Friday, December 28, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Remember the little Red Tank Top incident last week? Well, I thought I'd give you all a little recap on my conversation with Sophia the other day. Here it goes:
Sophia: Mommy, what are you looking at? (me looking at my newly crafted blog)
Mommy: (my heart skips a beat, this is the time for "the talk!") Oh, it's my new blog where I can post pictures and interesting things that happen to our family. I wanted to show you something. (scrolling up to "the" incriminating picture...)
See, I got a picture from one of the mothers the day she brought in the Polar Express Train Cake and read the story. Do you remember that day?
Sophia: Uh huh. Let me see.
Mommy: (a few seconds pass as I let her get a good look at it) (matter-of-factly)Are you wearing that shirt I told you to go up and change out of because it was too cold and that is better for the beach or pool anyway?
Sophia: "Maybe that's someone else in the picture."
Mommy: (not believing that Sophia isn't admitting being caught red handed, but coming up with even more connivery!!!! is that a word?!) Uh, I don't think so. I can see that it's you, Sophia and next time you need to listen to what Mommy says. It was wrong to disobey me like that. It's a cute t-shirt, though, isn't it?
Sophia: (sheepishly) Ok, sorry Mom. Yes, I really like it.
So there you have it! I was never in a million years expecting her response that it might be someone else!!! That was classic and she won't live that one down. I think I may bring it up at her wedding luncheon!
(by the way, this is a picture of a similar tank top I purchased at Gap. It says Inspi(red) on it. Hers says Glamou(RED) on it. Cute.)
Friday, December 21, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
If this is going to be a true blog, then I think I should include all of my passions. For the past 4 1/2 years, I have been part of a club that share a passion. It's the New York Chapter of Gourmet Club started by my great friend Phoebe Hall who has since relocated to some far away ranch in Texas. (shout out to you, Phoebe!) Now, this club isn't for everyone, not for any snobbery or anything, but truly for the 14 women that belong, their passion is food and entertaining. Every month there is one partnership that is in charge. It's up to them to develop a theme, several courses, beautifully expedited invitations, an ambience, a take along gift and recipes to share. Believe me, for the month that it's your turn, it's intense (just ask our spouses and children), but it's heaven the other months that you attend and are simply a guest. It's usually the highlight of my month.
Last month, the fabulous Allison Smith and I (go TEAM SMITH!) executed an outrageous meal with a citrus theme. Did you ever think about how many possibilities there are out there in the citrus realm? Citrus is one of those delightfully versatile fruits that can really go well with any course so we ran with it. This is what we served: Chicken Tikkas with Mint Chutney, Virgin Mojitos, Walnut Ricotta Stuffed Artichokes, Lemon Risotto, Citrus Salad with Avocado and Celery Seed dressing, London Broil with Soy Citrus Aioli, and FOUR mini desserts-- Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Gran Marnier Anglaise, Lime Custard Stuffed Crepes, Kumquat Tartlets & a Grapefruit Chocolate Tart. For the complete list of recipes and the how to, go here. Let me know if you try any of them. They are all wonderfully delicious!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
We have had the most recognizable car in New Rochelle for the last two months. Back in September, I got an email from a company that does peer marketing asking me if I would be interested in wrapping my car in an ad, going about my normal everyday routine driving my kids to their various activities and shopping while getting paid. Sounded great to me, so I listened further. The short of it is that our new minivan is decorated with flames and BBQ sandwiches all over it! We get lots of attention especially from starving teenage boys that look longingly as I pass by. The kids at Sophia's school often stop, point and I hear them say, "Mom, can we get a car like that one?" My favorite so far is from my 6 year old niece that was visiting last week and asked, "How much did you pay for a car like this?" I tried to explain that they were paying ME! It's been an adventure having people stop me at red lights to ask for free samples or where my restaurant is, but the best part about it is that it's a cinch to find in a crowded parking lot! And even better is that Curly's a product we really love to eat now! Check it out! Curly's. As Sophia says, "it's delicious!"
Buying a house in the suburbs seemed like an easy enough thing to do--find the house that best suits your needs and wants and purchase it! Six months of house shopping let us see lots of different houses with lots of accompanying pros and cons. None was perfect though.
