Monday, March 30, 2009

Well, hello Monday! Thank you for making all of my wildest dreams come true:

Here's the thing about cupcakes: I love them. And not just because they're all sorts of "trendy" these days. No, they've held a special place in my treats-loving heart for quite some time.

My happy memories of these precious desserts go way, way back. I still remember the birthday when my mom surprised me by turning my favorite cake (Rainbow Chip, even to this day. Yes, I'm still five years old and proud of it, thank you very much!) into the birthday treat of the year when she baked ice cream cone cupcakes for each of my classmates. I was totally the coolest first grader after that... well, at least until someone brought in a puppy for Show and Tell, I suppose.

And don't even get me started about my very first Magnolia experience on my very first trip to NYC about three years ago (awww!). If I hadn't already been set on moving to the City at that point, goodness knows this little taste of heaven we had on the SATC Tour would've been the tipping point:

Really, I could go on and on about these muffin-shaped, frosting-smothered treats (and let's be honest. I probably will in the future...) but for now, let's just all take a moment and thank our lucky stars for the gloriousness that will be CupcakeCamp NYC. Let the countdown to a cupcake-induced coma begin... Sigh. Can't wait!

Friday, March 27, 2009

An Epic Debate

I saw this ad online the other day. You better believe I would've clicked through (had I not just been creeping over Lauren's shoulder when it came up and immediately demanded she send me a screenshot...)

Ha! Best. Ad. Ever. It's basically the story of my life... Edward vs. Harry?? Harry vs. Edward?! OMGoodness! I mean, how is a girl to decide between two such delightfully delicious, magically fictitious boys??

Sigh. Thoughts?? Anyone? Or maybe I'm alone in this tortuous struggle...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Rant of Sorts

Dear Management,

Let me start off by saying that I have visited your dining establishment on multiple occasions and I have always been quite content with the service, drinks and food. It has proven to be a great place to spend a low-key evening just catching up with friends. That is why it pains me somewhat to write this letter, but I feel it's necessary as I haven't been able to shake a feeling of unrest since I was there this past Sunday evening.

After my friends and I learned that the Sliders were sadly not featured on the night's Specials, we all settled for other options. My roommate and I weren't feeling particularly adventurous that evening, so we opted for nachos. Because, as we pointed out to a skeptical friend, "How can you screw up nachos?? Chips and melted cheesy goodness and whatever condiments are around. Done and done."

Well, you know what they say about assuming...

20 minutes later, the waiter brought us our order... Chips? Check! Guac and sour cream? Check and check! Chili-ish something-or-other? Slightly sketchy, but a Check! for the beef component, nonetheless. Heck, there was even fresh Pico as opposed to canned Pace (ewww.)... All in all, impressive. There was just one small, little, terribly insignificant thing missing...

The cheese.

Now I'm not one for causing a fuss at restaurants. You could hand me a banana cream pie when I ordered chocolate cake and I'd probably be as happy as a clam. But seriously?? Nachos... without... CHEESE?! At first I thought it was a mistake - a cruel joke, perhaps. So when the waiter informed me that, no, in fact the nachos have never been served with cheese, I kind of just stared in jaw-dropped bewilderment. He did, however, offer to bring us a side of cheese, which I politely declined. I'm curious though - would it have been a mini bowl of cold, shredded cheddar? A few slices of American, perhaps? Maybe some feta to sprinkle on top?

All kidding aside, it did occur to me that maybe my shock was due in part to the fact that I was spoiled with Tex-Mex for four solid years... Maybe, just maybe, the whole world doesn't consider cheese a necessary ingredient when making nachos. So, after an extensive bit of Googling, I present you with the following research:
  • Nachos NY is a blog described by the creator as, "a nacho quest, for the best." It includes anything and everything concerning nachos in NYC - even a Google Map that plots out past reviews! Genius, I say! You will please note that while there are many differences from plate to deliciously greasy plate, one thing is common... you guessed it: cheese. (Also, be sure to check out recent Guest Blogger Julia's take on Texas Nachos! Warning: Will cause stomach to grumble.)

