Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Fun!

Just a quick post, as I've been quite busy with life here in Brooklyn to post, I wanted to share s project I completed over the weekend.

For those of you busy moms, wives, sisters, friends, etc, I have a great little project that is easy, FAST, and makes a great gift. After posting a picture of my "pumpkin bouquet" a friend of mine noted that she was going to steal my idea and make one herself to give as a hostess gift to a party she was going to. So, I thought I would share my project with the blog world.

After church on Sunday I stopped into Circus Fruits (Fort Hamilton kwy between 10th and 9th). I selected a small, short, round pumpkin and a small pot of yellow mums. When I got home, while waiting for creepy, halloween cupcakes - also known as "creep cakes" I cut the top off the pumpkin, gutted and cleaned the inside, and placed a small, plastic contained inside the pumpkin. When I was done, I added some dirt from the Mum plant and placed the entire plant inside the plastic container. If you prefer, you can cut the flowers and place them in the plastic container inside the pumpkin. I made the bouquet for my mother-in-law, who really liked the creative little flower vase. I figured since we would only have a few more weeks of decent weather, once the pumpkin starts to rot she can plant the entire pumpkin, minus the plastic container inside, right in the ground and the pumpkin will act as fertilizer for the plant. Should also help your garden for next years plants.

As an added touch, using toothpicks, I attached the "lid" or, as my husband called it, the "hat," to the side of the pumpkin.

As I mentioned before, I completed this project while cupcakes were in the oven. Actually, as I recall, there were exactly 4 minutes left on my oven timer, and I was done before the timer went off.

Hope everyone enjoys this sweet, festive little project!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Brooklyn Wedding, Part I

It is now September 2nd and just 4 short days after my beautiful wedding day. I wanted to get onto the Brooklyn Clothesline as soon as possible so I could start my Brooklyn Wedding series and hopefully help others brides make their wedding day as special as mine was.

To begin, I’d like to start with the all important wedding reception venue. When I initially began my search for the perfect venue, there were many options to consider, including location (Brooklyn, Manhattan, Long Island, etc) or restaurant, hall, country club, etc. I chose to narrow my selections down by cost of venue as well as location. Once I narrowed down my options, the process was much easier to manage. We ended up agreeing that the reception should remain as close to the church, and our neighborhood, as possible; we wanted to accommodate our out of town guests, as well as our senior guests, and guests who did not have access to a car.

Some of the websites I used to search venues included, but are not limited to:

The knot website was helpful in giving me an idea of cost per person, without having to commit to an appointment with the venue. I’m a big believer in not wasting my time, or others’ time.

After much research, I narrowed my selection down to 2 venues. In the end, one simply gave me a better bang for my buck and offered more options to “customize” my wedding. I can honestly say that I am completely satisfied with the decision I made.

The Dyker Beach Golf Course was impressive from the moment I contacted Beth Lanteri, the Catering Sales Manager for the club. Beth emailed me a sample menu as well as a price-point per person for a 5 course, sit down dinner – exactly what we were looking for. Since it was the same cost as our other option, I thought it would be worth it to check out the venue. A few days later, and about a ten minute drive from our house and we were standing in front of an impressive country-club-like building on the middle of a golf course, in the middle of Brooklyn! Once on the property you would never know you were in a bustling borough.

We met with Beth, toured the building, and scheduled a tasting. A few weeks later we returned for our tasting, which cemented our decision – the wedding reception would take place at Dyker Beach Golf Course. We then met with Chris Giacolone, the Food and Beverage Manager at Dyker Beach G.C. Chris was more than helpful throughout the entire process of planning our event. Accommodating does not even begin to describe Chris. We had a lot of special requests, as we were bringing two very different families together and wanted to make sure we were able to please everyone on our special day. From ordering an extra import beer, to providing extra items, items that were not on the menu, to incorporate in our cocktail hour.

