Oprah struggled not to become a cannibal at work after eating only carrots and lentils for days.

Instead Oprah brought on vegan goddess Kathy Freston (who just happens to be the wife of Tom Freston,  Oprah’s OWN business partner) to lead a vegan bootcamp for all 378 of her staffers, challenging them to forgo meat and animal products for one week. Freston was plugging her new book, The Veganist and Michael Pollan also appeared to promote his books and advocate for a conscious diet that included some animal products.

Each staffer received a vegan starter kit prepared by Whole Foods (plug!) and filled with Kashi goodness (plug! plug!) The Harpo cafeteria only served vegan meals all week and several staffers received personal menu planning for their families from Kathy Freston, who I began calling skinny bitch under my breath every time she appeared on-screen.

At the end of the episode, I thought, “I can do this. I can go vegan for one week and I will be glowing and invited on Oprah as a success story!” I decided to begin my own personal vegan challenge and aim for sticking to a meat and dairy free diet for an entire work week (my weekends are for chowing down, ok?)

Although I don’t eat a ton of meat, the episode did make me think more consciously about where my food came from and how meat made its way to my table, and I thought it would be an interesting exercise. Plus, did I mention that Kathy Freston is one skinny, skinny bitch?!?

Things did not exactly start on the right (tofu)foot. I had a friend in town during the weekend and decided to roast us a chicken before a particularly dance fueled evening at Vegas Lounge. Naturally I used the remaining chicken to make a stock. For the next 5 days I would have all this delicious chicken and chicken soup lying around, unable to eat it.

This proved to be my downfall.

Pre-vegan splurge from Taylor Gourmet

On Superbowl Sunday, I organized catering from Taylor Gourmet, and promptly ate 3 meat filled hoagies as my last supper before V-day. If I was going to out, I was going to out with a bang!

First day of vegan challenge:

  • Monday morning – I had some dry cereal for breakfast which I carefully checked to make sure had no animal products. So far, so good.
  • Monday afternoon – Luckily the Sauca food truck stopped right in front of my office and I had a delightful veggie wrap full of flavor for lunch. Bonus points for the fact that it was also quite filling.
  • Monday night – I made myself roasted brussel sprouts and quinoa. I also ate about 3 handfuls of mini saltines to fill up.
  • Monday midnight –  I am starving. My stomach is growling, I cannot fall asleep. My best friend tweeted at me regarding her late night strip steak, further taunting me.  I watched several episodes of the Barefoot Contessa including a red wine and short rib tutorial to try to get a contact high from the beef, but to no avail. Finally at 12:30 I ripped off the covers, opened the fridge and ate some roast chicken. I had to, I was simultaneously unable to fall asleep and about to pass out. It was a nightmare!

As soon as I had some chicken I could feel my blood sugar stabilize and my panic subside. I simply had not had any protein all day and it was throwing me out of whack. I don’t understand how vegans or vegetarians do it, and I gave up animal products for only one day!

Looking back on this short-lived experiment there are a few things I would have done differently:

  • Buy vegan foods in advance. If I had more options lying around I think I would have been less tempted to raid the fridge.
  • Clear out all meat and meat by-products from my apartment (which would have been a feat since I have a butter supply that could last through a nuclear holocaust.)
  • Research recipes so that I have a nutritious balance at every meal.

Although I lasted only 24 hours, I did take away a few lessons from Oprah’s Vegan Challenge.

  • I realized my diet contains so much meat and animal products, it’s hard for me to eat without depending on it for sustenance and flavor.
  • There are plenty of tasty ways to have animal-free meals. In the future I will give more vegetarian foods a try rather than always choosing meat. Unless it’s steak, then all bets are off.
  • Living without butter is hell.

Overall it was an interesting experiment, and one I might try again in the future. For now, I think I will take a less drastic approach and enjoy foods of all nature, but always remember to appreciate where it comes from.

If you are interested in taking the Vegan Challenge, the Oprah starter kit is available here.

Highbrow Goals for 2011

4 Jan

Last year I decided for the first time ever to make a New Year’s resolution.

I decided that the number one thing I needed to do in 2010 was……quit reading Perez Hilton.

I know, I know… how could I ever do that? It was next to impossible, but I did it. Since December 31, 2009 I have not read that nasty blog and I feel much better for quitting that toxic dump.

This year I am going to try and aim a little higher but no less noble.

In no particular order I hope in 2011 to:

1. Poach an egg
2. Update this blog at least once a week
3. Cut down on online shopping
4. Travel some place incredible for a week or more
5. Create something that I am proud of

Have an egg-cellent New Year!

Hopefully these goals can all be interwoven into the creation of a course on egg poaching in a foreign locale, wearing clothes I already own and blogging about it…we’ll see.

Happy New Year!

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