An email from our friendly neighborhood broker invited us to a house that we knew we didn't want (based on the pictures), but she wouldn't let it die until we saw it. Needless to say, we loved the house except for one thing--the kitchen. Anyone who knows us knows that cooking is one of the things we both love to do. How could we possibly buy a house with a less than perfect, well really, awful kitchen? We decided to turn it down like many others who just saw the late sixties/early seventies design motifs and a highly unusable workspace. Something about the house drew us back and we took a second (and third) look and ultimately decided we could remodel the kitchen and inked a deal.
After a year of trying to figure how to work in the kitchen we knew we had enough information to kind of know what we wanted. We invited one of the premier renovation firms in for a bid. They did a fantastic job of measuring and designing our dream workspace. We were genuinely floored when we saw the potential they had in mind. Until, that is, we got a whiff of the price tag! Let's just say the estimated cost would be enough to buy a new house in many parts of the country. We were crushed.
A few months later we decided to engage a local contractor, Craig Weitzel, who was a cabinet maker, a general contractor, and friend we knew through our church. We started the whole process over again. We took a different approach by deciding to pick out some great appliances and skimp on the cabinetry to stay within budget.
Just as we started the design process, Liz was searching craigslist.com for deals on appliances when she stumbled on to a link to a nearby company who specialized in recycling kitchens. OK, you're thinking, how the heck do you recycle a kitchen? I thought the same thing. She pointed me to a website where they posted pictures of recently recycled kitchens. I have to admit that many of them were pretty top notch. Most came from high-end homes that were undergoing a facelift. The company came in and expertly preserved the appliances and cabinetry during demolition, then resold it. What a cool concept.
Liz spotted photos from an upcoming demolition that, quite frankly, were just what she was looking for. I made an inquiry via email to the company. They replied that there was so much interest in this particular kitchen that they were going to try something different by doing a sealed bid auction. Unfortunately it scared everyone off and no one (including us) made a single bid. We had already given up in our minds. Scrambling, the president of the company called all those inquired earlier and caught me at work. He really sold me on the kitchen and said whoever wired him the money first would end up with the kitchen.
Did someone say "wire money?" Smelled like a scam, especially since we couldn't go inspect the kitchen up front. However, he called back later to say that they had done the demolition and were offering to show off the pieces. Liz called the Craig and the two of them were off to Connecticut to take a peek. When they got to the designated location they found some guys with one cabinet in the back of their truck in a parking lot. Still smelled like scam. While they were off doing reconnaissance, I was busily trying to "vet" the company through internet research, and wouldn't you know it? They appeared to be a legitimate operation, actually a bona fide charity for recovering drug addicts who was funding its operations through the resale of used kitchens. Since it was everything we seemed to want, we took a deep breath, ran to the bank and wired the money.
The next day we sat on pins and needles waiting to see if the truck would pull up with our "new kitchen." With great relief, a large delivery truck emblazoned with "Green Demolitions" on its side pulled up around noon and proceeded to unload top quality cabinetry, high end refrigerators, a professional range, marble and teak countertops, and all the other miscellaneous booty we had purchased. We were delighted at the quality and the nearly pristine condition of everything!
Over the next four months Craig and various others demolished our existing kitchen, stripped down everything to the studs and floorboards (all in the middle of winter!) and proceeded to expertly retrofit a kitchen (that we later found out came from a $9M mansion in CT and was rumored to have been designed for JFK Jr before his demise) into our T-shaped kitchen space. It required a couple of sacrifices to make it work including losing the service staircase and repositioning a door, but in the end, it worked! We couldn't be more pleased with the outcome. It was completed 2 days before Luke was born, so when we came home from the hospital, we could enjoy our baby without the dulcet-tones of circular saws, grinders, and cordless drills, and the percussive accompaniment of the hammer chorus.
Almost no one has been able to tell it was a used retrofitted kitchen until we've told them. It's really a miracle that it worked, and is today a working (and fun to use) kitchen. Come on by and we'll have to whip something up for you!