Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things that Happened Since I Last Blogged

1. I turned 28! I thought that 28 would freak me out, but I think I'm going to love all 365 days of it.

2. I neglected to name an NCAA Football Player of the Week. Twice. I blame this on my birthday celebration, an unintended Halloween celebration and a slight cold (which is almost gone -- thank goodness).

3. I became obsessed with West Wing reruns on Bravo. I've set my DVR to record them every time they air. I wasn't a huge West Wing fan during the height of its popularity, but I now see what I missed. TV makes working in the White House look so glamorous!

4. I've made more (minor) changes to the apartment. I've come to realize that I will be decorating my apartment forEVER. And I'm okay with that. (Yes, Mom -- I will post pictures soon.)

5. I started getting excited about the fall! The shift from summer to fall always wreaks havoc on my skin (and my sinuses, for that matter), but I am still excited for scarves and leather totes and hot chocolate and Thanksgiving! Speaking of Thanksgiving, I'm anxious to try this recipe, but with sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin. Yum.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NCAA Football Player of the Week: Johnthan Banks

Better late than never! Without further delay, I'd like to announce this week's NCAA Football Player of the Week: Mississippi State's Johnthan Banks.

Mississippi State played the Gators on Saturday afternoon. The Gators managed to escape with a win (thank goodness), but the game was not pretty -- at all. What was pretty (and I apologize for using the word "pretty" to describe a football play) was freshman Johnthan Banks' amazing interception (Tebow basically threw the ball to him) and subsequent run across the entire length of the football field to score a touchdown for the Bulldogs. It was an incredible play. So incredible, in fact, that even though my blood runs orange and blue, while watching the game I realized that despite my utter lack of objectivity, even I have to acknowledge an exhilarating athletic feat when I see one.

For executing a play so amazing that you forced me to cheer (if only for 3 seconds) against my beloved Florida Gators, this week's virtual trophy is for you, Johnthan Banks:

Well done.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

NCAA Football Player of the Week: Caleb Sturgis

Picasa is making me a little angry at the moment. I've been trying -- unsuccessfully -- to upload my photos from last weekend's visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to my Web Albums for the past week, and it's still not working. I'm working my way through Picasa's list of "Troubleshooting Tips" now. Hmmph.

Never mind. It's time to name this week's Stilettos on the Gridiron NCAA Football Player of the Week!

This week's honoree is Florida Gators kicker Caleb Sturgis. I know, I know -- I'm a huge Gators fan, and for that reason this pick might seem biased (I refer anyone who is skeptical of my ability to be objective to the post about last week's honoree). Caleb is this week's honoree because, with 9 seconds left in the Arkansas game on Saturday, he kicked a game-winning field goal, delivering the Gators a victory in a game that really could have gone either way. To everyone's surprise (including the CBS commentators, who didn't even attempt to hide their surprise), the conference match-up between my beloved Gators and the Arkansas Razorbacks was a hard-fought battle. Truth be told, the Razorbacks easily could have won the game (there were tons of mistakes on both sides of the field), but the Razorbacks' kicker chose an amazingly inopportune time to miss a field goal in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for Gators fans, after missing a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter and then making a career-high 51-yard field goal early in the second half, Caleb Sturgis punctuated what had been an erratic performance with the field goal heard around the world (and by the world, I mean Gainesville).

Saturday's game wasn't perfectly executed (few of Florida's recent games have been). Nevertheless, the Gators pulled out a win -- something they would not have done had it not been for the cool action of Florida's sophomore kicker (so cool, in fact, that Sturgis had the sense of mind to encourage his teammates to take it down a notch when they clamored around him after he sent the football sailing between the goal posts at the end of the game, thus diffusing what may have become an "excessive celebration."

For not letting an early miss discourage him from going on to set a personal record and make an outcome-determinative field goal, Caleb Sturgis is this week's NCAA Football Player of the Week.

Caleb, this trophy's for you:
Congratulations. And on behalf of Gators fans everywhere, thank you.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

NCAA Football Player of the Week: Colin Kaepernick

My brother is visiting me in NYC this weekend, and earlier this afternoon we traveled uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Today's trip confirmed that the Met just might be my favorite museum ever -- but more on that later. For now, it's time to name the Stilettos on the Gridiron NCAA Football Player of the Week.

Before I get to this week's honoree, I have to mention Tim Tebow -- Tim Tebow is not the player of the week this week, but he almost was. Yesterday's game at LSU was Tebow's first since suffering a concussion during a game against Kentucky two weeks ago, and he looked great. Tebow lead the team to a victory in Baton Rouge -- it wasn't a blowout, nor was it a perfectly executed game, but Tebow looked strong, and the Gators pulled out a win. It was a good week for Florida fans.