  • Oh Wikipedia! The be all, end all of frivolous research... How I love thee. I think you will find the "Nachos" entry to be very informative, particularly the second sentence (emphasis mine): "In their simplest form, nachos are usually tortilla chips or totopos covered in melted cheese." I mean, who are we to question the omniscient Wiki??

I do hope you've found this letter to be both enlightening and persuasive in my attempt to build a case for why you should seriously consider adding this most delicious bit of dairy to your restaurant's Nachos. Call me a traditionalist, but I just think that making such a drastic change to a tasty treat that has stood the test of time (since 1943! Thanks Ignacio "Nacho" Anaya!) is just. plain. wrong.

Regards, xoxo, etc. and so on,


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sweet Southern Comfort

If you've had a conversation or two with me since I moved to NYC, you've probably heard at least a few of the many tales of adventure/awkward with my co-workers-turned-friends. Since my first day at my first "real" job, I had a feeling I would soon be thanking God for putting Jamie and Lauren in my life. And it wasn't just because they both hailed from below the Mason-Dixon Line (Atlanta and Dallas, respectively). The three of us, well, we just... clicked.

It would take quite a bit of rambling (yes, even more than usual) to recount all of the reasons these girls have helped to make my life in New York as simply fabulous as it is today (and as you'll see, many of the stories have already been detailed for your enjoyment on Lulled and La La La anyways). From Spy Adventures to Wee Mee's to Karaoke to countless hours spent discussing celebs and recapping the previous night's must-see tv, our work days were anything but mundane. (Disclaimer: While we were right on point with our green circled predictions, Jason No Longer = Muffin. GROWL. But that's another rant for another post.)

Needless to say, when the time eventually came for the Showtime Girls to part professional ways (technically for the second time, but we won't speak of The Dark Ages otherwise known as LJ's Eight Month Hiatus...), it could only be summed up as "bittersweet." I know that I for one was anxious to see what the future held, but the idea of not working with two of my best friends every single day?! Two words: womp wooomp.

So it will come as no surprise that my excitement for tomorrow is reminiscent of all those Christmas Eves I counted down the hours until Santa and his reindeer finally landed on my roof. In a strange, wonderful turn of events, tomorrow will mark the day that all three of us are back where we belong - embracing our media nerdiness together. In the same agency.

Love. It.

I have no doubt that our friendship would've easily stood the test of Midtown Separation - Goodness knows we'll always have Brunch Story Worthy Nights - but I am just oh-SO-happy for a return to the days of quarter collecting and puppets.

Sydney Bristow and Jack Bauer at the Get Smart Screening

Karaoke Queens out on the town.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Daddy's Girl

I don't take the decision of assigning people to my speed dial lightly. I mean, it's just cruel to ask a girl to choose just nine people who she most often needs to contact at just the press of a button! And considering research shows it takes 21-30 days to form a habit (thank you, Google), who wants to go to all of the trouble of getting used to a new person in one of those coveted spots only to switch them out after a few months?

All this to say: I rarely put boys on my speed dial. And when I do, it's because I expect him to hold that rather significant place for awhile...

Which is why it is no small feat that there is one boy - just one - who has managed to hold the #1 spot on my cell for the last eight or so years... my dad :) And guess what?? In just four short days, he'll be in NYC! Yayyy!

Granted this visit means that you'll find me in a mad cleaning frenzy for the next couple of days (You know, for how often I never have a thing to wear, I don't know how I manage to build up so much laundry every week...), but it'll be worth it for a long weekend filled with fun, frolic and red wine with the #1 man in my life... and on my speed dial.

"The only man a girl can trust is her daddy." -Frenchy in Grease

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Somewhere Between Hollywood and Main Street

Everyone has crushes on celebrities... Right?

Their beautiful, perfect, air-brushed faces are plastered everywhere we look. Here in Manhattan, these exquisite creatures even cross that already oh-so-blurred line between Hollywood Blvd and Main Street by actually daring to live among us. I mean, it's only natural that occasionally we might sort of, kind of, maybe forget that we don't actually have any real, well... ummm... chance...? Yeah. Totally normal...

... Right?

