So You Want to Learn to Cook: The Basics, Onions & Garlic

So you want to learn to cook, do you? That’s great because I really really really love making food happen!

finished_onions Continue reading “So You Want to Learn to Cook: The Basics, Onions & Garlic”

Week 43: Russian Pop Songs from Hell, Escargot, & Abigail.

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 Just another Monday ride to work:

A Russian pop song starts to play at the opposite end of the train car. The old Russian man rolls a shitty speaker sitting in a mini-bed on wheels. At first, it’s just loud instruments, but wait… there’s more. The old Russian man starts to sing into a muffled microphone with little idea of the key. Every now and then on the belty parts, you can hear the song’s original singer lightly edited out. He walks back and forth with the music and mic blasting through the entire train car, which as if on purpose continues to stall in between stations. Sweet victory comes after the ending of the 2nd song… he quits his musical endeavor and peace has returned.

Just another Friday night:

The echo of the saxophone vibrates through the station as I sit reminiscing on my life. The dude sitting next to me licks his fingers as he eats from his whole foods paper bag. There’s chatter everywhere… it’s only 10pm on a Friday. I’m cold… I feel a chill to the bone. A stylish duo pass by wearing floor length leather jackets and matching Jimmy Chu booties. The sax is still roaring. I can feel it’s soul passing through the vibrations of my purse. I’ve had too much pork. And gin. Thank goodness the F is finally here.


Let’s take a step back right quick… to Thursday. My roomies and I went out for drinks and dinner in the west village to celebrate my upcoming birthday. Mary Alice chose the spot. Amelie wine bar. The place was packed solid. The host must have recognized MA and sat us at the bar without a reservation. BOOM. Every single staff member from the bar tender to the host and runners had French accents… the wine had to be good, right? We got a bottle of champagne instead. Cheese, duck pate, and beef tartare, and escargot was had… it was a first of many new foods for me. All incredibly delicious.

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That’s a Martini Francais behind the gooey Maringe (sp?). To avoid sounding too douche… I’d like to add I have zero clue what’s in it, but it was YUMMY.

So grateful to have these lovely ladies as my roommates.


I ended my beautiful week with a brief photo shoot with one of my incredibly talented friends Abigail. She sculpts for a living and a passion and although we only had 30 minutes together on Sunday I left so incredibly inspired. I’m going to make a full post with all the photos, but for now here are just a few.

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Week 26: Fall Selfies & Nostalgia.

It’s weird. Fall has been here for a couple of months now, but I’m just now starting to notice just how beautiful it is. Both our living room and kitchen windows face trees that were once lush with greenery… now, they’re even more vibrant! Up until now fall colors have been just an extension of summer. Sure some leaves in Orlando changed colors, but not to this extent.

I haven’t really noticed that many changes in the energy since fall has crept in… I still see a bajillion people every day going about their crazy busy lives. I’ve heard that winter time silences the city a little. We’ll see.

11.14. I was on the train this morning and for once I wasn’t smushed against the doors. I had enough room to actually pull out my book and do some reading. It was also the first morning in weeks that I was able to actually see out the windows as we passed over the Manhattan bridge. The view, as always, was breathtaking. I did notice, though, how normal it all felt. Just a month or so ago, every day I passed over the bridge, a deep sense of disbelief filled me. So much so that I questioned if any of it were real. Today, the questioning ceased to take hold. It felt very real.

It’s also finally getting cold. Not chilly. [Cold.] The sunnier side of the street is not that bad, but the second you turn a corner where the sun can’t sneak through the tall buildings, the chill hits your bones immediately. Winter is going to be rough.

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Friday night I attended a dance party DJ’d by Questlove at the Natural History Museum with Jess. It all felt very ‘New York-ish’… not exactly something that I’m used to attending back in Otown. The event was sold out and Jess was on the guest list. It was all very exciting. I was a bit bummed that the event took place nowhere near the actual exhibits (I would LOVE to boogie with my main Dino, T), but I’m fairly certain this was for the best.