Everything the day of the event went smashing. Chris and his staff set up all of our centerpieces (which we had made ourselves the evening before) and set up candles on the tables, seating cards, wedding favors, and much more. When we arrived at the reception, we were ushered off to the bridal suite which was stocked with champagne, fresh fruit, cheese, crackers and more. We waited in the bridal suite while our golf cart was brought to us and parked next to the outdoor, flagstone patio – ready for us to use in finding the perfect spots for pictures on the course.

We ended up with 56 guests at our dinner reception. Our guests were treated to a cocktail hour complete with passed hors d'œuvres and an open bar. Dinner was served by waiters in tuxedos, donning white gloves. Our guests had the option of ordering a chef prepared dish of either salmon, chicken, or chateaubriand. The bar was well stocked with top-shelf liquor, imported and domestic beer, and sweet imported liquers.

Our experience with the Dyker Beach Golf Course was an incredible one, and we are so glad we found it! In a big city there are so many choices, and we consider ourselves lucky to have this little gem right in our neck of the woods. The DBGC is located 1030 86th Street. My contacts at the club were Beth Lanteri and Chris Giacolone, although I believe there are other associates you may contact if you are looking for more information.

The budget conscience bride who must please everyone AND provide a classy atmosphere with stellar service will find that the DBGC meets all her needs and more.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Brooklyn Garden

Just a few pictures of the garden this year. We also tried watermelon, cucumbers (which grew fine last year), and zucchini - none of these took this year. But, we have an abundance of tomatoes, gourds, banana peppers, jalapenos, and sunflowers! :)

If you are reading this, and live in Brooklyn - please share with us what you grow in your "urban garden" - even indoor horticulturists should share!


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Today was a very special day! Since we had a little heat wave, I decided to put my brand new Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Attachment to good use. I made a delicious chocolate ice cream with crumbled Oreo cookies sprinkled in the mix. As I was making it, Joe was right beside me, waiting in anticipation for his part - the part where the ice cream is done and the bowl needs to be cleaned! Joe always likes to "clean" to bowl when I am done making something yummy (let's all keep in mind that Joe is 33 years old. But that's just fine with me :) So, I am happy to report that after Joe "cleaned" the bowl, and I then cleaned the bowl to prepare it for refreezing - I placed my fresh, homemade ice cream in freezer containers and placed them in the freezer for their second freezing. I got a full 1/2 gallon from the recipe that follows. The ice cream took about 4 full hours to really harden, but it was well worth the wait. Smooth, creamy, and absolutely delicious, this ice cream is a winner all around. You will NOT be disappointed with this recipe. Part of the allure of the recipe is that there is no melting, then cooling, as the recipe does not use eggs, as some recipes do. Flavor was not sacrificed either, trust me! In addition to being a great all-around recipe, this recipe can be used interchangeably to create all sorts of unique flavors (see variations listed below). Get creative and make your own if you don't see your favorite here.

Chocolate Ice Cream:

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup cocoa powder

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well with a spoon or wire whisk, but not too long. Place bowl in refrigerator and chill for 1 hour.

Using your Kitchenaid Ice Cream Maker Bowl Attachment, place bowl on bowl lift of mixer, making sure that bowl is secured. Place plastic planetary adapter over the metal piece that normally fits your "in-bowl" attachments (ie, paddle, wire whisk, dough hook). Place dasher inside bowl. Lift bowl so that dasher meets with the plastic adapter and secure in place.

Remove your pre-mixed ingredients from refrigerator and place on counter. Turn your mixer on the 1st speed (slow stir) and pour entire contents into bowl. Mix 25-20 minutes.

After you have mixed your ice cream for at least 25 minutes, turn mixer off, remove bowl from lift, and scrape ice cream into 2 shallow, freezer safe containers. Make sure containers are secured and airtight and place in freezer for 4 hours. Enjoy!