This week's college football player of the week is another quarterback: Nevada's Colin Kaepernick. I had never seen Kaepernick play before Friday night, but I was completely transfixed as the Wolf Pack defeated Louisiana Tech in Reno, 37 - 14. Nevada's entire team is unusually tall and lanky for a football squad -- at 6 ft 6 inches and 215 lbs, Colin Kaepernick is no exception. And, when he wasn't sprinting down the field with the football, Kaepernick was passing the football with uncanny speed. (The back story behind his arm? Apparently, Kaepernick is also a star baseball player who throws a 94 mph pitch and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2009. When he was looking at colleges, he turned down several baseball scholarships in favor of Nevada's offer, which, interestingly, was his only football offer.)

Colin, this (virtual) trophy is for you:

Congratulations. And thanks for giving me one more reason to watch college football this season.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lonny Magazine, I Think I May Love You

Count me among the many shelter magazine aficionados who is still recovering from the loss of Domino. But Lonny just may ease the pain. Lonny is a new, online-only shelter mag, and its premiere issue is full of beautiful furnishings, rich colors and fun profiles of some of my favorite design experts. I was really surprised (pleasantly) by the abundance of wonderful ideas in the magazine, and I can't wait for the next issue.

Check out the first issue of Lonny magazine here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I've Been Bad

I seriously dropped the blogging ball -- my last post was over a month ago! For shame.

My excuse? September was the busiest month I've had in recent memory. Work was unbelievably busy, I was traveling out of town to visit my family and for special events, and I simply didn't make the time to blog.

This bad behavior changes today. I'm back, and so is Stilettos on the Gridiron. Starting this week, I'll pick up with the remaining installments of the Girl's Guide to the 2009 College Football Season. And starting this weekend, I will name the first Stilettos on the Gridiron college football player of the week (better late than never). And, if the news cycle continues to turn out unbelievable stories at the rate it's been turning them over the past several weeks (David Letterman? Khloe and Lamar? Jon and Kate?), then I'll be filling in the gaps between the college football action with random musings about whatever happens next.

In the meantime, and in anticipation of my return to the blogosphere, I'll be catching up on some much-needed rest. That and congratulating Brett Favre -- it looks likes everyone's favorite "retired" quarterback may be having the last laugh. Go figure (and go Vikings?).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Girl's Guide 2009/Part One: The Rules of the Game

(Note: This post first appeared as part of the 2008 Girl's Guide. The information is still good.)

You only need to be familiar with a few basics to enjoy a college football game. The best way to understand the nuances of the game is to sit back and watch a few games. But watching a football game without understanding anything that's going on can be really frustrating. Here are a few basics. And I do mean basics. I think it's fairly obvious that these explanations are not at all exhaustive, and they're not all that technical, either. They're really intended for brand new fans of the game. For more thorough (and technical) explanations of how a college football game is played, be sure to check out the Internet resources that I've listed below.

1. Q: Okay, I'm ready to watch a game. How long is this gonna take?
A: The game itself is comprised of four 15 minute quarters. After two quarters, the players take a break (halftime); the remaining two quarters are played after halftime. Don't be fooled by the game clock, though. Including time outs, commercial breaks, and deliberations among officials following a play, watching a game will easily take between 2 1/2 and 3 hours. (Don't worry. They will be some of the best 2 1/2 to 3 hours of your life!)

2. Q: What's the object of this game?
A: It's quite simple. For each team, the object of the game is to get the football in the opposing team's end zone. The end zones are set 100 yards apart, at opposite ends of the football field. Through a series of running and passing plays, the team on offense moves the ball toward the opposing team's end zone. Under normal circumstances, the team on offense will get four chances (called downs) to score a touchdown by getting the ball to the end zone.

3. Q: What's up with the score?
A: A touchdown is worth 6 points. After a team scores a touchdown, it is given an opportunity to earn bonus points! Kicking the ball in between the goal posts after a touchdown is worth 1 point, while running the ball into the end zone is worth 2 points. If a team gets to its 4th down and realizes that its chances of scoring a touchdown on 4th down are slim to none, then it can send out a kicker to attempt to kick the ball in between the goal posts for 3 points.

4. Q: Why are the officials throwing things at the players?
A: Throughout the game, the officials are keeping their eyes peeled for players who break the rules. When an official spots a rule violation, he throws a flag onto the field, and the game is stopped while the officials announce the violation and the penalty. Common violations include delay of game, pass interference, and holding.

That should be enough to prevent brand new fans from getting dizzy while watching their first game. But there's much, much more to college football. Check out these great resources:

Introduction to American College Football Rules
The Official NCAA Football Rules
Wikipedia's Overview of College Football

A Girl's Guide to the 2009 College Football Season: The Lineup

The first installment of the second annual Stilettos on the Gridiron Girl's Guide, A Girl's Guide to the 2009 College Football Season, will be up shortly. Just like last year's Guide, this year's Guide will be presented in four posts, and each post will cover a different topic (see the table of contents below). Fellow college football fans, please don't be shy: as always, comments and suggestions are encouraged.

A Girl's Guide to the 2009 College Football Season

Part I: The Rules of the Game (the fundamentals only. plus recommendations if you really want to know the super-technical stuff.)