Before going to the museum we had dinner at Kefi, a Greek restaurant on the UWS. I spent about an hour drinking through their wine list and people watching from the bar downstairs before Jess met up with me. The crowd there wasn’t quite as entertaining as I had hoped. Although at about the 3rd glass I had come up with the most epic storyline for the couple sitting on the other side of the bar. I couldn’t hear what they were chatting about, but both of them were incredibly animated and appeared to really continuously compliment each other’s scarves. I imagined they were foreign scarf designers from Iceland visiting for a scarf convention. Perhaps they met on the air plane and decided to trade scarf notes over a glass of wine.

Now that it’s finally coat season, I’m having to discover a whole new layer of inconvenience. It’s cold as hell (my version of hell is much like antarctica) outside, but indoors it might as well be summertime. Dealing with your coat once indoors becomes incredibly annoying. For now, at the very least most of my coats are not too chunky. Come winter, it’s going to get even more challenging. Luckily, there’s coat checks. [I know, my inner struggle is real.] #Firstworldproblem.

Anyway, last night was fun. I’m always going to choose a live band over a DJ, but Questlove was pretty groovy. Getting to boogie under the planetarium was also pretty sweet.

11.15: Took a stroll this morning around my hood with my neighbor & friend, Chelsea. I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I miss nature living in the city. Honestly, no. I live a short stroll away from a huge park in Brooklyn… I get more ‘nature’ walking around the park than I did on most days in Orlando. Also, colorful fall colors are WAY better than palm trees. No contest. (Let’s not pretend I didn’t LOVE going to the springs and walking through the Econ forest, but the parks here are pretty awesome.)

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I decided to google myself today. I stumbled on this flick from maybe… 2007 at an open mic/cabaret?

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I feel like this entry has been over self-involved. Kind of ironic for a personal blog about myself. I know. Either way, I decided it was time for some self-portraits. I think everyone should have portraits done of themselves periodically throughout their life. My life is my future’s history, it’s nice to be able to document it.

Here is a self-portrait from November 2012 (2 years ago). I was living in a small duplex in Orlando. This picture was taken on my compact couch that I loved more than anything at the time. I was in my 3rd year at UCF. That semester I fell in love with organic chemistry and spent all of my time studying on that couch. I lived alone with the exception of the roaches that came to visit at 3am, like clockwork. They stayed on their end of the house (near the kitchen) and let me be while I studied on my end (living room with the couch). They were more like foes than friends, but I recall those long nights with fondness nevertheless. That living room was my sanctuary.

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Fast forward 2 years. These photos were taken in our developing reading nook. It’s coming along and will surely be one of my favorite spots in the new home. I didn’t even imagine living in NYC 2 years ago yet here I am. I don’t spend time studying anymore. I thought this was a gift, but I’m beginning to feel like my brain needs feeding again.

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Today I strolled around the West village and stopped in at the Chess Forum (one of my favorite spots in the area). You can’t go wrong with a game of chess surrounded by a bunch of handmade chess pieces and Bach playing somewhere in the background.

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This about sums up my week. I hope next week will have more pictures of NY. Ciao!

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This Stoop Photo Cred to Miss Chelsea.

Unless my WordPress stats are WAY off I’ve noticed several international folks coming through here… if you happen to stumble on this blog and don’t know me. Drop me a line, I’d love to know how you found this!

Week 19: Intellectual Hiatus, Brooklyn Bridge, & a Suana.

It’s mid-late September. The summer has come and gone. I can’t believe I’ve lived in NYC for over 4 months. WHAT?! Every day (I really mean this) I find myself shocked with where my life has brought me. I cannot explain how happy I am that I made an impulse decision to move here. I’m not where I thought I would be by 24. I’m not working my dream job. What the hell is my dream job? I’m not making the big bucks. I don’t get to vacation every day and I’m fairly certain I’m going to have to stick to a diet of quinoa with beans for the next couple of weeks. I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be quite as happy if I had made any other decision. All of my impulses and rash decisions (these make up the majority of my decisions) were based on my gut. My gut knows whats up.

9.25: It’s getting cold outside. I don’t think it’s gotten below 55 F quite yet, but I’m already terrified. I’ve been prepping myself mentally and physically (do you think I’ve subconsciously been putting on weight to prepare for the winter?). I’m not feeling great and the nights of hot tea and 30 Rock re-runs have already begun. I haven’t gone out in over two weeks (whaaa??), but at least I’ve gone back to the gym. Today was dreary and wet outside. And chilly.