Strawberry ice cream:

Add 1 cup crushed strawberries in place of cocoa powder. Add 1/2 cups of fresh, sliced strawberries after you have mixed the ice cream for at least 25 minutes and immediately before you remove the ice cream for it's final freezing.

Coffee Ice Cream:

Prepare coffee as usual. Set aside one cup of lightly sweetened coffee, refrigerate for at least one hour. Coffee MUST be COLD when adding to your cream and sugar mixture. Add coffee in place of cocoa powder. For a stronger coffee flavor, add 2-3 shots of cold espresso to cream and sugar mixture.

Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream:

Add 3/4 cup of peanut butter to cream and sugar mixture, also in place of cocoa. Add broken peanut butter cups to mixture after you have mixed for at least 25 minutes and right before final freezing.

Fudge Ripple:

Prepare the cream and sugar mixture as listed above in the chocolate ice cream recipe but omit the cocoa powder. After scraping the semi-frozen mixture into freeze safe containers, pour a few long squirts of chocolate syrup on the top of the ice cream. Using a butter knife, poke and fold the syrup down and through into the ice cream to create a "swirl" affect. The ice cream will be a light, sweet cream with a ripple of fudge - so wonderful!

Cookie Dough Ice Cream:

Prepare the cream and sugar mixture as listed above. Add about 1.5 cups of small, balled cookie dough pieces immediately after you remove your bowl and dasher, and before your scrape ice cream into containers. Gently fold the bits of cookie dough into the mixture, being careful not to break up the bits of cookie dough. Transfer to containers and freeze for normal 4 hours.

I hope you have a chance to try some of these recipes. While these are not very health conscience recipes, you may substitute low-fat, or fat-free half and half for the heavy cream, and I would suggest Organic Valley Fat Free milk in place of the whole milk. I have tried ALL of the organic milks, and the Organic Valley is the creamiest by far - although Stonyfield Farm makes a very tasty alternative. The Organic Valley milk tastes very close to 1%, and my friend swears it tastes like 2%. It's delicious, try it! I would imagine you could also use a sugar substitute as well, although I have not tried. If someone does, please let me know, as I would be very interested in seeing how it turns out. In the interim, in a few days I will be making the strawberry variation using the Organic skim milk and the fat free half and half, so I will update and let you know how it turns out. I am going to "double churn" it, maybe let it churn for an extra 20 minutes, and hopefully that will keep the same creamy consistency as this recipe did. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

L&B Pizza

So, as many of you know, us Buffalonians are serious about our pizza. But, as I have learned, if anyone is as serious or maybe even more serious, it's a true New Yorker.

When I met Joe two years ago, he introduced me to L&B's pizza. A combination of sweet red sauce, fresh shredded mozzarella, and a golden crust make this Brooklyn original a winner. As some may know, we have decided to hold our rehearsal dinner here. As a non-native Brooklynite, I could only think, "what could be more NY than pizza!" So we decided that L&B's was the perfect spot to bring my closest family to share some wonderful food and great atmosphere with.

Much like our Anderson's back in Buffalo, L&B's is the place to come on a hot summer night (or any other time whenever you have the urge for good pizza). This Brooklyn hot spot has it all: Sicilian style "squares" fresh Italian ice in many different flavors, New York style pizza, and an indoor restaurant (in addition to their outdoor "garden" style dining). Their specialties include fresh, homemade spumoni - for Brooklyn newbies this is an Italian style ice cream treat made with ice cream, dried fruit and nuts and whipped cream, as well as the "squares" - thick crust, Sicilian style pizza with cheese on the crust and sauce on the top - delicious!

If you are in the neighborhood, skip the car ride and walk to L&B's - it's definitely worth finding the parking spot, but if you are close enough, save your gas and just walk - the atmosphere is excellent! L&B's can be found at 2725 86th Street. They have a full service restaurant, pizzeria, and catering available. Call ahead to order your pizza 718.449.1230. L&B's also maintains a website as well - check it out to learn more about this cornerstone Brooklyn establishment. Click here to go directly to L&B's page.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Independence Day Weekend in Brooklyn

4th of July Cupcakes

I realize it's been quite a while since I have posted, my apologies - life has just been very, very busy for all of us here in Brooklyn. Excuses aside, I've got two articles here; one rather personal, and another related to Brooklyn.