Part II: The Teams to Beat in 2009 (spoiler alert: The Florida Gators are at the top of the list)

Part III: What to Wear (it's true, football fans can be well-dressed.)

Part IV: Recipes for Game Day (entice your non-football fan friends with good eats.)

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The 2009 college football season officially kicks off this weekend. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! Double bonus: I'll be traveling home to Florida for Labor Day weekend, so I'll be able to celebrate the start of the season with my dad and brother.

In honor of the upcoming season (and my giddy excitement), I will be posting a newly updated Girl's Guide to the College Football Season to the blog. Stay tuned for the first installment, which will be posted tomorrow at noon. This year, I'm also excited to introduce a new feature: the Stilettos on the Gridiron "Team of the Week." Each week, I'll be featuring a college football team on the blog. In the spirit of keeping everything at SOTG funky and unique, winning a game is not a prerequisite for being named Team of the Week. To be sure, a win can earn a team the SOTG Team of the Week honor. So can a gracious loss. Or a 2-second play that made for really great tv. Or an overzealous mascot. Or even a particularly memorable post-game interview from a member of the team. The possibilities are endless, which will make this feature fun. Most importantly, I promise to be objective -- the Florida Gators will not be the Team of the Week every week (unless, of course, they earn that honor every week).

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Summer Heat, Sports and Other Random Musings

About 2 weeks ago, summer finally arrived in NYC. I celebrated by incorporating a few of my favorite warm weather pieces into my work wardrobe rotation and taking an impromptu trip to the beach last Sunday (the beach trip was so I could wear my $5 floppy hat). Today, I feel like the dog days of summer have already arrived: It's 5:20 on a Friday morning, and I'm up, blogging and sipping limeade (seriously) because it's too hot and humid to be doing anything else. I'm sure I'll regret this in about 5 hours.

Anyway, since I'm up, I might as well make the most of it. First, a brief sports round up:

1. Brett Favre. I don't know what to say, man. First you retire. Then you un-retire. Then you retire. And now, you're un-retiring again? One thing's certain: You've proven yourself to be just as good at retiring as Jay-Z. The selfish part of me is excited; I'll certainly be watching more Vikings games this season than I would have otherwise. The un-selfish part of me wonders if this retirement business is bad for professional football. And for Favre.

2. Plaxico Burress. The Super Bowl winning-turned-gun wielding wide receiver pleaded guilty to gun charges yesterday, following last winter's unfortunate incident at a Manhattan nightclub. He'll spend the next two years in jail. What an amazing fall from grace. I'll never understand why Plaxico felt that he needed to stash a gun in his sweatpants to be safe.

In personal news, I've been encouraged to give sewing another go (follow my moderately successful mostly unsuccessful stint as a sewing student at FIT here). I've also started knitting again -- I've been "knitting" a scarf for the past 6 years now, but I really am motivated to make it happen this time. My new goal is to finish a scarf in time for my family's post-Christmas ski trip this year (totally doable).

I"m looking forward to a good weekend. I have tons of work to do, but that's not so bad. I'll be sure to make time for a few fun things, too. Plus, I've got a great Netflix DVD (Footballers' Wives, one of my all-time favorite British exports) coming.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sports Roundup

1. Breaking: Michael Vick has a new job: He's just signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Also,
2. Rick Pitino messed up. I mean, really messed up.
3. Pre-season polls have the Florida Gators on top of the college football rankings. That's what I like to see.
4. Speaking of being on top, Tiger Woods is back on top after the first day of the PGA Tournament.
5. Apparently, A-Rod's latest girlfriend (Kate Hudson) and Derek Jeter's girlfriend (Minka Kelly) don't get along. Oh my.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gap's CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Khaki Collection: Cute! And Cheap!

Yesterday, I ventured to my neighborhood Gap to see if I could score a few simple tees. To my surprise, I stumbled upon an unbelievably cute floppy hat, and an unbelievably cute dress, for under $5 and under $12 (respectively)!

My new ($12) dress is on the model standing second from the right in this picture:

image: Glamour.com

And my new ($5) floppy hat is on the model second from the left in this picture:

image: Glamour.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

College Football Is Coming!

There's only one thing keeping me from being totally dejected about the summer coming to an end ( by the way, as far as I'm concerned, summer in NYC never began this year). That one thing is, of course, college football! I'm totally stoked about the 2009 season -- it's been far too long since I last watched my beloved Gators take to the field. To make this year's season even more fun, I'm planning a few special features for my little blog -- stay tuned for those! In the meantime, you can prepare yourself by downloading the 10 songs that will get you excited for the upcoming college football season (one person's opinion) to your iPod.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I Love The Golden Girls

Thanks to WE's dutiful rotation of The Golden Girls reruns, I have been reminded of just how much I loved this (Emmy award-winning) show! It was All in the Family meets Maude meets the South Florida early bird special. And what I've now come to realize is that while The Golden Girls may have been a half-hour situation comedy, Sophia, Dorothy, Blanche and Rose tackled some pretty heavy issues -- homelessness, racism, euthanasia, HIV -- and that's just what I've seen over the past few weeks of reruns. I'm pretty sure I didn't realize how socially relevant this show was when I managed to catch bits of an episode just before my bed time (circa 1989).