I’ve got to start taking better care of myself.

9.27: It’s Saturday. This week was as smooth as my right cheek (I’ve got very soft skin). The last few weeks have been a true test on my patience and I’ve made it out alive and sane. And not sick (mostly). I have recently abandoned my intellectual hiatus from real-world current events by starting to read the news a bit here and there on weekend mornings. Every now and again I’ll sneak in a soul-crushing article on a break, but c’mon… baby steps. I’m still not even close to caught up on most important issues. I’m also not, by any stretch of the imagination, implying that by reading the news I’m stopping capitalism from swallowing up our natural resources while finding the cure for a virus that turns people into viral human fluid fountains and simultaneously preventing grumpy old men from having authority over my body . I’m just saying, I’m excited to find out how much the human race has shit on the world since I stopped reading the news (about 8 months ago ).

On another note. I got a library card! FINALLY! I had [get library card] on my checklist of things to do for MY FIRST WEEK here. Almost 5 months later… I did it! I needed proof of residence — I ordered a fan, what more proof does one need, really? I discovered a market on my walk to the library – did I mention its like a 7 in walk?! – thats just outside the front steps.

 

My first two books: 1. The Bowery A History of Grit, Graft, and Grandeur 2.Pushkin

I’m already not a fan of The Bowery book… not very well written. I am enjoying the Pushkin biography quite a bit! For those of you not of Russian descent, Pushkin is a huge literary figure from the 1800’s. He was a poet. A darn good one. So I am told. That is all I know so far… also that he is a household name in Russia. Dare I say kind of like Shakespeare?

If you’re reading this and you didn’t know I was Russian, you don’t know me very well… and if you don’t know me, I’d like to know how you got to reading this? Leave a comment, won’t ya?

I also walked the Brooklyn Bridge today. The views were epic, but the crazy amount of people walking the bridge was a HUGE turn off. Here are some of the photos… I’m too lazy to edit any of them and the lighting was crazy inconvenient so deal with it.

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*That guy on the left had the most epic Brooklyn accent.*

 

9.28: I had joined a gym earlier this week. It has a sauna. 5 Month ago Regina would kill present Regina for the amount of money I’m spending to go… but its less than 1 minute walk away and did I mention they have a sauna? Today I cleaned up a bit, fixed my shoddy dresser (I used glue… lets see how long this lasts), finally picked up the lights from my floor and used a hammer and staples instead of duck tape to hang them… I also ran some errands which always take a million times longer on the weekends.

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I’m making plans to explore my hood a bit more next week and I think I’m getting a special visitor [WHO can it be?!]. I’m also making plans to go to the Met Opera (SO excited for this). Hope you have a wonderful next week!

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Week 18: Building a Home & the People’s Climate March.

My week in a nutshell: Ordering furniture never-ending-hell, IKEA still sucks and I hope it burns in a fiery hell that smells similar to freshly cleaned non-synthetic material, decorating makes my insides sing jolly songs, & the People’s Climate March was epic.  I also realized that most of my thinking is done on a train and I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll mention it again. I LOVE riding the subway.

One evening on my way home from work the train was packed pretty tight… and as the train swayed the passengers [involuntarily] followed. I realized of all the places in this city that I feel like I belong the most to the [sometimes short-fused, mal-showered, and caffeine-addicted] amazing NYC family is on the train.

Ordering furniture sucks. Although the delivery went ok this time, I had loads of fun trying (unsuccessfully) to carry the 100 lb box up 3 flights of stairs. What the hell is an elevator?! I just ended up opening the box downstairs and carrying pieces up in chunks. That, too, was loads of fun (am I using too many commas?).

Putting together a poorly constructed piece of furniture is unbelievably entertaining. Better then playing with legos! With legos everything fits, it’s WAY more fun when the pieces don’t match. So. Much. Fun.

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I took these pictures while we were still fresh with optimism. Thankfully Megan was there to help. Otherwise I’d still be dresser-less. I ordered this dresser from Overstock.com after reading reviews that it was well-made. The reviewers must have supplemented their sanity with quite the concoction of alcohol and carelessness. Mimosas were had, but clearly not enough for me to forget the amount of fun this was.