I should preface the first personal article a bit before I really hit the keys here. I have lived in Brooklyn for almost two years now and it's really been quite a journey for me; not to mention a period of growth for me. The transition from living in a small city to living in a big city has been an adjustment, to say the least. To begin, I've had a relatively diminished social life (until this past May) as I was focused on finishing school and working my full time job; but the patience has paid off, because the friends I have made over the past few months, and the friends whom stuck with me through the hardest of times have really made every moment of the studying, reading, and working worth every second.
This past weekend my friends, and lucky for me, neighbors, held a surprise bridal shower for me. I was delighted when my friends had invited me over to their home for a 4th of July BBQ this past Saturday, not knowing that upon arrival, I would walk into an outpouring of love and generosity! I think, to be honest, I am still in a bit of shock, as I really was not expecting to have a day dedicated to me and so it still has not quite sunk in yet. Therefore, I am still a bit strapped for words. However, with that said, I would like to thank all of my friends, family and soon-to-be new family for the beautiful shower. I could not have been more surprised and grateful for all of your love, support, friendship, and kind wishes.
I wanted to share with my online/blog friends some of the wonderful gifts I received at my shower. As some know, I have a slight obsession with my Kitchenaid K5-A mixer. Below I posted some pictures of just some of the goodies I received at my shower. You will notice 3 new pasta attachments - a pasta roller, a fettuccine roller, and a spaghetti roller. Additionally, on the mixer you will see a ice cream maker attachment (although I am storing the dasher and other piece) and a new juicer attachment. I also stopped off today at Williams-Sonoma at the Shops at Columbus Circle and purchased a new apron and rubber bowl scraper. Some other attachments I received include a meat grinder, and pasta plates - in addition to some other new kitchen tools. Finally, I received a beautiful marble pastry board from my friends next door (will post a picture when I make some pastry.)

So, the 4th of July (one of my favorite holidays) turned out to be quite eventful. While I would never say that my family here in Brooklyn is the same as my family back home in Buffalo (and England, and North Carolina, and Florida, and Maryland, and so many other places) I learned a valuable lesson over the holiday: no matter where you are, our who you are with - a friend, a neighbor, a co-worker, etc. - as long as you are with people that care for you as much as your family does, you will always be in good company. I couldn't be a luckier girl and I am so very grateful for the friends and family I have found right here in Brooklyn.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Engagement and Wedding Photos - Photographer David Joe

A little plug for our wedding photographer. Last week we met with David Joe to have some engagement pictures taken. As promised, the turnaround time was excellent and we received a disc with our photos on it tonight!
Here are some of the photos he took of us in Central Park. What a wonderful and talented artist Dave is, we are so lucky to have found him.

For more information on David check out his website, DmomentPhotography. Not only is David talented, his rates are excellent. I would whole-heartedly recommend David to anyone looking for a talented, personable photographer in the NYC area.

I've Graduated!

In so many ways! I must apologize, as I know some people check this blog and I haven't had a moment in the last few weeks to write anything. You see, I've graduated! Yes, after spending 2 years at New York University I have finally completed my program and graduated, so I've had some downtime and have been trying to enjoy it and celebrate my accomplishment - I like to think it's been earned.

My Mom, many of you know her as SweetScarlett, made the journey from Birmingham, England, all the way to the Big City - New York City that is, to watch me graduate at Yankee Stadium. She wrote a sappy, but very sweet blog article about it on her page about coming to NYC and visiting with me, if only for a few (much too short) days.