So, let's see . . . at the moment, my favorite things include tending to my houseplants (they're still alive!), trying new recipes (my cooking has improved dramatically over the past few months) and watching The Golden Girls on WE. Am I a 27 year old golden girl? Gasp.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Olbermann and O'Reilly: A Truce?!?

As I've mentioned on several occasions, I like to keep Stilettos on the Gridiron a politics-free zone (for the most part). So I'll keep this short. And neutral...

As a semi-regular cable news viewer, I cannot believe that I didn't realize that Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly had reached a truce of sorts (courtesy of informal negotiations that followed a cordial conversation about the Olbermann/O'Reilly banter between network hotshots Jeff Immelt and Rupert Murdoch).

The NY Times is reporting that Mr. Olbermann and Mr. O' Reilly stopped their years-long on-air feud in June, after executives at MSNBC and Fox decided that the war of words had become a lose-lose for both networks.

I really don't have anything more to say about this, other than that I am totally shocked I didn't even realize that the fighting had ended until I came across the NY Times piece. But now that I know, I think I'm going to miss it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Apartment: Before and After Pics! (Part One)

Finally! Here are a few "before and after" pics of my apartment:

Living room, before (ack!) :

Living room, after (and from many different angles, because I love the wallpaper so much...) :

I think the new wallcovering (lovely blue floral print courtesy of grahambrown.com, installation courtesy of my dad -- thanks, dad!) made a huge difference. I'm so pleased with the way it turned out.

More pics of other improvements in the apartment soon, I promise.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Le Weekend

Another weekend is upon us. It looks like I'll have just a little work to catch up on this weekend, which means that I'll be able to cross some things off my "fun" to-do list:

1. Pick up a few new, fresh Apica notebooks at Kinokuniya.

2. Drool over what I hope is an impressive selection of beads at Beads of Paradise.

3. Venture to The Strand for vintage fashion and art books for my new "bookshelf."

4. Watch Confessions of a Shopaholic, my highly anticipated Saturday Netflix delivery.

5. Read last 40 pages of Confessions of a Shopaholic before watching it on DVD.

6. Stock my fridge with yummy treats from Whole Foods.

7. Grab drinks with friends.

8. Post pictures of my new apartment improvements on blog!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm Back!

It's been over two weeks since I last posted! No time to dwell on that fact; let's just correct it:

Last week, my parents made a much-anticipated trip to NYC and I spent the whole week with them. It was wonderful. They were kind enough to indulge my DIY obsession, and my apartment has never looked better. Thanks to them, I now have an accent wall in my living room and another in my bedroom (each of these walls has been totally transformed with wallpaper, courtesy of my dad), my wall art is now on the walls instead of in the "project" corner of my apartment, and my favorite wine glasses are suspended from a rack underneath my kitchen cabinets instead of tucked away in the cabinets. I promise to post pictures soon.

In other news, while this blog remains, for the most part, a politics-free zone, I just finished watching President Obama's press conference on health care reform. At some point over the past few days, it dawned on me that the health care debate is one that I should pay attention to -- I finally decided to do a little digging after hearing the term "single-payer health care" for the umpteenth time and being frustrated -- for the umpteenth time -- that I didn't really know what it meant. Now, I am more informed, but also confused. There's no question that as-is, the American health care system is underperforming. And that's unacceptable. I'm anxious to see how the debate plays out.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wimbledon Update. Oh, and Happy Fourth of July!

I'm in DC visiting family and enjoying a little rest and relaxation during the holiday weekend. My grandmother and I just watched Serena Williams become the 2009 Wimbledon Champion -- exciting, yes, but also a little heartbreaking, because she had to win one final match against her older sister, Venus, to do so.

We're watching the trophy presentation now. Venus is a very gracious runner-up. And Serena still can't believe that she won. They're so sweet! And absolutely fantastic -- very down-to-earth and incredibly talented.

I'm off to partake in some 4th of July activities (I'm thinking bbq and fireworks) -- Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wimbledon! And the Tennis Grunt?

I'm up a little early today (I know! I am equally surprised . . .). The extra few minutes in the morning gave me time to catch up on some news (and write about it) before I officially start my day.

I've been pretty busy over the past week or so, but I still cannot believe that I seemed to forget about Wimbledon! I've just learned that both Venus and Serena have made it to the semi-final round, and if each wins her respective semi-final match, then they will face each other in the final. I love and hate it when that happens -- I'm always so happy to see them succeed, but it must a little difficult for them as well. Or maybe not . . . what do I know?

In related news, apparently a scandal has been brewing on the court (first at the French Open, and now at Wimbledon) over the intensity of the tennis "grunt" -- according to NBC's Today Show, Venus and Serena's grunt registers as loudly as a household vacuum cleaner, while Anna Kournikova's grunt is as loud as a motorbike. Question: Who took the time to figure this out?