I’d show you the finished product, but 2 screws were missing and now I’m 1 drawer down. I’ll be fixing this issue soon. We also put my wall decal up… with some hardship… it is now in 2 pieces. DSC_5418 DSC_5424

 

I hung my mirror. It’s pretty heavy. I hope it doesn’t fall. I’ve also covered the seating cushion in the living room with a cloth I purchased today… the home is coming together.

 

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Since September began I’ve had not much else on my mind except for moving. Making my new place a home has been overwhelming me and I’ve decided to take a breather. I’ve done little of anything else (except for the lovely evening I had this week at my friend’s new UWS apartment)… so next week I’m definitely going to do some exploring.

Then there was the whole gathering of some 310,000 people from around the world. It was inspiring to see so many people rallying to raise awareness to the importance of action against climate change. History was made. I was able to capture some of the experience in photos, but I also got some neat video which I’ll use in my soon-to-be-edited NYC clip.

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Week 10: Things I Hate, Sibling Reunion, & Pillows.

7.22: I was on the subway for an hour ride to the airport. I felt the urge to write, so I wrote on my phone. The following text is what follows:

Movies romanticize heartbreaks as if they’re some sorta right of passage to happily ever after. I disagree. There is nothing romantic about crying on the subway as you try your best  to blend in with the bacteria that has made itself home on the orange seats, everyone pretending not to stare at you; secretly wondering why people look so ugly when they cry.

Things I hate: (in the order they come to me, don’t judge)

#1. Dating

2. people who litter

3. bullying

4. Driving

5. Liars

6. waking up before 7am

7. Flip Flops

8. When my feet hurt

9. Being really hungry

10. Crying on the subway

11. Feeling ignorant

12. Having my nails so long that it scratches everything

13. Feeling inferior

14. Putting someone down by accident

15. Eating fastfood

16. feeling sad

17. even though I should be having the time of my life

18. wearing short skirts

19. feeling weak

20. falling for someone despite my better judgement

21. being a girl

22. No, wait I love that.

23.

I’m not good with words. Not speaking them, anyway. I wish I could just write instead of talking in most situations. A guy I dated my freshmen year of college used that line to break things off through a Facebook message. Despite his rather un-eloquently put break-up, I have to agree.

By the time I got to the airport I realized I’ll likely survive (I’m far more sensitive than I like to admit) and move on sooner than later.

7.24: This morning went something like this: Open eyes. Put hand to forehead. Wonder what’s up with the throbbing. Wait. Feel a sudden urge to jug water.

Hangovers are never fun. But last night was. My brother is here visiting from Russia on his way to China. Yesterday was his first full day here and it was fun. I took him to the high line and took care of some necessary shopping needs. Followed up with soup dumplings and more dumplings from Prosperity Dumplings (I forgot to take a picture). Prosperity Dumplings were SO good! I’m not sure if the price made them taste even better than they were, but holy shit. $2.75 for 10 (rather large) dumplings. My brother and I split them and still had a few left over for later that night. Too bad the place isn’t closer to me.

We spent the day walking around, grabbing coffee at the Highline, and meeting up with his friends to journey the night away. Some pictures were taken… I think I’m finally feeling up to taking photos of the city. Future posts should have more photography :]

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7.26: Today was a rough day. Tomorrow will be better.

I made a Meetup!! NYC Pillow Fight Club — Click there to join! Also, I’m still without any real future home plans. Am I destined to live without a home? What is a girl to do? For REAL though?

Crossing some major fingers that the universe aligns and I find something promising soon.

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Week 6: Employment (!), City Visitors, & My Honeymoon.

Day 1 (6.23): To everyone who secretly thought “she’s never going to get a job in NYC.” : I thought the same thing. Really… I was just hoping I was wrong. Turns out, I was. Today I got a job offer and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s nice to know I have something permanent tying me here… I’m not going anywhere.