We had a lovely time together and having her here made graduation so special for me. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful job and home life, that allow me to have a very flexible schedule so that I can entertain when family and friends come to visit. While here in the city, Mom and I spent some time shopping in the garment district, shopping in Long Island, and lounging about our house just relaxing - it was a small vacation for me!

While my Mom wrote a very inspiring blog about my experiences during graduate school; she forgot to include herself in my very inspiration to complete graduate school to begin with. If it was not for her own determination and drive to succeed, I would have never applied to NYU to begin with. So, while I do have a wonderful fiance to thank, without my Mother's unending support, I would have never been able to accomplish this goal. I should call my new MA - the WE degree, because really, we all earned it. Everyone who has come into my life and supported me, listened to my constant babbling about politics (especially those of you who take no interest) and who supported me in even the smallest ways, I am truly grateful.

Thanks to all, but especially to my loving family, and my "adopted" family here in Brooklyn - The Dagostinos.

On a Quest for Honey…

After an outing to the Coney Island Museum, my friend (Rachel) and I were discussing how horrible the allergy season has been this Spring. In particular our conversation revolved around what medications worked for each of us, and which did not. Rachel noted that she had a friend who was using honey to combat her allergies; but not just regular honey, local honey. If I was back in Buffalo I wouldn’t have hesitated to take a drive out to the country and find myself some honey via a roadside stand. But, here in Brooklyn, that is not exactly an option. Sure, we can go to any corner store and likely find a small jar of honey, but Rachel noted that it was imperative that the honey be made locally, and as close to your actual residence as possible (in other words, just because it comes from a farm on the east coast, does not mean it is “local” – in our global economy one might get confused on this point, I know I did!) So, Rachel and I decided to do a little searching for some local honey this morning. Before we set out, last night I did a quick search on the benefits of honey and dug a little deeper into the idea of using this sweet wonder to alleviate some of my allergy misery. Upon investigation, I learned that the reason locally made honey is important is because it contains trace amounts of the same pollen that surrounds us in our everyday environments, thereby acting to boost your immune system.

First stop, Cortelyou Green Market. Arriving fashionable late at about 12:30 in the afternoon and were greeted by about 10 tents. The fair included a mushroom vendor, fresh flowers, fresh fish, the bread man, a local bakery, an egg stand, and a lettuce leaf and produce stand, among other vendors. We made our stops at almost all the stands and purchased some semi-local honey, imported from Pennsylvania – about 90 miles away. Although not truly local, I was pleased with the light color of the honey and the vendor assured me that it was excellent honey. Sure enough, I brought the honey home and compared it to my generic honey from the supermarket and the compared the taste and color – I guess I had never thought to do this before, but what a difference! The PA honey was much lighter and flavorful than the supermarket honey. It also seemed less thick than the grocery story honey, even though that honey was just purchased about 3 weeks ago. Upon further investigation into the allergy/honey link, I discovered that in order to really reap the benefits of local honey, you should begin taking a teaspoon or two of honey about 3-4 months before allergy season arrives. None the less, I still took a teaspoon or two of the honey today, and was uplifted by its flavor, if nothing else.

After browsing the Cortelyou Market, we walked down Rugby Street where a Street sale was going on. It was a nice break from the hustle-bustle of my neighborhood, as it reminded me of a cross between Elmwood Village and North Buffalo, back in Buffalo. The neighborhood is comprised of large, single and double family Victorian style homes, on wide, tree-lined streets. The neighborhood boasts a park-like setting, much like the trendy Park Slope area, but minus the trendy and overpriced. Here you can dine at wonderful little restaurants like The Farm on Adderley, or stop at the window of a street-side pizzeria for a slice. You can even shop at the local organic supermarket right in the same neighborhood! Even if you miss the farmers market on Sunday, I will definitely recommend stepping out and taking a stroll down the streets of this Flatbush/Midwood neighborhood.
Cortelyou Market is located on Cortelyou Road at Rugby Road. The market is open on Sundays between 8am and 4pm. Local honey is available in Brooklyn. You can check The Brooklyn Bee to find out where to get some of John Howe's local honey. Howe lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn and has three bee-hives on his rooftop. His page has just been updated and has gone from "SOLD OUT" to "AVAILABLE" since this morning.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter and KitchenAid Adventures, Part I

Happy Easter! I am excited to be celebrating Easter here in Brooklyn this year and although we will be having a quiet dinner at home, I am very thankful for the family that I have here.