I'm off to start my day. Here's to a good one!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Bright Side

It's been such a strange and sad week. The news cycle ( Iran, Gov. Sanford, the deaths of Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson and Billy Mays) has left me reeling. And a little numb.

Last night, I took a break from 24 hour news and popped Rachel Getting Married into my DVD player. I loved it. What everyone's said about Anne Hathaway's performance is true (she was great). And the cinematography, the set design and Rachel's wedding (spoiler alert: in the end, Rachel actually does get married) were just perfect.

In other positive news, this weekend my brother and I got working on a little project that has been in the works (on a very basic level) for some time now. The project is still in its infancy, but once it's ready to launch I will share the news here. It combines my interest in design with my brother's interest in social entrepreneurship and community development, and I'm confident that it will be fantastic. Stay tuned!

P.S. I'm watching the Food Network's shameless "interpretation" of Bravo's Top Chef as I watch this. And guess what? It's not that bad! I think I might like this show. . .

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Weekend in Review

This weekend was gloriously work-free. One of my goals for the weekend was to pick up a few investment pieces to spruce up my work wardrobe, which was in need of a little pick-me-up. I did find a few things, but now I'm experiencing buyer's remorse (this is what happens when there are no sporting events no attention-grabbing sporting events on television -- sorry, U.S. Open).

On Saturday, I ordered two pairs of shoes from Endless.com: pumps and flats, both for work.

I'll have to wait until Monday to see if these are going to work...

Also on Saturday, I picked up a cardigan from Banana Republic. It really was a steal at $40 (it's 100% cashmere!), but now I'm wondering whether the style will work with my wardrobe:

It looks cute on the Banana Republic.com model. I hope I can make it work for me, too.

And finally, today I purchased a pair of navy blue Max Mara pants and a black DKNY three-quarter sleeve blazer from Century 21 (Btw, that place is a zoo... I don't know why I keep subjecting myself to the madness there). The pants are definitely going back -- I got them home and tried them on again and realized they're just not what I was looking for. They're beautiful pants, but they don't work well with the loose, flowing blouses that I like to wear to work. I'm on the fence about the blazer -- I bought it because it coordinates with a pair of DKNY pants that I bought last summer that I stopped wearing to work because they wrinkle sooo easily. What's good about the blazer is that when worn with the pants, it will disguise most of the offending wrinkles.

So I'm not sure that I would call this weekend's shopping project a success. I think that I may have found a few good pieces, but it's too soon to tell. In the meantime, and in the absence of an NBA finals game to distract me (man, that series came and went in a flash), I will be entertaining myself with a generous scoop of pistachio gelato and tonight's episode of Army Wives.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

First Lady Fashion

Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni (Sarkozy) were in Normandy, France today to commemorate the 65th Anniversary of D-Day. The event was, of course, serious and at times somber. While watching MSNBC's coverage of today's event (and with complete understanding of and respect for the gravity of the commemoration), I could not help noticing that Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bruni (Sarkozy) looked absolutely stunning:

images via Huffington Post

Thank You, Apartment Therapy

Just wanted to say a big "thank you" to one of my all-time favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy, and its wonderfully helpful readers. Last week, I submitted a request for ideas about what to do with my living room wall. Take a look at the post, as well as all the helpful comments, here. I'm sorting through the comments and making plans for the wall now -- very exciting!

Thanks, AT!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Weekend in Review

This weekend wasn't nearly as restful as Memorial Day weekend -- I had a lot of work to do over the past two days. But somehow, I managed to pull together a productive and pleasant weekend. A few highlights:

1. I was able to get a decent amount of work done this weekend, during designated blocks of "work time" on both days (had this not happened, I never would have enjoyed this weekend's non-work activities).

2. Trip to Whole Foods at 9am on Saturday: Early AM is definitely the best time to go to the Tribeca Whole Foods. The produce has not been rummaged through (yet), the shelves are still stocked with my favorite snacks, and the checkout lines won't start snaking through the aisles for another few hours.

3. Brooklyn Flea! The last time I made a trip to Brooklyn Flea, the market was just a few weeks old and I wasn't that impressed. Not so anymore! The Flea is all grown up now -- more vendors + quirky vintage merchandise = success. On Saturday, I snagged a vintage Polaroid camera (check it out here), and my brother (who was equally impressed with the Flea) picked up a vintage plaid travel bag and a decades-old, bright yellow Pennsylvania commercial license plate. Our grand total? $31!

4. Caramelita Bars. The Whole Foods version of these yummy treats inspired me to make my own at home, which I did while watching the Orlando Magic play their way to the NBA Finals on Saturday night (the highlight of my weekend). This recipe worked well for me, but beware: baking the bars at 350 degrees for 25 minutes after layering the chocolate, nuts and caramel is totally insufficient. Check them at 25 minutes, but be prepared to bake them for 45 min --until the top layer is slightly firm and no longer gooey.