This city has a unique way of exhausting me. I spent the day celebrating life (as I do w/ most days, but today was special). I met up with a new friend who happens to be well versed in the happenings of NYC. We walked around the West Village … now I’m normally pretty good with directions here, but in the West Village the normal grid of the city streets and avenues doesn’t apply. I have no idea where I was most of the time. I love the quaint feel that the west village has (a type of city quaint). The high end designer shops on many corners are like little hints of NYC. We walked into the Meat Packing District — which I previously thought to be Chelsea — and strolled into the Chelsea Market. Sushi was had — I had to celebrate right! It was marvelous.

I’m so happy I could burst. 

Day 2 (6.24): Signed and e-mailed offer letter agreement. Bought Pelmini from a corner Russian store (!!). Helped my roommate carry a bunch of books to IKEA… not literally.

It was my first time in a car (besides a cab) since moving here. I would never survive driving here.

Redhook, Brooklyn

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Brooklyn skyline.
red hook3 redhook4On our drive today I noticed just how many bridges there are in and out of Manhattan. According to Wikipedia, there are over 2,000 bridges & tunnels in NYC.

I drove through the batman tunnel today. It was awesome. 

Day 3 (6.25): Took a stroll along the south edge of Central Park today… haven’t really been there yet. Columbus circle is the most convenient stop for me so I started there. It’s a big station and brings in a good deal of tourists to the area. There are bike rental workers trying to get you to rent their bike every two feet. Folks can be seen hanging out by the fountain and sure enough a few groups of said tourists have already signed up for said bike rentals.

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Along the south edge of the park I saw more horse carriages just chillen’ than anywhere else… perhaps this is their hangout spot? No clue. You also get some neat views of the park.

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On my way home on the subway…

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I ended my day with a wine tasting on a rooftop in SoHo with the most stunning view of Manhattan accompanied by a group of very lovely ladies.

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Goodness me, I’m one lucky lady! 

Day 4 (6.26):  Lunch in the Bronx with my Aunt. A bit of Jazz in the West Village after a long stroll and more food than I should ever consume.

Today, I was glutenous.

Day 5 (6.27): My good friends, Mercedes & Travis, came to visit. I wanted to squeeze a bunch into one day and I think we did pretty well… After searching out some yummy street food and strolling around the east village just a bit, we explored the west village (making sure to get some ice cream at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop).

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We then made our way into the meat packing district and right onto the Highline.

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Lunch was had at the Chelsea Market and then we made our way back into the east village (passing the Flat Iron building for viewing pleasure) for some bar hopping. We ended our night with some live music at Rockwood Music Hall and happily made our way back home.

Great friends. Great visit. 

Day 6 (6.28):  Checked out an apartment in Park Slope which turned out to be perfect (from what I understand, that doesn’t exist in NY). Don’t know if I got it.

Side note: I talk about the weather a bunch (to people here), because I can’t seem to figure it out. Nobody understands what I’m talking about.

Totally worn out = all day naps.

Day 7 (6.29): One week before I get back into the real world… I have been playing make-believe in the city since I first moved here. The life I have lead has been much too extravagant – albeit incredible – to be sustainable. I’m going to take the next week to enjoy the last bits of my honeymoon with my lover [NYC] and begin to implant some real structure into my life.

Some points to keep in mind:

  • Cook at home more.
  • Get a gym membership — I tried the whole running outside thing. I get crazy distracted and stop to look at something every .25 miles or at the very least every mile… I’m also more interested in getting back into shape — which is not going to happen with 2/3 mile runs… I need to do interval training and weight lifting — none of which I like doing outdoors. Once I find a permanent home, I’m getting a gym membership.
  • Read on the subway — I’ve always thought that was a great idea, but I forget to grab a book every time I leave the house. I need to make this into a habit.
  • Drink more water — I’m not even going to mention the amount of money spent on alcohol since I got here and instead focus on the fact that alcohol is not so good for me. I’m taking it down a notch, or two.
  • Take more photo series.

I have one more week of honeymooning with my lover [NYC] and I plan to enjoy it.

I’m spending this lovely Sunday enjoying the city with my friends Mercedes & Travis (they’re coming back for one more day from upstate NY). I’m taking them for some dim sum for brunch in China town and then letting the city lead the way.

I also need another set of sheets.

Another week of loving NYC.