Since Joe's Mom wanted to stay home this year for Easter, I decided that I would make some cupcakes to send to his cousin's house. I really wanted to make them, but didn't want 24 cupcakes around the house (make no mistake, I will eat them all if they are in my line of vision) So I thought it would be nice to send them with our neighbors who are headed to New Jersey to enjoy dinner with the rest of the family.
I used a great recipe I found online, it's actually a recipe featured on Martha Stewart's show and from Billy's Bakery here in New York City. You can view pieces of the episode that aired here. You can also find the recipe there. Just a few useful tips from my own experience - making the batter, I used 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder, as opposed to the 1 the recipe calls for. There was a discrepancy between what Billy said to add, and what was listed, so I went with a middle figure. I did not have any exploding cupcakes like others did, and mine turned out perfect! Also, the recipe calls for non-self rising cake flour. I used Swans Down cake flour - perfect for the recipe and non-self rising (although the box did not indicate as much so I had to call the company and ask). Also, I used Billy's buttercream frosting recipe as well. While this is a good buttercream recipe, it's not the best I've ever had - I would use a different one next time. No need to go up to 8 cups of confectioners sugar, 6 cups is more than enough, and I had plenty leftover - I could have probably frosted about 20 additional cupcakes with what remained.
Finally, I divided my buttercream into 4 separate cups and added some food coloring to make the frosting very pastel-like and "springy". Overall they came out wonderful. From mixing to completing the frosting it took about 2.5 hours to finish all of them.
As you can see from the pictures, I am once again using my 1957 K-5, Professional model KitchenAid mixer. And yes, it works just fine, truth be told, and I believe my Mother (who gave me the mixer a few years ago) will attest to this, actually works better than the newer ones.
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter and hope that you are able to take some time off and rest, relax, and enjoy life with your families and loved ones.

PS - I had a fun time looking at my Mom's blog, she has some beautiful Easter decorations out and it made me think about my own decorations that were boxed this year. Ahh, maybe next year I will get my act together and decorate the house :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Good Day

As some of you many know, my fiancée headed for Italy on Thursday. He took his Mother there for a short trip so that she could spend time with her family. Although I have missed him greatly, his absence gave me a chance to clean up the house and spend some time tying up loose ends.

Yesterday, our neighbors invited me over for dinner tonight, and although I had a lot of work to catch up on, I accepted the invitation and wandered over for dinner around 3pm today. I am so glad I decided to leave my internet world and actually take part in human contact for a few hours, because I really did need it! After spending hours on the computer every week, sometimes I get to feeling like I am losing my human to human social skills.

I didn’t want to arrive empty-handed, so I made some Country White Bread to share. The recipe I used made two whole loaves and I kept one for Joe when he arrives home tomorrow. I am also going to make proscuitto bread (also known as lard bread, or torta di pasqua) tomorrow morning.
Attempting to stay away from the sweets, or else I would have made a dessert, but the bread was well received and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I really enjoyed having dinner with my friends next door and it made me truly grateful to have such good friends so close by – plus, they made killer lasagna.
I also worked on my clothesline a bit (yes the real one!). It was warm enough to wash and hang the sheets, duvet, and pillow cases – so I did! I also finished doing the rest of my spring cleaning (minus the windows) and all the dusting and mopping.
Finally, Joe arrives back home tomorrow and I am so happy! I have missed him very much since Thursday and will be counting down the hours until he arrives home at 5pm tomorrow. Hopefully this coming weekend I will have a fun Brooklyn article to post. I’ve got something in the works, it’s just been too cold out to go and take pictures :(