5. The IKEA Water Taxi to Brooklyn. The weather on Sunday was *perfect* for a free ride from downtown Manhattan to Red Hook, Brooklyn on the IKEA Water Taxi. On the way to IKEA, we had a perfect view of the Queen Mary 2 (check her out here). On the way back to Manhattan, we had a perfect view of the Statute of Liberty. In between, I picked up 3 little plants ($1.50/each) for my windowsill -- fingers crossed that I don't kill the plants this time (check them out here -- they may never look this good again).

Just typing this post left me exhausted. Time for bed. Here's hoping for an equally productive week.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

An Open Letter to Kobe Bryant

Dear Kobe,

You used to be my favorite NBA player. I drank Sprite, not because I liked it (it's just okay), but because you endorsed it and I liked you. I tried the McDonald's Big 'n Tasty burger, not only because I love burgers, but also because you really seemed to like it in that commercial you shot for McDonald's (the Big 'n Tasty, by the way, is delicious). I watched your games religiously, not just because my dad is the biggest Lakers fan I know, but because I looked forward to watching you play.

Then, in 2003, you made a mistake. A big one. You let your family down. You let your fans down. You cried on national television. You lost your endorsements. And you lost my support.

Slowly but steadily, you began to repair your image. You changed your attitude. You changed your outlook. I remember watching how you handled yourself at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. You really had matured.

I just watched you and the rest of the Lakers beat the Nuggets in Denver. The game wasn't perfectly executed, but you guys managed to pick up a win. At the end of the game, you looked absolutely exhausted. You played your heart out, and it showed.

You're an excellent basketball player -- the whole world knows that. It's still hard for me to accept that you were involved in such a messy situation, but I'm doing my best. It seems that you have found a way to turn your life around, and it seems that those who were personally affected by your mistake have found a way to move forward, too.

Congratulations on a game well played.

Decorating Detox

I am officially putting the rest of my apartment decorating project on hold -- just until my lovely mother comes to NYC for a visit in July. I am in the process of convincing her to stage a design intervention and to correct the errors I have made along the way. Don't get me wrong; I still love my apartment and I still love the decorating process. It's just that I feel that I've hit a wall (absolutely no pun intended), and I think I need to take a step back and seek the design advice of someone who does not see my apartment on a daily basis. There is one small section of my living room that I absolutely love, and I wouldn't change a thing about it. But the rest of my living room (particularly the wall behind my television), my kitchen and my entryway definitely need more work. As does my bedroom -- according to my brother, who was visiting last weekend, it looks a little dated. And socially conservative. That is definitely not the look I was going for when I decorated it less than a year ago. Oops.

So, the apartment decorating project will remain on hiatus until July, at least. I'll still scour design blogs and magazines for ideas, but instead of rushing to make immediate changes to my living space, I will focus instead on really thinking about what I want, and on keeping my apartment clean, not cluttered. I'm actually pretty excited about this -- I had become so obsessed with making my apartment "perfect" that I had begun neglecting some of my favorite hobbies -- like baking and reading (especially chick lit and military history...guess that explains why I love Lifetime's Army Wives so much). Another bonus? I'll have more time to devote to my blog -- I have some new ideas about how to have a little more fun with it, and I can't wait to try them!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ron Artest Is Still a Little Crazy

Apparently, there was a little skirmish during last night's playoff game between the Lakers and the Rockets. ( I missed the game, but my dad gave me the scoop this morning.)

Ron Artest's post-ejection (yes; he was ejected from the game) interview is priceless. And I don't think there's anything else to be said about it -- the footage speaks for itself.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Ode to Domino: When Will It Stop Raining in NYC?

It's basically been raining in NYC since last Friday. Unbelievable. Perhaps purple-hued walls and peacock feathers will help.

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards is such a class act. I've seen a few clips of her interview with Oprah (airing in its entirety this Thursday) on MSNBC, and I just saw a few more on Nightline. She's going (and has gone) through so much -- the loss of her son, cancer, her husband's infidelity -- and yet she's just as strong and poised as anyone could hope to be under the same circumstances.

I'm so mad at John Edwards for the disrespect he showed toward his wife. But I'm so impressed by her dignity and grace.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Funniest Thing I"ve Ever Seen:

Simon (in skintight red pants) dancing with Ramona on the season finale of Real Housewives (NY). Hysterical. I'm still laughing.

Man, I'll miss this show. The Real Housewives of New Jersey better deliver.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ode to Domino: Escaping Through Design

The weather in New York City has been pretty dreary lately. I'm choosing to respond to this by pretending that I'm on vacation in some fabulous locale. Preferably, one where I could relax in this lovely room with a good book.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

To Play(off) or not to Play(off)

In grad school, I wrote a paper about whether the Bowl Championship Series violates U.S. antitrust laws. (My conclusion? It might. It might not.) One thing, however, is for sure: Congress is up in arms about the BCS. In between combating the swine flu and fixing the economy, Congress is, once again, demanding that a playoff system replace the current fuzzy math that determines the Division I college football champion. President Obama has gone on the record in favor of a playoff system as well.