Sigh. I may as well face it - When it comes to just a few (read as: apparently more than just a few) of these famous young men, I'm hopeless. Case and point, a rather "typical" conversation with my good friend Kristen earlier today:

my Gchat status: I require at least 26 copies of April's GQ. IMMEDIATELY.
Kristen: hahaha so who is on the cover of GQ?
me: ha. three guesses. and the first two don't count
Kristen: daniel radcliffe?
me: fine. you get ONE more guess
me: because that was a legitimate one, considering we're talking about me
Kristen: the boy from the Tudors whose name is escaping me right now
me: hahahaha Henry Cavill.... valid, but no.
Kristen: Rob Pattinson
me: ha, and thaaat's the one!
me: oh! AND you needed all three guesses! maybe i'm not as transparent as i thought...
Kristen: hahahaha

Whatever. A girl can dream... Right???

"I believe in looking reality straight in the eye and denying it." -Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Glamour Circa 1939

I was spoiled at my last job with stacks upon stacks of my fave magazines at my disposal. If I wasn't on a comp list, I could always skip on over to my friends in Print and find the latest issue I was lusting after (*cough, cough* December '08 Vanity Fair with the hotter than hot Twilight photoshoot *cough, cough*). Needless to say, I've been going through withdrawls lately without my regular glossy-paged fix of all things celeb/fashion/entertainment/NYC. So imagine my excitement when I discovered this fantastic offer:

Glamour is celebrating it's 70th Birthday by offering an annual subscription at its 1939 pricing: $1.50! For an ENTIRE YEAR! For anyone keeping track, that's less than $0.13 per issue... Thirteen cents! I mean, that even beats the greatest deal I've found in all of NYC (a single banana at Trader Joe's for only $0.19, fyi) by more than a nickel.

Who's kinda loving the recession now??

As far as I can tell, there isn't a catch. You just have to unsubscribe in 12 months if you don't want to receive another year-long subscription... Which is the case with most magazines anyway. And Glamour even sends you a notice 60 days prior to remind you of the automatic renewal.

Seriously. Best. Deal. Ever.

But hurry up and subscribe away, my friends... The $1.50 offer ends March 15th. Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

"It is when we pray truly that we really are."

The power of prayer is great, a truth that I've been blessed to see at work a lot recently. During the Lenten Season, my church has joined together in 40 Days of Prayer. It's extremely inspiring knowing that there is an entire community praying alongside me, asking that the Lord continue to provide His guidance in our lives, to the church and to this city.

Thomas Merton offers a compelling and, for me, very meaningful perspective on prayer in the below passage. Sometimes I catch myself feeling guilty for coming to God with what seems like a laundry list of concerns and requests, when I'm already blessed in more ways than I can count. But life is just too complicated to think that I can handle it on my own - that was never His intention. And as Merton points out, knowing and acting on my incredible need for God's hand in my life is knowing Him... knowing myself.

“The great thing in prayer is not to pray, but to go directly to God... At the very root of your existence, you are in constant and immediate contact with the infinite power of God.
There is no such thing as a kind of prayer in which you do absolutely nothing.
If you are doing nothing you are not praying.
Prayer is the movement of trust, of gratitude, of adoration, or of sorrow, that places us before God, seeing both Him and ourselves in the light of His infinite truth, and moves us to ask Him for the mercy, the spiritual strength, the material help, that we all need.
The man whose prayer is so pure that he never asks God for anything does not know who God is, and does not know who he is himself, for he does not know his own need of God.
All true prayer somehow confesses our absolute dependence on the Lord of life and death. It is, therefore, a deep and vital contact with Him whom we know not only as Lord but as Father.
It is when we pray truly that we really are. Our being is brought to a high perfection by this.”
-Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Reasons of the Moment Why I'm Loving This Weekend

1. This is how I just spent the last hour, jogging along the river:

2. It's ABC Family Harry Potter Weekend! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone! Chamber of Secrets! Prisoner of Azkaban! Goblet of Fire (featuring none other than the dreamy Robert Pattinson)! And rumors of more Sneak Peeks into the upcoming Half-Blood Prince! O.M.G. (And yes, that link is to a fan site called "The Leaky Cauldron"... No shame when it comes to my love for Harry P... Sigh.)