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Birthday Part III - The Finale

It's now March 31st, but oddly enough, I was still celebrating my birthday as of this afternoon. The Fed-Ex man arrived at about 3pm and with a ring of the doorbell and some quick unwrapping, I had a Bocce pizza ready for my oven! Yes, that's right, Joe had ordered a Bocce pizza for us to enjoy as a part of my birthday celebration. To say I was excited would be an understatement! I couldn't wait to pop the pizza in the oven and taste that sweet Bocce sauce again.

We decided to bake only half the pizza and save the other half for another week; but I'll be dreaming about that Bocce's in my freezer until then.
I took some pictures of the beautiful flowers Joe bought me as well as some of the cards that were sent to me. I received a few cards yesterday as well as today. Speaking of yesterday, Joe and I spent a good part of the morning and afternoon shopping in Manhattan - how fun!! We even stopped at Magnolia Bakery for a pair of cupcakes! They were delicious, although very sweet. I especially liked peering through the window and watching the bakers frost the cupcakes, all while licking the frosting off my own little treat! If you've never been to Magnolia I would definitely recommend going, you can't get a better cupcake in the city!
And tomorrow, another special day! It's now almost midnight and I just finished going over my thesis one last time before printing out three copies to deliver to the MA department tomorrow morning. A bit of nervousness and excitement are both lingering around still, despite the exhaustion my body is feeling from trying to fulfill my 40 hour work week and finish this last lag of school. I've put off planning as much of the wedding as possible until this task was complete and so as of tomorrow, I'll be set to start planning the remainder of our event (in moderation of course, as I still have classes to finish in the next month).
When Joe gets back from Italy I plan to get back on the ball and write a few more Brooklyn related articles, and hopefully spend more time really making this my home. It's been tricky, trying to juggle school, work, home, wedding and all in a new area - so it will be nice to be done with school at least!

If you have not checked out SweetScarlett's blog recently, she's updated! I am so lucky to have a Mom who is so tech savvy! It amazes me the things she accomplishes with her blog and I hope that I can make mine just as nice.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Birthday Surprise, Part II

How exciting! Well, today the USPS had their work cut out for them! I received several packages in the mail and all were very welcome.

First, my beautiful sister sent me a package from Sephora. Included in the package was a small card with a sweet message and a round solid of Tocca Brigitte Parfum - my new favorite! I love it! The package also contained several things she had ordered for herself in anticipation of heading back to the United States soon. I tucked away her items so they stay safe until she arrives and immediately found a spot in my perfume caddy for my latest scent!
I also received the second package I was expecting from my Mother. A member of Etsy, and always the best giver giver, she found just the perfect thing for my special day! Inside a large cardboard box, I pulled out a small stuffed terrier pillow! She knew I wanted a dog! The pillow is so sweet and has made it's new home on my reading chair in the office. The terrier, whom I have named Cecilia (I really did name her!) is very unique. She is made with different fabric on each side. On one side she is pink and white with a flower design, and her other side is green and white with a vine pattern. She has a pretty bow for a collar and sweet pink rhinestone eyes. I love her and she was the perfect birthday gift from my loving Mom.

My Mom, Maggie Wareham, or as the blogosphere knows her, SweetScarlett, commissioned Teresa from soblissfullyvintage to make Cecilia for me. You can check out Teresa's items by clicking on the highlighted text. Also, don't forget to check out Maggie's, er SweetScarlett's items for sale on Etsy. A big thank you to Teresa for making such a lovely item for me with such care!

