Monday, June 25, 2012

Weekend Wanderings: Shelby's Bridal Shower

This was quite the weekend!  For months, I've been helping to plan Shelby's surprise bridal shower, and it's been hard not to spill anything, because I text her about as often as a middle-schooler, and she's probably the first person who hears about anything I'm planning.  So, this weekend coming as a real surprise to her was a pretty big accomplishment.  It was also filled with seeing people I don't usually see, so that was lovely as well.

On Friday, I dragged all of Shelby's gifts from my house to my office, and then up to Sarah's neck of the woods to meet her for lunch.  It was the first time I've seen her since she moved back to New York, which was wonderful, and hopefully we'll be able to do it again soon.  I took a lovely train ride back up home, and then ran some last minute errands with J.J. before getting dinner at Ramiro's with my parents and Liz.  I spent the rest of the evening admiring my parents' new (and unfinished) bathroom, printing out pictures for the shower, and relaxing.

The next morning, I woke up early, applied some make-up, went to the bank (I'd forgotten to bring my checkbook upstate for the weekend - of course), and had my hair cut before heading over to the Cove for Shelby's shower.  We had a little champagne brunch for her, and the restaurant set things up in a really beautiful way - the only decorating we really did was putting a favor in each cup and setting balloons on each table and photos around the cake.  I think Shelby was really surprised when she walked in (she seemed surprised, anyway!), and I know I had a great time seeing her, everyone in the bridal party, and one of my very oldest friends, Lauren (who took all the pictures you see here).

That evening, Roger and I went over to Alisha's parents' house.  They are one of the sweetest couples on earth, and happened to be celebrating the 30th anniversary of their meeting that evening.  Since we were in town, we came by and spent a wonderful night eating delicious food, dancing, and catching up with Alisha, Kevin, and Shumon.  Lovely.

Alas, there was no more funny business on Sunday.  I helped my parents buff some of the tile for the bathroom before Roger's father drove us (and Roger's bicycle, and an antique chair) back into the city.  We tried to do laundry, but the laundromat was closed, so we ordered our first-ever wash-and-fold.  I picked the clothes up today and they're just perfect, but at $60, the price was just too much to justify ever doing again.  We spent the rest of the day cleaning and getting things back in order for the week ahead, and then we ended the weekend with an amazing white pizza with mushrooms and carmelized onions.

It was one of the happiest weekends in recent memory.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Gratituesday: Swimming

I'm a Pisces, so it makes sense that I've loved water for as long as I can remember.  I don't remember very much about living in the city when I was a baby, but one of my first memories is of walking home with my grandmother, and seeing a bunch of kids playing in the undone fire hydrant.  The super of the building was about to close it off, and my grandmother convinced him to let it go for a few more minutes so I could play in it before going up to the apartment.  It was a very happy few minutes, and obviously left an indelible mark on me, in the same way that getting Italian ices from a cart and Swedish fish from the video rental store did.

Many of my happiest memories are from our trips to the shore in Rhode Island every summer when I was a child or of the lake in my hometown where my friends and I used to swim and canoe and lifeguard when we were teenagers.  Although I have gotten a little seasick on a few boats before, one of the greatest feelings I know is being exhausted after a day at the beach, and lying in bed, still feeling the motion of the waves.  I'm one of those people who thinks its really important that we cry saltwater.

And, this semester, I started getting back into lap-swimming.  I'd done laps a few times at college, and always felt too tired too quickly, so I wasn't sure I'd like swimming now.  I decided to try one day anyway, and discovered I really love it.  I swim much slower now, but the water is warm and I feel held the entire time.  And, going to the sauna afterward helped a lot.  I haven't been since the semester ended, but I'm hoping that after this running streak is over, I'll get back into it.

And, of course, for weekends at the beach.  I'm always hoping for weekends at the beach.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekend Wanderings: Errands & Works

I started off the weekend running a few errands on my half-day Friday.  I walked from my office down to the library, stopping to get a pair of shoes re-heeled and to pick up a few goodies at Bed, Bath & Beyond on the way.  It was warm and sunny, and a generally lovely walk.  When I came home, I went for a quick run and made some salmon for dinner, and called it an early night.

Saturday was another run, followed by a whole lot of reading (mostly a zombie novel that was interesting but not the greatest thing I've ever read, a little bit of some eternal poetry and a little bit of a self-help book that I'm trying to use to figure out the direction of my life). I haven't been writing as much since school ended (maybe two poems a month, instead of one or two a week), but I've been reading and collecting thoughts, and so I think it's been productive.  As I said a few weeks ago, I'm hoping to send out some submissions, so I really need to get on that, and on a few other things from the Summer List.  We met up with some friends to see the New York Philharmonic at Symphony Space, which turned out to be a really nice way to spend an evening.  The friends kept playing it up as avant-garde music and very experimental, but since this was my first time seeing the Philharmonic and since I'm really not well-versed in classical music, it didn't seem very new or controversial to me.  I think I was expecting something more John Cagesque.  Rush tickets were only $10, and Brooklyn Brewery sponsored a little reception afterward, so it was affordable and fun.  I would definitely go to another one of the shows in the series.

And yesterday was also pretty quiet.  A few friends and I have started a small writing group, and so the four of us met up in Brooklyn and chatted over some poems and a short story for a few hours.  When I got home, Roger joined me for a run, for the first time in years, which was a lot of fun.  I mostly run alone, but having company is always a welcome change!  Some quick yoga, dinner, and then a project for work, and the weekend was over before I knew it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

{This Moment}

Instagram has quickly become one of my favorite social networks.  I've always loved photos, and this has been an ideal way to share them.  I'm thinking about adjusting my "This Moment" posts to include multiples from throughout the week, to give a portrait of my everyday life, more accurately than a single image can.  Let me know if you have thoughts on it!

Beer pong at Whiskey River with coworkers last Friday.

Big Gay Ice Cream truck & NYPL with Rachel on Saturday.

Trip to my old neighborhood for a birthday party.

We are not so good at self-portraits.
Roger is singing to the cat here.

Cookies for our penultimate Mad Men viewing. We needed them.

I'm always in the mood for Frost.

Earlier today, running errands at Bobst.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cooking with Kristin: Loaded Mashed Potatoes

You may recall my parents' kitchen-aide mixer from our pretzel recipe, which makes delicious, buttery mall-pretzels without butter or weird-mall-additives.  Another one of the amazing things to come from their mixer is this recipe for loaded mashed potatoes.  I don't have a kitchen-aide or a hand-mixer, so I make these in the food processor, and they tend to come out more like a potato-puree than mashed potatoes.  I'm just fine with that (especially if it means I don't have to mash them by hand).  If you do mash them with a mixer or by hand, though, you might find it helpful to add 1/4 cup of milk or cream.

Loaded Mashed Potatoes (adapted from the Idaho Potato Commission)

  • 2-1/2 pounds potatoes, cut into chunks 
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 16-ounce container of sour cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • 1 thinly sliced scallion

Place potato chunks in a large soup pot and add just enough salted water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until tender (about 15-20 minutes); drain well and place in food processor. 
Add remaining ingredients and process (or beat with an electric mixer) until blended and smooth. Garnish with an extra sprinkling of shredded cheese and scallion slices.  Serve immediately. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Shameless Self-Promotion: Underwater New York

I've been reading Underwater New York since I first heard about it two years ago.  The journal has an incredible theme: writing and art inspired by the waters outside of New York City.  The editors have curated a variety of pieces taken from the beaches and water in the city, and a great group of people have created art around the different items.  It's a fantastic journal, and I'm so proud to say I have something included there now.  If you're interested, please go read three poems by me over at Underwater New York.