Saturday, December 19, 2009

Party Like A Rock Star

Actually, someone did tell me that I am a rock star last night. I'll take that as a sign they liked everything. I left work at noon to get ready. I needed to stop by Target to pick up a few last minute items as well as get vodka and ice. By 1 o'clock I was home getting things ready. I had lots to do-the week prior was a busy one, so most things needed to wait until last minute. At 3:30 I was shaking and worried I would not get everything done. At 6:30 I knew I over reacted and by 7-when the party was supposed to start, I was sitting down with my first ginger lemon martini waiting for people to arrive.

It was my most successful party yet. Everyone who said they were coming came (with the exception of 2 husbands) and most of the food was gone. Everyone went back for 2nds and 3rds and the drinks I made were wildly popular. Here is how I set the party up:

The tree in the corner is the one I got for $1 at the Christmas Tree Shoppe. It's made of foam balls and is sprinkled with glitter. It's hard to tell in the photos but it's so pretty! I wanted the entire table to be white and silver, so I used only white platters and risers. When I ran out of white risers I used clear vases and filled the bigger one with silver Christmas balls. I then scattered the table with clear, silver and white stained glass pieces and lit tea lights for some added sparkle. Everyone was very impressed and loved it.

Bloody Mary Shrimp Cocktail Shots-rimmed with lime juice and celery salt

Duck w/ Blue Cheese, Mandarin Oranges and Toasted Pistachios. My favorite canape from culinary school & a favorite of the night!

This is one I made from my one of my favorite entrees. It's Coriander Encrusted Seared Tuna w/ a White Bean Puree, Cilantro Pesto and Balsamic Drizzle. Next time I'll put the balsamic on the beans and the cilantro on top.

Prosciutto Palmiers. Prosciutto, honey mustard and Parmesan cheese in puff pastry. Another favorite of my guests. To the right of those are Chicken Cigars, which I made for snack day last year.

Of course, my Artichoke Dip

The dining room, all set up. On the left I had Gingerbread Cupcakes w/ Lemon Cream Cheese frosting, Flourless Chocolate Cake w/ Raspberry Coulis and Rum Cake.

Ginger Lemon Martini's-this was made with the vodka I infused for 2 weeks, a splash of lemon and ginger beer. The recipe called for bitters also, but I forgot to but that. The drink was the most popular of the night without it and I'll keep the recipe as is. These suckers are DANGEROUS. I do not like vodka and I drank 5.

Empty glasses at the end of the night...success!

Housewarming presents

As I said, it was a very successful and fun party. There was lots of laughter and food and while my old friends and new friends did not mingle together very much, everyone had a great time. All of my hard work in the apartment did not go unnoticed and people really liked what I've done so far. It really feels like home now...and now, I'm off to CT for my father's holiday party. Pray that we really don't get a foot of snow tonight!

Friday, December 18, 2009

I Was Grumpy. Now I Am Not.

I was NOT in a good place yesterday. This time though, I wasn't sad. Instead, I was frustrated and grumpy for some reason. The morning started out with really horrible dreams. I am still having flashbacks of the faces I saw, which is not pleasant. I also felt like I was running late all day long. During lunch I went to Trader Joe's to pick up all of the wine for the party tonight and on the way I got lost. On the way back, I got stuck in traffic. So my 1 hour lunch turned into 2 hours. I felt horrible. The people on the roads were pissing me off and I was cold and tired and my back hurt and all I wanted to do was come home to clean, cook and sleep.

I planned on going shopping after cooking last night then going home to bake. The Mom did not come downstairs until 8:30 however and therefore I got home at 9pm. No shopping. Also, no heat. Incidentally, had just posted a headline that last night was the coldest night so far and it was likely to be close to 0 degrees. I could see my breath inside the apartment. Also, my oven would not heat up properly and I spilled water in the flourless chocolate cake batter. It looks OK but I'm not sure how it will taste. I'll have to test it to see if it's OK just in case I have to bake another one quickly.

My chicken mixture for one appetizer doesn't taste like it normally does and my duck is still frozen. It just seems like the universe is trying to stop this party. I really hope it goes off without a hitch and that everyone loves the food.

So I am sorry I did not visit or post much yesterday. I just simply was in a bitchy mood and needed to keep to myself. I'll post some pictures of the setup later on if I get the chance. I'm taking a 1/2 day so I can prepare so hopefully I'll get some up.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I got nothin'.  At least right now.

It's very cold out and windy today.  I can't wear my long wool coat because it's too big and I look ridiculous in it.  I'm over tired, had horrible dreams about people I love being dead and my back hurts.

Needless to say, I have to shake off this grumpiness before I can communicate.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Jamie used to check everything I did. Once I cleaned the kitchen but forgot to wipe the underneath of the faucet. When he saw it he said, "We all fall short in the eyes of the Lord." I hated that but years later when I have something perfect except for one thing, I whisper that to myself. I hate that too.

I made a chandelier out of Christmas balls. It needs more but I'm not sure I'll have time.

Next year I would like to decorate a tree with someone special. I haven't done that in...a really, really long time.

When you IM me and I don't know you very well, please try to keep up the conversation. I take your long ass pauses as you not being interested or interesting.

Yesterday was the campus holiday party at the President's house. It's pretty in there and I think it would have been fun but it was so hot I had to leave. My face was embarrassing me. I don't know why I don't use my medicine all of the time.

I'd like to preface this with the fact that I really like this person. She's a co-worker and becoming a friend. The other day she said mentioned that she'll be at my house early on Friday before the party. She said it again later too. I'm wondering how early and also why she would not ask me first if that was OK. I find it a little rude, actually but I don't want to hurt her feelings.