I'm in favor of a playoff system,too. But I also find it hard to be totally opposed to a process that, while convoluted, delivered two championships in the past three years to my beloved Florida Gators.

Michelle Obama's Sneakers

US Weekly is conducting a poll to see who among its readers likes the Lanvin sneakers that Michelle Obama wore to the Capitol Food Bank last week. The shoes are funky, yes. But any First Lady who wears these kicks is okay in my book. Plus, her service at the food bank is far more important than the shoes.

Images: New York Daily News

Friday, May 1, 2009

Ode to Domino: Splash of Yellow

Spring is in the air in New York City, and the yellow wall behind the bookshelves in this photo screams spring. So does the beautiful couch in the foreground, for that matter.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The J. Crew University Pant in Navy

My work wardrobe is still a work-in-progress, but one theme has emerged: Navy, and lots of it! I was never one to wear that much navy -- black has always been my dark, neutral shade of choice. But navy has emerged as a major player in my new work wardrobe -- so much so that I think it's time to supplement the pair of navy stovepipe DKNY trousers that I wear at least once a week (I found them on sale and I love them) with another pair of navy pants. I really like this pair from J. Crew (in favorite fit, J. Crew's most universally flattering cut):


Ode to Domino: Serene Bedroom

I am almost 100% confident that I am the last person publicly mourning the loss of Domino magazine. But I have a few more pics to share! (plus, after seeing this link to my little blog on Apartment Therapy, I'm beginning to think that I am perhaps not the only person still mourning the loss of Domino...)

I love the tufted headboard and aquamarine coverlet in this bedroom. So simple and serene!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Charles Barkeley Is Still on TNT

TNT's coverage of the NBA Playoffs is well underway. I really haven't been keeping up (but I will start -- soon). All I know is that the Lakers have been playing pretty well and that the Hawks won tonight. Oh, and that the Spurs are done (ouch!).

I'm conflicted about Charles Barkley's return to TNT. As we all know, he had an unfortunate run-in with the law several months ago. Should he have returned so soon? I, for one, am having an incredibly hard time taking him seriously. Something about this is just wrong.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Five Reasons to Love Gabriel Byrne

My cable was out for 2 days this week. To compensate me for my troubles, Time Warner Cable has gifted me with a $4 credit to this month's bill and one free month of HBO, HBO2 and Showtime. One hour into my free month of premium channels and I'm suddenly reminded just how much I miss Gabriel Byrne in In Treatment. Here's why:

1. In Treatment is such an amazingly authentic depiction of raw, unfiltered emotion. Gabriel Byrne delivers a compelling performance in every episode.

2. Byrne began his acting career at 29 -- he worked as an archaeologist, bullfighter and teacher before turning to acting full-time.

3. He works as a UNICEF ambassador.

4. Today, he calls Brooklyn home.

5. And finally, my personal favorite: Gabriel Byrne once dated Naomi Campbell!

(Random facts courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Herb Garden

Several months ago, I attempted to start a little herb garden in my windowsill. It didn't start. I think the seeds were bad. ( I found them in the clearance bin at Target.) Today I tried again, minus the seeds:

This time, I found an already-growing flat leaf Italian parsley plant at Home Depot. I re-potted it, watered it, and placed it in the sunny windowsill. I hope it grows!

P.S. If anyone has any advice on how not to kill my parsley plant, please share!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. He's the best. Happy birthday, Dad. Don't fall out of the hammock! (inside joke)

A Tale of Two Jimmys

Jimmy Fallon's late-night show is growing on me. I caught a few episodes during his first week, and the secondhand embarrassment was almost too much to take. Jimmy F. was incredibly nervous, and it showed. But he's gotten so much more comfortable with the show, and I'm really starting to like it! He's had some great guests ... Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Robert DeNiro ... and it certainly helps that Fallon snagged The Roots as the house band every single night. (aside: 3 years ago, my brother and I caught them in concert at Radio City Music Hall. That concert still ranks as one of my top 3 entertainment experiences of all time. Hands down.).

I felt similarly about Jimmy Kimmel's show when it first aired in 2003. I didn't like it at all, but somewhere between laughing at Uncle Frank and "This Week in Unnecessary Censorship," I was sold.

While we're on the subject of late-night talk show hosts, here's hoping that Jay Leno feels better and returns to television soon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Apartment Inspiration

Work has been pretty stressful this week -- not as stressful as the week before last (that was more like one really, really long day), but this week was stressful enough. I suppose I should have known something was up when I found myself staying up until 3 a.m. on Sunday night/Monday morning, trying my best to complete a complicated (some would say impossible) assignment. I try not to dwell on the stressful aspects of my job, though. Instead, I choose to focus on the fact that in this economic environment, I should consider myself lucky (and I do) to have a job.

One thing I like to do when I feel stressed is to focus on things that make me happy . . . like decorating my first non-studio apartment (the apartment is, and perhaps always will be, a work-in-progress). With that in mind, I thought that it would be fun to share the original inspiration for my apartment decor.