3. I have a ton of space on my DVR, which means I'll be taking advantage of both of these glorious, aforementioned points... Starting with meeting up with a few of my favorites for Shake Shack and/or cupcakes in Madison Square Park. xoxo!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Calendar Comet

I was one of those super cool high schoolers who took Advanced Calculus while many of my friends opted for a Free Period our senior year - I just couldn't get enough of math. So I guess it should come as no surprise that I now spend my days happily engrossed in calculations and Excel spreadsheets. I usually tend to forget just how nerdy my chosen profession of media planning is... until days like yesterday.

Ever heard of... Square Root Day? Anyone? Bueller? Well, believe it or not, but I actually hadn't either before yesterday. Thanks to no less than four of my new co-workers, I learned that I was living one of the nine days every century when the square root of the year (2009) is the month (March) and day (3rd)... 03/03/09... √9 = 3... 3² = 3 × 3 = 9. I mean, how cool is that??

No? Just me?

Being the Google-Lover that I am, I obviously spent a little (read: an embarrassing) amount of time looking into this mathematical marvel. Can you believe that it wasn't until September 9, 1981 that "Square Root Day" was even officially created?? Thanks to Ron Gordon, a high school teacher and the holiday's official publicist, this day now has an impressive fan base among my fellow number crunchers everywhere. I mean, who doesn't love an excuse to eat some celebratory root veggies cut in squares?

Aside from getting to live in anticipation of the next Square Root Day in only seven short years (April 4, 2016, in case you don't have a calculator handy), I'm particularly grateful for this new found knowledge because my Googleing led me to the below gem. It's a clip from Mathnet, a Dragnet parody featured on the late '80s/early '90s hit, Square One - only one of my favorite. shows. ever. Turns out the series was really just one sneaky ploy to underhandedly encourage an early childhood intrigue in math... And look at me now. Well-played, PBS. Well-played.

"These days are like calendar comets, you wait and wait and wait for them, then they brighten up your day--and poof--they're gone." -Ron Gordon, on Square Root Days. Yep, I officially heart him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An Inconvenient Love

I know that by saying this, I'm probably just asking to be hated by any and all New Yorkers who had to leave their homes today, but I'm going to go ahead and put it out there:

I love the snow.

Sigh, I know. After months and months of this frigid winter, it's practically blasphemy. But I just can't help it. There's just something about the snow that I can never quite get over...

Even this morning as I was struggling to survive the 12.5-block trek from my apartment to work, I caught myself secretly smiling at each annoying snowflake caught on my eyelashes (However, note to self: wear waterproof mascara during the next snowstorm. Eep.). The eight inches of fresh white covering the sidewalk seemed less like a soon-to-be-slushy-nuisance and more like an invitation to make snowmen. Balancing my heels for the office in one hand and my pink umbrella in the other, I spent each careful, slippery step resisting the urge to skip my way straight up Fifth Avenue to spend the day lost in the beauty of Central Park.

Believe me, I won't mind retiring my Uggs for good in a few weeks - I certainly miss my cute sandals as much as the next girl. I know it's March and spring should feel a whole lot closer than this weather allows. But no matter how ready I am to free my sundresses from the depths of my closet, I know that it's inconvenient and freezing, whimsical and breathtaking snowfalls like the one today that I'll be dreaming about in September.

"When it snows, you have two choices: shovel or make snow angels." -Unknown

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No Reason to Settle

A few years ago, my grandmother asked me what I actually wanted to do with the rest of my life. Not what made the most sense or what would be the safest route, but what I really, truly desired. She told me to look past all the logic and then gave me some of the most simple yet valuable advice I've ever received: "You will have plenty of time to settle in your life. There is absolutely no reason for you to start now. I just won't allow it."

Fast forward a bit and here I am in Manhattan, living the life I used to only dream about. It isn't always fun and fairytales, but to be honest, most of the time it is. I'm soaking up everything this amazing city has to offer and, hopefully, leaving my own unique mark along the way... Painting it pink, if you will. And I'd say that's about as far from settling as I could be right now.