My godmother, Mary, sent me a beautiful string of pearls that I will be wearing for my graduation ceremony in May. This is the second string of pearls that Mary has given me, and both are so beautiful. I often wear the white pearls when I head to my office in Washington, and they always remind me of her.
My bridal slip also came today! Not as exciting as my other gifts, but it's still fun to get something in the mail - especially when it's not a bill! No pictures of the slip, it's quite boring for everyone else :)

So all in all, a pretty good mail day today. No bills, just fun stuff!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Birthday Surprise

In anticipation of my birthday next week, my Mom sent two packages to my home here in Brooklyn. While on the phone with her on Monday, she made mention that one of the packages should arrive soon and I could open it when it arrived, instead of waiting until next week. For someone as impatient as me, I was very excited to hear this! Sure enough, the package arrived later that morning and I was so excited to open it and find a beautifully wrapped silver spoon “ring rest”.
As you can see, the little lace envelope was accompanied by a small, linen cloth “birthday card”, and the sweetest miniature bouquet of tiny blue/violet flowers tied together with some sweet little ribbon. My mother purchased this from Sue of Cottonseed, also on Etsy. Do go visit and check out her items for sale - she has all sorts of unique and charming items listed.

I immediately place my little gift on my kitchen windowsill so it could be used for to keep my beautiful diamond ring safe from dish doom! I love my little gift and was so excited to get such a thoughtful present from my Mom. I can’t wait until the other package arrives as well! Thanks Mom!


Lately I’ve been walking home from my weight watchers meeting and on my journey have found a wonderful local nut store called Supernuts. For someone who doesn’t really like nuts all that much, I must say that they have the most delicious almonds I have ever had! They roast all of their own nuts right in the store, right behind the counter, and the prices are not that bad either.
I usually get ½ lb. of almonds and they last me the whole week, if not longer. When I need a quick snack, I grab a small handful of these and their sweet and salty combination is perfect for that afternoon hunger pain that kicks in. The guys behind the counter are always friendly and will make you laugh. Supernuts on Kings highway has a wide variety of other nuts, and dried fruit as well – YUM! Note: Supernuts does not have an official website, at least one that I could find via google, but they do have a facebook group page. Supernuts is located at 701 Kings Highway at East 7th Street.

A Sweet Treat - A&S Bakery

Upon returning home from my weight watchers meeting at the Kings Highway center here in Gravesend, I just couldn’t wait to bite into one of my favorite things – an A&S black and white cookie!

I wait all week for one of these delightful treats, and with good reason – this past week I lost 2.8 lbs! So, in celebration and in order to avoid getting the feeling of deprivation, I took a short walk to A&S to pick up my black and white, as well as two lemon drops for a treat.

This is my weekly ritual – and it works. Of course, by Friday I am usually thinking to myself – only 3 more days, only 3 more days! A&S is – BY FAR – the best bakery in Brooklyn. Sure, Mona Lisa makes a good cup of coffee – but so does Starbucks. Villabate is good – but in terms of taste, A&S out-performs every time.

So, next time you are in the Gravesend area, don’t forget to stop into A&S – my recommendation is the black and white – I would go as far as saying they make the best black and white in the entire region (including Manhattan). Besides, the girls at A&S are so sweet; they must be soaking up excess sugar from the place – now go, get yourself a black and white! A&S Bakery is located at 200 Avenue S between West 5th and West 6th streets. They don't have a website - but their phone number is 718-645-1295.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Friday shopping day!

In my attempt to prepare for my shopping day tomorrow, I set out my all important reusable bags for their trip to our local Shop-Rite. As you can see, although we do not have a Wegmans nearby (please Danny, bring one to Brooklyn SOON), I always have a little bit of Wegmans when I shop locally.
Just a quick note, today Joe and I went to rent transportation for the wedding! With grad school coming to a close for me, I can finally start planning. We ended up renting a Lincoln Stretch for the families and a 1955 Rolls Royce for us to travel in. My thanks to Donna from Romantique Limos for the great deal!
More to come on Saturday - I've got a great little Brooklyn piece to share with everyone!