Yesterday I visited my new primary care physician so that I could get my inhaler script renewed. After she did that she asked me if I wanted to get a flu shot. Then she asked if I'd also like the H1N1 shot. I've never asked about it before. Doesn't it seem like it should have been a little harder than that? Anyway...I got both.

My boss wants to take me out to lunch to thank me for doing such a great job. This is flattering but also very scary. It's going to be very awkward.

I am nervous about a gift that was sent to me. My friend told me he just wants me to be happy and that he doesn't like how I have been treated in the past. And that it might be offensive but he did not mean it that way. What the heck could it be?! (Kurt if you read this-I'm nervous!!!)

I found myself humming and singing yesterday while I did the dishes. This makes me happy because it means I'm getting there. It seems like I am fighting with myself to let it it is trying to, but when I find myself healing I grasp at a memory so that it doesn't happen.

I wish we were still friends. When I can write that sentence without tearing up, I know I'm there. I miss you.

The other day I was grocery shopping in my work clothes and my underwear were not being nice. It's not a very good feeling walking around knowing that people can tell b/c you are wearing dress pants.

It's frustrating when there is more than one itinerary for the same conference.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Toosdae ?'s

I. am. tired. Yesterday after work I went grocery shopping for my party on Friday. I stopped to get dinner, came home and ate and the started right on my list. This list is extensive, broken down by day counting down to Friday. Last night I made the white bean puree, cilantro pesto and coriander spice mix for my tuna canape. I also made the blue cheese butter for my duck canape, steamed my shower curtain, did dishes and cleaned up a bit. much more to do. *yawn* Because Christmas is on my mind (Oh! I also wrapped gifts last night) today's questions surround Christmas and Hanukkah...

1. What was the most memorable Christmas or Hanukkah gift you ever received?

2. If you could only listen to one Christmas song for the rest of your life (only during the holiday season) what would it be?

3. Finish this sentence: "It's not Christmas/Hanukkah until..."

My answers...

1. You know...I couldn't think of any one really memorable gift but after a while I remembered the year my then boyfriend gave me a radio for my car because I needed one. We were in high school and didn't have a lot of money, so he took his out of his car and wrapped it up. I thought that was really nice, especially because he really loved music. I did not install it into my car though.

2. Silent Night, as sung by Sarah McLachlan. My 2nd choice would be Oh Holy Night or God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.

3. It's not Christmas until we sit in our circle and take turns opening gifts...then cram ourselves into my Nana's house with lots of crazy Italians. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holy Hannah!

You would not believe the weekend I've had. Last night when I fell into bed at 11:30 it felt like I would never be able to wake. It seems like I have been going, going, going ever since I moved in last month (how has it been a month already?!). Between working both jobs, unpacking and getting settled as well as redecorating and updating the apartment...I just have not truly relaxed in a long time. This weekend was really busy because I had to get everything done before my party on Friday. This included:

Paining the trim white in the dining room

Painting the trim in the living room (I did not get this done. Only the archway is finished.)

Painting the bathroom, hanging the pictures and shelf

Putting chairs together

Setting up the Christmas tree


Laundry (did not get it done)

Hanging pictures (did not get this done either)

I only stopped to eat and sleep this weekend. I did go to the store on Friday to return some things and to get plates and stuff for the party. Yesterday I also had to run out because I seem to have lost an entire box of Christmas items-including all of my lights. The only box they had at Target-literally, the only box-was those icicle lights that you put outside. I had to get them because the tree was up, waiting to be dressed. And with the party on Friday, I needed it done today. It didn't come out too bad-I tried to hide the white wires as best I could. I also decided not to put any of my sentimental ornaments on the tree this year. I'm not sure why, but I just did not feel like it. Instead, my tree is all red and silver. I find it funny that in this picture it looks like I photo shopped some balls in-those are just velvet covered balls and have no shine which is why they look so flat. I think.

I said velvet covered balls. :)

The bathroom is painted but I am not happy with it yet. The medicine cabinet is so ugly and gross. I want to change it but I feel like I shouldn't invest money in it. I have a mirror that I can put up and I think I'll try that-because the cabinet is really gross and I'm embarrassed to have people in there. Otherwise, I'm glad I painted it white instead of that tan fleshy color the walls have. It looks much better with the pink tiles. Which are another yuck, but what can I do about that?

I've also decided on a menu for the party. I have about 6-7 little bites in addition to 3 desserts, 2 special drinks and wine. I think it'll be a good time. 16 people are coming, which to me, is a smashing hit. Only a few people can not make it and only 1 person did not reply. Not bad, I'd say.

This has become a ramble. I am sorry. I haven't rested much. I'll come back later perhaps to tell you what food I am making. In the meantime, have a wonderful Monday!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dining Room Trim

I debated for a couple of weeks about whether or not I would paint the original wood trim in the apartment. I went back and forth only out of principle-I felt badly about covering up the wood as I know that people often strip paint to get back to it. But it was too dark and I felt like I was living in a grandma's apartment. Once I painted the dining room red, the decision was made. It needed to look fresh and clean and the way to do that in my opinion was to paint the trim white. It only took 2 coats to cover the trim and I am THRILLED with the results. It has become my favorite room. I still need to paint the top trim, but I suspect that will only take 1 coat as the base is cream.

Dark trim, before

Long view before

White trim, after

Long view, after

View from the dining room before and after-please excuse the mess!

Dining room, full view

You like? I love...

Today I will be finishing the top trim and painting some of the trim in the living room. I'll also be putting up my tree-which will be in the dining room. Then, I'll rest. I hope.