When I first moved into my apartment last September, I took a few minutes to take in the view from my 27th floor window. After overcoming my fear of heights, I noticed this beautiful building in the distance:

And here are some of the apartment additions that this little gem of a building has inspired in the months since:

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Apartment Find: Dane Table Lamp

Today's a beautiful day in New York City, and I took advantage of the sunny weather by taking a leisurely stroll from my apartment to Soho . . . where I stumbled into the CB2 store and found exactly what the console table in my living room was missing: the Dane Table Lamp!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Four Reasons to Hook up my TIVO this Spring/Summer

1. Lifetime's Army Wives. Maybe it's because I'm an Air Force brat. Maybe it's because I love nighttime soaps. Whatever the reason, I am obsessed with this show. I've seen every episode at least twice. It makes me nostalgic for my childhood. New season premieres in June.

2. Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey. Enough said. New season premieres in May.

3. Bravo's, err Lifetime's Project Runway. Finally, PR has been freed from the unrelenting grip of that nasty legal battle over the show's move to Lifetime. New season premieres in June (?).

4. WeTV's Bridezillas. This show is outrageous and I love every minute of it. I think it's addictive. I've even convinced my mother and grandmother to watch. (This, I might add, is no small feat. It is very hard to convince them that any reality television show other than Judge Judy, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Mathis, The People's Court or Divorce Court is worth watching.) New season premieres in June.

A New Trench Coat Option

It's *pouring* in NYC right now, and the inclement weather has reminded me that my search for the perfect trench is not over. Yesterday's options were vetoed by my personal wardrobe consultant/mother. Today, I found this trench while "window shopping" online. I love the sleek lines of this option (shown in black and khaki):

image: Bloomingdales.com

image: Bloomingdales.com ($195)

Thoughts? I'm leaning toward the black trench.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Please Help Me Pick Out a (Cute, Affordable) Trench Coat

I need a new trench coat. A few years ago, a bought a great chocolate brown trench from The Gap. It was on sale and it was fabulous. I wore that trench every day that I could -- and now it shows. So I need a new one -- I'm looking for something lightweight, chic and professional-looking. (I'm trying to prepare in advance for those times when work will require me to (a) be out of the office when the weather is bad and (b) look presentable once I get to the out-of-office destination.)

Last Friday, I purchased this Ellen Tracy trench at downtown Manhattan's always unnecessarily hectic discount department store, Century 21. I tried it on in the store, and again at home, where I discovered that it just wasn't a good fit. I'm returning it. The funnel neck collar (it's convertible) is what drew it to me at first:

image: nordstrom.com ($138)

While window-shopping online earlier today, I fell in love with this beautiful Vivienne Westwood trench at Liberty, the UK retailer. Its asymmetrical drape is stunning (as is its price tag):

image: liberty.co.uk (approximately $675)

Harper's Bazaar UK directed me to this option from Banana Republic. I love this shade of gray and the unconventional collar, but it might be too "crinkled" and casual for work:

image: bananarepublic.com ($79.99 -on sale)

Any thoughts on these? Any other suggestions? Is there an amazing trench out there that I'm missing? Do tell.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Apartment Addition, Courtesy of My Grandmother. (Hi, Grandma!)

I really wanted to wait until the morning to take a few shots of the picture that my grandmother stitched for me (so that I could catch some natural light!), but my mom insisted that I post pictures now. Here are a few (which do not showcase the picture as well as they should -- more to come later, when the sun comes out again).

Seriously, Arizona State University? Seriously?

I just completed the most grueling 13 days of non-stop work. It was exciting and interesting, but also very demanding. I have so much blog updating to do, but I am also exhausted. Getting some rest is first on my agenda. . . right after I comment on this bit of news: It seems that Arizona State University has invited President Barack Obama to be the University's commencement speaker this year, but declined to grant him an honorary degree. Why? Because, according to an ASU spokesperson, "his body of work is yet to come."

Is this some sort of (ill-conceived) joke?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Good Touch, Bad Touch.

First, the Good: I recently purchased the (still relatively) new touch screen Blackberry Storm. Confession: I really wanted an iPhone, but I am a loyal Verizon customer and I refuse to switch to AT&T just for the "it" Phone. None of that matters, though, because the Storm is great. I feel like I've finally stepped into this century! I can't believe how much I can do with this phone (the web browsing is amazing ... even my little blog looks great on the Storm). Plus, today the Blackberry App World launched, complete with tons of fun applications. I have already downloaded a few new, shiny apps (including mobile-friendly versions of Elle and Slate and something called Viigo that comes highly recommended).

Now, the Bad: Evidently, touching the Queen without being invited to do so is bad form. According to several news outlets, First Lady Michelle Obama gently touched the Queen on the back without an invite during a visit to Buckingham Palace today. Outrage ensued.

In other Michelle Obama news, doesn't she look great here, pictured with Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown? The best part? She's wearing J. Crew!

Image: The Times Online (UK)